Stiles needs something from Derek
Jennifer isn't expecting to see Stiles Stilinski when she opens the door. He's standing there dripping wet with one hand raised ready to knock again. He looks half dead on his feet and she sees him catch himself as he flinches when the door opens and he almost goes tail first back down the steps.
"Stiles. What can I..."
She doesn't even get to finish her question.
"I need to see Derek."
She half smiles, trying to look bemused, a familiar muscle memory when dealing with Stiles so she thinks it comes off OK, and then opens her mouth to say she has no idea who he's talking about. But she's interrupted before she can begin.
"I know he's not dead. I know he's here. I saw you." Stiles is talking fast, trying to get the words out before she lies or just plain shuts the door in his face.
"I‘ve seen you. And then yesterday, on my way home. I saw you in the drug store. You were getting serious first aid supplies. Believe me I can recognise all those brands from a distance. I know he's here and I need to talk to him. Please. Just..." His voice cracks briefly and for a moment she sees something other than that random rambling boy she's starting to become familiar with, but then it’s gone again.
"Just go and tell him to come to the door and talk to me or let me come in. I'm not going to go away until I've seen him. I need to..." The crack is back again and wider this time. Like he's been picking at a scab while talking and he's lifted the edge with a nail enough for a single drop to well up and escape. He gulps in a breath and holds it and she sees the tension in his frame judder.
She gestures him into the hallway and closes the door. Stiles jiggles from one foot to the other but doesn't speak again.
When Jennifer gets to the bedroom Derek is already awake. He's sitting on the bed just staring at his hands, slowly twisting and rubbing his fingers together silently.
"You have a visitor. I don't think that he'll go away until you've spoken to him."
His cheek twitches at that and Derek stands up and moves towards the door. He avoids her eyes but pats her arm as he passes.
Jennifer turns and follows him, waiting in the doorway while Derek continues until he is only a couple of feet from Stiles.
And Stiles. Well, if he was a violin string before, now he's a high tensile cable. The frequency of his shaking has lowered to something that looks like it is running through the marrow of his bones. His eyes are on Derek but they're not still, they're darting all over his face and body. Even when Derek stops in front of him he doesn't look him in the eye.
Derek opens his mouth to speak but it’s as though Stiles knows he needs to get in first. That if he lets Derek have the first word he won't get whatever it is that he obviously so desperately needs.
"No. Look. I'm not here to." Stiles fisted hands have escaped from his pockets and they're bouncing unevenly against his thighs.
"I mean I understand. I do. Shit, if it wasn't for Dad and Scott you wouldn't see me for dust." He laughs, a sharp and forced sound.
"I mean it. Good luck to you man. If there was a way for me to get out of this fucked up mess and just walk away I'd take it too. You deserve... If anyone deserves... Anyway, I'm not here to convince you to come back."
Derek takes another step closer.
"Then why are you here Stiles?"
And Stiles stutters silently for a moment. His mouth is moving but there's no sound and a kind of pained expression crosses his face. He takes a deep breath and it seems to ease the discomfort enough for him to speak again.
"I just need to talk." He grimaces again.
"Yeah right, I know. Like I talk all the time, about anything, everything, to anyone who comes within three feet of me. But this crap. Derek. You know. You KNOW. And no-one is listening to me right now. I can talk and talk and they smile and nod but no-one who has a fucking clue what crap is going down in my life hears a word I say right now. I feel like I'm drowning in words and I just need to say them out loud to someone who knows and who isn't going to..." Stiles raises his eyes to meet Derek's at last and whatever he sees there destroys the tight control he's maintained since he came to the door. He takes a huge gulp of air and when it comes out again it’s as a racking sob that shakes his entire body. His eyes squeeze shut and his knees start to give.
Without consciously deciding to move Derek finds that he's taken the last two steps and he's holding Stiles up to stop him collapsing onto the floor. Stiles hands are clenched into the sides of Derek's shirt and his forehead is pushing bruisingly into his collarbone with each new breath. Stiles is howling now, there's no other word for it. Derek can feel a warm dampness on his chest and finds himself squeezing in response to every new set of tremors as he feels them run through Stiles' body.
Neither of them is sure how long they stay like that.
But at some point Stiles' legs start to hold him up again and his breathing slows and levels out and at the first hint that he's pulling away Derek lets go and takes a step back. Stiles roughly wipes tears and snot from his face with his sleeve and takes a breath that barely shudders at all.
He nods, looking Derek in the eye again. "Thanks man." He sniffs grossly and smirks when Derek rolls his eyes.
"Good luck." Stiles turns to the door and pauses with his hand on the lever. "Seriously. Thanks for listening."
He doesn't look back again and Derek doesn't move or speak as the door snicks shut behind him. After what feels like an age he's startled out of his thoughts as Jennifer places a soft hand on his shoulder.
"I think we should talk."