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Little Promises

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Derek doesn’t really know what happened. He just knows there was a lady and she was pretty but she was also really mean and she was trying to hurt his friends.

He thinks he might have been trying to fight her so he could keep his friends safe and he thinks he did something wrong because now his bones are itchy and he feels icky where he’s currently sprawled on the forest floor drowning in a soft shirt.

“Holy fuck,” Erica mutters and is harshly shushed by Isaac.

“Don’t swear in front of the kid.”

“It’s not a kid,” Erica counters. “It’s just-“

“Derek?” a closer voice asks and he snaps towards it, blinking up at Stiles and whoa he’s so tall. He’s the tallest ever. Derek thinks he should be as tall as him, he doesn’t know why he isn’t.

“’tiles?” he says back and frowns a little at how his voice is too high and how he has trouble rolling the s’s in his tongue. He pokes at his own cheek, trying to understand what’s wrong.

“Derek are you alright? Can you remember what happened? Can you-“ Scott starts asking and he strides rapidly towards Derek, arms outstretched like he’s about to pick him up and no. No!

Derek doesn’t want him to pick him up because what if Scott makes him bite evil men again?

“No!” he screams and darts away from Scott’s hands, running to the closest safest place. “Don’t make me. I don’t wanna,” he whines, hiding his face in the back of Stiles’ knees and clutching tightly at his pant legs.

Stiles will protect him. Stiles always protects him.

“Maybe you should back off a little, Scott.”

“But-“

“You’re upsetting him,” Erica snaps and comes a little closer, standing by Stiles with her arms crossed. Derek reaches one of his hands out and grabs her jeans, receiving a little quick smile in return.

Derek grins and then hides again, feeling suddenly bashful.

“What a cutie,” Erica coos and offers her hands. Derek extends his arms and lets her pick him up. He’s taller like this and he likes Erica. She’s the bestest beta and she’s the smartest and she’s the prettiest.

He pats her cheek and makes sure to tell her that.

“Why does he let her pick him up?”

“It’s because he likes me better,” Erica announces smugly. “Didn’t you hear, Scotty.”

Derek sticks his tongue out at Scott and there that’ll teach him not to make Derek give momma’s gift to bad guys.

His momma’s gone. And Laurie is too. And everyone and suddenly he can feel his bottom lip wobbling because he just wants his momma so bad.

He leans out of Erica’s arms and into the closest thing to home he has.

Stiles catches him just as he starts hiccupping.

“I want my momma. And Laurie and dada and- and- and-“

It’s too much and it’s so overwhelming. It’s like he can only feel one thing at a time and right now he’s sad. He’s really sad.

Stiles rubs at his back and shushes him gently.

“I think we better get him to the loft,” he mutters over Derek’s head rocking him gently.

Derek buries his face in Stiles’ shirt and lets himself be carried out of there.

«»

“Yellow,” Derek demands and Isaac dutifully passes him the coloring pencil requested.

It occurs to him only vaguely, distantly that he’s supposed to be doing something else, but he’s not quite sure what.

All he knows is that he likes drawing and it makes him happy and Isaac is by his side passing him pencils and watching cartoons on the TV.

Derek sticks his tongue out and frowns swirling his pencil around to make up Isaac’s fluffy hair.

Isaac was his first beta and he likes him very much. Isaac is super brave and he smiles like a puppy and he has fluffy scarves that Derek likes. He wonders if because he bit Isaac first that makes him his firstborn.

He decides to ask and Isaac laughs. “You’d have to be my dad for that.”

“I can be your dada,” Derek assures. “You can eat ice cream always and your bedtime is never.”

Isaac laughs again and it’s a gentle laugh. Derek’s heard Isaac meanly laughing a couple of times and he likes it that this one isn’t like that.

“You’re more like an older grumpy brother.”

“I’m Cora’s older brother. I help her with homework and to play pranks.”

“Pranks?” Isaac asks.

Derek makes grabby hands at the green pencil and Isaac passes it over.

“Yah. Once we filled Laurie room with glitter,” he giggles. “It had glitter for years. Momma was really mad.”

“Maybe we can play some pranks together sometime.”

Derek looks at him and gasps. “Right now! We can do pencil target!”

“Pencil target?”

Derek nods and scooches over balancing a pencil at the end of the coffee table and looking over the back of the couch where Dr. Deaton is talking with Stiles and Scott.

“I’m the champion at pencil target,” he declares proudly. “Watch.”

Derek slaps the end of the pencil that was hanging off the table and it goes flying, hitting Deaton squarely on the shoulder.

Isaac stares with wide eyes at Derek for a split second before he curls in on himself with laughter.

Dr. Deaton slowly turns towards him and he doesn’t look happy or mad. He doesn’t look anything at all but that’s normal.

Scott peers at him over one of Deaton’s shoulders with a slight frown and Stiles peers over the other side with surprised eyes and a hand pressed firmly over his lips.

“Derek,” Dr. Deaton says calmly and Derek scrunches his nose at him, dropping down to his hands and wiggling back so he can hide under the coffee table and doesn’t have to say hello to him.

“I don’t think he likes you,” he hears Stiles say with a laugh in his voice.

Isaac peers down at him with a smile and offers his hand up.

“That was so cool. Highfive.”

Derek beams and highfives him, not leaving his hideout until Dr. Deaton leaves but that’s okay because Isaac scooches next to him and brings with him his paper and pencils.

«»

“For you,” Derek says and his cheeks feel hot and he rubs a hand over them.

Boyd leans down and takes the sheet of paper Derek was offering, looking intently down at it and then smiling one of his rare smiles and Derek feels really proud.

“I really like it. Thank you.”

Derek beams and holds his hands up for a hug. Hugs are his most favoritest and he thinks everyone should get them all the time.

Boyd picks him up and sets him on his shoulders.

“There,” he says. “Now you’re tall again.”

Derek pats his cheek so he knows how much he appreciates it.

«»

“I want cake,” he announces, kicking his legs back and forward and watching the pack watch him.

“He’s regressing rapidly,” Lydia points out.

“Deaton said we just have to wait it out,” Scott pipes up.

“This is not so bad,” Erica argues.

“I still want cake,” Derek adds. “Where’s ‘Tiles? Can he get me cake?”

They act like they didn’t hear him. “Maybe we should hurry this along, find the witch?”

“Yeah, but someone would have to stay behind on babysitting duty.”

Derek huffs at all of them and flings himself off the counter, landing neatly on his feet and tipping his head back so he can try to smell where Stiles went.

He finds him in the office, hunched over a laptop.

“’Tiles I want cake,” he asks, waddling towards him and pulling at his pant legs to get his attention.

“Wha-“ Stiles flails a little, blinking at Derek. “Oh. Hey, little dude, how a-“

“No,” Derek frowns shaking his head.

“No?”

“No. You call me big guy. I still wanna be big guy because I need to grow up again.”

Stiles grins at him and nods along.

“Sure big guy. What’re doing here, weren’t you with the others?”

“They were being boring,” he twists his nose. “And they wouldn’t give me cake.”

Stiles snorts but it’s not mean like when other people do it.

“Alright, I just have to finish this and I can get you cake.”

“Cool,” Derek nods and then when it seems Stiles is about to push his chair back towards the desk Derek uses the grip he still has on his pantlegs and leverages himself up, climbing into his lap and settling there. “I’ll help.”

Stiles ruffles his hair and Derek playfully snaps his teeth at his fingers.

He last ten whole minutes before he falls asleep with his face smushed against Stiles’ chest.

«»

“Cora!” Derek screams and runs straight at her, wrapping his arms around her legs and holding on tight.

“I swear I leave you alone for one month and you de-age my brother.”

“There was a witch!” Erica says indignantly.

Cora picks him up and rubs her cheek over his hair like he used to do for her when she was the littlest and he was the tallest.

“Of course there was,” she deadpans and sets Derek on his hip, letting him snuffle a little into her neck and start to play with her hair like he did with Momma’s.

“I missed you Corie,” Derek mumbles into her neck and gets a tight tight hug as a reward.

Cora gets him cake because she’s the best sister ever.

«»

Derek’s eating his cake when Erica aims his phone at him and grins smartly from behind it.

“Hi,” Derek waves. “Do you want cake?”

“No thanks, sweetie. Can you answer some questions for Auntie Erica?”

“You’re not my aunt,” he informs her.

“Let’s play pretend I am.”

“Okay.”

“Erica what are you doing?” Stiles asks walking into the kitchen with a wad of toilet paper because somehow Derek doesn’t have the kitchen paper.

He moves towards Derek and scrubs his cheeks clean with it.

“Filming this so we never ever lose these sweet memories.”

“For blackmail, you mean.”

“That’s what I said. So. Who’s the prettiest of them all, Derek?”

“Momma,” Derek answers promptly because duh.

Erica smiles her tiny kind smile that she likes to hide.

“Who’s the prettiest here?”

“’tiles is the prettiest. That’s why Imma marry him. Duh.

Erica squeals, jerking the phone so it’s pointed at Stiles.

“I told you so.”

“No.”

“I told you so.

“He’s a kid, he probably thinks everyone is pretty and wants to marry them.”

Derek frowns at him, eyebrows dashing down apprehensively because Stiles doesn’t get it how can Stiles not get it.

“No,” he shakes his head and because this is really important he climbs to the counter and knee walks towards Stiles until he can grab his cheeks with both his hands, faintly thinking it’s really weird that he can’t completely cover them with his fingers spanned wide.

“I want to marry you because you’re really pretty and really nice and you always help me ever and try to keep the meanie guys away. And you’re super duper smart and loyal and when I’m big again I’m gonna buy you the whole moon.”

Stiles cheeks get a little red and his eyes get soft and kind and Derek beams proudly because he gets it. Now he gets that he’s the most importantest ever.

He leans forward and very gently smooches Derek’s forehead.

“Tell me that when you don’t look like a five year old and I might just take you on a date.”

Derek nods fervently and then throws himself at Stiles because cuddles are really important.

Stiles laughs a little and catches him easily, ruffling his hair.

«»

“I think I found something to speed this along,” Lydia announces and sits next to Stiles.

Derek squints at her, climbing on the couch from where he had been coloring and pressing himself against Stiles’ other side.

It’s not like he’s jealous but Stiles liked Lydia for a long long time and this is like when Corie wasn’t playing with a toy so Derek picked it up and then she wanted it and Derek doesn’t like it.

“Seriously? What is it-“

She puts a hand on Stiles’ leg and Derek slaps it away.

“No,” he pouts climbing into his lap and sprawling at the best of his abilities. “No mine. You can’t take him.”

Lydia looks at Derek in mild offense and then shakes her head slightly, throwing her hair over her shoulder and giving him a patronizing smile.

“Don’t worry sweetie. He’s all yours.”

Derek hisses at her and wraps a hand around Stiles’ neck, glaring the whole time Lydia explains how to make Derek be big again.

«»

He has to drink something that tastes really really bad and the only reasons he says yes to doing it is because Corie goes out to buy even more cake.

And then suddenly Derek is himself again standing in the middle of the room with a blanket over his shoulders and the pack looking at him expectantly.

“Well that was anticlimactic,” Isaac observes a little detachedly. “How do you feel?”

“Naked,” Derek says because he is and Stiles is right there and wow. Okay, wow, Derek just remembered he declared his undying love for him as a toddler.

Fastastic.

His life is just- great.

“Do you think he remembers everything?” Erica asks, eyeing him doubtfully.

“I remember enough to tell you if you don’t erase everything for your phone I’m going to throw it in the river.”

“I liked him better as a toddler,” she clicks her tongue but her heart signals the lie and Derek has to duck his head for a moment not to smile too obviously.

“So you remember everything?” Stiles asks trying to sound casual and failing for a long mile.

“Yeah.”

“So,” he says and this time he drags the ‘o’ still trying to beat casually into his tone and Derek’s pretty sure that at this point casually is about to file a restraining order against him. “About what you said- if, if that’s something you meant- I mean,” he shrugs a little awkwardly and oh.

Oh.

“Yeah. I- maybe not in such simple terms but- yeah.”

“God you two are hopeless,” Lydia shakes her head, apparently done with them, she collects her stuff and heads for the door and it’s like the rest of the pack takes that as a sign to start dispersing even if Derek can tell they’re all keeping an ear in this conversation.

(He knows there’s bet money riding on this.)

“Cool,” Stiles says and then, “So about that date that will most likely lead to that marriage you were so kind to depict in a drawing.”

Derek groans and considers flinging himself off a window to avoid the plethora of drawings he made for everyone and that they insisted in putting up on the fridge.

“I’d be more than open to follow through if you are.”

“I am.”

Stiles grins and it’s almost shy.

“I think you should get dressed first. And then maybe pick me up at five?”

Derek loses the battle against keeping his lips from curling up and the flush away from his cheeks.

“Sure.”

“Cool. See you at five then,” he says passing by Derek as he heads to the door and ruffling his hair. “Big Guy.”

Derek snaps playfully at his fingers and Stiles laughs all the way into his Jeep.

(After a handful of dates and a handful of years they do get married.

Erica passes that video she recorded at the reception, cackling the entire time.

Derek slides so far down his chair he’s almost under the table as Stiles squeezes his hand and coos along with all their friends and family.

Sometimes Derek wonders why he married this idiot, but then he looks over at Stiles, laughing freely and smiling at Derek just like that and he remembers.

Because he’s the prettiest.)