Stiles Stilinski-Hale ran his fingers through his hair and thought about how truly screwed he was. There was no way he was going to be able to talk his way out of this one. Derek was going to be home from his business trip in about four hours and he would know what Stiles had done the moment he stepped into the house, damn his werewolf senses. He wouldn't start yelling right away because he didn't believe in fighting in front of the kids, but as soon as they were in bed Derek would drag Stiles into the basement and then he'd really get it, and not in the fun way either.
Some loud rustling interrupted his morbid thoughts and Stiles glared at the source of the noise. "Shut up, I'm trying to figure out how to keep Derek from killing both of us." The rabbit in its small wire cage just blinked at him. "And don't look at me like that, those eyes are what got us into this mess," but his voice was softer because, really, who could stay mad at a face like that? Stiles walked over to the cage and slipped his fingers through the wires, letting the bunny sniff at them. The whiskers tickled across his skin and made him grin.
"Ok, let's get you hidden before the kids get home. It wouldn't do to ruin the surprise a whole day early, would it?" Stiles moved the cage and all the supplies he'd bought into the basement, finishing just as he heard Scott honk the car horn from the driveway signaling the return of his children from their play date with Scott and Allison's daughter, Jessie. Before he headed outside to greet them, Stiles locked the basement door. Tommy and Laurel usually didn't bother to go down there since it was mostly just used as a storage room, but better safe than sorry.
Stiles walked out the front door just as Tommy was barreling up the lawn. "Hey, hey, hey!" he yelled, at a volume only little boys seemed to be capable of. "Is Dad home yet?"
"No, he probably won't be back until dinner time," Stiles said, pulling his son into a one-arm hug. "Did you have fun at Jessie's?"
"Yes, can I play video games until dinner?"
"No, I want you to clean your room like you promised."
"Aw, but it's Saturday!" Tommy whined.
"That's very good, and tomorrow is Sunday. Now get moving." Stiles gave the boy a small push towards the house and turned back to where Scott was watching with amusement, Laurel perched on his hip. Stiles reached out to take his baby girl and wasn't at all surprised when she just blinked sleepy eyes at him. Tommy and Jessie were fond of games that seemed to mostly consist of running from point A to point B for a variation of reasons. Laurel's shorter legs couldn't keep up with them, but she insisted on trying and the result was her being barely able to keep her eyes open whenever she came home from a play date at the McCalls.
"Oh yes, you're going to have a good nap today, aren't you?" Stiles cooed, pressing a kiss to her temple.
"Yeah, I'm surprised she stayed awake as long as she did," Scott said with a grin. "I was sure she'd conk out on the drive here. Did you get all your Easter shopping done?"
The mention of the infamous E-word was all it took to make Laurel wake up enough to ask, "Easter bunny come?"
"The Easter bunny's coming tomorrow, sweetheart." In more ways than one, he thought to himself. "And yes, shopping's all finished, thank goodness," he said to Scott. "Now, I better get her in bed. Allison's still sure she doesn't want us to bring anything for supper tomorrow?"
"Nope, she's got everything covered, see you tomorrow."
"Bye," Stiles called over his shoulder as he headed back into the house. He made his way to Laurel's room and laid her down on the bed. She made a few sleepy protests as Stiles removed her jacket and shoes but she was fully asleep by the time Stiles got her tucked under the covers.
Before heading back downstairs he peeked in on Tommy to see if he was in fact cleaning his room. He was, thank goodness, and Stiles decided he would use the few minutes of quiet to treat himself to some early Easter candy. Goodness knew he deserved it after the day he'd had.
A few hours earlier
It hadn't been Stiles intention, when he went shopping the day before Easter, to come home with a rabbit. Stiles took pet care very seriously. After years of being the best friend of a veterinary assistant and then a veterinary student and now a partner in Deaton's veterinary clinic, Stiles knew all about the research and consideration that needed to be done before getting any pet. Scott had told him dozens of horror stories of people who had bought cute baby animals at the spur of a moment, only to get tired of them after a few weeks. Stiles had even helped Scott prepare for a class presentation in senior year that was specifically about the terrible marketing strategies pet shops used to sell pets around specific holidays.
So, Stiles knew exactly what was happening as he was lured into the mall's pet shop the day before Easter by the soft cheeps of little baby chicks and the adorable twitching of bunny noses. But after everything that'd happened that morning, he didn't think it wasn't really his fault.
He'd just come to the mall to buy some last minute chocolate before the holiday, but what was supposed to be a quick, one errand trip soon became some sort of bizarre retelling of "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" as he bought more Easter decorations then they could ever use or that Derek would ever let him put up.
This lead to buying matching Easter sweaters that he would make Derek wear as punishment for not putting up all the Easter decorations. And while he was in the clothing store he bought a new pair of shoes for Tommy who had gone through 3 pairs since his 7th birthday, though Stiles had no idea how he managed to wear them out so fast. And he couldn't get something for Tommy without buying anything for Laurel, so he found her an adorable Easter dress. She already had one, but she was three years old, there was no way she would keep it clean the whole day. It was important to have a backup and it was that kind of forward thinking that made Stiles such an awesome dad.
He really had every intention of leaving then, but he walked past the Barnes & Noble and realized they'd missed the airing of the Charlie Brown Easter special this year and that just wouldn't do. But when he picked up the collector's DVD, he realized he couldn't go to the checkout of a bookstore without any books. He ended up buying an Easter-themed cookbook and two children's books that were full of brightly colored flowers and hidden eggs.
So, by the time he reached the pet store, he was on such an intense springy, Easter high that there was no way he couldn't be drawn in , even as an imaginary Scott yelled at him about evil marketing schemes. He'd honestly intended to just take a look around and soak up all the cute. There wasn't anything wrong with that was there? His restraint held for a remarkably long time and he might have even made it out of the store with his self-respect still intact if he hadn't lingered in front of the rabbit display. An exceptionally peppy sales woman must have sensed his weakness to adorably twitching noses because she swooped in from out of nowhere and asked if he was interested in buying one. Stiles had sputtered that no, no he was just looking. The woman hadn't seemed the least bit daunted and asked if he'd like to just hold one then and Stiles knew better, he knew better, but then a fuzzy brown one with floppy ears looked right at him and there was no way Stiles could say no to a face like that.
As the sales woman, whose name tag said Pamela, settled the ball of brown fluff into his arms, Stiles knew there was no way he was going to be able to walk out the door without getting this rabbit.
He held out for a few minutes, if only for appearances sake, while half-listening to Pamela ramble on about the benefits a pet could provide for children. But Stiles wasn't stupid, his kids were ages 3 and 7. They couldn't take care of themselves, much less an animal. No, this little guy would be the responsibility of Stiles. The kids might be interested in helping out occasionally, but the majority of the work would need to be handled personally.
Not that that was so bad. Stiles had always wanted a pet, but his dad had also known the meaning of children not being responsible pet owners. By the time Stiles got to an age when his dad might have considered allowing it, there were werewolves and danger around every corner and Stiles kind of had other things on his mind. Years passed and now he was, god, 30 with kids of his own. Maybe it was time to indulge that childhood dream of having a pet. And really, if Stiles didn't take him, Pamela would definitely pawn him off on some other poor sucker who might actually believe toddlers were able to take care of a pet.
"I'll take him," Stiles interrupted Pamela mid-spiel and just before a professional mask came over her face Stiles definitely caught a manic look of triumph. Seriously? Did pet stores work on commission nowadays?
His decision made, Stiles then spent about 20 minutes wandering through the small pet section and picking out all the necessities his bunny would need. He started off with a bag of specialty rabbit food and ended up with gourmet treats and deluxe toys because if he was going to be an evil-impulse-pet-buyer, the least he could do was to make sure that said pet was spoiled rotten. He hesitated for a few minutes over selecting a cage before deciding on a small one that was already put together and ordering a much larger, some-assembly-required, luxury hutch that would be delivered in about a week. By that time everyone, even Derek, would be absolutely in love with the new addition to their family and Derek would instantly volunteer to handle the assembly part. It would be perfect.
Once Stiles had everything purchased and packed into the van's trunk, minus the bunny, who got to ride shotgun, he thought about how he should never go to the mall ever again. Not only did it suck away all his free time, but also his wallet really couldn't handle any more of these spending sprees.
As he started the ignition he looked over at Bunny, who was safely settled in the passenger seat. "You know, Derek actually told me not to do anything rash while he was gone. Buying a pet doesn't count as rash, does it?" Unsurprisingly, the bunny didn't respond.
A few hours later
Stiles was able to enjoy a whole half hour to himself before Tommy came downstairs saying he was bored. After checking that the boy's bedroom at least looked like it had been sort of cleaned by a seven-year-old, Stiles let him play video games for a while. Soon Laurel was awake and it was time to start fixing dinner. The trio was just setting down to spaghetti and meatballs when Stiles saw headlights turn into the driveway through the window and knew that Derek was home. It was also at that moment when he realized that he'd never gotten around to finalizing a plan of how to tell Derek about their furry visitor.
There wasn't time to think of anything now as both children heard the car door slam and as one, squealed with excitement. They scrambled to get down from the table chairs and ran to the door just as Derek opened it. Stiles smiled as Derek swept the kids up, one in each arm and swung them around. There was excited chatter back and forth, cries of 'I missed you' and queries about any presents for children who had been really, really good while Dad was gone.
But even through the excitement, Stiles could still see the exact moment Derek realized something was off. His nostrils flared and his brow furrowed slightly and he tried to locate and identify the new scent. Two seconds later, he shot a look at Stiles, his eyes narrowed. Stiles responded by making his best apologetic face, hands clasped in front of him. Derek set the kids down, sending them back to their dinner on the table and gestured for Stiles to come to him.
Even though he knew it was a trap, Stiles went, partly because he'd always had trouble not being drawn to Derek and partly because, well, his husband had been in LA for the last four days and he'd really missed him. Derek drew him in for a long kiss and it was awesome until he pulled away just far enough to whisper against Stiles' mouth, "What's in the basement, Stiles?" As if he didn't already know, the jerk.
Stiles winced slightly. "I promise all explain everything once the kids are in bed, but please, just be cool for now, please?"
Derek hummed thoughtfully before kissing Stiles again and then putting an arm around his waist as they walked to the dining room.
Dinner was a pleasant affair, with the kids eagerly talking over themselves to fill their dad in on all the important things he'd missed while he was gone. After dinner, Stiles cleaned up the kitchen while Derek got Tommy and Laurel ready for bed. He was just doing a final wipe down of the countertops when Derek came back and put his arms around Stiles.
"I missed you," Derek said into Stiles' ear and Stiles grinned.
"I missed you, too."
"I missed you so much," Derek said in between kisses to Stiles' neck, "that I almost want to just forget about what you've got in the basement."
Stiles held up his hand in defeat. "Ok, ok, come on downstairs and I'll show you."
Derek didn't say anything as Stiles lead him into the basement and he continued to not say anything as he stared at the bunny in his cage. He'd known Stiles long enough to know the man couldn't stand silence and would eventually break and,
"Alright, so just hear me out on this," Stiles said in a rush. "Yes, getting a pet without talking it over first was not cool and I know it looks like I waited until you were on a business trip to do this, but that is definitely not what happened. This was totally an impulse decision, which yes, sounds just as bad, please never tell Scott, but I went to the mall this morning and he was there and, and just look at that face!"
Stiles opened the cage to pull out the rabbit to show his cuteness to Derek up close.
"How can you say no to that face? Just look at it."
"It looks like a midnight snack," Derek said, deadpanned.
Stiles gasped and pulled Bunny back to his chest, "You think your being funny, but you're not mister. Now I'm sorry I didn't talk to you about this first, really I am, but now that he's here, you wouldn't make me take him back would you?"
He expected a little more fight from Derek, but to his surprise the other man just nodded, "Yeah, he can stay, but don't be asking me to help out, this is all on you."
Stiles grinned and put Bunny back down so he could fist pump in triumph. "Yes! Thank you, thank you, thank you Derek. You're the best." And he gave his husband a big kiss to show his thanks. When they seperated Derek smiled softly.
"Yeah, I should get a medal," he said as he turned to go back upstairs.
"Yes, you definitely, definitely should," Stiles said. "But when you say you aren't going to help, you just mean in the daily feeding and cleaning stuff right? Because I've actually ordered a hutch that I was hoping you could put together for me."
Derek groaned. "Stiles!"
"Oh, come on, it could be a fun bonding experience for the kids. Derek?"