I brought you an umbrella and/or the key is under the mat, ship of your choice. (Look, I'm enabling in a totally low-key and pre-approved way!)
Some future Sterek for you, with “the key is under the mat”! (I’m trying to make up for yesterday’s angst fest.)
It comes out of the blue, a text from a number Stiles had never been able to make himself delete from his phone, even though that means it’s probably been transferred through four phones now. He stares at the notification, then blinks and looks again. Derek Hale it still says.
“What?” he says to his otherwise empty living room. “Just… what?”
He swipes to open the text itself. It is, of course, both anti-climactic and short: Stiles?
“I don’t know what else I expected,” he mutters, exasperated, but even he can hear it comes out fond.
It’s been five years, for fuck’s sake. Derek should not get fond, dammit. But he does anyway.
Yeah, it’s me. Same bat channel, he texts back. And then he gets tired of the thought of dealing with what little affect Derek ever had being further flattened by the glorious medium that is texting and just fucking calls him. He’s not having his first conversation with Derek Hale in five years punctuated with emoji.
“Hello?” Derek answers, wary as always.
“The phone won’t actually bite you, Derek, I’m sure we’ve been over this before,” Stiles says, letting his grin bleed into his tone of voice.
“Stiles.” And Stiles could swear he hears Derek relax.
“That’s my name, glad we’ve got
that reestablished, buddy. Also, you know, glad to know you’re alive.” Oh. That might have had a little… bite at the end. Whoops.
“I’m sorry…” Derek trails off. “I needed… some time. Away.”
Stiles sighs. “I get that. I really do.” Lower, though there’s really no point, Derek will hear him no matter what, “You honestly have no idea how much.”
Derek makes a noise at that, but Stiles doesn’t want to try to parse it right now. He runs a hand over his face, scrubs it back through his hair, and feels a rush of excitement in the center of his chest again as his mood shifts back and he remembers he’s talking to Derek again. For real this time. Not a dream. (He pinches himself just to be sure.) “Just… you know I was worried about you, right? That people cared after you left?”
“People?” Stiles can practically see the raised eyebrow.
“I feel fairly confident in that use of the plural, but yes, I am the important person in that statement, clearly. I cared. And I’m kinda pissed, not gonna lie, that you didn’t say something earlier, but honestly, I’m over it.” He pauses, miraculously stopping the flood of words, but fuck it, who knows when he’ll hear from Derek next, if ever? “It’s just so good to hear your voice again, I’m pretty sure I’d forgive you anything right now, so if you’ve got any big confessions you’ve been holding back, now’s the time. Be honest. Did you ding the Jeep that one time? I know someone did.”
“Stiles. Shut up.” And okay, that’s definitely fond.
Just to be obnoxious, and reveling in how normal it feels, Stiles stays resolutely silent.
Derek huffs in exasperation when he realizes what Stiles is doing. Stiles grins as he imagines the rolling eyes that must go with it. “So I hear you’re up in Washington now,” he says, finally contributing to the conversation.
“I am,” Stiles confirms. “Tiny town. My own tiny house. I work remote. Danny vouched for me.”
“Could… could I come see you?”
Derek asks, weirdly hesitant. Stiles is fairly sure he’s never heard
Derek sound that way before. Not to him. He doesn’t like it.
“Yeah, dude, of course! Lemme give you some directions…”
“I kind of already have your address. From Cora.”
Stiles stops fiddling with the pen he’d picked up from the desk and narrows his eyes at the perfectly innocent bird on his deck railing out the window. “Of course you do. Still the same old creeper wolf.”
“I’m also actually already most of the way to Mt. Rainier.”
“That certain of your welcome, were you?”
“I gotta run out for supplies, but the key is under the mat.” He hesitates for maybe half a second before adding, “I can’t wait to see you.”
“Me either, Stiles,” Derek says softly, and then hangs up.
Stiles grins down at his phone, grabs his hoodie, and carefully puts his spare key under the mat before he clatters down the stairs.