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those who argue, like each other

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It is against policy to have couples be partners in the force, but John knows his son is a special case and not everyone’s cup of tea, so it takes a certain kind of person to withstand all that is Stiles. He thought that at least Derek (being older and presumably more mature) would handle being with someone else as his partner, but John has come to learn that the man can be stubborn when he wants to, and he doesn’t know what it says about his deputies when Derek can intimidate them without lifting an eyebrow (and John knows how expressive those eyebrows can be). (John is also quite proud to say that he isn’t intimidated by the man.)

So naturally, all that was left was for Stiles and Derek to be partnered up together and John is sure that this was deliberately planned by those two, scheming little deviants that they are. The deputies know to turn a blind eye to the fact that his son and Hale have been together for almost five years now because they know if they say something, they’ll end up getting paired with Stiles who will promptly start detailing his essay on the history of circumcision he wrote back in high school. And no one wants that.

This leaves everyone nice and quiet and thankful that there is someone who can take Stiles out of their hands and can look at Derek in the eye without flinching (or swooning, as is the case with the female deputies (and possibly some of the guys as well)).

There were a few times where the Sheriff wondered if he made the right call in partnering them up, even with everything they’ve gone through together- hell, that was exactly why he was unsure of it, whether they would be able to keep their professional and personal lives separate.

Turns out, he really had nothing to worry about.

“-so stupid and completely unnecessary, I could’ve handled it just fine.”

“He had a gun-”

“So do I!”

“-pointed at your chest, and you can’t heal- can’t take bullets like I can.”

“Oh god, here we go again.”

“What?”

“Nope, nothing. You’re being unreasonable, and you’re using year-old arguments.”

The door to the Sheriff’s office is open, and John knows he’s not the only one eavesdropping on a certain pair of deputies. He’s the only one who gets the underlying meaning of what Derek is saying though, and John is not ashamed to admit that he’s glad someone is able to take bullets for his son and come out relatively unscathed.

“How am I being unreasonable? What I said years ago still stands today.”

“Same goes for me.”

There’s some shuffling in one of the desks and something drops with a thud, Stiles or Derek probably taking off their belt.

“I know how to judge a situation and the guy wasn’t going to shoot! Your sudden, and stupid movements, mind you, is what caused him to do it.”

You know how to judge a situation? Really, Stiles, really? How many times have you acted without thinking?”

“Those times don’t count, and you know that. Some things are unpredictable and this wasn’t one of them. The guy was scared out of his mind!”

“Which meant he was unpredictable!”

John is trying to remember what call those two picked up, might’ve been the domestic violence case with a third party trying to be the hero only for the guy to be terrified when guns came out.

“Oh, so now you’re the one with degrees in psychology and sociology.”

“Goddamn it, Stiles-” Derek breaks off suddenly and John is certain he has decided to try and glare Stiles into submission. Obviously, his son wouldn’t be his son if that worked on him.

“Don’t give me that look.”

“I’m not giving you any look.”

Even to John that sounds like a lie, and he doesn’t have those super senses to tell him when someone is lying.

“Sure you are, that’s Frowny Face Number Two. It’s patented and everything.”

Oh boy, John knows that face.

Stiles had made sure that once it became apparent that Derek would be around more often, he made a spreadsheet for John with all the different twitches of the eyebrows and lips, every scrunch of the nose, every crinkling of the eyes that Derek was capable of and what each of those tics meant (complete with names and full body descriptions). It was impressively helpful, John is almost as fluent as Stiles in Derek’s expressions.

And Frowny Face Number Two meant Derek is sticking to what he’s saying because he believes it is right and Stiles should just agree with him and be quiet.

“Frowny Face- Stiles.”

“Yup, that’s the ‘I’m right, you’re wrong, agree with me, and shut up’ face that you love to use.”

John gives himself a mental pat on the back.

“That’s not- really, Stiles?”

“Oh ho, Growly and Glare-y Face Number Four! You’re totally frustrated.”

“That’s because you’re totally frustrating.”

“No, I’m not. You’re the one who acted without reason. We’re just lucky the guy was a terrible shot and only hit a horrific china plate and not someone. You’re doing the paperwork tomorrow.”

“Fine.”

Great.”

Okay.”

“Okay.”

“Go change, you stink.”

Stiles snorts. “Pot, kettle, Hale.”

There’s silence after that, save for the occasional shuffle and footsteps heading towards the lockers.

John glances at the clock on the wall (the one that always seems to be running ten minutes late no matter how many times he makes Stiles fix it). Their afternoon shift is almost over, it won’t be long before the night shift deputies come in.

He goes back to reviewing a case for a recent surge in car crashes near the freeway, thankfully no one has died, but they always seem to happen around midnight. He’ll have to ask Derek if there are any new creatures crawling in the forest.

A knock on the doorframe makes him look up from a picture of one of the many cars involved.

“Hey, dad, we’re gonna head home now.” Stiles says, leaning against the doorway. Derek is standing next to him, and from what John can see, has a hand against Stiles’ back. Both have changed out of their uniforms.

“Everything fine today?” John asks, raising an eyebrow meaningfully.

Stiles rolls his eyes. “My partner was being unreasonable,” John has to bite back a smile when Derek glares at Stiles, “but nothing I couldn’t handle.”

“Your partner thinks you’re the unreasonable one.” Derek grumbles, most likely to himself, but Stiles waves a hand at him dismissively and almost pokes him in the eye.

Derek’s response is to grab Stiles’ flailing hand and intertwine their fingers, looking oddly accomplished with the fond smile Stiles gives him.

“Alright, get out of my office you two, some of us are still on shift.”

“You’re not coming to dinner tonight?” Stiles asks, looking back at John.

He shakes his head. “Can’t kiddo, have to stay here tonight.”

Stiles frowns. “Fine, but you better have a healthy salad for dinner. I know Parrish is on duty tonight.”

“I’m the Sheriff, and Parrish is my deputy which means he has to follow my orders.” John points out. And he’ll be damned if he doesn’t have at least some chicken on that salad.

“Yeah, but I like Parrish. And the feeling is mutual, we have an understanding and he wouldn’t lie to me. We're total bros.” There’s a low growl that makes John look at Derek and finds him scowling at the ground. Frowny Face Number Five- jealousy. Stiles elbows him. “Oh stop it you, Parrish and I are friends. He’s not the one I’m going home with.”

Derek looks properly abashed when John laughs.

“Ok, ok, out you two. Get some rest.”

“Don’t overwork yourself.” Stiles says, pointing a stern finger at John. “We’ll see you tomorrow. ‘Night, dad, remember to eat healthy.”

Derek shoots John a quick smile. “Goodnight, Sheriff.”

John nods and waves them off with a goodnight boys.

They pause right outside the Sheriff's office. “Race you to the car.” Stiles says and promptly kisses Derek, leave the older man stunned for a few seconds while Stiles takes advantage of his distraction to run manically down the hallway, laughing once Derek snaps out of it and chases him.

John shakes his head when there’s a crash and a thump, followed closely by a muffled curse in Stiles’ unmistakably voice. His best deputies, ladies and gentlemen.

Derek’s laughter is loud, and that’s something that will always surprise John, how open Derek is around Stiles.

He’s still shaking his head when Deputy Parrish walks in, head turned in the direction Stiles and Derek ran off to.  

“I don’t think I’ll ever understand their relationship.” Parrish says, turning to John. Clearly he had eavesdropped on their whole argument as well.

John snorts. “No one but them will ever understand their relationship.” And as long as they are both happy, John doesn't care. He lets his palms hit his desk before waving Parrish closer. “Alright, what do you have for me?”

“A garden salad, as per Stiles’ instructions.”

John narrows his eyes at Parrish. That sounds a lot like way too many vegetables. He’s going to have a word or two with his son on his friendship with Deputy Parrish. “Does it have chicken?”

Parrish places the plastic container he’s holding on the desk. “Yes sir, crispy grilled chicken, as per Derek's instructions.”

That man, Derek, John has always liked him. He can have those words with his son later, after he finishes his chicken that he has Derek to thank for.

“Excellent, bring it here.”