The first time it happened, Stiles had been legit appreciative of the save, because Tim was kind of a creep and handsy as fuck and Stiles had started wishing he'd brought his bat along, at one point. The second time, okay, Stiles can see that it'd been kind of an emergency, what with the lake monster and all, even though he'd mainly just driven the getaway car, and he couldn't see why one of the others couldn't have been just as helpful, but—whatever. It was okay.
The third and fourth times – kind of iffy, on the excuses front, but it was more bemusing than anything, and both dudes had been pretty boring, so he'd take ice cream and coffee with Derek over light chit-chat, especially when half the things Stiles does for a living are, like, supernatural and magical and can't be talked about in polite company.
The fifth time, Stiles and Livvy were making out in his jeep when Derek had knocked on the window and that was—not cool, man. Not cool at all.
“This is bullshit,” Stiles says, dropping down on the couch next to Kira. He's early to the pack meeting for once, and there's only Kira and Scott and Liam. “How is Derek qualified to judge our dates? I mean, you and Scott are so lucky you don't have to put up with this crap, right Liam?”
“Um.” Liam pokes his head of the kitchen – he's got his hands full of soda bottles, his hair is sticking up all over like a tiny baby hedgehog. He looks at Stiles with wide, endearing eyes - geez, Stiles just wants to hook him around the neck and give him a friendly noogie - and says, “What?”
Stiles waves a hand at him. “He's not even the alpha! I get that he's all damaged by psychos and evil druids and shit, but the worst I've done is, like, go out with that barista last year that wouldn't stop calling me ‘bro’.” Really fucking annoying, yeah, but definitely not dangerous or traumatic. Like—Derek can ease off, okay, Stiles isn't going to get himself accidentally killed going to get pizza with that library lady who keeps making eyes at him when he asks her for all the heavy books on German folklore. Probably.
“I'm not sure I know what you're talking about,” Liam says carefully, setting down his treasures on the coffee table.
Stiles snags a Mountain Dew and says, “Exactly.” No one knows what's going on with Derek, it's weird. Or not weird, because, honestly, when does anybody know what's going on with Derek – he's like everyone's estranged cousin that lurks around at holidays and is possibly a homeless professional mini-golfer. He doesn't like talking about himself, is what Stiles is getting at, and the silently judging eyebrows are getting on his last nerve. No one who's lived in a diseased ridden abandoned train depot has any room to point fingers at anybody else's life choices. “Now, the important question is: are we ordering pizza?”
Stiles and Malia never actually broke up; it was more like they agreed to see other people and then just forgot to see each other, too.
So, like, it's weird in the least possible way when they hang. They eat like they've been starving themselves all week and watch movies and they cuddle a little, because Stiles likes to cuddle and sometimes Malia indulges him. It's like if Scott was a girl but also heartless and not anything like Scott at all as a person.
There's also the potential for strings-free making out, which Stiles is always down with.
Stiles cell buzzes halfway through Thor and he lifts it up over his face from where he's sprawled out with his head in Malia's lap.
It's Derek. Of course.
Malia says, “Don't answer it,” but not like she actually cares if he does or not. She's just reacting to Stiles's tortured groan, because he's beginning to understand that it's Derek's mission in life to ruin everything.
He answers and says, “No,” and, “I'm comfortable, dude, I'm not moving for anything less than life or death.”
There's a lengthy pause, and then Derek says, “Scott's been attacked.”
“What the hell, man,” Stiles says, because he should have been so suspicious about that lengthy pause, oh my god.
Derek scowls at him, arms crossed.
“No,” Stiles says, wagging a finger at him, “you don't get to pout over this. How in the world does this translate to Scott being attacked?” Those words should never be uttered so recklessly – Stiles nearly had a heart attack, there might have been crying, okay, and he's sure everyone in the pack will know that by tomorrow, thanks to Malia.
“It's been savaged,” Derek says, almost petulant, and yes, yes this— whatever-it-was has been savaged, but this whatever-it-was is not Scott.
“I'm pretty sure this was a deer, dude,” Mason says, because Mason is there, of course he is, Stiles isn't even needed as the token human here, and Stiles doesn't care if it's a deer or not, because he's not looking at it. If he doesn't look at it, there's less of a chance of him throwing up.
There are dead, savaged deer parts all over the McCall front lawn. It's concerning, Stiles will grant that, but Stiles will never forgive Derek for letting him think, even for one second, that this was Scott.
“You are the worst,” Stiles says to Derek, and Derek at least has the good grace to look slightly shame-faced. Until his gaze shifts to Malia and he goes back to scowling at everyone. Ugh. The worst.
“All right, guys,” Scott says, and he's giving Stiles his play nice frown, like Derek's bad mood is Stiles's fault, when all Stiles was doing was having a nice, relaxing night without mutilated wildlife. “Let's bag what we can and take it to Deaton's.”
“Fantastic,” Stiles says, and gives Derek the stink-eye.
“Dogs,” Deaton says. He has the gruesome remains of the deer spread over an exam table, and Stiles has to fight not to cover his nose.
“You mean wolves,” Stiles says, and Deaton shakes his head and says, “Perhaps,” which tells them absolutely nothing.
Stiles throws up his hands. “Come on. Most likely scenario here is another pack challenging Scott, right?” Not ideal, but at least they know how to deal with that. Scott goes all True Alpha on their asses and the rest of them loom threateningly in the background – it's pretty great.
Derek frowns. “It doesn't smell like wolves. Or dogs,” he says, tipping his head toward Deaton.
Stiles doesn't know how he can smell anything but rotting deer parts, but sure. “So not a dog or a wolf but like a dog or a wolf—”
“More than one, most likely,” Deaton says, and Stiles points at him.
“Yeah, okay. I'm going to go home and research. Malia can—”
“We're going to do a sweep of the preserve first,” Derek says, and then tilts his chin up like he's daring Stiles to contradict him, even though this is Scott's show he's trying to run here.
Scott is the king of let's all just get along, though, now that he's been promoted and has a junior werewolf and responsibilities, and Stiles can sympathize with the Derek-fondness, he kind of grows on you, sometimes Stiles wants to pinch his cheeks or kiss him or whatever. He's hot, okay, and Stiles has little to no self-preservation, this has been established several times over the past couple years.
Scott says, “Pair up. We'll meet back here in an hour. Howl if you find anything.”
The obvious choice for Stiles to pair up with would be Malia, except Lydia's there without Parrish, and no one wants to leave Lydia and Derek alone, that's sort of an unspoken agreement with all parties.
Stiles sighs and pats Derek on the shoulder and says, “Come on, big guy. Let's get this over with.”
Stiles hears the growls, the roars, the—yelping?— before he even breaks into the clearing, bat held high, skidding to a stop in front of Derek and—a puppy.
A really big puppy; honestly, the only reason Stiles is so sure it's a puppy is the way its paws don't quite match up with its body and the three pairs of liquid don't hurt me eyes staring up at him from its crouch on the grass.
“Awww,” Stiles says, lowering his weapon. How cute is that? Creepy, you know, because of the three heads, but seriously, awwwwww.
Derek, still wolfed out, growls, and the puppy whines and shrinks into itself and if it weren't for the blood all over its muzzle and the giant stockpile of dead animals it's guarding, Stiles would be inclined to try and pet it.
And then Scott comes roaring into the clearing, all red eyes and posturing, and the puppy scrambles to hide behind Derek, of all people, and Scott's wolf face looks really fucking endearing when he's confused.
Lightning cracks into the ground when Kira appears, and it would've been a really impressive showing if she didn't run right into a poleaxed Scott and trip over her own feet.
Everyone is quiet for three whole seconds. The monster of a dog whines and—bumps one of its faces into the back of Derek's legs, Jesus.
Kira says, “A puppy!” and claps her hands.
The puppy – “It's like a Cerberus!” Mason says excitedly while playing tug-o-war with two out of the three heads – has apparently killed three mountain lions, four deer, an unknown quantity of bunnies, one raccoon, two pheasants, and what looks like Mrs. Whiley's geriatric cat. It's hard to tell for sure. Peanut, as Mason has been calling it, doesn't leave much more identifying parts than the fur.
“He can't stay in my loft,” Derek says, and everyone ignores him, because Peanut is wagging his tail and slobbering all over the furniture and generally being huge and adorable.
Stiles says, “You'll have to get a really big dog bed.” The food bill alone is going to be astronomical.
“He's the size of a small horse!” Derek says. “He has three heads.” He's starting to sound desperate, especially since Peanut has placed one head on his knee, blinking up at him like Scott does after the last chocolate chip cookie is gone.
“Mr. Maloney had an alligator in his basement for ten years,” Stiles says, “no one even knew it was there until he died.” A three-headed dog might be harder to hide, sure, but the majority of the population in Beacon Hills still has no idea about the supernatural, despite the fact that, like, three hundred fifty people have been mysteriously murdered-slash-disappeared over the past three years. They're not exactly the sharpest knives in the drawer.
“Stiles,” Derek says through his teeth, “have you thought about when this thing grows up?”
Stiles eyes up Peanut, thinks about the fact that his paws are the size of dinner plates; that he has razor sharp teeth and an appetite for bloody raw meat that might, maybe, escalate past the point they can reasonably handle. “Huh.”
Mason says to him, “But we can keep him, right?” and when did Stiles become the Pack Dad, this should not be his decision.
“We can't,” Derek says, and just to be contrary Stiles says, “We can.”
He totally doesn't mean it. There's no way they can keep a baby hell hound, even if they are a radically diverse wolf pack. From the way Lydia and Malia are glaring at him, he's probably going to regret saying anything later on.
The pissy way Derek gets to his feet and flounces from the room is totally worth it, though.
What Stiles didn't anticipate, what none of them probably anticipated, is that Derek gets attached.
Like, goes running with him at three in the morning and buys whole dead cows for him attached. He's even been too busy to interrupt Stiles's past two dates, Stiles got to make out for a half hour the other night before everything felt just too weird and wrong. He'd found Derek watching old Adam Sandler movies with Peanut cuddled up on his lap, back end puddled on the floor.
Which makes it all the more heartbreaking when Stiles has to sit down with him and explain how Deaton figured out a way to send him back.
“Back where?” Derek says, head cocked, and Stiles wants to grab his hands across the table and rub his thumbs soothingly over his wrists; it's a weird vibe, Stiles gets that, so he definitely does not follow through.
“To hell,” Stiles says. “You know. Where he's from?”
Derek's mouth quivers and Stiles cannot be held responsible for what he does if Derek starts crying. There will probably be ill-advised hugging involved.
Luckily for him Derek just punches the wall and storms out.
During his third uninterrupted date with Josh, Stiles just isn't feeling it. There's, like, an anticipation that isn't there anymore, like the thrill of being caught—and he's so fucked, crap.
What's the point of dating if Derek isn't going to be there to tell him how he's doing it wrong?
And this time he knows it's not even because of Peanut, because Peanut is gone, and Stiles had stayed well away from that sob-fest; Derek wasn't even the only one, he's pretty sure Mason has cried himself to sleep every night since.
So Derek is sad and not thinking about all the ways Josh is going to destroy the pack by dating Stiles and all Stiles can think about is Derek sitting in his lonely loft without a boon companion and this is why Stiles ends up at Derek's door with a labradoodle at 10 AM the next morning.
“Stiles, what are you doing?” Derek says. He's got sleep creases on his face and there's a lot of bare skin, Stiles should be used to that by now but it always seems to make him warm all over regardless.
“Surprise?” he says, holding up the puppy in front of his face.
“Stiles,” Derek says. “What.”
Stiles shoves the puppy at Derek and Derek automatically grabs him and glares at Stiles over the fluffy, curly head.
“What,” Derek says again, more forcefully, and Stiles shrugs.
“I know you miss Peanut,” Stiles says. “I thought, maybe—” Derek doesn't have to keep him, obviously, but he even sort of looks like Peanut. If you squint.
“You—” Derek closes his eyes, like he's in deep mental pain, and then the puppy starts licking all over his face and who can resist that?
“Awww, he likes you,” Stiles says, reaching out to rub his ears.
Derek sighs and says, “What's his name?” and Stiles can't believe Derek is placing that responsibility in his hands, this is miraculous – he's been secretly calling him James Van Der Beek all morning, but there's a ninety-eight percent chance that'll get an automatic veto, so Stiles says, “Jimmy?”
Derek flops the puppy over his shoulder and turns away from the door, leaving it open in silent invitation. He says, “All right, fine,” and Stiles does a fist-pump that turns into an awkward hand through his hair when Derek gives him an eyebrow over his shoulder, whatever, he got to name the puppy!
And now they're – he watches as Derek carefully sets Jimmy down on the tile floor of the kitchen and then starts rifling through the fridge, pulling out a carton of eggs – having breakfast?
Okay, sure, Stiles could eat.
For some reason, Stiles figured Derek would be the ultimate dog trainer. Like he would just growl at Jimmy and the puppy would fall in line. This is apparently a gross misconception, considering the fact that Jimmy eats half of Derek's couch the first week, chews all the bottom kitchen cabinets, topples the trash and vomits paper towels all over the living room and sleeps smack dab in the middle of Derek's bed, curled up in a ball of covers and muddy sheets. He's not really great at remembering to ask to go outside to piss and shit, either, it smells like a pet store at the loft, Stiles isn't sure how Derek and his super sniffer can stand it.
“Dude,” Stiles says, looking at the giant pile of chewed shoes Jimmy has left by the front door.
Derek says, defensively, “He's learning,” and calls Jimmy over from where he's cowering behind the kitchen island, because he knows he's done something wrong, he's a smart dog, Derek just has no idea what to do with him.
“He's learning that you're a chump,” Stiles says, kicking a pair of sneakers aside. “How are you so bad at this?”
Derek glares at him from where he's giving Jimmy belly rubs and cooing about what a good boy he is, which is patently false. Truly, it's great to see Derek so happy over dog ownership, but something has to be done, Jimmy's going to completely destroy the entire apartment within a month.
“Okay, that's it, I'm taking over,” Stiles says.
“What do you know about training a dog?” Derek says, but he sounds more curious than put-out.
Stiles says, “Absolutely nothing,” but he's confident he can figure it out.
Jimmy is a lost cause.
Stiles is slumped next to Derek on the couch and Jimmy is eating one of the legs of the coffee table and Stiles is just counting it as a win that he kind of, sort of, got Jimmy to start pooping outside.
“It's just a phase,” Stiles says. Puppies chew shit, right? Jimmy will totally grow out of eating all the furniture and TV remotes, Stiles is sure.
“Right,” Derek says. He's sitting extra close to Stiles because half the couch is still a mess of ripped foam and fabric and gnawed wooden frame. He says, “Thanks for trying,” and Stiles is—weirded out, honestly, because he can't think of anything that Derek has thanked him for, ever, including all the times he's saved him from certain death.
“Uh. You're welcome?” Stiles says, and then Derek kisses him.
It's not a bad kiss in any way. In fact, it's a fantastic kiss, Derek wraps his arms around Stiles's waist and pulls him onto his lap, and Stiles brings his hands up and cradles Derek's cheeks, stubble surprisingly soft under his palms. He groans into Derek's mouth, settles deeper so their hips slot up—and then he pushes his face away.
He says, “What?” fingers still curved under Derek's ears.
Derek looks dazed and dark-eyed, and forty-seven percent of Stiles wants to dive right back in there, but the majority of his brain is going what the actual fuck?
“Stiles,” Derek says, voice raspy, and Stiles says, “What's going on here?” because he honestly has no clue.
Derek's face starts to shut down and Stiles tugs on his ears and says, “Oh no. No, no, no, you don't get to do that, you need to tell me what's happening,” and there's a brief flare of annoyance in Derek's eyes before he starts trying to push Stiles back onto the couch beside him.
“What do you think is happening?” Derek says, smart-mouthed, and Stiles tugs on his ears harder and shoves his elbows out so Derek can stop his half-hearted pushing, because Stiles is going to maintain eye contact here and figure out just why the fuck Derek Hale would kiss him.
It just doesn't—
“How many times have you cock-blocked Liam in the past month?” Stiles says.
Derek makes a face. “Why would I—” He cuts himself off, presses his lips together and Stiles is so onto him now, holy shit.
Stiles says, “Mason?”
Derek looks at the ceiling.
“Malia?” Stiles says, and Derek spares him an incredulous glance, because, yeah, that shouldn't even be a question, Malia would turn into a coyote and eat Derek's balls.
The tops of Derek's cheeks and ears are turning pink and his palms are resting loosely on Stiles's thighs and Stiles is still sitting on his lap, and apparently Stiles has been missing all the signs Derek has been really terrible at giving for months.
“Huh,” he says.
Derek takes a deep breath and says, “You don't have to—”
“Oh my god, seriously,” Stiles says, and kisses him.
Jimmy sleeps in the middle of the bed and hogs all the covers and straightens his legs out and pushes Stiles off the side sometime in the wee small hours.
He sits on the floor, naked and stunned, and watches Derek roll over and spoon the furry monster in his sleep. Jimmy slits his eyes open and stares at Stiles and he's all but convinced he's accidentally gotten another demon spawn for Derek until Jimmy yawns and twists up into a sitting position, giving Stiles, like, five extra inches to wriggle back onto the mattress.
Derek sleepily reaches for his arm and tugs him closer, so Jimmy is sandwiched tightly between them.
The dog huffs and shakes the bed when he lurches up and off, and Derek smiles over at Stiles and buries his face in his throat. “Learning,” he says, voice muffled.
Okay then. Cool.