If you're on tumblr, you will have heard me complain about this. I now turn it over to you for your own complaints 👍
I ALMOST FORGOT This idea came from @rayshippouuchiha's post on tumblr. You should definitely go reblog the post, and then shower her in compliments.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“We’re all worse off without him.”
“Yeah. Thanks for coming.”
“It was a wonderful service. I’m sure he’s happy to be with your mother again.”
“Mm-hm. Thanks for coming.”
“He was a great man.”
“Yes. Thanks for coming.”
Thanks for coming.
Thanks for coming.
“I’m so sorry Scott’s not here.” Melissa’s eyes were red and puffy, her face looking thinner and more lined than Stiles remembered. “I don’t know where- I just don’t know.”
Stiles had only spoken to Scott once on the phone since it happened. He spared a brief moment to wonder if something new was trying to kill the town before the thought slipped away.
“Thanks for coming, Melissa,” he said, actually meaning it for the first time that day. “How are you feeling?”
She shrugged, mouth twisted. “Like I’m getting poison pumped into me every three weeks.” Her eyes again took on that worried expression that so rarely left them these days. “I’ve been staying with my sister after chemo so I’m not home often, but you know you can come over, right? Anytime. I know you still have that key you made.”
Stiles tried to dredge up a smile for her, but she just seemed more pained at his attempt. He let it drop.
“Yeah, I have it.”
Melissa nodded once, and then pulled Stiles into a tight hug.
“You still have family here,” she murmured into his ear.
Stiles made no response, staring over her shoulder at the new hole in the cemetery lawn.
Yeah. All his family was right here.
God, there were so many fucking casseroles. More than a dozen permutations of starch, tuna, and cream-of-sympathy soup sat in the refrigerator, taking up space and making it smell like a congregation potluck.
Instead of putting one of those in the oven, Stiles removed his funeral tie and chucked it on the counter, heading toward the liquor cabinet for his dinner. He’d stayed stone-cold sober as he dealt with funeral arrangements and school arrangements and bills, but now-
Well. Like father like son.
Stiles was 19. Wasn’t he supposed to be drinking on the weekends anyway? He was finally doing something age appropriate.
He grabbed one of his father’s wide tumblers and poured a double, and then added another double on top of that before heading to the couch. He paused, and then sat on the right hand side, where John used to slump after work.
Stiles found himself in a similar position, head fuzzy after just a few sips on an empty stomach and an emptier house. His thoughts darted to and away from memories, unable to stop them from coming but also unable to bear them for long. He leaned forward and stared into the glass as thoughts of his father became more fragmented and sharp.
Was he scared?
Was he relieved?
Did he think of me?
Did he think at all?
Was there time for that before-
A knock on the door startled him badly enough that some whiskey sloshed over the edge of the glass. Another knock came on the heels of the first, nearly frantic sounding. Stiles hurriedly set down his drink and went to answer it.
Scott had his fist raised to knock again when Stiles opened the door. He expected a rush of emotion, any emotion upon seeing his best friend’s face for the first time in six months, but there was nothing.
He turned around, leaving the door open as he headed back to the couch.
Scott’s big puppy eyes looked mournful as he followed him inside, shutting the door behind him.
“I’m sorry I missed the funeral, man.”
Stiles said nothing and just collapsed back down on the couch, picking up his whiskey again.
“I had to go to a girl’s house-”
“Of course you did,” Stiles sighed.
“-Dude, this is really important, could you listen?” Scott said impatiently. “I’m trying to tell you something.” He started to unzip his coat. Stiles absently noticed that he was unreasonably bundled up for the mild late September weather, but then-
“What. Is that.”
Scott looked up at him, apprehensive.
“Her name’s Lily.”
Stiles stared at the fuzzy head peeking out of the papoose.
“Her. Her name. That is a real live human baby. Oh my God-”
“Actually I don’t know if she’s human?” Scott said with a confused frown. “Becca didn’t say.”
“Who the fuck is Becca?!”
“She’s- it’s complicated. We had a thing ten months ago,” Scott said, voice heavy with implication.
Stiles took a deep breath.
“Ten months ago.” He took another deep breath. “I thought you were trying to work things out with Kira?”
“Well, Kira wanted to take a break!” Scott protested loudly, causing the baby to start fussing. He glanced down at her and then threw a panicked look at Stiles. “What do I do?” he hissed.
“How would I fucking know?? Where is Becca??” Stiles set down his drink and stood up as the fussing got louder, hands fluttering around, unsure of what to do.
“Her pack is like, real old school. They’re migratory, and they wouldn’t take her with them if she had the baby. She told me to come over, and I kinda thought she wanted one last night, you know? But then she basically threw the baby at me and left!”
“Oh my God,” Stiles repeated. “This just happened?! And the first thing you did was come here? Does Melissa even know yet?”
Scott looked frantic and the cries got louder.
“No! Mom can’t know!!”
Stiles gaped at him.
“Scott, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a whole entire baby involved here. You can’t exactly hide that.”
“No no no-” Scott was clearly near tears. “She’ll be so disappointed in me Stiles! And what if- what if the stress makes her even sicker?”
“She’d still want to know!”
“We can’t tell anyone!” Scott burst out. “Kira will never take me back!!”
Stiles’ mouth hung open. That’s what he was worried about? Scott had helped create a life that he now held in his arms, and his biggest concern was still getting back with his high school girlfriend?
The crying reached a fever pitch. Stiles couldn’t even look at Scott, so he reached out and pulled Lily out of the carrier, tucking her into his arms.
Desperate for Scott to see reason, he tried to talk over the crying. “You can’t just put her in foster care; you don’t even know if she’s a werewolf.”
Scott wrung his hands.
“She might not be though?”
“You really need to err on the side of caution here, dude!!” The wail reached a new decibel. “Jesus Christ, do you have any formula or shit?”
“Oh yeah, let me go get it from the bike.”
“You brought her here on your motorcycle?!” Stiles yelled, but Scott was already outside. He returned with a plastic Walmart bag containing one bottle, one container of powdered formula, and six diapers.
Stiles quickly grabbed the formula container and read the directions, carefully holding the baby as he moved to the kitchen with the container and the bottle. He awkwardly mixed the powder with warm water, trying balance everything without dropping the floppy yet squirmy little stranger in his arms.
Scott tucked his hands into his pockets.
A few moments later Stiles hesitantly put the bottle up to her mouth, wondering how he was supposed to get it in there, only for the baby to immediately open up and hungrily latch on. The sounds of eager sucking filled the kitchen. Stiles had no idea if he’d made too much or not enough or if he was even holding the bottle right, but for that brief moment as she began to eat, he felt calm. The baby was hungry, he fed the baby. This one problem was solved.
“Wow, she’s actually quiet,” Scott commented from across the kitchen. Stiles hummed noncommittally, unwilling to break his momentary peace by bringing Scott into it. Scott forced his way in anyway. “I can’t tell my mom, Stiles.”
“Look, dude,” Stiles said with a sigh, “I know you had that big blow up with her when she started dating Chris-”
Red eyes flashed across the kitchen.
“See?! That’s why I can’t tell her! What if Chris finds out she has a possible were baby-”
“Don’t even try that bullshit with me,” Stiles said, voice exhausted. “First of all, you know Chris never hunted like that, even if his psycho family did. And second, she and Chris haven’t dated for like six months.”
“I still can’t believe she dated someone who tried to shoot me,” Scott said grumpily.
“You dated someone who tried to shoot you!”
Scott went silent at that, frowning. The baby quietly ate.
“You withdrew from the semester, right?” he continued after a moment.
“Yeah,” Stiles answered absently as he watched Lily’s tiny jaw move with the bottle.
There was another moment of silence, and then Scott said, “I still have more than half of my program to finish.”
Stiles felt a niggling in the back of his mind as the words processed, and then a sudden weight dropped into his stomach when he realized where Scott was leading. They both started talking at the same time.
“You cannot fucking-”
“Just hear me out-“
“-don’t know what-“
“-not doing anything anyway!!”
Suddenly a third voice rang out over both of them.
“I GOT THE MOVES LIKE JAGGER, I GOT THE MO-”
Scott pulled his phone out and answered it, as if the current conversation wasn’t literally the most important thing that could possibly be happening.
“A wendigo?” he said, voice authoritative and eyes red. “I’m on my way.”
“Scott, no,” Stiles said forcefully, but Scott was already leaving the kitchen. Stiles followed as quickly as he could without dislodging the bottle from Lily’s mouth. “Scott!!”
“I can’t take her with me!” Scott called backward. “Just for tonight, okay? And then I’ll figure something out!!”
The door slammed behind him.
Stiles was alone again.
He looked at Lily’s droopy eyelids as her sucking slowed down.
Well. Not quite alone.
The day suddenly hit Stiles full force. He was exhausted, and he didn’t have a crib. He couldn’t put her on the couch, because she might fall off. His twin mattress was skinny enough that he worried he might roll over onto her. That left one option.
He’d only been into his dad’s room once in the last week, fetching necessary documents and leaving in a hurry. Even now he kept his eyes down. Lily was asleep again, barely stirring as Stiles carefully laid her down. He was still nervous about accidentally rolling over onto her, so he grabbed several blankets and bunched them up around her, creating an oasis of sleeping space for the baby.
Cautiously, trying not to jostle the mattress, he laid down next to her and watched her tiny belly move up and down with her breath.
He wasn’t aware when he drifted off.
ngl I picked “Moves Like Jagger” as his ringtone because it was the most obnoxious song I could think of.
Early sunlight filtered through the window, reflecting off of picture frames and a few coins John had left on his dresser, drawing Stiles from sleep. Slight movement coming from his left sped up the process, drawing a crease in his brow before he’d even opened his eyes. Who was on the bed with him?
As soon as he cracked open one eye and took in the wiggling limbs on the bed next to him, he remembered the night before.
“Oh my God, a baby,” he croaked out.
Lily looked over at the sound, bright grey-blue eyes focusing on Stiles’ face as her hands reflexively grasped at her onesie. Stiles felt awkward, like he should have something to say.
Unimpressed, Lily switched her attention back to the ceiling.
Stiles sat up and rubbed a hand over his face, trying to scrub away his mental cobwebs. He looked around the room, gut twisting as he saw his father’s knick knacks. Melatonin and ibuprofen bottles sat next to each other on the nightstand, one of the lids askew. There was a reminder note to call the DA, and another to get gas.
He always went to the same gas station. It wasn’t close to the house. They didn’t even have the best gas prices. That stupid fucking gas station-
The sounds of fussing cut into Stiles’ thoughts, demanding he look at the little person taking up the other half of the bed. There was a distinctly disgruntled look on Lily’s face.
“Right,” he said, voice slightly shaky. “You probably want breakfast.” Staunchly ignoring everything else in the room, he got out of bed.
The bottle procedure went the same as the night before, Lily happily sucking down formula as Stiles held her on the couch. She didn’t fall asleep afterward this time, though. Her little fists flung out here and there, banging into his chest and then whacking her own thighs before flinging out to grasp at the air. Stiles watched her, trying to keep his thoughts from straying back to his father.
“Look at you. That’s terrible drumming. What is this? You’ve got no rhythm,” Stiles said. “Where’s the down beat? What kind of time is this?” He carefully leaned her up against his chest and wrapped her tiny fists around his pointer fingers. “Pay attention. And one and two and one and two and snare solo!”
Lily made an unhappy little noise and screwed up her face.
“Aw, it’s fine dude, you’re probably the number one drummer on the baby billboard.”
A sad wail left her, getting progressively higher and higher in pitch.
“Oh shit, is something actually wrong?”
Lily’s only response was to cry harder.
“Shiiiiit shitshitshit.” Stiles stood up with her. She couldn’t be hungry again already, could she? What else did babies do besides eat and be bad at air drums? Shit shit-
“SHIT! You need a diaper change!!”
He spun around, looking for the bag that Scott had brought in the night before. It took a minute, Lily’s cries getting more frantic with every second, but he spotted it shoved halfway under the couch. He carefully laid Lily on the floor and pulled it out, dumping it next to him. He cringed when he realized that he was going to need more diapers soon… and a car seat. At the store that he would need to drive to.
He mindlessly shh’ed the baby as he held the diaper, trying to figure out what was the back and what was the front. Once the diaper was open he realized that diaper wipes were also a thing he would need to purchase. He quickly ran to the bathroom and got a wet washcloth, listening to Lily’s cries the whole time, raising his blood pressure with every decibel. After she was clean he decided the front and back didn’t matter, and just strapped the new diaper on the way he thought would be most comfortable if he had to wear a diaper.
“There! Is that better?” he asked, gently bringing the baby up.
Lily continued to cry.
Stiles brought her in close and stood up, desperately thinking of what else one month old babies need. Sleep? Was she tired? They just woke up, but maybe.
He laid her down in his arms, trying to rock her as he walked. Her crying just got louder.
Stiles cursed Scott with every fiber of his being as he pulled his phone out one handed. He unlocked it and typed “Bab stop cr” into the search bar, but he had to stop there, because his phone slipped out of his hand and slid under the coffee table.
Lily cried louder.
Stiles suddenly and desperately wanted his dad. He closed his eyes tightly, willing his own tears down as his throat tightened.
A knock rapped on the door, and his eyes flew open. He rushed to the door, ready to yell at Scott, and unlocked it, pulling it open-
To reveal Peter Hale.
Lily continued to cry.
Stiles stared blankly at him, completely uncomprehending.
Peter’s eyebrows were drawn together as he looked at the baby.
“Did you burp her?”
“She sounds gassy. Did you burp her?”
Peter sighed impatiently and reached out to lift Lily from Stiles’ arms, pulling her up to his shoulder and rubbing up and down her back. Half a minute later, she let out three burps worthy of any truck stop diner and immediately went quiet. Stiles stared, dazed, as Peter stepped past him into the house, still holding Lily.
“What are you doing with McCall’s whelp? And since when does McCall have a baby? It can’t have been on purpose. I refuse to believe that anyone would knowingly procreate with that idiot.”
“I- he- wait, what the fuck are you doing here? How did you know she needed to be burped? What makes you think she’s Scotts? What in the goddamn hell is happening?!”
“Language,” scolded Peter.
Stiles had fallen into an alternate dimension. It was the only explanation. Peter Hale, former revenge obsessed maniac and spree killer, was scolding Stiles for swearing in front of a baby.
“I know she’s Scott’s because of how she smells, of course,” Peter continued. “And I knew she needed to burp because of the way she was crying.”
“The way she- it was a cry! Do you have some kind of secret werewolf power to translate baby screams?” Stiles demanded.
“You clearly haven’t spent time around infants,” Peter said dismissively. “A pain cry is different from a hungry cry, or a tired cry or a ‘pay attention to me’ cry. And you still haven’t told me why you’re caring for McCall’s baby the day after your father’s funeral.”
His gut clenched painfully at the reminder and his temper flared. Suddenly angry, Stiles reached out and took Lily back. Peter willingly let go, though his eyebrow was raised.
“And you haven’t told me what you’re doing back in Beacon Hills,” he said, curling his arms around the baby as he set his jaw stubbornly. “If you’re back here to start shit, I have no problem putting you back in the ground.” He paused. “...After I find a babysitter.”
Peter sighed and dramatically, yet gracefully, settled onto the couch with his arms spread over the back. Stiles refused to be impressed by his shoulder muscles.
“Two days ago the county posted a warning that the Hale lands were to be repossessed unless some action was taken. Derek and Cora were unwilling to return, so here I am.”
Stiles had a dim memory of seeing the announcement on the page opposite his father’s obituary, and had to admit that that was a perfectly valid reason. It seemed more likely than another revenge plot, anyway. Stiles had stopped considering Peter an active threat a long time ago.
“When I arrived at the county clerk’s office yesterday,” Peter continued, “I found it was closed, and when I sought the reason I discovered that all the employees were at a funeral service for the sheriff. Which is what brought me to your house specifically.”
That brought up Stiles short.
“What? Why?” he asked, baffled. “You barely even knew my dad. And we haven’t seen each other since you disappeared after the dead pool.”
“Yes,” Peter said slowly, as though his motivation should be obvious. “I haven’t forgotten that there was only one person willing to speak up for me then.”
Stiles stared at him, surprised that Peter would think twice about that. No one deserved Eichen House, especially not for thoughts they’d had six years ago during a coma. He was ready to kick Peter out with a don’t mention it, literally please, but Lily spoke over him with a grunt. And then a few more grunts, and then a smell so potent that even Stiles caught it immediately.
“Damn,” he said to himself, realizing that his supply of diapers was going to run out very quickly at this rate.
“Language!” Peter reprimanded again.
Stiles ignored him.
“Make yourself useful if you’re going to be here,” he said. “Go to the bathroom and get a wet washcloth.”
Peter made a face, but got up and headed toward the hall. By the time he got back, Stiles had Lily’s onesie open.
“Why don’t you have wipes? And why is her diaper on backwards?” Peter asked, peering over his shoulder.
Stiles paused, and then continued unlatching the sides.
“It’s the new style. All the cool babies are doing it.”
“There’s poop on the onesie.”
Stiles cursed again as he realized Peter was right. He carefully pulled it off, trying not to have a heart attack when he had to pull it over her little head. Stiles also tried not to feel scrutinized as Peter watched. Who cared what Peter Hale thought?
“Her skin’s a little red. You may want to let her air dry for a minute,” Peter suggested from behind him.
Stiles furrowed his eyebrows, looking back.
“What’s air gonna do?”
Peter had a pained look on his face.
“Prevent diaper rash! For God’s sake, have you ever met a baby? How did you end up with her?”
Stiles huffed, leaving Lily naked as she happily wiggled her bare baby butt cheeks on the floor.
“Scott- God, I don’t even know-”
He couldn’t say exactly why he actually answered. Stiles certainly wasn’t in the habit of giving people like Peter Hale any more information than absolutely necessary. But it was possible that there was a part of him that wanted someone else to acknowledge just how shitty Scott’s actions had been, and if Peter could be counted on for anything, it was pointing out Scott’s worst attributes.
Stiles explained the situation the best he could with the small amount of information he had, the entire scenario sounding even more absurd when he laid it all out for another person. He left out his doubts about whether the wendigo emergency was real. He was sure Peter would think it anyway. Peter’s jaw clenched harder the longer Stiles talked, nostrils flaring and eyes flashing by the end.
“Useless wolf,” he hissed, reaching around Stiles to unfold a diaper. “Of course he would get his dick involved with the one nomadic pack left in North America, and then refuse to take responsibility for the consequences.”
He gently pushed Stiles out of the way, deftly wrapping the diaper snuggly around Lily. Picking her up, he brushed a hand along her cheek and smoothed down her dark fuzzy hair. Then he handed her to Stiles and without another word, got up and headed for the door.
“I’ll be back later,” was all he said before the door shut behind him.
The suddenness of the quiet throughout the house left Stiles feeling bereft. He hadn’t expected, or even wanted Peter to stick around, but…
Stiles fetched his phone from underneath the coffee table and pulled up the phone book. He scowled as it rang twice and then went to voicemail.
“Scotty, you left something pretty important here dude. Call me back ee-fuckin-meediately.”
He hung up and looked around the living room, noticing his dad’s extra sheriff's department jacket folded on the end table. He hesitated, and then with more care than may have looked normal from the outside, he picked it up and wrapped it around Lily to keep her warm.
“C’mon poop bucket. Time to introduce you to the wonder of daytime television.”
He settled into the armchair, Lily tucked securely in his arms, and turned on the first soap opera he could find. A few chin-quivering yawns later, and completely unfazed by Elena’s love confession or Bruce’s amnesia, Lily was asleep.
Stiles’ mind ran in circles as he thought of what he was going to do, but no apparent solutions presented themselves. Eventually, having no better options, Stiles fell asleep too.
Peter Hale, swooping in like the avenging angel of gassy babies.
He awoke to a hammering sound. Lily was already awake and gurgling as she tried to get her hands into her mouth. Stiles’ pulse sped up when he realized the pounding noise was coming from inside the house. Had he locked the front door before falling asleep? Who had broken in? Where was his mountain ash-
The hammering stopped abruptly, and before Stiles could freak out further, Peter walked into the room.
“What has your heart rate doing the William Tell Overture so soon after waking up?” he asked, coming over to scoop up Lily.
“You scared the shit out of me!” Stiles said, trying to get his breathing under control again. “What the hell is that noise?”
“I’m putting together the crib,” Peter said, the implication of duh clear in his tone.
“What crib?” Stiles asked dumbly.
“The one I bought.” And with that, Peter turned around, taking Lily into the kitchen.
Stiles hurried after them, mouth falling open upon seeing new bottles drying on the counter. Peter picked one up and tossed it to Stiles.
“How much have you been feeding her?”
“Four ounces,” Stiles answered, examining the bottle. Peter nodded approvingly, and Stiles felt relieved at getting at least one thing right. As they waited for Stiles to finish making the formula, Lily’s gurgling turned into a little trilling noise and she began squirming with hunger. Peter raised an amused eyebrow at her.
“You sound like a bird,” he cooed. “A little baby bird.” He stuck out a hand and took the bottle from Stiles as soon as it was ready and began feeding her, movements smooth and natural. “What a good eater. You’ll be running through the woods in no time.”
“Running through the woods? Is she a wolf?” Stiles asked curiously. “Can you tell that?”
Peter rolled his eyes.
“What child who grows up around here doesn’t run through the woods? We won’t know if she’s a wolf until she’s three or four months old. Actually, I don’t even know her name yet.” He looked over at Stiles expectantly.
“Lily. What’s with the wolfy delay? Why does it take three or four months?”
“Lily is a good strong name,” Peter mused. “There are a lot of good Lily’s. Lily Tomlin, the writer, and Lily Braun, the feminist-”
A horrible thought struck Stiles. “Oh my God, is it because of fangs and breastfeeding??”
“-Lily Allen, the musician, and Stiles, how many babies are born with teeth?”
Peter raised a laconic eyebrow at him before continuing. “It takes three months for a baby to stop smelling exclusively like their parents, and start carrying hints of their own natural scent. Usually sometime after, within about a month, you’ll see their irises change for the first time; but before that? They’re basically the same as human babies. No enhanced healing, nothing.” He paused before adding, “The second set of eye teeth, by the way, come in with their first set of molars, around two years.
“Huh. I never really considered that you-” he gestured vaguely to Peter’s entire being “-wouldn’t just be born with sideburns, pointy parts and all.”
“As much as I’m sure that would impress the local obstetricians, evolutionarily speaking that would be an unfortunate trait. Isn’t that right Lily?” he asked, looking back down at Lily as her fingers scratched at the side of the bottle. “No one wants claws on the inside of their uterus.”
Once she was done eating, Peter rooted around in another shopping bag with one hand before pulling out a cloth.
He stepped up closely to Stiles, putting the cloth over his shoulder and saying, “If she pukes, try to keep it on the cloth. Formula spit up smells awful, you don’t want it on your shirt.” Then he gently pulled the sheriff’s coat off of her and handed her back.
Stiles grimaced and awkwardly started rubbing and gently patting her back. A few moments later she burped, with minimal formula returns.
“She did it! I did it!” Stiles said excitedly. “I made her burp!”
Peter’s trademark smirk didn’t look quite as sarcastic as Stiles remembered.
“Congratulations. Now come look at the crib, I want to see if she likes it.”
“She’s a month old, can she even dislike things?”
“She certainly had an opinion about being burped earlier,” Peter pointed out, leaving the kitchen and heading for the bedrooms. Stiles was surprised and tense when he followed Peter into his father’s room.
“There wasn’t enough space to set it up in the other room,” Peter said dismissively. “And besides, I remember how easy it was to get in through your window.”
Stiles clutched at Lily a little tighter, and made a mental note to line all the windows with mountain ash again.
Peter quickly put a sheet on the crib mattress, and then swiped Lily from Stiles to lay her down in the middle. He frowned, looking at her as she gazed around at the crib slats.
“What’s missing?” he mused.
“What about those cushion things on the sides,” Stiles suggested. “Don’t they like, keep them from smacking their heads into the bars or something?”
“They’re called bumpers, and no, they don’t recommend those anymore. Accidental suffocation. Maybe she needs a swaddle sack.”
“What the fuck is a swaddle sack?” Stiles asked, baffled.
Peter pointed a severe finger at Stiles.
“If her first word is a swear word it’s going to be entirely your fault-” he accused.
“If her first word is a swear word it’s going to be hilarious,” Stiles corrected.
“-and a swaddle sack is just a blanket pouch made specifically for swaddling. Oh! A mobile! She needs a mobile.”
Peter pulled out his phone, immediately searching for mobiles that would match the color scheme of the crib. Stiles peered over his shoulder, about to point out the one with a stormtrooper when he suddenly remembered.
“Wait wait wait, hold up. It’s like, super nice and weird of you to get this stuff, but she’s not mine, Peter. She’s Scott’s kid. This is temporary.”
Peter sent a sardonic look at Stiles.
“You said that Scott was given custody of her yesterday afternoon, correct?”
“If you call tossing Lily at him and then running away, ‘giving custody,’ then yeah.”
“And he handed her off to you last night.”
“So at this point, you’ve cared for her roughly three times the amount of time he has, and you also haven’t heard back from him yet.”
“That doesn’t mean he’s not coming back,” Stiles said. It’s not like Stiles was her dad. Scott had to come back sometime. Right?
The look on Peter’s face could have been called skeptical at best, but he didn’t press the issue.
Instead, Peter pulled out some clothes he’d gotten and dressed Lily while also trying to convince Stiles that he didn’t need to be afraid of her fontanelle.
“‘Afraid’ makes it sound like I think it’s a little spooky. I’m terrified of it. It’s a hole in her skull Peter. Her brain is right there. Why is her brain right there?”
“It’s not that big of a deal,” Peter argued, “you just have to be aware of it. And it’s there so that her head can fit through the birthing canal.”
“Well, it’s a bad design. Horrible. Vaginas should be made bigger.”
“It’s not often you get that opinion from a man,” Peter said dryly.
“Well, A. men are shitty, and B. I haven’t slept with a girl in almost two years and most of what I remember is theoretical anyway,” Stiles said.
Peter clucked his tongue faux-sympathetically.
“Has college not been the treasure trove of sexual delights that TV promised you?” he drawled.
Stiles rolled his eyes.
“I said that I haven’t had sex with a girl in almost two years, not that I haven’t had sex.”
Peter’s hand slipped on one of the leg snaps.
“You need some help?” Stiles asked. “I can do the legs. There are no soft brain spots by the legs.”
Peter cleared his throat and said, “Yes, you do that.”
The rest of the day was filled with taking care of Lily and doing other baby-related things. It took an unreasonable amount of time to get the car seat base installed into Stiles’ Jeep, at least half of which was spent arguing with Peter over why the Jeep was a perfectly baby-safe car.
By the time night rolled around, Stiles was exhausted again. When Peter showed no sign of leaving, Stiles chucked some fresh sheets at his old bed. If Peter cared, he could change them himself. Then he carefully laid Lily down in her crib and passed out on his dad’s bed without even thinking about it.
Barely two hours later, he heard Lily begin to fuss, but before he could convince his muscles to pull himself out of bed, Peter quietly creeped into the bedroom.
“Hello, Lily bird. Are you hungry?” he whispered, carefully lifting her up and sweeping out of the room with her. Stiles, still vaguely asleep, stared at the door for a moment, unsure if what he’d seen was real or not. In any case, no more noises were coming from the crib, so Stiles rolled over and got another three hours of sleep before Lily started fussing again.
By six am the next morning, Lily and Stiles were up for good. Peter followed soon after, somehow managing to look fresh as a daisy despite the interrupted sleep and stale clothes.
“I need to run to my hotel room,” he announced. “Do you need anything while I’m out?”
“Yeah, get me a baby manual,” Stiles said, not entirely joking. “Oh, and mountain ash. I need more mountain ash.”
Peter raised an eyebrow. Stiles rolled his eyes.
“Don’t take it personally. Beacon Hills is a hellmouth and I don’t want anyone climbing in the windows. You can use the front door like a normal person.”
“That’s not actually what I was thinking,” Peter said slowly. “You can use mountain ash?”
“I’ve used it a couple of times. I’ve broken more lines than I’ve created, though.”
A hungry look flashed across Peter’s face, there and gone before Stiles could be sure of what he’d seen.
All he said was, “I’ll see what I can do,” and then left.
When Peter returned that afternoon, he made sure Stiles wasn’t holding Lily, and then tossed a book to him.
“What to Expect the First Year,” Stiles said, catching it and reading the title aloud.
“You asked for a manual. That’s as close as you’ll get,” Peter said. “It has month by month milestones and advice on what’s worth worrying about versus normal variances in infants.”
Stiles immediately opened it and started skimming through, so distracted that he almost didn’t notice Peter bringing his luggage in. Almost.
He opened his mouth to ask what the hell Peter thought he was doing, and then abruptly snapped it shut when he remembered that he’d put on Lily’s diaper backwards yesterday. He glanced back down at the book. Peter had been weirdly helpful so far. Maybe keeping him around for a bit wasn’t such a bad idea.
Eventually they all wound up in various states on the living room floor; Stiles with his book, Peter with some county paperwork, and Lily with a small stuffed elephant that seemed to have appeared from nowhere.
Peter noticed Lily nodding off first, long sleepy blinks eventually tipping over into tiny snores. A glimpse over at Stiles showed a similar state.
“You know, one of the first things it says in that book is that you should sleep when the baby sleeps,” Peter said casually.
Stiles blinked slowly before looking up at him.
“Pretty sure that’s advice for like, breastfeeding mothers. Or you know, actual parents.”
Peter just shook his head.
“Take a nap, Stiles. You look like you could use it.”
Stiles snorted sleepily, closing the book and laying a cheek down on it.
“Just say I’m ugly and go,” he mumbled, humor clear on his face even as he was rapidly losing the fight to stay awake.
“I can’t tell lies in front of the baby, now can I?” Peter said lightly.
Stiles gave one more snort laugh before falling asleep entirely. Peter soon found himself also growing drowsy in the peace of the sleepy atmosphere, and set aside his paperwork. He snagged a pillow from the couch and got comfortable, and his last thought was, Besides, I’m not going anywhere.
They all slowly woke later in the afternoon, feeling strangely well rested for having slept nowhere near a bed. Stiles handed Lily to Peter and ambled off to make a bottle. When he returned, Peter had Lily on his chest, gently smoothing his hand over her hair. He took the bottle from Stiles.
“I got the mountain ash, by the way,” he mentioned, nodding over to a box Stiles hadn’t noticed earlier. He recognized it.
“That’s Deaton’s,” he said flatly.
“Is it?” Peter asked innocently. “How interesting. He should probably improve his security.”
Stiles considered protesting the stolen goods for a moment before deciding he didn’t really care.
After he’d lined all the windows, he took the box to the kitchen and divided a portion into several ziplock baggies. Peter watched him go around the house and hide them in each room as he fed Lily.
“Did you have mountain ash hidden in your dorm room as well?” he asked curiously.
“I had a little bit that I kept in my backpack. Not enough for a whole house, though.”
Peter looked pleased for some reason.
“Have you ever considered becoming an emissary, Stiles?”
Stiles looked back at him blankly.
“I’m… not a druid?”
“You have magic, though,” Peter countered. “Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to work with mountain ash.”
“But not like, real magic,” Stiles clarified. “I can’t do all the shit Deaton and Morrell do. Just mountain ash.”
“Magic is magic, Stiles. Deaton and Morrell have the benefit of formal education, but that doesn’t mean you’re less than them. Besides, an emissary invested in protection is better than an emissary obsessed with secrecy, which would put you above them under any circumstance.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow with a smirk.
”’Above them’? Peter Hale are you flattering me?”
Peter rolled his eyes with the hint of a smile.
“When it comes to emissaries, the bar is on the floor darling. Don’t let it go to your head.”
Stiles snorted and then waved it off.
“Whatever. It’s not like there are any packs around now anyway. And I kind of already have a pressing situation to deal with,” he said pointedly, taking the wiggly baby out of Peter’s arms.
Peter let it go for the moment, standing up and stretching as he left the room.
It took Stiles a moment to realize he was staring at the strip of skin revealed by the stretch, and then another moment to tear his eyes away. Lily was looking at him when he finally managed.
Caught out by a baby.
He put a finger up to his lips, miming a shush. Lily said nothing.
She was a good bro.
Lily strictly adheres to the bro code, which is as follows:
1. No outing your bro's crushes
2. Doing your part to suppress to toxic masculinity by providing bro snuggles
3. Secret handshakes
Unfortunately, that floor nap was the longest stretch of sleep that either Peter or Stiles got for a while.
“Maybe she has that baby crying disease,” Stiles suggested desperately two nights later when she still wouldn’t sleep, fussy and unhappy. He was pacing the dark living room with her while Peter took a break on the couch. “C- something. Colin. Colander. College.”
“College is the adult crying disease,” Peter said, rubbing his eyes. “Colic is what babies have. And she’s not colicky. Believe it or not, if she had colic she would be crying even more. When Derek had colic I slept out in the woods with Laura for two months because it was so non-stop.”
Her crying was piercing and demanding, causing what felt like a low-grade but constant panic response in Stiles’ hindbrain. He was a cocktail shaker of sleep deprivation and desperation, eyes gritty and muscles aching.
He groaned, adjusting his hold on her yet again, trying to find some position that would relieve whatever was upsetting her.
“Lily, Lily, Lily,” he crooned. “Hurry the fuck up and learn to speak English. Or Polish. Or intermediate level Spanish. I can work with any of those.”
“At this rate the only language she’ll be speaking is swearing,” Peter said, voice testy and tired.
“If she understands the complex grammatical nuances behind swearing in English,” Stiles shot back, temper abruptly breaking, “then she’ll be a fucking prodigy.” With that, he stalked off back into the kitchen to try feeding her again.
A few minutes later, Lily still pitifully crying and refusing the bottle, Peter followed them in. Silently, he took the bottle from Stiles and washed it out before stiltedly saying, “I’m sorry. My comment was ill timed for the circumstances.”
Peter Hale apologizing was a momentous occasion, but Stiles was simply too tired and stressed out to appreciate it. And now that his sudden flare of temper was over, the idea of having an argument about swearing in front of a baby was just too stupid for him to entertain.
“It’s fine, whatever. I’m sorry too. I should probably relax. I’m just- God. I’m so tired.”
His eyes refused to focus on anything for longer than a few moments at a time. They moved from Lily to the counter to Peter’s unshaven face to the coffee mug in the sink. It was his dad’s. He used to swear at the coffee maker in the mornings. Stiles hadn’t touched it since he came back.
He closed his eyes.
Carefully, he walked back to the living room and collapsed onto the couch.
Lily kept crying.
Peter once again followed, sitting down next to him.
“There’s something I used to do with Cora…” Peter said, trailing off and looking at Stiles hesitantly. “Here, try this.”
He took Lily and put her on Stiles’ chest, her stomach lying directly over his heart. He gently nudged her head into the crook of his neck, so her forehead was cradled there. Slowly, her crying quieted and after a few moments, she was asleep.
“Oh my God,” Stiles whispered on an exhale. “Oh Jesus. You did it. You performed an actual miracle.”
Peter’s hand still rested on her back. Stiles could just barely see the features of his face in the 4 a.m. living room.
“Cora had lung problems just after she was born,” Peter whispered after a moment of quiet, neither of them trusting it to last quite yet. “When I held her like this, I could feel her breath on my neck. It was comforting for both of us.”
Stiles could feel what he meant, little puffs of warm air coming rhythmically from the tiny face he cradled. His exhausted brain fell into silence, entranced by the metronome of life that he held.
They both fell asleep on the couch minutes later, too afraid to move lest they wake up Lily.
The sound of Stiles’ phone awoke all three of them at 8 a.m. the next morning. He opened one eye enough to see the screen and groaned when he saw it was the insurance company.
“Hello?” he answered, groggy.
“Good morning Mr. Stilinski, I hope I didn’t disturb you,” the voice on the other end said blandly before continuing without pause. “I just have a few more questions about your father’s estate-”
Peter gently lifted Lily from his chest and took her into the kitchen to make a bottle, nodding at Stiles’ distracted thanks. By the time he came back, Stiles was looking through some papers he’d grabbed from the end table, holding the phone to his shoulder with his ear. When he finally hung up, he slumped on the couch with a sigh, head leaned back and eyes closed.
Peter had heard most of the conversation, so that wasn’t really what he was asking when he said, “Everything alright?”
Stiles rubbed his eyes, the dark circles of the last couple nights making the grief in them look older.
“Yeah. It’s just- it was a complicated death, made more complicated by his job, and then even more complicated by his only living relative being a nineteen year old. A lot of people need a lot of information, and most of them assume I’m too stupid to give it.”
Peter looked at him as he burped Lily, noting that he looked even more tired now than he had before sleeping. Stiles zoned out for a few minutes before shaking himself a little and picking up his phone and fooling around on it, clearly trying to keep himself awake.
“Did you know that babies pick up accents at twenty months? That seems super young. I think.” He looked up from the screen, squinting his eyes. “What’s twenty months in normal people age?”
Peter snorted a little laugh.
“Just under two years.”
“Cool. There’s still time to raise her with a fake accent.” Stiles rubbed his eyes again, clearly trying to get them to focus on his phone better.
“Go take a nap, Stiles,” Peter said. “You’re no use like this.”
“Excuse you, I’m always use.” Stiles snapped, and the paused. “Use ful . I’m always useful.” He furrowed his brow. “...Maybe I should go take a nap.”
Peter watched him shamble off down the hall, allowing himself a shamefully affectionate smile where Stiles couldn’t see it.
The next few days passed in a similar haze. Stiles tried calling Scott again and again, but he got his voicemail every time. He had no idea what was going to happen, so he just focused on the next feeding, the next diaper change, the next bath; Peter always there beside him like the world’s most unexpected shadow cast by an equally unexpected light source.
Eventually, though, groceries were needed. Stiles had kept the funeral casseroles for a while, despite losing his appetite every time he saw them, until to his relief Peter declared them unfit for consumption and threw them away. Peter had also taken the brunt of Lily’s wrath the night before, so Stiles, only slightly better off, went to the store alone.
He stood in front of the formula, scrolling through page after page of information on his phone, half awake. Should he just get what Lily was already drinking? What if there was a better formula? What if she didn’t like the taste of the new formula though? Wasn’t breast milk supposed to be better than formula? How would a 19 year old dude even get breast milk? Was there a secret breast milk store?
Stiles jumped, startled. Judging by the look on Melissa’s face, it wasn’t the first time she’d said his name. She wore scrubs and a tired expression, and had four prescription bags in her cart.
“I haven’t heard from you since the funeral. Are you doing okay?” she asked, concerned furrow in her brow.
“Yeah. Uh, yes, actually. Right after the funeral there was kind of an- unexpected thing?” He looked back at the wall of formula cans. Melissa glanced at it too, confused. Stiles looked back at her. “I’m... watching a friend’s baby for a while.”
Her eyes widened.
“A baby? Do you know how to watch a baby?” she asked apprehensively.
“Another friend is helping me,” Stiles reassured her. “He knows a lot about babies. He’s weirdly good at babies, actually.” Melissa visibly relaxed at that.
“So you’re not alone. That’s good. That’s really good, Stiles.”
After a swift hug, Melissa moved on her way to finish her shopping. Stiles eventually decided to stick with the same formula and headed home, thinking about how Melissa had no idea that the baby was her grandchild. About whether that was really Scott’s decision. About whether it was Stiles’ decision to decide if it was Scott’s decision.
Thinking about his words.
Giving it a moment of thought, it unsettled him how easily he’d slipped into depending on Peter’s unexpected knowledge of infants. Especially since he wasn’t actually sure of Peter’s motivation.
As soon as he walked in, he saw Peter asleep in the armchair with Lily. Stiles kicked his foot.
Peter awoke with a growl and clutched Lily to his chest protectively, his eyes swinging around the living room to seek the threat. When all he saw was Stiles, he gave him a dirty look.
“Why are you here?” Stiles asked bluntly. “I mean right here, in my house with Scott’s baby sleeping on you. You hate Scott.”
Peter rubbed the remaining sleepiness from his eye. Stiles thought he looked kind of like Lily.
“We talked about this. Scott may have contributed genetic material, but she’s hardly his baby,” Peter said, checking to make sure she still slept.
Stiles pursed his lips at the avoidance of the question, but couldn’t stop himself from asking, “Then whose baby is she?”
Peter just stared at Stiles.
Stiles suddenly felt light headed.
Peter raised his eyebrow.
“I’m nineteen,” Stiles hissed. “I have three years of undergrad to finish! I’ve never even had a pet, Peter!!”
“This may surprise you, but goldfish are quite different from babies, Stiles. You’ve kept her alive so far. Considering that she’s gained at least six ounces since I arrived, one might even say she’s thriving.”
Stiles felt an unexpected thrill of satisfaction at hearing that, and tried to wrestle it down so he could hold on to his argument.
“Of course, you’re right about your education,” Peter continued. “I hear it’s very difficult to get a degree while caring for a baby. That’s something to consider when you’re thinking of her future.”
“... what do you mean?”
Peter gave him an uncharacteristically serious look.
“Even if McCall came back, would you feel confident giving her to him? Are you sure he would do what’s right for her? Considering that his first action as a father was to dump her here and then refuse contact for a week, do you think he’s capable of making the choices upon which her life is dependent?”
Stiles felt like he was taking punch after punch. He wanted Peter to stop, but couldn’t find the words.
Peter’s voice gentled slightly as he said, “Stiles, you’re the most pack-minded individual I know. The moment you knew she existed, there was never a chance of you allowing her less than everything you can provide. And Scott is so much less.”
Stiles couldn’t argue, couldn’t even begin to suggest that Scott was a suitable father. But he wasn’t either.
He dropped onto the couch, head in his hands.
He struggled to open his mouth, to say Melissa is her grandmother, Melissa can do it. But she was sick. She was already struggling to keep up with chemo and medical bills and the physical demands of her job. There was no way Stiles could just hand Lily over to Melissa and then fuck off back to school, abandoning them both.
He couldn’t keep her, he couldn’t leave her, he couldn’t-
“I don’t- I can’t- Scott is still technically her father,” he said eventually, desperately. “Legally, and genetically. Regardless of anything else. For now, I’m just- I’m gonna keep doing what Scott asked me to do until I can get ahold of him again.”
Peter’s jaw set tightly. They both sat in silence for another moment until Lily started waking up, wiggling and scrunching up her face with a yawn. She fussed a little, so Stiles got up and made her a bottle. When he came back to the living room, Peter handed her over rather than take the bottle.
“I’m going to take a shower,” he said, voice clipped.
Lily settled right into Stiles’ arms and munched away at the bottle as Peter disappeared. After she was done, Stiles laid her out on his legs, watching as she swung her little fists around. He couldn’t help but smile despite his stress and exhaustion.
“Your rhythm is still terrible. It’s like you learned nothing from our lesson,” he said, taking her chubby hands and bouncing them in a beat. She cooed and gurgled along with him. Stiles finished the made-up song and raised her arms above her head, wiggling them, saying, “You’ve done it! You’ve been inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Baby Fame as the world’s best baby drummer! Lily, the queen of baby drums!”
A real smile, not a weird face twist to accompany a poop, not a twitch before crying. A smile, all for Stiles. He felt strangely like a balloon was expanding in his chest; like he might burst. The smile on his own face was hurting his cheeks as he scooped Lily up and smacked a loud kiss on her little dimples.
Peter stepped into the room a few minutes later, Stiles’ grin still shining.
“She smiled at me, Peter! A legit smile!!”
Peter’s eyes softened, coming around next to Stiles to look at Lily. As soon as he crouched low enough to be in her field of vision, she looked up from her fingers to his face, and once again smiled.
The answering smile on Peter’s face was blinding. He lifted Lily up from Stiles’ lap and brought her in closely to pepper kisses over her cheeks. It made something in Stiles ache, to see him so happy in a way he’d never seen before.
Peter, still smiling, looked from Lily down to Stiles. His face somehow became even softer, and he lowered himself to sit next to Stiles so they could both look at her.
“Her eyes are still blue,” Stiles said after a moment. “They look kinda like yours. You big baby.”
Peter huffed and glanced sideways at him, quietly assessing.
“What I said earlier about you being the most pack-minded person I know; that’s why I’m still here.”
Stiles blankly looked at Peter, uncomprehending. Peter sighed.
“I’m sure you would have managed without help- you always have done in the past. But I didn’t want you to have to. So I stayed.” A reminiscent smile passed across his face. “And I can’t deny that it’s been… soothing, I suppose, to be around a pup again. It’s the kind of pack I was raised in.”
“You were the pack babysitter,” Stiles said slowly, dawning realization in his tone. “That’s why you know so much about babies. Younger than all the adults, but older than all the kids.”
“It was expected of every pack member, to help with any infants in the pack. But I think my mother worried that I’d grow up ignorant of how to care for newborns because I was the youngest by so many years.” Peter gave a wry laugh. “I ended up spending as much time with the babies as their parents did. I didn’t mind, though. They loved me, and I would have done anything for them. Including singing those insufferable Raffi songs.”
The idea of Peter, with his blade sharp wit and master manipulation ability, singing Baby Beluga for an eyebrow-heavy six month old Derek brought a delighted smile to Stiles’ face. He looked back at Peter.
“You stayed because you’re a slut for pack,” he said, grinning.
“For heaven’s- do you want that to be her first word?” Peter demanded. “Because it’s going to happen if you keep it up!”
Stiles just laughed.
u know, u just KNOW, that Tiny Derek wandered around with a tape player, playing "BABEy beLUEga, oh BAEby beLEUga" over and over again. The day the tape wore out was cause for both weeping and celebrating.
Caring for a baby is very high pressure. A tiny helpless life is dependent upon their caregiver for every single one of their needs. Even a small misstep can have disastrous consequences. A parent needs to have quick reflexes, a quicker mind, and the ability to juggle at least four activities at once.
Caring for a baby can also be extremely repetitive and kind of boring.
Stiles was making an attempt to create new artform that he was calling “diaper origami” when Peter let himself into the house and set a stack of books next to him. Stiles eyed them curiously.
“I thought you were going back to the county offices to get more forms?”
“I did. I also stopped by my storage unit and pulled some books so your brain doesn’t atrophy while you’re out of school.”
“Just because you don’t appreciate fine art-”
“Folding a diaper into a hexagon and calling it Sonic the Hedgehog is not art, it’s a cry for help,” Peter said firmly. “Besides, these books are from my private collection. They are very difficult to obtain, and full of information that even Deaton and Morrell likely don’t have. Aren’t you curious?”
Stiles’ eyebrows rose to meet his hairline.
“You have secret druid books?”
“No, I have secret emissary books. Traditionally, the position is shrouded in mystery and secrets. Anything about emissaries in my pack was passed exclusively from alpha to alpha, with the rest of the pack trusting the alpha to know what’s best.” He looked Stiles in the eye. “I’ve never been particularly trusting.”
“Yeah, ‘trusting’ doesn’t sound like you,” Stiles agreed, flipping open the top cover with one finger to take a peek.
“It doesn’t sound like you either,” Peter said pointedly.
Proving his point, Stiles picked up the book and flipped in a few pages further. Lily would likely sleep for another 40 minutes or so. That was long enough to get a good start.
Two hours later Stiles resurfaced, dazed and swimming in new ideas about the world of magic and werewolves.
“Deaton is so full of shit!” he said vehemently.
“Lily and I both agree, but you should still pick a different word,” Peter said.
Stiles startled, suddenly realizing that Lily must have woken up a while ago. Peter was sitting on the floor with her and a board book.
“Did you bring that too?” he asked, nodding at the blocky book that Lily was currently slapping. “Exactly what kind of library do you have in your storage locker?”
“The good kind. Is there a specific reason Deaton’s earned your ire?”
Attention returned to his book, Stiles’ anger flared again.
“He was so fu- freaking concerned with secrecy that he nearly secreted us right into an early grave, God knows how many times! I always assumed he had to answer to someone, or was like, breaking some kind of vow by telling us things, but no! He just apparently found teenage lives expendable in the pursuit of some bullshit mythical balance.”
“Ah yes, that does sound like the dear doctor, doesn’t it?”
“There’s this whole thing is about how it’s apparently ‘dangerous’ to have deep bonds to a pack. What’s the point of being an emissary then?” Stiles was on a roll now. “What is even the point if you’re not going to protect the pack, and let them protect you back? Useless.”
“I seem to remember reading something about the dangers of emotional blowback when emissaries got too close to their packs,” Peter commented idly, turning the page for Lily.
Stiles scoffed dismissively.
“That’s clearly an evolutionary adaptation, not a danger. If the emissary automatically knows when the pack is in danger, then the emissary can more quickly protect the pack right? And if the pack wants a calm, stable emissary, they’ll work to keep their own emotional state in check. Sure, it’s probably not one hundred percent comfortable all the time, but it’s not like having a normal family is always comfortable either. Some things are worth the sacrifice.”
Stiles’ throat was tight by the end of his rant. He looked away from Peter for a moment before clearing his throat and standing up.
“Anyway. I’m stealing all of these.” He picked up the stack of books and swiftly carried them to his reading pile without looking back.
“It’s not stealing if I brought them in,” Peter called after him, not quite managing to hide his pleased smile.
“I need to go out to the Hale property to check a few things before I can finish filling out the forms the county needs from me,” Peter said a few days later. “Shall we make it an outing?”
“‘Outing?’ Are we living in a Madeline book? Are you Miss Clavel?” he asked, getting up and stretching.
“Shut up and go get a backpack or something,” Peter said with an eyeroll and the hint of a smile. Stiles shot him a confused look. “Unless you have a diaper bag…” Peter trailed off.
“Oh! Oh God, a diaper bag,” Stiles said, imagining those soft green monstrosities with Winnie the Pooh peppered all over. He could feel the horrified look coming over his face as he tried to picture himself carrying one. “Jesus, no. Lemme grab my backpack.”
It took longer than he expected to fill it with the appropriate amount of diapers and extra formula, and by the time they were buckling Lily into her carseat she was fussy.
“Maybe I should stay home with her,” Stiles worried, chewing his lip. Peter shook his head.
“It’s at least a forty-five minute drive to get to the far end of the property. She’ll fall asleep as soon as the car starts moving,” he assured Stiles. Stiles was dubious, but slid into the car anyway.
Peter was right.
She didn’t even wake up when they arrived. Stiles tucked an extra blanket in around her and disconnected the carseat from the base, carefully carrying her over to where Peter was making marks on a map.
When she eventually did wake up, Peter immediately stopped what he was doing and unbuckled her, picking her up to show her the trees and the orange leaves on the ground. Stiles watched them from a few yards away, his appreciation of the scenery sliding into an appreciation of the shoulders hidden under Peter’s peacoat. Strong hands were on display as they held Lily up, lifting the coat enough for Stiles to get a good look at that ass-
Peter turned around and smirked at him.
“Oh, fuck you and your whole farmer’s market daddy aesthetic,” Stiles muttered under his breath, fully knowing Peter would hear.
Stubbornly ignoring the chuckle that followed, Stiles wandered over to the papers Peter had abandoned. A closer look revealed forms for construction permits.
“You’re rebuilding?” Stiles asked, surprised. “You’re moving back permanently?”
Peter flicked another glance over to him, more of his focus on keeping a leaf away from Lily’s waving grasp.
“I thought it was about time for a Hale to live on Hale grounds again, yes,” he said, tone dismissive in a way that let Stiles know this was something that actually mattered to Peter.
“That’s great,” he said sincerely. Peter looked over at him again, slightly less guarded this time. “I think it’s awesome that you’re making something new here.” He gave a genuine smile- one that immediately gave way to alarm.
“No, Lily!! No leaves in your mouth!”
They saved the leaf from certain destruction and quickly wrapped up the forms after that. It wasn’t until they were driving back that Stiles suddenly realized.
“Who’s your alpha? Don’t you need to be relatively close to your alpha?”
Peter glanced over at Stiles, flashing red eyes briefly before looking back at the road.
Stiles’ mouth fell open.
“What?! When did you become an alpha again?”
“Not long ago, actually. A feral alpha tried to rip Derek’s guts out while we were visiting Cora. I took care of the problem.”
“And won back your alphahood,” Stiles added in a stunned voice. “You came back to rebuild a pack on Hale lands.”
“Eventually,” Peter agreed.
“Don’t you, like, need pack though? Right now? ‘Cause the first time-”
“I was literally insane,” Peter interrupted dryly. “Please don’t use that as a comparison.”
“Okay,” Stiles said doubtfully, “but even Derek immediately went around sticking his teeth in everyone who said ‘yes.’”
“Amazingly enough, a traumatized 22 year old alpha who gained his power through avunculicide is also not a standard example of pack building. I’m fine for now, Stiles. I can get by for a while with… tenuous bonds.”
“Tenuous,” Stiles echoed, even more doubtful than before, eyeing Peter heavily from the passenger seat. Peter sighed.
“Any significant amount of time spent with the same group of people can be a… provisional type of pack,” he supplied reluctantly.
“Oh. OH. Am I your provisional pack? Are we, Lily and I?” Stiles asked.
Peter kept his eyes on the road.
“You could be.”
Stiles snorted at the transparently evasive answer, but a part of him that he hadn’t known was tense suddenly breathed with relief. Peter was looking for pack. Peter was staying.
In the back of his mind, Stiles had been apprehensively waiting for Peter to finally say Adios bitch and leave him alone . Not in front of Lily, of course, but goodbye nonetheless.
But Peter was staying.
“Yeah, we could,” Stiles agreed, turning to face the passenger window with a smile.
Oooooh Peterrrrrr Stiles sees right thru ur shit Peterrrrrr
Stiles had been so absorbed in keeping Lily alive that he hadn’t realized just how cooped up they’d been until they went out to the Hale property, but now that the seal was broken he couldn’t stand to be inside all day anymore.
“Where can you take a baby?” he wondered aloud as they sat in the park, brisk October air swirling around them as Lily lay between them on a blanket. Peter shrugged.
“The world isn’t baby-nonbaby segregated, Stiles,” he said, rolling Lily onto her stomach. She lifted her head, bobbling a little, and let out a high pitched trill with a grumpy expression.
“No, but like, who takes babies into a movie? Jerks, that’s who.” Stiles flipped her back over.
“She needs tummy time to develop her muscles,” Peter scolded, putting her on her stomach again. “Just think of a place and imagine whether you’d be happy with a baby there.” Lily started grunting.
“Listen to her, she’s mad. She hates tummy time. Just like I hate that I can’t take her to a movie.” He lowered himself so that he was face to face with her on the blanket, watching her forehead take on an angry little scrunch.
“Then take her to a movie,” Peter said, exasperated. “There’s no rule that says you can’t.”
“Except for social rules!”
Lily’s grunting got louder.
“There are hundreds of social rules about raising babies, most of which are garbage,” Peter argued. “Just because Yoga Mom Karen says something doesn’t mean you should believe her.”
“Who is Yoga Mom Karen?” Stiles asked, mystified.
“The anthropomorphic representation of my distaste for everyone who had kids because Angelina Jolie did.”
Lily started crying.
“See, I told you she hates it!” Stiles scooped her up, relieving her from the horrible task of having to lift up her head, but she continued to squall. “I think she needs a change,” he said, holding her up in question so that Peter could sniff her butt. Peter raised an eyebrow.
“No need. I’ll trust your judgement.”
Stiles lay her down and Peter handed him a diaper and wipes, but when Stiles got the diaper open there was an angry red rash.
“Shit,” he hissed through his teeth.
“Don’t swear in front of the baby,” Peter said automatically, even as he leaned over his shoulder for a closer look. “I don’t think we have any diaper rash cream.”
Stiles tensed as he cleaned up Lily, her cries getting louder every time he had to touch her.
“Unless you got some when you bought the crib then no, we don’t.”
They cut the park trip short after that, packing everything up and heading to the nearest store.
Stiles sat in the back with Lily, distracted as he tried to console her distraught cries. He nodded without looking up when Peter parked and said he’d be right back with the cream.
It wasn’t until Lily calmed for a moment that he realized where they were.
Stiles’ heart suddenly started beating wildly. Lily had made such a full distraction for the last two weeks that he’d nearly pushed this from his mind. He breathed rapidly, trying to shut down the thoughts, trying to revert his focus back to Lily, but he couldn’t help cataloging every single difference from the last time he’d been here.
There was no more glass shattered all over the pavement. The door had been replaced, as had the Gas N Go sign.
There was no longer a lake of blood on the floor in front of the register, or evidence numbers lying around at strategic points.
Peter hurried out of the store, ear cocked toward the car and eyes scanning the parking lot for danger. A hint of confusion lit on his face when he found none. He opened the door, looking into the backseat with concern.
Stiles finally ripped his eyes away from the floor in front of the cash register, face pale. His hands trembled slightly on the carseat handle.
“Did you get the diaper rash stuff?” he forced out, flinching at the crack in his own voice. Peter’s brow furrowed deeper, glancing back into the gas station. His eyes narrowed, and then a sudden understanding flooded them. Without another word he slid into the driver’s seat and pulled away.
Stiles had a shaky control over himself by the time they were home. He snatched the tube from Peter as soon as they were inside, throwing himself into meticulously covering Lily’s rash and then walking her until she fell asleep.
Peter was waiting on the living room couch after Stiles laid her down in her crib.
“I apologize,” Peter said seriously. “I knew he’d died during a robbery, but I wasn’t aware…” He sighed. Stiles continued to stand in the middle of the living room, avoiding Peter’s eyes and gazing over the evidence of his father’s life that remained.
“It’s not, Stiles,” Peter said quietly. “It’s been eighteen days since his funeral. Most people wouldn’t go back to the place their father died after years, much less a couple of weeks. I didn’t know, but I should have asked, and I apologize.”
Stiles looked up at him. Peter’s steady blue eyes looked back, his expression not pitying but understanding.
“We’re pack, right?” he asked abruptly. “Like, for now. Right now we’re pack.”
Peter nodded hesitantly, a touch of confusion nudging him.
“Okay,” Stiles said, mostly to himself. Then he dropped down onto the couch right next to Peter and pressed himself to his side. Peter’s arm automatically came up and went around him, giving him even more space to crush into. It wasn’t gentle. His need to be wrapped up was obvious and desperate; an insistent, starved thing.
Stiles was silent, but Peter could smell the tears.
He kept his arms securely around him, praying that Lily wouldn’t wake up until Stiles had had a chance to purge some of the grief. By some miracle, all was still quiet by the time Stiles’ heart rate returned to normal and the smell of saltwater dissipated.
“Dad went to that gas station all the time,” Stiles said eventually, voice slightly hoarse. “He said it was because they carried his favorite beer, but it was really because of the cat that hangs out by the Icee machine.” He went quiet for a moment. “He wasn’t even on duty. He was coming off a shift.”
Peter rubbed his thumb in small circles on Stiles’ arm.
“He loved that stupid Icee cat.” His voice was so quiet even Peter had to strain to hear it. “He would have loved Lily.”
Peter gripped him a little tighter.
“Do you think your family would have liked Lily?” Stiles asked eventually. Peter considered the question for a moment.
“Talia didn’t particularly like babies,” Peter said slowly. “She used to say that babies only have two modes until they’re six months old: boring and stressful. She wouldn’t have liked Lily for another four months or so. Joseph, on the other hand, loved babies.” He paused again. “He undoubtedly would have hunted down Scott and choked him mostly to death for abandoning her.”
Stiles gave a half hearted attempt at a laugh, followed up by an exhausted sigh that tickled Peter’s skin.
“She deserves so much better, Peter. She deserves everything. I can’t give her that.”
“No one can,” Peter reasoned. “But you can give her everything you’re capable of. And in fact, I don’t think you’re capable of giving her anything less.”
They both went quiet again until Peter heard Lily start to snuffle herself awake. Stiles went to make a bottle while Peter got her from her crib.
“Hello Lily bird,” he said softly, picking her up. “How do you feel about a mid-afternoon snack, hm? A coffee break, with a flat white for you.” He brushed his lips over her dark hair as he carried her down the stairs, handing her over to Stiles who was waiting with a prepared bottle. His eyes were still a little pinker than normal, but other than that he looked calm.
Lily’s little hands bopped up against the bottle as Stiles fed her. Peter leaned against the wall, soaking in the peaceful atmosphere for a moment.
“Lily Tilly Billy Boo,” Stiles quietly sang, nonsensical. “Went to the park and playground too. A poopy diaper made by who? My Lily Tilly Billy Boo.”
Peter noted the possessive with a small smile.
Scott called back on a Thursday, 3 weeks after the sheriff’s funeral. Peter was upstairs, giving Lily a bath while Stiles cleaned up after dinner.
He stared at his screen for a moment, dumbfounded, before scrambling to accept the call.
“Scott? Scotty?! Where have you been?? What’s going on? What happened with the wendigo?”
Despite his suspicions, the words punched the wind out of Stiles.
“Oh- yeah! The wendigo!” Scott said, too loudly and four beats too late. “Yeah man, it was, uh, touch and go there for a while. Things got rough. It’s a good thing that the, um, the- baby? It’s a good thing the baby wasn’t there. Probably not, like, a good environment for one. Anyway, guess what? I got accepted to the veterinary tech school in Phoenix!”
Stiles’ ears were ringing.
“It’s a longer program, but it focuses more on exotic animals and I feel like I’ll have a better chance-”
Stiles’ mind suddenly clicked back on, cold and starkly furious.
“You’re not coming back to get her.”
“-starts in January but I’m gonna go out early and- what? Get-? Oh, yeah, actually I wanted to talk to you about that. Are you cool with watching her for a while?”
“It wasn’t a question, Scott. You’re not coming back to get her.” Stiles hung up. The phone rang again once, and then a message came through that just said Ok? Thanks I guess?
A few minutes later, Peter walked into the kitchen, holding Lily in her pajamas. His expression was cautious, clearly having overheard the conversation.
Before he could say anything, Stiles bluntly asked, “Can you help me get papers for Lily? I know where to go, or at least I did a year ago, hopefully she’s still in the business, but it’s gonna cost more than I have. I swear I’ll pay you back when the insurance-”
“Stiles, it’s fine,” Peter said, trying to soothe despite being a little startled at how quickly Stiles’ mind shifted. “I have a favor I can call in. No one needs to pay anything.”
Stiles paused before saying, “To be honest, a favor sounds more expensive than money.”
Peter rolled his eyes and started making Lily’s evening bottle.
“This particular forger owes me several, don’t worry about it.” Stiles nodded, taking the bottle from Peter to warm it up. Peter watched him closely, waiting. When he simply handed the warm bottle back, reaching out a finger to tickle Lily’s toes with a smile, Peter ventured to ask, “... and you’re feeling fine about all of this? You have essentially just committed yourself to fatherhood at the age of nineteen.”
Stiles sighed, a tired but accepting sound.
“I think I committed myself to fatherhood three weeks ago, actually. It’s just taken me awhile to understand that.” He looked up at Peter, eyes serious. “I don’t want to give her up,” he admitted quietly. “The idea of handing her over to someone else makes me furious. Well,” he corrected himself, “handing her over to someone who’s not you.”
Peter gave a preening smile.
“Well, I am the best,” he said as if it were to be assumed.
“Yeah, the best at cleaning up baby poop,” Stiles tossed back, relieved at the lighter conversational tone. “Hey, what should I do about immunizations? I have no idea if she’s even had any. If she turns out to be a werewolf then she won’t need them-”
“-But we won’t know that for two more months,” Peter finished. “Always better safe than sorry, and immunization records will make it easier to get her into school later anyway.
“Ah, shit, school,” Stiles cursed before pausing, and then tried out, “Shoot.” He frowned. “It’s just not the same.”
Peter sent him a dry look.
“I need to call my academic counselor,” Stiles continued, ignoring him, and then blew out a slow breath. “I’m going to have to kiss a lot of asses to get into the online undergraduate program.”
Peter hummed thoughtfully.
“We can’t have you to suffering from lip strain. If there are any donations I can make to ease the transition, just let me know.”
Stiles stared at him for a moment.
“... Did you just offer to bribe my way into my preferred degree program?” He paused. “That’s so easy. Is this what rich kids feel like all the time? Power through capitalism instead of the slow strangle of corporate gluttony?”
“It’s not as if it’s a bribe to ignore DUI’s or failing grades,” Peter justified as he burped Lily. “I’m trying to ease your transition into fatherhood. You can’t exactly care for a baby in a dorm, can you?”
“Not without someone trying to feed her formula through a beer bong, probably,” Stiles mused. He stepped in closely to Peter and gently took Lily from him, absently brushing his hands along Peter’s as he did so. “I’ll put her to bed.”
Peter’s eyes followed the two of them out of the kitchen as he remained leaning against the counter. Once they were out of sight, he let out a very quiet, slightly shaky breath. The relief he felt was closer to an adrenaline rush than any kind of calm.
Stiles was keeping Lily, and he’d implicitly stated his intention to continue living in Beacon Hills, and he’d accepted Peter’s offer of help in fulfilling both tasks.
He would have his pack.
Peter went upstairs not long after that, only to pause outside Stiles and Lily’s room when he heard Stiles’ erratic heartbeat speed up. Worried, he knocked lightly on the door before opening it.
Stiles was standing over the crib, hands clenched on the top rail as Lily slept. He was still, far more still than Peter was used to seeing.
It took Stiles a few moments, but he finally spoke after taking a deep breath.
“It’s fine. Everything’s fine. I’m just-”
The silence between them was incredibly full.
“I’m a dad now,” Stiles continued slowly, trying out the words on his tongue. “I have a daughter. My daughter’s name is Lily. My daughter has a father, who is me.” He suddenly went slightly pale and looked directly at Peter. “Oh my God, my daughter has a grandmother. Melissa. Shit. How am I going to tell Melissa?”
Peter’s eyes narrowed.
“That depends. What do you plan to do if Melissa wants custody?”
Stiles’ mouth opened and closed a few times.
“I don’t… think she will?” he ventured after a minute. “She’s got enough on her plate right now.”
Peter hummed, unconvinced.
“The draw of blood relations can sometimes lead people to make unexpected choices.”
Stiles sighed, dropping his head into his hands. Peter eyed his back before calculatingly laying a hand on it to rub little circles. Stiles sighed again, this time with relief, and Peter smiled smugly for a beat before returning his attention to the conversation.
“If she decides to turn it into a battle in family court, they’ll swing in her favor,” Peter warned him. “Unless we tamper with the blood tests,” he added thoughtfully.
“I wish I were surprised at you suggesting that,” Stiles groaned. “Stop being so dramatic. I’ll just-“ he sighed yet again. “I’ll just wait a little bit. Get Lily’s papers, get school shit sorted out- and then I’ll tell Melissa. Whatever comes after that, I’ll deal with it then.”
Peter continued rubbing circles into Stiles’ back, musing. He doubted that Stiles would maintain his claim on Lily if Melissa really put up a fight about it. A sharp rock of tension dropped into his stomach. Five minutes ago he’d been so relieved.
He clenched his jaw. It would be preferable for Lily to have her grandmother in her pack-
But if Peter had to, he’d work around it.
Congratulations, Stiles, it's a bouncing baby girl and a terrible, terrible former best friend.
“Rose. Daisy. Marigold. Violet.”
Peter lay with a book on the couch while Lily slept, listening to Stiles list names.
“There’s no reason to stick to a botanical theme,” he said in a calm voice. “Her middle name can be anything you like.”
Stiles rubbed his forehead.
“People normally get nine whole months to make this decision. What if I screw it up?”
Peter gave him a flat look.
“Your parents named you Mieczysław.”
Stiles pointed a finger at him dramatically.
“And once you realized just what an awful name it is, you changed it to something equally awful, but preferred.”
“If you screw it up too badly,” he continued over Stiles’ objection, “she’ll just change it herself.”
Stiles frowned at him, and then at the email he was supposed to be sending with the relevant information for Lily’s “adoption” papers. He rubbed a stressed hand across his forehead.
“I need a break. I’m gonna look at Halloween costumes for a while.”
Peter raised an eyebrow.
“Have big plans for the night, do you? You’ll still have to get up with Lily even if you have a hangover,” he warned mildly, despite knowing damn well that he would let Stiles have the morning off if he had even a slight headache.
Stiles shrugged, distracted.
“Fun size’ is a misnomer, I’ll eat as much candy as I want.” Peter’s confused silence filled the room. “Oh wait, did you mean like a hangover-hangover?” Stiles looked up from the laptop, incredulous, before turning the screen to face Peter. It was full of baby costumes. “I wasn’t planning to mix margaritas with taking an infant trick-or-treating, no.”
“You’re going to take Lily trick-or-treating?” It was Peter’s turn to be incredulous. “She’s two months old, Stiles. She can’t eat anything.”
“The candy is going to be for me. The trick or treating is for introducing her to the neighborhood.”
Peter understood. It would be better to address the rumors outright from the beginning; it’s much harder to judgmentally gossip about a cute baby that you’ve seen with your own eyes, as opposed to a rumor of something your neighbor’s aunt may have seen at the grocery store.
“Do you have a specific story in mind?”
“Just the truth. Mostly. A friend couldn’t handle the responsibility, and I didn’t want to give her to a stranger, and you’re a close friend helping me out.”
A feeling sprouted suspiciously close to Peter’s heart; a pleased yet yearning feeling, both happy and unsatisfied with the words close friend. He firmly ignored it.
“Why are there so many food costumes?” he segued, gesturing at the laptop. “It’s all animals and food. What is the obsession with dressing up infants as something you eat?”
“It’s cute and funny!”
“That is a human child,” Peter pointed at the screen, “completely dependent upon her caregivers for survival, being subjected to their whims by being dressed as a ketchup bottle. It’s demeaning.”
“Infants don’t have pride, Peter.”
“At least dress her up like an animal, not a prepackaged food.”
“Like a wolf?” Stiles suggested dryly. Peter smiled brightly.
“I’m not feeding your wolfy ego with Lily’s Halloween costume, and besides, we don’t even know if she’s a werewolf yet, remember?”
“Why would that matter? She’s a member of our pack, therefore she has rights to ironic wolf costuming.” Peter could see the reluctant grin threatening to take over Stiles’ face, but he still shook his head.
“I’m not doing a wolf costume, Peter.”
Peter opened his mouth to argue, but was cut off by the sound of Lily beginning to stir. He got up, brushing a hand along the back of Stiles’ neck as he passed him on his way to fetch her, and Stiles turned back to the laptop to close the tab with the costumes. He knew what he wanted to do now, and it wouldn’t be available from any shop.
Instead, he clicked back to the email for Lily’s documentation. He was still chewing on his lip when Peter brought her back in.
“You’re making it into a bigger problem than it needs to be, Stiles,” Peter said. “The choice is actually very simple. Clearly you should name her after me.”
“I don’t know. It seems kind of cruel to name her Lily ‘Bastard Man’ Stilinski.”
When the pillow came flying at him, Stiles was laughing too hard to dodge it.
Peter dumped candy into the bowl they were going to leave outside, and wrote out a note that said Take ONE piece. God is watching.
“Stiles, are you almost ready?” he called out.
Upstairs, Stiles put the finishing touches on his and Lily’s costumes before picking her up and strategically positioning her so that Peter would see both of them face first.
Peter was waiting at the bottom of the stairs, peering up, and still a little grumpy that Stiles had refused to tell him what costume he’d gotten for Lily. He’d already ruled out anything like a tiger or monkey, standard fare that Stiles would find cute but not unique enough for Lily. It was likely either some obscure comics character or the exact ketchup bottle costume he’d railed against, purely to exasperate him.
When Stiles and Lily descended far enough for him to see both their faces, however, he blinked, considered rubbing his eyes, and then blinked again.
They were both in v-necks, with goatees drawn on their faces. Stiles was smirking in a way that felt extremely familiar, and his hair was styled exactly how Peter’s was.
“You said ironic wolf costumes were acceptable.”
Peter couldn’t stop himself from groaning out loud.
“You’re the worst,” he said with feeling.
“I knew you’d love it,” Stiles grinned.
And the worst part was that he was right. Peter absolutely loved it. Instead of admitting anything of the sort, he reached out and took Lily into his arms, inspecting her colored-in beard.
“This will come off, right?”
“Yep, just a little bit of soap and water,” Stiles said cheerily, making sure the extra pacifier was in his pocket before opening the door and setting the candy bowl on the porch, chuckling at the note.
“It’s a shame you apparently don’t have enough facial hair to grow a goatee,” Peter teased, pulling a hat down on Lily’s head and locking the door behind him. Stiles just rolled his eyes.
“Like you wouldn’t have figured it out if I suddenly grew an exact copy of your disney villain beard a few days before Halloween. Besides, it’s funnier drawn on.”
Shoulder to shoulder, Lily shifted back to Stiles’ arms, they joined the scattering of trick or treaters on the sidewalk. Their first stop was Mrs. Henderson on their left.
As soon as she opened the door, Stiles lifted Lily up and said, “Trick or treat!”
“Oh my goodness, who is this?” she asked, delighted with Lily. And so it went, neighbor after neighbor, quick explanations and introductions, confirmations that yes, Stiles was planning to stay in the neighborhood for now, and no, he wasn’t giving up school, and yes, Peter was a dear for helping out Poor Stiles. Only one neighbor looked at them critically and asked if Stiles had stolen a baby for free candy, which Stiles thought showed a real sense of forgiveness from the community.
It took about an hour, and Lily was decidedly cranky by the time they got home, but the introductions were done. Working in sync, they got her cleaned up, fed, pajama-ed, and put to bed. When Stiles came back down, Peter was sitting on the couch, frowning at his phone.
“Who the hell sends business emails at 8 p.m. on Halloween? Does my contractor not have a life?”
Stiles yawned and collapsed down, wiggle shoving Peter over so that he could sprawl out on the couch next to him. Completely disregarding personal space and privacy, he looked over Peter’s shoulder at the email.
“Maybe he’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Or extremely dedicated to his job. Or just a huge nerd. What’s in the email? Is something wrong?”
Peter hummed noncommittally with a frown.
“It looks like I need more updates to the water lines than he thought at first. This is the second time something like this has come up.” Deciding to worry about it tomorrow, he stashed his phone, and picked up the remote instead.
Stiles didn’t move out of his space, instead staying comfortably pressed to Peter’s side. He felt cozy and warm, and figured Peter would forcibly move him if he really wanted him gone. Peter started up Arsenic and Old Lace, and before long, Stiles’ eyelids were drooping despite the early hour.
“If I had a time machine I’d bang Cary Grant,” he mumbled, too comfortable for a brain to mouth filter.
Peter shot an amused glance over at Stiles, where he had slowly slumped onto his shoulder.
“Hm? Not Peter Lorre?”
“Nah. Cary Grant. His chin is like yours.” Peter’s amused smile morphed into a more predatory look until Stiles continued with a sleepy sigh, “Butt chin.”
Peter sighed too.
“Sexy, sexy butt chin,” Stiles mumbled again before his breathing evened out.
Peter gathered Stiles even closer, gently reclining them both along the couch for more comfortable sleeping. Lily would be up for a feeding in a few more hours and they could go to bed after that.
Until then, he considered. Sexy butt chin.
He’d take it as a win.
this chapter was so goddamn delightful to write lmao
Château de Stilinski was having a rough day.
“What do you mean the credits won’t transfer-” Stiles said disbelievingly into his phone.
Peter stalked past Stiles on his own phone, plastic creaking as he listened to his contractor.
“-Did you, or did you not say the property was still connected to the power grid-”
Lily watched the whole thing from her playmat, unsettled and unhappy and unwilling to sleep for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
Peter and Stiles’ voices slowly increased in volume, their frustrations leaking into the tone. They paced back and forth, sucked into the nightmare of bureaucracy and incompetence. Stiles could feel the tension of the room creeping up his neck, tightening everything. Every time he glanced over at Peter he could see his nails getting a little longer and sharper.
“But it’s the same school,” Stiles tried again, only to be interrupted by the same bored voice.
“Our online campus is financially separate from our physical campus.”
“Why does that make a difference to my credits?!”
The knot in Stiles’ chest was growing, twisting into new shapes every minute; anger, worry, and frustration battled in equal measure.
“Let me transfer you to the student finance department.”
“No! No, don’t-!”
The hold music started to play, giving Stiles violent fantasies about breaking every saxophone in existence. He glanced up to see Peter flexing the claws on his free hand.
“And you just happened to miss that particular permit, did you?” he was saying silkily into the phone.
Lily’s fussing got a little louder, and Stiles felt like he could scream. Instead, he took a deep breath and put the horrible hold music on speaker, quiet enough not to bother Peter. He picked up Lily and laid her across his arm, ignoring the tickle of her mouth gumming at his skin.
As he walked with Lily, he actually began to feel a measure of calm again. Despite the weirdly copious amount of slobber that she was producing, the feeling of holding her was soothing. Normal. And wasn’t that strange?
He welcomed the feeling though, which was perhaps why it was so obvious when a flare of anger flamed in his chest a minute later. A flash of rage, there and gone before Stiles could understand what was happening.
“You’re fired,” Peter hissed, viciously stabbing the end call button before continuing to stalk around the room, eyes flashing. “I’m going to rip out his incompetent-”
“Hey, if I’m not allowed to swear around the baby then you are definitely not allowed to plan murder around the baby,” Stiles protested, still a little windswept from the random burst of emotion. Peter shot him a livid look that Stiles returned with equal vehemence until Peter huffed and looked away.
“What about career murder?” Stiles suggested. “Lily can listen in on any career murder you want to carry out. It’s more legal and less gross than regular murder too.”
Once again, a pulse of foreign emotion curled through him, amusement this time. Stiles’s eyes moved to Peter, sucking in a surprised breath.
“I suppose that would be… sufficient,” Peter mused, appearing to calm though he flexed the claws on his left hand one more time. “I won’t settle for anything less than a statewide ruined reputation, though.”
“You wouldn’t be my favorite undead werewolf if you did,” Stiles returned, shifting Lily when her drool started to waterfall off his elbow.
Peter immediately opened his laptop, and Stiles belatedly realized the hold music was still playing. He sighed and hung up the call, deciding he’d try again tomorrow. Sitting on the couch with Lily, he took a moment to stare at Peter, who was working with single mindedness now.
Stiles waited, but no further unexpected attacks of foreign emotion came. Peter seemed completely unaware that Stiles had experienced anything out of the ordinary.
He sighed again, quieter this time, and decided that was a problem for tomorrow too.
Peter’s campaign to ruin every employment prospect for one Beacon Hills contractor didn’t preclude hiring another one to replace him. This time, however, Peter was keeping a closer eye on the entire process, which included going out to the property fairly often.
Stiles and Lily went with him sometimes, although with Lily’s increasingly grumpy attitude it became a little more difficult. Peter was also getting more nervous to have her around the dangerous construction equipment, so when Stiles suggested that he keep her home one day, Peter simply nodded, gave Lily a kiss and left to spend an hour or so micromanaging the pouring of concrete.
As soon as Peter got back from the building site however, Stiles was in his face, worry etched across every line.
“Lily needs to go to the hospital!!”
Peter was immediately on high alert. Lily looked as grumpy as she had since she started chewing on everything she could get to her mouth, but her cheeks were far more red than Peter remembered them being when he left.
“What’s going on?”
“She has a fever.”
“It might just be an early teething fever,” Peter soothed, doing nothing to calm the frantic look on Stiles’ face. He shook his head insistently.
“No. No! Teething fevers aren’t supposed to get above 100.5, and she’s at 100.8. This is something else. What if she has pneumonia, Peter? Pneumonia kills babies!!”
“She doesn’t have pneumonia,” Peter said, calm and logical as he crowded into Stiles’ space, putting one hand on his back and the other on Lily’s forehead. His eyebrows furrowed. “I’d hear it if there were any fluid in her lungs…” His voice drifted into silence. “When did you last take her temperature?”
“About twenty minutes ago, why?” Stiles asked anxiously. Peter pinched his lips and said nothing, but grabbed the thermometer again. He swiped it across her head and checked the reading.
“Ok, we’re going to the hospital.”
Peter sat in the back with her as Stiles drove them to the hospital, getting her checked in while Stiles parked.
They were called back just a few minutes after Stiles made it to the waiting room. As they hurried past the nurses station, Stiles heard a worried voice say, “Stiles?”
Peter glanced at him before following their nurse into a room. Stiles hung back, eyes chasing them even as he waited for Melissa to come around the desk.
“Are you okay?” she asked, tension running through her shoulders.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” Stiles said, running a hand through his hair, only a fraction of his mind on the conversation, the rest having carried on with Peter. “We’re here for Lily. She has a fever.”
“Lily?” Melissa asked, confused.
Stiles suddenly remembered exactly why he hadn’t seen her in a while and froze.
“Stiles?” Melissa prompted again, her face beginning to look suspicious.
“Uh, yeah. Remember the friend’s baby I said I was looking after?” he said, shifting uneasily and edging away slightly.
“You’re still looking after their baby?” Melissa asked, appalled. “Oh my God, Stiles. Have you called child services?”
Stiles shook his head violently.
“No, no, it’s- the whole situation- I’m sorry, I’m just really, I need to go be in the room with her,” he said, his worry and panic resulting in pleading eyes.
“Oh, of course, go on. I’ll switch with Todd so I can be in there with you, alright?”
Stiles threw an acknowledging hand over his shoulder as he hurried into the room holding Peter and Lily.
A moment later, Melissa swept into the room with the world’s tiniest blood pressure cuff.
As she wrapped it around Lily’s leg while Peter held her, she quietly asked, “Is this… moon related?”
“Kind of,” Stiles said, arms across his chest and fingernail in his mouth.
“‘Kind of’?” she quoted skeptically.
“We don’t actually know yet,” Stiles admitted.
Melissa’s lips pinched and she typed in Lily’s blood pressure. When she came back with a thermometer, her eyebrows furrowed.
“She looks familiar. Do I know her parents?”
“Stiles and I have been caring for her for quite a while now, so you could say that,” Peter answered smoothly.
Melissa gave him a flat look, but turned around to record more information into Lily’s chart.
“Her breathing sounds normal. It’s probably just a higher than average teething fever, Stiles. The doctor will want to look at her of course, but I think it’s probably just a matter of fever reducers until her first teeth pop through.”
Stiles sighed with relief, but couldn’t let go of his concern entirely.
“She’s only three months. It’s kind of early for her to be teething so hard, isn’t it?”
“It happens.” Melissa shrugged. “Scott was an early teether too.”
Peter and Stiles looked at each other.
“Have you heard from Scott lately?” Stiles blurted out after an awkward moment. Melissa’s face tightened.
“It’s been a while since I talked to him directly, but he did leave a message saying that he’d gotten into that vet tech program in Arizona. I know he’s busy but I swear sometimes it’s like he’s avoiding me deliberately,” she said with a little self deprecating laugh.
Stiles gave a weak mumbled assurance back to her, and she left to get the doctor.
The exam was just a few minutes long, though it felt longer to Stiles who had to deal with Peter’s instinctive sub-vocal growl every time the doctor touched Lily. Eventually the doctor agreed with Melissa, that it was probably just a teething fever but instructed them to bring her back if she started coughing.
After he left, Lily did her best to make her displeasure known without actually crying; trilling and fussing and pouting. The trilling got louder just as Melissa walked back in with more fever reducers.
She stared at them, frozen for a moment. Stiles noticed and, concerned, said, “Melissa?”
She came a step closer, bringing a hand up to Lily’s cheek, touching the bright pink patches.
“Scott used to make that exact same trilling noise when he was a baby,” she said slowly. “And his cheeks would light up just like this when he was feverish.”
Stiles sent a panicked look at Peter, and that was all the confirmation that Melissa needed. She brought her hand up to her mouth, trying to get her emotions under control.
“How- how long did you say you’ve had her?” she said, voice rough.
Stiles hesitated before whispering, “Two months.” Melissa nodded.
“So the same time Scott left. Alright. Okay.” She took a deep breath, unable to take her eyes off the baby in Peter’s arms.
Stiles could feel Peter shifting his weight onto the balls of his feet, and he suddenly realized that Peter was very willing to fight his way out of the hospital with the baby under one arm and Stiles under the other if Melissa showed any signs of wanting to take Lily. He subtly placed a subduing hand on Peter’s arm, trying to exude a feeling of calm.
“Come over tomorrow night, and we can talk about it,” Stiles said. Melissa nodded slowly, still staring, before seeming to snap back into the moment.
“Yes. Yes, I’ll bring a family medical history for your records,” Melissa said, voice firm. “And baby clothes. And my camera.”
Stiles felt Peter relax minutely.
Melissa nodded again, decisively this time, and then continued with the medicine. After she finished she hesitated a moment, and then brushed a kiss over Lily’s head before sweeping out of the room.
The next night Lily was feeling much better, and smiled in Melissa’s arms for most of Stiles’ explanation.
Not that she technically needed it. She’d called Scott the night before, over and over again until he had no choice but to pick up. All it took were a few well placed words at pressure points, and Scott spilled everything, including the fact that he had no plans to come back to Beacon Hills.
She smiled at Lily, who lay there cooing and trying to swipe the glasses from her face, and tried to ignore the sharp pain shooting through her heart.
“-all her paperwork is taken care of, even though we kind of had to guess at her actual birthday? We went with September first. Mostly because late August to early September was most likely. Also a little because that’s the day the Hogwarts Express arrives. But mostly just because it’s probably close to her actual birthday.”
Stiles finally paused for a breath, allowing Peter to smoothly cut in. He framed his words carefully.
“Melissa, Scott is obviously not interested in being involved, but his disinterest doesn’t exclude you from her life. She needs a grandmother.”
She gave a slightly wet snort, wiping away a stray tear that had managed to escape.
“I’d like to see you just try to keep me away. I may be full of tumors and poison, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take you.”
“I wouldn’t dare think otherwise,” Peter said, hesitantly hopeful when she said nothing about custody. “I’m sure Christopher left you with more than a few of his toys.”
Lily began to fuss before Melissa could respond, and Peter and Stiles snapped into action.
It was a sight to behold, the way they moved in concert with each other; preparing the bottle, feeding her, and burping her were clearly three acts to a play they could perform in their sleep, but the caring and affectionate way they treated each other made it obvious that each step was performed with love every time.
She listened to Stiles talk about teething schedules and growth spurts with the same enthusiasm as if they were character stats for his newest video game. Peter added his advice and experience here and there, handling Lily with every bit of care that Stiles did. By the time she needed to leave, Melissa felt more settled than she had since the previous night.
“I'm proud of you, Stiles,” she said quietly as he walked her to her car.
Stiles froze in surprise, unguarded emotion bare on his face.
She pulled him forward into a hug, brushing a kiss on his cheek.
“You and Peter are doing a great job. Thank you.”
"It's- I mean, yeah. Of course. What else would we do?"
Melissa could think of a thousand other things, including the things her own son had done, but left it alone.
"Thanks anyway," she pressed, insistent, and then got into her car.
Stiles waved goodbye to her from the porch as she drove away, taking a few moments to ease the tightness in his chest before going back inside. When he stepped back in the living room, Peter was rocking Lily in the armchair.
“So have you finally relaxed?” he asked Peter with a smile hidden in the corner of his mouth. “Now that you know Melissa’s not going to try to take Lily, I mean.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m always relaxed,” Peter said dismissively as he stroked Lily’s hair.
“Sure dude. I could feel exactly how ‘relaxed’ you’ve been,” he said with heavy finger quotes.
“I- hold on. You could feel?” Peter’s rocking suddenly stilled as he stared at Stiles.
“Yeah,” Stiles said lightly, a knowing look in his eye. “I could feel.” He let the implication sit for a moment before continuing. “Tell me: were you planning to wait and see if I’d notice the emissary bond, or was this more of a frog in the boiling pot situation?”
Peter suddenly looked a little like a trapped animal cautiously watching a predator.
“I had various plans depending on how violently you reacted,” he said slowly, looking away shiftily. Stiles rolled his eyes.
“Stop acting like a guilty toddler, Peter. You’d know if I had a problem with it. If I didn’t want you here then you wouldn’t be here. I can’t believe you’d feel guilt about manipulating me into being your emissary anyway.” Stiles casually started picking up the baby detruis and putting it in a semblance of order, making a point of exactly how unbothered he was.
“Guilt,” Peter scoffed. He looked down at Lily, who was almost asleep. He started rocking again. “I’m cautious, not guilty. Guilt is for people who aren’t sure their actions are worth what they want. I knew what I wanted the moment you opened the door holding a screaming baby.”
Stiles raised a disbelieving eyebrow.
“You can hardly blame me, Stiles," Peter justified. "I was a brand new alpha looking at someone who would make an incredibly valuable pack member, and an adorable new pup. My instincts are what they are.”
Stiles’ other eyebrow joined the first.
“Valuable? The nineteen year old college student who put a diaper on backwards is your valuable pack member?” he asked, disbelieving.
“No,” Peter explained patiently, “the nineteen year old college student who put everything on hold and threw himself into caring for a baby he knew nothing about is my valuable pack member. The same one who now knows everything there is to know about immunization schedules and socialization milestones. You understand what devotion to pack means, Stiles. That’s not something always common even among born wolves.”
Stiles was frozen with surprise again for the second time that night, cheeks pink. He cleared his throat awkwardly.
“Still. You could’ve just asked.”
“Where’s the fun in that?”
Stiles tried not to smile.
“Whatever.” He dropped onto the couch with a huff, opening his arms. “Come snuggle me, you conniving alpha bastard, and bring our baby with you.”
“What a demanding emissary you are,” Peter said as he stood, carrying a sleeping Lily. “If I’d known you would be so high maintenance-”
“You would have conned us into your pack anyway,” Stiles cut him off, leaning over to rest his head on Peter’s shoulder when he sat down. The evening had been, emotionally speaking, quite a lot, and he thought Peter could damn well prove his desire to be alpha by providing alpha cuddles. Stiles silently moved Lily’s blanket a bit so he could see her face. Peter looked down at both of them with an embarrassingly soft smile.
“Yeah, probably,” Peter whispered.
Peter's big sinister plan to con himself into a family worked after all. What a nerd.
As Lily got closer to the four month mark, Peter and Stiles started getting impatient.
“Shouldn’t you be able to smell it by now?” Stiles asked anxiously. “You said it takes three months for babies to stop smelling like their parents.”
“It’s not quite that simple,” Peter explained, disgruntled. “She doesn’t smell like McCall or her mother anymore- she smells like us. It’s difficult to know if I’m smelling human-you or wolf-me or something that’s just purely her. We probably won’t know for sure until her eyes change. Or don’t.”
He leaned forward, flashing his red eyes at her yet again in hopes of eliciting a response. She giggled, delighted, and stuck a finger in his eye socket. Stiles winced.
“How long do we wait for wolfy things to show up before we call it?” he wondered, going to fetch a cool compress. “When can we be sure she’s human?”
“Five or six months, usually, although I had a cousin who didn’t shift her eyes until she was almost eight months,” Peter mused, blinking and trying to focus the eye with the abused cornea. “It’s a good thing claws don’t show up for a year.”
Stiles sat down next to him, casually invading Peter’s space to pull up his eyelid and check the injury before holding the compress over his eye for him.
“What do we do if she is a wolf? What if she flashes her eyes in the middle of the playground?”
“Children rarely notice things like that, and adults rarely believe they actually saw what they saw. On the occasion that someone actually brought it up, my mother always claimed that the family had a hereditary genetic abnormality.” He shrugged his shoulders, careful not to dislodge Stiles. “Not technically a lie.”
“Huh.” Stiles lifted up the compress and checked Peter’s eye. It was still a little bloodshot, but he opened it just fine. Stiles held up three fingers. “What letter is this?”
“Aren’t you supposed to ask how many fingers there are?”
“What, you want me to make it easy on you?”
Peter quickly dug his knuckles into Stiles’ side in retribution, tickling the spot he knew existed just under the ribs. Stiles squawked and fell off the couch, landing next to Lily.
“Rogue alpha! Save me, Lily!” he said dramatically, lifting her up like a shield. She gurgled a little, kicking her legs midair and sticking a hand in her smiling mouth.
“You are entirely past saving, darling,” Peter said dryly, a smile just out of sight before clearing his throat. “We have something else to talk about though.”
Stiles sobered quickly, the change of tone making him nervous.
Peter seemed to hesitate for a moment before pressing on delicately.
“What would you like to do about Christmas?”
“Oh,” Stiles said, surprised. “Uh. I’m Jewish. Or my mom was, which makes me kind of Jewish. I didn’t really go to Hebrew school or anything, but we also didn’t really do Christmas? And Hanukkah was last week.”
“Oh,” Peter repeated, just as surprised. “I wondered… you didn’t say anything, I thought maybe it was a sensitive subject.”
Stiles just shrugged.
“No, just not really something I think about. What about you? Do you have any traditions or whatever?”
“To be honest, we didn’t really celebrate Christmas either. The first full moon of the new year is important, but Christmas never mattered much past putting up appearances.”
“Huh. So should we like, go out to eat? Take advantage of all the Christians staying home?”
“Sure. Unless Melissa wants to do something.”
Melissa, it turned out, had to work on Christmas, which is how they ended up celebrating the mislabeled birth of Christ by delivering Chinese food to the E.R. at 6 p.m. on Christmas Day. Melissa immediately took Lily out of her carseat and started showing her to the other nurses at the charge station, who squealed over her chubby leg rolls and head full of dark hair.
Melissa was in her element, going on about what a wonderful, beautiful, smart grandbaby Lily is while her co workers cooed and fawned over little toes and big dimples.
Predictably, Peter tensed as soon as other people started touching Lily. Stiles watched as he shifted his weight forward, opening his mouth to make a no doubt rude and irritable comment. Determined to let Melissa have her Grandmother moment, Stiles slipped a hand into Peter’s, pulling him away a few steps to distract him.
“How much baby Tylenol do you think you can steal?” he said in a low voice.
Peter, who’s attention had still been on Lily, did a double take.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“How much baby Tylenol do you think you could sneak out of here?” Stiles tilted his head in the direction of the hospital pharmacy, raising his eyebrows suggestively.
“What- why would I steal baby Tylenol from the hospital?” Peter asked incredulously.
“To prove that you can,” Stiles said philosophically.
“Then why wouldn’t I steal something worth more money?” Peter reasoned.
“Because then we’d have to sell it. That sounds like actual work. Baby Tylenol is something we can just use.”
Peter tapped a finger on the back of Stiles’ hand, contemplating.
“They likely don’t keep the baby Tylenol under tight security, though. If I were doing it for the satisfaction, wouldn’t it be better to go for something that’s more difficult to get?”
“That depends on what you’re trying to prove. Personally, I would be impressed with baby Tylenol.”
“Would you?” Peter purred.
“Stealing baby Tylenol would be very impressive,” Stiles said, fighting a smile.
A throat cleared to their right. They looked over to see Melissa, still holding Lily with an unamused look on her face.
“It would also be very illegal.”
“Hey!” Stiles said brightly. “Did you fill your babyometer? Is your Lily gauge all the way at the top?”
“Never,” she denied, “but I do have dinner to eat and patients to care for.” She cleared her throat again. “Sharon, by the way, is willing to babysit any time you two would like a date night.” Her eyes were dancing with laughter as they flicked back down to Peter and Stiles’ hands. Stiles startled, suddenly realizing that they were still connected. He reflexively opened his hand to drop it, but Peter gripped him more tightly. Hesitantly, Stiles curled his fingers again, chancing a glance at Peter, but he was looking at Melissa.
“Sharon also,” she continued, voice more serious this time, “asked me to tell you that you should have Lily’s eyes examined.”
Peter and Stiles froze.
“Seems she thought she saw something unusual,” Melissa finished, eyebrow raised.
Peter and Stiles spent the next week watching Lily like a hawk. They tried recreating the circumstances at the nurses station, they tried coaxing her with food, they tried her favorite toys- nothing. Her eyes remained stubbornly blue.
“Maybe Sharon didn’t actually see a shift? Maybe she saw something else. Maybe we should get her eyes checked out,” Stiles said, concerned.
Peter shook his head, giving another heavy sniff as he’d been prone to lately.
“I think… I think I’m catching a whiff of wolf from her. Specifically her.”
Stiles looked skeptical.
“But we can’t really be sure unless we see it. What if there is something wrong with her eyes? We only have half her family medical history, Peter.” Peter could feel the tension running through Stiles, looking up to see him chewing on a fingernail. He automatically reached up to pull his hand down away from his face before Stiles could make himself bleed, intertwining their fingers.
“It would be a pretty big coincidence, Stiles.”
“But it’s possible,” Stiles stressed.
Peter suddenly remembered that Claudia Stilinski had died of a hereditary genetic disease. He pulled Stiles into a hug without another word, hesitating before brushing a kiss over his temple.
“I’ll get an appointment with a pediatric opthamologist,” he murmured, hoping Lily wouldn’t choose to manifest her wolfhood in the middle of being examined.
They both went to bed that night with varying degrees of worry and frustration- until Lily woke at 3 a.m. with a scream.
Peter rushed into the room faster than Stiles could fight himself free of the covers and get to her crib. The first tortured yell had tapered off into little heartbroken cries and hiccuping breaths as Peter picked her up, but it wasn’t clear what was wrong.
“She’s not warm,” Peter said, eyebrows furrowed. “Her diaper isn’t dirty, and I don’t think she has a rash anyway.”
Stiles hurried to make a bottle, thinking that whatever the problem was, food might solve it. However, when he handed the bottle to Peter, she refused it.
That was a first.
“She must be hungry, though,” Stiles worried.
Peter peered closely at her face.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “But maybe…”
He pulled down her chin, trying to get a good look at her gums. When that was unsuccessful, he carefully teased a finger in her mouth to feel along the bottom front.
Lily’s eyes flashed bright gold in the darkness, and then she chomped down.
Peter sucked in a sharp breath, clenching his jaw.
“It would appear,” he said tightly, “that she’s cut her first tooth.”
Stiles was too busy freaking out over the eyes to notice what he said at first.
“Did you see that? Peter did you see that!! She’s a werewolf! She shifted her eyes! We have a baby werewolf!!”
“Yes dear, I saw that. However I’m a little preoccupied with the way she’s currently biting a hole through my finger.”
Stiles reached forward and took her from his arms, startling her into releasing the hold she had on Peter’s finger. Sure enough, when he held it up to the clock light, there was a little drop of blood. Stiles looked down at her proudly.
“What a vicious little predator!” he cooed. “Our sweet carnivore baby. A tiny hematophagous angel, yes you are!” She let out a grumpy squall, clearly uninterested in Stiles’ praise.
Peter was still looking at his finger, somewhere between disgruntled and impressed.
“Hematophagous," he muttered. "Let’s hope this isn’t a new part of her feeding schedule."
In any case, she was still a miserable little pup. They gave her Tylenol for the pain and fed her, but she still refused to be put down. Eventually all three of them ended up on Stiles’ bed: Peter next to Stiles, Lily on Peter’s chest, and Stiles pressed up to Peter, rubbing Lily’s back.
When her breathing slowed and her sad little hiccups finally stopped, Peter and Stiles breathed a sigh of relief.
“Do you want me to try taking her? So you can go back to bed?” Stiles whispered, exhausted.
“I’m already in bed,” Peter whispered back, “and if you think I’m going to risk moving just so I can get into a different bed, then you’re out of your mind.”
Stiles made a garbled sound of understanding, already mostly asleep again. Peter glanced at him, attention caught on his peaceful sleeping face for a moment, and then two.
He fell back asleep snuggled between the two Stilinski's.
Lily woke up on the last day of the year with not one, but two new teeth, and an entirely new attitude about life.
Stiles peered into her wide mouthed grin as she screeched happily, clearly relieved to be temporarily done with teething.
“Do you think we’re past the worst part now?” he wondered out loud. “Of teething, I mean. I’m not ready to discuss werewolf puberty yet.”
“No,” Peter said succinctly. “Not by a long shot. Molars are the worst.”
“Yeah but we have like, a year and a half before that.”
“That still doesn’t change my answer,” Peter said darkly. “Just wait until she’s a toddler with brand new fangs and claws who doesn’t understand why it suddenly hurts to chew everything. It’s awful. For everyone. ‘Terrible twos’ doesn’t even come close to describing werewolf toddlers.”
Stiles rolled his eyes at Peter’s little speech, choosing instead to address the happy baby on his lap.
“Can you believe him, Lily? So dramatic. He’s scared of toddlers.”
“You would be too if you were smart,” Peter lazily shot back, accepting Lily as Stiles passed her over and watching appreciatively as Stiles stretched on his way out of bed. He scratched his head, shuffling toward the bureau.
“I guess the cat’s out of the bag, Lily. Your dads are dramatic and dumb. Good luck with that.” He started rummaging through a drawer, looking for a specific t-shirt.
Peter sat on the bed with Lily, stunned for a moment before he spoke.
“Dad," he said, voice shocked. "I'm a dad.”
Though he'd essentially moved in as soon as he'd seen Lily, the word somehow still took him by surprise.
Stiles turned around, a questioning look on his face.
“Yeah? You’re the dad-est dad in Beacon County. You built her crib. You sing ‘Baby Shark’ at least once a day. You have opinions on diaper rash cream. Vehement ones. Peter Dad Hale." Then he shrugged and went to take a shower.
"I'm a dad," Peter repeated. He grinned and looked down at Lily. “I’m your dad,” he said in a delighted voice, and promptly blew a raspberry on her tummy.
Haha he's experiencing genuine human emotion, gross. Who does that. Anyway I'm gonna go hug the shit out of my kids.
The wolf moon rose in the frost-clear night sky, giving enough light through the bare trees that Stiles didn’t need a flashlight. Lily was wide awake, bundled up against the cold and intrigued by the woods around her.
Peter led the way, though as an emissary Stiles felt the draw of the nemeton as well. The alpha carried the freshly killed deer that would be part of the traditional rites.
(“This is spooky as hell.”
“Stop being culturally insensitive.”
“I’m not being insensitive, I’m giving you an outsider's perspective. The perspective that killing a deer so that a magic tree stump can eat it’s heart is spooky.”
“It’s part of Lily’s heritage. And mine. And we get to eat venison afterward. And I’ll remind you that Jewish people painted blood on their doorposts.”
“That was one time!”)
When they reached the nemeton, Peter laid out the deer on the stump. He murmured something that sounded like a prayer, and then began to carefully gut the deer with his claws. Stiles watched from the side with Lily, noting that Peter was clearly practised at this. Had he come back to do this at the nemeton every year? Or had he found other places to preserve the tradition? Why did Peter, who like Stiles appeared to lack any kind of deep spiritual connection, take this so seriously?
Question after question tumbled through his mind, but found no purchase on his tongue. Stiles could feel the weight of the rite hanging in the air, and a touch of old grief seeped into their bond. Even Lily seemed to be able to sense that this was a time for solemnity.
Once the heart had been placed on the stump, Peter silently picked the rest of the deer up and backed away, walking to Stiles.
“Now is traditionally the time when pack members would approach the nemeton with their hopes for the new year.”
“What, like a list?” Stiles asked blankly. Peter huffed a laugh.
“If you’d like. You can think of it as a conversation, or a wish list, or a promise. It’s personal.”
Stiles considered as he slowly walked up to the nemeton with Lily. He didn’t have great memories associated with the tree. His dad had almost died here, and the nogitsune had come from here. Peter’s feelings about it seemed even more complicated.
When he arrived in front of the stump however, Lily suddenly cooed. Her eyes were bright yellow, shining in the darkness as she strained forward. Hesitantly, Stiles unwrapped her a little, allowing more movement.
Suddenly he could feel the magic of the nemeton surging, wrapping around his legs and curling up towards the arms that held Lily. His grip tightened, but Lily continued to coo happily, clearly unhurt. When Stiles focused, he realized the power behind the magic was quietly curious; welcoming. The nemeton was greeting her.
“She’s ours,” Stiles murmured to the nemeton. “If you protect her, we’ll protect you. That’s my promise for the year.”
Stiles felt a brief tightening of the magic, and then it receded. A little dazed, Stiles returned to Peter.
“I think I just made a pact with a sentient tree stump.”
“You’ve probably made worse deals.”
Stiles couldn’t argue with that, and soon they started heading back toward the house.
“Peter,” Stiles said slowly after a few minutes of silent walking. “How much of what we just did was a legitimate magical process and how much was a religious tradition?”
“How many of your Rosh Hashanah traditions are legitimate psychological housekeeping and how much is a religious tradition?”
Stiles’ mouth snapped shut. That’s different, he wanted to say. But was it?
"Rosh Hashanah isn't really spiritual for me, though. It's more about maintaining a connection to my mom."
"The Wolf Moon rites aren't spiritual for me either, they're cultural. It's about maintaining a connection to the packs that came before me." He shifted the heavy deer in his arms, getting a better grip on the antlers. "So yeah, there's some practical value in giving a sacrifice to the nemeton, just like there's practical value in settling your debts and evaluating the choices of the last year before a new one starts. But that's not why we do either of those things, is it?"
It made sense. At least, Stiles thought so. Honestly, metaphysics could fuck off between 12 and 6 a.m.
Lily was still wide awake by the time they got home. Peter laid the deer out on the table they’d prepared beforehand and went to wash up. When he came back, he quickly scooped up Lily and nuzzled her little face.
“I’m going to take her on a quick run, alright?”
“Go for it. Try to get her back before she reaches the screaming part of tired.”
Peter leaned forward and rubbed his cheek past Stiles, scent marking him too before taking off.
Stiles ended up accidentally falling asleep before Peter and Lily got back. He woke up in time to help finish putting her to bed, and then settled at the table with the deer to wrap steaks while Peter butchered. He felt much more clear headed after the little nap.
“When I was young, this was my favorite part of the night,” Peter said as he methodically sliced, preserving as much meat as possible. “All the adults would sit around the table, getting the entire deer cut and wrapped. It probably didn’t go any faster for all the hands, considering how much time was spent arguing over butchering methods and breaks for family gossip. If I was very quiet, I could sit just outside the room and listen without anyone noticing.”
“I bet you picked up a lot of juicy family stories that way,” Stiles said with a smile.
“All the best ones,” Peter agreed.
“Well, if we have a custom to preserve, let me tell you about the time my grandpa accidentally went to Greenland-“
They traded stories and banter until eventually the entire deer had been taken care of. Peter carried the last of the bones out into the trees behind the house to leave them for the animals, and Stiles met him on the back porch when he returned. They both stood in the cold air for one last look at the first full moon of the year.
“What did you ask the magical tree stump for? Or is it a secret, like dandelion wishes?” Stiles asked, turning to look at Peter.
Peter glanced at him with an amused smile.
“It’s not a secret. And I didn’t have just one thing in mind.”
“Ah. Unlimited power and glory, huh? Or was it a lifetime supply of that weird bodywash you love? Oh, I know, you wanted a third unnecessary midlife crisis car-”
Stiles cut off when his mouth was suddenly occupied by Peter’s. He immediately leaned in, wrapping his arms around Peter’s shoulders and digging his fingers into his hair. Peter’s hands were gripping Stiles’ hips under his sweatshirt, bringing their bodies as close as possible.
There was nothing hesitant about the kiss, as if they’d both read the script beforehand and had simply been waiting for the cue. This was where they belonged. When Peter’s lips parted, Stiles sighed into his mouth with a sense of rightness. Slick tongues and soft lips made up their entire focus for unending moments, an introduction and a resolution all in one.
When Peter finally broke the kiss, he didn’t go far, moving to tuck his face in Stiles’ throat, taking deep breaths of their scents as they mixed together.
“Does that answer your question?” he murmured, lip brushing over Stiles’ pulse.
“Yep,” Stiles said, still a little out of breath. “Clearly you asked to be the best kisser in the history of kissing.”
Peter pressed a little laugh into Stiles’ skin.
“Clearly,” he agreed.
Peter rubbed little circles into Stiles’ hips with his thumbs, and Stiles began shifting his weight back and forth a little, unconsciously tapping his own fingers on Peter’s shoulder. Peter pulled back to see his face.
“Are you alright?”
“Hm?” Stiles said, distracted. “Oh, yeah, I’m fine. It’s just stupidly cold out here. And I’m trying to decide whether jumping into bed with you immediately would be too slutty, or just the right amount of slutty.”
“Do I get a say in this decision?”
“If you must,” Stiles said graciously.
“Oh, I must,” Peter purred. “Because it sounds like your first problem could be solved by giving in on your second problem.”
“That sounds suspiciously reasonable,” Stiles mused, beginning to comb his fingers through Peter’s hair again. When Peter leaned into the contact, eyes falling closed at the feeling, Stiles made up his mind.
“I hope you’re flexible, because sex in a twin bed is a logistical nightmare.”
Peter’s eyes opened, flashing red for a moment before Peter suddenly picked up Stiles around the thighs and marched them inside, a subvocal rumble following them every step of the way.
An hour later they lay in a sweaty mess, completely satisfied and alarmingly content.
“Lily’s probably old enough to be moved into her own room now right?” Stiles said, getting his breath back. “We’ve got the window in here locked down. She’s over four months now, I’m sure she’d appreciate the privacy a woman her age needs.”
“Absolutely,” Peter agreed, rubbing his elbow where he'd bashed into the wall several times. “And I’m never fucking you in a twin sized bed again.”
“Yeah, she’s definitely ready.”
We got there!! They banged!! Into the wall, but also each other!!
Two weeks into January Stiles started online classes as a part time student, Peter continued building his house, and Lily started rolling over in a protest against tummy time.
Lily also moved into Stiles’ old bedroom, and apparently loved her new digs because she started sleeping for four hours at a time.
Stiles philosophically pondered the cruel irony of discovering naptime blowjobs just before he had to start using naptime for schoolwork. There was copious pouting in the Stilinski school of philosophy.
Peter, however, felt no need to dress up his hardships in ponderings or philosophy, which is why he only managed to share Stiles’ bed for a month before declaring, “That mattress is ruining my back and I will not stand for it any longer. We’re getting a new mattress delivered today. Your joints will thank me.”
Stiles rolled his eyes at Peter’s declaration, but admitted that the old mattress had definitely seen better days. After all, it had been his dad’s, and his dad definitely hadn’t gotten a new mattress since they moved in to the house.
Lily didn’t care for the noise of moving furniture, so Stiles took her outside to yell at the birds in the frosty February air while Peter switched out the mattresses. When they came back inside, Stiles raised an eyebrow.
“The old duvet was ruining my back too,” Peter said, blasé as he smoothed out the new cover.
Stiles had to admit it was nice. Navy blue with cream accents; it looked lovely. To be honest, it looked so nice that it made the nightstands and dresser look a little shabby in comparison. As he roved a newly critical eye around the room, he was suddenly shocked to see just how much of himself and Peter had been imprinted on the room.
A part of him still thought of it as his dad’s room- but that wasn’t really true anymore. The baby monitor sat on his nightstand, and a stack of diapers and spare pack of wipes sat on the floor next to the bed. Peter was putting away his laundry while Stiles’ still sat on top of the dresser, his dad’s change and picture frames pushed to the back. The pill bottles were long gone, every outlet covered in plastic, his dad’s last notes moved from their original places and tucked where Lily didn’t have a chance to stick them in her mouth.
He set Lily down on the new mattress and then sat with a whump, a little stunned.
“It’s amazing, isn’t it? So much better- are you alright?”
Peter was looking at him with concern.
“This- this was my dad’s room. But it’s not anymore, is it?” he said, dazed.
Peter’s eyes softened.
“No,” he said quietly. “It’s not.” His mouth quirked up in a smile. “I think he’d approve of what we’ve done with the place, though.” Lily cooed and shoved her foot in her mouth. Peter smiled wider at her and came around to Stiles’ side of the bed, picking her up. Stiles watched him play with her for a few minutes, content in a way he could rarely remember being.
“We should move in together.”
Peter looked blankly at Stiles.
“... we’ve been sharing a grocery list for four months. We’re co-parents, Stiles.”
“I mean like, officially,” Stiles clarified. “I want Lily and I to come with you when you move into the new house. We can sell this one, or keep it for, I don’t know, pack business or visitors or whatever.” He paused, ears turning a little pink. “I guess I just didn’t want there to be any confusion about whether or not I want us to stay together, once the house is done.”
Peter leaned forward and kissed him.
“You can consider it perfectly clear.”
“If I buy these raisins, will you eat them too? Or am I going to end up eating the entire box myself?”
“That depends on how fast you eat raisins.”
“Let’s say an average of seventy eight raisins a day.”
“I can’t match that, get the smaller pack.”
Stiles put back the box he was holding and grabbed the other one Peter had pointed out.
“How much longer do you think we should wait to start Lily on solids? I’m kinda scared of what it’s going to do to her diapers.”
“They’ll get much worse,” Peter said bluntly as he flicked the toy dangling from the carseat handle, smiling at Lily. “So much worse. But she’ll also start to go longer between feedings. We might even get to sleep six hours in a row.”
Stiles’ expression took on a faraway, wistful look.
“Six hours. Can you imagine? Six entire straight hours of sleep.” His eyes flicked consideringly to Peter’s ass. “Well. Maybe five.”
“Should we get some rice cereal?”
Stiles was already walking toward the baby food aisle.
By the time Peter caught up to him, he was comparing brands and frowning at labels. He allowed Stiles to sort through whatever criteria he’d built up as acceptable for Lily, and went back to making faces to entertain her.
It took a moment, but eventually he realized that there was an erratic heartbeat with too steady breathing at the other end of the aisle. Whoever it was hadn’t moved since they arrived.
Peter looked up and spotted a young woman staring at them, looking terrified. She was about Stiles’ age, with dark hair and blue eyes. As soon as she realized she’d been caught, she spun around and quickly left.
“Stay with Lily,” Peter said tightly, silently taking off after her. He followed her out of the store, watching the too-fast sinuous movements that whispered werewolf. As soon as she reached the parking lot she jumped into a car, tearing out onto the street.
Peter noted the license plate number, though he was already sure that it would be a fake. By the time he got back to Stiles and Lily, the air around them was acrid with anxiety. Peter shook his head as he approached.
"She got away."
"Who was she?" Stiles asked lowly, hands gripping the shopping cart tightly. "What did she want?"
"I don't know," Peter said, voice tense. "Let's check out and go."
Everyone was quiet as they checked out and loaded the bags. It wasn't until they were most of the way home that Stiles finally broke the silence.
"Do you think she looked like Lily?"
Peter gripped the steering wheel more tightly.
He was right about the license plate.
“You’re sure she was staring at us? Us, specifically?” Stiles asked again that night.
“Yes,” Peter said impatiently, stalking behind Stiles as he appropriated resources from the sheriff’s department that he definitely shouldn’t have been able to access.
“Maybe she just had like, a baby food phobia,” Stiles said, clearly not believing his own bullshit. He rubbed a hand across his forehead. “Shit. Ok. This is Beacon Hills. The worst case scenario is always the most likely scenario.”
He abruptly pushed back from his computer and marched over to the gun safe he hadn’t opened in the last five months, a determined look on his face. Soon he was seated at the kitchen table with a pistol, an empty clip, an unlabeled box of bullets, and an emissary book.
Peter hovered, going back and forth between watching Stiles work and checking on Lily as she slept. He was anxious and unsettled. The woman had clearly been terrified- but it hadn’t felt like she was scared of them.
Which meant she was scared for them.
He didn't know what that meant.
Back in the kitchen, Stiles finally loaded the gun. He’d laiden the wolfsbane bullets with every spell and charm he had access to. True aim, deadly force, wind correction; if Stiles shot the gun, whoever was at the other end would not be getting a second chance. With Lily's safety in mind, he couldn't feel satisfied with anything less.
As he washed his hands to get rid of any trace of aconite, he noticed that he was shaking. He clenched his hands into fists to make it stop, only for Peter to come up from behind and wrap around him, gently uncurling them and finishing the job of rinsing.
“This would have been nothing in high school,” Stiles muttered. “Some weird lady at the grocery store? Whatever. But now-”
“The stakes are different,” Peter said quietly.
Stiles blew out a heavy breath.
Peter and Stiles stayed like that in front of the kitchen sink, gathering comfort from each other.
And then Peter heard it.
It wasn’t the same one as the woman- at least not beating at the same erratic rate. It was steady, calm. Stiles turned in his arms, having felt the shift in his attention, but Peter was already heading toward the back door.
“There’s someone out there.”
He looked out the window. The heartbeat was just beyond sight, even for his enhanced eyes. He waited for whoever it was to move, but they just stood there. Waiting.
Stiles stood behind him, frantically flipping through the stack of books he’d left on the table, trying to find something, anything, to reveal who was stalking them. There was nothing.
“This is a trap,” Peter said tightly. “They’re trying to draw me away from the house, which means whoever it is wants you or Lily.”
“Or they could want you alone,” Stiles pointed out. His phone suddenly chimed with a text.
You wouldn’t happen to be hiding in my bushes and watching my house, would you?
No. There are some unknown weres in town. Do you have your wolf taser?
Peter stayed at the back door, trying to catch a glimpse of whoever was out there.
I think I left it at my sister’s.
“Fuck,” Stiles repeated with more feeling. “Melissa thinks there’s someone watching her house too, and she doesn’t have her taser.” He looked up at Peter, tense. “We can’t just leave her alone.”
Peter clenched his jaw, still not taking his eyes off the window.
“I’m not leaving you and Lily alone, and I’m not taking you anywhere in an unprotected car while a stalker is literally just outside the house.”
“But we can’t leave her unprotected either, Peter,” Stiles said desperately. “Look, I know exactly how fast you can drive. You can get to Melissa’s house in seven minutes. The trip home is another seven, plus five to get her out of the house and into the car. That’s less than twenty minutes. I’ll wake up Lily and we’ll stay in a circle of mountain ash with the gun the entire time you’re gone.”
Peter ground his teeth.
“What if they have someone who can break the circle?”
“That’s what the gun is for. Wolfsbane bullets work on humans too.”
Peter finally looked away from the black, unrevealing window. Stiles could feel the storm of conflict radiating from him.
“She’s Lily’s grandmother, Peter. She’s pack.”
A sharp stab of something pierced into Stiles from their bond. Peter finally nodded tightly.
“Go get Lily. I want to see you both inside the circle before I leave.”
Lily wasn’t pleased to be woken up but she stayed quiet, blearily looking around the room. Stiles held her as the ash settled around them, at once confining and protecting. The gun sat heavy in his pocket.
“Nineteen minutes,” Stiles said to Peter, nodding much more confidently than he felt.
“Nineteen minutes,” Peter repeated, one hand on the door. His mouth hung open for a moment, words heavy on his tongue before he swallowed them back. “I’ll be right back.”
The door closed heavily behind him.
Stiles stood inside, clutching Lily tightly.
Fourteen minutes were left when the other pack arrived.
Stiles had the gun up as soon as the door rattled. One solid kick later it was off its hinges completely.
A huge bulldozer of a man stepped inside, eyes glowing red. Following him were two smaller men.
And the woman from the grocery store.
The alpha smiled. It was a feral, savage thing, cutting his jagged face in two.
“Good evening,” the alpha said in an oily voice. “I’m sure you don’t want us here any more than we want to be in your little backwater of a town, so why don’t you just give us the baby and we’ll go.”
Stiles shifted Lily into his shoulder with his left arm, his right arm steady as he aimed at the alpha, and evaluated the room.
The dark haired woman hung back near the door, claws out but tense in a way that spoke of fear rather than aggression. One of the men stood to his right, and the other to his left, both slightly further away than their alpha. He was out-numbered and out-muscled.
“What baby?” Stiles asked casually.
The smile dropped from the alpha’s face, his looks much improved for it.
“The one you’re holding,” he said, voice flat.
“I’m holding a gun.” Stiles wiggled it pointedly.
“With your other arm,” the alpha bit out.
“Oh, that baby! No.”
The beta to his left growled and paced forward, testing the edges of the mountain ash circle, but it held.
“The baby isn’t yours. It belongs to one of my pack,” the alpha snarled. “Give it to me.”
Stiles turned away from the alpha, looking towards the door.
“Are you Rebecca then? Lily’s doing good, if you wanted to know. Healthy, happy, and cute as a button. I officially adopted her a few months ago, so she has my last name now.”
Rebecca’s eyes darted to and away from them, nodding slightly but staying silent. She flinched when the alpha roared, and Lily started crying.
“Hey asshole, you wanna keep your fucking voice down?!” Stiles snapped, his nerves finally getting the better of him. “You’re scaring my kid.”
“She’s not yours!” Asshole Alpha yelled. “Rebecca is her rightful mother! Give her to us,” he finished with a snarling alpha command. Stiles was unimpressed.
“Okay, but does Rebecca want Lily?” Stiles asked shrewdly.
“What she wants is irrelevant,” Asshole Alpha said, fuming.
“Uh, it seems pretty fucking relevant, actually, since she’d be the person raising her and all,” Stiles said, disbelief in his voice. “Besides, aren’t you the one who told her she couldn’t keep her in the first place?”
“That was before we knew that she’d carried the pup of a True Alpha! Where is the sire, I demand to speak with him.”
“Good fucking luck. The True Deadbeat took off months ago. We’ve had Lily for the last five months. She’s our daughter, and she’s a member of our pack.” He said it so fiercely that the beta to his right startled.
Outrage burned from every inch of Asshole Alpha’s face. He stepped right up to the edge of the mountain ash.
“You have no pack! One alpha and a pathetic human are nothing!!”
“Oh yeah?” Stiles bared his teeth, practically snarling as his eyes glinted with danger. “Try me.”
Asshole Alpha didn’t take a step back; to lose ground would be to admit defeat before beginning the fight- but he did lean back, shock ghosting over his face. There was power in Stiles’ stance.
Asshole Alpha hesitated, and then called his bluff.
Stiles put three wolfsbane bullets in his gut, and one more in his forehead.
The room became a cacophony of screams and blood, the beta to Stiles’ left lunging forward to try his own hand at breaking the circle of mountain ash. Stiles shot him too, and then swung the gun around to the last two betas.
Rebecca stood frozen in the doorway, shock written across her face as she stared at the body of the alpha. The man on the right held his hands up, claw free, and took a step back.
“Don’t shoot! I didn’t want to come take the kid in the first place, I swear I’ll leave town right now.”
Rather than try to speak over the sound of Lily’s cries, Stiles nodded once and gestured out the door with his gun. The beta took off running, hesitating with a look at Rebecca before disappearing.
Rebecca didn't notice. She seemed to be going into a type of shock. Stiles bit his lip, wanting to talk to her but unwilling to leave the circle to get her attention.
“Rebecca? Hey. Becca?”
It was the nickname that caught her ears. She looked up at Stiles, eyes darting to the gun, and then to Lily, before looking back up at Stiles. There was a heavy silence.
“I didn’t want to have the baby,” she blurted. “I wouldn’t be a good parent. I was going to get an abortion, but Logan-” she cut herself off, glancing back down at the bodies on the floor. “Once- once I had the baby he said I couldn’t keep her. I thought Scott…” She drifted off.
Stiles was putting together a very disturbing picture in his mind.
Suddenly Peter’s car came to a screeching halt outside the house, Peter himself launching out of the car before it had even fully turned off. His eyes were red and filled the promise of death.
Stiles finally broke the line of mountain ash, hurrying to yell, “Don’t kill her! Peter, no!!”
Peter’s claws stopped a hair’s breadth from her throat, a snarl in her face.
Stiles saw movement past Peter’s shoulders, through the front door, and realized Melissa had gotten out of the car and was coming toward the house too. Stiles pushed past Peter and rushed toward her.
Handing over a still-crying Lily, Stiles said, “I’m so sorry, but can you please sit in the car with her for a bit? Maybe rock her until she falls asleep?”
Melissa looked past him, at Peter and Rebecca who were clearly visible from the lawn.
“Yeah,” she said faintly. She looked down at Lily, and her voice got a little stronger. “Yes. And tell Peter to move further into the house before someone calls the police.”
Stiles nodded quickly, already heading back inside.
“Peter, this is Becca, Lily’s mom,” Stiles said lightly, feeling just how on-edge Peter was. “Also maybe we could consider moving into the kitchen instead of right in front of our now permanently open front door.”
Peter growled but gripped Rebecca’s arm, dragging her into the kitchen with them.
Becca was clearly terrified, her own claws out and digging into Peter’s arm with little effect.
“Becca, we need to talk to you for a minute, okay?” Stiles said, trying to keep his tone soothing and rational but only minimally succeeding. “Is anyone else going to come looking for Lily?”
She shook her head frantically.
“No, no. That was- the only people who knew about Lily were Logan, Chris, Jamal, and Brittany.” She tensed. “Where’s Brittany?”
“If you mean the blonde who likes to hide under bushes, she’s dead,” Peter said bluntly.
Becca immediately relaxed, even letting go of Peter’s arm for a minute.
“Then everyone who knew about her is dead, except for Jamal, and he never even wanted to come here.”
Peter finally loosened his hold on her.
“And why did you come?” he asked, voice still menacing.
She looked at him in disbelief.
“Logan wasn’t big on democratic function,” she said with a bite. “He made the choices and we either agreed or died.”
“So… if giving up Lily was Logan’s choice…” Stiles said slowly, but Becca interrupted him with a frantic shake of her head.
“No, I- no. I don’t want her. I don’t want to be a mom. There was a little bit, right after she was born, when I thought maybe- but no. I didn’t even want to have her. I just want to go.”
Stiles felt a pit in his stomach. Becca had been forced to carry and deliver a pregnancy she didn’t want, and then when she had just begun to possibly reconcile the idea the choice was again taken away from her. He couldn't imagine anything more cruel.
“Where will you go from here?” he asked quietly. “Do you have someplace to stay?”
Peter looked sharply at him.
“I’ll probably catch up with Jamal. He’s not so bad. He was trapped too.”
Stiles braced himself, and said, “If you need a place to stay-”
He was cut off when Peter growled and Becca sharply reeled back a little ways.
“No,” they both vehemently said in sync, and then looked at each other in surprise. Becca just shook her head and continued speaking before Peter could say anything else. “No offense but this town fucking sucks. I don’t want to be here anymore. I just want to find Jamal and forget the last three years happened.”
Stiles pursed his lips, but nodded, accepting her decision.
“Is there a phone number or something where we could reach you?”
Becca hesitated, and then shook her head again.
“I- I don’t want that. Lily is yours now. I just want to go.”
Stiles nodded again, a little more reluctantly this time, but accepting it nevertheless. Peter finally let go of her arm entirely and took a step back.
“Don’t tell anyone else about her,” he added in a threatening tone. “Especially not that a true alpha sired her.”
“No,” she immediately agreed. “I won’t. Honestly I didn’t even believe it when I found out. He’s not really…”
“No,” Stiles agreed. “He’s really not.”
Something that might have been a smile passed fleetingly over her face. A moment later she was gone out the back door, disappearing into the night.
Stiles and Peter both sighed, falling into an embrace so tight that it would have hurt if they weren’t both so desperate for assurance. They only pulled apart when they heard a gasp from the living room.
Melissa stood there holding Lily, who was asleep again.
“I came in to remind you of the body you left in my garden,” she said, looking a little green. “But I guess it’ll have to wait.”
Stiles hurried over, dodging around the blood to usher her up to Lily’s room.
“I’m so sorry Melissa. We’ll take care of it, it’ll be fine.”
Melissa just sighed and dryly said, “I’m a nurse, and I dated a hunter. That’s hardly the first dead body I’ve seen, Stiles.”
“Still,” Stiles insisted. “Grandmothers don’t have to deal with corpses. It’s below their pay grade.”
“Damn right,” she muttered, going into Lily’s room and settling into the rocking chair in there. Stiles quietly shut the door behind her and returned to the living room.
Peter had already hauled the beta into the backyard, temporarily hidden in the same thatch of trees where they'd left the bones of the deer. He was just picking up the alpha when Stiles joined him. They silently worked together for a bit.
"I can't believe you were going to offer her a place to stay," Peter eventually said as they scrubbed the blood from the floor.
"It wasn't going to be permanent. I just... wanted to help. We killed over half her pack."
"I think that turned out to be more of a favor to her," Peter countered bluntly before sighing. Stiles' pack mindedness was what he fell in love with in the first place. He couldn't very well start arguing against it now. He leaned over the puddle they were scrubbing at and kissed Stiles' temple.
"That wins grossest kiss for sure," Stiles said.
"You love it," Peter said, going back to cleaning.
"I love you," Stiles corrected.
Peter just smiled.
The banner for the party read “CANCER IS A LITTLE BITCH,” with "BITCH" crossed out and replaced with a frowny face. Both ends were decorated with a stick figure that might have been a nurse, or possibly a lumberjack. It was hard to tell with Stiles’ art.
Melissa stared at it from the front lawn of the brand new house as she ate cake, trying to decide if she was looking at an axe or a stethoscope, only to be distracted when a teeny tiny little growl erupted from below her.
Lily was on a blanket on the warm grass, rocking back and forth on all fours. Melissa knew what was coming next, and soon, but Peter and Stiles had both been in denial about it for weeks.
“She’s only nine months, Melissa.”
“She’s a luxuriant little thing, she’ll be content to let us carry her everywhere for at least another eight weeks.”
“There’s no way we need to worry about that yet.”
But Melissa knew. You always needed to worry. Unless you were the grandmother; then you got to sit back and watch. Pulling out her phone and hitting record, she got ready to do just that.
Peter and Stiles were just a few feet away, chatting with Cora and Malia. Derek had declined to return for the celebration, citing that things in Beacon Hills were still a little too close for him. Chris was visiting too, having gotten on a plane to celebrate in person as soon as he heard about Melissa’s remission.
He also had his phone out, sharing a knowing look with Melissa.
Another little growl erupted from Lily, Peter and Stiles too distracted to fully pay attention, although they were both angled toward her. Melissa grinned.
Suddenly a bird landed on the grass, just a few inches away from the edge of the blanket. Chris nearly got up to shoo it away, but before he could Lily shakily scooted forward. Distracted, he focused his camera again, excited to catch her first movements. Her knee tucked up, and her other hand moved forward. The opposite knee moved, and she nearly lost her balance, catching herself just in time. She moved once more, and then lunged for the bird.
A loud squawk finally got everyone’s attention as the bird struggled and then flew away, leaving Lily with a tiny handful of feathers and a delighted giggle. She immediately collapsed onto her belly and then rolled onto her back, fluffy prize held triumphantly above her face.
“Lily!” Stiles cried out, alarmed. “Don’t eat those!”
Melissa leaned forward and gently tugged the feathers out of her fist, which Lily protested until they were replaced with a mylar book. Soon she was happily crunching it in her little fists.
“I told you she’d start crawling soon,” Melissa said. “I hope you have the house scoot-proofed.”
Stiles stared, still a little disbelieving, before giving Melissa a dry little head shake.
"You may have called the crawling, but you didn’t say anything about her eating birds,” he said. “Did you get it on video?”
“From two angles,” Chris confirmed. “Sending it now.”
Peter pulled out his phone as it chimed, pleased. “Excellent. Baby’s first hunt!”
“Does it count if all she got were a few feathers?” Stiles wondered out loud, scooping up Lily to inspect her hands for leftover fluffy bits.
“Of course it counts. It shows she has the killer instinct,” Peter said, standing close to smooth down the hair sticking up straight on top of her head before smooching her crown.
“You realize you’re talking about a nine month old baby?” Cora called over.
“Killer instinct,” Stiles pressed. “With seven teeth and the fine motor coordination of an olympian. Fear her.”
“If you want to stay on her good side, I know for a fact that she can be bought with Cheerios,” Peter supplied.
Cora looked at them in amazement.
“How can you both be such terrible people yet such good fathers?”
“Unlimited access to Google.”
“And unlimited access to each other.”
“Which thing is that meant to explain?”
Lily crammed the mylar book into her mouth and clapped.
Ayyy it's over! Idk if I'm necessarily happy with it, but I definitely know I'm done working on it lmao. Hope you guys enjoyed!