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“I had a nightmare.”

Derek exhaled heavily, closing his eyes momentarily in relief, and lowering his gun, letting the tension seep out of his body, shoulders slumping. It was way too early for this, barely even three a.m. but so went the life of a Secret Service agent.

He’d finally been able to fall asleep after a long day of public appearances and constant vigilance, still extremely wary of another incident occurring after the recent attempt on the first son’s life at an LGBT+ rights rally a few months.

He’d strolled through the long hallways of the White House, ensuring every lock on every door was intact, that every window was tightly sealed. He’d finally retired to his room after Boyd had urged him to get some sleep. He had wholeheartedly agreed and slid stripped out of his suit, tugging on a pair of sweatpants and falling into bed.

He’d barely had an hour of sleep when a loud ear-splitting, blood-curdling scream had woken him, wrenched him from his restive sleep.

Derek had instinctively grabbed his gun and raced down the hall to Stiles’ bedroom, bursting into the room in search of an intruder, in search of whatever had elicited such an extreme reaction. He scanned the room for any sign of any possible threat, checking the locks on the windows.

But he’d only found Stiles, sitting up in bed and clutching his blanket to his chest with white-knuckled fists. He’d looked absolutely terrified, his eyes wide and frantic, forehead dotted with a sheen of sweat, his chest heaving.

When Derek had demanded what was wrong, voice rougher than he had intended, Stiles had reluctantly admitted that he’d had a nightmare, his own voice soft and scared. Derek couldn’t help but notice the way Stiles curled in on himself, gripping his blanket tighter and resolutely avoiding meeting his gaze, so attuned to reading body language.

“What do we got, boss?” Erica asked from the doorway, gun drawn as she too searched for an intruder. Boyd and Isaac were behind, Chris Argent and Peter further down the hall trying to calm down President Stilinski who had come running the moment he heard his son scream.

“False alarm,” Derek informed them, decocking his Sig and carefully tucking it into the waistband of his black sweatpants. He nodded towards the sound of President Stilinski who was ranting and raving, insisting they let him see his son, and instructed Erica, “Tell the Sheriff it was just a false alarm. Stiles is fine. It was just a nightmare.”

His team nodded and left the doorway to go work damage control with the President. Derek gently closed Stiles’ bedroom door with a click, turning back to ensure that Stiles truly was fine.

He sat on the edge of the bed, leaning forward to try to get a look at Stiles’ face, softly calling his name. A dim light caught his attention and he looked at the wall, voicing his incredulous thoughts. “Is that a night light?”

“Yes,” Stiles hiccuped miserably, suddenly sniffling and wiping furiously at his eyes. Derek realized he was crying, his shoulders starting to shake as he tried to muffle his sobs.

Derek inched closer, reaching out to wrap a gentle hand around Stiles’ wrist, tugging lightly and quietly whispering, “Stiles… Come here, it’s alright.”

Stiles collapsed against him, burying his wet face in the junction of Derek’s neck and shoulder, letting himself openly cry, shivering in Derek’s arms. He vehemently waved his hand toward the night light plugged into the wall, angrily weeping, “I’m nineteen fucking years old and I can’t even sleep without a fucking night light! All because some asshole tried to fucking kill me!”

“But he didn’t.” Derek reminded him, cradling him close and rubbing his back. He rested his cheek against the top of Stiles’ head. “And who the hell cares if you need a night light to sleep? It helps you and all that’s all that matters. All that matters is that you’re okay, that you’re alive, okay? And you don’t have to worry because I’m always gonna be here to keep you safe from pieces of shit like him.”

“Yeah? You promise?” Stiles mumbled against Derek’s bare skin, sniffling again as he calmed down, fatigue setting in and sapping his energy. He wrapped his arm around Derek’s necks, settling in more comfortably against him.

“Yeah,” Derek echoed, running a comforting hand through Stiles’ hair and tugging his blanket up higher on his shoulders. “Always. Now get some sleep, okay? I’ll be right here in case you need me, okay?”

“M’kay. Night, Derek,” Stiles murmured as he fell asleep, cheek pressed against Derek’s chest. Derek smiled to himself and settled back against the headboard, feeling safer and more at home than he ever had before, with Stiles in his arms.