Stiles wasn't entirely sure how he'd managed to acquire so much stuff—vital stuff, important stuff—in less than a year, which was why he had to sit on his suitcase in order to zip it closed. He crowed in eventual victory, and then dug his phone out of his pocket. "Hey, Daddy-o," he said when the call went through, "this is your twenty-four hour warning alert. Scott got done early with his last paper so we're going to leave in the morning. We should be back in Beacon Hills by one."
"Oh," his dad said. "Ok."
"Ok?" Stiles said. "You could be slightly more enthused at the fact that your only son and his best friend are foregoing, eschewing, the possibility of spending their first-ever Spring Break living it up on a tropical island in favour of doing their filial duty—"
"Stiles," his dad said.
"Well, and also we're broke," Stiles admitted. "So, so very broke." He'd eaten so much Ramen over the past few weeks he was pretty sure he was largely composed of MSG.
"It'll be good to see you, son, just… maybe we can all meet up for lunch when you get back into town? You and me and Scott and Melissa. What do you say, Sal's Diner at one?"
"Uh," Stiles said. "Sure?"
When the call ended, Stiles took a deep breath and then proceeded to freak out all over, in order: his long-suffering roommate, Andy; the barista at the campus Starbucks; and Scott, because his dad was totally doing the weird partial-withholding-of-information verbal dance thing.
"I know that dance!" he whined at Scott, "I invented that dance."
He was worried about it when he fell asleep that night, and again when he woke up the next morning. The long drive up to Beacon Hills was fuelled by coffee, Egg McMuffins, and Stiles cataloguing all the things which could possibly have gone wrong that would necessitate joint parental time.
"They haven't had to tag team us since eighth grade and the Noodle Incident," Stiles said. "And even that was a bit of an overreaction, if you think about it—I mean, you broke an arm, sure, but in the grand scheme of things?"
"If you don't relax," Scott said calmly, indicating for the next exit, "either I'm going to leave you at a rest stop or I'll tie you to the roof of the car."
Ordinarily, that was the kind of bluff Stiles would have called, but there was the hint of red in Scott's eyes, so he subsided, muttering, instead.
They got to Beacon Hills in good time, though his dad's cruiser was already in the parking lot when Stiles and Scott pulled up in front of Sal's Diner. This was another thing that made Stiles suspicious—Sal's was not the diner of the Stilinski tribe. Sal's was all the way on the other side of town, their French toast was empirically less good than the Old Inn's, and they put olives in everything. Places God didn't intend olives to be.
Stiles had firm views about olives.
His spider sense was tingling, and he made sure to peer suspiciously at everything as they walked in, at the menu when they sat down, and then at his dad and Melissa. It was his very best future-FBI-agent peer—the kind of thing they probably had to teach most people at Quantico—but when the waitress came up to take their orders, she said, "Honey, if you need your glasses, you should just wear them, there's no shame in it."
Stiles acted like nothing was up until the waitress had taken their order and left—super normal! he couldn't understand why Scott was kicking him under the table—and then glared at his dad. "Spill."
He could see his dad's face cycling through the various stages of Stiles-associated expressions—shock, outrage, denial, irritation, weary acceptance—before he said, "Well, we had something we wanted to discuss with you boys and we wanted to do it on neutral ground."
"Technically," Scott said, "nowhere in Beacon Hills is neutral ground? Anywhere that doesn't belong to our pack or Satomi's is pixie property."
It was Stiles' turn to kick him under the table.
"Metaphorically, sweetie," Melissa said. Unlike his dad, she wasn't dressed like she'd come here straight from work, but she still looked a bit tired. There were dark circles under her eyes, and although she was methodically stirring her coffee with a spoon she hadn't drunk any of it that Stiles could see. "We just wanted to talk to you about something important."
Illness! Stiles' hindbrain supplied. Plague! Zombie apocalypse! He was just building up a good head of panicky steam when he saw his dad put his hand over Melissa's hand. Very deliberately and careful hand-touching, of the lingering variety.
He felt his jaw drop, and he pointed at each of them in turn, trying to summon up words and not quite able to manage anything more than a wheeze.
"What?" Scott said.
"My dad's wooing your mom," Stiles hissed.
"Dude!" Scott said. "Really?" When Melissa nodded, he beamed. "That's awesome!"
"But wait," Stiles said, "hold up, empirical information needed here. I mean, when did this happen, why did—wait, no, forget that part, I don't want to know that part, but just… what. What! You never gave me any hint of this before, is this—" He flapped a hand between the two of them, and then fixed his dad with his best glare. "Dad. What are your intentions towards my best friend's mother?"
"Oh boy," Melissa said, rolling her eyes.
His dad put his head in his hands and said, "Jeez," in very heartfelt tones. Melissa patted him on the back.
Stiles was aware that the waitress was staring at them from behind the counter, but he didn't care. If you were going to lower yourself to work for Sal's, this was the experience you could expect.
"John and I have been seeing one another for several months now," Melissa said, "but that's not—"
"Wait," Stiles said, because he could do basic math. "What, since we left for college? So when we were back here for Thanksgiving, you were already… gallivanting?"
"Yes," his dad said, sitting back up. "We had seven whole glorious months of freedom and now…" He turned and looked imploringly at Melissa. "Why did we decide to put ourselves through this again?"
Melissa sighed the sigh of the person who has reached the very end of her tether and said, "Because even with perfect use, condoms have a 2% failure rate, so it wasn't exactly our choice."
"You mean we're going to be bros and we're going to be bros?" Scott said. His smile grew impossibly wider. "This is the best news ever!"
It took Stiles a little longer to get there, because it felt like his brain was ricocheting back and forth between every good, bad, and indifferent consequence of this. The good: his dad no longer being alone! The bad: this put what had been happening in the kitchen at Thanksgiving when he'd come in in search of cranberry sauce into a radically different light! The indifferent: no longer being able to blame stuff he did on being a single child! He eventually worked his way up to saying, "Oh my god. Oh my god?"
"Now," his dad was saying, "I know this is a lot to take in, and while we're happy about it this wasn't exactly planned, and we're going to need to work out a whole bunch of stuff. If you guys need some time to come to terms with it, that's okay—"
"Waiter!" Stiles yelled around the corner of the booth, snapping his fingers. "My buddy and I are going to be big brothers. A bottle of your finest champagne!"
"So much for picking a discreet place where no one will overhear," Melissa muttered.
"Welcome to the family," John said, and put his arm around her.
"So will it be McCall-Stilinski Jr?" Stiles demanded later in the afternoon, once they'd all gone back to the house. Stiles could see now why his dad had asked to meet first at the diner, because there was no hiding that someone else lived there—women's clothes in the dryer, strange brands of cereal in the cupboards, an extra set of keys in the bowl by the door. "Stilinski-McCall Jr? Or, wait, shouldn't it be Delgado-Stilinski, but is that too many syllables to inflict on any child? And when's the wedding?"
"Honestly," Melissa said, "we hadn't thought that far ahead." She was sitting on the couch with her feet up, a glass of iced tea in one hand. "I only moved in here last week. One step at a time."
"But do you want the child to be born in sin?" Stiles gasped.
Melissa looked at him.
"Okay, fine, what do I care about that?" Stiles admitted, raising his hands. "But I've never been to a wedding before, let alone a shotgun wedding! And me and Scott are here right now, and all you need's a license, right? What do you think, Scott?"
Scott poked his head in from the kitchen. "We can be the best men! What do you think, mom—would you let me stand up beside you?"
Melissa's face did something complicated, then crumpled, and Stiles tiptoed out in search of Kleenex.
Stiles went to the courthouse with his dad the next day to pick up the license.
"So," he said, while they were waiting for the light on 2nd Street to change, "can it still be called a shotgun wedding if the groom is a sheriff?"
"Christ," his dad said.
"No, no, this is important!" Stiles said, putting on his best faux-serious face. "Because also, I think that you and me, pops, we need to have a serious conversation about safe sex. I think we've all learned a valuable lesson this week about how accidents can happen."
"I thought I was done," his dad said. "I honest-to-God thought I'd made it, but another eighteen years of this?"
"No balloon, no party," Stiles said solemnly, as the light changed and his dad drove on. "No glove, no love. No—"
Stiles subsided for a bit and then said, "But seriously—"
"No, I mean…" Stiles fiddled with the hem of his t-shirt, looking down at his lap. "I just want to be sure you know that I'm okay with this. I'm happy you guys are happy, and, and I think she'd be happy too."
Out of the corner of his eye, Stiles saw his dad's jaw work briefly. "Thanks, kid."
Stiles let out a breath. And then, because he couldn't resist it, and because the silence that came in the wake of a mention of his mom was always the worst, he said, "However, sex ed—"
Most of them had left the area for college—Allison and Lydia in Boston, Malia and Kira in New York, Liam and Boyd in San Diego, each in pairs that could provide support in the absence of a full pack—and hadn't come back for Spring Break. Erica showed up for the wedding, though, fitting it in between her classes at the community college; Derek came, too, between bouts spent doing… whatever it was that he did all day. Stiles was still largely unclear about that. The important point, though, was that Derek showed up wearing an actual suit. There were cufflinks—Stiles' mind was blown. Deaton came too, since he was apparently now dating Lydia's mom, and Stiles was just not going to think about that in too much detail. Between them, Parrish and several of the deputies, and about half of the hospital's nursing staff, it was pretty crowded in the room when the vows were made, and the cheer that greeted the first kiss was pretty overwhelming.
Still, no one could prove that Stiles cried.
(Well, Scott could, he was filming everything.)
(It was just pretty overwhelming. His dad looked so happy and Melissa was all glowing and it turned out Stiles did have the heart of an incurable, if cynical, romantic.)
Most people tagged along afterwards for lunch in one of Beacon Hills' nicer restaurants, one that served up lots of fiddly little hors d'oeuvres and had huge picture windows that looked out on the Preserve. Stiles went to settle the check afterwards, so that his dad and Melissa could leave for their honeymoon night in a local B&B without any hassle, but it turned out that Derek had already picked up the whole tab.
"He what?" Stiles said, his dad's credit card still brandished in front of him.
"Mr Hale was pretty insistent," the manager said.
Stiles went to look for him, but Derek had already left—vanished into the… well, not night, it was three in the afternoon, which was less dramatic… into the afternoon like the well-tailored awkward turtle that he was. Stiles texted him a caps lock thank you, and got a stilted little thing in response, about how it was important to look out for pack. Knowing Derek, he'd probably composed that text in advance. And knowing Derek, he believed it.
The end of Spring Break came quickly and Scott and Stiles headed back south, leaving behind them pleas for pregnancy updates.
"It's not going to be that thrilling," Melissa told them. "If it's anything like the first time around, my feet are going to hurt a lot and I'm going to crave pickles."
"Aww, I love pickles," Scott said.
Regardless of what Melissa thought, however, Stiles spent a lot of time online reading about pregnancy and new-baby-related stuff, particularly about complications that affected older mothers. It was fascinating and horrifying in equal measure, and he often found himself reading some of the coolest facts out to his roommate.
(Sometimes, admittedly, while the guy was trying to sleep.
"Listen," Andy said, his words a little muffled by his pillow. "No one should know that much about their step-mom's cervix. And it's six in the morning, dude."
"Don't take it to a weird place!" Stiles protested. "This is just me looking out for Stiles Jr.")
His dad and Melissa did keep them pretty up-to-date with everything that was going on, but one thing they refused to reveal was the baby's sex. "We know," Melissa said. "For everyone else, it can be a surprise."
Which left Stiles feeling conflicted, because a) rude, but b) he appreciated their respect for the spoiler rule.
The rest of the semester passed in a haze—between Stiles' classes, his job at the college newspaper, his magical training, keeping up with everything back in Beacon Hills, and actually trying to have a social life of his own, he didn't sleep very much. Living in LA was awesome, but it did require him to spend an awful lot of money on coffee and energy drinks. He still found time to pick up some stuff for the baby, though; when he and Scott headed back to Beacon Hills for the summer, it was with half of Babies R Us in the back of the Jeep.
Scott had a summer internship with the big animal veterinary practice in Beacon Valley, which had him out of the house most days. It therefore fell to Stiles to do a lot of stuff around the house—baby-proofing and redecorating his old bedroom to turn it into a nursery. Was it a little bit of a sting, to be exiled with Scott to the much smaller guest room, cast out of his own room, the site of so much innocent childhood joy? (And, to be fair, a whole lot of adolescent terror and/or masturbation?)
A little! But dismantling the bed to make way for the crib also meant that he found a whole stash of porn and magic supplies he'd totally forgotten about when he'd moved out for college. So basically every cloud had a silver lining.
("We're at the dinner table," his dad said, sounding pained. "Could you not talk about this right now?)
His progress did slow, however, when it got to the point of actually repainting the room. Stiles didn't have much experience with painting things in general—he'd had frequent clashes with his elementary school art teachers, who hadn't understood that he was taking inspiration from Jackson Pollock—and all the stuff he'd bought at Lowes looked like it needed to be used with precision. He was chewing on his lower lip, considering where to start, when he heard someone clear their throat behind him.
Stiles yelped, clutched the paintbrush to his chest, and whirled around to see Derek standing in the bedroom door.
"Dude, what the hell?" Stiles asked as Derek stepped into the room. He was wearing a faded old henley with bleach stains across the chest and a ripped seam over the right shoulder; his jeans were worn across the thighs and ragged at the hems. Stiles was not prepared for any of this at 8:30 on a Tuesday morning. "Is it the supernatural apocalypse again? Because if it is, I'm kind of in the middle of something."
Derek rolled his eyes. "Yes, I know. I'm here to help. Melissa called me and said she didn't want the walls to be neon or covered in song lyrics, and I wasn't doing anything this morning, so."
Stiles peered at him. "Since when is she Melissa to you?"
"We talk," Derek said stiffly, and snatched the brush from Stiles' hand. Stiles was enthralled to see that he was blushing faintly.
"What, you're serious about this? You're actually going to spend the day painting a baby's nursery with me?"
Stiles was expecting a grumpy response to that, but Derek just looked at him and, without a trace of sarcasm or irony in his expression, said, "The baby's going to be pack, Stiles."
"Huh," Stiles said, because Derek very clearly thought that was explanation enough, and that was as much language as Stiles could manage when he had some serious Grinch-esque heart expansion going on in the whole chest region.
And it turned out that when no one was dying, or in imminent danger of dying, or needing their arm hacked off, Stiles and Derek were able to work together pretty effectively. They painted the whole room a delightful gender-non-specific shade of yellow and freshened up the trim; Derek even painted the ceiling blue and stippled drifting clouds across it. A sliver of moon peeked out from behind one. Stiles' back and arms ached, but he was pleased with how everything had turned out.
Starving, too, since they'd missed lunch, and he ushered Derek downstairs with promises of a sandwich as big as his head. "And okay," Stiles said, opening the fridge, "so I'm not 21 yet technically—"
"By technically, you mean in the way the law cares about," Derek said, licking a smear of mayonnaise from his thumb.
"—technically," Stiles continued, "but a man's home is his castle, yadda yadda, so beer."
One thing led to another, and by the time his dad got back from work, Stiles was more than a little tipsy and he and Derek were giggling over Ikea product names while they tried to put together a changing table.
"You," Stiles' dad told him, "are a bad influence on Derek."
"Sniglar!" Stiles said, keeling over.
At least Derek found it funny. Bless him.
Stiles woke up the next morning to find himself lying alone on the floor of the nursery. Someone had put a pillow under his head and a blanket on top of him, but his back and his head were both protesting what had happened the night before. Stiles groaned and opened an eye to find Melissa standing in the doorway, looking thoroughly unimpressed.
"You're just lucky that it was a good paint job," she said.
It was a good summer—hot and clear, and Stiles liked being able to throw himself wholeheartedly into his family because good things were happening, for a change. Stiles read a ton of books—mostly baby-related in some way—but he was also on a World War I reading kick because he'd started to prep for a class he was taking in the fall, and having factoids related to the two bouncing around in his head quickly got weird. Scott was up in the small hours of the morning in order to Skype with Kira in NYC, but he was always up for playing video games on his day off, and the two of them soon irritated everyone with how they took every opportunity to refer to "My brother, Scott" or "My brother, Stiles" in general conversation.
They spent an afternoon chugging Dr Pepper until they'd perfected a belched version of that one Taylor Swift song.
"See?" Stiles said, when they were lying on the living room floor afterwards. "We're totally awesome at this whole brother thing."
"We're going to be the best big brothers ever," Scott agreed, holding out his fist for Stiles to bump. "Plus you're, like, all magical or whatever and I'm a werewolf and your dad's got a gun and my mom's my mom. Best protected baby ever."
"Awesome," Stiles said again, rubbing his chest against the sweet ache there.
Sometimes they hung out with Erica, and sometimes Derek showed up with her. They talked and watched movies and Stiles discovered that it was all sorts of fun to prod Derek into an extended rant about Star Wars and how of course Han shot first. Fun and a little weird, like each time Stiles saw Derek get passionate about something so goofy, it eroded another bit of Stiles' memory of Derek as that angry, grieving young man, watching them alone in the woods.
Sometimes, though, Derek showed up at the house by himself just to see Melissa, which was how Stiles found out that Derek was thinking of going back to school.
"Back to school?" Stiles said.
"Well, I already have my BA in history," Derek said, shrugging. "I was thinking of getting my Master's, something I could use to help people. Melissa knows a couple of guys who work with at-risk youth, and she gives good advice."
Stiles sat back in his chair and blinked. "You went to college?"
"Yeah?" Derek said, like this was something Stiles should already know. "NYU."
"Truly, this is the year in which the foundation of all things in my world has been shaken."
It was worse on the days when Melissa asked Derek to stay for lunch. Not only did it turn out that the guy had impeccable table manners, he'd voluntarily do the dishes afterwards.
Stiles' dad would make pointed remarks to him about what a nice young man Derek was, and wouldn't it be great if Stiles could take a leaf out of his book, huh?
WE HAVE ENTERED THE TWILIGHT ZONE, Stiles texted to Lydia. SEND HELP.
As the summer passed, Melissa got bigger and bigger. She got switched to admin work at the hospital, and then took maternity leave before the birth, muttering dire things about troublesome Stilinskis and her forty-two-year-old foot arches that had Stiles doing an about face if he met her before she'd had her one, carefully-rationed, coffee of the day.
"I know I'm not supposed to say this," Stiles said to his dad one evening while they were putting together dinner, "but seriously, she's huge."
"Son," his dad said, clapping him on the shoulder, "pay close attention to that first part of your sentence, and then never mention this again."
The due date was after the beginning of Scott and Stiles' fall semester, but three days before they were planning to go back, they were woken up at two in the morning by Melissa turning on the light in the guest bedroom. "My water's broken," she said through gritted teeth. "You two are going to have to get me to the hospital."
"Oh my god," Stiles said, "baby," because really, what the hell else was he supposed to say? He and Scott fumbled their way out of their sleeping bags, pulled on sneakers and hoodies over their pyjamas and staggered downstairs and into the Jeep.
"This child better hold on until the hospital," Melissa said as Stiles drove down Raeburn a tiny little bit over the speed limit. Scott was sitting in the back, calling Stiles' dad and telling him he needed to get to the hospital. "Because I refuse to give birth in this pile of junk."
"Hey!" Stiles said. "Watch it, don't—I mean, that's fine, your opinions are valid, you're pushing another human out of your body, you go ahead and call the Jeep whatever you want to. In fact, I agree!"
(He still paused for a moment to stroke the dashboard when they got to the hospital. He was sorry, baby, he didn't mean it.)
His dad was there in the lobby by the time they arrived, and then it was all hurry-up-and-wait, Scott and Stiles pacing back and forth in the hallway as the hours ticked by.
"Oh man, I can hear her crying," Scott said, arms wrapped around himself. "This sucks. You think I could just go in there and…" He waggled his fingers meaningfully at Stiles.
"Yeah, I think the midwife might notice if you used the Alpha pain whammy on her," Stiles said. "Sorry, buddy. But this is all natural, right? And she's done this before with you, right, so…"
Scott looked a bit green.
Still, by the time six o'clock came, Stiles was considering marching in there himself and asking what the hold-up was, which meant it was extra-fortunate that Derek showed up then with a bag of muffins and several steaming mugs of coffee.
"Oh my god, caffeine," Stiles said, inhaling half a cup before demanding, "Did you know birthing babies took this long?"
Judging from the way Derek was looking at him, Stiles knew he must be a bit crazy around the eyes, but he found himself not caring. Derek wrinkled his nose. "I don't think anyone's talked about 'birthing babies' since 1876."
"It's tradition," Stiles said. "Just like the new dad having a cigar. Oh god, I don't have cigars. Should I have bought cigars? Is that still a thing, though, because you know, lung cancer—"
He could feel himself working up to a full-blown rant which was when, from beyond the delivery room doors, even Stiles' human ears could hear the very distinct sound of a baby's wail.
"We're big brothers," Scott breathed, wide-eyed. "Holy crap."
"I don't think I can feel my toes," Stiles admitted, and then the two of them were caught up in an epic bro hug. When that ended, Stiles realised that Derek was standing off to one side looking awkward, so he declared a pack hug, and then his dad came out and that required yet another group hug. And his dad was a little teary, and then Stiles was a little teary, and it was like a great big ball of emotions in the hallway, complete with Derek patting him gingerly on the back.
"Everyone's doing great," his dad said when they finally pulled part. "Melissa was a trouper. You want to come meet your baby sister?"
When Stiles and Scott went into the room, they found Melissa looking tired, her hair damp with sweat at the temples, but she also seemed utterly happy—and when Stiles saw the bundle in her arms he understood why.
"Way to go, mom," Scott said, kissing her on the temple. "She's perfect."
Melissa turned a little so that Stiles could see the baby, wrapped up as she was in a soft green blanket. Scott was right—she was perfect, with plump cheeks and a little rosebud mouth and a mohawk shock of dark hair. "You two, I'd like you to meet Catalina Stilinski."
"After Grandma?" Scott said, reaching out to very carefully stroke one little cheek with the tip of his finger.
"Uh huh," Melissa said, not looking away from her daughter. "John wanted to call her Bolesława, but I put my foot down."
"You are good people," Stiles said fervently, because he was already gearing up for a new semester round of explaining to TAs that it was Stiles, Stiles was fine, don't even try to pronounce the consonant cluster on the class list. "Oh my god, she's so tiny."
"She is," Melissa agreed. "Do you want to hold her?"
Stiles took a hurried step back. "Oh, no, no, let Scotty go first—I need a moment, I don't want to drop her."
Scott accepted the tiny bundle with a look of awe on his face. "She's like a little old man, but adorable. How do babies do that?"
"I don't know, man," Stiles said, peering over Scott's shoulder, watching Catalina blink up at them with hazy eyes. His sister. "But they're frickin' awesome."
"This is the exact opposite of awesome," Stiles declared when he marched out into the corridor.
Derek was on his feet right away, a tattered old magazine falling out of his hand. "The baby is—did something happen? Are they—"
Stiles flapped a hand. "Oh, they're fine for now—for now, Derek, because I am now responsible for a not-insignificant part of an infant's social and emotional development. Me. How am I not going to mess this up? I mean, I was once possessed by a deranged fox demon, and then I spent most of my first semester at college thinking that just because I could grow a beard, that I should. Like, whose role model am I?"
Derek looked steadily at him, then frowned slightly. "You'll do okay."
Stiles squinted. "Was that supposed to be reassuring? Because what."
Derek shrugged. "You love her, right?"
"Well, yeah," Stiles said, nonplussed. He did, even though he'd known Catalina for a grand total of twenty minutes. That was how babies seemed to work—from abstract possibility to a little person you'd die for in almost no time at all.
"So you keep focusing on that part," Derek said. "She's your baby sister. She's your pack. That's what matters."
"When the hell did you get all Yoda-y?" Stiles said, folding his arms.
Derek shrugged again, and seemed to find the floor fascinating all of a sudden. "I just—I had a pack again. I kept working towards that."
"Ugh," Stiles blurted out, "you're disgustingly hot when you're acting noble."
Derek looked up at him with wide eyes.
Stiles mentally rewound that last sentence of his and actually paid attention to the words which had come out of his mouth.
"I mean, you're hot all the time—shit, uh, which is to say that I'm sleep deprived and undercaffeinated and experiencing, like, sympathetic hormonal surges with Melissa and stuff, you should just ignore me. Ignore Stiles, excellent plan."
"You're confusing," Derek said.
"You say that like you haven't known me for years," Stiles said.
"I have," Derek said softly.
Stiles squinted at him. "Okay, that was just two words but you managed to make it, like, fraught? And I'm running on not a lot of sleep here so maybe you should explain… that."
"I can never quite figure you out," Derek said. "Just when I think I have, you do something that surprises me. And you're never as much of an asshole as you think you are."
"Yeah, I'm going to take that as a compliment but I don't really know if—"
"When someone's pack, you don't ever abandon them. I like that."
At which point, Stiles' brain decided to gift him with an epiphany, right there and then: standing in a fluorescent-lit hospital corridor, the scent of bleach strong in his nostrils, and the occasional nurse bustling past. "Are you kidding me with this?"
Derek flinched. "I—"
"No, no," Stiles said, "not you—well, I mean you, but just… I just figured out you like like me, while I'm wearing a Captain America hoodie and pyjama pants with a zombie print on them, and my stepmom's expelling afterbirth like twenty feet away."
"I never said—"
"Uh uh," Stiles said, pointing a finger at him, "no take backs, none allowed, the Stilinski Bullshit Detecting Radar is in full operational mode right now and I am right. You want to get all up on my business."
"Rock my casbah, dance the mattress jig with me, make the beast—ha!—with two backs—"
"Oh no, no no, no interrupting, there are so many other synonyms—"
"If you'd just shut up," Derek said, "we could make out."
Stiles beamed at him. Excellent idea. "I like like you too," he said.
And then they were kissing, right there outside of the delivery room—Derek's hands big and hot on Stiles' face, Stiles opening his mouth on a moan. Derek's kisses were focused, intent, and it felt natural for Stiles to press close to Derek, to wrap his arms around the solid lines of him. Stiles shivered. The air conditioning was going full-blast but his skin was prickling with heat, sweat trickling down his back. Stiles did like him, and he was barely even aware of when that had started—this summer, maybe, or the one before, or even earlier—but he was pretty sure he knew why.
When they finally pulled apart, Stiles was grinning, and Derek was looking at him like—well. Stiles felt his cheeks heat. He was pretty sure he hadn't done anything to deserve that.
From behind them came the sound of someone clearing their throat. "When you're done being a bad example for your little sister," Stiles' dad said, "do you two want to come and say goodbye for now? We're going to let Melissa and Catalina get some rest."
"It's fine," Derek said, "I don't want to intrude if—"
"Pthbbt," Stiles said, taking Derek by the hand and tugging until Derek followed along in his wake. "No intruding, c'mon. Welcome to the Stilinski pack."