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The Last Goodbye

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“Are you going to tell him?” Scott asked, and Stiles laughed dryly.

“Are you kidding me right now?” Stiles could feel the weight of the spell in his heart. “Of course I’m not telling him.”

“Stiles,” Scott started, but Stiles shook his head, holding up a hand to silence his best friend.

“Isn’t it bad enough that he has had plenty of people playing games with his heart already? I mean, come on. First there’s Kate.”

“Kate?” Scott choked on the name and Stiles leaned back against the tree with an exasperated sigh.

“Yes Scott, didn’t you figure it out? Kate seduced him when he was in high school, after he lost Paige, and then used the information he gave her to kill his family. Not the most pleasant way of finding out your girlfriend is insane, but the guy never gets any breaks. Then there’s his life in New York, trying to learn to live with all his family dead, I don’t think he had a single positive relationship while he was there.”

“Okay. I didn’t know about Kate, I didn’t think… well, okay. So… what about now?” Scott seemed to be trying to figure out why Stiles wouldn’t just tell Derek, but Stiles… he wasn’t manipulative in that way.

“Have you not seen how he’s all over Miss Blake? Like, he seriously has fallen for her. I can’t… I don’t even know if he likes guys. This is three for three in the straight category, and if he bats for the other team he hasn’t shown any inkling for it yet. I don’t… I can’t. Don’t you understand that?” Stiles bit his lip and tried not to lose himself to fear.

“But Stiles, you’re *dying*!” Scott protested. “I can’t imagine he wouldn’t want to help you.”

If only anything in his life was that simple. Stiles refused to cry. Not yet. Not yet. “Don’t you dare tell him. Don’t you dare. I will *kill* you if you tell him Scott.” He held Scott’s gaze. Held it firmly and fast and refused to look away. “I mean it. We will not be friends anymore because I’m going to kill you and you’ll be dead and I’ll follow you in a few months or whatever. Do you understand? Are you perfectly in the know here?”

Scott looked like he wanted to argue but Stiles held his gaze and glare until he finally nodded his head. “Fine. I don’t… I don’t know that I won’t tell him if things get bad though Stiles. I can’t promise that.”

“Let’s just see if I can somehow get through this stupid Alpha Pack bull shit, okay?” Stiles sighed.

*

Stiles hadn’t expected to wake up tied down to some sort of altar, not when he’d fallen asleep exhausted on his couch. His arms were tied outstretched, pulled so tight he could barely move and his legs were together and tied down. Looking around the best he could, all he could see were some dark roots, a few candles. The air was musty, and he took deep lungfuls of it in through his nose, because his mouth was gagged shut. His chest was bare, shirt and hoodie gone, but his pants and shoes were still on his feet. Struggling did no good, and he couldn’t scream, couldn’t hardly make a noise.

Just his luck.

“I know what you hide Stiles,” a voice said to his side, and he gurgled around the gag in his mouth at the sight swimming into his vision. Scar tissue, a distorted face, pale skin. What the actual fuck? He almost didn’t register the words through his panic. “I’m going to need that. That pure, innocent, unrequited love.”

Stiles had no idea what the creature was talking about and tears fell down his cheeks as a searing pain went through his head and heart. Derek’s face swam in his vision and the fear he’d kept inside made him frantic to get away. This thing was going to hurt Derek, it was going to hurt him. He struggled against the bonds holding him but he could hardly move and his arms began to scream in pain.

‘What do you want!?’ he thought at the face that replaced Derek’s, and a gentle hand touched his head.

“I’m sorry,” it said. “I know you don’t want to die, but I need your strength. I need your love, your incredibly bright, glowing love for Derek. It will sustain me, help me, make me stronger. No one else can do this for me, because no one loves him as unconditionally as you do Stiles. And it has to be for *him*. I didn’t think I would get so lucky.” The person, Stiles couldn’t even see if it was female or male, cut open it’s hand and splashed blood across his body.

Searing heat went through him again and he sobbed around his gag, the scent of burned flesh lifting to his nose. The pain focused on his chest, right above his heart. It became so intense, he passed out.

He heard the sound of birds chirping and he woke with a start, sitting up in his bed, body drenched in sweat. He was wearing all his clothes, but when he ripped off his shirt, he saw a thick bandage on his chest. Underneath was some sort of celtic knot symbol burned into his flesh, covered carefully in a thick ointment.

Well crap, shit had been real then.

*

Deaton hadn’t been much help. Maybe if they find and destroy the Darach then the spell would wear off, he didn’t know. Maybe if the love was returned then it would cancel out. There were a lot of maybe’s, nothing solid, but one thing was certain.

Deaton couldn’t help. He was going to die.

*

The first time he saw Derek after that waves of excitement and happiness washed over him. It was so bad he nearly doubled over and his head felt fuzzy and floaty. Just being near Derek made the air thrum and he thought that everything was going to work out just fine. A massive weight lifted off him and he almost threw himself into Derek’s arms.

Clamping down on his instinct to rush over to Derek he channeled that into rage and anger. He needed that to get through this, and he knew he couldn’t allow himself to get close to Derek. Derek couldn’t know about this, couldn’t be told because Stiles knew Derek didn’t love him and he refused to be another manipulative force in Derek’s life. He wasn’t an asshole like that. Plus, he didn’t want Derek to try to help him if Derek didn’t love him. That wasn’t fair to either of them, no matter what Scott said.

Instead he continued on. They fought the alpha pack, they nearly died, and when Stiles found out that Jennifer was the Darach he nearly fell over himself laughing at the irony. It made perfect sense in a sick sort of way, that she would use his love for Derek to make Derek fall in love with her. He still wasn’t going to tell Derek, that would be… that would be just as bad, maybe worse.

‘Hey Derek, I need you to fall in love with me because the last woman you fell in love with put a spell on me to make you love her, and now I’m dying and it’s because I love you. Crazy our lives, right? Yeah, can you get on that because I’m starting to feel like I don’t have feet anymore.’

No. Stiles wasn’t going to do that. He refused. So what if it was unrequited, so what if it might save him? He loved Derek too much to allow him to be stuck with someone he didn’t care about.

*

Stiles was in the elevator of the hospital, sitting on Derek’s hips and smacking him across the face as he tried to wake Derek up. All he wanted to do was curl into Derek, kiss him, lick into his mouth and groan against Derek’s body. It took all his will to not thrust his hips into Derek’s, rubbing friction so good between them they rode the waves of pleasure to orgasm. Every part where he was connected to Derek was tingling with magic, his body felt solid again even though parts had seemed to be fading away, and he felt his fingers curl into a fist.

‘Come on Derek, please, I don’t want to punch you. I just want to kiss you, and I want you to kiss me back. Wake up, please Derek, please, please.’ He thought it as he gathered the strength to punch the face he cared so much for.

When Derek’s eyes opened and the hand grabbed him before he connected with flesh, Stiles wanted to cry in relief. Instead he sagged against Derek. Thank god. Thank god he didn’t have to hit him. Thank god. Derek’s eyes searched his face, looking for something. Stiles didn’t have time to think about it, everything was going wrong and bad and he had to get Derek out of there.

Before Derek left, he looked at Stiles again, that same searching look in his eyes. “Did you call me?” he asked finally. Stiles felt his heart speed up but he shook his head. “Are you sure? I thought… I thought I heard you.”

“Nope,” Stiles shook his head again. If Derek noticed the lie, he didn’t say anything, but he finally left and Stiles sagged against the wall. No, his life could not possibly get more complicated.

*

He had been wrong.

“You stupid idiot!” Stiles screamed at the wall in his bedroom as he kicked it. The wall didn’t move, it just stayed right there, staring at him. Unmoving. Unyielding.

There was a knock on the window and Stiles nearly fell over at the noise. Derek was sitting on the other side of the glass and he gave a confused look to the wall before returning his gaze to Siles, raising his eyebrows. Stiles shrugged and went over to the window, opening it and motioning for Derek to come in.

“What?” he asked but Derek didn’t say anything about the wall.

“I… Look, I wanted to say I’m sorry. About Scott. About him leaving you like that.” He lifted a hand and reached for Stiles but Stiles turned away from him and stared at his computer. He couldn’t get attached to Derek, that would be epically bad. So terribly, horribly bad. Well, he couldn’t get more attached to him anyway.

“Yeah, it sucks. It’s stupid and I just…” but he didn’t get to say anything more because Derek’s arms were wrapping around him and holding him close. Stiles choked on a sob as the warmth of the other man seeped into his skin.

“I’m sorry,” Derek said softly. Stiles didn’t even think, he just turned and wrapped his arms around Derek’s solid warmth, clinging to him with every ounce of strength he had, trembling so badly he thought he’d fall apart.

“It’s okay,” he said, but he could hear the lie himself. “I just… he’s left, my father’s gone, Scott’s mother is gone, everyone important has left me and I just… what the fuck am I supposed to be doing right now? I don’t even, I don’t even…” I don’t even know where we are right now and I want to be kissing you. He doesn’t dare say the words out loud, he can hardly believe he’s thinking them.

One hand reached up and lightly stroked down his back. Stiles hated crying, it always clogged up his sinuses and made his eyes red, but sometimes he can’t help it. With Derek’s arms holding him tightly he knew he didn’t have an option this time. He felt frustrated and irritated, no panic for the moment but a heavy sense of dread. Things just didn’t look good right now. He’d cope, he always coped.

With no sense of how long he cried, or when he fell asleep, or even how he ended up tucked into bed, he woke the next morning to a lighter feeling in his chest. Derek was gone, but that was okay, he knew Derek had been there, and now he had focus where he hadn’t the night before. It was fantastic.

Wiping his eyes, he noticed a note on the nightstand which he grabbed and read.

“Stiles,

I can’t make things better, but I can promise I’m going to do what I can to make things right. Please don’t give up on yourself. You’re stronger than you realize.

Be careful.

DH”

Crinkling the note as he clenched his fist, he felt a strange welling of strength rush through him. Maybe it was because Derek had been there the night before, maybe because he knew things were about to get much worse. Whatever the reason, he knew he’d make it through.

He refused to do anything else. After all, Derek had been there for him.

*

“So you’re leaving?” They were sitting on his roof, leaning against the house. The Darach was gone, they’d all lived, things seemed settled for the moment.

“Yeah. We all are. Me, Peter, Cora. We have things to talk about, decisions to make, as a family.”

Nodding, even though he couldn’t really understand, Stiles gave Derek a smile. “Well, don’t be a stranger, okay? Text, call, you know.” His heart is breaking just at the thought of Derek not being in Beacon Hills but he’ll smile and watch Derek go, not trying to stop him. There was nothing else he could do.

“I will. If there’s service. I might be… taking Cora back to South America, where she’d been before.” He sounded hesitant, voice uneven and his eyes shifted away from Stiles.

“You really lost it? All that Alpha power?” Stiles asked, unable to resist reaching over and touching Derek’s face.

He almost flinched away, but finally leaned into Stiles’ hand. “Yeah. I… I couldn’t lose her again Stiles. Nothing, absolutely nothing was worth that. I’d do it again, in a heartbeat.”

Stiles understood. He understood so well that kind of love. “Yeah. I get that.” Letting go of Derek’s face, he looked up at the scattered stars above them. “Well, at night, you can just… look up there, and know I’m looking too and it’ll be like you never left.”

Derek looked up himself. “There’ll be different constellations Stiles,” he said softly.

Snorting, Stiles shrugged. “Of course. But… it’s still the sky, isn’t it?”

“I feel like…” Derek started, but he trailed off.

‘Don’t go. Please, don’t go Derek. I need you so fucking badly.’

“You’ll never get gone if you’re talking with me all night?” Stiles asked lightheartedly.

When he glanced over at Derek he realized that there was something much more serious going on behind Derek’s eyes. “Yeah,” Derek said though. “Maybe.”

They stared at each other for a long time and Stiles thought maybe Derek was going to kiss him, considered leaning forward and kissing Derek himself, but then Derek gave Stiles a small smile and moved away.

“I’ll see you later then,” Derek said and Stiles nodded.

“Yeah. Take care, drive safe, don’t get dead.” ‘Don’t die, please be okay, be safe, don’t do anything stupid, I love you and I need you to be okay.’

There was another exchange of smiles and then Derek was gone. Stiles might never see him again. This might be the last time ever, and all Stiles wanted to do was call out, cry for Derek to stay, but even when Derek glanced back at him with a confused frown, Stiles just grinned and waved.

He’d take his broken heart and cuddle it and that would be that. It didn’t matter that there was a shadow over his heart, because he wasn’t going to have one much longer.