The bruises on his abdomen were healing slowly this time and the ache was too hard to ignore. Stiles knew he couldn’t leave.
His domestic life was pure Hell and the only “okay” moments were in the mornings and in the early nights, excactly when Malia was at work or at the bar.
Now the slowly healing bruises were bothering him even at work and he couldn’t even sit properly for too much time or the pain would increase. Stiles was unfocused and he was feeling really sick so he called his boss and got out earlier from work. It was unusual and he usually stayed home as less as he could without putting Alexis in danger.
His little girl was his world and she would be ecstatic seeing him picking her up earlier from school. They really could use some free time together, at least after having gone for groceries.
As usual Alexis was taking her time choosing between chocolate or pistachio ice-cream, so Stiles decided to pick a bag of iced spinaches but it was the last one and he had to stretch to pick it. A muffled groan of pain escaped his lips and when he turned to see if Alexis was done he found her little eyes full of worry peeking from behind someone's legs.
In that millisecond his panic grew and he was ready to fight whoever had approached his little girl.
Fortunately it was Derek, Malia’s recently discovered cousin, who was standing there staring at Stiles with wide eyes.
-Again? Did she do it...again?!- Derek’s whisper was thick with worry and anger.
-Hey Derek! Nice to see you here! Alexis and me were going to watch some documentaries on Netflix when we got home...would you like to join us? ...So we can spend some time together that isn't in the middle of a gocery store isle? - the fake smile Stiles provided was as natural as the moon at noon and even the little Alexis was a little bothered by it.
They returned home and while Alexis watched a documentary about icebergs and Global Warming eating her pistachio ice-cream the adults talked.
Derek knew Malia was a drinker thanks to his job as a lawyer and he also knew she had hit Stiles one time during the holidays two years ago but he didn't knew a lot. Derek didn't knew about the cheating and the hours they spent arguing, or about all the times Stiles’ neighbours had babysat Alexis when Malia got too drunk and started hitting everything she could. Malia had been adopted and only knew Derek was her cousin about four years ago.
Derek couldn't know about the first time Malia tried to kill Alexis and herself after losing her job due to her drinking problems. It was the first time he heard all about it and he was speechless.
Stiles had buried all their problems under his love for Alexis and he didn't even ones complained about anything, as long as Alexis was safe. But now… Derek asked and Malia had been more and more angry lately.
All Stiles could do was keep talking. Like his life depended on it, and it actually did.
Derek remained silent for all Stiles’ speech, his features closed and almost emotionless.
When all was out and there was nothing else to say Stiles laid his arms in the table while sitting down. He felt like a puppet without his strings, completely empty and useless.
Derek exited the kitchen but after a few minutes he was back with Alexis’ blanket with all the Avengers (Black Widow was in the frontline, he had ordered it this way). He put the blanket in Stiles’ shoulders and then began to make some hot tea. When all was done he put a steamy cup on the table in font of Stiles and then sat. He was speechless and thought a lot about what he was going to say. He couldn’t tell Stiles all that had crossed his mind during the last couple of hours, but he had to say something.
While the “grown-ups” were talking in the kitchen, Alexis begun to silently cry. She knew something was wrong and she also knew it was only her mother’s fault. All of the bad things in her life were his mother’s fault.
The ice-cream was melting in its cup like the big iceberg on the tv but they were forgotten. Little Alexis was thinking about her big bad mum that sometimes reminded her of the hungry coyote she saw at the zoo that snarled at everyone.
Derek walked into the living room and checked on her but she pretended to be asleep (she was a good actress, her dad always said that). He was in and out of the room just like Flash and she opened her eyes. Now an episode of Doctor Who was playing on the screen and she focused on it. The Doctor was in the woods with Robin Hood and he was fighting with a spoon against a big sword. She had already watched this episode but she begun to laugh as soon as the Doctor begun to win.
Dad and Derek were silent now but Alexis knew better than to go and take a look. Sure enough Derek said something but Dad didn’t.
-You are moving in with me.- Derek’s voice was almost a whisper but Stiles heard it clearly. It was insane, it was wrong and maybe it was even against the law but it sounded so good. Just the thought of it was a relief for Stiles’ mind. -If you are wondering about Alexis’ custody we are going to the police and you will charge that b...Malia with assault and domestic violence. You will state that Alexis is in danger around her and then we are going to my place. I have a guest room ready and another one to finish but there is space. You can take all you need from here and then we can go. If you are okay with it you can move in today, as soon as possible if not now. I’m not confortable about you two living with her and... please, say something.- Derek was almost pleading at the end of the last sentence and that tone woke something in Stiles’ chest.
-We...we have to tell Al first but… in three hours Malia will probably be home. We need to hurry. You're right. My baby girl can’t be around her, not anymore.- energy flew in Stiles’ veins and he marched in the living room where his little princess was.
She seemed asleep but Stiles knew better and he saw how her little mouth was almost curved in a little smile. Her nose was red(?) so she had been crying but his little princess always found a reason to smile again.
-hey little stormborn, I know you can hear me. I need to ask you something really really important, could you please open your little eyes?- his tone was soft and reassuring, he needed to talk calmly if he wanted to be fully understood.
Alexis opened one eye and seeing her father so serious she sat straight and looked at him in the eyes.
- Okay, little one, I need to ask you something and I need you to answer me very very honestly, okay?-
- yes daddy - all the seriousness of the moment was in her voice. She understood how important the question was going to be.
-Okay…- Stiles glanced briefly at Derek who was standing against the wall, watching father and daughter. - well, you know how mummy aleays has headaches and is always angry?-
-Yes...yes and she always screams! Is that because of me?- Alexis’ little face was clearly pained(?).
-no...not at all sweetie! But she needs help and some space to get better, so she can heal. Would you like if you and me went to love with Derek? - now it was all on the table and what Alexis would say would change everything.
-Do I get to play with his cat?-
Stiles snorted a little and glanced briefly to Derek who was smiling now.
-of course! But only when Edgar wants to, and maybe he will even sleep with you, who knows?- Now the hope in Stiles’ chest was even more bright and seing hil little girl run in her room to put all her favourite toys, comics and colouring book in her biggest bag made him smile.
A little more than 45 minutes later found Derek, Alexis and Stiles with two big suitcases and a round Captain America schoolbag stuffed with most of their things.
Stiles knew where Derek lived and Alexis begun to cry because she wanted to see Edgar and play with him so they took the Camaro and left Stiles with the bags and his Jeep Cherokee.
While he was starting the car, another car parked next to his. It was Malia and she looked almost sober even if she had a bottle in her right hand. She saw the packed car and begun to scream about her rights and how he was ruining her life even more. Tears were watering Stiles’ sight but he started the car and drove away, not caring if she was still running after him or screaming like she was mad.
As soon as he could, he stopped the car and sent a quick text to Derek, letting him know he was going to be a bit late.
The tears were like a river, he couldn’t stop them. All the stress was in those tiny tears and the anger fomented his crying. He felt empty and burned, he wasn’t the energic guy he once was. He hadn’t been in a long time.
He shut everyone out and his only connection with his father was Alexis but he could not stop himself from dialing that number, the one only he and few others knew.
-Hello? Stiles? Is that you? Is Alexis okay? Are you okay?-
-Yes...d...dad...I...oh god...sorry...I a..am so sorry- Stiles didn’t know how to express his feelings. He needed his father to understand how sorry, so so sorry he was. Now his ribs were hurting again and he was so sorry.
-Stiles breath. In and out. In and out- the sheriff was now back at when ha was on duty. He needed to calm Stiles down in order to know what was going on.
When they arrived at home, their new home, Derek felt a heavy block that was on his chest disintegrate. Alexis immediately ran into the house, leaving her green coat in the hall and searcing giggling for Edgar. It felt right to be home with her waiting for Stiles, who was going to be late who knows why. Maybe he only needed some space to think.
After two hours Stiles was still out and he didn't answer to his phone. Derek was growing worried every minute and he didn't know what he could do.
Half an hour later Derek’s phone begun to buzz and he responded even though the number was unknown.
-Hello? Mr. Hale? Derek Hale?- it was a man. And he was certainly older than Derek.
-Yes, yes I am. Who am I speaking to?-
- I’m John Stilinski, Stiles’ father. He told me Alexis is with you, isn’t she?-
-Yes, sir. She is. Is everything okay? He doesn't answer his phone and I am a little worried because he told me he was going to be late but actually he didn't give me any reason and- almost nobody knew that Derek rambled when he was worried but here he was.
-Derek, it's… Derek, listen. I need you to listen very carefully. Stiles is in a coma.-
-HE WHAT?! Stiles is in a what?! Is this a joke?!- at her father’s name Alexis went to Derek who was standing in the middle of the living room and hug his right leg seeing the tension he was feeling.
-He is at the hospital. He is unconscious and they don't know when or if he is waking up. Malia caused an incident with their cars. They called me but I can be there only in two, maybe there hours. I know this is a lot but please, even if you don't know me, please Derek, stay with him and little Alexis at least until I get there- the desperation in the sheriff’s voice echoed in the emptiness of Derek’s “I will”.
Then there was a blur of events:
Stiles woke up after a few days but the doctors said he wasn't safe or healed at 100%.
Malia died because her liver and the car crash made it impossible for her to be saved.
Derek stubbornly remained by Stiles’ side, helping with Alexis and continuing to carry most of the things on his shoulders.
Stiles wanted Derek to be the one who would take care of Alexis in case he got worse and Derek didn't even want to think about that, and they argued. Oh, they argued.
Stiles convinced Derek to let him sign all the papers.
Stiles died two weeks later.
After 25 years Alexis was a woman and she knew everything about her parents. But she knew that Derek was her father too. He who took a little girl in his home and took care of her as if she was his own.
When he smiled leaving her in front of the altar, everything was good. Her future wife was already smiling and almost crying and there would be a life after everything.