“No,” Derek said for the 5th time.
Scott pouted and hung onto his dad’s arm just a little tighter, feet scraping along the ground as he tried to keep him in one place. “Please?”
“No Scott,” Derek sighed.
Stiles stifled his laughter behind his hand and watched the exchange with amusement. He always enjoyed Scott and Derek’s interactions in general, but he had to admit, this was one of the best things he had seen. Both as stubborn as the other, neither of them were going to let up. Silently, Stiles wondered how long this would go on for. He knew Derek was set in his determination not to give in, but he knew Scott well enough by now to know that the kid will never let this go until he gets what he wants. Who would win, that is the question?
He didn’t see the face that Scott pulled but he could imagine what it was because Derek looked down at him unimpressed.
“Those eyes haven’t worked on me since you were six,” he informed him, “It’s not happening Scott.”
“Why not?” Scott whined, “It’s the only present I want, I swear, and you won’t even have to buy me Christmas presents this year.”
“Scott, enough,” Derek stated firmly.
Scott frowned and pushed his feet against the floor harder, “Please!”
“Scott, I’m not getting you a puppy for your birthday,” Derek declared with exasperated frustration, “Now, go upstairs and wash your hands for dinner.”
The nine year old held on a little while longer before glaring and begrudgingly obeying the order, trudging up the stairs. Derek’s head rolled back and he sighed heavily.
Stiles rolled his lips. “You handled that well.”
Derek shot him a dark look. “At least I can say no to him.”
“It’s the eyes,” he objected in his defence, “they find your weaknesses and exploit them. We can’t all have your magical superpower.”
Derek sighed again. “He’s going to hate me, isn’t he?”
Stiles shrugged. “Probably,” he replied, “But not really though. You can never really hate your parents, not over something like a puppy – although I do object to your objection by the way.”
“Every child should have a pet, it’s like an unwritten rule,” Stiles waved his hand as if that explained all.
“Did you have a pet?” Derek challenged.
“No, my mom was allergic to animal fur and then afterwards…I didn’t really want to then,” he folded his arms across his chest and his smile was a little strained at the edges. It was getting easier and easier to talk about his mother, and maybe he was getting more comfortable around Derek. It didn’t…hurt as much, and he didn’t feel the need to shy away from the topic. All good signs, he thought. “But that’s not the point. Scott isn’t me. Did you have a pet at his age?”
“…A cat named Sparky,” Derek admitted reluctantly.
Stiles’ lips twitched upwards in amusement. “Sparky?”
“He’d been caught in the electrical cables at our house and it seemed like a good name at the time,” Derek defended. He paused, “I did love that cat.”
“And Scott will love his puppy,” Stiles pointed out.
“But dogs are different from cats, you have to actually actively…participate in keeping them alive. It’s like having another child that will never learn how to clean up after itself,” Derek frowned a little at the thought, like he could just imagine a life over run with dog poo and hair over his expensive furniture.
Stiles didn’t contain his laughter that time. “Come on, it won’t be that bad. Yes, you’ll have to do some work but you can use this dog to teach Scott about responsibility and stuff. It’ll be good for him.”
Derek didn’t look convinced but he didn’t look as one hundred percent against it, like he was before, so Stiles took that for a temporary victory which turned quickly into a win when he got a text that night.
From Daddy Wolf
You’re going to be the one to toilet train the dog, not me
Stiles tried not to let his heart lurch in his chest at the idea that he’d still be around for that long. It wasn’t as if he was expecting to leave any time soon, but he kind of liked the idea that Derek still wanted him around, even if it was just to stop the dog from peeing on the carpet.
It was better than nothing right?
Scott’s birthday was the 5th September. Stiles knew that because Scott wouldn’t stop telling him. He was excited, of course he would be, he’s turning the big one-zero this year. Stiles remembered the week up to him turning ten and how he had irritated everyone to the point where even Greenberg was on the verge of pushing him off the jungle gym. Fortunately for Scott, Stiles was a lot nicer than his peers and every time Scott would repeat the age he was going to turn, or about the dinner that Grandma Talia always made him and the chocolate cake that Uncle Peter baked, and then there was the surprise.
The big surprise that Scott had no idea about.
It was the topic of most conversations.
On the day of his actual birthday, when the surprise was to be revealed, Stiles watched Scott vibrate with eagerness and joyfulness through the rear view mirror. His leg bounced and he tilted his head to peer desperately around the tree lined route to give any clue to wear they were going. Derek shared a grin with him, wide and knowing, and Stiles couldn’t help but return it.
He’d tried not to think too much on the fact that Derek had invited him along. Although it hadn’t been said, it was for Scott’s birthday and it was kind of his fault that this was happening anyway, so at the very least he should get a chance to see the look on Scott’s face when he was presented with the litter of puppies they were going to choose from.
It felt…good, normal, the three of them together, but again, maybe that was just Stiles being hopeful and wanting there to be more to it than it was.
Stiles tried to put that thought out of his mind. It would only saddening him and he didn’t want that today. He could put off his ‘I need to deal with my feelings’ freak out for tomorrow, when he was alone in his flat, but right now, it was Scott’s birthday and that’s what was most important.
The women that owned the farm, a Mrs Herbert, was a wonderfully sweet old lady. Like so sweet that, should it have been a fantasy world, it was possible he would be convinced of something dark and treacherous about her. But she smiled when they pulled up out the car and pinched Scott’s cheek when she said happy birthday and stated that “your fathers know exactly where you need to go”. Derek had flushed pink and Stiles had fumbled over words to correct her but Scott was already speaking over him, begging and demanding that he see his surprise now because it wasn’t fair that he had to wait that long for it since it was his birthday, after all.
The barn was behind the main house and as soon as Scott’s eyes landed on the litter of chocolate Labrador retrievers, they widened in shock for a few moments before he turned and threw himself into his father’s arms. Stiles smiled fondly when Derek buckled a little, startled by the extra weight, before he righted himself, gathered the boy into his arms and hugged him, pressing a kiss to his forehead.
“Happy birthday Scott,” he murmured.
“You have to pick one out,” Stiles told him softly.
Scott’s eyes went big. “Any one?”
“Any one you like,” he assured, and then laughed when Scott wriggled in silent urgency to get down and stumbled a little before sliding to his knees beside the pen, crouched down so he could see the little faces properly.
Stiles nudged Derek’s shoulder. “You did a good thing.”
“He seems happy,” Derek responded with a small smile. He glanced towards Stiles and then back at Scott again, “Thank you…for coming here I mean. It means a lot to Scott, having you here.”
“As if I’d do anything to disappoint the little guy,” Stiles brushed off the gratitude with a smile and a small shake of his head, “Really, I’m glad you invited me.”
“It was you that convinced me to do this,” Derek reminded him, “It would feeling wrong to do this without you.”
“Not many people would say that to their babysitters,” Stiles replied and shifted from foot to foot.
“Well, you’re not any babysitter,” Derek pointed out and did he step closer? He felt like he had gotten closer? Or was Stiles imagining things again? “And besides, you’re more than just that to us, you should know that.”
“What am I then?” Stiles’ voice shook a little and he swallowed.
“Family, Stiles, you’re family,” Derek stated lowly and firmly, smiling shyly.
Stiles was almost certain that Derek was trying to tell him something but he was too afraid to guess. What if he was wrong? God, he didn’t want to be wrong. Not only would it hurt like a bitch, but it would mean he’s messed this up, and he cared way too much about Scott to just let that happened.
“You’re my family too,” he muttered, “Besides my dad and Lydia, you two are the most important people in my life.”
Derek smiled, a little relieved. “Good, good. I’m glad…”
He was closer this time. Yes, he was definitely closer. His shoes bumped the tips of Stiles’ and if Stiles’ swung his arms out like he was resisting the urge to do, he would be able to touch (and he really did want to touch). “Derek…are you…” he tried, but his mouth went dry with nerves.
Derek hesitated. “Only…only if you want me to.”
“If it’s what I think you want to do, then yeah, I want you to,” Stiles told him, hope and confusion mingling to become something much more high pitched than he was prepared for.
Derek’s lips twitched upwards slightly and his eyes darted, to Scott and back again. “I think you’re probably going to have to tell me what you want me to do, to avoid any more confusion.”
“Isn’t it obvious by now?” Stiles wondered.
He huffed a laugh. “Yeah, I guess so.”
Stiles had imagined this happening many times, so many times, and most of the time, those thoughts ended with him shivering and panting and with a wrist ache. He’d always thought that his first kiss with Derek would be short and sweet, teasing and leave him wanting more, but this kiss, it was in no way that. Yes, it was short and it was almost certainly a fucking tease, but Derek put all of his passion into one touch of lips. He pressed in firmly and hopefully, as if he were refusing to hide how he feels, not anymore, and he was finally allowed to take what he had always wanted. Stiles’ mouth fell slack under the ministrations and he moaned at the first brush of tongue. His eyes flittered shut and his hands moved (finally) and wrapped around the open collar of Derek’s plaid shirt (Plaid! Stiles didn’t even know that Derek owned plaid).
Derek hummed and sucked on his bottom lip and yeah, Stiles was going to need to have a talk with that man about what was fair to do to the unsuspecting babysitter when in a passionate embrace.
Of course, it would be Scott to shock them both back into reality.
“Ew,” the kid sounded grossed out by the sight and had buried his head in the back of an unsuspecting puppy, who watched them with his tongue handing out in happiness, “Are you two done now?”
Derek and Stiles shared a look and a low laugh. Derek pulled away, much to Stiles’ disappointment, which faded slightly by the hand, large and warm and unmoving, against the small of Stiles’ back.
“Yeah kiddo, we’re done,” Derek told him with an amused roll of his eyes.
Scott looked up straight away. “Good, because I’m happy you both finally admitted it, but that doesn’t mean I want to see my dad kissing my Stiles.”
“My Stiles?” Stiles repeated, amused.
Scott looked genuinely confused. “Whose Stiles would you be?”
“How about mine?” Derek offered.
The boy frowned for a moment thoughtfully before announcing, “We can share.”
Derek laughed, Stiles smiled and the puppy barked, little tail wagging.
“Have you decided then?” Derek changed the subject, eyes on the little ball of fluffy in Scott’s arms.
He brightened instantly. “Yes,” he brandished the puppy excitedly in his father’s face, “She has the spot – like the one that mom had on her finger, look!”
Derek bent to investigate closely, lifting the small limb, and Stiles peered curiously at the brown fur. Sure enough there was a white spot over the right paw. It was really the only distinguishing feature that the puppy had in comparison to all her brothers and sisters.
“Looks almost identical,” Derek mused and smiled softly. He stroked behind the dog’s ears and she whined happily, leaning into the touch. “Do you know what you’re going to call her yet?”
One of Scott’s eyes squinted in thought as he hummed. “Lupita,” he finally decided.
“Little Wolf,” Stiles translated with a little thought.
“Yeah, it’s what mom called me sometimes,” Scott gave a small shrug, “But I think it fits her better.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Derek cleared his throat and nodded, smiling watery. He reached out and ruffled his son’s hair affectionately. “She would have loved that.”
“I know,” Scott nodded confidently. He held the dog a little tighter and tilted his head, “Can we take her to meet her? Lupita to mom I mean. Would that be okay?”
“I don’t see why not,” Derek nodded in agreement.
Scott’s gaze turned to Stiles. “And then could we see your mom? I want to meet her,”
Stiles blinked surprised and his stomach tightened a little. It had been what felt like ages since he had visited his mother’s grave. His first reaction was to refuse, not right now, it wasn’t the time, think of any excuse Stiles but Scott was looking at him so hopefully, how could he?
“I want her to meet you too,” Stiles choked a little saying the words before reaching out to draw Scott closer. “I want her to meet my family.”
He looked up to Derek, who Stiles could feel watching him, and smiled softly, happily, contently, shyly, hopefully, and Derek smiled back.
“My family,” Derek murmured the words, “Sounds perfect.”
Stiles couldn’t help but agree.