He heard the cracking of the bone before he heard the blood curling scream.
Derek dropped the saucepan and its contents he'd been preparing for dinner and bolted out of the kitchen. The alpha ignored the clatter in the kitchen, the sound of sauce spattering and most likely staining the walls, floor and cupboards, because he didn't care. He ran, as fast as he could, in the direction of the cries and whimpers until he flew out the front door and continued running to the tree at the end of the drive where his children had gathered. His heart was racing with fear of the what had happened, what could have possibly gone wrong for the few minutes he'd left his children? He prayed his mind had tricked him and the sound of a breaking bone he thought he heard was actually a twig one of them had tripped over and the child was merely crying over scraped knees and palms.
It was Boyd who noticed him first and the tweleve year old turned to his guardian with a sorrow expression.
When Derek reached them, he moved past them and found Scott kneeling beside a crying Stiles who cradled a bloody arm to his chest, the small boys shirt was stained a violent red. Scott stopped his attempts of comfort to his younger brother when he looked up, his face swarmed with guilt and dread though Derek had no intention of shouting at any of his children unless the injury was anything other than an accident.
Derek dropped beside his sobbing child who was in too much pain and panic to notice his guardians presence.
"Stiles," Derek said, one hand touching his sons shoulder and taking some of the pain that shot through Derek in sharp spikes. His wolf whined at the thought of how much pain his youngest must have been feeling. The pain drain seemed to help Stiles become more aware and when Derek lifted the trembling chin, the boy looked at him with tearful eyes.
"D-D-Der-rek-k," The small boy hiccuped.
Derek nodded, taking more pain. "I'm here, cub. Can I see your arm, please?"
Surprisingly, Stiles shook his head. He clutched his arm closer to him and the youngling whimpered at the movement. "I-It h-hurts."
"I know. I know it does, baby, but I need to see it. Will you let me see it?"
Derek rubbed the bony shoulder of his young boy, taking as much pain as he could muster at once. It must have helped as the crying boy nodded and shifted slightly. The cry that escaped the small, innocent mouth made Derek physically whine.
Derek repositioned his hand so it rested on the injured limb's upper arm, ready to drain any pain or discomfort he's about to cause his child when he moves the wrist to see it. When he did move the arm, he was pleased to find Stiles didn't cry further though the pain that transferred into Derek was something he never wanted to feel again. None the less, he didn't stop taking it because if he did he's be the reason for his child's tears.
The arm was covered in blood that still seeped from the broken skin that had been torn when the bone had moved. Derek would have cried for his child. It was not a pretty sight and he worried that such a break would involve a operation on his youngling.
"What happened?" Derek finally asked, not taking his eyes off the gruesome wound that his child had gained.
The children behind him shifted and Derek could sense their discomfort.
"We were just playing." Erica answered.
"What were you doing?" Derek snapped, not intending for his voice to sound so harsh and angry.
Scott, who was still kneeling beside Stiles, flinched at the tone and answered quickly, "we were climbing the tree. He slipped."
Derek nodded and looked at the rest of his children. "I'm not angry, it was an accident."
Scott nodded enthusiastically, as did Isaac, who looked just as pained as Stiles, though the older boy was uninjured.
"Okay," Derek said, mostly to himself. He looked back at Stiles who was still crying, but not so much out of pain now, mostly fright and embarrassment. "Did you hurt anywhere else?" Derek asked his son who nodded.
"He hit his head when he landed," Boyd answered.
Derek nodded. "Okay. Boyd," Derek turned to look at his oldest who seemed to be the most calm out of his children, as always, "I need you to go inside, get my phone and call auntie Laura."
Boyd nodded before making his way back into the house.
"Alright, cub, lets get you inside." Derek placed the broken arm back against the boys chest, his hand still holding onto the boys upper arm and draining any fragment of pain his child felt. Derek moved around the boy, picking him up without strain and cradling the small boy to his chest.
As he walked to the house, trying not to jolt the small child in his arms, the others followed with a sense of loss and uncertainty.
Once inside, Derek placed his whimpering child on the couch. "Scott, can you get me a towel please?"
The boy nodded eagerly and ran out of sight while Boyd walked in, phone in hand. "Laura wants to talk to you."
"Thank you," Derek said before he took the phone in the hand that wasn't draining Stiles' pain. "Laura—"
"Derek, what the hell is going on?" Laura cut him off with a tone of panic and confusion.
"Stiles has broken his arm. Can you come and look after the kids while I take him to hospital?"
"Of course," Laura said without a beat. "Yeah. Yeah, of course. I'll come now."
"Thanks," Derek said before he hung up.
"We're not coming with you?" Erica asked instantly. She was standing behind the couch Stiles was sitting on, her arms crossed and leaning against the back pillow.
"No," Derek said, taking the blanket from Scott who had just returned. "You're staying here. Laura is coming now."
Derek carefully wrapped the towel around the broken arm, careful to not jolt the bone that stuck up horridly. Derek was more concerned about the blood that was still spilling, although he was sure his child wouldn't die from blood loss, he wasn't taking any chances. Thankfully, Derek's pain draining had helped the small boy calm down to the point that his red, puffy eyes shed no more tears and he made no sound apart from the occasional sniffle.
The others stood around the room, all at an unease at the sight of their wounded sibling and pack member. Derek knew he needed to go and clean up the mess he made in the kitchen when he'd literally dropped the tomato sauce, but he had no intention of leaving his wounded cub that would be struck with a crushing pain as soon as Derek removed his hand.
Derek hadn't expected Laura to arrive so soon, but the moment his sister burst through the front door, Derek was gathering his injured child in his arms once again.
Laura looked at his wounded cub with such sympathy and sadness that Derek felt almost a sense of pride.
"Oh sweetie," Laura said, voice soft and comforting. She ran a hand over the messy strands of the small boys hair.
"The kitchens a mess, I'm sorry, I dropped the dinner—"
"It's fine, Derek," Laura cut him off none viciously. She nodded at the boy in his arms. "Get him to hospital, I'll sort out the kids."
"Thank you," Derek said again, he walked to the door but before he left, he turned to the children that looked at him like he was abandoning them. The looks on their faces had Derek's heart aching.
"I won't be long. I'll come back and get you later, okay? Just stay with auntie Laura for a few hours."
As if she was sensing her brothers discomfort to leaving his children, Laura clapped her hands together and said, "Who wants to help me make dinner? Whoever helps can choose their own dessert!"
The mention of optional dessert had all the kids running to the kitchen and Derek felt a freedom to walk out the door.
Once he got his child into the carseat that was in the back seat of his family-friendly car, Derek realised he couldn't drain Stiles' pain as well as drive.
"Stiles," he said and the small boy looked up with red, dazed eyes. "I have to let go, its going to hurt, but I promise when we get to the hospital, the doctors make it all better."
"I don't like hospitals," Stiles cried, voice small and hoarse.
"I know, cub," Derek's wolf was whining in heart ache for his youngling. "But we have to go, we need to make sure you heal. Okay? So I need to let go, and it's going to hurt, but you need to be brave, okay? Do you think you can do it?"
The small child looked at him with fear in his eyes, yet he still nodded. When Derek let go, it broke his heart to hear his child let out another whimper.
Derek drove as fast as he could without putting his child in more danger of getting into a car accident.
When Derek got to the Beacon Hills Memorial parking lot, he parked his car somewhat hazardly. He gently but quickly took his now sobbing child from the car, the towel that wrapped his arm was stained red and it worried Derek to the point that he could feel his wolf surfacing as he ran into the Emergency Room, calling for help.
Watching his small boy being placed on a bed, tears leaking from his pain filled eyes and being wheeled off past where Derek couldn't go had the older man wanting to break down in his own tears.
"Daddy!" He hear Stiles cry behind the closed doors. It didn't bring him any extra comfort to hear the doctors try to reassure Stiles, for the small boy was still sobbing, "I w-want my d-d-d-addy."
"You can't go in there, sir." A nurse is pale blue scrubs said.
"He's asking for me," Derek snarled. It didn't occur to him the confusion the nurse must have felt until she drew her eyebrows together in a frown.
"Wait out here, a doctor will be with you shortly. Can you fill out some information for me, please."
Derek's feeble attempts to convince the nurse to let him through so he could be with Stiles and take the violent pain from his small boy where ignored and he was continuously asked to fill out the paper work.
His mind was working a mile a minute but he filled out the information form none the less that asked basic questions of Stiles' identity.
By the time he finished out his child's information, a doctor came out calling for the parent of Stiles Hale.
Derek stepped up, going to the doctor eagerly who told him his son was in need of an operation to set the bone and was to be under basic anaesthesia. Derek, though heartbroken at the fact his child was to be put through the pain of an operation when all he wanted to do was snatch his child back and take the boy home, to wrap him in a blanket and drain away every ounce of pain the child witnessed, he agreed to the operation. The doctor nodded, telling him it could take a while and for Derek to wait out here until further notice that his son was out and done.
Derek sent a text to Laura informing her that Stiles was going into surgery and therefore they'd be longer than he intended. He also asked for Laura not to tell the children about Stiles' operation until they were allowed to come and visit.
Derek sat in the waiting room, desperately trying to seek out his precious boys heartbeat amongst the many others. He knew he had nothing to be too worried about, the operation wasn't even major. But to him, any operation, whether it be on an arm or a brain, any operation was serious and anything could go wrong. Just the thought of something life lasting or threatening happening to his child in that operation room had Derek drowning in his own anxiety.
Derek was reminded how painfully fragile his only human child is. Werewolves are easy, though they come with the struggle of shifts and control, they have the ability to heal, to sense Derek and share emotions. Stiles, however, couldn't do that. He was breakable, fragile and easily hurt, not matter how solid and brave the young boy was. Derek forgot how Stiles isn't like them, isn't a wolf and can't feel Derek's or his siblings emotions like the others can. Derek wondered if after this event, Stiles would ask for the bite. The small six year old has gone through something not even Derek could imagine feeling. Any bone he'd broken before had healed in a matter of minutes, not required any hospital trip or surgery to set right.
Derek distinguished the thought of giving his six year old son the bite. Not only was it dangerous for such a young age if they aren't born into it, but Stiles had also voiced his will many times to remain human, despite their weaknesses that Stiles refuses to believe he has because the small boy is stronger, in both mind and will, more than any other human child Derek has met. The older male smiles at the memory being the reason Derek chose to adopt Stiles. The small boy with the big brown eyes, who'd come up to him and told him a random fact about goldfish the first time they'd met and continued to feed Derek the most random knowledge he picked up during the day.
It took 3 hours and 17 minutes until the doctor came out, calling for Stiles Hale's parent again and by this time, Derek had sat in the waiting room filled with so much anxiety and angst that he'd chewed both of his thumb nails to the quick and drank 3 cups of bitter, flavourless coffee that made him grimace with every swallow.
Derek scrambled out of the uncomfortable plastic hospital chair and practically ran to the doctor. "How'd it go? Is he okay? Can I see him?"
The doctor held his hands up as if the action could stop the bombardment of questions. "He's fine. It was an open fracture, which unfortunately required a operation, but it went smoothly and his arm is set."
Derek instantly relaxed. The tension in his shoulders washed out like someone had removed the plug. He sagged, like a puppet and the strings had been cut. He was suddenly tired from the whirlpool of emotions.
"The surgeons were required to, as well put his arm back in place, also put pins in his arm. They won't cause him any harm, but they will need to be removed. His arm has been put in a cast that he will need to wear for the next six weeks. You will be informed, when your son can leave, about the requirements for the cast." The doctor said.
"His head," Derek said, "He hit his head—"
"We know," the doctor said calmly. "We ran a scan and it seems to be only a bump, not even a concussion. We'll keep an eye on him of course, he'll be under monitoring while he's here incase it gets worse."
"Can I see him?" Derek asked. Both him and his wolf was itching to see the injured cub he'd left in the hands of these people.
"Yes. He's still sleeping but should wake up soon. He's also receiving a strong painkiller, so don't panic if when he wakes up he's slightly drowsy and confused," The doctor continued to tell him the possible states the small child could wake up in but Derek wasn't listening. He'd deal with the boy when he woke but until then, Derek just wanted to see his child.
He was lead through the maze that is the hospital until the doctor stood outside a closed door. When Derek walked in, he looked at the other empty beds and thanked for the lack of idiotic children that would've currently been in the same ward as his son, who had the entire room to himself.
Stiles was sleeping, a peaceful, content slumber that put Derek at ease. He sat down at the boys bedside, taking in the slight pallor of his skin and the wires attaching to his small and thin body. The white cast laid at his side, the small hand poking out the end, lax and curled limply. Derek took hold of it, feeling his wolf heat seep into the cool skin. Stiles, he'd noticed, always had cold hands. Living in a house of wolves, the temperature of his human youngling was so much cooler but Derek had noticed, from his experience with humans, that Stiles' hands are significantly cold. Derek can recall all the mornings the boy would put his cold hands on Derek's bare back, laughing as his guardian would shrink away from the sudden cold.
Derek pull out his phone, sending Laura a quick text to say Stiles is out and okay, but he's not sure when they're going to be leaving.
Laura replied quickly.
Laura: Glad he's okay. Give him a huge hug from me when he wakes up.
Derek: How are the kids?
Laura: Unsettled, they're better now but Jackson and Erica keep scraping at each other. Give me a good time and I'll bring them all in to visit.
Derek frowned. Dread and worry pooled in his stomach like a acidy mix. He didn't like the sound of his pups being discomforted, even in their own home. They may be young but they're not stupid, they knew Stiles' injury wasn't one that will be okay with a good nights sleep.
Derek: I'll text you as soon as they can come in.
Stiles woke up not too long after. He was, as the doctor said, groggy and confused, but Derek was just happy to see that his son wasn't feeling a spec of pain. Stiles slept on, waking up every few hours, working into the night until he finally settled for a restful slumber. Derek didn't realise he'd nodded off until he was woke up by the squeaking sound of the door opening and closing.
The nurse did her check ups, looking over the sleeping body of his youngling and giving Derek a reassuring smile when she left.
When Stiles woke up again, this time with more sense and less-drug-induced, the sun was rising. The sky outside his window was like melting butter, casting a soft, yellow glow into the small boys room.
"Daddy," Stiles said, voice small but no longer slurring like it had been. "We never had dinner."
"I know," Derek wasn't surprised the first knowledgable thing his son says its related to his lack of food intake. "How about I go and find you something, okay?"
"Yes, please," Stiles nodded, curling onto his side. His casted arm was pressed against his chest, which was covered in a pale blue hospital gown.
Derek wondered the hospital halls, cautious not to leave his child for too long without supervision. Deciding he didn't want to poison his child by making the poor boy eat the hospital cafeteria food, Derek stopped in front of a vending machine not too far down from Stiles' room. He punched in the number and watched as Stiles' favourite candy dropped into the bowl. It wasn't the best thing to have for breakfast, but his poor boy had been through enough without having to eat something else to make him down.
"Candy!" Stiles squealed when Derek showed him the orange Reese's Pieces packet. The little boy on the bed made adorable grabby hands, eager for his favourite sweet to which he munched on for another 5 minutes.
"Stiles," Derek said. The sun had fully risen by then, high in the sky and brightening up the white bleak hospital room. "Can you tell me what you were doing in the tree?"
Stiles looked like a deer in headlights, "I—uh—we were playing a—and me and Scott were racing—"
Derek sighed, rubbing a hand over his face. "Stiles," he said slowly but he couldn't continue because he was cut off by a shout behind him.
"Stiles!" Derek recognised him before he turned. Scott.
The small boy ran up, hands eagerly grabbing at the bed. The presence of his brother had Stiles sitting up and Scott began blabbing about how 'cool' Stiles looked 'flying' out of the tree. Soon, his other children followed in, clambering up on the bed with Stiles.
"Did it hurt?"
"You practically flew!"
"You were like a proper Batman!"
"Can I draw on your cast?"
"I want to draw a wolf!"
Derek smiled at his cubs, all crowded on their brothers bed. Derek could only imagine what kind of crazy and childish things they are going to draw on Stiles' cast.
"You're grinning like the Cheshire cat," Laura said, suddenly at his side. She was looking at his cubs, smiling with pride. "Big ol' softly."
Derek didn't care. His chest swelled with pride and warmth. The panic and worry he'd felt at the sight of his injured and crying cub, pale and bleeding was all gone and instead replaced with the happiness of the pack and their closeness.
Derek was sure of one thing though. There will be no more tree climbing.