Fandom: Teen Wolf
Summary: When Peter gets sick, Stiles is the only one who cares enough to check on him. That’s where it all begins.
Peter drifts in and out of delirium, sometimes near motionless with a grimace contorting his clammy features, other times thrashing around weakly and slurring nonsense under his breath. He always gravitates towards Stiles as if he can sense Stiles’ presence, and after the third time of tugging Peter back into place so that he doesn't risk falling off the bed, Stiles gives up and just moves over to sit against the headboard instead of in the chair, letting the Beta burrow into his side. It’s probably a werewolf thing; Stiles knows that they're pretty tactile creatures, and the only time anyone touches Peter these days is when Derek shoves him into walls for mocking or insulting someone.
That’s a pretty sad existence any way you look at it.
Stiles spends the night diligently replacing icepacks, drinking coffee, and reading Lord of the Rings out loud whenever Peter gets extra twitchy. It seems to settle him down at least a little.
By dawn, Stiles is too jittery to stay in bed, and Peter’s fever has dropped a few more degrees, still troublingly high but no longer as severe. And...
“Hey, Peter, can you hear me?” Stiles peers down into half-lidded blue eyes, dazed and unfocused but at least conscious. “Look, I need you to sit up a bit and drink some water. You've been sleeping forever and you need to stay hydrated.”
Peter seems to hear him even though Stiles is pretty sure the Beta doesn't recognize him, but with Stiles’ assistance, the werewolf remains half-upright, still sagging against Stiles’ arm as he sips shakily at the glass of water that Stiles presses against his parched lips. He doesn't manage more than a few desperate swallows before his strength wanes again and he gags, half a mouthful spilling down his chin. Swiftly, Stiles wipes away the excess water before it can soak into the Beta’s pajamas.
“It’s alright, you can drink more later,” Stiles assures when Peter releases a distressed whimper at the back of his throat. When the werewolf continues struggling feebly to get back up, presumably in search of more water, Stiles anxiously casts his mind around for a solution. None of the other werewolves had trouble sitting up long enough to gulp down some water but...
When his mother’s frontotemporal dementia made drinking from a glass difficult, but before she absolutely had to be hooked up to an IV, she sucked on ice chips. And hasn't he read somewhere that this method is also better for the stomach? God, he has a laptop; he should look this stuff up.
“Let’s hope you have ice or this is going to take a while,” Stiles tells Peter, firmly pushing the man flat onto the bed before scrambling back out into the kitchen.
As it turns out, Peter does have ice – large ice cubes in a tray – but it’s obviously not crushed yet. Stiles quickly tracks down a Ziploc bag and a hammer – hey, whatever works, though why Peter has a hammer at all, he doesn't know – and gets to work grinding down the ice into smaller pieces.
“You owe me, you so owe me,” Stiles huffs, feeling absurd as he swings a hammer at the ice. It’s actually harder than one would think, but not as hard as – say – caving in a werewolf’s skull with a metal baseball bat. (Stiles would know; he’s had to do it before.) Logically, he knows nurses and doctors and even parents everywhere have probably done something similar (the ice, not the skull) but it still feels a bit surreal when he thinks about how he’s standing in an ex-psychopath’s kitchen hammering away at a bag of ice in the hopes of making the aforementioned ex-psychopath feel better.
Ah well. At least this is less awkward than giving the man a bath, and it’s hardly the weirdest thing he’s ever done.
“Stay in bed!” Stiles chastises as he rushes back into Peter’s bedroom and finds the man attempting to prop himself up on one elbow. “Come on, Peter, stop pushing yourself. You're not gonna get better that way. Here, look, I come bearing ice chips. I even smashed them up myself. You know, you should try it sometime. Who knows, it might be therapeutic for your more homicidal tendencies.”
Sitting down again, Stiles feeds the ice chips to Peter with painstaking care, somewhat on edge at first about the possibility of Peter inadvertently swallowing the ice whole, but after a few minutes of nothing of the sort happening, Stiles is far more distracted and slightly mesmerized with the way Peter’s lips unintentionally nip his fingers every time Stiles slips a piece of ice into his mouth.
“If you weren’t so sick, I’d say you were doing this on purpose,” Stiles informs the Beta, feeling flustered even under Peter’s muddled gaze. “You better not be doing this on purpose, dude. I’m staying with you out of the goodness of my own heart. The least you can do is not play mind games with me.”
Fifteen minutes later, Peter’s nodded off again, and this time, he looks more peaceful. The fever’s still a problem but Stiles feels that it’s safe enough this time to leave the werewolf alone for a bit without anything bad happening, just long enough for him to grab a shower and make himself some breakfast. He’s more than a little hungry.
(And he very pointedly does not think about Peter’s mouth.)
:come to the loft:
Stiles wrinkles his nose at the complete lack of punctuation. Call him a grammar Nazi but is it really so hard to capitalize one letter and add a period? He’s fairly certain Derek isn’t running for his life and texting at the same time so the werewolf has no excuse.
Jeez, Derek texts like he speaks.
Stiles sighs as he dangles Peter’s phone in the air, idly wondering whether he should pretend to be Peter and send back a frustratingly vague no, or just ignore it. He has half a mind to text Derek himself and tell the Alpha that his uncle’s in no shape to be going anywhere. At the same time however, there’s a reason Peter kept his weakened condition a secret, Stiles only found out by accident, and unless it’s an absolute emergency, he doesn't really want to break Peter’s confidence. It’s pretty obvious that Stiles’ dad hasn't told the Pack where his son is camping out either so everyone probably still believes that Peter’s off doing his own thing again.
Not that Stiles would have a problem with the Pack knowing where he is and what he’s doing at the moment. He’s made up his mind to take care of Peter, and he’s not ashamed of it, but he has to admit that it would be a hell of a lot less of a hassle if nobody finds out. Scott at least would bombard his phone with freaked out text messages to abort and flee while demanding to know where Stiles is so that he can be saved, Lydia would tell him to stab Peter while he has the chance, and Derek, maybe Erica and Boyd too, Allison as well, would all-
Yeah, it’s best if Stiles just keeps this quiet. And bless his father who has most likely realized that discretion is the better part of Peter’s successful recovery.
Oh look, a comma.
Stiles looks back on a few of Peter’s texts, snickering at some of the more snarky ones, and then types back, :I'm busy, dear nephew. Some of us actually have a life outside of brooding and playing vigilante for the good people of Beacon Hills.:
There, that sounds like something Peter would say. It’s not that different from something Stiles would say. He turns off the phone without waiting for a reply. That’s probably one of Peter’s methods as well when he wants to avoid any of Derek’s direct orders.
Stiles’ gaze flicks to the side when Peter shifts against his hip. The werewolf’s woken up a couple more times to accept a few more ice chips before meandering back to dreamland but he still hasn't been aware enough to recognize Stiles.
Stiles wonders who Peter thinks is taking care of him, or if he’s even aware of that much.
Peter’s pajamas have already needed to be switched out once, too sticky with sweat (the only upside is that the man hasn't had to go the bathroom yet), and Stiles took the opportunity to give him a cold sponge bath while he was at it. It brought the Beta some relief, and hey, Stiles has already seen the guy naked once; a second time won’t hurt anyone, and yeah, he’s a hormone-filled teenager looking after a thirty-something man with a ridiculously toned body for someone who spent six years in a coma and died once to boot, but the key words are ‘looking after’, and even his libido isn’t going to react to somebody who’s clearly suffering at the moment.
Stiles glances at his phone – it’s seven in the evening again, and he’s already called his dad for both an update and to check in (and to remind him not to eat anything greasy). He’s spent the day researching Arachnes some more, scrolling through healthcare pages, reading Peter more Lord of the Rings, and generally fussing over his temporary patient. It’s been a slow day.
He looks at Peter again. The werewolf is definitely waking up.
“Hey, how are you feeling?” Stiles asks softly as blue eyes flutter open. He asks similar questions every time, hoping for an actual answer. It hasn't come yet, and it doesn't seem likely to come this time either. Peter only blinks sluggishly up at him in response.
Stiles dithers for a moment before getting to his feet, easing the werewolf’s head onto a pillow. “Okay, Peter, I'm gonna go heat up some soup for you. Be right back.”
It only takes him ten minutes to heat up the chicken broth (in a pot because that always tastes better than just zapping it in the microwave), but by the time he returns to Peter’s bedroom, the werewolf’s heaved himself partially upright with sheer willpower, using the headboard to support his spine.
As soon as Stiles steps into the room, Peter’s gaze zeroes in on him, and the man rasps out, “Stiles?”
Relief floods Stiles’ system as he bounds forward, hastily putting down the food tray before he spills anything, and then he turns his attention onto Peter. “Oh thank god, I thought it was gonna take another day for you to at least recognize me! Here, let me-”
With now practiced ease, he slips an arm around Peter’s shoulders, stuffing a pillow behind the werewolf’s back with his free hand before gently manoeuvring Peter into a more comfortable position.
When he looks up again, Peter is watching him with wide, bewildered eyes that are gradually taking on a more wary cast.
Stiles is totally not going to stand for that.
“I made chicken broth,” He announces before Peter can demand he leave or anything stupid like that. “It’s my mom’s-” His heart twists a little. “-secret recipe. I loved it when I was a kid; she made it for me whenever I was sick.”
Peter is still staring at him, looking more and more confused by the second, especially when Stiles spoons some of the soup and raises it to the werewolf’s mouth. Peter makes no move to accept it.
Stiles wilts a little. Evidently, lucid Peter is far less compliant than delirious Peter. Well, duh.
“It’s not poisoned if that’s what you're worried about,” He huffs, lowering the spoon. “Look, you've been... really sick. Like, really, really sick, with that mistletoe spell that the witches hit all you wolves with. I don’t know if you remember but you didn't show up for the Pack meeting Derek called on Sunday so I... well, I thought I’d come check on you because you got a bigger dose than the others, and their symptoms were bad enough.” His brow creases with a stern frown. “Lucky I did too; you collapsed in the bathroom, you know? And you almost burned my hands with the fever you had. Your temperature’s still too high but trust me when I say you were a lot worse when I found you. You've been completely out of it for almost two days now-”
Stiles shuts up. Right, sick werewolf. No babbling.
Peter’s features are drawn with exhaustion, and his eyes are still unnaturally bright with fever, but there’s a sharpness in them that Stiles has actually missed that now surveys first him, and then the room, and then him again.
“This is... my apartment,” The Beta remarks, voice hoarse.
“Uh, yeah, I... may have broken in,” Stiles shrugs a bit, unrepentant. “Hope you don’t mind.”
Peter rolls his eyes, just a little like he can’t help himself. Stiles is just glad that he doesn't seem angry about it or anything.
“And I seem to recall that this room should be... less clean,” Peter continues, gaze pinning Stiles in place.
Stiles frowns even harder. “What, you think I was gonna leave it in the state it was in? Ew, no, that’s gross. I'm an advocate of good hygiene. I cleaned your bathroom too. And I washed your clothes. Oh, and I really hope you won’t miss a set of your bed sheets; your claws ripped holes in them so I threw them out. And I’ve been drinking your coffee. Like, a lot of it.”
He’s probably not talking about the coffee, and now’s not the time to be facetious.
Stiles scowls defensively in the face of Peter’s skepticism. “Well I wasn't gonna just leave you here alone! You probably would've died!” He barrels on before the werewolf can say anything else. “Look, who cares why? Just drink this damn soup and then go back to sleep! I know I call you zombiewolf sometimes but I don’t actually mean for you to become one, and right now, you're definitely well on your way back to your grave!”
Peter opens his mouth, most likely to interrogate him some more, but Stiles doesn't give him the chance. Swiftly, his hand darts out, and he shoves a spoonful of the broth into the Beta’s mouth.
Peter splutters a bit but ultimately swallows, blinking owlishly at Stiles. He looks somewhat incredulous now.
“Good wolfy,” Stiles bites out grouchily. “Don’t stop now; you're doing so well. Here comes the choo-choo train again. Open up.”
Peter gives him a very familiar condescending sneer. It’s usually edged with the threat of violence but the sickness seems to have erased it for the time being. Stiles just returns the look with an equally unimpressed one and raises the spoon again. To his eternal shock, the Beta glowers a bit but then opens his mouth without further complaint.
The werewolf manages to down almost a third of the bowl before shaking his head. Stiles doesn't fight him on it. Anymore will probably upset Peter’s stomach, no matter how good his mom’s recipe is.
A rather stilted silence falls over them, and now that Stiles doesn't have something to concentrate on, he can’t help fidgeting in his seat.
“You should get some more rest,” He blurts out at last for lack of anything better to say. “Your fever hasn't broken yet; it’s actually still pretty bad. Oh wait, drink some water first.”
He picks up the glass this time, pouring some water from the pitcher, but he doesn't miss the way Peter’s gaze slides over to the bedside table, taking in the tray of ice chips placed neatly on one corner, as well as The Fellowship of the Ring, and Stiles’ laptop currently opened onto a page of medicinenet.com about fevers.
Stiles is determined not to feel self-conscious. He mostly succeeds.
Peter makes a valiant attempt at holding the glass himself but his arm doesn't come up even halfway before it drops limply back onto the bed. His expression tightens with displeasure. Stiles doesn't mention it, only raising the glass to Peter’s lips as he did once before.
“Get some rest,” Stiles repeats once most of the glass has been drained, and Peter is lying down again. He gathers up the food tray and bustles back out into the kitchen, taking his time to wash everything before returning to the bedroom.
His hopes that Peter has already fallen asleep again are dashed when he sits back down and finds the werewolf peering fuzzily up at him through eyes that are at half-mast, and even that much only because Peter is a stubborn and mistrustful son-of-a-bitch.
Stiles sighs. He’s been awake for over thirty-six hours, and he’s tired. It’s fortunate that he’s used to pulling consecutive all-nighters. Rubbing a hand over his face, he meets Peter’s gaze. “I’m only here until you get better,” He tells the werewolf with all the sincerity he can muster, and his heartbeat is as steady as a rock. “I'm not going to kick you while you're down or laugh at you or hold this over your head later. And as soon as you're back on your feet, I’ll be outta your hair. You only have to put up with me for that long, and then we’ll never talk about this again if that’s what you want. But right now, you need to get some more sleep. You're not gonna get better otherwise.”
Another silence ensues. Peter doesn't close his eyes but Stiles is pretty sure that some of the tension has leaked out of the werewolf’s frame. After a minute’s consideration, he picks of The Fellowship of the Ring, flips to the bookmarked page, and picks up where he left off earlier.
“...All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king...”
When Stiles glances up ten minutes later, Peter’s eyes are closed again.