i built a home for you and me
Honestly, Derek doesn’t really mind this new system. He’s never really liked lecturing in person before anyway, never liked the obviously bored and sleepy stares that were always seemingly fixed on him. Quarantine, despite all its drawbacks, has provided some respite from that.
What he doesn’t consider, however, is that everything that could go wrong during virtual lectures would go wrong for him.
He’s going on and on about cognitive development in children and Piaget’s four-stage theory, when the Zoom chat icon at the bottom of his screen lights up orange.
Derek clicks on it absently, keeping his attention on his lecture slides. Usually, his students’ questions aren’t pressing, and he can address them all at once. So it’s only when he finally finishes droning on about the second stage and all of its limitations, does he look at whatever his students have been asking.
Derek frowns in confusion.
[ lmao ]
[ BABY ]
[ awww ]
[ he’s so precious looking ]
[ um, professor? you should probably…turn around ]
[ I love how he’s just standing there. ]
[ should someone unmute and say something lol ]
[ dr hale is that ur son? ]
Derek whips his head around and nearly curses out loud. It’s only because he’s a professional, has lectured in front of hundreds of students in person before, that he manages to refrain from doing so.
The door to his office is halfway open. How the intruder had slipped in without even making a sound, Derek does not know.
Isaac blinks up at him with wide, unassuming eyes.
Clutched in his arms is the large, stuffed wolf that Derek had gotten him for his first birthday. One year later, the boy is still just as attached to it as he had been when he had first opened up the present with adoring eyes.
Isaac shyly scuffs at the floor with his toe, swaying a little because the size of the wolf puts him a little off balance.
“Excuse me for a second,” Derek grimaces at his webcam and turns his head so he can look down at his son. He softens his voice because he knows Isaac is a sensitive soul, and his students don’t really need to see his child bawling everywhere. “Isaac, I’m busy. Why don’t you go find Papa, huh?”
Isaac just looks at him.
And then his lower lip starts to wobble.
“Okay, okay,” Derek swivels in his chair and leans forward, holding out his arms. “Come here.”
Isaac immediately toddles forward, lurching unsteadily, and all but falls into Derek. He nearly smacks Derek in the face with the wolf but he plucks the stuffed toy out of Isaac’s hands and sets it on the ground. Wrapping a practiced arm around Isaac’s waist, he hoists him up onto his lap.
This...will have to do for now.
He turns back to his lecture slides and says reluctantly, “Sorry about that. This…is my son. He’ll be joining us for a bit. Isaac, say hi.”
Isaac buries his face in Derek’s chest, small fingers wrinkling his button-up and tugging at his tie.
“Right.” A small smile flickers onto his lips before he squashes it down just as quickly.
This isn’t an ideal situation. He’s not exactly known for being an easygoing individual. It wouldn’t do for his reputation as a tough and no-nonsense professor to deteriorate into something else entirely, and with Isaac here…
Derek’s just going to have to pretend he’s not holding the most adorable kid in the world, if he wants his students to take him seriously.
“Let’s get back on track. According to Piaget, the concrete operational stage encompasses children from seven to eleven years of age.” Derek frees one of his arms so he can click his mouse to progress to the next slide, doing his best to ignore the flashing chat icon. “Make sure that you can distinguish this stage’s cognitive abilities and limitations from those of the formal operation stage, because they can be quite similar…”
Derek gets about five minutes into the next few slides, gently patting Isaac’s back all the while, when everything goes to shit.
The door slams open.
“Daddy!” comes a high-pitched shriek.
Derek feels a headache coming on. He closes his eyes, wishing for a quick and merciful death.
“Erica.” Derek grits out, slowly turning to send her a hard look. “Can you not see I’m in the middle of something?”
His daughter thrusts forward a paper, waving it in the air. Completely ignoring his words, she declares, “You said you would play Werewolves and Vampires with me if I finished the extra practice problems! I finished!”
“I said that a week ago. You just finished it?”
Erica falters a little, but then straightens indignantly. “Well, I…I was busy.”
Busy…with what? She’s six years old.
Derek has no idea why his tornado of a daughter is the way she is, but she certainly didn’t inherit this personality from him. No, this boisterous and exuberant behavior is definitely from someone else.
“Erica, please. Can you go find Papa for me? I need to teach right now, and Isaac’s here.”
“You’re playing with Isaac but not me!” Erica gasps, narrowing her eyes in an accusatory glare. “You’re so mean!”
“I…” Derek stares at her, bewildered. “I’m holding Isaac, not playing with him.”
Things are quickly spiraling out of control. Isaac curls up tighter in his arms, unnerved by Erica’s shrill voice. Derek quickly bounces his leg gently to try and put the boy at ease.
The door bursts open again to reveal his husband standing there in a rather disheveled state. He’s wearing a single, bright yellow rubber glove on his right hand, the other hand threading nervously through his brown hair. Disney stickers are scattered all over his jeans and even on his shirt and face. His pretty features are screwed up in annoyance, and he’s panting ever so slightly, like he had been running around the house for the entire morning. Which...knowing his kids...that's probably exactly what he had been doing.
Good lord. Just what has Erica been up to?
“Papa!” Erica wails, scrunching up her nose. “Daddy won’t play with us!”
Stiles looks harassed and thoroughly mortified.
“Daddy’s in the middle of class right now, Erica,” chides Stiles, shooting cautious glances towards Derek’s computer. When he notices Isaac on Derek’s lap, he groans and lifts a hand to facepalm, but stops when he realizes that there’s a wet glove on it. He quickly pulls it off, throwing it somewhere over his shoulder. Derek cringes. Hopefully Stiles will clean that up later.
Stiles strides toward them and Derek shifts, trying to offer Isaac up to him, but the boy just clings on tighter.
“I’m sorry,” murmurs Stiles as he bends down to pry Isaac from him. He’s close enough that he can brush his lips against Derek’s cheek. And because Stiles is Stiles and probably wants Derek to suffer at the hands of his students, he does exactly just that. “Won’t happen again, promise. I’ll keep them busy.”
“It’s fine.” Derek responds, sighing. The tips of his ears burn at the kiss. He can practically feel the gleeful stares from all his students, even the ones who have their cameras shut off. Trying not to let that perturb him, he reaches up to peel off the two stickers on his husband’s cheek.
Stiles grins sheepishly. “Thanks. Your daughter is a menace, by the way.”
Derek rolls his eyes. “Why is she always my daughter when you can’t handle her?”
“Hey! I so totally can.”
“Really.” Derek leans around Stiles, a stern expression slipping onto his face. “Erica. Stop bothering your father; you need to listen to him. Actually, stop bothering both of your fathers. This was highly disruptive, and you can be sure that I will be having a conversation with you later.”
She shrinks a little, sticking her lip out in a pout, but looks away. It’s as good of a confirmation as Derek’s going to get.
He looks back at his husband and raises an eyebrow triumphantly. “That's how you do it.”
“Whatever,” scoffs Stiles, but he looks pleased. "Not all of us have your death glare."
Stiles heaves Isaac up a little, smacking a kiss on the boy's forehead before he wiggles his fingers at the webcam. A few of Derek’s students—the ones with their cameras on, their thumbnails visible at the top of the screen—even wave back. Jesus. “Sorry for the interruption, guys. You all be good for Derek now.”
“They’re not five, Stiles. I can handle college students.”
“Oh sure.” Stiles grins knowingly and winks. “I’ll get out of your devilishly handsome hair then.”
Stiles latches onto his daughter's hand as he goes. Isaac waves a pudgy hand at Derek, peeking sweetly over Stiles's shoulder at him. Derek's heart melts a little and he can't help but lift a hand in response.
“Nooo…” Erica's whine trails off as Stiles finally manages to corral her into the hallway.
Derek’s about to turn back to his lecture when Stiles pokes his head back in, reaching for the doorknob.
“Love ya, Professor Hale.” He blows Derek a kiss, smirking.
Oh god. There goes Derek’s entire reputation.
And then Stiles is gone, shutting the door behind him.
Derek hesitantly chances a glance at the Zoom chat and isn’t surprised to see it light up with dozens of comments.
[ u monster, go play with ur cute kids ]
[ that was so adorable haha ]
[ wait, i want to play werewolves and vampires, what is that? let me play with them, i’ll do it ]
[ devilishly handsome…hair… ]
[ if we get above a standard deviation on the next exam will you play with us? XD ]
[ IS THAT THE MYSTERIOUS HUSBAND? FINALLY WE HAVE ANSWERS.
also he’s really cute gj ]
[ Omg dr hale is so good with kids. As expected of a psych professor i guess ]
[ Man, I’m never skipping this class ever again, this is gold.
Crap...sorry professor, that was supposed to be a private message, please don’t fail me. ]
Derek pinches the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger.
He can’t handle college students. At all.
"Okay.” He clears his throat and lowers his hand.
“Where were we?"
Because all of his lectures are automatically recorded and because all of Derek’s students are little shits, someone uploads a clip of the incident onto YouTube the next day.
It goes viral.