In 2nd grade, Nicki Welch told Stiles Stilinski that his plaid shirt and Spiderman graphic tee looked stupid. He responded by looking pointedly at her stomach and saying that bloodsucking hookworms were inside about 700 million people.
She cried for two hours, and Ms. Briar made him go to the quiet chair. “One day, your mouth is really going to get you into trouble!” she’d scolded with a wagging finger.
Stiles contemplates those words as his dad’s new deputy hauls him into the station.
He’s still totally going to blame Scott for the situation, though.
“I see . . . an orange tabby in the window,” Stiles says, straining to hold his cellphone and adjust his binoculars at the same time. “Just a regular orange tabby.”
“But what does it look like?” Scott replies from his end of the line. “Does it have two distinct white patches on its belly?”
“It looks every other orange fucking tabby that has ever existed since the dawn of time,” Stiles snaps back. “And I can’t even see its belly. Now can I please be done with this?” Seriously, he’s been so swamped with course work, TA duties, and grad school applications that he hasn't been home in nearly a year. He and Scott should’ve commenced Bro Time the second he crossed Beacon County line, but instead? He’s creepily parked in an apartment complex and spying on some old broad because Scott is convinced she stole Allison’s cat. The things I do for love, he thinks bitterly.
“Yeah, I guess,” says Scott. “Pizza and Call of Duty sound good? Oh! And Allison’s making Nutter Butter Pie.”
“Aww honey, you shouldn’t have! I’ll be there in-“
The loud knocking on his car window startles the phone right out of Stiles’ grasp. And if he lets out a high pitched shriek, the only ones who hear it are himself, God, and . . .
The world’s hottest cop since the stripper he booked for Erica’s bachelorette party—the one currently frowning at him through the glass and gesturing for him to roll the window down. Stiles obliges not out of any concern but because dat beard. Jesus, when did his dad hire this guy? He would’ve been home a lot sooner. He probably might've moved back home on a permanent basis, even.
“Afternoon, officer!” Stiles says with a bright grin. “What can I do ya for?”
“Sir, we received a call about a suspicious-looking person fitting your description loitering right outside this address. I’m going to need you to—“
“Hold that thought,” says Stiles, suddenly conscious of Scott’s tinny voice becoming increasingly distressed from the side of his seat. He digs his phone out and ignores the confused and outraged expressions currently flitting back and forth on Hot Cop’s face.
“Hey baby! Sorry about that. Listen, I gotta go. I got this deputy in front of me who looks like his eyebrows are going to jump off his face and attack me if I don’t give him my full attention. You know how it goes. See you soon though, okay? Buh-bye!” He hangs up before Scott has the chance to protest. Judging by the way Hot Cop is glaring at him (he seems to have finally settled on 60% outrage and 40% confusion), he’s made a good decision.
“You said something about a suspicious-looking character at this address, right Officer . . .” Stiles pauses and squints at the man’s badge. “Hale? Hale yeah, you did!” He winks, and Officer Hale’s expression instantly shifts to 30% outrage and 70% confusion. Stiles just blasts onward. “I would check out Apartment 3B over there. Houses a sketchy old coot by the name of Gladys. Scott? The guy I was just talking to? Yeah, pretty sure Gladys stole his fiancé’s cat. So you should get on that. I’d do it—I mean, I was, but. You know. PIE. Waiting for me. So yeah.”
Officer Hale has now reached 100% confusion and is looking Stiles like he needs psychological help. Or Jesus. Huh. He must be very new. All the other minions hired by the Sheriff are debriefed on What Fuckery to Expect from My Son When He Visits about one month into the job. His dad calls it The Final Trial because it’s guaranteed to weed out the weak ones. Stiles was extremely flattered when he found out about it.
“Are . . . are you on something?” Hale asks, finally finding his voice again. Stiles snorts.
“What like drugs? Nah, son. Why? Want me to hook you up?” He waggles his brows at Hale, who sputters and scowls.
“Sir, I’m going to need you to step out of the car immediately.”
“Woah, dude! Calm your tits. I was just kidding,” says Stiles. He untangles himself from his seat belt and stumbles out of his jeep anyway—if only to get a better view of Officer Hale. “Can we make this quick? If my dad’s mad that I didn't visit him first, just explain that Allison’s making Nutter Butter Pie. He’ll understand. And hey! Maybe you can come too after you get off work! Bring these and make it a real fun time!” He pokes at the handcuffs on Hale’s duty belt. “I’m sure Scott and Allison would be down, those crazy kids.”
“Stop that!” the officer says as he swats Stiles’ hand away, but it’s hard for Stiles to buy his menacing tone when the tips of Hale’s ears go pink.
He does, however, buy the menacing tone of one Gladys Walker when she comes out in a printed muumuu and house slippers to grimace at Stiles like he’s the scum of the earth. “That’s the one, Officer Derek. Thank heavens you got here in time! Mr. Muffles and I were getting so worried about what this youth might do.” She nods toward the fat lump of cat in her arms who very much does have two white patches on its belly.
“No problem, Ma’am,” Derek says, turning toward the old lady. “But I ask that you please go back inside so that—“
“You got some nerve, you filthy catnapper!” Stiles hollers, shoving Derek to the side. “You even changed Ginger’s name? You robbed this poor creature of its identity. You’re sick, I tell you! Even my Babcia has your number!” Gladys puffs up at this, her face going a furious crimson. “Yeah, that’s right!” Stiles says. “I’ve heard about you trying to cheat at Bingo Night!” Derek grabs one of his flailing arms and wrestles him away from the old woman. “Your reign of terror is over, lady!”
“I’m being threatened!” Gladys screeches, clutching an entirely unamused Ginger/Mr. Muffles closer to her bosom.
“Mrs. Walker, please go inside!” Derek grits out before swinging Stiles around to face him. “As for you, you’re coming with me.”
“What the hell for?” asks Stiles as Derek maneuvers him toward the police cruiser. “She’s the one you should be arresting!”
Derek rolls his eyes and continues to shove him forward. “Let’s see: within the past ten minutes, you've solicited a police officer for drugs, disturbed the peace, and sort of threatened a senior citizen.” He shakes his head, the corners of his mouth briefly twitching upward. “And you babble so rapidly and incoherently, I’m still not entirely convinced you’re not on something.”
“Yup. Dad definitely hasn’t debriefed you. Figured as much,” Stiles mutters. Derek gives him a look that seems to say see what I mean?
Stiles pouts. “Are you really dragging me down to the station? Now I’m going to be late for Bro Time.”
The smile Derek throws his way is all faux-politeness. “You can go quietly or I can pull out the handcuffs.”
“About that. I was hoping we could use those under sexier circumstances.”
“JUST GET IN THE CAR,” Derek groans, looking upward as if hoping for divine intervention.
Divine intervention never arrives. Rather, they’re almost to the station when Stiles asks Derek if he’s allowed to make a phone call.
“Yes! Please. Anything to get you to Stop. Talking. To. Me.” So Officer Hale isn’t interested in the history of Bingo or the Quidditch team Stiles started back at college. He files that info away for later as he rings up Scott.
“Stiles! What’s going on? Where are you?” Scott says, voice tight with worry. “You said something about a deputy and then hung up.”
“About that, Scotty” says Stiles. “Mrs. Walker caught me spying and called the cops on me. Looks like I’m going to go to jail. Such a shame because you guys were totally right. Caught her red-handed with Ginger.”
“I knew it!” says Allison. Scott has him on speaker. Typical.
“Yup. She even renamed him Mr. Muffles.” Scott and Allison respond with twin gasps of horror. “Exactly. Isn’t she the literal worst? I’d have it fixed already, but instead I’m the one going to the slammer. The system’s just not what it used to be.” Stiles looks up and sees Derek’s glare framed in the rearview mirror. He just beams back.
“That doesn’t even make sense!” Scott says. “Your dad . . .”
“Rookie on duty,” Stiles says. “Don’t worry. It’ll all get sorted in a minute. But first? I’m going to jail, babe. Tell the kids I love ‘em!”
Scott chuckles. “See you in about half an hour?”
“You know it,” Stiles says. “Later!” He hangs up just as Derek pulls into the parking lot. Stiles immediately jumps out of the car and ambles towards the entrance.
“You’re awfully cheerful for someone who might spend the night behind bars,” Derek says, interrupting Stiles’ rendition of the Veggie Tales theme. Stiles just shrugs.
“Haven’t seen everybody in a while. Looking forward to the reunion.”
“So you come here often?” Derek raises an eyebrow but looks completely unsurprised. Too easy, Stiles thinks, but he takes the shot anyway.
“Officer,” he says, hand going to his chest as if truly scandalized. “If you want to get on this, you’re going to have to do better than dated lines like that one.”
“What? I wasn’t—you know that’s not what I meant!” Derek’s ears are pinking up again. It’s adorable, but Stiles doesn't get the chance to savor it because they've made it into the station.
“Can someone do me a favor and book this one for me?” Derek says, looking around the entire room for a savior. “I honestly don’t think I can handle another minute with him.”
Stiles is about to protest when a familiar face looks up, cheeks stuffed full of Chinese takeout.
“Holy shit,” says Deputy Parrish, a piece of kung pao chicken falling from his mouth. “It's finally happened. BET’S OVER, LADIES AND GENTS. TARA WINS THE POT.”
Stiles hears Deputy Graeme’s victory call—easily recognizable after years of BCPD fantasy football—from around the corner over a chorus of defeated groans. He sighs and bumps shoulders with a bemused Derek. “Always knew she’d be the one to take it,” he says, which only adds to Derek’s puzzlement. He turns his attention back to the other officer and points at the cartons of food. “None of that junk better be reaching the Sheriff’s office, Jor-Jor.”
.“He’s only allowed the steamed vegetables, I remember,” Parrish says with a good-natured eye roll. “And don’t call me that.” He comes forward and pulls Stiles into a hug that’s immediately reciprocated. Derek clears his throat.
“Could you please explain to me what’s going on? Why has Tara won something? And why are you hugging my perp, Parrish?”
“Because I’m his favorite,” Stiles says matter-of-factly. “Could be yours too if you’d let me.” He bats his lashes at Derek, who immediately squeezes his eyes shut.
“There’s something terribly wrong with you,” he mutters.
“No debating that,” says Parrish, smirking. Stiles squawks at this, but Parrish just nudges him. “So what’d he bring you in for?”
“I was selling my body on the street.”
“Oh my God.” Derek begins to massage his temples. “Mrs. Walker made her weekly call about a stalker. I went over there to assure her that everything’s fine, as usual, but it turns out she wasn't imagining things for once.”
Stiles throws up his hands and looks pleadingly at Parrish. “I was doing it for Scott! Gladys was visiting the old lady that lives across his house last week. Scott let the cat out but it never came back in. And then suddenly two days later little Addie Walker shows up for Girl Scouts—you know Allison leads her troop—talking about Granny’s new pet kitty. I went to go check it out, and she totally has the furball.” He points an accusing finger at Derek. “I told you I was looking for Ginger, and you let the real criminal get away with her crime!”
“How was I supposed to pick all that out in-between you hitting on me and your incoherent ramblings about pie?” Derek snaps.
“Ooh, did someone bring pie?”
Three heads immediately whip to the doorway where Sheriff Stilinski is shrugging off his coat. He still has an arm in one sleeve when he notices his son. “Aw hell,” he says. “Guess not. No way a dessert of any kind would make it past the door with this one around.” John’s face then breaks into a grin. “Kid, are you just going to stand around pestering my deputies or are you going to come over here and give your old man a hug?”
Stiles barrels forward and throws his arms around his father, leaving the officers to themselves. Parrish slides his eyes over to Derek to watch him process the information he’s just received. The sight is more entertaining than Jordan could’ve possibly imagined. Derek’s jaw has fallen open, his eyes going comically wide as surprise slowly turns into horror. His gaze flickers back and forth from the reunited Stilinskis to Parrish as if hoping the latter will explain (he won’t). Finally, he collects himself to whisper a pained “You’re Stiles? The Sheriff’s son?”
Stiles takes a bow. “Guilty as charged!” he says, grinning wickedly at Derek. “Literally.”
“What do you mean, literally?” asks John, swatting him on the shoulder. At the sound of Derek’s palm hitting his forehead and Parrish collapsing into a chair from laughing so hard, though, it hits him.
He rubs a palm over his face and sighs, eyes closed. “Derek arrested you,” he says flatly.
Derek’s hands come up defensively, and judging by the panicked look in his eye and his cherry red cheeks, Stiles thinks he might just throw himself to the ground to grovel at his dad’s feet. “Sir, there was a bit of a misunderstanding, you see—“
“Keep your pants on, Hale. I’m not mad,” the Sheriff says, waving a hand and effectively cutting Derek off. “Honestly, I’m just bummed this didn't happen during his winter break last year. That’s what I had predicted. Looks like my twenty bucks goes to . . .” He looks at Parrish for confirmation. “Graeme?”
“Yours and everyone else’s,” Parrish and Stiles say at the same time. Parrish quirks a brow at Stiles.
“What? It’s my first arrest we're talking about here. You didn’t think I wanted in on that action?” He smiles ruefully. “I had it down for next fall, though. That’s when Scott’s bachelor party is. I still can’t promise I won’t get arrested then.”
“If you do, don’t expect me to bail you out,” says John. He claps Derek on the back. “Speaking of, what’d you get him for? Do we actually need to put him behind bars? Because trust me. I raised him. He’s not a bad kid at all, but we actually might be doing society a favor if we take him out of commission for awhile.”
Derek exhales and sneaks a glance at an indignant Stiles. “Well if he’s not—“
“Hold on a sec,” Parrish says, shoving a binder into Derek’s hands. Stiles knows that binder anywhere. What
Fuckery to Expect When the Sheriff’s Son Visits. “It’s color-coded. Turn to section 3B.” Everyone watches as Derek, dubious, does so.
“He’s not on drugs. That’s honestly his personality,” Derek reads blandly. He looks up at the Sheriff. “Tough break, Sir.”
“Don’t I know it,” John chuckles as Stiles rolls his eyes. Derek smirks at him.
“Well, as tempted as I am to lock you up after the massive headache you've caused me, it looks like this honestly was a misunderstanding." He looks back at John. "He and Gladys Walker were arguing over a cat that she apparently might have stolen.”
“Oh god,” the Sheriff groans at Stiles. “That old bat that Babcia always complains about?”
“She’s a monster,” Stiles says gravely. “And there’s no ‘might’ about it, Dad. She’s got Allison’s cat. I saw it with my own eyes.”
“Sounds like something I can deal with tomorrow,” John says, turning around and heading toward his office. “Now get out of here, kid. Some of us have work to do.” He gestures toward their general direction. “And you can take the rest of the night off, Hale. It’s the least I can do for making you deal with this little punk.”
“But Gladys needs to be brought to justice!” Stiles insists.
“Tomorrow,” the Sheriff calls as he shuts his door. Parrish just cuffs Stiles on the back of the head and returns to his spot at the front desk. Stiles focuses his attention back on Derek, who is starting at him warily.
“Any chance I could persuade you to—”
“But that woman—“
“Not a chance.”
“Can you at least drive me to my buddy Scott’s?” Stiles asks, jutting his lip out and widening his eyes in what he hopes is a good impression of Scott’s puppy face. “You drove me here in the police cruiser. My jeep is still at Mrs. Walker’s. Probably getting vandalized by the very criminal you’re keeping on the streets right now.”
Derek scoffs, unimpressed. “I highly doubt a septuagenarian is defacing your car right now.”
“She cheats at bingo, and she steals felines,” Stiles says, gesturing wildly. “Who knows what else she’s capable of! And are you going to drive me to Scott and Allison’s or not?”
Derek cocks his head to the side. “Why would I willingly spend another second with you?”
“Because Scott and Allison are awesome. And haven’t you heard? There’s going to be delicious pie there.” Stiles steps closer. “You've had a stressful day, Officer Hale. You thought you were going to lose your job over unfairly arresting your boss’ beloved only child. Don’t you deserve pie?”
“I wasn’t worried about losing my job!” Derek growls, though he’s blushing again. “And are your friends as annoying as you?”
“Pfft, no one is as annoying as me,” Stiles says. “That’s section 8C in the binder.”
Derek stares at him for a few seconds in unabashed disbelief. Stiles can practically feel him pondering how it’s possible that he exists. Eventually, however, Derek fumbles for the keys in his pocket and heads for the door.
“If you say a single word to me on the way there, I’m going to drive you back to Mrs. Walker’s and handcuff you two together.”
Stiles pumps a fist into the air as he scrambles to follow. “I’m winning you over! I can feel it!”