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face the monsters (one more time)

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Derek lands on his feet after the crash against the unfortunate chimney, the following roof and the wall that finally managed to stop him only because that's how good he is but the wound on his leg is worse than he initially thought and soon he finds himself on the floor, fighting the scream down.

The chorus of Corporal! and Derek! and Corporal Hale! come from all around him and his squad is surrounding him within seconds, gentle hands touching him all over, checking the wound and looking for others. He's too busy trying to breath to know what they're saying to each other exactly but he does manage to catch the relieved sigh of whoever is looking him over.

This probably won't kill him, he thinks this person says to the others.

And thanks fuck for small favors.

"Isaac, Cora, get the Corporal out of here, quickly! The rest of you are with me!" and now he can put a face to the voice. Allison. It's Allison and she's obviously taking leadership of the fight.

Thanks fuck, he thinks again, because that's good. That's actually a fucking relief. Allison is alive, then. The last maneuver almost costs him his right leg but Allison is alive.

"Shit, shit, shit. Derek. Derek, can you hear me? Come on man, say something!" Isaac practically begs, trying to help him to stand up but Derek is too busy trying to breath through the agonizing pain to say much of anything.

"Isaac! Come on, move! We need to get him away from here!" Cora says from his other side, and she sounds scared shitless.

Damn, Derek needs to get his act together. He can hear Allison and the others buying him time to get the hell out of there in one piece. He can hear his people fighting the monsters that only want to eat them alive and he hates it but he also knows when he's out of commission.

"Cora," he grinds out, his voice is way too husky and the blood lost is making him dizzy. Also, he thinks he hit his head when he went through the chimney. He tries to focus on not throwing up his breakfast. "Use the signal for reinforcement. Isaac, help me get behind that wall. I can still defend myself if I need to. You two have to go back there, Scott and Lydia are inside the church and Scott needs medical attention, someone needs to tell Allison so she and her team can keep the remaining titans distracted while you two go looking for them."

But as this is his own people he's talking to and he had them trained after the Academy just like Laura and his mother trained him, he knows immediately they are not happy with the idea of leaving him unprotected, he can feel it on the way their bodies stiff under his arms.

Derek' squad is full of weirdos (there is not denying that, really) and what makes them just right for the job is the fact they can think for themselves, no like the bunch of mindless idiots Deucallion himself prefers for his own squad. This fact has saved their collective lives uncountable times but it also means they won't obey any order if they conclude he's being "a complete idiot" about it. Which, really, happened from time to time.

He decides to cut whatever is going through their heads before they decree cleaning the HQ's bathrooms for a month is well worthy disobeying this one. "This," he says slowly, "is a direct order! Move! Now! Or I swear to god, I'm going to court martial both your asses!"

And they do as they're told. They help him to the wall and reluctantly go back to fight and everything goes well because no titan comes his way in the time it takes him to wrap a tourniquet just above the wound on his right leg. But of course, that's just when Derek's luck runs out, because the fates forbid he catches a break.

The four meter titan that finds him is just his kind of luck, really.

And obviously, just what he needs. Obviously. "Fuck," he curses, and it comes out like a slur. Talking is becoming as difficult as seeing straight and he probably has a concussion but he'll be damned if this thing in front of him would be the end of him. Allison would hate him forever if she has to be the one to tell Laura that Derek is dead... and Laura would probably bring him back to life just to kill him herself before having to go with the news to their mother.

He braces himself against the wall, willing himself to stand up for battle. 

And he swears to god, with the world going crazy around him as he stands, as the heat coming out on waves from the titan's hand as it grows near to grab him, that he closes his eyes for just one damn second, but when he opens them again he's laying on the floor, looking up to the red sky of the evening instead of the blue one of midday as it should be.

Also, he feels like shit and there is a rock burying itself on his shoulder. He winces, because laying on the ground sucks and he really should stop hanging around Stiles so much. He's starting to sound like him.

He thinks he may have made some kind of sound because, as if summoned by his thoughts,  Stiles ---Stiles, who he himself had lend to Laura for the duration of this mission in particular and as such shouldn't even be here---is hovering right above him looking tired and worried. There is no trace of the usual shit eating smile on his face.

"Hey," he breaths and it comes out shaken and maybe a little wet too. Derek can feel Stiles' hand on his own now. It's shaking as well. "How are you feeling?"

Derek gives him the best wry smile he can muster and answers him truthfully. "Like shit, to be honest."

His voice sounds like hell, too.

"Yeah, surprising no one, really. You scared like ten years out of me back there. I mean, you closed your eyes and just...fell down face first into the dirt in front of that titan." 

And ouch, so that was what happened. Really, there would be teasing over that one for months to come. He'd deserve it, too.

Stiles letting go of his hand to grab his face instead brings him back into focus. Soon there are warn, dry lips against his own and he allows his eyelids to flutter down. He's just glad Stiles is fine.

"The others?" he asks after the kiss, when Stiles rests his forehead against his.

He snorts and there is no humor on it. "Everyone is good. Allison has a nasty wound on one arm, Boyd had to stitch Scott's head and Laura is pretty mad at you for getting yourself almost killed but I think she's already over the murder phase." He breaths then, his voice taking a desperate hint next. "Derek. I'm... you just--- fuck. I can't even remember what I thought when you fell down back there. I can't--- you just collapsed in front of a titan and I was too  far away and had to watch it grab you and---jesus christ, it swallowed you up, Derek. I can't recall killing it, I don't even recall cutting it in half and getting you out of its sto---."

Stiles closes his mouth abruptly and fights to breath. Derek feels sick. "Hey," he calls urgently, passing one arm around him. "Hey, look at me. Stiles, I'm okay, alright? I'm alive, look. You got me out in time, remember? I'm here thanks to you. I'm alive."

And Derek watches him get himself back into control, slowly. It takes him a few minutes to do so but he's almost good again, taking a final deep breath just in time for someone else--Lydia, his mind supplies--to call his name.

Stiles breaths in, breaths out, then looks over his shoulder and makes a signal to her before looking at Derek again, still paler than usual, drinking him in. "Try to sleep a little more, okay? Boyd says you'll be just fine with a week or two of rest but we still have to go back to HQ. I'll come back to wake you up before departing."

And squeezing his hand one last time, he gets up and goes to Lydia, who is bend over a map along Laura, Peter, Morrell and Danny.

Derek watches him for a few minutes before looking around for the others.

Allison and Deucallion seem to be debriefing.  Scott is sleeping near him. Erica, Isaac, Kira, Cora and the twins are recharging the gears. Boyd is treating Jennifer under Kali's careful supervision. Ennis and Deaton are feeding and cheeking the horses

He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath still shaken up after Stiles' words, his mind still dizzy at how near he---. He concentrates on breathing one more time. Then he opens his eyes, looks up at the sky and think of nothing.

Everyone is alive, after all. He can tell there were several causalities, of course---his eyes lingered over the covered bodies a few yards away---but he'll allow himself to be selfish for just a few seconds before looking at the tired faces of the others and finding those that just aren't there, because his squad and those closer to him are all still alive. 

They all have lived to face the monsters one more time.