John sighed and rubbed his eyelids. It had been bad enough getting the call that his son was in the hospital after what was supposed to be an innocent night with his friends. The Stilinskis had spent more than enough time in hospitals as far as he was concerned, and he was eager to get his son and get out of there. But when he’d arrived at Beacon General only to find that Stiles was missing, John realized this was Stiles’s life now. Werewolves, kanimas, sacrifices, it didn’t make a difference; it all meant the same thing for Stiles: violence, more trips to the hospital, death, even. John had taught his son to be smart, brave, and loyal, but when it came down to it, none of those things could protect Stiles from what he would face if he continued running around with werewolves. Scott was one thing, Scott he could trust, but John trusted Derek Hale about as far as he could throw him. And ever since Derek arrived back in town, Stiles had been spending more and more time with him. John was sure what happened to Stiles had something to do with Derek.
He pulled into the darkened parking lot of the animal clinic. Melissa McCall wasn’t far behind him. The two had been at the hospital trying to deal with the aftermath of Stiles’s self-discharge when they’d gotten word from Isaac that both their sons were at the clinic being cared for by Scott’s boss, Dr. Deaton.
“Who exactly is this Isaac kid again?” John had asked Melissa after he hung up the phone.
“He’s Derek’s friend,” Melissa answered, “He’s been staying with me for a few months. Poor kid has nowhere else to go. As far as I can tell he was Derek’s second in command before he left town.”
“Now?” she chuckled, “Now he’s just a scared kid who needs a roof over his head. Plus he’s been a really good friend to Scott, and Stiles as well.”
The sheriff frowned skeptically, “But he’s a werewolf too?”
“Yes, but he’s a good kid John,” she put a hand on his arm, “He and Derek Hale were the ones who brought Stiles in to the ER. They had some excuse about a mountain lion but you and I both know that’s not what happened.”
“Well I intend to find out exactly what happened once we get to the clinic,” he pulled out his keys, “Do you need a ride? I have the cruiser.”
“I have my car, thank you.” Melissa smiled, “Honestly John, it’s good having you in the know. I felt like I was going insane with all this werewolf stuff, but at least now you know too.”
John laughed softly, “Part of me wishes I’d been kept in the dark.”
Stiles burst from the front door of the clinic before John could even get out of the car.
“Stiles!” his father raced around the front of the car to open the passenger door for his son.
“Get me out of here,” Stiles said, voice dangerously low.
The sheriff wanted to question his son, but he didn’t argue. He merely started the car and headed for home, glad that Stiles was safe and mostly in one piece.
Stiles sat with his face turned toward the window, scowl etched firmly on his face. It physically pained John to see the the bandages beneath Stiles’s jacket. The teen looked impossibly gaunt considering he’d been his normal exuberant self when he’d wished his dad a good night as he left for Derek’s mere hours before.
“Stiles,” his father began, “I know you’re tired, but I need to know what happened.”
“Not now Dad,” Stiles said miserably, “I’ll tell you everything, I just… I can’t now.”
“Well, you’re going to have to,” the sheriff’s voice was stern but not unkind. “Why on earth did you run away from the hospital?”
“I had to help Scott,” Stiles finally shifted so he faced his father, “Derek’s uncle was trying to kill him and I was the only one who figured it out in time.”
“So you ran away, stole a car, and drove into the woods to find a psychotic werewolf, even though you were heavily sedated and had just had surgery?”
“Well when you say it like that, it sounds really irresponsible,” Stiles admitted.
“Come on, Stiles, you’re smarter than that!” his voice was a little more forceful than he’d meant it to be, “You know better than that; I taught you better than that. I can’t believe you’d be so reckless!”
“Oh not you too!” Stiles shouted back, “You know, I am so sick of people telling me what I can and can’t do. First Derek, now you-”
“Derek Hale? Is he the one who did this to you?”
“Wha- No!” Stiles cried, “Derek would never hurt me. Scott was the one who did this actually.”
John balked, “Scott?! You’re trying to tell me that your best friend literally tore you open, but Derek Hale, the ex-con, didn’t lay a finger on you?”
“He’s only an ex-con because we made him one!”
“He’s dangerous,” the sheriff ignored Stiles’s protests. “He’s older and he’s violent and I don’t like you hanging around with hi-”
“Dad I love him!” Stiles blurted out.
John didn’t respond. Instead he pulled the car over, parked on the side of the road, and cut the engine. He turned to his son, “Say that again?”
Stiles hesitated. “I-I think I’m in love with him, Dad,” unshed tears welled in his eyes and his body shook with the weight of his admission.
John reached for his son and drew him into an embrace. Stiles released his seatbelt so he could grip his father more tightly; he sobbed into John’s shoulder. “Hey, hey,” John pulled away, “Why are you so upset? Were you afraid to tell me?”
“I was afraid to say it out loud,” Stiles choked out, “Not only is he a werewolf, and older, but he’s a guy who has had the worst dating history and you two aren’t exactly each other’s biggest fans. I mean, am I crazy for feeling this way? Everything about him screams ‘bad news.’”
John started the car and continued down the road, “When your mother and I were dating, her parents hated me. They thought I was no good for their daughter, that I was a screw-up who would never amount to anything.”
Stiles wiped his eyes, “Why would they think that?”
“Because like you, I had some run-ins with the law when I was a kid.” He noticed Stiles’s raised eyebrow, “What? Did you think you got that from your mother?"
Stiles merely smiled and let his father continue.
“Anyway, it didn’t matter what they thought because we loved each other. You say you love him, do you think he might return your feelings?”
“I thought so,” Stiles said, “but then we got into this big fight at the clinic, and now I’m not so sure.”
“What was the fight about?”
“He was mad that I went to help Scott. He said I wasn’t strong like him, that I couldn’t keep risking my life like that.”
His father paused before answering, “It sounds like he was just worried about you.”
“He called me weak!” Stiles argued, “He said he couldn’t always be around to protect me, like I’m some stupid kid he needs to babysit.”
“You’re not weak, Stiles; you’re human - a fact I thank God for every night since I found out about all this werewolf nonsense. But like it or not that means you’re more vulnerable than your friends. Believe me when I say that if I could protect you from all of this, I would. But you’re your own man, and I can’t protect you from nearly enough - supernatural or not.”
They pulled into the driveway, “Dad, I’ve always felt safe with you. Do you realize how often I’ve relied on the things you’ve taught me? You’re the reason I’m still standing here today.”
The sheriff swallowed hard around the lump in his throat, “It was bad enough when all I had to worry about was you getting mugged or getting beat up by the school bully or something.” Stiles chuckled and John put a hand on his shoulder, “All this werewolf stuff is way out of my league.”
Stiles grinned, “Well lucky for you I’m a werewolf expert!” They both clambered out of the car and John helped Stiles up the driveway.
“Stiles?” the sheriff turned to his son before he unlocked the door, “You’re not planning on becoming a werewolf are you?”
“What?! No, definitely not.”
“Good,” he swung the door open and ushered Stiles inside, “Then I’d like to officially give you my blessing to date Derek. Not,” chuckled, “that you need it; I’m sure you’d find a way to see him even if I forbade it.”
Stiles’s jaw dropped, “Seriously?”
“From what you told me he seems to really care about you. Melissa McCall told me he was the one who brought you to the hospital. Just…” he hesitated as he lowered his son to the couch and sat down beside him, “...be careful. Please.”
Stiles leaned into his dad. “I always am,” he chimed, then let out a nervous giggle, “I love how you were more concerned about me becoming a werewolf than about me being gay.”
“Oh, I still don’t think you’re gay,” John deadpanned and Stiles balked, “Bisexual maybe, but gay? We’ve both seen the way you dress Stiles.”
“Gays can be slobs too, dad. Geez, this is 2012, gays can be whatever they want.”
The sheriff let out a laugh and Stiles leaned farther into him, thanking the universe for giving him such an amazing father. Now if he could just manage to wrangle himself an amazing werewolf boyfriend he’d be all set...