“Stiles, son, I really hate to do this to you, but the only time the we could get the fishing trip scheduled is the week after Labor Day.” They’re having breakfast on a random day in early August. Soon they’ll head out to the fields to supervise their summer interns in the endless tasks of watering, and weeding, and harvesting for the market.
Stiles stares at his dad blankly for a moment, before saying automatically, “That’s okay, Dad,” even as his mind races, thinking, how are we gonna get it all done? Harvest time is an all-hands-on-deck time of year, but Stiles refuses to let his dad feel guilty about taking a little time off. He’s supposed to be retired, but he works at least as hard now, on the farm, as he ever did when he was the Sheriff.
“I know it’s right smack in the middle of the harvest, but you remember we couldn’t make the timing work earlier in the summer.” His dad picks up a spoon and taps it on the table, frowning at his coffee.
Stiles nods. Dad and some of his old colleagues from law enforcement try to go fishing the same weekend in June every year, but Tara’s wife had been going through chemo at the time, so she couldn’t get away, and Bill had been in PT after a knee replacement, so they’d had to postpone.
“It’ll be fine, John,” Derek says, coming in with three-year-old Molly on his hip. “We’ll figure it out. You can’t miss your trip.” Stiles is glad Derek was paying enough attention to the conversation (even while tying Molly’s shoes) to jump in. Because that had certainly been the next thing Dad was going to say--offer to skip the trip so as not to let them down.
“Grandpa!” Molly crows, practically flinging herself out of Derek’s arms and crashing into John’s lap.
“Oof, little one,” he says, but picks her up and rubs his cheek on her bright hair. Stiles bites the inside of his cheek to ground himself a little. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, seeing his dad and his daughter together. He loves them so damn much.
Stiles turns back to the stove, and Derek squeezes his shoulder on his way to the coffee maker. Stiles relaxes a little. Derek’s right. He’s sure they can manage without dad for three days. “Yeah, Dad, don’t worry. We can get it all done, you need to go fishing for sure.” He meets his dad’s eyes and nods firmly, and Dad smiles back at him.
A month later, and Dad’s fishing trip’s coming up mid-week. It’ll be a challenge to get all the work done; the last of their summer interns have finally gone back to school, with them only available to help on the weekends, now.
Stiles and Derek have a schedule all worked out to get the harvesting done while wrangling Molly. It’ll be tight, but they can do it.
They’re all sitting around the dinner table after a marathon day in the fields, yawning over their food, when Derek’s phone buzzes from the counter. He reaches over and picks it up, blinks at the screen and saying, “Oh, I’d better take this? It’s George.” He sounds puzzled as he picks up, walking out of the room.
“George? As in, Derek’s boss?” John asks.
Stiles shrugs. “I guess so?” It’s rare for them to actually talk on the phone, they conduct almost all their business via email, and having face-to-face meetings like, quarterly. But he’s trying to get Molly to focus on her supper, so he’s not sparing it a lot of thought. “Come on, Miss Molly, another bite of mashed potatoes, okay?” If they don’t make sure she gets a good dinner, she’ll wake up hungry in the night and none of them need that. What they need is sleep.
Derek comes back five minutes later with a guarded look on his face, back stiff. Stiles squints at him. “Something wrong?”
Derek swallows audibly, and Stiles is starting to get weirded out. “What was that about, Derek, seriously?”
Derek drops his phone to the counter and slumps against it. Molly bangs her cup against the table and says “More milk, papa, more please!” and Derek moves toward the fridge, taking her now-empty cup on his way. “Coming up, pumpkin,” he tells her, before sighing, “My quarterly meeting’s been rescheduled.”
Stiles and his dad exchange a look. Why is Derek being so strange? “So?”
With the air of a person set on ripping off the bandage all at once, Derek announces, “George had a family emergency come up, and we’re facing a hard deadline, absolutely non-negotiable. So, uh, I’m going to have to be away Thursday and Friday.”
Stiles looks at his dad, who’s wincing. And then it occurs to Stiles: Dad’s fishing trip. Oh shit. He’ll be solo, single-parenting and harvesting, all by himself, for two days.
So far they’ve managed without a regular babysitter; with three of them, juggling Molly’s care with farm tasks and Derek’s editing job has been completely manageable. Clearly they should have had some sort of contingency plan in case of emergencies.
He puts his head down on the table and starts to laugh. If it has a slightly hysterical edge, no one can blame him, right?
John reluctantly leaves for his fishing trip on Wednesday morning, Stiles having pulled himself together enough to put a brave face on his impending doom and push his dad out the door.
He and Molly survive Thursday in part because Derek got up before sunrise to make them both breakfast and pack them a lunch before he took off for his two meeting-intensive days. Stiles is chagrined to realize that he also left them carefully-planned leftovers for dinner. He’d resent Derek for it--does he think Stiles isn’t capable of taking care of their daughter for a couple of days?--if he wasn’t secretly relieved and grateful.
Derek knows him well, knows how overwhelmed he gets, and Stiles finds that simultaneously really sweet and incredibly annoying. Stiles sighs. He feels guilty that Derek takes such good care of them--of him--but he shoves that feeling away. Wallowing isn’t going to get his work done.
That night Stiles gets Molly to fall asleep at last and crashes on his own bed, which feels way too big without Derek. God, he’s spoiled. He knows Derek’s out to dinner and it’s apt to go late, but he texts him quickly anyway: Survived Day One. We miss you. He falls asleep before he gets a response.
Friday is another story. Molly had a bad night, waking up twice, piteously crying for Papa and for Grandpa, making Stiles feel like shit about being her last choice for nighttime comfort. The second time he’d just thought, fuck it, and climbed into bed with her. She’s been getting better at sleeping on her own through the night, but they’re definitely those parents who can’t bear to listen to her cry, and so they get up with her when she wakes.
They’ve been trying to get her to settle back by herself, without one of them crawling in to snuggle her back to sleep, but Stiles is only willing to fight so many battles when he’s flying solo. He knows he’ll be a better parent later for getting some more sleep now.
When Stiles’ alarm goes off, phone ringing from where he’d dropped it on the floor at 3 a.m., Molly wakes up cranky, still missing her papa and her grandpa. She’s clingy, weepy and sullen by turns as he helps her get dressed, and Stiles soothes her as best he can, solemnly helping her choose between a purple t-shirt with butterflies or a green one with chickens, and helping her buckle her sandals. He reminds himself that it’s rough for a little one, to have her routine so off-kilter. Stiles sighs. It’s gonna be a long day.
Stiles likes being a dad, but he’s not as confident in it as Derek seems to be. Stiles thinks it’s partly personality and inherent temperament, but also partly that Derek just made up his mind that he’s going to be a great parent. It’s not unlike when he started making jam: he doesn’t do things by halves. When he applies himself to something, he’s all-in.
Stiles knows he sometimes overthinks parenting, worrying about not living up to the standard set by his own dad, and comparing himself to Derek ... and finding himself coming up short next to both of them.
But Stiles never doubts how much he adores Molly. It’s overwhelming, really, the smell of her downy head, the softness of her little fingers clutching at his as she scrambles along next to him. The way she pats at his cheek and rests a hand on his neck as he carries her, heavy and warm and sweet.
After they’re both dressed (Stiles lets her choose his t-shirt, too), Stiles sits her on the counter in the bathroom and tackles her hair. Derek has her well-trained to sit still and obediently hand him elastics. “Brave girl,” he praises as he does his best to patiently work through the sleep-induced knots in her soft curls.He does a passable job at pigtails--they’re only a little lopsided--so that her hair will stay clean and moderately tangle-free for the day.
“Can you send papa a picture of us, Daddy?” she asks, eyes wide, as they peer into the mirror together.
“That’s a great idea, Molly,” he smiles, and does just that. Derek’s in meetings so he can’t respond in kind, but he does text back a silly emoticon wearing sunglasses that makes Molly giggle when Stiles shows it to her.
He gets them fed, cut up fruit and yogurt and oatmeal, and out into the fields they go. For awhile she’s amazing, despite her cranky wake-up. She’s so serious, so focused, for a little one that Stiles has a moment of dislocation, thinking of her in another decade or more, when she’ll be close to the age of the high school and college kids he had working for him, calmly competent and hard-working.
Still, he doesn’t have much time to spare for those thoughts. This isn’t a game, today, a fun little “take your daughter to work day” where he gets to go through the motions of his job. He actually has to get things harvested for the stand and for the restaurant which will send a truck for their pickup later.
It’s been a rough season, they’ve struggled to get their yields, and every day, every hour counts. It’s supposed to pour late tomorrow, so he has to get as much as he can in today. He pulls carrots, bundles them with rubber bands, and Molly puts them in a crate. It’s … not as tidy as when he does it, but it’s not bad, either, and it keeps her occupied. For a few minutes.
She collects rocks, picks flowers, makes piles of weeds, while he works and keeps a running commentary, adjusts her sunhat now and again, lets her solemnly adjust his giant hat in return. Worries about taking her back to put on more sunscreen. Holds her steady so she can squat to pee in the underbrush. Carefully keeps an eye on the time and makes sure they both drink water every half hour. This kind of multi-tasking doesn’t come easily to him. He’s exhausted.
After she’s lost interest in putting truly heinously dirty potatoes in the crates for him (and hey, she lasted longer than he’d expected) he gets lost in the task for a bit and when he looks up, she’s playing in the mud left from last night’s rain in a groove left by wheel tracks from the truck. He stands up and squints, it’s actually a perfect spot, in the shade, which explains why the water hasn’t evaporated yet and why …
“Daddy! Frogs!” she crows, and oh, that’s fantastic, they’ll keep her occupied for awhile longer as he finishes up the morning’s tasks. He manages to pick several pounds of string beans while she’s splashing in the muddy puddle. So much for that outfit, dear lord, who knew one child could absorb that much mud. He’s cautiously optimistic, though. All told, it’s been a remarkably productive day so far. Only one more shift to go.
“We did so well this morning, Molly-bee,” he tells her as he wraps her in a towel before strapping her into the truck. It’s a farm truck, it’s not like it’s pristine inside, but he wants a layer of protection between her muddy little self and the seat anyway. “What did you like best?”
“Frogs, and flowers, and,” she yawns. “Is it lunchtime, daddy?”
“Yeah, baby. Want a peanut butter sandwich?”
“With papa’s jam?”
“Of course, pumpkin. Is there any other kind?”
He’s feeling hopeful about his plan for the afternoon: harvesting squash and pumpkins, and Molly will probably like loading the little delicata and carnival squashes into boxes with him. He has to get the cooking greens cut, too, kale and collards and chard.
Then, if he can get her to nap, he’ll pick the lettuce and micro-greens and heirloom tomatoes, which need to be as fresh as can be for the restaurant’s pickup at 4:30. He saves the little sun gold cherry tomatoes for last. That’s his ace in the hole, he knows she’ll be delighted because those are fun to pick for pretty much everybody. She’ll probably eat enough of them to set off her eczema, Stiles sighs to himself, but that’s life.
After lunch, though, everything goes to hell. Right after they finish eating, Molly trips on the stone step out the back door and bumps her face, has a big goose egg on her forehead and a nasty scrape on her cheek. That slows them down, he has to get her ice and a bandage and, fuck it, a popsicle. They sit for a few minutes on the glider.
“I don’t wanna help in the field anymore,” she says, looking up at him solemnly, tear tracks still showing on her face.
“I know, baby, I’m sorry.”
“I’m not a baby, daddy!” She protests. “And I want to play here.”
Stiles hates this feeling. He’d like nothing more to play with her at the house this afternoon, or push her on her swing. But it’s not an option, Stiles has got to get more accomplished. “I’m sorry, Molly-girl, it has to get done.”
She sticks out her lip in a pout that would be funny if Stiles weren’t about to pull his own hair out in the frustration of trying to get both their needs met. “I miss papa,” she whines. “I want papa.”
“Me too, baby, me too.” He picks her up gently, rocks her and breathes into her sweaty hair. “Let’s get in the truck, and then I’ll give you a piggyback ride while we look at the veggies we have to pick for the rest of the day, okay?”
She lets out a shuddering sigh in response, but at least she doesn’t argue anymore.
No sooner does he coax her out to the fields, but she gets stung by a yellow jacket, and then Stiles gets stung by several more when he’s trying to get her away from the nest. He can’t tell if she’s more pissed off by the pain of the sting--it always surprises him how much they hurt, god--or by him dragging her away from the nest against her will.
He manages to get them both soothed and patched up with the first aid kit in the truck, and then she’s sleepy and so he fixes her a little fort to nap in. God knows she’s tired, after that rough night and the difficulties of the past hour. But it's not an ideal napping situation--he worries that she’ll be too hot, or that she’ll wake up and wander off, so even when she’s sleeping he doesn’t feel like it’s less of a responsibility. He keeps running back to check that she’s okay every few minutes.
As Stiles pulls back the row covers and cuts and bags greens, his mind wanders. He doesn’t feel like he juggles the multitasking required by parenting--especially single parenting--particularly well. If all he has to do is focus on Molly, he’s fine. He can read to her for hours. Build a fort with her. Color pictures or squish play-doh; build with blocks, or tell stories with her stuffed animals, or pretend to be dinosaurs as they climb around their climbing structure outside.
But when he’s expected to get things done while parenting, up to and including feeding them both, he’s frazzled, stretched to the point of a breakdown. If she’s cranky he can’t seem to juggle cooking or fixing her a snack at the same time as preventing a full-scale meltdown.
He knows how, theoretically, it’s just that his brain seems to short out and he can’t focus effectively on either thing. It makes it worse that both Derek and his dad seem to manage it effortlessly.
Finally Molly wakes up, groggy and slow, and he holds her close and talks to her about how they’re almost done, baby, they just have to harvest some cherry tomatoes, and then the restaurant will send a truck to come pick up what they picked today. Then they’ll be done, and they can go back to the house and make supper and watch a show and then papa will be home in the morning.
That last thought brightens her up almost immediately. “Papa?” she asks, and Stiles’ heart gets a little melty as he thinks about how much they both want Derek back home with them.
Half an hour later, Stiles says, “Molly, you are a champion cherry tomato picker! I think you picked more than I did!” And he’s hardly exaggerating. She picked about a million of them, filling a whole tray loaded with half-pint containers.
She blinks at him and says, “That’s because you have to bend over, Daddy. I’m just the right size to reach them.”
Stiles laughs and says, “I guess you’re right, Miss Molly.”
Finally they’re through, and the restaurant’s truck arrives to pick up their vegetables, and oh, god. Times like these Stiles really hates that wearing his wedding ring while working is a bad idea. But he had one close call where he got his finger pinched between a crate and his truck and he’d managed to bend it back with pliers and then get it repaired, but once was enough. Wearing it while working isn’t worth losing a finger over.
The kid the restaurant sent for the pickup and the inspection of the produce is new, and he introduces himself, “Hi, I’m Lance,” clasping Stiles’ hand a little too long, expression a little too cocky, and … he’s just not quitting, is he. Just one more annoying fucking thing in this long-ass day.
Lance is young and arrogant and apparently thinks he can flex his muscles and bat his eyes and Stiles will, what, fall at his feet? Stiles hopes his impatience is staying internal but he can’t help looking askance at the guy as he hitches Molly higher on his hip. He can’t be outright rude. The dude may be a douche, but he’s an employee of a client. If he gets yet another suggestive leer, though, and in front of his kid, for crying out loud, Stiles isn’t going to even try to hold back.
Turns out he doesn't need to worry about it.
“And who’s this cutie,” he asks, all smarmy, and Stiles smiles through clenched teeth.
“My daughter,” he says, and sometimes she’s the best because she looks straight at Lance, saying, “I’m Molly, and this is my daddy, but I miss my papa, who’s coming back after one more sleep.”
Lance’s eyebrows shoot up, and Stiles works hard at keeping his smirk internal as the guy’s thoughts rearrange on his face.
“Isn’t that nice,” he manages, and Stiles smiles, the most genuine he’s managed since the dude got here.
He pulls out his clipboard and marks off all the crates, hands it to Stiles to double-check. “If we’re all good here?” Stiles asks, scribbling his signature to sign-off on the pickup.
Stiles was already counting the hours till he can just be done with today, wake up tomorrow with Derek there to help him but now he can’t help but laugh a little hysterically as Lance drives away.
“What’s funny, daddy?” Molly wants to know.
“Nothing, pumpkin. Just looking forward to seeing your papa again, is all.”
Stiles gets their hands and faces cleaned off enough for the time being; he sits Molly in the kitchen with some blocks and a puzzle while he cuts up some carrots and an apple and feeds them to Molly while he cooks plain pasta for dinner. Hunts around the fridge for some cheese to grate over the top of it and morosely eats raw peppers and broccoli with the carrots Molly’s still eating. He misses Derek aggressively.
Despite their cursory clean-up before dinner, Molly’s filthy--they both are--but the tub, and her bubbles and boats, makes her happy.
Stiles sinks down on the bathroom floor, a folded towel wedged under his butt as he leans against the door. Of course he forgot his damn tablet, or his phone, but he’s almost too tired to care, rests his head against his knees, listens to Molly splashing and singing to herself in the bath. He helps her get the worst of the dirt off, washes her hair, gently wipes the scrapes on her face and her knees, cleans off the bee sting. It’s already fading.
He wraps her in a towel, sits her on the floor and takes the world’s fastest shower himself, watching the filthy water sluice off him and run down the drain.
He’s so exhausted that he just crashes out next to Molly on her twin bed, falls asleep at 8 o’clock, for all it’s not even dark yet. He wakes up abruptly in the dark, disoriented and with a gross taste in his mouth. He flounders around, finds his phone under the pillow at squints at the time, 10:30. Derek’s due home soon, thank all the powers that be. Molly’s sound asleep, sprawled on her belly. After all the fresh air and the crises of the day he crosses his fingers that she’s down for the night. Last night had been bad, but unusual. She should sleep through, tonight.
He stumbles back to his and Derek’s room, strips down, brushes his teeth, falls back into bed. Has a vague thought that he could stay up and welcome Derek home properly, but … it’s just not happening. Next thing he knows he’s jolting awake as the rooster crows and then he hears Molly’s feet hitting the floor before she comes dashing into their room, throwing herself onto the Derek-shaped lump of sheets next to him. Damn it, their kid got to greet her papa before Stiles did. He really is useless, he thinks as he pulls on work pants and looks for a clean shirt.
Derek’s sitting up in bed, telling Molly how much he missed her and rubbing his cheek over her hair. They’re so cute Stiles wants to die. Wants to crawl back in and curl up against them both, ignore all the shit he has to do today. How Derek can be so bright and chipper after so little sleep, after the stressful days he’s had, Stiles doesn’t get that at all.
Suddenly Stiles sniffs the air and turns to stare at Derek, who smirks at him.
“You are a miracle worker. You got home in the middle of the damn night and you still managed to program the coffee maker.”
“Had to make sure you have a reason to keep me around, after all,” Derek says, smiling softly.
Stiles rolls his eyes. As if he needed to do any more than he already does.
Molly’s curled up comfortably, sucking her thumb and clutching Derek’s t-shirt like she’s never planning on letting go. “What happened to your face, Miss Molly?” He asks, tone mild, but Stiles still feels a stab of guilt.
“I fell on the step.”
“And I got stung by a bee, see?” she pulls up the sleeve of her lightweight nightie to show Derek the now barely-swollen spot on her arm.
Derek meets Stiles’ eyes. “Sounds like you guys had a rough day, hm?”
Stiles makes a wry face and nods.
“We missed you, Papa!”
“You think Daddy missed me, too?”
“Mm-hm,” she nods solemnly. “He said so.”
“Did he now?”
Stiles rolls his eyes again and drops a kiss on top of Derek’s sleep-flattened hair before heading downstairs. “Hey, come back here, you, I want a proper one of those.”
“Later, I promise,” Stiles says over his shoulder. “I have a metric ton of stuff to get done this morning.”
“Make sure you eat something,” Derek calls after him.
“I will, don’t worry.” He’s so happy Derek’s back home to take care of them all, his heart could burst. He knows how much more smoothly this day’s gonna go with Derek there overseeing things.
There are a few hours of cloudy skies as Stiles races against the impending rain to get more tomatoes, green beans, and herbs harvested. It actually works out pretty well, because today’s the day when he needs to make the deliveries himself to the two other restaurants he’s contracted to. And the food pantry in town. The rain holds out until he’s behind the wheel, amazingly enough. He’s efficient and it’s so much faster to work with focus, without having to worry about Molly. Splitting his attention just isn’t his forte.
After dinner that evening, which is roasted chicken and rice pilaf and sauteed vegetables--it’s all fucking delicious, worlds beyond last night’s dinner--Derek goes to put Molly to bed while Stiles checks his harvest list for tomorrow and makes a plan for the rest of the week. He’s going through their outstanding invoices half an hour later, when Derek comes back downstairs.
“I think so.” Derek picks up a pile of paperwork from next to Stiles and plops down in its place. “I feel like I haven’t really seen you since I got back.” He says, leaning in for a kiss. Stiles kisses him back, but he’s distracted.
“Hey. You okay?”
“Not … not really,” Stiles says, rubbing his eyes tiredly.
Sometimes Stiles almost resents how good Derek is at parenting, how effortless he makes it look, but right now, after watching Derek and Molly interact at dinner, it’s kind of turning him on. For a relationship that pretty much started by getting off on domesticity, it’s not that surprising that Derek being a good dad turns him on. Domesticity kink, they have it. But the resentment and the arousal are swirling around in an odd mixture in his mind, making him cranky.
He yanks his thoughts back into line. Derek’s still waiting for an answer.
“I just … I suck at being a single parent. You do most of her care and you make it look so easy, and I … I just feel like I can’t measure up.”
“Stiles, we bring different things to the table, for god’s sake. we’re … look. Do you think I could have done my job for the last two days with a three-year-old along?”
Stiles feels like Derek thinks he’s being childish and stupid here. “Of course not.” The idea’s laughable, Derek in an office, a conference room, for hours on end, and having Molly there? A tiny, incredibly stubborn part of him thinks if anyone could do it, it’d be Derek, giving her stickers and things to color and puzzles and toy cars and …
“I couldn’t, okay?”
Stiles just looks at him, nose wrinkled. “Well, I bet you could, actually--” he starts, but Derek cuts him off with a raised hand.
“Maybe? But it wouldn't be pretty, and what you did manage to get done in two days ... I just think your standards for yourself are too damn high. You kept the two of you fed and clean and you got your quotas harvested and you got up today and got done what needed doing and now … now you can sit here.” Derek rubs his neck soothingly and Stiles melts into the touch despite himself.
“Yeah, but she like, ruined two shirts and I didn’t do any laundry, and she fell and got hurt, and stung by a bee, and--” he holds up his hands to forestall the interruption he can see coming, “and, it’s not like you weren’t working your ass off for the last two days, either, and then you have to come back home and instead of getting to rest, you have to hit the ground running. I just … I wish I could have given you some time to decompress.”
“Stiles. I did that. I do that. I got that today, with Molly, and I’m getting it now, with you.”
“Come on, dude, you worked hard all damn day today. You made sure I ate, and you gave her way healthier food than I managed, and you harvested herbs and greens, too, when she was napping. You’re … just better at this shit than I am.” He slumps down. Derek slips his arm around his waist and squeezes sympathetically.
Stiles hates how whiny and pathetic he sounds, but he can’t quell his feeling of inadequacy. It’s borne of niggling worry and a long challenging season that started with a drought and is ending with torrential rains and it’s just feeling out of control in all the ways. He’s afraid he expanded the farm too much, that it’s too much work and stress for his dad, for all of them.
Worry and doubt are a part of his inner workings. He can usually manage to keep these feelings in check, but right now? He’s feeling overcome. He sighs, and Derek just pulls him in closer, snuggled tight against his side.
“I didn’t even tell you about the frosting on the cake, yesterday,” he says finally.
“No ... what happened?”
Stiles rubs his hand through his hair. Now that he’s actually saying it to Derek he feels idiotic. “You know that restaurant, Figs, like, our biggest account? They have a new delivery guy who thought it’d be good fun to hit on the farmer.”
Derek pulls back a little to blink at him. “Really?”
“Yeah, really, and with Molly right there, that loser.”
“So what happened?”
Stiles tells him about Lance and how Molly inadvertently came to his rescue, and Derek laughs hard, eyes crinkling. “That girl. We must be doing something right. And,” he gives Stiles a slow, appreciative once-over. “What can I say, the guy might have been out of line? But he has good taste.”
Stiles scoffs. “You’re such an asshole, you’re like, taking it as a compliment that I got hit on.”
Derek shrugs, unrepentant. “Darn right I am. Not my fault my hot husband brings all the boys to the farm.”
Stiles rolls his eyes. “Are you even for real right now?”
“Mostly I’m proud of Molly for protecting the sanctity of our marriage. Who knew a three-year old could cockblock some wannabe homewrecker?”
Derek leans in for a lingering kiss, then puts his hand on Stiles’ thigh and rubs gently. Stiles shivers a little then pulls back to smirk at him. “Feeling the need to claim your territory there, buddy?”
Derek arches an eyebrow at him. “What if I am?”
Stiles kisses him soft and slow, pulls back again, looks Derek right in the eye. “I wouldn’t mind.”
“As long as our daughter remembers her place and doesn’t wake up to cockblock us, it’ll all be good.”
“Stiles,” Derek says quietly, in the dark, in each other’s arms. As much as Stiles loves sex with Derek, the post-orgasmic naked cuddling, as he thinks of it, is almost better. It’s late and they need to be up in a few hours; harvest season waits for no one. At least his dad will be coming back home tomorrow and back in the fields with them on Monday.
“Mmmf?” Stiles asks, and Derek strokes down his arm, just barely catching the hairs there. It’s so soothing, just sweeps up and down his arm and then pausing at his shoulder, breathing softly into his hair. It’s so comfortable and Stiles is so very relaxed. “What is it, babe,” he says, and his voice sounds scratchy with relaxation even to his own ears.
“I want you to know something. I know … I know you feel insecure, and you shouldn’t. I don’t think you get how much … what I do, it’s just, it’s what comes naturally to me, and I want to take care of you, and Molly, and your dad. You guys are … you’re everything to me. What I do is honestly the least I could to to show you how much you mean to me. I wish I could make you understand that.”
Stiles is too close to sleep to answer coherently, but he twists his head around and presses a kiss to Derek’s scruffy jaw. “Love you,” he says softly, and drifts off to sleep.