Derek, a born werewolf, doesn't experience a whole lot of dissonance between the wolf and the human parts of him. For the most part, he doesn't even think of them as separate entities—not like his pack, who are all bitten werewolves and seem to spend hours on end agonizing over the lack of integration between their wolf and their human personality. But there are moments when he disagrees with his wolf.
Like right now.
One of the Betas clocks Stiles in the back of the head with a tree branch. Stiles crumples to the ground, and before Derek's brain can even process that the wolf has taken over, he's literally changed into his wolf form and is bounding across the clearing to tackle the Beta to the ground (hurt Stiles, hurt Stiles, hurt Stiles) and rip his throat out with one vicious movement. The wolf is beyond pissed. It takes savage pleasure in the feeling of tendons and vertebrae between its teeth, in the taste of blood and the smell of death in the air (can't hurt Stiles, I win, I keep safe), and it cares very little about what the human half of Derek wants right now.
The human half of Derek doesn't actually catch up until after the wolf is spitting out a hunk of neck from its mouth.
The wolf immediately turns to where Stiles is face-down in the ground and whines, nosing at Stiles' face.
Seriously? Derek thinks as the wolf licks Stiles' ear. He's just knocked out, he's fine. Get back in the fight.
Hurt, the wolf insists plaintively.
Derek rolls his eyes and fights for enough control that he can leave Stiles alone and launch an attack on the alpha, who is currently battling both Erica and Scott.
They win the battle. Unsurprisingly.
No one is seriously injured, unless you count the fact that Stiles is still unconscious, but it's happened so many times that by this point it's almost rote. The pack that they'd been helping departs in the woods, eager to get back to their territory with their new Alpha, and after they've gone Derek directs Erica to carry Stiles.
"He's your love-muffin," Erica says, turning and heading in the direction of the cars. "You carry him."
Derek scowls, but hefts Stiles over his shoulder in a fireman's carry and follows Erica.
When Stiles wakes up and starts bitching about Derek getting gore all over his clothing—because Derek is literally covered in blood and bone and flesh, and Stiles will complain about it—he'll be sure to direct him to the nearest member of the pack, and have them explain why they wouldn't carry him instead.
The trip home is quiet, since Stiles is still unconscious, and Derek takes the time to steal Stiles' phone, text the Sheriff to let him know that everyone's okay, and then changes the ringtone Stiles has assigned him from 'The Bad Touch' to 'Wagon Wheel' just to annoy him
When they get to the house, the rest of the pack immediately start squabbling over who gets to shower first, while Derek hoists Stiles out of the car by himself.
"None of you are getting into the shower like that," Derek informs them as he walks by with Stiles over his shoulder, fingering his key ring as he finds the house key. "You can use the hose."
"But it's cold," Scott whines.
"Grow a pair," Derek replies, and he leaves them to it.
He sets Stiles up on the couch and with a water bottle and a bottle of painkillers for when he wakes up, and goes for the shower.
Two hours later, Stiles wakes up.
Everyone else has hosed off, showered, and changed into fresh clothes. Pizza has been ordered and a large Hawaiian has been saved for Stiles, and now that the fighting and eating are over, the pack has mostly dispersed. The only ones who have hung around are Scott, because he needs Stiles to make sure that he's done his taxes right, and Derek, because he's Stiles'… whatever he is. Boyfriend. He hates that word.
So Scott is playing some game on his phone, and Derek is wasting time on Sporcle, and then Stiles wakes up.
There's a groan from the sofa, and Stiles shifts.
"Water bottle on your left," Derek supplies, filling in Denver, Colorado as one of the U.S.'s largest state capitals.
There's a ragged inhale, and then a smaller noise of pain.
"Asprin's on the left, too," Derek adds.
The word is slurred, enough so that Derek looks over.
Stiles is frowning, eyes only half-open. He looks confused. "Wha'p'nd?"
"You got knocked out," Derek tells him, pausing the timer on the quiz. "We won. The other pack went home."
Stiles makes an abortive movement with his hand, and his head rolls to the side. "Wha?"
"You okay?" Scott asks, frowning at him.
Stiles blinks slowly. "Wuh'nd?"
Derek feels something swoop in his stomach, and he shuts the laptop and shoves it aside. "Stiles, you just asked that."
There's more lethargic blinking, and Stiles slowly focuses his eyes on him. He frowns slowly, confused. "Drrk?"
This is bad.
This is really bad, actually, and Derek realizes with a sick twist of his stomach that he has no idea what he should be doing right now. Concussions are a human thing. Stiles has been knocked out more times than Derek can count and he's never had problems before, and Derek—Derek doesn't know what to do.
Should they take him to the hospital? Should they wait to see if he get better? What if he has brain damage? What if he's been lying here this whole time, dying, and Derek's been taking quizzes on fucking Sporcle?
Derek's eyes meet Scott's, and he sees his own alarm reflected there.
"Stiles?" Derek asks cautiously, crouching beside him.
"Heeeeeeeeey…" Stiles says, the word going on for too long and trailing off as his eyes glaze over.
Stiles blinks. "Der. Hi."
"Scott, call your mother and ask her what we should do," Derek orders, not taking his eyes off of Stiles.
"You looh fffffff…"
Stiles loses focus again on the f sound, his eyes drifting shut.
"Don't let him sleep!" Scott yelps.
Derek pats Stiles' cheek, except in his panic it ends up being more like a slap.
"Sorry," Derek mutters.
"Duhrk?" Stiles slurs, eyes fluttering but not quite opening. "Duhrk, hurz."
"Yeah, that's because you got brained with a tree," Derek says, more irritably than he means to.
"…Oh," Stiles says.
"Mom?" Scott's voice comes from behind Derek. "So, um, Stiles has a concussion. Like, bad. What should we do?"
"Whah'ppened?" Stiles asks muzzily.
"Nothing," Derek tells him, now deliberately gentling his voice as Scott reels off symptoms behind him. "Don't worry about it."
Stiles squints. "Lies."
"You're concussed. You're not even going to remember this," Derek replies.
"No 'scuse," Stiles insists. Then he pauses and frowns. "Concussssss… ted?"
"Mom says that we should wait about an hour and if he's still like this, we should take him to the emergency room. Otherwise, just make sure he rests a lot," Scott informs him.
Derek feels his panic decrease by about a thousand-fold.
Okay. So this is normal. Stiles will be fine.
Stiles opens his mouth to say something, but then he stops and his eyes lose focus. He blinks and frowns. "W'happened?"
Just, apparently, not any time soon.
Derek all but manages to hold back a groan. "Seriously?"
"Wah happ'n'd?" Stiles asks, stubborn despite the fact that his speech isn't exactly online. "Imma vomit onnu ifoo don tell me."
"I will make you eat every last chunk."
"Derek!" Scott hisses. "What the hell, man? Be nice."
Stiles moves as if he's going to swat at Derek, but his arm just sort of jerks in place. His face crumples.
"Fuh," Stiles breathes, and his heart rate is speeding up as he becomes increasingly distressed. "Fuh. Fuh."
And then there are tears. Little sobs, actually.
"Cuddle. Him," Scott says through gritted teeth.
Derek gives him a dirty look. Even he knows that that is the appropriate response in this situation, thank you very much.
Though, actually, this couch is definitely not made for two men to lie on. Derek
shoves gently pushes the crying Stiles back as far as he can, and then balances himself on his side next to Stiles, one arm going around him and the other—the one squished against the couch—going up to wedge itself into the arm of the couch.
Stiles had better not puke right now.
But all Stiles does is burrow into Derek's chest, still crying a little.
"It's okay, this is totally normal," Scott pipes up helpfully. "Listen, Wikipedia says 'crankiness, loss of interest in favorite activities or items, tearfulness, and displays of emotion that are inappropriate to the situation'."
Derek grits his teeth. "Scott. Go away."
"All right, all right," Scott says, and Derek hears the laptop lid close. "But, dude, seriously. I know you and Stiles are like the Asshole Twins or whatever, but you're supposed to be nice and stuff when your bo… uh. When your Stiles is injured. When Allison sprained her wrist last year, I—"
Stiles sniffles into his shirt. "Der'k? Der'k, waz gonon?"
"You have a concussion," Derek replies. Probably he should be doing something comforting right now, but he's only got the limited usage of one arm at the moment, so he improvises and brings his fingers up to pet the back of Stiles' neck.
Touch. It's comforting. Location is irrelevant.
And if it isn't, Stiles will deal, because what Derek knows about comforting touches he could write on a postage stamp and it's the thought that counts, dammit.
Stiles sniffles again and shakes his head. "I—I don… I can… Der, I can't, I can't—I—I…"
"Dude," Scott whispers from the other room.
Derek is going to snap that boy's neck when Stiles is feeling better. He doesn't need instructions on this, thank you very much.
"It's okay," Derek says, petting Stiles' neck a little more. "You don't have to. You're okay."
Stiles quiets, just snuffling every so often, and Derek is so relieved that he forgets that he's not supposed to let Stiles fall asleep. Then he remembers, and Stiles' breathing is even and warm into Derek's chest. Oops.
A concussion means that smacking his head (again) is out, so instead Derek settles for kicking him. Gently. Sort of.
"Whazza?" Stiles groans.
"Stah bein' an ahhole," Stiles slurs back, the tears thankfully gone.
Derek snorts. "Stop sounding like you're absolutely wasted."
"Asssssss," Stiles declares. "Ass ass ass ass ass ass a—"
"It just sounds like you're saying sass," Derek informs him.
"Yuhr face i'sassy," Stiles replies.
"Sassy is definitely what I aim for in my face," Derek says, smirking.
Stiles makes a sound that sort of devolves into a sigh, and after a second or two of quiet Derek kicks him.
"Staaaaaah…" Stiles moans.
"Have you restarted again?" Derek asks.
"Mrph," Stiles says, burying his face into Derek's chest.
Derek kicks him again.
"Stah kickin…" Stiles complains.
"You're kicking him?" Scott demands from the other room.
"Don't you have a girlfriend to moon over?" Derek asks, turning his head to scowl furiously in Scott's general direction.
"Mm?" Stiles asks, pulling his head back a little to blink up at Derek. "D'rek? Whah'ppned?"
"Well, that was the longest you've managed so far," Derek mutters, and—
"Stiles," he says. "This is very important. You have a concussion, and I need to monitor how long your… short-term… recall is. For your general health and wellbeing."
"Kay," Stiles mumbles.
"I want you to answer every question I ask with my name. Understand?"
"Der," Stiles replies.
"What's my name?"
"Who owns this couch?"
"Who drives a Camaro?"
"What did you have for breakfast?"
In the next room, Scott makes a choking sound.
"Of the two of us, who's better at sex?"
"Who has better taste in music?"
"Name me your favorite Greek god."
"Dude!" Scott says incredulously, rushing into the room. "No! You're, like, taking advantage of him in his disadvantaged state!"
"Who do you like better, Stiles, me or Scott?" Derek asks.
Derek looks smugly at Scott, who is staring at him in horror.
"Worst. Boyfriend. Ever."
"It's for his own health," Derek replies. "Stiles, who's going to get the top of the coffee pot tomorrow?"
"…Der…" Stiles mumbles, voice fainter.
"Whose cock are you going to su—"
"Okay, no," Scott interrupts, stepping forward with his hands stretched out. "You are done—"
And suddenly, it's like a giant mallet has smashed into all of Derek's instinct buttons and before his brain can temper it with anything resembling reasonable thought, Derek is pulling Stiles against his body and flashing fangs and red eyes, and to top it out all off, growling out a vicious and guttural "No."
Scott stops, eyes wide.
Derek forcibly retracts his fangs (and claws, which he hadn't even noticed until now), and relaxes his grip on Stiles.
"We're fine," he says stiffly, keeping a flush of embarrassment off of his face only by sheer will. His only saving grace right now is that Stiles has no ability to commit things to long-term memory and won't know anything about this.
"Okay," Scott says, nodding and taking a step back. "Yeah, yeah, okay. I'm just gonna go… um… pee. And then go check my email. Not in here."
Derek only relaxes when Scott has gone, with a quiet sigh and a mouthed oath. Some days, he really hates being a—
"Dude," Stiles slurs, hazily blinking up at him. "Did you just go all Gollum on Scott over me?"
"What," says Derek.
"You did," Stiles insists, frowning. "Precious. My precious. I'm the precious."
"Isn't it time for you to reset?" Derek asks.
Stiles pauses, and blinks at Derek confusedly. "Reset? No, dude, you jusssss… I am the precious."
There's a dopey smile across his face.
"Trust me, you are in no way precious," Derek tells him, and then kicks him. "Reset."
"I am," Stiles proclaims happily. He isn't completely online, but his speech and general awareness are improving at an alarming rate. "I am the precious and yooooouuu have lurvy wolf feelings for me. Jussssst wait until I tell Erica."
"I will rip your arms off and beat you with them."
"Noooo you won't," Stiles says. "Lurvy wolf feelings. Grrrr, no Scott! My Stiles! Get your own—ow! Kicking!"
"Reset already," Derek growls, kicking him again for a good measure.
"Dude, I'm not a frigging stopwatch," Stiles complains. "Also, ow. My head hurts. Can I maybe get some aspirin here?"
"You're done resetting now, aren't you?" Derek asks with dawning horror.
"Sure," Stiles says. "Whatever. Get me my aspirin and then I will teach you all about comfortable cuddling on small pieces of furniture, because you are failing hardcore right now."
Derek rolls over to grab the bottle of pills and prays that Stiles is going to reset soon. Just once more. The universe can't actually hate him this much.
"Thanks, Gollum," Stiles says as Derek hands the bottle over.
"I hope your brain damage is permanent," Derek says.
"Gollum, Golllllum, Goooollllluuumm—"
Stiles pauses, a strange expression coming over his face.
Derek is hopeful. "Are you re—"
Stiles lunges forward, grabbing onto Derek and leaning over him to vomit onto the floor below. Profusely.
"We're breaking up," Derek says, as he feels a chunk hit his back.
"Urgh," Stiles moans as he falls back against the sofa, pale and sweaty. "You are so mean."
"You just vomited on my carpeting, my sofa, and my shirt," Derek replies. "You're lucky you still have a continuous jugular."
"Yeah, right," Stiles says, closing his eyes. "You've thrown up on me like three times, dude."
Derek scowls, but he has to concede that it's sort of true. Wolfsbane vomit usually ends up on some, if not most, of Stiles' body.
"Also," Stiles mumbles, energy clearly waning even as a smirk curls the corners of his mouth. "…Gollum."
Derek bares his teeth, remembering too late that Stiles has his eyes closed.
Whatever. He'll let it go for now and blackmail Stiles later with that video he has of Stiles singing along to the Spice Girls. Also, he guesses Stiles looks sort of peaceful right now, bordering on cute. If they were Scott and Allison, Derek would probably be composing an ode to Stiles' beauty as he slept in the—
"Don't fall asleep."