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Honey, its the long way home

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“Stiles? Wake up. Come on babe wake up. That’s it, I’m right here and I’m not going anywhere, come on open your eyes for me”

Stiles hears these same comforting words in different variations almost every night when he falls so far into nightmares and his screaming wakes Derek (not that he’s surprised). Most nights he thinks he’s experiencing sleep paralysis but since the Nogitsune it’s mostly him refusing to acknowledge that he is really awake. In the beginning, the main tip-off that told him it was reality was waking up to, was Derek holding him and combing slow fingers through his hair attempting to calm him. Not even in his deepest dreams did he imagine that Derek would be there to put help put his broken pieces back together in the middle of the night when his shirt is wet with sweat and his heart is beating out of his chest. It’s a miracle that Derek doesn’t wake up from just his chemo-signals of stress and fear alone the way it wafts off him when he experiences a nightmare.

Tonight, though after Derek’s voice filters through his fuzzy and fear-ridden mind, the second thing he notices is the cold hardwood pressing into his back and making him shiver. Derek’s fingers and in his hair and the other hand in on his chest trying to slow the rapid movement. Slowly blinking, Stiles opens his eyes and focuses on Derek. Eyebrows furrowed and a worry line between his eyes, the other man looks exhausted. Although at this point Stiles
Doubts he looks much better. Derek sighs deeply and leans in to kiss his cheek.

“Hey there big guy, fancy seeing you here” Stiles goes for funny, but the cracking of his voice and the strain to even get words out after the screaming fails to get the humor across. Derek shakes his head looking a bit fond over the tiredness and presses another kiss to his forehead. Stiles’ heart is still beating rapidly and the shaking hasn’t stopped, “Take a deep breath, come on babe I need you to calm down” is what Derek whispers in response. Faintly he can feel his fingers being played with by Derek’s much larger and rougher ones, slowly but surely each finger is being moved individually in a way to help Stiles count his fingers without much effort. At this point, Derek is a pro in all things post-nightmare Stiles needs. After taking a few more calming breaths Stiles can feel the panic leaving his body slowly as his muscles begin to relax and the shaking recedes to small tremors.

“Can you sit up? You need to drink some water” After nodding, Derek helps him into the sitting position and his surroundings become clearer. A glass of water is pressed to his lips and after a large gulp, he asks “Der, how did we get on the floor?” They are sitting on the floor next to the bed, almost as if he had fallen off. Derek looks a little guilty when he answers, “When your nightmare started I tried to talk you out of it but the moment I touched you, you started thrashing and screaming and when I tried to grab your arms so that you wouldn’t stab me, we fell off the bed.” He looks away, and Stiles hears him take some calming breaths of his own.

Stiles has known for a while now that he needs to stop keeping a knife under his pillow, but like the paranoid FBI agent he is, he can’t get himself to move it farther away from arms reach. When he first began sharing a bed with Derek, it had been a gun hidden under his pillow, but as all werewolves know getting stabbed hurts a lot less than being shot with a wolfsbane laced bullet. After the one time that Derek had Stiles pinning him to the floor with a gun to his head while still asleep, Stiles knew that the gun needed to be kept outside of their bedroom. The knife had become his next best option because even though Stiles hated to admit it, the paranoia of someone breaking in or hearing anything go bump in the night made him grab for his knife multiple times before his tormented sleep even began for the night.

“fuck, Der I’m sorry,” He says, reaching a hand out to touch Derek’s face. Slowly turning it back so that they can look each other in the eyes. Stiles touches his forehead to Derek’s, taking a shuddering breath. Derek’s eyes are closed and Stiles knows he’s trying to keep himself together for his boyfriend’s sake. The nightmares don’t just wreak havoc on Stiles’ sleeping pattern, they damage Derek in more ways than one. Knowing that there is nothing he can do for his lover hurts and the fact that most nights he wakes up having to forcefully take a knife from him and then hold him until he is awake leaves most of their nights in a haze of unshed tears and panic.

After a few moments, Derek closes the distance between their mouths and kisses him sweetly as if to remind them both that it’s ok. Opening his eyes slowly, Stiles leans back and runs a hand through Derek’s bed head. “We should probably get off the floor now huh? I mean as much as I love sitting in your lap, I’m freezing.” With a quick smile, Derek stands, bringing Stiles with him and gently helps him back to the bed and lay down. Stiles is always sore after nightmares, most likely as a result of the tensing of his muscles and the sleep-fighting with his super alpha boyfriend. After tucking him back into bed, Derek rounds the other side and crawls in next to him wrapping his arms around Stiles and pulling him close.

Post-nightmare Derek is 100% more cuddly than any other version of Derek, and that is why, although being triggered by a terrible reason, post-nightmare Derek may be one of his favorite versions of his boyfriend. Right after sleepy morning Derek, official deputy Derek (I mean that uniform, come on!), and silly Derek. Silly Derek tends to come out after the man has gotten too little sleep and more than enough coffee in his system, inducing laughing until he cries about things that make no sense. It makes Stiles happier than ever to see his boyfriend act so unguarded, even though silly Derek doesn’t come out as often as he would like.

Usually on nights when Stiles has nightmares and they have settled back down into bed, with Derek pulling him so close it’s like he’s trying to merge them together and his face shoved in between Stiles’ neck and shoulder scent marking him like crazy, they turn on some calming music and breath together until the sun comes up or they are lucky enough to fall back asleep. But tonight, Stiles feels too confined, the exhaustion that usually comes after the screaming and crying hasn’t come. After trying to keep still and fidgeting far too much, Derek reluctantly pulls his face from its warm spot on Stiles’ neck. Sighing he asks, “What’s wrong?”

Letting out a frustrated grunt Stiles responds “Nothing…I just….. God I can’t get comfortable and I can’t stop thinking and this stupid music isn’t helping me.” Wriggling out from Derek’s hold, Stiles sits up and pushes the blankets off of him turning to put both his feet on the ground. Derek sits up behind him and puts a hand on his back, slowly rubbing circles between his shoulder blades. After a short time, he removes his hand and gets out of bed walking to their closet in front of Stiles. He opens the doors and pulls out two sweatshirts and grabs Stiles’ shoes and socks. Stile’s raised an eyebrow in question “Are we going somewhere?” He glances at the clock on his side table, the green numbers read 2:30 a.m. looking back at Derek he says “It’s a little late to be going out don’t you think?” Derek gives him a classic raised eyebrow grumpy look and ignores him. Stiles lets the other man help him into one of the sweatshirts and even lets Derek put his shoes and socks on for him. After Derek has finished dressing similarly, he reaches a hand out to Stiles, who takes it without question, but as soon as Derek leads him downstairs to the back door he opens his mouth again “Der, seriously where are we going?” Derek grabs the keys to the Camaro off the key holder by the front door and turns back to him. “We are going for a drive, I used to do it all the time when my nightmares were bad and I was alone, but I think it’s going to help both of us because I know how much you’ve been wanting to show me your new music on your phone and driving at night always calms you down.”

Stiles stills for a moment, he never fails to be surprised by the tenderness and attentiveness Derek possesses towards him. With a small smile, Stiles offers his hand back to Derek who takes it and leads them out the door and to the garage where the Camaro, the Jeep, and Derek’s cruiser are parked. After opening the car door for Stiles, making him roll his eyes at his boyfriend’s silly show of chivalry, Derek gets in the driver’s side of his car and slowly pulls out of the garage and turn the car down their long driveway. Stiles took the opportunity to plug his phone into the aux cord and soon his latest playlist is filtering through the speakers of the Camaro while the headlights illuminate the forest-lined road Derek is driving them down. The National is singing about being close to losing love and Stiles can’t stop from thinking about how lucky he is that Derek decided to take a chance at love with a hyperactive teenage boy that drew trouble and chaos like a magnet. After five years together navigating the threats of supernaturals, graduating from school, working together in law enforcement, and their crazy pack mates need to dissect their relationship, Stiles couldn’t imagine his life any different. It was no surprise that being in love with Derek took effort and the ability to interpret expressive eyebrows and stone cold facial expressions. However, it was also no walk in the park for Derek to love Stiles and he knew that too. Somedays they worked so well together it was a wonder they even needed to talk at all, and others they meshed about as well as oil and water. The important thing though was they both knew that the effort they put into making this thing work, made it worth it. They loved each other just as much as they sometimes hate each other and neither of them did anything half-assed.

Looking at the clock on the dash Stiles noticed they had been driving for about an hour and Derek had been blessedly quiet, letting him work through what he needed to before they talked about it. “Do you remember when we first moved into the house?” Stiles asks, startling the blanket of quiet that has settled in the car. A slow smile broke over Derek’s face “Yeah, I also remember surprising you with a fully finished house when you thought I had barely made the plans with the architect,” Stiles shook his head letting out a huff of laughter. “I can’t believe you told me you were working on the house and I didn’t believe you. I guess I just thought we would never make it this far you know? Like I wanted to, God I wanted to, but even now it’s so hard to put any faith in the future.” Derek nods his head in understanding, taking his right hand off the wheel and placing it on top of the fist that Stiles had made on his leg. “I can’t thank you enough for giving me a home though. I know it’s hard for me to accept our lives and not worry about it all being ripped away or some jackass supernatural creature ruining our perfectly planned out lives, but if I didn’t have a house with you, a future with you, I wouldn’t have anything. So, thank you.”

Red tinges Derek’s cheekbones slightly, illuminated by the dashboard lights. With a small smile his eyes return to the road, after a light squeeze, Derek laces their fingers bringing their joined hands to his mouth, sweetly kissing the back of Stiles’ hand. Stiles isn’t surprised that Derek doesn’t respond verbally, he’s never been one for words anyway, and the kiss to the back of his hand tells him more than Derek’s word ever could. The song changes and an easy silence returns to the car. After a while, Stiles feels his eyes getting heavier and even though he wants to stay awake with Derek he lets sleep drag him under comforted by Derek’s hand in his and the low thrum of the car engine and the tires over the pavement. His last thought before his eyes fully close is how thankful he is that he took a chance on a man with enough sarcasm that rivals his own, who is brave and has a heart big enough to care for Stiles every moment of every day.