They’re not in optimal conditions with Derek pops the question.
Not The Question. No, Stiles asked that particular question almost a year ago at this point and they’ve been engaged since then. This is an entirely different question altogether.
They’re in bed. It’s late, the moon high in the sky, and they’re in the shitty apartment that they share in Beacon Hills, arms all wrapped around each other, mouths connected, bodies surging because it’s Friday night and they don’t have to go work in the morning and it’s been too fucking long since they had an evening to themselves. What with the pack and Derek’s job and Stiles’ constant struggle to find substitute teaching gigs, the last time they had a full night to themselves was—months ago probably. Stiles can’t even remember at this point. The only thing he can focus on is Derek’s hands on him. That’s the only thing that matters anyway.
Stiles is riding him. Derek has romantic notions about sex a lot, especially now that Stiles is home from college—at the ripe, young age of 22—and they get to see each other every day, live together, be together. He has plans to go back, get a Master’s, but he has to take a year off to help with his dad, with Scott, with Derek. He needs to be home, for a while at least. Home, with Derek, whose philosophies have developed in a much more tender nature since Stiles is back. They have slow, patient, tender sex when they have the opportunity and easy, hilarious quickies the rest of the time. Right now, Stiles is looking for a way to combine the two methods, and rather than lie back and let Derek torture him to death with his slow, passionate lovemaking, Stiles is seizing an opportunity for control.
But that’s when it happens. Stiles is on a down stroke, burying Derek completely inside of him, when Derek opens his mouth against Stiles’ neck and says, “What do you think about having kids?”
Stiles barely pauses long enough to grasp the question. “I say I lack the necessary equipment but we can certainly try, try, and try again.”
“Stiles,” he mumbles against Stiles' jaw as he thrusts, “I'm serious.”
“So am I,” Stiles half laughs and half moans. “Come on, baby, put some puppies in me.”
He doesn’t expect that to make Derek do anything but laugh, but instead of even cracking a smile Derek’s eyes go wide, and Stiles can feel the entire atmosphere change. Derek doesn’t speak, but he does flip Stiles over onto his back so he can fit between Stiles’ legs again. When he pushes inside, Stiles squirms, head arching back against the mattress.
“Yeah, that’s it, Derek—fuck me.” Stiles licks his lips, calculates his words. “Breed me.”
Derek makes a soft gasping, choking noise and Stiles pulls on his hair, kissing him.
He scratches at Derek's back and wraps his legs around his hips. “Ye—yeah, Derek, fuck.”
Derek kisses him hard and deep before pulling away. “I wish I could. Stiles, I wish I could breed you full.”
Stiles groans, pulling Derek close again, back on top of him. “Give it your best effort, big guy. C’mon, don’t back out on me now.”
It’s not tender. It’s not slow. It’s brutal and intense and perfect. Derek gives just as good as he gets and he fucks Stiles with an eagerness that Stiles can’t ever remember him having. He does everything that Stiles likes, fucking worships his erogenous zones, kisses him and kisses him and kisses him until he can’t breathe but doesn’t want to if it means they have to stop.
Stiles leaves marks on Derek's shoulders when he comes, whispering dirty encouragements in Derek's ear until he follows.
It isn’t until later, when they’re showered and the sheets are changed and they’re back in bed that Derek brings it up again.
“So, kids,” he says.
Stiles is already half asleep, face pressed against Derek’s arm. “Hm,” he says distantly. “Yeah.”
“Yeah?” Derek asks.
“If you want kids,” Stiles says around a yawn, “I want kids.”
“It's a big deal,” Derek mutters.
Stiles leans up on an elbow and then presses his forehead to Derek's. “I want everything with you.”
Derek’s eyes go soft. “Yeah?”
Stiles smirks, leaning in to kiss him softly. “Yeah, wolfie. As long as I’m not the one being impregnated, I’m all for it.”
“I think that’s a perfectly understandable request.” Derek drags him closer, curled together under the sheet. “Love you,” he says into Stiles’ neck, and then he’s asleep, breathing heavily into Stiles’ skin, weight resting on his arm.
Stiles laughs at the ceiling. “Love you too.”
“Stiles, Stiles, Stiles!” Scott screeches to a stop in front of him. “Do you have—”
Stiles raises a bag full of pink. “Cups, hats, edible nail polish?”
Stiles drops the bag. “No, I do not have your daughter. That was literally your only job.”
Scott nods frantically and disappears, running off into the house and upstairs. It’s Zuki’s third birthday, which means a party that’s mostly for the parents. Every child from Zuki’s preschool class is attending with their parental units, and every member of the pack is around to help. Lydia, who popped out a kid last year, is there too, but her daughter is being looked after by Kira, who’s sitting out on the lawn with the other mothers.
Stiles sets down everything that had to be picked up last minute and greets everyone before going back to check on Scott. Instead he finds Derek coming down the stairs with Zuki on his hip.
“We're going to go see the princess today,” Derek says as he bounces the little girl. “You excited?”
Zuki squeals and claps. “Princess!”
Derek's smile takes his breath away. “And you're going to have presents and cake, too.”
“Stiles!” Zuki screams when she spots him. “Present—cake!”
Stiles beams, swooping in to steal Zuki from Derek. “Absolutely. Lots of presents and lots of cake. Anything you want.”
Zuki pats Stiles’ cheeks with her hands happily and Derek comes up behind him, resting his chin on Stiles’ shoulder.
“Let’s get her out to her father so they can start the festivities.”
Stiles loses Derek to the three-year-olds when the princess fails to impress. They take to him like a moving jungle gym and they're so tiny and he's so big he'll have to check his pockets for stolen children when he gets home. It also hits Stiles like a rock to the gut. Derek looks freaking hot as a parent.
They’re cutting cake when Stiles grabs Derek by the hand and tugs him into a deserted hall where the lights are off and all of the noise is on the other side of a door. Stiles pins him against the wall and kisses him dramatically, with as much flare as he knows how.
“Oh,” Derek says when they break apart. “Well, that’s—dramatic.”
Stiles exhales. “Do you remember that time a couple years ago when you asked if I wanted to have kids while you were fucking me? Let’s do that.”
Derek gives a small laugh. “What?”
Stiles frowns. “You do remember, don't you?”
“Yeah, I—of course I remember but—really? You…really?”
“Yes, really.” He leans in to kiss him again only softer this time, quicker. “I told you I want everything with you. We got a two story house, we got hitched, and, all right, so you drew the line at the golden retriever. It's compromise. It moves us along—”
“You're quoting Maroon 5.”
“And I love you for knowing that,” he sighs with stupid love-struck eyes. “Let's have a baby.”
They figure out pretty quickly that having a baby is easier said than done. If they were a straight couple they’d just go a month without condoms and it would be over with, but they’re not and they can’t so—so they have to make different decisions.
“Adoption is cheaper,” Stiles says, sitting down at the kitchen counter with Derek by his side. “I mean, I know surrogacy is popular and I’d love to see a little kid with your eyes calling me dad, but it doesn’t seem, right now, like a viable option.”
“That's not true. We have savings,” Derek points out while Stiles pulls out his bitch face. “Fine, I have savings.”
“We're not touching any more of that money unless there is death on the table,” Stiles says. “We agreed. But—if it's really important to you we can—”
“No, it's not about that, I don't—it doesn't have to be biologically mine or yours, it just has to be ours.”
Stiles smiles. “Okay. So. Adoption. It's apparently a long process.”
Derek snorts. “That’s a nice way of putting it. It—depends. I mean, if we want a baby, we have to fill out a whole bunch of paperwork and talk to mothers and set up meetings and offer financial comfort in exchange for the kid—” He exhales heavily. “It’s not going to be easy.”
“We can narrow it down, though.” Stiles reaches over for Derek’s hand idly, looking at the brochures. “I mean, we can choose from different countries and different locations, different families.” He looks over when Derek squeezes his hand. “Hm?”
“I know someone who might be able to help us.”
There’s a friend of the Hales who used to work with a center meant specifically for children who weren’t human. Like the X-Men except a lot less spectacular. They would take in humans when necessary, but they catered to the special needs of werewolves, children who had harpy or fairy blood in their line, banshees, and plenty of other supernatural beings.
“You want to adopt a werewolf?” Stiles asks.
Derek shrugs. “I mean, if there’s one out there who needs a home. It seems like a good idea.”
“And if there aren't any at the moment? I mean, it's rare isn't it? That a kid is left without a pack.”
Derek nods. “It is. But even if there isn't a werewolf, there might be something else that needs parents that know what's going on. I mean…that are part of its world.”
Stiles grins. “Supernatural babies for the win. Let's give her a call.”
Her name is Natasha Brown. She works in Sacramento now with an organization that doesn’t specify their specialties. Under the table, however, she assures Derek that they have an open-door policy for supernatural kids. The only problem is that, as she explains, the kids are more comfortable being on the streets than in the homes—they’re old enough to understand their powers, so they’re old enough to want to stay away from them.
“Are you looking for an infant?” Natasha asks through speakerphone.
“Undecided,” Stiles says. “Probably. We’d like to raise a child ourselves.”
She makes a quiet humming noise. “Infants are difficult. Usually the children come to us after some difficult journeys so the youngest we get are two or three years old. You have to understand, if the children had a safe place to care for them as newly orphaned infants, that's usually where they stay, be it pack, coven, or just whomever happened upon them.”
Derek frowns and leans in. “So how do you find these kids without packs or families?”
“We have a very dedicated team of volunteers. Like I said, a lot of these kids take to the streets, but often they youngest are found in the wrecks of territory battles or near death in the wilderness. No one comes from social services to take these kids. We have to assume they're left behind after some pretty horrifying things.”
Stiles and Derek exchange a look. “You’ll let us know if you get in—anyone? Anyone worth looking at?” Derek asks.
“Of course, Derek,” Natasha assures them. “As soon as I hear a word about it, you’ll be the first call I make.”
They start looking at other resources. They look towards adopting from Malaysia and India and similar locations. They apply for a service that will match couples looking to adopt with a mother who’s looking for a compatible pair to take her kid. But it’s months. And then it’s a year. And nothing has worked out and nothing goes their way, and it—sucks.
“Happy anniversary,” Stiles coos, sliding into bed with Derek. “We’ve been married for four years now. Feel old yet?”
Derek laughs in that deep sexy way of his and tackles Stiles into the mattress. “I'll show you how old I am.”
“That's only sexy because you're saying it,” Stiles chuckles. “Come on I want to show you your present. I got it last night because I'm super thoughtful that way.”
Derek looks puzzled because he knows that Stiles didn't forget and he knows that Stiles plans gifts with a ridiculous amount of time so he's confused when Stiles pulls his laptop from under the table. He sings to himself while whatever he's looking for loads and then turns it to face Derek with a ridiculous grin.
The first thing Derek sees is a picture of a baby girl, no older than one. Then he reads the few sentences above it. It's an email from Natasha. A pack in Michigan was eliminated by zealot, brand new, over-armed hunters and she was found near hypothermic and hungry but alive. She's theirs if they'll have her, but they have to be quick and the process may prove frustrating.
“I already emailed her back,” Stiles says. “Sorry, I just had to.”
Derek just blinks. Stiles isn’t sure what he’s supposed to think or say or do, because Derek isn’t giving him any kind of signs.
“Der?” he asks.
Derek takes a step forward, closing the laptop. He sets it down on the bedside table calmly, takes Stiles’ hand.
“Okay, seriously, you’re freaking me out—are you not excited? Should we not—did you change your mind?”
Derek just kisses him. Slow and sweet and gentle and loving. When he pulls back, he speaks. “I love you.”
“Yeah, Der, that’s great, but seriously—”
“We’re going to have a baby.”
Stiles’ smile grows exponentially in the following moments. “Really?”
They make out like freaking teenagers for almost ten minutes before Stiles lays on his back and breathes out. “We need to rent a place in Sacramento. We're going to have to move, practically, for the whole thing. If only to be close to her before we can bring her home.”
Derek frowns. “There’s no way to know her name.”
Stiles sighs. “There was no one left. We could look into hospital records. I'm sure Natasha has some way of finding out.”
Derek rolls over and leans his chin on Stiles' chest. “Stiles.”
“Hmm,” Stiles runs a hand through Derek's hair.
“We might finally get our kid.”
“Oh, it's going to happen,” Stiles all but growls. “I just—I saw that picture and I just knew. It's her, she's ours. I'll do anything to bring her home.”
Stiles isn’t an idiot. It’s already been a year—he knows it’s going to take more time still, but it’s good to see an end in sight. It’s the best thing that’s happened to them in a long time.
“Now we can have anniversary sex,” Stiles announces, tugging on Derek’s hair.
“I thought you’d never ask.”
Lydia helps find them a place to rent in Sacramento. They rent out their house in Beacon Hills, get it cleaned out and collect payments from a small family staying in the area for a business opportunity. Stiles doesn’t ask a lot of questions. He has other things on his mind.
Natasha picks them up at their temporary apartment with a firm handshake and a tired smile. “It's nice to finally meet you. Derek, you look so much like your father.”
Stiles is surprised by the comment. Everyone they've ever met who has known the Hales always commented on how Derek looked like his sisters and how they in turn looked like their mother.
“Now, we don't have a children's home of our own, just a clear understanding with most of the institutions in town. Anna is staying at Elmer Home with human children. It isn't much of a problem seeing as she's so young,” she sighs, “but the scents are driving her crazy since she can't fixate on one.”
“Anna,” Stiles breathes out. “Is that her name?”
Natasha nods. “Yes. We finally got a hold of her documents. That was a nightmare. Anna Fitz, nine months old.”
“The scents,” Derek says. “If she gets used to us—”
“I understand your concern,” Natasha says immediately, “and that this has been a very frustrating process. Nothing is a sure thing, not in life and not in this, but I am very confident we can see this through. If things click, if you feel like you can give her the home she deserves, then it's just bureaucracy in the way. Trust me, there's no one left to claim her.”
They organize a meeting in one of the small, private rooms in the institution in which Anna is staying. There are nurses and volunteer mothers, and she is cared for immensely, but Stiles can tell that Derek is still nervous, still uncomfortable. They both already want to bring her home.
She cries with everyone. Derek expects her to just magically calm in their arms and she doesn't. She's in constant tears. Stiles seems to take it in stride, however; he cuddles and nuzzles her cheek, speaks to her in soft whispers and hands her to Derek. With him she still cries, but it's more of a hiccupping, quivering cry than her earlier sobs. After a few minutes a volunteer comes to take her for her midday meal.
“She's terrified,” Derek whispers when they're alone with Natasha once more. “Isn't there anything we can do? She needs warmth. She needs consistent surroundings.”
Natasha nods. “I know. This isn't my first time dealing with cubs, Derek, I know how alarming and distressing this environment is for her and I want to get her home to you as soon as we can. So let's get started. If all goes well we can be done by the end of the month.”
“That's very quick,” Stiles says with a smile. “Wait, can you seriously do that?”
She nods. “Our contacts understand the urgency of the situation.”
Derek reaches for Stiles’ hand immediately and he takes it. “A month,” Derek says.
“Yeah. That’s—fast.” Stiles looks towards Natasha. “We’re ready when you are.”
They go to see Anna every day. That’s the deal. They become Anna’s consistent surroundings while they work with Natasha against bureaucracy and time constraints. It takes days before Anna won’t cry in their arms. It happens sooner with Derek, perhaps because she smells wolf, but Stiles doesn’t take it personally. It’s thrilling to watch the girl look up at Derek without tears in her eyes, fall asleep against his chest and drool salvia and snot and other junk onto Derek’s shirt.
It takes longer than a month. A month and a half in, it’s already almost August now and Stiles has a job, has work to do—they prepared for this, though. They knew, when it came down to it, that Stiles could go back to Beacon Hills for weekdays and drive up to Sacramento for the weekends to see Anna. He doesn’t want to do that, doesn’t want to spend so much time away from her and Derek, but—there’s not a lot else for them to do. Derek can work from his computer in Sacramento, can do anything he needs to there, but Stiles can’t.
It's a Friday evening in September when Stiles first sees it, so his only guess is this happened somewhere between Sunday night and today. Derek is going about his business, playing with Anna, feeding her, getting her to sleep. It's business as usual in the land of red tape and trying to get their baby home, only there's a six-year-old boy literally hanging from Derek's leg the entire time.
“Can I see her?” he asks, fingers clutching the loose material of Derek’s khakis.
“She needs to rest,” Derek says, and he sounds more than a little impatient. Stiles approaches from behind, lays a calming hand on his back. “Stiles,” Derek sighs, and he immediately sounds more relieved. “I thought you weren’t coming up until tomorrow morning.”
“I couldn’t wait.” He kisses Derek hello, looks down to Anna, who’s staring up at them with the nipple of a bottle in her mouth. “How’ve you been?”
“You mean since we talked on the phone twelve hours ago? I’m fine. She’s fine. We’re all fine.”
Stiles smirks, glancing down at the little boy still clinging to Derek. “Hey, there,” he says. “I like your shirt. I dressed up as Green Lantern for Halloween one year.”
The boy promptly drops to his feet, straightening up, brushing his hands down his chest. “I’m Geoff,” he says proudly.
“Nice to meet you, Geoff. I’m Stiles, and this is Derek. And,” he adds, nodding to the little girl in his arms, “that’s Anna.”
“I know,” he says through a grin. “I check on Anna for Derek when we're having playtime.”
There are times, for reasons that only stupidity will explain, that they aren't allowed to be with Anna because she has to be with the rest of the children in the program. It drives Derek up the wall even if Stiles understands the staff has to be with her.
“Well thanks, bud. That's pretty awesome.”
“Anna doesn't like most people,” Geoff notes. “She cries with everyone. But she doesn't cry with Derek and she doesn't cry with me. She gives me her crackers when she's done chewing them. It's gross.”
Stiles laughs. “She’s just trying to share with you.”
“I know. I like it.”
“Will you take her?” Derek asks then, handing the bottle to Stiles and then Anna. “I have to go talk to Natasha. We can leave when I get back, after we get her to sleep.” He kisses Stiles’ forehead and takes off, legs long and on a mission as he leaves the room.
“He’s grumpy a lot,” Geoff says.
Stiles nods. “Yeah. We just want to go home.”
The little boy wiggles his feet and doesn't say anything and it just hits Stiles how incredibly stupid and insensitive he is. Here he is complaining about having to wait to take Anna home and this little boy with his awesome T-shirt and beautiful eyes is probably too old, too often dismissed by hopeful couples, too likely to be sent into the system in just months.
He looks towards Anna when she reaches her hands up, trying to get the bottle back. Stiles helps her out, lets her drink her fill, but Geoff doesn’t walk away.
“How long have you been here?” Stiles asks.
Geoff shrugs. “A while.” He doesn’t provide any other information, so Stiles lets it go.
“Do you read comics?”
“Yeah, Miss Natasha brings me lots from the library. She has a superhero name, you know,” he says wisely. “The Black Widow.”
“Hey, that’s right. That’s really impressive.” Stiles moves idly, swaying with Anna in his arms. “Who’s your favorite? Green Lantern?”
“No,” Geoff says quickly, “my favorite’s Wolverine.”
Stiles tries not to freak out—he's an adult. He's going to be a parent. He still freaks out.
“Dude, no way,” he says. “That’s my favorite too. It didn't use to be. It used to be Iron Man, but life changes you—Wolverine is totally my man.”
“He's reeaaally cool. He has claws and he's strong and he's so cool.”
Stiles laughs and leans down to kiss Anna who has that grumpy look on her face that reminds him of Derek.
“Hey, I think she needs to go down to sleep now,” Stiles says gently.
“Oh,” the boy says, “right. Okay, well, I'm gonna go back then. They're probably looking for me.”
“Are you not supposed to be here?”
The boy shrugs. “No, but, they let me because Derek shouted at them.”
Stiles smiles to himself. Of course Derek did. “You go on back. We’ll see you around.”
Geoff waves. “Bye, Stiles,” he says. “Bye, Anna.”
He slips out through a set of doors, leaving Stiles and Anna alone. It’s only another moment before Derek comes strolling back in, the picture of exhaustion and contentment.
“So, you shouted at the staff so that Geoff could hang out with you and Anna.”
Derek frowns. “He’s almost the oldest kid in here, Stiles. And everyone ignores him. I thought—well, Anna doesn’t cry when Geoff holds him. So.”
Stiles leans in to kiss him. “Let’s put Anna down and go get some dinner.”
Stiles is playing tummy tickles with Anna and keeping an eye on Derek. Derek is playing Legos with Geoff like they're building a monument commissioned by the Queen. Today Derek isn't as stressed as he was last week and that may be because they both get to spend time together with Anna but it also may have to do with the way Stiles fucked him into a pile of useless muscle last night but they'll never know for sure.
Derek is adding balconies to their structure and high-fiving Geoff and not seeing what is clearly obvious. To Stiles, it makes perfect sense. Geoff is going to go into the system, go to foster homes, go to facilities where they can afford to take care of him. He’s too old to be adopted by a family looking for a baby, too young to be able to make it on his own, and it just—makes sense. Derek gets along with him, Stiles thinks he’s the shit, and he likes Anna. More importantly, Anna likes him.
“You do, don’t you?” he whispers to Anna, poking her belly. “You like him, don’t you? Don’t you want a big brother so you don’t have to deal with your dumb dads all alone? Wouldn’t that be fun?”
Derek hears him, of course, stupid werewolf. Derek looks scandalized but doesn't forget to ruffle Geoff's hair and excuse himself softly before stalking over to Stiles. “Put the baby down. We're going to have a talk. Outside. Now.”
Stiles brings Anna forward and nuzzles her cheek. “Daddy's all ruff ruff like a puppy chasing his own tail, Anna.”
“Stiles,” Derek says harshly.
Anna giggles, and perhaps it’s a testament to her comfort level around Derek now, or her ability to know that Derek could never be upset with Stiles in a manner too extreme. She isn’t frightened by his face or his tone, she only laughs and pats Stiles’ nose.
“Daddies are gonna go have a talk, yeah?” Stiles says. “Do you wanna sit with Geoff?”
The kid peeks up, back straight. “Can I hold her?”
Stiles arches an eyebrow at Derek. “Can he hold her, Derek?”
Derek rolls his eyes. “Yeah,” he says in a low breath, and Stiles beams as he hands her over to Geoff. “We’ll be right back, kiddo.”
As soon as they’re outside Derek turns on him.
“Are you out of your fucking mind?”
“I don't see the problem.” Stiles shrugs. “It's perfect.”
“It's impossible,” Derek growls. “Do you not see how long this is taking?”
“So? We'll get Anna soon. Very soon. And then we'll just keep going—”
“Just keep going? This is a nightmare as it is and you just want to prolong it?”
Stiles glares in silence for a moment before he actually speaks again. “So you're fine just leaving him here then. Is that right? You can go in there in a week or two and just tell that kid that we're taking Anna and he's never going to see her or you again and good luck in the system, I hope you don't get shitty foster parents who kill you before anyone bothers to check?”
“That’s not fair and you know it,” Derek spits. “I—care. Of course I care. But I barely see you as it is and if we have to wait another fucking year—”
“Geoff isn’t Anna,” Stiles says. “It’s not optimal, but we could go back to Beacon Hills and visit him on weekends. We can go home and get her life set up. It’s not like he’s going anywhere, not unless we take him.”
Derek drags a hand down over his face. “Assuming I agreed to this, assuming it were possible, there’s still one little thing you haven’t taken into consideration, Stiles. Geoff is human.”
Stiles glares. “So am I. That's just stupid.”
“You were sixteen. You could handle this well enough. And you aren't human anymore, you're a fucking mage, so I don't think you understand how jarring that would be for a six-year-old.”
“I think you're freaking out,” Stiles says in a harsh whisper, “and it's freaking me out. This is what we wanted, a family.”
“One step at a time, Stiles,” Derek growls. “This is too much too fast.”
“I think you haven't taken Geoff being human into consideration either,” Stiles bites back, “or else you'd understand that he's already been through shit and back and there's only so much rejection a little heart can take.”
“You think I don't know that? Stiles, it's just not that easy.”
“I didn't say it was easy,” Stiles sighs, “I said it's right. For him. For us. It's what's right.” He takes half a step forward, grabs Derek’s hands. “We can make it easy, Derek. We can give him a home. We can give him a family, a little sister, a big pack. You listen to him talk all the time; you spend more time with him than I do. Don’t you think he would handle it? Don’t you think hearing that werewolves exist is going to be less important to him than having a family?”
Derek deflates in an instant, shoulders falling, head lolling forward. “Stiles,” he says weakly.
“I know. Trust me, I know, but I think we can—I think we can do this. We’ve come this far. Why not take a final push?”
Derek pushes his forehead against Stiles’. “Let’s sleep on it, okay? And in the morning we’ll see about talking to Natasha.”
Rather than sleeping on it, Stiles sleeps on Derek and Derek doesn't sleep at all. He spends the night trying to picture finally getting home, finally having their family on an average Sunday morning and he can't picture it without Geoff anymore. It's only been two weeks, but the silly off-balance weight of him clinging while Derek deals with Anna's needs, and the way he talks a mile a minute that reminds him so much of Stiles on his most hyper nights—it's all so familiar and right. Stiles is right. It's the only thing to do.
The next weekend that Stiles comes up to Sacramento, they sit down with Natasha and figure out if it’s even possible. They have the money and the resources, the license—the need the approval of the state and all of Geoff’s information from the hospital where he was born, his social security, his birth certificate. But still, Natasha makes them a simple promise.
“Less than a year,” she says, and Derek leans into Stiles, closes his eyes.
“Less than a year,” he repeats.
They decide to tell Geoff that evening. They arrange a picnic, just for the four of them, in the yard of the facility. It’s not uncommon for prospective parents to come in and spend time with the kids, but it’s usually the really little ones. Geoff doesn’t know that anything’s off because he spends so much time with them anyway, but Derek can see the changed look in his face when Stiles tells him they’d like Geoff to join them for dinner.
He cries when Stiles asks him.
He cries and cries and when Stiles finally asks if he's okay, Geoff throws his arms around him and says, “I wanna have dads.” They both kiss his forehead and hug him tight because the boy cannot stop freaking out and when he clings to Derek's neck and pats at his stubbly cheeks, he awe-whispers, “My daddy looks like Wolverine.”
Derek laughs, load and boastful and he figures they’ll tell him, tell him soon because he has to know before everything goes through. He has to know so that he can back out if he wants to.
Stiles, apparently, isn’t worried about it at all.
“He’s going to think it’s the coolest thing in the world, I bet,” Stiles says.
They’re standing in their apartment, in the living room, a few feet away from each other because Stiles was heading towards the shower just as Derek was going towards the TV when the subject was brought up.
“We can’t just—jump into it,” Derek insists. “We have to really talk about it, make sure he understands.”
“What’s there to understand?” Stiles asks with a laugh. “We say, Hey, Geoff, remember how you think Derek looks like Wolverine? Well, you’ll never guess what other similarities they possess.”
“I don’t like it when you’re flippant about important things, Stiles.”
“Who’s being flippant? I’m not being flippant. I’m just being practical. He’s six.”
“He’s going to be seven by the time we adopt him.”
“What the fuck does that matter?!” Stiles nearly shouts. “The point is—”
“The point,” Derek interrupts, “is that we want him. And we want him to want us. And it’s not something that you just spring on someone. We have to discuss how we’re going to approach the subject, maybe get Natasha’s advice.”
Stiles drags his hands through his hair. “I know Geoff. I understand him. I think I can handle how to tell him about werewolves and mages without Natasha.”
“Yeah, you think you can handle everything, Stiles. Everything is so easy for you. Let's get a kid, let's take two—they're not fucking hamburgers, Stiles.”
“What the hell is your problem? I'm trying to make this simple. I'm trying to make this less stressful than it naturally is.”
Derek throws his hands up. “You think any of this is going to be less stressful? When we're done here, we're going to have two kids, two of them. There's not going to be a calm day in our lives ever again. Do you think this is going to be easy?”
Stiles scoffs and shakes his head. “I think you're just trying to make it hard but I can't for the fucking life of me figure out why.”
“Because you don't get it!” Derek shouts. “You don't. You think this is all going to be some stroll in the park. What are you going to do when it gets shitty, Stiles? What are you going to do if they get sick or hurt, if they get treated badly at school, if Anna has trouble with her wolf, if Geoff hates everything about our lives? What are you going to do? Are you just going to leave when it's not easy?”
Stiles doesn't even know where he got the impulse to punch him. It doesn't do anything but shock Derek and it has almost certainly broken his finger but it's worth it. “Don't you fucking dare. Don't you ever fucking dare even suggest that I would leave my kids. Ever.”
It’s a tense moment. Stiles hasn’t hit Derek in years, not since he was a teenager, not since he was idiotic enough to be unable to control his impulses. He knows it doesn’t hurt Derek, knows that he injured himself more than Derek, but it’s still—he still—
“Sorry,” he says softly, at the same time Derek does. “I—” Stiles licks his lips. “I shouldn’t have hit you, I’m sorry. That was—entirely inexcusable—”
“I didn’t mean to—I just don’t want you to change your mind.”
Stiles shakes his head. “No. No, God, Derek. I’m not going to change my mind. I’m trying to make it simpler because I just want them to be home already. Okay? And I know I’m not being entirely realistic but it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you’re making it out to be and it doesn’t have to be horrible. It’s not going to be horrible.”
“It's not going to be horrible,” Derek agrees. “It's going to be hard.”
Stiles laughs as he cradles his—at least—sprained fingers. “When has anything in our lives been easy?”
Derek shuffles closer and takes his injured hand. The relief is instant as Stiles watches the slight twitch of Derek feeling this pain as the veins in his arm go black. When it's better, Derek presses their lips together softly.
Stiles exhales into Derek’s mouth, wrapping his arms around Derek’s shoulders. Derek holds him back just as easily, just as sincerely, arms looped around Stiles’ middle, and without even realizing it, they’ve found their way into the bedroom, kissing like a pair of distraught teenagers who’ve had their first fight.
“You make this worth it,” Stiles tells him. “When I see how happy you are with Anna, how much you love Geoff—you make every moment I’m away from each and every one of you worth it.”
Derek closes his eyes and rests his head against Stiles' chest. Sometimes he just likes to listen to the soft noises in the silence. A heartbeat, the wind, things Stiles will never hear because they're too distant and mild.
He kisses Stiles' neck. “Mine,” he says.
The word makes Stiles shiver.
This is the kind of sex that Derek lives for. It’s slow, patient, methodical. It’s about communicating emotion rather than fucking for physical pleasure. Either way, it’s fucking great most of the time and right now they could both use a bit of tender, clichéd sex.
Derek rims him for what feels like forever and not long enough and stretches him out patiently, whispering constant praise in his ear. Derek has a thing about praise, both ways, and it makes Stiles' toes curl.
Stiles is still on his hands and knees when Derek pushes into him. It’s mind-numbingly good. It’s good in the way that lets Stiles fall out of himself, that lets him forget all about his life, his job, his aches and pains. It’s practically a religious experience, and Derek uses that to his advantage. He loosens Stiles up perfectly, fucks him perfectly, makes him lose his mind so quietly, so distractedly, that Stiles can’t even fight him.
When he comes, it’s like he doesn’t even feel it. It’s only an extension of the sex, like his body has been orgasming the entire time but now it’s decided to end with a bang. Derek follows shortly afterwards, burying himself deep inside and breathing against the back of Stiles’ neck.
Eventually, Derek will get up, gather a washcloth, and clean them both off. He’ll kiss Stiles’ forehead, his lips, tell him he loves him. They will fall asleep together, curled together on the bed, and in the morning they’ll go back to see Anna and Geoff and their family will start coming together, right before their eyes.
The next morning Natasha brings them into the office before they even get to see the kids.
“We have a problem,” she sighs.
It makes Stiles feel all cold inside. “Well? How do we fix it?”
Derek is tense and silent beside him.
“A family member has made a claim on Geoff,” she says quietly. “It’s an aunt, so it's not as hopeless as a parent or grandparents, but it's strong.”
“That's ridiculous,” Derek finally says. “Geoff has been here for years.”
“She claims she lost touch with the family and didn’t know that Geoff had been put into the system.” She crosses her arms over her chest. “I told her that there was no stipulation in any formal documentation from Geoff’s family that he would go to her when or if they passed. She’s the wife of Geoff’s mother’s brother, no blood relation, and her husband is dead.”
Stiles sets his jaw. “So she’s just trying to adopt him the same as us. What would you do in that case?”
“If you can't come to an agreement it might escalate to family court, and that'll bring all sorts of problems. On the one hand you're married and she's not. On the other hand, you're married.”
It takes Stiles a minute and then it makes him sick. “You're not serious.”
“There's a chance she can be reasoned with,” she explains. “Resolve all this before it becomes a nightmare for both you and the boy.”
After a few minutes Derek closes his eyes, Stiles knows, not to startle Natasha with his eyes. She may know werewolves but experiencing them is a whole other box of cats.
“I won't have him go through that,” Derek finally says.
“But surely if his aunt knows that he would rather go with us than with her, she’ll stop,” Stiles tries. “I mean, we could—ask her. Or just one of us could.”
“I won’t hide my family,” Derek argues. “That’s not an option, Stiles.”
“But if she refuses Geoff a good home because we’re men, then—”
“Then that’s her right as his family member.” Derek huffs. “Look, we’ll talk to her, but if she’s unwilling to bend with us, there’s nothing more we can do for him, Stiles. We can’t put him through this, months and months of legal proceedings and pain. That’s not fair to him.”
They sit down with Geoff and try to explain. He's a bright kid, he gets it, and he's sort of adorably pissed off.
“But I don't know her,” he says as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, “and I don't think she'll look like Wolverine.”
Derek cracks a small smile. “I know, bud. But she’s your aunt.”
“But I don’t want to go with her,” Geoff protests. “I want to go with you guys.”
A nurse brings in Anna then, already dressed, all happy and fresh smelling. She’s been walking lately, wobbling with her hands in Stiles’ or Derek’s, talking small, halting steps and falling. She never cries, though. She’s just gets back up and tries again.
“She’s going to come talk to you,” Stiles tells Geoff, “and that’s what you should say. If she really cares about you, the most important thing to her is going to be your happiness. Maybe once she sees that you’ve been given a better opportunity, she’ll back off.”
Derek frowns. “You should listen to what she has to say and talk to her and tell her how you feel then.”
That makes Stiles huff but he nods. “That's right, kiddo. I mean if you feel like you might want to go with her that's okay. We—we'll understand.”
Geoff nods, but he still looks unhappy. Even though Stiles isn’t pleased that the kid is upset, he’s at least glad they’re taking steps and moving forward.
And then they just have to go back to waiting.
It’s Thanksgiving break, so Stiles gets in the car on Wednesday afternoon after school and hustles his way to Sacramento. Derek is already at the center, sitting with Anna walking towards his lap and Geoff up on the couch, reading a comic book. They all looks up when Stiles enters.
They’re meeting with Geoff’s aunt today, who’s coming up from San Jose. She’s never seen Geoff before and Geoff’s never seen her—but Stiles still feels like it’s going to be an important moment.
They aren't allowed to be in the room when Geoff and his aunt first meet. More importantly, Geoff isn’t allowed to be in the room when Stiles and Derek meet her as well. Everything is tense already.
Natasha, for a woman in her line of work, isn't the most comforting presence as they wait.
“She seems uptight,” she offers, “and I don't think she shares the boy's enthusiasm for comic books.”
Stiles clings onto this, but Derek is stone-faced. “She's his family. She can tell him about his parents.”
“Maybe,” Natasha amends, “but maybe not.”
They’re in there for a long time. Anna can probably sense their discomfort, their anxiety, and she whines and coos and bats at Derek’s face, mumbling nonsensical words at his cheek. Stiles takes her, holds her close, just for some kind of comfort.
She kisses his nose and coos and he tries to be brave for her and smile even though he feels scared and a little sick. When Geoff does come out of the room so that they can go inside, he's ushered by one of the staff so they can't exactly ask him how it was. But he smiles at them, a little confused and nervous looking, but he smiles and it makes Derek relax beside him.
Natasha takes Anna while Derek and Stiles go in to sit with Geoff’s aunt. Her name is Marylyn, and she’s a small woman with shaking hands and nervous eyes. When Derek and Stiles walk in, she stands to greet them.
Derek shakes her hand and Stiles takes a bit longer and then follows suit.
“I'm Derek Hale,” he says politely, “and this is my husband Stiles.”
“It's nice to meet you both,” she says in a soft, careful voice.
They all take their seats and Stiles crosses his legs. “We understand,” Stiles begins, “that you are Geoff’s family and didn’t know that he was here. But we also understand that we have been with him, here, for months. We’d like to take him home with us.”
“I understand you've grown to care for him and he for you, but I have to think of what's best for him. I don't have a husband, no one at the moment, but I can bring him home to his family. His mother had a brother—”
“But he's not here,” Derek says. “We understand you didn't know, you weren't close to his parents. I—we love him.”
The woman frowns. “I understand you are already adopting a child.”
Derek nods. “Anna.”
“Geoff loves her too,” Stiles adds. “He holds her and sings to her and reads his comic books to her. And Anna loves him just as much. He was with her when she started walking. Walked right towards him.”
Marylyn looks down at her hands in her lap.
“Look,” Derek says, “we want this to be Geoff’s choice, ultimately. If he wants to go with you, we’ll let him go.”
“He's stubborn,” Stiles adds. “There's nothing we can do if that's his choice. We just—we just hope that you'll let it be his choice.”
Derek nods. “We don't want any legal battles, and it's not for lack of loving him it's just I can't—we can't put him through that. So we won't. But if you could, he's a smart boy. He understands more than you'd think.”
“And if you wanted to keep in touch, I think…” Stiles turns, looks to see Derek nodding his consent. “Yes, we would—that'd be fine.”
Geoff comes back in to see Marylyn again and Derek and Stiles wait for him in the small play room. Derek is walking around, bent over, with Anna on his feet, her hands in Derek’s. Stiles watches, smiles, catches Anna when she rushes over to him on wobbly legs. It feels like forever, but then the door opens
It’s not Geoff. It’s Natasha. But she’s smiling.
“Well,” she says, “I know it’s not the great news you were hoping for today, but—she’s yours.”
Stiles sits up. “Sorry?”
“Marylyn and Geoff are still talking, but—the paperwork came through. Anna is officially yours.”
Derek picks Anna up and swings her and laughs and Stiles feels like crying, but Natasha is right. It’s all a little tainted, because their family isn't going home. Not yet.
It’s a long time before Geoff comes out of that room. He looks troubled, as does his aunt, and Stiles stands, looking out through the open door into the hallway. It’s dark out now, and he and Derek have to go back to the apartment. Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, and they’re going to bring Anna to Beacon Hills in the morning for a celebration with Stiles’ father and the rest of the pack.
Marylyn leaves without saying anything else to any of them, and a member of staff comes to gather Geoff and take him towards the dining area with everyone else for dinner. Stiles pushes through the door, out into the hall.
“Mr. Stilinski,” the nurse says, “please—”
“We’re leaving town for the weekend,” Stiles says urgently. “Please, I just want to say goodbye.”
It’s not the nurse’s decision anyway, because Geoff comes running for him, throwing himself into Stiles’ arms.
He clings tight with his tiny little arms and makes a small noise. “I didn't wanna make her sad.”
Stiles feels his heart break into tiny pointy pieces. “That's okay. That’s okay, buddy, I understand.”
“Can I have an aunt? Can't I have daddies and an aunt?”
Stiles exhales. “Yeah. Yes, of course you can.”
“So I can still see her?”
Stiles nods immediately. “Yes. Any time you want, Geoff—you can see her whenever you want.” Geoff wraps his arms around Stiles’ neck again and Stiles cries into Geoff’s little shoulder. They’ve never gotten so much good news in one day before.
He knows that, from here, it’s only going to get better.
EIGHT YEARS LATER
Stiles is entirely unprepared for the day he comes home from work with groceries and finds Geoff on the couch with a girl. It’s not like they’re—doing anything. They’re just sitting there, watching television, but his arm is definitely up on the back of the couch, basically around her shoulders, and he’s not really looking at the screen.
“Hey,” he says, closing the door and passing by them to get to the kitchen.
Geoff waves a hand. “Hey,” he echoes.
“Is Pop home?”
“He called, said he was going to the post office before he went to pick up Anna from kick boxing.”
Stiles nods to himself as he puts away the groceries, face screwed up in a frown. It’s not ridiculous, considering the fact that Geoff is fifteen. He’ll be getting his license soon, he’s already a sophomore in high school, he’s—growing up.
Stiles sticks his head in the freezer for a moment. When he pulls it out, Geoff and the girl are sitting at the kitchen counter, smiling pleasantly.
“Hi,” the girl says, “I’m Amanda.”
“Oh, yeah,” Geoff laughs. “Dad—Amanda and I have English together.”
“It’s nice to meet you,” Stiles offers.
He's old enough to move around his house however he damn well chooses, so it isn't like he's running away from them and their general atmosphere of teenage romance. Still, Geoff all but hops on his back to stop him. “Hey, whoa. Dad, wait. Can I ask you something?”
Stiles shakes his son off and gives him a wary look while he catches a glimpse of the girl looking shy and fidgeting in her seat.
“Something that can't wait until both your parents are home for evil, manipulative reasons?”
Geoff smirks. “Amanda and I wanna go to this party tonight, and since it’s a Friday and I’ve been studying so hard for first-semester finals in a couple weeks, I was hoping I could go.”
Stiles blinks. “What kind of party?”
“Just a party with some of our friends, the lacrosse team, people like that.” He hooks a thumb over his shoulder. “Amanda’s sixteen and she has her mom’s car, so she could take me. And then I’d be out pretty late and I wouldn’t want to wake you guys up so I’d just stay over.”
Stiles’ eyebrows fly up. “At Amanda’s house? The house of the girl I just met?”
“You let me stay over at people’s houses all the time without knowing them.”
“This is different,” Stiles protests.
“Nothing’s going to happen,” Geoff says lowly. “We’re just going to a party.”
Stiles snorts. “Yeah, I went to high school parties with the lacrosse team.”
“Yeah, but I bet you didn’t ask Grandpa’s permission beforehand.”
“We'll talk when your father gets home,” he says and he loves it. It’s the best side stepping excuse in the world. He gives so many props to his own dad for doing without it his whole teenage life.
“Absolutely not,” Derek growls, Anna perched on his shoulders. Amanda has gone home to get ready for the party Stiles is sure she'll be going to regardless.
“But, Pop,” Geoff says, very near pouting. He learned that from Scott and Stiles will never forgive him for that.
“Your dad and I aren't stupid, Geoff. Maybe this will be a lesson in not trying to push your boundaries when you catch one of us alone.”
“Can I at least go to the party?”
“I don't know,” Stiles says. “You aren't acting very trust worthy.”
Geoff groans dramatically. “I just want to go to the party, okay? I promise to be home by midnight—”
“Curfew is 11 on weekends,” Derek interrupts.
Derek shakes his head. “You can go with Amanda to the party, but you will be home, in your room, at 11 o’clock. And don’t forget,” Derek says, tapping his nose, “I’ll be able to tell if you’ve been drinking.”
“That’s—but it’s a half hour away! I can’t just leave a party at 10:30! And I can’t just make Amanda take me home—”
Derek grins. “I'm happy to pick you up.”
“Take it or leave it,” Stiles warns when it looks like the boy might whine.
“Yeah, dumbface,” Anna giggles. “Take it or leave it.”
Derek chuckles, lifting the girl off of his shoulders. “Go get cleaned up for dinner,” he tells her, dropping a kiss on the top of her head, and she goes running towards the stairs and the bathroom. “Geoff, you’ve gotta work with us here,” he says. “You have finals in two weeks, we’ve never met this girl before, and we’ve made you a pretty good deal.”
Stiles nods. “He’s right, Geoff. There’s nothing you’ve said to us that makes us want to trust your judgment right now.”
“I think I'm in love with her,” he whispers.
“Oh, buddy.” Stiles tries and fails not to laugh. “That doesn't help your case at all. But we'll talk about it when you get home.”
“Go get dressed,” Derek grunts, “and easy on the cologne. You almost asphyxiated your sister.”
He trudges up the stairs with slumped shoulders, muttering under his breath and Derek turns to Stiles’, eyebrows high on his forehead.
“Well,” he says.
Stiles shrugs. “I was expecting it. I mean, not—not this early, but—well, I was his age when I was staring at Lydia every day. It’s not like it wasn’t going to happen eventually.”
“Think he hates us?” Derek asks.
“No,” Stiles scoffs. “He’s pissed, but he’ll get over it. I mean, he’s never broken rules before or lied to us—thanks to your handy-dandy lie detector—but it’s going to happen. I can’t keep relying on you to tell him no.”
Derek gets a horrified look on his face.
“What?” Stiles asks.
“Anna’s going to be his age eventually,” is what Derek says and Stiles shudders.
“Nope, not happening. She’s going to be nine forever.”
Derek takes a deep, resigned breath and kisses him, too soft and lingering for your average weekday afternoon.
“They'll be fine,” he says when he pulls away. “They’re our kids.”
“Yeah.” Stiles smiles and tugs to kiss him again. “They'll be okay.”