“Deeerrrek,” the voice is singsong, sweet, familiar and Derek rolls his eyes, presses his fingers to his temple.
“Go away,” he growls, tightening his fingers around the steering wheel, knuckles going white as he grips so hard he thinks he might actually break it this time.
“Thing is, Soul Wolf, that you don’t want me too,” Stiles says, sucking thick strawberry milkshake through a too thin straw, his cheeks hollow out and he makes a face, slides his eyes sideways and raises one eyebrow over the big brown taunting eyes at Derek.
He’s right though, sitting there in his goddam red hoodie, milkshake dripping condensation all over himself, and Derek can practically taste the fucking thing, Stiles is right, Derek doesn’t want him gone. No matter what he says he never wanted him gone.
“Yeah I know,” he mutters and Stiles runs his fingers run down the side of his neck, close but not quiet touching. “Stop it.”
“Why?” Stiles pouts, honest to God pouts, sticks out his lower lip as far as it will go and crosses his arms over his chest.
“I’m trying to drive,” Derek grumbles and Stiles lets out that laugh from his stomach, the low throaty one he gets whenever Derek’s trying to be angry.
“You love me,” Stiles mutters, lays his hand on Derek’s thigh and stares straight ahead as Derek feels the warmth seep through his jeans.
“How was everyone?” Stiles is bouncing on Derek’s bed, his t-shirt riding up every time, showing that strip of skin that Derek loves to run his tongue over.
“Fine,” Derek pulls his shirt off, throws it in the corner of the room and crawls onto his bed, tries to ignore the creak of the bed springs as Stiles carries on jumping. “Stiles.”
One last jump and then Derek feels Stiles’s breath against his ear.
“You could just go talk to them yourself,” Derek mutters and Stiles’s long fingers run through his hair.
“You know I can’t.”
“Just leave me alone,” Derek throws his glass at Stiles, its doesn’t hit him, he sidesteps and Derek wonders when his reflexes became so good, Stiles puts his hands on his hips and smiles.
“You don’t want me to.”
“Yes I do,” Derek shouts and Stiles cocks his head to the side.
“No you don’t, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
Stiles died on a Sunday afternoon.
Derek always said he looked good in red, red hoodie, red bitten lips, red blush against his cheek. It was his best colour. But the bright red that gushed from his stomach, through Derek’s fingers didn’t suit him, the red around his lips as he coughed and clutched at Derek’s wrists clashed with the paleness of his skin, and the wide panicked brown of his eyes.
“Shut up,” Derek growled, pressing harder as his hands got sticker, warmer. There’s noise all around him, shouting, he thinks maybe Allison is crying, but all of his senses are zeroed in on Stiles, the heavy breathing, the hitch as he tries to swallow, the rapid beating of his heart as it trip inside his chest, like a bird trying to break free. Stiles’s fingers loosen around his wrist and his eyes flutter. “No…no, Stiles, no.”
“Don’t be…” his voice barely more than a whisper but Derek hears it all, “such a sour wolf.”
“Stiles,” Derek’s voice sounds panicked, desperate even to his own ears and Stiles’s eyes snap open, “don’t you even think about dying on me…you hear?”
He had heard, but he hadn’t listened though and Derek had felt the exact moment Stiles had slipped from him, the tug in his stomach, the almost crippling pain in his chest.
“I love you, you know,” Stiles says and Derek can almost feel his fingers running down the side of his face, and Stiles’s breath against the side of his neck.
“You’re dead,” Derek mutters and Stiles huffs out a laugh, appears in front of him with a grin that Derek misses like an ache in his chest.
“Well now that’s just insensitive…”
“It’s true…you died…” Stiles crouches in front of him, his hands almost touching Derek’s where he’s got them clasped in front of him, Derek can almost feel the heat from them, “you died,” he says again, “under my hands and I…”
“I love you.”
“Remember when you first kissed me?” Derek’s dreaming again, and in dreams he can actually touch Stiles, spread his fingers out between his ribs, push inside his tight body and just stay there, until he wakes up.
“Stop it,” Derek pleads and Stiles reaches up, runs his fingers down the bridge of his nose, over his lips.
“Remember I got hurt, and you felt it was your fault?” he says, arching his back as Derek pushes inside.
“Stiles…please.” Stiles’s fingers press into his pulse.
“Remember I said it wasn’t your fault…me getting hurt was never your fault,” Derek’s stomach twists, he knows where this is going and Stiles whines as Derek pulls out. “It wasn’t your fault Derek.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“Hide and seek,” Derek twists his neck round and looks at Stiles as his face appears under Derek’s car. Derek sighs and twists a bolt with his fingers, slipping on the grease. He curses and Stiles chuckles.
“It never works, I always find you,” Derek mutters and Stiles laughs again, and Derek almost feels the breath of it against his hair.
“This time you wont, I’ve got a really good place,” Stiles disappears from view and Derek hauls himself from under the car, finds him lounging on the hood. There’s a strip of skin between his jeans and his t-shirt, that line of hair just taunting him because Derek knows what it feels like under his fingers. Except he can’t feel it anymore, can’t run his tongue up at and feel the shivers in Stiles’s body, or they noises that Stiles would make.
“Well then I don’t want to play,” Derek takes a step towards the house, brushes his hands against his jeans and looks up to find Stiles with his arms crossed in front of him.
“You have to Derek,” he says, in the voice he used to use whenever Derek got hurt, the irritated, worried voice.
“Stiles,” Stiles raises an eyebrow and grins, the annoying grin he used whenever he was trying to get Derek to do something he didn’t want to. Derek sighs.
“You have to,” Stiles says, holding his hand out, palm almost touching Derek’s chest. Derek closes his eyes because he doesn’t want to see that, doesn’t want to see Stiles hand on him.
“Because you have to lose me,” Stiles cocks his head to the side.
“I don’t want to,” Derek walks around him and slams the door to the house, but not before Stiles’s voice echoes in his ears.
“How is he?” Stiles asks from across the car and Derek doesn’t even jump this time, he’s gotten used to the way Stiles just appears. Derek shakes his head and grips tighter at the steering wheel. “Hey remember when we had sex in the back of this car, and I banged my elbow and you got cramp?”
“How is he?” Derek slams his foot on the break, the car screeches to a halt, gravel from the side of the road pinging up under the car as it slides to a stop and Derek slams his hand against the wheel.
“You really wanna know Stiles? He’s broken, he lost his wife and then his son, he’s fucking broken and…” Derek drops his head to the steering wheel, “…so am I.”
“I’m sorry,” Stiles mutters and Derek looks up to see Stiles looking down at his hands. The veins on the back are stark against his pale skin, and Derek remembers what they felt like running over his skin, fingers tracing the shape of his tattoo.
“He has no one Stiles, how do you think he is?” Derek demands and Stiles raises an eyebrow at him across the car.
“Are we still talking about my dad?”
“We’re not actually talking,” Derek says and turns the ignition, pulls the car back onto the road.
“Touche,” Stiles chuckles and when Derek looks back, he’s gone.
“I cant do this without you,” Stiles cocks his head to the side and Derek runs his fingers down his stomach, watches the twitch in the muscles. They’re lying on the porch, and the light is a strange mixture of dusk and bright sunshine and it makes Stiles look paler than normal.
“Yes you can, you did it without me before…us,” he leans down and runs his tongue up the dip in the centre of Derek’s chest.
“No…you were always there,” Derek says, running the tips of his fingers across the short hair on Stiles’s head.
“I still am.” .
“Why wont you let me breathe?” Derek shouts and throws a glass at the nearest hard surface, Stiles flinches and puts his hands on his hips.
“Because you wont let me go,” he says and dodges the plate that Derek throws at him.
“Just…” Derek growls, his chest tightening as he presses his hand to his face and crumples to the floor, “just leave me alone.”
Stiles is always there, until one day he’s not. And Derek spends most of the time panicking, that this is it, Stiles has gone for good. Even though there’s that tiny part of him that feels like he can breathe a little easier, isn’t drowning in sorrow quiet so much, like his toes can just scrape the bottom.
He doesn’t even appear in Derek’s dreams that night.
He’s not there the next day either but Derek dreams of him as he dozes off with his head on the kitchen table.
Stiles runs his fingers across the back of his neck, crawls into Derek’s lap as Derek sits up.
“Where have you been?”
“Letting you breathe,” Stiles replies, running his thumbs across the dark circles under Derek’s eyes.
“I miss you.”
“I miss you too,” Stiles replies, his mouth hot against Derek’s.
“Is it time for that game of hide and seek?” Stiles’s lips curl at the corners and he runs his hand through Derek’s hair.
He doesn’t come every day anymore, and sometimes Derek will go weeks, months even before Stiles appears, with a grin and a “hey Derek remember when…”.
He misses him still, like an ache in his chest when he thinks about him for too long, but it’s not the can’t breathe without him ache that was there before.
The Sheriff still comes round every now and then, brings burgers and laughs quietly at how Stiles would be bitching about him eating badly. Derek always feels bad when he heaves a sigh of relief when he leaves. It’s usually then Stiles appears and scolds Derek for being mean. “Don’t be such a sour wolf, he’s lonely.”
He knows there wont be anyone else, everyone does, and he’s ok with that. Even Erica and Isaac’s misplaced match making skills doesn’t make him growl at much as he used to. Because he knows now that he lost Stiles, but everyone else lost Stiles as well.
He still dreams about him, he prefers those to the day time visits, because he gets to touch Stiles in his dreams, gets to remember what Stiles’s skin felt like, the noises he made when he came, the tight heat of his body.
And he wakes with the taste of Stiles still in his mouth and takes a minute to savour it, holding on for a few brief moments. Then he gets up, puts one foot in front of the other and just breathes.