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Stiles tilts his blue Ray Bann wayfarers down his nose in order to get a good look through the tinted window of the sleek black Lexus IS 250 they’d rented in an attempt to look inconspicuous when passing through town. His PR team had deemed Stiles R8 as too obvious. It was yellow with a 5T1LES number plate so he could see where they were coming from… Not that it even mattered. The story about him punching one the crew members on his show had been all over the glossy pages for a fortnight, as had the coverage of his court hearing. Everyone with even a mild interest in Hollywood and celebs knew he was checking into rehab this weekend.

“But they don’t know which one” he’d been reminded.  Peeking out at them through thick white fog and an even thicker forest of trees is the Beacon Hills Reserve Rehab Clinic. It’s perched halfway up one of the hills circling a small sleepy town way further north in California than Stiles cared to visit.  The building didn’t look how Stiles had imagined. He’d pictured tall, imposing concrete walls with loops of barbed wire sat upon twelve inch fences… okay so he had a flare for the dramatic. He was an actor. And yeah, maybe he could have agreed to read the brochures and look at the pictures when Erica had all but thrust them at him but he liked surprises.  In reality the clinic was modern and homely, the ground floor was practically all windows, overlooking the forests and the walls of the second and third floors were wooden. It looked like one of those houses you see pictures online and wonder if anyone actually lives there. It was more like a glorified forest cabin than an exclusive rehab facility. He crinkled his nose. 

It was early evening and the sky was grey but warm yellow lights lit the building inside and out. It would almost look inviting after the three hour car journey if he hadn’t spotted the welcoming comity already there on the steps awaiting him. 

Stiles holds up his blackberry, jamming the buttons with his thumbs and growls frustrated.  

“I have no 4G” he glares at Erica, his PA, as if it’s her fault. She just rolls her eyes, so used to his crap. 

“You’re not gonna be needing it” she shrugs. 

“Yes. I am” 

“In fact...” she hooks the phone out of his hands in a swift movement. “You won’t be needing that at all!” 

Stiles grabs for his phone madly but Erica sits on it, fending him off. They fight like kids until their chauffer comes round and pops Stiles door open.  He gives Erica one last glare and backs out of the vehicle. 

Erica climbs out of the passenger side, rounding the car to a pouting Stiles and patting him on the back. “Don’t worry baby bro, I’ll keep it safe ‘til you’re back”  

“Yeah, if I ever come back!” he grumbles as a well-built man in a long white lab coat approaches them. He’s wearing a warm smile but Stiles isn’t in the mood for pleasantries.  

The chauffer, Carlton, fetches his bags from the boot of the car, dropping them down at Stiles feet and when Erica proceeds to the building slyly hands Stiles his phone. 

Stiles beams at him. “Thanks dude!” he says enthusiastically, quickly hiding it in his back pocket.  

Carlton hesitates for a moment, as if he wants to say something to his employer of five years, wish him luck or something, but Stiles offers him no entrance, already going for his bags, and he obviously thinks better of it, bowing gently and disappearing back into the front of the shiny black saloon. 

He struggles down the gravel to the building with his two suitcases and a duffel. Everyone waits on the steps, no one offers him a hand until he reaches them, and even then it’s to shake and not to help. 

“MrStilinski, it’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m Doctor Deaton, I’m the head physician here” the man at the front says. He’s clearly in charge, in fact the name rings a bell. He’s pretty sure Erica had raved about him when they’d tried to pick a suitable place. He looks to be in his late forties. He has a shaved head, warm eyes, dark skin and a friendly looking face. He’s also the one doing the hand extending to Stiles, who stares at it for a moment before reluctantly shaking it, one brief shake, before slipping his hand out of his and stuffing it back into the pocket of his dark red hoody, hood now up. 

Erica steps in as always, shaking Deaton’s hand with much more enthusiasm. “It’s great to meet you! I’m Erica, I’m Stiles sister-“ 

Step-sister” Stiles cuts in. She’s use to it and doesn’t even flinch. 

“-I’m so glad you were able to find a place for Stiles. Let me tell you though, you have got your work cut out for you!” she chuckles, following the Doctor into the building that is to be his prison for three long months. 

He’s about to follow when he realises he’s once again been left with all his bags and he can’t get them all up the steps. He hadn’t packed much, and he’d been considerably intoxicated when he had packed, but the two cases and a duffel was more than he’d had to carry for himself in a long while. In fact, anything over his Starbucks he considered to be too much. But apparently no one here was going to help and okay, physically, he could manage. So begrudgingly he lifts his own bags and follows Deaton and Erica. 

Despite it being late he was given the grand tour of the place. It has twenty five rooms, of which seventeen are currently occupied. There is a kitchen with a real chef who has worked on cruise ships. Meals are served three times a day with hot or cold options. There’s a games room, a TV room, a quiet room and a library as well as outdoor sports facilities behind the main building. Other than that it’s just clinical rooms. There are five resident doctors alongside Deaton, who had opened the clinic in 2006 after getting his PhD in Psychology (he has a certificate, it looks more official than the ‘best dad’ one Stiles had made for his dad for father’s day in primary school). There was Dr. Hale, Dr. Finstock, Dr. Martin, Dr. Greenberg and Dr. Harris, all of who are trained in both mental and physical health. Every day there are workshops and classes to help the residents on their path to recovery, blah blahblah.  Almost an hour later he is left with Erica at the doorway to his new room, 204, a nice number, he supposes.

“It’s tiny” he points out, peering in unenthusiastically. 

“It’s... clean?” Erica suggests. The room is about seven foot wide and ten foot long. It’s white and sterile with minimal furniture; a small single bed on the right wall, a wardrobe at the foot. A desk sits on the far wall and a well worn armchair to the left. The floor is wooden and a large window covers most of the back wall offering a view across the forest and in the distance, the town. It’s okay. He supposes. Instinctively he wanders over to it, turning the latch and trying to open it. The window creaks open about 4 inches before becoming locked.  He bites his lip, immediately wanting to put his fist through it, there, now it’s open, but that won’t help his cause and he somehow manages to resist.  He turns back to look at Erica in some vain hope that she will have realised how ridiculous this whole thing is but she’s actually smirking. “Oh how the mighty have fallen,” she shakes her head. No one, literally no one but Erica would get away with speaking to Stiles like that. When Erica’s mum had started dating Stiles’ father Stiles had been livid. No one could replace his wonderful, beautiful, caring mother.  But Lucy Reyes, well, she was kind of wonderful in her own way. Where she was a complete push over with her daughter, she had a firm hand with Stiles’ dad, keeping him on track, cooking him healthy dinners, making sure he slept at least seven hours a night and beers on weekends only. Oh and occasionally game days when they fell on a Wednesday, but that was all!   Erica was a year older than him. Fifteen when they moved in, and no more pleased about her new family than Stiles. She’d tortured him mercilessly for months. It wasn’t until one day at school they’d finally clicked. She’d never so much as acknowledged Stiles outside of their house until she’d spotted some of the seniors, three years older than her, picking on Stiles. She’d marched straight over, kicked Louie Greenwall where the sun doesn’t shine and given them a what-for that would have scared anyone. 

Stiles can’t even be angry at her when he tries. At least not when he’s so sober. He tries not to smile as he gestures dramatically to his bed. “This. Is a camp bed!” he declares exasperated. 

Erica bites her fist to stop herself from laughing. “You might say, you’ve made your bed, now you have to-“but she’s cut offby the pillow Stiles launches at her head. 

“This is so not funny!” he wails. “I hate how much joy you are getting out of this” 

But slowly the smile slips from Erica’s face and that unfamiliar sadness he keeps seeing shutters her eyes. She smiles again but this time it’s more of a grimace. “Oh Stiles” she sighs. “You idiot” 

He crosses the room and catches her in a hug, something they very rarely do. He fists the back of her jumper in his hands, burying his nose in her hair and breathing in her familiar scent. She smelt of vanilla and cinnamon and it made Stiles think of home. Shit. He was missing it already, which was ridiculous because he hadn’t been back home in months.  He pulled away quickly before his emotion got any more intense. 

“Erica...” he starts to say but she forces a watery smile, cupping his cheek with her hand, she taps it.  

“Just... get better okay?” 

He nods and watches silently as she picks up her handbag, a black Chloe he’d got her for her birthday just gone, and leaves. 

Stiles looks about the room for a moment as it finally sinks in where he is. He’d found out three weeks ago at his hearing that he was ordered to complete three months court-ordered rehabilitation in which he was to prove sobriety.   It had sounded like hell but had seemed a way away and was a much better alternative than possible jail time. 

He unzipped his suitcase. He didn’t bother unpacking, instead he dug around for his grey linen pajama pants and decided to simply go to bed. It was barely nine pm but what else could he do. 

 

He wakes up to a loud knocking on his door. Rubbing his eyes he wearily edges himself up onto his elbows.  It takes him a moment to orientate to where he is and why the hell he’s in a tiny little bed with a lumpy mattress and scratchy sheets. He remembers Erica ranting on about ‘two-thousand dollars for Egyptian sheets?!’  But they had just been the first ones he’d picked up at Bed, Bath and Beyond. He hadn’t bothered checking the price. (Not that it mattered but he’d never in his wildest dreams expected any sheets to cost that much!) Now they seemed well worth it.  The realisation that he was where he was hits him a moment later like a punch in the gut. Bile rises in his throat and an intense sinking feeling settles in his stomach. He drops back down onto the bed just as the door flies open and he shoots up again in shock. 

“I didn’t-“ he begins. 

“I’m sorry I-“ the intruder gasps at the same time, holding his hands out to shield his eyes. 

“It’s okay, I’m decent” Stiles mutters, reluctantly propping himself up against the wall so that he can glare at the young man who’s just woke him up. The kid doesn’t look any older than Stiles. He offers a lopsided yet guilty smile, gingerly stepping into the room and closing the door behind him. He’s tanned with thick dark hair and a kind of crooked jaw. He’s wearing black skinny jeans and skate shoes with a white uniform tunic which looks kind of ridiculous but Stiles can appreciate the small act of rebellion.  

“Sorry!” he repeats. “I thought...” 

“You thought I’d escaped?” Stiles quirks an eyebrow, because he had just woken up, in rehab, and this poor kid is the first person he’s come across to take it out on. 

“Wha- no! No I... it’s nearly 10. Um, breakfast is between 8 and 9... But I err...it’s your first day and I didn’t know how far you’d travelled and er...” he lifts his left hand and shakes a brown paper bag. “Muffins. I can show you where to get a coffee in a bit…” 

As amusing as it is to watch his new acquaintance squirm he must be losing it because he already feels a little guilty so forces himself to interrupt. “It’s okay. I don’t... I’m not a morning person.” 

“Right! Okay. Shit. I’m Scott! I...” he steps further into the room, towards Stiles and extends his hand. “I’m Scott, I’m... your nurse” 

Stiles snorts, ignoring his outstretched hand which he lowers uncomfortably. “Nurse?” he snorts. “But you’re a man!” 

He holds his hands up in defence but credit to him doesn’t take the bait. 

“I mean, I don’t have a problem with it… but you know, it’s one of the only things I had to look forward to: a fit nurse” 

Scott opens his mouth, his brows pulling together indignantly but again he obviously thinks better of it and changes the topic. “I err... Dr Deaton is expecting to see you at half past. It’s kind of a mandatory...  assessment. You’ll need a health check, etcetera. He does all the paper work and then we all get a copy, so you don’t get asked the same questions over and over...” 

“I already had a health check. Before I was ‘accepted’,” he says, air quote around accepted because it suggests he applied rather than being slapped with a court order and given a choice of four clinics by his step sister. He’d just picked the smallest one, furthest from home. 

Scott nods. “Yes um... well another one, I’m afraid. Alcohol withdrawal is complicated. Just... don’t be late, okay? And I’ll see you after” 

So this is his nurse. Not the leggy blond he’d been picturing, and not really his type but yeah, that was probably a good thing. The kid seemed nice too. Easy going; so they could probably get along. Plus Stiles was pretty sure he could have him wrapped around his little finger in no time so the kid passed his test. 

“Er, is there a shower in this place?” he asks just as Scott’s about to leave. 

“Down the hall. The last door on the left” 

Communal?” he gasps a little outraged, because he hasn’t shared a shower since high school P.E, and it had been traumatic enough then! 

Scott just gives a low chuckle, shaking his head and disappears out the door. 

God help me Stiles mutters, laying down again and huffing out a frustrated breath. This was going to be the worst day ever, he could just feel it.  Ten minutes later Stiles finally manages to persuade his non-compliant body up off of the camp bed, which actually hadn’t been so uncomfortable, not that Stiles would admit it. Erica will be getting a detailed report about how thoroughly dreadful his first night had been. He’d slept like a log. 

Begrudgingly and unenthusiastically he pads down the hall, towel under one arm, wash bag and change of clothes under the other.  There were three shower cubicles designated for the men. The kind of cubicles that started mid shin and stopped no more than two inches above Stiles head. Lucky he’s not shy. 

After fiddling with the dial for a few minutes he manages to balance the water heat somewhere between arctic blizzard to volcanic lava and is safe to strip off and get in. He hums obnoxiously loud to himself as he washes. The shower washes away the sweat and grime of the day before journey and he begins to feel a little better, a little more like himself.   He was using Erica’s apple body wash. He hadn’t thought to pack his own so she’d given him hers begrudgingly on the spur of the moment. The smell took him back home, his dad’s house in San Francisco where he’d grown up.  He felt his muscles slowly relax as the tension he’d been holding there since his trial began nearly a month ago begins to ease.  

He closes his eyes, pushing soap through his hair and nodding his head, forgetting for just a moment and singing loudly, power fisting. 

In touch with the ground I'm on the hunt I'm after you Smell like I sound, I'm lost in a crowd And I'm hungry like the wolf! 

Whacking off the water he gathers his bits and pieces up under his arm and reverses out of the shower to grab his towel, still head banging, mumbling the chorus.   A cough startles him into silence, he’d totally forgotten he wasn’t actually alone. He spins around with a yelp, dropping his toiletries across the white tiled floor and nearly skidding, grabbing hold of the shower door, which of course swings open and the whole thing is just a mess and he’s pretty sure he’s pulled a muscle in his shoulder now. 

The man, the cause of all this, just watches, one eyebrow raised in what can only be described as irritation. 

“Dude!” Stiles yells but is offered no apology. He glares but he feels his expression visibly soften when he gets a good look at the intruder. Holy mother of hell, the poster boy of fireman’s calendars stands before him wearing only a small white towel tucked round his narrow waist. It’s low as well. Like, really low. The v of his hips… Stiles gulps, forcing his eyes up. His arms are folded across his chest, accentuating his biceps and peck’s and... Stiles jaw drops a little. Nowhere is safe to look. And okay, he is totally forgiven. 

“Duran Duran, bit before your time, no?” he asks in a flat, gruff voice, now looking a little uncomfortable under Stiles gaze. Stiles shakes his head to wake himself out of his daydream, trying not to be even more enamoured because dude knows his jam! Mr. December turns back to the bench, picking up his own shower gel and flannel. “You always sing 80’s in the shower?” 

“Usually. Why, would you prefer something more up to date? I was about to leave but, I can stay and sing for you if you’d like? I go all the way through nineties, we’re talking MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice, you know John Farnham? You’re the Voiceis another favourite, I can teach-” he was babbling. He’s actually relieved when the guy cuts him off. 

“I think it would do you well to remember this is not your personal shower room,” he snaps before disappearing into the cubicle next to Stiles’. 

Stiles stands rooted to the spot for a minute, trying to think of a witty comeback but with a click the loud roaring of the strangers shower disturbs him and makes it impossible to think. Well, maybe it’s that, or maybe it’s the thought of where that water is. What it’s doing. The body it’s caressing… Oh god, he hasn’t got laid in sooo long, it’s a crime. 

He shakes his head and dries himself roughly, careful to keep the towel away from his manhood which is enjoying the idea of a communal shower way more than the rest of him.  Focus Stiles. That’s is so NOT the reason you’re here. And wanders back to his room. He has five minutes before Doctor Deaton expects him which is plenty of time to go and find some comfier boxers and drop Erica a quick text to let her know the torture he’s injuring and how he’s almost looking forward to seeing her. 

‘Be strong. Do it for dad x’ Comes the quick response, and yeah okay, point taken. So he changes and hurries out of his room, only five minutes late and with a renewed determination to just get on with this.