The Definition of Family

by Katsuko

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There were times that John Stilinski really, truly regretted cornering his kid and making him fess up to what he'd been lying about for the better part of a year.

While the very last thing he'd expected was the werewolves are real and nearly all my friends howl at the full moon talk, he had trusted that Stiles was being truthful since he was wearing what Angie had called the Remorse Face. He only really fully accepted it when a couple of alphas from the outside pack that had been wreaking havoc since mid-August attacked the station and nearly wiped out his entire force for the second damned time.

At that point, he decided he was all-in, and told Stiles to arrange a meeting. His kid, being his kid, whined and complained and ultimately pulled out his phone to send a mass text to the local wolf pack.

And that was how he found himself taking more than a minute or two to keep an eye on an extra teenager - emancipated Isaac Lahey might be, but he was still a kid who needed some adult supervision from time to time - and both the Hales.

Peter was a giant pain in the ass. And where he was ninety-nine percent certain that Stiles blamed the fire and the whole coming back from the dead thing for said behavior, John remembered the man from high school. Peter Hale had only been two grades behind him, but he distinctly remembered the man as an annoying little shit even back then. So, from John's perspective, nothing had really changed at all.

Although if Peter kept making some of the remarks he did about the kids, John was going to put a wolfsbane bullet up his ass.

Isaac was, according to Stiles, a giant puppy sometimes. The kid was rough around the edges, likely a combination of his home life and the initial transformation, but whenever he wasn't trying to act like a bad ass he really was like a rambunctious pup that just wanted some positive attention. John and Angie had wanted a houseful of children, but they'd been content with only Stiles when it became clear that more than one child wasn't in their future. Isaac moving in - at John's insistence - was like a second chance at having the large family they had always wanted.

(In all honesty, the circumstances surrounding Stiles' birth were something of a secret. The fact that his boy was apparently a Spark only confirmed that maybe John and Angie should have taken a little more time to look at all their options before hiring a surrogate from a newsletter with so odd a title as Bell Book & Candelabra.)

Derek, on the other hand, was something else entirely. Stiles had referred to him a couple times as a sourwolf, and John often found himself agreeing with that assessment. The alpha of the little Beacon Hills pack seemed to feel like he had to bear the brunt of all the horrible things that had, could, or may happen in their town, and it was more than a bit depressing. Derek tried - and succeeded several times - to avoid any situations where everyone would be in the same place at once, which included but was not limited to breakfast, dinner, and movie night.

After seeing Peter slump into the recliner with a put-out expression and watching Isaac physically deflate at the absences and hearing Stiles grumble about stupid alpha martyrs under his breath for the nth time, John finally decided that enough was too much. He managed to get the other three out of the house - honestly, it was amazing what the phrase I got this and giving his kid the emergency credit card could do; Peter had all but dragged the boys out the front door declaring that they would be at the mall and to call when everything was settled - and set about waiting for Derek to wander in after another sad afternoon avoidance run.

The name was a work in progress, true, but the spirit of the exercise was definitely clear.

It was pretty clear very quickly that Derek had expected to find the house empty as the cruiser wasn't in the driveway nor was Stiles' jeep; John had very deliberately parked in the garage and shut the door so that the alpha couldn't slip away or avoid the house until it was late in the evening or the sheriff had left for work. The kid actually froze halfway through the living room and whipped his head around when he realized that he wasn't as alone in the house as he'd thought.

"Afternoon, Derek," John said deliberately. "Have a seat, son. I think we're overdue for a talk."

It was clear from the alpha's expression that the very last thing in the world he wanted to do was sit down for a chat, but he let out an annoyed huff and dropped onto the sofa. He seemed to immediately fold into himself, and John could practically hear all the bad scenarios playing out in Derek's mind.

John cleared his throat, getting the wolf's attention, before speaking. "Now, I know from what Stiles has told me and where Peter has filled in the blanks that you hold yourself personally responsible for a lot of the bad that's happened to you over the years. And I know it's hard to break a bad habit like that, but let me state something very clearly so you can't pretend to not know just what's going on around here.

"You are part of this family. Stiles decided that months ago, and God knows I can't keep that boy from making a decision if I tried." When Derek seemed ready to argue, John held up his hand signaling the other man to keep his mouth shut. "No. I don't want to hear it. You might blame yourself for everything, but you've also done everything in your power to keep your people safe. That's what family does, so you might as well accept that you've been conscripted."

Derek scowled, but there was a vaguely hopeful note to it, goddamn it. "I don't know if I deserve that, Sheriff. I've screwed up so many things in the past three months alone. Two of my betas are still missing persons because I couldn't be bothered with trying to make them stay. The whole kanima situation could have been avoided if I hadn't bitten Jackson. The fire wouldn't have ever happened if I hadn't-"

John abruptly cut him off there. "You think you can mess up so bad we'll just give up on you?" he asked incredulously. "You can't. You are part of this family now, Derek Hale, and you're going to feel the full weight of that. You're going to wish we threw you out."

Derek slumped in his seat, expression a combination of disbelief and utter, total relief. Apparently, he was finally getting the point that no one, especially not John, blamed him for all the bad that had happened and was still happening. "Does that mean I have a curfew?" he asked wryly.

"If you keep acting like a teenager, yes," the sheriff replied shortly, his tone amused at the startled but pleased look on the alpha's face. "For now, though, you can help with dinner. Your uncle should be back with the boys just as soon as I call him, and I have the feeling it's going to be like feeding a small army."

That year on Father's Day, he received gifts from all three of the boys.

(So did Peter, but that's another story for another day.)