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Kid Tested, Father Approved

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It begins with werewolves.

Well technically, it begins with something called a kumiho, which is apparently a female fox demon that kills and eats the livers out of living, breathing people.

It actually ends with the werewolves.

“Huh,” Sheriff Stilinski mutters numbly, as he looks at the mangled body of what had once been a pretty, twenty-six year old woman. Derek Hale stands over her, mouth bloody from where he’d just ripped out her throat in front of him.

The Sheriff stares at Derek and the blood, which is everywhere.

Derek has the grace to look sheepish after a moment, and wipes at his mouth (ineffectually) with the back of his hand.

Sheriff Stilinski turns to his son, who is crouched behind him, and who, thank god, still has his liver perfectly intact, inside of him where it ought to be. The Sheriff tries to reconcile the fact that Stiles’s substitute English teacher, Miss Choi, apparently just tried to eat one of his major internal organs. “Stiles?” he asks, kind of breathlessly.

Stiles’s answering smile is the kind that is pained and forced and awkward. Eventually he gives up on trying to look reassuring for the Sheriff’s sake and shrugs halfheartedly, head slumped against his father’s shoulder as he motions to Derek and the others with a vague, sweeping, circular motion of his hand. “Dad, werewolves.”

“Werewolves?” he asks, eyebrows somehow climbing higher on his forehead than they’d been a second ago. Derek, Jackson, Scott, the Lahey kid, and two other kids the Sheriff doesn’t know by name all shift a little, like they think he’s going to shoot them.

Stiles doesn’t seem the least bit concerned about any of that. He claps his hand on the Sheriff’s arm in solidarity and nods, once. “Werewolves.”

“Huh,” Sheriff Stilinski says.

~~~~~

“What the flying, what?” Stiles demands, when he walks into the kitchen some four months later to find Derek there, in uniform.

Derek shrugs, kind of helplessly, and sips at the coffee the Sheriff made him. He looks a little uncomfortable like that, but not enough to skip out on breakfast.

Stiles, apparently used to Hale’s inability to communicate effectively with words, turns to the Sheriff instead. And then makes a few rapid flailing gestures with his arms between his dad and Derek that prove that Stiles isn’t exactly ace at verbal communication right now anyway.

The Sheriff shrugs in much the same manner as Derek had, while flipping pancakes. “It makes sense,” he says. “All things considered.”

“I’ve woken up in an alternate reality. It’s a CW show. Werewolf Cop. Oh god.”

Derek and the Sheriff share a look. Neither of them says anything, because apparently, they both know Stiles well enough to know he’ll work this out on his own eventually, once he gets over the initial shock and starts thinking. Stiles’s brain turns pretty fast once it gets started. The Sheriff wonders if he should be worried that Derek already seems to have hung around Stiles enough to know this much about his kid.

“Oh my god, how is this a good idea? A werewolf with a gun, I don’t even… wait a minute.”

The Sheriff goes back to flipping pancakes. The corner of Derek’s lips turn upwards like he can feel the onslaught coming too.

“Oh my god,” Stiles repeats, except with far less incredulity now. “He knows what’s going on out there. He can…and you can, and then you two can cover it up with the… and…” The words trail off for a moment as he hops, like suddenly this is the best idea ever. It is, for the record, because the Sheriff thought of it.

“And…and now the Argents can’t gun for him, because they’d be targeting a cop, and the whole department will be on our side and he can protect you from the monsters.”

The Sheriff frowns a little at that, while Derek makes a snorting sound almost like a laugh. “He’s not going to protect me,” the Sheriff complains, while sliding the pancakes from the frying pan and into a stack that is for Derek, because Derek was here first. He hands the plate, three pancakes high, to his new werewolf deputy. “He’s still technically in training.”

Stiles gives his father an impressive teenage stink-eye. Whether it’s about the pancakes or the fact that the Sheriff doesn’t need protection is up in the air.

Derek calmly accepts the plate and then thrusts it at Stiles, apparently trying to get him to shut up. “I’ll watch out for him,” Derek also adds, softly, like it’s a promise between just Stiles and him. Stiles grins, takes the plate, and is suddenly the happiest person on the planet. Derek looks satisfied with that for now.

“Wow. Just. Wow. This might just be the best idea ever,” Stiles babbles excitedly, around a mouthful of pancakes. “Honestly? I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first.”

He radiates satisfaction in Derek’s general direction, like Derek thought of it. Which he hadn’t, for the record.

But the Sheriff is gracious, and will let Derek have the credit for this one, especially since Derek looks kind of secretly happy back at Stiles, in maybe just his eyes, probably because the rest of him just can’t move that way yet, is still relearning how, piece by piece. Stiles catches it anyway, like he can read every small nuance on Derek’s face whether Derek wants him to or not, and miraculously, the kid doesn’t say another word for at least a solid five minutes.

It’s…a feat, to say the least.

The Sheriff hums thoughtfully in the back of his throat, wondering absently what it all might mean as he pours more batter into the pan.

~~~~~

Derek is an excellent deputy. Being bulletproof, a walking lie-detector, and a bloodhound all in one kind of necessitate that he’d be a good cop on paper, but beyond those physical things, the Sheriff learns that Derek is brave as well, and that he can be smart every now and again too, so long as someone is there to hold him back and remind him to think before acting. The best thing about him though, is that he’s also a surprising softie under those perpetually furrowed eyebrows. If anything, he’s winning the townsfolk over with his tough-but-nice-guy shtick.

Right now, especially so.

Sheriff Stilinski offers a slow clap as Derek hops nimbly down from the giant oak in Mrs. Staples’s backyard with Fluffy tucked securely against his chest, a few already healing scratches dotting both forearms.

“Well done, Deputy Hale,” the Sheriff says, around a smile.

Derek scowls, but it’s the embarrassed one, not the angry one, and the Sheriff knows it now after all the nights Derek comes over for dinner lately, whereupon Stiles has taken it upon himself to educate his dad on the Many Faces of Sourwolf. The Sheriff is pretty sure Stiles calls that one Sourwolf Expression #7.

Derek wordlessly hands the Sheriff the cat and tries to sort of fade into the background behind him. But it fails, because Mrs. Staples rushes forward to hug Derek at that point, sobbing about her poor kitty and how brave that was and how she didn’t know what she was going to do without her crabby twelve year old cat constantly underfoot. Derek looks a little lost in the embrace, but after a moment, hesitantly pats the old woman’s back in a comforting manner, and lets her hold on as long as she pleases without growling even once.

When she finally deigns to let go of him, the Sheriff happily hands Mrs. Staples back her twitching cat and magnanimously doesn’t say anything about the blush tinting the tips of his very scary deputy’s ears.

~~~~~

They find a body in an alleyway three months after Derek becomes a deputy. It’s tucked into a dumpster near one of the many dance clubs that seem to be popping up all over the outskirts of town lately. Apparently small California mountain communities are becoming the new ‘It’ place for vacations for the rich and famous or something like that, because there is suddenly a lot more to do in Beacon Hills than there was ten years ago. The body they find belongs to a young woman in a skimpy outfit that means she was probably inside the club at one point, drinking and dancing and flirting. Derek confirms it with a sniff and a face that is extremely sour, even for him.

“Well?” the Sheriff asks, as the rest of the department works on cordoning off the area and sweeping for clues. “One of ours or one of…ours?”

Derek nods. “Vampires,” he says, as though it’s a bad tasting word in his mouth.

The Sheriff sighs. “Really? Vampires and Werewolves?”

Derek frowns, looking like he’s trying to figure out a huge universal mystery by himself. “Our kind don’t normally interact with theirs. We usually actively avoid one another.”

“Except in bad teen romance novels,” The Sheriff points out, because he’d seen Melissa McCall’s not-so-secret late night reading material during many a trip to the hospital over the last few years.

Derek becomes kind of comically frustrated at that. “Vampires don’t sparkle,” he says after a beat, unnecessarily.

The Sheriff snorts. “Too bad. Would make it easy to find them.”

“We’ll find them,” Derek says, and pulls his phone from his pocket. He dials, and when Boyd answers, simply growls, “Boyd, vampires,” into it. Then he pauses and adds, “Don’t tell Stiles.”

The Sheriff thinks it’s a nice gesture, considering it’s a school night and Stiles has a Latin test tomorrow. He holds out on believing that his kid is going to actually stay in and study for that Latin test with vampires afoot, though.

Derek hangs up and looks kind of pained at the Sheriff, like he knows it too, but he had to try anyway. As Stiles’s father, the Sheriff also knows that all they can do is their best to keep his idiot kid out of trouble. He claps Derek on the back in a show of solidarity and says, “How the hell do we kill vampires?”

“Not with stakes,” Derek mutters, and his eyes gleam red for a moment. The Sheriff knows that means this will probably get messy.

~~~~~

It does get kind of messy. And burny, and maybe a little explody too, if the Sheriff is going to borrow some of Stiles’s terms that are not actually terms.

By the time it’s all done it’s late, and he’s tired, and his child has once again, been narrowly snatched from the jaws of death. By the jaws of a werewolf.

The Sheriff just kind of stands back and watches the explosions be explody while he tries to catch his breath.

“Are you stupid?!” Derek growls, right into Stiles’s face. “That was a nest.”

“Was being the operative word?” Stiles butts back fearlessly, not looking away from Derek’s eyes. “I found them, didn’t I? Before you or the puppies or the hunters, let me add.”

Derek falters slightly. In the background, even the Argents take a moment from menacing quietly to look appropriately embarrassed. “We would have found them eventually,” Derek mutters, though with less heat than before.

Stiles snorts. “Yes, because the two days you couldn’t was so convincing.”

Derek’s nose wrinkles slightly, his brows at full furrow. If the Sheriff is doing his homework right, that’s Sourwolf Expression #4: Indignation. The Sheriff would be sharing Derek’s indignation if he wasn’t just relieved that Stiles didn’t become vampire chow in the end. “There are a lot of corpses in this town,” Derek counters after a beat too long, which just means it’s not worth arguing anymore. The Sheriff knows that Stiles knows when he’s won an argument. It happens whenever the other side hesitates a beat too long.

Stiles smirks victoriously. “Admit it. My Google-fu is amazing.”

Derek is bewildered. “Your what?” he says out loud, which are the exact words the Sheriff had been thinking anyhow.

Stiles shrugs. “I found them on the internet. I mean, with vampires being in and everything, if I were a vampire, I would totally use my in-ness to you know, make my prey come to me.”

In the background, sirens begin to wail, meaning backup is on its way. The Sheriff shakes his head and turns towards the Argents. Chris coughs and takes that as his cue. He says, “Nice night, gentlemen. We’ll be going now.”

He and his goons pile into their unsubtle black SUVs and drive off into the night as the sirens grow nearer. Derek takes a moment to turn his eyes towards Boyd and Isaac and Erica as well, and it’s enough to make them silently slink off into the trees. It’s impressive, and the Sheriff sure wishes it worked on Stiles too, but it doesn’t.

He knows what does though.

“Stiles,” the Sheriff says after a beat, and then, in the exact same commanding tone, “Derek.”

Derek sighs wordlessly and grabs Stiles by the scruff of his neck, gently, because there’s still a bite mark there, from where a vampire had tested Stiles’s willingness to be prey before letting him into the nest. Derek mutters something incoherent and grumpy about idiots as he herds Stiles towards his Jeep. The Sheriff nods in approval, because that is how he’d do it too. “I’ll see you both at home, where you will be grounded, Stiles,” he says, and waves them off.

“Dad, c’mon!!!!” Stiles complains. “It’s just a scratch!”

The Sheriff shakes his head as Derek jumps into the driver’s side of the Jeep. Eventually it tears out of the parking lot and into the night. Meanwhile, the Sheriff looks over his shoulder at the burning skeleton of a Gothic themed club – Beacon Hills will probably have a new one up in its place within the week – and waits for the rest of the department to converge on the scene.

They’ve been through the routine enough times by now that he knows Derek will get Stiles home and get his injuries seen to, before making sure he eats something for the blood loss and finishes his homework and goes to bed at a decent hour. For a moment, he wonders about that, because it doesn’t seem so long ago that he’d had Derek cuffed in the back of his squad car under suspicion of murder. Trusting Derek with his life is something that comes easily, because the Sheriff is used to working at a job where his life is constantly in danger. It doesn’t seem like that big a deal anymore, to put it in danger a little bit more, all over again. But to trust Derek with his kid’s life is something else entirely. It feels huge.

Apparently Derek Hale, despite all appearances, is exactly the sort of a nice young man you bring home to meet the parents. The Sheriff finds the thought of it kind of hilarious.

And maybe something else, too, when he thinks about it.

~~~~~

When he gets home later that night, after explaining to the BHFD and the rest of the Sheriff’s Department that the basement of the club had been home to a crazy murdering cult of wannabe vampires who had set themselves on fire, he finds Derek cleaning up in the kitchen, quietly. Stiles’s window had been dark when he’d pulled up, so he assumes the kid is asleep.

“Soup?” Derek asks, when he comes into the kitchen. “I can reheat it.”

The Sheriff nods and takes a seat at the table. “Stiles?”

“Wouldn’t stop talking, so fine,” Derek answers with a little, amused sounding huff. The Sheriff would even go so far as to say it’s fond.

“Thanks for taking care of him. You don’t have to,” he tells Derek after a beat, and Derek freezes for a second, like part of him wants to say he does have to, though he’s not sure why.

Well, that’s… interesting. The Sheriff is Sheriff because he’s good at his job, and being good at his job means he has to have a certain level of observational skills that allow him to do his investigative work properly. He hadn’t known Derek before, but he likes to think he knows him now, and when someone knows Derek, he’s a surprisingly easy read.

The Sheriff stares at Derek openly, maybe a little bit in surprise, though in retrospect, he probably shouldn’t be all that surprised at all, given everything. A lot of things are certainly clicking into place suddenly, to be honest.

Then, after a second, Derek visibly wills himself to relax at the stove, before looking at the Sheriff again, all guilty in the eyebrows even as the rest of him remains carefully on edge, like a scared animal.

Unbelievably, the Sheriff feels the corners of his lips quirk upward at the reaction and Derek flinches like he’s been caught doing something criminal again, like he expects the Sheriff to pull his gun out and start cleaning it while pointedly reminding Derek that he is a law enforcement official and is expected to abide by the letter of those laws unless there are supernatural circumstances involved.

But the Sheriff doesn’t do any of those things. He just chuckles to himself because he can’t believe he hadn’t seen it before, and reaches out to clap Derek on the shoulder, fondly. “You staying tonight?” he asks.

Derek relaxes minutely under the now familiar weight of the Sheriff’s hand on his back, though his hackles are still clearly raised. “If you don’t mind,” he answers, quietly.

The Sheriff shakes his head and goes to get a spare blanket and pillow from the hall closet to make up the couch with.

Derek stands in the kitchen stirring the lukewarm pot of soup as it heats on the stove and looks as mystified as the Sheriff has ever seen him.

~~~~~

“So, I’ve been thinking about Derek,” the Sheriff says one Sunday afternoon, when it’s just the Stilinski men at home, doing the manly acts of laundry and vacuuming.

Stiles blinks from where he is pairing socks. “What about him?” he hedges.

The Sheriff is not well-versed in these things, but like he’d done with every other aspect about single-parenthood, including The Talk, he soldiers on in hopes of finding an oasis somewhere in the vast desert that is raising a teenager. “He’s…nice.”

Stiles looks baffled. “Uh… I’m not sure how to respond to that,” he says, and tosses a sock ball into the clean laundry basket. Then he pauses, getting a look of utter horror on his face. “Please don’t tell me you want to date him,” he squeaks.

The Sheriff just gives him a long look, because even when words are hard, that look never is. That look very easily tells Stiles he’s being a moron.

Stiles leans back in relief, flushing slightly at the cheeks. “Oh thank god.”

“Not that he isn’t…dateable,” the Sheriff adds, trying to sound casual.

Stiles chokes on his own spit. Right into the clean laundry. They might have to wash that load again. “Excuse me?!”

The Sheriff gives Stiles another look, a thoughtful one this time, and puts his hands up. “Just a thought,” he says after a beat, calmly.

Stiles eyes him suspiciously. “Are you trying to set him up on a date?” he asks, and looks even more incredulous now than he did when he thought his dad was going to date Derek Hale. Which is kind of offensive, really.

“Maybe,” the Sheriff admits, because isn’t that what he’s doing? Christ, his life.

“Because he’s…nice,” Stiles repeats, a little dumbly. Like he hadn’t considered it before, and like he’s not sure he wants to consider it now but that he’s going to anyway because he can’t stop his brain from doing things even when he doesn’t want it to. “With uh, with who?”

“No one in particular,” the Sheriff lies.

Stiles relaxes a little bit. “Oh. Well, okay. I mean, in a blanket sense, he should probably date. You know, someone. One day.” Stiles’s leg is shaking a little, pumping up and down restlessly as he continues to dig around in the dryer, clearly thoughtful.

The Sheriff nods again and concentrates on turning all the clothes for the next load inside out, because now, according to his incredible police training, he knows where exactly, everything stands. “I think he could make someone happy,” he adds after a beat, because he can’t help himself.

Eventually, Stiles sighs, sounding a little distant. “Yeah, he could, I guess, once you get around the grumpy, glary, violent bits,” he admits, burying his head into the laundry basket like he is on a particularly vicious sock hunt. Those tube socks are hard to pair, with all their different colored stripes. “Good luck finding someone who isn’t afraid of getting their head ripped off,” he adds, like that’s a particularly hard feat or something. It’s not. Stiles is stupidly unafraid of getting his head ripped off to the point that it’s incredibly worrisome.

The Sheriff goes back to measuring laundry detergent and seriously can’t believe he’s about to do what he’s about to do.

~~~~~

Stiles has never made his father’s life particularly easy, though it’s not because he’s consciously tried to make himself a hardship. It’s all just a natural thing for Stiles, to be perfectly honest. Derek, similarly, has all the good intentions in the world and in so doing, is making things much more complicated than they probably need to be because he thinks he’s being helpful.

It’s a slow sloughing off at first, almost hard to notice unless you’re looking for it. Derek spends fewer nights at dinner with them, excuses himself from invitations to sack out on the couch because he says he’s fixing up his house, really, and that he should relearn how to sleep there. Then it’s like suddenly, he hasn’t been over once at all in over a week. Not even for breakfast.

Derek, luckily, is obligated to show up for work no matter how much of a loner he is trying to be, or how much he’s trying to cut off whatever strange connection it is he has with Stiles. So the Sheriff just waits until their nightshift one Friday in September, when Stiles and the rest of the pack are scheduled to watch movies at Jackson’s. It is while he and Derek are pulling out of the In-N-Out drive-thru with their illicit fast food dinner that the Sheriff asks, “Is something wrong with my son, Derek?”

Derek, who had spent most of the evening brooding against the passenger side window, looks like he’d just gotten sucker punched in the face. “What?”

The Sheriff obligingly speaks slower the second time around, as he parks the car outside the movie theater (that’s where the most trouble happens on Friday nights these days), and hands Derek his iced tea. “Is something wrong with my son?” he says again, this time with a pointed look.

Derek blinks owlishly as he holds his drink between both hands. “Not…since I saw him last,” he offers. Then he frowns, and his eyebrows do this magical dance on his forehead that suddenly makes him look mean and concerned all at the same time. “Do you think he’s in trouble? Everyone is over at Jackson’s. I told them to text me if anything happened.”

The Sheriff wants to slap a hand to his forehead and groan. Then realizes there’s really nothing stopping him, so he does it.

Derek looks, somehow, more panicky than before. “Sheriff?”

“Not that kind of wrong,” he clarifies, because in retrospect, with all the trouble they seem to get in, Derek’s initial reaction had probably been fair. “I mean, is something wrong with him that you don’t want to date him?”

Derek accidentally squeezes his iced tea so hard it explodes all over the inside of the patrol car.

~~~~~

After Derek recovers and is finished cleaning up the upholstery as best he can with a few paper napkins, the two of them end up leaning against the hood of the car, waiting for their clothes to dry. Derek suddenly has the same problem of being unable to look the Sheriff in the eye that he had after the incident with the vampire nest.

“He’s… seventeen, you know that right?” Derek offers after an awkward beat, chancing a look up at the Sheriff’s face again.

“I’m not an idiot, Derek.”

Derek winces and looks back down quickly. “Right. You would know his age best, probably.”

The Sheriff is incredibly amused. “Don’t you forget it, Deputy Hale.”

Derek is still acting like he’s an alien though. “And you would… you want me to…” Words are still hard, apparently.

The Sheriff shrugs. “You’re good with him. That’s all that matters to me.”

Derek twitches, just a little tick in his jaw, because that’s what he does when he’s mortified. He’s also staring at an expanse of parking lot asphalt like it’s the most exciting thing in the world.

“And,” the Sheriff adds, shamelessly pushing the advantage, “I like you. So that helps.”

Derek looks like he wants to be stabbed in the face, he’s so embarrassed. It makes laughter bubble up in the Sheriff’s throat, honest and friendly. He can’t wait to tell Stiles he’s discovered another one of Sourwolf’s strange and varied expressions. This might make them number in at an even ten.

Eventually he sobers though, and Derek is looking thoughtful by then, maybe even a little hopeful. “Does he even like me?” he asks, like he honestly has no idea.

This brings on a fresh wave of amusement from the Sheriff, enough to make Derek glare and quietly slouch back into the passenger seat of the patrol car like a sulky child. Ah, to be young again.

The Sheriff grins and joins him after a minute of just shaking his head, and after that they get called to the bowling alley to break up a fight in lane six.

If Derek is a little rougher than usual when he grabs one of the drunken brawlers and shakes him that night, the Sheriff says nothing.

~~~~~

Derek is still sort of avoiding them a few weeks after the fact, probably to get his own head in order. Which is good, because the Sheriff is a big fan of thinking before you act. It probably helps now that Derek knows he doesn’t also have to worry about an angry Sheriff with a shotgun full of wolfsbane bullets coming after him if it comes to that. And while it’s a bit annoying for the Sheriff to constantly end up buying too much food every week because Derek isn’t there to pick up the slack during dinner, it’s ultimately fine, because the whole avoidance thing is pissing Stiles off, and Stiles is never more honest with himself (and everyone else) than when he’s angry. The Sheriff listens to his son’s vitriol about stupid ingrate alpha werewolf deputies not showing up when they’re wanted and how they sabotage everything by letting the Sheriff cheat on his diet with trips to In-N-Out and stops at Tommy’s Burgers on late nights.

Derek is thoughtful at work, every so often looking at the Sheriff like he’s waiting for it all to be a prank or a dream or a grease and fat induced hallucination from too many late night burger runs.

Derek eventually stops letting them go on those by the way, and that’s when the Sheriff knows everything is going to be okay. Derek only ever listens to someone else that intently when it really, really matters.

~~~~~

Derek and Stiles figure out what the Sheriff has already figured out a month later, when the witches from Santa Cruz come.

Apparently the tricks Deaton has been teaching Stiles in his free time are like a beacon going off to all witches in a two hundred mile radius, and Stiles, being a descendant of gypsies (the Sheriff knew he should have stopped to learn more about his late wife’s family, but she’d never wanted to talk about it), is more than a desirable addition to any coven. They might unnecessarily add that his being a virgin also helps to amplify his power, and kidnap him from his own room in the middle of the night, because certain spells make it impossible for anyone to detect them.

After the witches have been, well, dealt with, there is an arguing match in front of the bare bones of the Hale House that basically goes like this:

“No more magic.”

“Um, hello, my magic is what saved us tonight! I am invincible.”

“You’re not.”

“Okay, no, but I did pretty good, considering.”

“You’re…bleeding.”

“So are you!”

“It’ll stop.”

“Oh my god I can’t believe that’s your argument. That argument goes for me too, you know, even if your superpowers or whatever make yours faster. It’s not always good to be faster.”

“It is when you’re bleeding.”

“Fair. But I bleed a lot, okay, I’m used to it. And me doing magic is helpful in that it’s keeping me from doing it more than usual, as you saw tonight. By my awesomeness.”

“You shouldn’t do it anymore. It’s broadcasting.”

“So is the fact that I’m a virgin apparently, that doesn’t mean I’m just going to jump in bed with the nearest body to fix that.” Pause. “Dad, don’t look at me like that.”

“I’m not looking at you like anything. Stop talking about jumping into bed with people,” the Sheriff answers, evenly.

“Right. Uh, well. My argument stands. I’m keeping the magic.”

“Stiles.”

“Don’t ‘Stiles’ me, that’s the end of that argument. If you want to make a case for fixing the virgin part, I’m all ears, Derek.”

There is a lengthy pause. The Sheriff groans. His kid, ladies and gentlemen. His brain does a slow clap.

In the meantime, Stiles blinks when he realizes everything has gone dead silent all around him, and that maybe Derek and the rest of the pack are staring at him incredulously. “Wow I totally said that out loud, didn’t I?” he marvels, like somehow, he really thought he hadn’t.

“Yup,” the Sheriff and Derek both say at the same time, sounding long-suffering, while Isaac, Boyd, and Erica make these choked off sounds of disbelief and fade into the shadows. It’s strategic. Derek really is teaching them how to survive surprisingly well.

Stiles slaps a hand to his forehead. “Someone please shut me up.”

Derek snorts, sounding vaguely amused. “I’ve been trying to since I met you.”

“Not my fault you’re bad at it.”

“I’m thinking of a few other strategies now,” Derek offers, a little hesitantly, and with a fleeting, sideways glance at the Sheriff. The Sheriff turns his eyes heavenward and ignores them both. Derek takes it as encouragement, some of the tension leeching out of his shoulders. “If you want to hear them,” he adds after a beat, voice dipping lower.

Stiles peeks through a crack in his fingers to look at Derek, a little less mortified, a little more intrigued. “Yeah?”

The Sheriff imitates the rest of the pack and fades out of that conversation as quickly as possible, because by the tones of their voices, it is going to become something that it was not five minutes ago really soon. Instead, he strolls down to his patrol car, figures Stiles can get a ride back from Derek, and mutters, “Curfew is still eleven, boys,” into the air on his way out, because he knows for a fact that Derek can hear him.

Also, he knows where Derek lives, works, and sleeps. So.

He drives back into town feeling strangely satisfied with himself.

~~~~~

The next morning, Stiles wanders downstairs for breakfast in a daze, grinning and waving his greetings stupidly as the Sheriff and Derek set the table for Saturday breakfast.

The Sheriff manages not to roll his eyes when Stiles grabs him into a gangly hug and declares, “Best dad ever,” before plopping gracelessly down at the table with a goofy smile. Derek rolls his eyes enough for the both of them as it turns out, though only in a way that means he’s laughing on the inside at the same time.

The Sheriff, because he is the best dad ever, graciously refrains from commenting on the severe case of stubble burn peeking up from under Stiles’s shirt collar.

At least out loud.

He does, however, stop at Target to buy Derek an electric razor on their way to work later that morning. A nice one, too.

Derek’s mortified expression as he accepts the box is completely worth the seventy dollars.

END