Derek glances down as his phone dings and sees a text from Stiles. He almost pockets it without checking but he knows that the kid (keep reminding yourself he’s still a kid) doesn’t text him without it being important. In fact, he hasn’t received a single message from Stiles since he set off after the Desert Wolf with Braeden. Maybe because he set off with Braeden actually. That night in Mexico is mostly a blur of dying and coming back and shifting and a strange broken look on Stiles’ face. Derek shakes his head, pushing the memories back and checking the message on his phone.
From Stiles: Goodbye, it was nice knowing you. I’m dying.
His blood turns to ice and he drops his phone. He’s shoving things in bags when Braeden comes back smelling like frustration. She starts to ask what’s wrong, sees the message glowing from the floor and arches a brow at Derek’s frantic movements before sliding out of the way as he rushes past (and slipping his phone into his jacket pocket because otherwise he’d have left without it). She sits on her bed and calls Deaton to check in, see if they need her to come back, and to report that the trail is still cold.
1 hour later
Derek crashes through the front door of the Stilinski house and barrels up the stairs, he can hear Stiles moaning in pain and hopes he was fast enough. An hour is a long time for an injured human. It doesn’t even occur to him to wonder where the rest of the pack is until he slides into Stiles’ room and stops short. The scene before him is not at all what he was expecting. He was expecting mayhem and blood and someone on the verge of death. What he sees is mountains of tissues and empty water bottles and a shivering lump on the bed which he knows is Stiles by the absurd moans coming from underneath them.
“Stiles?” He knows but he has to be sure, to see him, his heart still hammering around in his ribcage. After no response he repeats the name a little louder and there it is. Proof undeniable. The figure under the blankets startles upright and then flails right off the bed. Yep, that’s Stiles. Definitely not dying, but he might be fixing that in a minute.
“Derek? What are you doing here?” His voice is rough and scratchy, and the question ends in a small coughing fit followed by a very wet and unpleasant sounding sniffle.
“What am I –? ARE YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW STILES?!? YOU TEXTED ME GOODBYE, YOU SAID YOU WERE DYING, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK I’M DOING HERE?” He was maybe just a little bit mad.
“Oh wow, no need to yell grumpywolf.” Stiles covered his ears when Derek started to yell but his hands dropped before Derek had finished, not enough strength to hold them up right now. In fact, he was pretty sure that was the floor coming up to say hey to his face in three, two, one….yep that was the floor. “Owwww,” he groaned it out while dragging the blankets back up over his head.
“You’re an idiot.” Derek sighs and looks around at the piles of trash before grabbing the small trash can and starting to pick up. “There better not be anything but snot on these tissues.”
“Wha–?” Stiles manages to uncover his eyes without removing blankets from anywhere else and is struck slightly dumb by the sight before him. “What are you doing? Don’t do that. There are germs on everything, you’ll get sick.” It’s muffled, but werewolf hearing. Derek rolls his eyes and drops his fangs, reminding Stiles of exactly why he won’t get sick. “You got sick before,” Stiles is grumbling from under the blankets, trying to scoot his way across the floor and really it’s a hilarious thing to watch but he doesn’t want to encourage it so Derek pointedly ignores him and continues cleaning up the mess. When he’s pretty sure he got everything he ties up the bag and heads downstairs to toss it and close the door that he left open when he thought that someone was dying. He grabs the duffle he didn’t realize he’d dropped and moves to the hall closet to leave it there for now. When he opens the door, he sees the basket and smiles before removing it and leaving his bag in its place.
Finding the things he’s looking for is pretty easy, soup and thermoses in the cabinets, medicine and tissues in the bathroom. He smiles again to himself as he packs it all in and heads back up to the room. Stiles has managed to sit up, his chest and head draped onto his bed, legs curled under him on the floor, still rolled up in his blankets. He huffs out a laugh at the sight and the mumbles about werewolves and colds and he’s pretty certain there’s a complaint about homework in there too. He doesn’t find it endearing, not at all. The basket is set down on the computer chair before he walks over to Stiles and crouches down, sliding an arm under his legs and another behind his back.
“What are you – put me down!” He laughs as he drops Stiles onto the bed, the kid’s face is splotchy red in indignation and he’s doing his best to glare at Derek but his nose is running a little and his hair is sticking up at odd angles from being pulled around by the blanket and Derek almost collapses because this just may be the funniest thing he’s seen in a long while. The laughing only makes Stiles sputter at him more before he gives up and flops on his side with his back to Derek.
It takes a few minutes more before he can wipe his now streaming eyes and calm himself down. There are cranky noises coming from Stiles but he ignores them and picks up the basket again before going to sit on the edge of the bed.
“Hey, I brought you some stuff.” He gently rolls Stiles back over and starts rearranging the pillows so he can prop him up.
“Is this?” Stiles doesn’t finish the sentence because of course it’s the same basket he took to Derek’s last winter. It’s his damned basket so he recognizes it. He pulls it closer and pops the lid while Derek just nods and sits there, and sees exactly what he took to Derek. A faint blush flushes his cheeks and he hopes Derek doesn’t notice, or assumes it’s because of the fever. “Thanks,” it’s soft, barely an exhalation. He’d thought, back then, that the cuddles from Derek were going somewhere, but suddenly Braeden was back and then Scott was in Mexico and Derek was dead, and then not dead, and then gone. It was weird, how this paralleled. He didn’t even know why Derek was back.
“You texted me and told me you were dying.”
“Huh? Did I say that last part out loud? Also yeah, you said, except that that’s just what I say when I’m sick and I sent it to Scott and he didn’t come running because he knows that I don’t ever mean it. I mean, if I’m actually dying I won’t be texting anyone Derek, I’d call.” And yeah, that makes sense now that Derek thinks about it, but still.
“You don’t text me Stiles, or call. I didn’t know that’s what you did.” And that makes sense to Stiles too, because of course he doesn’t contact Derek – he left with his girlfriend and why the hell would Stiles bother him when he clearly didn’t want to be in Beacon Hills anymore.
“My what? Braeden isn’t my girlfriend Stiles. We were hunting the Desert Wolf.”
“Oh.” And that’s….too much to think about while he’s sick. He just nods along and uncaps the Nyquil and thinks about pouring it in the little measuring cup on the cap but instead takes a swig and rolls over. He mellows his breathing out and pretends like he’s falling asleep because Derek won’t know any different since he passed out right away the one time taking this could affect him. Pretty soon pretending to sleep becomes actually sleeping and Derek is still sitting there on the side of the bed and he’s not sure why, or what that smell was that came off of Stiles when they talked about Braeden. Eventually he thinks that maybe he should stop being creepy and he heads downstairs to wait for the sheriff and see if he can crash there for the night.
A hand on his shoulder startles him awake, but thankfully his nose is a step ahead and he doesn’t lash out like he used to do. He glances up and the sheriff is smiling tiredly, a small pile of folded blankets and a pillow in his hands.
“Figured this might make the couch more comfortable. What are you doing here son?” His heart clenches a little at the familiar term, knowing that John doesn’t mean it that way but unable to convince himself of it fully.
“Stiles texted. Said goodbye, said he was dying.” His throat is dry but he manages to get the words out before he notices the fresh glass of water on the coffee table next to him. Another gift from the sheriff probably.
“Ah yeah, that sounds like my son. Very dramatic over a head cold.” He nods and starts to move away, mumbles a goodnight before he takes himself upstairs to his own room. Derek listens as John settles in before creeping his way up the stairs to check on Stiles. He’s still deeply asleep and something inside Derek (something he is very much ignoring) settles as he heads back down and makes up the couch.
John is still asleep when Derek wakes in the morning to the sounds of Stiles turning on the shower. He turns on the coffee pot and waits until the water is off upstairs before he goes up to have a shower himself, retrieving his things from the closet. Stiles is just stepping out of the bathroom when Derek hits the top of the stairs and his nose is assaulted with the smell of freshly cleaned boy (man his brain helpfully supplies). He can’t help himself and his nostrils flare, taking in all the smells StileshomewantmateStilescleanStiles and he staggers. He watches Stiles narrow his eyes trying to make out what’s happening because Derek doesn’t stagger, and he needs an excuse that will fly and he’s not sure he can come up with something that will explain it in a way that is not 100% creepy so he fakes a yawn and does his best to mumble “tired” even though he’s been up for a half hour and he’s pretty sure even Stiles can smell the coffee brewing in the kitchen. Just as Stiles opens his mouth to call out the lie, he manages to force himself to brush past him into the bathroom, door shut tightly and locked before he drops his head and mutters “Christ” at his reflection. He strips efficiently, finding a clean towel in the bathroom cupboard (because honestly if he had to go back out right now he’d probably do something regrettable) and turning the water on as hot as it will go. He tries really hard not to think about how he’s using Stiles’ soap and shampoo and he’s definitely going to smell like Stiles when he gets out of the shower and he probably should’ve gone back to his own home even if there’s still no heat because he left too soon to get it all turned on again.
By the time he leaves the bathroom he’s managed to wrangle his control back from wherever it tried to run off to. He can hear John downstairs, fixing himself breakfast (pretty sure that is bacon he smells and that is definitely contraband in this house but its Stiles’ fight, not his). He knocks gently on the half-closed door to Stiles’ room before letting himself in. Stiles is rolled up in what must be a spare blanket, shivering.
“Everything was sw-sweaty,” his teeth chatter around the words, “needed wa-washing.” Derek could go downstairs, grab the spare blankets he used last night. He could definitely do that. But he doesn’t. Instead he crawls onto the bed, pushing Stiles towards the wall. “What…what a-are you do-doing?”
“Warming you up. Now shut up.” He slides up against Stiles, rolling him onto his side facing the wall and tucking the blanket firmly around him before he wraps his arms around his middle and scoots in close so they’re touching from shoulder to toes. He can feel Stiles start to protest, can almost hear the words he’s dying to say, before he feels all the fight leave the body he’s holding and Stiles settles in, relaxing into him completely. His face is rubbing gently along Stiles’ neck and shoulder before he even realizes he’s doing it. He almost freezes but then Stiles speaks and he can’t stop or he’d have to explain that he didn’t know.
“What are you doing there big guy?” It’s a soft question, strangely tense. Derek clears his throat but keeps rubbing his face along Stiles’.
“Pack comfort, it’s uh, it helps with healing and I just thought…it might help you get better faster?” Oh god, he didn’t mean for it to come out sound like a question but he can feel Stiles shrug a little before deciding to let it go for now. It’s probably only because he’s sick. If he wasn’t there’s no way he’d even pretend to buy that excuse. But since he did…Derek keeps it up until he follows Stiles down into sleep.
“Something you want to tell me about you and Derek Hale son?” The sheriff is smirking while he reads the paper. He had today off and it was now about time for dinner but this was the first he’d seen of Stiles since he went upstairs and found him and Derek snuggled up together asleep. He knew nothing had been happening – Derek was fully dressed and on the outside of the blanket, but that didn’t mean he was dumb.
“Huh?” Bits of toast sprayed out of Stiles’ mouth as he furrowed his brow and sputtered out a reply.
“Nice son. Maybe close your mouth until you’re done chewing next time. You and Derek seemed pretty cozy upstairs. You’re 18 now, so I’m not going to tell you that you can’t have boys in your room – which by the way is not a sentence I expected to ever utter since you were in love with the Martin girl for most of your life – but please try to confine whatever it is you’re going to do with him to times when I’m not home? And also close your door. And safe sex.” He smirked when Stiles choked on his next bite, reaching over and patting him on the back until the coughing was under control. Ah the joys of being a father, embarrassing his son was definitely high on that list.
“We’re not – it wasn’t – it isn’t – we didn’t –” Stiles’ face got increasingly red as his sputtering continued and John chuckled a little before talking over him.
“I don’t care son, but if you’re that worried about people knowing you might want to invest in a scarf. Or maybe some concealer.”
“What? Why would I need any of that?”
“Two words Stiles: beard burn.”
“What? Son of a –”