Stiles' mind was racing.
He was a teenager again... how was that even possible? How did Kate turn his giant scary sourwolf into a puppy? Stiles barely even recognized Derek without his signature scruff and scowl.
For a split second, he wondered if Derek would recognize him. But then of course he wouldn’t, they hardly knew each other till Scott was turned. Derek wasn’t going to have any idea who Stiles was. He tried really hard not to show the heartbreak that thought caused.
Stiles had been pacing for a good 10 minutes with Derek sitting on Scott's bed in front of him. Derek finally broke the silence in a voice so high it was laughable compared to what Derek usually sounded like, "...Are you Stiles? You look kinda like him, but different."
Stiles stopped in his tracks. He turned to stare at Derek, with his jaw practically mopping the floor. Wait, what?
"You look a lot older, but I... No, never mind, there's no way you're Stiles, sorry." Stiles was confused. Very confused. Derek remembers him? Huh? How? What? When?... What?
Stiles tried not to get his hopes up, but something lit up inside him when he thought about Derek recognizing him. Stiles choked back thoughts of Derek being in love with him since they were kids and growing up to be madly in love and having a beautiful wedding on the beach. The thoughts always stung, no matter how accustomed he grew to unrequited love.
He sat next to Derek, placing a hand on his shoulder as an attempt to comfort the confused kid staring back at him. He was relieved when the new (or rather, the old) Derek didn’t murder him for making direct physical contact like the old (new? whatever) Derek. "Yeah I'm Stiles. How do you know me, Derek?"
Derek looked down at his shoes and seemed to struggle for words, "Well, I know you're the sheriff's kid and umm, I don't know... I've always felt like I've known you really well even though we never really met…”
It's not possible. Nope. No. Never.
Derek continued after a moment “I don't know, it's weird, forget I said anything. Sorry, Stiles. I’m- I’m sorry.”
It was inconceivable. But was it, really? Could Derek have known this entire time?
“Derek, don’t worry about anything, okay?”, Stiles rubbed his shoulder as he tried to make sense of what Derek had said. It was too vague, Stiles needed more. “But, uh… Derek, can I ask you something?” He didn’t wait for a response. “When you used to see me around.. how did.. that...um.. make you...” He cleared his throat. Asking a 15 year old about his feelings wasn’t really a good idea. No one knows what they’re feeling at 15, though he hoped Derek wasn’t the average 15 year old. “Um. Did you see me a lot?”
“Well, uh. I don’t know.”
Stiles released the breath he didn’t know he was holding. It was a long shot anyway. Derek continued “but when I saw Stiles- or, you I guess- I had this weird urge to make sure you were safe… I remember once I saw you fall off the monkey bars at the park a few years ago. I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach. I hated that feeling. It was the same feeling I had with…”
Paige, Stiles finished Derek’s sentence internally.
“...but, I didn’t know you-- I still don’t know you--, but I can’t shake this feeling that you were...I don’t know. Important.”
Stiles was floored. He thought it had all been in his head, but there was something between them. A supernatural force drawing them together, or something cheesy like that and Derek knew. He’d known since he was, what, 15? Stiles knew he could be a bit oblivious at times, but it had taken him years to figure out what Derek figured out before he had even met Stiles.
They were connected, and it took his Derek’s kidnapping and reverse aging for him to fully realize what’s really between them.
Stiles grabbed Derek's hand and entwined their fingers together. He was no werewolf, but he could sense a weight was lifted off Derek's shoulders. "I think you’re right. Relax Der, we're gonna figure this out, alright? Till then, I'm here for you." And I'll be here for a long time after, Stiles thought. Derek moved to rest his head on Stiles' shoulder.
They needed to figure this out soon. Stiles needed to tell Derek- the large one with the death glare- what he was now sure of. Stiles needed him, and Derek needed Stiles. No more denial, no more tension, no more defensiveness. They could hide behind hate all they wanted, but there was no denying what they had now.
But until then, everything was really fucked up, and Stiles needed to fix it.