“Come on Sweetie-Pie, you can say it! I know you can! Dada! Daaa-daaa!”
Leonie clapped her chubby little hands happily, her cheeks rosy with excitement as she clearly enjoyed the attention of her father, who had squatted down in front of her bouncer and spent the past ten minutes trying to coax the word out of her.
“Stiles?” Derek asked, amusement evident in his voice as he knelt down next to his mate and daughter, reaching out a hand and affectionately squeezing Leonie’s foot when she squealed her as of now still pre-verbal version of ‘hello’.
“Ssssh, we’re working!” Stiles whispered, turning back towards his daughter and tickling her tummy.
Derek smiled when Leonie began to giggle, the sound still as beautiful to him as the first time she had produced it – looking just as surprised as her fathers during that momentous occasion.
“Working, huh?” he asked and Stiles nodded enthusiastically.
“Absolutely! Sweetie-Pie, say Dada! Dada!”
Leonie grinned widely, a trickle of spit dripping down her chin as she showed off her two newest teeth, which had come in earlier that week and had resulted in a couple of sleepless nights at the Hale-Stilinski residence.
“Drooling starts with a ‘D’, too, that’s right Sweetie-Pie, Daddy’s very proud that you’re so smart! Now we just need to work on the actual talking! Dada! Daaaa daaa!”
Leonie blew a spit bubble, then clapped her hands in delighted amusement and Stiles sighed fondly, wiping her mouth clean with the back of his hand and carelessly dragging it over the fabric of his jeans.
Derek chuckled, wondering if his mate, who, if his father was to be believed, had gone through quite the germ phobic phase as a pre-teen and teenager, would have ever imagined himself handling poopy diapers, baby drool, and the occasional spit-up with an air of almost professional nonchalance.
“Can we feed her first?” the werewolf asked, holding up a cup of pureed carrots and potatoes and Stiles huffed in mock-disapproval, raising one eyebrow at their daughter in a near perfect imitation of his werewolf mate.
“Do you think you deserve this delicious unexciting conglomerate of bland vegetables oh daughter of mine?” he asked and Leonie made grabby motions with her hands, her nose twitching adorably as she began to pay attention to the smell of the food.
“You are going to eat us out of house and home when you’re a teenager, aren’t you?” Stiles lamented and Derek grinned, muttering, “Werewolf metabolism,” under his breath when he moved into Stiles’ space to feed Leonie.
When his daughter was done Derek lifted her out of the bouncer and sat her on the carpet, watching fondly as she pushed her little butt in the air before she started crawling.
She wasn’t quite walking yet but Stiles had sworn that he had seen her eye the corner of the table with interest the other day and Derek knew that once his baby actually figured out how to stand it would just be a matter of time until they’d actually have a real toddler on their hands.
The thought of no longer having an actual baby in the house made him feel almost sentimental and he looked towards the kitchen counter, where Stiles was busy making himself a sandwich and talking on the phone with his dad.
Derek couldn’t quite hear the Sheriff’s responses to Stiles’ woes about their daughter’s refusal to say ‘daddy’, but he could imagine his father-in-law’s patented tone of resigned amusement easily enough.
He looked back towards his daughter, resting his hand on his midsection almost unconsciously.
Stiles really wanted another baby, which Derek was definitely on board with, possibly even a third child, though Derek found the idea of having more than two kids almost ridiculous in light of the fact how busy they were with even only one child.
A child who, he suddenly noticed, was currently trying to eat the carpet.
“Leo-Pie,” he called out softly, flashing his eyes at her experimentally to see if she would stop chewing on the carpet and Leonie flashed her eyes back at him, giggling when Derek growled playfully.
Derek froze, looking at his baby in shock as Leonie grinned back, obviously pleased with herself.
“Papa!” she repeated and Derek couldn’t stop the grin threatening to split his face open, even as his subconscious mind tried to tell him that something was off about the situation.
Derek winced; feeling equal parts guilty and proud as he turned to look at his flabbergasted mate, who had dropped his phone from his ear and was waving both the phone and half of a sandwich in the air like ninja swords.
“Uh … it’s … not what you’re thinking?”
“Papa!” Leonie squealed once again and Derek shrugged apologetically when Stiles’ eyes widened, his mouth dropping open.
“Seriously? Are you serious right now? Oh my god, I can’t even … Dad, I’ll call you back, I have some serious parental business to attend to! Alright, where’s the little traitor?” he exclaimed, dropping down to his knees and shaking his head at their daughter, who had pushed herself into a sitting position and still looked as proud as an almost one year old could possibly look.
“Papa!” she beamed, waving her arms in the air in a perfect imitation of her daddy and Derek wondered if this was the baby version of a fist-pump.
“You wound me child, you deeply wound me! You were supposed to say Daddy first!” Stiles lamented, grasping at his heart in a, Derek had to admit, very theatrical display before he flopped over, pushing his face into the carpet.
“Stiles?” Derek asked hesitantly, suddenly uncertain if his mate was being serious or not as he patted Stiles’ shoulder comfortingly and Stiles grunted into the carpet, muttering “My Daddy-Heart is broken, just leave me here to die, woe is me!” as he sniffed loudly.
Derek exhaled in relief, shaking his head at his mate’s antics.
Leonie was obviously confused, her head cocked to the side as she regarded both of her fathers and Derek could tell the exact moment when she decided to investigate, recognizing the glint of curiosity in her hazel eyes as an undeniable Stiles’ trait.
Stiles turned his head to the side as Leonie approached, reaching out a hand to his crawling baby with a fond look on his face.
“Hey Traitor-Pie,” he greeted her, rolling onto his back obligingly when Leonie nudged her head against his shoulder.
“Buh buh!” Leonie chirped happily and Derek watched in amusement as his 11 months old daughter grabbed Stiles’ shirt, pulling herself up and onto his chest, where she proceeded to snuggle her face into the soft fabric.
“Dada, not buhbuh,” Stiles corrected her gently, resting his hand on her back to secure her.
“Bah bah,” Leonie tried, though not at enthusiastically as before and Derek could tell that the combination of food-coma and the steady heartbeat of her father under her cheek was lulling her into sleep quickly.
“Close, but make no mistake daughter, my daddy-heart is still recovering from this traitorous blow!” Stiles informed her, his free hand grasping the left side of his chest for dramatic emphasis.
Leonie yawned, then reached out her tiny hand to grab at Stiles’ thumb, pulling her father’s hand just a little bit closer to her as her eyes flitted shut and her breathing began to even out.
It was moments like these in which Derek often longed for the presence of his mother, filled with deep regret that he, unlike Laura, had not bombarded their mother with questions about baby werewolves and what they had been like as infants when she had still been alive.
There were so many things about the development of a born werewolf that he barely remembered and he sometimes wondered if there were things that he should be doing with Leonie, to help her train her skills and give her the best start into life as he possibly could, but as he watched his baby-girl pull Stiles’ hand even closer in her sleep to nuzzle against the fuzzy hair on his skin with her cheek, a long-forgotten memory poked at his brain, filling him with both sadness and joy.
He could see his father sitting in the recliner in this very living room, a sports program muted on the television so as to not disturb Cora, who had been snuggled against his chest, one hand grabbing her father’s shirt and the other lying over his heart, his father’s big palm covering her tiny fist.
She had slept like that for over and hour and his father had never moved, breathing calmly and Cora rising and falling along with his chest, little pleased coos escaping her now and then as she slept.
Laura and Derek had snuck into the living room in hopes to watch the sports program with their father and Derek clearly remembered Laura frowning at the display, her eyebrows raised in confusion as she had wondered if Cora wasn’t uncomfortable.
Laura had always been a wild sleeper, kicking her feet left and right and into whoever’s kidneys were in the way as she starfished herself over the entire bed throughout the course of the night and the thought of someone holding her in place during her sleep had seemed unfathomable to his older sister.
Derek’s father had smiled patiently, nodding towards Talia, who had been preparing dinner in the kitchen or – if Derek’s memory served correctly – rather bossing Peter around in her fruitless attempts to teach her younger brother how to cook, be responsible … and finally move out of the house.
“It’s important for babies to feel loved and protected, even when they are sleeping,” he had explained, smiling at Laura when she had made a surprised “huh” sound.
“And besides, just because she spends a lot of time with Mommy right now because Mommy is in charge of feeding that doesn’t mean Daddy can slack in the cuddle-department,” he had continued and Derek, who had watched Cora’s little nose twitch in her sleep, as if she was trying to memorize their father’s scent, had known instinctively that his father was also making sure his little sister would always know who was in her pack.
When he looked back at Leonie, deeply asleep now yet still holding onto Stiles’ hand in a firm grip he grinned, lying down with his mate and daughter and hooking his chin over Stiles’ shoulder.
“You still feel unloved?” he whispered and Stiles, who was gently running the fingers of his free hand up and down Leonie’s back, looked at him with an utterly besotted expression.
“Nah, pretty sure I’m the most loved man in the universe right now,” he decided, turning his head slightly so his lips could meet Derek’s in a soft kiss.
When they pulled apart Stiles’ eyes were twinkling.
“Mark my words though, the next one will say Dada first!”
“We’ll see,” Derek teased and Stiles nodded, grinning contentedly.
“You bet your sexy ass Papa Wolf. You bet.”
Noah was a quiet baby, much unlike his sister, who had considered sleeping a horrible imposition at this age, and Derek sometimes found himself training his ears towards the nursery during the night, making sure that his son’s heart was still beating steadily.
He was a couple of days shy of being three months old now and a cherubic child if Derek had ever seen it, thanks to his big, baby-blue eyes, the soft shock of dark blonde hair that Derek was certain would turn into Stiles’ hair color as he got older, and the rosy cheeks that had led Stiles to declare he finally understood why his old Polish aunt had always insisted on pinching his cheeks, certain that he had been just as angelic as Noah as an infant.
The Sheriff had muttered “A colicky angel indeed,” under his breath with a grimace in response and Derek had breathed a heartfelt sigh of relief about the fact that it looked like they were going to avoid this particular ‘pleasure’ of parenthood for the second time.
When Noah wasn’t eating or sleeping soundly in his crib he could usually be found snuggled into someone’s arms, a sight that was most adorable when it was Leonie who was holding him, her face, which was becoming more and more like a female version of Derek, scrunched up in concentration as she focused on supporting her little brother’s head.
Noah wasn’t nearly as touch dependent as Leonie had been, actually enjoyed tummy-time, and could stare in rapt fascination at a mobile hanging over his head for almost half an hour at a time before he remembered that there was such a thing as milk, but Derek was certain that he liked being snuggled just as much.
His son had had a rather intense aura around him since he had been born and especially Stiles delighted in the way their human baby was slowly becoming more aware of the world around him, occasionally teasing Derek that despite looking almost exactly like a carbon-copy of his human father their baby definitely had the Hale-patented creeper stare down to a science already.
The rest of their pack were just as in love with the newest addition to the Hale family as his parents were and Derek was, in fact, quite sure that everyone was fighting each other for snuggle rights behind his back, since the order in which his baby boy was passed around during pack meetings changed every other week, though it almost always began with a very smugly beaming Jackson.
Derek had no doubt that his blonde Beta probably played dirty, but Noah obviously loved him just as much as his big sister did, making the whole scheme perfectly acceptable as far as he was concerned.
Jackson’s daughter – whose name was still shrouded in secrecy though Stiles had recently begun to look alarmed a the gleeful expression on the other man’s face when the topic came up – was due in about two months and Derek couldn’t wait to see Jackson cuddle with his own child, certain that the snarky werewolf would make a wonderful, loving parent.
On the rare occasions that it wasn’t Jackson who claimed first snuggle rights it was Scott who made a straight line for the crib, or rather, Scott and his son Mikey, who was a little over a year older than Noah and obviously thought the tiny baby was the most fascinating thing he had ever seen in his life.
Stiles had come home laughing one afternoon, recounting the moment his very confused secretary had asked him if he was a polygamist or something, since Stiles had hung a large photo of Scott holding Noah and Stiles holding Mikey right next to the framed shot of Leonie’s first Christmas, which showed their daughter dressed as a little elf and both Derek and Stiles in the same ugly Christmas sweater with an angry Gollum gnome.
Derek had become strangely attached to the sweater after he had been forced to use it as his first kinda-sorta-paternity shirt during one memorable brunch-date with Melissa and Stiles had paid an unholy amount of money to secure another one over Ebay so he could surprise his Sour Wolf for Christmas.
“So get this,” Stiles had cackled, one arm wrapped around Leonie and the other supporting Noah as he had snuggled in with them on the couch, “Anouk was staring at the pictures and then looked at me with this very judgmental expression her face and said, in that cute Dutch accent of hers, ‘So you have a samenlevingscontract or what?” Only I thought she said ‘semen-living contract’ for some reason and the whole discussion quickly deteriorated from there. In the end I was laughing so hard I was crying and she was threatening that she’s never going to bring me stroopwafels ever again, but we all know she lives for bemoaning my organized chaos in that guttural Dutch language of hers so my stroopwafels are safe!”
Derek had shaken his head in amusement and, a couple of hours later, had shown Stiles exactly what he thought about a semen-living contract.
… Stiles had quickly admitted that it might actually be better than stroopwafels.
He had also coaxed Derek and Scott into getting their picture taken while the two Alphas embraced each other and hung it up in the office just for the heck of it … and suffered almost a month without stroopwafels as punishment from his no-nonsense secretary.
All in all, life was good at the Hale-Stilinski residence, if a bit quieter than Derek and Stiles had envisioned a future with two children, and so it came as a bit of a shock to both parents to be woken up by their baby on the night before Leonie’s fourth birthday.
Derek woke first, his werewolf hearing giving him the advantage as he sat up quickly, blinking towards the adjacent nursery in confusion and wondering if he had imagined the sound.
Noah’s heartbeat and breathing suggested he was awake and so Derek, mindful not to wake Stiles as well, got out of bed, tiptoeing over to the crib to look at his son, who smiled, a trick he had just mastered a couple of weeks ago.
“What’cha doing little buddy?” Derek whispered, reaching out his hand and rubbing his son’s tummy, which was always a foolproof method to calm him.
Noah flailed his arms a little, looking even more like Stiles when he did, one chubby fist landing on Derek’s hand in what Derek assumed was Noah’s version of a friendly greeting.
“Are you bored? Is that why you’re not sleeping silly baby?” Derek smiled, gently tapping Noah’s nose with his index finger and his baby laughed.
Eyes widening, Derek tapped his nose again, wondering if he had imagined it and Noah giggled, the giggling turning into surprisingly loud laughter.
Caught off guard Derek laughed with him, leaning against Stiles when he felt his mate press against his back, the human’s warms wrapping around his waist as he rested his chin on Derek’s shoulder.
“Silly baby,” Derek repeated, tickling Noah’s tummy and Noah giggled even louder, obviously having the time of his life.
Derek could feel Stiles’ wide grin against his cheek as his husband chuckled behind him, turning to smack a kiss on Stiles’ forehead, which only served to make Noah giggle again.
“Our little trickster baby is turning into a jokester baby!” Stiles declared proudly, stepping around Derek and leaning over the crib so he could blow a raspberry on Noah’s tummy.
Noah squealed with laughter, prompting Stiles to laugh one of his full-belly laughs as well and Derek was not at all surprised when the light tapping of tiny feet behind them signaled the arrival of their daughter, who was sleepily blinking as she tugged at Derek’s pyjama pants.
“What’s so funny Papa?” she asked and Derek lifted his three … no, four-year old daughter into his arms, a quick look at the clock confirming that they were, in fact, in the presence of a birthday girl.
“Noah is happy because it’s your birthday Leo-Pie,” he told her, holding her over the crib as well so she could see for herself.
When he noticed his sister Noah kicked his legs and feet into the air excitedly, giggling once again, and Leonie’s sleepy expression turned into excitement as well; her mouth opening in wonder, which, apparently, was the funniest thing that Noah had seen all night, based on his delighted squealing.
“Down, down, Papa!” Leonie begged, wiggling a little in Derek’s hold and Derek sat her on the mattress, hooking an arm around Stiles’ waist as they watched the birthday girl nuzzle Noah’s cheek in a werewolf greeting before she sat back and clapped her hands experimentally, beaming up at her fathers when Noah’s entire body twitched with the force of his laughter.
“I made him laugh Daddy!” Leonie triumphed, grinning from ear to ear as she held on to one of Noah’s onesie-clad feet.
“I’m going to eat you!” she promised, growling playfully before she pretend-nipped at her brother’s toes, a trick she had obviously learned from Melissa, who pretended to want to eat all of her three grandkids on a regular basis.
Noah giggled happily, clearly on board with being eaten out of sheer cuteness and Leonie repeated the motion, laughing excitedly whenever Noah squealed again.
“Guess what Noah! It’s my birthday! Are you going to celebrate with me?” she asked, looking up at Stiles and Derek for confirmation.
“Of course he will, after all, he learned how to laugh just in time to celebrate with you,” Stiles nodded, winking at Derek when the expression on their daughter’s face suggested that there was absolutely no doubt in her mind that her little brother had mastered this important feat on the baby-milestone checklist as a present just for her.
Grinning, Leonie flopped on her side, lightly resting one arm on Noah’s tummy and nuzzling into his cheek, again displaying one of the werewolf characteristics that had come naturally to her from a very early age on.
“I love you Noah!” she told the baby and Noah laughed, flopping his hands across Leonie’s arm excitedly.
Derek stepped closer to Stiles, wrapping both arms around his mate as they watched their two children beam at each other in the crib.
“And I love you. All of you,” Derek whispered into Stiles’ ear, his stubble just barely grazing Stiles’ cheek.
His human mate turned his head slightly, the look on his face enraptured, peaceful, and full of love.
“Ditto Derek. Always and forever.”
It was a warm day in late August, only a couple of weeks shy of Cas’ first birthday and Stiles was getting deeply worried about his third child’s development pace.
Or, to be more specific, his utter lack of interest in crawling.
Leonie had been taking her first steps a month before her first birthday and Noah, while not quite yet ready to walk, had at least been crawling up a storm, leading Stiles to believe that his youngest was either just very lazy for a werewolf or something was definitely wrong.
Derek had shrugged his concerns off, arguing that just because he was a werewolf that didn’t mean he had to walk around the house like he owned it before he even had hair and so Stiles had decided to take matters – and his still very bald baby – into his own hands.
“What are you doing?” Derek asked two hours later, his expression both amused and confused as he stuck his head inside the living room, a curious Noah perched on his arm and craning his neck to see better.
“I’m teaching our son how to crawl!” Stiles declared exasperatedly, gently poking Cas’ arm to get his attention when their baby stuck his toes inside his mouth instead.
“Can I help Daddy?” Noah asked, wiggling in Derek’s grasp to be let down and when Derek set him on the floor Noah immediately marched over to Stiles, dropping onto his hands and knees just like his human father and fixing his little brother with a serious expression.
“Look Cas, it’s really easy!” he exclaimed and Cas responded by rolling onto his back with a squeal, reaching up to pat Noah’s chin.
“See?” Stiles hissed towards Derek, sighing in resignation when Cas rolled over once more and, rather than pushing himself up with his hands, simply flailed his hands around, laughing delightedly at the sound of skin smacking on the floor.
“Stiles,” Derek said softly, reaching out a hand to his mate to pull him off the floor and Stiles got up with a sorrowful expression, though Derek wasn’t quite sure if that was because of the state of his mate’s knees or their son’s baby-book milestone defiance.
“He’s doing fine, he’s healthy, he’s happy, and if he doesn’t want to crawl quite yet then there’s no use in pushing him. He’ll get there eventually,” he said, sighing when Stiles shook his head determinedly, pulled out his phone and opened the baby-milestone app.
“The other two were crawling at eight and seven months, there’s something wrong with him, I just know it!”
Stiles’ expression was agitated and it took a moment for Derek to realize why he was working himself up over this, why Stiles had always been more concerned about Cas’ development than with both of their older children.
“He’s fine, trust me, I would be able to tell if he wasn’t,” Derek said firmly, drawing Stiles into a tight hug and sighing when he felt the tension in his mate’s body.
They never really spoke about what had happened at the beginning of Derek’s third trimester, there was no reason to taint their lives by reliving the horror of the days in which Derek had been kidnapped, tortured, and almost died, while Stiles had been going out of his mind with worry and despair.
Cas was healthy as a horse – or rather, a werewolf –, he had been the biggest of all of their children at birth and Derek had never been able to detect any lingering effects of all that wolfsbane on him.
Neither had Deaton, who had checked their baby thoroughly for any signs of trouble after his somewhat dramatic entrance into the world on their armchair and Derek knew that even though Stiles was trying his best to believe that their baby was fine there was always this underlying fear inside him that he was not, that – because these were their lives and Beacon Hills – the other shoe was yet to drop.
“I just … I just worry,” Stiles muttered against his shoulder, his voice a little shaken, and Derek rubbed his back comfortingly, a motion that, with a baby and a tummy-rub addicted preschooler in the house, had become second nature to him at this point.
“I know. And I love you for it, but I promise you, he’s fine.”
Stiles nodded, tilting his head back slightly so he could look at Derek, his eyes still full of anxiety.
“I just … I couldn’t handle it if he wasn’t, you know?” he whispered and Derek exhaled deeply, stroking his fingers along Stiles’ cheeks.
“I know. Believe me, I know. All I’m saying is …” Derek trailed off, his eyes widening as he looked past Stiles and Stiles whipped his head around in alarm, gasping when he took in the sight in the living room.
“Daddy! Papa! Look!” Noah cried excitedly, letting go of Cas’ hands, who was standing in front of his older brother and looking very focused.
Derek and Stiles watched with open mouths as their younger son took his first wobbly steps towards Noah, almost tripping but catching his balance quickly as he conquered the small space.
Noah held open his arms with an excited grin and when Cas reached him he wrapped up his brother in a bear hug, smacking a kiss on his bald head.
“Did you see that Daddy? Did you see what I did Papa? I taught Cas how to walk!” their four-year old exclaimed proudly, letting go of Cas and nudging him towards their gaping fathers.
“Did he … did he just skip the entire crawling stage?” Stiles whispered, his fingers digging into Derek’s forearm, and Derek nodded, mouth still halfway open in shock.
Cas took another step then promptly sat down on his diapered butt, looking startled for a fraction of a second before Noah was already at his side, holding out a hand to help his brother up.
“That’s ok Cas, I fell down, too! You can do it, I know you can!” he coached him and Cas grabbed at Noah’s hand, a look of determination on his face and his eyes shining with excitement as Noah pulled him up gently and steadied him, clapping his hands delightedly when Cas took another step.
“Told you he was fine,” Derek said in wonderment and when he turned towards Stiles his mate was crying, his expression thrilled and full of relief.
“He’s amazing!” Stiles whispered, the happiness in his eyes shifting to slight terror as he looked between their wobbling baby boy and the various sharp edges and cabinets in the kitchen and living room area alone.
“Holy shit, he’s going to get into everything!” he exclaimed and Derek chuckled in agreement, already going through a mental checklist of places in the house that needed to be walking-baby-proofed stat.
“Dada! Dada!” Cas cried gleefully, his speed picking up as he closed the last steps between himself and his fathers and Stiles dropped to his knees, holding open his arms and catching their youngest with a happy laugh, picking him up and twirling him around in excitement.
“You are walking baby boy, you did it!” he praised him, lifting him up above his head and flying him through the air before pulling him against his chest and pressing his nose against the baby’s head, inhaling his soft baby-smell and allowing Cas to scent him right back when the baby nuzzled into his neck.
“Did you see how I taught him, did you see Papa?” Noah beamed proudly and Derek held open his arms with a grin, catching Noah when he ran towards him and throwing him up in the air, causing their older son to laugh joyfully.
“You are the best big brother in the world Noah!” Derek told him, smacking a big kiss onto his head for emphasis and Stiles nodded in agreement, all the worry and tension gone from his features as he continued to fly Cas through the air.
“The absolute best!” he confirmed, setting Cas back down on the ground and beaming with pride when their son immediately took another step, his balance obviously a bit off after all that flying when he once again landed on his butt.
“Whoops!” Stiles laughed, bending down to help their son up again and taking a couple of steps with him, holding on to his little fists tightly as Cas visibly became more comfortable with the movement, his werewolf abilities clearly kicking in to his advantage now.
“Daddy! Papa! I’m home!” a new voice rang out and both father’s looked towards the door to the living room and then at each other, conspiratorial grins breaking out on both of their faces as they listened to Leonie chatter excitedly to her grandfather, who had volunteered to pick her up from school today.
“Leo-Pie, Dad, want so see something amazing?” Stiles called out, crouching down next to Cas, who, at the sound of his sister’s voice, had begun to squeal “Eo-I!”, still not quite managing the “Leo-Pie” but getting there.
“What is it Daddy?” Leonie exclaimed curiously, her hair a little tussled as she bounded into the living room and Stiles waited until his Dad was in the room as well before he let go of Cas’ hands, gently nudging him into his sister and grandfather’s direction.
“Go say hi to Leo-Pie and Grandpa!” he told him and Cas wobbled forwards, or rather, raced forwards, his motor-skills having improved almost miraculously within the last ten minutes.
Leonie squealed with joy and surprise, holding out her arms immediately when Cas launched himself at her, babbling excitedly as Leonie continued to squeal.
“Well I’ll be damned! Told you that kid had a surprise up his sleeve!” the Sheriff exclaimed, winking at his son before he took Cas from Leonie to blow a Grandpa-Raspberry onto his belly.
“I helped Grandpa, I helped!” Noah chirped happily from Derek’s arms, kicking slightly to be let down and as soon as he was on the floor he made a beeline for his grandfather and siblings, holding up his arms and jumping up and down to receive his own treatment of Grandpa-hugs.
“Did you now? That’s awesome Noah-Boa!” the Sheriff praised him, getting down to his knees with a soft grunt so he could wrap his arms around all three children.
“I love you guys!” he told them, smacking kisses onto all of their cheeks before he looked up at Stiles and Derek with a slightly apologetic grin.
“Now … guess who is the best Grandpa of all times and bought his favorite munchkins cupcakes?”
Stiles tried and failed to give his father a stern look over the noise of three excited children who seemed to be pretending that they had been starving for ages, shaking his head with a fond eye-roll when the Sheriff produced a pink box filled with nutella (Leonie’s favorite), cherry-almond (for Noah), plain vanilla (a tiny one for Cas), peanut butter with Reeses’ chunks on top (clearly as a peace offering to Stiles, who, unlike his father, would have to deal with getting three sugar-hyped children to bed later) raspberry-lemon for himself and mocha for Derek, who did not even blink an eye when Cas ended up smearing vanilla frosting into his beard five minutes later.
Their little boy was, after all, the uncontested star of the day.
“It was the miracle of Christmas!” Stiles would say every time he recounted the story of how the miserable weeks of two colicky, uncomfortable babies had finally come to an end. Granted, it had probably also had a lot to do with the fact that they had reached the age where most babies who suffered from colic were no longer affected, but Stiles would now and forever find it very poetic that his baby girls had ceased being colicky in the days following their first Christmas as a family of seven.
It was late January now, and the babies were five months old, growing like weed and, now that they weren’t crying all the time, developing their personalities in a way that was much more noticeable to their family.
Derek often wondered how it was possible that they were so different in looks and attitudes, wondering out loud one afternoon that all that kicking had probably been the two of them fighting about something and deciding that the years in which they would have two pubescent girls in the house would probably be torture for their nerves.
Stiles, who had just finished an argument that had ended with a heartfelt exclamation of “You are ruining my life!”, had groaned loudly and then ranted about how cutting down one’s child’s TV privileges so she would finally spend more time on her math homework was in no way ruining but actually very beneficial for said child’s future.
Derek, who had yet to admit that his family’s gene pool might just have had something do with Leonie’ ongoing math struggle, had just nodded dutifully.
In regards to other parenting issues, however, Derek and his mate were not seeing eye to eye lately, case in point, Stiles’ insistence that Maggie was ready to try solid food.
Derek, whose childbearing Alpha capabilities had also given him the temporary means to feed said children with the first three kids was still a bit sad that he couldn’t do it for the twins, deeply grateful that the only real loss they had suffered during their dramatic birth had been his Alpha powers and not their werewolf baby, but still feeling guilty that they were missing out on this connection.
Stiles had read the content of more message boards that Derek had ever known existed to him, trying to reassure his mate that for some women – “And male werewolves, stop huffing,” – feeding their children just didn’t quite work out for whichever biological reason, which in no way meant they were bad parents, despite the opinion of the – in Stiles’ humbled opinion – probably deeply frustrated Momzillas and Dadzillas of the world, who seemed to spend their entire day slamming other people’s parenting choices and trying to make strangers feel horrible on message boards.
While Stiles had scoured the Internet for proof that Derek shouldn’t feel bad about not being able to feed their kids himself, Derek had been reading papers from the American Academy of Pediatrics and, therefore, was not at all on board with Stiles’ suggestion that they should start Maggie on solids.
“It says six months!” Derek exclaimed one afternoon, throwing Stiles an exasperated look when his mate lugged an entire box of pureed baby food into the house.
“It also says that some babies might be ready to try earlier!” Stiles defended himself while pointing towards Maggie, who was sitting in her highchair and curiously eyeing the spread on the table.
“Look at her! She’s exhibiting all the signs. She’s got control of her head, she can sit really well with a bit of support, she’s definitely doubled her birth-weight by now and you can’t tell me that that’s not a very interested stare!” he rattled off, once again motioning towards Maggie, who was, Derek had to admit, staring at the food as if she wanted to command it to fly into her waiting mouth.
“She’s only five months old,” he tried again and Stiles shrugged.
“Five full months and we just got started on the sixth, actually. Come on Derek, it can’t hurt to try. I really think she’s interested!” he urged and Derek looked back and forth between his babies, wondering if he was being unreasonably paranoid.
Ethan had been the angel of patience when, once it had been firmly established that the loss of Derek’s Alpha powers had put an end to all aspects of pregnancy and birth, he had spent more time than probably necessary choosing the perfect formula for their babies and patiently explaining to Derek over and over again why this wouldn’t harm the children in any way.
Never having known the difference both babies had latched onto the bottles like pros, and even though Maggie was still a bit bigger than her werewolf sister both girls were just as chubby and perfect as they were supposed to be at this age.
Still, starting Maggie on solids so much earlier than her older siblings and twin made Derek uncomfortable in a way he couldn’t quite explain.
“There is literally no downside of this … well, other than some nose-trauma in the poop section I guess, but hey, I wonder if she’s going to be like Leo-Pie, Noah, or Cas in the food department!”
Despite his unease Derek chuckled, remembering Leonie’s adorable outburst of righteous baby-anger when they had tried to introduce bland cereal in addition to her beloved peaches.
Noah had always loved bananas but balked at the idea of apple sauce and Cas had just about eaten anything you couldn’t get out of his way fast enough, up to and including that one time Derek had left a pen on the kitchen table and his younger son had somehow managed to suck all the ink out of it within the span of two minutes, his entire face smudged with blue ink in the aftermath. His blue-lipped baby-grin had then proceeded to lead to his Daddy almost having a heart attack.
A very frantic call to Deaton and an almost hysterical call to the pen manufacturer had revealed that the ink was not toxic, but Derek and Stiles had still spent the entire night watching over their eight months old baby, anxiously looking for any signs of distress.
In the present, Maggie let out an impatient sound and Derek sighed, realizing that the only distress his human daughter was currently experiencing was the distinct lack of solid food in her mouth.
Overruled by the two humans in the room he nodded towards his mate, hoping that Stiles’ instincts were right and the experiment would not throw his baby’s digestive system out of whack.
“Alright, we’re going to give her the bottle first and then we’ll try a little bit of the fruit,” Stiles decided, eagerly lifting Maggie out of her high-seat and bouncing her on his hip.
“This is exciting baby-girl! You’re going to be a big girl now!” he beamed at her and Maggie cooed, looking deeply pleased.
“We should film this!” Stiles decided when she was done with her small bottle and Noah, who had come into the kitchen while searching for an afternoon snack, nodded eagerly, bounding out of the room to get the camera.
By the time he returned Derek had just burped Kara and was now rubbing her little back, looking at Stiles apprehensively as his mate lined up five jars of baby food on the table.
“Alright, so! We’ve got – yuck! – sweet potato, apple sauce, bananas, peaches, and pears for you to sample today Maggie!” he informed her, laughing when Maggie, who had just recently figured out one could actually make a grab for things and then keep them with the possibility of forever, tried to reach for the jar with the peaches.
“Are you channeling your big sister, baby-girl?” Stiles grinned, nodding at Noah to start the camera and grinning at Leonie, who had just walked into the room with Cas in tow.
“If she does she has good taste,” Leonie remarked, eagerly hopping onto the chair next to Derek and watching the proceedings with interest, while her five and a half year old younger brother looked on in confusion.
“Hmmmm, yummy!” Stiles coached their human baby and Maggie made chewing motions twice, her expression quickly going from intrigued to revolted as she pushed the food out of her mouth with a squawk.
“That … didn’t work,” Stiles announced gravely, shaking his head fondly as he wiped Maggie’s chin clean.
“Banana, try the banana Daddy!” Noah said from behind the camera and this time Maggie didn’t even chew, her entire face scrunching up when Stiles waved the spoon under her nose.
“She’s not ready, I told you,” Derek muttered, shifting Kara in his arms so his younger twin could get more comfortable and Stiles shrugged, mouthing, “Smarty-Pants Wolf,” at him with a shake of his head.
Derek wasn’t quite sure how a five month old could have possibly managed such decent coordination but a good chunk of the pear ended up in Stiles’ hair and the apple sauce didn’t fare any better, leading to a very triumphant grin from Noah, who turned the camera towards his face and proudly declared he had a little sister with excellent taste before focusing back on the table.
Stiles was shaking his head at Maggie now, expression bewildered.
“I know you want solid food child, I can feel it, why are you making this so hard?” he wondered and Maggie made an impatient sound, hands once again reaching for the food on the table.
“Ok, Daddy gives up, yucky sweet potato it is,” Stiles decided, pushing the spoon into her mouth gently and holding his breath when Maggie chewed once, twice, made an intrigued expression … and swallowed the food while making grabby hands for another spoon.
“Why?” Stiles lamented, though he was grinning when Maggie eagerly accepted the second spoon, then looked betrayed when Stiles screwed the lid back on, aware that his baby had had enough for one day.
“My children, I swear,” Stiles chuckled, wiping a smudge of sweet potato puree off Maggie’s cheek and inspecting his finger with disdain.
“I must seriously wonder if you really came forth from my loins if you actually like that monstrosity,” he informed her, grin widening when Maggie cooed happily.
“What are loins Daddy?” Noah asked from behind the camera and Stiles looked startled for just a second before an air of resignation came over his face.
“Uhm … loins are … oh who cares, Noah-Boa, Daddy and Papa’s loins helped make you and your siblings, but we’ll explain that when I’m not on camera, ok buddy?”
“But Daddy!” Noah gasped, looking deeply startled.
“We had pork loins for dinner last night!”
“Yeah?” Stiles asked, reaching out to clean Maggie’s face some more and Noah’s lip wobbled.
“Daddy … if we ate the loins, then … then … then lots of little cute pigs will never be born!” he wailed and promptly burst into tears.
“It’s ok Noah, they had their little piglets before we ate them,” Leonie tried to soothe her brother but Noah only wailed louder, the thought obviously making it even worse.
“That just means the little piglets don’t have their Papa and Daddy anymore!” he hiccuped, looking back and forth between Stiles and Derek with a look of horror before he launched himself into Derek’s lap and sobbed into his shirt, camera dumped on the table and filming, Stiles would later discover, a rather shell-shocked look on his mate’s face as he tried to comfort Noah with one arm while keeping hold of an increasingly agitated Kara with the other.
“Piglets don’t have a Papa and Daddy anymore?” Cas asked, poking Stiles’ side with a shocked expression and when his father just stared at him their younger son started wailing as well, climbing onto Stiles’ lab and sobbing almost as loudly as Noah.
“But … guys … it’s fine!” Stiles tried, wincing when Noah screeched, “No, not fine!” from somewhere between Derek’s arms, his face red with exertion as more tears streamed down his face.
“Poor little piglets!” Cas hiccupped and when first Maggie, then Kara started crying as well Derek and Stiles shared a flabbergasted look, both of them fighting the urge to laugh in bewilderment at the absurdity of it all.
Only it wouldn’t do to laugh at your deeply distressed children and by the time Leonie had calmed down Kara and Maggie, one twin in each arm and rocking them on the sofa with practiced ease, Stiles was calmly explaining to a determined Cas that no, they couldn’t go adopt all the orphaned piglets and Derek was resigning himself to the fact that he now had an almost nine year old vegetarian living in his house, a development that his more primal werewolf urges were somewhat not in favor of.
“Noah’s always been a picky eater, this is probably just a phase,” Stiles said later that night, looking a bit apologetic, and Derek let out a huff of laughter.
“You don’t seriously believe that, do you?” he asked and Stiles opened his mouth … then closed it, looking resigned.
“Nah, that kid’s never going to eat meat again in his life,” he concluded, snuggling into Derek’s embrace when the werewolf stretched out on their bed.
“But hey, yay for individuality, right?” Stiles continued after a moment, Derek’s chuckle vibrating under his skin as the werewolf nodded.
“At least he’s not a werewolf, we actually do need to eat quite a bit of meat growing up because of our different biology, so let’s hope Cas and Leonie won’t jump on that bandwagon,” Derek muttered and Stiles poked his chest with a grin.
“If they do we’ll have the first vegetarian werewolf children in the universe and they’ll be all the more special for it,” he decided, stretching out as well and tangling their legs together.
“We are not going to adopt a piglet though, right?” he asked sleepily and this time Derek laughed out loud, sounding a little taken aback.
“Leonie’s about to do her first real Beta-shift my love … do you really want to be the one explaining to Cas why his beloved sister devoured his beloved piglet in a fit of canine bloodlust?”
“Ouch!” Stiles commented and Derek, who had once cried bitter tears over the dramatic demise of a deeply beloved pet rabbit courtesy of a horrified Laura, nodded.
If someone had asked Stiles to describe his children with one word he wouldn’t have even had to hesitate, pausing only to deliver a little lecture about how his children were so unique and perfect that one word simply wasn’t enough to describe their personalities.
Having said that, however, he would have had no problem whatsoever.
Leonie was his Sassy-Child, her sharp wit and occasional bouts of strong-headedness having gotten her into trouble on more than one occasion so far, but also leaving Stiles with no doubt whatsoever that his oldest daughter would never let herself be pushed around as she got older, that she would always come out on top somehow.
She was the protector among his kids, a role that she – at least in Derek’s opinion – had internalized to such a strong degree because her first sibling had been human and so much more breakable than herself.
Even though neither father could quite see her as an Alpha in the future they were both sure that she would make an excellent second to a very lucky – “And if it’s someone outside our own pack I’ll vet him or her four times over before she can join that pack, I can guarantee you that!” Derek had grumbled on one memorable occasion when Leonie had entertained notions of moving to New York City after graduation – Alpha one day, her fierce protectiveness and loyalty making her a near perfect Beta … if, by perfect, one included a tendency to talk back at appropriate and inappropriate times and a deep-seated need to out-wit everyone around her as often as possible of course.
No one had ever said it, but Stiles was well aware that as far as her personality went Leonie was probably the most like him of all his children and he took great pride in the fact – even if that realization occasionally made him wince in belated embarrassment in his daughter’s more … obnoxious moments.
Noah was his Quiet-Child, a gentle, sensitive, deep-thinking person ever since he had been born and his humble attitude awed and worried Stiles equally.
He was barely even nine years old but everyone who saw the Hale children interact with each other could tell that if Leonie was the outward protector of the pack Noah was without a doubt the backbone, the one who held everything together, his calm presence exuding comfort and support.
Cas and Leonie were an almost inseparable unit, but regardless of their close connection both of them tended to seek out Noah when they wanted to vent frustration, be it about a stupid math teacher in school or that one missed hurdle during track practice, and no one could make the twins smile as brightly as their oldest brother, smiles and laughs that occurred even more frequently now that they were finally over the colic-stage.
He almost never got mad and he had possibly one of the most loving personalities that Stiles had ever encountered – “Neither of us are this good at heart, if he didn’t look like me I’d be very suspicious, because I have no idea where his personality even came from!” Stiles had exclaimed one night and Derek, seven months pregnant with the twins and not in a hormonal state to see the humor in cheating-innuendos, had banned his human mate to the couch for almost an entire night … before they had both cracked and had had very teary-eyed make-up sex.
However, as much as he was awed by the kindness he could see shining out of Noah’s eyes he was also worried about him, close to terrified, even, when he allowed himself to imagine what would happen if Noah, his trusting, slightly naïve Noah, ever encountered someone who would exploit the loving, almost selfless qualities that made Noah who he was.
Stiles wasn’t a violent man – per se – but he could definitely see himself breaking that rule if someone ever tried and/or succeeded in breaking his little boy’s heart.
Cas was his Wild-Child, there really was no other way to put it.
Everything he did was loud and fast and Stiles, who was quickly approaching his 40th birthday, sometimes felt a little guilty that they hadn’t started having kids sooner, wondering if his baby boy would have been happier with parents who had just a little more energy to run after him.
Not that Stiles was ready to check into Beacon Hills Memorial’s geriatric ward, not by a long shot, but he was man enough to admit that twenty years ago his younger son would probably not have tired him out quite this quickly.
When he wasn’t running around the house or in the garden, jumping all over things and occasionally breaking them, Cas was talking up a storm, his rambling style so reminiscent of Stiles’ worst ADHD years that the pack often barely held in their smiles at the sight of a mini-Derek gesticulating animatedly as he effortlessly switched between such diverse topics as baby ducks, track practice, spaghetti, and a desire to learn how to fly.
That last one had freaked Stiles out so much that he had wrangled Derek into sitting their son down and calmly explaining to him that werewolves would never be able to fly and his parents would cry if Cas ever attempted to jump off the roof of the house or something equally as terrifying.
He wasn’t stupid, not by a long-shot but the speed with which he executed his ideas usually trumped the speed of his cognitive abilities to evaluate whether or not said idea was actually a good one and jumping off the roof in an attempt to learn how to fly was definitely something Stiles could see his kid do.
Cas wasn’t as sassy as Leonie and he certainly wasn’t quiet like Noah, but he had other characteristics that Derek and Stiles were very much familiar with from raising their older children, his loving nature and enhanced werewolf senses leaving him in a constant state of awareness as to how his family was doing.
The first time he had been old enough to actually witness his human brother going through an illness – a rather nasty stomach bug, in fact – he had been almost inconsolable, climbing into Noah’s bed, clinging to him like a monkey, and wailing heartbreakingly, telling his brother over and over to “No go, no go!” with tears pouring down his face.
He hadn’t been quite old enough yet to understand the concept of death but had definitely been working off an instinct that people who didn’t smell healthy sometimes just … went away. Then five year old Noah, pale, sweaty, and fighting against a tummy ache from hell, had patted his brother’s head weakly, opened his mouth to assure him he was going to be just fine … and thrown up all over him, as well as over Derek, who had rushed into the room to finally intervene.
Cas, almost two at the time and very adapt at secretly climbing out of the crib he had just begun to outgrow, had only stopped sneaking into Noah’s bed to make sure his brother was not going anywhere when Noah had been fully recovered, making for three very eventful nights at the Hale-Stilinski house in a row.
Maggie, meanwhile, was his Alpha-Child, a realization that had both startled and then fascinated both fathers immensely.
She was clearly human, having had two miserable ear infections to prove it already, but even though their six months old twin baby was not even able to talk yet, the way his werewolf children interacted with her was, in Derek’s opinion, evidence enough.
Now that the constant crying of the colicky-phase was over, Maggie had mellowed out significantly, crying far less than Kara, even, but when she let out a wail, whether it was out of hunger, boredom, a full diaper, tiredness, or an ache that needed to be soothed, both Cas and Leonie stopped everything and flashed their eyes in response; even Kara sometimes quieted down when Maggie was screaming, craning her little neck as far as she could and nose twitching as she tried to figure out what had made her sister upset.
Stiles had no idea how this sibling dynamic would develop once his human twin girl actually learned to talk but he had caught Derek reading an article on “Human Alphas?” – the question mark had been bold and italicized – in the bestiary on more than one occasion.
Maggie neither resembled him, nor Derek, if anything, she looked more like a mixture of the Sheriff and Talia Hale, which Deaton had commented on one afternoon with a truly baffled expression, and when Stiles tried to imagine his daughter’s possible future all he could see was Talia Hale in a blonde wig bossing – “Leading, the Alpha leads, Stiles” … “Oh yeah, Mr. Former Leatherjackets-Explain-Everything-No-Other-Words-Necessary-Alpha?” – around a pack of strong, protective werewolves.
He realized that she was only half a year old, that there was no way to predict what she would be like as an adult, yet, but Stiles liked to think that he had sharp instincts regarding his children and all of his instincts were telling him that even if Maggie didn’t ask for the bite when she was older she would nevertheless end up being the leader of something.
As for Kara … Kara, the youngest of the bunch by a couple of minutes, was definitely his Snuggle-Child.
She had always been very receptive to soothing touches and sleeping on her own during the first two or three months had been, much like her oldest sister, quite a challenge, but nothing could have prepared Stiles and Derek for the day a six months old Kara learned how to hug.
Even before her improved coordination had led her to this crucial moment Kara had delighted in skin to skin contact, and coaxing her into surrendering a finger she had once grabbed had always been more difficult with her than with the other four, but when Stiles got up one morning to check if his babies were up yet the cuteness overload over finding Kara and Maggie wrapped up in each other was almost too much for his Daddy-Heart to take.
“Derek, Derek! Come look!” he whispered and Derek, big, strong, bearded werewolf that he was, let out the most adorable “Awww” Stiles head ever heard upon seeing Kara snuggling against Maggie, her arms wrapped around her as far as she could go.
Maggie was awake already, sleepily blinking up at Stiles and looking, for all intents and purposes, as if she wasn’t quite sure whether she wanted to smile in greeting or wail in indignation over the state of her diaper and when Derek quickly disentangled her from Kara’s grasp Stiles picked up his werewolf child, not wanting her to notice the loss of her cuddle-buddy quite yet.
Kara, still deeply asleep, immediately latched onto Stiles’ neck, wrapping her little arms around him as best as she could and Stiles had sat down on the rocking chair with her, enjoying his baby’s first real, actual hug as the warm, early March sun had shone into the bedroom.
Now that she had figured out how to hold onto the people she loved and never let them go Kara proceeded to do just that for the rest of the day, clinging to Noah, Leonie, Cas, and Derek, as well as the Sheriff and Melissa, who had come over to investigate the new and exciting development.
It was one of the cutest sights Stiles had ever seen, however, by the time bedtime rolled around and Kara started screaming hysterically when she realized she was now supposed to let go of her Daddy, it was no longer quite as cute … especially when Maggie, who tended to become very moody when she was tired, wiggled around unhappily every time Kara made a grab for her in their shared crib.
Realizing quickly that no sleep for anyone would be had tonight if this continued for much longer, Derek went to rescue Maggie from her were-octopus sister, propping Kara against his chest and allowing her to press her fist against his neck as he sat down on the rocking chair with her while they waited for Maggie to fall asleep.
Half an hour later Maggie’s breathing had evened out and Derek tiptoed over to the crib, gently pulling out of a sleeping Kara’s grasp as he laid her next to her sister.
Kara, obviously sensing the lack of contact, immediately rolled over, making a little disgruntled noise in her sleep as she grabbed the air, her tiny eyebrows smoothing out when her hand encountered Maggie.
Derek hadn’t even made it to the bed when Maggie began to wail, apparently very unhappy about having had her slumber disturbed and waking up Kara as well, who tried to hold onto her wiggling sister as best as she could while wailing in protest herself.
Again, Derek allowed Kara to snuggle against him while Maggie fell asleep and again their human twin screamed bloody murder when her sister’s affections interrupted her sleep an hour later.
“So … separate cribs?” Stiles asked another hour later, having relieved Derek of Kara-holding duty so that their other baby could sleep just as well as her werewolf twin.
Derek nodded tiredly, mouthing “Boyd and Erica?” while Stiles nodded in agreement.
Derek’s former Betas had tabled the discussion of a third child indefinitely at some point in the last year and their daughter Polly had been sleeping in her very own little girl bed for almost half a year now, meaning that there was an extra crib available.
Sadly, however, the new crib, which Boyd and his son Channing had brought over early the next day, didn’t quite solve the problem of Kara’s newly discovered hugging addiction, since she cried every single time she realized she had to lie down alone.
“She’s not used to it yet, it’ll get better,” Stiles tried to reassure Derek, who looked just about ready to climb into the crib himself to soothe their youngest and she didn’t quiet down until Noah, wide awake because of all the crying, shyly brought over his teddy bear, putting it into Kara’s crib and whispering that she could have it for now.
Her face red and her cheeks wet with tears Kara, who looked like the entire universe had gone and betrayed her, made a grab for the bear, pushing her cheek against the soft fur and sniffling unhappily.
She was asleep five minutes later and Derek and Stiles breathed a sigh of relief, figuring that Noah’s scent on the bear had obviously worked as a substitute for now.
In the following week Maggie slept better than ever, beaming at her fathers in the morning and staying in a good mood for most of the day; Kara, however, was increasingly cranky, only relinquishing her grasp on whoever was holding her when it was time to be fed and even then Derek and Stiles could feel her looking at them reproachfully, her eyes screaming, “Nobody loves me, apparently, and I don’t know why!” at them as she suckled on the bottle.
It was Stiles who figured out the problem in the end, smacking his forehead with an exasperated groan in the middle of the night before he got out of bed and went to the clothing hamper, pulling out the onesie Maggie had worn all day.
Kara was snuffling in her sleep, one fist wrapped tightly around the bear’s paw and Stiles prayed she wouldn’t wake up as he gently loosened her grasp and pulled the bear out of the crib, making sure Maggie was asleep as well before he quickly dressed the bear in Maggies onesie, which was steeped in her scent, and placed it back in the crib.
Immediately, the tension that had been pouring off of Kara in waves eased, a little happy sigh escaping her lips as she held onto the bear again and Stiles wanted to fist-pump the air in triumph.
“Stiles?” Derek asked from the bed, sitting up slowly and Stiles held his finger to his lips before tiptoeing back and dropping onto the covers next to Derek.
“I know they need to get used to sleeping apart form each other, but putting Kara-Mia into cold turkey withdrawal perhaps wasn’t our smartest parenting moment,” he whispered, quickly explaining the onesie-idea and Derek nodded appreciatively, listening to the sound of both babies sleeping peacefully before he stretched out on the bed with a contented sigh.
Stiles rested his head on his mate’s chest, grinning when Derek began to stroke his fingers across his graying temples – it was a somewhat childish point of pride for him that he was significantly less gray than his werewolf with slow-aging capabilities.
“I spoke to Ethan earlier by the way, he says it’s quite normal for werewolf twins to struggle with being separated in the beginning. It’s not a surprise at all that Kara is feeling it stronger than Maggie does,” he said and Stiles hummed, seriously wondering why they hadn’t arrived at that conclusion sooner.
“It’s no wonder,” he mused, placing his palm on Derek’s abdomen and stroking lightly, “After all, they were pretty much squished together in here for nine months.”
“It seems almost unbelievable when you look at how big they are now, doesn’t it?” Derek agreed, joining Stiles’ hand on his belly, which, after five children, was neither overly flat, not overly pronounced, just warm, soft, and there.
Grinning, Stiles shifted until his head was hovering over their joined hands, pulling up Derek’s sleeping shirt just enough that he could place a quick kiss on the skin, nuzzling his nose and mouth against the dark hair as he trailed more kisses all over the exposed area.
Derek made an appreciative noise and because Stiles head was very close to Derek’s general groin area he could see his mate taking a more pronounced interest out of the corner of his eye.
“Babies sleeping?” he whispered, holding eye contact with the werewolf as he disentangled their fingers and pushed his hand below the pajama pants and Derek nodded quickly, biting back a moan when Stiles wrapped his hand around the older man’s erection.
“Yeah?” he asked, voice teasing, and in response Derek somehow managed to flip them, lying pliant under Stiles one second and hovering above him the next, grinding against Stiles’ pelvis in agonizingly slow movements.
Stiles let out a quiet breath of laughter and Derek grinned, eyes twinkling with a challenge.
“Heck yeah … stupid question!”
Derek and Stiles (2053)
“Are you being a Sappy Daddy right now?”
Kara smiled at her father, throwing her arms around him and nuzzling her face against his cheek as she squeezed tightly.
Stiles might have been currently been a very sappy daddy but the hastily blinked back tears in his youngest daughter’s eyes made him feel justified about the occasion.
“I still don’t like that we can’t just drive you there ourselves,” Derek grumbled besides him, his arms wrapped around a grinning Maggie.
“Come on Papa! Road-Trips are a rite of passage! And besides, I’ve got a scary werewolf with me who’s going to growl away any potential danger – we’ll be fine! I promise!” Maggie declared and Kara nodded enthusiastically, her amber eyes shining with excitement.
“Are you sure about that? Let’s hear that growl, just to be on the safe side,” Stiles mused, ruffling his hand through Kara’s light brown hair when their werewolf daughter took a deep breath and then let out a growl that reminded Stiles of Scott’s infamous cat-imitation attempts.
“That was not reassuring Kara-Mia,” Derek said darkly, his arms tightening even more around Maggie, as if he never wanted to let her go.
Maggie seemed to have no complaints when her face was all but mushed against Derek’s shoulder, one hazel eye peaking up at her human father with fond amusement as Derek pushed his nose against the dark blonde hair she had inherited from her human grandfather with a loud sigh.
“You’re going to call or text at least every two hours, alright?” he asked, raising his eyebrows at Kara when their youngest opened her mouth to protest, indicating that this was not up for debate.
“And you’re not going to get gas at lonely stations during the night, got it?” Stiles added, deciding to put years and years of horror movie wisdom to good use.
“Always make sure to double lock your motel doors, you are both heavy sleepers,” Derek continued, easing his grip on Maggie somewhat when their human twin started chuckling.
“And if you see anything named Motel Bates then you are going to stay as far away as possible, got it?” Stiles exclaimed, almost as an afterthought, earning two very puzzled faces in return.
“Uh …. Ok?” Maggie said amicably, reaching up to kiss Derek’s cheek before she disentangled herself from her father and wrapped her arms around Stiles’ neck, allowing Kara to be wrapped up in a Papa-bear-hug.
“You are not going to do anything stupid, right?” Derek whispered to their werewolf twin and Kara nuzzled her nose against his cheek briefly, a werewolf sign of affection she exclusively reserved for Derek these days.
“Would I ever say or do anything stupid with a face like this?” she asked brightly and Derek looked between her and Stiles, making an obvious show of once again noticing the striking physical resemblance between Stiles and their youngest before he arched his graying eyebrows.
“If I answer that honestly Daddy’s going to make me sleep on the couch,” he huffed, grinning at his mate when both girls rolled their eyes.
Stiles shook his head, looking down at Maggie fondly.
“Always make sure you have enough gas in the tank, alright? There are parts of Nebraska where you won’t find a gas station in 200 miles,” he advised and Maggie nodded dutifully, assuring him that if they somehow managed to get lost in Nebraska on their way to Louisiana they would do just that.
“We’ll also make sure to stay away from any vampires in Bon Temps … even though Leonie tells me you two are quite … uhm … adept at thwarting vampires,” Kara grinned, giggling when both Derek and Stiles blushed.
“We don’t talk about that,” Derek said quickly, shaking his head at Maggie when the older twin let out a huff of laughter.
“Oh I don’t know Papa, pretty sure the most heroic parental moment of your life should be well documented,” Kara teased and Derek shrugged, though the tips of his ears were still burning beet-red.
“No vampires,” Stiles said quickly, smacking a kiss on Maggie’s blond head before releasing her, aware that they could no longer prolong the inevitable.
“You’ve got everything?” Derek asked, his voice much gruffer than just a second before and Kara nodded, pressing her cheek against her father’s one last time before she let him go, while Maggie kissed Stiles’ cheek with a smile.
“You’ll drive safely, right?” Stiles asked and the girls nodded, both of their faces brimming with excitement.
When the car pulled out of the driveway Stiles took Derek’s hand, wondering if all parents felt such a horrible void in their chest during this particular occasion and hoping that it wouldn’t feel like that for too long.
“Derek?” Stiles asked softly, squeezing the werewolf’s hand tightly and leaning against his mate’s shoulder.
“Yeah?” Derek replied, his voice barely above a whisper and his eyes blinking rapidly.
“We totally did it! We just sent our last two children off to college!” Stiles continued, turning his face towards the older man in wonderment.
Derek was obviously trying to smile at him but all he managed was a weak twitch around the corners of his mouth, his eyes looking suspiciously moist now.
“You’re not going to cry, are you?” Stiles asked and Derek shook his head, the first tears already rolling down his face.
“Are you?” he asked, his grip on Stiles’ hand tightening when the human wiped at his own eyes.
“Not even,” he declared, letting out a watery sigh when Derek leaned forward and kissed a solitary tear right off his cheek.
“So we’re not crying, we’re being totally cool about this,” Stiles stated, reaching up to wipe more tears from Derek’s face and the werewolf let out a soft laugh.
“Cooler than cool,” he confirmed, pulling Stiles into his arms and pressing their foreheads together.
For a while neither of them said anything and when Stiles no longer felt like he was going to turn into a blubbery mess at any second he leaned back a little, running his hand through Derek’s grey hair.
Derek smiled, taking one of his hands and kissing his wrist, his palm, the little wrinkles on the back of his hand, looking equally heartbroken, proud, and also a little lost as he turned towards their house, which was now completely child-free for the first time in thirty years.
“So … what do we do now?”
“We’re going to love each other. Just like we always do.”
He considered, smile turning into a grin as he shook his head.
“Stupid question … Sour Wolf.”