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Stiles wakes up sweaty, dizzy, and with a persistent throbbing behind his eyes. He lifts his head and blinks blearily, and then immediately regrets that decision when last night’s tequila decides to try and make an unwelcome reappearance. It takes a few minutes, and couple of deep, careful breaths, but he eventually manages to swallow back the wave of nausea without throwing up all over himself.

Or whoever he’s sharing a bed with, because there's a warm body spooned up against Stiles’ back, a heavy arm draped over his waist, and a mouth pressed against his shoulder, huffing out quiet, steady little breaths.

It’s not uncomfortable, actually, and since moving too much seems to be a shitty idea anyway, Stiles snuggles back against the guy—and it’s definitely a guy, hello morning wood—ready to doze off again. The guy makes a sleepy noise, tightens his grip, and pulls Stiles back against his chest, nuzzling at the back of Stiles’ neck.

Stiles could get used to waking up like this. Well, minus the hangover, but the rest of it is pretty sweet. He’s getting cuddled, this bed has way less pointy springs than the shitty one in his dorm, the sheets are super soft, and the scent of contented alpha hanging in the air is a nice change from the aura of weed surrounding his roomate at all times.

Now, if only the sun could move a couple of inches to the left, and stop shining right into Stiles’ face, that would be—

“Shit!” Stiles exclaims, eyes flying open.

The world tilts dangerously when he props himself up on his elbow, double vision going full force as he frantically looks around the room in search of a clock. He doesn’t find one, but spots his phone, thankfully not quite dead yet, on the bedside table, grabbing and unlocking it with shaking fingers.

8:17. Shit. Shit, shit, shit!

His shift at the library starts at 9:00. If he’s still in the same neighbourhood as the bar he ended up in yesterday, then there’s no way he’ll make it back to campus, and then to work on time. Without a pit stop at the dorm, he might just make it, though.

Standing up is a Herculean task—seriously, fuck tequila—and Stiles has to brace himself with a hand against to wall for a long moment until the room stops spinning. Which puts him in prime position to get a good whiff of himself, and nope, he can’t show up to Saturday Reading Hour like this. So, plan; shower, get the taste of death out of his mouth, find his clothes and hope they’re not a completely lost cause, somehow get to work on time.

Right. Totally doable. Probably.

Once he’s relatively sure walking won’t result in falling over, Stiles moves around the bed towards the bathroom, and then stumbles for reasons entirely unrelated to alcohol. Because holy crap. Holy crap!

The sheets must’ve slid down when Stiles got up, because they’re now pooled just below Stiles’ bedmate’s ass. And what an ass it is; big enough to really grab onto, and looking deliciously firm, with two inviting dimples above it. It connects to an expanse of tan, muscled back, including a tattoo, which ends in a strong neck, and a head of tousled dark hair. With Stiles gone, the guy has shifted onto his front, face turned to the side, giving Stiles a perfect view of a cut jaw, sharp cheekbones, pouty lips, and a pair of thick, almost ridiculous eyebrows.

“Well done, me,” Stiles says, and just barely resists the urge to high five himself.

He lets the guy—Derek, Stiles is about 85% sure the guy’s called Derek—sleep, and tiptoes into the bathroom. It’s a shame he only has vague memories of last night—drinking too much because he was frustrated with his project partners, not very subtly ogling Derek across the bar, letting Derek push him up against the wall next to the bathroom, a cab ride to a hotel that felt like forever, coming hard enough to pass out before Derek had even pulled out—Stiles thinks, a little sadly, as he tries to wash off the clubbing grossness. Derek, as shallow as it sounds, looks like he knows how to show an omega a good time.

It’s 8:36 when Stiles comes back out of the bathroom, minty fresh, wrapped in a fluffy hotel bathrobe, rubbing a towel over his hair, and feeling a little more alive. His clothes are strewn all over the floor, and his underwear has mysteriously vanished, but he finds his pants, jacket, socks, and shoes, at least. There’s an open suitcase on the floor, though, and Stiles only hesitates for a second before he goes to rummage through it, pulling out a pair of briefs and a red henley. They’re both a size or two too big for him, but they’ll do for the morning.

His wallet’s still in his jacket, thankfully, and his phone has just about enough battery left to call an Uber. All in all, his drunken adventure could’ve ended much, much worse.

Derek’s still out cold when Stiles crouches down next to him, but he grunts when Stiles, unable to resist, runs his fingers through his hair. His eyes flutter, and he leans into Stiles’ touch, reaching out blindly until he catches the zipper of Stiles’ jacket. He tugs, then huffs, disgruntled, when Stiles stays where he is.

“Sorry, dude,” Stiles murmurs apologetically, scratching gently at the back of Derek’s head. “Gotta head out. Call me?”

He’d stolen Derek’s phone at one point, Stiles remembers that much, before he’d decided to screw it—both figuratively and literally—and just go back to the hotel with Derek. Stiles has never been patient. Or good at denying himself. It’s a whole thing.

“Mmh,” Derek hums, clearly still only half awake. He does tip his face up, though, and Stiles doesn’t have to be asked twice; he leans in, closing the distance between them, and presses his lips to Derek’s.

And jeez, Derek certainly knows how to kiss. Stiles gets lost in it for a few minutes—in the drag of Derek’s stubble against his cheeks, Derek’s mouth moving softly against his, Derek’s fingers toying with the hem of his stolen shirt—groaning, disappointed, when he finally manages to pull himself away.

“Call me,” he says, again, and straightens up.

He can’t resist dropping one last kiss on Derek’s forehead, before he dodges Derek’s grabby hands, and makes for the door. He’s alone in the elevator down to the lobby, which is probably a good thing, because he’s smiling all goofily, his face red with beard burn when he catches sight of himself in the mirrored walls. There’s a huge, already dark bruise on the side of his neck, and Stiles can’t help but prod at it, shuddering delightedly when the slight pain makes him feel warm all over.

Yeah. Definitely could’ve gone worse.

* * *

Derek doesn't call. It’s—it’s whatever.

Stiles is disappointed, sure, and then angry, because what kind of asshole leaves someone with a temporary claiming bite, only to go on to totally ghost them? Real dick move, that. For a hot second, Stiles thinks about going back to the bar where they met, but Derek’s from out of town, so chances that he’ll be there are pretty slim, and Stiles refuses to be the clichéd, clingy omega who makes an idiot of himself by running after a clearly disinterested alpha.

Fuck Derek. Stiles doesn’t need some hot shot alpha doting on him to feel good about himself, he knows his worth. He’s smart, cute—growing into his ears and lanky limbs had really helped in that department—hard working, and has a group of amazing friends. So, really; fuck Derek.

And, once October rolls around, and school work picks up again, Stiles doesn’t have the time to think about stupid, sexy Derek anymore, anyway. He has study sessions with Scott, Kira, Malia, and Mason at least twice a week, works at the library with Hayden on Saturdays, and spends most Sundays tutoring—read: trying to not kill out of frustration—Liam and Corey.

In between all of that, he somehow needs to find the time to eat, sleep, Skype with Lydia, and call his dad every now and again, which is more than enough to keep him busy and distracted. Not that he needs to be distracted, because he’s absolutely not still hung up on Derek, not even a little bit, nope. Zero pining is happening, here, no matter what Scott keeps saying.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Corey asks, one Sunday morning in November, watching Stiles across the table instead of focusing on his reading. “You’re kind of pale.”

Stiles raises an eyebrow at him, then pointedly looks at the open book in front of him. “Done with the chapter?”

“We can totally reschedule,” Liam pipes up hopefully, then lets out a huffed oomph when Corey not so subtly elbows him in the side. “If you’re sick, I mean. Maybe you should go back to bed?”

“You can sleep off your hangover after we’re done with your essay,” Stiles says, making Liam groan dramatically, and slump down further in his chair. Corey does look genuinely concerned, though, so Stiles shoots him a reassuring smile as he nudges the book closer to him. “I’m fine. Stressed, but what else is new? The glamorous life of a college student.”

There are a few minutes of blessed silence, during which Stiles resolutely ignores the worried looks Corey’s shooting him. Then, suddenly, Corey blurts, “You’ve gained weight.”

Stiles slowly lowers his pen. “Excuse you?”

Corey shifts uncomfortably, not quite meeting Stiles’ eyes. “Well, I mean. You have? And you’re always tired, and now you’re looking sick, and—”

“Did you get knocked up?” Liam cuts in, shrugging and demanding, “What?” when Corey groans, and facepalms.

“We were just wondering,” Corey continues, sheepish but determined. “You have to admit, it kind of fits.”

“What the—no!” Stiles snaps, and then, when Corey and Liam share a disbelieving look, he adds, glaring, “I’m not pregnant. And I liked you both better when you didn’t like each other.”

Liam grins, and throws an arm around Corey, who rolls his eyes, but goes with it. “You love us.”

Stiles scowls at them. “Go back to work.”

They do, researching quietly, but Stiles can’t concentrate on his own project anymore. He’s reeling, heart pounding way too fast, because what if? It’s possible, technically, even if unlikely. Stiles’ sex life hasn’t exactly been flourishing the last couple of weeks, and he is on birth control. Which isn’t always 100% effective in omegas, but he always uses condoms, to be extra safe. He doesn’t remember using a condom with Derek, but he also doesn’t remember not using one, and he always does, which means he probably did.

Right?

Right.

He’s just stressed, maybe in the beginning stages of a cold. That certainly explains the headaches and exhaustion. And so what if he’s gained a pound or two? It’s Scott’s fault, for buying all those tubs of completely unnecessary Getting Over Derek ice cream. Everyone knows Stiles is a sucker for Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie goodness.

Pregnant, pfft. Ridiculous.

Scott doesn’t think it’s ridiculous, when Stiles mentions it over dinner later. Instead of laughing it off with Stiles, he looks thoughtful. “You have been taking a lot of naps lately.”

Stiles stares at him, incredulous. “Scott. Scotty. My man. You can’t be serious right now?”

“And, no offence, but they’re kind of right about your weight—”

“It’s called the freshman fifteen, oh my god!”

“You’re a sophomore, Stiles,” Scott points out, ducking the couch cushion Stiles throws at him. “Also, you’ve been puking on and off over the last couple of weeks, and—”

“You’re the one who made me eat that questionable burrito!” Stiles screeches, a little shrilly. This definitely isn’t going the way he expected it to. “You’re supposed to be on my side!”

He immediately feels guilty when Scott looks hurt at that, muttering a quiet, “Sorry.”

“I’m always on your side, you know that,” Scott says, scooting closer. Stiles puts up a token protest when Scott grabs him, flailing a little, before letting Scott pull him in to hug him into submission. “You’re my brother, and I love you. But you’re also the most stubborn person I know. I’m just trying to help, Stiles.”

Stiles sighs, and turns his face into Scott’s neck, breathing in deeply. Scott’s alpha scent is familiar, soothing, and Stiles allows himself to be calmed by it, knowing Scott would never use any of this against him. He’s not that kind of alpha. And he knows Stiles could totally kick his ass.

“The student health center does free blood tests,” Scott says, after a couple of minutes, resting his chin on top of Stiles’ head. “They were super nice and helpful when Kira and I had our scare last semester.“

Stiles doesn’t say anything, but he does lean into Scott some more.

* * *

“Hey, dad.”

“What’s wrong?”

Stiles pulls the phone away from his ear to glare at it. Having a cop for a dad is just unfair sometimes. “So, uh,” he says, because lying’s useless once his dad is in Full Sheriff Mode. Capital letters and all. “There’s something I should probably tell you.”

He glances down at the sheet of paper on his lap, chewing the inside of his cheek, not sure where or how to begin. It had taken him another week after his conversation with Scott to muster up the courage to go to the student health center, and then several more days after getting the results to psych himself up enough to call his dad.

It’s not that he thinks his dad will be angry, or unsupportive, but there’s really no good way for a child to tell a parent, “I had a drunk one-night stand with a stranger I met at a bar, got knocked up, can’t find the other dad, and have no idea what the hell I’m supposed to do now.”

“Stiles,” his dad says, gentle but firm. “Tell me what’s wrong.”

“I had a drunk one-night stand with a stranger I met at a bar,” Stiles blurts, and once he’s started, he can’t seem to stop, much to his horror. “I got knocked up, and I can’t find the other dad, and I have no idea what the hell I’m supposed to do now.”

He doesn’t realise he’s breathing too quickly, close to hyperventilating, until his dad instructs, “Slowly, Stiles, in and out. Come on, in and out, Stiles. Like me, okay?”

Stiles nods, even though his dad can’t see, and tries to match his breathing to his dad’s intentionally, exaggeratedly loud one. It takes a couple of minutes, but eventually Stiles manages to croak out, “Thanks.”

His dad doesn’t say anything for a long moment. Then, quietly, “Oh, kiddo.”

“I’m sorry,” Stiles says, hot with shame. “Dad, I’m so sorry, I didn’t—”

“Hey, now,” his dad cuts in, “I’m not angry, Stiles—”

“Just disappointed?” Stiles finishes, with a self-deprecating little laugh, and rubs a hand over his itching eyes.

“No,” his dad says, taking Stiles aback with the vehemence behind that one word. “Stiles, no. Hell, kid, I’m not gonna lie and tell you this is what I wanted for you, because we both know it’s not. It was a dumb and dangerous thing to do, and whatever you decide to do now, things’ll change and won’t be easy, but it happened. It is what it is. And we’ll figure it out, together. Okay?”

Stiles has to swallow the lump in his throat before he can speak again, but even then, all that comes out is a sniffled, “Dad.”

His dad is smiling, Stiles can tell, when he says, “I love you, too, kid. Now, tell me the plan. You been to see a doctor already?”

Stiles flops down sideways on his bed, and makes himself comfortable, relaxing slowly but surely now that the worst of it is over and done with. “Not yet. Christmas break is in two weeks, I thought I’d go see Doctor Yukimura when I get back home? She’s known me forever, and she can probably refer me? If I’m staying, I mean. I—” he hesitates, frowning down at his carpet. “I should, right? Stay home, I mean? My scholarship should be transferable, so I could take a semester off, maybe even a year. And it’s not like I can keep a baby in my dorm, so Beacon Hills Community College makes the most sense. I could live at home, be close by, and—”

“That’s not what you want,” his dad interrupts softly. And, normally, Stiles would bristle at being told what he does and doesn’t want, but his dad is right, and they both know it, so he clicks his mouth shut. He does scowl a little, though. “Columbia has been your dream since you were ten years old, Stiles.”

“Well,” Stiles grumbles bitterly, “a baby wasn’t exactly part of that dream.”

“Dreams are adjustable. You’re not the first person to have a kid while you’re still in school, and you sure as hell won’t be the last. No one’s saying it’ll be a cakewalk, but since when are you the kind of person to give up without even trying, who’s afraid because things might get difficult?”

“It’s not—” Stiles huffs, frustrated. “What if I can’t do it, though? What if I fuck it up?”

“Don’t think that I won’t call you out on your language anymore just because you’re about to be a parent yourself,” his dad teases, making Stiles bark out a startled laugh. More seriously, he adds, “And if it doesn’t work out, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I know you, kid, and you’ll regret not having given it a go more than potentially failing.”

Which is true, but his dad sounds a little too smug about it for Stiles’ taste. “Yeah, yeah, old man. Hey, no,” he says, tisking, when his dad makes an outraged sound at that, “you can’t complain about that anymore. You’re going to be a grandpa soon.”

There’s a beat of silence, followed by a drawn-out groan.

Stiles grins into his pillow. “Didn’t think about that, did you?”

“Menace,” his dad says, much too fond for Stiles to take him seriously.

* * *

Stiles is torn between embarrassment, and a fierce, previously unknown sort of pride as he watches his dad practically shove the ultrasound pictures at Mrs Owens from down the street, beaming wide enough to look completely deranged. Mrs Owens—mother of six, grandmother of thirteen, great-grandmother of ten—takes his enthusiasm in stride, cooing appreciatively, and nodding along to whatever Stiles’ dad is saying.

Another shopper coughs pointedly at them—which, fair enough, they’re totally blocking the dairy aisle—which only makes Stiles’ dad thrust the picture under his nose, still smiling brightly. The guy’s eyes widen, but he obediently takes a look at Stiles’ offspring. Stiles’ dad wearing a holster with his service weapon in it probably plays a pretty big part in that.

“That’s going to take a while,” Stiles murmurs to himself, absently petting the slight swell of his stomach.

He turns the shopping cart around, heading for the meat counter. He’d been terrified, initially, of people’s reactions to the pregnancy news, even if he’s a little ashamed to admit it now, because everyone’s been great about it so far. Scott, being the big softie that he is, had cried, which, as usual, had set Kira off as well. Mason had immediately offered to babysit, Malia’d bought him a giant box of earplugs, and even Liam and Corey have been less whiny during their tutoring sessions lately. Sure, Lydia’d yelled at him over the phone, but more out of concern than anger, and only until Allison had snatched the phone away from her to squeal at Stiles. Even Danny and Jackson, after the news had gotten around, had sent congratulatory texts. A slightly insulting one, in Jackson’s case, but congratulatory nonetheless.

And Stiles isn’t naive enough to think that there aren’t people gossiping about the 19-year-old, unwed, pregnant omega behind his back, but with the Sheriff being so obviously overjoyed with the whole thing, no one’s been brave enough to say anything to Stiles’ face, at least. It’s a small victory, but Stiles will take it.

Especially considering that their search for Derek has yielded zero results so far. Stiles hadn’t expected it to, since they really didn’t have anything to go on, but he’s still disappointed. There’s no guarantee Derek would care even if he knew—hitting and quitting isn’t exactly a point in his favour—but Stiles has decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Not because Derek deserves it, but because every kid should at least get the chance to meet their parents, no matter what happens after.

They’ve exhausted all their possibilities, though, from Danny’s hacking magic to Lydia bringing her social media connections to bear, and there’s been nothing. Well, apart from that freak incident when Stiles had thought he’d caught Derek’s scent near their bar, only to follow it to the Starbucks across the street, and find a curly-haired guy with a scarf fetish, and a bitchy attitude.

He’s not quite ready to give up yet, but Stiles isn’t actively holding out hope anymore, either.

Which makes it all the more surreal when Derek himself rounds a row of shelves, basket in one hand, and his other arm casually slung around none other than scarf guy’s shoulders.

Stiles freezes at the sight, instincts going absolutely haywire. Part of him wants to rush to Derek’s side, is almost excited to see him, while another wants nothing more than to turn tail and flee. He wants to hide, to never face Derek again, and he wants to confront Derek, to yell at him, to bare his teeth at scarf guy, to bury himself in a hole and never come out again, to—

“Stiles?” his dad asks, suddenly, from behind him, making Stiles jump, and only just bite back a shriek. “What’s going on? Are—”

“Shh!” Stiles hisses frantically, mind apparently made up.

He pushes at his dad, urging him back around another row of shelves, out of sight. His dad’s eyebrows are up nearly to his hairline when Stiles turns to him, hands braced on his hips, and foot tapping against the floor impatiently. “This is strange even for you, kiddo.”

Stiles shoots him a bitchy look, then inches forward again to peer at Derek. He’s standing in line at the register now, head bent towards scarf guy, talking quietly while they wait. Stiles automatically narrows his eyes at scarf guy before he realises what he’s doing, and quickly slips behind his shelf again.

“As fun as this is, I don’t actually want to—”

“Derek’s here,” Stiles whispers furtively, risking another quick glance. He huffs when his dad nearly crushes him as he leans over him, trying to get a look of his own. “The one with the leather jacket. Who wears a leather jacket in December? And how dare he look so—so hot doing it, and those jeans are definitely a size too—”

“Yes, thank you, Stiles,” his dad interrupts, grimacing a little. “Who’s the curly one? They look cosy.”

Stiles scowls, because, yes. Yes, they do.

Then he meeps, and flails back, because Derek is turning around, shit, shit! His dad catches him under the arms, more than used to Stiles’ clumsiness by now. He’s frowning, though, lips pursed, and that’s never a good sign.

“What?” Stiles demands, righting himself with as much dignity as he can muster. He waves jauntily at old Mr Henderson, who’s definitely seen the whole thing. “What’s with the face?”

The face in questions hardens. “That’s your Derek?”

“Not my Derek,” Stiles says, feeling himself flush. “But, I mean, yeah. That Derek. Why?”

His dad doesn’t answer. Instead, he straightens up to his full height, tugs at his jacket to make sure his badge is visible, and goes to step around Stiles.

“Oh, no! No, no, no!” Stiles says, grabbing two handfuls of his dad’s jacket to hold him back. “Dad, no.”

His dad lets himself be tugged back, but it’s only done reluctantly. “I could find a reason to arrest him.”

“Yes,” Stiles drawls, and rolls his eyes heavenward. “Because that’s totally how we should broach this unexpected fatherhood topic. Throw him in the back of the cruiser, take him down to the station, and oh, by the way, you knocked up a teenager, you’re going to be a dad, surprise!”

“Fine. But talking to him—”

“No, dad, I don’t—”

“Stiles—”

“I’m not ready!” Stiles says, too loud. Mr Henderson is still staring, and this time, both Stiles and his dad wave at him, before looking back at each other. “Dad, please. This is—it’s out of nowhere, okay? What would I even say? How would I even say it? I can’t—I can’t do it, dad. Not yet. Please.”

His dad’s expression softens at that. He clasps Stiles’ shoulder, then sighs, and pulls him into a proper hug. “Aw, hell, kid,” he says, squeezing Stiles carefully, mindful of Stiles’ stomach. “I’m sorry.”

“Not your fault,” Stiles mumbles into his shoulder, hugging back tightly.

After a moment, his dad asks, “What about stopping him if I see him driving around town?”

Stiles swats at him, and his dad laughs, kissing the top of Stiles’ head despite Stiles’ protests. “God, dad, come on.”

“Good afternoon, Mr Henderson,” his dad says innocently when he finally lets go of Stiles. “Nice weather today, isn’t it?”

And he wonders where Stiles gets it from.

* * *

The shirt hits Stiles in the face, nearly knocking the ice cream out of his hands. He shakes it off, clutching his bowl against his chest protectively, and glares at his dad.

His dad is not impressed. “Up and at ‘em,” he orders, leaning over the back of the couch to take away Stiles’ bowl. “Go get dressed, we’re leaving in half an hour.”

Stiles pouts up at him, and doesn’t move. “I’m perfectly comfortable right where I am, thank you very much.”

“Tough luck, kiddo,” his dad says as he moves to, presumably, dump the bowl in the sink. “Mayor Hale’s holiday party is tonight. And, as the Sheriff, I have to make an appearance.”

“Have fun,” Stiles says sweetly, intentionally missing the point.

A moment later, his dad is back, and yanks the comforter away from Stiles. “I will, because my son is going to come along to spend some quality time with his loving, understanding, very patient father.”

Stiles whines, and makes grabby hands for it, but his dad just throws it on the armchair all the way across the room. “Rude.”

“It’ll be good for you,” his dad insists, “to get out of the house for a couple of hours, talk to some people, wear actual clothes.”

He says it jokingly, but Stiles can tell there’s real worry underneath. It’s been four days since the Derek sighting, and Stiles has pretty much moved onto the couch, wearing his baggiest clothes—the stolen henley happens to be super soft, the fact that it used to be Derek’s has nothing to do with anything—and stuffing himself with junk food, wrapped burrito style in his dad’s comforter for some reassuring family scent.

“Fine,” Stiles groans, grabbing the shirt. “But no eggnog for you. That stuff’s basically just sugar and fat. Also, it’s gross.”

Which is how Stiles finds himself standing opposite Mayor Hale in the Hale mansion foyer forty-five minutes later, feeling self-conscious about the way his shirt—bought for his high school graduation over two years ago—stretches tautly across his stomach. If he pops a button, he’s going to make his dad eat tofu turkey for Christmas.

“Mayor,” his dad greets.

Mayor Hale shoots him a mock annoyed look. “How many times, John?”

“Talia,” his dad corrects with a laugh, returning the kisses Mayor Hale brushes against his cheeks. “It’s good to see you. You remember my son?”

“Mieczyslaw,” Mayor Hale says, nodding. She clucks at the hand he offers, hugging him gently instead. “Little Mischief.”

Her gaze gets stuck on Stiles’ bump when they pull apart, making Stiles blush, and shrug sheepishly. “Not so little anymore.”

“Congratulations, Mieczyslaw,” Mayor Hale says sincerely, before ushering them both along. “John, we’ll have to catch up later. Make yourselves at home, grab something to drink. Patrick and the kids are around somewhere, if you need anything.”

“Props to her for remembering my monstrosity of a name,” Stiles whispers as they make their way into the dining room, grinning up at his dad. “And not mangling it beyond recognition.”

His dad immediately zeroes in on the finger foods, of course, and Stiles trails him to the buffet tables to fill a plate of his own. Stiles gets a few more congratulations, and his dad gets drawn into handshakes and hugs all around, which gives Stiles ample opportunity to sneak some veggies onto his plate.

“Celery isn’t a Christmas food, Stiles,” his dad complains once he notices, but dutifully takes a bite anyway, only rolling his eyes a little bit.

They both turn when someone asks, “Stiles?”

The man sounds amused, almost gleeful, looking Stiles up and down critically, straying to his stomach before settling on his face. It makes Stiles’ hackles raise, even though the man’s another omega, and he moves his hands over his stomach instinctively. “Yes? And you are?”

“Hmm,” the man says, instead of answering. He’s smirking, holding up a finger as he scans the room before calling out, “Nephew dearest, a moment, if you may?”

Only then does he deign to introduce himself. “Peter Hale. And you, my boy, are exactly the entertainment I was hoping for tonight.”

Stiles gapes, and behind him, his dad’s scent is souring, but before either of them can say anything, Derek walks up to Peter, looking about as confused and shocked as Stiles feels.

“Derek,” Peter says, eyes flickering excitedly between Stiles and Derek, “I believe you know Stiles? Our beloved Sheriff’s very obviously pregnant son?”

“You’re kind of an asshole,” Stiles tells him, then rounds on his dad when he makes a reprimanding noise. “Don’t even. Hale. Nephew. You knew, didn’t you? You’ve been working with Mayor Hale for over a decade, you must have recognised Derek at the store. And you dragged me here on purpose, didn’t you?”

His dad does look guilty, but he also stands his ground. “I will drive you home right now if you want me to. But you need to talk to him sooner or later, Stiles. Probably sooner.”

“How about right now?” Peter suggests, because he is, apparently, a total shit-stirrer.

“Peter,” Derek growls warningly, and Stiles knees absolutely do not go weak at the sound, nu-uh.

His dad is still watching Stiles, smiling when Stiles gives him a minute nod. “You know,” he says to Peter, dropping a heavy hand on his shoulder, “I think I remember arresting you for public indecency a couple of years ago. Right around the time Mr Argent got divorced.”

Peter doesn’t look happy as Stiles’ dad leads him away, but he has the good sense not to complain. Stiles watches them go, worrying his bottom lip. He feels a little betrayed that his dad didn’t just tell him, but he also knows himself well enough to know that he would’ve delayed talking to Derek for as long as possible without his dad pushing him. Not that he knows what to say to Derek, now that they’re here.

So it’s Derek who breaks the tense silence with a tentative, “Stiles?”

And, suddenly, Stiles is furious. Because how dare he? How fucking dare he sound like—like he gives a shit, after vanishing for months? After ditching Stiles? After being a huge freaking dick?

“You,” Stiles snaps, whirling around, and poking a finger into Derek’s chest. “You never fucking called!”

Several heads turn in their direction, but Stiles is beyond caring. He opens his mouth to really tear into Derek, but forgets what he was about to say when Derek takes his hand. “Not here,” Derek says, tugging at their linked hands. “Come on.”

Stiles digs his heels in for a moment, to show Derek that he could resist, before following Derek out into the hall, then up the stairs. Derek guides him into an office, and barely has the door closed before Stiles says, accusing, “So, you don’t just claim and ditch, you’re also embarrassed to be seen with me.”

Derek’s voice is almost jarringly soft, especially compared to Stiles’, when he says, “That’s not true.”

“Oh?” Stiles rips his hand away, crosses his arms over his chest, and glowers at Derek.

“I wanted to call, but—”

“This better be good, buddy.”

“But,” Derek says, ignoring Stiles’ interruption as he fishes his phone out of his pocket. He thumbs at the screen for a few seconds, then turns it around, holding it out to Stiles. “But this.”

There’s Stiles name, followed by three eggplant emojis. Underneath it is Stiles’ number. Or, rather, the first four digits of it. The rest is missing.

“I would have called,” Derek says, moving closer. “I would have, Stiles, I swear. I looked for you, everywhere, but I couldn’t find you. I want you, I never meant to—hey, no, please don’t. I’m sorry.”

Stiles hasn’t cried over this entire fucked up situation once in all the weeks since waking up next to Derek, but right now, he can’t hold the tears back. He lets Derek cup his face between his hands, lets him wipe at his cheeks, and closes his eyes, breathing him in. He’s ashamed, for causing all of this in the first place, and still jittery, but also happy, and relieved, and he goes eagerly when Derek wraps his arms around him, tucking himself as closely against Derek as humanly possible.

Derek’s breath hitches tellingly when Stiles brushes his nose along his neck, arms tightening automatically. He presses his open mouth against Stiles’ temple to scent him, swaying them both gently, one hand on the back of Stiles’ neck, the other stroking up and down Stiles’ spine.

They’re both mumbling apologies, and desperately clutching at each other; it’s a total mess, but Stiles wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now.

“Your henley stopped smelling like you,” is the first coherent thing Stiles manages to get out, minutes later.

It makes Derek chuckle wetly. “You can have all the sweaty, smelly shirts you want from now on.”

Stiles smiles against his neck, giddy. “Jackpot.”

One of Derek’s hands moves to Stiles’ waist, where he hesitates for a moment, before settling it on the side of Stiles’ bump. “You’re—is it—”

“Yeah,” Stiles says, taking pity on him. “They’re yours.”

Derek pulls back, shining eyes wide. “They?”

“It’s twins. Surprise?” Stiles offers, making jazz hands.

“Twins,” Derek says, faint, and plops down on the desk behind him. “I’m going to be a dad. To twins.”

Stiles pats his chest consolingly, stepping between his legs. “It takes some getting used to, trust me.”

“This is—it’s a lot,” Derek agrees, rubbing a hand over his face. When he meets Stiles’ eyes again, he looks stubbornly determined, though, promising, “I’ll be there. For you and the babies. I want to be, if you want me to be.”

Which is great news, of course, but Stiles needs to know, “What about your—the cherub guy?”

“Cherub guy?” Derek mouths to himself, and damn him, even bewildered is a good look on him. “Do you mean Isaac?”

Stiles shrugs uncomfortably, and frowns down at Derek’s knees. “Maybe? I don’t know. But I saw him in a café back in New York, and he smelled like you. And you seemed, uh, pretty friendly, at the store a couple of days ago. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I guess, because, I mean, we’re not—”

“Isaac’s my intern, and my friend,” Derek says, settling his hands on Stiles’ hips. His thumbs press in carefully, and there’s nothing in his scent to indicate that he’s lying. “We work together, that’s all. He comes to New York with me every other week because he’s thinking about transferring to NYU. I’m an architect, and he’s doing his BA in real estate. NYU offers better options than BH Community College.”

“I don’t want to transfer,” Stiles blurts, then winces at his own abruptness. “I’m at Columbia. And I really love it. And you live in California.”

“We have offices here and in Manhattan. If you want to stay in New York, I’ll put in a transfer, spend more of my time over there,” Derek says, all casual, as if he isn’t offering to move across the country. Just like that. Stiles has no idea what his face is doing, but whatever it is, it makes Derek smile, and lean in to brush a kiss over Stiles’ cheek, murmuring, “I told you, I want you. All three of you.”

Stiles groans, and thuds his head against Derek’s shoulder. “Stop being so—so perfect, ugh.”

“Sometimes I grind my teeth in my sleep?” Derek says, amused, nosing behind Stiles ear, then lower at Stiles’ neck where he left the claiming bite, which really is unfairly distracting.

“Well, apparently I fail at remembering my own phone number when I’m drunk, so I’d say we’re about even.” Stiles pulls back a little, but only enough to properly look at Derek. It’s probably for the best anyway; the Mayor’s son and the Sheriff’s kid getting caught canoodling at an official event would definitely make the front page of the BH Gazette. “Which totally is the worst of my bad habits, I’m an absolute delight otherwise, you’ll see.”

“Over dinner?” Derek asks, sly and shy all at once. “The diner’s open all night. My treat.”

“Well,” Stiles stalls, pretending to consider. “Will there be curly fries?”

“You know what,” Derek says, going for serious, his mouth only twitching a little, “I’ll even throw in a milkshake for dipping.”

Stiles beams at him. “It’s a date.”