"Derek got a house on the coast of Washington State."
Stiles startled, looking up from where he sat in the library reading a book for English. Malia looked directly at him, arms folded across her chest. It's the first time she's spoken to him in weeks.
"Hello to you too."
She just blinks at him.
Stiles leaned back in his chair, attempting to appear nonchalant. "Okay, Derek got a house in Washington, good for him, why are you telling me?" Derek didn't matter. Why would he matter to Stiles? Derek left. Derek almost died and Stiles couldn't do anything about it and then he left.
He didn't matter. And yet, Stiles hadn't felt that relieved in a while, not since he worked out some of the rough patches with Scott.
"I know you care about him, so drop the act. Braeden mentioned it so I came to... I don't know, pass the message along, I guess." She looked askance, shifting her feet. Stiles would be surprised at the revelation but he isn't. Malia was observant.
He nodded. "Thanks."
"Yeah, well, here. Do what you want with it. I'll... See you. I guess."
Malia dropped a small paper that was torn from something and folded in half. She exited the library as quickly as she arrived, door shutting firmly behind her. Stiles picked up the paper and unfolded it. It looked as if it came from a a journal, holes from the spiral binding torn loose. On the paper was an address in Port Angeles, Washington. No phone number. Stiles rubbed his hand over his face. "Great."
Stiles sat at his desk with some notebook paper in front of him, the paper with the address in between his fingers. He stared out his window trying to think of something to write, the small paper flipping between each finger. He had run over things he wanted to say to Derek a hundred times, but to put them into coherent sentences now seemed impossible. It's not like he'd have to profess his love to the man. Stiles just wanted to see if he was alright alone. To let him know he wasn't forgotten here.
Stiles looked at the lined paper. He tried to find the stationary his family used to use for when they sent letters to his grandma, but all he found was Christmas stationary, and that would be weird. Lined paper was fine. Grabbing a pen from the cup on his desk, he wrote. When he finished, he folded it in three, pushed it into an envelope, wrote the addresses and placed a snowflake stamp on the upper right hand corner of the envelope. He licked the adhesive on the envelope flap and pressed it shut. He looked at it for a few seconds before heading outside to place it in his mailbox, lifting the red flag on the side and staring at the mailbox.
It wasn't much, but he needed this. Everything is always going to shit, at least he could try to have some good in his life.
Living out in the middle of nowhere makes things like groceries, television, and picking up the mail a bit rough for Derek. He set up a P.O. box at the nearest post office when he arrived and did all his city runs every two weeks. The two hour drive to and from the city does that to a person. The door to the post office opened smoothly, cool air hitting his face. The wall of silver mailboxes ran endlessly. He never expected much. A letter from Braeden and Cora here and there, sometimes even Chris or Isaac. What he didn't expect was a letter with the return address from Stiles.
Derek waited till he got home to consider opening the letter. What could Stiles want from him? How did he even get his address? Derek held on to the letter, smoothing his thumb against it slightly.
What if Scott was hurt?
What if Stiles was hurt?
He had to stop himself from tearing open the envelop at the thought. Slowly, he turned the envelope around, sliding his fingers under the seam. Lined paper peaked out. Derek pulled it out, opening, looking at it for a moment.
When he looked down Derek saw Stiles' scrawl on the page and he felt a lump in his throat.
I hope everything is going well. I don't know anything about Port Angeles, but I hope it's scenic. I got your address from Braeden. Well, Malia got it from Braeden who gave it to me. I know I'm probably the last person you want to hear from, but we miss you over here. I'll spare you the details, but everything is going to shit, nothing new. I could see why you'd want to leave. Let me know if you got this.
Also, I'm glad you didn't die.
Derek dropped the hand that was holding the letter to his lap, his eyebrows scrunched together as he replayed the last sentence in his head.
I'm glad you didn't die.
Derek never said a word to Stiles or Scott after he shifted into a wolf. He nodded at Scott and then left with Braeden. He could have gone back to Beacon Hills. After so much struggle he felt like he finally found his place in the town. But it was still that. A struggle.
Because even though he could stay with Scott's pack and help, Scott didn't need much help. He had nothing to keep him there. So he left. He followed Braeden around till one day the trail fizzled out in Port Angeles and Derek got tired of the nomadic life. So he stayed. He never had much use for a cell phone so he never got one. But as for Stiles... Derek could never toy with the idea of wanting the annoying kid. That didn't stop him from keeping him in mind. Derek felt a pang of longing to see Stiles, which was odd. Maybe he should go back to Beacon Hills... According to Stiles everything was going to shit. But the letter didn't ask him to come and help, Stiles just wanted to know if he was okay. Which was also odd.
In fact, the entire letter seemed devoid of the sarcasm and wit Stiles usually relies on. Derek frowned, a knot of worry twisting in his stomach. He shouldn't have disconnected so much, he knew how Beacon Hills was, especially after the Nematon was given power. Guilt twisted in with the worry. He got up and paced, his boots echoing on the wooden floor. If he left now he could be in Beacon Hills by midday tomorrow. But Stiles didn't seem too worried. Maybe he's overreacting. They've dealt with Kate and the Alpha pack and Stiles...
Derek stopped in his tracks.
He dropped his head and pinched the bridge of his nose, his heart picking up speed. That can't be happening again.
No. It's okay.
He'd go into the city tomorrow and get a cell phone, call Scott to make sure Stiles is really okay. If the Nogitsune was back Stiles wouldn't tell the truth. Maybe he could still... Derek looked at the large clock over the kitchen sink. 8:00. He sighed and made his way to the shower.
Derek woke up early to make his way to the closest Verizon store. A woman named Janice helped set him up with a plan and a new phone. As soon as he got back in the Toyota he pulled his address book out of the central console, found Scott's number and dialed. It was a Sunday, so he should respond. With every ring he felt himself losing breath. Derek forced himself to breathe deeply through his nose.
"Hello?" The breath released in a quick whoosh from his mouth.
"Scott! It's Derek."
"Derek? Where have you been? Braeden is here but I haven't gotten to-"
"Scott, first, is Stiles okay?" There was a pause on the other end of the line.
He wasn't okay. "Is the Nogitsune back?!"
"What? No! Stiles is... We're going through some stuff, but he's fine."
Derek leaned over and rested his head on the steering wheel, eyes closing in relief. "Okay."
"Why would you think that?"
"Nothing... Tell me what's going on."
"Derek, do you know something?"
"No, just tell me what's happening." Derek didn't know why he didn't tell Scott about the letter, but it's not like he needed to know. That could stay between Stiles and him.
Scott told him about the Dread Doctors and Theo. About the Chimeras, Kira losing control, and Theo putting Lydia in a coma. Beacon Hills is a mess. What else is new?
"And now we have the Beast. I need to get my pack back together, Derek." Derek felt the heavy weight of pack trouble weigh down on him in a way it hasn't in months. Maybe that's why Stiles didn't elaborate.
"And... Stiles?" Derek continued.
"Stiles... Stiles and I are going through a rough time. I messed up and we're working through it but, you know, you should probably talk to him."
Derek nodded to himself. "I will."
"Good. Well, uh, I got some things to do at the animal hospital. It was good to hear from you Derek."
"Yeah, you too Scott."
And it was. Even with the news of Scott's pack being torn apart, it was nice to hear his voice. Derek stared at his phone after he hung up with Scott. It wasn't a question of "if" anymore. He had to go back to Beacon Hills. But first... Derek picked up his address book again and flipped to the S page. He typed the number down slowly, psyching himself into hitting call. He got this phone for Stiles and now he could barely think of what to say. But Stiles reached out first. He deserved a response. Derek hit the green button and let it ring in his palm, the ringer being plenty loud without having to press it on his ear.
"Hey, this is Stiles. You should know what to do by now." Of course he wouldn't pick up some random number. Derek hung up and pulled up the texting.
Stiles, it's Derek
Not even a minute passed after he hit send that the phone began to vibrate.
"I got your letter." Derek started, foregoing a hi.
"Oh... You could have just wrote me back. You didn't have to call if you wanted to keep your distance. I get it."
"I'm coming back."
"I talked to Scott. I'm coming back to help."
"Derek... Don't." Derek felt his heart drop.
"There is so much shit happening here Derek. You could die! And I-" Stiles paused, releasing a breath.
"I don't know if I can save you..." Derek's brow furrowed. Stiles' end of the line was silent except for the static of the call.
"Yeah?" Derek said hollowly, "And what about you?"
"This is my fight Derek! Theo hurt my dad, he almost died! He put Lydia in a coma! You can't, just! You just can't, Derek."
"Stiles, you might think that that's a good reason but it's not. You guys need all the help you can get. I'm not letting all of you die, not if I can't help it. Do you understand?"
"Fine." They both stayed silent for a minute before Derek continued, "I'll be there tomorrow. We can talk."
"Yeah." His response was sullen, but it was better than nothing. "Bye."
Derek went back home to quickly pack a bag. He didn't know how long he was staying, but he could just buy anything else he would need later. Twenty minutes later he was on the road.
The long lines of tall pine trees surrounding the state road reminded him of his travels with Braeden. When they were on the road they relied on his car for the most part. It was practical and had a lot of room. After a few days of spotty radio stations out in the desert Derek opted in getting Sirus XM, which helped fill the quiet moments. When he decided to stay in Port Angeles, Derek kept the car while Braeden ended up hotwiring a motorcycle.
He missed having her in the car. It helps not being alone for long car trips, even if they don't say much. Stiles probably wouldn't shut up. He'd probably take up as much space as possible and change the radio every other song. He didn't know why that sent a pang to his chest. Out the window was the green welcome sign for Oregon. Just a few hundred more miles. He pressed down on the pedal.
Traffic in Portland and a major crash slowed him down. He also took a nap at a rest stop on the border of California before driving the rest of the way. When he arrived in Beacon Hills it was Monday morning rush hour. He felt exhausted. Derek may be a werewolf, but car trips are still tiring. He considered going to the loft but ended up driving to the high school. When he turned onto the lot there were still a few stragglers trying to get in before first bell. Scott's dirt bike was there and Stiles' jeep was parked toward the middle. Derek parked toward the back. It felt familiar coming to the school for Scott and his pack. Waiting for them. It felt like ages have passed, but it has just been about a year. Derek's heart clenched at the ghosts of days gone by.
Not now .
He released a harsh breath, scrubbed his hand over his face, and got out of the car. He needed some air. He hadn't expected to see Scott and Stiles walking hastily toward him.
"Derek!" Scott called out, walking closer to him and then pulling him into a tight hug. Derek apprehensively hugged back, giving him a few pats on the back.
Stiles stood a few paces behind with his hands on the straps of his backpack. Derek could smell the stress and exhaustion rolling off of him in waves, guilt hitting him again. When Derek locked eyes with him it was almost like seeing a wrung out and overused rag hung out to dry. Stiles lifted the corner of his lips briefly. Derek felt his heart pang and hoped Scott wasn't paying attention.
Scott pulled back and continued talking, "I heard you driving in. Thanks for coming. I know this is the last place you want to be, so thanks."
"I'm here whenever you need me. I only wish I would have checked up sooner."
"No." Scott said as he leaned his back against the Toyota. "You shouldn't have to check on us. All of this is getting out of hand! We just-" He huffed out a sigh and reached his hand up to run through his hair. Stiles reached over, placing his hand on Scott's shoulder and squeezing.
"We need Lydia back." Scott concluded.
"Hey." Stiles squeezed his shoulder again. "We'll get her Scott."
Derek nodded solemnly. His eyes latched onto Stiles' once more. He looked determined, but worried nonetheless. It warmed him to be included in that gaze. This is pack. Even for humans it's more than just friendship. Derek set his jaw, eyes glowing blue and nodding surely once more at Stiles.
Stiles didn't know what he expected to happen when he sent that letter to Derek, but him coming back wasn't it. In retrospect, telling him that things are going to shit was a bad idea, but things are always going to shit. And now Derek was back.
He looked good in the parking lot. Serene. Even with the knowledge of what was happening, he looked less rigid than he used to be. He was doing good and he came back to this shit fest. Stiles, on the other hand, felt constantly on edge and it was exhausting. Theo and his pack being in the school, and the Dredd Doctors could be anywhere. He was so tired. But Derek being back after so long felt odd, like a distortment in his reality. Despite this, the fierce blue eyes latched onto his eased his worry. Even if only briefly.
When Stiles got back home he didn't expect to see Derek's Toyota parked near his driveway, but there it was. And so was his dad's cruiser. Which meant...
Stiles parked in his parking space and jumped out of the car. He paused, deciding not to run in. Why rush to the door, what difference would it make? Plus, Derek and his dad have worked together before. He entered his house at a leisurely pace, finding Derek and his dad in the living room, the Sheriff on his recliner and Derek sitting on the middle of the couch. Derek shifted his eyes toward Stiles when he heard him enter. As bizarre as it was to see him and his dad just talking in the living room, the sight still made Stiles' heart skip a beat.
"Ah, there he is." The Sheriff got up, already in his uniform for the afternoon shift.
"Don't kill him." He joked as he passed Stiles, patting his shoulder.
"No promises," Derek responded, smirking. Stiles wasn't entirely sure he didn't die then.
"See you in the morning Stiles."
"Stay safe." He called back, eyes lingering on Derek. Stiles dropped his backpack against the wall as he waited for the front door to shut.
"He seems good." Derek started, watching the cruiser pull out from the driveway through the front window. Stiles nodded, hands sliding into his pants pockets.
"I still think he should have rested more, but you know him."
Derek hummed. He brought his eyes up to meet Stiles' eyes again.
"How are you Stiles?" The question sounded genuine, not the platitudes people usually breeze by. Stiles brought his right hand out of his pocket and scrubbed it over his face, sighing soundly, moving to sit where his dad was sitting.
"I..." Stiles looked at Derek, sitting in his living room, shifting to face him, calm and concerned. His chest ached and he hoped Derek couldn't tell.
"I'm doing better. I talked to Scott and my Dad about it and it's better, but I guess... It's still fresh you know?"
"Scott didn't tell you?"
"He told me to ask you." Stiles casted his eyes down, elbows to knees as he pressed his forehead to his clasped hands.
"I-- I killed someone. He was chasing me and I climbed a scaffolding, then I pulled something loose and... The pole impaled him."
Derek stayed quiet. Stiles looked up, resting his chin on his thumbs, mouth covered by his closed fingers.
"Derek I-" he dropped his hands and stared at them, recalling the blood. "I wanted him dead. He threatened my dad. I can't stop thinking that I willed it or something."
"You're not a killer Stiles."
Stiles looked up, eyebrows furrowing.
"You've saved me. As much as you seem to hate me, you have saved me. What happened was an accident."
Stiles exhaled soundly, heart clenching tightly. "I know. I tell myself it was self defense, that it was an accident. It's just that I feel like I lost something and I don't know if I can get it back."
Stiles felt the emptiness common in the last few weeks swirling inside him. He settled his gaze back on his hands. Derek shifted on the couch, moving closer. He reached out slowly grabbing onto his hand and pulling it closer to himself. Derek held the hand between both of his strong hands, warm and sure.
Stiles' face crumpled, gripping onto Derek's hand tight.
"I know," Derek repeated.
Stiles felt raw. He didn't know he needed this. He didn't know he needed someone who understood him. But of course it would be Derek. So he clung to Derek's hand like a lifeline, just in case he fell apart. He didn't cry, he wasn't sure if he could at the moment.
Derek took to rubbing circles on the back of his hand then moving along his palm, the pressure drawing him back to reality. Back to Derek in his living room massaging his hand. Derek looked as if he were caught up in the action, serene almost.
He cleared his throat, pulling his hands back, "Sorr-"
"No," Stiles said, taking hold of one of Derek's hands and pulling it back to his, holding it like Derek had earlier with his. Derek's hand tensed up. Stiles turned it over, a wide palm cradled in his. Tentatively, he lightly traced the lines there.
"No... I." Stiles looked up to meet Derek's eyes, throat constricting. "I don't hate you."
Derek's hand eased it's tension, his face softened. Slowly he dragged his hand down Stiles', linking their fingers. Stiles' heartbeat picked up, eyes shifting from their locked hands to Derek shifting to his knees to kneel in front of Stiles.
"Derek..." He breathed out as Derek cupped his cheek, thumb stroking his brow. Everything felt warm, a pulse of heat. Derek's eyes were gentle as they flickered to his lips and back to his eyes.
"Is this okay?"
Stiles couldn't speak, couldn't breathe. He nodded slowly, as if he moved too quickly this would all go away. Derek smiled lightly, making Stiles take a breath.
It was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
Derek slid his thumb down Stiles' jawline slowly, bringing it to his chin. Stiles felt his lungs working overtime but his brain felt fuzzy as Derek's eyes bore into his soul. They were so close Stiles could feel his breath on his lips. Slowly, Derek guided him to his lips and his brain went silent. He could feel the prickle of Derek’s moustache and smell muskiness of his skin. His lips tingled from the warmth, heart melting.
They pulled apart, foreheads touching, with matching smiles.
"You're here. You came back." Stiles whispered, left hand sliding into Derek's hair.
"I'll always come back for you Stiles."
Stiles pulled him in, kissing him deeply. He slid the hand that was linked to Derek up his bicep, tugging at him to join him on the recliner.
"Nuh uh," Derek mumbled, placing his hands on Stiles thighs and pulling him to kneel on the ground with him.
"So courteous," Stiles said between kisses, right hand meeting his left to thread in Derek's thick hair.
Derek ran his hands up Stiles' sides, resting on his hips. "I don't want you to have to explain to your father how you broke the recliner."
"Me?" Stiles laughed.
"Mmhm," Derek hummed, rubbing his nose against Stiles'. Derek pressed him closer, the area between the recliner and where they knelt not allowing much room for Stiles' legs but the movement sent Stiles crashing down on Derek. Derek's quick movement to the side prevented them from crashing into the coffee table.
They landed with an "oof" on the carpet. Chuckling, they made room for each other, Stiles settled in between Derek's splayed legs, forearms resting on his chest. The light streamed in from the windows casted a dreamy glow in the living room. Derek's smile reached his eyes, shining vibrant green with the sunlight.
"You're different," Stiles said reaching up to rub the corner of Derek's lips with his thumb, "It's nice."
Derek took Stiles hand, turning his head to press a kiss on his palm. "I missed you." Derek whispered into his palm, turning back to catch Stiles eyes.
He felt as if his heart was going to burst, it was all too much. But it was good, better than good. He wasn’t going to back down.
Stiles dragged himself up Derek's body, delving into his mouth. His dick started to harden quickly, after so much time imagining what it would be like. He raked and tugged on Derek’s hair, kisses growing hungrier. Derek's dick began to twitch beneath him and his own begged for friction. He ground down, moaning loudly.
"Stiles..." Derek said huskily, thrusting up. "Again."
"Mmm." Stiles lifted his right knee higher for some leverage and thrusted down harder. He could feel Derek’s dick growing thicker the harder he moved.
Derek whined, grabbing Stiles by the back of the neck and pulling him down, licking along the length of his neck and back up to his mouth. Stiles set a pace, hips undulating. Legs wrapped around Stiles as he ran his hands up Derek's chest and along his arms, causing Derek's hands to fall from his neck. He kept moving until their hands clasped together on either side of Derek's head.
Their lips slid together, exploring each other. He drank in everything he never thought he'd have; Derek's throaty moans, their hands linked together as they met each other's thrusts, the rough drag of fabric along his dick as it pressed against Derek's, the sweat building against the back of his neck. As much as he would love then to be naked, he knew he couldn't handle it.
Everything grew fuzzier and warmer as he got closer to the edge. He let go of Derek's lips to kiss along his jawline and down his neck, moaning, "I'm close..."
Derek nodded vigorously, tilting his head up giving Stiles more access. Using the flat of his tongue, Stiles licked the vein and bit down. Derek yelled, shuddering beneath him as he came. Stiles ground down a few more times before coming with a groan.
Stiles let go of Derek's hands as he slid back down, causing Derek to hiss due to sensitivity.
“Sorry,” Stiles said resting his head on Derek's chest as he wrapped his arms around it. He began stroking Derek's belly, softer than he imagine it would be. It’s nice. A hand began to run through his hair, humming at the feeling.
Stiles never thought he’d get this, not with Derek. But he was here, lying on the carpet with him, hazy light filtering through the window. Derek came back for him.
Then it hit him. Derek came back to a place where evil and danger lurked in every corner, for him. If he gets hurt it’s Stiles’ fault.
The hand on his hair stopped moving, “Stiles?"
Derek must have felt his heart beating faster or smelled his anxiety. Stiles lifted his head to look up, “If anything happens… If I can’t save you…”
“It’s not your job to save me, Stiles.”
Stiles gritted his teeth, “But you’re here because of me! And that’s what we do; you save me, I save you!” He felt tears welling up.
Derek cupped his cheek and began stroking his cheekbone, “Do you hear that?”
“What?” He began to lift his body up to check around them, but Derek held him still.
“The desperation in your voice.” Stiles’ brow furrowed. “You won’t let anyone hurt me Stiles. And I won’t let anyone hurt you. That’s how it’s always been. And now that we have this,” He said, pulling Stiles and pecking his lips, “I’m never letting you go.”
Stiles hovered over Derek’s face, heartbeat slowing down, a small, disbelieving smile on his face. He kissed Derek again, knowing what he said to be true. He was never letting go.