Derek had never liked hospitals. Never liked the stifling feeling of all the smells, sounds and especially the feelings. As he walked past the rooms he could tell who had gotten good news, who had gotten bad. He could always tell. It was difficult to handle.
He looked around the corridors and saw how the building was filled with cops. Good, he thought to himself. His eyes searched for a familiar face, anyone who could tell him which way to go, as all the different scents and sounds overpowered the ones he was looking for. And then he finally spotted someone: Melissa, with her curly, brown hair. He was beside her in moments.
’Where is he?’ he asked without preamble.
’On the second floor. The Sheriff’s still in surgery, but Stiles is sitting opposite his door. He’s terrified.’ She answered without hesitation, she knew there was no time for pleasantries.
’With reason?’ he blurted, while he inclined his head. He wanted to be prepared, to know what Stiles already knew, he wanted to be aware of how severe the Sheriff’s condition was. He needed to know how much support he would have to give.
’I wish I could say no, but...’ Melissa swallowed down her tears. She knew she didn’t have the luxury of breaking down, she had work to do. ’We don’t know what will happen. He’s strong, he’s fighting. And so are we. I’ve got to go back, actually. Find him!’
He nodded, and started walking in the direction she had pointed him. As he got closer to the surgery the different smells were overpowered by one of disinfectant, the sounds lessened with the number of rooms. He could finally focus on the ones that mattered.
He could feel the fear Melissa had mentioned.
And then he finally spotted the boy. Stiles was slouching in an old, beat-up brown chair and his legs would not stop moving as he sat there, shaking and chewing on his nails. His ADHD was obviously not helping in a situation like this.
He sat down beside Stiles without saying a word. Stiles only recognized his presence when he had reached for his hand to stop him from biting his nails till they bled, and twined their fingers together.
’Derek.’ he whispered, as he turned towards him.
Derek felt a little bit of tension go out of Stiles, his heartrate slowing down a bit. Stiles huddled close, didn’t say anything as his tears started anew. He laid his head on Derek’s chest as Derek reached around his back to hug him closer.
’Everything’s going to be all right,’ he whispered in Stiles’ ear. ’I can hear his heart beating.’
‘You’re…’ Stiles’ voice had changed completely due to the heavy breathing caused by his sobs. He was radiating happiness and fear at the same time. He was afraid because his father’s condition may worsen in any second, and he knew that if the Sheriff reached that state it would be the point of no return.
But he was happy because Derek had returned. He came back just because he wanted to see Stiles, and that filled the boy’s heart with joy. Oh, how painful it was for him to keep up the fight between the two emotions, it made him want to cry even more. It’s not like me, he thought to himself. I have to… I have to do something with myself.
Stiles wanted to think of something else. He wanted to keep only the good things in his mind, just for a little bit. Was he selfish for wanting a little bit of peace for himself? He didn’t know.
Stiles had been listening to Derek’s steady breathing next to him, he filled his lungs with his incredibly pleasant scent.
After a few seconds of total peace he remembered something; that he should ask—that he wanted to ask from Derek. ‘You’re back…? Because of me?’ he questioned, his voice still shaking.
‘I heard that something was wrong,’ Derek’s voice was calmer, nicer and softer than Stiles had ever heard before and oh, didn’t he love that? Yeah, he did. Actually, it was music to his ears. The voice of Derek was like morphine to him, and then it clicked. Not only did he care about Derek, but Stiles’ mental and physical health was important enough to Derek that he came back.
‘I heard that something was wrong with you, and I… I just couldn’t be running around in Mexico in search for Kate with Chris and the Calaveras. I really missed you this whole time but when Scott called Chris, I… Stiles, I had to come back to see you.’
Stiles had stared at Derek with wide eyes, he knew what Derek was saying but he couldn’t believe his ears. And he went through a lot in the last few weeks —Weeks? More like hours—and he didn’t understand everything. He had been awake for more than 24 hours, his dad had almost died two hours ago, and he just couldn’t handle it.
Derek knew this very well, so he took a short break. Instead of talking, he held Stiles’ hands and he drew circles on the younger boy’s palm, trying to keep him calm.
Not long after that he took a deep breath.
‘He’s here too,’ Derek started. Stiles was somehow sure that he was smiling. He could hear it in Derek’s voice. Stiles shook his head and then his eyes widened; Derek heard his heartbeat getting faster.
‘I was talking about Chris,’ he answered patiently. ‘As I said, I left the Calaveras, I broke our agreement by leaving them alone in hunting Kate.’
To keep him calm and pass the time Derek started talking to Stiles very patiently, forming every one of his words calmly and slowly, just so the boy could comprehend them. He told him about the past few months of hunting Kate. If Stiles phased out, then later asked, he repeated the same story twice if he had to… He had never seen Stiles like this, and it made his heart ache for the boy. Derek blamed himself because he hadn’t come back sooner to protect him.
Later, after Stiles told him about Theo and how he tricked Scott, Derek’s only answer was ‘I would’ve believed you. Without a doubt… And if I see this kid anywhere near you again, he will pay a very big price.’
‘Why now?’ Stiles asked all of sudden.
Derek was staring at him with a questioning look, not knowing what the boy meant.
‘Why come back now?’ Stiles repeated himself, getting closer to Derek, as if he were the most precious thing that ever existed, and he probably was… for Stiles. ‘You didn’t even say goodbye to me, you just vanished. You disappeared without a word. Why didn’t you come back sooner? Why now?’
‘Because you were alone,’ Derek answered. ‘Even if Scott wouldn’t have called, I felt it. I felt that you were anxious, that you were feeling alone, and when we got the call… I had to come to the hospital and see you.’
‘But why…?’ Stiles asked.
‘Because I had to let you know you’re not alone, Stiles. Your dad is going to be okay. And…’
‘And I came back to let you know that I’m never ever going to leave you again. Even if my timing is probably the worst… you have to know that you still got me. You always will.’