“Why won’t you just let it go?!”
“I didn’t think about it!” Stiles yells, almost hysterical. Because they’ve been fighting for hours.
“Didn’t think about what?!”
“You!” He shouts. Derek blinks. “I didn’t think about you, okay?! I never thought – I was prepared to spend my whole fucking life alone, before you. I was so ready. Mom died, and I – I saw what it did to dad, how much it killed him. I told myself I wasn’t going to do that. I wasn’t going to fall in love, because falling in love means losing myself in someone. I couldn’t give someone all of me and then risk having it ripped away. Don’t you get that? Too many people I love had died. You almost died in that fucking car accident. I – I was going to…”
“You were going to break up with me?” Derek breathes.
He doesn’t really know how to feel right now. Everything just. It hurts. And Stiles looks like he’s being torn apart, face pale and eyes impossibly wide.
“I’m selfish.” He finally croaks. “You should know that by now. I’d rather leave before I go in too deep than risk losing you.”
“And would that have worked?” He has to ask. Stiles closes his eyes.
“No.” He whispers. “I think…I lost myself in you a long time ago.” He sighs. “The moment you walked into the diner.”
“Are you…” Derek swallows, throat suddenly dry. “Are you breaking up with me right now?” Because he doesn’t think he can handle that. He spent months finding the perfect ring, planning the perfect moment. He’s been thinking about their future together since he finally admit to himself that yes, he loves Stiles. So no, he really can’t handle it if Stiles leaves him.
“God, no.” Stiles is suddenly right there, hands on his face. “I could never – I’m here for as long as you’ll have me.”
“Then why are we arguing?”
“I’m scared.” Tears spring up in Stiles’ eyes, falling fast down his cheeks. His voice wavers. “The accident- it messed me up, you know that. I can’t have – they said it wasn’t likely that – what if you change your mind? You deserve to have everything you want, Derek, and if I can’t give it you –”
“Stiles, hey, no.” He pulls him close, wrapping his arms around him. Stiles is trembling, his breath hot against Derek’s neck. “I’m happy as long as you’re here, okay? Nothing can change how I feel about you, you understand? The accident doesn’t change shit.”
“How can you be sure?” Stiles croaks.
Derek thinks about the moment in the hospital, watching Stiles and the kids. About the ring Laura’s hiding for him until the right moment.
"Because i can't imagine my life without you."
Stiles’ first heat while they’re together is spent in his shitty apartment, away from Derek’s family.
He remembers a talk about birth control, and the intoxicating sweet cinnamon scent coming off him, the whole apartment smelling like sex. The whole week was a blur of showers and sex and sleeping. Waking Stiles up with soft kisses. The sun streaming in from the windows making his hair and eyes glow gold.
It was perfect.
For Stiles’ twenty-sixth birthday, Derek proposes to him.
The accident wrecked Stiles’ leg, and it was a couple months before he was allowed to even try walking. Stiles hated it, especially because it meant he couldn’t run around with Scott and Rebekah like he used to, maybe even never again. Their first week home from the hospital was spent in bed, trying to console him and reassuring each other that they were alive.
Now though, Stiles could walk around for longer periods of time, and he hardly used his crutches. He was happier than he’s been since the accident, so it’s the perfect time.
It’s hard, convincing the twins to behave and keep quiet, because ‘it’s Stiles’ birthday too, kiddos, and Uncle Derek’s trying to make it extra special this year’, and they’re only five. But they play along. They giggle every time they see Stiles, and Derek’s sure he knows something’s up, but they don’t give it away.
That is, until it’s time to unwrap gifts, and Beck gives them both a confused look.
“But Derry,” because she refuses to say Derek, “Where’s Uncle S’s present?”
“Yeah!” Scott joins in helpfully. “Where’s the shiny ring you’re supos’ta give ‘im?”
And Stiles completely freezes beside him, mouth dropped open in shock. He feels his face heat up, and Isaac’s got his head in his hands. Cora’s not even attempting to look sorry, she’s just barely holding in her laughter.
She probably told them to mention it, damn it.
“Derek?” Stiles whispers, finally turning to look at him. He sighs.
“I – um.” He fumbles with the ring in his pocket and takes a deep breath.
Now or never.
He gets on one knee, and his face is on fucking fire, oh god. Stiles is still staring, that same shocked, not-quite-sure look on his face. He’s leaning heavily against the wall, the hour he spent standing clearly affecting him.
“Will you be my Mate? Like, officially?” He gets out. And god, does it make him feel stupid. He hasn’t used the word ‘like’ in that context since he was seventeen years old. He’s thirty one, for fucks sake.
“U’cle ‘Tiles.” Scott says. “You’re supos’ta say some’fin’.”
“Oh!” Stiles jolts, eyes wide. “Oh my god – yes? Yes! I will, shit, I –”
“You said a bad word!” Beck points. Isaac groans.
“Stiles, I know this is a great moment for you, but for the love of all that is holy, please don’t curse in front of my children.”
“I – I’ll try.” He says quickly, and then Derek’s got his arms full of Stiles, clinging tightly.
“What’s shit mean?” Scott whispers loudly.
“That’s it!” Stiles grins triumphantly, holding up an empty box. Derek raises an eyebrow.
“The last box is finally unpacked! We’ve officially moved in!” He waves it around for emphasis. Derek rolls his eyes and puts down his sketch book.
“We moved in three months ago, Stiles.”
“Yeah, but now it’s official.”
“I think it became official when we signed the papers.”
“You’re no fun.” Stiles whines, dropping the box. He throws himself down on the couch and butts his head against Derek’s chest, sighing when the Alpha finally gives in and wraps his arms around him. “Wow, you’re comfy. When I pictured this while I worked in the diner, I always imagined that all your muscle would make me super uncomfortable.”
They schedule the wedding for a month after Isaac’s due date. Knowing their luck, he would have had the baby at the wedding if they’d done it sooner.
Beck and Scott fight over who gets to be the ‘flower girl’ until Stiles says they can both do it, and their baby sister, Angela, will just have to be the ring bearer. Isaac ends up being Stiles’ best man.
“Is it sad that my sister’s my best woman?” Derek wonders. He may be slightly drunk, but that’s not his fault. He was kidnapped. Bachelor parties are a must, apparently. Laura punches him in the shoulder.
“Not my fault your only friends are you family members.”
“I’m his friend.” Boyd points out. Laura rolls her eyes.
“You’re married to our cousin, so you’re family. Isaac’s married to our sister, so he’s also family. His only non-familial friend was Stiles, but seeing as he’s going to be marrying him in two days, I don’t think he count, either.”
“Yeah I am.” Derek sighs, grinning.
“I love Drunk Derek.” Erica says gleefully.
They have the ceremony in the preserve. Stiles wanted it smaller, at first, but word spreads fast in this town. Originally, it was just going to be the Hales, the Sheriff, and Mrs. McCall. But then everyone on his dad’s side (Not Hales. His father’s name was Reyes, before. He took mom’s name) invited themselves, and then people from the station, a couple of nurses that knew Stiles from when he spent all that time in the hospital as a kid, and a lot of diner regulars. Then some old friends of Claudia’s showed up. Pretty soon, they went from a small gathering of eleven to a group of almost two hundred.
“I never thought we’d get here.” Stiles whispers, looking towards the group of people dancing on the grass. Erica was being twirled around by Boyd. “I thought I was never going to be this happy.”
“Well.” Derek kisses his forehead. “You thought wrong.” Stiles hums.
“Yeah.” He grins. “Hey.”
“Dance with me.” Derek snorts.
“I’m a terrible dancer, and so are you. We don’t even have a song.” He points out. Stiles pouts.
“Well then, whatever song comes on when we dance will be our song. Come on, Der. It’s a tradition.”
“You hate tradition. In fact, I remember a whole rant about how tradition is stupid, and you’d rather have us walk down the aisle at the same time.” He raises an eyebrow.
“That part is stupid. Most of it’s stupid, really. But if I want to dance with my husband, I should be able to dance with my husband. Please?”
And, woah. They’re husbands. He got married today.
He’s going to spend the rest of his life with Stiles. Because that’s what married couples do.
“Okay.” He promises.
The shop’s small, and smells like cake. Derek can hear Stiles moving around in the kitchen, and he sits down at the counter, waiting. When his boyfriend finally does come out from the back, he’s covered in floor and looks completely frazzled. There’s pink icing on his cheek, and he stares at Derek with crazed eyes.
“How long have you been up?” He asks. Stiles makes a strange, strangled noise, and runs his hand through his hair, a cloud of white powder around him.
“Um. Two? Or three? I think? It’s entirely possible I didn’t sleep, and just blacked out for an hour.”
“You need a break.” He decides, going around the counter to tug Stiles outside.
“What?! No! I need to – it’s not finished –”
“No.” He stops, wiping the icing off Stiles’ cheek with his thumb. “Stiles, the people in this town love you. I’m pretty sure they’d understand if they have to wait a while for one of your deserts. Though, I doubt they will, since you’ve been preparing for this for weeks.” Stiles nods. “You need to take a break. We can’t have you falling asleep on the job.”
“You’re gonna clean up, change your clothes, and take a nap.”
“I’ll wake you up in two hours. I promise.” Stiles closes his eyes, sighing.
“It couldn’t hurt.” he admits. Derek smiles at him, and leans in to press a quick kiss to his lips.
“You’re going to be great. Trust me.”
“Can I, um, talk to you guys about something?” Isaac asks them.
“Are you pregnant again?” Stiles raises his eyebrows. “Because, I mean, I’m all for people wanting tons of kids, but you literally just gave birth, like, two months ago –”
“No, no. It’s – it’s about Scott.” Stiles frowns, leaning forward.
“Is he okay?” Derek wonders.
“He’s fine, it’s just…” Isaac sighs. “The school called a couple hours ago. Scott and another girl got in a fight. Apparently, he tried to take her doll, and when she told him beta boys don’t play with dolls, he said he wasn’t a boy.”
“Yeah.” Isaac runs a hand through his curls. “I’m not sure what to do. Does he not understand what a boy is? Or maybe he thinks he’s not a boy because he likes dolls? I mean, I don’t care whether Scott turns out to be a boy or a girl, but I don’t really know where to go from here.”
“Why are you telling us this? What did Cora say?” Stiles asks.
“She – well, she doesn’t know. She’s just as bad at communication as Derek, and I don’t think I should tell her until I understand.” He takes a deep breath. “I need you to talk to him.”
“Well, Stiles, mostly. You’re better at that sort of thing.”
“I –” Stiles nods. “Yeah. Okay.”
“Hey buddy.” Stiles grins, crouching. Scott gasps, and launches himself at Stiles.
“‘Tiles!” Scott squeals, wrapping small arms around his neck. He beams up at Derek. “Derry!”
“Hey.” He leans down and ruffles his dark brown curls. They haven’t been back since the wedding, and it’s probably felt like years to Scott.
“So, kiddo,” Stiles pulls back, and gives him a look. Derek thinks he’s seen that same look before – on Stiles’ father, when he’s trying to get the truth out of them. Never let it be said that Stiles isn’t John Stilinski’s son. “Wanna tell us what happened at school today?”
Scott frowns. “Jean called me a boy.”
“And she was wrong?”
“Yeah.” He crosses his arms over his chest. “I’m notta boy t’day.”
“What do you mean by that?” Stiles wonders. Scott glances up, hesitant, and Derek steps away, pretending to busy himself with inspecting the pictures on the walls.
“I dunno.” Scott confesses. “I don’think I’m’a boy sometimes. I think I’m’a girl. Like t’day. “ he pauses. “M’ I not supos’ta think that?”
“If you say you’re a girl sometimes, then that’s what you are.” Stiles assures him. “If somebody tells you you’re lying, they’re wrong. You’re whatever you want to be, Scotty. But you gotta tell us when you’re feeling like a boy or a girl, okay? And you can’t start fights with other girls, either. Or take their toys. Ask for them, or take Beck’s”
“Okay.” Derek turns back around right when Scott hugs him again.
“Awesome. Now, go tell your dad what you told me.”
The painting’s almost done. It’s the first one since the fire that that hasn’t made him want to tear something apart in the end, so he’s calling that a win.
It’s Stiles. The gentle slope of his nose, the sun highlighting his long lashes, the Omega Gold of his eyes. He spent a week on it, and it’ll probably never be shown in any galleries. It was probably a waste of time. But he loves it. He just doesn’t know if Stiles will. They’ve only been together a couple of months, he hasn’t even said ‘I love you’ yet, at least not officially. He –
“Derek, hey! There you…are…” Stiles stops short at the doorway, gaping at the painting.
“Shhh.” He hisses, stepping closer. He reaches out to touch it, but Derek stops him with a hand on his wrist.
“It’s-it’s still wet.” He explains. Stiles glances at him.
“This is me.”
“That’s my face, right there. That you painted. I – wow.” He breathes. “How long did it take you to make this?”
“A week?” he shrugs when Stiles’ eyebrows rise.
“Holy – Derek! This is – I mean – holy shit, dude.” He lets out a sort of awed laugh and smiles. “This is amazing.” He makes a face that can only be described as fond and takes a step towards Derek. “I’m kind of in love with it. And you, too. I hope you know that.”
“Me too.” He whispers. “I mean – I love you. Too. Very much, actually.”
“Good.” Stiles wraps his arms around his neck.
“I’m getting paint on your clothes.”
“I don’t care.”
Everything’s going great, until it suddenly isn’t.
Because Stiles is sick.
And it’s nothing, at first. He blames it on the food he ate the night before, when it first happens. Blames the loss of appetite on the stress of working so much during wedding season. But when he wakes up to the sounds of Stiles throwing up in the bathroom for the fifth day in a row, Derek is officially worried. Because he remembers what Stiles told him about when his mom got sick. The vomiting was the first sign. He can tell that's what Stiles is thinking about too, now. He's already started to pull away, slowly, and Derek hates it. They only got married a few short months ago, this can't be the end.
"Stiles," He crouches down next to him. Stiles has his forehead pressed against the run of the toilet, face pale. "Baby, you need to see a doctor."
"I'll be fine." He whispers.
"You're not fine. You're sick. You can hardly keep anything down, and you sleep almost all the time. You're not okay." Stiles finally looks up, lower lip trembling.
He looks terrified.
"I don't want -" his voice cracks, and he snaps his mouth shut. It takes him a moment. "I don't want to leave." He cries. Derek runs a hand up and down his back while he cries, determined not to break down.
"We'll fix this." He promises. “You’re going to be okay.”
Stiles cries harder.
He takes Stiles to the hospital for tests later that day. He's uncharacteristically still and quiet throughout it all, and stays that way even after they come back home. He just burrows under the covers and stays there. Derek's not really sure what to do. Not sure how this is all going to turn out. Will he have to call the Sheriff? His family? Are they gonna have to start talking about chemo? He's seen what the death of his wife did to John, and he doesn't want to end up that way. But he will, he'll do anything if Stiles wants him to.
"Do you want me to call your dad? Isaac?” He offers. Isaac was there, when Stiles’ mom died, right? He’d know what to do.
“No.” Stiles mumbles. “Just. Stay with me, please?”
“I’m not leaving.” He leans down and kisses Stiles’ forehead before getting into bed.
It’s quiet for a few minutes. Stiles clings to Derek, head on the Alpha’s chest.
“I never thought about it.” Stiles whispers.
“Thought about what?”
“dying.” He takes a deep, shaky breath. “It’s called Personal Fable. The belief that none of life’s troubles will ever happen to you. It’s usually something teens have, but, when does anyone ever really think about the worst happening to them? I never thought I’d die like my mom did. Never really considered it. I was too worried about what would happen if my dad died of a heart attack.”
“You’re not dying.” Derek says firmly. “You won’t. You can’t.”
“You don’t know that.”
“You can’t die. I won’t let you.”
“You can’t keep me alive by sheer force of will, Derek.” Stiles says sadly. Derek growls.
“Yes I can. I –” he closes his eyes. “I need you. You just – you have to stay.”
“We don’t always get what we want.”
Stiles spends the next day with his dad, and Derek goes to his parent’s place. Every reacts pretty much like Derek expects them to. Laura looks up the cancer survival rates of Omegas, Cora and Dad pretend everything has a 100% chance of turning out fine, and Grant retreats to his room to think. Mom is at the diner, so she doesn’t hear. Daniel’s still traveling the world.
Derek sits in the kitchen, staring down at his phone on the counter and trying not to think about what his life would be like without Stiles.
“Why aren’t you with him?” Peter asks, startling him. His uncle sits down next to him at the counter.
“He wants to be with his dad.” Derek shrugs. “We’re not sure if anything’s really wrong with him.”
“…There’s nothing else it could be.” he croaks. Peter puts a hand on his shoulder.
“Stiles is the strongest person I’ve ever met.” He says quietly.
“I thought that was you.” Derek jokes. Peter rolls his eyes.
“Well, that’s true. But he’s still fairly strong. If this is something bad, he won’t go without a fight.” His uncle cocks his head to the side, contemplative. “Though, I do recall what Claudia looked like, before she was diagnosed. And while the symptoms are identical, it almost sounds like he’s –”
His phone rings, cutting him off. When Derek sees it’s from the hospital, he stands quickly, answering it.
“Hello?” He gets out.
“Derek, hello. This is Dr. Barnes. I have your test results, if you’d like to hear them.”
“Then, congratulations, Mr. Hale. It appears that Stiles is about nine weeks along. I’d him to come in for a checkup next week, when you’re both free.” She finishes. Then, after a second of silence; “Hello? Are you there?”
“Oh. Yes. Yeah. Thank you.” He hangs up, feeling more than a bit shocked. Peter frowns.
“Is everything alright?”
“Th-that was the hospital.” He swallows. He’s sure the relief and excitement will set in after a moment, once he gets over the shock. “Stiles isn’t sick.” Peter nods, looking kind of…smug?
"Stiles," Derek starts. Stiles is grinning, smile so wide it's gotta hurt. "Stiles Stilinski. Love of my life. Air that I breathe. Pain in my ass -"
"I'm charmed by your romantic prowess." Stiles snorts. "Technically, you're the pain in my ass -"
"Stiles." Derek sighs.
"Right, sorry. Continue." Stiles laughs.
"Oh, would you just - Stiles, will you move in with me?" He asks. Stiles beams, throwing his arms around Derek's neck and pressing a wet kiss to his mouth.