Actions

Work Header

Scars and Stripes

Chapter Text

He wished he could say that, he first saw him again at the school reunion he had gone back too, ten years after they had left high school, but in truth...it wasn't, and even so...it wasn't him who noticed him sat there, it was his daughter.

\//\\//\

''Daddy'' The whispered voice came at the same time, as the soft tug on his jacket sleeve. ''that man's just like Grandpa is'' She whispered as he finally turned to see where his five year old was pointing towards.

Sure enough, a little further up the compartment, sat a guy, the camouflaged uniform a stark difference against the red seats of the train. For a moment, Derek was thrown, the guy looked young from what he could see of tanned skin and messy hair, it was like he didn't belong in the uniform he wore but Derek could see he did.

''Can I go say hello?'' Lena whispered to him again, her blue eyes wide as she stared up at her father.

''It wouldn't be for the best baby, some people like to have some peace and quiet after what they have been through'' Derek told her softly. ''Just like Grandpa told you'' He told her before she nodded, her pigtails flying around her head as she went back to her coloring.

They were making the trip up from San Francisco for the school reunion, he still couldn't believe that it had been ten years since he had left high school, a decade of memories and heartache and joy being mixed in, with memories of his school years. Derek had missed a lot of his friends, the ones he didn't get to see often with two kids and living a few hours away, most of his time was doing school runs, working and braiding hair, even playing the odd dress up whenever Lena wanted him too. At the same time, he was running around his youngest, his three year old son Kyle, the tiny tot causing mischief whenever and wherever he could.
As it was, he was currently fast asleep, tucked up against Derek's jacket and holding on for dear life. It made the older man smile as he traced his finger against the boy's cheek, chuckling as he snuffled and burrowed in deeper. Sure single life was hard sometimes, but Derek coped and he had help of his family whenever he needed them.

Tilting his head back against the train seat, Derek let his eyes wonder up towards the guy his daughter had pointed out to him, he hadn't really moved from where he had been staring out the window at the passing scenery. For a moment, Derek found himself thinking back to his school years as he watched the guy, he felt ashamed to say that it took him longer than necessary to realize that he knew him, well had known him.

Stiles Stilinski, the sheriff's son.

Blinking, Derek watched him carefully, remembering everything he knew about the guy who was only a couple of months younger than Derek was himself. He remembered the clumsy and hyperactive kid, always running around with his best friend, getting in to detentions with Mr. Harris, when they had Chemistry.
He hadn't known where Stiles had gone after high school, there was always different answers when he asked his family or friends who had stayed back in Beacon Hill's. Watching him, felt like he was watching a completely different person, this Stiles, compared to the old, was sat stock still, his hands resting, palm flat on his thigh, the other, Derek could only assume copied. It was almost like he was sleeping, yet Derek knew he wasn't by the way his eyes seemed to flicker over everything as it passed, the only thing moving.

He couldn't help but wonder if he was returning home for the reunion, Derek could feel the neediness, to pick his kids up and walk over, sit down across from the younger man and catch up on lost time, but he didn't. He wondered if Cora was still in touch with Stiles, knowing that they were good friends during high school, the other man, always around the Hale house.
In fact, Derek couldn't deny really, that he had had a crush on Stiles, the way he seemed to be alive with energy and laughter all the time, his smiles whenever he teased Derek about something. He had been beautiful...still was from where he could see.

It was the words of needing the bathroom which pulled Derek's eyes away from Stiles to look towards his daughter, a nod of his head and words to hurry because they would be at the station soon that had her jumping from the seat and moving down the aisle. Watching her pause near Stiles, Derek felt like he was going to have a heart attack when the man turned his head towards her, eyes glancing over before he gave a smile which was small before Lena was moving on again. It felt almost painful to see those large and beautiful smiles reduced to a small thing as Derek turned around and glanced out the windows himself.

They were nearly at the station when Lena came back and helped her father to pack her coloring things away in to the bag she had gotten from Laura for her birthday just gone, a bright yellow thing which glittered in the sunlight, Derek had thought it was an eyesore when she had first unwrapped it but the reaction his daughter had was always a memory that he would treasure.

''Daddy'' Lena spoke as he turned to look at her with a quiet hum. ''can we get milkshakes once we're off the train?'' She asked as he chuckled softly.

''Well, you're going to have to ask Aunt Cora, she's picking us up'' He informed the five year old, his lips curling up when she cheered at him, disturbing her brother who whined against Derek's chest. Looking down, he smiled as Kyle rubbed at his eyes and moved his thumb down to his mouth, large green eyes blinking. ''Good sleep?'' He murmured as he kissed his head and his son nodded sleepily.

\//\\//\

''Aunt Cora'' Lena's voice was loud as Derek helped her off the train and thanked a women for her help in getting his luggage off. Catching up to his sister and daughter, Derek chuckled before he let the suitcase handle go and hugged her.

''It's good to see you again'' Cora told him as she kissed Kyle's cheek, earning a smile around his thumb before he was opening his arms. Shaking his arm out once she had taken him, Derek glanced around the station to see only a few people. ''Everything okay Der?'' Cora asked as he turned back.

''Do you remember the sheriff's son?'' He asked her, ''Stiles?''

''Of course I do, he was one of my best friends in school'' He was told, ''why?''

''He was on the train'' He murmured as he moved his case out of the way of someone passing, ''joined the army by the look of the uniform he had been wearing, but it was weird, he was so still, nothing like I remember him to be'' Derek frowned as she nodded.

''I heard that rumor, but never knew if it was true or not'' Cora expressed, ''did you speak to him?'' Shaking his head, he watched her face fall slightly. ''Why not?''

''I don't know'' He admitted, ''he just looked like he wanted to be alone, I didn't even notice it was him until Lena pointed him out and I stayed for a few moments'' He told her, much to Cora's small smirk before she rolled her eyes.

''Alright, I'll let you off on this one''

''Daddy look, it's the army man again'' Lena's voice caught both of their attention as they turned to look up the station to see Stiles stood beside a large bag, his body sideways towards them as he looked down at a phone.

''Damn'' Cora breathed out, ''I see what you mean by being still, he never used to stand like that, he would always be moving around'' Nodding in agreement, they both watched as Stiles looked up again, head turning before Derek noticed the Sheriff walking closer to his son. ''mom was saying, just the other day that John hasn't seen Stiles in almost three years'' She whispered despite the station platform being between them both as father and son hugged tightly.

''Come on, we should go'' Derek spoke as he nudged his sister forward a little, holding his hand out to Lena, he clasped his fingers around hers once she took it and followed Cora out to her car, leaving Stiles and his father to reunite in private.

…...

''Derek, you're back'' Talia's voice was soft as she greeted her son, his own lips curling up to match her own as they hugged.

''Yeah, finally'' He chuckled, eyes darting off to where her grandchildren were wondering in to the lounge. ''it was a tiring journey and Lena managed to get Cora to stop for milkshakes before we got here'' He grinned as Talia nodded with a bright smile.

''She has her aunt wrapped around her little finger sweetheart'' She teased before looking down at the bags, ''why don't I go take these up to your rooms while you relax, your father is in the kitchen.'' Talia told him with a soft smile.

''Thanks mom''

Watching her son head down the hallway, Talia couldn't help but feel proud at how far he had come since leaving school and having Lena, he had been young still but he had gotten through it with his girlfriend and brought up a great little girl before her brother came along. Having his girlfriend leave both Derek and their children less than a year after Kyle’s birth had been hard on Derek, he nearly gave up and Talia was glad that the family had gone down to look after them all, he had needed the help then, the way he almost refused to his room, even to look after his children until Talia and his sisters had managed to get through to him.

All she had ever wanted for her children was happiness and love in their lives, Derek had everything, the love of his family, of his children was incredible to see sometimes, the way they looked at him with nearly identical eyes sometimes made her cry nearly.

She still worried about her son sometimes, living hours away in such a large city, away from his family, Talia wanted him living back in Beacon Hill's, where he grew up, wanted him to bring his children up in the same town, take them to the same schools. But she knew that it was his choice, that she would never bring it up or push it on Derek, he was twenty-eight, a father of two gorgeous children who lead their own lives.

Chapter Text

''Have you got everything you need?'' John's voice shook a little as he spoke, his pale eyes traveling over his son for the first time in person, in a very long time.

''I do, this is the only bag I brought'' Stiles told him, ''the only bag I have.''

''Okay...I'm just, I'm just making sure son'' John told him before pulling him back in to a tight hug again, ''I've missed you Stiles''

The hug felt different to what he remembered, Stiles didn't hug him as tight as he once did, his son was a different person, he had grown up to be a strong man. Pulling away to stare at him, the Sheriff of Beacon Hills drank in the tanned skin, the hair which was just a tiny bit longer than the buzz cut his son supported back in high school. But the eyes were different, no longer did they hold deep depths of warmth, they looked empty now, a dull shine over them as he smiled softly.

''Alright, let's go home'' He whispered as he grabbed Stiles' bag for him and let his eyes travel over the cane his son walked with.

John had noticed the limp straight away when his kid got off the train, had seen the way Stiles seemed to favor his right leg more than his left as he stepped down slowly. He swore to himself that the people waiting behind him wouldn’t off been so patient if Stiles hadn’t been wearing his uniform. Packing the large duffel back in to the trunk of the cruiser, John stepped around and unlocked the doors before letting his son get in to the front, the cane he had tucking in between his knees. Shaking his head, John took a moment to breathe out deeply, his pale eyes closing against the midday sun as he blocked everything out. By the time he was back in the car, the engine starting up and rumbling beneath them, John had resigned himself to this new version of his son. He had known that stiles had gotten injured over in the war, had spent a couple of months in some military hospital recovering. John had both been heartbroken and excited at the news, knowing that it was going to bring Stiles home, but at the same time, John worried since Stiles had requested that his injuries was not let known to his family and friends.

‘’I was talking with Scott the other day; he seems excited to see you.’’ John spoke once they had been on the road for a few moments, the air between them still as he glanced over. ‘’wanted to come with me to pick you up but Melissa spoke some sense in to him, said not to crowd you too much and not to mention, he would have to sit in the back.’’ He chuckled, only for the sound to dry up a little when Stiles did nothing but give a slight nod to his words. ‘’uh…your room was cleared out like you asked, we packed it up in boxes and put them in the attic.’’ John mentioned after a few more moments of silence.

When the request for that had come through in one of the few letters Stiles had sent, he had been surprised and confused to why his son would want nothing but his bed and a desk to be in the place he had filled with different figures, books and everything else that had caught his mind and attention. But the order was done and nearly everything that spoke to Stiles was boxed up and placed in the attic with his mother’s belongings that John could never bring himself to go through and throw out.

For a couple of miles, he just talked towards Stiles, telling him all about the things which had changed in town and around the station while he had been away, anything that would fill the silence. It felt unnatural to him, the Stiles he remembered always had something to say, some joke to tell.

‘’Melissa made us some of her meatballs as a welcome home gift almost, but if you don’t fancy that, we could always order pizza in.’’

‘’Not hungry.’’ Glancing over at Stiles’ reply, John gave him a few seconds to look over at how still he was sat in his seat, his vacant eyes staring out the window as the scenery flew by.

‘’You sure, I know you had a long journey.’’ He counted, his tongue coming out to wet his lower lip as Stiles just repeated the same two words to him. ‘’alright then son, I guess you can always have something later, I’m sure you just want to grab a shower and get some rest, I understand.

Truth was, John didn’t understand, he had no idea at all of what was running through Stiles’ mind at the moment. He had known people to go to war and come back, different types of injuries and change in personality’s, yet Stiles seemed like none of them. He was a shell of the man he had known.

Spending the rest of the trip back to Beacon Hill’s in silence, John was soon pulling up in to the driveway, killing the engine off and just sat there. Around them both, the car creaked and clanged as it started to cool down. ‘’So’’ He trailed off quietly. ‘’we’re home’’ He spoke before turning to look at his son again. In the few moments that they sat there, he could see Stiles’ eyes trailing over the house, almost calculating each window he could see from the car. ‘’Why don’t you go on inside and I’ll bring your bag in for you’’ John mentioned as he handed the house keys over to Stiles who had finally turned to look at him.

Watching as Stiles nodded the once and took the metal from his hands, John tried not to offer help as Stiles had a moment of struggle to get out the car, the almost silent sound of pain escaping from his lips had John digging his fingers in to his thigh. Slowly getting out himself, John’s eyes found his son again, had seen the flinch when the door had slammed shut by mistake before Stiles was disappearing in to the house, the door closing behind him.

Shaking his head, it wasn’t long before john had collected Stiles’ bag from the trunk along with a few other groceries he had gotten while waiting for the train to come in. Once inside the house, he paused by the door, just listening as the sound of Stiles’ cane moved up the stairs slowly, clicking against the wood one by one. ‘’I’ll bring your bag up in a few moments kiddo, I promised I would call once we were home.’’ John called out. He wasn’t expecting a reply and he didn’t get one as he carried on walking in to the kitchen and put everything on the table. By the time he was finished on the phone with Melissa, John turned and walked over to the duffel bag, his hands running over it slowly before he undone it and started to take everything out. Moving all the clothing that looked like it needed washing to one side, John put the clean stuff to another before reaching back inside the bag. Feeling the cool touch of metal, he paused for a moment before he finally pulled out a small box, no bigger than a medium sized lock box, John ran his fingers over it and placed it down, knowing that it was his son’s private things. As he checked the bag was empty, John kept glancing towards the box, wondering if it held all the letters that had been sent to Stiles, or whether there was any information on the injuries that Stiles had suffered while he was over in the desert.

It was another few minutes of him fighting with himself, that John finally did the right thing and placed the box on top of the clean clothing and carried it upstairs along with the bag to the corner bedroom that belonged to Stiles. ‘’Son?’’ He called out, knocking on the door lightly before he stepped in, his eyes moving around before they landed on Stiles standing near the window. ‘’I brought your stuff up, well the clean stuff anyway, I’ll wash the rest up tomorrow’’ John told him as he walked across and placed everything down on the bed. ‘’is there anything I can get you?’’ He asked as Stiles finally turned to look towards him.

‘’No, that will be all, thank you’’ Stiles spoke, his voice had gotten a little deeper over the years, his skin slightly darker from being under the harsh sun all the time. John could see that Stiles had built up over the years now that the army jacket was gone and he was left in the dark green undershirt. The material pulled tight across his chest and upper arms, the muscles clear in the light which was coming in through the slatted blinds.

‘’Okay kid, you sure you don’t want anything to eat or drink?’’ John tried asking again. His eyes watching as Stiles limped across the room, his cane forgotten against his barren desk.

‘’No, I’m fine.’’ He told him before perching on the edge of the bed, Stiles’ hand moving to rub at his leg slightly.

‘’Okay, I’ll be downstairs if you need anything. So just give us a shout or something.’’ John offered before backing out of the bedroom. Pausing for a few moments, John watched his son as he reached out and lifted the box up off the clothing and slid it under the bed. Hiding it. Sighing quietly to himself, he rubbed at his temple. ‘’it’s good to have you home Stiles.’’ He told him truthfully as Stiles looked up towards him, nodding faintly before he looked away again.

He had been both scared and happy to get the news about Stiles, all he ever wanted was to have his son home safe and sound. To know that he wasn’t in a place that every second could cause his death. Closing the door behind him, John rubbed his hand over his face as headed back downstairs again and towards his drinks cabinet.

God, he needed a drink.

Drink in hand, John soon retreated to the kitchen and started to cook the meatballs and pasta that Melissa had brought over. Before long, the smell of the rich sauce and meat started to fill the kitchen, causing his stomach to rumble loudly. Part of him wondered whether Stiles would come down for dinner once the smell of it reached his room. By the time the meal was ready, John had it dished up on two plates with some garlic bread he had in the freezer for a while, there was no sign of Stiles, no sign or noise of movement coming from upstairs. Picking his son’s plate up, he placed it in the stove to keep warm before he took his own and headed towards the living room, pausing at the bottom of the stairs to call up to Stiles, letting him know that there was a plate for him.

Of course, he had no response either.

Chapter Text

It had been a few days since Derek had been back home with his family, enjoying the slowness of each day, the quietness of the family home. He had almost forgotten what it was like to wake up to the sound of birds singing outside his window instead of the loud noise of early morning traffic, blaring their horns along with his alarm clock.

For a moment or two, Derek was confused to what had woken him up when it finally hit him. His kids. Most mornings, they would come and jump on his bed, waking him up until he got out and made them breakfast. But today, they were missing and as much as Derek welcomed the lay in, it also concerned him as he pushed the blankets away and swung his legs around to press his feet against the cold wood of his floor.

Moving through the house, he checked through the bedrooms that his mother had set up for his children when they first born, not finding them, he frowned gently, his head turning this way and that as he tried to listen. The silence disturbed him. The only time his children was quiet was when they were up to no good.

Treading down the stairs slowly, Derek was curious when he heard a laugh come from kitchen’s direction. Following it, Derek paused, caught in the doorway in surprise as he stared towards his family. His mother and Lena was both at the counter, hands mixing a low bowl while Cora had hold of Kyle and was letting him press a cutter in to dough which was spread out over the kitchen counter.

‘’What’s going on here then?’’ Derek asked as he folded his arms over his bare chest, his shoulder resting up against the doorframe as everyone turned to stare at him.

‘’Grandma is letting us make cookies Daddy’’ Lena exclaimed loudly, in the same movements, she was jumping down and running around the counter to leap up against him. Picking her up, he pressed a kiss to her cheek. ‘’but we had to be quiet so we didn’t wake you up…we didn’t, did we daddy?’’ She asked as he chuckled and shook his head.

‘’No, you didn’t sweetheart.’’

‘’Good, because Grandma said that once you were up and that everybody had had lunch, that we could go for a walk through the woods like you did when you were little.’’ She grinned as he smiled.

‘’I think that sounds like a perfect idea little one’’ he told her as they walked back over to the counter, putting her down again, Derek excepted the cup of coffee from his mother happily. ‘’Morning’’ He spoke.

‘’Morning baby, I intercepted the little ones when they were on the way to your room so I thought I would keep them busy and let you sleep in.’’ Talia told him.

Swallowing the mouthful, he had just taken, Derek nodded. ‘’I did wonder where they were when I was woken up without being jumped on.’’ Derek mused with a grin, his eyes watching as Lena started to help her brother with the cookie cutting. ‘’And mentioning about taking them in to the woods, that’s even better, I’ve often told them stories about the times that we have gone on walks and they keep asking when they can do them.’’ He chuckled. ‘’and not to mention, running around in the fresh air will do them good.’’

‘’They were like you when you were their age Derek, energetic with a wild streak.’’

Rolling his eyes at the response, Derek shifted around and put his empty mug in to the sink before he stretched. ‘’I’m going to go grab a shower and then get dressed.’’

‘’I’m cooking pasta bake for lunch so you have about an hour before it’s ready’’ His mother called after him, the words making him glance towards the clock to see that he had slept in close to noon for once.

---

For once, Derek decided to just take his time with doing everything since he didn’t have to worry about what his children was doing or them barging in to the bathroom because they wanted him to hurry up. By the time, he had finished and had washed down the tiles to rid of all the evidence of him pleasuring himself, Derek was out and was drying off when he heard his mother call out that lunch was ready.

‘’You took your time, didn’t you?’’ Cora teased him once he had finally entered the kitchen.

‘’Leave him alone Cora and grab the knife and forks please.’’ Their mother scolded, causing Derek to smirk as he walked over to the table and pressed a kiss to the top of Lena’s and Kyles heads before sitting down next to his son.

‘’Grandma said I could draw on the cookies.’’ Kyle’s small voice piped up as Derek looked at him, a warm smile on his face at his son’s words.

‘’Is that so kiddo? That sounds great.’’

‘’Yeah, but only after we get back from our walk.’’ Lena added in loudly before sticking her tongue out at her younger brother.

‘’Be nice Lena or you won’t go.’’ Derek warned as she huffed and dropped back in to her seat, her little arms folded across her chest before she was quickly uncrossing them again when Talia brought over the large glass dish with lunch.

‘’Do you have any salad mom?’’ Derek asked again as he got back up and started to move around the kitchen to make the kids a drink each.

‘’There’s one in the fridge that I made earlier, you just need to add the dressing in to it.’’ Talia told him as he went over and pulled the door open, eyes looking over the shelves before he found the bowl and pulled it out. Calling out to the kids, Derek listened to the replies of what juice they wanted before he grabbed the cartoons and headed back over to join his family at the table again.

----

‘’I’ve missed times like these’’ Derek found himself saying mid meal as he looked around at his siblings and his mother. ‘’the times that we do get together like this, makes me miss it even more.’’ He shrugged as he glanced towards his mother.

…..

‘’You can always move back home honey.’’ Talia spoke as she looked back over at her son as he helped to cut some of Kyle’s salad up.

‘’I can’t do that to you mom, it wouldn’t be fair, you’ve done your job of raising us kids and now it’s your time to relax.’’ Derek told her as he frowned.

Shaking her head, Talia found herself chuckling softly. ‘’Darling, I love having you all around and the little ones running about the place, it makes the house feel full again.’’ She told him happily. ‘’You’re so far away down in San Francisco. I would love to see my grandbabies more often in person than over the computer.’’ She added in before eating a little more of her lunch. ‘’I mean, you can always move back in to the house for a little while, while you look around for a house.’’

‘’I don’t know really.’’

Talia could see the tightness in her son’s shoulders as he slumped back against his chair, she knew that most of his friends were left behind in Beacon Hill’s after he had moved away for college. And being at home with two young kids didn’t do anything for his social life or even his love life and that worried Talia a little since she wanted her children to be nothing but happy. ‘’There’s a couple of properties available that I know of you could have a look at, they are lovely little houses for you and the kids.’’ She added in when she saw Derek’s eyes flicker towards her at the mention of the houses.

‘’I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have a look at some of them.’’ Derek shrugged as he sat back up again and stabbed some pasta on to his fork, his eyes darting towards his kids and back again. ‘’it would be nice being able to come and see you guys whenever I want and not take a few hours to travel up.’

‘’Then move back home you idiot.’’ Laura snorted from where she had been suspiciously quiet at the end of the table. ‘’just face it, everyone misses you here at home, you miss us and I know I miss having my niece and nephew around, I want to see them grow up too.’’ She added in as Talia nodded in agreement. ‘’and I’m not letting you go home until you’ve seen at least one house, even if it does kill me.’’ She smirked, her words causing Derek to chuckle lightly.

‘’Alright, alright maybe in the next couple of days we can go and have a look at the houses.’’ Her son grinned.

Chapter Text

It had been a couple of days since he had been home, the noise, the smells…just everything felt strange and foreign to him. Stiles wasn’t used to the sound of birds singing in the trees outside of the house anymore, he wasn’t used to the sound of traffic passing by all the time, but most of all, he wasn’t used to having everything on hand again.

Yes, running water and a working toilet was great, but he missed the silence of the desert. And in a strange way, he missed the sound of warfare, the guns popping and air strikes cracking through the air.

But Stiles knew he needed to forget that, to learn not to miss it and get used to life as a civilian again. But It wasn’t that easy and he needed his space. He loved his father, god, Stiles wouldn’t know what he would do without him, but Stiles also knew that he needed to get through the few days on his own.

That was why he was currently, hidden away in the middle of the forest surrounding the town. In a small cabin, deep in the woods where there was hardly anything in the air accept for the odd bird here and there. Stepping from one side to the other only took about six strides, small enough to be cozy but large enough not to feel trapped. 

Pushing some more wood in to the small stove, Stiles’ eyes moved over the flames as it started to lick at the new log, sending a new warmth through the cabin as rain started to trickle down outside. It was another thing Stiles had found himself missing without realizing as he carefully shut the stove door and moved towards the window in a slow step, everything he did was slow nowadays as he breathed out, partly out of breath and in pain as he sunk in to the chair that he had placed there. Rubbing softly at his knee, Stiles turned to stare out of the window and in to the woods which was slowly starting to grow darker despite being just after midday. Finally drawing his hand away from his leg, Stiles rested it against his stomach as he listened to the rain coming down against the roof and the large leaves outside the window, it was calming as he closed his eyes, body relaxing slightly for the first time in a few hours as all his pain faded away.

When his eyes opened at the sudden roar of thunder outside, Stiles, for a moment was transported back to the battlefield, the large guns echoing out, across the sand as he dived. Clattering to the floor, he let a loud cry out as he landed on his leg roughly, the pain bringing him back to the present, harshly. Panting with his cheek pressed to the floor, Stiles’ breath disturbed the slight dust as he just stared vacantly across to the other side of the cabin as his heart raced inside his chest.
He was no longer there, there wasn’t any road side bombs to worry about, Stiles didn’t have to worry about bullets, soaring through the air as he squeezed his eyes shut again at the onslaught of memories as another crash of thunder echoed loudly above his temporary home. As much as he kept reminding himself that he wasn’t there anymore, his words whispering out harshly, his mind was sending him right back in to the middle of hell.

For an hour or so, Stiles just laid, curled up on the floor before he started to stretch his good leg out, turning himself over on to his back as he blinked up towards the ceiling of the cabin. ‘It needs cleaning’ He thought briefly to himself before he had another thought of telling himself to get up. Slowly but surely, Stiles pushed himself up to sitting, his hands moving down to his healed leg, fingers rubbing around his knee as he checked himself over, making sure that there was no real damage before he slowly climbed to his feet, cursing at the pinching to his skin until he was sat back in the chair, sweat beading at the edges of his temples.

It took a few minutes for him to pass through the pain, to wipe away the sweat from his face and hairline before he was turning to look out the window again, lightining filling up the sky beyond the tree tops, giving the woods around the cabin, just for a moment…a spooky feeling, something from one of the old horror movies he would watch as a teen.
It was in another moment of light that Stiles noticed movement outside in the bushes, too large to be any animals that rarely wondered out this deeply. Frowning, Stiles pushed to his feet and slowly limped over to the door and opening it to the soft rain still falling.

‘’Hello?’’ He called out, his voice almost a croak as he heard leaves moving and twigs breaking before a small boy came tumbling through, falling to his knees in the mud. Staring with wide eyes as the kid turned tear filled eyes towards him, Stiles watched as he got to his feet again and stumbled towards him. ‘’Are you okay?’’ Stiles found himself asking as he opened the door wider and ushered the boy in without a second thought. It was probably the sight of red eyes and the boy sniffling with tears that had him doing it before moving slowly towards the small bed to grab the over throw blanket. ‘’what are you doing out this far?’’ He asked as he moved back over and wrapped the blanket around the kid.

‘’I…I’m not allowed to, to talk to strangers.’’ The kid spoke, his words stuttering with the tears and cold as Stiles rubbed his small arms a little over the blanket. ‘’but I got lost.’’ The boy almost sobbed again as Stiles licked over his lower lip, nodding slightly as he breathed out.

‘’It’s going to be okay kid’’ Stiles told him before moving away again as he walked over to the bag he had packed. Finding some clothing, he knew was going to be way too big, he carried it back still. ‘’but let’s get you out of those wet clothes huh and in to something dry before you get a cold, then I’ll make you a hot drink and you can tell me what happened.’’ His words were soft and gentle as he gently moved the boy closer to the stove and the warmth.

For a few moments, the only sound was the rain, growing heavier outside as it got darker and the sound of the boy struggling out of his wet clothes and in to Stiles’. Once he was finished, Stiles carefully knelt and rolled the bottoms up and up until just the tips of the boy’s toes appeared and he wrapped the blanket back around him again. ‘’My name is Stiles.’’ He told him as he started to make them both a hot drink on top of the stove, his eyes flickering over towards the boy every so often as he sat in the chair facing the stove. A part of Stiles was pleased to see that he was getting some color back in to his cheeks again.

‘’I’m Kyle.’’ The boy told him as he sniffed, the back of his hand coming up to rub across his nose and Stiles’ shirt.

‘’It’s nice to meet you Kyle’’ Stiles replied before carrying the cup over and carefully gave it to him, telling him to be careful before Stiles moved back to drag the other chair over himself. ‘’can you tell me how you got all the way out here?’’ He asked as his eyes flickered towards the window and back again.

‘’I got lost, daddy and grandma took me and my sister for a walk in the woods and we were playing hide and seek.’’ Kyle spoke slowly, his voice wavering a little with each word. ‘’but I couldn’t find them again and I got scared, daddy always told me to try and find a path if I got lost, but I couldn’t find one and now he’s going to be angry with me’’ He whimpered.

‘’Hey, I’m sure he’s not, worried and afraid for you, but I don’t think he will be angry’’ Stiles soothed out softly. ‘’Let me have a look at your hands.’’ Stiles spoke as he shifted closer after noticing the redness on them. Seeing that they were a little grazed up, Stiles found the small first aid kit which had been in the cabin, Stiles returned to sit in front of him, pulling out wipes to gently clean Kyle’s hands up as he breathed out. ‘’It’s a very lucky thing that you found the cabin, you would’ve gotten a very bad cold if you had stayed out in this weather any longer.’’

‘’Can we try and find my daddy?’’ Kyle whispered as Stiles looked up in to light eyes.

‘’Not tonight, I’m sorry’’ Stiles spoke quietly. ‘’it’s too dark to go out and the rain is too heavy, we would get lost quickly.’’ Stiles explained to him the best he could. ‘’but my father is the sheriff and I’ll take you in to town in the morning once the weather clears up and we can head through the woods. He will help you find your daddy and sister.’’ Stiles promised him as Kyle nodded gently before he drunk some of his cocoa.

Sitting back in his chair, Stiles just watched the little boy, still unsure how he had been able to talk to him so much when he couldn’t even get a whole sentence or two out to his father, it pained him a little as he rubbed his hand over his face slightly, just wondering what the hell he was going to do when he turned to look back at Kyle again, only to see him slumped against the arm of the chair, the blanket wrapped around him and his cup empty. Letting his eyes run over the boy’s face, he took in the closed eyes and gentle breathing, letting him know that he was asleep before he rested his own head back on his own chair. He knew that if it wasn’t so late and that the weather wasn’t as bad, Stiles would’ve left the cabin and headed back in to town with Kyle to take him to his father, let the sheriff find the boy’s own parents so Stiles could come back his cabin again.

Setting some more logs in to the stove, Stiles locked the door up on it, and opened the funnel to let the warmth fill the whole cabin, before he moved to his feet. Gathering the two cups up, he moved them out the way before carefully picking Kyle up and carried him slowly over to his bed, knowing that the kid must have been running around the woods, scared and alone for hours, he needed somewhere better than a chair to sleep in as he tucked him under the blankets before returning to the chair himself, his body slouching slightly as he let himself drift off to sleep.

----

Stiles called his father the moment the jeep had reached close enough to town for his cell phone to get signal, letting him know all about finding Kyle stumbling through the woods before telling him that they were on the way back to town. By his father’s own words, it seemed like they had known for a while that the boy had been missing and that he was thankful that Stiles had looked after him for the night before telling him that he was going to hang up and let Kyle’s family know.

Driving the rest of the way in silence, Stiles glanced over towards the little boy, watching as he watched out the window with wide eyes. Shaking his head a little, Stiles made sure to drive slowly and carefully so that he didn’t injure himself or the kid, it was the last thing he wanted to happen. By the time that they arrived at the station, Stiles’ pain had already started to return in his leg as he climbed out and walked around to let Kyle out, his hand in his own as he locked the jeep and slowly limped his way towards the doors. Being back in town suddenly seemed like a shock to him again after being out in the woods for a couple of days, the noise of it was loud as he glanced around and back again, trying to block it all out as he tugged the heavy door open and headed inside.

Feeling the tug on his hand, Stiles looked down at Kyle before letting go, his eyes following as the kid ran quickly towards a man who had been pacing the hallway, for a while by the looks of it as he took in the state of the man.

‘’Kyle’’ The man’s voice was softer than Stiles had expected as he wrapped his son in his arms and lifted him, the joy of having his kid back in his arms safely was clear on his face as Stiles shifted around towards the long benches along the wall and carefully sat down with a deep breath, the drive and short walk through the woods had really made his leg hurt more as he rubbed at it as discretely as he could.

‘’Stiles looked after me.’’ Looking up at the mention of his name, Stiles ran his eyes over Kyle before turning them back to the dad again, just staring briefly before faint memories came back to him, Derek Hale, Cora’s brother.

‘’I can’t thank you enough for what you did.’’ Derek spoke as he walked over to Stiles, ‘’the moment I realized that he was missing, I didn’t know what to do.’’ He spoke as Stiles nodded slightly, his eyes flickering over him quickly. It was clear on Derek’s face and in his appearance, that the other man probably hadn’t slept a single moment the night before, the worry clear in his face still before it was slowly being taken over by relief.

‘’It’s okay, it’s just lucky he found the cabin.’’ Stiles replied before glancing towards his own father and back again. It had surprised him a little to know that Derek had kids of his own, he had never really imagined anyone from school having them or being married…or even not, if the quick glance at Derek’s hand was telling the truth.

Truthfully, Stiles hardly thought about anyone he had gone to school with once he had joined up with the army, sure for the first year or two, he had kept in touch with a couple of people, Scott being the main one before even that disappeared, his letters home to his father dwindling down to one every few months. He didn’t do it out of harshness, it was just something which had happened after everything he had seen during the war, after so many months on the front, there was never really anything left to write home to either, so his responses got slower and slower until he only wrote home at Christmas.

Tuning back in to the words around him, Stiles nodded faintly, not sure of what he had been told before he shrugged a little when Derek thanked him all over again.

‘’Anyone would’ve done the same thing.’’ Stiles told him before the sound of the station door opening had him glancing over to see an older woman walking in, a young girl holding her hand before the child ran over to Derek, throwing her small arms around the father and son. Excusing himself quietly, Stiles pushed himself to his feet and slowly moved towards his father, footsteps a little unsteady since he had left his cane in the jeep. Speaking quietly about some painkillers being needed, Stiles nodded softly to his father before he moved back towards his office, leaving the Hales to their family reunion peacefully.

Chapter Text

Stiles had wanted to return to the forest the moment the pain in his leg had passed. But his father had spoken a few soft words and had persuaded him to stay the night at home, to come and have dinner with him before he went back out again. He had wanted to tell him no, that he needed the peace of the woods around him to be able to survive each hour of each day. He didn’t want his father to worry about him, to see the pain that his leg brought him when he pushed himself too much. But he couldn’t say no either. Stiles knew that he had stayed away from home for to long, for not returning on his leave to visit his father back home, to visit his mother’s grave.

Sitting in his father’s office, Stiles was reminded of his teenage years, the years that he had carefree before he had joined up with the army. Everything seemed so different, yet at the same time, it looked the same. Behind his fathers desk still sat the folded flag of one of the old deputies. The glass gleaming, and wood polished neatly. Above that was his father’s pin board, half filled with whichever case he was currently working on. To the right sat a couple of filing cabinets where a bookcase used to stand, the gun metal grey stark against the wooden wall. He was left alone while his father had gone back out to the front again, to finish up all the paperwork for Derek’s missing child.

He had never hidden that he was attracted to both men and women from the others in his troop, but it was never spoken about either. It suited him either way. At the end of the day, they were all there for the same reason, fighting for their country, for their loved ones and for their own reasons.

Not everything was needed to be spoken in words.

Somewhere in the station, a loud noise echoed, causing Stiles to flinch harshly, his body responding before he could stop himself as he moved from the chair he was sitting on, his body moving on instant as he put his back to the wall, his eyes trailing over the windows that lined the office. Blinds were half drawn, the slats at an angle, letting light drift in through it. For a moment, Stiles could hear nothing but his own breathing as he watched the dust as it moved in the air. He watched as it floated slowly up and then down before his eyes were drawn away with another noise. It was too much for him as he felt the panic starting to grip his chest.

He couldn’t breathe.

He couldn’t move.

He was right back there again.

He could see the dust…the sand moving through the sunlight as it came in through the broken glass. The windscreen and side windows having been smashed out. He could smell the burning rubber, the cries of his team. The screams of the wind as it suddenly picked up and slammed sand further in to their jeep. He could smell the sweat, the smell of the flames as they crept closer. He could smell the burning of flesh and hair, the smell of material catching and burning away.
For a moment, the pain came flooding back again. The sharpness crawling up through his body, radiating from his leg which had been pinned. He couldn’t move as the sound of gunfire got louder around him, the sound of yelling, both in English and not.
Hands were touching him, tugging at his clothing and at his skin, but he didn’t know if it was friend or foe as the panic grew with the pain. His cries echoed as he fought against the dust and sand in his eyes, coming up to shield his head and face as another window was broken and glass rained down over him. He let a scream out as someone tried to move him, the pain from his leg making him dizzy as he half turned, his body pinned at an odd angle as he threw up on the ground beside him.

He could hear his name being called out, hands moving over his arms and shoulders, rubbing circles in to his back as the air changed around him. As the smell of a war zone, of burning rubber and skin and sand vanished and was replaced by wood and oil, but the smell of his own vomit. Hands kept rubbing at his back, not seeming to care for the way his top was stuck to his skin with sweat, they kept rubbing it as the sounds around him changed from gun fire to a stifled silence, of whispered questions and the sounds of chairs moving, of things closing and opening quieter.

That’s when he remembered where he was.

He was home.

He was safe.

He was alive.

He was in his father’s office.

Breathing harshly, Stiles kept his eyes squeezed tight as he stayed bowed over, his hands clutching and scratching at the wooden flooring, his fingertips red raw and nails broken.

‘’It’s okay son.’’ His father’s voice was quiet, filled with an emotion he couldn’t place as he shuddered under his touch. What was comforting was now getting irritating, he didn’t want to be touched, he didn’t want to feel as he tried to find his voice, tried to find his breath. ‘’You’re home, safe.’’ His father’s voice continued to say, words spilling from his mouth as Stiles drifted in and out for a few moments. Briefly, he felt his father’s hands leave his back, letting him breath as footsteps faded away from him and a door closed somewhere behind him, the sounds of blinds being drawn fully had Stiles slowly opening his eyes again from where they had closed.

The darker office seemed to help the headache which was building up behind his eyes, helping to calm the panic and fear that made his body shake.

He knew that he was broken, a thing that he didn’t think would ever be fixed.

He felt ashamed of himself, of the way his body had reacted to simple noises. He felt angry and embarrassed at people seeing him break down. Stiles weren’t stupid. He had heard the station before, it had been alive with the sound of people talking, people working and afterwards, in the brief moments he could catch, it was silent. He knew that they had heard him, heard his screams and cries for his throat felt sore. He knew that they had stood and probably gathered around before his father had gotten to him. For a moment, Stiles wanted to curl up and disappear. He was afraid of facing his father, of seeing the disappointment and shame in his face at his son, at the coward he had sired.

‘’Here, drink this.’’ Slowly lifting his eyes, Stiles looked over the plastic cup which was being held out to him. Filled with water and wrapped by his father’s fingers on one hand, the other carefully lifting one of his own to press around it. ‘’I’ll find you some spare clothing.’’ The words were whispered quietly, almost as if it was a shared secret between them and that made Stiles feel shame even more, knowing that he had solid himself in his breakdown too. Because he knew it had happened, he could feel the tackiness of his trousers, the material sticking to him as he pulled the water towards him shakily.

Being left alone again, Stiles tipped his head back against the wall, his eyes staring towards the ceiling as his heart finally started to settle in his chest. Now that he was coming back down to earth again, he could feel how gross he was, he knew he had to look a mess. His skin felt cold with the sweat which had built up against it, could feel his hair sticking down against it messily from where his hands had moved over his head, protecting it from the phantom flashback.

He knew that he was in trouble, he knew that he wasn’t coping well. Each day he had to tell his heart to keep beating, to carry on living, to move through each day as it came. He thought that he was better, that the panic attacks weren’t as bad. Despite the thunder the night before and the way he had thrown himself down, Stiles hadn’t had an attack like that in a few weeks. He thought that it was starting to get easier, but he knew that he had only been lulled in to a false sense of security by his own heart and mind.

Sitting on the dusty floor of his father’s office, a puddle of vomit beside him and his body a mess, Stiles didn’t know what else to do, he felt like he had been torn apart from the inside out and from left to right. He couldn’t deal with the way his head throbbed, the way he knew he would have face everyone in the station if he had wanted to leave. It was the shame that crowded back in to him again as his eyes pricked with tears, his hands shaking as he sipped at the water again.

He knew that his father had been trying to do the right thing, but a part of him had wished he had been left along, been left to come out of the attack on his own terms and on his own way. But at the same time, he was glad his father had been there, had been there to bring him out before he could choke on his own breathes as he fought for each lungful of air.

/\/\/\

John didn’t know what to do at first.

He had frozen to the spot just like everyone else had at the first scream that tore from his office. It had taken him far too long to recognize the cries of his own child, the cries and screams of terror, the sound of Stiles’ voice fighting through whatever haze his mind was in.

It took him too long before he moved, his hands dropping papers and his feet leading him towards his office and through the door to where his son was curled up against the wall, his clothing wet through with sweat and other fluids he didn’t want to think about. He could see on Stiles’ face, the terror and fear, the way his eyes were open but distant, hazy, clearly not in the moment of the station. He knew that he had to be seeing things which had happened in a different land, of a different time. But he knew that he could be there for his son, even if he was trying to push everyone around him away.

Calling his name, holding on to him and rubbing his back, even as he threw up beside him and on his floor. John knew he would protect his son as he tried to bring him back to the here and now, to pull him from his memories as each scream tore through his child’s throat until he was hoarse. As much as he didn’t know what Stiles had gone through, John knew enough that his son was suffering with PTSD. Even if his doctors hadn’t been the ones to tell him that, he could see it in the way Stiles would flinch at certain noises, at the way he held himself when something happened around him. Even though it had only been a few days since he had come home, John had seen enough.

He made sure that Stiles was okay before he had stood and turned around, his eyes hardened when he saw how the station had seemed to come to a stop and gather around the office. In quick strides, he had reached his door and closed it gently, not wanting to scare Stiles any more before he worked his way around, closing the office blinds to give them both, but mainly his son some privacy. It was easy after that, getting the water and whispering soft words to his child before he was leaving the office again, closing the door silently behind him before he turned back to his deputies and the people who were in the building.

‘’I would be highly grateful if you did not comment on what has transpired.’’ The sheriff spoke out, his voice coming out worn and tired as he reached up to rub at his forehead. ‘’As you know, my son has recently left the army and returned home on a medical discharge. As much as I want to know what has happened, Stiles has decided to hide the truth from me and thereby, everyone else who cares about him.’’ He spoke before moving to look at everyone. ‘’So, I would be grateful if no one mentions the episode to him or anyone else, or comment on what you have seen. I…I don’t even know where to start. But my child is home and is it my duty as his father and as the sheriff of this town to look after him. Most of my deputies here, you have helped me raise my son from a small boy, to the man he is today. We need to give him space and to let him come to us when he wants too or feels ready too.’’ John told them all slowly.

‘’Things aren’t going to be easy, and I beg of you. Please…please don’t slam things, make loud noises or anything which could send Stiles back down a memory lane he and I don’t want him to go down.’’ He pleased almost weakly.

For a moment, John just stood there, looking at the faces of the men and women he had worked alongside for years, of the faces that were newer to the station and the few that he had no idea who they were. But most of all, John couldn’t help but let his eyes move over Derek, the man who had been so frantic that morning before Stiles had brought his boy back to him. It was on instinct that his feet led him towards the small family, his fingers rubbing at his sides as he breathed out.

‘’Are they okay?’’ John asked as he nodded to where Derek’s children were curled in to their grandmother’s sides, Talia’s arms wrapped around them tightly.

‘’They were a little scared, but they will be okay.’’ Derek’s voice came back softly, an assured nod leaving his body as he glanced over his children and back again. ‘’mom has spoken to them about it already and they understand because of their grandfather.’’ The taller man explained as John breathed out and nodded, relieved that the children hadn’t been scared out of their wits. ‘’Is Stiles okay sir?’’ Turning to look at Derek again, John found himself feeling a little relieved that it had been the Hale boy asking, despite hardly knowing Talia’s only son.

‘’I honestly cannot answer that son.’’ The sheriff replied to him tiredly. ‘’I knew that his doctors had explained a lot of things to me, but I never expected to have to see him go through something like he just did. It scared me half to death. My son was in my arms, but his mind was a world away and there was nothing I could do but to hold him.’’ He told him as he folded his arms over his chest lightly, body half turning to look towards his office.  ‘’I’m worried about him if I am honest with you Derek. He is a changed person, but his mind is still stubborn, and I don’t think he will seek out the help he probably needs.’’

‘’Just give him time Sheriff, he will seek it out when he is ready.’’ Derek replied, his hand coming up to pat John on the shoulder lightly. ‘’When he is feeling better, could you pass on my thanks again. If it wasn’t for him, my son would probably still be out in those woods, wondering around in the cold and wet and god knows what else.’’

‘’I’ll do that.’’ John nodded, offering the other man a tight smile. ‘’You get your family home Derek and you let that boy of yours have whatever he wants.’’ He chuckled before he took a breath and stepped away, his body moving towards the back rooms when he was stopped by another deputy.

‘’I thought he might need these.’’

Looking down at the bundle of clothes in his hands, John looked up and let himself look over his newest recruit and nodded. ‘’Thank you, Jordan, it’s just what I was heading to collect.’’

‘’If you ever need to talk to someone sir, I’d be more than willing to listen. I’ve known plenty of men go through similar things.’’ Parrish told him before he stepped back towards his desk again, leaving the sheriff to stand there with a spare set of clothing.

Returning to his office, John closed the door quietly behind him, his eyes moving through the darker office to where Stiles was still sat on the floor. But he was glad to see that his legs were spread out in front of him, his body looking looser and more relaxed than it had before. He had wanted to ask more about his son’s leg, he had seen the way it hadn’t looked like it was part of his body when he was curled up, but he knew better than to push Stiles when he wasn’t ready. Offering him a smile when Stiles looked towards him, John walked over and crouched down beside him, his fingers reaching out to brush through his damp hair. ‘’Come on, let’s get you changed and get you home.’’ He spoke quietly before he helped Stiles to stand, his son leaning heavily against him as he walked him over towards the couch again.

‘’I need me cane.’’ Stiles’ voice came out as a whisper, his long fingers pawing lightly at his pocket before he got his keys out and held them out. ‘’It’s in the back of the jeep.’’ He spoke as John nodded.

‘’I’ll go get it while you change…unless you need any help.’’ Seeing the shake of his head, John nodded before he stood back up again. ‘’alright, I’ll knock once I’m back again. Just take your time okay, no one is going to come in and disturb you. And you can kip on the couch if you want to wait a little while until the station is empty more.’’

‘’No…I just want to go home dad.’’

Looking at the look in his son’s eyes, John just nodded and offered him a warm smile.

‘’Of course, son.’’ He told him before he turned and left his office once again.

Chapter Text


 

 

It had been a few months since the incident at the sheriff’s office and Derek had grown curious, both over how Stiles was doing and with how the Sheriff was too. He had bumped into him a couple of times since he had moved his family back to Beacon Hill’s, having finally been reminded of everything that he was missing out on and on what his kids were missing by being near extended family. The move had been easier than he thought it would’ve been, he had left the children with his mother while he headed back to the city to being packing their lives up and contacting the right people that he needed too.
He had been back, living fully in town for just over a week when he accidently pushed his cart in to another and had looked up to find a tired looking sheriff, staring down at two different cereal boxes in his hands. Frazzled wasn’t even enough for him to describe how the older Stilinski looked. Frankly, he looked downright tired and ready to keel over at any moment.

‘’Sir?’’ Derek questioned softly as he untangled their carts and shifted his enough to the side so he could step closer as the sheriff blinked a couple of times and turned to look towards him.

‘’Ah…Derek, hello.’’ He spoke quietly before shifting on his feet. ‘’Was just thinking about getting some cereal but couldn’t decide between these two.’’ John told him as he shrugged a little, turning to stare back at the boxes again. ‘’Stiles would probably know which one was better.’’

The laugh which came from the man’s lips was dry and almost broken as Derek stepped closer again to look at the boxes in his hands. Both were low in fibre and sugar, cereals which were often dry and tasted more like cardboard than breakfast foods. ‘’Why don’t you choose something unhealthy?’’ Derek asked him. ‘’just this once? I’m sure your son wouldn’t mind you doing that.’’ He smiled lightly as the sheriff’s shoulders sunk in and his chest was racked with sobs. ‘’Sheriff?’’ Derek spoke, his voice unsure as he reached out a hand to rest on his shoulders.

‘’I have no idea what I’m doing Derek.’’ The words were so quiet that he had almost missed them if the sheriff had not turned towards him. ‘’Stiles…he…hardly talks to me, hardly leaves his room and eats. He acts like a ghost and I just…’’ The sheriff trailed of, shaking his head slightly with a defeated look on his face. ‘’The panic attacks and flashbacks have gotten more over the past few weeks and I try my best to hold on to him, to comfort him but he just pushes me away and tries to deal with it on his own.

Listening to him, Derek nodded lightly before he was glancing over their carts, both didn’t have a lot of things in them and despite knowing he needed a few more things, Derek reached in to the older mans and started to transfer it over to his own. ‘’Come on, let me pay for your shopping and then get you home, you look like you could sleep some.’’ Derek spoke gently as he took the boxes from the sheriff’s hand and placed them both into his cart and with a gentle hand, steered the older man with him as he started to head towards the check out.

‘’Derek… I- ‘’

‘’Nonsense, you need someone to look after you too.’’ He commented. ‘’I’m not going to tell you that everything is going to be okay, because it’s not. It is going to be rough for a while. Stiles is going to push you away and try to deal with everything on his own. My father was the same until he learnt that my mother was only trying to ease his troubles by shouldering some of them herself.’’ Derek spoke as they walked. ‘’But he eventually got the help that he needed and got better.’’

‘’Stiles has refused every offer of someone to talk too, even to my deputy Parrish.’’ John sighed. ‘’I thought of everyone, he might open up to a fellow solider who had some of the same experiences as him, but so far nothing, I don’t even know if he listens to Jordan when he talks.’’ 

Derek listened as he put everything up the check out, his eyes moving over to the sheriff every so often as he nodded. ‘’Give him time. That’s all you can really do, he’ll talk to someone when he’s ready to do so, even if it takes him a long time. But having your deputy there, talking to him will probably help more than you realise, even if Stiles doesn’t answer him back.’’ Derek commented as he pushed the cart down slightly. ‘’he is probably listening to him, more than any of you realize. I can’t really suggest anything since I’m not a profession therapist or something, but just keep doing what you’re doing. Just let Stiles know that you are there for him and that you will always be there for him if he needs something.’’

‘’I- ‘’ John started to speak before the ringing of his phone cut him off and he frowned, pulling it out. ‘’It’s Jordan.’’ He commented before stepping away to answer it.

Bagging his and John’s items up in different bags, Derek stocked them back in to the cart again before he was handing his card over to pay for everything, only getting distracted for a moment when he saw the sheriff pale out the corner of his eye. Turning, he watched as the older man staggered for a moment, his hand reaching out to catch hold of the display beside him before his eyes was dragging up to meet Derek’s. ‘’Sir?’’ Derek stepped towards him and then back again when the cashier handed him his card and receipt back to him, nodding, he took it and the pushed the cart towards the sheriff as his hand lowered, his phone still in it.

‘’Sheriff?’’ Derek asked as the older man opened and closed his mouth a couple of times.

‘’It’s Stiles.’’ He breathed out in almost a whisper, the tone telling Derek that something had happened as he nodded lightly.

‘’I’ll drive you home, you’re in not fit state to drive.’’ Derek told him as he grabbed his arm and started to pull him after him with their shopping. A part of him was glad that they hadn’t brought anything that could melt or defrost since he could tell that there was something more important going on.

By the time they were both in the car and he was pulling out, Derek kept shooting John looks as the older man sat silent, his face drawn back in horror before he seemed to snap out of it and took a sharp breath. ‘’He tried to kill himself.’’ The words broke through the quietness of his car like a crack of thunder. ‘’He…I…’’ John stumbled as he breathed in slower. ‘’Jordan found him…went around to talk…but no one was answering the front door and he couldn’t find the spare key, so he went around the back and through the kitchen door.’’ The sheriff told him as Derek nodded and changed course for the hospital, knowing that would be where Stiles would be taken too.

‘’What happened?’’ He asked quietly.

‘’Jordan…he…he walked through and into the hallway and saw a piece of paper against the phone and the hidden key with it. He said he read it and rushed upstairs and into Stiles’ room…he…he found my son.’’ John chocked out. ‘’He found my son hanging in his closet, turning blue…oh god.’’ The sob that came next was expected as he reached out to squeeze John’s shoulder.

‘’Is he alive?’’ Derek hated himself for asking the question, but a part of him felt like he needed to know, needed to know so that he could offer the sheriff the help he could give. He couldn’t even begin to think of how the older Stilinski was feeling right now, but he had a small sense as he thought about his own kids. He knew that if anything had ever happened to either one of them, that he would be devastated to no ends.

‘’Yes.’’ John told him. ‘’But only just…Parrish…Parrish said that if he hadn’t arrived when he did… that…that Stiles wouldn’t…’’ He stumbled out before wiping a hand over his face.

‘’Shit’’ Derek breathed out as he pushed his foot down on the gas a little more. ‘’but that’s good John…Stiles is going to be okay and he’s going to get help now.’’ He told him. ‘’he’s going to be in the best of care that anyone could give him.’’

/\/\/\

John didn’t know what he would’ve done if the Hale boy hadn’t been with him when he got the phone call. Hell, he does know…he knows that he probably would’ve tried driving himself and got himself in to a car wreck instead of getting himself to the hospital like Derek did. He was thankful when he dropped him off and told him to come and get his shopping once he was ready to leave the hospital and to give him an update on Stiles’ condition before he was driving off again, no doubt to go and hug his own children.

Walking in through the doors of the hospital, John has a sense of Deja vu as people turned to glance at him, pitying looks on their faces before Parrish was appearing out of no where with a quiet whisper of this way. Letting the younger deputy lead him through hallways and round corners until they reached a quieter part of the hospital and came to a slow stop outside a door.
Peering in through the small window, John watched as his son slept, his body curled up and to the side slightly, a oxygen mask covering his face. His boy looked so pale and it made his heart ache to see him looking so weak and small in the hospital bed, to see him looking like his mother did when she became ill and hospital ridden.

‘’- going to be a while.’’

Tuning back into Parrish, John blinked at him for a moment before the deputy realized that his words hadn’t been heard at all. ‘’He’s okay sir, I got to him in time and got him breathing again.’’ Parrish told him as he rested a hand against his arm. ‘’The doctors said that he’s going to make a full recovery, but he’s going to have some bruising to his throat both on the inside and out and that it’s going to be a little while before they fully heal and disappear. He said that he is going to come back and talk to you about everything, but it’s going to be a while.’’

Nodding, John ran his hand through his hair, brushing it back and then flat again as he took a breath. ‘’Do you…did he…I mean?’’ He asked, unsure of his words before Parrish was moving and handing a folded piece of paper over towards him.

‘’It was by the phone. I glanced it over, but I didn’t read it properly. Once I realized what it was, I ran up to his room. It was the one place I thought he might have been.’’ Jordan spoke quietly. ‘’I’ll give you a moment to yourself.’’ He offered up before shifting to head away and down the hall slightly to where some chairs were stacked.

Leaning back against the wall, John opened the paper up with shaking his hands, his eyes moving over his sons handwriting before he started to read.

 

Dad

I know that I have caused you a lot of pain and heartache since I have arrived back home. And I am sorry for that. I understand that I have been putting you through more than what I should be putting you through. But I’m going to put you one more thing and that is it, I promise you dad.

I’m tired dad. I’m tired of how I feel and how I’m making you feel. We both know that I’m not right in the head and I’ve caused you so much trouble because of it. I can see the way people look at me when I do leave the house and I can’t take it anymore.

I no longer want to drag you down and be a burden on your shoulders. I don’t want to cause you any more pain or make your life harder than it already is. No one wants a messed up headcase, a broken man for their kid and you shouldn’t have to.

I know that your deputy is going to be coming around today, so I know I won’t have to put you through the pain of finding me. I know that it is selfish of me to put that trouble and hardship on to someone else, but it pains me to think that you could be the one to come across my body.

Without me here, you can be happy again, you can smile and move on. Maybe date again. I know mom would want that for you and I want it for you too. But you can’t have any of that if I am still here. So, I’m going to go and be with mom now. Maybe wherever that is, I won’t be hurting any more, I won’t have flashbacks to my time fighting.

And maybe one day you will forgive me.

But just know dad. I’m always going to love you.

I’m sorry.

Stiles.

 

Crumbling down the wall, John sobbed loudly in the quiet hallway, the paper crinkling up in his hands as he covered his mouth with his other. He felt so broken to know that his son was struggling, and he hadn’t been able to see the signs that was pointing towards this. Pointing towards his baby boy ending his life so that he could stop being a burden.
But he knew that Stiles wasn’t. He didn’t care about how things went, he just wanted to help his child as he brushed his face clean and stumbled to his feet as a doctor came down the hallway and towards them.

‘’Sheriff Stilinski.’’ The doctor greeted, his handshake firm once John took it with a small nod. ‘’I don’t know if your deputy has told you everything, we told him, but your son is going to make a full recovery. We have run tests and checked on his oxygen levels and while being low on that, everything else has come back clear.’’ The doctor told him slowly, knowing that he was being given time to take it all in. ‘’The damage to his throat will fix itself with time and rest. Your son will suffer with what will feel like a bad case of strep throat until it does so, so I recommend plenty of fluids and soft foods that won’t irritate the lining of his throat as he eats. But in the meantime, I would like to keep him in for twenty-four hours to make sure that there aren’t any lingering side effects.’’

‘’But I will be able to take him home after that?’’ The sheriff asked as the doctor shifted on his feet for a moment.

‘’I’m not sure how much you know about your sons condition from his medical discharge, but looking at his records and of what he has tried today, I would suggest talking to him and then committing him to the hospital for a little while until he feels-‘’

‘’No.’’ John’s voice cut the doctors off as he straightened himself up and folded his arms over his chest. ‘’I am not committing my son to a psychiatric ward.’’

‘’But it will- ‘’

‘’I don’t care if you think it will be the best for him. I know my son and I know locking him up with other people isn’t going to help him at all.’’ John almost growled out in anger. ‘’He will be coming home with me once he is discharged from here and I am going to look after him. I know I have failed him this time around, but I’m not going to let it happen again.’’ He snapped as the doctor glanced towards his deputy and back again as he nodded.

‘’Okay. If you truly feel like it would make things worse for Stiles, then I will allow him to go home with you. But I do suggest not leaving him along for any longer than five minutes at a time. But as I mentioned before, I don’t know how well you know of the injuries that he received while overseas.’’

‘’I know nothing. He hasn’t told me anything about his discharge or his medical problems, I only know the medication he’s on since I go and fill the for him.’’ John told him as he shifted to glance in through the window at his sleeping boy again, his eyes drifting down the bed before he drew back. ‘’He hasn’t told me anything and he’s tried to hide it from everyone, including myself. But I can see when there’s been an amputation doctor.’’ John spoke quietly.

For a moment, he watched as the doctor checked his notes and nodded. ‘’That’s right, there was an explosion that caught the convoy that he was driving in. Most of his troop was killed apart from Stiles himself and two others.’’ The doctor read out to him. ‘’From what I can see here, in the explosion, the jeep that they were driving in was caught and flipped, trapping his lower leg in underneath. By the time he was freed and taken to the nearest hospital, the damage had been intensive and unrepairable. Stiles suffered burns and lacerations to most of his body. The surgeon removes your son’s leg from the knee downwards and during his recover he was giving a prosthetic to use.’’

Breathing out sharply, John turned away and ran his hand over his mouth, his lips and throat dry as he listened to the doctor list other injuries that Stiles had received. ‘’Your son was offered therapy as part of his recovery and on the army’s pay, the offer still stands and stands until either Stiles feels fit or the therapist deems it no longer needed.’’ The doctor spoke from behind him as he watched his child sleep. ‘’From his chart, I can see that he’s also missed on quite a few rehab appointments.’’

‘’Jesus kid.’’ John whispered out as he shook his head. He really did feel like he had dropped the ball when it came to make sure he was okay. He knew that he should’ve pushed a little more and asked more questions when he had asked about his medication and on whether he had any doctor appointments now that he was back state side. ‘’I will make sure he starts the therapy soon. I won’t take no for an answer from him, even if I must drive him there myself and sit outside to make sure he stays for his appointments.’’ He spoke.

‘’That’s a good idea. But I do have to suggest that you try and make him see that the sessions would be a good idea on his own. Of course, while he is here, we will appoint someone to come and talk to him before the day is out either today or tomorrow.  Stiles is going to need a lot of support Sheriff. Is there anyone else that can help you out when you are working?’’ The doctor asked as John half turned back towards him.

‘’I…uh, yeah…there’s a couple of people.’’ He got out, despite being unsure about everything himself, he knew that he would work it out. ‘’He has some friends that are still living around town, who he went to high school with, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind seeing him again.’’

It took a few more minutes of talking with the doctor before John was quietly entering his son’s room, his steps soft as he crossed the room to sit in the chair beside the bed. ‘’Oh kiddo.’’ He breathed out lightly as he reached out to run his fingertips lightly through Stiles’ hair which had grown out a little since he had arrived home. Underneath the harsh hospital lights, Stiles looked so pale, the darkest colour was the purpling of dark marks under his eyes from the lack of sleep. He hated that he had let it get so far that Stiles was struggling his inner demons on his own. ‘’I’m going to protect you now kid, you don’t have to do this alone anymore.’’ He whispered his promise as he leaned in and pressed a dry kiss to his temple.

/\/\/\

At home, Derek unpacked his groceries with mechanical movements as he thought over everything he had been told in the car. He felt sorry for the sheriff, having to take a call like that in such a public space. Derek was just thankful that he had bumped in to him and could safely take him to the hospital so that there wasn’t any other accidents.
It was the creaking off a door opening that had Derek shaking his head, dislodging his thoughts and smiling warmly as his kids came running in, his mother and sister trailing behind them with chuckles.

‘’Hey munchkins, did you have fun today?’’ He asked as he crouched down and wrapped them both in his arms, dragging them in closer before he stood and jimmied them up a little so that they sat better as they started to go on about their day out with their aunt Cora and grandmother. ‘’That sounds amazing.’’ Derek grinned warmly as he hugged them both again. ‘’Why don’t you go get washed up with Aunt Cora and I’ll make a start on dinner.’’ He suggested as he put them back down again and sent them in his sister’s direction.

‘’Sweetheart?’’ His mother’s voice was full of concern as she moved closer and he breathed out, dropping his head down on to her shoulder as soon as she was close enough. ‘’What’s wrong?’’ She asked.

‘’Stiles.’’ He answered quietly. ‘’He tried to kill himself today.’’

‘’The sheriff’s boy?’’ Talia asked as Derek nodded and lifted his head up again.

‘’I bumped into the sheriff while shopping, he seems distracted and a little out of it, so I brought his shopping for him. We were at the checkout just finishing up when he got a phone call from one of his deputies who had gone around the house to sit and talk with him. Apparently, he had tried to hang himself in his bedroom...He’s okay…I think, Deputy Parrish got there in time.’’ Derek told her as he watched the horror in his mother’s face. ‘’I asked the sheriff to bring me an update when he came to collect his shopping, but I’m not expecting that for a couple of days at least. But I drove him over to the hospital, he wasn’t in any state to do so himself.’’

‘’Oh sweetheart, I’m so sorry.’’ She told him before folding him in to a hug again despite the size difference between them both. ‘’I know that you like the boy a lot and I’m so thankful for him for finding Kyle when he went missing in the forest.’’ She spoke soothingly. ‘’If there is anything, I can do for you or the sheriff and Stiles, just let me know okay.’’ Talia spoke as Derek drew back and nodded softly.

‘’I was thinking that maybe I could cook up some meals for them, take them over so that John doesn’t have to worry about cooking anything, he can just dish some up and reheat it in the oven or microwave.’’

‘’I think that sounds like a lovely idea darling. Let me know what dishes you want to do, and I will go out and buy the ingredients and some dishes for you to do it in. It’s the least I can do while you do the cooking.’’ She smiled sadly at him as he nodded.

‘’Thanks mom.’’