Blood coated his hands, splattered his face and dripped from his T-shirt as he stared at himself in the mirror. “How can you still love me after what I did?” His voice was barely a croak as he shifted to look behind him at the doorway that led to their bedroom where Derek was standing. He moved from his position to behind the bloody man and gently placed his hands on his waist.
“You did it to save me. She had been killing people for weeks, she got less than she deserved.” Stiles turned in his grip to look up at him, their eyes flashed simultaneously, purple meeting red.
“I can’t bring myself to look, I know she wasn’t innocent but I still can’t look.” Smiling weakly down at his mate, he ran a finger over Stiles’ cheek, collecting a stray tear.
“Perfectly purple, like always, like the fox you are.” That earned him a small chuckle that made his stomach do flips like it did the first time he’d heard that sound and every time after. Turning back around, Stiles flashed his eyes at the mirror as if checking Derek wasn’t lying despite knowing he never would. Once he confirmed that they were not, in fact, blue for himself Derek gently guided him towards the bathtub. “Come on let's get you cleaned up, okay?” After getting a nod in response he helped the disorientated younger male pull his flannel off followed by his T-shirt and then the rest of his clothes and step into the bath Derek had run whilst Stiles had been contemplating what had happened not fifteen minutes ago.
When Stiles was safely lying down in the tub, Derek started to help him rid his body of the blood. “But I killed her.” The words were so sudden in the too silent room it caused Derek to start. He understood the need to talk about it, despite having accidentally been the cause of Donavon’s death Stiles wasn’t used to directly taking someone's life - not that it's something many people get used to - but this was completely different from Donavon anyway.
Stiles had killed her, slowly, messily. Exactly what she deserved if not enough, in Derek’s opinion. He understood that it was hard to comprehend the idea that he had taken the life of a person, human or otherwise, that they would never go home and see their family or their friends or do anything ever again. He understood the confusing thoughts it entailed and the fucked up ideas of how you could’ve done it differently, better, and not knowing whether you wish you had done it that way or not.
It all made sense to him because he had gone through it all after Peter, he knew it was worse without someone to stand by your side because he had had no one. It had been so painful, so much worse than Paige, after her his family had been there for him. So he was determined to be there for Stiles, he had saved him after all. Though it was not just that, it was also down to the deep-rooted love he held for Stiles that made him so unwavering in the idea of not letting this incident get the better of him. He deserved that much. He deserved more.
“It’s okay, Stiles. She deserved it, you saved so many lives by taking hers. Think about all the lives she ended, she was just going to end more and you put a stop to that. You stopped more pain, you stopped more families losing the people they love, you stopped parents losing children, siblings losing siblings, partners losing partners. You stopped so much suffering. What you did, it was for the greater good, I promise you.” Some of the stress, worry and fear drained from Stiles’ face making him look closer to his age and he seemed to regain some motor function.
“And you still love me?” He asked again, voice shaky but slightly less broken, Derek was glad his words seemed to be taking the desired effect though not so much when he registered the question.
“You know I’ve killed people, Stiles. Killed people less deserving than she was and yet you still love me?”
Nodding almost furiously he answered, “Of course.”
“So why wouldn’t I still love you?”
“I-I don’t know, I guess I just need to hear you say it. I-Is that okay?” His voice broke leaving Derek feeling like he’d just taken a shot of wolfsbane.
“Oh, Sti of course, it’s okay. I’m sorry I shouldn’t have phrased it like that.” Helping Stiles out of the bath he wrapped their fluffiest white towel around slightly trembling shoulders. “I love you, I will always love you.” Pulling the smaller boy closer to him, he placed a light kiss to his forehead. “Come on let’s get you ready for bed, it’s been a long day and you look like you need sleep.”
They were both lying in bed when Stiles rolled over. “Every time I close my eyes I see her blood on my hands, I can still feel it there sticking to my fingers, under my nails and to my palms like tar.” Derek pulled him into his arms.
“It’s gone, I promise. The feeling will soon follow. You did the right thing.” Looking up, Stiles' eyes glistened in the darkened room.
“You think so?” His voice sounded so full of hope, Derek knew one wrong word right now and Stiles could stumble and fall down a hole and never be able to pull himself back up. Knew Stiles was relying on his answer with everything he had left in him.
Derek nodded and replied, “I know so.” Before leaning down to press a kiss to Stiles’ forehead, nose then, slowly, carefully as if trying not to break him, as if he was splintered glass, he pressed his lips to Stiles own.
“Hold me?” The words were quiet but not as weak as moments ago.
“Always.” He tightened his grip on Stiles as if trying to hold the pieces in place, he hoped he could act as the glue for his glass boy.