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Hell of a life

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Derek is sitting in his police cruiser, thumbing through the pack group chat on his phone, when Stiles texts him. Theoretically, he should not be on his phone, considering that he’s working and currently has someone pulled over in front of him, but Derek just likes to make people sweat; especially skeevy teenage assholes who drive fifty in a school zone.

So, Derek should be writing a ticket. He should be checking the kid’s license and insurance to make sure they’re valid. Instead, he’s reading a three paragraph long text from Isaac complaining about how he’s tired of Lydia and Kira always getting to pick the pizza toppings. Three full paragraphs about mushrooms and olives and green peppers and nasty shit that should not be on pizza since pizza is a sacred, cheese-only food.

He can smell the kid’s panic growing in the car in front of him, hears the way his heartbeat gradually climbs up and up. Derek sighs, checks the time, and goes back to his phone.

Then, he gets the text. The text, okay, the text that nearly makes Derek drive off, sirens blazing, with the kid’s driver license and proof of insurance still in his hands. The text that, Derek would like to point out, proves that Stiles is equally as incapable of normal social interaction as Derek is.

I’m pregnant, it reads. All unassuming, no punctuation marks or emoticons or, you know, actual emotion. Derek checks the date. It’s not April first. It’s the beginning of March, which Derek probably should have remembered. A moment later, another text comes in that says, Dad says I should have waited to tell you in person. Then, two seconds after that, He also says I shouldn’t have admitted that I told someone before you. Love you, boo. Call me.

Derek calls him. Yes he sure fucking does.

“Derek!” Stiles says, all cheery and upbeat.

“Stiles,” Derek says, “I was in the middle of writing a speeding ticket.”

Stiles makes a contemplative noise, “Well, uh, this is—I’d say this is probably more important than a speeding ticket?”

“Yes,” Derek agrees, “It probably is.”

“Look, dad says you can take the rest of your shift off so we can, uh,” he clears his throat, “talk.”

“Let’s go ahead a listen to your dad on this one,” Derek suggests, “I’ll be home in fifteen minutes.”

He hands the kid his license and insurance cards, no ticket, and takes a moment to threaten him just a little excessively before he hops in his cruiser and floors it the whole way home.

---

Stiles is sitting on the front steps when he gets home, holding two glasses of lemonade. He quirks his lips apologetically and shrugs his shoulder, handing Derek a glass. It’s too cool outside for lemonade, it’s not even gotten over sixty yet, but Derek takes it anyway just so he has something to do with his hands. He sits down heavily on the step next to Stiles, staring out at the peaceful cul-de-sac in front of them.

“So, you’re,” Derek starts, then stops. Then he tries to start again, but the words get caught in his throat.

“Pregnant,” Stiles finishes for him.

Derek is stumped. He keeps opening his mouth, gaping it like a fish, but he can’t make sounds come out. He’s stuck in this weird place between elated and terrified and confused and his body feels too big for its skin. “How?” He finally gets out.

“Well, Derek,” Stiles starts, all obnoxious and condescending, “When two people love each other—,”

“No, you dumbass, I meant how do you know?” Derek rolls his eyes, but it’s actually sort of grounding having Stiles behave like his normal asshole self.

“Oh. Well, I. I don’t know. I just—knew,” he says softly, “I mean, I’ve been feeling sick lately, but not just normal sick, like, different sick. Then I just woke up this morning and I knew.”

“You knew,” Derek echoes.

Stiles nods, leaning his head against Derek’s shoulder, “So I went to see Deaton, and I was right.”

Derek wraps an arm around his waist, kissing the top of his head. He pulls Stiles close to him, feeling this sudden need for contact, like he has to be touching Stiles, like he has to put his hand to Stiles’ belly, feel the life burgeoning underneath. “Why aren’t you mad at me right now?”

“Derek,” Stiles says, placing his hand on Derek’s forearm, “How could I be angry? I love you, baby. And I’m going to love our baby.”

---

“How—,” Derek swallows, throat dry, “how far?” It’s the morning after Stiles’ announcement and Derek realizes he hasn’t even asked the important questions since they’d spent the whole night making love so slowly, so sweetly that Stiles had cried.

“Deaton thinks about eight weeks,” Stiles says from where he’s curled up against Derek’s side. Their bedroom windows are open and Stiles looks like he’s glowing in the grey pre-dawn light, breeze ruffling his sleep-mussed hair. Derek can’t help but lean down and kiss the top of his head.

“Eight weeks,” Derek repeats. That’s eight weeks longer that he could have been this stupidly happy. Eight more weeks to picture the gentle slope of Stiles’ belly, the way he’s going to fill and reshape and restructure, become something else, something impossible just for Derek.

Suddenly, Stiles pushes up on his hands and peers down at Derek. “You want this, right?”

He traces the slant of Stiles’ eyebrow with his thumb, the curve of his jaw. “Yes,” he says emphatically, quiet in the still air.

“God, the pack,” Stiles says with a snort, “they’re going to think this is so weird.”

He drops down onto his elbow, still propped up over Derek, and his eyes crinkle with a smile. “It is pretty weird, I guess,” he admits.

“No, it’s,” Derek lets the protest die on his lips because for Stiles, for most people, it probably is weird. For Derek, it’s painfully right. “There were some men in my family, before I was born,” he says instead, fumbling for the right words. One of the things Derek loves most about Stiles is that he’s allowed to be awkward around him without feeling awkward. Stiles doesn’t mind that it usually takes Derek a moment or two to gather his words.

“What I’m trying to say,” Derek continues, “is that you’re not the first, but there aren’t many. It means—a lot.”

Stiles’ face softens at that, the laughter vanishing but replaced with something stronger. He ducks his head until they’re chest to chest, noses brushing. “Derek,” he murmurs, lips moving against Derek’s, “I know it does. It means a lot to me, too.”

They’re done talking for a while after that, clinging to each other and kissing soft and deep, bodies grinding in a slow roll until they both come inside the flannel of their pajama pants. After, Derek gives himself a perfunctory clean up then completely dotes on Stiles, running a warm washcloth over his sticky skin, massaging the tight muscles in his thighs, and covering his belly in worshipful kisses.

“Jesus christ,” Stiles says, voice stuck somewhere between awe and alarm, “I’ve got seven months of this to look forward to, don’t I?”

Derek just hums contentedly and closes his eyes, licking a line below Stiles’ bellybutton.

---

It takes all of about three days for them to realize that they’d really rather skip this whole first-trimester bullshit and go straight to the part where Stiles is round and happy and craving weird things and demanding backrubs every night.

Derek’s not afraid to admit that his whole knowledge base regarding pregnancy has been gleaned from the back flap of a copy of What to Expect that he glanced over while Stiles hoarded every ridiculous baby name book he could find.

(“Catholic Baby Names?” Derek said wearily, “Stiles, we’re not Catholic.”

“I’m covering my bases, shithead, jesus.”)

Anyway, the point is that Derek hadn’t really realized that the first trimester is mostly a lot of morning sickness and fatigue, an emotional rollercoaster like Derek has never seen before and a painfully violent caffeine withdrawal when Stiles weans himself off coffee.

He glares at Derek every morning like Derek is personally responsible for the mug of fucking decaf in his hands. Well, Derek thinks happily, he really sort of is the one responsible.

But, still. Decaf is going to be Stiles’ burden to bear.

---

There are times when all Derek wants to do is pin Stiles to the bed and just eat him out for hours, till they’re both a mess and Stiles is so sensitive that he’s crying. Just, the way he smells. Derek's never had to deal with anything like this before; it makes it hard to get through his day like a functioning adult when Derek can’t think about anything but Stiles’ ass, the curve of it, the weight of his cock in Derek’s mouth.

"Derek," Stiles pants, pleading, spread out with his ass up and face shoved into a pillow, strung so tight that he’s shaking. Derek's jaw is aching; he's been going at it for half an hour at least, but he can't make himself stop.

Stiles' skin is warm and soft from his shower, and he just tastes so fucking good right now. So vital. Derek pulls back, panting, and holds him open, staring at his swollen, pink hole. His face is covered with spit and sweat and his lips have gone numb and Derek feels drunk with arousal, like he can't even think straight if he's not touching Stiles.

"Derek, please," Stiles whines, pushing back into Derek's grip, "please, please fuck me, goddamn."

"Shh," Derek says, quieting him with a gentle hand on the dip of his back. He rubs a thumb over Stiles' hole and Stiles shudders.

"God, you huge fucking tease," Stiles grits out, "I need to come, I'm dying here."

Derek leans over him, slicking himself with a handful of lube, and palms the gentle swell of Stiles' belly.

"Calm down," he says, pressing the head of his cock barely inside, "just relax, baby, all we're gonna have is hand jobs in the shower soon enough, just enjoy it."

Stiles tries to shove himself back onto Derek’s cock, but Derek’s stops him with hands around his hips. “I have been enjoying it for forty-five minutes,” Stiles reminds him, “I just want you to fuck me before this baby comes out, I want to get off some time in the next ten years, before I die of blue—oohhh, Derek, oh, shit.”

“Fuck, Stiles,” Derek mouths a line of sweat off Stiles’ back, head swimming with the tight, hot pressure of Stiles around him.

“Yeah, this is gonna take about,” Stiles pants, “about thirty seconds, you weren’t planning on dragging this out, too, right, babe?” He clenches tighter around Derek, shouts when Derek nearly slams him into the headboard with the next thrust.

“Not a problem,” Derek promises. He gets in five or ten more good thrusts, wraps his hand around Stiles’ cock just in time, and he’s coming hard enough to make himself dizzy. He’s so disoriented that he barely notices his hand covered in Stiles’ spunk, the way Stiles twitches away from him, oversensitive.

“God, you’re the best,” Stiles says a few moments later when they’re both lying flat on their backs a good foot apart so they can cool down.

“You were just cursing me not five minutes ago,” Derek reminds.

Stiles half-heartedly lobs a foot in Derek’s direction. “That was before you made me come.”

Derek snorts, rolling on his side and wiping Stiles’ sweaty hair off his forehead.

“What can I say?” Stiles grins, “your man’s got priorities.”

---

For all that Stiles is toned and well-defined, he’s still small and lean, narrow through the hips. Which is to say that Derek notices every ounce of weight Stiles gains, recognizes it in the way Stiles’ subtly adjusts how he stands, the slight rounding of his belly, and he loves all of it.

“Dad’s coming over for dinner tonight,” Stiles says sleepily from the kitchen table, cradling a cup of coffee with one hand and his stomach with the other. He’s been doing that more and more lately, cupping his abdomen protectively, and Derek doesn’t even think he realizes he’s doing it.

“Thought we’d g—,” he breaks off in a yawn, “get pizza, unless you wanna cook.”

“Pizza’s good,” Derek says, absentmindedly topping Stiles’ mug off with the carafe of decaf. They have to use two coffee pots now, since Derek loves Stiles a lot and all, but there’s, like, no fucking way he’s going to start drinking decaf coffee in solidarity or some shit.

They have dinner with John a lot, even more since Stiles got pregnant, but this dinner is special since they just found out yesterday from Deaton that they’re having a boy. He’ll be thrilled. Not that a part of Derek hadn’t wanted a little girl, but Stiles keeps coming up with the worst names for girls and Derek is just relieved they won’t have to deal with that anymore.

(Honestly, Derek is just relieved that the baby appears to have all his limbs thus far and that he’s going to be born into a family that already loves him more than life itself.)

Stiles stands and trudges over to where Derek’s sitting by the window, hiding his smile in a cup of coffee. Derek’s free hand goes automatically to Stiles’ stomach, charting the convexity with a gentle swipe of his thumb up and down.

“Three months,” Stiles says and Derek hums. Three months exactly until Deaton’s going to perform the C-Section. Till they’re going to go to the clinic as two bodies, two people who coexist easily around each other but only each other, and they’re going to come home with three. Going to have to learn how to do it all over again.

“Do you feel ready?” Derek asks, not sure what kind of answer he’s expecting.

Stiles hums contemplatively. “Some days more than others,” he decides, resting his hands on Derek’s shoulders. Derek leans forward just enough to kiss Stiles’ stomach through his thin t-shirt.

“Like yesterday—I was at the grocery store buying Swiffer refills yesterday and this baby looked at my face and just immediately started crying,” Stiles tells him, “We’re talking, like, full on wailing. His mom had to take him outside to calm him down. Stop laughing, it was awful.” Stiles pokes his bicep.

“Our baby is probably not going to cry every time he sees your face,” Derek reassures, pulling Stiles down onto his lap.

“Gonna be a long couple of years if he does,” Stiles jokes. “No, but really, most of the time I just feel like I want to meet him, you know?”

“Yeah,” Derek agrees, rubbing low on Stiles’ belly with the palm of his hand. The baby kicks obligingly.

“Thanks, dick,” Stiles says sarcastically, “he kicked all night and just started napping.”

“Whoops,” says Derek, not feeling sorry at all.

---

“A boy,” John repeats, mouth gaping unattractively, similar to how Derek looked when Deaton flippantly informed them they had a little boy werewolf floating around in there.

“Yep!” Stiles confirms, “And we’re naming him Kale,” he announces gleefully.

Derek rolls his eyes and says, “We’re not naming him Kale, jesus christ,” while John looks at Stiles flatly, unamused.

“Kale is dad’s favorite food,” Stiles says wisely.

John chokes on his pizza and doesn’t stop until Derek thumps his back and hands him a fresh bottle of beer. Derek glares at Stiles.

He throws his hands up and says, “Well, what do you expect? I’m the only one who can’t drink. I have to make my own fun, Derek.”

---

A lot of Derek’s life consists of standing bewildered in front of the produce section at three in the morning, listening to shitty jazz versions of top 40 songs while Stiles naps in the car because he’s finally starting to show enough that he’s self-conscious about it. Yep, it’s just him and Chad, the third-shift stocker, and a whole aisle of apples that Derek can’t differentiate between to save his life.

He holds up a red apple and green apple and tries to decide which one Stiles meant when he jumped on Derek squawking about needing an apple and peanut butter sandwich right fucking now. Probably, it doesn’t matter. Probably, Stiles is going to fall asleep against the cool granite countertop watching Derek put the sandwich together and Derek will have to carry him to bed while the sandwich sits forgotten until morning.  

Derek doesn’t care; he’ll make this produce section his bitch if it’s what Stiles wants, if it makes him happy.

“Hey there,” he hears a voice behind him and looks over his shoulder to see John standing behind him wearing his sheriff uniform and clutching a package of Oreos. On the late shift tonight, Derek thinks.

Derek greets him by way of asking, “Does Stiles have a favorite kind of apple?”

John furrows his brow. “Kid did most of the grocery shopping when he lived with me,” he admits.

“Yeah,” Derek agrees, glaring at the row of cheerfully labelled apple bins, “I don’t know which goes best with peanut butter.”

“Maybe a green one,” John suggests. He must read the exhaustion in Derek’s words, his drooping shoulders, because then he says, “How much longer is it now? A month and a half?”

“Give or take,” he says.

He sets an apple back in its crate and it shifts forward before dropping to the floor and rolling harmlessly under the table.

“Good practice for you,” John reasons. Derek nods. Lack of sleep has been the least of his worries with this whole baby thing—mostly it’s just been about making it a healthy pregnancy for Stiles, making sure he has everything he needs. He doesn’t have nightmares yet about staying up late at night with the kid, but he’ll probably be eating his words two months from now.

“I could get one of these greenish-red ones,” Derek says decisively, “that’s—I mean that’s pretty noncommittal, right?”

“You’re going to be a good father for this kid, Derek,” John says out of nowhere while Derek selects the two largest greenish-red apples. Derek snaps to attention and he stares at John, completely unsure what to say. “He’s—they’re lucky to have you. The baby and Stiles.”

“Thank you,” Derek rasps, throat alarmingly thick.

John pats him on the arm. “Yeah,” he says, dropping his gaze to the floor, “right, well, I better get going. Paperwork.”

“Me too,” Derek says stiffly, “Stiles.”

After their goodbyes, it takes Derek ten minutes to locate the kind of peanut butter that Stiles likes, then another three to get the self-scan machine to work. By the time he gets back out to the car, Stiles is snoring, cheek pressed against the cool window and one of Derek’s BHPD jackets engulfing him.

Derek tries his best to be quiet, but Stiles jolts awake when the engine turns over.

“Hey,” he says blearily, voice hoarse. He peers inside the paper bag eagerly. “Aw, honeycrisp,” he says, holding up an apple, “my favorite. Thanks, babe.”

Derek smiles while Stiles closes his eyes again, drifting to sleep on the engine’s vibration, the hum of the road beneath them.

---

Stiles at nine months pregnant is Derek’s new favorite thing ever. He wants to keep Stiles at nine months pregnant, tuck him carefully away and pet his face and dote on him until he can’t stand it anymore.

Stiles at nine months pregnant is mouth-wateringly round, belly resting low and heavy, perfect for Stiles to rest his hands on, or for Derek to slide down the sheets at night and tuck his face against. He’s horny all the time, has taken to lying in wait for Derek to come home from work, then pouncing on him as soon as he walks through the door.

The sex is like nothing Derek could have even imagined.

Apparently being nine months pregnant makes Stiles want to nest. Derek’ll come home from work and find new area rugs in the living room, artwork hanging from the walls that he’s never seen before, mountains of throw pillows in every room in the house. He paints the nursery three times before he settles on the perfect color, an easy blue grey that makes Derek happy just to look at.

One week, he walks around totally lopsided because the baby’s migrated to the left side of his belly, feet poking Stiles’ ribcage and head somewhere in the vicinity of his bladder, judging by how many times a night Stiles gets out of bed to pee.

He makes popcorn and sits cross-legged on top of a throw pillow when it’s time for Derek to put the crib together. Derek catches him surreptitiously taking video with his phone twice, then threatens to break that along with the stupid fucking crib. That ends up making Stiles laugh harder.

(“Do you think he has to sleep in a crib?” Derek asks, defeated, “We have a lot of pillows he could use, probably.”)

Stiles at nine months pregnant makes Derek want to cry, sometimes, because he’s pretty sure this is a onetime deal, he’s pretty sure this is the last time he’s ever going to get to see Stiles like this. He thinks Stiles can sense it when Derek gets particularly angsty because he lets Derek rest his head on his thigh and tilt up to presses kisses against the bottom of his belly for hours before bedtime.

He doesn’t say a word; just threads his fingers through Derek’s hair and lets out happy sighs, soft little whuffs of breath that Derek can feel in the base of his spine.

---

“Noah,” Stiles mumbles against Derek’s throat one night, just on the edge of sleep.

“Hmm?” Derek murmurs, Stiles’ messy hair tickling his nose.

“Noah,” Stiles repeats, more alert this time and pushing up on his hands to look seriously at Derek. “Noah, that’s what I want his name to be.”

“Noah,” Derek repeats softly. It’s the first time he’s said a name and felt so—settled. It feels right. He tells Stiles as much and Stiles kisses him hard, cupping his jaw, while Derek resolutely ignores the damp, salty tears burning against Stiles’ cheeks.

---

The baby, from the moment Deaton places him in Derek’s arms, looks like a carbon copy of Stiles. None of that ‘Parent A’s cheeks and Parent B’s lips’ bullshit; he just looks like a straight replica of Stiles, like he’s been lifted from the photo albums that John likes to flip through when he and Derek drink too much beer.

Derek stares down at him, captivated. Terrified.

“Lemme,” Stiles calls drowsily from the bed, “I wanna hold him. Derek.”

Deaton’s just finished stitching him up and he holds his arms out imploringly, reaching for the baby. Derek hands him over in a daze, but he doesn’t let go of Noah’s tiny fingers.

“Hi,” Stiles whispers, thumbing his red cheeks and resting a finger against his miniature little upturned nose. Stiles’ nose. “Jesus,” he says to Derek, even though his gaze never strays from Noah, “he’s freaking perfect.”

“Yeah,” Derek agrees, grabbing a squirming foot. “He’s a werewolf.”

“Duh,” Stiles would probably be rolling his eyes, but he’s smiling too hard. Smiling at their son. Fuck.

“Everyone decent?” Stiles’ father calls from the waiting area. “No gaping wounds that need to be stitched up?”

Stiles rolls his eyes. “You can come in, dad,” he says, hushed, mindful of Noah shifting against his chest.  

The sheriff steps inside cautiously, half covering his face with his hands just in case there’s something he doesn’t need to see, but as soon as he spots Stiles, exhausted and red-eyed with eight pounds of squalling infant on his chest, his hands drop and his face goes soft and open.

“Noah,” Stiles says, propping him up and holding him forward, “Grandpa.”

John goes a little weepy when he hears that, which starts a fresh wave of tears from Stiles, and pretty soon Noah is being thrust into Derek’s arms so Stiles and his dad can hug it out. Derek is one hundred percent on board with this plan of action and he cradles Noah close to his chest, pressing a thumb to the wrinkle between his eyes.

“Hi,” he says quietly, echoing Stiles, “you’re pretty wrinkly.”

Noah seems to approve of this assessment judging by the happy little gurgle he makes.

For a moment, there is nothing in the world but Derek and Noah; nothing but his soft skin and warm baby smell, the way he blinks sleepily when Derek rocks him against his chest. Nothing but the tightness in Derek’s lungs when he looks down and realizes that he gets this whole other part of Stiles that he thought he’d never get to have. That this is his, forever.

And then—chaos.

Scott comes bounding in first, followed closely by Isaac and Lydia, with Deaton hot on their tails, trying to shove them back through the door.

“It’s fine,” Derek says. Surprisingly, he means it. He wants to show off his kid.

“Where’s the baby?” Scott practically bellows, “I want to hold the baby.”

Derek’s getting ready to lecture Scott about the proper way to hold his head when Stiles breaks in and says, “Derek, no, let dad hold him first.”

Even Scott can’t argue with that because, hey, grandparent. After that, it’s a whirlwind of Derek and Stiles silently freaking out while Noah gets passed from person to person, seemingly thrilled with all the attention. He’s clearly Stiles’ child through and through. Derek’s starting to wonder if he even had a part in creating him or if Stiles just conceived some magic werewolf baby through sheer insanity and determination. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

Derek gets tense when Noah starts to get fussy over Lydia, who won’t stop taking pictures. The click of the shutter is surely grating against his ears; even Stiles is looking a little anxious at this point.

“All right, I think that’s enough for today,” Deaton says when Noah starts whining and Stiles’ face goes from one of tentative calm to extreme distress. He whisks Noah out of Scott’s arms and places him gently against Stiles’ chest, expertly ushering the group through the door and into the waiting room. Stiles’ dad hugs him, kisses the baby, and promises that he’ll be back in an hour with dinner.

“Shit,” Stiles says softly, staring down at the baby and then over at Derek with an incredulous sort of smile.

“God, Stiles,” Derek says reverently, “he looks just like you.”

Stiles snorts, “I know. Who would’ve thought the Hale genes would be the recessive ones?” He lifts a hand off of Noah to run it across Derek’s nose, his sharp cheekbone. His hand drops and he ducks his head to nuzzle against Noah’s baby-warm forehead. “Man, I really like this kid,” he murmurs.

“He’s a,” Derek gets distracted by Noah’s ear, rubs it between his fingers, “yeah, he’s a good one.”

He’s a good—he’s the best, Derek corrects in his head, he’s the best one, he’s the best possible manifestation of how fucking much Derek loves Stiles. All this time, Derek’s been thinking he was going to have to make room in his heart to love this baby. Thought he’d have to carve away some of his love for Stiles—because Derek’s heart is Stiles’, that’s just it—to have anything left for Noah.

Staring at Noah fidgeting in Stiles’ arms, he can hardly believe he spent seven months convinced that his love for Stiles would be separate from his love for the baby. That they could ever be distinguished at all.

---

Noah shifts for the first time outside of the full moon when he’s two and a half months old. He and Stiles are swaying slowly in Stiles’ mom’s old rocking chair while Derek reads through one of his case files, late night news rolling softly in the background.

“Hey there, little wolf,” Stiles murmurs, voice soft and indulgent. Derek glances over and sees Noah, drowsing on Stiles’ lap and sporting a fragile set of claws. His hands are grasping at nothing and Stiles puts his finger out for him to take hold of. For babies, the change is only noticeable in their claws and eye color, the tiniest pointing of their ears.

His hands flexes weakly around Stiles’ finger and he gurgles decisively in his sleep.

“He just,” Stiles motions with his free hand, “sort of phased into it right before he fell asleep.”

“That’s how it happens at first,” Derek says, “he’ll get better control around nine or ten months. It’ll start happening when he’s surprised or upset.”

Stiles ducks his head, grinning. “That’ll be fun on top of temper-tantrums,” he says, staring at Noah, “my handsome little werewolf baby.”

---

“Holy shit, Derek, Derek,” Stiles whimpers, “dude, please tell me it’s your turn, please, holy fuck.”

“It’s my turn,” Derek says in a fog, even though it categorically is not his turn. Stiles’ whimpering could rival Noah’s right now—Derek thinks it’s probably best not to let them be in a room together. He rolls over to glance at the clock and can’t open his eyes. Oh well; it’s probably four am. Noah’s favorite time for crying is four am.

He hears muffled grumbling beneath him, realizes he’s rolled right on top of Stiles and promptly rolls off. Stiles thanks him by patting him on the face and falling immediately back to sleep with a loud snore. Derek can’t even be mad. In the morning, Stiles will probably get up first and wake Derek up with a nice, hot, steaming cup of coffee—Derek’s ultimate favorite way to be woken up now that he has a three month old.

He makes the effort to pull on a pair of boxers before he stumbles blindly down the hall; it’s been weeks since he’s had any unfortunate run-ins with the walls or baseboards. Now he can navigate that shit in his sleep, which is probably for the best since his eyes still seem pretty set on not opening.

Derek knows he’s arrived at the crib because the wailing crescendos to an excruciating fever pitch, then peters out to snuffly, whimpering little hiccups. Noah seems to like Derek, for some reason. He’s comforted by him; usually stops crying when Derek picks him up unless he really needs to be changed.

Derek picks him up and his eyes settle from bright flashing yellow back to their usual dark blue.

“Hey, bud,” Derek murmurs, resting Noah against his shoulder and bouncing him gently. Because fatherhood has led to a total loss of dignity, Derek sniffs the air around the crib cautiously. Nothing but warm baby smell, a little formula, and Stiles, the way he always clings to the edges of Noah’s scent. “You hungry?” He asks pointlessly. If Noah could understand him, much less talk back, history says the answer would unequivocally be ‘yes’.

Once the formula feels cool enough against his wrist, he cradles Noah in the crook of his arm and presses the bottle to his lips. Noah takes it, sucking rhythmically and waving his hands and feet around. Derek grabs one of his tiny toes and holds it until he kicks weakly, frustrated.

When he’s done, Derek puts the bottle down and pats him on the back, walking around the room and murmuring senseless things to Noah just to hear the way he babbles in response.

“Love you,” Stiles mutters when Derek collapses next to him on the mattress, “you’re my favorite.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Derek yawns, still riding that fond, happy feeling he gets whenever he’s around Noah, “did it for the coffee you’re gonna owe me tomorrow.”

“Sneaky,” Stiles says and curls around him, head heavy on Derek’s chest.

---

Stiles comes out of the nursery with Noah strapped to his chest, facing out and reaching eagerly for everything he sees. When he spots Derek on the couch with the paper and a mug of coffee, he squeals and bounces in his carrier.

“Going somewhere?” Derek lifts an eyebrow.

“Yes, Derek,” Stiles says haughtily, “we are going to the Home Depot to buy what you need to fix the shower curtain rod.”

I’m going to fix it?” Derek asks drily, “I’m not the one who broke it.”

“You’re the one responsible for the events directly preceding the breakage,” Stiles hedges.

Derek rolls his eyes. “I was giving you a blow job in the shower,” he says, “no one made you grab it with the full weight of your body.”

Stiles doesn’t deign to answer, but does walk over to the couch to let Derek play with Noah’s feet when he starts cooing and shifting restlessly against Stiles’ chest. “Then we’re buying this dude some new shoes and taking grandpa lunch at the station, right, sweet pea?”  

At seven months old, Noah has more shoes than Derek has probably owned cumulatively through his life. Arguing this with Stiles, though, is useless. Derek has tried.

(“They won’t even fit in a few months,” Derek observed, “then we’ll have a closet full of tiny shoes. What do you do with a closet full of tiny shoes?”

“Save ‘em for the next one,” Stiles said flippantly, self-assured.)

“On my day off?” Derek asks, a little whiny. “I already have to be there every other day.”

Stiles looks down his nose at him, fingering Noah’s messy shock of hair. “Noah hasn’t seen grandpa in a while,” he says, “besides, you’re welcome to stay home and watch tv if you’d rather.”

Derek glances over at the tv—the tv that hasn’t played anything but cartoons and the home videos that Stiles makes and insists on watching immediately after in months. Thinks about a long lazy afternoon stretched out on the couch with a beer and SportsCenter going in the background while Stiles hauls the baby around town to run tedious errands.

He throws his paper to the ground and stands up with a huff. “Hasn’t been that long since he saw grandpa,” Derek grumbles, reaching for his jacket. Stiles and Noah both smile, brilliantly bright, like they know they’ve just won something.

---

At ten months old, Noah’s got a strong grasp of family and his absolute joy every time Scott walks in the front door makes Derek grimace a little. It’s not that he doesn’t love Scott, it’s just that Scott is Stiles’ second favorite person behind Derek (and Noah, now) and before Derek met him, Scott was Stiles’ first favorite person.

Derek’s just got a competitive streak, okay? He has since he was a child.

Derek is working on some paperwork at the kitchen table and Noah is sitting on the floor, trying to chew on Derek’s toes, when Scott comes bursting inside.

“Hey, little man!” Scott says, grinning broadly, “Did you miss me? Brought you something.” He digs through his bag, then victoriously pulls out a stuffed lion and holds it out for Noah. Noah grabs it, squealing enthusiastically and shoving it in his mouth. Honestly, Derek would normally be a little irritable but he’s just relieved to have his toes back.

“He’s cutting teeth,” Derek explains. “How was San Francisco?”

“Oh man, it was awesome,” Scott says. Derek resists rolling his eyes. Everything in Scott’s world is ‘awesome’. “Kira took me to all these great art galleries and we took a tour of this really cool vineyard. Here, we got you guys a bottle.” He digs around in his suitcase again and pulls out a bottle of red wine.

“Thanks,” Derek says, accepting it. He’s sort of hoping that now all the gifts have been distributed, Scott will leave.

Scott sits down. Noah tugs on his pant leg until Scott picks him up and sets him on his lap. “Is Stiles here?”

Derek grunts, “Lunch with Lydia. Probably won’t be back for an hour, at least.”

“Cool,” Scott says. It’s not the reaction Derek was looking for. “So, I’m going to ask Kira to marry me.”

This isn’t exactly news, but Derek doesn’t have the heart to tell Scott. Scott and Kira have been together since high school; they haven’t broken up once and Derek’s pretty sure the only reason Scott hasn’t proposed yet is that Kira told him he wasn’t allowed to until she was at least twenty-five. Noah bounces excitedly, yelling, “dadadada!”

“That’s right, little man,” Scott says, “you gonna be my ring bearer? Wear a tiny little tux?” Even Derek has to admit that the image is pretty cute. “So, you got any advice?” He asks Derek.

Derek thinks about it for a minute. “I proposed to Stiles while we were drunk on absinthe. He laughed hysterically for ten minutes then threw up in my face.”

It’s not their real proposal story, since Stiles gave him a do-over, but it’s the one Derek’s sticking with right now.

“So that’s a no?” Asks Scott.

---

“No, but dad, dad, just,” Stiles says too quickly, “just, like, lift him up so he’s on the screen again, just let me say goodbye.”

“You’ve already said goodbye three times,” he says, disgruntled, but holds Noah up so he’s in view of the webcam. He coos when he sees Stiles and Derek on the screen, slapping it with a tiny, open palm.

“Hi, sweet pea!” Stiles says. Noah gurgles happily when he hears Stiles’ voice. Derek sighs, mostly out of jealousy. He feels awkward talking to Noah on webcam when John is also there. “Aw, I miss you so much, I just wanna kiss your little face.”

“Stiles!” His dad barks, rubbing his forehead in defeat. “This was supposed to be a relaxing trip for you. Most people with a one year old would kill for a vacation.”

“It is, it is relaxing, I’m relaxed,” Stiles stutters. Derek rubs his back soothingly. Honestly, Derek’s not handling this whole separation thing a whole lot better; he’s just being less vocal about it. They’re in Tahoe for a late-anniversary-slash-happy-one-year-of-parenthood present from John and Melissa and before today, the longest Derek had ever been away from Noah was a nine-hour work shift. It’s even worse for Stiles, who’s able to work from home so he can spend all day with the kid.

The four day weekend stretches out in front of them, hopelessly insurmountable. Derek thinks of all the things that he could miss in a ninety-six hour period. Noah is getting dangerously close to walking and it seems like his vocabulary grows every day. He thinks of how he and Stiles would have spent four all-expense-paid days in Tahoe pre-baby. Probably eating a lot and trying to have sex on every available surface, he decides.

“You don’t seem relaxed,” John says, bouncing Noah on his knee, jesus, what Derek wouldn’t give to trade places with him, “you seem like you’re a second away from getting in the car and driving home.”

“Okay, look,” Derek breaks in before Stiles can keep reacting in increasingly hysterical ways. Noah warbles when he hears Derek’s voice, squeals, “Dada!”, and Derek smiles obligingly, “hey, buddy. Okay, we’re not gonna just come home after three hours,” Stiles sighs, “we’re not, so we have to figure something out.”

They really, really do. Derek hates seeing himself on a webcam. He’s about two seconds away from glaring angrily at his picture in the corner of the screen, and then Stiles will make fun of him for days.

“We’ll Skype every day,” Stiles determines, “in the mornings,” he hums thoughtfully, “and at night.”

“Once a day, Stiles,” Derek says quickly.

“Fine, mornings,” Stiles grumbles, “but you have to text us pictures at night.”

“Done,” John says, looking relieved. Noah claps. “Now say goodbye.”

“Goodbye, little bunny rabbit,” Stiles says. He has an endless catalogue of nicknames for Noah. “Daddy and I miss you so much. Be good for grandpa, okay?”

Noah smacks the keyboard.

“Eloquent,” says Derek.

“I’m hanging up now,” says John.

“Pictures, dad! Lots of ‘em! On the hour, preferably,” Stiles calls.

John closes the laptop.

---

“God, I’m gonna fuck you so hard,” Stiles says an hour later, pressing Derek into the plush hotel mattress, “I’m gonna fucking wreck you.”

Derek strains up, tilting his head back to let Stiles suck on his neck.

“Do it,” he pants, dick so hard that he feels dizzy.

“I’m gonna fuck you for four days straight, jesus christ,” Stiles says wetly against his neck, “best vacation ever.”

---

Noah gets more presents at his first birthday party than Derek has gotten in thirty-two years of birthdays. They don’t even know that many people; just the pack and some people from the sheriff’s station. A few of Stiles’ college friends and Deaton, who’s standing serenely at the edge of the lawn, holding a cup of punch and wearing a paper hat decorated with dinosaurs.

“What,” Derek says when he’s confronted with the pile of wrapped boxes and bags on the deck.

“People seem to like him,” Stiles says agreeably, switching Noah to his other hip. Noah squirms in his arms; he hates being held now that he can tentatively stumble-walk without holding on to their hands. “Want down, buddy?”

Noah yells, “Baba!” authoritatively, and Stiles sets him down carefully, steadying him with a hand to his shoulder when he trips a little. He totters a few feet over to Melissa and holds on to the hem of her dress.

“Don’t pick him up,” Derek advises, “he’ll kick.” She listens, lets him hold on to her dress and list from side to side.

“Here, baby,” Stiles says, handing Derek a beer from the cooler. Derek takes it and sips slowly, a warm September breeze ruffling through his hair.

He observes the yard in front of him; Kira graciously showing her engagement ring to the sheriff and his deputies, a couple of Stiles’ friends from college tossing around a football, Noah babbling nonsense and Melissa and Isaac nodding along with every word. He thinks about the birthday cake inside, baked by Stiles and painstakingly frosted by Derek with the words “Happy 1st Birthday, Noah!” in a proud fuchsia (Noah’s favorite color this month).

“Hey,” Stiles bumps their hips together, “We did good, huh?”

Derek can’t—he can’t exactly speak right now, since there’s some unidentifiable emotion clogging the back of his throat, but he pulls Stiles closer and nods, knocking their heads together.

To his left, Noah falls on his bottom and starts wailing, holding his arms out beseechingly towards Derek like he’s decided it’s time to be picked up again.

Derek goes. Of course he does.