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The Scent of a Soldier

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Stiles stared at the neat, sharply pressed uniform lying on her bed. The deep blue jacket and the white belt that would synch around her waist holding together her body that she was sure would vibrate apart from her nerves. She was heading to training in a month. Her father knew about her sudden decision to join the Marines. Though he was scared for his little girl, he was also incredibly proud. She had joined the Marines as he did, right after she finished high school. Stiles made this decision after many months of discussing it with her father and the recruiting office the next town over.

No one else knew though, not Lydia, not Erica, not even Scott knew about her plans. She didn’t want them to know about this decision. Never wanted them to know about what she was doing because she knew that they were going to tell her not to go. That she was being stupid. The one that hurt the most not to tell though, had been the one it was hardest to keep from. Derek. Stiles knew that it would be one of the hardest things to keep from Derek mainly because of his supernatural abilities. And that Derek always seemed to know what Stiles was thinking, especially if it was one of her hair brained plans that was bound to get her in trouble. But this wasn’t one of those. Worst of all, Derek would never understand why she was doing this. No one but her father would actually understand, which is why he was the only one she could tell.

It had been getting more and more difficult to keep Derek out of her room, and his suspicious gazes under control. But there were only 30 days left for her to keep up the façade that she was going to remain here and that her life was going to be a normal one. Now she was a soldier, a Marine, her life was nothing like the normal life everyone expected her to have. As normal as any supernatural involved life could be.

* * * * * *

Derek paced the length of his loft. His thoughts drifting back and forth from Stiles, to the curious things that have been occurring lately around her. She was lying to him about something. Though for the most part he couldn’t hear anything wrong, no uptick in her heart beat, no smell of sweat coming off her, nothing that told him she was lying. There as something that sat deep in his gut that told him he had to protect her. Maybe it wasn’t even his gut telling him to protect her. Derek stopped pacing his hands dropping to his side. It couldn’t be, it just couldn’t be. His wolf, the most sacred being of all when it came to werewolves, especially born wolves; his wolf wanted her. His wolf needed her. There was no doubt about it, Stiles was his mate. The one thing every wolf looks for, searches for, for their entire life.

Time was standing still, the world seemed to tilt and then suddenly right itself. The dawning realization made it almost impossible for him to move or even breath. Stiles was always there for him, through thick and thin. They had fought so many threats side by side, she was only a human, but she fought bravely like any werewolf would. She was one of the strongest people Derek had ever known.

Derek slumped to the floor leaning against one of the cool cement columns, his fingers slipped through his hair holding tight as he squeezed his eyes shut. An image of Stiles flashed across his vision, her soft amber eyes smiling at him as she sat before a large set of texts. The way her short hair had started growing out more, and reached her shoulders now. The slight coloring that came to her cheeks each time he caught her staring at him. Derek sighed, his hands dropping to his lap and his eyes staring out the window. The night sky was dark, small twinkling lights glittering all around. Derek leaned his head against the column closing his eyes again, another image of Stiles dancing across his vision. It was the one memory that seemed to always replay in his dreams at night.

They were all down by the lake. Scott, Erica, Boyd, Lydia, Kira, the whole pack. It had been one of those days where they all just needed to have fun. It was the middle of the summer and the heat had made them all finally decide it was time to take a trip down to the lake.

Derek was laying out his towel, and pulling off his shirt; the heat made it stick to the most uncomfortable of places on his body. As Derek pulled the shirt over his head, his eyes met those beautiful melted amber ones. She blushed ducking her head, and tried to make it seem like she hadn’t been blatantly staring at the man. Derek chuckled quietly, before dropping his shirt on his towel, and made his way to the water.

As the water enveloped him, it caused his body to shiver slightly in pleasure, he turned to see if anyone else was following him in. The sight he found made his heart stop. Stiles was smiling happily chatting with Kira and Lydia about something. The baggy old shirt she was wearing earlier had, thankfully, disappeared and left the stunning sight that was Stiles Stilinski. Her light brown hair was messy and her bangs, a lovely shade of red, swooped over her forehead and down the side of her face. Though he couldn’t seem take his eyes away from her face, they began to falter, drifting downward following the curve of her long pale limbs. The only thing that obstructed his view of her entire beauty was a skimpy red polka dot bikini. Derek wanted to do one of two things. He wanted to grab on to her waist pulling her close to him so he could feel each and every bump of her bones pressed against him. The second choice, he wanted to grab her and wrap her up so that no one else could see the elegant beauty that she was. Derek felt his lungs start to ache, and he suddenly realized that he hadn’t been breathing this entire time, he sucked in a breath and turned away as she glanced up at him causing him to blush furiously. Thankfully it was hidden beneath his dark scruff.

That had been the most amazing day, they had all been together and laughed till the sun went down. He had sat beside Stiles as the other pack members filtered away to watch the sunset with their own significant others. Derek stared at the horizon, but his entire body felt tense as the warmth radiated from Stiles into his own body. He wanted so much to reach out and touch her. But he couldn’t, she was young, she wasn’t his to touch as he liked, and she could never love someone like him in the first place so there was never any reason to even try. He believed all the way down to his core that she was more scared of him than loved him. So he settled for sitting beside her as she babbled about something or other, trying to stop himself from wanting too much like he always did.

He smiled sadly at the memory, he was in love with this girl for so long, and now she had graduated and she was going to go off to college where she would be so far from him that he would never see her again. He was going to loose her, and there was nothing that he could do that would stop her. Even if he told her, it wouldn’t be fair to her, he would making choices for her just by letting those feelings out.

* * * * * *

Stiles had a week left before she was leaving, she had been spending as much time as she could with everyone, her dad most especially. This week, though, she was making her final preparations, she had to cut her hair again, it had gotten way too long for comfort and she thought that it would be better to cut it short once again. So that is what had Stiles sitting in the waiting area of a local salon, the last great amenity before she was going to be sent off to training and then war. Stiles laughed grimly to herself as she waited for her name to be called. She had been fighting one war for years, but now this one was going to be to protect the entire country, and doing so far from home.

“Stiles?” a woman called from the salon area. Stiles smiled politely, and followed her to a chair near the back of the salon. “So, what can I do for you today, honey?” Stiles smiled at the woman as she played with her hair.

“Two things, first I need a trim just to even things out, I have to be able to make sure that I can still tie my hair up in a nice tight bun. Second, though I love this bright flash of color,” Stiles gestured to her bangs, "Marines don’t take well to non-uniformity.” She smiled jokingly, that was all that was keeping her from the odd sensation of sadness that overwhelmed her as she thought about losing her flashy red bangs.

“You’re a Marine?”

“New recruit, leaving for official training this Friday.” She smiled.

“Well be safe, honey, be really safe.” The woman smiled at her through the mirror and squeezed her shoulders reassuringly. Stiles nodded, trying to hold back the tears that threatened to fall, but they never did fall. The woman set to work quickly, her nimble fingers deftly snipping and combing through it all. After the initial trim, she lead Stiles to the washing station to begin to wash and color her hair. The time flew by, the woman chatted about her family, and about all sorts of random things. The thing that Stiles liked about the whole trim was that they didn’t know who she was. That was the nice thing about getting things done away from Beacon Hills. No one at the salon knew she was the Sheriff’s kid, there was nothing here to link her and keep her pinned down with guilt and worry. She would get the chance to take a breath.

After what felt like hours, Stiles had a new boring haircut that would keep up with her new occupation. Now she had to work on the hardest part of her errands, she had to write a letter. He would never understand the choice she was making, so writing him a letter to give at the last minute would be the only way to get it across to him the importance of the decision that she was making for her life. She had to explain to him without the fear that he would hold her too tight. She didn’t want to see those sea-green eyes gaze at her in sadness. Stiles wouldn’t be able to take it, she would end up staying she would end up betraying the one thing that meant more than anything to her. So she was going to make him listen, and understand before he could stop it, stop her.

So that night when Stiles had finally returned home, she sat at her desk staring out the window totally aware that he was probably out there right now watching her every move. She smiled blushing slightly, he was always too over protective when it came to her, but he probably thought of her a little sister. Something that he hadn’t had in a very long time. Stiles pulled out paper, and began to write. This one couldn’t be on a computer, no there was something important about this letter more than anything else and so writing it out was important to her.

That night Stiles wrote and wrote, until there was nothing left in her to say. Then she took the letter, pressed a kiss to it and slipped it into an envelope. The last thing she did before going to bed that night was writing out, in loopy letters that he would know was her handwriting, his name.

Derek.

* * * * * *

Derek hadn't seen Stiles at all for an entire week. He had to wonder, was she avoiding him? What was happening? The one person he wanted to talk to had disappeared. It was Friday now, and he had finally gotten up the courage to go to her. He had to know what was happening. His brain had started to supply other horrifying ideas of what was happening, One that was currently playing in his mind was that she was ill, so ill that she couldn't tell him. He had talked to Scott a bit, but he had said that she had been busy all week. Scott didn't even know what was up with her. Derek got more and more worried about it, and as the night went on the calls to the other pack members didn't give him anything that he didn't already know. And that was nothing at all. 

Derek threw his phone against the wall shattering it, his wolf growled and the sound rose up in his throat. What was happening? Was Stiles ok? Derek's anger didn't subside, but just elevated when joined with the panic that had set in about an hour ago. Stiles was avoiding him, and that meant he had done something to her, he had made her angry. Derek shuddered involuntarily. His claws began to slide out, and he could feel his K-9s growing quickly. His wolf was angry, he was angry. Derek's eyes flashed red again, holding as he raced out the door and into the woods. There was one place he was going, and no one could stop him. 

His breathing became labored as he finally neared the house. The scent of Stiles becoming stronger as he approached the edge of the woods near her house. At first all he could do was sniff the air around him making sure that he took in as much of her scent as possible. But when he opened his eyes again, there was something really odd before him. The house was completely dark, except for a small lamp light emanating from Stiles room. Derek circled the house his eyes never leaving the soft glow coming from her window. Derek climbed up the tree by her window, and opened the window letting himself inside. Instantly his eyes drifted to her bed, but it was so cold and empty looking. She wasn't there, the bed covers were neatly made up, and the room looked like it did everyday. Nothing out of place. Nothing odd. 

Derek stopped, and listened carefully. Listened for movement, a heartbeat, anything, but there was nothing; no sounds, no heartbeats, nothing. Something was wrong. Derek began to panic, his eyes flashed red, and he growled. Derek sniffed around, all around him he could smell Stiles. The fruity smell of her shampoo, pine lingered there as well, and of course there was also the soft scent of Stiles, there was nothing that could describe it, but it was Derek's favorite scent. The smell calmed him for a moment as he looked around the room, trying to find something that would tell him what was happening. And that's when he saw it. 

There was a letter laying on Stiles's desk, his name written in her usual curvy handwriting. At first Derek couldn't touch it, the thought of what lay inside was frightening. Derek sucked in a breath, and grabbed the letter holding it gingerly in his hands. She had written to him, and whatever it was about terrified him. His fingertips slid over the paper, and he could feel that the letter was thick, there was going to be a lot for him to read in there. 

Derek opened the letter carefully, and began to read, the lump in his throat only getting bigger by the minute. 

Derek- 

I'm sorry I didn't tell you before, but I know you. If I had told you about any of this before you would have tried to stop me. You would have tried to protect me from the big bad world as you always try, but that isn't how the world works. First things first, the reason for this letter. Derek, you will be finding this letter inside my empty house as my dad and I drive to the airport. I'm heading out for training. I was recruited to the Marine Corps. I don't know when I'll be back in Beacon Hills but know the second I do I'll find you because I know you will be still be worried about me until you know I'm safe again.

Derek chuckled lightly, trying to hold back tears. Derek could only think about how much Stiles didn't know that he would worry about her. 

There are so many things I want to tell you, and I want you to know, but first you need to know that I am making this choice because I want it. I want to serve my country. And Derek you should know for certain that I can handle myself in war and in the Marines, I mean look at where I came from. You taught me so much, and I promise I will be careful. I will comeback. 

Now that I've gotten those things out of the way, I want you to promise me something, make it a big promise because you can't break this one. There are two parts to it. So make sure you promise me. Ok, one you can't come find me and try to stop me, because I know you will. The second thing, I can't loose you, so don't leave without telling me. Don't let me come back and find you have disappeared. There is something important I need to tell you, but I can't do it now. So please wait. I will get some leave before I get deployed overseas. I should be gone for about a year. When I'm back, please be there. I don't know what I'd do if you were gone. 

I've asked that Scott and the others look out for you, make sure you don't get yourself killed. Because even though you think you are such a big strong alpha, I've protected you so many more times than you ever would admit. 

So don't do anything stupid Sour Wolf. 

- Stiles

 

Derek laid back on Stiles's bed, trying to hold onto her scent as long as possible. He held the note in his hand and just stared at it. He sat up again, and saw something akin to a smudge on the back. Derek turned over the paper. A bright red kiss mark lay there, and Derek couldn't take it. She was gone, he didn't know if she was ever going to come back, but he had to trust her judgement. 

He would wait, he had to. The one thing he wanted most in the entire world had left him, and now she promised to return to him. The aching pain in his chest wasn't going to subside until she was back in his arms. And on that day, he would tell her that she was his soulmate in every way possible. No matter what she said, he had to tell her every moment that they were together again.