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We All Deserve Love

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Stiles can tell he’s very hurt. He’s badly, badly hurt. He avoids looking, because blood , but he knows what’s up. He takes comfort in the fact that he’s at least in the same state, and not only that, but just in the next county over from where his family is this time. His ankle throbs and the adrenaline rush is just starting to make the sharp pain from the giant gash in his side subside a little. Derek is going to be so pissed if Stiles dies here, and Stiles smiles a little at the thought of Derek’s angry, grumpy face. The smile is wiped when he thinks about Oliver’s devastated expression. It rips his heart to pieces.

 

Stiles empties his mind of his family and concentrates on breathing, as quietly as he can. He’s too weak to pull up sound-proof wards to avoid detection, but he can still throw a perfect circle of mountain ash, which he does. The alpha and his pack surround the circle. Stiles pulled the “mark a territory without explicit consent from both parties” trick one too many times, apparently, and this guy was quicker on the grasp.

 

“Undo the territory line, Stilinski,” the alpha growls at him, but doesn’t make a move towards the mountain ash circle. A weak alpha, as Stiles suspected. He’s newly made, in a way, and decided to invade territories that don’t belong to him. The pack whose lands he invaded had called Stiles to mediate, but this new alpha is insecure. A rookie. So he refused to back out, and Stiles lost his patience and acted too fast.

 

“That’s Stilinski-Hale, and not a chance, pal.” Stiles coughs and the taste of blood floods his mouth. Bad news. “Land isn’t yours, and I got kinda tired of your posturing. It’s not a good look for a new alpha anyway.”

 

“What would you know about new alphas?” Adam, the alpha, spits out, taking a brave step forward towards the circle. It crackles in response, still more powerful than any this pack has ever encountered, even though Stiles is weak.

 

“Didn’t look me up? My husband was just like you the first time he got the alpha powers,” Stiles smirks, shifts a little where he’s leaning against a tree. The telluric currents lead him here; they connect with the ones where his nemeton is. He feels marginally better at the knowledge, the surge of power the oak provides.

 

The alpha just growls, pacing in front of the circle. “You’re going to bleed out, and the marking will die with you. Undo it and I’ll drive you to a hospital myself.”

 

“Hard pass,” Stiles says tiredly. “Also, wrong. I don’t play around, my territory markings are a forever kind of thing.” There’s a different surge of power coming through now. Derek. Derek feels Stiles is in trouble. He’s angry and worried and it tastes worse than the blood in Stiles’ mouth. Oliver is sensing something too, Stiles can feel it. He’s both relieved and worried at the same time. Derek is probably on his way to the high school already to pick Oliver up. Stiles refused straight out to send Oliver to the high school he and Scott went to, so Oliver is on the other side of town.

 

“No one’s coming for you, Stilinski,” Adam is trying to get a rise out of him, his pack members sneering and snickering.

 

Stiles closes his eyes and shifts again, wincing a little at the flash of pain from his side. “It’s Stilinski- Hale , and the Hale part of that is actually on his way. You should probably make yourself scarce before he gets here.”  

 

“I’m not scared of your little true alpha husband.” That’s definitely a lie, Stiles can tell as much.

 

“So you have looked me up! Good research,” Stiles congratulates him with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

 

“You’re not going to survive another hour.”

 

“Is that a dare?” Stiles coughs a little chuckle and wipes the sweat off his brow. He leans heavily on his arms and heaves himself to his feet. It’s hard and it makes him dizzy, but he limps to the very edge of the circle. “Are you going to try and break the circle? Because that only happened once, ever, and that guy is my best friend, who’ll be really pissed if I die here and it’s your fault.” Stiles levels his gaze with the alpha’s and smirks. “You’re scared,” he guesses. The alpha flinches and glances at his betas, who all growl at the insult.

 

“I’m not scared of a human, and I’m not scared of your alpha either.” It sounds a little too angry and hurried to be true, and Stiles can hear the guy grind his teeth together even with his human ears.

 

He laughs. “Don’t underestimate humans ever again,” Stiles whispers dangerously at him and uses the last bit of his strength to send a wave of energy that blows the alpha ten feet in the air and hurls him against a tree on his way back down. Stiles’ knees buckle and he crashes to the ground. Adam is shaken, but he gets back on his feet, and his betas gather around him when he walks back over to the circle. Stiles pushes himself up by his arms, and sits. “Anymore quips, or maybe you want me to throw you around some more?” He smirks, and then turns sharply at the sound of howls and growling. It’s not his pack, but these guys are on his side. “Bad move, hurting a human on someone else’s territory. You’re lucky it’s the local pack and not local hunters. I hear those guys are real assholes.”

 

The alpha of the other pack, Jeremy, runs over and glides to a graceful stop. He’s in beta-form, and Stiles mentally notes that his eyebrows don’t disappear. It makes him smile, and lights up an itch to research it.

 

“Emissary, I’m very sorry. We should have realized they would attack. We were preparing for an attack on us, and neglected you after all your help.” Jeremy looks anguished, in all that the beta-face can show any kind of expression, and walks between Stiles and Adam. The mountain ash circle crackles sharply at the proximity, and Jeremy flinches.

 

“You paid me money, kid. I know the risks of the job. We’re good,” Stiles assures him lightly, and coughs. He spits the blood that floods his mouth. “Will definitely appreciate a ride to the nearest hospital, though,” he adds as an afterthought. “Once we’re done here, obviously.” He waves a hand to encompass the two packs now facing off in front of him.

 

“They paid you? Is that why you took their side?” Adam growls, eyes flashing between red and brown when he looks at Stiles.

 

“Your lack of control is astounding . Your parents never tell you growling isn’t a way to solve arguments?”

 

“That’s not an answer, asshole.”

 

No , that’s not why I took their side. I took their side because the territory belonged to them and you were rudely, crudely encroaching on it. Which isn’t something I have a lot of respect for.” Stiles’ phone chooses that exact moment to ring. It’s Oliver’s ringtone. Stiles sighs deeply, and reaches for his back pocket, smearing his screen with blood when he takes the call. “Hey kiddo,” he answers lightly.

 

“How bad is it?” Oliver asks, ignoring Stiles’ attempt at normalcy. Stiles can hear police sirens in the background. Derek must have taken the Sheriff SUV and turned on the lights so he could speed his way over. Stiles chuckles a little at the thought of his father hearing about it.

 

“Could be worse,” Stiles replies honestly.

 

Dad ,” Oliver huffs, not amused.

 

“I could be dead,” Stiles protests.

 

“That’s not fucking funny, dad.”

 

“It’s getting pretty old, Stiles,” Derek comments, which means Stiles is on speaker.  

 

“Hey, babe.” Stiles smiles to himself, coughing again.

 

“Don’t ‘ hey babe ’ me,” Derek huffs. “This is like…a month of cabin sofa time!”

 

“I’m wounded! Like, very bleeding! You can’t kick me out to the cabin!”

 

“I can do whatever I want when my stupid husband gets himself nearly killed on a regular basis, Stiles,” Derek sighs, sounding angry and disappointed. It’s a lethal combination to Stiles’ soul.

 

A loud howl of pain takes Stiles’ focus off the conversation. One of Jeremy’s betas takes a bad blow to the stomach, flying across the clearing and into a tree, struggling to get back up. The tree is splintered where the beta’s body slammed into it. Stiles winces in sympathy. “Look, Der, I have to help them out,” he says hurriedly, assessing the situation unfolding in front of him.

 

“You’re not doing shit,” Derek orders.

 

“Derek, be reasonable,” Stiles winces as he stands up again, stumbling over to lean against the oak inside his mountain ash circle.

 

“No, you be reasonable and just sit this out, Stiles! You’re not in your twenties anymore. Hell, you’re not even in your thirties!”

 

“My age has nothing to do with anything!”

 

“Dad, you’re not dying before I graduate college. You promised,” Oliver jokes, probably trying to calm Derek down, but it does the opposite (though it makes Stiles smile).

 

“Don’t… don’t joke about that,” Derek says quietly, Stiles only barely catching it.

 

“Look, loves of my life, there are werewolves fighting here, and I need to focus. I can tell you’re close. Follow the telluric currents, I’m in the center clearing of the forest. There’s a big oak. I’m good and I’m very secure inside a mountain ash circle. I will see you soon, zero dying.” Stiles says and hangs up before he gets more caught up in the conversation, even though that’s the only thing he really wants to do.

 

Stiles shakes his head, blinks a few times, and draws strength from Derek and Oliver, same as always. He cracks his bloody knuckles, and closes his eyes. He can hear gasps coming from the wolves not currently engaged in a fight, giving the mountain ash circle an even wider berth than before. “Adam, this is your last chance to not get very humiliated and also very hurt,” he says, making himself sound bored. His voice echoes through the clearing, and when Stiles opens his eyes, he can see that his tattoos are glowing from the corner of his eye, and in front of him, all the wolves standing very, very still. “The lines are final. Unchangeable. If you stop this now, I might even consider helping you find another territory.”

 

“Fuck you,” Adam spits, and Stiles groans.

 

“In your dreams,” Stiles huffs, and extends an arm out, pinning Adam to a tree across the clearing. “You either get the fuck off this territory, vowing to never return, or I strip you of the alpha powers you probably gained by murder. Am I clear?” He says sharply, tired both physically and mentally.

 

“You can’t do that, you’re fucking lying!” Adam hollers, panicked.

 

“You’ve seen what I can do. Do you really want to take that risk?” Stiles sees Jeremy and his betas step as far away from him as possible while still remaining in the clearing. There’s only silence answering him, but Adam looks mutinous. “This is your last chance, newbie. Run far away from here and hope I don’t get the urge to look for you if you try and pull shit like this again. Get. Lost.” Stiles releases his hold on Adam, leaving him surprised enough to crash ungracefully to the floor. His betas are unsure now, looking between themselves and their alpha, wondering what now. Adam snarls and stalks away, in the direction of where the territory lines are laid, and his betas follow him carefully, glancing backwards at Stiles every few steps.

 

Stiles watches them walk away, surprised. “Did that seem a little too sudden and easy to you?” he asks Jeremy, who looks mildly relieved, but just as suspicious as Stiles.

 

“Yes. But I tend not to look a gift horse in the mouth. If he comes back, that’s a problem for future me.”

 

“How old are you again?” Stiles chuckles, and breaks the mountain ash circle. Two of Jeremy’s betas rush to him and hold him up carefully. “It’s better if you put me down and call an ambulance. Tell them it’s a bear attack.” Stiles instructs gently, groaning.

 

“I’m twenty-six,” Jeremy replies. Stiles nods, remembers Jeremy inherited the powers from his mother who died two years ago. But Jeremy had a lot of support, a large family who could instruct him and guide him, even though they lived all over the country.

 

“Hm, that sounds about right. That’s not a good way to approach things, I can tell you that from experience.” Stiles smiles carefully at Jeremy, who flushes, embarrassed. The betas, that have helped lower Stiles back to the ground as gently as possible, are exchanging unsure looks. “What? No bears in this forest? Mountain lion then. Used to work all the time when I was in high school. And my dad was the county Sheriff, and he did not know about the supernatural for a very long time.”

 

The betas then spring into action, knocking their heads together in their rush to call the ambulance.

 

“Only need one, children,” Stiles chuckles, which devolves into a grossly bloody coughing fit. Jeremy turns his head sharply in the direction of the trail where cars can get through, and Stiles can hear the police sirens. He’d recognize those anywhere. “My husband must have broken every possible traffic law on his way here. Lucky he’s the current county Sheriff,” Stiles says fondly, trying to lean and look behind the tree he’s propped against. It’s not his greatest idea since it hurts in all the wrong places, so he gives up in order to save some strength.

 

The police SUV skids into the clearing and Oliver is jumping out of it before it even stops. “Dad!” He’s wolfed out, breathing heavily. Derek doesn’t turn off the engine before he follows him, eyes glowing red. Jeremy cows away from him a little.

 

“He won’t hurt you, Jeremy,” Stiles says reassuringly, and that’s the moment Derek even spares a glance for the other alpha, before making his way over to Stiles, Oliver a little ahead of him.

 

“We need to get you to a hospital,” Derek says once he’s standing over Stiles. He sounds terrified, and it scares Stiles.

 

“I’s not that bad, babe,” Stiles slurs, and Derek just growls at him until the smile he was trying to hold onto falters. “The baby betas over there called an ambulance. I’ll be good in no time, don’t worry.”

 

“How,” Derek doesn’t sound pleased or confident in Stiles’ reassurance. Stiles just replies by making jazz hands, meaning, he’ll use his magic. “You’re not doing that in a human hospital!

 

“Doing what,” Oliver asks, sitting next to Stiles, hands shaking and hovering over Stiles’ bleeding side, before steadying enough to touch Stiles’ arm to pain-drain.

 

“No, quit that, you’re making me sleepy,” Stiles says but doesn’t shake Oliver off. “I’ll let them stabilize me, and now that you guys are here I can probably start to knit this hole back up again anyway, so it won’t be as big. Don’t worry, I’ve done this all over the world. Americans won’t be the first ones to figure this out.”

 

The ambulance arrives that moment, the EMTs sliding gracefully out of the back doors. They pause and look at the Beacon County Sheriff's Department SUV, then at Derek, who’s in his uniform.

 

“Uh, Sheriff --” one of them starts, while the other brings over a gurney.

 

“Sheriff Hale-Stilinski,” Derek introduces himself and steps back, touches Oliver’s shoulder to get him to do the same so the EMTs can access Stiles. “This is my husband. He was hiking when a mountain lion showed up. He managed to call me, and then these young men found him, and called you. I rushed over as soon as possible, obviously.” He clears his throat, and Stiles rarely gets to see him be The Sheriff. It’s a hilarious, adorable, amazing echo of how Stiles’ father held himself as Sheriff, with a whole lot of Derek thrown in. It’s the greatest thing. Stiles grunts when the EMTs lift him up and place him on the gurney, rushing it back into the ambulance. “We’ll follow you,” Derek announces, and ushers Oliver back into the SUV, having to work a little at it because Oliver refuses to take his eyes off Stiles.

 

“Hey, if that mountain lion comes back, let me know, okay?” Stiles says meaningfully to Jeremy as the EMTs roll past him, and Jeremy nods stiffly.

 

When Stiles is out of surgery and is finally waking up, he can see Derek prowling at his bedside like a caged animal, and Oliver sitting numb on the other side of the bed.

 

“How long was I out?” He asks, still a little groggy. Oliver raises his head, suddenly completely alert, leaning closer to him.

 

Derek releases a deep sigh. “Six hours. It took two of them to convince your dad and Melissa that it isn’t necessary to fly back from Hawaii.”

 

Stiles sighs quietly and can’t look Derek in the eyes. He looks at Oliver instead and extends an arm so he can pet his hair. “C’mere, puppy,” he says quietly, and makes an inviting motion. Oliver immediately glues himself to Stiles’ side, burying his face in Stiles’ shoulder. “You’re getting a little too big for us to be sharing a single bed,” he jokes, and Oliver shrugs, wriggling a little so he’s fully on the bed. “If I knew werewolf offspring were this clingy and hug-gy, even as teenagers, I would have been a lot less clingy when you were little.”

 

“I didn’t mind,” Oliver says and his voice is muffled where his face is still pressed against Stiles. Stiles smiles and kisses the top of Oliver’s head. Derek finally sits down and takes Stiles’ hand, turning the two rings on Stiles’ ring finger in a soothing habit.

 

“Whenever you guys are done moping and ready to roll out of here, I’m done lying in this hospital bed,” Stiles says after a few somber moments.

 

“You can’t move,” Oliver informs him.

 

“Why don’t you take a look under the bandage, then?” Stiles dares him, raising his eyebrows. Derek groans, exasperated.

 

“Do you seriously think they’ll just accept that the gaping hole in your side disappeared and your ankle surprisingly healed after six hours?” Derek isn’t impressed with him, but Stiles can tell he’s so very relieved he wants to laugh, because Stiles is okay.

 

“Go do some Sheriffing. Tell them you’d like to transfer me to Beacon Hills Memorial, and then don’t do it. Be impressive and authoritative like my dad taught you.” Stiles grins at him, and Oliver snorts into the pillow.

 

“Your dad didn’t --” Derek splutters, outraged.

 

“He totally, totally did. He basically cultivated you. You are everything he wanted in a son who followed in his footsteps, trust me; I’d know. And the fact that you can’t be killed by guns is just a bonus for him. He’s your biggest fan,” Stiles says fondly. Derek shifts a little in his seat, doesn’t know what to do with the honesty he knows is in that statement. “Anyway, go be a Sheriff and get me out of here. There’s an almost fully sized werewolf suffocating me,” he adds to loosen Derek up, and Oliver grunts indignantly. Stiles isn’t sure if he’s indignant about the suffocating comment or the ‘almost fully sized’ one.

 

“I can’t just --” Derek starts, but Stiles can tell Derek just really wants to join the pile, so he sits up, dislodging a disgruntled Oliver. He winces on his way up, still stiff and sore. He opens his arms and waits until Derek flies into them breathing shakily. He holds him tight for a good few minutes, Oliver wrapping himself around Stiles’ back.

 

“Okay. Now can you go and get me released?” Stiles teases once Derek eases his hold.

 

Fine .” Derek huffs and carefully steps back. He sounds so petulant for someone going on fifty years old that Stiles has to laugh. He reaches out a hand so he can caress Derek’s gray temple. “We’re talking about this when we get home.” Derek warns and Stiles nods, accepts it.

 

The car ride back to Beacon Hills is quiet and tense, because now that Stiles is fine, Derek can go back to being angry. Oliver sits next to Stiles in the back, and Stiles keeps a grounding palm on the back of his neck.

 

“Why are you both breathing through your mouth?” Stiles asks, genuinely curious. Usually Derek and Oliver would rely on their noses, but they’re both puffing through their mouths like there’s some foul smell they can’t stand.

 

“You smell like healing magic and blood and it’s gross,” Oliver says bluntly, and looks outside the window, away from Stiles.

 

“Oh wow. You’ve never been around me so soon after an injury, have you?”

 

“It’s not... gross . It’s...disconcerting,” Derek corrects carefully.

 

“It smells like death,” Oliver says, contemplative. “And then…rebirth, maybe? I don’t know. Both at the same time, it’s terrible,” he complains.

 

“So terribly sorry, would you like me to stop healing?” Stiles teases, leaning close. Oliver pushes him away playfully. Stiles can see Derek smiling through the rearview mirror, and then forcing it off.

 

“I’m taking you back to the school, you have baseball practice,” Derek announces, breaking through the lighthearted atmosphere.

 

“What? No! I promise I won’t eavesdrop!”

 

Stiles laughs. “You’re genetically related to me, and have super-hearing. As if that’s a realistic possibility,” he ruffles Oliver’s hair, who groans and slumps in his seat. “But you’re not taking him to the school. He’ll be in the house, and we’ll be in the cabin. I should be making myself comfortable there, since you’ve deported me,” Stiles addresses Derek, trying to get a rise out of him.

 

“I wasn’t serious,” Derek says, exasperated. He’s never serious about that threat. He only acted on it once and ended up joining Stiles in the cabin in the middle of the night anyway. “And he needs to go back to school. Your shenanigans shouldn’t interrupt his classes in the first place.” Derek’s tone has an edge to it, and Stiles has to bite down on a snort because Derek said ‘shenanigans’ and it’s hilarious.

 

“While that’s true, this is the first time it’s happened. So cut him some slack, and let’s all go home.” Stiles doesn’t want this to devolve into an argument, but he’ll do it if Derek doesn’t back down.

 

“Stiles -”

 

“He needs to be home right now, with us. You should know that better than me. We’re going home.” Stiles cuts Derek off hoping that will chastise Derek enough. Oliver is quiet and assessing, unsure of what to do. “Besides, you were the one who pulled him out,” he adds, the unsaid “you could have spared him this” hanging heavy in the space of the car. Derek doesn’t say anything, but he drives past the high school and heads straight to the preserve.

 

“Are you going to stop talking about me like I’m not here now?” Oliver pipes up, looks carefully between Stiles and meeting Derek’s eyes in the rearview mirror.

 

“Do you want to go to practice?” Stiles asks patiently.

 

“No,” Oliver says quietly, lowering his head to stare at his fidgeting hands.

 

“And why’s that?” Stiles prompts further.

 

“Want to be with you,” Oliver mumbles. “And you,” he adds, meets Derek’s eyes in the mirror. “Both of you.”

 

“So that’s what we’ll do.” Derek says finally.

 

Rocco comes running through the trees when they park the car, jumping at Oliver. “Hey, buddy,” Oliver kneels and nuzzles their excited lab-mix. He’s black with light brown eyes, and he sleeps in Oliver’s bed. When Stiles and Derek finally caved to Oliver’s begging, they went to the pound, and Oliver’s eyes shone gold when he came up to Rocco’s kennel, the two clicking immediately. Stiles was a fan of the name, because it sounded a little bit like Roscoe and he was sentimental about his dumb jeep, and Derek was a fan of Rocco’s eyes, for reasons he refuses to disclose, and honestly, watching Oliver in the full shift roughhousing with Rocco is probably the purest thing Stiles has ever seen in his life.

 

Derek wraps his arm around Stiles as they walk inside, Rocco following all three of them, a little more somber than he was when he came to greet them, but with a still-wagging tail. They all take off their shoes, then walk to the living room. Stiles throws himself onto the couch heavily, and Derek doesn’t join him, choosing to pace instead. Oliver stands between them, unsure.

 

“Do you want me to leave?” Oliver asks carefully.

 

“Not yet.” Stiles lifts up his arm, and Oliver sits down and glues himself to Stiles’ side. Rocco climbs onto the couch right after him, eliciting a groan from Derek. “I thought you’d give up on the notion of the dog not getting on the furniture after six years,” Stiles teases and Derek scowls, but it’s his “I’m trying not to smile” one, and not the genuinely angry one. Not yet, anyway. “I mean, you’re literally the alpha of this house, you could have totally trained him. You chose not to, so I call shenanigans on you.” He points a finger at Derek, and Derek groans again, slapping a hand against his forehead.

 

“I knew you’d get stuck on that. Dammit,” Derek says quietly, and finally sits down on Stiles’ other side. Stiles kisses his temple, and runs his fingers through his hair.

 

“I hope old people vocabulary isn’t infectious,” Stiles teases.

 

“Watch it,” Derek elbows him, and catches Stiles on his still healing side, which causes him to double over involuntarily. “Shit, shit , what did I do? Are you okay?” Derek immediately moves away from him, as does Oliver, both their hands hovering over Stiles like they’re afraid they’ll break him.

 

“Hey, hey !” Stiles raises both hands in the air, causing both Derek and Oliver to freeze in the middle of their fretting. “I’m okay. Relax. It’s just a little sensitive. It’ll be gone by tomorrow,” Stiles promises. Derek and Oliver look very unimpressed. “Did my heart stutter? I’m not lying!”

 

“Oh my god, dad, you’ve known how to hide lies from werewolves since before I was born,” Oliver groans, folding his arms over his chest.

 

“I -” Stiles starts and then pauses, rethinking his response. “That’s true, but I don’t do that to you guys. I do it to Scott to mess with him, but I definitely don’t do it with you.” Oliver levels Stiles with a raised brow worthy of Derek, and Stiles deflates a little. “Okay, I used to do it when you were very little. But it was only white lies! You know, things that would scar you if you knew the truth!” Stiles admits defensively. Oliver’s other brow joins the first. “What! I do not lie to you about serious things, Oliver,” Stiles is genuinely a little offended now. “But I will definitely lie if you ask me where me and dad were when the answer is ‘having sex on the couch in the cabin’, because you’ll never sit there again, and I like when you sit there.”

 

“DAD! Jesus! Gross, why are you so gross!” Oliver folds in on himself, trying to block out the world. “Never setting foot in that cabin ever again,” he mutters.

 

“See?!” Stiles says incredulously. “What if I got a new couch? Would you come in then?”

 

Maybe ,” Oliver says sharply.

 

“You played yourself,” Derek says smugly and Stiles huffs and elbows him in the rib. Derek makes a show of coughing a little and rubbing a hand where Stiles’ pointy elbow hit.

 

“On the one hand, it’s really great how you guys are so open about these things and accepting and shit, but on the other? Seriously, spare me your own personal details,” Oliver says desperately, scrubbing a hand through his fluffy hair. He grows his hair a little longer than Stiles or Derek, and it’s a little wavy, like Stiles’ was the one time he grew it out, when Oliver was about eight or nine years old.

 

“We’ll make an effort,” Stiles promises and winks at Oliver. He pulls him close and presses his lips to the top of his head. He can’t do that anymore when they’re standing; Oliver passed him by an inch a few months ago. Derek had a hard time hiding how upset he was when Oliver got taller than him about a year before, and Stiles shamelessly teased him about it.

 

“You’re still gross,” Oliver points out, and Stiles nods.

 

“Mmmhmm, but we’re the only dads you have, so you’re just going to have to deal with it,” Stiles says with finality and Oliver snorts. Derek touches his hand to the back of Oliver’s neck, rubbing his thumb back and forth through the hair there, tangling it a little.

 

“Buddy,” Derek says carefully, and Oliver immediately takes the hint and starts to disentangle himself from Stiles.

 

“Yeah, I’ll go upstairs, you can activate the soundproof wards,” Oliver says, looking at the floor. Rocco stands up with him, but Stiles stops him before he can leave.

 

“How did you know…” Stiles trails off, watching Oliver with fond wonder.

 

“I read , dad. I am also force sensitive,” Oliver jokes, doing jazz hands, and Stiles laughs raucously.

 

“So, what, did you feel a disturbance in the force today?”

 

Oliver’s smile gets smaller. “Yeah, it sucked actually,” he admits. “Not a disturbance I was happy to sense.”

 

“I’m sorry, Ollie. Maybe...maybe I could train you. Some. If you’d like that,” Stiles offers carefully. Oliver is busy with school and friends and the various sports teams he’s a part of, and Derek drills him with Scott and Jesse three times a week on werewolf things that Stiles watches but doesn’t participate in. He never heard of a wolf using magic, but he figures there’s no harm in trying.

 

“You would ?!” Oliver’s eyes fly open and they’re shiny and excited. His entire face brightens, it’s comforting to look at.

 

“I’ll certainly try if you’re interested,” Stiles says softly. “We’ll talk about it later, okay?”

 

Oliver nods, takes the hint again, and urges Rocco to follow him upstairs, shutting his bedroom door behind him. Stiles breathes in and out, concentrating for a moment, and sees Derek shiver when he opens his eyes.

 

“Felt it?” He asks curiously.

 

Derek nods. “Like a physical touch.”

 

“Sorry,” Stiles says carefully.

 

“That’s not what you should be sorry for,” Derek says, disappointed.

 

“I know. I’m sorry for that too. I didn’t think - “

 

“Stiles, that’s exactly the problem! You have to think. You’re not a kid. You have a kid, who needs you. I need you. This isn’t a new discussion, and I hate having it every time you come home smelling like death,” Derek says, his voice rough with emotion. Stiles wants to touch him but doesn’t, respecting Derek and giving him room to express his feelings and thoughts.

 

“You’re not going alone anymore,” Derek says after a long silence. “Either with me or Scott. Not alone. This is the last time, Stiles. And you should be thankful I’ve held out this long. I’m tired of counting your scars, do you understand?”

 

Stiles’ jaw clicks with how hard he’s clenching it. “You can’t make that decision, and you can’t ask Scott to do that. It’s not fair to him.”

 

“What else am I supposed to do , Stiles? I cannot lose you, and you’re determined to make me go through that nightmare scenario every time you go on one of these… missions,” Derek’s voice is shaking, desperate. Stiles does touch him then, places a hand on his knee.

 

“I... I don’t know what to say, Derek. We’ve had this discussion a million times in the past fifteen years, and I don’t know what to do to help you rest easy,” Stiles says quietly, and lets his hand go higher up Derek’s thigh and squeeze. It’s not sexual at all, Stiles meaning for it to be grounding and comforting. Derek sags against the back of the couch, sighing. Stiles leans against him, resting his head on Derek’s shoulder, and Derek rests his head on Stiles’, breathing deeply. “I’m sorry,” Stiles lets it out with a deep sigh.

 

“That’s not cutting it. It’s never been enough, Stiles. I know you say you made sure it won’t reach us, won’t reach our territory or our lives, but it reaches you. And that’s too much for me to handle anymore.”

 

“So what do you want me to do? Retire? I can’t retire, Derek,” Stiles says with a tinge of anger to his voice. He raises his head back up, dislodging Derek, and looks at him. “I’ve given up travelling almost entirely, because you asked . But I can’t retire, I can’t quit. I won’t,” he says stubbornly.

 

“I’m not asking you to! I just --” Derek stops and takes a deep breath. “I just need you to be safer. I need you to think things through. Stop doing things you know antagonize alphas. It’s irresponsible, it’s stupid, it’s not something someone with as much experience as you should be doing,” he begs, clenching his fists.

 

Stiles takes both clenched fists in his hands and holds tightly. He doesn’t really have anything to say because he knows Derek is right, and he doesn’t really have a good enough explanation for why he keeps doing it. Saying it’s for the thrill, for a quick solution, will only anger Derek.

 

“What if it does follow you home, Stiles? What if one of these alphas goes after Oliver ?” Derek bends and buries his face in his hands.

 

“Do you know how many wards protect you and Oliver at any given time?” Stiles is offended Derek would even suggest that he would leave them defenseless.

 

“The tattoos,” Derek says, like a realization is dawning on him. Stiles has Derek’s and Oliver’s names tattooed on his chest. He’s had them ever since Oliver was born, and Derek never asked if they had a purpose beyond being ordinary tattoos.

 

“Among other things.” Stiles nods his affirmation.

 

“What does it cost you, to keep the wards around us all the time?” Derek asks curiously with a tinge of worry.

 

“Nothing I’m not willing to give.” Stiles avoids the answer, looking away from Derek.

 

“Tell me,” Derek demands. “Is it years off your life?”

 

No, ” Stiles says sharply. “Concentration. Energy. Ritual every full moon.”

 

“Blood magic like the protections for the territory?” Derek asks quietly, and he sounds tired and afraid.

 

“No. No need.”

 

“What if something happens to you? Does it hold if you’re wounded and weak? If you’re gone ?” Derek looks sideways at him and Stiles turns to look down at the carpet and his socked feet.

 

“I’d rather not test it,” Stiles says carefully. “It won’t hold if I’m gone,” he admits. “Which is why I’m going to teach Oliver.”

 

Derek frowns but doesn’t protest. Stiles figures Derek understands the importance of someone knowing how to defend the territory and their pack if Stiles can’t. They breathe in tandem for a few minutes, then both lean against the back of the couch at the same time. Stiles laughs quietly, and reaches for Derek’s hand. Derek entwines their fingers and Stiles squeezes his hand. There’s a silent agreement to put this to rest for today.

 

“I know it’s my turn today, but can you make dinner?” Stiles turns his head with as little movement as possible, just enough so he can look at Derek, finding Derek is looking at him.

 

Derek rolls his eyes. “Why don’t we make Oliver do it?” He grins and wiggles his eyebrows in a way that makes Stiles laugh out loud this time.

 

“I knew I married you for a good reason,” Stiles says fondly.

 

“Oh? What’s that?”

 

“Your superb ideas.” Stiles wiggles his eyebrows at Derek in return. “Also your butt, always a fan of your butt.”

 

“You’re the worst.”

 

“Sadly, you married me right back,” Stiles points out. Derek shakes his head and gets up. He looks expectantly at Stiles, eyebrows raised. “What? Oh, the ward! Yeah, okay.” He closes his eyes and breathes in and out, and there’s something like the popping noise you hear when an airplane takes off. Oliver jumps down the stairs dramatically, and Rocco skids on the floor in his excitement to greet Stiles and Derek again, who are both standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking unimpressed.

 

“You taught him the worst stuff, Derek. Oliver, stairs are for walking down, not jumping off of, no matter how ‘werewolf’ it is to do. Your dad being a dramatic show-off is not something to be inspired by,” Stiles says, grumpy.

 

“So what are we eating?” Oliver grins and dimples at Stiles, knowing today is Stiles’ turn.

 

“You decide and then make it. I was mortally wounded today.” Stiles flutters his eyelashes at him and Oliver gives him the finger.

 

“Hey!” Derek reprimands, and slaps Oliver’s hand away. “Let’s just order take out,” he suggests, knowing that in the current mood Stiles and Oliver are in, they won’t ever eat.

 

“You’re just chock full of good ideas today!” Stiles says delightedly, smiling brightly at Derek.

“Just today?”

 

“Eh, you have your good days and your bad days.”

 

Derek scoffs. “Look who’s talking.”

 

“Since today is my turn, we’re having Chinese,” Stiles announces, completely ignoring Derek’s comment.

 

“I thought you said it was my turn!” Oliver protests.

 

“It was your turn when someone needed to make the food,” Stiles clarifies. “I’m definitely fit to decide I feel like ordering Chinese.”

 

“I’ll tell the police you’re abusing me for child labor.”

 

“I am the police,” Derek goes along with the joke.

 

“I’ll go to the better police.” Oliver shrugs. “I’ll go to grandpa.”

 

“Grandpa isn’t the police anymore,” Derek says smugly.

 

“He’s totally still the best police and you’re totally scared of what he thinks about your Sheriffing.” Oliver hits the nail on the head and Stiles laughs with his whole body. Derek just blushes a deep red.

 

“He loves your Sheriffing, don’t worry.” Stiles pats Derek’s shoulder and reaches into Derek’s back pocket for his phone. Derek jumps at it. “You act like I’ve never touched your butt before,” Stiles teases.

 

“You usually aren’t so blatant about it in front of our son,” Derek huffs. Stiles smacks his butt for good measure and waves him off, concentrating on pulling up their favorite take out app so he can get everyone’s regular order. The code to Derek’s phone is Stiles’ dad’s birthday. Derek thought he wouldn’t figure it out, but Stiles figured it out two days after Derek’s most recent switch. It's a game they play and Derek always loses.

 

“Food’ll be here in half an hour. Family pile on the couch until it does?” Stiles says once he’s finished, then follows Oliver to the couch. Oliver jumps over the back and drops onto the middle violently, the springs and frame protesting loudly, and Derek and Stiles join him on either side at a more sedate pace. Rocco looks at them forlornly for a bit, feeling left out, and then walks over to what is essentially his very own overstuffed chair that he won off of Derek fair and square. He turns three times and paws at the upholstery a little before he settles down, resting his head on the armrest, watching them.  

 

“We should get a bigger couch so he can join family piles,” Oliver says sadly, pouting at Rocco’s despondent face.

 

Stiles shakes his head, smiling at Oliver. “Maybe.”

 

Oliver sits with his legs pulled up, Derek and Stiles’ arms around his back and shoulders respectively. “Look at him, he’s so sad,” Oliver points.

 

“He’s a dog that has an armchair with his name on it instead of, oh, I don’t know, a dog bed. He’ll be okay, Ollie,” Derek says grumpily.

 

“You’re just angry because that used to be your armchair,” Oliver teases him and Derek wriggles his arm a little so he can reach Oliver’s rib and pinch it, making Oliver jump and almost elbow Stiles in the face.

 

“Whoa, jeez. Was I this flaily at seventeen? I thought the werewolf thing would negate that,” Stiles helps Oliver lower his arm carefully where his elbow is still a little too close to Stiles’ nose.

 

“You were worse, so I’m assuming this is the best the werewolf thing could do against your genes.” Derek raises his eyebrows, looking smug.

 

“You’re the worst parents,” Oliver comments, but Stiles focuses on Derek.

 

“You loved my flailing,” Stiles flings at him, narrowing his eyes.

 

“It grew on me,” Derek admits, shrugging. “And we are not the worst. We’re just very honest. Some would say it’s a virtue,” he says, failing to keep a straight face.

 

“You can be less honest about my ears,” Oliver says, touching them self-consciously.

 

“Mine are the same, puppy.” Derek touches his fingers to his own ears, pushing them even further out.

 

“Yeah, well, when does the magical werewolf puberty thing happen?” Oliver grumbles.

 

“Wish I had pictures of myself from when I was seventeen. I’m sure you’d feel a lot better,” Derek says wistfully, placing a hand on Oliver’s shoulder and shaking him a little.

 

“We can pass on pictures of me when I was seventeen,” Stiles says emphatically.

 

“It was pretty obvious you’d be hitting a puberty jackpot by then.” Derek smiles at Stiles behind Oliver’s head.

 

“You had a crush on me when I was seventeen ?” Stiles asks excitedly. “Babe, that’s so embarrassing,” he laughs.

 

“I did not --! Besides, you had a crush on me , and we’re literally married, Stiles,” Derek deflects bitterly.

 

“Yeah, but you were older, all brood and literal animal magnetism. I was very gangly with a bad sense of fashion and an unhealthy interest in endangering my own life. So, still embarrassing,” Stiles counters.

 

“Oh my god , please stop ,” Oliver begs, shoving both of them away, making them both laugh. “Also, dad, you still have a bad sense of fashion.”

 

I do not ! Derek tells me all the time how your classmates think we’re both --”

 

“DO NOT SAY THAT WORD, DAD, I WILL DISOWN YOU AND MOVE OUT,” Oliver raises his voice so he doesn’t have to hear how Stiles ends the sentence.

 

“What, DILF?” Stiles says once Oliver is done ranting, and cackles. Oliver groans like he’s dying.

 

Why are you like this?” Oliver asks desperately, and Stiles just brings him closer so he can whisper in his ear.

 

“Because I can be.”

Both Derek and Oliver perk up after that, and Stiles sighs and assumes the take out is going to arrive in a few minutes. Both his wolves are so attuned to the preserve it’s ridiculous (and amazing).

 

They eat, Derek and Oliver updating Stiles on what happened while he was out, and then they skype with Stiles’ dad and Melissa.

 

“I thought you said there was a gaping hole in his side. Bones showing,” John says skeptically.

 

“There was, daddio. Made it go away. Poof!” Stiles does jazz hands, inter-family sign for him using magic.

 

John gapes at him for a quiet moment. “I don’t want to know,” he says finally.

 

“Better that way anyway!” Stiles says cheerfully.

 

They say goodbye when Melissa reminds John about the hotel party they were missing out on. John looks at Stiles for a long, quiet moment before he says goodbye, finishing the call. He wasn’t smiling like he usually does when he’s looking at Stiles with Derek and Oliver. Stiles groans internally at the knowledge that there’s a really tough conversation with his father in his future.

 

They go back to the living room, Oliver sitting on the floor working on homework while Derek and Stiles sit on the couch and watch a movie.

 

Oliver suddenly sits up. “Jesse’s here! I mean, not here-here, but he’s coming,” he clarifies, then jogs to the front door to wait for him outside.

 

Stiles bends his head backwards over the back of the couch when he hears both teenagers walk in. Jesse is a year older than Oliver, but shorter than him by a good few inches. He took after Scott in skin tone, and got Kira’s eyes. He’s a handsome, kind and gentle young man, and Stiles would probably like him even if he wasn’t Jesse’s godfather. “Your dad sent you to spy on us?” Stiles asks conversationally and Jesse does the most Scott thing in the world and pretends not to know what Stiles is talking about.

 

“What? No, I just -- uh, well, Ollie wasn’t at practice, and...uh. Um. I have his AP math homework?”

 

“You’re a terrible liar, just like Scott. How delightful. Let your dad know I’m okay, and go make out with my son somewhere else please.” Stiles says that last part just to watch Jesse’s cheeks turn the deepest shade of red while Oliver fumes quietly next to him. Oliver doesn’t say anything, instead grabs Jesse’s hand and drags him up the stairs. Rocco knows better than to follow.

 

“Do you want me to put up the soundproof wards?” Stiles raises his voice just a little, and he hears Oliver groan again and slam his bedroom door shut. “You left your books here!” Stiles adds. The door upstairs opens, and Jesse is the one to walk downstairs and grab all of Oliver’s school books and notes.

 

“Uh, Oliver says yes to the wards, please?” Jesse says carefully. He internally debates something, and then takes a fortifying breath. “Do you think you could do that in our house too, Stiles?”

 

Stiles laughs. “Yeah, we can work something out. You staying the night, Jess?”

 

“I - I don’t know yet?”

 

“BE A GENTLEMAN AND INVITE YOUR BOYFRIEND TO STAY THE NIGHT, I RAISED YOU BETTER!” Stiles says loudly, and hears Oliver scrambling down the stairs, probably with a hot reply.

 

“You raised me the worst, oh my god, stop talking to him Jesse,” Oliver tries to drag Jesse away again, but Jesse resists.

 

“I love your dads, they’re so much more relaxed than my parents.”

 

“Who would’ve thought Scott Mccall would be the more uptight parent,” Stiles muses.

 

“You wish!” Oliver huffs. “You’re just playing it up for Jesse,” he says accusingly.

 

“I need to have someone who thinks I’m cool, otherwise I’ll be sad,” Stiles explains. Derek snorts and coughs to hide it when he laughs a little.

 

“Ollie doesn’t shut up about the magic, Stiles. Literally never.” Jesse grins smugly, and then bends over when Oliver punches his rib, probably holding back zero of the werewolf strength.

 

“You’re definitely not staying the night, and don’t bother with the soundproofing, pops,” Oliver says confidently, and Jesse gives him a wounded look.

 

“Do bother with the soundproofing,” Derek begs from Stiles’ right side, looking at both teenagers warily.

 

“Dad! What the hell!” Oliver gives Derek a wounded look. “I’m not --” he stops there, considering his option. “Like that,” he finishes lamely.

 

“You’re a normal teenager, of course you are,” Derek says cheerfully. “Just go upstairs, Ollie,” he says, exasperated.

 

You want to make out, this is what’s happening here.” Oliver points an accusing finger at Derek. Derek and Stiles shrug.

 

“I wasn’t really thinking about it, but I’m definitely considering it now,” Derek says, and Stiles knows it’s just to get a rise out of Oliver, who unfortunately doesn’t take the bait, just glares at Derek. “Go on,” Derek says, and makes a shooing motion. Oliver huffs but doesn’t protest, dragging a smiling Jesse upstairs with him. Stiles and Derek both wink at him, causing him to sputter out a laugh. Stiles puts up the soundproof wards just in case.

 

It’s getting pretty late, and Stiles is just about to suggest they go to bed, when suddenly something tingles at the tips of his fingers and across his neck, going down his back, and he straightens and shivers. “There’s someone in the borders. Bad intentions. I think it’s the alpha from this morning. I had a feeling he scampered off too fast. That it was too easy.”

 

Derek is immediately on high alert too, and they both hear Oliver’s bedroom door opening and his feet thumping down the stairs, Jesse stumbling down after him, not sure what’s going on. Stiles chooses not to comment on how dishevelled they look, because there are more urgent things to handle.

 

“What the hell was that,” Oliver says nervously, and he’s still shivering a little, wriggling like he’s trying to get rid of an itch he can’t reach. He’s more sensitive than Stiles thought. Jesse looks like he’s completely out of the loop. Stiles doesn’t envy him.

 

“Stay inside, both of you,” Stiles says instead of answering, and stands carefully. “Derek?” he asks, and Derek nods and stands next to him.

 

“Dad, you can’t go fight someone like this!” Oliver protests. “I’m coming with you,” he declares and Derek growls at him. Jesse looks like he’s ready to fight with Oliver, but he backs up when Derek glares at him.

 

“Like hell you are,” Stiles says. “ Stay inside, Oliver,” he warns, and Oliver cows away a little, more than he did or ever does from Derek. “Get Scott,” he says to Derek, and Derek nods and pulls out his phone.

 

“Dad --!”

 

“Do not make me lock you in your room,” Stiles warns and Oliver folds his arms over his chest, angry.

 

“Lock him in anyway, he’s your offspring, and Jesse is Scott’s . Do not take chances,” Derek says harshly, and Stiles nods. Oliver scoffs, offended.

 

“Yes, true. Go upstairs,” Stiles orders and points in that direction as he walks to the entryway and puts on his shoes.

 

“You’re not locking us in my room!” Oliver stomps his foot.

 

“Parents, alpha.” Stiles gestures at himself and Derek. “Child, beta. Do as I said, Oliver !” Stiles gestures at Oliver then, and raises his voice, which he doesn’t do often.

 

“You’re not my alpha!” Oliver yells at Stiles, but Stiles doesn’t even flinch.

 

“But I am your father, and me and your alpha say you stay inside. Stop arguing, it won’t help you. And it’s delaying us. We need to go and you’re not coming , and that’s the end of this discussion,” Stiles says sharply and Oliver steps back. His expression is still mutinous, but he knows he lost the argument.

 

“Then why are you training me and Jesse all the time? What’s the point if you’re not going to let us do anything when something finally happens in this boring town?”

 

“The point is that you’re never defenseless, Oliver. But we will never, ever , place you purposefully in a fight.” Derek is softer than Stiles, as always, but he’s clear in this being the end of the argument as well.

 

Oliver bites the inside of his cheek, and Rocco walks over to nuzzle against his leg to comfort him, sensing the tension in the air. “When are you coming back?” He demands quietly, letting his worry seep into his voice, making it break. It hasn’t happened since he hit puberty.

 

“As soon as we’re done.” Stiles walks over and hugs Oliver tightly. “Do you trust us to come back?” he whispers into Oliver’s hair. Oliver nods. “Then go upstairs, cuddle up with your cute boyfriend and Rocco, and do some homework.” Oliver tries to shove him off, but Stiles holds on. “Everything will be fine,” he says reassuringly. He lets go and turns to Jesse, ruffling his hair, making him smile. “ Do not do anything Oliver says, okay? Just stay inside, and be safe. ” Jesse nods dutifully.

 

Stiles takes a step back and Derek walks over to hug Oliver too, whispering something that Stiles doesn’t catch. Oliver nods again and releases a shaky sigh, then Jesse takes his hand, pulling him upstairs with Rocco without looking back.



Once they’re out of the ward bubble that protects their house, Stiles knows they’re after Adam, and Derek suggests they split up because he’s an idiot. “I know what you’re trying to do, and it’s not going to work,” Stiles says angrily. “You’re not fighting that guy alone. He’s younger, he’s mean, and he’s angry , Derek.”

 

“You think I can’t take him alone?” Derek asks, outraged and offended.

 

“I think you shouldn’t,” Stiles clarifies. They trudge through the thicker part of the forest, Derek tracking Adam by scent, and Stiles by the trail the magic of the ward is leaving for him.

“Don’t get involved unless it’s necessary. He already got you once,” Derek requests. “Scott is on his way,” he adds once he checks a text message that pinged on his phone.

 

“Ugh, I hope our dumb kid doesn’t drag out Scott’s to do something stupid,” Stiles huffs. “Irony will literally kill itself.”

 

Derek laughs. “They’ll even have a terrible alpha to come across!”

 

“Is that a reference to you or to Peter?” Stiles teases, and Derek scoffs.

 

“I wasn’t an alpha when we first met.”

 

“Right, sorry. You were just mean.”

 

“I mean, I was grieving,” Derek says conversationally, and Stiles winces.

 

“Sorry,” he offers. Derek shakes his head and takes Stiles’ hand in his. They both freeze at the same time. “He’s heading for the house,” Stiles says, panicked. “Derek, shift , I’ll be right behind you,” he all but orders, and Derek does as he’s told. The house is protected, of course, but a stubborn alpha with a vengeance might just get through, especially when Stiles isn’t doing so hot. Stiles sprints, almost keeping up with the jet-black form of Derek speeding through the trees. Stiles can hear the distressed howls before he can even see the house and makes himself run faster despite the pain in his side and the lingering twinge in his ankle. Derek is howling back, and Stiles hears how Oliver’s howl changes as he transitions into a full shift. Oliver is still growing; as a human, he’s taller than both of them. As a wolf, Stiles thinks he might just be bigger than Derek, but he’s not sure. If not, Stiles is sure he will be. His coat is jet black like Derek’s, same as their dark hair. When Stiles gets to the house, minutes after Derek he can hear the growls and yelps of pain from where Derek and Adam are clawing at each other. Jesse is standing with Oliver, who is wolfed out, and is holding onto him, straining, preventing Oliver from joining Derek.

 

“Ollie, stay out of it!” Stiles yells, and Oliver snarls at him, gesturing his head wildly at Derek, who’s entangled with Adam. Adam’s betas are heading in Oliver and Jesse’s direction, and Stiles gets in front of them. “Stay away from this and you might keep all your limbs attached,” he warns. The betas hesitate briefly before continuing to move forward.

 

“You can’t take four werewolves alone at the same time,” one of the betas says, and Oliver snarls at him while Jesse struggles to keep his grip on Oliver.

 

“You’ll be surprised at just what I can do when I’m not wounded and my family’s involved,” Stiles threatens, and the betas stop moving. There’s a yelp to Stiles’ right that’s Derek, and Oliver whines. Derek is struggling to get up, and there’s no sign of Scott showing up any time soon. He lives on the other side of town, which is far enough away that he might just not get to them on time. Derek gets up, and Stiles sighs with relief. Oliver is prowling the border of the porch, of the ward, after Jesse finally gives up on holding him back. Stiles reinforces the wards to keep Oliver in them, but he knows it won’t hold for long. Oliver is too strong and angry, and too familiar with the wards and their weaknesses.

 

Derek growls at Oliver when he sees him trying to descend the porch steps, and gets slashed because of it. Oliver yelps and climbs back up, realizing his distraction got Derek hurt. Then he leaps back off, above Stiles’ head when one of the betas runs at Stiles, jumping at him and pushing him to the floor. Stiles feels the wards breaking like a bucket of water on his head.

 

“Oliver, no!” Stiles begs, and then Jesse’s there, in beta-shift, trying to pull Oliver physically away, but losing the battle pretty quickly. “Jesse, get back on the porch, buddy. Please,” he pleads with him and Jesse looks between him and Oliver and ignores it. “Shit,” Stiles says emphatically, and tries to focus over Oliver and Derek’s familiar growls. He’s torn away from his meditative focus after a loud yelp and a pained whine, opening his eyes just in time to see Oliver get thrown into a tree and fall down in a bleeding lump. Jesse runs over to him, growling at a beta who tries to come close.

 

Stiles grunts angrily and cracks his neck and knuckles, tries to drown out the noises Derek makes, and then everything goes completely silent, before suddenly turning back on. When he opens his eyes, the world is black and white, and everything stops. Stiles is aware of every tiny thing around him but is also seeing the entire bigger picture at the same time. He can both hear the mosquito buzzing an inch away from him and feel the breath of all the wolves around him, knows exactly where each of them is. He can feel Oliver gaining back consciousness, and knows Oliver is looking at him like he’s never seen him before. He realizes he’s floating in the air, his tattoos are glowing, and his eyes have gone all white. He gestures with a hand and Adam is in the air, choking.

 

“Do you want to die with blood or without air?” Stiles asks. His voice echoes across the clearing, and Stiles feels Jesse shivering. He’s scared. It’s clear that there’s no escape for Adam. Adam struggles against Stiles’ invisible hold, and one of the betas makes a move in Oliver and Jesse’s direction again, thinking Stiles is distracted. “No, buddy, that’s not an option.” Stiles twists his other hand and the beta drops where he stands. Oliver whimpers and Jesse gasps. Neither have seen Stiles at full strength before.

 

Derek shifts back, standing naked to Stiles’ right. “Stiles, don’t do it.” Derek is bleeding and breathing roughly.

 

“You’re not making decisions right now, Derek. He came into our territory and he hurt my pack. I warned him, and he ignored it. He won’t be leaving. At the very least, not as an alpha.” Stiles turns momentarily to the frozen betas, Adam still struggling. “This is your chance to run away. Your bad choice of alpha will be forgiven if you leave right now.” One of the betas flees. Stiles feels a pop as he exits the territory lines.

 

“Stiles, don’t do this to the kids,” Derek pleads with him.

 

“Then take them inside.” He looks in Derek’s direction unseeingly. Derek stands his ground.

 

“This is still my territory, and you’re not killing him on it,” Derek insists.

 

“This is our territory, and that’s my choice to make. Take. The kids. Inside. ” Stiles turns to Oliver, who coughs wetly, sitting naked and leaning against Jesse’s chest.

 

“I want to see.” Oliver says weakly and Derek snarls.

 

“Get inside right now,” Derek orders, and Oliver snarls right back, and doesn’t move.

 

Another of Adam’s betas slithers away and Stiles smirks. One of the remaining two makes a move towards Oliver again and Stiles snaps his neck with a flick of his wrist. The crack is loud enough to bring bile up Stiles’ throat, but he ignores it. The beta slumps to the ground on top of the other one, who groans, stirring awake. Oliver and Jesse gasp and Jesse looks away, terrified. He gags loudly like he’s going to be sick and Oliver instinctively takes his hand. Oliver is looking straight at Stiles, frozen. “My son is out of bounds,” he clarifies. “You make a move, you think about making a move, I take you out.”

 

“Stiles, STOP ,” Derek tries again.

 

Stiles ignores him. “Blood or air?” He asks Adam again, squeezing on his throat a little tighter. Adam chokes out a cough.

 

Scott’s car skids in the debris of the forest floor, and he jumps out, in beta-shift. He takes in the situation, and walks towards Stiles slowly and carefully, like he would approach a wild animal. “Stiles, put him down,” he says seriously.

 

“Stiles, please. I’ll put him away. Just put him down and take away his alpha powers,” Derek says quietly, stepping all the way to stand at Stiles’ side. Stiles can smell and feel the blood and the hurt coming off him. “One is enough for the kids.”

 

Stiles doesn’t let go, instead tilts his head and changes the angle of his invisible grip on Adam’s throat.

 

“Stiles, that’s enough,” Scott tries again, harsh.

 

Stiles’ feet touch the floor, but he doesn’t release Adam. “Then take them inside like I said,” he says, with almost no inflection. He looks at the last of Adam’s betas, the one he knocked unconscious before, who’s standing in front of him. He’s not shaking, but it’s a near thing. “Run away.” Stiles orders sharply, and the beta tries to stand his ground but when Stiles moves in his direction he sprints off.

 

Maksymilian ,” Derek says sharply. He almost never invokes Stiles’ given name. Stiles can’t even remember the last time he heard the name. It means ‘the greatest’, and Derek knows the meaning twists something inside Stiles that’s hard for him to handle. Stiles’ expression twists into something angry, where it was neutral until now.

 

Jesse looks around them, then whispers, “Is that the alpha? Who’s… who is that?”

 

Oliver groans with pain and grinds his teeth. ”That’s my dad’s name.”

 

Stiles finally unclenches his hand and Adam drops gasping to the ground, holding his neck. It’s bruised in deep shades of almost black and purple. Scott and Derek unclench their entire bodies, relieved. Derek is healing slowly. Oliver is almost entirely healed, walking back to the porch with Jesse supporting him. Stiles blinks a few times and then everything is back to normal. He stops to breathe for a moment with his eyes closed. Derek sighs and walks over to the emergency clothing crate, pulling on a pair of pants and throwing a pair at Jesse for Oliver. He moves to stand behind Stiles, squeezing his shoulder. Oliver and Jesse sit slowly on the porch steps, and Scott sits next to Jesse and holds him close. Jesse is still shivering. He’s never seen Stiles use this much power, and it’s reasonable that he’s scared. Scott touches Oliver lightly but Oliver moves away, still in shock.

 

“Scott, take Jess home. Derek, get Ollie inside.” Stiles requests quietly. He doesn’t look at them.

 

“Are you going to do it? Are you going to kill him?” Oliver asks, and he sounds too curious for Stiles’ liking.

 

“No, I’m going to make him an omega.” Stiles still doesn’t turn to face Oliver.

 

“I want to see,” Oliver says stubbornly.

 

“No, you don’t.” Stiles says with finality. Suddenly Stiles can hear Rocco whining and whimpering miserably inside the house, scratching wildly at the door. He realizes the sound has been in the background the entire time, and feels bad about not noticing before. Adam tries to get up but he’s too weak and his elbows fold, making him meet the ground face first. Stiles grinds his teeth. He really wants to make sure Adam doesn’t leave the territory alive. But Derek won’t forgive him if he does it. Neither will Scott. “Can you two please get the kids away from here?” Stiles asks Derek and Scott tiredly. Scott stands and puts his hands on Jesse’s hunched shoulders, pulling him up gently, but with intent. Derek looks determinedly at Oliver and braces for a fight.

 

“C’mon dad, you can’t just --” Oliver says angrily, a little desperate.

 

No .” Derek and Stiles say in unison. Derek grabs Oliver’s arm and puts him on his feet, then drags him inside. Scott left the door open after he pulled Jesse in. Oliver’s bare feet scrabble on the wooden planks that make up the porch, and his growls shift between something that sounds like an angry puppy and the kind of sound that comes from a furious, fully grown wolf.

 

“What if he hurts him again!” Stiles hears Oliver’s upset plea before the door closes behind him and Derek. He swallows the lump that formed in his throat at the knowledge of exactly how much damage today’s done. How much damage he’s done.

 

Stiles moves to stand above Adam’s broken form. He’s still breathing heavily, but the bruises are yellow and green, almost gone. Stiles kneels in front of him and turns him on his back, placing a firm hand on his sternum. “This is going to hurt,” he says without inflection, just to watch Adam’s eyes widen with fear. He does a mental check to make sure all the blinds are closed on the windows of the house. Hearing this will be enough for Oliver and Jesse. Stiles presses harder onto Adam’s chest, and Adam struggles but he can’t move, like there’s an impossible weight holding him down. Then he starts howling, as Stiles pulls his hand slowly away from his chest. His chest rises and his torso leaves the ground, like a puppet on strings. Adam roars with pain, his eyes rolling in their sockets, but coming back, glowing through red, then purple, and finally, settling on blue, just as Stiles suspected. Adam drops back to the ground as Stiles releases him.

 

“You’re lucky the alphas of this territory are so forgiving, that being parents made them soft, and that they won’t send hunters your way.” Stiles’ tone is dangerously quiet and serious. “Step foot in this territory again, and you’ll be dead before your other foot follows.” Stiles gets to his feet, then pulls Adam up. Adam doesn’t even glance in the direction of his dead beta, like it doesn’t even register that he’s there. Stiles lets go of him, watching as he wobbles but doesn’t drop back down. Stiles takes out his phone.

 

“The beta is off the grid, the entire pack was unlisted in any government office. Bury him outside the territory line.” Stiles asks of Derek, and hears Derek sigh loudly over the line.

 

You do it.”

 

“Fine.” Stiles hangs up. He pushes Adam to his jeep and straps him into the front seat. Adam doesn’t even react. Stiles drags the beta’s body and stuffs him in the back, then sits in the driver’s seat, and drives.



When he’s done and back at the house he parks his jeep and sits inside it for a long time. There are lights on in the house, but when Stiles heaves himself out of the jeep, he heads over to the cabin. He takes out the emergency pillow and blanket he keeps there for nights when Derek is working and Oliver is gone and he doesn’t want to be alone in the house. The blanket has Rocco’s fur all over it.

 

At the cabin. Put Scott and Jesse in guest room. See you tomorrow. ” Stiles texts Derek, then strips down to his undershirt and boxers and gets under the blanket. He’s going to get a new couch anyway, so it doesn’t matter if he smells like death and is covered in dirt right now.

 

Come home. ” Stiles’ phone chirps with Derek’s reply and he sighs heavily.

 

In the morning.

 

Please.” This text is from Oliver, and Stiles has to clear his throat and blink away tears because that’s just a little too much for him right now but he doesn’t feel like crying yet. He doesn’t bring up the wards around the cabin, doesn’t even lock the door. But he doesn’t leave.

 

He must have dozed off, because he wakes up to the door opening. Rocco pads over to him slowly, shoving his nose into Stiles’ neck. Stiles thumps his hand on the couch a few times, inviting him up. Rocco climbs up gently, turns three times, and settles half on top of Stiles’ legs, his head resting on one of Stiles’ knees. “Well, at least you’re not mad at me.” Stiles smiles at him and pets his head, scratching behind Rocco’s ears.

 

“We’re not...mad,” Derek says from where he’s standing at the door. Stiles can see a glimpse of Oliver standing behind him.

 

“Scott and Jess?” Stiles circumvents around that conversation. He doesn’t have it in him to get into it right now.

 

“Went home. Jesse wanted to see his mom. He’ll need like, a year of therapy.” Oliver walks inside and waits until Derek does too.

 

Stiles blinks lazily and pinches his nose. “What about you?” He asks Oliver.

 

“I don’t think so,” Oliver says, but he doesn’t sound sure.

 

“I’m gonna need you to sound more confident about that than this,” Stiles says sadly. Stiles sees Derek clenching and unclenching his jaw, and Oliver’s hands twitching at his sides. “What is it?”

 

“I want - I need - we need,” Oliver can’t seem to make up his mind.

 

“Yeah, okay, puppy. C’mere. You too, Care-Bear.” Stiles sighs and doesn’t smile, but sits up and opens his arms to Oliver. Oliver flies into his hold only barely missing Rocco’s head, who huffs indignantly and moves out of range of Oliver’s flailing limbs. Derek sits on Stiles’ other side, and Stiles pulls one arm away from Oliver so he can wrap it around Derek. Derek’s jaw is still clenched, and Stiles feels wetness where Derek’s face is pressed into his neck.

 

Don’t do that ever again ,” Derek says through clenched teeth, breathing hard.

 

“You’re going to need to be a little more specific,” Stiles’ voice shakes and then breaks completely. Oliver closes a tight fist in Stiles’ shirt, twisting the fabric.

 

“Just be quiet, dad,” he says tiredly, and Stiles nods. Stiles feels Oliver’s claws touch his stomach where they’ve punched holes in his shirt.

 

“Can we do this in our bed, please?”

 

Both Derek and Oliver groan, exasperated. “You’re the one who decided to haul up here,” Oliver accuses. “We couldn’t sleep. Heard you snoring all the way from over here.”

 

Rude , you know I have a sinus problem,” Stiles jokes and both Derek and Oliver release these identical wet chuckles which hurt Stiles more than they make him feel better.

 

Stiles combs his fingers through both Oliver and Derek’s hair while they sit quietly together. “Okay, that’s enough. This couch isn’t comfortable enough and we all need sleep.” Stiles raises both arms from around Oliver and Derek and stands up. Derek and Oliver just look up at him with scarily identical unimpressed, grumpy expressions. “I’m taking the dog if you guys aren’t coming.” He looks at them for another minute and then puts his clothes back on, and walks over to the door. Rocco follows him dutifully, though he looks conflicted because Oliver isn’t making signs of joining them. Stiles stops at the open door and stares until Derek stands and takes Oliver’s hand to pull him to his feet. They walk to the house in silence, and Stiles takes a long shower before he rejoins Derek and Oliver in his and Derek’s bed. Oliver is asleep by the time he’s done, lying on his stomach and snoring softly, mouth wide open against a pillow in the middle of the bed. His dark hair is a messy halo around his head, in stark contrast to the white sheets, and Derek is sitting up next to him, staring at the photos on their walls though it doesn’t seem like he’s focusing on anything in particular.

 

“Well. This hasn’t happened since he was roughly four feet tall,” Stiles says cautiously, doesn’t know how Derek will take it.

 

“Yeah, well, I don’t really remember when the last time he’d had a reason to be this upset about the very real possibility of you dying was. Twice in the same day.

 

Stiles bites his bottom lip and nods. “Okay, we’re doing this now? Again?” He scrubs a towel over his head to dry his hair, dressed in sweatpants. He doesn’t bother with a shirt because it’s going to get too hot under the covers anyway.

 

Oliver chokes on a snore and smacks the blanket. “No making out around me,” he demands, and it’s a little muffled by the pillow. He’s not aware enough to understand that was so far off from context it’s probably on a different continent.

 

“Then get out of our bed,” Stiles says without heat, sitting next to him and petting his hair.

 

“Nope, your mattress is like...a trillion times better than mine. I’m never leaving.”

 

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Derek asks, appalled.

 

“Had no idea yours was this nice. Thought mine was okay, but now I know better.” Oliver’s speech is getting slurry, exhausted. His eyes are drooping closed again.

 

“We’ll get you one like ours.” Stiles promises, still combing his fingers through Oliver’s long-ish hair.

 

“Big?” Stiles can only see half of Oliver’s face where it’s again mushed into the pillow, but he can see the raised brow.

 

“A twin should be enough for you,” Stiles muses.

 

“Bu’ when Jess stays i’s not,” Oliver protests half-heartedly.

 

“Of course it is, you sleep glued to each other,” Derek chimes in.

 

“We’re growin’ boys!”

 

“Yes, you’re very tall and we’re all very impressed.” Stiles laughs and ruffles Oliver’s hair, who shakes him off.

 

“Nooo, y’re ruinin’ it,” Oliver whines.

 

“Just go back to sleep. We’ll be back in a bit,” Stiles says eventually, then stands back up and looks meaningfully at Derek who stands too.

 

Oliver opens one eye and looks at Stiles sourly. “Cross y’r heart,” he demands. Stiles does and Oliver frowns and then turns his head to face the other way. “You too,” he huffs at Derek. Derek smiles fondly and crosses his heart too. “‘K, y’can go,” Oliver shoos them out with a hand, cuddling himself into the pillow and under the covers.

 

Stiles walks across the hall and into Oliver’s bedroom to sit on the unmade bed. Derek leans against the doorway with his arms folded over his chest.

 

“You were out of control.” Derek observes coldly.

 

“I was in perfect control,” Stiles corrects, his face set in an angry frown.

 

“You killed a man . In front of the kids! You were going to kill another one! Scott --” Derek stops himself, shakes his head. “He’s not a part of the discussion right now, but he’s angry and he’s hurt. You hurt Jesse more than anything that happened tonight.”

Stiles’ hands twitch in his lap and he bites on the inside of his cheek in a nervous habit. “He’s our kid’s boyfriend. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

 

Stiles ! That’s not what this is about! You killed a werewolf in our territory! You stripped an alpha of his powers! What has gotten into you?!” Derek asks, desperate to understand. Derek’s never seen him do this in person before either. None of them have. He made sure to never show them, until tonight.

 

“Oh, nothing in particular. Just my husband and son being in immediate danger ,” Stiles whisper-shouts.

 

“We agreed, no more death inside Beacon Hills ,” Derek throws Stiles’ own words in his face and Stiles snarls.

 

“Yeah, okay, Batman . There’s an exception to every rule.” Stiles rubs at his forehead with the back of his hand, a distressed gesture that he adopted from his father.

 

“That beta didn’t have to die.”

 

“He was going for my wounded son, of course he had to die,” Stiles levels a fiery gaze at Derek’s stormy face. Derek swallows loudly and clenches his jaw. Stiles wonders absently if the frequency in which Derek does that (usually because of Stiles) has caused permanent damage.

 

“Your wounded son heals , and he can fight for himself .”

 

“I had no plans to let my seventeen year old son get into a fight where he might get killed or have to kill someone else. As if you wouldn’t have gotten rid of someone who went for him.” Stiles says, his breathing harsh and distressed. When he looks at Derek it looks like he’s thinking about walking over to Stiles, but he aborts it mid-step.

 

“I would, but I wouldn’t kill them.”

 

“Yeah, well, we’re different people, we’ve seen different things, and it’s done anyway. I can’t un-kill him.”

 

“How many?” Derek asks, and Stiles doesn’t follow at first, furrows his brows when he looks at Derek for an explanation. “How many people have you killed over the years?” Derek asks that like he’s sure, like he knows Stiles did.

 

Stiles lowers his gaze back to the floor, toes curling and uncurling in the soft , light gray shaggy rug that decorates Oliver’s room. “I don’t dwell on it,” he says eventually and buries his face in his hands. “But it’s not more than a dozen.”

 

Derek doesn't say anything for a moment, processing what Stiles just admitted to, probably. “Does it get easier?” he asks, almost like he can't help it. Stiles scoffs, and a sob almost escapes him but he manages to keep it in. “So? How can you just...do it?”

 

“The bottom line, Derek, is always this: if it’s a choice between you or the other guy, it’s always you.” Stiles’ voice is detached, but he’s crying. He wipes the tears away absently and rubs at his slightly runny nose.

 

“You as in...who? Yourself?”

 

“No, you as in you .” Stiles points at him and gestures around him at the room they’re in. “You and Oliver. If it comes down to seeing you again or killing someone? There’s no choice for me to make. I thought you knew that.” Stiles clenches his jaw tight enough that it hurts.

 

Derek looks skywards like it will help him, then walks over to Stiles, kneeling slowly in front of him. He cups Stiles’ face in his hands and wipes the tears away. “I do. I do know that. I just…” Derek trails off and sighs, looks up at the wall clock he hung himself when Oliver was just a baby. “I didn’t think I’d see you do this. It’s - it’s life changing. The videos you’ve shown me don’t do you justice, Stiles. You’re fucking scary. I never knew to what extent that goes. I think you hid that from me on purpose. Didn't tell me what you could do with just...” Derek imitates the same flick of the wrist Stiles used.

 

“We wouldn’t be here if you knew what I was capable of, to what extent I’d go. You wouldn’t marry me if you knew.” Stiles looks to the side, reading the titles of the books on Oliver’s heavy laden shelves. Some school books, a lot of nonfiction he stole from Stiles’ old bedroom at John’s house. A lot of supernatural lore he steals from Stiles’ cabin library regularly and thinks Stiles doesn’t notice.There are language learning books that Derek buys him, and books in those languages. Oliver speaks seven different ones in different levels. Derek made it his mission. Scanning the bookshelves helps Stiles breathe easier.

 

“You have very little faith in just how important you are to me, that’s not fair,” Derek says, and he sounds hurt. “No matter what, no matter when, I’d choose to marry you and have you over anyone else. No one compares. I thought you knew that.”

 

Stiles nods, can’t really bring himself to say anything. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how much therapy he went through, how long he’s had Derek. Sometimes it’s just...hard to believe.

 

Oliver pads into the room, rubbing tiredly at his eyes with a fist, then pinching his nose with a grimace. “You smell so depressing it woke me up,” he complains. Rocco walks over to slide himself between Stiles and Derek,  demanding petting and providing comfort. Stiles scratches behind his ears. “I have school tomorrow. Dad’s not working at the station in the morning so whatever it is you’re talking about, it can definitely wait until after I’m gone. Just…give it a rest and go to sleep. You love each other, it’s great, dad is probably the scariest person on the planet, literally everybody knows about it, let’s go to sleep.”

 

Stiles laughs and it’s halfway between that and a sob. Derek shakes his head but he’s smiling. ”Everybody knows?” Stiles sniffles, and Derek reaches for a packet of tissues that are on Oliver’s bedside table and hands it over to Stiles. Stiles refuses to think about why they’re there, and just uses one to blow his nose loudly. Oliver wrinkles his own nose.

 

“Dad. You use fucking blood magic. I read your books. The shit you...dabble...in, it’s ancient stuff. No one’s touched it in centuries but you. It’s scary as hell. Grandpa asked me what it is that you do once, because he knows you won’t say anything. He was so mad he broke a glass. And then bent a fork out of shape. This news is so old, if it was a human it’d be like a thousand years old.” Oliver is at the end of his rope. Stiles had no idea he knew this much. “Even dad knows, he just ignores it because he gets super worried when he thinks about it too much.”

 

“Why do we still need to talk about referring to people’s chemo-signals without express permission, Oliver!” Derek moves so he can sit more comfortably instead of kneeling, and turns to frown at Oliver.

 

Oliver ignores him cooly. “Can we be done please? There’s AP math tomorrow and I need to be semi-alert for it, especially since Jesse’s going to miss it and I’ll have to teach him.”

 

“Why are you such an asshole?” Stiles whines.

 

“Because you raised me.”

 

“Fair point.” Stiles smiles a half smile and stands. He extends a hand to help Derek up, and takes a moment to look at him. Derek twists his back to get rid of kinks, which extends his no-longer flat stomach, which Stiles loves. He kisses Derek’s cheek because he can. “You should lay off the donuts at the station,” he jokes and pats Derek’s belly, and Derek pulls away from him, though Stiles can tell from his smile that he’s taken the olive branch.

 

“You like me like this,” Derek shrugs.

 

“Love it,” Stiles confirms and pulls Derek close for a peck on the lips.

 

“Yeah yeah, you’re disgusting, it’s awesome. If you’re not coming in thirty seconds I’m going to starfish on your bed and you can go sleep in the cabin for all I care.”

 

“You have a perfectly good bed right here,” Stiles points out.

 

“Yes, but now it smells like all of your sad feelings, so this is entirely your fault and has nothing to do with the fact that I kinda don’t really want to sleep alone tonight.” Oliver’s voice turns into a shy whisper in the end.

 

“There is literally nothing better in this world than how cuddly you are for a seventeen-year-old. Scott always whines about Jesse not even letting him hug him long enough, and I have to lie because my kid is a cuddle monster who will octopus himself around me whenever he’s given the chance.” Stiles throws the used tissue into the waste basket in the corner of the room and pats Oliver’s shoulder on his way out.

 

“The reason Jesse won’t let Scott hug him is that Scott doesn’t let go for at least twenty minutes. Not even if Jesse has to pee.”

 

Stiles and Derek laugh. “ You’re the one who doesn’t let go even if I need to go pee,” Derek points out.

 

“You’re very soft and comfortable.” Oliver shrugs, and Stiles nods in agreement. He throws himself on Stiles and Derek’s bed, and Stiles has to work to pull the covers from under him.

 

“Thank you for being so considerate,” Stiles says sarcastically and pinches Oliver’s side as revenge, Oliver jumping at it. Derek turns off the light and he and Stiles finally climb into the bed. Oliver wriggles a little so he’s touching both of them.

 

“Come on, Rocco. Up,” Stiles says, patting the bed. Rocco just rests his head next to Stiles’ on the bed that’s exactly the right height for it. “Rocco. Bed!” Rocco lolls his tongue and wags his tail excitedly before he jumps on top of the bed and lies down at their feet.

 

Two hours later, Derek and Oliver are out but Stiles can’t fall asleep, so he gets out of bed as slowly and as quietly as possible, feeling like he’s in a human jenga game where he can’t dislodge anything that’s on the bed. He goes downstairs and debates what to do, and ends up going out to clean the jeep and make sure it doesn’t smell like anything terrible. When he’s done, he walks back inside and sits on the big couch in the living room and turns on a dim yellow-light lamp. He traces his right hand up the tattoos on his left, fighting the urge to scratch until he bleeds to relieve some of the stress he’s feeling. He stays there until after the sun rises, and Derek pads silently downstairs and frowns at the red marks Stiles’ nails ended up leaving on his arms anyway.

 

“Sleep at all?” Derek asks, voice raspy from sleep. Stiles shakes his head and lets his arms drop to his sides, fingers twitching, like they weren’t ready to let off their grip. “Do this a lot?” he asks, and gestures with his chin at Stiles’ marked arms.

 

“Not really. Used to when we were younger. Not at home, though. Didn’t need to at home.” Stiles’ voice is rough too.

 

Derek sits next to him and runs a cool hand down Stiles’ bruised skin. He doesn’t do the pain-drain, but his touch is like a balm to Stiles’ abused skin, which he appreciates. Derek pulls him close and Stiles rests his head on Derek’s shoulder. “I don’t care,” Derek says out of the blue, after who-knows-how-long of them sitting there, silent.

 

“What?”

 

“I don’t care that you’re scary. And Oliver apparently thinks it’s the coolest thing ever.”

 

“Scott probably thinks I’m a monster,” Stiles says seriously.

 

“No. Jesse was shaken, but he knows you, Scott knows you. They love you.”

 

Oliver climbs down the stairs with Rocco and goes to the kitchen to make coffee for himself and Derek, and boil water for Stiles’ tea. Stiles stopped drinking caffeine when he figured out it made his nightmares worse. Stiles turns to watch Oliver patter around the kitchen, occasionally rubbing an eye with a fist and running a hand through his hair, trying to wipe off the remnants of sleep.

 

“’m takin’ the jeep t’day,” Oliver slurs as he hands over Derek’s coffee and Stiles’ tea, then he walks back to the kitchen to bring his own.

 

“Oh? What’s wrong with the Toyota?” Stiles asks. Stiles kept Roscoe alive by using a lot of magic and a lot of willpower. Derek replaces the other car they own, the one they actually use frequently, every few years when he finds a new security measure he likes in a newer model or company. So they now have a Toyota. Derek himself drives the police SUV most of the time.

 

“Smells too new, don’ feel like it t’day,” Oliver says while curling up on Rocco’s armchair who in turn lies down at the foot of it on the rug. Oliver closes his eyes as he sips his coffee.

 

“The jeep smells like dead body, you should probably reconsider that.” Stiles mentions, lying, knowing Oliver won’t be able to tell. “Like, human-nose-can-smell-it kind of thing.”

 

Oliver nods, like he’s taken it into account. “I know you cleaned it when we were sleeping, you just think it’s safer in the Toyota, because you think you’re the only one who knows how to drive the jeep. And it always smells more like you anyway. And your mom. I like her smell,” he muses. “Did’y’sleep at all?” Oliver blinks one eye open so he can look at Stiles.

 

“Dad did,” Stiles says evasively.

 

“That’s not what I asked,” Oliver says, suddenly a lot more alert, a little angry.

 

“Finish your coffee, I’ll go make breakfast,” Stiles announces instead of addressing Oliver’s question and walks to the kitchen. Derek doesn’t look, but the smells suggest bacon and pancakes.

 

Oliver perks up at the sound of a packet opening up, the smell of cheap chocolate reaching both Derek’s and Oliver’s noses.

 

“But it’s not Saturday!”

 

“We’re making an exception because I feel shitty. If you want I can leave yours without.”

 

“No, no! Definitely yes to the chocolate chips!” Oliver calls over frantically, like he really thinks Stiles would make his without.

 

“Derek, is he faking?”

 

“Nope, he actually falls for it every single time.” Derek smirks and Oliver scoffs and chucks a throw pillow at Derek’s head. Derek catches it without looking while he flicks through the news on his phone. Both he and Stiles have taken to leaving their phones downstairs to charge because it wakes them up more often than not, while Oliver keeps his on his person at any given time. Derek only gets up to answer in the middle of the night if it’s work or family. He doesn’t mind going downstairs if it means Stiles can keep sleeping.

 

Derek’s phone blares into life with some terrible song Oliver set as his work-contacts ringtone because he thought it was funny. The deputies at the station definitely think it’s funny, so he keeps it. “Sheriff Hale-Stilinski.” There’s a pause where Derek listens, and then he groans. “Yes, he did retire. I’m his son-in-law.” Stiles cackles from the kitchen. “ No , I won the election like every other Sheriff. Is there a point to this? Because I’m not at work right now.”

 

Stiles glances at Derek's sour expression from the kitchen and accidentally overcooks a pancake. Derek's replies are curt and don't supply a lot of information. He's reassuring someone that someone else is okay and just preferred to be home.

 

“Apparently my husband was supposed to be admitted to Beacon Hills Memorial yesterday, but he never showed,” Derek says, a fake hint of surprise in his voice.

 

Stiles laughs. “Jeremy probably tried to look for me. I'll give him a call later.”

 

“Who's Jeremy?” Oliver asks, confused.

 

“The good alpha from yesterday morning’s thing. He's a good guy.”

 

“Yeah, well, he failed to protect you on his territory and that's shitty,” Oliver huffs, grumpy.

 

“We both thought Adam would go for the pack first, so I told them to stay inside with their emissary for a while, at least until they could feel Adam was out of the territory.”

 

“If they have an emissary why did they need you?” Oliver gets up and walks to the kitchen with Derek close behind. He sets the table lazily while Derek just sits and continues to get updated on yesterday's events on his phone.

 

“Their emissary would obviously be considered biased, kiddo. And Adam didn't have one. So they had to call in an outsider.” Stiles places one plate with a giant stack of pancakes and another one with bacon at the center of the table and sits.

 

“Shame you still don't know what kind of shit you shouldn't pull with an alpha like Adam, even with over twenty years of experience,” Derek says icily, fixing Stiles with a mean glare.

 

Do not do the Stilinski-Hale Passive-Aggressive Game right now because I am too tired to listen to this,” Oliver warns sharply, kicking Derek under the table and groaning when Derek kicks back. “Dad, what the hell!”

 

“Don’t hit if you can’t take being hit right back,” Derek chastises. “I know you don’t have siblings, but you can definitely still learn that lesson.”

 

“What is the Stilinski-Hale passive-aggressive game?” Stiles asks curiously.

 

“It’s this thing you guys do when you don’t want to fight around me but you really want to fight, and like, I totally do not feel like pretending I can’t tell right now.” Oliver gives Stiles an unimpressed glare and Stiles snorts. “You also do it with grandpa literally all the time, that’s the Stilinski-Stilinski Staring Match.”

 

“Have you named every human interaction I take part in?”

 

“No, just the annoying ones,” Oliver says offhandedly with his mouth full of pancake.

 

“Thank you, son of mine,” Stiles says with a heavy dose of sarcasm and a little offense sprinkled in.

 

“You’re only annoying when you pretend you’re not pissed when you definitely are and you just don’t want to tell me.” Oliver says as a peace offering.

 

“You don’t have to know everything, puppy.” Stiles says softly. “I’m kind of entitled to experience feelings and not necessarily explain them if I don’t think you should be a part of the discussion, for whatever reason I have.”

 

Oliver tilts his head as he looks at Stiles, silent for a moment. “What are some of the reasons?”

 

“Sometimes it’s work stuff that I don’t want you to get involved in because that’s totally unnecessary or dangerous or both for a kid. Sometimes it’s dad’s police work stuff that you should definitely keep your nose out of.” Oliver points a finger like he’s got something to say, but Stiles doesn’t let him. “Yes, yes. I was super nosy. That kinda cost me a lot, as you’re well aware, and I don’t want you hanging around crime scenes like your weirdo father,” Stiles says, exasperated. “Sometimes it’s just personal relationship stuff between me and dad or me and grandpa. Yes, we’re your parents, but we are allowed to keep some parts of our life private.” Stiles finishes his explanations carefully. Derek places a hand on Stiles’ knee and squeezes. Oliver nods agreeably, satisfied with Stiles’ reasoning.

 

“You could work on keeping your sex life more private,” Oliver comments drily, using a pancake slice to wipe at the excess maple syrup pooled in his plate. Derek snorts and looks like he’s surprised he did, and Stiles outright laughs.

 

“Duly noted.” Derek says, trying to keep a serious face and tone but failing completely. Oliver takes two pieces of bacon in his hands and munches them happily, while Derek frowns disapprovingly, about to lecture him and Stiles knocks his elbow into Derek’s arm to get him to let it go. Oliver only eats with his hands because Stiles does and they’ve both been carefully trained by Derek to use napkins and wash their hands when they’re done.

 

“You could do better about that yourself,” Stiles says lightly, pointing at Oliver.

 

“YOU HEAR US? OH MY GO-- DAD! I thought you put the wards up every time he’s here!” Oliver slaps his hands flat on the table. The plates and cups on the table rattle ominously, and Stiles barely catches his mug of tea before it falls off the table. It spills just a tiny bit on the floor.

 

“I definitely put them up when Derek starts making a face like he’s sucked on a lemon. I mean, you’re not always doing the do when Jess is around, and your father likes to keep an ear out for safety measures.”

 

Oliver stares at Stiles open-mouthed for a moment before he shuts it with an audible click of his teeth and stands up. “I’m gonna go get dressed and try to forget this conversation,” he announces. He takes his plate and cup of coffee to rinse and put in the dishwasher. “Also, please don’t ever refer to it as ‘doing the do’ ever again, okay?”

 

Stiles just laughs again. “No promises.” Oliver groans and walks away.

 

Stiles and Derek stay at the table, sitting in comfortable silence with the occasional soft touch as they each get up to clear their own dishes or just when it feels right. When Stiles is done going over his emails of the last few days (he tends not to check them when he’s involved in a treaty so he can be clear minded) he leans over to kiss Derek’s cheek and bite at his earlobe, making Derek shiver.

 

“The kid literally asked us not to do this ten minutes ago,” Derek says in a tone that’s a cross between exasperated and fond.

 

“I’m just letting you know what my plans are for your free morning.” Stiles shrugs innocently.

 

“So we’re not going to keep talking about this?” Derek finally turns to look at Stiles, placing his phone on the table.

 

“I’d like to have the make up sex first,” Stiles says reasonably. “I kinda missed you while I was away.”

 

Derek nods solemnly. “Yeah, I know what you mean.”

 

“So…” Stiles says with a mischievous smile.

 

“Yeah, yeah, okay. We’ll go upstairs once the kid leaves for school.” Derek shakes his head and smiles at Stiles, leaning over to kiss him slowly, to leave a taste for more.

 

“Can we maybe not fight after that? I mean it’s always the same anyway,” Stiles says with a bit of whine to his voice.

 

“As long as you promise not to...to repeat what happened yesterday ever again.”

 

“Cross my heart, no more death in our territory.” And Stiles does, like they’ve done ever since Oliver was a toddler.

 

“Mmm, that should call for celebratory blow jobs, I think. Maybe even --” Derek starts but Oliver cuts him off loudly.

 

“WHAT DID I JUST ASK YOU TO DO!!!” Oliver shouts from upstairs.

 

“MAYBE IF YOU STOPPED EAVESDROPPING--” Stiles shouts back. Derek wrinkles his nose and leans away from Stiles, hunching in a little to get away from the noise.

 

“Oh, so dad is allowed but I’m not?” Oliver says as he walks back into the kitchen, dressed and ready for school with his backpack slung over one shoulder.

 

“Yes, one-hundred percent true. Go on, get out. We have things to do. And by things I definitely mean each other,” Stiles challenges Oliver who picks up the nearest random object (the keys to the Toyota) and throws them at Stiles’ head, only to be intercepted by Derek, who catches them mid-air while focused back in his phone. “Thanks, babe.” Stiles kisses Derek’s cheek.

 

“Ugh, I hate when you’re...in the mood. I’m out,” Oliver shivers, makes a disgusted face, grabs the keys to the jeep, and leaves.

 

“So…” Stiles trails off, a little less sure now. “We’re good? Really good?”

 

“We’re always good, Stiles,” Derek says and places his phone on the table, standing up and stretching. He takes a few steps towards the stairs, then turns to look at Stiles. “You coming?”

 

Stiles scrambles to his feet, almost tripping on one of the chair legs, then runs at Derek and jumps on his back, wrapping his arms around Derek’s neck loosely. Derek’s hands automatically go under Stiles’ thighs.

 

“You’re forty-three years old,” Derek says drily, but doesn’t drop Stiles to walk up the stairs to their bedroom.

 

“I will never be too old to get a piggy back ride from my hunky husband.” Stiles nips at Derek’s earlobe again while Derek laughs.

 

“I like the sound of that.” Derek says as he lets Stiles down gently onto the floor of their bedroom, shutting the door behind them.

 

“Good, that’s good.”

 

“We’re good.” Derek nods.

 

“Yeah, we really are.” Stiles smiles. They don’t really talk anymore for a while. It’s good.