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REASONABLE TO ASSUME

- Part VII -


"Uh, no," says Jackson, backing away from Jar like Jar's armed to the teeth with wolfsbane grenades, or something. Which, heh, Jar in a baby-sized G.I. Joe uniform is a thing that needs to happen, preferably with Stiles taking photos (with captions) and videos (with voiceovers), and even if it means Stiles turning into one of those kooky parents that have pictures of their babies in kitty outfits and panda outfits and fairy outfits, well, so be it. Jar's too damn cute.

Even if he is kind of growling, now. Adorable mini-growls that aren't really very convincing, given that Jar keeps forgetting to be pissed off at Jackson and starts smiling at Stiles, instead. With dimples. Jesus Christ.

Jar's such a sweet kid; he can never hang onto his temper for long. Mostly, he's just quiet, quiet and observant, green eyes wide and calm and tracking every little thing, and that's - okay, that's a lot like Derek's tendency to just watch, and maybe it's a general werewolf trait, but… no. It's not just a general werewolf trait. It's who Jar is. It's his default state, except when Stiles is playing with him (which is when the fart-laughs and the dimples happen) or when someone's bothering him (which is when the mini-growls happen).

Stiles thinks the growls are cute, too, because Jar never tries to bite anyone or do anything mean. He just… warns people off. Not that those soft, purr-y growls sound much like warnings; to Stiles, they sound more like invitations to snuggle.

Too bad Jackson seems to be taking them as ultimatums.

"He isn't gonna kill you, you know," Stiles points out.

"He hates me."

"That might have to do with the fact that you tried shoving a spoon down his throat."

"He wasn't eating!"

"Because you don't know how to feed him!" Stiles snaps, then sighs, not wanting to freak Jar out. Jar doesn't respond well to Stiles being in stress, which is why he'd been weird the last couple days, with the Guillotine of Max hanging over them. With Max gone, he's started to settle, again. And he's finally taking solids, so… They can't afford to get this wrong. "Just. Siddown. And take him."

"No."

"Sit. Down. Or would you like to explain to Derek why you're the only one not pulling his weight, around here?"

"Hey, I pull my weight plenty! I - "

"With Jar. Do you want to tell Derek why you're bailin' on baby-duty?"

Jackson shuts up. He looks mutinous, but he shuts up, and inches toward Jar like Jar's gonna pull AK-47s out from under his cot. It's sort of amusing, in the way it reminds Stiles of Derek's complete inability to deal with a baby - until he figured out it could get him sex with Stiles.

Well, clearly, that isn't happening with Jackson, but… maybe there's another bribe that'll work. "You'll have cubs, one day," Stiles says, idly. "With Lydia, maybe."

Jackson's eyes narrow. "If you're trying to manipulate me - "

"Just saying. 'Cause, you know, that book about female werewolves and fertility rituals that you keep pretending you don't wanna read every time you catch me reading it?"

"I don't want - "

"Yeah, see, that book says females are really goddamn choosy about picking a mate. Male werewolves have been known to fight to the death over a female, if she doesn't bother picking one of 'em, and even after a guy survives, there's no guarantee she'll give him the time of day. Especially if she doesn't think he'll sire good cubs. Or raise good cubs."

Jackson… seethes. "You're - "

"I'm not implying anything about your utter uselessness with cubs. I'm just saying. Getting laid? Forget about it. Not happening."

Jackson grinds his jaw. "Gimme the fu - "

"Language!"

" - the funny baby. Ha ha. He's so funny. Ain't you funny, you little as - "

"Watch it."

" - tonishing bundle of joy. C'mere and let Uncle Jackson cuddle you. Sweetheart."

"It's more persuasive when you're not growling," Stiles adds. "Or fanging. He's gonna think you wanna eat him."

"Maybe I… won't," Jackson autocorrects himself, after seeing whatever expression must've been on Stiles's face. "Damn, Stilinski, you're - what happened to you? Seriously?"

"Jar happened to me. Now sit down and take the baby."

Jackson sits down and takes the baby - and nearly gets scratched by Jar's ickle pseudo-claws, but Jar calms down when Stiles strokes his head and tells him that Jackson isn't actually the worst person in the world; he just acts like it. Jackson frowns at him for that; Stiles just grins.

"So," says Jackson, eventually, after Jar's only dribbled peach-pulp onto his fingers thrice. Jackson's been making disgusted faces, but luckily, Jar seems to find them hilarious. He keeps grinning toothlessly around his spoon. "You. And Derek."

Stiles very carefully doesn't blush. Okay, he does blush; it's not like he can help it. But he tries not to blush too much.

Jackson looks vaguely horrified.

"What?"

"Nothing. Just - nothing. I don't need to know. What're you… your dad's coming back. Isn't he?"

"The day after tomorrow. Yeah."

"What're you going to tell him?"

Stiles hasn't even talked about this with Derek; they've been avoiding it, or Derek's been avoiding it, and Stiles has been… letting him. Avoid it. Maybe Derek has some bizarre idea that Stiles will suddenly turn his back on them when his dad returns, or maybe it's the opposite, and he thinks there's nothing to be worried about, so he can't be bothered bringing it up. The sum total is: Stiles has no clue what Derek's thinking. And, yeah, the not-knowing is pretty unhealthy, but Stiles has no idea what he's going to say to his dad, anyway, other than the fact that he and Scott have joined some sort of commune in the woods that is in no way related to the ex-convict that also happens to be living there.

"You have no idea, do you?"

"Oh, shut up, Mr. My Parents Have No Idea I'm a Werewolf."

"Screw you, I'm not a father. That's a whole different level of secrecy, man. I'd tell them if I had a baby."

"Like hell you would."

"Stop changing the subject."

"Stop acting like you care, it's freaking me out."

Jackson rolls his eyes. "Fine. Have a mental breakdown when your dad gets back, then."

"I won't - "

"And just so you know, if you mess this up for us, I will kill you. Even if Derek kills me right after."

"Mess what up?"

"Your. Dad," says Jackson, slowly, like Stiles is a moron, "is the sheriff. If he decides to arrest all of us or sell us out to the Argents - "

"He won't do that!"

"How can you be sure?"

"Because he's my dad, dumbass."

Jackson studies him warily, then shrugs. "Your funeral," he says, and dumps Jar back into Stiles's lap before heading out to wash his peach-flavored hands.

Jar, picking up on Stiles's anxiety, clenches his tiny fist in Stiles's T-shirt.

"Yo, buddy," says Stiles. "Don't worry. It'll be all right."

He hopes it will.


One day to go. Stiles isn't having a mental breakdown. He isn't. He's just… playing with Jar. A lot. Maybe more than a lot. Maybeall the time, until Jar gets tired and tetchy and makes quiet, mewling noises that make Stiles ache. He knows that his dad (hopefully) won't forbid him from visiting the Hale house ever again, but… Stiles just finds himself incapable of letting anyone else watch Jar. It's a shitty thing to do, because they have as much of a right to Jar as Stiles does, it's just -

It's lonely. He's still here, but it's lonely. And Derek's been treating him like he's made of glass, after the whole chewing-on-Stiles's-hand business and the disconcertingly-violent-first-time business, although apparently werewolf saliva has healing qualities, because the bandages came off the very next morning, with nary a wound in sight. Derek keeps staring at him, though, like he's a puppet of papier-mâché that's been left out in the rain. Like he's going to melt away. Like he's fragile. It's getting to be annoying.

At last, with less than twenty-four hours left and Derek still not showing any sign of pulling his head out of his ass, Stiles decides he's got to do it for him.

He puts Jar to bed - later than usual, because Stiles can't bear to be parted from him - and corners Derek. It's not very difficult to corner him, since Derek's been looming diffidently all along. How is it even possible to loom diffidently?

"Look, if we aren't going to make out anymore - "

"What?" Derek isn't quite eyeing the door like he wants to escape, but it's a near thing.

"Are you breaking up with me?"

"What?" Derek's tone sharpens. "No. No, that's not - "

"You'd rather cut off your own arms than break up with me, am I right? Because you are given to romantic gestures that bloody. Dude, you're like someone out of Shakespeare. Pining from a distance, waiting outside windows, writing sonnets in your blood - "

"I haven't written sonnets in my blood."

"Or anyone else's, I hope. But you would if you could, right? Also, you haven't denied stalking me or spying on me from my window."

Derek gets what Stiles likes to call his 'NO COMMENT' face. Thank god Derek never went into politics; he couldn't be more obvious.

"See, I know you don't wanna break up. Neither do I. So will you please stop acting like I'm made of Lego, or something? I'm not going to fall to pieces the moment you touch me."

"You - " Derek takes a deep breath. "I… hurt you."

"Yep. You did. And you won't do it again."

"You should be frightened."

"I should - can't you tell from smelling me that I'm not frightened? I just had sex for the first time a few days ago, all right? I'm more horny than anything else. I mean, now that my dick can remember being in contact with another person… Hoo, boy. I've been jerking off like crazy."

"I can tell."

Stiles gulps. "Can you? 'Course you can. Jesus, you - is that also why you've been staying away from me? Are you, like, zero-point-nine seconds away from jumping me all the time?"

"Yes," says Derek. "And yes."

Whoa. Okay. Good. That's… good. Great. Fantastic. Stiles is getting hard, already. He's been getting hard, with alarming regularity, and it's only Jar the Anti-Boner (like the Anti-Christ, but way cuter) that's been keeping him from humping random objects. Derek-shaped objects. Derek. "Um…"

"You should go home."

"What?" Stiles asks, because, uh, he is home.

"Your dad'll be back tomorrow morning."

Oh. Derek meant - shit, since when has the Hale house started feeling more like home? Sure, it'd been feeling as much like a home, for some time, but not more like a home. Until now. God, this is so fucked up. His dad's gonna flip. "Yeah, but that'stomorrow. I - "

"You'll have to prepare for his return. It'll be very obvious to him, right now, that you haven't been living there."

"If by that you mean the fact that my bed clearly hasn't been slept in and that the fridge is completely freaking empty and that the trash can in the kitchen is probably growing fungus at a rate comparable to the daily growth of the Amazonian rainforest, then… you'd be right. Crap."

"Go. Fix things. It's better not to spook him."

"Spook him? His son's dating a werewolf! And has a werebaby!"

"At least you didn't give birth to it," Derek says, which, fuck. Stiles chokes on a hysterical giggle.

"Just - don't. Don't try to have a sense of humor. Please. You're worse than my dad."

Derek raises his eyebrows.

"Are you trying to get me to lose my boner? By reminding me of my father?"

"Yes," says Derek, again. "And yes."

"We could screw around one more time. I could sneak back just before sunrise. We - "

"No." Derek makes these weird, clutching motions with his hands, claws sliding out and retracting, and the whole Wolverine-about-to-go-berserk thing shouldn't be so hot, except that it totally is. "I… couldn't let you go, so easily. Once I - once I started. Touching you."

Full-stops shouldn't be hot, either. But they are. Especially when they're breaking up Derek's sentences, like Derek's biting out each word against an onslaught of want. "You're not really making my boner go away, you know."

"Stiles."

"Yeah?"

"Go."

And wow, that was a growl. A proper growl, menacing and reverberating, and… yeah. Not exactly erection-killing. Which goes to show how messed up Stiles has gotten, that a sound that'd make most people piss themselves just makes his dick twitch.

Derek's nostrils flare.

"Fuck. Is that - when will we have sex, next? Just so I can check with my non-existent agent and clear my non-existent schedule?"

"You… you must spend at least a week with your father."

"Uh-huh. I figured. It'll be next Saturday before I can see - " Stiles's throat closes up " - Jar. And you. And the… the pack."

"I'll drop by to see you. Most nights."

"What, you'll crawl in my window? Just like old times?"

"Only while your dad's on night-shift."

"And we'll - in my bed? In my…" Stiles trails off at the glint of primal red in Derek's eyes. "How much of this is a marking thing? A… a staking-out-your-territory thing?"

"All of it," Derek says.

"Right, you just want to - rub yourself all over my sheets and make me come all over them, too?"

Derek's growl hadn't gone away, completely, but it's back in force, now. Hungry and guttural and thick.

"Note to self: Do not dirty-talk when the wereboyfriend is about to sexplode." Then, realizing what he's just said, Stiles hastens to correct himself. "By which I mean, dirty-talk all the damn time."

"Stiles. Go, or I won't let you go."

"That a threat, or a promise?"

"Stiles." Derek takes a step closer - and then a larger step back. Damn him and his self-control. If Derek wasn't acting like some sort of robot soldier in the middle of a tragic and possibly fatal positronic breakdown - seriously, his fingers are twitching - Stiles would absolutely call him a soulless bastard. Or maybe just a ball-less bastard.

"All right, all right, Lord of Chastity and Patience. Can't believe you were the one so desperate to get in my pants, before."

"What makes you think I'm not desperate?"

"Because you… say you'll wait another day or so before stalking me all the way to my bedroom and climbing in my window and attempting to shatter the Guinness World Record for the most swiftly-broken bed as a result of sexual coitus?"

Derek just looks at him.

"Okay, so maybe that isn't the model of self-restraint. I'll, um. Leave. Now. Call me if anything happens? Or just - just to let me wish Jar goodnight? Tomorrow?" His throat's closing up again; he clears it. "And the day after. Every day. I… I have to know how he's doing, got that? I have to hear him."

"Done."

"Who'll take care of Jar, the nights you're visiting me?"

"One of the others."

"Basically, you'll get someone else to babysit so you can make a booty-call? While they know you're making a booty-call?"

Derek hitches a shoulder, as if to say, If it works.

"You're pathologically incapable of embarrassment, aren't you?"

But Derek's unconcerned. Like the shameless animal he is. "They already know we're mating."

"They - " Stiles thinks back to Jackson's horrified, oh-noez-my-parents-are-having-sex expression. "Yeah, they do, but - "

"They can sense it. That we're in heat for each other."

"Fine, just - stop. Right there. I don't want to know how much everyone else knows about my sex life. Not that it's even much of a sex life, since I've only had sex once."

"You'll be having it again. Soon."

"Oh, will I?"

"Yes." Derek's voice is a cliff - all plummet and depth and inevitability. It makes Stiles's skin blush.

"Not helping with the boner situation here, Derek."

"Think about Werner."

"Ew, no."

"I'll put up a wolfsbane perimeter. In case Werner comes back."

"He won't. Not anytime soon."

Derek frowns. "How do you know that?"

"Not because I share some sort of psychic life-bond going with him, all right? Christ. It's simple logic. He needs to consolidate his pack, needs to get things back in order after killing three members of it. Or having everyone believe he's killed three members of it - the mother, the father and the baby. 'Course, we know be's only killed one - the Beta father - but even that's more than enough to cause fighting in the ranks. I bet there are people trying to fill that role, maybe even a couple Omegas trying to fight their way up. Max won't be back until he's made sure his pack isn't, like, imploding."

"It'll take at least a few months."

"Maybe even a year. It is a huge pack. Still, the wolfsbane perimeter's a good idea, if it doesn't keep our own guys out. Er, guysand girl. Weregirl."

"I'll give them amulets to make their way through."

"What, like the ones I saw up in the library?"

"Like those. They're a Hale specialty. Have been, for generations."

"Cool. My hard-on's mostly gone, now, by the way. Well done."

"Thanks." Derek manages to sound dry, amused, cheesed off and disappointed.

"Aw, look at you! With a full spectrum of emotions, and everything! I'm so proud. Maybe Jar will even grow up to be well-adjusted, with an example like yours to follow."

"I can smell your sarcasm."

"What, you can't hear it? Get those furry ears checked, compadre. Okay, I'm off." Stiles pushes off the wall and into Derek's space, aiming for a more-or-less chaste goodbye kiss, but the next thing he knows, he's back against the wall with Derek's hands on either side of him, and… that isn't a chaste kiss, at all.

It's stubble and heat and a slow, exquisite burn, and Stiles can literally feel his toes curling in their sneakers like bits of flash-paper that've been set alight. Derek's fangs are nowhere to be found, and it's - it's a human kiss, a dark, aching, careful kiss, that for some reason only makes Stiles itch with a hot, useless dissatisfaction -

What does it say about him that he wants those fangs pressing against his swollen lips, threatening to slice them open? God, he's become a lunatic - a kinky lunatic - a kamikaze kisser - a suicidal snogger - and he isn't even British - or Japanese -

His brain is hyphenating -

There's a tearing noise in the background that it takes Stiles a few minutes to realize is the noise of Derek's claws ripping into the wallpaper -

And Stiles obviously has the self-preservation instincts of a lemming, because he tries to turn his head aside and kiss the claws, instead -

Derek snaps his claws back in - fuck, that must hurt -

"No." Derek's panting, eyes wild and red. "No, you - you can't make me - don't - "

"Do it," says Stiles, not that he has any idea what he's saying, either, but - "Do it. I - I can go back tomorrow morning. I'll heal by then. I'll - "

"No. I… I can't control myself. Not yet."

"Well, practice makes perfect, doesn't it?" Stiles's mouth is honestly bee-stung, it's so sore, but all he wants is for it to be moresore, for Derek to kiss him and kiss him until he can't remember who he is, anymore. "I just - not that I like to think of Scott and Allison having sexytiemz, but Scott's managed it, right? With practice?"

"We don't have time for practice. Not today."

"Not even uncontrolled humping?" And, yeah, he's begging and it's undignified, but screw dignity, anyway. It sure as hell isn't going to get him screwed. "Without claws or fangs? Or assorted bloodplay accessories?"

"I want to mark you."

"Derek - "

"I want to bury myself beneath your skin. Deep enough to always carry your scent. I want to bite you and mark you until you carry mine - "

"Oh, fuck - "

" - until there's nothing left of you, at all."

"That - " Stiles blinks rapidly against the haze of lust currently clouding his vision. His heart is jackhammering so loud, he can't hear himself think. "That sounds like you want to murder me."

Derek snarls.

And Stiles isn't even sure if it's because Derek can't stand the thought of Stiles getting hurt, or because he wants to do it, himself-

Stiles is this close to coming in his pants -

Which is why Derek, the fucking tease, pulls away and almost staggers back. Whatever carefulness he'd been trying to save up for Stiles has clearly run out, or maybe it's just been pitched out the nearest airlock, because Derek definitely seems capable of pitching things out of airlocks, at the moment. Hell, if given the chance, he might pitch himself out an airlock. He looks crazed and fanatical and near-violent, like he's about to take up arms and join the Alaskan secessionist movement. It's a horrible look on Alaskan secessionists, but it's an insanely attractive look on him. As in, insane and attractive.

Stiles's dick thinks it's attractive. Then again, Stiles's dick had also thought it was a great idea for him to throw himself onto the meat-mincers that are Derek's claws, so. He isn't thinking rationally.

Okay. Damn. Okay. On the plus side, he's got an erection again. On the minus side, he's got an erection again.

Great.

Derek's hard, too, tenting his jeans, and the fact that Stiles wants to fall to his knees and take the zipper down with his teeth and go to town on that thing, all spit and slobber and lapping tongue, is… beside the point.

It really is.

Even though that's one heck of a point -

"You ever look up 'counter-productive' in the dictionary?" Stiles rasps, after several seconds of mutual, agonized eye-fucking. "No? You don't have to. Because, this? Was the very definition of counter-productive. Not only did neither of us get laid, but I'm gonna go back with the worst case of blue balls in history - seriously, they're so blue they're verging on purple - and you're gonna terrorize the rest of the pack with your giant boner. Congratulations."

Derek huffs, more like a dog than a wolf, and runs a hand through his hair. He's calming down, eyes returning to normal and jaw losing that edge of stubble-fur that's way more bristly than plain old stubble. He's looking shell-shocked in a rueful kind of way, but he's Derek, so he still thinks he has the right to give Stiles orders after that monumental fuck-up of a kiss. Not that it was a 'fuck'-up, since there was no fucking. "Go home."

"Uh, I was? Before you pinned me to the nearest vertical surface and fucked my mouth?"

Derek's gaze automatically drops to his lips.

Stiles almost involuntarily licks them. Almost.

Derek scowls. "Stop that."

"Stop what?"

"Never mind." It seems like Derek's ignoring their close encounter of the sexy kind. That Derek started. Meanie. "Good luck with your dad."

"Can we not talk about him while we're hard? All right? Just a humble request from your indentured mate."

"Go. Home."

"Going!"

Derek grunts… and walks away. Just -

Damn him. Damn. Him. "Make sure Jar starts on the compote, tomorrow!" he calls after Derek. His voice is kind of trembly; he pretends it isn't. "And tell me how it goes!"

But Derek, the jerk, only raises his hand in farewell, without looking back. Maybe he thinks looking at Stiles right now will result in a bout of vicious sodomy in the hallway. Not that Stiles would mind, but -

Priorities. He has them.

His penis also has priorities, but they're stupid, so Stiles ignores them.

He makes it out to his car before he realizes that he and Derek still haven't talked about how Stiles is going to deal with his dad, or what he's going to say.

Whatever. Stiles won't break everything to him in one go; he'll take his time, saying only the most important things first, and giving his dad time to digest each bit of shocking news, over the following weeks and months. He won't tell Dad that he's dating Derek and raising Derek's baby at the same time, for example. He doesn't want to give his dad an aneurysm.

And anyhow, Stiles sincerely doubts that his dad's going to force a soap opera situation where Stiles and Derek have to run away to join the circus - or start a circus, with Lydia as a lion-tamer and Allison as a knife-thrower-slash-archer and Scott as her 'target' and Jackson as a perpetually sullen clown, with Jar growing up passing out popcorn in the stands and charming everyone with his very convincing fur costume. Especially on full moons.

Yeah, no. God, he's got to chill out. His mind's acting like it's high, and he isn't even smoking pot.

"Hey, sweetheart," he says to his Jeep, sweeping the stray leaves from her hood and climbing in. The night breeze rustles the trees overhead and sends a few more leaves drifting downward, but the wiper will take care of those. He turns the key and the engine rumbles to life, growling like it's a werewolf, as well. A werecar. A werejeep. "Attagirl. How you doin'? You getting lonely, out here? I promise I wasn't cheating on you."

The engine chuffs.

"Not with a car!" Stiles exclaims, defensively. "I swear, mine hands have never touched another automobile. You're the only car for me, Delilah." And maybe he's lame for naming his car, but who cares? No one knows about it, except for Dad, who overheard Stiles whispering sweet nothings to her, once. They both act like it never happened; Dad treats the incident with the same sort of circumspection as he'd treat it if he'd caught Stiles making out with a girl. Which, huh. Is the truth. Sort of. "Although, if you ever want a threeway with Derek, just lemme know. Polyamory is in, these days. And I know Derek likes you."

The wipers glide across the windshield, almost as if Delilah's preening, and Stiles grins.

"That's the spirit. I won't even let Derek rip your upholstery, I swear. If he does, I'll rip him a new one. You know I love you best."

He does. Especially since Derek's taken up the cock-blocking hobby at the exact same time Stiles has dropped it. Bastard. Maybe Stiles will take up knitting next, or something. By deductive reasoning, it'll force Derek to take up knitting, too. Bastard. May the Curse of Yarn be forever upon him.

Now, though, all Stiles has to worry about is: a) cleaning the house and simultaneously messing it up in a way that resembles an actual dwelling, with an actual person, like, dwelling in it; b) clearing out the trash cans so that the place looks a little less like some sort of bizarre biotech experiment or a plague outbreak waiting to happen; c) rearranging his wardrobe to hide the fact that key T-shirts are missing (including the one with Spiderman on the front, arguably his favorite); d) smirk and grill his dad about his not-boyfriend from Fresno; e) figuring out a way to compulsively check his phone for news of Jar without looking like he's a hitman waiting for a go-ahead; f) gradually revealing to his father that he's married to a supernatural creature, sexually active with said supernatural creature and also raising said supernatural creature's adoptive baby; and g) preventing his dad from loading his shotgun and going after Derek.

No pressure.