Getting down the stairs without groaning was going be the hardest part. One, because he didn't want to alert the werewolf, two because said werewolf would make him take even more of the good pills while simultaneously using his werewolf magic to make Stiles literally pass out where he was sitting. He was already high on too much sleep and just enough narcotics as it was, no need to make it worse.
The grumble in his stomach reminded him that he was on a mission. And success was critical to survival.
Spiral staircases should never exist in reality though. They're so pretty, but not only did he have to focus on actually moving down the steps without falling (like normal), but there was a hidden danger. The inside of the step was inconveniently too small for his casted foot. Every step was calculated, but the first slip managed to jostle his hip, the flash and subsequent ache of pain reminding him of the spectacular, Jackson-Pollock-esque bruise that covered most of his left side.
Derek, from what Stiles could see when he felt it was safe to look up from his feet, was lounging across his couch, clad only in sweats and the loosest shirt Stiles had ever seen him in. He didn't even know shirts existed that didn't cling to those delightful muscles with every fiber. His second slip nearly failed the first objective when he let out a sharp gasp, but Derek was either ignoring Stiles completely, or so immersed in the book he was reading that he didn't know Stiles was there.
Neither option was acceptable.
Finally safe from the Staircase of Death, Stiles shuffled over to the couch, eyes on Derek for any sign that he was gonna pay attention to him. Nothing. He sits on Derek's feet when he makes it to the couch. Still nothing. Unless you counted Derek shifting his feet so his right toes weren't dangerously close to, you know, Stiles's junk. If Derek was going to be anywhere near his junk, it shouldn't be with his feet.
Not at first anyway, but he would be open minded if Derek asked him to be. So open minded. Bring on the foot touching.
Another stomach grumble. And this one hurts. How long had it been since he'd been fed? Hours? Days? Did the werewolf even care that Stiles was completely incapable of fending for himself at this moment in time? Wasn't that the whole point of Stiles's prolonged stay at the loft? So Derek could dote on him while his body tried to function at least sort of normally again? He was freaking chimera bait and made to be it's chew toy, and this is the treatment he gets? Where's the respect?
"Derek," he says.
Nothing. No response. No twitch of stupid eyebrows, no delicately sassy turning of the head in his direction. Not even an exaggerated eye roll that would show off the myriad of colors that were Derek's annoyingly perfect eyes. Clearly, Derek did not love him anymore.
"Well, it's clear to me now, Derek, we can never have kids," he says, slumping against Derek's legs.
"Oh?" Derek finally, finally responds, leaning to rest his book on the table, one hand on Stiles's back to keep him in place as he does.
"You're a horrible provider. Here I am, dying of starvation, and you don't even care. No provider instincts." Derek's shirt has tented funny, forming a long tunnel up from his waist all the way up to one of his pecs. And there are ridges. So many ridges and dips and Stiles wants to lick them.
He can't reach Derek's torso with his tongue from where he's curled up though, so he settles for worming a finger up the shirt tunnel, feeling it rise and fall with the dips of Derek's abs. And Derek tenses, and yeah, it's probably awkward as hell for him, but it makes everything bulge and it's kind of awesome and yes, there are few things as great as Derek's flesh.
"Derek," Stiles mutters, rubbing his head into his thigh, "I think I'm becoming a zombie. I'm so hungry and your body is looking pretty appetizing and I wanna put my mouth on you. But I don't wanna be a zombie, or a cannibal. And I'm not sure which is gonna happen so we should play it safe and you should feed me."
"I, uh, don't think those are related." And oh, Derek's smiling, and blushing just above his stupidly perfect stubble. It’s glorious.
"The point remains," Stiles says, huffing, "that I need to be fed. And you need to listen to those basic instincts of yours and make sure I don't die."
"I thought it was Scott's job to make sure you didn't die. He's the alpha."
"Scott's supposed to make sure I don't die from monsters. And when he fails a little bit and I end up maimed, it's your job to offer up your spare bed and make sure I feel better. So, you know, provide, or whatever." He throws a loose gesture that's meant to guide Derek in the direction of the kitchen, but his arm still won't work right after they set the dislocation and he ends up nearly smacking himself in the face.
Derek starts rubbing his back. Gentle circular motions that are far more soothing than they should be, and wow, that hand's been hiding back there awhile. "I think I'm listening to my instincts pretty well if I'm trying to keep you from getting sick. Your doctor said eating too often with the medications you're on will make you nauseous. You know that."
"But it's been hours!" And Derek's voice is too far away, and kind of muffled. He kicks his feet up onto the couch, pushing with his good foot and wiggling –no, no wiggling, that still hurts, scooting carefully up between Derek's side and the back of the couch. Yes, Derek's arm/pec/shoulder area thing is a much better pillow than his legs.
"Stiles," Derek says, soft and still kind of muffled, "It's been only forty five minutes since I forced that soup on you. You're gonna have to wait."
"We can definitely never have kids. You're too much of a hard ass. You have to bend sometimes, Derek, they would never thrive with someone so strict." From here, he can feel (ooh, and see, hello again,pecs) Derek's huff of laughter.
“I thought it was because I don’t care enough. Now I care too much?”
“New information but it’s the same diagnosis,” he mumbles.
"I'm just still stuck on the new development that kids were going to be a part of our future at some point. When did this conversation happen?" Derek's hand moves from its resting place down to Stiles's lower back where his shirt has ridden up, and he knows the second he feels Derek's hand on his skin that he's doing the pain pull thing, the entire spot tingling. For the sake of it though, he's gonna pretend like that hand is there because Derek wants it to be, not because Stiles's needs it.
"It was subtext. You know," he says trying to fight off a yawn, "somewhere between the 'you're my whole world' gazes you'd throw at me, and my not so subtle willingness to do anything to see you safe and happy. We would of made it to the kids conversation eventually. But that's never gonna happen now."
"Because I'm a horrible provider?"
"No, because that would be a redundant conversation after this one. Geez."
"There might need to be more than one conversation about this though," Derek says, and even though he sounds peaceful, the kind of peaceful Stiles didn't know Derek could sound like until recently, Stiles can hear the stress underneath it.
So he has two choices, fight the heavy weight of his eyelids, keep them open and talk about this with Derek, or give in to the floaty feeling that comes standard with lying against a cozy werewolf. If they keep talking, Derek might get up, and Stiles is experiencing the closest thing to heaven that he will ever get with his large mass underneath him. No way in hell is he risking that for anything.
He knows he's been asleep for hours when he wakes up. Nothing really hurts, and he suspects that that's Derek's doing, since his hand is still resting on his lower back. But he can't really move either; the mobility that comes with his painkillers gone, all dried up from his system. He wiggles his fingers, getting circulation going again from where his arm has been trapped under his body for who knows how long.
Really though, he shouldn't have risked turning his neck to see if Derek was awake. Not when he wasn't prepared to stifle the groan that escaped him.
In an instant the pain disappeared, being leached away through that spot at his back, the rest of Derek stretching out next to Stiles with his own sleepy groans filling the air.
"How long have I been out?" Stiles asks.
Derek reaches over for his phone on the table, showing him the time, nearly midnight. "It's been about five hours," he says. "I would have gotten your pain stuff, but I figured I could cover it for a little while. You actually getting some sleep was more important."
“but I haven’t done anything.”
“You probably wasted all your free energy getting down the stairs. Which was stupid of you, by the way.”
“Yet you didn’t stop me.”
“I would have gotten to you before you could really hurt yourself.”
"Well, I'm afraid to move right now, so that probably won’t be happening again," Stiles admits.
"You're probably pretty sore, and the swelling is back. I can get your stuff if you want." And there's that soft voice again, the one that does interesting things to Stiles's heart. Whether he's in his right mind or not apparently.
Under normal circumstances, Stiles would just shake his head a few times and move on, but as it was, his power of speech was the only thing that didn't hurt at this point. "No, I need to be a real person for a little while. Maybe after a snack or something. Is there any of that soup left?"
"There's plenty left. I only managed to get you to eat a little. Remember? You kept whining and telling me how much you hated chicken noodle because the ratio of noodle to broth wasn’t right and then you accused me of stealing all the chicken because I was, and I'm quoting, 'an evil, selfish carnivore.'"
"I love chicken noodle though."
"I know," Derek says, letting out a heavy sigh. Stiles can't help but picture a sleepy puppy when he does, and based on the way Derek is now snuffling into Stiles's hair, that's not a far off image.
"So clearly, the lesson here is take everything I say while sleepy and high on more drugs than I can count with a grain of salt. Or seven grains. Maybe don't trust it at all."
Derek doesn't respond. He does start moving to extract himself from beneath Stiles though, and it's the worst kind of agony. Not the pain, but the loss of Derek. Stiles watches as he walks away, and his perspective may be skewed based on his current horizontal position, but those are definitely tense shoulders on Derek Hale. The problem is, he can't tell if those are Derek's "my life is misery and sadness" or "I just slept on a couch for several hours" shoulders.
He really hopes it's the latter, because he's gotten used to not seeing the other ones so often anymore.
Derek disappears toward the kitchen and Stiles takes it as his cue to start working himself into a sitting position. How he made it down the stairs if he can't even put a little bit of his weight on his wrist? With his face mashed against the seat cushions and his toes starting to go numb from resting up on the arm of the couch, he'd really like to find a more comfortable position.
He fought off a freaking chimera. He can handle sitting up. Totally.
Taking a deep breath to steel himself, he throws his body in a vaguely up-and-over direction. And that was a very bad idea. Because now his entire body is on fire and he's not quite sure what sounds are coming out of his mouth, but they are loud, and he can't catch his breath because every time he tries he takes in too much and his ribs move and he completely forgot those were broken.
He focuses past the pain long enough to know that Derek is next to him again, and after another moment, he can hear him talking. They aren't words to him though, not yet. Just sounds to concentrate on as the fire inside him burns everything to ashes. It feels like an eternity when he's able to speak again.
"I am a colossal idiot," he says, watching Derek pull more of his pain away.
"You should have waited for some help. Do you need your painkillers?" And Derek looks so concerned, so attentive that Stiles can almost ignore the glare that he's sporting alongside all of it.
Stiles shakes his head, just once. "I just want to be a person. I should be able to do things on my own. And yes, I may make questionable choices, but at least I'm not saying stupid things or invading your personal space right now."
"You're an idiot," Derek says, "and you're taking them. Try not to move while I'm gone." He stalks away, and Stiles briefly considers shouting at him, fighting back, but Derek is just being so freaking kind and he doesn't want to ruin that. He comes back only a moment later and he has an entire freaking tray of stuff with him. Soup, crackers, pills, the ridiculous rainbow striped mug Stiles has been using since he got here two days ago, it's all there.
Either Derek uses supernatural speed for mundane tasks, or Stiles is losing time again.
"How long were you gone?" Stiles asks when Derek hands him the mug. He keeps his hand under the bottom of it until he's sure Stiles's grip is strong enough around the handle.
"Just now?" Stiles nods, and immediately regrets it. "Like twenty seconds? I don't know. The soup was already heated so I didn’t really do much.”
“So no werewolf speed?”
Derek chuckles. “Only a little,” he says, “Obviously I can’t leave you alone for too long.”
“I’m not complaining,” Stiles mutters behind his mug, knowing Derek heard him loud and clear anyway. But Derek isn’t smiling or blushing like he’s supposed to be. He’s scowling, not meeting Stiles’s eye as he drops a couple of horse pills in his palm, and oh no, Stiles can’t have that. Before Derek can fully pull his hand away, Stiles snatches it, forcing him to take the pills back. It’s surprisingly easy without Derek fighting him off, doing his best to stop Stiles from overexerting himself.
“I’m not taking those until you tell me what the hell has you so grouchy. I’m not dealing with Derek 1.0. Not when I know there’s something better, and certainly not while I’m loopy as fuck and certainly going to make it worse.”
“You think that’s going to work? You’re the one who has to deal with the pain.”
“We’ve already established who cares more about my wellbeing here, and it isn’t me. Plus, since I’m actually overdue to take these, before too long your anal-retentive nursing style is going to get the better of you,” he says smugly. He expected Derek to move away from him by this point, at least to the other end of the couch if not to another room entirely, but he actually looks determined to stay where he is, trapping Stiles between himself and the armrest, propping him up on both sides.
“Is my anal-retentive nursing style the same thing as my shitty provider instincts?” Derek asks.
Was that really what this is about? “Didn’t we agree that I’ve said some pretty stupid things today? I feel like we’re going in circles here.”
“I know, it’s just hard to tell when you’re being sincere sometimes.” He’s smiling again, but Derek is an idiot if he thinks Stiles is fooled by any smile that doesn’t light up Derek’s eyes and pull some of the tension that’s coiled in his chest.
“I’m always sincere, Derek. Always. But I can also be a little biased, and let’s be fair, you were depriving me of food at the time. I couldn’t help but get a little dramatic.” Stiles really wants to lean against him, get all up close and personal with Derek’s chest again. This is the first time he’s ever been barred from getting physical with Derek because of his own physical limitations before. It’s happened for other reasons, like it being totally inappropriate to jump him in public, or because Derek’s covered in blood and Stiles doesn’t want to ruin his favorite hoodie, but never just because he couldn’t actually move.
Except maybe that time when Jackson was a kanima, but that was hardly Stiles’s doing.
“That’s fair, you did say we couldn’t have children because I didn’t care enough and because I was too rigid,” he says.
There’s that forced smile again. What the hell was he missing? Was Derek afraid of being a bad father, or was he mad at Stiles for using kids as an excuse to get soup? Soup that was probably pretty cold now, judging by the distinct lack of steam tendrils risings from it and the nasty shine on the top that meant the oils had separated in the broth.
“You really really need to give me a little more than that. I still have no idea what’s actually wrong.”
“I just forgot for a bit that you weren’t necessarily in your right mind earlier. I got a little wrapped up in in. I’m sorry, I’ll try to keep it to myself better.” Derek’s still wound up tight, but that sounds like the closest thing to the full truth that Stiles is going to get from him. He reaches down and taps lightly on Derek’s hand that’s clenched tightly around his pills. They’re a little tacky from being held for so long, but Stiles is just surprised they aren’t completely crushed.
“To be fair,” he says before swallowing them, “I can’t really be blamed for your confusion. If the fear of cannibalism wasn’t enough to remind you, then me saying we shouldn’t have kids because you’re not a good provider should have done it.”
“I know,” Derek says with a sigh.
“I mean, one of us is going to have to be strict with them and enforce the rules, and heaven knows it’s not going to be me. Common sense should have put that right for you in a heartbeat.” Derek’s head shoots up at that, and his face is a dizzying combination of confusion and concern, with just a dash of hope.
It’s actually one of Derek’s most frequent expressions. Stiles’s knows it intimately. The scrunched together brows that don’t stop his eyes from going wide, the sometimes-smile-but-usually-just-a-slight-parting-of-his-lips motion that pairs well with the quiet gasp. It’s all there as Derek reaches up with both hands to cradle Stiles’s face and turn his head so they are staring at each other.
“Stiles,” he says, and there is way more hope in his voice than Stiles was prepared for. “Are you in your right mind right now?”
“As much as I can be,” Stiles tells him, confused. Their faces are within kissing distance right now. why aren’t they kissing? Derek hasn’t willingly put his face this close to Stiles’s in weeks, he’s been keeping track. Being close as to see every detail of Derek’s face is definitely an addiction, and it’s been so long he had to go through withdrawal.
“So you are completely aware that we are not together and that means we shouldn’t be talking about kids?
“Well, not officially. Not yet.” Stiles rolls his eyes. Of course Derek is hung up on the little things. “But it was gonna happen eventually right? Is that all that’s bothering you? The lack of a thirty second conversation?”
“That is a necessary conversation Stiles!” Derek’s voice is angry, but it does nothing to counteract the absolutely blinding smile that has appeared on his face.
“Clearly,” and Stiles is smiling too.
But then there’s silence, and neither has looked away yet, like they’re both waiting for something else.
Stiles lets out a laugh. “Derek.”
“Date me? Like officially and shit?”
While Stiles would love to seize the opportunity, straddle Derek, and show him exactly how much he’s not going to regret that answer, the best he can do is reach up slowly, his arm still so tender and pull Derek to him. Derek comes willingly, but the kiss lasts only a second, just a caress before he pulls away. It was nothing, but still enough that Stiles isn’t ashamed of the whine he makes at the loss.
“No no no, come back,” he says, trying to stop him. Derek is using just enough force though that he can’t keep him in place without hurting himself.
“There’s no use in getting yourself too excited until you can move without causing yourself more pain than I can take from you. Have a little patience,” Derek tells him. He sits back and pulls Stiles slowly toward him, helping Stiles rest his head on his shoulder.
“But I’ll be too high to really appreciate it, the drugs make me too out of it.”
“Stiles, you were able to walk down the stairs without much trouble, I doubt it will be that bad.”
“No, making it down the stairs was a freaking miracle. I probably could have cut my arm off and thought it was a papercut.”
“Looks like we’ll have to wait until you don’t need the drugs then.”
“That could take days! Weeks! You’re really going to hold out on me that long?”
“Not because I want to, no. But it will give us plenty of time to actually have those conversations you keep skipping.”
“Yay. Talking,” Stiles grumbles, turning his face into Derek’s neck. It’s warm and he can feel Derek’s steady pulse beside his cheek. “Does that mean you want to talk about kids then?”
Derek laughs. “No. We’ve only been dating two minutes, that’s way too soon to be talking about kids. Give it a couple hours at least.” He presses a kiss into Stiles’s hair and it’s so sweet that it almost makes up for making him wait.
They stay like that awhile, Stiles’s using more and more effort to keep his eyes open. Which is ridiculous. He woke up less than an hour ago, after sleeping literally all day. he wants to stay awake. Derek seems content to keep sitting there until the end of time, one hand holding Stiles’s, the other making casual passes up and down his bad arm, sending tingles down the whole thing as he pulls some of the pain away.
“Can we talk about how I still haven’t eaten though,” Stiles asks after nodding off again.
“We can talk about it, or I can heat your soup up again. which would you prefer?”
“Soup please,” he says, even though Derek is already carefully moving away from Stiles. When he comes back, Stiles will be sure to tell him what a good provider he is. Stiles is going to talk to Derek so much that his voice goes hoarse and the only option left is kissing.
But by the time Derek gets back with his re-reheated soup, he’s dozed off again, so his plan might have to wait a day or so. At least until he build up enough of a tolerance to his pills that he can stay awake for more than a couple minutes at a time.