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Derek has nightmares. Which isn’t exactly a newsflash. He’s kind of used to it, to be honest. It would freak him out, if he hasn’t had one for more than a week. But these are different. 

He dreams about Stiles. Well, not completely. The Nogitsune. Pale almost grayish face with purple circles under indifferent dark eyes, full lips with the same shade of unhealthy white as his skin chapped. There is nothing left from Stiles' warmth and tireless energy he’s been used to see before the supernatural shitstorm happened in his life. Now, though, now it’s more calm, almost tired. Stretched too thin. 

The thing is, he doesn’t dream about Nogitsune he saw. The one he faced. No. He heard what happened from others, but he wasn’t there, when they finally put Nogitsune down. He never saw how it died. Yet, his nightmares could convince him otherwise. 

The slow almost lazy smile stretching white lips just bit too wide for Stiles’ manner. It shouldn't be as threatening as it is, since Derek can’t see any teeth, but in the end it’s just worse. Like an unrealistic Halloween mask suddenly coming to life.

And then there is a crack. 

It starts above one of it’s eyebrows, travelling down, cutting through corner of it’s eye, down his cheek under slightly upturned nose, disappearing in the corner of it’s mouth. Another one starting right under it’s eye, scaring his cheek like a lightning, but too deep, too unreal for a plain mark.

It’s still smiling. Smirking, really. Mocking. There is no panic others described to Derek. None. Just the taunting smile, like it knows something he doesn’t. Something that’s going to hurt him, too badly for him to heal. 

Derek can feel his fangs itch in his gums, claws almost piercing through his skin, but simultaneously stuck deep inside his body. He can’t turn. He can’t defend himself. Can’t move. Or blink. 

The smile is wider now, there isn’t any resemblance with the mocking smirk like before, anymore, now it almost seems like a pure joy. It terrifies Derek to no end, because he knows this isn’t an end. He can’t remember, but he knows this isn’t the worst part. He feels it in every cell of his frozen body, sweat rolling down his temples, making his hair damp and sticky. It just magnifies the feeling of a trapped animal, petrified with terror and uncertainty. 

More cracks are disfiguring the well-known features in front of him. Cutting deeper and deeper into the pale skin, that seems more and more like a dead stone. 

And then the change comes. It starts in the eyes. Derek can see the indifference fade away, replaced by confusion, pain, fear, plea. Chapped lips move, but there is no sound. Still. The complete silence just makes everything more terrifying. He can’t hear the cracking, nor the screams, he can’t even hear his own heartbeat. He can feel it in his head, throat, veins, tips of his fingers, but he can’t hear it. 

The face in front of him doesn’t belongs to the Nogitsune anymore. The deep cracks seems to bleed now. But it’s just an illusion, the blood doesn’t flow from the wounds. Ruby red tears are rolling down those cheeks, painting them with pure agony for Derek to see. Just like those muted screams and frightened eyes, belonging to a human, not a demon. 

Derek doesn’t want to defend himself anymore, he wants to defend Stiles. Save Stiles. And it’s just as impossible. Roar stuck in his chest, as immobile as Derek’s whole body, is choking him. The bits of Stiles’ face crumbles, falling to the ground. Young man in front of him falls on his knees, screaming without making a sound, pleading for help without a word. Few bloody tears drops on the floor mixing with the dust from the pale face. And Derek screams. 

Screams while watching someone he considers his family, his pack, his, crumble into nothing more than a pile of nothingness. Only dust, ragged clothes, and few drops of blood smelling like Stiles, pain, and suffering. 

Derek can move now. He just doesn’t want to. 

He doesn’t want to. 

‘Come back,’ he thinks. Broken. His hands buried in the dust, clutching it in his fists, loosing it between his fingers. ‘Not you, too.’

He never wakes up gasping. Never terrified. Never sweaty. 

Derek always wakes up crying. 

He clutching his pillow in his fists, wet spot from spilled tears quickly becoming cold, his legs tangled in the sheets, unable to move. And every time it gets worse with passing seconds, sobs tearing from his body almost violently. His throat hurting, nose full, eyes burning. 

He would never say he’s the guy who never cries. His life is too much of a hell for not crying. But he always, always has a good reason. Real reason. He never cries while reading a book, or watching a movie. Those are just fantasies. He has enough reasons to cry in his life, there is no need for imaginary ones. 

This is something that scares him. It’s not a fantasy, and it’s not real. It’s something in between, and it strikes the spot inside him he never even knew he has. He didn’t believe it’s still possible for him to have it. He didn’t want it. But here it is. Occupied by the most unexpected being. Someone whom Derek can’t lose. 

Someone whom he won’t lose. 

Derek has nightmares. And he wakes from them every morning, knowing there is still a chance for him to save Stiles. But nightmares aren’t what terrifies him the most. It’s the possibility that one day there isn’t going to be a nightmare for him to wake up from. That there isn’t going to be another chance.

For neither of them.