Rain had come to Beacon Hills.
Flooding the soil, and spilling out into the streets.
Brought with the rain, is a possibility of new life...
But it fails to wash away the smell of loss...
The stench of death.
“Mermaids?...and for that matter sea monsters of any kind?”
“Mermaids, yes...though in more' the traditional sense. That is flesh eating monsters, not half naked teenage girls.”
“And sea monsters?”
“Great!, guess I’m never going swimming again...”
“Stiles I’ve seen you swim, it's no great loss to the world...”
“'Kept your sour ass from drowning didn't I?” Stiles fell silent for a moment, Derek could practically hear him building his next argument, but left the boy to ruminate under his silent appraisal.”What about ghosts?”
“Ghosts?” Derek tested the word for a second, somewhat incredulous and just a little caught off guard. It had somehow become the default between the two of them; himself and Stiles. When Stiles was curious or his ADHD was being particularly invasive, he would begin to incessantly badger Derek for information about the supernatural. This, however, was new. Stiles had always been adamant that dead was dead, Lydia may have been a banshee, but they were harbingers; once the deed was done, that was that...right?
“There... has never been anything to suggest they do...” Derek spoke carefully, measuring his tone. In all the time he had known Stiles the boy had never looked so frail. Once golden eyes begat promises of life filled with loyalty and trust, had begun to dull under the pressure of fallen allies and a world no one could ever fully comprehend.
Stiles inhaled slowly, refusing to meet Derek's eye.
“You'd think that...that between Banshees, and Dark druids ripping peoples souls out to feed on, and ...” Stiles stopped for a moment to lower his tone, not for fear of offending Derek, but maybe because even after everything he'd seen he still couldn't believe it. “and even Peter violating an innocent girl to claw his way back from the precipice of death itself, it's still just nothing. Just a whole lot of rotting.”
Wiping his hands down his face, Stiles stood, making his way to the bay window on the other side of Derek’s loft. The rain came heavy now drowning out the world under a consistent pitter-patter of water on glass.
“Scott and Lydia won't speak to me.”
Derek followed the younger man’s path along his hard wooded floor, stopping to make a mental note to speak with both Scott and Lydia after this. Stiles stood tall, illuminated by the city lights outside the window. Every muscle held firm against an internal conflict, inching its way to the surface with every second.
“The seccond you start to blame yourself for the deaths around you is the moment you lose yourself forever...”
“Isn't it a little late for that Derek?” Cutting across his sentence, Stiles turned to look at Derek in the exact moment a bolt of lightning flashed against the nights sky. In that moment, harsh and sudden, Derek saw it, the distinctive gauntness that had marred Stiles' face for weeks; Pale skin and bruises that marked the damage of the Nogitsune.
But just like that it was gone. The lightning broke and surrounded in darkness again Derek was left with the reality that was Stiles. The fox was gone. Stiles was the human left to clean up the rubble and mourn the dead.
“If I am not to blame then who is? It was me that was too weak….too human to close my mind! It was me, who for weeks terrorised my friends and played some ridiculous game that nearly had them all killed! It was me who drove a sword through the chest of one of my best friends!” Stiles was screaming now. Shaking under the strain of his ruined composure.
Derek was on him in a moment, strong arms around a clammy body, holding him until the shaking and the tears were subsided.
They were silent for a time together. Derek running careful circles in the younger man's back in an effort to subside the choked sobs that shook Stiles to his core.
“I'm not going to pretend the guilt goes away Stiles...but...it will find its place. You will learn from it and you will grow, and if you're lucky….maybe this experience will be worth something….” Holding Stiles ever tighter Derek lifted his head to watch the storm outside. “And like this storm it will one day subside. But until then, you can stay here where you're safe...with me.”