They're squatting in an abandoned carpenter's shop because Stiles' dad has not taken kindly to realizing that his son is a teenage parent. The part where his partner in crime (and also newborn baby, probably) is a werewolf did not improve matters any.
The carpenter's shop isn't actually bad. There's electricity, heating and running water, a kitchenette and a bed frame that they piled blankets on because the mattress smelled of old blood and decay. There's a working refrigerator, even, but it's empty except for a tub of margarine and some ketchup packets.
"So, groceries," Stiles says, faking a smile until he can make one.
Derek just grunts and wraps on the baby sling he improvised.
Stiles tries not to stare at the sight of a grown werewolf wearing a flower-patterned sheet with a cooing baby in it. "I can't tell if this is more bizarre or more adorable."
Derek rolls his eyes. "Let's just go."
Stiles doesn't want to go to the supermarket he usually frequents. For one thing, that's also the one his dad frequents, and while the sheriff still hasn't pressed any statutory rape charges against Derek they would definitely prefer to let sleeping cops lie.
So they end up going to the convenience store closest to their current hideaway, and Stiles prepares to pick up a few Hungry Man dinners and be done with it.
Except Derek takes one incredulous look at the package Stiles is holding and grabs it away, firmly putting it back on the shelf. "I'm not eating that crap, and neither should you."
"Oh, excuse me for not being Martha Stewart," Stiles snaps. "Look, I've been keeping my--" dad, he's about to say, swallows it with the sudden hurt spiking in him, "myself fed for seven years now, but my actual cooking skills are pretty limited. We can grab some celery to go along with it if you like."
Derek just stares at Stiles like he crash-landed a spaceship in the frozen meals aisle. “This place doesn't even have fresh produce.” Then he turns, looking terrifyingly decisive. "Come on."
He leads them on, shoving beans and tomato paste at Stiles, ignoring Stiles' mutinous mutters about not being about to live on beans and toast, thank you very much. He doesn't even think they have toast, actually.
"We should at least get formula," Stiles says when Derek herds him towards the registers.
Derek pauses and actually growls at this. "We don't need formula." He says the word like it personally offends him.
Stiles throws his hands up (metaphorically, since they're full of canned beans and rice). He isn't going to argue with Derek about breastfeeding, alright, there's a limit right there and Stiles isn't crossing it.
Stiles has no idea where to look when Derek feeds the baby. Derek doesn't seem body-shy in the least, which - why would he be, have you seen Derek? Even the recent birth doesn't seem to have left any marks behind, except maybe Derek's pecs look a little fuller, and his nipples may have grown a little bit....
It's not Stiles' fault that he knows what Derek's nipples looked like before, okay? Derek and his rampant disregard for shirts can claim all the responsibility on that one, thanks.
But the thing is, Stiles isn't certain where they stand now. Well, sure, they had sex: once, with Derek not in his right mind and it wasn't like Stiles exactly knew what he was getting into, either. Which, whatever, he's not backing out now, they're going to co-parent this kid into the most amazing specimen of werekind ever, just see if they don't. But that doesn't mean Stiles can just ogle Derek whenever.
Derek puts an end to this train of thought by handing the him the baby and shrugging a shirt on. "I'm going out," he says.
Stiles clutches the baby instinctively, afraid to drop him. The baby makes a tiny creaky sound of distress until Stiles shifts to cradle him with both arms, not forgetting to support his precious little head. "What? Going where?"
For a second Derek looks irritated, like he's just going to say out and call that an answer. Instead he replies, "To get some actual food. We can't just live on rice and beans."
Stiles suppresses his I told you sos. "But what if the baby gets hungry?" he says, because it's better than Help, don't leave me alone, how do babies even work?
Derek rolls his eyes. "I just fed him. I won't be gone long. Burp him and rock him to sleep, he'll be fine."
The baby (and they really need to find an actual name for him, geez) starts crying about half an hour later, nuzzling and mouthing at Stiles' chest. He settles down to a miserable whimper when Stiles digs in the big kit of baby stuff he first bought for Derek, finds a pacifier and sticks it in the baby's mouth.
The pacifier falls out a minute later. The baby's crying picks up in volume, morphing into angry screaming. Stiles walks with the baby in his arms, making shushing sounds and feeling solidly like the worst parent in the history of ever.
By the time Derek comes through the door (running, which may or may not make Stiles' heart swell), the baby has gone into quiet little heart-wrenching whimpers. Derek reaches and Stiles hands him the baby. Derek opens his shirt one-handed, guiding the baby to find his nipple, and Stiles sighs in relief when the whimpers disappear in favor of frantic sucking noises.
Stiles turns his attention to the pack of meat on the kitchen table. It's... pretty ordinary, actually, a green Styrofoam bottom holding a bunch of ground meat and wrapped in clingfilm. "I kinda figured you'd just drop a dead bunny on the table."
Derek's silent. When Stiles looks at him, Derek is clearly giving him his not talking about this glare. It's really not as terrifying as it ought to be with a baby attached to his nipple.
Really not terrifying at all. The smile spreading on Stiles’ face in response is probably goofy as hell.
Derek's expression softens. "Not far from that, actually. There's a butcher a few blocks away. Tony's. He buys game from me every now and then, and he let me use his meat grinder."
Stiles blinks, disbelieving. "So you literally hunted a rabbit and brought the meat home. While I waited for you with the baby."
"It's not like I can take him hunting." Derek attempts a glare again, but it's a half-hearted thing. "And there was more than one rabbit. I sold some to Tony." Derek nods in the direction of a few bills resting by the pack of meat. "You should take the money and go get some vegetables."
"What." Stiles is not at all certain that he's happy with this sudden hunter/gatherer division of labor.
Derek seems to take this as a request for a shopping list. "Onions. Tomatos, carrots, bell peppers. Potatoes, if you want. Anything that does okay with long cooking."
Stiles stands his ground. "Who said I'm going the shopping?"
Derek switches the baby to the other-- side. Stiles feels seriously weird applying the word breast to Derek. Who looks distinctly unimpressed. "I cook and hunt, you do shopping. We can talk about who does the dishes later."
A little unilateral, but not actually unreasonable. Stiles goes, suitably humbled.
On the way back from the greengrocer's, Stiles is struck by sudden doubt. Do they even have pots and pans?
So it's something of a relief to step into the kitchenette at the back of the shop and see Derek frying the meat up. The baby is wrapped up in a blanket on the bed, sleeping soundly. The room is warm and smells like food, and suddenly Stiles feels choked up and can't explain why, exactly.
It's a relief when Derek puts him to work washing and peeling vegetables. With two people, the work is finished quickly, and soon the pot simmers on the fire. Derek looks at it critically. “I'll give it an hour,” he says. “Then we should start the rice.”
Stiles sits down on the edge of the bed frame, careful not to disturb the baby. “We still need to pick out a name.”
This makes Derek's shoulders tense. Stiles really isn't in the mood to start fighting. Derek, he knows, is all the family Stiles has now. Him and the baby.
Stiles swallows and changes subjects. “When did you learn to cook?”
Derek shrugs, comes to sit down besides Stiles. He seems to have his attention equally trained on the baby and the pot on the fire. “I must have picked it up when I was a kid,” he says. “When Laura and I were on our own, she brought groceries home and I made food. I found recipes on the internet and stuff. It never seemed complicated.”
Stiles gives Derek a small smile. “Maybe you're just a natural,” he says. He likes this vein of conversation and hates to divert it again, but there are bad memories lurking under the cozy stories, and they need to think of practical matters. “We're going to need money now. I thought I could get a job--”
"No.” Derek averts his eyes. “You need to focus on school.”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “I'm not saying I'll drop out, I'm saying I'll go do some minimum-wage slaving in the afternoons. Can't start Junior's college fund too early.”
Derek's brow furrows. “No,” he says again, slowly. “You don't need to worry about that. We have-- I have enough to keep us safe.” His shoulders go stiff again. “From the life insurance.”
Stiles decides to let it go. For now. “We can keep that for his college fund, then. But we need to live off something in the meanwhile. I'm guessing hunting isn't going to keep us up in diapers and gas money?”
Derek's eyes are intent on Stiles. "I can find a job.”
"Sure you could,” Stiles says. “And then if I found one too, then we might just be able to--”
At which point the baby starts fussing. Derek picks him up, and Stiles heavily suspects that look on his face is relief.
To be perfectly honest, Stiles has always viewed vegetables as some kind of punishment. An appeasement made to the health gods before you defile the temple that is your body with pizza and curly fries.
But the chilli is good, carrots tender and sweet on Stiles' tongue, the gravy rich and complex. It warms him from the bones outward. Stiles may never be able to eat industrial food again.
Okay, who is he kidding, there will always be room in his heart for boxed mac'n'cheese. Still. “This is delicious,” he says with his mouth full.
Looking on the bright side, Stiles at least manages to swallow before gaping with his mouth open, because fuck, that smile transforms Derek's entire face. It's not the predatory expression he wears on calculated seductions, it's small and honest and happy and his eyes sparkle and Stiles thinks he might be melting inside.
It really doesn't help that when the baby starts crying again a minute later, Derek doesn't lose the smile. In fact it changes, softening into something downright unbearable as Derek takes the baby in his arms.
"Don't,” Stiles blurts. Derek arches an eyebrow at him. “Let me have him, you need to eat. Can't have you getting malnourished, you're the kid's only source of sustenance.”
Derek's eyebrows speak volumes of how little sense he thinks Stiles is making, but he surrenders the baby.
The baby doesn't appear to be hungry, and – Stiles checks – his diaper is clean and dry. “What's wrong, kid?” Stiles bounces the baby carefully. “What's got you so upset, huh?”
"Could be gas,” Derek says. “Or he might be trying to poop.” He shovels a forkful of rice in his mouth, appetite apparently entirely uninfluenced by the subject of conversation. “Try putting him on your shoulder, that could help.”
Stiles does, hiding his face in the side of the baby's belly. He doesn't think he could look at Derek without saying... something. That they'll both regret.
They're stuck in this together, now. Stiles is pathetically happy that Derek's okay with him, that he's willing to let Stiles be a part of his kid's life. Stiles isn't about to jeopardize that.
In the night, the door to the shop creaks open. Derek's eyes open as well. He turns his back to Stiles and the cub, nestled in the blankets behind them, squaring his shoulders.
At the door, Sheriff Stilinski raises his hands in mock-surrender. He's letting the cold air in. “Come to arrest me?” Derek says, low. Behind him Stiles snores on, oblivious.
The sheriff snorts softly. “I don't actually want my son to stage a jail breakout. Once was enough.” His eyes narrow. “I know what Stiles is like. If I can't convince him with reason, I sure as hell won't be able to do it by force. No, I'll just have to give him time to realize what a terrible idea this is by himself.”
Derek doesn't answer. He's not entirely sure he disagrees with the sheriff.
The sheriff's look is lingering, a little sad, even. “But until he does...”
"I'll keep him safe,” Derek says. “With my life and everything I have in me.”
There's tense silence until the sheriff nods. “See that you do.”
Derek stays still as the door shuts, waits for the sound of footsteps to fade. Only then does he turn back.
A beam of moonlight hits Stiles across the eyes, making him scrunch his nose in his sleep. The pup and him make such a complete bundle of scents, their hearts beating in harmony – the baby's much quicker, but lining up with Stiles' on every fifth beat or so.
Derek gets up and hangs his jacket over the shop window. Stiles' face settles in the darkness. But his arm reaches, snaking into the empty space where Derek was. Derek climbs back in the bed, curving to make a protective wall around the pup.
Safe and sound, Derek thinks, and his hand finds Stiles' in the darkness.