Derek knew this day was coming. He knew that one day he will get a call from someone and they will ask him to come back to Beacon Hills. He knew. But he always imagined that this someone will be Stiles and not Scott. When the moment comes he's driving home. Cora sitting next to him and dramatically sighing every time his phone starts ringing. He doesn't want to answer. Doesn't want to know anything about Beacon Hills. He left for good and nothing should bring him back. After 22 missed calls, his phone stops ringing. Derek can see Cora staring at him from the corner of his eye. His phone starts ringing again.
"Aren't you going to answer?"
She snatches his phone and answers. His body tenses. He has a bad feeling in his stomach. A really really bad one. Cora isn't saying anything. She's just listening, nodding. Derek can see her eyes watering and that's when she holds his phone in front of his face. Still not looking at him.
Derek feels sick.
"Hi, Derek" Scott seems like he's been crying. Derek can hear voices in the background. He's sure he can hear someone screaming. Derek closes his eyes, not being able to focus. He wants to hang up as fast as possible but something is holding him back.
"Something happened ..." Scotts voice cracks. He takes a long breath before he starts again. "Something happened and we need you back"
Derek's thinking about that "something". He thinks about Kate. Maybe she came back to harm them again, to finish what she started but that wouldn't explain the scent of sadness filling the air. Derek almost crashes the car when Cora starts screaming next to him. She's sobbing, big tears rolling into her lap, her nose as red as her face.
No. it has to be something else. It hits Derek like a rock. Someone got hurt ...
He thinks about all the people he cares about. Malia. They didn't develop a strong relationship but they're cousins. And what about Peter. Hell. What if Peter escaped Eichen house? What if he went all psycho again or worse.... what if he got killed. Peter's a psychopath but he's still family.
Derek squeezes his eyes shut for a second, pretends like he isn't driving, like he wouldn't kill Cora and him by crashing the car. That's when he find himself pulling over, phone still pressed against his ear. The screaming hasn't stopped, never did Cora's sobs.
Derek keeps listening to Scott's breathing, listening to the screams in the background, tries to figure out what the hell is going on.
And then everything stops. A sudden headache and pain in his chest.
God. Something must have happened to Stiles. Why else would Cora cry like they lost their family all over again. Derek recognized the scream in the background. Sheriff Stilinski.
"What happened Scott?" Derek keeps calm. He doesn't want to freak out, not until he's sure it's about him. God. Please let him be okay ...
"Just come home, please" Derek barely hears Scott breaking down before the line dies.
Cora stopped crying a while ago. Here they're sitting in silence trying to ignore the other's rapid heartbeat.
Derek wants to say something, wants to ask but he's not able to open his mouth. His body is numb. Cora breaks the silence.
"We have to go back, Derek"
And that's exactly what they do next. They book the next flight to Beacon Hills and find themselves only 3 hours later heading back to their worst nightmare. Derek has a feeling this nightmare is going to become the worst one he ever had.
Cora and Derek pretend like they don't notice all the police cars driving around on Beacon Hills' empty streets. They had just passed the 8th one when a familiar face passes by. The Sheriff. Cora is silent. She keeps looking out of the window, ignoring Derek as hard as possible. Maybe she didn't want him to see her crying again but Derek can smell the sadness reeking out of her. He doesn't say anything.
Derek passes the loft. He passes the high school. He passes Isaac's old home, Boyd's and Erica's as well. He's facing everything he's been hiding from. He usually doesn't hide but this time he did. He tried to forget his failing betas, tried to forget how Erica and Boyd died because of him. Everyone died because of him and Derek is aware of it.
Derek stops the car in front of the McCall house. He almost passes out as soon as he opens the drivers door. The scent of sadness, pain, blood, tears, way too many tears for only one human, hit him. He can also smell Scott's pack. He can smell Scott, Malia, Kira and Liam. He also smells some unfamiliar scents but he doesn't care because he can also smell Stiles' scent and he automatically calms down. Thinks that he's okay but as soon as Cora grabs his hand to stop him from walking, his heart starts beating like crazy. He doesn't want to admit but he's scared. He's so damn scared.
"I wouldn't leave you" Cora says and squeezes his hand. Her hand is shaking and it's way too cold for a werewolf. Derek doesn't know why she said that but he just smiles at her.
He's not going to lie. He tried as hard as possible to pretend it wasn't real. He tried to pretend that Scott is just being silly, like he's trying to scare the hell out of Derek ... and he succeeded. Derek is scared. The sickness never left. The pain in his stomach got worse and the smile faded from his face. He squeezes Cora's hand back.
Mrs McCall opens the door. She looks horrible.
Cora and Derek both enter but as soon as they sit down, Derek wishes he died that day in Mexico.
People always saw him as a cold hearted, strong not caring person but he's not that person, he never was. He cried when his family burned to dead. He cried when he left with Laura. He cried when he buried Laura. He cried when he found out that Peter killed his sister. He cried when Kate had him tied up. He cried after he killed his uncle. He cried after he saw Jackson bleeding black. He cried after the night Gerald told him how he belongs nowhere. He cried when he found out Cora was still alive. He cried when he found Erica's body. He cried when Boyd died in his arms. He cried when he visited his family. He cried after Peter gave him the memory to his mother back. He cried when he remembered Paige again. He cried after seeing Kate again. He cried before he died and he cried when he found out that Stiles Stilinski was dead.
Derek left after he found out. He hugged Cora one last time before he took off. He knew he shouldn't have left her alone but she wasn't. She was safe now, safer than she was with him.
Derek heads right back to the loft. Nose red, eyes wet. His grip is so strong he hears the steering wheel cracking under his hand. He's holding back every emotion he wanted to show after hearing the news. He was sitting there. Cora's hand in his. His lip bleeding because he was biting it too hard. Body numb. He couldn't move, couldn't cry. He was just sitting there, staring at Scott's lips moving but he couldn't hear anything. After a while he left.
Derek swings the door open.
He stays at the door. Let's his eyes scan the place. Sees everything standing where it stood after he left for Mexico but he knows someone was using the loft. Someone he doesn't want to think about right know. Derek swallows hard as he enters his old home. He can't help but breathe in the scent of someone he wasn't able to smell so many years ago.
He doesn't waste any time, goes up the stairs and opens the door to this old closet. He can smell the scent again. Everything still looks familiar.
He opens the first drawer next to the closet. Hopes to find what he's looking for. That's when he finds it. When he finds that one shirt he has been keeping safe and out of reach from everyone. Even from himself. He was keeping it in case he would need it one day and today is that day. His hand grabs the soft fabric, remembers how Stiles made him strip for Danny and how Derek ended up in one of Stiles' t-shirts. He never gave the t-shirt back. Derek presses the fabric into his face, breathes in like he has been suffocating. It still smells like Stiles and that's when he breaks down because that's the moment Derek imagines Stiles using the loft. How he would go through Derek's stuff and Derek wouldn't be mad at him. How could he? Derek also imagines Stiles lying in the woods. Alone. Bleeding where nobody was looking for him. How his human body would have gotten cold and how he would have shivered. But Derek knows Stiles died fast. He just knows.
Derek wanted the tears to stop. He really did. He wished Cora never answered that damn call because he wouldn't be here right now. He wouldn't cry over the hyperactive spaz who died today. He wouldn't know that he lost someone else he cared about. He cares. He always did but Stiles would never know.
No matter how weak and numb he feels, his feet carried him on. He's sure he's almost walking for an hour now, not sure where he's going. It's like sleepwalking but the difference is you're awake. Today was a sunny day. It was way too warm to wear his leather jacket, his dad's jacket but he wanted to, he needed to. He wanted something to hold him in case he had another breakdown. He could've asked Cora to come with him but he thought she's doing better then him so why would he put her through this pain again.
When his feet stops, he finds himself in front of a grave stone. A brand new one. Flowers lying on the ground. Derek thinks they must be new. Someone was here today. The scent tells him it was Cora and he calms down a bit.
A smile creeps on his lips even when he doesn't want to. "Stiles Stilinski".
"They knew you wouldn't like it if they put your real name on it ..."
Derek felt comfortable talking to the dead. After he kept visiting his family, the talking got easier. Derek will always sit in front of his family's grave stone and just talk. Just like that because he's used to not talking to anyone but them. He could talk to Cora, sure but he doesn't want to put the world on her shoulders. Cora knows and she's doing the same. They're trying to make things easier. For both of them.
He goes on his knees. Holds his hand up and presses into the engraved letters. Derek knows everyone who has been here did the same thing. He can smell all the scents.
Derek brushes his thumb over the engraving. Over and over until his skin breaks.
He kind of wants to hug the stone, wants to know if he could reach a part of Stiles like that. Derek can feel the wetness on his cheek and he lets himself cry.
"I'm really sorry" because that's the only thing he can say right know. He knows it isn't his fault, it can't be his fault but he feels so damn guilty for not being here to protect Stiles.
"I wish I was here" he's crying so badly. He almost chokes on his own tears.
"I wish I was here to help you, to save you" Derek laughs. "You remember how you saved my life? Over and over?" Derek laughs again but he's crying at the same time.
"You remember how you kept hitting me after I passed out in the vet clinic? In the elevator?" He wipes his hand over his face to clear his view. He's taking long breaths. Again. His lungs burn and so does his eyes.
"You remember how you held me in that pool for more than 2 hours? I remember. I remember how you almost drowned but you didn't let me go. I remember you put your hand on my shoulder to comfort me after Boyd died. I remember how scared I was when you disappeared for days when you became void. I remember you saving us from Liam after I lost my power and I remember how you couldn't move after I got attacked. You saved my life Stiles and I think I never thanked you for that"
Derek is laughing again. He's pretty sure he's about to lose his mind. "I wanted you to stay that night, you know. But I didn't wanted to make you choose between me and Scott"
Derek can't describe all the pain he's feeling right now. It's like all the emotions, all the bad memories came back just to hit him at once. It's like not crying for a long time and then letting go. Crying for hours for all the things you wanted to cry about. Derek's crying because he wouldn't get to hear Stiles voice anymore. God. He wants to hear him talking for one last time. He wants to press his hand into his chest just to feel his heartbeat. He wants to touch his face, his hand. He want to hug him as hard as possible because he misses him. And Derek will never be able to do that. Never was able to do that.
He's regretting all the choices he had since that night. Regrets leaving. Regrets not calling to ask how everyone is doing. He regrets not fighting for the things he wanted. But he's so tired of fighting. He just wants to close his eyes and sleep.
And then a thought creeps into his mind. "Were we friends?" He's leaning against the stone. Feels cold all of the sudden. "Or were we more like partners in crime?" He asks.
Derek closes his eyes. He hates the smell here. The smell of dead and tears. Sadness, guilt and anxiety. He wishes he could just take Stiles' hand and... go.
"I don't know what we are but I'm sure we are something" Derek can't talk in the past. He doesn't want to because if he does then that means he believes in Stiles being gone. But he doesn't. He still hopes that the kid is out there somewhere. Hiding or running. Alive.
Derek is biting his lip again. He can taste the blood on his lip and his tears on his tongue. He has no idea what to do. He wants to cry his soul out. Wants to scream. Wants to kill whatever that did this to Stiles.
"I'll find whatever that did this to you and I will take revenge for you. No matter what, I care about you Stiles. I always did and I'm so sorry. I just ..." He has to breathe or he's going to kill himself.
"I love you, kid" He licks his lip. "I really do. You are part of my family" Derek thinks he's about to have a panic attack. He didn't have one in years but he's sure if he doesn't calm down he'll end up having one. "You're family because you're the one who always came back"
He's hugging his grave stone. Big tears leaving his eyes. He doesn't care if someone sees him like that. He doesn't care what people will think of him. Derek is tired. He's so god damn tired. He can't lose anyone anymore. He just can't. The pain eats him inside. Everything hurts. He can't do this anymore. He can't ...
Derek wants to stand up, he really does but he's lost all the strength he had left in his body. He's powerless, his body is empty and heavy at the same time. So he stays. He's still leaning against the stone. Resting his head on top of it. He's not listening, not speaking, not feeling, not caring. The only thing he does is breathing but only because he has to.
After a while he finds himself brushing the engraving of his name again. A little smile on his lips. He swallows before he leans in and kisses the name, the birthday, the "son" and "friend".
"I'm not going to kiss that date here" he presses his finger into the death day. "Because I don't want you to be gone and maybe." Don't cry, he keeps telling himself. "Maybe one day we'll meet again and maybe we'll tell each other all the things we didn't say"
"I love you kid. I'll see you soon"