Sometimes he can feel it. This empty feeling somewhere inside of him, like he's incomplete. The feeling gets stronger, more noticable when he watches Scott. When he watches his eyes flash red, or sees him run impossibly fast. When he bends and breaks in ways that shouldn't be possible to heal from.
Scott walks away from the danger without a scratch. With a smile on his face, a permanent reminder that he saved the day once again. He doesn't even lend a hand to Stiles -who's still watching from the ground, because it's normal for them now. It has become custom that Stiles is still down long after his best friend got up.
"Okay, I still got history homework to finish up, so...See you in school tomorrow, Stiles!"
And then he walks off, not acknowledging the fifty-something dead pixies on the ground (and fairytales lied to him throughout his entire childhood because they're evil) Or the fact that Stiles' jeep is stranded somewhere in the preserve, sabotaged by said pixies and so the only way for him to actually see Scott in school the next day is for Stiles to find a way back home without the gps on his phone (pixies have a serious thing against modern day technology) with the next supernatural creature that want to kill him probably already lurking in the woods.
You know, like Derek. Who is staring at him like he is honestly considering if Stiles' skin would make a nice rug for his loft.
"Heeeeey, Derek. So... Nice killing pixies with you tonight but- you heard Scott. School tomorrow so- yeah. See you."
It's different with Derek. He doesn't feel incomplete when he watches him. Because Derek isn't flawless, or perfectly perfect like Scott. When he watches Derek he sees flashing blue eyes and the grief hiding behind them. And scars he carries on his skin, patches of white, smooth skin. Healed over but not faded. He sees a creature so powerful and strong, so invincible. But when you look closer, so broken too.
It's pretty hard to be jealous of someone who's lost more than you ever had.
"What's up, wolfman?"
Derek looks softer now, the bruise on his jaw faded and the cut on his forehead healing. It's amazing actually, how he can look so beaten up, so ruined but still have this softness in his features. His nostrils flaring and his brows frowning, but his eyes. His eyes are hollowed out, a mellow green now, but empty. Maybe they've seen too much death and destruction already.
"Come on. I'll give you a ride home."
Once they're in the car (no longer the camaro, maybe that reminded him of too much hurt, too) Derek tells him to put on his seatbelt and then looks at him. He looks at him like Stiles looks at Scott. Like he loves him, but more often than not doesn't really want to.
"You don't want to be him, Stiles."
So, a mind reader too, then.
"Scott knows too much empathy sometimes. Even for people who don't deserve it. You're reasonable. Rational. You think before you do. And you might get hurt while you do it, but personally I think that's better than rushing into things and healing over your mistakes."
He says it like it's nothing, starts up the car like he didn't just crush Stiles' heart in his chest. They spent the rest of the drive not talking, soft rock music filling up the silence and when Bon Jovi's It's My Life comes on, a tiny smile appears on Derek's lips. Stiles thinks maybe there's a memory there, thinks that maybe some day he'll ask Derek about it. If they ever figure what that thing they're not speaking of is between them. But not now, not when Derek just opened up his heart that tiny bit for Stiles. That's enough, for now. It's more than enough for now.
When they stop in front of Stiles's empty house, the music stopped and the smile is gone. But Stiles doesn't feel as empty as he did before.
"Thanks for the ride, man."
Before he reaches the doorhandle, Derek grabs his wrist, uses his supernatural strength to pull him closer and he presses his other hand against Stiles' jaw.
"Don't change, Stiles. Not for Scott, not for anyone. Not for me."
He shakes his head because words won't come. Especially when Derek presses a kiss against his cheek and starts the car again.
"I'll pick you up tomorrow, yeah?"
He nods again and gets out of the car, watches Derek speed out of his street.
When he gets inside he goes straight upstairs and pulls up his laptop. Scott might be full of shit sometimes but they really do have a history assignment due the next day.
The entire night he can feel it, the empty feeling somewhere inside of him getting smaller. Healing over like Scott's skin can, the feeling of Derek's lips against his cheek, his fingers pressed against his face. It's kind of like being supernaturally strong, powerful. It's kind of like being invincible.
He doesn't feel so incomplete anymore.