Stiles comes careening around the corner into Danny's cubicle screaming, “Your sass-master girlfriend is awake!” like a horrible, arm flailing, purple and green clad, emergency alarm. She's wearing a TMNT T-shirt like they're still in high school and a purple hoodie she actually did wear in high school. If Stiles hadn't announced her impending arrival by running from the elevator banks screaming Danny's name, Danny might've thrown her coffee cup at Stiles when she appeared over the cubicle wall shouting, “DANNY!”
But she did come in screaming. And to be honest it's the third time this month she's caused a disruption at Danny's workplace. So Danny just rolls her eyes hard enough to give herself a headache, and tries to convey both how annoying and how awful she finds Stiles to be in one look. It'd do more good if Stiles didn't give all of her attention back to whoever is on the other end of the cellphone she's clutching, suddenly casual as she leans against the wall of Danny's cubicle.
“Did you hear all that? Yeah I just told her,” Stiles says. She waves at someone Danny can't see. It's probably one of Danny's half-dozen co-workers who has stood up to gawk. They always do when Stiles makes such an entrance. They don't get much excitement in their days, other than Stiles, so Danny understands the interest. Grudgingly.
“You know she doesn't listen to me anymore,” Stiles says, and Danny can hear her pouting. Danny ignores it for the ploy it is, and keeps staring at the accounts numbers on her computer screen. If she doesn't give Stiles attention, sometimes Stiles leaves. Or so Danny has found through trial and error.
Danny stares intently at the number 79 in A column, willing Stiles to go away, when suddenly what Stiles came in screaming clicks in her head.
Danny jolts, vaguely aware of Stiles saying, “Aha! … No, not you, Scott. I think Danny finally got what I said, is all.” She's grinning like the asshole she is when Danny stands up and gapes at her.
“Isaac's awake?” Danny asks. And Stiles, bless her, pays attention to the way Danny is clutching her desk with her knees nearly shaking out from under her, and Stiles just nods.
“Isaac's awake,” Danny repeats.
“That's what I said.”
“I hate you. Why are you my best friend?” Danny asks. Stiles doesn't answer.
She does opens her arms wide and Danny rushes into them for a reaffirming embrace. Danny sobs ugly, messy tears against Stiles' shirt while Stiles hums comfortingly and pets her hair. The hoodie smells like Stiles and is soft beneath Danny's clinging, digging fingers and Danny thinks, oh. Stiles planned dressing like a teenager on purpose. It's nefarious, annoying, and perfect. That's why she's Danny's best friend.
The drive to the hospital takes longer today than it has in a while. Or at least it feels that way. Danny taps her fingers against her knee and tries not to think about how awful it felt going to the hospital when Isaac was admitted. Stiles drove Danny to the hospital then too, slapping a drum beat on the Jeep's steering wheel along to a tune on the radio, and promising Danny that everything would be alright. It wasn't. But Danny doesn't hold that against Stiles. She would have and has said the same thing in the reversed situation - Scott in the emergency room.
The Jeep really isn't the best vehicle for L.A., but Stiles is the only person Danny trusts to get her there. Her own hands are shaking too much to drive. And Stiles is Danny's best friend for reasons that involve werewolves, the supernatural, and (less expectedly) teenage romance. For all that they give each other shit and Stiles drives her bat-shit nuts by say, calling her in the middle of the night drunk and whining for Danny to hack into something, Danny couldn't ask for anyone better.
The traffic is backed up and awful, like it almost always is, but Stiles is patient. Normally she'd be incessantly tapping her hand or fiddling with dials or buttons, trying not to lean out the window and yell at someone. Today she is still. Stiles takes her hand off the gear shift to cover Danny's hand, stilling the nervous tapping and lacing their fingers together to comfort her.
“Scott's at the hospital. He'll have one of the nurses charmed into letting Isaac go home by the time we get there,” Stiles says. She's taking her time, checking all of her mirrors and her gas gauge. Danny uses her free hand to wipe at her watering eyes, frustrated and anxious, and really relieved that Stiles isn't calling her on it.
When Stiles takes her hand back so she can change gears, there's an impression left on the soft skin of Danny's inner wrist from the friendship bracelets Stiles wears. They're bright and in varying degrees of quality, and there's always a half-dozen of them hanging from her wrist. Stiles teaches an arts and crafts unit to preteens when she's not busy working, and she gives out the bracelets she makes as gifts. Danny has at least twenty bracelets of her own in her jewelry box at home. But she doesn't wear them. If she did she knows she'd never hear the end of it.
Danny presses her thumb to the imprints and stares until Stiles takes her hand again at the next red light. The Jeep rumbles under foot, making Danny's knees buzz, and she tries to remember if the nurses had cut off the bracelets Isaac was wearing when she was admitted. Like Stiles, Isaac wears a lot of them – puts a new one on as soon as Stiles gives it to her.
Danny thinks about the way Isaac always smiles when Stiles gives her another one, waiting until Stiles isn't looking and then grinning brightly at Danny. The last one had been reds and whites, Beacon Hills colors, and Isaac had said, “She's getting pretty good at these,” while Danny tied it around her wrist.
Danny can't stand not knowing what happened to them.
It's a whirlwind at the hospital. One moment Danny and Stiles are greeted by Scott, grinning and swearing that Isaac is okay, I promise, Danny, she knew me, when a nurse comes by to shepherd the three of them just down the hall from Isaac's room to stand by the nurses' station while Isaac's doctor assesses her.
Scott looks worried sick by it, his previous joy from when he met them in the hallway having given way to a frown. His eyebrows are drawn down and he's leaning heavily against Stiles' weight at his back. With his hands in his pockets and hunched in on himself, Scott almost looks like the kid he was when they were all in high school. Except for the beard he's kept from no-shave-November (it's May), and the tattoo on his bicep. Under normal circumstances, Danny might tease him for turning into the hipster Stiles always said he would.
But she's too busy with worrying and trying to focus ton the forms the nurse gave her. Danny doesn't remember them being handed to her, but yet, here they are. Pinks, yellows, and whites – information that they apparently need in triplicate. Staring at the blanks, Danny can't remember if the paperwork Isaac put in to have her name legally changed has gone through and it seems vitally important right now.
“I'm sure, Danny. I'm sure she remembered me. I don't know what could be wrong,” Scott is saying, earnest as always. Stiles has her arm hooked around his chest, her thumb brushed against his collarbone and soothing him.
Danny crosses her arms, gazing darting around so she doesn't have to look at how hopelessly cute they look, rubbed off on each other in the best/worst ways.
When she looks back at them, Stiles catches her gaze from over Scott's shoulder. She's purse-lipped with her eyebrows drawn, and it's a look Danny knows well. It makes her shift, shoulders relaxing through force of will. Danny breathes out slowly.
She says, “It's not your fault, Scott. It's probably just routine, or something,” and watches Scott slump further into Stiles, soothed temporarily. Stiles visibly relaxes as well.
Danny wants to be mad about having to reassure Scott when somethings wrong with Isaac and she can't do anything about it. She thinks she would be justified in being angry at Stiles for her one-track-mindedness at a time like this, but Danny's just not. She knows how it works - knows that above all else, for Stiles, Scott comes first.
She also isn't at all surprised to find Stiles' whole attention on her now that Scott's been taken care of.
“Hey Scott, want to go get me and Danny coffee?” Stiles asks.
She's making a squint-y, far-off face that usually spells disaster in some way or another. It was the same face she made before she destroyed a vending machine the last time the three of them ended up in a hospital. Accidental, Danny's ass. Stiles is already pulling away from Scott and moving toward the nurses' station, and doing a terrible job at looking sneaky. Scott makes a face at Danny. One Danny readily returns when she catches sight of Stiles' grinch-like, mischievous face.
“I think I saw a coffee machine around somewhere,” Scott says. He's edging away.
“Lots of sugar for mine, thanks!” says Stiles.
“Let me know as soon as you hear something?” Scott asks softly, his hand on Danny's elbow, just before he goes. All Danny can manage in the form of a smile is something tight and joyless. But she means it when she says, “Okay.” Scott is Isaac's best friend, after all.
There's a clatter and Stiles exclaiming, “Oh my god, I am so sorry!” while she waves at Danny to run.
Danny walks down to Isaac's room, calmly. This isn't Beacon Hills, and Danny is mostly certain the nurses weren't planning on stopping her anyway.
Back at the nurses station Stiles keeps exclaiming apologetically about her clumsiness to the soundtrack of more crashes and clatters. When she gets right outside Isaac's room Danny can see the doctor say something to Isaac while she checks her eyes with a little penlight. The doctor writes something in her notebook, still speaking, and Isaac is nodding. The window lets Danny see their profiles only, but she can guess at Isaac's body language. Isaac is clenching her jaw, that Danny can see from where she's frozen on the spot. Isaac looks healthy, has for weeks though thanks to the werewolf healing.
When Isaac looks up at looks right at her, Danny exhales like she's been punched in the gut. All the questions she had about Isaac's memory, frantic questions about whether or not Isaac knows what year it is (and more importantly, if she didn't, what year did she think it was?) are knocked free by the way Isaac smiles at her. It's soft, self-deprecating maybe, but it's full of recognition.
Danny breathes in and it's a sob that she catches behind her hand, fingers covering her lips like she can hold the sound back. Isaac frowns at her through the window, and she has hair falling in her eyes because it hasn't been cut in weeks. Eight weeks to be precise.
The doctor is standing in front of her. And trying to inspect the forms Danny should've been filling out. Instead of standing there, like she was, crying over a fear that hasn't come to fruition. Not again.
Isaac's disappeared from view. When the doctor says, gently, “She can leave with you as soon as the paperwork is finished,” Danny presumes it's because Isaac's changing.
“Can I see her?” Danny asks. She needs to know for herself that this head injury isn't like the last.
Danny barely waits for the doctor to nod, to give her permission before she's entering the hospital room. This is merely one more hospital visit on a list that is numerous. Danny is hardly as nervous around doctors as she used to be.
Isaac's standing with her back to the door wearing the clothes she came in wearing. Except the shirt that had to be cut off of her in the E.R. before the werewolf healing powers had lefts the doctors and nurses baffled. So it's just jeans, a sweater and a scarf. Because it was the last exhales of winter, which is still mostly warm for southern California.
But Isaac had insisted. Grinning as she'd thrown the scarf around her neck then. It's just draped over her arm now.
“Hey,” Danny says. She takes a moment to wipe at her cheeks, trying uselessly to get rid of the evidence of her crying even though Isaac's already seen it, and heard it even.
“Isaac Lahey. I'm twenty-three. I was born in Beacon Hills, but I live in L.A. Both my parents are dead,” Isaac says. “Oh. And I'm a werewolf.” She turns to look at Danny with a smile on her face. It falters, for a second, when she gets a look at Danny's face. Now that she's looking, Danny refuses to brush at her splotchy cheeks or red eyes. She stares right back at Isaac, but breaking into a smile.
“I promise. No head injuries, no memories issues,” Isaac says. Danny plans to keep her girlfriend close in the coming days, just to be sure, but she doesn't mention that.
“Are you ready to go home?”
“Only if you tell me you missed me,” Isaac jokes. She holds herself tightly as she says it, though.
“More than you know,” Danny says, sincerely. Then she teases, “Stiles has been camped out on our couch while you've been here. I haven't seen so much dick since we graduated high school.”
“Stilinski and Scott fucked on our couch?” Isaac asks, appropriately scandalized.
“Like rabbits,” Danny lies. Mostly for the way Isaac looks further disgusted.
“We're buying a new couch.”
Danny gets her hands on Isaac, cupping Isaac's cheeks and brushing the hair at her temples just a bit. Isaac leans into the touch, eyes slipping closed as she hums. Danny almost wishes she was a werewolf too. She knows Isaac can hear her heart-thumping. And Danny knows, that if their roles were reversed, Isaac would be trying to absorb any lingering aching. Danny wishes she could do that for Isaac.
“I really missed you,” Danny says.
“'Missed you too.”
Danny bites her tongue and doesn't ask, “How?” Doesn't mention the coma.
“Okay! Let's get you lovebirds home before someone's supernatural recovery baffles the good doctors around here anymore, yeah?” Stiles asks from the doorway, spoiling the moment. She's grinning and looking ruffled. Scott looks even less innocent standing behind her without the coffees he was sent after.
Isaac giggles helplessly, lips pressed to Danny's neck to conceal them, her fingers hooked in Danny's belt loops to keep her upright as she laughs. Scott flushes further, and Danny's glad she isn't a werewolf.
“Oh no. We're taking your jeep,” Danny says. “You can get Scott to drive you home.”
Stiles pouts but, ultimately, it's easy to wrestle the keys off her.
In 2009 Danny was just a girl with a crush on a senior, a cheerleader, who didn't even know her name. It was freshman year of high school and everyone still called her 'Danielle.' Isaac was going by another name, but Danny only knew her from fond memories of being seven and taking swimming lessons at the public pool. Isaac was the coach's kid with scraped knees and, what-seemed-like, perpetually sunburnt cheeks. She was blond and she'd splashed around in the same class as Danny.
On the first day of high school, Isaac came to homeroom with a black-eye and followed by whispers. Danny doesn't remember the cheerleader's name, but she remembers that day well. Isaac and her were seated together and their knees knocked against each other unintentionally a couple of times. When Isaac said, "Sir, I prefer to be called Isaac," to Mr. Harris, voice soft, Danny was busy looking down at where her pinkie was almost touching Isaac's.
The laughter filtered in. And Danny, blushing harder than even Isaac, looked up quick when Mr. Harris called her name off the list. And Danny said, “I prefer Danny,” even though she didn't really care either way. She moved her pinkie the small distance to Isaac's, concentrating on staring at the board while Mr. Harris grumbled and finished going through attendance.
Back then, Isaac had moved her pinkie as well, hooking it around Danny's, and Danny's heart had stuttered. Now Danny wants to at least be able to return the favor.
Instead, she's watching, feeling sort of helpless as Isaac sits on the edge of their bed, looking smaller than when she was last here. And Danny doesn't know if it's her and her worry that she can't tamp down on, or whatever happened out in the dark, full moon night that landed Isaac in the hospital. Danny doesn't know how to approach. Can't ask how it happened because they've had nearly as many fights about Isaac fighting for the local packs as they have fought about who does the dishes.
Besides, it's always the hardest part of their relationship, when one of them comes home from the hospital. It was especially difficult when Danny came home from knee surgery. She'd been a mess of anger that she couldn't direct anywhere, while Isaac hid out in the kitchen and living room for days.
Isaac waited then. Danny leans against the doorway and waits now. Isaac took a shower right after they got home. Just moments ago, she'd rifled through their dresser, and she's sitting in one of Danny's sweaters that she'd stolen, even though it's warm in their apartment, spring feeling like more like summer in L.A.
As Danny watches, Isaac presses the sleeve of the sweater to her nose, breathing in.
“Laundry detergent and Bvlgari,” Isaac says, eyes closed for a second as she recalls it all. Her eyes flash gold when she opens them. Danny's proud that after years, her heart doesn't stutter at the sight.
“Funny, that's what home smells like to me now,” Isaac continues. “I like that you haven't changed your perfume after all these years. Love it, even.”
“How could I?” Danny asks. “You said -”
“It's how I found you after the rave.” Isaac smiles up at her, the rare kind that reaches her eyes. Even though her eyes are a little wet. “You know, I wouldn't have even known what it was called if Scott hadn't tackled you during practice that week? I probably would've went years trying to figure out that smell.”
Danny shifts restlessly against the door frame, not wanting her knee to get stiff. But mostly so she can drop her chin and conceal her blush. Danny remembers junior and senior year, sneaking Isaac in through her bedroom window early in the morning while her parents were still asleep. Teasing, "You'll never guess who's outside my window," just to watch Isaac roll her eyes.
Isaac's eyes are focused on her when Danny looks up. They're a startling shade of blue-gray at this distance, and if Danny didn't have practice at these soft, unspoken negotiations masquerading as reminiscing, then she would look away.
Isaac says, “I love you,” and means, “I've loved you since I was sixteen.” They're both true. But she sounds like she thinks this time will be the time Danny leaves. Like Danny didn't wake up one day to find her life was split between Isaac Lahey and everything else, long before they were anything other than teenagers falling in and out of each other's beds. Like Danny didn't decide which of those two was most important.
Danny waits until Isaac has looked away, face tucked up against her shoulder to hide the way she's breathing in Danny's scent from her shirt. Danny eases from the doorway and moves slowly toward the bed while Isaac isn't looking.
Danny says, “I really missed you. You're crazy and a bit of an asshole, but I really fucking love you.”
Fingers catching in the hair at Isaac's temple, soft blond hair that's still wet from her shower, running through Danny's fingers, and Danny pulls Isaac's head slowly toward her. And with her lips pressed to the back of Isaac's head she says, “You smell like home to me too.”
In 2013 Danny and Stiles ran away from Beacon Hills. Danny drove the Jeep, headed for L.A. and white knuckling it while a Vampire Weekend song played on the radio. The highway they were on hugged the side of a mountain and a guardrail was all that separated them from endlessness of the ocean spread out beside them. It had almost felt like a road-trip. Like going away to the seaside the way Danny used to with her parents when she was young.
But Stiles was asleep in the passenger seat, snoring lightly, and covered in scrapes, bruises, and nude band-aides. It makes Danny sick to remember. A tight curve had Stiles' head rolling from the headrest to settle against the window with a thump. She awoke spluttering.
Stiles asked, voice tight and exhausted, “Where are we?”
“Well, we're not there yet, if that's what you're asking.” Danny'd tried to grin, but her chest was aching over thoughts of a girl with blond curls, and it was a pain she couldn't rub away with the heel of her hand against her chest, as much as she tried.
Danny remembers saying, “Come on, you know I'm not the funny one,” reaching over to put her hand on Stiles' knee, trying not to think about how knobbly or thin it may be. Until Stiles slapped her hand away playfully and calling them both “Spoken for ladies, thank you very much, Danielle,” and laughing about it.
Five miles clocked on the odometer later, and Stiles murmured, “I miss Scott,” just soft enough that Danny could pretend she didn't hear it. She could've pretended the sound was whipped up by the same breeze whipping her hair around, but she didn't. She squeezed Stiles' hand and said, “I know.”
Stiles called her Han Solo, and Danny laughed, pretending they weren't running away. Pretending it wasn't their parents' ideas. Pretending Beacon Hills had become nearly unlivable and, most of all, pretending running wasn't killing them both.
Danny wakes up to cold fingers sneaking under her shirt, thumbs brushing over the soft hairs of her stomach. She whines, arching into the touch even as she complains, “Your fingers are freezing. Why are you awake?”
Isaac laughs softly. Her nose pressed to the hair behind Danny's ear, breath and lips warm against the back of Danny's neck. Shivers run down Danny's back, making her shudder in Isaac's arms. Her arms that tighten their hold until Danny's on her back, half on the mattress and half on Isaac.
"Come on,” Isaac whines. “Wake up already. You're so lazy."
Isaac is drawing her fingers up further, thumbs catching on the swell of Danny's breasts, making her skin prickle and goose-bump. Danny means to grumble back, to grunt something unintelligible so Isaac will think she's fallen back to sleep. But Isaac fingers really are cold. When her thumbs brush over Danny's nipples, Danny moans.
"I used to get up and dig graves every morning, Danny. You used to jog at 6am most days! When'd you get so lazy?" Isaac teases.
"Not lazy. Just.” Danny has to stop speaking to shudder in Isaac's arms. She's breathing hard already, and Isaac's only playing, light touches, while she sucks and kisses the skin at the back of Danny's neck. It takes Danny a moment to get herself together enough to retort, “First of all, my best friend in high school was an annoying douche who was easier to handle after he was winded -"
"You're a great friend, really."
"Shut up. I love Jackson, but he's a douche. Unh.” Danny halfheartedly tries to stop Isaac's hands by grabbing at her wrists.
“That's still a terrible thing to say.”
“Stiles' fault. She's rubbed off on me -"
"She better not have." Isaac growls a little when she says it. Not because she believes it. “I should be the only one rubbing off on you.”
"Oh my god,” Danny gasps. It's too cheesy. She slaps at Isaac's arms playfully. “Go back to sleep, jesus." She writhes a little in Isaac's grip, gasping and laughing in turn.
Eventually, Isaac lets her alone for a moment, cupping Danny's left breast, and holding Danny to her with her forearm thrown over Danny's hips. Their legs are tangled together in the sheets, and Isaac' still wearing a sweater. The overhead fan is click-clicking at a rapid enough speed, Danny almost thinks she needs a sweater as well.
“What do you have to do today?” Isaac asks, whispering the words against Danny's ear.
“I should call Allison and Lydia. Tell them how you are.” She can feel Isaac nodding.
“So we have time?”
“Time for what?” Danny asks. She knows the answer, though, and she's already breathless. Isaac squeezes her breast, and her free hand travels lower. Thumb hooked under the lace of Danny's underwear, Isaac kisses softly at Danny's skin. She's left a hickey there, Danny's sure. She plans to be embarrassed about it later. Much later.
“Time to catch up on all the orgasms you missed out on while I was away.”
Later they'll need to talk. About the coma, and not calling it “being away.” And they'll need to sleep for more than three hours. Danny will cook them something light, and they'll sit on the couch together, gradually closing the distance until they're entwined in sleep, illuminated by the glow of Netflix asking them if they're still watching. And Danny will wake up with a crick in her neck, and Isaac will call her an old-lady. Much later, Danny will take the friendship bracelets from her jewelry box and tie them, one by one, around Isaac's wrist to make up for the ones Isaac lost. Probably cut free and disposed of at the hospital.
But all of that can wait, Danny knows. She's giggling and red in the face as Isaac rolls them around on the bed, until they're face to face. Smiling, Danny tilts her chin up so Isaac's lips are in reach of her own. Danny eggs her on, saying, “Oh? Show me what you've got then.” She loses the challenging tone before all of the words out. She's too busy tossing her head back in a pleased, happy sound as Isaac presses against her. Isaac doesn't disappoint.