“Our real discoveries come from chaos; from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.” -- Chuck Palahniuk
“Our real discoveries come from chaos; from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.” -- Chuck Palahniuk
Fingertips covered in pale skin slide gently over his abs and down to the trail of dark hair above his groin. His pants are unbuttoned; when and how it occurred they can never tell on nights like this. Soft exhales of breath fill the room and he presses open mouth kisses against a long neck, extended and presented to him like an offering. The boy in front of him moans; begging for more without using words. The smell in the air of lust and want and something else; something not quite said yet but always known since this started; love.
Derek Hale's eyes open violently, heart hammering so hard inside his chest he can hear it in his ears and feel it in every muscle in his body. A thin veil of sweat covers his skin and his fingers make hard fists in his sheets.
He breathes out a couple of soft obscenities before sitting up on his elbows to take in his surroundings. Same bedroom. Same windows. Same furniture. The same things he has had surrounding himself for over 10 years. Not the dark atmosphere in his dream. A place he has barely even thought of since those nights he had just woken up from. No mattress on the floor. No large windows letting in the moonlight as pale limbs writhe on black sheets.
No. This is his life. He hasn't thought about that life in a long time. In a way, he wonders if that life was just a dream. If the boy in his dream ever even existed. If the circumstances leading up to those nights even happened. But Derek knows they did. A long time ago in a time when it was all about life and death. Good and Evil. Pleasure and pain.
That life is long gone. And so is the boy.
And so is the man Derek used to be. The wolf he used to be.
It took him a long time to get to where he is. So why is he having these dreams now?
But Derek knows exactly why. He's known why for about 4 days now. And it's his worst nightmare and biggest dream all rolled into one simple sentence.
"He's coming back, Derek."
He got the phone call at 2:14pm 4 days ago as he was turning the squad car down Hudson to do his daily drive by of the basketball courts where sometimes the kids from the rival school district would go to try and start trouble with the local kids. Nothing too heavy, nothing a little flicker of the lights on the car wouldn't deter.
It was a routine. A safe routine. A routine that had gotten him far at the station. A routine that had pushed him to take the test for detective and pass it. A routine he will be ending in 2 weeks when he finally takes his spot behind the desk right next to the sheriff's office.
Right next to the man who had helped him get his life together. Right next to a man he can honestly say, beyond the shadow of a doubt had saved his life. Had pushed him and believed in him that had made Derek feel he was a second father to him. A man who called him at 2:14 on a Tuesday afternoon to mutter the words he had longed and dreaded to hear for the past 10 years.
"He's coming back, Derek."
Derek swings his legs over the side of his bed and scrubs the palms of his hands over his face. He groans at the stiffness in his back; werewolf or not he was in his mid-thirties now. He stands, cracking his shoulders and knees before dropping down to his daily routine of pushups and sit ups. Routines are good for Derek. It keeps his life simple and keeps his mind sharp.
Well into his 100 and something pushup he hears his cell ring and vibrate from his bedside table. He sighs, pushing up one more time and balances in a squatting position to reach for the annoying piece of technology. He frowns at the name across the screen; not because they haven't become, dare he say it friends, in the past 10 years but because he knows exactly why the Alpha is calling.
“Yes, Scott," Derek mumbles blandly into the phone.
Derek raises an eyebrow, knowing damn well that Scott cannot see it through the phone but he also knows they have both come to know each other so well over the past decade that Scott can almost feel his facial expression though the phone.
Derek hears a heavy sigh and rolls his eyes.
"Stop being so dramatic, Scott. Just spit it out. What do you want to tell me?"
Scott clears his throat. "Stiles' plane lands at 3."
"And?" Derek stands, padding barefoot out of his bedroom and into his kitchen. He needs coffee. Lots of black fucking coffee.
"And John has a meeting with the township that he can't get out of. He tried to reschedule it..." Scott says in a panicked tone. “So he can’t pick him up.”
"There's this amazing thing called cabs." Derek tells him in his most sarcastic 'I really don't give a fuck' tone. He hopes Scott won't see right through the charade.
"Derek," Scott warns.
Derek stares at black water dripping into his coffee cup and squeezes his eyes shut in annoyance and stress as he grips his cell phone tighter and tighter against his ear. "What is it that you want from me exactly, Scott?"
"I have to work. Someone should be there when he lands."
Derek's eyes fly open and he feels the muscles in his body tense and his teeth grit against each other. "Someone should be there?
Really, Scott? After everything you think 'Someone should be there?' Just like he was there? For anything?"
"I know, Derek. But it's Stiles. Stiles, Derek. And he's...something has to be wrong for him to come back here. Something's wrong, I can feel it." Scott pleads. "Please. I think the first person he sees should be you."
"Me? Really? I highly doubt I am or should be the person Stiles sees first. Not after..." Derek trails off, unable to finish.
"It doesn't matter what happened 10 years ago Derek. It's Stiles. Just...please. Just go." Scott pauses. "I'm your Alpha and I-"
"Don't you fucking dare." Derek interrupts.
"Then go get Stiles and don't make me say it." Scott's voice raises in almost a threatening tone. Derek frowns and regrets the day he accepted Scott as his Alpha.
"Good. Gate B. Flight 3225 from Argentina. Don't be late."
The 'Call ended' message flashes across the screen and Derek slams it his cell down hard onto the counter. This was going to be a mistake. A huge epic chaotic mistake.
“The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open.”
"That was stupid. Really stupid. And reckless. Did I mention reckless?" Derek is practically snarling in the teenagers face as he applies pressure to large gaping wound on his forehead. The room is only lit by the large full moon coming in from the widespread windows. The teenage boy frowns and slaps Derek's hand away as he takes over caring for his wound.
"Yeah, so you've said. Like a hundred times."
"Well maybe if I say it enough it will make you stop making such stupid, reckless decisions!" Derek stands, wiping Stiles' blood on his dark mud covered jeans.
Stiles' snorts. "Right."
Derek sighs angrily and opens the bottle of water sitting on the oversized wood table, shoving it in Stiles' face. "Drink."
The boy just rolls his eyes but takes the bottle without protest. "You're making a big deal out of nothing. I'm fine."
"And what if just one time you're not? What then, Stiles? Do you know what it would do to me...to the pack…" Derek quickly corrects him. "If something happened to you. Not to mention the Sheriff-"
"Whoa, wait right there, Sour Wolf. What exactly would it do to you if something happened to little old me?" Stiles eyes are wide now, one hand holding the towel against his cut the other clutching the water bottle he has yet to take a drink from yet which just infuriates Derek even more.
"It was a figure of speech, Stiles. A slip of the tongue."
"Maybe you just want to slip me the tongue." Stiles mumbles, wrapping his plump red lips over the tip of the bottle to finally drink.
"Excuse me?" Derek barks, gripping the edge of the table.
"Whoa..." Stiles pulls the bottle away from his mouth, droplets of water spilling everywhere and sliding down his chin. "It was a joke, big guy. Just a joke. No need to go all crazy full moon werewolf on me."
Derek eyes him, his chest heaving, his jeans tighter; they had been growing tighter and tighter since he brought Stiles back to the loft; and he kneels down, ever so gently and slowly in front of the teen. Stiles' eyes widen slowly and he lowers his hand away from his forehead. The wound looks bad but at least it's stopped bleeding for now. Derek reaches out, wiping the drops of water off Stiles' chin. He watches as his Adam's apple bobs as he swallows, his breath hitching, Stiles never taking his eyes off Derek's.
"Unless...it wasn't a joke." Stiles' whispers.
Derek doesn't know if it's the full moon. If it's Stiles, just weeks away from turning 18, or if it was just time finally catching up to this dance they had been waltzing around to for the past 3 years...but in the moment, as the moon hung full and bright in the sky, Derek didn't care. For once, he was going to take what he wanted. He was finally going to have something for himself. And he wanted Stiles. He's always wanted Stiles.
There’s a shift in the earth when Derek finally presses his mouth to Stiles' and he knows that nothing in his life will ever be the same.
“No matter how careful you are, there's going to be the sense you missed something, the collapsed feeling under your skin that you didn't experience it all. There's that fallen heart feeling that you rushed right through the moments where you should've been paying attention. Well, get used to that feeling. That's how your whole life will feel some day. This is all practice.”
Stiles laughs, literally cracks up laughing when he steps out of the gate and sees Derek standing there, hands deep in his deputy uniforms pockets. It makes Derek seethe with anger.
He looks the same but so much like a stranger at the same time. Because Derek wanted to believe that the Stiles that stepped off the plane would be the same one that got on it 10 years ago. But it's not. And it never will be again.
"When all else fails, send in the Sour Wolf."
Derek growls at the familiar pet name and Stiles' laughs harder. He takes Stiles book bag off his shoulder and turns without saying a word. Stiles follows close behind, falling in step quickly. He always could.
"So what, no hello? No ‘how you been’?" Stiles asks.
"I know how you've been. I work with your father, remember?" Derek grumbles, pushing through the crowd toward baggage claim.
"Like you even asked how I was." Stile sighs. Derek turns, grabbing Stiles by the shoulder, holding him back at a safe distance but looking deep into his honey brown eyes.
"No. You don’t get to do that. You don’t get to play the victim here. You made your choices, I made mine. It's life. You deal with the consequences of the choices you make. You left. I stayed. We all stayed. You decided to wait ten years to come back here. It was a choice. So you don’t get to be hurt or upset or any of other Stiles like feeling you could possible project onto anyone. Do you get that? You wanna be here? Good. Be here but do not make me or anyone else feel guilty about the choices WE ALL made." Derek meets Stiles eyes as he speaks and finds them wide with surprise. “Okay?”
They stare at each other for a few minutes before Derek raises an eyebrow at Stiles, almost daring him to make a snarky remark.
"Geez. You sure you're not an Alpha again?" Stiles reaches out slowly, grabbing his book bag back from Derek. Derek lets it go willingly. Just like he's always done with letting anything go.
"No. But I had a damn good teacher. Let’s go." He commands, turning on his heel once more.
“It's just the biggest mistake I could think to make.”
Stiles’ lips look swollen and worn when Derek finally pulls back. He holds his breath, waiting. Stiles' eyes flutter open and he lets out a long sigh.
“Why’d you do that?”
Derek shrugs. “Wanted to.”
“No, I mean, why’d you do that NOW?” Stiles' hands flail a little in his lap.
Derek eyes him. “Huh?”
“You could have been kissing me all this time and now, a few months before I graduate and go off to God knows where, you decide now would be the perfect opportunity to freaking kiss me!?” He’s really flailing now. Eyes wide. Chest heaving.
“I...didn't know if…” Derek stammers. This kid is making him stammer. No one makes Derek stammer. Not since Paige…
“Oh shut up, you idiot.” Stiles' hands wrap around Derek’s face and his lips slot perfectly over the werewolf’s. The kiss is needy with wide open mouths and heavy breathing through their noses and Derek’s hands can't find enough skin. He’s careful of Stiles’ wound of his head but the teenager is acting as though he’s barely just almost gotten torn apart by yet another monster of the week.
All he wants is to kiss Derek. He can feel it radiating through Stiles’ skin. The want. And it sets Derek on fire.
“Stiles…” Derek moans over Stiles’ invading tongue. “If we…”
“I know. I know.” Stiles scrambles to kneel on the floor in front of Derek, needing to be closer. Derek’s arms wrap around his body and pull him flush against him as they just breathe into each other’s mouths. “Right there with you, big guy.”
Derek gets his hands underneath Stiles’ ass and stands with his legs wrapped around his waist. Stiles giggles like a little girl and Derek growls deep in his chest. He looks into Stiles’ eyes with a question he can't seem to get past his own lips. He needs to make sure. But at the same time, he can't get the words out. He’s too afraid he won't hear the answer he wants. The answer he needs in this moment.
Stiles just gives him a devious smile, his fingers wrapped around the back of Derek’s head; his fingers drawing small circles into the nape of his neck. “Yes. I’m sure. I’ve always been sure.” He looks into Derek’s eyes. “Okay?”
“Rip yourself open. Sew yourself shut.”
"You're not coming inside?" Stiles barely whispers as he and Derek sit outside his childhood home. Stiles has unbuckled his seatbelt and Derek has popped the trunk for him to be able to retrieve his luggage but has made no motion to get out of the car himself.
Stiles sighs. "Is this seriously how it's going to be now? The passive aggressive banter? The glares and the-"
"-the way it was before we slept together?" Derek finishes.
"That's really what you feel? That that's all it was? Still?" Stiles asks, hurt behind his eyes. It makes Derek's wolf howl with the need to bury his nose deep into Stiles' neck. But those days have passed, things aren't the same anymore. Or maybe they were; more than Derek even realizes.
"I don't know, Stiles. I honestly don’t know. You've been gone 10 years. Things aren't the same. I'm not the same. Neither are you. Beacon Hills isn't the beacon it used to be. There hasn't been an incident of life or death in years. It's quiet and my life is quiet. Maybe...us...all those years ago was just an effect of all the chaos." Derek grips the steering wheel, unable to even look at the boy, the man, who used to be the only one who really understood him. More than his parents ever could. More than Laura or Cora. It was always just Stiles with his loud mouth and inability to respect boundaries and just...fuck.
"An effect of the chaos,” Stiles mutters. He nods, his hand gripping tightly around the strap on his bag. "You know I didn't leave you? I left Beacon Hills and not for the reasons you think. Do you know why I picked Argentina? Do you? No, because you never fucking asked. I picked Argentina because there was so much to learn there about Lycanthropy and all the other supernatural bullshit. It wasn't just a whim. Or where was the farthest place I could go away from Derek Hale. When Deaton told me I was destined to be an emissary I knew I wasn't ready. There was no way in hell I could fulfill that job. So I had to go. I had to learn and grow and find the rest of whatever power I had. And yes maybe it took longer than I had anticipated-"
"-That's an understatement."
"Fuck you, Derek. I didn't see you writing any letters or calling. Scott did. My Dad did. Fuck, even Isaac got a hold of me when he came back from France and saw I wasn't here. Lydia came to fucking visit me as she made her world tour deciding to finally find Jackson. But you? Nothing. Just like I got nothing when I left. I never got anything." Stiles is practically spitting with anger. Derek gets it. All too well.
“I gave you everything I could at the time.”
Stiles sighs. “What about after? Why didn't you just swallow your pride-”
"You think you can send me one postcard and I'm supposed to hop on a plane and make some grand gesture of love?" Derek spews back.
"IF THAT'S WHAT YOU FELT, YES!"
"AND HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT'S WHAT I FELT?"
And then before Derek can even take a breath from his outburst, Stiles long pale fingers are wrapped around his face and his mouth is crushing, literally crushing against Derek's. It's not a kiss. Not really. It's more of just faces smashed together in a desperate need for Stiles to prove a point. But a kiss wouldn't prove it. Not now. Not anymore. Derek pulls back abruptly, wiping his lips and chin with the back of his hand. Stiles stare at him, fingers pressed against his own mouth in disbelief.
"That's not love, Stiles. That's lust. And passion. And leftover effects from chaos. And if you're back, and I mean really back, then you need to find yourself and who you are back here without it. Because that chaos doesn't exist anymore. The Derek and Stiles in the middle of that chaos doesn't exist anymore." Derek turns back to the steering wheel. "I'm not saying I don't want anything to do with you. Of course, I do. You’re... important to me. To the pack. But what you thought you were coming back to, if that's even what you wanted to come back to, doesn't exist anymore." The words are like knives slicing his throat open.
Stiles pulls his fingers back from his mouth. "I want you to know I didn't come back for you.”
Derek nods a sharp pain snapping in his chest like a rubber band breaking. "Okay." He pauses. “Then why are you back? Scott thinks something’s wrong…”
“Honestly? Something has always been wrong. Whatever answers I thought I was going to find somewhere else just raised more questions. Guess I figured maybe not having all the answers wasn’t the problem. Maybe I just never asked the right questions.”
He shrugs. “Or maybe I’m just running.”
Derek stares straight ahead out of the windshield. There are kids riding their bikes on the street, going in circles around each other. They’re laughing. Derek wonders when everything turned to shit. “From?”
Stiles sighs heavily. “Who the fuck knows.”
Derek huffs out a laugh. “Tell me about it.”
Stiles looks at him, sincerity in his eyes. “I wanna be friends, Derek. It's been too long and we’re too old...we’ve been through way too much not to be.” He lets out a slow breath. “Okay?”
Derek just nods again, swallowing. “Okay.”
Stiles finally opens his car door and Derek reaches out, almost frantically, grabbing his bicep. He looks back at the werewolf.
"Just so you know, in case you were wondering," Derek clears his throat. "I did miss you. A lot."
Stiles gives him one of his famous smiles and it makes Derek's heart ache.
"I know, big guy. Me too."
“Strange what desire will make foolish people do.”
"God, what do you do? Paint these God damn jeans on every day?" Stiles' long fingers pull and push down on Derek's jeans as he sits on the edge of the bed, Derek standing in front of him wearing no shirt and a small smirk on his lips.
"You love my jeans." Derek reaches his hand out, running his fingers through Stiles' shaggy hair. Stiles purrs.
"That I do. But I love what's underneath them much, much more." He finally gets the denim down over Derek's hips and his long uncut cock bobs out right in front of Stiles' face, angry and needy. Stiles licks his lips and before Derek can come up with a sexy sarcastic rebuttal, Stiles' lips are wrapped around his tip, sucking and licking the wetness right out of him.
"What's gotten into you tonight?" Derek moans, gripping the back of Stiles' neck as he deep throats him. Fuck. If he had known Stiles' was going to be this good at that he wouldn't have waited so long to get to this point. But that was a lie. He had to wait.
Before wouldn't have been the right time. Now is. Even if high school was almost over and that would mean the inevitable disbursement of the pack. And possibly Stiles.
"Mmm. Maybe it's the whole life or death thing we keep finding ourselves in or maybe it's because you're so...fucking...hot." Stiles admits between licks and sucks. His pale fingers are not stroking Derek's balls too, juggling them and squeezing them with just the right amount of pleasure. It’s driving Derek crazy.
"You know you're hot too." Derek groans, pushing Stiles mouth down further on his dick. He knows Stiles' likes it; he knows a lot about what Stiles likes now sexually; and just as he expected, Stiles' whole body shudders as the tip of Derek's cock hits the back of his throat. He doesn't gag or protest, he just takes it and when Stiles gives Derek's balls one more squeeze, Derek growls and his cock spasms and erupts down Stiles' throat. He takes every drop, and milks his orgasm from Derek in a way only Stiles has ever been able to.
When Derek's dick releases from Stiles' hot mouth with a pop; he looks up at the werewolf, lips wet and swollen; Derek caresses his cheek with affection. There are words unspoken on the air, words that have lingered without being said for some time now.
Things Derek longs to say but knows he never will.
Stay here with me forever.
You are mine.
Instead, he leans down, capturing Stiles in a delicate but passionate kiss, pushing him back onto the bed to return the favor.
“...Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose…”
So Stiles took Derek's "Okay" to his wanting to be friends with a vengeance. He was everywhere. At the station, which Stiles protested in saying he wasn't there to see Derek, he was there to see his father, but Derek knew better. Since Derek started his job as a detective he was at the station a hell of a lot more than he was out. And Stiles knew it.
Stiles also found out where Derek lived now, from his father or Scott or perhaps some other traitor, so he was there. All the time. Dropping off coffee, ‘just because’. Or bringing over books and journals he had gotten in Argentina. Because he thought Derek 'might want to see them.' The truth is he did. He wanted to know all about Stiles' time away. But the bottom line is Derek really just wanted to see Stiles. So after a few weeks of Stiles dancing and parading himself around Derek everywhere around town, and after Derek finally realized, okay, maybe Stiles really wasn't going anywhere, he took a deep breath, buried the hatchet and invited Stiles over for dinner.
It may or may not have taken Derek over a half hour to decide what to wear, changing his shirt 3 times and finally deciding on a dark pair of jeans, buried deep inside a drawer. A pair of jeans he hadn't worn in quite some time.
Stiles shows up wearing a pair of comfortable worn Khakis, a soft blue t-shirt, and a red hoodie. It makes Derek wonder if it's the same one Stiles' had all those years ago. The one he used to 'accidentally' leave at Derek's loft all the time.
"Hey, big guy." Stiles brushes past Derek into his apartment like he belongs there. He waves around a bag of something as he walks backward towards Derek's kitchen. "Indian food. Hope that's cool."
Derek nods, closing the door with his back, staring at Stiles he knows in a way that only Stiles' will understand. Admiration, of the man Stiles, has grown up to be. Still so confident and willing to do anything to get what he wants. So proud of himself, and the people around him. And so fucking beautiful.
Stiles' raises an eyebrow. "What?"
"You're different. But still so much the same." Derek admits.
"Oh, you're totally different," Stiles says, unpacking the food, never looking at Derek. "You talk now more than you ever did in the 3 years before I left. You seem...calm not all 'grrr' like you used to be. And your friendship with Scott? Totally blowing my mind. And my Dad talks about you like you're some kind of second coming, which is totally weird because I'm pretty sure if he knew what we were doing when I was in high school he wouldn't think you were so great." Stiles glances at Derek, ever so quickly. “Nice jeans, by the way.”
"He knows, Stiles.”
Stiles stills and slowly raises his gaze to Derek's. "What?"
"He knows. I felt like when I started working for him he had a right to know. He needed to know everything. I decided to try this new thing where I don't keep important information from the pack." Derek stands in front of Stiles now, searching his face.
"And he didn't shoot you?"
Derek shakes his head. "No. In fact, he said he had always secretly wished you would have ended up with someone like me."
"Someone like you? You mean a rogue werewolf who turned a bunch of misfit teenagers into werewolves and took off leaving the pack to fend for themselves more times than I can count. Someone who fought Scott, tooth and nail literally, on everything. Someone who-"
“-Protected you?” Derek pauses. “Cared about you. More than anything?”
Stiles sputters. "What?"
Derek rolls his eyes and steps forward to take Stiles’ face in his hands. "You gonna make me say it again?"
"One more time would be nice."
"At the time your safety came before anyone else's. Even my own. What we had… what we were doing… you were the only thing in my life at the time that I really cared about. And to your father, that's all that mattered. It’s all that ever mattered to him. Girl, guy. Werewolf, human. As long as someone put you before anyone else, protected you, that's all he cared about. So yes, he was sad that we didn't end up together." Derek lets his hands fall from Stiles' face. "But no regrets, okay? Yes, you leaving was hard. On all of us. But we moved on and you did what you needed to do. It took me a really long time to come to terms with that. But it's okay. Really." Derek turns to the food on the counter. "So let's just eat and get to know each other again, okay?"
“You smell like Stiles.”
Scott wrinkles his nose at Derek as they crouch behind a swarm of trees. It’s an abnormally warm night and Derek knows he is sweating underneath his windbreaker. Yes, a windbreaker. Stiles has made fun of it many, many times.
Derek doesn't answer the Alpha. Mostly because Scott didn't ask him a direct question. But also because this isn't a conversation he wants to have right now.
“Well?” Scott insists.
Derek snaps his head toward him. “Would you shut up? You wanna let that thing know where we are hiding?”
Scott rolls his eyes and flashes his red eyes at him. “I’ll see it before it sees us.”
“Show off.” Derek mumbles.
It's quiet for a few seconds, Derek’s ears adjusting again to sounds surrounding him.
“So...you and Stiles.”
“Jesus, Scott. Really? You think this is the time to have this conversation?” Derek growls.
Scott shrugs, a smug look on his face. “Seems like a good time as any.”
Derek pinches the bridge of his nose. “Why don't you talk to Stiles about this?”
“I didn't need to. He practically screamed it from the rooftops that he finally bagged you.” Scott laughs.
“He did not ‘bag’ me,” Derek argues. “It's just… a thing.”
“Mmm.” Scott re-steadies himself in his crouching position and searches out beyond the dense trees looking for the skinwalker they had been tracking for days now. “Well, that's not how Stiles sees it. He thinks you two are gonna live happily ever after.”
“Stiles isn't that stupid.” Derek perks up his ears when he hears some crunching leaves nearby. “He knows there's no such thing.”
“Better tell him that then. He said and I quote, he's the Red Riding Hood to your Big Bad Wolf.” Scott eyes him.
“Doesn't the big bad wolf eat Red Riding Hood?” Derek raises an eyebrow at the teenage wolf.
“I think that's what he’s hoping for.”
Derek groans loudly and buries his face in his hands.
“Deep in my heart I'm concealing things that I'm longing to say. Scared to confess what I'm feeling - frightened you'll slip away.”
Derek can hear the voices from his office. He doesn't know if Stiles' knows he's at the station working today but somehow he knows Stiles doesn't give a shit.
"How come you never told me?"
"Stiles, calm down. I didn't think it was something you would want to talk about when you did get to call me. You were off exploring and learning and living your life."
"Which I never would have done if I had known Derek felt that way. Do you know how long I waited to know that? To hear that from him?"
"Exactly why I didn't tell you. If I had you would have been on the first plane back here. I wasn't an idiot back then, Stiles. I knew how you felt about Derek. We all did. The only one who didn't was Derek. He did the right thing back then. You needed to get on that plane."
"I had a right to know!"
"You did. And now you do. So what are you going to do about it?"
"No, you don't get it. He told me he cared about me. Protected me. How important I was to him. He doesn't feel like that anymore.
He doesn't even know me anymore."
"Did you love him?"
“I… well of course I did!"
Derek’s stomach jumps.
"Do you still?"
"Dad, I don't know. I mean he's different. I'm different."
“Doesn't matter. How did you feel when you saw him again?"
Derek hears the heavy sigh and the uptake in Stiles' heartbeat.
"Like my life was finally starting."
"Maybe it is."
"No. Dad, Derek doesn't care about me anymore. Not like that. I haven't been a part of this pack in a long time."
"He hasn't been with anyone. Not in 10 years Stiles. No girlfriend. No boyfriend."
"That's just Derek, Dad."
"No. He's been waiting. Whether he knows it or not."
“It's not that simple, Dad,” Stiles argues.
“It’s… complicated.” Derek can hear how fast Stiles’ heart is beating. There's something he’s been hiding since he came back. Derek can feel it vibrating off Stiles’ skin. He can see the weight on his shoulders. But he won't release whatever it is that's conflicting him. Derek knows that routine all too well.
"So what do I do now? He told me we were only together back then because it was an 'effect of the chaos.' What if he's right? What if that's all there ever was? What's left after the chaos?"
"How about just Derek and Stiles?"
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.”
The loft door slides open and Derek smiles to himself from the couch, a book strewn across his lap. He looks up to see Stiles, book bag over his shoulder. He gives Derek a small smile.
"Dad's working an overnight."
Derek closes his book. "I could have come there."
Stiles shakes his head and practically stalks like a cat over to him. He straddles Derek's lap and puts his hands so gently on his shoulders. Derek looks up at him, resting his head back against the couch. He raises an eyebrow at the newly turned adult.
"Thought maybe you could give me my birthday present."
"Your birthday was 2 days ago."
"Mmmm. And you still haven't given me anything." Stiles trails his lips down Derek's face.
"Who says I got you anything?" Derek teases, his hands going to rest on Stiles' ass.
Stiles bucks his hips down, grinding against Derek's lap. "Oh, I think you have something for me."
Derek huffs out a laugh and grabs Stiles' ass, hard, and flips him over and off of him, Stiles bouncing on the couch cushion as he lands. "In fact, I do."
Derek reaches over to the side table and retrieves a small box and hands it to him. "Happy Birthday, Stiles."
“You… got me an actual present? I was kidding." Stiles takes the box hesitantly.
"I wasn't. But if you don’t want it… " Derek tries to get the box back but Stiles yanks it back against his chest.
"No. It's mine."
"Then open it."
Stiles carefully slides the top off the box and inhales sharply when he sees the sterling silver ball chain necklace with the matching silver triskelion attached to it.
"You're gonna be an emissary. I know it, you know it. Deaton knows it. And even though you won't be my emissary because I'm not an Alpha anymore, I still thought you should have something to represent the Hale pack. What it was. What it used to be. You don't need to wear it. It’s just something I picked up." Derek's voice is clumsy, nervous. He can hear it in his own ears and he regrets it all the second it all happens.
“I… Derek." Stiles handles the necklace carefully as if he's afraid it's going to break or...possibly disappear. He looks up into Derek's eyes. "I'll always be your emissary. I'll always be here. For you. No matter what. I hope you know that. I'd hope you would have realized that after everything. Okay?"
"Okay.” He watches as Stiles places the box with the necklace inside on the table. Derek watches him. "Do you still want to…"
Derek motions toward the bed on the floor in the corner of the loft.
"Not right this second. We have all night. Why don't we just…" Stiles slides closer and lies down, his head on Derek's lap. Derek's hands instantly go into Stiles' hair, petting him, caressing him. Stiles sighs happily, digging his fingertips into Derek's denim covered leg. "Thank you." He whispers.
Derek closes his eyes.
Derek pretends pretty well whenever he is around Stiles that he didn't hear that entire conversation in The sheriff's office. They hang out. Cook dinner, watch movies, grab coffee in the mornings. They have long extensive talks about Argentina and Beacon Hills and everything that has happened in the past 10 years. They talk about all the things Stiles learned on his trip about werewolves and Druids and emissaries. Derek listens, really listens and takes in all of Stiles old and new hand gestures and facial expression as he talks.
Derek doesn't say much, there isn't much to say about Beacon Hills and the last 10 years. He tells him about how he and Scott became close, how Liam is more and more like Scott every day. He tells him about the time Isaac spent back in Beacon Hills but then decided that being wherever Chris Argent was, fighting the good fight, was where he belonged. Derek tells Stiles he won't ever be sure if Isaac's need to be with Chris has to do with Allison or Chris himself, but in the end, it really didn't matter as long as Isaac was happy.
When Stiles asks about Malia and Peter, Derek feels himself visibly cringe. That was the last of the true chaos that Beacon Hills experienced after Stiles left. And Derek is grateful every day that he wasn't around to witness it. He tells Stiles with a heavy heart that when the Desert Wolf returned yet again to finish what she had started, that the battle was bloody and fatal. The desert wolf killed Peter and Malia but her satisfaction didn't last long; Derek and Scott slit her open from top to bottom.
Derek tells Stiles the version of Kira finally leaving Beacon Hills that Scott didn't tell him. Stiles knew most of it, but not all and Derek almost feels guilty being the one to tell Stiles and not Scott. But he also knows he can trust Stiles. Truth is, Kira knew that she would never be able to hold a candle to the love that Scott felt for Allison. And as the years went on, it became more and more apparent that he would never love her the same way. And maybe it was enough for Scott, but it wasn't for Kira. So she left. She traveled to Japan for a while and now, as far as Derek knows, Kira is in New York. She keeps in touch, with no hard feelings and as sad as Scott was when she left, he knew deep down, she was right.
Stiles listens and shows remorse and sadness on his face. He tells Derek what he knows about Lydia; That after her stint at MIT she traveled all around the world studying dark matter and proton therapy and some other ‘science-y crap’ Stiles quite didn't understand and even though he hadn't heard from her in a while he hopes, because all he wanted was for her to be happy, that she finally found Jackson again.
And then the big question comes one Thursday morning as they sit in their favorite coffee shop in the corner nursing their quad lattes.
"Why didn't you ever settle down?"
"Settle down?" Derek coughs. He laughs. "I am settled down, Stiles."
"I mean with…someone. A woman. A man. A werewolf. A mermaid. I don't know. You know what I mean, Derek."
Derek sighs. "Guess I just never found the right person." He eyes Stiles across the table. "Or maybe I was just waiting."
Stiles looks up from the table. Derek can feel his heart going a mile a minute. Derek hopes his eyes tell him what his mouth can't say. ‘Yes Stiles. I heard you. Ask me.’
Derek shrugs. Christ, he is such a coward.
Stiles clears his throat. "Well, I'm sure you'll find them."
Derek frowns. It didn't matter what Stiles said in his father's office. He had made his decision. There was no ‘Stiles and Derek’ left. He had made the right decision letting him go. It would never have worked. And Stiles doesn't want it to work now.
"Yeah. Listen I gotta get going. Work and all." He stands, grabbing his jacket.
“Okay…” Stiles stammers.
Derek doesn't say goodbye, just pushes the coffee shop door open angrily and waits until he's a block away before stepping into an alley way to punch the bricks until his knuckles are bloody.
“I notice everything. I just pretend not to.”
The lights and sirens flash and sound behind him and Derek knows this was going to happen sooner or later. He sighs, pulling his truck over. He pushes the shifter into park and leans his head back against the semi-comfortable seat.
The sheriff's boots make cracking sounds on the pavement and when he approaches the vehicle he shines his flashlight in Derek’s eyes.
“Where you heading?”
Derek swallows. “Nowhere special.”
“Mmm.” He leans into the window, balancing his elbows on the ledge. “Just seems kinda late for you to be out and about.”
“I’m a night owl, Sir. What can I say?” Derek throws back but fears he may have gone a bit far with his flippant tone.
The Sheriff gives a small nod. “So is Stiles these days.”
“My son may be graduating, and he may be eighteen now and I may know all about this supernatural stuff now, but he is still my son and a senior in high school. He still has responsibilities like homework and finals. Do you understand what I am saying, Derek?”
“Good.” He leans out of the truck and gives the ledge a pat. “Be safe.”
Derek waits until the Sheriff's squad car pulls away before smashing his head against the steering wheel.
“What are you smiling about?”
“You’re gonna be good at this.”
The jingle on the door makes Derek cringe and it's still weird to walk into this office after so many years. And it's even weirder that Scott owns the place now.
Scott looks up from the counter and gives him a small smirk.
“Was wondering how long it would take you to come talk to me.”
“I don't know what you mean,” Derek lies, leaning against the counter. What is even weirder than Scott owning the vet now is the fact that he and Scott can banter back and forth like this. Derek respects Scott on so many levels. And he knows Scott returns the same respect.
“You and Stiles have been spending an awful lot of time together,” Scott says, still smirking and Derek just shrugs and plays with the “Beacon Hills Vet Hospital” pen on the counter in front of him. When he looks up, Scott has his eyebrow arched at him.
“Fine. Yes. But it's not what you think.”
“Mmm,” Scott pushes his clipboard away from him and leans on the counter in front of him. “Then tell me what I think.”
Derek pushes his shoulders back, his muscles beginning to tense. “Stiles and I are just friends. He’s made it perfectly clear that it's not what he came back here for. And whatever there was between us, it's just not there anymore. All that...back then was just...release of tension. We aren't the same people anymore and there's not much tension to really be released anymore.”
Scott nods. “Guess it's for the best then. You know with Xavier being here and all.”
Derek feels his stomach lurch and his nails begin to extend. “Xavier?”
Scott’s eyes widen. “Um… nothing.”
“Scott…” Derek growls.
“When’s the last time you saw Stiles, man?” Scott whispers.
“I don't know. A week maybe? I’ve… been busy.” Derek takes a step toward Scott, the mountain ash starting to seep into his skin and senses. “Tell me.”
“Xavier was… is Stiles’ boyfriend. From Argentina.”
Derek rips the fucking bell off the door on the way out.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Stiles looks up from his laptop and smirks as Derek climbs in through the window.
“Heya, Sour wolf.”
Derek ruffles Stiles’ hair as soon as he gets beside him, eyeing the computer screen. “Chem paper?”
“Yeah. My final project. Kinda wanna kill myself. Been working on this for days. Ugh.” Stiles groans, stretching his arms above his head making his worn but soft ‘sleep shirt’ as he calls it, ride up against his taught stomach. Derek swallows.
“Your dad working all night?”
Stiles nods, yawning. “Uh huh.”
Derek takes his usual position on the bed, smiling when he notices the book he usually knocks a few chapters out of on nights like this, sitting in its usual position on Stiles’ night stand.
“I think my dad is onto us,” Stiles throws over his shoulder, likes it’s nothing, as he types away. “He knows damn well I’d never read ‘A tale of two cities’ for shits and giggles.”
Derek laughs a little. “Maybe.” He settles in against the pillows and opens to where he left off. The constant typing sounds, Stiles breathing and heartbeat comfort Derek in ways he never thought he’d have again. He feels safe here with Stiles. It's unnerving. But so welcomed.
About an hour and a half later, Stiles yawns one more time and closes his laptop with another exasperated groan. “I’m done. I can't do anymore. I’m fried.” He swivels in his desk chair and smiles at Derek. “Sleep?”
Derek places his book gently back on the nightstand and swings his legs over the side of the bed and begins to unlace his boots. He removes his jeans, leaving himself just in boxer briefs and folds the comforter down on the bed, moving over to ‘his’ side of Stiles’ small bed. Stiles pounces himself onto the mattress and immediately snuggles up into Derek’s outstretched arm. His hot breath against Derek’s chest and within seconds he is lightly snoring and drooling on Derek’s Henley. Derek threads his fingers through shaggy brown hair and lets the sound of their synced heartbeats lull him to sleep.
A soft knock awakens Derek from his memory and he looks up into the concerned eyes of the Sheriff. He clears his throat and pretends to move some papers around on his desk so it looks like he’s actually researching the case they had been trying to crack of a recent robbery of a convenience store instead of slowly torturing himself about the past and mistakes he’s made.
He’s been doing that a lot lately. Reliving moments in his life from before Stiles left. Moments that he still dreams of. Moments that made gave his life purpose all those years ago. Moments, that even though he hasn't had the chance to have again, made him stronger. Made him the person he has become. Made him the wolf he always longed to be; the wolf his mother told him he would be. Stiles helped him swallow his pride and accept Scott as his Alpha. Stiles helped him to forgive and let go so he could move past the anger.
Stiles was his anchor back then.
And as soon as he saw his face again Derek realized he had been the past 10 years too. The memories. The feeling. Those moments that anchored him.
And how he knows why Stiles had been acting so strange since he returned. The kiss in the car; just to see what was still between them because Stiles didn't have the balls to tell Derek he had been seeing someone all this time. The impromptu visits; he was lonely. The yelling match with his father that Derek heard? Meant nothing. Stiles and Derek, what they were, what they could have been, doesn't exist anymore. Derek was right all along. Whatever convoluted notion he had in his head that maybe, just maybe, they could be something without the chaos and pain, was just that. A notion that held no ground between them. Stiles had someone. How long it had been going on, Derek doesn't know nor does it matter. Stiles boyfriend was the reason that conversation in the coffee shop happened. It was Stiles’ way of telling Derek, in his own way, that HE himself had settled down by asking Derek why never had.
And the fact that his boyfriend had come all the way here from Argentina? Means something. It means Stiles deserves to be happy. Because this guy followed Stiles. Just like Derek hadn’t. Just like he had never visited Stiles. Never called. Never wrote. This guy was willing to give Stiles what Derek never could. And it didn't matter that Derek now wanted to; to make up for all he never did. Stiles deserved to be happy.
And he accepts that. No matter how much it hurts.
But here’s the Sheriff in front of him, leaning himself against the door jamb of his office. Derek sighs.
“I’m okay,” He answers before John can even ask.
John Stilinski nods carefully stepping into Derek’s office. “We are having a party tonight at the house. I want you there, Derek. We all want you there. You belong there.”
Derek shakes his head. “I appreciate it, I really do. But…”
“Stiles needs you in his life, Derek. We all do. And Stiles is back now and if you are gonna continue to be a part of this family we’ve created over the years, it includes Stiles. You can't avoid it. So you two either need to hash this out by yelling, talking or Christ, I don't care, even fucking, pardon myself, but something needs to be done. Because I refuse to live without you being a part of our lives. You’re too important. So I’m here to tell you you’re coming tonight and I don't care how you and Stiles handle your shit, but you will handle it.” The Sheriff wags his finger at Derek and Derek smirks, nodding.
“Yes, Sir. I’ll be there.”
“Okay. Good. Now how we looking on that burglary?”
“Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”
Derek can smell the aroma of homemade sauce from outside the front door before he even knocks. Even though he hasn't knocked on the Stilinski door once in the past 10 years. But...things are different now. Things have shifted.
So he knocks. He can hear the voices carrying on from inside and once he knocks, the voices stop as though everyone inside knows who is on the other side of the door.
The door is thrown open by the very beautiful and very unexpected Lydia Martin.
“Well, well,” Her lips turn up into a clever smile. “Look what we have here. Haven't you grown into yourself quite nicely?” She leans in before Derek can, giving him a small peck on his stubbled cheek, being careful not to get her fire engine red lipstick on him. She pulls back, flipping her still long strawberry blonde hair. “Well, come on. You’re late.”
“Good to see you too, Lydia.” Derek mumbles closing the door behind him. He trails behind her, almost feeling like a stranger in a house he had spent more time in than his own apartment the past 10 years. When he rounds the corner into the dining room he finds a sight he never thought he would see ever again.
Everyone was there. And he means everyone. Kira, all the way from New York with a baby on her hip. Liam with a girl at his side, a werewolf Derek can sense, smiling and he’s grown into himself so much that he can smell the pride off Scott. Chris Argent sitting closely with Isaac who looks happier and more relaxed than Derek had ever thought he would. Jackson who smiles when he sees Lydia walk back into the room, as if she not only lights up the room but his entire life as well. Deaton, which out of everyone seemed to be the oddest guest, but still looked like after all these years he belonged sitting at the table. And then the regulars.
The Sheriff with Melissa at his side. Scott at the head of the table designated for the Alpha he has become. And then there was Stiles sitting next to his father and to Scott’s right; just like it should be. Like it always was. Stiles is Scott’s right hand man.
The whole scene as comforting as it is to Derek just reminds him that in a way he really doesn't belong here. No matter what John says. Derek has caused more destruction to this group of people than he could ever imagine. People that all of them cared about are gone because of him. He thought maybe, a long time ago, with Stiles in his arms maybe he could finally belong. But he can see now, with Stiles back, with his boyfriend; a dark-skinned man with deep brown eyes and long shaggy hair; that Derek holds no place at this table anymore.
He doubts he ever did.
Stiles notices him first, of course, even though he knows Jackson saw him when he entered the room with Lydia, but this is Jackson after all and Derek was never his Alpha. Jackson never had one. Never wanted one and probably still doesn't have one. He’s the first Omega Derek has ever known to not feel the burden and pain of not being in a real pack. But Derek knows, in a way Jackson had been alone his whole life. But now he knows he has Lydia and maybe that's all the pack Jackson really ever needed.
Stiles gives him a small warm smile. It makes Derek sick to his stomach. Isaac notices second, coming down from a laugh that Chris had instigated and his eyes widen and then turn soft as he stands, coming toward his once Alpha with warmth in his blue eyes. They embrace and the way that Isaac buries his face in Derek’s neck makes him ache for what was. But he holds on tight to Isaac as the rest of the room dwindles into silence, giving them the moment that Derek knows is long overdue.
“Glad you’re here, Derek.” Isaac mumbles and Derek knows he means it. The rest of the group stands after the hug ends, hugs and shaking of hands (Chris and Deaton) from all around. Kira insists that Derek holds Lifan, her 1-year-old daughter, so she can ‘get something from the kitchen’ but Derek knows it is just an excuse so everyone can see him actually hold a baby. It terrifies the shit out of him, but it's Kira and he will indulge her for the moment.
Derek begins to relax after a while; the heartbeats of the pack settling in with his own. He feels content; safe. And comfortable in his own skin. He misses them all; even the ones who have been here forever, but the hardest thing, as it's always been, is figuring out where he belongs in Stiles life. Even when they were...doing what they were doing back then, Derek always had a hard time understanding where he belonged adjacent to Stiles.
Back then Derek and Scott had just started to come to an understanding; not like how it is now with Scott in total power and Derek not only accepting but happy with his Alpha status. So when Scott found out what had been going on between the barely turned adult and werewolf, Derek expected Scott to be anything but thrilled. But Scott and Stiles had been through a lot; more than two best friends should have in their 18 years of living, and all Scott wanted, all he ever wanted, was for Stiles to be happy.
So when Derek pushed Stiles away at the end, acting as though what they had together for those few fleeting months meant nothing, Scott was angry. Derek had hurt Stiles. And that just wasn’t something Scott could tolerate. But when the words finally muttered from Derek’s mouth, long after Stiles had gotten on that plane for Argentina, Scott’s eyes softened and for the first time, Scott finally felt sorry for Derek. And understood why he had to let Stiles go.
“I love him.”
It made Derek’s skin crawl.
Derek didn't need pity. He didn't need empathy for anything he had been through.
What he needed was Stiles.
But he never had the balls to ever say it out loud. At least not in time. And not to the one person who deserved to hear it.
And now Derek was right back where he started all those years ago. Flailing. Half drowning. Paralyzed with questions. Because even though Stiles was back in his life, free from his demons and whatever burden that weighed on his shoulders back then,
Derek still didn't truly belong in his life. He had made a home in everyone else's, but Stiles...maybe he was never meant to.
Derek watches as Stiles and Xavier move around each other. A finely tuned clock set in motion that Derek can only imagine started years ago. Stiles smiles in a way now Derek has never seen. And Derek can almost feel his own hand burn when he watches Xavier gently touch Stiles on the small of his back as they brush past each other.
None of it makes sense, yet, the scene is the easiest thing he has been able to comprehend in a long time.
Lydia finds Derek sitting on the front porch, a soft veil of rain starting to paint the road and sidewalks. It was his favorite. The first raindrops; the smell the grass gave off as each blade becomes wet. It makes him want to shift and run. For days. Possibly forever.
“Some things never change I guess.” She says with sarcasm as she settles in next to him on the porch swing. She balances her designer pump on the edge of her toes and pushes the swing back and forth with her other foot.
He and Lydia have never been close exactly. They had a mutual understanding of pack and protecting each other at all costs, but Derek knows deep down, Lydia may still blame Derek for everything that happened to her. Peter, Jackson, Jennifer...the list goes on for miles. But even if she did blame him, she never once let it on that she did. She was always loyal and trustworthy. And to Derek, that's all that mattered and he tried to make it up to her any chance he got in the years that followed.
But they never did this. They never sat on a porch swing together. But Derek knows very well what this impromptu visit is for.
“What’s that?” Derek asks. She smirks and twirls her engagement ring on her ring finger.
“Just getting some fresh air, Lydia. No need for an intervention.”
She huffs out a laugh and looks at him with soft eyes. “Derek… come on.”
He sighs, rubbing the palms of his hands on his denim-clad knees. “What do you want me to say? That it’s hard to see him? Especially with someone else? That seeing him smile like that and it's not me who is making him smile is fucking killing me?” Derek hisses.
“It's a start.” Lydia nods and turns back towards the rain. “He loves you. He always has. Maybe more than he ever loved me.”
Derek frowns. “Does that bother you?”
“No,” She answers quickly. “Just… concerns me. Because when Stiles loves someone he loves them with everything he has. He’s never been one to half-ass anything. And the fact that he’s in there with that guy putting on this show of pure happiness worries me. Because… that's not love. That's convenience, and Stiles deserves love, you know? Do you hear what I’m saying, Derek?”
“I do. Xavier seems like he loves him. In ways, I never could. In ways, I may never be able to.” Derek admits.
Lydia shakes her head. “Stiles doesn't need that kind of love. He needs chaotic, reckless, crazy, would rather die than not be with you, throwing themselves in the way of danger to save the other, out of your mind, love. And that, Derek Hale, is the love you two have for each other.” She pats his legs and gives him a small smile. “You don't have much time. If you want him, you need to fight for him. Because if you fuck it up again, you won't have another chance. He may love you, but if there is one thing I have learned about Stiles, he waits for no one.”
She’s gone with a flip of her hair and the screen door closes behind her.
Derek closes his eyes and concentrates on the sound of Stiles’ heartbeat from inside the house.
“We'll be remembered more for what we destroy than what we create.”
Derek’s fingers get tangled in dark locks as Stiles’ face nuzzles deeper into his bare chest. A soft sigh escapes through Stiles’ lips and Derek closes his eyes at the intimacy in this moment.
He needs to savor it. It’s not going to last much longer.
Stiles has a plane to catch.
“You excited?” Derek asks, his lips pressed against the side of Stiles’ skull.
“I guess.” Stiles mumbles. He pauses. “Are you sad?”
Derek swallows hard and feels his chest tighten. He wants to tell Stiles the truth. He wants to tell him that these past few months with him have the best times of his life in a very long time. Since his family had died. For the first time since they were alive he himself feels alive. He feels safe. Wanted. He wants to tell Stiles he doesn't want him to go. He wants to beg him to stay. To stay with him. That knowing he is losing him is like losing his home all over again.
But he won't. Stiles needs to go.
“No.” He whispers.
Stiles tenses in his arms.
“Oh.” He breathes out. He lifts his head, eyes heavy with emotions. Derek feels as though he can't breathe. “So you’re just gonna… this is it?”
Derek nods. “It has to be.” He watches as Stiles face crumbles before his eyes.
“Fuck you, Derek.”
Derek closes his eyes again as Stiles pulls his clothes on. He doesn't get out of bed even when Stiles gives him one last look from the loft door. When it closes gently behind Stiles, Derek allows himself to cry for the first time in years.
“Okay.” He whispers into the air.
“There is prodigious strength in sorrow and despair.”
Derek rinses a dish in the sink, his hands getting pruney and way too soft for his liking from the soapy water. He can hear everyone in the living room, laughing and telling stories of times long past gone. He smiles at the memories; some good, some bad. He’s surprised, to say the least, that Xavier is in on the big secret about werewolves and magic and all the supernatural things in between but Derek realizes now it's not his secret to keep anymore.
Everyone seems to really like Xavier and if Derek wasn't such a jealous and possessive creature, he may even have liked him in different circumstances. But he can't allow himself to. Not yet. Maybe not ever. But Stiles boyfriend is respectful, kind and he can tell just how much he’s enamored with Stiles. The way he looks at him when Stiles is flailing around, telling stories or explaining something in obscene detail, just like he always had. All he ever wanted was for Stiles to be safe and happy; two things Derek was sure he would never be able to give the boy, at least back then, but now when it's all laid out on the table and Stiles seems in fact, happy, Derek can't bring himself to be the better person.
He’s trying; for the pack, for the Sheriff, but the knot in his stomach won't break apart and his chest hurts so badly he feels like breathing is a task he just now learning.
So here he is in the kitchen doing the dishes after volunteering.
He hears shuffling of feet behind him and he stills, his fists clenching so hard around a coffee cup he’s afraid it's going to break in his fist.
“Hey, sorry this should be the last of it.”
The voice goes right through him and he side-eyes the boy, no man, who is holding a pile of more dishes and Derek mumbles a ‘thanks’ before turning his eyes back down to the sink.
“It’s really nice to finally meet you. Stiles talks about you like you’re some kind of mythical creature.” Xavier huffs out a laugh and
Derek’s body tenses. “Well, I guess you kinda are, huh?”
“I doubt he was talking about me. Maybe Scott. Possibly even Lydia, but not me.” Derek assures him.
“No,” Xavier continues in a tone that makes Derek almost feel sorry for him. “It was you.”
Derek sighs and quits rinsing for a minute, not looking at him. “Do you have something you wanna say?”
The silence is deafening for a few minutes, the only sound in the kitchen from the sound of the running water hitting the ceramic of the dishes piled in the sink. Xavier finally reaches for the dishcloth on the counter and begins to dry what Derek has piled up in the drain board. Derek grits his teeth.
“Let me rephrase the question.” Derek turns his whole body toward the man, his hands dripping with soap. “You have something you wanna ask me?”
Xavier doesn't look him in the eyes as he dries each dish with precision. “Just wondering why he decided to come back after all this time.”
“You’ll need to ask Stiles that. I hadn't spoken to him in nearly ten years before he came back.” Derek turns the water off. He’s done with these fucking dishes. Scott can do the rest.
“I did. He told me there was some unfinished business here.” Xavier finally looks Derek dead in the eyes. “Is it you? Are you the unfinished business?”
“What makes you think that?”
“There's this necklace he always wore. This spiral looking thing. I mean this thing never came off. He lost it right before he jumped on a plane to come back. I mean he was beside himself. Didn't sleep for days. He was intent on finding this necklace. When he finally realized it was gone that's when he made this huge decision to come back here without even talking to me. He told me it was just something he needed to do.” Xavier explains. Derek’s chest tightens. He doesn’t want to hear this. Yet he needs to. For so many reasons.
“And what makes you think that has anything to do with me?”
Xavier sighs heavily, gently resting the dishtowel back down on the counter. “Because when I asked why that necklace was so important to him he told me it was from someone he loved a long time ago. When I asked him if he still loved this person he told me yes.”
“And I saw you the other day. With Scott in the preserve. Stiles brought me out there to show me ‘where it all began’ he said. I saw you and Scott sparring. You had your shirt off. Your tattoo. It's the same symbol on Stiles’ necklace.” Xavier pauses. “It's you.
You're the someone from his past. The reason he's back here.”
Derek doesn't answer. He just stares at him.
Xavier gives a small nod. “I love him, Derek. I want him. Forever. If you don’t... just let him go. Please. Because I love him.” He brushes past Derek back into the living room and Derek watches after him as the kitchen door swings shut.
“And yet I have had the weakness, and have still the weakness, to wish you to know with what a sudden mastery you kindled me, heap of ashes that I am, into fire.”
The embraces are abundant and Derek can feel his skin tingle with all the scents of the pack rubbing themselves on Stiles. He understands. Especially from Scott. His best friend is leaving. It's instinct. He has every right.
Derek isn't sure if he does.
Lydia is crying. Actual tears are forming in her eyes and Derek is surprised, to say the least. He wasn't even sure she could do that. Cry. But it is Stiles after all and Derek realizes now just what an important part he played in everything. He saw it every day; in every battle, they had won and lost, but of course just minutes before he was to leave Beacon Hills is when Derek finally realizes the extent of his importance. The extent of his purpose in everyone's lives.
Including his own.
“You call me as soon as you land, you hear me?” The sheriff insists. “I don't care how much I have to pay. Call collect if you have to.”
Stiles nods. “Yes, Dad. I promise.” He wipes his eyes on the sleeve of his red hoodie and turns to the huddle of people formed around him. His eyes meet Derek’s who can't seem to find his place amongst the crowd. He’s in the distance, behind the people that mean the most to Stiles. He’s always had a hard time figuring out his place. In this moment there is no difference.
“Sour wolf…” Stiles whispers, his throat making a desperate sound as if he is about to literally break into a million pieces any second. Derek’s wolf whines deep inside himself and he pushes his way into the bodies, not caring in that moment who his hard broad shoulders take out. His arms are around Stiles frame with a force he isn't sure could possibly break the human. Stiles is practically climbing inside him with his arms, legs and skin and Derek’s takes in his scent one last time, rubbing his stubble against Stiles' cheek. Stiles is crying; his body shaking with sobs and Derek swallows down his grief deep inside his throat; he can't show Stiles how much this is killing him. How not having him near him, possibly ever again is going to destroy everything inside him. Stiles needs this. He needs to go. He needs to see something else other than bloodshed and sadness and destruction.
He needs to see how beautiful the world can be.
Derek just always hoped he’d be the one to show him.
“Tell me you’ll miss me. Tell me anything.” Stiles begs quietly. His voice is so faint as if he is already thousands of miles away.
Derek shudders in Stiles' arms. Confessions rest on the tip of his tongue. Stiles deserves so much better.
“Take care of yourself, Stiles.” Derek whispers.
Stiles just cries harder. “Okay.”
Derek doesn't come around for a few days. Yeah, he goes to work and the Sheriff gives him his usual looks of concern but he doesn't press. He knows the reason for Derek’s new introverted demeanor. He says without really saying anything, that he’s sorry for putting Derek through that. He says it with his eyes and his kind gestures and by not prying. They have come to know each other quite well these past few years. John knows now what days of the year Derek needs off; anniversaries where Derek can't seem to drag himself out of bed. John never asks questions. Never presses. Just lets Derek know he's there in his way.
They have an understanding, a bond now, that Derek hasn't had with anyone.
Not since Stiles.
Stiles gets his kindness from his father. His strength.
John should be proud of his son. He knows he is.
But on the 6th day, John finally speaks up.
“You doing okay?” He asks as Derek lays his latest report on the Sheriff's desk. Derek only nods. He gets the look and he sighs.
“I’m fine. Just needed a breather. It was a lot, seeing everyone again. Just needed a few days to recoup.” Derek lies. It wasn't hard to see them. They were the easy part.
“Stiles is trying to figure out his next course of action,” John cuts to the chase. “He needs to decide if he’s going to stay here in Beacon Hills or go back with Xavier to Argentina.”
Derek only nods.
“As a father, I’m selfish and want him here, but also as a father I want him to do what's best for him,” He continues.
Derek clears his throat. “Stiles is going to do whatever he wants. He always has. No matter what your opinion is.”
John smiles. “You’re right. There's only been one person he’s ever really listened to.”
Derek smirks. “Better get Scott on that then.” He heads toward the door.
“I was talking about you.”
Derek stills, his hand on the door jamb. “Stiles never listened to me. It’s how he always ended up getting himself hurt.”
“I’m not talking about that crap, Derek. Stiles always ended getting himself hurt because he's loyal to a fault and wanted to help his friends no matter the cost. And I know, for a fact, that if you had told him all those years ago that you didn't want him to get on that plane like he begged you to, he wouldn't have.”
“That's exactly the reason he had to get on that plane, John.” Derek sighs out. “Staying here wasn't good for him. I wasn't good for him.”
“Maybe you're right,” John confesses. “You were a mess back then, Derek. So was my son. But you aren't now. You’re good for him now.”
Derek turns, eyebrows furrowed. “Why are you pressing this so much? Why do you want us together so badly? Xavier is perfect for him! He can give him everything Stiles needs. There's no pain and no past haunting them-”
“-That’s where you’re wrong, Derek.” John interrupts. “There is something haunting them. The ghost of you and Stiles. Your past.”
“But that's just it, it’s the past. And that's where it should be left.” Derek turns back to the door but pauses when he hears the Sheriff again.
“And to answer your question, I do like Xavier. Very much. He’s well educated, simple, no emotional baggage I can see. And whatever past he does have he doesn't drag behind him like some kind of anvil weighing him down so he can't move on.” Derek frowns. “He’s outgoing and yes he can give Stiles everything he thinks he wants. But I know what my son wants. He doesn't want simple.” John’s words make Derek cringe.
“Lydia said something along the same lines.”
“She’s a smart girl. MIT told her so.”
Derek smirks and looks over his shoulder at his boss. His friend. “I appreciate all you're trying to do. I do. You've have been there for me in ways I can never repay you for. You in some weird fucked up way got me over Stiles all those years ago. But this decision was never up to me. Because there never was a decision to be made. Stiles and I aren't supposed to be together. I realize that now. It never made sense and it won't make sense now.”
“Do you love him?”
Derek sighs heavily, his blunt human nails digging into the wood of the door frame. “Of course I do.”
“Then what else could be more important than that?”
“The best way is not to fight it, just go. Don't be trying all the time to fix things. What you run from only stays with you longer. When you fight something, you only make it stronger.”
Derek wipes the tears from his eyes as the boots make crunching sounds as they grow closer and closer to the truck. The flashlight shines in Derek’s eyes and they flash blue for a moment. He winces and looks away quickly.
John Stilinski leans into the window and Derek feels deja-vu. A memory of happier times.
“You doing okay?”
The Sheriff nods. “Stiles called the other day.”
“He asked about you. Told him I actually hadn't seen you. Thought maybe I’d check in. I was gonna come by the loft but…”
“I’m fine. Just… trying to figure out what I’m gonna do now.”
John nods, looking both ways down the deserted road. Always on alert. “I could really use your help at the station. With Stiles gone, my window view into all this is cloudy. Could you maybe come by this week? Help me with a few things? I think it might be good for you. You could be my liaison to the supernatural.” He gives Derek a small, reassuring smile.
Derek swallows. “That going to the official title on my employment record?”
John shrugs. “Depends if you want a job. We’ll talk about it when you come by the station.” He pats the window edge when he stands. “See you soon, Derek.”
The cruiser pulls away and lets his tears flow freely yet again.
“I didn't know I was lonely till I saw your face. I didn't know I was broken til I wanted to change.”
Derek pours the hot water from the kettle into his cup; the smell of fresh loose tea wafting up into the air through the steam. He had been thinking about the last words John spoke to him that day. In fact, he couldn't get it out of his head. He wishes things could be that simple. He wishes a lot of things. He wishes he had never met Kate. He wishes Scott and Stiles had never gone into the woods that night to look for that dead body. He wishes he hadn't done a million and one things that got innocent people hurt and worse, killed.
He wishes he had had the nerve to tell Stiles back then how much he meant to him. How Stiles had changed his life in so many ways. He wished he had told him the dreams he had for him; for the two of them. He wishes he hadn't ignored that postcard from
Stiles that first year he was gone.
Derek opens the drawer in front of him and ruffles past some old utility bills and random notes and his fingers graze over the worn card stock at the bottom of the mess. He turns it over in his hand and swallows hard at the words written in scratchy handwriting on the back.
“I miss you. Use the return address, dumbass.”
Derek pushes out a small smile but the pounding on his apartment door interrupts his moment of regret. He lays the postcard down next to his tea and grunts a few times as the constant knocking gets louder and faster.
He pulls the door open to find a very stumble-y, wide-eyed and drunk Stiles. Very drunk.
“You're an ass!” He yells leaning all the way inside the door before falling into the apartment. Derek catches him under his arms and sighs heavily.
“So I've been told. What are you doing, Stiles?”
“You know, I was supposed to be fine when I came back here! I was like ‘oh I can go back home. I’m over Derek and his stupid scruffy face.’ And I was fine. I mean yeah you’re still all hot and grrr and whatever but I thought ‘hey we can be friends.’ Cause we ARE friends, right Derek?” Stiles slurs out as Derek drags him over to the couch.
“Yes, Stiles. We’re friends.” He pushes him down onto the couch and Stiles lands with an ‘ooff’.
“Then what the fuck, Derek? Huh? Why am I not happy then? I’ll tell you why! Because I’m not OVER you. Which makes no sense because what we had back in high school wasn't anything for me to even get over! I mean the sex was good...fuck it was amazing. Wasn't it amazing?” Stiles looks up at Derek with pupils blow, mouth hanging open; his already plump lips swollen from
the alcohol. Derek just rolls his eyes.
“Yes, Stiles. It was amazing.” Derek amuses him.
“Right. Good sex. Crazy, chaotic sex. I know that's what it was when I got into it. But then… I don't know!” Stiles throws his arms up. “I fucking fell in love with you along the way. And it sucked but I got over it. And Xavier is awesome. I mean the best boyfriend ever.”
“Good for you,” Derek growls out.
“See!? Right there. Fuck you, Derek Hale. Right there is the reason I can't be happy. Because you're all grrr and jealous and I don't know why and I just don't understand you! Can you just fucking tell me the truth about anything? Just anything?” Stiles screams.
“Fine.” Derek sits next to Stiles and leans back against the side of the couch, arms crossed. “I’ll indulge you on your drunken rampage. You can ask me one question and I promise I will tell you the truth.”
“The whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?” Stiles leans in real close to Derek’s face, eyes narrowed, reeking of Tequila.
“Cross my heart and hope to die.” Derek promises.
Stiles leans back, teeth chewing on his bottom lip and he considers what he wants to ask. Derek can practically see the wheels turning.
“This is hard,” Stiles admits.
“Choose wisely, young Skywalker.”
Stiles' eyes widen. “You finally watched Star Wars?”
Derek nods. “I got the box set and made Scott watch them all with me when the new movies came out.”
“That bastard was supposed to watch them with me!”
“You weren't here.”
Stile frowns. “Fuck.”
“Yeah,” Derek eyes him. “So what's the question? My tea's getting cold.”
Stiles swallows, his fingers drawing circles on his jeans. “Why didn't you ever call? Or write? Or come see me in Argentina?”
“That's the question you’re going with? With all the millions of possible answers you could get out of me in this moment, that's the question you’re gonna ask?” Derek raises his eyebrow.
“Your answer to that question will clear up anything else I’ve been foggy on all these years.” Stiles looks nervous. Derek can smell the anxiety radiating off of him. But he asked for the truth. He promised, and Derek owes him at least that.
“I couldn't call you. It would have been too hard to hear your voice. I heard it every night in my head and if I had to really hear it, it would have made me even more insane than I already was. I couldn't write you because I had nothing to say. I stood true to the fact that you had to go, Stiles. You needed to get away from all this. It was the right thing for you to do.” He pauses, taking in a deep breath. “And I didn't come see you because I would never have been able to leave you again. And you didn't need that.”
Derek watches as the wetness forms in the corners of Stiles’ eyes. Fuck.
“What I needed was you.”
Derek shakes his head. “No. You didn't need me. You never needed me. Or anyone. You're too strong for that.”
“Fine. But I wanted you.” Stiles argues.
“Sometimes what we want and what's best aren't the same thing.”
“Fuck you.” Stiles snarls. “That’s your fucking problem, Derek! You're always telling people what you think is best. Well guess what! People have minds of their owns. Own opinions. They can make their own decisions not based on the wise words of Derek fucking Hale. And what I wanted, what I’ve always wanted was YOU. Even before I knew I wanted you.”
“I wasn't the kind of person you should have wanted, Stiles.”
“Maybe.” Stiles calms for a moment. “So what does it mean if I still want you. Even without the chaos? Even with you like this? Settled. Mature. Scott’s beta? What now?”
“Now doesn't matter. You have a boyfriend, and he loves you. No matter how you felt about me then or how I felt or how we both feel now, I need to let you go. Again.” Derek barely gets the last sentence out, his heart hammering so hard in his chest he’s afraid if werewolves could have heart attacks, he was well on his way. Despair and sadness seep out of Stiles skin.
“No, I don't want you to.” Stiles pleads.
“Stiles, you're drunk. And the truth? You never belonged to me, no matter how much I wanted you to. You were always too independent for that. And now, even in my settled state, if you were with me I’d be possessive. My wolf would mark you and it's not something someone enters into lightly. It’s part of the reason why it was best for you to go back then. It was getting too intense and my wolf was starting to need you more and more, more than my human side and it wasn't safe or right. And it would be just the same now. No matter how much my life has calmed down, I’m still a werewolf, Stiles.” Derek finally unfolds his arms, yearning to reach out and take Stiles hand. He doesn't.
Stiles wobbles a little, the alcohol settling in intensely into his system. Derek finally reaches out, hand resting around Stiles' bicep, steadying him. Their faces are so close and Derek can feel hot huffs of breath on his face and Stiles scent is practically making him as drunk as Stiles is right now. He wants to kiss him. He wants to take him, drunk or not, and make Stiles remember.
But Derek knows, somehow, Stiles remembers everything.
“Xavier wants me to go back to Argentina with him. Permanently.”
Derek nods. “Then you should.”
“And what about you? Us?” Stiles whispers.
Derek shrugs, finally having enough courage and strength to let go of Stiles’ arm. Amongst other things. “We’ll always have the chaos. If it ever returns. Okay?”
“It happens fast for some people and slow for other, accidents or gravity, but we all end up mutilated.”
Derek’s bloody hands shake as his body rejects him and he falls to his knees in the dirt. His claws can't seem to retract and he’s snarling. 2 more bodies of his family, 2 more he couldn't save, lie motionless a few feet from him. The desert wolf gurgles her last breath as two open gaping wounds spew blood all around from Scott’s claws. And his own.
More death. More chaos. More of the same.
“Derek, son.” The Sheriff's hand on his shoulder snaps him back to reality. “You’re ok. You’re ok.” Derek’s eyes shoot up and he eyes Scott who has already controlled his wolf and calmed down from the kill. But he’s crying. He feels the loss. Just as much as Derek. Maybe not for Peter, but for Malia. She didn't deserve this. None of them do.
Derek’s hands shake more violently when he thinks of the one person who will take this the hardest. The one person who would come storming back here demanding answers if he knew. The one person who could make things better and worse in a single moment.
“D-don't tell S-Stiles.” Derek manages to spit out as blood spills over his lips. He’s hurt. More than physically.
“Derek…” Scott warns.
“No!” Derek roars. “We don't tell Stiles. Not yet.”
Scott and the sheriff nod as they help Derek to his feet.
“Your past is just a story. And once you realize this, it has no power over you. When you understand that what you’re telling is just a story. It isn’t happening anymore. When you realize the story you’re telling is just words, when you can just crumble it up and throw your past in the trashcan then we’ll figure out who you’re going to be.”
“Can I just say how weird this is?” Isaac smirks around his Starbucks cup as he takes a sip of his latte.
Derek raises an eyebrow as he looks across the table at his once Beta. He supposes Isaac is an Omega now. For all intents and purposes. He has no Alpha. Derek guesses Scott will always be more of an Alpha to Isaac than Derek ever was. But Isaac doesn't need an Alpha. Not anymore.
He’s grown into such a confident man that Derek beams with pride. Isaac has come through so much. And he knows he cannot take the credit for any of the strength Isaac portrays now. It was a lot of Scott’s influence. And Allison.
But mostly Chris.
“Weird because I used to be your Alpha and you used to be a scared little shit?”
Isaac bursts out into a laugh and sets his cup down on the table. “Yeah, something like that.”
Derek smiles. “You seem well, Isaac.”
“I am.” He nods. “I’m really good.”
“Chris seems well, too.” Derek smirks. And Isaac blushes.
“It’s weird. I was never attracted to men. Neither was Chris. But...one day it just happened. Maybe it was the loss of Allison that brought us together.” Isaac shrugs. “Who knows. But he makes me happy. And I think I make him happy.”
“You do. I’ve known Chris Argent a very long time. I have never seen him more content and at ease than I do when I see him with you.” Derek assures him taking another sip of his coffee. “And as for the men thing, werewolves have no sexual orientation. Your human side, yes. But you’re both. Human and werewolf. And usually, when it comes to love and mates, your werewolf side will always win. No matter what your human side thinks it wants.”
“That what happened with you and Stiles?” Isaac blurts out.
“Wow. Cutting right to the chase, huh?” Derek shakes his head, unable to avoid Isaacs bright blue eyes full of questions.
“It was bound to come up.”
“He always does.” Derek rubs his hand over his face. “Yes, that's what happened with Stiles. I guess in a way I always knew it was him. My wolf...wanted him from the second I saw him. But I followed my human emotions...human reactions, morals for a long time.”
“And then one day his skinny scrawny hyper ass was just too much not to stick it in?” Isaac gives Derek a pointed look and Derek laughs so hard his stomach hurts.
“Yeah, something like that.” Derek mimics his once beta and lets out another small laugh sitting back in his chair. “But none of that matters anymore.”
Isaac shakes his head. “Typical Derek.”
“Even after all these years, you’re still running.” Isaac points out. Derek just sighs.
“I’m doing the right thing for once. Instead of being selfish, like I’ve always been, too afraid to let go, I’m finally doing what's best for someone else instead of what I want. And the best thing for Stiles is Xavier.” Derek states matter of factly.
“That’s one way of looking at it.”
Derek frowns. “And what way do you look at it?”
“The way we all have ever looked at it.” Isaac wraps his hands around his cup and stares down at his hands.
“Yeah. Me, Scott, Kira, Lydia.” He pauses. “Even Erica, Boyd and Allison all those years ago.”
“And what way is that?” Derek asks gently.
Isaac looks up, blue eyes sad with memories. “You and Stiles make each other better. I watched over the years how much of an effect he had on you, Derek. We all thought at first maybe it was Scott, and it was him too and I can see now the influence he had on you, but back then? All that change you made? It was because of Stiles. His safety came before anyone else’s. Including your packs. But Stiles was your pack way before we were. Whether you believe he was or not. His loyalty to Scott was due to their past. The fact that they were brothers. But his loyalty to you? That was love.”
Derek’s hands shake around his coffee. It had taken him and Isaac a long time to get to this point. Most of their relationship back then was legit life or death. It was blood and killing and trying to teach him how to survive. He turned Isaac for selfish reasons but Derek was so glad that in the end it really was the best thing for him. At least one of his betas came out of all that happy. But they never talked like this. Isaac knew back then Derek wouldn't take well to criticism or any kind of opinions other than his own.
Derek can listen now. He may not always take advice but at least he can accept it now. The truth is Derek isn't sure what is upsetting him more with what Isaac is telling him. If it was more unsettling knowing that the entire pack saw what he felt for Stiles or if they all saw it way before he even did.
“And Stiles? How did he feel? Did he ever say anything?” Derek forces out.
Isaac smirks. “He didn't have to. It was just...known, Derek. Just like its known now. It doesn't matter who Stiles brings home, Derek. It doesn't matter how far he goes from home or how long he’s gone. Its… Derek and Stiles. It always has been. We all know it, we all accepted it a long time ago. Christ, Derek, even Stiles accepted it. You’re the only one who won't allow yourself to. No matter how much progress you’ve made or the fact that you have allowed Scott to be your Alpha or how grown up you appear to be, you’re still punishing yourself for stuff you should have let go a long time ago.” He leans forward on his elbows on the table and looks into Derek’s eyes. “It took me a long time to forgive myself and my father and let it all go. And now that I have? I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I would never have been able to love Chris the way that I do if I hadn't. And it's the only way you're going to be able to love Stiles the way he deserves to be loved. And he does deserve it, Derek. And he deserves it from you.”
“I’m sorry, Isaac,” Derek admits for the first time ever. “I’m sorry I got Erica killed. And Boyd. I’m sorry I barely gave you a choice in all this.”
Isaac reaches out, cautious at first but then Derek literally sees the words ‘fuck it’ form on his face and he places his hand over Derek’s. “I forgave you a long time ago. And Erica and Boyd loved and respected you even though you never felt it from them. But they were kids, no matter how strong of werewolves they were. We were all just teenagers then. But if they were here they would be telling you the same thing. We all understand. We don't blame you for anything. Not me, not Scott, and especially not Stiles. You’re the only one still blaming yourself.”
Derek closes his eyes and feels the tears begin to build. He can't do this. He can’t cry in the middle of a Starbucks with his former Beta.
“You told me on that first full moon that I needed to find an anchor. And when I told you it was my father you looked so surprised. That you couldn't believe how someone who had hurt me so badly could be the person; the one thing to ground me. To bring me back to my human side. But that’s love, Derek. No matter the pain, no matter what, you love who you love. You could never accept the fact that anger stopped being your anchor a long time ago. Because of Stiles.” Isaac takes his hand away and takes a deep breath. “But what the hell do I know?”
Derek swallows hard and clears his throat. “A lot.” He looks softly at Isaac. “Thank you.”
Isaac gives him a gentle smile. “You’re welcome.” He raises an eyebrow and his gentle smile turns into a devious one. “So what are you gonna do about it?”
“I'm miles from where you are, I lay down on the cold ground. I pray that something picks me up, and sets me down in your warm arms…”
Melissa McCall remains quiet as she pulls the last stitch through Derek’s open wound. He winces and she gives him a soft smile before whispering softly, “All done, sweetie.”
He nods and rolls his shoulders back, his bones cracking and muscles aching with every gentle movement. She snaps off his gloves and throws them in the nearby garbage can. She’s used to this. She’s the pack mom now and Derek couldn't be more grateful to her for everything she has done.
His eyes move up to her and he feels himself frown. “Yeah.” He lies. “It’ll just take more time for these wounds to heal.”
In more ways than one.
She takes a few steps forward and kneels down in front of him. He can't look at her. He can't look at anyone right now.
“You should call him.”
Like it’s that simple. The words fall from her mouth so easily.
It's not easy. Or simple.
It's complete complication and hurt and pain and so much fucking chaos. Derek can't stand it.
“He’ll just come back here.”
“Of course, he will. He should-” Melissa speaks and Derek knows she’s going to throw out a bunch of reasons why Stiles should, would and could come back here after the events that took place tonight, and he knows they will all make so much sense, but he can't have it. Stiles needs to stay right where he is. He left to get away from all this. Bringing him back here, to the aftermath of destruction, was one of the main reasons Derek let him go in the first place.
“-He shouldn't.” Derek cuts off. “He’s where he should be. He deserves a normal life.”
“He deserves to know his friend is gone. And that his other friend is grieving the loss of two more family members.”
Derek grimaces. Melissa touches his knee softly. “Derek. You need support. You went through this once before alone, you shouldn't do it again. You don't need to. You have people in your life that care about you.”
“I’m fine. Peter deserved to die. No matter if he was family. And Malia…” Derek shakes his head. “I barely knew her. She didn't deserve this...but I’m fine. Really.” Derek looks into her deep sincere eyes. “Thank you, though, Melissa. Really. For everything.”
Melissa stands, patting him one more time on the knee for good measure. She grabs her jacket and looks back over her shoulder at him as she slides the loft door open.
“Stiles deserves to know. If there's anything that boy ever deserved it’s to know the truth, about everything.” She puts stress on the last word and when Derek meets her eyes again from across the room he knows what she means instantly. Everything doesn't just include the truth about Malia.
It includes Derek’s truth too.
“Stiles is exactly where he should be.”
Melissa shakes her head giving him an almost pitiful look. “I highly doubt that.”
“Chaos is an angel who fell in love with a demon.”
There have been many times in Derek’s life where he knows he has made a mistake. He’s woken up in a heavy sweat, heart racing, unable to fall back asleep and then unable to sleep for days due to the guilt and stress of the choices he has made.
But never once did he feel that letting Stiles go was a mistake. Did it hurt? Like his heart had been ripped from his chest. Literally.
Did he miss Stiles? Every second of every day. But he never once regretted his decision. The thought never once crossed his mind that a mistake had been made.
But now the revelation is like a steel truck had smashed into him at 100 miles an hour and he's not sure which injury he should tend to first.
He realizes now everyone is right. The Sheriff, Lydia, Scott, Isaac, they all saw what Stiles and Derek had all those years ago when Derek never could. Or at least couldn't admit to it. And Stiles had wanted him. He wanted to stay. He wanted to be with Derek and Derek’s pride and guilt and hatred for himself couldn't allow himself to be happy. He couldn't let Stiles in anymore than he already has, to love him.
Derek’s ready now. The idea of going one more second without Stiles in his life; fully in his life; is like swallowing nails. His stomach is churning with regret and his skin is on fire with need. He doesn't want Stiles to go. He needs Stiles here with him.
Stiles is the anchor he had been searching for his entire life. And he let him go once, but he refuses to make the same mistake twice.
When Derek bursts into the Sheriff's office, skin red with determination and eyes flashing a shade of blue John hasn't seen in many, many years, all he can do is yell at Derek that its Gate 26B-Flight 247. And to hurry. Not to let their boy leave again.
Derek feels like he’s in the middle of horribly cheesy romantic movie where he’s literally running as fast as he can through an airport, praying to some God he doesn't even believe in that he’s not too late. That he can catch Stiles before he gets on that plane and tell him how much he wants him; needs him and loves him. He will do it in front of his boyfriend and not give a shit if it hurts him, as selfish as that sounds. It doesn't matter anymore. Nothing else matters now but Stiles.
Gate 26B flashes in the distance and he screams Stiles name 3 times before he finds himself in an empty waiting area. The doors closed and the monitor taunting him with the words: “Boarding complete. Preparing for departure.”
He falls to his knees and it's an ending to a tragic love story doomed from the beginning. A movie that will run constantly in his head every day for the rest of his life. An ending he should have seen coming from the beginning and did.
Some things aren't meant to be. Derek and Stiles never stood a chance.
“There's no escaping fate, it just keeps going. Day and night, the future just keeps coming at you.”
Derek’s been sitting at his kitchen counter, his keys fascinating to him for some reason as he rolls them over through his fingers, for the past 2 hours. He didn't call the sheriff to tell him he had failed; failed for the both of them. He was gonna need some time to himself for a while. He isn't sure how long but forever seems like a good start.
He was stupid to think things could actually work out. He has to admit his life isn't horrible. It's actually more than he ever hoped his life would become after the fire, after Erica and Boyd’s deaths. After all the strife and chaos they had all endured. But even as simple and quiet as his life has become, Derek knows something is missing. Something has always been… off. He could chalk it up to plain loneliness. And that's the feeling that in the past has caused him to do destructive things. Like changing a bunch of misfit teenagers into werewolves and then being unable to protect them when that's really the only job he had as their alpha.
His loneliness has caused him to fall into bed with monsters. The need to feel skin against his has caused him to trust beautiful women with evil behind their eyes. He wasn't blind to it; he just chose not to look too deeply.
And this; thinking he needed Stiles to live? Needing Stiles to complete his life; chasing after him through an airport thinking somehow, maybe this once, everything could work out; was just another consequence of that loneliness.
But he knew, he wasn't the only one who felt that something was missing. Since Stiles had left Beacon Hills there had been a shift in the atmosphere. Like a piece of who they all were, a piece of this town had been cut away and everything went on, as life usually does no matter what, but it was like a wound that never fully healed.
And as soon as Stiles set foot back on their soil, the air wasn’t stale anymore. The ground felt more level. Like the magic had returned to a town that once swirled it around in the breeze. Derek felt it. They all did.
Things made sense again.
And now the air was stifled again. The cracks are open again in the ground and Derek feels like he is about to fall through them at any moment.
A soft knock interrupts his self-loathing and he closes his eyes knowing it must be the sheriff. The knock is so gentle, almost hesitant as if someone is approaching a wild animal. But Derek hasn't been a wild animal in a long time.
Now he’s just a wounded animal.
He pushes himself off the stool and practically has to drag himself to the door. He presses his forehead against the wood and considers for a moment not answering it. And in that small second, he also considers running. Running out of Beacon Hills and never looking back.
But he knows he’s been done running for a long time. Running never got him anywhere. He always somehow ended up right back where he started. He thought he had finally gotten away after the Alpha pack was defeated and he had lost his own Alpha powers to save Cora.
But Stiles. It's always Stiles that brings him right back home.
And Beacon Hills was home. With or without Stiles.
After a long sigh and with his hand on the doorknob, that's when he hears it.
The erratic heartbeat he would know anywhere. A heartbeat that wakes him up in the middle of the night even though it beats in another country halfway around the world.
A heartbeat that no matter what time passes will always mirror his own.
He slowly opens the door because he believes possibly this is a dream. That he had fallen asleep at the counter and this is all a cruel joke inside his head. Because this can be.
There is no way Stiles is on the other side of this door.
But he is.
With two suitcases behind him, his hands still clasped around the handles half titled on their wheels as if he hasn't fully decided if he is staying. Or if he should even be here.
Derek opens the door wider and stares. He had an entire speech planned for when he thought he was going to find Stiles at the airport. Just about to board the plane and the words that were going to fall from his mouth would make Stiles stay.
But now Stiles is here, coming after him. Again. History repeating itself time and time again and it's making Derek sick to his stomach.
“No, nothing?” Stiles scoffs and finally let’s go of his luggage but makes no attempt to come inside like he normally does. “You show up at the airport and now here I am standing in front of you and you got nothing? Figures.”
“H-How’d you know?”
“Never underestimate the power of the pack.”
“I only told your Dad.”
Stiles gives him a ‘you’re so cute’ look. “And you think he didn't tell Scott, then Isaac, then Lydia of your epic and might I say romantic plan to woo me out of Xavier’s arms and into yours?”
“Oh come on, Sour wolf.” Stiles leans against the door jamb, arms folded. “So come on. Out with it.”
“You didn't get on the plane.”
“I had to hear this grand gesture of love.”
“How do you know it was going to be that?”
Stiles gives Derek a pointed look. “We still gonna play games? Seriously?”
Derek sighs heavily. “Are you at least going to come in?”
“Then what are you even doing here?” Derek growls.
“Told you. Couldn't miss this moment.”
“I can stand here all day. I got nowhere to be.”
“Is that so?”
Stiles nods. “So?”
Derek feels the bile rise in his throat. Why is this so hard now? 2 hours ago he was raring to go. Now? He can't even find his tongue.
“I love you.”
Stiles smirks, nodding. “Okay. That's a start. Next.”
Derek raises an eyebrow at him.
“I want the whole speech. Every single word. I fucking left my goddamn boyfriend on the plane when I got the calls and texts from everyone. I deserve the whole fucking speech, Derek. Now out with it.”
This is the Stiles Derek missed. The in his face, won't take no for an answer, stubborn little shit.
So Derek tells him. Everything.
“I never should have let you leave 10 years ago. Or more so I should have just gotten on that plane with you. Because you weren't crazy back then. There was something between us. It wasn't because of the chaos, yeah maybe it originally brought us together, but it's not what kept us together. It's not what made me fall in love with you.”
Derek swallows, his eyes never leaving Stiles’. “I have never trusted anyone as much as I trust you. You consume me, in every aspect. I feel empty when you aren't with me, and I feel like I’m overflowing when you are. You’re infuriating and beautiful. You’re stubborn but smarter than anyone I have ever met. You're crazy but brave. You’re the magic that keeps this pack alive. You've kept me alive even when all I wanted to do was die. You’re everything I'm not. And everything I have ever wanted in another human being. My wolf needs you. I need you. And I don't want you to leave. I want you to stay here where you belong. You belong with me and I’m sorry it took me so long to realize that. I’m sorry I hurt you back then and I’m sorry I continued to hurt you. And I’ll probably hurt you again. And I’ll apologize now for that. But it will never mean I don't want you. Or need you. Or love you. And if you decide this isn't what you want, I’ll still love you. I’ll still always want you. I’ll always need you. But I want you to be happy. But I couldn't let you get on that plane without telling you what you deserve to hear. Because it's the truth. And I can't hide it anymore.”
Derek expected tears. He expected Stiles to either fall into his arms crying or slap him across the face after he made his big
Stiles does neither.
In fact, Stiles expression doesn't change the entire time Derek is talking. There is no sign of happiness, anger, sadness...nothing. His heartbeat never changes.
So Derek just waits, holding his breath when he is done. This is Stiles decision now.
Derek stares at him. “Okay?”
“Yeah.” Stiles shrugs. “Okay.” He grips the handle on his luggage again and brushes past Derek as he rolls them into the apartment, rolling over Derek’s foot in the process.
Derek turns watching as Stiles carefully pushes his suitcases beside the couch and then flops down onto it. He lays his arms down next to him; over exaggerating, as usual, his exhaustion. It's a staring contest now; both of them waiting, challenging the other to say something.
Stiles breaks, always being the one in need of having the last word. “I already knew all that.”
“Then why the hell did you make me say it?” Derek barks, slamming the door. “Do you know how long I agonized over telling you that shit? How hard that was for me?”
Stiles blinks, his expression, again, never changing. “I already knew it. I made you say it so you knew.”
Derek opens his mouth to protest but then quickly closes it.
“That's all I’ve been waiting for. You’re right. I did deserve to hear all that. Even if I did know it.” He shrugs. “You mad?”
“YES I’M MAD. EVEN I HAD KNOWN THAT'S ALL I NEEDED TO DO IN ORDER TO HAVE YOU HERE...I...I THOUGHT I WAS DOING THE
RIGHT...I...FUCK STILES!” Derek’s eyes flash blue with rage.
Stiles laughs now. “Relax, dude. I’m here. I’m not going anywhere.”
Without warning, Derek is on him, his hands wrapped around his face and his mouth smashed violently against the humans. Derek knows his fangs are out but by the way Stiles is moaning pornographically into his mouth, Derek doubts he minds.
He whimpers and Derek slides his tongue roughly against Stiles’. He ruts against Stiles in his lap, Derek’s hard on rubbing against his own crotch. He can’t tell if Stiles is hard or if Derek’s just too hard. They kiss and kiss; devouring each other like they hadn't had this in 10 years. And they had not. They need it. To breathe. To live.
Derek pulls back for a moment, calming down the wolf inside himself and the need to take and realizes how young Stiles still looks. The years had been good to him in his own right, even with being a werewolf, but Stiles… skin still pale and perfect. Speckles of moles that make him perfect in the most imperfect of ways. He was so beautiful it hurt to look at him.
“You okay?” Stiles whispers, his fingers tracing over Derek’s swollen lips.
“Shhh.” Derek silences him with a soft brush of his lips. It’s so gentle, almost too intimate. His fingers gently caress Stiles’ face, and at first, Derek just gives soft kisses on his mouth, chin, nose. He’s so warm, so fucking warm, and Derek had forgotten in 10 years just how amazing this boy had tasted. A taste Derek had on the tip of his tongue all these years. A taste he had grown to crave more than air.
Derek pulls Stiles closer to him, his hands gliding up to his long hair and Derek twirls it around in his fingers. He feels Stiles breath against his neck and hears the faint whisper of a sound on his skin.
Derek smiles and kisses the side of his head. “Yeah.” He agrees.
Derek stands and Stiles takes his hand and leads him to his room like he had done it a million times. He had. To another bed in another life. But this dance they know by heart no matter how many years had passed.
Stiles removes his own clothes, and Derek watches him, chest heaving and cock stirring in his jeans. Stiles just smirks the whole time; knowing just how gone Derek is on him. How gone he’s always been. He lies down on his side and waits for Derek to catch up. But all Derek can do is stare. Stiles is here. In his bed. After so long. It's almost a dream. He’s had this dream.
“Come on, big guy. I’ve been waiting a long time.”
Derek strips in record time, the leg of his jeans getting caught on his feet and he stumbles causing a low chuckle to erupt from Stiles’ chest. Derek growls and Stiles just smiles more. When Derek finally climbs into bed, Stiles' hand smoothes down along Derek’s back, concentrating over his tattoo; his delicate fingertips causing him to shudder under Stiles touch.
“You put me through hell.” Derek whispers, burying his face in Stiles' neck inhaling the scent he had endured without for so long.
Stiles lets out a small sigh. “So did you.” He pulls back, eyes starting to shimmer with the beginnings of emotions Derek knows he’s been trying so hard to keep at bay. “But I had to know for sure. I couldn't just fall back into this with you without being sure. Yeah, I could have gone with Xavier and made a happy life without you. And I could have accepted if I didn't fit into your life anymore. And I’m sorry if you felt like I paraded him around in your face but I didn't know he was coming here. And I didn't plan on leaving with him but when you made it clear to me that what was between us wasn't there anymore what choice did I have? I couldn't stay here and be around you and not be with you. Not after everything. I was stupid to think I could.”
Derek swallows, bumping his nose against Stiles’. “I thought I was doing the right thing. I still haven't fully forgiven myself for all the shit in my past. But it was Isaac telling me that he had forgiven me and my friendship with Scott and everything your Dad has done for me...it made me realize I had to stop punishing myself and actually do something for myself. And all I want, all I’ve ever wanted was you, Stiles.”
Stiles smiles. “Ditto.”
“So this is it, right? You and me? No leaving, so pushing away anymore? Cause I wouldn't be able to take it if-”
“Shhh.” Stiles ghosts his mouth over Derek’s. “Forever.”
Derek lets out a breath he didn't even know he was holding and rolls Stiles onto his back. He hovers over him, hands on either side of his head as he looks down at his lover. Or soon to be. Or old lover. Derek doesn't care. He has Stiles and that's all that matters.
Stiles looks up at him with doe eyes and runs his stubbed nails in his beard. “I love you.”
Derek closes his eyes and lets out a whimper. His wolf whines at the sentiment and his human trembles with anticipation of what's to come from the meaning of those words.
“Derek…” Stiles whispers and stirs underneath him, his cock swollen and jutted out against his thin stomach. Derek opens his eyes and looks down between them and ruts up, letting his own dick searching for friction slide against Stiles’. The moans that escape their throats from just the small amount of touch is almost startling. But Derek can't take anymore. The time for sentiment is over. They have all the time in the world to talk things out; words in afterglow were sure to come. But right now, Derek needed to have Stiles. Take him to places he had only dreamed of sexually; places he never had the nerve to when Stiles was just barely an adult.
But Stiles is 28 now. His body tells of stories of partners he has had, even though Derek doesn't want to think of it. Derek swallows down the jealousy at the thought because Stiles is here. With him. He had chosen Derek. And that's really all he ever wanted.
Derek slides down Stiles’ naked frame and takes Stiles in his mouth with one easy bob of his head. Stiles bucks up, his bony hips knocking into Derek’s shoulders and Derek uses clawed hands as he holds down Stiles’ thighs. And he just sucks. Hollowing out his cheeks and swirling his tongue and moaning and growling around Stiles’ cock. Stiles can't decide what he wants to do with his hands and at first, they are in Derek’s hair. Then fisting the sheets. Then covering his eyes. All the while chanting Derek’s name like it's a new religion he has just found and Derek right now is his GOD.
Derek sucks Stiles’ cock as if it’s the last thing on earth he will ever have in his mouth. And when Stiles comes Derek drinks every last drop as the man underneath him bucks and curses and digs his blunt nails into Derek’s scalp. He swipes his come covered tongue along Stiles’ balls just once and kisses up his leg, his navel and then to his chest. He shares Stiles’ cum with him; swirling his tongue against his. It’s open mouthed and nasty as the cum passes between them and it's dirtier than anything they had ever done back then but Derek’s wolf needs to take and scent and devour.
Derek sits up and grabs the back of Stiles’ head, and Stiles opens his mouth eagerly as Derek shoves his cock down his throat.
Stiles sucks it; covering Derek’s cock it with a thick layer of spit because he knows what’s coming. Derek’s dick pops from his mouth and Stiles gives him a devious smile with spit still on his lips and sliding down his chin. Derek growls, bending down to lick into Stiles' mouth.
“How do you want me?” Stiles pants into Derek’s mouth.
“Like this. Lie still.” Derek demands, sliding down Stiles pale skin. Stiles wraps his legs around Derek’s hips on instinct. This part they are good at. The physical. It's all the emotional stuff they are gonna have to work on.
When Derek finally pushes his thick cock into Stiles’ ass, it’s slicked with spit from Stiles’ mouth. The initial push inside past Stiles first ring of muscle is like nothing Derek has ever felt in his life. It's like a spark of magic; more powerful than his Alpha spark ever was. Stiles is pure magic. He smells like earth and the air on a summer night and like home.
“Stiles…Christ...” Derek whispers as he pushes deeper inside him. Their eyes lock and Derek swears for a moment he physically sees an igniting of electricity between them. Stiles eyes, which were squeezed shut with pleasure, pop open and where orbs of honey brown used to be there is now a deep silver and Derek feels himself shift, his claws digging into delicate human skin. He’s not scared. It's the opposite. He has never felt so connected to anything or anyone in his life.
His wolf feels complete now. Like he's evolving into exactly who he is meant to be.
As Derek fills Stiles to the hilt, his balls pressed aggressively against Stiles ass, Stiles eyes slowly go back to normal. The heat and static are still intense between them, but Stiles' eyes glow their normal brown now. He blinks a few times at Derek, almost waiting for something.
“You learned a lot in Argentina, didn't you?” Derek breathes out. Stiles nods.
Derek feels himself shaking. “You’re my emissary.”
Stiles nods again.
“But how? I’m not an Alpha…I…”
Stiles brings his hands up to Derek’s face and brushes his fingertips gently underneath his eyes. “You were. You were an Alpha. You were the Alpha of this town. The Hale land. Even though you gave it up to save Cora, it doesn’t mean you aren’t still the last Hale Alpha. And I was always meant to be a Hale emissary.”
“How long have you known?”
Stiles swallows, clenching his hole tightly around Derek's. “It’s why I went there. Deaton told me. But I knew I wasn't ready. And then when you never called or even seemed to care that I left… I just gave up. But when I saw you again there was no way… I…”
“Stop. Stop. It’s ok. I know, I know…” Derek buries his face in Stiles neck and licks at it affectionately. “I’m here. I’m sorry. Fuck,
I’m so sorry, Stiles.”
Stiles wraps his arms around Derek and holds him for what seems like an eternity. Derek stays hard deep inside his ass and the way they are connected; physically, mentally and emotionally; is something Derek had no idea he needed until he had it. This boy, no man, had changed his life. And he was never letting go.
After a while, Stiles begins to stir. He pushes down onto Derek’s cock as much as he can and he begins to pant against Derek’s shoulder.
“Derek, please…” He whimpers. Derek lifts his head and the wanton on Stiles' face drives him over the edge. So he gives Stiles what he is begging for. What he knows Stiles needs.
Derek rides Stiles ass forcefully. He takes it easy at first; pushing all the way in and then pulling out. Opening his hole over and over. He spits in it a few times, adding more lube. After he’s fully opened, and Stiles is mewling with pleasure; he fucks him. He fucks him hard and fast, gripping the back of his head and his hip as Stiles' ankles wrap around Derek’s sides.
Sweat beads on their bodies and causes their bodies to slide together in perfect unison. Stiles chants Derek’s name over and over as Derek’s lips lick at every patch of skin he can get to. Stiles ass is like a vice around Derek’s cock and it’s like nothing he’s ever felt before; physically and emotionally.
This is what he’s been waiting for. To feel THIS. To feel alive. Complete. He’d gone his whole life standing on the brink of something. Like he’d been floating waiting for something to ground him. He knows now it is.
“Stiles,” Derek begins. “Do you feel this?”
“Y-yes.” Stiles pushes out of his throat.
“Do you feel me and you? Always just me and you?” Derek continues; his cock moving inside him.
“Always. Me and you.” Stiles repeats. When he comes he screams Derek’s name. They fall asleep; Derek’s soft cock still wedged inside Stiles tight ass. The last thing Derek hears before drifting off to sleep is the soft promises of love escape Stiles' lips.
“I guess darkness serves a purpose: to show us that there is redemption through chaos.”
Derek wakes up to the smell of coffee and soft humming trailing down the hallway from the kitchen. He sits up, the sunlight trying to escape past the blinds into his bedroom. He blinks, running his fingers through his hair and takes a few small breathes.
He looks down at his naked form; the memories of last night washing back to him like a wave creeping up the sand toward him.
He pulls on a pair of old sweatpants and pads barefoot down the hall; the sound of humming growing closer with each step. He rounds the corner to see a very naked Stiles swaying back and forth, still humming, in front of the coffee maker. Derek watches for a few moments; taking in the beauty of the site in front of him. Pale skin scattered with dark dots practically glowing from the sun beaming in through the open living room windows. Long limbs attached to lean muscle. He’s beautiful. And he’s Derek’s. At last.
Derek creeps up behind him, not really intentionally being quiet, and wraps his arms around Stiles’ torso. Stiles gasps a little, then a soft sigh escapes his lips and he leans his head back against Derek’s shoulder. They stand like that for a while; Derek’s arms wrapped around Stiles and Stiles fingertips making delicate circles on Derek’s forearms; the only sound in the room from their gentle breathing and the gurgling of the coffee maker.
“We gonna talk?” Stiles finally whispers.
“About what?” Derek mumbles into the side of Stiles’ head, inhaling his scent. But he knows damn well what Stiles means.
Stiles turns in his arms and raises his eyebrow at him. “Don't play dumb.”
Derek smirks. “What do you wanna talk about, Stiles?”
Stiles rolls his eyes and runs his hands up and down Derek’s lower back. “This. Us.”
Stiles presses his forehead into Derek’s chest, sighing heavily. “What am I doing?”
“Want my honest answer?” Derek chokes out.
“You’re coming home. To me.”
Stiles lifts his head up slowly and brown meets green.
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
“Go on.” Stiles bites his lower lip and it makes Derek growl low in his chest. Stiles slowly smiles.
“You’re gonna move in. And you can figure out a job. I know the old librarian, Mrs. Cranford, is finally retiring. She hasn't found a replacement yet. I think that would be a really good starting point for you. And if it's not what you like or want, we can find something else. As long as it's here, in Beacon Hills. With your father and your pack.” Derek swallows. “And me.”
“And?” Stiles smiles more.
“And we can figure everything else out as we go along. As long as you’re here, nothing else matters. We will work it out. Like we always do. But this time, we’ll do it together. Cause I’m never letting you go again.”
Derek shakes his head. “We need an emissary here. And I need you.” He pauses. “Okay?”
“Anything else?” Derek asks.
Stiles' eyes glisten with new moisture. “I fucking love you.”
Derek presses his lips to Stiles' forehead and tightens his arms around him. “I know.” He shudders. “I love you too.”
But this is your heart, can you feel it? Can you feel it? Pumps through your veins. Can you feel it? Can you feel it?
One Year Later:
Derek adjusts Stiles’ tie as he smooths down the front of his tux. Stiles' eyes dart up to Derek’s face.
“Do I look nervous?”
“You’re shaking. So yeah, I’d say you’re nervous, Stiles.” Derek tightens his tie one more time and steps back. “Mmm. It took such a long time to get you into that tux, but now all I wanna do is rip it off you.”
A soft flush invades Stiles' cheeks and he frowns. “Stop distracting me. Everything has to be perfect. You know that.”
“Or we endure the wrath that is Lydia Martin?” Derek huffs out a laugh and checks his own reflection in the mirror.
“Soon to be Lydia Whitmore in about 20 minutes.” Stiles shakes his head. “Can you fucking believe it?”
“Not really.” Derek mutters. And honestly, he can't. But if there is one thing Derek knows better than anyone, it's not giving up on the one person you love more than anything in life and going after them and making it work no matter the cost. And that's exactly what Lydia did with Jackson. She never gave up on him. Believed in him when no one else did. And in return Jackson finally came back to her after he had gotten rid of all the demons inside himself.
Never underestimate the simple, yet undeniable power, of human love.
And Stiles had come home from lunch with Lydia a few short months ago, flailing and pacing at the fact that she, whom once Stiles had been madly in love with, asked him to stand next to her on her big day as her person of honor.
“It should have been Allison.” Lydia had whispered and Stiles winced visibly at the still open wound. “But she would have wanted it to be you if it couldn't be her. I know it.”
“Stiles all you need to do is stand up there and hold her flowers and look hot.” Derek reminds him.
“Pffft. Right. And out-hot the bride? Didn't you just remind ME of the wrath of Lydia?”
“Or Jackson? I still can't fucking believe he asked me to be his best man. I mean it doesn't make any sense. At all.” Derek shakes his head and sits down to tie his dress shoes.
“You’re his alpha,” Stiles says so matter of factly like it's the truth or something.
“No, I’m not. Jackson doesn't even have an Alpha. He doesn't need one.”
Stiles gives him that ‘you are too adorable for words’ look and folds his arms. “You made him. And you saved him. And even to someone like Jackson, it means something. That's the reason he asked you.”
“Mmm.” Derek looks up from his shoes. “It had nothing to do with Lydia, right? And the fact that you’re her person of honor and you’re my…” Derek trails off, his brain cutting off his mouth as usual.
“Still, can't say it?” Stiles frowns.
“Oh, cause I’m just running around like ‘La La La, I’m Derek Hale’s mate.’” Stiles sighs.
“Still kinda hard to believe.” Derek mumbles, standing.
“What?” Stiles wraps his arms around Derek. “That I’m yours? That I’m not going anywhere? That I’m going to marry the shit out of you?”
Derek stops breathing.
“Derek, you’re turning purple.”
Derek just stares at him. “You… wanna get married? To me?”
“No, to the other hot werewolf I’m currently shacking up with.” Stiles rubs the back of Derek’s head. “You never thought about it?”
“No! Of course, I have. I just didn't think you…”
“Wanted to marry the man I love? Oh god, that's the silliest thought ever!” Stiles steps back, slapping Derek’s chest playfully. “You’re being ridiculous.”
“Then marry me.”
Stiles' eyes widen and he takes a full step back. Maybe two. Actually, he’s inching farther and farther away from Derek. “That… that's not fair! That's how you’re gonna ask??”
“I don't know! I’ve never asked anyone to marry me before! How the hell am I supposed to do it!? This was your idea!” Derek throws his arms in the air, realizing in that moment just how many of each other's mannerisms have spilled over in each other.
“Not like that! Fuck, buy me some flowers or something.”
“There's plenty of flowers here, Stiles.”
Stiles swallows. “Are you being serious right now? Cause I’m about to pass the fuck out.”
Derek steps forward and takes Stiles face in his hands. He’s forceful, maybe a bit too much, but he needs Stiles to look into his eyes. “Stiles…” He whispers.
Stiles' eyes grow big and his mouth hangs open a little at the intensity on Derek’s face. He’s holding his breath and Derek rubs his thumbs affectionately over his cheekbones.
“Marry me.” Derek begs. His voice is rough, his heart hammering away in his chest. He searches Stiles’ eyes. Stiles' hands come up to gently cover Derek’s.
Derek smiles softly. “It's been too long and we’re too old and we’ve been through way too much not to be married.” He mimics the same words Stiles told him a little over a year ago in the car after picking him up from the airport. Truer words had never been spoken. “Marry me, Stiles. Please.”
Something shimmers in Stiles’ eyes and Derek presses his mouth to Stiles open mouth. Its chaste but intense and they breath into each other’s mouths as they intertwine their fingers together still clasped around Stiles' face. When Stiles begins to nod vigorously, giving Derek his answer, Derek finally deepens the kiss.
A soft knock on the door interrupts them and before they can pull apart the door opens and the Sheriff pokes his head in. He smiles at them when he witnesses the moment. “Come on, you two. We’re about to get started.” The door closes gently and Derek presses his forehead against Stiles.
“Okay.” Stiles answers.