The Way To A Man’s Heart Is Through His Stomach
Summary: Stiles doesn’t want Derek to spend his birthday alone.
Stiles had gotten a group message from Scott a few hours ago that there wasn’t going to be a pack night tonight and meeting tomorrow, a Saturday, like there always was. He’d asked why, and Scott’s reply was that Derek didn’t tell him why he decided to call today and tomorrow off. Derek had never called off a pack meeting before. Calling off Friday Pack nights weren’t new, especially when they were busy with schoolwork during midterms or finals, or if they had extra training
bench warming hours in lacrosse to get ready for a match. There was always something to discuss with his Betas, like new training courses through the woods that surrounded the Hale House, or like continuing the renovations on the third floor (since they’re done with the first and second).
It was a Friday afternoon, and sadly, he had some homework to do. Scott was obviously going to have a date with Allison so he wasn’t even going to bother asking him anymore. He was supposed to be driving home, but instead he found himself headed over to the Sheriff’s station. Maybe he’d have dinner with his father and steal his curly fries, and drive home when he got bored and he’d leave his father to his shift.
He greeted his father’s officers as he went in, and made his way into his father’s office, and sat down on his father’s chair behind his desk like it was his own. He tapped his fingers on the desk and leaned his head back to stare at the ceiling. Deciding that the ceiling was boring and that he wanted to snoop around, he looked to his right, and saw one of the drawers slightly open.
Stiles leapt to his feet as if someone were after him with an axe, and pulled the drawer open. There were profiles inside. At least profiles of people who had been recently been arrested, and Derek’s was there, even though he had been arrested about more than year ago already.
HALE, DEREK ANTHONY was the label on the cream coloured folder, written with a blue marker. He pulled it out, and sat back down on his father’s chair so he could look over Derek’s folder thoroughly.
Stiles couldn’t believe Derek had a second name. ANTHONY. He snickered as he flipped the folder open. He was so going to call him that the next time they met, and preferably when Derek wasn’t in a bad mood.
The first thing he saw was Derek’s mug shot from a year back, the same one he was holding that night he got his father drunk to fish some info out of him. He held and looked at it the way he held and looked at it the first time. There was a photocopy of Derek’s driver’s license, too. He had asked Derek how he had a driver’s license if his eyes, like all the other puppies’, reflected light like a cat’s. He said they learned how to control it.
He set the license photocopy aside, and saw Derek’s bio data. The first thing he noticed was Derek’s birthday. He looked back at the license photocopy. He’d only noticed Derek’s picture (because there weren’t any glares from his eyes), and not his data.
NOVEMBER 7, 1988, it said in bold.
Holy shit, that was tomorrow.
Was that why Derek called off today and tomorrow? Because of his birthday? Maybe he was gonna go out clubbing to celebrate. Wait, could Derek even get drunk?
He rearranged the papers back into the folder, and put it back into the drawer in between the folders he got it from. Stiles was getting the idea that Derek was planning on spending his birthday alone. No way was he letting that happen, even if Derek didn’t like him all that much. Even though not everybody liked Stiles, he didn’t spend his birthdays alone. He had his dad and Scott to celebrate with. Derek didn’t have anyone. Scott didn’t look like he liked Derek all that much either, even if he was already his Alpha. And Erica, Boyd and Isaac did anything Derek said without question, and Jackson would be glad to not go. So that left his usual hard headed self to disobey the all-powerful Alpha.
“Hey, Dad! See you at home!” Stiles said as he rushed past the Sheriff who had just gotten in.
“Okay?” the Sheriff watched his son run out the station.
Stiles got in the jeep and drove over to the supermarket. The first thing that Stiles thought of when he came to birthdays was food. Maybe party and booze, but he wasn’t old enough to buy alcohol yet, and Derek probably didn’t like parties, so yes, food came to mind when someone said birthday.
He pushed the cart through the aisles, thinking why the hell he was going to cook for Derek on his birthday. Sure he made sandwiches and got take out for the pack on Friday and Saturday afternoon training, and Derek ate what he made and bought, but that didn’t mean he knew what kind of food Derek liked.
So he decided on picnic food. Everybody liked picnic food, and they were easy to make. Maybe he should start making these kinds of food for snacks on pack meetings since they got into pizza coma every week. And it wasn’t like he didn’t know how to cook; besides, his dad said he was a great cook. Derek had already fixed up the kitchen, too, so maybe if Stiles asked him (very, very, very nicely and if it wasn’t too much trouble) to fill up their nice kitchen with pots and pans he could use (the kitchen was way too bare except for a microwave and a toaster), or maybe a badass oven so he could bake. Scott did say that he made the meanest cookies. Even if Derek did tell everybody to make themselves at home, it didn’t mean he had all the rights to using everything (because there was nothing). Well, actually, he did but, but he didn’t have the permission to cook anything he wanted (again, no things to cook with). Usually Derek would just tell him to order take out and Derek’d pay if he was extra nice that day or everyone’d pay their part, or he’d make peanut butter and jelly banana sandwiches and orange juice (mostly he made it for after training snacks).
He was in the supermarket for about two hours, deciding and taking back decisions on what to make for their grumpy Alpha. He ended up getting the groceries for the house too. His dad had given him the instruction yesterday, but he forgot.
Stiles pushed the cart towards his Jeep and loaded the groceries. He’d gotten hungry thinking of what to make for dinner for himself (which would probably just turn out a tuna sandwich if he got lazy enough) and what to make for Derek on Saturday.
The drive home made his stomach grumble even louder. He’d been thinking of what to cook for Derek since he entered the supermarket, and it’s making both his stomach and head hurt. Tonight he was going to do some research and write down some things he thought Derek might like.
He was right. He was going to get lazy. Actually, he got even lazier. He didn’t have a tuna sandwich for dinner, he had a box of pop tarts and two glasses of milk, because he was way too preoccupied with researching what kind of food he could make with all the stuff he bought from the supermarket that afternoon.
He ended up on sites like TLC for the picnic food. He’d decided to make brownies, too. There was no way Derek didn’t like brownies. This also reminded him that one day (after asking permission from Derek to supply him with the very much needed kitchen utensils at the Hale house), he was going to make the pack a badass batch of wicked Oreos. Or some butterscotch brownies/apple pie ala mode.
One thing he noticed about himself since he and Scott joined the pack (Derek thought of it as some kind of package, saying that if Stiles joined, Scott would join since he needed Stiles, or if Scott joined, he had to take Stiles with him), was that he was always thinking of the pack. He guessed one of the reasons why he was always thinking of the pack’s well-being was because Derek had said ‘Your role is to take care of them.’ He had no idea what that meant. But if he did say so himself, he was doing a pretty good job of feeding them, even if it were always take out and sandwiches, keeping the arguments, wolfing out and maiming at bay, and even if it meant driving them to school.
Back to the food for Derek’s birthday, he also decided not to make too much of one thing, or too many things. He printed three recipes; a salad for a starter, and two for mains, and those brownies for dessert. He’d love to bring ice cream, but that might melt on the drive to the house. What the hell, he’d bring ice cream. He’d just have to buy those tubs from the convenience store that were frozen solid, enough to make Derek’s brow burst if he threw the tub to his face. But then he thought of the weather. It was getting cold and ice cream was probably not a good idea. He’d decide tomorrow on the way to the den (Derek liked calling it a den because it practically was one).
Now that everything was decided for, Stiles grabbed his phone and set the alarm to the time he’d estimated his dad would be home so he could make the pancakes for breakfast, and so he could start making Derek’s birthday lunch. He just hoped Derek would be home tomorrow. Since this was a surprise birthday present (sort of?), he wasn’t going to tell Derek his great and evil master plan to disobey him, not that disobeying him wasn’t a normal part of the day already.
He’d pass by his mom tomorrow on his way to Derek’s, to talk to her a bit, probably thank her for teaching him how to cook, for giving him the talent of taking care of people. Taking care of people reminded Stiles of his mom. Sure he took ‘Your role is to take care of them,’ badly at first, because hell, it reminded him of his mom (he had a panic attack or two, he couldn’t remember) and there was no way in hell he was going to be a whole pack’s nanny. He didn’t turn out to be the pack’s nanny. He just didn’t have a word for ‘looking after teenagers who I’m not related to by blood whatsoever, and helping them with homework and laundry.’ That didn’t sound like a nanny to him. He didn’t feel like a nanny to them. Well, whatever the word for it was, he was getting some respect because Jackson wasn’t such an ass (still was one, but not as much), Isaac is being an adorable puppy and Erica hadn’t threatened to rip his throat out or make him look at her boobs.
The recipes were set aside on the table, and Stiles opened his Chemistry book to do homework. He’d probably do this until he couldn’t keep his eyes open anymore. Scott wasn’t texting him, neither was any other member of the pack. He was probably the only one home doing homework. Jackson and Lydia, might be on a date. Obviously Scott’s with Allison, and Boyd, Erica and Isaac were probably out partying.
He chuckled to himself when he remembered Derek giving Isaac a curfew one Saturday. The pack meeting was done, and everybody except Stiles wanted to go out. Derek allowed them to, and since Isaac was the only one permanently living with Derek, he’d been given a curfew. Derek wanted to give him somewhere along ten, but Stiles managed to convince Derek to give him until midnight.
Chemistry homework was easy enough, so he turned to English. He took the book he’d bought the other day at the bookstore from his bag. It was this month’s second book report. He didn’t like the book that much since the story was so damn sad. He’d already finished a few chapters, and put the book back in his bag. No way was he going to sleep with depressing thoughts in mind. It might just ruin his drive to cook his father breakfast and Derek his lunch.
Unable to find something to do, Stiles gave up and cleared up his desk. He made sure he didn’t misplace the recipes, and took a quick round of everything he had to do in the bathroom before going to bed. Pulling up his sheets, he thought of what Derek would think that he’d gone through the trouble of thinking of him and cooking for him on his special day. He’d probably think Stiles was an idiot because he disobeyed his orders. Well, he was human, and the Alpha eyes and roar didn’t work on him. And trying to avoid everyone on his birthday wasn’t going to work on him either.
Then he remembered the line from Lilo and Stitch. ‘Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.’ He was so going to use that against Derek tomorrow. Derek had mentioned that pack was family, and since he was part of the pack, that meant he was family. If he was family, then there was no way he’d let Derek sulk tomorrow. Keeping the other wolves uninformed about Derek’s birthday wasn’t a family thing to do, but Derek probably wasn’t doing to appreciate a party. And he didn’t enough for a party of six wolves who ate like a small army.
So yes, lunch with Derek was good. He just hoped Derek wouldn’t slam him onto a wall. He also hoped Derek would like his cooking.
“Tell me this is all for me,” said the Sheriff as he entered the kitchen the next morning. He’d just gotten home from his shift. Stiles was cooking an amount of food enough for the both of them for until tomorrow. There were disposable microwavable plastic containers on the table, filled mostly with picnic food.
“Nope,” said Stiles, serving his father a plate of pancakes and a mug of freshly brewed coffee. He swatted his father’s hand away from the chicken wraps when the older Stilinski tried to reach for one. “Not for you,”
“Who’s it for then?” Sheriff frowned as he poured the maple syrup over the tiny chunk of butter on his stack of pancakes.
“For Derek. It’s his birthday today,” he answered as he stirred the farfalle in the boiling water.
“Didn’t you mention that you didn’t like him that much?” said the Sheriff, watching stiles move around the kitchen in his wife’s apron. He smiled. “You throwing a party for him?”
“Well, I know him better now,” Stiles put on some mittens so he could lift the pot and drain the pasta in the sink. “Even if he was accused of killing his sister and was exonerated, I don’t think he deserves to be alone on his birthday. He’s really a good guy, so maybe some company and some good food might lighten him up,” he put the pasta into a big bowl, and started dressing it. “No, it’s just the two of us. He didn’t want the others to know it was his birthday, but I know, so I’m going to respect most of his wishes to be left alone. Hey, at least it’s just me, my big mouth and my awesome cooking,”
The Sheriff’s smile didn’t leave his lips. Stiles always did have a big heart. “You gonna make some extra for me? Besides, if it’s just the two of you, why are you making so much?”
“Yep,” Stiles gave his father a smile as he prepared the farfalle, putting the ingredients in the bowl for the pasta salad. “And Derek can eat, Dad. If you think I’m a pig when there are curly fries on the table, you’ve never seen Derek,”
The older Stilinski stood up when he finished his breakfast, wrapped an arm around his son, and pressed a kiss to Stiles’ temple. Stiles reminded him so much of his wife. His eyes, his smile, his big heart… “There better be a huge dinner for me when I wake up, Stiles,”
For a moment, Stiles felt like he was eight again. He smiled up at his father. “You bet,” before his dad could make his exit, “I love you, Dad. Sweet dreams,”
“I love you, too, son,” the Sheriff stood at the threshold for a few more moments, watching his son move through the kitchen, seeing his mother so strongly in him.
Backing out wasn’t an option. Besides, Derek must’ve heard the Jeep (and his pounding heart) the moment he entered the preserve. He was sure that this was a good idea yesterday afternoon, last night and this morning, but now he wasn’t even close to 25% sure. But he wasn’t going to back out. He was going up to the den, knock on that door, and have lunch with Derek because it was his birthday.
He pulled up the half-done house next to the Camaro, and stepped out of the Jeep with the basket of food in hand. “Derek?” he called as he walked up to the porch. “Are you home?” he knocked three times on the door.
The Camaro was there, so he must be home, unless that Derek went out for a run. Derek looked like he worked hard to maintain his body (and if he didn’t work hard to keep those abs well Stiles would just kill himself), so there was a big possibility that he was out, probably ran out to the gym, because Derek could run.
“Derek?” he called again, reaching for the doorknob. Just because he spent a lot of time in his house didn’t give him the right to just barge in (unlike in Scott’s house because duh, that was Scott’s house and this was Derek’s house). He was going to knock this time, because Derek told them to back off but he didn’t back off so he was going to be polite today. He was about to open the door when he heard someone behind him speak.
“What are you doing here?”
Stiles almost dropped the basket. “Jesus Christ!” he set it down and put a hand to his chest, feeling the thumping of his rapidly beating heart against his ribcage. He turned around. He knew that voice all too well. It even sounded like how they were asked the first time they were asked what he and Scott were doing on the property.
Derek on the yellow, brown and orange leaf covered lawn of the den, standing there with all of his creepy-werewolfy glory, wearing his signature black leather jacket and his five o’clock shadow. Stiles thought Derek looked better with it than without it.
“What the hell, Derek?” he sank down onto his bottom on the porch, his leg folded and his arms on his knees. He stared at the floor of the porch, trying to calm down, and then looked back up at Derek. Scott told him that when his heart was beating too fast it hurt his ears, so he was trying to calm down. He didn’t know if it hurt Derek’s ears or not. “You’re a total creeper! Well, at least not as creepy as Edward but I have to say that I’m thankful you look a thousand times better than he does. I mean seriously, why do girls like that guy? He sparkles and thank God you don’t sparkle—”
“Who the hell’s Edward? And you’re still not answering my question,”
“I thank all the divine beings out there that you have no idea who Edward is, Derek,” Stiles stood up and dusted himself off. “You know, with him being this gay vampire and you being this badass Alpha werewolf, I thought you’d know who he is. Hey, do you know who Jacob is? Because seriously he’s the kind of ‘werewolf’—” Stiles did the air quotations, “—who’s not even a werewolf. I mean you and Professor Lupin from Harry Potter do werewolves justice but him? Oh god, he’s like an overgrown Chihuahua. And you’re just better off not knowing about this shit. He’s a shapshifter in a literal sense. He just turns into a huge dog. Not unlike you guys who get claws and bare fangs and the scary eyes. I don’t even get why Lydia even read it—”
“Stiles!” Derek was used to Stiles’ banter, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t find it annoying. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t, like when he was under pressure or he was thinking too much, he found Stiles’ constant talking bringing him back. His wolf found Stiles’ presence comforting, like Stiles kept him grounded. Stiles kept him human.
But right now his wolf didn’t just feel and want Stiles’ comfort, there was this irrational need to drag him inside the house and never give him back to society. That was kidnapping, so no, not a good idea.
“What are you doing here?” Derek said again. “I called off yesterday and today. Didn’t Scott tell you?”
“Actually, he did,” answered Stiles. “But you know me, I tend to disobey a lot,” Stiles beamed at him.
“Yeah, and you’re making a habit of it,”
Stiles ignored that. “And I’m here because it’s your birthday, and I brought lunch,” he picked up the basket.
Derek arched a brow. “And how exactly did you find out that it’s my birthday?” he walked up to the porch steps.
“Ah, that is a cool story,” said Stiles. “Your arrest profile was most educational.”
“Right,” Derek nodded, “And what are you, Little Red Riding Hood? Walking into the Big Bad Wolf’s trap?”
“What?” Stiles gave Derek a genuinely confused look. “What do you mean Little Red—” he looked at what he was wearing. He was wearing his red hoodie. “Oh God,” he frowned. “I didn’t—I mean I just grabbed this because—I’m not trying to mock you or anything—I wasn’t really thinking—you’re never going to let me forget this are you?”
Derek laughed. Derek laughing wasn’t really new anymore, but there had to be something really good to laugh at for him to laugh. And Stiles making a fool of himself was good enough. “Get in. Let’s eat. I’m hungry,” he walked past Stiles and went in the house. “Close the door,” he said. He hung his jacket in the nearby closet.
Stiles did close the door and followed Derek to the closet. Derek was grinning at him, his teeth were out. “Derek, what big teeth you have,”
Derek decided to play along. He flashed his red eyes and let his canines out. “The better to rip your throat out with,”
“Oh, God, please don’t kill me,” Stiles backed away and closed his eyes.
“Now why would I kill the one who brought me food?” said Derek, retracting his canines. He sat on one of the stools at the counter. “So what did you bring me?”
Stiles opened one eye. Derek was sniffing (because seriously, these wolves love to use their nose for everything and seriously how the hell could these stupid wolves smell emotion?) the basket he brought. No more red eyes and big canine teeth. Yes, it was safe to move. “Right, uh…” he stepped towards the counter and lifted the lid of the basket, revealing several microwavable containers. He joined Derek on one of the stools.
Derek watched Stiles put all of the clear containers out. He wasn’t just watching, but he was also sniffing each and every container Stiles set on the counter. He just wasn’t doing it like a puppy would, like he did earlier. He just let the scent come to him.
“I brought you some salad,” said Stiles, opening the container with the salad, already tossed in Caesar dressing. “For an appetizer, I guess? These isn’t really a five start hotel seven course meal—”
“Stiles, just tell me what you brought.” Derek was getting a little impatient because Stiles didn’t really have to explain to him why he decided to bring him these dishes, and also because he was hungry.
“Right. Right.” Stiles nodded and brought out the rest of the food. “So yeah, the salad. It’s Caesar. Don’t know if you ate vegetables, since you know, Big Bad Alpha Wolf and all that,” he started opening the other containers. He told Derek what they were and didn’t include an explanation like he was told. “Uh…Pasta Salad, Chicken Tortilla Wraps, and brownies.”
“Great. Let’s eat.” Derek got off the stool and grabbed some paper plates and (surprisingly) some new-looking silverware from the one of the drawers. He handed Stiles a plate, and a fork and knife and a serving spoon for the pasta. He served himself some salad first.
“Where did you get these?” Stiles asked, looking at the handle of the intricately designed knife and fork.
“They were in the basement. Found them, cleaned the soot and dust off.” said Derek, digging in the salad.
“Hey, hey, hey!” Stiles swatted Derek’s hand away like he did with his father. “Wash your hands first!”
Derek glared at him (sans the red Alpha eyes) and grumbled, but washed his hands anyway. He wasn’t really angry. Stiles was just doing his job, taking care of him. He was doing a pretty good job of it, too, and he liked it. He liked it a whole damn lot, way, way more than he really should, like he wanted Stiles around all the time. He’d felt like this before, but not as strong as this, maybe because now, Stiles was taking care of him, and he had all of Stiles’ undivided attention.
Stiles followed him, also washed his hands and joined him back at the counter. “Now, you can eat.”
Derek started to eat. His wolf begged to be closer to Stiles, but he stayed on his stool. His wolf was the reason why he told Stiles his role in the pack was to take care of them, of him, not only because Derek knew how capable Stiles was. “Those are probably one of the things my parents bought that didn’t get the chance to use,” Because when he was around Stiles he felt comfortable. He felt at home. It was like the warmth of his bed when he came home from a stressful day from work.
“They look expensive.”
“It’s not going to break if you use it. Now eat.”
Stiles smiled as he watched Derek eat. “Is it good?” he asked, serving himself some of the salad.
“Yes,” answered Derek.
Stiles handed the Alpha a napkin from the basket, seeing the smear of dressing on Derek’s bottom lip. Derek gratefully took it and wiped his mouth. “I’m glad you like it,” it was one of the few times that Stiles was speechless. Not everyone got to have a taste of his cooking, and not everyone told him that his cooking was good.
He was about to start on his salad when he saw Derek about to finish his, so he took the container with the pasta salad and served him a few spoonful and a chicken wrap. “So,” said Derek, “I told everyone they have the day off. Why’d you come here? I was hoping to get some quiet time.”
“Ever watch Lilo and Stitch?” asked Stiles, biting into a leaf.
Derek thought for a moment. He’d heard of it. He’d seen a few scenes, but never the whole movie. “No.”
“Why not?” Stiles frowned.
Stiles hoped Derek had already watched the movie. “We’re watching it. All of us. Friday next week. Even if Scott and I have seen it a million times. We’re going to see it again. Just so you can watch it.” He put a crouton into his mouth. “The answer is in the movie. Lilo said ‘Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.’ And you said we’re pack. That I’m pack. I honestly have no idea why you wanted me here since I’m pretty much useless—”
“No, you’re not.” Derek couldn’t help but interrupt him. His wolf didn’t like it that Stiles was thinking so little of himself. Not since Stiles had saved his ass several times.
“—especially in the field where you guys are all fast and running and with all your claws slicing through logs and metal and sharpening them our lockers like Isaac did back then when they were newly bitten. Scott’s got his co-captain thing in the lacrosse thing going and I’m still a resident benchwarmer. And Allison, you know she’s badass with her crossbow and Lydia with her archaic Latin. I mean it’d take me years to learn what she can do with Gerard’s beastiary—”
“Yes?” squeaked Stiles.
“Don’t you ever say you’re useless.” Derek growled. Like, really growled. Alpha eyes and scary teeth.
“Don’t wolf out on me—oh God!” Stiles put his hands over his eyes.
“Look at me, Stiles.” Stiles reluctantly took his hands off his eyes and looked at Derek. “Don’t ever say you’re useless,” Derek said again. “Ever,” Stiles nodded. “Everybody in the pack has a role. Nobody is useless. Remember that.”
Stiles nodded. “Okay,”
Growling was probably not a good idea. He felt Stiles’ discomfort. He said the first thing that came to his mind to at least try to make Stiles feel better, growling and wolfing out aside. “The food’s good. Thank you,”
And that took all of Stiles’ uneasiness away, together with the tension between them (and also gave him the reddest blush he had in ages because DUH he’d been in love with Derek since that day he and Scott first met him in the forest and Derek liked his cooking). He smiled. “Thank you, too. And you’re welcome,” he resumed eating his almost forgotten salad.
“So you were saying?” Derek said after about a minute of silence (which was miraculous). The silence was awkward. Stiles was always awkward, but he didn’t want it to be awkward this time.
“Huh?” Stiles had a piece of lettuce hanging out the corner of his mouth.
“About Lilo and Stitch?” Derek’s brows shot up, as if saying ‘Duh.’
“Oh, right.” Stiles nodded. “You said I’m pack. And that pack is family,” he served himself some of the pasta salad. “And I don’t think family would let family spend his birthday like this.” He set the container down and looked at Derek. “In a half burnt, half renovated house—with amazing heating, I might add despite having about half the roof missing—sulking. Because family wants family to be happy, right? I don’t want you being alone on your day. I want to remind you that we’re here. Whether you like it or not, and whatever happens.” Because Stiles would never leave Derek alone. “‘Nobody gets left behind or forgotten.’”
Derek was silent. He was about to say something, but Stiles started to speak again.
“I know telling the others isn’t really a family thing to do, but yeah, you told us to take the day off and I didn’t want you growling at everybody because you didn’t like a party and also, I didn’t have enough to feed the whole pack even if I wanted a party in here so…yeah…” Stiles nodded awkwardly as he finished his explanation.
The food Stiles put on Derek’s plate was already half finished. Derek really liked the food, even though he only allowed himself to say that it was good. It wasn’t just good; it was good. His wolf was still begging to be closer to Stiles, but Derek didn’t let the wolf get what he wanted.
“Thank you,” said Derek, lightly nodding. “That was thoughtful of you,”
Of course Stiles was thoughtful. That was why his wolf chose him for this role. It wasn’t just because he was thoughtful; he was affectionate (Isaac loved cuddling with him); he was brave (he wouldn’t have any second thoughts on stepping in front danger for any of them); he was intelligent and an evil genius (he was able to devise plans Derek would never have thought of); he was determined and persistent in a good way (like now that he decided to try to make Derek feel that he wasn’t alone and that he needed good food even though Derek told them he wanted to be alone); he also had no idea how powerful he was (with that Mountain Ash mojo, he was like, Deaton’s apprentice or something); his wolf knew what Stiles was capable of. He was like Harry Potter with all that love inside of him. And because he had all that love, he tried his best to give it to everyone, making sure that the ones who needed it most got a lot of it (like Isaac and Derek).Then Derek wished all the supernatural shit that attacked Beacon Hills were like Voldemort (not the part where he’s like Hitler and powerful as fuck with thousands of minions) that they’d turn to dust at Stiles’ touch.
Stiles’ touch…he wondered what that would feel like.
Derek watched Stiles wipe his mouth with a fresh napkin from the basket. The boy just smiled at him. The wolf in him just wanted to cuddle up to Stiles, keep him safe in here in their den, and soak up all of his attention.
Derek cleared his throat, trying to shake off the idea. The wolf whined at him for ignoring the wishes.
“Oh, sorry,” said Stiles, reaching into the basket to take some bottled iced tea. “Don’t want you to choke,” he opened the bottle for him. “Leave some room for dessert, okay?” he watched Derek take more food from the containers. “I brought brownies, too,”
Brownies, he thought, looking up at Stiles. His mom made different kinds of brownies for him and Laura on Sundays, and he liked his brownies with a tall glass of cold milk. “Brownies?”
“Mhmm,” Stiles took one of the chicken wraps. “I didn’t know what kind you liked, so I made fudge ones with chocolate chips, fudge with white chocolate chips, and butterscotch. I was thinking of Food for the Gods, too, but I’m not sure if you like those so I didn’t make them—”
Would it be a good idea if he made Stiles cook for them? For the pack? Wouldn’t it be weird if he asked Stiles to make him food? He was sick of takeout, and takeout was probably going to give him a hard time maintaining his abs. His wolf was screaming yes, practically howling for him to ask Stiles. The only problem was how he was going to ask Stiles. It was going to be one hell of an awkward conversation.
“Brownies are good.” Derek nodded, taking a swig of the iced tea. He was pretending to find those bow shaped pasta very interesting. He couldn’t look at Stiles with all the thoughts running through his head.
“I didn’t bring mini-candles, though. Not sure if you’ll like blowing out candles,” Stiles finished his chicken wrap. “So, how young is our fearless leader?”
Derek raised a brow at him. Fearless leader? Really? “Twenty-four,” he put another piece of those bow shaped pasta into his mouth. He liked the pasta a lot. The food felt, tasted and smelled like Stiles had put a lot of effort in it. It felt like home.
“Do you drink?”
“Do you get drunk?”
“We can’t get drunk.”
“High tolerance. Wolf thing.”
“So you can get drunk?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’ve never been drunk?”
“What do you usually drink?”
“You ever get drunk from beer?”
“Who the hell gets drunk from beer?”
“I’m just asking! What else aside from beer do you drink?”
“Wine and champagne on occasion, and no, I’ve never gotten drunk from them.”
“Never had a glass in one go but I think I’ll get drunk after two or three bottles.”
“No, we’re not going to drink.”
“AAWW, COME ON! It’s your birthday!”
“My birthday is not an excuse to drink.”
“Birthdays are always an excuse to drink!”
“I’m not taking a step out of this house. They’re not going to sell any to a minor.”
Stiles frowned. “Okay,” he stabbed the bow pasta and ate it.
“But what we are going to do,” Derek had finished eating. “Is we’re going to finish your brownies until we fall into a chocolate induced coma.”
“Chocolate or wine?” Derek rolled his eyes when Stiles had that stupid grin again.
“Since we have no wine, and I’m not buying any for you, I’m going with chocolate,” he shoved the paper plate he used into the trash bin and washed the silverware before putting it back into its drawer.
“You. Are. Awesome!” Stiles scarfed down the rest of the food on his plate, and cleared up the counter before taking out the three containers of brownies. White chocolate, chocolate and butterscotch. “I was supposed to bring ice cream,”
“And why didn’t you?” Derek watched Stiles open the containers, and grabbed one of the chocolate chip ones.
“I dunno. I decided last night to pick some up on the way here but I forgot,” Stiles shrugged. “I guess I was thinking too much. You know, what if you didn’t like the food and stuff…” he trailed off as he bit into one of the butterscotch squares. “Do you like it?” he asked with a full mouth.
Derek swallowed. “Don’t talk when your mouth is full,” he took one of the white chocolate chip brownies.
Stiles smiled when Derek took another one. He felt happy. Hey, the love of his life (it wasn’t Lydia anymore, okay; he got over her because she never paid attention to him and Derek sort of did after the whole joining the pack thing and because Derek was a hot little creeper when he and Scott first met him) liked his cooking. If only he could make feeding a pack of werewolves a living.
Derek ended up eating more squares than Stiles did. The three containers were empty. The brownies were gone like Stiles didn’t even make any. “Dude, do you have a black hole in your gut or something?”
“Or something,” said Derek, taking two bottles of water from the fridge. He threw one to Stiles. “It was good. Everything’s good.”
“You’re going to make my chest explode,” Stiles reddened again. The blush spread from his cheeks to his ears.
“And why is that?” Derek joined him back on the counter, and Stiles was right, his chest was going to explode (figuratively, of course), because his heartbeat was like a rabbit’s thumping foot.
“Because,” Stiles took a few gulps of water. “Only my dad and Scott have had things I make. Nobody else has told me that they like my cooking,” Holy shit he was having a heart to heart conversation slash confession with Derek and that never really happened. “I like cooking. It’s like a hobby. Reminds me of my mom. It calms me down. It calms Scott down or excites him when I made him cookies. He just doesn’t ask me to make any more because he’s always busy with Allison—”
“Then make the pack some,” Derek couldn’t bite it back. It just came out. Stupid wolf.
“Huh?” Stiles stared at him.
“Cook for the pack. If you like it so much.” Derek stared back. “I’m sure they’ll appreciate home cooked food better than take out,”
“Uh…Derek, master of his house, fearless leader, brooding extraordinaire, great Alpha of Beacon Hills, Big Bad Wolf—there, I said it, you happy?—in case you haven’t noticed, your kitchen is bare as fuck, and nothing will fit in your fridge if you want me to feed a pack of werewolves,” Stiles leaned on his elbows on the counter. “And I don’t think I can make cookies in this environment,” okay, so maybe that wasn’t as nice as he’d planned to ask him. But Derek offered so he was going to speak his mind.
Derek looked around. It was bare, save for the sink, the microwave and the toaster. When he set his eyes back on Stiles, he was already packing the containers back into the basket. Stiles left the leftover pasta and chicken wraps on the counter. “Then we’ll decorate it,”
Stiles was again staring at him with those big brown eyes and Derek just made him want to drag Stiles to his room and keep him there. Because Derek wanted to go to him to feel safe. This had been going on for a while, but the need to keep Stiles (the hell? Stiles wasn’t a lost and found item) wasn’t this bad before, because he’d never really been this close to Stiles before. He’d never really been alone with him like this, never alone with him for so long like this (when they weren’t in a life threatening situation). He’d never really been alone with Stiles because he wanted to.
“We’ll decorate it,” said Derek again. “No, you’ll decorate it.”
“Are…are you serious?” Stiles was looking at him in disbelief. “Seriously?”
Derek nodded. “If you enjoy cooking, I don’t see why I can’t indulge you. You can cook all you want for the pack. You can even turn the pack into your lab rats for your experimental recipes,”
“I want to hug you right now, but I’m not sure that’s a good idea,” Stiles’ heart was still trying to beat its way out of his ribcage. “S-sorry, am I hurting your ears? Scott tells me to try and calm down when anything gets me nervous because my heart kinda hurts his ears,”
Derek arched an eyebrow. Scott really was stupid sometimes. He didn’t appreciate the more important things. If Stiles were his best friend, it’d be some kind of comfort and relief for him that he could hear his heart and that he was alive. Scott should win the highest award for skewed priorities because his priorities are seriously fucked up.
“No,” he said, “I find heartbeats quite comforting. I prefer it if the heart is calm,”
“Okay, calming down. Calming down,” Stiles took deep breaths. “So you’re really gonna let me cook?”
“The kitchen is your territory now,” Derek had no idea why that came out. It was like his wolf wanted to give Stiles everything. He wanted to give Stiles everything.
“Seriously?!” Stiles’ face brightened as he smiled. “Know what, I went to my mom today! Thanked her for teaching me how to cook. It’s finally paying off!”
It was like Stiles was worming his way into him with the way he cared for the pack. With the way Stiles just showed how much he cared for him, enough to slave in the kitchen and make him this wonderful lunch.
“From now on,” Derek started. He wasn’t even going to supress his instinctual responses to whatever Stiles was doing. “You’re not just going to take care of us. You’re not some helper around here in the den. You’re…you’re…” Derek didn’t know if he should already say it. It was a rank higher than his Betas, a rank that equalled him.
“Pack mom?” Stiles finished for him.
“Yes.” Derek nodded.
“You knew?” Derek asked, bewildered.
“Sorta, I think?” said Stiles, “Isaac is a cuddly puppy, you know. He’s taken a liking to coming to me for problems. Reminds me of me with my mom. But you know, I’m completely fine with it. Pack mom? Awesome. I get to cook and see you guys eat the food I make and seriously? Just now? Hearing you say that my cooking is good and seeing you enjoy it? Man, more rewarding than slaying any supernatural crap out there,”
“Stiles—” Derek cut himself off, looking worried about what Stiles had just said. “Do you have any idea how—” he thought for a moment. “How serious that role is?”
“Hell yeah!” Stiles looked like he’d just won the lottery. “I mean, dude! You just gave me complete authority over your kitchen! And you just said we’ll decorate it! Means I get a badass oven for a roast and for even more badass brownies! It’s serious because without me, you guys are sure to starve and die from take out,”
“This isn’t a joke, Stiles!” Derek snarled. Stiles leaned back a bit from him. “Being pack mom isn’t just about taking care of the pack. It’s…it’s something more. Being pack mom means you outrank Scott. You outrank each and every one of them,”
Stiles was just staring at him, trying to figure out what Derek trying to tell him. “Outrank?”
“Yes,” breathed Derek. “Being pack mom…” he paused. “It means you’re the Alpha’s mate. It means we’re equals. And it means forever. Werewolves are…are aggressively monogamous…”
The boy’s eyes were on him, looking at him with such uncertainty. Stiles looked away for a moment, and put his thinking cap on. His heart started to race again, too, and Derek could hear it loud and clear.
“I know it’s not a joke,” Stiles started. He looked at Derek. “Do you want me to, though?” he asked, “Do you want me to be pack mom?”
“Yes,” Derek breaths out. “Yes, that’s why I gave you that role in the first place. I just…”
Ah, yes. There was Derek’s problem. He wasn’t good at communicating. It was good that Stiles got the right idea. If he didn’t, Derek would still be emotionally constipated.
“I just didn’t want to force the idea onto you,” he said. It frustrated Derek that he wanted Stiles so much when he didn’t even like him at all at first. “You take care of Scott, and I thought maybe you could do the same for the rest of us, that’s why I said you and Scott are a package deal. If he joins, you join. The way you never forget, the way you make sure everyone’s well fed, the way you calm them down, the way you tend to their injuries during training especially when I’m the one who…” he didn’t continue that sentence. “My instincts, my wolf, it’s hard to ignore them. My wolf thinks…”
Derek looked away and let out a growl. A startled Stiles almost fell off the stool. Ignoring his instincts wasn’t the only thing he was finding difficult to do.
“My wolf thinks you’re my mate,” Derek finally got it out.
“Mate?” Stiles repeated. Derek started pacing on the other side of the counter and Stiles followed him with his eyes.
“Because you take care of the cubs, more than I’m able to. You take care of them, you take care of me!” Derek had no idea why this was so affecting him so much both in a bad way and a good way that Jesus Christ he wanted to claim Stiles on the counter right then and there. “Because I feel comfortable around you. I feel safe. I have this irrational need for you to be here with me. To be near me at all times...and you smell like home. Like a warm bed, like breakfast…”
“Is that a bad thing?” Stiles asked carefully.
“No, it’s not!” Derek answered immediately. All this had happened just because of lunch. A lunch that Derek would never be able to forget.
“Then what are you so upset about?” asked Stiles, “If I’m your mate, then we can make it work. I’m pretty sure I’m completely head over heels for a certain grumpy Alpha,”
“What?” Derek stopped in his steps and looked at Stiles, who was making his way towards him. “What about Lydia?”
“Hey, strawberry blonde closet geniuses are hot, but scowling Alpha werewolves with permanent stubble are hotter,” Stiles chuckled, running a finger over the square of Derek’s strong jaw.
“But you don’t smell like arousal,” said Derek.
Yes, Stiles’ touch was good. Really good.
Stiles looked at him incredulously. “I’m not sure arousal is a requirement for falling in love. Your body? Your annoyingly perfect face? Oh yeah, that’s a big, big, big bonus. Like a huge dollop of frosting and sprinkles and a cherry. But I think I’m more attracted to you being your broody Sourwolf self with big heart. You’re all prickly on the outside and soft on the side. You make my heart beat fast when you look at me. You make me more nervous than aroused because…well, because I’m scared you’d find out and based from my years of experience, not like me back. I’m pretty used to rejection, so—”
Derek kissed him. No way was he going to let Stiles talk about himself like he was nothing. He pulled Stiles closer, his arms snaking around his waist. The kiss wasn’t anything too ‘graphic’ if this were a movie. It was just something to make Stiles shut up because he was so much more than what he thought he was.
Sometimes, Stiles thought too much. But this time, Derek had pretty much short circuited his brain. No thinking going on at all. He did close his eyes though, and returned the embrace, putting his arms over Derek’s broad shoulders to pull him down further.
When Derek pulled away, Stiles pressed his forehead to the older man’s and smiled. “I think I can handle Alpha mate. Happy birthday, Derek. I’m happy you were born,”
Things were good. Really good. Because come Monday afternoon, Stiles had everything he needed and wanted in his kitchen. Derek was one rich son of a bitch. Derek got him everything he wanted. He had a badass oven, all the pots and pans, and all the kinds of utensils he could ever imagine and a huge fridge to go with it, too. All were installed Sunday afternoon because Derek was an impatient ass. All it took was a little roll of green paper. They went on a shopping spree at the supermarket, too, because Derek wanted the pantry fully stocked when the pack arrived on Monday afternoon. Stiles was about to feed a small army.
Stiles even replicated his Mother’s blue frilly apron to use at Derek’s hou—no—their den.
He had just finished making cookies; they were cooling on the counter and he had just popped two pans of brownies into the oven. He felt Derek’s arms around his waist and his chin on his shoulder as he prepared the lasagne. Derek had given him a leather bound book yesterday afternoon; it was a collection of all his mother’s recipes. Derek didn’t give dancing around a chance and asked Stiles to make him his mother’s lasagne for dinner that night. Stiles happily obliged.
“They’re here,” said Derek, watching Stiles lay out the pasta. “Isaac, Scott, Allison, Erica and Boyd are in Allison’s car. Scott’s driving. Lydia’s with Jackson.”
“How much do you think I should make?” asked Stiles, setting aside the tray to lay out another one.
“Four or five, maybe?” Derek closed his eyes and just held his young mate, savouring Stiles’ wonderful scent.
Stiles felt Derek’s deep and long breaths. “Do I really smell that good?” he asked.
“You have no idea,” answered Derek, “When I claim you, you’re going to start smelling good to the others, too,” the second Stiles said he’d date Derek (not exactly that way, but the werewolf way), he had started scenting him. He wanted Stiles to smell like him all the time.
“You haven’t really explained all of your werewolf terminology to me yet, you know,” said Stiles, “I’d like a dictionary of it, please? Thank you,”
“Claiming is done when I first have sex with you,”
Stiles paused. “Wow. When are we gonna do that?”
“When you’re ready,” Derek buried his nose in the nook of Stiles’ neck when Stiles resumed with making their dinner.
“You’re scenting me right now, aren’t you?”
“And you’re enjoying it aren’t you?”
“You’re doing it because you want the pack to know?”
“Mhmmm.” Derek buried his nose further in.
Footsteps came thundering up the porch, and barged into the den. They heard a ‘Stiles! Are you making cookies?!’ from Scott as they ran in. All of them (minus Jackson and Lydia) stopped at the threshold of the kitchen. Derek and Stiles looked at their indescribable faces. It was Scott who reacted first.
“What the hell are you doing?! Stop molesting Stiles!”