Stiles doesn’t sleep much anymore.

Not after the nogitsune, not after twisting a knife into Scott’s body (not you, not you, not you), not after Allison’s death. Truthfully, the nightmares stopped within two weeks after it all happened.

Because Stiles doesn’t sleep much anymore.


"You look like hell."

Stiles just huffs out a breath, twisting his fingers together as he focuses on keeping his leg still. He’s exhausted, he thinks - doesn’t really remember what that even feels like anymore - but his body’s thrumming with too many pills, too much caffeine, too little rest.

"We can’t all be pretty at all hours like you, Hale."

Derek rolls his eyes, handing Stiles a bottle of water before he sits on the couch next to him. “Shut the fuck up. When was the last time you slept?”

"This morning," Stiles answers. He can see the way Derek tilts his head and continues, "I’m not fucking lying, Derek. Stop listening for a blip."

"How long did you sleep, then?"

Stiles swallows. “Twenty minutes. Maybe. I don’t know, shut up. Gimme the controller.”


Derek spends most of his evenings at Stiles’s house. They hang out, play video games, order takeout, watch baseball games.

Derek only comes over, though, when John’s at work. Stiles knows Derek’s essentially acting as a babysitter because his dad’s worried as hell about him. And he knows what his dad sees. Stiles sees it, too.

The bags under his eyes and the pallor of his skin are entirely reminiscent of the nogitsune two months before.


Stiles doesn’t sleep much anymore.

He stops looking at his own reflection.


"How much sleep do you think you’ve gotten in the past week?"

Stiles shrugs a shoulder, pushing at the noodles on his plate. “I don’t know. Three hours, maybe. I sleep, just….”

"You don’t stay asleep," Derek surmises.

Stiles shakes his head, closes his eyes when the movement makes him dizzy.

Derek’s voice is softer when he asks, “Do you have nightmares?”

"No," Stiles replies, a humorless smile tugging his dry lips upwards. "Never asleep long enough to have them."

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Artwork and Photography inspired by Kaleidoscope (Sterek AU, Explicit) by Vendelin/ljummen
When I approached ljummen about creating fanart for her story, not only did she grant her permission, she wrote this lovely additional scene to provide insight into Derek’s motivation for creating this portrait, his portrait of Stiles:

Derek wipes his hands on his pants, leaving dark stains from his charcoal-stained fingers. It’s been a while since he felt like a piece was this finished. It’s been slow progress from the night in the art institute when Stiles decided to show up quite unexpectedly to let Derek finish the piece for the exhibition. His last one.

Back then, it was nothing but the outline of Stiles’ eyes and nose.

Now, it’s a combination of all of Derek’s favorite Stiles’ expressions. There’s that look in his eyes that makes Derek’s heart forget how to beat properly. There’s the huge grin he rarely lets Derek see, because Stiles is constantly self-conscious around him. There’s the way he sometimes looks at Derek when he has said something funny, and wants to take in Derek’s reaction. Derek slowly traces the outline of Stiles’ temple with his fingertip, careful not to leave any evidence from his smudgy fingers.

He drew Stiles like this and not like the broken human being Derek left behind in the coffee shop yesterday, because this is the Stiles who barrelled his way into Derek’s life and stayed.

It started as a way to let himself have Stiles even though he knew that wasn’t an option. It was also, perhaps subconsciously at first, a way to make sure he remembers. Derek knows what can happen to your ability to remember; he’s done his reading. He knows there will likely be a day soon when he can’t remember the look in Stiles’ eyes so vividly, perhaps not even at all. A day when he can’t recall the lines that appear around Stiles’ nose when he grins.

This was supposed to make sure that he remembers, that he never forgets the way Stiles made dying seem like losing to Derek, and not like just another way to move on. The way he made sure that he once again remembers what it’s like to have your heart pound from the sound of someone else’s voice.

This was supposed to be Derek’s way to make sure that he never forgets Stiles, and the way he somehow managed to make Derek feel whole and broken all at once.

And now, Derek is going to give that portrait away.

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