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Fiercely, desperately

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Derek is terrified every time a phone calls in the middle of the night. Bad phone calls always come when night is the darkest and the only thing he should be hearing is crickets outside. It’s terrifying because phones shouldn’t ring at two in the morning, or three, or four twenty-seven, it’s terrifying because no one will wake you up at four twenty-seven in the morning to tell you a good news.

Phone calls at four twenty-seven in the morning gives him a dreadful feeling that starts in the middle of his heart and settles at the tips of his fingers, making them tremble as he tries to pick up. 

He sleeps better now. Not every day starts with safety alarm going off in the apartment, warning him of intruders. Mornings now mean hot coffee and warm hands, freezing feet and light kisses. 

But it’s not morning and his phone is ringing. 

“Scott?” he rasps, alarm clock brightly shining on the bedside table, changing from four twenty-seven to four twenty-eight as Scott breathes heavily on the phone.

“Hey, Derek” his voice is quiet, tight “are you home?” 

“Yes, what’s wrong?” because what’s the point of small talk when it’s four twenty-eight and something is wrong.

“Listen-” Scott sighs, Derek can almost see him running his hand down his face. It’s big, something big happened, Derek knows. The tremble in his fingers is getting worse, his claws age under his skin, itching to come out and tear the sense of control Derek tries so hard to cling to. 

“Scott, what is it” 

“It’s Stiles” Scott says and Derek freezes, of course it’s Stiles “he was shot” 

“Jesus Christ” Derek is already out of the bed, looking blindly for the pants he knows he threw there somewhere, because being alone for night means he can clean up in the morning and there will be not playful nagging. “How is he? Where is he? I’m on my way, I’m on my way-”

“Derek” Scott interrupts him, and Derek stops, halfway dressed in his jeans “Derek, he-” Scott stops and sighs, or maybe it’s a sob, Derek doesn’t know, because everything ends at that moment, time freezes and the world ends, life stops and all the euphemisms that signal the worst “he’s, he didn’t-”

“No” Derek says “No” he slumps down against the wall and repeats it again, no

 

-

 

Saturday mornings are Derek’s favourite. 

Saturday mornings are Derek’s favourite because Stiles has no classes on Saturday and he can stay home all morning, all day. He can start the day with Stiles in his arms and end it him in Stiles’, because that’s how he spends his days now, doing what needs to be done to get back to Stile’s cramped apartment and wrap a hand around his neck, breath into his scent and listen to him ramble about the next FBI case he talked himself into. 

 

On their 23rd Saturday together, Stiles is sitting on an old stool in his cramped kitchen, his back against the side of the sink, concentrating really hard on not grating the skin off his fingers. Derek watches him from the other side of the table, one leg propped on a chair by the knee and another on the floor, peeling potatoes so Stiles can make hashbrowns for breakfast, lunch, brunch, whatever. 

 

“I love you” Stiles says without looking up from the Grouda cheese practically melting in his hand. Derek almost drops the potato in the bowl. 

“What” it’s not a question, it’s not a statement, but it is exactly what's going on in his mind, what

“I just” Stiles shrugs and puts the cheese down “it’s, well, you are just standing here, in my kitchen, shirtless, wearing those stupid neon boxers i got you, picking the black spots from potatoes with your claw and i thought, wow, i love this man, so, y’know, i love you” he shrugs again, nonchalantly, but Derek listens to his heart hammering in his chest, thudding agains his ribcage like a caged animal trying to escape.

“Okay” Derek nods “cool” he says and goes back to peeling the potato in his hand, he takes a big whiff of air, inhaling overpowering scent of Stiles’s anxiety

“Yeah, cool” Stiles nods back and picks the cheese up with shaky fingers.

“Great” Derek tries to hide the smirk etching its way to his trembling lips

“Yep. great” 

“Right” 

“Right” 

Derek drops the one last potato in the bowl and goes to sink behind Stiles without looking at him. He leans over Stiles to open the tap and tries not to get dizzy with misery and anxiety coming off of Stiles like a tsunami. 

Next he turns around and picks Stiles up with hands under his armpits, he squeaks, dropping the cheese on the floor. Derek spins him once, lifts him high in the air and spins, Stiles is clutching onto him like a koala, wraps his limbs around Derek in fear of being dropped, but Derek will never let him drop, never let him fall. He all but crashed his mouth against Stiles', sucking a desperate kiss against his lips, trying to push against his mouth and his hands on the back of his head at the same time. 

Stiles smirks as he pulls away “now, you’ve ruined all the cheese” and Derek laughs, buries his head in Stiles’ neck and laughs, and laughs. 

“You are the love of my life” Derek looks up at him and it’s Stiles’ turn to laugh and tell him that he’s an asshole. 

-

They bury him in a grey suit. 

 

They bury him in a grey suit, red shirt and Star Wars ties, because it’s Stiles. He has an open casket ceremony and Derek counts every tear stain on his grey jacket. They bury him six feet underground with Derek’s tears still wet on him. 

Noah throws the first fistful of dirt on his white casket. Derek doesn’t put a grain of dirt on him. Derek doesn’t bury him, because if he did, he’d have to get underground with him and bury himself too. 

Cora doesn’t come, he doesn’t tell her. She doesn’t know Stiles, and Derek does not need her to wipe his tears away. But Peter is there, Sheriff takes no notice of him.

Peter stands behind the trees and only comes closer when everyone else leaves, but Derek. He throws one red rose on the grave. He pats Derek on the shoulder and leaves. 

They bury him on warm April day with Lydia’s lipstick stain on the collar of his shirt and Scott’s bracelet still around his wrist. 

They bury him 30 feet away from Allison Argent.

They bury him in the same town he was born in and they bury Derek with him. 

-

Stiles starts putting bandaids on him. 

Derek marks him. Sucks bruises on his skin, cover him in love bites. He’s not a wolf who needs to mark his mate. But he is a very smug possessive werewolf who wants to mark his boyfriend. So he gives Stiles huge hickeys every time he sees him. The juncture between Stiles neck and shoulder is his favorite place, next is his throat, then thighs, his chest, the dip of his collarbones, the spot above the mole on his neck, between the dimples on his back, right below his left ass cheek, on his hips, on his love handles, everywhere, anywhere.

Derek marks him, leaves traces of his love on his skin. And Stiles bruises so easily, so beautifully, arches his back so prettily every time Derek puts his mouth on him. His favorite place is on his throat, right below his ear, moans the loudest when Derek puts his hot breath over it. 

So Stiles stars putting band aids on him. 

“You heal too fast” he tells Derek the first time he straddles Derek’s thighs and puts a pink flowery bandaid on his neck. Derek raises his eyebrow but bares his neck anyway. “I can’t mark you”

“Bandaids?” Derek snakes a hand around his waist and pulls him close. 

“Baindaids” he nods and smoothes a hand over the bandaid as he finished putting on Derek “I can’t give you hickeys, so bandaids are my marks, and if someone asks you what happened to your neck, you can say your boyfriend gave you a monsterous love bite” he grins and puts a chaste kiss on his lips. 

And Derek does. Every time someone asks him what happened to his neck he says his boyfriend marked him, put a big old hickey on his neck. 

It gets wild, Stiles keeps finding the most ridiculous bandaids, with little wolves, flamingoes, kittens, batmans on it. And Derek wears them like his proud of it, because he is. Stiles preens everytime Derek comes home with his band aids still on, edges a little flayed. He takes them off and sucks on his neck, watches the marks for a few seconds before they disappear. 

 

-

 

Lydia comes every day. 

 

Lydia comes everyday to his apartment and makes him eat. It’s been two weeks now, his beard is longer, his hair is wild and the smell of misery is so overpowering he can’t smell anything else. 

He does not sleep much, he showers when he needs to, but he does not eat, he cannot put an effort to go out and get food. So Lydia comes every day and makes him eat. 

Derek hears her come every day and leave food in the living room. He does not come out, but Lydia goes to his bedroom, runs a hand through his hair, tells him how Sheriff is doing and leaves without hearing a word from Derek. Derek mostly eats at night, when he can’t not eat anymore. Lydia throws away leftovers in the morning and leaves new plate of food on their place. 

It’s been two weeks and he has stopped eating at all. He listens to Lydia sigh in his living room for three days, as she throws away untouched food. On fourth day she comes in his bedroom and sits by his head with a bowl of food in her hand. Derek looks at her and sees nothing. 

“Open up” she says and holds out a spoon in front of his face. Her face is so full of determination Derek finally understand why Stiles loved her. 

He looks at the spoon, then her face and turns his back on her. 

“Derek” her voice is tired, he hears spoon clank against the bowl. Bed dips beside him and he does not even have the energy to tell her to get out, because the other side of the bed belongs to Stiles and him only. “I hear him” Lydia continues “every time I am around you I hear him. Hear him speak, and whisper and sing. Every single day I come here and hear him, every time I touch you I hear him say wow, bahamas baby , and I don’t even know what that is supposed to mean.” she does not touch him. She lays beside him still, does not shake or tremble, but Derek still smells salt water behind him, around her eyes, down her cheeks. 

“But I come here everyday, because I don’t care that it might drive me insane. I come here because Stile would never, ever let you starve and grieve yourself to death.”

Derek turns around and silently reaches for a bowl beside her head. 

 

-

 

Stiles makes him make friends 

 

“I don’t need friends” he protests “I have you”

“Of course you have me” Stiles says without turning around from the stove “but you need friends too” 

“I have Scott, and Malia, and Parrish.” he pauses “and your dad” he adds because weather Stiles likes it or not Sheriff is his friend and Derek will have all the embarrassing stories he wants.

“And Chris Argent” Stiles gives him a pointed look over his shoulder “don’t pretend you guys are not friends. I know you went on a steak out with him last time we were in Beacon Hills, and if that’s not a definition of true friendship for you i don’t know what is”

“There you go” Derek grumbles and sneaks up behind him, gives his neck a small kiss when Stiles jumps in surprise. “I have friends”

“Okay, yes, but” he holds up a spatula and makes Derek taste the tomato sauce he makes almost every week, it turns out perfect every time, but Derek tastes it anyway and hums approvingly, because he will do literally everything to make Stiles happy “you see the pattern here? None of them live in general vicinity of Washington. You need friends here, friends you can go out with. Y’know, friends” 

“Stiles” Derek sighs, dropping his head on his shoulder in irritation 

“Listen” Stiles nudges him with his hip towards the table as he starts depositing food on their plates. “You are charming, no, wait, listen” he puts a fork up to his lips as Derek opens him mouth to speak “believe it or not, you are charming, you know, with your face and dry humor and leather jackets. Do you know beautiful people make friends way easier? People like pretty faces. So, you just have to smile a little more and it will be incredibly easy for you” Stiles puts a plate down in front of him and gives him a chaste kiss before sitting down himself. 

“You are beautiful” Derek says as he digs in his spaghetti 

“Aw thank you” Stiles mocks him “that’s why I’m friends with half the bureau” 

“Maybe i don’t want friends” 

“Maybe you do” Stiles says with his mouth full and it does not make sense “don’t you want to brag? I brag about you at least four times a day to my friends. Don’t you want to brag about me to your friends? You’ll brag to your friends, i’ll brag to mine and then when we make them all meet at out birthdays they are all gonna loose their shit, because we are truly as fucking incredible as we described each other.”

So Derek tries. He starts volunteering at the library, in soup kitchen, fundraisers, search parties He meets people and even starts asking them to hang out. He smiles, he charms and god, does he brag, brags about Stiles’ job and his cooking, his eyes, his smile, his body, his words, brags about everything he can think of and leaves the bar with smug smirk on his face every time. 

And Stiles is right, they do lose their shit on his 22nd birthday.

 

-

 

It’s been two months now. 

 

It’s been two months and he calls Cora. 

“Derek?” she picks up immediately

“Stiles died” 

“Derek…” she gasps on the other side of the line

“Stiles died when he was twenty-four” he keeps going “he died in the line of duty. Died protecting a trafficking victim. He died with a gaping hole in his neck. He died two weeks after he made me buy him tickets to Bahamas so he could ask me to marry him, with a ring he made me choose. He died wearing my shirt underneath his vest. He died in Beacon Hills, protecting a young boy from his abuser and it was not my fault” he tells Cora and cries. 

Cries through the whole phone call, cries when Cora tells him it was not, Derek, none of it was your fault. Cries before she hangs up and tells him she’ll be there in a week. 

 

-

Stiles likes to be a little spoon

 

Stiles likes to be a little spoon, he likes being held through the night, on the couch, through the movies. Stiles likes holding Derek’s hand on his stomach when he sleeps. He likes kicking his covers at night and warming himself under the heat of Derek’s body. 

“Hey, asshole” Stiles grumbles underneath him one morning. “I can’t breath.”

“You literally crawled under me ten minutes ago” Derek says but does not make a move to roll over.

“Ten minutes ago i wanted to be crushed to death by 200 pound werewolf, I'm a changed man now. Get off” he protest, doing his best to shove Derek off. 

“No” Derek laughs and hold him tighter, wraps both hands around Stiles and holds him tighter. 

“You are gonna crush me” Stiles yelps “you will crush me and i will die of crushing, because my hunk of a boyfriend cuddled me to death. Tell my dad i loved him” Stiles sighs and settles down

“Mhmm” Derek hums in his ear, but loosens his grip, drops Stiles on the bed and hover over him “tell him yourself” 

“What” Stiles grumbles 

“That you love him” 

“That I love him?”

“That i love you” Derek grins and steals a kiss as Stiles gapes at him

“Mmm” Stiles moans in his mouth “how?” Derek arches an eyebrow in a silent question “how do you love me?” he grins, mischief evident in his entire face. 

“Very much” Derek whispers “to the moon” 

“That’s how much you love me, not how” 

“Fiercely” Derek states against his lips “desperately” he kisses his jaw “completely” his neck “undeniably” his collarbones “sincerely” his chest. 

“Derek Hale, my boyfriends, the romantic” Stiles giggles and drags him up in a bone crushing kiss. 

 

-

 

Derek drives to Wisconsin. 

 

Derek drives to Wisconsin in rental BMW to meet a necromancer. Her name is Esme and she is blind. She sits in a rocking chair on the porch and smiles widely when Derek touches her hand. She brings people back, but takes others in their place, balance.

“Take mine” Derek pleads her “take me and bring him back” she clutches her hand tightly in both of his and begs for his love back. 

“No” she touches his cheek with her wrinkled hand and speaks to him softly “child, he does not want you to, he won’t let you” and Derek chokes, chokes on life that still burns inside him

“Do you-, is he here?” he looks around, looking for traces of Stiles he knows he will not find. 

“No, but I know, he does not want you to” 

Derek drive back to Beacon Hills in the same rental BMW but different goal in his head. 

 

-

Stiles loves his wolf

 

Stiles loves his wolf form, loves the fur and claws and eyes. His eyes almost bulge out when Derek first shows him, they are not even together then, but Stiles keeps mumbling how beautiful it is, how majestic.

He persuades Derek to take a walk around the block like that, like a wolf. He will make him strip and whistles when he does it, he makes him change and walk around the block. DC is a big city, no one will notice, he says. 

They are walking back inside the building once when Derek hears "young man" being yelled behind them.

"Oh shit" Stiles mumbles "inside, inside, inside now" he whispers and ushers Derek inside

"Young man" an officer says behind them and Derek pounces, wagging his tail nervously as he turns the corner in a hallway.

"Officer, hi, hello" Stiles says "how can I help you on this fine afternoon?" He chuckles nervously, Derek doesn't even need to look at him to know he's rubbing the back of his neck.

"There has been a reporting of uncollared black dog around the block, would you happen to know anything about that?" Officer asks in a way that Derek is sure they saw him

"Black dog? No, never seen it, no black dog here, sorry" Stiles tells them.

"So" another officer says "if I search this hallway, I will not find enormous black dog wandering anywhere"

"Pfff, of course not" stiles chuckles again and then he can hear two footsteps moving closer to where he is huddled in a corner by the stairs. "Wait, sir, officer, listen" Stiles chases them "here's a thing, that black dog, hey officer  I'm talking to you" he keeps shouting after them but there is no point anymore, there are already two pair judging eyes watching him stand there naked try to cover his groin the best he can.

"Well, that definitely is not a dog, Miller" says one of the officers to another.

"No its not" Stiles says and moves past them, shrugging his jacket off to cover Derek the  best he can "that's my boyfriend, who, uhh"

"Got locked out of the apartment" Derek finishes for him "I'm sorry, officer, I got locked out and I was waiting for Stiles to get here with the key"

"Yeah, um" Stiles mutters, "that's exactly what happened, no black dogs here" he laughs nervously and straightens up when one of the officers gives him a look.

Derek gets fined for public indecency and it's Stiles' fault. Derek wants to be angry, wants to punish him, restrains sex or whatever, but Stiles laughs joyfully till his breathless and Derek keeps his mouth shut.

 

-

 

Derek has one wolfsbane bullet.

 

Derek has exactly one wolfsbane bullet that he keeps it pocket of Stiles’ blue jacket. He only takes it out once, when he loads a gun and sits in his living room, that still smells faintly of Stiles. 

He does not hesitate. He has no second thoughts, only thought in his head is Stiles, faint smell of caffeine, old textbooks and uncontrollable lust that always used to surround him, sight of mole dotted skin and bright star colored eyes.

He pulls trigger only once, when it is pressed against the side of his head, where is feels like a kiss pressed to his temple. 

He hears gunshot only once, when his wrist is clutched is Scotts hands and the bullet goes through the ceiling. 

“What the hell are you doing” Scott shouts in his face, wrestling the gun out of his hand and throwing it on the floor out of his reach

“Dying” Derek tells him calmly.

“Jesus, Derek” Scott whispers and wraps his hands around him, buries his head and cries with him. “You can’t do this, you can’t do this to me ” he sits on the floor beside him and speaks softly. “I lost my best friend, I can’t lose you too, you are my family, you hear me?” he nudges Derek, keeps his eyes focused on the floor “you are my beta, my pack, family. I felt this you know? I was at Sheriff’s and I felt it, I knew something was wrong. You can’t do this to me! You can’t let me feel you die” 

“I was awake when he died” Derek says after silence stretches too long between them “I woke up at around midnight, I was restless, I didn't think of it, I did not think something might have been wrong, I thought I was just restless. But I was awake, lying in bed I shared with him and he was dying” Scott takes his hand in his, clutches his finger around him and hold on, holds him and keeps watching the floor

“It gets better.” he says, tells it to Derek and to himself at the same time. Tells it to the empty house around them and hopes echo of it will hug them both and somehow settle around them.

“When?” Derek asks and looks at Scott, looks at grief in his eyes, clinging to his lids and hiding behind his lashes. “I was eleven when my father died” he continues “I was fifteen when I had to kill the girl I loved, with my own bare hands. I was sixteen when my family died, because of the woman I loved. I was twenty-two when my sister died. I was twenty-three when i lost my pack once again. I was twenty-four when I died. Now I’m almost thirty and the love of my life died. So tell me when? when does it get better?”

Scott does not answer. 

-

Stiles kisses him.

Stiles kisses him on Wednesday afternoon when he is twenty years old. Stiles kisses him because Derek is a coward and can’t kiss him first. 

Stiles kisses him in his apartment on Wednesday afternoon in DC, because even without knowing it Derek still followed Stiles wherever he went. 

Stiles kisses him on Wednesday afternoon with taste of raspberry jam on his lips, because he would sell his soul for raspberry donuts. 

“Okay wow” Stiles whispers against his lips once he pulls away. “This was honestly terrifying” he chuckles uncomfortably and Derek pulls him back, kisses him with determination and all the fondness he can convey in a kiss, because he can’t have Stiles thinking for a second that there is a probability in life where Derek does not want to kiss him. 

“You don’t have to be scared of me” Derek tells him after, when his hand is still tangled in Stiles’ hair and Stiles is clutching the front of his shirt. 

“As if” Stiles laughs “i have not been scared of you since I first heard you laugh” 

“And when was that?” Derek strokes his head slowly, pushing hair out of his forehead.

“Right before alpha pack, i think it was Isaac joking about his time in the freezer” Stiles chuckles again, ducks his head and buries his face in Derek’s shoulder. “I have not been scared of you since I've known you have a squeaky laugh, but I am terrified of losing you” he says earnestly. 

“Stiles” Derek says breathlessly, because that’s what Stiles does, leaves him breathless every time he opens his mouth. “You won’t, you didn’t” he tips Stiles’ head up with fingers underneath his chin “you have me now more than you’ve ever had” 

“That does not make any sense.” Stiles says, but kisses him anyway, kisses him fiercely and desperately. 

 

-

Peter comes to see him

 

Peter comes to see him five hours after Scott leaves, he sits beside Derek and watches animal documentary Stiles used to watch when he studied. 

“Listen” he clears his throat and turns the volume down. “I’m going to say this exactly once and then both of us are going to forget I did, okay?”

Derek turns to him, lols his head on the back of the couch and blinks, he has no patience for Peter anymore. 

“He was the brightest thing I had ever seen in my life” Peter says and Derek growls. Stiles always hated Peter, hated him passionately, but liked him just as much. Stiles was always complicated with his love and Peter was no exception. “He was the life you and I never got to have. And you were happy with him, and as much as it pains me to say this, i love you. Derek, so by some confusing bond between you and I, I like seeing you happy.” he coughs, clears his throat and keeps talking “so, if there is anything I can do, I will.”

Derek turns his head and angles his face to the ceiling, watching the bullet stuck by the chandelier there. “You can’t bring him back”

 

-

 

They move to LA when Stiles turns twenty-four.

 

They move to LA, because Stiles gets transferred to the LA FBI office. He gets transferred because he talks his way into it, makes sure everyone believes he is more needed in west coast then there and because Agent McCall can't say no to Scott. They move in September and Stiles looks like he can finally breathe under the Californian sun.

"Derek" he shouts from where he is trying to balance three boxes on top of each other "a little werewolf strength would be nice here"

Derek makes no move to help him, lens against the hood of Stiles' new Jeep and smirks as Stiles almost trips on the porch.

"Asshole" Stiles mutters under his breath and goes inside. Derek listens closely, waits for a crash to come and it does come, the sound of glass breaking six heart beats later and Derek really hopes it was not their new set of coffee cups.

"You are an ass" Stiles tells him as he comes back outside, dusting his pants. 

"What was it?" Derek asks and opens his arms to welcome Stiles in his arms.

"The wolf statues Malia sent" Stiles says as he steps inside his spread thighs and wraps his hand around his neck.

"Oh good" Derek says "I hated it" he laughs and kisses Stiles' sweaty forehead

"Thanks God, me too" he presses his head closer to Derek's lips. "We should go down in Beacon Hills tomorrow, my dad's making celebratory dinner" 

"Mhmm" Derek hums "pork chops?"

"Of course," Stiles says, his eyes already dropping "that's the only thing he knows how to make" 

Derek shakes him a little, tries to move him towards the house, but Stiles lets out an exaggerated whine and doesn't move, clutches to Derek's neck harder. "Carry me across the threshold  sour patch" he mumbles sleepily.and Derek does, throws him over his shoulder and laughs when Stiles squeaks "not like that, jerk" Derek doesn't put him down before they are in the master bedroom. 

"I'm so glad we moved here" Stiles says when they are laying down on the mattress, hand tucked between their bodies, toying with the triskelion necklace he got Derek for last Christmas. "My dad and Scott and everyone are an hour drive away, Lydia's literally down the block, you are right here, in my arms, well I'm actually in your arms, technicalities." Derek pulls him closer, placing a sleepy kiss on his lips "I'm so ready to have a good life here"

"Yeah" Derek agrees "me too"

 

-

 

Derek does not sleep anymore. 

 

He does not sleep anymore because he keeps dreaming of his mother. She calls for him every night. Calls him to come closer, calls him because the house is on fire, calls him because her car broke down, calls him because dinner is ready. She calls him to her and Derek is not ready to go, yet. Sometimes he wishes he would dream of Stiles, see him in his dreams, at least once hear his voice again, feel his touch one more time, even if it's in a dream.

Cora sleeps in a bedroom Derek used to imagine would be a nursery once. Where a small feet would patter as Stiles would chase them around, where it would smell like him and Stiles and someone smaller, smell like family. 

He does not answer calls anymore, not from Scott, not from Malia, not even from Noah. He does not talk to Cora, does not listen to her. She leaves in the morning and comes back when the sun has already set, Derek can smell others around her, Scott, Lydia, Peter, Parrish, sometimes even Liam and Maison. He knows she's trying to tell him something, but he does not listen. He can't anymore. He spends most of his days as a wolf now. It's easier, he feels like he can hold on a little longer when he's running in the woods. 

He can smell Scott before he can hear him. He knows he will not be opening the door, he already ignored five of his calls today, so he his nose in his tail and closes his eyes, he has not slept in two days, he still begs his mother to leave him alone. 

Then he smells it, smell of caffeine and textbooks and dirt . His eyes snap open and he's shifting before he knows it. Following the scent down the stairs to the front door, opening it a second before Scott knocks his fist against it. 

"What is it" Derek asks, his voice gravelly to his own years, rough for being useless for days now. 

"Hey" Scott says softly, warm smile gracing his lips "hey, let's go inside" he takes a step inside but Derek stops him

"What is it" Derek growls, low in his throat, dangerous, because he cannot stand there and smell it, smell him when he knows he is not there, he can not be tricked, cannot be tortured with phantom touch of something that will never be real again. 

"Derek, let's sit down and I'll e-" Derek grasp him by the throat before he can finish it. Hoists him up in the air and Scott does not fight, just looks at him and grasps for air.

"What did you do?" He demands, his hold strong on the boys neck, sense of Stiles all around him, exhilarating, confusing, painful. He could snap his neck if he wanted to, would not do any damage, and Scott would not stop him, so he holds him up in the air and tries to get control back into himself

"Derek" he hear it then, his voice with so much fierceness and desperation, only one person can say it like this, only-. He sees it then, sees him, Stiles , standing behind Scott, wearing dirty grey suit, white shirt and his stupid Star Wars tie, red lipstick stain on the collar of his shirt. "Derek" it's barely a whisper to his ears. 

Derek blinks, blinks again.

And then it's darkness from there.

 

He wakes up slowly, he is laying on something soft, a bed, a couch maybe. He flexes his hands, his right hand goes easily, but his left on is restrained. Restrained by another one, a hand holding his own. He takes a deep breath to remember where he is, it comes to him fast, like a freight train, crushes into him and forces consciousness onto him like a mountain river. Stiles.

His eyes snap open and he sees him before he can even focus, adjust his eyes to the darkness in the room. Red stain on the collar of his shirt

Derek's free hand comes to caress the cheek of a man sitting by his bed.

"I miss you" he says slowly, softly and closes his eyes again, wills himself to sleep a little deeper, begs his dream to last a little longer.

"I am right here" Stiles says against the palm of his hand, before kissing it softly. It feels so real, the heat of his lips, the soft sound of his voice, the sweet scent of his body, too real.

"I'll come find you one day, soon" he rasps and clutches a hand in his own tighter, holds on a little longer.

"Derek" Noah's voice comes from the right of him, he blinks, looks at him, then back at Stiles and jumps, sits upright on the bed and gasps, keeps shifting his eyes back and forth, unable to focus. "Hey, hey, Derek, look at me, son" he comes closer, his hands held out, ready to touch but not daring to. Derek looks at him, ignores the nagging feeling at the back of his head to look at Stiles. "Hey" Noah's voice is softer, closer, his hand rests gently on Derek's shoulder "this is not a dream, son" he speaks quietly  but Derek still flinched, looks back at Stiles and then slumps against the headboard. 

"No" he says, presses the hills of his hand to his eyes and wills himself to wake up "no" he repeats it again and again no, frantic and uncontrollable. No. 

"Derek" he hears Stiles' voice, right here, right here. "Derek, open your eyes, I'm here, I'm real, look at me" he begs, forces his hand away from his eyes, but Derek still can't open them, he needs to wake up. "Derek, you told me you came to me in your dreams before" Stiles keeps talking and Derek is losing his mind "I had extra fingers, Derek look at me, look at my hands, Derek, how many fingers do I have?" He pleads and room falls silent. Derek tries to breath through his nose, tries to calm himself down, hold his wolf back. He opens his eyes slowly, cautiously. Stiles is still there, kneeling by the bed with his hands in the air, held up in front of his face. One, two, three, four , five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. 

"Stiles" he gasps it like he's drowning, like Stiles' name on his lips is the only breath of air he'll ever get.

"I'm here" Stiles smiles gently at him and lowers his hand. There are ten thousand questions in his head - how, when, who, why - but Stiles overpowers them all, the brightness of his, eyes sweetness of his smell. Derek surges forward so fast he's dizzy with it, but he moves and moves until his lips land on Stiles' and it feels so real.

Because it is.

He kisses Stiles with everything he has, kisses him with love boiling inside his chest and Stiles kisses back like he wants to drown in it. 

He kisses Stiles like he is a lifeline, because he is.

He kisses Stiles till he can't breath anymore.

"How" he asks as soon as his leave Stiles'. His hand clutch hard, pulls him closer and closer and impossibly close, until they are one again, flushed against each other and Derek finally breathes.

"Peter" Scott says from the corner of the room, Derek blinks and looks at him, then looks around the room and sees everyone there, Scott, Sheriff, Lydia, Cora, even Malia in the doorway. But no Peter. 

"You are not the only one who knew about Esme" Cora says from her spot in Stiles's armchair, she shrugs, tries to brushes it off, but Derek can see the wetness in her eyes.

You can't bring him back. Derek's mind recalls, God, he knows he should never challenge Peter. 

"Is he-" Derek starts but interrupts himself. Dead, gone, taken? He is not sure what he should ask.

"He'll be back" Scott answers the question he could not ask "he made a deal with us, he dies for Stiles' Lydia and I brings him back next full moon. Again" 

"Why didn't you-"

"You would not talk to us" Cora says before he can even finish.

"Yeah" Stiles mumbles in his shoulder "we are so gonna talk about your behaviour while I was gone sour patch, don't think you are getting off easy" he points an accusing finger at him and Derek laughs, throws his head back and lets out a roaring laugh as the dreadful feeling in his fingertips finally slips away. 

 

Stiles sits at the porch of their home, face turned up to the sun, his eyes closed as he pets their neighbour's orange tabby on his lap. There's red in his cheeks, on the top of his nose. He looks content, happy, alive

"You're gonna get your nose burnt" Derek warns as he stalks toward him from inside the house.

"As recently undead, who spent the last four months where the sun could not reach, I believe I deserve a little sunshine, even if it burns my nose and my incredibly caring boyfriend has to kiss it better" he declares without opening his eyes. Fond smile etchs it's way across Derek's face.

"I'll do anything for you" Derek tells him solemnly.

"Jesus, Derek" Stiles opens his eyes and shakes his head. "You take this nothing-goes-unsaid-because-life-is-too-short thing pretty seriously don't you?"

Derek hums and crouched beside him. The cat scurried away when he gets closer, jumps down from Stiles' lap and stretches before walking away. 

"Uncle douche coming back tonight?" He puts his hand in Derek's hair, pulls the strands up in crazy direction, but Derek does not care

"Yeah"

"God, I can't believe I have to be nice to him now," Stiles sighs, but his heart flutters, gives him away "like actually thank him and everything"

"We can send him a fruit basket" Derek murmurs in his lap

"Yeah, let's do that"

"Mhmm" Derek takes his hand and kisses the inside of his palm "you are the love of my life"

"Holy God" Stiles gasps above him "yeah, yeah, okay, I love you too"

Derek smiles in his palm and let's him burn his nose all he wants.