twentysomething: (see look i do have a teen wolf icon)
posted by [personal profile] twentysomething at 04:49pm on 15/08/2012 under , , , , ,
Title: DILF

Fandom: Teen Wolf

Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski

Summary: "Today is Scott's first day of kindergarten and Derek is terrified."

Length: 31,000 wordsish, 14,000ish this part

Warnings: LONG TERM PINING, domesticity, I'm the worst

Notes: So this like, super duper [profile] moonklutz and [personal profile] thehoyden's faults. They insisted on the sex, too. Love to [profile] merelyn25 and [personal profile] leupagus for cheerleading over the months it took me to write this. Also, cheers to [personal profile] rageprufrock who merely asked, "Is Stiles preggo yet?" every time I mentioned working on this. To defuse your fears, Stiles is never pregnant at all during this fic. Strong apologies for the wildlife reserve bullshitting in this, park rangers, etc of the world, kill me not. A lot of this was written before s2 when we realized Derek was AWFUL at pack, although I argue he just needs practice.

We joked about naming this fic DILF for a while and then I decided it was the ONLY thing I could name it.


Derek hadn't worried when he'd sent Jackson to kindergarten. He remembers when Jackson was little, he was sweet and prone to crying, but after the accident, Jackson was harder. Which Derek worries about, but the upshot was that it had meant he'd be fine at school. In fact, Jackson had practically flung himself out of the car to get away from Scott, who had been crying desperately because Jackson got to go to school and he didn't.

Today is Scott's first day of kindergarten and Derek is terrified. Scott has always been equal parts space cadet and sensitive; Derek wants to go to school with him and throw any kid that looks at Scott wrong out the window.

"Oh my god, Derek, he's going to be fine," Jackson says from the passenger seat. "You keep looking like you're going to kill someone."

"Does Dad need to kill someone?" Scott asks, sounding a little worried from the back seat. "Did you have to kill someone when Jackson went to school, too? How come you never told me about it?"

Derek rolls his eyes. "No, Scott, I don't have to kill anyone. I haven't killed anyone, either." Scott looks a little mollified but still wary and concerned.

"What are you doing?" Jackson demands as Derek cruises the parking lot for a space.

"I'm coming in with you both," Derek says, confused.

Jackson stares at Derek, horrified. "Oh my god, he cannot have you drop him off, everyone will think he's a baby, I'll take him," Jackson tells Derek.

Derek raises an eyebrow at him, but Jackson holds his ground. "Scott?" Derek asks, because really, it's Scott's call.

Scott frowns, but visibly pulls himself together. "Jackson can walk with me if he wants, but I bet I could find it on my own." Scott says.

"Yeah, right," Jackson mutters, but quietly enough that Scott doesn't hear him. Derek shoots him a look and Jackson unbuckles his seatbelt, grabbing his backpack.

"Okay, okay! C'mon, Scott, get your bag, we're going!" Jackson says, opening the door. Scott scrambles out after him, shooting Derek a wobbly smile.

"Bye, Dad!" Scott yells in unison with Jackson's "Bye, Derek!"

"Hey," Derek pins them both with a look. "Be good. Jackson, watch out for your brother."

"Yeah, okay, we gotta go," Jackson says, dragging Scott along.

Derek goes to work because going home would just be depressing without Scott running all over the house, screaming at the top of his lungs that he wanted to play aliens and ninjas. Everyone simultaneously annoys him and keeps their distance, which annoys him all over again. Derek would be lying if he said he wasn't counting down the minutes until 2 pm.

Derek's first in line at Kiss and Ride, mostly because his boss had come over at 1:30 and said, "Go, you're making the interns cry."

Jackson's 1st grade teacher is running Kiss and Ride. She catches Derek's eye and scrambles to find Jackson, and by extension, Scott. She'd been constantly talking about Jackson running the class and Derek had countered that Jackson was a leader, nothing wrong with that and it'd ended with the two of them at a vicious stalemate that somehow ended up with Derek having to chaperone every field trip. In return, in one of his rare attendances to the PTA, Derek suggested that Mrs. Porter, with her training as a reading specialist, would be a good choice to run the reading workshop the PTA had been talking about forever. On Friday nights.

Jackson is dragging Scott by his backpack straps over to the car.

"Oh my god, you'll be back tomorrow, come on, we're going home," Jackson says.

"But Jackson, it was awesome," Scott cries.

"If you want to stay at school, I can just order less pizza tonight," Derek calls out the window. "Or Jackson and I can eat yours."

"Dad!" Scott howls as he gets in. "You wouldn't!"

"Well, you'd better come fight for it, huh?" Derek says, reaching over to ruffle Scott's hair. "Your first day was good?"

"Oh my god, Dad it was amazing, Mr. S is the coolest!" Scott says, practically writhing with excitement.

"And yours? How is Lydia Martin in third grade? Still awful?" Derek ruffles Jackson's hair too, just to watch Jackson sputter and try to claw his hair back into place.

"Fine, ugh, Derek!" Jackson keeps finger combing his hair. "Lydia is whatever."

Derek fights the urge to smile.

They get an inordinate amount of pizza for two boys and one man, but the boys eat until they're lying on the couch moaning. The whole time, though, all Scott can talk about is his "totally mega cool teacher", Mr. Stilinski.

It's a pretty typical pattern for them after that- the boys go to school and Derek goes to work, he drops them off in the morning, they take the bus home- Derek comes home and hears all about how amazing Mr. Stilinski is. Derek has to admit, based off of Scott's description, Mr. Stilinski is like sunshine, candy, the Mythbusters and the holy trinity rolled into one- Derek is morbidly curious.

Jackson rolls his eyes and says Mr. Stilinski is perfect for Scott, because they're both dweebs. Jackson does five laps around the house, which doesn't faze him, but has to apologize to his brother, which offends him mortally.

"You could be apologizing to Mr. Stilinski, too?" Derek offers.

Jackson shuts his mouth and sulkily eats his vegetables.

The whole thing only serves to increase his curiosity, and in the meantime, Scott continues to come home with increasingly crazy stories.

"Oh my god, Dad, Mr. S ate bacteria today and he said we all eat it, it was gross, is cheese really mold?"

"DAD, Mr. S made crystals today, but they're candy, can I eat mine?"

"Dad, I own a GREENHOUSE!"

"Just- Dad, Mr. S had us paint in a cave! It was so awesome!"

Who is this guy?

***


Derek's neighbor is a spry woman of 78 who looks like she could still beat him on the tennis court, with a seemingly inexhaustible amount of patience for the boys- Sharon watches them after school for the hours before Derek gets home. Derek actually thinks they're more scared of her than they are of him, which is good, someone has to terrify them into doing their homework. A couple of nights before the open house he makes sure to ask Sharon if she wouldn't mind watching the boys for the evening, too.

"So, you'll get to meet Mr. S, huh?" Sharon asks him, an amused glint in her eye.

"Scott talks about him endlessly to you, too?" Derek asks, shaking Scott from where he's tucked up under Derek's arm like a log.

Scott giggles. "That's 'cause Mr. S is the best, Dad." Scott explains.

"We're all disciples of Mr. S in this house," Sharon agrees solemnly.

"It's like a cult," Jackson groans from under the other arm. Derek gives him a shake too, for good measure.

"Thanks, as always, Sharon," Derek calls, hefting the boys along. "Better take these home."

She laughs them out of her house.

***


There's only one of Derek, which could make the open house difficult, but luckily the school has it scheduled so each grade is at a different time. Derek hadn't imagined at 23, before the accident, that four years later, his first night out in two and a half months would be at an elementary school, meeting with his nephews' teachers. But Laura and Dan had listed Derek as the boys' guardian if anything happened to them and Derek couldn't have trusted them with anyone but family.

So he's wearing a button down shirt, trying to look like a respectable member of society who can totally raise two kids by himself, and well, he hasn't accidentally killed either of them yet, so he's feeling pretty good about it. His first meeting with Jackson's kindergarten teacher had left him with sweaty palms, worried that he'd been ruining Jackson for two years and no one had said anything and he remembers the moment Mrs. Reeves had told him Jackson was a very nicely behaved boy and doing very well in class- it had felt like someone pulling him out of a fire.

He'd called Sharon to check in on the boys between work and the open house and had been firmly admonished by Scott to "be nice to Mr. S."

"Oh, be nice to Mr. S," Derek says. "What if he's mean to me?"

Scott snorts, loud enough to be heard over the phone. "As if, Dad," and hangs up on him. Derek laughs to himself in the car, before heading into the school.

Derek has never been able to imagine what "Mr. S" might look like- between the strange science experiments and teaching gig, all that comes to mind is Beakman and Ms. Frizzle. He knows that's crazy, but that's still sort of what he expects to see when he's greeted at the classroom door.

What he's not expecting is a guy who looks even younger than him, with dark hair and an evaluating stare, matched with an inviting grin.

"No, no, let me guess," Mr. S says as Derek extends his hand to shake and introduce himself. "I like to see if I can guess who belongs to whom." Mr. S's stare goes from evaluating to invasive.

"That's really not-" Derek starts, but Mr. S holds up a hand.

"Ah-ah-ah!" He takes another second, but his grin turns a little sly. "You're Scott Hale's dad."

"His uncle, actually," Derek corrects, the familiar pang as he says it. "He just calls me dad." Mr. S looks like he's practically dying to ask, like most people do when Derek says that, but actually bites his own mouth shut on the question.

"Well, come on in, have a seat," Mr. S offers and Derek takes his first step into the classroom.

Jesus Christ, there actually is a cave.

The sizable classroom is cluttered in a kid-friendly way- clear bottles aligned in the window, tanks of god knows what on the counter and the aforementioned cave, constructed out of papier mache, chicken wire and sheer balls. The only space really open is the enormous rug in the center of the room, where a few of the other parents are awkwardly standing.

The other parents keep filing in, but Derek is distracted, looking for Scott's artwork in the drawings under the big banner reading "Everyone Has a Different Family" tacked to the wall. He finally sees Scott's blobby handiwork with the careful labeling "Dad," "Jackson," and "Me." Derek can't help but smile, looking at the yellow spikes of Jackson's hair and the messy splash of curls on Scott's.

"Hi, good evening everyone! Can I get you all here on the rug?" Mr. S calls. The parents come into an uncomfortable group, but Mr. S. just motions them to sit down, to universal hesitation. "No, c'mon, get a taste of what your kids do every day." Most of the parents chuckle and sit down easily enough. Derek folds himself down, curious to see where this is going. Mr. S. gets right down on the floor with them.

Mr. S. tells the parents to call him "Stiles," before talking a mile a minute about how much he adores all of their kids, how much they're all so excited to learn and how much he thinks that says about them as parents. Mr. S., no, Stiles, never shuts his mouth, hypnotizing the parents into some kind of entranced self-congratulation. Derek stares at Stiles as he just keeps talking.

He doesn't think that Stiles stops talking for the entire 30 minute block, perfectly wrapping up as the bell rings. Derek doesn't know whether to be impressed or horrified.

"Oh, man, our time is up!" Stiles claps his hands together, cheerfully. "Any questions, please don't hesitate to call or email!" All of the other parents leave with dazed, vague smiles on their faces, shaking Stiles' hand. Derek snorts.

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Hale," Stiles prompts, which is when Derek realizes he's the only parent left in the room.

"So, do the kids get a word in edgewise?" Derek finds himself asking.

Stiles stares at him for a second, then barks out a surprised laugh. "The kids do all the talking. But that's because they're a lot better conversationalists than their parents," Stiles says, like he's trusting Derek with a secret. "This is just how I get through open house."

"Steam rolling?" Derek offers.

Stiles grins. "Absolutely. But apparently I didn't steam roll you," he purses his mouth thoughtfully. "So, if you want I can actually tell you about my teaching philosophy, or whatever else you want to grill me on to make sure Scott's in good hands."

Derek can't stop staring at him. "I know Scott's in good hands," he finally says. "He can't stop talking about you either."

Stiles blinks before he breaks into a huge smile. "I have to say, he doesn't stop talking about you." Derek opens his mouth to say something, but Stiles keeps going. "Although, I gotta know, are you actually a cowboy?"

"What?" Derek asks blankly.

Stiles laughs. "When I asked about his dad on family day, Scott said you were a cowboy who played with wolves."

Derek rolls his eyes and almost laughs. "I work at a wildlife ranch with the wolves we're rehabilitating."

Stiles pauses, digesting this. "Well, I guess that explains why you don't look like Clint Eastwood and Kevin Costner, or something," Stiles offers. "I was sort of expecting you to have cowboy boots."

Derek reflexively glances down at his unobtrusive boots. "Not today.”

"But you can ride a horse, right?" Stiles asks innocently.

"Yes?" Derek says, not sure where Stiles is going with this.

"Just trying to get the full picture, here," Stiles explains, perching on a low bookcase. "But seriously, I know I babble on, but Scott is one of my favorite students. He loves coming to class and I love having him in here."

"He's done nothing but talk about you since school started," Derek watches a pleased, little smile- more honest looking- curve on Stiles' mouth.

"Well, I'm glad to hear that, thanks," Stiles says. "I wanted to say-" The bell rings loudly.

Derek glances down at his watch. He's kind of baffled as to how 30 minutes have already passed, but the watch confirms it. "Sorry, I have to run, I have to-"

"No, yeah, you gotta head to Jackson's classroom," Stiles agrees. "It was good to meet you, Mr. Hale."

Derek is halfway out the door when he stops. "Derek."

"What?" Stiles asks, brows wrinkled.

"You don't have to call me 'Mr. Hale,' Stiles," Derek explains, and the last thing he sees before the classroom door swings shut is that small, pleased smile spreading across Stiles' face again.

***


The rest of the night is a blur- Derek knows he met Jackson's teacher, but if pressed, he probably couldn't remember any of the conversation. Apparently, the only thing that did imprint on him from that night was the expression on Stiles' face, which, in an unsettling development, is the only thing Derek remembers from his dream.

He makes sure the boys are stumbling around their rooms, blearily putting on clothes, before getting in the shower himself. He's just stepping out again as he hears the tail end of Jackson's "someone on the phone for you" yell. Derek scrambles for a towel and the phone at the same time and all he hears is "...can you come in? It would mean a lot to the kids."

"Yes- hi, yes," Derek says reflexively.

"You will? You don't know how great that is, thanks, Derek!"

Derek realizes it's Stiles at the same time he realizes he just agreed to do a totally unknown favor for Stiles.

"I'll send you an email with all the details, it'll take like an hour, tops!" Stiles assures him and Derek is getting increasingly nervous. "Oh, man, I gotta run or I'm going to be late to school, thanks again, you're going to be amazing!"

Derek feels distinctly concerned.

When he gets to the office after dropping the boys off at school, he immediately checks his inbox:

Hey, Derek-

Thanks again for agreeing to do Career Day- even if you're not actually a cowboy, I think the kids will flip over you! Just be ready for like, a five minute speechy thing about what it is you do that's good for five year olds. But you know, you have one, so I figure you know how to talk to them. It's a month from now, Thursday the 15th. Let me know if there are any problems.

Thanks,

S


He's a little relieved and weirdly disappointed for no reason he can figure out. Derek sends back a quick "Received," because it's only polite. He figures that it'll go on the calendar and that'll be that, which is probably why they run into Stiles in the cereal aisle in the grocery store that night.

Scott is in rapturous ecstasies, despite having seen Stiles less than 3 hours ago, chattering away, as Stiles smiles and nods. His cart is full of pop-tarts and red bull and Derek wonders how he's even alive. Stiles glances up and must follow Derek's line of sight because he just laughs.

"I know, I know. Since I moved out, I eat like a college student. But I save all the healthy meals for my dad." Stiles says.

"Dad, Mr. S's dad is the sheriff, did you know that? The sheriff." Scott explains, starry-eyed.

Derek nods. "I've met him before." he says. He hadn't connected the dots between Sheriff Stilinski and Mr. S before, but it makes sense. Scott stares at Derek accusingly like he's been keeping this information from him. "He's come by the reserve a couple of times."

"Well, the next time he does, tell him Stiles knows about the donuts," Stiles jokes. The sheriff has eaten a danish in front of Derek multiple times, the sticky turnover ones that Anna brings in on Fridays with the look of a man seeing the face of god. Anna's danishes make everyone feel like that, but Derek understands it a little better if Stiles has put a donut embargo on the Sheriff.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Derek says loyally.

Stiles snorts. "Yeah, you and every other aider and abetter in town." He glances at Derek's cart. "But hey, I like a challenge. This weekend we're doing tofu burgers. Well, he thinks they're turkey."

"You should come over for dinner, Mr. S!" Scott chirps loudly and they both start protesting at once.

"I'm sure Mr. S has other plans-" Derek tries as Stiles says, "I wouldn't want to intrude-"

"No, my dad's the best, Mr. S. He makes the hot dogs into octopuses! He should be on Iron Chef!" Scott breezes on, completely unaware.

Stiles laughs, but not meanly. "Yeah?" he asks Scott.

"Yeah, he said it was the last time he was going to grill this year, Mr. S. This is a big deal." Scott adds solemnly.

Derek resists the urge to bury his face in his hands. "It's not as exciting as- never mind," Derek trails off.

"He could come," Jackson says, off hand. Derek stares at him suspiciously. "It'd be okay."

"Well, if-" Stiles starts, rubbing a hand over his hair. "If it's okay with your dad?"

***


It's a little surreal, cooking with someone else- about as surreal as finding four boxes of cocoa puffs in the groceries that Derek knows Jackson snuck in there somehow- but it's helpful having someone over four feet helping. Stiles had insisted on being allowed to at least bring a salad, and Derek can see him and Scott in the kitchen through the glass doors; Scott is supposed to be snapping the ends off of sugar snap peas, but he's mostly talking as Stiles smiles and explains something with a lot of hand motions and a vegetable peeler.

"Derek," Jackson reminds him, holding the plate of corn, wrapped in foil.

"Sorry, Jay," Derek says, putting them on the grill. The weather is perfect- one last indian summer day, with the promise of a cool fall weekend ahead. The preceding "hot dogs or burgers" conversation had led to the boys stubbornly wanting both and Derek resigns himself to leftovers to be used in increasingly weird ways.

"Scott really likes him, huh?" Jackson asks, glancing inside.

Derek nods, distributing the corn evenly.

"You like him too?" Jackson pushes.

Derek freezes. "He's Scott's teacher, he's okay," Derek finally says, feeling weirdly like he's being interrogated.

Jackson eyeballs Derek. "Are you on a date with him?" Jackson asks.

Derek nearly drops the empty corn plate. "No," Derek manages.

Jackson stares for a moment longer, but then just shrugs. "Okay." Jackson goes back to poking at the hamburger patties under the cling wrap and Derek just doesn't know what's going on in that kid's head sometimes.

"I hate to steal your assistant, but can I have Jackson? Scott and I need his help with an experiment," Stiles is poking his head out the door, smiling in a way that he clearly thinks is ingratiating. Jackson glances over at Derek and he can read the excitement behind the cool look.

"I'll manage," Derek says, nudging Jackson toward the door. Stiles flashes him a grin before they disappear back inside.

He can't help but think about Jackson thinking this is a date.

Derek has been on exactly two dates since the boys came to live with him, both in that first month. He'd still been dating Kate- young and stupid, totally blind to all her faults- but she'd been cold and unconcerned about the boys and Derek had broken up with her within two weeks. She'd laughed and said she wasn't the maternal type, anyway, keyed his car and left town with the pharmacist's husband. When he thinks about Kate, which isn't often, he usually just feels relieved- which is probably awful. He'd thought he'd loved her- had looked at rings in the small jewelry shop in town- and when he thinks about her now, all he can think is that he dodged a bullet.

He wouldn't call himself lonely- he has Scott and he has Jackson, and only an idiot could be lonely with two kids under ten in the house, constantly asking questions, climbing all over them, asking for stories, for attention, like a pair of needy pups.

But if he's totally honest with himself, the nights are almost too quiet when the boys are both asleep, the only sound the quiet hum of the television.

Still, in no way is this is a date. This is Scott's love affair with his kindergarten teacher. Derek reapplies himself to the task at hand, which is to say, not burning everyone's dinner.

Of course, he runs out of distractions when he comes in, both hands full with plates heaped with food, only to see the three of them frantically shaking bags of something.

"Dad, we're making ice cream with science!" Scott calls joyously.

"I found the rock salt in the garage," Jackson points out proudly.

"You've got a pair of scientists on your hands," Stiles says, smiling small and real and it feels like a horse kicking him in the chest.

"Can we eat it before dinner so it doesn't melt?" Jackson asks stealthily.

"We're putting it in the freezer," Scott reminds him. "Mr. S said so. We made some for you too, Dad. Well, Mr. S made it."

"I didn't know whether you liked chocolate or vanilla, so I made both. The boys insisted mint chocolate chip was your favorite, but you didn't have any mint extract." Stiles says apologetically.

Derek realizes that he's still standing in the doorway holding dinner like a moron, so he puts the plates down on the open space left at the end of the counter. "Either's fine," Derek says, belatedly adding, "Thanks."

There's a feeding frenzy as soon as the ice cream is in the freezer, the boys laying waste to burgers and dogs, even the salad under Derek's stern look. Stiles eats his fair share too, and it looks like Derek's worries about leftovers are going to come to nothing. Stiles is seemingly fine with Scott's endless questions about everything and even Jackson's weirdly invasive questions about his taste in movies and outdoor activities. Derek is sort of astounded, because it's a lot to take, but he supposes Stiles spends all day with five year olds, Jackson and Scott together can't be much worse than fifteen of them.

"Give Mr. S a break," Derek feels compelled to say by the time the boys are just pushing the remains of their food around on their plates.

They open their mouths to protest in unison, but Stiles just laughs. "They're fine, Derek. I wish all my students were as interested as Scott." Stiles reaches out to comfortably ruffle Scott's hair. Scott beams like a lantern. "And yes, Jackson, I do like to camp. Well, as long as there are enough chocolate bars for the duration. Went on a camping trip once with my dad and it was looking ugly for a while. Thought it was going to be every man for himself."

Jackson looks obscurely satisfied. Scott cheerfully starts asking Stiles about stingrays again.

The homemade ice cream is surprisingly good; Derek can't help the surprised noise that escapes as he takes his first bite.

"I know, right?" Stiles says happily, licking his spoon clean. Thoroughly. Luckily, he's distracted by the sounds of Jackson breaking into one of his illicit boxes of cocoa puffs to cram a bowl's worth into his ice cream.

"Jackson," Derek says. "You can put half of that bowl back in the freezer." Jackson sulks as he puts half the bowl back, crunching bitterly.

"You know, you're really good with them. It's never easy to be a parent, but I've seen a lot of them, and- and if you care what I think, you're doing a really good job." Stiles says quietly as Scott slowly eats every bite at Jackson.

Derek is frozen, ice cream halfway to his mouth for an embarrassingly long moment.

Stiles swallows his bite quickly, scrambling to speak. "Whoa, sorry, that might have- I mean, obviously you're doing a good job with them, I-"

"No, that- thanks," Derek finally gets out. "I've only had the boys for 4 years- what do I know about kids? It's good to know I'm not messing it up."

Stiles is staring at Derek like if he just looks hard enough he'll find the secrets of the universe or something. "No one knows kids, everyone worries they're messing it up. I worry about it all the time. But you love them, Derek, and that's the most important thing."

Derek feels like he's been kicked in the chest again and he's starting to think that's just something about Stiles that makes him feel like his rib cage is being squeezed.

"Well, this conversation got heavy," Stiles says with an awkward laugh. "But you don't have to worry so hard." Stiles nudges Derek with his elbow.

"Dad, my ice cream is better than Jackson's right? Right?" Scott demands fiercely.

"Well, you can worry about that," Stiles laughs, much more at ease.

"Scott, you can both like different ice cream, no one's has to be better," Derek sighs, grateful for and irritated by the interruption. The boys take this bone of contention out into the living room and into a competitive cushion fort battle. It doesn't make any sense to him, but he gave up on that years ago.

"So, are you gonna let me help you with the dishes or what?" Stiles asks, already stacking them up.

Derek protests, because Stiles is a guest, but somehow he ends up drying and apologizing for the lack of dishwasher in the house.

"There's just the three of us, there was really never any point," Derek explains, even thought he feels like an idiot because he can't stop talking about a dishwasher.

"No, it's kind of nice. Homey. I'm sort of surprised that you don't have a pair of yellow rubber gloves. Can't imagine you with dishpan hands." Stiles laughs.

Derek snorts, wiping the salad bowl dry. "You should have seen me change a diaper."

Stiles stares at him incredulously for a second before bursts into surprised laughter. "I tried to imagine it, it didn't really work," Stiles admits.

"Neither did me trying to put diapers on Scott. It took me about a week before I got the hang of it." Derek says. "Jackson wasn't exactly helpful, either."

Stiles glances at Derek sidelong, like he's deciding what to say. "My dad told me about what happened with your sister and her husband, I'm sorry. It must have been so hard on all of you."

Derek stares at the plate he's holding and takes a deep breath. "Nothing good is easy," he finally says. "I miss Laura and Dan every day. But I wouldn't know what to do without Jackson and Scott now. They're my entire family."

Stiles has stopped washing, his hands still submerged in the water and foam. After a long quiet moment, he clears his throat. "I lost my mom when I was 7. It wrecked my dad and I had panic attacks for years after she died. Losing a parent- losing both parents, suddenly- can mess kids up, but Jackson and Scott-" Stiles huffs, looking frustrated. "What I'm trying to say is that I think you're a great dad for them. They're happy, great kids. I just thought maybe no one had told you that, and I sort of thought you should know."

Derek nearly drops the plate.

"Sorry, I overstepped, sorry-" Stiles stammers.

Derek puts the dish down on holds up a hand. Stiles' mouth snaps shut. "Thank you," Derek finally says. "It... thanks."

Stiles exhales noisily. "You're welcome." He offers a tentative smile before turning back to the dishes.

They wash in silence for a while, and they're almost finished when Stiles cocks his head toward the living room. "Um, is it just me, or has it been really quiet?"

Derek cranes his body around to glance into the living room. "Hm." They finish quickly and head into the living room, only to find Jackson and Scott fast asleep under a pile of pillows.

"Damn, that's cute," Stiles sighs.

Derek snorts and starts excavating his kids. Jackson murmurs something annoyed sounding, but Scott is out like a light. Jackson is also sprawled half across Scott like a blanket, so Derek reaches for him first, hefting him up, half-fireman style.

"I'm not asleep, put me down," Jackson mumbles almost incomprehensibly.

"Uh huh," Derek says, feeling Jackson settle in like a little barnacle, already mostly asleep again.

"I can grab Scott for you, if you want," Stiles offers quietly.

Derek pauses, but nods. "Thanks, yeah."

Stiles picks Scott up with the ease of someone who handles kids all day. Scott wraps his arms around Stiles' neck instinctively, burying his face in Stiles' button down. Derek readjusts his grip on Jackson and tears himself away from the image of Scott clinging to Stiles like a security blanket.

Derek leads him upstairs, motioning them into Scott's room. Stiles easily lays Scott down on the bed.

"Pajamas?" Stiles asks quietly, turning to the dresser.

"Top drawer, you sure-" Derek starts to ask, but Stiles just rolls his eyes.

"Yeah, yeah," Stiles says. "Kindergarten teacher, remember? Seen, done it all." Stiles has Scott changed faster than Derek has ever managed, and tucked under the blankets.

"You've done this before?" Derek asks.

Stiles shakes his head. "Not in years. Bunch of little cousins." Stiles palms a hand over Scott's messy hair, smoothing it down.

The automatic night light is shining right behind Stiles' head, haloing the upward flip of Stiles' hair, the upturn of his nose. Derek takes a deep breath.

"Oh, sorry, Jackson must be getting heavy, sorry," Stiles says, getting up from his crouch.

"It's fine," Derek mutters. Stiles leans in the doorway while Derek gets Jackson ready for bed, Jackson clumsily moving his limbs to help Derek along.

The two of them creep back downstairs quietly.

"You want a cup of coffee, something?" Derek offers.

"Oh, um, it's sort of late," Stiles shoves his hands into his pockets. "I'm supposed to have Saturday breakfast with my dad early in the morning, it's sort of a Stilinski family tradition."

"Thanks for the help with dinner, the boys." Derek says, nodding.

"No, no, thanks for everything, it was a great night," Stiles waves his hands. "It was- it was really nice." Derek sees Stiles to the door, watches him get in his beat-up old jeep and heads back inside.

The house is very quiet.

***


Derek's kept busy planning Scott's birthday in two weeks. He's had his present for months- they're going to take a weekend trip to Disneyland the next long weekend. He figures he should bring cupcakes into school, since it's what he always does for Jackson and he doesn't want to rock the sibling boat. He also knows he should email Stiles about it, because that's only polite.

Which is why he's been staring at a blank email for 10 minutes.

He's tried to start it four separate times, but he only ever manages something that looks like this:

Hey.

I'm bringing cupcakes to school for Scott's birthday. It's on the 4th.

Derek.


He accidentally hits send around identical version 6 and spends a couple of seconds muttering "fuck" under his breath, but eventually shrugs it off. All the important information is in there, anyway.

30 minutes later, he has a response from Stiles:

Hi!

Awesome! Who doesn't love cupcakes? I certainly do, and everyone knows what a connoisseur I am. We're surprisingly allergy free this year, only a couple of nut issues, so just stay away from peanut butter and you should be epi pen free. There are 14 kids in the class, including Scott, plus you and me (and I usually can't stop at just one cupcake- can you? So maybe bring at least 17 : ) right?)

See you then!

Stiles


Derek stares at the screen, because he really can't believe that Stiles sent him an email with a smiley face in it, but there it is.

When he goes to the bakery, he orders two dozen and figures he can take one home for Jackson and give the rest to Stiles, since he apparently like cupcakes so much. The baker seems delighted with the order- Derek googled for about two seconds before finding cupcakes Scott would go crazy over and he brings her the pictures he definitely printed out on his work printer. They're dinosaur themed, because apparently Stiles taught them about fossils and Scott's been obsessed ever since. Derek has probably read Dinotopia to Scott upwards of twelve times. The baker is probably just excited because they're going to cost an arm and a leg- he can't believe he's spending this much money on cupcakes- but it's not like Derek can bake, so, what can he do, really.

Scott literally wakes up singing on his birthday- some strange, warbling thing about being king of the dinosaurs and birthdays and riding hippogryffs. Derek has firmly acknowledged he's never going to understand either of his kids. Ever. But he can't stop smiling and chuckling under his breath, because Scott is obviously delirious with joy that he's six and for the next three months, will be only two years younger than Jackson, not three. Derek makes eggos with ice cream for breakfast- which is firmly a 'birthdays-only' event- and by the time he has Jackson and Scott in the car they're both little balls of sugar-high goodwill toward man.

"Bye, Dad, enjoy my birthday!" Scott yells as Derek drives away to go pick up the cupcakes. The cupcakes are theoretically a surprise, but who knows, Jackson might have told Scott. Secrets aren't exactly Jackson's strong suit- it's a good thing as a parent that Jackson is utterly, sadly incapable of lying, but it's going to make his teenage years really embarrassing for both of them.

The cupcakes are ridiculously adorable- he's enough of a man to admit that. There's even one with a little pterodactyl, wings open around a "6" that is specifically for Scott. Derek's feeling pretty smug when he signs in at the office and the entire staff comes over to coo over the cupcakes- Scott and Stiles are going to flip.

Scott does flip- he had no idea Derek was coming and the cupcakes send him into an almost catatonic state of joy. The other kids are shrieking with joy and Stiles carefully deals out cupcakes, with strict instructions not to eat them until everyone has one and they've sung happy birthday.

"Dude, these are so freaking cute, I'm dying," Stiles says, as they set up two lines of pick up. Stiles is grinning, turning them this way and that, checking them out, before handing them over to the kids.

"Dad," Scott breathes out as he stares at all of them, the little brontosaurus heads peeking up out of frosting water and the tiny triceratops, and flings his arms around Derek's stomach in a bone-crushing hug. "Dad, you're the best, oh my god,"

He has to pick Scott up and bear hug him until Scott whines that he has to get down and eat cupcakes.

Stiles is smiling that little smile that Derek thinks of as his private smile as he hands out cupcakes and Derek is so distracted trying to figure out why he almost gives two cupcakes to a little girl with blond pigtails.

While the kids are eating, Derek puts a cupcake aside for Jackson in an empty box and consolidates the rest. "Those ones are for you," he explains, pushing the box toward Stiles.

Stiles blinks. "That's like, nine cupcakes, are you serious?" he asks.

Derek shrugs. "Having them at home would be absolute idiocy. You look like you could use a cupcake, anyway." Stiles isn't gawky, but that's by a hair and pretty much due to his surprisingly muscled forearms.

"Well, maybe two. Or three. But I'm going to go into a diabetic coma if you don't take at least one of these off my hands, right now," Stiles says, and before Derek realizes what he's doing, takes Derek's hand, and puts a cupcake in the palm of it. The little blue tyrannosaurus bares its sugar teeth at him.

Stiles just waggles his eyebrows at Derek, plucking the stegosaurus off of his own cupcake and eating him whole. "Do it for the kids, Derek," Stiles says, mouth full of orange fondant.

Derek snorts and deposits the tyrannosaur back in Stiles' box unscathed, before peeling down the wrapper and taking a bite of the actual cupcake. It's not bad- a little too sugary for his tastes, but probably perfect for kids, who seem to have one giant sugar taste bud, anyway.

"No crunching the bones of your enemies?" Stiles teases. Derek rolls his eyes. "Fine, fine, even so, I'll show you the single greatest trick in the world." Stiles peels the cupcake free, rips the cake part in half and makes it into a little sandwich before taking a giant bite.

"Oh my god, that's the coolest," one of the kids yells, and Stiles sparks a cupcake eating revolution.

"You're welcome," Stiles says, licking frosting off his fingers. When he's done, he raises his eyebrows at Derek. "Aren't you going to finish yours?"

Derek had forgotten he was holding a cupcake.

He tries Stiles' method and it actually seems less sweet that way, which is good. Stiles is staring at him, though.

"What?" Derek asks.

Stiles starts. "You have uh, um, a smudge. Of icing on your-" Stiles gestures with his thumb at the corner of his mouth, which is open just a little.

Derek rubs at the spot, coming up with a smudge of green icing. "Is that all of it?"

"Um, sort of, maybe just-" Stiles raises a hand like he's going to wipe it off himself but stops at the last second. "Just um, wipe again."

Derek tries again and Stiles finally relaxes.

"Yep, you got it." Stiles says. He glances around the room where, of course, the kids are playing with the dinosaurs and eating their cupcakes at the same time. "Thanks again for bringing these in, the kids are loving it."

"Scott's first school birthday," Derek explains. "I had to make a big deal."

"Well, I'm glad you did," Stiles steals Derek's tyrannosaur and eats him.


***


Scott bursts out crying at dinner that night when Derek tells him they're going to Disneyland.

"We should have taped this," Jackson says, grinning. "And put it on YouTube."

***


The trip is a resounding success- the boys get up early every day and pass out equally early from joyful exhaustion. Derek watches a lot of ESPN Classic on mute. Scott insists on getting Stiles a pair of mouse ears, which Derek doesn't object to- the idea of Stiles wearing them makes Derek snort. There's not even the "I don't want to leave" meltdown Derek half expected- probably because the boys want to take the loot, run, and brag to everyone at home. The second they're out of the car, Scott runs next door to give Sharon her stuffed Piglet.

The next day, Scott has the Mickey ears in his hands like he's holding a baby, the whole car ride to school.

They must be a success, because he gets an email halfway through the day:

Hey!

Thanks for the ears- as you can see, they were put to use right away!

Stiles


Attached is a picture of Stiles in the ears, reading Winnie the Pooh to the entranced students.

"I think I just got a cavity," Diana says, leaning over his shoulder. "Also, god, is that Scott in the front? He's getting huge, you have to bring him by some day."

It is an unbearably cute picture.

Of Scott.

***


The fall weather is shaping up nasty- this is the fourth major thunderstorm in as many weeks. Derek guesses he's lucky that Scott likes thunderstorms and Jackson is indifferent; he knows a lot of kids are scared of them. As it is, it's hard to sleep with the wind howling around the house. It's raining off and on all week, which makes kiss and ride a very damp endeavor. Hopefully this morning will stick to faint, misty rain.

He pulls up to the curb, ready to unlock the doors when he realizes Stiles is running kiss and ride this morning.

"Hey!" Stiles says cheerfully, which is when the skies open up and rain pours down.

"Whoa," Jackson breathes out, in surprise.

"Climb into the backseat," Derek tells him, and the second Jackson is done clambering back, Derek reaches over and throws the door open. "Get in before you're drenched!"

It's too late- Stiles is pulling off his blazer, which is absolutely soaked, leaving him in a t-shirt that's just wet.

"Thanks," Stiles gasps, glancing over at Derek.

It hits Derek like a ton of bricks.

Stiles' cheeks are flushed from cold and his mouth is just a little open and so red. His shirt is clinging to his chest, the v of the collar dragged down by the weight of the water, so far that Stiles' collarbone is visible on one side. Derek can see the surprising definition in his chest and stomach- hugging the shape of his abs, the curve of his shoulders. There's a thread of water running down Stiles' neck, and Derek wants to put his mouth all. over. Stiles'. body.

"Daaaaad, can we go to school yet?" Scott whines and Derek abruptly remembers his kids are in the car and having an erection is extremely inappropriate.

"It looks like it's dying down," Stiles says, looking out the window. He cranes his head into the backseat, which puts the delicate looking skin under his jaw right in Derek's face. Derek wants to bite it. "Okay, you have your raincoats on? Let's go guys!"

The boys run out yelling happily, enjoying the storm, and Stiles gets out, only to duck his head back in to grab his blazer.

"Thanks for the shelter!" he chirps.

Stiles is close enough to kiss.

But then the car door is slamming shut and people are suddenly honking behind him.

Derek peels out of the parking lot in a hurry, but he pulls over a few streets away and takes a deep breath.

"Fuck," Derek breathes out, because he can still smell rainwater and Stiles' deodorant all through the car. This is phenomenally, overwhelmingly stupid. Derek wants Stiles, yes, but thinking about Stiles- in his kitchen cooking with Scott, washing the dishes with him, wearing those stupid mouse ears- makes Derek realize he doesn't just want Stiles- he wants to be with Stiles.

"Fuck."

***


This realization comes hand in hand with the quick reminder email he gets cc'd on about Career Day next week.

That realization further means he has to see Stiles- Stiles, who has starred in a number of increasingly graphic dreams since kiss and ride- in a week.

Derek is quietly becoming more and more panicked about the whole idea. He's certain that he's going to walk in the room and Stiles will just know, which is probably the stupidest thing he's ever thought. Rationally, he knows he's just going to run into work, get some of their brochures for kids to take home and things they use when they do fundraising; big glossy blown up shots of the woods and the wolves mounted on board. He'll go to the school, talk for about five minutes and answer any questions the kids have. It's nothing he hasn't done before, more or less, for other promotional things for the reserve. Scott still makes him "promise, you have to promise, Dad, that you're going to come in."

The room just doesn't usually include his son and the guy he has a ridiculous... thing for.

He does plan on wearing his good work clothes- which is to say, the one shirt that has neither holes, blood or dirt on it- and everything does go according to plan, dropping off Scott and Jackson, heading back to work, until Diana runs into his office.

"Derek, I think there's- there's something wrong," she says, voice catching on her words. "It's Laura."

Derek's blood runs cold, because he can't not go right back four years, when he got a call, slow and apologetic asking if he was Laura Hale's brother, there had been a car accident- but it only lasts a second before he remembers he has another Laura.

He'd had the boys for two months- Scott prone to crying fits and Jackson quiet and sad- when Hera had delivered her second litter. She'd been the smallest of the pups and when she'd been rejected, Derek had taken her home.

"I'm going to need your help, Jackson," Derek had said, hoping someone to take care of might bring Jackson around. "She's little and sick, she needs you."

Jackson had looked down at the little bundle of dark fur in his lap and nodded at Derek so seriously. "Can we call her Laura? Like Mom?" Jackson had asked, timid.

Derek had swallowed around the lump in his throat. "Yeah, we can call her Laura."

Laura had grown up, mostly in the Hale home, into a strong beta- Derek has no idea what he'll do if anything's happened to her.

"What?" he demands.

Diana shakes her head. "Her collar has been in the same position for six hours. It triggered the no-motion, and I cross-referenced her position on the map- she's in the canyon." Diana explains.

Derek grabs the tranq blow gun. The canyon is a rocky death trap in the northeast corner of the reserve. He'll never get there fast enough on the access roads, he'll have to take a horse; easier to maneuver on the trails. He barely takes a moment to verify her exact location before heading out to the stables, when he abruptly remembers about Scott and Career Day.

"Shit, Diana, I'll radio and let you know when I find her. I need you to call the school and let them know I'm going to try to make it, but I'm supposed to go in for Career Day, you need to let Stiles know there's been an emergency. Then drive a jeep out to the closest point on the access road." Derek says. He doesn't wait for her to agree.

The closer he gets to the canyon, the rockier and looser the terrain gets. Derek tries to remind himself that there's no sense in urging the horse faster because that'll probably just lead to both him and the horse in the bottom of the canyon too. It seems like an eternity until the trees clear- the canyon is close enough now that he tethers the horse to a tree and starts the awkward descent into the canyon. By the time he gets to the bottom, he can see the weird rock formations that are between him and Laura, if her tracking collar is reading accurately. He winds his way through, and there's Laura, lying so still, one of her legs trapped under a rock that's between big rock and boulder in size.

He runs over and when he's close he can see she's breathing- shallow, but definitely breathing and Derek sucks in a huge, relieved breath of his own.

"Hey, girl," he says, circling around so she can see him.

Laura whines, her free feet twitching like she wants to get up, lifting her head from the canyon floor.

"Shh, shh, you stay still, shh," he says, carefully crouching next to her. "I'm gonna get you out of here." He's going to have to sedate her to move the rock, and he quickly administers the dose, stroking her along her muzzle like he did when she was a pup, until her breathing settles and she drifts into sleep.

"Diana," Derek radios.

"You've got her?"

"Trapped, probably a rock slide. One of her legs is pinned. She's out now, I'm going to try to move it. I can get her out of the canyon. Where are you now?"

"Waiting for you on the road. Called Deaton, he's driving over to the center now."

"Good job."

He tests the weight of the rock- he should be able to move it, but he wants to do it in a clean lift, so he spends a minute or two trying to figure out the best leverage he can get. It comes free in a massive yanking flip, hardly an inch to spare when the rock comes down heavy and quick. There doesn't seem to be any bleeding, but the bone is undoubtedly broken. Derek can see a straight branch about the right length, and uses his belt to keep the leg straight. Laura whines, even through the sedative.

"I'm sorry, I know, I'm sorry," Derek repeats, the just same as when he takes bandaids off or when shots happen. "I'm trying."

Picking Laura up isn't much heavier than picking up Jackson. However, carrying her up the side of a canyon is less easy than carrying Jackson up the stairs. His feet slip a little a few times and he has to keep readjusting his grip- but the two of them make it up, probably thanks to sheer stupid luck.

"Almost there," Derek promises as they come up over the edge. The access road is a ten, fifteen minute walk, maybe longer, weighed down with a sedated wolf he doesn't want to shake. His infallible sense of direction when on the reserve doesn't steer him wrong- he can see the road and thank god, the jeep. Just because he can carry a seventy five pound wolf this far doesn't mean it's easy.

He whistles loud and Diana pulls around, Derek carefully laying Laura on the blankets already spread out on the back and getting in with her.

"Go, go," he says, still quiet, gently stroking Laura's fur.

"You might have mentioned that a 'Stiles' is actually Scott's teacher, Mr. Stilinski," Diana says out of the blue on the drive back.

"But you called?" Derek checks.

"Yes, yes, it's fine," she sighs.

Derek pulls out the radio and radios back to the stables that they need to send someone to pick up the horse on the drive back toward the center and the vet. It isn't more than ten minutes but the trip seems longer watching and feeling Laura's very shallow breathing.

When they pull into the lot, Deacon is waiting for them, helping Derek carry Laura out and into their infirmary.

"You did right, Derek," Deacon is undoing Derek's makeshift splint and feeling carefully along her leg. "It's broken, we'll need to x-ray, but it feels clean, stable. Her heart rate is okay for the tranq dose, she should be fine."

Derek feels like his knees are going to give out, adrenaline and relief coursing through him and he rubs a hand over his face. Which brings his watch right up to his face, and oh god, Career Day.

"Oh shit, I have to- Diana, stay with Laura," he says.

She rolls her eyes at him. "Not going anywhere. Go, you look crazy." she says, shooing him out.

Derek throws himself into his car and hopes that Stiles' dad doesn't pull him over for speeding.

***


He makes it to the school in record time, and he's still running on an insane amount of adrenaline, so he just runs past the office and heads straight for the classroom. He can just hear Stiles saying, "- want to thank all of our parents for coming in today-" when he opens the door.

"Dad!" Scott shouts.

"Jesu- geez, Derek, are you okay?" Stiles asks.

Derek nods as he catches his breath. "Yeah, I'm fine, sorry I'm late, there was a work emergency." The other parents in the back of the room look a little horrified- Derek can only imagine what he looks like. "I'm Derek Hale, I'm Scott's parent." The kids all alternate between staring at him and staring at Scott.

"I work on a nature reserve- we had a scary day today. Does everyone know what a wolf is?" The kids nod in mesmerized unison. Derek must look terrifying. "I work with wolves in a place where we protect the plants and animals that live there."

"What happened?" Scott asks, looking worried.

"One of the wolves we look out for was lost, she wasn't with her family- wolves call their family their 'pack,'" Derek explains, his heart starting to beat normally again. "But because we have special collars on our wolves, we can find out where they are. We had to find our lost wolf, but she was hurt and I had to bring her to the veterinarian. A veterinarian is a doctor for animals, who helps take care of them like your doctor takes care of you. But our veterinarian said our wolf is going to be okay, so even though it was scary, it's all alright now."

"Dad, which wolf?" Scott demands.

Derek winces. "It was Laura, Scott. But Dr. Deaton says she's going to be totally fine." Derek assures him.

Scott squeaks. "Dad, she's really going to be okay? Dad, are you sure?" Scott begs.

"She's going to be fine. Scott knows our wolf named Laura- when Laura was a baby, she was sick and her mommy couldn't take care of her, so I took her home and Scott and his big brother Jackson helped me take care of Laura." Derek adds, because there should probably be some kind of explanation why Scott looks like he's having a heart attack.

"Mr. Hale?" a little girl timidly asks. "How did you find her?"

"Well, all of our wolves wear special collars that let us know where they are. And because it can always tell us where the wolves are, we knew something was wrong when she wasn't going anywhere this morning. So I went out to where we knew she was- she was stuck in a canyon- a canyon is like a big rock pit. A rock had fallen on her paw and she couldn't get free. So I went down there and got her out, which is why I'm so dirty." Derek tells her. Out of the corner of his eye, he notices Stiles has sat down by Scott, a hand on his hair, all but hugging him. Derek feels like an idiot- he should have hugged Scott.

"Wow," she breathes out. "Do you have to do this every day?"

Derek shakes his head. "No, and that's good. Wolves are tough, smart and take care of each other. Most of the time, they're really good at being safe on their own. But sometimes we need to help them out. Just like I'm sure you guys are really good at taking cake of yourselves, but sometimes you need help, too, right?"

She nods shyly.

This apparently opens the floor for a horde of questions, coming all at once: "Do wolves wag their tails like dogs?" "Could a wolf beat a bear in a fight?" "What do wolves think of vegetarians?" "Do wolves ever have allergies?" "Where do wolves sleep?" "Can wolves climb trees?" Derek tries to answer all of them- but they just keep coming, and he keeps feeling like the kids think he actually is a wolf or something.

After a couple of minutes, Stiles cuts them off. "Okay, guys, Mr. Hale has answered a lot of questions, we need to give him a break, because it's time for lunch!" There's general groans of disappointment mixed with the excitement of lunch time. "Thanks again to all of our wonderful parents who came in today, let's give them another round of applause!" The kids break into chaotic clapping and yelling.

"Line up and get your lunches if you brought them," Stiles instructs, and as the kids mill around, he shakes a lot of hands and parents also leave, usually after hugging their kid. Scott is attached to Derek, demanding that he tell him again that Laura will be fine.

"I promise, Scott," Derek says. "We can go this weekend and you can see her for yourself, how about that?"

Scott nods, reluctantly. "Okay. Should I tell Jackson at lunch?"

Derek shakes his head. "No, I'll tell him after school, okay?" he says.

"Hey, Scott, it's time to go to lunch," Stiles says gently. Scott looks like he might protest for a second, but he just nods and grabs his lunchbox. "I'll be right back, I just have to take them to the cafeteria- can you stay for a little longer?"

Derek shrugs. "Sure." He unfolds from the crouch he was in to talk to Scott and sits on one of the low tables around the room. While the kids are gone, he glances around the room, noting the new stuff in the room- a giant fake tree cutout taped to the wall, hundreds of multicolored, changing leaves stuck around its branches, a terrarium with a bunny in it, twitching its nose curiously, out of its nest now that the room is quiet. He can't help but check it out, the bunny placid and calm even when he walks over.

"Hi," Stiles says, and shit, it's just the two of them, alone in the classroom, and this probably should be awkward, but Derek is too tired to be weird about this right now. "I see you met Bugs."

Derek raises an eyebrow.

"Bugs Bunny." Stiles points at the gray rabbit with its white markings and Derek snorts, because of course Stiles named the bunny Bugs.

"Cute," Derek says. "Was the speech whatever not okay, is that why-'"

"No, no, no," Stiles says, waving his hands. "It was great, are you kidding me? You're going to be bigger than the Beatles in here. Or Justin Bieber. Kids these days, I guess. No, I just wanted to make sure you were okay, you look a little... rough."

"Oh," Derek says, glancing down at himself- he's covered in dirt, some rips and tears from where he's brushed up against the canyon walls. His palms are a little cut up, too.

"I mean you look like nature John McClane, it's a cool look." Stiles says, and Derek realizes his hands are full of cotton swabs and neosporin. "But I didn't want you to get gangrene, so I thought I'd offer to be your vet."

"I'm not a wolf, Stiles," Derek points out.

Stiles snorts. "Sure you're not." he says. "Go on, wash your hands and then take a seat on the desk."

There's a little mirror over the little sink that Derek has to stoop to use. He does look beat- Derek gets a couple of paper towels wet and wipes his face down first, cracking open a couple of buttons to wipe down his neck, which somehow leaves a giant dirt streak on the towels.

“Oh, hey, if you wanted to clean up I have a towel and an extra shirt- thought it was a good idea after the rain the other day.” Stiles offers, reaching into a big cabinet to the left of his desk.

“It’ll just get dirty,” Derek warns him.

Stiles waves a hand. “They have washing machines for a reason, Derek, go for it.” He pulls out a brightly striped towel and a simple gray henley.

Derek shrugs then takes them both, stripping out of his button down and running the towel under the water. He wrings it out and wipes himself down, and sure enough, the towel’s filthy by the end- even a couple of rusty red smears that mean Derek’s bleeding somewhere. He washes his hands and tugs the shirt on- it’s small, but it’s clean. He turns around to find Stiles totally focused on a magazine at his desk.

“I’m fine, really, you don’t have to do anything. These’ll scab over.” Derek says.

Stiles frowns. “Don’t be ridiculous, come here.” He pats the desk and Derek sits on it carefully. Stiles is more gentle than Derek would have been with himself, but that probably comes from years of fixing playground scrapes on much more sensitive patients. Stiles is holding Derek’s hand still, applying the anti-bacterial ointment to the cuts, especially the deeper one beneath his thumb where he’d slammed a hand out to grab at the wall to stop from skidding down the canyon side on his way down. He hadn’t noticed at the time, but he must have scrambled down like an idiot.

“Did you climb down glass?” Stiles asks, his brows furrowing as he moves on to the next hand, which is probably worse than the other one. Derek honestly can’t feel a thing because Stiles’ hand is warm, circled around Derek’s wrist, and Derek is close enough that he can smell Stiles’ deodorant. That smell had lingered in the car for two days and Derek had been forced to spray it with air freshener so he'd stop wanting to make out with his car.

“The sides of the canyon are steep and there’s a lot of loose rock,” Derek explains. “Luckily, it’s easier to go up than down.”

“I still can’t believe you carried her out of a canyon,” Stiles says.

“There wasn’t any other way to get her out,” Derek shrugs again. He’s getting distracted by Stiles’ eyelashes, which are dark against his cheeks from where Derek’s looking down.

“I know. It’s just kind of incredibly awesome, that’s all,” Stiles grins up at Derek. Derek wants to lean down and kiss him- but he’s in Scott’s classroom and this is Scott’s teacher.

“It’s just my job,” Derek says, glancing away as Stiles puts- puts Batman bandaids on his hands. “Stiles.”

“It was these or Hello Kitty, I swear,” Stiles says, but he’s still grinning.

Derek hates that that makes him want to kiss Stiles more.

The bell rings loudly, startling Stiles and thoroughly destroying any psychotic thoughts Derek had in the back of his mind telling him to just kiss Stiles anyway.

“Oh, crap, I have to go pick up the kids from the cafeteria- are you- do you?” Stiles trails off.

“I should get back to work. Go before Scott comes back and refuses to let me go,” Derek says.

Stiles nods jerkily. “No, right, right. Well, thanks for coming in, even after this morning, the kids loved it.” Stiles says quickly.

“Right, you’re welcome,” Derek offers automatically, picking up his shirt. “See you later.”

He takes a deep breath when he’s out in the car and realizes that he smells like Stiles’ laundry. He should probably take the shirt off.

“Fuck,” he mutters as he drives back to work, still wearing the henley.

***


Jackson has his fully anticipated meltdown that evening. He tries to get Derek to drive them out to the reserve right then and is only pacified when they call Deaton and Deaton tells Jackson himself.

Derek apologizes multiple times for calling him, but Deaton assures him it’s fine- he sounds a little amused, actually.

“I promised Scott already that we would go to the reserve and you can see Laura yourself this weekend, okay?” Derek bargains.

Jackson crosses his arms over his chest, a rebellious frown on his face. “I guess.”

He still looks worried and unhappy so Derek relies on his default- he grabs Jackson around his middle and pulls him into his lap. Jackson makes a grumbling noise of irritation, but he curls up and puts his face in Derek’s shirt.

“Thank you. For saving Laura.” Jackson mumbles.

Derek squeezes him tighter. “Hey, of course. She’s our wolf. You saved her before. It was my turn.”

“Do I have to keep hugging you?” Jackson mutters.

“Yep.” Derek says and he can feel Jackson relax.

“Hey, hey are you guys doing hugs?” Scott asks. “I want hug.”

“Get up here,” Derek says, holding out his arm. He remembers when both of them could fit in his lap, no problem. Now, it’s sort of more like a big pile of limbs, concentrated in his lap.

“Blanket,” Jackson demands. Derek manages to tug the blanket off the back of the couch over them as much as possible.

“But like, we’re going first thing Saturday morning, right?” Jackson pushes.

“Breakfast,” Scott points out.

“Okay, breakfast first,” Jackson concedes.

“Breakfast and then to see Laura, I promise.” Derek tugs them both in until they whine.

***


Derek is woken up at the crack of dawn by the boys jumping on the bed and yelling “HI WAKE UP IT’S MORNING IT’S TIME FOR BREAKFAST AND LAURA!” He gets an elbow straight into his solar plexus; he’s suddenly and painfully awake. The boys harass him through getting showered and dressed. Derek wonders why this happens on the weekend, not the weekdays, when it’d be useful instead of cruel.

Derek is ordering the first of many cups of coffee while Scott and Jackson are still arguing the merits of waffles versus pancakes when he see Stiles walk in with- with his father, the sheriff.

“Dad, look!” Scott says. “Hi, Mr. S!” Scott waves helpfully, as if he hadn’t shouted loud enough for Stiles to figure it out. Stiles waves back and Derek thinks that’ll be that, but then no, Stiles walks over, the sheriff in tow.

“Hey Scott, Jackson, Derek,” Stiles says. “You guys are up early! This is my dad, Sheriff Stilinski. Dad, I was telling you about the Hales.”

“Derek’s taking us out to see Laura,” Jackson explains while Derek’s feeling extremely strange about the idea that Stiles talks to his dad about them.

“But first, breakfast!” Scott says cheerfully. “Hey, Mr. S, you should have breakfast with us! I wanna ask your dad about being the sheriff!”

“You don’t have to-“ Derek is quick to start, but Stiles glances at his dad, then shrugs.

“Sure,” he agrees.

“You can sit by me, Sheriff Stilinski,” Scott says solemnly, like he’s bestowing a great honor on him. Looking bemused by the whole thing, the sheriff sits down next to Scott. Which means that Stiles sits down next to him.

Jackson scoots up against the wall to make room, but that “room” still means that Derek is sitting elbow to elbow and thigh to thigh with Stiles; that’s a lot to ask of Derek, first thing in the morning on a Saturday.

“Sorry, we hijacked your breakfast, do you mind?” Stiles asks quietly, as Scott starts grilling the sheriff.

“It’s fine,” Derek says. “I don't want you to feel like you have to hang out with us because you’re Scott’s teacher. This is your free time.”

Stiles blinks. “Of course I don’t hang out with guys because I’m Scott’s teacher, I do it because I like spending time with you.” Stiles explains.

Derek freezes.

“Scott and Jackson are great,” Stiles goes on, oblivious. “But I don’t have to tell you that.”

“I like them,” Derek agrees, heart rate settling.

Stiles laughs. “And thanks again for coming in the other day. Everything still okay with Laura?”

“She’s fine, although apparently no one believes me when I tell them,” Derek says, eyeballing Jackson.

“You’re supposed to get a second opinion from a doctor!” Jackson insists.

Stiles looks like he’s holding in some laughter. “And did you get one?” he asks.

“He had me call Dr. Deaton at home.” Derek explains.

“Derek,” Jackson sighs, like Derek’s embarrassing him.

“No, no, very sensible,” Stiles tells Jackson, winking at Derek.

Derek is thankfully saved from having to take Stiles into his own hands by the waitress arriving with his coffee and asking them if they’re ready to order. When all the exact changes to menu items have been made- bananas instead of strawberries, eggs scrambled, over hard, egg whites only- the sheriff leans back against the seat and leads with, “Good to see you again, Derek. How’s everything at the reserve?”

“Derek actually had an adventure the other day- one of their wolves was missing and he went out to rescue her- and he still made it to Career Day afterward,” Stiles says promptly, before Derek can even open his mouth.

The sheriff shoots Stiles an amused look. “I asked Derek, son,” he says, not unkindly.

Stiles blinks then laughs. “Right, right, sorry! I just realized I’d forgotten to tell you about it. Your show, Derek,” Stiles apologizes.

Derek shrugs, feeling a little embarrassed that this story is still news- it’s just his job. “That’s pretty much it. She broke a leg, but Dr. Deaton says she’ll make a full recovery.”

“The kids at school are obsessed with wolves now,” Stiles adds. “The playground is a mess of howling.”

“They’re not good at like you are, Dad,” Scott says, like it’s a huge disappointment to him. “But I’m not good at it either yet, so maybe it’s just an old thing.”

“It’s a Derek thing. Not all grownups can do it,” Jackson points out.

Derek really can’t believe they’re discussing his howling abilities at breakfast with company.

“You’re good at it?” Stiles prompts, looking fascinated and Derek really can’t handle this morning at all.

“I’m passable,” Derek allows. “It can be useful for figuring out where the pack is, that’s all.”

“Dad is good at lots of things,” Scott says loyally. “He’s really tall, so he can reach stuff on shelves without getting a ladder. He’s also the best at hide and seek.”

Jackson rolls his eyes. “More importantly, sometimes he lets us stay in our pjs all Saturday and watch cartoons.” Jackson says this like Derek cured cancer. He sort of wishes there was a way for him to politely die at the table.

“Oh, and he makes really good peanut butter and jelly. And hamburgers,” Scott adds.

“Now, that one I can vouch for, Dad, they were amazing.” Stiles confirms, grinning. “What else is great about Derek, guys?”

This is seriously going to be the most embarrassing breakfast Derek has ever had.

“Well, he doesn’t read stories as good as you do, Mr. S, but he’s pretty good at that.” Scott offers.

“Ah- that does not count. I went to school for that. I’m sure I wouldn’t be good at taking care of wolves. I am a pro-storyteller, that comparison isn’t fair. Keep going,” Stiles says.

“He can lift really heavy stuff, he lifts weights in the basement,” Jackson suggests.

Their food really needs to arrive to totally derail this conversation.

“Oh, oh! He _does_ do a super amazing Optimus Prime voice. For Transformers time.” Scott tries again.

“Why don’t we talk about things that Mr. S does that are great?” Derek suggests, keeping as much of the desperation out of his voice as he can.

“Dad, everything Mr. S does is great,” Scott says, totally dismissing the idea. The sheriff looks like he’s killing himself trying not to laugh.

“You know I’m going to make you do that Optimus Prime voice some time, right?” Stiles asks him.

Derek shakes his head. “No.” He’s already embarrassing enough around Stiles, he doesn’t need Optimus Prime to add to that.

Stiles is grinning at him and he’s just stupidly close- “It’s gonna happen.” Stiles says and Derek is so distracted by the way Stiles’ nose wrinkles that he misses most of whatever embarrassing thing Jackson says after that.

“Scott, didn’t you have a bunch of questions for the sheriff about police work?” Derek tries in a last-ditch attempt to reroute the conversation.

Scott looks torn for a second, but caves and asks the sheriff if he has handcuffs on him right now.

“Nice deflection,” Stiles tells him when both Jackson and Scott are entranced by the story of a petty thief who could pop his thumbs out of joint to escape cuffs.

“Thanks for egging them on,” Derek says, but he can’t even pretend to be annoyed with Stiles.

Stiles chuckles. “C’mon, you’re like a man of mystery. It’s good to know you understand the importance of Saturday pjs and toons. It’s a philosophy more dads could get behind.” He raises his voice loud enough for the sheriff to hear.

“Nice try. You’re still helping me fix the porch when we get home,” The sheriff says before smoothly segueing back into his story for the boys.

“Busted,” Stiles sighs, but he’s still smiling, and Derek wants to stretch his arm along the back of the booth and play with the soft-looking hair at the nape of Stiles’ neck.

The food finally arrives, which thankfully stops Derek from doing anything stupid. There are an absurd number of plates and they spend a good minute or two just trying to get everyone’s food onto the table.

“Dad,” Scott gestures at his intact waffle and while Derek is trying to think of a way to politely reach across the table to cut it up for him, the sheriff just reaches over and starts.

“Ten-four,” he tells Scott, who looks delighted.

“Are you sure?” Derek asks.

The sheriff rolls his eyes. “I can handle this, go on, start your breakfast.”

Derek does, pausing when he notices Jackson isn’t digging into his pancakes like normal. “Everything okay?”

Jackson starts guiltily. “I just um, wanted to eat my bacon first,” he tries.

Derek raises his eyebrows.

“Oh, sorry, Jackson, I just kept cutting- do you want my pancakes instead?” Sheriff Stilinski has cut Jackson’s pancakes into equally bite-sized pieces.

“No, these are fine, thank you,” Jackson says, like getting the sheriff to cut his pancakes up wasn’t his angle the whole time as he takes a bite with extreme satisfaction.

Derek snorts and just starts eating his eggs. Neither Scott nor Jackson can stand the other one getting any “special treatment.” Scott had once insisted on being put in time out too.

The conversation lapses as everyone is busy eating, which Derek appreciates. First, because that means no one is currently trying to embarrass him, and second, because breakfast foods are for eating and not talking over. He always forgets that he doesn’t eat more than two bites of his hash browns, and should really order something else instead. Scott has demolished his waffle and is back to grilling the sheriff, who is good-naturedly answering between bites of his egg-white omelet.

Derek glances down at his plate and two-thirds of his hash browns are gone. He frowns, but then he notices Stiles’ fork scooping them up absently as he listens to his dad.

“Stiles,” Derek says and Stiles blinks.

“Oh my god, sorry, sorry, I didn’t realize! Um, I ate mine, but do you-“ Stiles starts.

“Don’t really eat potatoes, you can have them.” Derek says, sticking a fork in Stiles’ Canadian bacon.

Stiles stares at him. “You actually eat that?” he asks

Derek shrugs. “It’s breakfast meat.”

“All right, you’re the one getting the bum deal here,” Stiles says, reaching over and taking another forkful of Derek’s potatoes.

Derek catches the sheriff glancing away, eyebrows raised, and knows the sheriff has to know how he feels about Stiles.

And he’d thought this breakfast couldn’t get any more awkward.

Which is when Scott knocks over his orange juice, most of it spilling into his own lap, the rest flying across the table to soak into Derek’s shirt.

“Sorry, sorry!” Scott yelps, scrambling as far back from the table as he can in the booth.

“It’s okay, Scott,” Derek says, passing his napkin over. “I keep a change of clothes out in the truck, I have a shirt in there too.” He turns, expecting Stiles to get out of the booth to let him up, but Stiles blinks and then puts a hand on Derek’s shoulder to keep him down.

“No, no, let me. It’s our fault the table was so crowded, anyway. I’ll grab you your shirt, too.” Stiles says and holds his hand out expectantly. It takes Derek a moment to realize Stiles wants the keys to his car.

“No, I can-“ Derek tries.

“Keys,” Stiles insists.

“He won’t give up, you should probably just give them to him.” Sheriff Stilinski suggests.

Derek feels a little like he’s been steamrolled after all, but he just hands Stiles his keys.

“Come on, Scott,” Stiles says, taking him out to the parking lot.

Sheriff Stilinski just coughs politely. “So, Stiles mentions you guys a lot. He really appreciated that dinner invite. Your burgers must be something else.” he offers.

Derek tries to make a face that suggests that he’s never thought of the sheriff’s son in a sexual context. “Well, Scott idolizes him. What do you think, Jackson?” he asks, because he figures whatever Jackson will say won’t be as damaging as anything he might say.

“Mr. S is pretty cool, and Derek likes him a lot, so he’s okay with me.” he says, mopping up the last of his syrup with his pancakes. “Also, you’re his dad, which is really cool.”

“Thanks, Jackson,” the Sheriff says as Derek is wondering what he did to deserve any of this. “You know, we lost someone really important to us, too. And Stiles took care of me a lot more than I took care of him when that happened. He likes to take care of people, to feel like he’s needed. I think he’s looking for someone, or some people who might need that, too.”

Jackson looks confused and Derek thinks he probably looks the same.

“Family is really important to him, that’s all I’m saying,” Sheriff Stilinski takes a long sip of his coffee.

“Of course,” Derek agrees, wondering if he is interpreting this conversation right at all, because if he is- if he is- “To us, too.”

“Good,” the Sheriff nods.

“Hey,” Stiles says, holding out a park button down to Derek, Scott climbing back up to sit next to the Sheriff. “You guys look serious.”

“Your dad was giving Derek advice,” Jackson says, and then his nose wrinkles. “I think.”

Stiles’ eyebrows fly up. “Oh?” he asks. Derek takes the shirt, swapping places with Stiles.

“Just shop talk,” the Sheriff says easily.

Derek is kind of worried about what other embarrassing stories will come out while he’s in the bathroom, but his shirt’s getting cold and it’d be weird not to use the shirt after Stiles got it for him.

He changes as quickly as he can, but by the time he comes out, they’re all laughing and Sheriff Stilinski has already commandeered the check.

“So apparently, you can swing someone around so fast, they almost throw up,” Stiles says, looking really amused. “We just ate, otherwise I’d make you prove this. Right after the Optimus Prime voice.”

“Not happening,” Derek has a lot of things he’d like to do to Stiles, and none of them involve throwing up.

“Well, how about this instead- I’ve been trying to figure out another field trip for the kids- do you think we could possibly bring the class out to the reserve?” Stiles asks as Derek sits back down next to him, sandwiching Stiles between him and Jackson.

“I don’t see why not. We’ve done it before, I’ll talk to my boss about it.” Derek says with a shrug.

Stiles grins brightly and it’s still way too early for Derek to have to deal with that just inches from his face. “Great, let me know about it on Monday?”

“Sure,” Derek agrees.

“Oh, do you have my cell number? It’s the easiest way to get a hold of me,” Stiles explains, pulling out his phone. “Here, tell me your number and I’ll text you.”

And now you have my number : ) pops up on his phone.

“Good,” Derek says, reflexively. Stiles’ smile in return makes Derek’s heart pound.

The check comes and they reluctantly part ways, mostly because the boys are anxious to get out to the reserve and check on Laura.

“See you in school, guys,” Stiles says cheerfully.

“Nice to meet you both,” the Sheriff says solemnly.

The boys chirp their thank yous and goodbyes, piling into the truck.

“Thanks for breakfast, sir,” Derek repeats, shaking the sheriff’s hand.

“Any time, Derek,” Sheriff Stilinski says, nodding goodbye and getting into the cruiser- leaving Derek and Stiles alone.

“Thanks again for letting us crash your family breakfast,” Stiles says, squinting into the sunlight in a way that crinkles his nose and purses his mouth into something that Derek just wants to take.

“It was good,” Derek counters when he remembers that a response is required and kissing Stiles isn’t an appropriate option.

“Yeah,” Stiles agrees, smiling up at Derek and Derek is rapidly losing his self control when there’s a loud and sudden honk from his car and he can hear his kids fighting already.

“Sorry, have to run-“ Derek starts, relieved.

“No, no, go. Talk to you tomorrow?” Stiles asks.

“Count on it,” Derek says, already turning to break up Jackson and Scott’s fight.

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