It's a clear sign of what bad shape he's in that he doesn't hear Stiles coming. Not until Stiles starts talking. Which, naturally, is the moment he enters the room. Or possibly before. He stomps over the floorboards towards Derek, his righteous anger visible in the moonlight and audible in every word.
"What did you do to Lydia? If you've harmed one single beautiful red hair on her head, I'll—I'll rip your throat out with my teeth," Stiles yells at him, the last, ridiculous threat said as he's standing right over Derek. Stiles' face contorts a minute. "Okay, so probably not with my teeth, because I can't do the whole fangs thing, and human incisors aren't really made for that kind of ripping. Plus it'd be really disgusting, all that blood and stuff," he adds, as though he's just talking to himself. Which he effectively is by now, because Derek's concentrating most of his efforts on holding his body still. He's drained like he's never been before, and though he knows in his head that it's a warm evening, his brain can't persuade his body that it isn't deathly cold. He refuses to shiver.
The irony of the accusation still gets through to him, though. He snorts, a sharp huff that would be a laugh if he had the will or the strength to laugh. What he did to Lydia? Yeah, right. Blame the werewolf.
"Oh, you think it's funny, do you? We'll see what my dad has to say about you attacking or kidnapping or whatever else it is you've done to an innocent teenage girl. Actually, technically, not my dad I suppose, seeing as he isn't the Sheriff right now," and Stiles' voice drops in silence, his whole aspect oozing guilt, distracted a moment from his threats. It's only a moment though — he steels his jaw and lifts his head and carries on, extra determination in his tone making up for the momentary lapse. "But I'm phoning the Sheriff's office, and they'll be all over your wolfy ass."
When Derek has his eyes open, there are alternately two and three Stiles standing over him. Briefly four, but he blinks and two of them disappear. At least he's only hearing one of them. That's something. It's definitely better when he closes his eyes though, except he can't, because Derek doesn't get to be weak. He can't afford to be weak. And Stiles shouldn't be here. It isn't safe, and for all that Derek threatens Stiles on a regular basis, he doesn't want him to get hurt.
Stiles is still talking. "—and aren't you even going to glare at me? I mean, I'm used to the silent treatment from you, but the lack of a decent glare makes it feel like we've fallen into Bizarro World."
Derek glares at him.
"See, that's better. I bet that made you feel better, didn't it? Not that I care about how you feel, because you still haven't told me what you've done with Lydia!" Stiles is bending over him now, far too close, and shouting in his face, zero sense of self-preservation, the idiot. He's standing in the direct path of the moonbeams, and Derek must be far-gone because he wants to reach out and touch the silver-lit tips of Stiles' hair. He lifts his head instead, and tries to remember what happened. His uncle and Lydia working together, leaving together. Both looking better than Derek feels.
"The last I saw of Lydia, she was fine," Derek manages, though it's little more than a mumble. Stiles doesn't need to know the rest. Derek can't let him go running to Lydia's house to rescue her when she's in no immediate danger; he'd only get himself killed, and Derek isn't going to let that happen, especially not for a girl who was crazy enough to help resurrect a insane werewolf after helping kill him.
"Fine? Fine, you say? Seriously? Then why did she text me an SOS? And now her phone's going to voicemail."
"An SOS?" Derek asks, because that doesn't make sense. Peter had taken Lydia's arm gently — after peering down at Derek and promising he'd be back — and Lydia had tripped off with him like nothing had happened, back to the remains of her party. Peter won't kill Lydia. Not tonight, at least. He still has a use for her, will need a place to regain his strength, to bathe in the full moon. Lydia's safe for now.
Stiles pulls out his phone, taps a few buttons, and turns it around to face Derek. The message is short and to the point. Stiles could learn a lesson from it.
hale house hlp
"Did you consider that she might not have been asking for help for herself?" Derek asks, too fast in his irritation. He bites his tongue, but it's too late. He's just admitted his own weakness to Stiles. Admitted he needed help. He doesn't do that. He hasn't asked for help in years.
Stiles' eyebrows go impressively high. "Huh, no, have to admit that I hadn't. So who—? Ohhh!" His mouth drops open and he looks down at Derek like he's just been handed a very interesting specimen on a dissecting board and wants to finish opening it up. "She was asking for help for you. You're hurt. And that's why you're just lying on the floor looking blearily up at me, instead of your usual, you know, wolfy bad-ass attitude. Which I would totally have noticed sooner but sometimes I find it's best to focus on one thing, and I was concentrating on helping Lydia. So, um. Do you need some help?"
Derek can't help groaning. What is his life that it's come to this? And that he has no choice other than to say yes.
Except he doesn't have to, because this is Stiles, who doesn't believe in listening for an answer when he can do the talking. "Well, duh, of course you need help. Stiles to the rescue. Again, I might add." He looks all too pleased with himself, but Derek can't waste his energy on feeling irritated. He needs all of it for trying to keep some sense of situational awareness — to make up for Stiles' complete lack — while Stiles grabs him under the arms and pulls him to his feet.
Derek can't stand, not without help — his legs feel distant and his arms heavy. Even with help, it takes all the effort Derek can muster. "Need you to do two things."
"Of course," Stiles says, which is incredibly foolish, because he has no idea what Derek is about to demand. Derek isn't Scott. He and Stiles aren't friends. Just—people who keep saving each other, Derek tells himself, because he can lie to himself if he wants to. At least Stiles has the sense to backtrack. "Well, what I mean is, tell me, and then we'll see." He nods as though he's gotten out of that one well.
"Shut up, and listen out for anyone approaching."
"No problem. I can do that. I'll be stealth Stiles. Though, um, I kinda took extra Adderall when I got the text — which you can't judge me for because it's been a long day and I got drugged with some wacky hallucinogen in the punch at the party and I needed to be able to focus and stay awake to help Lydia — so I might not be my best at being quiet."
If Derek weren't staring down at his feet, getting them to move as much through sheer willpower as any strength in his legs, he'd have something to say about Stiles' ability to be stealthy at the best of times. As it is, the journey to Stiles' jeep takes far too long, and Derek doubts Stiles is actually going to notice approaching danger until it's on top of them. He's just lucky the Argents are likely to be too occupied with their own problems to be out hunting tonight.
Derek half-stumbles and is half-shoved by Stiles into the passenger seat.
The next Derek is aware of anything beyond cold and motion and background words he doesn't take in, he's being pulled out of the jeep. He must have faded out, his body foolishly thinking he was safe enough to risk it, but he can't let that happen again. He has to pull himself together, force the remains of the drug out of his body and heal from Peter's attack. Become himself again, not some mewling, helpless human who can't stop shivering even though it's a balmy spring evening.
"Where are—?" he starts, but the words are slurred. Even he can tell they don't sound like words.
Stiles works it out though. Smart kid, for all he's so reckless and dumb half the time. "My place. It's okay. Well, it will be if you think you can walk upstairs without me having to drag you, because sneaking past my dad isn't easy."
"I can walk," Derek asserts, though it might be a lie.
Not a complete lie, as it turns out. To call it walking might be an exaggeration, but, with the help of Stiles' arm around his waist, he manages to climb what feels like an interminable staircase with minimal noise. The effort makes him stupid though — he doesn't notice until too late that they took a wrong turn. They're not in Stiles' room, they're in the bathroom.
"What the f—?" Derek starts, but Stiles — Stiles, of all people — shushes him.
"Quiet," he says in a whisper. "Dad's not going to think anything of me having a shower after a party, but he's not gonna want to hear voices coming from the bathroom. He'd get all sorts of ideas — wrong ideas, very wrong ideas — and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't like any of them."
That doesn't answer Derek's question. He opens his mouth to try again, and Stiles actually puts his finger over it and presses his lips together. Derek ought to bite his finger off. Instead he just closes his mouth, slumps against the wall, and raises one eyebrow.
"You said Lydia blew some powder over you, right?" Stiles asks.
Derek has no recollection of telling Stiles that. Maybe he talked in the jeep. But he nods anyway. At least Stiles doesn't know about Peter yet. And Derek needs to keep it that way. He'll deal with Peter.
"So, it's obviously still affecting you, which means we need to wash it off you."
It might not make the slightest difference. Peter draining his life-force is likely the main cause of his weakness now, but the effect of the dust hadn't worn off when Peter drained him, so it might be both. Derek doesn't know, and he hates not knowing, being out of his depth. But Stiles' idea can't hurt. "Okay." He pulls at his jacket, but it's futile. He has four hands waving in front of him and he can't work out which are the real pair and which the drug or exhaustion-induced pair, and even when he closes his eyes, he still can't seem to make his hands functional.
"Jesus, stop being so independent and just let me do it," Stiles whispers, and then he's awkwardly stripping Derek.
"Can tell you've never done this before," Derek mocks, because he has to.
"What, never snuck a half-unconscious werewolf into the house and stripped his ungrateful ass so I could hose off the magic powder he's gotten himself covered in? Oddly, no, I haven't done that before. Thanks a lot, my life was bereft without this particular experience." Stiles' voice starts rising on the rant, until he remembers and delivers the rest of it in an angry whisper. "This is me thanking you from the bottom of my deeply sarcastic, incredibly fed-up, is-going-to-get-grounded-for-the-rest-of-eternity-if-we're-not-careful heart." The way he's handling Derek belies the words, though. He's making the job harder on himself by being careful not to let Derek's head fall back against the tiles, and there's a sharp intake of breath when he sees the claw marks on Derek's arm.
"These look nasty," Stiles says, breathing out slowly and looking edgeways at Derek's arm as though he needs to look but at the same time doesn't want to see. "And they're not healing. They should be healing."
"They're nothing. And they will heal."
"Really, that's it?" Stiles shakes his head in disbelief. Derek thinks he mutters something under his breath about stubborn werewolves, but it's so quiet even he can't be sure.
"That's it," Derek says, not inviting questions. Stiles keeps going anyway.
"What did that to you?" he asks as he pulls Derek's shirt off, carefully so as not to catch on the still open wounds.
"Are you going to help me into the shower?" Derek asks, because he isn't going to answer the question.
"Don't think I don't know when you're changing the subject. But yeah, so, modesty or not," Stiles asks, pointing at Derek's briefs. Derek just rolls his eyes. "Okay, I'm guessing you don't have anything to be ashamed of in that department, so we'll go for no." Stiles averts his eyes as he tugs at Derek's briefs, but Derek notices him glancing down once he's naked.
The shower is freezing. It hits Derek like shards of ice, like the worst kind of winter rain on a night when there's no moon to take away the sting, and he can feel the anger welling up inside him. He tamps down on it — not the time — and grits his teeth around an order. "Hot water."
"It's too hot?" Stiles asks, sounding puzzled. "I suppose you might be feverish."
"No," Derek grinds out. "Need hot water. This is cold."
"No, buddy, it isn't. See," he says, and Derek focuses on the dial below the shower that Stiles is pointing at. He's telling the truth. "Wow, if this feels cold to you, you must be in bad shape. Not that that wasn't already obvious, but still. Okay, let's get you out of there. All the nasty magic dust must have gone down the drain by now."
"Stop calling it that."
"What, magic dust? Would you rather I called it purple dust? You know, even I'm out of words right now. Because purple dust, that's just—priceless. You got knocked out by purple dust. That's just so—yeah, out of words. But I'll come up with something witty later, and remember to tell you." He throws a towel at Derek. "Okay, you're drying yourself, because I have to draw a line somewhere, and strictly speaking tonight has crossed all sorts of lines, but drying your junk is way, way over the line." Derek senses a lie in there, but he'll think about that later, when he isn't dripping on the Stilinskis' floor.
Derek manages to drag the towel over himself enough that he's no longer actually dripping, though he's not really dry either. And he's shivering harder than he was before.
Stiles looks at him appraisingly, every second of decision-making visible in his expression, and then clearly comes to a conclusion. He picks up Derek's clothes, wraps another towel around him, helps him out of the shower, and shuffles the two of them quietly to Stiles' room, where he manhandles Derek into bed. Tomorrow, Derek is going to have nightmares about being handled like a child. Right now, being horizontal and under a mound of bedding is what he needs. He's still shaking, too hard to hide, but there's nothing he can do right now other than get better as fast as he can so he can sort out whatever hell Peter is planning on raining down on them. So he turns into the pillow and pulls the quilt tight, and tries to get warm. He vaguely hears Stiles leave the room, and he knows time is passing, but none of his senses are working properly so he has no idea how long it is before Stiles returns.
"You're gonna have to try to sit up for this," Stiles says, and the bed dips slightly; Stiles is sitting down next to him. Derek lifts his head, and Stiles sighs. "I guess that's gonna have to do, but I don't have a sippy cup, so don't spill this." He holds a mug to Derek's mouth, and Derek drinks. Hot chocolate. It's good. Unfamiliar, because it's been years. He was a kid with a family last time he drank hot chocolate. He swallows.
"Before you complain that it's not alcohol, let me tell you, my father knows exactly how much booze there is in the house, and if any of it disappears, I'm grounded for life. Which on top of being grounded for life if I'm caught with a naked werewolf in my bed, means I'm potentially risking getting grounded for twice my natural life. And don't think I've forgotten that you haven't told me why or how Lydia knocked you out with magical dust and then called me to help you."
Given everything that's been going on in Beacon Hills, Stiles' life might not be as long as it should be. Derek drinks the rest of the chocolate in silence, trying not to think about that.
"I'm gonna call Scott," Stiles says when Derek's drained the mug.
"No," Derek says sharply.
"I've got to. He needs to know what's going on. Maybe he can help you heal."
"He'll kill me," Derek says. Not because he believes it, but because Scott ought to. A weak Alpha is a liability to the pack, and Derek is worse than that; he's an Alpha relying on a human to rescue him.
"Are you crazy, of course Scott isn't going to kill you. Scott doesn't kill people! Not even really, really annoying people."
"He should," Derek says, but doesn't argue any more, or try to make sense of the expressions speeding across Stiles' face as he puts down his phone and mimes zipping his lips.
The pillow beckons, and Derek gives in.
He must have slept. He's less cold now, though it's relative. He's still far too cold for comfort, and not recovering properly — he can feel the weakness like a disease. And he's not alone.
Stiles is in bed with him, pressed right up against him. Arms around him. Like Derek needs protecting or saving.
Derek shifts backwards, but Stiles is actually clinging to him. "Don't be an idiot," Stiles mutters, and shuffles slightly so he's pressed back up against Derek. "It's standard first aid. Body heat, best way to warm up a cold body. Unless the cold body is dead, in which case, ick."
Derek wants to argue. He wants to get up and storm out without looking back, jump out the window and hit the ground running. Except that's a lie. What he really wants is to fall back to sleep like this. He wants to pretend, just for an hour or two, that he has no responsibilities, that no one will get hurt if he's not back up to full strength by the morning, that no one relies on him, that it isn't his fault his family is dead. He wants to believe that there's someone who cares about him. He inhales sharply, and instead of letting go like any sensible person would, Stiles just holds him tighter, presses up against him like an octopus, all clingy limbs, and it should be annoying, but it's the best thing Derek has felt in years.
Derek settles, closes his eyes and lets the tension leach out of him and Stiles' shared warmth sink in. The heaviness of sleep is welcome this time.
There's the cool gray fuzz of approaching daylight seeping into the room the next time Derek wakes. Stiles is still holding him, and Derek is warm again, wrapped in a cocoon of Stiles and heavy cotton bedding. He's still weaker than he'd like, but nothing like the crippling weakness of the night, and he can feel the lack of pain in his arm where Peter clawed him — he's healed. He keeps his breaths slow and deep and feels his recovery, the spark of renewed energy building inside him.
And then Stiles makes a sound, just a small, muffled sound, like he's waking up and remembering. Derek is about to brace himself to be shoved away, or to move away himself, but he doesn't get as far as deciding which before there's a soft kiss on his forehead followed by a gasp.
"Oh, fuck," Stiles says, and then, quieter, like he wants to freak out without anyone hearing him, "fuck, fuck, fuck. What the hell am I thinking? Fuck, fuck, fuck."
Derek lifts his head enough to look Stiles in the eye.
"You're awake. Of course you're awake. Don't kill me," Stiles says. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Can we just pretend it was an accident. A lingering dream, you know how it is, you meet a gorgeous girl — or, yeah, sometimes it's a guy, I admit — and it goes from hand-holding to a bit of cuddling, and then you're kissing, except obviously that's when you wake up slobbering on the pillow, because dreams never let you get to the good stuff. And when I say 'you', I mean me, naturally, because you don't need to have dreams like that. Or, if you don't like the dream thing, let's just say it didn't happen. That's good. It didn't happen. Nothing, nadda, move along now, nothing to see here."
Stiles is lying. It wasn't an accident, though he was obviously not awake enough to actually think about what he was doing. Derek is fully awake now. Recovered enough to be in full possession of his senses. So why he reacts by kissing Stiles, he doesn't know. Or he does, but isn't ready to admit it. He just does it, leans in and kisses him on the lips, slowly, letting his open bottom lip linger on Stiles' before pulling back to look at Stiles. Stiles' mouth is actually closed for once, and there's a sleep crease in his cheek, and he looks sleepy and utterly bemused, but there's an undercurrent there that Derek recognizes, for all that he hasn't felt it in years. Relief and want.
There's an echo of the same emotions inside him.
"If that was to shut me up, it absolutely didn't work. Well, obviously it did for a second, but most people when they want me to shut up prefer it if I shut up for more than a few seconds. Oh my god, are you still drugged? Is that was this is? Because if so, that is so unfair. Because then obviously I have to pretend nothing happened, and be all honorable, and now I—"
There aren't any choices. Derek would never kill him or harm him to shut him up and besides, Stiles ignores his threats, has from the start. Which leaves Derek with just one option, the option he swore not to take again after Kate Argent ripped apart his life. But then Stiles seems to be the kind of guy Derek can't help but exceptions for. Time after time he's broken his own rules for him. So he kisses him again, thoroughly this time. Slides his hands around Stiles' back and rubs the angular planes of his scapula, finding the dents between his shoulder blades with his fingers, the soft warmth pooled there between the fragile wings of his bones. Stiles is trembling at the touch, at the kiss, and it makes something well up inside Derek. Fear and the scent of it fills him with bloodlust, but Stiles isn't fearful, and this isn't bloodlust. It's something that shouldn't be happening, but Derek doesn't stop and Stiles doesn't want him to, tells him so insistently with his mouth and his tongue and his hands.
There's a lump under Derek's thigh — it feels like a balled-up sock — and it's too warm now, nestled underneath a pile of thick bedding. Stiles must have put everything he could find on the bed. Derek ignores the discomforts easily, the sweet feel of Stiles' skin against his where Stiles' t-shirt has ridden up and the faint noises Stiles makes against the kiss enough to make anything else irrelevant.
Derek nips at Stiles' lower lip; Stiles groans, so Derek does it again. He's not demonstrative, not with words, so he lets his actions say what he's not able to put into words, even in his head. He scrapes his fingers through Stiles' hair, resting his thumb for a moment in the depression at the base of his skull. He lets out a moan of his own when Stiles fights for control of the kiss, but presses down against him with his entire body to let Stiles know exactly who is in control.
The bedsprings creak under them, and Stiles freezes, lips motionless for a second before he keeps going regardless.
Derek's turned on, but not enough to make him stupid. Not enough that he isn't fully aware of what he's doing, and not enough that he can't stop. He doesn't want to, but that's not the point. He slows down, lets his hands rest still on Stiles' nape, fingers brushing against the short hairs there, and pulls out of the kiss, not letting Stiles follow him.
Stiles sighs, and is quiet for longer than Derek can ever remember, his eyes flickering around the room as though at least some part of him always has to be in motion.
"You'll, um, need to get out of here before my dad gets up," Stiles says eventually, like it's killing him to say it, a bruised, hoarse whisper. He licks his lips unconsciously and Derek tears his eyes away from that and the strangely tender expression on Stiles' face. "If you're well enough. I could probably hide you here for the day if you're not," he offers, though there's no conviction in his tone. Just willingness to try. He probably couldn't hide Derek without being caught, and anyway Derek needs to be out of here before Peter makes his move.
He makes to get up, but Stiles shakes his head. "Dad won't be up for a couple of hours yet," he says, voice aching with hope.
Peter won't be ready yet. He would have killed Derek last night if he could, but he didn't, so there's a little time. Not much, but some. Enough that Derek can take the words for what they mean: stay for now.
"You should get some more sleep," he says, making it an order. No matter how hard Derek is going to work to keep Stiles out of the hell that's ahead of them, he doubts he'll be successful. At least Stiles can get a couple of hours' peaceful sleep first.
"Yeah. I'll just—bathroom. Back in minute," he says awkwardly, flushing and not meeting Derek's eyes, as though Derek isn't fully aware that Stiles is hard and heading to the bathroom to jerk off.
It's two minutes, and Derek remembers being like that, not able to control himself. He doesn't say anything, just lifts the covers for Stiles to slip back beside him, and when Stiles rests his face against Derek's shoulder, Derek breathes in the warm boy scent of him and lets his own arousal fade into sleep.
Two hours. He can give himself that.