Close Call

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Story Notes:
Loveactually_rps prompted: Stiles/Derek, one reaction to the other one crying

Hope you enjoy!

The sound of beeping is really annoying. Stiles frowns and tries to reach over to hit the alarm, but his arm won’t do what he wants. The beeping gets louder, not an alarm but something shrill and loud. As he blinks his eyes open, he finds himself staring at a white ceiling that isn’t his bedroom ceiling. Gradually, he becomes aware of other things. There’s a dull pain in his arm, something constrictive on his hand, his legs are cold, and the bed is uncomfortable. His mouth is also incredibly dry, his throat is sore, and he feels like his head is full of like tiny doozers working a construction site in his brain.

This is the hospital, he realizes after he becomes more alert. Flashes of memory come to his mind, making the doozers work even harder in his head. There had been a creature of some sort, big and ugly, wings and claws, but they haven’t been able to figure out what type of supernatural entity. There had been an attack near a senior living community, Stiles remembers running to distract the thing so the pack could attack, but it blurs after that. Looking down at the bandages wrapped around his arms, he can vaguely recall deep gouges that must be underneath them, and, judging from the way his ribs and stomach feel, he must have got caught at some point.

“You shouldn’t be moving so much. Try to stay still and be careful, Stiles.”

The words are a soft whisper to his right. Stiles rolls his head and sees Derek sitting in a chair by his bed. “You’re crying,” he croaks out, smacking his tongue and lips because gross. He sounds like Kermit with allergies, and his mouth feels like it’s full of cotton.

“You almost died,” Derek says, his voice still so quiet and soft that Stiles can barely hear him. Stiles doesn’t really need to hear him, though. He can see the tears in Derek’s eyes, can see the redness and swollen puffiness that comes after sitting in the dark having a crying fit (he’s seen it on his own face often enough, especially after his mom died, to recognize it), can see the vulnerable look on Derek’s face as he leans forward.

It must have been bad.

“”m still alive,” he points out, stumbling over the words because his tongue feels thick and heavy in his mouth. Derek reaches for a cup of ice chips, putting some on a spoon before pressing it against Stiles’ mouth. He gratefully sucks them off the spoon, letting them wet his mouth and swallowing in the hopes that’ll make his throat feel better, too. “Thanks.”

“You shouldn’t try talking yet. That thing was choking you when we managed to strike hard enough to knock it down.” Derek gives him more ice chips, and Stiles stares at a lone tear that drips off his dark eyelashes and glides down his face. He’s been crying since before Stiles woke up, that’s obvious, and Stiles isn’t sure what to do with that knowledge. There’s a part of him that just wants to make it better, wants to dry the tears and assure Derek that he’s alive and there’s no reason to cry because his heart hurts seeing Derek upset over anything.

Unfortunately, he feels like he’s been hit by a truck, and talking isn’t that easy, either. “Sorry,” he finally says, the word not sounding quite as croaky as his previous ones. Guilt isn’t a pleasant feeling, and he hates dealing with it, but he can’t help it. Being the distraction for that creature hadn’t been part of the plan, and he put his life at risk by impulsively running when he’d been told to stay put. They hadn’t been going to win, though, so he’d done what he felt was the best plan of acting to take care of that thing before more innocent people got hurt.

“Shh.” Derek takes his hand, rubbing his thumbs over Stiles’ knuckles, careful not to bump into the tube that’s causing the dull pain in his hand. “We managed to defeat the thing, but not even Deaton has been able to identify it yet.”

Before he can say anything else, a nurse comes in and checks on Stiles. He vaguely recognizes her from the last time he was here nearly a year ago, and he likes her. She’s professional but gentle. She smiles gently, carefully touching his face before checking the bandages on his arms. There’s also a brief stumbling trip to the bathroom, but it’s worth it because he hadn’t realized he needed to piss so badly. When he gets back to bed, he’s worn out, like he’s run a marathon instead of just walking to the bathroom. She tucks him back in and makes sure all the tubes and wires are in place before she finishes making notations in the computer. Things apparently look okay, but she still cautions him to take it easy and to avoid unnecessary talking or movement until he’s had more time to heal properly.

After she’s gone, Derek moves back beside his bed, taking Stiles’ hand again. He ducks his head and tightens his grip on Stiles’ fingers. “You shouldn’t have got it to chase you, Stiles. That was so careless, and you almost died. Do you know how it felt to see you being tossed around like some ragdoll? That thing was choking you and clawing at you, and there was so much blood, and you stopped breathing. It’s like my world stopped when you got so quiet and still. Then it happened again here at the hospital. Your heart just stopped for a moment, and I swear mine did, too. Thank God you fought your way back because I can’t lose you.”

It sounds even worse than Stiles expects. No wonder he feels so horrible. It also explains why Derek’s crying because he knows how he feels whenever Derek gets injured, and he’s a werewolf, so the whole healing quickly thing is involved. Stiles is human, so there’s fragility there no matter how tough or strong he tries to be. There isn’t any quick healing if he’s injured, and he tries to be more cautious as he gets older because getting hurt sucks. He can’t imagine what Derek must have felt hearing his heart stop like that. Stiles would have been going nuts if the situation had been reversed, after all.

Their relationship is still relatively new, but it’s serious in a way that makes Stiles think about a future with Derek. The whole white picket fence, adopting kids, owning dogs, growing old together kind of future. They became really great friends when Derek came back to Beacon Hills five years ago to see them graduate high school, spending a ton of time together when a lot of the pack went away for college, and there’s been something more there for most that time, even if they were both too scared to do anything about it until this last year. By then, they were both so far gone that dating was merely a formality before they were actually talking about love and monogamy and boyfriends. It’s like waiting so long has made them communicate even more since getting together.

Looking up at Derek, he carefully moves his other arm, the one that doesn’t have tubes and shit poking out of it. Touching Derek’s face, he wipes away a tear with his thumb and tries to smile, ignoring the doozers jackhammering in his head. “Not gonna lose me,” he whispers, not even trying to talk normal because Derek’s right. It’s probably better not to try talking yet. But he can’t just lie around and see Derek so emotional without attempting to comfort him. It’s just not possible.

“I love you,” Derek murmurs, lightly gripping Stiles’ hand and rubbing his bearded cheek against it before turning his head to kiss Stiles’ palm. “So fucking much.”

“I know,” Stiles rasps out, his throat feeling like someone’s scrubbed the sides of it with a Brillo pad. Just raw and aching and really frustrating because Stiles wants to use his words right now because Derek needs to hear them. He starts coughing, his whole body aching as he shifts on the bed. That annoying beeping starts getting loud again, and he glares at the machine as he watches the green line move across the screen. This isn’t his first time in the hospital, not by a long shot, so he knows his vitals look good even if he feels like shit.

“You have to stop talking.” Derek runs his fingers through Stiles’ hair. “You need to rest and let your body recover. You almost died twice tonight, and some of those marks are probably going to scar because they were so deep. They had to give you a lot of blood to replace what you lost, you have horrible bruising around your throat, and your left ankle is twisted from how you landed when that thing let you go.”

Fuck. A twisted ankle is going to suck because it means desk duty at the station until it’s healed. The scars suck, too, but Derek doesn’t really mind any of the ones he already has from past supernatural encounters, so he knows these will be accepted just the same. It’s just more visible proof of survival, which is how Derek got him to accept the marks his body already bears as permanent reminders of his past dealings with the supernatural world.

Stiles looks at Derek and deliberately keeps his mouth closed, not wanting to worry him anymore than he already has, but he still wants to say so many things. While Stiles might have ended up in the hospital a dozen times in the last near decade since Scott got bit, it’s the first time he has since he and Derek became an us. Or a they. He’s not sure right now which one works best, and he’s too out of it to think clearly at the moment. The doozers are drilling his head even worse, and he feels his eyelids starting to droop as he stares at Derek.

“Get some rest, Stiles,” Derek urges softly, putting his hand against Stiles’ head and draining some of his pain. That works better than any pain medication, and the doozers finally get quiet as Stiles smiles up at Derek, feeling a bit punch drunk now after the whole werewolfy pain drain thing. “You look like you’re high on pain meds.” Derek smiles gently, leaning over to brush a kiss against Stiles’ forehead. “Why don’t you try to go back to sleep so your body can recover? You’ll feel better soon. And I’m not going anywhere, alright? I’ll be here when you wake up.”