Stars We Make
Stiles calls it his Wolf Pack, but the Sheriff has no idea what the hell that means. He wonders if he's making up words again, like when he invented his own language in the third grade and again in the ninth grade. Scott the Sheriff understands. Scott is this down to earth kid that Stiles has been best-friends with for years. Allison, Scott's girlfriend, probably comes attached to Scott nowadays; they have been together for awhile now, at least that's how the Sheriff sees it. Lydia has been the apple of Stiles's eye for god knows how long, and how she turned over from Aphrodite to Wolf Pack in the span of a couple months baffles the Sheriff. Jackson, the testy kid who nearly had the Sheriff fired, has been less testy lately and more friendly, less likely to throw a lawsuit at a moment's notice and more willing to bring quality grilling meats to a Fourth of July Barbeque. Jackson's friend, Danny, he is probably the most normal one out of them all, despite his record, and his habit of sneaking into gay clubs with falsified driver's licenses.
For awhile there, the Sheriff was worried that Stiles and Danny were close in the more than platonic sense. No, the one the Sheriff needs to be worried about wears the leather jackets and is constantly surrounded by his three misfit kronies, the blonde, the genius, and the tortured soul. His name is Derek Hale, and he never takes a good mug shot because his eyes flash into the camera. Stiles, well, Stiles who cannot shut up about anything shuts up at the mention of Derek's name. The Sheriff knows the score. He knows Stiles's score, at least, and Derek's won him over in every possible way.
The sun's about to set. There are fireworks being lit up and down the street as people watch from their front yards; he feels sorry for the deputies out there, putting out fires and dealing with idiots, but this year he wants to spend with his son and his "Pack".
They lay out their own picnic blankets. The couples, the obvious couples, unfold the blankets out together. Allison and Scott. Jackson and Lydia. The Sheriff lets out a breath of relief when he sees Stiles...running around with the blanket behind his back, flowing out behind him like some sort of cape, Derek Hale chasing after him, calling him immature and stupid. The Sheriff presses his hand to his forehead. It's that kind of love. He thinks. It's not a simple love. It's complicated, and it takes work, but there's potential, limitless potential.
The sun is about three fourths below the horizon when the Pack starts pulling out the sparklers. The Sheriff sips a beer while watching Stiles and Derek try to burn each other with their fire sticks. Mortifyingly cute.
Isaac Lahey, the orphan with the newfound love of leather jackets, walks up to the Sheriff and says: "they're adorable, but annoyingly oblivious. Don't worry. They aren't even aware."
"Aware of what?" The Sheriff asks. He knows what Lahey is saying, but if he is saying that your son is head over heels gaga lala lulu in love with Derek Hale the Sheriff would rather not hear it. Lahey backs off.
The Sheriff keeps watching, keeps sipping, keeps thinking to himself: how the hell am I going to explain this to his mother? He plans on seeing her again, someday. When he's done his job here on Earth and he gets to move on to better things, he'll see her again, and they'll be able to talk about all the crazy shit Stiles has put him through while she was away. Until then, the Sheriff needs to keep watching. He needs to take note of all this so she knows all the details as he sees it.
Ah. He feels it. The all too familiar hurt in his chest. It's dulled significantly since she first died, but the Sheriff winces every time he thinks of her too deeply. He needs some whiskey, something to cool the moment over. Everything is too hot right now. There are fireworks in the sky. His son is getting chased around by Derek freaking Hale, a nearly-suspected serial killer. He wants to feel a little less. He wants to disappear into the moment. Is that too much to ask, he thinks.
It's always too much, but at least Stiles is happy. He's not only happy: he's in love. The extra width on that smile is from the love, the love makes a person a little more than what they used to be, a little better and a little worse.
The first rocket bursts into the sky. The Sheriff grins. It's a turning point in the night for him, because Melissa McCall drives up at that very moment, fresh from a shift at that hospital, still in her scrubs. She's managed to avoid the very worst of the July Fourth injuries, unlike last year, where she spent the better half of the night helping a doctor piece together someone's hand. The Sheriff stopped by to collect a statement. Melissa has known the Sheriff for years. He's a handsome man, the Sheriff, and she wonders if he knows it. Melissa walks up and greets him first. He's the only adult here, and her own Scott is too absorbed with his girlfriend to notice.
"Hey, Melissa. How are you doing?" The Sheriff says.
"Not bad. Glad that I'm off work on the Fourth of July for once, even if I have to spend it with a bunch of googely eyed teenagers." She looks over at her son, with his arm around Allison's waist.
"Much better than last year, I suspect. Last year you were juggling spare limbs in the emergency room for the better half of the night." The Sheriff says. He hands her a beer. She smiles, and takes it in earnest.
"You wanna sit, Melissa? On one of the blankets. They're not using them." He asks. She says yes. They move over and sit on the soft grass of the Stilinski's front lawn.
"Scott hasn't even noticed that I'm here yet." Melissa says. "I'm a little aggravated, and I'm a little pleased that he's giving all his attention to that girl. That's what I would have wanted at her age."
"Let's not talk about our kids. Especially their love lives."
"Stiles and Derek. They're good together. It takes a little getting used to the idea, well, you just have to watch them interact. Then it's...simple." She says. "They pretty much fit."
The Sheriff looks at Melissa. He wants to be angry. He wants to say: you can't tell me my son is gay. Bisexual. Whatever. You can't tell me he's attracted to that guy. But even in her short-sleeved scrubs with the baby lions printed all over them, she's beautiful. She's so beautiful it's disarming.
"I mean...that's not what I wanted for Stiles. I didn't expect...not Derek Hale...I never expected him and a Derek Hale. I'm an officer of the Law, and he chooses a Derek Hale. It's rebellion." The Sheriff says. Melissa chuckles. Suddenly, she understands where Stiles gets his humor from.
"Do people ever choose? I always thought people just floated together." Melissa said. She rubbed her arms with her hands.
"Are you cold?" He did not let her answer. He took of his coat, and wrapped it around her and her hospital scrubs. "Just...there. Floated right on."
They stop talking. They watch the fireworks together. The Sheriff inches his hands closer to Melissa's, until it's close enough that Melissa notices. In her mind, she grins. She lets him hold her hand while sky lights up. The Sheriff is in such a good mood, he lets Stiles and Derek make out for awhile before letting them know that he knows, and that everyone knows. He’s not one to be outdone. By the end of the night, Melissa is saying goodbye, and he can't hold back. When she turns around, he touches the side of her arm, and pulls in her close. He’s nervous. He knows this may be going too quickly, but he…
Before he can think, she’s kissing him and his mind goes blank save for the feeling of her soft, candid lips.