Disclaimer: I do not own anything. No infringement intended.
Warning: Violence, angst and LOTS of Spoilers for Season Two (though a lot of AU stuff happens).
Words fail, more often than not. When you need them to save your life, when they're all that stands between you losing what you want the most. They are wrong, weak. Their meanings are muddled and in the end they die on your tongue. Words are just letters searching for a purpose.
Blood pools in black puddles around his sneakers. Thick and shinning as it sticks to the dirty fabric and soaks into the snow. Even in this biting cold, it still flows. Must be the elevated body temperature. Explains the steam still floating off it, fogging up the air and making him think of the body hanging above his head.
Half a body, part of a man he had only just spoke to that day. An alpha. Friend. No, a stranger really. Derek.
It shouldn't hurt, he tells himself. They were never really close. The lies don't stick. Not like the blood soaking into his shoes, not like the reality that won't stop being real.
Stiles raises his eyes to look, for the second time. Moonlight casts the scene in shades of purple and silver, making the horrific sight almost beautiful. Fucked up thought.
There is nothing beautiful about death, no matter what the poems say. Dark eyes stare back at Stiles, sightless and empty. Eyes that had once glowed red with power and life.
You need to stay out of this.
His eyes had glowed bright when he pressed Stiles up against his bedroom door. Their bodies were so close, Stiles could practically feel every breath that Derek took. Muscles flexed, pushing Stiles back further into the soft wood of the door. Making it clear his words were not a request.
I'll be fine.
One hand raised to probe the raw, bloody split in Stiles lip. Derek pressed the small wound until it began to bleed again. Proving his point.
No, you won't.
Stiles hated his weakness. Wished he'd never answered when Derek had called. Sure, he'd taken a beating, but it wasn't his first. He wasn't going to stay behind like some...weakling.
I can't just sit here while you guys walk into an obvious trap.
Stiles tried to slap Derek's hand away from his face, and only succeeded in hurting his own hand. Derek didn't budge, refused to stop touching Stiles' face. His eyes set on Stiles, face fixed in an expression of determination.
You can and you will.
Derek's eyes softened for a second, his hand moving from Stiles' lip to his bruised cheek. The caress was feather light and gone in an instant, along with the look in Derek's eyes. Stiles didn't know if it was real, and didn't want to think about how it made him feel.
Before anymore words could be exchanged, Derek turned and dove out of Stiles' window. Left to stare at his empty room. Alone and confused. That was all he was anymore.
"NO!" Alison goes down screeching, clutching her arm with two fingers that remain unbroken.
Everyone is shouting, but he doesn't stop. They can scream the world down around his head, but this is right. This needs to happen. Long time coming, really.
"Stiles, don't," Scott gasps around a grunt of pain, electricity riding his skin and making him writhe.
An unfortunate necessity. Love makes you stupid. Made his best friend protect a homicidal maniac. Blinds Scott to what Alison has become, until half the pack is dead and hanging like broken Christmas ornaments in the forest.
"It stops here," Stiles replies raising the sword above his head, thinking it was poetic or something.
A human taking down the great Argent matriarch. Fucking hunters never saw it coming, never guessed he was threat. He's just a kid after all. He used to call me a kid too.
Stiles brings down the sword in a sweeping motion and is surprised when Alison's head parts from her shoulders like they were never meant to be together. Her body flops down right over the edge of the open grave. Her head tumbles into the nearby brush and her blood flows over the freshly turned earth.
"Well done," Peter whispers in his ear, taking the sword from Stiles' hands and walks over to the grave.
The moonlight shining down, full and fat, casting sliver light upon them all. Stiles raises his head, wondering if Alison's blood will be as dark as Derek's was. It feels the same on his skin, sticky and warm.
"What have you done?" Scott cries weakly from where he's tied to a tree, his body sagging against the ropes and wires holding him in place.
"He's doing what you didn't have the balls to do," Peter answers, while he draws the blade of the sword across his forearm and holds it over the open grave.
Stiles holds his breath, waiting for the magic that Peter promised. As the moonlight takes shape, like a sword of light cutting through the sky and Peter's arm down into the grave. He's sure the earth should have shook from the power, but it stayed beneath his feet.
For a sliver of a moment, Stiles is sure it didn't work. Peter said there was only a slim chance it would. Still a chance was better than what Stiles had, better than regret and memories.
Scott isn't the only one who's blind. Stiles ignored the signs. Told himself that what they had was little more than animosity and, on occasion, grudging friendship. Lies.
It was easy to pretend he didn't care, that he wasn't fascinated by every single thing about Derek. Not like he wasn't well versed in unrequited romantic interest. Stiles had ten years of on-the-job-training. The fact that Derek was a man and a werewolf only made it that much more horrifically pathetic and that much more necessary to deny.
Especially, when the sum total of your sexual experience is masturbating to people who don't even like you. Or so he thought. He assumed.
That night had changed it. When Gerard told him why he had taken him from the game. Told him what he was.
Imagine how Derek will react when his little boy is beaten to a bloody pulp.
It made no sense and Stiles was sure that old man was going a little weak in the brain pan. Mixed up names or misunderstood how close he and Derek were. Which was not close at all.
There wasn't much time to puzzle through it all while his face was being smashed in by the geriatric hulk, but later while he stumbled home he wondered. Why him? Who was he to Derek?
Then there was his father and Lydia, arguments and confessions of love. Rejection yet again and Stiles was alone. When the phone rang he answered without bothering to look at the screen.
Where are you?
Derek's voice was ragged, unsteady. Stiles wondered if he had lost Scott, and asked as much. They had to know that Gerard had something planned. All the details of his beating and the others being trapped in the Argent's basement poured out of him in a breathless rush. It left him dizzy and brought tears to the corners of his eyes, but he bit the inside of his cheek to force them back.
Answer the question, Stiles!
He answered and the line went dead. Stiles stared at his phone, the old man's words floating back in to his mind. They still didn't make sense.
"Yes!" Peter's cry of triumph pulls Stiles from his foggy memories.
A single dirt covered hand grasps onto Peter's outstretched arm. Stiles sees the muscular forearm flex in the moonlight and exhales into the cold night air. The knot that had been twisting up his stomach since the last night he saw Derek alive finally unwinds.
Peter lifts a dirty and blood smeared Derek out of his grave, pulling his nephew into an embrace. Derek holds his uncle, but his eyes are fixed on Stiles. The blood-red glow of his irises send chills through Stiles. This time, for the first time Stiles understands what they mean and smiles.
Derek pulls free of Peter's arms and strides across the forest floor. Stiles, for all the courage and faith that has brought him to this moment, can't bring himself to move from the spot. He wipes his hands on his jeans, tries to keep his eyes on Derek's face and keeps reminding himself to breathe. He's sure most people don't forget. Most people don't have a naked Derek Hale walking toward them.
"Stiles," Derek's voice is a hoarse bark, his wide smile shining white in the moonlight.
"Hey," Stiles squeaks, clears his throat and rubs his palm raw on his pant leg.
Words fail him again, but it's no matter. Derek steps forward, arms wrapping around Stiles shoulders, and words are no longer necessary. Stiles leans into the embrace and lets out a shaky breath. So this is what the opposite of rejection feels like, he thinks.
Author's note: This is dedicated to AngstyG for partially inspiring it and for giving it a quick beta. I wrote this right after the season finale. It was inspired by that and by a heartbreaking, but beautiful piece of fan art (which you can find linked on the version of this story posted on my AO3 account).