Since the beginning, Erica’s known that being a werewolf wasn’t only going to be about the transformation’s benefits. From the moment Derek first told her about the hunters, back in the hospital room before he gave her the bite, she’s known.
She knew the dangers, but she didn’t care, because she could be powerful and revered and that was something she needed. She knew, but it didn’t matter; she could have everything she ever wanted and more with just the piercing of teeth in flesh.
And she knew, knew in the way Derek trained her and Isaac like some kind of twisted drill sergeant until their bones were literally breaking; it just wasn’t until she found herself shaken awake on the frigid tile of her school’s swimming pool that she knew.
Since then she’s been hurled through walls, she’s still had a seizure, she’s almost died. She’s had to stare into the face of a classmate whose body wasn’t his own.
She knows now and she’s scared, terrified of what could happen next. It’s the only explanation she can give herself for the number she dials as she sits on the bubblegum pink comforter of her bed, her mother singing as she cooks dinner downstairs.
“…Y’ello?” The line is answered on the sixth ring, and Erica can’t help the tiny smirk that decorates her features as she imagines the way Stiles had probably stared at his phone in confusion while he read the caller ID.
“Hi, Stiles,” she says in what she hopes is a teasing, stronger voice than she feels. There’s a moment of silence where she bites her lip and traces her finger nervously over the shape of a unicorn on the bedspread.
Stiles clears his throat and finally speaks in a rush.
“Okay, who’s dying or dead?”
Erica’s startled by the question, words that have been making her stomach drop for days said so bluntly; her claws extend and she accidentally decapitates the unicorn’s image. Rolling her eyes at herself, she tries to cover up her embarrassment with a smug tone.
“No one’s dead, Stiles. Can’t a girl call to talk?”
“A girl, yes. You? Hah, no.”
She makes a scoffing sound, but it’s one that doesn’t have quite enough air in it because her chest is achingly tight.
“Well, now you’re just hurting my feelings,” she relays with another attempt at a huff, picking at the shredded pieces of fabric.
Something in her voice must give her away, because Stiles is quiet again. Erica considers hanging up, feigning her mom calling her, but then Stiles asks seriously, in the way no one has since Derek’s teeth shined red with her blood, “How’re you doing?”
For the first time in weeks, Erica feels like she can breathe.
An hour later she’s laughing, wiping traces of tears from her cheeks as Stiles insists, “No, seriously, look at me. My only defense is my startling wit and that will only get me so far. I’ll totally be the first one to go, and after that you’ve still got Scott, who will throw himself to his death after me because - let’s face it - he’d be lost without his Stiles, and after that probably Isaac, maybe Boyd on a bad day. Then you can worry.”
She sleeps a little easier.
He’s in the middle of deciding between packs of pizza or nachos lunch kits when suddenly both boxes are yanked out of his hands (and Derek would kill him for not being able to sense someone getting so close). Eyes flashing, claws extending and ready for a fight, Isaac stops short when he sees Stiles standing in front of him, studying the two packages with disgust.
“Is this what you guys are eating? Seriously? This junk?” Stiles throws the boxes back onto the shelf messily, then begins digging through the items in Isaac’s grocery cart, nose wrinkled. “Wow, is there anything in here that has more than the nutritional value of a rock? No, you know what, rocks at least sometimes have minerals.”
Frowning, Isaac scans the store for Scott or Derek - even Erica - using his sight as well as his other senses. He comes up empty; it’s only Stiles, completely alone, complaining about the groceries Derek sent Isaac out to buy.
“…What are you doing?” he wonders, feeling a little disoriented. Stiles scoffs.
“What, just because you guys are big, bad wolves means you don’t gotta eat your vegetables?” With a grunt of exertion, Stiles gathers as much as he can from the cart and stumbles over to a nearby display case, unceremoniously dropping all the items in regardless of whether or not they belong. He proudly brushes his hands together and steps back.
“All right, we’re gonna take this from the top.”
Isaac’s too confused to really do anything but follow as Stiles rolls the cart away.
“What are you doing?” Isaac finds himself repeating as Stiles turns off the jeep’s ignition when they stop at warehouse’s entrance, rather than just shifting the vehicle into park. Stiles rolls his eyes, opening the door to step out.
“Dude, if I don’t make some of this stuff for you,” he snorts, walking around to the trunk, “it’s gonna end up growing mold in the back of the fridge.”
“I can cook,” Isaac mumbles, a pathetic defense, and steps back as Stiles opens the jeep’s trunk to start taking out the bags.
Isaac and Erica are fighting again, loud shrieking words and thuds against walls over something stupid and mundane. It’s making the already aching pulse in Derek’s head sharper, like the claws threatening to bloom from his nail beds and the canines in his mouth just dull enough to not fully be considered fangs - yet.
“Get out, I’m not done yet!” Erica’s hissing, shrill during what was supposed to be a quiet morning for Derek. Stiles had volunteered to be the ride to school for the next few days, after the Camaro had another run in with the Argents, and suddenly Derek’s glad he usually waits threateningly in the car, missing out on the brawls while the pack gets ready.
Isaac grunts an aggravated sound and Derek looks skyward, tonguing his teeth, wondering for not the first time about his pack choices.
“You could have finished at your place! Come on, Erica, just let me brush my teeth, it’ll take two seconds.”
“When I’m done.”
The slamming of the entry door comes in unison with the first feral growl from Derek’s throat; it’s enough to make him pause and come back to himself. He knows from the intruder’s heartbeat, tempo slightly off kilter and a little faster than most, that it’s Stiles bounding down the stairs even before he can see the familiar sneakers.
Stiles doesn’t spare him a glance, just leaps over the railing on the last few steps and heads toward the bathroom where the ruckus is. And while it doesn’t surprise Derek that even a human could hear the battle from outside, it does surprise him the Stiles is willing to face the carnage alone. Pushing himself off the ratty couch, Derek moves in to assist, maybe break some bones, but halts when all other noise cuts off at the sound of Stiles’ irritated voice.
“Guys! Seriously?” There’s no growling, no whimpering or sounds of pain. Derek holds his stance and listens. Stiles’ heartbeat is still steady. “We’re gonna be late picking Scott up. Isaac, man, just finish doing everything else and if Erica hurries up, she’ll be done by then. It’s really not that hard.” A pause and then, “Where’s Boyd?”
There’s muffled acknowledgment from their makeshift kitchen, where Boyd’s been digging through the shelves looking for some food since he’d arrived half an hour ago.
Stiles sighs audibly, exiting the war zone completely unharmed and with a cooperative quiet in his wake. Derek frowns, watching as Isaac slinks out of the bathroom and heads into the subway car, then turns his gaze back to Stiles, something closer to awe than he’d like to admit in his gut.
“What?” Stiles starts patting himself down when he notices the stare, brow furrowed in confusion. “Dude, did I spill Oatmeal all over my shirt again?”
“You just…” Thinking better of it, Derek cuts himself off and shakes his head. In the years since the fire, he’s learned not to question the rare moments of good in his life.
“Nevermind,” he says instead, heading back to the couch.
There’s been a weird current around the school ever since the night of the rave. It’s not about Scott, though, or the way Allison doesn’t smile anymore (and that hurts Scott more than the wolf’s bane ever could). It’s an underlying message weaving around the corridors that says in quiet, hushed whispers, “Don’t mess with Stilinski or two of the hottest kids in school will kick your ass.”
Apparently Stiles is the only one who hasn’t gotten the memo. He sits down across from Scott at lunch, waxing poetic about the fact that the school is finally ready to come to terms with how cool he is, how “Stiles is the man”, after the captain of the basketball team let him be the first to the new batch of tater tots. He’s completely oblivious to the nervous looks the captain keeps shooting Erica from across the room. When Scott catches her eye, she winks, turning to leave with a skip in her step.
It’s all pretty harmless stuff (dibs on the water fountain and priority seating in class) until Greenberg misses lacrosse practice and Finstock decides to make Stiles his verbal assault replacement. And while Stiles doesn’t do much more than make faces behind Finstock’s back, Scott can feel the way Isaac is growing tenser with every retort.
The second Isaac snaps, everything in the room stills. Isaac is up in Finstock’s space, using his lanky height to every advantage and Scott really hopes he’s the only one who can see the way Isaac is extending his claws.
It takes Stiles shoving his way into the narrow space between the two for the clock to start moving again, and Isaac falls back with only a slightly inhuman growl.
“Dude!” Stiles’ hisses lowly, pushing Isaac away even further, “No! Bad! I got this. Just go… take a cold one or something.”
Scott half expects Stiles to lose that arm on Isaac’s chest (and from the look he shares with Danny, he’s not alone), but somehow Isaac just frowns a little, like he’s confused. He shoots another glare at Finstock before heading toward the showers.
Scott isn’t surprised when, a week later, Finstock tells Stiles to take a free period and gives him an automatic A on their Economics test.
Being the beta Derek trusts most at his side during a fight has its perks, Boyd knows. He doesn’t have to do any of the subtle stuff he’s not so good at, he doesn’t have to try to seduce anyone, and he doesn’t have to lie. All he has to do is be tough and strong and hold his own in a way that Erica and Isaac haven’t mastered yet.
Being the beta Derek trusts most at his side during a fight also means that Boyd spends more time with Derek, and that translates to less time with Stiles. Which is fine, because Boyd doesn’t really need the strange nurturing hand Stiles has extended to them lately. He’s a loner, always has been a loner, and while he appreciates the kinship of the pack, it doesn’t mean he needs someone to constantly dote on him.
He can’t help thinking maybe he could use a little doting when Stiles hands out the sandwiches from Subway he’s brought over. Boyd opens his to discover plain old ham and cheese, while Isaac and Erica get the works.
“I uh, didn’t know what kind you wanted and Derek,” Stiles shoots a dark look at the alpha, who simply ignores him and continues reading his magazine on the couch, “didn’t pick up his phone. But everyone loves good ol’ ham and Americano, right?”
“I guess,” Boyd mumbles, glancing down at his sandwich. “But it sure doesn’t look as good as the queen’s over there.”
Erica huffs, somehow managing to gather her sandwich topped-with-everything delicately in her hands.
“Don’t be mad mom likes us more.” She takes a bite, choking when Isaac elbows her in the stomach. Instead of fighting back like Boyd expects, her eyes widen and she covers her mouth, looking wildly at Stiles.
Mouth hanging open just slightly, Stiles furrows his brow in confusion.
Derek lets out what might be a laugh if Boyd thought the guy knew how to be entertained.
Feeling a little better about his boring lunch now that he takes in the panicked green hue to Erica’s face, Boyd smugly takes a bite of his sandwich.
Stiles stares blankly at Erica from across the table, ready to shrug off her comment as one of her usual inappropriate jokes until Isaac started acting like she’d just exposed a huge secret. Now he’s confused, curious and a little bit wary about what exactly is going happening. He glances at Derek, who seems to have slouched lower on the couch and raised the magazine higher, at Boyd, who’s smirking into his food, and finally at Erica and Isaac, who are squirming in their chairs.
“What?” he repeats, narrowing his gaze. Erica bites her lip and looks down at the table, Isaac shrugs, and when it becomes obvious that neither of them are going to respond, Boyd snorts.
“They call you mom behind your back,” he says with a grin. Stiles splutters, incredulous for all of two seconds, until the dirty look Erica shoots Boyd and Boyd’s responding leer strike Stiles with the urge to snap at them to knock it off. The picture gets a little clearer after that.
It doesn’t stop being ridiculous.
“Okay, and why do you do that?” he wonders, scratching his nails against the table, feeling the soft wood give against his skin as he tries to release the sudden energy bouncing in his legs. Isaac sits up a little straighter, puts on the game face usually reserved for telling Derek something he’s not going to like hearing. Stiles braces himself for the worst, wondering if they know about that one time he tried on Allison’s jeans because she’d left them at Scott’s, he was curious, and they looked like they were his size.
“You take care of us,” Isaac says instead of bringing up the secret cross-dressing incident (and okay, Stiles might have tried on her shirt, too). “You make sure we’re taken care of and that we’re okay. You know-“
“Like a mom,” Erica finishes off, bottom lip caught between her teeth as she shifts uncomfortably. She gives Boyd another look, this one threatening even as she seems like she wants to disappear into the floor, and nods her head toward Stiles emphatically. With a sigh, Boyd drops his sandwich on the table and leans back in his chair, folding his arms across his chest with a shrug.
“Yeah, even to me sometimes,” he admits. “Remember that time you were driving us to school and you had to slam on the breaks when someone ran the light? You totally ‘mom armed’ me.”
“Hey! That is a legitimate reflex-” Stiles cuts himself off when he registers the sound of pitched breaths, uneven and almost giddy sounding. Peering behind Erica to the couch, he sees that Derek has the magazine practically covering his face, shoulders heaving.
It takes a second before Stiles realizes that Derek is laughing, and then he can’t decide if he’s offended or some kind of moved.
He quickly remembers what the conversation is about and goes with offended.
“Oh, yeah, sure, laugh it up,” he grunts, waving his hand dismissively. “And what does all this make you? The dad?”
Boyd snorts and Erica lets out a giggle, but Derek’s form freezes. Stiles watches Derek’s fingers tighten on the cover of his magazine, and wonders if it’s too late to avoid an ass beating when Derek slowly begins to lower it, eyes locked on Stiles and dark.
“Kids,” Derek says through gritted teeth, “Mom and Dad need a little alone time to talk.”
There’s a flash of something strange that Stiles feels shoot through his nerves at the words, and Boyd and Erica are up instantly. They look at Isaac expectantly, who licks his fingers and shrugs.
“I still have half of this sandwich-Ow,” he hisses, when Erica grabs a handful of curls to yank him from his seat. “I’m going!”
Stiles has to bite his lip to keep himself from telling Erica to be nice. He doesn’t think it’d help his case.
As soon as they’ve cleared the area (the building, presumably, because Derek waits a few long seconds, head cocked as if he’s listening), Derek is up from the couch and slowly crossing the distance to Stiles in a way that does nothing but remind Stiles that he’s dealing with a wolf.
Reaching his hands over Stiles’ shoulders, Derek grips the back of Stiles’ chair, bending down enough that he’s at eye level.
“Is this the part where you say ‘Lucy, I’m home’?” Stiles struggles to get out, his own hands clenching at the bottom of his seat, digging in tight. His heart is beating fast enough that Derek can hear it, and really, all he’d wanted to do was bring everyone lunch and then go hang out with Scott.
Derek muttering a sarcastic “Cute”, and then sliding over Stiles’ lap like it was some kind of move he practiced daily was not anywhere on Stiles’ schedule.
But Stiles always thought one of his best qualities was that he was flexible.
Lifting his hands to secure them around Derek’s hips (though not before giving a tiny fist pump, because with where they’re hopefully heading “flexible” was an awesome pun - especially considering how much that flexibility has been utilized the few times they’ve done this in the past), Stiles spreads his legs and leans back, that same flash in his nerves more evident as arousal when he realizes his movement means that Derek either has to widen his stance or slip in closer. For now, Derek chooses to spread his thighs to match Stiles, but it means he has to lean forward to keep his balance, his arms still over Stiles’ shoulders, fingers around the back of the chair.
“I knew you were an idiot,” Derek murmurs, and Stiles isn’t really surprised that this counts to Derek as dirty talk, “but I didn’t think you were oblivious.”
Stiles meets Derek’s gaze (which is wow, super close now, and he thinks he can finally tell why he was never exactly sure what color Derek’s eyes were, because they’re a little mess of everything and the term ‘asshole’ comes to mind) and sees just oddly calm patience as Derek waits for him to work it out.
“Wait…you guys,” Stiles licks his lips, doesn’t miss the way Derek’s eyes drop to catch the motion, “You guys were serious?”
Derek does move closer then, only an inch, but it makes it hard for Stiles to not have to look up at him.
“We alternate driving them to school,” he points out, sidling in just barely with each word, crowding space Stiles can’t even remember existing before Derek invaded it, “Sometimes you come and cook for us-“
“Stiles, you abandoned your dad at Parent-Teacher Night to come with me to Isaac’s classes.”
Which really wasn’t one of Stiles’ best ideas, when he thinks about it, because most of Isaac’s teachers are also Stiles’ teachers, and he honestly hadn’t thought it possible for Harris to be any more unimpressed with his existence until Stiles had claimed to be, for some strange reason, invested in Isaac’s grades. And then Harris had spent the entire conference flirting with Derek, finally getting to meet the mystery man who saved his life all those months ago, and it takes a sharp intake of breath from Derek for Stiles to realize the possessive way his nails are digging into Derek’s waist.
“So I’m the mom, huh?” he mumbles, releasing his grip only long enough to slip his fingers up underneath Derek’s shirt. The skin is hot, searing, and Stiles wonders not for the first time whether it’s just Derek, or if all werewolves run a few degrees warmer.
Somehow, the idea that he’s got some maternal pack thing gong on is a little less ridiculous when the pads of his fingers are tracing the dips of Derek’s abs, enjoying the way they flex as Derek’s breathing rate increases.
“I guess it makes sense,” he muses, the hand not exploring the lines of Derek’s body reaching up to run through the hair above of Derek’s neck. “I mean, if we’re doing this, you’re too much of a jerk to be the mom, anyway. You definitely fit the loving, but giant asshole dad stereotype. Like Red from That 70’s Show. Oh my god, dude, you’re totally Red from That 70’s Show.”
“Hilarious,” leaves Derek’s mouth a second before he presses it against Stiles’. Their lips are chapped and the roughness burns, but it’s in a way that feels like too hot skin and stubble against his throat. Derek finally slips all the way forward, pressing up against Stiles’ chest, a heavy weight that surrounds Stiles in every way, but anchors him to the ground, to this moment.
“Well, Dad,” Stiles mumbles into the kiss, his hands dropping to clutch at Derek’s thighs, “I’m a pretty funny guy.”
He’s not sure if it’s in response to the words, or the dragging, heavy pressure of Stiles’ hands as they move along Derek’s thighs, that make Derek’s legs spread a little wider. But the shotgun bullet of arousal hits low in Stiles’ stomach regardless.
He slips his fingers into Derek’s back pockets, kneading the flesh, then dips his mouth to graze his teeth against Derek’s jaw.
“Right, Dad?” he says again, testing the theory. Derek’s hips jerk, a growl low in his throat, and Stiles thinks he’s stumbled onto something interesting.
He’s only sixteen, almost seventeen, getting off on calling his older sort-of-boyfriend “dad” feels like it should be kind of disturbing, except neither of them mean it in the creepy old-man way. Which leads Stiles to wonder what would happen if Derek added the other half to the equation.
“So, if you’re the dad…” he baits, biting down on skin, scraping his tongue against stubble.
“You’re the mom,” Derek hisses intently, and yeah, the electric pulse goes straight to Stiles’ dick. This might be even more screwed up than meaning it in the creepy old-man way, but he’s definitely not going to think about that.
“Damn right, I’m the mom,” Stiles groans, yanking Derek forward with the hands on Derek’s ass, aligning them just right for that first hit of friction.
It’s a title Stiles thinks he can learn to embrace.