His consciousness began again in a corridor, on a trolley bed that was gliding along, seemingly unheeded by human hands. The lights above him looked like bars of light, and he imagined them, in his half-their state, as bars of milk chocolate, floating over him, and away from his life forever.
Stiles’ brown eyes seemed honey gold as he glanced up behind him at the nurse pushing the bed, his eyelashes dark against his sunken cheeks.
A few rooms away, Derek was leant against a nurse’s station, watching the Sheriff pull and twist at his hat in worry. Stiles’ constant fiddling made a little more sense now.
“I had no idea his eating would get so bad..”
Derek looked pale too, face dull and and reassuring, but his insides were cold with fear. “Anorexia isn’t just a problem of not eating.”
“He looks so terrible.” John was unable to even look up at him, dread filling his body like too much whiskey. “He’s dying.”
“He almost did.” Doctor Hale said, in a low voice, and the words feel sickly and awful and heavy on his tongue and teeth. “He’s going to be here for a while.”
“How did this happen?” His tone is getting more and more desperate and the man’s teeth are gritted.
Derek’s mind flickered to all the things he’d picked up about Stiles so far. LONELY. DEPRESSED. WITHOUT CONTROL. “Well, that’s what we’re trying to find out, Sir. Right now we’re concentrating on getting him back to a healthy weight, getting him strong enough to respond to therapy.”
“When can I see him? His friends?”
He started walking, leading John with him to the door. “In his condition, things that trigger him have to be avoided. It would be better for him, and probably you too, if you didn’t come back for a while.”
Stiles woke up again, feeling like he’d been gone for only a few minutes. The strange surroundings made him blink but his whole body felt so COLD. Cold and tired and light and useless. Too dull and empty to think much about anything. The sheets were icy against his skin. When he looked to the left, he could see a bag dripping clear liquid into his veins, god knows what into his system to fatten and poison him.
“Stiles?” John picked up the phone, hand shaking. He’d only just gone home, and the phone starting ringing as he reached for the whiskey.
“Daddy? Please, I wanna come home. Please, Daddy. I hate it here.” Stiles voice was thick, as if with tears, and quiet and subdued.
“Kiddo..” The Sheriff’s heart was full on cracking in two, for a second time, and his sheer hatred of the situation was making his hands shake. “It’s for your own good.”
Stiles sniffed on the other end, holding back a sob. “It’s freezing here. I’m cold, every second. And they don’t care. I tried to eat dinner, Dad, I did, but it was disgusting. The food smelled like germs…”
“I-I’ll talk to someone, I promise.”
“I want to come home, Dad. I can’t stay here.” Stiles was getting angry now, his voice turning into a scared-angry hiss. “I promise, I’ll eat and I’ll gain weight, and I’ll do anything you want me to.”
Knuckles white on the table, the Sheriff gave a heavy sigh. “The answer has to be no, Stiles. I need you to be better, I need the hospital to give you the all clear. I’m sorry, you know I love you. I just need you well.”
Stiles listened with shuddery breath as the phone clicked down. For a few moments, Stiles froze, finger tapping on the plastic back of his mobile, before he let it slip down. His clothes were on the chair opposite, and there was nothing stopping him, the ward around him practically empty at this hour. When he got up, the pain was ignorable, but the dizziness he felt around him, like he could float, was between magical and sickening. A few weak steps, and he was at the chair, ripping off the gown, and putting on his clothes instead. The cannula in his arm was unconnected to the drip, and he pulled on his coat, walking out of the ward and down the stairs with only the difficulty his body provided him. Each step made the floating light sensation worse, and any minute, he felt, he’d be on his face. Stiles leant heavily on the bannister, face numb and all the emotion inside him like a heavy lead weight.
When Stiles finally reached the bottom, sneakers echoing off the floor, he was almost swaying, and barely able to think. He pushed the door open by leaning against the bar, and when the outside air hits him, he can barely feel the cold, already numb.
There was no one about to see him walking towards the road, swaying and pale and looking like a runaway child. No one to notice the way his shadow looked like a halloween caricature in the low light. There’s a moment when his body tips and he has to cling to the wall for help, breathing hard and feeling so sick.
A few more steps, past the sign post to the ward, and through the foliage, and suddenly, the darkness looms too close and he can’t pull back anymore. He falls onto the grass, out cold.
Only five or six feet from the ward entrance.