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Prologue

“But Da-ad?” Stiles says, and he knows he’s whining like a child, but this is important, alright?

“The decision has been made, Stiles,” John says as he closes the door to his office, to keep out any prying ears, “And while we’re at it, you should probably start getting used to calling me Chief when you’re in the police station.”

“Chief Daddy?” Stiles says with a grin, before he remembers that he’s actually pissed at his father and he turns his face back into a scowl.

John just smiles and shakes his head, amused.

“No, but seriously, Dad,” Stiles says as he goes to sit down in front of his father’s desk. “What with both Scott and I transferring here, why can’t we be partners? We’d make a good team!”

“Because you’re both still inexperienced, and I don’t like the idea of pairing up the two of you,” John says, frowning.

“We’ve been out of the Academy for almost two years now!” Stiles says, vehemently, because dammit, he’s not a rookie anymore.

“That is still nothing compared to some of our other Officers,” John says, “Listen, you wanted to transfer into a Police Department where I call the shots, then you’re gonna have to get used to taking orders from me. You were the one that assured me it would be no problem.”

“And it won’t be!” Stiles says, firmly.

John raises a questioning eyebrow at him.

“Except for this!” Stiles tries again, big eyes fixed on his father, “Scott and I, we know what we’re doing!”

“You weren’t partners back in Westville!” John argues.

“And Westville was boring!” Stiles counters, “Come on, it was the small town version of Nothing-Ever-Happens-Here-Ville. This is why I came back to Beacon Hills.”

“And this is why you’re being partnered with an experienced Officer,” John says, “Both you and Scott.”

Stiles sighs, sinking back into his chair.

“You gotta trust me on this, kid,” John says, giving Stiles a sympathetic look. “I just wanna make sure everyone makes it home in one piece at the end of the day. Especially my own son.”

Dad,” Stiles all but rolls his eyes, because really? Doesn’t his dad trust he’s capable of doing this job?

“Remember how worked up you would get as a kid if I came home from work a bit late?” John says, his voice gone softer, “You’d always worry something had happened to me.”

Stiles purses his lips together, thinking back to the times he feared his father wouldn’t come home.

“Yeah,” Stiles says, subdued.

“I know that wasn’t because you doubted my abilities,” John says, his eyes fixed on his son, “Just like you need to know I’m not doubting yours now.”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, clearing his throat slightly. He nods, resigning to his fate. “Okay then,” he goes on, tilting his head back up, “So who am I being partnered up with?”

“Hale,” John says, the beginnings of a grin appearing on his face.

Cora?” Stiles asks, confused, “But she’s a Detective?”

John shakes his head. “Derek,” he says, leaning forward in his chair.

Officer Grumpy Cat?!” Stiles calls out, so bewildered that he misses the snort of laughter his father tries to hide.

“He goes by Officer Hale here,” John says, trying to wipe the smirk off his face, “But yes.”

“Oh father, why do you hate me so much?” Stiles asks, dramatically, as he buries his face in his hands.

“Hale is one of our best and brightest, Stiles,” John says, in all seriousness, “You will benefit enormously from getting to learn from him.”

“But he hates literally everyone!” Stiles says, feeling the courage sink in his stomach.

“No, he doesn’t,” John says, tutting at Stiles.

“He sure acts like he does!” Stiles says, grumpily. “Besides, I thought he worked with Parrish? What, did Parrish get tired of him?”

“You know Parrish hurt his knee not long ago,” John explains, “He feels like he’s not up to street work anymore and he asked to be put on Dispatch. It has nothing to do with Derek.”

“Oh, right…” Stiles says, because he remembers John telling him about the baseball bat Parrish took to the knee a while back.

“You’ll be fine, Stiles,” John says, getting up from behind his desk as an indication that he needs to get back to work.

Stiles gets up as well, and lets himself be guided towards the door.

“So who’s Scott getting?” he asks, one hand on the door.

“Allison Argent,” John says.

“What?” Stiles calls out, “Oh man, she’s so kick-ass!” He pouts for a second, before he opens his mouth all of a sudden, but his father cuts him off.

“No, you can’t trade partners with Scott!” John says, put upon.

“But Dad!” Stiles implores.

“Goodbye, son,” John insists, all but shoving Stiles out the door.

“Fine, fine. You should probably get used to calling me Officer Stilinski though,” Stiles says, adding a wink.

His father just chuckles before closing the door on him.

***

Chapter 1

Stiles is thirty minutes early for his first shift in Beacon Hills, and stays glued to Scott’s side as long as he can. He catches a glimpse of Derek in the hallway, talking to Officer Parrish and… smiling? Derek Hale can smile? All he’s ever seen him do during his visits at the police station is scowl and grunt and not talk to people. But Parrish actually gets a smile, and… Parrish just bursts out in laughter at something Derek has said - inaudible to Stiles.

“He’s funny?” Stiles whispers at Scott, and he feels like everything he ever knew in this world was a lie.

“Hey, maybe it won’t be so bad?” Scott says, ever the optimist.

“Easy for you to say,” Stiles sighs, looking back at Scott, “You’ve got the most bad-ass cop as a partner, and to top it off, she’s super friendly and beautiful!”

“Well…” Scott says, grinning for a second, before he nods his head over Stiles’ shoulder to where Stiles knows Derek and Parrish are still talking. “Surely you’re not gonna tell me Derek isn’t good-looking?”

“Th-that…” Stiles sputters, pulling Scott away by the arm, to create a bigger distance between him and Derek to make sure he doesn’t catch any of this conversation. “That’s completely beside the point!”

“Knew it,” Scott beams, smugly, and maybe Stiles is glad he isn’t paired with his traitorous best friend after all?

Stiles is just about to give him his comeback, when Allison - Stiles recognizes most of the Officers at the station from all the times he’s been here to visit his father - shows up and says, “Hi! You’re Scott, right?”

“Yep, that’s me!” Scott says, holding out his hand for Allison to shake it.

“Hello Stiles, succumbed to the Beacon Hills charm after all?” she smiles at him, shaking his hand as well.

“It was only a matter of time,” Stiles tells her.

“So Scott, I hear you and I are going to be working together a lot from now on,” Allison says, turning back to her new partner.

“That’s the plan,” Scott says, and Stiles thinks that if he smiles any wider, he’s going to sprain something.

“He’s the lucky one!” Stiles says, elbowing Scott in the ribs.

“And you aren’t?” Allison frowns at Stiles.

“More like I’m being punished,” Stiles winks at her, and there’s a hint of a smile on her face before she straightens up and her lips part just a tiny bit. Stiles gets it just as there’s a throat clearing behind him, and dread is already filling him as he slowly turns around… to face Derek.

“Punished, huh?” Derek says, and his face looks less than impressed.

“Derek, hi,” Stiles stammers out, feeling like a complete idiot, “I was just…”

Derek doesn’t even look mad, he just looks… already sick and tired of Stiles and their shift hasn’t even started yet.

“Briefing’s in fifteen,” Derek says, completely dismissing Stiles’ stammering. “Don’t be late or we’ll get stuck with the crap jobs.”

And Stiles is not going to lie, he kind of wishes the ground would open up and swallow him whole right now. Derek just walks past him, gives Allison a friendly nod, and disappears down the hallway.

“Only you, Stiles,” Scott mutters, and Stiles pretends he doesn’t see the hint of a smile on his lips.

“Can I go back to Westville now?” Stiles groans, dropping his chin to his chest.

“Familiar isn’t always better, buddy,” Scott says, clapping him on the shoulder. “Come on, it’ll be okay.”

“Derek takes some warming up to,” Allison says, sympathetic, “But he’s a good guy, and a great cop. Don’t worry too much about it.”

Stiles nods, unconvinced.

“Go grab your weapon belts,” Allison nods towards Stiles and Scott’s waists. “Derek isn’t wrong about briefing.”

“Okay,” Scott says, dragging Stiles along towards the staircase leading to the gun lockers.

“Well, that was a horrible introduction,” Stiles sighs as he wraps his belt around his waist, checking the position of every tool.

“At least you didn’t call him Officer Grumpy Cat,” Scott sniggers, fiddling with the combination of his locker.

“Don’t even…” Stiles laments, pulling the slide back on his gun to check it before pushing the magazine in.

“Give the guy a chance at least, Stiles,” Scott says, checking his gun as well.

“Yeah…” Stiles grumbles noncommittally, shoving his weapon in the holster and closing his locker.

The briefing room is filling up when Stiles and Scott get there. Allison immediately calls Scott over, having saved him a seat next to her. Scott shoots Stiles a nervously excited smile before slipping in the seat next to his new partner.

When Stiles looks around the room, his eyes fall on the empty seat next to Derek, but Derek’s attention is on his radio as he’s clipping it on his bullet proof vest, sticking the earpiece in his ear. Stiles is contemplating whether or not he should go up to him when he gets shoulder-checked by Jackson passing by. Jackson, who doesn’t even say hello - or sorry for bumping into him - and just ignores Stiles as he takes a seat near the front of the room. Clearly Jackson hasn’t changed much from being the douchebag he was in high school.

As Stiles finally looks back towards Derek, Derek is looking back at him - blank expression on his face - and nods towards the empty seat at his side. Stiles hurries over, tries a friendly smile, and takes his seat.

“Hi,” Stiles says, somewhat unsure, “So I’m Stiles - ”

“Derek,” Derek says, cutting him off and getting right down to business, “Take notes during Chief Stilinski’s briefing. Addresses that are special, license plates to look out for, high risk areas. If you didn’t catch something, the bullet points are always put on the computer as well, so don’t disturb the briefing by asking him to repeat anything.”

Stiles nods. It’s not like he doesn’t know these things already, but he finds it’s probably best to indulge Derek right now, given the bad introduction from earlier.

“If he gives us crappy assignments, don’t argue,” Derek goes on, side-eyeing Stiles, “We don’t need everyone thinking we’re getting special treatment because he’s your father.”

“Whoa, wait a second,” Stiles says, shaking his head, because there are some things he just can’t let slip by. “My dad’s a fair guy. He’s gonna treat me the way he does everyone else.”

“Alright then,” Derek says, looking anything but convinced.

“So that’s what you think of me? That I’m only here because I’m the Chief’s son?” Stiles whispers, not wanting to make a scene on his first day. “I can do my job.”

“I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” Derek says, shrugging.

And seriously? The nerve on this guy!

Stiles is just about to open his mouth again when his father walks in, a binder of papers in his hands, and takes his place in the front of the room. The entire room goes silent, save for some rustling of papers and chairs scraping over the floor.

“Morning everyone,” Chief Stilinski says, greeted by a symphony of muttered “good mornings” before he starts giving them their daily information they need to know before going out on the streets. It’s a recap of recent events in their territory, special attentions of the coming day, things to be on the lookout for. “Matt Daehler got released over the weekend,” the Chief says, and the muttering starts up again.

“Already?” someone calls out from the back, and Stiles turns to see it’s Detective Reyes.

“What can I say?” Chief Stilinski says, regret audible in his voice, “We put them away, but we don’t get to decide for how long.”

“Guy deserves to be put away in a grave,” Jackson mutters, loud enough for the entire room to hear.

“Daehler’s the one that attacked Allison and Parrish, right?” Stiles whispers at Derek, “The one that stalked Allison?”

Derek nods curtly, his posture stiff.

“That’s the kind of talk we try to avoid, Whittemore!” the Chief calls out, and Jackson grunts as he sinks a little deeper in his seat. “You’re already too acquainted with Harris from I.A. as it is.”

Stiles can’t help but snort, and when he looks over, he can tell even Derek is trying to hide a smile.

“Anyway,” Chief Stilinski says, “Daehler is out under conditions. He’s got a curfew we’ll be checking up on, and if you see him break it don’t hesitate to bring him in. He’s also not allowed to come within 500 feet of Officer Argent.”

All heads turn to Allison now, but she keeps her face straight, just nods along with what Stiles’ father is saying.

“Everyone read up on his conditions,” he goes on, “So that the second he steps out of line, we can catch him, alright?”

There’s an agreeable buzz going around the room.

“Alright!” Chief Stilinski claps his hands once. “Then there’s one last thing I’d like to address. As you might have seen already, we’re welcoming two new members at our department today, Officer McCall and Officer Stilinski, both transferring here from Westville PD.”

All eyes are on Scott and Stiles now, and Stiles does an embarrassing little wave around him.

“You might know Officer Stilinski already, since it’s no coincidence we share a last name,” Stiles’ father says, and Stiles can feel Derek’s eyes burning into him. “And Officer McCall isn’t a complete stranger here either, seeing as they’re both from Beacon Hills. So I hope you’ll give them both a warm welcome. Officer McCall will be partnered with Officer Argent, seeing as Officer Lahey made Detective - ”

There are cheers going around the room for Isaac, who is standing in the back next to Erica, and who is now blushing furiously.

“Congratulations, Detective Lahey!” Chief Stilinski continues, “And Officer Stilinski will have the honor of working with Officer Hale, now that Officer Parrish has joined our Dispatch Unit.”

Honor?, Stiles thinks, very unsure about that, but he smiles and nods at everyone anyway.

His father wraps up the briefing then, and teams slowly start pouring out of the briefing room. As he gets up, he is greeted by a friendly face and a hand sticking out at him.

“Guess I’m not the newbie anymore! Kira Yukimura!” Kira says, shaking his hand, and he remembers Kira joining Beacon Hills PD about half a year ago.

“Seems like Scott and I took that title from you,” Stiles says, and introduces himself.

“I’m not mourning that,” Kira says with a smile, shaking hands with Scott as well. “Welcome to the family, guys.” Then she tilts her head at Stiles. “Well, I guess you already kinda were.”

“Hah, yeah,” Stiles nods, and then Jackson yells out Kira’s name from where he’s waiting by the door.

“I’m coming!” Kira yells back, rolling her eyes.

“Wow, you hit the jackpot with your partner,” Stiles says, biting his tongue not to ask if they can’t just put Derek and Jackson together.

“Kira here can handle him though,” Allison says, a hand on Kira’s shoulder. “I’ve never seen anyone put Jackson in his place quite as fast as Kira on her first shift with him.”

“He needed it,” Kira says, sweetly, but there’s a wicked glint to her eyes. Stiles is definitely going to like her.

“You ready to go?” Allison asks Scott, as Kira waves at them and heads towards her partner.

“Yep,” Scott beams, patting Stiles on the shoulder for good luck.

“Derek?” Allison asks, and Derek joins them now, instead of lurking a bit further like he was up to now. “We’ll back each other’s calls when needed? Until our new partners are worked in a bit?”

“Sounds good,” Derek says, nodding.

“Okay,” Allison says, then at Scott as they start walking away, “It’s not that I don’t trust you, of course. But we don’t know each other’s way of working yet.”

“No, no, I totally understand…” Scott starts saying, and then they’re out of Stiles’ hearing range, so Stiles turns to Derek, looking at him expectantly.

“I don’t trust you yet,” Derek says simply, after a beat, and then he’s swinging his bag over his shoulder and heads for the door. “Come on. It’s time to ride out.”

“Nice…” Stiles mutters, but follows him anyway.

***

Derek dumps his bag in the trunk, holding it open for Stiles to do the same.

“You have a pen and your notebook on you for radio calls?” he asks as he slams the trunk shut.

“Yep,” Stiles nods.

“‘kay…” Derek says, then starts inspecting Stiles’ bullet proof vest, tugging at the velcro straps, checking to see if it’s put on decently.

Art by GirlEverAfter

“I appreciate the concern, but I’ve been wearing one of these for almost two years now,” Stiles says, and he tries to keep the annoyance out of his voice as much as he can.

“I don’t wanna deal with you taking a bullet to the chest because you didn’t put your vest on correctly,” Derek says, but he pulls his hands back anyway, giving Stiles some space.

Stiles sighs for a moment, then lift his arms and takes a step closer to Derek, giving him permission to continue his inspection. Derek nods, almost gratefully, and pulls on the velcro once again.

“Not too tight? You can still breathe?” Derek asks.

“Deep breaths and everything,” Stiles says, inhaling deeply to show Derek.

“Okay,” Derek says, patting Stiles on the chest twice to indicate he’s done. Stiles can’t feel the hand through his vest, but he can kind of appreciate the gesture.

“Okay,” Stiles says, smiling weakly, surrendering to Derek’s rule, at least for this first day. “Come on. Lets get this done with. Anything else you want to check before we ride out? Anything you want to know? My gun was checked before holstering, by the way. My father has taught me this himself.”

For a second he thinks Derek is going to get mad, give him crap about his attitude, but there’s a hint of a smile on his face as he takes what Stiles said the way he intended it, as a surrender.

“A guy puts a gun to my head,” Derek states, his eyes fixed on Stiles, “Do you shoot?”

“Yes,” Stiles says, determined.

Derek looks at him, narrows his eyes, and there’s this feeling of dread filling Stiles, thinking he fucked up somehow, thinking he misunderstood the question maybe, but then Derek nods - more to himself than to Stiles - and he says, “Then I can ride with you,” and heads towards the driver’s seat. Stiles closes his eyes for a second, lets out a puff of air, before joining Derek in the car.

It stays calm for the first hour and a half or so. They don’t talk much, Derek’s eyes glued to the road, to his surroundings. Stiles tries to think of small talk he could make, friendly conversation to get things going between the two of them, but he isn’t sure if Derek would appreciate it. So he stays quiet, looking out the window as the streets pass by, making sure he doesn’t miss anything.

They get pulled over by the lady that runs one of the bakeries. She starts to complain about the state of the pavement in front of her shop, until she recognizes Stiles - everyone knows Stiles in Beacon Hills - and starts raving about how proud his father must be that he joined the force. Stiles beams and socializes - his father always said it was part of the job - while Derek just stands there, arms crossed in front of his chest, face stoic as Mrs Bueller goes on and on about the Chief.

“Why don’t you take some pastries with you for your father, eh?” Mrs Bueller says excitedly, already halfway back into her store, surely to grab the aforementioned goodies.

“Oh, no, Ma’am, I really can’t!” Stiles calls out, feeling awkward about taking gifts while in uniform, no matter how well-meant Mrs Bueller’s intentions are. Besides, it’s not like he has any idea how Derek would react anyway.

“But he loves them so,” the lady says, smiling as she tilts her head at Stiles, giving him a sympathetic look.

“He should be checking what he eats!” Stiles says, a friendly smile on his face, “His cholesterol, Mrs Bueller!”

“Oh, alright then,” Mrs Bueller tuts, then purses her lips into a grin, “And what about the both of you?”

“How about you save that offer for another time, Ma’am?” Derek says, suddenly flashing a smile at her and it takes Stiles by surprise. “And in the meantime, we’ll pass on the information about maybe resurfacing part of this pavement, alright?”

“That would be so helpful,” Mrs Bueller coos, rubbing her hands together as she looks at them as if they’re her personal heroes. And all that for a stretch of pavement.

“You’re very welcome,” Derek says, tilting his head dutifully at her, and Stiles swears to God he’s never seen Derek look this friendly.

“And don’t think I’ll forget about those pastries, boys!” Mrs Bueller calls out as she walks back into her bakery, letting Stiles and Derek continue their patrol.

“Well…” Stiles says as he slides back into the passenger seat, “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

“What?” Derek asks, pulling the car on the road again.

“The smiling, the buttering up bakery ladies,” Stiles grins, and Derek rolls his eyes.

“I wasn’t buttering up - it’s called being polite, Stilinski,” Derek says, “It’s just part of the job.”

“Right,” Stiles nods so firmly it should be obvious to Derek he’s mocking him.

Derek stays stoic as ever though.

“Honestly though…” Stiles says, after a few more beats of silence, “Bueller’s pastries are damn good, aren’t they?”

Derek clenches his jaw somewhat.

“I was so tempted to just accept the lot,” Stiles pushes a bit more, grinning at his new partner. “I keep telling my dad he shouldn’t eat them, but I can’t stay away from them myself. I’m such a sucker for a Danish.”

Derek hums something non-committal, before he glances over at Stiles for a second, contemplation clear on his face.

“I like the croissants best,” he says eventually, and Stiles can’t help but smile at him.

Baby steps, Stiles thinks.