There's a spot where the dust had stopped gathering. A few well tread footprints lead from the door, to the fridge, to this little circular patch in front of the big windows that overlook the street.
So no, the dust hadn't stopped gathering in that particular patch.
Someone, Stiles, a guess based on scent history, has been coming in and sitting there. Removing any new dust that might settle.
Derek shrugs and loads the fresh groceries into the fridge and then sets about cleaning the loft thoroughly.
He'll call the pack tomorrow and tell them he's back and that they're welcome to come over so he can catch up on all the new stuff going on.
He's humming to himself while he cleans. He bought Stiles’ favorite soda. Scott's weakness, homemade salsa and chips from the little Mexican shop downtown. A few of those vitamin waters he always sees Lydia carrying around. Ticking off the items in his head he's not really paying attention to the scents he's stirring up out of the dust.
Stiles’ scent is heavy and recent, the only real scent other than musty stale air that lingers in the loft.
Finally the latent chemosignals start to register.
A hint of arousal.
What had Stiles been coming to the loft for anyway?
He shakes the thoughts off realizing he's hungry. He rummages through the cabinets for a bowl. Rinsing it quickly he then fills it with rice cereal and perches on the countertop to eat before he finishes cleaning.
He doesn't know when it became a habit.
Things like that escape his notice a lot. He blames the Adderall and his lack of respect for proper dosage.
It started on a Tuesday. He does remember that.
That Tuesday when he was so upset and so frustrated with Scott's black and white views. This is good. This is bad.
Scotty-boy needed to learn about shades of gray.
He'd drove to Derek's loft to rant, because, Derek knew first hand how sometimes you make the gray decision because white nor black will fit the situation.
Empty space. Vacant air. A thin coat of dust.
Derek was gone.
The loft was empty and his footfalls echoed through the space. He moved to the fridge anyway hoping that Derek had left a few drinks at least.
He moved almost like a robot to the worn path in the flooring where Derek liked to pace when they were hashing out a new situation.
He sat down right there in front of the windows and began to talk.
The next time was a Monday, the next a Saturday, the next another Tuesday, and he just kept going there.
Sometimes he would cry. Sometimes he would scream. There were other times that he would just talk about whatever until his voice got rough and scratchy.
If Scott could smell the loft’s dust that sometimes clung to his clothes, he never mentioned it.
Today it was a Sunday.
Pulling open the loft door he starts talking, “Who knew right?”
He moved to the fridge and pulled out a vanilla coke, “Who knew butterflies were a sign that the time stream has been messed with and they're like these evil little winged prophecies that life is about to go even more insane than normal. Right?! I mean, who knew?”
He's halfway to his spot on the floor, that little space of dustless wood that he'd claimed when he realizes he got a response midway through his rant.
He lowers the soda and slowly turns back towards the kitchen.
“HOLY GOD!” he screams at the sight of Derek perched on the kitchen counter eating cereal.
“Go on, I wanna hear the rest of why butterflies are evil.” Derek smirks.
The smirk doesn't last when he starts rubbing his eyes and he has to inhale sharply to keep the sob from coming out.
“You're back.” It's small and quiet and so unlike himself that he really starts crying.
Which prompts Derek to push off the counter and toss his bowl in the sink. He makes his way to where Stiles is standing just silently crying.
It's not real until Derek takes those last few steps to him and wraps his arms around him. Pulling him into his broad chest and making small shhhh noises.
“I didn't think anyone would actually miss me.” Derek murmurs into his hair.
“Idiot.” He whispers, “I miss you when you just leave the room.”
No one talks about how Stiles went to the loft almost every day of the week leading up to Derek's return.
No one talks about how Stiles continues going to the loft every day after Derek returned.
Liam is just glad he can stop taking benadryl when Stiles comes around because there isn't dust clinging to his clothes anymore.