the scarred heart doesn't weep (it grows cold)
oneshot; sterek

When Scott dies, Stiles doesn't cry. He doesn't wail, he doesn't beg or make bargains with fate. He simply feels all of the emotion bleed from his body like someone unclogged a drain; he shuts down, goes numb, tight-jawed and broken. The fire in his gut is snuffed out, burning a hole right through his chest and then disappearing into nothing. It's almost worse, holding Scott's crumpled and mangled body in his arms, blood staining his clothing and feeling nothing. Just a gaping, empty hole that will never be fixed.

He remembers vaguely that Derek was the one who pulled him away. Stiles didn't even fight him; he went slack in his arms, instead. He remembers the way Derek's leather jacket had smelled, of burnt ash and forest dirt. His heart had been calm and steady as he deposited Stiles away form his best friend's corpse. He had rearranged Stiles' body and then placed a warm hand on his cheek. He'd held Stiles' gaze for what felt like an eternity, jaw ticking as he swallowed whatever it was he was going to say.

"I'm fine," Stiles had said, no tremor in his voice. He would be fine. He'd find a way to live without Scott. He had managed just fine after his mother... well.

Derek pulled back, something like understanding flickering over his features. "I know," he'd replied in a gravely tone.

Stiles swallowed. "I should call my dad," he'd said, magicking his phone from his pocket.

Derek nodded grimly and vanished into the night.

The rest was a mechanical blur. Everyone wanted him to talk about what happened. They placed soothing hands on his shoulder and assured him that it wasn't his fault. That there was nothing he could have done to save Scott from that mountain lion. And he laughs because they have no idea. It is all of his fault. But guilt won't bring Scott back to life. Nothing will.

His best friend is gone and he will be fine.

He will be.

The hardest part is all of the looks of sympathy, the hushed conversations and the guilt-ridden stupor his father has drunken himself into. It is all too much. So he turns it off. He does his school work, he eats, but he stops living. He forgets about werewolves and hunters and kanimas. He blocks it out. He turns away when he sees Melissa, and she doesn't go out of her way to talk to him, either.

He smiles still, but they're forced. Everything about him is so fake these days he doesn't even know what he feels anymore, when he allows himself to.

Which is why, when Derek crawls through his window three months after Scott's death and gets in bed with him, it doesn't even phase him. Derek's body is warm pressed against him, solid and real. Stiles doesn't ask why he's here, but he thinks he understands. They stay like that for minutes, hours, Stiles isn't sure.

When Derek speaks, his tone is resigned. "The hurt never goes away," Derek tells him.

Stiles blinks back tears. "I know," he replies.

They fall asleep curled into one another like that, neither exchanging any more words. When he wakes, Derek is nowhere to be found.

It becomes sort of a routine, Derek sneaking in through his window and holding him until he falls asleep. He never asks about it, but he takes comfort in Derek's embrace. It is only when his back is pressed up against Derek's chest, the steady thunder of his heart beating in tandem with his own that he feels at peace.

On the second week, Stiles asks, "Why?" and Derek replies, "Because."

It's good enough for him.

Two months in, Derek answers his one worded question. "After Laura," he begins awkwardly, "there was no one."

"Oh," Stiles breathes softly. And then, "You loved her very much."

Derek's breath hitches against his neck. "I did," he answers in a harsh, broken whisper.

Stiles threads his fingers through Derek's and they fall into a comfortable silence.

The days get easier, but the pain still lingers. He still turns sometimes to make a joke, only to fumble, remembering that Scott is no longer there to laugh obnoxiously in reply. It stings, like a sharp dagger to the heart. But sometimes (more often than not) he can imagine the way Scott's eyes would light up and it warms his heart instead.

And surly, if heaven was such a thing that existed, Scott would be there.

"I love you, man," Stiles whispers into the wind.

Derek kisses him for the first time on the anniversary of Laura's death. It is quick and haphazard; desperate, yet still warm. Stiles would say he is surprised, but he's really not. He has wanted this for a long while. He goes pliant in Derek's grip and returns the kiss with gusto.

When Derek pulls away, he looks Stiles straight in the eye and says, "Laura's gone. She's not coming back."

"No, she's not," Stiles agrees.

Derek nods, gaze hurt and hopeful at the same time. "She would have liked you," he says.

Stiles snorts at that and smiles. "What's not to like?"

Derek hesitates for a moment before dipping down and kissing Stiles again. The kiss is deeper, more raw. It lights a fire in his stomach and makes butterflies soar in his chest. "Come with me," Derek says, "to her visit her grave."

"Okay," he replies, resting his head against Derek's.

Stiles cries for the first time on the anniversary of Scott's death. He places a box of his best friend's favorite chocolate on his grave (Scott wouldn't have liked flowers, not from him). His lip trembles for a moment and then he bawls. He lets go of it, lets it flood out of his body in short, monumental bursts. He sobs, he wails, he feels. "I'm sorry I couldn't save you," he cries, fingers brushing over the headstone fondly. "I'm sorry you never got to marry Allison. To have her beautiful babies. That you never got to go to college, or make more messes for me to clean up. I'm so fucking sorry."

Silence greets him, but Stiles feels as if a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. After a moment of hysterical gasping for breath, Stiles turns and leans against the headstone. He eats Scott's chocolate and wipes his running nose.

"Later, dude," he whispers, getting to his feet.

Derek is waiting in his Camaro. He doesn't comment on Stiles' puffy cheeks or red eyes, which he's thankful for.

They sleep together for the first time two days later. It's messy and painful and wonderful.

Round two is just as spectacular.

"I love you," Stiles blurts one day, while Derek is grilling hamburgers. He curses his over eager mouth as he's just confessed his love over hamburgers for Christ's sake. His father, who is sitting within hearing distance, rolls his eyes, grabs his whiskey and ambles into the house.

Derek looks at him weirdly. Then his eyes go soft like they do right before he's going to kiss him. "I know," he says and then, so softly Stiles almost misses it, "I feel the same,"-his face sours as it flushes bright red-"way, about you."

Stiles beams and closes the distance between them. "You better, you sour wolf."

Derek grunts, but doesn't pull away.

Five years later, Derek buys him a ring. They can't get married under Californian law, but it's a nice sentiment.

Stiles takes it, slips it onto his ring finger and beams up at the sky. "Hey Scott," he says, startling Derek, "And you too, Laura. We're happy."

Derek blinks at him.

Stiles smiles, joins their hands and says, "I think they worry."

Derek makes a noncommittal noise and pulls Stiles in towards their shared bedroom. Stiles follows willingly, spark in his eye.

Life isn't perfect, but he's happy.