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no place I'd rather be

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“Fuck life.”

Scott took a sip of vending machine coffee from a paper cup, but wrinkled his nose a second later and put the cup aside. “It’s not that bad,” he said.

“It is that bad,” Stiles insisted, complete with a self pitying sniffle as he slumped lower in his seat. “My life sucks.”

Scott looked at him, then, radiating concern as he peered at Stiles’ arm. “Is the pain really horrible? Shit, dude, maybe you dislocated something.”

Stiles blinked at him. “What? My – no, no, Scotty, forget my arm. I finally, finally land a date with Mr Hottie from IT and this happens. Seriously, I have shit luck. I must have killed a saint in a past life or something.”

He’d been trying to woo Derek for months. Months. And he never could tell if Derek just wasn’t into him or if he was tragically oblivious to Stiles’ attempts at flirting. Either way, he’d started to give up and accept that Derek was way, way out of his league. And then Derek had turned up at his cubicle, all awkward and shy and adorable, and asked him out to dinner.

Except, because Stiles just couldn’t have nice things in life, he’d slipped while in the shower and landed awkwardly on his side with a sickening crack. He’d tried to play it off, but the pain had been intense, and Scott had come in, taken one look at his arm and insisted it was probably broken. He’d offered to patch it up for the ride to the hospital, but considering his best friend was used to working with animals rather than humans, Stiles had quickly passed on that. He’d hoped that he’d be out of the hospital in time to make it to the restaurant, but it was now twenty minutes until he was supposed to be meeting Derek and he didn’t think he was going to be seen anytime soon.

Scott relaxed, shaking his head fondly. “It’ll be okay,” he said. “I mean, he’d be kind of a jerk if he didn’t understand, right?”

“Right,” Stiles acknowledged reluctantly. It would be kind of an ass move and Derek definitely wasn’t an ass. He just had a pretty great one.

“So, call him and explain, and rearrange the date. It’ll be okay, buddy.”

Stiles scrunched his nose, but he knew Scott was right. It was just...he knew Derek was kind of shy and he didn’t want him to think that Stiles was making up an excuse to get out of the date. Like, he’d know Stiles wasn’t lying when he saw the cast at work, but still. He hated the idea of letting Derek down. He just wanted to make him happy, wanted to be the cause of that soft little smile that never failed to set Stiles’ heart off fluttering.

When Scott patted Stiles’ good shoulder carefully and headed off to the bathroom, Stiles fumbled with his phone to call Derek. It took four rings before Derek answered.

“Stiles, hey,” his tone was cautious.

“Derek,” Stiles exhaled. “I’m so sorry, but -.”

“It’s okay, Stiles.” Derek’s reply was quiet, careful, and Stiles just wanted to give him a huge hug.

“No, no, seriously, I’m not cancelling, I just...can we rearrange? It’s just, I’m in hospital and -.”

“You’re in hospital? Christ, Stiles, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’ve just...maybe broken my arm?” Stiles cleared his throat. “I kind of slipped in the shower.”

There was a pause and to Stiles’ relief, Derek just sounded amused when he replied, “You slipped in the shower.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. Laugh it up.” Stiles shifted slightly, closing his eyes when pain radiated from his arm. “I think I’m probably gonna be here a while, so could we rearrange?”

“I could come to the hospital?”

Stiles blinked. “Huh?”

“It’s not like I have better plans for my evening now,” Derek teased. “And I know how boring emergency rooms can be. I could come wait with you so you’re not on your own?”

Stiles opened his mouth to tell him that he wasn’t alone, that Scott was with him, but truthfully, he kind of really wanted to see Derek, so he licked his lips and said, “If you’re sure? You don’t have to.”

“I’d like to.”

Butterflies swarmed in Stiles’ stomach. He couldn’t believe that Derek was offering to come wait in the emergency room with him instead of their date. It was so...sweet. Smiling, he told Derek which hospital and hung up, feeling warm and kind of goofy with happiness.

Scott eyed him when he returned. “What?” he asked. “Have they given you something for the pain?”

Stiles tried to wipe the smile off his face, shaking his head. “No. Derek’s on his way here.”

Scott raised his eyebrows. “He is? Do you want me to go?”

“You don’t have to.”

“I’d rather not play third wheel.” Scott shrugged his jacket back on. “Call me if you need a ride home, okay? Me and Ally will stay in tonight if you need anything.”

“Thanks, dude. You’re the best.”

Scott grinned back, lifting his hand in a wave as he left. Stiles shifted slightly in the cracked chair, trying to ignore the pain in his arm and side. The emergency room was kind of full, but then it was a Friday evening. There was a TV tucked in one corner, showing nonstop news on mute, as if emergency rooms weren’t grim enough.

Every time the doors swished open, Stiles glanced up, heart tripping in his chest. After the third time when a teenager with a torn up leg and a skateboard under one arm hobbled in, he tipped his head back, closing his eyes.

“Hey.”

Derek’s voice had Stiles’ stomach turning somersaults. He opened his eyes and the other man was stood in front of him, looking unfairly handsome in neat jeans and a Henley, beard perfectly groomed. He was holding a bouquet of flowers and the plastic crackled as he held them out.

Stiles took them carefully with his good hand. “Dude,” he said. “You got me flowers? That’s so romantic.”

Derek shrugged slightly, but he looked pleased as he sat down, tossing an arm casually over the back of Stiles’ chair.

“How’s the arm?” he asked. “Have you had anything for the pain?”

He nodded. “I took some painkillers before I came here. It’s a couple of hour wait before I’ll be seen, though.” He bit the inside of his cheek, glancing sideways at Derek. “Seriously, it’s really kind of you to come, but I know how boring waiting rooms are. You don’t have to stay.”

Derek’s hand found his chin, gripping gently as he turned Stiles’ head to face him straight on. He gave a warm smile that made Stiles completely melt and leaned close, pressing a brief, sweet kiss to the corner of Stiles’ mouth.

“There’s no place I’d rather be,” he replied.