Stiles thunders down the steps, unrepentantly hip-checking Ollie into the wall as he scrambles for the front door, throwing it open to reveal… “No,” Stiles says, heart in his throat. “No, no, no.”
“Uh. Hi?” the big giant no says, standing on his stoop in a fucking leather jacket, Stiles wants to kill someone.
“No,” Stiles says again, and then slams the door.
He leans back against it, breathing hard. He’s a little lightheaded and Ollie stands in front of him, hands on her hips, frowning.
“Are you okay?” she says. “Was that Andrew?”
“Andrew,” Stiles says, then laughs a little hysterically and says, “You are not going out with Andrew.”
“Why?” Ollie says, genuinely bewildered.
Why? Why? Stiles has no idea what to say here. Should he tell her that the last time he saw Andrew Hale was when his father had breezed into town ten years ago, Andrew and his baby sister in tow, to formally give up his claim on Hale territory to Scott? That Andrew’s father broke his heart when he was eighteen, because Andrew’s father is basically a giant asshole dick? That Stiles had finally said yes to Stephen for all the wrong reasons; that if he hadn’t, they probably wouldn’t have gotten a five-year-old Ollie the very next year? Ugh. All those choices are so bad.
Stiles says, “He’s a werewolf,” and watches Ollie’s eyes go wide.
“Okay,” she says reasonably, “except you dated Aunt Malia in high school, right? Not to mention the fact that we’re, you know, technically part of a wolf pack.” She cocks her head. “Is that what this is? Some kind of territory thing? He doesn’t have to ask Uncle Scott, does he?”
“Aunt Malia’s a coyote, not a wolf,” Stiles says, only a little desperately.
“Aunt Malia’s dad is a psycho werewolf locked in supernatural jail,” Ollie says, eyes narrowed. “Try harder.”
There’s a tentative knock on the door behind his back and a nervous sounding, “Ah, sir?”
Stiles slumps against the wood, murmurs, “Worst day of my life,” takes a deep breath and then goes to open the door again.
Andrew Hale is a polite, well-mannered young man who happens to look like a miniature Derek, right down to the jacket, V-neck and jeans. His only nods to his mom are the darker skin tone and bright brown eyes, and the way he seems to track everything in the room as a possible threat.
“Well,” Stiles says. “It’s nice to see you again, Andrew.”
One of Andrew’s eyebrows goes up at the obvious lie. “Sure.”
“Dad,” Ollie says, swinging on a jacket. “We’re going.”
“I’m, uh.” Andrew shifts awkwardly on his feet. “I’m sorry, sir, but have we met?”
Stiles stares at him. “Yes,” he says slowly. “Although I guess you wouldn’t remember. Tell me, Andrew, does your dad know where you are tonight?”
Andrew seems to bristle at the question, straightening his back. “Yeah,” he says.
“And he knows we’re part of the local wolf pack?” Stiles says, fishing.
“Yeah,” Andrew says. There’s a curl of hair that falls over his forehead, and Andrew pushes it back with the flat of his hand. “It’s, uh, nice to meet you, Mr. Carpenter, but we really—“
“Oh, crap,” Stiles says. He lets out a semi-hysterical laugh again and says, “I’m not Mr. Carpenter.”
Andrew looks confused. “But isn’t Olive—”
“Ollie likes to shorten her hyphenated name in school, because she’s ashamed of being a Stilinski,” Stiles says, and Ollie says, “Oh my god, Dad, you know that’s not—”
“Oh, crap,” Andrew says faintly.
“You break your grandpa’s heart, sweet pea,” Stiles says, watching Ollie flush and grumble, and then Andrew says, “Oh, crap,” again and, “I gotta go.”
“What?” Ollie says.
“I think that’s a good idea,” Stiles says, leading the way back to the front door. He opens it wide and feels only a little satisfied at the way Andrew’s shoulders slump on his way back onto the porch.
He glances over at a still-stunned Ollie and says, “Uh, I’ll see you at school?”
Ollie crosses her arms over her chest and scowls.
Andrew ducks his head, Stiles is getting very vivid and terrible flashbacks here, and he slams the door shut on that nightmare with an audible sigh.
Ollie stomps back up the steps to her room, and she may be mad at Andrew now, but at some point in the near future she’s going to be furious with Stiles, he is not looking forward to that at all.
Stiles manages to avoid Derek for the better part of a month, but it does nothing good for his nerves.
Ollie is angry, Scott is adorably befuddled, the rest of their extended pack thinks he’s crazy, and Stiles gains five pounds from stress eating too much ice cream.
And Stiles knows, knows, that the only reason he’s so successful at avoiding Derek is because that asshole is avoiding him, too. It’s impossible to walk around Beacon Hills and not trip over a wolf, these days, the way Scott tends to accidentally adopt them all like stray cats. Stiles sees Andrew half a dozen times in the food store alone.
Of course, Andrew always slinks away from him with his tail between his legs, so while he may not be actively trying to avoid Stiles, he obviously knows he has to stay away from him anyhow.
“What is Derek telling that kid?” Stiles says to Scott over a horrible salad that makes him sympathize with his dad and hate his younger self with a fiery passion. Why does Ollie have to care so much about his health, how did this happen? Delores won’t even give him a slice of pecan pie anymore.
Scott shrugs and shoves a burger in his mouth.
Stiles leans forward and hisses, “He’s the one that turned me down, right? What could he possibly be telling Andrew that makes him look like that? Like I’m going to shove wolfsbane in his eyeballs.”
Scott says through his mouthful, “I think they want to join the pack.”
Stiles’s fork clatters to the table. “What?”
Scott swallows and wipes a napkin over his mouth. “It’s been hinted at. You know, since Cora came back, I figured it was only a matter of time.” Scott gives him a sheepish grin. “She’s kind of been pushing for it, she warned me a few months ago.”
“And you didn’t think to tell me?” Stiles throws his hands up. “Unbelievable.”
“Come on, Stiles,” Scott says, eyes serious. He pokes him in arm with a fry. “It’s been, like, fifteen years. You’re a grown adult, you can handle this.”
“Like you handled Kira’s visit last month?” Stiles says. You can’t put an expiration date on heartbreak; Stiles can feel whatever he wants to feel, even if he’s well into his thirties.
Scott shakes his head. “I’m not going to tell him he can’t stay because he decided he wanted to start a family with someone other than you when you were eighteen. That’s ridiculous.”
“Your face is ridiculous,” Stiles mutters. He stabs a tomato and shoves it in his mouth, viciously chewing.
Scott grins at him. “It’ll be fine, you’ll see.”
And it is fine, because Stiles doesn’t have to see Derek, and Ollie sneaks out with Andrew behind his back, like a proper fifteen-year-old, and Stiles gets to pretend he doesn’t know they’re friends-possibly-more, because that way lays madness and also hysterical crying.
But, okay, Andrew literally looks petrified of him whenever he happens to stumble into his path, and Stiles is an asshole, yeah, but what does Andrew actually think he’s going to do to him? It’s starting to really bug him. Derek and Stiles have a tragic history, this whole situation is weird and painful for Stiles, but it’s almost as if Derek’s been threatening him with horrible things for him to look that scared of his potential girlfriend’s—Stiles throws up a little in his mouth—dad.
Cora says, “Why do you care?” while stacking a pile of books in the approximate shape of a dragon in the middle of her tiny bookstore’s Travel & Fantastical Beasts section. It’s a tripping hazard, she has them all over the store, and she’s repeatedly told Stiles how little the amount of fucks she gives about him continuously braining himself on the shelves in the Magic for Morons section.
“I don’t care,” Stiles says.
She doesn’t even bother rolling her eyes at the obvious lie; Cora has known him way too long. She stands up and swipes her palms on her thighs and says, “He’s staying at the loft.”
Of course he is. The loft is a triangulated center for all things terrible and Derek.
“If you go now, you can catch him before Mal gets home from school,” she says pointedly when he doesn’t move from his slouch against the front counter.
Stiles would rather eat a pound of that tofu Ollie’s been trying to pass off as turkey. Ugh.
He knows he’s going to end up there, anyway.
As soon as the door is pulled open Stiles says, “You’ve been avoiding me,” and then he stares dumbly at Derek for a long moment, because Derek has a mop of hair now, like Andrew’s, falling over his forehead. There are crinkles at the corners of his eyes, his scruff is endearingly uneven, he’s wearing practically nothing—who opens the door in their underwear at one in the afternoon, Jesus Christ—and nobody should look this good pushing forty, werewolf genes are so freaking unfair.
There’s an uptick to one corner of Derek’s mouth. He says, “Stiles,” and his name is a sleepy rumble in his chest.
God almighty, what has Stiles done to deserve this?
Stiles pushes his way into the loft, feeling like a teenager again. He says, “We need to work this out.”
Derek says, “Sure, come on in, Stiles,” with a slightly sarcastic edge to his voice before calmly disappearing up the spiral staircase.
Stiles silently curses his entire existence, slumps onto a kitchen stool, and then waits the excruciating few minutes it takes for Derek to apparently pull on the bare minimum of clothes: a loose pair of sweatpants and a tank top.
Derek crosses to the fridge and pulls out a container of orange juice. He gets a couple of glasses out, surreally pours them each a drink, and then leans back against the counter by the sink. It’s been ten years since they’ve seen each other and it seems like it’s been no time at all.
Stiles tries not to watch his throat as Derek takes a sip of juice. He bounces his leg restlessly and says, “I wanna know what you’ve been telling your kid about me.”
Derek furrows his brows. “I haven’t been telling him anything.”
Stiles huffs a short laugh, runs his hands through his hair and says, “That’s why he always looks like he’s five seconds away from pissing himself whenever he sees me?”
Derek just looks even more confused for a few seconds before his whole body relaxes; his shoulders slump as he bites into his lower lip, eyes bright. He says, “Oh.”
Oh. What kind of response is that?
“Oh, what?” Stiles says.
Derek tips his head back and stares up at the ceiling and Stiles greatly suspects he’s silently laughing at him, just a little. Finally, Derek says, “He probably thinks you’re going to turn him into a frog.”
“He—” Stiles opens and closes his mouth, bewildered, then says, “What?”
“He thinks you’re a witch.”
“Druid,” Stiles corrects absently. Witches come in covens and try to sacrifice the occasional wolf, they’ve had too much experience with that over the years. “And I’m not even a druid, I’m barely a spark, what does Andrew actually think an emissary does?”
Derek shrugs, says, “Turn people into frogs?” and grins at him; it’s this delighted, wide-mouthed grin that Stiles has to close his eyes against. Fifteen years is not enough time, Scott can suck it.
Stiles buries his face in his hands with a moan. Andrew is a moron. He briefly takes heart in the fact that Ollie doesn’t suffer idiocy lightly, but then he glances up at Derek again and realizes that stupid Hale grin could probably make up for any and all shortcomings everywhere else. Fuck.
“Why would he think that?” Stiles says.
“Braeden had an, uh,” Derek shakes his head a little, “unusual cache of bedtime stories.”
“So she’d make me the villain?” Stiles says slowly. “Huh. That’s…actually kind of cool.” Stiles can admit that Braeden is one admirable lady, even if he hates her guts on principle alone. His shoulders tighten and he clutches his untouched glass of orange juice between his hands and says, “So, uh, where is Braeden, anyhow?” because now they’re apparently going to make small talk, Stiles is the worst.
Derek scratches the back of his neck, head dipped. “She visits when she can,” he says, and Stiles viciously tamps down the hope that flares up his throat at the thought that maybe Derek is single.
That Stiles is single, too—Stephen’s work moved him halfway across the country, Ollie calls him OD or Other Dad, Stephen hates it, and she visits him on Thanksgiving and two weeks during the summer.
The sudden flush on his cheeks is ridiculous. Derek had kicked him to the curb after a single fuck, after Stiles had completely humiliated himself by declaring his undying love, Jesus, Derek is a piece of work, to act all bashful and coy right now.
Stiles straightens up and hops off the stool. He says, “Right, so,” and Derek jerks his head up, watches him intensely with those eerie hazel eyes.
“You should stay and meet Mallory,” Derek says.
Stiles says, “That’s okay,” and doesn’t mention the fact that technically he’s met Mallory before, when she was a chubby six-month-old.
He walks to the door, conscious of the fact that Derek is shadowing him, almost at a hover.
“You can tell Andrew that I’m not going to hex him for seeing Ollie,” Stiles says.
“You’re not,” Derek says.
Stiles arches an eyebrow over his shoulder at him as he opens the door. He says, pointedly, “Ollie can make her own mistakes,” and surprisingly doesn’t take any satisfaction from Derek’s slight flinch at his words.
“Okay,” Derek says. He slouches in the doorway, frowning at Stiles as he turns toward the steps. He says, “Stiles, I’m—”
“It’s fine, big guy,” Stiles cuts him off. “Water under the bridge, right?”
Derek says, “Let me take you to dinner.”
Stiles turns fully around. Derek’s still frowning, his thick eyebrows almost completely covered by the long hair falling over his forehead. His bicep is flexed; Stiles’s gaze travels the muscle up to the white-knuckled grip Derek has on the doorframe.
Stiles’s heart is in his throat when he says, “Okay.”
Derek shifts on his feet, drops his arm, makes an abortive move toward Stiles that has Stiles taking a hasty step away. Derek clears his throat and says, “As a date,” not quite a question.
Stiles swallows hard and says, “Yeah, sure,” and then pretty much runs away.
“You have a date with my boyfriend’s dad,” Ollie says accusingly, and Stiles grimaces and says, “Please don’t call him that,” because he’s still having a hard time looking at Andrew slouched on his living room couch in sock-feet and not picturing his father as a hot, angry twenty-something werewolf ravaging all of Stiles’s sexy dreams.
It’s a weird disconnect, he’s not thrilled with the fact that Andrew apparently took his words to Derek as permission to sprawl all over Stiles’s house at all hours of the day.
Werewolves. The scenting is getting ridiculous; he’s like Derek but with really poor impulse control.
“And, technically,” Stiles says, “I knew his father first. So, you know, dibs.”
Stiles is having trouble figuring out what to wear. Does he go for dressy? Dressy casual? Business casual? Jeans and a tee?
Ollie rolls her eyes at him and then throws a pastel blocked button up at him and a pair of jeans.
He clutches the shirt to his chest and says, “I can’t wear this, I’ll look like a hipster.”
“Then wear the yellow one,” she says.
“I’ll look like an aging frat boy,” Stiles says. He holds up the button up and says, “Am I getting a belly?”
She pokes him in the tummy and says, “You’re fine.”
“Derek has abs, Ollie. His abs have abs, I had ice cream for dinner last night,” Stiles says.
“That’s just nerves, Dad,” Ollie says. She tosses a t-shirt at him and his brown shoes. “And you’re having salad for dinner for the rest of your life now, I hope that ice cream was worth it.”
It wasn’t actually worth it, he’d felt sick and gross afterward, but he’s certainly not going to tell Ollie that.
The doorbell rings and Ollie lights up. She says, “He’s early,” and sprints off for the steps. There isn’t even anything Stiles can do about it; he still needs to put on his pants.
When he finally makes it downstairs, Ollie has Derek cornered in the kitchen. Derek actually looks a little panicked and trapped, and Ollie has on her super sweet menacing smile and Stiles feels a deep well of love and affection for her flow over him.
Ollie is a frizzy-haired angel with the heart of a tiger, Stiles has never stopped thanking the entire universe for her.
It settles his nerves a little, and he kisses her temple and says, “Be good,” before they leave.
Dinner is quiet, but not exactly awkward, like they’re relearning how to act around each other. Hell, Stiles could spend the whole night just staring at Derek, fascinated by all the tiny changes in him and all the ways he’s still exactly the same. The way he scowls, and the way his eyes never match it. The way he flattens his eyebrows, the way they’re mostly hidden by his unruly mop, the way his ears peek out and flush. The way he bites his lip around a smile. The way he growls his name, the way his laugh is nearly an embarrassing giggle.
It’s spitting out when they leave the restaurant. They sprint to the car, Stiles sliding into the passenger seat out of breath.
Derek sticks the key in the ignition but doesn’t turn it, just stares out of the windshield as the drizzle steadily turns into a heavy rain.
“I handled it wrong,” Derek finally says. His chest expands on a big inhale. “When you were—” He flashes Stiles a look. “That night.”
Stiles nods. “You did.”
“But it was still the right thing to do.” There’s a stubborn tilt to his chin.
Stiles says, “Agree to disagree,” because he feels like it should be acknowledged that telling a teenager that the best night of his young life had been a massive, terrible mistake with a look of dawning horror was the ultimate in douchebag moves. But he only feels a very slight residual hurt, right now.
The downpour makes the lighted lot they’re in a blurry mess of colors. The air’s become clammy and damp in the car, and Derek turns over the engine, flicks the wipers on; Stiles’s heartbeat almost matches the thub-thub of them scraping across the glass.
“I’m sorry,” Derek says, low.
Stiles shrugs, looks over to find Derek staring at him, mouth soft.
The thing is—Derek had just started getting his life back together when Stiles had been eighteen. And then later there’d been Andrew and tiny Mallory, and then Stiles had gotten Ollie, and none of those things are actually bad. All of that is kind of amazing, when he thinks about it.
Derek had panicked and been an asshole, but it all turned out all right—and it’s been fifteen years.
Scott was right. Stiles hates it when Scott’s right.
“You’re gonna have to make it up to me,” Stiles says.
Derek smiles. “I can do that.” He leans over the console, cups Stiles’s cheek in his palm, thumb lightly resting just under his lower lip, and kisses him.
Ollie lets him have low fat frozen yogurt. They eat out of the same carton side-by-side at the kitchen island at three in the morning Saturday night.
She says, “This is going to be weird, right?”
“It’s going to be so weird,” Stiles says. But, like, wolf packs are weird, anyhow, so Stiles isn’t going to worry about it. Besides, Ollie is fifteen, what are the odds that Andrew Hale is her forever ever after? Right? Right.
And nothing’s set in stone with Derek, either, Stiles still has to win over Mallory; she’s ten and thinks Stiles is the devil. Apparently she’s been reared on just as many Stiles the Grand Evil Mage stories as Andrew has, her tactic is just to kick him in the shins instead of running away. It’s honestly lucky for him that Mallory turned out to be human or there’d probably be more bloodshed involved.
Ollie nudges her feet into his. She grins and says, “We should double date.”
“Never in a million years.”
“C’mon, it’ll be fun,” she says.
“I will tongue kiss Derek in front of you,” Stiles says. “It’ll be messy and passionate.”
Ollie makes a face and says, “Never mind.”
Ollie is disgusted with his love life again. All is right with the world.
Derek shows up on his front stoop with Andrew and they’re both wearing practically the same outfit—leather jackets, henleys, dark jeans. Stiles tries to cover his face with his hands but has to peek out at them anyhow; it’s majestic, how much they look the same, Stiles kind of wants to stab his eyes out for finding that attractive.
Derek scowls at him and says, “They made me do it,” proving that he’s as much of a pushover for their kids as Stiles is.
Ollie is giggling from behind him, muffled snorts of endless delight.
Andrew looks particularly pleased, but it’s probably just because he’s glad Ollie’s so amused.
Stiles thinks, screw it, and wraps his arms around Derek’s shoulders, the back of his neck, and draws him in for a kiss. He makes sure he uses lots of tongue.