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Some nights Derek has nightmares.
He sees his old house on fire, his favourite toys getting swallowed by flames; hears the miserable howl he and Laura let echo over town the first night all on their own. He can smell Kate’s perfume that used to make his heart race impossibly fast; can see the darkness in her eyes and the smile on her lips the day the Argents left Beacon Hills as he watched her hidden in the shadows. He can hear the way his sister’s pulse quickens with fear whenever he’s too far out of her sight and he can smell the sickness of burnt flesh all over his Uncle Peter when he visits him at the hospital.
He wakes up with a jackhammer heart and a damp forehead; on worse nights, his claws are out, inches from ripping the sheets with his teeth sore and aching in his mouth. He gasps for air and presses his forehead into the back of Stiles’ head, inhaling the familiar scent of safety and listens to his slow and steady heartbeat, forcing his own to match its pace.
Those nights, Stiles make them switch positions.
Once Derek’s got his breathing under wrap and his head isn’t filled with smokey red, Stiles turns in his arms and nudges Derek’s shoulder with his forehead until Derek rolls over onto his other side. He wraps his arms round Derek’s waist, tangling their legs together and burying his face in the nape of Derek’s neck.
He doesn’t say anything; Derek knows it’s because he’s had his own share of nightmares in the past. He doesn’t ask if he wants to talk about or if he’s okay; he simply pulls Derek firmly against his front and doesn’t let go until the next morning. He’ll rub the sleep out of his eyes, smelling of happiness and warmth, as he chuckles and leans over Derek’s shoulder to kiss his cheek like nothing Derek does will ever drive him away. Like Stiles will always be there to comfort him and remind him what home and love is.
Derek can count on the nightmares; but he can also count on Stiles to help him through.