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Snow Flirting

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Derek halts as he passes the living room window. Eight inches of snow fell during the night, but that’s not what catches his attention. The guy who lives across the street, Stiles, is shoveling snow from his driveway.

Derek watches as Stiles struggles, his hands slipping on the handle. He piles too much snow on the shovel and half of it falls out before Stiles can dump it to the side. He’s barely gotten half the driveway shoveled, so he has a long ways to go before he can get out.

Derek glances at the clock; 9:02. He doesn’t know Stiles that well, but he knows he’s got a four year old in preschool and some desk job at the sheriff’s department where his father is the sheriff. He also knows Stiles is late for work. Derek feels for the guy; he knows the difficulties of being a single dad rather well.

The next Monday, over a foot of snow falls, and Tuesday morning, Derek’s getting into his SUV to take Cooper to school when he sees Stiles in his driveway, shoveling his way out. His kid is bundled up and building a snowman in the front yard. Derek glances at the clock and thinks at least Stiles is an hour and a half ahead of last week.

Another storm hits the next weekend. There’s a fresh foot of snow on the ground, stacking up on the two feet already there from the weeks before. When Cooper bounds down the stairs Sunday morning, Derek’s standing by the living room window holding a cup of coffee.

“What are you looking at?” Cooper asks as he heads for the kitchen.

“I want you to go shovel the Stilinski driveway out.”

“What?” Cooper exclaims. He sticks his head into the doorway, dark hair sticking up all over his head. “More work? On a Sunday? Why?”

“Because I said so,” Derek states as he forces himself to stop staring out the window like a creeper. He enters the kitchen where Cooper is already stuffing the freshly made muffins into his mouth. Derek frowns.

“Sorry, Dad,” he mumbles through a mouthful of banana nut. He swallows. “I’m starving.”

“I waited on you,” Derek says as he grabs a muffin.

“Why do I have to go shovel out someone else’s driveway?” Cooper whines. Despite the fact that his son is now 14, he still acts like a child more often than not. Derek would never admit it, but it secretly makes him happy.

“Because it’s the neighborly thing to do,” Derek states.

“But I already have to shovel our driveway.”

“He’s all alone, Coop. He’s got a young kid, and no teenage son to shovel his driveway for him.” Derek smirks. Cooper is not amused, and he’s all eyebrows and frustration. “I remember what it was like trying to do everything by myself when you were that age.”

“Oh god,” Cooper groans, “Not another ‘I sacrificed so much raising you by myself’ speech.”

“Maybe if you’d remember that,” Derek says, looping an arm around Cooper’s neck and dragging him towards the living room, “I wouldn’t have to tell you all the time.” He laughs and lets go as Cooper protests loudly. “After breakfast, you’re going across the street.”

Derek watches from the living room window while Cooper shovels the Stilinski drive. He’s halfway done when Stiles comes flailing out of the house. He’s wearing sweat pants that are stuffed into unlaced snow boots and an unzipped puffy jacket. His hair looks like he hasn’t combed it all weekend. Derek doesn’t know what they’re saying, but it looks like Stiles is trying to convince Cooper to stop shoveling his drive. Cooper just keeps on going.

Derek’s in the middle of cooking dinner later when the doorbell rings. “Coop! Can you get the door?” he yells, his hands covered in salmon scales. The doorbell rings again and Cooper is nonresponsive. He’s probably upstairs with his door shut, earbuds stuffed in his ears. Or just ignoring Derek on purpose. Derek grunts and quickly washes his hands, then wipes them on his jeans as he dashes to the door. The bell rings again.

When Derek opens the door, he finds Stiles standing on the stoop, holding his son’s hand. Derek’s eyes widen in surprise. Stiles looks tired, his hair still unkempt, and Derek’s pretty sure there’s food smeared on his cheek.

Derek’s completely smitten with Stiles. He’s been crushing on Stiles since the day he moved in across the street almost a year ago, when Stiles had been trying to unpack the moving truck and keep his kid from running into the street. Derek had gone over to introduce himself and ended up unpacking most of the U-Haul for Stiles while Stiles unpacked boxes inside the house.

Derek wouldn’t unpack an entire U-Haul for just anybody.

At this particular moment, Derek wants to kiss Stiles’ pink cheeks and chapped lips, cuddle on the couch with him, watch movies, and maybe feed him soup.

Maybe Cooper is on to something with his whole Derek needing a life thing.

“Hi,” Stiles says awkwardly. “Um, I’m sorry to disturb you, but I wanted to thank your son for shoveling out my driveway, which he totally didn’t have to do.”

“Yes, he did,” Derek says. “I made him.”

Stiles laughs, surprised. “Neither of you had to do that. But I appreciate it.”

“It’s no problem.”

“Um, I was going to offer to pay him – “

“Absolutely not,” Derek says, shaking his head. “You’re our neighbor,” Derek points down to the little boy who has his face burrowed against the leg of Stiles’ sweat pants, “and you’ve obviously got your hands full.”

“Yeah, he does keep me running around ragged.” Stiles tugs on the pom at the tip of the little boy’s hat. “Hey Seth, wanna say hi to Mr. Derek?” The little boy turns his face just enough that his wide, round eyes peek out. They are the exact color of Stiles’.

Not that Derek knows the color of Stiles’ eyes or anything.

“Hey Seth,” Derek says in his best dad voice. He winces as Seth quickly turns his face back into Stiles’ pants. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Stiles says. “He’s really, really shy. He only acts natural around my dad and my best friend Scott. They keep commenting on it at preschool, but I – “ Stiles stops abruptly. “Crap, I’m sorry. I didn’t come over here to tell you about my problems.”

“It’s okay,” Derek says.

Stiles shakes his head. “I should get going. You’re letting all your heat out and I’ve gotta get him his bath and try to get him ready for bed.”

“Okay,” Derek says dumbly. He’s not quite sure what to say. In his head, he has all these witty, interesting things to say that make Stiles laugh and like him and want to come into his warm house and curl up on the couch with him. Instead, he’s standing there answering in monosyllables and scaring the guy’s son.

Derek’s totally smooth.

After Stiles leaves, Derek goes back into the kitchen to finish dinner. A few minutes later he hears Cooper’s footsteps as he jogs into the kitchen. “You like him,” Cooper says. “That’s why you made me shovel his walk. You like him like him.”

“I do not,” Derek says, pointedly not looking at Cooper as he drops the salmon in the marinade.

“You are such a liar, Dad,” Cooper says. He leans against the counter and looks at Derek. “You know it’s okay.” Derek lifts his eyes. “That you like dudes. I mean, I know you told me awhile ago that you were bisexual, and you’ve gone out with guys, but I’ve never actually seen you with a guy. It’s cool.”

“Thanks,” Derek says, smiling at his son. Derek’s always been careful with who he exposed his son to as he grew up. When Cooper was around 8, Derek started dating again, thanks to Laura and Cora’s incessant nagging. Though, dating might not be the right term. Derek fucked a lot. He went out to dinner and had sex with a lot of men and women he met through the gym he co-owned with his sisters. This went on for a few years, but as Cooper got nearer to puberty, Derek realized that Cooper knew exactly what his dad was doing when he dropped him off at one of his aunts’ houses. He’s pretty sure he has Laura and Cora’s kids to thank for that, but Derek wanted to set a better example than that for his son. Fucking one, sometimes two or three, different people a week wasn’t exactly the kind of role model he wanted to be.

Plus, Derek always went home feeling empty and sad. He wanted more than sex. He wanted someone he could bring home to meet Cooper.

The fact that Cooper is okay with the fact that Derek was harboring the hugest crush on Stiles takes a load off Derek’s shoulders.

“But it’s not cool that you pimp me out to get him to like you.” Cooper’s back to angry eyebrows and frustration. Derek just chuckles.

“That’s not why I did it,” Derek argues.

“Liar.”

Two weeks later, eight inches of snow falls overnight. Derek wakes up at 5:30 so he can shovel the driveway before he has to take Cooper to school. He finishes before 7 and rushes around to get ready for the day. He’s coming back from refilling his coffee cup when he spies Stiles outside, shoveling his driveway. Derek stuffs his feet into his slippers and steps onto the front porch.

“Stiles!” he calls out. Stiles glances around before locating Derek on the porch.

“You’re gonna freeze!” Stiles shouts back. “Go put on a coat!”

“You and Seth get ready. I’ll drive you to his school and to work when I take Cooper.”

Stiles shakes his head. “No, you really don’t have to. I can – “

“You don’t need to be late to work again,” Derek says. “We leave at 7:30.” He reenters the house, his arms, ears, and hands stinging with cold. Cooper’s standing in the living room, watching Derek with his arms crossed and eyebrow raised. “Not a word,” Derek says as he brushes past Cooper and up the steps.

“You’ve got it so bad, Dad,” Cooper’s voice follows him up the stairs.

At 7:40, Stiles exits his house with a bag on each arm, an insulated cup in one hand and Seth’s hand in the other. It takes him a few tries to lock his front door, and then Stiles carefully crosses the snow-covered yard towards his Jeep.

“I’m gonna be late for school because you want to bone the neighbor,” Cooper mutters.

“Cooper Hale!” Derek exclaims in his full dad voice. “That’s no way to talk.”

“It’s still true,” Cooper grumbles, crossing his arms over his chest and sinking lower into the front seat. Stiles is trying to balance everything he’s carrying while opening the door on his Jeep at the same time.

“Watch it, or there’s no video games or internet this weekend.” Derek raises his eyebrows and gives Cooper a pointed look before exiting the car.

“Need some help?” Derek asks as he approaches Stiles.

“Oh god, yes,” Stiles exhales. “I am so sorry. You’re gonna be late and I’m holding you up and – “

“It’s okay,” Derek interrupts. “Let me get that.” He takes the keys from Stiles’ gloved hands and fiddles with the lock until it finally gives.

“That thing is crap in the cold,” Stiles says. “Actually, that thing is always crap, but it’s not like I can afford a new one. But in the cold, doors and locks are always sticking.”

Derek takes the car seat out, grabs one of Stiles’ bags, and carries them both over to the SUV. He hooks the car seat into the backseat, and when it’s secure, Stiles lifts Seth so he can fasten him in.

“Are we going on a trip?” Seth whispers.

“You’re going to pre-k, buddy,” Stiles says as he hooks him into the seat.

“But we’re not in the Jeep-Jeep.”

“Mr. Derek’s taking us today,” Stiles says. He closes the door and hurries around the vehicle as Derek climbs into the driver’s side. Derek watches Stiles in the rearview mirror as he leans over and gives Seth a kiss before buckling himself in.

They drop Cooper off at school first. “Not late, see?” Derek says as he pulls up to the front of the carpool lane.

“Have fun today,” Cooper says with a smirk. Derek just frowns.

“Love you,” Derek calls after him as Stiles climbs into the front seat. Cooper just waves behind him.

“Teenagers, huh?” Stiles grins as Derek drives away from the curb.

“Just wait,” Derek says. “It’s a whole new brand of stress and frustration.”

Stiles twists to look back at Seth, who is sucking on his thumb and staring out the window. “Hey, bud, can we not suck on your thumb like a big boy?” Seth removes his finger, a large string of spit hanging from his lips to his thumb. “Gross, sorry, sorry,” Stiles mutters as he searches in his bag for a wipe. Derek leans across him, opens the glove box, and points. “Thanks, you’re a life saver,” Stiles says. He reaches into the backseat and cleans Seth’s hand and mouth. “I can’t imagine him being a teenager.”

“It’ll happen before you know it,” Derek says as he drives towards the pre-school. “I sometimes forget Cooper isn’t five anymore. He still acts like it sometimes.”

Stiles sighs and sags into the seat. Derek glances at him out of the corner of his eyes. Stiles looks exhausted, his entire body sagging. There are dark circles under his eyes.

“Are you okay?” Derek asks.

“Huh? Me? Yeah, I’m fine. Just…” Stiles glances behind him, to where Seth is sucking his thumb again and staring out the window. “Seth won’t sleep in his bed, and last night…he had an accident, and I spent half the night cleaning up my bed.” Stiles runs a hand wearily down his face.

“Can you take a day off?” Derek asks.

Stiles laughs deprecatingly. “I wish. I don’t think I’ve had a day off in four years.”

“You look like you could use a personal day.”

“What I could really use is a shower,” Stiles groans. Derek smiles in sympathy, and reaches over to give Stiles’ shoulder a supportive squeeze.

Derek waits in the car while Stiles walks Seth into pre-school. Seth pauses before walking away from the car and turns to wave at Derek, his glove-covered thumb in his mouth. Derek smiles and waves back. He catches Stiles’ eyes, and they stare at each other for a beat too long before Stiles ushers Seth inside the school.

When Stiles returns to the car, he looks like he’s about to fall over. “Where’s Seth’s mom?” Derek asks carefully. “You seem like you’ve been doing this alone for a long time.” Stiles doesn’t answer immediately, so Derek adds, “You can tell me to mind my own business.”

“It’s okay,” Stiles says. “Heather left me not long after Seth was born. We lived in San Francisco, I kept Seth, and moved home so my dad and best friend could help me out.”

“Cooper’s mom and I divorced when he was three,” Derek tells Stiles. “It wasn’t amicable.”

“We should start a club,” Stiles jokes. “Overtired, undersexed, bitter ex-husbands-single dad’s club.” Stiles’ eyes widen suddenly as he turns to Derek sharply. “Not that you’re tired or bitter or undersexed. You’re obviously not undersexed, how could you be?”

“What?” Derek asks, glancing over at Stiles. Stiles’ face is beet red, and he looks completely embarrassed. He chews on his lip nervously. Derek takes pity on him and says, “Believe me, I’m undersexed.”

Stiles’ mouth drops open, and Derek distinctly does not think dirty thoughts about it. Not at all. Not like how it would look so perfect wrapped around his cock, his lips red and kiss swollen, his cheeks and chest flushed.

Stiles is talking, so Derek gets his mind out of the gutter. Maybe he’s the one that needs a personal day.

“You look like you,” Stiles says. “There is no way you’ve gone longer than a month without sex. Plus, you have a teenager.”

“And that’s supposed to make it easier?” Derek laughs.

“He can go to a friend’s house and won’t cry the entire time you’re gone to dinner with an actual date for the first time in years to the point that your best friend has to call you because neither he nor your father can get the kid to stop crying.”

“No, he just silently judges you when you come home from a date,” Derek says. “Unless he judges you not-so-silently, and then it’s biting sarcasm. Kids are weird about their parents going on dates and having sex.”

“Great,” Stiles groans. “Something else to look forward.”

“Granted, it’s not like I’ve been on a date in forever,” Derek says. “My sisters set me up occasionally, but they finally gave up I think.”

“You should have more sex,” Stiles says, nodding his head for emphasis. “Someone who looks like you should definitely be getting laid more.”

Derek feels his cheeks heat. Did Stiles just say he was hot? “You’re hot, too, you know,” Derek says. He doesn’t imagine the blush on Stiles’ cheeks.

“Yeah, nothing says sex me up like mud and god knows what else on my clothes combined with the smell of kid piss.”

“You don’t smell like kid piss,” Derek says. “There’s nothing wrong with the way you look or smell.” He’s kinda shocked that he said those words, and Stiles is blushing even harder. He wonders if maybe Stiles is interested in him, with the blushing and thinking he’s hot, but the guy obviously has his hands full. The last thing he probably wants is a relationship. And Derek’s not sure either of them should be getting into anything that starts off with the discussion of kid piss.

When Derek pulls into the sheriff’s station, Stiles asks, “Don’t you have a job?”

“I run a gym with my sisters,” Derek says, “I can work whenever I want.”

“Exercise, what is that?” Stiles laughs as he climbs out of the SUV. “Thanks for the ride.”

“Hey, let me give you my number,” Derek says. “Next time you’re running behind, give me a call. I’ll give you a ride.”

Stiles smiles, a genuine smile that reaches all the way to his eyes. Derek feels something inside him flip.

When Derek gets home, he shovels all the snow from Stiles’ driveway, walkway, and sidewalk. He ignores Cooper’s knowing looks when he gets home. He can judge all he wants.

Stiles texts him later that night. Thanks for shoveling my yard. You didn’t have to do that.

One less thing for you to do, Derek replies.

Cooper glances over at him suspiciously. “Who are you texting?”

Derek locks his screen and sets the phone aside. “Since when did you get so interested in my life?”

“Since you got one,” Cooper retorts.

“I hardly call shoveling my neighbor’s yard a life.”

“It is kinda lame that you’re trying to get him to go out with you by shoveling snow,” Cooper says. “You are like the lamest, Dad.”

“Takes one to know one,” Derek quips, and Cooper groans and hides his face in a cushion.

“I’m never taking you around anyone, Dad. You’re so embarrassing.”

The weather stays thankfully snow free for a few weeks, so Derek doesn’t have a reason to see Stiles. He tries not to sulk around the house, but he doesn’t do a very good job. At one point, Cooper grabs his cell phone and shoves it against Derek’s chest. “Just call him already, oh my god. Ask him on a date, Dad! Be a man!”

“This seems reversed,” Derek says, tossing his phone aside. “I should be giving you dating advice.”

“I don’t think you’re qualified,” Cooper teases. Derek glares at him, but Derek’s glares stopped having an effect on Cooper a long time ago.

Derek doesn’t have to figure out when to call Stiles, because Stiles calls him one morning while he was fixing breakfast for him and Cooper before school.

“I’m sorry to bother you,” Stiles says in greeting.

“You never bother me,” Derek replies automatically. Stiles doesn’t say anything for a few seconds, and Derek’s kicking himself. Way to come on too strong, Casanova.

“Um, so my Jeep won’t start, and – “

“Yes,” Derek replies, a little too enthusiastically.

“I didn’t even ask you anything,” Stiles laughs on the other end.

“Sorry,” Derek says, dropping his face into his hand. Cooper comes up beside him, and Derek glances over to see Cooper mouthing, “Lame.” Derek snaps his fingers and points at the fridge, which in universal dad language means, Stop pointing out how epically I’m failing and go do something useful.

“You don’t mind dropping me and Seth off again? I hate to impose, but I’m pretty sure Edna is going to fire me despite my father being the sheriff if I keep being late.”

“Yeah, it’s no problem. We leave at 7:30.”

“You’re a lifesaver. Thank you thank you thank you!”

Derek ends the call and puts the omelets on two plates. Cooper is sitting at the small dinette table, two glasses of milk already poured. He’s watching Derek expectantly.

“Well, am I gonna be late for school again?” he asks as he cuts into his omelet.

“You weren’t late for school last time,” Derek grumbles, his cheeks turning pink. He doesn’t know why discussing this with his son is so embarrassing. It’s worse than discussing it with Laura.

Stiles comes stumbling out of his house at 7:40 again, but Cooper doesn’t say anything this time. He just gives Derek a pointed look with his eyebrows raised and then rolls his eyes. Derek holds Seth’s hand beside the SUV while Stiles hooks in the car seat.

“Mr. Derek,” he says quietly. Derek glances down at him, shocked that he spoke to him. Even Stiles stops what he’s doing to glance back at Seth. He’s got on a hat that looks like a wolf, and a scarf that has turtles on it. His cheeks are pink from the wind.

“What is it, buddy?” Derek asks.

“Our Jeep-Jeep dieded. Daddy said lots of angry words when it did.”

“Did he?” Derek asks, grinning at Stiles’ back.

“I’m sad the Jeep-Jeep died. He was my friend.” Seth sticks his thumb in his mouth.

“I’m sure the Jeep isn’t dead,” Derek says.

“All right.” Stiles bends down and scoops Seth up. “Kiddo, you’re getting big on me. What has Scott been feeding you?”

“Nuddets.”

“Of course he feeds you nuggets.” Stiles laughs as he buckles Seth in.

Derek climbs in before Stiles circles around the car, and Cooper says, “If we’re gonna start taking them with us every morning, you might want to talk to him about time management.”

“Coop, be nice,” Derek sighs as Stiles gets into the back.

After they’ve dropped the kids off, Stiles says, “I think I owe Cooper an apology.”

“What are you talking about?” Derek asks.

“I heard him this morning.”

“Stiles, he didn’t – “

“I don’t blame him. I’m never on time. It’s gotten ten thousand times worse since Seth was born. It’s just like with him, I think I’m on schedule, or even a little ahead of schedule, you know? And next thing I know, I’m thirty minutes behind.”

“It’s fine,” Derek says. “Cooper’s just grouchy like that sometimes. He likes to be early to school because there’s this girl he likes. He only gets to see her in the mornings because they don’t have any classes together.”

“Oh great,” Stiles says. “I’m a cock block.”

“I’m okay with that,” Derek laughs. “I’m not ready for him to start dating. He’s been interested in girls for awhile, but he wants to start going to movies with them, and I’m not sure how comfortable I feel with him even dating like that at 14.”

“Huh.” Stiles glances over at Derek and studies him closely. “I wouldn’t have pegged you as that conservative.”

Derek grips the steering wheel tightly. “I made some stupid mistakes when I was 15 and 16. I’d like to keep him from doing the same.”

“I know exactly what you mean.”

“How are you doing?” Derek asks, effectively changing the subject. The last thing he wants to talk about is his bad choices at 16. “Getting any sleep?”

“Not much. Seth doesn’t like it when I do anything without him, so there are certain things I have to do when he’s asleep.”

“Clingy phase?” Derek asks, and Stiles nods.

“And now my fucking Jeep is dead, and I don’t have the money to pay for a new one, and I can’t obviously rely on you to take me to work every day – “

“I don’t mind,” Derek tells him again.

“Even so,” Stiles says with a smile, “I’ve inconvenienced you enough.”

“You’re not an inconvenience, Stiles.”

“Thanks,” Stiles responds. He smiles, and it lights up his whole face.

Derek spends the whole day panicking. He teaches two cross fit classes, a spin class, and has two personal training sessions. One of the personal trainees, Tiffany, does everything but take off her clothes to try to get Derek to ask her out. He might have done so 6 months ago; she’s a beautiful woman. But Derek can’t think about anything but Stiles.

Hence the reason he’s panicking.

Cooper is already home when Derek finally comes home from the gym after five. Laura’s oldest brought him home after school. Cooper’s already gotten the chicken out of the freezer and it’s defrosting on the counter. Derek is so touched when he sees it on the counter that he goes into the living room where Cooper’s watching TV, pulls him off the couch, and gives him a big hug.

“Dad, what the heck?” Cooper exclaims from where he’s smooshed against Derek’s shoulder. “You’ve finally gone mental, haven’t you?”

“Humor your old man,” Derek says against Cooper’s hair. “Give me a hug.” Cooper sighs, but hugs Derek back. Derek just clings to his son, and after a few moments, Cooper pats his back. “Dad, seriously, are you okay?”

“I’m just thankful for you,” Derek says.

“O…kay,” Cooper says. “I’m thankful for you, too?”

Derek wouldn’t admit it to anyone, but he’s lonely. Sure, he has Cooper, and his parents, sisters, brother-in-law, and nieces and nephews, but it’s just not the same. It’s the reason why Derek got involved with his high school teacher Kate when he was 16, why Derek married Jennifer when he was 20, why he was divorced by 23, why he used to have sex with so many people he couldn’t remember their names during dinner.

Derek’s alone in the kitchen, listening to music and cutting vegetables, when Cooper picks up a knife and starts cutting a bell pepper. “You gonna tell me what’s wrong?” he asks.

“Nothing’s wrong,” Derek responds.

“You’re a bad liar,” Cooper tells him for the four hundredth time.

“I think I’m in over my head,” Derek finally says.

“What do you mean? Did something happen?”

Derek shakes his head. “It’s, um, it’s Stiles.”

“Oh.” Derek glances over at Cooper, who’s staring at the pepper as he meticulously cuts it into slivers. “You really like him, don’t you? It’s not like those people you used to go on dates with, is it?”

“No, it’s not like those dates.” Cooper stares at the cutting board. Derek asks, “Does that bother you?”

Cooper takes a minute to think about it, then he says, “No.” Finally he looks at Derek. “I want you to be happy, Dad. I want you to have someone that makes you smile, and who’ll watch your dumb TV shows with you.”

“You love my dumb TV shows,” Derek points out.

“Yeah, but I won’t be here forever,” Cooper says. “I’ll be driving soon, and then it’s college, and – “

“Coop,” Derek says, closing his eyes. “I really can’t handle thinking about you leaving tonight.”

“See, this is why you need someone. I can only do so much, and Aunt Cora and Aunt Laura can only do so much.”

Derek opens his eyes and looks at Cooper. “When did you get so grown up?” he asks in wonder.

Cooper rolls his eyes so hard his entire head moves. “Oh god, don’t get all mushy on me.” But he nudges Derek with his shoulder affectionately. “Why don’t you tell Stiles?”

“It’s complicated.”

“It’s really not. Either he likes you, or he doesn’t.”

“I’ll remember that when Amy tells you she doesn’t like you back,” Derek says flatly.

Cooper frowns. “Don’t even joke about that, Dad.”

After dinner, Derek and Cooper go across the street. Derek fidgets nervously on the front stoop, the Tupperware container full of leftovers still warm in his hands.

“Stop being a dork,” Cooper whispers. “Dorks don’t get cute guys to date them.”

“You think Stiles is cute?” Derek asks.

Cooper shrugs. “If you’re into that kind of thing, yeah I guess.” Derek ruffles Cooper’s hair affectionately, and he groans and tries to shrug him off.

Which is how Stiles finds them when he opens the door. He smiles wide when he sees them. “Hey, guys. What are you doing here?”

“Dad made you dinner,” Cooper says. Derek glares at the side of his head, the little traitor.

“Oh!” Stiles replies, and Derek’s not sure who’s more embarrassed, him or Stiles. “You didn’t have to do that. I threw some stuff together after Scott dropped me off.”

Seth runs into the living room then, wearing nothing but Superman briefs and a sheet tied around his neck like a cape. When he sees Derek and Cooper at the door, his eyes go really wide and he runs and hides behind the recliner.

“Seth, it’s Mr. Derek and Cooper,” Stiles says. Seth doesn’t budge. “You like them, bud,” he adds wearily. “Remember?” Then, he turns back to them. “I’m sorry, come in.” He steps aside as Derek and Cooper enter the house. Derek stands awkwardly in the living room, and when Stiles glances at him, he shoves the Tupperware at him.

“It’s chicken fajitas,” Derek rushes out. “I made too many, and thought you might like a night off from cooking.”

“Thanks,” Stiles says as he takes the container. “But you really didn’t have to do that.” Derek follows Stiles towards the kitchen. When they pass the recliner, Stiles stops and stares. Cooper is sitting cross-legged on the floor, listening attentively as Seth shows him a coloring book. “Well, I’ll be damned,” Stiles whispers so quietly that only Derek can hear him.

Stiles continues into the kitchen, and Derek follows him nervously. He’s not sure why being in Stiles’ home makes him suddenly feel flush and his palms sweaty, but he feels like maybe he’s crossed over some invisible barrier he shouldn’t have crossed.

Derek takes in the empty mac and cheese boxes and left over chicken nuggets on the stove. “I thought Scott was the one feeding Seth chicken nuggets,” Derek jokes.

Stiles glances over at the stove and drops into one of the chairs at the kitchen island. “It’s all he’d eat tonight. And I had to get my dad to go pick him up from daycare today because I didn’t get off until late, and Scott’s wife Allison usually keeps him until I get off, but today she had something to do, and I had to take him to work for a few hours. By the time we got home, he was fussy because he was hungry, and when I tried to make anything else, he just cried.” Stiles runs a hand over his face.

Derek places a hand on Stiles’ shoulder and squeezes, and Stiles leans into the touch. “You’re tense,” Derek says, though his heart is pounding in his ears. Ignoring the nerves vibrating through his limbs, he decides to be bold and lifts his free hand to Stiles’ other shoulder and starts massaging them gently.

Stiles’ head drops down as he emits a tiny moan. The sound goes straight to Derek’s cock.

“Is,” Derek starts, clears his throat, and tries again, “Is this okay?”

“Are you kidding me? I may kidnap you and keep you in the basement,” Stiles says. “That didn’t sound so creepy in my head. Well, it did, I just have no filter sometimes. All the time, really.”

“Here,” Derek says quietly, his thumbs pressing into the meat of Stiles’ neck, “relax.” Stiles exhales and some of the tension leaves his body, but the chords in his neck are still tight, his shoulders tense. Derek presses into the muscle, his eyes drawn to the long line of Stiles’ neck, the soft hairs along the nape. His eyes trace the few moles on his skin, disappearing under the collar of his shirt, and Derek wants to tug the fabric aside and follow them with his mouth.

Derek gently rubs Stiles’ shoulders, his thumbs pushing circles between his shoulder blades on his back. Stiles’ body sags as he starts to relax, and Derek slowly moves his fingers upwards. The moment feels intimate and charged as his fingers touch the warm, soft skin just below Stiles’ ears. Derek’s fingers linger, gentle presses turning into light strokes.

“Hey Stiles, I was wondering…” Cooper trails off as he enters the kitchen. Derek jerks his hands away and stumbles a few steps backwards, and Stiles shoots up in the chair. Cooper glances between them, and Derek just really hopes there’s not a tent in his pants, because he’s more turned on than he has been in a long time. Which is extremely awkward with his son standing right there.

“Yeah, what’s up?” Stiles asks, voice higher than normal. “Seth okay?”

“Um,” Cooper shifts awkwardly on his feet, “I was just wondering if I could have something to drink, and Seth said we could share Mr. Claws?”

Stiles’ mouth falls open. “He actually said that? Exactly that? That you could share Mr. Claws?”

“Um, yes?” Cooper says uncertainly. “I’m sorry if that’s a bad thing – “

“Are you kidding me?” Stiles exclaims. “You’re a freaking godsend.”

Cooper and Derek share a look as Stiles gets up and opens a cabinet. Derek shrugs, just as confused as Cooper is.

“What’s Mr. Claws?” Derek asks.

Stiles turns around, holding a small cup. It’s round and in the shape of a crab with two large claws as handles. There’s a straw sticking out of the top. “This is Mr. Claws,” Stiles explains. He takes off the lid, opens the refrigerator, and pulls out a bottle of apple juice. “It’s Seth’s favorite cup. He only lets me, Scott, and my dad drink out of Mr. Claws. This, this is epic.” He puts the top back on and crosses the kitchen to hand Mr. Claws to Cooper. “I hope apple juice is okay. I have sodas too, if you want one.”

Cooper takes Mr. Claws with a smile. “Nah, I’m honored I get to drink out of Mr. Claws. How could I refuse?”

Stiles stands looking after Cooper as he disappears back into the living room. “You did good with that one,” he says after a few moments. “I’m speechless, and that never happens. I can’t believe Seth wants to share Mr. Claws with him.”

“Thank you,” Derek says. “I’m proud of him.”

Stiles goes to place the juice back in the fridge. “I hope Seth turns out that well.”

“I’m sure he will.” Stiles closes the refrigerator and turns to look at him. “You’re a good dad, Stiles.”

“Doesn’t feel like it.”

“Never does.” Derek shifts awkwardly. Now that the moment is broken, he feels uncomfortable, and still slightly turned on. At least his cock is behaving and not giving him embarrassing erections like he was the one going through puberty. “I actually came over here for a reason. I wanted to know if I could take a look at your Jeep.”

“Now?” Stiles glances out the window, where it’s dark outside.

“No, not now,” Derek rolls his eyes. “Tomorrow, when it’s light outside.”

“You can work on cars?” Derek nods, and Stiles laughs incredulously. “You work on cars, give fucking phenomenal neck massages, shovel driveways, and cook. Is there anything you don’t do, or are you just perfect?”

Derek’s cheeks burn under the praise, and he’s suddenly self-conscious. Perhaps he’s been laying it on a bit too thick. “I’m far from perfect. Just ask Cooper. Or my ex.”

“I don’t mind if you work on my Jeep,” Stiles says, “but I’m starting to feel like you owe me a bill.”

Derek shakes his head. “I really don’t mind, you’re my – “

“Neighbor, yeah, I know.”

“I was actually going to say friend,” Derek says.

“Oh.” Stiles shifts from foot to foot and runs a hand through his hair.

When Derek gets ready to leave, Seth hugs Cooper’s leg tightly. “I don’t want you to go,” Seth says, his head hanging back parallel to the floor as he stares up at Cooper.

“You gotta get to bed, buddy,” Cooper says. “I’ll come play with you soon.”

“Promise?”

“Pinky swear,” Cooper says, holding out his pinky.

“What’s pinty swear?”

“Well, you link your pinky with mine, and it means that I will be back to play with you soon because I have to do what I say.”

“Because of pinty swear.”

“Yes, because of pinky swear.”

Seth lets go of Cooper’s leg and holds up his hand. Cooper takes his pinky, then links it with his own. “Pinty swear!”

“Pinky swear,” Cooper grins. Derek glances over at Stiles, who looks like he might be about to cry.

As they’re walking across the street, Derek slings an arm around Cooper’s shoulders and pulls him close. He drops a kiss on his head. “Thanks, Coop.”

“Looks like you and Stiles were having a good time in the kitchen,” Cooper says with a smirk.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Derek says. “It was completely platonic.”

“Dad, dudes don’t let other dudes massage their necks like that,” Cooper points out as they enter the house. Cooper pulls off his boots and drops them in a pile by the front door with the rest of his shoes. Then he throws his coat on the couch. Derek picks it up so he can hang it in the closet. “And that wasn’t a platonic kind of massage either,” he continues. “I’ve seen you massage grandma, Aunt Laura, and Aunt Cora’s necks – you don’t touch them like that.”

“I’m going to take a shower,” Derek says, deciding to ignore Cooper’s words as he hangs his coat in the coat closet.

“I’m sure you are.”

Derek tries not to think about how his son knows exactly what he’s doing in the shower as he jerks off while thinking about Stiles.

Derek gets off work around three the next day and goes across the street. He finds the Jeep unlocked, the keys in the middle console. He looks under the hood and quickly determines the problem. After a quick trip to the auto parts store, he gets to work.

He’s covered in grease and sweating despite the cold by the time Stiles gets home. As soon as Seth gets out of the car, he runs over to where Derek is lying under the Jeep. He crouches down and peers underneath the side.

“Are you making Jeep-Jeep feel better?”

“I’m trying,” Derek says, rolling out from under it.

“Seth, get away from there,” Stiles calls out frantically as he runs up.

“It’s okay,” Derek says. “He’s not going to get hurt.”

“Come on, buddy, let Mr. Derek work on Jeep-Jeep.”

“But I want to stay with Mr. Derek!” Seth whines.

Stiles glances at Derek, who shrugs. He doesn’t mind, but far be it for him to interfere in Stiles’ parenting.

“Let him watch,” a dark-haired guy says as he comes around the Jeep. “Seth loves cars.” Stiles looks nervous as his eyes dart from the Jeep, to Seth, to the tools. “Stiles, nothing is gonna hurt him.” The man turns to Derek and holds out his hand. “I’m Scott.”

“Derek,” he replies as he shakes the man’s hand.

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Scott says. Derek’s eyes flick over to Stiles, who is pointedly not looking at them. “Thanks for taking Stiles to work those days.”

“I’m glad I could help.”

“Seth, let’s not pick up the super dangerous tools, okay?” Stiles calls out.

Scott claps Stiles on the shoulder. “He’s not gonna break, dude.”

“I’m gonna remember that when your future offspring is doing dangerous things.”

Derek glances over his shoulder, where Seth is squatting beside Derek’s toolbox, peering at it curiously as he picks up various tools, inspects them, and replaces them very carefully into their previous places.

“I’ve got to get home to Allison,” Scott says. “It was nice meeting you, Derek.” Scott nods at him, then turns to Stiles. “And chill, Stiles.”

“He’s very breakable!” Stiles yells after Scott. “He is,” he tells Derek.

“He can stay out here with me and watch if you don’t mind,” Derek says. “But if it makes you too nervous, I get it.”

Stiles shakes his head. “No, Scott’s right. He loves cars, and I’m crap with them. This would be great for him, probably make his week.” He bites his lips, eyes trained on Seth, then nods. “Yeah, okay. I trust you.”

Something in Derek rips wide open at that.

“You go inside and do whatever you need to do,” Derek says. He walks over to Seth, crouches down, and says, “You wanna help me make Jeep-Jeep better?”

Seth’s eyes go wide, his mouth a small O. “I can?” He glances at Stiles, still standing at the edge of the driveway. “Can I, Daddy?”

“Yeah, buddy. Mr. Derek’s gonna show you all about cars.” Seth’s grin is so wide it almost breaks his face.

Derek passes the afternoon under the car with Seth lying right beside him. He spends half his time answering Seth’s incessant questions of “What’s that?” and “What’s that do?” He reminds Derek a lot of Stiles in that way; despite being so shy at first, he talks non-stop the entire time they’re under the car.

Derek puts Seth into the passenger seat while he cranks the Jeep, which starts up with no problem. Seth gets excited and starts babbling about him and Jeep-Jeep going to fight a troll. Derek nods in the right places, though he’s barely following the story.

After Derek fixes the Jeep, he works on the locks and the doors so they won’t stick anymore. He holds Seth as he uses the ratchet wrench. Seth doesn’t do anything but push it near where it needs to go and then move it around, but Derek tells him he did a good job anyway.

Spending time with Seth reminds Derek of when Cooper was young, and it makes him kinda sad. Cooper spends more time in his bedroom than he does wanting to do things like learn about cars with Derek like he used to.

Seth helps Derek pack up his tools afterwards, and then he walks him into the house. He knocks before entering, then calls out, “We’re done!”

“Did you fix it?” Stiles asks as he gets off the couch.

“I helped make Jeep-Jeep better!” Seth exclaims as he runs to Stiles. “He’s not deaded no more!”

“He’s not?” Stiles asks with a smile. He bends down and wipes his thumb against Seth’s cheek. “You look like a real mechanic.”

“I, I got to use a rat wench.”

Stiles glances at Derek, brows furrowed in confusion. “A ratchet wrench,” Derek supplies.

“Oh! That’s cool, buddy. Did you have fun?” Seth nods. “Go into the bathroom and wash up. You have oil all over you!” Seth takes off running, and Stiles yells after him, “Put your clothes in the hamper!” He turns to Derek. “You also look like you could use a shower. You’re filthy.” Stiles reaches out and swipes his thumb across Derek’s cheek in much the same way he did to Seth. Yet, this touch is much different. His fingers linger on Derek’s skin, thumb lightly stroking under his eye.

Derek’s skin continues tingling long after Stiles has removed his hand.

“So,” Stiles says, “I feel like I should do something for you since you fixed my Jeep and saved me like hundreds of dollars. I’d offer to make you dinner in return for those fantastic fajitas, but I think chicken nuggets and hot dogs are all we have, so – “

“Go to dinner with me,” Derek blurts. As soon as the words are out of his mouth, he wants to run out the door and hide in a snow pile. His palms are sweating and his heart is beating; he feels like he’s switched places with Cooper and he’s the awkward, hormonal adolescent instead of a grown, divorced man in his mid-thirties. Stiles stares at him, and Derek wants to backtrack and tell him he’s just kidding, but he seems to have lost all motor function. He stands still as a statue.

“Like, on a date?” Stiles finally asks.

“Yes,” Derek croaks. “Unless you don’t want it to be a date, then as friends.”

“No, no, I’m okay with a date. Absolutely okay with that.”

“Really?” Derek asks.

“You seriously thought I wouldn’t want to go on a date with you?” Stiles looks at Derek in disbelief.

“I didn’t even know you liked guys,” Derek says dumbly.

“I like you.”

“Cooper can come over here and watch Seth,” Derek says, because he doesn’t want to think too hard about the fact that Stiles just said he liked him! “I can take you to dinner and we can eat an adult meal and talk about adult things.” Stiles laughs, and Derek’s face heats up as he mentally kicks himself. “That didn’t quite come out right.”

“I know what you meant,” Stiles says, though his cheeks are flushed too. “The only time I hear that kind of adult talk is when I’m brave enough to watch my porn with the sound on instead of on mute. Last time I tried, I didn’t hear Seth come into my bedroom, and thank god 4 year olds don’t understand those things. Oh shit, I have no clue why I just told you that.”

Derek chuckles. “Just wait until you have a teenager who absolutely knows what those things are. I don’t know what’s more embarrassing, him walking in on you watching porn, or you walking in on him watching porn.”

“That’s it; Seth’s never growing up.”

“Good luck with that one,” Derek says with a smile.

When Derek enters his house, he smells food cooking and follows his nose to the kitchen, where Cooper is at the stove cooking hamburgers. “What are you doing?” Derek asks with a smile as he walks up to Cooper and surveys the messy counters.

“Cooking dinner, what does it look like?”

“Why?” Cooper shrugs. Derek notices the look on Cooper’s face, and his dad mode kicks in. “Something’s wrong. What’s wrong?”

Cooper flips one of the burgers and sighs. “Amy started going out with some other guy today.”

“No,” Derek says sympathetically.

“Yeah. I guess I just waited too long. Not like she would have said yes even if I would have asked,” Cooper says petulantly.

“Hey,” Derek says, grabbing Cooper’s arm and making him look at him. “Amy’s just one girl of dozens you will like in your lifetime. Any girl would be lucky to go out with you.”

“You have to say that; you’re my dad.”

“Doesn’t make it any less true,” Derek says. “I would have ordered pizza or something, you know.”

Cooper shrugs. “Wanted to do something to keep myself busy.”

“We’ll watch whatever you want tonight. You get control of the remote,” Derek says. Cooper gives him a small smile.

Derek doesn’t tell Cooper about Stiles because he wants the night to be about him instead of Derek. So, they eat hamburgers and fries, and watch television until Cooper’s almost asleep on the couch. Cooper frowns most of the night, and none of Derek’s attempts at dad humor do more than elicit a fleeting smile.

After Cooper’s gone to bed, Derek texts Stiles. You up?

Yeah. What’s up?

Cooper had his first rejection today. Nothing sucks more than watching your kid brokenhearted and not being able to do anything about it. It used to be so easy.

Poor kid. I had my first rejection in the third grade. Lydia Martin, love of my life until I was like 18. Rejected me on the playground and kept rejecting me every day after that.

I was in the 5th grade. Her name was Penny.

I don’t think you’ve ever been rejected. I think you’re lying.

I was awkward looking. Big ears, big teeth, it was bad.

Liar.

I’ll show you pictures.

I’m holding you to that :)

On Saturday, it snows a few more inches, so Derek and Cooper go into the front yard to make a snowman.

“Care if we join you?”

Derek glances up. Stiles and Seth are standing at the edge of their yard, all bundled up. Derek grins. “What do you think?”

“Hey Seth,” Cooper says when Seth drops to his knees in the snow beside him. He wiggles his pinky. “See, told you we’d hang out again.”

“Seth is the best at making snowmen, aren’t you, buddy?”

Seth nods and starts packing snow. Stiles crouches beside Derek, and the four of them work for awhile, the only sound Seth’s running commentary to Cooper about a snowman that eats nothing but pumpkins and cheese.

“He has a very active imagination,” Stiles whispers to Derek. “He makes up stories about everything.”

Derek is putting the finishing touches on the snowman, which wears a hat, a scarf, and has buttons made out of rocks, when a snowball pelts him on the side of the face. He turns sharply, to where Stiles is standing with his hand over his mouth.

“I was aiming at your back, I swear,” he laughs.

Derek bends down and scoops up a handful of snow and throws it at Stiles. Stiles screams as he ducks, the snowball missing him.

“I’m sorry!” Stiles laughs.

“Too late!” Derek responds. “Payback time!”

He packs another snowball as he hears Seth ask Cooper, “Can we throw snowballs, too?”

Derek momentarily forgets about Cooper and Seth as he runs towards Stiles with a snowball in each hand. Stiles shrieks and starts running away. Derek grins as he chases after him.

Stiles runs into the backyard, and Derek throws one snowball, which misses Stiles by a large margin, and then he throws the other, which gets Stiles right in the back of the head. The snow clings to Stiles’ knit hat. Derek doesn’t worry about making another snowball, and instead runs faster to intercept Stiles. He lowers himself as he nears Stiles, wrapping his arms around Stiles’ waist as he makes contact. They both tumble to the ground and roll a few times in the snow.

They finally stop, with Derek halfway on top of Stiles, Stiles splayed on the ground beneath him. They’re both laughing and breathless. Stiles looks so happy, not tired or weary like he’d looked a few weeks ago. His eyes are bright, his laughter causing the edges to crease, and his nose and cheeks are pink from the cold.

They stare at each for a few moment, and then Derek bends down and kisses him.

Stiles’ hands come up to Derek’s neck, holding him loosely through his thick gloves. Stiles’ lips are cold and chapped. Derek drags his tongue lightly along the crease, and Stiles opens his mouth, and Derek slides easily into the warmth of his mouth.

Derek had forgotten what it felt like to kiss someone he wasn’t planning on fucking and leaving. Kissing Stiles makes his body buzz all the way to his fingertips and to his toes and his head spin. He feels excited and nervous like a teenager again.

When Derek pulls away, Stiles is looking up at him shyly. “I’m sorry,” Derek says.

“Please don’t be,” Stiles says. He brings a gloved hand to Derek’s cheek. “I’m definitely not.”

Derek leans down and kisses him again.

After a few moments, Derek reluctantly gets to his feet and pulls Stiles with him. They find the boys in the front yard, crouched over a pile of snow.

“Whatcha doin?” Stiles asks.

“I can’t fidure out how to make a snowball,” Seth says.

“I tried to help, but it’s just been mush,” Cooper shrugs.

“Here,” Derek crouches down and scoops up some snow. He shows Seth how to pack it just right, and then how to toss it. It takes awhile, but Seth eventually gets the hang of it and Cooper sets up some plastic bottles that they try to hit.

“Thanks,” Stiles says, coming up to stand beside Derek. “You don’t know how much it means to me.”

Derek turns to Stiles. “Yes, I do.” He rubs his hands together; they’re freezing cold, his fingers hurting from where the snow has seeped into his gloves.

“Are your hands cold?” Stiles asks. Derek nods, so Stiles removes his gloves, grabs Derek’s hands, and then removes Derek’s gloves. He takes both Derek’s hands in his own and starts to rub them. “I’ll warm them up for you.”

“Aren’t your hands cold?” Derek asks. Stiles’ hands move deftly over Derek’s, rubbing his fingers and heating them up.

Stiles shakes his head. “Not really.” He brings Derek’s hands to his mouth and breathes warm air on them. Derek can’t help himself; he leans forward and kisses Stiles’ cheek. Stiles turns his face and gives him a quick peck on the mouth before helping Derek put his gloves back on. He keeps holding Derek’s hand long after they’ve lost their chill.

Later that afternoon, Derek’s distracted as he watches TV with Cooper. He keeps thinking about the kiss, about the way it felt to have Stiles’ body under his, about what it will be like to kiss him again.

“Something happened today,” Cooper says. “I saw you holding hands with Stiles, and you’ve got this creepy grin on your face. Spill.”

“Some things are none of your business, Coop,” Derek says.

“Really, Dad? Come on, what happened?”

“We kissed,” Derek gives in, completely embarrassed.

“Finally!” Cooper exclaims. “I thought I was going to have to get the two of you together.” Derek raises an amused eyebrow. “You two are so obvious it’s pathetic.”

Derek laughs. “Then I guess you won’t mind watching Stiles’ kid tonight.”

“Oh, I won’t?” Cooper asks, crossing his arms over his chest. “Did you finally ask him out on a date?”

“Yes.”

“Good,” Cooper says. “I can’t take much more of whatever you and Stiles have been doing.”

Derek rolls his eyes. “You’re exaggerating.”

“You fixed his car and made me shovel his driveway, Dad.” Cooper shoots him a look. “Which is still the weirdest way to flirt with someone.”

“I’m out of practice.”

Cooper studies Derek for a few moments, and then says, “You’re different with him.”

“What do you mean?” Derek asks.

“I don’t know, but when you’re around him, your face is different, your body language is different, even your smile is different.”

“My smile is different?” Derek asks incredulously.

“You just look…content, I guess. Like Stiles just makes everything better.”

Derek doesn’t know what to say, just stares at the TV as Cooper’s words sink in. Derek’s surprised that Cooper has noticed something like this in him, but he doesn’t think he’s wrong. Derek’s always been happy, he has Cooper, his family, and his job, but when he’s with Stiles, he just feels complete.

Derek doesn’t know what to wear. He doesn’t know where Stiles wants to go for dinner, and they’re not going somewhere fancy regardless, so Derek just puts on a maroon Henley and a pair of nice jeans that make his ass look good.

“Think those pants are tight enough, Dad?” Cooper asks when Derek comes down the stairs.

Derek gives Cooper a flat look. “Are you ever going to stop giving me a hard time?”

“Nope.” Cooper grins smugly.

“Put your shoes on and come on,” Derek says.

It’s started to snow by the time Derek and Cooper make the short walk across the street. There are snowflakes in his hair by the time he’s nervously knocking on Stiles’ front door. Stiles opens the door, looking frazzled and wearing wrinkled khakis and a white t-shirt and no shoes.

“I’m not ready,” he says as he steps aside to let them inside. “Seth is being…difficult.”

“Coopa!” Seth exclaims and runs to Cooper, crashing into his legs and wrapping his arms around them.

“Oh, now you’re happy and not crying,” Stiles says. “Great, thanks kiddo.”

“Are you here to play with me?” Seth asks, head hanging back.

“Yep. We can watch movies or play. Whatever you want.”

“You can order pizza for dinner,” Stiles instructs Cooper. “I left some cash and menus by the phone. And my cell phone number is there, along with my dad and Scott’s and – “

“Stiles,” Derek says, placing a hand on Stiles’ arm. “It’ll be fine.”

“Yeah, isn’t that right, Seth?” Cooper says. “We’re going to have lots of fun.”

“Bye Daddy,” Seth says without looking back as he drags Cooper towards his bedroom.

“Not even a hug,” Stiles says as he watches them go down the hall.

“Are you gonna wear that?” Derek asks. “Not that I mind really.”

Stiles glances down at his attire like he just realized how he was dressed. “Crap. Okay, five minutes, I swear.”

“No stress, Stiles,” Derek says. “This is fun tonight.”

While he waits, Derek looks at the pictures set up around the living room, mostly of Stiles and Seth through the years mixed in with Scott, a young pretty dark-haired woman that Derek guesses is Scott’s wife, and a man that must be Stiles’ father. Stiles comes out five minutes later, hair messy and unkempt yet still looking styled, the same wrinkled khakis, and a plain t-shirt with a plaid shirt unbuttoned over it.

“I’m sorry,” Stiles says, pointing to his clothes. “I look like a mess.”

“You look amazing,” Derek says. Stiles looks pleased, but embarrassed. “Coop, we’re gone.”

“Have fun!”

They step out of the house into the pouring snow. Stiles glances at it with a frown. “You wanna just stay in and order take out?”

“Sounds good to me,” Derek says. He takes Stiles’ hand as they start across the yard. “You’re nervous about leaving Seth, aren’t you?”

“Yep, totally.”

Derek lets Stiles choose the food, so they end up with Chinese from Stiles’ favorite delivery place, and they sit facing each other on the couch, talking as they share shrimp fried rice and pepper steak.

“This isn’t quite the date I had in mind,” Derek admits after they’re finished with the food, the empty takeout containers on the coffee table.

“What’s wrong with this?” Stiles asks.

Derek shrugs. “I just wanted this to be perfect for you. You deserve a non-stressful night.”

“This was perfect. I got my favorite Chinese, I didn’t have to talk about toys or Thomas the Tank Engine. If you can get over the fact that my clothes are wrinkled, I call this a perfect night.”

“I’m not really paying attention to your clothes,” Derek smiles.

“Oh, I’m paying attention to your jeans, believe me,” Stiles jokes. Derek leans closer and places a hand on Stiles’ leg. “What do you want, Derek?”

Derek’s brows draw together. “I don’t understand.”

“You shovel my driveway, fix my Jeep, make me dinner.”

“I want to help you,” Derek says. “I want to take care of you.”

“But who’s supposed to take care of you?” Stiles asks. “What do you want from me? Do you want me to blow you?”

“What? No!” Derek exclaims. At Stiles’ face, he quickly adds, “I mean, yes, I do want you to blow me, but only if you want to and not in payment for anything I’ve done.”

“So, what is it that you want, Derek?” Stiles lifts his hand and curls it around the base of Derek’s neck. “What will make you happy?”

“This,” Derek says. “Having dinner with someone, curling on the couch and watching television with them. Making dinner and shoveling your driveway and fixing your car and seeing you smile and not looking so tired.”

Stiles smiles, and then shifts around until he’s snuggled up against Derek’s chest. “Well, it’s a hardship, but I feel I need to return the favor. Prepare to have the shit cuddled out of you.”

Derek hands Stiles the remote and lets him choose the television station as he gets comfortable. This is exactly what he wanted, Stiles curled on his chest, Stiles’ arms wrapped around his waist, his arms clasped around Stiles.

Stiles cranes his head and presses a soft kiss on the underside of Derek’s jaw.

They stay like that for awhile, and when Derek tries to get up after the episode is over, Stiles doesn’t even move. Derek glances down and sees that Stiles has fallen asleep. Derek runs his fingers gently through Stiles’ hair, then settles back in to watch another episode.

Stiles stirs about an hour later. “Man, I fell asleep,” he mumbles, voice heavy with sleep. Derek loves the sound and wants to hear it morning after morning. “You should have woken me up.”

“You’re tired,” Derek says. “You needed sleep.”

“I want to spend time with you,” Stiles says, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. “Not sleep. What time is it?”

“A little after eight.”

“What time should we go back to the kids?” Stiles asks.

Derek shrugs. “Cooper’s fourteen. He’ll be fine. Seth’s the one who needs more maintenance.”

“Would it make me a bad dad if I stay here with you for awhile longer?”

Derek runs his fingers through Stiles’ hair. “No, Stiles. It won’t make a bad dad.”

“Good.” Stiles leans forward, so eagerly that he bumps his and Derek’s noses together. Stiles groans and pulls back. “Sorry, that was a lot sexier in my head.”

Derek waits as Stiles leans forward again, this time connecting with his mouth and kissing him deeply. Derek lets Stiles take control, and he crawls into Derek’s lap and straddles him as he continues kissing him. He starts nipping lightly at Derek’s bottom lip, tugging it between his teeth and sucking on it lightly before sliding his tongue inside Derek’s mouth. Stiles’ tongue is soft against his own, and when he drags it across the roof of Derek’s mouth, it sends shivers down Derek’s spine. And when Stiles sucks lightly on Derek’s tongue, it shoots straight to Derek’s cock. Derek slides his hands beneath Stiles’ shirt, his skin soft under his touch.

Stiles kisses along Derek’s cheek on the way to his ear. “Will I seem easy if I want to have sex tonight?” Stiles punctuates the question by taking the lobe of Derek’s ear between his teeth, and Derek moans as his hips buck forward.

“Definitely not.” Derek pushes lightly at Stiles’ chest. “Bedroom, upstairs.”

They kiss and laugh all the way to Derek’s bedroom. Derek feels like he’s floating, he’s so happy and nervous and excited. They kiss for awhile longer when they finally stretch out on the bed, until Stiles’ hands start rubbing against Derek’s erection trapped in his tight jeans.

“It’s been a long time,” Stiles says, “since I’ve been with a guy. Not since college.”

Derek cups his face. “We can take it slow. We don’t have to do everything tonight. I’m not going to disappear, Stiles. We’ve got plenty of time to have sex.”

“I’ve only had sex once since Heather. Not like I’ve had a lot of time with Seth.”

Derek flips them so Stiles is lying on his back. He pushes Stiles’ t-shirt up and drops light kisses along his torso, Stiles’ skin warm against his lips. Stiles exhales above him, his fingers in Derek’s hair. Derek nuzzles into the trail of dark hair on Stiles’ lower belly, kissing and nipping at the skin. Then, he opens the fly on Stiles’ khakis, hooks his fingers into the waist, and slides them down when Stiles’ lifts his hips. His cock pops free, and Derek immediately wraps his lips around it.

Derek loves everything about Stiles’ cock in his mouth. More than that, he loves the feel of Stiles’ hands in his hair, tugging and scraping at his scalp, and the litany of words Stiles moans above him. It doesn’t take very long for Stiles to come, and Derek swallows it down as Stiles grows soft in his mouth.

He kisses his way back up to Stiles’ mouth, getting distracted along the way to lick errant freckles and suck light marks into his skin. When he looks down at Stiles’ face, Stiles has his eyes closed, a smile on his relaxed features. “You’re beautiful,” Derek says. “You look so relaxed.”

“I am relaxed. Thanks to you.” He opens one eye and peeks at Derek. Derek leans down and kisses him again.

Derek unbuttons the fly on his jeans as he kisses Stiles, and Stiles grabs his cock once it’s free. Derek’s eyes roll back in his head the moment Stiles starts stroking him, and he moans into Stiles’ mouth as they kiss sloppily. Stiles’ grip is clumsy and unsure, but Derek pushes his hips into it; it feels absolutely amazing.

Derek comes messily between them, and he pulls away from Stiles to survey the damage. “I got come on your pants,” Derek says as he reaches onto the floor beside the bed to grab his t-shirt from the night before. He dabs at the come spot on Stiles’ khakis. He removes most of the mess, but it leaves a huge wet spot.

“Don’t care,” Stiles says. “It’s not the worst thing on my clothes.” He opens one eye again and looks at Derek. “Actually, I think it might be this time.” Derek laughs, but kisses Stiles again. “Let’s lay here for a little while longer,” he suggests. “Then I will have to go home.”

Derek holds Stiles as they talk and lie on Derek’s bed, pants still open and cocks hanging out. Derek doesn’t remember the last time he felt like a man instead of a dad, when he could just lie with someone in his arms with his cock out and focus on enjoying their company. He hopes that Stiles feels something similar.

Derek walks Stiles to the front door when he’s ready to leave. “I had a great time,” he says, holding both of Stiles’ hands in his own.

“Me, too,” Stiles says. “I’m kinda already ready for our next date.” Derek softly kisses him again, gentle presses of his lips against Stiles’.

Derek watches from the front door as Stiles walks across the yard then across the street to his house. He goes and turns on the television, waiting on the couch until Cooper returns a few minutes later.

“So,” Cooper says, dropping on the couch, “how was the date?”

Derek smiles. “It was great.”

Cooper rolls his eyes. “You have the same stupid grin on your face Stiles did. You two are ridiculous. I’m gonna puke.”

“How was Seth?”

“Great. We played, then watched a movie and he fell asleep. I like the kid.” Derek nods and Cooper gets up and heads for the stairs. “Hey Dad?” he calls out, and Derek turns to look at him. “I’m glad you’re happy.” Then, he jogs up the stairs.

Derek gets a text from Stiles a few hours later. Do you think that having a family dinner tomorrow is too soon?

Am I cooking, or are you?

You, of course. I don’t have anything but chicken nuggets in my freezer.

It’s a date.

Derek grins and turns the television to one of his favorite programs. He ends up texting Stiles until well after midnight, and when he finally goes to bed, he doesn’t feel so lonely anymore.

-fin