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Like a Child

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It wasn’t until nearly four in the morning that Stiles was finally able to slide into bed, burrow in his covers, and wish for sleep to come. Not that it would considering the day’s events.

He strongly suspected that Matt was dead, although he wasn’t sure who was responsible. Scott hadn’t said much before they had parted ways, though he did mention that his mom and possibly Stiles’ dad knew about supernatural creatures. Stiles was there. He saw Melissa McCall’s face when she looked upon what her son had become. He would never tell Scott what he saw once Scott had looked away.

Stiles’ dad on the other hand probably had a concussion. He had refused to go to the hospital so Melissa had given him a very brief glance over before she dragged Scott home to explain the chaos. She had concluded that he did not appear concussed, which is the only reason Stiles’ had allowed him to go to sleep. It had taken forty-five minutes and a glass of scotch to put his dad’s curiosity to rest so that he could get some.

Stiles wasn’t sure exactly what had happened. He knew the Argents were probably involved. He knew that Allison was upset at Scott but he wasn’t sure why. He was worried about Lydia, because, well, he was always kind of worried about her. He worried about whether Derek had made it to safety and whether his pack of new wolves would be safe from the Argents’ wrath.

He worried until his head spun, his neck ached, and his throat ran dry. Darkness crept around his room, the only light emanating from the full moon; a stark reminder of Stiles’ unbelievably unreal life. The moon brought no comfort; instead fear crawled its way up his spine, forcing him to pull the covers over his head as he had done as a child, praying that the layers of cotton would protect him from the night and its monsters.

He wanted to wake up to a new world, or at least the old one he knew so well. Weird Stiles Stilinski and his asthmatic best friend struggling to find acceptance. Motherless Stiles Stilinski who must be a rat because his dad’s the sheriff. Creepy Stiles Stilinski always mooning over Lydia Martin who he had to know was way out of his league.

He would give anything for that to be his life again.

Anything.

He couldn’t even escape into dreams, or at least nightmares. He wasn’t allowed even that courtesy.

A branch snapped outside his window, startling him into lowering the covers enough to peer into the night. He listened to every creak his old house gave; made sure he heard no more movement than his father’s restless slumber.

There was nothing.

At least, there was nothing until he turned his face away from the window, settling his gaze on hi very occupied desk chair.

“Don’t scream.”

He recognized Sour Wolf’s dulcet tones and so refrained from doing just that; his scream died in his throat.

Derek looked like he been through the ringer though his cuts and scrapes were healing before Stiles’ eyes. His leather jacket had a tear on the left sleeve and Stiles really didn’t want to know what it was from. He looked battle-worn, exhausted. He had to ask.

“You okay?”

Derek gazed at him with empty eyes, perhaps gauging whether there was any real empathy in Stiles’ question. He his eyes followed Stiles has he sat up in bed, tucking the comforter around him, settling back on his pillow.

“I’ll live.”

Stiles eyed him wearily. “I’m not gonna ask what happened because frankly, right now, I don’t give a damn. My dad could have died tonight. But he didn’t, and I didn’t so I don’t care about anything else in the world right now.” His tone made Derek flinch, almost too quick to notice but Stiles had grown used to picking up on Derek’s subtle shifts in mood and facial expression.

“All right. I won’t tell you anything.” So, yeah, okay there was probably some anger there that Stiles didn’t wanna listen to the big bad Alpha whine about his problems (or, you know, simply fill Stiles in on the latest threat to Beacon Hills’ way of life) but Stiles was determined not to care. All the wee beasties would still be out there tomorrow. For now he didn’t wanna know.

Derek shifted in his seat and Stiles heard a bone snap back in place. The sound echoed in the silent room and Stiles cringed. Derek, while gasping for some air, actually looked relieved. He let out a long sigh and allowed his body to fall lax, slouching in the chair, his legs stretched out before him.

“So aside from telling me anything else that’s going on, what do you want, Derek?”

Green eyes stared at him, vivid in the dark. If Stiles wasn’t positive that Derek’s eyes only turned red when he was about to wolf out he would have been worried. But it seemed the moon only wanted to remind Stiles that the man in front of him had killer green eyes. Really, really pretty green eyes.

No. Not pretty.

Nice.

Nice green eyes.

It was a moment before Derek answered and he seemed to be choosing his words with care. “Due to circumstances involving…the things you don’t want me to tell you about I can’t go back to the train house right now. Some of the…things might lead to Erica, Boyd, and Isaac getting hurt and I don’t want that to happen.” There was a shift in him that Stiles barely picked up on, but a shift nonetheless that suggested Derek was serious in his concern for his newly made wolves.

“So…what? You want Scott to go babysit or something?” He was only half serious but Derek’s eyes blazed red for a single second before settling back to that very… nice green.

“No.” His hands gripped the desk chair arms so tight that his knuckles were paling. “I just…I need somewhere to crash tonight.” He wouldn’t meet Stiles’ eyes. They darted all over his room but never once settled on Stiles’ face.

The big bad Alpha needed help from a human. A human he didn’t like all that much and continually shoved into walls and other very hard, vertical surfaces…like walls. He should treasure this moment, remember it to use it later for leverage. Alpha Hale running away from, well, the things he was running away from that Stiles didn’t wanna know about.

It was almost sweet, though. It reminded Stiles of before Derek became the alpha and he actually seemed like he had the possibility to be a nice guy. Back when he saved Scott and Stiles instead of pushing them into even more scary and dangerous situations. Back in the station when he saved Stiles from new wolf Isaac’s rage.

Those moments, when Derek showed a side that probably hadn’t revealed since before the fire, those were the moments that kept Stiles coming back to help, to protect, to save a dead weight from drowning in a high school swimming pool.

In the moon’s light Derek looked younger, more vulnerable; like a child.

Comments on Derek’s alpha skills could wait until another day. Remarks about the dangers of the supernatural infecting his life could wait until another day. Commentaries about Derek’s rudeness in having paralyzed Stiles on top of him at the station could wait until another day (no but seriously, like it was his fault he landed on top of Derek and Matt decided they were a cute couple). Statements about Derek’s continuing bad influence on Scott’s life (or at least what Stiles considered a bad influence) could wait until another day.

Tonight, well…tonight Stiles could take care of him.

“There’s another blanket and pillow in my closet.” Derek’s eyes widened in surprise but he rose and retrieved the linens, murmuring “I’ll be gone before your dad wakes up.” Stiles watched him remove his jacket and shoes before spreading the blanket on the floor near the desk and settling himself on top.

Stiles lay back down, closing his eyes in another hopeful attempt for some sleep. But he caught Derek’s whispered words.

“Thank you.”