After taking several banshee almost-wails at point blank range in close quarters, Stiles’ left ear just isn’t quite … right. The doctor says it’s a ruptured eardrum, which kind of feels like getting off easy considering what had happened, and reassures Stiles that his hearing would probably come back once the eardrum heals. It’s just that eardrums aren’t exactly quick-healing things and Stiles doesn’t exactly have the healing factor half of his friends have to compensate.
It’s fine, though. A little hearing loss feels like a small price to pay for getting Lydia back and more or less in one piece.
So the pack learns not to come up on Stiles’ left unless they want to scare him, they learn to speak to his right ear, they learn to make sure not to have meetings in noisy places where all he’s going to hear is the constant ringing he has on his left side.
All except Scott, who decides the best way to encourage Stiles’ body to repair itself is to come up beside him, fold one warm hand over Stiles’ good ear, and whisper into the left one. His voice is so quiet and so gentle, Stiles can feel Scott’s breath on his skin, but he can’t make out the words and it drives him nuts. He can’t turn his head to try and read lips–he’s not really great at it anyway–so he’s stuck watching the faces of the others in the pack when Scott whispers that stupid secret message. The first few times it’s shock, or knowing. After a week or two, that turns into something more like fond pity.
It takes three months, give or take, for Stiles’ hearing to really start to return. He’s convinced that it’s never going to be the same, but he’s starting to be able to make out some sound, muffled like they’re underwater. Like he’s compensating for that, Scott seems to whisper his words quieter. Sometimes Stiles isn’t sure Scott’s actually saying anything at all, no matter how much he strains to hear it.
There are a couple of nights where he legitimately lays awake, expression frustrated, hands clasped over his chest, and tried to will his ear better.
Maybe that’s what works, in the end. Maybe it’s just time. Maybe it’s magic, because that’s…
…that’s definitely what he feels like he’s feeling when he finally hears the message that Scott’s been whispering into his ear over and over for months and realizes how simple it is.
I love them all but love you the most. I love you the most.