John shuffled into the kitchen, oversized cardigan wrapped around him as he sniffled miserably and collapsed into a chair at the table. "Morning," he croaked to Derek who was at the stove making breakfast.
"You look awful," Derek said bluntly.
"Well gee, don't sugarcoat it, Son."
Derek looked mildly ashamed. "I'm sorry," he said, making a cup of tea that was strong and sweet the way John liked it. "I didn't mean-- I've just never seen you sick, before."
"Neither of us get sick often," John told him, accepting the steaming mug gratefully, "but when we do, we go down hard."
"You're calling in sick, though, aren't you," Derek said sternly. It wasn't a question.
"No," John said, turning his face into his elbow as a hacking cough racked him. "I'm not dead yet, kiddo."
"Dad," Derek frowned, "you can't go in to work like this and make everyone else sick. Deputy Diaz has a six week old baby at home; you don't want him taking that home for Marianne and Daisy to catch it, do you?"
John scowled. "I see you've been taking lessons in guilting people from Stiles," he said irritatedly.
Derek knew, logically, that John didn't mean anything by it, but it was still hard for him to separate that from his instinctual emotional response, which was to flee.
John sighed and climbed to his feet, pulling Derek to him in a brief hug before kissing his temple affectionately and picking up his mug again. "I'm sorry, I'm like a bear with a sore head when I'm sick; ignore me. I'm gonna call in sick and then go back to bed, okay?"
Derek smiled a little. "Okay. Let me know if you need anything."
John nodded and headed back upstairs to his room, and Derek got out his phone to text Stiles.
Best go-to meal for the sick? he asked.
The reply wasn't long coming. For who? Actually, doesn't matter- cheese and garlic pierogies. Lots of garlic. And chicken noodle soup, natch.
Derek smiled. Thanks. Love you.
Love you more, I promise x
A quick Google search supplied Derek with a list of ingredients they didn't have at home, so he made a trip to the store, stopping off at the CVS on Fifth on his way.
"Well hi there, honey," Marta Jacobs greeted him from the front counter.
"Hi, Mrs Jacobs. Um, can you help me? John's sick, and I wanted to pick up some stuff to help him feel better."
"Aw, that's just the sweetest thing," Marta cooed, fetching her cane from behind the counter as she led the way through the store.
"You'll need a decongestant, here," she said, handing him a box, "Chloraseptic throat spray," another box, "vitamin C, horseradish and garlic tablets, some Vicks, the softest tissues we have- maybe two boxes of those, hmm?" Derek picked up a basket from the end of the aisle and followed Marta into the next aisle. "Some honey lemon tea, a chapstick... and how about a book of sudoku puzzles, or some magazines?"
"He likes crosswords," Derek told her. "And... maybe if you have any socks?"
"Soft ones," Derek said with a slight blush.
"I think we can probably find you something along those lines," Marta smiled. "And jellybeans. The Glucojel ones are the best."
Derek added a bag of those to his basket and held out his elbow for Marta to hold onto as they returned to the register.
"You're a sweet boy," she told him as she applied her staff discount to his purchases. "You tell the sheriff to get well soon, okay? And kiss that beautiful boy of yours for me, too."
"I will," Derek said with another blush. "Thank you for your help, Mrs Jacobs."
"Marta, darling. Now be on your way."
Derek smiled all the way home, and wasted no time in getting started on making the pierogies Stiles recommended.
After a few false starts he made a dough he was happy with and began cutting circles out of it with a water glass. He filled them with the mashed potato, cheese and roasted onion and garlic filling he had made, layering them between damp kitchen towel before covering them and beginning to chop vegetables, herbs and chicken to make soup.
The kitchen was an utter mess by the time Stiles got home, but his whole face lit up when he came into the kitchen after school, wrapping his arms around Derek from behind and kissing the back of his neck. "How are you still this sexy covered in flour and dough and... is that cheese?"
"Your dad is sick," Derek told him. "So I thought I'd make some stuff to make him feel better."
"And what's all this?" Stiles asked, wandering over to the table where Derek had stacked his purchases from the pharmacy. "Dude, did you buy Dad socks?" He chuckled and sat down to rest his chin in the palm of his hand as he stared fondly at Derek. "This is why you're his favourite, you know."
"He doesn't have favourites," Derek refuted immediately, tasting the soup and adding more pepper.
"He absolutely does," Stiles laughed. "But I'm your favourite, so I can live with that."
Love for Stiles filled Derek's chest to aching and he smiled. "Mrs Jacobs from the CVS wanted me to give you a kiss from her, by the way."
"Ooh," Stiles said, his eyes lighting up. "Make sure you slip me some tongue on her behalf."
Derek's startled laugh was just dying down when John joined them. Stiles hissed at him like a cat and made a cross with his fingers.
"What a delight you are," John grumbled. "What's all this?"
"Just Derek making the rest of us look bad," Stiles sighed melodramatically, even as he got to his feet to make his dad a cup of the honey lemon tea Derek had bought.
"Socks?" John croaked, managing a wry smile for Derek.
"I remember Peter's wife liking soft things when she was unwell," Derek said tentatively. "She was human."
John's expression shifted to something even gentler and more fond as he smiled at Derek again. "This is very thoughtful, Son, thank you." He held up the book of crosswords. "And since you made me take time off work, this will help get me through my convalescence."
"Holy shit, you got him to take time off?" Stiles asked, ignoring Derek and John's synchronised 'language'. "And you say you're not the favourite."
"What are you making?" John asked around a sneeze, opening one of the boxes of tissues. "I can barely smell anything, but what I can smells pretty good."
"Ruskie Pierogi and chicken noodle soup," Derek told him, turning the gas off beneath the pot of soup and taking the plate of pre-made pierogies to the saucepan of boiling water, carefully lowering them in one by one to cook.
"Sounds great," the sheriff said tiredly.
"It'll all be ready soon," Derek told him, tossing chopped onion, shallots, mushrooms and bacon into a pan with butter and frying it all off.
"Stay forever," Stiles said suddenly.
Derek smiled and glanced over his shoulder at his boyfriend, but hesitated when he saw the intent look on Stiles' face. "Yeah," he breathed. "Okay."
"I mean it," Stiles told him, intense and unwavering.
"So do I," Derek breathed.
The hissing of the butter in the pan called Derek's attention away from Stiles, but he could feel the rightness of their shared connection thrumming through him.
He finished making dinner and served up three plates of steaming hot pierogies covered in the butter-fried mix and extra grated cheese, along with a bowl of soup, with extra roasted garlic and noodles.
The three of them ate together, sharing soft conversation and affectionate teasing. The sheriff faded quickly, trying to stifle his yawns before he was even halfway done, until Stiles rolled his eyes.
"You're making me feel exhausted just watching you, Dad," he said. "Go to bed. There'll be leftovers in the fridge."
"I'm sorry, Derek," John said. "It's great food, really, I'm just--"
"It's okay," Derek smiled. "Rest is more important now, anyway. Leave it," he added when John tried to clean up. "We've got this. Go get into bed."
It was testament to how terrible he felt that John didn't even argue. He just thanked Derek again and reminded Stiles that his Econ paper was due the next day before returning to his room.
Stiles leaned across the corner of the table to kiss Derek, his mouth tasting of roasted garlic and savoury saltiness. "Thank you for taking care of Dad," he said quietly. "And of me."
"I like it," Derek said, "taking care of my family. It feels right to me."
"Do you promise you'll stay?" Stiles asked. "I mean, I know it wasn't the smoothest, as far as proposals go, but I did mean it."
"I'm yours, Stiles," Derek said, nakedly honest. "Forever was always my plan."