Through a series of incredibly embarrassing maneuvers that involved pouring rain, fleeing from hunters, and falling into mud, Stiles is now sick and laying across his bed in utter misery. Derek is leaning against the headboard, stroking his hair, which is only fair and the least he could do, since it’s all his fault.
Derek says, "I don't know how humans can stand being sick like this all the time."
"It's not like we have a choice in the matter,” Stiles says. He rolls over and inches up the bed until he can rest his head on Derek's thigh. "It's not all the time either. I just have a cold because of the incident we're not discussing."
Derek says, "I never promised not to discuss it."
"Not! Discussing!" Stiles says, poking Derek for emphasis. "Scott and I took a blood oath. It didn't actually involve any blood but the intent was totally there."
Derek snorts. "Is that a step up from a pinky swear?"
"We did that too." Stiles has absolutely no shame.
"I'm glad you're fourteen year old girls," Derek says. "It makes me feel good about our future survival."
"Laugh all you want, buddy,” Stiles says. “Fourteen year old girls are the most terrifying thing on the planet; they practically devour each other. I would also like to note that we all lived and that it was your fault to start with.”
Derek makes a noncommittal sound but he doesn’t threaten Stiles. Stiles takes this to mean that he knows damn well it’s his fault. Siles tries to stay silent but it’s basically impossible so he asks, "I’ve been wondering, can you guys get STDs?"
"No," Derek says. “We’re immune to human diseases as far as I know.”
"That's so unfair."
"The only thing stopping you from becoming a werewolf is you, Stiles."
"Really?" Stiles says. "You'd bite me?"
"I'd bite the hell out of you," Derek says. “Why would you think otherwise?”
"That's kind of sweet in a gross and horrible way."
"If I was your alpha, I could order you around,” Derek says. “It’d be great. I could make you stop talking whenever I wanted.”
"Less sweet,” Stiles decides. "More gross and horrible. Do you have fantasies about this? About biting me and ordering me to do your bidding?"
Derek doesn’t answer but he’s looking pretty shifty. Stiles starts laughing until he starts coughing. Painfully. Derek hauls him up in alarm.
"Ow. So much ow," Stiles mumbles. He lays his head back down on Derek's thigh and adds, "Even my little toe hurts; this is such bullshit. Distract me?"
"With what?" Derek asks, petting his hair again. "I'm not stripping for you."
"No, don't make me laugh, oh god, ow ow ow," Stiles manages to say as he starts coughing again. His lungs feel like they're seizing up and he hates the entire planet for a brief moment, just for existing and making it possible that he can exist and feel this lousy. So unfair. "Tell me a story,” he says. “Werewolves have to have their own versions of myths right? Ones in which you're heroes and not villains? Tell me one and don't just tell me about Bigby from Fables because I was the one who gave you those books."
"I liked those."
"I know," Stiles replies. "I'm happy about that. Story time now."
"I only know a few," Derek says. "A lot of the books we had burned." Stiles can feel Derek’s body tensing and pats Derek's leg until he relaxes again.
"Make something up if you don't remember,” Stiles says. “How the hell will I know?"
“All right,” Derek says, "This is one my mother told me. It’s about how we were made, the first of us. She told me that this world we live in isn't the first world. Humans weren’t made here, they come from another realm, one that is far away. It’s a place of darkness, and monsters that creep slowly.
“The humans live in fear and misery, never knowing when their short lives will end. Some of them are strong, though; some of them venture out in the dark to search for something better. One of them is a leader of her people. A woman, fierce and strong, who tears apart the darkness with her spirit.”
Derek pauses to pull Stiles further up on his lap.
“One of the monsters bite the woman,” Derek continues, once they’ve settled again. “But she is so strong, she doesn’t die like the others. She mixes with the monster and becomes something more. Something better.”
"A werewolf,” Stiles says.
"Exactly," Derek agrees. “Our mother. Our first.”
"You guys have a myth where you're half monster?" Stiles asks, doubtfully.
"We're so strong that we tempered a monster,” Derek says, looking down at Stiles. “We made it part of us and drew from it. It's not an insult."
Stiles nods against his leg.
Satisfied, Derek continues. "She became stronger and faster than the rest of her people. Her eyes flash red and the others could see her better in the dark. They could follow her safely.”
"The first Alpha," Stiles says. "That's so cool. She was probably the fiercest bitch ever."
"She could fight off some of the monsters,” Derek agrees. “The humans were finally able to gain some traction in the terrible land of darkness, but they never stopped searching for something better. One day her improved senses found a tunnel and at the end, very faint, was light. She had never seen light, but she thought maybe the other side was a place for her people. She told them what she found, one by one, in secret, so that the monsters couldn't hear. They planned for months before they slowly began to crawl up the tunnel to the next world, this world. She died to save them all, made sure everyone was able to get through and that the monsters couldn’t follow. Her sons, who were also wolves, guided the people and remembered her. The mother of everyone."
"So we're all here in the world of light because of a werewolf?"
"That's right," Derek says. "Her name was Lilith. She helped us all come here."
"Lilith?” Stiles asks, rolling over. “I thought Lilith was a witch."
"I don't know that much about human myths,” Derek shrugs. “We talked about them, but even the humans in my family preferred the werewolf ones. Our stories don't discount humans, but human myths tend to treat us like the monsters of the old worlds. It was easier to stick to werewolf ones."
“Lilith was supposedly the first woman, but she was banished for not listening to Adam or some bullshit so she left Eden and lay with monsters,” Stiles explains. “Your version sounds like a mixture of that and the creation myth of the Dine minus the clouds.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Derek says, “But that’s not really a new thing so go ahead and ramble.”
Stiles says, “Dine is the proper name for the Navajo. They believe there was a first world of darkness and humans escaped from it.”
Derek shrugs. “All creation myths are scattered pieces of whatever someone a long time ago thought happened. Maybe some of it is even true, but I don’t think we’ll ever know which parts.”
“That’s really profound, and later we can talk about Joseph Campbell together, but right now, I want some cold medicine.” Stiles says. “Why can’t I have it?”
“It smells terrible,” Derek says. “I don’t think you should put it in your body.”
“I can think of some things I’d like to put in my body,” Stiles says before he blows his nose really loudly.
Derek deadpans, “Sexy.”
“No laughing!” Stiles insists, pathetically. “Stop it and get me cold medicine.”
“I told you you’re not taking it,” Derek says. “Stop mentioning it.”
“Well, now I’m just going to make up a song about it and sing it until you give in,” Stiles says. “First verse: Ohhh pseudoephedrine...” He stops when Derek slaps his hand over his mouth.
“Or I suffocate you,” Derek suggests. He reaches for a pillow with his other hand in a menacing fashion.
“Try not to do anything really gross with my corpse,” Stiles croaks, now that he can breathe through his mouth again. “You already have a weird reputation.”
“I take it back,” Derek says. “Don’t speak. In fact, don’t talk ever again.”
“I will remain silent in exchange for Sudafed, and not that fake kind either.”
“You seriously think I am letting you take Sudafed when you’re on that fucking Adderall crap?”
“You do remember that you’re a werewolf and not a doctor?” Stiles says. “If it’s unclear at any point, look down and note your lack of a stethoscope.”
“It raises your blood pressure through the roof,” Derek says. “I looked it up.”
“You looked it up?”
“I didn’t know what Adderall was, so I looked it up,” Derek replies. “I don’t understand how people can be on seven different pills and still live.”
“Maybe they need seven different pills to live,” Stiles suggests. “You should look into medical school. Dr. Werewolf, M. D. would be hilarious.”
“How do you know I have a college degree,” Derek asks suspiciously.
“You invade my privacy, I invade yours; it’s completely fair,” Stiles slurs the words a little bit as he drifts into sleep.
Stiles falls asleep on Derek’s leg, open mouthed and drooling on Derek’s favorite jeans. Derek lets him sleep anyway, smiling to himself. Even in his sleep, Stiles is still talking. Derek stays on Stiles’ bed for two hours carefully listening to his wheezy breathing and cursing the hunters for the 75th hundred time.
He looks over at the window when Scott hops up on the roof and climbs in. Scott’s face scrunches up when he sniffs at Stiles.
“Man, I really do not miss that.”
Derek glares at him. “No shit, really?”
Scott opens his mouth and Derek says, “That was sarcasm, you idiot, and if you wake up Stiles, I’m going to rip out your tongue.”
Scott grins at Derek and says, “Aww. I didn’t realize you liked liked him.”
Derek’s eyes flash at Scott, who takes out his camera phone and snaps a picture of them. He quickly jumps out the window as Derek hisses, “I will claw off your face.”
Stiles mumbles, “Scott. Scott, get me Sudafed,” as he shoves his face further into Derek’s jeans.
“Do not get him anything.” Derek knows that Scott is still listening.
Scott sticks his head back into the window and says, “It’s totally fine, he’s taken it before.”
Derek carefully shifts Stiles onto a pillow and hops off the bed to speed over to the window in time to grab Scott.
“I don’t care what he’s done before, he’s not doing it now,” Derek says. “I looked up drug interactions and it’s a bad idea.”
“You’ve been researching drug interactions for Stiles?” Scott asks. “That’s so nice.” He gives him a sunny smile.
“Would you rather I hate him?” Derek asks. “Would that be better for you?”
“No,” Scott says. “I said it was nice! Stiles could use someone to take care of him.”
“You don’t even like me,” Derek says. “Why would you want me taking care of Stiles?”
“Because he listens to you and you’re strong. In case you hadn’t noticed, Stiles tends to kind of run rampant over most people, including his dad.”
“You don’t listen either,” Derek says.
“Yeah, that’s what we bonded over,” Scott says proudly.
Derek says, “You’re both a pain in my ass.”
Scott says, “We’re bonding over that now too.”
“Why is this my life?” Derek asks. Scott shrugs. On the bed, Stiles mumbles something in his sleep about killing bunny rabbits.
Derek shoves Scott towards the window. “Get out. I’ve got him.”
Scott says, “I’m going to work. Text me if he feels worse.”
Derek crawls back on the bed after Scott leaves and groans when he realizes that he forgot to take Scott’s phone and erase that stupid picture. Since Scott has probably already sent it to everyone he’s ever met, Derek figures he’ll have to have Stiles get revenge later. He stretches out next to Stiles and closes his eyes.
When he wakes up, it’s dark out and Stiles is still asleep. Derek leans over and rests his head against Stiles’s back. He listens carefully to his breathing. It sounds a little less congested.
“The army is coming,” Stiles says. Derek leans over him carefully to look at his face.
“The robot army,” Stiles says. His eyes are moving rapidly under his closed eyelids.
“There’s no robot army,” Derek whispers.
“Robot Werewolves,” Stiles mumbles.
“I want a robot werewolf army,” Derek says. “You need to make me one.”
Stiles opens his eyes abruptly and says, “What?” He jerks back into Derek’s arm when he realizes that Derek’s face is right in front of his. “Why are you wrapped around me like that?” Stiles asks, alarmed. “Are you turning into a boa constrictor next?”
“You were talking in your sleep,” Derek explains. “I wanted to see where it was going.”
“Augh. It’s dark out. Why did you let me sleep for so long?”
“I slept with you,” Derek says. “You needed it.”
Stiles grins. “We slept together. Can I tell everyone? Can I make it sound lewd?”
Derek starts to move away from him, but Stiles grabs him and says, “Wait, wait, wait, I want to discuss this a little further.”
Stiles moves so he can wrap a leg around Derek and adds, “While you’re here...” and then he sneezes violently.
Derek starts to laugh really hard.
“Fuck you! Ow. Why,” Stiles cries out as he touches his nose. “Why are you laughing, I sneezed on you; why aren’t you trying to kill me?”
“I think the universe hates us both,” Derek says, “and we’re perfect for each other.”
“Aww.” Stiles says. “My face hurts.”
Derek untangles himself from Stiles and goes into the bathroom to wash his face. Stiles is talking away in the other room about them dating and getting married and having cubs, with Derek becoming a sexy doctor. Derek shakes his head in the mirror and blinks because for a split second he could swear he saw another wolf in the mirror. He touches the mirror and he sees red eyes flash for the briefest moment.
“Lilith?” he asks. Derek frowns at the strange feeling that washes over him as all the sound rushes back into the room. He can hear Stiles talking about food in the other room. Derek shakes off the eerie feeling and calls out, “I’m going to make some soup.”
“Don’t break the microwave!” Stiles says.
Derek growls at the mirror and stomps back into Stiles’ bedroom and says, “Just because that happened one time...”
“The arcing effect was pretty cool,” Stiles concedes, “but I need my microwave. I’m just saying: take the soup out of the can first.”
“You know,” Derek says, heading for the window. “You sound better. You can get your own food.”
“Hey!” Stiles says. “That’s not nice!”
Derek looks back at Stiles who says, “I’m totally sorry, can I have soup now?”
Derek goes down to the kitchen and spends five minutes digging through cabinets, trying to find soup. Stiles is keeping up his running commentary on life, jumping from monkeys to laundry to the theoretical existence of white holes and how they could relate to wormhole travel. Derek looks up at the ceiling in confusion at the last topic. He puts the soup in a pan and then glares at it while it slowly starts to simmer. His sister told him when he was little that if he glares hard enough at things while they cook, they cook better. He knows it’s not true, but he is excellent at glaring now, so it was time well spent.
It’s kind of a habit.
One he’s never explaining to anyone.
The soup comes to a boil and he quickly turns it off. Upstairs, Stiles is telling him about the comic ‘Lucifer’ and the many reasons that Derek needs to read it, and that Stiles will download it for him, and that he can use Stiles’ computer even if reading comics on the computer is kind of annoying.
Derek brings the soup, some crackers, and two bottles of water upstairs.
Stiles gulps it all down in five minutes and flops back, starfishing out all over the bed.
“If you want me to move so you can get back in,” Stiles says, “just let me know.”
“Did you even chew any of that?” Derek asks. “That’s kind of disgusting and a little awe-inspiring.”
“That sums me up pretty well I think,” Stiles agrees, patting his stomach.
Derek clears the debris of Stiles’ dinner away and head back down stairs to thoroughly loot his cabinets. Derek can hear Stiles’ mumbling ease off as he falls back asleep.