|Teen Wolf- "Picture Perfect Preparedness"
||[Jun. 16th, 2013|05:54 pm]
Title: Picture Perfect Preparedness
Universe: Teen Wolf
Character/Pairing/s: Sheriff Stilinski and the Pack basically
Spoilers/Warnings: Through S2
Word Count: 4,200
Summary: In the universe of “Picking Up Strays”- Everyone thinks the Sheriff is being sentimental. They’re not wrong. But they’re not entirely right either.
Dedication: I should give it to my dad, right? Though he’ll hopefully never read anything I write ever. LOL
A/N: Just a quickie Father’s Day fic, because Father’s Day is clearly my favorite. I was working on another one in the Most Important Meal series but it kind of puttered of and died halfway through, which is why this is coming so late in the day. PS I haven’t watched any of S3 yet so yeah.
Disclaimer: No harm or infringement intended.
When Stiles suddenly asks the Sheriff what he wants for Father’s Day this year, it’s on a glorious Sunday afternoon cookout at the cusp of summer in mid-May, just before the end of the school year. The Sheriff is grilling burgers in the backyard and the rest of the pack is lounging conspicuously within earshot: Erica and Boyd are setting the patio table with paper plates and utensils, Scott is napping in the hammock that Isaac and Stiles put up a few weeks ago, and Derek and Isaac are around the corner in the driveway, washing the cruiser because they got blood all over it on Saturday night and are being punished accordingly. He wants the rims sparkling by the time they’re done.
The Sheriff briefly looks up from where he is poking at one of the sizzling venison burgers Derek had brought over earlier in the morning when Stiles asks him the question. He sees that Erica and Boyd are still setting the table very pointedly, and that Scott is still apparently napping. The sound of the hose running is still trickling over from the driveway as well, but despite that, the Sheriff can practically feel each pack member’s sharp werewolf ears perk up in anticipation of his response.
“Like, have you given it any thought at all yet?” Stiles pushes with a forced air of nonchalance. “I mean, I know it’s like a month early, but you’re always talking about thinking ahead. So, you know, you should set an example for us impressionable young minds and show us how much you’ve thought ahead.” Stiles does his best to look innocent as he babbles, which is to say he fails completely at it as he stands at the Sheriff’s side with an empty serving platter. None of the werewolves react.
The Sheriff is not fooled at all by this display of calm though, because this song and dance is something he and Stiles go through every year. This year looks like it’s going to be a lot of the same thing except now, Stiles has a pack to drag into the fray alongside him. “I don’t need anything,” the Sheriff answers simply, and tries not to laugh at the way the teenagers’ eyes all kind of shift in tandem at that, because it clearly hadn’t been the answer they’d wanted.
Erica coughs deliberately in the background, prompting Stiles to wave his arms a little in protest. The Sheriff easily dodges around the end of the serving platter as it nearly collides with his shoulder because Stiles is his kid and he knows that his kid’s reactions to things is to emphatically gesture them to death. “But it’s your day, Dad!” Stiles wheedles, rather needlessly. “Something. Just one thing.”
The Sheriff wants to say something about how every day is Father’s Day for him, that it’s not something you just turn off and then on again for one day of the year, but his son will probably make gagging faces at him for being mushy like that. So after a moment of thought, and some more random poking at the venison burgers (he hopes Derek didn’t rip out some poor buck’s throat with his teeth last night to get these), the Sheriff shrugs one shoulder absently and says, “You mean besides none of you dying or nearly dying and finally getting some peace and quiet around here?”
Stiles stares at him. Then rolls his eyes. “Yes, something in the realm of possibility, please. That’s kind of like asking Isaac not to have gas on burrito night.”
From the driveway, the sounds of a clatter – probably the nozzle of the hose hitting the driveway – and some vague grumbly growling quickly cause Stiles to backtrack. “Because you know, it’s outside the natural order,” he pushes, hastily. “Everyone gets gas during burrito night, even the best people in the world who you love and play Halo with and who shares his curly fries with you. This is just a fact. As is the constant danger in our lives. That is my argument.”
Isaac doesn’t come barreling around the corner to tackle Stiles and sit on his back and give him noogies after that rather convoluted explanation, so the Sheriff supposes that it flew with the werewolf. At least for the time being. Knowing Isaac, he’ll just wait until Stiles’s guard is down, pin him to the floor, sit on his back, and then fart on him. Boys are ridiculous.
The Sheriff sighs and decides the burgers are probably close to done, so he begins to drop slices of cheese over the tops of half of them.
“Seriously, Dad,” Stiles presses. “Say something. Say a flatscreen TV. A flatscreen TV would be awesome.” He says it like he has a flatscreen TV on hand somewhere and really needs an excuse to just bust it out.
The Sheriff eyes him. “I don’t want a flatscreen TV,” he says truthfully, because he knows that if they actually get one of those, he will never get to watch TV in his house ever again, because all that will be on that new flatscreen TV for the rest of time will be Halo 4 and Call of Duty Black Ops. Keeping the old TV means he still gets to watch baseball on the weekends because the kids always get impatient with how the picture gets snowy every fifteen minutes. Then they inevitably go to Jackson’s to play on his 60-inch 3D HDTV instead, leaving the Sheriff in peace with a television that is older than his son.
He gestures for Stiles to hold out the platter so he can start putting the burgers on them and hopes that’s the end of that.
But Stiles is still looking at him completely earnestly, and Erica and Boyd have given up all pretense of trying to be helpful with the table setting. Even Scott is kind of twitching in the hammock, his eyes moving behind his eyelids in the same way that he and Stiles used to move them when they were little and pretending to be asleep when the Sheriff came in to check on them during sleepovers.
He shakes his head helplessly at them, simultaneously touched and exasperated. “Well,” he begins, and remembers the mailer he’d gotten from the school a couple days ago announcing that this week would be his last chance to order school pictures if he were so inclined. “I suppose I wouldn’t mind a photo of each of you,” he admits, as casually as possible.
Now everyone is openly staring at him, even Derek and Isaac, who are no longer washing the car. Derek has, somehow, gotten water all over himself over the last half hour and as such, has removed the white tank top he’d been sporting earlier in the day. The Sheriff is beginning to think that alpha werewolves are legitimately allergic to keeping their shirts on.
“Uh… what?” Stiles says in the meantime, because he looks confused.
The Sheriff is kind of amused by that, because Stiles must think it’s weird when he’s overtly sentimental in public. On the one hand, Sheriff Stilinski likes to think he’s pretty open and easy with his affection for his children, but he also understands that it’s not generally something the two of them – or now three, or four, or five, or six of them, he should say — do often in public. But this isn’t public, this is pack, and if they’re all curious, then he’s going to tell them. They can tell he’s not lying. “A regular picture,” he repeats calmly, as he slides burgers onto the platter one by one, “without any lens flair in your guys’ eyes or over-exposure.”
Stiles snorts. “Uh, some of us don’t have those problems.” He gestures to himself with his own head since his hands are full, which is ridiculous, but somehow, something Stiles still manages to pull off sarcastically.
The Sheriff gives him a look. “Yeah, well, I wouldn’t say no to a photograph of you not making a ridiculous face either,” he tells his son, because while the last nine years of school picture hilarity have been a great source of entertainment for Stiles, in particular when it comes to topping himself each year, the Sheriff would maybe like something a little more conventional, if only so he can actually send it to their relatives in holiday cards and the like.
Stiles sighs like his dad is being too sentimental, even for him. “Seriously? You haven’t even seen the photo I took for the yearbook this year, it is awesome. Eyepatch. The theme was pirates. It was…”
The Sheriff gives him a long, slow look.
Stiles’s jaw snaps shut for a moment. Then he reroutes the conversation. “What I mean to say is, that’s kind of lame, Dad. It totally lacks imagination. Also, no one asks for physical photographs anymore. We have a thing, it’s called Instagram.”
Sometimes the Sheriff thinks Stiles is speaking a completely different language. “I mean it,” he says, and ignores the entire second part of that comment. He’ll ask Melissa what an Instagram is later.
“He’s not lying,” Erica announces for Stiles’s benefit, because the Sheriff’s heartbeat must be steady in his chest as he talks.
Stiles flails a little at that, but it’s a controlled one, because he’s holding the food and might get killed by all the werewolves present if he ends up toppling their burgers into the dirt. “Dude, can’t we just like, take a couple of shots now and e-mail them to your phone? The puppies will all close their eyes. Poof, no lens flare. Then we can get you a real present.”
The Sheriff snorts. “Stiles,” he begins, with infinite patience, “Take a moment to think about how it’ll look if I ever get caught with secret phone pictures of my son’s underage friends while they all appear to be sleeping.”
Stiles blinks. Then makes a face of horror. “Right. Okay, good thinking. Let’s continue to keep you off the registered sex-offender list for Father’s Day this year, Dad.”
One of Stiles’s greatest qualities is that he catches on quickly.
That decided, the Sheriff flashes everyone a smile. “Burgers are ready,” he tells them, before shooting a look at Derek and pointing to the house with his free hand.
Derek grumbles under his breath and goes inside to get a dry shirt.
“It can be done,” Derek says later, while they’re scraping the grill clean together while the kids are rolling around on the grass in one form of food coma or another.
“I figured,” the Sheriff answers, because it would have raised one too many questions if every single one of the Hale kids all happened to miss picture day every year of their lives.
“Colored contacts,” Derek explains. “We had to put them in whenever Mom wanted a photo.” The way he says it is flat, but there’s an underlying edge of nostalgia that creeps into his tone, full of hurt and sadness. The Sheriff knows that tone like the back of his hand, because it’s the one he uses whenever he remembers his wife. He reaches out and pats Derek on the shoulder, squeezing once, gently, before letting go. Derek nods back at him, then seems to shake himself of his pesky feelings and gets back to the task at hand. “They can get decent ones at the mall these days. Before we had to special order them or they looked fake.”
The Sheriff hands him the grill scraper as they finish with the clean up. He shuts the lid down over the grill. “You too, you know,” he says, as casually as possible. “You probably didn’t think I meant you too, but I did.”
Derek looks kind of touched and kind of uncomfortable all at once. Derek might be older than all the others, but it’s moments like this when the Sheriff is reminded that he’s still incredibly young all the same. But then Derek proves he’s a little older again, maybe even a little more mature now, when he relaxes a little in the shoulders and nods. “Okay,” he says. “Sure.”
They don’t say anything else about it for the rest of the afternoon, and when the Sheriff goes to put his uniform on and head in for the late shift at work, everyone watches him go and thinks he is the most sentimental old man of all time.
They’re not wrong about that, of course, but they’re not totally right either. The Sheriff has sentiment by the truckload and he isn’t afraid of it, of knowing who he cares about and who he wants to keep safe and remember and love.
But additionally, he’s also older and wiser than his pack of ridiculous kids, and sometimes, sometimes all he’s really doing is planning ahead for the future because they’re still really bad at it.
During Father’s Day a few weeks later, the Sheriff gets a pack dinner sans chaos or near death experiences at Minnie’s. Stiles even lets him have a cheeseless turkey burger with turkey bacon and a chocolate Oreo shake. Melissa gets him a back massager that he can strap to his office chair, while the guys at the office pitch in to get him tickets to watch the Giants play the A’s with Stiles and Isaac the following month. But the real prize of the day is when the kids present him with an oversized birthday card proclaiming him not just over the hill, but over the mountain as well. Inside of it are, as requested, seven perfectly normal-looking photographs of his son and his son’s friends. Most of them are even smiling in them, except for Derek’s. His looks like he’s trying to smile though, and that he wants to kill himself at the same time. It is, the Sheriff thinks, perfectly suited to Derek.
The Sheriff laughs and thanks them all, and the next morning he takes all of the photos into his office with him. He pins the card on his wall while the photos of Stiles and the pack get locked in the bottom left drawer of his desk, next to his special wolfsbane bullets and the emergency supply of Mountain Ash Stiles insists he keeps at hand, just in case.
He doesn’t need to take any of the photos out for an entire two weeks, which ends up being some sort of record for them, really.
Two weeks later, Erica is captured by hunters.
Hunters being a loose term, mostly because they aren’t any of Chris’s boys and they aren’t hunting so much as poaching. Chris calls them hunters turned mercenary, hired by wealthy collectors to capture and deliver supernatural creatures of varying rarity and/or beauty. It sounds sick to the Sheriff either way, but he’s always known there are people out there more terrifying than any supernatural threat that he’s ever seen, possibly with only the Arachne excepted.
In any case, the hunters know what they’re doing and there are a lot of them. There must be, for them to get the drop on Erica and Boyd like that, two sweethearts walking home on a Friday night after dinner and a movie. Boyd is shot full of wolfsbane and left for dead on the forest floor, possibly too big for them to try and carry off, or possibly not what their collector had been looking for specifically. Either way, it’s his sheer force of will that has him dragging himself out of the woods and onto the Sheriff’s front porch, whining low in his voice in distress as veins of black poison wind their way through his body. Stiles calls Deaton, Derek, the Sheriff, and Chris in that order, and by the time they get the right strain of wolfsbane burned and into Boyd’s wounds, the Sheriff gets back early from work after citing a family emergency. He is just in time (but only just barely) to keep Derek from running off into the night to find Erica and maul a whole bunch of people on the way.
“I don’t know anything about this,” Chris says very seriously when they meet at the Stilinski house to try and figure out what’s going on. Allison hovers at his side, keeping anxious eyes on a growling Derek. “It wasn’t us.” The Sheriff believes him.
Derek doesn’t. “I have a hard time believing that there would be hunters in Beacon Hills that you didn’t know about,” the resident alpha grounds out, though stays back when the Sheriff puts a warning hand in the air between him and Chris.
Boyd, still looking half dead and covered in his own blood, shakes his head. “Heard them,” he murmurs quietly, looking a mixture of pained and enraged. “Someone paid for a female werewolf to add to a home collection,” he explains, taking a deep breath. “They knocked her out with something. She was bleeding.”
“So not hunters then,” the Sheriff summarizes, because it seems against the MO to collect the things they hunt.
Chris shakes his head like he knows what’s happening once he hears the circumstances of Erica’s abduction. “Hunters once, maybe,” he explains. “It’s not a high return business on its own. Some people end up switching to a more lucrative form of hunting when they don’t see the kind of take home income they’d like.”
“Mercenaries? There are mercenary ex-hunters?!” Stiles decries. “I didn’t ever want to know that. The world is officially a horrible place.”
The Sheriff quells his son’s tirade early with a warning look. There’s no use in getting the pack riled up with that kind of talk. “It’s a good thing,” he says calmly, and suddenly everyone’s incredulous eyes are on him now. He crosses his arms and hopes that they’ll realize the rigors of age do occasionally come with benefits, like wisdom. “It means they won’t kill her,” he explains slowly. “And that if she’s injured, they’ll probably want to take care of her wounds before they sell her.”
Everyone seems to realize he’s right.
“Okay, so that means we have time,” Stiles theorizes. “But…probably not a lot.”
“We’ll find them,” Derek promises darkly, and the Sheriff can feel it when the kids start to change around him, eyes glowing and low rumbles of growls taking over the room.
The lines along Chris’s jaw tense at that, but he remains admirably stoic. “They move fast,” he reminds them. “And from what Boyd said there are a lot of them. You’ll need our help.”
Derek looks like he’s about to bite out something scathing in reply, but Stiles intercepts and says, “Great, good. More people looking is more people looking. Right?” The last question is directed to the alpha pointedly.
Derek scowls but doesn’t disagree.
“You don’t kill them when you find them,” Chris adds next, also directed at Derek.
Derek bristles again. “I’ll do what I have to,” he rumbles, taking a threatening step towards Chris. The Sheriff sighs and pulls him back by the collar of his scary leather jacket like a badly socialized puppy.
“Nope,” he says simply, and Chris’s eyes widen in surprise when Derek relents, even though he could rip off the Sheriff’s arm if he were so inclined. “No killing.”
“Then what? Do we even know where they’re going?” Derek asks, still seething, eyes flashing red.
“We will,” the Sheriff says calmly, and turns to head to the door and back to the car. “Boyd, come with me.”
Boyd looks confused, but obediently pads along without any questions. The Sheriff really likes Boyd.
“Dad, what the hell!” Stiles calls after him.
The Sheriff waves over his shoulder as he stalks towards the cruiser, the pack and the Argents following in confusion. “I have my methods,” he says, and gets in his car, gesturing to Boyd to pop into the passenger seat. For the werewolves’ benefit, he adds a murmured, “No one kills anyone tonight, got it? You let me handle this,” as he starts the engine.
Derek, Isaac, and the other wolves left idling in the driveway deflate somewhat. “Yeah okay,” Derek mutters.
When they get to the BHSD, Sheriff Stilinski sits Boyd down with one of the police sketch artists for a spell before he stalks into his own office and unlocks the bottom left drawer of his desk. He pulls out his photo of Erica, studying how sweet and smiling and incredibly young she looks in it. He also takes a moment to be terrified for her, while being simultaneously glad that he’d asked for updated photos of all of his charges for rainy days like this, if only because she, out of all of them, looks so much more different now than she had in the past years. Then he forcibly pushes all the fear and the worry to the back of his mind in lieu of doing something to help her.
He picks up the phone and makes some calls.
The Amber Alert is out fifteen minutes later without any questions because his contacts with the state police trust him implicitly. The alert comes with a description of the van Boyd saw, complete with license plate numbers. An hour after that, rough police sketches drawn from Boyd’s memory and some slightly fuzzy images from parking lot security cameras in the movie theater are posted on every TV screen in Northern California.
After that, the calls will come piling in.
The Sheriff knows they will, because he’s learned from age and wisdom and experience that no one, not even other dirt bags, are particularly fond of people who try to hurt children.
Erica is returned by two triumphant looking State Patrolmen at two am that morning. She’s a little shaken and woozy from some sort of IV sedation they had her under in the back of the van.
Turns out a gas station attendant in San Jose saw the vehicle parked at one of his station’s pumps for a refuel and confirmed that the license plates matched the ones that had been flashing on his TV screen for the last three hours of his shift. He’d called 911 and gotten the local law enforcement involved, which then resulted in a ridiculous thirty minute car chase complete with officers and helicopters, until the mercenaries’ tires were blown out by a police roadblock. The two men driving were yanked out of the car and arrested while TV news helicopters circled above, capturing their faces as child abductors for all time. The detectives found Erica shackled and drugged out of her mind in the back moments later, along with a slew of highly illegal firearms and other deadly weapons that meant her kidnappers were going away for a long, long time.
Unfortunately, the other mercenaries end up getting away because they weren't anywhere near the transport van, but sketches of some of their faces are also strewn up all over the state databases by now, which means that if these guys are smart, they’ll never set foot in the great state of California ever again. They’ll never take one of the Sheriff’s kids ever again.
But more importantly, no one dies that night, and no one kills anyone that night, which is exactly what the Sheriff wanted when he prepared for something like this over a month ago.
“Not gonna lie,” Stiles begins from the kitchen table the following evening, after Erica has been checked out of the hospital by her grandmother and taken home to recover, safe and sound. “I feel kind of betrayed knowing that those photos were actually for devious reasons instead of sentimental ones, Dad.”
“No need,” the Sheriff says, yawning and stretching as he sidesteps Derek and the alpha’s art of angry onion chopping on his way to the stove to check on the boiling lasagna noodles. “I’m still sending copies to Grandma and Aunt Kathy.”
Stiles groans and hits his head on the table at the thought. “Ugh, Dad. They’ll probably get it printed on mugs and t-shirts and then wear them in public. At the same time.”
Isaac pauses to cackle in Stiles’s face at the mental image as he finishes grating the cheese.
“Sending them yours too, Isaac,” the Sheriff adds, because being part of the Stilinski family means being part of the Stilinski family, in all its embarrassing iterations. Besides, their last visit to Grandma’s basically resulted in Isaac being adopted all over again (only with cheek pinching and bright red-lipstick stains on his forehead this time), so it’s only fair.
“Ha,” Stiles shoots back, while Isaac growls and tackles him. They wrestle for a bit, which causes Derek to roll his eyes in a long-suffering way and wordlessly start to saute the onions. The Sheriff kindly refrains from telling the alpha that he’s been invited back to Grandma’s for Fourth of July weekend this year too.
Isaac eventually wins the wrestling match on the kitchen floor, which isn’t a surprise. He declares his emphatic victory by sitting on Stiles’s back and farting.
The Sheriff ignores his idiot kids professionally and helps Derek brown the ground turkey.
The others will all be over for dinner in thirty.
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