Derek and Stiles getting together had been... strange. No one had seen it coming not even the pair themselves. But in some strange twist it just- it worked.
After the nogitsune, Stiles had felt, not isolated but misunderstood. And he would have preferred being isolated. He felt like he didn't deserve their friendship anymore, he (well they pointed out it wasn't him but it still felt like it) had done awful things. He'd stabbed Scott for fucks sake! And it didn't help that they all acted like they were walking on egg shells around him as if waiting for it to reappear.
He mostly distanced himself from the pack so he didn’t have to deal with the worried glances, the feeling when you’re just about to fall and your heart is in your throat but they just kept checking up on him.
Eventually, after Stiles had been moping in his room for a couple of weeks, Derek jumped through the window. "Jesus dude! You're gonna give a guy a heart attack." Stiles clutched the duvet over his heart for emphasis. He had long given up on asking Derek to use the front door but he appreciated a nock on the window before the man entered his room. What if he had been changing? Or jerking off? That had actually happened once. Derek had taken two steps, looked at Stiles' face, then his crotch, then his face and finally his crotch again. His eyes just settled there, lingering. Then he had shaken his head and climbed back out the window. Stiles had been surprised that Derek couldn't smell it before entering his room but maybe he just hadn't been paying attention. It didn't happen again which mildly disappointed Stiles. That had been the best orgasm he'd ever had.
Anyway, so Derek had just jumped in the window, Stiles had had a 'heart attack'. And then, "Stop feeling sorry for yourself." Stiles stared at him incredulously. "About what? Cardiovascular fibrillation?" Derek looked at him like he was the most idiotic person on earth (to Derek, he probably was) and then to the ceiling as if asking God to help him.
His eyebrows even did the thing. Not the grumpy thing, the thing when his eye brows go up and you feel like you're being judged by three people: Derek and his two eyebrows. He didn't even sigh.
"I mean stop feeling sorry for yourself. What happened wasn't your fault." Stiles had known that's what he had meant but he was trying to evade the subject and keep the mood light. He hated talking about it. There was blood on his hands, a lot of blood and while no one blamed him for what happened no one fully trusted him either.
"You don't understand Derek. I ki- it killed people. I stabbed Scott, Alison almost died and other people weren't that lucky and no one understands Derek. You don't understand what it's like! You don't understand that guilt.." His voice had raised to a shout partway through but he trailed off in a whisper too quiet for human ears. Derek, of course, didn’t have human ears.
Derek scoffed. "I don't understand guilt? I don't understand guilt! Have you forgotten who you're talking to? I got all of my family killed!" Derek's fists were clenched and his face was to his chest as if he was reigning himself in. Stiles felt like he'd been stabbed in the gut.
"Derek I, I'm sor- I didn't- that wasn't your fault." Stiles rise from the bed slowly and approached Derek with great trepidation. To do what, he wasn't sure. Hug him? He didn't think that would go well, Derek would probably tear his face off before he got even the beginnings of an awkward boner. Pat his head? Patronising. Stroke, no, caress his face? Doubtful Stiles would finish the evening with all ten fingers. He settled on placing a comforting and apologetic hand on his shoulder.
"It wasn't my fault?" Derek whispers. "I practically handed them to her on a silver platter." Derek's eyes shine but no tears fall and stiles is glad because though he has seen Derek roar and growl and scream and whine and have his heart crushed over and over... He has never seen Derek cry and he never intends to. It would be an awful, soul crushing thing for Stiles. Derek is his stability (his anchor even.) In attempt to comfort him Stiles tightens the hand on his shoulder and reminds him, "You didn't light the match Derek, you didn't even know. She manipulated and used you. You were so young Derek, you couldn't have known. She was an evil bitch."
Derek looks up at him and there's something victorious in his eyes and scared stiles shitless. "I was 17 stiles, your age. I was your age. It wasn't my fault. It took me forever to accept it and I still feel that guilt; if only I had been more cautious, if only I had told someone. But that wouldn't have stopped her she would've found another way soon enough. She would have used someone else. She still would've killed everyone. What could you have done to change it Stiles? Nothing! It would have found a way! You didn't do anything. You were just another body for it to possess. Another set of hands. You couldn't have changed it Stiles."
Stiles is breathing heavily. He's so- so furious. Derek's twisted his words. What happened with Derek was different. So so different. "It's not the same thing." Stiles growls, his fists are clenched at his sides, slick with sweat. His nails are digging semi circles into his palm, the ragged bitten edges cutting slightly into his skin. "That's different and you know it."
He glared accusingly at Derek who glared back with a patient look at stiles like he's some ignorant child. "How is it different Stiles? It's the same thing. How many times have you told me that it's not my fault? That I couldn't have changed anything? Both of us were used." Stiles can see the logic, he can! But Derek just couldn't understand. Only someone who'd felt the nogitsune could understand.
"Derek you were manipulated by a succubus who killed your family. She did it. I'm the one who ordered those peoples death and almost got you all killed! It was me Derek! Me!" Stiles shouted furiously yet desperately.
"It was the nogitsune's words and actions that did that Stiles, not you." Derek grated out through a clenched jaw trying to end this argument but Stiles was quick to return. So quick he didn't even think about what he was saying. He just spoke the words that had been running through his mind since the incident.
"But it was my mouth!" He screamed. "It was my body and hands that did all those things! It was my mouth that gave those orders!" He whispered the next words. "It was all me, I felt it. Do you know how horrible it run your fingers through a dying woman's blood and feel your face light up in glee. Do you know what it was like to stab your best friend and feel a laugh in your chest? To watch the person you love agonise over how to fix this without having to kill you, see them come up empty and have a voice on your head say how fun it will be to watch? You don't get it Derek! No one can possibly understand!"
Stiles doesn't know when his eyes grew wet or when the tears began brimming on the edge of his eyelid shivering with tension before the inevitable fall but his face is wet with tears, his eyes are puffy, his cheeks are sticky and his throat feels like it's closing up. It's hard to swallow. It's hard to breathe.
Gross sobs rack his body. His mind feels too numb for a panic attack, like there's a grey fuzz around it, but then how is he so sad? His hands feel to big for his body and they're tingling slightly and the skin across his face feels too tight. His hair is flopped limply against his forehead and he can feel it leaving a greasy smear. His pores feel clogged and the air suddenly tastes so stuffy. How has he stayed inside so long? Why hasn't he opened the windows? He was too scared of what might crawl in that's why.
His feet feel hot and itchy and he can hear a high pitched whining buzz in his ear. And everything is just so bright. Derek looks at him in a concerned way. He's looking down at him. Stiles doesn't know when he fell to the floor. Derek crouches beside him. It's his turn to put a hand on Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles feels his body want to recoil but at the same time he wants to lean closer.
"Stiles, you’re ok." Derek whispers reassuringly. "Stiles you need to tell me what's happening. You need to tell me what I can do." Stiles pulls Derek's hand from his shoulder but keeps hold of it. Stiles hands are too big but in Derek's they feel ok, the right size. It's a start.
"Sensory overload." His voice is grating against his ears, god it's so annoying. He feel like he understands why some people hate him now. His voice is like the taste of too much sugar in your coffee. The smell of freshly sprayed perfume to close to your nose. The feel of getting a new shirt with a too stiff collar that's too tight around your neck. Derek smiles now. He whispers quietly.
"I like too much sugar in my coffee." Had Stiles said that out loud? He didn't think so. Maybe Derek was a mind reader. "And all perfume already feels too close to my nose so I don't mind." Derek leans towards stiles as if he's about to say something really important. "I never bother with shirts anyway."
Stiles frowns when he remembers what they'd been taking about. His mind feels dizzy, like he's drunk. It's probably from the lack of air. He might've been hyperventilating earlier, he can't remember. "You changed the topic. You sneak you." Stiles points a finger accusingly. Derek grins.
"I think you managed that quite effectively by yourself actually." Stiles still feels cheated.
"I'll never understand what you went through Stiles, I get that. But I'll be with you every step of the way for your recovery. I don't care how long it takes. I'll read to you, hold your hand and punch something if you need me to. I'll do whatever it takes because I need you Stiles." Derek looked into his eyes pleadingly. 'I need you' reverberated in Stiles’ head as he looked at the person he loved who had tried so hard to save him and was still trying.
Stiles looked into Derek's eyes and wished and Derek was definitely a mind reader because Stiles got exactly what he wished for. Derek's lips were much softer than Stiles had ever dreamed.
Stiles was wrong. The day he saw Derek cry was the best day of his life. If Derek cried the joyful tears he shed on their wedding day every day of his life Stiles would he the happiest man alive. Scratch that, he already was.