Somewhere along the line, Sunday breakfast becomes a thing.
It has always been a tradition for the Stilinski men, but with his dad barely ever dating there's never been anyone else to join them. It was always just Stiles and his dad, their tiny family unit, checking in with each other over a cup of joe.
First thing his dad does after meeting Derek—meeting him as Stiles' boyfriend and not as a murder suspect—is to make him breakfast. Stiles is thankfully too sleepy to choke up at the time or there would be tears at the sight of those glorious fluffy pancakes. Even Derek seems touched and he doesn't even know what it really means.
Make no mistake, it's a gruff, manly affair—as manly as it can be with the sheriff wearing an apron over his uniform—and there's absolutely no talk of feelings whatsoever, but Stiles knows how important it is, and his dad sure knows what he's saying with the gesture, and Derek, while he doesn't quite understand that he's being invited into the family, at least realizes that he's being accepted.
Stiles doesn't think it can get any weirder than that.
But then of course it does.
One day, after a particularly scary encounter with an omega, Derek decides that they should tell his dad about werewolves. Stiles isn't exactly opposed to this, and he does understand Derek's reasoning, that his dad is often in the thick of things and he needs to know how to protect himself and others, that he needs to know Derek can help... but when it comes to the actual conversation?
Yeah, Stiles makes himself scarce and lets Derek take care of it.
He will forever claim that he did that for their own good. Bonding experience and all that. And it does work that way, whatever Stiles' intentions. His dad makes Derek go over every cold case file he has and even some that are closed, and after weeks of pouring over paperwork together Derek is more relaxed in his dad's presence than any other adult Stiles has ever seen him with.
But anyway, all of that brings them to this—this circus of a Sunday breakfast that is now firmly in brunch territory because werewolves can't get their lazy asses out of bed before ten and no one seems to want to leave the table until every single member of the pack has joined in on the fun.
They don't descend all at once of course; the invasion happens slowly and quietly. It starts with Derek bringing Isaac, and the next week Isaac brings Erica and Boyd; the week after that it's Lydia showing up unannounced, and then of course Jackson follows her. By the time Stiles invites Scott, it's about self-preservation. Scott brings his mom, his mom makes them waffles, and now here they are, using the dining room Stiles and his dad never really had a use for before, where they now apparently have a whole bunch of new folding chairs to accommodate the crowd.
They're older now. Slightly wiser. The pack is used to each other, they have accepted their place, accepted Derek as their Alpha. Looking back, Stiles can't quite believe where they are, him and Scott and Jackson having breakfast together? Erica all smiles at Stiles' dad? Lydia rolling her eyes at Boyd fondly?
Who are these people? How did this become his life?
Then there's Derek... Derek who tried to scare and intimidate Stiles from the first moment they met, who slammed him against walls and smashed his face into his steering wheel—who's now sitting next to him, thigh pressed against Stiles' under the table, looking for all the world like he's completely focused on his bacon, which Stiles knows is bullshit. He's listening in on all the conversations going on around the table. He's probably listening for whatever's happening outside as well. He's always on alert, and when he's with his pack, he makes sure to take in every moment.
Stiles looks around the room, and comes to the obvious conclusion.
"You should buy a house."
His words go unacknowledged, because honestly he doubts anyone's interested in what he has to say right now. They're a loud bunch, and everyone's busy with their own conversations, or in his dad's case his paper, but Derek definitely hears him and chooses not to respond.
"Hey," Stiles says, elbowing him. "You should really buy a house."
"Sure," Derek says, not even bothering to look up.
"We need the space," Stiles continues. "The pack needs a home base, and don't get me wrong, this is working out fine for now, but we don't have any guestrooms, and if you guys ever show up here beaten and bloody there will be a lot of questions."
Stiles tosses a cherry tomato into his mouth and thinks: what would be the ideal pack house?
"It needs to be out of the way. No neighbors. And closer to the woods would be better."
He realizes that he's describing the Hale house and stops. Derek hasn't done anything with it, and they never talked about it, but Stiles doubts he'll want to rebuild. He doesn't know how he would feel about that himself. It's been a monument of tragedy for so long, he can't imagine it being anything else now.
"I'm not saying rebuild the old house—though you should do something with that too, but we'll talk about that later. I think a new place would be better. We all live close-by, so it doesn't have to be a mansion or anything, just one or two guestrooms will do, but you obviously need a pretty large kitchen. And a dining room. And a living room."
He considers the basement of the Hale house, but then discards that idea. No house should have creepy dungeons underneath it, that's just wrong.
"A backyard, obviously, but I don't think that'll be a problem. Finding a house with a large kitchen will be harder, but that's non-negotiable. I end up doing a lot of the cooking for this breakfast extravaganza, and with everyone butting in, it gets crowded in there."
Then there's the issue of furniture...
"Lydia can help you decorate, but I mean it's not like we need anything fancy. It wouldn't be such a huge deal. And you do need to move out of that piece-of-shit apartment. I can actually hear the cockroaches there and that is just not right. They're supposed to be quiet; don't they have, like, tiny feet? At least if you get a house—"
Derek grabs Stiles' chin to turn him around and cuts him off with a kiss. It's a soft kiss; short and to the point, totally family-appropriate, but they've never done this in front of—well, anyone before, so it takes Stiles a minute to stop blinking in confusion; while Derek doesn't seem at all fazed, already back to eating his bacon as if nothing's happened.
"That's one way to shut him up, I guess," Erica says, smirking at Stiles.
Stiles tries very hard not to blush. "It won't shut me up for long," he manages to say, and without his voice breaking too.
"Well, I tried," Derek says, playing along.
His dad's paper is shaking slightly, Mrs. McCall is trying not to laugh, and Lydia is looking away, pretending to be amused by the wallpaper or something, and—Stiles really wants that house now, even more so than before.
"But seriously," he says, placing a hand on Derek's leg and squeezing. "You should really buy a house."
Erica has never stayed behind before to help clean up, so Stiles really should have known that there was an ulterior motive there.
"You're good for him," she says softly, handing him a plate to be placed in the dishwasher. "He's changed since you guys... you know."
Stiles is almost too stunned to answer, and it only gets worse when he turns around to find Isaac perched on a chair and Boyd standing in the doorway.
Oookay, then. Puppies want to give him the shovel talk.
"Obviously I'm an awesome influence," he tells her, his smile only slightly nervous.
Erica shakes her head. "You're a jackass," she informs him. "But he's not perfect either, and you guys balance each other."
Balance. Stiles never really thought of it that way. Before—before everything, before the bond, before they accepted what they are to each other, Stiles thought anything involving the two of them was doomed to end in explosions and head wounds. It hasn't though, has it? It's actually working out pretty well. And he doesn't know about Derek, but he's in deep now—so deep that he's not sure if he'd even be able to break the surface if he tried.
"Thank you, I guess?" Stiles says, looking around the room uneasily.
Isaac cracks a smile. "She's trying to tell you, in her own special Erica way, that we actually like you," he says, completely ignoring Erica's glare. "And you know..." He gets up to give Stiles a—truly terrifying—hug. "Welcome to the family."
"Hey!" Stiles says, letting himself get hugged. "I already was family!"
"Not like this," Boyd chimes in, taking over squish Stiles duty from Isaac.
When he lets go, Erica shrugs and gives Stiles a kiss.
Stiles wipes the red lipstick off his cheek. "This is because I cook you breakfast, isn't it?"
"Damn good pancakes," Boyd comments as they file out.
Stiles doesn't know how long he stands there, staring blankly down at the dishwasher, but when he finally looks up Derek is across the room, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest, staring at him with a knowing smile on his face.
"Oh, shut up," Stiles tells him, and makes him load the rest of the dishes.