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Feathers (Always Hopes)

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Derek Hale stood at the head of the large mahogany dining table, his jaw set and his eyes sharp. He adjusted his midnight blue suit that was tailored perfectly to his body before picking up his glass of champagne to give a toast.

The colors of the room were muted, greys and greens, soft blues and tans. When one of the event planners had suggested red accents he had refused.

The lighting was low, not so much that the room was dim, but just so that it set the mood to dinner party opposed to one or the other.

He raised his glass at the standing guests and thanked them all for coming out. It was short and sweet and everything he had been living up to for the past four years. All eighteen of them returned the gesture, giddy at the man’s rare smile and kind words, before sitting and continuing in their own conversations.

Braeden, his assistant, sat to his right, silently judging each and every one of his guests. And Isaac sat to his left, also silent. Despite his over confidant front, he was still uncomfortable in front of large crowds.

It had been an hour into the meal. The entrees had just been served and William Audrey was launched into one of his many stories about his annual trips to Mexico City with his wife. Isaac was trying not to make pained faces while Braeden wore hers on the highest display. Derek was nodding along very carefully, but with half an ear. Something was...wrong. His wolf rumbled in his chest. Something stirred in his gut.

The large heavy door swung open and the scent of blood flooded his senses. His eyes snapped up to see two figures standing in the doorway of the dining room. One of them was limp, one arm swung over the other’s shoulder, a gash in his side pulsing blood continously. The other was covered in dirt and grim, the rest of him, however, was saturated in his company’s blood. Derek’s eyes immediately focused in on the conscious man’s eyes that were wet with tears and filled with fear. The shouts of horror and disgust from his guests echoed around the room but Derek hardly even noticed. It was when Derek’s grip tightened around his wine glass so hard that it shattered, did Stiles speak.

“Help us. Please."

 

Isaac and Breaden dismissed the guests, promising a rescheduling at a later date. But that was the least of Derek’s worries. He had run to Stiles immediately, catching him by his elbow before his knees gave out beneath him.

“Can you...?”

“Yes, yes. Just...hold on, okay?”

Braeden had taken the other man from Stiles’ hold and brought him into one of the guest rooms with Isaac’s help. Derek would tend to Stiles, no questions asked.

“What happened" He asked in a calm voice, "I need to let Isaac know so he can help him."

Stiles finished his slow descent to the floor of the dining room, courtesy of Derek’s strong hold on him.

“Hunters," he panted, "He was shot. He’s not...not a wolf. Just...just human.”

“Okay,” he nodded, placing himself in front of Stiles, having faith that his beta had heard the situation from where he was in the house, “What about you?”

“What about me? I’m fine. I got him here, didn’t I?”

“Yes. You did a good job. Where are you hurt?”

“I’m not. Just...just tired. The magic,” he waved his hand in dismissal, “Took a lot out of me.”

“You’re practicing again?” Derek nearly snarled, forgetting for a moment that this was no longer his business.

But to his surprise Stiles shook his head, “No. No. But we were dead if I didn’t do something. Then I had to locate...locate you.”

“Okay. Okay. Let’s get you cleaned up,” he said, wrapping a strong arm around Stiles’ waist and dragging him upwards.

He’d have to throw his suit away. After years of running for his life, he knew that blood stains this large had no chance of coming out. Not if you wanted the memories to disappear along with them.

 

Hours later Stiles sat on the settee in Derek’s room, freshly showered and fed. He wore a pair of Isaac’s sweatpants and one of Derek's old sweatshirts. Said man walked in a moment later, still dressed in his suit sans the jacket, which had been the main collateral of the bleeding. He sat down next to Stiles, silently taking in his profile for as long as he could. The familiar scene of the human snuggled into one of his oversized sweatshirts made his heart clench.

“I’m sorry. I had nowhere else to go.”

“It’s fine,” he murmured, eyes flickering to Stiles’ plush lips as he cupped the boy’s face in his hand, “I’m glad you came. I can help.”

A careful smile grazed his face, “Thank you.”

 

He remembered from all those years ago. He was standing in the door frame of the Stilinski’s kitchen door while Stiles tripped over himself to make a pot of coffee. He had placed a hand on the back of his neck and kissed him sweetly, if only to calm his frantic heartbeat. He had kissed him back, his always shaky hands threading through his inky hair, his soft lips against Derek’s rough ones. He had been the one to pull back, knowing that if he didn’t tell him then, he never would have.

He watched the panic, the dismay, that crossed his boyfriend’s face when he told him. He was leaving. Getting out. Putting Beacon Hills behind him. Starting a life. A real life. Where he could be safe. Sleep a full night’s worth. Have a family. And he wanted Stiles to go with him.

But he couldn’t. And Derek...understood. But Stiles didn’t. To him, he was abandoning him. Leaving him. And Derek understood that too. Derek understood but Stiles didn’t. Couldn’t. Not then. Maybe not ever. He had Scott to worry about. And Lydia. His father too now that he had become a staple in all of the supernatural throw downs in the city. He couldn’t leave them alone. He couldn’t live a life of safety when he knew that his family was in constant danger. And that’s exactly how Derek felt leaving Stiles there. But he knew he needed out. If he didn’t leave then he would die there. It was a feeling in his gut.

One he had been ignoring all too long.

He had been wrong though. It was Stiles keeping him alive. Isaac and Braeden had come with him, both having nothing left in Beacon Hills either. Braeden had openly berated him for leaving Stiles and Isaac had visibly paled. It had been five years and Derek was still broken. It was the moment Derek left Beacon Hills...left Stiles that he died.

He had ignored that gut feeling as well.

 

“I’ll um...set up the guest room?”

“Is it...is it okay if I sleep in here? With you? I’ll take the couch, but I just...uh--”

“Stiles,” he finally met Derek’s eyes, “you don’t have to explain yourself. Of course you can sleep in here with me.”

 

He woke up the next morning with a warm presence next to him. He rolled over to see Stiles, true to form, drooling while his arms and legs twisted in an impossible pattern around a pillow. Derek smiled gently and couldn’t help but push the bangs of Stiles’ flattened hair back from his forehead. He pressed a feather light kiss to his temple before sitting himself up against the headboard. He sent a text to Isaac, asking for an update on the man and then one to Braeden to order breakfast for everyone upon her awakening.

Moments later Stiles stirred beside him, blinking open his eyes and stifling a yawn. They had always been in sync with one another. Waking up not five minutes apart, finishing each other’s sentences, catching each other’s eyes at the right moments, communicating via expression. Wordlessly he pushed himself up to sit beside Derek, taking his time to wake up. And if they ended up pressed shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh, neither of them said anything about it.

 

Their relationship had been a good one. Three long years. After the Nogitsune was when it all started. With the obvious fear of losing Stiles in the forefront, he came to terms with how much he had grown to depend on Stiles, to need him. How much he had come to love his long winded rambles and verbal sparring, his messy hair and random facts, his stupid finger guns and brilliant mind. He hadn’t wasted a moment in telling him when things had calmed down. He had been prepared for a rejection, but Stiles had only kissed the wolf’s cheek and dragged him into a long, intimate hug that had lasted all night.

 

They were mid conversation later that day when Derek had brought his hand up to cup the back of Stiles’ neck. The gesture had been familiar. Five years ago. And it was familiar now. He had gotten caught up in the familiarity of the moment and had forgotten where he was, who he was, who Stiles was. But the man had only frozen for a second before continuing on in his story.

Maybe he, too, had forgotten. Or maybe, now like Derek, he was ignoring it. Or maybe...

He heard Stiles’ breath hitched a moment later before he threw himself at Derek’s lips. The wolf caught him. He kissed back sweetly. It was unrushed. Deep and passionate. Five years worth of apologies and promises and answers all poured into one kiss. One movement.

“Stay. Please,” he whispered, his forehead still pressed to Stiles’, “I never stopped loving you. I never will. Please, Stiles.”

“I--I can’t. We’re not done.”

He felt his chest empty, even though Derek knew what he was trying to say. But there was hope in that answer. With Stiles in his arms, he dared to hope.

“When?”

“It could be years.”

“Then I’ll wait for you,” he decided, knowing full well it wouldn’t be anyone for him if it wasn’t Stiles, “As long as it takes, I’ll wait.”

The human stared into his eyes for a long moment. So long that Derek was unsure if he was going to answer. Instead of words, however, a quiet sob made it’s way from Stiles and tears spilled out from his eyes.

Derek pulled back a bit to carefully hold his jaw, “Hey hey. Baby, what’s wrong? Hey.”

“I just...I love you. So much.”

Derek’s lips pulled up into a brief water smile before pressing a handful of soft quick kisses to Stiles’ mouth. But when he didn’t stop crying, Derek felt a broken expression fall over his own features.

“Stiles--”

“My Dad’s dead,” he said.

Derek felt his heart stop, “W-what?”

“H-hunters. They...doesn’t matter. He’s gone.”

“Baby, I’m so sorry. I--”

“And Scott...Scott left.”

“What do you mean?” He snarled, he felt his eyes glow red, like they hadn’t in a long time.

“He just left. With Kira one day. Just...gone,” he sobbed.

“Stiles. Then what are you doing?” There’s nothing left for you there. They both knew it, but it remained unspoken.

“The kids. They...a new pack. They’re trying to pick up the pieces. They’re like how we were. Young. And stupid. They have no clue what they’re getting themselves into. I need...I need to help them.”

“Okay, okay,” Derek murmured, sensing the rise in Stiles’ heartbeat. He ran a large hand up and down Stiles’ spine, “Calm down. Alright? It’s okay. It’s going to be okay.”

 

Later Stiles told him that he was training their new Emissary, Mason. Who was the one he had brought in with him. He, fortunately, would be fine. Isaac had been studying supernatural medicine for a few years now and was able to heal him enough to assure further life. They had been trying to secure alliances on the East Coast so a few of the pack members could attend college there in a few years, which was how they found themselves in Upstate New York, only an hour away from Derek’s country seat. They’d be heading back to California in a few days, once Stiles could sort out flights and layovers.

 

“I didn’t know Stilinski had a long distance thing going on,” Derek overhears Mason asking Isaac as the beta is cleaning out his wound one night, “Is it serious?”

Isaac snorts, “Very.”

Derek’s lips twisted into a smile. He immediately turned on his heel to find the human and kiss him senseless.

 

Derek insisted on driving the pair to the airport. Mason sat in the back blabbering away to Isaac about some kind of comic book while Stiles sat in the passenger seat, hand linked with Derek’s for the entire ride.

When the boarding call for the flight lights up, the four of them make their way to the gate. Stiles takes Derek in a kiss, arms linked around his neck, Derek’s taut around his waist.

“I’m coming back. I promise. I just need you to wait. Just a little longer.”

Derek nods, the thick words stuck in his throat.

“I love you."

“I love you, too," Derek smiled.

“I’ll call you when we land.”

A few tears slipped from his eyes and Derek gently brushed them away, his head still bowed and their noses touching.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call earlier," Stiles whispered, "I regret every second we were apart. And now I’m leaving again.”

“I was wrong. My life? It’s with you, okay? And we’ll make up for all that lost time. Because the next time I see you will be the last time. I’ll never let you go again.”

“Hey, Stiles! Come on, they’re serving peanuts!”

Derek growled at the interruption, but that only made a small laugh bubble out of Stiles. Derek smiled down at him fondly. Because that was his life. Right there. In his arms. And he had no doubt that they would find each other again like they always did. Like they always do.

Because hope is the thing with feathers.


Derek Hale stood at the head of the large mahogany dining table, his jaw set and his eyes sharp. He adjusted his midnight blue suit that was tailored perfectly to his body before picking up his glass of champagne to give a toast.

The colors of the room were muted, greys and greens, soft blues and tans with bright red highlights livening the venue.

The lighting was low, not so much that the room was dim, but just so that it set the mood to dinner party opposed to one or the other.

He raised his glass at the standing guests and thanked them all for coming out. It was short and sweet and everything he had been living up to for the past six years. All eighteen of them returned the gesture, absolutely giddy at the man’s easy smile and kind words, before sitting and continuing in their own conversations.

Braeden, his assistant, sat to his right, silently judging each and every one of his guests. And Stiles sat to his left, a private smile plastered on his face and his hand locked securely with his fiance’s.

Because hope is the thing with feathers. And never stops at all.