“I’ll come back.” Derek said the night after the lunar eclipse.
The darkness of the room, Stiles’ room, was surrounding the older man. Stiles could barely make out the illumination of the moon light from the window against Derek’s body, could hardly see the shining pools of grey, light brown and green. Stiles himself was sitting on his bed, leaning against the headboard without exactly doing anything. It had been a rough day—night, whatever, and he couldn’t settle down to sleep yet. He was almost past the point where he would be surprised there suddenly was another person in his room, coming from the window. Almost. He didn’t show how shocked he was on his face, but he was sure Derek could hear his slightly quickening heartbeats.
Once Stiles calmed down and the words Derek threw at him were successfully digested, he nodded. “I trust you. I’ll take your words.” He replied, knowing Scott would say the same if his best friend hadn’t already said it.
As if reading his thoughts, Derek opened his mouth. “I only said I’m leaving to Scott.” He didn’t say he’d come back, Stiles translated on his brain. He was silently praising himself on how he managed to understand the subtlest thing Derek was trying to say. It meant Derek only told Stiles about him going to be back.
“You choose to tell me because you feel guilty that the last time we met was me punching you in the face to wake you up, isn’t it?” Stiles said, grimacing when he realized that it sounded a lot more stupid than it did in his head. “Actually, I should be the one feeling guilty I punched you in the face.”
“No. I feel guilty, yes, but it will be because I haven’t said thank you yet.”
Stiles’ eyes widened. Derek fucking Hale was thanking him? Was tomorrow going to rain or what? Or maybe Scott would turn back into human. Or Lydia would stop wearing make ups. No way, no, no, no, that would be a disaster. Or worse, maybe someone would steal his baby jeep? Oh God please whatever the hell would happen tomorrow, just because Derek fucking Hale was thanking him, please don’t let it be someone stealing his jeep.
“No one would steal your jeep.” Derek said, rolling his eyes.
He winced, “How much of that did I say out loud?”
“From the rain part.”
“Exactly.” Derek deadpanned.
He rubbed his neck sheepishly. “Uh… you’re welcome? I guess? You’ve saved my life several times also, so, yeah, thank you, too.”
“See you.” Derek muttered, barely audible for Stiles to hear, before he saw the older was slipping off his window and closing it.
“Derek.” He said, immediately recognizing the man in front of him.
He was called by Scott, asked to drop by his best friend’s house. Scott never told him the reason, never told him it was because Derek Hale was coming back. These days, there would always be a reason for him to come. He sometimes missed the times when he would crash at this place to simply hang out, watch Marvel’s superhero movies, play video games. These days, there would always be something bothering them, being pulled by the strength of the Nemeton. He guessed today was his lucky day. It was rare for Scott to give him good news when he came to the McCall’s house like this one.
The older man was… older. Derek had matured. The broad shoulder that had always looked like it carried the world on it was now seemed lighter. The frown line on Derek’s forehead eased, the eyes shined more brightly than he ever remembered it did. It was a nice change and suited Derek greatly, if anyone were to ask him.
“Stiles.” Derek replied. There was so much more in the one word than what met the eye that it caught Stiles off guard. It was like Derek bared all his emotion in the mention of Stiles’ name.
And it made Stiles all the more unable to hate Derek for leaving.
“Why did you come back?” Scott asked, the question no more than what it sounded. There were no sarcastic tones, no judge or accusation. Just the simplest of a simple question.
Derek turned to his best friend, then. “This town needs someone to protect it.” The older man said.
Scott looked at Derek, seemingly contemplating the hesitation or doubt, backstabbing plans or fear behind Derek’s word, but Stiles knew his best friend found none. Even without werewolf’s hearing, he would be able to tell that Derek was not lying, nothing if not determined to exactly do as he just said to both Stiles and Scott. He noticed that Derek knew they needed all the help they could get. Because Scott could barely keep up, not with the darkness in his heart the Nemeton left behind.
All hell broke loose for the next couple of months. The sleep paralyses, hallucination, kidnapping, murders. And Stiles almost didn’t get a fucking wink of sleep. Not without him seeing his friends—Scott, Lydia, Derek and the others, hell, even his father—bleeding and dying and looking at him like he was their prey. The lies the Nemeton had made him put up with. It was sometimes too vivid to believe that they were only lies. And sometimes, most of the times, he gave up on sleeping at nights, or at all.
“From this pattern, my conclusion would be this,” he made a circle on the map in front of him with the pen he was holding, “Is where the lair is.” He looked around, filling in his friends’ reaction one by one, because of course it went back to the same bank vault for the fucking millionth time. Allison folded her arms, frown visible on her face, Isaac beside her, doing the same. Scott, across from Isaac, looked at the map calmly, probably thinking about the strategy on how to make an ambush. Kira was beside him, eyes sharp and darting everywhere, searching. Lydia on the far end of the room was playing with her fingers, shrugging at him when their eyes met. He of all people more than knew what the calm façade Lydia made meant. It was not as calm inside as it was outside. The twins’ looks match Scott’s. They stayed near Lydia, the awkwardness and hard feelings long gone since all these things with what the Nemeton pulled towards Beacon Hills started.
While the other was looking at the map—including Lydia before their eyes met—Derek was looking at him with this other level of intense. He didn’t feel intimidated, but Derek’s eyes were boring into him like he could read anything Stiles kept inside. How much the nightmares affected him more than what he showed to the others, not even to Scott, because Scott had his own problems, and he didn’t want to add to Scott the New True Alpha Werewolf Who Couldn’t Even Control His Wolf Yet and Hallucinate Himself Being a Monster McCall’s list of burdens, even though Scott already knew. Because they were brothers.
Derek must have known. And for a nice, handful amount of time, they stared at each other and just stayed like that. He let the man see it all. Derek looked through him because the older man wanted to know. Stiles only did so much to let him. It was Derek’s consequence if what he saw in Stiles’ eyes made the big guy disappointed or mad or anything. Stiles only saw Derek’s face hardened, and he didn’t know who looked away first, it was probably him, but hey, it was not Stiles' fault… was it?
It was a week later, right after the thing in the bank vault had been taken care of, that Stiles felt a presence in front of his window, two in the morning and all. He ran a hand through his hair and rolled his chair to face the man. Of course Derek fucking Hale would be there. He rolled his eyes.
“What is it?” he asked. If he had to deal with this sooner or later, he’d choose sooner.
“You haven’t been sleeping.”
“Oh my God, thank you so much for pointing it out loud, I wouldn’t have known if you didn’t tell me.” He replied dryly.
“Don’t shit with me, Stiles.”
“So what, Derek? It wouldn’t be any easier whether you confront me about it or not. What’s your point?”
“You sleep. I’ll stay.” Derek said, his tone was final, one lead to no argument. He wondered since when Lydia taught the older man how to use that tone against people. It was cheating, alright.
“You’d creep in my room until morning? Dude, seriously? Creeping sheriff’s kid, in the sheriff’s house?”
“Shut up. Sleep, or I could beat you unconscious and wake you up when you are needed.”
“Dude! That’s—it was—that—Peter’s—“, he groaned. “Seriously, what’s with you Hales? Peter said an almost exact same thing about beating me unconscious.”
“Stiles.” Apparently, there was no avoiding the topic this time.
“Stiles.” Derek growled.
“Alright, alright. Chill up, dude.” He held up his hands in defense. It wasn’t like he could protect himself with bare hands against a big bad wolf, but the sentiment counted, right?
Stiles made a trip from his desk to his bed, slipped under the cover, but didn’t close his eyes. He couldn’t. He watched Derek moved towards the bed. The older man stopped next to the empty side of his bed, sat down on it and leaned against the headboard. Derek turned to him with a pointed look.
“Try closing your eyes.”
“I can’t, Derek.”
“You can, Stiles. Try closing your eyes.” Derek repeated. “I’ll be right here when you wake up.” Whether it was in the morning or when the dreams—nightmares—were too much for Stiles to stay asleep, Derek would be there, Stiles translated. He did the internal victory dance for once again being able to do it, despite the many months that had passed.
“I—yeah. Alright.” And Stiles did just that.
Some times between where Scott almost stabbed him and him finding his bloodied father, throat slashed up in the woods, he felt this warmth and all of those terrifying things shattered into pieces. For once in a long time, the rest of his sleep was black.
For a month now. Derek had been doing what he had been doing for a month. In that month, his nightmares would stop halfway because of the warmth that settled over his heart, and gone the next when he was about to wake up. And Derek Hale would always, never fail, sit there, right beside Stiles, sometimes with opened eyes, sometimes closed, but Derek was there. It wasn’t until one morning, one with a restless night beforehand because of a fight with supernatural creatures, he knew why the bloods and monsters and deaths in his dream disappear.
One morning, he found a hand was latched onto his when he woke up.
Derek was sleeping. He could tell by looking. Every time he woke up and Derek’s eyes were closed, he didn’t know if the older man was awake or not. Right now in this moment, he was sure Derek was asleep. And the hand, Derek’s hand, was warmly holding his, right before his chest. When the moment of awe was gone—not really gone, not with Derek’s hand still on his—he widened his eyes in realization. The nightmares was gone because Derek Hale was holding his hand.
Carefully, he detached himself and slipped out of the bed, took a note to say he was going downstairs to prepare breakfast and that Derek could join him and his father. He put it beside the sleeping figure, quietly making his way to the kitchen. When his dad made an appearance, Stiles informed him to expect Derek having breakfast with them today. Somewhere along the way, Derek had stopped using the window and instead, like another normal human being, used the front door. However, if the Sheriff was not home, Stiles knew Derek didn’t bother with manner and the front door wouldn’t even occur to the older man’s mind. In between those times, the guy would sometimes join the Stilinski in their morning routines.
His dad knew.
That Derek made him be able to sleep, made the bags under his eyes less and less obvious by days, made sure he slept at least four or five hours on a normal dates and two or three on a shitty ones like when it involved wolfsbane and mountain ash and runes, his dad knew all those, and had taken it greatly. His dad worshipped Derek Hale.
Just right before Stiles went to prepare the plates on the table, he heard footsteps coming from the stairs and spotted Derek padded downstairs. They exchanged greetings while Stiles served the pancakes on each plate with a fair share. They ate in silence, a companionable one. His dad got up from his seat five minutes later, ready for work. Derek went home. None of them mentioned the position they knew Stiles had woken up to, even though both were aware of the other’s acknowledgement about it.
It had notably been a quiet week.
His dad was still the sheriff, Scott’s dad as bitchy as always, Melissa’s problem was back to being how to keep her un-supernatural level of patience while dealing with two supernatural boys in her house, though she shouldn’t be too worried about the non-existence supernatural healing ability of the house, as Scott had stopped throwing Isaac across the wall. Scott was able to contain his alpha wolf in a controllable manner, Kate Argent barely messed up Allison’s reality, not anymore, and his nightmares was a bit manageable. At least they knew the status of the door in their mind was now closed, no longer ajar.
Derek still came to his room every night without fail. He once confronted Derek about how he shouldn’t have been sleeping in a seating position, and how he should just lie down like normal creatures—whether human or animal—slept. It took a while for Derek to actually cave. The ‘sleep together’ was as innocent as it sounded, except for the holding hands and when Stiles felt a weight like a second blanket on him, and it wasn’t like he was ungrateful or disappointed, because he wasn’t, he just couldn’t help but wonder, where did they stand?
He was told that Derek would be late tonight. When he lied down on his bed, Derek’s scent was all over there that he felt soothed. The next thing he knew, he was on his bed, sitting up, slightly sweaty, and panting so frivolously that he almost thought he had a panic attack. Another dream. He let out a sigh, slowly standing up to head to the toilet. Suddenly, when he opened the door to the hallway, it wasn’t even his house. He was in the burnt Hale house. He inwardly groaned. Of course he was still dreaming. Like it was anything new.
He went out of the house. And guess what, it wasn’t the preserve. Go figure. He was now in the hospital. He could see no one, no lighting, none. He kept walking through the corridor, went in to a room, instead found another corridor, and it kept repeating over again. He didn’t know how long he was there or how many corridors he had been walking on when he opened the lift and found Jennifer Blake, and yeah, in her slashed up face and Darach attribute and then he was sitting up, eyes opened wide, awake, already in his room.
He felt the breezes from the opened window, and his heart leaped up. It must be Derek. When he looked to his left, there, in front of the window, was far from Derek Hale. It was Ennis.
Stiles screamed himself awake.
He screamed and screamed and screamed. The sound was wrecked, even to his ears. He saw his dad went in, and stopped in the middle of the room when the strong pair of arms was circling his body. His dad carefully approached him and the person behind his back, lifted a hand to his head, ran a soothing fingers there. The scream dissipated, leaving with it a broken sobbed which he let out quietly, remembering that he was still able to breathe.
“I’ll leave him in your care, Derek.” His dad said before leaving the room.
The person behind him—Derek—nodded.
“Stiles.” Derek’s tone was one with sincere apology, concern, and guilt in it. He wanted to tell Derek he didn’t blame him, was grateful for the past months and glad Derek had been there for him on his side. But he couldn’t find his voice, he was too tired to. So instead, he brought a hand to rest on Derek’s wrist and squeezed it. He wanted Derek to know about his thoughts, his feelings.
“I’m sorry.” Apparently, Derek didn’t get what he was trying to say, or maybe Derek got it but chose to ignore it. He shook his head slowly. It wasn’t Derek’s fault. “No, Stiles. If I had been here, you wouldn’t be like this now.” Which was true, Stiles supposed, but it still wasn’t Derek’s fault. Nemeton and all, yeah, he was too tired to be playing reasoning with Derek, so he closed his eyes, and the next thing he knew, the world was black.
When Stiles went to, he felt so comfortable, so safe. He buried his head in the pillow, ready for another round of sleep. Then, a realization ran through him in a rush and he opened his eyes wide, body now straight in a sitting position. School! He shifted to get out of the bed, only to feel that he can’t move. He looked down and saw a hand was draped on his waist while the owner, Derek who was sleeping, started to stir because of his movement.
He quietly (tried to) detached the arm around him (and failed), when a voice, rasp, but it was Derek’s, said, “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Uh… in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a high schooler who is supposed to go to a high school every weekday and judging by the sun, which now is quite high on the sky, because I don’t actually know what time it is, I’m running late?”
Derek rolled his eyes, hard. Stiles sometimes thought what if the eyes wouldn’t go back to normal. “Except today is a weekend. Go back to sleep.”
And, yeah, the sound of the word sleep was the only thing needed to convince Stiles that he almost immediately lied down on his lovely bed again. Derek scooted closer as soon as he did, the hold around his waist tightened, chest to chest, his nose to Derek’s neck.
“Derek.” He called. There was a long pause in which he was regretting calling the older man when the silence was so comfortable. No doubt Derek took the pause to savor it before they completely broke it with a conversation.
If possible, the hold was once again tightened. It only added to the warmth and butterflies in his stomach, the swelling of his heart, and the growing feelings he had for the man. Stiles didn’t think that after all these times, it would be Derek who would do this thing to him, with him, lying in the bed lazily in the morning, tangled together like they mingled, holding onto each other as if their life depended on it. And then he remembered that it might only be him, that Derek might not feel the same, that the older man only did this to help Stiles.
Probably sensing his sudden discomfort, Derek pulled out. Not too far, just enough for them to face the other.
“What?” Stiles asked.
“That would be my question. I prefer ‘why’, though.”
Stiles only shrugged, snuggling back to Derek’s neck. Derek pushed him to the same distance.
“I won’t let you sleep until you answer.”
He bit his lower lip, nervous. He knew the thudding heartbeat in his chest gave him away, because Derek’s eyes widened. And in a second, Derek’s body, the way Derek looked at him, the expression Derek put softened so slightly that it caught him off guard. Derek always seemed to be able to do that, putting him off guard.
The older man brought the hand on his waist to his cheek, then, caressing it gently, as if knowing it was just what Stiles need.
“I wouldn’t be doing this to and with a person I don’t love, Stiles.” Derek murmured secretively, like it was only for Stiles to hear, or maybe it was really only for Stiles to hear. He didn’t complain. Oh, how much he would explain complaining was the last thing he wanted to do right now. But no, no he can’t, because his lips were currently occupied by the chaste kiss Derek placed on them.
By the time they pulled away, Derek smiled this smile that made his heart flutter and did a flip flop and made him realize that Derek was important, maybe one of the most, including his father and Scott. He wanted to smile back if his face could stop the shock expression into action. He knew he must look ridiculous.
“Wow… that was—wow. And hey, Derek, you said things when I barely answered, isn’t that a bit reversed to the usual thing where I blabber and you’re just... I don’t know, silence? Since when are you becoming so talkative?”
Derek chuckled, “You really couldn’t help it, could you?”
He grinned. Derek knew him so fucking well. “Yes. I also wouldn’t want anyone I don’t love to be doing this to and with me, you know, I guess it goes both ways?”
“I could live with that.” Derek answered, pulling him close once again. He had never felt any safer since so long, long ago.
“Dude, I love you, I really do, but you very, sickeningly reek of Derek. Been going on for months, but these days were especially more sickening.” Scott asked him one day and scrunched his nose, emphasizing his point.
“Couldn’t blame you.” He shrugged. “But couldn’t sympathize either, so there you’ve got it. And no, bro, before you ask, I haven’t been having sex with him.”
“Didn’t see the point of must.”
“You guys are dating, aren’t you?”
“Scott, buddy, I love you, too, I really do, but you could be so dumbly adorable sometimes that I wanna pinch your cheek or nose. You see, people could sleep together even when they’re not dating, and they could, you know, not sleep together even when they are. I and Derek are the second ones.”
“We’d get to it eventually, just not now, these days, whatever. I love him, and I plan to be in it for the long haul. We have plenty of time, and every time we have, we spent it together anyway. Sex is just a bonus we haven’t taken yet.”
“You should have said it to me, not him.” Came a voice from upstairs, Derek with a disheveled hair and somehow still gorgeous smile in a sleepy face, partly amused and partly serious.
“Cheater. You heard it with a werewolf’s super healing ability. And Scott, you are such a good friend for not telling me he’s listening to us while I’m having the most fucking embarrassing love life talk ever. Please just bury me somewhere. Preferably near my mother’s grave.”
Derek rolled his eyes while Scott was mumbling ‘I would if I’d known about it myself’, but a fond expression on him was enough to make Stiles melt inside out. “Don’t be such a drama queen.” A kiss. “I love you, too, and also plan to be in it for as long as you allow me to.”
“Ew. As much as I love you guys—and please note it in a different kind of love you just confess to each other, because I don’t need a threesome—that was just disgustingly sweet I almost puke. I don’t need to see that, thank you.” Scott covered an eye while he was palming his face.
“I can’t believe that the one who would cockblock me was my best friend. I really seriously considering the need to fire you and make a pamphlet to get a new one.”
“Let’s put on a show.” Derek was all but purred behind his ear. He didn’t even bother to hide the shiver that ran down his spine.
“No, no, no, no, no, just not that kind of revenge, okay? Please? Alright, I’m outta this house, sorry for the intrusion.” And in a flash, his best friend was gone.
The two laughed.
It wasn’t until much, much later that Derek would stay even though Stiles’ nightmares completely stopped, and Stiles wasn’t in his old room anymore, instead in a bed of his second home—the first being the one his dad lived in—he had built with Derek, and that Derek would drape an arm around his waist while the other was stroking his hair just like every single night, that Stiles felt he was so lucky. Even though the darkness sucked as fuck, and the nightmares scared him to death, and the werewolves were real, he wouldn’t change it—even when he was given the chance to—for anything if it meant he’d got to be with Derek.
Derek kissed his temple. “You think too much.”
“I was just thinking about you. Will stop now.”
Derek laughed quietly. “I’m not complaining anymore.”
They shared a matching smile, closing their eyes at the same time, and went to a deep, deep slumber together, like they hoped they would meet there in the realm of dreams, and maybe they would.
(And in case anyone was wondering, they had had sex a week after his talk with Scott.)