Stiles loved the night shift. For the last few years, Beacon Hills had quieted down a lot from how it had been during his teen years, so the nights were pretty calm. He answered the occasional phone call, chatted with Mrs. Hooper – who often thought she heard any number of things outside her home at night – and patrolled the usual teenage make out haunts.
He was heading back to the station at the end of his patrol when he got a call from the dispatcher that there was suspicious activity reported near the bank off of Main Street. He doubted it was anything more serious than some kids messing around. It was the beginning of a long weekend for the schools in the area, so Stiles was on the lookout for bored kids getting into trouble. It didn't escape his notice that he had once been one of those kids and that he'd often dragged his best friend into the muck with him.
Stiles didn't see anything out of the ordinary as he pulled up to the bank, but he made sure his gun was secure and at the ready as he stepped out of the cruiser. He pulled his flashlight out and started making a sweep of the area.
Everything looked fine until he circled to the back of the building. The lock on the back entrance looked like it had been tampered with, which sent Stiles' mind into overdrive. He started to take a second, more thorough look around, but he only got to the edge of the building where the dumpsters were sitting before a fist came out of the shadows and slammed into his face.
Stiles stumbled backwards and dropped his flashlight but quickly shook the hit off and raised his own fists. A man, dressed in black, came at him, swinging fists again. They tussled for a few minutes, each getting in a fair number of hits before the man kicked Stiles' legs out from under him. While he was trying to get back to his feet, something hard and heavy hit the side of his head, and everything went dark.
Derek couldn't sit down, couldn't leave, couldn't do anything but stand beside the hospital bed and stare at his husband. Stiles' face was bruised, but it was the wound hidden under his hair that was causing the most trouble. He had been hit hard enough to cause his brain to bruise and bleed, which was causing the coma.
He couldn't say that word out loud. In fact, he'd had to step outside the night before when the doctor and Melissa were trying to explain Stiles' condition because he'd wanted to hit something. He knew that Stiles' job was dangerous, but he could never have prepared himself for the Sheriff to come to his door at three in the morning, looking terrified and offering to drive him to the hospital.
The ventilator hissed at regular intervals, punctuated by the beeping of the heart monitor. They should have been comforting sounds that proved that his husband was still alive, but they only made him more upset with each passing moment that Stiles needed help breathing, that he needed to have his heart rate monitored, that he needed to be there surrounded by the sterile scent of antiseptic.
Derek startled when the Sheriff's hand suddenly squeezed his shoulder. "The doctors said the first forty-eight hours are critical, but we have to believe that he's going to be okay, remember?"
"I remember," Derek echoed his father-in-law.
"Good. That's good, son." The Sheriff squeezed his shoulder once more before taking a seat at Stiles' side and reaching out to take his son's hand.
Derek watched them for a long moment before dropping into the seat on the other side of the bed and trying his best to believe that Stiles would be fine. After all, he couldn't accept any other alternative.