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but songs about sex were way better in the nineties (twenty three positions in a one night stand)

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The Sheriff looks at him for a long moment. Then down at his stomach. Then at his own stomach. Then at Stiles, who looks like he’s flailing about for an explanation that will probably scar everyone who hears it. “I’m pregnant,” Derek says, unable to listen to another panic induced ramble. The Sheriff blinks, runs a hand down his face, sags briefly then turns on Stiles, who is still opening and closing his mouth.

“Son, what have I told you about using protection? I don’t care if it feels different; you put on a damn condom. And I hope you’re planning on doing the decent thing?”

It’s unfair, and Derek should probably explain, but he’s oddly touched by the Sheriff’s protective streak. “Right, your mother went to the Episcopal church, so the ceremony could be there. We’ll have a quiet wedding, maybe invite your Aunty Julie, I know you can’t stand the other sisters,” and Stiles is still trying to get his vocal cords to work as he goes on, “we’ll have to get a nursery sorted here, and I hope you’ve been going with him to pre natal classes. Derek, son, have a seat, you shouldn’t be standing for too long.”

Once he’s sat down with a glass of water and an apple, Derek clears his throat. “Uh, it isn’t…it was Vegas,” he mumbles, because even if it is oddly nice to be fussed over, Stiles looks like he might keel over.

“Well, Vegas. Still, my son should be doing the decent thing,” he says, looking very hard at Stiles, who’s looking at a patch of carpet very intently.

“He…he kind of is. I mean, not marrying, but…he’s being decent. Supportive. More than he needs to be. Um, so shotgun wedding-ing your son is kind of unnecessary.”

The Sheriff mouths ‘I know’ over Stiles’s bent head, and winks. Derek hopes to God his child isn’t going to pick up the Stillinski sense of humor. Two assholes are more than enough. He has to stop himself from laughing, has to smooth down the smile that’s threatening to break out. Stiles is looking at them both now with a deeply injured expression, dark eyes wide and tragic. The only other time Derek’s seen that expression was last year when he spent a week pretending to have no knowledge of popular culture and made Stiles explain Jersey Shore to him in great detail. With flowcharts. Once he’s stomped up to his room, Derek gives in and laughs softly, takes a bite of his apple. “I’m still getting the nursery sorted out here, though,” the Sheriff says gruffly, claps a hand on his shoulder. Derek doesn’t quite know what his face is doing.

“Thank you sir,” he murmurs.

“Please, call me Sheriff.”

*

They slip into a relationship without anyone really realizing, least of all them. He’s five months pregnant, is showing enough to make him spend most of his time in baggy sweaters; soft, worn, loose clothing, barefoot and warm around his home. Cora and Isaac live with him, and the pack is around most days. He feels settled, rooted here. Cora’s still not sure about staying. She’s too used to rootlessness, to not belonging properly to anything. Derek’s tied to this place by guilt, fear, anger and love, by things too dark to name properly. Drawn here by a pack that is his own but doesn’t belong to him, kept here by interlacing loyalties and by the roots that his cub has already put down, because the birth will be here, as is proper. His body keeps changing. He has to nap most days, needs to piss more often than he’s comfortable with. The cub keeps moving, kicking, and he tracks its heartbeat obsessively. His chest hurts, and he’s aware of it growing, breasts developing, wears thick material, soft cotton over his sensitive nipples.

Stiles is at the house when he can be, when he isn’t studying or researching, turns up with groceries or a movie, sometimes all bright smiles and deflection, sometimes calmer, a little sadder. Whenever he leaves, there’s a part of Derek that wants to make him stay. The pack comes and goes, but when they’re injured they return here, and that warms him more than it should. He and Cora, sometimes Stiles, patch them up as much as they can, although in Stiles’s case that can sometimes mean looking disgusted and asking every thirty seconds if they’re expecting him to get the bonesaw, because heaven forbid Stiles miss an opportunity to be a dick.

They fuck. A lot. Creatively. Somewhere, Stiles has a list of things he wants to try, and Derek kind of wants to find it, kind of doesn’t. They’re restricted a little by the shape Derek’s growing into, but as Derek can happily spend an afternoon fucking Stiles with a dildo until he’s hoarse from begging, he doesn’t really mind. He holds Stiles up, makes him ride him on legs that have gone shaky until all he can do is slump, sweat dripping from his forehead, in rivulets down his collarbones as Derek fucks up into him, angled so he can make long, brutal strokes, strip him down to just need and whimpers.

He rides Stiles just as often, though, loves it, loves the quiet control Stiles sometimes takes, loves his simple joy in the act, the way it’s never something to be ashamed of, always something shared and delighted in. It’s a Sunday afternoon, and Stiles has completed a fairly brutal looking set of math proofs, is sprawled, lazy and triumphant on the bed, eyes crinkled in a pleased smile. Derek’s spent the afternoon talking about the boundaries with Scott, telling him as much as he can about the packs that border their own. He feels content, food in his belly, his territory safe, and an abstracted sort of arousal thrums through him. Not an itch, more just…a gentle caress.

Stiles gets aroused at the drop of a hat, by the oddest things. Sometimes, Derek will smell the sudden scent of his need, look up and see Stiles just stare straight ahead, slight frown on his face, then murmur ‘who knew?’ and wander off. He wonders, often, if Stiles’ brain is as much a mystery to Stiles himself as it is to everyone around him. He hopes someone, somewhere, understands how it works.

Stiles, now, is stretching, jeans riding down to reveal his hipbones, the bruises Derek sucked into them last night. His fingers splay, make Derek gasp with the bolt of desire that shoots through him with the reminder of their size, their strength, and the promise in the length of his fingers and the knuckles, the shape of them. Stiles looks up, then, pats the bed. “C’mon, get up here. Numbers have lost all meaning for me.”

“What am I meant to do about that?” he asks, but comes over anyway, drawn, helpless.

“Give me meaning, baby,” Stiles breathes, looks up at him with bright laughter in his eyes. Derek huffs, pulls down his sweats anyway, strips quickly, gathers up Stiles’s stack of work and puts it on the floor. Stiles is making a half-hearted attempt to get out of his clothes, but he smells of sleep, his movements languid. Derek strips him instead, preens a little at how pliable and trusting he is, how he allows Derek such liberties. He grabs the lube from the nightstand, gives it to Stiles and then glares at him until he lubes up his fingers. Derek doesn’t touch his dick, not even when it brushes against the bed sheets as he moves to give Stiles access to his ass. Those fingers, fuck. One finger turns to two as he directs Stiles, gives him orders as he fucks himself back on Stiles’s clever fingers. Three fingers in, a brutal press that has him gripping the bed sheets, head arched back, and he’s ready for Stiles’s dick. He moves forward, whimpering at the loss, slicks Stiles up with the lube, ignoring his whines, the way he arches his back, humps his hips forwards for more.

When he finally sinks down into Stiles’s dick, Stiles is fully alert, no longer lazy and complacent. His hands flit restlessly to where they’re joined, then to Derek’s nipples, to his own, constant touches that don’t seem to have any end goal. Derek sets a punishing pace that soon has Stiles’s hands clenched by his side, panting and desperate. He doesn’t let him move at all really, pins him down with his weight and takes. He’s just got the angle right when Stiles comes, and his frustrated glare is enough to make Stiles actually whimper, even as he’s sagging back onto the bed with a sigh, boneless. He can feels Stiles’s come trickling out of him a little, warm over his hole, down his thigh. The feeling just makes his need greater, his dick so hard it’s nearly painful.

“Stay in me. Get hard again,” he grits out, eyes flashing red. Stiles flaps one hand eloquently on the bed, looks up at him.

“Pretty sure you can’t Alpha my dick hard again.”

Derek growls, reaches down with one delicately clawed hand, trails it down his chest so the sharp points are a tickling pressure. “Stiles,” he says, putting every bit of his authority behind it, “you’re disobeying a direct order,” and that does it, he can feel Stiles’s spent dick stirring in his ass and grins, all flashing teeth. “Good boy,” he says, smug, then he raises himself a little, lowers slowly, keeps up a steady pace that has Stiles thrashing and swearing beneath him, at the point of begging. When he sees actual tears, he brings himself off with a few strokes of his hand, comes on Stiles’s chest, his face as Stiles gives it up, whining as his balls empty, hands clawed tight on the sheets. They roll apart, panting.

“I think you almost came in my eye,” Stiles says at last, oddly thoughtful.

“Yeah, not the best aim at the moment.”

“You…aim? Like, target practice with your dick?”

“I’m an Alpha,” he says, grins when Stiles covers his face with a pillow. “Hey, don’t get that spunked. It’s Uncle Peter’s.”

Stiles just swears.

*

“What,” he says again, can’t really do anything else. Stiles spins around in his chair, makes it to two rotations before Derek stops him with his foot, placing it delicately between his spread legs.

“What what?” Stiles asks once he’s finished shifting out of the way of Derek’s boot.

“The…wall.”

Stiles fucking beams. “Yeah, do you like it? I kind of did some research this week. Like, a lot of research, and it’s not really abusing your meds if you only do it at night, right?”

“Stiles. It’s a pregnancy wall. There are…you have filled an entire wall with baby name charts, detailed anatomical drawings, birthing plans, the pros and cons of using a doula, a drawing of me in a fucking pregnancy smock, a beginner’s guide to lactation, and a list of books about attachment parenting.”

“What, don’t you like it?”

“The drawing makes me look fat. And my teeth don’t do that.”

Stiles waves his hand eloquently, completely dismissing his legitimate issues. “I’m a planner, Derek. It’s what I do. So, are you gonna use a birthing pool?”

He can’t quite let go of the drawing. He’s just had to bulk order twenty of his favorite black T shirt and ten of his gray Henley, because he’s damned if he’s stretching all his clothing out of shape. He found himself looking at jeans with a stretchy panel over the belly the other day. “Stiles. I don’t like that drawing,” and yeah, he’s aware it’s hormones, but he’s still upset. Stiles takes a long look at him, tapping his pen against his lips, then, he takes the sketch off the board, screws it up and throws it into the wastepaper basket.

“Wanna make out?” he asks with an easy grin, stepping right up into Derek’s space. Derek sighs. He pretty much always wants to make out with Stiles, whatever they’re arguing about, however much his back aches, however cranky he sometimes feels. It’s like he’s just given up on fighting this whatever it is. It feels a little like happy resignation, and it makes Derek smile again as he leans in, closes the distance between them and kisses Stiles until his eyes are a little unfocussed and he doesn’t ask any more intrusive questions about birth canals.

His distraction doesn’t last. When Derek comes back from his shower, Stiles is sitting at his desk, pen in his mouth and legs splayed. Derek takes one look at the page he has open and has to take a step back to stop himself from slamming Stiles’s head against the keyboard.

“Stiles, I have in the past worn jeans so tight that I have had to step around my dick. If you don’t close the maternity jeans tab I am going to disembowel that laptop and stick half of it down your throat and half up your ass.”

Stiles closes the laptop carefully, puts both his hands on it and takes a few breaths. “Sorry, I—distraction techniques. What with the, uh. Yeah.”

There are deep shadows under his eyes, a bruise on one cheekbone and he moves carefully, protective of his right side. However often Derek tries to get him to tell him what it is this time, Stiles evades and deflects with a complete lack of finesse and utter desperation. “So you thought you’d get a hormonal Alpha werewolf angry as opposed to thinking about the current mystical shitstorm that’s rolling around Beacon Hills?”

“I thought it’d be a nice change of pace,” Stiles says lightly, stands up with a groan. “And it’s always the same shitstorm right now,” he adds, “has been for over a year.”

“The Nemeton.”

Stiles nods, tries a smile that doesn’t fit his face, puts his hands in his pockets with a slight hunch of his shoulders. “I can’t really go near it any more. It’s started to pull me in. I just—fuck, Derek, all we have are bad options.”

“Want to make out?” Derek asks, and Stiles huffs out a laugh, but he lets himself be directed onto the bed, sprawls half on Derek, careful both of the bump and his own injured ribs. They kiss lazily, without any real aim in mind, just the closeness and the softness of the light from Stiles’s bedside lamp, the rustling of the trees outside. Stiles’s room still feels like a sanctuary, even with everything that’s been going on. A quiet place with walls full of plans and a steadily growing stack of books on the floor. They trade lazy handjobs, get ready for bed together, brushing their teeth side by side, then Derek pins Stiles down on the bed, weighs him down and growls at him every time he tries to move until he’s been forced into sleep, breath hot and wet in the crook of Derek’s neck.

*

He starts building a crib for the cub. He knows a woodsman two hours drive away who keeps some of the seasoned oak aside for him when he asks. He drives over on a Sunday, having had a satisfyingly monosyllabic conversation with the woodsman, Frank. Frank’s possibly the shyest guy Derek’s ever met so the transaction’s basically Derek giving him $200 in twenties, picking up the thick, solid planks, and driving off without so much as a hello. He’s back in Beacon Hills by eight in the morning, drinks his coffee on the porch. He’s sketched out a design, and now he knows what he’s working with he can get some proper measurements sorted out.

The wood’s straight and true, no warping in it. Broad planks of a good strong tree. His toolkit’s something he’s built up over the years, hauled around when he could and stored when he couldn’t. Some of the tools in it, the planes and saws, are from his grandfather. They’re better made than the newer ones; they have proper wooden handles and are made with stronger metals, joined in the traditional way so they fit true and will do for generations. They’ve been smoothed and worn into the perfect shape, used until they’re utterly suited to the work they’re needed for. He works outside, turns his rough designs into proper plans, down to the grooves in the wood that’ll help it rock smoothly, the dovetail joints and the moons and stars he wants to carve onto the sides with his claws, running wolves like the ones he had painted on his nursery walls.

It takes a week to build, all told. There’s a crispness in the air, the promise of fall, slight smell of woodsmoke in the air and the delicate scent of the leaves turning in the forest. The pack come and go. Scott sits with him for a whole afternoon, passes him tools and holds the wood steady as he saws. He tells him about the troll that fell desperately in love with Lydia, how he’d seen one too many eighties teen movies and turned up outside Lydia’s house with the DJ booth from the Jungle, because a boombox was too small for him to put on his shoulder. Thankfully, the DJ had recently changed supplier, so they could just put him back in the nightclub, propped up against the bar none the wiser. The troll needed a bit more work. Stiles ended up going onto a troll messageboard, which was a surprisingly civilized place considering, and found a singles thread, an eligible female troll from New Mexico and a long haul lorry driver who happened to owe Boyd a favor. “He got pretty violent before Stiles stepped in, and I’m kind of surprised there wasn’t bloodshed, because even if Stiles hadn’t been a violent person, Isaac really kind of is. But something about it…well, it’s Lydia, so he kind of knows how it feels. Felt. Otherwise, we would’ve had a fight on our hands with an angry troll, which isn’t a party, even if Stiles usually likes the violent option.”

“Maybe he’s mellowing,” Derek says as he sands one of the legs. Scott huffs out a laugh. There’s something worried in his scent. Worried and affectionate. They both know that it’s the opposite. There are times when he thinks Stiles could go too far, if the right people get hurt, and the people Stiles holds closest to his heart are increasing in number.

The following Sunday, it’s done. He spends Saturday carving in the moons and stars, the wolves running underneath. He puts in Cassiopeia, Ursa Major and the North Star. The moons go through all the phases. The new moon is just a circle, outlined with his claw, slim crescents right through to the full moon, ripe with promise, hanging just above the North Star, their guide. He talks to the cub all the way through the carving, tells it all the old stories: Sköll and Hati, chasing the sun and the moon with their wide mouths and lolling tongues, Fenris and his growls and snarls, wolves too clever to be outwitted by huntsmen, little girls, goats and pigs. He tells his cub about the best places to hunt, how it feels to bring down a deer, hot blood in his mouth, sinews torn through by wickedly sharp teeth. The cub stirs and kicks, pulse quickening a little and he grins with pride. His little one will be a great hunter, strong, fast and true.

He puts the crib in the corner of his bedroom, quiet pride warming him through.

*

He only realizes it’s his birthday today the third time Stiles puts a party hat on his head. It’s been years since he’s celebrated it, but this year he eats a piece of cake, sits with his pack and silently marvels at quite how many baby things have wolves on them. Each gift smells like pack. “We slept with them so, uh, the cub could smell us,” Isaac explains, ducks his head and runs a hand through his hair. He swallows, hard. Cora’s watching him with a soft smile on her face. They used to do that before. Every gift that smelt of the store, or of other people, used to get scented before it was given. It’s something they wouldn’t have found out from any book or bestiary, these odd little quirks of pack life. It’s something they would have thought of themselves.

“It’s perfect. Thank you.”

Stiles gives him a quilt. It’s a simple one, but it has the slight pepper of magic in it. It feels faint, almost ambient. He shrugs when he sees Derek frowning at it. “Yeah, no idea what it does. I just…must have leaked a little when I made it?”

Erica smirks. “Classy, Stillinski.”

“Magic leaking!” Stiles exclaims, managing to hit Boyd with one of his out of control arms. “Uh, in no way connected to my dick. Even if I’m not really magical. My dick might be, am I right? Yeah. Did I make that worse? I think I did.”

“You did,” Cora says flatly. Derek just looks at the quilt, the uneven stitches, the bits where it doesn’t quite lie flat. He strokes a thumb along the fabric, smiles quietly as everyone argues around him.

Later that night, Stiles lies on the bed, and lets him fuck his face, tears leaking from the sides of his eyes, hands clenching in the comforter as Derek thrusts in with no consideration, no concession. He can feel the give of his throat, the convulsions as he goes too fast, as Stiles gags, helpless on his dick. He goes slow, teases it out until Stiles is nearly begging, takes his dick out completely and taps it on his chin, presses it up against his cheek, leaving a trail up his pale, delicate skin. If he could, he’d keep Stiles like this for hours, knees either side of his shoulders, dick in that hot, clever mouth, hand braced against the headboard with his belly heavy and full. He’s slick with spit and precome, balls up tight and ready to come when Stiles’s hips jerk up and he comes untouched with a whine that sounds like he’s dying and he follows him down, because he’s never fucked anyone who’s as into blowjobs as Stiles is. The talents to match the mouth.

Stiles keeps calling the blowjob a birthday present, because apparently quiet afterglows are for the weak, and only happen with them sometimes.

*

Six months in, he stops leaving the house. If he could stay in his den all the time he would. Cora threatened to wash all his bedding if he did that. With biological powder. On hot.

The rest of the pack comes over after classes, on the weekends, sometimes in the middle of the night if they need comfort. The cub’s pretty lively now; he can feel the moon working on it, can feel the life in his cub as it grows, the changes in its pulse, incremental movements and sharp kicks. Each time one of the pack looks distracted, chances are they’re listening to the heartbeat. Stiles’s favorite resting place now is with his head on Derek’s belly as he talks to the cub in a low voice, worry turning to contented calm as he explains about everything and nothing, hopes and dreams and all the bits of life in between.

The backache and foot ache and weird feeling in his nipples is a fucking nightmare. Stiles being Stiles is turned on by pretty much every aspect of this pregnancy. He’s about as weird about sex as a born werewolf. Having spent so long faking sexually normal it’s an adjustment, giving in to every urge he has, sniffing and licking and biting because he basically wants to roll about in Stiles, to never let him out of his bed. Luckily, Stiles feels about the same, because he stays over just about every night he doesn’t have a paper due or a test to write. He’s got a spare toothbrush in the glass by the washbasin, and some of his clothes have insinuated their way into Derek’s closet. (He knows they’re his. Derek’s been down, but he’s never worn plaid.) They’re sleeping together, and there isn’t necessarily sex involved. It’s getting close to domestic, but if domestic means he gets footrubs on demand he’s pretty fine with that. Of course, there is sometimes sex involved, and not the domestic sort either. Sometimes—well, often. He’s horny, and Stiles is a teenager. And when they aren’t having sex, Stiles seems to like talking about it. Mainly at inopportune times.

“So. Knotting,” Stiles announces, just as Derek has nearly dropped off to sleep. He tries wrapping himself around Stiles to settle him down, but Stiles wriggles out through his arms, squirming down the bed and collapsing in a heap of limbs on the floor. He stands, folds his arms, hair ruffled up in all directions, panting a little. “As I was saying, knotting. Scotty boy’s being all coy, but Allison and Isaac have been walking funny. Is it a thing?”

“Why couldn’t this wait,” he mumbles, curling up and stealing Stiles’s pillow. He nuzzles his face into it with a sigh. He’s so warm.

“Derek. C’mon. Or I’ll call Peter and ask him.”

“No. Just. Stiles, for fucks sake. I’m warm.”

“I’ll give you a blowjob if you tell me.”

“You like giving blowjobs.”

“Fine. I’ll rim you.”

“Ditto.”

“I’ll wear panties.”

“Ditto.”

“I’ll suck on your tits until you come.”

“Fuck. Jesus, we’re doing that some time, but still ditto.”

“Fuck. You need weirder kinks. Okay, you can pee on me.”

“Stiles.”

“You want to. You pee on trees.”

He puts the pillow over his head. “That’s private.”

“Everyone knows you pee on trees. My dad knows you pee on trees.”

“How does—no. I’m not getting drawn into this.”

Stiles gets back into bed, climbs over Derek and spoons into him, one leg between his thighs, heart thudding steadily at his back. He smells sleepy and aroused. “Just tell me if it’s a thing,” he says softly, lips brushing against the back of Derek’s neck. Derek sinks further into the mattress, closes his eyes.

“It’s a thing,” he sighs, sinks into sleep to the scent of Stiles’s sudden and desperate arousal. He’d grin if he wasn’t nearly dead to the world. That’ll teach the fucker about the proper time to start important conversations.

*

“Stiles. Stiiiiiiiiiles,” Erica whines from the couch. Derek is doing his very best to ignore her. Stiles looks up from where he’s sharpening his knife.

“Erica, for the last damn time, I’m not making you a sandwich. A, because I don’t have to, B, because you’re perfectly able to, and C, because I am currently rubbing poison onto an enchanted knife, so no, a sandwich isn’t something that’s happening until I’ve washed my hands about fifty times with holy water, and when a sandwich does happen? I’m not the one that’s fucking making it.”

Derek moves his book so it’s covering his hard on. He can’t help it, he’s pregnant. Boyd looks across at him, deeply and profoundly disappointed. He glares back, shows a bit of teeth.

“Like, do sandwiches ever just happen?” Scott asks with this odd frown on his face. “Spontaneous sandwiches? Sandwiches. Sandwiches just, like, appearing. Man.”

“Congratulations. You’ve just destroyed any meaning that word might have had.”

“I know,” Scott says, beaming at Stiles. Stiles looks at him for a few seconds, can’t keep himself from smiling. Derek gets up and makes them all sandwiches. There’s a whole heap of meats from the deli counter in the fridge, three different types of mustard and the pretentious mayonnaise that Lydia insists on because anything else is unworthy of her. He puts the one plate on the coffee table, watches as everyone except Stiles scrabbles for them, then, when Stiles is on the point of pointing out the flaw in his sandwich plans and his lack of forward thinking, he brings the other plate over to Stiles, sits on the arm of the chair and feeds him the finger sized sandwiches he made with the mix of three mustards and the bread squashed down so it’s flat and silky-greasy feeling.

Stiles’s smile is soft, tired and pleased. “You learned my sandwich, even though you look at me like it hurts your soul when I eat them.”

“Because it does,” Derek says, then takes a bite of his own sandwich. Well, his own two slightly bloody steaks with salami in between them. It’s a fucking sandwich: sandwiches are things between things. Dictionary says so. He should know, he’s read it.

*

Stiles nearly loses his leg. Has to have fifteen stitches, and if the poisoned knife hadn’t been quite so…poisonous, it would have been far worse. Wendigos. Derek doesn’t let him leave the house for four days. Cora has to leave food on a tray outside the door because he growls if anyone tries to open it, and the pack leave increasingly judgmental messages on his phone. Stiles just calmly accepts his slightly…feral state with the air of something who has no fear or confusion left, just acceptance and resignation, and that’s maybe what Derek hates most of all, that Stiles just expects this kind of shit. As it is, he’s preverbal, just curls up around Stiles, pulls him close so the cub can feel his heartbeat too, leeches his pain, hands constantly on his skin, nose pressed into his neck. They don’t fuck. He can’t trust himself when he’s like this, so full of this bitter desperate need.

He follows Stiles everywhere, even to the bathroom, crowds him up against the washbasin, splays his hands on his belly as he brushes his teeth, watches him piss, breathing hot against his neck, follows him into the shower and washes him, first with his tongue then with soap, dries him and steers him back into bed, directs him with huffs and growls. This goes on for four days, and Stiles doesn’t complain once, even if he spends a lot of the time shifted or growling.

The fifth day, he wakes up with a clear head and a growing feeling of embarrassment. He goes down to the kitchen and makes apology pancakes. He’s not a stress cook, whatever Cora says. When he gets back upstairs with the breakfast tray, he stands in the doorway, not sure quite how to even start talking again. Stiles just looks at him, rumpled and heavy eyed, still a little pale. “Welcome back, big guy,” he says, voice still rough from sleep, lifts the side of the covers and raises his eyebrows. Derek climbs back into bed, balancing the tray. “Feed me pancakes, I’m walking wounded here.” Derek huffs, hands him the plate.

“Don’t get syrup on the sheets,” he says gruffly. Stiles ignores him.

*

“I can’t see my feet,” he mutters, feeling oddly resigned. “Cora, I can’t see my feet.”

Cora looks up from her book. “They’re still there, Derek,” she says, turns back to her page.

“I- I know they’re still there. It’s the principle of the thing. I should be able to see my feet. I mean, they’re my feet.”

“Well, wear bigger shoes.”

“I’m calling Erica. She’s more understanding.”

Cora doesn’t even look up this time. “No she isn’t.”

“Well I’m calling Stiles.”

“He’ll just make it weird.”

“At least he finds me attractive.”

“Derek.”

“What.”

“You don’t want me to find you attractive.”

He slumps onto the couch, puts his head in Cora’s lap. She pets his hair with one hand, book held above his face with the other and he makes a pleased rumble he feels all the way down to his invisible toes. “I miss my feet,” he says.

“I know, Derek. I know.”

*

In an odd way, he’s surprised Argent takes so long to show up. Bastard was quick enough to threaten his family when he had none, so his cub presents a whole new opportunity to make subtle if you’re a moron threats. So yeah, Argent’s expected. What isn’t is the crossbow Stiles holds as he walks over to Derek and pushes him behind him. Which. What.

After it’s over, once Stiles has finished swearing, Derek kisses him on the cheek. “That was. That was the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me.”

Stiles snorts unattractively, cheeks a little pinked. “Low benchmark, dude. Low fucking benchmark. So, I figure we have half an hour before Scott comes and loses his shit. Wanna trade handjobs?”

Derek shrugs. “I guess so. Nothing good on TV right now,” he says, slips his sweatpants off, keeps shedding clothes as he climbs the stairs. He’s naked by the time Stiles has reached the bottom step.

“Love to watch you go,” Stiles murmurs. Derek grins.

He pins Stiles to the wall and gives him the slowest handjob possible, watches him whine and writhe, unable to move, to do anything but beg until he comes, head thrown back as Derek keeps the same pace through his orgasm, hand slicking up with Stiles’s come. He jerks off without letting Stiles move, comes on his t shirt, on the pale skin of his belly where the fabric’s all rucked up, hand tight enough on Stiles’s shoulder to leave bruises.

It’s a good thing Scott’s used to the smell of their combined come; it doesn’t put him off his obsessive need to check Derek and the cub for more than a few seconds, just makes him blink and shake his head a little. Then he’s back to kneeling by Derek’s belly, making these growling cooing sounds, a werewolf croon he hasn’t heard for so long. It makes him sweetly sad, makes him run his fingers through Scott’s hair. “It’s fine. Stiles threatened him with a crossbow.”

“But he can’t use a crossbow.”

“Yeah, well, I styled it out,” Stiles says with a shrug. “I think my murder eyes are getting better.”

Derek reaches out, snags him in so he’s in their huddle, so both he and Scott can get their hands on him, reassure each other with touches. The cub likes it, too; he can feel it moving. He’s too happy to roll his eyes at Scott and Stiles’s enchanted running commentary. They really overuse the word ‘dude’. Like, dude.

Later that night, he rims Stiles, pins him on the bed so he can’t move at all, spreads him open, makes him sloppy wet with his tongue. Catches his rim with his teeth till he whines into the pillow, scrapes the soft skin of his ass with his stubble until he’s flushed and slick with sweat. He doesn’t let up, doesn’t give him any mercy. Fifteen minutes in, he’s crying. Half an hour in, he’s come untouched and Derek’s stabbing his tongue into his swollen, shiny hole, ignoring his hoarse pleas for mercy as he laps him out. Stiles blacks out as he comes for the third time. It takes Derek five strokes on his dick before he’s coming in thick white stripes on the pale skin of his back.

They wake up in the morning stuck to each other and the bed with dried come. It isn’t the first time, won’t be the last. Stiles bitches all the way to the shower, but gives Derek the filthiest blowjob he has ever had, all slick spit and choked gagging sounds, lips stretched around his dick, eyes closed in concentration. He licks all the way along his taint, makes Derek spread his legs in the shower and puts his lips around his balls, one at a time, engulfing them in warmth and heat as the water pounds down on the back of his neck, then takes Derek’s dick back in. He lets the tip just rest on his lower lip, precome making his mouth pale and shiny as he moves his head like he’s painting his lips, then he jerks Derek off, lets him come on his face, leaning back with his eyes closed. Derek licks it off as Stiles shudders against the tiles and humps his thigh until he comes.

One thing he will never tell Stiles, ever, is how often he wonders if Peter has installed cameras in the house. It’s bad enough that he sent them a postcard from Miami the other month which just said ‘Ethan and Aiden make excellent evil pool boys. Having a lovely time, working on my tan, generally being better than you. See you never, love, the True Alpha xxx,’ without the constant worry that they are in fact contributing to Peter’s supply of creepily invasive fixed camera porn. Trouble is, for all his insanity and occasional acts of incredible cruelty, he basically gave them the perfect house, which Derek wonders about more than is healthy.

*

This is the sixteenth time Stiles has come home bleeding and reeking of borrowed magic in four months. “It’s getting worse,” he says into the pillow, turns over in bed, watches Stiles strip, his clothes catching on cuts and grazes. Pale in the moonlight, bathed in dirt and blood, eyes black in the dim light. Tired. So tired, fatigue in every line of his body.

“I thought centaurs were all philosophical and shit. They’re not. Like, they have guns. It’s the weirdest fucking thing,” Stiles says, then seems to feel Derek’s glare, sighs, stops deflecting. “Yeah, it is. Nothing we can’t handle.”

“How will you know?” Derek asks, stretches out until he can feel it in his feet, groans.

“Know what?” Stiles gets a washcloth from the bathroom, starts cleaning himself, putting himself back together.

“When it’s something we can’t handle.”

Stiles stays quiet for a long time, so quiet Derek’s almost drifted off by the time he answers. “I don’t think we will,” he says at last, gets into bed and presses his freezing feet on Derek’s calves, his cold nose into the crook of his shoulder. “We’ll be fine,” he murmurs sleepily. Derek can’t even detect a hint of a lie. Belief is Stiles’s gift, his strength. Derek takes his hand, puts it over the cub, settles back so they’re twined together. He has no idea how Stiles’s feet can get this cold. It’s California.

*

“Scott, you know I love you, and I fully endorse this hilariously protective streak you have going on here, but you are severely curtailing my sex life here. Severely. Like, I have plans involving lube, my fingers and Derek’s ass that I’m gonna outline with hand puppets and a flow chart titled ‘weird butt stuff’ if you don’t give us some special alone time.”

It still takes Scott ten minutes of convincing to go. Stiles is reduced to pulling on a rubber glove, getting the lube from behind the sci fi section of the bookshelves and cracking his knuckles before Scott actually leaves. Derek looks at him, then at the lube. “I will if you will,” he says, grins, because sex has never been a game of chicken with anyone else. Stiles smiles back, eyes lighting up.

Yeah.”

*

On thanksgiving, Peter sends a postcard of a turkey. On the back he’s drawn a round, smiling face. He hasn’t signed it, but it still smells strongly of him. Suspiciously strongly. Derek shakes his head, goes back to the scrambled eggs he’s having, because he and Cora are culinary rebels. Fuck turkey. Seriously.

Scott brings him a whole deer that evening. He wonders sometimes.

*

“You thought of a name yet?” Boyd asks, face partially concealed by the ice pack he has on. Selkies, apparently.

“Laura,” he says, finishes taking the claws out of Erica’s side, leeches enough of her pain that she relaxes.

“And if it’s a boy?” Stiles is busy doing something with a box of matches and a small stack of twigs. The flames are black, and Derek decides he doesn’t want to know what the ash he puts in the hole in Isaac’s side is meant to do.

“Laurence,” he says, taking a grape from the bowl, biting into it until its juice spills over his tongue, watches as Stiles stuffs the ashes into Isaac’s side, murmuring apologies as he writhes, back nearly arching off the ground and then slumps back, panting, with skin gradually knitting together. Stiles gets up with a groan, sprawls onto the sofa and watches Derek with bright eyes.

“That’s…that’s some belligerent grape eating right there,” Stiles says in a tone of wonder. Erica snorts. “I had no idea that was possible. Like, it’s a fruit. It’s suffered enough. I just…Laurence?”

Derek swings his legs into Stiles’s lap and scowls at him until he starts massaging them. Erica curls into his side, her hair tickling his nose. “I like the name.”

“Okay. Yeah, that’s fine, big guy.”

“You’re humoring me,” he grumbles. Stiles digs his thumb into a knot on his instep and he groans, letting his head fall back.

“I’m respecting your choices. It’s your kid. I’m giving having a filter a try.”

“Don’t,” he bites out at the same time as Erica scoffs and Boyd smiles slowly. He’s irritated with this new, careful approach, wants to have a proper argument, wind Stiles up and watch him go.

“Do you want a blowjob?” Stiles asks suddenly. The rest of the pack rolls their eyes. He’s ten steps behind Stiles as usual, but Stiles’s hands are skilful, his eyes hooded and yes, he wants, he always wants with Stiles.

“What, now?”

“Nah, once I can move without crying. Fucking selkies, man.”

“Don’t swear in front of the cub,” Scott says, frowns sternly. Derek sometimes wonders how exactly Scott reconciles the smell of their combined come and the sounds Stiles makes when they fuck with the rest of the pack in the house with his no swearing rule.

They all end up in a pile on Derek’s bed, healing together. Stiles blows him against the wall in the front porch the next morning, takes him down his throat sweet and easy as he tries to avoid prolonged eye contact with a particularly inquisitive squirrel. He ends up coming in the middle of an accidental staring match with the little bastard, gets Stiles off with the filthiest deep throating he can manage, with the tip of his finger circling his asshole to stop him asking too many questions about the unusual levels of growling Derek was doing mid blowjob.

It doesn’t work.

*

To the uninitiated, the same people who believe in mountain lions, the snow’s just something the weather reporter’s more excited about than is healthy. It makes Derek incredibly on edge, though. Nothing about it is natural or right, and he sends a message around asking everyone to come to the house to talk. They bundle into the house, all wrapped up warm. Everyone barring Stiles is a little giddy about it. Stiles, though, is tired and worried, distracted until they sit down together around the table, then he drops a pile of handwritten papers on the table and looks around. “Frost Giant,” he says. Everyone bar Lydia looks blank. “You know, with the snow and the frost and the unending cold? Last recorded time a Frost Giant came over from Scandinavia was in Britain, in the early nineteenth century. That whole Victorian white Christmas stereotype was because that was how the winters were when Dickens was a kid, which he wrote about later like it was what always happened, even though it rarely did over there. A Frost Giant denned in a cave in Essex after he took a wrong turn on the way to Iceland and ended up in a tiny village near Epping. Hibernated in the summer, caused all sorts of merry fuckery in the winter.”

“So…it’s evil snow?” Isaac asks, a slight frown on his face. Erica ruffles his hair, grins as he bats her hand away.

“Baby, were you enjoying that snow? Do you feel all dirty now?”

He was the idiot who bit teenagers. He closes his eyes briefly.

“Frost Giants aren’t evil specifically. Just a little Viking in their general attitude to threats. If we work out where the Giant’s living, we can work out how to approach it. Assuming it’s a Frost Giant. That could be one of my four in the morning breakdowns talking.”

“When isn’t it?” Boyd murmurs, puts up his hands as both Scott and Derek growl. Stiles huffs.

“So. Anyway, epicenter of the storm is in the preserve northwest of here. Stay away from it. I mean it; stay away until we’ve had a chance to find out more.”

“So what do we do?” Cora asks. Stiles looks at the ceiling for a while, pen balanced between his lips.

“Talk to it, I guess. Pity none of us speak Viking.”

Lydia clears her throat. “I think you mean Old Norse, sweetheart,” she chirps. Stiles shakes his head and grins.

“Got bored with regular Norse, Lydia?”

“A girl needs her hobbies.”

*

None of them have a storybook Christmas. It's snowing, but that's because the frost giant, who's called Sveinn apparently, is staying until the twelfth night and is then getting his helicopter back to Helsinki, having been taken off course by the pull of the Nemeton. A Frost Giant. With a helicopter. Fucking dot com millionaire. Peter sends him and Cora framed photographs, obviously done in a studio. They’re of him, sitting on a throne topless, with the murder twins sat on either arm in tiny denim shorts, knee high boots and nothing else, each holding a gold fruit bowl full of oranges and wearing a turban.

“Tasteful,” Cora says, peering at her copy. She’s still in her night clothes, hair in a messy bun, a mug of coffee in her hands.

“Merry Christmas,” he says, kissing her on the forehead. He slings an arm around her shoulders and ruffles her hair. “Should we burn them?”

She hums, leans into him. “Later. For now, one on the mantelpiece, one hung up on the wall. We’ll see who notices first.”

“Ice cream for breakfast?”

“Always.”

Isaac shuffles in, looks at the photographs and groans, resting his head in his arms on the counter. Derek puts his hand on the back of his neck, rubs his thumb across skin still warm from sleep. “He was so weird when you were gone,” he mutters into his arms. “We didn’t know if it was part of a plan, or it was just him, or it was…”

“What he wanted you to think,” Cora finishes, comes and leans into him. “Merry Christmas. We’re putting them on show until someone notices. Then, we’re setting fire to them.”

“Ooh, burn,” Isaac mutters, then pauses. “Too soon?”

“Yeah, a little,” Derek says, unclaws his fingers delicately as Isaac shudders. “C’mon, let’s get ice cream.”

They don’t try to get back to some mythical family Christmas. What they have is fragile, but real: fish soup for lunch, small gifts and card games, something quiet and simple. Derek goes for a nap at around three, wakes up in near darkness, the curtains open. He goes and looks out at the snow, still half asleep. It gives the woods a wilder feeling, the snow and the dark of the forest. He looks out at the white, at the tracks, human and otherwise. Wild woods and the darkness at its heart. The choked, roaring rattle of the jeep two miles off pulls him out of his thoughts.

When he goes downstairs, Isaac and Cora sit up from where they're playing an incredibly complicated game of poker, eyes bright and alert. He senses Boyd, Erica and Scott running this way, too, scents the air, deeply satisfied. Stiles, Mrs McCall, the Sheriff and Lydia are all in the jeep, and something in him loosens at the feeling of completeness it brings, a togetherness fought and compromised for. The cub stirs too, content and dreaming. He goes out onto the porch, barefooted, planks cold at his feet, sniffs the crispness to the air.

Stiles stumbles out of his jeep last. His cheeks are rosy, nose red, lips chapped and he’s wearing bright pink mittens. His smile is small but real, and Derek feels almost hopelessly affectionate, tender in a way he can’t quite articulate. It clenches at his heart, his throat, makes him feel young, small, afraid. He’s standing frozen, one hand reaching out, is aware that everyone’s looking at him. “Merry Christmas,” he says softly at last, warmth curling through his voice, and it isn’t what he means to say at all.

“Me too,” Stiles answers, and the small, perfect moment passes as Erica tackles Boyd into a snowdrift.

When they’re inside, Stiles gets that look on his face, like he’s planning to do something awful. Sure enough, he hands Scott a camera, then disappears for a few minutes. When he gets back, he has three handfuls of cotton wool and a blue blanket, and there are text alerts going off all around him. He has a very bad feeling about this, one that is proved right when Stiles distracts him with a kiss as Cora puts the blanket so it’s covering his hair like a scarf, Isaac, Erica, and Boyd put the cotton wool beards on and before he knows it he’s standing with Stiles and the three wise men, dressed up as the Virgin Mary as Scott takes several pictures, laughing almost too hard to work the camera.

“We’re sending a copy to Uncle Peter,” Cora says. Mrs McCall and the Sheriff have found the picture on the mantelpiece and are examining it with horrified fascination. “And it’s going on every Christmas card we ever send, and it’s coming out at the cub’s graduation, and we’re showing it to every girl or boy that comes around, even if it’s just as a friend, or to do homework assignments together.”

Derek shrugs off the blanket and grins. “And if that doesn’t put them off, we’ll set Stiles on them.”

Cora whistles. “Your poor cub’s getting, like, zero tail here.”

“Damn right. And if Stiles doesn’t put them off, I’m doing some heavy duty lurking. And I’ll be old enough to be Chris Argent levels of creepy and offputting.”

Isaac catches a glimpse of his face and shudders.

*

He says 'I love you' in the middle of Stiles's rundown of why Salt-N-Pepa are a better girl group than the Spice Girls in just about every way. Doesn’t mean to say it, really, just blurts it out into the one of the pauses, the breaths between sentences. Stiles is sitting on the kitchen counter, drumming his heels against the cupboard door, mug of hot chocolate in his hand, long fingers curled around it. He’s sleepy and content, brings the mug to his face every so often and inhales it. It feels as natural as breathing to say it, should be harder, surely. Stiles goes silent, eyes huge. He can’t even begin to decipher Stiles’s expression.

“I thought you’d wait until I was dying, or you were, or I got arrested or kidnapped,” he says at last, puts the mug on the counter and spreads his legs. Derek takes the invitation, stands between them. Turns so Stiles is warm against his back, legs hooked around his thighs and arms loose around his belly. “But we’re safe, and warm, and you said it by accident,” he says quietly, mouth so close to the side of his neck, breath warm, scent surrounding him. Derek nods, feels young and afraid again.

“I meant it,” he says firmly, then “I love you.”

“I could get used to hearing that. I love you too,” and Stiles offers him a sip of his hot chocolate, strokes his belly, hands warm and soothing, and maybe it’s that simple. They’re warm, and safe, and he said it because they were, not because they’re in something that they might not survive. Stiles smiles against his neck and sways them, hums a snatch of melody, something from a musical Derek’s only half watched. They stay quiet until Stiles starts complaining at length about a numb ass, Derek tells him he’ll give him a numb ass and Stiles nearly kills himself laughing but does wonder if kanima venom would do that if it was used right, Derek asks out loud why he loves him, Stiles nips his neck in retaliation and they end up fucking on the kitchen table. It’s romantic, in a way.

The frost giant leaves, the snowmelt makes everything a mudslick, and Derek finally understands why Peter put a shower room with a door leading straight outside onto the side of the house when the pack chase will o the wisps through the forest for three nights in a row. He had no idea he felt so strongly about the no shoes rule until he wolfed out at Isaac for not wiping his feet properly. There are shoe racks by the door now. He feels a little too much like an adult. Stiles is distracted and tired. He’s deflecting and misdirecting for all he’s worth, and Scott starts making him come to the house to sleep, has the whole pack over and they all pile together on the bed, make him stay still, growl at him when he tries to get away. Erica calls it snugglenapping, then claps a hand over her mouth and looks horrified.

The full moon before his birthing moon, the urge to run wild is so strong he is on the point of chaining himself in the basement, ends up sitting in the empty bathtub, listening to his cub’s heartbeat, anchoring himself to his increasingly fretful child. Stiles finds him there, takes one look at him and leaves the room, comes back ten minutes later with a stack of books that smell old, faintly of talcum powder and perfume, of Stiles. “I was gonna wait until the cub was born, but these are the books I had growing up. My mom- she read them to me. Did all the voices. I know you’re feeling a little rough, big guy, but I’m gonna just sit here and read them, okay? Any time you want me to stop, ask me. Or growl. Either’s fine. So, let’s start with the big hungry bear and the red ripe strawberry, yeah?”

They get through burglars, caterpillars, owls, cats, rabbits, moles and goblins. Stiles’s voice stays steady and calm as he talks himself hoarse, and Derek just keeps himself tightly controlled, clinging on for dear life as the porcelain warms around him and the moon calls him out into the forest. They wake up the next morning to the pack staring at both of them through the bathroom doorway. Stiles complains for the whole day about his backache, until Scott leeches his pain for the sake of Derek’s blood pressure.  The next day, Derek finalizes arrangements for the birth. It’s one of the stranger phone conversations he’s had.

His breasts- he’s had to start calling them that, because he’s pretty sure sometimes it would be more comfortable to be wearing a bra right now- have been aching and heavy for the past few months. Stiles is fascinated with them, with their heavy firmness, the change to the nipples. Sometimes he…leaks. He makes damn sure he does it away from the pack, cleans himself up in the bathroom obsessively, trying not to let the smell linger on him, because some Alpha-Beta interactions change when the Alpha’s pregnant and he sure as fuck doesn’t need Boyd or Erica to get seized with an irresistible urge to suck on his tits. It’s intermittently weird between them anyway. The leaking gets more frequent, though, and Derek’s generally too tired to do anything about it so it’s really a matter of time before Stiles finds out.

Of course it’s in the middle of sex, though, and of course Stiles is really fucking weird about it. He’s fucking Derek from behind, Derek kneeling up, one arm on the headboard, one on the bed, fingers intertwined with Stiles’s. Stiles’s other hand, though, has been wandering towards his nipples with increasing frequency, kneading and stroking at the flesh around them, delicately tracing the underside. His hand is large and warm around his tit, just squeezing lightly and the sensation goes straight to his dick, makes him feel heavy and aroused, almost drugged with the sensation until he feels a tugging deep in his spine, up through his nipples.

He groans, throws his head back with a desperate gasp. “Never knew I was a breast guy,” Stiles murmurs, keeps his hips still and disentangles his other hand from Derek’s, brings it up so he’s cupping Derek’s other breast, clever fingers rolling and squeezing both nipples. “These, though, these are just fucking gorgeous. Do they ache, Derek? Huh? Are they just too full and heavy, all that pressure inside them? Waiting for your cub to suckle them—there you go,” he murmurs as Derek feels the milk start to come, leaking from between Stiles’s fingers as he croons, massages it back into Derek’s skin, breath hot on the side of his neck. It feels like he’s been close to coming forever, and all it takes is Stiles letting more of his milk leak onto his hand, putting his finger into his mouth and sucking, eyes fluttering closed with a soft moan before he’s coming all over the headboard, hands gripping the wood enough to leave more deep gouges on it.

He collapses onto his side, is dimly aware of Stiles pulling out and coming onto his back before he drifts into sleep. When he wakes up alone the next morning, he’s a little surprised he doesn’t smell of dried come and milk. When he asks Stiles after he gets back from Lacrosse, Stiles grins, a little arousal coming through over the smell of sweat, grass and locker room. “Yeah, well, I licked you clean,” he says proudly, then yelps as Derek tackles him onto the bed, strips him, holds him down and rims him until he cries.

*

Maybe if he hadn’t been so distracted, he’d have noticed Stiles was up to something big. He likes to think he has a pretty good sense of when Stiles is doing incredibly stupid things. As it is, it’s only the night before the birthing moon when Derek realizes that Stiles’s occasional absences, deflections, all night research binges and scent of constant anxiety add up to something that he should have been paying attention to. The scent of ozone and the shockwaves, the power going out, the prolonged triumphant howl and the feeling of something snapping has Derek on edge even before he smells Scott coming, in full Alpha mode, a lanky, fragile bundle in his arms. The urge to attack something, anything, is almost too strong to resist as Scott carries Stiles in and puts him on the bed. He’s bloody, covered in mud, clothes tattered. “Scott.”

“We’ll be back in an hour.”

He smells strongly of ozone, blood, pepper, burnt flesh, wolfsbane. His pulse has a lurching stutter to it, is thin and thready. Derek’s growling continually, can’t help it. “Scott, please.”

Scott doesn’t speak, just leaves, anger a bitter tinge in the air. Stiles stirs, smiles sleepily when he sees him. “Hey baby,” he murmurs, tries to move and groans, pained. Every explanation Derek can think of is making him want to wolf out.

“Please tell me this has nothing to do with the power outage.”

“Can’t do that.”

“Or the explosion?”

“Or that.”

“Or the shockwave that made me wolf out in the middle of brushing my teeth?”

“Or the crater,” Stiles says helpfully, with a smile that is far too much like a grimace.

“Stiles.”

“But on the plus side, the Nemeton’s all sacrificed out, thanks to good old fashioned murder and electricity,” he continues, and makes a slightly broken attempt at jazz hands. Derek punches him in the face. Doesn’t really realize he’s done it until Stiles is curled up clutching his nose, with the fresh scent of blood in the air, releasing a series of muffled curses. “You punched me!”

“If I had the control to do it without mauling you, I’d be beating seven kinds of shit out of you right now. You stink of magic, death and danger, and I’m pretty fucking close to throwing you out of a window.”

Stiles doesn’t respond, pain rolling off him in waves. He gets out of the bed and onto his feet with an effort that leaves him sweating. Derek’s senses are in overdrive right now, but the slight distance is enough to get his brain working a little better. He scents the air, picks through all the scents—

“Deucalion?” he snarls, grips a pillow to stop himself taking it out on Stiles’s idiotic hide. “Gerard?”

“Fuck, it’s like smell charades. Okay, don’t punch me. I’ll explain. Could you maybe stop growling?”

Derek levels him with a flat glare. “No. No I can’t.”

“Okay, fine. Okay. I reverse engineered the Nemeton. Electricity and a walking dead half man half wolf who’s about as far from innocent as you can get. And Deucalion to kill him, because the bastard could stand to owe us a few more favors, and he helped with getting to Gerard and the cleanup too—whoah, okay, please unwolf. C’mon big guy, you’ve got the control. I’m fine. I’m alive. It worked.”

It’s only willpower keeping Stiles upright. He can’t look at him without wanting to howl, to lick the blood off him and never let him leave, to hurt him for putting himself in danger and take away all of his pain. He wants more than he has the capacity to articulate. “The electricity, and the magic. You…”

“I overloaded it. The tree. Put everything I could into it until it couldn’t take any more, and it worked, which is fucking great because I’m tired of all the monsters using this place as a no-tell motel, and at some point I’d like to gloat, once my toenails don’t hurt.”

“Who helped you? Don’t even think about lying right now.”

“Danny showed me the security faults in the power station system. I didn’t tell him why. Deucalion and his pack did cleanup, hid the evidence, but I didn’t tell anyone else.”

He wishes Stiles wasn’t telling the truth. “You—you went alone, without backup, basically committed murder with a known enemy on a hunch, on an impulse—”

Stiles makes a small noise of protest. Not an impulse. “How long?” he snarls, voice distorted. He’s perilously close to losing control.

“A year,” Stiles whispers. His nose is still bleeding sluggishly.

“Get out.”

Stiles gulps, sways. “Derek, I—”

“Stop. There is nothing that will change the fact that you went on a suicide mission. Don’t even try. Do you know what could have happened? What you risked? What about—what about me? What about our cub—

He stops short. Stiles is still, eyes wide. Everything hangs suspended, as the truth of the slip dawns.

“Stiles. Fuck, Stiles.”

Stiles drops to his knees, scrambles to the side of the bed. “Did you mean it? Our cub? I—please don’t take it back, please. I’ll go, you can be mad at me, as mad as you like, just don’t take it back. All I wanted was for this town to be safe, safe like it was before. Safe enough to bring up a cub in—I did it for you, for our cub. Please.”

“Get into bed,” he growls, hauls Stiles up and manhandles him under the covers, hating the smell and the small noises of pain Stiles makes. They lie together, close and quiet, Derek running a hand through Stiles’s hair.

“But. A year. A year.

Stiles ducks his head. “I didn’t…I didn’t enjoy it. I mean, I lied. A lot. Or…not direct lying. Prevaricating. It was a little scary how it worked. Scott’s made me promise I won’t turn evil. Like, a binding legal contract.”

“Binding legal contract.”

“Yeah. We pinky swore.”

Derek doesn’t know quite what expression to make. “Well in that case.”

Stiles snuggles a little closer, puts his nose up to where Derek’s neck meets his shoulder. “I’m still mad at you,” Derek says as he leans into the touch.

“I know. You’re allowed to be,” Stiles tells him quietly. Derek looks up at the ceiling, grunting as the cub kicks his bladder again. “Derek. You know that, right? You can be as angry as you like,” he presses, propping himself up on his elbow with a groan. His eyes are wide and childlike, even with all that he’s done.

“I won’t…don’t punish yourself with me.”

Stiles makes a small wounded sound in the back of his throat. Puts his hand on Derek’s belly. “My nose hurts,” he says, just as Derek’s drifting off.

“Suck it up, Stiles. My magical werewolf womb hurts.”

Stiles’s scent is full of a sudden spike of joy. “You’re having a baby,” he whispers. “That’s so fucking cool.”

Because he’s feeling justifiably vindictive, he doesn’t tell Stiles that the pack is here. Their footsteps are silent, their anger and worry thrumming through the bond. He lets them tell him off at the same time as they pile on the bed, lay hands on every bit of skin they can find, even if he smells wrong, smells of storms and tears, blood and wolfsbane. Eventually they subside into grumbling. His cub’s particularly fretful today; the tug of the moon is at its strongest yet. The tenth moon, the birthing moon, is tomorrow night. He knows why Stiles had to do it, and his quiet ‘thank you’ is easily, naturally given, accepted with a sigh and a smile.

They sleep in a pile all together that night. Not a single one of them even mentions leaving. Stiles sleeps right through till lunchtime, when Scott picks him up and carries him, protesting, to the shower, and makes him stay in there for an hour, then carries him back to bed naked, puts him in pajamas and makes him eat two bowls of soup. Every time he tries to complain, he gets growled at. Derek makes no move to intervene. Serves the idiot right.

The midwife’s from a pack in San Francisco, a middle aged born wolf with an odd fondness for pastels. She has pink ribbons around the ends of her braids, pale blue threads through her corn rows and Derek once saw her single-handedly take down a fully grown male buffalo. She comes down in the afternoon, spends a long time sniffing and looking at his belly, then sets up cruciform restraints in the yard, the bars of which are basically tree trunks looped through with ropes knotted through with wolfsbane, “because there’s no damn way I’m putting my claws near an Alpha’s belly without protection; my ma wasn’t raising no fool wolves.”

In her spare time, she’s a lawyer. Stiles is completely enthralled with her; Derek’s a little relieved he’s still suffering from his minor suicide mission or he might start a pack war by asking too many questions. As it is, he’s pale but standing, even if his smell still makes the rest of the wolves sneeze. He’s still in pajamas. There’s a lightness in the atmosphere now that the old pull is gone, the oppressive magnet of the Nemeton. The pack feel it; he can sense their unfurling, the relaxing of their guard. Only Scott’s on edge; he’s trying desperately not to growl at the intruder onto their territory, but luckily Rhea finds it hilarious. It takes Erica, Boyd and Isaac sitting on him and tickling behind his ears to calm him even a little.

It’s Boyd’s turn to cook, so he orders takeout on Derek’s card, and they sit around the table in the kitchen. Mrs McCall and the Sheriff come out to the house as well, and they trade slightly edited war stories. It’s in the middle of one about a dryad that fell in love with Danny that Derek feels the first twinge, a deep rolling ache that peaks then recedes, leaving him grasping the table, white knuckled. Stiles’s hand’s on his one shoulder, Scott’s on the other. Rhea’s sitting across from him, still completely calm. “You’re just getting started, boy,” she says, something deep and quiet in her voice. He nods, once.

On Derek’s personal pain scale, giving birth is on a par with a wolfsbane bullet combined with an iron bar through his torso, so it isn’t too terrible. Oddly restful, apart from the claws ripping through his stomach. He lets her tie him to the cross, the burn of the wolfsbane sinking into him, weakening him. The pack surrounds them in a ring. He’s dimly aware of Stiles making a circle of ash around them then kneeling by Derek’s head, stroking him gently, murmuring nonsense at him, then it’s all heat and pain, a rolling, gnawing ache that he can’t escape from. Stiles’s voice is there as his one fixed point.

“Derek, I need to get the cub out. I’ll do it on three.” Rhea’s voice is calm and steady, hand already clawed. She kneels, looks into his eyes, forcing him to stay with her, with the agony in his belly. “One,” she says, and Derek braces, because he knows how it goes, but nothing happens, then “two,” and she slashes down, burning coursing through him.

He grits out “not fair,” as he pants from the pain, everything unfocussing again until he hears a high, thin cry, smells a scent that’s everything good that was and will ever be in the world, and the rope around his wrists and ankles is cut, rinsed off with water and everything’s sharp and real again, because he’s crouched over his cub, holding her tight. He’s covered in blood. Covered in it, and feels lightheaded, oddly euphoric. She’s still crying, proper howls, out into the cold night, breath misting in front of her face. He’s running on instinct now, licks her clean, making crooning growls to calm and soothe her as her cries turn to little hiccoughs, then stop as he coaxes her to feed from him.

He can feel the last of the slashes Rhea made heal as she suckles. Stiles breaks the line and he can feel the pack itching to come forward, eager and curious. “Come and see Laura,” he calls, sits cross legged on the forest floor with his cub in his arms and welcomes them in. “Look what I made,” he whispers, and looks into her wide, wondering eyes and completely loses his heart all over again, because she’s something he’s gotten completely right, maybe the only thing he ever needs to.

*

 “Stiles, we aren’t knotting. What if Laura starts crying again like last time?”

Stiles shudders. “Yeah, I owe Scott like infinity bro points for that. We shouldn’t have tried to shuffle. It didn’t fucking work. Like, we need a knotting trolley or something.”

“A knotting trolley?”

“Yeah, you can wheel me, so I don’t have to try and move my legs with a fucking watermelon up my ass when our cub decides to raise hell at three in the morning and we’re stuck together in the most horrifyingly come filled comedy of errors in the known universe. Scott is still traumatized from that emergency phone call.”

“We got him a fruit basket,” Derek points out, still idly twisting his fingers in Stiles’s ass.

“Yeah, we did. He likes fruit baskets. Like, is properly thrilled with them. It’s a little weird.”

Derek hums absently, angles his hand until Stiles gasps in a shocked breath, arching a little. “It’s an Alpha thing. We like fruit baskets.”

“Ouch, Jesus fuck don’t make me laugh with your fingers up my ass. That’s just…Derek, you’re the most ridiculous thing.”

“I can carry you if that happens. I’m strong enough. Wait, am I for or against knotting?” These circular arguments twist in on themselves when Stiles gets into one of his logical spirals. The house is quiet still, Laura’s breathing quiet and even, heart steady and sure. “I- can I- I wanna fuck you, but we’ve gotta stay quiet,” he says, runs a hand down the graceful line of Stiles’s spine, fingers blunt, rough looking over the smooth expanse of skin.

“Please, oh God please fuck me I want married people sex—” he breaks off, says the rest into the pillow, ears going red. Derek looks down at him, then around the room, takes in the two drawers for Stiles’s clothes, the stacks of research books and folders crammed full of notes, the lacrosse kit that he left here after Wednesday’s practice, the chipped coffee mug that says ‘world’s best dad’ on it because Erica’s a little shit. They use the same shower gel, have started planning which schools the cub’s going to, and the Sheriff has started saving coupons for them.

“Yeah, I can do that,” Derek says, a little gruff, because he’s not very good at declarations, but he warms the lube and slides in as Stiles works through whatever brick wall of embarrassment he’s talked himself into this time, slides in until he’s pressed right up against Stiles’s ass. “Quiet, you’ll wake her,” he whispers, clamping a hand over Stiles’s mouth, because however into his breathless dirty talk and half choked begging Derek is, there’s a werewolf cub in the house, and his mom always used to say cubs were nature’s chastity belts. Hence the apology fruit basket. “So I’m gonna move slow, fuck you nice and steady,” he soothes, takes his hand off Stiles’s mouth and sets a slow rolling rhythm that has Stiles shivering, mashing his face into the pillow and biting down to keep quiet, ass jerking like he doesn’t know whether to be moving closer or escaping. He jerks himself off, arm pressed underneath his stomach, humping into his fist with little whines and grunts. Derek knows exactly how he’s doing it, can picture it as he fucks into that tight perfect heat, nothing rushed about it.

The house smells of baby powder, milk, the food in the kitchen and their pack. There are older traces of come and blood, tears, sweat, bright bursts of anger and happiness, grief, joy and everything in between. He pushes all the way in and hushes Stiles, hands brushing against his hips, along his flanks in gentling motions as his knot swells, ties them together and he comes in one long crest, a shivering hot pleasure that sends tingling numbness down his legs. Stiles is limp beneath him, breath coming out in shocked little pants, tremors running through him, ass stretched tight around his knot. “Jesus, that’s a lot of come. You trying to knock me up?” Derek groans, closes his eyes. “It’s not like I can get knocked up, right?”

Derek nips at the side of his neck, licks the salt of his sweat. “You know, I have no idea,” he says, momentarily diverted, presses a hand up against Stiles’s belly, imagining him swelling with his cub.

“And you didn’t think to, you know, wonder about your magical werewolf sperm?”

He’s still coming, little spurts that send pleasure shooting down his spine. If he presses the heel of his hand in a certain spot, he can feel how Stiles is a little bigger from his spunk, belly stretched outwards a little.

“Guess I’d have to marry you then,” he says at last, still a little come drunk. “Sheriff wouldn’t want you being a single parent. People would talk.”

“And a pregnant male teenager isn’t something to talk about?”

Stiles is getting to the point of being too noisy. Derek hushes him, puts his teeth to the back of his neck and starts coaxing another orgasm out of him.

“Not if he’s married,” he says patiently as Stiles groans and comes for the third time.

“Small town values,” Stiles mutters into the pillow, body twitching through the aftershocks.

“Yeah, but married people sex,” Derek replies, rolls them onto their sides. Stiles whimpers at the movement, the tugging at his rim, then laughs, bright and giddy through his fatigue.

“Yeah, good point. Hypothetically knock me up, Alpha.”

So he does. Hypothetically.