Chapter 1: Don't Know Where to Begin; Don't Know How to Break the Bottle I'm Living In
Derek can only crawl on the ground to reach his phone, flung across the room during the fight; the pain from the fast spreading wolfsbane making every nerve burn and split. His anxiety worsens when Stiles’ phone rings three times before picking up. He doesn't know what he'd have done if he'd gotten Stiles' voicemail.
He swallows, keeping his voice as even as possible, “hi, Stiles.”
“I can’t believe you’re calling me at Uni, dude! I was just talking about you!”
Derek’s brow is furrowed in pain and there’s a film of sweat over every inch of his naked torso. His head is so fevered, his body emanating heat and radiating pain in pulsations. Seven hunters lie dead around him and five bullets have punctured his pale skin, spreading poison like dark tree roots all across his chest.
“Oh, were you?” Derek asks, a smile making a desperate attempt at curling the corners of his lips.
Stiles must hear his struggle for breath, because he asks, "yeah - hey, are you working out?”
“Yeah,” Derek lies readily, “I am - I was.”
“Oh, so, uh - what are you calling for?” Stiles asks casually.
Derek takes a deep breath in, hits the speaker button and lays the phone down next to his head. He shuts his eyes, feeling the invasive sensation of the poison branching out between his organs. There's no fighting it, so he tries to just accept the pain as it comes.
“I wanted to thank you.”
Stiles gives a soft, surprised noise.
“Always coming back for me.”
Stiles makes this noise that Derek can picture the accompanying face to; he’s flattered and a little embarrassed, his cheeks are probably pinkish, his lips a little parted. Derek smiles calmly at the image of Stiles in his head.
“Geez, Derek, I didn’t realize you were getting so sentimental in your old age,” Stiles jokes.
Always deflecting, Derek thinks to himself, smiling fondly.
Usually he'd let Stiles get away with it too - he'd let Stiles reject his compliments, but not today. Today it matters that Stiles hears him.
“I never deserved a friend like you, Stiles.”
The pause Stiles gives is eerie.
“Derek, are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” Derek replies, “I just…”
“I don’t know any other way of telling you that I love you.”
He hears something clatter and fall over the line, possibly break. He gives a huff of a laugh, quiet and painful.
“Are – are you really alright? Tell me something that only the real Derek Hale would know.”
Derek smirks, “when you were possessed you threw me into a wall.”
Stiles makes a contemplative hum, “alright, alright, but a lot of people were in the room for that. What’s something only Derek and I would know about?”
Derek sighs, the itching burn snaking up his throat and wrapping like a vice around his neck.
“You helped me research the Alpha pack during your summer into junior year.”
“Wow,” Stiles says, mildly impressed, “I… guess this is actually you…”
“It is,” Derek assures, “I just… couldn’t not say it. Anymore.”
He thinks Stiles is nodding, probably slack-jawed. Probably angry that Derek said something so important over the phone rather than in person, where he could have read Derek’s body language and touched him - whether that touch would be a kiss or a smack, Derek's not entirely sure. He likes to think that if he'd ever had the courage to say it while Stiles still lived nearby, Stiles would've leapt into his arms and said something charmingly sarcastic about him taking so long to say something so obvious.
“Tell me about your classes,” Derek redirects.
“I… uhm, okay. Uh, well – criminology is cool as shit as it turns out! Who could’ve predicted it would be an awesome major? Oh, wait - me. I did. And I was right. As usual.”
Derek smirks to himself while Stiles rattles on about his schedule; his awful 8am class, the nearest coffee place always burns his espresso shot or lets it sit too long and he’s about to burn the place down in a rage. He talks about rooming with Scott and how much studying they don’t get done, how unfulfilling the parties are when he can’t make werewolf jokes.
Stiles’ familiar baritone eases some of the pain. Derek doesn’t catch every word, but it’s a comforting lull. His ears pop as the wolfsbane runs up his neck, webbing over his face and it leaves his hearing very human. It’s muffled in a way. He’s unused to having such desensitized hearing.
He draws the phone closer and as Stiles ends another story about Law in Philosophy class, Derek mentions to him, “I’m glad. I’m glad you’re with Scott too.”
“Yeah,” Stiles chuckles, “Yeah, we’re hinderances to each other, but we hardly function when we’re separated.”
“Mm,” Derek replies.
His sinuses tighten and burn like a lit fuse, a heavy, static sensation curls over his eyelids. He’s sure now that if he opens his eyes, he won’t see anything anymore. He's too scared of the heartbreak being blind would bring him, so he doesn't dare open them.
“How are you?” Stiles asks.
Derek contemplates his answer for a little.
He’s got maybe two minutes left to live. Maybe. And Stiles is at school, about six hours away. He’s lying on the floor of the loft, his blood pooling beneath him and wolfsbane etching across all the surface of his skin. His legs feel like lead, his stomach feels sunken in, every space between every organ and every bone – even the marrow in his skeleton is vibrating with pain like an electric shock.
And Stiles’ voice is bouncing off the tall walls and high ceiling of the loft. Talking gently right next to Derek’s ear. He turns his head to face where the phone is, pretending Stiles is there in person, seeing Stiles in his mind's eye.
He hears a smile in Stiles’ voice, “good, man. I’m glad to hear that. You know, we worry about you all the time - I was just talking to Scott before you called about maybe making a weekly Pack con call, so we all have to update each other from our respective schools and stuff. And, I mean – you too. You’d be on the con calls. So we can all make sure you’re still eating something other than protein bars and not just sleeping at absurd hours and working out every other minute of the day.”
Derek smiles, tears prickling from behind his shut eyes and blossoming between his eyelashes.
“That sounds like a good plan.”
There’s a muffled voice behind Stiles and Stiles’ voice seems a little further when he replies ‘oh, yeah – okay, I’ll be off in a second. Yeah – see you there!’ and then gets back on the phone.
“Hey – I gotta go to Comparative Law now,” he starts hesitantly, “Are you… uhm, will you call me again soon? I just…”
“I…love you back.”
The tears fall from the corners of Derek’s eyes, sliding down his face and leaving tracks through the gun powder and soot and blood there. He swallows thickly, his throat encrusted with diamonds.
“Go to class,” Derek smiles, but even he can hear how watery his voice sounds.
“I’m glad you told me,” Stiles insists, obviously noting the waver in Derek’s voice and mistaking it for insecurity, “I really am and I really do – I have, I mean – shit, for a long time, I – ”
“No epiphanies before Comparative Law,” Derek jokes, “Go on.”
He hears the smirk on Stiles’ voice, “but, we can talk about this? The next time I see you, right?”
“Yeah,” Derek responds.
“Good,” Stiles says happily, “I – I’ll talk to you later, Derek.”
“Bye,” Stiles says.
And then there’s silence.
Chapter 2: Do Anything to Take Away the Memory of Him
Prompt: Someone asked for Stiles' reaction to finding out about Derek's demise and I do nothing if not deliver on the pain.
The Sheriff cringes as he hears familiar converse shoes smacking up the stairs to the loft. He swears he hears Scott calling after Stiles in a stage whisper.
“Stiles – Stiles,” he hears echoing down the hall, “Stiles – wait, your dad said - ”
The loft door is already wide open, crime scene investigators swarming everywhere, collecting hairs and bullet shells and photographing blood splatter. Stiles’ hands are shaking, his blood turns cold. He hates seeing these strangers in Derek’s loft, hates the blank stares they pass over everything like it's a stage set and not a place that was once bustling with life. Life that mattered.
He comes to a screeching halt just a little past the doorway.
“Stiles,” the Sheriff says grimly.
Derek’s lying at the Sheriff’s feet, pale and still and everything in Stiles' body flips over and rotates in reverse, ice cold.
“Derek!” Stiles growls, marching into the loft and dropping down to his knees beside Derek.
The Sheriff shoos away some of the investigative team that looks on warily, some of them seeming bothered by Stiles' reaction to Derek's corpse. He even makes some of them leave the room entirely. Scott stands in the doorway, brows curved in sadly as a group of investigators go by him.
“Derek,” Stiles grumbles angrily, coming to straddle Derek’s waist.
“Stiles,” the Sheriff attempts, mostly perturbed by how willingly close to the body Stiles is getting.
Stiles’ hands come to cup Derek’s face. Derek’s face is so cold, Stiles’ entire body is rushed with chills from just touching it.
Without warning, he smacks Derek’s face a few times in rapid succession; the Sheriff’s voice is a muffled murmur and the only focal point of Stiles’ vision is where his hands hold Derek’s head.
“Derek! Derek! Come on!” Stiles insists, hands rounding into harder weapons.
“Stiles!” Scott’s voice finally comes into focus as he holds Stiles’ arms back from swinging anymore into Derek.
“Stiles, he’s gone,” Scott says.
Stiles shakes his head vehemently, tears building in his eyes and fury boiling in his gut. It’s hard to breathe. It’s so hard to breathe.
“No, no, no - Derek,” Stiles says; he falls forward when Scott’s grip on him loosens and his hands splay out over Derek’s chest, “Derek?”
His tears drop onto Derek’s cheeks.
He notices the streaks by the corner of Derek’s eyes and he finally sees the phone lying next to Derek’s head. It all comes together in terrible clarity. His eyes sting and scrunch closed as tears spring from them and he pounds on Derek’s chest.
“You asshole! You evil, stupid, thoughtless - ”
“Stiles,” his father starts.
He doesn’t look up at his father, only stares down at Derek’s dark eyelashes. He tries to tap into the Spark in him, tries to will Derek’s eyes open.
“Stiles,” his father repeats gravely, “He’s gone.”
Stiles bends over and curls up against Derek’s chest. His fisted hands come to rest on Derek’s clavicle; his memory of a beating heart plays in his ears even in the silence.
He can hear Derek calling after him, he can feel what it was like when the energy surrounding Derek used to touch his own. The gravel of Derek’s voice, the incandescent glow of his eyes - he can hear Derek’s words.
“…I love you.”
He feels Derek.
He hears Derek.
Even in the silence.
Chapter 3: Can't You See...
“Stiles,” Lydia starts worriedly, “Stiles - he was cremated. None of these spells apply.”
Stiles glares at her, his shoulders squared and jaw ticking. He doesn’t say anything back to her, because it’s true.
Derek was cremated three years ago.
He sits in an urn designed with an engraved triskele atop Stiles’ Abnormal Psychology textbook. He was supposed to be spread over the Hale memorial plots, but Stiles wouldn’t let anyone take the urn from him. He’s since cast a protective charm over it, so it can never break and anyone other than him who attempts to touch it has their skin burned.
Deaton stopped providing Stiles private emissary training when he learned that Stiles was studying necromancy in his free time. Scott’s shy reprimanding didn’t stop Stiles, the Sheriff’s loud disapproval didn’t stop Stiles and even Lydia’s tears didn’t stop him.
She begged him not to delve into dark magic, she asked him, "you are trying to do exactly what Peter did! Would you use someone like me to get him back, Stiles? Would you use an innocent to get Derek back?”
Underfed, pale and grey from insomnia and bouts of crying spells, Stiles hadn’t faced her when he answered back, “yes.”
She was horrified, Stiles thinks. She was probably deeply hurt and maybe even angry. She left him alone for two weeks before storming back into his room and demanding that, if he is going to toy with such dangerous black magic, he must allow her to help him. She said that she refused to lose him too.
They have spent the last two years conducting magic without Deaton’s supervision or aid. Lydia takes a long while to decipher spells, much longer than it took Deaton, but Stiles is grateful for the help. He has gotten better at recognizing specific symbols and characters with her help. He can even sight-read some spells now.
“They’re not… I mean, some of these look like they could maybe have a chance of working, but… nothing in the spells you’ve given me have anything about -"
“Maybe?” Stiles asks.
Lydia goes rigid under the sound of Stiles’ voice. He doesn’t speak often anymore. Once Derek was gone, it was as if Stiles only had the energy and time enough to say what must be said and the chatty boy they all once knew was suddenly gone. Every free, quiet moment was spent with his nose between spell book pages and when he refused to go to Derek’s memorial service (which consisted of only Scott’s pack), he had declined only by saying, “I’m not going. I am not saying goodbye.”
And three years later, he talks to Derek’s urn like Derek might hear him and when he is up for days at a time, so long that the nights blur into one another and feel like one dark, endless dream, he reads aloud to Derek. He sometimes sings while he’s cleaning his dorm room and it’s the only thing that makes Scott smile; Stiles has never told Scott that he’s singing in the hopes of making Derek laugh.
He really doesn’t want to be committed again.
Not when he’s so close.
“Stiles,” Lydia sighs.
“But you said 'maybe,'” Stiles interrupts, pointing at her accusingly, “You said it. You said that they could maybe have a chance.”
Lydia looks down at the torn up and water damaged scrolls in her lap and mutters, “yes. Maybe.”
“Friday is the full moon,” Stiles tells her, “I want to try.”
“This Friday?” Lydia asks incredulously, “Are you out of your mind?
“You can help me or you can leave,” Stiles says.
Lydia’s eyes flash with anger for a quick second, but then she takes a deep breath and replies, “I am going to help you, Stiles.”
Stiles gives a ghost of a smile and faces Derek’s urn.
Hear that, Derek? I’ll see you this weekend.
“I’m just scared I’m helping you kill yourself, Stiles.”
Stiles’ brows curve, but he doesn’t turn to face her again.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean… when we did this last year, you almost died, Stiles. Deaton warned us that this is unnatural and it could cost us our lives. I… I love you, Stiles, I just don’t want to love you to death.”
Stiles bows his head, his heart is tender with fragile hope.
He can feel her waiting.
He turns around to face her and finishes, “I didn’t tell you… I didn’t tell anyone.”
“Tell anyone what, Stiles?” she asks nervously.
He swallows thickly, a wall of lava burning from behind his eyes and a fiery lump lodged in his throat. His fingers curl in and out, some knuckles cracking.
“He called me while he was dying.”
Lydia’s eyes go round and white. Stiles can’t meet them anymore, so he looks at his shoes.
“He said…” he swallows another hot lump and blinks, “He said he was glad I have Scott. He said… he said he loved me.”
Lydia doesn’t breathe a word and the silence is an axe in Stiles’ back.
“Even you - even you couldn’t let go of Jackson. You brought him back and if Kate can come back, if Peter can come back and they’re such evil, worthless leeches - doesn’t Derek deserve… doesn’t Derek deserve a chance?”
There are hot tears building in his eyes and he doesn’t want to cry in front of Lydia. His hands curl into fists by his sides and he continues, “I don’t want to hurt anyone, Lydia. I don’t want to use innocent people as mediums, I don’t want to slingshot the universe into chaos, I just… I just want a chance… I just want a shot at being actually… happy.”
“You can’t be happy without Derek?”
Stiles doesn’t take offense. She’s asking genuinely and he can tell. He shakes his head and says, “I’m gonna spend the rest of my life wondering what it could’ve been like if he were here. I’m gonna end up like my dad - the way he looks at the clock every ten minutes on my mom’s birthday, I’m gonna hold onto this fuckin’ urn the way he still hasn’t taken off his ring…”
He rubs at his forehead, his heart lurching in a way it hasn’t for years.
“I’ve loved Derek since I was seventeen, Lydia…”
That’s the first time I’ve said that out loud, he thinks.
He doesn’t meet her roaming eyes, but he can feel them moving over his face.
“I still love him.”
“Okay,” Lydia answers, “I’ll help you, Stiles.”
He finally looks up into her stare and it’s melted, it’s twinkling and wet and warm, “this is the most human you’ve sounded in so long,” Lydia explains, “I believe you.”
He nods and swallows down the budding tears in his eyes.
Stiles rushes work into the spells, but he doesn’t feel prepared by Friday. He quietly apologizes to Derek’s ashes and promises that next month, during the full moon, he’ll cast the spell. Even if it kills him. And when Stiles says that, he means it.
Scott comes back from class one day, says he spoke to Lydia and he’ll help this time. He tells Stiles that if they really feel close, like this might really work, he’ll offer his help this one and only time. Stiles hugs him and Scott holds tight onto him, like he’s trying to keep Stiles from falling far and away from him.
He and Scott buy thirty ghost orchids and fifteen chocolate cosmos flowers, as the spell demands. He forces Scott to help him hunt and kill a raven by hand; he grinds the birds’ bones into a fine powder while Lydia half sings and half chants in dead tongues. Scott’s eyes turn crimson during the casting and the powder whirls around the room like a flock of birds.
It twists and spins, pulls in tight and then explodes in a cloud above Stiles’ flowers. It coats the flowers and the ghost orchids turn bright blue while the cosmos flowers turn gold at the tips and blood red in the center. The room is hot like a flame for the next three days.
The flowers soak in wine instead of water; their colors grow more vivid, their stems grow taller. Stiles and Lydia can feel the magic radiating from them. It only serves to worsen Stiles’ insomnia and anxiety.
There is no body for Derek to return to.
He takes to placing a kiss on the triskele of the urn every night before crawling into bed to restlessly toss and turn. He barely eats for the month, functioning almost entirely on coffee and beef jerky. Lydia warns him that he’ll get ulcers. He doesn’t make a joke about surviving much worse, because he feels too inside his own head.
For the last three years, he’s felt like he was at work. In the middle of some huge project that he can’t turn his back on for a moment, or all efforts will be lost. He thinks he’ll be able to joke once Derek is back. Once Derek is there to look at him drily and combat his quick wit swing for swing, Stiles will be able to rest. He’ll be able to play once his work is done and his work isn’t done until he has Derek back.
“Isn’t this… uhm, I mean… bad things happened to Peter and Kate, right? Bringing people back from the dead is cursed, isn’t it?” Scott asks one day.
Stiles shoulders go stiff while he’s chopping and mixing herbs and three strands of wolfsbane. He turns his head and looks out of the corner of his eye.
“No one seemed worried when Lydia brought Jackson back.”
“Love is safest,” Lydia inserts.
Stiles turns back to the bowl his hands are fumbling in as Lydia explains, “Jackson wasn’t brought back with intent, meaning he’s actually quite safe. Without intent, magic is sort of considered by the universe to be equivalent to the chaos it would inflict for it’s misuse. So, Jackson’s rebirth sort of… cancelled itself out.”
“But Stiles and you – we – we’re doing this with intent,” Scott says, “Isn’t this doomed?”
“I don’t want to bring him back to kiss him, Scott,” Stiles says sharply.
His shoulders are high and round by his ears. He feels their gazes on his back.
“I don’t want to bring him back for money, I don’t want to bring him back for sex, I don’t want to bring him back because my life is shit without him – I need to bring him back because it’s the him being gone part that’s unnatural. I feel it. I feel this… this tear in the universe where he’s supposed to be. I’m supposed to do this. I feel it in my bones, Scott.”
He turns around to face Scott and adds, “I feel completely sure. I’m willing to die for this, Scott. He’s waiting for me. I feel him.”
Scott looks worried, almost parental and it sets Stiles on edge. He turns back to his flowers and herbs and no one speaks for the rest of the night.
“There can only be one caster,” Lydia says that Monday.
“I have to do it alone?” Stiles inquires while Scott stiffens next to him.
“I don’t like the sound of that,” Scott interjects.
Stiles ignores him and waits for Lydia to answer, “yes. You’ll have to cast it alone.”
He hesitates, knowing what conversation is about to happen.
“What vessel are you going to offer?”
Stiles wrings his wrists and admits, “I don’t know.”
“Are you going to kill someone?”
“No!” Stiles snaps, “Jesus, Lydia - no. I… I don’t know what I’m going to do yet.”
“You only have until Saturday - “ She starts.
“Yes, I’m well aware, thanks,” Stiles grumbles.
That's all to be said for it, it seems.
They don’t speak again until Friday night.
Chapter 4: ... That I Have No Way Out If You Leave Me Now?
Stiles is out in the woods under the light of the full moon, standing in a summoning circle that’s decorated with candles he made by hand and enchanted flowers that seem to be humming. Lydia and Scott are waiting by the first line of trees, back towards campus.
Stiles is standing in the summoning circle, rereading the spell Lydia taught him how to pronounce. He’s never felt more anxiety over using his magic.
Last year, he tried a different resurrection spell and he didn’t even know it had gone horribly wrong until he woke up in the hospital a week later. Lydia had sworn up and down that she’d never help him again, but she knew he wouldn’t stop. She could tell he wasn’t done and he waited for her and when she inevitably returned, he showed her the ten new spells he had uncovered. She read them for him and debunked them all.
And now another year has passed and Stiles is standing in the epicenter of magic, braving it all again.
He sets Derek’s ashes down in the center of the summoning circle, his hand on the top, ready to twist it open.
He can feel the Reaper standing before him, a familiar friend with something hidden behind his back.
Stiles breathes in deeply through his nose and as soon as he’s exhaled, he starts the spell.
He recites to the electric night air for almost three minutes without stopping. He pauses in all the right places, he doesn’t stutter over that one word with ten syllables and when he’s done, he opens the urn. He plucks out an eyelash from both eyes, drops them into the ashes and uses a shard of stained glass to draw blood from his wrist. He lets it drip into the ashes.
He conjures an image of Derek in his mind’s eye; his broad shoulders, his strong back, his slim waist and long legs. His sharp, bright eyes, darkly outline with thick lashes, his thick brows and square jaw. His defined clavicle, his dense arms, his ebony hair.
Stiles hears a beating heart and thinks that’s what’s hidden behind the Reaper’s back.
He thinks he can smell Derek among the ozone and wild, that romantic, cool, dark liquor smell. Like a strong gust of wind on a warm summer night, like sparkling water beating against smooth, sun-soaked stones.
“Derek,” he whispers.
He feels a rush inside the circle and opens his eyes that he unknowingly shut. Derek’s ashes crackle and glow like embers. They spill from out of the urn and spread like a nest of snakes, closing the circle and pushing the flowers together. Everything shakes and there’s sweaty, humid heat radiating from the center of the circle where Stiles is standing.
The easy night is whipping with wind around them now, dark birds are flocking toward him and perching on nearby trees, watching closely.
The flowers and ashes twine together, spitting flame throughout, crackling and popping. A shape starts to take form, something vaguely familiar and stupendously hopeful. Stiles’ breath is sucked out of him and then he feels his magic leaving him.
Like he’s being bled out, it slips from his head and drains down the length of his entire body, pooling at his feet and feeding back into the Earth. He feels more plainly human than he ever has before and he knows this is the last spell he’ll ever cast. It’s the last of his Spark.
Weak and no longer in control of the magic whipping and whirling around him, he collapses onto his knees. He imagines what will happen now, without a Spark to orchestrate the spell. He wonders what would have happened to Lydia if she had tried; if it would have taken her Banshee powers or if it would have killed her. Or maybe it would have backfired altogether because she wouldn’t have been willing to sacrifice anything.
When he blinks back up, the silhouette of a person made of ash and stem and petals is smoking, tendrils of grey curling up towards the stars. Waiting.
“Derek,” Stiles summons.
He blinks at the flash of light and then he’s staring up at Derek, flesh and bone, naked like the day he was born and just as beautiful as Stiles remembers him.
Stiles is bolted to the ground, hands shaking and eyes wide.
Derek’s nostrils flare and his eyes glow electric blue. He extends his claws and stretches his fingers. He shuts his eyes, breathes in deeply and opens his eyes on his exhale. He looks at Stiles with human eyes and offers his hand to help Stiles stand.
Completely petrified that this is all a dream, Stiles extends his shaky hand and clasps onto Derek. He gasps when their flesh meets; Derek is warm, there’s a pulse on his wrist and in his neck. His eyes are moving back and forth between Stiles’ and Stiles can smell him, that Derek scent that he could recognize anywhere and Derek asks, “are you scared of me?”
The sound of his voice is like a divine chorus and Stiles lets out a sob. His tears well up and overflow as he falls into Derek’s arms. Derek so readily wraps his arms around him, he cries into Derek’s chest, fingers flitting and dancing over the skin of his arms and he listens to the beating of Derek’s heart.
“I’m not scared of you.”
He hears Derek give a chuckle, feels Derek’s broad palm come down over the back of his head.
“I could hear you.”
Stiles smiles even though his face is wet with tears. He backs up enough to look Derek in the eyes, he keeps his hands set on Derek’s upper arms and he asks, “did you hear anything embarrassing?”
“I don’t know, I can’t imagine you’re embarrassed to know all the lyrics to Nicki Minaj’s verse in Monster.”
Stiles throws his head back and laughs.
He laughs so hard and for so long, he loses his breath and falls back into Derek’s chest. He quiets down in the hallow of Derek’s neck and says, “you’re such an asshole. You’re such an asshole for calling me. For doing that to me.”
Derek shrugs and runs his hands along Stiles’ back.
“I needed to hear you.”
“You didn’t even - you didn’t tell me what happened, how could you -"
“You were too far to help anyway,” Derek offers, “I only had time enough to get out what was most important to say.”
Stiles watches the pulse in Derek’s throat and he hears Scott calling his name from the entry of the woods. He knows he and Lydia are headed to check up on him. They think he failed, he knows already. He knows they didn’t expect anything to come of this, they are only worried he’s hurt himself again.
“That you love me,” Stiles guesses.
“That I love you,” Derek confirms.
Derek doesn’t speak again until Scott and Lydia find them, but Stiles can hear everything he’s not saying.
He can hear Derek, even in the silence.