Derek POV

When Derek walks into the baggage claim area, there is loud squealing and then running feet and bodies colliding with him. If he wasn't a wolf, he would have been knocked on his ass from how hard his sisters run into him. They both leap at him, arms and legs wrapping around him, leaving him a sister in each arm, both burrowing into his neck. After a few minutes of this and being stared at by what feels like half the airport, he manages to shake them off and get his bags so they can head home.

The car ride is long and they spend most of it telling him what he had missed recently, catching him up on all the happenings in his family and Beacon Hills. As they finally hit the turn off for the driveway he begins to tense up in anticipation of seeing the house again. Driving up, he is hit with both happy memories and horrible ones, and he can't help but hope that the happy ones will win this battle, because as much as they make him crazy, he really has missed his crazy family.

As he exits the car there is a rush of people from the house. They crowd around him, wanting to touch him. It's overwhelming and uncomfortable. He hasn't been around so many Hales in so long that he feels trapped; that, combined with the scent, sends him right into a flashback.

Derek and Laura were late getting home from school that day. Basketball practice had run long, and Laura was meeting with some committee or another. As they approached the Preserve, they could see smoke from the direction of the house. Derek called 911 while Laura sped toward home.

The house was engulfed in flames. His family was screaming from within. He and Laura tried to run up to the house to help, only to be blocked by a barrier of mountain ash. The sheriff arrived shortly after them; he didn't really understand why Derek and Laura couldn't get to the house or why their family couldn't get out, but he could see a very injured Peter Hale nearby and rushed to help him, shouting back at Stiles to stay in the car.

Stiles, whose mother was magic, knew why the wolves couldn't get to the house. He also knew that breaking the line at the front of the house would only lead to Derek and Laura running into the fire, while their family seemed to be trapped in the basement. He quietly made his way out of the car and snuck around back to the cellar doors. He broke the ash barrier there and flung the doors open, it took just about everything he had in his small frame to do it, but he did. As the Hale family escaped, Stiles stood and held the cellar door open; Derek and Laura were alerted by the howls of their family to run around back.

As the last member of the family fled the basement, Derek caught a brief scent of mate and home. He quickly looked for the scent; as he turned towards Stiles, he saw to his horror that the porch was collapsing toward the boy. In their haste to flee the burning building, none of the pack had noticed that the back porch had become engulfed.

Derek tried. He tried so hard. He ran as fast as he could but he couldn't get there before the porch collapsed, burying Stiles in flaming rubble. He let out a mournful, pained howl and thrust his hands into the flaming debris, burning them as he dug to get down to the boy. When he found Stiles, he was still alive, barely. Stiles looked up at him, his whiskey eyes the only recognizable thing Derek can see, and asked if everyone was out.

"Yes," Derek said, tears streaming down his face. "You got them all out."

Stiles smiled up at him, reaching to touch his face. He said, "I couldn't let you lose your mother too. Take care of my dad. I love you." Then his eyes drifted closed and Derek howled, and he cried, and he begged, as he listened to Stiles' heart stop beating.

Six Months Later

Derek is out running in the Preserve having been driven out of the house by his family who keep pressuring him to get it together, to move on and date. He doesn't see the point. Once you know who your mate is meant to be, even if you didn't bond, what's the point of trying to date? Dating someone who wasn't his mate hadn't worked out so well for him last time.

He is twenty-two years old and he should have his whole life to look forward to, but all he sees ahead of himself is an aching loneliness and the knowledge that he played a part in the death of his soul mate when he was only sixteen years old.

Over the past six years, he made sure his family was taking good care of Stiles' dad. Seeing to his needs, making sure he didn't lose himself in the bottle, making sure he ate right, and sending various little cousins over to mow his lawn and help out with chores. It was the least he could do for getting Stiles killed that day. Because no matter what anyone says about it being Kate's fault, he knows Stiles would never have run into the building to get his family out if he hadn't seen Derek trying and failing to get past the barrier, begging for someone, anyone to help them.

He doesn't care that people say he shouldn't blame himself, that Kate was responsible for what happened. Realistically he knows if a teacher had done to Cora what Kate did to him, he wouldn't blame Cora, he would probably even try to kill the teacher. None of that matters though when he thinks of the hole in the center of his being, when he thinks of what this has done to Sheriff Stilinski.

He is shocked from his broody thoughts when he smells it. Fresh blood, Stiles, and... emDerek's/em blood? He wolfs out and runs toward the scent. As he enters the clearing, scanning for threats, all he sees is a broken pile of bloody rags half buried in leaves and debris. He runs toward the pile, toward that scent. Brushing away the debris, he finds a familiar, mole-speckled face. It's older, pale, and blood splattered but it is Stiles. Derek quickly gathers the broken, damaged young man into his arms and begins to run for home.

Derek moves as fast as he can, letting go of the tight control he keeps over himself. The trees blur as he rushes by, heading for the one person he knows can help them. His muscles are beginning to feel fatigued from the strain of his mad rush through the forest. As he nears home he begins yelling, "Mom! Mom! Mom!"

His family all run out onto the porch, some have looks of shock on their face, mouths open in disbelief, his nana has tears in her eyes, others have dropped what they were doing and are standing there in complete disarray, waiting, because Derek Hale doesn't speak, hasn't spoken in six years, until he does.