The funny thing is, when your body’s hurt or distressed your mind goes weird places. Like the time Stiles fell off the roof of his dad’s cruiser when he was seven, all he could think of as his mom buzzed frantically around him was that he was supposed to bake cookies this afternoon, she had promised, and now he couldn’t move his arm. Or the time when he was thirteen and fell down half a flight of stairs at school. As he lay there with half the teaching faculty checking him out, all he could think of was how Mrs Gawne’s shoes didn’t fit her at all. Or that time when he was fifteen and he woke up after getting his appendix out, and his dad was there, newly elected Sheriff and Stiles thought the streets were unsafe without him. Like there weren’t other deputies around.
Or now as his hands hold tight to the bullet wound on his thigh. His hands are dirty, he knows this because he had them in the dirt when he fell, and now they’re on an open wound and all he can think about is those dirty hands and the guy who died in Band of Brothers when he shot himself in the thigh with a Lugar.
Stiles hasn’t shot himself, he doesn’t actually know who shot him and he doesn’t have time to care. He can hear a commotion around him, someone’s screaming his name in the darkness and there’s a ring around the full moon now as he looks up and thinks about what Captain Winters would do.
There’s a stranger looking down at him with panicked eyes. ‘You’re not a werewolf.’ He says.
‘Nope. Just a boy.’ Stiles replies and goes to move but a pain shoots through his leg and he screams. When he opens his eyes the stranger’s away. Hunter. Whatever. Stiles is dying.
Then Allison’s on her knees beside him and she’s crying and Stiles smiles at her anyway because Allison is good to him. She cooked awesome pasta bake for tea the day before yesterday and that rocks. He should get her something as a thank you gesture. Then Scott’s there and he’s panicking more than the stranger and crying and screaming for Derek.
Derek his Alpha. His…something. Derek’s going to be pissed that Stiles managed to get himself shot. Derek’s going to roll his eyes and cuff him around the side of the head and glare and call him an idiot. And that’s ok because that’s what Derek does and Stiles really hopes Scott will stop screaming soon because he’s loud.
Jackson arrives and all he can say is ‘Stiles, oh my god Stiles.’ And Stiles really wants to say that he’s not Jackson’s god but pain apparently kills witty comments. Who knew. Jackson’s touching him, his face, his body, checking for other wounds and it’s like he’s trying to hug him or something and now is not the time for a puppy pile Stiles thinks but he doesn’t say that either.
‘We need to get him to a hospital.’ And it’s Danny and he’s the voice of reason. That’s a really good idea, Stiles thinks, a hospital. Why didn’t he think of that, and then he can’t because Jackson and Scott are lifting him and he’s explaining that they probably shouldn’t move him but they do, and they jostle him and it fucking hurts. And he screams.
He’s in a hospital. There’s a machine making a beeping noise. His Dad’s asleep in the armchair beside his bed and Lydia is perched on the windowsill with her beautiful legs crossed and her skirt’s riding up so Stiles has a great view of her thighs. She’s filing her nails.
Stiles wonders how he got from the forest to the hospital. He doesn’t remember anything past being lifted. ‘Stiles.’ His Dad says and Stiles turns his head.
‘Hey Dad.’ Stiles says. ‘You ok?’
‘Never mind me. Are you ok?’ He asks.
‘Um. What happened?’
‘Someone mistook you for a werewolf and shot you.’ The Sheriff says. Stiles will never get over his dad using that word. Werewolf. He wants to giggle but he doesn’t.
‘Huh. That sucks.’ Stiles says and his Dad shakes his head. Lydia moves closer, scenting him. He still feels…off…like there’s something not right about him. There’s a load of wires and tubes attached to him and…hang on is there one in his dick? ‘Oh my god.’ Stiles says. ‘You can see my pee.’
Lydia snorts and tugs her pink phone out of her pocket to send off a text. ‘Clearly you’re still high on pain meds. My shifts almost over. Someone will be here soon to relieve me.’ Lydia says going back to the window.
‘And here I thought you cared.’ Stiles says. He’s only been awake for ten minutes but already his eyelids are heavy. A nurse comes in with a big cheesy smile on his face.
‘Someone’s awake.’ He says as he looks over Stiles’ charts. ‘How do you feel?’
‘Thirsty.’ Stiles says.
‘Well after your operation you’re still nil by mouth so just a sip of water. Hey maybe your girlfriend can help.’ The guy says. Lydia glares at him like he’s just told she missed a sale at Macey’s. She leaves her place anyway and holds Stiles’ head while she tips the cup of water to his lips. He barely wets his tongue before it’s away and she’s back to her nails.
His dad laughs and Stiles fights to keep his eyes open. He thinks he’ll have a five minute nap. ‘Finally. I thought you’d never get here.’ He hears Lydia say but he can’t force his eyelids open. He knows he’s dreaming however, when he feels Lydia kiss his forehead.
It’s dark and there’s only Danny in the room when he opens his eyes again. Stiles reckons its early evening.
‘You feeling any better?’ Danny asks, moving closer to Stiles.
‘Thirsty.’ Stiles says by way of greeting. He figures they’ll understand. Danny helps him wet his mouth again before he lays his head back gently. ‘Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want you, but how are you allowed here.’
‘Your dad, he figures if you got shot someone might be trying to kill you so he told the hospital staff that he wanted someone with you at all times.’
‘My dad is awesome.’ Stiles says grinning. He feels groggy, his head is heavy. Also there’s a catheter in a place it shouldn’t be and it’s lying across the top of his thigh and that’s just gross.
‘So I got shot?’ Stiles asks.
‘Yeah. Derek’s pissed; he went to Argent’s at like four this morning banging the doors. Lydia and I went with him and Jackson, Allison and Scott came here with you. I’ve never seen him so angry.’
‘What did Argent do?’
‘He argued back but he was as pissed about you getting shot as Derek. Derek pointed out it could have been me or Allison that got shot too. He pulled his horns in after that reminder.’
‘It hurts.’ Stiles said moving his bandaged leg. ‘Did they get the bullet?’
‘Yeah. They asked your dad if he thought you would want to keep it. He said yes.’
‘Cool.’ Stiles said. ‘So who all’s been to see me?’
‘I relieved Scott, who let Lydia go. I don’t know who’s coming tonight.’ Danny says. ‘Stiles you look beat. Go back to sleep and stop fighting it.’
‘That’s the best plan you’ve had since skipping first period English on Tuesday to get breakfast at Lori’s.’ Stiles says. Danny laughs softly as Stiles falls asleep.
When he wakes again there’s a body hovering over him, but hardly touching him. It’s full on dark now, with just the moon shining through the window. Derek’s nose is buried in Stiles’ neck, like he’s scenting him.
‘Derek.’ Stiles says.
‘I got shot. You could humour me for a day.’ Stiles says. Derek heaves out a long suffering sigh and moves off him. He sits on the edge of the bed and tugs the blanket down to Stiles hips then folds it back so he can see the thigh that got shot. He runs a hand over the bandage then down to Stiles’ knee.
‘How do you feel?’ He asks. His thumb’s rubbing tiny circles on Stiles skin now. It feels strangely comforting.
‘I have a tube in my dick. How do you think I feel?’ Stiles says. He really has to get over the presence of the catheter.
‘I think you’re hurting and you’re not admitting it. I think you’re scared. I think you just want to climb out the window and run.’ Derek says.
‘You scented all that on my neck.’
‘I was just checking you were ok.’
‘Oh. Like when a dog sniffs another dogs butt?’ Stiles asks. Derek’s eyebrows fall into a glare. ‘You could have just asked.’
‘You were asleep.’ Derek says running his hand down over Stiles’ calf now. He’s scratching Stiles leg lightly with his nails and it feels awesome. Stiles never wants him to stop.
‘I’m awake now.’
‘And I asked you how you felt and got a smart answer.’
‘Hey I never said I’d give a sensible answer, but giving the guy an option between sniffing his neck and asking a question would be a reasonable idea.’
‘Clearly getting shot has done nothing to control the flow of shit that spews from your mouth.’ Derek says. He’s not angry though; Stiles would actually put money on Derek seeming relived.
‘So who shot me?’
‘An out of town hunter.’ Derek says. ‘It’s being taken care of.’
Stiles imagined Derek gleefully stringing the hunter who hurt his pack member up by the thumbs like Filch often threatened to do in Harry Potter. He takes a moment to imagine Derek as Filch and he laughs, ignoring Derek’s confused frown. Or glare. Whatever.
When he finally gets himself under control he takes a deep breath and asks ‘You didn’t do anything stupid did you?’
‘No. Argent’s taking care of it.’ And Derek’s definitely pissed about that.
‘That’s good. You don’t want to give him any ammo to chase after you do you?’
‘Your right.’ Derek says then looks like he wants to take it back. Stiles can think of a million things do say but he doesn’t because Derek’s hand is on Stiles other ankle now, working its way up, still with the awesome scratching. ‘You’re gown suits you.’ Derek says, nodding to the harsh cloth covering Stiles’ body.
‘Shut up.’ Stiles says.
He’s awake when Derek leaves with something bordering on a smile as a goodbye. Allison’s there and she’s awesome because she brought pyjamas and t-shirts and socks and candy and magazines. He’s not sure how he feels when he finds Cosmo among the collection but he’ll give it a whirl. Maybe there’ll be underwear models in it.
Allison chats away until a hot nurse and the guy nurse from yesterday come and tell him he’s getting a bed bath. Derek’s just followed them into the room with coffee and food and Stiles can’t stop his tongue when it moves in his mouth, spewing forth the crap his brain tells his voice box to say.
‘My boyfriend will do it.’
Everything stops. They all look from Derek to Stiles and back again, apart from Derek who just stares at Stiles.
‘And here was me thinking that hot little red head was your sweetheart.’ The nurse from yesterday says. ‘Ok, we’ll just get this out and your boyfriend can do the rest.’ He says and he’s told to cough and the catheters out and sweet relief follows. Until Derek’s glaring at him with a wet cloth in one hand and Stiles’ arm in the other. Allison stayed to help too but she looks away when Derek tugs the sheets to Stiles ankles.
‘I can wash my own junk.’ Stiles blushes but Derek swipes the cloth around him before shoving him onto his side to wipe over his ass. When Stiles is on his back he can no longer look at Derek so he settles for looking at his feet. Derek tidies up and sits down to eat his breakfast while Allison and Stiles try not to giggle. There is nothing giggle worthy about this situation. Except for all of it.
Derek goes after a silent half hour. Jackson comes by at Lunchtime and Allison takes off. He shoves Stiles across the bed a little and joins him leaning back against the pillows with an arm draped behind Stiles. He’s thumbing through a copy of the Classic Cars magazine Allison brought and talking about what happened when Stiles was shot.
The Sheriff comes by in the afternoon and tells Jackson to stay where he is when Jackson offers to leave. Jackson doesn’t offer to leave when Scott arrives but the Sheriff takes off. Scott and Jackson glower at each other and Stiles wonder’s if Derek’s right, maybe they do need to fuck and get it out of their system. At the minute Stiles knows they’re fighting over who gets to be Stiles’ friend. Lydia and Allison arrive after dinner and Jackson’s still there, still in the same place and Scott’s still glaring, and he must have learnt that from Derek because he’s getting good.
Derek and Danny come through the door together and Stiles feels an intruding pang of jealousy. He doesn’t know what it means so he ignores it. It’s a pack meeting, he realises as Derek tells Jackson to get his ass off Stiles’ bed. Jackson obeys taking a chair instead. Lydia’s back by the window and Danny hovers behind where Scott and Allison are sharing a seat. Derek takes the spot he just shoved Jackson off of. Jackson sends him a filthy look.
‘I spoke to Argent before I came over here.’ Derek says. ‘The hunter who shot Stiles is being reported to the police. He’ll do time for what he did. Argent says no blood is to be spilled over the head of this and he wanted me to pass that on.’
‘But he hurt one of my pack.’ Lydia says fiercely, and Stiles knows why Derek picked her as his Alpha Female and second in command. He’s a bit frightened of her at the minute. And he still wants to bang her. If she’d let him. She probably won’t.
Derek’s beaming at her. ‘Behave.’ He says, but he’s smiling like he just won the lottery. ‘Stiles will need round the clock care.’ He goes on. ‘I spoke to a physiotherapist this afternoon to discuss what happens when he tries to walk. We’ll all help out.’
‘Pack.’ Jacksons says in agreement. He does that sometimes, when the pack pulls together to protect one of its own.
They spoil him when he gets home. Jackson’s there when he’s discharged from hospital and he follows the police cruiser in his Porsche. He happily makes Stiles lunch and brings it to the living room where Stiles’ leg is propped on the coffee table. They play Battlefield in the afternoon and Jackson turns into Stiles’ bitch for the day. When Scott comes over Jackson herds Stiles into the corner of the sofa and forces Scott onto the armchair. Danny arrives with pizza for the pack and the Sheriff heads out to work. The girls are late, they’ve been shopping and they dump their bags in the hallway before coming into the room.
Derek’s last to arrive and he immediately forces Jackson out of his seat beside Stiles. They have a silent staring match and Stiles wonders what’s going on between them because they normally get on well. Derek wants to see what pain medication the hospital sent home with him, asks about his exercises and makes sure everyone understands them.
Later Derek helps Stiles up the stairs and into bed while Jackson hovers at the door watching. When Derek goes to the bathroom Jackson is there plumping Stiles’ pillows. Scott comes into the room too, then the girls are there tidying around them and Danny’s sitting in Stiles computer chair.
‘Everybody out.’ Derek snarls when he comes back into the room wiping his hands on his jeans. Scott looks like a kicked puppy until Allison says he can stay overnight with her if he wants. Lydia looks curiously at Derek as Danny heads down the stairs and Jackson’s back to hovering at the door. ‘I said out.’ He says. He’s standing by the head of the bed and has no intention of leaving.
‘What’s going on?’ Lydia finally asks, moving closer to the foot of Stiles bed and Stiles suddenly realises that there’s three werewolves in this room who all look like they want a piece of him.
‘I’m going to check his wound.’ Derek explains rolling his eyes.
‘We can help.’ Lydia says looking back at Jackson who nods enthusiastically.
‘I was wondering could it be healed a little.’ Derek admits.
‘We could definitely help.’
‘Uh, dude’s, you may be my pack and all, and Derek, you’re an awesome Alpha, seriously, you’re doing a better job than the last guy, but this is my leg. And it’s healing Stilinski style, which is to say, human. There’ll be no licking it while it’s this painful, no matter what anyone does.’ Stiles says.
‘But we could help the pain.’ Lydia offers.
‘Yeah but it’s my pain. And I know you’re spit’s awesome Lydia because it’s you but I’ll be having check-ups in a few weeks and they’ll want to know why it healed so well so quickly, so thanks but no thanks guys. Too many awkward questions.’
‘Your right.’ Derek says for the second time in a week. Stiles is too tired to pull him on it so he lets it go, but third time lucky is all he can think. Lydia kisses his forehead again before she leaves. Derek and Jackson stare at each other for a while before Derek rubs a hand over Stiles head and Jackson waves from the door.
Then they’re gone and for the first time since the bullet ripped through skin and muscle Stiles is alone here in his bedroom, looking at the walls and the window. But he knows he not really alone, knows that in the morning Derek or Jackson will be there, and maybe Danny with breakfast. And Scott will be all up in Allison’s space tomorrow because that’s what he’s getting tonight. And Lydia will be doing that affection glare thing she does because she’s decided it’s her duty to take care of the wayward pack.
And Stiles falls asleep knowing that there’s love in his pack and safety and security. And maybe something more. But he’ll explore his options when he’s got a bit more energy, because right now the Sandman’s there ushering him to the land of nod.