It’s been about a week of driving on the road, and Stiles gets to his place and drops his things off. The rest of his stuff will be delivered in about another week.
Stiles stands in the stillness of his tiny apartment and closes his eyes, takes in the quiet, a quiet he hasn’t heard and felt in a long time, when his phone dings.
Stiles opens his eyes, sees it’s text from Scott asking if he made it by the time he said he would. Stiles answered he made it, and then shuts his phone down, and proceeds to lay down on all the blankets he brought with him - his bed won’t be there for a few more days, at least - and sleep.
It’s night when he wakes up, and the street lights are shining into his apartment where he lay in the almost bare living room. Stiles turns on his phone, and this time his heart skips a beat - and Stiles doesn’t quite know why - when he sees the text he’d been expecting from Derek:
Have you made it? Do you want to meet up?
It was sent an hour ago. Stiles replies back, saying he did and he would, but since it’s night time, they could meet tomorrow?
But Derek replies back a few minutes later that he wouldn’t might meeting up that night. It’s only 7PM, and so Stiles agrees and they agree to meet at a coffee shop a few blocks from where Stiles lives - Derek has been living in D.C. for a few months now, and ever since Stiles told Derek where he would be living, Derek made a point to get to know the area around it. Stiles found that oddly sweet, but he would never tell Derek that.
Stiles’ heart is beating wildly as he leaves, locking his door behind him. He hasn’t seen Derek in over a year now. They’ve talked over the year, actually they’d talked quite a lot in the past few months, especially, but Stiles hadn’t been face to face with Derek in well over a year.
Stiles feels and equal measure of excitement and nerves. He feels almost jumpy as he heads down the stairs in his apartment building, and then out into the warm summer night D.C. air.
He texts Derek that he’s on his way, and Derek texts back that he’s already there, waiting outside.
Stiles gulps and licks his lips, and walks faster, pocketing his phone.
Stiles is away from the only home he’s known for 18 years. But he feels oddly free. He misses Scott, his dad, everyone like crazy, but he also feels less…heavy. Less like he was drowning. Stiles still looked around him surreptitiously, not able to shake off the habit from almost two and a half years of danger and destruction happening to and around him, but the air is quiet, people barely spare him a glance.
It feels wonderful.
Stiles is able to breathe.
He couldn’t remember the last time he felt this relaxed.
When he rounds the corner to the coffee shop, he freezes, his inhale sharp when he sees Derek standing outside, and then it feels like his heart trips over itself when Derek hears him and turns towards him, and they lock eyes.
Derek looks good. He looks as relaxed as Stiles felt. Derek was still in the tight jeans that Stiles remembered him wearing all the time (and damn, they always made Stiles stare a little longer than he should have) but his shirt looked soft and comfortable, and it was a light purple color that made Derek look absolutely…amazing.
And he wasn’t wearing his signature leather jacket. He wasn’t standing with his arms over his chest. They were at his sides, just hanging, relaxed. He also wasn’t scowling. He was grinning. At Stiles.
And Stiles found himself grinning back. He let out a shocked laugh, and then he was walking fast toward Derek, who started walking toward him too.
Stiles sped up the last ten or so feet, and then Stiles was practically jumping into Derek’s awaiting arms, and Derek gave a small “oof” as if Stiles, fragile human that he was, was able to knock the breath out of Derek.
“Sorry,” Stiles murmured.
But he felt Derek shake his head and wrap Stiles up firmly in his arms, and Stiles breathed out softly, tightening his arms around Derek’s shoulders and resting his cheek against Derek’s.
“I missed you,” Stiles whispered, surprised he let that slip out. But he did nothing to take the words back.
“I missed you, too,” Derek said, and Stiles shivered. He and Derek had mostly texted over the past year, and the last time they had talked on the phone had been months ago. Stiles had missed his soft, beautiful voice. It was like honey to Stiles’ ears.
Two and a half years. That’s how long Stiles had basically lived in hell.
But now….now, Stiles was getting out of it. With Derek, who actually picked Stiles up enough that Stiles was then on his tippy toes, somehow bringing Stiles closer in his arms, and Stiles huffed out a laugh.
“Shh, just enjoy it,” Derek murmured.
“Can’t imagine the Derek I knew saying that,” Stiles whispered. Even at the end, before Derek left, when he was in such a good place, he hadn’t quite been like this. So happy. So relaxed. So ready to hug someone. And hug them closely, for that matter.
“Yeah, well…some time away helps,” Derek murmured, and Stiles felt his heart beating faster when he felt Derek brush his lips lightly against Stiles’ neck.
“Good thing I’m getting some time away, then,” Stiles murmured. And then after a long moment, “with you,” Stiles said.
He felt Derek inhale sharply, and then the arms around him tighten. But it didn’t feel restrictive. It felt amazingly comforting. Stiles felt warm, safe. Relaxed. And maybe even a little bit happy.
“I’m glad you’re getting time away, too. With me.”
Stiles smiled, buried his smile against Derek’s shoulder, and then decided to hold on to Derek just a little longer.