The Lies We Told
Derek fisted his hands, not turning even though he heard the unspoken plea in Stiles’s voice, the quiet desperation to make this moment better. To make things right. “You lied to me," he said instead. "You told me you could handle it. You swore you wouldn’t get attached. That you couldn’t get attached. That you couldn't love me. Wouldn't love me.”
"I didn’t plan to. I didn't think I could. It didn’t seem possible, but you were different than I thought you’d be. You were more. We were more."
Derek felt more than heard him take a step behind him, reaching out a hand as if to touch him. The contact never came, just his words, just his meaning, just his heartbreak.
"I’m not the only one who lied, you know. You lied, too, only you did it to yourself instead of me. You're still doing it." He drew in a shaky breath then forced out, "You care about me, Derek. I know you do. I felt it last night when we made love, and it was making love, despite how hard you want to deny it now. Emotions got involved, and I know we were on the same page with them."
They weren't. They couldn't be.
Derek didn’t do love. Not anymore. Not when everything he loved burned.
“You should go,” he said, struggling to keep his voice hard, unaffected. “We’re done here.”
Stiles sighed. Disappointed. Aggrieved. Resigned. “Yeah, I guess we are.”
Footsteps echoed on the cement floor as Stiles made his way toward the loft door, slowly sliding it open. He paused before stepping out to mutter, “I hope you find what you need some day, Derek. Because despite what you want to believe right now, you deserve to be happy. You deserve to be loved. And to love someone else in return.”
No, he didn’t. Everyone he loved got hurt, and he wouldn't risk Stiles becoming another one of the casualties. Even if it meant breaking his heart now, Derek would protect him. He'd protect him, no matter the cost.
Because he cared about Stiles. It might not be love, not yet, at least, but he cared.
Deeply. Unquestionably. Unwontedly.
He cared so much it hurt to think he wouldn't have him anymore. But Derek knew it was for the best. Maybe not his best, but Stiles' best, certainly, and really, as far as Derek was concerned, that was all that mattered. All that would ever matter.
Stiles would get over his hurt eventually. He had to. Because the alternative...it just wasn't acceptable. Not to Derek. Never, ever to Derek.
Stiles deserved the world, and Derek couldn't give to him. Wouldn't ever be able to give it to him. It hurt, but it was the truth, and the truth was the only thing left that mattered.
Especially where Stiles was concerned.