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Run For Your Life, My Love.

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Run. Hide. Run and hide.

The first thing that his mother taught him as a child was to run when he felt threatened or in danger. Derek’s legs carry him as far away as they can in the rain. Panicked and exhausted from running, he darts into the nearest building he can find.

Immediately, he is immersed by the smell of coffee and pastries, it reminds him of Saturday mornings at his grandmother’s house. He stands there in the entryway for a moment, trying to figure out what to do. It takes him a second to register that someone is talking to him.

“What?” he looks up and he is met with the most gorgeous pair of brown eyes that he has ever seen. They remind him of the color of honey. A boy who can’t be any older than him stands behind the front counter, looking at him curiously.

“I said, hi, how can I help you?”

Derek looks around in a chaotic way.

“Are you okay?” the boy says.

“I uh- I n-need…” Derek scrambles to find his words. “Someone’s a-after me, I-.”

“Do you need somewhere to hide?”

Derek nods frantically. Within seconds, the boy is leading him behind the counter, and telling him to crouch. He no more gets down to the floor, when the door opens. Derek tries to make himself as small as possible, pressing himself against the inner wall.  

“Hi, how can I help you?” the boy says from above him.

“I’m looking for someone.” A woman’s voice says, his heartbeat sky rockets.

“Ma’am a lot of people have come in here today. Can you describe them to me? Maybe a picture? A mugshot works too.” the boy says sarcastically.

“Look kid I don’t have time for any of your crap right now, I have a runaway teenager to find. Is there a manger I could speak with?” Derek can hear how irritated she is just by her tone.

“Well, my mom is the manager, but she isn’t here right now. So you’re stuck with me for the time being. Unless of course you’d like to file a missing person’s report, then you can make a call to my father, the Sheriff.” The words roll off of the boy’s tongue like he’s a trained professional. Everything thing he is saying buying him more time, Derek can’t help but be amazed.

“No,” the woman huffs. “That won’t be necessary.”

Derek listens to the front door opens and close, then watches the boy walk over and lock the door behind the woman. The next thing he knows; the boy is holding a towel out to him. Derek must make a confused face because the boy says:

“Dude, you’re dripping water all over my mom’s floor.”

Derek takes the towel and starts to dry himself off as best he can.

“I’m Stiles by the way.” The boy- Stiles says, holding his hand out.

“I’m Derek.” He replies softly.

“Do you mind me asking who that was? I totally understand if you don’t want to tell me, but some insight to what just happened would be nice.”

“Her name is Kate, she’s my uncle’s girlfriend.” He says quietly, playing with his hands.

“She’s not very nice to you, is she?” Derek shakes his head. “Well, you hungry?”

*

They pull up to the house in Stiles’ beat up jeep. He kills the engine, then Stiles leads him inside, and shows him where to take off his shoes. He notices a jacket for the Sheriff’s Department lying on the side table by the door.

“Is your dad really the Sheriff?”

“Yeah, he is. What, did you think I was lying earlier?” he says with a smirk. He follows Stiles into the kitchen, where everything smells divine and a woman with dark hair is standing at the stove. She turns and looks at them. She smiles and Derek can’t help but think about how much she looks like Stiles, or how much Stiles looks like her.

“Hey kiddo, who is this?”

“This is Derek, he’s a friend from school. He came into the café, and I decided to invite him over for dinner. I hope that’s okay.” Stiles looks over to Derek, and winks at him. His heart skips a beat inside his chest, Derek looks back to the woman.

“Well of course that’s okay. Hi Derek, I’m Stiles’ mom, you can call me Claudia. Do you like lasagna?”

*

After dinner, Stiles offers to drive him back to his uncle’s house. During the entire ten-minute drive that it took to get there, Stiles didn’t shut up once. Not until Derek interrupted him, at least.

“Do we actually go to the same school?”

“You go to Beacon High, right?” Derek nods. “We’re in the same history class.”

Derek just nods, thanks Stiles for dinner, then exits the jeep. He walks up to the front door, then turns back to look at Stiles. Stiles grins widely, then waves at him. Derek waves back, then takes a deep breath before letting himself inside.

His uncle Peter is sitting on the couch when he walks in. Derek opens his mouth to explain himself, but his uncle just shuts him down.   

“I don’t want to hear it Derek. Please, just go to your room.” Peter huffs out angrily. Derek keeps his head down as he walks past. He walks into his room and shuts the door behind him. He falls back onto his bed, staring up at the ceiling.

He isn’t alone for more than a minute when his door opens, and Kate comes waltzing in. He sits up, and pushes himself back against his headboard. She sits down on Derek’s bed, and he crosses his legs in response. 

“You ran off today, care to explain why?” She asks him.

Derek looks down, shaking his head. She places a hand on his knee and he can’t help but flinch at the contact.

“You can’t be running off whenever you like Derek. It worries your uncle and I. You don’t want that do you?” She grabs his face when he doesn’t respond, her nails digging into his cheeks. “Right, Derek?”

Derek nods, and she gives him a sly grin.

“Good,” she says letting go of his face. “For a second there, I thought I was going to have to make sure you understood what I was saying. We both know how much you love doing that, don’t we Derek?”

Derek visibly trembles at the words, and she chuckles lightly. Kate leaves a second later, and Derek instantly crawls underneath his comforter, and curls himself into a ball. He wishes his mother was here so she could hold him and tell him that things are going to be fine. He wishes his sister would walk in and pick on him, then ask what’s wrong like she always does. Derek wishes that he could have a Sunday family dinner, because he misses them so much.

More importantly, his wishes that his mother and the rest of his family were still alive.

*

The following days at school, Stiles insists that Derek sit with him and his friends. Derek agrees without complaint, he likes spending time with Stiles, so he’ll take what he can get.

Stiles introduces him to his best friend, Scott. The floppy haired boy grins at him, then gives him a fist bump. The three of them sit, Stiles and Scott talking enthusiastically with each other while Derek mostly just listens. He backs Stiles up when Scott and him are disagreeing. Derek practically beams when he says:

“See, Derek agrees with me! You know what, you’re being replaced, Derek is my new favorite.”

Derek goes home with Stiles in the afternoon, and they do homework. He’s afraid to be alone in his uncle’s house with Kate when Peter is not there, but he doesn’t tell Stiles that. He likes that Stiles talks a lot, it gives him an excuse not to. They’re doing math one day when the question finally comes to the surface.

“Why do you live with your uncle?” Stiles asks.

Derek looks up from his homework. He must give Stiles a terrified look, because he’s quick to continue his thought.

“We don’t have to talk about it, if you don’t want to, I was just wondering.” Stiles says quickly.

He knew that he would have to tell Stiles eventually, Derek takes a deep breath. “There was an accident, at my old house, a couple months ago. One day, while I was at school, there was a gas leak in my basement and it sparked a fire. The whole things went up in flames. I was the only one that wasn’t there when it happened.”

“Wait, so, your whole family, just…”

“Mom, Dad, and both of my sisters. All of them.” Derek stated softly. “I jumped around between a few different family members before I got put with Peter.” 

“I’m so sorry, Derek.” Stiles says, capturing Derek’s wrist with his hand. He rubs his thumb over the skin on the inside of his arm, and Derek feels like he could explode from all of the things that he is feeling in that moment. No one has been this gentle with him since the fire, and he doesn’t ever want this moment to stop.

“One more question though,” Derek nods. “What did you get for number 3?

Derek laughs a little, then laughs a little more when Stiles swears upon realizing he got the answer wrong. But just like that, Stiles’ phone is ringing, and the warmth on Derek’s skin is gone. He looks up and Stiles is saying:

“Scott wants to know if we want to come over. You in?”

*

Derek comes in past curfew one night. He’d fallen asleep at Stiles’ house while watching a movie, and for the record Stiles’ bed is very comfy. Given he’s only late by a few minutes, but it’s enough of a reason for Kate to be angry with him when he walks in.

“Your curfew is at 11:30. You know that by now, don’t you? Or have you become too stupid to remember?”

Derek nods, his eyes fixed on the ground. “It won’t happen again, Kate, I’m sorry.”

“That doesn’t sound very sincere to me, Derek. I don’t appreciate it when people are insincere with me. In fact, I may just have to punish you for it.” She closes in on his personal space, putting a hand on the front of his jeans.

Derek whimpers internally. He glances towards Peter and Kate’s room, where the door is shut. Derek has no doubt that his uncle is asleep on the other side of the door. The uncle who just happens to be the only family either one of them has left. The same uncle who has done nothing but give him the cold shoulder since he moved in. Kate notices this, and grabs his chin harshly.

“Don’t worry about Peter…we’ll just have to be extra quiet.”

*

It’s early when he wakes up. Derek knows this because his blinds are open, and the early morning light is filling his room. It creates a glow against his wall, and it reminds him of evening walks that he used to go on with his family. His blanket is bunched around his waist, and even though he’s cold, he can’t bring himself to pull it up.

Kate had come into his room at some ungodly hour in the morning, drunk off her ass. She had climbed into Derek’s bed and stripped him off his clothes, only to degrade him. Only to tell him how useless and disgusting he is in her eyes.

“If I’m so disgusting then why do you do this? Why do you touch me so much?” he had asked her.

“Because once I’m done with you, no one else will want to.” She told him, and he believed her. Who could possibly want somebody with no family and no ability to stand up for himself. Next to no one.

Derek doesn’t even realize that his bedroom door is open until Stiles is standing in the door way questioning him, saying:

“Dude, why are you naked?” Derek doesn’t have a good lie, so he shrugs, and Stiles just goes with it.

*

Derek is standing at his locker when Stiles approaches him. It’s early and all he wants to do is crawl back into bed and sleep until tomorrow. But then out of nowhere, Stiles is there next to him, a small cupcake in his hand saying:

“Happy birthday. I hope you don’t mind; I did some snooping.”

He’d never really liked his birthday much. Even when his family was alive to celebrate it with him, something about it had always felt wrong to him. Derek smiles at Stiles and takes the cupcake from him. It’s vanilla cake with peanut butter frosting, his favorite dessert from his mother’s café. He’s about to say something about Stiles remembering his order, but Stiles is asking him something that makes him panic.

“Dude, is that a hickey? Did you get laid and not tell me?”

Derek’s stomach drops at the words. With his free hand, he pulls at his collar, mercilessly trying to hide it. Kate had pushed him against a wall before school, insisting that she give the birthday boy his present early.

“No, no it’s n-not like that, it’s…” he trails off. He wants to tell Stiles; he wants to tell him everything. But he’s afraid that Stiles will tell his father. The Sheriff may try and place him in a foster home, away from Beacon Hills. He doesn’t want that to happen.

“Did Kate do that to you?”

The words make him freeze. His chest tightens, and he has to remind himself to breathe. He turns away, walking down the hallway. Stiles follows him.

“Oh my god, Derek-.”

“Don’t, okay? I have things under control.”

“But Derek-.”

“Stiles, please.” He pleads. Derek looks into Stiles’ amber eyes, trying to make him believe his lie. It must work, because the next thing he knows, Stiles is walking away with promises of seeing him at lunch.

*

Derek walks in after spending the night at Stiles house’. He woken up this morning with an embarrassing, and quite obvious morning wood. He’d mumbled something to Stiles about needing to take a shower, then made the water as cold as his body would bare. Afterwards, he ate breakfast with Stiles and the Sher- John, call me John, son then excused himself, saying that he had to get home.

He had walked in to see Peter on the couch, Kate straddling him. She whipped around, and made a sickening face upon seeing Derek.

“Hey there Derek, would you like to join us?” she says, slyly. Derek ignores her and walks into the kitchen. He hears Kate follow him in, but he doesn’t look at her.

“What’s the matter Derek? Did your little boyfriend break up with you?”

His blood runs hot, the anger building in his chest. He still doesn’t look at her; he won’t give her the advantage this time.

“No?” she continues. “Hmm, that’s a shame, I was finally starting to like that little twink.”

“Don’t talk about him like that!” He yelled at her.

As soon as he’d done it, he realized his mistake. Kate just laughed airily in front of him. In an instant, her expression changed from giddy to stone cold. Before Derek could stop it, her hand was connecting with his face and he was stumbling backwards, falling on his ass against the cupboards.

“I get it now, he’s not the twink, it’s you.” She sneered, picking up a glass cup and smashing in down right next to Derek. He covered his face with his arms, and felt the prick of pieces of glass cutting him open.

“You know what people in the real world do with little fags like you, Derek?” Kate said, grabbing a fistful of hair. “They chew them up and spit them out.”

She released her hold on his hair, then walked away like nothing had happened. Derek sagged against the cupboards, and looked to the couch. Peter was nowhere to be seen. Derek didn’t expect anything different. 

*

The next time Derek is over at Stiles’ house, his father is home. Derek panics a little, mostly because he has a black eye and a shitty lie to back it up. Derek, Stiles, and his parents are sitting at the dinner table when the topic finally comes up.

“How did you get that black eye, Derek?”

“John-.” Claudia tries.

“I’m just asking.” The sheriff replies, holding his hands up. Before Derek can even think of a good excuse, Stiles is talking for him.

“He fell down the stairs at school.” Stiles tells them through a mouth full of pizza. “His shoe laces were untied, and he nosedived right into the ground. It was quite a sight to see actually. I keep telling him to tie shoes, but he never listens. It’s a terrible habit honestly.”

Stiles looks at him and winks, just like he had the day at the café. Derek can’t help but grin, even if it hurts his eye. In reality it wasn’t a total lie. He had fallen down the stairs, but it was more like Kate had given him a push. She was upset for some unexplainable reason, and Derek was made to pay for it. Just as well, Peter had witnessed the whole thing, and didn’t speak up once.

“Is that true, son?” John asks him.

Derek nods. “Yes, sir. I’m a klutz.”

*

They’re at a party. They being Scott, Stiles, and Derek. He hadn’t wanted to come, but Stiles had begged him, and Derek couldn’t say no to him. Said party is at someone’s house that he doesn’t know the name of, some girl. 

The music is too loud, there’s too many people in such a small space and Derek is sitting by himself. Well, he was until a blonde girl in his English came up and started talking to him. He wasn’t paying attention to what she was saying. He was too busy watching Stiles get ignored by a red haired girl.

It was kind of funny when Derek thought about it. He was watching the guy he likes flirt with a girl that he liked. The red haired girl- Lydia, Stiles had called her Lydia- won’t even give him the time of day, but Stiles keeps trying. Derek wishes he was that brave. Derek looks back to the blonde girl, having realized that she had asked him a question.

“What?”

“I said, do you want to get out of here? My house is-.”

Derek doesn’t hear the rest of her statement. His heart is too busy trying to beat itself out of his chest. The blonde girl is looking at him like he’s delusional, then she’s gone, and Stiles is in front of him. He’s pulling Derek to his feet and dragging him out of the house.

The night air is cold on his skin and he collapses onto the grass almost immediately. Derek stares up the night sky, forcing air out of his lungs. He registers Stiles lying down next to him on the cold ground.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“She asked if I wanted to go home with her and I panicked.”

“That’s understandable,” Stiles replies. “Hell, if someone asked me to go home with them, I’d probably panic too.”

Derek notices that Stiles says “someone” and not “a girl”, but he doesn’t question it. They lie on the ground for a little while longer before Stiles gets up, saying:

“Alright, I’m freezing, let’s get out of here. You want to play COD?”

*

Run. Hide. Run and hide.

He’s running, his head is swimming and he can’t see straight but he’s running as fast as he can. He’d finally said no. Derek finally told Kate that she wasn’t going to mess with him anymore. She had laughed and grabbed a hold of Derek’s belt, and he had pushed her off of him. Not hard, just enough to get her away from him.

Peter was at work, which gave Kate more of an excuse to berate Derek. He wasn’t surprised when she cornered him in the kitchen, but he was really tired of her shit. So he did something about it. Much like the day of the broken glass, he realized that he shouldn’t have retaliated. 

Kate had laughed in her usual sadistic tone, then her gaze had turned cold as ice. Before he could stop, she had grabbed Derek by the back of the neck, and slammed his head into the granite counter top. Twice. Derek fell to the ground, vision foggy and his ears ringing. A boot connects with his ribcage and he can’t hold back the scream that comes out his mouth.

His limbs feel heavy and detached, but he kicks a leg out and feels it collide with Kate’s knee. While she’s down, he pushes himself up onto wobbly legs, and darts out of the door before she can get up and stop him. So he does what his mother had always taught him to do, he runs. Everything hurts, but he keeps moving, keeps running.

He’s not entirely sure how, but Derek finds himself at Stiles’ house. Stiles answers the door, a smile on his face. It disappears at the sight of Derek.

“Hey, I- oh my god, you’re bleeding! What happened?”

“M’head hurts.” He feels more than he hears himself say. He stumbles inside, not making it more than a few feet in before his legs give up and he falls to the floor. A pair of warm hands are on his face for only moment before they leave. The world grows dark, and just before he blacks out he hears Stiles yell:

“Mom? Mom, call an ambulance something happened to Derek!”

*

Derek comes to a while later, but his head still hurts so he doesn’t open his eyes just yet. There’s an overwhelming smell of sanitizer and cleaning products, so he knows that he’s at the hospital. There’s a weight on his right hand, but he doesn’t look to see who it is. Instead, he listens to the conversation that’s happening above him.

“His family died in a fire about a year ago.” Stiles. “He moved in with his uncle and his uncle’s girlfriend a little while after that. The first time that he came into the café, he needed somewhere to hide. I thought that something was going on, but…he said he had things taken care of, so I believed him.”

“What things?” A man’s voice said, it sounded like the Sheriff.

“Things with Kate, his uncle’s girlfriend.” Derek groans at the words, and the weight on his hand tightens.

Derek decides to open his eyes. He squints at the sudden brightness; it makes his head hurt but he keeps his eyes open. Stiles and his father are standing over him, looking at him with all kinds of worry. The Sheriff mumbles something about getting a nurse, and leaves the two boys alone.  

“Derek?”

“Hi.” He says weakly.

“Hi, oh my god, hi. You scared the shit out of me, you bastard, don’t ever do that to me again.” Stiles says in a rush. “How’re you feeling? Wait- never mind, don’t answer that, that’s a stupid question. You probably feel awful.”

“I’ve definitely been better.” He shifts slightly, and winces at the shooting pain in his ribs. He tightens his grip on Stiles’ hand.

“Sorry, I should have warned you, that psycho bitch cracked a few of your ribs. It’ll hurt to do just about everything for a while. You’re going to have to stay overnight for a day or two, but you’ll be just fine.”

Derek nods, he can feel himself slipping back into unconsciousness. He wants to stay awake and talk to Stiles. He tries to fight it, but to no avail. Before he slips under again, and gentle hand settles in his hair, and he hears Stiles say:

“Get some rest, Derek…I’m so glad that you’re okay.”

*

The next day brought a lot of questions, most of them from the Sheriff and various nurses. John informed Derek that they had arrested Kate for child abuse and statutory rape, as well as taken Peter in for questioning. Derek almost told him that Peter hadn’t done anything, but he knew that that wouldn’t have helped his case. 

Stiles couldn’t be in the room while the questioning was going on, but he came back as soon as it was over. They were watching TV when Stiles spoke up.

“You remember Scott’s mom, Melissa?” he asked. Derek nodded. “Well, as it turns out, she has her license to foster. So, Dad has arranged for you to live with Scott and his mom for the time being. That way, you don’t have to change schools and we can still see each other all of the time. In fact, you might see me even more.”

Derek’s heart soars. Later that night, they’re watching a movie, Stiles having found a way to fit both himself and Derek on the hospital bed, when Melissa walked in.

“Alright boys, time’s up, visiting hours are over.”

Derek whined audibly, and Stiles gave his hand a squeeze.

“Just a little bit longer, Melissa? Please?”

The woman sighed, then gave the boys a small smile. “You have two minutes, then I’m kicking you out.”

After Melissa left, Derek leaned his head on Stiles’ shoulder. “I wish you didn’t have to go.” He mumbled.

“I know,” Stiles replied, turning to look at him. “I wish I didn’t have to go either. But I’ll be here first thing tomorrow morning, and I promise to drive you to Scott’s after you get checked out of this shit hole. Then we can spend the whole day together, okay?”

Derek nods, then watches Stiles walk towards the door. Before he leaves, he turns back to Derek and says:

“I’m really glad that I met you, Derek. You mean a lot to me.”

*

The next day, Stiles is there just like he promised, his parents along with him. Derek smiled at the three of them, and gave Stiles a small hug. They walked towards the exit, then came to a halt when they heard the yelling.

“He’s my nephew, you can’t keep him from me! He’s my family!”

The reach the doors, and two security guards are trying to keep Peter from storming into the hospital. Derek feels his stomach twist itself into a knot at the sight of his uncle. The look that Peter gives him makes him wish he was invisible.

“Derek, Derek come on, don’t be ridiculous. Come with me, we’re going home.”  

His throat nearly closes at the words, and he shakes his head. His hands begin to tremble and he can’t stop himself from reaching for Stiles. Stiles must get the memo, because he is quick to take Derek’s hand and drag him away from the situation. The next thing he knows Derek is in the hospital parking lot, sitting in the front seat of Stiles’ jeep.

Stiles is standing next to him outside of the jeep, the door open. One of his hands is on Derek face, his voice pleading, “Hey, hey Derek look at me, you need to breathe. You’re okay, you don’t have to go with him. I promise, you’re safe, please just breathe for me.”

A quiet sob escapes his mouth, and he sags into Stiles’ chest, his ribs protesting the movement. Stiles wraps a loose arm around Derek’s waist, keeping a hand on his face. He lets Derek cry quietly for a few minutes before pulling away. Grabbing his chin gently, he meets Derek’s eyes before saying:

“He won’t take you away from me, alright? I won’t let either one of them hurt you again.”

*

He’s in a small, dark room and he doesn’t know how he got there. The door to said room opens and Kate walks in. She has the same twisted look on her face that she always makes before she does something bad to Derek.

“Hey Sweet face,” She says. “I bet you thought that you had gotten rid of me, didn’t you?”

Derek backs himself into the corner, terrified of what Kate is going to do to him.

“Oh, don’t be scared Derek. I’m not going to hurt you; I’m going to hurt your little friend.” She leaves for a moment, and comes back dragging Stiles along with her. As soon as they entered, Stiles falls to the ground in front of Derek.

Derek tries to reach for him, only to find that his limbs suddenly refuse to work. From his spot on the floor, Stiles looks up at him through half lidded eyes, silently pleading for help. If only he could move.

“This is what happens when you mess with me, Derek,” Kate said, digging her foot into Stiles’ back, making him cry out. “The people that you love get hurt.”

She pulls a small gun out of her pocket, and-.

Derek awoke with a gasp, and immediately another person’s body is wrapped around him. A part of him wants to escape the hold, afraid to find out who it is. Another part of him wants to sink inside of whoever is holding him and never leave. After a minute, he comes back to reality and takes in his surroundings.

Scott and Melissa are standing in the doorway, their silhouettes illuminated by the light pouring in from the hallway. So Derek knows that Stiles is the one that’s holding him. Derek has only been at the McCall household for a week, and Stiles has been there every night since then. Mostly because a night has not gone by without Derek having a nightmare.  

Derek turns into Stiles grip and lets the boy hold him. Stiles holds him with the same amount of gentleness that he had the day he learned about Derek’s family situation. After a while, Scott and Melissa go back to bed, leaving Stiles and Derek alone with each other. They lie back on Derek’s bed, side by side next to each other.

“I miss my mom,” Derek says. “I wish my family was here.”

“I know, for your sake, I wish that they were here too. I wish I could have met them.”

“Yeah, I wish you could have met them too.” They don’t say much else after that, and before they know it, both of them are asleep.

*

It’s been a little over two months since the Kate incident. Things have been going pretty well for Derek. His ribs are almost completely healed, and he has grown to love living with Scott and his mom. Just as well Stiles comes over almost every day after school. That is until one day, when the three of them are playing video games and the doorbell rings.

“What do you want?” Scott says from the doorway.

“I just want to talk to Derek, I promise.”

Derek hears Peter’s voice and panics a little. At the same time, he knew that he would have to face his uncle eventually. So he gets up, and walks out into the entry way. Derek catches his uncles eye almost immediately.

“What do you want?” he asks carefully.

“I wanted to say that I’m sorry.”

Derek shakes his head. “If you were sorry you would have done something about Kate. You wouldn’t have let her hurt me.”

Peter nods, then leaves without another word. Derek sucks in a deep breath, because he’s sure he didn’t breathe once while Peter was there. He turns around, and Stiles is standing there with his arms open, smiling widely. Derek walks into the embrace willingly. While they’re hugging, Stiles whispers:

“I’m so proud of you, I know how hard that must have been for you.”

*

Derek walks up the front steps to Stiles’ house. He knows that he has to do this. If he doesn’t do it now, he’s sure that he never will. Miss Claudia opens the door, smiles at him, then gives him a light hug.

“Hi Derek, how have you been?”

“Much better, thanks. Is Stiles here?” She nods, then lets him inside. He finds his way to Stiles’ room, where the door is open and he’s working at his desk. Derek knocks, capturing Stiles’ attention.

“Hey, I didn’t know you were coming over. What’s up?”

Derek sits in the center of the room, gesturing for Stiles to join him on the floor. They sit back to back, and Derek takes a deep breath before starting.

“I need to tell you something.”

“Derek-.”

“No,” he interrupts. “I’m going to have to tell somebody about eventually, so I might as well start now. Stiles, I trust you more than anyone else in the world, please I want to do this. I need to, just please. I have to tell someone.”

“Okay.” Stiles whispers. “Go ahead.”

*

The first day of Derek living with Peter was, weird to say the least. Derek arrived in the afternoon, and Peter gave him a half assed hug. Over dinner they barely say more than a dozen words to each other. Peter left for work shortly after, and Derek had already excused himself to his room for the night. He was getting ready for bed when the door opened. An older, blonde woman he didn’t recognize was on the other side.

“Hey handsome,” she said. “I’m Kate, your uncle’s girlfriend.”

Derek nods. She takes a step towards him, laying a hand on his bare shoulder.

“I’m so sorry to hear about your family, sweetheart. You must be feeling pretty lonely, huh?”

Derek shrugged, and Kate continued.

“I can help you out, you know? If you’re feeling lonely, or sad… or maybe even a little needy. I can give you what you need Derek.”

A chill ran down Derek’s spine, and he knew what she meant. He looked up, wanting to say something, but the words died on his tongue. Before he could stop her, Kate pushed Derek down onto his bed. She slipped a hand inside his shorts, and he mentally cursed himself for bucking into the touch.

“Kate-.”

“Shhh,” she told him. “Don’t say anything. I’m going to make you feel better, sweetheart. I promise…this will make you feel better.”

*

“When she was done, she just kept telling me how pathetic I was. Kept telling me how embarrassed I should be for being so needy, so useless. I didn’t want to believe her but… I knew that she was right. I couldn’t even stand up for myself, let alone get her to stop. I wanted to tell Peter, but I knew that he wouldn’t believe me. It was her word over mine, and we hardly ever spoke to each other. I thought that that would be it, one and done, but then it kept happening. 

“Then she started hitting me for no reason, and she would degrade me very chance that she got. I didn’t understand why she was doing it, but I wasn’t sure of how to make her stop either. I wanted to tell you. There were so many times that I thought about telling you, but I didn’t know how to. You know that day that I came into the café?”

“Yeah.” Stiles said.

“Kate had come home early from work. Peter wasn’t there and I was terrified that she would try and do something to me. I was climbing out of my bedroom window when the door opened. She yelled for me, but I just ran. I kept running until I couldn’t anymore. Then I ended up in the café and…well you know the story from there.”

Derek swallows the lump in his throat, and Stiles comes into view. His eyes are wet, and he takes one of Derek’s hands in both of his own.

“Thank you for trusting me with this.”

Derek nods, and Stiles kisses his cheek. It’s one of the best days that he has had in a long time.

*

“You know that what Kate did wasn’t your fault right?”

Derek looks up from his homework, surprised by Stiles statement. Derek nods, unaware of what else to do.

“Say it. Say: What Kate did was not my fault.”

Derek opens his mouth and no words come out. As hard as he tries, he can’t bring himself to do it. Stiles laces their fingers together, then says:

“It’s okay, we can work on that.”

*

A few weeks later, they’re lying together in Stiles’ room when Derek says:

“What Kate did was not my fault.”

“Do you really believe that?” Stiles asks.

Derek shakes his head, so Stiles says:

“It’s okay, we can work on that, too.”

*

One day, much, much later, Derek says it again. He says it and he finally believes himself. He says it again later that day in front of Stiles, and Stiles kisses him square on the mouth. It’s not the first time that they have kissed, but it feels just as good, just as special. Both of them cry just a little bit, and Derek knows that he doesn’t have to run any more.