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Let The Waters Still

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Since Melissa’s death, things had been...hard.

Not that Derek didn’t expect them to be. How could it not be when she was gone? Although he and Melissa were never technically together, the years that they had spent together raising their son had grown a friendship and Derek had grown reliant on her presence for a multitude of things. Not that he had realised notice how much until she was gone.

It was a car accident. A truck carrying construction supplies had swung out of control on the road and taken out four cars. Melissa and an elderly man travelling with his son had taken the brunt of the hit. Out of the ten people involved, only four lives were lost. Apparently, the accident was caused by faulty brakes, which means suing was an option, according to his lawyer, but god, what did it matter? Suing the company wouldn’t bring Melissa back. Nothing would.

Explaining what had happened to Scott had been one of the worst things that he’d ever had to go through. Sheriff Stilinski offered to explain - “Unfortunately, I have experience in these matters” - and as much as Derek wanted to push away that responsibility, he couldn’t. Scott had to hear it from him. The boy was only nine and he didn’t quite grasp the idea that mommy wasn’t coming home again.

That night, the first night without her there, and the first night that Scott’s official home was the same as his father’s, Derek held Scott as he cried for a person who could never return and wished that things were different.

Derek had hoped he’d be able to cope as a single father. He had his family of course, that were willing to help out at any given moment but this was something he had to do for himself. Scott was his responsibility. After the first week, Scott had returned to school and Derek had returned to work, and he thought that would be it. But his work hours and the school’s hours collided and never were the same. He took too many hours off at work and his mother (and his boss) began to worry he was stretching himself too thin.

“You need help Derek,” Talia told him as gently as she could, leaning across the desk to grasp one of his hands. Derek was kind of glad it was his mother that he was talking to right now, rather than his boss. Although they were one in the same, and they were still in her office, he needed the reassurance that only a mother could give, “If you don’t want to rely on your family, then fine. That’s your decision. But please, you have to do something. Scott is important, more than anything he is important, but you can’t keep putting off your work. We need you for this company to stay afloat.”

“What are you suggesting then?” Derek bit out.

“A nanny,” Talia answered simply.

“No,” he refused automatically, “no way.”

His mother sighed. “Derek...”

“A stranger is not raising my son!” he objected.

“I don’t think you have much of a choice here,” Talia sighed.

Derek held his resolve for three days before he gave in and went to the bulletin board in the community center. He had all manner of leaflets and flyers piled on the dining room table and he slowly worked through it, frustrating growing when he realised just how complicated this was. There was something he didn’t like, some reason to frown and discard them. Perhaps he was being picky. Perhaps he was just putting it off because the idea of leaving Scott alone with anyone that wasn’t him still made him a little sick.

“What are you doing?” Scott asked curiously from the living room, which lead on from the dining room. He sat upon the sofa, kicking his legs, and peered curiously into the other room.

“I’m looking for a babysitter,” Derek replied absentmindedly before placing another flyer onto the ‘nope, definitely not’ pile.

“I’m nine, I don’t need a sitter,” Scott objected, nose wrinkling in indignation.

Derek smirked a little in amusement. “Yeah, well, I think you do.”

He pushed another flyer away and then paused. Hold on. “Stiles Stilinski,” he read aloud.

“What the hell is a Stiles?” Scott asked.

“Watch your language,” Derek replied instantly. It was a good question though. What the hell kind of name was Stiles? But Stilinski...that name was familiar. The Sheriff’s son. That must mean he could be trusted right? Raised by a member of the law enforcement must do something for your upbringing.

He seemed better than the others anyway.

Maybe that was worth a trial run.

“Scott, pass me the phone would you?” he called.

 

*

 

Derek couldn’t say that he had any kind of expectation when it came to what the Sheriff’s son would be like. He knew the stories, some from the Sheriff’s mouth himself, about how his son was a demon when he was little – “most of my grey hairs aren’t from age, it’s from that kid of mine scaring the crap out of me,” he had joked once – and that he had taken it upon himself to be a connoisseur of everything. As much as a connoisseur you could be when using Wikipedia, Derek guessed, but he remembered being impressed when he was told that the boy had answered his econ exam by writing nine pages on the history of the male circumcision.

Over the phone, he had rambled his gratitude for being offered the job and there was a moment or two where Derek could tell the man was physically restraining himself from following his line of thought into a tangent. Maybe it was that which had left him feeling a little uneasy when he ended the call. He knew that Scott could be sneaky when he wanted to be, and Derek couldn’t imagine how much worse that would be on someone who was easily distracted from time to time.

Or maybe he was just worried about leaving Scott altogether. He’d never wanted to have his child brought up by nannies and babysitters, and neither had Melissa, which was why their schedules had worked so well, but he knew he had to adjust. He knew that sometimes things had to change and that getting a babysitter to watch Scott for those hours after school when Derek had to work overtime to get through the workload he’d been putting off would just make his life just a little more easier.

So he kept the first meeting he had made with Stiles, although there were a few times on the morning before he had to leave that he thought about just skipping the entire process all together. They were to meet at a coffee shop in town, the one closest to Derek’s work and where the best hazelnut lattes in existence were created. He stepped into the shop awkwardly, the bell dinging above his head to announce his presence, and he peered around at the customers. They were the same kind of people as they always were – accountants, contractors, a few artists, mothers with their prams, and a handful of teenagers. He recognised a few regulars and nodded towards them when they did the same to him, but no one that would be here to talk to him about his son.

Derek picked a table for two close to the window and straightened his back nervously. His arms rested on the arm of the armchair and his eyes drifted out the window, and he waited. He didn’t know how long it was before an out of breath figure forced his way through the door, but he guessed it hadn’t been too long. It was a teenager, in a plaid shirt and red jeans and his hair a sticking out messily from under a purple beanie. He leant forward on his knees and breathed for a bit as he glanced around the room. His eyes landed on Derek and he grinned widely – something which made him younger and prettier, if that was even possible, than before - and Derek had this sinking wide eyed feeling of “oh my god, this kid is Stiles”.

This kid is supposed to look after his son.

Oh god.

The guy manoeuvred with a clumsy kind of grace that Derek hadn’t thought was possible and dropped himself heavily in the chair across from Derek. He slouched for a moment, as if regaining control of his body again, and then sat forward and held out his hand.

“You must be Derek Hale,” he breathed, “I’m Stiles Stilinski.”

“I, ah, guessed,” Derek responded uncertainly and reached out to accept the hand, because he knew it would be rude to ignore it and his mother had taught him better.

“Sorry I’m late, although I thought I’d be much later,” Stiles explained, “I got caught in traffic along the main road to the elementary school, and then I had to park like a mile away so I ran the rest of the way.”

“Impressive,” Derek offered because what else could he say. He cleared his throat, “Um, how old are you?”

“I just turned 22 a week ago,” Stiles announced.

“Shouldn’t you be in…college or something?” Derek questioned.

“I finished last term. Did my degree in child care with a minor in folklore.”

“Folklore?”

Stiles shrugged. “I like stories. Folklore has some of the best.”

“Agreed,” Derek nodded acceptingly, remembering the tales that his father read to him and his siblings as a child, and how he had clung to every word. He did the same thing with Scott, like a carrying on of traditions, and he hoped the readings would stay with his son as long as his own had stayed with him. “I’m sorry, you just seem a bit young to be a full time babysitter.”

“You seem a bit young to be a single parent,” Stiles shot back.

“I am,” Derek answered honestly. He had been just younger than Stiles when Melissa had first told him she was pregnant and now, ten years later, no one ever seemed to believe that he had a son of Scott’s age. “That’s why I need you.”

Stiles quirked an eyebrow.

He licked his lips and continued, “My son’s mother died, a few months back. It’s been…hard, for us both, but we’re trying to move forward. My work hours are crazy sometimes and I need someone who will be there to pick him up after school and put him to bed at night, and someone who can be there in the mornings if they have to be. More importantly, we need…we need someone who can understand that.”

Stiles smiled sadly at him. He reached up and scratched at the back of his neck, his hat shifting forward over his eyes a little. “Don’t worry. I understand that more than most.”

“You lost someone?”

“My mother, when I was eleven,” Stiles replied simply, and Derek almost felt guilty for asking.

Of course, his mother, he knew that. He remembered the Sheriff’s wife, Claudia, he thought her name was, from when he was a kid. Their mothers ran in the same circles, although he was too young to understand exactly what those circles were, and he remembered the funeral being big news. Everyone had loved Claudia and everyone had wanted to show their respects. Derek had been there. He vaguely remembered the day and the dropping of the white lily onto the top of the coffin, and the tears, there were a lot of those. It was the first time he’d really seen Talia less than composed.

“Have you had any experience before?” Derek questioned, changing the subject.

“I did some work at a nursery for my college credits, and I care for my goddaughter every other weekend,” Stiles told him, his voice sounding kind of relieved. Derek knew it was hard talking about his mother, it was for them too whenever Melissa came up.

“I’ll be honest with you. Scott can be a handful sometimes, and with your age…” Derek trailed off and Stiles slumped a little, before he continued, “But I’m kind of desperate. No one else seemed good enough and well, you are the Sheriff’s son. How would you feel about a trial run?”

Stiles sat up straighter, eyes wide and lips curled like he was trying to stop himself from smiling so much. “When?”

“Tomorrow? I have to run a few errands so I can introduced you two and see how it works out,” Derek suggested.

“Yes, perfect, awesome,” Stiles nodded his agreement.

Derek reached into his jacket pocket to pull out the business cards that were kept in there. He fumbled for a pen and then scribbled the address onto the back and handed it over. “Don’t be late.”

“I’ll be there at dawn if I have to,” Stiles vowed.

“Midday would be better, and wouldn’t annoy the neighbours,” Derek corrected amused.

Stiles flushed a little, and Derek followed the trail beneath the colour of the shirt involuntarily.

“Yes, right, I’ll be there, on time, at midday, I promise,” he nodded eagerly, “Just, ah, thank you.”

“What for?”

“For giving me the chance, not many people would of.”

“Well, I guess you’ll have to make sure it’s worth the opportunity than huh?” Derek tried to joke and his smile widened when Stiles beamed back at him.

 

*

 

Derek wasn’t nervous, why should he be nervous? This was a tester for a babysitter, it wasn’t anything to be nervous about. Maybe it was because of the meeting he had today. That made more sense, right? It was the first interaction with another firm that he’s had in months, he’s bound to be a little on edge about it, because what if he screws up? It’s kind of a big deal. Yeah, yeah, that’s right. He is nervous about the meeting.

Isn’t it weird how convinced you can be by your own lie?

“How long does he have to be here?” Scott frowned a little.

“Just until the meetings over,” Derek informed reassuringly. The look on his son’s face hadn’t let up and he sighed and approached where he was sitting on the couch. He sat next to him, the cushion dipping beneath the weight, and wrapped his arm around Scott’s shoulder, drawing him into a sideways hug. “It’s just for a few hours. If you don’t like him, you tell me and we’ll,” he sighed, “and we’ll work something else out.”

“Why I can’t I just stay with Grandma or Grandpa, or Aunt Laura? Uncle Peter?” Scott insisted.

“Because they have to work when I need someone to watch you, and I’m never letting Uncle Peter look after what happened last time,” Derek pointed out.

Scott’s eyes curved upwards as his smiled his amusement, because of course he would find the failed chemistry experiment funny. Derek certainly didn’t when he had to pay out to fix the broken windows in his old loft.

“Stiles…seems like a good guy,” Derek continued and the amusement dropped from Scott’s face, replaced with distinct displeasure, “Just give him a chance okay?”

“…You really want me to have a babysitter, don’t you?” Scott questioned lowly.

Derek ruffled the kid’s hair. “No, I don’t, but if I had another option, I would use it.”

“Urgh, fine,” Scott pouted and Derek laughed and blew a raspberry on the side of his face in retaliation, that had Scott grinning and scrambling to get away with a laugh.

The ringing of the doorbell made them freeze, and Scott tensed a little, making Derek absentmindedly stroke through his hair and make shushing noises in an attempt to ease his shoulders. He dropped a kiss onto the crown of his head before standing up, straightening out his suit, and heading for the door.

Stiles grinned at him when he answered and splayed his hands out in presentation. “I’m on time,” he declared, clearly pleased with himself.

“Good for you,” Derek responded, amused, before stepping back and allowing Stiles to enter. The man stepped in and let his eyes wash around the hallway, taking in the homey feel and the cluttered walls of family photos and Scott’s baby pictures.

“You have a nice home,” he offered.

Derek closed the door behind him. “Uh, thanks. This was Melissa’s.”

Stiles’ mouth formed an ‘o’ and an understanding look crossed his face, before nodded understandingly. Derek cleared his throat and then skirted pasted Stiles, muttering a quick “follow me” before leading him into the living room. Scott glanced up when they entered, regarded them and then returned to his drawing.

“Scott, this is Stiles,” Derek gestured between them, already a little uncertain as to how this would turn out.

“Hey Scott,” Stiles smiled and waved.

Scott’s eyes flickered upward again. “Hi.”

Stiles smiled faltered a little, but he didn’t give up or back away as so many others would do at such an obvious dismissal. Instead, he took a few more steps into the room and crouched down at Scott’s side. He tilted his head curiously at the paper.

“What are you drawing?” he questioned.

“Raphael,” Scott answered, not looking up.

“From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?” Stiles whistled impressed, “You know your cartoons.” He didn’t receive a reply and paused, for a moment, thinking, before trying again, “My favourite was Michelangelo. I used to walk around, pretending I was him, and say ‘cowabanga dude’,” he mimicked the voice and laughed fondly.

Scott’s lips quirked a little, which was taken as a good sign. He stopped the movement of the pencil against the paper, and looked up a little. “I have a red headband and I used to run around pretending I was Raphael and I had to rescue my…my mom.”

Stiles nodded sagely, and in Derek’s eyes, he seemed a little…lost in a memory, that left him nostalgic for a time past. Derek could understand that. “Did you draw it yourself?” he questioned.

Scott glanced down at the paper and then back again. “Yeah, I like to draw.”

“Me too, would you mind if I draw with you?” Stiles questioned.

Scott shrugged. “I guess not.”

“Awesome,” Stiles grinned breathlessly and then took the seat that Derek had previously occupied. Scott wordlessly handed over a couple of sheets of paper and a pencil, which Stiles took with a thank you.

A weight that Derek didn’t know sat heavily on his chest was lifted and he felt relieved, pleased by how things had turned out. Scott seemed…okay, maybe not comfortable, but he was trying, and Stiles was doing the same, and maybe something will work out for once. He wasn’t sure how long he stood there, watching the two of them, but soon enough it was time to go.

“Alright, I’ll be back in three hours,” Derek told them both. He swept passed and pressed a kiss to Scott’s forehead. “Be good,” he murmured, and squeezed a hug once before straightening out and looking at Stiles, “My number’s on the fridge if anything happens, as well as my work number, and the number for the emergency services – but then, you already know that one right?” he trailed off a little embarrassed.

Stiles smiled reassuringly. “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine. Go,” he inclined his head towards the door.

Derek did just that, trying not to think of every excuse in the book that he could get him back in that house and with his son.

 

*

 

Since Melissa’s death, Derek had spent all the time he could with Scott.  First, it was for comfort, and then because he was now a single parent and he was needed that much. It was only last week, when Scott restarted at elementary school, after two weeks out, that they’d even started to spend days apart, and that was only because Derek knew that Scott couldn’t miss any more class time and Derek had to get back to work. Even now, it was just a few hours, a few hours where an important meeting he had to attend and secure a deal in, and he couldn’t stop the anxious feeling that was rising within him.

He spoke with rehearsed enticement, and a charming grin on his face. He laughed in all the right places and pressed and insisted where he should, but inside, he couldn’t stop the questions. The wondering whether Scott was okay? Whether something had gone wrong? Was he going to come home and it be worse than the Uncle Peter fiasco (which would be impressive in its self because Derek never believed it could get worse than coming home to that)? What if Scott got hurt? What if Stiles was like one of those babysitters on television, played good guy to the parents and then spent the entire time on the phone to his friends and eating all his food? What if something had happened and Stiles had called him because they needed help, Scott was at the hospital, there was a fire, and he couldn’t get through because he had switched his phone off?

His hand fell to his trouser pocket and pressed down onto the shape of the mobile.

Okay, so maybe he knew he was being irrational and overdramatic. Chances were, nothing’s happened. That he’ll come home and everything will be as he left it and Scott is fine and in one piece.

But god, what if he wasn’t?

Derek pushed down those thoughts because he knew they weren’t helping. So what if he pushed a little harder on the deal after that? He got them to sign on the dotted line didn’t he? He forced a smile and shook their hands and began his hurried packing of papers into his briefcase, and oh he was going to have to start the process of getting the contract officialised before he left, wasn’t he?

His mother met him at the door. Her expression was all knowing, one eyebrow arched, and a small smile on her face as if crossed between amused and irritated and didn’t know how to react. Derek stopped before her and smiled weakly, because of course she would know. Talia Hale knew everything.

“They signed,” he told her.

“I heard,” Talia responded, “I had Matt see them out of the building. Well done, good work.”

“Right, thanks,” he ducked his head a little, “I’ve just got to-“

“Just give it here,” she held out her hand, “I’ll file it and you go home and see my grandson – but don’t think I’m going to make a habit of letting you off easy. I may be your mother, but here, I’m your boss.”

Derek smiled widely and handed over the papers. He paused as he passed and pressed a kiss to her cheek and muttered a thank you. He heard her long suffering sigh follow him as he made his escape. His hands went for his phone and waited impatiently for the Samsung loading screen to appear.

No calls. No texts.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing’s happened.

Derek shoved his phone into his pocket and walked a little bit faster.

 

*

 

When he came home, the house was a mess. Not in a ‘things have exploded’, or ‘we were having fun and got distracted’ kind of way. It was much more of a ‘we wanted to do something and then this happened’. The boxes from the move that Derek had shoved into the basement had been dragged up and displayed like a wall in front of the front window. The sheets from Scott’s bed were thrown over certain parts and there was a small gap in the boxes towards the floor.

Derek’s steps slowed and he placed his briefcase carefully onto the sofa. “Hmm, hello?” he tried, tugging off his coat.

There was giggling behind, which made him smile and relax because yes, Scott was okay. There was some hushed whispering and then Scott’s voice stumbled over the rehearsed words of, “Hark! Who goes there?”

“It’s your father,” Derek tried.

One of the sheets was pushed away by a little hand and an exasperated looking Scott in a colourful paper crown peered out at him. “No, dad, you’re supposed to say ‘It’s I, Knight Hale, here to help save the prince!’ Do it again!” the sheet dropped away again.

Derek shook his head and grinned in amusement. “Alright then,” he put on his best knightly voice, and repeated, “It’s I, Knight Hale, here to help save the prince!”

“Then you may come in!” Scott called back and, his head peaked out from the gap in the boxes and gestured Derek forward, “Come on dad, you have to come into the castle.”

“Whatever you say,” Derek responded dutifully and automatically dropped onto his hands and knees to crawl through the gap. Stiles, wearing around crown, although slightly smaller than Scott’s one, was crouched on his right, grinning at him, and Scott was bouncing on his left.

“It’s a nice castle,” he commented.

“Yup, and Scott built it all by himself, didn’t you Scotty?” Stiles gushed.

“Well, Stiles helped lifted the boxes because apparently I’m not allowed to stand on a ladder to do it,” Scott stated, clearly disgruntled.

“And Stiles is right,” Derek told him firmly, shooting Stiles a grateful smile. The disgruntled expression didn’t leave Scott’s face so Derek continued, “And where is this beast I’m supposed to save the prince from?”

“Oh,” Scott’s face immediately brightened, “Yes, Knight Hale, you must save Prince Stiles from the dragon!” he gestured his hand dramatically to a toy dinosaur that was surrounded by a ring of paper fire, crudely coloured in with red, yellow and orange. “It’s by order of the king!”

“And I’m guessing that’s you, huh?” Derek mused.

“Yup, that’s me.  I have a crown and everything,” Scott gestured to the hat upon his head smugly.

“And how am I supposed to defeat the dragon?”

“With the sword silly,” he rolled his eyes in exasperation, a look that he had no doubt learnt from Melissa because he’d never seen anyone else able to pull the look off as well as that women. He handed over a cardboard sword, handmade, and Derek couldn’t help but grin at the ingenuity behind it all.

Derek adjusted his grip on his weapon and turned towards the toy, still and staring blankly up at him. “Back fowl beast,” he declared, “You will meet your doom!”

He overdramatically flung his arm forward and whack the toy gently. Stiles made what Derek could only guess where dying dragon noises and Scott laughed loudly at them.

“You have defeated the beast!” Scott announced.

“Oh, my hero!” Stiles crooned at him and batted his eyelashes.

“And what’s my reward?” Derek teased back.

“A kiss from the prince!” Scott stated happily.

Stiles stopped automatically and Derek stilled awkwardly. “Um, Scott, I don’t think-“

“But that’s how it works in the movies,” he insisted.

“How about some cookies instead?” Stiles offered instead, perhaps a little too insistently, but maybe Derek was thinking too much into it. It was an awkward situation to be put in after all, and with your possible future employer.

Scott looked thoughtfully. “Alright,” he gave in reluctantly, “Your reward is cookies!”

“I’ll go get them,” Stiles scrambled out of the box castle, leaving Scott and Derek alone.

Derek automatically drew his son into a hug, despite the kid’s objections that kings didn’t need hugs, before he silenced and accepted the inevitable, leaning into his father’s touch.

“Did you have fun today pup?” Derek questioned lowly.

Scott hummed. “Stiles is fun. He helped me make a box fort.”

“You haven’t done one of these since you were little,” Derek reminisced and glanced around the construction, “It’s a lot bigger than I remember them being.”

“It’s because I’m bigger dad,” Scott reminded him.

“Aren’t you just?” Derek murmured before shaking off the feeling of nostalgia that was beginning to overwhelm him. He did miss those days. “So, Stiles wasn’t as bad as you expect, huh?”

“No,” Scott admitted begrudgingly, “Stiles is cool. He likes curly fries, maybe more than me.”

Derek mocked gasped. “Is that even possible?”

“I challenged him to a curly fries eating battle,” his son announced and Derek laughed, because yeah, of course Scott did. He had a habit for putting himself into situations that could only be called ‘tournaments’ for strange quirky things. Derek didn’t know if was a common thing, but he thought it was adorable when the then seven year old had come up to him with two large sheets of bubble wrap and declared a bubble popping competition (Scott had won).

“Does that mean you’re okay with him being your babysitter from now on?” Derek questioned.

Scott gave a one armed shrug. “I guess so.”

Derek didn’t have a chance to reply, before Stiles peeked his head back through the hole and reported that the cookies were on a plate in the kitchen with glasses of milk and that all hungry kings and knights had better hurry up before the prince ate them all. Scott left in a hurry, because there was no way he was going to chance losing his share of the chocolate chip cookies, and Derek followed after with a chuckle.

“Scott seems to like you,” Derek told Stiles as they walked slowly towards the kitchen. He kept his eyes on Scott, watching the why his son carefully pushed himself up onto one of the dining room chairs, and reached for his drink of milk, holding in two hands, of course.

“I’m glad. He’s a good kid,” Stiles seemed to beam wider at the announcement. He glanced at Derek out of the corner of his eye and looked hopefully, “So does that mean that I’ve got the job?”

“Well, we wouldn’t want you to weasel your way out of your curly fries eating competition, would we?” Derek joked.

Stiles laughed. “No, we definitely would not. Although, truth be told, I’m pretty sure that Scott would hunt me down if he thought I was going to get out of it.”

“He’d find you too. Nose like a bloodhound that one,” Derek agreed.

“Dad, you’re not telling Stiles that story are you?” Scott whined from the table, mouth full of cookie which made the words muffle a little, and crumbs stuck in his milk moustache.

“The story?” Stiles quirked an eyebrow in wonder.

Scott looked horrified that he’d brought it up and Derek grinned wickedly, in the only way a parent could when they knew they were about to embarrass their child. “Well, there was this one time, when Scott was four…”

 

Chapter Text

Five weeks.

That’s how long Stiles had been working for Derek. And honestly, he never expected to enjoy it so much.

Of course, he loved working with children before. They were young and innocent and happy, and it was a good time to remember, and to be a part of their lives and help mould them into health, accepting and unobjective adults was something that he would probably always enjoy, but there was something about the Hales that had Stiles enjoying their company more than any other he had endured.

Maybe it was because of Scott, his charge, who was happy go lucky and excitable and smart and cocky and opinionated – Stiles couldn’t count how many times he had to sit and listen to Scott arguing out the pros and cons of oreos, or why he preferred Tom to Jerry. He was imaginative and energetic in way that Stiles could keep up with, and Stiles had started to read the Fellowship of the Ring to him when he had to stay late and put Scott to bed, and now the kid wanted to be like Frodo Baggins and Stiles had promised him a cloak and some furry feet for Halloween this year.

Or maybe it was because of Derek, his employer, who was…wonderful. There were no other words that could really describe him. Stiles didn’t want to be cliché and admit that he had a crush on his boss (which he didn’t) but he could understand why he would, if he did (which he didn’t). Derek was handsome and smart and Stiles had never seen someone as overprotective of his son as Derek was, or as understanding or as willingly to humour the childish nonsense. Stiles had never been attracted to the whole parenting thing, but that was probably because he’d never met Derek Hale before now.

Maybe it was both.

He just…he enjoyed his time with them, a lot more than he thought he would with any other job, and they were becoming important to him, perhaps a little too quickly.

At least, that’s what his dad thought.

“You talk about those two a lot,” the Sheriff had mused over breakfast one morning. Stiles had his one apartment towards the centre of town, half way between his childhood home and his new work place, but it had become a routine since he had come back from Berkley that he would be at his father’s house for breakfast on Sunday mornings.

“Well, I do see them every day,” Stiles shrugged in way of explanation, because what else was there to say? Clearly there was more because his father looked completely unimpressed.

“I just hope you remember that this is a job,” John told him, “I just don’t want you to get too attached to them. Scott’s only a few years off his teenage years, and then he won’t need a babysitter anymore. I don’t want you to get hurt.”

Stiles swallowed around his food and tried not to think too much about Scott or Derek not needing him around anymore. “Its fine dad, it’s a job,” he assured, “Okay, so yes, I’m attached, but Scott’s an amazing kid and Derek’s a brilliant father, and I guess, it’s easy to get comfortable with them.”

“I hear he’s attractive too,” John mused.

Stiles choked a little on his bacon. “I hope you’re not talking about Scott dad.”

The man rolled his eyes. “You know exactly what I’m talking about,” he pointed with his fork and then shovelled a little more food into his mouth.

“Well, I guess so, in a completely platonic way,” Stiles tried, clearing his throat awkwardly and shifting in his seat.

“From what I know, he’s just your type,” John continued.

Stiles groaned and ducked his head. “Please dad, can we not have this conversation?”

“I’m just saying, I wouldn’t want that to cloud your judgement, okay?” the Sheriff held his hands up in surrender.

“Of course not, this is about Scott, not Derek,” Stiles stated firmly, but his father didn’t look convinced.  Stiles tightened his jaw and changed the subject automatically, about his father’s date the night before with the new arms dealer in town.

It worked, for now at least.

 

*

 

“Alright kiddo, time for bed,” Stiles clapped his hands and stood up from his place on the sofa. It was a Wednesday night, which meant Derek was working late because he had to deal with weekly conference calls from the other side of the world, and that it was Stiles’ duty to put Scott to bed.

Scott glanced up at him, away from the television where the credits for Aladdin were beginning to roll, and he frowned. “Do I have to go now?”

“Did your dad say you could stay up?” Stiles questioned.

Scott paused thoughtfully. “…Yes?”

Stiles gave him a pointed look. “If your dad gets mad at me I’m so going to ground you.”

Scott grinned and wriggled back into the sofa in an attempt to get more comfortable. “Don’t worry,” he assured, “dad never gets mad at you.”

Stiles didn’t answer – he didn’t really know how to, to be honest – and he felt Scott glancing up at him, as if he wanted to say something. Stiles quirked an eyebrow.

“Are you in love with my dad?” he inquired curiously, eyes narrowing a little in thought.

Stiles coughed, startled. “I thought we were talking about your bed time,” he stated quickly, trying not to think too much on the way his heart jumped a little at the thought, although out of fear or realisation or horror, Stiles wasn’t sure.

“Well that wasn’t exactly a denial,” Scott pointed out, folding his arms across his chest in a way that was the splitting image of his father.

“Oh it’s definitely bedtime now mister,” Stiles shook his head, “Right up.”

“But Stiles,” he whined.

“No buts, upstairs and into your pyjamas,” Stiles paused, “If you do it fast enough, I’ll read you two chapters tonight.”

Scott went wide eyed at the prospect and scurried out of the living room. Stiles listened to him thundering up the stairs and thumping along the hallway into his room, and couldn’t help but smile a little, abet weakly. Because, oh god, why would Scott say that? Why would Scott think that?

It was probably just a diversion to keep him distracted so that he wouldn’t have to go to bed yet, a part of him reasoned. It made sense. Scott seemed to be increasingly inventive in the ways he tried to squirm his way out of things.

Besides, even if Stiles did…love Derek (which he didn’t), it wouldn’t matter because Derek lost his girlfriend/wife/mother of his child recently and that meant he was his grieving for the loss of his love. Stiles knew from first-hand experience the kind of toll that could take. His father had been alone and in mourning for years since his mother had gone, and it was only recently – over a decade later – that he’d finally had the courage to accept a date from anyone, out of fear of destroying his mother’s memory. Derek could be the same. Not to mention the fact he was mostly likely straight, Scott being evidence for that, and that he was, at least for now, Derek’s employee. He looked after his son, a boy that clearly meant the world to him, and Stiles would never do anything that would affect their relationship or his position in their lives.

It was just the way it had to be.

“Stiles,” Scott called from the first floor landing, hanging off the banisters, “I’m in my pyjamas now!”

Stiles shook his head from those thoughts. “Alright, I’m coming Scotty.”

 

*

 

“I think I have a crush on my boss,” Stiles admitted loudly, splayed across the sofa in his apartment, head tilted towards the ceiling.

Lydia glanced at him from the kitchen, where she was waiting for the coffee maker to finish so she could have her expensive South American coffee beans that she loved so much and Stiles couldn’t afford. “Well of course you do,” she stated, as if she had never expected anything else and she was a little exasperated that it had taken Stiles so long to figure it out.

“Why do you seem so calm about this? It’s not a good thing,” Stiles’ flailed his arms around him to emphasis his point.

“And why not?” Lydia questioned.

“He’s my boss Lydia,” Stiles rolled his eyes.

“He’s Derek Hale Stiles,” she mimicked back, “What did you expect?  Besides, you and I both know you’ve had a crush on the man since high school.”

“He worked in his dad’s bookshop,” Stiles remembered. He sighed, “It’s been five years since high school. You’d think I’d be over it by now.”

Lydia snorted, and Stiles blinked surprised. “Please,” she shook her head, unconvinced, “You were in love with me since 3rd grade.”

“I got over you,” Stiles defended.

“Yeah, during junior year. Take it from me Stiles, you don’t do things half-heartedly,” she told him firmly.

Stiles slumped into the sofa. He had learnt a long time ago that there was no arguing with Lydia. She was smart and determined and she never gave in. If you didn’t want to end up on her hit list for an unknown amount of time, it was better to just admit defeat.

“He doesn’t remember me,” he commented.

“Well, you look different now, and it wasn’t as if you guys were close back then,” Lydia gave a one shouldered shrug. The coffee machine beeped to announce its completion and she reached gleefully for her mug. Cupping it in two hands, she carefully crossed the apartment to reach the living room before perching on one of the chairs. “It’s better now though. He knows who you are.”

“Yeah, as his son’s babysitter,” Stiles stated grimly, “I like my job Lydia. I love hanging out with Scott and, Derek…he’s…I don’t even know. I just know I don’t want to jeopardise anything between the three of us because I’m acting out on a crush I had as a teenager.”

“Stiles, you’re being mature, this is a little worrying,” Lydia teased and Stiles cracked a small smile, although it was clearly out of habit than want. Lydia breathed and carefully placed the mug on the table. “Listen, Stiles…”

She was cut off by Stiles’ phone ringing. Stiles frowned at it for a minute, debating not answering it so he didn’t have to move, before forcing himself to sit up and fumble with the phone that was vibrating across the table. Derek calling. Stiles frowned some more.

“Hello?” he answered.

“Stiles, I ah, fuck, I…can you get Scott from school?” Derek asked, his voice rushed and urgent and panicked and frustrated and oh my god, what was wrong?

“It’s only noon,” Stiles told him confused, and worried. He sat up a little straight and shared a glance with Lydia.

“I know, I just got a call from the school,” Derek explained, “Something happened, a fight apparently, and the principal wants me to come in but I can’t. I have so much work that I just – so I asked whether you could go and-“

Stiles was already standing up. “Hey, don’t worry. I’ve got this. I’ll see what’s up, bring him home and call you. No worries.” He assured.

“Thank you Stiles, just – thanks,” Derek sighed a little relieved, but the worry hadn’t left his voice.

“Don’t worry Derek. I’ve got Scott,” he announced firmly before ending the call. He opened his mouth to apologise for cutting ‘housemate talk’ time short but Lydia was already waving him off dismissively. He grinned thankfully and pressed a kiss to her cheek before heading for the door, grabbing his coat as he went.

Sometimes, he really loved Lydia.

 

*

 

“Christ Scott, what happened to you?” Stiles exclaimed worriedly as soon as he laid eyes on the boy.

Scott looked up from where he was perched on one of the plastic chairs that lined the wall outside the principal’s office.  He looked startled for a moment to see Stiles there and then contrite, ducking his head again to hide the purplish bruise that was growing on his left cheek. His legs kicked under him.

Stiles’ eyebrows furrowed in concern and he crouched at Scott’s side, reaching out to touch the bruise. Scott recoiled and made a noise of objection, which Stiles ignored in favour of looking closer.

“Jesus,” he breathed out, “Has this been checked out?”

“By the nurse,” Scott responded positively.

“Who did this?” he demanded to know.

Scott frowned deeply. “Jackson.”

Jackson. Stiles had heard a few things about him from Scott. The school bully as far as Stiles could tell, with rich parents and a sense of self-righteousness that had always irritated Stiles.

“And why did Jackson punch you?”

“Because I kicked him.”

Stiles sighed and rocked back on his heels. “Why did you kick him Scott?”

Before Scott got the chance to answer, the door to the office opened up and the soft smiling Principal Deaton was standing there. Stiles was surprised to see him. He had been the principal of Beacon Hills Elementary when Stiles attended, he never expected to see him again. Clearly, the same couldn’t be said for him to Deaton, who just smiled at him knowingly.

“If you wouldn’t mind joining us, Mr Hale, Mr Stilinski,” he gestured them both into the room, “I would like to hear Scott’s side of the story.”

Scott walked in first, slouched forward and shoulder’s arched protectively, and Stiles followed with a frown. Already in the room, had to be Mr Whittemore and his son. Stiles vaguely recognised the DA from those times he had spent in the police station with his father. The man looked irritated and frustrated and like he’d rather be anywhere else. Jackson was sitting silently in the chair, barely looking up when Scott and Stiles entered, and there was a plaster on his left shin. Must have been where Scott kicked him.

“I’m sorry, but who’s this? I thought I was supposed to be talking to Mr Hale,” Whittemore folded his arms across his chest.

Deaton took his seat on the other side of the desk. “Mr Whittemore, this is Mr Stilinski, I do believe he’s acting as Scott’s guardian as Mr Hale is currently unavailable. Isn’t that correct?”

“It’s what he asked me to,” Stiles agreed, “So can someone tell me why my charge has a shiner growing on his face?”

“There seems to have been a disagreement between young Mr Hale and Mr Whittemore here,” Deaton explained carefully.

“A pretty big disagreement,” Whittemore snorted, “That kid attacked my son.”

Scott tensed and Stiles frowned heavily, concerned. He reached out and wrapped an arm around Scott’s shoulder, squeezing gently and hopefully showing that he was on his side. He forced a smile in Whittemore’s direction. “Scott attacked Jackson? I’m assuming you don’t mean unprovoked.”

“Of course it was unprovoked,” Whittemore argued.

“Scott’s not like that,” Stiles stated confidently, “If he hasn’t reacted to your son’s treatment of him before, it only makes sense that this time, something changed. That he was provoked.”

Deaton interlocked his hands over his desk and smiled encouragingly. “Is that true Scott? Where you provoked?”

Scott shifted uncomfortably and muttered something under his breath.

“A little louder there Scott,” Deaton told him, “I need to know what happened, the story from both sides, before I can give a suitable punishment – because there has to be repercussions you understand. I just wouldn’t want anyone to be falsely accused of something.”

“He said something about mom,” Scott stated, louder this time. His voice was shaky, uncertain and there was still anger there, but Stiles didn’t need to know what was said. It didn’t matter. He understood those feelings all too well, and clearly Deaton did too.

“What has his mother got to do with anything?” Whittemore demanded.

Stiles’ jaw tightened and he hugged Scott a little closer, dropping a kiss to the crown of his head.

“Mr Whittemore, Mrs McCall was in an unfortunate accident a few months back and…she didn’t make it,” Deaton explained softly, delicately. Scott pushed his head into the fabric at Stiles’ shoulder.

Whittemore shot a look at his son that had Jackson sinking a little in his seat.  Clearly that was something he had left out in his explanations.

Deaton sat back in his chair and looked thoughtfully between the two families. “I believe that both parties were wrong in this instance. Although Scott shouldn’t have lashed out, Jackson was just as part for both violence and for a complete disregard of one of this classmates feelings. Because of this, I will regrettably have to suspend you both for the rest of the week. I expect you both to use that time to think about how you deal with conflict and what’s considered right and wrong on the playground. Also, Mr Whittemore, I think that Jackson would benefit from some personal time, out of class, being spent teaching him how to interact with the other students, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Of course, Mr Deaton,” Whittemore lied smoothly, straightening his back and adjusted his tie.

“Then I don’t there there’s any more to discuss. Thank you gentlemen,” Deaton stood up, and Stiles automatically followed and shook the man’s hand, shooting him a grateful smile. Deaton held out his hand to the two students, “And I shall see you both on Monday Scott, Jackson.”

“Have a good weekend sir,” Scott shook the hand and muttered.

Scott didn’t say anything else for the rest of the car journey home and when he did get home, he automatically went towards his room, footsteps quietly showing his path. Stiles sighed and listened until there was silence. What was he supposed to do?

I need someone who can help him deal with it, Derek’s voice said in his mind. Stiles bit his bottom lip and looked up the stairs once more. He guessed now was the time.

He sent a quick text to Derek – Scott’s fine. A scuffle at school with that Jackson kid. We can talk when you get home – before he slowly made his way up the stairs. He hovered at the doorway to Scott’s bedroom for a moment, giving them both a few more moments, because Stiles knew where this was going to go, knew where it had to go. He just wasn’t sure whether he was ready for it.

Scott was sitting in the centre of his bed, legs crossed and staring down at a teddy bear. It was old and a little matted, but looked loved and cared for as any toy would under the care of a child. He looked lost and sad and Stiles understood that feeling. He really did. After all, it was something he had gone through himself.

“Hey Scotty,” Stiles finally greeted.

Scott didn’t look up, didn’t even acknowledge his presence except the slightly shift in his sitting position.

Stiles took a step into the room, and then another and another until he was perched on the edge of Scott’s bed, behind him and peering over his shoulder to get a closer look at the toy. He didn’t say anything, just waited for Scott to start talking, although it did take a few minutes.

“This was my mom’s,” he whispered.

“It’s very pretty,” Stiles told him with a nod.

“It was given to her by her Abuela when she was a baby, and then she gave it to me,” he continued, “It was the first present she gave me.”

Stiles swallowed a little. “My mom…she gave me a quilt. She told me that it was something that was passed down from one generation to the other, and each new generation made a square to be added to the design to represent them and their children.”

“Did your mom go too?” Scott questioned lowly.

“Yeah, when I was about your age,” Stiles nodded.

“What was it?”

“She was sick. Really sick. Sick enough that the doctor’s couldn’t do anything to help her.”

“They couldn’t do anything to help mom either,” Scott’s grip on the toy tightened, “I asked and I asked and I prayed because mom said that sometimes they get answered if we want it that much, but they couldn’t do anything.”

Stiles heard sniffing and he blinked back his own tears and reached out to touch Scott’s shoulder. “Scott…”

“I didn’t pray hard enough, that’s why she’s dead!” Scott wailed and Stiles jolted, surprised, at the unexpected shout.

Scott turned towards him with tearful eyes and his bottom lip quivering. A sob broke past his lips and Stiles’ heart jumped painfully at the familiar noise. He instinctively curled his arms around the little boy’s body and drew him closer, holding tightly. Scott’s hands gripped at his shirt, tears wetting and sobs muffled by the fabric. He pressed his face into Scott’s hair and breathed unsteadily.

He remembered.

He remembered being like this, shaking, sobbing, missing and wanting nothing more than to have his mother back and holding him.

He remembered those feelings, how much he blamed himself for the loss. He had hated the doctor’s for not being able to save her. He had hated his father for not being able to stop her pain. He had hated her for being sick and dying to leave him and his dad behind. He had hated himself, for thinking all those things and for not being able to be with her.

His dad hadn’t known how to make it better then, too wrapped up in his own grief and loss at the time to adequately help his son in any way. Stiles had been too young to know what to do to make his dad better again. But this time, with Scott, Stiles refused to give in again. He would do something, anything. He had to.

“It’s not your fault Scott,” Stiles told him, his voice unexpectedly croaked, and he didn’t bother to blink away the tears this time. “What happened to your mom…it wasn’t your fault. There wasn’t anything anyone could do.”

“There’s always something,” Scott argued.

“No, there isn’t,” Stiles corrected sadly, “I wish there was. I wish there was a magical cure that can heal all the illnesses in the world and that all bones can be mended with a single touch, but that doesn’t exist Scott. The scientists, the doctor’s, they’re working on it, but that means until then, some people will die. Our mom’s…they were the unlucky ones.”

“She left me,” he sobbed.

Stiles made a shushing noise and held on tighter, rocking him gently. “I know, I know, I know she did, but she didn’t want to. Why would she want to when she has a son like you? When she has your dad? I wouldn’t want to leave,” he swallowed around the truth in the words, “And neither did she. But sometimes, people have to go, because it’s their time. But your mom didn’t leave you completely.”

Scott sniffed. “…She didn’t?”

“Of course not. She’s just…watching you from up in heaven, or through where their memory is strongest,” Stiles told him as convincingly as he could. He reached across the bed to where the abandoned teddy bear had been dropped and brought it before Scott. He made himself smile, “See?  With the things they’ve left us, the toys and the quilts and the memories, they can’t leave us. Your mom will always be there to look after you, even if she can’t do it in person anymore.”

Scott shifted his face from the creases of Stiles’ plaid shirt and wiped his tears with the back of his hand roughly. His eyes scanned over the toy. “Mom can see me through that?” he questioned meekly.

“Oh definitely. Whenever I want to be close to my mom, when I need her guidance or her hope o-or her smell,” Stiles choked around the words suddenly. God, he hated talking about this stuff.  He hated bringing it up. But it was for Scott. He would do it, for Scott. He didn’t want Scott to grow up like him, to never speak about his mother, and whenever he did remember her, to just feel like breaking down. No, he had his whole life ahead of him. He should have the opportunity for closure, the type that Stiles never got. He cleared his throat and wiped the wet trails on his cheek with the sleeve of his hoodie, “I-I get the quilt she made for me and I sit with it. I look at all the memories and I speak to her, telling her all the things about my life and how much I l-love and miss her. She can hear me that way.”

Scott stayed still for a moment, before he reached out with his small shaking hands and grasped the toy. He drew it close to his chest, made a small noise of contentment and pain, and buried his face in the browning fur.

“I miss her,” he whispered.

“I know Scotty, I know,” Stiles uttered, running his hand through Scott’s hair comfortingly.

Scott didn’t let go out of him and Stiles himself wasn’t entirely prepared to let the boy go. So he held on a little tighter and closed his eyes and tried to just breathe. Except now, all he could hear was his mother’s voice, tired and weak from the chemotherapy, when she had sat him on her lap only days before her death and she had sung to him.

To stay with you, my only dream, to share your life, whatever it means

Farewell my angel. You're with me always, just close your eyes now.

Next time we meet its forever

Chapter Text

 

Derek tried not to panic. He’d gotten Stiles message and he knew that everything was fine. It had to be fine. Stiles wouldn’t have told him everything was fine when it wasn’t…right?

He didn’t want to panic. He didn’t want to worry. But Scott had never gotten into trouble at school. Derek couldn’t remember a time where he’d ever been called into the school for anything other than Scott being too sick to continue – and now he was getting into fights. He couldn’t help but wonder whether it was his fault. Scott had never gotten into trouble until after Melissa had died, maybe it was a reaction to that, maybe this was how he was going to deal with his feelings, god, Derek hoped not.

When Derek got home, the house was silent, still. He couldn’t hear the television, like he usually did after work, or the sound of giggles and low talking if Scott was still awake. Just his own breathing. But Scott’s Avengers schoolbag laid at the bottom of the stairs, where it always went, next to his light up trainers, and Stiles’ shoes were beside them.

Derek checked the living room quickly, just in case, before making his way up the stairs, taking two steps at a time. The door to Scott’s bedroom was open and Derek made to walk through before he stopped himself, and just stared.

They were asleep. Stiles was on his back, head tilted to the side towards the door, mouth open and yup, there was drool (which Derek found strangely endearing). Scott was splayed across his chest, like he used to do when he was a baby, with Stiles’ arms protectively around him, his face mushed between Stiles’ collarbones – Derek startled at the bruise that stared back at him - his teddy bear protectively tucked under one arm. Derek couldn’t explain the initial reaction he had to the scene – to the way his heart beat picked up in his chest, or how he felt just a little warmer, a little fonder – before he noticed the tear tracks. Scott’s cheeks were almost stained, and Stiles’ still seemed to be wet. Derek frowned heavily, wondering what had happened, and took a small step into the room.

A floorboard creaked under his feet and he froze guilty. He glanced towards the ground and the bed, hoping he hadn’t woken them up. No such luck. Stiles jerked a little out of sleep, his grip around Scott tightening for a moment before he realised who it was and relaxed.

“Hey,” he whispered, voice rough from sleep.

“Hi,” Derek responded and his lips tilted downward at the edges. Stiles’ eyes were red rimmed. If he needed more proof that there were tears to be had, it was there. He cleared his throat a little. “How is he?”

“Sad,” Stiles replied honestly. One hand moved through Scott’s hair and the boy sighed in his sleep and slumped a little deeper into it.

“We should talk,” Derek told him.

Stiles hummed his agreement, “But let him sleep. Scott’s had a rough day.”

“Of course,” Derek nodded his agreement.

“Let me get out of here and we can have a coffee or something,” Stiles told him quietly, “You get out of that suit. I know how much you hate them.”

Derek was half way back to his room when he began to wonder how Stiles knew about his dislike for suits.

When he returned, wearing an old muscle shirt and sweat pants that had blue paint splattered across the legs, Stiles was humming something, a song, under his breath and gently encouraging Scott back to sleep. The distressed look on the boy’s face faded quickly into slumber. Stiles stayed in that position for a little while longer, just watching, and Derek remembered when he used to do that – used to, still did.  He couldn’t help it.  He guessed it was a paternal thing to watch your child, in the dark and silence of the night, where they seem so much younger and innocent and in need of protecting. He just never noticed that Stiles felt the same.

Finally, the man stood up and glanced towards Derek. He didn’t seem surprised to see him there. He inclined his head, not saying a little, but Derek understood and nodded. Together, they walked downstairs and into the kitchen. Derek walked automatically to kettle, desperately in need of an herbal tea, and Stiles took a seat at the dining table and waited patiently for Derek to return to him before he started talking.

“Scott’s been suspended,” Stiles stated, “Just until the end of the week though.”

Derek sighed. “What happened?”

“Scott and this boy Jackson got into a fight,” Stiles explained softly. A cup of sweet smelling tea was placed in front of him and his hands curled around the mug, soaking in the warmth, “Apparently, Jackson said something about Melissa and Scott reacted.”

Derek’s grip tightened momentarily around his own cup as a surge of anger rocked through him. It loosened as he calmed down. “Of course it would be that Whittemore kid,” he shook his head and ran a hand through his head. “Is that where that bruise came from?”

“Yeah, Scott kicked him,” Stiles told him simply and then took a sip, “Apparently, they’re both taking the week ‘to understand that conflict cannot be solved with violence’.”

“I guess I should probably talk to him about that,” Derek sighed.

“You should talk to him about his mother first,” Stiles said, almost challengingly, as if expecting a fight. Maybe there would have been, but Derek only felt a little bewildered.

“We have spoken about her – well, I tried to,” he admitted, “It’s hard, you know, to get him to understand, and every time she’s brought up, I can see how much it hurts him and I don’t want to cause him unnecessary pain.”

“That’s bullshit,” Stiles cursed bluntly.

Derek’s back straightened defensively. “Hey-“

“He thinks it’s his fault.”

He deflated automatically, eyes wide. He… “H-he what?” Derek stammered and blinked.

“That’s what he told me. That it was his fault. He thought that if he had wished harder, she would still be alive,” Stiles muttered the words sadly, and breathed out shakily, “God, that was horrible.”

“I-I…I had no idea…” Derek uttered and god, it felt as if he were looking for an excuse for not knowing what was going on with his son. Maybe he was. He’d been so desperate to not cause Scott any more pain that he’d completely missed that the boy was already suffering, was still suffering. Derek ran a hand over his face and pressed his against his mouth.

“Hey,” Stiles’ voice was soft and soothing, reaching out to wrap around his free hand. It was a warm touch, strong and comforting and Derek clung to it. Stiles looked at him earnestly. “It’s your fault. Sometimes, kids keep these things to themselves.”

“Did you?” Derek asked before he could stop himself.

Stiles froze and Derek felt the apology burn on his tongue, his stomach turning guiltily. Before he could get the words out, Stiles was nodding. “Yeah,” he cleared his throat, “Yeah, I did.” He tilted his head, “My dad…he was having a hard time dealing, and I didn’t want to burden him with it.”

“I bet he wouldn’t have thought it was a burden,” Derek murmured in reply.

“Maybe,” was all Stiles said on the matter, before he pushed forward, dismissing it, “We never really spoke about my mother after. I wanted to, sometimes, but it hurt you know, a lot to remember her. My dad packed some of her stuff away in boxes and hide them, which…maybe he was trying to help, to help both of us, but…it was just like losing her all over again.”

Derek adjusted his hand around Stiles’ held on, hoping that he was offering some form of comfort to the other man. Stiles squeezed around the limb so Derek took that as a good sign.

“We never spoke about her,” Stiles repeated lowly, “And I think that’s one of the reasons why we haven’t accepted it. You have to talk about her to him, talk about your favourite parts about her. Keep your wife’s memory alive anyway you can.”

“I…I can do that,” Derek tried to sound certain, even when he knew that once his son began to tear up, he’d want to just give up and pull him into a protective hold and just keep him from the world, safe and unknowing of the horrors of reality. “Melissa though…she wasn’t my wife.”

Stiles blinked surprised and then flushed a little embarrassed. He tried to pull his hand away and Derek reluctantly let go, his own feeling strangely empty as he watched the limb fold into Stiles’ lap.

“Sorry, I just assumed…”

Derek shook his head. “A lot of people do. It’s not…I loved Melissa, but not like that. After that one night, when we found out about Scott, we did try but yeah, we were much better off being friends.”

“Oh, right, I understand,” Stiles nodded his head perhaps a bit too urgently, “My friend, Lydia. We – well, I had a crush on her and we tried for a time but nothing came of it and then I figured out that I preferred guys to girls and then-“Stiles jaw snapped shut and his cheeks reddened a little more.

Derek eyed him cautiously. “You know that I – I don’t have a problem with you being gay. I mean, that would be a little hypocritical of myself, if I did-“

“I never thought you would,” Stiles interjected quickly.

“-and besides you’re amazing with Scott and that boy loves you and I-oh,” he shut off sharply, finally catching up with the words that the man had said and he cleared his throat awkwardly, “Good, well, okay then. So, um, talk to Scott?” he tried to get the subject returned to its original course.

“Yeah, that’s what I’d suggest,” Stiles nodded, “He just lost his mom, he needs his dad more than ever.”

“I never imagined this, the whole being a single parent thing,” Derek voiced. His mouth felt dry and he took a drink, the tea suddenly too sweet to do anything but clog the back of his throat. He swallowed and licked his lips. “Melissa…she was always there. We had dinners on Sundays as a family and split our hours together depending on our shifts at work. I never considered what it would be like if she wasn’t – and it’s so hard. I don’t even know if I’m doing anything right.”

“You are,” Stiles told him with the utmost confidence, enough that Derek glanced up, surprised at the unwavering certainty behind it.

“How can you be so sure?” Derek’s lips twitched upward bitterly.

“Because that kid adores you,” Stiles insisted, “You have to be doing something right. Besides, even without Melissa, it’s not just you anymore.”

“Oh yeah, and who else is there?”

“Me,” Stiles pointed out, before hurriedly adding, “And your family, of course. Between all three of us, I think we could make Melissa proud.”

Derek smiled a little. “She would have liked you.”

Stiles’ smile widened. “I would hope so. I think I would have liked her too. She had to be pretty amazing what which you two being the main men in her life.”

He laughed and shook his head. “Scott’s so much like her sometimes.”

“Then there’s no doubt that she’s fantastic,” Stiles confirmed happily.

Derek’s smile widened.

 

*

 

It took Derek far longer than it should have to realise that he had a feelings for Stiles and when he did, he freaked out.

He would deny that of course. He would say that being consumed with worry, his heart beating out of his chest, his palms getting sweaty – they were all perfectly normal reactions to finding out that you had feelings about someone. It’s scientifically proven. The worry though, yeah, that was all Derek.

Derek had never exactly been the poster boy for perfect romantic relationships. When he was 16, there had been Paige – beautiful, smart, funny, and musician with her entire life ahead of her; had died during a wild animal attack when they were out hiking in the woods and had gotten separated. At college, he’d met Kate – older than him, gorgeous, sexy, and intelligent and interested in his freshmen self; he’d wanted something serious and she hadn’t been interested in anything more than casual. When he started at his mother’s firm, there had been Jennifer, his personal assistant – pretty, elegant, charming, and so passionate in everything she did; had been caught sending information to a rival company and had been fired on the spot.

He’d had three serious relationships in this time and they’d all ended horribly, one way or another. Melissa, she was like the one exception, and they didn’t even have what would constitute as a real relationship. They were friends who had slept together once and had a son together. That’s all, nothing more, nothing less.

But Stiles, god, he wanted more. At least, he thought he did. It felt like he wanted him. Yes, Stiles was gorgeous, with his amber eyes and the mess of dark hair on the top of his head, and the soft to the touch skin and the moles that decorated it and made him want to trace the path beneath the collar of yet another plaid shirt. Yes, sex was a part of the attraction. But sometimes, he would catch himself looking a little too long at Stiles with Scott, just taking in, enjoying, how they interacted with each other. He liked the way that Stiles would hang onto every word that Scott would say, as if it were the most important thing in the world to him, no matter what it was about. He liked the way that Stiles would drag the boy into a hug, ruffling his head and tickling sometimes, just for the fun for it. He liked the way that Scott would laugh and play along and struggle to get away before calling on his father for help. He loved having Stiles around the house, something he wasn’t going anything but taking up space, but when he wasn’t there, the house just felt a little…empty. He loved Stiles’ baked goods when he brings them over, curtsy of his friend Allison apparently, and he loved when Stiles cooked for them – spaghetti bolognese because it’s the only thing he knows how to cook. He loved Stiles’ voice, the way he laughs, the way his hands would move as if it could get the point across clearer. He loved how competitive he got over playing video games with Scott, and how he played with the sleeves of his hoodies and his strange obsession with Batman and the comic book shirts and…

He loved Stiles.

He loved Stiles.

“Well, yeah, obviously,” was Erica’s response when he told her.

“Obviously?” Derek repeated disbelievingly.

He had been friends with Erica for what felt like forever. They’d been in the same year at middle school, forced together because of their fondness for numbers and they’d grown close, first in a kind of ‘we might as well have each other’ way before Derek had seen Erica’s first seizure, and the way that the others had treated her, and then he hadn’t wanted to let anyone else get the chance. She’d gotten angry that he started treating her like a flower and then punched him. She thought she had broken his nose, freaked out and apologised and then stayed with him in ER until they were told it was just a fracture, and they’d been best friends ever since.

Erica had been amazing since Melissa had died, as close as she could be, but Derek knew he couldn’t rely on her entirely, just like he couldn’t with the rest of his family. They had lives, jobs, children that they had to take care of. Derek couldn’t expect Erica to put Boyd and the triplets behind her, especially not now that she had just gotten a promotion at the surveyors where she worked. Still, it had been a good few weeks since they had last seen each other, so that weekend he had packed up Scott and taken him into the next town over for the day.

And if Derek wanted to use that time to discuss his current emotional problems, then it was perfect timing wasn’t it?

Erica hadn’t looked up from where she was placing halved cucumbers and cherry tomatoes onto crackers when she spoke, but feeling Derek’s eyes on her, she glanced up and hummed. “Yeah, obviously,” she said a little slower and yeah, definitely a little patronizingly.

Derek’s eyes narrowed and she sighed, straightening up and brushing her blond curls away from her face before piercing Derek with a look.

“Obviously you have feelings for him. Stiles has been around for, what, nearly three months now right?”

“Three months and two weeks,” Derek corrected automatically.

Erica looked amused, “Three months and two weeks,” she stated, “And well, you’ve kind of mentioned him a lot.”

“…I have?”

“Definitely. I haven’t even met the kid and unless he’s Batman, I’m going to be disappointed,” Erica exaggerated.

Derek winced a little. “Is it really that bad?”

She gave a one armed shrug and then ducked her head to continue the preparation of food. “I just know how you are with this kind of thing Derek,” she told him, “Starry eyed, gushy, may be a little pathetic but that can be kind of a turn on to some people, fortunately for you.”

“Wow Erica, that’s exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you, you know me so well,” Derek commented dryly, sarcasm ringing in his voice.

Erica stuck out her tongue childishly and Derek mimicked.

“Oh no, the tongues are out, something’s happened,” Boyd commented teasingly as he entered the room.

Erica and Boyd had been married for nearly nine years now, and no matter how many years had passed, Erica always lit up at the sight of him and Boyd always smiled. It was adorable and, quite frankly, sickening and god did Derek want that.  He really did.

“So what are you two fighting about?” Boyd questioned, “It’s not the whole Superman and Batman thing, is it?”

“No,” Derek quickly interjected because he’d be damned if he got into that argument again. He needed advice damn it, and if they started, they wouldn’t finish until pass midnight.

“Derek’s got a crush and he’s upset that I knew about it before he did,” Erica recited.

“Oh, you mean on that Stilinski kid?”

“Wait, you knew too?” Derek sighed and slumped into his seat.

“I’ve known you since college, of course I knew,” Boyd told him, “But that’s not the issue is it? The issue is that you don’t know what you should do about it.”

“Oh Boyd, he’s a fully grown man, he knows what to do,” she winked suggestively and Derek turned pink at the tips of his ears.

Boyd rolled his eyes and smiled fondly, wrapping his arms around her waist and drawing her closer. “That, comes later,” he told her before turning his attention back to Derek, “you need to tell him how you feel about him.”

“But…” Derek struggled for an excuse.

“But what, he works for you? He’s too young?” Erica listed.

“Yes, exactly all those things.”

“Well, if you get together and then fire him, you’ll get a babysitter for free,” she reminded him, “which he’d do because he loves Scott and Scott loves him and have you seen that boy’s face? It’s hard to refuse Scott anything. As for the other thing, he’s, what in this twenties? You’re not exactly a grandfather Derek.”

“He could do better,” Derek tried.

“Than the gorgeous family man with a nice home and steady income?” Erica pointed out. “Look, Derek, I get why you’re…cautious with this thing. But you haven’t been with anyone since that weekend stand that you can’t even remember the name of-“

“His name was Mike,” he said quickly. At least, he thought that’s what his name was.

“-and you need to get back on that horse,” she continued as if he hadn’t interrupted, “And if that horse just happens to be 22, hot and amazing with your son then well, I think you’ve hit the jackpot there sweetie. And I fully suggest that you take that boy around the back and ride him until your arse is sore.”

Derek’s cheeks went red, embarrassed, and he hissed out her name in warning. She arched an eyebrow challengingly and he sighed in defeat. “You make it sound so easy.”

“Why can’t be easy? Why does it always have to be difficult with you?”

“Because there’s more than just sex to consider here,” Derek retorted, “I…I think I want more from him guys…”

“Good, then all the more reason to let him know,” Erica nodded satisfied. She broke away from Boyd’s grip to put the last tomato on the last cracker before shouting out, “Satan’s spawn, your lunch is served!”

“I wish you’d stop calling them that,” Boyd murmured.

“Think of a better name for the foursome and I’ll use it,” Erica quipped back, a moment before the thundering footsteps that had been gradually growing in crescendo reached the door to the kitchen and three six years and one nine year old came stumbling into the room, giggling and sparkly eyed and red cheeked.

Derek quirked an eyebrow at the streams that had been taped down to Scott’s arms. “And what are these supposed to be?”

“They’re tentacles dad,” Scott explained exasperated, as if he couldn’t believe that his dad didn’t get it first off.

“He’s Davy Jones,” Alicia piped in, her grin wide and all the more adorable with her two front teeth missing.

“I’m Bootstap Bill,” Vernon III announced, which kind of explained the eye patch over his left eye, “And Alicia’s William, my son.”

“Wilhelmina,” Alicia corrected with a glare shot in her brother’s direction, like she’d gotten irritated correcting him by this point.

“And I’m Jack Sparrow!” Isaac waved his arms at the end of the table, drawing all attention his way. As the smallest of the trio, the pirate hat sat haphazardly on his head and slipped forward over his eyes. He beamed beneath it.

“Oh, yeah, now I see it,” Derek hummed approvingly. He glanced between Erica and Boyd with amusement, “You let them watch Pirates of the Caribbean?”

“Only the beginning. They were sent out of the room before anything that would be worth a night in Mommy and Daddy’s bed,” Erica told him honestly.

“They’re going through a pirate phase,” Boyd added in way of explanation.

Derek nodded and hummed. “I remembered when Scott went through that. Although he much preferred Captain Hook.”

Scott’s cheeks went pink. “Not anymore. I’m Davy Jones. I rule the high sea and lead people to their deaths a-and I’m all tentacle-y!” he waved his arms in demonstration, streams flapping in the breeze.

Derek barked out a laugh.

 

Chapter Text

 

“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.”

“What? Why?”

“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.