Off the Record: Stiles isn’t about to let Derek walk out of his life without saying goodbye.
He expected the knock on the door, of course. When he told Scott - only Scott - that he was leaving, he knew the knock was inevitable. Everything he needed was packed, already in the car. Cora was due home tomorrow morning from wherever she had taken off to; he suspected their old house, but he wasn’t going to pry. He’d done enough mourning there to know she wouldn’t appreciate the intrusion. The only thing left was the knock on his door.
“Derek!” His name filtered through the metal door, tinny and furious. He sighed, crossing the loft to unlock the door.
Stiles was shimmying through it before Derek had even prised it all the way open, shoving at Derek until they were both well within the bounds of the apartment. “Stiles!” Derek reprimanded, catching his forearms.
“So, what? You were just going to leave?” Derek could hear his heartbeat racing. “You weren’t even going to send a text?”
“Stiles.” It was an order this time, and Stiles growled at him, yanking at his wrists. Derek let him go this time, and Stiles stalked past him. Derek was suddenly very glad he didn’t have knick-knacks sitting around the house, no form of decoration Stiles could throw at him. He looked like he absolutely would at this point. “I was going to call.”
“Yeah?” Stiles asked aggressively. “When? When you hit the road? A week out? When, Derek?”
Derek rolled his eyes, but Stiles wasn’t wrong. He’d been planning to call when he was far enough away that Stiles wouldn’t think he could follow. It would bound to be pretty far. It must have shown on Derek’s face, because Stiles made a noise of disgust.
“You really weren’t going to say anything,” he accused, voice going soft around the edges, cracking under the stress of the realization. “You can really just walk away like that?”
“Beacon Hills doesn’t need two packs,” Derek told him, drawing back a little as Stiles stalked closer. “Your pack has a lot to sort out right now, but you’re safe. Deucalion is gone, the twins are joining you, Kali and Ennis and Jennifer are dead.” He was proud about not stuttering over the last name. It still hurt. “I don’t need to be one more problem for you.”
“Do you think maybe you should let me decide what I want my problems to be?” Stiles asked plaintively. “Don’t I even get a say?”
“Not this time, Stiles,” Derek responded, looking away.
“Which time, then?” Stiles asked, jabbing a finger into Derek’s chest to get his attention. “Which time do I get a say? Because I was pretty sure after this summer, I qualify for having an opinion.”
“You know that’s not what I meant,” Derek countered, grabbing at his wrist before he could make a second jab. “I have to get away for a while, okay?”
“Away from what, Derek! Away from everything settling down? Away from everyone finally getting the fuck together and sorting through everything that’s been happening since January?” His voice dropped, low and hurt. “Away from me?”
A rough noise of exasperation escaped Derek, and he pulled Stiles forward into a hug. Stiles shoved at him for a split second, still desperate to be angry because it was so much easier than being hurt, than being broken.
“Not away from you,” Derek rumbled, wrapping his arms tighter around Stiles as he went lax in his grip. “I’m not doing this to get away from you.”
Though it took a moment, Stiles’ fingers eventually curled into the fabric of Derek’s shirt and he huffed out an irritated breath. “God, you’re such an asshole.”
“I know,” Derek agreed, rubbing his cheek against Stiles’ temple. “I don’t know why you like me.”
“I don’t know either,” Stiles grumbled, but his hands circled around to hug Derek back. “You’re going to call me, Jerk.”
Derek nodded a little. “Okay.”
“And you’d better send me postcards,” Stiles prompted, burrowing his nose in the pad of Derek’s shoulder for a second.
“Postcards?” Derek echoed. “I’m not taking a road trip, Stiles. We’re following Deucalion. I really doubt he’s going to go anywhere interesting.”
Stiles dug his fingers into the skin along Derek’s spine for a second and then pulled back, just enough to look him in the eyes. “I don’t care. You could send me postcards from freaking Glencoe, Minnesota, as long as you are sending them.” He gave Derek a little shove, not nearly enough to push him away. “Just don’t… just don’t disappear, okay?”
“Okay,” Derek agreed. A small smile twitched at the edges of his lips. “You know, Cora’s gone until tomorrow morning… if you wanted to stay?”
He didn’t have to hear the rush of Stiles’ heart; he could feel it in his fingertips, see the way his eyes lit. “At least one of us wants to,” he grumbled, though it held no ire this time. Stiles trailed his fingers along Derek’s arms, all the way down to his hands, and tugged him gently further into the loft.
If Derek left with the wrong shirt in the morning, well, Stiles wasn’t complaining.