Hello again! I’ll admit I wanted to get this up earlier, especially considering I’ve had ideas bouncing about in my head all afternoon and evening, but my body just knew it was Sunday and it demanded to be lazy and checked out for a while and who am I to argue with that logic? But without any further adieu I’ll just jump into the writing seeing as I have to get two pieces out. :)
Any given moment you spend in a car with any sort of music going is the moment a song could just find you, and it’s otherworldly. It could be when you’re leaving home for the first time, returning home for first time in years, running an errand, going to work, just taking a drive to let yourself think, or you could just be a passenger along for the ride.
But there is magic in the meeting of the right moment, right music, and you. Instantly you are taken away and experiencing things from almost an omnipresent point of view. Things flash before your eyes and fit the song like a music video for your mind or you look out the window and feel like you’re in a music video for the song. You look out, feeling far away but never quiet so in this moment either.
Nothing and no one matters as much as the notes, melodies, and lyrics coming out of the speakers and wafting their way into your ears and head. Each uptick of an instrument or hitch in a singers breath feel like your own heart strings and shaky mouth as they discover things in the span of the song. The bubble like force field of the moment surrounds you and keeps you protected while you ride out the journey that somehow feels meant to be.
When the song ends, the moment now passed, you come back to Earth and reality. Noises like the tapping of a nail on the arm rest or the wind against the slight crack in the window or the buzz of other cars on the road with you make themselves more present. The pavement before you and other scenery come back into much clearer focus and the weight of your body has returned to full mass. Nothing has ultimately changed but in your core you can feel a slight, but significant, change different than what existed just a few minutes before.
Now the song can stick with you, bringing a smile to your face every other time you hear it for the rest of your life. It can take on a bigger meaning and help guide you, being a beacon you look to in order to keep you on a path you’ve carved out for yourself. Or it can be easily forgotten, never quiet tugging on you like it did but there’s an inkling in the back of your head saying it’s a little special. The type of presence it takes in your life after the initial moment doesn’t need to be frequent or put on any pedestals, because for one blink of time it was magic and allowed you to experience magic.
And that feels like the whole point of music.
He’s become used to sensing things in the air like it’s a real life normal thing humans do, but it still catches him off guard when he approaches the giant medal slab of a door to the loft and it feels like a force field of…weird and sad and maybe awkward raiding out like it’s trying to push away visitors. Unfortunately for the invisible, and actually non-existent, force field that sounded more like an invite to someone like Stiles so he shrugged stepped closer and gave a few hard knocks on the door. It took a few moments for the sound of sluggish foot falls to make their way towards the door, and contrary to what most people thought he could be patient when he wanted to be. It’s not like Derek didn’t already know who it was, probably knew that before Stiles even took the keys out of his ignition so him taking forever was just delaying the inevitable interaction they would share.
When the door did finally roll open Stiles was hit with an even stronger sense of that sad and awkward vibe, Derek kinda looked like shit, even for a werewolf with all sorts of super immune system and healing abilities. He was in nothing but black sweat pants and a lose grey shirt, and had Stiles not spotted the book and steaming mug of coffee…no tea next to the couch he would have guessed he’d caught Derek napping. Not wanting the silence to linger any longer he gave a small wave with this free hand and spoke, “Hey, sorry to barge in I came to see if maybe Braeden wanted to go over some Desert Wolf stuff again. Scott, Malia, Liam, and Kira are out running around the woods to burn off energy before the moon tomorrow night and seeing as a) I don’t run and b) I’ll have energy no matter the phase of the moon I thought I could dig into some more research on this and see if Braeden had any new ideas.”
Derek had leaned one shoulder against the frame as he listened but left his one hand on the door handle like he was ready to throw it shut in Stiles face at any second. His face didn’t do much while he listened, which wasn’t anything super unusual but it didn’t even look insanely bored like Stiles was accustomed to whenever he tried to talk to Derek. Once Stiles had finished and the air went quiet again he leveled his gaze on the anxious man before him and said with a similarly flat tone as his expression, “And Lydia?”
With an shake of his head Stiles dismissed the idea and explained, “She is with Parrish going over more to the Beasitary trying to figure out what he is yet. I still say the guy is a Pheonix, but when I suggested if we see if his tears healed a cut or wound she told me I was no longer allowed to help.”
A snort shook the wide chest of Derek before he took a second breath to return, “And what where your other ideas? Put one of us in peril and see if Parrish swoops in with the Sorting Hat that would present the sword of Gryffindor?”
Lit up doesn’t begin to explain Stiles face but he rocks a little on his feet and jabs a finger at Derek’s face while he exclaims, “Ha! There is a part of you that was just a kid obsessed with pop cultural fads like the rest of us! Solid reference man.” He really has the urge to llife his hand and request a high five but for one he knows Derek would never and secondly Stiles didn’t feel like being pushed backwards a few feet. “But yeah, everyone is occupied and so that’s why I come here seeking out the vast knowledge of Braeden if she feels like putting up with me, which she does so much better than you.”
“Braeden’s not here, she left.” Derek cuts him off and buries any remaining lightheartedness to their conversation.
“Not here? Left? Like to run to the store for milk or left like took a hike because even for her Beacon Hills is a messed up magnet for annoying supernatural dramatics?” It tumbles out before it can even be filtered and Stiles does a mild panic face before waving his hands, “I mean, not that you’re annoying…well not anymore and personally life without something supernatural poking around would suck now that I am all used to it.”
Still nothing much in terms of facial expression or emoting and it’s times like these Stile’s would kill for the heartbeat hearing trick that usually bit him in the ass with the werewolves in his life. There’s a moment where it feels like maybe today Derek is going back to that annoying version of himself that gave zero helpful information and just shut out everyone, particularly Stiles, but then he takes a deep breath and lets go of the door in favor of crossing his arms in front of his chest. “Left like gone. Morrell offered her another mercenary job out in Arkansas and even though she’s turned down a handful in order to stay here with us, with me, I could hear the sadness and guilt in her voice each time she did so I told her to go.”
In a way it all made sense, Stiles had been impressed that she had managed to stay in one place as long as she had after hearing some of her stories, but he could tell it had been a not so pleasant decision for Derek so he felt for the guy. Not to mention being down a person on the whole “Operation Desert Wolf” which he had started calling it was going to suck, especially considering Braeden was their leading source of information and detail on the subject given her dedication to the case as a U.S. Marshall and even after she had to step down. But now wasn’t the time to pout about a superficial thing like that, it wasn’t going to make Derek’s mood any better either so time to brush it under the rug for now.
Hitching the files in his one arm up Stiles looks down before looking up again and speaking, “That sucks dude, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be, I told her to go.” Derek’s tone is harsh and cold but he isn’t meeting Stile’s eyes so it’s like he is scolding himself more than anything. “As long as she’s happy that’s better than expecting her to hang out here and eventually grow to hate it…and me.”
“I don’t think you could make Braeden stay if she didn’t want to. You’re fairly irresistible but you’ve met her right? Nobody makes Braeden do things she doesn’t have a desire to already do.” They both give small laughs at the truth in the statement but quickly Derek’s face falls and nods a solemn agreement, it makes Stiles’ want to reach out and pat his shoulder but that might result in bruises on him. Instead he just sighs and speaks before filtering again, “Man you really have a ‘I live to let you shine’ complex don’t you?”
That gets a decent reaction from Derek, his eyebrows both reach upwards as a gruff but confused “what?” comes out.
Stiles lets out a small laugh again before waving his hands to try and speak for him before just trying to say it himself, “You know…the whole ‘I’ll be sorta miserable but if you’re happy it’s no big deal.’ You do it almost all the time, you let Erica and Boyd leave because they thought they’d be happier with a different Alpha. You let Isaac, your last beta, leave with Argent because he was having issues grieving for Allison. You lost your Alpha status to save Cora, and then you let her leave and go back to South America because it was what made her happiest. You let Braeden leave because despite being the first really great relationship you’ve had in a long time you tell she itched to do what she loves…”
“I let you anywhere near me still after all these years to annoy the living shit out of me because I know it gives you a sick pleasure to be a pain?” Derek cuts him off with another raised eyebrow look, but the smirk and slightly endearing tilt in his tone give him away.
But Stiles just grins wide and let’s his hands flap in a nonchalant shrug, “Exactly.” Derek rolls his eyes and stands up straight to try and use what little height advantage on Stiles as intimidation even when he knows it has zero affect these days. Risking the injury, Stiles sticks out a hand and pokes it into one of Derek’s forearms, “Admit it you’ve become a bit of a softy, or were one the whole time and just try to hide it.”
A completely stoic face stares at him before a very tiny, blink and you’d miss it, shrug comes from Derek’s broad shoulders. Stiles considers it a victory and chooses not to push his luck any further by staying quiet no matter how badly he wants to comment. When the silence starts to linger Derek down at the stack of files in Stiles hand and then over his shoulder quick before saying, “Look I still have all of Braeden’s research and information, she hasn’t sent an address to send what little she left here, so if you want to come in and pour over it I don’t mind.”
“Just try not to break anything or annoy me too much.” There is the familiar ‘don’t let me regret this random act of trusting you’ tone Stiles has come to associate with Derek when they speak and as weird as it sounds it is comforting. Which is an emotion neither ever expected to feel around the other but maybe it’s one of those weird happenstances of Beacon Hills.