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Carry on, Love is Coming

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His dad left for work only ten minutes ago, and Stiles is already regretting the way he insisted it really wasn’t necessary for Mrs. Lieberman from next door to be at his beck and call. Granted, his dad completely ignored him anyway, and Mrs. Lieberman insisted she was only a phone call away and she’d come help with anything he needed. His dad also gave her a key, and they’d agreed she’d come check on Stiles every few hours.

Stiles grunts at the cast on his leg, looks over at the variety of snacks laid out for him on the coffee table, within reach. Could he really call Mrs. Lieberman to get him the Twinkies he knew were in the kitchen? There are chips, Reese’s, Ding Dongs, homemade Muddy Buddies, and a mountain of soda drinks ready at his disposal, but of course Stiles wants the one thing that isn’t within reach. Isn’t it always so?

He briefly contemplates trying to get up himself and hobble over to the kitchen, but the last time he tried to do that, he got yelled at by his father as he ended up in a pile on the floor, tears in his eyes due to the pain in his knee. So yeah, maybe not such a good idea.

He sighs and picks up the remote control, flipping through channels, but nothing good is on at 3 in the afternoon anyway. His father is at work, Scott’s at Deaton’s (he’d picked up extra shifts this summer break), and Stiles is all alone at home, immobilized after having broken his knee in two places thanks to the latest supernatural disaster. Stiles is extremely proud that he was a crucial element in finally kicking said supernatural disaster’s ass, but he really really wishes he could’ve done it without condemning himself to the couch or his bed for the next few weeks.

Oh what a lovely summer break this promises to be…

There’s a small knock on the front door, but Stiles doesn’t even have the time to say anything before the door creaks open, and Derek sticks his head in.

“Normal people knock!” Stiles huffs, even though he can’t help but be relieved for the company.

“I did knock,” Derek deadpans, closing the door behind him.

“You didn’t even wait for me to answer!” Stiles calls out, indignant.

“You’re not allowed to get up, how were you going to answer?” Derek challenges, crossing his arms over his chest as he regards Stiles.

“Fine, be rude,” Stiles rolls his eyes, “but as long as you’re here, can you go get me the Twinkies that are in the cupboard above the stove?”

Derek retreats into the kitchen without a word, coming back only a few seconds later with a stack of Twinkies in his hands.

Yes!” Stiles calls out, ecstatic, making grabbing hands at Derek. Well, at the Twinkies, anyway.

“You’re like a child…” Derek grumbles as he drops the Twinkies unceremoniously in Stiles’ lap.

Stiles ignores him in favor of tearing through the packet of one of the little cakes and shoving it into his mouth in its entirety. He also ignores the way Derek’s looking at his mouth with a mixture of disgust and… well, something Stiles can’t quite read.

“Want one?” Stiles asks, spitting out a few crumbs as he joyously munches on the treat.

Derek looks like he’s hesitating, then his eyes drop to the stash of snacks on the coffee table, and he arches an eyebrow as if to ask for permission.

“Knock yourself out, dude,” Stiles grins, waving his hand at the food, and Derek gingerly takes a few of the Muddy Buddies, popping them in his mouth.

“So what are you doing here anyway?” Stiles asks, unwrapping a second Twinkie.

“You can’t walk,” Derek shrugs, grabbing a few more Muddy Buddies.

“Aaand…?” Stiles frowns, his hand reaching subconsciously towards the cast on his knee.

“And you’ll need help,” Derek says, as if that explains everything.

“Are you telling me you’re here to help me?” Stiles asks, and he immediately feels a bit bad for the incredulous sound of his voice, but really? Surely, Derek isn’t suggesting he’s going to play nurse to Stiles?

“Your dad can’t take the whole summer off from work, same for Scott and his job at the vet’s,” Derek says, casually. “I’m guessing Lydia, Allison, Kira… they’ll come by and help you out whenever they can, but they can’t be here all the time, and they’re not strong enough to carry you up the stairs…”

“You’re gonna carry me up the stairs?” Stiles nearly chokes on his Twinkie.

“Does your dad manage to get you up there?” Derek frowns, deflecting the question as he looks quizzically at the stairs.

“I…” Stiles starts, waving his hands around to the floor, “We put a mattress on the floor at night. I’ve been sleeping downstairs.”

“Wouldn’t you rather sleep in your own bed?” Derek asks.

“Yeah, well, I’d rather have a functioning knee again,” Stiles snaps, because God, it’s been only a few days, and he’s already so sick of it. “But, we can’t all have what we want, now can we?”

“I’ll make sure you get up to your room in the evenings,” Derek says, calmly, not taking offense to the way Stiles snapped at him.

“And, what?” Stiles huffs, “You’ll come by every evening and then every morning to make sure I get down again?”

“Well, I’m sure Scott can take care of it a couple of times, but when he can’t, yeah,” Derek shrugs, his eyes fixed on the snack on the coffee table, even though he’s not taking any anymore. Stiles thinks it’s just an excuse not to meet his eyes.

Stiles swallows, suddenly feeling very self conscious. “Thanks, but…” he trails off.

“I’ll clear it with your dad,” Derek says. “I’m sure he’ll be relieved to know you’re not alone all summer long.”

Stiles doesn’t say anything. He wants to protest, doesn’t want Derek to feel trapped, taking care of Stiles the whole time he’s stuck here with his leg in a cast. But on the other hand… the company does sound good, and the fact that it’s Derek… well, Stiles can’t help but feel comforted by it.

“Thanks,” Stiles says, shooting Derek a grateful smile.

“You’re welcome,” Derek says, finally sitting down next to Stiles on the couch - careful not to jolt his cast.

“Do you know how to play Call of Duty?” Stiles asks, picking up one of the controls of his Playstation.

“I know how to do Mario Kart…” Derek offers instead, scrunching up his face like he’s a little bit embarrassed.

Stiles barks out a laugh. “Oh man, this’ll be fun.” He motions towards the stack of games under the TV. “It’s in there somewhere, put it in!”

Two hours later they’re still at it. Derek does know how to play Mario Kart; they’re pretty evenly matched if Stiles is quite honest, and Stiles doesn’t have to ask the question to know that this is probably something Derek used to play with his siblings, before

Stiles is just about to drop some banana peels in front of Derek’s cart when there’s a knock on the door and Mrs. Lieberman’s jolly voice calling out.

“Come on in, Mrs. Lieberman!” Stiles yells as he presses pause, and he throws his controller on the couch next to him when Mrs Lieberman sticks her head through the door. Derek immediately straightens up, smiling politely at Stiles’ neighbor.

“Hello dear,” she says, “Oh, I didn’t know you had company…”

“Yeah, uhm,” Stiles says, “This is my friend Derek. Derek, this is my wonderful neighbor, Mrs. Lieberman.”

To his surprise, Derek gets up off the couch and strides over to Mrs. Lieberman, holding out his hand for her to shake. “Hello, ma’am. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Hello dear,” she smiles as she shakes Derek’s hand tightly, and Stiles tries hard not to laugh at Derek being called “dear.”

***

“What’s wrong?” Derek asks, and Stiles knows that he’s busted.

“Nothing,” he answers way too rapidly, and Derek just quirks an eyebrow at him.

“You’ve been fidgeting for twenty minutes now,” Derek says, his eyes fixed on Stiles.

Stiles sighs, tilts his head back against the back of the couch and calls out dramatically, “I have to pee.”

“Oh,” Derek says, then frowns, “How were you planning on doing that if you were alone all afternoon and evening?”

Stiles grumbles, his cheeks heating up as he grabs underneath the couch for the empty bottle he has stashed there.

“Oh my God, are you serious?” Derek asks, and the look of shock on Derek’s face would probably be funny if Stiles wasn’t so busy being mortified.

“Well, it’s not like I had a whole lot of choice!” Stiles defends himself, “When my dad or Scott can’t give me a boost to the bathroom, and I think that Mrs. Lieberman is going to break in two if I put my weight on her, and nobody was supposed to be here with me in the living room anyway, and - ”

“You’re not peeing in a bottle,” Derek states grumpily as he gets up off the couch and reaches for Stiles.

“Whoa, wait, what are you - ?” Stiles calls out, pushing off Derek’s hands.

“Do you wanna go to the bathroom or not?” Derek says, his lips pressed in a thin line.

“Yeah, but…” Stiles sighs, “Jesus, give a man some warning…”

“Fine,” Derek huffs, then adds with exaggerated articulation, “I am going to carry you into the bathroom now, so you can pee in an actual toilet instead of a plastic bottle, alright?”

“You’re going to help me up and support me,” Stiles clarifies, because honestly, the thought of being carried by Derek, like he’s some kind of princess or something, is just too much for Stiles to handle right now.

“Fine,” Derek says again and hauls Stiles’ arm around his shoulder as he carefully helps him upright.

It hurts a little no matter how careful Derek is, but it could’ve been way worse, and Derek carries enough of his weight so that Stiles never has to put his bad leg on the ground. Derek’s arm is securely wrapped around Stiles’ waist, practically hoisting him up all by himself. Stiles’ arm is curved around Derek’s shoulder, Derek’s skin warm and reassuring against his own, and Stiles begins to wonder how on earth he was going to do all this all on his own?

They make it into the bathroom, and there’s an awkward silence when they’re both standing in front of the toilet, staring down at it like they’re not quite sure what they’re supposed to do now.

“I am not fishing my dick out in front of you,” Stiles says eventually, and Jesus, that’s not the way he wanted to say that, but the thought of Derek seeing his dick in these circumstances…? Yes, alright, Stiles has thought about other situations where Derek would see his dick, and all of them were purely for fantasy reasons and never ever did Stiles actually think they would happen and maybe this is nature’s cruel joke on him right now?

“Then you’re gonna have to sit down, because I don’t trust you not to fall over while peeing on one leg,” Derek says, leaving no room for discussion.

Stiles opens his mouth to protest, to say anything, but he clicks his jaws shut with a huffed, “Fine” eventually. Derek helps his sit down on the toilet seat - pants still on thankyouverymuch - much to Stiles’ embarrassment, and then he sneaks out towards the door with a, “Call if you need help.”

Stiles groans, because seriously, how is this his life? And it’s only when he’s managed to push his sweatpants down his hips and started peeing that he realizes there wasn’t even any use to Derek closing the door because his werewolf hearing is picking up on everything anyway.

“Fuck my life…” Stiles mutters, burying his face in his hands.

***

Derek doesn’t spend all of his days with Stiles. Sometimes Stiles’ father doesn’t have to work, sometimes Scott is free to keep him company, or Lydia, with or without Allison or Kira.

But overall, Derek is the one that spends the most time with Stiles. And yet he always slips out when someone else comes home, like he’s some kind of intruder, no matter how many times Stiles has told him he could stay.

Derek is waiting on the porch when Stiles and his dad come home from yet another hospital visit, the sheriff wheeling Stiles’ wheelchair up to the front door.

“How did it go?” Derek asks, when Stiles doesn’t even say hello to him.

 

Stiles still doesn’t answer, just shrugs as he looks down at his hands, fidgeting in his lap. He doesn’t trust his voice to speak.

“It’ll be fine, Stiles,” his father says for what seems to be the fifteenth time since they left the doctor’s office.

“What happened?” Derek asks, his voice now filled with worry.

“He’ll have to have an operation,” the sheriff says, as both him and Derek get the wheelchair up the porch and into the house.

“Oh,” Derek says when they’re inside, “I thought… I thought that was already a given?”

“It was,” Stiles’ dad says, softly, carefully, “I just think that maybe it hadn’t really sunk in yet…?”

“I’m right here, you know,” Stiles huffs out, jiggling his good leg non-stop. He feels like he’s going to burst out of his skin, he feels so antsy, so nervous, so…

“I know, son,” the sheriff says, rubbing his hand over Stiles’ hair, “It’s just that you haven’t really said much since we left the hospital, and I know that you’re scared…”

Stiles snorts, tries to compose himself. “Considering the way my knee got to be this way, a little surgery really shouldn’t be anything to worry about…”

“Yeah, well, it doesn’t always work like that,” Derek offers, gently.

“Derek, can you help him on the couch?” Stiles’ father asks, picking his phone out of his pocket, “I’ll call Parrish, see if he can take over my shift and - ”

Stiles whips his head up, “What? Dad, no!”

“I don’t want to leave you when you’re this upset, Stiles,” his dad says, worry visible in his eyes.

“No, Dad…” Stiles shakes his head, reaching out to rest his hand on Derek’s arm, “Derek is here. I’ll be fine, I promise.”

His dad presses his lips together, exhales sharply through his nose. He’s looking from Stiles to Derek, like he’s contemplating whether or not Stiles is just acting tough on his behalf. Out of the corner of his eyes, Stiles can see Derek give a curt nod at the sheriff, like he’s telling him he can trust him. He’s not sure what his father sees in those eyes, but it must reassure him enough to let the tension in his shoulders slip a bit, as he nods on an exhale.

“Okay,” his father says, then reaches over to throw his arms around Stiles, and Stiles is suddenly engulfed in a familiar embrace. “You call me when you need me to come home, alright?”

Stiles nods, as much as the position of having his face squished against his father’s chest will allow it.

Stiles rubs his eyes as Derek accompanies his dad to the door, and they take a moment to talk outside, no doubt about Stiles and about how Derek should call the sheriff or keep him updated or something. Stiles doesn’t really mind, he understands. And would he feel better knowing his father was reassured? Definitely. He’d probably feel better with his father next to him all afternoon, but then again, he’d be holding in his anxiety, trying to pretend he isn’t chicken shit scared of going under the knife.

Derek comes back in, closes the front door behind him softly, and strides over to Stiles, who is still sitting in his wheelchair.

“Come on,” Derek says, sliding one arm underneath Stiles’ thighs and the other around his back.

Stiles would protest, he really would, but not this time. This time he just allows Derek to pick him up and curl him against his chest. Stiles loops one of his arms around Derek’s neck, and maybe he just lingers a tiny bit when Derek gingerly lowers him onto the couch. Maybe Derek lingers just a little bit as well.

“So…” Derek starts, and he’s giving Stiles that look, and Stiles just shakes his head.

“Hospitals, surgery… it makes me uncomfortable, is all,” Stiles shrugs, avoiding Derek’s eyes.

“That’s quite normal,” Derek says, softly. Stiles knows that Derek is looking at him, studying him. “Do you wanna talk about it?”

Stiles swallows, and he manages a weak smile when he finally looks up at Derek. “I’d rather not.”

“Okay,” Derek nods, and he doesn’t press the subject. Instead, he fishes out one of the boxes from underneath the coffee table and asks, “Catan?”

Stiles grins and nods. He can definitely kick some Derek ass in a board game right now.

***

It’s like Stiles can almost feel his presence, after his father and his friends have left, and visiting hours are well over, Stiles just knows that Derek is hovering by the door.

“Come on, you idiot,” Stiles mumbles, still a little bit groggy from the surgery.

He doesn’t open his eyes until Derek is standing right beside the bed, looking down at Stiles.

“How are you feeling?” Derek asks, a frown line covering his forehead as his eyes sweep down Stiles’ body, to his elevated knee.

“Sleepy,” Stiles says, his head lolling to the side as he looks at Derek, “and achy.”

“It hurts?” Derek asks.

“I’m getting painkillers,” Stiles says, trying to push himself a little higher up on the bed, but Derek immediately places a hand on his shoulder, stopping him. “But it still hurts a bit, yeah.”

It’s a testament to how out of it Stiles really is that he doesn’t understand what Derek is doing until he’s resting his hand on Stiles’ thigh, right above the brace.

“What are you…?” Stiles starts, but then there’s a tingling feeling in his leg, and the pain is relieved instantly as the veins on the back of Derek’s hand get dark and the black creeps up his arm.

Stiles drops his head against the pillow and makes a low, strung-out moaning sound that he should feel horribly embarrassed about but he just cannot help it. The combination of the drowsiness of the surgery, the painkillers, and Derek draining out the last of his pain… Stiles has never used recreational drugs, but he’s pretty sure this is what being high feels like.

Derek’s hand is still on his thigh, warm and heavy, and Stiles feels like his skin might start burning up but he doesn’t want Derek to take his hand away, ever. Because Derek means comfort and reassurance, Derek means warmth and relief and this fuzzy feeling in the pit of his stomach and this burning in the middle of his chest, and…

Stiles is mumbling something, his lips kind of sticking together as he smacks them a few times, and when did he even close his eyes?

And then Derek’s hand is leaving his leg, and Stiles is not feeling pain anymore, but he doesn’t want Derek to take his hand away anyway. So he reaches out for Derek blindly, mumbling something he’s not quite sure of what it is himself, and then Derek’s hand is back, on top of Stiles’, and Stiles lets out a sigh of relief.

There’s a scoff or a laugh - Stiles isn’t quite sure - that’s coming out of Derek’s mouth, and then the hand around his squeezes a little bit tighter as Derek says, “Just sleep, Stiles.”

Stiles wants to protest, he really does, but that warm feeling in his chest seems to be spreading, and his eyes are closed already anyway. And before he can say or do anything, he’s already drifting off.

***

The edge of the cast is digging into Stiles’ finger, and yet, he tries to stick it in deeper anyway because it just. won’t. stop. itching.

“Why do we not have knitting needles in this household?” Stiles huffs, the tip of his finger not quite reaching the itchy spot, and argh, he’s going insane. This is it. This is the way he’ll lose his sanity. Not some kind of supernatural interference, nope. Just an itch right under his cast that he cannot reach.

“Because neither you nor your father knits?” Derek says, and sure, if he’s going to start using logic on Stiles…

“Well, clearly one of us should,” Stiles mutters, before groaning loudly as he pulls back his finger and hits the cast for good measure, which does nothing to stop the itching and only manages to cause him a jolt of pain instead.

“Stop that,” Derek snaps, and he slides both of his hands underneath Stiles’ legs, lifting them up as he goes to sit down next to Stiles on the couch, bringing the legs down over his lap.

Stiles opens his mouth to say something, but snaps it shut again, because even though he’s not quite sure what Derek is planning here, Stiles definitely isn’t opposed to it.

“Where does it itch?” Derek asks, all business-like.

Stiles pouts a bit, then points towards the itchy spot underneath his cast. The spot that currently feels like there’s a million ants or flees or tiny little tap dancers moving over it, back and forth, causing Stiles excruciating discomfort. In the blink of an eye, Derek has one of his claws popped out, sharp and long and…

“What are you - ?” Stiles starts, but then Derek is slipping his finger underneath the cast, from the thigh up, the tip of his claw reaching the exact right spot, and… “Oh my God!” Stiles grabs the back of the couch his with fist, tries not to spasm up as Derek starts scratching, and Stiles nearly gets an instant boner because it just feels so damn good.

“Right here?” Derek asks, the tip of his tongue resting in the corner of his mouth, and he looks so fucking studious as he carefully scrapes over Stiles’ skin, gentle enough not to break the skin but effective enough to relief Stiles of his discomfort.

“Yea- yeah, right there, oh my God, Derek,” Stiles tilts his head back, and he really does try to compose himself but in all honestly? He feels like purring or something.

“Are you gonna start saying things you won’t remember afterwards again?” Derek smirks, glancing over at Stiles’ eyes for a fraction of a second before focusing on the task at hand again.

“Huh?” Stiles snaps his head back up, lips slightly parted.

Derek doesn’t say anything, just keeps that sly grin on his face, and Stiles doesn’t have a clue what is happening.

“What are you talking about?” Stiles frowns, then his entire body twitches again because Derek is reaching just a bit further and… oh Lord, it feels even better.

“Never mind,” Derek mumbles, a secretive smile on his face.

“No, no, hey!” Stiles says, punching him on the shoulder, “What are you talking about? When did I…?”

“It’s fine,” Derek says, but that really doesn’t answer Stiles’ question yet, and then he asks, “Don’t you want me to go get you some Twinkies or something? Run to the store and get you something maybe?” And it’s a distraction from the question if Stiles ever saw one, and he just scoffs.

“No, you just keep doing what you’re doing,” Stiles says, motioning towards his cast, and the guilt sets in almost instantly, even though Derek just keeps on smiling and scratching his itch. “I mean…” Stiles huffs out a breath, placing his hand on Derek’s arm, stilling him for a second. “Hey… you know that I really appreciate this, right?”

“It’s no big deal, Stiles…” Derek shrugs.

“No, I mean… everything,” Stiles says, his hand not moving from Derek’s arm, because he needs him to understand. “Everything you’re doing for me. The way you’re basically sacrificing your entire summer…”

“I’m not sacrificing anything,” Derek says, and he actually sounds like he means it.

“Come on, this can’t be your idea of fun,” Stiles insists. “Having to help me to the bathroom, carrying me up and down the stairs every day, you’re even scratching my itch for fuck’s sake! I’m sure you had better plans for the summer…”

“It’s fine,” Derek says, shooting him a quick smile that’s gone almost as fast as it came.

“Yeah, well…” Stiles mutters, ducking his head slightly as he lets his hand run softly down Derek’s arm, “It means a lot to me.”

Derek is not good with words, Stiles knows this. So, he’s not exactly expecting a big revealing speech in return. His actions speak louder than his words, and the way he’s been taking care of Stiles all this time now… it speaks pretty loudly. So, Stiles is actually quite surprised when Derek clears his throat and says, “Spending time with you… helping you out, it isn’t a sacrifice.”

Derek’s claw stills on Stiles’ skin as he speaks, and there’s a silence between the two of them. It isn’t uncomfortable per se, but Stiles isn’t really sure what is happening. But, he’s got a feeling that it’s big.

And then Derek moves again, the corner of his mouth twitching up as he slides his finger out from under Stiles’ cast and bobs it down again on the skin of his thigh, a quick needle-sharp prick against Stiles’ thigh right before he retracts his claw again.

“Oow!” Stiles hisses, slapping away Derek’s hand as Stiles looks at him with his mouth wide open, ‘indignant’ written all over his face.

And Derek? Derek is actually smirking, sneaking looks at Stiles out of the corner of his eyes, and there’s this light feeling swelling in Stiles’ chest as he looks at him.

***

“What are you doing…?” Derek asks the second he comes through the door, the bag of take-away food in his arms, when Stiles has made it almost halfway through to the kitchen, hobbling on one foot, leaning against the doorframe.

Stiles grunts instead of answering - he hadn’t expected Derek back this quickly - and hops one step further, ignoring the shooting pain in his knee as his bad leg hits the ground anyway.

“Stiles!” Derek calls out, the bag all but thrown on the floor as he reaches Stiles’ side, arms curling around Stiles’ waist like they have a familiarity of doing now.

But Stiles tries to push Derek’s arms away, snaps, “Get off.”

Derek doesn’t let go though, and Stiles really has no chance against Derek’s strength.

“What are you trying to do?” Derek asks, frowning.

“I’m trying to get to the kitchen, what does it look like?!” Stiles bites back, and he really doesn’t mean to, but he’s so sick of this shit, so sick of not being able to go and stand as he pleases. He needs it to be over already.

“It looks like you’re trying to hurt yourself,” Derek huffs, squeezing his arm around Stiles a little tighter whenever he tries to struggle away.

“Isn’t that what I always do?” Stiles snorts, humorlessly, “You’re all like fucking superheros, and I’m the one that ends up breaking my knee when I try to help a bit!”

Try to help a bit?” Derek frowns, “Stiles, you saved all of us! Without the supernatural abilities! Who does that make the hero, do you think?”

“Some hero,” Stiles spits out, “I can’t even make it into the kitchen all by myself!”

“For the time being,” Derek stresses, guiding Stiles back towards the couch, and Stiles is too tired to even try and shove him off again. “And in the meantime I’m here to help you. I can go get you something from the kitchen…”

“Yeah, no, but you were out getting take-away, also for me, like you’ve been doing for weeks now! You’re doing everything for me!” Stiles doesn’t even know why he’s shouting at Derek as if it’s his fault. He knows it’s not; he knows he’s being horrible and unreasonable, and he deserves for Derek to just leave him there on his ass and walk away. But, he knows Derek would never do that.

But, I’m doing it, aren’t I?” Derek snaps back, finally losing some of that unperturbed exterior as he lowers Stiles down onto the couch, remarkably gentle for the sound of voice.

“Maybe I wish I could do something for you for once!” Stiles yells, pushing off Derek’s arms the second his butt hits the couch. There are unshed tears stinging in his eyes, and Stiles feels horrible. He feels like a petulant child, and yet he can’t seem to stop himself from shouting at Derek, even though he knows how unfair it is.

“What were you trying to do in the kitchen?” Derek asks, his voice suddenly appeased, an inquisitive look at Stiles.

Stiles sighs. “I was trying to get you the cayenne pepper,” Stiles mutters, his shoulders sagging. “I know you like to put it on your fries, and…” He waves half-heartedly at the bag of take-away food that’s still on the floor.

“You didn’t have cayenne pepper the last time we had fries…” Derek frowns.

“Yeah, well…” Stiles shrugs. “I asked my dad to pick some up at the grocery store.”

Derek doesn’t move, just stands there looking down at Stiles, and Stiles is afraid to lift his head and meet his eyes.

“‘cause that was another thing I couldn’t do myself…” Stiles adds in a mutter.

“Stiles…” Derek whispers, but then he stays quiet for a second. He picks up the bag of food off the floor and places it carefully on the coffee table before he kneels down in front of the couch where Stiles is sitting.

Stiles sniffs, presses the back of his hand over his nose, his jaw clenched. He doesn’t deserve Derek to be patient with him right now.

“If you really think that you haven’t done anything for me since you’ve broken your knee…” Derek starts, his voice a little strangled, “Then, I apologize.”

Stiles finally dares to look at Derek, the shock of Derek apologizing to him…

“Because…” Derek sighs, like he’s having trouble getting the words out, “Because spending all this time with you… It’s… it’s the first time in a long time that I haven’t felt alone anymore…”

Stiles feels like the air is getting sucked out of his lungs by Derek’s words, the way Derek is looking at him, his eyes wide and… almost sad-looking.

“I’m sorry…” Stiles whispers, shaking his head minutely as his eyes are locked on Derek’s. “I didn’t mean…”

“You’re giving me something, Stiles,” Derek breathes, “You’re giving me a whole lot…”

Stiles surges forward, placing his palms on either side of Derek’s face and pressing his lips firmly against Derek’s. Maybe this is a mistake, maybe Stiles is interpreting it all wrong, but he simply can’t not kiss Derek right now. And Derek is taken aback for maybe a fraction of a second before he leans into Stiles and starts kissing back, his lips warm and pliant underneath Stiles’, his cheeks flushed against Stiles’ skin. And all the frustration, all the anger and the pain, all the irritation he has felt over these last few weeks… it all seeps away with the kiss, and Stiles is filled with something else completely. Something sunny and comforting, something sincere, rich… something like Derek.

***

“Oh no, no, no…” Stiles places his hand on Derek’s leg as he moves to get up from the couch the second Stiles’ father walks through the door.

“Hello boys!” the sheriff says, shrugging off his jacket as he closes the door behind him.

“Dad, will you please stop Derek from sneaking out of the house like a thief in the night every time someone comes home?” Stiles says by way of greeting, and while Derek sighs and clicks his tongue as if he’s going to start protesting, the sheriff just grins at the both of them and says, “Derek, you’re staying for dinner.”

“There,” Stiles says, pointedly, and Derek sags back against the couch.

“I’m making lasagna,” the sheriff beams, and Stiles’ mouth already starts watering.

“Oh God,” he groans, turning towards Derek, “Dad’s lasagna’s the best!”

“Can I help you with anything?” Derek asks the sheriff.

“No, no, I can handle it, son,” Stiles’ father says with a smile, then heads for the stairs. “I’m just gonna go freshen up a bit before I get started. You two just… keep it PG, and we’ll all be fine!”

“Da-ad!” Stiles calls out with a gasp as Derek cringes beside him.

“I’m not blind, Stiles!” his father calls back as he disappears up the stairs.

Derek groans as he buries his face in his hands.

“So…” Stiles says, looking over at a mortified Derek, “We might not have been so stealthy after all when my dad came home early the other day?”

“Yeah…” Derek mutters, “I guess we were both a bit out of breath…”

“Which is surprising, really,” Stiles smiles, “Considering you’re a freaking werewolf.”

“I just…” Derek huffs.

“I take your breath away, baby? Boobelah? Bae?” Stiles grins cheekily, poking his fingers against Derek’s ribs repeatedly.

“Please don’t ever call me that again,” Derek groans, but he leans into Stiles’ touch anyway.

“Honeybun? Shnookums? Cuddlybear? Derbea - ” Stiles goes on, until Derek silences him with a long, lingering kiss.

***

Stiles wraps his arms tightly around Derek’s neck as Derek carries him up the stairs, his face pressed into Derek’s neck, his nose rubbing up against the stubble on Derek’s jawline. Derek’s arms are securely around Stiles, even when he gingerly lowers Stiles onto his bed.

Stiles reaches up and presses his lips against Derek’s before he has a chance to pull back, and Derek grins into the kiss.

“So…” Derek says as he sits down next to Stiles on the sheets, his hand resting on top of Stiles’ thigh, above the cast. “Tomorrow.”

“Yeah,” Stiles lets out a deep breath, and he’s not entirely sure why he’s nervous about getting his cast off. He should be happy.

“It’ll be fine,” Derek says, as if he can read Stiles’ mind, then picks up Stiles’ shirt that he wears for bed and throws it over Stiles’ head. “Now get ready for bed.” And Derek pushes himself off the bed.

Stiles pulls the shirts off his head, clutching it against his chest as he asks, “Derek?”

Derek looks at him, smiling softly.

“Stay here tonight?” Stiles asks, his lips curling up at the edges.

Derek always stays when Stiles’ father has a night shift, but downstairs, on the couch, where he can be in earshot if Stiles needs him but still give him his privacy. Stiles is done with privacy though. Not when he can share things with Derek.

Derek’s face cracks open in a wide smile, and he nods. “I’ll be right back.”

Stiles manages to undress inelegantly while Derek heads back downstairs for a second - to grab his stuff, to make sure the doors are closed - his clothes thrown at the chair by his desk before carefully maneuvering  himself under the covers in his boxers and shirt. He scoots over to the side of the bed, making room for Derek while making sure his cast is on the outside.

It doesn’t take long for Derek to be back, dressed down to boxers and a shirt himself, and Stiles pulls up the sheets for Derek to slide in.

“Thank you,” Stiles says as Derek wraps his arms around Stiles, tugging him a little bit closer.

“At least starting tomorrow you’ll finally stop thanking me,” Derek smiles gently, an amused twinkle in his eye.

“Never,” Stiles smiles contently, locking his gaze with Derek’s.

“Just go to sleep,” Derek says, rolling his eyes a bit as his cheeks heat up, and Stiles scoots a little closer to him, resting his head on Derek’s chest.

“When I’m out of this cast, I’m making you dinner,” Stiles mumbles, curving his hand around Derek’s side.

“Yeah?” Derek hums, his chest vibrating against Stiles’ ear.

“Yeah,” Stiles nods, dropping a kiss on Derek’s skin. “And we’re gonna go out without you having to push me around in a wheelchair or carry me upstairs and shit.”

“I like carrying you…” Derek says, rubbing his cheek over the top of Stiles’ head.

“How about I’ll carry you?” Stiles mutters, closing his eyes.

“How about we try not to break your back?” Derek counters, chuckling softly.

“Fine, I’ll do some of the other things you did for me over these past weeks,” Stiles huffs, his thumb rubbing over Derek’s side.

“You’re not gonna help me pee,” Derek mumbles, deadpan.

“You’re not funny,” Stiles says despite grinning widely.

“I’m hilarious,” Derek whispers, burying his nose in Stiles’ hair.

Stiles doesn’t contradict him, just tightens his arms a little bit more as he relaxes against Derek’s chest, listening to his breathing evening out.

Maybe breaking his knee wasn’t so bad after all?

***

The End