"Sit still for heaven’s sake, Isaac," Peter groused. "I cannot get the burrs out of your hair if you don’t hold still."
Isaac looked up, eyes watery, nose red and fist shoved into his mouth. Peter sighed and kissed a non-burred part of his curly hair. “Derek didn’t mean it.”
Isaac took his fist out of his mouth and nodded solemnly. “Yeth he did.” His lisp was quiet adorable but Peter shook his head. “No, Isaac, I’m sure…”
"Yes I did!" Derek yelled from the other room and Peter snarled over his shoulder as Isaac’s eyes spilled over.
"Stiles," Peter snapped as he stood. "Take over while I deal with him."
Stiles cradled Isaac up and kissed his nose. “You got it. Come on, angelbaby, let’s get the rest of these out while the big bad wolf huffs and puffs.”
"Not helping!" Peter’s voice echoed through the house and Erica and Lydia stopped fighting over the concept of a bath long enough to giggle.
Stiles counted it as a win and sat on the couch, resuming the burr picking. Earlier in the day Derek, in a tantrum, had shoved Isaac off the path they were hiking and into a cocklebur bush. Since they’d managed to get five werewolf children and one annoyed banshee home Derek had been sitting in the corner of the kitchen, nose in a corner.
Of course five days ago they hadn’t been children and Stiles’ life had been normal. Well for the given value of normal when nearly everyone he knew was a werewolf, banshee or who knew what. Deaton was working on unraveling the spell carefully, Allison and Chris were tracking down the witch who cursed the pack in the first place and Jackson was in Hawaii with Danny. Just waiting to Skype, Stiles bet.
"Lydia," Stiles said, working a burr out of Isaac’s hair. "Are you getting that stinky girl into the bathtub or what?"
"Hey! I am not stinky," Erica said, stomping. "I am a delicate flower…"
"Who smells like an old tennis shoe," Lydia finished. "So let’s get that bath and you can pick the movie tonight. Come on."
Lydia scooped Erica up and they walked out, both sticking their tongues out at Stiles as they went. Isaac giggles and Stiles counted it as another win. It took him ten more minutes to get the rest of the burrs out of Isaac’s hair, ten more after that to round up Boyd and Scott and ten more to get all three of them into the big bathtub.
He stopped counting how long it took to wash three squirming, laughing tiny werewolf boys. By the time they were done, he was drenched and so was the bathroom. With a little cunning though, he made a game out of drying them off and cleaning up the bathroom. Isaac won and got first pick of the pajama. He picked the Spiderman ones and curled up happily against Erica in her wolfy pajamas.
Scott handed Boyd the Batman pajamas with such solemn ceremony Stiles thought he would cry. “I got to wear them last night,” he whispered to Boyd. “It’s your turn.” Boyd stared at them and hugged Scott before pulling them on while Stiles helped Scott into the Superman ones.
Once they were sorted he scooped up Isaac , Scott sat on his left foot and clung to his leg and Boyd took his hand. They made their shuffling, giggling way to the big bed in Derek’s room. Derek and Peter were nowhere to be seen but Lydia had Erica tucked in the middle of the bed. Erica’s damp hair had been braided and they were talking quietly while they looked at the movies on Netflix.
"Erica had picked her movie," Lydia announced as she came to retrieve Scott from Stiles’ leg. "She has picked ‘Tangled’."
Isaac launched himself from Stiles’ arms the second he was close enough to the bed and clambered in next to Erica, babbling about how he loved that movie and she was the best. Boyd and Scott followed closely and soon Stiles and Lydia were ignored in favor of cuddles and compliments to Erica’s pajamas which were covered in penguins.
Lydia tugged Stiles to the hall and he snatched the child monitor up before he shut the door. Yes they were all five-ish or so but Stiles didn’t have Peter’s werewolf hearing. He was overly cautious maybe, sue him. he was a first time father of fraternal quintuplets.
"I am going home," Lydia said. "You do not call me until dinner tomorrow unless someone loses a limb."
Stiles whined but Lydia just kissed his cheek and walked away. He trailed after her and watched her snag up her sneakers (which had been a shock to see) and her bag and then was down the steps and out the front door. Slowly Stiles made his own way down the stairs and to the kitchen. He hadn’t heard from Peter or Derek in way too long.
The back kitchen door was open, the screen shut in place and he heard soft sniffling and humming drifting through it. He followed the sound and found Peter on the porch swing, Derek curled up in his lap. Stiles heart broke when he heard Derek’s watery sniffle again. Peter didn’t stop humming but nodded for Stiles to join them. He did, placing a hand on Derek’s back, and they swung for a little while longer.
"He thought I didn’t want him, that I liked Isaac better," Peter said after a while.
Stiles’ eyebrows rose. “Because you were holding Isaac’s hand. He knows that’s not true right?”
Peter looked over and it finally hit Stiles how tired the older werewolf looked. He squeezed Peter’s hand and leaned closer. Stiles knew that contact was almost as necessary as air to a werewolf and Peter, no matter how hard he tried to deny it, liked a good cuddle. And right now Peter all but collapsed against Stiles.
"I told him it wasn’t," he sighed. "He’s got Derek’s thoughts in tiny Derek’s chemical soup of a brain and body so who knows if he believed me. He misses everyone, he thinks Scott hates him, he thinks everyone hates him really because he pushed Isaac and snarled at Chris and Allison the other day and bit everyone and isn’t an Alpha and I could go on. "
Stiles peered around until he could see Derek with his eyes screwed shut and a thumb in his mouth. “So he’s just scared then.”
Peter rolled his head to stare at Stiles. “He’s petrified.”
Stiles stared at Peter for a while before standing and holding out a hand. “So are you.”
"I am not," Peter said and stared at Stiles’ hand for a while. He shifted Derek in his arms and took it, letting stiles help him to his feet. "I’m tired. Being a parent is tiring. Ugh."
"Go get him cleaned up. The others are watching ‘Tangled’," Stiles waved the monitor. "I’ll meet you in the bedroom."
Peter nodded and trudged away. Stiles locked down the house and scooped juice boxes out of the refrigerator. Yes, he was going to give them juice before bed. They were growing werewolves. He was met with huge smiles and eager hands when he got to the bedroom. Everyone took a juicebox and he set 3 on the nightstand for later.
"Wait!" Stiles turned to find Scott holding his arms out. "Nobody drink yet! Derek’s not here!"
Erica opened her mouth but Isaac nodded. She closed her mouth with a snap. “Yeah, we gotta wait f’Dewek,” Isaac said and looked at Scott.
Scott nodded and knee crawled over to Stiles. “Derek’s sad.”
Stiles scooped Scott up. “How do you know that?”
"Cuz it hurts in here," Scott rubbed his chest and frowned. "Cuz I’m the Alpha an’ I can tell."
Stiles kissed the top of Scott’s head and hugged him. “Well you’re right, buddy. Derek is sad. He thinks everyone hates him.”
Big brown eyes stared at Stiles, big brown eyes that got teary. “I don’t hate him anymore. I only did when I was scared of him.”
"I never hated him," Boyd whispered and Erica growled as Isaac sighed heavily and slid out of the bed. He grabbed his pillow and left his juice box on the nightstand.
Stiles watched, bewildered, as Isaac headed for the bedroom door. He fumbled with the knob and made a noise of frustration. “Angelbaby, what are you doing?”
Isaac grunted and sniffed as he struggled. “I hated Derek once so I should go. He hates me too.”
A chorus of ‘no’s had Stiles tipping Scott onto the mattress and scooping Isaac up. As he did the bedroom door opened and Peter stood there with a damp Derek. Derek’s eyes were wide and he made grabby hands at Isaac. “I don’t hate you, I don’t! I was just scared they’d hurt you, eat you…”
Peter rolled his eyes and somehow they got Derek and Isaac in the bed. The rest of the tiny wolves swarmed them with growls, whines and apologies on all sides. Stiles moved to Peter’s side and leaned against him. Peter wrapped an arm around him and held him close.
"Still want kids?"
Stiles laughed and tiptoed up to kiss Peter’s cheek. “More than ever.”