a/n: super important info at the end notes, guys!


"I take it that if you're calling me, it means everything's done?"

"Yep. I just got done putting the finishing touches and locking everything up."

"Good. I'll give him all the paperwork two days from now and you can take it from there."

Stiles smiles, stomach flipping as he thinks about what kind of reaction Derek's gonna have to what they're both doing.

"Thanks, Peter. For letting me do this. And for helping."

"Anything for my favorite nephew," Peter answers, voice crackling over the receiver. "But even if he wasn't, he deserves it. And he's lucky to have someone like you with him."

"I think it's the other way around, actually," Stiles admits softly, knowing he's about the luckiest person in the world to have Derek want him.

"And that just proves I'm right, once again," Peter says, smirk evident on his voice only to vanish a second later when Stiles hears the faint sound of another phone ringing. "Now I'm afraid business calls, we'll talk later. Goodbye, Stiles. Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas!" Stiles says before he ends the call, pocketing his phone.

Derek has no idea what's waiting for him.

And Stiles hopes to fuck he likes it.


"I think it makes me feel a little better knowing I'm not the only one to fall victim to Lydia's decoration schemes."

Stiles grins at Derek's comment and the dig at having Lydia invite herself over to Derek's place three days after he moved in to decorate it for Christmas, eyes sweeping over Jackson's apartment.

It looks right out of Winter Wonderland, with white lights and twinkling stars and fake snow covering the ground around his huge Christmas tree.

"In his case it's not really falling victim as it is surrendering before she even starts," Stiles explains. "He's been dealing with her for longer than I have, and by now he just gives her his keys and goes to a hotel for a couple of days and comes back when she says she's done."

Derek shakes his head, lips thinning.

Stiles' smile widens.

"You're totally feeling his pain right now, aren't you?"

Derek gives him a look that's pure yes, I am, bumping their elbows together before asking, "Where are we supposed to leave the presents?"

Before Stiles can open his mouth to answer Lydia interrupts, looking appreciatively down at the bags Stiles and Derek are holding.

"You can leave all Secret Santa gifts around the Christmas tree on the floor where there's no snow," Lydia tells them, pointing a finger behind her. "The rest you can put on top of the glass table beside it and we'll sort them later."

Stiles and Derek both nod at her, stopping to give her quick kisses hello before stepping further into the living room.

They're the first ones there, not having to worry about gift piles collapsing or things breaking or presents falling behind the tree and running the risk of being forgotten as they set everything down.

"Where's Jackson?" Stiles as he unzips his coat and unwraps his scarf, taking Derek's own clothes and hanging them by the door.

"He's in his bedroom doing something with his hair or his face or his clothes," Lydia waves a dismissive hand. "I don't know, I don't care. But I'll make sure he knows what a terrible host he's being."

"And yet I don't see you offering them any drinks," Jackson says, glaring at her.

Lydia glares back.

"You know what?" Stiles says, clapping his hands together. "I think Derek and I can get our own drinks."

"Shut up and sit down," both Lydia and Jackson snap at him, making Stiles take back a step.

Derek just blinks at all of them and wraps a hand around Stiles' wrist, dragging him to one of the couches and obediently taking a seat.

Stiles thinks it must say something about what kind of people Laura and Cora must have been growing up that Derek knows exactly what to do to mollify this kind of behavior.

You know, judging by the way Jackson and Lydia are starting to look pleased in a creepy way but like all is well once again.

"Now, what would you like to drink?" Jackson asks, looking at them expectantly.

Stiles makes an executive decision and keeps his mouth shut, letting Derek speak for both of them.

It's not until Jackson comes back with eggnog and him and Lydia excuse themselves to make sure everything is where and how it should be for Secret Santa to be a success that Stiles decides it's safe to speak again.

"Well, that wasn't terrifying at all."

"And I bet you're regretting not letting me blow you before we left," Derek says nonchalantly, taking a sip of his drink.

Stiles meeps.

And then mutters under his breath, "I didn't want to be late again."

Derek just stares at him, face completely blank except for the way his eyebrows twitch in a way that clearly tells Stiles and look where that got us.

Stiles makes a face at him.

And is saved from having to think about his terrible life choices when the doorbell rings again, Lydia and Jackson racing from opposite ends of the apartment to see who gets to the door first.

Jackson wins.

But only because he lifts one end of the rug and Lydia gets her foot stuck under it.

"Oh man," Stiles' eyes widen as he takes in the murderous look on Lydia's face. "She's going to poison his drink."

"This is going to be a long night, isn't it?" Derek sighs, twisting his head to Stiles.

Stiles nods, "One that's gonna end with all of us being accomplices to murder."

Derek shrugs, "My mom will bail us out."

"I don't know. She looks like the kind of person who'd let you spend a night in jail if she thought that'd teach you a lesson," Stiles blinks, and then adds, "Kind of like my dad."

Derek doesn't have the chance to say anything to that, since Lydia is calling out their names and for them to help with the food.

"You could have asked me to drive you," Derek says as he takes one cupcake box from Boyd's arms, bending down to kiss Erica on the cheek.

"And have you and Stiles eat half of these before we got here?" Boyd shakes his head. "I don't think so."

"We wouldn't have," Stiles gasps, all mock offense, only to slump his shoulders when Erica, Boyd, Lydia, and Jackson raise their eyebrows at him. "Yeah, we would have."

"Come on," Lydia says, ushering everyone inside and into the kitchen. "We need to get these ready before the rest gets here."

Erica puts down their gift bags beside Stiles and Derek's before they set about taking the cupcakes, brownies, and cookies out of the boxes and arranging them into trays and plates, Lydia walking around them and overseeing everything. It doesn't take long until she states they have enough food out and shows Boyd were to keep the rest, grabbing drinks for him and Erica before they all move to the living room again.

It doesn't take long after that for the rest of their friends to arrive, the pile of gifts around the tree getting bigger and bigger by the minute, Cora and Isaac being the last ones inside and apologizing for being late.

"It's okay," Laura sighs. "We figured at least one couple will always be late because they were too busy having sex to get here on time."

She looks pointedly at Stiles and Derek at that.

Stiles ducks his head down and blushes.

Derek glares at her and the tips of his ears turn pink.

Isaac and Cora just shrug like she has a point before saying hello to everyone and sitting down.

In a contrast to everything they've done so far, dinner that night ends up being frozen pizza, no one wanting to either cook or order takeout for once in their lives.

Lydia doesn't seem too put out by that fact - something Stiles thinks has a lot to do with Boyd's sweets -, Allison explaining at Derek's look of confusion that that's what they used to do back when they were interns and had to spend Christmas Eve working.

"We'd also steal some jello cups from the nurses," Allison says, smiling a little. "And add that to the bottle of vodka Lydia kept in her locker and it was like we were home."

Stiles presses his lips together, trying not to laugh, "You miss getting drunk, don't you?"

"Do you have any idea how many wine bottles we have in our house, Stiles?" Allison says in a hissed whisper, nails biting into Stiles' arm when she grabs him. "A lot. And Scott won't even let me get anywhere near them because it's not good for the baby. I'm a doctor. I think I know how to take care of myself."

Stiles blinks at her, startled.

And also having no idea what to say.

Because it's not everyday he gets faced with an angry Allison, and that sight is so unusual he doesn't really know how to deal with it.

Luckily, he has Derek.

Derek, who's sitting right next to him, and lays a comforting hand on the one Allison is using to cut off the circulation on Stiles' arm.

"We know that," Derek says, tone calm. "But you know how first-time dads are. Remember when you told me about the one who kept screaming at the doctors to go boil water and bring heated towels when his wife went into labor? He was just trying to take care of her, like Scott is trying to take care of you. It doesn't mean it makes any sense or he's going about it the right way, but that's what he's trying to do to keep you both safe and healthy."

Allison looks at him for a long time before letting go of Stiles' arm and sighing, "You're right. I'm sorry. It's just- I-"

"You don't need it," Derek offers.

Allison nods, lips turning up.

Stiles looks from Derek to Allison and back again and tries not to cry at the way they talk to each other, at seeing their friendship and understanding of each other in action.

"You know, just wait," Stiles says, smiling softly at Allison. "Knowing Scott, if he's like this now? You know he's totally going to be on top of everything after the baby is born. You're probably gonna have to fight him to be able to change dirty diapers and get up in the middle of the night when the baby starts crying."

Allison laughs and groans at that, eyes glinting as she glances at Scott talking to Isaac, smiling goofily and gesturing with his hands, and then back down atbarely there baby bump.

"God, I'll really have to fight him, won't I?"

"Absolutely," Stiles nods, and then adds, "And there's a good chance you'll have to fight me too, because I know there's no way I'm gonna be able to resist a baby with your dimples and Scott's puppy eyes."

Allison rolls her eyes before turning to Derek, "My kid is going to be a spoiled brat, aren't they?"

Derek shakes his head, face turning serious and eyes intense in a way it means that whatever he's about to say it's probably going to be like a punch to all of their guts.

And by probably Stiles means certainly, when Derek opens his mouth and says, "They're going to be loved."

The flash of pain in Allison's eyes almost makes Stiles' heart stop, the weight of what happened to her and Derek hanging between them as those words.

"Yes," Allison whispers, swallowing hard before giving them a shaky but happy smile. "They are."

Derek squeezes her hand before letting go, Stiles snatching Derek's hand up with his, lacing their fingers together.

Sometimes he just can't with how amazing Derek is.

It physically pains him to witness it.

Which is why the first thing he does when Allison gets called away by Lydia to try one of Boyd's Santa cookies is to cup Derek's face between his hands and bring their lips together, kissing Derek slowly and deep and sweet before pulling back just a fraction and whispering, "You're so fucking amazing, did you know that?"

Stiles laughs breathlessly and kisses him again at how embarrassed Derek looks at hearing that, like he still can't quite believe Stiles' words, still can't quite wrap his mind around someone thinking that much of him.

Stiles vows then and there to spend the rest of his life showing Derek just how true that is, no matter what it takes.

As long as Derek is okay with keeping him around that long.

He only pulls back when he hears someone clearing their throat, breaking the kiss to look around and see everyone staring back at them.

"Not that I don't love seeing Derek happy," Erica says, a small smile gracing her lips. "But can we open the presents now?"

Derek's blush deepens at that, making him all the more adorable as he tries not to show how much Erica's words about seeing him happy affect him.

Stiles has to kiss him again for that one.

"If Stiles can manage a few minutes without kissing Derek," Lydia arches an eyebrow at him.

Stiles doesn't have it in him to feel sorry about anything right now.

He's too happy.

Too in love.

Derek Hale has officially turned Stiles brain into mush.

"It'll be difficult," Stiles sniffs. "But I think I can make the sacrifice. That is, if Derek thinks he can go without kisses for a while."

"He can," Cora, Laura, Boyd, Scott, and Jackson say all at the same time.

Stiles makes a face at them.

Derek just ducks his head and kind of looks like he'd rather be anywhere but there, right now.

He still mumbles an, "I'll manage," though.

Erica and Allison don't even try to hide their delighted smiles.

"Thank you," Danny says dryly, dimples showing. "We appreciate it."

Stiles rolls his eyes at that before turning and gesturing to Lydia, "Lydia, the room is all yours."

Lydia purses her lips together as if trying to decide whether she wants to smile at him or yell at him, settling for shaking her head minutely before telling Jackson to start handing out presents.

Scott is the one to suggest they all open their gifts at the same time, looking meaningfully from Allison down to her stomach and up to the clock hanging on the wall behind them.

"I won't fall asleep in the middle of Secret Santa, Scott," Allison says, lips thin.

And it seems like not letting Allison anywhere near alcohol bottles is not the only thing Scott's been doing that's getting on her nerves.

"Allison," Scott starts, his tone clearly meaning he doesn't agree.

Allison's eyes narrow into slits.

"He doesn't think you'll fall asleep," Jackson is the one who breaks the tense silence, sounding bored. And also a bit peeved. "Scott just wants to get out of clean up duty."

Stiles takes that out faster than Scott can open his mouth to say he has no idea what the fuck Jackson's talking about, twisting his face into an expression of hurt and if you argue me over this I swear to god I'll tell everyone you were the one who threw up inside Lydia's bag at Jackson's birthday three years ago.

"Dude, not cool."

Scott looks conflicted, but after taking one look at the still pissed off Allison staring at him, he scratches the back of his neck and shrugs.

"I'm sorry," Scott says, surprising Stiles a little by sounding like he actually means it. "But you know how I feel about touching Jackson's dirty dishes."

"Oh my god," Danny huffs, helping them out. "It's not like you're washing his underwear."

The horrified look on Scott's face and the way he whines a, "Now you made be think about it," is what sells it, though, finally making Allison not look like she's about to strangle Scott with her bare hands.

But that doesn't stop her from threatening to demote him to the couch if he ever so much as thinks about using her pregnancy as a way to get out of doing something ever again.

Scott deflates.

And agrees.

And then glares at Stiles and Jackson until he gets distracted by Ethan telling them to stop with the theatrics because he wants to open presents already.

"What?" he shrugs when everyone turns to look at him. "I want to see if my Secret Santa likes what I got them."

"I'm sure they will," Danny says dutifully, kissing Ethan's nose when Ethan makes a face at him.

"Alright," Lydia claps her hands together. "On the count of three."

Scott tears his wrapping paper when Lydia gets to number two, the others falling behind like Scott being impatient was all they were waiting for.

Boyd is the first one to let out a whistle as he uncovers a new set of kitchen knives, Cora muttering a fuck me under her breath as an expensive bottle of scotch comes into view, Danny laughing at something that looks a lot like the vouchers Stiles bought Lydia, Jackson, and Laura.

Only, by the way Danny's cheeks turn pink, Stiles figures it's not really a gift card to a day in a spa.

Which is confirmed when Danny catches his eye and turns the voucher to him, Stiles reading things like yoga retreat and gay vacations and-

Okay, he stops reading when his eyes skim over the word naked.

Scott practically jumps from the couch when he gets his hands on a new helmet, while Jackson makes an appreciative noise as he unfolds a light gray v-neck cashmere sweater, and Lydia looks extremely pleased when she smiles down a necklace with what looks like an anatomically correct heart and black card with silver writing across it.

Ethan's entire face turns red when he gets the same voucher from his boyfriend, Erica gasps when her eyes fall to a pair of black leather stiletto boots, Allison awing at a Generation Kill boxset and cooing at a Max Where the Wild Things Are baby onesie.

Isaac looks down in awe at the three miniature motorcycles made out of watch parts setting in a glass box, and Laura squeals when she sees the long-sleeved tight red dress her Secret Santa got her.

Only to frown in confusion as she grabs the green post-it note stuck to it with a number written on it in black sharpie.

"What the fuck is this?"

"That is your soon-to-be-date's number," Lydia offers, flipping her hair over her shoulder.

Laura blinks.

And asks again, "What the fuck is this?"

Lydia purses her lips together before saying, "One of my colleagues saw pictures of us together on my Facebook page and asked me if you were single, and if that was the case if maybe you'd be interested in giving him a call."

Laura raises an eyebrow, leaning forward. "Am I interested?"

"Oh," Lydia nods. "You are very interested."

This time Laura squeals for an entirely different reason, Stiles grinning and winking at her when she catches Stiles' eye.

"Did you already open your present?" she asks him, grinning right back.

"I'm your Secret Santa?" Stiles startles, looking down at the gift in his lap with new interest.

And also a little touch of fear, because you never know what you're going to get with Laura.

What he does know is that never in a million years he'd expect this.

Mostly because he doesn't really understand why Laura would give him a framed picture of him and Derek on Halloween.

A picture of him and Derek where Stiles has his arms trapped between their chests, fingers playing with the button's of Derek's chef coat, one of Derek's hands resting on his hips while the other cups his jaw, thumb tracing one of the whiskers drawn on his cheek, their faces so close their noses are almost touching.

They're both staring at each other.

And they're both smiling.

Not huge a huge smile, but a soft one, a small one, a private one where their lips barely curl up but their eyes crinkle at the corners and they shine with warmth and happiness and affection.

Stiles understands why someone would snap of picture of them like this, why they would want to hold on to a moment like this.

And okay, that maybe answers his question about why Laura would give him something like this.

Because his own stomach flips and his breath hitches and his heart speeds up as he traces the edge of the frame with his fingers, as he notices the emotions on his face are the same ones reflected back on Derek's.

He has to swallow twice before he manages to say anything, and even then his voice cracks, "Laura?"

The conversations stop and everyone turns to look at him, realizing this is not just a regular gift, that this means something, that this is important.

"Derek told me he told you about the wall. At the bar. How it all started because our dad-," Laura's voice weavers, and she takes a deep breath before continuing. "He told me he said he'd like for you to have your picture up there, one day."

"We had a vote," Cora pipes up, giving Stiles one of the first genuines smiles he's seen from her since they met. "Because we don't let every loser with a pretty face we meet have their picture up there."

"It's a pretty big responsibility," Isaac tells him, twirling a strand of Cora's hair between his fingers. "You have to make sure you take new pictures often to keep the wall updated."

"And that none of those pictures include anyone being naked or doing something that could possibly be considered incriminating," Erica adds.

"You also have no choice in the matter," Boyd shrugs. "Once the Hales want you there, there's no way out."

"So as the oldest Hale sitting here today, I formally invite you to stop by the bar any time between the 26th and New Years Eve to hang that on our wall," Laura says, and then tilts his head at Boyd. "And like he said, once you do that there are no take backsies."

Stiles doesn't know what to say.

"I don't know what to say."

It's then that he feels it, Derek shifting so he's sitting closer to Stiles, their sides touching, his breath ghosting over the shell of Stiles' ear as he whispers, "Say yes."

Their noses bump when Stiles turns to him, and seeing Derek staring back at him with his eyes bright and cheeks flushed and something Stiles is pretty sure is love in his gaze is like getting punched in the gut.

With feelings.

And by that he mans feelings of love.

All directed at Derek.

Not that that's any news to Stiles, being in love with the guy and all, but the intensity of it and Derek maybe possibly oh god please be true feeling the same way and having them do this on front of basically everyone they know and love on top of it is kind of a surprise.

Not enough to make him not answer, but still.

"Okay," Stiles says, cheeks hurting from smiling so wide. "I accept."

He's too busy being blinding by Derek's answering smile and then Derek's lips against his to really hear all the applause and laughter.

Or to see the smug look on Laura's face for basically getting him the best Secret Santa gift that ever was.

When Stiles pulls back is to nudge Derek's nose with his own, looking down at the half-unwrapped present on Derek's lap.

"This makes my Secret Santa gift to you look kind of lame," Stiles muses out loud. "But hopefully your Christmas present will make it up for it."

"Of course I'm your Secret Santa," Derek huffs, still smiling.

Stiles leans in and whispers conspiratorially, "I think Lydia might have done that on purpose."

Derek gives him a look that says you think? before going back to his present, the curious tilt of his eyebrows turning into an extremely pleased one when he sees what Stiles bought.

And that kind of makes Stiles want to fall over himself, because he knows the jacket is not much. Sure, the other one Derek has is a bit on the old and battered side, but in comparison to what he just got this is kind of like gifting Derek with socks.

But Derek still looks and smiles at it like it's the best thing he's ever laid eyes on.

Which, coming to think about it…

"There's an inside pocket on the left side," Stiles says, voice low. "You should check it. You know, maybe. There might be something extra there for you."

"That something is nothing inappropriate, is it?"

Stiles gasps, all mock offense.

Even though that sounds exactly like something he would do.

"It isn't," Stiles says, bumping their knees together. "I promise."

Derek looks at him for a few beats more before figuring out Stiles is telling the truth, Stiles holding on to his picture frame in a white-knuckled grip as he sees Derek sticking his fingers into the pocket.

And he knows the exact moment Derek finds what Stiles put it there, with the way his entire body goes stock still and his eyes widen, throat working as he swallows.

When Derek pulls his hand back is to have a keychain dangling from his fingers, a silver rabbit head charm hanging from one side and a set of keys from the other.

"Is this…?" Derek trails off, eyes never moving from the keys.

"Yep," Stiles says, still feeling a little nervous. "I thought, since I'm keeping yours, you could keep mine, too."

Derek's answer to that is to lift his hips only up enough so he can slide his new keychain into his pocket, and then getting a hand on the back of Stiles' neck so he can tug him forward and kiss him.

"Thanks, Bunny."

"No thanks needed, baby," Stiles kisses him once again, before rubbing their noses together and pulling back. "So we know I got Derek, Laura got me, and Lydia got Laura, but what about the rest of you?"

"I got Cora," Allison raises a hand, smiling sweetly when Cora looks at her in clear surprise and mumbles out a thank you for her present before saying, "And I got Ethan."

"Boyd," Scott says, puffing his chest out. "And I didn't even need help picking out what to get for him."

Boyd gives Scott one of his rare smiles before turning to Lydia, "You already figured out I got you."

Lydia nods, "Thank you for the free cocktails."

"Free cocktails?" Jackson snaps to attention. "You got her free cocktails?"

"She works hard," Boyd shrugs, and then adds, "And she deserves it."

Lydia is the one looking proud of herself now, "Thank you, Boyd."

"Don't mention it."

"Well, I got Danny," Erica wiggles her eyebrows, because of course she did.

"And I got Isaac," Danny says, ducking his head when Isaac turns to him with eyes filled with so much gratefulness it's a little hard to take.

"I got Scott," Isaac tells them, looking tentative.

"Dude," Scott says, getting up to give him a hug. "Thank you."

"I got Jackson," Ethan says. "And I also didn't have help."

Jackson looks kind of impressed at that, begrudgingly giving Ethan a pat on the back, thanking him for the gift, and telling him he has good taste.

"Of course he does," Danny snorts. "He's dating me."

Jackson blinks at that, tilting his head to the side. "I don't really have an argument against that."

"Just admit you don't hate Ethan and let's move on," Lydia huffs, poking Jackson on the ribs.

"I don't hate you," Jackson tells Ethan, and then narrows his eyes. "But that doesn't mean I won't hurt you if you hurt my best friend."

"You know I wouldn't do that," Ethan says, all seriousness.

Jackson nods once, satisfied, before saying, "I got Erica."

"And for that, you're my favorite," Erica grins at him, offering Jackson a closed fist.

Jackson fist bumps her.

Stiles can't believe his eyes.

"So that means…," Allison trails off, eyes sweeping over the room before they fall on Derek and she breaks into a smile. "Derek got me."

Derek tips his chin down in acknowledgement, and Allison doesn't think twice before getting up and pulling Derek into a tight hug, kissing his cheek and thanking him for the gifts before sitting down again.

"Can we talk about the other gifts now?" Cora pipes up, eyeing the gift pile on top of the table with open interest.

And maybe a little bit of greed.

"Those we take home with us and unwrap them tomorrow," Stiles tells her, snuggling closer to Derek's side. "They're Christmas gifts, not Secret Santa ones."

"So what you're saying is that spending Christmas with you guys means double the material things the holiday is not supposed to be about?" Boyd raises an eyebrow at him.

Stiles shrugs, "Pretty much, yeah."

"Fuck yeah," both Cora and Erica say at the same time, getting up and wasting no time in searching for the presents with their names on them.

They all spend the last few hours of Christmas Eve talking and drinking and laughing and stuffing their faces with the rest of Boyd's baked goods, Stiles getting warmer and sleepier the closer to midnight it gets.

This is one of the best Christmas Eves he's had in a while, made it all better by having Derek by his side, laughing and talking and for once not seeming to care about what people might be thinking of him.

And it hits Stiles that this is the first time he's seen Derek truly comfortable around their friends, the hesitancy and awkwardness that used to color his actions and words vanishing completely as the night wears on.

And it makes his heart swell knowing that that's happening because Derek doesn't feel the need to have his guard up around them, that he trusts them to at least let himself relax and enjoy what's going on around him, that he doesn't feel like he has to meet anyone's expectations of him.

And it turns everything even sweeter than it already is when midnight hits and it is to him that Derek turns first, happiness evident on his face, his lips brushing against Stiles' when he says, "Merry Christmas, Bunny."

"Merry Christmas, baby," Stiles says, closing the distance between them.

Merry fucking Christmas.


From: Peter

Stiles, Derek is already aware of what my Christmas present to him is. I hope everything goes well when you give him yours. - Peter

From: Peter

P.S.: Don't have sex in the office.


"So you gave him a key to your place, huh?"

Stiles' head snaps up so fast he almost slides off the couch, bracing himself in the last minute by grabbing at one of the cushions.

"How can you know that?" Stiles gapes at his dad. "That only happened yesterday. You're not that good of a Sheriff."

His dad gives him an unimpressed look and says, tone dry, "Thank you."

Stiles wrinkles his nose, "You know that's not what I meant. Just- How can you know that?"

"You are aware that I am dating your best friend's mother," the Sheriff looks at him pointedly, watching as understanding downs in Stiles. "There you go."

"God, Scott's worse than your deputies," Stiles grumbles. "And Mrs. McCall's nurses."

"I'll make sure to tell them you say that," his dad presses his lips together, trying not to laugh.

Stiles glares at him.

And then sighs and ducks his head, cheeks flushing when he says, "I bet Scott didn't tell you Derek gave me a key to his place first."

"Really?" his dad's eyebrows go up to his hairline.

"Really," Stiles can't really help the little soft smile that appears on his face as he remembers that night, remembers all that Derek said to him.

His dad makes a thoughtful sound in the back of his throat, face blank when he asks, "But you didn't gave him your key just because he gave you his first, right?"

Stiles sputters, not really believing what he's hearing. "Did I- You- What?"

"I'm just saying, kid. This is not something you do-"

"Lightly, I know," Stiles shakes his head at his dad. "I know, dad. And I didn't- It wasn't because I felt like I had to give him something back. I wanted him to have it. I want him to have it."

His dad stares at him for a really long time, and whatever he must see on Stiles face - Stiles is thinking indignation and disbelief that he'd ever do something like that to a person and maybe even a little bit of hurt - must give him the answer he's looking for, because next thing Stiles knows his dad has a hand squeezing resting on Stiles' shoulder, squeezing tight.

"I'm happy for you, Stiles," the Sheriff says, eyes crinkling at the corners when he smiles. "And you should bring Derek over more often. We can't let him get too comfortable and forget just who his boyfriend's father is."

"Oh my god," Stiles groans, burying his face in his hands. "You're the worst."

"I hope Derek thinks so too," the Sheriff smirks at him, laughing when Stiles glances helplessly at him.

"You know what?" Stiles says loudly, getting up. "I'm gonna go take a nap. In my old room. Far far away from you."

"There isn't a place far away enough from me that will make me anything less than your father," his dad says, tone serious. "That commitment is forever, son."

Stiles stares.

The Sheriff's lips twitch.

And Stiles throws his arms up and says, "The absolute worst."

He hears his father's laughter all the way to his room.

And that what he's still hearing in his mind when he makes the drive from his dad's house to the cemetery before stopping by Derek's, thinking of memories of a long time ago when his mom was alive and the one to make his dad laugh like that.

Stiles always comes visit his mom's grave on Christmas Day.

He used to do it every month when he was a teenager, but growing up and becoming an EMT kind of took up a lot of his time, so now he always makes sure to stop by at least on her birthday, the anniversary of her death, and on her favorite holiday.

And no matter how many years have passed, his heart still hurts when he sees her name written in stone.

And his voice still cracks when he says, "Merry Christmas, mom. I'm still missing you," buries his hands in his pocket, tells her about his life, and wishes she was here.

But it gets a little bit easier every time to say goodbye and go back to his car, the pain not as sharp as it used to be, the tears stopping almost as soon as they start.

And Stiles is already back to his normal self by the time he gets to Derek, sending him a quick text letting him know it's okay to come down.

And then he starts freaking out when he sees Derek step outside the building because he has no idea how Derek's going to deal with his Christmas present.

Especially when he climbs into the car and doesn't really meet Stiles' eyes, expression distracted and a little dazed.

"Baby?" Stiles asks, biting down on his bottom lip as he twists in his seat to look at him.

Derek turns his head slowly to face him.

He still doesn't say anything.

And Stiles wonders if this is his reaction to Peter's present for him or if something else happened in the mean time that he has no idea about.

But all of his questions are answered when Derek opens his mouth and says, voice faint and incredulous, "Peter gave me the garage for Christmas."

"He did?" Stiles asks, trying to sound surprised and happy and failing spectacularly when Derek snaps out of whatever zone he is in and narrows his eyes at Stiles.

"You knew," he says.

"No, I did not know he was going to do that," Stiles shakes his head. "Nope. Not me."

"My mom knew," Derek starts. "Laura and Cora knew. Isaac, Boyd, and Erica knew."

Well, that's not so bad.

"You knew," Derek says again, eyes locked on Stiles' face.

"I knew," Stiles admits, looking sheepish. "He needed my help with something. The only reason I didn't tell you about it was because he asked me to keep it a secret."

That's not exactly a lie, per se.

Peter did call him telling him about his idea to pass the Beacon Hills Hale garage to Derek's name, and he did ask Stiles to keep it a secret, but it was more like Stiles needed his help with something than the other way around.

Not that Derek needs to know that just now.

"Peter gave me the garage for Christmas," Derek says again, swallowing hard.

He doesn't elaborate.

Stiles waits, because he knows sometimes Derek needs a little peace and quiet before he's able to get his words in order and say what's on his mind.

"It was my- It was my dad's," Derek tells him, voice so quiet Stiles almost misses it. "The garage. It was his and my dad's."

Stiles unbuckles his belt and leans forward, taking hold of Derek's hand and squeezing it, feeling how much Peter's gift really means to him.

"And now it's yours," Stiles says the words Derek isn't.

Derek nods, jaw clenching tight, voice wavering when he says, "Now it's mine."

Stiles closes the distance between them and wraps Derek in a hug, holding him as tight as he can, kissing the side of Derek's head when he hears Derek's breath hitch.

"You'll take good care of it," Stiles whispers, carding his fingers through Derek's hair. "I know it. And you'll make your dad even more proud of you than he already is."

Derek's entire body coils tight before he slumps into Stiles like his strings have been cut, and Stiles can feel the wetness against his skin when Derek buries his face in his neck.

That does nothing but make Stiles hug him tighter, pull him closer, hold him until Derek thinks it's okay for him to let go.

But not before Stiles cup Derek's jaw and kisses him, short and sweet, once, twice, three times, and wipes Derek's tears away with the end of his scarf.

"Ready to go see your present?" Stiles asks him, wiggling his eyebrows and trying to lighten the mood.

Not that he thinks that'll last long, considering what he set up for Derek actually is and Derek's reaction to Peter's gift.

He just hopes Derek will like it and won't be mad at him for giving him what he's going to give him.

Please.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out where Stiles is driving them, Derek frowning at him and asking him if he's serious as soon as he figures out where they're going.

But it's not until Stiles parks in front of the garage and they both climb out of the car and stop by the entrance that Stiles speaks.

"So remember when I said Peter needed my help with something and that's why he told me about what he was going to do?"

"Yes, Stiles, I remember," Derek raises an eyebrow at him. "You told me that not twenty minutes ago."

"Yeah, well," Stiles huffs. "Peter didn't really need my help."

Derek tilts his head to the side in silent question.

"I needed his help," Stiles explains. "To set up your Christmas present."

"Okay," Derek says slowly, and Stiles can tell he's not really following. "What is it?"

Stiles gulps, grabbing the keys Peter gave him and not answering Derek's question, unlocking the door and ushering them inside.

Only to stop just short of what now is going to be Derek's office and saying, "Close your eyes."

Amusement flashes in Derek's eyes before he does as he's told, Stiles taking a deep breath and hoping to fuck Derek likes what he did before opening the door to the office, pulling Derek inside, and hitting the lights.

"You can open them now," Stiles says softly, teeth immediately coming down to bite at his bottom lip when Derek opens his eyes.

Only to have his stomach turn into knots when he sees Derek's shoulders tense, his jaw clench, his hands curl into fists by his side.

Oh fuck.

Oh fuck.

He fucked up.

He fucked up and he went too far and Derek hates this and-

"You did this?" Derek asks, voice low and intense in a way Stiles doesn't know whether to go to him or get the fuck out.

"I'm so-"

"You did this for me?" Derek interrupts him, finally turning his head back to look at Stiles.

And-

And Derek doesn't look pissed.

He looks-

He looks floored.

And wrecked.

And-

"Merry Christmas?" Stiles tries, swallowing hard, eyes raking over the room and settling on the wall behind the office desk.

The wall that's now covered in pictures of Derek and his sisters, Derek and Peter, Derek and his mom, Derek and Isaac, Erica, and Boyd, one with all of them together, a copy of the picture Laura gave Stiles Secret Santa of the two of them together, one of Derek and Allison that was taken in one of their movie nights, a few of all of their friends and Stiles and Derek someone took during dinner.

After Peter called him telling him about what he was doing, Stiles got the idea to recreate the wall at the bar right here, only adding a couple of more photos and making it specific to Derek instead of the entire Hale family.

When he told Peter about it, Peter wasted no time in contacting the rest of the family and their friends to get them to help by giving Stiles copies of pictures they thought Derek would like for him to look through and frame. Talia was the biggest help of all, though, after hugging Stiles tight and telling him just how much she thought what he was doing was a good thing and how thankful she was to have him do it.

The picture she gave him sits smack in the middle of all the others, in a fancier frame than the rest to get people's attention that this is what all of this is about.

It shows Derek around four or five years old on a man's hip, one of his little arms wrapped around the man's neck and the other raised in a wave aimed to whoever is taking the picture, a big smile on his face, his skinny and scraped knees sticking out from the shorts he's wearing.

Stiles almost wanted to die from how fucking cute Derek was as a kid when he first saw that picture, and he almost wants to die right now that he sees it again.

The man holding Derek up is looking down at him and smiling a smile just as big as Derek's, mouth opened as if saying something, one finger pointing to the camera.

They're standing in front of what was the Hale garage front over thirty years ago and they both have oil staining their cheeks and shirts.

It always surprises Stiles how much Derek takes after his dad.

"This-," Derek starts, stops, takes a few steps forward and reaches out a hand, fingers hovering over his dad's face. "I'm- He didn't really get dirty."

Stiles blinks, opens and closes his mouth without really knowing what to say before he settles for a simple, "What?"

"He didn't really get dirty," Derek repeats, a small and sad smile on his lips. "He was used to dealing with cars so he knew how to keep the mess to a minimal. But to me, being a mechanic was supposed to be exactly that. Messy. Like you see on tv. With the sweat and stained clothes and oil stains on your skin. So he gave that to me. He made that happen."

Stiles steps closer, a hand coming to rest on Derek's shoulder, squeezing.

He's not expecting Derek to turn around and hug him, though, making a noise of surprise as he wraps his arms around Derek's neck and tries to keep his balance.

"I've heard this a lot from you," Derek says, voice muffled by Stiles' clothes. "But I don't think I've ever said it back."

"Said what?" Stiles asks quietly, running his fingers through Derek's hair.

Derek twists his head to the side, kissing the moles on Stiles' cheek, the tip of his nose, the corner of his mouth, "That you're amazing, too."

Stiles swallows hard, shrugs one shoulder, doesn't try to keep himself from smiling when he says, "Well, duh."

Derek huffs out a laugh and kisses him, arms tightening around Stiles' waist as he dips them down before bringing them back up, cheeks flushed and eyes warm when he pulls back to stare at Stiles.

And then-

"I love you," Derek says, between a breath and the next, right against Stiles' lips.

And Stiles-

Well.

Stiles thinks this is not as hard or as nerve wrecking as he thought it was going to be.

It's mostly just-

Well.

It's kind of hard to miss, really, with the way Derek is looking at him.

And holding him like he never wants to let go.

And smiling softly as he watches the emotions flash over Stiles' face.

From the surprise of Derek uttering those words to the understanding that this is where they were heading to from the moment they met and to the happiness of finally admitting their feelings for each other out loud.

Or at least Derek admitting his feelings for Stiles.

So far.

Because Stiles-

Well.

"I know," is what he says with a blinding smile, eyes crinkling, cheeks flushing.

Only to have Derek kiss him like that's all he ever wants to do, even after their teeth clink together from both of them being way too busy smiling.

And then say, all fondness, "Of course you'd Han Solo me."

Of course.

Stiles would never miss an opportunity like that.

Especially not with Derek.

Who loves him.

Just like Stiles loves him back.

Stiles giggles, not being able to contain the joy spreading through him.

And then his expression turns serious, eyes intense, hands coming up to cup Derek's face as he leans in and finally speaks those three little words he's been wanting to say since Derek walked into his life and turned his entire world upside down, "I love you."

"I know," Derek says with a smile, because of course he would, and then glancing at the picture of him and his dad. "Kind of hard to miss after all of that."

"I'm glad you liked it," Stiles mutters, rubbing their noses together. "I didn't want to screw this up for you. The tradition."

"You didn't," Derek shakes his head, hugging Stiles tighter to him, voice low. "You didn't screw up. You did the opposite. It- This- You brought a little piece of him back. By giving this to me. Not the other way around," Derek kisses him sweetly, "I'll never be able to thank you enough for that."

Stiles sucks in a breath and rests their foreheads together, lips forming a shaky smile when he says, "You don't have to. I know- I understand. How it's like. So I'm happy I was able to give that to you."

Derek pulls back and gives him a long and heavy look before his eyes soften and he nods, and then he's leaning in again and they're kissing, Stiles opening up to him as soon as he feels Derek's tongue tracing his bottom lip, letting Derek lick his way into his mouth, his hands coming to rest by the sides of Derek's neck so he can keep him where he is and kiss him deeper.

Only for Derek to turn the kiss into something dirty.

And then move his head down to one of his favorite spots on Stiles' body.

His neck.

Where he promptly starts sucking a mark, teeth worrying at the skin.

"Peter said not to have sex in the office," Stiles gasps, fingers sliding down to curl around the lapels of Derek's coat when Derek starts walking him towards the desk, tugging him closer despite his words.

"Lucky for us," Derek mouths at the bruise, nips at the skin just above it, presses his smirk against Stiles' jaw, "This is not Peter's office anymore."

And, well, Stiles can't really argue with that.


From: Derek

Erica asked me if me being the new boss means she's gonna have to stop sneaking into the office to have phone sex with Boyd whenever she's on her lunch break.

From: Derek

I'll never be able to unhear that, Stiles.

From: Derek

Never.


To say Stiles is on cloud nine would be an understatement.

He's past that.

Way past that.

Into infinity and beyond past that.

He's actually come to the point where he's starting to freak people out by how happy he is all the time.

"You need to stop smiling like that," Danny tells him, glancing at him from the corner of his eye. "You're starting to freak the patients out."

"I don't know what you mean," Stiles says, still smiling.

Danny narrows his eyes at him, "It's creepy, Stiles. And I already had to convince the kid with the fractured wrist that you weren't smiling like that because you thought he was going to die."

Stiles makes a face at Danny.

And sighs.

And then smiles.

"I give up," Danny huffs, shaking his head. "What's got you so happy anyway?"

"Him and Derek finally admitted they love each other," Scott says, all knowing, pulling out a chair and sitting down in front of Danny, right next to Stiles.

Stiles gapes.

And then throws his arms up.

"How the fuck do you know that? I didn't have the time to tell you about it!"

"Ha! I knew it," Scott yells in victory, grinning wide. "And I had no idea if it happened or not, but you just confirmed it."

Stiles gapes.

And then punches Scott in the shoulder.

"Fuck you, Scott."

"Wait," Danny raises a hand, staring at Stiles intently. "When did it happened?"

Stiles tilts his head at him. "Why?"

"Because it's important."

"Why is it important?"

"Because we have a bet going on, Stilinski, and we need to know who gets the money."

Stiles doesn't startled.

He also doesn't stare at Chief Finstock for about a full minute before his brain kicks in and he realizes what he's been told.

"You bet on us?" Stiles shrieks, looking from Danny to Scott to Finstock and back again.

Scott has the grace of looking like he's sorry, scratching the back of his neck when he says, "It was always obvious to us how much you two liked each other. Like, everyone could see it but you two. We were just wondering how long it'd take for the two of you to realized how in love you were. Or are, I guess."

"And then we decided to bet on how long it'd take for you to get your heads out of your asses and admit it to each other," Chief Finstock adds, shrugging when Scott turns to look at him. "He's gonna look right through that anyway, McCall. Better give it to him straight."

Scott purses his lips together but wisely keeps his mouth shut.

Danny looks down at the table and tries not to look guilty.

And Jackson decides that's a good time to walk into the kitchen and flop down on the empty chair beside Danny.

"So, what's going on?"

"Stilinski found out we're taking bets on his love life," Finstock supplies, turning around so he can open the fridge and grab a water bottle.

"Oh," Jackson says, and then looks around. "Who won?"

Stiles presses his lips together.

And narrows his eyes.

And says, "It happened on Christmas Day."

A lot of things happen at once.

Finstock throws his water bottle into the sink and yells, "Goddammit, Stilinski!", glaring at him before stalking out of the kitchen.

Danny curses under his breath and immediately snaps his mouth shut at realizing his mistake.

And Jackson grumbles something about Stiles not even being decent enough to give him this.

Scott is the only one who doesn't say anything.

Who doesn't move.

Who doesn't even look in Stiles' direction.

"How much did you win?" Stiles asks him, tone flat.

Scott winces, "About two hundred dollars?"

Stiles gapes.

"How did you come up with that much money?"

Danny, Jackson, and Scott all share a look.

"Derek's friends might have been on it?"

Stiles looks skyward.

And asks for strength.

And then looks down and narrows his eyes again and tells Scott, "You're giving me half of your winnings."

"Wouldn't have it any other way," Scott says quickly.

"Good," Stiles nods once, satisfied.

Until Jackson asks, "But who won the first move?"

Danny doesn't manage to slap a hand over Jackson's mouth fast enough, giving him a panicked look and hissing, "He didn't know."

"You made another bet?" Stiles asks, disbelieving.

He doesn't know why.

He should have been expecting something like this from them.

"No?" Scott stares at him with wide eyes.

Stiles sighs.

"If I say Derek, who's the winner?"

No one says anything, but Danny and Jackson both turn to Scott.

"Are you fucking kidding me?"

"It wasn't me!" Scott explodes. "Allison was the one who bet on Derek!"

Stiles takes a second to feel his heart warm at that, only to point a finger at Scott and say, "Tell Allison Derek's getting half of that money or else."

"Are you really threatening Allison?" Scott raises an eyebrow at him.

"I don't know," Stiles pretends to think about it. "Did you really bet on mine and Derek's relationship?"

Scott clamps his mouth shut.

And then says, tone serious, "I'll tell her."

"You do that," Stiles sniffs. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go call Derek and tell him all about what horrible people our friends are."

Danny mouths an I'm sorry when Stiles gets up, Jackson doing the same after Scott kicks him in the chin.

Stiles ignores them.

And thinks about letting them think on what they did and drown in guilt for another day before he forgives them.

Derek answers on the third ring, and Stiles doesn't even let him get a proper hey out before he's talking.

"Did you know all of your friends made a bet on which one of us would say I love you first?"

There's silence.

And then a sigh.

"Who won?"

"Scott," Stiles tells him. "And Allison won the one on who'd be the first one to say it."

Silence again, this time longer.

And then Derek's voice, teasing, like he's choosing to let this one go and not worry about it when he says, "And how much money arewe making out of making them feel guilty about it?"

Stiles laughs, "A man after my own heart."

"I think I already have it," Derek mutters, and Stiles' stomach flips.

"Yeah," Stiles says softly. "You do."


To: Derek

i've decided i'll be adding my picture to the wall on new years eve

To: Derek

with everyone there

To: Derek

so we can celebrate

To: Derek

together

To: Derek

like a family

To: Derek

if that's okay with you

From: Derek

That's more than okay with me.


"You know you're invited, right?"

"Of course I know that," Stiles' dad huffs. "Talia came by the station to tell me herself."

Stiles rolls his eyes, even though his dad can't see him, "Alright, good. I was just checking."

"Like I would miss this," his dad mutters. "Really, Stiles."

Stiles rolls his eyes again, even though his heart warms at having his dad say that.

"I'll see you there, then. Derek's been giving me hand signals for the last two minutes trying to tell me to hang up."

Stiles smiles when his dad laughs, only to chuckle lightly when he sees Derek's expression go from incredulous to embarrassed to resigned in about five seconds flat.

"Stop embarrassing him," the Sheriff says, laughter still in his voice. "God knows he already gets enough of that from being around you all the time."

"Hey," Stiles protests, all mock offense.

"Melissa and I will see you in a few, okay?"

"Alright, dad. Love you."

"Love you too, son. Bye."

Stiles hits the end button and walks up to Derek, a smirk playing on his lips.

Derek stares flatly back at him.

"C'mon, boo," Stiles teases, nudging Derek's nose with his own as his hands fall to Derek's hips. "Don't be angry."

"I can't believe you said that," Derek mutters, crossing his arms over his chest, not giving Stiles an inch.

"If it makes you feel any better," Stiles says, nosing at Derek's cheek. "Dad told me to stop embarrassing you. He says you already get enough of that from being around me all the time."

"You should listen to him," Derek tells him. "He sounds like a man who knows what he's talking about."

"I'll try my best," Stiles says, lips brushing against Derek's stubble. "And are you saying I embarrass you?"

"Yesterday you tried to make me dance with you in the middle of the grocery store when It's My Life came on the speakers."

Stiles shrugs, "And you did."

Derek blushes.

And says, "I don't know why I'm in love with you."

"It's 'cos I make your life not boring," Stiles says, wrapping his arms around Derek's neck.

"I like boring," Derek mutters.

"Lies," Stiles grins, closing the distance between them and catching Derek's lips in a quick kiss. "Now come on, we have important stuff to be doing."

"You're the one who's making us late," Derek points out.

Stiles doesn't bother with a response.

He just buttons his coat, wraps his scarf around his neck, and makes sure he has everything he needs, grabbing Derek's hand in his and dragging him out of the apartment and to Derek's car.

So they can go to Triskele.

To spend New Year's Eve with their friends and family.

And so Stiles can hang his picture on the wall at the bar between those of Derek's friends and family.

Talia is the first one to see them when they get to the bar - that still has Christmas decorations up -, mostly because she's the only one there, coming out from behind the counter to give them both hugs.

Stiles thinks she squeezes him extra hard, considering the way he barely manages to take in a breath before she lets him go in favor of kissing his cheek and flashing them a smile.

"Do you want to wait for everyone to get here?" she asks them, tilting her head in the direction of the wall.

Stiles nods, "It doesn't seem right doing it without all of them present."

Derek's mom gives him a look that she understands exactly what he means, her expression coloring with a bit of sadness before she's all smiles again.

"Come on, then," Talia says. "Let's go get you two some drinks and then you can tell me what you've been up to since the last time we spoke."

"You mean this morning?" Derek asks, cowering when his mother raises an eyebrow at him.

Stiles bites down on his lower lip to hide a smile.

And makes himself comfortable on one of the stools, accepts the beer she hands to him, and proceeds to do exactly as Talia wants him to do, telling her stories about the firehouse and what's been going on in their lives.

Because far it be from him to ever piss her off.

Peter is the second one to make an appearance, smirk firmly in place when he walks through the door, tilting his chin up at Stiles and Derek in acknowledgement before leaning over the counter to kiss Talia on the cheek.

"I've heard from my nephew your present was a success, Stiles," Peter says, eyes glinting.

He sounds like he has an inkling of just how successful it actually was, and Stiles realizes that having Peter help him do this for Derek didn't make him stop thinking the guy is creepy.

Derek must agree, because he says through gritted teeth, "Peter."

"What?" Peter asks, all mock innocence. "I just want to make sure that place will be in good hands after I leave. And it looks like it will be."

"Leave?" Derek frowns.

Stiles doesn't miss the sad look Talia gives Peter, but she doesn't make any moves to say anything or explain.

Peter shrugs.

"I miss New York," he says, in a way that makes Stiles think that what he actually means is I don't like being here. Stiles can't really blame him. "And you and the others have been doing a wonderful job running the garage when I'm not here. So now that the place is in your name, I figured I can go back."

"You don't have to leave," Derek says quietly, lips turned down.

Stiles knows what he wants to say is I don't want you to leave, and he doesn't think twice before reaching out and placing a comforting hand on Derek's thigh.

Peter doesn't miss the gesture, lips twitching up.

"I have a feeling I'll be leaving you in good hands," he says, smirk widening when he sees the tips of Derek's ears turn pink. "Plus, this place isn't as enticing as it used to be. I need to find new people to embarrass, new lives to ruin, new minds to corrupt. You know how it is."

Both Derek and Talia give Peter a look as if it to say yes, we do and they most definitely don't approve. They also look less than excited about the news.

Stiles can't bring himself to feel sad Peter's leaving.

Plus, he has no doubts he'll somehow find excuses to come back and see them.

He tells them as much.

"Of course," Peter grins, delighted. "Like I would ever abandon you for long."

Stiles wishes.

"You know you're always welcomed," Talia says, laying a hand on Peter's shoulder.

Peter grabs her hand in his and gives it a squeeze, his expression darkening before it brightens just as fast and he asks, "So, don't I get a drink, dear sister?"

He does, Talia rolling her eyes at him before serving him a glass.

Derek doesn't say a lot after that, and it doesn't take much to know he's not particularly thrilled about Peter going back to New York.

He doesn't say anything about it, though, and Stiles doesn't push, knowing Derek'll come to him when he's ready to talk about it.

Laura is the next one into the bar, grinning widely and waving when she sees them.

"Who had a horrible thing happen to them to make you this happy?" Derek asks her when she sits down beside him.

Laura's smile drops in favor of her glaring at Derek.

"Kids," Talia says, tone serious, expression hard as she stares at them.

"Sorry, mom," Derek and Laura say at the same time.

Stiles presses his lips together and tries not to laugh.

He must not do a very good job at that because Derek's eyes cut to his and they narrow, Stiles squeezing Derek's thigh before leaning in and kissing his cheek.

"But seriously," Stiles turns to Laura. "Is there a reason why you're so smiley?"

Laura's grin comes back in full force, transforming her face.

Stiles doesn't think he's ever seen her this excited about something.

"I have a date," Laura announces, almost vibrating out of her seat.

Derek and Peter go from looking interested to looking displeased in a blink, and Stiles interferes before they can say something about it that will make Laura want to shank them.

"Yeah?" Stiles asks, smiling back. "Who's the lucky guy?"

"His name is Alex," Laura tells him. "He's that doctor Lydia told us about on Christmas Eve."

"Alex, you say?" Peter raises an eyebrow. "What's his last name?"

"Grayson," Laura tells him, oblivious to the calculating look on Peter's face. "We've been texting pretty much since Christmas and he asked me out. On a date. After New Years."

A look passes between Derek and Peter at that, and Stiles makes a mental note to ask Derek about it later.

Not that it's not obvious the two of them are thinking of ways to scare off Laura's date.

And that makes Stiles realize that being overprotective is not something that came just from what happened to Derek, but rather something that all Hales seem to simply be.

Good thing they've grown to like him already.

But he doesn't want anyone to go through what he did when he started dating Derek - and by that he means people who shouldn't be meddling into their relationship doing so -, so what he does now is lean into Laura's space and whisper, "Text me the date and time later and I'll make sure to keep Derek busy so he won't bother you."

The grin Laura gives him is almost blinding, her fingers coming to wrap aroundStiles' wrist and give it a squeeze.

Talia notices the exchange, giving Stiles a small nod accompanied by a smile before she changes the subject.

Or at least tries to.

Because as soon as she opens her mouth to say something, the door bursts open and Isaac and Cora stumble in, their heads thrown back as they laugh.

"Guess what?" Cora says loudly, cheeks flushed as she leans heavily against Isaac's side.

Stiles also doesn't think he's seen as her happy as she is right now.

And to be honest, that freaks him out a little bit.

"What?" Derek asks, sounding wary.

Cora walks right up to him, eyes going wide as she whispers, still loud, "Allison has the best taste in liquor."

Oh, well.

That explains the happiness.

And so does the way Stiles can smell alcohol on her breath from where he's sitting.

And the pinched look on Derek's face as he scrunches up his nose and pulls back from her.

And add that to the way Talia lets out a tired sigh and pinches the bridge of her nose, Stiles burst out laughing.

He can't help it.

Cora smiles at him as if him laughing means he agrees with her before she's hopping over the counter and down the other side, kissing her mother soundly on the cheek.

"Did you at least bring the bottle with you?" Peter asks, turning to Isaac.

Who just gives him a look like he's extremely disappointed Peter even had to ask.

"It's right here," Cora sticks her hand inside her purse and waves the half-empty bottle around.

Peter snatches it from her hand before bending down to kiss the top of her head, "I'll take care of that."

"Ah, New Years with the Hales," Isaac sighs. "It's just not the same if at least half of them aren't drunk."

"Not that you would help with that, would you?" Talia teases him, lips tugging up when Isaac shakes his head, the picture of innocence.

"And not that he needs to, either," Laura shrugs, gesturing around. "You do own a bar, mom."

Talia presses her lips together like she wants to say something but can't deny that Laura is right. And by the smug smile Laura gives her, she knows.

"This is great," Stiles whispers to Derek, who's taking a sip of his own beer and trying not to choke on his laughter.

And it gets even better when Derek says, just as quietly, "You should wait until Peter gets a few in him. Last year he started doing a speech about Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and how perfect combinations are rare. I think Laura still has the video on her phone."

Stiles grins, "That I'm gonna have to see."

The video turns out to be as hilarious as Stiles thought it would be, him, Laura, Derek, and buzzed Isaac bending their heads together to watch it.

And laugh.

At Peter.

Who ignores them in favor of drinking with Cora.

"I can't believe you're getting drunk without me!"

Stiles lifts his head up to see Erica pout as he walks up to Cora and Peter, Boyd trailing behind her with a fond look on his face.

Erica waves and winks at them as she passes before snatching the bottle from Peter and taking a gulp, eyebrows raising as she looks at it approvingly.

"It's mine," Cora slurs, radiating smug, and then smiles big when she looks at the door. "She gave it to me."

Allison gives them a shy wave and lets herself in, Scott shutting the door behind them.

"I have to say," Peter drawls, eyeing Allison up and down. "It's not everyday I meet a woman with such exceptional taste in alcohol."

Scott's eyes narrow minutely and he doesn't hesitate before snaking his arm around Allison's waist, his fingers resting on the side of her baby bump.

It's such an obvious move that it makes Peter smile, Allison and Stiles sharing a look before Allison huffs and smiles back at Peter.

Sometimes Stiles thinks Peter only does this kind of thing because other people's reactions are amusing to him.

"Thank you. But it's too bad I can enjoy it myself."

Peter glances down at her belly and his gaze softens, "I think it's a small price to pay."

"And," Cora adds, coming up to Allison's side and hugging her. "That way there's more left for me."

Allison throws her head back and laughs, the surprise on her face at having Cora being this nice and so obviously drunk not keeping her from hugging her back.

"Well," Scott says, looking from Cora to Stiles. "At least I know you're not gonna be the drunk one this time."

"Hey," Stiles gasps, at the same time Cora huffs, "I'm not drunk."

And then proceeds to giggle herself silly against Allison's shoulder before kissing her on the cheek, thanking her for the drink, and scampering away.

"This time?" Derek asks, looking at Scott with interest.

And Stiles-

Well, Stiles doesn't like the dangerous glint on Scott's eyes right now.

"Derek, dude," Scott says, flopping down on a chair before patting the one next to him. "Come sit next to me."

"Don't you dare," Stiles hisses, at both Derek and Scott.

Predictably, they ignore him.

"It's okay, Stiles," Laura says loudly, smirking. "Why don't you come sit next to me?"

"And me," Boyd adds.

Stiles can see the war going on behind Derek's eyes from where he is, wondering if hearing about Stiles' drunken mistakes and pranks is worth the price of having Laura and Boyd babble about his own.

That is, until Scott says, "Let me tell you about the time his dad had to arrest him for public indecency", and decides it for him.

"Oh god," Stiles groans, hiding his face behind his hands.

"It's okay," Allison pats his shoulder, sitting down on Derek's empty seat. "I'm sure Derek's done worse."

"He has," Boyd and Laura nod.

"And I'm gonna tell you all about it," Laura promises, grinning.

"Tell him all about what?" Lydia asks, appearing by Laura's side, Jackson at her left.

Laura tells her, and when Lydia's lips tug up and her eyes goes bright, Stiles knows she'll be staying exactly where she is.

Because if there's one thing Lydia likes, that thing is knowing everyone's deepest darkest dirtiest secrets.

So she can use them against them if necessary.

Jackson, on the other hand, huffs and says, "I'm not gonna waste my time with this," leaving them behind and going to Erica, smiling big when she hugs him.

"Their friendship will never not make me feel uncomfortable," Stiles grimaces.

"Good thing you're not the one who has to deal with the direct aftermath," Boyd points out, giving him a flat look.

Stiles winces.

And then forgets all about the danger that is Jackson and Erica getting drunk with Cora and Peter when Laura opens her mouth and starts telling him about the neighbor they had in New York who was convinced Derek was homeless because every morning when she went downstairs to grab her mail he'd be standing outside in ratty basketball shorts and an old shirt looking tired and rumpled.

"It was after about two weeks of her coming down with an extra breakfast muffin for him that she found down the reason he was there was because he ran in the mornings," Laura sighs, nostalgic.

Allison and Stiles almost double over laughing, leaning into each other as they try to catch their breaths.

Which is why Stiles totally misses his dad and Mrs. McCall walking through the door until he hears a, "What's he laughing about?"

And before he can catch his breath enough to answer, Boyd is the one doing it for him.

And with the edge of a smirk forming in his lips.

And showing his true colors and what an evil evil evil person he is.

"Laura is telling Stiles embarrassing stories about Derek and Scott is telling Derek embarrassing stories about Stiles."

"Oh, I have quite a few of those," the Sheriff grins, looking extremely pleased.

Stiles is horrified.

And Derek and Scott are snickering to themselves.

That is until Mrs. McCall says, "I have some about Scott."

And Talia adds, "I have of Derek. And Laura and Cora. And Erica, Isaac, and Boyd. And a few of Peter, too."

Everyone blinks at her, utterly silent.

And looking just as horrified as Stiles.

Until the door opens and Stiles says, flailing his arms around, "Look, Danny and Ethan are here!"

And now we don't have to talk about this anymore, he silently adds, biting down on his bottom lip.

By the thankful look Derek and Scott give him, they get him.

And by the narrowed glance Stiles throws their way, they know they're not yet totally forgiven.

Not that Derek doesn't try to convince Stiles otherwise as he gets up and gets close to him, his arms coming to wrap around Stiles' waist from behind, his chin hooked over Stiles' shoulder.

"Don't think being all cuddly will make me forget this," Stiles pokes him on the arm, trying to sound angry.

In reality, he's enjoying this probably a little bit too much.

He might even show it by relaxing a little against Derek's hold, earning an amused snort from his boyfriend before Derek mumbles, "Okay."

Stiles' lips twitch.

They both know he's full of shit.

"You're damn right it is."

Derek kisses the hinge of his jaw and hugs him tighter.

Stiles relaxes even more.

"And don't think I won't be begging your mom for kid stories as soon as you're out of earshot."

"I'll just have to stay here, then," Derek says, not bothered. "All night."

Stiles rolls his eyes, warmth blooming in his chest.

"I suppose there are worst places to be."

"And this is the best, in my opinion," Derek tells him, pressing his smile against Stiles' cheek.

Stiles laughs, breathless.

And twists his head to the side so he can catch Derek's lips in a quick kiss.

"You're such a sap," Stiles says, eyes shining as he smiles.

Derek shrugs, his shoulder pressing into Stiles' back.

They both know it's true.

Derek Hale is a romantic.

And the most adorable human being in the entire world.

Stiles kisses him again.

Derek is the one who smiles this time.

"You're right," Lydia's voice carries over them. "It's disgusting watching them interact."

They turn to see Laura giving Lydia her best I told you so stare, while Lydia stares back at them with her head tilted.

"I don't know," Allison offers, smiling sweetly. "I think it's cute."

"You're dating Scott," Lydia says, like that explains everything.

And, it sort of does.

Especially when Scott turns around from his conversation with Isaac at hearing his name and looks at Allison, his face melting into a smile, love practically shining from his eyes.

"I don't mind," Boyd says, staring at them with something Stiles would call fondness if it came from anyone but Boyd. "It's good seeing Derek happy."

There's a beat of silence as Laura and Allison's face soften, both of them understanding how much that actually means for him; and Derek tenses minutely at having them being so open about how he different he was like before.

"Now, you four," the Sheriff butts in. "Did no one ever tell you it's rude to talk about people like they're not standing right there?"

It goes without saying that Stiles loves his dad and looks up to him, no matter how much joy he gets out of embarrassing him whenever he can.

Because when it counts, he always makes sure to have Stiles' back.

And, apparently, Derek's as well.

Even if it's from their own friends and family.

"It's okay, sir," Derek says, a small smile gracing his lips. "It's good to be happy."

Stiles rests his forehead against Derek's temple, not even trying to hide his smile.

"Still can't believe it took you this long to figure out you're in love when you say and do shit like this all the time," Cora says loudly, waving a hand at them. "I mean, really."

The Sheriff and Mrs. McCall both raise their eyebrows and look from Cora to Stiles and Derek, amusement evident on their faces.

Derek sighs and looks skyward, mumbling, "I should have let Laura give her to the circus when Cora was a kid," under his breath.

Stiles just looks back at his dad and shrugs as if saying yeah, well, at least I got there.

The Sheriff shakes his head, eyes soft.

"I think that deserves a toast," Talia says, drawing everyone's attention to her as they raise their glasses.

"To Derek and Stiles' love?" Cora asks, frowning.

"She means to having people to love and who care about you," Danny tells her.

"And trusting them to love you and taking care of them back," Ethan adds, smiling at Danny.

"And never taking that for granted," Erica pipes up, coming to sit on Boyd's lap.

"Because you never know when it might not be there anymore," Boyd nods, kissing her on the cheek.

"And to finding someone in the most unlikely places," Mrs. McCall says, leaning into the Sheriff's side.

"Or right in front of you," he says, chuckling.

"And to have the strength to fight for who you love," Scott offers, laying a hand flat over Allison's stomach.

"And not letting anything stand in the way of your happiness," Allison kisses him.

"Especially if you have a hard time forgiving people for their past mistakes," Jackson says, looking at everyone but Lydia.

"Or if they have a hard time realizing that an act of kindness goes a long way," Lydia answers, ignoring him back.

Danny rolls his eyes.

Scott and Allison shake their heads.

Stiles presses his lips together trying not to smile.

And says, turning to look at Derek, "And to not being scared of taking risks."

"Or showing people how much you feel for them," Derek completes, bumping their noses together.

"Or letting them close enough enough to feel anything in the first place," Isaac adds, eyes going to Cora.

Who smiles back at him.

And ruins the moment by saying, "And to alcohol!"

"And hot guys!" Laura yells out, laughing freely when everyone groans and Peter adds, "And more alcohol!"

Derek drops his forehead on Stiles' shoulders, body shaking in silent laughter, arms tightening around his waist as everyone around them either laughs along or hides their faces between their hands.

With the exception of Talia, who smacks Peter, Laura, and Cora on the backs of their heads.

"So, Stiles," Erica drawls. "When are you going to hang your picture?"

"What time is it?" both he and Derek ask at the same time.

"Thirty to midnight," Mrs. McCall says, checking her wristwatch.

"In about twenty-eight minutes, then?" Stiles tilts his head to the side, looking at Talia, who nods back at him. "For now we can just get drunk and ask Mrs. McCall to tell us ER stories about what kind of dumb things people do on New Year's Eve."

"Oh, I like," Allison says, giddy with excitement. "Please tell me someone got something blown off while trying to light up fireworks."

Lydia leans forward in her seat, eyes wide with interest.

"Is this normal?" Ethan asks no one in particular.

"Yes," the Sheriff, Scott, Jackson, and Danny say at the same time.

"You're bloodthirsty," Peter says, arching an eyebrow. "I approve."

The Sheriff gives him a long and heavy look, as if trying to figure out what Peter means by that, and Stiles kind of wants to tell him there's no way one can possibly ever know what goes on in Peter's mind.

"You heard Stiles," Cora says loudly, grabbing two bottles from the bar and raising them. "Let's drink!"

"You know," Stiles turns to Derek, spinning on his stool so Derek can fit between his legs. "I have to say, I kind of like Cora better when she's drunk."

"You're not the only one," Derek makes a face, watching as Isaac steadies her with one hand on her hip when she sways.

"Isaac doesn't seem to mind," Stiles comments.

"She doesn't get to do this often," Derek tells him. "To let go and get drunk and be young. Out of the three of us she was always the most serious, closed off. Isaac helped her a lot, but she still has a hard time giving up control like that."

"So you don't mind when she does this."

"As long as she doesn't puke on me," Derek shrugs.

Stiles snorts.

"You're such a good big brother," he deadpans.

"Thank you," Derek nods, proud.

Stiles shakes his head.

And kisses him.

He seems to be doing that a lot these days.

"Come on," Stiles says, taking Derek's hand in his. "Let's give your sister a run for her money."

And for the next twenty minutes that's what they do, Stiles and Derek making rounds and talking to and drinking with everyone, stopping every once in a while to pose whenever Derek's mom decides it is a good time for taking pictures.

Pictures Stiles has no doubts will find their way into the wall one day.

The thought warms him more than Stiles ever thought it would, this balant way of bringing them into the family fold, of showing them just how important they are to the Hales.

"Five minutes to midnight!" Laura and Cora yell, smiling bright.

Cora even goes the extra mile and throws her arms up, spilling her drink all over the floor.

"I hope you know you're gonna be the one cleaning that up," Talia says, pointing a finger at her before turning to Derek and Stiles. "And if you don't have the frame with you, you better go pick it up before it's too late."

Stiles gets up so fast at that he sways almost crashing into Boyd, who's sitting in front of him.

The only reason he doesn't is because Erica gets her hands on his shoulder and pushes him back into his seat, patting on the cheek before saying, "Hold on there, handsome. I'm sure Derek can go do it for you."

"I can," Derek nods, only slightly less buzzed than Stiles.

Who's actually pretty drunk right now.

"And without breaking something on his way," Boyd adds.

"I won't," Derek shakes his head.

Boyd and Erica make a face at him, torn between amusement and concern.

"I believe in you, boo," Stiles tells him, wrapping his arms around Derek's shoulders and kissing him. "Now go get our picture."

Derek doesn't need to be told twice.

But he does need to be pushed away from Stiles after he leans in to kiss him again, glaring at Erica when she tries to walk him to the door.

Until Boyd sighs, gets up, and takes over, ducking his head down to say something that has Derek's eyes widen a little before his face sets in a mask of determination and he nods, once.

Stiles checks out Derek's ass as he walks away, the ripple of muscles under a Henley and a sweater when Derek puts his coat on, licking his lips.

"Your boyfriend's fine, Stilinski," Erica drawls out, smirking.

Stiles wrinkles his nose, "If you're calling me Stilinski it means you're spending way too much time with Jackson."

Not that he doesn't agree.

Because Derek does look fine.

More than fine, if he's being honest.

Way more.

"There's no spending way too much time with me," Jackson sniffs, appearing behind Erica.

"Only not enough time, in my opinion," Erica says, all mock sadness.

"Ugh," Stiles fake gags. "Ugh."

He's saved from having to watch Eroca and Jackson together by Derek coming back, frame in hand, a wide smile on his face.

Stiles is helpless to smiling back, stomach flipping at seeing Derek this obviously happy.

Even if it's because of all the drinks he's has so far.

Talia sees him getting closer and calls everyone to her, Derek being the awesome boyfriend that he is and snaking his arm around Stiles waist and bringing him up, letting Stiles prop himself against his side before they all turn to the wall.

Stiles hadn't noticed this before, but now that he's looking and actually paying attention he can see the bare spot showing between a picture of Laura, Cora, and Derek as kids doing handstands and one of Erica, Isaac, Boyd, Derek, Laura, and Cora sleeping in the middle of what seems to be a living room, all piled up on top of blankets.

They look adorable, all tangled together.

Like puppies.

"Do you have the picture?" Talia asks him, smiling a little when Derek holds it in front of his chest, frame upside down.

Stiles flips it for him, "There you go."

Derek bumps their noses together in thanks.

Stiles kisses him.

Again.

"Now-," Talia starts.

Only to be interrupted by Cora saying, "We are gathered here toda-"

"No," Isaac says loudly, slapping a hand over Cora's mouth.

Cora glares at him.

Stiles and Derek are too busy kissing again to listen.

Or be embarrassed.

Ah, the wonders of alcohol.

"Son," the Sheriff says, coughing awkwardly when Stiles breaks the kiss with a pop. "Now, that is something no father should ever have to witness."

"Or listen to," Talia adds, giving Derek a stern look.

Melissa, Scott, Boyd, Jackson, Laura, Isaac, and Cora murmur in agreement.

Lydia and Erica look disappointed.

Danny and Ethan are too busy kissing each other to care.

Allison has her head resting on Scott's shoulder and looks like she's about to drop.

And Peter-

Well, Peter's drinking.

And watching in utter fascination.

Derek ducks his head and tries to hide his red face against Stiles' shoulder.

And Stiles knows that hiding won't make him feel any less awkward about forgetting himself, so he just tilts his chin up a notch and stares at his dad in the face.

"You called, dad?"

The Sheriff sighs.

"He did," Laura takes the reigns, no doubt knowing they'll get nowhere fast if she doesn't do something about it. Talia looks proud. "It's time for you to do it."

"And officially become a m-" Cora starts, stopping to duck under Isaac's hand when he tries to stop her from talking again, only to finish in a yell, "member of the wall!"

Stiles giggles at the relieved breath everyone lets out at that, winking at Cora when she catches his eye and grins at him.

"Two minutes to midnight," Lydia reminds them, springing everyone into motion.

"Here," Derek hands him the frame, cheeks slightly flushed, eyes glinting in the low light of the bar.

Stiles takes it from him, kissing the corner of his mouth in thanks before taking the three steps to the wall.

He stops short of putting the picture up, though, turning on his heels to face the people gathered around him.

The weight of what this means slowly sinks into him, the realization heavy on his shoulders, especially after knowing everything that's happened to the them these past few years.

Derek's family and friends haven't had the easiest time, and it amazes him to see how much they've opened up to Stiles and his family, how they've welcomed them into their circle, how they've took a chance on letting them get close.

He always knew that their friendship wasn't something they gave away lightly, but now he realizes that having their love is what truly is a gift.

What he's thinking must show on his face, because everyone's expressions quickly turn from excited and anxious to-

Well.

Love.

Pride.

Sadness.

Warmth.

And-

Well.

"You have a minute," Lydia says, impatient.

Stiles snaps out of his thoughts and scoffs at her.

Lydia flips her hair over her shoulder, and arches an eyebrow.

"Alright," Stiles takes a deep breath, locks eyes with Derek, and lets it out slowly, a smile forming on his lips. "Alright."

Stiles feels something settle within him as he puts up the picture on the one empty spot they arranged just for this, his fingers lingering over the frame as he rights it to make sure it's not crooked, beaming as he takes a step back and sees how it all comes together.

How it looks like their photo was always meant to be exactly where it is.

He twists around and throws his arms up, beaming, "Ta-da!"

Everyone bursts out laughing as they rush to him, wrapping him in hugs, kissing his cheeks, ruffling his hair.

And, in Jackson's case, reluctantly patting him on the back and saying, "I'm happy for you, Stilinski."

Stiles doesn't even stop himself from grabbing him by the shoulders and hugging the fuck out of him.

Not even when Jackson yelps and squirms, trying to get away.

"Fifteen seconds," Danny is the one to shout out this time, pulling Ethan closer to him by his belt loops.

Everyone breaks into pairs, not wanting to miss kissing who they like when midnight hits.

"Hey," Stiles says, wrapping himself around Derek, their faces so close their noses touch.

Someone behind him starts counting, "Ten!"

"Hi," Derek mumbles, eyes crinkling at the corners when he smiles.

"Nine!"

"Any last words you'd like to say before the year ends?" Stiles asks him, fingers playing with the hair on Derek's nape.

"Eight!"

"Not really," Derek shrugs. "But-"

"Seven!"

"But?" Stiles blinks.

"I met someone," Derek starts, and Stiles' heart almost stops before Derek continues, "On the Egg Run in April."

"Six!"

"And I asked for his number," Derek keeps going. "We started dating."

"Five!"

"He turned out to be amazing," Derek tells him. "And I fell in love with him."

Stiles' breath hitches, and he has to bite down on his bottom lip not to say anything.

"Four!"

"Not only that," Derek says. "But I told him I loved him a week ago."

"Three!"

"So no," Derek shakes his head, and Stiles' stomach flips. "There's nothing to say I haven't said it already."

"Two!"

"Except, maybe, one more time," Derek leans in, their lips brushing together. "I love you."

"One!"

"I love you-," Stiles' words get muffled by Derek's mouth on his own, the cheers of happy new year getting drowned out by the blood rushing in his ears as he lets himself get lost in the kiss, in Derek, in them.

They only break apart so Stiles can whisper, "Happy New Year, baby," right against Derek's parted lips.

And it's with a smile that Derek answers, "Happy New Year, Bunny," before closing the distance between them and kissing him again.


a/n: some of you asked how for how long i plan on writing this, so i'm letting you know that this story is set to have 19 chapters + epilogue. :D

i feel kind of uncomfortable warning for this, but the story will contain bottom derek as well as bottom stiles. if that's not your thing and you want to abandon ship, i think now will be a good time to do it. this chapter ends in a good light and with everyone happy, so i guess you could see it as an ending to the story if you really do not like or are comfortable with derek being a bottom. sure, a few things are unresolved, but that's a given considering there are three chapters and an epilogue left.

I HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS JUST LIKE STILES AND DEREK'S IN THE COMPANY OF EVERYONE YOU LOVE AND HOLD DEAR AND I'LL SEE YOU NEXT YEAR XOXO J