Stiles was a bright soul. Derek noticed that the second they met. Through the babbling and the stuttering, Derek saw the light inside of him.
He was drawn to that light.
He fell in love with that light.
So when Derek started noticing that light in Stiles’ eyes dim, he felt a deep seated worry within him grow. He waited a bit, after all they had only recently agreed to start a relationship and he didn’t want to come off as the overprotective boyfriend just yet.
He waited in hope that Stiles would come to him. Open up to him about what was bothering him but he didn’t.
He came over to the loft like he did every Friday but as he walked in, he reeked of pain and longing.
Derek bit his tongue and asked him how his day was, to which Stiles gave an over exaggerated smile and told him about his day, forcing a light tone that made Derek cringe.
“… And then Scott was like--- What? Why are you looking at me like that?”
Derek frowned at Stiles, looking deep into those honey orbs, searching for that warmth that was there just last week.
“Are you okay?” Derek asked.
They were seated on his couch, both facing the other, talking like they always did. Or well, like they promised they would do.
Derek hated talking and Stiles understood that but he also made it clear that relationships were about growing and that in order for them to grown together, they had to do things a little differently.
“Yeah, why?” Stiles tilted his head to the side.
He shifted a bit, and Derek watched as his eyes flickered away ever so often as if he couldn’t hold eye contact for too long and it’s that act that made it clear to Derek that he was lying.
The werewolf reached out, taking Stiles’ cold hand in his. “You just seem… off lately.”
Everything inside him wanted to demand for Stiles to tell him what was wrong. The Alpha in him wanted to find out who or what was making Stiles like this and demolish it so that it could stop stealing that light in his eyes.
But the other part of him worried that it wasn’t a ‘what’ or a ‘who’… but a ‘him’.
Stiles shook his head at Derek. “Nah, it’s just school,” He looked down at their hands and slid over on the couch, closing the small distance between them, “Homework and Lacrosse really drains a person. It’s times like this that I wish I had werewolf stamina.”
Derek’s eyebrow twitch as he forced himself to not react, to let Stiles get away with that lie.
And anxiety within him did not go away.
“Yeah, I know. I’ll be there…” He heard Stiles say as he scaled the wall.
“You really don’t have to—“
“Bye Scott.” Stiles cut him off just as Derek climbed through the window.
The human hardly glanced at him, but he did acknowledge Derek by turning his chair just a bit toward Derek’s general direction as the werewolf made his way Stiles’ bed and lowered himself down onto it.
Stiles’ sad sigh caused a heavy weight to develop in him, pulling him down.
He hated this.
It had been a week since Derek started noting the change in Stiles and it had been two days since he found the courage to bring it up only to be lied to.
“Hey,” Stiles greeted, running a hand over his face and through his hair.
He always did that when he had so many things going on in his life and he didn’t know what to start fixing first. Since they started dating, Derek found out just how much Stiles had on his shoulders, how much weight he carried.
Derek could see it in his eyes. No matter how bright they sparkled and how light his voice was, there was a darkness in them, a hyper-vigilant glint that made him look unease.
Derek only got a true glimpse of just how dark and how burdened with worry he was when they kissed for the first time and Stiles pulled away and practically begged him to think the prospect of them through before he started something he wasn’t ready for.
“I’m sure, Stiles.” He had whispered.
And he was.
For the first time in a long time he was sure of something in his life and the idea that what they had might be in jeopardy scared the shit out of him.
“So! To what do I owe the pleasure of this surprising visit?” Stiles exclaimed, a smile forming on his lips and Derek almost believed it.
He looked happy, he smelt happy but… the smell was blended in with something else…
Derek shrugged. “I just wanted to see you.”
And check up on you.
Stiles stood up from his chair and closed the distance between them. Derek shifted back in the bed and soon Stiles lowered himself on the bed next to Derek. He reached out and took his hand, lacing their fingers together before placing them on his lap.
“Derek…” Stiles said in his name in that ‘don’t bullshit me’ tone. “What are you doing here?”
Derek tilted his head and narrowed his eyes at Stiles. He saw the sadness lurking in them and he found himself asking once again, “Are you okay?”
Stiles paused for a second before he rolls his eyes. “You came because you’re worried about me?” He asked in teasing tone.
“No--” Derek sighed and moved to place his hand on Stiles’ ribs, fully intended to pull him closer when Stiles winced and hissed.
Derek froze, his eyes widening. “Stiles? Shit, are you hurt?”
He moved then, grabbing the hem of Stiles shirt and tucked it up to see his right side bandaged. He sucked in a breath at the sight of the blue/purple coloring of Stiles skin and before he knew it, his hand was over the wound and black veins starting trailing up his arm as he took the pain.
“Shit. Derek. Stop.”
But he didn’t and soon hands grabbed his wrist and his touch was yanked away. Derek’s eyes snapped up but he knew they were no longer his natural green eyes. However, Stiles didn’t budge an inch at the Alpha’s stare and instead tightened his grip around Derek’s wrist.
“I’m fine. I don’t need you to take my pain.”
“Fine- You’re bruised Stiles!” He shouted, and he silently thanked God that the Sheriff was working late. “When and how did this happen?”
“Yesterday.” Stiles answered immediately. He ducked his head just bit and Derek noted how he never once broke eye contact. “Okay, I had after school practice and I got tackled.”
His heart blipped.
Derek glared at him. “You’re lying.”
Stiles huffed, letting go of Derek’s wrist before he stood up. “We agreed never to do that.”
He remained where he was, watching as Stiles looked down at him. His shoulders defensive and tensed. His heart was pounding against his chest and his hands are twitching like he wanted move them but he also didn’t.
Finally, having enough of the worry that had build up in him over the last week, Derek dropped his glare. “Stiles… Just tell me what’s going on…”
The brunette stared at him, moving his head in ‘come on, Derek’ kinda way like he always did when he didn’t want to open up about something serious.
“Derek, there is nothing—“
“Stiles. Don’t lie to me.”
They stare at each other for a beat, waiting and hoping that the other would back down. Derek fists Stiles’ bed sheets, holding his ground. He flashed back to their kisses, to the way Stiles’ lips moved with his and the lack of… connection he felt, like there was something on his mind, and to the way Stiles almost never seemed to be home when he usual should have been after school.
“Is there…” Derek’s voice cracked just a bit. “Was it something I did?”
Honey brown eyes widened. “What? No! God no!”
Except what else could it be?
If it wasn’t him then what was it?
School was fine. Derek knew how Stiles got when he was stressed about school and this wasn’t it. He knew how Stiles got when he worried about his father which was 99% of the day and this wasn’t it…
The bed dipped beside him and warm hands cupped his face, forcing him to stare into panicked eyes.
“No, okay. Whatever the hell you were just thinking dismiss that shit, all right? This--- It’s not because of you.”
“Then what is it, Stiles?” He tugged his face out of Stiles’ grip. “Look, I know we haven’t been together all that long but give me some credit. I’ve noticed the way you have been withdrawn with me. The way you are almost never home when you should be, like you’ve always been. For the last week you have been arriving home hours after school ended. And yes, I checked because I came here to surprise you only to find you weren’t—“
“Whoa!” Stiles cut him off, shaking his head. “Jesus, I didn’t think you’d—“ He stopped and shook his head mutely.
Derek watched as Stiles just continued to shake his head.
Then he stopped, and stared down for a second.
A sour scent came off him, it was filled with pain and longing and Derek forced the growl that was building up in his chest down.
He waited, letting Stiles find his baring.
“It has nothing to do with you.”
Disappointment washed over him and Derek looked away.
Stiles reached, taking his hand gingerly as if was scared Derek would pull away.
“I will tell you, I promise.”
Derek said nothing.
“Scott.” Derek called out.
The Beta who was slowly and surely staring to trust Derek looked over to him.
He lay panting on the ground with Isaac, Erica and Boyd. They had been training a lot more than usual, something Derek had worked on with all of them to try and find a way to better their werewolf abilities in a safe way.
He had gotten his ass handed to him by Stiles when the human found out just what Derek called ‘training’ and since then, after seeing the damage he could do if he didn’t become the leader he now was, he tried to focus on not just on bettering the werewolves he turned but also bettering the pack bond he forged with them.
“Yeah?” Scott said, moving to lay his head side way on the ground to look at Derek.
Derek glared at him and with a heavy, resigned sigh, Scott pushed himself up off the ground and walked over to his Alpha. Sweat and dirt covered his face, his mop of hair was dusted white and Derek saw a few tiny pebbled wedged in his strands.
“You know I figured after you and Stiles got together, you’d quiet glaring at people as a form of communication.”
Derek rolls his eyes. “Yeah, Stiles made the same mistake.”
Scott huffed out a laugh and reached down to the many plastic bottles that littered the ground, eagerly opening it, gulping it down and finishing it off with three swallows.
“So what’s up?” He asked once he was done.
Derek stared at the other who seemed lost in their own world before he turned to Scott, crossing his arms over his chest. “I need to ask you something.”
“It’s about Stiles.”
And just like he’d expected, his boyfriend’s best friend tensed up instantly and his eyes snapped up to Derek’s.
He opened his mouth, no doubt to spew some bullshit when Derek shook his head, stopping him.
“I know you know what is going on with him.” And that hurt. “And I don’t expect you to tell me, but I need to know if there is something wrong with him? If there was something bothering him.”
Scott turned the empty bottle over and over in his hands. “That… I can’t tell you what’s going on Derek. He asked me not to.”
Pain spiked in his heart and he felt the tug on his pack bond and the other werewolves turned their attention on him and Scott.
Subconsciously, Derek tightened his arms over his chest and stood a little straighter.
“Scott-- is he-- are we okay?” He forced out.
A sympathetic expression washed over Scott and the Beta reached up and patted his arm in reassurance. “Dude, you guys are fine, I promise you that. Stiles just found---“ He stopped, his heart beat spiking for a second.
Scott paused for a second, lulling over his words. “He found something and it’s up to him when he wants to tell you but I can guarantee you, it’s got nothing to do with your relationship, in that way.”
“In what way?” Derek asked, taking a step forward but Scott stood his ground like he always did with Derek.
Like a true Second-In-Command.
“I can’t tell you that, Derek. Stiles will tell you in his own time so just give him that.”
He hadn’t seen or spoken to Stiles for three days.
He tried calling him but his phone just went to voicemail.
He went by the Stilinski residence and when he stood in front of the house for too long, Sheriff Stilinski came out and told him Stiles wasn’t home.
He looked worried and Derek knew that the Sheriff, too, knew what was going on.
On a cold slightly cloudy morning, Derek woke up to his cell ringing. He recognized the ring tone instantly and jumped up to the answer the phone.
A heavy sigh was heard from the other side and dread settled in. “Hey, Sourwolf.”
His voice sounded croaky, like he had been crying and Derek found himself jumping up from his bed, walking to his small closet that housed all his clothes and started pulling clothing items out.
“Stiles, where are you?” He asked, holding the phone between his ear and shoulder as he put on some jeans.
“At the St. James Graveyard.”
His thoughts immediately went to Claudia Stilinski, to the day she passed but then Derek remember the date and it wasn’t today.
However, just because it wasn’t the day she left doesn’t mean Stiles didn’t miss her, but why was he by St. James?
She wasn’t buried there… So who was?
“Listen, I know we’ve been a little strained but can you come here?”
Derek was up and gathering his shirt and jacket. “Yes. I’ll be there soon.”
He found him kneeling on the ground.
There was a light drizzle, dropping tiny icy droplets on anyone outside.
Derek smelt the pain, he felt the cracked heart beating as if it were his own. His body shiver and something twisted within the closer he got to Stiles.
The sun was out, it’s light breaking through the spars amount of trees surrounding them, but it’s rays had no impact on the land below. It was chilly and the air was cloaked with the despair wafting off Stiles.
Derek said nothing as he reached Stiles’ side. The younger man didn’t move, nor did he acknowledge him. His head remained bowed, his shoulder were slumped and his figure was hunched over the stretch of recently dug up ground.
The dark soil was raised and shaped into a tomb like shape and on it laid a red and silver studded collar.
Derek smelt the pungent, bitter and foul scent of death coming from the grave.
“His name’s Riot.” A croaky voice cut through the sorrowed silence.
Derek lowered himself beside his boyfriend, wrapping an arm around his shoulder.
Stiles sniffed, his tear filled eyes locked on the grave. “I—I wanted to tell you about him but, you always get attached to dogs and I didn’t want to introduce you to him and then have him ripped away, you know?”
A thick lump formed in his throat at the quivering voice. His hand moved to the nape of Stiles’ neck, his finger stroking his hairline, wishing so badly that he could take Stiles’ pain away.
Glimmering honey eyes met his. Two long tears broke free and trailed down flushed cheeks. “He uh, he was a fighting dog. Dad was working on this case were they used a dog to kill this guy and Riot was there. Scott took him to Deaton for the time being. We—I was there and this… beautiful dog lit up when he saw me. I didn’t know at the time, so I went over to him and he just started licking at him. He was a happy dog, Derek and they…” He broke off, a sob tearing through his entire body. “His master used him to kill someone. He was just being a good dog. He was just trying to please his master because he loved him.”
His voice broke off then and there. A broken, grieve stricken cry rocked Stiles’ body. Fingers tangled through Stiles’ hair and Derek turned him over, pulling him in, pressing his wet face into the crook of his neck. His heart cracked with every shake of Stiles’ body, his arm tightening, his face pressed against Stiles’ forehead as he held the crying man.
“He was a good dog.”
“I know… I know, Stiles. I believe you.” Derek reassured him, the palm of his hand circling Stiles back. “And I know that you loved him. He was loved Stiles… by you.”
Stiles only turned around completely, his arms moving to wrap around Derek, hands clutching onto his jacket for dear life. He made no sound after that but the burning of freshly spilled tear, ripped at Derek soul. He held onto Stiles, praying that his presence was enough, and that his being here was helping.
Droplets rained down on them, slowly soaking their clothes but neither one moved. Stiles’ silent sobs were reduced to odd sniffs. Derek had sunk down, seating himself on the ground along with Stiles as the younger man shifted, and faced the grave he had made for Riot.
“He loved unconditionally.” Stiles said and Derek knew he was no longer speaking him. “He saw the good in people and he believed in people and he, that guy, just took that love, he used something so pure and twisted it to his own person, sick use. And Riot payed for that.”
Derek reached up to cup the side of Stiles’ flushed, wet face. His brushed his thumb slowly, wiping away the lone hot tear that trailed down.
“He didn’t deserve it.” Stiles said, stretching out shaking fingers to press against the grave. “He didn’t.”
Derek drove Stiles home two hours later. As they entered the Stilinski house, the sheriff took one look at them, saw the red rimmed eyes of his son and walked over to draw him into a hug that Stiles sunk into. Derek made no move to walk away or to leave.
Blue eyes met his and an understanding passed between the two.
“Get some rest, son.” John said, moving back to cup Stiles’ face in ginger hands. He leaned forward, pressed a soft kiss against his son’s forehead and let him go, allowing Derek to usher Stiles up the stairs to his room.
He waited as Stiles showered, changing into a pair of clean jeans and a shirt that he had no inclination has to how Stiles got. He waited, watching with kind, open green eyes as the pale faced man walked into his room, dropping down to the mattress without a word.
Derek followed him, laying down on his back and opened his arms, feeling the instant weight fall on him, the firm pressure of the head that burrowed into the side of his neck and the tight wrap of an arm around his waist.
“Sleep.” Derek turned to press a kiss against a heated forehead. “I’ll be here when you wake up.”
Stiles huffed, his fingers scratching his sides lightly before his heartbeat evened out, its pounding pace slowing into a peaceful rhythm, something Derek dearly hoped Stiles felt.
Stiles was a bright soul and like any bright light, it had the power to illuminate another’s and dim at the loss of another soul.
He knew Riot was loved, he knew that somewhere during that darkened, uncertain time of the dog’s life, he had been happy because Stiles had that power.
He took the darkest of hearts into the palms of his youthful hands and held on until that heart beat in time with his, until that heart knew what love, true unconditional love, meant.