They can’t tell me who to be
Cause I’m not what they see
And the world is still sleepin’
While I keep on dreamin’ or me
And their words are just whispers
And lies that I’ll never believe
(John Rzeznik – I'm Still Here)
It’s over, he thinks.
Derek is gathering up his belongings from the apartment, hands frantic and trembling; his duffel bag is almost full. He keeps his head bowed and Stiles can’t see his eyes, but his eyebrows are angry and frowned. (Derek’s eyebrows are always more expressive than him).
Stiles’s fists are clenched, firmly pressed against his hips, to prevent himself from reaching out and touching his arm and pulling Derek toward him… so he could sense one last time his heat, his scent. He’d ended up asking him to stay. And he can’t. Not again.
Stiles looks away when Derek walks past him on his way out. They don’t say a word, only silence precedes the slamming of the door.
Left alone, Stiles can finally relax his fingers.
A week passes. At one point, he can no longer ignore it: his apartment seems so wrong.
The furniture is crooked, the walls are too white and bare, the rooms are always cold.
For a moment, he thinks that some kind of evil creature sneaked in the shadows of the rooms, between icy silences and dusty corners.
Then he understands: there is only one toothbrush in the bathrooms; the hangers on the right side of the cabinet are empty; low free yogurt lies expired on his refrigerator shelf.
It's all wrong in his apartment, and his heart is upside down.
He opens the newspaper, leafs through the newspaper, closes the newspaper. He clings on to his routine, now.
His friends are worried.
You are strange, they say. So sad.
Are you ill?, they ask him.
Stiles doesn’t answer their question. They don’t know what happened, of course, how could they know? He was Derek’s secret and he couldn’t tell anybody. His friends thinks Derek is only a old friend, from Beacon Hill. The son of a great Alpha. The heir of a big family. Not event Scott, who is in Derek’s pack, knows about them.
Stiles had to push away his friends – away from his love life, away from his apartment, where Derek spent half his time (the other half in his official apartment… A fashionably loft that Stiles detests).
He pushed them away, and now he cannot even cry and mourn in their arms.
On the newspaper, oh, what luck!, here it is, Derek’s photo in black and white on the thin paper.
It’s not unusual. He is famous, after all. (And he has duties, and moral values, and a public image to maintain. Stiles knows all about that).
It’s not unusual, but it’s a burning pain, nevertheless.
Derek’s eyes are cold, staring over the camera lens. He look serious and blunt.
The contrast between his attitude and the smiling beautiful girl at his arm is sharp.
Stiles touches with his fingertips his face, the profile of his jaw, the angry line of his shoulders. The paper is coarse and cold under his skin.
She could be his fiancée, they write.
Maybe Derek Hale is ready to settle down, they write.
Stiles knew it would not last, but he had hoped. A useless wish.
He clung to their life together, he lost sight of reality. Within the walls of their love, the real world seemed so far, it faded between Derek’s arm.
Now, he think he should have savored every moment together; but he was drunk with happiness.
He doesn’t buy the newspaper anymore.
He doesn’t read Derek’s messages.
He ignores his calls.
I can’t say to the world that I’m gay, he said.
But Stiles is a dreamer. It’s the 2016! Intelligent people don’t care!, he replied.
I’m a werewolf, I’m a Hale, I have to marry, I have to build a family, he said.
But Stiles is a dreamer. What bullshit! Your family want you happy, you could marry a man, we could adopt, and homosexuality is absolutely natural, it’s common even among animals, he replied.
And, of course, Derek asked, are you saying I’m an animal
And of course Stiles answered no, you’re not, you missed the point, as always, and I can’t do this anymore, I can’t live like this. Not anymore.
It’s over, they said.
A month passes.
When Stiles returns home from work, Derek is waiting for him at the front door.
Derek turns his palms toward him, carrying a handful of excuses that Stiles doesn’t want to hear. Then he exposes his neck like a submissive wolf.
No apology is spoken.
His eyes are alert, an evident contrast with his pale skin, and the bags under his eyes.
He does not ask forgiveness.
Because you are an arrogant prick, Stiles says.
I’m offering myself, Derek says.
Because you know I can’t you refuse, I love you too much, Stiles replies. You are unbearable.
You are unbearable, too, Derek says.
Derek enters in the apartment.
And suddenly all is right, again.
Stiles reaches out and touches his arm and pulls Derek toward him
This time you didn’t come after me, Derek whispers.
He didn’t, this time. He forced himself not to do it.
I waited for you, Derek whispers.
This is the last time. If you go, this time, you can’t return. Stiles is sure, and says it to Derek.
Derek closes his eyes. Kisses his neck. Inhale his scent. I know that, he admits.
But Stiles knows that, too. This will be their last chance and he is going to remember every moment of this last time. It’s going to end, sooner or later, and this time he’s going to be as ready as possible.
He is thinking, and collecting memories (Derek’s scent, the warmth of his body, his private smile, the way his leg trembles when Stiles touches his ribs), when Derek whispers again, his lips against Stiles’s hair: I will marry you. We will be a family. I took a decision. I’m not going to leave you again, I don’t want you to leave me again, I missed you so much, so much, I was so angry with myself, I couldn’t breath.
Stiles’s eyes are huge and he shakes his head. He stopped hoping. Because his apartment was wrong and he didn’t believe it would be right again.
I’m going to live with you, Stiles, because I want to live with you, I want you, I want to live my life, he repeats.
He repeats that with Stiles’s hand on his chest.
It’s true. Please, believe me, he asks.
Finally, Stiles kisses him and stops him, because maybe he can hope, because Derek is steadfast and doesn’t make empty promises.
Stiles’s world is right again. Their hearts are steady.
Everything is gonna fine.