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Sing Me to Sleep

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Derek focused on the sound of Stiles’ breathing, still unable to fully accept that this—them—was happening. He observed Stiles as he curled into his body, his hand fisting at the sheets barely covering the lower half of their bodies. He felt the spike in fear as Stiles whimpered under his breath, caught inside another night terror. He gently ran his fingers through Stiles’ hair, easing him out of whatever terror haunted him this time.

Derek was so far gone, he couldn’t have seen through the lie even if he wanted to. But part of Derek now knew that he didn’t want to see through the lie, because he was happy with Stiles. And Stiles was happy with him …

At least, that was what Derek thought.

~*~

“Stiles,” Derek called his name as they entered the hospital.

Stiles slowly turned to look at Derek, the dark circles under his eyes a reminder that his nights were a constant fight for sleep.

“Are you all right?” Derek asked, his eyebrows knitting together in worry. He thought he saw a faint smirk cross Stiles’ lips before they morphed into their normally small smile.

“Yeah,” Stiles replied with a light bounce in his voice. “Yeah, I’m fine,” he moved closer to Derek, placing a gentle kiss on his lips. He tangled his fingers with Derek’s, smiling at him as he led him back out of the room. “Everything just sort of threw me off. But I’m okay now.”

Derek should have been able to tell.

~*~

Derek watched through the glass as Scott embraced Stiles, the smell of Stiles’ anxiety hitting him like a battering ram. He held himself back to let them have a moment to themselves. A chance to comfort one another. He startled when a hand landed on his shoulder. He turned to look at the owner, faced with a worry riddled Sheriff. He noticed the way the Sheriff tried to force a reassuring smile, unable to believe his own attempt to keep positive.

Derek hesitated before reaching out to place a hand on John’s shoulder. He refused to say anything, knowing that even the most reassuring words couldn’t take away the fear of losing his son.

“Derek,” Scott’s voice called his name.

Derek turned to look at Scott, letting his hand slip from John’s shoulder.

“He wants to see you,” Scott explained, moving to stand beside his mother.

Derek nodded, excusing himself as he moved into the MRI room. He slowly let the door slip from his hand as he watched Stiles. They both remained silent as Derek moved closer to Stiles.

Stiles stared at his hands, playfully picking at his fingernails as he waited for Derek to draw closer. He swayed his feet a bit, uncertain if he should speak.

“Hi,” Stiles finally greeted Derek when his feet entered his vision.

“Hey,” Derek greeted back. He crossed his arms over his chest, watching Stiles’ movements.

“Do you know what they are looking for?” Stiles started, the same way he had with Scott.

“Yes,” Derek honestly replied.

Stiles nodded, biting his bottom lip. “If they … if it is … I don’t expect you to—”

“I’m not going anywhere,” Derek stated as he took a step forward, close enough for Stiles’ knees to brush against his legs. He unfolded his arms to rest his hands against the machine’s bed, next to Stiles’ hips.

Stiles looked up at Derek, hesitating as he reached his hands up to rest on Derek’s chest. He leaned his head forward, his forehead gently bumping against Derek’s clavicle. He let out a weak and sorrowful chuckle when Derek pressed a kiss against his temple.

“I’m scared,” Stiles admitted.

“I’m not leaving you,” Derek answered, shifting his body as he stood straighter. He collected Stiles’ fallen jaw in his hands, forcing Stiles to look up at him. “You’re my pack, Stiles. My family. I’m never going to leave you.”

Stiles closed his eyes, choking back a sob as he fought against his tears. He reached up, pulling Derek into a kiss. He buried his hands in the hair at the base of Derek’s neck, clinging to him tightly, not caring if his father saw. He made a small noise of disapproval when Derek pulled back from him.

“I’ll be right outside in the waiting room. I’ll see you in half an hour, okay?” Derek spoke as he rested their foreheads together, thumb slowly caressing Stiles’ jaw.

“Okay,” Stiles softly replied with a nod of his head.

Derek pulled away from him, placing a chaste kiss against Stiles’ forehead before letting their hands fall apart as he headed back out of the room. He would have fought to stay in the room if he knew what would happen. If he only knew what the demon had planned.

~*~

“Are you feeling any better?” Derek asked as his fingers aimlessly trailed along Stiles’ hip.

Stiles lifted his head from Derek’s chest, resting his chin there as he looked up at him. “About?” He asked, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.

“You haven’t been having any nightmares lately,” Derek explained, shifting his body slightly as he looked down at Stiles.

“I have you here,” Stiles replied. “I don’t have any bad dreams with you around,” he smiled as he leaned up to kiss Derek. It was quick, almost as if Stiles was too afraid to linger. “But I have to go,” he reluctantly stated against Derek’s lips. “I won’t be able to hurt you or anyone else if I’m there. I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt you.”

Derek moved his arm from behind his head, gently cupping Stiles’ cheek in his open palm. His thumb caressed his cheek as he committed this image of Stiles to memory. An image of Stiles at peace for the first time in weeks.

“Should get you ready to go, then,” Derek replied.

“I just want to stay like this,” Stiles replied, moving his head to rest against Derek’s chest once more. “Just a little while longer. Until my dad calls.” He turned, slightly uneasy still as he was aware of the time between them slipping away. “Could you sing? At least ... just to put me to sleep.”

“Okay,” Derek agreed, tightening his hold on Stiles. He used to hate that Stiles figured out how much he loved to sing—he hadn't sung out loud since Laura. Now, he wished that he could sing to Stiles every night if it meant the night terrors would go away.

Derek didn’t want to give this up. He didn’t want to give Stiles up. It explained why, in the end, Derek accepted the demon.

~*~

“I like you, Derek.” The Nogitsune knelt in front of him, observing its hand as it fondly ran down Derek’s chest. “I really do like you, because you and me together? We were great, Derek. Really great. I’m sure Stiles will be a little … sore”—it smiled—“about the whole nonconsensual part on his behalf. But we had fun, didn’t we?”

“I’m going to kill you,” Derek’s voice was low and threatening.

“Well, that’s not very nice,” the Nogitsune replied with mock hurt. “I thought we had something special, Derek. But it was just my pretty face, wasn’t it?” It leaned in closer to Derek, eyeing him carefully. “These big, doe eyes you liked to make shed tears of ecstasy. These plump little lips that you loved carefully opening up to swallow you down. Hearing this voice cry out ‘I love you’ in an endless mantra of want.”

The fingertips that were once soothing—once loving—now made Derek’s stomach churn at the reminder that he once welcomed their touch. Once, Derek used to fall apart under the touch of those fingertips, his mind consumed with nothing but the thought of Stiles.

“I had a lot of fun with you,” the Nogitsune added, smiling when Derek glared at it.

“Was it … was it ever Stiles?” Derek bit out as he tried to ignore the way the Oni tightened their grip on his arms, sending a sharp pain through his back. He wished the physical pain was the only thing running through his body right now. He wished he couldn’t feel the guilt and disgust rising in his chest at the realization of what he had been doing for the past weeks wasn’t with Stiles, but just his body.

The Nogitsune’s face fell into a disappointed look, searching Derek’s features. “Stiles, Stiles, Stiles,” it sighed in aggravation. “You’re like a broken record,” it partially grumbled as it stood up, turning to walk away from Derek.

“Was it ever him?” Derek asked again, ignoring the sharp pain in his chest.

The Nogitsune paused, turning back to observe Derek, searching his features. Its face wasn’t twisted into its normally gleeful expression of taunting and mischief. It was genuinely intrigued by Derek’s question. It couldn’t understand why Derek cared. “No,” it finally stated.

Derek slowly closed his eyes, letting his head hang as that information sank like a ton of bricks in his stomach. He felt the nausea take hold of him as his mind raced through different emotions—anger, revulsion, guilt, hatred—all directed at himself.

“Does that make you feel better or worse?” The Nogitsune asked, its voice softer than normal, closer to Stiles’ voice.

“You know how it makes me feel,” Derek bit out, not buying into the Nogitsune’s game.

“I’m going to let you in on a little secret, Derek,” the Nogitsune started as it drew closer to Derek. “Something no one else but Stiles and I know.” It began to kneel in front of Derek again, lowering itself to his level before continuing. “Why do you think I put your name on the king?”

“To make me think it was Stiles,” Derek bluntly replied, not looking at the creature, knowing he’d feel the full force of what he’s done. He was certain he’d never be able to look at Stiles again after all this.

“Chess isn’t the game of a Japanese fox. But it is the game of a spastic teenager,” the Nogitsune stated, tapping its fingertips on the hilt of the sword protruding from Derek’s chest.

Derek winced as the vibrations from the Nogitsune’s movements wiggled the sword’s edge up and down in his chest cavity.

“How do you defeat your enemy, Derek?” The Nogitsune leaned its head down, trying to catch Derek’s gaze. “How do you make someone who is so self sacrificing—so loyal to his friends, lose?”

Derek started to lift his head. “Take away their hope,” he almost murmured.

“You take everything they love from them,” the Nogitsune corrected him. “You make them realize that there is no point to living.” Its eyes—Stiles’ eyes—looked more alive than they had for the past few days, shining brightly with a hidden promise. “You see, Stiles saw what I wanted him to see,” it smiled at Derek when he finally met its gaze. “I kept him in the dark about us.”

“And why was that?” Derek forced his words, hoping that Scott could figure out that he was the one person who hadn’t checked in yet. For once in your life, show up at the loft when you are welcomed.

The Nogitsune released a laugh—Stiles’ nervous laugh—as it ducked its head. “I told you, Derek, I like you. I didn’t lie to you about that. I lied to Stiles, because I wanted you for myself.”

“You’re a demon,” Derek scoffed.

“And you’re a monster, Derek,” the Nogitsune replied. It watched as Derek shook his head in disagreement.

“Or is that something the Argents have labeled you as? Because I have been labeled, Derek, by Noshiko Yukimura,” the Nogitsune bitterly snarled at the name. “She was the one that summoned me, demanding vengeance and retribution for what those people did to her and her lover. So what did she do after she had it?” It nodded its head as it recalled the memory of avoiding Noshiko’s sword, only to be ambushed by Satomi. “She trapped me,” it almost mumbled, turning to look out at the moon shining through the loft’s window.

“Do you know why you couldn’t tell Yukimura and I are kitsunes?” The Nogitsune asked. “Because we both are centuries old. Yet she was allowed to find love. To not be alone … Do you know what it is like to be alone? To be forgotten? To be … hated just because you exist?” The spite in its voice was the first sign of emotion other than mischief that Derek heard.

Derek looked up at the Nogitsune, an understanding rising in his chest, and he hated it.

“That’s why I chose Stiles,” the Nogitsune explained. “Because he knows what it is like to be the outcast, in both human and supernatural realms.” It turned to look at Derek, moving closer to him. “Just like you. That’s why you’re drawn to him as well. The boy that stayed.” It moved to kneel in front of Derek, taking in his sorrowful look.

“Are you ready to stop being judged?” The smile on the Nogitsune’s face mirrored Stiles’—warm and comforting, welcoming in every way. “Because I do want to keep you by my side, Derek. And I want retribution, for me and you both.”

Derek looked away from the Nogitsune, swallowing the lump in his throat. “That’s the thing,” he started, turning to hold the demon’s gaze once more. “You want to keep me on a leash, as your pet. That’s not acceptance, just another form of oppression.” He released a hollow laugh before shaking his head, knowing that no matter what the Nogitsune said, it was all just a beautifully formulated lie to move him off the chessboard. “And no matter how long you wear that face for … you’re not Stiles. You’ll never be him.”

The Nogitsune’s face slowly twisted with disappointed and rage, annoyed that Derek was rejected his offer for the mere comforting idea of Stiles. It forced a laugh, a completely foreign sound in the form of Stiles’ voice. The laugh was mocking, a taunt that Derek’s resolve meant nothing to its owner. “This could have been a lot easier, Derek. Because whether you like it or not, I am keeping you. Because after I have you kill Stiles,” the Nogitsune grabbed ahold of the sword’s hilt, slowly twisting it, pleased with the way Derek growled through it. “Draining your pain and grief away will be that much sweeter. And then, when you can’t stand it anymore, and beg for me to end it, I’ll end it.”

“I’ll never hurt Stiles,” Derek replied. “You’ll have to kill me instead.”

“You’ll change your mind,” the Nogitsune smiled. It pulled the sword out of Derek’s chest, dropping it to clatter against the ground. It yanked Derek forward into a rough kiss, ignoring the way Derek tried pulled away from it.

Derek tried to fight back, to reject the way the demon clung to him. He felt a sharp burning behind his ear, the mark the Oni left to identify Derek as himself began to morph under the Nogitsune’s palm. Derek was able to yank his head away from the demon, turning his head out of its grasp. His lip was bleeding from the way the demon bit him.

“You’ll find you see things my way, now,” the Nogitsune stated, looking up at the Oni before giving them a signal to release Derek.

Derek fell forward, his hands cushioning his fall as he clenched his eyes shut. A sharp pain ripped through his brain as he fought against the dizzying thoughts stirring through his mind.

~*~

“Derek!” Stiles yelled his name as Scott pulled the loft door back. He ducked through Scott’s attempt to hold him back as he ran into the loft. He skidded to a halt as he frantically turned his body around in an attempt to find Derek. “Derek, where are you?” He called, uncertain of Derek’s location. His eyes landed on the unmade bed, sheets left twisted and bunched—sheets Stiles remembered wrapping around both him and Derek, joking that he only needed Derek to keep warm.

“Stiles, Stiles, Stiles,” a voice mimicking Stiles’ own called his name in a toying manner. “I thought Scott would try and keep you locked up at home.”

“Where is Derek?” Stiles questioned, standing his ground. “If you hurt him—”

The Nogitsune laughed, suddenly emerging from behind one of the pillars, stepping out of the shadows and into the moonlight. “I haven’t done anything. Well,” it smirked, lips curling into a smile. “Nothing Derek didn’t want done.”

Stiles started to run at the Nogitsune, startled when a pair of strong arms wrapped around his waist, pulling him back.

“Stiles, calm down,” Scott’s voice almost whispered against his ear.

“Listen to Scott,” the Nogitsune replied. “Wouldn’t want you to get hurt, now would we?” It sneered as it turned its head to the side, smiling at what it saw.

Stiles felt something constrict and expand several times in his chest when he caught sight of Derek. He looked much like Stiles did, big dark circles surrounding his eyes as if he hadn’t slept, something toying with his mind to drive him insane. He wanted to shove Scott away, to rush up to Derek and embrace him, to cling to him in a way that conveyed all he needed to let him know how he felt. That he still loved him and whatever the Nogitsune told him was a lie.

“See? Derek’s fine,” the Nogitsune replied, moving closer to Derek. “Right?” The demon placed its hand on Derek’s shoulder, resting its chin over its fingers as it observed Derek’s profile.

“Right,” Derek replied, turning his head to the side in order to look at the Nogitsune.

“What did you do to him?” Scott asked, knowing Stiles was about to do something completely irrational, like dashing out of his grasp to try and attack the Nogitsune with his bare hands.

“I gave him what he wanted,” the Nogitsune replied, keeping its eyes on Derek as it ran its fingertips through Derek’s hair—a shadow of the loving gesture Stiles would do when he and Derek were resting in bed.

Stiles tried to ignore the way the Nogitsune smiled as its eyes ran over Derek, appreciating him. He couldn’t ignore the way Derek looked at it, as if it was him.

“Derek,” Stiles called his name, his steps halted by Scott’s grip.

“What are you both doing here?” Derek questioned as he turned to look at them. He refused to look at Stiles.

“We’re here to help you,” Scott replied.

“I’m fine,” Derek curtly responded, much to the Nogitsune’s joy when it felt the despair rolling off of Stiles in waves.

“Like hell you are,” Stiles cut in. “Derek, I don’t know what it did or said to you, but you need to snap out of it, okay?” He began pulling at Scott’s hands, an attempt to get him off of him so he could move closer to Derek. Because it was Derek, and no matter what the demon did to him, he’d always love Stiles. He’d never hurt me, he thought as he inwardly begged that Derek would look at him.

“He told me what I needed to know,” Derek replied, finally looking at Stiles.

He.

“Derek, that thing is a demon, wearing Stiles’ body,” Scott stated as he gestured towards the Nogitsune.

The Nogitsune showed mock hurt, placing a hand over its chest. “I’m hurt, Scott. Really, I am. I have feelings … urges just like Stiles.” It moved its hand to curl its fingers over Derek’s belt.

Stiles knew it was using Derek to rile him up, and make him slip up. But the Nogitsune knew everything Stiles had felt and done with Derek, even using Derek when it gained control of his body.

“And Derek and I see eye to eye.” As it spoke, the Nogitsune curled its fingers tighter around Derek’s belt, caressing the tip of its thumb against Derek’s abdomen.

Stiles, somehow, managed to get out of Scott’s grip as he started running towards the Nogitsune. He felt Scott’s fingertips graze the back of his hoodie, his grip just missing the material.

Stiles was prepared for the Nogitsune to easily break any part of his body in retaliation. He wasn’t prepared for Derek to move in between them. He wasn’t prepared to come face to face with a wolfed out Derek roaring at him. A knot tightened in his chest, never witnessing Derek turn on him like this—Derek never flashed his eyes or roared at him. He knew his fear emitted in waves as the Nogitsune smiled behind Derek. He knew he must look pathetic, as his feet skidding to a stop, his eyes widening in fear. His strength left him, his knees giving way as he fell backwards from the surprise and uncertainty if Derek would actually hurt him. He landed hard on his back, slightly scurrying backwards in reaction. He heard the Nogitsune released a faint laugh as Scott moved forward, roaring back at Derek as he leaned over Stiles.

“Not yet, Derek,” the Nogitsune stated, reeling in the invisible leash it had on Derek. Derek had moved back to take his former spot next to the Nogitsune, his face shifting back to normal.

Scott collected Stiles in his arms as he assisted him to stand up. He tried to keep Stiles upright as he continued to flash his eyes red in hopes it would speak to Derek’s wolf. Maybe he’ll respond.

“Don’t worry, Stiles,” the Nogitsune spoke as it turned to smile at Derek. It ran its fingertips over Derek’s chest. It was a simple action Stiles loved doing, and the demon knew it. “I’ll take good care of him.” The demon flickered its eyes from Derek to look at Stiles.

Scott had his arms wrapped around Stiles’ waist once more, preventing Stiles from foolishly rushing the Nogitsune once again. Stiles, on the other hand, seemed to be completely gone on the rage boiling through him to remember what just happened. He couldn’t take his eyes away from the way the Nogitsune ran its hands—cheap imitations of Stiles’ own hands—all over Derek’s body. The worst part was that Derek let the demon do it. And Stiles’ stomach churned at the realization that Derek was more than welcoming the touch—he was enjoying it.

Derek’s eyes were shut as he pressed his forehead against the back of the Nogitsune’s head, an intimate act Stiles had loved when Derek did it to him. He slowly nuzzled his nose against the soft locks of the demon’s hair, overjoyed that it felt better than he once remembered.

Home. Stiles.

“Derek,” Stiles’ voice broke as he called his name. He could feel the memory of Derek’s hands around his own waist, the faint memory of Derek’s breath against the back of his neck, the rumble of his chest against his back as he practically purred with joy.

Stiles didn’t know what was worse: the way Derek was annoyed at being interrupted, or the emptiness in his eyes when he looked up at him. “Derek, don’t listen to it,” he pleaded, his feet trying to move him forward as he ignored Scott’s arms acting like a vice grip around him.

The Nogitsune rolled its eyes as it turned its head to look at Derek. “Do you want to stay?” It questioned.

Derek was taken off guard by the question, slightly arching his eyebrow in question.

“Do you want to stay with them, play hero,” its voice was mocking, holding nothing but contempt for the pack’s attempts to keep the peace. “Or, do you want to come with me?”

Stay, Stiles wanted to scream.

“Why would I stay?” Derek honestly replied.

The Nogitsune smiled, leaning his face in close to Derek’s, a silent question that Derek answered by pressing their mouths together.

Stiles’ vision bled red as he tried to charge at the Nogitsune. It had invaded his life, toyed with his mind, terrorized his friends, and murdered innocent people, all while using his body. And now it took Derek from him.

“Scott, let me go!” Stiles yelled at him as he struggled against Scott’s hold. His outburst did nothing to stop the Nogitsune from burying its fingers in Derek’s hair, pulling Derek further into its kiss. Stiles refused to acknowledge the fact that Derek looked happy, as if he was glad to fall into the Nogitsune’s arms.

The demon’s eyes fluttered open, catching Stiles’ gaze as it opened its mouth to Derek. There was no way Stiles was going to forget the way Derek held the demon close, his hands pressed against its back as he held it in a tight embrace.

That’s supposed to be me.

The Nogitsune pulled back from Derek, smiling before playfully biting at Derek’s bottom lip. It turned its attention back to Stiles and Scott, turning its body in Derek’s arms as it cozied up to him. It was flaunting the fact that Derek was the one holding it—that Derek was the one latching himself to the demon.

“I’m going to kill you,” Stiles found the words bubbling up, his fingers clawing at Scott’s hands to no avail. “I don’t care if it kills me, do you hear me?!” He shouted as the demon smiled with his face. “You’ll regret the day you thought you could take my life for a test drive!”

“I look forward to you trying,” the Nogitsune smiled. “We’ll be seeing you soon.”

“No!” Stiles shouted when the cloud of black smoke enveloped both the Nogitsune and Derek. The smoke cleared, revealing a blank space where they had been.

Scott slowly released his grip on Stiles, allowing him to slip from his grasp.

Stiles rushed forward, slowing when he reached the spot they once occupied. He let his legs fold under him, falling to his knees as he slammed his fists against the ground.

“Scott,” Stiles’ voice was weak, heavy with heartache.

“Stiles, we’ll find him,” Scott said reassuringly as he knelt next to him. “We’re not losing anyone else. We’re ending that thing.”

“Scott, what if Derek is stuck like that?” Stiles asked as he looked up at Scott. “What if he doesn’t remember me?” He didn’t bother trying to cover up his tears.

“Whatever that thing did is similar to what happened with those flies,” Scott explained. “I’m sure Derek is still in there.”

“But what if he thinks everything between the two of us was nothing?” Stiles asked, looking down at his hands as they trembled.

“So, it was you?” Scott hesitantly asked.

“Oh my God, yes, Scott!” Stiles nearly snapped in response. “It was me and him.”

“I’m sorry, but you two happened so quickly, it took all of us by surprise,” Scott stated. “It started when you were acting weird. I didn’t even catch on until after you disappeared that night from the hospital, and Derek was the one that caught your scent.”

“Derek kept in touch with me after he left with Cora,” Stiles admitted. “We talked almost every day. Then when he came back, we just kind of … It just kind of happened.”

“Stiles, you were already being toyed with by the Nogitsune at that time,” Scott replied.

“I know when I’m me and when I’m not, Scott!” Stiles yelled as he stood up, facing his best friend. “I … I know what happened between me and Derek was real. I was me when it all started. Then … then when the Nogitsune started taking over, the lines became blurred and I warned Derek that I had to go to Eichen House. But then … It’s trying to twist me and Derek to the point where we don’t remember what was real and what wasn’t.”

“I always knew Derek was important to you, Stiles,” Scott admitted. “It’s just … all of this happening now is complicating things.”

“We have to get him back,” Stiles replied, quickly standing as he started to march out of the loft.

“Stiles, the Nogitsune said—”

“I know what it said, Scott,” Stiles sharply replied. “I know what it said, and I know Derek. He’d never hurt me.”

~*~

They didn’t have a plan. But nothing seemed to be important the minute Stiles saw Derek standing beside the Nogitsune, flanked by the Oni. There was a rigidness present in Derek’s shoulders, heavy bags under his eyes from exhaustion. There was something in the way Derek looked at Stiles though that told him it was still Derek—still his Derek.

It all started to unravel faster than Stiles thought it would. So he acted on instinct alone, hoping that Scott would forgive him for it later.

“Kill him,” the Nogitsune stated with glee.

Derek allowed his eyes to glow blue as he moved forward.

“Stiles, run,” Scott stated as he moved forward to create a barrier between them.

“I have a better idea,” Stiles stated, shocking Scott when he suddenly ran by both him and Derek, catching both of the werewolves off guard.

“Stiles!” Scott yelled, having now idea what his best friend was doing running towards the threat.

Derek didn’t hesitate as he chased after Stiles, following him into the abandoned high school. Scott attempted to follow, only to be stopped by the Oni. The Nogitsune smiled when Scott looked up at it, knowing it didn’t care what Stiles had planned, confident that Derek’s possession wouldn’t break.

~*~

Derek’s fingers tightened like pistons around Stiles’ throat, causing the teen to grasp at his hand, his eyes pleading with Derek to stop. He had Stiles pinned against one of the many rows of lockers in the hallway. His claws were grazing Stiles’ skin, the sharp nails scraping red welts into his pale skin—the result making Derek feel uneasy, uncertain why he was wishing he could make the marks disappear.

“You’re a predator, not a monster,” Stiles managed to wheeze out as Derek’s face shifted, his wolf taking over.

Derek hesitated, his fingers automatically loosening some. He stared at Stiles, uncertainty crossing his features. He shook his head, turning his head to look away from Stiles.

“Derek,” Stiles calmly called his name, reaching his hands up to cup his face. “Look at me. Please, look at me,” he begged him, slowly turning Derek’s head to look at him once more.

Derek hesitated before looking up at Stiles, his eyes trying to avoid looking into Stiles’ own. His body trembled as he forced himself not to lean into Stiles’ touch, enjoying the feeling—the familiarity—of his fingertips caressing his skin.

“You’re not a monster, Derek,” Stiles partially whispered. “You’re a werewolf. A proud predator—not a monster. You’re my pack. My family.” He let his thumbs brush over his cheek, overjoyed when Derek closed his eyes and pushed into his open palm.

“You’re my mate,” Stiles voice was barely louder than a whisper as he admitted it.

Derek stopped pressing his face into Stiles’ hand, his eyes slowly opening, as he finally looked him in the eyes. His face slowly lost the shift, his fangs shrinking away as his features softened. His eyes were still shining their electric blue, his hand still lingering over Stiles’ throat.

“Stiles,” Derek’s voice was hoarse as he spoke his name, focusing on him and only him.

“Yeah,” Stiles released a throaty laugh of joy. “Yeah, it’s me.”

“Stiles, I—” Derek suddenly looked horrified, immediately taking his hands away from Stiles, making a move to back away from him completely.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay,” Stiles softly spoke, pulling Derek back in close to him.

Derek clamped his eyes shut, forcing his hands against the cold metal of the lockers, his hands turning into fists as he fought his urge to run away and hide from what he did to Stiles. There was no excuse, not for that. “I—Stiles, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know, I thought it was you—”

“It was me,” Stiles quickly stated, cupping Derek’s face in his hands once more. He placed a gentle kiss against his temple as he spoke. “It was me, okay? It was me dating you.” He lifted Derek’s head, searching his face to make sure he heard his words. “It is me dating you. All those times—they were me and you.”

Derek shook his head. “I hurt you.”

“It wasn’t you,” Stiles quickly answered. “And you stopped. You did that. You stopped the Nogitsune’s influence, Derek.” He placed a soft kiss against Derek’s lips. “We’re okay.”

Derek leaned his body against Stiles, his limbs heavy and complacent with falling against Stiles. He wanted to drag Stiles back to the loft, cover him with his scent, and then fall sleep with his face pressed into the crook of Stiles’ neck. He wanted to be holding Stiles when he woke up, knowing that the nightmare was over and he wasn’t dreaming of holding him close.

“I have a plan for the Nogitsune,” Stiles stated, pulling Derek from his thoughts. “It still thinks you’re under its control,” he commented, his hands moving to run along Derek’s back in a soothing manner. “It lets its guard down when you’re behind it.”

Derek arched his eyebrow for a better explanation as he pulled back from Stiles.

~*~

Derek easily tossed Stiles to the ground, at the Nogitsune’s feet. “I thought you’d rather do it,” he answered as the Nogitsune arched its eyebrow at him in question.

“I wanted you to kill him,” the Nogitsune stated as it moved closer to Stiles, kneeling down beside him as it inspected the claw marks still blemishing Stiles’ skin. “You held yourself back. Must have been hard.”

“I’d prefer to drag it out,” Derek weakly commented.

The Nogitsune smiled when it saw just how defiant Stiles looked, even when on his knees without his pack present to save him. “Ready to die, Stiles?”

“No, but you can,” Stiles retorted.

“If only your pack was here,” the Nogitsune stated in mock sadness. “I guess you really are alone in the world, Stiles. Just like me.”

Stiles glared at the Nogitsune. “No, you’re nothing like me,” he argued. “You’ll never have the things I have.”

“I have more than I need,” the Nogitsune answered. “What do you have?” It grasped a hold of Stiles’ hair, turning his head to look around them, pointing out the empty space.

“I have something you don’t,” Stiles finally replied. He winced when the Nogitsune tightened its hold on his hair.

“And what’s that?” The Nogitsune asked with a sneer.

“Derek’s heart,” Stiles flashed the demon a victorious smile when surprise fell on its face.

The Nogitsune released a scream when Derek dug his claws into its back, its hold on Stiles instantly releasing.

“Kira!” Derek yelled her name, moving the Nogitsune back to impale him on her katana as she came dashing from her hiding place. Derek released his claws from the demon as he moved to Stiles. Scott was quick to move, instantly grasping the demon fox’s arm, transferring the bite as quickly as possible.

Stiles scurried his entire body away from the Nogitsune, pushing back into Derek as he came to him. His hands grasped onto Derek’s arms as they wrapped around him, pulling him into a shielding embrace. Derek backed them up until his body slammed into the row of lockers, determined to get Stiles as far away from the creature as possible. They were both staring at the Nogitsune as it yelled in pain from the bite working against its own biology, its body convulsing.

“You can’t be a fox and a wolf,” Stiles stated, a shiver running through him as he leaned into Derek more. He held onto Derek as they watched the Nogitsune turn to ash and crumble as a result. He released a relieved breath when Isaac trapped the fly in the box carved from the Nemeton. He turned his body around to wrap his arms around Derek’s neck, tightly holding onto him with no intention of letting go.

“It’s over,” Stiles happily breathed, his breath warm and welcoming against Derek’s ear. “Allison!” He quickly turned around, arms still wrapped around Derek as he looked at Isaac.

“The doctors said that she’s stable,” Isaac answered with a faint smile. “Lydia’s with her.”

Stiles released another sigh of relief, pushing his face against Derek’s shoulder as he tried to hide from everything. “I’m exhausted. I think I could sleep—indefinitely.”

Derek hummed in agreement, his hands protectively slotted against Stiles’ hips and back. He didn’t want to stop touching Stiles, reassured by his warmth that he was real.

“Take me home, sour wolf,” Stiles softly stated.