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This can only end badly

Chapter Text

This can only end badly

 

Stiles Stilinski has never been popular in school. But that’s okay. He’s okay with it, more than okay, actually.

Stiles Stilinski has no game, it’s almost like the school motto. And it used to get to him, but not anymore. Because now he has a boyfriend – people didn’t even know he was bi – and everything was okay.

Everyone could say whatever the hell they wanted about him. They could make fun of him and say he’s never been kissed. They could laugh and say nobody would ever want to sleep with him.

They could do whatever the hell they wanted.

Because he knew it was all lies.

At least that’s what he had expected to happen after the summer break. For things to continue on as usual.

They didn’t.

_

“Stiles” Lydia smiles at him as she takes the seat next to him, “What are you doing this Saturday?”

“Things” he replies, “Why?”

“I don’t know” she says, eyeing him up – is Lydia Martin checking him out? – “I thought maybe we could hang out.”

“Sorry, maybe another time” he shrugs, “Besides, aren’t you dating Jackson? And doesn’t he hate my guts?”

“Jackson and I broke up during the summer” Lydia smiles, “I’m moving on. Preferable with you.”

“Wait – are you?” he starts, the teacher walks in and he stops talking. The question dying there and then “flirting with me?”

_

“Stiles Stilinski” Danny walks up to him, and Stiles can’t help but look behind him just in case – even though Danny said his name.

“Danny” he responds, “Can I help you with something?”

“No, but I have an answer to your  question” he says, “It turns out you are attractive to gay guys.”

“Okay” Stiles frowns.

“If you want to know how much, we can find out together” he says, a glint in his eyes – Stiles takes a step back.

“Uhm – I’m flattered, but no thanks” he says, frowning at Danny, “I’ll see you at practice.”

_

“Scott” Stiles hisses when he sits down next to him during lunch, “What the fuck is going on? I’ve been hit on four times today! Is this some sort of twilight zone?”

Scott turns and looks at him, “well – you changed a lot during the summer. Your hair is longer, you got some muscle. I’d say you’ve entered the stage where you’re attractive enough to be hit on constantly.”

“What?” Stiles shakes his head, “No, I’m not!”

“Why are you complaining?” Scott asks, “Last year you hated not being noticed, you should be thrilled.”

“I would be, but I’m seeing someone, remember?” he mutters, “I’m not the cheating type.”

“Right” Scott rolls his eyes, “The imaginary girlfriend. I got to give you credit though, never thought you’d stick to the lie for so long.”

“I’m not lying” he mutters angrily, “Geez, I’m gonna eat by myself.”

“Ah, come on, Stiles” Scott pleads, “It’s just – why won’t you introduce me to her?”

“I have my reasons” he says, “It’s – different than you’d think.”

“Is she older?” he asks, “Like – a lot older? Cause that’d be wrong.”

“Eighteen” he shrugs, “But that’s not it. I – just give me some time okay?”

“Fine” he rolls his eyes, “I’ll give you some time – not forever, though.”

_

“We should tell people” Derek says, leaning against him, Stiles shakes his head.

“Not yet” he says, “They’ll evict us, or something.”

“I thought your friend Danny dated guys too” he frowns, “You really think they won’t accept it?”

“No, that’s not it” he sighs, “But you’re – your team is playing against ours, first match of the season.”

“Right” he leans back, “Because we met at lacrosse camp… you think they’ll be – ?”

“Insufferable?” he asks, “Yes! They don’t even know you and they hate you already! Captain of the Beacon Bulls, this can only end badly.”

“I’d prefer it didn’t end” he says, leaning forward and planting a kiss on his lips, “I’d also prefer not having to meet your dad…”

“Well, tough tits” he grins, “Because dad insisted you’d stay for dinner tonight… I’m kind of afraid he’ll want to do the talk or something. And I know he’ll be cleaning his gun or something. So – uhm – best behavior?”

“Always” he smiles, falling back on the bed, “You know me!”

“I do” he scratches his nose and turns to look at him, “That’s why I’m asking!”

_

Dinner goes well, all things considered. Stiles almost believes in a god when his prayers are answered and his dad doesn’t have the talk with them. He does inform them that – if they must – he’d rather they do it when he’s not home. Well, he says that the walls are very thin and that you can hear everything through them, so that’s how Stiles interprets it.

“So, Stiles” his dad starts when Derek leaves at a quarter past ten to make his curfew, “Why are you keeping him a secret?”

“What?” Stiles looks up, meeting his dad’s eyes.

“Derek! You like him, he likes you” he continues, “I thought that – when you’d finally get a boyfriend – you’d be announcing it in the local newspaper! To be honest, for the first few weeks I kept expecting to find an article about it, too.”

“It’s complicated, dad” he sighs, his dad raises an eyebrow at him – as if to say bullshit – and he stares at his feet, “He’s the captain of the Beacon Bulls.”

“Ow” the sheriff smiles sympathetically, “I get it. Yeah – that’s complicated.”

“I know, right?” Stiles shakes his head, “I mean, they’ve never even met him and they already hate him. I mean – I hated him too. But then I met Derek, and I liked him and he liked me and by the time I found out who he was it was – well…”

“Too late?” his dad finishes, Stiles nods with a weak grin, “Yeah – that’s usually how it goes.”

“Yeah” he sighs, slumping back in his chair, “What am I going to do?”

“Wish I could help you kid, but this one’s up to you” he shakes his head and gives Stiles a shoulder pat, “Just trust your friends that they want whatever makes you happy!”

“Right” he sighs again, “Right after I win the lottery” he mutters under his breath, getting up and going to bed.

_

“Did you hear” Scott sits down next to him and looks slightly annoyed, so Stiles shakes his head, “There was this thing at the other high school, so there’s going to be a few transfers.”

“What do you mean, a thing?” Stiles frowns, surely if something had happened Derek would’ve told him. He pulls out his phone and checks to find a new message.

“The roof collapsed, and part of their school is locked off” Scott says, “So the seniors are going to come here for a few weeks.”

“Oh” Stiles replies, reading Derek’s text; Don’t freak out if you see me at your school today. Roof of school collapsed.

He shoots of a quick reply and puts his phone away before Scott has the chance to ask about it.

“So – apparently” Scott rolls his eyes, “That jerk – Derek Hale – is going to come here too.”

“You don’t know if he’s a jerk” Stiles says defensively, Scott raises his eyebrow, “What – you don’t know him.”

“What? And you do?” Scott shakes his head, then looks at Stiles and his eyes widen, “Wait – do you?”

“He – uhm” Stiles bites his lip, “He’s sort of my boyfriend?”

Scott studies him for a moment and then snorts, “Sure” he shakes his head, “You got a weird sense of humor, Stiles.”

Stiles sighs, “Yeah, that’s me” he says, “Funny all the way.”

“Good one though” he says, “I wonder what he looks like.”

Stiles sighs again and pulls out his phone, showing him a picture.

“Who’s that?” he asks, frowning at the phone.

“Derek Hale” he says, “So – uhm. The boyfriend thing – not really a joke.”

“But – he’s a –“ Scott frowns, “I didn’t know you were into guys.”

“I’m into both” he says with a shrug, watching Scott study the picture.

“How did you even meet him?” he asks, handing the phone back to his friend, “I mean – I’m happy for you. It’s just – he’s the captain of the rival team.”

“Camp” he says, “I didn’t know who he was. And by the time I figured it out – well – I didn’t really care anymore.”

“Damn” Scott looks at his friend and grins, “You got it bad – you know people won’t like this, right?”

“Why do you think I haven’t told anyone” he sighs, “I only told my dad.”

“How did your dad take it?” he asks, “I mean – the boyfriend thing.”

Stiles shrugs, “He was pretty cool” he says, “A bit surprised, but that’s it.”

“And, uhm, is he nice to you?” Scott asks slowly, “I mean – I sort of have to hate him, being the caption of the lacrosse team here, but still.”

“He’s – you’d like him” Stiles says, a dreamy smile on his face, “Surprisingly romantic and all that…”

“Well – I’ll just have to meet him, I guess” Scott says, Stiles nods and his friend straightens up, “Well, here he comes.”

Stiles turns and sees his boyfriend approach, Jackson is already throwing him a dirty look, Lydia, Erica, and Danny are checking out his ass, and Derek’s friend – Boyd – is right behind them.

“Shit” he mutters, “This can only end badly.”

Chapter Text

Derek Hale met Stiles at camp. By the time he found out he was part of the team of their rival school, it was too late. And he didn’t really care anymore. Sure, he’d tried not to. Told himself there’d only be trouble.

But one look in those eyes, and all his concern went out the window. All his worry, all his thoughts about anything else in the world.

Everything but his common sense. Which told him to keep their relationship a secret at school.

Especially now that he’s walking into said school and sees Stiles sitting next to his best friend – he recognizes him from the picture on Stiles’ bookcase in his room – and surrounded by people who hated him on principle.

Yes, the next few weeks were going to be fun.

“You must be Derek Hale” the voice behind him sounds, he turns to see the redhead and he immediately knows who she is.

“Lydia Martin” he smiles politely at her and she just smiles.

“I see my reputation precedes me” she smirks satisfied and nods at him, clearly studying his physique.

“As does mine” he smiles, “Tell me, what have you heard?”

“Oh, the rumors about you, mister Hale” she shakes her head, “I don’t know where to begin.”

He phone dings and he checks the message.

Stop flirting with the queen B.”

“I’m not flirting with her” he shoots back, she eyes the phone curiously.

Better not be! That fine ass is all mine” Stiles replies quickly, causing Derek to laugh.

“Girlfriend?” she asks, glancing at the phone. Derek looks up and smiles, shaking his head, but not clarifying either.

“Well” he smiles, “It was nice to meet you, but I should go. I have to meet a few people.”

She gives a slight wave when he walks off, and he can hear the people around him whispering his name. girls sighing, guys rolling his eyes and the whole athletic department of the school planning his murder in their heads.

_

“Stop staring at him” Erica mutters when she sits down next to Stiles, he startles and looks at her.

“What?”

“Hale” she clarifies, “You’ve been staring at him for the past fifteen minutes. He’s out of your league! I admit, you look hotter now. But – not Derek Hale hot.”

“Well – that’s just – rude” he scoffs, crossing his arms petulantly, “maybe I’m already doing Derek Hale, ever thought about that?”

“Yeah right” she grins, “You and Derek… sure. How would you even know him?”

“Well – “ he starts, but Erica is already getting up and walking away, her laughter still ringing in his ears. 

_

“People think I couldn’t get you” Stiles sighs when they walk into his living room, “And I told Scott. But you probably already realized that.”

“Since he’s the only one who properly introduced himself today, yes” he says, “He also felt the need to mention that he was Stiles Stilinski’s official best friend.”

“It’s true” Stiles nods, “When we were eight, we made certificates and all. Had our parents hire a lawyer to make it official. But – now I think about it, it might not have been an actual lawyer.”

“That is adorable” Derek grins, “You are adorable.”

“I know” Stiles nods solemnly, tossing his bag on the floor next to Derek and going to the fridge, “So babe, what do you want to drink?”

“Just water is good” he says, taking of his jacket and hanging it over the couch, “What do you want to watch?”

“We can finish the avengers?” he suggest, Derek nods and selects the movie. Stiles returns a minute later, handing him the glass and sitting down next to his boyfriend.

“We’re so domestic” he sighs contently, leaning into Derek’s side as Derek’s fingers card through his hair absentmindedly.

“Hmm” he hums, leaning into Stiles touch and planting a kiss against his forehead.

_

“Boys?” the two startle awake and are greeted by the sheriff, “Derek! Your mother just called me, asked why you weren’t home yet and if maybe you were here…”

“Oh – “ he rubs the sleep from his eyes and checks the clock, “It’s okay. I sent her a picture and explained you two fell asleep watching a movie. She said you could sleep over – with the door open, obviously – since it’s so late.”

“Thank you, sir” he says, straightening up as Stiles rubs his hands over his head, “I’ll send her a quick text.”

The sheriff nods and walks off to the kitchen to grab a bite after his late shift.

_

“Wasn’t he wearing that last night?” Scott mutters towards Stiles, he opens his mouth to reply but before he can Lydia joins them.

“He was” she informs them, “He’s totally doing the walk of shame.”

“He doesn’t look too ashamed” Stiles says, grinning widely. Sharing a bed with Derek – even without funny business – was amazing. He hadn’t slept that well in – well, ever. The soft breath of the man against the back of his neck, the warm arms around him when they spoon, the whispered conversations before they fell asleep again.

Yeah – he totally gets the sharing a bed thing now.

“Should be though, he told me he didn’t have a girlfriend” Lydia says, crossing her arms, “If I knew he’d do one night stands, I would’ve made my move.”

“Hey – I thought you were into me now” Stiles says indignantly, Lydia smiles sweetly at him and kisses him on the cheek.

His phone blinks immediately.

Stop flirting with Lydia. That ass is all mine ;) ”

He grins like an idiot when he reads the text, and Lydia notices, her eyes on the phone when it bleeps again and she quickly grabs it out of his hands.

Scott however saves the day and grabs it back before she can read anything, “That’s mean, Lydia” he says, she pouts – actually pouts – and Scott just shakes his head in disapproval when he hands Stiles his phone back.

_

Of course things aren’t kept quiet for long. Sure, nobody know it’s Derek, but when Stiles’ phone rings during class, the teacher takes if away, hands it to another pupil who has to read out his five last received texts.

Stiles: “Your ass looks great in those jeans.”

Stiles: “Even better out of them.”

Derek: “I don’t just take them off for anyone, it requires a form or payment.”

Stiles: “How about a kiss?”

D. : “I’ll accept. You’re lucky I love you.”

Stiles sort of jumps out of his seat when his fellow classmate reads the last text.

“What?” he grabs the phone, ignoring the teacher’s dirty look, “5 months and he says I love you through a goddamn text.”

He sounds annoyed but he’s grinning like stupid. Quickly replying to the text, and listening to the teacher giving him detention.

Two classrooms further, Derek Hale gets detention too for receiving a text in class, his one says: “I’m indeed lucky to love you.”

It’s worth every second of detention.

Chapter Text

Lydia Martin is the Queen of school. It was decided a long time ago. Stiles Stilinski is the lowest on the totem pole. Or at least he used to be.

Lydia had a tough summer. Her parents split up, she broke up with Jackson, she broke the heel of her favourite shoes. The last one is little in comparison, but when things start piling up, the little things break you.

And then Stiles Stilinski waltzed into class after the break looking – hot. Smoking hot.

He’d grown some muscles, wore a fitted shirt, grew his hear out. But the biggest change of all was the way he walked now, an air of confidence around him. Whatever – or whoever – he’d done during summer break had done him good. Really good.

So yes, she made a move. She could do with a bit of a boost, someone who’d accept her advances. So she felt confident in flirting with him, because she knew he has a crush on her.

That blew up in her face.

And she didn’t mind, because Stiles was a great guy. And something told her they’d be great friends.

 

She grins as she sits down next to him in AP calculus.

“A little birdie told me you’re dating someone” she says, “That explains why you didn’t flirt with me.”

“Does this little birdie have a name?” he asks, pulling out his book and pencil for class.

“Probably” she shrugs, “But it wasn’t important enough to ask him. So, tell me about this girl.”

“Boy” he corrects her, she turns towards him faster than the speed of light and her eyes widen, “Yes, Lydia Martin, it seems I play for both teams.”

“I knew it” she grins, “That means Jackson lost the bet.”

“Excuse me?” Stiles frowns in confusion, “You guys placed a bet on me?”

“Yes” she says absently, waving her hand to indicate it’s not important, “Just whether you were gay or bi. He said gay, I said bi. Don’t get mad about it, it was nothing.”

“I’m not mad” he grins, “I just didn’t know I was on your radar.”

“Oh, you were on my radar” she says, “But you are now on my radar in a good way. Tell me, who is he.”

“I’m not telling you” he says, leaning back in his chair.

“Show me a picture?” she suggests, he snorts.

“If I show you a picture, you’ll know who it is” he says, “And he doesn’t want that. Well, I don’t want that. He doesn’t want it because he’s afraid people will be mean about it.”

“Fine” she crosses her arms, “At least tell me if he’s hot.”

“Extremely” he smirks, “Like – so out of everybody’s league hot. Hot like the sun, hot. You wouldn’t believe.”

“Okay” she shakes her head fondly at him as the teacher walks in, “I guess love makes blind…”

 

_

“You know” Derek remarks when he sits down next to Stiles in the stands, “When you said people were flirting with you, I thought you were just trying to make me jealous.”

“Yeah, I thought so too” Stiles says, “But then it got worse, and now I don’t know anymore. I’m not imagining it, am I?”

“You’re not” he says, “I mean – I saw three girls checking you out when you walked onto the field and I feel a strong urge to shout at them to stay away from my man.”

“Well, if you like than you should’ve put a ring on it” he jokes, Derek grins at him.

“I can think of a ring to put on you” he says with a devious smile, causing Stiles’ eyes to go wide and then burst out laughing.

“You are a terrible, terrible person” he says, “I love it.”

“I know” he nods, “So, my mom asked you to come over for dinner, I said you’d be okay for it since your dad is working a late shift today.”

“Sure, I’d love to” he smiles, “I like your mom. She’s one of the few adults that doesn’t talk to me like I’m twelve.”

“I’ve noticed” Derek says, grabbing his bag when the bell for next period rings, “See you tonight, babe.”

“I’ll be there.”

_

“You have dinner at his parents?” Scott frowns, “Wow – so it’s really serious, huh?”

“Yeah, it is” Stiles smiles, “And I like his family. They’re nice people. His sisters are really funny, and his dad is sort of cool. His uncle is weird, but he’s rarely there for dinner because he works crazy hours. And – yeah – I just like them.”

“I can tell” Scott smiles widely, pulling his friend into a hug, “I’m really happy for you, man! I’m happy you’re so happy!”

“Yeah, me too” he grins, returning the hug, “Now get lost, I have to get ready and go meet my boyfriend.”

_

Surprisingly Jackson is the first to find out.

They’re not really actively hiding their relationship. Sure, they don’t make-out at school or talk a lot,  but part of that is because of school policy. Just because a lot of people like to break school rules and get some PDA in the hallways, doesn’t mean they do too.

But outside of school, well, Stiles rarely ever bumped into classmates before, so he doesn’t know why that would change now. His classmates don’t hang out at the sheriff’s station, they don’t hang out at the arcade, they don’t go to the park. It’s weird, because Stiles loves going to the park sometimes. But in the five years he’s been going there, he’s never once bumped into someone he knows from school.

Which means that today he does, the first day ever he and Derek go on a date to the park. It starts out nice, as it always does. They take a stroll around the park, holding hands and talking about school. They sit down in the grass, eat a snack have a drink, and then they lay down. Derek and Stiles end up with their backs leaning against a tree and then they share a smile, and a kiss. A nice kiss, that turns into an even nicer kiss. And then someone says ‘What the FUCK’,  and they jump apart to find Jackson Whittemore standing right in front of them.

“What the” he gestures from Derek to Stiles and back, a dumbfounded look on his face, “What the – how, how the – what the ? Fuck?”

“I think we broke him” Stiles whispers loudly, Derek snorts and Jackson glares angrily.

“You two are dating?” he asks, the two boys nod in answer, “How the hell did that even happen?”

“We met at camp” Derek shrugs, “He got on my nerves – and I kind of liked it.”

“But we – we’re rivals” he splutters indignantly, Stiles shrugs.

“I don’t know what you think, Jackson” he says, “But we seriously don’t discuss sports when we’re together. We watch baseball, sometimes. But I’m not telling him about or game plan or shit like that.”

“I don’t really care” Derek agrees.

“You swear?” Jackson says, turned to Stiles who gives a nod, “Good.”

“Wait – you’re not going to tell anyone are you?” he asks worried, ready to get up and chase after him if needed.

“Of course not” Jackson shrugs, “I so don’t give a shit who you bone Stilinski.  I mean, nice going getting someone. According to Danny, Derek is hotter than the sun, but I don’t care about this shit. As long as you’re not giving away our game, I couldn’t care less.”

“Cool” Stiles grins and Jackson just shrugs and leaves.

“I thought he was a jerk” Derek mutters when he walks away, his back turned to the couple, “He seemed okay, right?”

“The thing about Jackson is” Stiles explains, “That he’s not that much of a jerk. He’s just apathetic, he doesn’t care all that much. He cares about himself. Unless he’s got something to gain personally from outing our relationship, he won’t tell anyone.”

“Good to know” Derek replies, “We should probably get going, though. Cora wanted to see you before you had to go home.”

“Of course she does, I’m awesome” Stiles grins, “And Cora is pretty cool too.”

“It runs in the family” Derek says, straightening up as he checks his jeans for grass stains.

“Uh” Stiles shakes his head and smirks, “Must have skipped you then, I guess.”

Derek gives an exaggerated fake gasps and gives him a shocked look, then he grins and pokes him in the side, hard.

“You’ll never get me alive” Stiles grins, and then runs off, Derek in immediate pursue.

 

Chapter Text

“Can you believe we’ll be graduating in a few weeks?” Stiles muses, his head resting on Derek’s shoulder, “And then we’ll be in college together, do you have any plans yet?”

“Well, we’re going to the same college” Derek smiles happily, “My parents want me to get off campus housing, an apartment or something. They’ve got the money, so. I was thinking maybe I could rent a place with someone – you know?”

He gives Stiles a hopeful look, “You want to share an apartment?” he asks, “That’d be so cool! You think we’re ready for that?”

“Sure” Derek shrugs, “We’ve had our first big fight last week, so we got that out of the way already. Right?”

“Derek Hale, the eternal optimist” he checks the clock, “We should get going if we want to be in time for school. I still can’t believe my dad allowed me to stay over.”

“Me neither” he grins, “Especially since my mom doesn’t have an open door policy.”

“Oh, I’m well aware” he grins widely, pulling Derek in for a kiss, “Okay, let’s go before we take this too far.”

“There’s no such thing as taking it too far in your book” Derek reminds him, Stiles grins and nods.

“That is true” he agrees, “But I don’t want to be late, so let’s mambo jambo.”

_

They are late. Not much, but apparently everyone decided to take their car that morning, and they had to look for a parking spot before finding one very far from the entrance. Which made it that they had to walk fifteen minutes before getting to the building, and by the time they got to class they were late. Twenty minutes late.

Which would’ve been okay. Had they not been in the same class for that first period.

“One more week until they fix that roof” Stiles reminds Derek with a sigh, “So – even if they do put two and two together, we can go back to normal in a week, right?”

“I don’t know” Derek grins, “I’ve quite liked being in school with you, maybe I’ll transfer or something…”

Stiles freezes in his tracks, “You don’t –“ he looks at Derek, studying his expression which is suddenly very serious, “You don’t joke about those things, Derek. I mean – I’d love to see you more. And I’ve loved being able to see you every day, so – I mean – would you? Seriously?”

“Yes” he nods, “I – uhm – I talked about it to my mom. And she says that she thinks the teachers here are better and she really likes the coach here, strangely enough.”

“So, you’ll be transferring?” he asks, “Is it even worth it, for these last few weeks?”

“It’s actually more practical than having to go back” he explains, “Some paper work stuff, don’t ask cause I don’t know the specifics. But yes, I’ll be transferring. If you are okay with that.”

“I’m so one hundred percent okay with that” he says with a nod, “Now, let’s go into class.”

_

“Mister Hale and Mister Stilinski” the teacher looks up at them when they walk in and she crosses her arms, “Care to explain?”

“Well” Stiles bites his lip nervously, scratching the back of his head and staring at the floor, “We couldn’t find a parking spot.”

“We?” she raises an eyebrow at the pair and they’re both very aware that every single person in that room is awaiting their answer.

“Yeah” Stiles nods, “Uhm, I was running late and Derek here saw me walking and offered me a ride.”

Derek nods in agreement, a surprisingly serious expression on his face. Stiles really admires the way his boyfriend can keep a straight face sometimes. Sadly, not always.

“Mister Hale” the teacher turns towards him, “How come you were running late?”

“Well – “ he bites his lip, Stiles already knows he’s a terrible liar – it’s adorable – and tries not to look too nervous as he awaits Derek’s excuse.

“I’m waiting” the teacher taps her fingers impatiently and Stiles can see the sweat forming on the back of Derek’s neck.

“I got distracted” he finally says.

“You got – distracted?” she asks incredulously, a blush slowly creeping up Derek’s cheeks, “I see. Let’s hope you won’t be distracted next time.”

Stiles bites his lip hard to keep from laughing at that and they’re finally allowed to take their seats.

_

After that at least a few people seem to connect the dots. Less people flirt with Derek, much to Stiles pleasure, and – surprisingly – less people flirt with Stiles too.

And then word gets around that Derek will be transferring permanently and school goes mad for two days.

He officially tries out for and gets into the team, he becomes co-captain with Scott – which will clearly be a challenge – and he becomes the new high society according to the cheerleading team.

Which means that – the first week after the other pupils return back to their own school – Derek is followed by cheerleaders wherever he goes.

Stiles hates it. It means a lot of effort to get some alone time with Derek on school grounds.

Which is why the next one to find out – officially – is Erica Reyes.

Because – even though they’re not great friends – Stiles trusts Erica. They used to sit together when they were younger, back when Erica’s epilepsy was worse due to bad medication. They had some sort of unspoken rule between them, mutual respect. They liked each other, but they weren’t really great at being friends. They were too much alike to be friends.

In all honesty, Stiles didn’t mean for her to find out. Up until this day, however, he will claim it was all an elaborate ruse for her to discover they were actually a couple.

Seriously, he had planned for her and Boyd to catch them making out under the bleachers. It was all anticipated.

“Hi” Erica is the first to say something as the four of them stand there awkwardly, the three top buttons of Erica’s shirt already undone and a slight blush on her face, “Fancy bumping into you guys here.”

“Yeah” Stiles nods towards them, his hands in his pockets and acting all cool – like in those seventies movies – as they stand there, “Same.”

“I guess I was wrong about you” Erica smirks, looking from Stiles to Derek and back, a hint of admiration and – dare he say it – pride in her eyes.

“Guess you were” Derek agrees, throwing Stiles a fond look, “So – we’ll keep quiet if you keep quiet and we’ll pretend this never happened?”

“Deal” Erica says, stretching out her hand and shaking Derek’s in agreement, “See you in English Lit, kiddos.”

_

Erica knowing doesn’t change much.

Well, Erica knowing means it won’t be long until everyone else knows. Because she picks up on little things. And she loves making underhand remarks that will make the two men blush and not makes sense to anyone else in the room.

The first thing she picks up on is their texting. Which is why she snatches Stiles’ phone from his hands and goes through them, grinning all the while.

“Damn, Stilinski” she shakes her head, “I didn’t know you had it in you. Nice going.”

He grabs his phone back and tries not to blush. It’s impossible.

The next thing she finds out is that Derek has sisters, and that she – much to her own surprise – actually knows one of them. Apparently Derek’s older sister Laura works in Erica’s favourite coffee shop and Erica gets along pretty well with her. Laura is happy to tell her friend about Stiles and Derek and how they’re disgustingly adorable together.

She also informs them that they have been dating since summer, and that they’ve celebrated their six month anniversary by going to a baseball game of their favourite team and having dinner together.

“Apparently Derek’s family loves you” Erica says with a wide grin as she sits down across from Stiles, “I didn’t realize you guys were so serious… how did you meet?”

“We met at camp” Stiles says absently, trying to finish his homework before next period.

“I know that. I wasn’t asking where. I want to know how” she insists, Stiles looks up at her, chewing the end of his pen as he thinks about it.

“Well, we had to form teams” he says, “And we ended up on opposite teams. We were training, they always do a sort of mini league at camp with other summer camps, and I always go running during the summer to keep in shape. On one of my runs, I ran into Derek. And we started running together. First we’d just run evenings, but then we started running before breakfast too. And then during our first practice game he kept tackling me and – well – he gave me this look…”

“Do go on” she smiles, “When was your first kiss?”

“A week before camp ended” he says, “It’s a two month camp, so we didn’t rush into it or anything. We finished an evening run, and he was licking the sweat off his upper lip and I – I sort of pushed him against a tree and kissed him.”

You kissed him?” she asks incredulously, Stiles nods with a wide grin, “Wow – nice going Stiles!”

“Well, we were both high on the endorphins” he shrugs, “And then he looked at me in that way and I just – yeah.”

He sighs dreamily at the memory and the bell wakes him up, “Fuck” he curses, gathering up all his stuff, “You distracted me, now I couldn’t finish my homework.”

“Well” she grins evilly, “Should’ve done your homework at home, then!”

Chapter Text

When Derek starts training with the team, the secrecy of their relationship is completely doomed.

But – in all honesty – Stiles doesn’t really care anymore at that moment.

The thing is, they’re both enrolled in college. They went to check out an apartment last weekend, already imagining the furniture they’re going to fill the place with, and they had a dinner with both parents together to formally introduce them to each other.

Of course they’ve already known each other – Laura used to be a real trouble maker – but the situation was different now.

They discuss the finances of their sons’ housing situation while Stiles, Derek, and Derek’s sisters watch a movie in the living room and come to an agreement on how to handle it.

They divide the costs, and – since Stiles got in on a scholarship – agree that Derek’s parents will provide the housing, and Stiles’ can provide food, or at least the budget to buy food.

Stiles is immensely relieved that they all get along so well. Even more so because Cora – who’d recently decided to become a law-enforcer – seems to idolize the sheriff and has a lot of interesting questions for him to answer. Which he does, because he likes Cora.

But then again, Stiles knows his dad is proud of him too, so he doesn’t really mind.

_

Things get busy, but – although Stiles is only a benchwarmer – he’s still part of the team. Which means that he sees Derek a lot during training.

So far a few people know about them, Lydia, Erica, Scott, and Jackson. One of the people who didn’t know was the coach.

“Stilinski” the coach nods towards him, “Get up and help the players train.”

“Geez, thanks, coach” he rolls his eyes as he gets up from the bench, strapping on his gear a bit better and following him, “What do I need to do.”

“I want to see Hale’s tackling talents” he says, gesturing towards Derek, “Hale, ready to do some tackles.”

Derek walks up to them, “Uhm – you want me to tackle Stiles?” he asks hesitantly, “Are you sure?”

“He’s stronger than he looks” the coach defends gruffly, “Packed on some muscle last summer.”

“Uhm – okay” he bites his lip nervously, glancing at Stiles and gauging his reaction. He can’t get a read, but part of him really doesn’t want to tackle Stiles.

“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, coach” Jackson snorts from behind them, startling them both and causing the coach to turn towards Jackson expectantly.

“Excuse me?” he crosses his arms, “You think you have a better plan?”

“Derek’s not gonna properly tackle his boyfriend” Jackson huffs, “Obviously.”

“What?” he frowns, turning towards Derek and Stiles, “Is that true? You two an item?”

“Sort of?” Stiles grins slightly, avoiding the coach’s gaze as he answers.

“Sort of is not an answer” he says, “Yes or no.”

“Yes” he says after a moment, Derek nods in confirmation.

“Okay” he nods, “are you okay with the tackling?”

“I am” Stiles says, “But Der probably isn’t.”

Derek looks at his feet, ignoring the blush creeping in his cheeks, “I broke his wrist the first time I tackled him, so – I’d rather not…”

“Fine” the coach sighs, “Stilinski, you practice with Jackson. Scott, you with Derek.”

They switch places, trying desperately to ignore the rest of the team staring at them and whispering.

_

The team knows. It’s okay though. They’re surprisingly cool about it, Stiles sort of likes it. Thing is, now that Derek is on their side, they don’t really care about it much. The majority of comments is about how they’d never expected those two to be a couple. Sure, there’s been rumors about Stilinski swinging both ways, but that thought had never once crossed their minds about Derek Hale.

“Does that mean he’s the man in the relationship?” Stiles is the one to hear her say it, a girl from the cheerleaders he doesn’t even know – since they never bothered to learn his name, he returned the favor.

What?” he turns towards her with a confused frown, “The man in the relationship? What is that supposed to mean?”

“Well, since you are two guys” she explains, gesturing with her hand as if he’s the stupid one in the conversation.

“I know” he nods, “That’s sort of the point. We are both the man in the relationship.”

“Yeah, but you’re the girl, right?” she smiles at him, once again giving him the ‘are you slow?’ look and rolling her eyes.

“No” he shakes his head, “Is that what people think when they see two men together? That there’s still a girl and a boy? That’s the stupidest thing ever. You guys think Derek is the man because – what? He is stronger than me, or more handsome? That’s the biggest bullshit ever.”

“Okay, so what do you do on dates?” she smiles, “He wants to watch sports, and what do you want to do?”

“We both like to watch sports” he frowns, “we go to games together, and we have dinner out sometimes. Or we stay in and watch a movie. And we’re both terrible at interior design, in case you were wondering.”

“And fashion” she remarks, “Well, you are…”

“Derek is worse” Stiles grins at her, “His sisters buy his clothes, that’s why he’s better dressed than I am.”

“Sure” she shakes her head slightly, “Well – I should go.”

“Sure” he copies her movement, “Just remember, we’re both the man in the relationship. Don’t spread rumors about shit you know nothing about. Clear?”

“Fine” she huffs, before storming off.

_

Stiles waits for all hell to break loose now that their relationship is public knowledge.

It doesn’t. Apparently nobody really cares.

And the reason nobody cares is because nobody believes they’re a serious item. People seem to think they’re just friends with benefits, which really gets on his nerves.

“Just ignore them” Derek mutters, pulling the blankets over him as Stiles rants about his annoyances, “Who cares what they think? I don’t, I thought you didn’t either.”

“Yeah, so did I” he mumbles, “But apparently I do. I mean, do people really see me like that? Like someone fuckable but not someone dateable?”

“No” he replies, straightening up and looking at Stiles, “You are very dateable. Unless you keep talking, I’m tired babe! Let’s just sleep.”

“Fine” he mutters, scooting against Derek and letting his boyfriend wrap his arms around him.

_

“So – how long do you think they’ll last?”, Derek is the one to overhear the conversation while they’re in the library. Stiles told him that people didn’t take them seriously, but – as had been the case before – he just thought Stiles was exaggerating. Apparently, he wasn’t.

“I don’t know” the other girl replies, “I mean – they don’t act all that couple-y in school, do they?”

“That’s true” she shakes her head, “Maybe they’re just pretending? I mean, Stiles more popular since it started, and Derek got accepted easier at school as the new kid.”

“That’s a possibility too” her friend says, “I mean – that’s way more credible than them dating, right?”

“Right.”

Derek coughs, causing both girls to startle when they hear him and blush furiously when they see him.

_

Exams come, and Stiles finds he can study better when studying with Derek. They don’t go over the content together, but they sit quietly in the same room, and he can ask about something when he’s not sure. Derek can calm him down when he starts stressing out about the exams, and Stiles helps Derek when he gets stuck on a math equation. In comfortable, and nice and – peaceful.

Stiles doesn’t play their final game, he sits on the bench and cheers on Scott and Derek as loud as he can. They win – obviously – and since their last exam was that day they go out for drinks after.

It’s strange, because even though everyone knows about them now, it’s the first time they all hang out together since they know. Apart from practice, of course.

“So –“ Isaac is the first one to speak about it, “How long have you guys been dating now?”

“Uhm” Stiles looks at Derek, “About ten months, right?”

“What?” Danny frowns, “I thought you met at school here.”

“No, we met at summer camp” Derek replies, turning to Stiles, “Didn’t you tell people you were seeing someone?”

“I did” he shrugs, “They just didn’t believe me.”

“Well – you once told everyone you were dating a girl named Heather” Jackson defends his friend, “And that wasn’t true either.”

“Yes it was” Scott is the one to reply, “Heather was really cool, but – well, it didn’t end well.”

“Then why did you refuse to answer any questions about her when you broke up?” Jackson retorts, turning towards Stiles who suddenly freezes.

“Well” he bites his lip, glancing at Derek. Of course Derek knows about Heather, they’ve been dating for almost a year now. Derek knows about Heather, Stiles knows about Crazy Kate. It’s what you do, you discuss the exes and try to understand each other better.

“We’d been dating for almost two months when she - . She was in a car crash” Stiles finally says after taking a deep breath, “She was in a coma for three weeks before she succumbed to her injuries.”

“What?” Danny’s eyes widen as Jackson seems to retreat backwards, afraid to say something wrong.

“Yeah” he looks down, “You see why I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. We cancelled our date because she had a girl’s night with her friends and forgot about it, she got hit on her way home. They found her the following morning, and by then – it’s a miracle she held on that long.”

“I didn’t know” Isaac says quietly, “Sorry, man.”

“It’s a long time ago” he shrugs, “Let’s move on to a happier subject, okay?”

“Good plan” Danny jumps in, “What are your plans for college?”

“We just signed a lease for our apartment” Derek says, “Going for furniture soon.”

“You guys are moving in together?” Jackson asks, sounding genuinely surprised about the tidbit of information.

“Yep” Stiles nods, “Can’t wait. We got into the same school, Derek’s going to do physical therapy – you know, to help people with sport injuries or other injuries recover, and I’m doing criminology. How about you?”

“I got a lacrosse scholarship” Danny says, “Gonna do computer sciences.”

“Veterinary school” Scott adds, even though everyone already knows it.

“Law” Jackson says, giving a shrug as if he doesn’t really care about it.

“I got a job” Isaac says, “No college for me, thank you! My boss offered me a full time position at the shop, with a promotion, so I’m going to take it.”

“Cool” Scott grins, “Your boss is pretty awesome.”

“Yeah” Isaac agrees, smiling widely as he looks around the table, “It’s pretty cool.”

_

Lydia Martin gives her valedictorian speech at graduation. It’s a great speech, about moving on and about holding on. It’s about not letting others decide what you should be, and about embracing yourself despite what others say about you.

It’s about rising above others, without looking down on those beneath you but extending a hand towards them to raise them up with you. It’s about enjoying the view together, and sharing heartache and success with others. It’s about life. The good and the bad.

It’s a good speech.

 

And then the end of summer is approaching, and Stiles and Derek fill their apartment with furniture, and pictures, and blankets. Lots of blankets. Because Stiles always has cold feet.

They buy new sheets, and a desk for their study. They get their courses, and buy notebooks and other school supplies. They turn the empty apartment into a home, where they’ll be for at least three years.

And then suddenly it’s the first day of college, and everything they’ve been preparing for is here. There’s no turning back, there’s no changing your mind.

This is here, and this is now, and it’s slightly terrifying.

_

“Hi” the girl beside him smiles, sizing him up as they wait in line to get their information package and class schedules, “I’m Julia.”

“Stiles” he introduces himself, shaking her hand in greeting.

“What dorm room are you in?” she asks, she’s still smiling and her eyes are sparkling happily.

“I live in an apartment off campus” he says, giving her a polite smile, “How about you?”

“Jefferson hall” she says, taking a step forwards as the line moves, “Long drive?”

“Not really” he smiles, “I’ll probably take my bike, since there’s so little parking room here.”

“Tell me about it” she smiles as they take another step forward, “What are you doing?”

“Criminology” he says, “You?”

“Same” she smiles, “My dad is a detective back home, always been fascinated by it, you know? I love solving mysteries.”

“Me too” Stiles replies, he’s already starting to like this girl, “My dad’s the sheriff in my hometown.”

“Hmm, it’s pretty cool, right?” she says, he nods.

“Pretty much, except when you’re worrying about them, or you start freaking out and convincing yourself something happened cause they’re not picking up the phone immediately” he says, she nods in agreement.

“Right? My dad got shot a few years back, I barely ate for days! It’s so hard to explain to people how stressful it can be” she tells him, Stiles nods as they take another step forwards and a boy runs up to them, shouting out her name.

“Hey, Julia, I’ve been looking all over for you!” the boy comes to a stop and smiles, he kisses her cheek and then turns to Stiles – as if he only notices he’s there now, “Who’s your new friend?”

“This is Stiles” she says, “Stiles, this is my friend, Adam. We go way back!”

“Nice to meet you Adam” they shake hands and he gives Stiles an appreciative smile.

“Oh, the pleasure is all mine” he says, “You are cute.”

“Oh” he bites his lip, “Thanks for the compliment, but – I sort of have a boyfriend.”

“Bummer” Adam sighs, “Does he go here?”

“Yeah” Stiles nods, looking around and spotting Derek a bit further, “That’s him.”

“The skinny guy?” Julia asks, imagining the two guys together as Stiles shakes his head.

“No – you see the guy wearing the green Henley?” he asks, they nod, “That’s him. Derek.”

That is your boyfriend?” Adam frowns, “The hotter than the sun guy?”

“Yes” Stiles nods, smiling proudly for a second, until the two snort.

“Nice try” Adam shakes his head, “It’s okay if you’re not interested, you know. You don’t have to make up dating some random guy for me to leave you alone.”

“I’m not - .”

“Don’t worry about it” Julia jumps in, “We’ll find someone more your type, no need to make up boyfriends.”

“But I already have a -.” he sighs, clearly this isn’t going to work. Once again Stiles Stilinski is back where he started.

“You know, I have this friend, and you are just his type” Julia says, studying Stiles for a second, “You’d like him.”

He sighs, pulling out his phone and shooting Derek – who is waiting in another line to get his introduction package – a quick text.

Just made new friends. Already trying to set me up with their friend. Why don’t people believe I’m dating you?

He listens to his new friends absently, letting their easy chatter flow over him as they move along in the waiting line and his phone dings, indicating Derek’s reply.

We’ll prove them wrong soon enough <3

He smiles down at his phone, noticing Adam and Julia curiously trying to glance at his screen before typing out a reply to Derek.

Better not wait too long, they’re already setting up dates. It’s like I’m back where I started last year in high school.

Julia takes his arms and pulls him forwards, closing the gap in the line, and bumps his hip, “You and I will be great friends, Stiles” she says, “I can tell already.”

“Yeah” Stiles smiles weakly, “This can only end badly.”

Chapter Text

Stiles thought he’d moved past this.

He really believed he had.

He’d gone through it last year, and he could handle people not believing he had a boyfriend.

This – however – was different.

Because – unlike his high school friends – these friends tried to set him up on blind dates. Double dates.

It starts quite innocently, he doesn’t even realize it until they’re halfway through it and they start dropping hints.

Julia suddenly saying something like; “doesn’t Luke look cute in those jeans?”, and Adam adding; “Stiles read those books you like so much.”

He casually mentions his boyfriend, hoping that Luke gets the hint. He doesn’t, so Stiles just suffers through it.

_

He invites his friends over to study, hoping they’ll finally believe he has a boyfriend. But it’s only when they get there that he realizes that there aren’t any pictures of him and Derek as a couple.

There is one, of their shoes. They took the picture at the end of camp – right after they got together – of their running shoes next to each other.

Stiles loves that picture, but it doesn’t mean anything to anyone else but them.

There’s a picture of Derek and his lacrosse team – both of them. But he’s wearing his helmet in both pictures, so you can’t even recognize him.

There’s a picture of Derek’s sisters, one of Stiles and Scott, their group of friends with Derek – strangely enough – looking blurry. You wouldn’t guess, but Derek doesn’t do photographs well.

Even his plan B falls into the water when Derek texts him saying he won’t make dinner tonight.

_

“This is him” Derek says, pulling up Stiles’ picture on his phone.

His classmate snorts, “You want us to believe you’re dating him? The Stilinski kid from criminology?”

“You know him?” Derek frowns as the girl shrugs.

“Everyone at school has at least heard of him. He shoots down every boy and girl that asks him out” she tells him, “He’s cute, but annoying. Always has to argue with the teacher, asks a lot of questions during the lectures – things like that.”

“Hmm” Derek puts his phone away, “Well, he is my boyfriend. So that’s why he shoots everyone down.”

Sure” she says, although her tone is dismissive, “Whatever you say, Hale.”

_

“Maybe we should get Facebook?” Stiles suggests, “So that people can see our ‘in a relationship’ status online?”

“We are not getting Facebook because some narrow minded idiots won’t believe we’re a couple” Derek says, shooting down the plan.

“Well, our schedules are way too busy at the moment to make an appearance at a party together” he sighs, “Maybe I can skip class and visit your campus for lunch?”

Sure, they went to the same school, but their classes were in completely different buildings.

“You’re not skipping class, babe” Derek sighs, “Just let them think whatever, what’s the harm?”

“Uhm – the countless blind dates?”

“Say no!”

“Can’t! They trick me” he leans against Derek’s back, “They’ll say we’re hanging out , and then suddenly they’re introducing me to their ‘friend’ and it’s a double date.”

“I’m sorry, babe” Derek sighs, kissing the top of his head, “We’ll fix it somehow.”

_

They fix it, without even realizing it.

Well, they fix part of it.

At least they no longer think Stiles can’t or isn’t getting any action.

He honestly hadn’t even thought about it when he took off his hoodie. But in all fairness, who remembers the hickey on the back of their neck, right? It’s not like you’re reminded of it when fixing your hair in the mirror in the morning.

Julia is the first to notice, poking at it curiously and then grinning at him.

“Nice” she smirks, “Now I get why you left the party early last night.”

Right, that party. The one he left early because he had dinner plans with Derek and this guy at the party kept bothering him.

“What?” he frowns at her and she smiles even wider.

“We saw you with that guy” she smiles, “He left two minutes after you, subtle you are not, Stilinski.”

_

Three months, five blind dates, countless people rolling their eyes at him when he mentions his boyfriend.

Three goddamn months before he’s finally able to convince two of his classmates that Derek is his boyfriend.

Because Derek shows up at his classroom that evening, after Stiles’ evening class. Of course – as luck would have it – this happens on the one day the teacher ends class fifteen minutes later and everyone has already left. Everyone but Stiles and two of his classmates he vaguely recalls being called Anna and Lisa.

He smiles brightly nevertheless, cause Derek is here and he loves Derek. He wraps him in a tight embrace and kisses him hello. Stiles can’t resist glancing at his classmates behind him, they look slightly confused. Anna just grins at him, giving him the thumbs up and mouthing a soundless ‘Nice’ at him.

Luckily, Derek doesn’t see that.

“Cora called” he says, “She’s visiting next week and she asked – which means begged – if she could join some of your criminology classes with you. Cause – you know”

“She wants to be a cop too” Stiles finishes the sentence, “Sure, no problem.”

_

“Why didn’t you just say you had a girlfriend?” Adam asks, “We already know you’re bi, remember?”

Cora looks at them, making a gagging sounds and shaking her head, “Stiles is not my boyfriend” she says, “He’s like my brother.”

“Cora is Derek’s sister” he explains.

Right” Julie smiles, “your boyfriend.”

She actually has the nerve to put air quotes around the word boyfriend, and Cora looks confused.

“What’s with that?” she asks, Stiles.

“They don’t believe Derek and I are dating” he says.

“I see” she smirks, because Cora is secretly pure evil, “Right back where you started, it seems.”

__

Two people know.

Two people in his class that Stiles barely even knows, know that he and Derek really are a couple.

But still, small victories, right?

The problem – however – is that Stiles is optimistic.

He believes that his friends will finally believe him now, because he has Anna to back him up.

His optimism was premature.

“Damn” Julia shakes her head, “You must really hate those blind dates if you start paying strangers to back up your boyfriend story.”

“It’s not – I didn’t – “ he starts, giving up mid sentence when he sees the look on her face, “Can you please stop the blind dates?”

“Fine” she smiles, “We just want you to be happy, Stiles.”

“I am happy” he says, sounding slightly defensive. He’s entitled to, okay?

“You know what I mean” she says slightly condescending, patting him on the cheek and giving him a fond smile.

Yeah, it’s decided.

Stiles needs new friends.

 

Chapter Text

It’s easy after that. He decides Julia isn’t worth his time, even though she’s fun to hang out with.

The problem is that Adam isn’t as bad as her, and he doesn’t force him into blind double dates, but with Adam comes Julia.

“I don’t care” he says, crossing his arms, “I know you and Julia are friends, but I’m sick of her setting me up and calling me a pathetic liar.”

“She never called you that” Adam says, he sounds only a little bit defensive of his friend.

“Actions speak louder than words” Stiles argues, and Adam sighs in response.

“I know that she’s being annoying, okay?” he shakes his head, “I don’t know what’s gotten in to her. I mean, last year her boyfriend dumped her and then started telling Julia about his new girlfriend – and how amazing she was – and all that shit. And she was persistent he made her up too. I think it’s some sort of fucked up defense mechanism.”

“Well, I don’t give a fuck” Stiles shakes his head, “You’re cool, Adam! And I want to stay friends with you – but I’m not hanging out with Julia unless I have to. I’ll let her know, you don’t have to play the messenger.”

“Okay” he says, “I don’t like it, but I understand. And I will respect that.”

“Thanks.”

_

He sits with Anna and Lisa the following class, ignoring Julia’s angry glares and focusing on class.

“So, we do this study group” Lisa says when they walk outside, “Want to join?”

“Yeah” Stiles smiles, he’d been looking for someone to exchange notes with, “I’d love to!”

“Great” Anna pulls out her phone, “Just put in your number, we normally meet up at the library on Wednesday, but in case one of us is sick or shit, we can call you!”

“Sure” he puts in his number and shoots himself a text to get her number.

“Awesome” she smiles, “What does your boyfriend study, by the way?”

“Physical therapy” he says, “You know, for treating sport injuries.”

“Huh, he does look like the sporty type” Anne nods, the three of them walking through the hall, “Does he play sports?”

“Lacrosse” he says, “We met at lacrosse camp. Well, we met because we both went running together. And he tackled me and sprained my wrist during the first game…”

“Ouch” Lisa smiles, following her friends into the lunch room, “And you guys still – after he hurt you?”

“Well, it wasn’t on purpose” he grins, “You should’ve seen him after, he was so adorable, seeing if I was okay. And then – while it healed – I couldn’t play. So I only went on runs, and he ran too. It just sort of happened then.”

“Well, you guys seem happy together” Anna decides as they take their place and Stiles’ phone starts ringing.

“Speaking of” Stiles smiles, “Sorry, got to get this.”

_

“So you cut her out?” Derek asks, Stiles nods, “Good! You know – you can invite Adam over if you want. I mean – this is our apartment. You can have as many people over as you want.”

“I know” Stiles says, “But I sort of like our place…”

“Well, just don’t let them into the bedroom” Derek says, rolling his eyes at his boyfriend, “and maybe we should tidy up a bit too.”

“Later” Stiles says, letting himself fall down on the couch, “First we sit and do nothing.”

“Do nothing?” Derek arches an eyebrow and Stiles smirks.

“We sit and cuddle?” he asks, Derek grins in response, sitting down beside him.

He leans against Derek, getting ready to settle in when there’s a knock on the door.

“I’ll get it” he hoist himself up, throwing Derek a look when the man slaps his behind, and leaves to get the door.

When he opens it he finds Julia staring at him angrily, her arms crossed over her chest.

“What are you doing here?” he asks, sighing deeply.

“What the fuck, Stiles?” she doesn’t even answer his question, “One day we’re cool, and the next you just cut me out? Nothing of an explanation, what the fuck?”

“I gave you plenty of warning” he shakes his head, “I told you to stop it, and you didn’t. So, I cut you out! Why should I even consider you a friend if you refuse to believe anything I say?”

“Oh my god! Is this about Derek again?” she almost screams, some weird and wild look in her eyes.

“Stiles?” Derek’s voice comes from the kitchen – he probably got up to get a drink - , “Is everything okay?”

“It’s fine, don’t worry” he shouts back, “Be right back.”

“Who’s that?” Julia asks, trying to look inside as Stiles blocks her view.

“I want you to leave now” he says, “Please.”

“What if I don’t?” she gives him a challenging look, trying to make him back down. As if she’s forgotten he grew up with the sheriff.

“If you don’t I call the cops” he retorts, she bites her lip, still glaring angrily for a few more seconds before turning on her heels and leaving without another word.

_

“She left?” Derek asks, walking out of the kitchen and handing him a glass of water, he nods in response, “Why – I mean, why didn’t you ask me to come out? Wouldn’t this have been the perfect occasion to show her how wrong she was?”

“Perhaps” he shrugs, “But I don’t owe her an explanation, or any proof. She should’ve believe me, if she’d been my friend. Honestly, even if I had been lying, she should’ve humored me in my delusion. That’s what friends do, they respect you and they believe you without asking for evidence or proof.”

“Hmm” Derek smiles, leaning down to give him a kiss, “You’re really smart, you know?”

“I’ve been told” he smirks, “Now – what’s next? Cuddling, or working on our essay?”

“How about – we work on our essay for about an hour” he suggests, ignoring Stiles’ pouting, “And then reward ourselves with cuddling?”

“Just cuddling?” he asks, quirking an eyebrow. Derek snorts and shakes his head, giving him a fond look.

“We’ll see how much you write” he grins, “The more you write, the bigger the reward.”

“Derek Hale, are you blackmailing me with sex?” he asks, mimicking shock as he grabs his chest with both hands and gasps loudly.

“Maybe I am” his eyes sparkle, “Is it working?”

“Definitely” Stiles nods, pulling up his laptop on the dining room table, “So – how much should I write to get the whole shebang?”

“I’m open to suggestions.”

“Good” he opens up his document, pulling the stack of books towards him and opening the first one on the marked page, “You are gonna owe me so much.”

“Well – I’ll make sure not to leave a debt.”

Chapter Text

“So – what’s up?” Adam asks, taking the empty seat next to Stiles in the lecture hall.

“Not much” he shrugs, “You?”

“Same.”

“I haven’t seen Julia around anymore” he says after a while, Adam nods.

“I haven’t heard from her either” he says after a moment, “I’m starting to worry.”

“Wait – she just left?” he asks, Adam nods slowly, “She came to my apartment two weeks ago, started shouting at me about cutting her out. She looked – crazy.”

“I know – lately she’d been, I don’t know, unstable” he says, “I sent an email to her dad, asking about her. I just hope she’s okay – maybe getting some help?”

“Yeah” Stiles sighs, “It sucks, you know? Apart from all that crap, I liked hanging out with her.”

“I know” he frowns, “She changed a lot over the summer before college, I barely even recognize her. I just wonder what happened during the summer to make her like that.”

“You said something about an ex, right?” he says, Adam pulls out his notebook as he thinks about it.

“Yes” he says, “I never met 'em, though! I think they met at introduction, and she was into this guy. I’m not even sure they really dated, or if she made it up. But she was in a car crash too, and had some reconstructive surgery. But there wasn’t any brain damage, so that doesn’t really explain it, does it?”

“Reconstructive surgery? Like a new nose?”

“Yeah, had to correct it after the crash. She refused to let anyone see her before they fixed it” he explains, “she used to look different, not much, though! A new nose, and her cheekbones, I think.”

“That could explain part of it, though” he muses, “I mean – having reconstructive surgery – especially if it’s because of an accident – it can be a huge influence.”

“Yeah – anyways, I mailed her father. Told him I’m worried about her, gave him the cliff notes on the whole situation with you and her” he says, “I’ve known him a while, he’s a good guy! I’m sure he will make sure she’s okay!”

_

There’s a knock on the door halfway through their lecture making everyone – especially the teacher – look up. The door opens after a while, a man wearing a delivery uniform walking in hesitantly as he looks around for a moment.

“Yes” the teacher asks, “How can I help you?”

“I have a delivery for Stilinski” he says nervously, “I was told he’d be in this classroom.”

“That is correct” the teacher replies, his gaze searching the room before locating the student in question in the middle of the third row, “Stiles?”

“Yes sir?” he asks, trying to disappear through the floor.

“Would you like to come and sign for your delivery?” he asks, Stiles nods and makes his way down, well aware that every single pair of eyes is following him. He signs for it and the delivery guy makes a quick getaway as Stiles whispers his apologies to the man.

“Care to share?” the teacher asks, “I mean – if it was that important to deliver during my class? It must be important if it couldn’t wait, right?”

“Uhm – I don’t know” he stammers, usually he’s good with words, but right now he’s at a complete loss.

“How about the card” he smiles, a hint of amusement in his eyes. Stiles knows that – if he refused to share – the teacher wouldn’t force him. He knows that it’s all just good humored, and that the man is just curious – as is everyone else in the room – to find out what he got.

He should probably just say no, but he’s curious too. And the sooner he finds out what it is, the better.

He opens the card a bit clumsily, reading it quickly before grinning stupidly.

“It’s – uhm – from my boyfriend” he says, a blush on his face, “I – well, it’s not really appropriate to read out loud.”

There’s a ‘oooh’ from some people in the classroom, and a few girls giggling as the teacher just snorts.

“Very well” he says, “Get back to your seat, and we’ll return to the lecture, you know, since that is why we are here.”

“Good plan, sir” he says with a solemn nod, the man grins in response.

“I thought so too.”

Chapter Text

Stiles almost falls over the item in question when he gets home that evening, “What’s that?” he asks, picking up the cardboard box and placing it on the coffee table in front of Derek.

“Stuff” he says, not looking up and completely enraptured in his book.

“I figured that much” he says, giving his boyfriend a slight shove, “What stuff?”

“Mom’s been cleaning out the attic to turn it into a reading room” he explains, “She sent this over. It’s stuff from before we met, I think.”

“Mind if I take a look?” he asks, Derek shrugs and shakes his head as Stiles leans forward and opens the box in response.

“I got your gift, by the way” he says absently, Derek smiles, “in the middle of my lecture.”

“Oh – they were supposed to deliver it during lunch” he says, “You didn’t get into any trouble, did you?”

“I didn’t” he says, pulling out a photo album, “Was a little bit surprised though, didn’t seem like you.”

“You seemed a bit shaken up about the whole Julia thing, so I wanted to cheer you up” he says, putting down his book, “Did it?”

“It did” he says, planting a kiss on his cheek, “Thank you!”

“You’re welcome” he says, watching Stiles open up the photoalbum, “That’s from before the summer we met, before you ask.”

Stiles frowns at the information, until he opens it and finds a picture of Derek and a blonde woman smiling towards the camera. Well, Derek is smiling towards the camera, the woman has her lips pressed against his cheek.

“Is that - ?” he asks, studying the picture.

“Kate Argent” he says, his voice and expression completely void of emotion, “We should probably burn the entire album.”

“Probably” he muses, “She was the one using you to make her ex-girlfriend jealous, right?”

“One and the same” he says, “At the time I thought I was in love – I know better now.”

“Did she?” he asks, leafing through the album, “Get back together with her girlfriend, I mean?”

“I don’t think that was her goal” he shrugs, “Just wanted to make her jealous, for some fucked up reason. Well – maybe it’s for the best? Guess the ex dodged a bullet there.”

“Maybe” Stiles says, closing the album and putting it to the side, “But you know what they say, right? Birds of a feather –.”

_

“Are you expecting someone?” Derek asks when there’s a knock on the door Tuesday afternoon.

“Yeah – fuck, I forgot to tell you, didn’t I?” he says, “I invited over my new study group! There was some crap at the library, and this is the only place big enough for us all to meet up.”

“Oh”

“You – that’s okay, right?” he asks, a bit hesitant as he sees Derek’s face.

“No – I mean, yes! It’s fine” he replies quickly, “Just – let me get dressed. Or at least hide in the bathroom until I’m dressed before you let them in?”

“Right” he grins, looking at his boyfriend – currently wearing nothing at all except a white sheet around him, “I didn’t realize…”

“That does explain why you rushed into the bathroom before me” he smirks, entering the bathroom and closing the door behind him, “You can let them in now.”

_

“Anna, Lisa, friends of Anna and Lisa” he smiles as he opens the door, “Come in.”

“Stiles, this is Isabella, Ricky, and John” Anna says, gesturing towards their three friends, “Everyone, this is Stiles.”

They give each other an awkward wave as they enter the apartment.

“Wow” John says, looking around the apartment, “Nice place you got here.”

“Thanks” he says, “we can sit at the kitchen table.”

He leads them towards the kitchen, where his books are already lying on the table, “You guys want anything to drink?”

“Water is fine” Anna says, the rest nods and he pulls out a few glasses from the cabinet, placing them on the table and filling a jug with water.

“Help yourself, I’ll go get my laptop” he says, “If you want a soda or anything, just check the fridge.”

“Thanks” Lisa smiles as he quickly retrieves his laptop from the bedroom and deletes his search history before returning to the study group.

 

_

They’re halfway through discussing what they want to go over today when the man walks in. Sure, John had heard all about Stiles Stilinski dating some guy named Derek Hale. But he had also heard that he was dating a chick named Julia, and that this Derek was nothing more than a figment of his imagination.

The man standing in the kitchen wearing nothing but a pair of tight fitting jeans and pouring himself a cup of coffee – however – doesn’t look all that imagined. He clearly just got out of the shower, his hear still dripping slightly, and is checking his phone as he waits for his coffee.

“Hi” Anna says after a while, causing Derek to look up and turn towards them.

“Hi” he smiles, “Anna – right? And you’re – uhm – Lisa?”

The two girls nod, clearly surprised the man knows their names as their eyes linger on his bare chest, “These are John, Isabella and Ricky” Stiles says, pointing to the rest of them.

Derek gives them a polite nod in greeting and picks up his coffee, “Nice meeting you” he smiles, taking a sip, “How’s the studying going?”

“Good” Stiles says, tapping his pen on his book, “Always busy, you know.”

“I’m aware” he says, opening his mouth to say something else when he’s interrupted by his phone.

“Sorry” he frowns, looking at the caller ID and picks up, “Boyd?”

There’s a slight pause, then he removes the phone from his ear, “he asked me if you’re here and to put you on speaker” he says in explanation as he holds the phone up.

“Stilsinki you there?” a woman’s voice comes over the speaker and Stiles confirms his presence.

“Hi there Erica, what’s up Catwoman?” he asks, a grin on his face.

“Guess who eloped last night?” she screams.

“What?” Stiles’ eyes go wide, “are you shitting me?”

“I am not” she grins, “You are now speaking to Misses Erica Reyes – Boyd. I hyphenate.”

“Wow! Congrats, sweetie” he grins, “You’re still throwing a party, right?”

“Obviously!” she replies, “But it’ll have to wait for a while, I’m actually calling you for something else.”

“What?” he asks, Derek has his hand on Stiles shoulder, a small smile on his face as he listens to the conversation.

“You want to be the godfather to our baby?” she says, both men stare at each other – completely speechless, “Hah! Told you, Boyd! I finally broke him. Rendered him speechless, you owe me ten bucks.”

“Erica – are you serious? Like – really?” Derek is the one to ask the question, “Boyd?”

“Absolutely serious” a man’s voice – probably Boyd – replies, “It’s a bit sooner than we had planned, but who cares, right? Is Stilinski okay, though?”

“Fine” Derek says, snorting as he looks at his boyfriend, “I think Erica did break him. But he absolutely wants to be the godfather, right babe?”

“Absolutely” Stiles replies, voice cracking slightly, “One hundred percent.”

“Perfect” Erica says, “Okay, we will let you get back to whatever you’ve been doing. We still on for next month?”

“We are” Derek says, “See you then, guys.”

“Bye Bye, babes!” Erica says, “Love you lots.”

She hangs up after that, and Stiles shakes his head slightly to clear his thoughts, “Okay – that was – wow” he turns to Derek, “Wow?”

“I know” he says, kissing his forehead, “Now – you get back to studying, and I will find a clean shirt.”

“Okay” he nods, turning back to his friends who’ve been acting like nothing happened, “Let’s get back to business.”

_

John leans back in the chair, gazing out the window of the shop as Isabella takes the empty seat across him and hands him his drink.

“So” she says, “Stiles and Derek – what did you think?”

“They look happy together” he shrugs, “I don’t really care, you know? I mean – I’m trying to figure out why nobody would believe him.”

“You know Julia started that thing, right?” she says after taking a sip from her tea, “I think she’s been off her meds.”

“Her brother came to get her a few days back – I think it’s two weeks ago, or something” he says, “Saw her get into his car.”

“You think he got her checked in again?” she asks, glancing out the window for a second, “I mean – I haven’t really spoken to her since we were at school together a few years back, but she was committed for a while, right?”

“Yeah” he shakes his head, “She’s not, though! He’s trying to convince her, but since she’s no longer underage – well, he can’t get her in until, I don’t know how it works exactly.”

“Hmm, well, I hope she’s okay, though” she muses, “and that she gets off the crazy train – what even happened? Why did she become so obsessed with Stiles – or Derek? She doesn’t even know them or anything.”

“She’s been weird ever since she broke up with that girl” he says, “You know, the one that dumped her? She kept sending pictured of her and her new boyfriend, and then they broke up, I think? For a moment there was talk of them getting back together, but then she was in that accident and the chick got back together with her boyfriend.”

“The one she’d been sending her pictures of?” she asks, he nods in response, “Damn, she was pretty fucked up. Did you ever meet her?”

“Yeah, forgot her name. Pretty girl, though! Blonde hair, nice eyes” he shrugs, “Well, maybe it’s best they didn’t get back together. She was way too manipulative.”

“Hmm” she sighs, “Let’s change the subject, huh? How’s your essay coming along?”

Chapter Text

“Do you want to go out for dinner tonight?” Derek asks, looking over to Stiles who’s currently stretching out on the bed, “I mean – there’s this new pizza place right off campus I heard is pretty good?”

“Yeah” he replies, “That sounds nice, actually. Any special occasion?”

“Just – that I love you” he smiles sweetly, “Isn’t that enough?”

“It would be for anyone but you” he frowns, “Because you hate going out since there’s a chance we’ll run into our classmates or something…”

“Well, I got over it” he shrugs, “Unless you don’t want to go?”

“No – no!” he interrupts, “I do – I want to go! I really, really want to go!”

“Good, it’s a date” he smiles, “Now – do we have to get up for class today or not?”

“I have nowhere to be” Stiles replies, Derek hums as he buries himself against Stiles’ back, “I can’t imagine ever wanting to be with someone else.”

“Me neither” he mumbles back, before drifting off to sleep again.

_

 

“So, this is the new pizza place, huh?” Adam asks his date, the man nods. They’d met a few days ago at a party, exchanged numbers – and scheduled a date when they ran into each other again yesterday morning. He was cute, all things considered, and kind of funny too. He was studying on another campus at the same college, which was why they hadn't met before.

“Yeah” he replies, looking over the menu, “It opened last month, I’ve been meaning to check it out.”

“It looks popular” he says, looking around the place, “They’re probably doing good business.”

“Have to” he says, “Picked something?”

“I’m going to go for a calzone” he replies, “you?”

“Pizza Hawaii” he smiles, “I know – pineapple on pizza is gross – but I love it.”

“I’m not judging” he says, smiling at him and signaling over a waiter, “Not at all.”

[…]

“Huh” his date – Stephen – says about half an hour later, staring at something behind Adam. He turns around to find him staring at Stiles and – someone else – presumably his boyfriend Derek Hale.

“You know them?” he asks, Stephen nods.

“Yeah, Derek is in my class” he says, “I guess he was telling the truth about dating the guy.”

“Wait – people didn’t believe he was dating Stiles?” he asks, “I mean – Stiles is in my class – my friend made this huge deal about how he was lying about dating Derek and all that. I just never imagined Derek had the same problem.”

“No – thing is” he says, “During introduction, he hung with this girl Jennifer – I think? And people thought they were dating or something, but he kept saying they weren’t.”

“I wasn’t at introduction” Adam explains, “Family holiday. If he kept saying they weren’t dating, why did people think they were?”

“I don’t know?” he shrugs, “It was this whole thing – I don’t even think he was aware of it, you know? But apparently this girl said they were dating, but they there was something about a woman named Kate – and, well, I have no idea.”

“Kate” Adam frowns, “That’s the name of Julia’s ex.”

“Julia – that was her name” he nods, “Yeah, Julia and Derek. They met up once, or they bumped into each other. I don’t think they even exchanged names. And then she said something – or asked something – about how Kate was?”

“Wait – Derek Hale was dating Kate? Julia’s Kate?” he asks, “Oh – fuck.”

“No – that’s the thing” he says, “He said he hadn’t heard from Kate in years, and that he’d like to keep it that way. And then she kind of flipped, and got into her car and drove off. I heard she got into an accident, or something?”

“Yeah – she did” Adam shakes his head, “That explains a lot!”

“What do you mean?” he asks, “Explains a lot?”

“Well – Julia – she ‘s a friend of mine. She was dating this Kate, but they broke up. They were going to get back together, but then she got in an accident and Kate said she got back with her ex boyfriend. She sent her a picture, probably of her and Derek. That explains why she kept calling Stiles a liar whenever he said he and Derek were dating.”

“Huh” Stephen sighs, “You know – it sounds like this Kate woman is all kinds of fucked up.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Well – Stiles and Derek look happy together” Stephen muses, looking over at the couple who are in deep conversation.

“Yeah – they do” he replies, following his gaze. Stiles and Derek are sitting by a window, talking to each other with smiles and laughter, shooting each other loving looks. It’s a few minutes later when Derek takes both of Stiles’ hands into his own and Stiles freezes – their eyes interlocking and a frown on his face.

He can’t hear them from all the way over there, but he can see them quite clearly. The way Stiles’ frown morphs into a smile, then a wide grin and then complete shock as Derek seems to pull out a little box.

“Holy shit – is he proposing?” Stephen whispers, his eyes also spotting the little box.

“I think so” he answers, “Wow – I did not see that coming at all!”

“Yeah, neither did Stiles – apparently!” he grins, watching Stiles smile broadly and then reach across the table to pull Derek into a kiss, “Looks like he said yes.”

It’s at that moment that almost everyone in the pizza place starts applauding – some people even wolf whistling – and the couple is broken out of their little bubble. Looking a little dazed from the kiss as they look around the place and then Stiles spots Adam, giving him a little wave as Adam responds by giving him the thumbs up.

_

“We’re engaged” Stiles says slowly as he closes the door to their apartment behind them, “Oh fuck – we’re engaged.”

“You’re not backing out, are you?” Derek asks, sounding slightly concerned as he turns to face Stiles.

“Are you kidding me?” Stiles says, shaking his head vigorously, “You are stuck with me now, forever.”

“Shit” his boyfriend says, grinning widely, “Forever, huh? Let’s hope we won’t get bored.”

“Not a chance, dude” he shakes his head, “So – when do you want to break the news to everyone else?”

“How about tomorrow?” Derek suggests, “Let’s just enjoy this between the two of us right now.”

“That – soon to be mister Stilinski – is a wonderful idea” he agrees, “Now – how about you lead me the way.”

“Sure thing – soon to be mister Hale” he says, Stiles snorts and shakes his head.

“How about we hyphenate?” he suggests, Derek grins.

“Deal” he replies, “Hale – Stilinski.”

“Does have a nice ring to it – doesn’t it?” Stiles asks as Derek pulls him into the bedroom, slamming the door shut behind him.

“Yeah” he says, “It really does.”

Chapter Text

“Congratulations” Lisa says as she takes the empty seat next to him the following Monday in class.

“On what?” he asks, surely news doesn’t travel that fast, right?

“I heard you got engaged” she smiles, “Adam saw you, apparently his date – Stephen – is a huge gossip. Anna texted me with the new yesterday afternoon. So – congratulations.”

“Thanks” he smiles, “I – it was a real surprise, to be honest.”

“I can imagine” she says, grabbing his hand and looking at the ring on his finger, “aren’t you scared, though? I mean, how many couples that get engaged this young actually make it?”

“I don’t know” he shrugs, “We already talked about a long engagement, you know? I should be freaking out probably, but I’m not. It feels like the next step. We’ve been living together for almost a year now – well, nine months – and it’s nice.”

“No fights about leaving the cap of the toothpaste?” she teases, releasing his hand and pulling out her pen.

“Oh – of course there are” he shakes his head, “I mean – we fight a lot about those things. He complains that I don’t close the bottle of soda properly and that the fizz goes out. And he always leaves the coffee pads in the machine. But that’s the little things. We fought about the big things, but in the end we came to an agreement and talked out our misunderstandings, you know?”

“Well – I’m sure you two will make it.”

[…]

There’s a loud knock on his door, and when he opens it he’s greeted by a stranger, “Stiles?” the man asks, he nods and frowns at him, “I’m Evan – Julia’s brother. I was wondering if you’ve seen her around, or heard from her?”

“No, I’m sorry” he says, he feels Derek coming up behind him and turns towards him, “Have you heard anything about Julia?”

“Can’t say that I have” Derek replies, “Last I heard, she was with her brother. So you, I suppose?”

“She took off” Evan says, a deep sigh, “Could you let me know if you spot her? She’s been off her meds, there’s no telling what she might do!”

“Sure” Stiles says, taking the card and programming the number into his phone immediately, “I’m sorry we can’t help you.

“No, it’s fine” he shakes his head, “I’m sorry about what she did to you. She hasn’t been the same since she broke up with Kate.”

“Kate Argent?” Stiles asks, Evan nods and the couple exchanges a look and shudders, “Yeah – she is pure evil.”

“Tell me about it” he says, “Anyways, shoot me a message if you spot her. And be careful, okay? She’s unstable, and – she might try something.”

“We will” Derek smiles, “Thank you for letting us know.”

“Yeah” he gives a little wave and leaves, Derek closes the door behind him.

“Kate Argent” Stiles says, “Uh – I guess it all makes sense now, right?”

“Yeah” Derek says, “Fucking Kate Argent, we should’ve known she was the root of this entire shit storm.”

[…]

Just spotted Julia at our favorite coffee shop Derek’s message reads, he sends the address to Evan immediately and the text is followed by another one soon after.

I think she has a gun

Call the cops! NOW!

He tries to call Derek after that, but the line goes straight to voicemail. So he jumps on his bike and races over, only to find a bunch of police cars and a crowd of people standing by the yellow tape.

He manages to get the attention of one of the cops, “Julia, her name is Julia” he says, showing the police woman the texts Derek had just sent him, “She’s off her med, I’m not sure what meds she’s taking. Her brother Evan is on her way. She has a gun, my fiancé is in there.”

“Okay” the woman nods, “Follow me, tell our guy everything you know.”

He follows the woman into a van, and proceeds to tell an agent wearing a suit everything he knows. There’s another suit on the phone, handling what sounds like a hostage situation. The heavy feeling in his stomach becomes a little bit worst.

He hears Julia’s voice on speakerphone, “I don’t want anything, idiot” she breezes, “I just want him dead, so Kate can come back.”

“Kate Argent” Stiles whispers, “She dated Julia, and then Derek for a few weeks. She’s a manipulative bitch, Kate – that is. Tried to set Derek’s car on fire while he was in it.”

The officer nods, a small and grateful smile on his face.

“And who is it you want dead?” the man asks, Stiles already knows the answer – but it still takes him off guard.

“Derek Hale” she says, venom in her voice, “I want Derek Hale dead. And I got him right here – so why wait?”

There’s silence, screaming, and then a gunshot.

 

Stiles screams, he knows he does.

But it’s not him screaming, it’s someone else. Because this cannot be his life. His life does not involve losing Derek, it doesn’t.

“Derek?” he somehow ends up by the phone, “Julia, please – please tell me you didn’t – not – Derek?”

He tries to breathe, gasping for air – but he can’t.

His vision goes white, his hands go cold. There’s someone placing a hand on his shoulder, saying things that don’t make sense. There’s police shouting at each other, someone calling an ambulance. There’s talk of bringing in SWAT, and a discussion of whether or not they should rush in or get a sniper. And then the phone beeps, there’s static and everyone goes quiet. A weak voice comes over the machine, saying one simple thing.

“Stiles?”

And Stiles can breathe again, he can’t speak yet, but he can breathe again.

“She – I tackled her” he says, “Oh my god – I – I killed her. O fuck – I’m so sorry. I – I didn’t mean to! She was – she just needed help! I think I killed her Stiles. What do I?”

There’s noise on the background, police storming in, “She still has a pulse” one of the cops says, and Derek lets out a relieved sigh.

“Let’s get you out of here” a woman’s voice sounds, and Derek answers with a feeble yes please, walking out of the coffee shop with her.

Stiles meets him half way, in the middle of a clearing and he looks at him, still unable to talk, as he looks at the place behind him.

“We’re gonna have to find a new favourite coffee shop” he says after a while, finally finding his voice again.

Derek looks at him for a moment - completely dumbfounded - and then he snorts, and pulls him in for a kiss.

 

 

Someone snaps a picture of it, and it ends up on the front page the next day.

Derek Hale greets fiancé after heroically taking down armed woman

Stiles curses as he reads it, sitting by Derek’s bed at the hospital.

“What’s wrong?” Derek asks, “I mean – nobody will doubt our relationship now, right?”

“No, it’s just” he sighs, “Our parents are going to kill us.”

“And why is that?” Derek replies curiously, barely managing not to roll his eyes.

“Because we didn’t tell them about us getting engaged” he says, Derek’s eyes widen.

“Fuck” he says, “You’re right. We’re so dead.”

There’s a short knock on the door, and when it opens it reveals the sheriff and Thalia Hale, standing shoulder by shoulder.

“This can only end badly” Stiles mutters under his breath, taking hold of Derek's hand and looking at him.

Derek just smiles fondly at him, "We got each other, though" he says, "So how bad could it possibly be?"

And he really has a point there.

Chapter Text

Stiles looks at himself in the reflection of the car window and frowns. He’s got bags under his eyes, as if he hasn’t slept in three days. He looks older – which is to be expected since he just turned twenty eight. Tonight is their ten year reunion, and although he’s looking forward to it – part of him is also dreading it.

“Get over it, you look great” Derek says, “Let’s go!”

“I can’t believe you talked me into this” he mutters, following Derek under slight pressure by Derek’s hand on his back.

Me talked you into this?” Derek says, turning to look at Stiles, “Stiles, you’ve been talking about this ever since you were elected sheriff three months ago!”

“Okay, fine” he says, rolling his eyes, “But that was before – you know!”

“Your dad will handle it just fine” Derek says, holding the door open for his husband, “He managed to raise you, didn’t he?”

“Fine, I’ll stop being worried” he says, following Derek inside and letting the door fall closes behind them, “Well – I’ll try.”

“Thanks” he says, “Now – let go face the music.”

[…]

Erica runs up to them immediately, wrapping Stiles in a tight hug and then holding him at arm length.

“I haven’t seen you in three months” she says, “Have you been sleeping at all?”

“Of course not!” he says, “And you saw me a month ago, when Derek and I watched my darling goddaughter.”

“Well – it feels like longer ago” she says, “How’s the little one?”

“She’s perfect” Stiles says happily, “Evan is acting like the proud big brother already, it’s adorable.”

“Yeah, Lizzy was like that too when Ana was born” she says, “I can’t believe I got stuck with two girls, though.”

“Shut up, you love ‘em” he says, “Boyd not with you tonight?”

“We couldn’t find a sitter” she says, “Although Lizzy insisted she was old enough to watch Ana by herself, because she’s almost nine, you know?”

“I can imagine” Stiles snorts, taking the drink Derek hands him, “Evan is the exact same?”

“It’s adorable” Derek jumps in, “When we left him with the sheriff, he was asking if he could give his little sister the bottle.”

“His birthday is coming up next week, right?” Erica says, watching Derek wrap his arm around Stiles’ waist and press a kiss to his forehead, “The seventh?”

“Yup” Derek sighs, “Three already! Can you believe it?”

“Mine is turning nine” she says, “Trust me, and wait until they’re five and two – that’s going to be fun!”

“Derek? Derek Hale?” a voice calls from behind them. The trio turns around to find none other than Jackson Whittemore standing there, “And Stilinski – you guys still together?”

“Yup” Derek says, not sure how to act towards the man. He’d broken up with Lydia about six years ago, sharing custody of their son until he moved to London for work for three years.

“Good for you” he says, a weak smile, “So – what’ve you guys been up to?”

“I take it you haven’t been back for long?” Stiles says, Jackson shrugs, “Well – I just got elected sheriff. And Derek’s been working as a personal trainer for the Mets.”

“Wow – impressive” he says, “Lydia and I are trying to patch things up – for – Jack junior.”

Erica’s face darkens at the mention of the kid, “How is he?” she asks, sounding genuinely concerned, “Is the treatment working?”

“Yeah – slowly” he says, “Lydia is a genius, she’s following up closely. She’s expecting him to make a full recovery – but, well.”

Right, Derek thinks to himself, he’d run into Lydia and her son a few weeks back when visiting a colleague of Stiles in the hospital.

“Well – Ana and Lizzie have been asking about him” she says with an encouraging smile, “I’ll give Lydia a call, so they can have a playdate.”

“Yeah, he’ll like that” Jackson grins, “I think he’s in love with Lizzie, you should see his face when he talks about her.”

Someone behind him calls his name and he turns to wave, “So – boys, how about you? Any kids?” Jackson asks, glancing over his shoulder again and waving at someone else calling his name.

“Two” Derek says, “Evan is turning three next week, and Claudia is two months.”

“Wow – congratulations” he says, smiling brightly as he glances over his shoulder again, “Looks like they really need me over there. I’ll see you later! It was nice catching up!”

“Yeah – same” Stiles says, waving at him as he walks up to a bunch of old teammates.

“So – he’s different” Stiles says slowly, Erica sighs.

“Yeah. Ever since Jack got sick he’s really turned around” she says, “He’s the stay at home dad at the moment, works from home as a freelancer.”

“Huh” Derek frowns, “Jackson Whittemore – who would’ve thought.”

[…]

“Oh fuck” Stiles sighs, “It looks like the cheerleader posse is here too – why isn’t Scott here? Why did he have to go on a second honeymoon?”

“Because he deserved it” Derek comments, “Besides, it’s been ten years. Are you really going to let those girls get to you?”

“I will try not to” Stiles mutters, “I’ll go get us another drink” he says quickly as he sees three of the girls walk over.

“Hi” one of the girls smiles brightly at him as Stiles disappears from his view, “Long time no see. Well, I saw you in that article about the Mets, of course.”

“Hello Susannah” Derek says, smiling politely, “How have you been?”

“Great” she says, “I just started my own business, going great. How about you?”

“I’m doing well too” he says, not feeling the urge to share much of his personal life.

“Your wife must be happy to have you” she says with another bright smile, Derek sighs.

“No wife” he says, the woman lights up and that’s when Stiles slides back into view and hands Derek a drink.

“Does have a husband though” he says, pocketing his phone, “Dad just sent a text, Claudia and Evan are both off to sleep.”

“Good” he says, turning to the three girl who are looking slightly confused, “They’re our kids. Claudia’s just two months old, if you can believe it.”

“So – uhm – you two still together?” another one of the women says, frowning slightly – Derek thinks her name was Katia – as Stiles wraps an arm around Derek’s waist.

“Yes” Stiles says, sounding sincerely confused, “Why wouldn’t we be?”

“I don’t know” she shrugs, “You weren’t together long in high school, I suppose a lot of people thought you wouldn’t survive the distance of college.”

“We were together for over a year in high school” Stiles informs them, “We started dating that summer before our final year.”

“And we actually lived together during college” Derek adds, “Got engaged at the end of our first year.”

“Married at the end of our second year” Stiles says, sighing contently, “We have our eight year anniversary coming up.”

“Oh – congratulations” the last one of the three says, she sounds genuinely happy for them, “I just got married myself!”

“Congrats Lucy” Stiles says, Derek’s slightly surprised his husband knows the woman’s name, “I wish you the best of luck.”

“Thanks, Stiles” she says, “How’s Stephen been, by the way?”

“Still one of my best deputies” Stiles says with a smile – which explains why Stiles knows the woman, “Has a lot of anecdotes about his loving sister though!”

“Oh dear god – what has he been telling about me?” she says, turning bright red at the mention of it, “Nothing bad, I hope?”

“Nothing bad” he says, “Just some lovely stories about how you’re constantly trying to set him up with your friends.”

“Oh – that” she smiles, “Well – I can’t help it. He’s my little brother.”

“I know” Stiles grins, glancing at Derek who takes his phone from his pocket, “Everything okay babe?”

“Yeah, just an update from your dad” he says, “Claudia is up again – which means Evan is too – we really have to do something about soundproofing their rooms, just a bit.”

“If only we had the time” Stiles grins, “or the money.”

“It’s been nice catching up, sheriff” Lucy says, her friends already out of sight, “But I think my husband is missing me – and I honestly don’t trust Susannah around him.”

“Yeah, neither would I” Derek says with a smirk, pocketing his phone again as Lucy waves and takes off.

“So – how weird was that?” Derek asks, “Being called sheriff outside of your job?”

“So weird” he snorts, “I almost looked behind me to see if my dad was here.”

[…]

“I’m exhausted” Stiles mutters as he sits down at a table next to Derek, “Is this what getting old is like? Feeling exhausted at – half past nine? Seriously?”

“I think this is what having kids feels like” Derek says, “Speaking of – I kind of miss them.”

“Me too” Stiles says, “Would it be totally lame to go home already?”

“Probably” Derek says, “But I honestly couldn’t care less.”

“Neither could I” Stiles agrees, as Erica takes the third empty chair at their table, “Hi there Catwoman.”

“You boys tired too, huh?” she says, a small smile on her face, “Let me guess, you’re missing the kids?”

“Like crazy” Stiles says, “Usually I’m at work when Im out this late, and I barely have tome to miss them, but now -.”

“Yeah, same” she sighs, “I’m going to stay for fifteen more minutes, after the picture thingy, and then head on home.”

“Us too” Derek decides, watching Stiles nod in agreement, “Then we’ll be home in time to give Claws her 10pm bottle.”

“What is the picture thingy exactly?” Stiles asks curiously, sitting a bit straighter.

“A then and now, I think” she shrugs, “From what I’ve hear they put in articles as well, and then those that are an important part of society get a special mention or some shit.”

“Okay – so it’s like prom queen, but for grownups?” Derek asks, Erica nods, “What do you think, babe? We got a chance for the crown this time?”

“You’re the personal trainer for the goddamn Mets, Derek” Erica says, “You’ve already won. And Stiles is the goddamn sheriff. You’re like the power couple.”

“Don’t feel like it now” Stiles snorts, “Too tired.”

They talk for a bit, discussing the kids and local schools – Evan is starting kindergarten in September – and catching up on their work, until the picture slide show starts and the former head cheerleader – Stiles can’t be bothered to recall her name – takes the word.

“Ladies and gentlemen” she smiles, “And variations thereupon.”

“Did she just quote Doctor Who?” Stiles says surprised, sitting a bit straighter.

“Don’t get any ideas” Derek interjects quickly, “I already snatched you up.”

“Duh” he grins, rolling his eyes exaggeratedly, “Now shush, let’s watch the pictures.”

They start with random pictures from the first day of school from their senior year, followed by the group pictures from all the school activities. After that they’re some recent pictures from articles, including the ones about Derek becoming personal trainer to the Mets, and Stiles being elected sheriff.

“I look awful in that picture” Stiles mutters, “I can’t believe you gave it to the press.”

“You look handsome” Derek whispers back, “Besides, it’s the only one I have of you wearing a suit, except our wedding picture, and that wasn’t recent enough.”

“You could’ve given them one of my in my deputy uniform” Stiles replies, after which Derek shushes him with a slight shove to his shoulder as the former head cheerleader takes the mic again.

“We have some special former students here today” she says with a wide smile, “Sheriff Stilinski, recently elected. And his husband, Derek Hale, who are soon celebrating their eight year wedding anniversary with their two children. We have Erica – celebrating her 10 year anniversary soon, with Vernon Boyd – who’s watching their children at home. We have Jackson, accomplished lawyer currently working from home, our hearts go out to his son in these difficult times. Susannah, who just started her own beauty salon. Lucy, who got married last week to Jeffrey Stone.”

There’s a short pause as some people applaud, and several heads turn to the people that are mentioned.

“We’d like to thanks the Isabella and Jenny, for helping us with the decorations tonight” she continues after the short interlude, “And Thomas and his wife, for helping us looking up articles on our former students. And -.”

“Let’s get out of here” Erica mutters, “Before they start calling people onto the stage, or some shit like that.”

“Great plan” Derek says, standing up with Stiles and checking his pockets for his car keys as Stiles shoots his dad a quick text to let him know they’re on their way back.

[…]

“So, boys, how was your night out?” his dad asks when Stiles closes the door behind him, Derek already making his way to the nursery, “You’re back early.”

“It was exhausting” he says, “I mean – it was nice to catch up with some people. But in the end – it wasn’t what I expected it to be.”

“What did you expect?” he asks, looking up as Derek walks in with his granddaughter in his arms and Stiles returns from the kitchen with her bottle.

“I suppose I was expecting – I’m not sure. The chance to shove it in their face? All those people that didn’t believe Derek and I were a thing? To show them how wrong they were, that we made it this far” he shrugs, “But all the time I was there, I only thought about being at home with the kids, and watching a movie together, or getting some sleep.”

“Did you at least have some fun?” he asks, Stiles nods as he hands Derek the bottle.

“We did” Derek says, “I mean – we did get to see some people’s face turn sour once they realized we were still together.”

“That was funny” Stiles agrees, watching his father get up from the couch, “Would you like something to drink, before you take off?”

“Nah, I’m good” he says, “I had a cup of coffee a half our ago. Besides, you boys need your alone time.”

“Thanks” Stiles says, hugging his father, “For babysitting, and all that.”

“Anytime, kiddo” he says, looking over at Derek and his granddaughter, “Anytime.”

Chapter Text

Derek loves his job.

But he hates being away from his family.

Derek wasn’t famous – like most of his friends who played on the team – but people recognized him. Sometimes, when he was away with the team, people would call out his name on the street and ask him about a certain player. There’d been a small article about him when he got the job three years ago – before he became the leading physical therapist of the team – and now he has to tag along when the team has games out of town.

Which means that – on days like these – he calls Stiles on Skype early morning, before Stiles goes to bed back home – and hopes he catches him before he doses off.

He makes due – they make due – with whatever they can get. Texts during the day that he reads when he wakes up. Emails when he has a lot to talk about. A visit when there are enough days between two games – his boss is very happy to sponsor a few trips for him. And Skype.

“So – what has changed?” Derek asks.

“I got a new deputy” Stiles smiles brightly at him from the screen, the curtains behind him are drawn and the light by the couch dimmed, “She’s from out of town, supposedly she’s good.”

“You got the budget approved to hire a new deputy?” he asks, a hint of pride in the question, “That’s amazing Stiles, I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks, sweetie” he adjusts the desk light and glances over his shoulder, “Claudia tried to stay up to say hi, but she fell asleep.”

He turns the laptop to show the sleeping girl on the couch, out like a light. She’s wearing her favorite onesie – a giraffe – and is curled up around one of the pillows.

“I tried putting her to bed” he says, “But you know how stubborn she gets – she misses you. We all do.”

“I miss you guys too” he says softly, “I’ll be there next week. For Claw’s birthday.”

“Yeah – three already! Can you believe it?” he sighs as he glances at the little girl again, “Evan is staying over at a friend tonight. He got invited by a kid he knows from soccer practice. His first sleepover with a friend he doesn’t know through us.”

“Did you freak out the other kid’s parents?” Derek asks, trying not to snort.

“Well – I dropped him off in my sheriff’s uniform. But he’s little, okay! I’m allowed to be protective. He just turned six” he says defensively when Derek laughs.

There’s a knock on the door behind Derek and he tells them to come in. Stiles vaguely recognizes him as one of the players that Derek is helping at the moment.

“Good morning Derek” the man says, shooting a curious and confused glance at the screen.

“I’ll be there in a moment” he says, not averting his eyes from Stiles, there’s a ruckus behind him as Claudia suddenly seems to wake up. It’s surprising how alert and awake she suddenly looks.

“Dada!” she shouts, almost jumping off the couch and toddling over to Stiles, crawling onto Stiles’ lap.

“Hi there munchkin” he smiles at her, trying very hard not to let his voice waver, “How are you doing.”

“I miss you” she says, a pout on her little face, “Are you coming home soon?”

“I’ll be back next week, princess” he says, “Wouldn’t want to miss your birthday, would I?”

“You promise?” she asks, her bottom lip trembling as tears start rolling down her cheeks.

“Of course I do” he says, the girl responses by burying her face into Stiles’ shoulder and sobbing uncontrollable.

“I – I should put her to bed” he sighs, wrapping his arms tightly around her and kissing the top of her head, “I’ll call you in the morning, okay?”

“Yeah. Sweet dreams” he says with a weak smile, Stiles smiles back and then closes the conversation.

“You okay?” the man behind him asks awkwardly as he stands by the desk, “I mean – should I come back later?”

Derek pauses, taking a deep breath before turning around and greeting him with a smile, “No – I’m good! Let’s get started.”

[…]

Jenna never planned on transferring. Especially not to a little town like this. But after getting almost killed on the job, and her sister getting ill. Well, a change of scenery was exactly what she needed. Something with a better schedule, less danger, and more chances to make actual friends.

“Welcome to our little sheriff’s station” the man said, opening the door for her, “I’m sheriff Stilinski. The deputies just call me Stiles. So, please do that too. Otherwise I’ll get confused and think you’re talking about my dad who was the sheriff before me.”

He walks into the offices, leading her towards a desk that has been cleared and already has a nametag with her name on it.

“This will be your place” he says, “If you have any questions, my office is right over there. Jordan will help you with your schedule, explain where to find everything. And – I hope you feel at home soon. Welcome to Beacon Hills.”

“Thank you sheriff Stilinski – uh – I mean – Stiles” she says, feeling the blush already creep up her cheeks, “I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Good” he gives her a nod before returning to his office and leaving her with – who she guesses – Jordan.

[…]

“So” she asks a few days later, “What’s the thing with the sheriff?”

“What thing?” Jordan frowns, “He does his job really good. Been elected three times, nobody wants to run against him.”

“I see” she smiles, glancing at the office, “He seems a bit lonely, though.”

“I guess” Jordan shrugs, “These days are always difficult for him. He’ll be better in a week. No worries.”

[…]

“So – Derek – how’ve you been?” Jensen asks as he joins the dinner table at their hotel, “You seem down.”

“Nothing out of the ordinary. I just miss my family I guess” he shrugs, “I’m looking forward to seeing Stiles and the kids again this weekend.”

“Right, it’s the girl’s birthday, right?” he asks, Derek nods and gets up from his seat to get some food from the buffet, Jensen follows him, “How old is she turning?”

“Three” he says, “She’s turning three.”

“That’s a nice age” he says, “My niece is the same age. They’re great.”

“Yeah – she’s really becoming a little person on her own” he says, “A stubborn little person.”

“True” he smiles as they return to their table, “How’s your wife doing being at home alone with the kids?”

Derek stares at him, “Wife?” he asks, and the man’s face darkens.

“Oh – uhm. You said you were married?” he says hesitantly, suddenly looking slightly ashamed.

“Yeah – I am” he says slowly, “To a guy.”

“Oh – I – I didn’t know” he bites his lip, “You always talk about Stiles and the kids, I thought it was a girl’s name.”

“It’s not” he says, “You don’t have any problems with that – do you?”

“No – not at all” he says quickly, although he doesn’t sound all that sincere, “Just – surprised.”

“Why’s that?” Derek asks curiously.

“I don’t know” he shrugs, “You just look like – different.”

Derek frowns at him. It’s a comments he’s heard before. He doesn’t look gay. He’s not sure how he’s supposed to look, though. Should he wear more pink? Rainbow scarves. Some shit like that? Should he go to gay pride parades? Wear bright shorts?

“How am I supposed to look, then?” he asks, not sure what to expect in response.

“Nothing, I suppose” he shrugs, “I just – I never see you check out any guys, so, it just never registered, I suppose.”

“Well – yeah. I’m married” he says, holding up his right hand and showing him the wedding ring, “But – I guess I understand what you mean. I don’t advertise. It’s not a secret, really. But I know that – in the world of sports – it’s still a bit stigmatized.”

“Yeah – that’s true” he says, biting his lip nervously, “Lots of people are closeted in sports.”

“They are” Derek says, focusing on his breakfast, “It’s a sad truth.

“Right” he mutters, “I guess so.”

[…]

Saying goodbye after Derek’s weekend visit is the hardest thing in the world.

“Are you sure you can’t stay a bit longer?” Stiles complains when Derek drags himself out of bed and gets dressed, “Surely your plane will be delayed.”

“I can’t risk it, babe” he sighs, “Besides – I think it’s best I leave before the kids wake up. They know I wouldn’t be here in the morning. They’ll be confused otherwise.”

“I guess you’re right” he sighs, propping himself up on his elbows to watch Derek get dressed, “Just three more weeks. Right?”

“Three more weeks” Derek echoes, “Trust me, I’d stay if I could.”

“I know” he admits, “I just – I can always try, right?”

“Right” he agrees, throwing his husband a fond smile, “Maybe one day it’ll work.”

“Yeah” he sighs again, letting himself drop down into the bed for a second before getting up, “When is your taxi getting here?”

“Forty five minutes” he says, glancing at the clock, “Don’t get any ideas, Stiles.”

“What ideas?” he asks, giving his husband an innocent look, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Derek smiles to himself as he turns around to look at him, “Don’t act all innocent, you know what I –.” the rest of the sentence dies in his throat when he sees Stiles, all hopes of standing firm quickly fading.

“Hi” Stiles smiles at him, the white sheet pooling at his feet as he reveals himself to be wearing – nothing at all.

“Forty five minutes” Derek repeats halfheartedly, not really all the set on starting an argument.

“We won’t even need half” Stiles smiles broadly as Derek steps towards him and sweeps him into a passionate kiss, “Besides” he says when they fall onto the bed, “You already packed.”

[…]

The sheriff looks happier – just like Jordan predicted – but it only lasts for a little bit. She can’t really explain what it is about him, but she feels for him. It reminds him of herself, right after her sister’s accident. Before everything changed.

“How can I help you?” she asks when a man with two small children walks up to the desk. It’s a simple agreement. They take turns manning the desk and dealing with complaints.

“I’m just here to see my son” he says, the little girl in his arm smiling brightly, “You’re the new deputy, right?”

“Yes” she says slowly, “And who is your son?”

“Daddy is the sheriff” the six year old boy says, “He has the fancy gold star on his shirt.”

“I see” she smiles, “He’s just popped out for a second. He should be back in about fifteen minutes.”

“We’ll wait in his office” the man says, setting the girl down and turning towards her, “You’ll have to walk now Claws, grandpa can’t carry you all the way anymore.”

“Okay” she says, pouting a bit at him before turning towards her brother, “Race you?”

Before the man can say something the kids have already taken off, he sighs deeply and throws her an apologetic look before trotting after them.

The sheriff returns ten minutes later – wrapping up early after Jenna sends him a text telling him his kids and dad are in his office.

He arrives with a smile on his face, his eyes sparkling when he walks towards his office. She can see him being tackled into a hug by the two little kids, and she can’t help but smile at the sight of it. She might not know the man well, but he is clearly a dedicated father. And that’s all she needs to know about him for now.

[…]

Laura picks up the kids after lunch, taking them to the zoo for an afternoon with their aunt. Cora offered, but she had to cancel for a job interview. She’d just graduated as a lawyer, and had been interviewing at several places. Not making up her mind on anything – she refused to work somewhere that didn’t do enough pro-bono work – and listening around everywhere.

Right now, the kids were off with Laura, and Stiles has a Skype date planned with Derek for that evening. After treating himself on lunch at his favorite diner.

He takes his regular seat, the booth by the door, and can’t help but think how strange it is being there without Derek and the kids.

He orders a stack of pancakes, his usual order when he’s there by himself, and takes out his phone to check the news for the Mets.

Only to find a missed call and a message.

[…]

Derek blinks wildly as he is woken up by his phone. He checks the time, 2 am, before grabbing his phone to find three missed calls from Stiles.

He’s just about to call back when it starts ringing again and he picks up.

“Stiles?” he asks, suddenly wide awake, “What’s wrong? Did something happen to the kids? Is Evan alright? And Claws?”

“Yeah – it’s not about the kids” he says, “Well – it is. But they’re okay.”

“What are you talking about?” he asks, sitting up in his bed and pulling the sheets up around his shoulders.

“I got a call” he says slowly, “From the agency – about another baby.”

“What?” he takes in a breath of air, “Are you saying - ?”

“Yes! Derek! I am” he says, “We’re getting another kid, Derek! Three months from now.”

“Really?” he asks, “How – I thought?”

“Some fifteen year old girl got pregnant” he says, “She picked us from the options.”

“Three months” Derek repeats, “Does she – does she want to meet us?”

“No – she said that the girl doesn’t want anything to do with us” he says, “Didn’t even see our picture. She’s scared she might recognize us and make things awkward after giving up her kid. Doesn’t know the sex of the baby either.”

“I’ll try to come back as soon as possible” he says, “Help make things ready.”

“No, it’s okay” he says, “It’s just a few more days, right? I’m going to clear out the office, and I’ll check our storage to see what stuff of Evan and Claws can be reused when I get home.”

“Are you sure?” he asks hesitantly, “I can come, you know? I’m sure they’ll understand.”

“Nah, with the extra mouth to feed we can use the money” he says, “I got a picture of the sonogram. I’m emailing it as we speak!”

“Yeah?” he asks, getting out of the bed and quickly turning on the laptop, “I’m checking it out as we speak.”

He waits impatiently for the page to load and then he clicks the email, looking at the picture.

“Are you looking at it?” he asks, Derek gives a noise of confirmation, “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

“I never get over it” he breathes, “Wish I could print it – I’ll do it tomorrow.”

“We’ll start telling people when you get home” he says, “I – uhm – I’ll let you go back to bed. I love you.”

“Love you to” he replies, “Kiss the kids for me.”

“I will, sweet dreams, babe” he replies before hanging up.

Derek just sits there, staring at the sonogram for another fifteen minutes before tearing his gaze away and going back to bed.

He’s awoken by his alarm six hours later, at 8.30, by someone knocking on his door. He blinked groggily as he looked at his phone – he must’ve accidentally turned off his alarm when Stiles called him last night.

“Hale – hurry up or you’re going to miss breakfast” a voice calls, he curses to himself as he jumps out of bed and grabs the nearest pair of jeans to pull on, taking a clean shirt draped over his chair, before making his way out.

“Are you okay?” Jensen asks when he sees Derek, “Did you get any sleep? At all?”

“Yeah – I did” he smiles, thinking back, “Just – got a call and it took a while before I fell back to sleep.”

“I see” he gives Derek a calculated look, “Your husband?”

“Yes” he says, following Jensen to the hotel restaurant.

“How was your visit?” he asks, Derek looks at him, “Just curious! You were in a really good mood right after you came back. But you got worse – you’re smiling again. So – what happened?”

“I can’t tell people yet” he says with a shrug, “Don’t want to jinx it.”

“Okay” he smiles as he holds the door open for them and lets Derek pass through first, “So – what’s on today’s program.”

“Just some exercises and a day in the gym” he says, “Game in two days, so not overdo it – you know the drill.”

“Yeah – I do’ he says as they both sit down at the table after passing by the breakfast buffet, “Can’t wait to get started.”

“Good to hear” he says, “Hey – do you think I could get something printed at the front desk?”

“Yeah – sure” he shrugs, “What for?”

“Something personal” he replies with a weak smile, “I’m gonna go ask quickly!”

[…]

“What’s got you in such a good mood, kid” his dad asks with a frown, “Was Derek’s visit that good?”

“No – I mean, yes” he shakes his head, “It was great. But – that’s not it.”

“Then what is?” he asks, Stiles bites his lip, “Stiles?”

“We’re getting another kid” he says, “I got the call last week – you can’t tell people yet. We were going to announce it when Derek got back.”

“Seriously?” he asks, “I didn’t even know you guys wanted another one.”

“Well – Derek came from a big family” he explains, “And – you know I hated being an only child. I never hated you or mom for it, I understood. But I was lonely a lot.”

“I know” his dad sighs, rubbing a hand over his eyes, “I – we wanted more kids. When your mom. We were trying. When she got sick -.”

He swallows, as if something is weighing him down – a secret, “Dad?” he asks,  “what’s wrong.”

“When she got the diagnosis – she was pregnant” he says, “But – she didn’t remember us 75 percent of the time. In the end – it was the best decision to make. I was barely fit to raise you, let alone another baby.”

“So – you guys terminated the pregnancy” he says, it’s not judgmental or angry, just a statement.

“She had a miscarriage before the procedure” he says, “Like it was meant to be.”

“I – I didn’t know” he bites his lip, “I was young. I wouldn’t have understood back then. But I do – now. Thanks for telling me, dad.”

“Yeah – it’s nice to get it off my chest” he says, “Melissa – she was there when it happened. She never told anyone – we never talked about it either. But I guess enough time has passed now.”

“It certainly has” Stiles says, passing his dad a cup of coffee, “Maybe – maybe we can talk about mom some more?”

“We never really talked about her, did we” he sighs, “I mean. I was so broken after she died, and I had you. I didn’t want to remind you about not having a mother all of the time, and thinking about her was painful. In my inexperience I thought it was best not to talk about her at all. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the best coping mechanism.”

“For a long time, I didn’t understand” he says, “I thought you were running away. Because you always said how much I looked like her. I miss her – still. In the beginning – sometimes a day passed that I didn’t think about her. And then I felt guilty about it. I hated myself if I didn’t cry about losing her for one day. I thought I was failing her. But you – I was afraid to mention her. Because you looked so sad.”

“I’m sorry, kid” he sighs.

“You know – I used to hide the letters that came with her name on it” he says, “I would take them out and white out her first name. I hated how everyone looked at me, like I would never be okay now. Like my future was doomed, now I didn’t have a mother anymore.”

“She worried about that” he says, “In her lucid moments. She always asked about you, how you would be after she was gone. She was always so worried.”

“How did you meet?” he asks, “I – I have a vague memory of mom telling me something about her brother, but I don’t. I don’t know.”

“I worked with her brother” he says, “He was injured when we were on patrol together. She was visiting him when I was there. She was like – sunshine.”

“I don’t remember ever meeting him” Stiles says.

“He died before you were born” he says, “He transferred to another precinct and was killed in a bank robbery – died a hero. After that your mom and I moved here, and I became a deputy.”

“I wish I knew more about her” he says, “That I had the chance to ask her questions.

“She had diaries – they’re somewhere in the house, stashed in the attic” he says, “I never had the strength to go through it after – but if you want to. You can.”

“Yeah – I’d like that” he replies, checking the clock, “I have to go pick up the kids.”

They both get up, and his dad pulls him into a tight hug, “I love you, kid” he says, “Don’t forget it.”

“Love you too, dad.”

[…]

“Oh my god!” Stiles exclaims when he sees the magazine in the stand, “Holy – what the hell?”

“Stiles, breathe” Lydia comments, “What’s wrong?”

“Not wrong” he says, handing her the magazine, “It’s just – Derek.”

“Twenty hottest men in baseball” she reads, turning to the page of the article, “Wait – they put Derek on the list?”

“Yeah – he’s number three” Stiles says, pointing at the picture.

“Derek Hale – age 31 – is the current physical therapist of the Mets” she reads the article, “The man is private about his life, so we do not know if he is married or dating. What we do know is that he looks good in red and green, and has a gorgeous smile. If this man is not yet taken, there is no hope for any of us.”

“Can’t believe he’s number three” Stiles says, looking at the article, “Clearly, he should be number one.”

“Sadly enough, I have to agree with you” she smiles, handing him the magazine as he pulls out his wallet to buy it, “Do you think he’s seen it yet?”

“No idea” he shrugs, “I will have to ask him on Skype tonight.”

“That’s a conversation I’d pay to see” she says, following him outside, “How are the kids, by the way? My little munchkin has been asking for a playdate.”

“They’re great, missing Derek, but that’s normal” he replies, “How about Friday after school? Jack can come over to our place, I’m off on Friday.”

“I’ll drop him off” she says, “Thanks, sweetie.”

“No problem” he says, “Now, let’s get some coffee first.”

Chapter Text

Stiles doesn’t really know what to do with himself. He keeps pacing back and forth in his office, nervous for some stupid reason. Derek is coming home in five days, and for the past two days he’s been making room for the new baby that’s coming. He’s been moving everything from the two separate offices into the bigger office. Since the small one was more of a glorified storage room.

He went to the furniture store – well Ikea – with Claws and let her pick out a new bed so he could use her crib – she’s really way too big for it – for the new baby. It’s a nice day out, Claudia has been telling every single person she’s seen that she sleeps in a big girl’s bed now. She even convinced her dad to get her one of those pink veils that go over it, so that she’s a real princess. He brought back some new sheets for Evan as well – with footballs on it – so he wouldn’t feel left out.

So far he managed to get the room empty and assemble Claws’ new bed, move her old one into the new room.

Luckily none of the kids asks him why he doesn’t just throw it out.

But now – for some reason – he’s nervous. Because he missed Derek, he really did. But he’s gotten so used to him not being there. And the idea of his routine changing again stresses him out.

He has to work out something new with his dad, since Derek will be picking up the kids from school and day-care. He has to see if Derek is okay with his sisters taking the kids out every Saturday, and if they have time to organize another playdate with Jack and Erica’s kids, Lizzie and Ana. And then maybe see when he can meet up with Scott again. His kids – twin girls Melanie and Rosalie – are in daycare with Claudia, which means they mostly bump into each other early mornings or when Stiles picks her up after work. But they haven’t had an actual get together in almost 5 months. Relatives are willing to babysit if you tell them you have work, but if it’s just so you can catch up with friends – they’re often less understanding.

He glances at the picture on his desk – Lydia had the article of Derek framed for him – and sighs, an aching in his chest when he realizes how long Derek’s been gone.

There’s a knocking on his door and it startles him when it opens and his newest deputy, Jenna, sticks in her head, “Stiles?” she asks, “Uhm, some of the deputies are going to get lunch, do you want something?”

“Uhm, yeah. Just my usual order” he says with a smile, “Thanks.”

“I’ll let them know” she says, she nods at the framed article and smiles, “Into sports?”

He shakes his heads, “Sometimes” he says glancing at the picture again, “It was a gift from my friend.”

“Seems like you have good friends” she says, before giving another nod and closing the door as she leaves him again.

[…]

Derek doesn’t really know how to react when he finds out about the article. But the guys from the team absolutely love it, and they don’t let any chance to bring it up pass them by. He doesn’t mind their teasing much, it’s all good hearted fun. What does bother him, however, is that – during the following press conference from the team – one of the journalists suddenly has a question for him.

It takes him a moment before he realizes the question is for him, not really paying attention all that much.

“Huh?” he asks, “Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

“You were featured as number three in hottest men in sports this week” he says, “Anyone waiting at home for you?”

He glances at the coach, who just shrugs and gestures – meaning it’s up to him if he answers the question or not. He contemplates it for a second, instinctively turning his wedding band around his finger, and smiling involuntarily as he thinks of Stiles and the kids.

“Happily married, two kids” he says with a weak smile and a shrug, “Sorry.”

There’s some flashing as he holds up his hand showing them the ring, and his phone starts ringing, Stiles’ name on the screen.

He frowns, “Hi” he says, immediately picking up and looking for the nearest exit, “Please don’t tell me you’re watching this thing.”

“I am” he says, “But that’s not why I’m calling, Derek.”

His voice sounds strained, and there’s buzzing in the background of people passing him by, “Where are you?” he asks, it’s the middle of the night back home, and he starts making his way for the exit immediately, aware that everyone is looking at him and trying to keep his voice as silent as possible.

“I’m at the hospital, Derek” he says, his voice surprisingly calm, “I – I’m not sure what to do.”

“What – hospital? Are – are the kids okay?” he asks, swallowing back the worry and trying to stay calm until there’s actual reason to panic. He hears the coach cough, drawing the attention back to him and the team.

“Sort of?” he says, he takes a deep breath, “The girl – she went into labor early. We – we have a baby, Derek. But she’s – she’s premature and they are asking me if we still want it and -.”

“Of course we do” he says, “It’s a girl?”

“Yeah” he says, “She’s weak – but she looks like a fighter. But I need you here to sign the papers and everything before we can decide on anything. I had to call my dad, he’s with the kids right now. I don’t know how to – I could really use you right now.”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can” he says finally getting to the exit, he pauses for a second, hand on the door handle, “How does she look?”

There’s a ding and he looks at the screen to see the picture Stiles’ sent pop up before moving the phone back to his ear, “Like she’s ours” he says, “Come home.”

“I will.”

[…]

He’s busy packing when there’s a knock on his door and the coach walks in, giving him a concerned look.

“Everything okay?” he asks, he sounds genuinely worried and he glances at him over his shoulder as he zips up his bag and checks if he forgot anything.

“Uhm – The. The girl that we’re adopting from went into premature labor, so I have a new baby at home and I need to go home to help out with the baby, and the hospital because she’s still there and probably will be for a while” he says, lifting his bag over his shoulder, “I’m so sorry. I left some numbers of people that can cover for me, and I called the airline. I have to go, catch my plane.”

“Yeah, of course” he says, “Don’t worry about it. Uhm. Thing is – since it happened during this press thing everyone was kind of worried and the journalists are smelling blood.”

“I’ll write something down on the plane for you to give them” he says, “Just tell them family emergency for now. My kids don’t even know they’re getting a sister, so that comes first.”

“Okay” he smiles, “Do you need a ride to the airfield?”

“I called a cab” he says, “Thank you for offering.”

He steps aside to let Derek pass, “Derek” he says, making the man turn towards him, “I hope your baby is okay. And – congratulations.”

“Thanks” he says, giving a small wave before leaving.

[…]

He gets to the hospital ten hours later, managing to get some sleep on the plane so he’s well rested when he gets there, and find Stiles sitting in the waiting room staring at his phone.

“Stiles?” he asks, the man gets up when Derek calls out his name and runs up to him, wrapping his arms around his neck.

“I’m so glad you’re here” he mumbles into his neck, “I went home to get some sleep, the kids are at school and daycare.”

“And the baby?” he asks, “Are we – are we naming her? The name we agreed on?”

“Yeah” he says, “We are. I know a lot of people wait until they’re sure they’ll make it, but I know she will. I just do.”

“So – Taylor” he smiles, they’d picked out a name that would fit either boy or girl, “Can I see her?”

“Yeah, I was waiting for you” he smiles, showing him the picture on his phone again, “She’s perfect, you know.”

“Of course she is” he replies, following him through the hospital, “Have you told anyone else yet?”

“No – just my dad” he says, “I figured you’d want to be there when we tell your sisters.”

“Yeah – I mean, I would’ve understood if you had. Seeing the situation, but I’m glad I’ll get to tell them” he says, placing his hand on Stiles’ lower back as they arrive at the ward.

“There she is” he says, sounding in awe as he points to the little girl.

“You’re right” Derek sighs as he looks at the baby, small and fragile and yet so strong looking, “She’s definitely ours.”

Chapter Text

“How are we going to tell people?” Derek asks after they’ve finalized the paperwork, “I mean – telling the kids was easy. But everyone else – we can’t just let them know through an email, can we? Not this kind of news.”

“Just a card?” Stiles suggests, “We can tell everyone else in person, I mean, important people. Family and close friends.”

“But when?” he asks, “We can’t really do a dinner thing, everyone has kids and work, it’s going to take two months before we find a date everyone is available. Should we just tell them at the school gate when we run into each other picking up the kids?”

“I think we’ll have to” Stiles says, “Or – we can send a mass text and a photo?”

“I like that idea” Derek smiles, “Let’s do that. What picture, what caption?”

“How about, you, me and Taylor and the caption ‘Guess who came home early to meet our new daughter?’. And then something about ‘couldn’t wait to meet us’, huh?” he suggests, pulling out his phone, “Smile.”

Stiles moves to sit beside him, and before Derek can even look up Stiles has already snapped a picture, “So, send?” he asks, Derek shrugs and then nods.

“Go for it” he says, watching his husband type out the message and hit send

[…]

Erica drops down in the couch, kicking off her shoes and leaning back after an exhausting day – hoping to get in some sleep before having to pick up the kids from school. Her phone is still in her bag, lying by the door on the next to her coat – which had fallen off the coat’s hanger. Ugh. It’s almost at the exact same time that her phone and Boyd’s phone go off. Wonderful Boyd who went to get her a drink in the kitchen.

“You got a text” Erica says when Boyd returns from the kitchen with her drink, “I did too, but I don’t feel like getting up.”

“Fine” he says with a fond smile as he picks up his phone and sits down next to her, checking the message, “Holy crap.”

“What’s up?” Erica asks, “Something happen?”

“Stiles and Derek adopted a girl” he says, showing her the picture, “She’s cute.”

“She’s in the hospital” Erica says, “Premature – aw fuck.”

She gets up, looking around for her shoes, “Erica, what are you doing?” Boyd asks, “I thought you were exhausted.”

“I am” she says, “But I want to go visit. I mean, Derek had to come back early from work for this. You know what that means, right?”

“That she might not make it” Boyd says, sighing, “Yeah. You go to the hospital, I’ll get the kids from school.”

“Thanks, babe” she smiles, giving him a quick kiss, “I’ll call you when I get there.”

“Hurry, before visiting hours end” he says, shooing her away with his hands and turning on the TV. Maybe he could finally finish that movie Erica hated to watch with him before he had to leave to pick up the kids.

[…]

“Stiles” she smiles at him when she finds him sitting in the hallway, “Where’s Derek?”

“He went to use the bathroom before we leave” he says, getting up to give her a hug “You didn’t have to come, you know.”

“Of course I did” she says, hugging him tightly, “It’s what friends do. Besides, I wanted to.”

“Thanks” he smiles, the hug helps. It’s like a small weight lifting, knowing he has his friends’ support in this.

“Derek’ll be happy to see you again. He really missed everyone while he was away.”

“Look, if you need Boyd and I to watch the kids so you can visit your girl, just let us know, okay?” she says, resting her hand on his shoulder, “Just a phone call away.”

“Thanks, we might take you up on that” he says, turning around when Derek walks into the hallway again, “Erica just offered to watch the kids so we can visit Taylor when we want.”

“You named her Taylor?” she asks, Stiles gives a shy nod, “I love that name, props, dude!”

“Can’t take the credit for that one” Stiles admits, “All Derek. He’s secretly a massive Taylor Swift fan.”

“Am not” he mutters, but the blush creeping up his cheeks claims otherwise.

[…]

 

“How’s it been going with the new deputy?” Derek asks as he leans back in the couch that evening. They’d let the kids stay up an extra hour, since it was Friday, and since Derek was back home, before putting them to bed. Taylor is in the hospital, which is strange. It’s difficult to leave her behind. To not have her with them right now.

“She’s good” he says, turning towards Derek, “It’s weird though. All the other deputies, I know them. I grew up here, as did all other deputies. Her – I don’t know anything about her.”

“Well – why don’t you invite her over?” he says, “Get to know her better. It’ll take our mind off – you know.”

“Yeah – did you write up a press statement yet?” Stiles asks, “I’ve read some things online and – well – whatever you want to tell them is good by me.”

“I wrote something” he says, pulling a sheet of paper out of his pocket and handing it to Stiles, “What do you think.”

He takes it and reads it, “our daughter was born earlier than planned and I was needed back home with my family” he reads out loud, “yeah, sounds great. Send it out.”

“I’ll text it to the coach in a moment” he says, leaning back, “First, let’s enjoy our alone time for a moment.”

[…]

“Dinner?” she asks slowly, “At your place?”

“Yes” he smiles, “With Derek and the kids. It’ll be fun, give me the chance to get to know you a bit.”

“Derek?” she frowns, not sure who he’s talking about. She doesn’t know the sheriff well – unlike every other person at the station who had grown up in this little town.

 

“My husband” he says, she nods slowly in reply, “You knew that – right?”

She shrugs, “I knew you were married – just didn’t know to who” she says, even though it’s not really true. Nobody had told her, to be honest. All she knew was that he had kids – and a brand new daughter – and that he had been in a bad mood. Now – however – after hearing the name it seems to make sense. Derek – like the guy from the article. No wonder he looked at her funny when she asked about it.

“Uhm – I’m free all days except Wednesday and Monday evening” she eventually says after Stiles raises his eyebrow at her. It’s difficult, and she’s glad he doesn’t ask about why she can’t go on those days. After all – he knows she’s single, and he knows her working schedule – because he makes them every month. She doesn’t really feel like explaining that those are the days she visits her sister in the hospital.

“Okay” he smiles again, “I’ll ask with Derek and let you know. Any food allergies I should look out for?”

“Nope, nothing at all” Jenna says, managing a bright smile in response.

“Perfect.”

He gives her a little wave before walking off, and she can’t help but feel slightly panicked about the upcoming dinner. Not sure what to expect of it.

[…]

Dinner happens two days later, on Friday evening after the kids have been put to bed and a visit to Taylor.

Jenna is nervous – even though she knows this isn’t some sort of evaluation. She can’t help but feel nervous and on edge around her boss. Even more so around his husband who is – well – gorgeous. She’s never been good around attractive men, not even when she was younger.

 “How’s your daughter doing?” she asks, trying to keep the conversation alive and remembering the poster in the lunch room at the sheriff’s station, “I uhm – read about it. The picture in the lunchroom. Jordan told me about it later on.”

“Oh, she’s – okay?” Derek sighs, he looks tired but happy when he talks about her “She’s strong.”

“Must be difficult leaving her behind” she says after a while, “I always pass the ward when I visit my sister.”

“Your sister?” Stiles frowns – he doesn’t know. She never really mentioned it on her file or application – didn’t really see the point in it.

“She’s in a coma. Got into the car with a drunk friend” Jenna sighs, “Just turned 21 when it happened. You know how it goes – she was the only one who survived the accident.”

“I’m so sorry” Derek replies, “It must be difficult.”

She shrugs, the most difficult is the bills. She manages, somehow. The doctors say she won’t wake up, to let her go. The insurance company says they won’t cover for it much longer. The parents of the driver say they feel terrible. There was a benefit to raise money for her care – right after it happened – but that money is slowly running out.

She doesn’t even know how she’s going to pay the hospital bills this month.

And she’s not ready to let go.

Not yet.

 “Some days are easier than others” she smiles weakly, ignoring the feeling of dread in her stomach, “I manage.”

[…]

“Uhm – Derek?” Stiles frowns as he walks in again, holding the newspaper, “You – you didn’t send a picture with your statement, did you?”

“I didn’t” he says, “Why?”

He hands the paper to Derek and rubs through his eyes, “This is going to be – ugh.”

Derek turns over the paper to be greeted with a picture of himself and Stiles – and the kids – on a picnic. He feels himself go ice cold when he sees the picture plastered on the front page in the top corner, a page number and the promise of more photos underneath.

“Where did they get those?” he asks, “Did they follow me home? I’m not even on the team, why do they care?”

“I’ll check in with my dad, see what we can do legally” he says, taking the paper from his hands and placing it on the kitchen counter, “Let’s go get the kids ready for school and visit Taylor.”

“Yeah, let’s do that” he says, taking a deep breath and glancing towards the paper again before going up the stairs to wake up Claws and Evan.

[…]

The kids are at school, visiting hours are over, and they have a blissfull 2 hours before school ends to spend by themselves. So Stiles watches some TV, and Derek decides to read the article. It’s like his head gets fuzzy the moment he opens the paper to the mentioned page and sees the picture.

“They have a picture of Taylor” he says slowly, causing Stiles to look up and give him a confused look, “why do they have? How?”

“That’s not possible” Stiles says, getting up and walking over to Derek to look over his shoulder, “How did they get that? If they have that it means that - .”

He looks at the picture of Derek and himself, Taylor with them. The selfie they took to announce their new daughter to the world – plastered over a two page spread in the gossip category of the paper.

“It means one of our friends leaked it” Derek finishes.

“No – they wouldn’t!” Stiles shakes his head, feeling as if someone poured a bucket of ice over him, “would they?”

“Maybe?” he bites his lip, eyes still glued to the picture.

“I’ll find out who did it” Stiles says, kissing Derek’s cheek and leaning his chin on the man’s shoulder.

“I know.”

Chapter Text

Things become crazy after that.

The pictures are everywhere, and they seem to find more every time he looks up. It gets so bad that Derek’s boss – the coach – even shows up at his house. For moral support, and to give some good advice.

“Derek” the man gives him a warm smile when Derek opens the door for him and lets him in. Stiles is in the kitchen with the kids – helping Evan with his reading homework and watching Claws as she eats her apple slices.

“Coach” he gives a nod, offering the man a drink which he refuses.

“How are you doing?” he asks, he sighs as they make their way to the living room to sit on the couch.

“Not great” he says, “I just don’t get what the big deal is, why they want to know all that about me. I’m not important, I’m not a big sport star. I’m busy enough worrying about Taylor – I don’t need this too!”

“Taylor?” he frowns and Derek nods to the picture on the coffee table – a printed out version of the selfie they’d sent to their friends and family.

“Our daughter” he explains, “She’s doing okay – but I’d feel better when we get to take her home. Where she belongs.”

“I get it” the man says, placing a hand on his shoulder, “Here’s the thing. The best way to get them off your back, is to give them an interview. Doesn’t have to be TV. I think radio would be better, by the way. I have a list of possibilities, you can choose. Pick a sports show, no gossip things. They’ll focus on the wrong things.”

“Is it necessary?” he asks, rubbing his hands over his face.

“Yes” he says, “At the moment, the gay and bi community is sort of pissed. They’re drawing the wrong conclusions. They are asking why you kept it a secret. Since there are so few gay icons in the sports world, why you didn’t come out as an example. Since you’re not an actual player, they say you are in a perfect position.”

“I wasn’t hiding anything” Derek sighs, glancing at Stiles who gives the coach a confused look, “It just – never came up.”

“I know” he agrees, “That’s why you need to do the interview, Derek. To clear the air. And when the next scandal or story comes up, you’ll be old news and back to your life.”

“Yeah – I’ll take a look at your list” he says, “I’ll call you when I’ve decided. I’ll have to talk about it with Stiles first.”

“A double interview would be great” the coach suggests with a weak smile as he gets up again and Derek walks him to the door, “Good luck Derek. And I hope your daughter gets to come home soon.”

“Thanks” he smiles, “I appreciate it. A lot.”

[…]

“She’s progressing” the doctor says, looking at his chart, “If she keeps improving like this, you will get to take her home in a week or two.”

“Thanks” Derek smiles, “Can we – we have two kids at home. Do you think they can come visit?”

“Yes” the man smiles, “Her immune system is strong enough at the moment. And you can also hold her, with supervision of a nurse, of course.”

“We can – we can hold her?” Stiles chokes out, glancing at their daughter, “Yes, please, thanks!”

The man smiles as he calls over a nurse. The woman helps them and then gently places the baby in Stiles’ arms who just stares at her.

“Hi there” he whispers to her, “You look beautiful. Taylor Talia Stilinski Hale.”

“She does” Derek says, looking at her over Stiles’ shoulder, “Just like her dad.”

“She’s perfect, Derek” he says, still staring at the little miracle in her arms, “She – she’ll be okay. She got us.”

“She’ll be absolutely fine” he assures her, even though he can’t really promise something like that, “We got her.”

[…]

Jenna can’t help but pace back and forth. She can’t stop herself, it’s what she does when she’s expecting news. It’s what she did when her parents were caught in a hit and run, it’s what she did when she had that pregnancy scare (which would’ve been fine if it hadn’t been by her violent ex-boyfriend), and she’s doing it now. After getting an urgent call from the doctor. Halfway through patrolling, Jordan had driven her to the hospital immediately when he noticed how distressed she was, how worried and how close to panic.

He’d told her he’d inform the sheriff, and then said to give him a call if she needed a ride home. She wouldn’t need one. She’d specifically chosen an apartment close to the hospital for visiting purposes. Growing up in the city she never really had a need to get a license, and although she got one when she became a cop, driving wasn’t something she did in her spare time.

Traffic stresses her out.

She’s pacing.

“Miss?” the woman walks up to her, and she doesn’t even need the words to know what’s about to come, “We’re really sorry. We tried everything we could, but we were unable to save your sister.”

“Oh” she stops pacing, because why stress out now? She cannot change what happened now.

“I know this is soon – but uhm” she smiles empathically, “Was your sister registered as an organ donor?”

“Yeah – just, take whatever you need” she says, “Do I have to sign something?”

“Just here” the woman holds out her clipboard with the paperwork and a pen, and she signs at the bottom, “I will send a nurse to help you arrange the paperwork for afterwards.”

“Thanks” she pauses, “Can I – can I say goodbye? First?”

“Of course” she nods, “I’ll take you to her.”

 [….]

“A skype interview?” Stiles asks, “So I can record it? Are you sure about it, Derek?”

“Yeah” he shrugs, “I mean – you can pass me in the back, make clear I’m not hiding anything, you know?”

“Hmm, that might be a good way to get the message across” he agrees, “But you know, I support whatever choice you make.”

“I know” he says, pulling him towards himself for a quick kiss, “Now get to work, or you’ll be late.”

“Yeah yeah” he grins, brushing his hand through Derek’s hair, “Brush your hair before you do the interview, okay? Oh – and maybe wear a cleaner shirt. One without baby spit?”

“Hmm, you have a point there” he says, smelling his shirt and making a gaging sound, “How did I not even smell that?”

“Wear the maroon Henley” Stiles shouts over his shoulder as he leaves in his uniform, “Looks good on you.”

[…]

Derek is nervous for the interview, and he’s convinced it shows on him when the computer dings and he opens the conversation.

“Good afternoon” the woman smiles brightly, he can see both the interviewer and the other guests.

“Hello” he smiles and gives a little wave, feeling like a complete idiot two seconds later.

“Derek Hale – physical therapist for the Mets” she smiles, “It was recently revealed that you are married to another man, which caused quite a bit of a commotion.”

He shrugs, “I don’t really get it, to be honest” he says, “I never really hid it or kept it a secret, it just never came up or anything.”

“Do you think you have a position to help out gay athletes?” he asks, Derek shakes his head and then frowns.

“I don’t know” he says, “I mean – I would help people if they have questions. And I’d say they should live as the person they are. Not having to hide. I never had to.”

“Yet, people think you did hide it” the woman says, Derek can’t help but snort, “Something funny about that?”

“Our engagement was front page news” he says, “Wait – let me show you.”

He gets up, leaning over to get the framed article from the wall, and shows it to the screen, “I never really felt the need to hide being married to a guy. I dated women, I dated men, I married a man. I honestly don’t see what the big deal is.”

“Not even in the world of sports?”

“In contrary to popular belief, my sexuality does not influence my capacities to do my job properly” he says, scratching his beard and putting the frame down. Part of him is relieved she doesn’t ask about the article, or the armed hostage situation.

“So you’re bi?” she asks, he nods, “How did you realize you were bi?”

“Oh – that’s” he smiles, “I met this guy at camp. Annoying as hell, big mouth, and gorgeous eyes. He drove me crazy, and I couldn’t stop thinking about him.”

“What happened?” she asks, he grins.

“I married him” he says, “Proposed our first year of college, got married a year later.”

“How long have you been together, then?” she asks, clearly surprised.

“Twelve years next month” he says, hearing the door open behind him and the telltale sound of stamping feet and kids complaining about being hungry.

“Wow – impressive, congratulations” she smiles, Stiles walks up to him and frowns.

“I thought you’d be finished” he says, kissing his cheek, “dinner?”

“In the oven” he replies, “Fifteen more minutes.”

“Awesome” he smiles, turning towards the kids again, “Evan, shoes!”

There’s a whine in response, and a bush of blonde hair crashing into the living room followed by a stream of words and a scream.

“Daddy, daddy” Claws starts, pulling at his pants, “Dad took us to see Taylor, and she’s really cute, daddy! Do you think she likes pink?”

“I don’t know sweetie” he says, placing a kiss on her forehead and ignoring the “aaw” coming from the interviewer.

“Daddy?” she whispers loudly, “Who are all those people on the computer?”

“Claws! Come and put away your shoes, sweetie” Stiles calls from the hallway, she sighs and runs off.

“Her name is Claws?” the woman frowns, sounding slightly judgmental.

“Claudia” he says “Her name is Claudia, after my husband’s mother. Claws is a nickname.”

“It’s cute” she smiles, “Sounds like it’s busy over there?”

“My husband just picked up the kids after work” he says, feeling Stiles tap on his shoulder.

“Babe” he sighs, “I have to go back to work.”

Derek frowns, “What happened?” he asks, Stiles looks absolutely exhausted and also energetic. It’s a strange paradox that his eyes sometimes hold.

“They found a body” he says, “They think it’s an accidental death, but I still need to be there. Can you make sure Claws gets a bath? She jumped in a lot of puddles on her walk with daycare. And Evan has to do his reading. He likes that ninja turtle’s book.”

“I know” he says, giving him a quick kiss, “Call me later?”

“Always” he smiles, “I’ll see you tonight.”

He turns around, “Evan, Claws” he shouts, “I gotta get back to work, come give me a kiss.”

The kids almost storm towards him and tackle him in a hug.

Derek just smiles, “I’m sorry” he says, “I have to go – well, feed my kids.”

“Of course” the woman smiles, “Thank you for your time.”

“Daddy! Evan is taking juice from the fridge without asking” Claws shouts, Derek gives a small wave and closes the conversation.

[…]

It’s not that Derek doesn’t get to spend alone time with his kids. But he hasn’t really had the time. Now – however – with Stiles at work, it’s just him and the kids. It’s nice, he thinks, as he sits with them on the couch, watching some Disney movie. Claudia is cuddled up against him on his left, Evan the same on the right side – both clearly nodding off to sleep.

“I’m glad you’re back daddy” Evan mumbles, as he scoots a little closer.

“Yeah, me too, kid” he says, kissing the top of his head, “Did you and dad do a lot of fun things, though?”

“Yeah” he looks up at Derek, “We went to the zoo, and Auntie Laura took us to the park a lot. Grandpa and Grandma Melissa taught me the alphabet song. And Uncle Scott and Auntie Kira took me to the preserve and we saw wolves.”

“That sounds pretty cool” he smiles, glancing at the clock, “It’s past your bedtime, kiddo. How about you go up the stairs, and I’ll carry your sister.”

He nods and grabs his stuffed wolf plushie from the couch, dragging it after him as he goes up the stairs. Derek behind him with Claws.

Putting Claudia to bed isn’t hard, she’s out like a light, but Evan demands a bed time story and a proper goodnight kiss – which usually involves a ticklefight.

“Dad?” he asks quietly as Derek makes his way to the door and turns off the light, he turns and looks at his son, “Is Taylor coming home soon?”

“Yeah, sweetie” he smiles, “She is.”

 […]

“Jenna” Stiles smiles at her, “How have you been? I saw you asked for some time off? Everything okay?”

She looks up, clearly not 100% present with her thoughts and frowns, “What?” she shakes her head a bit, her eyes red as if she’d been crying, “Sorry – uhm – my sister she…”

“Oh” he sighs, and then – before she can do anything – he pulls her into a hug.

“She – she went into shock and they couldn’t –.” she sobs – it should feel awkward, but it doesn’t. It’s nice to be hugged again – she hadn’t been hugged like this since her sister’s – well.

“When is the funeral?” he asks as he releases her from the hug and she wipes her eyes dry with the back of her sleeve.

“Next week, Wednesday” she tells him, letting out a deep breath.

“If you want, we’ll come” he says, “I know funerals are difficult. Especially family. So we will come to support you. If you let us.”

“Yeah” she nods – slowly, “I’d like that. Thank you.”

“No need to thank me, Jenna” he smiles at her, “I’ll inform the other deputies that you’ll be taking some personal time. Do you need any help? With the paperwork or anything? I know Jordan is good with those kind of things. He’ll be glad to help if you ask.”

“I’ll think about it” she says, managing a weak smile.

Maybe moving to this town wasn’t so bad after all.

 

 

[…]

There’s a knock on his door, and Derek looks at the clock. 10pm.

Must be somebody they know. Their friends are aware that the kids are asleep at this time of night, and that the doorbell might wake them up. He glances at Stiles, sitting up a bit straighter on the couch, and nods. They both get up to open the door to be greeted by Jackson and Lydia. Jackson is wearing a suit, and Lydia is wearing a nightblue gown – clearly coming from a party. Jackson stares at his feet, and Lydia glares at him angrily – her arms crossed and she nudges him with her shoulder.

“Uhm – hello?” Stiles frowns – not sure what is going on.

“Tell them” Lydia says, her voice dripping with disgust.

“Tell us what?” Derek asks, Jackson looks up and he looks – embarrassed, ashamed, and guilty – Stiles can already guess what he needs to tell them.

You leaked the pictures?” he says, the statement filled with disbelief.

“Why?” Derek asks, not sure why Jackson Whittemore – of all people – would leak their photos for some quick cash.

“Uhm – well” he bites his lip, “I got fired. So I started working freelance again, but I didn’t get any clients. At least not enough. So I lost my insurance because I couldn’t make the payments, and then Jack had to go in for a check-up and -.”

“But you have money” he says, “Right?”

“I have money” Lydia says, “Jackson here was too fucking proud to tell me he got fired. Too fucking proud to tell me he couldn’t pay the insurance company. Because for some reason the kid is connected to his insurance, and not mine. Fucking idiot.”

“I’m sorry” Jackson says quietly, and he actually sounds sincere, “I – the second I did it I regretted it. And I wanted to tell you guys, but then – I didn’t know. I’m so sorry.”

“Well – you should be” Lydia says, “We talked about this when we got back together, Jackson. No more second chances. When you screw up – you’re out.”

“I know” he says, “I’ll find another place to live. I hope you guys can forgive me – someday.”

“Maybe” Derek sighs, “I get it, okay. I wouldn’t know how to pay for Taylor’s care if we lost our insurance. But you should’ve just asked for help. Stop being so proud all the goddamn time, Jackson.”

“Yeah – I’ll work on it” he says, he looks at Lydia who gives him unspoken permission to return to the car.

“So – that’s it? You’re breaking up with him?” Stiles asks when they’re alone.

“Yeah. I mean. Things have been going bad for a while now” she admits, “This is just – the final straw. You know?”

“I didn’t know” Derek says, “I guess we haven’t really been there lately.”

“Nobody blames you for that” Lydia says, “You’ve been preoccupied with your daughter. I get that. I’ll be preoccupied too, in a few months.”

“Wait – you’re?” Stiles’ eyes widen and she smirks.

“Yeah – a daughter. 4 months” she says, “Jackson knows, but clearly it wasn’t enough incentive for him to not fuck up. But the good news is that Taylor will have a friend to play with soon.”

“Congratulations, Lyds” Stiles smiles, pulling her into a hug, “You should get home, get some rest. That’s important now.”

She nods, “You’re probably right” she smirks, “It’s a miracle I managed to squeeze into this dress.”

“You look gorgeous, as always” Derek smiles, kissing her cheek, “And Lydia – thank you. For – well – dragging Jackson over and letting us know it was him.”

“No problem, boys” she replies, kissing Stiles’ cheek, “You would’ve done the same for me.”

“In a heartbeat” Stiles says, “Now go get some sleep.”

“Okay!”

[…]

 

“This is it, Stiles” Derek whispers as they stand in the hallway. 4 long weeks had passed, and today was the day they finally got to bring her home.

“I know” he can’t help but smile, trying to push away the tears he can feel stinging in his eyes, “She’s coming home – finally.”

They finally got to hold her for the first time two weeks ago, her little eyes looking up at them in wonder. And the kids had visited – for the first time – as well. Evan was already a proud big brother. Claws was getting used to not being the little one anymore. Although she loved that she was no longer the only girl in the household. Already planning on discussing boys with her sister when they were big, and make-up and princess stuff and “You wouldn’t understand, dads, you’re boys” things. (Derek might have secretly filmed her explanation – it was just too cute not to.)

“Do you think she’ll like my old bed?” Claws asks when they walk up to the car, the baby carefully in Derek’s care – safely strapped into the maxi cozi. She’d passed the car-test, and had grown a lot in the past month. Her birthmother had sent a letter expressing her concern and hoping they’d still want her and Stiles had replied with a typed letter to inform her and keep her up to date – avoiding the use of their names, as per her request.

The letters safely stashed away for when Taylor got bigger – if she would ever doubt her birthmother didn’t care enough they could show her the letters.

Stiles drives – and Derek would complain about him driving too slow, but he probably would’ve done the same as him. It’s a good thing that Stiles’ dad offered to drive the kids, because they would’ve complained a lot by now. They were probably home already with him, talking him into giving them ice cream.

When they get home – however – it’s to find a banner stretched across their front door reading: “WELCOME HOME TAYLOR”, and a bunch of their friends standing on the lawn.

During the entire party, however, Taylor sleeps in her crib in the corner of the living room. And when Derek finds Stiles standing by her crib he can’t help but join him and ask what he’s doing.

“Just – watching her breathe” he says, staring at the little baby, “How about you?”

“Same” he smiles, wrapping his arm around Stiles’ waist as Evan chatters away against Scott and Jack, and Claws tackles his leg again.

He’s never been happier to just be home.

Chapter Text

“So – how did you two get together?” Lydia asks curiously, “I mean, we all heard the ‘We met at camp’ shit. But what’s the whole story!”

“Oh – you mean from the start? How it all began?” Stiles says slowly, “I guess that was when you tackled me, right?”

“When I broke your wrist?” Derek asks, sounding guilty as he looks down and sighs.

“It wasn’t broken, Derek” Stiles rolls his eyes, “It was a serious sprain, that’s all. Anyways, it started about the third day of camp, when we had a practice game.”

 

Stiles was ready for this. So ready. This is his summer, the summer he’ll train, get better and get the best at school at lacrosse. This is his summer.

The summer of no distractions.

That was the plan. Until he spots Derek, the man who smiles in a way that makes him lose his train of thoughts.

_

Derek was ready for another summer of lacrosse camp. He loves the game, he loves the sport, and he loves this place. It was a whole summer away from his sisters – whom he loves, but they also drive him crazy – so eight weeks away from them is wonderful.

He’s in the middle of his warm-ups when he hears him discussing something with the coach, “I’m not on the skins team, right?” the man says, “I mean, I’m way too pale. I’ll reflect the sun and blind people.”

“I’m sure you’ll be fine, Stiles” the coach says, causing Derek to turn his head to find out what the owner of the strange name looks like – and he feels like he got hit by a truck. At the exact same time he turns to look at him, Stiles turns and meets his eyes.

“No stress, Stiles” the coach says, not really regaining Stiles’ focus, “You’ll be on the shirts team, Derek here will be on the skins team.”

“Hi” he smiles weakly, giving a little awkward wave, “I’m Derek.”

“On the skins team” Stiles comments, he grins, eyes bright and brown, “Stiles, shirts team.”

“You weren’t here last summer, were you?” he asks – even though he already knows the answer. He’s pretty sure he would remember this person. Stiles shakes his head, “You’ll like this place.”

“I’m liking it so far” he says as he winks at Derek, “Game is about to start. Are you ready?”

“I am” he smirks, he’s not quite sure what is going on right now, “Are you?”

“With you on the field?” he asks, a wide grin on his face, “Abso-fucking-lutely.”

[…]

“Did you know already?” Laura asks, turning towards her brother, “What it was?”

“I don’t know” he shrugs, “I knew I wanted to know him better. I realized Stiles was flirting with me, and that I was flirting back. But I didn’t really understand it yet.”

“You know what Derek is like” Stiles smiles, “He doesn’t like jumping to conclusions too quickly.”

“Exactly” Derek says, nodding, “Now – you want to know the rest of the story, or not?”

[…]

Derek doesn’t really know what’s going on. It’s flirting, he knows that. He just doesn’t understand why he’s going along with it.

Sure, his previous relationships hadn’t ended great, but they were good while they lasted. He just never looked at guys that way before. But the way Stiles keeps looking at him during the game makes his heart jump, it makes him want to – do things.  

That’s his defense, that and Stiles making a run for the ball, when he tackles him.

“I’m sorry” he smiles weakly as he reaches out his hand to help him up, Stiles just smiles back at him as he takes Derek’s hand.

“Don’t be” Stiles replies, “I’m not.”

[…]

Stiles curses as he sits down next to the coach, carefully holding his wrist in his hand and inspecting it.

“What’s up, Stiles?” he asks, glancing at his wrist and already feeling the thundercloud hanging over his head – there’d better not be a lawsuit because of this. Last year some asshole named Jackson had broken his little toe and tried to sue the camp for compensation with his rich lawyer dad. Luckily they’d had some small letters in the agreement everyone had to sign when they enrolled for camp.

“Something’s wrong with my wrist” he says, “It fucking hurts.”

“Fuck” he turns again and takes a look at the wrist, “Yeah that looks bad. Go see first aid, hurry up.”

“Sure” he winces slightly as he holds his wrist close to his body and jogs to first aid.

“It’s not broken” the doctor says, handing him a packet of ice to rest on it, “But you should stay away from the game for a while. I’ll put a bandage on it, and a splint. It’s definitely a serious sprain.”

“So I can’t do anything?” he asks, the man sighs.

“You can still jog” he says, “As long as you keep the bandage on. And you can go watch the game, if you still want.”

“Yeah, sure” he sighs, “Maybe I can make Derek feel bad about this for a bit.”

“Well, whatever makes you happy?”

[…]

“I knew it” Derek says, “You totally played me, trying to make me feel guilty.”

“Well – babe – you did break my wrist” he says, smiling sweetly and making both Laura and Lydia laugh.

“Sprained” Derek says, “And I made it up to you.”

“Okay – so you returned to see the rest of the game, right?” Lydia asks, Stiles nods, “What happened next?”

[…]

Stiles is gone. At least, Derek can’t see him anywhere. He looks around for a while, before he spots him by the side of the field. His wrist is wrapped up in a bandage and he has a pack of ice resting on it. Fuck.

He waits until the game is over – they win – and then runs over to Stiles.

“Are you okay?” he asks, “Fuck – did I break your wrist?”

“Nah, just a sprain” he shrugs as if it’s no big deal, the ice still on his wrist, “Beside, it was an accident.”

“Still – I’m so sorry” he says, scoffing his feet on the ground and avoiding Stiles’ gaze.

“I’m sure you’ll find a way to make it up to me” Stiles says as he gets up, “At least I’m still allowed to go running.”

“I didn’t know you liked to run” Derek says, “Do you want a running partner?”

“Yeah – sure”

[…]

Stiles is surprised when Derek shows up the following morning, not sure he would actually show, but grateful for the company nonetheless.

“Derek, just in time” he smiles, “I can use some help tying my shoes.”

Derek frowns at him, looking down at Stiles’ shoes, “Really?” he asks, a bit hesitant.

“Really” he says, he holds up his wrist, “Can’t do it myself. You don’t mind, do you?”

He gives Derek his most pathetic look and Derek kneels down, tying the shoes expertly and glancing up to find a grinning Stiles looking down to him.

“There you go” he says, standing up again, “Any specific track you want to run?”

“Nope – you’re the one who’s been here before” he says, gesturing towards the field, “I’m trusting your expertise. Right behind you.”

“Okay” he smiles, “I will take the lead.”

“And I will follow!”

[…]

“I’m still convinced you only let me take the lead so you could check out my ass” Derek says with a smile, looking at Stiles who just grins.

“Even then, you knew me too well” he replies easily, making Derek laugh, “It was also nice to see you on your knees.”

“And did you really need my help with your shoes?” he asks, raising an eyebrow at his husband, Stiles shrugs.

“I probably would’ve figured it out eventually” he admits, “But you were there and willing to help. I saw a chance, and I took it.”

“Lucky me” Derek muses with a fond smile before turning back to Laura and Lydia and continuing their story, “That was about the first two weeks. I mean, that was what we did those first two weeks. We ran together, I chose a track through the fields. Sometimes the woods. We talked a bit, got to know each other.  And then after two weeks I figured out that it wasn’t just friendship for me. So I called Laura…”

[…]

 

“Laura” Derek sighs relieved when she picks up, “Thank god!”

“Wow” she snorts, “Two weeks? What’s up?”

“I think I’m falling in love” he says, sounding miserable.

“I thought it was an all-boys camp” she says, he sighs deeply and rubs over his eyes.

“It is” he replies.

“Is he pretty?” she asks, Derek groans and drops down on his bed, glad he’s alone in his digs right now.

“Laura! I’m serious” he sighs, “What do I do? How do I know if I’m not just imagining things?”

“Well, start by answering the question” she says calmly, “Is he pretty?”

“Yes” he sighs again, “He’s gorgeous. He’s kind and funny, and he’s beautiful. He had these deep brown eyes, and moles. God, those moles. I can’t help but wonder where they lead too. He’s annoying, but he’s really sweet. He loves his friends passionately, and he can talk all day long without being boring. It’s just – fuck, Laura – what do I do?”

“Oh – you got it bad” she sighs too, shaking her head, “How are you feeling?”

“Confused” he replies, “What do I do, Laura?”

“You flirt with him” she says with a smile, “It’ll be absolutely fine.”

“You think?” he shakes his head, getting up and pacing through the room, “What if he doesn’t like me?”

“Come on, Der” she says after a while, sounding honest and open, “What’s not to like?”

“You have to say that – you’re my sister” he says, dropping down on the bed again and falling backwards, “Help me!”

“Just flirt with him, Derek” she replies, “Give him one of your dazzling smiles, get to know each other better.”

“Okay” he sighs, “I’m trusting you on this.”

“Good. They’re not all crazy Kate, okay” she says, “Just go for it.”

“I’ll try my best.”

[…]

“You were freaking out pretty badly” Laura says, “I honestly wasn’t that surprised, though.”

“Yeah? How come?” Stiles asks curiously – Derek’s heard this story over a dozen times.

“When he was five, he came home gushing about a new boy at his school who was gorgeous” Laura says with a fond smile towards her brother, “Said you were in love and he was even prettier than Lucy – who was the most popular girl at your school.”

“You were the cutest” Stiles says, leaning his elbows on the table and placing his chin in his hands as he smiles at Derek, “You still are.”

“Shut up” Derek mutters, clearly embarrassed as his ears turn red, “Just tell them the story.”

[…]

They ran together. It became a thing, somehow, and Stiles didn’t quite know what to make of it.

“I like it here” Stiles says when they sit down by the lake, “it is calm.”

“Not calm back home?” Derek asks as he hands him a bottle of water.

“Calm enough” he shrugs, “But it’s not the same. Back home people always expect something from you, you know?”

“How so?” Derek asks.

“School expects you to study, parents expect you to do chores, friends expect you to have time for them” he sums up, “It’s always something, you know?”

“Yeah – add to that training for lacrosse” Derek says, “Babysitting little sisters.”

“Don’t have that problem” Stiles says, “The babysitting.”

“Did you want siblings?” Derek asks curiously, glancing at Stiles from the corner of his eyes, “Or?”

“I don’t know” he shrugs again, “I mean – if we’re granting wishes, I’d rather have my mom didn’t die.”

“Oh.”

“See – now I made things awkward between us” he sighs, “It’s just – it hits you out of nowhere, you know. Because it’s normal to have a mom, people don’t even think twice mentioning it.”

“I don’t understand?” Derek says, “People talk about your mom a lot?”

“No, on the contrary” he sighs, “I mean. You’re out with friends, and you’re planning on going to a party. And someone will say something along the lines of; ‘Sure, just got to tell my mom I’ll be later’. There’s nothing wrong with that phrase. Nothing harmful. Most of the time, it just passes over my head. But on the bad days – it’s like a dagger to your heart.”

“I can’t even imagine” Derek mutters, he has the urge to pull Stiles close, wrap an arm around him, comfort him.

“I guess that’s a strange and morbid comfort” Stiles says sadly, “We all lose our parents eventually – nobody lives forever.”

“But it’s unfair that you lost your mom so early” Derek argues, Stiles just shrugs.

“I know” he says, “But I was eight. It’s been almost ten years. She’s been dead for longer than I even knew her – which is a frightening idea. But I gave it a place in my life – don’t ask me how, but I did.”

“I’m sorry, Stiles” Derek says, “I know it’s just words, and that they’re mostly empty. But I am.”

“Thank you” he smiles, “Words are only empty if the speaker doesn’t mean them, Derek. And it’s clear you do. So thank you.”

They sit in silence for a little while longer.

“Want to get running again?” Stiles says, Derek nods and gets up, pulling Stiles to his feet by his good arm, “Great – race you back to the field.”

[…]

“You told him about your mom” Lydia whispers, inaudible for both Hale siblings who are in the kitchen getting drinks, “You were already in deep, weren’t you?”

“So deep” Stiles sighs, “I didn’t even realise it. I mean sure, I had eyes. I was attracted to him. But after that day – after that conversation – I pretty much knew.”

“When you know, you know, right?” she says, smiling at the crib where her daughter is vastly asleep.

“Yeah – when you know, you know!”

[…]

Stiles is pacing, back and forth in his room, as he waits for his dad to pick up the phone.

“Stiles” his dad says, “I’m glad to hear from you, but I’m working a case so keep it short.”

“I think I’m in love” he says, the words falling from his mouth without him being able to stop himself, “Or at least on my way to being it.”

“Oh – wow – son” his dad says after a short silence, “What?”

“It’s a guy” he says, another pause.

“Okay” his dad sighs, “It’ll take me some getting used to, but okay. As long as you’re happy, I don’t care. You know that, right?”

“I do, dad” he says, “It’s just. I’m not freaking out about the guy thing – that’s not new. But this thing I’m feeling, dad. I’ve never felt like this before. Not about anyone.”

“Not even Heather?” his dad asks quietly.

“Not even Heather” he says, another pause, “How – how do I know it’s not – my mind running away with me?”

“Son. I’m going to tell you what your mother told me about falling in love” he says, Stiles sits down on his bed, “When you know, you know. Don’t try to find logic. There isn’t any. People fall in love every single day. Don’t overanalyse. Just go with it. Because when you know. You know.”

“Thanks dad” he says, wiping a tear off his cheek, “I – do you think she’d.”

“She would love you no matter who you love, son” he says, answering the question his son never speaks, “That, I know.”

“Thanks” he says, there’s a knock on his door, “I – uhm – I have to go dad.”

“Sure, me too” the sheriff replies, “And Stiles? Don’t sabotage yourself. You’re more amazing than you give yourself credit, and he’d be lucky to have you.”

“You’re my dad, you have to say that.”

“I don’t have to say anything” his father replies, “It’s a fact. Now go back to your friends, and have fun.

“I will. You go solve crimes” he says, “Bye dad.”

“Bye, kiddo.”

[…]

“Your dad’s a smart man” Derek says with a smile as he walks into the room with Taylor’s bottle in his hands.

I’ll go get her” Stiles says, getting up and walking over to the crib in the corner of the room. She reaches out her hands when he gets there, and he picks her up with a wide smile.

“How’s she been?” Lydia asks, “Healthy?”

“Yeah” Derek smiles, handing Stiles the bottle, “The doctor said she might be more prone to certain kid diseases, so we were worried with Claws and Evan. But she’s fine, to be honest. Of course, there’s a bi-weekly check-up. But that’s been reduced to a monthly check up and they are quite pleased with her results.”

“Have you heard anything from the mother?” Lydia asks, Stiles nods.

“She sent one more letter” he says, “Said that – after reading our letters – she knew she made the right choice. She said she hopes the girl grows up happy and loved – but that she has no doubt she will with two fathers like us. And then she thanked us, because she wouldn’t be able to give her daughter the care we did.”

“Okay, I’m back” Laura exclaims as she returns from the bathroom, “What did I miss?”

“Stiles called his father and came out” Lydia tells her, “Let’s go on. So you both realised you were in love, and you still had like – a month?”

“A month” Derek continues, “Of course neither of us were aware of the other’s feelings.”

“So it took a while before anything happened…”

[…]

They’re sitting on the grass by the field. It’s early, and there’s nobody else up yet. Just the two of us.

“It’s a weird day today” Derek suddenly says out of the blue, “I might be weird today.”

“How so?” Stiles asks carefully, hearing the strain in Derek’s voice as he brings up the subject.

“Growing up – I had this friend” he starts, “Paige. We were really close. Told each other everything – or so I thought.”

Stiles doesn’t say anything, just listens and watches Derek as he stares blankly at the field.

“She’d say these things sometimes. About how she didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. I never really realised she was serious. We were kids” he takes a breath, “I never even saw it coming. I was twelve, she was thirteen. And suddenly my mom and dad sat me down, and told me she was gone.”

“Gone?” Stiles asks carefully, Derek nods.

“She killed herself” he says, looking at the field again, his hands resting in his lap, “I kept thinking back. Wondering if I missed something. But there wasn’t anything I could’ve done. That’s what the therapists said, at least.”

“Ugh – I hated the therapists” Stiles says, hearing the disdain in Derek’s voice, “I got grief counselling after my mother died. I hated it – they made me draw my feelings. I’ve always been more of a writing kind of person.”

“They talk to you like you don’t know what happened” Derek says, “My grief counsellor kept asking me if I understood what happened to Paige. I was young, not stupid.”

“Right” Stiles sighs as he leans back, “I swear, when I get kids I’m going to talk to them like they deserve to. Tell them the truth, instead of just saying; ‘because I said so’ or ‘you’re too young to understand’. I hate it when parents do that.”

“Me too” Derek smiles, “My parents never did that, luckily. But other people, they’ll act as if you don’t know the way the world works. Even now.”

“I hate that” Stiles says, “But you know, people don’t listen to me in general. I’ve never really been one of the popular guys, you know.”

“Well – they’re missing out” Derek says, bumping his shoulder against Stiles and getting up – reaching out his hand to the other man to help him up, “You’re a cool guy, Stiles.

“Thanks, Derek” he replies, taking the hand and letting Derek pull him up, “You’re not too bad yourself.”

[…]

“Wow” Laura looks at her brother as Stiles burps Taylor over his shoulder, “You told him about Paige within two months of knowing him?”

Derek shrugs, “I trusted him” he says, “I went with my instincts.”

“I’m curious though” Lydia says, “How did the people around you act… what did they thought was happening between you two?”

“Well – that’s a funny story, actually” Stiles says, “I think the coach was the first one to ask about it….”

[…]

“Stiles” the coach – Wilson – walks up to him and places a hand on his shoulder, “How’s your wrist going?”

“It’s pretty good – I can start joining practice again” he says with a smile, “And the runs are helping me a lot – I can feel the difference in my condition already.”

“I guess your lovely running partner doesn’t hurt for that” he says, giving Stiles a smirk and doing this suggestive thing with his eyebrows.

“Derek?” he asks, shaking his head, “No – we’re just. Friends. That’s all.”

“Friends huh?” Wilson grins again, “Yeah – I used to be ‘just friends’ with a lot of people!”

“It’s not like that” Stiles says, shaking his head, “Seriously. It’s not like that at all.”

“You know – Derek’s been coming here for a while now” Wilson says, absently picking fluffs from his sweater, “Never seen him smile so much as this summer.”

“Really?” Stiles asks, trying to not sound too exciting, “You know him well?”

“Yeah – we shared a cabin last year” he tells Stiles as they walk towards the field – and practice – together, “Younger years have shared cabins. Most people stop after a few years, so seniors – like yourself – get their own cabin. Of course the bathrooms are still shared – but at least there’s some privacy.”

“Thanks god for that” Stiles says, “I mean – have you seen Jack and Marcus together?”

“Yeah – they met here last summer” Wilson snorts, “They were even worse than you and Derek. Kept making out and giving ‘kisses for luck’ before the games. It was cute though.”

“Well – Derek and I aren’t anything” Stiles repeats, even though he knows he doesn’t sound convincing.

“Sure you aren’t” Wilson smirks, “Just invite me to the wedding, okay?”

[…]

“Why would you have to invite him to the wedding?” Laura asks, vaguely remembering meeting him there, “Did he get you two together?”

“He suggested I’d make friends with Stiles” Derek says, “Said that – even though I probably wouldn’t sue for the injury – it’d be the human thing to help him out. Keep him company now that he couldn’t partake in all activities.”

[…]

“You ready for the game this evening?” Derek asks him, “Not nervous?”

“Surprisingly not” Stiles says, “At least you’re on my team this time. Maybe you can make sure I don’t get injured again.”

“Sounds like a plan” he agrees, grinning stupidly, “Let’s get to the field.”

…-…

The game goes well – they even win somehow, Stiles scoring a few points. They sit together afterwards around the fire, telling stories about their teams back home.

Stiles is telling a story about his best friend – who’s the captain of their high school team – but Derek isn’t really listening. His eyes are fixated on his lips, for some reason, and it feels like he might finally find peace with how he feels about the guy.

Maybe even act on those feelings, too.

[…]

“He was giving me that look, you know” Stiles sighs, reminiscing their first kiss, “After an exhausting run, when you’re high on endorphins and you can’t really think straight.”

“I was covered in sweat” Derek says, “You completely caught me off guard.”

“Well, if I was to wait for you to take action – where would we be?” he asks, giving his husband a playful shove.

“Probably still here?” he says, although he doesn’t sound all that certain, “I was getting to it, you know. If you’d had some patience.”

“Aw, sweetie” he grins, kissing Derek’s cheek, “You know me. I’m not a patient person.”

“Can’t argue there” Derek replies, earning him another shove, “Just – continue the story. We got to pick up the kids in an hour.”

“Right – the kiss.”

[…]

“You know” Stiles pants as he takes a sip of water, “I’m strangely enjoying these runs.”

“That’s the endorphins talking” Derek snorts, taking the bottle and drinking a few sips.

“Maybe I’m enjoying the company” Stiles says, looking up at Derek as he straightens up, “I may have almost forgiven you for breaking my wrist.”

“Spraining” Derek says, sounding less guilty than he did in the beginning, “Your words, not mine.”

Stiles smirks, his eyes meeting Derek’s, and he freezes.

Because there’s something he suddenly realises when he looks at Derek.

There’s two weeks left.

Two weeks and then they part ways, and he might never see him again.

This idiot that volunteered to be his running buddy. Even Scott didn’t do that – claiming that, even though he loves Stiles, he talks way too much. Sure – part of it was probably to get rid of his feelings of guilt. But even then. They talked – when they took a break and sat by the lake. He’d told Derek about his mom, and Derek had told him about Paige – his best friend growing up who’d killed herself.

He has two weeks left.

And it’s not enough.

“It’s not enough” he says, Derek frowns at him – mildly confused – as he stares back.

“What’s not enough?” Derek asks, running his hands over his hair and stroking a strand of it out of his face.

“For everything we have to do” he says, “There’s so much I want to do…”

“Well – then you better get started” he snorts, licking the sweat of his upper lip.

“I will” he says, taking a step forward – Derek doesn’t stop him – pushes him against a three, and kisses him.

There’s a millisecond where all his panic rises, the fear that he misread everything. That Derek doesn’t want this – want him – before he kisses back. His hands on his back, sliding up into his hair and returning the kiss passionately.

And then they break apart.

Staring at each other and breathing heavily.

“Thank you” he says slowly, looking completely dazed.

“It was my pleasure” Stiles replies, a smile on his face.

And then Derek turns, and runs off.

[…]

 

“You ran off?” Lydia asks, sounding surprised, “Why?”

“He needed some sisterly advice” Laura says with a satisfied smile, “That’s when you called me, right?”

“I did” Derek smiles at his sister.

“Aww, that’s so cute” Stiles says, “So she’s the one that told you to grow a pair?”

“I was” she says solemnly, “You’re welcome.”

“So, I called Laura and told her that…”

[…]

“He kissed me” Derek says the second his sister picks up the phone, “He kissed me, and I said thank you.”

“Okay – that’s not the worst response” she says slowly, hearing the panic in her brother’s voice, “What did you do after?”

“He said; it was my pleasure” he says, “And then I ran off. Fuck, help me.”

“You – Derek Hale – are absolutely hopeless” she sighs, “You panicked, because your feelings kind of scared you. What you need to do now is grow a pair and go talk to him. Before it’s too late. That’s all I can give you.”

And with those words, she hangs up.

He spends another ten minutes pacing before finally following his sister’s advice.

He knocks, and waits for Stiles to open, grateful to find that he’s alone.

“Derek” Stiles gives him a tight smile, “Was there something?”

“I’m scared” he blurts, Stiles raises an eyebrow at him, “It’s not that I don’t want to – because I do. I really, really, really do.”

“Then why did you run off?” he asks, stepping aside so Derek can come in, giving themselves some privacy.

“I don’t know” he sighs, “It’s just. I never even thought of guys that way, you know? I only ever dated girls, and I never had any interest to date guys until I met you. All of this is new for me – and it’s kind of scary. I’m a dork, okay? Sure, I’m lacrosse captain, and all that. But when it comes to relationships, I’m a complete dork.”

“Oh” Stiles smiles again, a warm smile this time, “You’re nervous?”

Derek nods, slowly, looking up to meet Stiles’ gaze, “Extremely” he admits quietly. He takes a deep breath, taking a step closer to Stiles and smiles, “But I want this, Stiles. With you!”

And then they’re kissing again.

[…]

“Look at that view” Derek sighs as they sit down by the lake, “Reminds me of home.”

“Where is your home?” Stiles asks as he leans against a tree, his wrist resting in his lap.

“Little place in California, Beacon Hills” he says, Stiles stares at him, “What?”

“Seriously? That’s where I’m from. You know the sheriff?” he asks, Derek nods slowly, “That’s my dad.”

“Sheriff Stilinski?” he asks, Stiles nods, grinning widely, “That Stilinski. Huh, I never really made the connection.”

“You’re the Hale from the preserve” Stiles says slowly, Derek nods, “Interesting.”

“You ever been to the preserve?” Derek asks. He knows his parents open it up to the public during summer, hire someone to keep the land clean.

“Went there on a date once” he says casually, “It was fun.”

“Girlfriend?” Derek asks, trying not to sound too curious.

“Ex-girlfriend” he says, then pauses, “I think – I’m not sure how to call it…”

“How so?” he frowns and Stiles sighs, resting his head on Derek’s shoulder.

“She died” he says, “We were on a date, well, supposed to be on a date. She had a night planned with the girls, so I offered her a ride. She said she’d walk.”

“What happened?” he asks, trying not to be too aware of Stiles’ head on his shoulder.

“She got hit by a car” he says, “I thought she was with her friends, her friends thought she was with me. They found her the following morning.”

“I’m so sorry” Derek mutters, not sure what to say.

“She was still alive” he whispers, “Was in a coma for three weeks. We were together for two months.”

“My ex tried to set my car on fire while I was in it” Derek says slowly, Stiles looks up at him.

“What a crazy bitch” Stiles says.

“Extremely crazy” he says, “Not my best choice.”

“We all fuck up sometimes” Stiles shrugs, his head Still on Derek’s shoulder, “I had this fling once with a guy – wasn’t my proudest moment either.”

“Kate kind of scared me off from dating” Derek says, “Until you came along.”

“I can’t believe you’re from Beacon Hills” Stiles sighs, “I’m – we can keep seeing each other after camp. If you want to, of course.”

“I want to, Stiles” Derek says, “I can’t wait to walk through the park together.”

“I can introduce you to my dad” Stiles says, “Meet your sister, Laura. And Cora.”

“I’d like that” Derek says, planting a kiss on the top of Stiles’ head, “They’ll like you, I think.”

“What’s not to like” Stiles smiles widely and sits a bit straighter, meeting Derek’s eyes, “We should take a picture of ourselves.”

“We should” he says, watching as Stiles pulls out his phone, “Smile.”

When they get back to the cabin that evening, Stiles glances at their shoes and grins, pulling out his phone again and snapping a picture of the two pairs of running shoes. Both well worn, covered in mud and grass stains, his laces tied by Derek – even though he doesn’t need the help anymore.

“Shoes?” Derek asks, quirking an eyebrow at him as Stiles just shrugs.

“It’s a fetish” he says, face completely serious and Derek’s eyes widen in shock and Stiles snorts, “Oh my god, no. I was joking, Derek. But your face was hilarious.”

[…]

Stiles leans back on the bed, smiling at Derek as he looks for a clean shirt.

He just picked up a shirt and sniffed it when Stiles’ phone rings.

“Hi dad” he answers immediately, “What’s up.”

“I got a case – I think I’ll have to send someone else to come and pick you up next week” he says, there’s a pause, “Stiles?”

“Yeah – uhm. Wait a second” he says, covering the mouthpiece, “Hey, Der. You think I could ride home with you guys next week? My dad got a new case…”

“Yeah, sure” he says, “I’ll call mom this evening. She’ll be fine with it.”

“Dad?” he asks, “Don’t worry. There’s someone else here from Beacon Hills, I can ride with him.”

“And who might this someone else be?” his dad asks, he sighs again and glances up at Derek – who is giving him a curious look.

“You know the Hales from the preserve?” he asks, his father gives a noise to indicate that he does – in fact – knows those Hales, “Their son, Derek. He’s here.”

“Isn’t he the captain of the Beacon Bulls?” his dad asks, Stiles doesn’t reply, “Is this that same boy you…?”

“Kind of?” he says, another pause, “Just – don’t make a big deal out of this, dad. Please.”

“I won’t” he says, “I’m meeting Ms. Hale later this afternoon anyways, so I’ll ask her if she can give you a ride then.”

“Okay” he smiles, “Oh – and dad. Don’t tell her about Derek and I, okay? She doesn’t really – well – know about this yet.”

“I won’t say a word.”

“Thanks dad, bye” he says, before hanging up and letting out a relieved breath.

“One more week” Derek says slowly, “I didn’t even realise… I should really call my mom.”

“You think she’ll be okay with this?” Stiles asks, Derek shrugs.

“I think so” he says slowly, “I mean – she always said she didn’t care as long as I’m happy.”

“You don’t have to tell her yet” Stiles says, “I mean – if you’d rather talk to her in person – instead of over the phone.”

“Yeah, maybe that’d be better” Derek agrees, “If you’re okay with that?”

“I’m okay with whatever you want to do” Stiles says as Derek sits down on the bed next to him and gives him a kiss, “I’m so okay with this.”

“Yeah – I noticed” Derek smirks, kissing him again, “It’s hard to miss.”

“Honestly – I’m more worried about our friends” Stiles admits, “Not about the both being guys thing. But the rivalry between our teams, it’s been known to get out of hand.”

“I’m sure it’ll be fine” Derek says, “They’ll just need to get used to it. Now – last time I checked you were taking me on a romantic walk to the lake.”

“Right – to watch the sunset. Better get going then. Don’t want to miss it.”

“Yeah” Derek agrees, “I definitely don’t want to miss this.”

 

[…]

The week flies by, and Stiles doesn’t know if he’s happy about it or sad when he sees Derek wave at a car pulling up.

It stops right in front of them, but the woman stepping out isn’t his mother.

It’s his sister – Laura.

“Laura?” Derek says, sounding as surprised as Stiles feels.

“Hi there, little brother” she smiles, pulling him into a tight hug before turning to Stiles, “You must be the boyfriend.”

Stiles waves at her, feeling a sense of relieve that he’s not yet meeting the parents.

“Laura Hale” he greets her, “Long time no see.”

“You know him?” Derek asks surprised.

“I babysat him a few times” Laura says with a grin, before pulling Stiles into a hug too, “Hope my brother’s been nice to you?”

“Very nice” Stiles says, failing to keep the blush of his cheeks when he says it.

“Good” she smiles, “Now. Do you still have to say your goodbyes? Or are we ready to go?”

“Ready to go” Derek says, handing their bags to Laura so she can put them in the trunk. They step into the car as she walks around to get into the driver’s seat, the pair of them sitting next to each other in the back seat.

They sit together in the car, a moment of silence between them as they’re left alone together in the car before Stiles says it.

“Do you think we’ll make it?” he asks quietly, “Past the summer? Into the rest of the year? Away from this idyllic little place?”

“I don’t know” Derek replies honestly, drawing Stiles into a kiss, “But I certainly hope so.”

“Yeah – I hope so too.”

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Fifteen years” Stiles sighs as they walk towards the car, “Fifteen years marriage.”

“It’s been that long” Derek says, smiling at his husband.

“You’re not sick of me yet?” Stiles asks, Derek turns towards him and sizes him up.

“Not yet” he says, smirking, “But the night is still young, who knows what’ll happen?”

“Funny man” he replies, bumping his shoulder against Derek’s.

“Well – we can’t all have our looks, like you do” Derek retorts, making Stiles snort and then nod in agreement.

They get into the car – Derek behind the wheel – and Stiles picks out music to play. He picks a song and then leans back.

“Our opening dance” Derek says, “Typical. You’re such a softie.”

“Shut up, you love it” he replies, humming along to the song, “You picked the song, so you have no right to complain.”

“Well – you did constantly sing it during our runs the summer we met” Derek defends, turning a right on their way to the fancy restaurant, “It was stuck in my head for weeks after.”

“And every time you heard it you thought of me?” he asks, smiling evilly, “My evil plan totally worked.”

“Yes – your evil plan totally worked” Derek echoes, making another right and stopping at a red light, “It’s a good song, though.”

“Where are we going, by the way?” Stiles asks, as they pass the ‘you are now leaving Beacon Hills’ sign.

“Some restaurant out of town” he says, “Jason recommended it, I thought some place different would be nice. No risk of bumping into people we know.”

“Luckily most people we know are watching the kids” Stiles says with a smile, leaning back in his seat, “I was kind of expecting you’d take us to our usual place. Order us a bottle of the house wine, get our favorite dish. I guess you can still surprise me.”

“That’s a good thing, right?” Derek asks slightly hesitant, “That I can still surprise you?”

“A very good thing” Stiles says, “It’s nice that after being together for eighteen years, and married for fifteen, we still got new things to discover about each other.”

“Every once in a while” Derek agrees, thinking back to a few weeks back when he’d found Stiles bundled up on the couch with Claws talking about his mother. It was nice to get away for a moment. Taylor is just passing her terrible twos and had been diagnosed with asthma. Evan just turned 10, he spends most of his time in his bedroom complaining about how nobody understands him. Claws was currently freaking out about having to go to a big girl school after the summer.

Taylor was staying over at Scott with Kira and the twins – Kira and Scott currently expecting another baby. Scott offered, since he knew what to do in case she had an asthma attack. Evan was sleeping over at Lydia to hang out with Jack Junior. The two boys had become good friends somehow, even though Jack was three years older. Claws was staying over at a friend from school. Her first sleepover with someone she didn’t know through her parents.

They arrive at the restaurant and Derek holds the door open for him – he’s a total sap, Stiles knows that by now – following him inside after.

“I know you’re checking out my ass” Stiles says, throwing a look towards Derek over his shoulder, “Don’t think I don’t know.”

“It’s my reward for holding the door open for you” Derek replies easily, Stiles doesn’t really blame him for it. He does the same. They’re married after all.

They get shown their table and Derek orders them a bottle of champagne. Stiles lets him take the lead today, they take turns in planning anniversaries. This year was Derek’s turn.

There’s a silence between them for a moment.

“What do we talk about when the kids aren’t there?” Derek asks after a moment, “Last conversation we had was about unicorns.”

“I have no idea” Stiles says, “Work? The future.”

“The future” he echoes, another silence between them, “I wish…”

“I know” Stiles says, “I can’t – I can’t go through that again.”

“Me neither” he says, “It’s just – with Scott and Kira expecting another baby – I can’t help but wonder if - …”

“Me too” Stiles says quietly as the waiter arrives and fills up their glasses.

 

[…]

Technically he knows. He knows that there’s always a chance things change. And he tells himself that every time. He’s told himself every time before. But they’d gone through this three times now, and for some reason he never really expected this to happen. At least not to them.

“This is it, Derek” he whispers as they stand in the hallway. He’s familiar with this hallway now, with this feeling. They’ve done this three times before – last time Derek wasn’t there.

“Our family will be complete” Derek says with a smile, he grabs Stiles’ hand as the door opens and the nurse walks out.

She’s alone, softly shakes her head and gives them a sad, pitiful look. She’s holding a letter in her hand, and Stiles feels himself drop Derek’s hand as he says what’s clear to both of them.

“She changed her mind” he says slowly, it’s like something cold uncoils in Stiles’ stomach. The pain that suddenly spreads, the emptiness that settles as he presses his lips together.

“I’m so sorry” the nurse says, handing them the letter. Derek takes it, letting it hang by his side, not even bothering to open it – to read it.

“It’s okay” Stiles hears himself say, he glances at Derek from the corner of his eyes and sees him take the same stance and position. A tight lipped – polite smile.

“We were prepared for this” Derek agrees, he’s way too convincing in his lie. Sure – they hadn’t told anyone yet. But they’d bought a new house – one with an extra room – and just finished painting the nursery. The crib was hidden away in their bedroom closet – a walk in closet, in their new house – and Stiles was already dreading having to disassemble it.

“Her –.” he swallows, “She should be with her mother, if she can.”

“He’ the nurse corrects Stiles, and it feels like a dagger through his heart. Derek finds his hand – somehow – and it feels like he’s pulling him back into this painful reality.

“We should – go” he says after a while. He doesn’t know how, but they end up back at home, sitting on their bed together in silence. Staring at their walk in closet – closed doors – hiding the crib they were supposed to pull out right now.

“This feels wrong” Stiles says eventually, Derek wraps and arm around his waist in reply, “I get it – you know? And I know this was a possibility. But I never thought – it feels wrong.”

Derek just buries his face in Stiles’ neck, not saying anything, and Stiles can feel his tears drop on his shoulder. He feels too empty to cry himself, as if something just was stolen from him.

“Yeah” Derek mutters after a while, his phone buzzes – a reminder to pick up the kids – and he looks up, meeting Stiles’ eyes. A silent plea behind them.

“I’ll call my dad” he says, fishing out his phone and dialing the number.

“Can you pick up the kids?” he asks, not even greeting his father when he picks up, “I – I wouldn’t ask but. I’ll explain later.”

“Stiles? Is everything okay?” his father sounds worried, concern in his voice as he grabs his car keys.

“Not really” he swallows, “I – yes? I don’t know. Uhm – Taylor is being picked up by Lydia. She had after school dance class with Lizzie. Evan has basketball, and Claws is – she’s just as school.”

“I’ll go get them” he reassures his son, “Don’t worry about it.”

“Thanks, dad” he sighs in relief, “I’ll call you later, okay?”

“Okay” he replies, before hanging up.

[…]

His father drops the kids off after dinner – Derek and Stiles ate leftovers from the fridge – and they send the kids upstairs to change into their pajamas.

“Everything okay, kids?” the sheriff asks, giving them a concerned look, “Melissa says she saw you at the hospital today?”

“Yeah – she probably did” Stiles says quietly, “We were there.”

“So when you bought this house – with an extra room – it wasn’t just so Claws and Taylor could have their own room?” he asks, Derek shakes his head, going into the kitchen.

“She changed her mind” Stiles says, “She held her son, took one look at him, and she couldn’t give him up.”

“I’m so sorry boys” the sheriff says, pulling his son into a hug, “I wish you didn’t have to go through that.”

“Same” Derek says as he walks back into the living room, handing Stiles a bottle of beer and sitting down on the couch. Derek’s never been very verbal when dealing with his emotions. At least not so quickly after events. Stiles knows to give him a day or two before they’ll be able to discuss it properly.

“If there’s anything you need?” Stiles’ dad says after a while, he’s still holding his car keys.

“Just – don’t tell anyone” Stiles says, “And thanks for picking up the kids.”

“I won’t. And I don’t mind picking up the kids” he says, “You know I love them.”

“Yeah, we love them too” Stiles says, noticing his father throwing Derek a concerned glance, “We just need some time. Trust me, dad. We’ll be okay.”

“I know” he says, “I know.”

“Da – ad” Claws shouts from upstairs, “Where did you put my pirate pajamas?”

“I can’t find mister fluffy” Taylor screams from her room.

“Aargh! I can’t believe you went into my room” Evan complains as he stomps down the stairs in his pajamas.

“We had to, kiddo, it was starting to smell” Derek says, pulling him into a hug as the girls run down the stairs.

“Mister fluffy is under the coffee table, where you left him” Stiles tells Taylor as she stands next to him and gives him sad eyes.

“Well – it seems you two got your hands full. I should get going” the sheriff smiles.

“Bye grandpa” Claws says, hugging his leg as she storms down the stairs in his ink pajamas. Taylor hugs his other leg.

“Evan, say bye to grandpa” Derek admonishes their son, Evan glances over his shoulder from his place on the couch.

“Bye sheriff” he says, giving a wave and turning to the TV again.

“Sorry dad – that’s the best you’re going to get from him” Stiles apologizes, his dad snorts and pats him on the back.

“It’s okay son” he says, making his way to leave, “Kinda reminds me of you.”

[Two weeks later]

“Stiles – are you okay?” Scott asks, “Is that a new sweater?”

“Yeah” he says, “It is.”

“You’ve been buying a lot of new clothes lately” Scott notices, “Derek too.”

Stiles leans back as they sit on the couch, taking a sip from his beer, “I know” he says, “I – I can’t open my closet.”

“Why not?” Scott asks, glancing at his best friend, “It’s a nice closet. Big. You said it was one of the best parts of the house when you bought it last year.”

“Go see” he says, Scott frowns at him for a moment before getting up and going up the stairs. He returns five minutes later, giving his friend a questioning look.

“She changed her mind” he says, swallowing another sip of beer, Scott drops down next to him – both of them staring at the empty wall in front of them.

“When?” he asks after a while.

“Two weeks” he says, “Can you get rid of it? So I can get in our closet again?”

“Sure” Scott says, “I’ll do it tomorrow during lunch.”

“Thanks” he says, taking another sip, “It was a boy – you know. We were going to – we had a name picked out and everything.”

“I’m sorry” he says, and Stiles knows he’s sincere, “This kind of puts a downer on my news.”

“What news?” Stiles asks, taking another swig of his bottle.

“Kira and I are trying for another baby” he says, Stiles smiles and pulls him into a hug, “I’m sorry.”

“I’m happy for you” Stiles says, still hugging his friend tightly, “I am.”

“I know you are” he says, “But if I know my best friend – you really want to get drunk right now.”

“You know me so well” he says, opening another bottle.

“How is Derek doing?” Scott asks after a while, “I mean – I noticed he’s been a bit absent looking lately.”

“We talked a lot” Stiles says, drinking half the bottle in one go, “it was difficult for a moment. But – you know – we’re okay. More or less.”

“How do you?”

“We just kind of – laid on the bed together for a few hours” he shrugs, “It was nice. And then dad dropped off the kids and we were reminded that we already have three gorgeous kids. We kind of agreed that we can’t go through that again.”

“So that is it, then?” he asks, Stiles nods, “And you’re okay with that?”

“I don’t know” he says, “I just know I can’t – I don’t want to feel like that again.”

“Okay – as long as you don’t regret it” Scott says, “Now – enough talking. Let’s get drunk.”

[…]

When Stiles comes home that afternoon he finds his bedroom closet open and the crib gone. Derek sitting on the bed.

“I asked Scott” Stiles says after a moment, “Figured we couldn’t keep buying new clothes much longer.”

“Thanks” he says, “I tried to get rid of it a few times – but I just couldn’t.”

“Me neither” Stiles says, sitting down next to his husband and kissing his cheek, “We should go pick up the kids. Did you have fun last night with Laura?”

“Yeah” he says, “We got drunk, had a good talk. You and Scott?”

“The same” he says, they both stand up, Derek grabbing the car keys from his night stand and smiling at Stiles, “You’re okay?”

“I am” he says, “This is enough, you know? You and the kids. It’s enough.”

“It is” he agrees, “More than enough.”

[…]

“Did we decide too fast on this?” Stiles asks, “I know we talked about it. And I love our kids – I’d give the world for them. It’s just -.”

“This emptiness” Derek says, “I know. I just – I can’t.”

“I know Derek” he says, taking a deep breath, “I just don’t want any regrets. And when I think back – it’s worth the risk. The pain of – not getting it. When I compare that to the feeling of getting Evan, and Claws, and Taylor. That pain fades in comparison.”

“You’re right” Derek says, “In comparison – that pain means nothing. I just – I wasn’t prepared.”

“Me neither” he says, placing his hand over Derek’s, “But we got through it – somehow – because we have each other.”

“Yeah – we do” Derek says, “Let’s do it. Together.”

“Like we do everything” Stiles says, he leans over the table and gives him a kiss, “I love you, you know.”

“I’m aware” he grins, “I love you too.”

[…]

They finish dinner together, and Derek orders dessert – chocolate pudding cakes, Stiles’ favorite – for them.

“What else have you planned for today?” Stiles asks, sighing happily as the waiter brings their dessert, “Because last time I checked – you had a few to drink. So you can’t really drive us home anymore.”

“I booked us a room in the hotel two streets further” Derek says, looking up at his husband, “Luxury suite. Has a Jacuzzi and all that.”

“Okay – that’s unfair” Stiles shakes his head, “How am I supposed to beat that next year?”

“It’s not a competition, babe” Derek says, grinning as he takes another sip of champagne.

“Oh, yes it is” Stiles grins back, “Don’t even pretend it isn’t.”

“Well – I’m totally winning” Derek smirks as they both pick up their dessert forks, “Let’s enjoy dessert.”

[…]

Stiles stumbles into the hotel room after Derek, a satisfied smile on his face and a skip in his – well, stumble.

“You know the deal” Derek smirks, pulling him in for a kiss, “I plan the date, you pick positions.”

“Right now, horizontal sounds like a very good position” Stiles says, unable to suppress a giggle as they fall into the bed together, “Flip a coin.”

“Always a gentleman” Derek snorts as he pats his pockets for a coin and passes it to Stiles.

“Head or Coin?” he asks with an evil grin, Derek smiles back at his, already loosening his tie.

“You know how I love head” he smirks as Stiles throws up the coin and catches it.

[…]

Stiles sighs happily as he leans into Derek – the sun shining through the curtains and the smell of sweat hanging in the sheets.

“Good morning” Derek mutters, kissing his forehead, “You sleep okay?”

“Perfect” he mutters back, kissing him and smiling, “I’m so going to beat this date next year.”

“You can try” Derek snorts.

“You’ll see.”

They stay in bed another hour, ordering breakfast in bed before taking a dip in the Jacuzzi and sharing a few lazy morning kisses.

[1 year later: 16th wedding anniversary]

“You tried, babe” Derek says as he unlocks the door to their house, “But you didn’t beat me. It was good though. But no Jacuzzi.”

“Hey, the night is not over yet” Stiles smirks, following Derek inside.

“I know you’re checking out my ass, Stiles” Derek says without looking back, hearing Stiles close the door behind them.

“I’m your husband” he replies, “I’m allowed too.”

“Hells yeah you are.”

[2 years later: 17th wedding anniversary]

“Dad?” Taylor runs up to Stiles, “Why do we have to leave tonight?”

“Because daddy and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary” he says, pulling her onto his lap, “And we like to have a dinner together. We have dinner with you and the kids every other day.”

“Are you and daddy going to make a baby?” she asks, Stiles coughs and turns towards his five year old daughter, “Lizzie said that’s what parents do when they want to be alone. They make babies.”

“Huh, and where did she learn that?” he asks, nodding towards Derek as he walks into the living room.

“From Jack” she says, rocking back and forth on Stiles’ lap, “So, are you going to get me a little brother or sister?”

“Well – it’s not that simple, sweetie” Derek says, sitting down next to Derek, “If you want to make a baby yourself, you need a man and a woman. That’s why we adopt babies.”

“But why?” she frowns, “Why can’t you and dad make babies? You love each other, right?”

“Well – uhm – you should ask your aunt Lydia” Stiles says quickly, “She knows more about that we do.”

She looks at them for a moment, “Will you get me another brother or sister?” she asks after a while.

“Well – we’ll try” Stiles says, “I promise.”

“Okay” she smiles, kissing her dads’ cheeks and jumping off Stiles’ lap, “I’m going to ask aunt Lydia about the babies.”

“You stuck her onto Lydia?” Derek asks with a smirk, “Why?”

“Well – her son got us into this trouble” he defends himself, “She can fix it.”

“I guess so” he smiles, kissing him, “What time are they picking her up? I got us reservations.”

“You’re going to win again, aren’t you?” Stiles says, kissing him back, “Somewhere really fancy.”

“I am so winning this” he says, “Even though it’s not a competition.”

“It so is” he says, “But I’m definitely winning next year.”

“Yeah right” he says, “Go and get dressed, you doofus.”

“I will” he gets up, pausing in the doorway, “Any news yet from the agency?”

“Not yet” Derek says, he looks sad but also hopeful, “But they’ll call. I’m sure they will.”

“Me too.”

[3 years later: 18th wedding anniversary]

Stiles smirks at Derek, looking up from the little baby in his arms as he meets his husband’s eyes.

“I told you I’d beat you” he says, Derek shakes his head and smiles.

“Yeah” he agrees, “I guess you did.”

“We should really think of a name” Derek says, looking down to their newborn son, “Any suggestions?”

“I got a few ideas” Stiles says after a while, “Mostly names of people we care about…”

“You want to name him after Scott, don’t you?” Derek says, Stiles gives him a wide smile.

“He’s going to freak out” Stiles says, “Unless you don’t agree.”

“Nah – I always liked that name” he says with a radiant smile, “And I kind of want to see his face when we tell him.”

He stands beside Stiles, wrapping his arm around his husband’s waist and looking down at their son.

“Happy anniversary, babe” Stiles says after a moment, “Ready to take him home?”

“So ready!”

“Let’s go.”

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“He’s fifteen” Stiles says, “I mean – we’ve waited long enough, right?”

“Dad, I already know about the birds and the bees” Evan says, sighing and rolling his eyes, “What the hell are you talking about?”

“You know there’s be people with cameras” Derek replies, “And you know how I feel about cameras.”

“You don’t like them” Stiles says, “But we all have to make sacrifices sometimes.”

“What are you talking about?” he replies, “Dads?”

“I can’t play favorites just because he’s my kid” Derek says, glancing over to Evan who’s looking more frustrated by the second.

“You can so play favorites. Because he is our kid” Stiles retorts, Derek seems to finally give in and the two men turn towards Evan who gives them an annoyed expression.

“Are you finally going to tell me what’s going on?” he asks his arms crossed over his chest and glaring at Stiles and Derek.

“Well. Your father and I talked about this for a while now, since you love baseball so much” Derek says, rubbing his eyes, “We decided that, if you really want, you can come to work with me this weekend.”

Evan’s eyes go wide, completely silent as he looks from Stiles to Derek.

“We did it, Derek” Stiles says, “He’s finally speechless.”

“Are you serious?” he asks slowly, “This isn’t one of your lame jokes that aren’t funny, right?”

“We’re not joking” Stiles says, “If you still want, you can drive there with Derek tomorrow morning. But…”

I knew it wouldn’t be this easy” he sighs, slumping down again, “I’m not doing the dishes.”

“You will listen to your father the whole time you’re there” Stiles says, “No matter what. If he asks you to go get him a bottle of water, you will.”

“Fine” he says, straightening up a bit.

“You will leave the players alone, unless they engage you in conversation” Derek adds, “They get clamped by fans enough, they don’t need it at work.”

“I know, dad” he rolls his eyes again, “Anything else?”

“No phone” he says, Evan stares again, “They’re training, Evan. You know I trust you, but we can’t risk it. It’s too much of a temptation to shoot a video, and we can’t risk anything leaking.”

“Okay” he relents after Derek’s argument, “What time do we leave?”

“7am” Derek says, Evan sighs again, “Set your alarm, I’m not dragging you out of bed. You’re not up, you’re not going.”

“I’ll be up” he says, getting up and picking his phone from his pocket to set his alarm.

“You better be” Stiles says, “And you better behave, too. Because I will arrest you.”

“I know” he smiles again, hugging Derek and Stiles, “Thanks. I’m gonna go to my room.”

“Okay” Stiles says, “Bedtime at ten.”

“I know.”

[…]

“You think he’ll be up on time?” Stiles asks that evening as they get ready for bed, “For once?”

“I think he might be” Derek says, “Remember last month, when he had that date with – you know, the girl that – what was her name again? Like the flower?”

“Amaryllis” Stiles supplies, rinsing his mouth and placing his toothbrush in the cup by the sink. Buying the house with their own bathroom was the best decision ever. Especially now that they had a teenage daughter in the house.

“Yes, her. He was ready two hours before he had to go pick her up” he says, “Hid out in his room.”

“Right, that was so cute” Stiles sighs, “Ugh, we have a fifteen year old son, Derek. We are so old!”

“Not even forty, remember?” Derek retorts, “Yet.”

“Not for another year” Stiles says, pulling his husband in a kiss when he exits the shower, “Let’s make it count.”

[…]

Derek likes driving his car. And – believe it or not – he likes driving around with his son. It’s the perfect time to talk about things.

“Dad?” he asks quietly fifteen minutes after leaving the house that morning, “How – how did you know you were in love?”

“Oh” he frowns for a moment, a bit surprised by the severity of the question, “I’m not sure. I kind of did, suddenly.”

“But – how did you know for sure?”

“Is this about that girl from last week? Amaryllis?” he asks, Evan sighs and slumps in his seat.

“How did you know for sure you liked boys and girls” he asks, avoiding answering the question Derek asked.

“I dated a few girls before I met you father” he says, “And when I met Stiles, I realized I liked boys too.”

“Did you know before you met dad?” he asks hesitantly, turning his head away to stare out the window.

“I don’t think I knew for sure” Derek replies, “Some people know really fast, like your dad. He realized he liked boys and girls when he was still a kid. It took a bit longer for me.”

“Oh” he bites his lip.

“What happened, kid?” Derek asks, sounding slightly concerned, “Did something happen at school? With Amaryllis?”

He sighs again, heavily, “She said that I couldn’t like her” he says after a few more minutes of silence, “Because my dads are gay and it’s hereditary.”

“What did you tell her?” Derek asks, already plotting to have Stiles talk to the girls’ parents.

“I told her that was a stupid thing to say and that even if it was hereditary, I was adopted” he says, staring out the window again, “And then I gave her a detailed description of how conception works and why you and dad couldn’t make babies yourselves.”

Derek can’t help but snort, “adopted or not” he comments, “You got that smart mouth from Stiles, no doubt about that.”

“Dad says your words are the best weapon you have” his son replies, and Derek can’t deny the truth of that statement, “I just – I don’t get why she agreed on a date if she felt that way.”

“I’m sorry, kid” Derek replies with a sigh, “Did you like her a lot?”

“I thought I did” he says, “But then she said those things, and now I often have the urge to punch her in the face.”

“As long as you don’t actually punch her” Derek says, his son snorts in reply.

“How far is it, actually?” he asks after a while of driving, still staring out of the window as if it will give him all of the answers.

“Another hour” he says, “You know where the field is.”

“You drive an hour to work every single day?” he asks, eyes wide in surprise.

“Not every day. Most days I meet them at the Gym and give them a personal schedule that I oversee” he says, “Two days a week, I drive to the field to check they don’t over exert themselves on the field.”

“Oh” he frowns, “How did I not know that?”

“Because you don’t listen when your father and I discuss work over dinner” Derek says dryly, glancing at Even again and turning a right, “Remember? You don’t want to hear about our ‘old man shenanigans’ you said last week.”

“Dad was talking about something boring” he says absently, “I think.”

“He was talking about a serial killer he just caught” Derek says, “I don’t see how that’s boring.”

“Okay – maybe that’s not boring” he agrees, “But, he also said boring things.”

“Yes. Your sister’s birthday party is very boring” he sighs, “You still have to come, Evan.”

“The house is going to be full of ten year olds” he sighs, crossing his arms over his chest, “Do I have to be there?”

“Amelie and Rosalie are going to be there too” Derek says, “And Lizzie and Luna.”

“Fine” he sighs, “I’ll be there.”

“Good” he smiles, “And trust me, your father and I do have things we enjoy more than entertaining twelve ten-year olds for five hours long.”

“Put on some Disney movie” he shrugs, “Then feed them some pie and let them loose in the yard.”

“Looks like you’re the man with a plan” he says, “Maybe you should plan the party.”

“I thought I just did” he says with a smirk. Derek can’t help but think how much he is like Stiles. Always has the perfect reply waiting, the exact same smirk – and yes, he knows they don’t share any DNA, but they do – and the same puppy eyes when he gets in trouble, “Stop looking like that!”

“Like what?” Derek asks, slightly uncertain how exactly he’s looking.

“Like rainbows and puppies” he complains, “Like you’re thinking of dad – again.”

“Well – we are married” he argues, “And still very much in love. I think I’m allowed to look like rainbows and puppies when I think of him.”

“Eww.”

It’s all they say for the rest of the ride.

[…]

Derek is kind of exited to introduce his son to his friends from work. Sure, some of them had met his kid, but Evan had been five at the time and probably doesn’t even remember. It’s a surprise so many of the team were still around ten years later.

Evan stays close to him, and Derek has a flashback to when he took him to a game for the first time when he was eight. Clamping onto his and Stiles’ hand and eyes wide in excitement. It seems like yesterday, even though it’s already 7 years ago. It feels unreal.

“Time to hand over your phone” Derek says, stretching his hand out to Evan, who reluctantly hands over the phone.

“Are you going to take pictures?” he asks, Derek shrugs.

“If I have time while working, I might snap a picture of you” he says, “I mean, you look pretty adorable in that get up.”

“I’m not adorable, dad! I’m sixteen” he complains, Derek just snorts and pulls him into a side hug.

“You’re my son. You’ll always be adorable to me” he says, releasing Evan a second later, “Let’s go.”

Jensen is the first to walk up to them, having taken over as coach when he resigned from playing two years ago.

“Derek” he smiles, “Who’s this guy?”

“Jensen. This is my son, Evan” he says, giving his kid a small shove to let him shake the man’s hand, “Evan. This is Jensen, he’s coaching the team.”

“Hi” he smiles weakly, “Nice to meet you.”

“You too. Your dad talks about you a lot” he says, Derek shakes his head and blushes, “Only good things, I swear.”

“Then he was probably talking about my brother, Scott Hunter” he replies with a smirk, “There’s not much good to say about me.”

“I don’t know. I heard you were a great big brother to Scottie last week, when you babysat him for the first time” he says, giving the boy a shoulder pat, “Anyways, you’ll be under my watch today. Just follow my lead.”

“What’s dad going to be doing?” he asks curiously, glancing over to Derek.

“I’ll be working with the team first, half an hour, giving them warm-ups” he says, “Then they’ll be handed over to the coach, and I’ll give pointers on how to use their strength and body differently to perform better.”

“That sounds complicated” Evan frowns, watching as the players arrive one by one and file into the changing rooms.

“That’s why I went to college and studied” Derek says, “And I’ve been doing this for a long time. A lot of it is experience.”

“Huh” he frowns again, and Derek smiles at his son, “So – uhm – where are you going now?”

“I’m going to get changed” he says, “You are going to stay with Jensen and listen to him.”

“Yes, dad” he says, saluting Derek as he waves and walk off.

[…]

“Hey, Evan?” Derek walks up to his son two hours later, after finishing the first part of his job, “Care to tell me why you’ve received twenty texts from Rosalie in the time you handed me your phone.”

“We’re working on a project together” he says slowly, Derek frowns.

“What subject?” he asks suspiciously.

“Biology?” he says carefully, Derek shakes his head.

“You don’t have biology together” he says, “You have biology with Melanie.”

“I do?” he frowns and Derek crosses his arms, “That doesn’t work on me. I mean, dad has the mean cop stare, you don’t.”

“Well, then I’ll let you tell him when we get home tonight” he smirks, watching Evan’s eyes widen, “Or not?”

“Look, nothing’s going on, okay?” he says quickly, “It’s just. We’re friends…”

“Since when?” he asks, Evan shrugs, “You guys used to pull each other’s hair growing up. And I mean that quite literately.”

“Yeah, but we’re not kids anymore” he shrugs, “She helped me out with something last month. And it turned out we get along really well.”

“Okay” he smiles again, “I’ll believe you. For now.”

“Good” he smiles, “So – what’s next up for today?”

[…]

Derek’s already exhausted by lunchtime, like he usually is when he spends an entire day with Evan. But also proud of his son, for listening and not embarrassing him at his job.

“Can I have my phone back for now? I’ll give it back after lunch?” Evan asks, Derek nods and fishes it out of his pocket to hand it over.

When he does, he also takes his own phone and is surprised to see it’s turned off.

He frowns for a moment before turning it on again. He’s in the habit of never turning off his phone, ever since Evan was born and became theirs.

“Dad?” his son asks, noticing Derek’s expression, “Everything okay?”

“Just a few missed calls” he mutters, “I’ll call them back. Just give me a minute.”

He gets up and takes a few steps to get some privacy as he dials senior Stilinski’s number, not sure what to expect.

“Derek? Finally” the man immediately says, “You got to come home. Stiles is in the hospital.”

“What? What happened?” he asks, taking a deep breath and trying not to panic.

“He was shot. The doctors think he’ll pull through, he’s still in surgery” he says, “The kids are with Melissa. But Scottie keeps asking questions, and Taylor too. I’m afraid to tell them without you here.”

“What kind of injury?” Derek asks, already feeling the bile rise in his stomach.

“Through and through. They’re just working on stopping the bleeding” he says, “Can you come?”

“Yeah” he says slowly, “I’ll – we’ll be there in an hour or so. There’s not much traffic now, shouldn’t take as long as usual.”

“Good” he replies, “I’ll keep you up to date.”

“Dad?” Evan frowns, looking concerned as Derek returns to the table, “What’s wrong?”

“We got to go” he says, “Stiles is in the hospital. He’s going to be okay, but we need to be there.”

“Did someone hurt dad?” Evan asks, “I thought he was off today…”

“He was probably called in for an emergency” Derek says, “It doesn’t matter kid. I’m sorry we have to cut the day short, but we have to go.”

“Okay” he nods, his hands trembling as he gathers his things.

“You go wait by the car, I’ll go tell the coach” Derek says, Evan nods and slowly makes his way towards the car as Derek takes off in the other direction.

[…]

Evan loves his dads, both of them. Sure, it wasn’t easy growing up with two dads, and at times he screamed and cursed at them for it. But he loves them.

What he doesn’t love, however, what he truly hates? What he hates more than anything, is watching his dad leave for work. When he strips on his badge, and his gun, and then kisses Derek before he leaves, hugs his kids. Except Evan, because last year Evan said he was too old to hug his dad goodbye.

Because it’s a stupid thing to do, hug people goodbye.

He gets it now, though. As he sits on the little plastic chair in the hallway, next to his dad and Claws. Taylor and Scottie are at aunt Lydia’s at the moment.

He can feel his dad freaking out, even though he looks calm and collected. He has a comforting arm around Claws, who’s wringing her hands in her lap. His other hand is a steadying weight on Evan’s knee. He looks calm, but he keeps glancing at the door, tensing up whenever a doctor in scrubs passes.

They don’t sit there for long, even though it feels like they do. A doctor signals his father thirty minutes later, and after a short conversation he returns and tell them everything is okay, and that they can go see him now. He’s slowly waking up from surgery and is awake and alert. He’ll probably be able to go home in two days already.

The doctor calls over a nurse to bring them to him, and Claws grabs onto Derek’s hand as they follow. Evan just slowly walks behind them, unwilling to believe it until they actually see Stiles.

 

When they finally walk into his room, he looks weak. And it’s wrong, because his dad never looks weak. He’s the sheriff for crying out loud.

“Hi there” he smiles, like he always does when he sees Derek, “How did it go with the team?”

“Did they catch the guy that shot you?” Claws interrupts, releasing Derek’s hand and hurrying towards their dad’s bed.

“They did” he says, “Of course they did. Nobody shoots me without going down themselves.”

“Does it hurt?” Evan asks, watching his dad take a seat by the bed and take Stiles’ hand in his.

“Not much” he says, “I’m on some really good painkillers right now. Don’t worry about me, kid.”

He doesn’t say anything back, just sits down beside the bed in silence.

[…]

Taylor knows her dad got hurt, but nobody tells her what exactly happened. Just that there was a mean man that is now in prison, and that daddy is going to be okay soon. Her grandpa keeps his arms around her when dad tells her and her inhaler is in his right hand. Scottie’s outside with Lizzie and auntie Lydia playing ball and running around like crazy. They went to the park today, it was a lot of fun.

They tell her daddy has to stay in the hospital for a few days, and they go visit together. But she doesn’t want to go back, because she doesn’t like hospitals. They’re scary and they smell wrong. Her daddies said she used to spend a lot of time in the hospital as a baby, and that’s probably why she doesn’t like it.

She makes her daddy a drawing instead, and dad says he hung it above his bed and said it was really pretty.

She also knows she’s happy when her daddy comes back home two days later. They have a party, and they eat pizza together. It’s a lot of fun, and daddy looks perfectly fine.

“Why did the bad man hurt you?” she asks when he tucks her in that evening.

“Well, I caught him doing something really bad, and he didn’t like that” he says, she frowns, “Remember when I caught you eating a cookie right before dinner? And you tried to hide it?”

“Yes” she smiles weakly, “He wanted to hide doing something bad.”

Her daddy nods and she frowns again, “I would never ever shoot you, daddy” she swears, hugging him.

“That’s very nice to hear” he smiles, hugging her back and kissing her forehead, “Now, time for bed. It’s a school day tomorrow.”

[…]

“I’m glad you’re okay” Derek mutters into his neck that evening, “You had me worried for a moment.”

“Yeah, sorry about that” he smiles weakly, turning towards Derek, “I’m worried about Taylor. You think we should have her tested again?”

“I don’t know” he sighs, “She… the doctor said that she might be a bit behind with her development. Due to her lack of oxygen when she was born. But she’d get there, right? Just a bit slower.”

“I know” he says, “It’s just. I didn’t expect it to be like this.”

“Lydia said she’s developing well” Derek shrugs, “I trust her judgment, I know you do too. I know she sometimes has difficulties at school, being taller and older than everyone else. But her classmates are nice, and her teacher is great with her.”

“I guess you’re right” he replies, “Just, monitor it, I guess. How was she, though? After coming to visit?”

“She was really quiet for a while” he says, “And then she said she didn’t want to go to the hospital again. She asked if you’d be mad at her, but I said you wouldn’t because you didn’t like hospitals either and I suggested she’d make you a drawing.”

“You’re perfect” Stiles sighs, wrapping his arms around Derek, “I’m glad I’m back home.”

“Me too” Derek says, feeling a calm come over him that only Stiles can bring, “How long are you off from work?”

“Another day, and then I’m on desk duty for three weeks before I’ll be back in the field” he says, “You?”

“Three days” he says, “Everyone’s been really understanding, and Jake is a great stand-in.”

“Not as great as you” Stiles says, a smile on his lips as he waggles his eyebrows.

“I see you’re feeling a lot better.”

“I am.”

[…]

 

“This cannot be happening” Evan says, shaking his head, “Dad, please tell me this isn’t happening!”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Stiles asks, frowning and glancing at the item in his son’s hand.

“This” he says, slamming a magazine on his sheriff’s desk.

It’s a gossip magazine, opened up on the third page to show a picture of Derek and Evan, Derek’s giving Evan a shoulder pat, smiling brightly.

Above it is – in bright yellow letter – the lovely acronym DILF, adorned with an entire article describing Derek’s personal life and his exquisite appearance.

“Well –…” Stiles turns his head a little and bites his lip trying not to laugh as he sees the picture in the right hand corner. The one where Derek is working with one of the team, and Evan is standing nearby staring at the scene in admiration.

“Don’t even say it, dad” he says, shaking his head furiously, “This is so embarrassing!”

“How did you even find this thing?” Stiles asks, “This isn’t something you would read.”

“I found it on my teacher’s desk. She had it open on this page” he says, “I took it. I had to, before it got out.”

“Miss Jameson, I’m guessing?” he asks, Evan nods slowly, slightly surprised, “I knew it. She’s always checking out my man. She’s pure evil.”

“Dad, you don’t get it” he sighs, “They say you and dad are having trouble and are living apart or something.”

“What?” Stiles frowns, looking at the article again, “What the hell gave them that idea?”

“I don’t know” he shakes his head, “But – people here read this thing dad. On my way up here I had three different people ask me if I was doing okay. I told them you guys weren’t breaking up, but they didn’t even believe me.”

“Oh” he rubs his hand through his eyes, “I’m having some serious flash backs here.”

“What?” Evan sighs, slumping down in the chair standing opposite the desk and leaning his head backwards and looking up to the ceiling.

“When your dad and I dated in college, nobody believed that we were a couple” he explains, “It got old real fast.”

“But you got married at college” Evan frowns, “Right? And you lived together?”

“We did” Stiles confirms, “But we also had classes at different campuses, and for some reason our schedule never lined up. So we rarely sat together or met up for lunch. You know that article, the one framed above our computer? That was the moment people actually started believing us.”

“So – what are you going to do to fix this?” he asks, sounding resigned.

“It’ll sort itself out” Stiles says, “Trust me.”

[…]

Derek has gotten used to the press conferences by now. They weren’t like it was for him at the beginning. When he started out he’d stand at the end of the table, preferably near an exit, and wait for it to be over so he could get back to work. Now, however, he was seated next to the coach and given a microphone. Their PR had decided that – since he was a popular figure to the media – he needed a platform to speak. Most of the time they ignored him, the way he preferred it to be. Sometimes they’d ask him about a player’s injury – mostly an absent player. Those questions always came from actual sport journalists. And every once in a while they’d ask about his personal life.

Like today.

“Mister Hale? When did you and your husband separate?” a woman with long blonde hair asks him, her pen on her notepad ready to write down his answer.

“We aren’t separated” he says slowly, “I have no idea where that rumor came from.”

There are a few camera flashes and some murmurs in the hall in response to his answer.

“According to our sources he hasn’t been home in a few days” another man supplies, “did he move out?”

“How – who are your sources?” Derek asks, a frown on his face.

“Are you confirming that he hasn’t been home in a few days?” the blonde woman asks.

“My husband was shot while on duty, he’s been at the hospital for a few days” Derek says, “Yet I don’t see how this has anything to do with the team.”

“No more questions about Mister Hale’s personal live, please” their PR agent jumps in, much to Derek’s relieve.

Two days later however, he stumbles across another article titled: “Derek Hale and spouse on trial separation”.

He doesn’t know what to think of it. He doesn’t know what to say, or how to respond. He glances at the article, a picture of him and Stiles exiting a restaurant last week underneath captioned: “Derek Hale and his (ex?) Husband exiting a restaurant early. Reconciliation attempt failed.”

He frowns. He remembers leaving the restaurant early because Stiles forgot his painkillers at home and was in a lot of pain from the shooting. He’d started bleeding through his bandages and they’d left in a hurry to change them at home. After that, they’d gone for burgers at the local diner together, sharing a milkshake and laughter. Why weren’t there any pictures of that?

The problem is that, even though the article is easy to ignore, the people giving him pitiful looks because they believe the bullshit aren’t.

They offer their condolences and wish him strength in this difficult time. They asks how the kids are coping with their parents’ separation. They bring Derek food when Stiles works the night shift.

“How the fuck are we back here?” Stiles asks when they sit down on the couch together after the kids have gone to bed, “I mean, what the fuck happened, Derek?”

“I have no idea?” he replies honestly, “I keep telling them everything is fine, but they don’t seem to hear me. Even worse. They don’t believe me. They think I’m delusional.”

“They’re all acting like we grew apart and that it was inevitable” Stiles complains, resting his head on Derek’s shoulder, “What kind of bullshit is that? Why do they think every relationship has an expiration date?”

“Because it’s the land of fame and fortune?” Derek suggests, “I mean, a lot of Hollywood couples were meant to be forever, right?”

“But we’re not a Hollywood couple, Derek” Stiles counters, “I’m a sheriff in a medium to small town. You’re a physical trainer for a baseball team. We’re not actors. We don’t go to award shows and walk the red carpet. We drive to our work ourselves, and we park our own cars. We work nine to five to make a living, and work overtime. We raise our kids, and go on date nights when we manage to find babysitters or when they go on sleepovers. We’re a run of the mill family, Derek. Not a Hollywood couple.”

“How do we fix this?” Derek asks, Stiles frowns, “Yeah. You know I don’t care what they say about us. But for fuck’s sake, Scottie asked me if you were moving out this morning. Evan’s acting like it isn’t getting to him, but he got in a fight at school because someone made a joke about how he came from a broken family. And Taylor – she had a panic attack last week because you were half an hour later and she thought you weren’t coming back.”

“I know” Stiles sighs, “Thing is. I’m afraid that the more we react, the more it’ll have the opposite effect.”

“Me too” Derek agrees, “So what?”

“We can ask our friends to ‘leak’ information to them” Stiles suggests, “Set them straight. I’m sure Lydia has some contacts. Or – maybe Jackson. He managed it the first time, with Taylor’s picture.”

“That’s a good idea” Derek sighs, kissing the temple of his head, “You’re so smart.”

“That’s why you married me, right?” Stiles smiles, turning his head slightly to meet his husband’s eyes.

“Actually. I married you solely because you have a really, really nice ass” Derek says, “So nice and perky.”

Stiles grins at him, “You think the kids are all asleep?” he asks, a sparkle in his eyes and a mischievous expression on his face.

“Probably. And if Evan isn’t asleep, he’s probably wearing his headphones” Derek says, getting up and reaching out his arm to help Stiles up from the couch, “If not, well, too bad for him.”

[…]

Evan hates it. He hates the people looking at him, and staring at him, and giving him those ‘poor kid’ looks. Because they’re so fucking wrong, and he fucking hates it. The idea pops into his head out of nowhere. He’s messing around on his phone during breakfast, making a video of Scottie playing with his food, when his dads exchange a sappy look and then lean over the table to give each other a kiss. Derek drops his toast in his coffee and Stiles laughs before handing him the remainder of his own toast. He keeps the video, for some reason. Normally he’d delete it, he wasn’t into watching his dads make out. It’s weird.

There’s another video of him sitting behind his laptop when his dad comes in to say it’s time for bed. Probably completely unaware since he’s only wearing pajama pants, the bandage around his middle visible on Evan’s screen. Derek walks in two seconds later to give the same message, wrapping his arms around Stiles from behind and resting his chin on his shoulder.

“Please tell me you aren’t still working on your history essay, Evan” he sighs, “You said you finished it yesterday.”

“I did” he replies, “Rosalie was just checking it over for mistakes.”

“Ah, but according to my sources, Rosalie was supposed to be in bed half an hour ago” Stiles says, nodding towards the screen at Rosalie’s face, her sister clearly asleep in the bed behind her.

“They changed it last week” the girl says, making Stiles snort as Derek releases him.

“I’m going to brush my teeth” he says, “Babe, you tuck in our son.”

Stiles turns and as he walks towards the door, Derek watches him. He stops by the door and turns, “Something wrong?” Derek asks with a frown, Stiles shakes his head.

“Just checking” he says, winking at him and making Derek blush. Evan doesn’t even want to know what that was about.

Rosalie sends him the video of the whole interaction two days later, titles the video ‘grossly in love’ and he ads it to the folder along with the breakfast video.

It is three weeks later, a day after his little sister has a panic attack, that he posts the first video on his Facebook. No comments added, visible for everyone.

He’s very grateful that his dads don’t have a Facebook page.

He doesn’t check his Facebook for three days after that and somehow ends up with another video. He’s filming Rosalie as they’re watching a movie together, sitting on the couch in their living room, when his dads come back from their date.

They’re both a bit drunk, laughing and whispering to each other as they hold hands.

“You’re such a sentimental sap” Stiles says, “You still have our running shoes.”

“I’m sentimental?” Derek snorts, “You wanted to get them bronzed.”

“I was drunk when I said that” Stiles says defensively, hiccupping, “Ugh, you look cute in that suit.”

“I know” Derek smirks, “Even cuter without the suit.”

“Oh my god, dad! I’m sitting right here” Evan interrupts, making Derek blush and his dad laugh.

“Look at that, Der” Stiles sighs, resting his head on Derek’s shoulder, “Or baby’s all grown up. It feels like only yesterday he asked us where babies came from.”

“That was Scottie” Evan says, “He did ask yesterday. You told him to ask auntie Lydia.”

“Well, she did educate both you, Claws, and Taylor on the matter” Derek says, making Stiles laugh again, “She is very good at the talk.”

“Very detailed, too” Rosalie says, making Stiles and Derek frown, “Dad sent us to her too. It was very… educational.”

“She used props” Evan shudders, making his dads laugh again while they both take off their shoes and coats.

“Is your dad picking you up, Rosie?” Derek asks after taking a deep breath.

“Yeah, in half an hour” she says, Stiles smiles.

“Okay” he nods at her, “Don’t break down the house. We are going to bed.”

“Night” Rosie and Evan say in unison as they give a last wave and make their way up the stairs. His final shot is one of Stiles walking behind Derek and squeezing his butt.

“I swear, anyone who has even seen your dads together can’t possibly believe they’re ever breaking up” Rosie comments, watching Evan play the video on his phone, “Is that why you make the videos?”

“I never even planned the first one” he admits, “But it’s been very effective so far.”

“I know” she smiles, “I shared it.”

[…]

Stiles likes to think he knows his kids. He knows Scottie absolutely idolizes his uncle (and also godfather) Scott. He wants to be a vet when he grows up and was absolutely ecstatic when he was given a Bunny for his last birthday.

He knows that Taylor loves to draw and she loves school. She’s a bit slower than the other kids her age, but when she first came home from school after learning the alphabet the couldn’t stop talking about how much she learned and how she was going to be a writer when she grew up. He also knows that, despite being small, she is the strongest of his kids. She hates hospitals, ever since she was diagnosed with asthma, and loves the park.

He knows that Claudia worships her auntie Lydia, and mirrors her in almost everything she does. She loves how Lydia is smart, and clever, but still looks good doing so. He also knows that – despite worshipping Lydia – she’d rather go shopping for clothes with Auntie Kira, because she wears superhero leggings. Claws will wear a tutu skirt over superhero leggings and a T-shirt with a skull on it, and somehow pulls it off. She wants to be a fashion designer, or a doctor. She hasn’t quite decided yet.

And Evan. Evan is a lot like him. He has a smart mouth, amazing wit, and always knows what to say in any situation. But he idolizes Derek and loves baseball. He likes to act tough, but he loves his brother and sisters more than anything. He is soft, and caring, and overall a sweet kid.

Which is why Stiles is so surprised when he gets a call from the school saying his son has been called to the principal’s office for hitting a teacher.

He gets there thirty minutes later, taking the empty seat across the principal and in-between his son and the teacher.

“What happened?” he asks, still wearing his uniform.

“He was given an incomplete, and he couldn’t cope so he punched me” the teacher snarls, Stiles looks over at his son.

“No I didn’t” he argues, then winces slightly under his father’s gaze, “I didn’t punch him because he gave me an incomplete.”

“Then why?” Stiles demands, “What possible reason could you have for hitting a teacher, Evan?”

“He gave me the test back” he says, taking a deep breath, “And then asked if maybe I was retarded. Like my sister?

“What?” Stiles feels himself go pale as he hears the words, he can see the principal have an almost similar response in his peripheral vision as he turns towards the teacher “You said what?”

“Look, I didn’t mean to –.” he stops talking as he sees Stiles’ expressions.

“You didn’t meant to do what?” he asks, narrowing his eyes, “Insult my daughter? Say things you know nothing about? If I hear you’ve been talking about my family ever again, I swear to god…”

 “Sir, I’m so very sorry” the principal interrupts, “But whatever reasons Evan had, we cannot let this go by.”

“No, I understand” Stiles replies, taking a deep breath to level himself, “Detention. You are not expelling him, at all. One week detention. And I want this – teacher here – to take a sensitivity course. They have them at the community center. If not, I will press charges against him.”

“Charges for what?” the teacher asks, Stiles turns towards him and smirks.

“I’ll think of something.”

“I think we can agree on that” the principal interrupts, before the man can open his mouth and reply, “Thank you for coming on such short notice. I will have to ask you to take Evan home for the rest of the day. He’s not expelled, but it’ll be difficult to keep peace at the school if you don’t. News travels fast.”

“Sure” Stiles agrees, getting up and gesturing towards Evan to do the same.

[…]

 “They invited me to a talk show” Derek says that evening when they sit together after sending the kids to bed, “same as the last time, a Skype interview.”

“Maybe you should” Stiles says after a moment, “What have we got to lose, right?”

“Right” he agrees, “So – is there going to be any more trouble with the school?”

“Nope” Stiles smiles weakly, “I might have abused my power as a sheriff a little bit. But the asshole called our daughter retarded, he’s lucky he can still walk.”

“I don’t know how you managed to restrain yourself” Derek comments, feeling angry just by the idea of being in Stiles’ place and hearing the man say such ignorant things, “I would’ve punched him in the face.”

“It was very, very tempting” he says, “Trust me. If I hadn’t been wearing my uniform at the time, I might have actually punched him.”

“You’re so in control” Derek says, a playful smile on his face, “But I am exhausted, let’s go to bed and discuss the things we need to discuss over breakfast or lunch tomorrow.”

“You have the best ideas” Stiles smiles, leaning over to pull him into a kiss, “Let’s go to bed.”

[…]

The next video is when his dads pick him up from school after detention. Claws has dancing classes, Scottie has little league soccer, and Taylor just joined a reading club for kids at the library. Usually he’d walk home, but he sprained his ankle during last period and asked his dad to come pick him up.

He hadn’t expected both of them to show up, to be honest.

“I like you in your uniform” Derek tells him, both of them leaning against Stiles’ squad car, “You exude authority.”

“And you think it’s sexy, don’t you?” Stiles says, bumping his hip against Derek’s.

“Extremely sexy” Derek says solemnly, smiling widely at him, “You’re always sexy, though.”

“Yeah, don’t think I don’t know you chose those pants on purpose, babe” Stiles comments, “No worries, though. I haven’t forgotten.”

“How about a preview?” Derek suggests, waggling his eyebrows and turning his face towards Stiles’.

“Anytime” he grins, leaning forward and kissing him, snaking his arms around his waist and pulling him closer, he winces slightly and Derek frowns at him.

“Show me” Derek sighs, Stiles relents, pulling his shirt from his pants and lifting it to show him the bandage.

“Lydia checked them two days ago” he says, “Healing nicely.”

“Lie” Derek says, Stiles frowns, “I know your tell, babe. What’s wrong?”

“She doubled my antibiotics” he sighs, slowly peeling away the bandage to show him the stitches, “Said it wasn’t looking well.”

“Why?” he asks, Stiles pouts at him, then looks at his feet, “You didn’t stick to desk duty, did you?”

“It was once” he says, then bites his lip, “Maybe twice.”

“You leave me no choice” he sighs, “I’m gonna have to make your dad check on you.”

“Fine” he sighs again, finally looking up, “Looks like our lovely son is filming us.”

“He gets that from you” Derek says with a smirk, “The sneaking up on people.”

“I taught you well, young Padawan” Stiles says as Evan walks up to them, finally pocketing his phone, “Get in the car, and let’s go home.”

[…]

“So, are you going to give an interview?” Claws asks Derek at dinner that evening.

“Probably” Stiles says, Derek nods as he chews his potato and Stiles smiles at him.

“When?” she asks, putting some peas on her plate, “I mean, we don’t have to be here for it, will we?”

“You are going to be asleep during the interview” Stiles says, pointing his finger at all four kids, “I have to work the night shift that day, so I won’t be here either.”

“Who’s going to read me my bedtime story?” Scottie frowns, pricking his fork in his chicken and looking at his dads.

“I will, before I leave for work” Stiles says, “And Claws will be reading to Taylor.”

“But she has to do the voices” Taylor says with a pout, “Like dad does!”

“Fine” Claudia sighs, “I’ll do the voices. But only for the dinosaur book, I’m not reading the princess book again.”

“Okay” Taylor smiles, taking a sip from her glass of water and looking up brightly, “I like the dinosaurs too.”

“But what day is it?” Evan asks eventually, “And what show?”

“It’s tomorrow” Derek says, “Some late night show. Stiles will probably recording it.”

“You bet your ass I will be recording it” he says around a bite of potato.

“Daddy said ass” Scottie snorts, as Derek gives his husband a slight shove, “That’s a bad word.”

“I’ll put a dollar in the swear jar” Stiles smiles, Scottie frowns again.

“We don’t have that” he says.

“Even better. I can buy candy with my dollar instead.”

[…]

“You’ll be okay?” Stiles asks as he buttons up his shirt for work, “With the interview?”

“Yeah, it’ll be fine” he says, smiling at him, “Just – keep your phone on?”

“I always do” he smiles back, adjusting his collar as he grabs his badge and gun from the kitchen table, “Are you going to wear that shirt?”

“What’s wrong with that short?” he asks with a frown, “It’s clean?”

“Too formal babe” he says, “You should wear the blue henley, the one you wore last week.”

“Fine” he smiles, “I wasn’t planning on wearing pants, though. Because they won’t be able to see it?”

“You better not” Stiles smirks, “Anyways. Don’t say anything stupid. I’m off.”

He leans forward and gives Derek a goodbye kiss before leaving for his night shift.

[…]

Derek eventually changes into the blue shirt like Stiles wants, wearing it over his boxers and bare footed as he settles onto the chair for the webcam interview.

“Good evening, Mister Hale” the woman, Jolene, smiles brightly as her face appears on his screen.

“Just Derek” he says, a tight lipped smile in return, “Good evening to you too.”

“It looks quiet down there” the woman says, Derek shrugs as he glances over his shoulder.

“Yeah. Stiles is on the night shift today, and the kids are off to bed, obviously” he smiles weakly, “Although Evan is probably video chatting with his friend again.”

“Evan’s the oldest, I’m guessing” the woman smiles, “How old is he now?”

“He’s turning sixteen in a few weeks” Derek says, a fond smile on his face, “He’s looking forward to get his driving license.”

“I can imagine” she smiles, “How has he been doing with your trial separation?”

“Yeah, that’s the thing. I have no idea where the rumors came from, but my husband and I are still happily married” he says, “I was kind of hoping to stop these ridiculous rumors by doing the interview today.”

“Is that why you released the video of you and your husband over breakfast?” she asks, Derek frowns, not sure what the hell she’s talking about.

“What video?” he asks.

“It was posted on your son’s Facebook” she says, “We have it here.”

She smiles again, and then plays the video for him.

“I – I didn’t share that video” he says slowly, “Give me a moment, please. I have to talk to my son.”

He gets up, disappearing from view for a moment as he calls his son down from his room, a short exchange between them before he comes into the screen again.

“Yeah, Evan shared the video” he says, “I didn’t even know he was filming us.”

“You’re not wearing pants” Jolene comments, Derek bites his lip and then smiles weakly.

“Ah – yes” he snorts, “I forgot. I wasn’t planning on getting up for this interview. Sorry about that.”

“No need to apologize” the woman smirks and Derek hears the door open up behind him, the sound of bantering following right behind it.

“I swear to god, Stiles. I’m going to write you a note to stay home for another week” Lydia’s voice travels into the living room, “Take off your shirt and let me take a look.”

“Lydia, I’m fine” he sighs, “Besides, I have a job to do.”

“Ugh, you pulled one of your stitches. Idiot” she comments, “you’re lucky I got my kit.”

“Yeah, yeah” he sighs again, hissing for a moment, “I got them, didn’t I?”

“Yes you did” she replies, another hiss, “Stop whining. I’m almost done. There, all better.”

“Who is that?” Jolene asks on the screen, a frown on her face.

“That would be my husband, and our friend Lydia” he says, glancing over his shoulder, “And it sounds like he didn’t stick to desk duty like he was supposed to.”

“Is he still working in law enforcement?” the woman asks, smiling politely.

“He is. Has been the sheriff for over ten years now” Derek says, looking over his shoulder as Stiles walks in. He’s shirtless, wearing clean bandages around his middle and removing his gun and badge as he makes his way towards their safe.

“You talking about me again babe?” Stiles’ voice sounds from the dining area, “Best not be bad mouthing me.”

“Wouldn’t dare” Derek says, “What happened?”

“One of our detainees managed to get free” he explains, “I had to jump on him.”

“Hmm. Hi Lydia” Derek smiles at her as she walks in, looking impeccable as always, “How did he drag you into this?”

“I was at the station waiting for Jordan to finish his shift” she says, “Junior’s watching Lizzie. I see you are in the middle of an interview.”

“I am” Derek says, “I should get back to that.”

“Great” Stiles grins as he walks by, “I see you took my fashion advice.”

“It seems that the rumors aren’t all that true” Jolene says slowly, her eyes following Stiles as he sits down at the table behind Derek and pours himself and Lydia a drink.

They talk for a moment, not too loud as Derek answers a few questions about his job, and then Lydia gets up as she gets a text.

“Jordan’s here to pick me up” she says, “Bye, Derek. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Bye Lyds. Thanks for fixing up my man” he says, giving her a wave.

“Anytime” she replies as Stiles walks her to the door and hugs her goodbye.

Stiles return a moment later, “Since you’ll be busy for a while, I will go take a shower” he smiles, before taking off on the stairs.

“Is it always like that?” Jolene asks once Stiles leaves, once again silence in the house, Derek laughs and nods.

“Pretty much” he says, “It’s a household, you know. Isn’t it like that everywhere?”

“I don’t have a family” she smiles, “But it looks a lot like it gets at my sister’s place. What does your normal day look like?”

“That usually depends on whether or not my husband works a late shift or not” he says, “Mostly, Stiles or I drop off the little ones at school, Claws and Evan ride their bikes there together. I leave for work after dropping everyone off. Stiles takes Taylor to the library after school, and Claws to dance class, Scottie is picked up by our friend’s son for little league. Evan gets home on his own. If he doesn’t have training. We mostly switch around who is going to drop them off, and who picks them up.”

“Sound busy” she smiles, “Is it difficult, having a husband working in law enforcement?”

“Sometimes” he admits, “I mean. He did get shot a while back, that was pretty terrifying. My phone was turned off when it happened – I don’t know how that happened…”

“You don’t turn normally off your phone?” she asks, Derek shakes his head.

“No” he smiles weakly, “Can’t risk missing a call.”

“So, the rumors definitely aren’t true?” she asks, just to be sure, “You two are still going strong?”

“Yes” he smiles again, watching Stiles come down the stairs in his pajamas, hair still damp from the shower. He’s shirtless, the bandage on his middle looking clean and dry and a tired expression on his face as he stands behind Derek and wraps his arms around his shoulders.

“Almost done?” he asks Derek, resting his chin on Derek’s shoulder and smiling weakly, “I’m exhausted.”

“We were just about to finish” Jolene smiles back at them, the audience making aww sound in the background as Stiles plants a kiss on Derek’s cheek and leaves their view.

“Thanks for joining us, Derek” she smiles again, “Good night!”

“You too” he suppresses a yawn, “Thanks for having me.”

He closes the conversation with a small wave and turns to Stiles.

“Bed?” he asks, Stiles nods.

“Bed.”

 

Chapter Text

 

“Do you have to go?” Derek sighs, handing him the bag as he leans against the car door and watches Stiles place it in the trunk, “Can’t you stay? Please?”

“We talked about this, Der” Stiles replies tiredly, “I have to go.”

“But – what am I going to do without you?” he says, pouting at him, “I don’t know how I’ll manage.”

“You’ll be fine, Derek” Stiles says, shaking his head, “And no – don’t you dare use your puppy eyes on me. I – we talked about this, okay?”

“I know” he sighs, “And I understand why you have to go. I just wish you didn’t have to, you know?”

“O my god, Derek!” he exclaims, “I’m going to a sheriff’s convention for a weekend. I’m not leaving you forever, okay? Jeez, you’re such a drama queen!”

He pouts again, “Am not” he says, shaking his head and looking down at his feet.

“You’re adorable” Stiles smiles, pulling him into a hug, “And I will miss you and the kids like crazy! But I’ll be back before you know it. Besides, you’ll be too busy to even miss me. Like with the sports segment you’ll be doing for that TV-show tonight, which I’ll be watching. And then the game tomorrow. I’ll be back before you know it.”

“I still can’t believe we agreed to that” Derek says slowly, Stiles shrugs.

“We’re not rich enough to say no to money that good” he replies with a grin, leaning forward to give his husband a goodbye kiss, “And now I’m really off, babe. I cannot be late for this shindig.”

“I know, I know” he says, pulling Stiles a little bit closer again and giving him another kiss – a little bit more passionate, “Now you can go.”

“I’ll miss you” he repeats as he gets in the car, “I’ll call you when I get there.”

“I’ll miss you too” Derek says, stepping away from the car as Stiles’ starts the engine, “Love you!”

[…]

Not having Stiles around is – different. It’s mostly lonely, if he’s honest. It’s strange, because they’ve been apart, with Derek sometimes out of town for games. It’s just never been the other way around, this is the first time Derek’s actually the one staying at home with the kids. For some reason he doesn’t count the time Stiles was in the hospital.

It’s only now he realizes how big their bed actually is, he thinks to himself as he changes the sheets that afternoon (for some reason his pillowcase is missing) – the windows open to air the stiff smell out.

The kids are at school right now, and when he gets into the living room he can’t help but sigh. It’s a mess. Scottie’s toys are everywhere, Claws and Evan’s clothes are taking up half the chairs, and Taylor has taken over an entire corner with her books. Maybe he should get her a bookcase for her room – she’ll love it, he knows. He smiles to himself, proud of his idea, and grabs his keys to get to the closest furniture store. It’s an hour drive, but since it’s still morning and the kids won’t be home for another six, he’s not worried about it.

He gets back three hours later with the simple bookcase he can assemble himself. He also got two clothing racks, one for Evan and one for Claws, and an extra container for Scottie’s toys.

He assembles the bookcase and texts Stiles’ a picture of it, he calls him two minutes later.

“You are a genius” Stiles says, “She will absolutely love it, babe.”

“I thought so” Derek agrees, “And I managed to find a purple one, her favorite color and everything.”

“When you show her, make sure you have her inhaler close by” he says, “Also, film her reaction! I want to see her face.”

“I will, babe” Derek sighs, “How’s it going over there?”

“It’s pretty cool, to be honest” he says, “I got here thirty minutes ago, and people recognize me! And not from being Derek Hale’s husband, but from my job! From catching that serial killer a few years back. I’m enjoying myself so far.”

“Not too much without me, I hope” Derek says surprisingly quiet.

“Of course not” he says, “I miss you already. I wish you could’ve gone with me, okay. But the kids…”

“I know, I don’t blame you” Derek says, “I know Claws is old enough to babysit Taylor and Scottie, just not for a whole weekend.”

“I can’t believe Evan’s already getting ready for college this summer” Stiles sighs again, “We reached forty, Derek. We’re officially old people.”

“We’re still young enough” Derek replies, “At least until we’re fifty.”

There’s some commotion in the background on Stiles’ end of the conversation, “Shit – I have to go babe” he says, “Got to give a speech on stage.”

“Have someone film it for me” he says quickly before Stiles hangs up with an ‘I love you’.

[…]

“Dad?” Taylor frowns as she walks into the living room, “Where – what happened to my books?”

“I’ll show you in a minute, first hang up your coat” he says, turning towards Evan and lowering his voice, “Can you film please? We got her a surprise.”

“Okay” Evan sighs, pulling out his phone and rolling his eyes.

“Curb your enthusiasm” Derek says dryly, Evan rolls his eyes again as Derek grabs the spare inhaler just in case, waiting for Taylor to come back from hanging up her coat.

She returns a few seconds later, looking very curious as she takes Derek’s hand and they go up the stairs, Evan right behind them holding his phone and sighing again.

“Close your eyes” Derek says, Taylor looks up at them before complying a bit hesitantly and Derek opens the door.

“Okay, open up sweetie” he says, watching her frown before removing her hands and spotting the bookcase and gasping loudly.

“You got me a place for all my books?” she asks, eyes wide and smiling brighter than the sun, “Daddy! I love it so, so, so much!”

She turns and hugs Derek’s legs tightly before running over to it and sitting down on the floor, running her finger over the shelves by the book spines as if she’s discovering a treasure.

“It’s so pretty” she says, looking up at her dad again, “And my favorite color! And the books are all so pretty. This is the best thing ever, dad.”

“I’m glad you like it, sweetie” he smiles at her and she turns to the bookcase again.

“I don’t just like it, dad. I love it” she says, nodding solemnly and pulling out her favorite book – ‘I want my hat back’ – and opening it.

“I’ll call you when dinner is ready, okay sweetie?” Derek says, she nods without looking up and Derek and Evan retreat from her bedroom – leaving her alone to enjoy her bookcase.

“You know she’s never going to sleep again now, right?” Evan says as they walk down the stairs.

“Huh” Derek snorts, “You might have a point there. We’ll think of something.”

“Sure you will, dad. Sure you will!”

[…]

Derek’s nervous for the show. Sure, he can do it from his own home through Skype and that’s great, but he’s still stressing out.

He’d just gotten off the phone with Stiles, sent Evan to his room to get a start on his reading work for biology and dropped Claws off at her friend for the weekend.

He checks himself in the mirror again, pulling at his shirt and straightening his belt. His hair looks okay, he trimmed his beard and it looks neat and decent. He doesn’t have bags under his eyes anymore – he’d almost fought Lydia off when she came at him with a make-up brush before allowing her to give him some moisturizing cream. He’s looking less shiny – according to Lydia at least, Claws agreed with her. But then again, she always agrees with Lydia.

He’s sitting behind the laptop now, waiting for the conversation window to pop open and feeling the eerie silence around him unsettling. He’s not used to such silence with a house full of kids.

The screen blinks for a second and another face appears, his own in a little screen in the corner at the bottom.

“Good evening” the man smiles, “For the first time we have mister Hale joining us for our sport’s segment. He’ll be giving us more information about sport injuries and his professional opinions on the games and players.”

He gives a wave at the screen and smiles, feeling only slightly less nervous as the conversation finally begins. He’s not thrown into the deep, sometimes they ask him questions and they stick to the sport and the players.

The interview goes by easily, and when he logs off and turns off the computer he lets out a relieved sigh. He looks around the empty living room, feeling the silence seep into his bones and letting out a yawn. Stiles is away for the weekend, Claws is staying over at her friend’s place – Mara – the kids are all asleep. Except maybe Evan who might be chatting with Rosie again. He’s pretty sure his son has a crush on the girl, and he knows Stiles would love for his son to marry his best friend’s daughter. But he also knows that teenage loves don’t always last, and that it could make things extremely awkward.

He looks around again, gathering a few items like an empty glass, a plate and a fork, Taylor’s drinking cup, and bringing them to the kitchen to place them in the sink. There’s some discarded items of clothing, including Claw’s dirty socks – she always takes them off when she watches TV – and Scottie’s hoodie (the one his uncle Scott gave him, it has a wolf on it and it’s his absolute favorite).

He yawns again and decides he should really go to bed. The cold and empty bed, where he will be sleeping alone tonight. He checks the doors one more time and grabs his phone before going upstairs, changing into his sleeping attire – which is mainly just stripping down to his boxers – and getting into bed.

He gazes at his phone for a moment before dialing Stiles’ number.

“How do you do this?” Stiles asks as soon as he picks up, “God – I miss you so much.”

“How do I do it?” Derek asks, “How do you do it? I’m not used to sleeping in our bed without you there. It’s so cold in here.”

“Well – normally I will have been at work all day, and handling the kids all day. So I’ll be exhausted by the time I crawl into bed” he says, “And I also sleep on your pillow because it smells like you.”

“Is that why you took my pillowcase?” Derek asks slowly, pulling the blanket up a bit.

“Maybe” Stiles replies with a content sigh, “I just saw your interview. You were so good, babe.”

“Yeah?” Derek asks, trying not to sound too uncertain, “I was really hoping the kids wouldn’t storm into view again, so just that was a success for me.”

“Yeah, they got enough of our family drama to last a lifetime” Stiles says, “We do too, if you ask me.”

“Tell me about it” Derek agrees, “It’s nice to hear your voice. How did your speech go?”

“It went great” he says, “I met some cool people. There was another sheriff who’s married to someone in the public eye, we shared some stories. There was even a speech, well panel, about how to manage being a sheriff and having a family. It’s all really interesting. I mean, of course, most of it is about the job and how to do it best. But it’s also things that are helpful.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself” Derek says, and he means it completely, “You should get some sleep.”

“You too” Stiles says, yawning, “Scottie and Taylor will be up at the ass crack of dawn. And you will have to drag Evan out of bed because he has basketball training.”

“Right – I better set my alarm, then” he says, “Sweet dreams, babe.”

“You too, darling” Stiles replies before making a kissy noise and hanging up the phone.

[…]

Derek’s exhausted when his alarm wakes him up the next morning. He hadn’t slept much. Even after getting up and retrieving Stiles’ pillowcase from the laundry basket – although that did help a lot – he still ended up twisting and turning before finally drifting off. We wakes up warily, his face mushed into the pillow and inhaling Stiles’ scent before dragging himself out of bed and grabbing his jeans and shirt from yesterday. Pulling it on before making his way to the kitchen and turning on the coffee machine. He’s just sipping his first cup when Taylor and Scottie storm into the kitchen with way too much energy for a Saturday morning.

“Darlings – how about you use that energy to go and wake up your big brother” Derek suggests, the two exchange an ecstatic look before storming back up the stairs. It’s only moments later that a scream comes from above and Evan appears downstairs again, completely drenched and shivering.

“I hate you” he mutters to his dad, grabbing a slice of bacon Derek places on his plate and eating it, “Why do you do this to me?”

“You have basketball training, according to your father” Derek says, smiling brightly at him and dropping a kiss on his head when he passes him, “Go shower and get dressed.”

Taylor and Scottie appear again as soon as Evan is upstairs in the bathroom, “Next time please don’t drench him in cold water. That’s just mean” Derek says as the two youngest crawl onto their chairs and drink from their cups of milk.

“I’ll try to remember” Taylor says, giggling and smiling brightly, “But he’s such a grumpy pants in the morning.”

“I know, sweetie” he says, kissing both of them on the top of their head as well, “But he’ll be less grumpy if he was dry. Besides, I am the one that has to make sure he’s not sleeping on a wet mattress tonight.”

“Okay, sorry daddy” Scottie says, he looks around and frowns, “Where’s dad?”

“He’s still at the work thing, remember? With all the other sheriff’s” Derek reminds him, “He’ll be back tomorrow morning, or late afternoon.”

Taylor frowns too, biting her lip and looking nervous, “What’s wrong, sweetie?” Derek asks her, noticing her shifting on her chair.

“I don’t like daddy working” she says, “I don’t want him to get hurt.”

“I know, Taylor. I don’t want him to get hurt either. But your daddy has a very important job, he has to make sure other people don’t get hurt. Remember?” he says, Taylor sighs.

“But I don’t know those other people” she says, shaking her head, “I only know daddy, and I want him to be safe.”

“Your daddy is always safe. He wears special clothes that protect him from guns, and he has a gun to stop people that are trying to hurt him or other people” Derek explains patiently, “That means he’s even safer than most people.”

“Really?” Scottie asks, not sounding completely convinced.

“Really” Derek confirms, “Now, finish your breakfast and you can go watch TV.”

The two kids nod and quickly finish their breakfast before running to the living room to watch Saturday morning cartoons.

He calls Stiles half an hour later, waiting a second before he picks up, and picking up discarded socks off the floor as he waits.

“Hi there babe” Stiles greets him as he picks up, “Did you sleep okay?”

“I slept like crap” Derek says honestly, “Like I said last night, it’s way too cold without you there.”

“Yeah, I didn’t sleep much either” Stiles replies, “How are the kids.”

“Taylor and Scottie asked about you” he says, “Evan is taking a shower, Claws will be dropped off in an hour or two.”

“I really miss them” Stiles sighs, “I swear, Derek. I don’t know how the hell you do it every time, being away from them.”

“Neither do I, sometimes” Derek admits, “There are days when I’m away for work that I just think about quitting and going home to you and the kids. But then I think about the bills, and the house, and I keep going. But I know it’s hard.”

“So hard” Stiles sighs, “Send me a picture of them later?”

“I will” Derek says, “Have fun today.”

“I will, thanks” Stiles says, “Love you.”

“Love you too.”

He hangs up and immediately snaps a picture of Taylor and Scottie sitting on the couch watching cartoons, sending it to Stiles who replies with a heart emoji.

He sighs before putting the phone away and calling Evan again to get out of the shower and leave for basketball practice.

“Yeah, yeah” Evan complains as he runs into the kitchen and grabs the carton of juice from the fridge, “I’m here, Joe is picking me up in twenty minutes.”

“Who’s Joe?” Derek frowns, Evan just sighs in reply and rolls his eyes.

“Joe is on my team, dad” he says after a moment of Derek just staring at him, “He always picks me up, okay?”

“Huh” Derek frowns, “I didn’t know that.”

“That’s because you always work on Saturdays” Evan says simply, grabbing an apple and taking a bite from it before disappearing again to go get his bag.

His friend does show up twenty minutes later, and Derek does recognize him from a few pictures in Evan’s room.

“Hi Mister Hale” Joe greets him with a wave, looking like he’s a bit intimidated, “Is Stiles not here?”

“He’s away for work” Derek says, “And you can just call me Derek, Joe.”

“Sure thing Mister Derek” he says with a weak smile before he and Evan quickly take off.

“Daddy?” Scottie is pulling at his shirt, “When is Uncle Scott picking us up for the zoo?”

“Oh – uhm, I’m not sure” he frowns, “Let me check the calendar.”

He sighs, walking over and finding that it is in thirty minutes.

“Ha, well, quite soon, apparently” he says, “Time to go get dressed. Now, hurry!”

They run up the stairs and his phone dings a second later with a message from Stiles.

[Don’t forget Scott’s picking them up to take to the zoo today! Xx]

He types out a quick reply before going upstairs to check on them and make sure they’re actually getting dressed.

[…]

He’s been home alone for all of fifteen minutes when Claudia is dropped off by her friend and she looks a bit confused.

“It’s so quiet here” she says with a frown, “It’s weird.”

She drops her bag and goes to the couch to sit down.

“How about you put away your laundry?” Derek suggests, she sighs and gets up again to do so – all the while muttering to herself and complaining.

She returns five minutes later, sitting down again on the couch next to Derek and sighing.

“Want to watch a movie?” he asks, she shrugs, “You can pick one.”

“Okay” she smiles weakly, taking the remote and finally putting on ‘How To Train Your Dragon 2’ after a while.

She keeps shifting during the movie, though, constantly glancing at Derek and then biting her lip nervously. Derek finally pauses the movie half an hour later and turns towards her.

“What’s going on?” he asks, she stares at her feet, “You know you can tell us anything, right? We got your back.”

“I know” she sighs again, “I’m not in trouble. I’m just – confused.”

“Oh” he frowns at her. He should’ve expected this kind of conversation soon, she was turning fifteen in a few weeks, so she was at that age.

“About what?” he asks after a moment, she bites her lip again and then looks up at her father, almost scared about his reaction before taking in a deep breath.

“I kissed Mara last night” she says quickly, looking down at her feet again.

“Oh. Oh sweetie” he sighs, pulling her into a hug, “What happened?”

“I really like her” she says, “But she doesn’t like me like that.”

“That happens” Derek admits, “Sometimes the person you like doesn’t like you back.”

She frowns, pulling herself free from Derek’s embrace, “What if nobody ever likes me back, dad?” she asks, “What if I’m all alone forever?”

“Of course someone will like you back” Derek says, “You are an amazing young woman, and there will be a boy or girl that will like you that you like too.”

“Girl” she says hesitantly, “I don’t like boys.”

“That’s okay” he says, smiling weakly at her, “How did Mara respond?”

“She said she wasn’t into girls” she sighs, “I just – I don’t want to lose her as a friend. But I don’t know if I can still be her friend.”

“How do you mean?” Derek asks, even though he already knows the answer.

“I really like her, dad” she sighs again, “A lot. What do I do?”

“Oh” he sighs too, “I can’t answer that for you, sweetie. You’ll have to decide for yourself if you can stay friends and get over your feelings for her. You have to realize that she’ll never feel the same about you, and accept that. And that’s really, really hard.”

“Ugh, why is life so hard?” she complains, slumping backwards in the couch.

“It’s part of growing up” Derek says, “Sometimes it sucks, but there are fun parts too!”

“When do the fun parts start?” she asks with a frown.

“When you’re eighteen” he says with a nod, “Not a second sooner.”

“Ew, da-ad” she shakes her head, “There has to be other stuff that’s fun about growing up? If not, I want to be five again. Being five was fun and life was easy back then.”

“Tell me about it” Derek agrees, “But hey, you wouldn’t be able to watch that TV-show you like so much. The one with the werewolves? It’s for over 12.”

“Okay” she shrugs, “So we got one fun thing.”

“Your dad thought you watched it for the shirtless guys” Derek snorts, “Guess he was wrong about that.”

“Oh my god!” Claws cringes, “You guys are so embarrassing. Why did you even tell me that?”

“Because I just remembered” he says, “And I cannot wait for him to get home so I can tease him about it.”

“You are mean” Claws comments, almost laughing and shaking her head in mock disapproval, “It’s so typical that you two didn’t even notice the girls in that show.”

“Hey – no judging” Derek says, “Your dad and I do like girls too, remember?”

“I thought you only liked each other” she says.

“Well, yes, now” he replies, “But before we met, we both dated girls. So – if you ever need advice on how to ask out a girl you can ask your dad. Not me. I was terrible at it.”

“I’m not asking you or dad for dating advice” she shudders again, “That’s weird. And gross.”

“Suit yourself” he smiles at her, “Just know that you can talk to us about anything. We love you no matter what.”

“How – do I have to tell Scottie, Evan and Taylor?” she asks after another beat of silence, “That I like girls?”

“You don’t have to” he says, “You can let them find out when you bring a girl home someday. Or if you want, your father and I can talk to them about it. You can casually work it into the conversation.”

“You mean, like next time Evan mentions an actress he thinks is cute and then agree with him?” she asks, grinning and biting her lip, “That would be funny. Maybe I’ll do that.”

“You want to continue watching the movie?” he asks, she nods and he picks up the remote to hit play, “Are you going to tell your dad yourself, or do you want me to tell him?”

“Can you tell him?” she asks, without looking away from the screen, “You’re better at explaining it, and he’ll get too excited about me kissing someone.”

“I will tell him” he says, they both turn towards the screen and a few minutes later she leans into him.

“Thanks dad” she mutters, her head resting against his shoulder for the rest of the movie.

[…]

He calls Stiles that evening and tells him everything. The kids are all in bed – Scottie was particularly difficult because he was still hyped from his visit to the zoo – and sleeping quietly.

Although, Evan is probably on his phone, because he’s a teenager.

They talk for a long time, longer than they usually do on the phone.

“I think it’s time for me to quit” Derek says after a moment of silence between them, “The TV-network offered me a daily segment, for good money. And the local college asked if I’d be interested in doing a course. I just don’t know if I can do it again, leave for such long times for work.”

“Maybe you’re right” Stiles agrees, “We’d have to look at our finances first. But I don’t think it’d be a problem, especially not if you can take those two jobs.”

“I’ll ask the college about what pay I’d be getting” he says, “I know it’s sudden. But after these two days, I suddenly realize how much I missed. Especially after that talk with Claws today. Hell, I didn’t even know that Scottie and Taylor were going to the zoo with Scott today. I miss so much, too much.”

“It’s not sudden, Derek” Stiles says, “Honestly, I expected it sooner. Hell, Evan is leaving for college in a few weeks. Graduating high school in three weeks. It’s all happening so fast.”

“Tell me about it” Derek agrees, “I’m glad you’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Me too” he sighs, “Good night, babe.”

“Good night.”

[…]

“So – is it me or is it quieter now?” Stiles asks as they crawl into bed, “With Evan at college.”

“Nope, it definitely quieter now” Derek agrees, “I can’t believe he finally admitted to dating Rosie.”

“Yeah, I didn’t see that coming either” Stiles smiles, “They’re cute together, though.”

“Yeah, but they’re also at college together” Derek says, “So I’m concerned.”

“I might have slipped a box of condoms into his stuff” Stiles grins, “Just in case.”

“Don’t tell Scott, he’ll be pissed” Derek snorts and Stiles laughs.

“Are you kidding me? He told me to” he replies, “He did the same thing to Rosie. We’re not at traditional as people like to think. Now, Kira – on the other hand – can never, ever, ever know.”

“Okay” Derek smirks, “I won’t say a word. Promise.”

He sighs happily, burrowing into Derek’s side and kissing his neck, “Is it a terrible thing of me to say that I’m happy you quit your job?” he asks after a moment.

“It’s not” Derek tells him, “I’m happy that I’m home more. Sure, I have the evening segments, but I can do that from the office. And the college, it’s less work than I expected.”

“I’ll happily help you correct papers” Stiles says solemnly, “I promise.”

“I might take you up on that” Derek says, Stiles snorts.

“Fuck” he replies, giggling, “Ugh, the year is almost over.”

“I know” Derek agrees, “It’s gone by so fast.”

“It’s the first new year’s eve we’ll spend without the kids” Stiles says, “I still can’t believe Evan is spending it with friends, and Claws too. That Lydia volunteered to take the kids.”

“Well, we did take her kids last year because she wanted to spend it with Jordan” Derek comments, “They’re cute together. He’s good for her.”

“He’s good with the kids, too” Stiles says with a nod, his arm draped over Derek’s middle, “I’m tired, let’s go to bed.”

“We are in bed” Derek replies, Stiles swats his arm.

“Let’s go to sleep” he says, “Don’t correct me when I’m slightly tipsy.”

“Good plan” Derek says, “Sweet dreams, babe.”

“Sweet dreams.”

[…]

“So, this is definitely it” Stiles says, “Starting your new job as a college teacher.”

“Yup” Derek nods, taking the leather bag Stiles hands him, “How do I look?”

“Like a very sexy teacher” Stiles says with a smirk, “I have plans for that outfit tonight, don’t take it off before I get home.”

“Oh my god, Dad! We’re still here” Claws shouts, her hands on her ears, “Hurry up, I can’t be late for school today.”

“You’ll be on time” Stiles says, kissing Derek goodbye before he leaves, “I’m taking you in my fancy sheriff car.”

“Ugh, you’re such a dork” she rolls her eyes as she helps her brother tie his shoes, “Oh, I was meaning to ask. Is it okay if I go to the movies tomorrow evening?”

“That depends, with who?” he asks curiously, glancing over at his daughter who is now helping her sister with her shoes – she might complain about them but Stiles knows she loves them to death.

“I might have a date” she says just loud enough for Stiles to hear, “With my girlfriend.”

“Wait – you have a girlfriend?” he stops in his tracks, one arm in his jacket, “When were you planning on telling us? What’s her name, how did you meet, what is she like?”

“Da-ad” she rolls her eyes, “Don’t make a big deal out of this.”

“I am so making a big deal out of this” he shakes his head, grabbing Scottie’s carseat, “Ugh, look at you, so grown up.”

“Don’t get mushy” she mutters, looking up and noticing tears in his eyes as he walks up to her and pulls her into a hug, “Okay – that’s long enough dad. We really need to go or we’ll be late.”

“Okay, I’m good” he says, kissing the top of her head before releasing her, “You take Scottie, I’ll go grab Taylor’s bag.”

[…]

Derek’s first day is stressful, and strange. He’s used to people listening to him, and being more active. But today, he had mostly just introduced himself, checked who was following his course, and explained how the course would be graded.

He had given them a chance to ask questions – about the course – and ended with a small introduction. Then he’d gone for lunch, seen his son studiously ignoring him a few tables over – decided to maybe have lunch in his office from now on, or the teacher’s lounge (as soon as he could find it). He sent a picture to Stiles from his office who had replied asking if the desk was as strong as it looked – with a winky face. His former colleagues had sent him a good luck video that morning, and he was missing them more than he thought possible.

But when he got home that afternoon, in time to pick up the kids from school, and make dinner. Tuck Scottie into bed – Taylor was claiming to be too big for it now – and watch TV with his husband before bed, he remembered exactly why he decided to do the career switch. And he had no regrets whatsoever.

[…]

Evan loves college. He loves the freedom, the courses, and the new friends. He loves being with Rosie without their parents looking over their shoulders, and doing embarrassing things like hiding condoms in his bad. (Joke’s on them though, because they had come in handy).

Even though he gets recognized every once in a while as Derek Hale’s son. Or spots his dad every once in a while on campus – which is maybe once a week, he still loves it.

Sure he could’ve stayed at home, not get on campus housing. But it was part of growing up, leaving home and making a path for your own. Even if you were partially following into your dad’s footsteps.

College was his thing, were he would blossom and grow, and make a name for himself. Even if he did miss his siblings – and video chatted with them at least twice a week. Texted his parents at least once a day, and called them three times a week. He’d only be going home once a month – and if he really needed to do laundry.

Even with all those things.

He loves college.

[…]

Derek raises his glass towards Stiles.

“We’ve had quite a year” Derek says, “I got a new job.”

“Claws and Evan both have a girlfriend” Stiles says, “They’re growing up.”

“So fast” Derek agrees, “Scottie had his first sleepover this year.”

“I still can’t believe Claws has a girlfriend” Stiles sighs, “Evan I expected, but I really thought that we’d get to keep Claudia a bit longer.”

“If only we could keep them little” Derek says, placing his head on Stiles’ shoulder, “God, how the fuck did we end up with 4 kids, Stiles?”

“I have no idea” he says, “I mean, Evan was just dropped into our lives when he was left at the sheriff’s station.”

“And Claws was almost immediately after we called the agency, because she needed immediate placement and they didn’t have any other people in our town” Derek ads, “Taylor was – sudden.”

“Scottie was – perfect” Stiles sighs again, “It just happened.”

“Everything just sort of happened” Derek agrees, “Life happens inbetween planning your future, they say.”

“And then suddenly, you’re living it” Stiles leans back against the house. It’s still warm for this time of year, as they’re both huddled up on a blanket sitting on the grass and leaning against the house in their backyard.

“We should get one of those swing chairs” Derek turns towards him, “It’s be way more comfortable.”

“Or you could have taken out the lawn chairs like I suggested.”

“Yeah, but then we wouldn’t be sitting close together like this” Derek argues, and Stiles can’t really disagree, he thinks, as he cuddles up closer and pulls the blanket up to their chin.

“So – what do you want to do for the New Year?” Stiles asks after a moment.

“You mean at midnight? Or in the year that follows?” Derek asks, Stiles gives him a slight shove, “So the year that follows. Huh – a lot of things, I guess.”

“Like what?”

“I would love to visit Evan at school” Derek says, “I mean – he’s lucky I’m not one of his teachers, but actually teach at another campus. But yeah, that would be nice.”

“I want to go on a trip together” Stiles says, “The kids are growing up, and we haven’t actually ever gone anywhere together since our honeymoon.”

“And that was only a short trip because we had midterms” Derek recalls, “That’s an awesome idea.”

“I know” Stiles smirks, “What else?”

“Go on a trip with the kids. Something really suburban, like surfing or skiing. Maybe even go hiking in the mountains, or hell, camping.”

“That sounds like a lot of fun” Stiles agrees, “You know what else I would really  like?”

“What?” Derek asks, turning towards his husband as the first fireworks start going off.

“Renewing our vows” he says, “Another wedding together. Our first one was so small, lowkey, low budget. I’d like to do it over, now that we have the means to do so. With the kids.”

“Yeah, that sounds pretty nice.”

“You think so?” he asks, voice small, Derek nods and pulls him in for a kiss.

“I do.”