“So, what do they say?”
Stiles swallows, double checks the packaging and then shoots what he hopes is a comforting smile at his friend. “Uh, pregnant.”
“All of them?”
“Yup, even the one you uh, kind of missed the target on?”
“Well,” Lydia says sitting back, leaning her head against the tiles of the bathroom, “there you go.” She nods to herself for a second before sticking out her hand in a silent demand for Stiles to help her up. “Pregnant. I’m pregnant.”
“Yep.” He can’t tell if she’s going to punch him or break out into a dance so he settles for hovering almost out of arm’s reach, ready to catch her or let her try and take a chunk out of his face. “You ok?”
She snaps her head up to look at him and suddenly she’s smiling. There are tears in her eyes but she’s smiling a proper, huge, Lydia Martin is a goddess of all things kind of smile.
“Yeah, I’m ok.”
“Well alright then!”
And then he’s swooping her up into his arms and she’s laughing and calling him a dork but he doesn’t care because holy crap, his pack is gonna have a kid in eight months. Maybe seven, because knowing Lydia’s genetics the baby will probably be early to ensure punctuality.
Lydia is very insistent on proper etiquette.
He lowers her to the ground and she brushes her hand across her face. “You can tell them to come up now.”
“Are you sure?”
She rolls her eyes. “They probably heard everything anyway.”
Stiles opens the bathroom door and yells, “yo creepers, you’re allowed in now!”
There’s what sounds like a scuffle on the stairs and suddenly Scott, Allison, Isaac, Erica and Boyd all burst up onto the landing and advance on him.
They tussle with each other all the way to the bathroom door and Stiles is just wondering how he’s going to prevent them all from squashing Lydia to death when Derek appears out of freaking nowhere and shoots an arm across the doorway.
“Stop.” He stares down at them all and even Allison who is still decidedly human seems a little cowed under his gaze. Stiles totally gets it; Derek’s menacing I will eat your soul glare does things to him too. Although it probably doesn’t have quite the same effect on the rest of the pack as it does on him.
That point is by-the-by.
Lydia steps behind Derek, putting a hand on his arm, her eyes grateful. “Does anyone know where—”
Something slams against the wall downstairs and Jackson’s cursing before what sounds horribly like Stiles’ front door falling off its hinges. Then he’s at the top of the stairs, wild eyed and panicked. “Are you ok? I’m sorry. I couldn’t get an earlier flight.” He’s striding towards Lydia, eyes fixed on her as he checks for possible injuries, for the reason why he’d gotten a panicky text at three am yesterday. He looks like shit and Stiles always knew there was some sort of heart in there deep, deep down, but the look of terror on Jackson’s face as he’d run up the stairs totally confirms it. He’s bizarrely proud of the guy. No need to send him to Oz after all.
He can also actually pinpoint the second Jackson picks up the new scent, his eyes running all over his girlfriend in confusion. “You—”
“Pregnant,” Lydia says shortly, her stance half ready for a fight, half sheer worry. “Don’t freak out though. Are you freaking out?”
Jackson shakes his head dumbly, hand reaching out to touch her and then shying away. “Are you—are you ok with that?”
Seriously, asking about her feelings? It’s like he’s come back from France a different Jackson. He’d only been gone three weeks but the pack had begun to notice something off about Lydia straight away. At first they’d assumed she was missing him—Stiles still isn’t a hundred per cent sure as to why, but he guesses Jackson’s eyebrows are fun to watch, so maybe that’s it? He and Derek could have entire conversations with their eyebrows.
Then it had clearly become something else, hence the urgent texts and midnight trips to a SevenEleven. Stiles is still hoping no one that knows his dad saw him buying pregnancy tests with Scott.
Lydia lets out a shaky breath and then nods, eyes still watery but her smile genuine. “We’re going to have a baby.”
“Yeah, yeah we are.” Jackson’s staring at her like she’s just hung the moon and everyone lets out noises of delight and wraps their arms around one another, practically vibrating with happiness. Stiles lifts his head off Scott’s arm to glance at Derek and as if sensing his gaze Derek looks up from where he’s awkwardly patting Allison’s hair. His smile is one of those special private ones that Stiles files away in the things that Derek does that make my knees turn to jelly folder in his brain before grinning back.
Danny calls godfather ten minutes later when he steps into the living room and sees them all curled up on the floor beaming. Stiles has never even come close to hating the guy as much as he does then. He had Brando impressions ready and everything.
Lydia takes to pregnancy like the fucking champ she is. She cuts down on her classes within college—she’s planning on graduating a year early anyway so none of her advisors take issue—and turns Derek’s “office” into her own study room. It’s not like Derek was using it much anyway, and any complaints the Alpha might have attempted to have die every time he looks at Lydia and his face just softens. Like seriously, he looks as though he’s one step away from following her around and asking her if she’d like some ice tea or a calming bath drawn. Stiles figures the only reason he hasn’t asked is because Jackson’s already doing those things to a point where he follows her into the bathroom and gets viciously thrown out time and time again. Lydia has made it perfectly clear she can pee by herself thank you very much.
The entire pack seems to want to circle in closer than ever before, and believe Stiles when he says this, they’re a fairly possessive bunch as it is. Lydia is, unsurprisingly, not ok with them following her into the supermarket when she just wants to pick up milk or appearing outside of her parent’s house when she drops by to visit. She does however make up a rota because she is a genius that knows how her special weird pack works. She actually allots them all time in which they can stick to her like glue and open doors for her and nose against her softly growing belly. Stiles does not stick his nose anywhere near his friend unless it’s when she’s sitting with her head under his chin and he’s messing with her hair. Lydia’s scent is almost as familiar to him now as Scott’s or Derek’s is but it doesn’t unleash pent up arousal like it used to. Instead she just smells vaguely nice and familiar and like the lemony shampoo she’s been using since they were eleven.
Scott, to Stiles’ fragile human nose mostly smells like gross stuff.
Derek, well, Stiles refuses to let himself think about how to define Derek’s scent because that way lies madness. And awkward boners in the middle of movie nights. Which was one time! Derek had fallen asleep on his shoulder and shoved his nice smelling self all up against Stiles’ unguarded face. Erica had crowed about it for a week but for some reason unbeknownst to him hadn’t actually mentioned it to Derek. Or at least, his spleen is still intact so he’s assumed she’s never told him.
At a push he’d say Derek smells like caramel and then tell whoever’s asking to shut up.
The rota works, however, and everyone gets to feel as over protective and caring as they like for specified hours before being shooed away and replaced by someone else. Stiles is pretty smug about the fact he’s allowed as much time as Allison, but he’s not one to gloat.
There’s lots of heart to hearts with parents and friends but considering Lydia has done things her own way from a very young age, nobody says anything other than congratulations and shaking Jackson’s hand. Jackson and his parents had been away on Christmas vacation and they seem a little dazed to be coming home from Europe to a grandchild on the way. But then Jackson is smiling so much more than he used to and Stiles knows they’re generally relieved he seems to be healthy and whole, that he can say nice things to them without a sarcastic edge. They even try to buy the couple a house. This offer is politely declined—they’ve all been half-living at the nicely renovated Hale house for over a year now, since it’s easier being able to reunite in the same place after the exhausting commute from colleges. Nothing further is said.
When Stiles was sixteen he never thought he’d miss this particular group of people when he was finally free of them. Now he gets a little stir crazy if he goes more than a few days without nerding out over Jim Lee’s total awesomeness with Erica, or jogging through the neighbourhood in the early hours of the morning with Boyd. He splits his time between college, his dad and the rest of his little ohana easily.
Sometimes there’s tension when both Derek and Scott want to have Stiles time at the same time, but it’s always smoothed over with pancakes (Scott) or granola bars (Derek, because Derek is a little werewolf weirdo). He refuses to look too closely at why Derek would want time with him as much as Scott does and instead writes it off as an Alpha thing—just Derek making sure his pack his whole and healthy. Nothing more.
Month three hits and Lydia actually bans Jackson from their bedroom. She declares she doesn’t want to have sex ever again and Jackson looks panicked until Melissa McCall reassures him that this is probably a phase. Probably. Stiles would rub it in Jackson’s face but as he’s not getting laid on the regular either he’s not one to talk. The downside of hilarious, panicky, cockblocked Jackson is Lydia’s sudden onset of morning sickness. Baby Martin-Whittemore is obviously going to be just as demanding as its father because Lydia practically lives in the bathroom. No one is allowed to approach her and any soothing remedy offered to help ease her nausea is often hurled back in the face of whichever poor soul was trying to help. Derek stomps from the bathroom one afternoon with ginger ale dripping from his hair. Stiles has a picture to prove it.
To everyone’s shock the only person Lydia lets near her when she’s viciously throwing up in the bathroom is Isaac. He seems as surprised as the rest of them, but Stiles can see the faint glow of happiness radiating off him every time he comes out of the vile-smelling room. It’s an odd emotion to have, considering he’ll have often spent hours in there, holding back her hair or telling her stories to distract her, but Stiles knows it’s because Isaac likes to feel useful. After everything he’s been through, the youngest of their group (by like, nine days he always points out crossly, glaring at Erica as if it’s her fault she was born in June instead of July) is still constantly trying to prove his worth.
Derek had had several conversations with him on the matter—mostly at Stiles’ insistence because Derek is still light years behind in knowing what it takes to emotionally bond with anything other than his car—but even though Isaac seems to have taken his Alpha’s words on board, he still tries the hardest at everything.
Stiles uses hugs as his way of telling Isaac he’s cared for and that he doesn’t have to worry about being the best at anything. That he’s always going to be wanted.
It started in their senior year when Stiles had been hung up on losing his best friend to the tall waif and had avoided them both for a week. Derek had told him no-one was stealing anyone from him and that if Stiles didn’t believe he was irreplaceable then he was a fucking idiot. Stiles still claims it’s the nicest thing Derek has ever said to him. He likes to remind him of the unfiltered moment every once in a while. Derek cites temporary insanity owing to the fact Stiles had taken to following him around like white on rice the whole time. Stiles doesn’t believe him for a second.
Then Isaac had cornered him in the locker room after practise, Scott being suspiciously absent, and had given Stiles actual puppy dog eyes as he’d asked if Stiles hated him. Stiles had tried to laugh it off, making the situation ten times worse, and then apologised and opened his arms. For a second he was pretty sure Isaac thought he was going to blow him up or something equally dramatic but he’d then inched forward until Stiles had been able to deliver a bone crushing hug— Stilinski style.
From that day onwards Isaac had clearly decided he was allowed to demand hugs whenever he felt like it. It became such a frequent occurrence that people even stopped gawping in the cafeteria whenever Isaac suddenly nose-dived into his shoulder. They just chalked it up as another one of the weirdo things Stiles and his friends did from time to time.
He and Derek are arguing about whether or not parsley is imperative to make a good Spanish omelette—Derek loathes the stuff; Stiles insists it’s not a true Catalonian omelette if it hasn’t got the good herbs in—when Derek stills, inches from Stiles’ face and shoots into the living room. Lydia had been quietly reading a book but it’s been dropped to the floor and she looks up in surprise at almost the whole pack suddenly hovering around her.
“Did you guys feel that too?”
Stiles skids into the room just in time to see Jackson appear from outside where he’s been training with Danny and fall at her feet. “Did it-”
“Yeah,” Lydia laughs, running a hand through his hair and then touching her faintly visible bump, “yeah it did.”
She glances up at Derek. “Is everything ok, you know, with the baby?” Derek nods immediately, still staring at her like she’s something precious, a gift even. Derek’s unguarded faces are Stiles’ favourite because he looks so content and happy and they’re so damn rare. Both she and Jackson look relieved and then they’re kissing. Erica makes a vomiting noise because Erica still thinks the whole pack believes she’s not a touchy feely kind of person. Yet Stiles’ never empty bed on a Friday morning, owing to Erica sleeping off the pain of Grey’s Anatomy, tells a different story. He has a feeling the only reason the rest of his dorm haven’t yet mocked him for watching such a sappy show is because Erica is so ridiculously hot they’ve all secretly done research into who McDreamy is and have honed their opinions on Lexie versus Meredith for coolest sister.
None of them say a word about Derek’s appearances, because Derek is terrifying to anyone who doesn’t know him like Stiles does.
Stiles doesn’t make Derek put parsley on the omelette in the end. Instead they all sit around the dinner table talking a mile a minute, making plans for the next few months, and when Stiles hooks his ankle around Derek’s for a second the werewolf stills, then presses his own foot back gently.
Omelettes are delicious sans herbs if they’re shared with good friends anyway.
To say the Braxton Hicks trial run of how they’re all going to actually deal with Lydia in labour is a disaster is, well, to say the story short. Derek yells at everyone and puts his fist through the kitchen wall. Allison trips over Scott several times because he keeps trying to ask her if she’s ok when Lydia squeezes her hand too tightly, and Jackson jumps around with sheets in his arms, screeching that the thread count isn’t high enough and that someone needs to boil some goddamn water.
Stiles runs to the top of the stairs and makes war-cry noises until they all look at him in dazed confusion. He suggests a trip to the hospital to see what’s making Lydia feel like she’s going to give birth months too early.
When they all return from the hospital several hours later, pale-faced and jumpy around each other—some things were said in Boyd’s car that apparently Scott and Erica are still smarting from—Derek makes them all do the special weird nesting thing he insists on sometimes. Jackson and Lydia collapse on the huge bed they all made specifically for these moments, and everyone fits in tightly around them. Stiles is never against a little cuddling, but having Derek casually drape an arm around his waist and yank until Stiles is totally pressed up against him is total torture. It’s not new, Derek holding him the closest, but he’s never gotten used to it. It makes him want things he’s not sure he’s allowed to want. He just never knows with Derek. He never has. He’s nearly twenty years old and he still has no road map for how to handle feelings for Derek Hale that he’s not sure are reciprocated.
It makes him panic he’ll never get over it; that he’ll die alone because Derek is bound to find somebody more suitable to squeeze in a damn puppy pile than a squirming stubborn mess like himself.
So instead of thinking about how nice Derek feels all pressed up against him he focuses on alternatively stroking Erica and Scott, murmuring soft words at them both until they apologise. Derek tightens the arm around his waist as his two betas link hands over Stiles’ head. Allison pats him on ankle as if to say ‘good job’.
Jackson tells them all to shut up, arms wrapped up carefully around Lydia who is sleeping against his chest.
Stiles falls asleep warm and content. He wakes up alone save for a pair of arms around his waist, Derek snuffling against his neck. There’s a note from Erica on the pillow near his arm with a damn snapshot printed out on shitty paper of him sacked out across Derek’s chest, both of them oblivious. He can actually hear her laughing as he reads.
‘You guys just looked so darned cute we let you sleep in. Do you think Jackson and Lydia are going to give you guys a run for best parents of the year?’
He crumples the note in a panic, staggers out of the room before Derek can wake up and smell everything and later if he smooths out the note, feels a little proud at being thought of a good parent and puts the photo in the back of one of his ring binders then no one else has to know, ever.
He can’t explain, even to himself, what he and Derek are. They’re more than friends, because he’s certainly never gotten hard as nails from being up close and personal with Scott, but they’re not, well, they’re not lovers either. It’s been just over four years since the day they all collided in the woods and Stiles has felt something thrumming between them the whole time. Derek has never acted on it though, so Stiles has always tried to write it off as one-sided, like the things Derek does for him and with him and the way Derek looks at him are all in his imagination.
The trouble is, he’s not the only one who was enjoying spooning the hell out of each other this morning and he’s not sure how to file that fact away in his totally positively sure Derek doesn’t like me back box. The box is getting too full as it is.
Stiles stares wide eyed around the baby store and then back down at the list Allison has written out for him.
“I don’t—I don’t even know where to start,” he breathes out incredulously.
There’s a noise behind him and he turns to see Derek fighting his way through a baby nursery display. He can’t help but laugh as a baby elephant perishes underfoot and Derek looks horrified before seemingly remembering it’s not a real baby and scowls, kicking it aside.
“It’s not funny.”
“It is, oh my god it is. That was pure comedy right there, my friend.”
“Shut up, it wasn’t at all. I will hurt you.”
Stiles snorts, “I don’t even need WSP to know that was a lie.”
“Werewolf Super Powers. Like your own special ESP,” he says with a grin.
Derek’s face doesn’t even let up a tiny little bit at Stiles’ awesome joke.
“Derek relax, you didn’t kill anything.”
“But what if—” Derek stops himself looking pained and then crosses his arms as if that can protect him from feeling anything.
Stiles glances at the squished cuddly toy and then back at Derek, “Derek, you won’t tread on the baby, you know that right?”
Derek is silent for a second before looking up at him with absolutely panicked eyes. It still shocks Stiles that he’ll allow Stiles to see such strong emotions. There were days when Derek was a shut and locked book, never allowing himself to give off anything but I hate you and I wish you were dead vibes. Now Stiles can even tell when the guy’s hungry.
“I haven’t been around a baby in a long time.”
Stiles shrugs. “Neither have I, man. Not since I was one. Hey, weird thought but don’t freak out: we’re all gonna be learning as we go here.”
“But you’re different, you’re—” Derek cuts himself off again and glares at the nearest rack of tiny baby blankets. “You’ll be good with babies.”
“Because I’m such a baby too, right?”
Stiles is joking but the look Derek shoots him is fierce. “No. Because you’re good at letting people know you care about them. The baby won’t be afraid of you.”
Stiles aches to reach out and give the guy the world’s biggest hug. Even after all this time Derek is still the one he hugs least, mostly because Derek tends to look like Stiles is going to try and light him on fire whenever he attempts one, but also because inappropriate boners. Again. Stiles could make a whole list of the things Derek does and says that lead to him having them. They’re becoming a problem.
Fortunately standing in a baby store whilst Derek has a mini breakdown is not one of those times, so he swings an arm around Derek’s shoulders before the guy can notice and spook. “Derek, this baby isn’t going to be afraid of you. Sure you’re the big bad wolf to most people, but this kid’s gonna know you as you right from the start. Besides, I’ll let the baby know your weaknesses early on.”
Derek grunts as Stiles leads him towards bassinettes.
“Yeah like your total inability to sit through a Wes Anderson movie without feeling things here,” he pats at Derek’s chest right over his heart and swears he feels it stutter against his hand. “And the fact you can never say no to cheesecake.”
“You think a baby is gonna be able to use cheesecake against me?”
“No this is for when it grows up and Martmorre and I form a team against you.”
“Yeah you know it’s like- Martin and Whittemore squished together. I don’t like constantly calling it it in my head.”
Derek stares at him for a second before saying drily, “your head is a special kind of place.”
“No doubt,” he says easily as he drops his arm because this is better. This is Derek back to his almost comic, ridiculously sardonic, grumpy self.
Stiles picks up the stuffed unicorn on display in the nearest crib and looks up at Derek with a wide grin. “Oh my god, I just thought—do they actually—”
Derek huffs and grabs at the toy. “No, they don’t.”
“You don’t even know what I was going to ask!”
“Yes, I do.”
“Fine, but we’re getting this for the baby,” Stiles says sulkily, trying to snatch it back.
“No, it’s silly and it won’t teach the baby anything.”
“What? Don’t be stupid, it’s just a toy!”
“No.” Derek holds it behind his back with one hand and resists Stiles with the other. Stiles crowds in against him, trying to use his height to overbear him, and when that fails he drops his whole body weight onto Derek’s fucking ridiculous chest. It’s like he’s wearing armour under there.
“Dude, come on,” he says breathlessly.
“Say please,” Derek teases. Stiles jerks his head up from where he’s smushed it into Derek’s shoulder and they’re barely centimetres from each other. He can feel heat radiating from Derek, their bodies slotting together like pieces of a puzzle long separated before being reunited, like they were always waiting for the chance to fit. He can’t help but shift his hips ever so slightly just to test out the friction. Derek’s eyes go wide and the arm he was using to push half-heartedly against Stiles’ shoulder slides down his back to grip at his hip.
Stiles sucks in a breath and closes his eyes thinking finally, when a saleswoman clears her throat behind them. They jump apart and she smiles fondly, completely unbothered, like people often start feeling each other up in her shop. Considering where they are, Stiles supposed it’s possible.
Derek is staring at the woman like if he focuses hard enough he’ll eviscerate her.
Stiles elbows him in the stomach and receives a much less angry glower.
“So are you boys looking to buy today or just browsing?”
“Oh, uh, we have a list!” Stiles waves it around and reads off the name of the fancy foreign sounding name they’re looking for.
The woman—Mary, her badge tells him—smiles indulgently. “Trying to be organised before the chaos hits?”
“Yeah,” Stiles laughs, “something like that.”
“It’s always nice to try,” she says with a laugh, leading them over to where the fancy bassinette Lydia has her heart set on is.
“Boy or girl?”
Derek shakes his head. “We don’t know—it’s a surprise.”
Stiles looks at him in shock. “You can’t tell?” Mary raises her eyebrows and Stiles laughs, rushing to explain. “Derek’s totally convinced he’s got a sixth sense about these things.”
Derek looks totally convinced he wants to throw Stiles from the roof of the mall—or maybe just up against the bed sheets lined up against the wall next to them. Stiles is finding Derek’s angry looks all blur together into Derek’s hot looks. And this is precisely why he should never have agreed to go baby shopping with the man. It makes him start thinking about all the things he never lets himself think about. Like the way Derek’s legs felt tangled between his when they fought, or the way Derek had looked at him earlier, like Stiles had answers for Derek. The way Derek would be with a kid of his own, all nervous and terrified but ploughing through regardless because no matter what he’d love his kid so fiercely, do anything for it. Whether Stiles would be the one taking the kid’s other hand, making dinner with Derek for their own kids, going to bed knowing their whole family is safe and together... Christ, Stiles is going to explode with the onset of feelings he’s having.
His heart must be giving something away, because Derek’s staring at him with something new, something unreadable in his gaze.
“So,” Mary prompts when neither of them speaks for a minute, “did you want neutral colours for the nursery?”
“Yes,” Derek replies without taking his eyes from Stiles.
“Did you want to look at any others first?”
“No, this is the one we want.”
“Wonderful. Is this your first?”
Stiles realises that she thinks he and Derek are a couple. A couple buying furniture for a baby they’re going to have. Together. And it aches and makes him panic and he jumps.
“What? No! We’re not together! I mean, yes, this is our first baby experience but no, their first— this is—for a friend! Our friends. They’re having a baby, their first baby, not ours. I mean we’re not taking the baby—we are not baby stealers,” he finishes seriously.
Mary looks confused but tries to smile again. “Ok... Would you like this delivered?”
Derek nods tersely and Stiles feels like he’s missed something as he follows them to the desk and Derek makes sure to stand at least a foot away from him at all times.
The weird tension between them doesn’t let up and Stiles is so distracted that he actually misses the first time the baby thumps against his hand when he’s sitting with Lydia one night. Of course they spend the rest of the evening taking turns to try and see if the baby will high five them through Lydia’s stomach, and it’s awesome.
But the way Derek is around him is... different. And Stiles doesn’t like it. He doesn’t like going from awesome almost-dry-humping-in-public to angsty standoffish behaviour in less than a few hours. He misses Derek. He misses the small, private smiles he gets when no one else is looking. He misses waiting in one of the tall tress by the house for Derek to come home from howling at the moon or whatever he does during wolf time, for him to come to Stiles so that they can make pancakes and talk before the rest of the pack stumble down for breakfast. He misses Derek’s random appearances on campus that scare the crap out of whomever he’s talking to. Though he’s not actually attending college so much as he is rolling into lectures to roll right back out hours later and home to Beacon Hills.
He should be getting gold star mileage awards for his Jeep.
It doesn’t help that he’s as close to getting some serious chafing as he was when he was sixteen and had Derek and Lydia to think about for the first time... Except now he doesn’t think about Lydia at all when it’s private Stiles time. In the past he’d managed to talk himself into thinking it was just because Derek was new and interesting in a scary way and that he obviously had an aesthetically pleasing face and it wasn’t Stiles’ fault if he thought about it three seconds before coming. He doesn’t have the same excuse now, hasn’t tried to use it for a while. For two years it’s exclusively been Derek. It’s been the idea of what he and Derek could be. What Derek would taste like, how it would feel to have all that intensity unleashed on him after months of waiting. And now he knows what it feels like to have Derek up close and personal, hard against him and he doesn’t know how to get it back.
Even Isaac is not allowed to try and help Lydia to the bathroom when the baby starts to push against her bladder and makes peeing every five minutes a necessity.
Jackson looks torn between wanting to make sure he doesn’t miss a single bonding step (he’s totally been reading the books Danny gave him) and running from Lydia, who tries to take his eyes out every time he follows her.
Stiles is just proud the guy’s trying so damn hard. He wouldn’t have ever even thought about writing potential to be a good father next to Jackson’s name a year and a half ago. He can also, unnervingly, relate to a lot of what Jackson’s going through seeing as Derek is keeping him at arm’s length at all times at the moment. Even Erica has dropped the mommy and daddy are going through a rough patch jokes because they’re not funny if they’re true.
He doesn’t know when the scales tipped from him being Derek’s friend, someone he trusted and could confide in, to being someone everyone else considered as Derek’s other half. All this time the pack has been making comments here and there and he’d just never figured they were serious.
He is not the fucking pack mom. Lydia is totally going to be their token Pack Mom seeing as she’s the one about to give birth. And he’s not a girl here, he’s not their momma bear.
Even though Stiles is obviously not totally averse to having babies.
On his twentieth birthday the pack gather around him and sing an off key rendition of Happy Birthday. Derek doesn’t even pretend to be singing but he does look somewhat fondly at Stiles over the cake. They present him with his old Lacrosse shirt signed by all of them and a framed photograph where he’s the only one with his eyes open. Everyone else is still grinning like they’re having the best time ever; even Derek looks like he’s trying to smile. His face is half-turned away from Stiles though, so he can’t really tell.
His dad and Melissa both spend the evening on the sofa, smiling fondly as everyone else runs around trying to catch each other in the face with silly string. Peter swings by just before midnight and tells them Canada is fabulous and more people should live there. He gives Stiles a thousand dollars—because apparently Peter has money to throw around like it’s nothing—and threatens to throw it all in the lake if Stiles’ refuses it. He apologises again for cutting years off Stiles’ life, and promises to try and make sure Stiles has as many birthdays as possible from now on. Scott yells “hear hear” and they all toast to him. Stiles does not get emotional, forget himself for a second and try and hide his face in Derek’s shoulder. He falls asleep in the same position barely an hour later and wakes up in bed. He’s pretty sure he didn’t walk there. Danny and Isaac are asleep on the stairs all curled up together, Scott is passed out on the sofa and Lydia is humming softly to her belly when he comes into the kitchen. She smiles serenely at him and asks him if he feels different. Stiles panics, thinking she means something else, and trips over a chair.
Once she’s attached a bag of frozen peas to his head and deposited him at the table, she fixes him with a stern look and opens her mouth. Stiles holds up a hand. “Where is everyone?”
She rolls her eyes. “Derek is out. He went to chase rabbits with Jackson an hour ago. Jackson keeps trying to bring them into the house.” She flushes, a pretty pink colour flooding her face.
“He’s just trying to prove he can provide for you.”
“I already know he can do that, dumbass.”
“It’s still adorable.”
“Shut up, Derek’ll probably bring you a rabbit back too.”
Stiles shudders. “I hope not.”
If he wasn’t sure before, the patient exasperation that shines through Lydia’s voice, shrouded with warmth and honest-to-God care, lets him know she’s going to be a great mom.
“How much longer are you going to pretend like you’re not in love with him?”
He sighs and bangs his already bruised head on the table. “I’m not!”
“Yes you are. We all know you are.”
“How though? How do you know?” He looks up at her pleadingly. “You’re twenty and you’re having a baby, Lyds. How do you even know it’s with the right person?”
She shrugs. “Jackson and I have been through everything together.”
“But that could just mean you’re bonded by an unlucky coincidence to be in the wrong place at the wrong time! How do you know Jackson is the right one?!”
“It’s not about Jackson being the one,” she says with another eye roll. “There is no one person in the entire world you’re meant to be with. It’s—” she picks at the table mat clearly trying to find the right words, “I could have been with anyone.”
Stiles makes a noise and she glowers at him. “I’m not being big headed, I just mean, I’m smart and pretty and everyone sees that and thinks ‘yeah, she’d be a good girlfriend to have around’. But Jackson... Jackson saw more than that in me. He made me want to be the best version of myself.”
“No, you do that for Jackson,” Stiles corrects, “because you’re already perfect.”
“I loved you for a long time; I know what’s true and what’s not.”
“You didn’t love me, Stiles. I’m not belittling what you felt, but you really didn’t know me at all. We didn’t know each other until after—” she pauses and clutches at her stomach, “after Gerard. And, we were a nice idea, we’re both intellectuals, we’re the ones people run to for answers. But you would never have wanted more from me. Do you see?”
This is one of the weirdest conversations he’s ever had; discussing his feelings for Derek with Lydia. He’s long over her and he can admit now that she has a point, that they would have gotten bored with each other almost instantly. But it’s still strange to feel completely comfortable talking about the fact they’re not going to end up together and that over the years his feelings for Derek have outgrown what he ever felt for Lydia.
He feels painfully grown up and not at all an adult at the same time.
“No,” he says stubbornly, “I’m not saying we’d have been good together in the end. But you could have been with someone else, someone less douche-like. Admittedly Jackson is almost ok these days but—”
“He lights me up inside,” she cuts in quietly. “He might not be the nicest person in the world but I’m not either. Allison is nice, Scott is nice, Danny is nice, I’m not nice. I was never looking for that. I don’t want to be pleasant and content all the time. I want to be challenged and to push for more. Jackson does that all the time. Jackson protects me and he’d do anything for me but he’s not a doormat and he doesn’t treat me like one. I know he’s the right person for me because he’ll never be just ok with me. He’ll never be just nice. He’ll always be more.”
Stiles scrunches his face up trying to avoid thinking how much Derek does some of those things. Derek makes him burn with yearning. Half the time he wants to punch the guy in the face just as much as he wants to throw his arms around him and kiss the hell out of him. And Derek has never, ever expected anything less than everything from Stiles. He pushes Stiles, exhilarates him, makes him think harder and work out puzzles he’s never even considered. Derek is a great, big-ass jigsaw puzzle that Stiles isn’t even half way through. He thinks maybe he won’t ever get bored of trying to figure him out either.
Lydia is rubbing soothing hands across her belly, smiling softly at him when he next looks up at her. “Now you’ve got it.”
“Yes he does, so shut up,” she says, suddenly brisk. “Now, how long do we have to part with you this time?”
Erica comes to stay with him and Danny for a few days and needles him the whole time about what’s changed between him and Derek. Eventually he snaps and tells her he doesn’t know what she’s talking about and that everything is fine. Erica calls him an idiot, throws one of his precious PSP controllers out the window and demands to know when Stiles last went on a date. Stiles can’t answer because she’ll know he’s lying and the truth is ridiculously embarrassing. Danny (with his controller still intact because Danny is sunshine and nobody is allowed to hurt his feelings or his things ever) points out that he and Derek have been going on dates since Stiles was sixteen. Erica smirks and raises an eyebrow as if this concludes her point.
He wants to argue that they’ve never been on a date, that Derek has never brought him flowers (not that he wants them but it’s the principle of the matter), and that he and Derek are just friends. He tries but Erica only pats him on the head and sends him outside to retrieve his controller whilst she and Danny order pizza. He mutters about stupid interfering werewolves and stupid hot crosspatch werewolves all the way downstairs.
Erica yells out the window that she can hear him and that she just wants him to be happy.
He still mutters on the way back up but it’s mostly about how much he loves them all and that he is happy and that he’s not interested in dating anyone.
When he gets back upstairs the whiteboard on his and Danny’s door has LIAR written across it with a big heart around it. He wipes away the word and when he leaves in the morning for class Erica has written Derek in it instead. He supposes he was asking for that.
He wonders when the girls in his pack got way smarter than him. How they all figured it out before he did. He needs to buy them as many nice pairs of shoes as he can afford if he and Derek ever progress from secret pining to making up for lost time and having sex on every surface of Derek’s house.
If Derek even feels the same, he thinks grumpily to himself as he shoulders his back pack and storms to class.
He spends an entire weekend with his dad watching CSI in their den. The sofas are older than Stiles and the springs are practically dead in places but it’s comforting and his dad keeps up a litany of incredulous remarks over how wrong the show gets it.
He wants to ask his dad a million questions but instead he lets his comments wash over him and sleeps like a baby for the first time in weeks.
Lydia is taking an early morning stroll with Jackson and Boyd the day her water breaks. Stiles and Derek have silently agreed to not touch their mountainous UST—or at least that’s what Stiles is calling it; Derek’s pretty much ignoring him in general—and have spent the last three weeks walking on egg shells around each other. It’s obvious to Stiles that the pack’s heightened senses and emotions about the upcoming baby are having an impact on Derek, and that he and Stiles will easily be able to slip back into whatever they were before as soon as baby Martmorre is born. Derek’s never acted like he wanted Stiles before, so anything he does at the moment has to be disregarded.
And the thing is, Stiles is totally ok with never getting laid by anything other than his own hand ever again, because the idea of someone other than Derek isn’t good enough.
He’s not biting his tongue on blurted out I love you’s or fucking hell Derek just carry me upstairs now would you’s because he doesn’t feel the need to say those things. At all.
He’s on the cusp of blurting out one of those things as Derek passes him the crossword, two of the words Stiles had been agonising over for days filled in in Derek’s freakishly cursive handwriting, when Erica bursts in and yells, “it’s happening!”
Everybody snaps to attention with less of the freak out this time. Stiles kicks away his bag packed for a week at college because he was so right all those months ago—this baby is going to be forever early to everything—and he and Derek stand and head for the door.
They’d all been assigned tasks by Lydia after the disastrous Braxton Hicks incident; Allison packs Lydia’s overnight bag into the car whilst Isaac and Scott immediately head for the hospital to make sure everything is ready for them: Melissa McCall is the only nurse who’ll understand the need for more than immediate family present, and there are certain things they’re still not entirely sure of, considering Jackson is a werewolf now.
All of their research points to the baby being born totally ok, but you never know. Scott and Isaac are picking up Deaton on the way just in case.
Derek breaks several traffic laws getting them to the hospital. Stiles jams his hands down on the dashboard as they swerve through an amber and glares mutinously at Derek. “You realise she can give birth without you there right? I think she’d be pretty pissed if we got brought in in body bags.”
“You’re not going to die, Stiles.”
“Oh I’m sorry, am I unaware of some magical healing powers deep within my soul that mean if we get smashed up and melded in with the metal of another car I’ll walk away scratch free?”
“That won’t happen.”
“What makes you so damn sure? Dammit Derek, slow down!”
“I’m in control.”
“Oh sure you’re always in such control,” Stiles snipes, digging his nails into the door. “Turning it all on and off whenever you like.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing, it all means nothing if I die in your stupid show off car just because you can’t obey the laws of the road. I like my legs the way they are, thank you. Running with wolves is difficult enough as it is and I think casts might slow me down just a tad too much.”
“Are we having two different conversations here? Because I thought we were trying to get to the hospital so we could witness the birth of Lydia and Jackson’s baby.”
“We are—God, just—never mind,” he huffs and stares determinedly out the window until they screech into a parking spot at the hospital.
Erica greets them at the door, Isaac hovering worriedly behind her. “Took you guys long enough. Get caught in traffic?”
“Shut up,” Stiles snaps, storming ahead of Derek to look for Scott in the waiting room. “Any news?”
Scott shakes his head. “Gonna be hours apparently. Jackson drove at like five miles an hour to get here. He tried to carry her first and she punched him.”
“Has Boyd already started filming?”
“Awesome. I love seeing that boy get punched, God help me I really do.”
They grin at each other and then a shriek breaks through the room that even Stiles can hear and they all wince. Stiles merrily pulls out headphones, hands some to Scott and smiles brightly at a pained looking Derek who clearly didn’t think of something as brilliant as Stiles to cover the noise.
Derek glares at him before stalking from the room, grabbing at his curly haired Beta’s arm. Isaac shoots them all a panicked look but Stiles knows Derek isn’t about to hurt him so he holds up his hands as if to say ‘hey, he’s your Alpha’ and lets them go. They reappear an hour later carrying what looks like every balloon in the gift shop. Stiles bites the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing because this is clearly Derek’s way of trying to be a good supportive Alpha without breathing down Lydia’s neck and telling her to bear down. Then Derek shoves a balloon at him that says “sorry to hear you broke both your legs!” And Stiles sinks a little further into his chair and a little closer to Scott as Derek smirks nastily at him.
Stupid werewolf thinks he’s funny.
Stiles has never been very good at waiting around for things to happen. It’s a curse from birth if he’s honest. Whether it was seeing how he’d look with no hair—a habit that stuck—or wondering what would happen if he tried to superglue his fingers together (that habit—haha—did not stick) he can’t just sit still and do nothing. Idly, he fidgets his feet around, bouncing up and down in the chair, blowing at the balloons to see how high he can get them.
Derek puts a hand on his leg and Stiles doesn’t move a muscle for forty five minutes.
He finally gets up the courage to move his hand on top of Derek’s, when there’s a change in the atmosphere and all of the wolves are suddenly on their feet looking around.
“What? Oh my god, what is it?”
Scott has his head cocked to one side frowning in concentration and Stiles turns to Derek. “Derek! Use your words.”
There’s another minute of silence whilst Stiles freaks out trying to make them talk when they all relax as suddenly as they tensed up and Scott and Isaac huff, collapsing back in their seats.
“It’s nothing.” Derek falls back against his own chair heavily and pulls Stiles with him. “There was a blip but they’re ok.”
“You can all hear that stuff from way down here and with all those other heartbeats around?”
“Yeah, if you focus hard enough.”
“So like, what’s the longest distance you can sense stuff at?”
“That depends. Lydia’s close by and her emotions, her heartbeat, her scent, everything is heightened right now.”
“But like, what about me? What if I went and stood outside and stayed really calm. Could you hear my heartbeat?”
“But what if I was like, down a sewer, would you be able to find mine then?”
“Just me or anyone?”
“That depends,” Derek says looking uncomfortable. He opens the nearest magazine and begins staring at an article about Richard Gere and his decision to become a Buddhist like it’s the most intriguing thing he’s ever read.
Stiles glares at him. “Depends on what? Derek.”
Derek shushes him and lifts the magazine so that all Stiles can see are his I’m pretending you’re not here eyebrows. Coincidentally those eyebrows also mean go away in Derek speak. He’s so lucky to have such communicative eyebrows, really he is.
He turns and raises his eyebrows expectantly at his best friend. Scott shrugs. “I can pretty much tell where Allison is in town like, all the time.”
“Dude,” he glances at Isaac, “can you do that too?”
“Uh, not for Allison normally but I guess I could if I really needed to find her or something.” He rubs a hand against his neck. “I don’t know, it depends who you’re looking for and how well you know their scent and their heartbeat and like, if they’re someone you spend a lot of time with. I could find Erica or you. And Danny,” he adds fondly.
“So is it like a pack thing?”
Isaac raises an eyebrow like there’s something Stiles is missing. “I could find you because you’re important to me.”
“Are you confessing your undying love here Lahey?”
“No, you fucker,” Isaac cuffs him round the head, “don’t you know all this stuff already?”
“I know some of it, sure. I mean, I’m the god of all werewolf knowledge these days.”
Derek snorts but remains silent behind his stupid, out-of-date Time magazine.
Stiles glares at his hidden face.
Isaac shrugs. “It’s like there are certain heartbeats you get used to seeking out.”
“Ok. So I’ll be ok if I fall down a well right? You guys would know where to look.”
“Derek would find you in about ten seconds,” Erica chips in suddenly.
She makes Stiles jump; he’d forgotten she was lurking on the sofa in the corner. She’s playing on an old Gameboy she totally stole from the back of Stiles’ closet but before he can examine what she’s said Scott blurts out, “why would you have fallen down a well?”
“Because he’s an idiot,” Derek says lightly, turning the page of his magazine as he does.
“I am not an—”
“It’s a girl!” Allison falls into the waiting room suddenly, and then they’re jumping up and down excitedly trying to hug her all at once. They swarm past an exhausted, horrified-looking Boyd clutching at the video camera like he’s the last man alive, and down the corridor to where Melissa is waiting for them.
They clamour by Lydia’s room and Melissa warns them all they have five minutes and to be quiet. Lydia’s only been resting for an hour and she needs to sleep. Apparently things got a little tense for a moment, and Allison hadn’t wanted to leave to tell them anything until she knew for sure.
Jackson doesn’t look up as they come in, his gaze totally focused on the tiny little ball of pink in his arms. Lydia smiles faintly at them all and Stiles smacks a kiss to her forehead and calls her a super human.
“Her name’s Genevieve and she’s perfect,” Lydia says sleepily. “Stiles gets to hold her first, then Danny. The rest of you can fight it out but I’m guessing Derek will win that one.” She snuggles back against the pillows. “Then bring her back to me, ‘kay?”
Stiles feels utterly stupid with the amount of emotion rolling through him when Jackson very gently hands over six and a half pounds of baby. She’s tiny, and adorable and he feels like he’s going to break her if he holds too tightly.
“Don’t move your arm,” Jackson warns, “you’re supporting her neck, see.”
“Nerd,” Stiles whispers for something to say other than oh my god you great big adorable precious human you, I love you and everybody else in this room.
He stares down at the new little human and grins. “Hi there, I’m Stiles. I’m probably going to be your favourite uncle. Actually scratch that, I totally am.” Genevieve makes a tiny sound that could be sold as agreement, and Stiles beams up at everyone. “Did you hear that? She thinks so too!” He glances at Derek and if he was holding anything other than a tiny fragile baby he’d drop it because there is so much weight behind the look Derek is giving him. He can feel it in his bones.
Danny nudges his shoulder carefully, wiggling his fingers and whispering, “gimme gimme.” They spend the next hour—bless Melissa McCall, someone should saint her—cooing over how ridiculously perfect Genevieve is. Stiles remarks more than once that he’s amazed Jackson could produce something so perfect. Jackson barely even lifts his eyes from where Lydia and the baby are sleeping to give him the finger as they file out.
Stiles has all but forgotten he was furious at Derek less than twenty four hours ago. They’re moving back to the car whilst the others jog off to whoop and howl and do whatever it is when a new baby is born into a wolf pack, when Derek fixes him with a look over the roof of the Camaro.
“I could find you anywhere.”
Stiles hums, his thoughts on Genevieve and her cute little fists, and then snaps to attention. “What?”
Derek shrugs. “I could pick your heartbeat out of a music festival if I needed to.”
Stiles is pretty sure anyone in a thirty mile radius can hear how hard his heart is beating right now.
“Ok,” he says finally, “cool.”
“It’s not a pack thing.”
“Oh. Um, ok?”
Derek rolls his eyes at what must be a rather heartbroken look on his face. He’d thought after all these years—
“I’m not saying you’re not pack, Stiles, Jesus. Even if I tried to kick you out, which I wouldn’t, my vote would lose against everybody else’s anyway. I don’t know why they all think you’re awesome but for some reason they do.” Ahh the warm and fuzzies, Stiles had missed them for a second. “They like you more than me.”
Stiles snorts. “Man, that’s not true. Well, maybe in Scott’s case? But that’s just because he’s my brother, you know? He has to love me the best. And shut up, everyone loves you just fine. They can love us equally. There’s enough of us to go around.” He grins but it falls when he sees Derek pulling a frustrated face. “What?”
“You don’t—Stiles.” He sighs and opens the door to the car as if he’s mentally closing the conversation already. “I’m just saying, it’s not a pack thing, it’s a you thing.”
They don’t talk on the way home but it feels like the ice has thawed between them. The only problem is that now Derek keeps looking at him like Stiles is constantly causing him physical pain. And Stiles can’t tell if he’s supposed to take all these things Derek is saying as a green light for Operation Let’s Actually Admit We Love Each Other or just Derek being unusually nice to him because of babies and pink and fluff.
When Lydia and Jackson bring the baby home for the first time they line up in the living room like the little nerds they are to welcome them back. Boyd and Isaac have put up a banner and even though Jackson rolls his eyes at the sheer amount of presents laid out for them, Stiles knows he’s secretly pleased—that he will forever be pleased there are people out there who love him—even if their presents are wrapped in newspapers and tied with non-expensive ribbon.
They sit and un-wrap the gifts before Jackson carries Lydia upstairs and they’re given permission to keep the baby for an hour. Permission, seriously. Like they’re all ten and need supervision or something.
To be fair, Stiles has to remind Scott he is not allowed to pretend Genevieve is Super Woman and fly her around in the air just yet.
“Save it till she’s five and won’t vomit all over your head,” he suggests. “Although she might still do it then.”
Scott looks down at the baby fearfully. “Is she going to throw up now?”
“No, of course not. She hasn’t been fed in a while and—oh my god stop staring at her like she’s an extra from Alien, she’s not going to explode on you.”
He fears for Scott’s kids, he really does.
Isaac and Danny squish together in one of the comfy chairs and dangle their fingers in front of Genevieve whilst Allison takes photographs by the hundred.
Derek hovers in the background like he’s afraid the baby is going to morph into the Creature of the Deep.
Stiles catches him pacing around the forty five minute mark and rolls his eyes. “Derek, come here.”
“I’m fine where I am. I can see from here. She’s small and she seems strong, healthy. She’s a good baby.”
“Yes, yes she is. Thank you for your enthusiastic report,” Stiles says trying not to sound too amused, “but she needs to get used to you too you know.”
“No, she doesn’t.” Derek trips over himself hastily as if he’s going to flee through the front door, and Stiles shoots out an arm to catch him.
“Yes she does, you’re going to be her Alpha, Derek. She’s going to look up to you. You’re going to be a guidepost. You have to be able to hold her.”
Derek looks like Stiles is making him go dancing or something else he might find equally horrific, and Stiles knows this is something there cannot be witnesses to.
He reaches down and gently plucks the baby from Isaac’s hands before shooing them all away. They’re gonna get lots of time with her; he isn’t anyway because he has to go back to school tomorrow. He’s allowed to be a baby hog right now.
“Ok, come here.”
“Derek, come on!” He holds Genevieve up like she’s Simba and he’s Rafiki presenting her to all and sunder and Derek... doesn’t move. “Ugh fine.” He steps towards him, backing him into the sofa that Derek has no choice other than to sit down. “Good werewolf,” he teases.
Derek narrows his eyes at him but then seems to panic when he realises Stiles has distracted him and is carefully pushing Genevieve into his hands.
“Stiles I can’t—”
“Don’t hold her like she’s a sack of potatoes!”
“I don’t know how else to hold her,” Derek snaps back. Genevieve opens her eyes suddenly and Derek stares like he’s completely entranced.
“Yeah see that’s good, now ease her onto your arm like that—” Stiles manoeuvres himself around Derek and gently tilts Genevieve so that her head is resting on his upper arm, body resting in the crook of his elbow. “Oh my god, she’s so tiny,” he whispers.
Derek nods, silenced as he continues to stare down at the baby.
“See? You’re a natural.”
Stiles goes to pull away but Derek grabs him with his free arm. “Don’t go,” he murmurs.
“Ok. I’ll be right here.”
For a few minutes they’re both quiet as Genevieve opens and closes her eyes. It’s like the most fascinating show on the planet and Stiles wouldn’t wish to be anywhere else.
“I have never seen anything so perfect in my life.”
Derek turns to look at him and Stiles realises he’s leaning over Derek’s shoulder and the movement causes them to be barely inches apart.
They stare at each other for what feels like infinity before Genevieve makes a snuffling noise and Derek looks back down instantly. “Shit is she-”
“She’s fine dude, you did good.”
Derek gives him a soft smile and then lifts his arm, offering the baby to him. Stiles will never say no to holding this baby. He pulls a face at her and waggles his fingers in the air. “Look, phalanges! As Doctor Brennan would say. Yes, yes they are long. You’ll have littler hands but don’t worry; I bet they’ll be strong. Your mom is strong, and your dad is strong and actually, everyone here is ridiculously strong. Except me but I get by.” He crooks her a smile. “I know all their secrets so I’m set for life. Yes I am. I’ll tell you them and we can be Team Genstiles.” He pulls a face. “Actually, never mind. We can just be Team Genevieve and Stiles. Does that sound good? I bet it does!”
He doesn’t realise they’re alone on the sofa until Jackson reappears and picks Genevieve up carefully.
“You did good Jax,” Stiles blurts suddenly, “I mean, with all of this.”
Jackson stares at him with wide eyes, clutching Genevieve to his chest. Stiles shoots him a small smile. “I’m really fucking proud of you.”
For a split second he’s actually worried Jackson is going to put the baby down and beat him. He knows Derek will be lingering around somewhere so Jackson’ll only get a few punches in but—
“Thanks,” Jackson says hoarsely. “I’m—I mean—I don’t know how to be good at this.”
Stiles shrugs. “You already are, man. You’re gonna be great.” If he squints he can still see Jackson as he was at sixteen, lost and spoilt and a total brat. Then that Jackson fades and the one in front of him comes into full view, his ridiculously expensive hair cut all grown out and strong arms wrapped protectively around his daughter. This Jackson has come a long way and Stiles, Stiles is suddenly extremely fond of him.
“I’m glad it’s you.”
Jackson blinks. “What do you mean?”
“Nothing much,” Stiles grins at him, “just don’t fuck up, ok?”
Jackson huffs and rolls his eyes, cupping Genevieve’s head as he turns to the stairs. “As if I would.” He pauses and turns back. “You know uh, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”
Stiles raises his eyebrows. “What? Yes, you would. Of course you would.”
“Nah man, I guess, Scott’s right, you’re the glue. So thanks.”
Stiles nods, trying very hard to not to cry because he suspects Jackson might actually have to put the baby down then.
Stupid werewolves melting his brain with their cute interactions with cute babies and making him emotional.
He gets the first photo when he’s in a Forensics lecture. Professor Sharma is his favourite because she’s a badass and probably one of the few humans in the world that could actually take down an entire pack of werewolves and not break a sweat. Normally he wouldn’t even have his phone on him for her classes, but with the baby being so new and Stiles still having to reluctantly leave his pack for days on end, his phone has barely left his side. He’s even tried taking it in the shower, but then had visions of accidentally electrocuting himself purely to read a message from Scott about Allison’s hair changing colours in the light, and made himself keep it on the sink. He loves his best friend but really, he’s not ready to be the first twenty year old to ever die from reading texts in the shower.
When he’s not at home with the rest of them, his friends love to keep him updated. Even Derek has taken to sending him messages—though, granted, they’re mostly one syllable replies to the long rambles Stiles sends him.
Derek likes to rock up on campus and give Stiles heart attacks instead. Or at least, he used to. He’d appear at the end of lectures sometimes, or in the laundry room or, once, when Stiles was particularly frazzled from an evening class, in the car park. He got a nice key slash across the face before Stiles realised it was him. It’s not Stiles’ fault that he can’t smell the dude from space, all he saw was a big dark hulking figure advancing on Stiles in the reflection of his window pane and he reacted. Derek wasn’t even as angry as Stiles expected, but instead actually seemed proud that Stiles was able to defend himself. Stiles would like to point out here that he’s the son of a Sheriff and that he’s known how to throw a punch since he was five. But if it means Derek is able to overlook a nice scratch down his face for several hours and not produce swift, painful retribution, then Stiles will take it.
He’d take anything over the almost total radio silence he’s had ever since he headed for college three days ago and Derek didn’t even say goodbye. Stiles is pretty sure he was hiding.
Scott kept him company in the car saying he’d like the peace of the run home. Stiles suspects Genevieve’s special I want attention right now cry every hour of the day is probably a little distracting for all the werewolves. It was almost getting too much for him, and he doesn’t even hear it at supersonic volume. He also doesn’t get the urge to go and scratch on Lydia and Jackson’s door to see if they need help at three am.
It was nice to sit with his best friend and talk about college and Scott’s blossoming career at the animal clinic. To talk about anything and everything that didn’t intentionally lead back to whether or not Stiles and Derek were going to get married and have mini werewolf babies. Not that Stiles is planning on having them himself. The sounds Lydia made giving birth were definitely enough to scar him for life.
When they’d gotten out of the car though Scott had given him a huge hug and said, “can you hurry up and come home? Derek is always extra broody when you’re not around.”
Stiles had laughed. “Just poke him in the ribs; he’s got a sensitive spot.”
Scott shuddered. “I’m not touching him anywhere.”
“Well, I’ll be home in two weeks, Christmas and all.”
“Let me know if you need help with packing.”
“After you ‘helped’ last time?”
“Hey man, it’s not my fault bubble wrap is awesome.”
“Yeah well, you and Isaac wasted like a whole roll of it wrapping my bed in the stuff and I was making weird noises for weeks. Pretty sure Danny reconsidered living with me for a while.”
Scott shook his head vehemently. “He’s lucky.”
Stiles had smiled fondly at that and watched his best friend jog away into the darkness.
He’s idly checking the time on his cell when the message comes through and he opens it without thinking. It has to be the most adorable picture he’s ever seen in his life. Lydia has written just above it, “they keep doing this. It’s doing things to my heart.” Jackson is sprawled out on his and Lydia’s bed, one arm flung out to the side and the other above his head making a little nest for baby Genevieve to curl into underneath his armpit. Her tiny fist is clinging to his vest and they’re both sound asleep. Stiles can’t help himself; he lets out a gasp and then awwws for several seconds.
The girl next to him, Callie, shoots him a warning look and hisses at him to be quiet. Wordlessly he holds the phone up to her and her face melts.
“Oh my gosh, that’s so cute! Is that your boyfriend?”
“What? Ew, no. That’s Jackson—he, uh, he’s a friend.”
She’s smirking in a worrying fashion and he squirms in his chair because people think he’d actually be willing to date Jackson?
“The baby is his, and his girlfriend’s, so shut up.”
“What about that one?” She inclines her head to the door to where dear god, the Creeper Lord himself has appeared and is staring into the lecture theatre like he has nothing better to do than make ninety future CSI’s witness a perpetrator up close and personal. They all know he’s here for Stiles too, which is mortifying and a little flattering.
He’s still too busy trying to get his heart rate under control because it feels like he hasn’t seen Derek for weeks, not just over seventy two hours.
He snorts, trying to sound casual. “Nope, that’s just Derek.” He waves a hand to try and make Derek understand that he can’t just stare through glass doors like that, but Derek merely frowns harder.
Stiles rolls his eyes. “I’ll be done in five, oh my God, stop pretending to be Michael Meyers and go wait somewhere less visible like normal people do.”
“He can’t hear you,” Callie says in amusement.
“He’ll uh, he’ll get the message.”
True to form, Derek glowers at him for another moment before disappearing down the hall.
Callie grins. “Does he miss you that much?”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “Yep, totally, he can’t stand being away from me so he lingers outside all of my lecture halls for hours on end. Ok, maybe he does that, but it’s not what you think.” He sees Callie raise her eyebrows in amusement and growls at her. “Shut up, you.”
“I think it’s a cute you have such an attentive boyfriend.”
“He is not my boyfriend! He’s just a guy I know that happens to look like a serial killer!”
“Ok, Stiles, whatever you say. But if you’re not hitting that, can I?”
“He should definitely be your boyfriend then, someone should be hitting that and if it’s not me I think it should be you.”
“Thank you for your vote in my sex life,” he replies drily, “don’t you have notes to be taking?”
Callie smirks at him and he wonders what he did in a past like that means all the women in this one are so interested in whether or not he’s getting any.
“I am not Michael Meyers,” Derek huffs crossly as Stiles crosses the quad grinning five minutes later.
He pats Derek on the arm. “Sure you’re not, buddy. Hey, at least your face is prettier.”
“Don’t call me pretty!”
“Alright alright, don’t get your panties in a twist, here look—” Stiles shoves his phone at Derek and watches with amusement as the man tries to look at it cross eyed before huffing again and pulling back so that he can focus. “How cute can they get?”
“You’re calling Jackson cute?” Derek scrunches up his nose in an adorable fashion and Stiles resolutely looks away.
“What is it with people thinking I’m crushing on Jackson today? Oh my god no, I’m calling the situation cute. Look at that tiny baby girl I mean, damn.” Stiles pulls his phone back and beams at the picture. “I bet she’s gonna grow up so perfect too. Nice strawberry blonde hair, perfect cheekbones—I guess she has to get something from her dad—and her brain. Dude, she’s gonna be running circles round us in no time. I bet she’s gonna be awesome.”
He chuckles, half-dazed by baby thoughts for a second before blurting out, “you think my kids will be cute? Nah,” he cuts himself off before Derek can say anything and laughs awkwardly, “don’t answer that.”
He glances up from his phone when Derek actually does stay silent and Derek’s gaze is like a gale force wind knocking into him.
“Your kids will be awesome,” Derek says finally and his voice is strained, like he’s choking back something.
He busies himself with setting the picture as his wallpaper, and people thinking Jackson is his boyfriend be damned; the photo is adorable and he can’t look at Derek right now.
When he finally looks up again Derek is staring at him somewhat wistfully.
“What? You miss me this week or something?”
Derek blinks, huffing a little. “I always miss you, idiot.”
“Oh, ok.” They resume staring at one another before his phone beeps again, Danny, demanding that they bring pizza back to the dorm before they head home for the weekend.
He wonders when he started knowing they all mean home as in Derek’s instead of anywhere else, and whether his dad will even be surprised when Stiles announces he’s basically living with the twenty-six-year-old and his pack of crazy loon friends.
The sheriff’s eyebrows could probably teach Derek’s a thing or two.
The second picture is of Jackson holding Genevieve above his head and smiling openly at the camera.
Stiles is three days away from Christmas break and dying to get home to his family. The picture does not help ease the ache. He’s half a second away from calling one of them to come help him with his things, pushing open the door to his room when he catches Isaac jumping out of the window and Danny pulling the covers up over his head.
Stiles stays just to crow all evening.
The third shows Erica and Boyd on the low porch swing, Boyd smiling softly at the camera and Erica with her eyes and mouth wide at the baby. Stiles can practically hear her giggle. He’s in the library returning all of his books and he nearly drops the pile in his haste to call Lydia and tell her to stop. She laughs and says it’s not her fault her baby is adorable.
Stiles grumbles all the way up the line, smiling the whole time.
He gets one on the last day of semester with no caption. It’s of Derek asleep on the sofa with a tiny little ball of fluff on his shoulder that is obviously Genevieve.
“Oh that’s just not fair,” he groans.
He stumbles out of his lecture twenty minutes early and has never been so relieved to see Allison and Scott in his entire life. They’re sitting on one of the stone benches clutching coffee cups, heads bent together and smiling. They look exactly like the sickeningly sweet sixteen year olds that fell in love all those years ago. Scott must feel his agitation before he sees him because he stands frowning and picks up a third cup of coffee, pushing it in his direction when Stiles is close enough.
Stiles burns his tongue drinking half of the latte in one go.
“Mmm, whatareyoudoinghere?” He manages to slur after the shock of the burn has died down a little.
“We thought we could help pack.”
“Only if you promise to let Allison handle the bubble wrap,” he says, throat still kind of tender.
“What’s wrong with your face, man? You’re bright red.”
“Hot coffee.” He lifts the cup, feeling triumphant with the fact he’s not lying.
Allison (sweet, sharp-as-an-arrow Allison) sees right through him with no lie detector necessary. “You were red before you had the coffee, Stiles.”
He narrows his eyes at her. “I wish Scott was going to marry someone stupid.”
She laughs. “No, you don’t.”
“Can we just pack up my shit and get the hell out of here? I miss the baby something crazy.”
Allison takes a sip of her own coffee, smiling knowingly at him and he scowls. “Shut up.”
“Do you really not miss the baby or something? Because she’s really cute now, I swear. I mean she cried all the time for a while, but then Derek took her for a walk once and now she sleeps on him all the time. She’s really cute, dude, I swear.”
“Oh my god, Scott.”
He spends the first day of Christmas break on the sofa, nestled in the cushions talking to Genevieve. She’s the most captive audience he’s ever had and it’s awesome. They have a little nap around lunch time then he re-enacts most of The Godfather for her. Even if Danny called dibs, Stiles is still going to do his Brando impressions dammit. He takes as many pictures as he likes and then they have another little snooze because acting is harder than it looks. Even when it’s for a three month old baby.
When he wakes again it’s dusk, and he can hear the pack preparing dinner. Erica and Isaac are having what they must think is a whispered argument about how much garlic butter is necessary for garlic bread, and Danny and Boyd are both trying to distract them.
Stiles hums happily, glancing down at Genevieve who’s still asleep on his chest and then almost lets out a yell of surprise when he notices Derek on the other end of the sofa. His feet are in Derek’s lap and in the darkness of the living room it would look deeply creeper-like if Derek wasn’t at least holding a book. He doesn’t look like he’s done much reading as it is, because he’s only three or four pages in and Stiles knows for a fact Derek can consume a John Irving like nobody’s business.
“Creeper,” he hisses so as not to wake the baby.
Derek turns and raises an eyebrow. “I wasn’t doing anything.”
“Yes you were, you were totally watching us sleep.”
“I wasn’t—shut up.”
“I don’t blame you,” he says smugly, stretching as much as is possible with a baby on his chest and feeling pleasantly satisfied as Derek’s eyes zero in on where his shirt rides up before flicking pack to his face. “I’m way cuter to look at than Jackson.”
Derek rolls his eyes and abandons his book completely. He leans over and Stiles breathes in sharply before Derek simply scoops up the baby and eases her deftly onto his shoulder.
“Dude,” he grins, “nicely done.”
Derek shrugs. “Had a good teacher.”
Stiles stares up at him swaying softly with Genevieve and lets the sights and sounds of home wash over him.
“You’re really good with her.”
“Have you guys been getting much rest? I hear you’re a total magician putting baby here to sleep.”
“We do ok.”
“Wow I’m glad we’ve had this chance to catch up. You’ve been really effusive with your news.”
Derek shoots him a warning look. “I’ve been here, and you’ve been at college, no news.”
He carries Genevieve out into the hall and Stiles can hear him moving away and upstairs which he is not allowed to do because that was a damn loaded comment.
Stiles follows him up the stairs and into the nursery. “It’s not like I want to be away at college, man. It’s not like I want to leave you guys all the time.”
Derek exhales sharply and then looks up at him. “You have to go, though. It’s college and you’re smart and you need—you need to do good things with that. We can’t hold you back here.”
Stiles bites on his tongue to keep from yelling and marches right up to the crib, keeping his voice as low as possible. “You think staying here would be holding me back?! Dammit Derek, the only reason I’m going is because I want to get a decent degree so that I can come back here and get a good job and stay. Here. You think I go by choice? Every time I leave it hurts more because I feel like I miss out on everything when I’m gone!”
It feels like all the frustration that’s been building up inside of him for months is tumbling out suddenly and he can’t stop.
“You guys are all bonding with the baby and Scott is like one step away from asking Allison to marry him and what if I miss that, huh? What if he can’t help it one day and just proposes while you’re all doing dishes and I’m not there to see it? Or I miss Genevieve’s first word? I mean God, it’s not like I’m gonna be having kids any time soon. My kids are gonna be little nutters! I’d have to stop them from climbing out of cars and trying to see if they can swim in puddles. No one is gonna want nutty little monsters like mine! This is all I’m gonna get and I’m missing it! So no, Derek, you don’t get to say you’re holding me back; you don’t get to decide that! I get to decide that and—” He growls in frustration and sprints down the stairs before he starts yelling in the fricking nursery and the first memory Genevieve ever has is of Stiles punching her Uncle Derek.
Derek catches up with him easily, hand slipping around his wrist and preventing him from running off into the forest.
“It’s freezing, come back inside.”
“No! Derek, you don’t get it,” he says desperately, “because Jackson’s all grown up and Isaac and Danny fell in love under my god damn nose and Lydia’s sending me all these stupidly cute pictures of you guys and you—you’re all gooey and cute and ridiculous with the baby and she’s sleeping on your shoulder and I—I can’t do this anymore because I miss my house and my dad and my pack and you I miss—” he lets out a breath and looks away, “I miss you like crazy.”
“Stiles I—” Derek makes a frustrated noise and then takes a step towards him, “I miss you too.”
“Then what—why have you been acting like this? Why is it that one minute we’re ok and then the next you’re looking at me like I’ve stabbed you?”
“Because—dammit Stiles, I’ve been trying. But you, you’re twenty years old,” Derek breathes out, “you act like you’re not going to want to settle down for decades.”
“I do? Seriously?” Stiles leans against the porch railing considering Derek, eyes furious as he drawls. “You’re right. Now that I think about it I’m not really a big fan of the group in general. Can’t stand your head Beta—kid’s a pain in the ass—and Isaac? Never was into those hugs he used to insist upon. Don’t even get me started on Erica and the ten year plan we have for world domination—”
He straightens angrily. “You are a total idiot! Was it the taking care of your whole pack that implied I didn’t want to settle down? Or my trying to spend as much time as possible with everyone here the minute I’m home?” He nods, “yep that sounds like someone who doesn’t want to be tied to Beacon Hills at all. Totally like someone who doesn’t consider this place home. That doesn’t want to have a fricking family with you.”
“You panicked when that saleswoman thought it was us having the baby together,” Derek says stubbornly, not quite looking at him.
Stiles laughs incredulously. “Because I didn’t know if I was allowed to think about even kissing you, let alone having a baby with you! Derek—” Stiles scrubs a hand across his face, “you’re nuts. You’re totally and completely nuts if you think I was having some gay freak out or that just because I’m younger than you I’m going to change my mind about being in love with you in five years. Or that I’m ever going to find people I want to spend my life with more than the ones right here in this house. I love you, you idiot.”
There’s a silence as Stiles feels his shoulders heave up and down with the stress of breathing.
“I want your awesome nutty little kids,” Derek says suddenly. His face is solemn but he’s staring at Stiles with something wild and intense in his eyes.
“I don’t like it when you leave here. It doesn’t feel like home when you’re gone. I didn’t mean you don’t care about the pack, I just didn’t know how you factored me into the future. I’ve been trying to give you as much time as possible, trying to keep things friendly in case you didn’t feel the same. But you make it so hard. You’re always there, fixing us and caring about me and—that day you showed me how to hold Genevieve,” he shuts his eyes tightly, “I couldn’t stay and pretend with you anymore. I can’t keep pretending. I want—you make me want things I never thought I’d have the chance to want. I want to be good for the pack and good for you and—”
“You are,” Stiles croaks out, “you already are good. I told you so; I keep trying to tell you!”
“I know, you never shut up about it,” but Derek is smiling, one of his tiny, squint and you’ll miss it kind of smiles. “I might not always be able to tell you the things you want to hear in return, it’s gonna piss you off.”
“You already piss me off!”
“True,” Derek says lightly, closing the distance between them with three strides, “but I can try and show you what I can’t say, for the rest of my life if you’ll have me.”
“Derek, ” Stiles reaches out and then stops, “how are you sure?”
“You’re the only person who knows how to infuriate me and look after me at the same time. You’re not interested in what you can get from me; you just seem to want to give me things. Your voice is the only one I ever want to hear—”
“Odd considering you’re always telling me to shup up,” Stiles murmurs but there’s no edge to it. His hands find Derek’s shirt and he pulls him in towards him. “You were saying? Listing all my good qualities?”
Derek snorts and lifts his head to look at him. “Would you like me to write them all down?”
“I’m not sure it’d be a very long list.”
“I could write a book.”
“Jesus, anyone who has ever implied they don’t think you’re secretly a romantic is sorely mistaken.”
“Don’t tell anyone,” Derek replies as he leans into Stiles’ neck and breathes in contentedly, “or I’ll rip your throat out with my teeth.”
“Promises promises,” Stiles sighs airily before catching at Derek’s face and pulling him upwards. “You really want nutty little kids with me?”
“Yes. We’ve already got a few but a couple more wouldn’t hurt, I guess.”
Then they’re grinning at each other and Stiles is yanking him in to kiss the smile right off his face.
Erica hauls them inside a few minutes later, claiming that though she’s happy they’ve finally had sappy confessions time, dinner is getting cold—and yells loudly that Boyd owes her thirty bucks.
Stiles is just annoyed Boyd thought he’d be twenty five before he got up the balls to tell Derek how he felt.
Derek spends the whole dinner smiling goofily at his plate. Stiles’ doesn’t have any room to talk because he keeps randomly kissing his pack members on the cheek.
Later the Sheriff and Melissa arrive at the house to stay for Christmas. Stiles’ dad, ever a man of few words, manages to simultaneously say I already knew, don’t you dare hurt him and I’m happy for you with just a wiggle of his eyebrows.
Derek seems to understand though and shakes his hand back firmly.
Much later Derek breathes I love you’s against Stiles’ skin and Stiles feels like he’s going to burn up with the intensity, with the way he feels for Derek, the heat zinging through his veins and making him feel alive.
He doesn’t even mind being on Genevieve duty when she wakes at four because Derek trails after him looking sleepy and adorable and like everything Stiles ever wanted.
They do have their own awesome kids eventually, and they are nutters. But Stiles doesn’t care because he loves them something fierce, and Derek isn’t afraid to hold them anymore.