Pairings: vaguely Derek/Stiles
Characters: Melissa McCall, Scott, Derek, Stiles, Isaac, Sheriff Stilinski
Summary: Set post-season two. A moment of understanding between Melissa McCall and Derek Hale. Melissa POV.
A/N: Thanks to dizzzylu and kriari for the beta! I'm no good at meta, but this is kind of in response to thoughts about why Scott reacts to Derek the way he does. Plus, damn, I just really want Derek to get some kind of ally, poor guy. Also, I love Melissa McCall. Can also be found at AO3 here.
Mama said there'd be days like this, there'd be days like this, my Mama said.
Melissa McCall slumped down further in her plastic chair. She needed a new earworm. Across the hall from her, Isaac gave her another in a long series of wide-eyed stares. He was on the edge of his seat, his foot jiggling, his eyes watching her with painfully blatant need. Poor kid. She gave him a closed-lipped, reassuring little smile and looked down at her hands.
The thing was, there weren't a whole of things to look at; at least, nothing safe. On her left, Jeremiah stood in Stiles' doorway, talking to Dr. Mathison. The sheriff's hand was on his gun; Melissa wondered if he even realized it. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but she didn't really have to. It had been a clean break. Stiles was lucky.
To her right, down at the end of the hall, her son was engaged in some kind of furious battle of wills with Derek Hale. She couldn't hear what they were saying, but judging by Isaac's twitchiness, he could. She didn't need to know the words to get the ugly vibes.
"Melissa," Jeremiah said quietly, suddenly right at her elbow. She looked up expectantly. The sheriff looked exhausted, deep furrows in his brow and shoulders slumped. She couldn't help but feel guilty for what she knew when she met his eyes. "Stiles is awake. Dr. Mathison will let his visitors in two at a time, fifteen minutes tops per visit. I've already seen him. Scott," he continued as her son and Derek joined them, "Would you and your mom like to see him next?"
Isaac made a noise low in his throat. Melissa stood up, laying her hand on Scott's arm and felt the coiled energy there, the tension and anger. "Scott and Isaac can have the first shift. I thought I'd show Mr. Hale where we keep the good coffee here."
Derek’s brooding eyebrows shifted slightly to indicate confusion before settling back into his mad-at-the-world-(Scott) expression.
"Thanks, Mom." Scott leaned over and gave her a quick peck on the cheek before jerking his head in Isaac's direction. Isaac's eyes skittered over to Derek and back to Scott, but he followed right on Scott's heels, the door closing behind them. Dr. Mathison frowned at the disregard for the hospital's open door policy, but let it slide because it was Scott.
Jeremiah thanked her for coming, clasping her hand in his rough ones, gave Derek a jerky nod and left with Dr. Mathison. Melissa wondered what Stiles had told his father to explain Derek’s presence; it must have been a doozy. She wondered what he was really doing there. Well, there was no time like the present.
"Come with me," she said crisply, not waiting for a response before sweeping down the hall in the direction of the third floor break room. After a moment, Derek fell into step beside her. Good. She'd feel like an idiot if he hadn't, and she didn't need more of a disadvantage than the ones she already had.
The break room was blessedly empty when they got there, and smelled of a fresh pot of Irene's dark roast blend. She poured them both a cup from the collection of free mugs in the drainer by the sink. Derek got Garfield making a grumpy face and declaring that he hated Mondays. She got her usual Keep Calm and Carry On.
"So." Melissa sat at one of the small round tables and took a long sip, eyeing him over the rim of her mug while she tried to organize her thoughts. Derek Hale was the embodiment of the bad boy she would have gone nuts over in junior high and high school. Yes indeed, she would have been thinking of someone just like him while she bounced in front of her bedroom mirror, singing along with Tiffany. Children behave, that's what they say when we're together…
Her lips twitched in an inadvertent smile. Tiffany was way before his time.
"Are you going to sit? You're making me tired just looking at you."
The chair grated horribly when he sat, but she still registered it as a small victory.
"You know, we haven't really been properly introduced," she began. "Hi. I'm Melissa McCall, Scott's mom."
His voice was lighter than she was expecting it. Less Batman, more Bruce Wayne. And she hung around teenage boys way too much if the first comparison she could think of was a superhero.
"It's nice to meet you. Thank you for helping us that night in the police station." Her voice didn't waver when she said it. Progress! That night had been the worst night of her life, bar none. It was the kind of thing that she should really talk over with a professional, only. Well. That wasn't going to happen.
Derek nodded his acknowledgement, eyes hooded. He probably thought she was trying to soften him up for something. And she was, so might as well get to it.
"You remind me of my ex-husband, with the black leather and the brooding and distinct lack of small talk," she said conversationally, ignoring the way he stiffened at her words. "Except Bob would have tried to save his own skin instead of protecting anyone else."
She took another sip of her coffee. Irene had really outdone herself with this pot; she should leave a note of thanks.
"He wasn't very reliable, either," she continued. Drinking the coffee helped to keep her emotions even. Talking about Bob usually made her furious. The man was a prick. "When Scott was five, Bob was supposed to help him transition out of training wheels, and something came up, he wasn't paying attention, but Scott, he was determined to learn that day. Four stitches later, Bob was already at a bar. He moved out of state soon after that."
Derek still didn't say anything. It was time for a different tactic.
"Why are you here, Mr. Hale?" she asked bluntly.
"I wanted to see how Stiles was doing," he answered promptly. It sounded rehearsed.
"Bullshit," she said cheerfully. "You were out doing something with my son, something no doubt illegal, and Stiles got hurt. And you got guilty."
"Well, if you know everything, there's no need to have this talk," he gritted out. His fingers were tight and white around Garfield's neck.
"Oh, relax. That's not what happened. You think I don't know my son? You think I can't read his face? No, the three of them were out doing something illegal, Stiles got hurt and someone, Isaac probably, called you for help. And you came." She raised her eyebrows. The silence hung heavy between them before he slowly nodded his head. "So. Why?"
"Isaac is still… I made him." His jaw clicked shut, as if he had said too much, but she already knew that.
"Nothing to do with Scott and Stiles?" she prompted. He took a long sip of his coffee and didn't say anything. It was infuriating, and she was suddenly sick of it. "You know what I think? I think you need them, and it pisses you off. You're so damn blinded by the affront to your pride, you can't see that they need you, too. They're sixteen!"
"Hey, I'm not done!” she snapped, and he froze, eyes comically wide. Even the Big Bad Wolf had a mother, once. Melissa took a calming breath. “I can't afford pride; I'm a mom. And my son is in a very dangerous situation. So. Please, Mr. Hale. Keep trying. Scott's worth it."
They watched each other silently while Melissa's wristwatch ticked through the remaining fifteen minutes. Melissa thought about Scott in elementary school, waiting for his dad to pick him up for weekend trips and the huge fight Bob and Scott had had when Scott was thirteen. She thought about Scott's sunny disposition, his frantic desire to prevent anyone from getting hurt, and how that all went out the window whenever Bob entered the picture. She thought about Scott and Stiles as little kids, running around outside and falling and getting into so many scraps, using up so many boxes of Transformers band-aids. Derek shifted in his seat, and it occurred to her that she was probably bleeding protective mom thoughts all over him. Scott had tried to explain what that was like for him, finally saying that she was like a fuzzy blanket. Which – no, Melissa had never thought of herself as a fuzzy blanket, but it was a nice thought.
"Come on," she said, standing up. "Let me have your cup."
She rinsed out their mugs, aware of his gaze on the back of her neck. She glanced over her shoulder and caught his eyes.
"Yes?" she asked.
"Why aren't you nervous? I could bite you and force Scott to call me his Alpha."
"You could," she agreed. "But you won't." Her heart was beating faster and she made herself calm down. "Look, Scott trusted you enough to leave you alone with me. I trust my son's judgment."
"I trust my own judgment. The bite… it should be a gift."
"Do you think it really turns out that way?" She could have kicked herself. She was trying to broker a peace here, not stir the hornet's nest.
But Derek just frowned and looked away. "It's our turn to see Stiles now," was all he said.
Laughter sounded from inside Stiles' room as Melissa and Derek approached. Isaac opened the door for them, trying to stifle his smile. Melissa wished he wouldn't; he smiled so rarely.
"He's a little loopy from the drugs," he stage-whispered to them.
"Hey, I heard that!" Stiles called out. "Ms. McCall! Derek! I broke my arm!"
"I can see that," Melissa said drily. She smiled at Stiles before her eyes went to Scott. Her son's smile faded with every step Derek took closer to the bed, but Stiles looked perfectly relaxed. Of course, he was also high as a kite.
"I hit my head, too, but I have a Very. Hard. Head." Stiles grinned up at them, his eyes bright and unfocused.
"Stiles, man, Isaac and I have to go now," Scott said, leaning down for what he called a bro-hug. Stiles looked confused.
"Wait, aren't I coming, too?"
"Not this time, dude."
"But we always do everything together!"
Except become werewolves, Melissa added silently.
"If you leave now, you don't get any more drugs," Scott said.
"Dude! You just said the 'd' word in front of your mom!" Stiles said in a piercing whisper, his eyes widening. "He didn't mean it, Ms. McCall!" he said loudly. "Scott is a Very. Good. Boy."
"A very good boy who's going to wait in the lobby for me," she said. At least she didn't have drugs and alcohol to worry about for Scott. She knew a number of parents who would give anything to do away with that concern, though they probably had never considered lycanthropy as a cure. "You, too, Isaac."
"Yes, ma'am." Isaac pulled Scott from the room and shut the door. Melissa frowned after them. Neither boy had said anything to Derek. But then, he hadn't said anything to them, either. She rolled her eyes. Werewolves were Drama Llamas, no doubt about it.
"Stiles—" she started, stopping abruptly when she looked back at the bed.
Stiles had fallen asleep, his good arm wrapped around Derek's left arm, resting on the pillow by Stiles face. It was an awkward angle, but Derek met her eyes, daring her to say something. She kept her mouth shut. He looked like he could bolt at any moment, his discomfort abundantly clear in the set of his shoulders and the constipated cat expression on his face, but she could wait him out.
"There's a group of my kind in town who don't like me," he said finally. "They probably want to recruit Scott and Isaac. Stiles, too, why not. I don't know what Scott did to draw attention to himself, but Stiles got in the way. That's why Isaac called me. So, you see, in a way it really is all my fault."
"Hmmm," she nodded slowly. "Martyrdom, yes, that's very constructive. Listen, Mr. Hale – Derek. I'm going to save you a lot of money in self-help books and chocolate, and tell you what I learned: when a horrible person hurts you, it's their fault. Not yours. I forget it from time to time myself, but it's the truth, trite though it may be."
"It's a nice sentiment."
"But you're going to ignore it anyway." And she understood, really. It was the kind of lesson you had to learn for yourself. You couldn't just hear the words and they'd make everything better, no matter how she wished it could be so. "So what now?"
He was quiet again for a moment. "I told Scott once that we were brothers now," he said eventually. Well, that was – she was going to wait for him to finish. "Isaac, too." He didn't mention Stiles, but then, most brothers didn't hold hands. "We're stronger together. We're safer together." He looked down at Stiles' sleeping face. His free hand seemed to move of its own accord, one finger tracing the outline of the bruise on Stiles' head. "Do you understand?"
She understood she was going to have a rather miserable ride home. But also Derek, standing over Stiles' sleeping form – that was Derek not giving up on Scott, and it was all she wanted.
"I think we understand each other," she answered, stepping around him to kiss Stiles' forehead. "I'm going to take the boys home now. Will you be all right here?"
She patted his arm reassuringly before she fully thought about what she was saying – just typical mom reaction to make sure he'd be okay; assuming he would stay in the first place. But the look on his face; when was the last time someone had done that for him?
He looked away first and nodded wordlessly.
It was a start.