Just hang onto it for me, just in case.
And Stiles swears to fucking god, if that's the last thing he hears come out of her mouth he's gonna fucking kill someone,
Just in case. Allison's voice repeats in his head like a mantra, a prayer, just in case, just in case, just in case.
Just hang onto it for me,
It's almost all he can hear over the rushing of blood in his ears as he crashes through the emergency room doors, Allison's fucking necklace clasped in his hand, so tight it cuts into the skin of his palm.
It's just a witch, she'd said, I'll be back before you know it. She'd said as she left their apartment, the one on the corner of Elm and Murphy, the one filled to bursting with moments of her: crumpled receipts from the parking garage near where she works tossed onto the table in the entryway, crossbow bolts scattered over the countertop where she'd been fixing them, her black heels hurriedly kicked off in the doorway while Stiles' hands had been on either side of her waist--
It's just a witch, she'd insisted and she'd handed him her necklace, flashed him a dazzling little smile and leaned in for a mind melting kiss, and Stiles had let her leave.
And the emergency room doors are smacking against the walls next to them and he sees Melissa at the nurse's station and his legs feel like jelly underneath him as he staggers over to her.
And all she does, all she can do is lead him to a room, looks around surreptitiously to make sure no one's watching, and unlocks the door. And she lets him in and Stiles--
Stiles just looks at Allison, looks at her laying in a hospital bed, dwarfed by the machines surrounding her and the blanket folded over her body and the bandage he can see wrapped around her torso; looking so fucking tiny and frail in a way she absolutely, resolutely isn't and all Stiles can hear is--
Just hang on to it for me, just in case.
And it's by some fucking miracle that he makes it to the chair next to her bed.
"Stiles, something went wrong." Scott's voice had said over the phone at three in the fucking morning and Stiles' heart had leapt straight into his throat while his whole entire world had come crashing down around him and he'd swallowed back the pained noise he'd wanted to make in favour of getting more information like he always does.
Something went wrong and Stiles still doesn't understand what that something was because the second Scott had said they were at Beacon Memorial he'd tuned out and broken so many traffic laws because the only thing in his fucking head was just hang onto it for me,
Was just in case,
And Stiles is just looking at her, her beautiful hair fucking singed at the ends and a cannula in her nose and her lips cracked and pale and her left hand with the rubber wedding band looking so stark against skin that's too pale and he's just fucking looking.
"Do you have to go?" He'd whined petulantly from their bed, sun pouring in through the window and lighting her naked body up like sunlight itself had been captured in her skin and made its home there.
She'd giggled, leaning down to kiss him, and he'd caught her hand in his and yanked her down, rolling over her and fucking tasting the laughter bubbling from her lips.
And Melissa is placing a hand on his shoulder and he's biting a hole through the inside of his lip and he's listening to the beeping of the EKG and fucking gripping her necklace.
"It's just a witch." She'd said, "But dad needs backup."
"It's dangerous to go alone." He'd sighed gustily and she'd hummed her agreement.
"You get it." She'd said into his bare shoulder, already kissing a line across his collar bone.
"Doesn't mean I like-- oh." She'd cut him off with a hand venturing down, down, down…
Melissa tells him Chris is in the next room and Stiles nods, knowing he'll make his way over there at some point but he can't right now. Right now he's holding her necklace and feeling the adrenaline still saturating his blood thrumming underneath his skin and chewing a hole in his lip and fucking looking at her.
And all he can think about is the way her hair fans over her pillow, how it curls at the nape of her neck underneath the towel wrapped around her head as she makes coffee in the morning, how she braids little pieces of it when she's watching TV with him, and how now it's fucking scorched at the ends and several inches shorter.
"Here," she'd said, pulling her necklace over her head, all her hair following it and landing across her black leather-clad shoulder, "just hang onto it for me," she'd handed it to him, the necklace from her aunt, the necklace she never takes off despite everything that's tied to it, and drawn him in so she could mould her lips to his and scrape her nails over his scalp.
"Just in case." She'd said against his lips and he'd hummed, drunk on the taste of her, the smell of her freshly washed hair, the feel of her thigh wrapped around his hip and he'd let her go.
The doctor comes in at some point while Stiles is staring at her, at the blackened ends of her dark hair and the white bandage visible under the dingy, lime green hospital gown.
"She got lucky." Dr. Geyer says, resting a hand on Stiles' shoulder, "That spell should've killed her."
And Stiles' free hand, the one not clutching her necklace, curls around the arm of the chair so hard it would splinter if he were anything other than human.
"She's a fighter." He says and Stiles wants to snap,
I know! wants to shout,
You think I don't?! wants to punch him for suggesting anything to the contrary.
But he doesn't.
He just sits in his chair, the seat hard and the arms uncomfortably high, and watches his wife breathe, and vows, to anything that will listen, that this will never happen again. That she's never going on a hunt without him again.
And he's looking at her hands, resting on top of the white hospital blanket, slack and unmoving; knows how nimble they are, how strong they are, how beautiful they are. And how she insists on painting her nails even though they never stay as pristine as they start and how she switches out her engagement ring every so often; blue sea glass, silver stars, yellow stone, looping vines, and sometimes when she dresses particularly nice, a diamond nestled in the center of olive branches. And how those hands had been trailing over his back, scraping deep blue nails down his spine when he'd moved just right only two days ago.
And he's just hearing her voice, hearing how it sounds when she laughs, when she yells at him for taking stupid risks, when she sighs fuck, Stiles, just like that, when she grumbles sleepily as he hands her a mug with Winnie the Pooh characters on it full of sugary, creamy coffee.
And he's hearing the last thing she'd said to him, hearing just in case, and he can't hear anything else.
Just in case is still ringing in his ears, bouncing around in his buzzing skull, filling every empty nook and cranny in his fucking soul because Stiles, something went wrong had made the world come to a crashing, spectacular, cataclysmic stop and it hasn't restarted.
He doesn't know how long he sits there, his thoughts running around in desultory circles that always lead back to Allison and how fucking small she looks against white sheets and the beeping of the EKG machine.
But at some point the door opens and Stiles doesn't even look over his shoulder, doesn't even care who it is, just keeps tapping his wedding ring against the wooden arm of the chair, the clack clack clack either slowly driving him insane or slowly pulling him back from insanity, and he honestly can't say which.
He hears an exhale next to him and smells Scott's cologne buried under dirt and the ozone scent of magic and god even knows what else and doesn't look over at him.
He just sits.
He just sits, because he doesn't know what else to do.
Scott lays his hand over Stiles', stilling its motion against the arm of this stupid, uncomfortable, hospital chair, and Stiles doesn't thank him for it.
He doesn't say anything and neither does Scott, they just sit, looking at Allison and listening to her mechanical heart beat.
Scott gets his own chair some time later and Stiles watches the early morning sun crawl across the linoleum floor lazily, like it knows it's the last thing Stiles wants to see; like it knows he can't help envisioning the way Allison's eyes turn a bronze-caramel-cinnamon colour when it filters through them.
Scott shifts in his seat and Stiles raises his eyes to look over at him, their sandpaper texture grating against his lids from being open way too long.
And Scott says nothing, and Stiles doesn't know whether or not he hates him for it.
He almost wants Scott to explain himself, explain how it came to this, how this happened to his fucking wife.
"I'm sorry." Scott croaks, and fuck that's worse than an explanation or an excuse or anything Stiles had been vainly hoping for because it's Scott and he's so fucking earnest about everything and Stiles can't hold anything against him. Not like this.
So Stiles just nods, can't say anything because his throat is tight and aching and he doesn't even know how to respond to that.
And just in case-- said against his lips, said with a smile, said breezily, like an afterthought--is still playing on a demented loop in his head.
At some point Stiles inhales deeply and blinks a few times, rouses himself from whatever stupor he'd gone into and rises from his chair. He looks at Allison, trails his fingertips over the back of her hand--cold and still and almost lifeless-- shuts his eyes and just breathes for a minute.
Her fingers had intertwined with his on the back of the couch, her legs draped over his lap, the TV completely forgotten.
And he'd been holding her waist in his other hand, his thumb running over the raised scar on her stomach, a way-too-close call.
"You'll be careful, right?" Stiles hadn't been able to keep himself from asking. She'd looked over at him with an exasperated smile but something on his face must've changed her mind because her face had fallen completely, had morphed into something more befitting of a gladitorial tournament than a night in with order in Thai food and 80s movies.
"Yeah, I'll be careful." She'd promised and it hadn't made him breathe any easier, hadn't made his hold on her that night any looser, but he'd tried to make it seem like it had.
He leaves Allison's room and shambles over to Chris', absently noting he feels a little bit like death warmed over.
Chris looks better than Allison does.
He's still laying down but Stiles can tell he wishes he were sitting up, looking over paperwork with his brow characteristically furrowed, a pen between his teeth.
He looks up at Stiles when he enters, pulls the pen from his mouth, and just has this look on his face, one Stiles has seen before way too many times and Stiles just closes the distance between the door and the bed in two steps. Chris gingerly works himself into a sitting position and Stiles wraps his arms around him, just this side of too tight, but Chris gives as good as he gets.
They don't say anything, they don't have to. They just breathe for a bare few minutes and it's not good but it's better and that's enough.
When Stiles pulls away he runs a hand down his face, collecting tears he hadn't really felt as they'd fallen.
And Chris is the kind of person who understands what other people need, has always been the kind of person that gives people what they need, and never asks for anything in return and it astounds Stiles sometimes.
"Go back to her, Stiles, your dad and I are working on it." Chris says and honestly Stiles hadn't even been thinking about the shit show that supernatural cases cause, hadn't even cared if he's honest, so he just follows instructions for once and leaves Chris to his paperwork.
He resumes his vigil beside Allison and Scott gets up to leave at some point, having to go to work at the clinic in a few hours no doubt, and Stiles lets him go.
He has no idea what time it is when Allison makes a little noise in the back of her throat and he fucking flies out of his chair to grab her hand, to feel her fingers flexing against his and he's still holding onto her fucking necklace in his left hand.
Her eyes flutter open and he's not sure if he's ever been so fucking elated to see her beautiful brown eyes in his life.
"Hey." He says softly, the first thing he's said in well over twelve hours, his voice raspy with disuse and--and she looks over at him with so much love in her gaze that his chest feels like its caving in.
"Hey." She replies, her voice equally as gravelly.
Now the tears are falling, and he lets out a wet laugh and holds her hand up to his lips, presses a kiss there and just fucking aches with relief.
"I love you so much." He whispers into the skin of her palm and her fingers lay themselves over his cheek and he can smell the antiseptic all over her but it doesn't even fucking matter because she's here and she's whole and she's gorgeous.
"I love you too." She says, her smile a little wobbly but Stiles was preparing to never see it again so he doesn't even care.
He squeezes his eyes shut, holds her wrist in his shaking hands, and tries to breathe.
"I'm sorry," Allison starts, "I should've been more careful, I should've been paying attention, I'm sor--"
"Shh," Stiles hushes her before she can gain too much steam, "it's okay, you're okay, we can talk later."
She nods slowly. "Okay. We'll talk later."
And it's a promise because just in case and it's just a witch and I'll be back before you know it had been promises too and Stiles needs to chase the words away with something real.
So he leans down and kisses her, gently, reverently, mindful of her injuries and her--current--weakness but it's all for nothing because she curls a hand in the hair at the nape of his neck and pulls him in and he's always been completely at her mercy so he just goes and let's her properly kiss him.
"Well," a voice says across from them and Stiles just grins against Allison's lips and turns his head to Melissa, "good to see you awake, Allison."
"Good to be awake." She replies and Stiles laughs helplessly, lays his forehead against her shoulder, breathes in the antiseptic and the singed ends of her hair and the scent of her lilac perfume, still lingering on her neck beneath her ears where she always rubs the excess from her wrists. And he's here, he's home, because Allison is okay and whole and talking to Melissa about the next steps of her treatment and how long she'll be in the hospital and grumbling about eventual physical therapy.
And he's home here, against her shoulder, her hand still buried in his hair, and her voice filling his ears.
And he presses her necklace into the hand at her side and she inhales sharply, turning his head to face her, and presses an urgent, insistent kiss to his lips and Melissa is sighing, exasperated, but Stiles can't even hear her, doesn't even care as she leaves the room, mumbling complaints as she goes.
"Thank you." Allison says against his mouth and he kisses her, pours everything he doesn't know how to say into it.
I was in agony without you, and
Please don't leave me again, and
I belong to you so completely, and
You hold my heart in your hands, and
"I love you." He says, leaning back a little to tuck a strand of her hair behind her ear and look down at her, to watch her eyes shine with unshed tears, to watch her smile her perfect smile at him, to press kisses to her dimples.
"I love you too." She whispers.
And he says it back again once more, his voice just as low, just in case.