a/n: here's the final chapter! thanks to everyone who favorited the fic and left reviews! :D
"Well, here we go."
Stiles looked down at his classmates crowding his living room, all decked in the most varied Halloween costumes. The party was in full swing, but Stiles still had to make an appearance.
"I thought you'd be down there already."
Stiles glanced over his shoulder at him dad, shrugging. "I had to mentally prepare myself first. It's not every day almost my entire school is at my house."
His dad huffed. "You brought this on yourself, kid. Better make the best of it. And soon, too. You don't want to miss the party because you're up here."
"Yeah," Stiles sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I should head down."
"And I'm going back to my room," his dad said, and then pointed at the paperback he was holding. "I have mysteries to solve."
Stiles rolled his eyes, wishing his dad good luck. He wiped his palms on his tight blue jeans and checked himself in one of the hallway mirrors. He smoothed down his white shirt and tugged at the collars of Derek's leather jacket, letting himself hope for a moment that Derek could be there with him. His hair looked as good as it was going to get, slicked back and gelled up.
He had to say, he looked good. Nothing like Danny Zuko, but still good.
People seemed to agree as he made his way down the stairs, if judging by the smiles and nods he got.
He couldn't help but smile when he caught sight of his friends, shaking his head when Scott saw him and waved.
"This isn't what I expected," Stiles said, raising an eyebrow at Scott's costume.
"I'll have you know Black Widow is a badass," Scott said, hands on his hips.
"You do look good with that wig," Allison pointed out, tugging at a red strand of Scott's wig. She was smiling, dimples showing.
"You look better than I do, though," Scott replied, snaking an arm around Allison's waist. "And you can actually shoot the arrows of your Hawkeye costume."
Stiles groaned, sending her a pleading look. "Please don't shoot any arrows in my house."
"I'll try my best," Allison nodded.
"Stilinski, did anyone tell you your ass looks amazing in those jeans?"
Stiles cheeks flushed as he swung around, making a show of wiggling his hips. "Why, thank you. You don't look bad yourself."
"I better not. This thing was expensive as fuck," Erica said, gesturing at her black Catwoman suit.
"You look great as always," Boyd told her, bending down to place a kiss her on temple.
"Dude." Stiles eyes widened, his hand moving of its own accord and poking Boyd in the chest. "Are those your real muscles or part of your Batman costume?"
Boyd gave him an unimpressed look.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Erica leered, red lips curling at the corners.
"They're real," Isaac piped up. He was wearing pale blue scrubs and a stethoscope around his neck, and his lips quirked up in a smirk when Erica glared at him.
"And let's thank the universe for that," Danny said with appreciation, eyes raking over Boyd's body.
"No checking out my boyfriend," Erica snapped. "You have can have your pick of the other guys here."
"And I will," Danny said, grinning. "I think Jack Sparrow over there is checking me out."
Which was kind of funny, Stiles thought, considering Danny was only dressed in red and white boardshorts and flip flops.
"You go get him, dude," Scott said, clapping Danny on the shoulder.
"Oh, there you are." Lydia appeared beside him, Jackson trailing behind holding two plastic cups. She and Jackson were dressed as a couple straight from the 20s, Lydia's gold flapper dress shining under the lights. "I moved some things around in your freezer to fit the ice bags we'll need for tonight."
Stiles blinked. "No problem."
"You mean, I moved them," Jackson mumbled, only to snap his mouth shut when Lydia glared at him.
"So everything's going okay?" Stiles asked her, biting down on his bottom lip.
"Everything going perfect," Lydia sniffed. "But it would be even better if we went back to dancing."
"Well," Stiles smiled. "Can't argue with that."
Stiles could argue with that, actually.
Because as soon as a slow song started, he was left in the middle of the dance floor by himself, while he watched the rest of his friends pair off. Even Isaac found himself leading a girl dressed as Lara Croft in small circles as they danced.
Stiles sighed and turned around to go hang out near the food table. He figured he could stuff his face full of Lydia's spider cupcakes until the song ended. And maybe while he was at it, he could stop thinking about how he was at the dance alone, and the one person he wished was there with him couldn't because they were dead.
It had been a few days, but Stiles could still feel the phantom of Derek's lips against his own, no pun intended. He had been at the edge of sleep, almost drifting off when there was the press of something cool against his lips.
He would give anything to be able to do that again, but this time for real. He wanted to be able to kiss Derek whenever he wanted, to have Derek in flesh and blood and thick eyebrows and thin lips in front of him.
But that wasn't how life worked. Because if it was, he'd be with Derek right now, in the middle of the dance floor, slow dancing and maybe stealing a few kisses. Instead, he was making his way past couples and to the food, feeling sorry for himself. He figured he could at least go upstairs to his room and lock himself in until everyone left.
Not that he would, since he didn't want to face Lydia's wrath about him being a bad host, but still. It was nice to have the option.
That was when he noticed that the couples he was walking past weren't really slow dancing anymore. They were actually stopping, their heads turning to look up in the direction of the stairs. Stiles frowned in confusion and turned, wondering if his dad decided to leave the security of his room and venture out to the party.
He wasn't expecting to feel like he got hit in the head with a bat when his eyes focused on what caught everyone's attention. Or should he say: who caught everyone's attention.
Because walking down the stairs, dressed very much like Stiles in tight jeans and a tight black shirt, was Derek.
Only he wasn't transparent anymore.
He was in full color, all pale skin and black hair and red cheeks. Stiles knew Derek was good-looking when he was a ghost, but seeing him alive was different. It was better. It absolutely took his breath away.
All Stiles could do was watch, wide-eyed, as Derek sauntered to him. Derek eyes were blazing and a smirk was on his lips. Stiles, for his turn, could feel his heart trying to beat out of his chest.
This couldn't be real, could it?
"Hi," Derek said as he stopped in front of Stiles, offering him his hand, palm up. "Would you like to dance?"
Derek's voice sounded the same as it did when he was a ghost, but also different. He sounded alive, like he was really there instead of projecting.
Stiles didn't hesitate to take Derek's hand in his, their palms sliding together as he let Derek pull him up and back to the middle of the dancefloor.
His breath hitched at feeling Derek's warm and dry and real hand against his. Because that meant that Derek was there, with his fingers curled around Stiles's, and he was living.
"Okay?" Derek asked once they stopped facing each other, Derek's arms wrapping themselves around Stiles's waist.
"Are you really…?" Stiles whispered, letting himself be led as they danced.
This close Stiles could see straight into Derek's eyes. He always wondered what color they were, never being able to see when Derek was a ghost. Now he was faced with green and blue and specks of gold, Derek's eyes so bright and beautiful Stiles didn't know what to do with himself.
"I am really," Derek nodded, his expression softening.
"Oh," Stiles breathed out, and then all he could do was cling to Derek, his arms tight around Derek's shoulders.
He felt Derek's laugh against his chest, Derek's breath ghosting over his neck. He let himself get lost in feeling Derek's warm body against his, not even caring if people were still staring at them or not.
He couldn't believe this was real and Derek was really there.
Stiles figured it must have been some sort of Halloween magic that made this possible. You know, the veil between here and there allowing the spirits of those who have died to return.
"I told you I was a good dancer," Derek murmured, and Stiles could hear the smile in his tone.
"You did," Stiles agreed, letting out a small laugh. "You really did."
"Stiles?" Derek asked, one of his hands pressing more firmly against Stiles's back.
Stiles lifted his head up a little, his cheek pressed against Derek's. "Derek?"
"Can I keep you?"
Stiles swallowed, heart tugging in his chest as he whispered, "Yes."
He didn't resist when Derek pulled away from him a little.
Nor when Derek leaned in a bit closer.
And he definitely didn't resist when Derek closed the distance between them and placed a slow and sweet kiss on his lips.
Stiles was pretty sure he was in heaven.
It was as if Stiles could feel nothing but Derek's mouth on his and Derek's tongue against his, as if they weren't standing in the middle of his living room and surrounded by Stiles's classmates. It was the only explanation that made sense as he and Derek kept kissing, slow and deep and like they had all the time in world.
Which, if Stiles's theory about this being a Halloween thing was accurate, wasn't true.
Stiles kept his eyes closed after Derek finished the kiss, brushing a kiss to the corner of his mouth.
Stiles shook his head, his nose bumping against Derek's.
"C'mon, look at me."
"I can't," Stiles said, dropping his forehead to rest on Derek's shoulder. Because Derek would probably go back to being a ghost either as soon as it hit midnight, which was going to happen in about a minute, or tomorrow night.
Stiles wasn't ready to let go of him this soon.
He turned his face so he could bury his nose against the side of Derek's neck and breathe him in. Derek smelled good, of sweat and leather and the forest that surrounded the house.
"Stiles," Derek said again, voice low.
"I don't want you to leave," Stiles admitted. "I want you to stay here. With me."
He felt Derek's hand at the back up his neck, giving it a squeeze. "Then kiss me again."
Stiles did, trying to pour everything he was feeling into the kiss. How much he liked Derek, how much he didn't want Derek to leave, how much he wanted them to stay there, together and alive.
And then Stiles heard the living room clock strike twelve, the sound so loud it resonated over the music. He tried to pull back, away from Derek, so he could run the fuck away and burst into tears alone because Derek would be dead again.
Only that was not what happened.
The clock stopped chiming, and Stiles could still feel Derek's arms around him, Derek's breath against his lips, the tips of their noses touching.
"What the fuck?" Stiles asked, baffled.
Derek huffed, eyes crinkling at the corners as he smiled. "I'm not leaving."
"What the fuck?" Stiles repeated, heart tugging in his chest. "Is this some kind of Disney bullshit? A True Love's Kiss? I kiss you and you get to stay forever?"
"Stiles—," Derek tried to interrupt.
"We need to make sure," Stiles babbled. "C'mon, Derek. Kiss me again."
Stiles brought his hands to cup Derek's cheeks, bringing their lips together. This time, their kiss was kind of awkward, mostly due to the fact that Derek was smiling at him.
"Stop smiling and kiss me," Stiles snapped. "We need to keep you here."
Stiles went for another kiss, only to end up catching Derek's chin instead of his mouth when Derek tried to turn his head away from him.
"I'm trying to explain it to you," Derek said. "We can make out later."
"You don't need to explain, I get it," Stiles told him, annoyed. "Now suck face with me."
"I don't need to," Derek said, causing Stiles to stop an inch from his lips again.
"What do you mean, you don't need to?" Stiles asked, eyes narrowing.
"That's not how this is happening," Derek sighed, fingers caressing the back of Stiles's neck. "There's no True Love's Kiss."
Stiles blinked, feeling his cheeks heat. "No?"
"No," Derek shook his head, amused. "Although it's good to know you've elected yourself as my One True Love."
Stiles opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, at a loss for words.
The only reason he didn't feel more embarrassed than he already was because Derek pecked him on the lips and added, "Not that I mind. I have to say I agree."
"Yes?" Stiles asked, melting against Derek.
Stiles swallowed, throat clicking. "That's good. But if that's not how…," Stiles said, waving a hand around. "Then how are you here?"
"A mistake was made," Derek said, face far away. "I wasn't supposed to get stuck here like I did, so they fixed it."
"They fixed it," Stiles said flatly. His mind was already thinking up all kinds of things: like a spirit police who made sure justice was served or a spirit council who got to decide who stayed and who passed on.
"Well, she fixed it," Derek corrected, getting this awed look on his face.
"She who?" Stiles asked, suspicious.
He was not expecting the nervous look on Derek's face at that, but that didn't lessen his curiosity.
So he didn't protest when Derek grabbed his hand, their fingers interlacing, and said, "Let's go."
Derek lead them up the stairs, oblivious to the considering looks they were getting from Stiles's classmates. Stiles knew rumors would be flying around come Monday at school, not that he could bring himself to think up a plausible explanation about who Derek was and how they met.
"Where are we going?" Stiles asked, feeling a bit nervous at the thought of meeting another ghost. One powerful enough to give Derek life, at that.
"She should be—," Derek started, only to cut himself off as they rounded the corner in the direction of Stiles's room.
This because, right in front of Stiles's door, they saw a light, one so bright that Stiles closed his eyes and hid his face against Derek's shoulder.
"I see you found him."
Stiles knew it and he thought he'd never get to hear it again.
"Mom?" Stiles whispered, his hold on Derek's hand tightening to the point where his knuckles turned white.
"Hey, kiddo," Claudia grins. "You got taller."
Stiles choked, eyes filling with tears. He leaned his weight against Derek's side, barely aware of Derek's arm slipping around his waist.
"Stiles, what is all that stomping around? I thought you said everyone was going to be downs— Claudia?"
Stiles turned to see his dad at the door to his room, his face pale and eyes dazed as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing. Stiles had to say he was right there with his dad on that one, although he knew ghosts were a real thing from knowing Derek.
"Hi there, Sheriff," Claudia said, grin transforming into a soft and private smile.
"What— You— How?" Stiles's dad stuttered, distraught.
Yeah, Stiles wanted to know that too.
Claudia shrugged. "It's Halloween night and you live in a creepy house in the middle of the woods. I thought I'd come visit when I knew I could, even if I don't have much time."
Stiles choked on a laugh while his dad stared at his mom in disbelief.
"She sounds just like you," Derek murmured, placing a kiss on Stiles's temple.
"I'm the one who sounds like her," Stiles corrected him.
"Time?" Stiles's dad asked, shaking his head. "You— Claudia." He scrubbed a hand over his face, glancing back at Stiles. "Am I hallucinating?"
"I don't think so, dad," Stiles shook his head.
"You're not," Claudia said, tone firm. "I'm really here, if only just for tonight and for only the next ten minutes."
"Ten minutes?" Stiles and his dad yelled, taken aback.
"I was supposed to leave at midnight," Claudia said, her smile downcast. "I'm already past my limit, which means I should really get to saying what I want to say."
"But mom—," Stiles tried, because if Derek came back to life for him than his mom surely could do it too.
Claudia shook her head, as if she knew what Stiles was thinking. "No, honey. I'm sorry."
Stiles closed his eyes, tears falling down his face.
"I know things weren't easy after I left," Claudia said, face solemn. "And I know how much you suffered and missed me."
"We still miss you. Every day," Stiles's dad tried to say.
"I do too," Claudia told him, and Stiles thought he could see tears in her eyes as well. "I'm proud of you too, of everything you've done and achieved this far. I might not be here with you, but I want you to know that I'll always be watching. And I want you to know how sad I was and still am to let you both go."
She hovered close to Stiles's dad, bringing a hand up to cup his cheek.
Stiles had to hide his face against Derek's shoulder again, not being strong enough to see the expressions playing over his dad's face. They deserved this moment after everything, and Stiles was glad to give it to them.
He was also thankful for Derek being there with him, a strong and silent presence by his side, holding him up.
"She gave me you," Stiles said, voice hoarse.
"And she gave me you," Derek answered, hugging Stiles's tight.
"And I'm glad I did."
They looked up to see Claudia in front of them, eyes kind.
"I love you, mom," Stiles blurted out. There was a lot he wanted to say to her, but at the end of it all this was the most important thing.
"I love you too, Stiles. Very much," Claudia told him, and then turned to Derek. "Help take care of him, alright?"
"Yes, ma'am," Derek nodded.
Claudia sighed. "So polite."
"Thank you for bringing him back for me," Stiles said.
"Yes, I'd like to know what that is about," Stiles's dad said, making both boys jump and Claudia laugh.
"I'm sure they'll explain it all to you once I'm gone," Claudia said, grinning at Stiles's red cheeks and Derek's horrified expression. "There's only one thing I have left to do, though."
"Mom?" Stiles blinked, following behind Claudia as she made for the stairs. "What are you doing?"
Claudia glanced at him over her shoulder with a wicked smile before pressing a finger to her lips, shushing him.
And Stiles's dad only had to time to say, "Oh Claudia, no," before she vanished right before their eyes.
And that was when the screaming started.
"So, this wasn't bad for my first Halloween dance," Stiles said, looking around his empty living room with ripped decorations and plastic cups littered all over the floor. "Don't you think so?"
"My favorite part was when your mom showed up in the middle of the dance floor, completely see-through, and hovering above a bunch of your classmates," Derek said, sounding equal parts impressed and scared. "It only got better when she started yelling about how she was going to rip all their hearts out."
Stiles bit down on his lip to fight a smile. He had to say he had never seen a place empty so fast, with his classmates screaming and running like their costumes were on fire. Some people even left their bags and coats at the house, not wanting to stop in case what Stiles's mom said was true.
And he just knew that Monday, everyone was going to be whispering about how his house really was haunted and asking him questions about what it was like to live with a ghost.
Not that he was going to answer it, Stiles thought as he looked over at Derek. Mostly because the answer was: it was fucking great. Especially when said ghost got his life back and had a vested interest in being his boyfriend.
Stiles's dad just huffed out a laugh, scrubbing a hand over his face. "That's Claudia for you. I'm just glad she decided not to turn the food into worms or something."
"I don't think that would have been possible," Derek frowned, considering.
"My mom is awesome," Stiles preened.
"Yes, she is. And don't think I forgot what you said about her bringingthis one back," his dad said, pointing at Derek. "As soon as we're done cleaning, I demand an explanation."
"Dad," Stiles whined.
"It's alright, Stiles," Derek said, sliding a hand up and down Stiles's back. "It's going to be a lot easier to tell him what happened now that he knows ghosts are real."
"Wait," Stiles's dad said, obviously putting the pieces together. "You're a ghost?"
"Was," Derek said promptly.
"Yeah, dad. I think it'd be kind of hard to date him if he wasn't real."
His dad narrowed his eyes. "Knowing you, that wouldn't have stopped you."
"Yeah," Stiles said, ducking his head and tangling Derek's hand with his own. "I also don't think it would have."
"You're keeping me," Derek said, low enough Stiles's dad didn't hear.
"And you're keeping me," Stiles replied, making a soft sound in the back of his throat when Derek leaned in to kiss him.
You know, until his dad threw a paper skeleton at their heads.