Derek set up the playgate in a circle on the back lawn. It had been challenging to fit in the back of the Camaro, but he thought it was worth it to know for sure that the baby couldn’t crawl off. He spread out the soft, worn quilt on the ground, placed the portable gate over top of it and threw some toys in.
He went back to his car to retrieve Henrietta, and was pleased to find she was still blowing spit bubbles. She smiled when she saw him, and he rubbed their noses together before lifting her out of the car.
His betas still hadn’t arrived for training, so he climbed over the gate and sat Henri down. He grabbed the soft purple bunny and used it to tickle her. It was a cute toy, and bunnies tended to go over well with werewolf babies, but Derek was never sure which sound effects to use. He settled for dramatic wooshes everytime he swooped the bunny into her neck, since that got the best giggles from her.
Isaac was the fastest, so Derek wasn’t surprised that he was the first to reach the old house. Isaac stopped dead at the edge of the trees and stared at Derek. Derek gave Henrietta her stuffed ring stacker in the hope that the different colours would keep her busy, then stepped out of the pen.
“You’re late today. Did you run into trouble?” He didn’t raise his voice because he wanted Isaac to work on focusing his hearing. Isaac just looked at him with confusion. Then Erica slammed into Isaac’s back, sending them both sprawling on the ground. Boyd followed close behind at an easy lope.
Derek sighed and waited for the betas to pick themselves up and come closer. They were moving even slower than usual, creeping toward him with hesitation. When they were near enough, Erica peeked over the gate at Henri.
“Uh, what is that?” She asked.
Derek raised his eyebrow. Honestly, had they never seen a toddler before? “That’s Henrietta.”
They continued to stare at him like he'd grown a second head.
“Where...uh… how did she--” Isaac stammered.
“Did you steal a baby?” Erica blurted out over top of Isaac.
“What? Why would you even ask that?” Derek said. “Who steals babies?”
Erica shrugged awkwardly. “Well..did you?”
“No!” Derek said forcefully. Henrietta picked up on his agitated tone immediately and started to fuss. He scooped her up and set her on his hip, bouncing slightly. “You’re wasting time. Start with the same warm up as last time.”
The betas groaned, but they all dropped to the ground, executing the series of push ups, lunges, and jumping jacks.
Derek used Henrietta as a weight for his own warm up. She giggled while he tossed her up, caught her, then flew her back down. By the time the betas were finished, she was happy enough to be put back in the pen to crawl around.
Erica was still eyeing her suspiciously and Isaac looked like he thought Derek or the baby would explode any minute. Boyd looked unimpressed, but he looked like that most of the time. Derek launched into the main part of the training session so they wouldn’t have time to ask more stupid questions.
Derek fingered the keys of his phone, debating whether or not to call Henrietta’s social worker. At just under a year, Henrietta was young enough that it wouldn’t take long to find her a new home. At this rate, Henrietta would have a new permanent family by the end of the week. Derek wasn’t sure that he wanted that.
Derek always found the rehoming process bittersweet. Now more than ever, it was tempting to put in a request to keep Henri permanently, since he planned on staying in Beacon Hills. He traced her small fingers with his large thumb and sighed. Henrietta deserved the best, and Derek just wasn’t sure he was in a position yet to give her the environment she needed long term.
Over the years, he'd temporarily taken in dozens of supernatural children of all ages. From teenagers to newborns, werewolves to tree nymphs. He'd collected them, cared for them, then passed them along. Sometimes he’d have them for weeks, while some would only be with him for the drive it took to reach their new family.
Out of all the years and all the children, no one had tugged at him like Henrietta. The moment she'd been placed into his arms and she flashed her eyes at him, he’d adored her. He found himself making lists and thinking about the steps it would take to make her a permanent fixture in his life, and what he would need to do to give her the life she deserved.
He told himself to let her go, move her along like all the others, but as soon as he was convinced he could, she’d look up at him and smile like he lit up her world, and his resolve melted all over again.
He could get over her dimples, he could steel his heart against her dark brown curls, her snuffly yawns and her musical laughter. But he couldn’t lay to rest the feeling that they were kindred souls. Both their families had been burned by hunters. They were the lone survivors of their pack. Surely if they both shared such a horrible tragedy, they deserved to get past it together.
It seemed like the right time. He had control over his territory, and rarely had other beings maliciously encroaching anymore. The pack was stable, each of them flourishing as their own person. In fact, they barely needed Derek at all. Henri needed him. She needed his attention constantly, and she didn’t care if he was too quiet or that his default facial expression was a frown. She just wanted him to pay attention to her, give her snuggles and food, and in exchange, she looked at him like he’d hung the moon.
He heard the roar of Stiles’ jeep approaching and tossed his phone aside, putting the decision off again. He hadn’t known Stiles was home this weekend, but his rattletrap vehicle was unmistakeable. If the jeep had been old and rickety when Stiles was in high school, it was ancient and decrepit now that he was in his final year of college.
“Looks like we have visitors, baby girl,” he told Henri. She kicked her feet happily and reached up for him. He lifted her out of the playpen he’d been using as a crib and brought her over to the high chair. He heard two heartbeats and hoped Scott wouldn’t be staying long. He needed to get Henrietta fed and Scott hated when Derek divided his attention. It was an odd trait, considering he was best friends with Stiles, the king of multitasking. But then, it might not be the lack of focus so much as Scott hating everything that Derek did ever.
Scott slid open the door to the loft and walked in like he owned the place. “Derek, what are you doing about--What the hell? Is that a baby?”
Stiles shot around him. “Baby!” He said, then he went straight to Henri, pushing Derek aside with his hip and dropping down in front of the highchair so he could be at eye level. “Hi, baby, wanna cuddle?” Derek was relieved to note Stiles’ baby voice was low and mellow, unlike the so many of the people that approached them. The high pitched voice of the cashier at the grocery store had sent Henri into a screaming fit while Derek wanted to dig his claws in his ears.
Henrietta blew a spit bubble for Stiles and reached out for him. “Heck yeah we want a cuddle,” he cooed, lifting her free.
“Where did you get a baby?” Scott demanded. Before Derek could explain, he gasped. “Oh my god, did you steal it?”
“Why the hell would I steal a baby, Scott?” Derek said. “What is wrong with you people?”
“Maybe Scott’s confused,” Stiles said. “Baby wasn’t stolen. She’s a little thief, ‘cause she stole my heart. Yes you did, didn’t you, pretty girl?” Henri giggled and clapped as Stiles tickled her stomach.
“Stiles, this is serious!” Scott shouted. “Where the hell are this kid’s parents?”
Henrietta startled at the loud boom of Scott's unfamiliar voice. Her eyes widened and her bottom lip started to tremble.
“No, no, no, it’s okay,” Stiles said, but it was too late. Henri started to wail, fat tears rolling down her cheeks.
Derek shot Scott a glare and took the baby from Stiles. “I know, baby girl. Did the mean man hurt your ears? It’s okay, he didn’t mean to be a jerk,” Derek cooed. He bounced her gently as he paced over to the window. If the light was right, they might show enough of a reflection to distract Henri with the “baby in the mirror.”
“What the hell, Scott?” Stiles hissed.
“What?” Scott said haughtily. “Stiles, he stole someone's baby.”
“No, I didn’t,” Derek said, glaring back at them. Henri was calming down a bit, emitting whimpering cries instead of full-on bellows and rubbing snot on his shirt.
Stiles’ face softened when he looked at the baby, then he rounded on Scott with a hard glare. “See? He didn’t. You scared the baby and made her cry for no reason.” Scott gaped at him, and Stiles crossed his arms, jerking his head pointedly at the upset infant.
Scott huffed. “Sorry, baby.”
“And?” Stiles said.
“Say sorry to Derek, you dork!”
Scott gave Derek a mutinous glare and muttered, “Sorry, Derek.”
“Whatever,” Derek said. He grabbed a receiving blanket off the back of the couch to wipe Henri’s face. “Did you need something? It’s supposed to be lunch time.”
“Oh! Can I help you feed her?”
“Um, I guess so,” Derek said carefully. Stiles did a delighted little shimmy over to the high chair. Derek double checked that Henrietta wasn’t still upset, then passed her over to be buckled in.
“Stiles, we came here for a reason,” Scott pouted.
“So? By all means, continue with the point of our visit. I can do two things at once, you know,” Stiles replied. He finished with the straps and slid the tray in place. Derek grabbed the cheerios he’d left on the counter and sprinkled some over to the tray to keep her occupied.
Scott huffed again, crossing his arms. “I caught the scent of a troll in the woods this week. What are you going to do about it?”
Derek grabbed some strawberries and a peach out of the fridge, along with some yogurt. He set the carton aside while he cut the fruit into a plastic bowl. “Already dealt with. There's an abandoned bridge in the preserve. More of a plank really, going over a creek. It’s rarely used, and we’ve discussed what an acceptable payment is for passers by. I agreed that he could stay and in return he promised to look out for any kids getting too close when the water rises.”
“You're letting him stay?” Scott gasped.
Derek sighed and passed the bowl and a small spoon to Stiles. “She can grab most of that herself. When she’s done, you can give her the yogurt.”
“Derek!” Scott looked about two minutes away from stomping his foot like a spoiled child.
“Scott!” Derek said, in the same stern voice he would use on those spoiled children. “If you bothered to find out anything about bridge trolls before coming over, you’d know they’re generally non-violent beings, and they look out for the flora and fauna of their immediate surroundings.”
“Bridges under their care tend to remain structurally sound,” Stiles interjected.
Derek gestured to him, raising his eyebrow at Scott.
“But what if he decides to eat someone for crossing his bridge?” Scott asked.
Derek rolled his eyes. “This isn’t the Three Billy Goats Gruff, Scott. He’ll be fine. If he’s not, I’ll re-evaluate.”
“Great, settled,” Stiles said. “Now back to the important things. What’s your name, pretty girl?”
Henri babbled like she was telling him all about it, and Stiles nodded along like it made sense.
“Henrietta,” Derek offered.
“Ooh, are you a fancy little lady?” Stiles asked.
“Where did she come from?” Scott asked. He didn’t come out and say what he meant, but his tone was still accusatory. “Where are her parents?”
“They’re dead, Scott,” Derek said harshly. “They were murdered by hunters. Is that what you want to hear? They’re dead and she has no one left.”
Scott recoiled immediately, finally looking chagrined.
“That blows,” Stiles said. “How long is she staying?”
Derek hummed consideringly. “I need to talk to her case worker. Maybe permanently?”
“Maybe?” Scott said. “Why maybe?”
Stiles rolled his eyes. “You can’t just suddenly decide to keep a baby, Scott. It's a big commitment on an emotional level, not to mention you have to think about finances and timing. You’d want to move to a good neighborhood, which means a good school zone, find a good sitter, make an education plan, find a pediatrician--although, is she a werewolf? Does she need one? Are werewolves vaccinated?”
Derek listened as Stiles listed all of the things Derek had been considering in the three days he’d had Henrietta. “They need to be vaccinated for their school records, but some parents homeschool or claim religious reasons to avoid the hassle. Her parents got her the ones they needed so far, so I figured I’d keep up with them.”
Stiles nodded. “Can’t hurt. Better to be safe than sorry. Keep other parents from worrying. The loft isn’t baby proof. Have you looked into moving?”
“I glanced at some listings, but nothing in depth yet.” Derek sighed. “They may already have found a new pack for her. I’m only approved for temporary care. They could decide to go with someone else.”
“Well, if they haven’t and you do decide to keep this precious princess, what will you need?”
“Somewhere with lots of space to run around, that’s secure enough that she can learn control of her shift,” Derek explained. “I’ll need to invest in some sturdier furniture. Her healing is better than a human's, but still not as good as an adult werewolf’s, and sometimes they go through a chewing stage.”
Stiles nodded along. “Scott, pay attention. You should know these things.”
“Why?” Scott looked horrified.
Stiles rolled his eyes. “For when you have your own adorable werewolf babies. Duh.”
“Dude, I’m not even finished college yet. I’ve got things to do before I have kids,” Scott said with a small shudder. “I don’t want them for a few years at least.”
“I do,” Stiles said with a wistful sigh. “I want all of it. Snuggles, fingerpainting, tummy time, crying fits and sleep deprivation. I want to do PTA meetings and little league, and have the best tea parties.”
“Dude, don’t you want to go live your life before you tie yourself down like that?” Scott asked.
“Nah. I had more than enough excitement in high school,” Stiles said. “I want completely average. A herd of kids, a white picket fence and a dog. The sooner the better.”
Scott snickered. “Better get a girlfriend who will stick around soon then.”
Derek cleared his throat, and Stiles gave Scott a withering glare. “Way to maintain the patriarchy, Scott. I can raise a kid all by myself if I want to. Or with another guy. Maybe Lydia will agree to a timeshare. She can be a brilliant mathematician, drop in and be supermom, than leave the rest to me.”
Derek laughed. “I would love to watch you propose that idea to her.” Stiles grinned at him and Henri clapped her sticky hands with enthusiasm. Stiles opened up the yogurt and started feeding it to her. She had a tendency to stick her tongue out after every bite so half the food got pushed out.
“Ew,” Scott said. “I don’t know dude. Kids are kinda gross. And they wake you up at all hours, and they cry.”
“She’s not going to cry forever. And I’m in college, lack of sleep is my default state of functioning,” Stiles argued. “And you’re gross, Scott, who are you to judge?”
They talked a bit more about the arrangements Derek would have to make. Scott lost interest and wandered away, but Stiles kept going, even pulling out his phone to make a list of furniture Derek would need.
“How did you end up with her, anyway?” Scott called from the windows.
He didn’t sound so suspicious about it this time, so Derek responded, “Laura and I have been part of an organization for years. It’s a network of supernatural beings who find children that are left without family and place them in new homes. A lot of parents add a clause in their will so that the kids go there, instead of into regular social services. We used to travel around, picking kids up and transporting them, or just hanging around until a relative came to collect them.”
Stiles looked at him consideringly. “When you first got involved…”
Derek nodded. “We started on the other side of the program. When we were old enough to manage on our own, we contacted them as caregivers. Laura worked with them a lot. Helping to find families, not just foster the kids.”
“Is it weird? Having kids for a bit and then sending them off?” Scott asked.
“It’s hard sometimes, but I think it’s worth it. Some of the kids adapt better than others,” Derek said.
“Like you, right, Henri?” Stiles kissed Henrietta’s yogurt-smeared cheek. His tongue flicked out to wipe off some of the transferred product, and Derek looked away quickly. It was a perfectly innocent gesture, and it had no right to look so appealing. But then, Derek was used to that. He thought everything Stiles did was appealing.
It didn’t matter though. Derek couldn’t have Stiles. He couldn’t have the whole family he wanted, but maybe he could have Henri. He looked over to his phone. Surely it couldn’t be wrong to want an outlet for all the love he wanted to give. Henrietta would soak it up like a flower in the sun.
Stiles flopped onto his bed a few hours later with a sigh. His apartment near campus wasn’t so bad, but the mattress wasn’t as soft as this one, and it didn’t smell like home the way his room at his dad’s house did.
He’d dropped Scott off at Allison’s house after they’d left Derek’s, and his Dad had a late shift at the station, so he had the house to himself.
He considered taking the opportunity of being away from his three roommates to have a little “personal time,” but the first thing that popped into his head was the way Derek’s bicep had tensed when he lifted Henri out of her highchair and blew raspberries on her stomach. It had been adorable, and outrageously sexy, but it didn’t really feel like appropriate masturbatory material.
Stiles groaned. This wasn’t fair. It was hard enough to ignore Derek’s attractiveness as it was. Stiles had always thought he was objectively hot, but after six years, Stiles could also appreciate Derek’s dry humor and fierce loyalty. Add in a hefty dose of “father material” and Stiles was done for.
He pulled out his phone and started scrolling through Tumblr. He had studying to do, but he had all weekend for that and he thought he deserved a break. He’d moved on to more serious browsing at his computer when his phone rang. He saw Derek’s name light up and answered immediately. “What’s wrong? Who’s hurt?”
“What? Nothing, no one,” Derek said. Stiles could hear Henrietta giggling in the background.
“Oh,” Stiles said. “Why did you call then? Are you sure everything's okay?”
“As far as I’ve heard, everyone is fine, nothing has happened since you left two hours ago,” Derek said. “I just called...I need a favour, actually.”
“Oh,” Stiles said. “What’s it this time? Research? Charm? Curse? Persuasion of Scott?”
“No, no, none of those,” Derek said quickly. “Um...well, I guess one thing happened.”
“I knew it!” Stiles exclaimed. “Who’s injured?”
“Stiles! No one is injured, it has nothing to d o with the pack,” Derek said. He hesitated again, then said, “I called Henrietta’s case worker.”
“Oh,” Stiles said. “What did she say?”
“They have no definitive options for a new family yet, so she’s willing to at least consider the possibility of me keeping her. She wants to meet with me and discuss it more thoroughly, review the steps we’d need to take, that sort of thing,” Derek said.
“That’s great,” Stiles said. “Go over the stuff we talked about today and show her you're willing to make the proper adjustments.”
“Exactly,” Derek said. “But she’s a couple hours away, and she’s pretty busy. I agreed to drive up, but it’s not that fun for Henri.”
“Oh, I can take her,” Stiles offered.
“Really? I’d really appreciate it. I’ll only be gone for a few hours and she seems to like you.”
“For sure, what time should I come over? Or do you want to bring her here?”
“Would 10 work? I think it would be easier if you came here, rather than me bringing her stuff over.”
“Sure. She’ll probably do better in a familiar setting if she’s going to be without you.” Stiles mentally adjusted his schedule for the weekend. They talked a minute longer before Henri started to fuss, and Derek said goodbye so he could settle her down.
Stiles texted his dad that he’d be around for breakfast, but was heading out for the day, and his dad responded with, Hot date?
Stiles looked down at the yogurt smeared on his shirt from earlier and chuckled.
Stiles showed up at the loft a few minutes before 10 so that Derek would have time to get them settled before he had to leave. He tapped a rhythm on the door before opening it, even though he knew Derek heard him coming. “Hey,” he called out.
“Hey, hi, shit,” Derek said. He came out of the bathroom without a shirt and Stiles gulped. It wasn’t the first time he'd seen Derek naked from the waist up, but his smooth, tan skin and glorious abs never failed to make Stiles swallow his tongue.
“Where’s my girl?” Stiles asked, hoping to distract himself. Derek gestured to the living room and Stiles found Henrietta next to the couch in a bouncer, spinning wheels and tugging at the fabric flowers. “Hi, darling, how ya doing?”
Henri blew a raspberry at him and waved.
“She spit up more than usual this morning. It’s probably nothing, but of course I didn’t have a cloth at the time.” Derek climbed over the chairs he’d barricaded at the bottom of the stairs even though Henrietta wasn’t walking on her own yet. He jogged up, calling back, “I’ll just be a minute, okay?”
“Take your time, we’re good.” Stiles dropped down to sit on the floor in front of Henri. They babbled at each other until Derek came back.
“So, I left her lunch in the fridge, and I should be back before dinner,” Derek explained. “There’s a bottle prepped for her nap, and I put the instructions for that on the fridge. She usually goes down around two, but whenever she gets tired is fine.” Derek paced nervously around the kitchen, fussing with the instructions and reorganizing the sparsely cluttered counter.
“I’ll figure it out,” Stiles said.
“She’s been partial to that bunny lately, and she likes it when you pretend she’s an airplane,” Derek said.
“Like the other day,” Stiles said, nodding. “I remember.”
“Help yourself to any food, and feel free to use my laptop.” Derek walked over to the kitchen table and patted the computer awkwardly. “The bathroom is--”
“Derek, I know where your bathroom is, I’ve been in your loft before,” Stiles teased.
Derek rolled his eyes. “I know, I just…”
“We'll be fine,” Stiles assured him. “Right, Henrietta?”
Henri gurgled happily, and Derek smiled. He crouched next to Stiles and traced her chubby cheek. “You’ve got my number, right?”
Stiles chuckled. “Of course I do. It’s not like I haven’t contacted you in an emergency before. If you want, you can leave the social worker’s number too, just to be safe.”
Derek nodded and grabbed his phone. He found the number and handed it to Stiles to add to his own cell. After his phone was returned, he hesitated, looking between them.
“Derek, go, you don’t want to be late,” Stiles said, giving him a light shove.
Derek huffed. “If you need anything just text me,” he said.
“Yup, sure thing,” Stiles said. “Henri, say bye bye!” He took her little hand and waved it at Derek. “Bye bye, Daddy-Derek, see you soon!”
Derek smiled begrudgingly and swooped down to smother Henrietta in kisses then tickle her neck with his scruff. She clapped and laughed in delight. “Bye, baby girl,” Derek murmured.
Henri waved and shouted, “Buh!”
“Yeah, that’s right,” Stiles told her. “Bye bye.”
It took a few more kisses and waves to get Derek out the door, (kisses for Henrietta, not Stiles. Unfortunately.) After he left, Henri was momentarily nonplussed but was quickly distracted by Stiles’ funny faces and the various features of her bouncer.
It became obvious fairly quickly that she didn’t need his full attention while she sat and played. Stiles had never been one for staying idle for long, so he retrieved Derek’s laptop from the table and settled into the couch with it.
Google’s home screen held so many possibilities. “What shall we look up today?” Stiles asked Henrietta. Her response was enthusiastic, if not actually understandable.
Derek bounded up the stairs, skipping steps until he reached the final set leading to his apartment. He wasn’t sure how far Stiles’ hearing extended and he didn’t want Stiles make fun of him again for his “stairs allergy”.
He could hear Stiles and Henri inside playing peek-a-boo. He slid the door open and caught Stiles sitting on the couch with his head under a fuzzy, flowered blanket.
“Boo!” Stiles said, pulling it off, hair mussed from the friction. Henrietta wasn’t paying attention anymore because she’d caught sight of Derek.
“Dah dah dah!” Henri chanted, pointing to him. Derek play stalked over and lifted her off the couch to scent her in greeting.
“Hi, baby girl. Did you miss me?” Derek asked.
Stiles tossed the blanket aside. “How did it go?”
“Good,” Derek said. “No one else is lined up to take Henrietta and she said she’d stop looking while I got everything in order.”
“So she’s yours, then?” Stiles asked excitedly.
Derek shrugged. “She said it looks promising, but there's no guarantee.”
“Promising is good,” Stiles said. “What do you need to do?”
“I still have to fill out a lot of paperwork. The biggest thing is finding a new place to live that doesn’t include a deadly staircase,” Derek said, gesturing to the chairs barricading the spiral. “Then I need two recommendation letters from community officials.”
Stiles snapped his fingers and grinned. Derek quirked an eyebrow.
“Henri is a really good baby, so I had a lot of free time,” Stiles explained. “I looked up houses in Beacon Hills and made a list of the ones you might like.”
“Oh,” Derek said, bouncing Henrietta onto his other hip. “That’s helpful. I haven’t had a chance to look, so it’ll give me a good place to start. Can I see them?”
Stiles scratched the back of his head. “Okay, so it started as a list, then that got kind of unmanageable? So, I made a spreadsheet.”
Derek chuckled. Trust Stiles to go above and beyond without even being asked. “A spreadsheet?”
“Yeah, see, I didn’t know if you wanted to rent or buy, and you don’t ever talk about work, so I wasn't sure what your budget was, and I didn’t know how many bedrooms you needed, but I figured at least two, and maybe more for Isaac and then I thought what about Erica and Boyd, and if you're liable to be taking kids in, you’ll need a good guest room, and then you might want to adopt more,” Stiles rattled off.
Derek blinked as he processed the onslaught of information. “So, how did you search for anything?”
“I just looked for houses in good shape with easy access to the preserve.” Stiles grabbed the laptop off the coffee table and opened it up.
“I don’t know a lot about spreadsheets,” Derek said.
“That’s okay,” Stiles said. “I’m a filtering demon. You just tell me what you want and we'll narrow it down.”
Derek sat down next to Stiles with Henrietta against his chest. She was more than in favour of a snuggle after a long day apart, so she snuffled into his chest while they went through the basics.
Derek had already decided he might as well buy a house. Money wasn’t an issue, since his main form of employment was fleecing people at poker. Laura had been better at investing than he was, but she'd set up their inheritance to keep multiplying steadily and doled him out a monthly stipend. He could talk to his financial adviser about liquidating some assets.
They decided to focus on the largest houses first and work their way down. Derek did want the option of expanding both pack and children, and he liked the idea of settling into a house that could grow with them. They had a list of solid options picked out quickly, and Derek promised to call the realtor and his accountant as soon as possible.
“You have an accountant?”
“Laura has better luck with exes then I do. He lives in New York, but he helps me out because he feels guilty she died,” Derek explained.
Stiles frowned. “Were they dating when she…”
“Oh god, no,” Derek said. “They dated for three months about two years before she died.”
Stiles chuckled. “Better watch he’s not holding a grudge. He could be skimming off the top.”
“He’s a good guy,” Derek said.
Stiles shook his head and opened a new window on the laptop. “We’ve got the ball rolling on the housing situation. How about we look into the letters?” He found a list of people who qualified as community officials. “Sheriff or deputy.” Stiles pointed out. “My dad could do one for you.”
“You think he would?” Derek said. It had been years since the Sheriff arrested him, but that didn’t mean he was willing to support Derek becoming the sole caregiver of a small child.
“Sure he will,” Stiles said. The or else was implied. “Second person….teacher?”
“No,” Derek said. He’d only gotten his GED at Laura’s insistence, and none of his Beacon Hills teachers remembered him beyond tragic death of family.
“Doctor,” Stiles said.“Veterinarian. Deaton?”
They both said, “No,” almost immediately.
“Why do you object to Deaton?” Derek asked. “I thought you and Scott saw him all the time.” Henrietta was getting restless, so he set her on the floor and helped her toddle around using his hands for balance.
“Scott thinks he’s great. I think he’s an enigmatic prick,” Stiles explained. “I’ll learn what I can from him, but I won’t trust him.”
Derek nodded. “I was thinking of asking Mrs. Paleczny.”
Stiles head jerked up. “Wait, my neighbor, Mrs. Paleczny?”
“Yeah, she’s an elder at her church. That’s on the list right?” Derek asked.
“Yes, but, how do you know her?” Stiles sputtered.
Derek rolled his eyes. “I use the fence that divided your property from hers to get onto your roof. It started getting wobbly, so I fixed it. When I finished, she gave me tea.”
“She caught you fixing the fence that you broke in your attempt to break and enter and she didn’t think to mention it to her neighbor, the Sheriff?” Stiles said dubiously.
Derek shrugged. “I don’t know if she mentioned it. After we had tea, I fixed her back step. It’s been going on like that for years.”
“Like what?” Stiles cried.
“I fix things around her house, we have tea and talk for a bit, then she sends me on my way,” Derek said. He liked Mrs. Paleczny, and he really didn’t see what the big deal was.
“Taking care of babies, befriending little old ladies...Why Derek Hale, next thing you know people will start to think you're a good person,” Stiles said with a smirk.
Derek snorted. “Sure, as soon as they stop staring at me like Beacon Hills’ own social pariah.”
Stiles scent took a sour turn and Derek wiggled his nose. “When do you want to ask my dad?”
Derek shrugged. He didn’t want to ask at all, but he wasn’t sure who else would do it.
“He’s got a day shift tomorrow. We could swing by for lunch, soften him up with food,” Stiles offered.
“That would be great,” Derek said. “Do you think I can bring Henrietta?”
“God, yeah. One look at her adorable face and he’ll fold like a house of cards.” Stiles hopped off the couch and tickled Henrietta, then plopped her onto his hip. “Well, my love. I should probably get going.”
“Oh, sorry we kept you,” Derek said. He was always irrationally disappointed when Stiles left.
“No worries, man, anytime,” Stiles said, rubbing a hand over Henri’s hair. “I mean that. Anytime.”
Derek smiled cautiously. Stiles’ heart had been perfectly steady.
When Derek and Henrietta arrived, Stiles greeted them outside the station with bags of fast food and sloppy kisses. Kisses for Henri, of course. He only got to imagine greeting Derek with a casual peck.
The real trick to getting past whoever was on reception was to walk like he knew exactly what he was doing. So Stiles took Derek’s arm and breezed in, marching straight over to his dad’s office. He internally fistpumped to celebrate that the door was open and knocked on the door jam as he entered. “Hey, Daddio.”
“Stiles,” the Sheriff greeted, taking off his reading glasses. “And Derek Hale. With a baby.”
“Yeah, this is Henrietta,” Stiles said waving at the drooling infant. “We brought lunch.”
He set down the food and moved the chairs around, pushing Derek into the seat across from this dad, and pulling his own around the side so they would all have room to eat. Derek set down his diaper bag carefully and settled Henri in his lap.
Stiles started passing around food. “Check it out, Dad. Caesar salad with chicken and bacon. If you eat all the lettuce I’ll let you steal some of my fries.”
The Sheriff narrowed his eyes. “What do you want?”
Stiles gasped and put a hand over his heart. “Dad! Can’t a son just come have lunch with his father?”
“Yes, but if there’s bacon involved, you’re after something,” the Sheriff insisted.
“I could trade yours with Derek’s,” Stiles threatened. “He gets garden salad.”
“No, no.” The Sheriff pulled the salad closer. “This is fine.”
Stiles smiled pleasantly, and launched into a monologue on the history of caesar salad. Derek let Henrietta mutilate a piece of lettuce while he ate his burger one handed with surprising dexterity.
The Sheriff worked his way through his own salad, but every few seconds he tapped at his computer. It took Stiles a minute to notice what he was doing.
“Dad!” Stiles scolded around his burger. “That’s a missing child database.”
Derek looked up with a surprised frown. “Is someone missing?”
The Sheriff cleared his throat awkwardly. “Well, I…” He looked between Stiles and Derek, then gestured to the baby with a grumbled, “You can’t just show up with a random baby and not think I’d be suspicious.”
“Derek is caring for Henrietta through perfectly legal channels,” Stiles told him. “There was paperwork and everything. Right, Derek?”
Derek nodded. “You’re welcome to research the organization if it makes you feel better. S.O.R.P.”
“What does that stand for?” The Sheriff asked.
“It actually stands for Supernatural Orphan Relocation Program, but it’ll be registered under St. Oliver’s Relocation Program.”
“Huh,” the Sheriff said. “And you’ve been...working with them long?”
Derek nodded. “Officially, since I turned 18.”
Stiles couldn’t help twisting the knife to make his dad feel extra guilty. “Since, you know, Derek was an orphan in need of relocation.” He could tell by the slump of the Sheriff’s shoulders he’d hit his mark.
“So, you’re in the process of finding her a new home?” He asked.
“Actually, Derek has decided to become her permanent guardian,” Stiles explained. “He’s getting a new house and everything. But he needs a recommendation letter. You know, a document from a respected member of the community explaining how he’s fit to be a parent, and how wonderfully he’d raise Henrietta…”
The Sheriff looked thoroughly unimpressed. “And who did you have in mind for that?” He asked dryly.
Stiles grinned. “Gosh, Dad, I have no idea.”
The Sheriff sighed. “Yeah, right, kid. I knew the bacon was a bribe.”
Stiles mustered up his outrage to lay down the next argument he’d prepared, but Derek beat him to the punch.
“You don’t have to do it, sir,” he mumbled, readjusting a squirming Henri to lean against his shoulder. “I’ll think of someone else.”
Henrietta sealed the deal by abandoning her lettuce in favour of kissing Derek’s cheek. Well, raspberries, for the most part, but it was still really cute.
“No, no,” the Sheriff said. “It’s no trouble. I’ve done a few before. When did you need it by?”
“Oh, you know,” Derek started noncommittally.
“Soon, Dad, the sooner the better,” Stiles said. “In fact, why not right now?”
The sheriff glared at Stiles half-heartedly. “Provided no one goes on a crime spree in the next few hours, you’ll have it by tomorrow.”
Stiles smiled and didn’t admit that was exactly what he was going for, but he thought his dad probably knew anyway by the way he shook his head.
“Well, then, let me see the little lady,” the Sheriff said, and Derek handed her over, looking startled. Henrietta listened sympathetically while the Sheriff lamented the lack of grandchildren in his life while shooting pointed looks at Stiles.
The next Saturday, Derek found himself knocking at the Stilinskis’ front door and being ushered in by the Sheriff.
“Stiles will be down in a minute,” the Sheriff said, then held out his arms to Henrietta and she willingly launched herself over.
“I’m not in a rush.” He knew they wouldn’t be late to the meeting with the realtor, but he hoped Stiles would hurry so Derek didn’t have to sit and make small talk for too long.
“I looked up that organization, by the way,” the Sheriff said. “I gather it's a kind of privatized foster care?”
Derek nodded. “We can’t have a young werewolf or fae being put into the human system. It would be dangerous for them and the foster parents.”
“Of course. You and Laura take in a lot of kids?”
Derek shrugged. “We mostly did transportation cases, because we weren’t tied down to one spot, but...yeah. There was a lot.”
The Sheriff nodded and Derek’s nose itched with the scent of his sadness.
Stiles bounded down the stairs. “Hi, princess!”
“Stiles, she is not a princess,” Derek said with a sigh.
“Come on, Derek,” Stiles whined. “Every little girl deserves to be a princess. And if you ever adopt a little boy, I’ll call him a prince.”
Derek rolled his eyes, but he kind of liked the idea. Both having another child to love, and Stiles in their lives, teaching them that they deserved to be treated well.
“Ready to go?” Stiles asked.
Derek nodded and reached for Henrietta, but the Sheriff stepped back. “Are you sure you want to take her with you? It will slow you down, taking her in and out of the car seat, keeping her busy when you should be looking around, keeping her fed and rested.”
Derek shrugged. He knew it would be easier to look at houses without her, but he didn’t have anyone besides Stiles to look after her, and Stiles was helping with house hunting.
“Why?” Stiles teased. “You want to hang out with her?”
“Great idea,” the Sheriff said. “We’ll see you boys later. Say goodbye to Derek, sweetheart.”
“Bye bye,” Stiles said waving to her, and pulling Derek to the door.
“Wait a second,” Derek said, digging his feet in. “You don’t have work or anything?”
“Free as a bird,” the Sheriff said.
“I don’t want to encroach on your day off,” Derek said.
“Not encroaching. I offered,” the Sheriff assured him. “Stiles, go grab her diaper bag while Derek tells me all the stuff I already know about caring for a baby.”
Derek hesitated for a second, then said, “Grab my extra shirt, too.”
Stiles bounced out the door, and Derek tired to focus on werewolf and Henrietta specific things instead of proving the Sheriff right.
“If she wolfs out a little, don’t panic. She’s just experimenting and she’ll turn back on her own. There are some toys she can chew on so she doesn’t go for you or the furniture. She’s thinking about walking on her own, but for now, she still likes to hold your hand. She really hates Elmo and I don’t know why, but I’m not exactly anxious to change that.”
“Small blessings,” the Sheriff said.
Stiles returned, handing the bag to the Sheriff and the shirt to Derek. “Got ‘em.”
Derek stripped off his original shirt and put on the new one. “If she gets fussy, this might help, or you can try taking her up to Stiles’ room. The familiar scents will make her feel safer. Also, the garbage disposal, for some reason? I guess it’s funny to watch stuff disappear.”
“Good to know,” the Sheriff said. “Now, I mean it this time, say goodbye.”
Stiles gave her a kiss and walked out the door, Derek did a quick scent-marking session, and promised he’d be back soon.
“She’ll be fine,” Stiles assured him in the car. “Dad is a baby pro.”
“Really?” Derek said. “Then why only the one kid?”
Stiles shrugged. “I’m not sure. We never really talked about it.” He grinned over at Derek. “When I was young, there were always these other kids around. Like an extended sleepover, or a few weeks, or just one night. It took me years to realize they were foster kids.”
“Your dad was a foster parent?” Derek said surprised.
“Yeah, he and mom were for years,” Stiles said. “Then she got sick and...I guess they had to stop.” His scent spiked with the same sadness that the Sheriff’s had earlier. He visibly pushed it aside and asked Derek, “So where are we heading first?”
The rest of the day was spent bouncing from house to house. The realtor Stiles had found was a matronly woman who’d been in the business for years and really knew her stuff. Derek managed to resist worrying about Henrietta too much, in part because Stiles texted his dad for frequent updates throughout the day, before Derek even thought to ask him to.
When Stiles had offered to go look at houses with Derek, it’d seemed like a really good idea. Having a second pair of eyes never hurt, and Derek wasn’t great with people, so having Stiles as a buffer made sense. In that way, it had been perfect.
Unfortunately, Derek hadn’t considered how it would feel to be looking for a home with Stiles at his side. It felt so natural to be considering the options together, and picturing what life would be like in each house. Derek tried not to, but he kept picturing Stiles with them. Sharing the house, sharing his life, managing the pack, helping raise Henrietta, and welcoming a herd of other children into their life. He found himself dismissing a house without a thought because Stiles had wrinkled his nose at the amount of carpeting it had.
Nevertheless, they found a house that they liked enough to make a bid on, and a backup in case that fell through. Derek offered to buy Stiles dinner as a thank you, even though he'd paid for lunch as well. He was relieved when Stiles picked a drive-thru so they could go back to eat at the house with Henrietta. As much as he would love to go out with Stiles, he missed his girl.
Stiles rushed into the loft, feeling jittery with excitement. “Derek!”
“Coming,” Derek called. He came out of the bathroom with Henrietta resting sleepily against his chest, dressed in a soft yellow sleeper, her chestnut hair slightly damp. She snuffled against Derek’s neck and sighed.
“I need to borrow your kid,” Stiles blurted out, thankful that it was that instead of damn you look hot as a dad.
Derek looked down at Henrietta and then back at Stiles with a confused scowl. “It’s bedtime.”
Stiles laughed softly. “I didn’t mean right now. I meant next weekend.”
“Oh. What for?”
“Dude,” Stiles held out his hands dramatically. “Disney on Ice is coming.”
Derek narrowed his eyes. “What does that have to do with Henri? Isn’t she a bit too young to care?”
“Well, yeah, but as a 22 year old guy, if I show up without a kid, I’ll get dirty looks,” Stiles said. “Sad, but true. If I take Henri, all the moms will think, ‘Aww, isn’t that nice,’ instead of, ‘Eww, what a creep.’”
Derek nodded slowly. “So, you're going to pretend you're there for Henrietta, but really you just want to go yourself.”
“Now you're catching on,” Stiles said, shooting his fingers like guns. He really needed to break that habit.
“Why?” Derek asked.
“Disney on Ice is amazing, okay? And this one has Cinderella and Snow White. Those are my favourites,” Stiles said.
“Can’t beat the classics,” Derek said with a smirk.
“Watch out, Hale, or I’ll get a ticket for you too,” Stiles teased.
“Okay,” Derek said.
Stiles blinked. “Okay, what?”
Derek shrugged. “I’d go with you.”
“Unless you don’t want me to,” Derek said hesitantly.
“No, no. That would be great,” Stiles said. “It’s better with company, but it's not exactly Scott’s thing.”
“Great,” Derek said. “Which day is it?”
“I thought we could do the Saturday morning show so we don’t mess up her nap,” Stiles said. “She’s young enough not to need a ticket, so I’ll just get some for the two of us.”
“Okay,” Derek said.
They eyed each other awkwardly for a moment, then Derek asked, “Do you want to help me put Henrietta to bed?”
“Heck, yeah,” Stiles said, bouncing over to her already sleep-pliant form.
Derek wasn’t sure why they made cotton Cinderella-style dresses that fit 12-month-olds, but he was kind of glad they did. Henrietta looked adorable, and Stiles kept cooing every time he saw her again. It made for a very entertaining trip to the arena two counties over.
When they walked inside, Derek quickly realized that princess dresses were made in all sizes, in all fabrics, and not all little girls were cute in them. In fact, he could already see at least four screaming children that were decidedly uncute.
Why did I think this was a good idea, Derek thought to himself, readjusting Henrietta so he could hold her closer. She was handling the crowd like a pro. It was Derek who needed the extra comfort of their slowly forming packbond.
“Ooh, look, we get to take an escalator,” Stiles exclaimed, tugging them over.
Oh, right, Derek thought. He’d come because he wanted to spend the afternoon with Stiles and Henri, watching them have fun.
They actually got to take two escalators up to the level Stiles had chosen. Stiles made a stop on the second floor to buy an outrageously overpriced snowcone in a Cinderella teacup.
Their seats were on the third level, but right in the centre. The seats at the front were already filling, but Stiles climbed up to the rows where no one else had sat down.
Stiles turned to him sheepishly, “I know it’s kind of far back, but it’s more fun when you're not right next to some stranger. You can move around and sing along either way, but most moms don’t like my commentary. And this way, we can see all the cool formations and stuff.”
“This is good,” Derek said honestly. It was a relief not to be crammed in next to someone he didn’t know, and his crying brat count was climbing. He wouldn’t be able to make it through the show if he had to endure being right next to one.
A voice came over the speakers to tell them there was 10 minutes until showtime and shamelessly plug their Instagram hashtag. Stiles pulled out his phone. “Take a selfie with me,” he insisted.
Derek gave a token objection, then complied, holding Henrietta between them, turning his face toward her so his eyes wouldn’t flare and ruin the picture.
“Perfect,” Stiles proclaimed. “This is a keeper. Henri’s first Disney event with her two favourite guys.” Stiles gasped and looked up with wide eyes. “We can take her to Disneyland!”
Derek suppressed a groan. If the crowds and children were bad here, he could only imagine the horror of a Disney theme park.
Stiles rambled about princess breakfasts and themed hotel rooms until the show started. True to his word, he sang along to all the songs and danced in his seat. He also made hilarious pithy comments, downright dirty interpretations of what Donald Duck might have said, and laughed uproariously at the seven dwarves’ pratfalls.
Henrietta watched the skating characters and Stiles with equal fascination, and Stiles clapped her hands and bounced her in his lap whenever she started to get bored. During the intermission, he insisted Derek play I Spy with him. Derek enjoyed the skating and was impressed by the acrobatics thrown in, but what he really enjoyed was watching Stiles.
The show ended in a blaze of pyrotechnics and the lights came up.
“Let’s just wait til the crowd thins,” Stiles said. “I always feel like a sheep, everyone being herded toward the gate.”
Derek turned to him and said with a straight face, “Baa.”
Stiles laughed so hard one of the ushers asked him if he needed a medic.
On the way out Derek could hear women around them whispering variations of “Aw, aren’t they cute?” and “there’s something about a guy with a tiny little girl, ooh!”
Stiles stopped to buy a colouring book from an employee and after taking his money, she cooed, “Your daughter is so cute!”
Derek wasn’t sure why, but instead of correcting her, Stiles just smiled and said, “Isn’t she adorable? Thanks for the book.”
Derek didn’t correct her either. He liked the idea of it too much.
For the car ride home, Stiles belted Disney songs at the top of his lungs. Derek felt comfortable enough to sing along quietly, since his voice would be easily drowned out by Stiles.
He pulled up in front of the Sheriff’s house. “So, this was fun,” Stiles said.
“Yeah, thanks for arranging it,” Derek said.
“Anytime,” Stiles responded. They stared at each other awkwardly. It felt like they should be doing something beyond saying goodbye but neither of them moved.
If Derek was honest with himself, he’d admit that that something was a farewell kiss. He wanted to kiss Stiles like it was the end of a date. But that wasn’t what this was. They went to Disney on Ice, for Christ’s sake. That was not an event two grown men go to for a first date. Stiles only asked him because he wanted to bring Henrietta.
Would it be a first date though? Derek thought. They’d known each other for years and in that time they’d been thrown together again and again. If he counted late night stakeouts and fast food trips, it was far from their first outing together. This was miles away from the first time Derek wanted to kiss him.
He was pulled from his thoughts by Henrietta squawking in the back seat. It was getting close to nap time and he was amazed she was still awake. The moment was broken, and Stiles hopped out with a wave calling, “Bye, Henri, see you later, Derek.”
Derek waited for him to get through his front door safely even though it was broad daylight. He pulled away from the curb and sang Once Upon a Dream for Henri on the way home.
Stiles rounded the last set of stairs to the loft. He probably should have gone straight home after class, or called Scott to go get a beer, but it had been a long, stressful week, and what he really wanted were sloppy kisses and little girl giggles.
It was later than usual because he’d had to stay and work on an idiotic group project, so he hoped he hadn’t missed her.
He tapped a quiet pattern on the door--in case she was already asleep--and pushed it open. Derek was standing in the middle of the room, staring at his phone.
“Derek?’ Stiles said hesitantly. Derek blinked up at him and dread coiled in Stiles’ stomach. He’d never seen Derek so shocked, and the devastating possibilities were infinite. “Derek, is something wrong?”
Derek shook his head. “She’s mine.”
“What?” Stiles asked, striding over to stand next to him.
“Henrietta. She’s mine.” Words started tumbling out. “Her caseworker called. The paperwork has been finished, all the forms were fine, the letters were great, and they’ve approved the adoption. She’s mine, she’s my family now. She’s my daughter. Henri is officially part of my pack.”
Relief and joy raced through Stiles. “That’s amazing! Derek, I’m so happy for you.” He wrapped his arms around Derek and gave him a congratulatory hug. He pulled back to step away, but he got stuck seeing the expression of euphoria on Derek’s face. He’d never seen him look so happy.
Stiles wasn’t sure who made the move, who initiated the change, but his own bliss overflowed as their lips touched. The next kiss started before the first could end, one slide blending into another, and Stiles buried his fingers in Derek’s hair, hungry for more of the feeling, starved for the combination of desire and contentment coursing between them. Hungry enough to want more, he slipped his other hand under Derek’s shirt, caressing soft skin over hard muscle. Stiles took a wandering path to the front of Derek’s jeans and tugged at the top button.
Suddenly, Derek was pushing him away. “I can’t do this.”
“Wha?” Stiles slurred. He felt drunk off the feeling of Derek and the sudden absence left him reeling.
“I’m sorry, I can’t do this with you,” Derek said. “I can’t just hook up in the heat of the moment, it’s not enough.”
“Not enough what?” Stiles said, whatever Derek wanted he could give it. Anything at all, he’d trade to have Derek back in his arms.
“Not enough of you.” Derek said. “I can’t just have you in my bed when I want you in my life. I can see it so clearly, you fit there so well. I can’t be with you then watch you walk away. I want all of you. I want you to live in the house we picked together, and I want you to help me raise Henrietta, and for us to adopt more kids together. I want you in my pack, at my side, as my equal, my partner. I want everything.” Derek stepped back again with a hand over his mouth as if to stop the words from flooding out.
Everything. Stiles could give that.
“Okay,” Stiles said.
“What?” Derek said blinking at him.
“Let’s do it. Let’s be together,” Stiles said.
Derek glared at him. “This isn’t funny, Stiles.”
“I’m not joking,” he insisted. “I want those things too.” Derek looked like he still didn’t believe him and Stiles sighed. “You think I didn’t picture it when we walked around those houses? You think I didn’t imagine exactly how it could be if we lived there together? I told you when Henri first came here, Derek, I want it all. Baby, house, pack, you. I want you.”
“You don’t think it’s too much, too fast?” Derek asked.
“What is fast about this?” Stiles said exasperated. “I’ve wanted you for years. I just didn’t think you’d want me back.”
“I do,” Derek said, finally pulling Stiles against him. “I really do.” Derek kissed him, hot and hard, his arm like a band of steel around his waist. Stiles fisted Derek’s shirt in his hands and his moan got lost between them.
Stiles had to turn away for a moment to breathe and Derek took that as an invitation to suck at Stiles’ neck. He traced his teeth lightly along the tendon and Stiles shivered. “Take me to bed?”
Derek growled low in his chest, a possessive purr that shot straight to Stiles’ spine, and lifted him easily so Stiles could wrap his legs around Derek’s waist.
Stiles decided there was something extremely satisfying about being carried to bed. It lit him up on an evolutionary level. Derek lowered him to the bed, and Stiles pulled him down with him. They struggled out of their clothes, ecstatic with each new expanse of flesh that was revealed.
“Can’t wait,” Stiles panted. Another day, he would take Derek apart and put him back together. Another day, they could explore each other for hours, learning every inch of uncharted skin. They could spend years finding new ways to drive each other wild. But not today. Today, Stiles wanted them both to come now. He tugged Derek over him, lining them up so he could take take both their cocks in hand. Stiles whimpered at the pleasure/pain combination of dry friction.
“Wait a sec,” Derek said, and Stiles whined when he moved away, but he was back almost instantly, and when his hand joined Stiles’ it was slick with lube. “Now,” he breathed. They twined their fingers together, moving in tandem to chase the electric current hovering just out of reach. Derek growled again, and the vibration rolled though Stiles and he shattered apart with a gasp.
Derek stroked him through it until he was oversensitive. Stiles pressed lazy kisses to Derek’s shoulder until he stiffened above him. Stiles pulled back to watch Derek’s face as he came between them. When he finished, Derek rolled them to the side and tucked Stiles against him. Stiles drifted off in the haven of Derek’s arms.
Stiles woke up with a grumble, trying to stop Derek from pulling away from him.
Derek chuckled. “How is your grip that strong? You’re supposed to be human.”
“Don’t go,” Stiles muttered.
“I’ll be right back. Henrietta is fussing,” Derek said.
Stiles reluctantly relinquished his hold, because--even half asleep--he couldn’t argue with that.
He stretched out in the warm spot Derek left, half asleep. He opened one eye at the sound of Derek padding closer, and let out a soft “oof,” as weight was plopped down onto his chest.
“Sah!” Henrietta responded, then slobbered a kiss onto his chest.
“Time ‘s it?” Stiles asked.
“Not quite six,” Derek said. “Sun isn’t up. Are you sure you're willing to sign up for this?”
Stiles blinked his other eye open. Derek had said it lightly, but Stiles could tell he was seriously concerned. Stiles smiled up at him. “You’ll have to get me a baby monitor so I can take a turn.”
Derek grinned. “Anything you want.” He settled in next to Stiles rubbing a hand over Henrietta’s back.
Stiles drifted a little again, until he heard Derek chuckle. “What’s so funny?”
“You know, I did steal a baby once,” Derek said.
“What?” Stiles said, jostling Henri as he tried to sit up.
Derek smirked. “Just kidding.”
Stiles collapsed with a groan. “Don’t say that to Scott, he’ll probably believe you.”
“I don’t know, if the look on his face is anywhere near as funny as yours was, it might be worth it,” Derek teased.
Stiles attempted a withering glare, but the effect was lost when Henrietta bopped him in the nose. He didn’t have the heart to be upset about it. She’d already stolen it.