Music had always been a big part of Derek's life, particularly the piano. As the youngest child in a big family everyone had something they were good at and encouraged to do. His mother loved to cook, his oldest brother loved extreme rock climbing despite the dangers, Laura had a knack at solving puzzles and mysteries of all sorts. In his family Derek wasn't the only person who had some form of musical talent, but he was the only one who took it as seriously as he did. It wasn't just the satisfaction of being able to press a few keys in a sequence and be rewarded with beautiful sounds. It was his way to escape and express everything he was feeling or going through. If he needed, all he had to do if he was upset was play the piano and he could physically feel the tension slipping out of his body with each note. Derek was probably the most reclusive and off-standish person in his family. He was always teased by his siblings about never smiling or being really expressive about anything. Nothing had happened much as a child that warranted him to be so guarded, but when his first actual relationship with Kate went down in literal flames, other people didn't approach him since he made it seem like that was the last thing he wanted.
And for awhile that's exactly what he wanted. His family backed off on trying to get him to go out on dates or find someone he liked. He avoided big social gatherings and didn't really stray away from his small group of good friends or his family. Everyone seemed to understand that Kate had messed him up in a few ways that would take some time to heal. Their relationship wasn't a good one, but Derek was young and had fallen into puppy love with Kate. She had been his first everything and he had let his walls come down so easily with her that when she had showed her true colors and tried to burn Derek's whole family alive in his childhood home, he was shut up tighter than ever. Realizing how easily manipulated he had been by someone he trusted made it hard for him to make any kind of connections outside of the ones he already had made. Derek had always blamed himself for his family almost dying and his uncle Peter being put into a coma-like state since he was the first and only person to fall victim to Kate's arson attempt. Derek had been made to feel completely stripped and vulnerable and hurt and he never wanted to feel that way ever again.
That was probably when Derek really became devoted to playing the piano. It was his safe place where he could allow himself to let down his walls and have a way to let everything he was feeling out. While he wasn't talking to people about it and make an effort to mend things, playing was a safe way to just let it all go. And eventually he did begin to heal. He didn't need a cheer squad or a hoard of people giving him reassurances and all that bullshit, he needed to be the first person who he forgave and he needed to fix himself before he could let others lend in a hand. Derek moved into his own place in Beacon Hills so he could still be close to his family but away from all of the commotion he was faced with. He settled into a new apartment building on a side of town that was filled with a mix of hippies, hipsters, or older people. It was the perfect area for Derek to make a place for himself.
The building itself caused his literary side to come out and that was what originally drew him to the building. It was an old mill of sorts that had been turned into an apartment building. It was made completely of stone that was aged but kept up with. On some sides of the building there were vines beginning to creep up over the grooves and cracks of the walls. It had a very unique and open feel to it and had all the space he needed. Derek chose to be on the second floor. Apartment number 9 had all of the space he would need for all of his things along with his piano. There were plenty of windows to let in the natural light but he didn't have the kind of view of the city like the apartments on the floor above him had but he didn't much mind that. He was going to have curtains on the windows anyway. Working as a book editor was really nice job for Derek. He got to read and review all kinds of books and the schedule was pretty flexible. The company he worked for was a good one so he had plenty of vacation time he could take and still be payed a good amount, even if he didn't already have enough money that he got from just being a Hale to last him a long comfortable while.
He lived in the still apartment building for a good five months until there was a new tenant moving in. Derek had decided to leave work early on his Friday and finish up anything he needed at home when he felt like it over the weekend. When he parked the Camero he "borrowed" from Laura a few years ago in the apartments reserved parking lot and noticed there were a few cars full of all kinds of boxes and a rented U-Haul truck that had furniture. A small group of people that consisted of one older man, two younger ones, and two girls were going back and forth from the cars to whatever apartment one of them was moving into. When Derek walked into his apartment and heard feet shuffling above him he sighed. It was just his luck that out of all the other still available apartments the new person would chose the one directly above his own. Hopefully whoever moved in wouldn't disturb the stillness Derek had become so used to.
Every night like any other Derek settled down for the evening and sat down on his piano bench. He had had his piano for years and it was one of those things that he would never get rid of. A lot of people just had grand pianos as props and if they played the piano it was usually a full electric piano. Derek just found that the sounds and vibrations coming from the strings just had a more authentic sound; a sound that you could feel in your chest and that felt palpable in its own way. Conscious of the person above him, Derek made an effort to play a little more quiet than he usually did even though it wasn't that much of a difference. All he did was hit the keys softer to reduce the force on the strings so it wasn't overly loud.
Weeks later Derek never once got a complaint about playing his piano so he never had a reason to stop playing. But one day he had finally learned the cords to a song he really liked and started playing that. Like he did he usually embellished or dragged out parts like the beginning or the end. While he played his notes were still quiet so the voice that suddenly rang out high and clear from above him startled him and caused his fingers to slip up.
"I'll use you as a warning sign, that if you talk enough sense then you'll loose your mind, and I'll use you as a focal point, so I don't lose sight of what I want..." Derek was in awe of the voice. Like how his piano was in the building, the voice echoed slightly off of the flat smooth surfaces and filled the space. Whoever owned the voice was a man, and his voice wasn't yielding. By itself he had a beautiful smooth voice but just the comfortable confidence in it made it all the more appealing. As Derek continued to play he hit the keys a little harder to make the music louder and whoever was singing didn't mind at all.
"I've moved further than I thought I could, but I miss you more than I thought I would, I'll use you as a warning sign, that if you talk enough sense then you'll lose your mind. I found love where it wasn't supposed to be, right in front of me, talk some sense to me." Derek found that he was smiling as he played, fully enjoying what was happening. The mix of the singing and his piano was melodic and elegant. The song wasn't that long and there were parts where the man made up for the pauses of just music where he would just sing the sounds of the beat, and as Derek dragged it on he just repeated the chorus and the lyrics when he saw fit, even adding in some of his own lyrics just to make things interesting. Without even thinking much about it he just continued to play songs just to hear the other person sing along to them. Derek would transition the tunes to another song and if there was a silence after a minute or two he would change songs until it was a song the other knew and would sing along to. It was weirdly intimate and even though Derek didn't know exactly who lived in the apartment he still found he was enjoying his time. When they both started to wind down and stopped it was already closing in on midnight. Going to bed, Derek fell asleep feeling like another part of him was getting better.
It was on that Sunday two days after Derek's impromptu piano session turned into one where the person above him sang along that he found out who he was. It was about four in the afternoon and like usual on Sunday's Derek was about to head over to the Hale house for a Family dinner with the family that was in state, which was basically him, his mom and his older sister Laura. He had stopped by his apartment to get dressed in something more comfortable and casual and as he was walking out he saw one of the guys he saw when he was moving in. He was only a few inches shorter than Derek and had more of a lean body where Derek had more muscle. He had short brown hair that stuck up in random directions from him running his hands through it. Beauty marks and moles littered his smooth skin and trailed beneath the collar of his shirt. His eyes were a bright amber color that Derek didn't even know it was possible to have. He was busy talking on the phone that was pressed in between his ear and his shoulder while he was checking his mail. He didn't spare Derek a glance but Derek didn't complain. After he took a moment of debating whether he should or not Derek went over and look at the metal mailbox that the man had used. Stiles Stilinski. Derek didn't know what kind of name Stiles was but he liked it. Along with the face that went with it.
When Derek was in his car and driving over to the Hale house he found himself saying Stiles' name just to feel the way it fit in his mouth. He liked how it sounded and felt as he said it.