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Derek woke up on Monday with Stiles in his bed. The sheriff made Stiles sleep at home on weeknights, but he'd given in on Stiles spending the night where he wanted to during weekends and school vacations, since Stiles was eighteen. Derek usually had to force himself out of bed on Mondays rather than lie there and dwell on Stiles's absence after two days together. Now Stiles was here for the third morning in a row, and Derek cuddled closer to him in the half-light of early morning. It was going to rain later, and Derek could let Stiles convince him to stay in all day.

Stiles made agreeable noises, still entirely asleep as he squirmed in Derek's tightening grip. Derek caught Stiles's hand, lacing their fingers together and pressing his nose to Stiles's palm. He wasn't supposed to put his mouth on Stiles's hands outside of actual sex, he knew; if he licked now Stiles would wake up to scold him for being weird. He could get away with just breathing against Stiles's hands, though, at least while Stiles was asleep.

Judging by the beat of his heart Stiles would wake up pretty soon: his body was still expecting food and coffee and Adderall on a schoolday schedule, even though Christmas break had begun. Stiles would stubbornly try to enjoy his freedom by going back to sleep, and if Derek actually let him do it he would wake up disoriented and grumpy at noon. Derek could coax him awake sooner and more pleasantly than that. They didn't need to get up quite this early, though. Derek could enjoy this for a while.

The next thing he knew was Stiles yawning around a fond, "Bad dog," and jerking his hand away from--out of--Derek's open mouth. Derek had dozed off, obviously. He wasn't good at playing human in his sleep.

Derek had read a book on dog training last month--he remembered watching an old movie with Laura once that suggested it was a good way to train a boyfriend, too--so he didn't reinforce the making-dog-jokes behavior by responding to it at all. He stretched instead, sprawling over the cool half of the bed. Stiles followed, flopping across him and wiping his fingers on Derek's shirt.

Derek studied the ceiling, enjoying the unusual quiet and the unmedicated steadiness of Stiles's resting heartbeat, the weight and scent of Stiles surrounding him. After a minute, though, the familiar dread seeped in. It always did at moments like this--not in the middle of sex or in the middle of fights, even the bad ones where Derek thought they really might break up. They hadn't spoken to each other for three days in the middle of November and Derek hadn't felt this quiet, grim fear once.

It was the fear of losing this. It came with the knowledge that he wanted to stay with Stiles; Derek had given away his stupid heart yet again, just as totally as he ever had to anyone who'd wound up ruining his life in the last decade. He knew, rationally, that Stiles had no intention of hurting him. He knew that as young and vulnerably human as Stiles was, he probably wasn't any likelier to get hurt or killed as Derek's boyfriend than he was otherwise. Despite the supernatural accident that had gotten them together in the first place--the first of many, many rounds of sex to keep Derek too distracted to worry about the future--Derek knew what Stiles was and how he worked. He knew who Stiles had defending him, if it came to that.

Derek wanted the life that he kept getting glimpses of with Stiles, even if the wanting came with the chilly, inescapable knowledge that he had no reason to think this would work out in the long run. He tried to focus on what he had now, and not spoil it with the fear of not having it forever. He'd woken up in bed with Stiles today, and they had enough time to just lie together and enjoy it. Maybe he would make pancakes, and later they could have sex on the couch. There was still a lingering factory-smell on one of the cushions where neither of them usually sat. They could probably kill that by the end of the day if they tried.

"Oh, man." Stiles tensed suddenly and scrambled up and off of Derek, grabbing his phone. "What time--oh, okay. Okay. I've got time for a shower."

"Stiles?" Derek said, frowning in amusement while he tried to fight down a resurgence of his irrational fear. It didn't mean anything. "You're on vacation. That's why you're here."

"Yeah, I just--fuck, did I not say?" Stiles froze for a few seconds, wide-eyed, heart speeding up as he winced. "I didn't. I was all excited about getting to stay over, I totally forgot. I'm sorry." Stiles dropped the phone and darted in to give Derek a kiss. "Road trip to San Francisco for Christmas shopping. I would've invited you, but I'm probably going to spend the whole day trying to get the last couple pieces of your present, so."

Stiles grinned as he said it, straightening up until he was almost preening. Derek could smell the pride and anticipation rolling off Stiles in waves, not that he needed the smell to recognize it. It was obvious in the set of his shoulders, the tilt of his chin, the shy smile that concealed real pride in his accomplishment.

"Wouldn't want to ruin the surprise," Derek said. He knew his voice was coming out flat, but Stiles probably wouldn't think much of it. Derek hated surprises, and Stiles already obviously felt bad about springing this on him. He wouldn't see anything more than that.

Stiles shook his head. "Definitely not. And don't go asking Isaac about it, he is sworn to secrecy and Scott will totally back him up on this."

"I won't," Derek promised, controlling his own heart rate as instinctively as he kept a straight face.

Stiles kissed him again and took off for the shower. Derek headed to the kitchen to make coffee and panic.

Christmas presents. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Derek was aware, obviously, that Christmas was coming. Stiles had been eager to invite Derek to join him and his dad for their traditional holiday celebrations; he'd even made sure to extend the invitation to Cora even though she hadn't come back to Beacon Hills in more than a year. Derek was supposed to make the sweet potato thing he'd made for Thanksgiving, a recipe he'd found on the internet that everyone seemed to have silently decided was a treasured Hale family tradition. He knew what he was going to give the sheriff (expensive whiskey) and Cora (a mix CD, reviving the tradition he and Laura had established after the fire) but he had assumed that he and Stiles would give each other simple things, swapping books or DVDs or jokey gifts, random dollar store toys and junk food.

But Stiles was going on some all-day shopping expedition for the last couple of pieces of Derek's present, which meant it was something elaborate and no doubt incredibly thoughtful, something he'd brought Isaac and Scott in on. Stiles was confident in whatever it was, sure that it was perfect; he was excited to spring his surprise. Derek wasn't going to be able to match that off of Stiles's Amazon wish list.

Christmas was important to Stiles--not with a little kid's greedy interest, but because of the way it brought people together. He never talked about presents, only about people, and how he was looking forward to having Derek and his dad together, and when the rest of the pack would all be in one place. He'd fixated for days on finding a time when he could convene everybody he considered a part of the pack under one roof for a meal, finally settling on a three-hour window on the twenty-seventh when everyone had committed to showing up. Derek had thought he might need to chase someone down two hours in and force them to show up to make Stiles's Christmas experience complete, and he'd thought that meant presents didn't matter that much, but of course they did. It was all part of the same thing. Derek wanted Stiles to want to stay with him, and that meant he had to at least be trying hard enough to get Christmas right that Stiles would know Derek cared that Stiles cared about it. Derek had less than a week to figure out how.

Stiles trotted down the stairs and leaned damply against Derek as he poured himself a coffee. Derek reminded himself that Stiles couldn't hear his heart beating, couldn't smell the cold fear rising off Derek's skin. It was ignorance, not indifference, that made Stiles sound perfectly unconcerned as he said, "You won't be too bored without me, will you?"

Derek kept his voice perfectly deadpan, swallowing the looming terror with years of practice. "I'll keep myself busy somehow."


Derek braced to make a futile last stand as he entered the mall. It was a depressingly familiar feeling. He tried to dim his senses as much as he could--a Christmas-crowded shopping center was just one of the many reasons he was glad not to be the alpha anymore--as he made his way grimly toward the store that sold t-shirts with stupid sayings on them.

He spotted a handful that were all obnoxious in the way that said Stiles to him, which probably meant Stiles would like them, but he didn't know which one to choose. Maybe he should just get all of them? But that would probably make it obvious that he hadn't known how to choose the one Stiles would like the most. Stiles didn't have any obvious favorite colors when it came to clothes, and all the shirts themselves were the same cut and fabric, no scratchier than anything else Stiles cheerfully wore.

Derek stood there scowling at the racks and trying to guess whether IT'S GO TIME, punctuated with a crotch-ward arrow, or Guns don't kill people, Ewoks kill people would make Stiles laugh harder. The Christmas music playing on loop switched over to "Wonderful Christmastime" and from fifteen feet away he felt both cashiers' misery kick up to a new level; his own anxiety rose sympathetically to something like panic, and he grabbed both shirts plus the Co-Ed Naked Quidditch one (he could almost hear Stiles saying something about 2002 wanting its cultural reference back, but Derek still found it hilarious, at least when he wasn't focusing all his attention on not dropping fangs in the middle of the mall).

He plastered on an apologetic smile as he handed them over, and for once a stranger's burst of sexual attraction was less awful than the alternative. Derek took the bag and figured he could choose the best one later, and save the others for Stiles's birthday, or--hell, Valentine's Day, or whatever the next unexpected gift-giving occasion turned out to be. He should probably just build a stockpile--then he could give Stiles random spontaneous presents sometimes. Maybe he could make a schedule.

Derek braved an aggressively red-and-white Christmas shop next. There was a whole wall of Our First Christmas ornaments, and Derek stared at them while the fear clenched tighter around his throat. There were some that looked almost like the one his parents had hung on the tree every year, exchanging a kiss as they did. He wanted to give one to Stiles; he wanted to start that tradition right now, wanted to believe that they would be taking it back out of the box and hanging it up again for decades to come, but they'd only been dating a few months. This was probably too much, too soon, too naked a revelation of just how serious he was.

Derek's eye fell down to the bottom of the display, the ornaments made of molded resin and festooned with glitter. If Derek gave Stiles one of those at least the joke would be the quality of the ornament; then when Stiles laughed and crowed over it to the rest of the pack it would be because the ornament was ugly, and not because of what it meant. He might hang it up, then. Ironically. But it would still go on the tree, and next year he would laugh at it a little differently, and ten or twenty years from now--Derek's brain shut down in a mixture of panic and despair and stubborn, stupid hope. He didn't actually decide anything; he was just suddenly outside the store holding a bag with a box inside. There was glitter dusting both of his hands and a swathe down the side of his jeans, so apparently he'd gone with one of the spectacularly awful ornaments. He was afraid to open the box and actually see what it was.

He was two for two on making gift-buying decisions out of blind terror, but on the bright side there hadn't been any blood or screaming so far. Derek rubbed his hand across his forehead. It helped a little, blocking out the sight and smell of the rest of the mall while he tried to massage away the headache that kept blooming determinedly across his skull every time it was healed away.

When he looked up, Derek was startled to see the sheriff in uniform, leaning on a railing a few yards away and chatting with a mall security guard. Derek fought the urge to hide--his instinctive reaction to the sheriff had only grown stronger, if also more confusing, since the startlingly gunfire-free conversation they'd had just before Derek and Stiles started dating. A few seconds later the sheriff nodded in his direction, finished his conversation with an encouraging-looking slap on the guard's shoulder, and came over. His gaze flicked up from Derek's eyes to his forehead and he frowned slightly.

Derek forced himself to speak first, ignoring whatever it was the sheriff was frowning at. "Here on business?"

"Well it's definitely not a pleasure," the sheriff replied with a sigh, his eyes meeting Derek's again. "Just making the rounds--it's mostly just an uptick in shoplifting right now. We shouldn't get into serious assault and batteries until the last few shopping days, maybe a few on the 26th."

Derek wanted to believe that was a joke, but the beat of the sheriff's heart stayed grimly steady. Derek swung the bags he was holding and offered, "I have receipts for these."

The sheriff did smile then, glancing down at the bags. "Shopping for Stiles?"

"Yeah," Derek said, ducking his head. "He said something this morning about this big shopping trip, and now I...."

Derek couldn't quite bring himself even to confess his helplessness, let alone ask the sheriff for advice, but when he looked up he saw that Look on the man's face. It was the one that said he was about to be kind and vaguely parental to Derek, which would inevitably lead to Derek not knowing how to fucking handle his possible future father-in-law being nice to him. Derek had maybe been too optimistic about not having to flee the mall.

"Look, you know he'll love anything you get him because it's from you," the sheriff said kindly. This time his heartbeat definitely wavered.

Derek grimaced, but didn't contradict the obvious lie. Stiles wasn't going to love whatever stupid Christmas ornament Derek had grabbed off the shelf, or these dumb t-shirts. He would probably still love Derek, and he'd keep Derek's stupid presents, and sort of obnoxiously tell everyone who asked that they were Derek's Christmas presents to him, so that they could all judge Derek too. Stiles would play the victim of totally inept gift-giving in a way that wrapped indecipherable layers of irony around a weird, unpredictable kernel of sincere attachment, and Derek wouldn't be able to escape the evidence of his own total failure to be a vaguely competent boyfriend. Because Stiles would hang up the ornament, no matter how ugly, and would wear the t-shirts, no matter how stupid, and if Derek was luckier than he'd ever been his life he would be around for the part years from now where Stiles sort of forgot that it was even a joke anymore.

But first Derek was going to have to get through this Christmas.

"I want to get it right," Derek said. "I know he's getting me something nice, and I don't want to just blow this off."

The sheriff looked slightly pained in a way that made Derek realize that he, of course, also knew what Stiles's great present was. Stiles wouldn't have been able to resist telling everyone who wasn't Derek all about his brilliant plan. Derek forced himself not to blush despite the humiliation pouring through his body like wolfsbane.

The sheriff said, "His mother was like that, too. After a while you just kind of resign yourself to being the one who hands over the sweater and spa gift certificate every year while they do something really thoughtful. Claudia always said it wasn't a competition. I just made sure to do all the dishes after Christmas dinner and wrangle Stiles when he went crazy over his presents and we kind of called it even."

Derek nodded mutely, overwhelmed again by fear and hope. The idea that the sheriff thought Derek and Stiles might eventually be a couple like they had been was too much to contemplate. Derek couldn't think of anything he wanted more than to get far enough with Stiles to just give up on trying to impress him. He just didn't know how to keep Stiles happy enough, for long enough, to get there.

"Stiles is tough to shop for," the sheriff said. "He doesn't say a lot. I try to spot the things he doesn't ask for--the ones he thinks he can't have, that he knows better than to ask for. If you can give him something he thought he couldn't have, that matters a lot more to him than getting a big pile of stuff."

"Thanks," Derek said. Nothing came to mind, but the advice was a kind of gift itself. It was true that Stiles hadn't given him any hints, unless you counted that time he'd happened to look over Derek's shoulder while Derek was doing bank stuff online and said, "Don't buy me a car for Christmas, okay?"

The sheriff's radio crackled and the dispatcher announced a number code Derek didn't know yet, down at the grocery store.

"Oh God," the sheriff muttered. "Fighting over the pie orders already. Take care, Derek."

The sheriff gave him a distracted squeeze on the shoulder--less than a hug, but more than he'd given that security guard--and headed out.

Derek watched him go and then set off through the mall again, more uncertain than ever. How could he know what Stiles didn't ask for?

An hour later he left the mall with a Macy's bag with a pack of new underwear for himself and yet another unplanned panic purchase--half the contents of a display shelf in the menswear department--for Stiles. At least it wasn't a sweater or a spa gift certificate. Derek still had no idea what to actually give him, but if he had to endure any more shopping he was going to be the next radio call the sheriff had to respond to, and that would definitely ruin Christmas.


Stiles pulled into the driveway around two in the morning. Derek got up from the couch, where he'd spent the last few hours curled up with his head on Stiles's usual cushion, the game controller Stiles always used tucked close to his nose. He went and leaned nonchalantly in the doorway like he definitely hadn't spent most of the day trying to use the scent of Stiles's sweaty palms to drag himself out of a mind-numbing spiral of despair. Stiles didn't notice anything as he came up to the door, smiling around a yawn and stretching. He walked directly into Derek, mashing his face against Derek's shoulder and leaning his weight against Derek like he was ready to fall asleep right there.

"Shopping is exhausting," he mumbled against Derek's shirt.

Derek nodded and looped his arms around Stiles, tugging him inside. He was certainly more tired himself than a quiet day ought to justify; shopping and worrying had left him feeling like he'd worked hard for hours, without any of the pleasure of well-used muscles.

"Come on," Derek said, shutting the door behind them and turning Stiles toward the bedroom. "Let's go to bed."

"Mm, yeah," Stiles agreed, tucking his fingers into the top of Derek's jeans and pulling him along. "You wanna fuck?"

Oh, Derek thought, because--that. That was the thing Stiles never asked for. Wanna fuck? only ever meant one thing between him and Stiles, because Stiles never asked him to do it the other way.

Stiles looked over his shoulder as they walked through the bedroom door. "Derek?"

"Nah," Derek said, trying not to sound like he'd just realized something important. "Want me to blow you?"

Stiles turned all the way around and started stripping right there. "Pretty sure I'd have to be dead to say no to that."

Derek kissed him and then dropped to his knees. It was easy not to think about anything else when he had Stiles's dick in his mouth--he couldn't taste or smell anything but Stiles, and his mind quieted down to the rhythm of it. Even when Stiles mumbled, "How did you get glitter in your hair?" Derek didn't have to think of anything but sucking Stiles's dick as well as he knew how.

Stiles dragged Derek to bed after, and jerked him off while yawning into his shoulder. Derek came all over Stiles's fingers, and Stiles wiped his hand off on Derek's t-shirt. Derek tugged Stiles close, sharing the mess, and Stiles made a few sleepy noises of protest and then gave up, snuggling into Derek and falling asleep within a few breaths.

Derek lay awake, breathing the smells of sex and Stiles and unable to avoid thinking about it.

Stiles's sleepy wanna fuck? kept echoing around in his mind, reminding Derek of what Stiles hadn't needed to say. Stiles had meant, did Derek want Stiles to fuck him. Stiles never asked Derek to fuck him, and Derek knew it wasn't because Stiles didn't want to.

They had done it that way before. Derek had fucked Stiles a week before they started dating. That time, their first time, was under the influence of the full moon and a strain of wolfsbane Stiles insisted on referring to as red kryptonite, which Derek had stumbled into while the rest of the pack were off hunting together. Stiles had tried to help him wash it off, and literally everyone they knew was aware of what had happened next. Most of the wolves had heard at least some of it, including Stiles's extremely vocal enjoyment of the whole thing.

Derek squeezed his eyes shut and tried very, very hard not to hear the sheriff's voice ringing in his ears--give him something he thought he couldn't have--while he was thinking about fucking Stiles.

Could he actually give Stiles sex as a Christmas present, though? It would be better than just offering it in a normal way for avoiding having to talk about it. Derek wouldn't actually mind fucking Stiles--it wouldn't be like it had been that night. It would be good, but he wouldn't be out of control. Now that he thought about it, though, there was a definite negative space where neither of them ever brought it up. Derek suspected there was a big Talk looming about what happened that night and the issues Stiles thought Derek had about it.

He didn't, really. He'd felt awful about it for a week, and then he'd had a terrifying conversation with the sheriff, an even more terrifying conversation with Scott, and before he could be menaced by everyone else who knew both of them he'd cracked and talked to Stiles. That had been almost not terrifying at all, and it had ended with yet more sex that stopped Derek from worrying about where things were going.

They hadn't fucked that time--no supplies--and Derek hadn't been in a big hurry to get back to it. Apparently he had let it go too long, because Stiles started giving him those concerned looks. Derek headed that off by asking Stiles to fuck him instead, and it turned out he liked doing it that way, so why rock the boat? But Derek knew that Stiles probably wanted to do it the other way, or would like to if he thought it was on the table. If Derek just suggested it some night, Stiles would want to know how Derek felt about it and why, which would probably lead into talking about who Derek had fucked and been fucked by before Stiles, and by the end of that conversation Derek didn't know if he'd be able to stay in the same room without humiliating himself, let alone have sex. If fucking were a gift, there was at least a chance Stiles would just shut up and go with it.

It was kind of a stupid gift, though, even if it would be a good surprise; but something that would make Stiles really happy would be better than more stuff, right? Derek would give him the rest of the random presents he'd bought, but--fucking could be the thing that actually meant something about wanting Stiles to be happy, about being willing to give him things. Maybe. Derek would have to figure out how that would even work, if he didn't realize that the whole idea was the result of being overtired and post-coital.

Just before he fell asleep he remembered the chore coupons he had given his parents for Christmas one year--I will wash the dishes without arguing, I solemnly swear, signed Derek James Hale 12/25/98--and he grinned as he cuddled closer to Stiles.


It seemed like a stupider idea in the morning--he had sex with Stiles all the time. More sex couldn't possibly be a good Christmas gift, not like some elaborate thing Stiles had trekked to San Francisco to complete--but he didn't think of a better one that day, or any of the days after, although he did crack and buy a bunch of stuff from Stiles's Amazon list to accompany the t-shirts and horrible ornament and box of winter wear from Macy's. Suddenly it was Christmas Eve, and he was heading over to the Stilinskis' for a dinner of macaroni and cheese and fish sticks that Stiles swore was an important family tradition.

Derek stuck the assortment of presents he'd wrapped under the tree, where they joined a few others, including one big box prominently labeled with his name in Stiles's handwriting.

Dinner went smoothly enough, and afterward they headed back to the living room. Derek figured it was time for Christmas movies or eggnog or something, but instead the sheriff went out to his car and Stiles disappeared into the basement, returning with a bag of gift wrapping supplies just as the sheriff came in with a stack of kids' toys and a couple of shoeboxes.

"Welcome to the family, now the forced labor," Stiles semi-explained, shoving a roll of wrapping paper into Derek's hands.

"Gifts for families who can't afford presents for their kids," the sheriff said, setting his burden down on the coffee table; Derek realized each item had a little construction paper mitten taped to it, bearing a name, age, and request: Kaylee, 4, Princess doll and Connor, 12, gym shoes size 9. "The department takes all the ones no one else has claimed the last week before Christmas, and Stiles and I do the wrapping."

"No time like the last minute," Stiles said cheerfully, laying out scotch tape and various spools of ribbon.

Derek got to work, glad to have something to do with his hands. The paper was thick, the nice kind with gold foil stars, and some of the ribbons were cloth instead of paper; Derek supposed that if a kid was only going to get one present it ought to look nice.

His mind wandered back to his own choice of presents for Stiles. He'd meant to make a little coupon or something, stick it in a card. It could be a joke or not, then, however Stiles took it. But he hadn't figured out how to word it, and he hadn't bought a card, and he still wasn't sure he could bring himself to offer the gift of his dick to his boyfriend. He definitely couldn't give him that present at his dad's house on Christmas morning with the sheriff sitting right there, so--so that was probably it. The point was moot, Derek was going to get caught out giving stupid, thoughtless gifts, and Stiles would probably only mock Derek until New Year's or so.

The present with his name on it loomed in his peripheral vision. Stiles hadn't bothered to dress it up with expensive paper, and the corners were crooked. He'd written Derek's name on it with a Sharpie, only a few hours ago at most; Derek could still smell the pungent ink. Maybe that was what was making his stomach ache.

After they wrapped presents it was time to watch Die Hard, and when that ended, near eleven, the sheriff said, "Okay, take those out to the car, I gotta change."

Stiles nodded, and Derek was baffled. He knew the sheriff was working Christmas afternoon. Derek was spending the night here, and they were opening presents in the morning. After that they were having brunch with Scott and Melissa and Isaac in the window between the end of Melissa's shift and the start of the sheriff's.

"Midnight Mass," Stiles explained as his father disappeared upstairs. "Come on, put your arms out."

Derek obeyed, and Stiles laid presents carefully in Derek's arms, arranging them so that no bows would be crushed.

"You don't go?" Derek asked carefully, trying not to put too much weight on the question. It seemed pretty obvious; Stiles wasn't changing clothes.

"Nope," Stiles agreed lightly, saying nothing further about it as he led Derek out to the car. The beat of his heart stayed steady, though. This was nothing new. "If you want to, though, Dad would--"

"No," Derek said. "I'll stay with you."

Stiles popped the trunk of his dad's car and laid down his own presents, then unloaded Derek's arms.

"Good," he said, with a sly smile. "Because Dad's gotta leave in ten minutes, Mass goes until like one-thirty, and then there's snacks and stuff in the church hall and everyone will want to talk to him and feed him stuff I don't let him eat the rest of the year, so he won't be home until three or four."

Stiles waggled his eyebrows, like Derek needed to have the implications of four hours alone together spelled out. Derek rolled his eyes.

They went back inside and met the sheriff coming downstairs in a suit. He took his keys from Stiles and hugged him, then hugged Derek, too. Derek was getting good at not freezing when that happened; tonight he managed to close one arm and pat the sheriff on the back.

"Merry Christmas, boys. Whatever you're doing while I'm gone, clean up after it."

"We will definitely throw out all the wrapping paper!" Stiles agreed brightly, and the sheriff shook his head and departed with no further argument.

"Wrapping paper?" Derek asked, eyeing the pile of leftover wrapping supplies still littering the coffee table and floor.

"Yeah, no," Stiles waved vaguely in that direction. "It's Christmas Eve, you get to open one present on Christmas Eve night, it's a thing. I thought you and I could each, you know, pick one to open together, just the two of us."

"Oh," Derek said, looking at the gifts under the tree. If it was just one gift....

But they were alone, and sex was already on the table. Derek could make it a joke, make it about Stiles having to wait until morning for his presents. And just maybe Stiles would understand, and it could be what Derek meant it to be. Maybe Stiles would be surprised and pleased, and then they'd have hours....

"Okay," Derek said, trying to think of how he would say it. "Now?"

"Hot chocolate first," Stiles pronounced definitively, turning toward the kitchen. "Have to make good hot chocolate, with milk, and then presents."

"You do that, then," Derek said, as inspiration struck. Maybe he didn't have to say anything at all. "I'm just gonna...."

He waved toward the bathroom, and Stiles nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. Derek grabbed a spool of silky red ribbon from the table, flicked out a claw to cut a good length from it, and retreated to the bathroom.

The absurdity of it struck him again when he was standing there with his pants around his ankles and a length of ribbon in his hands. This time it just made him smile, though, excitement welling up warmly in his chest. This could just be fun. Stiles would think it was fun; he'd be surprised. He'd be happy. Stiles would like this, and Derek would have gotten something right for once.

Derek looped the ribbon around his dick, trying to figure out how to tie it securely without castrating himself. He already knew that the ribbon was sort of slippery and treacherous, and his dick was, not surprisingly, harder--ha ha--shut up Stiles--to wrap than a square-edged gift. After a couple of bows that slid right off, Derek wound the ribbon around his balls, too, just snug enough not to slip, and tied a neat little bow, fussing until the ends were even and the loops were just right. Then he pulled his underwear up carefully over it, dragged his jeans up and zipped them.

He flushed the toilet and washed his hands, and stepped out of the bathroom to the smell and sound of Stiles pouring hot chocolate into two mugs. Derek went over to the tree and crouched down carefully, but the ribbon wasn't tight enough to hurt. He looked up as Stiles came in. "So, which one should I open?"

Stiles rolled his eyes and set the mugs down on the coffee table.

"This one, obviously," Stiles said, going over to the box with Derek's name on it and pushing it across the floor to him. He sat down on the floor by the tree and looked at Derek expectantly. His heart was beating fast, excited and pleased and maybe just the least little bit nervous now.

Derek looked down at the box, steeling himself. He waited while Stiles occupied his hands with his hot chocolate, sipping and burning his tongue immediately. Derek squared his shoulders and dragged a claw across the top of the box, slitting the paper neatly so that he could peel it back.

It was a copier paper box. Derek lifted the lid and then stared.

The box was full of paperback books, and there on top was a battered copy of The Hobbit that he could swear would have all his favorite pages dogeared, and would smell of Cora because she'd been snooping in his books again. He actually picked it up and fanned the pages, and had to drop it to be sure he wouldn't put claws through it, because--"Cora."

"Yeah," Stiles said, and that one word was enough to anchor Derek. He realized that that was the scent of Cora now, not Cora then.

"She helped," Stiles went on, and Derek noticed distantly that his heart was beating faster, sounding really anxious now. "Everybody helped, but Cora helped a lot with figuring out which books and what the covers looked like, so I got the same editions as much as possible. I guessed about some stuff I think you might've had, too, and some stuff I just thought you should have...."

Derek looked up at him, and then began to dig gingerly through the box, realizing that nearly every book was familiar, and they all had creased spines and worn corners. Every book he raised from the box smelled like pack. Stiles was all over them, but Cora was there too, and Isaac and Scott. Derek opened A Canticle for Leibowitz and got a distinct whiff of the sheriff.

"And we made sure they wouldn't smell totally wrong," Stiles said, like Derek might not have noticed. "That was--that was part of why I wanted to get used ones, so they wouldn't all just smell like nothing, but then I didn't want them to smell like strangers, either. Scott helped me find the ones that didn't already smell too much to cover up."

Derek kept shuffling through the books. A handful stuck out as things he hadn't owned, but even they were familiar--things he'd read at the library or in the years since. For the most part, though, Stiles had assembled the bookshelf that burned with the rest of Derek's bedroom when he was sixteen. Stiles hadn't just given him books; he'd given Derek a thread back to the time before, as if the fire had never happened, as if he'd always had a pack. As if he'd been able to haul a box of books around everywhere he went for the last eight years.

"Stiles," Derek said helplessly, unable to find words for this.

"It's, it's really kind of from everyone," Stiles said, and there was an inexplicable note of apology in his voice. Derek looked up, but could hardly focus on Stiles's face. "I just organized, really."

"You just," Derek said, and Stiles fidgeted. Derek finally realized that Stiles wasn't sure if Derek liked his gift.

Derek lunged forward, tipping the box over and spilling books across the floor under the tree. Derek didn't give a damn, because getting his arms around Stiles mattered more than all the books put together. Derek didn't even bother to kiss him, just pressed his face into the side of Stiles's throat and straddled his lap, pressing as close as he could everywhere.

"Okay, so," Stiles said. His heartbeat kicked up. "So, good surprise?"

"Good surprise," Derek agreed, unable to summon other words for it. "Stiles, you--"

Stiles did a tiny, wiggling victory dance under Derek's immobilizing weight, and Derek laughed a little and shifted back to kneel on the floor, gathering the books back into the box. He had his face turned away when Stiles said brightly, "So, which one should I open?"

The warm daze of Stiles's gift shattered, and Derek's eyes darted to his own presents for Stiles, piled up under the tree. Nothing he had could match that, and certainly not the maybe-joke of a fuck. After a frozen moment, weighing his array of bad options, Derek reached for the biggest of the wrapped boxes and offered it hesitantly to Stiles. "It's not...."

"Whatever, dude, I don't care," Stiles insisted. Every happily anticipating beat of his heart hit Derek like a fist, and he hunkered down to watch. One of Derek's hands still hovered over his box of books, as though Stiles might take them back once he realized how bad Derek was at giving gifts.

Stiles dragged out Derek's dread, making a whole production of it. He hefted the box thoughtfully, gauging its size and weight, then shook it, listening to the soft shift of its contents.

"Clothes?" Stiles said, frowning at the box, as if he weren't even speaking to Derek. "Sounds like too many pieces for clothes, huh. Man, I have no idea."

He gave Derek a bright, pleased smile, as though his inability to guess what stupid thing Derek had dumped into a box was a triumph on Derek's part. Stiles flipped the box over, finding the seam in the wrapping paper and tearing the paper from there.

The box was the one Cora had sent Derek's Christmas present in: thirty packages of those orange circus peanuts. Derek had nearly thrown up when he opened the box. He spent the rest of that day queasy but smiling at the memory of that awful car trip, their last family vacation before the fire. The faint smell of the candy still seemed to cling to the cardboard, but now it was filled with an array of gloves and mittens, Derek's last panic-driven selection at Macy's. He'd half-emptied a display and fled to the nearest register.

Stiles poked through them, like he thought there was something else inside, like maybe what he saw was just packing material. His excitement tapered down into amusement as he realized there was nothing more. His smile was fond, with that particular edge of patient acceptance Derek knew too well already. His voice was only gently teasing--fuck, it had to be awful if Stiles was bothering to be kind to him--as he said, "I know I'm a fragile human, dude, but we do live in California."

Derek winced. "I know you don't--I kept the receipt, you can take them back, get something else, I just, I thought...."

There had been a thought, at least. Before Derek had freaked out and bought all of them, there had been a little inkling of an idea that made him stop and look at the display, but it was mostly just him being weird. It would only make Stiles laugh at him in a different way.

"You thought?" Stiles prompted.

Derek surrendered to the inevitable. "It's been cold the last few weeks. Your fingers get cold, you--" Derek imitated the distracting way Stiles blew or sucked on his fingers when they were out at night in the cold. "You should wear gloves."

A different, amused smile was blooming on Stiles's face, and Derek floundered miserably on. "There are different kinds. You can use your phone when you're wearing those knit ones, and the mittens fold back so you can have your fingers out. Those are waterproof, but they're not very flexible. The leather ones... smell really good."

He'd gotten two or three colors of most of them, because he couldn't decide and because he suspected Stiles would be prone to misplacing them. Stiles pulled out the nice leather gloves from the bottom of the box. He sniffed them thoughtfully, and then, with his eyes steady on Derek's, he put the fingertips of the gloves in his mouth, the same as he did with his actual fingers when he was cold.

Derek's eyes dropped helplessly to watch, and Stiles dropped the glove from his mouth with a triumphant, "Ha! I cracked your code, dude."

Derek's eyes darted back up to Stiles's. He still didn't look disappointed, or like he was patiently tolerating Derek's ineptitude. He looked... happy, actually happy. Derek smiled tentatively back, and Stiles shoved the box aside, letting gloves and mittens slither out onto the floor as he crawled over to climb into Derek's lap.

"I know what this is about," Stiles said slowly, like he was revealing some big secret, so that Derek felt a shiver of fear that Stiles had figured out something. He smelled good, though, a little turned on and still happy, with no cold tang of disappointment. Derek had avoided that, at least. "This is all about your freaky obsession with my hands. You get all distracted when I put my fingers in my mouth, you can't stand it."

Derek huffed in relief and amusement, and Stiles's fingers tapped against his lips. Derek obediently opened his mouth for them, closing his teeth lightly on Stiles's fingertips and flicking his tongue against them. Stiles didn't mind Derek fixating on his hands when it was a sex thing, and that was fine with Derek right now. They could just--move past presents and into sex. Stiles would stay happy and forget that Derek was terrible at this, and maybe in the morning the sheriff would assume Derek had given him something actually thoughtful tonight. Maybe he would assume they'd been busy having sex and not ask about it at all.

"Uh-huh," Stiles said, "And if you're so worried about my fingers getting cold, I bet I can think of someplace warm to put them...."

Derek snorted, letting Stiles's fingers fall free of his mouth as he grinned at Stiles's unswerving dedication to his dirty-talk premise, such as it was.

Stiles tugged Derek's sweater up and off. Derek, who had had some time to perfect his approach to getting Stiles out of layers of clothes, found the hem of his innermost t-shirt and dragged all of his shirts off in one go. Stiles was used to Derek's determination to be efficient about undressing him, so he held still until Derek threw the whole bundle of clothing behind him.

Derek tugged Stiles close again, and Stiles settled easily on Derek's thighs, tucking his hands into Derek's pants as he caught Derek's mouth in a kiss. His mouth tasted of the hot chocolate he'd been drinking, but the kiss was sweeter than that, unhurried, as if Stiles would be content just to press close and warm his fingers against Derek's skin.

They kissed for a long time, and Derek was barely aware of the progression as Stiles pushed him lower, until he was lying on his back with Stiles stretched over him. Stiles was rocking his hips down into Derek's in awkward little movements, lacking leverage because he still had his fingers tucked into Derek's jeans. Derek shifted up restlessly, the constriction of his pants more annoying than usual. It wasn't long before Stiles took the hint and shifted one hand around to the front of Derek's jeans, lifting himself off far enough to unbutton and unzip.

Derek remembered at exactly the same moment Stiles's hand slid into his underwear. He felt his face go a hot, humiliated red and closed his eyes.

Stiles said, "Huh, what's," and shifted up to kneel straddling Derek's hips as he pulled Derek's underwear down far enough to get his dick out.

Stiles's hand curled around him loosely, and Derek tried to hold still at the weird sensation of Stiles running his finger over the silky loop of ribbon around the base of his dick and balls. The ribbon ends tickled as they shifted under Stiles's grip. Stiles didn't laugh, at least. Derek couldn't read the quick beating of his heart with any certainty, but he wasn't suddenly not aroused.

"Do you," Stiles said, tugging at something--one of the ends, maybe--that made the ribbon loop pull against Derek's dick without tightening or loosening it. "Is that hurting you?"

Derek opened his eyes at that, because how was that the question Stiles asked first? Stiles's gaze was fixed on his dick with every sign of fascination, a flush on his cheeks that couldn't mean the same thing as the heat of Derek's own face.

Stiles looked up a few seconds later, meeting Derek's gaze. He closed his grip on Derek's dick, giving him a firm stroke that Derek couldn't help arching up into.

"I mean," Stiles said, starting to smile a little. "You obviously got hard just fine, but it looks like it might be kind of tight now? I could loosen it for you if you wanted to keep it. It's all pretty and festive, you did the bow really nice."

Derek had to sit up then, yanking Stiles into a hurried kiss. It didn't work well because Stiles was grinning, but Derek got his point across. Stiles's hand didn't budge from his dick.

"It's sort of a--another present," Derek said, keeping his forehead pressed to Stiles's so he didn't have to look him in the eye. "I thought--if you wanted to, I could fuck you. If you--"

Stiles's hand tightened on Derek's dick, and his heart rate spiked. Derek pulled back enough to look him in the eye, but he didn't get to see anything useful before Stiles closed the distance with an even more frantic kiss. His hand opened, sliding down to tangle in the ribbon, and Derek only barely had time to wince before Stiles got the bow untied and the constriction of it was replaced by the slithery touch of the ribbon lying loosely against his heated skin.

"Yes," Stiles said, so emphatic Derek felt it like a push against his mouth between kisses. "Yes, God I thought you would never--wait, shit, Derek--"

Stiles jerked back, and the fast beat of his heart changed; his eyes were wide with something that wasn't delight at all, and Derek winced.

"No, I--hey," Stiles kissed him again, soft and reassuring, but he took his hand off of Derek's dick, settling it on his hip, on top of his jeans. "Derek, if you want to, if this is how you want to tell me that you want to fuck me, because you want to fuck me and you want to do it tonight, or soon, that's great, I am so fucking into that you have no idea. But if this is you trying to--to make me happy, because you got freaked out about me getting you a really elaborate present--"

Derek couldn't help the full-body flinch, and Stiles's hand tightened on his hip. He kissed Derek's cheek and the top of his ear. Derek tried to twist away and Stiles said, "No, Derek, just hang on a second, I'm not saying no, I'm just saying--I don't want you doing things you don't want to do to make me happy. I mean, changing the sheets and stuff, yes, but not sex, okay, and definitely not because I had a good idea for a Christmas present. Christmas presents are a thing for me, my mom--" Stiles's heartbeat went haywire, and despite everything Derek couldn't help tugging Stiles a little closer, automatically wanting to comfort him at the mention of his mother.

"It's just a thing I do, okay, I'm not expecting you to be good at it any more than you expect me to be good at backflips. This is just my thing, it's just--it's just how I tell people I love them, okay? Scott gets me a video game every year. You got me mittens. It's okay."

Derek turned his face toward Stiles, tucking his forehead against Stiles's chest. The beat of his heart had settled down into sincerity, now, and the scent of sex still rose up distractingly between them.

"It's okay," Stiles repeated, curling his fingers around the nape of Derek's neck. "In fifteen or twenty years you're going to have this one completely brilliant idea, and you're going to shock the hell out of me and I will cry, and you'll win for once, and it will be great, okay? Until then, random shit from Macy's is fine."

Derek froze. Every word of that was as sincere as the steady beat of Stiles's heart, and all Derek heard was I want to be with you twenty years from now and I think we can be as happy as my parents. Stiles was saying he saw it that way, too, that this Christmas could be the first in a long, long line of them. Suddenly it occurred to Derek that he knew what Stiles really wanted out of Christmas, and what he might accept from Derek.

Derek lifted his head to look Stiles in the eye. Stiles looked a little worried, but Derek slid his hands down to Stiles's hips and smiled without even trying very hard. He thought this might really work. "What if it wasn't a present? What if it's a tradition?"

Stiles looked puzzled, but that was a step up from concerned. "We don't have any traditions."

Derek's smile widened. "We could, starting now. We could have a tradition where I fuck you in your bed in your dad's house every Christmas Eve while he's out at Midnight Mass. We could start this year."

Derek got to watch Stiles get it, watched his face shift from confusion to delight. It was like watching the stars light up the sky. Stiles kissed him on the mouth and his hand shifted back from Derek's hip to his dick--to the ribbon, which was still looped loosely around him. "Are the festive decorations part of the tradition?"

"Required," Derek agreed. "But no glitter. Ever."

Stiles laughed a little, and his hand closed on Derek's dick with the ribbon crumpled in between. "Yeah, no, there are places glitter should not be."

Derek hummed agreement and kissed Stiles again, sliding one hand down to the front of Stiles's jeans to see how Stiles's erection was recovering from the pause. A little encouragement seemed to be in order, and Derek kissed him again and again, trying not to buck up into Stiles's hand as it tightened around him.

"Okay," Stiles said after a while, sounding gratifyingly breathless. "So traditionally we do this in my bed, right, not under the tree."

Derek pulled back enough to nod, and Stiles popped to his feet and stepped back, taking the ribbon with him when he took his hand off of Derek's dick. He waggled his fingers at Derek, making the slightly damp ribbon flutter. "Come on. I bet our tradition can combine your thing for my hands and my thing for getting your dick into me."

Derek bit his lip, swallowing a groan, and rose to follow Stiles, not bothering to tuck himself back into his jeans for the short walk upstairs. Stiles's eyes fell to his dick and Stiles walked backward, his gaze riveted on Derek's crotch. Derek had to catch him when he stumbled halfway up the stairs, and Stiles turned it into a clinch, wrapping his arms around Derek's neck and pushing in for a devouring kiss. Derek slid his steadying hands down to Stiles's thighs and hoisted him up, and Stiles was wrapping his legs around Derek's waist almost before Derek could pull them together.

Derek's dick pressed up against Stiles's ass, and even with the unpleasant friction of Stiles's jeans against his shaft it was still irresistible to be so close. He could feel the flex of Stiles's ass against him, and he ran the rest of the way to Stiles's bedroom. Stiles broke the kiss to whoop like he was on a carnival ride, and Derek dumped him onto his bed without remorse.

Stiles started struggling out of his clothes before he'd even stopped bouncing on the mattress. Derek stood transfixed by the flash of red wrapped around his fingers as he unzipped until Stiles said, "Get the stuff, Derek, come on, let's go."

Derek moved, stepping over to the cubby on the headboard where lube and condoms were hidden behind a stack of books--one of them was So Long and Thanks for All the Fish, and Derek wouldn't have to ask if he could borrow it now, because he had his own copy in that box downstairs. He felt a confusing tangle of love and gratitude and home and lust all at once. Derek turned back toward Stiles with the supplies in his hands to find that Stiles was already naked. He was on his knees with his legs spread, his back to Derek. He reached out with his beribboned hand, and Derek offered him the lube.

Stiles grinned and jerked his chin toward the pillows. "Have a seat and get comfy. I'm gonna give you something to watch."

Derek shoved his jeans and underwear all the way off, paused to tug off his socks, and then sat down on the bed, tucking a pillow behind him. Stiles watched all of this in the same pose, head turned over his shoulder. When Derek settled with his feet between Stiles's calves, Stiles backed up until he was straddling Derek's knees and then shook his hips.

"Good view?"

Derek made himself sit back, tucking his hands behind his head. "Front row seat. Is the show starting soon?"

"Hmm," Stiles said, his voice not covering the sound of him opening the lube and slicking his fingers. "I guess this might just be the previews."

Derek slouched lower, watching as Stiles pushed his knees out wider, opening himself. "I hate missing the previews."

"Yeah, me too," Stiles agreed. "Nobody wants to get just--shoved--" His fingers appeared from between his legs so there was nothing to block Derek's view as he rubbed lube around on his hole. "Right into the main event."

Derek made a vague noise because it seemed like Stiles expected an answer there and Derek had no idea anymore what they were talking about. He could smell arousal and excitement rising off every heated inch of Stiles's skin as well as his own. Stiles's long, beautiful fingers were teasing at Stiles's ass while that ribbon fluttered at Derek, still dangling from Stiles's hand. Derek's breath hitched along with Stiles's when Stiles pushed one finger inside, and Derek couldn't keep his hands behind his head anymore.

He lowered one to his own dick, stroking it as torturously slowly as Stiles was opening himself. One finger, first, easing in and out, stretching him slowly. Stiles started talking to himself after a while, a half-voiced murmur of, "Not yet, not yet--another minute...."

He gave in before Derek lost patience, working a second finger into himself. At one point he reached around, squirting more of the clear lube onto his fingers; it dripped down onto Derek's legs, and Derek reached forward without a thought, swiping it off his skin and smearing it onto his dick with a firm stroke. He never took his eyes off of Stiles's fingers, pushing into himself faster and faster. The red ribbon was dark with wetness now.

"One more, you think?" Stiles asked eventually, and Derek didn't even know whether he was asking himself or Derek, but the answer was instinctive. Derek reached out with his free hand and pressed his fingertip to Stiles's hole beside Stiles's own. Not in, not yet, but enough to let Stiles feel him there.

Stiles's whole body jerked like Derek had just swallowed his dick. Derek smelled the spurt of pre-come from Stiles's dick, and heard Stiles's heartbeat quicken further.

"Oh, fuck, yeah, come on, get in there," Stiles demanded, reaching back with the lube again. Derek let the cool liquid drip down from his knuckle to his fingertip and then pushed inside, working his finger in between Stiles's. He couldn't hold back a little groan as he slid into the heat of Stiles's ass. He could feel Stiles's muscles closing around him, Stiles's two fingers tightly enclosed with his one. Suddenly he couldn't understand how he'd gone so long without this, how he'd kept from begging Stiles to let him back inside the very first day, the first hour. He couldn't understand how he'd ever let that full moon night be over.

He made himself go as slowly as Stiles, cooperating with his movements in and out. His palm pressed to Stiles's, the rest of their fingers interlacing to keep them joined. He crooked his finger around Stiles's fingers, finding the place that made him jerk and whimper; he tested the pad of his finger against Stiles's rim, stretching him wider before pushing in again.

"Oh, fuck, fuck, Derek, come on," Stiles was gasping. He was pushing his ass back against their fingers, trying to shift his knees back further to get closer to Derek. "Now, please, I want you, I know you know I can take it with less prep than this, please, now, fuck--"

Derek growled a little at the memory of how little he'd prepped Stiles that night--Stiles had been so tight around him, and Derek had been able to smell the pain mixed with his pleasure before Stiles relaxed entirely. There wasn't going to be any pain tonight. Derek was going to make sure Stiles enjoyed every second and looked forward to doing it again next time. Derek took his right hand off his own dick and settled it on Stiles's hip, tugging him backward until he was over Derek's thighs.

Stiles tried to lower himself, tugging his fingers free of his ass, but Derek tightened both hands--keeping Stiles's fingers where they were, keeping Stiles up on his knees. Derek leaned in, pressing his nose to the cleft of Stiles's ass and taking in the smell of him, dizzyingly intense.

"Oh, fuck, Derek," Stiles gasped. "Oh God."

"Mm-hm," Derek said, because the inflection of Stiles's words told him that Stiles knew what he was about to do. He licked over Stiles's knuckles first, and then traced his tongue around the stretched rim of his hole.

He'd done this last time, too, but not until after he'd fucked Stiles at least once. Maybe more. Derek's memories of that night got a little hazy in the middle, but he vividly remembered the taste. Stiles had been wet with spunk and spit, then. Derek had licked and licked at him, swallowing down the mingled taste of the two of them while Stiles writhed against his mouth.

Now Stiles's ass was slick against his tongue, the slightly soapy nothing-taste of the lube interrupting the taste of Stiles's body. Derek pressed his finger down inside Stiles, getting his fingertip against Stiles's prostate as he licked again, and Stiles keened, a high tense noise with no pain in it at all. Derek leaned into him, losing himself in Stiles. He could barely breathe, face mashed into Stiles's ass, and every molecule of air smelled of Stiles, his mouth was full of Stiles.

Stiles's heartbeat was racing higher and higher--Derek's heart kept pace, so he felt it inside and out. His mouth was slick with the taste of Stiles, all hot throbbing need, and everything was good, and then Stiles yelped, "Derek stop."

Derek jerked back, feeling suddenly cold, but in the next second he recognized the bowing of Stiles's body, the angle of Stiles's other arm--he'd grabbed his dick and was holding carefully still. He was trying desperately not to come.

"Please," Stiles gasped, a hint of a whine threading his voice, "please, fuck me, Derek, come on. Now, now, now."

"Yeah," Derek agreed, easing their tangled fingers free of Stiles's body with a wet sliding sound. The ribbon slipped free, landing wetly on Derek's thigh, and Derek glanced from it to Stiles's ass, open for him.

"Fuck," Derek said, thinking of it too late. He grabbed the box of condoms with slick fingers. "Stiles, hang on, I have to--"

"You don't," Stiles said, sagging lower over Derek, his hand reaching down to find Derek's cock. "You don't need it, you didn't the first time and you don't now."

Derek tasted blood from his bitten lip, and licked it quickly away as he put both hands on Stiles's hips, guiding him down. The heat of Stiles's ass sinking onto his cock was a shock, and Derek's breath caught, a sudden wave of memory from that night washing over him. His hips jerked up without thought, slamming home inside Stiles, and Stiles arched back, hands groping backward at Derek as if he could pull him any closer.

Derek kept his hands on Stiles's hips, guiding him in a fast, steady rhythm as Derek fucked up into him. Stiles let him set the pace at first, but soon he was rising and falling under his own power, working himself frantically on Derek's cock. The sight of Stiles's back as they fucked was another wave of memory, and Derek kissed the groove of his spine as sweat dripped down and the cluster of little moles on his shoulder blade. He was distracted from that when Stiles took a hand away from Derek to start jerking himself off. He raced ahead of the rhythm of their fucking, and Derek could feel Stiles's orgasm shuddering through him before it arrived. When it did Stiles let out a sound like a sob, falling back against Derek's chest.

Derek went still, too, buried deep in Stiles while Stiles's ass tightened rhythmically around him. He hooked his chin over Stiles's shoulder and watched his dick as he shot off all over his own belly, the last spurts dripping down his fingers. Derek whined a little at the impossibility of tasting it from here, and then he did the logical thing and tugged Stiles up by the hips.

"Turn," he managed, guiding Stiles around, and Stiles obediently moved where Derek was pushing him, turning himself around to face Derek. Derek tugged him back down, guiding his dick back to Stiles's ass and into that welcoming heat again. Stiles swayed backward over Derek's legs, bracing himself with his hands behind him. He tilted his head back and his whole body, from his softening dick to his throat was open to Derek, vulnerable and open and his.

Derek rocked up into Stiles's ass and leaned forward, licking his belly first, and then letting his mouth trail up higher, tasting his sweaty skin, his satisfaction, grinding up into him all the time. Stiles's hand landed in his hair while Derek was mouthing along the sharp line of his collarbone. Stiles tugged him up further, and Derek tested his teeth gently on the skin of Stiles's bared throat and jerked up hard into his ass, and Stiles was pliant and easy, taking it, taking everything.

"Come on," Stiles said, sounding drunk on sex. He tugged at Derek's hair. "Come on, come here."

Derek lifted his head obediently and Stiles swayed forward into a kiss. He sucked lazily at Derek's tongue and Derek shuddered under him and jerked up harder, fucking into him faster again. He was startled by it when he came--not the blind crazed crescendo of that first night, but still so good, with Stiles's mouth on his, Stiles's hands on him, Stiles making tiny contented noises like he was already halfway to sleep.

Derek turned his head to breathe when he finished, collapsing against the pillows again. Stiles curled down against his chest, not moving to extricate himself.

"Merry Christmas," Derek muttered after a while.

Stiles made a four-syllable noise that was probably supposed to be Merry Christmas back, and Derek tucked his face down against Stiles's shoulder and finally stopped worrying.


Derek woke up on Christmas morning in Stiles's bed. He and Stiles were both wearing pajamas--they'd woken up around two, all the lights in the house still on, naked and uncomfortably sticky. They'd stumbled through getting washed up and clothed, and Derek had a single distinct memory of standing at the top of the stairs saying, "Fuck the hot chocolate, come back to bed."

Stiles had come back to bed. Derek had woken again around four when the sheriff came in; he'd listened in the dark to the fond grumbling downstairs as the sheriff tidied up and set out a few more presents under the tree, and all had been quiet since then.

There was a soft gray morning light coming through Stiles's bedroom window now, and Stiles was still sleeping in Derek's arms. It was Christmas, and Derek was waking up with, if not his pack, at least something like family. He could wake up here again next year, maybe, and the year after that. Something to look forward to.

He shifted, snuggling down to press his nose to Stiles's skin, and Stiles squirmed in his grasp, turning face up. Derek spotted a flash of red on the sheets, and grinned as he reached around Stiles to grab the ribbon. He caught Stiles's hand, lacing their fingers together with the ribbon tangled between them, and kissed Stiles's knuckles before he settled down to doze a while longer with his lips pressed to the back of Stiles's hand.