If there was a God in the sky, watching over the world, then it clearly hated him, decided Stiles, waking up in the middle of the night.
He was exhausted to a degree that was eerily reminiscent of his high school days, back when there were monsters showing up in Beacon Hills every other week. The place had sort of calmed down after a few years (according to Deaton, this was a ‘regression to the means’, due to the Nemeton finally stabilizing), which had allowed the Hale-Stilinski Pack to settle and calm down.
And yet, for the past few months, a new sense of dread had started wrapping itself around Stiles’ heart. A something lurking under the surface that has his protective instincts going airwire.
It had him checking up on the pack constantly , afraid that something could happen to them every time they were out of sight for too long.
At first he had thought that it was because of Leon being born; maybe having a newborn child in the pack had him slowly going nuts. But not even Derek was behaving the way he was, like there was literal static electricity leaving his skin.
Slowly, Stiles slipped out of the bed, walking downstairs in the kitchen. He allowed his brain to go on autopilot as he brewed himself some coffee, still wondering about that strange undercurrent feeling in his body.
He wished, for the millionth time, that he had done more to make sure that Lydia stayed in contact with him. Derek had told him that the pack bond with Lydia had painlessly dissipated when she had left the Pack without looking back, but maybe he could still somehow sense her?
She hadn’t left a phone number or an e-mail address. Stiles knew that if he tried or really wanted/needed to, he would be able to find her.
But he respected her enough - loved her enough - to not try that.
Still, it sucked. If Lydia was there, she would have been able to figure out what Stiles’ restless magic and anxiety meant.
He felt constantly on edge, like he was waiting for something to happen, something to… appear . But he didn’t even know what he was waiting for, whether it was good or bad. He was just stuck there, waiting.
He put down the fresh mug of coffee on the table, next to his phone, and sighed.
He hated waiting.
“Stiles?” came Derek’s voice, and only years of living with him stopped him from panicking.
The werewolf was standing in the doorway, shirt missing, eyes still full of sleep and hair in disarray. He looked like a disgruntled kitten, in Stiles’ opinion. He didn’t say it though: he did have some preservation instincts.
“Why are you down here so early? It’s 5 in the morning.”
Stiles didn’t mention how he had been awake since fucking 3 in the morning, and shrugged. “I couldn’t fall back to sleep.”
Understanding dawned on his husband’s face, as he came to sit next to him. “You do smell like anxiety. Is this about Allison again?”
Ah, yes. Allison.
It wasn’t, but thinking of the girl made his heart clench painfully in his chest.
After Boyd and Erica’s child was born, Allison and Scott had gotten engaged, just as everyone had expected. And then, right before they could officially begin planning for their wedding, Allison had been kidnapped.
She had been taken from the apartment her and Scott shared in Florida, near their university, and it took the Pack and Scott too long to realise she was gone. When Scott had called them, panicking about Allison not picking up her phone, Stiles had teleported the whole pack to Florida, but it was already too late.
They had found her, of course; there was no way anyone could have hidden her from the Hale-Stilinski Pack, no matter how hard they tried. And they weren’t trying very hard.
When they found her, Allison had been left alone in a bunker, and she was crying so copiously that everyone knew they were too late.
She hadn’t told the whole pack what exactly the hunters - because of course it was hunters - had done to her, but she did tell Scott, Stiles and Derek.
Apparently those hunters had some sort of medical training as well as a powerful witch on their side and they had sterilised Allison. Surgically and magically.
Which meant that she would never be able to have a biological child again. Not by getting pregnant, nor by using her eggs.
Both her and Scott had ended up deferring the next semesters, and had come back to Beacon Hills, living on one of the houses built in the Preserve.
Stiles leaned on Derek, sighing. “It’s not fair. I’ve been trying to find some spells to undo the postmenopausal state, but it was a spell, not a curse. I can’t find anything to help her.”
“It’s not your fault, Stiles.”
“It’s not fair , Der,” he insisted. “She has never had the chance of meeting her biological mother; Victoria Argent, while not much of a mother, killed herself. She wanted to break the circle, to be a present and good mom, and now,” he swallowed, shaking his head.
He knew there was another reason Allison was as upset as she was.
The abortion she had all those years ago. The abortion that she made Stiles promise he’d never tell Scott, or anyone , about.
“I know it sucks,” continued Derek. “I wish we could help her. And I wish we knew who it was that did this to her, so that we could track them down and make them pay.”
Her captors had used chloroform first and IV sedation to keep her unconscious, made sure to use masks, and had the magic user who was with them, hide their tracks with magic.
There was absolutely no trail.
And yet .
They didn’t kill Allison.
Stiles wasn’t sure what to make of this. Did they think this was some sort of more painful torture? And if so, how did they know how much it would psychologically hurt Allison to never be able to have a child again? Were they watching her? Had they been watching the Pack?
Was that why Stiles kept feeling antsy?
He didn’t say anything, nursing his cup of now tepid coffee as Derek started moving around him, getting ready for work.
Instead, he went to sit on the living room window seat, watching the preserve. He didn’t know why, but he felt a sense of foreboding as he observed the trees and the sky in the horizon.
And then the sky turned green.
It happened slowly, like when you drop a little bit of dye in water and it starts spreading in a circle, letting the whole thing turn green.
Not green like ‘ oh shit, there’s a tornado coming ’ green. But more like,
“ Aurora borealis ,” he said, his voice barely loud enough for Derek to hear.
Northern Lights, he remembered reading about them in his Geography lessons in Middle School.
“Why the fuck would there be northern lights in California?” he wondered, still unable to look away from the window.
Something shot down from the circle of lights in the sky - like the fucking bifrost and if Norse Gods were real, Stiles wanted out - crashing so loudly that Stiles fell off the window still, shrieking.
Derek was at his side in moments, frowning down at him. “Stiles? Are you okay?”
The brunette looked at him with wide eyes. “Jesus fucking Christ!” he put a hand on his heart, shaking his head. “What the fuck was that?”
His husband looked at him in worry. “What was what?”
That made him pause. Derek looked worried, sure, but no more than his usual ‘ I am married to a klutz who is always falling and hurting himself’ worry. It wasn’t a ‘ We are being attacked by aliens or other supernatural things’ worry.
He pointed to the window. “Did you not hear the fucking bifrost opening on Earth?!”
The werewolf appeared even more confused. “I know that that word is supposed to mean something to me, but-”
“The bifro- That’s it, we are rewatching all of the Marvel movies, you shouldn’t be able to forget important things like that, but this is not the point. There was an auroral ring in the sky and then something fell like a lightning strike literally in front of my eyes - like it was hitting our house - and you’re telling me you didn’t hear it ?”
Derek peeked outside, his frown growing. He turned to Stiles, a little perplexed. “I know you saw what you’re saying you saw but… there is nothing in the sky. And the grass looks fine, to me.”
Stiles turned his attention back to the window again, his face falling when he noticed that Derek was indeed right. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the sky or on the ground. No hunky blonde god walking around with a hammer, or sexy dark skinned man with green eyes, or long haired trickster gods. Just…. grass.
He heard his phone starting to ring, but didn’t move from his position, staring out of the window once again.
“I can call off work and stay home with you, if you-” started Derek, but Stiles shook his head, breaking off whatever trance he was in.
“No, no, I’m okay. I probably need to sleep and fine, I’m coming!” he shouted the last part in direction of the ringing phone, making the other man laugh a little.
Stiles went off to the kitchen to hunt down the device, as Derek went for his shoes. “Do call me if something happens again!”
The phone stopped ringing just as Stiles grabbed it, Deaton’s name no longer flashing, and Stiles sighed. “I will!” Then, as he heard the front door opening, “I love you!”
Stiles looked up from where he had been about to call Deaton back, looking back towards the living room. Derek always said ‘I love you’ back.
“ Yeah ?”
The werewolf’s strained voice was all it took for Stiles to put his phone back down on the table and rush towards the front door.
It was still open, but Derek hadn’t stepped outside, and from what he could see of his back, the man was very tense.
“Der?” he called, slowly coming to stand closer to his husband. He looked outside quickly, but there was nothing except Derek’s and Stiles’ cars parked out front. When he looked back at his husband thought, the man looked like he had just seen a ghost. “Derek what-” he started, following his gaze down to their mat and -
“Derek?” he asked, his own voice going particularly high pitched.
“What is that ?”
The that chose that very moment to open its eyes, green eyes looking up at the two of them.
Derek swallowed, bending down slowly, and Stiles bit down the sarcastic remark about how Derek looked like he was approaching a very easily startled and dangerous animal. And not, you know,
“A child. It’s a child.”
Stiles sighed, rubbing his face with his hands. “I knew something funky was going on. I knew it.”
They ended up moving the baby - in a basket, for god's sake, was this some sort of cautionary tale or was a pharaoh ordering the death of children again? - inside the house, placing it - her? him? them? - on the table.
“Should we call the police?” questioned Derek, staring at the baby apprehensively. “How did it get all the way here without any of us noticing?”
Stiles punched his shoulder. “It came by bifrost! And that is not something we can tell the police. My dad will draw the line at norse gods dropping children in front of werewolf lairs.” he glared at the baby. “ I draw the line there too.”
The baby just blinked at him, wiggling in the basket.
Derek glared at him. “It’s not a norse child. It looks-” he stopped, head perking up in a manner that Stiles will always attribute to dogs, no matter what the rest of the pack said. “Deaton is here.”
Stiles frowned. “He was calling me earlier as well. Hey, maybe he knows something about the bifrost and the child and whether Loki is coming.”
“Don’t you like have a thing for Loki?”
His husband just grinned, patting his arms. “I married you, didn’t I?”
Derek just stared at him. “You say married, I hear settled .”
The brunette didn’t bother saying anything to that, instead opening the door just as the druid was about to ring. His smile quickly fell at the expression on the man’s face.
He had never seen him look as incredulous, excited and terrified as he did.
Hell, Stiles hadn’t known him able to show that range of emotions.
“Stiles,” started the vet, walking inside. “I have done you a great disservice. I have known you to be quite powerful, especially when it comes to protect your pack and your family. But I never expected you to be so powerful . When I saw the aurora…” he trailed off, shaking his head.
Stiles brightened up. “You saw that! For a second there, I thought I was going crazy!”
“Any magic user in Beacon Hills would have seen that; although I doubt many of them would have known what the sudden surge of pure white energy that followed it meant.”
The brunette nodded, understanding. “The bifrost.”
Deaton faltered, looking confused for a second. “The channel of life,” he then corrected him.
The channel of life? “So it did bring the baby here. But why?” he wondered, but stumbled in his words at the expression on Deaton’s face.
“For you, of course,” started the man, immediately moving inside the living room.
Derek was still standing exactly where he was, but he had been clearly listening to the two of them. He cocked his head to the side. “For us? What are you talking about, Alan?”
The man stopped next to the baby, wonder written across his face. He made to move the blankets she was bundled in, but stopped when Derek immediately started growling at him. Then he turned around, smiling at the werewolf. “You appear confused, but your wolf has already recognised her for who she is.”
“For who she is?” Stiles’ eyes flew to Derek, who was looking even paler than before. “Derek?”
The werewolf looked from Deaton to Stiles, an almost pained expression on his face. “She smells like us .”
The inflection on the word ‘us’.
Magic and werewolves and running with the supernatural for his whole life told Stiles that Derek wasn’t using the Royal ‘us’ or including Deaton in that statement.
He sat down, making sure to keep the baby in his eyesight, as well as Deaton.
“Doctor. Can you…”
He didn’t even know what he wanted to ask, what he wanted the vet to do.
Explain? Fix it? Take him back to 10 minutes ago?
When Deaton made to touch the baby again, Derek didn’t growl, standing closer to his husband, both of them trying to make sense of what was going on.
“What? Is something wrong with the baby? What’s going on? Was it a mistake? What’s happening?” immediately asked Stiles, heart thrumming in his chest in the same manner it had been doing for the past months.
Derek also stiffened beside him, looking nervously at the baby.
“Does the name Phoenix , mean anything to you?”
Derek gasped next to him, and yeah, Stiles could relate. He had pronounced that name in front of people only once in his entire life.
“Wait, are you saying you don’t have a name for baby B. Reyes yet?” asked Stiles, staring around the remains of the baby shower.
The blonde werewolf shrugged, apparently not concerned with this terrible development. “We want to wait till we see what he looks like. Unless-”
“We are not going with Erik,” immediately said Boyd, not looking up from the present he was opening. “Thank you, Scott. He will love this car once he is able to do more than cry and poop.”
Scott shrugged, impudent, while Stiles brought everyone’s attention back on the topic at hand. “Babies look like wrinkled potatoes when they’re born.” Erica snapped her teeth at him, and he rolled his eyes. Then he narrowed his gaze at her. “Are you saying you don’t have a forever name?”
Derek made a strained sound, but the blonde’s attention was on Stiles. She cocked her head to the side, intrigued. “A… forever name?”
Cora laughed from where she was sandwiched between Jackson and Isaac, shaking her head. “You still remember that?!” She turned amusedly to the rest of the pack. “When we were younger, Laura told us that she had already picked the perfect names for her future children. She said those were her ‘forever names’, aka her favourite names in the world, and she made me, Stiles and Derek come up with our own.” Her smile turned nostalgic. “Back then I threw such a fit because I said I’d never get married, while Stiles started crying because Derek’s forever names were different from his, and of course Derek immediately said that he was confused and that Stiles was right.”
“He was seven, and he was upset!” complained Derek, even as his ears turned red.
Stiles patted his shoulder, almost comfortingly. “It’s okay, everyone knows I’ve had you wrapped around my finger since the day we met.”
“What are your forever names?” wondered Allison, curios.
The brunet narrowed his eyes. “Are you going to pull a Rachel Green and steal them?”
His sister rolled her eyes. “As if. I have my own already,” and here she turned to give Scott a gentle smile. The werewolf just grinned, equally besotted.
Stiles pretended to barf.
“Anyway, they changed since I was a child, of course. When I was younger I was enamoured with Sophia for a girl and Alvin for a boy,” Derek shuddered, and Stiles slapped his arm. “Shut up. But now, I was thinking Phoenix for a girl. And Nathan for a boy.”
Erica blinked. “Phoenix? Like the place?”
“Like the bird,” corrected Stiles. “It’s like raising from the ashes, you know. And it’s a rare supernatural creature and I don’t know. I find it pretty.”
“I like it,” told him Derek, with a smile on his face. “Phoenix. Phoenix Hale-Stilinski.”
“Right? It has a nice ring to it.”
“How… where… uh?”
As eloquent as usual, Hale-Stilinski .
Deaton moved to the side, showing a stitched up name on the blanket. There was a triskele embroidered right under the words Phoenix Hale-Stilinski.
Stiles blinked. “It’s my… my forever name.”
“Like the bird?”
“Exactly!” he shook his head, gears sputtering to life immediately. “But this doesn’t make any sense. Only the pack knows about my forever name, I haven’t told anyone so, how. How is this happening.”
Deaton smiled. “Your spark, Stiles. You are powerful, more powerful than I have ever imagined. Usually only the fae folk has the kind of power it takes to do what you did.”
Stiles crossed his arms around his chest. It was fall, early october, but he still felt suddenly cold. Like there should be something in his arms right now and there wasn’t.
Probably because he was looking at someone who for all intent and purposes was his daughter and yet, she wasn’t in his arms.
“Nine months ago,” started Deaton. “You wished for a child with every fibre of your being.”
Stiles opened his mouth, ready to negate, but Derek’s voice interrupted him. “Nine months ago? As in January when Stiles graduated, nine months ago?”
Why was Derek being suddenly wei - oh.
“God, I missed you so much,” groaned Derek pushing inside of him. “I’m never letting you go ever again.”
“What if, ah,” Stiles’ nails digged into Derek’s skin. “What if I wanted take a post grad-”
“No,” growled the other man, human teeth sinking into Stiles’ collarbone. “You’re gonna come home.” He started thrusting inside of him harder and faster than before, “You’re going to be my emissary properly, and we are gonna live together, and expand the fuck, the pack.”
“Ah, Derek, ah. Expand? Are you gonna, fuck , bite some more people.”
Derek slowed down, green eyes boring into Stiles’ with a strange light in them. “No.”
“Derek, come on. Fuck me harder.”
“You’re gonna be my emissary,” he started, pressing a kiss on his forehead. “And take care of the pack,” another kiss, “and live in the house together, just me and you,” another kiss on his neck, “and then, and then… We are gonna have some little ones, some little Hale-Stilinskis…”
The last part was whispered on his lips, as if Derek was afraid of telling Stiles outright.
Well, Stiles had mastered Derek speak. And the moment those words left Derek’s mouth, he wondered how long he had wanted the same exact thing.
“Maybe two little, oh, two little ones,” he said, almost laughing when Derek’s head snapped up and his eyes met Stiles’ again. “Or three. Little werewolf and human children with your eyebrows and my wit, fuck,”
“With your moles, and my eyes,”
“With your heart, and my brain,”
“With your heart, and my hair,”
Stiles laughed, tears pooling in his eyes as Derek’s pace became almost brutal. “I want it. Derek, I want it, I want it, I want it,”
He turned to Deaton, cheeks turning very red. “But I - We-... I was just talking !”
The druid shook his head. “You weren’t just talking, Stiles. You meant every word you said during your wish. You had to.”
“I meant it, of course,” he put a hand in his hair. “But I didn’t realise I was making a deal with my spark. I didn’t, I…”
His eyes fell on the baby again.
When Erica had been expecting, he had read all sort of book on children, to make sure he was prepared and ready to help them at the drop of a hat. So he knew that the size of the child meant he was that he was less than a month old; maybe a week.
At that stage, babies could only see maybe at 8-12 inches away from them.
But he felt like the baby was looking at him, like she was looking for him .
When he slowly scooped her up in his arms, he felt a sense of right settling in his chest, all of the anxiety and nerves from the previous weeks dissipating from him.
He had previously said - repeatedly, actually - that babies look just like a weird potatoes when they were born, except to their parents.
To their parents, babies always looked gorgeous and capable of doing no wrong. But no one had prepared him for how utterly perfect the baby in his arms looked.
He heard Derek gasp from behind him, but didn’t turn, eyes searching the green ones in his arms. “Hi,” he whispered. “Hi, Phoenix.”
Deaton cleared his throat. “I know that you probably have many questions, and I am all up to answering them for you as well as I can. This is only the second time I witness something like this, and I never thought I would again in my lifetime.”
“Shouldn’t… shouldn’t we take her to a hospital, or something?” finally said Derek, and Stiles’ head snapped up at that. The man’s voice was a little huskier than before, and there was the barest trace of tears in his eyes. Stiles could definitely relate to that.
The vet made a face at that, before shaking his head. “I need to create some records for the birth of the child, first of all. I’ve done it for Stiles’ mother before, it won’t be too hard.”
“I know that tone,” said Stiles, turning his eyes on the vet. “You haven’t told us everything. You’re hiding something.”
Derek’s eyes flashed, and Deaton put both hands up, placating. “I wanted to go collect all the notes I have on the channel of life, before I explain everything.”
“Yeah, no way. I hate that look on your face.”
The vet sighed, eyes going between Derek and the baby in Stiles’ arms. “Very well. As you know, magic is all about balance. It took a great deal of magic to bring your daughter to you, magic that was taken from you slowly, across those nine months, since you… for lack of better terms, conceived her.” Stiles made a face, but Deaton wasn’t done. “A side effect of this, is that your magic isn’t gone . You magic is still in the child; and it will remain there, at least for the first two weeks.
“Your magic is you. It wants to return to you. And your magic is also will. You willed the baby into existing. When a baby comes to you via channel of life, by force of will, there are two very distinct ways that it may go.
“Your will and love for the baby is stronger than the pull of the magic, and the baby stays with you. Or…”
“My magic returns to me and the baby disappears,” guessed Stiles, eyes going back on the baby in his arms. She seemed content enough to wiggle in his arms, eyes wandering before settling on his face every few seconds.
She had been in his life for about 30 minutes, more or less, but the idea of her disappearing? Of losing her? It made Stiles’ heart ache . It felt as terrifying and as frightening as losing Derek, his father, or any member of the pack.
“That’s not going to happen,” ground out Derek, coming to stand next to Stiles and putting a protective hand on Stiles’ arms, fingers brushing on Phoenix’s fist. “How do we make sure that it doesn’t happen?”
“I’m gonna need to go get the notes my sister has on this. She,” he hesitated for a second. “She witnessed a failed attempt. That way I can share with you what went wrong, for them. But for what it’s worth, I know neither you nor Stiles will allow for her to disappear.”
And with that panic inducing statement, he walked away, closing the door behind him.
“No pressure,” muttered Stiles, and then he looked up at Derek. His eyes softened. “I know. I know .”
“She’s so small. And perfect,” whispered Derek, crowding into his space. He patted the sparse dark hair on her head. “God, she’s perfect. The pack will love her.”
Stiles thought so too but, “She can’t meet them.”
His husband looked at him, confused. “Uh?”
Stiles swallowed, looking away from Derek. “She can’t meet the pack. Not for another two weeks.”
He didn’t want to think about, he didn’t want to even consider it, but… as Deaton had said, the chance was there. It could happen. They could lose her.
“We are not going to lose her,” firmly said Derek, and Stiles hadn’t even realised he had spoken out loud. “In fact, I’m gonna go right now. I know we have some of Leon’s stuff from when he was newly born (the entire pack had extra nappies, clothes and food in case Leon came to visit and Erica was out of stuff), but we need more.”
He stood straighter. “Oh god. We have nothing . We need a bassinet, we need baby food, more clothes, more nappies.” He shook his head. “Write me a list, I’ll go get everything-”
“You’re leaving me?” nearly shrieked Stiles, eyes impossibly wide. “You can’t leave me alone with her, Derek! You can’t, you really can’t ! What if something happens, what if I hurt her, what if I drop her? Derek, I could-”
“Hey, hey, hey,” Derek’s tone was soothing and Stiles drew in a shaky breath, still slightly panicked. “Hey. Stiles. I’m not leaving. It’s okay. I’m staying. I’m not going, I’m staying. Okay?”
“Okay,” repeated Stiles, hands trembling.”You need to take the baby cause I’m shaking.”
Phoenix made a little disgruntled noise as she was passed from Stiles’ arms to Derek’s, and the spark couldn’t help but feel somewhat settled at the sight of the baby - their baby - safe in Derek’s arms. “You’re really good at that.”
Derek shrugged, careful but still confident, “I used to have many younger cousins.”
Stiles was really proud of the way Derek could now smile - or at least not break down immediately - when reminiscing his dead family.
“Okay,” he finally said, after a few minutes of staring at them like a creep. “Computer. Ikea. I’m doing express delivery, but that still means tomorrow.”
Derek took a careful seat next to him as Stiles pulled out his laptop. “She can sleep in our bedroom. Since Cora sleeps in Jackson and Lydia’s old room now, we can use her room for Phoenix; it’s right next to ours.”
Stiles gnawed at his finger. “Isn’t it soundproof? What if she starts crying?”
“I’ll build a door between the two rooms. We can move all of Cora’s stuff in storage for now. Speaking of Cora,”
“I’ll mass text the pack right now, let them know to stay away for the next few weeks,” immediately said Stiles, pulling out his phone from his pocket.
derek and the annoying betas
batman: no one in the packhouse for two weeks
babywolf: wait u promised breakfast
brattywolf: two weeks?!
angelwolf: there is something weird with the pack bonds. are the two of you okay?
Stiles looked at Derek. “What’s up with the pack bonds?”
“Phantom bonds. I think it’s Phoenix. It’s brittle, like it could break easily.”
Stiles held his phone tighter.
derek and the annoying betas
batman: oh we are very good
batman: and go ahead, come for breakfast. if you love the smell of CUM when you eat cereals
brattywolf: that’s my brother, wtf
catwoman: i do love the smell of cum for breakfast, actually
batman: we are re-celebrating our honeymoon, and there will be sex.
batman: a lot of sex
batman: many many times
batman: several different times
batman: in several different positions
angelwolf: I fucking Hate you, Stilinski
batman: it’s Hale-Stilinski, but go off
Derek pulled a face from where he was reading over Stiles’ shoulder, but the other didn’t even glance at him. “There will be no sex, since you practically knocked me up on my graduation night,” he informed him, clicking on a particular bassinet.
“I didn’t knock you up! You’re the one who willed a baby into existence.” He hissed, then blinked at the screen. “Pick that one. It’s pretty.”
“I thought so too, and dude, you totally knocked me up. You were inside me and everything.”
The wolf looked horrified as he covered Phoenix’s ears with one finger, and oh my god, she was so small . “She can hear you. Oh, and send an e-mail to my boss, so-”
“I’ll say you’re taking one month leave for family emergencies,” easily finished Stiles. He paused for a second, and gave his husband a little smile. “We got this. We totally got this.”
They don’t got this.
When Phoenix woke up next it was with wails of bloody murder so loud that Stiles was very shocked to see that Derek’s ears weren’t bleeding.
“Oh my god,” said Stiles, horrified at how that much noise was coming from such a small thing. “Is she hurt? What happened? Did I-”
Before he could start panicking, however, Derek was already picking up the child, like the noise wasn’t affecting him in the slightest. He turned to his husband and pointed towards one of the cupboards with his head as he rocked the girl in his arms. “We still have unoped baby formulas from when Erica was having trouble breastfeeding. Wash one of the baby bottles with hot water and prepare the milk.”
“Okay,” immediately said Stiles, wincing when the baby let out a particularly loud cry, “Oh my god, okay. Stiles calm down. Bottle. Formula milk. Kettle.”
As he moved quickly in the kitchen, he heard Derek’s voice as the werewolf tried to calm down the baby.
“I know, darling, I know you’re hungry. But daddy Derek is here, yes he is, and daddy Stiles is the kitchen making sure you get something into that little tummy of yours. I know you probably inherited both of your dad’s stubbornness, but you just need to be a little patient with us. See, you were a surprise, a perfect little surprise. But we didn’t know you were coming, so everything is all messy. But don’t worry, we are going to get everything fixed as soon as possible and then you won’t need to be patient anymore, because daddy Derek and daddy Stiles will start tripping over each other in their haste to get everything ready for their little princess. Because you are our little princess -” he stopped when he saw Stiles reappear with the bottle. “Check if it’s too hot?”
Stiles blinked for a second, before understanding and tipping the liquid on the back of his hand. God, he could have forgotten and then he would have risked burning his child’s tongue.
He was terrible at this.
Almost as if she could smell the milk - and would that really be the most surprising thing to happen? - she started to quiet down when the brunet came to stand next to them, bottle in hand.
Derek looked up at him, with a small smile. “Do you want to try and feed her?”
The simple thought nearly sent Stiles into panic again, but he quelled it down. “I think you got it,” he said instead, handing Derek the bottle.
His husband just hummed, tipping the baby a little forward before putting the bottle in her mouth. “There we go,” he said then, relaxed, and Stiles could just watch him.
The pack had helped with Leon, when he was born. Stiles had spent time with Erica and her baby, and it wasn’t like he didn’t know what to do with a child.
But still, he had never had to do anything more than change his diaper and feed him sometimes; the moment he started crying, Boyd and Erica appeared, and Stiles was more than happy to leave them to it.
Derek though, he was a natural.
Stiles could just watch as Derek carefully made sure she drank most of the bottle, and then proceeded to burp her.
“You know, studies shows that burping your child each feeding does not lower the chances of colic but it does double the amount of spit up,” he said after Phoenix let out the most adorable sound he had ever heard in his life.
Derek shrugged, not concerned. “That’s a study on human babies. My Aunt Mariah always made sure to burp my cousins.”
As usual, when Derek spoke about his family unprompted, Stiles could only sit still, eyes wide and interested.
“She was a paediatrician, and every time someone brought a new baby around, she kept fussing around them, imparting her wisdom as a doctor and as a mother. It used to drive my mom and Aunt Petunia crazy all the time because “ I raised countless wolves just fine, Mariah ” and “ I’m the Alpha, shouldn’t I be the one to order people around?” . She was the middle child, younger than mom and older than Peter, which according to mom is the reason she had so much attitude.”
“Aren’t you a middle child?”
The wolf stuck out his tongue to him, very maturely, never stopping rocking her.
“I used to take care of my younger cousins a lot, when I was younger,” he said, answering the question Stiles hadn’t dared asking yet. “Laura thought babies had cooties, and refused to go anywhere near my younger cousins and Cora when she was first born. I was four when Cora was born, but according to mom I always wanted to take care of her and help feed her and or carry her around.”
“Oh big brother Derek,” cooed his husband, and Derek gave him a look. Stiles sobered up a little and gave a little wistful smile. “I wish I paid more attention with Leon. I don’t know the first thing about babies.”
“You’ve read Erica’s books,” pointed out Derek, but Stiles rolled his eyes.
“I read them mostly so I could quiz her about stuff. Half of that stuff left my brain the same day they entered it.”
Derek didn’t look convinced, but before he could say anything, Stiles’ phone buzzed on the table.
The brunet took in Allison’s name flashing on the screen and immediately picked it up, walking away from the living room and closing himself in the kitchen before answering. “Hey,”
“ Stiles, oh. Hi.”
When Allison didn’t immediately speak, instead breathing on the line, Stiles took out a tub of ice cream from the freezer, waiting. He knew better than trying to panic and ask questions; Allison had called him which meant she would explain herself when she managed to.
“ I’m sorry. I just, fuck. ”
“Breathe, Ally. I’m still here,” he answered, keeping his voice level but still slightly commanding.
“ Yeah. I’m. Sti… should I tell him?”
Stiles pulled out a spoon from the cutlery drawer and gave a little sigh. “ If you decided to tell Scott, he won’t be mad at you. He won’t resent you. He will understand that you made a choice, the best choice for both you and him. He might be annoyed at me , for not telling him, but not because of you; but because he wasn’t there to be your rock at such a hard time.”
“ But there is a chance… a small chance that he’ll hate me. Maybe even leave me. Stiles, it might have been my only chance at having a baby and I-”
“Allison. Scott could never ever hate you or resent you for a choice you had to make when you were in junior year of High School. You - and I’m sorry, but I’ll be brutally honest here - wouldn’t have been able to do it. Not because you wouldn’t have been a kick ass mom; but because back then, back when were in High School, with monsters, rogue were creatures and trigger happy hunters roaming around, none of us would have made it.
“You would have had to leave to protect the baby, and even then there was a chance that they would use your connection to Scott and the pack to stop you. And if the baby was half werewolf, your chances of survival plummeted further.”
He heard Allison crying a little in the background, and his tone of voice softened. “I know it’s hard to hear and listen when you’ve received such devastating news, but Alli. You did the right thing, back then. It was your body , which made it your choice . And if Scott implies in any way that it wasn’t, then he is not the man I thought he was.
“But Scott is. He is that man, he’s my best friend and I know him. At first yeah, he was hurting because of the thought of never having a child. But then he was hurting because you were hurting, Alli, and he has no idea on how to help you. He loves you, and if you give him a chance, he will listen. And he will understand .”
“ I’m so scared ,” she whispered.
“I know. And telling you that you have nothing to be scared off won’t work, but it’s the truth. And you know me,” he smiled even though she couldn’t see him, “I’m all for the truth.”
It worked, and Allison snorted. “ Right, uh uh. ”
Her voice still sounded wet with tears, but Stiles could hear the small smile on her face. “Hey, knock that disbelief off.”
He kept teasing and joking with her for a few more minutes, until he managed to goad an actual laugh out of her. “Here is that laugh I’ve been looking for.”
She laughed again, “ Shut up. But… Sti. Thank you.”
“What are older brothers for?”
“ You’re not older than me, you take that back !”
Stiles snickered, before briefly turning serious. “Yeah, yeah. Oh. Just because you’re all banned from the house for two weeks, doesn’t mean you can’t text and call me. Okay?”
“ Yeah, okay. I’ll let the others know. Love you, Sti. ”
“Love you, Alli.”
He waited for her to stop the call first, before walking back into the living room, tub of ice cream still in his hands.
Derek was sitting on the floor, arms empty, and Stiles managed to panic for a full second before seeing Phoenix laying on the pillows of the couch, the blanket she was wrapped in when in the basket on her.
The Alpha nodded, not even making a joke about how Stiles had been gone ten minutes tops as he would have done normally. It wasn’t funny when there was a chance that she could disappear.
“Divide and conquer,” then said the Alpha, opening his mouth.
Stiles gave him a spoonful of the ice cream, frowning a little. “Uh?”
Derek made a face at the flavour. “Isn’t this Jackson’s?”
“Butter pecan caramel is free reign for anyone who has taste,” immediately told him the other, shoving another scoop in his mouth. “Divide and conquer?”
“That whole Allison thing,” explained Derek. “Hell, that whole thing were you always know what to say and how to help the pack. You’re a natural at that. It took me a while to learn, and even so I make mistakes at that.”
“Hey, you’ve gotten way better than when you first bit them!”
“Exactly.” When Stiles just blinked, Derek rolled his eyes. “I’m good at the practical stuff with the baby like feeding, changing and-” he paused, turning to Stiles a little worried. “She hasn’t peed or pooped since we picked up.”
“Babies tend to not poop or pee until 24 hours after birth. It’s called meconium, it means a baby’s digestive system is working properly,” immediately said Stiles, looking down at the ice cream. Then he froze and looked up in surprise. “Hey! I didn’t forget everything .”
The werewolf just smiled at him, opening his mouth again for more ice cream.
Deaton arrived just as Stiles started warming up the dinner from the day before. He and Derek had ended up buying a bunch of more stuff, but when the druid walked in with two bags of formula, nappies, clothes and baby bottles they were thankful nonetheless.
“I might even forgive you about how criptic you were when we were in High School,” he told him, nose deep into the bags.
Derek huffed in amusement, but his body was still a little tense.
“I spoke to Marin, and compared notes. Don’t worry,” he added, noting the looks on their faces, “I haven’t told her the truth as to why I needed it, and she doesn’t know enough about either of you to figure out it has anything to do with you.”
He produced a notebook from his bag, and set it down on the table, taking a seat in it. “From what Marin has said, the reason why they lost their baby was a culmination of many different things.
“A baby requires time, love and attention. Being there for the baby, it’s important, but so is bonding with said baby. Feeding her and changing her nappy isn’t all there is to it; you need to communicate, in a way, with her.”
“Not to be that person,” started Stiles, worried. “But babies kind of like… don’t understand.”
“Just because she can’t explain what she wants doesn’t mean her reactions to certain things are to be ignored. Even human children are able to recognise their parent’s scent; they are able to tell who is holding them, recognise the pattern of your voice. They are aware of you.” Explained the vet, shrugging. “Making sure that link is there is important.”
When the two of them nodded in understanding, he continued. “Another thing that was significant in the loss of their child was the continue use of magic on the mother’s part.” Stiles looked up, confused, and the other man explained. “You never seemed to have a problem not abusing your power before, so I’m not too worried about that. The wards that you have created around Beacon Hills ever since your return from college don’t drain anything significant from you, but if you decided to, say, fight using your magic or anything of the sort, you risk losing her. Because the magic in her - your magic - will try and return to you.”
Finally Deaton smiled at them. “As I’ve said before, you are powerful, Stiles Hale-Stilinski. You have a powerful partner, and a steady pack. Your territory is safe and the Nematon has been dormant for a while.”
“Regression to the means.”
“Regression to the means,” repeated the older man, pleased that Stiles recalled. “I’ll leave the notebook with you while you guys take care of everything, and I’ve brought some equipment with me to check on your daughter and make sure everything is fine with her.”
Derek inched closer to Phoenix, eyes narrowed. “Aren’t you a vet?”
“Before Mariah Hale collected her degree, there was someone else who was able to take care and check on little werewolf children,” pointed out the man, not taking offense. “I delivered both you and Laura Hale.”
The werewolf made a face at the comment, but Stiles was focused on something else. “So… is she a werewolf, then?”
His husband answered before Deaton could. “If we are wolves, we present at around four years of age. Everyone in my family presented after turning four; that’s when we start being able to flash our eyes. Our first shift usually doesn’t happen until we are ten years old. Mom always made a big deal of it, planning a party and inviting everyone in the family to see.” His eyes turned melancholic. “Laura shifted at nine years old and bragged about it until Cora managed to shift the night before her ninth birthday.”
“That’s so cool,” he turned to the sleeping figure of his daughter, and tried to imagine her running into the woods with her father, little claws out and eyes flashing gold.
“There is a chance that she won’t be a wolf, though.” added Derek, after Deaton walked out to grab his equipment. “Becca was human.”
Stiles hummed, turning his attention back on the alive family. “I wouldn’t mind it if she was a wolf.”
Derek finally turned to look at Stiles, eyes wide. “You wouldn’t?”
His husband huffed, rolling his eyes. “I married a werewolf. I had pretty much assumed that if we had kids, at the very least one would be furry,” He then gave him an impish smile. “I’m gonna need one human though, so I won’t be waiting all alone when you guys go do your wolfy stuff outside.”
“As if you’ve ever stayed at home when we are doing our - and I hate you so much for making me say this - ‘wolfy stuff’. You, Allison and… and Lydia, you never listened.”
Before Stiles could even start to get sad about Lydia, Alan returned carrying an impressive amount of gear with him.
For the next ten minutes, Stiles and Derek hovered around the doctor - who, thankfully, didn’t comment - as he took measurement after measurement of baby Phoenix. She opened her eyes at one point during the various proceedings, and it was, surprisingly, Derek who stopped Stiles from throwing a fit when she started crying and wiggling around.
“But Derek, what if she-”
“She’s a baby,” said Derek, voice soothing, “and she’s getting moved all around by someone she’s not used to. Remember Leon at the hospital?”
And okay, he had a point. The baby had cried the entire time Melissa was checking him over, and continued crying until he had managed to latch onto Erica’s breast for his first feeding.
Stiles ended up busying himself with making a new bottle with the stuff Deaton had brought over.
Alan Deaton wasn’t a bad man, at all. He was the Hale Emissary, advisor to Talia Hale, and had not been particularly enthusiastic when Derek had ended up becoming Alpha.
From what Stiles had managed to garner from Peter, he had been Petunia’s ‘latest’ boyfriend before the fire, and, even if he would never admit it to a soul, he was one of the few people who did blame Derek for the fire. At least at first.
When he had realised that, Stiles’ relationship with the man had rapidly cooled off. He never told Derek - or Scott, who looked at the man like a second father - the reason, of course. But still, Stiles’ job was to protect his pack and help them reach their fullest potential. He had easily become the Hale Pack 2.0’s Emissary, and wasn’t that surprised when he heard that Laura had every intention of asking Marin Morrell to become hers in a few years when her mother stepped down.
The vet had gotten better, through the years, his dislike of Derek slowly fading away, and now Stiles was ready to call him an ally . Not a friend - never a friend - but a good ally. Someone he could trust to try and help them.
When he returned to the living room, Phoenix was still crying but now safely back in Derek’s arms as the man cooed and fussed around her.
Deaton turned his attention to Stiles, handing him a new notebook. “This is everything Marin and I observed in the previous cases. Marin’s the second entry, mine is the first. Everything seems perfect with Phoenix,” Stiles took the notebook, handing the bottle to Derek, “and I will mail you the certificate of her birth once I get home. Once the two weeks mark pass, the bond with the child will solidify, and that will be your confirmation that the baby is yours to stay. I will e-mail you the names of supernatural paediatricians in the area, and will do my best to help you as much as I can. You have my number and my e-mail address, and will be able to contact you whenever you need.”
Stiles browsed through the notebook, before tilting his head to the side. “Hey, should I also add my own entry? And then I can add it to the pack’s online bestiary, for posterity.”
The vet had gone through more emotions today than he had in the entire time Stiles had known him. He appeared nearly jubilant at the proposal, nodding immediately. “I think that is an excellent idea, Stiles.”
Once she was done being fed, Derek handed her back to Stiles, much to the brunet’s surprise, and he found himself staring back at those incredible greens. He had read in one of Erica’s book how a child’s eye colour could change several times during infancy, but he really hoped her eyes stayed green, or evolved into Derek’s kaleidoscope of hazel and green.
He didn’t listen in while Derek and Deaton discussed stuff with each other, too wrapped with staring at the little baby in his arms.
She wiggled around for a while mouth opening and closing like she was still sucking on an imaginary bottle before her lids closed. And even then, Stiles couldn’t look away from her.
“I know,” said Derek, and Stiles looked up in surprise. Deaton was gone with his equipment, and the werewolf was sitting on the floor in front of the two of them. He heard the click of a camera, and then Derek put his phone back down. “Sorry. I just. You… she…”
“I know,” sighed Stiles.
“I never thought that I could be happy again. Especially after what happened with my family. I thought I had ruined my own life the moment I showed… her those passageways.
“And then, after I became an Alpha by killing Uncle Peter, I thought I was cursed forever. That my parents would also realise that all I seemed to be able to do was kill my family and finally abandon me.
“And then you…” he shook his head. “You came into my life, and showed the kids Peter bit how to be a real pack. You gave me a real pack, and then you gave me yourself. You gave me a new family. And now, you gave me even more family.”
Stiles smiled softly at him. “ You saved Isaac, Erica and Boyd, not me. You helped Jackson: not me. You accepted Allison, a huntress, into your pack despite what her aunt did just to help one of your betas; not me.” Then he smirked. “I’ll take all of the credit for her, though.”
Derek finally laughed at that, a soft sound that Stiles had come to love throughout the years.
It’s exactly three days later that problems started to arise.
That first night ended with Phoenix sleeping in their bed between the two of them.
The bed was huge - it had been the source of many puppy piles throughout the years - so there was no real danger, but neither Stiles nor Derek managed to fully fall asleep, for fear of squashing her.
She had them on beck and call every time she cried for a feeding and when she finally pooped, and Stiles had the nagging suspicion that this was setting an example that would continue for the rest of the girl’s life.
Her first poop happened to be in the middle of the night and Derek had forced Stiles to change her first diaper, claiming that Stiles needed more practice than Derek, since he had done his very best to disappear whenever Leon’s diaper started stinking up the place.
Stiles knew better though, because if that smell was killing Stiles right then, it was probably way worse for the werewolf.
The majority of the furniture and packages they bought came noon of the day after Phoenix appeared on their doorstep. At first Stiles had left the baby in Derek’s arm and tried to place the IKEA pieces together by hand since, despite Deaton’s reassurances, he was too nervous to use magic.
However, after his second breakdown and near destruction of the crib he was trying to put together - which had looked so good on the website, why was it determined to break him? - Derek had wordlessly handed him the baby and replaced him.
Stiles glared, not daring to move from his spot in fear of waking Phoenix. “Do werewolves have IKEA building skills? Now that I think about it, how did the Pack manage to get this house built back then? Oh my god, is IKEA ran by swedish werewolves? Do you speak swedish?”
“Inga,” answered Derek, a little smirk on his face when Stiles’ eyes widened in surprise.
The brunet glared, turning his gaze on Phoenix. “You see, Nixie Trixie, the way daddy keeps treating me? All your tata wants to do is learn more about the fantastic specimen that your daddy is, but he is so mean to me!”
“Tata?” wondered Derek aloud, not looking away from where he was working.
Stiles hummed. “It’s what I used to call my dad when I was younger. Well, until I realised no one else called their dad that, and I started calling him ‘dad’.”
“Well then, Nixie,” said Derek, immediately adopting Stiles’ nickname, “You should know your tata is the mean one here. Look at how he’s hogging you while I’m stuck doing menial tasks for you. He even wants me to break the wall so that I can make a door between my room and yours. Can you believe?”
Stiles absolutely loved the way Derek’s voice and tone changed whenever he spoke to the baby. He didn’t exaggerate the baby speak, but his tone became deeper and softer at the same time, a timbre that Stiles seldom heard in the past but that he had already started to adore.
They got into a routine, is what Stiles meant. He got comfortable. All they had to was stay like this, with him and Derek alternating the work around the house and the nursery for two weeks, and then they could finally have the pack over again.
So when Derek said he was going to go to the university to fill in an actual leave of absence, which meant that he might be gone for more than two hours, Stiles promptly panicked.
Phoenix was asleep in her crib - which had been pushed in Erica’s room while Derek finished making the door - and Stiles allowed his voice to go a little high. “You’re what ?”
His husband had both his hands on Stiles’ shoulders, like he was soothing a scared animal. “I have to go to my university. My leave of absence dictates that if I’m going to be away for more than three days I need to make a proper and face to face visit.”
“No one else can go for me, I have to go myself. And you know my job is important to me,” continued Derek and fuck him for being so reasonable. “The only way to do this quickly would be using your magic and neither of us wants you to do that.”
The brunet looked away dejectedly, because he knew his husband was right. Using his magic risked the baby. Both of them going risked people getting to know the baby too early. If Derek didn’t go, he’d lose his job, and, while Stiles knew that if he really couldn’t handle being alone, Derek would willingly lose his job, he didn’t want that for him.
So he had to suck it up.
“What if I do something wrong?” he whispered instead, looking down at his socked feet. “You have to go, I’m not trying to guilt trip you into staying; but I’m really scared, Der.”
“You shouldn’t be. You’re really great with her,” promised him the werewolf, pressing a kiss on his forehead, “and she’s half of me. Of course she adores you already.”
“Didn’t you spend the first few weeks after we met telling me how much you didn’t like me?”
“I was lying.”
Derek stayed for a couple of more hours, making sure the baby was fed, burped, bathed and changed before he was in front of the door, dressed in his usual professor attire and ready to go.
“One phone call away,” he reminded the spark, and Stiles nodded minutely, arms crossed together and stomach cold with anxiety. “I love you.”
“Love you too,” he called, watching as his husband started the Camaro and then, finally drove off.
He really, really , hoped this wasn’t the last time Derek saw Phoenix.
After his husband was gone, Stiles picked up his phone, the sandwiches he had fixed himself for brunch and returned to his bedroom, the door to the nursery open so he could see Phoenix asleep in her cot.
private chat: catwoman, batman
catwoman: stiles :(
batman: erica :(
catwoman: omg u replied
batman: of course I replied
batman: is everything okay?
catwoman: yeah, just worried u kno
catwoman: haven’t seen u in a while
catwoman: leon hasn’t seen his alpha in a while
batman: it’s just ten more days babe
catwoman: we all know its not sex you guys are doing, we’re not dumb
batman: i know you’re not dumb
catwoman: u say that but you used to send me and isaac pictures of food instead of a grocery list
batman: i was playing on ur strengths
catwoman: ten more days
batman: for what’s worth i did some research and stuff, and as long as the alpha has scent marked him and formally accepted him in the pack the moment he was born, the baby can go for a while without needing his alpha.
batman: you’re fine
catwoman: and the chances of leon being human?
batman: 0% with two born wolves cause lycheon percentage in their blood simply doesn’t allow it. bitten wolf + born wolf it’s 1% as in someone swears it happened before, but there is no source. bitten + bitten the percentage raises to 5%
batman: why are you worried?
catwoman: i had a nightmare that leon had an epilepsy attack
catwoman: and i tried to help him
catwoman: but i used too much strength and ended up killing him
batman: that will never happen
batman: you love your boys too much to ever hurt them, and that’s that. you haven’t had an attack in years, which could mean the gene was burned out by your werewolf healing. you haven’t lost control of your strength also in years
batman: you have a steady job and non pack friends, and you’ve never hurt them
batman: also i’m pretty sure you’re instincts wouldn’t let you
catwoman: now i really want to hug you
catwoman: you’re the BEST
catwoman: i want pancakes when we’re allowed in the pack house again
Stiles would have answered her something about how he is so much more than his pancakes, but then Phoenix started crying.
batman: gtg love u
He shoved his phone and the plate on the table and hurried towards the crib, a frown on his face. “Oh no, Nixie Trixie, what’s all this? What’s with all these tears when tata is all alone in the house and has no idea what you mean?” he crowed, pulling her out of the bed.
If possible, her cries rose in pitch at being moved, and the brunet did his very best not to panic. “Okay, okay, you’re okay, babygirl. Let’s think what does Derek always say? Okay, first checking your nappy.”
He tried to soothe as best as he could, but her cries didn’t diminish. He put her down on the changing mat, circling the sole of her feet with a thumb. “It’s okay, baby girl, it’s okay, tata is just gonna check your nappy, and he needs you to be a brave girl for him, Nixie. Can you be a brave girl for me?”
It was clear pretty soon that the nappy was not the problem. It was clean, and she had no rashes but the cries of bloody murder didn’t stop or waver in the slightest.
“Okay, I’m sorry, Phee. Are you hungry? If it’s dry, then maybe you’re hungry?” he tried, his heart hurting impossibly at her very red crying face.
When she ended up refusing the bottle of milk three times, Stiles felt his own eyes prickle, unshed tears just waiting to fall down.
He was horrible at this. A terrible - terrible! - father.
Had Derek been there, he probably would have already known what was wrong with her. Probably even have been able to sniff it before she had to start crying, appearing next to her bed like the superdad he was.
Meanwhile all Stiles had been able to achieve was to probably give his own child a headache from how much she was crying, and just hold her and try to calm her down, in vain.
“I’m sorry, Phee,” he let out, tears slowly rolling down his face.
Phoenix just cried, more and more miserable, and Stiles felt more tears falling.
He was failing at this so bad, and, even if he could use his magic, there wasn’t anything he could do to find out what was wrong with her. Just minutes ago with Erica he knew what to say and how to calm her down, and now, with his own real daughter, he was drowning and unable to figure out a way to help.
“I know I’m a terrible, terrible tata,” he sobbed, moving her in his arms, “but please don’t disappear. Don’t leave us. We really want you to stay with us, we want you to get to know the family and… Derek doesn’t deserve it.”
He imagined Derek’s face if they managed to lose Phoenix and let out a choked sob. “Please, he doesn’t deserve to lose you. He loves you so much, and he’s so good with you. He’d do anything in the world to make you happy, because that’s the kind of man he is. He loves you so much, even though he’s known you for about three days. He would walk to hell and back for you.
“And me too. I know I’m not a very good tata, but I’m learning fast. Maybe not fast enough, maybe too slowly, but I’m learning because I already love you so much Phoenix. And I’ll learn more and-” he trailed off, blinking slowly.
Phoenix wasn’t crying anymore.
In fact, she had stopped crying the moment he had shifted her and -
He remembered reading one of the articles that Erica had collected during her pregnancy, about the sense of werewolf born children; because of the lychaeon in their blood, even human children of werewolves had a much better hearing and smelling than normal human born children. As they grew older, and lychaeon levels in their blood went down, they lost some of that hearing, but as newborns…
Phoenix could hear his heartbeat.
Stiles blinked away the tears that threatened to come out at that and did his best to calm down both his heart and his sniffles, before laying back down on his back, and drawing soft shapes on Phoenix’s back.
By the time Derek walked back into the house and into their bedroom, Phoenix was fast asleep, laying down on the bed next to Stiles. The brunet was just staring at her, eyes puffy but a smile on his face.
“Everything okay?” whispered the wolf, leaning down to kiss on Stiles’ cheek, even as he avidly eyed the youngest member of their family.
Stiles nodded, not looking up. “We bonded.”
Things got easier after that.
Derek no longer had to go to work, and managed to send all of the material to his students via e-mail, and Stiles started to grow more confident the longer he spent with their daughter.
Stiles never fully told him what happened - because hello embarrassing - but Derek was glad it did, if it meant that his husband stopped hesitating before picking her up and talked to her more like a person than a bomb waiting to explode.
The nursery had finally been finished - “It is not, but it’s cute that you think so,” - even though Phoenix still spent plenty of nights in their bed because both of them were wrapped around her tiny little thumb.
The pack had grown slightly restless in the last few days, but Stiles had done a remarkable job keeping them in line. Case in point,
“What did Isaac want?” asked Derek sitting down in the living room with two plates of spaghetti.
Stiles looked up from the living room bassinet were Phoenix was silently wiggling about with a sigh. “He had an argument with Jackson.”
“About?” Then, “You should eat before she decides it’s time to get fussy.”
The brunet kept moving his hands in her face, unperturbed. “Jackson gave Isaac an apartment for graduation.”
Derek winced. “Ouch.”
His husband nodded. “Isaac is very upset about this, Jackson doesn’t understand why Isaac is mad and Isaac doesn’t understand why Jackson doesn’t understand. And your sister prefers to leave me to deal with the mess.”
The werewolf moved closer to him, before handing him a forkful of pasta. “And did you explain or did you let him figure out by themselves?”
“I just reminded Isaac that Jackson tried to give me a car for graduation, and that Isaac will have to return there for one more semester. And that the apartment they stayed in when Jackson was still in university, belonged to his parents, not Jackson himself.” He rolled his eyes, then accepted another bite from Derek. “It’sh all very dramashic.”
“Sometimes I have to wonder if bitten wolves stop growing at the age they were bitten or something.”
“Like the baby vampires in Twilight,” agreed Stiles, laughing at the face Derek gave him.
“You’re a -” and Derek stopped, suddenly gasping as his eyes flashed bright red.
His head turned to face Stiles, who was staring at the small crib in front of him with very wide brown eyes. “Oh my god.”
Derek looked in, and his heart did a very complicated thing, even as he heard his and Stiles’ phone start to ring.
Phoenix’s eyes were closed, and she was slowly falling asleep, but that wasn’t what had him like that.
“Derek,” whispered Stiles, and the werewolf smiled.
The baby’s fist was wrapped around Stiles’ finger, and the boy looked a step away from bawling his eyes out at that and…
Derek could feel it right in his chest, a new golden line connected to him.
The new pack bond.
“Derek,” said Stiles again, and this time Derek could feel how wet his own eyes were.
“She’s here to stay.”
“ Derek ,”
The Alpha pulled Stiles’ face towards him, making sure his finger wouldn’t accidentally slip away from Phoenix’s grasp, and kissed him, slowly, tearfully and happy.
“She’s here to stay.”
derek and the annoying betas
brattywolf: derek tf
babywolf: everyone felt it right?
catwoman: it was impossible not to
robin hood: well, i didn’t but scott did
angelwolf: none of them is answering
bossywolf: it was almost familiar
babywolf: so do we freakout or
puppywolf: they dont even answer their private lines wtf
babywolf: stiles? derek? Hello?
bossywolf: if u want peace and quiet, not answering us is not the way to get it
catwoman: im gonna get my shoes on if u dont answer right now
angelwolf: hale stilinski one and two
angelwolf: pick up
brattywolf: der wtf was that
alpha: pack meeting. tomorrow morning. 10.30. pack house
batman: we will explain everything then
catwoman: sexing is over?
angelwolf: i don’t like the connotations of that last text, hale-stilinski.
It wasn’t like the pack would refuse her, once they told them all about her. Even if they wanted to, Derek was ultimately the Alpha and - while he was no longer dictatorial in his decisions - alpha decisions are the only decision that matter in the end.
It still didn’t help the slight anxiety in Stiles’ chest when he woke up the next morning. Phoenix was asleep in their bed after having woken up three times during the night, but Derek was already downstairs - Stiles struggled to hear better - making breakfast.
After bringing it up, he didn’t say anything, slipping in bed with them as the quietly ate their breakfast.
“They are here,” whispered the werewolf a few hours later, sitting up on the bed.
Stiles sat up too, despite knowing that they were probably too far for his human ears to pick them up. “All of them together?”
“Two cars, I think so. Did you-”
“Yup, had them pick up brunch,” Stiles snorted at the expression on Derek’s face. “No way I had to strength to make pancakes for everyone. I am officially cooking only for Eenie Phoenie from now on.”
“The betrayal,” deadpanned Derek, earning a little laugh from Stiles. “All right. I’ll go downstairs, make sure they are all sitting down so they don’t faint, and then you and Phoenix come down.”
“Ehi,” he then added, putting a hand on Stiles’ cheek. “It’ll be fine. They’ll be so happy about this. Even Allison and Scott,”
Figures that Stiles didn’t have to say anything for Derek to figure out the real source of his anxiety.
But who could blame him? It was kind of a dick move to go to your twin sister who has been magically and surgically rendered sterile and who has guilt the size of mountain everest for aborting in high school and telling her that you had willed a baby for yourself and your werewolf husband.
There was no manual for that shit!
So he didn’t reply, accepting a kiss from Derek, before the werewolf gently scented Phoenix and moved downstairs.
Mere seconds later, the doorbell rang.
Stiles wet his lips, turning to look at where a still sleeping Phoenix lay, and breathed down. She was never going to disappear again. The pack bond was already formed. The pack was absolutely going to love her.
He lifted her up in his arms in the manner Derek had taught him to make sure she didn’t wake up, and stepped outside the bedroom door, standing at the top of the stairs and listening in as the betas made themselves at home in the living room.
“Where is Stiles?” immediately asked Jackson, and the brunet had to stop himself from laughing at the faux disinterested tone of his voice.
“It does not smell the faintest bit of sex,” commented Erica, managing to sound both leering and accusing at the same time.
“Why would you want that?” Scott groaned, and then Allison giggled.
“But seriously,” said Cora, and Stiles heard them all finally sitting down, “Where is Stiles and why do we have a new beta?”
Cora joining their pack had not been something Stiles had expected. She didn’t even go to their high school, and they had met her months after Stiles joined the pack.
But then Stiles had noticed the looks she kept sending Isaac, and didn’t question it when, after going off to university, she came back to the Hale-Stilinski pack house and claimed a room.
“You should have payed more attention to the lessons mom gave us about pack bonds,” told her Derek, playful disappointment in her voice. “Then you’d know the difference between different pack bonds.
“Alright, before I call Stiles down, I want to remind you guys that if you shout, scream or frighten her somehow I’ll physically throw you out of the house. We didn’t particularly want to hide it from you, but Deaton said that there was a chance she would disappear. Hence, the two weeks of waiting.”
Jackson’s voice was tentative. “Do you mean-”
Stiles could tell Derek felt bad when he said, “Not Lydia.”
“Then who-” started Scott, but Derek raised his voice enough for Stiles to hear.
“You can bring her down now, Stiles.”
Stiles moved slowly, carefully, as he went down the stairs, Phoenix asleep in his arms. The stairwell faced the door hallway, so he managed to took in a deep breath once he got down them, before he walked into the living room.
They were all staring at the door, probably having already heard the two heartbeats approaching, but their eyes still looked in shock when Stiles and Phoenix walked in.
Boyd was the first to close his mouth, snapping it audibly close before looking back at Derek. “You… is she ?”
“Yeah,” and Derek was smiling when Stiles came to sit next to him, “Yeah.”
“Pack,” said Stiles then, with a winning grin on his smile. “Meet miss Phoenix Hale-Stilinski, Phoenix, meet your pack.”
“I didn’t,” Allison blinked, surprised, “I didn’t even know you were thinking of adopting !”
“She’s not adopted,” immediately said Isaac, sniffing the air. “She smells like them.”
Erica frowned, sniffing too. “She did spend two weeks locked in with them-”
“No,” Isaac shook his head, and there was a reason he was known as the best tracker in the pack. “She smells exactly like them. Like a mix of Derek and Stiles.”
The pack stared in surprise again and technically Stiles could get them out of their misery; but where would the fun be in that?
“Bro,” said Scott, staring between Derek and Stiles with wide eyes. His gaze settled on Stiles. “He knocked you up ?”
Derek let out an almost inhuman choke-sound, while Stiles had to bite his lip hard from laughing too hard and waking up Phoenix. “First of all, the implications that Derek - yanno, the werewolf with the weird werewolf biology - is not the one who could have been pregnant hurts. I could totally get Derek pregnant.” Another distressed sound from the werewolf that Stiles ignored. “Second, you saw me three weeks ago. Did I look pregnant?”
His best friend shrugged. “Weird alpha werewolf sperm,” he said, which okay, fair enough .
“No one got anyone pregnant,” whined Derek, and Stiles snorted at him.
“Dude. You got me a little pregnant.”
The Alpha’s finger was pointing straight at him, and Stiles snapped his teeth at it. “ You are the one who magicked a baby. If anything, you got yourself pregnant.”
Isaac’s eyebrows were scrunched up together. “You magicked yourself a baby?”
Stiles nodded, and tapped Phoenix’s feet thoughtfully. “I guess, kinda? Apparently nine months ago I wished for a baby hard enough that my magic decided to oblige. And two weeks ago, she appeared on our doorsteps, in a basket with her name on it, via bifrost. Deaton totally saw the aurora and the bifrost and knew what it meant, which thank god, because I thought I was going crazy.”
The explanation did not really make any sense, but the pack nodded like it all made sense. Which, given their lives, it probably did.
“Wait,” interrupted Erica. “Are you saying that the universe was pregnant for you for nine months? And you got to walk around without feeling like a whale, being able to see your feet and feeling peachy?”
Her eyes were thunderous and suddenly Stiles was very glad that there was a tiny baby between him and the she wolf. “I mean… I got some headaches and a lot of anxiety towards the end there…”
The glare she sent him would have incinerated him had he been a weaker man. “I hate you and everything you stand for, Stiles.”
But she didn’t, seen as she finally moved closer to Stiles, and her face positively melted at the sight of the little baby. “Oh my god, our babies are going to be best friends.”
Stiles also lit up. “They totally are! They’ll be amazing!”
He heard Derek groan next to him, but he didn’t care.
“I can’t believe I’m an aunt again,” went Cora shaking her head slightly. “I was worried about all the nieces and nephews Laura was going to spawn that I forgot about you two.”
At the mention of the word aunt, Stiles’ head snapped up to find Allison standing next to Erica, her expression soft.
When they made eye contact, he felt his heart thump louder in his ears. “Ally?”
“I’m happy,” she told him, blinking the tears in her eyes. “I am genuinely happy for you, Stiles.”
“We’ve decided we’ll adopt,” informed him Scott, coming to stand next to his girlfriend. “We spoke. About everything .” The emphasis on the last word and the way he looked at Stiles like he was a little crazed - subtlety had never been his strong suit - was all Stiles needed.
He grinned. “Good, good. Can’t wait for Phoenix’s godfather and godmother to supply her with more friends for life.”
Allison’s eyes went wide in shock, and Scott turned to look at Derek like he expected the older man to take it back.
The Alpha shrugged. “I couldn’t think for anyone better,” he told them, sincerely, and managed to catch the young beta when he threw himself at him.
Erica pretended to glare at Stiles. “I can’t believe you didn’t pick me as godmother!” she complained, but there wasn’t any heat in her tone.
“Hey, you got demoted when you picked Isaac to be Leon’s godfather.”
“I’d like to be excluded from this narrative!”
Telling the rest of the family was easy enough. There were a lot of tears from the Sheriff and proud smiles and handshakes from Chris Argent (while it was easy enough to get used to Allison being his sister, thinking of Chris as his father was a hell of a lot harder. Chris, thankfully, didn’t push him, and thanks to Allison, they now spent at least one breakfast a month together - John, Chris, Allison and Stiles - in which both Allison and Stiles tried to push their fathers together since Peter and Chris split up once more), Talia and Frederick had threatened Derek with being pulled out of the will if he didn’t bring her to the Hale House soon enough and Laura and Jordan Parrish had decided that 3 weeks old was old enough to set up a date with their 3 years old daughter Daya.
Which was exactly what Stiles and Derek expected of them.
The moment the pack was allowed back into the pack house, Erica and Boyd were handing them parenting books and advices like they were some old all-knowing parents instead of having become so about 6-7 months ago.
They indulged them, though, because they did have some competent advice every now and then.
There wasn’t any supernatural paediatrician around that Deaton could connect them with yet, so they ended up the same human that Erica and Boyd used, and if they suspected supernatural reasons for their baby crying in the middle of the night - “Stiles, it’s just colic. It’s what babies do ,” “You can’t know that for sure ! She could be seriously hurt!” “It’s 2 in the morning and her body is too small for possession!” “Tricksters are tricky by nature, now give me the phone! ” - Deaton was surprisingly forthcoming with answers.
The answers being, “She is fine, Stiles.”, “I’m pretty sure it’s colic, Stiles,” and “The door was locked, how did you get in, Stiles?”.
“ How did the visit to Deaton go? ”
Stiles glared at the phone in his hand, pulling down the hood of the stroller so that it didn’t get too hot for Phoenix.
“It went okay.”
He could almost hear the laughter in Derek’s voice, which made him pout. “ And said that… ”
Stiles made an exaggerated noise as he threw some of the bechamel sauce in the basket. “That maybe…”
“ Yes, dear?”
“It might be colic,” he finished, trying to say the words as fast as possible.
Derek had, however, been with Stiles since Stiles was like 17 years old.
“ Colic? Really? Did anyone think of that?”
“Hardy har har. Are you using your daughters potential illness to make a point to your husband, Derek Hale-Stilinski?”
“ I’d never.”
“Uh-uh, I hope not. What time is everyone getting to the house?”
He considered the tomato sauce in front of him with a grimace. Cora hated that particular brand but Allison had made him promise to make lasagne that day. Which meant, “I might have to do the sauce from scratch.”
“ Oh no,” Derek’s voice did not sound disappointed at all. The fucker. “ I think everyone should arrive at around 8 o’clock. I’ll get there 7.30. Are you sure you want to walk it back home? It’s a 30 minutes walk from the supermarket.”
“I think I’ll go by Dad’s place and cook there, if he’s not home. That way I can leave some for him and I can rest for a while before going home.”
“ Want me to pick you up from there?”
“Nah,” He picked up some boxes of lasagna because he was not stupid and he knew his pack. “I’ll call you if I need a lift, but I doubt it. See you at home?”
“ Love you!”
“You love my lasagna,” he snarked, affection in his voice. “Phoenix and I love you too!”
Finally he put down his phone, and leant in closer to his sleeping baby. “Guess what, Nixie Trixie? We are going to see Pops today!”
His father had made a point to say that, as he was just in his fifties, Stiles had no business making him feel older than he was, which meant the name ‘granpa’ was scrapped for the less conservative ‘pops’.
It was a funny discussion which included Melissa calling him ‘old man’ and Talia saying that she was just a few years older than him and was the perfect grandmother, but his father hadn’t budged.
“Stiles. Hello,” came a pleasant voice from behind him, and Stiles turned around, surprised.
He hadn’t really seen Mrs. Nelson since that night in the woods where she told them that he and Allison were related.
Okay, that was a lie.
He had seen her around Beacon Hills, but they hadn’t interacted past a nod of acknowledgment since that night.
The woman’s eyes fell on Phoenix in the carrier, and widened up for a moment. Then she gave him a dazzling smile. “And who’s this sweetheart?”
For some reason, Stiles felt nervous at the thought of introducing Phoenix to someone who wasn’t pack. But Mrs. Nelson was somewhat of an ally, who would do anything to protect the supernatural and the Nematon in Beacon Hills.
“Her name is Phoenix,” he explained, smiling a little proud. “She’s my daughter.”
The woman looked particularly surprised at this, and her eyes snapped to the younger girl. “My oh my. She got the same nose as you, Stiles.”
To him, Phoenix was shaping up to be a proper Hale lady. Her eyes were still bright green, and the few hair she hadn’t shed yet was a dark colour closer to Derek’s black than Stiles’ dark brown. But it did make him stupidly happy knowing that she was getting something from Stiles too.
They chatted for a little while longer before she had to leave, and then Stiles busied himself grabbing the last few things he was going to need for dinner.
The cashier also fussed over the baby for a while, and by the time Stiles finally stepped outside, he felt almost foolish at his nervousness with bringing Phoenix out in public.
He put the plastic bags under the stroller and pulled the hood back up. “Okay, Nixie Trixie. Still asleep uh? Make sure you stay that way until we get to-”
His head darted up and he looked behind him, a shiver running down his back. He had felt it, like a cold tear running down his back.
Someone watching him.
It was afternoon on a November wednesday in the supermarket closest to the woods, and there was maybe two non black window tinted cars parked. Other than him and Phoenix, there seemed to be no one else outside.
He kept his white knuckling hands on the stroller, and glanced around him for a moment, heart beating faster; there was no one around him, he couldn’t see anyone around him, but instead of calming him down, the thought frightened him.
There was no one around him.
He pulled out his phone from his pocket, ready to dial 911 and then something hit him in the neck and the world went black.
Derek sighed when he opened the door, the sound of the pack laughing and joking around having alerted him of their presence since before he pulled up the familiar driveway.
“I’m home, sorry I’m late,” he called, dropping his keys in the basket near the entrance.
“Don’t you ever say ‘ honey, I’m home ’?” wondered Erica, when he finally walked into the living room.
Derek rolled his eyes. “My husband does that enough for the both of us.”
“My husband, ” mimicked Cora in an overly saccharine tone, snickering when her brother narrowed his eyes and gave her a playful growl.
“Speaking of said husband,” said Jackson, appearing from the kitchen with a glass of water, “Where is he?”
That did make Derek pause for a second. He focused on the number of heartbeats in the house, or for the scent of magic that Stiles always used when he was hiding said heartbeat, and frowned. “He isn’t here? Who let you in?”
“We have keys,” reminded him Allison with a shrug.
“For emergencies,” reminded her the Alpha, pulling out his phone. He had a couple of missed calls from the pack, but none from Stiles. He dialled him up.
Boyd seemed to frown a little. “I thought he was with you and that’s why he wasn’t answering. We’ve been calling the both of you for the past half an hour.”
“I was in my car,” explained Derek, listening with rising dread as the call connected but wasn’t answered. “Stiles said he was with his dad-”
Scott was already dialling before Derek had finished his sentence. “I spoke to him a couple of hours ago, when he went shopping. He was supposed to be back by now, he’s-”
“Sheriff!” called the beta after a few rings, and everyone quietened to hear.
“ Hey, Scott. What’s going on?”
“Nothing much, we are over at the house having a pack meeting. Is Stiles there?”
“ Stiles? No, why?”
“He was- hey!”
Derek took the phone from Scott’s hand, ignoring the beta’s complaints and put it on speaker. “He said he was coming to your house to cook, he was meant to come to yours so that he could leave you some dinner. Did he not…?”
“ What? I was home all day, it was impossible for him to come by without me seeing. I was in the shower for a bit and - hey, Chris! Was Stiles over while I was in the shower?” There was a muffled answer from the other side before the Sheriff returned to the phone. “ No, he hasn’t been here at all. ”
The werewolf felt his fangs elongating and let go of Scott’s phone, dialling up Stiles’ number again. “Pick up, pick up, pick up, pick up!”
“ When was the last time you heard from him? ”
Derek did not like the connotation of the man’s voice going from ‘father/father-in-law/father figure’ to ‘Sheriff’. Not one bit.
“He went to Deaton’s around 14.00 after we had lunch, with Phoenix,” and oh god.
Stiles was with Phoenix.
He was out there, somewhere, with their daughter, and for some reason he couldn’t answer his phone. He couldn’t get to them.
“ Derek Hale you will focus now, or so help me god,” snapped the Sheriff’s voice. “ My son and granddaughter - your husband and your child! - are out there, and you’re gonna pull your shit together. Understood? ”
Derek swallowed around his fangs, then willed them to move back. “Yes, sir.”
“ Good. Now what time.”
The werewolf pulled out his phone and only had to scroll once. “I called him at 14.36, and we spoke for seventeen minutes. He was at the save mart just down Elm’s street, next to the vet centre.”
“ Good. I’ll call them up and see who was there at that time and if they had seen him. Derek, you can still feel your bonds, right?”
The man nodded, then spoke. “Yeah. They are both alive.”
“ All right. You can… you can track him, right? ”
The Sheriff was right. Stiles and Phoenix were both still alive and they were the Alpha’s daughter and the Alpha’s mate. Of course the pack could track them. “Yeah, we can. We’ll find them.”
Then what was that feeling of impending doom in his chest?
“ I know you will, son. ”
The phone clicked, the call ending, and Derek let his eyes flash as he turned to the rest of the pack. “Erica, you and Isaac are staying behind.” He started, growling down their immediate complaints. “We can’t bring Leon with us.”
That effectively shut the blonde down. She turned to her son and then nodded at Derek. “I know you can protect yourself, but if something happened,” don’t think about what that something could be, don’t think about it, “We need to make sure that nothing happens to him. And with a child, there have to be at least two people protecting him.”
And Stiles was alone with their child -
“Jackson, you drove here, right?” At the man’s nod, he continued. “Allison and Boyd you go with him to the mart, and see if you can track him from there. Me, Cora and Scott will proceed from here and take on the Preserve. In case he was coming back and -”
Allison’s soft hand touched his arm, but her expression was anything but soft. “We’ll find them.”
Before he could agree with her, though, Cora’s head snapped up and her eyes flashed gold.
“It’s her ,” she said, and then she was rushing outside, the rest of the pack behind her, in an almost deja-vu.
Unlike that time in the woods on Derek’s bachelor night, though, the run was short and, when she stopped, there was someone standing at the margin of the woods, not too far from the house’s backyard.
The person was standing there with a bow and an assault rifle on her back, and two more guns on her sides, covered in short hooded cape; Derek wasn’t stupid enough to assume that those were her only weapons, so he came to stand next to his sister, claws threatening to come out.
She seemed to be alone, but he wasn’t going to risk it.
“You’re the one who saved me from the hunter, that night,” said Cora, eyes narrowed on the figure. Derek glanced at his sister for a second, but this wasn’t the time to ask her what she was talking about. “Who are you?”
“You also saved Leon, that other night,” added Allison, her stance shifting from ‘kill without mercy’ to ‘you don’t have a long time to explain yourself’. “I can recognise the arrows.”
The girl tilted her head to the side then nodded to herself. She was still rigid, almost like she didn’t know whether what she was doing was okay or not.
“Alpha Hale-Stilinski,” and Derek stared at her hard. There was something almost familiar in the way she spoke, but he didn’t recall giving any hunter - because she definitely smelled of weapons and wolfsbane - the information that he hyphenated with Stiles. “Your daughter is in danger and I know where she is.”
Derek started forward, but immediately came face to face with the ring of mountain ash around the huntress. He glared at her, but she didn’t seem particularly afraid. “What did you do to Phoenix?”
“ I haven’t done anything but try to protect her. Try to protect the children of this pack,” she informed him. “It’s witches who you should look out for. And I know where they are keeping her.” She paused. “ Them. ”
Derek swallowed down the million of questions in his head - the children ? why would hunters be after children? Allison’s attack from the witches and the hunters? who would order this? - because suddenly the wind blew in their favour, and the girl’s hood fell down.
The black curls fell down her cheeks, and her green eyes blinked a couple of time before settling on him again.
Stiles had told him that he had felt a chilling sensation of ‘ I know you ’ when the girl who save Leon made eye contact with him.
He felt it too.
“Who are you?” He whispered, and Cora glanced at him in confusion and fear.
The girl gave him a look, like she wasn’t going to answer, before breaking the circle with her foot and stepping out.
Then she turned back to him and rolled her eyes in that way everyone in his family always did.
“My name is Becca. Rebecca Hale. And your husband and your child are in danger, cousin.”
Stiles came back to the sound of crying that had his body trying to move before he could open his eyes. His hands were tied up.
His eyes snapped wide open, terror almost tangible in them as he struggled to get out of the bonds and to where Phoenix was, still in her stroller, crying.
“Oh, you’re awake,” came a voice.
Stiles willed his eyes to move away from his daughter and to the man who had spoken. A dark haired figure sitting standing with his back to a tree and staring at Stiles almost curiously. He appeared completely human, but Stiles had mastered reading people’s auras.
“Witch,” he spat, and the man just smiled.
“Spark,” he answered, like they were playing some sort of game.
He turned to look at Phoenix, eyes widening in shock when he realised that the light in the clearing - there were a lot of trees around, so they must be in the Preserve somewhere - was coming from the bonfire in the clearing.
“Oh my god, are you guys insane ? She’s a baby! She needs to be fed, how long was I out for?” he asked, raising panic in his voice.
“Don’t worry,” said a terribly familiar voice as a terribly familiar face appeared next to the stroller, a bottle in her hands. “We have been feeding and cleaning her. We aren’t monsters, Myeczyslaw.”
“Mrs. Nelson,” he let out, through gritted teeth.
The librarian was standing before him, picking up his daughter so she could be fed. Her eyes were on Stiles though, almost unhappy. “I am very sorry it had to come down to this.”
Stiles really didn’t like those words. “What are you talking about? Nothing happened. You can still let us go and maybe my husband won’t kill you.”
Mrs. Nelson ignored his words, speaking again. “I’ve spent all my life here in Beacon Hills. I’ve never hurt anyone, never destroyed any other human being,” she said, and Stiles felt a chill down his back. “I’ve never thought I’d have to, one day.”
“You don’t have to, you don’t,” immediately said the spark, trying to free himself. But he couldn’t use his magic no matter how hard he tried, and both his hands and legs were tied. “Just let us go, please. Don’t hurt her.”
“I do have to, though. For every witch in the world.”
Stiles looked at her as desperately as he could - which wasn’t hard since he was desperate enough - while he tried to subtly work through his binds. “What?”
“There is a prophecy,” and of course there was. There was always a prophecy. “ Beware of the daughter of the Hale branch, with the eyes like grass; beware of the daughter of the Hale pack, with Lilith’s blood on her back; beware of her, Artemis’ flock, as inevitable as the moving clock.”
There were three other people, other than the man and Mrs. Nelson. One of them was another witch, but the other two were hunters.
Mrs. Nelson’s eyes bored into his. “Do you understand, Myeczyslaw?”
“You have no right to call me that,” he managed, hotly. “You might have helped my mother give birth to me, but you just kidnapped me and my daughter. You lose every right when you do that.”
“Myec- Stiles.” She finally said, moving closer to him with Phoenix still in her arms. Stiles wanted to scream. “Do you not understand the prophecy? You have always been the smart one.”
Stiles swallowed down, trying to in any way access the pack bonds and try to contact Derek. But it was impossible. It was like he didn’t have his magic at all.
Which meant… stall her.
“You think,” he said, slowly. “That Phoenix is dangerous to you?”
“Perhaps not now,” allowed the older woman, patting her back. “But prophecies don’t lie. Lilith’s children and Artemis’ children are in danger because of her. In the wrong hands-”
“But she’s in the right hands!” said the brunet, jumping onto that line. “The Hale Pack and the Hale-Stilinski Pack have always done what’s best for the people. We would never let her do anything evil . We’ve protected this town time and time again, haven’t we?”
“Stiles,” she said, gently, in a motherly voice. Stiles had never hated that tone of voice as much as he did now. “I know you . You would raze the world for your family; even if she ended up killing the entire witch population on Earth, you would still protect her.”
“I wouldn’t,” a lie, they both knew it, even with no werewolves around to tattle. “Mrs. Nelson, she’s a baby. You can’t kill her.”
“Every witch is in danger, Stiles. Good witches, bad witches, white witches and necromancers. Hunters who follow the code. Their children,” she shook her head. “I’ve done everything right in my life, and if it was just me that was at risk, I wouldn’t care. It wouldn’t matter.
But how can I risk everyone that way? You do understand. If it wasn’t your daughter, if the positions were reversed, you would do what I am.”
“I wouldn’t listen to prophecies to begin with!” he snapped, and struggled violently against his bonds. “Trying to prevent prophecies has never gone well for anyone. It’s dangerous, and you know that Mrs. Nelson. The meaning is always clear in hindsight.”
The woman wasn’t listening to him. She looked up at the new moon in the sky, and back down, as if she was possessed. “I’m doing what’s right. I’m doing what I’ve always done, Stiles. Protecting the supernatural.”
“She’s a baby! Mrs. Nelson, please!” cried out Stiles lurching his whole body forward and falling on the ground. He tasted the mud in his mouth and spat it back out, trying to roll until he could see them again. “You knew my mom. You helped my mom. You can’t do this, not now!”
“I won’t spill her blood,” she promised, putting the baby down on a stump - the fucking Nematon? Really? Again?! - and nodded her head. “A zap, and she’ll be gone.”
Stiles couldn’t even see Phoenix anymore. “Please, don’t, just don’t! There has to be another way! There is always another way.”
The Pack had taught him that. Everytime Derek and Stiles proposed murder as a solution on how to deal with someone Scott and the rest came up with something else; another way, a way to save everyone else.
But Scott wasn’t there.
“She’s my babygirl,” he cried, tears spilling out of his eyes, and he should have known that the bond meant nothing . She could still disappear, she was going to disappear. “Please, Mrs. Nelson. Please, I’m begging you. Don’t hurt her.”
The three witches started chanting, not listening to Stiles’ cries. He couldn’t even move, couldn’t see what they were doing behind him.
Phoenix started crying, and Stiles’ heart broke.
“Let me hold her. Please, let me hold my baby one last time, let me say goodbye to her. Just one more time, let her fall asleep in my arms, don’t, just,”
The chanting increased, and Phoenix’s wails with it.
Stiles felt like he was going to have a panic attack, like he couldn’t breathe , but there was no time for that. He had to save Phoenix, he had to save his baby -
He heard a pained yelp, and the sound of growls, shouts and arrows flying around the clearing.
“ Stiles! ”
Derek. Derek? “Derek!” he shouted, lifting up his head.
His vision was blurry, but he could see the pack, at the edges of the clearing. Why weren’t they rushing in? Why were they fighting around in a circle -
“ The arrow! The arrow!”
What was he saying? What arrow? They needed to get to Phoenix, what was the -
There was an arrow stuck in the ground right next to Stiles’ elbow.
As a gag, once, Chris Argent had ‘kidnapped’ him and tied him in a chair in an abandoned warehouse, with a magical rope and a knife. He had told him that it was an Argent tradition and, seen as he was, biologically, an Argent, it was time for him to learn too.
That had backfired on the hunter, though.
Stiles had freed himself in about ten minutes.
He didn’t have ten minutes, right then; but there were stories about mothers that were able to lift a car or a school bus off their children on nothing but adrenaline alone.
Hysterical strength, it was what they called it.
Well, consider Stiles hysterical.
He pushed out the noises of the battle, the revolvers sniping at everyone around, the arrows swishing around him, the cries and growls and shouts and focused on Phoenix’s.
On her cries, her energy, her presence, and getting to her, getting to his daughter.
He would die today if he had to, but she wasn’t going anywhere.
She was going to stay alive for more years, and one day Derek would tell her this story, about how the pack worked together and saved her, how the new moon in the sky observed as they fought witches and hunters to get her back.
He didn’t cry out in happiness or excitement once his hands were free. He didn’t bring any attention to himself, and ripped the bonds on his feet with bloodied hands, and stood up.
There was nothing in his mind but Phoenix, and getting to her and getting her the hell out of there, saving her no matter what. He couldn’t hear anyone’s voice, anyone’s cries when the hunters shot them or a spell hit them, or an arrow found its target.
Couldn’t hear anything but his own blood coursing through his veins, his magic thumping like a shield around him and Pheonix’s cries.
“ Stiles, look out!”
Stiles looked up.
Mrs. Nelson had a crazed look in her face as she stood, bloody gunshots on her sides and her leg, but her hands were glowing with a white light, glowing with power.
And her hands were pointed at Phoenix.
Everything seemed to slow down as Stiles shouted, a blood curling “ No! ” and ran towards the stump, jumping over the body of a dead witch and stepping into someone’s crimson blood.
Derek was growling, fully shifted in his werewolf form, and arrows were descending onto the unstable witches’ form.
The pack was shouting, screaming without sounds and trying to break the barrier that Stiles knew would only break once Mrs. Nelson was dead.
Phoenix was still crying, her face red and twisted in fear? hunger? anger?. He had to get to her, he had to save her, he couldn’t let her be hurt.
Better him, better everyone in the whole world die than a single hair be pulled from his daughter, and if the prophecy was what Mrs. Nelson thought it meant, then let it be true, because he wasn’t losing Phoenix today, he wasn’t losing her ever .
For the fraction of a second he saw the girl - the huntress? - from when Leon was taken, as she fell to her feet and covered herself with a cloak, and then he was hitting the tree stump, using his whole body to cover his daughter.
Stiles crouched on top of Phoenix’s, blood rushing in his ears, and he was hit by the spell.
The last thing he thought was,
“I’ll keep you safe.”