“What the hell are you doing, Stiles?” Derek’s voice rang through the room, filled with pure exasperation.
“It’s December,” Stiles said like it explained everything; the box in his arms overflowing with tinsel and other Christmas decorations, the antlers perched precariously on his head as well as his unannounced arrival, not that he’d ever bothered with something so trivial before.
“So?” Derek rose an eyebrow.
“ So I thought we should put up Christmas decorations.” He paused and ran appraising eyes over Derek, “You did… remember it was Christmas, right? Because if not, dude! We will have to do some serious shopping, it’s already the twelfth!” Derek couldn’t help but wonder why Stiles decided now would be a good time to decorate the newly built Hale House. He didn’t really want to ask.
Derek sighed, “No, I did not forget.” As much as he wished he could’ve as he did not really want to spend it alone again, “I just hoped none of you would bring it here. ” A lie, why? He didn’t really know. Stiles brow creased leaving him looking like a confused puppy. It was cute.
Derek paused and shook his head slightly, Stiles was a part of his Pack, of course, he would think things like that. It was an alpha thing… He wasn’t sure if that logic made sense, even to himself.
“Why would we not? I thought you knew that we planned to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas morning here. I mean our parents will probably be glad that they get to sleep in, to be honest.” Stiles walked past Derek and placed the box in the living room, ignoring Derek’s open mouth – he had planned to say something but wasn’t entirely sure what, maybe to tell Stiles that he wanted that – and said, “Everyone gave me stuff from their collection so I have another box outside and a tree on its way with Lydia. They’re all also, conveniently, busy today but if you ask me they just don’t want to help. Lydia can when she gets here, though that won’t be for a while.”
“Stiles, we are not decorating the house,” Derek growled but immediately regretted it when Stiles scent became tainted with something sour. He had become more in tune with the boy’s emotions of late – he didn’t know why – so noticed the change quickly. Stiles was edging on annoyed, something he seemed to do a lot when people disagreed with him or an idea of his. Which was fair considering ninety-eight per cent of the time he was right and the two per cent he wasn’t, it was because of misinformation on someone else’s part. Whenever they didn’t listen, things tended to go to shit.
“I think otherwise.” He grinned, nevertheless.
“Is that so?” Derek turned and followed Stiles as he practically skipped back to his car (Roscoe as he insisted everyone call ‘her’).
“Yup.” The word popped from his mouth, excitedly.
They went back inside in silence. Well, not total silence, considering Stiles was humming a song Derek didn’t think he recognised but assumed it was that song Stiles and Scott argued over whether or not it was the best Christmas song to ever be written. Constantly. Scott said that “Last Christmas” by Wham! was better whereas Stiles disagreed saying that… What was it called? “Thank God it's Christmas” by Queen, that was it – that was, according to Stiles, better than anything Scott suggested.
By the time they got back to the living room, Stiles was quietly singing the words, Derek’s lips twitched up but he refused himself the smile.
"I think it'll be good for The Pack, make it seem more like they have a place here, ya know? They sometimes forget that they have a whole bunch of people supporting them and have this place to come to when they need to get away and I think this is a good way to show that they do…" Stiles beamed at Derek causing Derek to feel a sudden pang of fondness for the human who was trying so very hard to help his Pack – their Pack. All Stiles wanted was to share the happy bubble he lived in around Christmas time, and who was Derek to deny him that?
Derek exhaled loudly and nodded, “Fine but I’m not helping.” Stiles pulled a face.
“You say that now but just you wait.” He turned and set about pairing his phone to the Bluetooth speakers. Derek didn’t complain nor did he tell Stiles that he actually quite enjoyed the music.
Derek watched Stiles over the top of his book as the teen strung lights up above the fireplace and around the mirror that hung there. The boy kept getting them all tangled up but he never lost the beautiful smell of joy that surrounded him. Not once. It was amazing, in its own way and Derek loved it. He could just sit here, listening to Stiles’ slightly rough voice sing the words of all the Christmas classics, watching as he danced to the choruses in a way that spoke of only carefree happiness, forever.
Derek couldn’t believe how lucky he was, he’d found a Pack that loved each other unconditionally and would do anything for one another. As well as this they had a wonderful Pack mom (as Isaac liked to call him) that would do anything to make the rest of them feel content, safe, comfortable and loved. Stiles would do anything to protect The Pack even when there was no real threat and it was amazing.
He adored how much Stiles cared for their Pack, he loved how much Stiles enjoyed caring for their Pack. It was incredible. He wished to stay in this moment for eternity but alas he could not. The main reason being that Stiles was calling his name and Derek had been just staring at him for a solid minute.
“A little help?” Derek stood up, finally realising why Stiles needed his help: he’d managed to get a long string of lights wrapped around his feet, up to his legs and it was somehow pinning one of his hands to his side. Why did he like this idiot again?
“How?” He ran a hand down his face.
“I don’t know,” Stiles said earnestly. “It just happened and when I tried to get out of it myself it got worse. How was I supposed to know Jackson’s light set was so long?” That was why, he reminded himself, because he was so fucking sweet and he didn’t even notice it. Derek wanted to tell him just how much he meant to him. But it wasn’t just him, the whole Pack had expressed their love for Stiles in the last Pack meeting.
Stiles had been running late and had sent Scott a frantic text to tell him that he was on his way but he had had to stop by the station to give his dad something he’d forgotten and then he had to pick up the pizza. Scott had relayed this to everyone and it had ended in a conversation about how lucky they were to have him. Derek had agreed and it seemed to surprise everyone, bar Lydia who was never surprised by anything.
Yes, maybe Derek had been a little harsh to him when he’d first arrived here but he’d been kind of taken off guard.
Derek sighed, “Alright, hold still.” He started to carefully untangle the lights from the boy but eventually had to tell him to sit down so that he could get them off his feet.
“Thanks, man.” Stiles laughed as Derek finished setting him free. Derek felt a weird pang of loss when he stood up, almost wanting to pull Stiles close to him again. He pushed the feeling down.
“Just don’t do it again.” Stiles nodded and went back to setting everything up.
Derek glanced, once again, over the top of his book to see what Stiles was doing. He’d gotten a step ladder out and was now draping tinsel over the top of one of the bookcases. Derek shot up, book clunking to the floor when he saw the ladder wobble. Just picturing Stiles hitting the floor, human body unable to heal him as quick as the Were’s, made him move faster. He got there just in time to catch Stiles who let out a loud gasp, whole body shaking in fear as he looked up at Derek. A soft thud by his feet alerted him to the fact that Stiles’ antlers had fallen off.
“Fuck. Thanks, again.” He chuckled uncomfortably and squirmed in the muscled arms.
“Next time, ask me to hold the ladder.” Derek’s tone was commanding, bordering on unkind, causing Stiles to look away, ashamed.
“Sorry, I just… you said you didn’t want to help.”
“I don’t want you in pain or dead more than I don’t want to help you, idiot.” Derek let out a long-suffering sigh and moved to put Stiles down. The younger man looked almost upset at being out of Derek’s arms, Derek didn’t know what to feel about it… maybe he was mistaken.
“So, can you hold the ladder?” Stiles smiled, sheepishly.
“Yeah but if you fall off again I’m doing the rest of the shit that involves anything above where you can reach.” Stiles nodded as Derek bent down to pick up what the younger man had dropped. Stiles gave a small smile of thanks when Derek reached up and put them back where they belonged, a slight hint of red becoming visible on his normally pale cheeks.
“Yeah, seems fair.” Stiles started to climb but he was still shaking, probably from the adrenaline rush, making it difficult. Derek stopped him and gently pulled him back down.
“Let me.” Stiles did as told for once and moved out of the way.
Stiles held tight to the ladder not wanting to be the reason Derek fell off but his job was made difficult by the excessive amount of sweat on his hands. He flicked his eyes up only to be met with Derek’s smile, it shocked him not only because Derek hardly ever smiled but also because he had forgotten how beautiful it was. It made Derek look… Hot? That seemed like the right word. Hot and extremely handsome. “You okay?” And much more open, like Stiles could finally see him .
“Yeah,” Stiles shook his head to clear them of the thoughts. “What’s gotten you all smiley, Sourwolf?”
“Nothing,” The smile disappeared and Stiles pouted.
“Don’t stop, it suits you.” Stiles hadn’t meant to say that but it worked, as the werewolf made his way back down the smile twitched back onto his face. “You should smile more, The Pack like to see you happy. I do too.” He knew he was Pack but he wanted to make it clear that he liked happy Derek. Well, he liked Derek just in general. ‘Like’ being a loose term, it was more than like, Stiles had known that for a while. Derek’s mere existence had helped Stiles realise he was not, in fact, straight. He preferred not to stick a label on what his sexuality was, exactly, it just felt more comfortable to him.
“I like seeing you happy, too.” Stiles almost didn’t catch it, it was so quiet, as if he wasn’t meant to hear it. It only made his smile widen.
The next half hour was spent with them both decorating, Stiles considered saying, “I told you so,” but decided against it as he didn’t want to lose the mood.
Stiles danced around as he put the last things up around the house, now to wait for the tree. Lydia would help with that and then The Pack would come round the next day and all the “hard work” would pay off. But in Stiles’ opinion, it had already been totally worth it as he had gotten Derek to smile at least four times. Although he wasn’t sure how, he had done it nonetheless.
When he looked up Derek was watching him, face open and a small grin revealed itself again. He had stopped helping Stiles about ten minutes ago and was now sitting on a stool in the kitchen where Stiles hadn’t noticed him until now. His cheeks grew slightly warm as he realised Derek was chuckling, “What?”
“Nothing, just enjoying the show.” Stiles snorted.
“Ah, yes my wonderful dance moves.” He refused to be embarrassed just because he liked Derek.
“And the singing,” His smile grew.
“I’ll have you know my voice is nothing other than perfect.”
“Well, I can’t argue with you there.” Derek winked at Stiles, fucking winked at him in a way that practically screamed ‘kiss me now!’ Stiles took an involuntary step forward. Derek stood up, “You done?”
“Yep, just waiting for Lydia.” Stiles stepped forward again, Derek mirroring his action. “And then it’ll be done and The Pack’ll see it tomorrow.”
“They’re gonna love it, thank you.” Derek’s eyes softened as he took hold of Stiles’ hand and pulled him closer.
“I couldn’t have done it without your help.”
“You would’ve found a way.” Derek tugged his hand again, drawing him into a hug. Stiles let out a small squeak of surprise before leaning into the touch. He hadn’t expected Derek to react like this, scent mark him maybe but he scent marked everyone in The Pack, all the Were’s did, it was in their nature, but not a full-on hug. Derek didn’t do hugs.
Stiles ran his hand, unconsciously, in small circles over Derek’s back only noticing what he was doing when he heard a low grumble emanating from the older man. It wasn’t an angry or upset noise, but a happy one. “Uh, Derek, are you... purring?” The noise stopped imminently and Derek pulled away. “I didn’t mean to offend you, I was just wondering.” Stiles frowned partly at the loss of Derek in his arms and partly at the strained look on the wolf’s face.
“Sorry,” Derek mumbled backing away slightly.
“Dude, don’t apologise, it was awesome… and adorable.”
“I am not ‘adorable’.” Stiles hadn’t realised he’d said that last part aloud. But despite Derek’s words, he looked vaguely pleased with himself.
“Oh? I beg to differ.” Stiles teased, shifting closer to Derek again.
“Yeah?” Derek mimicked Stiles' movements, and this time Stiles realised that they had placed himself right under the fake mistletoe Stiles had hung up earlier.
“Yeah.” And before Stiles gave himself a second to think of the consequences to his actions, and before Derek could even blink Stiles had pressed his lips to Derek’s.
For a moment Derek stood solid and frozen against Stiles, causing Stiles to panic and begin to pull back ready to apologise but then he got dragged in closer, lips meeting his again. Slow and gentle and nowhere near perfect but that was alright. They had time to practice, or, at least, Stiles hoped they did.
When they pulled apart Stiles pressed their foreheads together and, panting slightly, asked, “So.. what does this make us?” He begged every god – real or not – that there would be more to this. Than this.
“Whatever you want us to be.” Stiles didn’t really care about the label, he just wanted Derek to be his and him to be Derek’s, there was only one word that seemed to fit.
“Boyfriends?” Derek grinned and nodded.
“Yeah, that works.”
“Fucking finally.” Lydia’s voice sounded from the doorway, they both jumped, neither having noticed her standing there or entering the house. “The Pack and I were wondering how long it would take you. They set up a bet after the other day, one I did not partake in but I’m sure Isaac will be happy.” Lydia rolled her eyes, “Even Scott noticed before you did. I did have to nudge him a bit and Isaac definitely helped too, mind you. Anyway, are either of you going to help me with the tree or, preferably, get it without me?” Stiles chuckled and followed her out, dragging Derek behind him.
The Pack were all happy to hear that the couple were, finally, together. They were also pleased to see Derek’s smile appearing more and more often as well as to see the house decorated with all their Christmas stuff. Even Peter and Noah were happy. Although Stiles had been mad when his dad told him that he was in on the bet it had lessened slightly when it turned out that Noah had gotten it two days closer than Isaac and therefore won the money. Money which Stiles claimed half of because “you would’ve never gotten the money if it weren’t for my bold move.” That had made everyone laugh.
They had laughed almost as much as they had when Derek had appeared, Stiles at his side, clad in matching Christmas sweaters.
Stiles could not be happier. He had everything he needed in life and everything he wanted.
And Derek? Derek’s only wish was that the rest of his family was there to meet the wonderful, intelligent, beautiful, human that had him wound around his little finger, tight.