it's a numbers game
Numbers make sense. They always have.
Feelings, on the other hand, don’t.
Stiles relies on numbers; he counts for a living. That’s how he’s always been, since the death of his mother, and he’s sure that’s how he’ll always be.
Counting an infinite loop; one tragedy after the other.
Stiles has been sitting in the single, uncomfortable, plastic-backed chair of Derek’s hospital room for sixteen hours and three minutes when the doctor comes in holding a clipboard.
“He’ll wake up like, tomorrow, right? Because I kind of have a meeting in LA I can’t miss.”
The words are out of his mouth before he’s fully thought them through, an annoying habit he’s been dealing with since he was a child, and he belatedly realizes it might be an incredibly rude thing to say. The look on the doctor’s face confirms this, and he adds, “It’s not like he’s going to die.” He spares a quick glance at the unmoving figure resting on the bed before his eyes dart away. It brings back too many memories.
But, he repeats to himself, it’s not like he’s going to die.
The doctor’s gaze is somber, however, and he looks between Derek and Stiles before he double checks something on his clipboard. He meets Stiles’ eyes; his face ashen, and his voice grave.
“Mr. Stilinski,” he begins, and Stiles knows something is very, very wrong. His heart is already sinking when the doctor continues, “I think we need to talk.”
The doctor finally walks out of the room sixteen hours and fifty seven minutes after the accident, and when the door finally shuts behind him, phrases like “things don’t look very good” and “he’ll need a miracle” ring in the silence he leaves behind. Stiles throws up the contents of his stomach in the bathroom. He stares at his glassy-eyed reflection for a long time, before he washes the taste of bile out of his mouth.
He calls to cancel his meeting, and all the while, the steady beat of Derek’s machine-fueled heart floats through the thin walls and makes him want to be sick all over again.