Stiles has spent the entirety of his short life in and out of Beacon Hills Memorial. Whether he was there to help out Scott's mom or because of his shitty lungs went hand in hand. Well, sort of. Seven times out of ten it was because of his lungs. Or nine. Stiles just liked to pretend he had an equal amount of choices to be in the hospital so often.
The case wasn't any different today. He'd woken up in the middle of night barely able to breathe, called out for his dad, and before he knew it he was hooked up to an oxygen tank inside an ambulance. Pneumonia, Melissa had told him at the hospital—again. Stiles sighed, started choking, then lied down on the hospital bed. He's had pneumonia five times before (non-consecutively) and this was a routine he’d gotten used to. They were gonna put a tube in him, drain the fluids out of his lungs, pump him full of antibiotics, then kick him out. He'd be here a week at the most, that is, if his lungs decided to be nice to him.
"Are you ready, Stiles?" Melissa asked him, preparing the needle and the tube that were going in him. The doctor shot him with something that numbed his side, right above the scar that marked where they always made the incision. Stiles nodded, his scar was reopened, the tube was inserted, and slowly and gradually he started to feel his breathing become better.
When Stiles woke up in the morning it was to an empty room, everything silent except for the beeps of the monitor connected to him. He sighed and ran a hand along his now freshly bandaged right side. He'd gone to sleep right after the fluid was drained out of him (or more like after his doctor forced a sleeping pill down his throat). His breathing still felt a little short, though, but that wasn't too unusual for him. He figured that he could probably be out of the hospital in less than a week if he could convince the staff he was well enough. And by staff, he meant Melissa.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the door opening. He expected it to be Melissa since she's always been his nurse, but instead walked in a stranger and, God, was he gorgeous. The first thing Stiles noticed was that he had that whole broody "don't mess with me" look about him with dark hair and a nicely trimmed beard and thick eyebrows that made his appearance even more stoic. Stiles would have felt intimidated in a normal situation (even though lying in a hospital bed was a regular situation for Stiles), but the was stranger was wearing a nurses uniform, so he knew he wasn't some murderer coming to kill sick teenagers.
"H-hey there," Stiles greeted excitedly. Well, for him it was excited, to the other man it sounded hoarse and sickly. He glanced at Stiles for barely a second before he started writing something down on his clipboard.
"Hi," he responded plainly, voice showing no interest at all as if he didn't want to deal with anyone ever. Stiles picked up on it, but refused to let it down his spirits.
"I'm Stiles. But that was pretty stupid to say since you have my chart, right? Wait, but it doesn't, does it? It says my real name. Whatever, just call me Stiles—everyone does—my real name's too hard for anyone to pronounce, so I—"
"For someone whose throat is so scratchy, you talk a lot," the man interrupted, voice lacking everything aside from apathy before adding, "…Stiles," with a hint of a smirk. That gave Stiles enough confidence to keep talking.
"Yeah, I get that a lot. Not that my throat’s always dry, but, uh, yeah. I'm putting in some… extra effort. What's your name?" He asked.
"Derek," the man answered with a sigh, making his way over to Stiles and helping him sit up. "I need to check your vitals."
"Don't you want to get me something to eat first? I mean, I am sickly and starving,"
Stiles teased, grinning at Derek.
"You're sickly and sarcastic, not starving. So no," Stiles pouted.
"You know, Derek, you kind of give off the ‘don't mess with me or I'll kill you’ vibe," Stiles pointed out as he marveled at the man.
"Yeah, I do it for moments like this," Derek deadpanned. Okay, ouch. That knocked Stiles' confidence down a few notches, but he continued to talk anyway.
"Not a key quality for a nurse, dude. Rude. So, I'm gonna make the assumption that that comment was because you're not a morning person and I'm your first patient today—"
"—because it'd be a shame that someone so great to look at is such an ass. Okay, maybe not a shame, but… stereotypical? I dunno, you're really good looking. Like, model good looking. How'd you get—"
"Stop talking," Derek interrupted again. "Open your mouth," he ordered.
Stiles smirked. "That's contradictory, Derek. See, have to open my mouth to talk—"
"Shut up," Derek said quickly, causing Stiles to laugh. "I have to take your temperature," Stiles opened his mouth and a thermometer was shoved in. Literally shoved in, Stiles gagged at the intrusion and Derek gave him a shit eating grin. Before Stiles could think of anything witty to say, Melissa walked into the room.
"Oh, good. I see you've met Derek," she said with a smile on her face.
"Mhm," Stiles hummed around the thermometer.
"He's new here and was given a few of my patients so that he could get the feel of things around here. He'll be helping me during the week," she explained. Stiles nodded and the thermometer beeped; he promptly handed it to Derek.
"Hold out your arm," the nurse ordered.
"You can be a little nicer about it, you know?" Stiles said. Derek just stared at him, eyebrows raised in a way that questioned what Stiles would do if he wasn't. The answer was nothing, they both knew, but Stiles didn't want to say it. So instead he held out his arm and went for, "But the don't fuck with me attitude works on you. Or you work it. You really do, you're so good looking."
Melissa laughed at Stiles' statement and handed Derek the things needed to take Stiles' blood pressure. "Glad you two are getting along," the boys ignored the comment.
"Yeah, but about my stay here. Can we cut it three days instead of a week?" Stiles asked, a hopeful smile on his face as he looked to Melissa. Melissa wasn’t as enthused.
"You know we can't, Stiles," She said with a sigh. Stiles groaned.
"But you and I both know that pneumonia patients can usually go home within three days, that's a thing!"
"Yes, for basic cases. You know that your situation's a bit more severe than others," she reminded the boy, making Stiles frown. That was something he didn't need to be reminded of, but he was sure he'd be fine. A few extra days away from the hospital wouldn't kill him… at least he hoped not.
"Sorry, Stiles, but you're due here for a week. Maybe a bit more, I'm not sure."
"Done," Derek said suddenly, taking the cuff off of Stiles arm and exiting the room without a second glance. Stiles looked after him in confusion.
"Hey, why'd he leave? He only checked my blood pressure and temperature!"
"He's a werewolf, Stiles, he pretty much got everything else by just looking at you," Melissa explained. Stiles raised his eyebrows in surprise. Well, I guess that explains why he's so moody, Stiles thought.
"Oh… a werewolf nurse? That's weird. Rare, I guess, not weird. I think he hates me a little," Stiles said. Melissa laughed.
"No, that's just how he is. If he hated you, you'd know," Duly noted, Stiles thought, but talking to his best friend’s mom about a hot werewolf wasn’t his top priority at the moment. It was getting the hell out of that hospital.
"Are you sure I can't get out before Friday? Lydia's 18th is on Friday and she's gonna throw the sickest party, I don't wanna miss it this time." Stiles was always missing parties, but it wasn't his fault. His lungs always fucked him over when something important to him came up. Nearly every party he was invited to, school field trips, his mom's funeral… the only good thing was that he got out of gym class, but even that was bittersweet because he’s always wanted to play lacrosse like Scott. Being diseased was just a giant inconvenience in his life.
Melissa gave him a sympathetic look. "Sorry, kiddo, but right now you have a week's stay."
Stiles frowned and lied back down on the bed.
"We can't even afford it…" he mumbled. His father may be sheriff of the town, but his paycheck alone can't cover Stiles' medical expenses when he's constantly getting sick. Melissa’s helped them pay sometimes, sacrificing money saved for bills and herson to ensure his best friend lived a bit longer, but most of the time Stiles and his father were up to their necks in debt.
"I'm sorry, Stiles," Melissa said again as she reached in her pocket. She took out a cellphone and handed it to Stiles. "Why don't you call Scott and he'll come and keep you company like he always does," Stiles gave her a small smile and thanked her for giving him his phone before she left the room. When she was gone, sat the phone on the bedside table, not even attempting to call Scott.
"Are you okay? I would've come earlier, but I was with Kira and mom didn't tell me till about an hour ago," Scott explained when he finally got to Stiles… a day later. Stiles wasn’t mad—it wasn’t like he’d called him. Scott had a job, a girlfriend, and is the captain of the lacrosse team. He was, by high school standards, popular and had a life to live, Stiles wasn't going to interrupt it every time he had trouble breathing.
"It's fine, Scott, don't worry about it," Stiles assured his friend.
"Why didn't you tell me? Mom said she thought you told me already!" Scott sounded irritated, but Stiles only rolled his eyes. Scott was never seriously mad at him, especially not when he was worried. If anything, the irritation was for added dramatics.
"I didn't wanna inconvenience you while you were having so much fun," Stiles said sarcastically. Scott groaned as he took off his backpack, then sat down in the chair next to Stiles' bed.
"Seriously, Stiles, why didn't you call? This is the second time you've done this." Bullshit. The first time Stiles didn't call Scott was when there was so much mucus in his lungs that all he could do was choke the whole day. Nothing but phlegm and shortness of breath, he figured that not calling was justified when he could barely talk! As far as Stiles was concerned, this was the only time he decided to spare Scott the boring privilege of watching over him. He didn't voice any of that, though, and just stared at Scott until he started talking again.
"It just annoys me, dude. You could've died or something and I wouldn't have—"
"Been here to watch me suffocate?" Stiles finished, attempting a joke, but his answer was too pessimistic for Scott to laugh at.
"Don't say stuff like that," Scott warned, his face serious enough that Stiles knew jokes were out of the question. Stiles shrugged and didn't say another word. Scott was about to continue his speech about why calling during emergencies is important when the door opened. In walked Derek with two paper cups in his hands. Stiles immediately perked up.
"Hasn't even been twelve hours yet. Just couldn't get enough of me, huh?" Stiles teased, all smiles and blushes now. Scott furrowed his brow as he looked between the two of them, but stayed silent. Derek rolled his eyes before walking over to the sick boy.
"Melissa told me to give you your pills. Here," the nurse said, sitting the the cups containing the pills and water on the table beside Stiles.
"Yeah right, you probably jumped at the chance to give me my pills. It's okay, you can admit that you're a slave to my witty charm," Stiles told him before popping the pills into his mouth and swallowing them dry.
"What 'charm'? Saying the first thing that comes out of your mouth like an idiot?" He suggested, earning a nod from Stiles.
"You know it," he agreed with a smirk. Derek shook his head and was about to leave before saying, "Drink the water."
Stiles shook his head. "I don't need to, I'm plenty hydrated right now. I just—" Stiles rambling was cut short when he felt a hitch in his breathing. He held his breath for a moment, then began choking. Scott handed him the water.
"Idiot," Derek mumbled on his way out of the room. It took Stiles a few moments to settle after drinking the water, then he lied back down on his bed with a visible grin on his face.
"Who the hell was that?" Scott asked, figuring he needed some answers after that little scene. Stiles glanced over at him, still grinning.
"That's Derek. He's new, he's a werewolf," Stiles explained, shooting a quick look over to the door he'd just walked out of.
"And you like him, right? I don't even need an answer, you started acting like a twelve-year-old girl the second he walked in," Scott said, a grin on his face.
"He's so hot, how could I not have?" Stiles retorted. Scott only sighed and sat back in the chair.
"Don't get over your head Stiles," Scott warned, though his voice was very concerned. He was just worried about him.
"I know that, Scott. I'm sick, frail, and dying, not looking for a relationship," he clarified. "Not like I could get one anyway… Did you bring your laptop?" Scott nodded, unzipping his bookbag. "Good, let's watch something on Netflix, but you have to be gone in six hours. That's when Derek comes back."
As if like clockwork, the door to Stiles' room opened at seven p.m. and Derek was there with his clipboard. Albeit he was confused as to what was going on with Stiles at that moment. Said boy was lying on his bed buried under a fort of pillows. He raised one from his head to look at Derek when he came in.
"Hey," He greeted. "Fight me!" Derek couldn't help but release a small chuckle as he walked over to the boy.
"Where did you get all of these? We gave you two, how'd you get,” he paused for a moment to count. “Seven?" He asked as he started moving the pillows away from Stiles.
"Don't worry about it," the boy insisted, "fight me!" Stiles started throwing mock punches at Derek and Derek took hold of his skinny wrist.
"Maybe later," he told him as he moved all of the pillows out of the way and sat him up on the bed. Stiles pouted.
"Don't be such a sourwolf!" Stiles exclaimed.
"Yes!" Derek decided not to ask anything else and just told Stiles to open his mouth for the thermometer. The second it was in his mouth, Stiles started talking again.
"Why'd you get this job anyway?" He asked curiously. He'd tried to ask the wolf this the first time they'd met, but was quickly told to shut up. But now it's been a day and Stiles figured Derek had had enough time to get used to his wit that he wouldn’t immediately shut him down when he spoke.
"Be quiet," Derek said, proving Stiles completely wrong. There wasn't any sign of annoyance in his voice, though, so Stiles kept talking.
"Come on, dude, give me an answer," Stiles persisted, his voice becoming more whiny.
"I'll give you an answer if you be quiet," Derek said snidely. Stiles shrugged and closed his mouth around the thermometer and didn't say another word until it beeped.
"Okay, answer time?" Stiles asked excitedly as he placed his arm on the table. Derek nodded as he wrapped the blood pressure cuff around his arm.
"Because I wanted to," Derek told him. Stiles scoffed.
“Bullshit answer! Bullshit answeer! You, sir, are a bullshitter. I hope you keep the fact that you never gave me a straight answer on your conscience when I'm dead!” Stiles began laughing at his own sentence while Derek furrowed his brows.
“Calm down, Stiles, you're not dying anytime soon,” Derek said slowly, not liking the direction this conversation was going.
Stiles rolled his eyes. “Don't talk like you know my life expectancy. Or maybe you do. Is that a werewolf power? Can you smell death on me?” He had an amused smirk on his face now. Stiles was morbid, Derek didn't like it. Derek decided to change the subject.
“So…what’s so important about this party you're trying to go to?” He asked a bit awkwardly. Derek wasn't used to making small talk.
“Oh, dude, don't even get me started on that. Okay, so there's this girl, right? Lydia Martin. She's super rich and super gorgeous and throws the sickest parties ever, and she invited me! Can you believe that? The sick kid that everyone stays away from! I was so excited to go, but now…” Stiles pulled on the IV attached to his arm. “I'm just stuck here again.” He shrugged. “That's what usually happens when something fun comes up. I end up in this bed spending days with Ms. McCall and the other nurses.”
“That's… unfortunate,” Derek said, trying to find the best word to fit the situation.
“Unfortunate.” Stiles mocked with grin. “You talk so serious, dude! Just say sucks. It won't go against protocol to talk like… the age you look. How old are you, by the way?”
“Twenty-four,” Derek mumbled. Stiles raised his eyebrows.
“Older than I expected, still hot, but older,” Stiles chuckled.
“Do you even have a filter?” Derek asked, a question he’d been wondering since the first time the boy spoke to him.
“What's the point? Unlike most people, my lifespan’s cut in… fourth. What's the point of having a filter when you can say what you want and have fun?” Stiles explained.
“Regrets?” Derek suggested.
“I'm not regretting anything I'm saying to you, Derek,” Stiles smiled vibrantly at him and at that moment, everything about him made sense to Derek. Stiles was so content with everything he'd been doing, saying everything he wanted to Derek and not caring about the consequences or Derek’s less than warm reactions. What would embarrass most people hadn’t even phased him, it encouraged him to keep going, if anything. Derek realized that it didn’t matter to Stiles because nothing negative probably mattered to Stiles when he was so aware that one day his life would abruptly end. And Stiles wanted to make the most of it.
He didn't have time to feel shame and guilt or sorrow, he just wanted he and everyone around him to be happy. Amused, untroubled, content—any emotion that would leave them feeling good—so that when he was gone, they'd remember Stiles and his goofy grin and his fun-loving personality. Not how he looked on his deathbed or any of those rare moments where processing his impending death was too much for him and he'd break down. No, Stiles wanted to be a happy memory, not a sad one.
Derek hated that he realized that.
Derek finished taking Stiles’ temperature and stood up from his seat next to him, quickly making for the door. Before he could leave, though, Stiles called out to him.
“Hey, Sourwolf?” Derek turned around. Stiles was sitting up completely in his bed, skinny arms placed in front of him defensively, hands balled into fist. “Fight me?” And he smiled, his cupid’s bow shaped lips stretching beautifully across his face and his eyes glinting off the moonlight through the window. Warm, hazel colored eyes that showed no sign of sadness. Before Derek could respond to the offer, he heard Stiles inhale sharply and try to hold his breath before he started coughing. Violent choking resulting in him turning his back on the werewolf as he dislodged fragments of phlegm and mucus from his lungs.
It took about a minute, but Stiles eventually settled, wiping his mouth on sheet beneath him, then turning back towards Derek. “That probably wasn't too sexy, huh?” He said through a laugh, then put his fist back up in front of him, completely undeterred. “You ready to catch these hands?”
Staring at him, Derek blinked. No hint of embarrassment was on his face, just pure, unadulterated amusement. Joy. Stiles was in the hospital, convinced he could go at any minute, yet he just wanted to have fun. Derek’s lips quirked up into a small smile.
“No, I'm not gonna fight you,” Stiles pouted, “I know you'd just kick my ass.” And Derek left, closing the door behind him gently and made his way to the next patient, still thinking about Stiles. A boy faced with an overhanging death who was literally able to laugh it off. Derek would never be able to do that. Stiles was so much stronger.
The next two days went something of the same for Stiles. Scott visited, they watched Netflix and did homework and talked about whatever drama was going on in school, Derek would come and check up on him, and Stiles would shamelessly flirt and say something so stupid that Derek would call him an idiot and leave. It was nice, Stiles would say, being so scheduled. There wasn't much room for mishap and if his lungs decided to act up, a nurse or doctor would run right in and make his lungs cut it the fuck out. But it was boring.
Stiles always had this problem in the hospital, he was restless. Having ADD on top of his illness certainly didn't help him or staff out, but it affected him the worst because he needed to be doing something. Something more than lying in bed and waiting for whenever Scott or Derek decided to waltz in. Which is what led him stealing extra pillows from the other empty rooms and then waiting for Scott or Derek to walk in. But Melissa had taken away all of the pillows and he was out of ideas and he was bored. So, when Friday morning came around, all he could think of was how much fun Lydia’s party would be if he could go.
Scott was going, he wasted no time mentioning the fact the day before. “But, I'll cancel if you want me to stay with you. I really will!” Bull. Shit, Stiles thought. Scott was his friend and he loved Stiles, and Stiles knew that, to an extent, Scott would do anything for him. But this party included Kira and Scott was not going to cancel on Kira. He was head over heels for her, but not as much as he was for Allison. But, if the way he treated Allison before she… uh, never mind. They didn't talk about Allison. The point was that Stiles knew Scott would do anything to not let Kira down.
So Stiles told him to go ahead and have fun, not to worry about him, and that hopefully he'd be around for Lydia’s nineteenth. Scott frowned and Stiles told him to go, wishing that he could follow along. Scott told him he'd spend the entire day with Stiles, though, before and after school, respectively—so about five hours. So when the door to Stiles’ room opened at 6:30 a.m., he was expecting Scott, not Ms. McCall.
“Morning, Melissa,” Stiles greeted, masking his disappointment as well as he could. Scott was unreliable—at least to an extent.
“Morning, Stiles! I've got some news for you!” She seemed excited. Too excited for this time in the morning.
“Okay, shoot,” he said.
“The doctor’s said that you're good enough to go home today, not tomorrow.” Stiles blinked. An early release.
“Really? So, I actually get to go to the party tonight?” Stiles’ whole face lit up as he said that sentence. Melissa nodded and all Stiles could do was laugh, not sure what other way to show his excitement.
“This is gonna be so great!” He giggled. Melissa smiled at him and ruffled his hair.
“Have fun, kiddo. I already called your dad, he'll be picking you up soon.”
“Thanks Melissa,” he said before she exited the room. Stiles was excited. No, that was an understatement. He couldn't find words big enough to describe the joy he felt. His first high school party! And Lydia Martin’s at that, the girl known to throw the best parties in town. He had to call Scott.
He pulled out his phone and hit Scott’s number when the door to his room opened again. It was Derek with a cup of coffee in his hand. Stiles smiled wider.
“Did you hear the news?” He asked as he heard Scott’s line ring.
Derek rolled his eyes. “Yes, Stil—”
“I'm getting out today!”
“I get to go to the party tonight! How sweet is that? I'm so excited!”
“Yeah, I came to say—”
“I'm gonna miss you, Derek. This week’s been great, but alas, I have bigger things to do. I'll never forget that first annoyed grunt—”
“Bye, Stiles,” Derek said, sitting the coffee he had in his hand on the stand near Stiles’ bed and leaving the room. Stiles frowned. He didn't expect Derek to be that done with his shit so quickly… but it was early, so Stiles gave himself the benefit of the doubt. After ten rings, Scott answered his phone.
“Hey dude, I'm on my way! I woke up late and—”
“Whatever, Scott. You can go straight to school because your mom just told me I'm getting out today!”
“Yeah! I know!”
“So you're coming to the party. I'm glad, I felt so guilty going with Kira,” Scott admitted.
“Of course you did,” Stiles sat back in his bed and Scott droned on about how serious he was and how glad he was that Stiles was okay. As he listened, he picked up the coffee Derek had placed on the table. He smiled at the thought of Derek buying it specifically for him. Despite how much he annoyed Derek, he’d certainly made an impression. That was a point in Stiles’ books.
He took a sip and grimaced slightly. It was hospital coffee, he remembered. That always tasted wrong, but Stiles still appreciated the gesture. He sat it back on the stand, and then noticed something written on the cup.
And there was a number written beneath it. Stiles thought he felt his heart stop as he read it. This had to be… fake, right? But here it was, in his hands. A guy’s number, a werewolf’s number. A werewolf he'd been annoying the whole week with bad puns and morbid jokes and cringy attempts at flirting. Somehow, Stiles had managed to seduce Derek with bad lungs and phlegm.
“What time do you want me to pick you up?” Scott asked on the phone. Stiles was still staring at the cup.
“I… um, no. I’m not sure. I might have other plans tonight.”
“What?! You've literally been whining about this party all week, what could be better?” Stiles laughed as he traced his thumb over the beige cup, holding it like the holy grail it turned out to be.
“Trust me, dude, something so much better came up!” Stiles smiled. He figured first dates were better than first parties, right?