When the Sheriff finally got to the hospital, Stiles already had his own room. John flew back into Beacon Hills from his conference an hour away as soon as he got the call that Stiles was hurt, lights blaring on the top of his cruiser the whole way. Scott had said it was just a car accident, but ever since he'd learned about werewolves, the fear that something bad was going to happen to his kid was constant, sharp, and in this moment, very real.
He shook when he opened the door to Stiles’ room, painful memories of the time he and Stiles spent practically living in Rachel’s room when she was sick flashing bright in his eyes.
Stiles was asleep, his lashes fanned against his cheeks, delicate skin crossed with tubes and wires. From where he stood by the window Scott looked up, waved to acknowledge the Sheriff’s presence, indicated that he was in the middle of a phone call.
Derek Hale was seated next to Stiles’ bed looking almost more wrecked than Stiles, despite his apparent perfect health.
“Doctors said he’ll be fine,” Derek said without greeting. “He’s bruised, the abrasions on his face are pretty severe especially above his eyebrow, and a few of his ribs are cracked. No internal injuries suspected,” he said. Basically the same summary he’d gotten from the nurse when he’d stopped to get Stiles’ room number.
Derek’s fingers fiddled with a bit of blanket by Stiles’ hand. John finally understood the rough structure of the werewolf situation. He wasn’t incredibly excited about Derek being twenty-three and being incredibly involved in his seventeen-year-old son’s life, but his younger sister was Stiles’ age, which evened things out a little bit. Or he told himself it did.
“Scott didn’t say much on the phone. The hell happened?” John had immediately called the station after he hung up with Scott and got the bare minimum of details, but Derek had been in the car when it happened.
“Drunk driver. I was driving, she ran a red light, right into Stiles’ side. It’s a miracle that he wasn’t more seriously injured actually,” Derek said, his voice sounding like while he might be technically alive, he was dead inside. “My Camaro is just twisted metal now.”
There was something off-putting about the way Derek was acting. Like he was family. Like his family member was laying in the bed, and not John’s. John felt a strange surge of fatherly protection. “Maybe it’s time you boys get home-” he started to say, before Derek’s adamant “No” cut him off. He stopped to backtrack immediately.
“I’m sorry,” Derek said, clearly embarrassed and trying to cover up his outburst. He struggled to force himself to his feet, struggled to move away from Stiles’ bed. “Yeah, we’ll go,” he said, motioning to Scott who hung up his call and hugged the Sheriff. At this point, Scott felt like his own son in his arms. He had bandaged as many of Scott’s scrapes as Stiles’, had bailed him out of just as much trouble as his own kid. Felt the same joy at seeing Scott score a lacrosse goal as Stiles.
“I wish it would have been me on that side instead of in back,” Scott said quietly, pulling away.
“Don’t do that to yourself,” John said, knowing that every time Stiles suffered something that Scott could easily heal from, Scott would feel guilty.
“I’ll have my mom grab you a cup of coffee when she heads in for her shift at eleven,” Scott said, and he and Derek slipped out of the door, down the hall and into the cold, wet night.
John dropped heavily into the chair Derek had been occupying. It was pulled close to Stiles’ bed, the bit of blanket on the side of the hospital bed that Derek had been worrying was stretched and a little torn. Stiles’ hand was outside of his blankets and turned up as though someone had been holding it.
He slipped his own hand into the negative space of Stiles’, causing his eyes to slowly part, a smile spreading on his face when he recognized his dad.
“Damnit kid, you scared me to death,” John told him, his voice a little wobbly.
“I’m good, dunworry,” he slurred. “Strong painkillers,” he added.
“Your nurse said you’ll get to go home in the morning,” his dad said, trying to keep upbeat and positive. “And I’m going to stay here with you tonight, alright?”
“McDonald’s breakfast,” Stiles declared, a little bit of himself coming back into his eyes though his voice was still groggy; speaking was clearly a labor of love. The nurse said that breathing would be difficult for weeks. The fact that talking was possible made John’s relief sweep through him powerfuly, his feet on solid ground after months on a treacherous sea.
“McGriddles,” his dad agreed. John liked greasy fast food breakfast because Stiles loved it so much. Because he’d let his dad get away with it.
“Where’s Derek?” his son asked suddenly, the effort it took to turn his head to survey the room apparent.
“Scott and Derek went home when I got here,” John said.
“He said he wouldn’t leave,” Stiles said confused, and now John was confused too. But Stiles was tired and winced when he tried to adjust himself into a new position.
“I’m here,” John said, not about to push the subject. He smoothed the blanket back over Stiles’ chest and Stiles closed his eyes and fell right back to sleep.
It only took until eleven am the next morning before the doorbell was ringing. Stiles had gotten a look-over and the okay to leave at eight, but the discharge paperwork, filling Stiles’ prescriptions, and stopping for breakfast ate up a lot of time. They had only walked in the door at ten-fifteen. John had set Stiles up on the couch in the living room, had fetched his computer from his room, and had just started making a list of things to get at the grocery store when suddenly his house was filled with wolves.
Scott, Isaac, and a still anxious-looking Derek filled the living room, Stiles’ doped-up smile widening at the sight of them. He should have known that Stiles’ six weeks of complaining, isolated, couch-bound, lay-low misery wouldn’t be isolated or miserable. He sighed. He’d have add a lot of crap to his grocery list if these kids were going to camp out in his house until Stiles was good to run around after them again.
John had gotten used to Stiles’ new friends to a point. Stiles seemed to want to protect each of them in the same way he started dragging Scott home with him after school every day when his parents’ marriage started hitting the rocks for real and being at home wasn’t any fun. Isaac was an abused orphan, Derek was - and John didn’t ever use this phrase out loud - broken beyond repair. John was witness to his kid being kind of an asshole sometimes, but on the whole, he had a big heart.
“I’m going to the grocery store,” John announced, walking back into the living room with a glass of water so Stiles could take his pain meds when they were due in twenty minutes. “Someone make sure he takes these at eleven thirty,” he said, pulling the bottle of pills out of his pocket.
“I will,” Derek said solemnly, taking the pills and giving John a look far too serious for such a small request.
“Great,” John said, trying to act as normal as possible. “What are you boys planning on completely destroying today - pizza rolls? Pop tarts?”
“Reese’s ice cream,” Stiles requested, and John wrote it down on his pad.
“Doritos,” Scott said, “the nacho cheese kind, not the cooler ranch.” John would get both. He liked the cooler ranch better.
“I’m not going to be the guy arguing with pizza rolls,” Isaac said, shrugging.
John paused, waiting for Derek to make a request. He raised his eyebrows at him to prompt him.
“Uh,” Derek said, as though caught completely off guard. Scott had been around for the grocery store rundown for years. Isaac caught on quick. Derek looked like having someone’s attention directed at him made him uncomfortable. “Maple smoked bacon? Chocolate chips for pancakes?” His voice was a question, gaze directed at Stiles from his spot on the couch by Stiles’ feet.
“So much yes to both,” Stiles said. Of course Stiles was in favor of his favorite breakfast-for-dinner menu. But why Derek had requested it for him...
John wasn’t going to think too hard about it.
When he came back the boys were all piled around the couch, near Stiles but not crowding him, playing Super Smash Brothers on Scott’s old gamecube that Melissa had banished from her house years ago when Scott got an X-box. She had a strict One Console Only policy.
“I think at this point I could guess what game you kids are playing by the percentage of swear words that enter your speech,” John said, carrying the bags of groceries into the kitchen.
“We’re not quite to Mario Kart levels yet,” Stiles said, keeping his concentration on the game and not looking up at his father. His voice was thin, like speaking was effort. Maybe he should make them play a calmer game.
Scott had already been killed out of the round, so he followed John into the kitchen to help him unpack the groceries. After his wife died, John kept he and Stiles fed by the tri-force of take out, frozen dinners, and occasional trips to Applebee’s. Stiles ate a lot of PB&J that first year, which he has since adamantly avoided. The acute taste of grief. But it had been almost five years since she passed, and John was getting better at both grocery shopping and cooking. Stiles too, to an extent. Mostly pasta.
“I took the day off today, but I’ve got a stack of paperwork piling up and I want to talk to the woman who hit you guys. She’s in the detox cell waiting to be questioned. Would Stiles be okay if I went into the station? Are the three of you sticking around?”
“Yeah, for sure, we’ll take care of him,” Scott said, smiling the blinding, trusting smile that Scott never seemed to have any difficulty summoning. John only saw that kind of a smile on his own kid’s face around curly fries.
He entered the house later that night to the dual sound and smell of frying maple bacon. Stiles was passed out on the couch, orange Dorito powder still on his fingers, a pile of junk food wrappers on the coffee table along with about a twelve pack’s worth of empty Coke cans. Never underestimate the power that four teenaged(-ish) boys have on all of the junk food in your house.
Derek was alone in his kitchen, a pile of chocolate chip pancakes all ready to be eaten on a plate, bacon sizzling in front of him.
“You all alone in here?” John asked, and Derek turned to him and shrugged.
“Melissa cooked dinner for Scott and Isaac. I didn’t want to leave Stiles alone.” He turned the bacon carefully, avoiding spitting grease. The strawberries that John bought earlier that day were already cut up, sitting in a bowl on the table.
“How long has he been asleep for?” John asked. The midsummer sun was still high in the sky even though it was nearly nine o’clock. Derek glanced around the kitchen as though assessing time based off of what he’d already gotten done.
“Forty-five minutes? An hour?” he guessed. John noticed that the dishes that Derek had used to make the pancakes were drying on the rack by the sink. None of what he was witnessing in his kitchen were qualities that he would have expected out of the Hale kid.
“Only?” John asked, moving to set the table for three. Stiles usually took two solid days of being passed out to sleep off a cold.
“It’s his fourth nap today if that makes you feel better,” Derek said, and John could see the hint of a smile at the corners of his mouth. He turned back to his bacon, pulling it strip by strip out of the pan and onto a plate lined with paper towels. He carefully poured the grease into a bowl next to it. “Plus he said the pain makes it difficult to stay asleep. Or fall asleep for that matter.”
Stiles was dazed when John reluctantly woke him up, and he made him sit on the couch for a few minutes before he let Stiles make an attempt at walking. His whole body was bruised and sore and moving was difficult enough without adding new bruises on top of the old.
Derek’s pancakes were actually pretty good - better than the ones John made himself. He always tended to burn the chocolate chips. And maybe because it was Derek who made this meal for Stiles, but John had real bacon from a pig’s ass on his plate and Stiles wasn’t giving him any shit for it. He could get used to this.
Derek left around midnight, after helping Stiles up the stairs to his bedroom and making sure that his pain meds were close in case he needed more in the middle of the night. He overheard Derek’s phone alarm beep which apparently cued another round of painkillers, heard them shake out of the bottle, heard the soft, “see you tomorrow, right?” that came out of Stiles’ mouth before Derek’s quick feet paced down the stairs and out their front door.
“Since when are you and Hale best friends?” John asked Stiles, trying to act casual as he strolled into Stiles’ room, the rare curly-fry smile he’d been giving Derek all night still present on his face. He pulled Stiles’ desk chair close to his bed, twisted it around and sat on it backwards, resting his chin on his crossed arms.
“You can call him Derek, Dad,” Stiles said rolling his eyes. He shrugged. “And I dunno. Werewolf this, werewolf that. Scott and Isaac are a lot closer now, Scott and Allison are back together, Isaac’s been dating Cora a little I guess. You have enough people interested in each other and you gravitate toward the other one without a pair, you know?” Logic seemed fair.
“And he’ll be back tomorrow apparently?” John asked. It was hard to keep up with his habit of heavy eyerolls that usually accompanied the discussion of Derek, a young man who he thought had an inappropriate amount of influence on a bunch of kids who were about to be high school seniors.
...On the other hand his bacon was perfectly crispy and he set an alarm on his phone so Stiles would take his pain killers and antibiotics on time.
“Isaac and Scott are helping Deaton with a puppy and kitten rescue drive the clinic is sponsoring at the community center all day. Cora is at Berkeley this week for freshman orientation.” Stiles was phrasing it as though Derek was the only person who was remotely available. Like maybe it was a Big Favor to ask of him. But John was getting the feeling that Derek would be at his house at ten in the morning no matter how many other people were available to entertain Stiles and make him sandwiches.
“Well, tell him he can make as much bacon in my kitchen as he wants, as long as I get some,” John said, smiling a little bit. Stiles’ arm was up protecting his ribs, the unbandaged abrasions on his face starting to scab. But he hadn’t heard him complain all day, which was thoroughly unlike him. “How are your ribs doing?”
“I am abundantly aware of every second the painkillers aren’t working at their maximum capacity,” he said, readjusting the way he was laying in bed and wincing. His doctor at the hospital chose a weaker painkiller because it worked better with the antibiotic Stiles was on.
“I’ll bring you breakfast and help you get downstairs before I leave for the station tomorrow morning. I don’t have to be in until nine thirty.” He patted Stiles’ shin gently before flicking the lights off and closing Stiles’ door.
John hadn’t heard his kid wail like this since he was a baby. He snapped upright in bed, threw his covers off and ran to Stiles’ room, his son’s body shaking through his sobs. Stiles looked up when his dad entered the room, his eyes big and vulnerable, his mouth letting out a long, loud moan of agony - which cued another round of agony.
“Painkillers wore off?” John asked, finding the bottle of pills on his side table and shaking out two. He handed them to Stiles with the water that was left in the glass next to them. It took a few moments for Stiles to calm down enough before he could actually get the pills to his mouth and position his body to drink the water. He let out another whimper that ripped John’s heart in two as he swallowed the pills. He was gasping for breaths that were too painful to take.
“I’m going to get you an ice pack,” John said. The pills would hopefully kick in soon, but he couldn’t look at his kid breaking from the inside like this any longer.
“Derek,” Stiles said, his voice cracking. A sweat had broken out on his forehead “Can Derek please come over? He can take my pain.” The look on his face was pitiful. John couldn’t imagine saying no to it.
“Derek is asleep, Stiles. It’s four in the morning.”
“He’ll answer his phone. Please?” Stiles’ whole body was shaking from the pain. The shaking was causing him more pain. It was a cycle.
“Yeah, yeah, fine, that’s fine,” John said, his hand covering his face, trying to wipe the situation away.
Stiles grabbed his phone from his side table, knocked his pill bottle off in the process, and quickly dialed Derek’s number. He answered almost immediately.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Stiles said immediately, Derek’s answer obviously full of worry. He paused while Derek spoke. “Okay, I’m not actually fine, I'm so not fine, I’m in so much pain that I think my body might be ripping into two. Can you come back here?” A smile spread across his face for a moment before he winced again. “God, thank you.” By the end of the conversation his voice was weak, almost a whisper, the pain just getting worse.
“Do you want an ice pack?” John asked him, watching as Stiles’ hand came up to tenderly protect his ribs, the touch hurting him further. Any movement caused pain.
“Derek will be here in like, ten minutes. I’ll be okay I think.” He let his head drop back to his pillow, his face straining through the pain. John got the ice pack anyway, unlocking the front door for Derek so he wouldn’t have to go back down stairs to get him.
Stiles let his dad hold the ice pack to his ribs which were black and blue, yellowing at parts. He also had a bruise from the seat belt across his chest and collar bone, but his collar bone didn’t snap, so there were some small mercies.
John was reminded of when Stiles was a little kid with a fever, back before he was old enough to take care of himself. He and Rachel would sit on either side of his bed taking turns holding a damp cloth to Stiles’ forehead, knowing that this moment was rough, but they would all get through it together. He missed the strength his wife gave him. The strength she gave Stiles.
“Oh thank christ,” Stiles murmured when he heard a car pull into the driveway. Derek had a rental that Stiles had spent most of the previous day making fun of, but John was sure Stiles would have rather had Derek driving a PT Cruiser than not be able to come over in the middle of the night.
The car door slammed shut, the front door opened, and Derek rushed up the stairs.
“Are you okay?” Derek asked, desperately out of breath as he shucked his jacket to the floor and sat down so gently on the other side of Stiles that the bed hardly moved. His hand went immediately to Stiles’ chest, and John pulled the ice pack away, letting Derek’s fingers settle so gently over Stiles’ wounds.
Stiles had explained a while ago, and abstractly, that werewolves can take pain. This was one of his “my friends might be monsters, but they’re good monsters” appeals, along with explaining how much effort Scott always puts into making sure everyone gets out of every situation alive. He’d heard of taking pain, but he’d never seen it in action.
Derek’s veins coursed black, and Stiles visibly relaxed, letting out a breath that he’d been holding for the past twenty minutes. Derek tensed, his body processing the pain, but there was still that hint of a smile on his face that he seemed to get when he looked at Stiles.
“Oh my god that’s so much better than drugs,” Stiles said, his chest finally able to gulp the breaths he desperately needed as he tried to calm down. Being woken up by pain was never fun, as John well knew. He’d had knee surgery twice. Stiles had referred to it as ‘gnarly.’ John had agreed.
Stiles’ hand absently found Derek’s wrist, his fingers looping around it naturally. His eyes were dark and tired, body relaxing back into his sheets more with each passing moment. Derek smoothed Stiles’ hair off his sweat-damp forehead.
“Dad, he can stay, right?” Stiles asked, his voice sleepy and calm - 180 degrees from the wracked horror that woke John from his sleep. He refused to let that happen to Stiles again tonight.
“Sure, kid,” he said, noticing finally that Derek must have just thrown his leather jacket over his pajamas. He toed off his boots revealing bare feet, and just for a fleeting moment John though he was going to have to have a discussion about the appropriateness of this situation. But Stiles’ pain flashed behind his eyelids, the way his body looked so tiny in his hospital bed, the way he struggled for each breath. The way his facial abrasions had looked when they were still fresh.
John knew when left Stiles’ room and headed back to his own bed that Derek Hale was curling up under Stiles’ sheets, hands all over Stiles’ bare chest, Stiles only able to get back to sleep because they’re together.
Because they’re together.
John sighed heavily, thought belatedly about how Derek would have been able to hear it, and forcefully willed himself to go back to sleep.
John resolutely was not going to check in on Stiles before he left because of privacy reasons. And because he trusted his son. But mostly because he didn’t want to see unseeable things. But his door had never been closed from the ordeal earlier that morning, and his bed was clearly visible from the hallway.
Stiles was tucked close into Derek, Derek’s arms wrapped around him from behind, avoiding the areas of most radical bruising. Derek’s face was buried in the back of Stiles’ neck, and John was hit immediately with two very powerful conflicting emotions: 1) the feeling any father gets when his child has been in grave danger and crippling pain but now finally looks safe, relaxed, and happy again; and 2) the feeling any father gets when he sees his son in bed with an older man. At least Derek still had his shirt on.
John weighed his options. If he kicked Derek out now, he knew Stiles would resent him possibly forever. His kid could hold a grudge. Then he’d have to take the day off of work to take care of a pouty, sullen, hurting child who would try (and succeed) at making his life hell.
If he let Derek stay, he knew that Stiles would have all day access to a painkiller that was completely drug free. He’d have someone to make him meals and make sure he took his meds on time. Derek seemed to jump at the drop of a hat for Stiles, and at least while he was healing, that seemed to be a valuable commodity.
The good outweighed the bad and John continued downstairs to grab something quick for breakfast before he had to be at work. Plus, what was the worst that could happen? Stiles had been actively drooling on Derek’s arm when he’d closed the door on the two of them. It’s not like he was getting lucky any time soon.
The house smelled amazing again that night. Coming home after a long day to someone cooking wasn’t something that John had been able to look forward to in years. Stiles was at the kitchen table, left hand protectively curled around his chest. His other hand was busy dexterously browsing the internet. Derek was making cheese burgers.
“How’s your pain, kiddo?” John asked, pulling a beer from the fridge and dropping into the kitchen chair next to Stiles.
“Still sucks, like a lot. Derek’s been helping a ton though.” His eyes never left his computer screen, as though Stiles was trying hard not to make googly eyes at Derek. Derek kept cooking.
The burgers were fantastic. Actual beef, not turkey like Stiles always made him buy, and cooked medium-rare, just how he liked it. Derek had made oven baked fries too, which would have been just okay, but he put some amazing seasoning on them that made them the hit of the meal.
“When did you become so good at this?” he asked Derek, accidentally sounding more harsh and accusatory than he’d intended. Derek looked taken aback for only the smallest moment.
“From my mom,” Derek said. “She believed strongly in giving her children what she called ‘applicable life skills.’ She was a good mom,” he said, a bit of a nostalgic laugh coming out of him. A bit of pain too.
“Stiles’ mom preferred to teach her son useful things like, ‘If we spend all day at the beach your father will take pity on our poor sunburned skin and take us out to dinner.’”
“Oh, is that where he gets it,” Derek asked, smile playing lightly on his face, finally making eye contact with John for the first time that night. John was familiar with this warm-up process from stranger he met as the Sheriff of Beacon Hills. He was unfamiliar with this process from the angle of Boyfriend’s Dad. Luckily there didn’t seem to be much of a transition between the two.
Derek collected the dishes after the meal and loaded the dishwasher, bringing Stiles his pills and a fresh glass of water when his phone alarm went off.
“Hey Derek,” John said, trying not to sound too conspiratorial. “Since you’re feeling particularly helpful, I was hoping you’d be willing to make a quick errand run? We’re running low on bandages for Stiles’ face, and I think he could probably use some chocolate cake, or the kind of ice cream that has the fudge swirl and the mini peanut butter cups in it.” He pulled a twenty from his wallet and Derek took it nodding. Stiles got points for not calling him out on requesting his own two favorite desserts.
“I’ll be back in twenty,” he said, gave Stiles one last glance and hurried out the door.
Stiles paused for ten seconds before turning his gaze on his dad. “What was that?” He wasn’t angry or accusatory. He knew he couldn’t be without it being turned around on him.
“An excuse to have some privacy for the conversation we’re about to have,” John explained, getting up to get another beer.
“About?” Stiles said, the tight I-know-I-did-something-wrong-but-don't-want-to-admit-it face worrying his features.
“About the level of appropriateness of your boyfriend sleeping in your bed last night,” John said from across the kitchen, leaning against the island and taking a sip of his beer. Stiles winced, a deep blush appearing on his face.
“In my defense, the decisions I made at four in the morning were due to extreme pain and sleep deprivation,” Stiles said, telling only the truth, but also hoping to get the sympathy vote.
“Kid, I am never going to be the kind of dad who willing lets you wallow in your own extreme physical pain for no reason. That being said, you intentionally misled me as to the nature of your relationship with Derek when I asked you about it earlier - which I shouldn’t have had to ask about, by the way.” His voice was stern, but not angry. It was hard to be angry at your kid when he had a handful of cracked ribs and his face looked like it got a little too intimate with a wood chipper. “After all the werewolf crap last year you promised that there would be no more lies.”
“It’s not like I was trying to keep him a secret or anything,” Stiles tried to explain, his tendency to talk with his hands causing him to wince and fold back in on himself, arms coming back to cradle his ribs. “It’s just, I don’t know. It’s still new, and it’s not like he asked me out on a date and I said yes and we both got ready in a cute little montage and smelled nice and he picked me up and bought me dinner or anything. It’s been a little more... free-form than that. For so long it just didn’t feel like there was anything to tell.”
“Exactly how long has this been going on?” John asked, a little alarmed by Stiles’ ‘for so long’ comment.
“I guess almost two months, depending on how you count.” Stiles shrugged, then winced. John did not have any interest in finding out what “how you count” meant.
“Alright, you know that no rational parent of a seventeen year old would let their kid’s older boyfriend spend the night in their bed, right?” Stiles’ face fell, and his disappointment was almost palpable.
“Yeah, Dad. I know.” The sigh he let out was heavy and thick, his shoulders hunching the way they did when he got anxious.
“You can set an alarm on your phone halfway through the night so you don’t miss your pills this time,” he said, feeling like the biggest asshole in the world, even though he knew he was being rational and fair. Stiles didn’t argue.
They had moosetracks ice cream when Derek got back, and John noticed that while he bought regular bandages, there was also a package of Batman ones too. Derek gave him back his change down to the penny, and the receipt.
“You can still call me at any point during the night. You know I’ll answer,” John overheard Derek say as he grabbed a fresh glass of water for Stiles while they got him ready for bed. Stiles told Derek during ice cream that they’d been found out, and Derek wasn’t surprised (“It’s not like we weren’t totally obvious about it - sorry Sheriff.”) He also wasn’t surprised that he was being kicked out after Stiles got set to go to sleep.
“A phone call is totally not as good as the pain-drain,” Stiles said, trying not to pout about it. He was totally pouting about it.
“Not as good, but it’s what we’re going to have to work with,” Derek said, and John could respect that. Derek was being mature about it.
“I’m not sure I’m going to even be able to get to sleep,” Stiles said in a grumble, and John stopped in his tracks back from the bathroom, glass of water in his hand. Yes, he was now blatantly listening in. Father privileges. “I was in too much pain earlier to sleep before dinner and really only got any rest earlier when you were helping.”
Oh, no. No no no. John was absolutely not even considering giving in to this.
“You can get through it. I’ll be back in the morning. Do you want an ice pack before I leave?” John finally reached Stiles’ door and leaned against the frame, raising the water glass to explain his presence. Derek was sitting on the side of Stiles’ bed, his hand resting gently on Stiles’ chest, the veins in his arm a pulsing, angry black. He had a Batman bandaid on his arm below his elbow where Stiles had put it while Derek was changing the bandages above his eyebrow earlier.
Derek took his hand off of Stiles for a moment to program an alarm into Stiles’ phone for his middle of the night dose, and Stiles’ face blanched, his breathing becoming labored. When there was nothing to distract you from your pain, it could be even more acute. It was pretty clear that getting to sleep was going to be difficult.
“Oh, fuck it,” John heard himself saying, a hand coming up to rub his forehead as he questioned his life and his choices. Stiles was the only thing he had left in the world, and if someone was willing to make sure that he could breathe well enough to heal properly from his wounds, who was he to stop him? “Derek, just...just stay.”
“What? Dad? Daddy? Father of mine? Am I hearing you correctly? Are you granting my wish of pain-free slumber?” Stiles sounded as ecstatic as he could with three broken ribs and bruises all over his body.
“You,” John said pointing at Derek. “Fully clothed. Borrow some of Stiles’ pajamas. Wear your clothes. I don’t care. Fully. Clothed. And you-” he said, turning his attention to his son. “This is a pain-management-only arrangement. He sleeps in his own bed as soon as you don’t need the werewolf black-vein-thing anymore.”
“Hearing you loud and clear,” Stiles said. Sometimes John made parenting decisions based on what he personally would do: send Derek home and have Stiles suck it up and deal with his pain the way his doctors told him to. But that decision just didn’t feel right. He felt out of his depths. He’d try to channel Rachel and figure out what she would have done, what mercy she would have had on their boy. She would have been understanding and compassionate.
“Door stays open,” he said, and both boys nodded. Stiles spoke up after he dropped off the water glass on his side table and had turned to leave.
“Thanks, Dad,” he said, his voice small and sincere.
“Thank you, Sheriff,” Derek followed, looking up at him from Stiles’ bedside looking both rational and emotional. Looking like he was willing to do anything for Stiles - like it would cause him pain to not bend to Stiles’ every whim. Looking less like the hurt kid he’d met (officially, as a werewolf) less than a year ago and more like someone who wasn’t quite as beyond repair as John had thought. And maybe looking suspiciously like he could make one mean bacon cheese burger.
John nodded his acknowledgement to both of them as he left and begrudgingly considered the fact that having Derek Hale around more often from now on might not be the worst thing in the world.