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Stiles loves the beach. It’s one of his favourite places in the whole entire world. The sound of the water hitting the shore, calm and consistent, the smell of the salt in the air and the heat of the sun on his face, the feeling of too hot sand beneath his feet. It was just perfect for Stiles.

Being there with Derek, however, made the beach better in every possible way. With Derek by his side, he got to share the quietness as they listened to the water lapping at the shore and the exhilaration of running through the sand fast enough to not burn your feet but slow enough to still feel the heat. Derek made all of his favourite things better.

The two boys had left the adults to themselves, venturing farther into the brush and trees littering the beach in search of their own adventure.

Stiles pulled Derek in every direction any time something remotely interesting caught his eye, turning around and laughing at the other boy when he grumbles his annoyance at Stiles’ endless energy, no matter how contagious it is.

They’re still meandering through the branches and sand, picking up random objects and messing with them when Stiles comes to a stop, eyes bugging out of his head as he stare at whatever it is he’s found on the ground.

“What is it,” Derek asks, trying his best to peek over Stiles’ shoulder to look. “What did you find?”

Stiles doesn’t answer him, instead he bends over to pick up the...thing. “This is so cool.” Stiles muses, eyes glued to the squid in his hands.

“Is that a squid?” Derek asks, eyes going almost as big as Stiles’ in that moment. “That’s a squid.” He muses. “You’re holding a squid.”

Stiles turns to him, eyes still huge, but this time with excitement and joy instead of wonder, a huge grin splitting his face in half. “I know! Isn’t it cool, Derek?” He changes his grip on the squid and pushes it into Derek’s face. “Look at it Der! It’s so cooooolll.” He drags out the word as he wiggles the fish in his face.”

“Ew, Stiles! Get that thing out of my face!” Stiles laughs and and shakes the squid in his face some more, causing Derek to push Stiles away and run, Stiles following instantly, squid still in hand.

“No way Derek! You’re gonna love this squid.”

Stiles chased him around and around, their laughter filling the air as Derek bobbed and weaved out of Stiles’ grasp just barely each and every time before, finally, grabbing the back of Derek’s shirt and pulling him towards him, causing the two boys to topple to the ground, breathless with sore faces from laughing the whole time.

“Are you going to say hi to Mr. Squiddy now, Derek?”

“Is that what it’s going to take for you to let me get up? He asks, chuckling at Stiles’ enthusiastic head nodding. “And Mr. Squiddy? Really, Stiles?”

“Don’t judge, you’ll offend him.” Stiles shifts his weight, propping himself on his elbow so the squid, Mr. Squiddy, is in Derek’s face. “Now, say hi.”

Derek rolls his eyes at the ridiculousness that is his best friend and turns to look at the squid. “Hello Mr. ...Squiddy.”

A huge smile crosses Stiles’ face. “Now, that wasn’t so hard was it?” He rolls off of his elbow so he can sit up, pulling Derek up with him and off to their next destination.

*

They're walking along the beach, kicking sand at each other and just enjoying themselves in only the way kids can when they first hear the yelling. The voices rising with each step they take towards where their families were. Looking at each other, eyes wide open with fear, the take off running back towards the noise.

 

***

 

Stiles is in his room pacing back and forward, restless energy forcing him to move around and do something besides just sit there.

He wants to see Derek, is what he absolutely and truly wants. But his dad, he says that he can’t see him, “Not today Stiles, maybe tomorrow.” he says. He’s been saying that for a week now and tomorrow hasn’t come around yet and he doubts it will anytime soon. He just misses his best friend.

He misses running around the boats and scraps in his backyard, playing hide and seek amongst the wreckage. He misses Derek laughing at every single one of Stiles’ jokes, no matter how stupid they are or how many times he’s heard them before. He misses playing video games in Derek’s room, doing his best to make Derek lose at every game against him and he just misses Derek.

He groans loudly, stopping his pacing to toss himself on his bed face first to groan louder into his pillow.

Stiles hears a knock on the wood frame of his door. He turns his head so he’s no longer suffocating himself with his pillow to look at his dad who has a knowing look on his face.

“What’s wrong, kid?” he asks, walking into Stiles’ room and sitting on the bed. He pats his calf, signalling him to sit up so they can have coherent conversation that isn’t muffled by a pillow.

Stiles turns around and sits with his back against his pillows, knees drawn up to his chest.

“I miss Derek.” he says, voice small as he pulls his legs closer to his chest and rests his chin on his knees. “I just don’t understand why I can’t go see him, Dad.”

John gave his son a small, sad smile at his words. He knew Stiles missed his best friend, those two were attached at the hip, so inseparable it was ridiculous. But ever since the beach, John was worried. Worried about Peter and worried about Derek living with Peter and worried about Stiles being over there with Peter.

But he also knows keeping his son away from Derek is the worst thing he could possibly do. Stiles hasn’t been this sad and downtrodden since his mother, when he was too young to completely understand what was happening. John hated seeing his kid like this, especially since he was the one to cause this reaction and attitude.

“I know you miss him, kid. And I’m sorry I won’t let you go see him. Maybe tomorrow.”

Stiles groaned in annoyance the moment the words left his mouth. He was tired of hearing his dad tell him tomorrow over and over again and it not being true. “Dad,” he started, staring at his father like he can’t believe he is still trying to tell him the same line over and over again. “You’ve been telling me tomorrow for about a week now and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet. Why won’t you let me see Derek?”

The look on Stiles’ face is one of pure and utter pleading, pleading with his dad to tell him the truth, to let him see his friend, to let him be happy again.

It breaks John’s heart, knowing he is the cause of his own child’s distress, all because he’s scared.

And he has every right to be scared, coming face to face with the unpredictability of a drunken Peter Hale. The moment Peter lost it at the barbeque, John thought about any moment he could have done something to Stiles when he wasn’t around to interfere. Even if he knows, in the back of his mind, Peter would never do anything to Stiles just as he knows he would never lay a finger on Derek, some irrationally rational part of John’s brain made him wary.

And it’s the same part of his brain that is telling him that he should keep Stiles away from Derek, and by default, Peter, just a tad bit longer, no matter how much he ends up hating him for it. But he doesn’t want Stiles hating him, no matter for how short of a time.

“You can go see him this weekend. I’ll call Peter tomorrow, make sure it’s okay. How’s that sound, kiddo?”

The moment the words left his mouth, Stiles was up and throwing his arms around the older man’s neck, a huge smile splitting his face.

“Thank you dad!” Stiles pulls away quickly, a flutter of motion as he talks about all the things he’s going to tell Derek in the time they’ve been apart and how he can’t wait to see his best friend again after so long.

 

***

 

The moment John stops the car in front of Peter Hale’s house, Stiles is running from the car into Derek’s outstretched arms.

“Derek!” Stiles screams as he runs, crashing into the other boy with such force they topple over and fall into the grass, never letting go of the other in the process. Stiles shoves his face into the space between Derek’s neck and shoulder, nuzzling into the space to comfort himself.

“I’ve missed you.” he whispers, tears threatening to spill from his eyes. Derek, knowing Stiles was about to cry, pulled the other boy closer in his arms, grip tightening around his waist.

“I missed you too.” Derek whispered back, petting at Stiles’ hair so he wouldn’t actually cry. Giving Stiles one last squeeze, Derek pulls away to look him in the eyes. “Wanna play some video games?” he asks.

Stiles instantly perked up at the mention of games, eyes widening and a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Yeah,” He gets to his feet, pulling Derek with him. “Let’s go!”

The two boys run into the house, leaving John and Peter by themselves outside to watch them, both with amused looks on their faces.

Peter turns towards John as he begins to make his way back towards his cruiser.

“Thanks for letting Stiles come over.” He begins. “Derek hasn’t shut up about him all week. HE’s really missed him.”

John looks up at Peter when he begins to talk. “It’s no big thing really. Stiles has been talking my ear off about seeing Derek so I finally caved in. Couldn’t take it anymore.” He runs his hands over his face and through his hair, a chuckle making its way out of his throat. “Those two are gonna be trouble when they get older, as attached as they are now.” Peter laughs and nods his head in agreement. With Stiles’ inability to stay out of trouble and Derek’s need to help Stiles, and sometimes impress him, those two would be getting into heaps of trouble the older they got. Peter could just imagine how familiar he’s going to get with the principal's office at the middle and high school when the time comes.

“With how close they are, I wouldn’t even be surprised if they ended up dating one day.” John continued, causing Peter to jerk his head in his direction and gape. “With the way they are now, it really wouldn’t be a surprise.”

Peter said nothing. Couldn’t say anything, in fact, as he didn’t know how to react to those words. Yeah, Derek loved Stiles. They were kids, it’s what they do. But, he couldn’t love the other boy in that way one day. He couldn’t, Peter couldn’t let him.

“Well, I’m going to go Pete,” John says, bring Peter’s attention back to him. “Tell Stiles to call me when he’s ready to come home.”

Peter nods in confirmation, thoughts still miles away in what-ifs and maybes.

 

***

 

Stiles and Derek are huddled under the duvet on Derek’s bed, flashlight shining bright under the white cover. Stiles laying with his head in Derek’s lap, hands idly running up and down the other boy’s arm. Derek is propped up with his back against the wall, hands running through Stiles’ hair.

“Your hair is really soft.” Derek murmurs. It feels like the feathers of a newborn chick, fluffy and downy soft.

Stiles hummed in acknowledgment to Derek’s words, slowly being lulled into a state of sleep because of Derek’s fingers. “Thanks.”

“Are you going to sleep?”

“Only if you keep doing what you’re doing which you should so keep doing what you’re doing.”

Derek chuckled at his best friend and removed his hands, laughing even more at the noise of protest Stiles gave.

“Why’d you stop?” He’s pouting now, upset.

“Because you were gonna fall asleep. Don’t do that.”

“Ugh, fine.” Stiles pulls himself up from Derek’s lap and faces him. For a while they just sit in silence and look at each other, taking comfort that the other person is, in fact, there after being apart for a week.

Stiles is the first one to break the silence. Grabbing a hold of Derek’s hand, he begins to play with his fingers before talks.

“I’ve missed you this past week. Like, it was the worst week of my life, being away from you for that long.” Stiles looked up at Derek through his lashes before he finished talking. “I mean, obviously we’ve gone days without seeing each other and stuff. Like that time I went camping with my mom and dad, I didn’t see you for like three days. But this. This was worse, somehow. I didn’t like it.”

“Me neither.” Derek said softly. “Worst week of my life. I think Uncle Peter was gonna make me sleep outside if I asked to see you one more time.” Derek snatched his hand back from Stiles, making the other boy look up at him in shock. Holding his pinky up in the air, Derek says, “Promise that won’t happen again? I don’t care what we have to do to make your dad and my uncle cave, let’s make sure we never go that long without seeing each other again. I need my best friend.”

Stiles looks from Derek to his pinky, a smile on his face. He hooks his pinky around Derek’s and squeezes. “Promise. I need my best friend too. You can’t get rid of me that easily.”

With smiles on their faces, both boys lean forward, placing kisses on their hands and shaking their hands up and down, locking in their promise.

Once they release each others fingers, Stiles begins to move, shifting himself until he’s on his back with his head back in Derek’s lap. Grabbing the other boys hand again, he resumes fiddling with his fingers.

“Derek, can you make me a promise?” Stiles voice is softer than it was a few minutes ago, causing Derek to look at him with a bit of worry etched on his face.

“Of course. Anything. What is it?”

“Can you promise me that we’ll always try and stay friends? Even when we get older and you don’t have time for me because you’ll be all popular surrounded by friends, can you promise me you won’t forget me completely?”

“Okay one, Stiles, you need to calm down with your daydreams because none of that is ever going to happen. But, I promise I won’t forget you completely. I won’t forget you at all. You’re stuck with me.”

“Good. I love you, Derek. You’re my best friend.”

“I love you too, Stiles. And you’re mine.”

 

***

 

Derek began to pull away from Stiles’ embrace, moving his arms from around the boy and going to hold his hands in his. Stiles looks at him and waits, knowing that Derek is going to say something and not wanting to rush him in any way.

Derek looks down at their connected hands and then back up to Stiles’ face, directly into his eyes. He takes a deep breath and begins talking, hands gripping the other boy’s tighter and tighter with each word.

“Stiles, I-” Derek takes another deep breath, grounding himself before he continues to talk. “I love you. I love you so, so much.” Stiles’ breath hitched at those words, words he never got tired of hearing, no matter how many times Derek told him. “You are the best thing that has ever happened to me, and you have been for a while. Before I even knew.” He brings Stiles’ hands to his mouth and rest his lips against his knuckles in something resembling a kiss, a soft brush of lips on skin.

“You make my life better. You make me better. You make me realise that I deserve more than a drunk uncle who lives in the backwoods of a small ass town where people are too nosy for their own good. You make me dream of a future with you, of happiness with you, of just having you in my life and being completely okay with nothing more. As long as I have you, that’s all I need.

“I don’t know what I would do without you. You have always been there for me for as long as I can remember and I am so grateful for that. You’re my rock, my anchor when life begins to become too much and I feel like I’m going to lose myself somehow. You are my sun, my stars, and my moon, Stiles.”

Derek drops Stiles’ hands and runs his hands over his face and hair, pulling at the strands slightly, causing them to stick up in random peaks on his head. “I guess, Stiles, what I’m trying to say is that I love you. I am in love with you. You’re my world, the only one I want, the only one I need. And I’d love to be yours for as long as you’d have me.” Derek looks at Stiles, eyes shining with love and a few unshed tears.

Heart beating faster than it has in a very long time, Stiles leans forward and presses his lips to Derek’s with the slightest amount of pressure before pressing their lips together more. Stiles tried to pour everything he wanted to say but couldn’t — he couldn’t possibly find enough words to tell Derek about every ounce of love he felt flow through him whenever he looked him in those ridiculous eyes of his or how natural and normal and right it felt to picture his future and have Derek standing right next to him through every second of it.

He tried to tell Derek how much he loved him, that he was the sole reason his heart was still beating and he was still breathing through each day. He tried to make this kiss an extension of him, of his emotions, of his need to have Derek in his life.

Stiles pulls away from Derek slowly, lips still ghosting over one another as they pant for breath, foreheads pressed together. Eyes closed, he trailed his fingers up Derek’s arms, goosebumps rising in his wake. His hands continued to rise, going from the other boy’s arms, to his shoulders, before making their way to his neck and resting there. He let’s his fingers rest upon the side of Derek’s throat where his pulse is and just feels. He opens his eyes to see Derek watching him, mouth opened in the slightest ‘o’ shape and pupils blown out so completely you can barely see any of his irises, the beautiful hazel colour overtaken by black.

Still staring into his eyes, Stiles moves his hands back down to Derek’s and threads their fingers together, pulling Derek as close to him as he possible could. “I love you, Derek. I am so, ridiculously and utterly in love with you.”



                                                                                              to be continued...