John wasn’t sure how, but it became a thing.
‘It’ being the relationship between his son and Derek Hale. Resident alpha werewolf, Derek Hale. The very same one John had nearly put behind bars two years ago.
Although, John didn’t know if he could call it a relationship, exactly. To be honest, he wasn’t sure what to call it. But ‘relationship’ seemed to make the most sense, even though he was pretty sure Stiles would launch himself out his own bedroom window before admitting that out loud.
The point was, it’d somehow became a thing. And John didn’t know what the hell to do with himself about it.
It started when he walked into Stiles’s room to see his son laying across Derek Hale’s back, chin resting on top of Hale’s head as the other man flipped through a book. John froze in the doorway and Stiles startled so hard, he toppled off of Derek’s back and crashed to the floor with a squawk.
Derek was on his feet in a second, face bright red. John could’ve sworn the color went all the way to the tips of his ears. The book he’d been reading dropped to the floor inches away from Stiles’s face.
“Sir,” Derek said, voice higher-pitched than usual. John pressed his lips together.
“Right,” he said, glancing between his son and the ex fugitive. “Is there something going on here I should know about?”
“No,” Stiles said, stumbling to his feet. When John raised a brow, Stiles’s face turned a deep shade of red and he shrugged. “I mean, we’re just doing research. You know. Searching. Though books. For information. The re-of-search.”
“Research,” John said. Stiles nodded.
John glanced at Derek, but the other man was standing like a deer caught in headlights. After a moment, John nodded and turned away, wishing he just would’ve stayed downstairs. “Okay, then.”
Faintly, it occurred to him that Derek had never come through the front door. It also occurred to him that he didn’t have the energy to dwell on that.
But tonight, John decided, steaks were being served. Because right now? He deserved a steak. He deserved mashed potatoes too.
And maybe some therapy.
It was definitely a thing.
John was patrolling Lookout Point when he came across a black car pulled off the road and hidden by the trees. Sighing, he flipped on his lights and pulled off too, mentally preparing himself for the teenagers that were sure to come stumbling out of the car with messy hair and rumpled clothes.
He never failed to see that at least once during patrols like this.
Except, when John stepped out of the cruiser, he realized that he recognized the black car. He paused for a second, taking in Hale’s camaro, and then tried to hold back a heartattack.
“Please,” John said to no one in particular. “Don’t let this be what I think it is.”
He moved toward the window and rapped a sharp knuckle against it. For a moment, his face was reflected off the Camaro’s window, and then it rolled down. Derek gazed out at him and John glanced beyond him to see Stiles too.
Except thankfully, all clothes were in place. And Stiles himself— despite a slightly red face— was completely non-rumpled, other than a stain of ketchup on his collar that he’d obviously tried to scrub off. Unable to hold it back, John let out a sigh of relief.
“Good evening, boys. Late night fast food run?”
“Stakeout,” Stiles said quickly. John glanced at his son and Stiles offered a nervous grin. “There’s an omega running loose around the woods. Someone’s gotta keep the public safe, right?”
“Right,” John said. He glanced at Derek but once more, the other man’s face was pale and he was speechless. John hesitated for a moment longer before stepping back. “I’m going to assume you coming home later then, Stiles?”
“Right-o, pops,” Stiles said. John nodded.
“No later than ten.”
“You have my solemn word. No later than midnight.”
John knew he should chastise his son for that, but he really just wanted to be somewhere else. Shaking his head, he turned away and started back toward the cruiser. Faintly, he heard Stiles whisper something sharp to Derek.
But John didn’t even try to listen to what. He didn’t think that would be very good for his mental well-being.
He decided he deserved some fast food though.
By the third time, John decided words needed to be said. Of course, the last thing he wanted was to be the one saying those words, but this was getting ridiculous.
He had to stop walking in on stuff like this.
It was a completely innocent Friday night when John walked into the diner with a craving for something unhealthy and deep-fried. Stiles had texted him that he’d be ‘out all night’ so John decided this was his chance.
Except, Stiles was at the diner. Sitting at one of the booths with his feet propped in Derek’s lap as he waved his hands around and talked. Derek’s face was uncharacteristically soft as the man listened to the boy, a small smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
John didn’t know it was possible for Derek Hale to smile.
Sighing, John forced himself forward. Words needed to be said, he decided. He just didn’t know what those words were. Or how it was fair that he had to be the one to say them.
Derek saw him first. The man sat straight up, pushing Stiles’s feet off his lap, and Stiles made a squawking noise of protest. But then he swiveled around and went pale too.
“Out all night,” John said, stepping beside the table. “Pack stuff?”
“Uh, yeah,” Stiles said, tugging at the neckline of his t-shirt. Except it wasn’t his t-shirt, John realized. Stiles didn’t own too-big grey henleys. “Pack stuff. But then I got hungry. So now it’s… pack stuff and food?”
“The pack is a little absent, isn’t it?”
“Oh, they’re back at the loft,” Stiles said. Then he winced. “They already ate?”
John sighed, looking at Derek. This time, he thought the man was actually going to try and say something. Derek’s mouth opened and closed, but then his face turned redder and not a word came out. John nodded. “Do you two want to let me in on… whatever this is?”
“This?” Stiles said, words squeaking. “This is nothing, dad. Seriously.”
“Seriously!” Stiles said. “Just dinner. Is dinner a crime? Because if that’s true then— wait, what are you doing here?”
John blinked. Then he narrowed his eyes. “This is not my interrogation.”
“Um, this is an interrogation?”
Derek’s face turned paler. John took a deep breath and pressed two fingers to the bridge of his nose. Maybe— maybe words didn’t need to be said. Not today. Because this was going nowhere and John didn’t have the energy he used to. “No,” he said after a moment. “This isn’t an interrogation. But I’m here to get a burger and I don’t want to hear a thing about it.”
Stiles squinted. He seemed to consider that for a moment before nodding and propping his feet back up in Derek’s lap. “Fine. But we’re having salads for dinner tomorrow.”
“Does that mean you’ll be home for dinner tomorrow?”
His son’s face turned bright red and John took his victory in that. Turning away, he started toward the front counter and could hear Stiles sputtering at his back.
It was the little things, sometimes.
He got extra fries.
Stiles was in the hospital.
Derek held the boy’s hand cupped between his own, trying to leech away what pain he could. But there’d been no black lines for hours now and all he could do was wait— wait for Stiles to wake up and the hand in his to get warm again.
Suddenly, the door behind him opened. Derek dropped Stiles’s hand and turned around to see the Sheriff rushing in, brown eyes dark with worry.
“What happened?” the man said, scent sour with fear. “What happened to him?”
“Hunters,” Derek said quietly. “I tried to get to him as fast as I could but—”
The Sheriff ignored him, moving to Stiles’s side. Derek shied back as the man took the hand Derek had just been holding and squeezed it. Suddenly, the air the room felt colder and Derek realized his stay had run up. Quietly, he stood and turned away.
“Where the hell are you going?”
Derek froze, before slowly turning back around. The Sheriff was looking at him with furrowed brows and Derek shuffled his feet, at a loss for words for a moment. “Out. To give you two some space.”
“Sit back down,” the Sheriff said, and there was no room for argument in his voice. Slowly, Derek moved back over to sink into his chair again.
“You are not leaving my son,” the Sheriff said. “Right?”
For some reason, Derek felt like they were talking about completely different things. But he nodded anyway and the older man’s face softened considerably.
Derek didn’t know how to answer that. So instead of saying anything, he fiddled with his hands. The Sheriff watched his son for a moment longer before turning back around with a sigh.
“Do I scare you, Derek?”
Derek looked sharply up. “What?”
“The big bad alpha werewolf of Beacon Hills,” the Sheriff continued. “Are you scared of me? Because I’ve wracked my brain as to why my son has yet to mention your relationship and that’s all I can come up with.”
Derek stared at him for a moment. He was aware of his mouth opening and closing, but no words came out. The Sheriff sunk down in the other chair and looked at Derek with what could only be considered a hurt expression.
“It’s not my son who’s scared, is it? Stiles isn’t scared of what I’d think, is he?”
“Because I know he mentioned it years ago,” the Sheriff said, sounding miserable. “I mean, I didn’t think he was being serious. I thought he was trying to pull something over my head again. But if that was really him trying to let me know—”
“We’re not together,” Derek said, cutting him off. The Sheriff’s mouth fell open and his eyes went wide.
“Stiles and I,” Derek said uncertainly. It hurt a little for the words to come out. “We’re not in a relationship.”
The Sheriff stared at him for a long moment. Then, to Derek’s surprise, he burst out into laughter.
“Oh thank god,” he said and for a moment, Derek felt like he’d been punched in the throat. But then the older man rubbed at his eyes, shaking his head. “I thought my son wasn’t telling me because he thought I wouldn’t accept him. But it turns out, it’s just because he’s Stiles.”
“When Stiles wakes up, I’m going to leave you two alone,” the Sheriff said, his smile melting a bit. “And when I come back in, I expect things to be all cleared up. Is that understood?”
Once more, Derek didn’t know what to say. So he only nodded.
“Good,” the Sheriff said, turning around again. “Because I’m too old for this. My heart can’t take the suspense any longer.”
Derek stared at him. His mind was moving, but slowly. Piece by piece, the Sheriff’s words were sinking in and when they did, Derek felt his own heart nearly stop. He blinked. “Sir, are you giving me permission to date your son?”
“Derek,” the Sheriff said, glancing at him. “You two have been dating for a lot longer than today.”
Derek closed his mouth and just stared. The Sheriff’s face softened.
“Call me John.”
And Derek didn’t know what to say to that. He was pretty sure five minutes ago, he’d been here comforting a pack member. Not… getting their father’s blessing. But also, he wasn’t about to protest. And… John? The Sheriff wanted him to call him John?
Derek wasn’t sure how, but it’d just become a thing. And hell if he knew what to do about it.
Yeah, he was going to agree.