The doctor's office isn't a place Stiles usually finds himself. The past three weeks he's been in to see Dr. Stillingsworth once a week having test after test done on him. The tests that were first done weren't conclusive. They didn't give results that made any sense. They didn't explain why he would feel so exhausted most days or why he just hurt all the time. That's when Dr. Stillingsworth decided, after ruling out most other organs the next logically step was to harvest a tissue sample from his bladder. The results after that weren't what Stiles was expecting. These results made sense. They told the entire story that Dr. Stillingsworth was looking for. The words that had Stiles head snapping up and his ears to attention was abnormal cell growth, it is pre-cancerous.
So Stiles listened. He listened to what that meant for him. Weekly rescue therapy to see if we can stop the growth. Weekly lab work to monitor your progress and to see if the dosage needs to be increased or if more drastic measures need to be taken. Everyone knows what more drastic measures means. There really isn't a reason to ask what it means but he asks anyways. He needs to be sure. He needs to understand how serious this thing really is. Chemotherapy and radiation, Stiles. It's not going to be easy these next few weeks but this line of therapy has a high success rate and we don't even think about anything other than rescue therapy.
So when Scott asks how the doctor's appointment went Stiles doesn't tell him about the cocktail of pills he's taking in the morning or the fact that he might have to quit lacrosse because of the medications he's taking might cause him to bleed out if he gets hit the wrong way. He smiles and says it was nothing, just a virus. Everything's cleared up and there isn't anything to worry about.
When his dad asks after he gets home Stiles shrugs before he answers, "Doc Stillingsworth didn't have much news. I just need to see him once a week to monitor things."
"For how long?"
"Three months," Stiles shrugs like it's no big deal. He ends up telling his dad most of it. He doesn't mention the possibility of cancer. He can't put his dad through that again. Not unless absolutely has to, will Stiles mention the word cancer to his father. It's easy to explain the pills. Unless his dad decides to start researching he doesn't have much to worry about.
His first round of rescue therapy is the morning before the pack meeting and four days before the full moon. He sits in the doctor's office without his pants on and a dainty little sheet covering his manly bits up as he waits for Doc Stillingsworth the administer the good stuff. He doesn't think about being exposed like this in a doctor's office as he lays back, swallows down his shame and embarrassment as he feels a pressure and a light sting of the catheter being inserted. Doc Stilliingsworth is rambling on about something but Stiles doesn't really care. He is astounded how the pressure in his pelvis is starting to lift. And then he feels that sting again and Dr. Stillingsworth is pulling his gloves off and dumping them into a handy tray.
"Don't use the bathroom for at least twenty minutes."
Stiles nods saying he understands and he waits until the door shuts before he slips off the table and pulls his pants and shoes back on.
He doesn't go to the pack meeting. Honestly he doesn't even think he can drive. His head is pounding, his stomach feels like it's fighting a war and he just wants to throw up because he knows that if he does everything is going to feel that much better. When his dad says something about dinner he grumbles and rolls over in bed. The thought of food makes his stomach turn on itself. He didn't think something that made him feel better this morning would make him feel so terrible a few hours later.
School isn't easy the next day but he couldn't miss. It's hard to concentrate and it's hard to focus on anything besides this groggy feeling that has settled over his eyes. And every time he goes to the bathroom his pee is blue. He was definitely going to have to check the side effects of his medication to be sure about that one. Blue pee is just not natural.
The only plus side of all of this is that he isn't getting in trouble nearly as much as he usually does. The downside of that is everyone notices his drop in energy. Especially Scott. Who was already worried since Stiles missed the meeting last night.
"Stiles, what's going on with you? Derek was pissed that you didn't show up because apparently there was something important he needed to talk to you about and now you're acting like a zombie. I thought you said things were going okay."
Stiles rubbed at his eyes and let out a sigh. He really didn't want to deal with this right now. He just wanted to get home to his bed and take a nap.
"I'm still getting over this crap I have," Stiles hid a yawn behind his hand before he made an excuse for not showing up last night, "My dad wouldn't let me leave the house since I've been spending so much time at the doctor's office. I just got out of trouble I'm not going to risk getting back into it again."
Scott held his hands up, "It's just weird that you weren't there. That's all. I gotta go, Allison, but feel better yeah?"
Stiles waves to Scott's retreating back, "Sure thing."
His second treatment isn't so bad. They take more blood before they direct him to room number six and instruct him to take his pants off and cover up. Stiles follows the given instructions and waits for Doc Stillingsworth. The wait isn't too long. Ten minutes tops.
"How was last week?" Dr. Stillingsworth asks as soon as he gets Stiles to lie back and he starts his work.
"You could have told me that I was going to feel so shitty." Stiles grumbled and he curled his toes at that now familiar feeling of the catheter going where it had no right to go. "Oh and that my pee would turn colors."
Dr. Stillingsworth let out a hearty laugh, "I should have mentioned that but it is normal. And what other problems have you encountered?"
"My head was killing me and I felt like I wanted to puke. Not to mention I was exhausted the day after." Stiles threw an arm over his eyes already dreading the following evening.
"There's a lot of heparin in this therapy. You're taking the pill form and then you're getting a bigger dosage now. It allows more fluid to get to your brain which can result in a migraine. I can prescribe you some medication that'll help with that if you like."
Stiles doesn't really know how to answer that. He never wants a headache like that again but he doesn't want to be a pill head. He feels a warm pat on the top of his foot, "It'll help."
"Yeah, okay." Stiles sits up and stares about Dr. Stillingsworth's shoulder as he waits for whatever is going to come to hurry up and make it's point while he's half naked covered by a thin piece of paper.
"Your lab work came back," there was a long pause, "Not the results we want to see but that's the first treatment. We'll see where you go from there. As soon as I get the test results for these tests I'll let you know how things are going so you don't have to worry."
"Just," Stiles shook his head, "Every appointment let me know how the tests go. If I get anxious about it I'll call."
"I can do that," Dr. Stillingsworth nodded before he stood up closed Stiles' green file folder and scribbled out directions for the scheduling nurse to know when Stiles needed to schedule his next appointment. "Take a left out the door and you know where Jessica is."
"See you next week." Stiles gripped the edge of his paper sheet and waited for the doctor to leave.
"Don't hesitate if you need anything. I'm only a phone call away."
Stiles didn't feel as sick as he did after the first treatment. He felt like someone was trying to pick his right eyeball out of its socket but after the lovely migraine pills that Dr. Stillingsworth insisted on, everything seemed to slow to a dull roar. It didn't stop him from lying in bed most of the afternoon and evening watching cartoons he hadn't watched since he was a kid.
He didn't move from bed until he heard a tapping at his window. Stiles looked up and closed his eyes. He waved his hand in a come in gesture and waited for the window to open and close. "To what do I own the honor?"
"You missed the meeting and you didn't show up for the moon," Derek stepped carefully around the bed and settled in the rolling chair at Stiles' desk. "And now you're in bed."
"I'm just not feeling well," Stiles rolled onto his side to see Derek better. "I'm allowed to feel a little under the weather aren't I? I'm human not a super-awesome-mega-virus-fighting werewolf."
Derek sat silent staring at Stiles as if he were saying, we both know this isn't a virus. A virus wouldn't stop Stiles Stilinksy. After awhile Stiles started to drift off. He blamed the migraine medication for it. Or maybe it was one of his other medications. He was pretty sure one of them warned of drowsiness. He vaguely remembered hearing the sound of the rolling chair moving closer and a hand resting on his arm for a moment before he drifted off. The only person in the room besides him though was Derek so he didn't think that was actually possible for the now alpha. He must have been dreaming.
The pressure was back in his pelvis the next day at school. He spent most of the time hunched over his desk with his forehead resting on the cool surface with his hands clenched into fists over his lap. He eyed the pocket in his backpack that he deemed his pill haven and gave in at the five minute break between classes. He took the fifteen dollar pill and sighed in relief by the end of the next period.
He ignored the way Scott scented him as he walked by in chemistry. He sat quietly and took notes. He ignored the buzzing of his phone signaling a text message. He didn't have the energy to bother with Scott right now. He only had so much focus on these medications he couldn't waste any of it dealing with Allison problems.
When class ended Scott wrapped a hand around Stiles' wrist and tugged him to the side, "What is your problem dude?"
"I'm just tired and I need to focus otherwise my grades will drop. Something you might want to think about otherwise there is no lacrosse for you." Stiles' snapped at Scott and tried to pull away. He needed a bathroom and he didn't intend to be late for his next class.
"Derek wants to meet up with everyone tonight. You coming or not?" Scott barked back.
Stiles rolled his eyes and let out a heavy sigh, "Yeah. Whatever I'll be there. Just can I go pee?"
"See you," Scott muttered as he broke away and disappeared into the sea of students making their way to class.
Stiles doesn't go to the meeting. He just can't see why they need him there and he has so many other things that he needs to catch up on that it's justified as to why he's missing. He's got a project to finish up and his evenings lying in bed didn't accomplish anything. So he needs to work. If they really needed him they wouldn't send Scott as the messenger. Derek would show up unannounced again and not bother tapping on the window to come in. Derek would just show up and drag him to the meeting.
Derek does show up though. It's late and Stiles is barely awake to let the wolf into his room but he does. He opens the window then goes straight to bed. He ignores the heavy inhalation coming from Derek's side of the room and instead curls up underneath his covers. He hears the computer chair moving again and a hand brush against his forehead.
Week three's test results don't yield anything good for Stiles. He still has cell growth that doesn't seem to even been close to slowing. If anything the growth is continuing down a path neither Stiles nor Dr. Stillingsworth wants to think about. Dr. Stillingsworth warns that next week if they have the same results their doubling the dosage. For now they'll stay on the designated treatment plan.
Scott's a jerk and the only time he talks to Stiles is when he needs help cheating in Chemistry. The only thing Stiles looks forward to anymore is being about to lie in bed without the rest of the world judging him for just wanting to rest a little bit longer.
He knows his dad is getting worried about the amount of sleep that he's getting so he brings his medicine up to his room so his father doesn't research what his medicine is for.
One of the medications aimed to help with pain in his bladder has been giving him weird dreams ever since he started taking a pill a night so he wouldn't wake up hurting. The goldfish dream is driving him crazy. It's all he can think about. That poor goldfish trapped in a drinking glass with barely enough water.
Stiles didn't have to wait long for Doctor Stillingsworth for the week four treatment. In fact, the doctor was waiting for him at reception with papers in his hands. "Follow me back to my office Stiles."
Stiles followed silently knowing that whatever Dr. Stillingsworth had to tell him that it isn't good. They bypass all the examination rooms and slip into a corner office with broad windows and book shelves that were crammed full of medical journals.
"I have you scheduled for an eleven o'clock treatment at the hospital." Dr. Stillingsworth spoke as he laid the pages he had been holding out across the desk so Stiles could see them. "We can't chance an office treatment that won't do what we need it to do. I want to get a heavier dosage administered and it needs to be done at the hospital."
"What are they going to do?" Stiles licked his lips and wished he had something to drink or someone to hold on to.
"They'll just do an IV line in your arm and introduce the medication that way. It's going to be triple what I give you here so you're going to need the entire day off. They'll give you a few other medications, to hopefully aid the reduction of cell growth."
"Should I tell my dad?" Stiles whispered. He didn't know why he was whispering but it felt like a moment that he needed to tread carefully around. Speaking in normal tones would make the situation different. This was an important moment and he knew that. He knew this was going to change everything.
"That is completely up to you. Most patients like to have someone with them. You have an hour before you need to get to the hospital for your treatment so it will give both of you time to get there." Dr. Stillingsworth offered.
Stiles nodded, "I'll call my Dad."
Dr. Stillingsworth nodded, "You do that. I faxed the orders over already and Dr. Littleton knows what she's doing and I trust her completely with your care."
"Okay," Stiles looked down at his cell phone and his fingers hovered over the screen, "Will I be doing my treatments there from now on?"
"Just this week at the moment," Dr. Stillingsworth handed a few papers over to Stiles, "Next week I'll see you here and we'll determine where to go from there. These are the physical orders just incase."
"Thanks," Stiles stood up and tucked his phone in his pocket, "I guess I'll see you next week."
"Yes, next week," Dr. Stillingsworth lead Stiles out of the office and back towards reception. As soon as Stiles was seated in his Jeep he called his Dad. He listened to the phone ring and ring but no answer so he left a message, "Dad, I have to do a treatment at the hospital and I'd really like it if you could meet me there. Just call me back."
The hospital is cold and he gets directed towards the oncology ward. It's not somewhere he saw himself ever needing to visit. The receptionist is a perky blonde who smiles too much for someone who works with dying people. She asks him to head to the bathroom and leave a urine sample in a little cupboard that connects to the opposite room of the bathroom so it can be retrieved.
His pee was yellow for once. A good thing on a bad day. It made him laugh a little. Then he wondered if this area of the hospital has people who laugh at themselves in the bathroom often. Surely he's not the only one who's cracked up in the bathroom. When he's washed his hands clean his heart skips a beat in his chest at the sight of his Dad waiting for him in the waiting room. His hair is unruly and he's gripping the arms of the chair so tightly that Stiles is afraid it might break.
"Dad," Stiles shoots his dad a slight smile and is immediately grabbed in one of the most massive hugs he's ever received from his father his entire life and he's thankful for it.
The IV left a bruise and he needed to hold onto his dad the entire walk out of the hospital but all in all, the treatment wasn't that bad, yet. They left his Jeep at the hospital and his dad made up the couch for him when they got home. There was no way he was making it up the stairs. Stiles curled up under the quilt that had been draped over him and snuggled deeper into his pillow while Scooby-Doo played softly in the background and his dad puttered around in the kitchen. It didn't even register in his mind that he hadn't eaten lunch or breakfast before he drifted off to sleep.
Stiles didn't go to school the next day. He stayed on the couch and made his dad go to work. He was just groggy and his head hurt otherwise he was good. So he watched old episodes of Animaniacs while he ate chicken noodle soup. He didn't expect to hear someone coming down the stairs or to see Derek anywhere besides his bedroom.
Derek sat at the end of the couch and set a hand on Stiles' ankle and focused on the television, "I used to love this show."
Stiles smiled and let out a happy sigh, "What are you doing here?"
"Scott said you weren't at school." Derek shrugged before he rubbed at his nose.
"Yeah I'm not feeling too well," Stiles pointed towards the half-eaten bowl of soup, "I plan to feel better though."
They sat quietly. Every once in a while Derek's fingers would move along Stiles' ankle or tap a little rhythm out but it wasn't bothersome. It was reassuring, soothing. Even the soft sniffs that Derek took were soothing. It almost seemed normal now to have someone smelling around him. "Do I smell different?"
Stiles watched as Derek swallowed something down before Derek closed his eyes and nodded.
"What do I smell like?"
Derek rubbed a hand up and down Stiles' calf and let out a weighted sigh, "You smell sick."
Stiles let out a sardonic bark of laughter, "The nose always knows."
"I just," Derek tripped over his words, "I'm here."
Stiles nodded and curled deeper into the couch and stared at the television, not really watching what was playing out on the screen. He wasn't sure what made him want to share this with Derek but he needed someone to know, someone who seemed to notice that something was wrong. "If things don't go right I could end up doing chemotherapy and radiation."
Derek didn't say anything. He just sat stoic faced and nodded.
"Every week for ten weeks I'm doing treatments. Yesterday I did a treatment at the hospital, heavier than the first three because my cells are reproducing too quickly."
Derek didn't say anything. He just rested his hands on Stiles' ankle and slid down against the couch a little more making himself more comfortable. They didn't move much until Stiles' Dad made his way home with food in hand. He wasn't sure what to say at the sight of Derek Hale in his house so he went in the kitchen, "If you want to stay for dinner you can."
Stiles round the corner and smiled at his Dad, "He's gone."
"Didn't know that you two were that close."
"He's the only one who knows about everything," Stiles sat down at the table and popped open the containers, "He keeps me company."
"Well let him know that the door opens also," the sheriff smiled, "He doesn't always have to sneak in to check up on you."
Stiles shook his head and wondered how many other things he thought he had gotten away with but really his Dad chose not to say anything about it.
Stiles was in chemistry when Danny sits down next to him instead of Scott. Stiles eyes Danny out the corner of his eye and waits until Danny breaks the ice. There was no reason to make trouble when there might not be any. They're half way through a partnered assignment when Danny reaches out and lays a hand over Stiles' to get his attention.
"I don't know what's going on with you but I know something isn't right. I just want you to know that if you need someone to talk to, I'm here." Danny pulls his hand back and settles back down in his chair and waits for Stiles to say something.
All Stiles can think of to say is, "Thanks."
He doesn't tell Danny. He doesn't need someone constantly asking him questions and wondering if he's okay. It's funny how he didn't worry about that with Derek. He doubted Derek would ask questions anyway. He's more of the type to sit and ponder life away.
Instead he finds a new friend, a friend he never thought he would have in Danny. They don't talk about what is wrong with Stiles. Instead they talk about all the things that they've never thought they could talk about with each other.
"My dad wants me to follow in the family footsteps," Danny tapped his fingers against the table top, "I don't want to work in architecture. I want to teach."
Stiles' eyebrows rose a little at the thought of seeing Danny in a vest standing in front of a wily group of teenagers but if anyone was smart enough to figure out how to teach to a group of kids, Danny would be the one.
"I," Stiles blushed a little at what he was going to admit, "I want to be more like my Dad. He's, well, he hasn't had the best of luck but he's one of the people I admire the most. He makes me want to do better."
Danny just smiles at Stiles' confession. Not many people would think Stiles thought about having a career in law enforcement but to be honest it's all he ever wanted. Now he just hoped he could have the chance at a job like his father's.
Stiles couldn't help himself. He called Dr. Stillingsworth the afternoon before his week five appointment. The news he got was a relief. The labs showed a slight decline in cell production. He dropped to sit on his bed as soon as he hung up the phone. He rubbed his hands over his scalp and let out a happy sigh. Tomorrow wouldn't be so bad. He'd go see the doctor, get his treatment and head back to school. It was going to be okay. Things were going his way for once.
Derek was waiting on his front porch after school. Stiles didn't think any differently of it. Instead he held the door open for the werewolf and followed him into the living room where they sat down on the couch. He looked at Derek before he turned the television on and dug out his books.
"You smell different," Derek commented halfway through on of Stiles' trig problems.
"Different how?" Stiles asked with his pencil poised in mid air.
"Like," Derek scented the air before he finished, "Like you're relaxed."
Stiles' mouth dropped open, "You can smell when I'm relaxed or not? No forget that I asked that. Of course you can. But to answer your question I got good news on my lab work so I'm not as stressed as I have been."
"That's good," Derek stretched out a little on the couch and hid his toes beneath the underside of Stiles' thigh.
"I mean, it isn't the best results I could ask for but I don't have cells multiplying and creating monster cells. And my pain level seems to be getting better or I'm becoming more tolerant of it. I'd rather believe the first rather than the later though." Stiles couldn't help the words from bursting from between his lips. It was like he needed to tell someone how he really felt about the good news.
"It's just good to hear you again," Derek ducked his head down and busied himself with his cell phone.
Stiles mouthed the words to himself before he got it. Derek could tell he was feeling better by how much he was chattering away.
Scott disappeared from Stiles' life for awhile. It wasn't something Stiles ever thought he would miss but sometimes you just need your best friend back in your life. It's just he couldn't figure out how to go about mending the bridge he inadvertently burned by getting sick. So Stiles bites the bullet and corners Scott one day before lacrosse.
"Hey," Stiles bumped shoulders with Scott, "You think we can talk for a minute."
Scott looks confused by the request but nods.
"I've, no, I am sick," Stiles took a deep breath, "I've been doing rescue therapy and taking boatloads of medicines the past few weeks and I've got four more weeks to go before the doctor makes a really big decision. What it all boils down to is, I'm sorry for being such a jerk to you lately. I just, haven't had the energy to do anything other than go to class and sleep. The side effects from the medicines, when I first started all this, well I wasn't really prepared for them."
Scott's mouth dropped open just enough so a bug could fly right into his mouth and become an appetizer. Stiles isn't too sure of what he should do now. Should he wait for Scott to digest what he told him or if he should just give up and walk away. In the end he walks away and he completely blames Scott on that one when Scott says, "I don't know what to say to you right now."
Stiles goes home and does the one thing his temper allows him to do at the moment. He cleans. He scrubs, polishes, vacuums, washes, folds, dusts and works himself into a sweat because it's the only thing that can make him feel better is a clean house.
When his dad gets home and sees the way the house looks he asks, "Should I call Derek or is this something you can talk to me about?"
Stiles drops his rag to the kitchen table and drops down in a chair with a huff of breath, "Scott is so far up Alison's butt I don't know if I'll ever get my friend back."
The sheriff nodded as if he understood exactly how Stiles was feeling, "I take it you finally told him that you were sick?"
"And he has the nerve to sit there all slack jawed and says I don't know what to say to you right now. Seriously? How is that even right? He could have said okay. Two letters, O and K. Just so I know that he heard me but he gives me that. What am I supposed to do with that?"
"How about you give him time to process that his best friend has something wrong with him," his dad suggested, "until he does you have me and Derek to talk to if something is bothering you."
"Yeah yeah," Stiles rolled his eyes and received a smack on the back of his head for the action.
Week six wasn't a good week. Not even in Stiles' redefined terms of what a good week was since he started seeing Dr. Stillingsworth. This week instead of getting right to business Dr. Stillingsworth rolled his chair to the side of the table so he could see Stiles without the paper thin sheet or Stiles' knees getting in the way.
"I'm going to be doubling your dosages for your office visits. We're just not getting the results that we should be getting."
Stiles bit his lip before he flopped back on the table with a groan, "Then why are we even bothering with this? If I'm just going to end up doing chemotherapy why bother with this stuff? Do you know how much money this costs? Why not save that and put it towards the chemotherapy. I mean, I don't get it. Why, why did this have to happen to me?"
Dr. Stillingsworth was silent for a moment before he started flipping through Stiles' file marking pages until he made it back to the first visit and round of lab work. "Stiles, I want you to look at these numbers. They're high, too high. I should have sent you straight to Dr. Littleton but I knew that this would help and possibly rule out the possibility of chemotherapy combine with radiation therapy. You're numbers are decreasing."
Stiles looked wordlessly at the papers and the information that he was presented with.
"See, your numbers are decreasing. They have been from the beginning but they aren't decreasing as fast like I would like for them to. You are getting results. That's why we're still doing this. I know that if we double the dosage the outcome will be far better than what we're getting now."
"What does that mean for me?" Stiles' voice grew soft and he wiped furiously at his eyes.
"It means you'll miss school on appointment days. You're headaches will be worse, you'll feel nauseated and you'll probably sleep most of the afternoon and evening."
Stiles' snorted, "Don't sugar coat it."
"You'll want to have someone here that can drive you home," Dr. Stillingsworth pressed his lips together and he rested a hand on Stiles' arm, "All the symptoms, everything you've been going through is going to be worth it. You're going to come out of this healthy. I'm going to do my best to make sure you do."
"Well," Stiles closed his eyes as Dr. Stillingsworth rolled down towards the end of the table, "Let's do this."
The increased dosage was hell on wheels for Stiles. He understood why Dr. Stillingsworth wanted someone to drive him home from the next few appointments. His head was already roaring in pain and it was hard to focus on the road in front of him. He ended up pulling off to the side and resting his forehead on the steering wheel trying to figure out who he could call to pick him up.
Danny didn't know. Scott was probably busy with Allison. His dad would freak the heck out and he didn't want to deal with his dad at the moment. So he called Derek.
"Can you come pick me up?" Stiles didn't bother with formalities, he needed help and he hoped that Derek would be there for him. "I just left the doctors office and I can't drive."
"Where are you at?"
"Right by that twenty-four hour convenient store," Stiles answered drawing a heavy breath in trying to calm his racing heart.
"I'll be there as soon as I can," Derek's voice had grown soft, "Just stay on the phone with me so I know you're okay."
"But I'm not," Stiles groaned, "Everything hurts."
"That's a good thing," Derek reassured him, "It means you're still fighting."
"My head hurts so much," Stiles whispered trying his best not to cry, "You're almost here right?"
"Just a few more minutes Stiles," Derek answered, "I'm almost there."
After a few moments of relative quiet Stiles whispered, "Thank you."
Derek's response was immediate, "That's what pack is for."
"Even if I'm been a terrible pack member?" Stiles asked.
"That's when pack is the most important," Derek pulled his car to a stop behind Stiles' Jeep and was pulling the slack formed teen from the Jeep and getting him settled into the passenger seat. He draped his jacket over Stiles' eyes and chest trying to eliminate some of the pain before he jogged back to the Jeep to grab Stiles' bag and locking the vehicle up tight.
On the ride to the Stilinsky house Stiles curled in his seat and huddled under Derek's jacket with a shaky sigh. When they made it into the drive way Derek was almost loathe getting Stiles to move from the car. "We're here."
"My bed sounds awesome," Stiles struggled to sit up on the reclining seat and winced at the bright sun. Derek had the door unlocked and opened before Stile's made it up the front porch. When he saw the grudging look that Stiles gave the stairs Derek scooped Stiles up and carried him up the stairs and to his room.
He unlaced dirtied sneakers and tugged socks off of Stiles' feet before he moved to wrestle Stiles underneath the covers. "You need me to get you anything?"
"Medicine, pill pocket in my bag," Stiles mumbled as he snuggled deeper under the covers. Once Derek got Stiles' to swallow down the migraine medicine and Compazine to help with the nausea he settled on the bed next to Stiles. He grabbed a book of the bedside table and started to read, not all that surprised to see that it was something about werewolves.
Stiles woke up with his face pressed against Derek's hip and his arm slung across Derek's legs. It was dark in his room and he could hear his Dad fumbling with something in the kitchen. He let out a jaw-popping yawn before he sat up and grinned. Derek was out cold with the book he was reading propped up against his chest.
Stiles picked up the book and rolled gently from the bed. He spread a blanket across Derek as well as he could before he padded down the stairs and into the kitchen to see his dad looking hopelessly lost.
"It's not that confusing," Stiles teased as he pulled a chair out from the table.
"You feeling better?"
"Yeah," Stiles rubbed his eyes clear of the fog that came with sleep. "A little bit. Still a bit groggy and I feel like I'm going to puke but no headache."
"Good," the sheriff nodded, "Derek left?"
"No," Stiles shook his head, "He's asleep up there."
"I'm, well I'm glad that you had someone here to take care of you."
Stiles detected the disappointment in his Dad's voice. He didn't call his Dad because he didn't want to interrupt his work. He trusted his dad with his life and loved him with all his heart. There was no doubt about that. He understood that his dad felt the same way and wanted to be the person Stiles turned to during this time. The thing was he didn't want his Dad to see him like this. His dad couldn't really do anything other than sit around and wait for him to feel better. He knew his Dad would be willing to do that. He would sit by Stiles side for as long as Stiles needed him to be there.
The people you love the most are the people you don't want to remember this part of your life. You want them to remember all the happy, stronger moments. Not the times you have to have help making it up the stairs only to pass out on the bed.
"Dad, you know that I know you'd be here every second," Stiles stood up and wrapped his arms around his Dad, "I just, don't want to get in the way."
"You'd never get in the way Stiles, never."
"Okay, well I didn't think it was going to hit me this bad today. I didn't want to worry you." Stiles shrugged as he pulled away from his Dad's hold.
"Kid, the day you don't worry me I'll wonder when the hell you grew up on me."
Derek was gone by the time Stiles dragged himself back upstairs and into his room to grab a fresh change of clothes. He left a note tented on the night stand and Stiles grabbed it up without a thought.
Call me if you need anything. We take care of each other no matter what. Feel better.
Those scribbled out words had meant more to Stiles than he thought possible. His chest and cheeks warmed at the thought that Derek took the time to write that out.
Derek was in the waiting room with him for his next appointment. He didn't say anything but he kept his hand on Stiles' arm offering support where he could. When Stiles' name was called he smiled down at Derek and heading to the back to have his vitals and his blood taken and then he was brought to room six. Before the nurse could instruct him further Stiles held up a hand, "I know, I know. Bottoms down."
"Becoming a pro at this aren't you?" She quirked a brow before she disappeared out of the room.
He waited about twenty minutes for Dr. Stillingsworth. His heart beating faster and faster the longer he waited.
"Stiles, how are you feeling today?"
"Dreading this evening," Stiles answered honestly.
"You did bring someone with you?"
"After last week, you bet I brought someone with me," Stiles nodded and leaned back on the table. His toes curled and the muscles in his legs tightened at the intrusion of the catheter.
"Well, good news," Dr. Stillingsworth gestured from Stiles to sit up and he took his gloves off, "The double dosage is a doing what we want it to do. The results are a lot better then what we've been getting and if things continue, by week ten you'll be where I want you to be and medication, pill wise, will be all you need."
"We're not adding to what I'm already taking? Just keeping things how they are?" Stiles asked hopefully.
"That's right." Dr. Stillingsworth smiled, "Get dressed and go see Jessica. You know the drill."
Stiles was almost bouncing with excitement as he scheduled his next week's appointment and headed out to meet Derek. Derek stood as soon as Stiles emerged and his shoulders relaxed at the sight of a happy Stiles.
"Everything go okay?" Derek asked as they headed out to his car.
Stiles nodded as a wave of fatigue settled over him, "Yeah everything is going well. I'm not looking forward to feeling bad but the news today was good."
"Good news," Derek's lips turned upwards, "Ready to go home?"
"Always," Stiles turned towards Derek with his cheek resting on the seat as he closed his eyes and let the car lull him into a peaceful sleep.
Stiles woke up to his Dad shaking his shoulder and whispering, "Stiles, you need to eat."
Stiles blinked the sleep from his eyes and focused on his Dad, "Why are we whispering?"
The look his dad gave him was priceless. His brows rose and he rolled his eyes before he nodded his head to something behind Stiles. Stiles looked over his shoulder and felt himself blush. Derek was snoozing on his bed, a book resting on his chest but his feet tucked underneath the blanket Stiles kept at the foot of his bed.
Stiles slipped from the bed and tugged the blanket up and over Derek before he followed his dad down to the kitchen were there was a bowl of hot soup waiting to be devoured.
"Should I just start expecting him to be here whenever I come home on Thursdays?" The smirk on his face was not something that Stiles found funny at all. No matter how funny his dad thought he was being. "He's starting to look real comfortable in my house and around you."
"He's my doctor buddy," Stiles pointed his spoon at his dad, "and he likes to keep me company when I'm a terrible person. I'm not getting rid of him."
"I didn't think that you would, I just, I'm glad he's here for you. Even if half the time all he does is sleep."
The week before his eighth appointment school was strange. Allison and Lydia told him he was looking a lot better and to keep up doing whatever he was doing. He didn't quite understand what they meant but when Danny made a comment Stiles had to ask what was going on.
"Seriously? What is with all these people telling me I'm looking good all of a sudden?" Stiles narrowed his eyes at Danny as Danny puffed out his cheeks in thought before letting out a heavy breath to answer.
"It's just," Danny fumbled with his words for a moment, "You've got color back to your cheeks and you don't look like you're on death's door."
"Death's door," Stiles repeated, "I looked that bad."
"But you don't now," Danny offered with a grimace not sure how to placate Stiles.
"Well," Stiles spun around in his chair and tapped his fingers on the table top, "I guess that's a good thing."
Derek and Stiles were sitting in the waiting room watching another do-it-yourself home show when Stiles decided to actually talk to Derek instead of sleeping.
"So how's life?"
Derek's eyes widened as he looked at Stiles, "It's there."
"There isn't anything exciting going on in your life?" Stiles pushed further hoping to get something out of the wolf. "Like, I know you can't sit around all day doing nothing in that decrepit house of yours. So what do you do?"
Derek licked his lips and looked up at the ceiling as if asking for guidance before he answered, "I'm fixing it up. Every once in a while Scott and the rest of the pack will pitch in if they're feeling ambitious but mostly it's just me working to clean up the place."
Stiles nodded, thinking that he would already know what Derek was up to if he had been to the past few pack meetings. He had a reasonable excuse though and it didn't sound like Derek thought anything of it.
Stiles wasn't able to ask anymore questions because his favorite nurse called him back for blood work and to get his vitals all checked out.
The tests were good, the appointment was quick and Jessica already had a schedule cared waiting for Stiles on his way out the door. Derek was already waiting at the exit when Stiles moved through the waiting room.
"Everything go alright?" Derek asked as they made their way to the car.
"Everything is going great," Stiles sent a smile to Derek as he clicked in his seatbelt. "So good I think I want to eat something before I conk out for the rest of the day."
"What do you want?" Derek asked.
"Soup," Stiles hummed to himself, "Soup sounds like a good idea."
"Soup it is," Derek answered with his fingers lightly tapping on the steering wheel.
"So what all have you done to your house?" Stiles asked trying to pick up there conversation from earlier in the waiting room.
Derek licked his lips and tilted his head a little to the side before he answered, "The roof, the kitchen and my bedroom is done. I'm working on the other rooms trying to get them cleaned up before I start doing anything else."
"What else do you do?" Stiles' voice grew soft as he asked the question, afraid to over-step his boundaries but it didn't stop him from wanting to know more about the alpha who was becoming his friend.
"Besides taking care of you guys?" Derek raised a brow, "I'm going to school. Not in person because I can't be sure I could control myself around them right now. So online classes, only one or two for now but I'm trying to get back into the swing of being human in some aspects of my life."
"But you're control around me and around the rest of us," Stiles yawned and pressed at the sides of his head where a headache was forming. "Why wouldn't you have control around them?"
"They aren't pack," Derek shrugged as if that were all the answer Stiles needed.
Stiles ate his soup on the couch right after Derek made him take his migraine and nausea medicine. Always ten steps ahead. By the middle of the afternoon Stiles had slid down the couch and sprawled out so his head was resting on Derek's lap and he was dozing lightly.
When his dad came tromping through the house a second set of footsteps were with him. What really pulled Stiles from his nap was the way Derek's entire tensed and his hands were planted firmly on Stiles' shoulder.
"Wake up, Scott's here," His dad didn't even bother sticking around from the impending explosion of what is he doing here?
Stiles sat up and rubbed his face before he acknowledged Scott, "What's up?"
Scott stood slack jawed in the living room looking between Derek and Stiles before he finally answered, "What's up? What's up with you and no offense but what is he doing here?"
"He's my doctor buddy," Stiles answered.
"But he's Derek," Scott's brows furrowed together in confusion.
"Yeah," Stiles nodded.
Finally Derek stepped in, "If you were in the same situation I'd be sitting at home with you Scott."
"Okay?" Scott answered even though he didn't really get what they were saying.
"He's pack," Derek's voice grew sharp, "It's my job to take care of pack."
"But you two were cuddling," Scott took a step back, "You wouldn't do that with me."
"No I wouldn't," Derek stood up and grasped Stiles' shoulder for a moment before letting go, "You two talk. You know how to find me if you need me."
Stiles and Scott engaged in a staring war until the front door closed and the growl of the Camaro echoed down the drive way. Stiles scooted to one side of the couch before he patted the opposite side, "Sit."
"Since when are you pack?" Scott realized how the question sounded an back tracked, "I meant, I didn't think Derek thought of you as pack and I thought only wolves were part of the pack. So when did this happen?"
"Since he figured out I was sick," Stiles shrugged, "And I didn't mind having him there."
"But he's Derek," Scott scrunched his nose up in distaste.
"And I think the same thing about Allison but you don't hear me saying stuff like that around you," Stiles rolled his eyes, "He's got to have a heart of gold to deal with me. Especially a sick version of me."
Scott chuckled, "You're right."
Stiles elbowed him before letting out a sigh, "So we're friends now?"
"We've always been friends. I just didn't know what to do when you said you were sick. Like, it's serious stuff. Stuff that we shouldn't have to be dealing with and we are. It doesn't make sense. Why this has to happen to you? Of all people."
"Shit happens," Stiles shrugged, "But you got to keep on rolling down the road no matter how bumpy the ride is."
"Can I be your doctor buddy?" Scott asked after a few minutes.
"No," Stiles answer without a second's thought, "There are some things you don't want your best friend seeing and me after those appointments are one of those things you shouldn't have to see. Plus I only have two more appointments so there's no point in shaking things up."
"Okay," Scott nodded and turned towards the television. Throughout replayed episodes of The Deadliest Catch, Stiles caught Scott up on who things were going with his doctor's appointments and tried to soothed the scarred ego of his best friend.
Derek was there with Stiles on for his ninth appointment. He soundlessly watched Holmes on Homes, probably picking a few pointers up here and there as the second episode started to play. The wait was getting longer and longer and Stiles was becoming more anxious as the minutes ticked by.
"The guest bedroom is finished," Derek's voice was soft, "I'm almost done with the guest bath."
"What are you going to work on after that?" Stiles asked with his eyes still glued to the television.
"The living room," Derek answered, "I figure it would be good to have a place for the pack to hang out besides the kitchen when we meet up."
"How'd the full moon go?"
"Eventful," Derek grinned and Stile waited for some kind of explanation. "Scott killed a deer."
"Oh god," Stiles hid his eyes behind his fingers, "What did he do?"
"He decided that the deer wasn't just food, that it was a toy." Derek chuckled darkly to himself. "Then he proceeded to puke his guts up as soon as he turned back."
Stiles let out a squeal of laughter before he was called to the back. He had his blood drawn, his blood pressure taken, his weight measured, and headed back to room six to wait for Dr. Stillingsworth.
Once Dr. Stillingsworth had taken care of business he gestured for Stiles to sit up, "So results are still looking good."
"Yeah?" Stiles felt his heart beat a little faster. "Really?"
"Sometimes it just takes time," Dr. Stillingsworth nodded, "But yes, your results are really looking good right now. We have another treatment and you should be able to stop this part of your therapy."
"Just pills," Dr. Stillingsworth affirmed.
"Doc, if I weren't sitting here half naked I'd be doing a happy dance but for now I'll settle for this," Stiles shook his feet and wiggled his toes in excitement.
After Stiles' nap he, Derek and the Sheriff had a celebratory dinner of spaghetti. Stiles spent most of the evening laughing and twirling noodles hopelessly on his fork as his Dad and Derek laughed at him.
As the evening rolled to an end, Stiles didn't want things to end. He fought the fatigue that was starting to pull him further and further away from his Dad's stories and the way Derek spoke so happily about the changes he was making to his life.
It took his father standing and ushering Derek out of the house before Stiles was going to admit that he was even the tiniest bit tired.
"Go to bed Stiles."
"But," Stiles let out a yawn so big his eyes watered, "I don't want to."
"You've got to," the words were followed by a hug, "Even thought you're getting back to how you used to be the Stiles in the here and now needs to get a good eight hours of sleep to function."
"Are you trying to tell me something?"
"Yeah, you're a grouch if you don't get enough sleep," Stiles Dad grinned before playfully swatting Stiles over the back of the head. "Go to bed."
"Yes sir," Stiles joked as he headed for the stairs.
One last treatment. That was what Stiles had to look forward to. After that, he was in the clear. He could go about his Thursdays without a migraine or the need to conk out in his bed after a few hours. He was already feeling the increase in his energy and it would get even better after this last appointment. He could feel the excitement spreading throughout his body and he couldn't wait to be out of the doctor's office and back home with Derek. That was probably the best part of his Thursday.
Then that wall of excitement tumbled down and his heart pounded in his chest for an entirely different reason. What if this was it. That this thing with Derek, his new friend, the one person he's become to depend on, what if it was over after this? He didn't need Derek anymore. Not really. He was part of the pack but what if this changed things. He wasn't ready to lose Derek. Not in the way he had gotten to know him.
Derek's hand on his wrist pulled him from such desperate thoughts, "It's going to be okay Stiles. There isn't anything to be afraid of now."
Stiles nodded, there wasn't anything to be afraid of here, in the doctor's office but once they left there was plenty to fear.
Stiles had worked himself up so much that his head was pounding before he even left Dr. Stillingsworth. His eyes felt like they were about to bulge out of their sockets and it was all his own doing. Derek wrapped an arm beneath Stiles' arms and lugged Stiles out to the car.
"Are you going to be okay?" Derek asked.
"I don't know," Stiles whispered as he huddled down in the seat and covered his head with Derek's jacket.
Stiles woke up warm. He felt like he was surrounded by his pillows and almost as if he were being hugged. His head still ached a little so he went to sit up and frowned when he found he couldn't. Lifting the covers away from him he starred curiously at the arms wrapped around him. Not only arms but there were feet tangled with his. Turning to look over his shoulder Stiles froze. Derek Hale was a closet cuddler and he was cuddling with Stiles.
Maybe, just maybe, things would be the same. Until then, he had a headache he needed to take care of.
"Where are you going?"
"Headache," Stiles answered with a blush.
"Bedside table," Derek mumbled as he rolled over into Stiles' space and pressed his nose to the pillow Stiles had been using. Stiles swallowed the warmth that swelled across his chest and gulped the pills down before lying back with Derek.
He was quiet for a while, quiet long enough that Derek's breaths had evened out. He didn't even think he'd get an answer but he needed to ask it. "Is this it? A good-bye cuddle and then its right back to bickering and hating each other? Cause you can't do that to me. I'd miss you too much. You're important now. You, you're one of my best friends."
"You cuddle with all your best friends?" Derek's voice raw voice made Stiles jolt in surprise.
"Just you," Stiles answered with a squeak.
"I don't plan on things changing," Derek yawned, "Maybe you coming to more pack meetings and being at the full moon but other than that I like where things are."
Stiles smiled to himself as he turned towards Derek and settled in to fall back asleep there wasn't anything better right now.
The last appointment was gut-wrenching. There were no more rescue therapy treatments. This was it. The deciding moment of whether or not the pills would be enough or would there be more treatments. Will things get harder?
He was guided straight to room six and told to take a seat on the extra chair that was set out. Having all his clothes on in the room felt a little strange. He was antsy and ready for Dr. Stillingsworth to get in here and get everything over with.
The door popped open and Dr. Stillingsworth nodded at Stiles before he took his seat and rolled so they could talk face-to-face without a table impeding their view. "How are you feeling today?"
"Like I'm going to puke," Stiles joked.
"But other than the nerves you're good?" Dr. Stillingsworth smiled at Stiles.
"Yeah," Stiles nodded. "So, what's the word? Am I free?"
"You are free from your weekly visits," Dr. Stillingsworth nodded and Stiles barely resisted the urge to fist pump. "You need to take your medication to the letter. You can't miss doses because that might set off a reaction we don't want. You will be back in a month and you'll stop by and complete the lab work a few days before."
"So I'm not done," Stiles let out a hefty sigh. "I was hoping this was it."
"After the one month visit, if things are well, which they should be you'll be bumped to every three months. Right now we need to be sure you're body is doing what it needs to do. So you might not be done with me for awhile Stiles. I'm not going to let you go see Dr. Littleton again if I can help it. At the year mark, if everything is good, I'll harvest another tissue sample and well go from there. Appointments might need to stay every three months or we might move them to every six."
"So these medicines, even if all goes well, I'll be on them for awhile?"
"At the very least six months. After that we may decrease them or start getting rid of them all together. You're supposed to be healing now. You don't need to depend on medication for the rest of your life. That's our goal. A medication-free life style."
"I like that goal." Stiles agreed.
"Well, I guess I'll see you in a month." Dr. Stillingsworth stood and offered his hand, "Stay healthy."
"I plan to," Stiles shook Dr. Stillingsworth's hand vigorously before he left room six.
Derek was sitting in the same spot Stiles left him in. His face was resting in his hands and his knees were bouncing full of anxiety. Stiles barely gave Derek enough time before he had launched himself across the waiting room and into Derek's arms. He couldn't help it. He hadn't ever been as happy as he was now. He was getting a second chance that he might not have ever gotten. The best part of this was his body fought for this chance. His body. What he was made of, what he had become fought and fought until he got to this point.
Holding Derek tight he knew he wouldn't have fought as hard, or pushed himself as hard as he did. Derek's constant presence, his care, being there made everything worth it. Knowing he had friends who would be there through thick and thin; friends that would spend time with his dad without fear.
Seeing his Dad's reaction later would be priceless. It would all be worth it. He was getting better. He wasn't sick anymore.
"Good news I take it?" Derek grinned down at Stiles before they walked out to the Camaro, bumping shoulders the entire way there.
"Great news," Stiles nodded as he slipped into the car and buckled the seatbelt without fear of an impending headache. With a daring hand, Stiles flipped on the radio and laughed at Derek's outraged face. Completely worth it.