Stiles jerks violently from his sleep. He sits up, disoriented for a while, trying to remember what woke him up, squinting at the too-bright screen of his phone.
Then he hears it again. A scraping sound behind his window and he almost pisses himself when he sees a figure crouching on the roof. Then the shadow moves and a mix of relief and anger floods him when he recognizes Derek’s face.
“Derek!” Stiles opens the window, taking a step back when the werewolf all but barrels in. “What the hell are you – ”
“Shhh!” Derek hisses angrily and only now does Stiles register the heap in Derek’s arms. A baby, his brain supplies. A toddler, judging by the size of it. It seems to be asleep, its head resting on Derek’s shoulder.
“Oh my God,” Stiles whispers. “Please tell me you didn’t kidnap a baby!”
“Do I look like someone who’d want to do anything with a baby?” he snarls and then deflates. “I found her. I was following a scent of a feral omega in our territory. She was alone in the middle of the woods but no sign of the omega.”
“Aw,” Stiles coos. “Poor thing.” He walks around Derek to get a look at her face. Her chubby cheek is squished on Derek’s shoulder, her mouth open, a dark spot of saliva forming on Derek’s shirt. She’s filthy, dirt and mud all over her face, making the tear streaks all the more visible. Even in her sleep, quiet sobs still wreck her tiny body from time to time.
“I need you to take care of her.”
“Wait, what? No, no, no... I’m the least qualified person to take care of a toddler!”
“It’s just for a few days, just until I find her pack.”
“You know, normally I’m for all kinds of illegal stuff but shouldn’t we, like, call the police? Or CPS?”
“Brilliant idea, Stiles. Let’s hand a little werewolf baby over to the CPS and see what happens when she sprouts claws at her foster family!” Derek whisper-yells and Stiles cringes.
“Then you take her!”
“I can’t, I’m a strange Alpha, she’s absolutely terrified of me. Stiles, please,” Derek takes a step closer. “I don’t – You’re the only one I can really trust with this. Please.”
Knowing he’s already lost his battle, he sighs and carefully takes the baby over from Derek. She whines a little in protest but doesn’t wake up. “You’d better get this sorted out before the end of the week. I don’t want to have to explain this to my dad when he comes back from the conference.”
“I will, I promise.”
“And I don’t have any diapers or anything.”
“I’ll drive to a store and bring you supplies,” Derek has already one foot back on the roof, clearly eager to get out of here.
“And use the door next time!” Stiles calls after him but he’s already gone, the sound of him driving away fading in the distance.
“Great,” Stiles mumbles to himself, standing helplessly in the middle of the room. The child is getting heavy in his arms and he carefully places her down on his bed, holding his breath in the process. She stirs but stays a sleep and Stiles lets out a breath of relief. She must be exhausted.
Finally, Stiles takes a better look at her, his mouth curling unhappily. Taking a wild guess, Stiles would say she’s maybe a year and half but looks way too skinny for her age. She’s dressed in an old, torn shirt and pants and the little hair she has is matted and sticking to her forehead in dark curls. Her left cheek sports what looks like a dark bruise but it’s hard to tell under all the filth.
Suddenly overwhelmed, he quickly opens his laptop, bringing up Google. He starts with how to take care of a toddler and then struggles his way through a wiki-how article even though his racing thoughts are elsewhere.
Why in the world would Derek bring a living, breathing baby to someone like Stiles? A 17-year-old loser who spends his time playing video games. And it’s not like they ever talk, not unless there is some supernatural shitstorm they need help with, anyway. Stiles gets it, he does. He’s not a part of the pack, he’s just an annoying breakable human to them.
It still stings sometimes, though. The way Derek averts his eyes when they happen to make eye contact, the way his posture is always rigid whenever he’s around Stiles and how he puts as much physical distance between them as possible. Stiles has noticed it all and it still has taken him forever to get over his crush on the Alpha.
Where’s Derek’s pack of misfits anyway? Why didn’t he bang on Erica’s or Isaac’s door?
The phone vibrating against his table is impossibly loud in the quiet of the night, interrupted only by the soft breathing of the child in his bed, and Stiles quickly snatches it up before it can wake her up.
At the door, the message from Derek says and Stiles runs downstairs, making sure to jump over the squeaky floorboard. When he opens the door, though, there’s no one there.
“Derek?” he calls out softly and then almost trips over the huge bag lying on the ground. “You got to be kidding me,” Stiles grumbles when Derek’s nowhere to be seen. He drags the surprisingly heavy bag inside and empties it on the living room floor. It seems Derek went a little overboard, and Stiles can’t help but roll his eyes. There’s a pack of diapers of every size, as well as a pile of random articles of clothing ranging from socks for newborns to jackets for pre-schoolers. It’s like Derek threw in a whole rack, not bothering to check what he’s buying.
Going through the things, Stiles soon discovers why the bag was so heavy. There’s a travel crib, folded to a compact little rectangle with complicated-looking instructions printed on the cover. Stiles studies them for a while but it just makes his head throb. Now that the adrenaline is wearing off, the exhaustion makes itself known.
He slips quietly back to his room. It seems the baby has finally fallen deep asleep. She doesn’t whimper or stir and is splayed on Stiles’ bed, her little arms thrown wide, clutching at Stiles’ blanket. Watching her chest rise and fall for a good minute, Stiles doesn’t find it in him to disturb her and he folds himself on the floor, curling on the side, tossing for what feels like hours on the scratchy carpet before falling into a fitful sleep.