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In Your Absence

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Words are not Derek's friends. Not by a long shot. So Derek doesn't use them. He doesn't open up. He doesn't share. It doesn't matter how much he might want to, it's just not something that happens.

And normally that's not a problem. Derek is not drawn to others the way most people are. He's always been the odd man out, disinterested in forming the basic bonds that most people, human or otherwise, crave. But now... Now Derek finds himself wishing he knew how to related, how to interact, how to open his mouth and just speak. Because now there is Stiles and his bright eyes and active hands and that laugh that blasts through Derek’s walls like they aren’t there at all.

Stiles is smart and loyal and strong: everything Derek wants and nothing Derek can have.

But here Stiles is, standing just a fraction too close and staring up at Derek with his breath coming a little too fast and his heart jumping and stuttering in his chest.

"Derek?" he asks, his tongue darting out to lick at his bottom lip and Derek groans.

His hands reach out without any input from his brain at all, fisting in the thin fabric of Stiles's shirt, tugging the kid closer. Stiles lets out a helpless gasp, his eyes somehow going wider as his pupils dilate.

"Derek," he says again, but it's not a question this time and the sound of it makes something dark and needy flare to life in Derek's chest.

Yes, he thinks, give this to me. Then he's tilting Stiles's head back, moving in slowly, so slowly, giving Stiles time to pull back, to tell him no. But Stiles doesn't.

And then they are kissing, lips rubbing together, breath mingling, and Derek can't keep back a moan.

"Yeah," Stiles mumbles against Derek's mouth. "Yeah, do that again," and then his hands are scrabbling at Derek's back, fingers digging into Derek's shoulders as Stiles pulls him closer still.

The kiss turns dirty, desperate. Derek nips and licks at Stiles's skin, trailing sucking bites from his jaw down his throat and back up again as they rock together.

"Please," Stiles whines and Derek's not even sure what he's asking for, but Derek's willing to give it. Whatever it is, Derek will provide. His hands slide down to wrap around Stiles's hips, to yank him close. He wants. God, he wants.

Never stop, his mind begs, never. Stay like this forever. Let me have this, let me have you.

But even as he's thinking it, Stiles is breaking away, stumbling back with a gasp.

"What," he starts, then stops, his breath hitching as his eyes search Derek's face.

Derek doesn't know what his face is doing, but it must not be pleasant, because Stiles's shoulders hunch in on themselves as the hopeful expression on his face leaches away.

And this is where it will all go wrong. Derek can tell. He can always tell, after the fact. It’s always so clear then, so obvious, when it’s too late to stop it, to change things.

Stiles's fingers keep drifting up to touch his slightly swollen lips, his eyes are bright and almost glassy. Shock. That's what his look means. Disbelief mingled with a hint of fear.

Derek is just standing there, his hands hanging useless at his sides, watching Stiles come to all the wrong conclusions. Not saying anything. Not doing anything. Just staring as the air seems to get more charged by the second.

"Why did you do that?" Stiles finally asks, his voice going high on the last word, like he's trying to infuse it with all the panic that must be racing under his skin.

Because I want you, Derek thinks, unhappiness twisting in his gut. Because I couldn't not do it anymore. I had to do something, had to try and show you what you mean to me.

"Derek." Stiles's eyes are practically begging Derek for a response. "Please."

Derek feels certainty knife through him. He can either open his mouth, force something out, and possibly have all that bright, shiny affection Stiles possesses angled in his direction. Or he can stand there, silent and stupid, and watch as all their possibilities die a swift death in front of him.

His lips part, he sucks in a breath, but all that comes out is a harsh, angry sound.

"Right." Stiles nods to himself. "Of course. That makes so much sense. Oh, wait. It doesn't. Because that wasn't an answer, Derek. That was a snarl. A grade-A snarl, I'll grant you that, but still a snarl. And not, you know, an explanation for why you suddenly decided to be all up on this." He gives a half grin, full of forced confidence. "Not that I blame you, I mean, I'd definitely do me too. But, um," he ducks his head, peering up at Derek through his lashes as he cups the back of his neck with a hand. "Words, Derek. You need to use them. I know you can. Just," another sigh. "Come on, man, don't leave me hanging like this. Please."

Derek chokes on his own inadequacies. Because it should be so easy. So damn easy. But it's not.

Derek's no good with words. He never was, even back before, well, everything. He has thoughts and feelings, just like everyone else does, and he wants to share them, he really does, but... He can't find the right words, can't make them come no matter how hard he tries. So he just sort of stands there-- with all theses emotions clawing at his insides and all his words stuck in his throat-- with his hands balled into fists and a scowl on his face because damn it. This is not how normal people act. This is not how real life grown up people work. They open their mouths. They say what they are thinking. They don't snarl and glare and let the person that means the most to them think that they don’t want them.

Jesus.

When is he ever going to get this right? When is it ever going to be his time to get what he wants?

Derek closes his eyes briefly, sucks in another breath, desperately trying to speak again. But nothing comes. His mouth opens and shuts and then opens again, but no words pass his lips. He gives Stiles the best smile he can, hoping that maybe he can make his face show everything he can’t say, but it must not be worth the effort it's costing him, seeings as how Stiles flinches back like Derek snapped his teeth at him.

And isn't that just wonderful? Isn't that everything he ever wanted?

Stiles's face goes hard, his eyes cold. "I'm leaving now," Stiles says, his voice weary and full of hurt he no doubt thinks he’s hiding behind that frosty expression. "If you can't even be bothered to," he cuts off with a snort. "Dude, whatever. Always with the head games, huh? That's what this was, isn't it? You are trying to teach me some stupid pointless lesson about letting my guard down or something and I'm not getting it, because hi, kissing. That's a thing. That just happened. As in, your lips on mine. Your tongue in my mouth. Your hands, god Derek, your hands." He lets out a humorless laugh. "And I thought," he snorts again. "Head games," he repeats, voice utterly empty. "Not cool, Derek. Not cool at all. So, yeah. I'm leaving. And the next time I see you, I'm going to do us both a favor and pretend like this never happened. Capiche?"

Derek rears back because no. Not capiche. He doesn't want to pretend like it didn't happen, because that means it will never happen again. But can he say that? No. Of course not. He can just stand there, eyebrows pulled low in displeasure, and watch as Stiles's shakes his head, letting out another bitter laugh as he does.

"Right. Okay. Good talk." He gives Derek a disgusted look and then turns on his heel and starts to walk away.

Don't go, Derek wants to say, stay. Please. But when he opens his mouth, all that comes out is a growl.

Stiles's steps don't slow.

He doesn't look back.

--

I cannot sleep in your presence
In your absence, tears prevent me
you watch me my beloved
on each sleepiness night and
Only you see the difference

Rumi