It's Friday night and Derek senses something's wrong before he even walks into the living room, but his entrance just confirms it. His pack is gathered mostly around the coffee table, sitting silently and moping like they're toddlers instead of teenagers. They are vehemently avodiing his gaze. He does a quick scan of the room, looking for whatever's bothering his pack; something that shouldn't be there - when he notices the lack of something (someone) who is pointedly missing.
"Where's Stiles?" he demands, his voice low.
It's Isaac who betrays Scott to Derek, his eyes flicking up to his packmate's face. Scott grumbles and then mutters,
"He's not coming."
Derek has to stop himself from snarling at the reply, and instead he settles for grinding his teeth in a way that Stiles would tell him was not healthy. If he were here. Which he's not.
"Why not?" Derek grits out.
"He wouldn't say," Scott shrugs as he says it, but his voice is high, distressed. Allison pats him soothingly on the back and looks imploringly at Derek, like he has an answer, a solution.
Fuck if I know, he wants to say, snarl, scream. Stiles never missed pack meetings. Never.
Especially on Fridays when they could all stay a little later since it wasn't a school night (though the only person who imposed curfews on school nights was Stiles himself) and Stiles would force them all to watch the latest action hero movie or a cheesy classic ("They're called classics for a reason. You're basically obligated to see them. I don't even need a better reason than because they're classics.") and the "meeting" would basically dissolve into a pile of limbs centered more or less around the sofa. More than one of them (okay, most of them) would pass out before the end of the movie, but Derek made a point of staying awake. He stayed awake because Stiles stayed awake, rivited to his seat by his extremely questionable theatre selection despite the snores rumbling around him. And when Stiles asked Derek what he thought of the movie at the end ("Wasn't it great? Holy crap that was great!") Derek would nod and try not to smile and especially try not to admit that he'd been watching more of Stiles than the movie.
It was Friday night.
So where the fuck was Stiles?
"Is he okay?" Derek hears Isaac asking, his voice little more than a whisper.
"I don't know." Scott's answer is just as quiet.
"Well did he sound okay on the phone?" Lydia demands.
"He wouldn't pick up! He just texted me."
"Well, to be fair, you never pick up your phone either," Jackson mutters, and Derek's surprised Scott doesn't give himself whiplash with how quickly he turns on Jackson.
"It's not my fault he's not here!" Scott insists, and Jackson's on his feet. Scott is one beat behind him and then they're at a stand-off in front of the sofa with just Allison, Erica and Boyd between them. "You're the one who's an utter prick to him all the time. Maybe he got tired of taking your shit!"
Boyd is up and between them just as Jackson opens his mouth to respond and Derek lets out a loud,
Which has Isaac whimpering.
"I'm sure he's fine," Derek sighs, but he can see the discontented looks on everyone's faces. Hell, even he's feeling keyed up. Fridays had become their one escape, their one shred of normalcy, instigated and maintained by Stiles.
"Maybe he has a date?" Allison offers, but even she doesn't sound like she believes it. Lydia scoffs.
"Anyone he'd want to date is right here. So what gives?"
They're all looking at Derek again, and he swears to god he's going to kill Stiles for the scrutiny he's under right now. He turns before the heat on his face makes itself visible to the rest of the pack.
"C'mon," he mutters, and they all leap up with no hesitation, filing toward Derek and the front door.
Later, he'll tell himself the group run from his house to Stiles' was pure training. That's all. Training.
Stiles is doing his level best to stop freaking convulsing under four of the heaviest blankets he could find in his house. His laptop is on his chest, so close it's making his eyes sore, but he's Googling "ways to break killer fever" and he can only stay under the blankets and type at the same time if the keyboard is up at his chin. He's squinting at the computer screen, trying (failing) to force his body to let him breathe through his nose, when he hears the tell-tale snick of his window-latch being opened. He groans, ignoring the way his brittle voice cracks.
"Scott, I swear to God -"
But it's not Scott. Well, it is, but it's also freaking everyone else apparently, piling through his window like a reverse clown car and seriously, how did Lydia even get up on the roof in that skirt because what -
And then Erica and Isaac climb in too and Stiles doesn't have time to say any of it out loud before they're on top of him. He grunts at the sudden weight, his eyes bugging out of his sweaty face.
"You're okay," Isaac breathes, nuzzling his face into Stiles' chest through the blankets, and where the heck did his laptop go -
"Right here," Allison calls, saving his laptop from the edge of the bed and placing it gingerly on his desk.
"Why didn't you tell us you were sick?" Jackson asks. His voice sounds concerned but his nose is scrunched up in disgust like Stiles is contagious, which - hey, accurate.
"I am extremely contagious right now, I'm pretty sure." he decides to inform them, "Like, Black Plague revisited going on all up in here right now. You guys should probably leave. Like you shouldn't have even come here at all, for real, we are all going to die from me being sick and I really don't need that sort of weight on my shoulders when I pass on to the next life. If there is one. In which I hopefully don't get sick like this ever again."
He coughs then, his throat protesting his babble more than Stiles thinks is strictly necessary.
"You could have said something," Scott says, sitting at the edge of the bed, and he's got that stupid kicked-puppy look on his face and Stiles feels bad for about a second before he remembers that he's the deathly ill one right now, so no. No pity for you, Scott. None.
Stiles shifts under the weight of Isaac and Erica and scoffs.
"I knew this would happen if I told you!" he insists, and the kicked-puppy looks multiply. He winces and tries to clarify, "No offense, but you guys are really clingy as soon as anything goes the slightest bit sour and I am seriously sick as balls right now and I was trying to avoid the snuggly bit because although I like that about the whole pack dealio, I don't want you guys to catch what I've got because it is seriously nasty and I swear to god if any of you get it and then give it back to me I am probably going to commit a serious crime and that would be a problem because hello, my dad is the Sheriff, so -"
"Immune," Derek grunts, a little too forcefully. He seems to notice, and so he clears his throat and softens, "We're immune to your fever, idiot."
Softens is a matter of relativity, really.
Stiles can't think of a comeback while at the same time kicking himself for not realizing that sooner, and then Derek is climbing over him and nudging Erica gently over anyway and Stiles' brain can't even keep up with what is happening as Derek basically latches himself onto Stiles' overheated side under the blankets. It's a free-for-all then, Boyd climbing in behind Erica while Lydia slides up to the top of the bed, removing Stiles' pillow and replacing his head in her lap. Jackson slots in behind her, grumbling, but then his hand is on Lydia's thigh brushing almost imperceptibly against Stiles' head. Isaac nuzzles in impossibly closer to Stiles, and seriously, death by fever and nuzzles over here. Scott and Allison slip onto the last sliver of the bed, beside Isaac but nearer to the bottom, with their legs tangled in the blankets with everyone else's.
It's freaking stifling.
Seriously, Stiles is pretty sure he is just going to up and stop breathing any second now, but then Derek is rubbing his thumbs over Stiles' temples and turning his face to look at him, and Stiles gulps a little painfully and slams his eyes shut. He will blame any colour flooding into his face on the fever and only the fever. Seriously.
There is a gentle press of lips against his own and then things are still.
Tentatively, he pries one eye open.
"Go to sleep, Stiles," Derek growls, and Stiles shuts his eyes again.
He falls asleep astonishingly quickly after that, and when he wakes up in the morning his fever has broken and he knows he's still not at 100%,
"But that's what Saturday morning movie marathons are for!" he insists, fidgeting to try and get everyone up and off of him. Derek lets out a low rumble just as Isaac, still asleep, emits an uncomfortable whine. Stiles huffs and stops moving. He thinks he hears Jackson snickering sleepily at him and he's about to open his mouth to respond when Derek grunts and brushes his lips against Stiles' forehead.
"Go to sleep, Stiles," he says, and there's a smile in his voice that makes Stiles want to listen.
He stays still even though he can't get back to sleep, listening to everyone else slowly come to wakefulness as he compiles a list of old movies to watch when they rise.