Title: While We Rock Ourselves To Sleep, a continuation of devildoll's fic But Not With Derek
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Tags: Continuation, Pining, Angst, Heartbreak, Self-harm, Blood, Depression, Second Chances
Summary: The fourth stage of grief perpetually lingers in the aftermath of falling for Stiles.
Notes: This fic was entirely inspired by listening to The Weeping Song by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Listen here.
Derek noticed something was off about Stiles and his heartbeat. There was a growing worry in his gut for weeks, but he couldn't put a finger on it; apprehension filling his heart and mind every time Stiles lied to him. He doesn't let on that he's caught wind of the lies, but they are becoming more frequent. Stiles reeks of dishonesty and is emitting a feeling of unease. He exchanges nods and makes eye contact with Scott, indicative of having a secret when the three of them are together.
Stiles doesn’t have that beautiful smile on his face whenever his eyes land on Derek any more. Even their conversations became more strained, Stiles’ still talking and sharing, but an underlying sadness in his words. Like he was holding something back from Derek. A few times he catches himself and immediately jumps subjects.
But Derek doesn't miss it.
He tells Derek he'll be gone for the weekend for an out of town game against West Langdon High. It's for the State Championship. He's excited. Derek can smell the elation all over him. It's vibrating out of his skin. It's like a glow has sparked within Stiles, and this crushes Derek.
He wants to be the only one, the only thing that makes Stiles feel this way.
It’s that thought that causes the answer to hit Derek like a slap in the face. It's not something, but rather someone that is making Stiles feel this way. Someone that isn't him. He doubles over, instantly, feeling punched in the gut. So he does the only thing he knows how do, he puts up a wall. Withdraws from Stiles. Doesn't look him in the eye anymore. All those months and months of them spending time together, and the attraction. It's like that thing between them has been erased.
When Stiles brings it up with him—that he can sense that something is off with Derek, he just shrugs his shoulders and tells him not to worry about it.
The Thursday night before his trip, after Stiles hightails it out of his house with a giddy gusto in his step, he realizes the finality of their situation. It's obvious that he's headed towards something marvelous, while Derek is being abandoned. Left behind to mourn the loss of him; the him that he never really had the chance to have to begin with.
Derek curls up into his bed and lets his emotions overtake him. He doesn't cry tears, but his body heaves with a purpose, oozing a bereft melancholy. His mind won't shut off the thought that his inaction and moral compass has caused him to lose Stiles.
That is the first time in the 274 days since Stiles’ birthday, that he doesn't erase one of the lines from the chalkboard.
The next evening Derek wraps the chalkboard in a thin blanket and puts it under his bed. Just the sight of it sends ripples of sadness through him. Mocking him and his longing. The constant reminder that this was his endgame. The thing that got him through the night and made his wolf content.
Stiles, for a while now, had been Derek's first thought when he awoke, and his last thought before he fell to slumber, and he occupied his thoughts constantly through the day. He had a routine. He would plan out their future. He would concoct the perfect outings in his head. Places he'd take Stiles and things he would show him.
He had a place that was just his—a swimming hole near a campground that he would go to as a kid all through to his teen years with his family. It was his favorite place. His secret place where the memories were always happy, and his thoughts would return to that place when he thought about making new memories, with Stiles. Taking Stiles there on a warm summer morning. Swimming and fucking and sunbathing. He would show him his true smile there, the one he kept just for himself, the one that hadn't been present since his family died.
He would take Stiles there and finally tell him everything about the one thing he hadn't told anyone. His past. And he would ask Stiles to forgive him and just love him in return, unconditionally like he loved Stiles. It would be the happiest day of his life. And that daydream was enough to get him through the hard times.
But now, that fantasy, and it would have to be shelved for another time. For another man, that wasn't Stiles. He fell hard, retreated back into his head. Couldn't escape the inner demons that lived there telling him he didn't deserve this. That he would never have it. That insolent laughter of ridicule set his teeth on edge. The smell of burnt flesh filled his nose sending him back to his darkest place.
How could he be so naive?
Derek was all alone again, and he felt the weight of that loneliness. He needed some relief from this perdition. He took out the folding knife he carried with him in his jacket pocket.
He unfolded the blade, holding it against his forearm. He thought of how, in his favorite daydream, he was going to pin Stiles against the rock where the water was shallowest. He was going to run his tongue from the back of Stiles’ ear all the way down his spine. He was going to bury his fingers deep inside of him and rut against him until their bodies were burning with need.
He fucking hated himself. He hated how he had given his mind and his imagination over to this fantasy that would never happen. So he took that knife and cut into his flesh. He watched the blood running down his arm in a lightning bolt of crimson. He kept squeezing his fists to make the blood escape faster out of his arm.
He felt a wave of relief coursing through him.
When he regained his mind and looked down, his arm was healed. So he repeated the act over and over in a ritual of hatred and release. Until the blood flowing to the floor below him was a thick coagulated blanket. He stopped when he could no longer feel the pain of the cut. He was numb to it now. His self-loathing adapting; getting stronger with each passing moment of his self-deprecation.
Fuck it. Derek lay down and shut his eyes for sleep, and willed his thoughts away. To escape to a void of desolation where Stiles didn't exist.
Stiles came over the following Tuesday. Derek had barely made it out of bed since Saturday. He hadn't really had the energy to care. When he opened the door to him, Stiles was already wearing a smile plastered across his face. A smile that only slightly ebbed at the sight of Derek, but was back up just as fast. Stiles smelled different. His body chemistry was marinated in the scent of another. And his heart beat differently. He was happy. Truly undeniably, incandescently happy. It bled from his aura like the pain bled from Derek's reflection every day when he looked at himself in the mirror.
They didn't talk about it and Stiles didn't stay.
He stopped coming around after that.
Scott and Derek talk about it one night though. Well, Scott rambles on and Derek listens while holed up in the car waiting to meet with Dr. Deaton. Scott tells him that Stiles fell in love with another Lacrosse player from West Langdon's team, a school that was an hour away. That they didn't get to see each other very often, but they were mad about one another. They had Skype dates and weekend excursions. That the kid met the Sheriff and got the seal of approval for them to room together next year at CSU-Sacramento. He told Derek that Stiles said he wasn't going around him anymore because he didn't want to be unfair to him. That it was too hard to see him when he looked like a punched kitten every time they were in the same room together. Stiles never told Scott about the chalkboard or their plans, but a person would have to be blind to not know that there was some kind of untold history between them. Derek only asked Scott if the guy was good to Stiles, and Scott said, "He's the best, man."
Scott never ever tells Stiles that he smells defeat and the macabre sour scent of sorrow on Derek in the car that night. After that they never speak of it again.
Because that was that.
Derek has opportunities over the next year to move on. But he doesn't act on them. He's not feeling up to putting himself out there again. One shapeshifter, Amelia, piques his interest, but he can't bring himself to do anything about it. He doesn't want to fall in love again.
He is terrified of feeling that twinge of unsatisfied longing again. He told himself he will never have those daydreams again; having them so close to the periphery and not fulfilled. Derek's spark died with Stiles. When the kid rode out of Beacon Hills and started his real life.
Derek still gnaws and claws at his headboard in his sleep each night.
Over the years, the Sheriff and Derek get close. They work together so much that they lose count of how many times they have a close call, and are there for one another. In a way they become friends. John brings Stiles up a few times to Derek in conversation, but Derek falls into a black mood each time. So he no longer talks about his son around him anymore. They find out that they can carry on relatively easy and comfortable conversations about everything that isn't Stiles and the ease of camaraderie forms between them.
It's not shocking then that Derek receives an invitation to John's nuptials. He surmises that they are good enough buddies to get an invite. So Derek decides to show his respect for John and his partner Melissa by going to the shindig and not making an excuse to not attend. He was going to have to run into Stiles someday, at least there will be enough distractions for him that the elephant in the room won't suffocate them all to death.
Derek wears black jeans and a black pinstripe button down. The wedding is run of the mill. The Sheriff tears up during the vows. The emotions are contagious to the lot of friends and family and community members in attendance. From the back of the room Derek fixes his eyes on Stiles standing next to his Father as Best Man. He looks brilliant. He looks breathtaking. Stiles doesn't look at Derek at all. There are several people in Scott's group that he doesn't recognize at the reception. So he assumes one of them is Stiles' boyfriend. But he can't bring himself to watch Stiles interact with the group. He doesn't think he can take seeing the person that claimed his heart away. Derek confines himself to a corner and nurses three fingers of scotch while people dance and toast. He wishes so badly he could get drunk.
John joins him for a drink at some point. Allison drops by to offer small smiles and a reassuring shoulder bump to Derek. She tells him that she doesn't have to be a werewolf to smell the sadness radiating from his direction. He can't even be mad at her for saying it. It's accurate.
A quarter to ten is the breaking point for Derek. He gets up to leave and finds Scott lingering at the entrance to the hall. He looks pensive, but he doesn't stop Derek, he just tells him that Stiles is outside waiting for him.
His gut drops to the floor like a broken piñata. His heart is dangerously close to combusting from the thought of having to be within Stiles’ general vicinity.
When he gets outside he sees Stiles leaning back against his car, arms folded over his chest, one leg crossed over the other, head down. He looks deep in thought. Derek wants to take a picture, so he can torture himself looking at the line of his body and weep until he's blue in the face.
He takes a deep breath and approaches, and Stiles looks up at him. He's exuding a restless cloud of nervous towards Derek. He stinks of trepidation.
"Hey." Stiles says quietly.
"Hello Stiles." Derek says in return. Stiles is shifting his hands around nervously. Derek just stands there still as night.
"Were you going to leave without saying anything?" Stiles asks.
"Does it matter?" Derek replies, twitching an eyebrow up in question.
"Of course it matters. I haven't seen you in years. We used to mean a lot to each other. Remember?" Stiles forces this out with a pained look on his face. Derek stews on his words. Emotions coming back to him that he hadn't given voice to in those years.
"I remember promises and plans that never happened. I remember you leaving Beacon Hills without saying goodbye to me. So why would I venture over to pay you a courtesy you didn't bother to give me five years ago?"
Derek spits out at him.
Stiles is stunned to get so many words from Derek. He lingers on them, takes a deep breath before answering.
"Because I've missed you and I was hoping that you've missed me too. The only thing I've wanted since I've been back is to see you and tell you how sorry I am. That I didn't wait for you all those years ago." His eyes cast down at the hurt look on Derek's face. "I should have waited for you." Stiles says lowly under his breath, but Derek still catches it.
"Can't undo it now Stiles."
"Don't wanna undo it Derek. I just want you to know that I am remorseful. That I see in hindsight that I didn't do the right thing." Stiles is looking Derek in the eye now with a determination. "I was in love with you, you know. For the longest time. But you said we had to wait. So I waited until I realized that you no longer wanted that from me. That we became real friends and that spark between us, it was no longer there." Fuck if Stiles didn't know how to still wring every facet of emotion from the deepest part of Derek. What an idiot he was. Derek felt a bolt of anguish course its way through him.
"What are you even talking about Stiles? I spent that year falling more in love with you than ever. Pining for you and planning for us when the time was right. How can you think that spark fizzled away? It was literally bleeding out of me!" Derek closed his eyes. He felt the emotion bubbling up on his face. He looked at Stiles, blinking away the evidence of how much he hurt.
"I didn't know. You never said." Stiles quietly confesses.
"No. You're right. I didn't." Derek replies. There is a long pause between them. Stiles looks eager to say something, shifts his body back and forth looking for the right words.
"I dream about you all the time. You came back into my dreams months ago. After Eliot moved out, after he left me. I would spend hours in bed each night thinking back to us. I would think about you so hard that I would dream about you. I can't stop myself from wishing we could go back." Stiles unburdens himself with the confession.
"We can't." Derek says.
"No, I know." Stiles says dejectedly. "But I wanted you to know. I didn't want to let you leave here without telling you that I am sorry for how things went down all those years ago. That I would do it over again if I could, and I would wait for you. Because you were…are worth it." Derek hears the words. He takes them in. Tucks them away. He knows he will relive this exchange over and over. He has finally gotten the closure he didn't know he needed. At least Stiles thinks about him. Feels an iota of the pain and regret that has fueled Derek all these years.
"Okay." Derek concedes.
"Okay." Stiles repeats in defeat.
Stiles slowly starts making his way back to the hall. Hands in his pockets, head down. Derek is looking at him walking away. He closes his eyes, inhales deep.
"Thank you, Stiles. It means a lot…that you said it," he says in the direction of his back.
Stiles turns to look back at him, he gives Derek a shrug of his shoulders, curls down his lips into a small frown, turns away again to keep walking. Derek doesn't know why he's doing this but watching Stiles about to disappear back out of his life again burns his stomach and his mouth opens to form words before he realizes he's speaking.
"Hey Stiles," he hollers towards him. Stiles stills and looks back, "Yeah?" he answers towards Derek.
"Do you want to get some coffee, and maybe talk some more?" He asks with a hopeful twist to his cheek.
Stiles grins back at him. And damn Derek missed that. "Yes, Derek, I want to get coffee with you…more than anything in the world." Derek lips form the smallest of tiny smiles back at him.
Derek is standing at the kitchen counter. He hears it. The approaching thumping of his heart. He can tell he's close. He hears the thumpa-thumpa like a drum in his head, beating a rhythm to scare away all the enemies in his mind. He feels limbs wrap around his waist and the warmth of his chin come to rest over his right shoulder. They stand like that for a tick while Derek's wrist flick over and over making a repetitive design on the blackened porcelain enamel.
"Whataya doing?" Stiles whispers into his ear. Sleepy satisfaction on his voice.
"Making you something to take back with you to Sacramento." Derek says. Stiles looks down at the counter. Takes in what Derek is doing and realization falls over his mind.
"Is that the same chalkboard I gave you on my birthday?" He asks, his voice raising an octave in questioning disbelief. He knows it is because he can see where the board is permanently stained from the chalk where he had written on it all those years ago. Tattooed from the marks sitting and stale for too long, untouched. Derek nods.
"Yes, the same one." Stiles feels a hot burst of nerves.
"And what are you putting on it?" he asks even though he can see what Derek is doing plain as day. Stiles is pressing his weight into Derek. Swaying a bit into him. Gripping him tight like he's afraid to let him go. On the board there were ninety-one lines staring back at him, thirteen groups of seven lines drawn neatly scattered across with chalk. Stiles heart hammers. Derek feels it against his back.
"I didn't want you to leave today and go back home without giving you this, so you have something to look forward to. It's exactly how many days until we see each other again." Stiles smiles at this and presses a kiss to Derek's neck.
"Until you move back to Beacon Hills, back home…to me."
"It's perfect." Stiles hums into Derek's shoulder. Neither of them can wipe the silly smiles off of their face.
That night-three days ago-the night of the reception, that night Derek and Stiles stayed up all night. They talked and they touched and told each other how their lives had been in the years they had missed each other. They talked about the good stuff. Derek talked about his territory with a spark in his eye and Stiles talked about college and all the trouble he got himself into. Derek told Stiles about his Dad and their friendship and Stiles told Derek about falling in love. They even talked about the bad stuff. Derek told Stiles all the ways he had broken his heart and Stiles told him how his heart had been broken by others. They talked until well into the next day. They both laid it out on the table showing their hands and exposing their hearts to one another. It had been years of absence, but it was like no time had passed at all. That night changed everything for them.
That night Derek fell back in love with Stiles.
And that night, Stiles fell back in love with him too.