Stiles was—well he wasn’t completely fed up, at least not yet—he was frustrated. Very frustrated. It had been six months since the Alpha pack rolled into town then back out with their proverbial tails between their legs. It was one thing to challenge a new Alpha. It was another when the Alpha had a strong pack of humans and werewolves with connections to hunters. Add on a nine lives and counting Peter Hale and it was insured that the Beacon Hills pack could pose a definite threat.
It had been four months since the damn ghouls showed up. Not that Stiles had a particular prejudice against ghouls in theory. But in practice they reeked. Even the witch they’d dealt with six weeks ago wasn’t much of an issue. Though in that case they lucked out more because Lydia was the target and it turned out she was immune to more than just werewolf bites.
However, the pack still hadn’t bonded. Put a threat in front of them and it was all ‘go team’. Normal life was the disaster. Everyone fought. Scott still couldn’t let Derek be his alpha, even though he’d agreed to it and Isaac and Erica blustered their way through, false bravado always evident. Lydia brought up her outsider feelings constantly and while Jackson grumbled that he didn’t care, it was obvious he still felt unwanted.
All Stiles could think was that it was beyond ridiculous that he and Derek were getting along, and that his dad knew about this stuff—and turned out to be surprisingly cool—and the rest of the pack couldn’t even agree on pizza toppings. For the record, Stiles chose peppers, onions, and bacon because it was Derek’s favorite. He thought the guy deserved to get what he wanted without fussing with the Alpha command all the time. Of course even that caused fighting among the others.
So yeah, to say Stiles was annoyed was putting it mildly. So when Peter walked outside and said there were faeries on the property and told Scott and Isaac to come with him to deal with it, Stiles welcomed the reprieve.
“Don’t come back until you can act your age!” He hollered after them. Stiles grinned to himself. “Maybe the faeries will curse them with a sense of teamwork.”
After an hour Derek gave up trying to mediate between anyone and sent the rest of the pack away, saying he’d call when the boys returned. Erica and Boyd went off to the train depot, which was now regarded as a getaway spot when pack couples wanted privacy, while Lydia and Allison declared the day to be good for shopping. Danny and Jackson invited themselves along for the shopping trip.
“Just the two of us,” remarked stiles. “Does it ever seem weird to you?”
“Hmm?” asked Derek.
“You know, us getting along better than just about anyone else,” clarified Stiles.
“Sometimes,” answered the Alpha, never one to mince words. “But it is peaceful so I take it and don’t over think it.”
“Good plan,” said Stiles, pushing himself up off the porch. “I’m hungry though. You want a BLT?”
Derek nodded. “Thanks.”
Stiles had just finished draining the grease from the bacon and was about to turn the stove back on to start the sandwiches when he heard Derek’s choked stage whisper.
“St—iles! I need you. No weapons.”
Stiles nearly tripped over his own feet in his haste to see what got that noise out of Derek.
At the foot of the porch steps were three small boys, one of about six, the others no more than four. Derek had yet to be noticed by them from his place in the shadows and he motioned for Stiles to stand next to him and listen.
The oldest boy had his back to them and was attempting to whisper, though he could be easily heard. “It’ll be okay. I’ll tell my grandpops about you. He’s very good at finding werewolf packs. He’ll know ‘zackly what to do,” he said matter of factly. He had dirty blonde hair that was combed over and the boy kept tossing his head to get it out of his eyes.
“But we’re not werewolves,” insisted the boy with big brown eyes and floppy brown hair. “Werewolves aren’t real.”
The older one nodded sagely. “That’s what we’re sposed to tell humans. But I know better. I can smell you.”
“That’s not very nice.” The curly haired boy spoke up. “Mama says not to say people smell.”
“Well my mama says werewolves can talk about smells. Just come talk to my grandpops. He’ll help find your parents.”
The two younger boys apparently needed to consult each other so they turned away a little.
Stiles nudged Derek. “Are those ours?”
Derek grinned. “Hilarious isn’t it?”
“Try adorable,” answered Stiles.
They stepped forward then as the older boy, clearly Peter, seemed to notice them.
“Grandpops!” He yelled and came running up the stairs to hug Derek. A split second later the boy threw himself away from Derek. “You’re not my grandpa.”
“No, I’m not.”
“You look like my grandpa. Why?” demanded Peter, hands in fists on his hips.
Stiles thought it was the cutest thing ever.
“I don’t know,” answered Derek, a little annoyed at the boy. “What happened to you three?”
“We were in the woods,” said Isaac. “I don’t usually go in the woods because they’re super scary but I was there and so were they. I’m Isaac.”
“I’m Scott,” he said helpfully. “Scott McCall.”
“Thank you for that helpful information,” said Derek and he glared daggers at Stiles for laughing.
“Peter thinks we’re werewolves, but I know werewolves aren’t real,” continued Scott, happy to continue sharing his wisdom.
“Oh really?” asked Derek. “But if werewolves aren’t real, could I do this?” He snapped his neck and shifted into his beta form, letting the fangs out and his hair grow. If he was hoping to scare the boys, it had the opposite affect.
Scott looked up at Derek in awe. “You’re like Wolverine. My hero is Wolverine.”
Stiles leaned against the porch rail and silently shook with laughter. Scott was staring at Derek like he’d hung the moon and Isaac was trying to climb up Derek’s leg to touch his fangs. Peter was sitting on the steps close to Stiles and he just looked confused and a little bit worried.
Derek finally pulled Isaac off his leg and set him down next to Scott. “You two can do the same thing,” he said. “Since you’re werewolves.”
“How?” asked Isaac.
“Concentrate really hard and imagine your fangs coming out,” answered Derek.
“Think happy thoughts and a little bit of pixie dust,” muttered Stiles, still giggling though he was slowly recovering.
Derek glared at him. “Not helping.”
Scott and Isaac focused hard and because at their age the werewolf side was harder to keep in, they both shifted fairly quickly. Isaac reached a hand out and tugged at Scott’s new sideburn.
“You have hair,” he stage whispered.
Stiles sank to the ground at Scott’s wide-eyed excitement and kept laughing.
Scott turned back to Derek, face screwed up in hope and nerves. “Do we get claws too?”
Derek nodded. “Just picture them popping out and flick open your hand.” He grinned a little too at Isaac and Scott as the little boys immediately started waving their hands around, trying to get claws to come out.
Finally, Scott got his claws to pop out. He stood in silence, staring at his hands, then up at Derek, then back at his hands. Then he turned to Isaac, who had also flicked his claws out. Scott raised his little claw hands in the air and went running down the steps into the yard. Both hands were raised high in the air as he yelled, “WE GOT CLAWS!”
Isaac started running around with him, both screaming in excitement while Stiles completely gave up holding it together and started rolling on the ground in laughter. Even Derek couldn’t help but start laughing at the antics and he sat down against the porch rail to watch the boys play.
When he sat down, it was close to Peter and the young boy quickly scooted away from him and closer to Stiles.
Derek sighed. “Peter, I know this is confusing and hard to explain but I’m not going to hurt you.”
“Why do you look like my grandpa?” asked the little werewolf, eyes flashing gold as he tried to control his panic.
“Because he’s my…” Derek paused as Stiles swiftly shook his head. Realizing that saying he was his great grandpa would just cause more problems. But of course Peter was clearly a smart kid and lying wouldn’t work. So Derek took a page out of Stiles’ book and gave a partial truth. “We’re related and I’m taking care of the family house while he’s gone.”
Derek managed to refrain from choking up on the last word and Stiles gave him a small smile in understanding.
Peter looked like he at least believed Derek wasn’t lying but he still slid a little bit closer to Stiles. “Why are they so weird?” he asked, pointing at Scott and Isaac who had taken to standing on rocks while beating their chests and howling.
Stiles barely controlled his burst of laughter.
“They didn’t know they were werewolves,” answered Derek, rolling his eyes at Stiles’ antics. “So we have to teach them about being pack and about keeping it secret.”
“Because bad things happen if it’s not a secret,” said Peter. He said it so matter of fact, but with complete innocence in a way that almost broke Derek. Because naturally this Peter didn’t know what Derek had done—or would do in Peter’s world—and so didn’t realize the depth of what he was saying.
Stiles saved Derek from having to answer. “Yes, Peter. Sometimes bad things happen when it’s not a secret. And sometimes people can trick you into telling them the secret because they are bad and you aren’t. So we keep it secret.”
Peter turned to look at Stiles. “But you know. And you’re human. Are you a bad human?”
Derek growled at that, simply a gut reaction, and both men were startled when Peter responded by latching his hands onto Stiles’ shirt and burying his face in his stomach.
“Derek, quit terrifying him!” hissed Stiles. And then he gave Derek a look that asked what his life was that he was now worried about whether Peter Hale was scared.
“Stiles is special,” said Derek finally, once Peter recovered enough to peek at him with one eye.
Peter wiggled a little closer and patted Stiles’ chest with one hand. “He smells nice. Is that why he’s special?”
“Oh good grief. Of course he’s a natural creeper with potential bad touch tendencies at six years old,” groaned Stiles. “This is perfect.”
“There are a lot of reasons why Stiles is special,” was all Derek would allow.
Peter seemed to accept that and leaned further into Stiles. Eventually Stiles put an arm around the little boy and started to pet his hair while they watched Scott & Isaac wear themselves out. Peter fell asleep as the sun started to set in the distance.
“Um Derek,” began Stiles.
“Yeah,” said the werewolf, not opening his eyes as he rested against the porch rail.
“It’s getting late.”
“So, it’s getting late. Like dinner time, you know when most people eat and watch TV and talk to their parents. And then it will be time to sleep.”
“So we have three children here that can’t just be left alone and no idea how, when, or if they can be turned back into adults.”
Derek sighed. “There are beds here. Isaac and Peter have their own rooms anyway and Scott can sleep in the spare room.”
“And when Allison comes over and wants to know why a three year old who looks like Scott is watching cartoons? What then? Or the fact that there’s no way I’m letting this Peter see all the creepy research shit on the walls of adult Peter’s room. Not to mention the fact that you can’t cook to save your life and they have to eat. Or that this Isaac probably wants his mom and dad because his mom would be alive at this age and his dad not a raging asshole. What do you have planned for that?”
“Yeah,” agreed Stiles.
“I have no idea what to do, Stiles,” said Derek. “Shit and you’re going to go home and I have to figure out how to take care of three kids and find out what happened.”
“Dude, stop panicking. I’m not leaving you,” said Stiles, interrupting what was beginning to look like Derek’s first panic attack.
“It’s like you don’t even know me,” he answered with a shake of his head. “Just get my phone out of my hoodie pocket for me so I can make a call.”
Derek moved over and reached around Stiles to slip his hand between Peter and Stiles to grab the phone. Stiles felt a twinge of something, he wasn’t even sure what, as the pressure of Derek’s arm rested against his back.
“Here.” Derek handed him the phone.
Stiles took it and called his dad. As the phone rang, he motioned at Derek. “Call the pack and tell them to crash at my house tonight. Make sure they know to come over in the morning but not until then.”
“They’ll have questions,” noted Derek.
“Yeah, I’m sure. Just say we’ll answer what we can tomorrow and if they put up a fight I’ll make them eat cold cereal instead of making French toast,” said Stiles.
Derek nodded, he knew how much the pack loved Stiles’ cooking. It was one of the few things everyone agreed on. He moved away to start calling, still keeping an eye on Isaac and Scott, who were now lying in the grass, temporarily exhausted.
“Stiles?” His dad’s voice came through the phone. “What’s going on?”
“We’ve got a bit of a situation here. Not life-threatening but not the best either,” said Stiles. “Can like half the pack spend the night at the house? They don’t do well when they aren’t together and Derek’s house isn’t an option tonight.”
“That’s fine,” said John Stilinski. “Do I get more of an explanation?”
“Yeah. Can you pick up Melissa and come out to Derek’s? This is more of a see it to believe it situation,” answered Stiles.
“Sure. You’re okay?”
“Yeah, Dad, I’m okay. I’ll see you soon.” Stiles hung up the phone and stared down at the sleeping werewolf curled up against him. “This is just my life,” he said quietly.
Then he picked up Peter, carried him inside and set him on the couch, pulling a blanket over him. Once that was done, he headed into the kitchen and dug out several boxes of macaroni & cheese to make for dinner. Stiles looked up when he saw Derek walk in with Scott in one arm and Isaac in the other, both boys sound asleep. Derek raised an eyebrow at Stiles, noting the pots and pans.
“This is our life,” repeated Stiles with a shrug.