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Reading the signs

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Personally, Derek thinks college was a big waste of time.

He went off the college with no idea what he wanted to do with his life. Now, he has a degree in English, and he still has no idea what he wants to do with his life. If he’s being really honest, he’d rather spend the rest of his life at home, with his pack. He could totally be a stay at home dad or something. If he had kids. Mom’s a lawyer, Dad’s a doctor, Aunt Nathalie’s a chef, Laura’s a deputy – does he really need to add to the already large stack of Hale cash?

The second he pulls into their poor excuse for a driveway, Laura comes bounding out of the house, dressed in uniform, and practically tackles him when he gets out of the car.

“Der! You’re home!” She grins. He raises an eyebrow.

“Since when are you this excited to have me home?”

“Since mom said she wants to have a talk with you about your future.” She smirks. “Come on. Tia’s been dying to tell you the sex of the baby and whether or not it’s a werewolf. Me tiene hasta aquí con el ‘¿Pero cuando viene tu hermano? ¿Por que Derek no visita ma?’. I mean, la amo mucho…”

“Yeah, yeah.” Derek rolls his eyes. “you’ve been spending a lot of time with Abuela, haven’t you.”

“She forces me to, little brother.”

When he gets inside, mom is the first person he sees. She smiles at him, pulling him in for a hug. He automatically relaxes at the touch. It was hard, spending so much time away from his pack. He’s missed this.

“Derek!” He hears Cora say. Once mom lets him go, he wraps his arms around her and spins them around.

“Did you grow while I was gone?” he asks when he puts her down. “You weren’t allowed to do that.”

“I’m graduating high school in a week, Der.” Cora sighs. But she smiles anyway.

It takes him a moment to notice the boy standing off to the side. He looks a bit awkward, with his hands shoved deep in his pockets and wearing a bright red hoodie that looks too big for him. He’ll appreciate the irony of a red hooded kid in a house full of wolves later.

“Who’s this?” He asks. Cora blinks.

“Oh, right! Uh, Derek, this is my best friend, Stiles.” She pulls back and starts to move her hands around as she speaks.” Stiles, this is my big brother Derek, the one I was telling you about.”

The kid moves his hands back at her, mouthing words but never speaking. He’s not sure he understands what’s going on.

“He said it’s nice to meet you. He’s heard a lot about you.” Cora says. Derek frowns.

“What?”

“He’s Deaf.” Laura says, tapping you pointer finger to the corner of her mouth and her ear. “You know, like can’t hear? At all? He signs.”

Oh.

 

 


 

 

When Derek comes down for breakfast the next day, he finds that Stiles kid from yesterday sitting at the breakfast bar with Cora, hands moving so fast he’s afraid they’ll fall off. He stopped at the bottom of the steps for a moment, watching. He’s never seen a face as expressive and elastic as Stiles’.

“Hey.” He calls. Cora raises a hand, stopping the rapid hand movements, and points at him. Stiles turns in his direction and waves.

Hey. Look who finally woke up.” Cora signs as she talks. “You know it’s like, lunch time, right?

“What?” He groans. “You let me sleep in that late? Laura was supposed to wake me up.”

She’s at work. Left three hours ago.”

Tia Nathalie comes wandering into the kitchen then, hair a birds nest and belly stretching out the fabric on what Derek knows is Peter’s favorite shirt. She sees Stiles sitting out the counter and smiles at him, signing something that makes him nod and repeat it back to her.

“Morning Derek.” She says.

“It’s the afternoon, apparently.” He huffs, sitting down at the bar. He glances at Stiles and Cora, watching them start their conversation back up. “You know sign too?”

“Just a bit.” She shrugs, fiddling with the coffee maker. “He’s been coming over for years, it seems a bit rude to not learn at least some his language.” She growls then. She’s not a wolf, but he suspects it’s something she picked up from spending so much time around them. “I hate decaf. And I hate that I have to clean this thing every morning so I don’t accidentally drink regular coffee.”

“Why don’t you just make Peter do it for you?” He asks. She pauses.

“That’s the best idea I’ve ever heard.” She says after a moment. “You’re the best, mi amor. I’m gonna go get him right now.”

“No problem.” He laughs. He decides to forgo coffee this morning and pours himself a bowl of cereal, going to sit on the couch. He can see Stiles and half of Cora from this angle, and he finds himself watching them more than the TV.

Stiles’ hands are pale, his fingers long and slender, and Derek’s never really had a thing for hands before, but… these are – no. He shouldn’t be thinking that about his little sister’s best friend. Sure, he’s legal. But he’s Cora’s friend. Cora’s…hot friend, who has big brown eyes and smells like apples.

This is ridiculous.

He spends the day flipping through channels and lounging on the couch. When the Stiles kid leaves, Peter signs bye at him, and Mom does too as she walks in from work. And that’s when Derek realizes;

His whole family learned sign, to some degree, for this kid. He practically family to them.

So why didn’t Derek meet him before now?

 

 


 

 

“Why is that kid always here?” Derek grumbles, watching Stiles and Cora across the living room. Laura raises an eyebrow.

“Because Cora wants him here? They’re friends? Why, you got a problem with him?” She makes a face. “Is it because he doesn’t talk? Because I know mama and papa raised you better than that –”

“What? No. It’s just – I don’t get it.”

“Don’t get what?”

“Had did Cora even meet him? Didn’t she say he went to a deaf school?” He’s whining. He knows he is. And by the look on Laura’s face, she knows it too. She rolls her eyes.

“You’re just upset because someone’s been added to the pack without you knowing.”

“I am n –”

“Don’t lie, little brother. You know you’re bad at it.” She tells him. “And Cora met him through Isaac. Remember, the kid that nurse McCall adopted? Cora and him became friends freshman year, and Isaac introduced her to Scott, and Scott introduced her to Stiles. At least, that’s what she told us when Papa found her signing in the mirror.. He thought she was doing it so she could talk about us without any of us hearing her.”

“That sounds like something Cora would do.”

“Uh-huh. Mama asked her to invite her friend over so the pack could meet him, since he obviously meant a lot to if she was learning a third language for him.”

“And what? Everyone fell in love with him and our parents forgot their real son was up in New York?” Derek huffs. She throws an arm around his shoulders.

“Aw, Der-Bear! You jealous nobody’s paying as much attention to you as they used to now that you’re not the only boy in the family?”

“It’s not like they’re married!”

Laura smirks. “He’s family.”

“Hijo?” Mom calls, opening the door to her office. It’s soundproofed, so you know when you get called in there the talk is gonna be serious. “Can I talk to you for a moment?”

Laura leans in closer. “There’s that future talk I warned you about. Have fun bro.”

“I hate you.”

 

 


 

 

Basically, his talk with mom goes a bit like this:

“Derek, you need to start thinking about your life. You haven’t done anything productive ever.”

“Yes I have I went to college.”

“I forced you to. You need to go out and get a job. There’s another deputy position open at the station now that Parrish moved. Also, when are you going to find the love of your life so I can have grandchildren???”

“Mama please.”

So, Derek’s already in kind of a sucky mood.

Okay, so he can understand his mother’s worry over the fuck that he has no idea what to do with his life now. Honestly, he’s kind of worried about it himself. ‘Low-key worried’, as Cora would say. But it’s fine. Everything’s fine. He could apply for a job at the high school, or something. Because he just knows working with Laura would be torture, and he doesn’t feel like having every deputy in Beacon Hills hearing horrible stories about him, no way. He’ll figure something out by the end of the summer.

He stops short in the hallway, frowning. It smells like paint. But no one else besides Aunt Lee, Dad, and himself are home, so who’s painting?

“Aunt Lee?” He calls, walking over to the nursery. “You know, Peter’s gonna be angry if he sees you near paint…oh.”

It’s Stiles.

He’s on a stool, painting what looks to be a tree on the wall. He’s about to ask what the kid’s even doing here when he remembers that that won’t really do anything. He walks up and taps the kid’s shoulder.

Stiles jumps, almost falling off the stool if Derek didn’t catch him.

“What are you – wait, can you read lips?” he wonders. Stiles frowns at him, but nods. “What are you doing here?”

Stiles gestures towards the paint cans on the floor and the wall., as if it’s obvious.

“Okay, but – why? Who let you in here?” He crosses his arms over his chest. Stiles sighs and steps back,  holding his hands out in front of his stomach.

“What does that even mean? Big stomach? What – you mean pregnant?” Stiles nods. “Aunt Lee let you in here?” another nod. “She asked you to paint this for her?” Another nod. “You paint?”

He gives him a look that Derek’s pretty sure means ‘Why the fuck else would I be here?’

“You’re infuriating! I just wanted to know what some stranger was doing in my house.” He snaps. Stiles’ face does…a lot of things, and then his hands are flying, and there’s a lot of pointing. Finally, he stops, looks at Derek for a moment, and then makes a frustrated noise. He grabs a paintbrush and dips it in the green paint can beside him.

‘You want to talk to me? Learn how just like the rest of your family.’ He paints.

“I’m not gonna learn a whole new language for my sister’s annoying friend.”

Stiles makes a sign that very clearly means ‘leave’. And Derek’s just about to, but…

“Okay, wait.” He sighs. Stiles gives him an expectant look. “I’m sorry. That was…rude. Of me. I guess. I don’t want my sister’s best friend to hate me. Not if you’re going to be here the whole time.

Stiles rolls his eyes and points to himself, then to Derek.

“You and me?” Stiles shakes his head and grabs Derek’s hands and shakes them, then points to himself. “Signing?” A nod. “You’ll…teach me?” a nod.

“Oh.”

 

 


 

 

The night of the full moon comes up a few days later, and Stiles is still keeps showing up every day. Derek’s starting to winder if the kid even has any family, because they must miss him by now.

“No shifting.” Dad tells him when he comes down for dinner. “Stiles doesn’t know about us.”

“He’s ‘practically family’ but he doesn’t know he’s spending all his time with a bunch of werewolves?”

“Honestly? No one knows the sign for werewolf, okay?” Dad huffs. “And He can’t even hear any growling or howling from outside, or when Talia accidentally uses her Alpha voice, so it didn’t really seem like we needed to tell him.”

“You don’t think him not knowing will ever become a problem?”

“We’ll just have to wait and see, then, son.”