The unified StilesandDerek smell that filled Stiles' bedroom after their fucking has never gone away. It's so faint that no one else seems to notice but still there every time Derek breathes – through kanima venom, the blood and death and lies at the Sheriff’s office, the Argents’ violence, Peter's resurrection, and Jackson's salvation. Under everything, that smell is still there, in the chaos or the calm and Derek can't get away from it. He breaks into the high school and takes half a dozen showers with the industrial strength soap but it doesn’t matter. Not even the decades of sweaty teenage boy smell and moldy tile is enough to get rid of it.
After a week of quiet in the wake of the confrontation with Gerard and the alpha pack marking his home – Derek goes back to Deaton. The vet looks smug but Derek thinks that's his default expression. Like his mother used to warn him about making faces or he'd get stuck that way? Deaton got stuck that way.
"You should've said something when we discussed Peter," Deaton says, scribbling down notes on a thin metal file. It's one in the morning.
"Yeah," Derek snaps. "Because in the face of you telling me how incompetent I was while dealing with the hunters, the kanima, and my uncle rising from the grave, divulging the details of my sexual health was a priority."
"It should've been." Deaton snaps. "You know what you are. I know your mother taught you better than this before she passed."
Derek feels his hackles rising. "Can you leave my mother out of this? Out of any conversation we ever have unless it involves something she had to say to or about me directly."
That doesn't even earn him a droll look. Apparently he's moved from being deemed worthy of criticism to receiving sympathy, which from Deaton is a lot more nerve wracking. "You were born a beta, and you went into an unexpected heat. Considering how rare that is, I think it warrants your concern, don't you?"
Derek looks down at his feet. Deaton had him remove his shoes. Now his soles are cold. He shrugs. It's easier than saying no when they both know the real answer.
"Derek, you're still an alpha but that doesn't change your reproductive biology any more than becoming a werewolf would change you from a man to a woman. A heat typically lasts two to four days. How long did yours last?" Deaton asks. "Derek? You need to tell me."
His eyes are a fathomless brown. They remind him of Stiles' eyes so strongly that Derek can't meet them for more than a few seconds. He ends up with his gaze fixed back on his toes. He feels about twelve again. "A few hours. We only-"
Derek breaks. He cannot talk about his sex life with this man. In the last few weeks he's gone from being the freaking vet to taking up a space in Derek's mind that is too tightly tangled with all the family he's lost. Deaton reminds him of his mother and lost pack even more than Peter, who is at his elbow constantly now. Then again, Deaton has helped him unconditionally while Peter killed Laura. Derek can only stand to share space with his uncle in the wake of that sin because over the last six years Derek has gotten very, very good at compartmentalization where his family is concerned.
"A few hours," Deaton repeats, firm but gentle.
Derek knows he's not going to get out of it so he shrugs. "It was just the once."
"Interesting," Deaton muses, crosses his arms over his chest, chart and all. "You're a smart young man, Derek. What do you think it is?"
There's an ache in the back of Derek's throat and he suddenly, intensely wants his mother. She was his alpha and if she were here, she'd know what to do, what to say, what the right course of action would be and where their history and practices fit into the battles he is still fighting, the war that the alpha pack could be bringing. He drags his hand over his face, pushing down panic. "I don’t have time for this."
Deaton laughs. There's nothing mocking or sarcastic in this one. It's real laughter. "Does anyone ever have time for children?"
Hearing the word out loud sends a violent shudder down Derek's spine. Children. It's never occurred to him that he could have that, cubs of his own. It wasn't something he ever thought about seriously before Kate set fire to his life and afterwards? Well, the hope of ever having a family of his pack and his blood was relegated to Laura because after Kate, he figured he didn't deserve to try again. Then Laura was gone and so was everything else.
Only now he's bred. Stiles gave him exactly what he begged for and it took so there's going to be a little life that Derek will get to feel grow, if he can just live through the next few months. He doesn't touch his stomach because it's such a pathetic cliché but he wants to.
"I can run a test for you if you like," Deaton offers. "I think we both know what the results will be. It's been more than a month since Peter returned. At this point, your HcG levels have probably risen to a point where other wolves are going to start smelling it."
He looks up at Deaton and licks his lips. "Have you ever – Is there anything-"
Deaton shrugs. "I haven't dealt with a werewolf in your precise circumstance in over a decade but I do have some experience with the results of a male heat. If you're totally sure you don't want this cub, then there are procedures I've learned that can take care of the situation."
"No!" Derek snarls, anger flashing through him hot and bright. "Just shut up. That's not an option." It will never be an option. He's lost his whole family and the chance at having another is too important to throw away. For the sake of everyone he let down by trusting Kate he can't, even if he wanted to. And Derek really doesn't want to.
Even if he weren't so damn alone, he'd still want this cub. He remembers caring for his cousins as infants. Years later he can still feel their small delicate human hands or tiny precious paws. He remembers how hard it was to try and stop their crying, how rewarding it was when he managed to make them stop or when they smiled or fell asleep on his chest. He misses them all but he can't forget those moments.
He knows it won't be easy. Everything he's ever heard says that being a single parent is one of the hardest things on Earth, not even thinking about all that is already standing against him. Thing is, it turns out that Derek just doesn't fucking care. He wants this too much.
Derek would laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. He's sitting in worn-out jeans and bare feet on a fucking animal hospital exam table being told he's pregnant by a veterinarian. That is funny. Stiles would laugh his ass off, probably Erica too if she were still here. Yet his whole world is filled with a warm ache that fills his chest and keeps expanding.
There was so much that was good in his childhood. He remembers curling up with his mother when it stormed, playing in the woods with his cousins and siblings as his father chased through the woods behind the house, understanding the change with all of them. He remembers being rocked as a small child, having his hair stroked, his forehead and nose kissed, being smiled at and told how proud they were of him.
He wants this cub because it would be his to curl around, to play with, to hold, to comfort, to protect from the rest of the world, to love. He hasn't had anyone he can love unequivocally since Laura, and he could give his whole heart to his child. He'd be free to do that. He's broken in so many places but he thinks he could find enough good things left in the wreckage to give his child.
The longer he sits there, turning his senses inward, looking for a heartbeat that doesn’t exist yet or the impossible sound of cells dividing, the deeper his surety runs. That's its own kind of terrifying. At the same time, he'd almost say that he's happy except that every time he lets himself near happiness, the world comes crashing down.
"If that's your choice, Derek, I suggest you brace yourself. You're in for a bit of a rough road." Reaching out, Deaton grabs the shorter wheeled chair and pulls it to the edge of the exam table. "First things first. Who's the father?"
"How is that any of your business?"
"It's pack, Derek. I shouldn't have to explain this to you."
"I know how pack works," Derek snaps. He is tired of Deaton talking down to him like he's stupid. "He isn't pack."
"You're stronger together. A pregnancy of this kind works the same way, especially if the father isn't a member of the pack. So I need to know who the father is so I can tell him how he should behave for the duration of the gestation." He lifts a dark brow. "If you like I can go through a process of elimination."
Derek gives in to impulse and finally wraps his arms around himself. It settles something deep inside. It's one of the same animal needs that being surrounded by pack eases, that running under the full moon lets free. He can't stop the growl that slips loose as he glares at Deaton.
"I'm fairly sure it's not Scott and it was the Rebirth Moon so-" Deaton's entire face goes dark then soft in rapid turns. "Derek, it wasn't your uncle was it?" His expression is a picture of worry. "Damnit, this is exactly the sort of thing he'd orchestrate."
"We're done talking." Derek declares, unwrapping his arms to plant his hands on the cold metal of the table, ready to push himself off.
Deaton catches his wrist before he can move. It feels like an attack and the animal in Derek is comforted by the fact that he still has the power to strike back with enough force to rip off the arm holding him at the shoulder if he really needs to. He doesn't because it's not an attack. He knows that. It's just, all of a sudden it got very hard to remember, when they were talking about his cub, his and then suddenly he was restrained.
He glares down at Deaton's hand. "You're touching me."
Deaton doesn't let go. Derek can feel his lip curling up to show teeth on pure instinct. The snarl building in the back of his throat isn't voluntary either.
"I know that you might not want to discuss something like this with me," Deaton says completely unfazed. "That traumas aren’t easy to talk about but if he's the father, I need to know. Violence in this type of conception can make a difference in your health and the cub's when the time comes."
"It wasn't Peter." The less he says or thinks about Peter in front of Deaton the better. The man just knows things. Derek isn't sure what he'll give away if they continue on this avenue of discussion much longer. “Can I go now?"
"I need to know who it is and I need you to be back here together in two weeks. You said you want this. If you're serious, you're going to need to start listening to me for a change."
"Stiles, all right? He came and picked me up and- look, I'm leaving now."
"Ok." Deaton releases his wrist and pushes back, scribbling notes into the chart. "I suggest you tell your pack. They'll smell it and those chemicals at those levels usually carry the same scent as cancer in males, yes, even wolves." He smirks as he says it.
That’s all it takes for Derek to be damn sure Deaton knows all about Gerard. Of course. There was no way Scott came up with that pill plan all on his own. Where else would the kid have gotten mountain ash anyway? For some reason, that makes Derek feel a whole lot better about the situation. "Right."
"If you tell them sooner rather than later, they'll take it as a sign of trust, which is something you seem to be in short supply of lately." He looks up at Derek before snapping the chart shut. "And I find direct and obvious is the best way to go with Stilinski. Draw him a map maybe. Call me if you need diagrams."
"Thanks for the advice."
"No trouble. Be careful. Cook your meat more than you normally would. Spend as much time with your mate as you can. He'll give you and your child strength just like the pack does for its wolves."
"He's not my mate."
"Sure," Deaton says waving a dismissive hand. "I'll see you both in two weeks. Oh and Derek?"
"What I said about listening? That goes for your instincts as well. That's your actual instincts, not the after-effects of the trauma the fire left you with. They are different, you know. Now is the time to figure out which is which; your life and your child's life both depend on it."
Derek finds himself standing outside on the street a few minutes later, shoes in his hands, unsure how he ended up there. He frowns at the closed sign on the front door. His first thought is go to Stiles' and sleep for just a little while. He almost talks himself out of it. His brain and instincts have a shouting match where his human side almost convinces him to go back to the depot where Isaac is probably waiting.
Except Deaton did say the father's important now. His presence is like pack but for the cub, so. That's enough isn't it? Yeah. Derek thinks it is. He pulls on his shoes, texts Isaac, then heads towards a better lit part of town.
Stiles wakes up overheated and pinned. He must've gotten tangled up in the sheets or something. He groans and tries to roll out of bed. His failure is total and it brings him jerking awake.
He tries to sit up but no, there are arms around his chest. Not just any arms. They're huge and muscular and completely Derek Hale arms. No one else is ripped like that.
Well. No. That's not true. It feels like every guy Stiles knows now looks like they've fallen out of a New York City Fire Department charity calendar. But Derek's the only one who's ever been in his bed since he and Scott got too old for sleepovers.
"Derek," Stiles hisses, shrugging his shoulders. It's that or poke him, which he won't do. You don't poke a sleeping werewolf – they're in the same category as bears when it comes to that sort of thing.
He hears Derek mumble something before tightening his arms around Stiles. He moves his face and okay, he's nuzzling Stiles' ear. That is… he's not sure what, exactly.
For now he's going to go with odd, not to mention a little claustrophobic. It's been more than a month since he and Derek were last here, in his room, in his bed, and Stiles thinks he liked the big spoon position more. From that vantage point he could do so many liberating things, like move and breathe.
"Hey, Derek," he says again louder this time. "Wake up, asshole. You're smothering me." He adds a little bit of an elbow to his little shimmy move and Derek finally moves.
"What the hell?" he mumbles. Then he actually scoots closer. He does let go with one hand to pat at Stiles mouth. "Quiet. Go back to sleep."
With an arm free, Stiles bats Derek's hand off his face and manages to sit up. "No! You're in my bed. What are you doing in my bed? Why are you even in my house at all?" He glances down at Derek who appears to be wearing nothing but Stiles' sheet. "And where is your shirt?"
Derek is awake now and peering at him with bleary eyes. "It's on the floor." He rolls onto his back and rubs his face. "What're you doing?"
"What am I doing? What are you doing? I'm not the one who snuck into someone else's bed in the middle of the night and tried to strangle them."
"I wasn't strangling you. If I wanted to strangle you, you would know it."
Stiles rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. He's wearing a shirt on said chest, like a normal person. "Oh well that's comforting"
"I was sleeping. You should go back to sleep too. It's," Derek turns and looks at the clock – Stiles' clock thank you very much – and sighs. "Four in the morning."
"Yeah. It is. Yet here you are. In my bed." He waves around at the room. "This is my space but you are here. You haven't been able to even look at me since the whole, you know, thing."
That gets him an eyebrow quirk. With brows like Derek's, that's actually impressive.
"Yeah. The thing. Remember that time where we, you know." Stiles waves his hand again but this time it is a completely different hand wave. This gesture refers to Derek on his knees on this bed, clenching around Stiles' cock. He adds a flourish because that whole experience has given him memories which have him horny enough that he needs to jerk off at least twice as often as he did before, and distracted enough that he finds himself telling people, like Finstock, for example because the gaping hole Derek left in his wall wasn't a big enough problem. "The thing."
"I look at you, and we talked at the station."
"About Matt's psycho lizard breakdown. That isn't the same."
"No," Derek says yawning so hugely that Stiles actually hears something pop in his jaw. "It's not."
"No," Derek repeats, closing his eyes and rolling onto his side. "I'm done."
"You're- You can't be done. This is a home invasion. It's illegal to invade someone's home and then commandeer their bed."
"Okay," Derek says. Then he closes his eyes as if to prove his point. "You can keep talking but I'm going to sleep."
Stiles glowers then grins. Seriously, sometimes he's so good he scares himself. It's a shame that no one really appreciates his special brand of genius. "Fine. You know what, that totally works for me. What should I talk about though, that’s the question." He snaps his fingers, right over Derek's ear. He flinches but doesn’t open his eyes. "I know. Did I tell you what happened with Scott today? He texted Allison thirty-six times. Thirty six is a good number – three squared times two squared. A pair of squares. Very elegant. Anyway. He cced them all to me." He reaches over Derek to his nightstand. He picks up his phone. "Let's start from the beginning shall we? The first is my favorite. I miss you. See? Sweet. Next ones get kind of needy though. Watching Robin Hood Men In Tights with Stiles."
"Stiles." The consonants of his name are mumbled but hey. It's a response. One response is all it takes for Stiles to know that this is totally going to work.
"This is true we totally did that. Only why would he send her that? You gotta wait for the next one – it brings the storyline together. See, he said The archery makes me think of you." He holds the phone up against Derek's face, the blue light making his skin glow. "How cute is that?"
"Stiles," Derek growls.
"Then he says that he really wishes that she would shoot him a text. Then he gave her a smiley face. Two separate texts. I know, wasteful, but Mrs. McCall has an unlimited plan so it’s no big."
"Stiles, shut up."
"The agreement was that I could talk and you could sleep. Anyway I helped him with that pun by the way. Not my best work I'll admit but it was better than the next text, which was just please call me and then I love u - with just the letter u. Ooh, this is the one where he spends 160 characters just talking about her nose. See. This is why he's failing English. He can't come up with a better simile than button-like."
Derek sits up and gives him a full force I-will-murder-you glare. His eyes aren’t red though so Stiles doesn't flinch. "What do you want?"
"I already told you," Stiles says. He meets Derek's gaze without blinking. If there's anything he's learned, it's that not backing down is the best way to go with Derek, most of the time. With the thing, the heat thing they're not talking about with the sex and the whimpering, gentleness had been the ticket but this isn't the same. It's not, even though they've managed to somehow end up back in bed together. "I want to talk about this, you, what's going on."
Derek rubs his face with his hand. Then he sighs. "If I promise to tell you tomorrow, will you be quiet, lie back down, and go to sleep?"
"Lie down with you?"
"And the with you part – that’s conditional to the answers tomorrow?"
The light from the streetlamps outside cast in just enough light so that Stiles can make Derek's face. He looks like he's just bit down on a lemon but he nods. "Yes. It is."
"Oh. Um, okay, I guess but this is kind of w-"
"Quiet," Derek says, grabbing him around the chest and dragging him down into the mattress. "Quiet. And sleeping." Then he pushes, and rolls, and readjusts them until he has his back pressed into Stiles' chest, holding one arm captive across his stomach, right over his navel. When Stiles tries to move it Derek doesn't let go, just keeps his hand pressed against warm skin, stopping him from moving away, or much at all.
Stiles blinks in the darkness into the hair on the back of Derek's head. Holy shit. Seriously, he's down the fucking rabbit hole because not only is Derek Hale in his bed for no good reason at four-thirty on a Saturday morning, the man is also bonafide cuddleslut who likes to be the little spoon.
He thinks about fishing out his phone from wherever it fell and taking a shot of this. This is absolutely a pics or it didn’t happen moment. Only Derek is rubbing little circles into the back of Stiles’ hand with his thumb. It's soothing and distracting. The rhythm seeps so deep into him that before he realizes, he's drifting off curled tight around Derek, like this is something normal, something they do all the time.
It's surprising. What's more surprising is that when Stiles wakes up in the morning, he finds that Derek has stayed.