“Congratulations, again!” Kira gushed, as she pulled Stiles into yet another hug.
Derek couldn’t take his eyes from the playpen and the child trying in vain to pull himself into a standing position in front of him as he replied with a huge grin. “Thanks. We did good.”
“You certainly did.” Scott agreed, standing behind his alpha and pulling faces at the tiny boy before him.
Lydia bent over the playpen too, surprising everyone with her quick attachment to her godson. “He’s amazing. Have you had the argument about who he takes after yet?”
“Are you kidding? He’s beautiful – it’s all Stiles.” Derek replied, still unable to look away. His husband looked up at him and pressed a kiss to his stubble, his own grin dominating his face. “I mean, I know that’s not possible but still.”
It had been a busy couple of months, with a long and slow adoption process leading up to them finally being able to bring Tyler Hale home but neither would have changed it for the world. The last few weeks had been filled with various people visiting the happy couple and their new addition and Stiles was enjoying the peaceful night with just a few pack members.
“I still can’t believe it” Isaac said.
“You can’t?” Stiles laughed. “I didn’t think I’d make it past my 18th birthday with the hell we’ve been through, never mind to have a child!”
“Of course you would – you’re my mate and I live to protect you.” Derek finally tore his eyes away from Tyler and looked to his younger partner to see love radiating from Stiles’ gaze and tears threatening his eyes.
“Wow” Scott murmured.
“He’s really changed you, hasn’t he?” Erica commented, raising her eyebrows, “where’s my big, bad, growly wolf gone?”
Derek turned to look down at his son once again, a smile taking over his face as he saw Isaac bending over Tyler and the tiny boy gurgling up at him. “I know” the oldest said, “I’m so proud of him already.”
“Congrats. Genuinely, he’s great.” Coming from Boyd, the stoic, silent member of the pack, this was a big compliment.
“I hate to say this, but I’d better be off; I’m opening for Deaton in the morning.” Scott snapped a quick picture on his phone – “Mom begged for another, as if she hasn’t taken enough” – and moved forward to hug his best friend.
“Come on guys” Scott laughed as he beckoned his wife and temporary housemate; Isaac had returned from France when the adoption process started, wanting to be completely involved in the expansion of his pack/family. Kira and Isaac were joking fighting to get the last kiss as they bent over the cot before reluctantly stepping away and allowing themselves to be led out, begging to come back tomorrow for more cuddles. Erica and Scott were sparring with each other as they walked to their cars, Isaac and Kira were still calling back to Stiles with promises to babysit and Lydia merely rolled her eyes to Boyd at their friends’ antics as she drove away. Stiles closed the door behind his pack, chuckling at them all.
The new father entered the lounge again and walked up to Derek, who was still staring at his tiny baby. Stiles laughed softly as he wrapped his arms around his larger husband and pressed kisses to his neck.
“You want to put him to bed tonight?” He asked quietly, fearing the answer.
“You do it; I need to reply to a few emails.” Derek’s eyes closed at his lover’s pained sigh, hating himself for causing it.
“Fine” Stiles said, already pulling away and stepping back.
“Stiles –” the Alpha began but the man in question was already talking to their son.
“Come on then, handsome.” Stiles tickled Tyler’s stomach, causing him to squeal delightedly and clench his tiny fists at his father.
Stiles chuckled at his son and picked him up out of his basket, cradling him close to his chest. He began the ascent upstairs, humming various nursery rhymes changing tune whenever he forgot the next line and poking his boy’s stomach to hear his joyful noises again and again.
Derek watched them go with a tugging at his heart and quietly followed their path.
Upstairs in the nursery, Stiles placed Tyler into his cradle. He tucked his blanket underneath his chin and kissed his forehead. Stiles hovered over his baby for a minute more, watching his eyelids drop slowly and his gurgling reduce to soft breaths. He spoke to his husband without turning, sensing his presence in the doorway.
“Why did you say all of that earlier?”
Derek answered “all of what?”
“Everything you told the pack about how much you love Tyler and how proud of him you are.”
“Because it’s true” Derek responded, confusion in his voice.
Stiles then turned to face his older lover. “Is it?”
Derek began to get angry and pushed himself off the doorframe standing straight. “Yes Stiles. Of course it is – I love our son.”
Stiles snorted and brushed past his husband to exit the room. Derek dimmed Tyler’s lights and pulled the door nearly closed; making sure that the baby-monitor was on. He headed downstairs again to find Stiles. He found the younger man in the lounge, picking up the snacks from earlier and various items of Tyler's that had been dotted around the place.
“What did you mean, Stiles? Why did you question me?”
“How could you stand there and lie to me?!” Stiles threw the items he was holding onto the sofa, gesturing wildly with his arms. “You don’t love Tyler! He's been at home with us for nearly three weeks – you haven’t once held him!” Tears welled in Stiles’ eyes and he dragged a hand down his face wearily. He picked up the thrown things from the sofa and made to walk into the kitchen.
Derek stopped his movements with a hesitant speech.
“I know.” His voice was barely a whisper so he cleared his throat and tried again. “I know I haven’t held him… but don’t think for a moment that I don’t love him.”
Derek stepped towards his mate but thought better of it and sat down on the sofa. “Jesus, Stiles, I just…” He held his head in his hands.
Stiles turned to look at his forlorn husband, waiting for further explanation.
“He’s beautiful Stiles; he is so beautiful.” Derek gave a hollow laugh. “He is perfect in every single way, but I…” He broke off with a sob. Stiles discarded his armful of objects once again – seriously this house was destined to be a pigsty, a tiny voice sighed resignedly in his head – and sat next to his husband, pulling him near with an arm around his shoulders. Derek leant closer before continuing.
“I love him more than I ever thought would be possible; how could I not?”
“Then why, Der? Why not show us that love?” Stiles was desperate to understand and his patience was slipping.
Derek pulled away and stood up, facing away the wall and not his lover. “Because I’m scared! God, I’m absolutely terrified. I don’t deserve you and I sure as hell don’t deserve him.”
“Soon enough someone will realise that and he’ll be ripped away from me and I can’t lose him Stiles, I can’t lose anyone else.” He began to cry, bracing himself of the wall in front of him, tears rolling down his face and shoulders shaking.
Stiles crossed the room to reach his husband, now more worried as he had never seen Derek show this much emotion. He wrapped himself around Derek, clutching him tightly.
“You do deserve him Derek. I promise you, you deserve so much. No one will ever take him away, nor me for that matter.”
Derek was staring at the floor, arms stretched out to touch the wall in front of him, leaning his weight against it. “I’ve nearly lost you so many times.”
“I’m still here, Der. You saved me and I have complete faith that you’ll save Ty if you ever need to.”
Derek let out a growl at the thought of his son being in danger.
Stiles let a small smile grace his face at the sound and he buried his face in Derek’s back. “See? That sense of protection is why I know you’ll be an amazing father. You can let him in, Derek. He won’t get taken from you; we won’t ever leave you.”
“But what if –” He cut himself off.
“What if you hurt him?” Stiles guessed.
Derek nodded, not being able to form the words as his fear was too great.
“You won’t.” Stiles said simply.
Derek spun round, disbelief all over his face. “How can you say that so freely?” He whispered.
“You won’t hurt him, Derek. I trust you entirely. You have never hurt me and I know you won’t ever do anything to Ty.”
As if sensing his name in discussion, Tyler woke up and began to cry, his wails cutting through the hushed conversation like a knife causing the young couple to rush upstairs.
Stiles was first through the door but he stopped short of the cradle, instead choosing to address Derek.
“Here’s your chance.” He said softly with a kind smile.
Derek froze in the doorway. “Stiles I can’t, I might…”
“You might do anything; who knows? You might be amazing – just try.” Stiles urged Derek closer; a guiding presence with a firm hand on his back.
“He just wants comfort, pick him up Derek.”
Derek did so very hesitantly and held Tyler precariously in his arms. The first touch sent a spark coursing through the Alpha’s veins but his elation soon turned to panic as Tyler’s cries only increased.
“Stiles!” He hissed, scared of what he may be doing wrong. “Stiles, he isn’t stopping! Oh God, have I hurt him? I knew I would, I’m sorry!” Derek made to place him down again but Stiles intervened, pushing Derek’s arms closer to his body.
“He just wants to be closer to you, that’s all.” Stiles shifted one of Derek’s large hands to cradle their son’s head and fitted his small body in the makeshift cradle perfectly. “There you go, little Prince. You’re okay now aren’t you? You just wanted your Daddy.”
Tyler’s cries decreased until his tears had all dried and he was staring up at his older father.
“Hi.” Derek whispered, barely able to believe his luck. He couldn’t get enough of this gorgeous boy and began to stroke a large finger down his son’s soft cheek. He hadn’t noticed that Stiles had disappeared until the click of a camera could be heard. The younger man was taking photos from every angle, a smile on his lips and tears occasionally leaking out of his eyes. Tyler’s eyes were wide open and feasting on his older father, his hands opening and closing around the man’s shirt collar, grasping it in his chubby fists. Derek stared down in absolute awe, meeting Tyler’s eyes and wishing at that moment to never blink ever again.
“Come on then, time for bed again.” Stiles entered into his sensible paternal role, putting the camera on the changing table and dimming the lights again. He held out his hands in an offer to take their baby but Derek gripped Tyler ever so slightly tighter and a tiny pout formed on his face, causing his husband to laugh.
“Alright, calm down. You can put him to bed this time.”
Stiles left him to it and headed to the master bedroom, ridiculously happy – verging on delirious – with his husband’s new found confidence and infatuation with their lovely boy. Stiles washed up in the bathroom and came our for bed, not expecting to see Derek in their bedroom but not at all surprised by the blue bundle still tightly held in his arms.
“I can’t leave him. I just can’t, I’ve only just found him, please I…”
"Hey, hey. Chill out, sweetheart. He's all yours; I just thought the pair of you might be tired, although he has slept most of the day – lucky bugger." He commented, with a nod towards Tyler. Stiles suddenly yawned loudly and spoke through it to his husband "now you've taken this step, you can do the night feeds."
The Alpha looked sheepish and made to apologize, but the younger brushed it off with a laugh, "don't worry about it, but I do expect a bit of grovelling - maybe breakfast in bed, a date night or two at that new Italian bar in town...?"
Derek smiled at his lover's wink and moved to take a seat in the rocking chair on Stiles' side of their large bed. They'd bought it a few weeks ago for when Tyler had come along, as they had thought it would be the easiest and most comfortable way of getting him back off to sleep in the middle of the night.
Stiles turned off the main light, leaving only the bedside lamp on to create a warm glow. He padded back to the bed and lay down, facing his older lover and their enchanting baby.
Derek looked over at him. "Thank you. Thank you for everything." Although he spoke softly, adoration shone from his eyes and Stiles knew the sheer depth of his words.
"Anytime, Sourwolf. Nighty-night Tyler. I love you both, so much."
Derek had turned his gaze back to his son but returned the statement, "and we love you even more." The wolf showed no signs of tiredness – he was more than happy to watch over his son, committing every minuscule detail to memory. Even as Tyler's eyes slipped closed once more, Derek's captivation never wavered.
Stiles drifted off to sleep with the beautiful image of father and son before him, a feeling of utter contentment warming him entirely.