Stiles is walking across the student union, talking to his dad on the phone, when he sees her for the first time in almost eight months. To say she looks different than she did at the beginning of the semester party where they'd danced and flirted and had memorable but not life changing-or so he thought, at the time-sex, would be an understatement.
She notices him staring, gawking, really, and excuses herself from the conversation she's engaged in to make her way over to him. Stiles stumbles through a rushed goodbye to his dad and manages to meet her somewhere near the middle of the distance between them. She's clearly uncomfortable with the unplanned reunion, and waves awkwardly as she approaches. Stiles is not any more elegant in his halting greeting of “Hey, uh, Liz. You, um… hello?”
She smiles at him, but it lacks warmth. “Hi, Stiles. I've, uh, been meaning to call you.”
“Really? And when were you planning on doing that,” he asks sarcastically, anger at the obvious brush off. Angrier at the idea that she was keeping such an important thing from him. “Because I'm pretty good with math, Liz, and it's been about eight months since that party,” he gestures vaguely at her rounded belly, “And that. That looks like you're pretty damn close to the end, there.”
She sighs, and it's so laced with resignation that Stiles can practically feel it pressing against his chest. “Look, I'm not keeping it. I was going to call you when it was time to terminate parental rights, alright? It's not a big deal, really. Just a few signatures and it'll be done.”
“Not a big- are you serious, right now? Were you even going to give me a choice, Elizabeth? Or were you just going to spring this on me when it was time to sign the papers,” he's legitimately angry now, can feel his heartbeat rabbit fast inn his chest, his hands are shaking where he's opening and closing them rapidly, squeezing and pressing his blunt nails into his palms to keep from having a full blown panic attack.
“Keep your voice down, Stiles,” Liz looks around nervously at the dozens of students buzzing around them in the public space. Stiles seethes, let's a long, slow breath out through his nose, clenching his jaw. Before he can interject, she sighs out a placating “Look, I have to get to class, we can talk later? I'll come by your dorm around 7 tonight alright?” She blinks her hazel eyes at him, tucks her dark hair behind her ear, and Stiles is briefly reminded of another dark haired beauty with changeable eyes, but he shakes the thoughts away before the fondness for that person can chase away his anger at the one in front of him.
He sighs, not thrilled with the idea of waiting, of not knowing for even another few hours, but really not wanting to fight a pregnant woman, he gives in. “Fine, but if you're not there by 7.15, I'm going to show up at yours. With a lawyer.” He hopes his tone reflects how serious he is, because in that moment he knows with absolute certainty, that if the child that Liz is planning to give up is his, then there is no way anyone other than him is going to be raising that baby.
Stiles arrives back at his dorm room around 3pm, and is grateful for his single occupancy as it allows him to scream dramatically into his pillow for a solid three minutes without worrying he'll be interrupted. By 3:25, he's cleaned up and tidied the entirety of the room.
By 4:00, he's researched the efficacy of various forms of birth control, and determined that if the baby is in fact his, Liz has approximately seven weeks to go, because apparently pregnancy actually lasts for 40 weeks, not nine months.
By 5:20, he's learned about the recommended diet for pregnant women, investigated prenatal vitamins, learned about colostrum and decided to ask Liz to breastfeed for the time they're inn the hospital. He's discovered that people donate breastmilk and located a source near the campus and one at home in Beacon Hills. He's read up on father's rights in adoption proceedings and looked up local lawyers, even drafted a letter to Jackson, in case he needed to call on the Whitmore’s for advice. At 6:00, he filled his Amazon cart with the most highly recommended bottles, onesies, a car seat with an A+ safety rating, a crib and other baby essentials, though he was waiting to click “submit” until after he spoke to Liz.
By 6:30, he's read the university's policies on student-parents and drafted a letter to his professors and the necessary bureaucrats to request taking his finals early, because graduation is about as far away as his best guess due date. He orders the healthiest meal he can have delivered, not sure if Liz will have eaten, and schedules it for a 7:30 delivery. 6:58 has him mentally rehearsing conversations with his dad about moving home with an extra small human and foregoing walking across the stage for graduation. His heart clenches a little thinking about the friends-the pack- he's fallen out of touch with recently, he wonders briefly how they'd all feel about a new, tiny member.
At 7:04, there's a knock on his door, and his heart stops beating for a long few seconds. As he stands up from his desk chair, wiping his suddenly damp palms on his jeans, he spares a moment to mourn the future he had been planning up until 2:50 this afternoon. As he reaches for the doorknob, he takes a deep breath and does his best to let it go as he opens the door.
Liz looks slightly put out and more than a little tired, which spurs Stiles to usher her into the room and help her sit in his relatively comfortable chair. Neither of them speak for a long moment, and it's awkward enough for his earlier tension to return, the ameliorative effects of his researching and newfound knowledge ebbing now that he's faced with the reality of Liz's deception. He's sharper than he means to be when he asks “So it's mine, then,” and he's immediately contrite. At Liz's answering glare, he puts his hands up and rushes to apologize. “Sorry, sorry. I know you're not-um. I know you wouldn't be here if you weren't sure. I just don't understand why you didn't try to tell me sooner, Liz. It's not exactly fair, and I would've supported you.” It's difficult to keep his voice even, and his hands are absently flexing against his knees, he clasps them together to keep them still.
Liz sighs loudly, her hands mindlessly patting her belly. “Look, Stiles,” she says, as though talking to an unreasonable animal, making his jaw clench, “I probably should have told you sooner, but I'm not keeping her, so-”
“Her? It's a girl, then,” he asks, voice cracking slightly.
Liz nods, “Yes, and I'm not planning on being a mom right now, so I didn't see much point in dragging you into the situation before it was necessary.”
Stiles had grown increasingly angry as her speech progressed, and it takes all of his self control to release a deep breath instead of a shout. He still sounds wound too tight, even to his own ears, when he manages to not-quite-growl out, “Well, did it occur to you that I might want her? Because I do, and you can't take her from me, Liz. I won't let you.”
The food arrived before they could talk much more, and Liz was more than a little surprised that Stiles thought to feed her, that he thought about the situation at all, really. The meal was relatively healthy, considering it was delivery from the local diner, and when she commented on it, Stiles shrugged endearingly and explained he'd done a lot of research while he waited. As he highlighted some of the things he'd learned, Liz had a brief flash of regret that they weren't five years older and doing this whole starting a family thing together. Because Stiles Stilinski is going to be an amazing father, and if she were to do this for real, she'd want someone just as invested as he is.
Stiles had just started talking about all the things you apparently need to buy to be ready for a baby, Liz was watching him with a slightly awed look on her face when she suddenly reached out a hand and settled it on his forearm. He paused his serving up of the food and turned more fully toward her. “You're really serious about this, aren't you? You want this baby,” she asks quietly, her voice reflecting the same surprised awe as her expression.
Stiles places his hand over hers and squeezes gently, “Absolutely, she's mine,” he says simply, as though it were the only possible truth.
Liz smiles sadly at that, but squeezes his arm and says “Ok, then. Tell me what else you learned this afternoon,” as she settles back into the chair, gratefully accepting a plate when Stiles offers it with a relieved smile curving his lips.
“Ok, well did you know that condoms are only like, 85% effective with actual use? Crazy right? And birth control pills only 92%; still that little girl beat some tough odds. It's pretty amazing actually,” he'd started out rambling, but his voice grew fond and a smile spread on his face as he thought more about the little miracle they'd created, accident or not, it was incredible.
Liz laughed lightly, “Well, I know now,” she says, nodding her head to encourage him to continue.
Stiles grins, licks his lips briefly, and dives into a long list of the benefits of breastfeeding, La Leche League, and the importance of colostrum. Liz is more than a little shocked by his fervor, but agrees to try to give the baby- “ Claudia , after my mom,”- Stiles interrupts, every advantage she can before signing her rights away. Stiles is immensely grateful.
It's hours later, when they've reviewed everything Stiles had learned earlier in the day and Liz sleepily insisted they take a break for the night (declining Stiles’ offer to sleep in his bed to avoid the short walk back to her dorm, then declining his offer to walk her home) when Stiles is pulling on pyjamas pants and running a hand through his hair with a tired sigh, that he takes a moment to wish that there was someone here with him. Someone to take all the thoughts racing through his head to for help untangling the important things from the needless worries. Someone to tell him it will be alright.
He knows he has his dad, and that he really needs to call him back tonight, despite it inching toward 11 o'clock, but what he really wants is a partner. Someone to hold his hand, hold him , and make the world feel a little less upside down.
The ringing of his phone pulls him from his thoughts, and he figures his dad got sick of waiting for his call.
“Hey, pops,” he answers without looking at the caller ID, “You will not believe the day I've had,” he says, voice cracking slightly.
“Stiles? What's wrong,” the voice on the other end of the line asks. The voice that is decidedly not his dad's.
“Derek? Is that-” Stiles sputters slightly, the relief that courses through him at the unexpected sound of the other man's voice catching him off guard. “I mean. Hi. It's just- It's good to hear from you, Der,” he sighs, sinking onto the side of his bed, bracing his arms on his knees and cradling his head in his free hand.
Derek sounds fond but concerned when he replies “It's good to hear your voice, too, Stiles. Now, what's wrong? What can I do,” and Stiles feels something loosen in his chest.
He takes a deep breath before he begins.