Author's Note

This fic is written for LiveJournal's TW_heat_wave challenge PROMPT #86 by samelthecamel (LJ):

The Sheriff wants Stiles to become a cop, so Stiles becomes a fireman. Stiles loves it. Derek doesn't like him being a fireman. Stiles isn't safe and it brings up memories of the Hale fire.

Disclaimer: I do not own Teen Wolf, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story. No copyright infringement is intended.

Beta-Read by the awesome 24Stiles (AO3)

Hearts On Fire

Stiles is playing Solitaire in boredom on his computer when he hears his room's window slid open. He turns around to see a man in black attire hopping through the windowpane.

"Wow, look at you. Expertise in breaking into someone's house. Good to know." He called out, getting up from the computer chair and stepping closer to the intruder.

The man just smirks slyly. "I need something from this house." His eyes are bloodshot like the eyes of a beast. "And I need to get it before the home owner comes back."

Stiles stops two inches away from the man and checks the man out from head to toe. The tips of his fingers move to brush the collar of the man's black leather jacket. "For a man whose appearance screams bad like you, to take the high risk and break into the Sheriff's house like this.. What could you possibbly want to steal?"

The man growls low, making Stiles shivers from the vibrance, and leans into Stiles' personal space. "You have no idea.. It's very beautiful. And tasty. And loud."

"Hmm." Stiles hummed, thinking hard. His face is an inch away from the man's. "What you need it for? Maybe I can help you find it."

The man flashes a devilish smile. "It's urgent, I don't think I can make it through the night without it. And yes, I think you can help."

Stiles spares a glimpse at the man's lips as he whispers, "then maybe you can start by telling me what you're looking for."

"Why don't I just show you instead?" The man whispered back.

Stiles lets out an "oompf" as he's abruptly being pulled into the man's firm chest. They are lost in each other's gaze for a moment before man kisses him full in the mouth. His hands wanders around Stiles' lean waist and grips it tightly, pulling Stiles impossibly closer. The kiss deepens, the man is so eager that Stiles starts to think he might want to eat his lips and tongue. Stiles gasps breathlessly when the man finally breaks the rough kiss, cheeks flushed to the neck, lips wet and swollen. The man then grins smugly.

"Never mind. I think I found it."

Stiles' whining and loud moaning fill the silent night as his body is ravished by the man. The bed is squeaking, the sheet is crumpled as fingers grip it tightly. Their clothes are scattered on the floor. The man's hands are merciless and his mouth is shameless, Stiles' pale skin is flushed and lightly bruised from what they've done.

As the night goes deeper, so does the man in Stiles. Stiles' body is trembling as it contains heavenly pleasure. The man' thrusting is slow but deep and passionate, it drives Stiles crazy. Body fluids smeared on every inch of their skin like melted butter. Stiles feels fangs stabs into the skin where his pulse beats as his bottom's insides burn like it's flooded by hot lava. And Stiles screams, not in pain, in blinding ecstasy.

Stiles wakes up the next morning unable to move a single limb. But instead of complaining, he grins from ear to ear like a happy idiot when he rewinds what happened last night in his head. Now, he's cocooned inside the warmth of the bed's duvet and the man's arms curling around his torso protectively. Their bodies are pressed together from head to toe. Stiles sighs in contentment.

"Derek." Stiles breathed the man's name.

"Hmm?" Derek hummed sleepily to the back of Stiles' neck.

"After I graduate high school, let's just move in together. I want to have this with you without all the sneaking around." Stiles said softly.

Derek nuzzles the nape of Stiles' neck, his breath hot on Stiles' skin. "Your father won't be happy to hear that."

If possible, Stiles wiggles closer into Derek's arms. "We already told him everything. He knows what you are to me, what I am to you. He knows it's just about time."

Derek kisses his mate's bare shoulder, his lips linger there. "And that's why he hates me."

Stiles scoffs. "Der, c'mon, he doesn't hate you."

"Yes, he does. He said I took you away from him."

Stiles groans, his dad really enjoys being on top of the world right now, seeing himself succeeding in intimidating a werewolf. An Alpha, that is. "He was just joking, you over-sensitive ass." Stiles can feel more than see his man's distressed frown. He rolls his eyes in exasperation, Derek can be dense sometimes. "Fine. If you really think he despises you, then you tell me, why he invited you to watch a baseball game with him last week?" When Derek doesn't give a response, Stiles just goes on, "and he was the one who recommended you to George so he'd hire you in his construction firm, how about that? Fathers don't do that for the boyfriend they hate."

A few more seconds are spent in silence before a sigh comes out from the werewolf. "I guess you have a point." Derek finally settled.

"Honey, please, I always have a point." Stiles said. Derek smirks and nips the curve of Stiles' neck playfully, agreeing without explicitly saying it. "Besides, I can still visit him often, it's not like I'm moving out to different state or country." Stiles said.

"Are you sure about that..?" Derek started, tracing the little moles on Stiles' arm with his fingers. Stiles raises his eyebrows, catching the insecurity in Derek's tone, and turns around to face Derek, demanding further elaboration. Derek proceeds his moles trailing on Stiles' shoulder and upper arm as he takes his time in delivering his words.

"Maybe we need to wait, Stiles, until you figure out things. I mean, look at you. You're brilliant. You have many opportunities ahead of you. And I just—" Derek takes a deep breath. "If those opportunities happen to be in someplace far away from here, from me, I—" Derek closes his eyes for a moment. "I won't hold you back. I will support no matter what your decision is. I'm willing to wait."

Stiles takes a moment to look at Derek, how hard his stubbly jaw is clenched and how sad yet determined his green eyes look. Pleasant warmth fills Stiles' chest when he realizes that Derek has pushed behind his own need to be close to Stiles, so Stiles can chase whatever his dream is. This man in front of him has succeeded to make Stiles fall in love with him even more day by day.

"Well, I don't know.." Stiles answered, a smile threatens to emerge on his lips. "I'm not sure what I want to do in the future yet. But I figure out one thing that I'm so certain just now."

"And what's that?" Derek gulps, looking down miserably. Ready for the bad news.

"Holyshit, who knows that one grumpy Alpha werewolf could be so head over paws in love with me." Stiles teased with a silly grin on his face.

Just like how Stiles has predicted, Derek's gloomy face instantly turns into a deadly mix of pouting lips and scowling eyebrows at the canine reference. Though instead of intimidating, Derek looks adorable with all those pillow patterns on his face and sleep tousled hair. Stiles laughs and pecks his mate's pouting lips sweetly. "You need to do better than that to get rid of me, Big Guy. You think I'll leave you to deal with all your Alpha's business alone? Let's face it, you can't even stay alive without me."

Derek squeezes Stiles tightly in his arms, burying his face into the crook of his mate's neck. "No. No, I can't." The Alpha whispered.

"Have you decided on what you want to do after high school?" Sheriff Stilinski asked his son over his meal on their dinner table.

Stiles, just like the other eighteen-year-old high-schoolers in Beacon Hills who don't know what to do with their future, just shrugs. "College, maybe."

The Sheriff raises his eyebrows. "Maybe?"

"Don't you think it'll be boring?" Stiles shoves his pasta into his mouth.

The Sheriff smirks. "For you, probably."

Stiles swallows his food. "I think so too, I consider myself more of a practical kind of learner, you know."

"What do you want to be in the future anyway? And I swear, if you say 'husband of the sex god Derek Hale' one more time, I'm gonna whoop your ass." The Sheriff threatened.

He thinks about his son's boyfriend, who just told him a month ago that he's a werewolf and his son is his mate alias known as the half of his furry soul until death do they part. Don't get him wrong, he likes Derek and he appreciates how happy Stiles looks nowadays. But the lovebirds' public display affection around the house is enough to scar him for another fifty years, if he lives that long. And what's worse, is he can't do anything about it, his son is now in legal age to do such thing. And he's an idiot to think that Stiles would listen if he tells him to stop all the cuddling and snogging if the Sheriff is in the house.

Stiles' face turns silly blank and all dreamy at the mention of his lover. The Sheriff groans and throws an abandoned parsley from his plate at his son to shake the teenager out of his obviously Parental Guidance rated thoughts and focus on him again. "What about my job?" He asked.

"Huh? What about it?" Stiles asked back.

"I thought you want to become Sheriff like me? I can arrange a deputy program for you as a starter." The Sheriff offered.

Stiles huffs a laugh. "Hell no, I said your job is awesome, I didn't say I want to become one." He denied.

The Sheriff puts down his fork and shrugs. "But my job fits you. It's challenging, helps a lot of people, and your skill in sticking your nose into people's business will be greatly appreciated."

Stiles narrows his eyes cynically at his dad. "Yeah thanks a lot, Dad. Even though I don't know whether to feel honored or insulted by your words."

The Sheriff chuckles in amusement. "Be honored, Son, it's in your blood. Your great-grandfather was a soldier, your grandfather was a ranger, I'm a sheriff, and it won't be long until you're dragged in the same kind of career."

Stiles smirks at his dad's confidence. "Let's just see about that, shall we?" He challenged.

The Sheriff stands up from his chair and grabs his jacket. "Oh believe me, I can tell. Your wits say it all, Son." Stiles rolls his eyes, but the Sheriff just steps closer to rub his son's now short longer brown hair affectionately. He smiles when his son looks up at him in half surprise from the sudden gesture. "And when that day comes, I will be so proud of you." The Sheriff said softly.

Stiles watches his dad's back as the old man walks out the door for his night shift, wondering if he should have said what he should have said. That Stiles is proud of him too and worships the ground his old man stands on. That Stiles is thankful for his acceptance toward Stiles' new life, that is Derek Hale and his furry pack. That Stiles loves his old man, even though sometimes, as a son, he failed to show it.

Stiles should have said it all that moment, Stiles should have swallowed his stupid pride and said it all to his dad. Because Stiles never gets the chance again. He receives a call in the middle of the night. His dad will never come back home again.

It wasn't even his dad's job to enter the burning apartment to save the kid that night. But he did anyway, and Stiles could not accept how the heroic action ended. The kid survived, but his dad was dead after being the kid's personal safety blanket from all the blazing fire around them. His dad shouldn't have bothered to try to help. He should have just waited outside the parameter. He should have just let the kid die. Yes, Stiles was selfish, sue him all you want. That kid's life cost his dad's, and it was a price that Stiles refused to pay for anything in the world.

Three years has passed since that day, the day that lead Stiles to this path. The path where he runs into a burning building while his husband paces back and forth in their loft, waiting for him to come back in one piece. Stiles promised he will come back in one piece. He has promised that everyday before he gets to work since he saw the fear in his husband's eyes when Stiles showed him the yellow jumpsuit he finally obtained after a hell of a lot of training.

At first, Derek just thought it was Stiles' way to deal with the loss. That Stiles wanted to fight the thing that took his dad. That Stiles wanted a vengeance. That Stiles would get over it after one or two battle with fire.

At first, Stiles thought so too. But everything changed when Stiles saved a five-year-old girl that was stuck in a burning house while her parents screamed their lungs out from their lawn, crying for their baby girl. This was the same reason why his dad entered the burning building that fateful night. And finally, Stiles understood why his dad did. More than that, Stiles finally found a meaningful reason to do this job with all his heart.

Stiles and his team give a second chance to people. To humanity. To life.

A second chance that he didn't get from his dad, because an element that is so pure yet too wild to control took the old man away from him. And Stiles wasn't ready that time, there was so many things left unsaid. Undone. It was the only thing that Stiles regrets the most in his life.

If only that night he said it.

If only that night he did that.

So here he is, in his uniform and helmet, bursting through another apartment burning in flames, making sure other people get that chance.

Fire. Derek used to underestimate it. He used to swipe his palm over a candle lit of fire with his siblings. They laughed about it, they arrogantly mocked it. He never imagined, couple of years later, the same element took everything from him.

Derek hates how fate teases him sometimes. Out of all things that could kill Stiles' dad, of course it had to be the same culprit, didn't it? If it was a supernatural creature, swear to God, Derek would let Stiles hunt the damn thing. Hell, Derek would drive him in his hunting trip. He'd wipe the blood from Stiles' hand with his handkerchief.

But please, not this. Not this. Fire is too pure yet catastrophic in its nature. It is not evil, it's actually beautiful and glorious. But ironically, the more beautiful the flame is, the more lethal it is to destroy everything, even the undisputed. Because no matter how powerful you are, you could never ever tame it. Once it's uncontrolled, you lose.

And you know what Derek can't lose right now?


The story of Derek's Alpha life is all but smooth. The world seems to enjoy throwing crap at him so much, it's never ending, one out and one in. But he'll manage, because he got his mate with him. Only by existence, Stiles already gives him the courage to get stronger, to try harder, to do better, to put the next step, to take the chances, and to fully live not for himself but for the whole pack. If he lost Stiles, his soul would be broken in a way that no guidance counselor or psychiatrist could piece it back together. Derek wouldn't want to wake up in the morning again, he'd just simply be done.

Stiles finds the lost twins hiding beneath the dining table. The ceiling above them is dangerously creaking, getting weaker by the flame.

"Momma! Papa!" The four-year-old boys cried between their coughing. Poor cherubs, their parents were out on a date night, leaving them with a shitty sitter who fell asleep on the couch while waiting for the milk to heat to make the boys hot chocolate. Wow, someone surely is getting fired tonight.

"Hey boys!" Stiles crouches on the end of the table to try to get to them who are barely in Stiles' reach to crawl out. But when the boys notice Stiles' presence, they shy away instead, like they can't decide if Stiles is the good guy or the bad guy. Stiles just grins at the scared children, like nothing's wrong and they are not surrounded by the heat of fire.

"Oh wow, gorgeous eyes you have there! That reminds me, I have my own green set like that waiting at home. They'll look at me heatingly on bed while I'm under later tonight. Or on top, it depends on the mood. Not that I'm thinking about sex right now, 'cause ha-ha not the best of time to do that, right? Oh my God, Brain, leave husband's penis alone. Didn't I just say penis out loud? Please don't tell your parents I said sex and penis in front of you, guys, okay? No wait, on second thought, do tell 'cause that's totally PG information which they need to butt in. I mean, I would butt in if you were my kids, ya know what I'm sayin'?"

The boys stop crying, listening to Stiles' monologue instead and looking at him blankly in total confusion. Stiles takes that chance to gather them from under the table into his arms.

"Well sure Stiles, share your sexual frustation with children, that always calms them down in panic situation." Stiles muttered under his breath. He squeezes his precious cargo. When the twins look at him with their wet puppy eyes, Stiles smiles soothingly. "You wanna see momma and papa outside?"

The boys grip tightly on his uniform and hide their face on each shoulder of his, showing their trust. Stiles can't resist from smiling. He feels like he's doing something right. And dear Lord, does it feel so goddamn good.

"Honey, I'm home! And totally ready for round two hundred sixty five!" Stiles yelled playfully into the dark living space they call home. He closes the sliding door behind him and throws his bag on the floor beside the recliner. The yell is unnecessary, of course, but Stiles wouldn't be Stiles if he didn't play all the newlywed shit he caught from his sickening romance movies collection.

"We definitely didn't do it two hundred sixty four times, Stiles." Derek emerged from the kitchen area wearing his stupid lacey apron, exasperation on his expressive eyebrows. Stiles shoots an appreciative look over his godawfully sexy domestic werewolf, playful grin on his face.

He is forced to stop checking out when said man cups his face and kisses him 'welcome home'. Stiles groans his approval and wraps his arms around Derek's neck. "God, I still can't believe you're married to me sometimes. You're unreal, you know?" Stiles whispered breathlessly which Derek replies to by deepening the kiss enthusiastically.

Derek' hands rest on Stiles' hips and slowly moves to circle around Stiles' waist to pull his mate closer, but Stiles winces when his hold tightens. Derek tenses, pulling back and searching into his mate's eyes.

"Derek.." Stiles tried to explain but Derek is already lifting Stiles' shirt, Stiles just sighs. Derek's breath goes shaky when he finds Stiles is bandaged around his middle.

"Derek, it's nothing.." Stiles ensured.

Derek's fingers linger on the wrapped skin. "It's the fourth time in the last six months." He said shakily.

Stiles' hands reach out to Derek's arms as he steps closer into Derek's personal space. "I know. Derek, I'm sorry, but believe me it's nothing you should worry about. It wasn't even that bad, the paramedic was exaggerating to wrap it like this, it's just a little scratch from the job."

Derek huffs a weak laugh at that. "There'll come the day a little scratch from the job takes you away from me."

Stiles wraps his arms around Derek, who just stands still and fixes his gaze to the floor. Stiles kisses his jaw, inhaling Derek's wonderful scent on his soft stubly skin. "Hey c'mon, don't talk like that, I'll be more cautious next time." Stiles promised, looking into Derek's eyes, searching for approval.

"Yeah. Sure." Derek merely responded, freeing himself from Stiles' arms.

"Derek.." Stiles called, he can tell Derek won't let this go.

"Dinner will be ready in ten minutes, I hope you're okay with lasagna." Derek said before disappearing into the kitchen area.

Stiles just sighs miserably. He curses himself for being so reckless on the job and promises himself to train harder at the same time. He hates to get injured, and Derek's pained reaction hurts even worse than the physical pain.

Later on, Stiles slurs in his sleep in the middle of the night. He pats the space besides him, expecting to find his personal heater called werewolf husband, but finding his hand patting the material of the bedsheet instead. He blinks open his eyes and then realizes that he's alone on the bed. Stiles lifts his head up to look around the room and finds Derek standing in front of the big window of their loft, staring at the starry midnight sky.

"Derek?" He called hoarsely. Derek is startled out of his thought and turns his head at Stiles' way, smiling softly when he sees Stiles sitting up.

"Hey, did I wake you?"

"Baby, what's wrong? Why aren't you in bed..?"

Derek just shakes his head. "It's nothing, just go back to sleep, I'll be with you soon."

Stiles knows better than that. He gets himself out of the warmth of their bed and makes his way to his restless husband. Stiles sneaks his arms around Derek's waist, hugging his mate from behind.

"S'it the nightmare again?" He asked, which Derek replies only with a sigh. His calloused hand reaches Stiles' that rest on his stomach and squeezes them though.

Derek told Stiles that when he was still in New York, he used to have nightmare about the fire, especially on the anniversary of the incident or a birthday of his family member. And it stopped once Derek had a pack to take care of, eventually too distracted and too content to recall it. But now, it's started occasionally again, and Stiles knows exactly what the occasion is. And Stiles doesn't know what to do, because he can't turn back the time and not getting injured. He swears he would if he could.

"What can I do to make you feel better?" He asked. Derek just shakes his head. Stiles turns him around to face him, taking his mate's hands in his. "Hey, c'mon, don't shut me out. Tell me what I can do for you."

"I want you to stop." Derek said painfully. Stiles doesn't need to ask what he meant, Stiles already knows. They fought a lot over the same matter before, and it always ends with the same result, like a broken record.

Stiles takes a deep breath. "Anything but that. I know it's not what you want to hear, but you know I can't give that up."

"If it's about your dad, Stiles.." Derek started.

"This is not about my dad anymore, Derek." Stiles cut his husband in exasperation, tired of the same old argument. "I don't know how to make you understand, I feel alive every time I enter a burning building, and every time I save those people, I feel like I'm winning something big. This job is becoming who I am, Derek. This is the part of me that makes me feel like me."

"And what about the other part of you? How about being my mate? How about being the caretaker of our pack? Doesn't that matter anymore to you?" Derek asked with rising tone, all his muscles tensed.

Stiles is startled by that, he can't believe that Derek actually thinks he leaves those roles behind. "Don't you dare pull that card on me! I give everything I have for you and the pack! You told me you would support anything I decided on what I'd do with my life! Are you telling me you were just sweet-talking me!?" Stiles yelled.

"Well you're the one who told me you wouldn't leave me! I thought we agreed that you can do anything you want as long as it doesn't set us apart! And I'm sorry if I don't see this job supporting that point!" Derek yelled back, feeling his anger boiling inside him.

"For God's sake, Derek, I won't go anywhere!" Stiles flails his arms around frustatedly. "I'm good at my job! Oh who are we kidding, I'm the BEST! It was like I was born to do this, put a little trust in me!"

"Don't throw that on me, you know I trust you! Dammit Stiles, I trust you with my life! What I don't trust is what you work with!"

Stiles scoffs in disbelief. "Of course it is! I bet even if I chose to become a hunter, which has the same exact risk that is death, you would be more supportive! Of course it's the fire issue! What, Derek, you're afraid I'd be burned to death by this job!?"

There's a flash of hurt on Derek's face at the mention of it, it makes Stiles feel bad but he's too stubborn to defend his points to cave in.

"So what if I am, huh?" Derek asked coldly. "If you're aware of it, then quit and find another job that offers you the same challenge!" Derek pushed, raising his tone again.

"Oh so I should just resign from the job that I'm passionate about, why? So you can keep drowning in your fear from the past!? 'Cause that's very healthy!"

Derek growls angrily to that, but he doesn't say anything more. He's just standing few feet from Stiles, breathing heavily. Stiles is breathing heavily too, staring back at his mate's flashing red eyes. The next thing he knows, Derek gets his phone from the table and his leather jacket from where it lays on the couch and moves to the door.

"Where the hell do you think you're going!? Derek!" Stiles called. "Derek!"

Derek storms out of the loft and slams the door shut behind him.

"Oh sure, go ahead! Leave! Run! You can't handle an argument with your own husband, Big Guy!?"

No answer is coming. Stiles flops down on the bed and hides his face in his hands, feeling himself breaking down. "Shit.." He muttered under his breath, before starting to sniff softly.

He was being a jerk, he knows that for sure. Taunting Derek about the fire was a low blow, but he was so frustated by Derek's lack of understanding about what being a fireman means to him. In his desperation, Stiles used every bullet he could think of. Stiles humors himself, because look where his genius outburst brought him to. One hurt husband who can't even stand to be in the same room with him, when he should have comforted the distraught man, not driven him away.

Then his phone suddenly rings, startling him out of his miserable thought. Stiles groans and mentally curses at it, but wiping the tears on his face anyway. He gathers the phone and calms himself down before answering. "Yes, Sir?"

Derek loses the track of time as he runs through his territory, all wolfed out. He just keeps stomping, foot after foot, crunching the dead leaves on the wood floor.

He knows he got it bad, he shouldn't have stormed off on Stiles like that. But he was so angry and on the edge of letting his wolf out, and he hates to lose control like that in the middle of argument with Stiles. If he has to bicker with the man of his life, he wants to do that as a man as well, no interference from the animalistic side of him.

From the beginning, Derek is aware there's nothing he can do to make Stiles quit his job. As much as Derek hates to admit, Stiles was really born to do it. More than that, Stiles is already emotionally attached to what he does for living. Even if Stiles' dad resurrected from his grave just to force his son to quit, in this state Derek doubted Stiles would listen.

Derek stops his run and takes deap breaths. Stiles was right, he's holding him back with his fear. He knows Stiles is the best fireman in town, he heard people talking about his mate's heroic actions on the street. But Derek still can't help shivering a little from it, the fear is always there, haunting him every moment Stiles comes home just five minutes late or phone ringing when Stiles is on duty.

Having a resentful attitude toward his mate is proving to be getting him nothing but an awful fight. Derek needs to get himself together, or he's losing Stiles. And that is obviously not something he wants to achieve.

Derek finds himself calming down, and he's ready to head back home. He realizes Stiles will be so angry when he sees him, he actually heard Stiles calling his name earlier and he ignored him. Derek just hopes Stiles doesn't set a ring of mountain ash around their home and if that's so, he hopes his excuse is enough to make Stiles forgive him. That, and maybe some wild flowers from the woods. Stiles always loves those kinds of silly gestures after all. He really should renew his mate's DVDs collection, Derek smirks to himself.

Derek finds the loft empty when he gets back, bunch of random wild flowers in his hand, ready to play their part as a peace offering. Derek raises his eyebrows in confusion, no notes or text messages that explain Stiles' disappearance.

Then he hears it, a long howl that strikes through his instinct from afar. His pack is calling for him. The wild flowers are tossed onto the table as the man sprints out of the door.

Derek sees the tall burning apartment even before he sees Scott who howled for him. "Scott?"

"Derek, he's inside." Scott said.

Derek doesn't need to ask who Scott's talking about. He looks at the burning building and feel the fear crawl up his feet, but he tries to suppress it. "Of course he's inside, Scott, it's what he does for living." Derek said.

Scott shakes his head. "No, Derek, listen, you don't understand! He's the only one inside."

Derek looks at Scott in dead silence, feeling his calm crumbling down. Scott looks back at him meaningfully. "I heard the other officers, he's trapped under a collapsed floor. Derek, Stiles can't get out."

Derek's stomach drops and he fails to take his next breath. Stiles is in there, between the dancing licks of fire, that stupid son of a bitch is finally out of his luck, isn't he?

"Derek, wait!" Scott yelled, but Derek's legs already move before his brain can even process the order. Derek runs to the direction of the burning building, fighting his own fear and nightmare of the fire, holding tightly to one instinct that is so strong that it beats everything else in his conscience: protect his mate.

"STILES!" He heard himself scream. Scott is running after him, yelling at him to stop, begging him not to lose control and wolf out in front of the bystanders. Some of the other firemen create a wall with their bodies to stop him, not knowing of his immortal abilities. But Derek's ready to break through it if he has to, no one will be able to stop him to get to his mate.

But neither the firemen nor Scott are the ones who stop him. It's the windows of the first floor exploding, throwing him, Scott, and the firemen to the ground by the impact. Derek watches in horror as the windows on every floor above that explode floor after floor.

"NO!" Derek screamed bloody murder, feeling the tendon under his skin shift. Suddenly Scott is holding him down.

"Derek, calm down, you're shifting." Scott said to his ear, but Derek hears the catch in the Beta's voice, Scott is distraught as well. And it makes Derek fight even harder to break free, he has to save his mate.

"Let go of me now!" He growled, fangs already showing. Scott pleads for him to calm down, tears on the Beta's face. And then suddenly Isaac and Boyd are there, holding him together with Scott.

Derek trashes along the way but they manage to drag him to the alleyway across the burning building. When they finally let go of Derek, the Alpha just lets himself fall helplessly to the floor, feeling something inside him die. He just doesn't want to carry on anymore. His Betas whimper around him, searching for comfort, something that he doesn't think he'll be able to give in this nightmare. Because he's a failure as an Alpha, and he couldn't protect his mate. And now that Stiles is gone, he's just done.

"Guys? What the hell are you doing here?"

Derek is abruptly stopped from his self-loathing. His Betas freeze when they see who's talking. Derek sits up to see Stiles standing few feet from them, covered in debris, beaten up, smelling like smoke, but very much alive.

"Holyfuck! What are you? A magician!?" Isaac snapped.

After Stiles got out, he was shocked to hear from his co-workers that there was a crazy dude that tried to break into the building screaming his name like there's no tomorrow. The crazy dude was stopped by some other crazy dudes who had to wrestle him down to the ground. And then they did sort of a group hug thing like it's the end of the world, before the crazy dude was dragged away by the other crazy dudes from the scene.

Stiles groaned right away because he had some accurate guess in his head of who they could be. And his suspicion was proved right when he found the pack in the alleyway across the street, looking at him like he was a dead person.

"Dude, I thought you were dead!" Scott said, hugging him tightly for a moment before Isaac practically rips Scott off him to hug him too. Boyd lingers close, visually checking Stiles out for any damage.

"How did you get out!? Explosions were everywhere!" Isaac added in.

"Guys, please." Stiles shakes his head in amusement, this one is a piece of cake. "I crawled to the emergency exit. Of course my plan B was getting out from one of the windows and hopping into the waiting fire-truck's stairs outside. And I was more than excited to jump to the waiting trampoline below as the last resort. But no, the emergency door was in good condition, so no cool stunt." Stiles sounds genuinely disappointed.

The pups sigh in relief. Boyd squeezes his shoulder and tilts his head to the side. Stiles turns to look at the direction Boyd gestures to see Derek standing still few feet behind them, looking defeated and broken.

"Derek..?" Stiles called for him.

The werewolf's movement is just a blur, the next thing Stiles knows is that he's being crushed to the man's chest. Derek's whole feature is shaking, he hides his face into the curve of Stiles' neck. His knuckles whiten from the pressure of his grip on Stiles' baggy uniform. Stiles gulps and hugs the man back. The Betas seem to understand the tension in the air and gradually leave them alone.

Stiles sighs sadly. Derek has seen everything, it must be horrible for him. Derek thought he was—
"Oh God, Derek, Baby, I'm so sorry." Stiles said, running his hand through Derek's hair and grasping it desperately. "Everything's okay. I'm okay."

"I can't do it. I can't lose you, not the way they—" Derek takes a shaky breath. "If you were gone the way they did, I-I don't think I can—" Derek's voice is caught in his throat, not being able to finish the sentence.

Stiles pulls back a little and cups Derek's head in his hands. "Hey, look at me." Wet green eyes meet his gaze. The look on Derek's face breaks Stiles' heart, there is no trace of the big bad Alpha. This is merely, purely, humanly Derek Hale in front of him. "What happened to them was an accident, Derek, they didn't know what's coming. While I do, and I know what I'm doing. There's a big difference there."

Derek's hands grasp Stiles' wrists. "When I got back, I brought you flowers, I was ready to beg on my knees for forgiveness but you weren't home. And when I thought you weren't going to make it back there, I couldn't forgive myself because the last memory you had of me was me storming out of the door. It wasn't me saying that I'm sorry while kissing you stupid, it wasn't me saying how much I love you. And it killed me."

Stiles smiles knowingly, caressing Derek's cheeks with his thumbs. "Trust me, I know. I was scared shitless too, I couldn't stop thinking if tonight was the last night I saw you and the last thing I said to you was angry words. But that's the point, the reason why you wouldn't lose me, Derek."

"I don't understand..."

"I need you to see that I'm maybe the best because of my passion in this but I'm still alive because of you. Because every time I think that this is the end for me, I see you in my head and the next thing I know, I can't wait to see you for real in front of me. I just have to say I love you, and I need to kiss you one more time. I'm not even close to done with you, and when I remember that, I find my way out of the fire everytime. You're my anchor, Derek. I need you to understand that." Stiles said pleadingly.

Derek just stares at him in silence for a while, probably arguing with himself. "That doesn't mean I won't run in to save you if I feel I need to." He finally said.

Stiles rolls his eyes. "Fine, fair enough. But that comes with terms and condition which we're going to discuss at home." He warned when Derek opens his mouth to argue.

Derek sighs, deciding to be smart and letting that go. They can bicker at home later. For now, his forehead just touches Stiles' as he whispers, "I love you."

Stiles smiles softly. "I love you too. I'm sorry I was being a jerk, I was just frustated earlier."

"I know, it's okay, I was being a jerk too. And I'm sorry I ran off, it was the wolf."

"Uh huh, actually that one crossed the line. The flowers better be awesome or you're in trouble."

Derek chuckles before he finally leans in and peppers him with kisses, begging for forgiveness in between. Stiles smiles pressed against his mate's lips, how can he stay mad when Derek is being adorable like this? He wraps his arms around Derek's neck as the kiss deepens in both passion and desperation.

"You look like crap, FYI."

"Oh shut up, I nail the look."



Thanks to TW_heat_wave staff for the hard work! :)

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