“Pass the cheese.”
Silence was his answer and Stiles glanced over to see Derek staring off into space for the third time that morning, a terrified look on his face. Sighing, Stiles crossed the kitchen and draped his flour-covered hands and arms over his boyfriend’s shoulders, nuzzling his face into the crook of his neck.
“Derek, don’t you dare have a heart attack about this. I need a real and breathing boyfriend to show my dad and I can’t bring him a dead body or he’s going to have some serious questions.”
Derek made a strangled noise at the back of his throat and Stiles sighed, going on his tiptoes and pressing a small kiss against the side of the man’s temple.
“Stop freaking out. My dad loves you.”
“Okay, my dad likes you.”
Derek turned around and gave him a flat look. Stiles ran a hand through his hair, effectively getting more flour in it as he shrugged.
“Okay, he knows who you are.”
“Yes, because he tried to arrest me on multiple occasions.”
“He was just doing his job.”
“Would it be his job to shoot me on sight?”
“No, that would be illegal.”
“I still haven’t forgotten that time you told me Argent gave him wolfsbane bullets.”
“For his own protection!”
“And what about your protection?” Derek asked, his voice turning soft. “He’s your father, Stiles. He’ll do anything to make sure you stay safe and far away from the big bad wolf.”
Stiles took the man’s hands in his own, threading their fingers together. “If he’s my father, Derek, then he’ll also want my happiness. And that involves being with the big bad wolf.”
“We should probably keep the big bad wolf part out of the conversation.”
“Wouldn’t want him to think we up to strange things in the bedroom,” Stiles said with a grin, wiggling his eyebrows as he grabbed the shredded cheese and turned back to Derek’s best attempt at lasagna. “Now would we, Sourwolf?”
“You’re seventeen,” Derek said flatly. “I’m going to make sure he understands that there’s nothing going on in the bedroom at all.”
“I’m almost eighteen!”
“But still not.”
“Fair,” Stiles said absentmindedly. “And he might shoot you if there was. Something going on in the bedroom, that is.”
“Sure this can’t wait until your eighteen?”
Stiles glanced back over his shoulder to see Derek looking pale again. Setting down the cheese, he turned back toward the man and pressed a soft kiss against his nose. “I’m willing to wait, dude, if you want to wait. I mean, it’s only four months if you can deal with the fact that I’m not allowed to come over to the loft anymore cause my dad has questions about where I keep disappearing off to—”
“You’re a menace.”
“That is true,” Stiles said, pulling back. “But I’m your menace.”
“Not if I make you wait the four months.”
“We’ve already made the lasagna, Sourwolf, what kind of person lets all of that hard work go to waste? I mean, I could probably eat it all in one sitting, but then you’re going to have to deal with my stomach ache later.”
“Oh god, no.”
“Shut up, I’m not that bad when I’m sick.”
Derek huffed, clearly remembering the one time Stiles had a cold and spent the entire time bemoaning about how he was going to die. Stiles rolled his eyes, turning back to the dinner dish, and eyed it for a moment.
“Do you think we need to add more cheese?”
“I think we need to put it in the oven or we’re never going to get to your house in time.”
“Looks who’s all excited to go now!”
Derek just reached past Stiles and grabbed the pasta, sticking it in the oven. Then he grabbed a handful of the abandoned flour and let it rain over Stiles’s head, smirking at he spluttered. “You need a shower. Go clean yourself up.”
“Giant furry asshole!”
“Shower, Stiles. Go.”
Stiles stopped spluttering and glanced up at him through flour-coated lashes. “Wanna join me?”
Derek let more flour rain down. Stiles doubled over in a coughing fit, waving a hand through the air as he stumbled away. He was pretty sure Derek was grinning the entire time.
The fluffy asshole.
He was lucky the Sheriff wasn’t around to see this kind of abuse.
The thing is, the Sheriff knew his son was bringing someone over for dinner.
He’d started suspecting it for quite a while now; when he could hear soft voices from Stiles’s room, knowing better than to push in without knocking. And every time he would knock, he’d always find Stiles sitting on his bed all alone even though he knew someone had just been there.
So yeah, he knew Stiles was seeing someone. John wasn’t an idiot. And he thought he could make a small list of who Stiles was probably seeing. But then he decided he would just wait until Stiles was comfortable enough to come to him.
Which, he was pretty sure, was what tonight was about. Stiles had been shifty all week, mentioning something about an upcoming ‘cheat day’ so John better not be sneaking off to eat any fries on his lunch breaks. Not like that stopped him, but it was something to keep in mind.
When the clock hit six, his doorbell went off. And had it been any other occasion, the Sheriff would’ve been surprised. But he wasn’t. In fact, when the doorbell went off, he was almost relieved.
Finally, the week of silent questions was over.
But when he opened his door to see Derek Hale standing on the step next to his son, the Sheriff was admittedly taken off guard.
But really, he shouldn’t have been.
The number of times the Sheriff had seen Hale leaping from Stiles’s room at night, parking his Camaro a few blocks away and creeping through the yard like a burglar, or just looking awkward whenever he and the Sheriff were in the same proximity should’ve been a told tale. But… Hale was Hale. This was Derek Hale.
The same Derek Hale that John had been trying to put behind bars a year ago.
He looked like he was about to have a heart attack.
“Stiles,” the Sheriff said, turning his gaze toward his son. Stiles shifted from foot to foot, a bright grin on his face, and he was holding a bag of garlic bread, John noticed. Glancing back at Derek, he realized the man had a foil-covered dish in his hands.
Well, that was an image he was never getting out of his head.
“Hey, pops! You didn’t make dinner, I hope.”
“I was just about to get started.”
He knew Derek could hear his lie, turning his gaze to give the man a ‘test me’ look. Derek’s face only paled further and he swallowed hard before nodding. “Sir.”
“You, uh, have a lovely home.”
“Is the first time you’ve seen the doorstep part of it?”
Stiles’s eyes rounded and Derek’s face when from white to red. The color spread all the way to the tips of his ears and the Sheriff resisted the urge to grin, pushing the door open wider and stepping aside.
“Come on in, boys.”
Stiles went in first, shooting him a very obvious ‘don’t mess this up for me’ look, to which John only smiled. Derek followed close after him, shoulders hunched and eyes fixed on the floor. The Sheriff might have enjoyed his current power a little too much.
“So, Derek, how are werewolf things?”
“Uh,” Derek still looked terrified. “Good, sir.”
“Good? No issues?”
“Curious,” the Sheriff said, guiding them toward the kitchen. “Because Stiles was missing for two days last week with the excuse of being at Scott’s house. But when I called Melissa, she said Scott was missing with the excuse of being at our house.”
This time, it was Stiles who turned bright red. John didn’t miss the furious look that Derek shot the boy and he resisted the urge to grin again.
“But everything has been all good, right?”
“... Yes, sir.”
“Great,” John said, gesturing to the table. “Let’s eat, then.”
Derek shot Stiles another furious look, Stiles shot John another warning glare, and John was just pretty sure he was the one winning here. And he was getting garlic bread and lasagna out of it.
He waited at the table while Derek and Stiles moved around the kitchen, getting out plates, silverware, and exchanging quick conversations. The Sheriff watched until some of his smugness slipped and then he felt like he was looking in on something personal, quickly turning his gaze away.
Suddenly, he wasn’t sure this was a game to win at all.
By the time they were all seated at the table, John was pretty sure he just had to get through this night. Because if he was right— if Stiles had brought Derek Hale into their house for a reason— then that might be all he could do right now.
It was quiet for a little bit. Then John cleared his throat. “You make a mean lasagna, Hale.”
Once more, Derek’s ears turned red. He was picking at his food and when he met John’s gaze, he didn’t look nervous anymore. Just a little sad.
“My father taught me, sir.”
“Derek’s great,” Stiles said, jumping into the conversation. “He makes the best chicken parmesan and his scrambled eggs are godsent... not that I’ve ever had them. Because I’m never at the loft in the morning or anything.”
The Sheriff resisted the urge to groan. Derek looked like he was about to stab himself in the eye with his fork.
John figured at some point or other, he was going to have to come out with it. As this might as well have been an opening. “Are you sleeping with my underage son, Hale?”
Stiles promptly choked on his garlic bread. Derek looked like he’d had a mini heart attack, fork clattering to the floor. He quickly leaned down to grab it and John was pretty sure he stayed underneath the table much longer than necessary, not coming back up until Stiles had stopped coughing.
Even then, he still looked terrified. “No, sir.”
“But you are dating.”
For the first time that night, Derek held his gaze. The Sheriff had to admit he was a lot surprised and almost a little intimidated. “Not yet, sir. But I’d like to be.”
“So you’re here because…”
“I’d like to ask for your permission.”
“Is this a marriage proposal, Hale?”
Stiles was just making spluttering noises of protest now, but it was clear both John and Derek were ignoring him. John held Derek’s gaze and the man held it right back, but there was a small tick to his fingers. “It’s just dating, sir.”
“Of my underage son.”
“I wouldn’t… do anything. Not until he was eighteen.”
“So you want to be doing something then?”
Derek quite obviously flinched at that. He finally dropped his gaze, glaring at his plate for a moment, before slowly shaking his head. “I would never take advantage of Stiles, sir. He’s seventeen and he’s smart, but he’s not an adult. Not yet. I don’t— I wouldn’t—”
The man looked sad and terrified and broken all at the same time. John felt his resolve weaken and only hated himself a little bit for that. Taking a deep breath, he sighed and then tapped his fingers on the table.
“Derek,” he said, cutting the man off. “Okay.”
“You have my permission.”
Derek stared at him. But Stiles just groaned, grabbing his empty plate, shoving himself up, and stalking toward the sink. “I feel like a cow being sold at the market.”
“If that was the case, we’d be bargaining for you, Stiles.”
“Oh great,” Stiles said, shooting him a look. “I’m not even worth a bargain.”
John and Derek rolled their eyes at the same time.
John stayed seated as Derek stood up, grabbing the lasagna dish and once more avoiding his eyes. He watched his son and the older werewolf moving around the kitchen together, stray, almost unconscious touches passing between them as they rinsed off the plates, put away the food, and smiled; soft and secret.
And John couldn’t help but feel his chest constrict a little. More than anything, he wished Claudia was here. She would tell him if he was doing the right thing or if he was making a mistake. Setting his son up for heartbreak. Giving his seal of approval to a man four years older.
But when he looked at Hale, all he could see was the fifteen-year-old boy with an ash-stained face and eyes full of tears. Not a monster, not a predator. Derek’s face softened whenever he glanced over at Stiles. There was almost the hint of a smile tugging at the edges of his lips.
He looked innocent. He looked... happy
The Sheriff pushed himself up, moving over and laying a hand on Derek’s shoulder. Both Hale and Stiles went rigid and the man gave John a careful look.
“Let’s go have a quick chat.”
Once more, he paled. Stiles opened his mouth but the Sheriff silenced him with a look and Stiles sighed, giving Derek his best reassuring look.
“Don’t worry, dude, the wolfsbane bullets are upstairs. I think.”
The Sheriff rolled his eyes. Derek just paled even more.
John led him out of the kitchen and into the living room, toward the door where he was sure Stiles couldn’t listen in. Derek didn’t say a word, but he was tense underneath the Sheriff’s hand. John supposed he really wasn’t that surprised.
This time though, it wasn’t for John’s amusement.
He let go and eyed Derek for a moment before speaking. “You should know that Stiles is my life, Derek.”
“And I would kill anyone who ever hurt him.”
“As I’m sure you would as well, Derek.”
Derek snapped his mouth back closed and gave the Sheriff a wide-eyed look. John raised a brow and slowly, the man nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“You’ll take care of him.”
“You’ll never put him in danger.”
The Sheriff looked at him for a moment. Then he held out a hand, which Derek blinked at before shaking. “Call me John, son.”
It looked like a little part of Derek’s eyes cracked. Silently, he nodded.
“He’s not eighteen yet, Derek.”
“So, I expect—”
“Please,” Derek said, cutting him off. The Sheriff raised a brow and Derek blushed. “Sir— Sheriff— John. I understand. I… better than you know. I understand. He’s not eighteen. I would never do anything.”
“I trust you.”
Once more, Derek looked a little broken. He dropped his gaze and John smiled, squeezing his shoulder again.
“Come on, I have ice cream in the freezer that Stiles doesn’t know about.”
The Sheriff smiled. He thought he liked the way that sounded; everyone always called him Sheriff. It was almost like he didn’t have another name or something. “Come on, Derek.”
Slowly, the man followed him back into the kitchen. Stiles waited with wide eyes and bated breath and John smirked at him.
“Derek is staying to eat ice cream.”
“But we don’t have any—”
“I went grocery shopping this morning.”
And as Stiles started to splutter, John just grinned. Because yeah, this wasn’t a game. And he’d never wanted to put himself directly into his son’s love life. Not once. But he was still pretty sure he was winning.
And he got lasagna, garlic bread, and ice cream out of it.