So, this takes place pretty soon after the end of "It's True". Probably a few days later. :)

Stiles' lip was still busted. His face was black and blue, and his nose hurt greatly. His shoulder was the least painful and basically just not being able to use his right hand was completely disheartening. He had finally talked the doctors (and the pack) into letting him go back to school, however. It was difficult, and there were many speculations on what had happened to him. Someone had suggested that maybe it had been Derek, and Stiles had gave them a piece of his mind. Nobody had commented since, at least not in front of him.

He puts up a strong front, acts like he's not terrified at every turn, like he's not broken from everything that had happened so recently. The loss of his father and everything with the hunters. They tortured him, and it was not only his body. He never told anybody the extent of the damage done, not even Derek. He put on a smile, laughed and told jokes, talked too much, crowded in on peoples' personal space (when he just wanted to pull away). Nobody seemed any the wiser.

"Breathe, Stiles," he heard someone say right behind him. He had not realized that he was in the middle of a panic attack brought on by being alone to think in his old house until he heard the familiar voice of his boyfriend. Derek pressed up against his back, one hand splaying on the teen's chest as he spoke in Stiles' ear. "Just breathe, okay? You're fine."

"It hurts," Stiles gasped out shakily, clutching the edge of the counter there in the bathroom, squeezing his eyes closed. He knew he was shaking in Derek's arms and he knew that he was tensing up, but he tried to focus on breathing, on mimicking the way Derek's chest rose and fell against his back.

Derek nodded slightly, continuing to focus more on breathing, running his hand that wasn't on Stiles' chest along his left arm. "I know," he replied, pressing a kiss behind Stiles' ear. "Just breathe. We'll talk when you're through this. You're okay, Stiles. Trust me."

It took a long few minutes, but Stiles' breath started to even out and he slowly relaxed against the elder man. Derek continued to hold him close, however, hiding his face in the side of Stiles' neck. "`M sorry I'm broken... a liability," Stiles mumbled, starting a little as Derek suddenly turned him around so they were facing one another.

"You're not a liability, Stiles," he insisted, keeping eye contact with the teen. "We'd be nothing without you. I'd be nothing without you. You're... you're everything."

The hunters had known what they were doing when they took Stiles. They knew he was important to the pack. Stiles wasn't weak, and Derek wished he could get the other to realize that. It would not be easy, nor would it happen overnight, but Derek was determined. It would happen. Stiles absently wet his lips and nodded a little, though it was clear that Stiles did not believe the words yet. Derek sighed, gently cradling Stiles' face in his hand, thumb brushing along the skin just underneath the teen's lip. "I was a mess without you, y'know," he explained with a slight nod. "I couldn't focus... couldn't think about anything but finding you. It's what they wanted. They knew you were important, just not who was who in the pack."

"`Ve lost my parents," Stiles mumbled as he rested his head on Derek's shoulder, letting himself be pulled closer. "Can't lose you, too."

There had been a few times in which Stiles had worried they would find Derek anyway, that they would have killed him, even without knowing he was the alpha. They had boasted so many times about taking out the pack and everything else. It was hard to separate what really happened and what they implied happened. "S'gonna take a lot more than idiots with guns to get rid of me," Derek mumbled, nosing against the crook of Stiles' neck. "I'm not leaving you."

As much as Derek had come to rely on Stiles, to trust that he would be there, he knew that Stiles had done to him in return. Derek was not sure when along the line his feelings for Stiles had changed, but he knew that they had. They had never really spoken about any of it, but they were together. That was what mattered to them. Stiles nodded a little, wrapping his good arm around Derek's waist to hold him closer, letting his eyes slip shut. "Can we sleep?" he mumbled. It had been ages since he had really slept, since before the kidnapping even.

Derek didn't answer. Instead, he just lifted Stiles up, smiling faintly at the soft sound of surprise and unmeant displeasure that passed the teen's lips while Stiles kept clinging to him, both legs wrapping around the alpha's waist. Derek carried Stiles over to the bed and set his boyfriend down before laying down behind him. He draped an arm over Stiles' middle, holding the teen close while pressing a kiss to the back of his neck. "Sleep, Stiles," he said softly, his warm breaths against Stiles skin being something of comfort to the teen.

"Will you be here when I wake up?" Stiles mumbled, nuzzling into his pillow more while pressing up against Derek completely.


When Stiles woke up, Derek was still pressed against his back. The slow, even breaths that Derek took led Stiles to believe that the other was still asleep. Stiles didn't mind. He knew Derek rarely slept well, too. He still felt broken and lost as he turned around to look at Derek, smiling faintly as the alpha snuggled closer in his sleep; but, he was not alone, and he guessed, that was the important part. Through all the pain and hurt, he was not alone. He had the pack, Scott, Derek... He had friends, even if there were times he just felt invisible. He guessed that was not something that would change too easily. Most of it was just his mind being like it was. He always felt like the odd one out, the one that nobody really cared for. It was rarely true, but still. Those thoughts were there. His sense of self worth were lower than people realized.

Derek helped with that a lot, though, without even meaning to. After all, if someone like Derek could want him, he had to have done something right somewhere along the line. It was hard to really believe that things would have become what they had. He and Derek had seemed to be such opposites for so long, and he had been sure that Derek hated him, that it was really strange to think of how things had changed. Stiles did not know exactly what Derek felt for him, but he knew that Derek cared, and that was more than he could say for a lot of people.

"You're thinking loud," Derek mumbled, shifting on the bed without opening his eyes, which startled Stiles a little. He had not realized that the other man was awake yet.

"Sorry," Stiles mumbled, pressing a kiss to Derek's nose. He smiled softly as Derek scrunched his nose a little in response. "You're cute like this, y'know?" He spoke softly, hoping not to break the calm, peacefulness around them. "When we're alone and you're not so stressed. I like it. I like you... a lot. You know that, right?"

"Yeah, I do," replied Derek before tilting his head up enough to steal a gentle kiss from Stiles, not wanting to hurt his busted lip. He opened his eyes as he pulled away enough to look at Stiles. "I..." He trailed off and glanced toward the bedroom door, leaning up enough to rest on his elbow. "Scott's here."

Stiles pulled Derek back down so that they were laying close, resting his head on Derek's chest when the alpha shifted over to lay on his back just before Scott came into the room. Despite himself, Scott couldn't keep from smiling a little when he spotted Derek absentmindedly running his fingers along Stiles' back. "Sorry to interrupt, but, uh, Issac tried to make pancakes at the house, and... well, Jackson put out the fire before anything or anyone got hurt, and Issac's been asking about Stiles, and... yeah," Scott's face showed that he was one of the ones who had been worrying about Stiles. Derek could read him just as easily as Stiles could. The hurt puppy expression made Stiles wave Scott over to them.

"`M fine..." he said, not having to look to see the skeptical expressions the other two had. "I'll be fine. I'm getting there." Stiles smiled softly, nuzzling against Derek a little as the alpha gently squeezed his arm and Scott smiled back. It was not much, but it was just enough at the same time. Stiles was healing, and there was hope. That was the biggest thing.

"So, who wants pancakes?" Stiles asked with a grin, stopping in the doorway of the kitchen. He had spent a while just talking with Scott and Derek about everything, and when he returned to the house, he felt a lot better. They made him feel better. The others were all glad to see him and hugs were shared all around. Even Jackson gave him a hug, though it was a really short one. Light-hearted chatter filled the Hale house as Stiles started to make them breakfast for dinner; and, Derek could not keep from smiling faintly as he watched his family, his pack. They were a broken bunch, but together, they just fit and made each other stronger, better, whole. Stiles was still healing, but he would be okay; they'd all be okay.