Derek Hale is the unofficial poster boy of the Beacon Hills Sheriff’s Department. He’s hot, okay? The local newspaper loves to put his picture up on any story vaguely related to the department, and last month Stiles stumbled over an anonymous Facebook fan page and everything. Stiles thinks it’s the greatest thing ever, but while Derek has grudgingly accepted this as a part of his job he never signed up for, he puts his foot down when it comes to being Mr. February.
“Oh, come on, Der!” Stiles teases. “February is Valentine's Day! You’d probably get to hold a little heart-shaped candy box over your junk.” He catches Derek’s unimpressed glare. “I mean, a big heart-shaped candy box! Huge!”
“Stiles,” Derek says, and pinches the bridge of his nose. “I’m not doing it!”
Stiles looks around the bullpen for support. He sees Parrish grinning, and the sheriff shaking his head slightly. “Come on! Do you really want those asshole firefighters to get all the glory?”
“Look,” Derek says with a sigh, “if the fire department wants to raise money with a calendar, that’s their business. And if we’re going to jump on that bandwagon too, that’s fine, but I am not going to be a part of it!”
“I’m doing it,” Parrish says, and then shrugs and grins. “It’s for charity , Hale.”
“Charity,” Stiles echoes innocently, eyes wide. “It’s for puppies and orphans and stuff.”
“Actually it’s to raise money to build a shelter for homeless teens,” John Stilinski pipes up. “I’m going to be Mr. July.”
Stiles’s jaw drops. “Oh. My. God. Dad, no! I can’t be expected to buy a calendar featuring hot cops, and have thirty-one whole days of you !”
John grins and pats his belly. “What? You think I don’t still have it?”
Derek’s smile is one part sunshine and three parts gleeful schadenfreude.
“You’re my dad!” Stiles gasps. “Not only do you not have it now, you never had it. No, not at all.”
“Oh, please,” Erica exclaims, sashaying into the bullpen and twirling her cuffs on her finger. “Your dad totally has it!”
“Deputy Reyes,” John says, mouth twitching as he fights a smile. “Do you need to watch the video on inappropriate workplace behaviour again?”
“No, sir,” Erica grins. “Although it gave me some great ideas.”
His life is seriously weird. He spent so long as a teenager trying to protect his dad from the supernatural what-the-fuckery that was life in Beacon Hills, and what happens? Half of Derek’s pack ends up joining the department. Well, just Derek and Erica actually, but Erica’s personality is so big that she sometimes feels like at least three or four people. Also, she’s a terrible deputy. She gave Stiles a speeding ticket last month, and just cackled when he tried to talk his way out of it.
Parrish is also kind of pack, almost. He’s dating Lydia, and he’s something . Nobody’s quite sure what yet. They only know he’s fireproof. Literally fireproof. It’s a little bit freaky, but Parrish is a good guy. He’s proved that time and time again. Not that any guy is good enough for Lydia...
Yes, Stiles still has a crush on her. He’s been nurturing it since third grade, so it’s not like it’s going to go anywhere now, even though Stiles is allegedly an adult, and is definitely a married man. What? He still has eyes. Okay, so those eyes are usually trained on Derek’s ass, or his abs, or his gorgeous fucking face, but there will always be a place in Stiles’s heart, and sometimes his spank bank—he’s a terrible person—for the gloriousness that is Lydia Martin.
“I’m Ms. January,” Erica says, putting on hand on her hip and tossing her head back. “This is me, striking a pose.”
“Very effective,” Stiles admits, but his whole enthusiasm for the calendar thing has definitely shriveled up and died since his dad’s announcement. His dad is not a sex symbol, okay? He’s a middle-aged man who’s getting a little squishy around the edges, and he is not for strangers to ogle. He has grandchildren, for god’s sake. And speaking of...
Stiles turns around as the kids head into the bullpen, clutching their candy from the vending machine in the break room. Claudie is holding a packet of chips out of Luke’s reach. Luke’s face is screwed up like he’s about to lose his shit any second now. Conor is trailing a little behind his brother and sister, concentrating as he tears the wrapper of his peanut butter cup open.
“Okay then,” Stiles tells them. “Let’s let Daddy and Grandpa get back to work, huh? Criminals won’t just catch themselves.”
“Tata!” Luke exclaims.
“Claudie, share your chips,” Stiles says, leading by example and reaching over to snaffle some. “Tata tax.”
Claudie rolls her eyes, unimpressed. She is so Derek’s kid. She might have looked like Stiles as a baby, but she looks more and more like Derek every passing day. Slap a leather jacket and some aviators on her, and she could brood as well as any sourwolf.
Conor is a mini-Stiles, all the way down to the moles and the unholy love of peanut butter cups.
Luke is a redhead, something that surprised Stiles to begin with since he’s fairly certain that Luke is also biracial, and led him into researching the MC1R gene. Turns out that not all redheads are white. Genetically, Luke has a lot going on. He’s also a werewolf, like Derek and Claudie. Apart from that though, Stiles and Derek still have no idea where he came from. Stiles sometimes worries that it will be an issue when Luke gets older, that it won’t be enough to assure him that he’s pack, and that Tata and Daddy are as much his real parents as they are Claudie and Conor’s. Mostly Stiles worries because he knows that shit would have really bothered him if he’d had to deal with it when he was growing up, but so far Luke has been super relaxed about everything. He rolls with the punches. Okay, he’s only three, but Stiles sort of hopes it’s the kind of trait he’ll keep as he grows up. Luke is chill as fuck about most things.
Except chips. He will cut a bitch who gets between him and chips.
He’s dancing from foot to foot now, looking pleadingly at Claudie until she relents and passes him the packet.
“Get over here and give Grandpa a hug before you leave,” John says, and the kids rush him.
Stiles watches, shaking his head, and plants his ass on Derek’s desk. “So, I’ll see you at eleven?”
“Don’t jinx it,” Derek mutters, but a smile tugs the corner of his mouth. “I’ll text you if I end up with overtime. Don’t wait up though, okay?”
“Okay,” Stiles says. “See you later.”
He leans down and kisses Derek. Derek grunts with surprise before he reaches up and tangles his fingers in Stiles’s hair. Then he runs his tongue along Stiles’s bottom lip and into his mouth, turning the impromptu kiss into something way too hot and filthy to be doing in front of John. Or anyone, probably.
“Gross!” Claudie exclaims, while Parrish stifles a laugh.
Stiles breaks away, feeling like the breath’s been sucked right out of his lungs. He takes a moment to compose himself before standing up again. Then, his head held high and a grin plastered across his face, he leads his kids toward the front of the station.
“Deputy Hale,” he hears his dad say, his tone tempered with fondness, “I think you and Reyes can watch the video together.”
Erica howls with laughter.
There’s a storm that night. It rolls in early, and breaks suddenly. All the trees in the Preserve shake and shudder under it. Lightning cracks the sky. Storms make Stiles a little edgy. He turns the music up in the kitchen as he and the kids make dinner. Well, he and Claudie and Conor. Luke is in charge of putting the loaf of bread on the table, and he still manages to mess that up.
“The table, kiddo,” Stiles tells him. “Not the chair.”
Luke squishes the loaf and beams proudly at Stiles.
Claudie is mashing potatoes to the beat of It’s Raining Men, spinning in circles in front of the counter occasionally. Conor is fixated on getting the juice levels exactly even in their cups. Stiles takes care of the chicken and the rest of the vegetables. He makes sure to set aside a plate for Derek, wrapping it in foil and putting it in the fridge so Derek can heat it up again when he gets home. Derek always tells him not to bother, that he can make a sandwich or something, but fuck that. When Stiles first met Derek he was living in the burned out remains of his family home. Shortly after that he upgraded to a filthy abandoned railway depot. So yes, Derek will always have a meal waiting for him, whatever shift he’s working. It might take Stiles a lifetime to make Derek accept that he deserves nice things, but it’s a battle he’s going to win.
“Tata?” Claudie asks when they’re sitting around the kitchen table eating. “Can I have a sleepover at Emily’s house this Saturday?”
Stiles does a quick mental calculation. “Sure thing. Get Emily’s mom to call me with the details.”
Claudie smiles. “I will!”
It’s a new moon on the weekend. Claudie has excellent control for a growing wolf, but Stiles and Derek are still wary of letting her out of their sight close to the full moon. It would only take a fraction of a second for her to accidentally out werewolves to the general population. Or, worse, to hurt someone. They trust her, but they also have to be careful.
Claudie has a little group of friends she adores and who adore her in turn. Stiles figures it’ll last right up until they all turn into teenage bitches from hell—teenage girls are scary —but for now they’re still all as cute as buttons and it’s been plain sailing with Claudie.
Stiles doesn’t miss the envious look that Conor throws at Claudie.
His heart sinks a little.
Conor doesn’t have any friends who invite him to their houses or to play on weekends. Stiles is afraid that Conor doesn’t have any friends at all. Kids are perceptive. They’re also as cruel as fuck. They know that Conor is different. Weird. They avoid him instinctively like it might be contagious.
After dinner Stiles drags out Trouble , and they play a few rounds. Then he sends the kids upstairs to shower and get ready for bed. He cleans up the kitchen and listens to them giggling and laughing in the shower, the sound only deafened by the occasional crack of thunder.
Stiles is halfway through the dishes when the power goes out and plunges the house into darkness.
He freezes for a moment—old memories crowding him with panic—before he shakes it off and grabs the flashlight from the top of the refrigerator. He can hear wailing. He takes the steps two at a time, and hurries into the bathroom.
“Everyone okay?” he asks.
Claudie is already out of the shower, in her pajamas. Her eyes flash gold in the darkness. “Luke got scared, but he’s okay now. Conor made it better.”
Stiles opens the shower door.
Conor and Luke are sitting on the shower floor, both of them cross-legged. They’re hunched over, staring into Conor’s cupped hands. At first Stiles thinks of fireflies. Tiny little sparks of light are zipping around in Conor’s hands, sparking like fireworks when the water from the shower hits them. Both boys look equally enthralled.
It’s also incredibly powerful, and should be impossible for a six-year-old boy to do. Stiles has met sparks and mages who can’t master a skill like that without decades of training behind them. Hell, he’s a spark himself, at least in name. In practice he’s always been more of a squib. He can sense magic, and he has a good grasp of the theoretical side of it, but to simply reach into the ether and use his will to manipulate atoms and molecules the way that Conor can? That shit is way above Stiles’s skillset.
Conor Stilinski-Hale is probably the most powerful mage who has ever existed in this reality, and there is not a single day that goes by when Stiles doesn’t think of that, or worry about the implications of that much power at the fingertips of a little kid who still cries sometimes when he doesn’t get his way. But then he sees moments like these, when Conor only wants to use his magic to make his little brother happy, and he thinks that, just maybe, it’ll be okay. Just maybe Conor’s control is as instinctual as his power.
Stiles reaches into the shower and turns it off. “Okay, you two. Get dried off and get dressed.”
Conor spreads his fingers, and the little dancing lights vanish back to wherever they came from. Luke makes a sad noise, but stands up and climbs out of the shower into the towel Claudie has waiting for him.
“Tata,” Conor says a little later when he’s brushing his teeth. “Can we sleep with you tonight?”
Stiles thinks about it for a moment. All those pointy little elbows? Then another rumble of thunder rattles the windows, and decides it for him. “Last one in my bed is a rotten egg!”
He races his giggling kids into his bedroom, leaps over the snoring dog, and dives into bed.
The storm passes over Beacon Hills, leaving rain behind.
Stiles wakes up when Derek’s in the process of carrying the kids to their own beds. He rolls over and is jabbed in the ribs by the corner of whatever book Claudie was reading. He shoves it onto the floor with a thump.
“How was your shift?” he mumbles into the pillow when Derek at last climbs into bed beside him.
Derek reaches for him and pulls him against him so that Stiles’s back is plastered to his front. He rubs his face against Stiles’s neck. His beard tickles a little.
“Good,” Derek says, curling his fingers over Stiles’s hip. “Nothing exciting.”
“Good,” Stiles echoes happily, slipping back into sleep.
That night he dreams of the Nemeton for the first time in years.