Stiles had always felt at home at the station house for as long as he could remember. His mother would come by with him when he was a toddler to visit and take his dad, then just a deputy, out to lunch. When his mom went back to work when he got a little older he would stay at the station whenever there was a school closing, always demanding sips of coffee from his dad and his coworkers so Stiles could be more like them, then screwing up his face at the first taste and accepting a hot chocolate instead.
And when he was eight and his mother had an aneurysm it seemed like he spent more time there than at home. The house seemed so empty without her, and anyway he needed to stick close to his dad and make sure nothing bad happened to him. Even when he realized that just staying glued to his father’s side wouldn’t actually protect him, that didn’t mean it didn’t make the both of them feel at least a little better.
Besides, he had pretty much been the stations mascot since he was in diapers, always being underfoot and charming, but with an emphasis on the charming. Just always around. So even when he was ten and something major went down, it took everyone awhile to remember that no, Stiles was not supposed to be there, and shouldn’t someone get him the hell out of there, especially when they were bringing in the crazy Argent woman who had just tried to burn down the Hale place during a family reunion by seducing their fifteen year old son? And was now currently ranting and raving about werewolves and other nonsense?
So while everyone was focused on the mad woman and her accomplices, Stiles just made his way through the chaos of the squad room, trying to keep a lower profile than was his usual in the hopes that everyone really would forget about him for long enough so that he could find out everything that happened. Still, he was pretty sure he caught Deputy Gore giving him the side eye and decided that ducking into his dad’s office until the deputy forgot about him was probably the best course of action. He just wasn’t expecting anyone else to be in there.
Justin and Amelia Hale, as well as their twins Laura and Derek were clustered on and around the beat up old couch that both Stiles and his dad had slept on countless times. Mrs. Hale and Laura were seated on the couch almost curled around each other and had obviously been crying earlier, a few smears of streaked makeup still around their eyes. Mr. Hale looked grim standing to the side, and was holding his wife’s hand so tight Stiles almost swore he saw a drop of blood drip down one of her finger nails.
Derek looked like he wanted to die.
“Hi Mr. and Mrs. Hale and…everybody,” Stiles said awkwardly, completely unsure of what to say or do. For the first time in his life he felt a modicum of sympathy for the people who had given him ham handed condolences when his mother died.
“Hello, Stiles is it? You’re the Sheriff’s son?” Mrs. Hale asked softly, prompting a jerky affirmative nod from Stiles.
“I’m real sorry, I didn’t know anyone was in here. I can go, or I can get my dad, or I can show you were I hid the good cookies so I could find them but my dad couldn’t or if you don’t want cookies I think I still have some Hawaiian Punch in the fridge or…anything. You know, that I can help you with.” Stiles babbled on with the thought somewhere back in his mind that when people were guests you offered them refreshments, and his dad’s office was kinda like his office so…
“I think we’re all fine. Thank you Stiles,” Mrs. Hale spoke up interrupting his thoughts, a bemused smile erasing some of the tension from her face. Laura was looking at him like he was some sort of bizarre science experiment, and it even looked like Mr. Hale had relaxed his grip ever so slightly on his wife’s hand.
Derek’s expression hadn’t changed at all.
Something about the look on the older boy’s face just went right through to Stiles’ heart, making his chest hurt. He wanted to fix it. No one should look like they hurt that much. Stiles knew that from experience.
His feet seemed to move on their own until Stiles somehow found himself sitting next to Derek on the couch. And well, once he was there the next logical thing seemed to be to wrap the teen up in a hug. He heard what sounded like Laura let out a small gasp.
Derek didn’t say anything.
Stiles wasn’t sure if it would be as effective as his dad’s hugs, especially since his arms seemed so small and puny circled around Derek instead of big and secure like his dad’s, but at least Derek hadn’t pushed him away yet.
“I know that someone tried to do something bad to your family and really bad to you. I don’t know or understand all of it, but I know it must be really scary. But you should feel better cause my dad is in charge out there right now and he doesn’t let criminals get away with anything. He’s the best, cause he’ll take that lady and lock her up and find all the evidence to make sure they never let her out. He protects everyone that he can, and believe me, I know he’ll protect you.” Stiles felt a tear slide down his face, and was embarrassed to be crying in front of people he barely knew for no real reason. He wasn’t the one who’s house almost got burned down after all. But as he made a move to disengage from Derek the teen suddenly shifted and wrapped his arms around Stiles.
“OK,” Derek whispered. “I believe you.”