"Hey, Bolinski, think fast."
Stiles barely manages to not drop whatever hits him in the face; he looks down at it and stares. "Is this a baby?"
"Yes, it's a baby," says Coach. "It's your baby, which is definitely something the world does not need to see. Do me a favor and promise me you will never enter into the gene pool."
Scott leans over and pokes the baby, which doesn't do anything. Stiles holds it up by the foot, which is enough to make it start crying. He drops it in shock.
"Good job, you just killed him," says Coach. "If you do that once the assignment starts, you will fail."
"The assignment?" asks Stiles. "Oh my god, we aren't really doing this, are we?"
"Oh, but you are," says Coach. "I found these guys in the gym storage room, and now you will all get to experience the joys of parenthood. These little suckers have to be fed and cared for for one week. You and your partner will work out a system and make sure their needs are met. Because we are living in the future, these are equipped with computer chips, will which tell me which of you are neglectful failures and which of you are model parents. I already have some guesses."
Stiles quickly picks up his baby and cradles it experimentally. It doesn't stop crying. Scott pokes it again.
"Now, following the winter formal, there were some complaints about my tolerance," says Coach, with a pointed look at Scott. "So! In the spirit of equality, all of these babies will be raised in same-sex households. I have the list of partners up here, come up, collect your baby, and welcome to parenthood."
"What are we gonna name him?" Scott asks, looking at the baby as the rest of the class shuffles up to the front. "I think we should name him Kyle."
"He's not yours, McCall," says Coach. "That is a genetic experiment I don't even want to contemplate. You're working with Jackson."
Jackson blanches. "I am not marrying him!"
"Yeah, can we get a divorce?" asks Scott.
"Of course you can," says Coach. "Just remember that divorce starts with D, which is a better grade than you will get on this assignment if you do."
Danny comes over and sits next to Stiles, looking morose. Jackson looks more pissed.
"What if we both want to switch?" he wheedles. "Danny, you want to have my kid, right?" Danny looks dubious, and Jackson corrects, "More than you want to have Stiles' kid, come on."
"I'm a good dad!" says Stiles. "I am loving and nurturing."
"The baby is still crying," Danny points out. "Let me hold it."
Stiles passes it over. "And Scott's going to be a great dad too, you should be so lucky."
"Please," says Jackson. "I could do so much better. I'm the one bringing everything to this marriage--money, influence, intelligence. Our child is going to have opportunities you can't even dream of."
"Okay," says Coach. "You guys do realize these are not real children and this is not a legally binding marriage, right? I am no longer certified to perform weddings. Now take you babies and get out of my sight."
"So, how do you want to do this?" Stiles asks.
"You can take it today, I'll take it tomorrow."
"Okay, we can't call it it. We need to choose a gender and a name. Or maybe it has a gender, I didn't want to look. It feels weird to check out a baby's junk."
Danny raises his eyebrows.
"You're right," says Stiles. "I should check out the baby's junk. But I'm also open to not assigning gender roles yet. I'm very progressive."
"I'll get it from you in home room tomorrow," says Danny.
"But--" Stiles starts, but Danny just leaves. "Your dad is not dedicated to your well-being," he tells the baby. "We're going to work on this. I am going to keep this family together."
Derek is not pleased.
"Why do you all have dolls?" he asks.
"They're for an assignment," says Scott, cradling his baby. "This is me and Jackson's son, Kyle Whittemore-McCall."
"That's not his name," says Jackson.
"Do you have a better one?"
"What are you talking about," says Derek.
"Scott and Jackson are married now," Erica supplies brightly.
"Okay, that was not legally binding," Stiles says. "But yeah, pretty much."
Derek's eye is twitching; it's kind of awesome. "Get rid of them."
"We can't get rid of them," says Stiles. "If we neglect them, we fail." He grabs the fake bottle and starts feeding his kid. It doesn't stop the crying, because apparently the realism of the dolls does not extend to "cannot cry when mouth is full."
"Can't Lydia and Allison take care of them?" Derek asks.
"I tried that," says Jackson.
"Lydia gave us a lecture about traditional gender roles and asked if she looked maternal," Stiles adds.
"She didn't," Scott says.
"Erica?" asks Derek.
Erica smiles sweetly. "Screw you."
Derek rubs his forehead. "How do they know they're neglected?"
"The same way they know they're being fed and changed," says Stiles, shifting the still-unnamed baby in his arms and patting it on the back. "There's a computer in there."
"So fix the computer," says Derek.
"I'm pretty sure tampering with the babies is an automatic failing grade," Stiles points out.
"Stiles," Derek says, in his I'm the alpha, listen to me voice, which he never remembers does absolutely nothing to Stiles, because he's not a werewolf, "take the babies, find your hacker boyfriend, and make them shut up."
"Hey, that's my hacker husband," Stiles corrects automatically. "Wait, what?"
"Figure out how the computer works and make it think Scott and Jackson did their project," says Derek. "We are not taking on the alpha pack with a bunch of crying dolls."
Stiles gapes for a minute, but then Jackson grabs his baby from Scott and shoves it at Stiles. "Go," he says, shoving Stiles a little.
"Don't hurt Kyle!" Scott calls.
"His name is not Kyle," says Jackson.
Stiles sighs. "You guys had better not get killed while I'm gone. Or do anything exciting! I am not going to miss out on exciting stuff while I'm taking care of the babies."
"We won't kill the alpha pack while you're gone," Erica says. "Have fun, mom."
Stiles scowls, but he can't really formulate a good counterargument, given how his arms are full of babies. "Yeah, screw you too," he mutters, and stalks off.
Stiles has been to Danny's once or twice for chemistry stuff. He also has Danny's number, but he's pretty sure that if he actually calls, he'll just give Danny an opportunity to say no to him. Not that Danny won't say no when he shows up, but he's too polite to actually slam the door in Stiles' face. Plus, Danny's mom totally likes him.
Unfortunately, Danny's the one who opens the door; Stiles can see him taking in Stiles and the babies, and definitely thinking about slamming the door.
"Hi," says Stiles.
"Why do we have twins now?"
"Derek. He wants you to hack the baby." He pauses. "Okay, I'm pretty sure he just wanted the babies to be away from him, but that's our assignment."
"He's not our alpha," Danny mutters, but he accepts the baby Stiles offers to him, cradling it gently.
"Yeah, well, I didn't really want to hang out at an awkward werewolf pow-wow with a bunch of crying babies. Derek would have actually destroyed them."
Danny sighs. "Come on in."
Ten minutes later, they're sitting on Danny's bed with a tool box and a naked baby--Scott and Jackson's, because Danny said he wasn't going to be the one who failed if this went wrong--trying to figure out how to take it apart.
"Isn't there just supposed to be a battery pack?" Stiles asks.
"I doubt they're supposed to be easy to tamper with," Danny says.
"Who bothers with this kind of security for fake babies, seriously?" asks Stiles. "It's creepy. Why couldn't we just get eggs like they do on TV?"
Danny makes a face. "If coach can figure out how to get to the computer in this, we can," he says.
"Maybe there is no computer," Stiles says. "Maybe he's just fucking with us." Danny snorts a laugh; it doesn't happen often, but whenever he actually successfully makes Danny laugh, Stiles feels like the most awesome person to have ever lived. He grins. "Come on, you know he just found these in a dumpster somewhere and wanted to make us miserable for a week."
"Maybe they're cursed," says Danny. He frowns and squints at the doll. "Hey, does it look like the hand might come off?"
"That's creepy," says Stiles, leaning in close to look. "Why would the hand come off?"
Danny tugs experimentally, and then grabs a screwdriver to lever the thing off.
"This is really weird," says Stiles, but Danny grins in triumph as the hand actually slides off.
"Hey, USB port," he says. "Jackpot."
Stiles thinks it's probably good he doesn't spend more time around a smiling, happy Danny; it's very distracting.
"Do you think you can hack it?" he asks, recovering.
"Now that I can access it, yeah," says Danny, flashing Stiles another grin. His teeth are very white. "I can hack anything I can get to."
"So why didn't you just hack it in the first place?"
"Because that sounded like more trouble than just doing the assignment," says Danny, grabbing his laptop and connecting the baby. His brow furrows. "This is actually a pretty complicated program. I bet these were expensive. Why did anyone bother?"
"Because they really don't want us to have babies," Stiles says. "Abstinence-only education, totally a great idea."
"Especially when you're doing same-sex couples only," Danny says dryly. "We'd really have to worry about having a baby." Stiles chokes; Danny doesn't seem to notice. "You know," he says, looking at the computer. "Maybe we shouldn't fix it."
"What?" asks Stiles.
"I'm willing to say I couldn't figure out how," says Danny, shrugging. "Take 'em back to Derek and say that we have to do the assignment. I don't want Jackson and Scott getting out of it this easy."
Stiles stares for a minute, and then grins. "Dude! You're, like, conniving!"
Danny laughs. "Come on, let's go tell them the bad news."
"Can we bring a video camera? Derek Hale hears he has to put up with fake babies could totally go viral."
Danny laughs again. "You're something else, you know that?"
"I'm the father of your child. Or the mother. I can be the mother. Or we cannot confirm to gender roles! I can be dad, you can be pop. I'm not picky."
"Did you know you can actually try so hard to be not offensive that it becomes offensive again?" he asks, but he sounds amused.
"I'm not trying to not be offensive," says Stiles. "I just want you to like me."
"I like you," says Danny. He grabs his backpack and one of the babies. "Come on."
Stiles is momentarily paralyzed; Danny's already halfway down the stairs when he gets his act together. "Hey, can I get that in writing?"
Derek Hale hears he has to put up with fake babies really could go viral.
"What do you mean," he says. His alpha voice doesn't work on Danny either.
"I couldn't hack it," says Danny, shrugging. "I'm not a miracle worker."
"I thought you could hack anything," says Jackson. He clearly knows Danny is conniving too.
"I could probably hack it," Danny says. "But I can't find anything to hack without breaking it."
"So break it," Derek growls.
"No!" says Scott, cradling his baby to his chest. "You're not going to kill Kyle."
"If we smash it then it won't really matter if we can hack the computer," Stiles points out. "I think the smashed baby is probably good for a failing grade by itself. Just a guess!"
"Scott, you can't--"
"Look, this is my baby, and I'm going to take care of him," Scott says, glaring. "You're not my alpha, you don't get to tell me what to do."
"What is wrong with you," Derek says, although he doesn't really sound angry anymore. He's definitely getting resigned.
"What, just because I'm a good father?" Scott asks. "I'll get one of those baby carriers so I can strap him to my chest and have my hands free. I am not just going to throw my son into daycare to make you happy!"
"You know he's not real, right?" Jackson says, after a long silence.
"Yes," says Scott. "I'm practicing."
Derek glares at him, and then at Stiles and Danny, and then at the wall, for good measure.
Danny elbows Stiles. "Come on, let's go."
"I dunno, my house. Somewhere not here. We can study."
Stiles perks up. "Does this mean we're raising our child in a two-parent household?"
"I figured we'd just work on our biology homework," says Danny. "But sure. That too."
"I like Becky," says Stiles.
"Who's Becky?" asks Danny. He has his pen in his mouth as he reads; it's distracting. "I thought you liked Lydia."
"No, we're more friends now. Or--I dunno. I think we're friends. She talks to me, I talk to her. I meant for our baby's name."
"You want to name our baby Becky?"
"Yeah, Becky Elizabeth Mahealani. That's nice, right?"
"You gave our fake baby a middle name?"
"Yeah," says Stiles. "I like middle names. I don't have one. It feels weird on when I'm filling out forms, like I'm missing out."
"And my last name?"
"I think it's easier to spell," says Stiles. "Not sure. It was kind of a toss-up. But can you imagine hyphenating that? Becky Elizabeth Stilinski-Mahealani? She'd get so beat up."
Danny snorts. "Okay, fine."
"Do you want to have kids?" Stiles finds himself asking, and then promptly feels like an idiot.
Danny raises his eyebrows. "In general?"
"Yeah, you know. Some day. Settle down with some hot guy, have some kids."
"I guess, yeah." He shrugs. "I always figured I'd maybe adopt an older kid. I've talked to Jackson about it, so I guess I feel like I might be better prepared for some of the problems they might have. And not a lot of people are interested in fostering older children."
"Oh," says Stiles. "That's--really nice of you."
"You don't think I'm nice?" Danny asks.
"I feel like I only ever get to see one side of you," says Stiles. "The shut up, Stiles, I have work to do side. But there are all these other awesome sides I want to get to know."
"So I'm not nice to you," says Danny, amused.
"Um. Is there a way I can answer that that doesn't ruin this good thing we have going?"
"Yes," says Danny.
"Just say yes, Stiles."
"You are not always completely accepting of my flaws," says Stiles, and Danny laughs again.
"Okay," he says. "I'll work on that." He grins at Stiles. "I'm pretty good at liking flawed people. Jackson is my best friend."
"Cool," says Stiles. "I think Derek thinks we're dating," he blurts out. "Or maybe he just wants to make fun of me. I'm not sure."
"Maybe if you didn't always treat being gay like a punchline, he wouldn't do that," Danny says, mildly.
"I don't do that!" says Stiles. "Or, uh, not more than anything else. I treat everything as a punchline. It's kind of my thing. I don't think it's a joke or anything."
"Like I said," says Danny. "Sometimes you try so hard to not be offensive, it comes back to offensive."
Stiles feels lost, like there's a conversation going on here he's not totally aware of.
"So, I can take the baby tonight," Danny continues. "I'll give her back in the morning."
Stiles perks up. "Her?"
He feels warm and ridiculous and happy. "Yeah. Becky."
"I think Danny thinks--I don't really know. Something."
Scott raises his eyebrows. "Yeah, I think Danny probably thinks stuff too."
"That's not what I meant," says Stiles. "I think he thinks I don't take gay people seriously? Or something? I don't know. I'm confused."
"You should probably just say, hey, I'm bisexual, we should make out," says Scott, patting Kyle's back. Stiles is pretty sure he's trying to burp the baby. It doesn't make any sense, but Kyle actually seems to be doing fairly well, so Scott must have something going for him. Becky just cries all the time.
"Do you think that would work?" Stiles asks.
Scott shrugs. "I don't think it can hurt," he says. "Probably you're never going to make out with him if you don't ask."
Stiles pauses. "How did you know I want to make out with Danny?"
"I'm your best friend," says Scott.
"Can you ask Jackson if Danny wants to make out with me?"
"Uh, I can try," says Scott. "But I think that conversation would be a total trainwreck. You're probably better off just asking Danny yourself."
"Yeah, maybe," says Stiles. He sighs. "Can we switch babies?" he asks. "I need help." Pretty much the second Stiles gets Kyle, Kyle starts crying. "Do you think the babies are programmed to hate me?"
"I wouldn't put it past Finstock," says Scott. Becky is already calming down.
Definitely programmed to hate Stiles.
"McCall," says Finstock. "This is horrific."
"I'm a good dad!" Scott protests. "Why aren't you blaming Jackson? It's Jackson's fault."
"Jackson ripped the head off your baby?" Finstock asks.
"It was his fault she was crying."
"McCall, you do not rip your child's head off if she's crying."
"He," says Scott. "And I didn't!"
"And it's not a real baby," Jackson says, although he also looks pretty annoyed. It really wasn't their fault Derek lost his temper and destroyed the baby, but blaming him would really be the werewolf-and-fake-baby equivalent of "my dog ate my homework."
"Yours looks okay," Finstock says, moving on to Danny and Stiles. "Good job, Danny."
"I did a good job too!" Stiles protests. "Maybe if you hadn't programmed the babies to hate me."
"That's just common sense," says Finstock. "Even robot babies have a self-preservation."
"You did fine," says Danny, with a smile, once Finstock has moved on.
Stiles turns mushy inside. "Hey, I'm bisexual, do you want to make out?" he asks. He blames Danny's smile. It makes it impossible to think things through. Or, well, more impossible.
Danny gapes at him.
"That might not have been the right time for that," Stiles says. "In retrospect."
Danny keeps gaping.
"Right. Great." Stiles leans back with a long sigh. "Awesome."
"I kind of miss him," says Scott. "Do you think Finstock would let me have another one?"
"After what you did to the first one?" Stiles asks. "Yeah, I don't think so."
"Sorry," says Allison, giving him a squeeze around the shoulders. "Maybe we can get you one of those dolls that really wets itself."
"It wouldn't be the same," says Scott, frowning. But then, suddenly, he grins. Stiles almost looks around to see if there's another baby. "Hey, Allison, we should go to the library."
Or he just wants to get laid. Awesome.
Allison blinks. "We should?" Then she looks behind Stiles and smiles too. "You're right, we should."
"That's cool, I like being alone!" Stiles calls to their retreating backs. And then Danny sits down next to him, and things make more sense. "Oh. Hi."
"Hi," says Danny. He leans over and kisses Stiles, just a brief press of his lips before he pulls back. Really not the making out he was hoping for, but--Danny! Kissing!
He stares at him for a minute, and then says, "Really?"
"You were serious, right?" he asks. He doesn't sound worried, and he's smiling. Stiles has never made him smile this much. It's pretty amazing.
"Yeah. I mean, obviously. Of course. Yes."
"Okay," says Danny. "Cool." And then he stands up, like he's going to leave.
"So we're not getting a divorce?" Stiles blurts out.
Danny laughs. "Yes, we are." His face softens into a fond smile, and Stiles' heart flips over. "But I thought we could also get dinner tonight."
"Like a date?"
"Just like a date," says Danny.
"Oh. That's probably better. You don't want to rush into marriage or anything. I don't want this to be some shotgun wedding just because of the baby. That's just--"
"So I'll pick you up at seven?" says Danny.
"Yes, seven. Perfect. Awesome."
Danny kisses him again and goes back to his own table, and Stiles is left alone with his tray.
He grins. "Awesome."
Maybe he owes the demonic, Stiles-hating fake babies. Just a little.