Word Count: 4875
Pairings: Sterek, Pre-Slash; Scallison, mentioned; Erica/Boyd, implied; Sheriff/Melissa; Jydia, mentioned
Notes: Sequel to On Passing Out (Un)Ironic Valentines, but it can stand on it's own well enough.
Stiles has never been one to back down from a challenge, even if the challenge was issued in a less-than-serious way.
Last Valentine's Lydia had been less then impressed with the valentines he'd passed out, which, rude! No one else in the pack had passed them out. He hadn't gotten one at all!
But she'd told him to do better this year. And that was basically an order, but whatever, Stiles is going to take it as a challenge. That's way more fun.
So when he sees the free card-making class the university was offering on Tuesday evenings, he calls it kismet and signs up.
Stiles shows up at the first class, where he discovered everyone else were female, and beyond that, at least thirty. He doesn't comment on it anywhere but in his head, but he picks to sit next to one of the older women, figuring she'd judge him the least harshly.
"Hello," she says pleasantly as he takes the seat next to her.
"Hey," Stiles answers, fidgeting. "I'm Stiles."
She smiles at him. "Juliet. It's lovely to meet you. Have you ever done anything like this before?"
"Hmm? Oh, no. I'm not really crafty."
"I'm not either," she whispers conspiratorially. "My daughter thinks I ought to have something to do when her father has custody during the week. This is just to make her feel better."
Stiles smiles. "I'm sure you'll be fine. At the very least, we can fail together."
As it turns out, the instructor, Ms. Leanne, is pretty chill and really good at teaching it. The class spends the first two weeks of the class learning about embossing and stamping. They practice with all of the methods before she even lets them start working on cards.
The first week of September is the first time Ms. Leanne let's them make a card. "Do whatever feels right," she says. "There's lots of stamps and stuff available."
Keeping in mind that he picked up this class specifically to make valentines for his friends, he grabs ivory cardstock and a couple of squares of red-to-pink colored paper. On a whim, he picks up a heart-shaped cutter and drags everything back to the table he's still sharing with Juliet.
"Planning for Valentine's Day early?" Juliet asks.
"I have a lot of friends," he replies.
She nods. She has a pile of blue and green in front of her. "Rhiannon's favorite colors," she explains as she carefully cuts a length of ribbon. "Her birthday is next month."
"Rhiannon is your daughter, right?" Stiles clarified.
"Yes. She's turning 16."
"Wow," Stiles says. "Growing up fast?"
"Of course," Juliet answers. "Sometimes I feel like I barely know her any more. I only get her on weekends, you know?"
"At least you get to see her then, though," Stiles offers.
"Yeah," she says, smiling sadly. "Who are you making the card for?"
"My best friend, Scott," Stiles says. He cuts a heart out of three ivory squares. "You think I should put it on top of the red paper?"
"Yes!" she says, smiling. "How long have you known Scott?"
"Seems like forever, but I guess it's just been 14 years," he replies. "Scott's practically my brother. I think I'm going to wet embossing, but like, in a pattern."
"More like curlicues."
It takes Stiles three weeks to finish Scott's card, which it shouldn't have, but he wants it to be perfect. When it's finally done, he slides it carefully into an envelope and boxes it up in his closet.
He spends the last week of September planning Allison's card. He googles designs but he finally decides he wants to keep it similar to Scott's design, maybe with more hearts and a stamp that says "Je t'aime" because Allison speaks French and she'll like that he remembered.
He sketches a card design out and prepares to bring picks colors before he goes back to class.
"Who's this one for?" Juliet asks while she watches him meticulously cut up dark beige squares.
"Scott's girlfriend," he says. "Allison."
"Will it bother Scott that Allison's card is less girly than his?"
Stiles considers that. "I was really thinking more about how she would like it, to be honest. She has this whole thing about not being a 'girly girl'. But she walks around in floral print, so I figure she likes hearts well enough."
Juliet laughs into her hand. "And Scott?"
Stiles rolls his eyes. "If Allison is happy, Scott will be too; trust me."
He finishes in two weeks.
The first time he misses card class is because Isaac has a meltdown back home and goes on a bender.
A bender in which he drinks no alcohol, but does kill three deer and a bear in quick succession.
Scott calls Stiles frantically demanding that he come home to help them find Isaac, which doesn't make sense seeing how Stiles isn't a werewolf, but Beacon Hills is only 30 minutes away, so he leaves after his final class at noon, thinks longingly of embossing, and drives home.
Well, not home, per se, because he drives straight to Derek's loft, where everyone (sans Isaac) is waiting nervously.
"So what happened?" Stiles asks. His voice might be slightly muffled, but that's only because Erica has wrapped herself around him.
Scott is hovering right behind him, and he did mean right behind. He can kind of feel Scott's warmth, which, weird, okay?
Derek, who is pacing in the living room shrugs. "We don't really know. He just ran off and when I followed his trail, I found carcasses. But he jumped into a stream and I lost him."
"He was always so fast," Erica whines into Stiles' neck.
"Have you checked everywhere in the woods?" Stiles asks.
"We were going to," Scott answers. "We just wanted you to be here."
"Well here I am," Stiles replies. "You guys do that. I'll look around town, cool?"
Everyone assents and leaves the apartment. Boyd knocks into him as he brushes by, but Stiles thinks that might be his way of showing affection. Derek kind of clasps his shoulder for a second, but Stiles is so worried that he can't be bothered to dwell on whether that was fatherly, brotherly, friendly, or whatever.
The wolves run off and Stiles drives to the one place he's sure Scott and Derek refuse to go.
Isaac Lahey's childhood home.
It's actually not far from Derek's loft, and it only takes Stiles about ten minutes to get there.
That thing about Scott and Derek not coming here? When he pulls up, he gets it, he totally does. The atmosphere here is just awful. The pack has never run into ghosts, and Stiles seriously, seriously, hopes they won't run into one now. Mr. Lahey is the last ghost Stiles would ever want to meet.
"Isaac?" he calls uselessly. If he's there, he already heard Stiles drive up. But Stiles is nothing if not thorough, so he walks into the house.
The house belongs to Isaac and Isaac never locks it. He told Scott once that he wanted kids to break in and take everything that had ever mattered to his father.
It had happened a few times, but more often Derek invited omegas passing through to stay there, after Isaac had mentioned that it was okay.
He goes downstairs to the basement. If Isaac is anywhere, it's probably there.
Stiles is almost afraid to approach the freezer, partially because he hates Isaac's dad and that he never could stop him, and partially because if he opens the freezer Isaac might still be...manic...and claw his face off.
But he steels himself. "Isaac," he says calmly. "I'm going to open the freezer. It's just me, okay?" He reaches the freezer and carefully pushes it open.
And there's Isaac, cowering into a tight ball. He's not crying but he is shaking.
It always stuns Stiles to see Isaac, arguably the tallest person Stiles has ever met, folded up enough to get into this freezer. "Do you want to come out?" Stiles asks.
Isaac shakes his head.
"Can I come in?"
Isaac shrugs, so Stiles pushes the lid to the freezer all the way open, so it won't close on them and climbs inside. There's just enough room for him to form his own ball and sit on the other end of the freezer. He sends out a quick group text. "Found him. Don't come yet."
His phone immediately starts buzzing with replies from everyone, but he doesn't check them. "Do you want to talk, Isaac?"
Isaac doesn't say anything, but one of his hands reaches out and grabs Stiles wrist and holds on tightly.
The grip is just shy of painful, but Stiles doesn't comment. "It's okay," he says. "I'm not going any where. Do you want me to talk?"
Isaac's fingers tighten briefly, and then loosen, so Stiles starts talking about school.
"I'm only 30 minutes away from Beacon Hills but I feel like I'm in a whole other world," Stiles confesses. "The city is so much bigger. And you guys aren't there. Never really thought I needed any one until I didn't have you guys hanging off of me all the time. I guess it's really easy to start depending on something, huh? And then when it's over...you realize."
Stiles stops talking every once in a while to see if Isaac will answer him, and he changes the subject when Isaac doesn't.
"I don't know what I'm doing in calculus. I hated it in high school. I hate it now. But I felt like taking College Algebra was like cheating. I wish I hadn't, though, because I seriously hate tangent lines."
"Have you been keeping up with Once Upon a Time? Little Red Riding Hood is a werewolf. And all this time you guys have been making fun of me...what if I turn into a werewolf on the full moon and none of you have realized it yet? It'd blow your little wolfy minds."
"Do you watch the Lizzie Bennet Diaries? It's really great. Lydia on there, of course, is totally different from our Lydia, but really, what do you expect? Our Lydia is one of a kind. She's going to win a Field's Medal. I'm going to fail calculus."
Stiles could have talked forever, but Isaac was creeping slowly closer to him, he noted when he brought up his roommate and his proclivity for leaving his dishes on the counter. "It's not really a big deal," Stiles says, reaching out and touching Isaac's hair as soon as he's close enough. "I feel like it should be. But I've never been particularly organized, and he puts up with my antics, so I can deal with his dishes."
He rearranges his legs to stretch out across the freezer and let's Isaac move around until his head is pillowed in Stiles' lap, his legs still tucked up, but now on top of Stiles' legs.
He still hasn't released Stiles' wrist.
"I miss my dad, too," Stiles says. "I think he's hooking up with Mrs. McCall whenever Scott drives out to see Allison. What do you think?" The question was rhetorical, and it takes all of Stiles' self-control not to physically respond when Isaac answers him.
"They definitely are," Isaac says tiredly.
"Gross," Stiles comments. "Well, not really. If they got married, Scott would actually be my brother. That's kind of cool. I've always wondered what that's like."
"Annoying," Isaac answers. "Can we..."
"Leave?" Stiles asks. They've been in the freezer for four hours, and who knows how long Isaac was there before that? "Of course."
Isaac gets off of Stiles and pulls him up with the hand still on his wrist. He pulls Stiles close as soon as they're both standing in the freezer. He pushes his face into Stiles's ear and breathes kind of heavy for a few minutes, but then steps back and helps Stiles out of the freezer. "How mad is Derek?" he asks timidly as they walk up the stairs.
"He's just worried," Stiles answers. "We all were."
"Sorry," Isaac mumbles.
Stiles shakes his head. "Sometimes we all need our moments," he says gently. "It's okay."
Given the previous week's events, Stiles is still all in a tizzy over Isaac. The next Tuesday, he makes a pink and silver card with dry embossed curlicues that remind him of Isaac's hair.
"I'm going to experiment with 3D today," he tells Juliet.
She seems interested. "I thought you weren't crafty."
"I've discovered my secret talent."
"Maybe you should open a shop on Etsy. Don't look at me like that, I know about the internet."
Stiles laughs about that for a long time, but still manages to cut the silver embossed paper into three panels that he spaces a bit across the pink card.
"Where were you last week?" Juliet asks.
"A friend of mine had a nervous breakdown," Stiles says. "I'm making this for him, actually."
"Kind of girly," she comments.
Stiles throws his hands up. "It's for Valentine's Day."
She laughs and shakes her head. "Point taken."
"What are you making?" Stiles asks. "And did Rhiannon like her card?"
"A Halloween card for Rhiannon, again," she says, smiling. "And she did. She thinks this is really healthy. I haven't told her that the only reason I keep comping is to hang out with some 20 year old kid."
"I'm 19," he answers. "And while I could see why she'd think that's weird, I happen to be delightful."
"You are, and if you ever meet Rhiannon, I give you permission to date her," Juliet deadpans.
Stiles gapes at her. "Uh—"
Juliet has to put down the scissors to avoid hurting herself because of how hard she's laughing.
His box now has three thick envelopes, and Stiles needs more ideas.
He picks Erica's next because he saw a cute design on Pinterest (shut up, he needs it for research) yesterday and he thought Erica would like it.
He thinks so, anyway. Erica likes cute things sometimes.
the basic concept is a heart shaped kite with hearts all along the balancer.
And because he's beyond following the design to a tee by this point, he rips a page out of one of the old books Ms. Leanne had left out to be used, neatens the torn edge, and pasts it onto red cardstock for a back ground. He borders it wish some black paper, because if anyone deserves a sexy card, it's Erica.
Even if a heart shaped kite will significantly turn down the sexiness.
Moderation in all things, right?
"So why are you putting so much effort into this?" Juliet asks. "Obviously you like it, but when you first came to class, you looked like you regretted every decision you'd made in your life up to that point."
"I did regret them," he says with a smirk. "But the reason I'm putting so much effort is because I'm a poor college kid who was informed last year by the love of my life that Valentine's that come in 24 packs from the dollar store weren't going to cut it this year."
"I didn't know you had a girlfriend," Juliet says, raising her eyebrows.
"Oh, Lydia is not my girlfriend," Stiles says quickly. "But I've loved her since I was eight and I'm too lazy to stop now."
Juliet patted his shoulder sympathetically. "You should move on. Also you could try adding a ribbon to the bottom."
"I was thinking about making some paper lace for that. The same red as the kite and card."
"Good idea," she says, eyebrows raising. "You should seriously consider Etsy."
Stiles looked down at the card that was carefully coming together. "You think so?"
"Yes," she said. "But there might be some ramifications for selling cards you made using free school property...you better start saving."
So he considered it.
It only takes two weeks to finish Erica's card, and that's because he's still doing everything in his power to make sure these cards come out perfectly. He's getting better and better, though, so he's pretty sure he'll be able to make all the cards. He'll probably have time to make one for his Dad and Mrs. McCall, too.
He makes Boyd's card with the rest of November because he's known all along he has to do a simple one for Boyd.
It's ivory with a cut out of a heart in the middle with a little 3D circle around it to add a little spice of life. He ties a bow with an ivory ribbon about two-thirds down the card, calls it just girly enough to be for Valentine's Day, and puts it in the box.
Stiles repins four designs that he'll use (with extreme modification) for his Dad, Scott's mom, Lydia, and Jackson.
He only has two weeks of December to go to the class, so he works faster this time, even as he takes care to make things look good.
He makes a card for his dad in one class period.
"This might be the first time I've seen you make a masculine card," Juliet says, admiring the card with interest. "I like the blue plaid ribbon."
Stiles grins. "I want him to think of me whenever he sees it."
Juliet frowns. "Who else would he think of?"
Stiles shrugs. "I guess the last person who gave him a valentine," he suggests. He turns his attention back to the card and making sure that the brown panel goes on just perfectly. "Mom," he adds, figuring he should know who he's talking about.
"It's for your dad?" she clarifies.
He nods. "He hasn't really celebrated Valentine's Day since she died," he admits. "I'm hoping this year is different."
"Why?" she asks.
"Well, first of all," he says, gesturing to the card, "This is an amazing card. Second, he has a girlfriend that he hasn't told me about yet."
Juliet chuckles. "Good for him. It's hard to start dating after you lose someone that important to you."
"You should try again, too," Stiles suggests, even though it's totally not his place.
Juliet quirks an eyebrow. "Maybe I will." She taps the card near the top, where Stiles has cut three skinny hearts in a row. "I think you should make those hearts a little skinnier."
"Yeah? I didn't want it to look to crazy, but you might be right." He picks up the marbled ivory paper and cuts into the hearts enough to slim them down. "Is this red okay?" he asks, pointing at the canvas of the card. "Not romantic or anything?"
"It's good," Juliet says, rolling her eyes. "Like I said, super masculine."
"Except the hearts."
"Except the hearts," she agrees.
The next week he makes Mrs. McCall's card—it's light pink with a 3D cross-stitch looking heart that looks pretty motherly. And kind of perfect, Stiles thinks.
"I have a date," Juliet tells him. "I thought you might want to know."
"With who?" Stiles asks with interest.
"This guy has been asking me to go out with him for a while," she says. "I don't know if I like him or anything, but I think you were right. I should try dating again...so we're going to lunch Friday."
"Nice!" he says, grinning. "Congratulations. I can't wait to hear how it goes."
"So how did it go?" Stiles asks as soon as he and Juliet have gathered all of their supplies.
"The date? It was okay. I don't think I'll go out with him again, but it was nice to spend time with someone over the age of thirty."
"Hey," Stiles protests. "I'm awesome company."
"Yeah," she agrees. "So who's the lucky girl today?"
"Oh, this is for Jackson."
Juliet stares at him. "You are using floral print. For a man."
"Yeah," he says, shrugging. "Just accents, though. I was thinking a floral border and some floral hearts."
"And white lace?"
"Totally! Plus some curvy borders."
Juliet gapes. "Why?"
"Because I hate Jackson," Stiles says. Then he scrunches up his nose. "It's like with Lydia. I've hated him since I was eight and I'm too lazy to stop."
Juliet shakes her head. "You have a weird way of showing hatred."
"Yeah," Stiles agrees. "It's a problem."
The next week he starts in on Lydia's card, which will be as obnoxiously pink, bevelled, embossed, covered in ribbons, maybe with some flowers, and oh, man, so many hearts.
"This one is overwhelming," Juliet tells him as he slowly pieces it together over the course of January. "It's for Lydia, right?"
He beams. "You know me so well."
Derek shows up while Stiles is putting his box back in the closet and getting ready to go on the great valentine hunt for said alpha.
Luckily, he always knocks and enters Stiles' dorm through the door, so Stiles has a minute to collect himself, close the Pinterest page, and shut his closet before he leaves his room to let Derek into the apartment.
"What's up?" Stiles asks as soon as Derek is perched on his couch while Stiles sprawls next to him.
Derek shrugs and looks a little awkward, so Stiles suggests a movie. Derek falls asleep halfway through Inception (the irony is not lost on Stiles), and Stiles browses Pinterest on his phone until he finds a valentine design he might be able to work with.
He puts his phone away after repinning, moves Derek around on the couch until he's comfortably spread out, throws a blanket over him, and texts his roommate about the sleeping dude on their couch.
He falls asleep really easy that night, and if it's because Derek is sleeping nearby, well. He doesn't dwell on that.
That thing he told Juliet about being too lazy to stop loving Lydia a long time ago? He thinks maybe there's more merit to that statement than he originally thought.
He feels something for Derek, but he's kind of too lazy to deal with that, too.
In the morning, he makes Derek an omelet and sends him out with an open invitation to come back any time and the promise that he'd be in town for Valentine's Day to hang out with Derek and Isaac.
Single dudes gotta stick together.
The next Tuesday is the last one before Valentine's Day, so he works with almost a manic focused attention to finish Derek's card. It's simple, of course: just white with a couple 3D hearts, stamped with some red roses and pretty writing.
But it's quiet and simple and beautiful and kind of perfect for Derek, even if it's a little girly. (It's freaking Valentine's Day, okay?)
"Will you be back?" Juliet asks. "Now that you've finished with the Valentine's cards?"
"There's always Christmas," he points out. "And birthdays."
He sends out Jackson and Lydia's cards, since they're across the country and he won't be able to give them to them in person.
Last year sneaking the valentine's had been a game, but Stiles is way too proud of these cards not to watch everyone open them in person. And then bask in their amazement.
It will be great.
He drives home immediately following class that day, because he has to give cards out before everyone starts going out.
He goes to Scott's house first, even though he knows Scott won't be there yet. He knocks on the door anyway, because according to Scott, she had the day off.
She opened the door with a smile. "Hi, Stiles."
"Hey, Mrs. McCall," he says, beaming. "Is Dad here?"
The smile froze on her face and she turned bright red. "Um."
"It's okay," he says, smirking. "It just makes this easier."
"Come on in," she says at last, and holds the door open. "John, Stiles is here."
His dad comes out of the kitchen, looking guilty.
Stiles rolls his eyes and hugs him. "It's cool, Dad. I've known since this started."
"Oh," Mrs. McCall says. "Scott."
"Scott knows?" the Sheriff asks. "You told him?"
"He smelled it," Stiles says, looking at his dad in disbelief. "Surely you remember that conversation."
"Yeah, oh. I'm going to pretend I don't know you're sleeping together, and you're going to accept my gifts." Stiles holds out two envelopes, one marked 'Dad' and the other marked 'Scott's Mom'. Because he's childish like that.
Still blushing, the older couple each open their envelopes and pull out their respective cards.
Mrs. McCall actually tears up, and wraps her arms tightly around Stiles to the point that he'd take a hug from a werewolf about now—it'd be less painful.
His dad claps his hand on Stiles shoulder before pulling him close. "Thanks, son."
"Did you make these?" Mrs. McCall asks, taking the Sheriff's card and opening it with a smile. "They're gorgeous."
"Yeah," he says, and oh, yeah, this is great. "You like them?"
"They're incredible," his dad says, and that's enough for Stiles.
"Well," Stiles says, grinning. "You two were my first stop. I'll let you get back to your illicit activities."
"Stiles!" his dad shouts.
Stiles cackles madly as he runs from the house.
He drives to the veterinary clinic to give Scott his card. "Dude," he says when he walks in. "I just walked in on our parents."
"Stiles, is that really appropriate?" Deaton asks from behind a desk.
Stiles waves a hand at him. "Can I help you feed the cats?" he asks pointedly.
"No," Scott says, crossing his arms and rolling his eyes. "Did you really see them? They're usually pretty careful about it."
"Oh, they weren't having sex," Stiles says. "Gross. They were just hanging out at your mom's house. Dad was using your mug."
Scott looks affronted. "She let him use my mug?" he demands. "But I made that in third grade. It's supposed to be mine."
Stiles pats his shoulder consolingly. "I feel you, man. Look, I brought you something."
Deaton sighs from the desk, but doesn't say anything else.
"What is it?" Scott asks, interested.
Stiles pulls the envelope out with a flourish, and Scott grins happily as he takes it from him. "Presents presents presents!" he mumbles as he opens it. He pulls out the card and his face brightens. "Did you make it?" he asks. "I thought you hated crafts."
Stiles shrugs. "There's an exception to every rule, I guess," he says. "You like it?"
"It's great," Scott says happily.
"When will Allison be here?" Stiles asks.
Scott shakes his head. "I'm driving up to see her tonight," he says.
"Gotcha," Stiles says. "Take this with you."
"Can I look at it?" Scott asks, pouting a little.
"Go for it. I tried to make it kind of similar to yours."
Scott likes Allison's, too, and assures Stiles that Allison will love it.
Stiles' phone buzzes. It's a text message from Lydia—well, actually, it's just a picture of Jackson looking pissed as he opens the envelope. "Look," Stiles says, smirking. "Jackson liked his, too."
Scott laughs and hugs Stiles. "Why wouldn't he? Thanks, man."
Lydia sends another text message that just says, "This is much better than last year's fiasco."
Stiles just rolls his eyes about that and leaves the clinic to find Erica and Boyd.
Predictably, Erica is overenthusiastic about her card and Boyd solemnly thanks him. When he gives the card to Isaac, he smiles and thanks him a lot like he did last year, meaning that it's overwhelmingly cute and totally contrasts with how he normally acts.
Which makes it much better than he even expected.
He's most nervous about giving the card to Derek and even considers sliding it under Derek's door and driving immediately back to his dorm.
He promised. So. He's gotta suck it up. And he will.
So he shows up maybe 15 minutes earlier than they'd planned. Isaac is riding shotgun, but he gets out of the car and rockets up the stairs to get to Derek's place.
Stiles collects himself much more slowly and carefully picks up the valentine. He holds it at arms length. "Okay," he says, still sitting behind the driver's seat. "Let's do this."
Still, his heart is beating in his throat as he knocks on Derek's door and Isaac let's him in. "C'mon," Isaac says, pulling him in. "He'll like it. Stop being stupid."
Stiles kicks Isaac and walks around him to find Derek sitting on the couch, blank faced. "I got you this," he blurts, holding out the card.
Derek stands to take at as Isaac corrects, "He made you this." Derek opens the card with hardly a glance at Isaac, and his face does this weird twitch thing as he sees it. He looks up at Stiles almost shyly. "No 'Sparkly McBroodikins'?"
Stiles shrugs nervously. "On further reflection, I figured that didn't really fit you."
"But hearts and roses do," he deadpans.
"Yeah," Stiles says.
Derek smiles. "Thanks." He leaves the room to set the card down in his bedroom, and Stiles thinks that maybe, just maybe, he should get over his laziness and figure these feelings out.
It might be worth it.
Disclaimer: I don't own Teen Wolf or anything else mentioned, really.
A/N: Holla! You can check out the cards with the link on my profile named after this story! (Also feel free to follow me on Pinterest.)