Sterek AU (part one): Where Stiles and Derek knew each other before the fire, and when Derek returns seven years later Stiles realizes that Derek never really forgot about him quite at all.
Stiles is slouched down in the hospital seat of the waiting room when he first meets Derek, long legs and knobby knees sprawled out in front of him, chin tucked into his neck as his father talks with the doctors in the other room.
He doesn’t even notice Derek come in.
The voice is kind, sounds older than Stiles’ own too-young and cracking voice, and Stiles drags his eyes away from the scuffs in his shoes.
The boy is older than Stiles, a teenager with dark hair and pale green eyes and sharp angles in his face. When he smiles it looks easy, fits his mouth like it’s something so often to appear.
Stiles jolts up in his seat, shoves the back of his hand into his sleep-tinged eyes, red and swollen from crying.
The boy chuckles, crouches down in front of Stiles so that they’re at level height. His eyes are more than just green, kind of yellow but not really, maybe a bit blue if Stiles squints.
“I’m Derek,” he says.
Derek has funny ears.
“What’s your name?” he cocks his head to the side, a soft smile lingering on his mouth.
Stiles sniffs through his nose, chews on his mouth. “Stiles,” he replies.
“Nice to meet you, Stiles.”
He offers Stiles a stick of gum. “Want one?”
Derek has big hands, teenager hands, not at all like Stiles’ eight-year-old hands, hands that are always twitching by his sides and touching things that shouldn’t be touched.
“I’m not allowed to have sweets,” Stiles blurts out.
Derek’s mouth tugs in amusement. He says, “I won’t tell, if…”
Stiles snatches the candy from Derek’s hand, twists his neck around with wide eyes to make sure that no one is looking. He stuffs the gum in his mouth and watches as Derek rises to his feet.
“I’ll see you around, maybe?” Derek says, playfully rubs a hand over Stiles’ buzz cut. “My cousin’s in the hospital.” He sounds sad, despite the casual way in which he holds himself.
Stiles doesn’t want to talk about his mom.
“Oh, by the way,” Derek turns by the doorway, hand splayed loosely against the frame as he peers over his shoulder at Stiles. “That’s sugar free gum.”
The Derek that is standing in the woods is nothing like the Derek that Stiles remembers him to be. He’s wearing a leather jacket with sleeves that hang around his fingers; his boots stomp heavily upon the forest floor when he approaches Scott and Stiles.
“This is private property,” he tells them, in a voice that Stiles never remembers coming from those lips. He stares at Derek in some gaping form of horror and shock, as Derek stares back with stony eyes and a mouth set firm.
It’s all Stiles can do to croak out some stuttered apology, rub a hand anxiously over his scalp and duck his face away, heart pounding in his lungs and making his hand shake in his pocket.
Scott stuffs his inhaler into his jacket as Derek’s feet crunch down leaves and branches that snap in the echoing expanse of the quiet forest.
Stiles can’t even watch his retreating form.
“That’s Derek Hale,” he breathes out. And the words spoken aloud makes everything come crashing down around him, the smell of hospital halls and late night homework and Derek’s patient voice guiding him through too-hard mathematical questions, seven times six is forty-two.
The stick of spearmint gum in Stiles’ pocket burns like an imprint against his palm.