“Hey Derek, uh...” his voice sounded dry and rough. He paused, Derek could imagine him licking his lips as thought over his words carefully.
“A lot of stuff’s happened since you left and I, uh... To be honest, I wasn’t going to call you, you know, there was no point dragging you here and - and it’s mostly all right anyway, nothing to worry about.”
He said the last part in a rushed way, almost mumbling in the way he does when he’s trying to brush something off like everything’s fine when... when everything’s not fine.
“Listen, I just, uh...” Derek closed his eyes as Stiles sighed against his ear. He could see him, rubbing his hand down his face, “Lydia gave me a...” he could hear him swallow, see his Adam’s apple bobbing, “She gave me a prediction and I...”
He chuckled low and deep, a kind of bitter laugh that left a bad taste in Derek’s mouth.
“I don’t think I’m gonna be turning into a wolf any time soon, so...”
Derek wanted to think he was imagining the little crack at the end. He wanted to think he was imagining this whole message.
“I don’t want you to come back or anything, I just... I don’t wanna have any regrets, you know? There’s a lot I know I can’t do or... or say but...”
He took a breath and Derek had to lean on the wall for support as Stiles sniffed.
“I just wanted to say goodbye.”
Derek slid down the wall. He clenched his eyes shut. There had to be more - there had to be.
Stiles was talking to himself, mumbling, “I kinda hope you don’t get this. If you do though... Don’t come. Please? I don’t know what’s gonna happen, but Lydia... I feel like maybe it’s time, you know? Just... Thank you. For everything. For being there for Scott and... For being there for me.”
He waited a moment to see if that was the end of the message. His throat burned. He had to take a deep breath before lowering the phone. Just as he did he caught a whisper and then it was gone.
He had to listen through the message again to hear it. It was just as hard to hear a second time - to hear every broken breath, every soft sigh. He could picture Stiles making the call in his room, pacing from the bed to the door, hoping that Derek would answer and yet, hoping that he wouldn’t.
When he got to the end, he could hear Stiles giving a few quick breaths, “...I hope you’re okay... Wherever you are... I hope you’re happy, Derek... Bye.”
If everything else had been mounting this, it was that one hopeless farewell that pushed him. He didn’t care what he would have to do or what it would cost him. He had to get to Beacon Hills.
He had to change a Banshee’s Prediction.