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But, Doctor!

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“Alright, heads you get the one on the right, tails you get the one on the right?”

“Why do I have to get the girl?”

“Because girls give me cooties,” Stiles pouts.

Derek rolls his eyes. “Rock, paper, scissors?”

“God, you two are pathetic,” Allison scoffs from behind them.

They both swivel on their chairs and she slams two large files down in Stiles’ lap. Stiles jerks upwards with a pained expression and then curls in on himself. 

“Why, Allison, why? Don’t you want me to have babies one day?”

Allison pats the top of his head unsympathetically, and then points at Derek. Derek does not back away minimally.

“Take the one on the right, she’s not methodical enough for Stiles and the one on the left needs work on his bedside manner.”

“Definitely don’t send the one on the left to Derek, then,” Stiles mutters.

Derek scowls down at him and Stiles rolls his head upwards from where it’s resting on his knees to grin at him. “I’m kidding; you’re a delight with all your patients.”

“They’re just interns,” Allison says with an exasperated sigh. “They won’t bite.”

“That remains to be seen,” Stiles mutters darkly.

“Ooooh, the one on the left is pretty,” Lydia remarks, suddenly appearing at the nurse’s station.

Stiles starts when she flicks at his ear and growls up at her. “What do you want, oh Dark Queen of Hearts?”

“Just came to wish you boys luck, I hear Reyes has been making Deaton’s life hell up in neuro.”

“Definitely yours then,” Stiles beams at Derek.

Derek sighs inwardly and wishes, just once, he could say no to Stiles.

He holds his hands up and then stands from where he’s been slouching against the desk. “Fine.” He strides over to where the two interns are perched on the plastic chairs of the waiting area. “You,” he points at the blonde girl. “You’re with me.”

The tall, hulking guy next to her lets out a visible sigh of relief and the girl pouts.

Derek chooses to ignore it and glances at the file in front of him. “Reyes?”


“Don’t care,” he says shortly. “Do you have appropriate clothing with you?”

Erica looks down at her silver blouse and grey wool skirt. If Derek were the kind of person that put ‘fashionista’ terms to things he would say she looked fabulous. She seems to agree because she looks back up at him unimpressed. “These won’t do?”

“You’re working with children,” he says, slipping on his glasses and glowering at her. “You won’t last two minutes in those.” He nods down the hall to the locker room. “You’ve got five minutes, go.” Erica stares at him for a second, but when it becomes clear he’s not joking she sashays off in a huff.

When Derek glances back at the station, Stiles is laughing and Lydia claps her hands slowly. He flips them both off and stalks off after Erica, batting away a curling banner wishing their patients a Happy Thanksgiving.

He fucking hates dealing with interns.


It turns out he was right to dread working with Erica. Not because she’s difficult, or because she questions everything he does—that he can handle. But, because she and Derek have a shared interest, and he utterly refuses to admit it, or discuss it with her.

Erica is just as bad at taking no for an answer as Stiles is.

Which is even more unfortunate because Stiles is the subject in question.

“So, he’s single?” Erica finishes stitching and looks up at him, surgical thread between her teeth.

Derek sighs and yanks it out. “Unhygienic,” he says crossly, waving it at her. “Cut here.”

“You didn’t answer my question, Dr Hale.”

“I’ll answer any medical questions you have, Dr Reyes, nothing else.”

“Is he straight? Because he’s hot stuff and I’d really like to know if he’s available.”

Derek threads his own needle, stitches up the practise mould of a hand in thirty seconds and then glowers at Erica. “Until you can do that, don’t talk.”

“At all?”

He sighs and resists the urge to bash his head against the table. The door to the lab opens and Stiles leans into the room. Derek quietly, secretly enjoys seeing Stiles’ face at the best of times, but he feels like he’s being rescued as Stiles crooks a grin at him.

“Yo, lunch?”


Stiles’ smile widens, and he taps a hand on the door before disappearing into the corridor.

Derek leaps from his chair, barely catching the smirk Erica gives him, “Oh, I see how it is.”

He pauses from throwing on his coat and raises an eyebrow, “Excuse me?”

“I’d heard about you guys up in neuro, I just didn’t realise how blatantly unaware of it you’d be.”

“Unaware of what, Dr Reyes?”

“Nothing,” she finishes the second stitch with a flourish and drops the hand on the table. “Am I allowed to eat lunch with you?”

“No chance,” he snaps. “You have charts.”

“When do I eat?!”

Derek smiles nastily at her, “When you’re finished.”

Erica huffs and storms from the room, muttering about loser attendings.

Derek follows her out, grinning to himself and Stiles quirks an eyebrow at him from where he’s leaning against the wall. “Having fun?”

He schools his features back into a scowl. “No, she asks a lot of questions. What’s the other one like, Boyd?”

“Probably not nearly as scary as yours, he’s like a baby giant. The kids loved him on rounds.”

They head for the cafeteria and Scott waves at them from their usual table. Derek presumes it’s because Scott hasn’t realised they’ve sat at the same table for five years and is worried they might forget and head elsewhere.

Stiles bounds over, high fiving his best friend and ruffling Isaac’s hair, “How was the run last night?”

Isaac twists his face from where it’s buried in his hands and scrunches up his nose. “Long; two DOAs, an overdose and a rave down in Barage Park that went wrong.”

“We had to splint a girl’s leg in a ditch,” Scott says excitedly.

“Bro, you sound way too happy about that,” Stiles complains, opening up his bag and pulling out a Twinkie.

Derek removes it from his hand silently and replaces it with an apple. Stiles scowls at him for a second then bites into it, regardless. Derek sits back and lets the group discuss the merits of dramatic lifesaving feats for winning over the ladies. Scott is convinced it’ll help impress Allison; Isaac thinks Scott’s a loser. Stiles—

Stiles is falling asleep on Derek’s shoulder.

He hadn’t even realised they were sitting that close. He shifts and Stiles hums, sits back up to continue eating his apple like he didn’t just fall asleep at lunch time.

“You should switch shifts with Danny,” Derek says softly.

“Na uh, I need to keep an eye on Julianna.”

“Danny can do it.”

“No, I’m fine.”

Derek stares at him and Stiles rolls his eyes. “Fine, maybe I’ll see if he’ll cover for me tomorrow. I may have slightly overestimated my ability to stay awake for three days solid.”


“Shut up.”

Lydia drops her tray down beside them looking furious. Isaac shoots up in his seat bleary eyed, and Stiles almost loses his apple.

“Woah, what’s got your scrubs in a twist?”

“Finstock’s having an M & M panel on Monday.”

“Oh, fuck,” Stiles groans, lolls his head back onto Derek’s shoulder again, and Derek tries to look affronted, but seemingly ends up failing by the slight smirk Lydia gives him. Her own irritated expression returns as she begins snapping open her salad carton. 

“It’s not like I don’t encourage an opportunity to improve on our abilities or our procedural routines. But, he’s using one of my patients from last month and I don’t like the way members of the board have been eyeing me recently.”

Derek frowns, “You think they’re gonna get a suit from it?”

Lydia sighs, jabbing her fork into her salad viscously, “Maybe.”

Isaac’s pager goes off, and he jerks to attention, downing a suspicious looking can of soda Derek doesn’t even want to look at the ingredients of.

“GSW, Scotty, get up.” He yanks at Scott’s shoulder and drowsily Scott stumbles after him.

“Tell Allison I said hi when you see her!” He yells over his shoulder.

“Priorities,” Stiles says, grinning after his best friend. “That boy has them.”


“Read it again.”

Derek laughs, flips the book shut and climbs off the bed. “No.”

Hazel, in recovery mode after her appendectomy looks up at him with big, wide eyes. “Please, Dr Hale.”

“Oh go on, Derek,” Stiles smirks over at him from where he’s changing William’s bandages. “She did ask nicely.”

“His name isn’t Derek,” Hazel says incredulously. “It’s doctor.”

“My apologies,” Stiles says solemnly, winking at Will who grins like he’s in on the joke. “Doctor Hale.”

Derek reminds himself that dozens of people call him that every day, it really shouldn’t sound dirty coming from Stiles.

Especially in a room full of children.

“It’s nearly eight o’clock and you need to get your beauty sleep, Hazel,” he says firmly. He shoots Stiles an I’ll kill you later look and Stiles sticks his tongue out in retaliation.

“Fine,” Hazel huffs, before trying to roll onto her side and screeching in pain.

Derek’s quick to manoeuvre her back into a comfortable position and fluffs her pillows. He can see Stiles grinning in his periphery as the other doctor moves round Jesse’s bed, but chooses not to rise to the bait.

“Go to sleep,” he warns. “If you’re good, tomorrow you can have ice cream.”

He heads out of the ward and hears Stiles skitter to catch up with him, throwing an arm around his shoulders. “If I’m good can I have ice cream too, Doctor Hale?”

“Shut up,” he huffs, shrugging Stiles’ arm off and pushing him gently.

Stiles laughs. “Aw come on, don’t be like that Doctor.”

“Stiles, I swear to god—”

“Stilinski! Hale!” Dr Finstock appears out of nowhere and tosses an arm over each of their shoulders. Derek wonders if he’s wearing a sign on his back that says touch me and inwardly grinds his teeth. It’s not that he doesn’t like his boss, they’re actually insanely lucky with how dedicated their Chief of Staff is, but, he’s a special snowflake as Stiles says fondly when not in Finstock’s hearing range.

“You boys ready to present for the board next week?”

“Oh, absolutely,” Stiles says with a beam. “I’ll be there to provide the pretty, obviously, but I know Derek will have a lot to say.”

Derek elbows him in the ribs and Stiles squirms away, still grinning.

Finstock rolls his eyes at both of them and then claps a heavy hand on one of their shoulders. “Just make sure you blow them away, alright? We need the funds, so absolutely no bullshit, Stilinski. And you,” he points a finger at Derek. “This time try not to pick on everything Stiles says, you’re on the same damn team and there is no Derek Hale works alone in team.”

“I bet there’s some way you could work it into an anagram,” Stiles says thoughtfully.

Finstock makes a pained noise, cuffs him over the head and stalks away, white coat flapping around him dramatically.

“You know his hair gets higher every time I see him.”

Derek snorts as he follows Stiles into the on-call room.

“He does have a point though.”

“He does?” Derek turns to raise a quizzical eyebrow in Stiles’ direction and then looks away again quickly as Stiles tugs his shirt over his head.

“Yeah, you spent half of last year’s budget meeting picking on me.”

“I did no such thing.”

“Yes, you did! I was trying to get us permission to have the parent’s room redecorated so it looks less like something from a seventies horror movie, and more like somewhere people might actually find comfortable, and you kept cutting me off!” Stiles kicks one of his shoes at Derek’s head and he catches it, casting a scowl over his shoulder as he strips off his own shirt.

 “I don’t remember it like that at all.”

“Of course you wouldn’t,” Stiles scoffs. “You were in a foul mood all week.”

“My sister was in town.”

“I know,” Stiles visibly rolls his eyes as he clambers up onto the bed above Derek’s. “We had dinner with her?”

Stiles chiding him so easily, even fondly makes Derek’s stomach tie itself in knots. He really tries to clamp down on the feeling of domesticity he gets whenever he and Stiles end up on the night shift together, but it’s getting almost impossible.

It doesn’t even happen very often these days, because they’re an attending down, and one of them has to be available at any time. But, Derek’s staying just in case Hazel somehow takes a turn for the worse. He drops back onto his own bed and presses the heels of his hands against his eyes. He hadn’t meant to be a dick to Stiles last year, but Laura had spent the entire week talking about how perfect they were for each other and he’d sort of, maybe, taken it out on Stiles reflexively.

“I’m sorry,” he says finally. “You should have said something earlier.”

“Why?” Stiles huffs a laugh. “I knew it was because Laura was getting to you, I knew it’d pass.” His face appears over the side of the bed suddenly, and he grins down at Derek. “I had total faith you’d turn into your usual, sunshine like self the second she was gone. And low, you did!”

Derek tosses a pillow at him and Stiles vanishes from view again, cursing.


“Hmm,” Stiles says sleepily. “You love me really.”

Derek’s almost glad his pager goes off two seconds later and he has to flee the room because yes, he really does. He’s fucking screwed because of it, too.


“Oh!” Stiles’ eyes light up as Derek half falls into the break room, slapping snow off his coat. “You brought food! You are such a good provider,” he hums happily, leaping up and swatting at stray dust around Derek’s shoulders.

Derek rolls his eyes, bats Stiles’ hands from where they’re tweaking his hair. “Shut up, hey—” he prevents Stiles from raking his fingers through Derek’s hair, just, and waves the food at him. “You wanna eat, or what?”

“The truest way to my heart,” Stiles declares loftily, “There enough for Scott and Isaac?”

“Of course,” Derek scoffs, ducking to put their food in the fridge for when they get time for dinner.

“Hey,” Stiles kicks the door open suddenly, “Wanna hit the scenic venue for dinner?”

Derek glances at the clock, they’ve got maybe fifteen minutes before the night shift starts.

“Come on,” Stiles wheedles, “I’ve barely had any fresh air all day.”

Derek tries to point out to himself that he, too, needs the fresh air, and it’s not a knee jerk reaction to make Stiles happy that has him rolling his eyes and following Stiles out into the corridor.

“’M’tellin’ you, this is the only way to eat Thai food,” Stiles mumbles with a full mouth five minutes later.

“With icy cold hands and the sounds of Finstock trying to get his car to start floating around us?”

Stiles grins at him, eyes sparkling, “Yep.”

Derek rolls his eyes, trying not to begrudgingly smile back. “Eat your food,” he says after a moment, nudging Stiles gently in the side.

“Boss, boss, bossy,” Stiles grumbles, but twists from sitting with his legs next to Derek to dangle them over the ledge, and digs in. “Check it out,” he nudges Derek, “You can see my apartment block.”

“A true testament to the wonders of architecture,” Derek says drily, not even thinking of bringing up the fact he knows he can see Stiles’ apartment block from here. He even knows how long it takes to run from here to the apartment, and drive, and walk, exhausted at three am on a Friday morning when he needs a place to crash with friendly voices and the television on the background. Or, that sometimes when he’s totally zoned out, bone tired and desperate, seeing the lights on, no matter whether Stiles and Scott’s, or anyone in the blocks, it makes him feel just a little bit better, knowing it’s there. Knowing Stiles is here, next to him, with him.

He’s stupidly, foolishly in love, and he can’t bring himself to take the leap, to say anything. So, instead he takes his glasses off, cleans them, and focuses on his noodles.

The companiable silence lasts a moment before Stiles crows with glee, “Hey, look!”

Derek turns his head, and sees snow starting to drift slowly down around them.

“Great, just what we need, pile ups and frostbite.”

Stiles snorts, “Don’t be a sour power puff, it’s pretty.” He digs his fingers into Derek’s side and slips a little as he does so, Derek shoots out his arm to steady him, holds him fast.


“I wasn’t going to fall,” Stiles protests, “I knew you’d catch me,” he adds in an exaggerated breathy tone.

Derek rolls his eyes again, scrunches his fingers tightly in Stiles’ sweater. “Just because you knew I’d catch you—”

“Yadiyadiyada,” Stiles teases, and when he blinks Derek can see snowflakes caught on his eyelashes. It’s really unfairly ridiculous how pretty Stiles is. Sometimes, he thinks he’s used to the way Stiles looks, then he goes and steals Derek’s breath from his lungs with just the quirk of a smile, and it’s like looking at him anew.

“Your hand’s like ice,” Stiles chides, dropping his plastic fork to wind his fingers around Derek’s. Derek shivers a little, hopes Stiles puts it down to the weather.

“Because some idiot thought it’d be a good idea to eat dinner on the roof in November,” he says when he finds his tongue.

“Some idiot agreed to it,” Stiles retorts, unfazed and beaming.

“You—” Derek huffs, “Touché.”

“I do enjoy it when I win,” Stiles says easily, returning his gaze to the snow falling, but keeping Derek’s hand wrapped tight in his own warm palm.


Derek flips his last chart shut and pinches the bridge of his nose. The lounge is quiet; Lydia’s asleep on the sofa, her hair a soft mess over her face; Isaac’s got his headphone’s in, hunched over his own paperwork with nothing but the sounds of his pen, scratching over forms, filling the silence.

He glances at the clock and sees it’s nearly two, counts under his breath for a moment and then the door swings open.

“Radiology can eat my motherfucking shorts,” Stiles announces as he bounds into the room.

“Not sure they’d be up for that,” Derek says smirking.

“Oh eat me, Hale.” Stiles collapses on the chair beside him, eyes scanning over him the way they always do—it makes Derek’s skin heat up every time, too— before he punches out a laugh. “Oh my god, Derek, what are you wearing?”

Derek looks down at his scrubs and then back up at him. “Well, Stiles, there’s this thing you wear when you work in a hospital; they’re called scrubs? I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, but a very popular television show was named after them.”

“Oh ha,” Stiles jabs a finger into Derek’s leg and it makes him squirm. “Derek, this is a whale. And over here,” he jabs his finger again. “That’s a polar bear. How did you put on the world’s most adorable pair of scrubs and not burst into flames?”

Derek glowers at him and pushes his damn prying fingers away, he’s ticklish and he’s not good when people touch him.

On his thigh.

Particularly when he wants said people to use their tongue, instead.

“Stop it. I got my normal ones covered in paint this morning because someone moved the sign—”

“Were you leaning against a wall in another attempt to be Danny Zukko?”

“Fine, I won’t tell you.”

“Naw, Derek, come on, I was just kidding.” Stiles pouts at him and squeezes his hands together. “Please? I promise not to say another word,” he mimes zipping his mouth shut.

Derek stares at his mouth for a beat too long and then clears his throat, spinning away on his chair. “That’d be the day.”

Stiles grins and knocks their knees together, careless of personal space, like he always is. Derek’s gotten used to it but there were times, years ago, when he would have to physically stop himself from shoving Stiles away. It’s not that he doesn’t want Stiles to be close; it’s more that he hates it when Stiles leaves Derek’s space. He doesn’t like knowing he can’t close the distance completely, stop Stiles from flying away and leaving him bereft.

“These were the only spares Allison could find,” he says finally.

Stiles hums, chewing on a pen and looking at Derek with amused eyes. “Well, you certainly made my day.”

“Happy to oblige.” Derek stamps down on the pleased feeling in his gut. On the fact that even when they’re having a shitty time with patients or parents or, rarely, their personal lives, Stiles makes his day every fucking day.

“You are the obliging sort,” Stiles says loftily, eyes glinting wickedly as he continues to bump his knees against Derek’s.



Stiles’ eyes flick over his face, and Derek clears his throat, fiddles wordlessly with the files next to him.


“You two are awful human beings,” Lydia suddenly huffs, tossing a cushion at Stiles’ head as she stands and flounces from the room.

Heyyy, Lydia, didn’t know you were there! Sorry?” Stiles calls after her.

“Oh no, by all means,” she yells back. “It’s not like you could use a damn on call room to have your daily Stiles and Derek flirtathon.”

“Whoa, hey, what?!” Stiles turns to shoot Derek a puzzled look, and Derek tries to look confused before glaring down at his charts.

“Did you do Hanna’s pre-op yet?”

There’s a pause, and when he glances up, Stiles is looking at him, his gaze sharp.

“Yeah,” he says finally, his long fingers running down the spines of charts until he stops at Hanna’s, “Here you go.”


“No problem,” Stiles says quietly, shooting him the quirk of a smile. It’s barely there, and when it vanishes Derek is left looking at Stiles’ softly disappointed face.

“I just need to get this done, and we can go get coffee—” he tries.

“Hey, no, I got charts of my own,” Stiles grins weakly, spins his chair until it’s round the table from Derek, bumping Isaac’s gently. “Rain check?”

“Sure,” Derek swallows, feeling like he’s missed something. From across the table Isaac rolls his eyes at him, and Derek scrunches his nose back at him in return. Stiles’ shoulders are stiff with tension until he falls asleep on his charts an hour later.

Derek wants to drag him across to the on call room, and make him sleep in a proper bed. He wants to take care of him. He wants to curl around him and ignore the rest of the hospital for a whole day.

He has new charts to finish, instead.


“We really shouldn’t be doing this,” Derek murmurs, and beside him Stiles breaks into a hysterical giggle.

“It’s a slow day, he won’t even notice.”

“We’re going to end up regretting it.”

“Shut up, embrace the tomfoolery!” Stiles elbows him in the dark, holds out his hand, “Towel clip.”

Derek hands him said implement, watches as Stiles adjusts the light on his head and uses the clip to roll Scott’s sleeve up.

“Mmm, feels nice,” Scott mumbles in his sleep.

Stiles starts sniggering, buries his face in Derek’s shoulder for a moment.

“Allison,” Scott sighs dreamily.

“Oh, you’re such a cliché,” Stiles tells his sleeping face, Scott’s lips twitch in a small smile, and then he rolls onto his side, giving Stiles much better access to his arm.

“If he wakes up, we’ll tell him we thought he was a patient.”

Derek snorts, “He’s gonna beat you for a month.”

“Please, I’m telling him this was your idea.” Stiles dips more plaster in the warm water, as Derek winds stockinette round Scott’s arm. “I’m gonna draw your face on the cast,” he continues, “With a big heart around it.”

“He’d be lucky to wear my face on his sleeve,” Derek sniffs.

“Tell me about it,” Stiles mumbles, dusting his hands together and spinning back to Scott, “Got scissors?”

Derek nods, holding up the stockinette for Stiles to cut, “We’re just doing one layer, right? He’s not going to be stuck with this for six weeks.”

Stiles’ grin is visible in the dark, but he pats Derek’s arm, “Don’t worry, he’ll be able to take it off later.”

“We’re wasting a lot of valuable time on this,” Derek muses.

“Yeah, but this is still science and—” Stiles wrings out the plaster, begins to wrap it round Scott’s arm, “He was the one that decorated your car with flowers last year.”

“Make the cast pink,” Derek says after a moment.

“Atta boy,” Stiles sticks his tongue between his teeth in concentration, “Can you—get the end?”

“Yeah,” Derek rolls his chair closer, helps Stiles trim the end of the plaster, and Stiles turns to beam at him. Derek crooks a grin back at him, feeling stupidly mischievous. Stiles swallows as he looks at Derek in the glare of the torch lights. He moves to puts Scott’s arm back on the bed, twists to face Derek, and their headsets bump together.

“Ouch, sorry!”


“What’s goin’ on?” Scott sits up, startled.

“Nothing,” Stiles says quickly, “’S’just Derek and me, doin’—uh—inventory?”

“Ugh, gross, do it somewhere else,” Scott grumbles, rolling over to face the wall and letting out a loud snore.

“Part two begins,” Stiles murmurs in a dramatic voice, popping his marker cap and hovering over Scott. Derek forgets it’s obvious where he’s looking with the torch on top of his head, and Stiles blinks in the bright light. “Dude, I’m being blinded.”

“Sorry,” Derek mumbles, looking quickly down at the cast. “’S’it dry yet?”

“Soon, oh, man I can’t wait to see the look on his face. Draw more hearts,” Stiles elbows him again, “One with Finstock’s name in.”

Derek chokes back a laugh.

“What. The. Hell?!” Scott screeches as he flies into the ER where Stiles and Derek are sitting at the desk, tossing MnMs between them. Stiles catches one in his mouth with relish, twists to smile brightly at his best friend.

“Scotty! Thought you’d never wake up!”

“Oh, he looks so adorable,” Allison hums, taking in Scott wrapped in a pink arm cast, and with pink and purple streaks in his hair. Stiles has even drawn huge eyelashes on his friend’s face. He snaps a picture with his phone, grins at it.

“You look beautiful.”

“You’re doctors,” Scott yells. “You should be responsible!”

“Win for Team Stilinski,” Stiles crows, standing and flipping the chart board to add a line to the tally he and Scott keep in the corner.

“You have too much time on your hands, don’t you have dates you could be going on if you’ve got nothing better to do?”

“But, Scott, that was our date,” Stiles clasps his hands together, “So romantic, the dark surrounding us, Derek’s chiselled jaw close to mine, you snoring in the background.”

“You’re so lucky I’m off tonight,” Scott huffs crossly.

“Come on,” Allison tugs on his arm, “I’ll get the saw.”

Scott’s cross face vanishes in an instant, “Oh, thanks, baby.”

“Duh, though, I do think we should keep the cast,” Allison examines it more closely, “That’s a very accurate portrait of Derek’s eyebrows for someone to do in the dark,” she flashes a look at Stiles, and Stiles throws a paperclip after them.

Scott twists as Allison starts pulling the curtains round a nearby bed, fist pumps the air and points at Stiles, “You’re the best,” he mouths.

“I know,” Stiles spins on his chair, wiggles his eyebrows at Derek, “Funny how that worked out.”

“You planned that?”

“Not exactly, but hey, it gave my boy an excuse to bother Allison at work when she normally doesn’t allow it.”

“You’re a very strange brand of genius,” Derek says drily.

“I’m takin’ that as a compliment,” Stiles rolls off his chair, grabs Derek’s arm, “C’mon, let’s go see how our interns are faring with the waiting room.”


Erica hums loudly, eyes Stiles and Boyd across the lab tables. “So, you two having fun together?”

“A tremendous amount,” Boyd says without looking up from his petri dish.

“We’re beside ourselves with glee,” Stiles adds, “Can’t you tell?” They both look up at her with the exact same flat expression and Derek hides a grin.

“Eerie,” she says brightly. “Dr Stilinski—”

Derek makes a pained noise, “Erica.”

“Ha,” Stiles crows, threads a needle through a banana he’s stitching, “Mine is way more awesome than yours.”

“I’m right here,” Boyd huffs, and Stiles holds up his hands in apology.

“I was giving you a compliment.”

“Compliment me when I’m done,” Boyd says firmly, “Or, critique it,” he sits back, gazing sullenly at his work, “It doesn’t look right to me.”

“Nah,” Stiles prods at the skin gently with his probe, “Perfect.”

Boyd smiles, and Derek realizes it’s the first time he’s truly seen the guy’s teeth.

“Aren’t you gonna give me a compliment, Dr Hale?” Erica purrs, winking at him.

Derek feels his mouth fall open as Stiles looks between them, eyes narrowed.


“God, you aren’t even fun to mess with, you look so panicked,” Erica staples her findings together, hands them all to Derek. “Boyd, you wanna grab lunch?”

“Yeah,” Boyd dusts his hands off, “Thanks Dr Stilinski.”

“No problemo,” Stiles cocks a finger gun at him, “You’re my star.”

Boyd stops grinning and glares at him.

“Sorry,” Stiles says meekly. “You have room for improvement?”

Boyd rolls his eyes, bounds after Erica, who begins complaining loudly about Derek the second they’re out the door.

“They’re so fun!” Stiles exclaims, “And Erica, huh? She, uh, she got a little crush goin’ on?”

Derek pushes his glasses up, circles an error in Erica’s notes, “Yes, she asked if you were single on her first day.”

“Oh,” Stiles chokes on air, “Me?”

“Believe it or not, Stiles, you are, according to Erica,” Derek peers at him over his glasses, “Hot stuff.”

Stiles’ cheeks go pink, and he rocks back on his heels, shoves his hands in his pockets, “Oh.”

“It’s against the rules to date any of them,” Derek says gently, trying not to die inside.

Stiles cuts him an incredulous look. “I don’t want to date her!”


“Do you think I’m hot?” Stiles cuts in.

“You’re not without your merits,” Derek says, giving Stiles an assessing gaze he hopes looks like he’s considering Stiles’ attractiveness for the first time, and not that he could no doubt describe Stiles’ face down to the positioning of every mole Derek wants to lick, should a court artist need a description.

“Shucks,” Stiles drawls. “What a compliment.”

Derek snorts, slams his files together and tosses them in the corner. “Come on, pretty boy, I’ll buy you an egg salad sandwich.”

“My, you know just how to treat a man right,” Stiles simpers, clutching his hands together and following Derek out into the corridor.

They both stop short in front of Finstock, clearly trying to enter the lab. He looks at Derek, pulling on his jacket, at Stiles who’s flushed and still grinning from mocking Derek.

“I don’t want to know,” he says after a moment. “Don’t create a lawsuit, anywhere.”


“I lost in the damn pool,” he mutters, striding past them. “You two couldn’t have done this eleven months ago?!”

“Uh,” they both gawk at him, and he slams the lab door in their faces.

“That’s—” Stiles scratches the back of his neck, “Wouldn’t have expected him to—did he say there’s some sort of pool?”

“Yep,” Scott crunches down on a celery stick when they confront him twenty minutes later. “Isaac, Lydia, Greenberg, Danny… pretty much everyone’s out except me and Allison.” He smiles dreamily. “She’s so wise.”

“She’s going to be dating a guy with no balls,” Stiles threatens, “Why the hell didn’t you tell us?”

“Not to mention the fact you’ve no doubt been cheating, seeing as you have insider information,” Derek adds. “Though, that’s not really what we’re mad about.”

“It kind of is actually,” Stiles says thoughtfully, snapping his fingers together, “Do we get the money now we know?”

“No,” Scott scowls, “You’re not married, yet. There’s been no romantic reunion at an airport, no rooftop confessions—Finstock’s choice of situation, by the way, I thought it was super romantic—”

“Enough,” Derek groans, “I’m not part of your stupid prank club. This isn’t funny.”

“It kind of is,” Stiles argues, “If you squint, and—” he grabs Scott’s banana, holds it in front of his face, “Give us the money in the pool, and we’ll pretend this never happened.”

Someone clears their throat behind them, and they all turn to glower at Jackson Whittemore.

“I hate to interrupt your very important doctors meeting, but could anyone tell me where Dr Martin is?”

“This isn’t a doctors meeting,” Stiles snaps, waving the banana around, “God, could you be more condescending?”

“Probably,” Jackson glances at his nails, flashes them a grin, “Dr Martin?”

“Upstairs, out onto the roof, over the side,” Stiles smiles widely at him, “You should spot her easily enough on your way down.”

“Witty,” Jackson says dismissively as he turns to leave, “Hale, tell your sister I said hi.”

Derek tries to launch himself at Jackson, and Stiles grabs his arm, “Woah, dude!”

“I hate that guy,” Scott blurts out after a moment, reaching for his chocolate milk.

Stiles pats him on the back consolingly, “Remember when Isaac pantsed him at the Christmas party last year?”

Scott’s face lights up, and Derek rolls his eyes affectionately, pulling out his phone just to check Jackson’s screwing with him.

Cora texts him back an hour later, FUCK U. Y WUD U EVEN, U R THE WORST.

Stiles points out it clearly runs in the Hale family to skip on using lowercase for texting, and Derek throws his phone at his head.


Stiles has the uncanny ability of being able to fall asleep anywhere. Over the years they’ve known each other, Derek has kept a casual list in his head of the strangest places. His head lolled onto Derek’s shoulder during one of the hospital’s terrible, never to be spoken of again, Christmas shows about three years ago; he’s been found snoozing in the elevator; on the roof; he once fell asleep with his hand still clutching a fork in the cafeteria —only to snap awake when Lydia tried to less than stealthily steal the rest of his chocolate fudge cake. Derek’s favorite time was at Allison’s birthday party last year, when Stiles fell asleep sprawled across Derek’s lap, and curved his arms round Derek’s waist, face buried in his stomach. He’d had an entire conversation with Scott as Stiles had snored between them, Scott hadn’t even flinched.

Derek is pinning that down to a testament of how close Scott and Stiles are, not about how their friends have become used to Stiles and Derek’s sometimes tactile behaviour. Besides, they’re colleagues, they’re… friends. They’re close. They’re allowed to be close, professionally so.

He’s known Stiles years, and he’d trust him with anything… It’s that more than anything that made Derek realize just how far in he was. They were arguing about a case in the elevator, and Stiles had snapped his file shut, leant against the back wall with a shrug and told Derek to trust him, that he had this. Derek had muttered that he did trust Stiles, and they’d both sort of started, and gone separate ways as soon as the doors opened.  

The best part of the sleeping thing, though, because his point is, that you often can’t tell. Stiles is sitting beside Derek now, hand scrawling what, to the casual beholder would think were notes, but are actually, if you lean a little closer, circles.

They’re at the M & M session and Finstock’s wrapping up a case. He peers out into the audience and his eyes zero in on Stiles. As subtly as possible Derek tries to nudge him awake; Stiles doesn’t stir.

“Dr Stilinski, did you have anything further you wanted to add on why Dr Benton’s approach to patient nine- forty seven was perhaps not the best course of action.”

Derek winces, waiting for Stiles to start awake and apologize.

Stiles doesn’t lift his head, but he does flip his page back to the essay of notes he’s been secretly writing, bastard and clears his throat. “Only that in post op the patient’s infection was noticeable to several nurses, one of whom commented on it and marked it in the chart, but was ignored. Perhaps Dr Benton needs to pay a little more attention to his nurses, hmm?”

Benton swivels round from where he’s sitting three rows in front of them.

“Excuse me?”

Stiles sticks his pen in his mouth and smiles around it, gives a casual shrug as the lecture theatre starts buzzing around them.

“If I need someone who patches up boo boos for a living to offer an opinion on how to look after my patients, I’ll let you know,” Benton snaps finally.

“Ouch, Benton, that really cut deep, I should go get a Band-Aid for that burn before it gets infected and you miss it.”

“Gentlemen,” Finstock bangs his head on the podium briefly before straightening up, his hair higher than ever. “I don’t want two of my top doctors bickering at each other like they’re in a high school locker room! Shut the hell up so we can move on already.”

Benton glares murderously at Stiles for another minute and Stiles grins coolly back at him. Finally, he turns round and folds his arms, looking for all the world like one of the five year olds Derek has to deliver shots to.

“You know you shouldn’t wind him up,” Derek mutters as Finstock starts talking about maintenance.

“He’s such a dickwad though, dude. And Allison told him about it and he fucking ignored her.” Stiles squirms in his seat as though indignant all over again and Derek places a hand on his thigh to still him. It’s more to keep the other doctors around them from staring, but the second his palm stretches over Stiles’ leg, Stiles immediately stills. Derek can feel the heat radiating off him and he wants to tighten his grip, slide his hand upwards, push it inside Stiles’ smart dress pants and wrap his hands around—

“Dr Martin,” Finstock yells and Lydia looks up coolly from where she’s been taking notes.

 Derek blinks away his daydreams of Stiles naked.

“Any thoughts on patient 342?”

“Only that had Thompson been sent to me instead of to Dr Lewis he might have lived,” Lydia says easily.

“Not good enough!” Finstock cries, looking frustrated. “We’re bringing the hospital lawyer in this afternoon and you and Lewis will both be present for the discussion. The family are not happy.”

Lydia loudly protests, but Derek’s too distracted to listen as Stiles drops his hand on top of Derek’s and starts drawing aimless patterns across his skin.

Stiles isn’t looking at him, eyes fixed on Lydia, but when Derek shifts in his seat Stiles’ fingers tighten around his.

“Shh, this is riveting,” he hisses to Derek out of the corner of his mouth.

Derek can’t do more than exhale crossly.



Finstock and Lydia’s voices get louder, before Finstock slams his files down and Lydia flounces back in her seat, glaring at him.

“You’re talking to the lawyer, Martin, and that’s final.”


“And you’re going to be helpful,” Finstock points at her. “No re-directing him to Marin’s office.”

“Marin can handle Jackson Whittemore,” Lydia says tetchily.

“I can,” Marin Morrell says from three rows back, and when Derek twists to look at her, Stiles’ hand slips off his. “But, I don’t want to,” she adds silkily. “He’s a waste of my time.”

“I’ll do your next three weekends,” Lydia offers.

Marin smirks, “No deal.”

“No bribery!” Finstock snaps crabbily. “This is a hospital not a—a—betting pool!”

“Liar!” Stiles coughs, and Finstock glares at him, then smiles nastily.

“Oh crap,” Stiles mutters, sinking down in his seat.

“Stilinski, come talk to me about overtime. Everyone else clear out, you’re fine doctors and I’m extremely proud of our low mortality rate this year, now get out of my face.”

He waves a hand to dismiss them all, yells for Stiles to come to the front again, and Stiles shoots Derek a wistful smile, bites his lip as he backs away.

Derek has to stay in his seat for a moment to catch his breath.


“Dr Martin, we need to talk about this.”

“Do we?”

“Yes, I’m your lawyer; I need for you to cooperate with me.”

Lydia twirls round in her heels and positively burns holes through Jackson’s skull with her glare. Derek is impressed he doesn’t even flinch, merely slides his hands into his pockets and stares impassively back at her.

“Tell me, Mr Whittemore, where did you graduate?”

“Columbus,” he says easily, lifting an eyebrow. “Top of my class.”

“Aw man, we should totally have popcorn,” Stiles whispers to him from where he’s leaning over the desk.

Derek spins in his chair to look up at him and is suddenly grateful there’s the desk between them because Stiles is so very close. Half an hour later, and they haven’t addressed whatever happened during the M & M, instead they’re messing about at the nurse’s station and avoiding rounds. It’s not that Derek’s afraid of Erica, it’s just that… he’d rather spend his time gazing like a morose idiot at Stiles.

“Don’t you have an endless supply of candy hidden away somewhere?”

Stiles scrunches his nose up. “Not that I can get to without missing something. Bets on them kissing before the end of the day?”

Derek snorts and glances back over to where Lydia is in full rant mode, tossing her hair and practically snarling, and Jackson’s looking calmly back at her, occasionally pushing his glasses back up his nose.

It’s the kind of casual arrogance that would absolutely infuriate Lydia.

“Not a chance, she’ll make him work for it.”

“Guess the best ones are always worth waiting for,” Stiles says softly.

Derek whips his head round again, but Stiles is staring intently at a pamphlet for how to handle STDs, the tips of his ears red.

“Yeah,” Derek says faintly before whipping the pamphlet away gleefully. “Something I should know?”

Stiles practically falls over the desk trying to snatch it back. “No! I’m a doctor I know about safe sex, bastard. Besides, in order for me to have one of those I’d have to be having sex, Jesus.” He snatches the pamphlet back, his face bright red before screwing it up in a ball and throwing it at Derek’s head.

Derek’s too busy feeling pleasantly, oddly warmed by the fact Stiles isn’t sleeping with someone. He’s pretty sure he’d know about it, Stiles can’t keep anything secret for long, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.

“How dare you!” Lydia cries hotly from the end of the corridor before stalking away.

Jackson watches her go looking vaguely amused. He strolls casually towards them, eyes flitting over their scrubs, mouth curling up in a disdainful smirk when he takes in Stiles’ farmyard animal ones.

“Know where I can find a decent cup of coffee in this place?”

“Decent? Nope,” Stiles says easily, folding another of the pamphlets into a paper airplane and launching it at Derek’s head.

Jackson makes a put upon noise and snatches the plane mid-air. “I hate doctors,” he grouses, tossing the paper in the trash as he stalks off.

“Too bad you work for a bunch of them, then!” Stiles calls after him.

After a moment of levity, Stiles clears his throat, glances at Derek. “Look, about earlier—”

“Don’t worry about it—”

“No,” Stiles bites his lip. “I’m sorry, I was tired, I forgot that—” he scrunches up his face, “Sometimes, when I’m with you I forget that we’re just—that we just work together.”

“Oh,” Derek feels like maybe someone’s punched him in the solar plexus. “Yeah,” he coughs, “Okay.”

“No, you don’t get it; Derek, your face is doing that weird thing—”

“You mean being my face?” Derek rolls off his chair and strides towards the paeds unit, “I have rounds.”

“Derek, for god’s sake—”

“See you later, Dr Stilinski,” he snaps. Stiles jerks his head back, stares at Derek with confused, wide eyes. Derek knows it’s childish, but he needs to put some distance between them, and unless he hits where it hurts, Stiles will follow him and pester his feelings out of him. The same way he made the damn things creep up on Derek in the first place.


“What’s this?”

“Chinese,” Derek holds up the bag, looks at Stiles apologetically from under his lashes. “For yesterday.”

“It took you twenty four hours to work out how to say sorry with food? How long have you known me again?” Stiles kicks the door wide, ushers Derek inside. “Have you showered today, or were you too busy wallowing in angst at the idea of never speaking to me again?”

Derek snorts, kicks off his shoes as he follows Stiles into the apartment he shares with Scott. “Never speaking to you again? Sounds ideal.”

“Funny,” Stiles yanks open one of the cabinets in the tiny kitchen, pulls down two plates and waves one at Derek, “And yet here you are at my door step, begging my forgiveness with your sad eyes and your deliciousness—delicious food,” he corrects immediately, cheeks flushing up.

Derek hips checks the fridge shut, proffers a beer at Stiles. “You done?”

“Shut the hell up, I’m not even half started.”

“Lemme know when you’re good to eat,” Derek says easily, padding into the living room, and sitting on a slumbering Scott.

“Mmff, dude!”

“There’s Chinese,” Derek says instead of a hello, and Scott yanks his legs from under Derek, dives for the kitchen.

“Did you get egg rolls?”

“Of course.”

“It’s almost like he loves us,” Stiles says fondly, his eyes on Derek as Scott dashes past him and into the kitchen.

Derek pretends to be struggling to pick up his noodles with his chopsticks, pretends his face isn’t burning. “If you two weren’t around, who would take on Lydia with me?”

“You’d do okay,” Stiles curls into the armchair opposite Derek, eyes serious and intense.

Derek takes a nervous pull of his beer to prevent himself from leaping at him.

“Hey, d’you hear the big news?” Stiles says after a moment of nothing but the two of them looking at each other.

“No? Something important?” Derek selfishly hopes more than anything it’s not that Stiles has gone out and found himself a soul mate.

“Our Scott’s gonna ask Allison to marry him.”

“No,” Derek widens his eyes, and looks up as Scott comes back out into the living room. “You’re serious?”

“Yup,” Scott gives him a shit eating grin, “I just figured I love her so much, you know? She’s the one—”

“Two years,” Stiles interrupts, “You came to this conclusion after two years. I could have told you the first day you guys met.”

“At least it’s not four and a half,” Scott sing songs, digging into his egg roll.

Stiles’ face colors, and he turns to the television. “That’s different.”

“’S’not,” Scott says with a full mouth, and Derek winces at the close up view he’s getting of Scott’s food. “’S’love, and you gotta strike when the iron’s hot.”

“He’s been like this all day,” Stiles confides in Derek, “Smug and knowing and—”

“It feels right,” Scott interrupts, “And when you seize the moment, you’ll know, too.”

“Who are you supposed to be seizing the moment with?” Derek asks politely, glancing at Stiles over his beer.

“No one,” Stiles leans across the table and pushes Derek’s glasses up for him, “Shut up and eat your food before it gets cold, loser.”

“Okay,” Derek looks down at his plate, grinning bashfully at the way Stiles’ fingers had brushed down his face. He shouldn’t get goose bumps from it, but he does. When he glances up, Stiles is looking back at him, a smile playing around his lips.

“You’re forgiven for being a huffy douche,” he says lightly.

“Gee, thanks,” Derek retorts drily, but allows Scott to stretch out over him and Stiles choose the channel.

When he wakes up, Scott’s drooling on his chest, and Stiles is passed out opposite him, Derek’s glasses between his fingers like he took them off and fell asleep still holding onto them for Derek. He rolls over onto his side, blinks sleepily at Derek. Scott snuffles against Derek’s chest, and Stiles sniggers at the look of outrage that must be on Derek’s face.

“Shut up,” Derek mouths.

“He loves you so much,” Stiles whispers back, clutching his hands to his chest.

Derek tries to sit up, and Scott whines, clings to Derek’s undershirt tightly.

Stiles stuffs his hand in his mouth; and Derek can’t help but delight over feeling conspiratorial with him.

“Coffee?” Stiles says a little more loudly after a second, scratching at his stomach, and Derek nods, looks away. “I’m gonna get changed, brush the crap out of my mouth.”

“You paint a delightful picture.”

Stiles flips him off, “Be nice, or you don’t get coffee.”

“I—” Derek’s pager goes off, and Scott growls loudly, rolls off Derek and buries himself between the couch cushions and Derek’s side.

“Turn it off.”

There’s a three second delay, and then Scott and Stiles’ pagers both start buzzing.

“Fuck,” Scott sits bolt upright.

“Mass casualty,” Stiles squints at his pager, flicks on the news and Derek’s distracted for more than a moment by the fact Stiles has tried to change between the living room and the kitchen, and is missing his shirt.

“Fuck,” Stiles groans as shots of a pile up on the highway swim into focus.

“Two minutes,” Scott yanks on his sneakers, ducks to look under the couch and snatches up his phone. Stiles nods, disappears into his bedroom before flying back out seconds later, yanking on a shirt.

“Derek,” Stiles waves a shirt at him, “You comin’ in with us?”

“Sure,” Derek clears his throat, follows them both towards the front door and trips blindly over a stray sneaker.

“Dumbass,” Stiles says fondly, handing him his glasses.

“Thanks,” Derek says.

“Sure,” Stiles smiles slowly at him, and it feels so fucking familiar, so like a routine that hits Derek like a freight train. He stills in the doorway, Scott and Stiles clattering down the stairs in front of him. He wants this in his life, every day, Scott sharing his last egg roll, and Stiles making sure Derek has his glasses and a million nights lying awake with the two of them, with Isaac and sometimes Allison and Lydia, the little family he built, he wants to be a unit with Stiles, a separate one where they have their own moments and then blend in with their family the way they already do. He wants more. He needs this to be a reality, wants to keep this intimacy forever.

“Derek, get your stupid butt out here!” Scott screeches from the car, honking the horn.

“Nice, Stilinski,” Scott and Stiles’ neighbour leans out of her window two across as Derek flies after them. “Didn’t think you’d ever hit that.”

“Shut up, Loranne,” Stiles hisses, slamming the door shut as she replies.

Derek lifts a quizzical eyebrow, and Stiles focuses on rubbing Scott’s shoulders, “Get us there in one piece, buddy.”

“When have I ever failed you?” Scott asks huffily, reversing into a garbage can.


“Green; walking wounded, yellow; urgent, red; critical and black DOA,” Derek informs Erica, handing her tags. “You got it?”

“Sure,” she glances round the ER, thin lipped, “Is it gonna get worse?”

“Forty five injured, called in from the fire department, more people trapped in their cars, still,” Derek nods, “A lot worse.”

“Okay,” she seems to steel herself as the doors swing open with the first casualties, “Any last minute advice?”

“Don’t fall over,” Derek calls over his shoulder.

“Is that a joke?”

“No, it’s going to get slippery, blood and snow.”

“I see why you wear such ugly shoes now,” she says grimly.

“Blood bank, come in, this is Stilinski in the ER,” Stiles sails past them, “No, no, I need those for Trauma Two. Has anyone seen my intern?”

“Here, boss,” Boyd rolls in with a gurney, “Sorry, the snow made it a little tricky to get in,” he’s got his hands wrapped in a sweater—his own if the thin t-shirt he’s sporting is anything to go by—and it’s pressed on top of a wound on the patient’s side.

“You’re forgiven,” Stiles says easily, “Get him into Trauma One.”

“Can I run it?”

“Hell yeah.”

“Dr Hale!” Derek twists, Allison waves him over as Ethan starts administering compressions on a man, clambering onto the gurney.

“What have you got? Reyes,” he calls, and Erica flies over to his side.

“Twenty five year old male, wasn’t wearing a seat belt when his car collided with a lorry, he coded in the rig.”

“Do what you can,” Derek gestures for Erica to take over, “And then move on.”


“If he codes again, call it,” he tells Allison, manoeuvring round a woman in a wheelchair clutching a bandage to her head. “Green tag this one, move her to the waiting room.”

Isaac pushes past with a gurney, yells for Derek and he follows into Trauma Three.

“Lift and shift her, get some rays and relief, morphine five, IV push. Cross table C-Spine,” he feels gently around the patient’s side, “Right hip, and pelvis.” He glances up and nods at a nearby nurse, “Round up a bone crusher. Someone grab my intern, she won’t want to miss this.”

Erica appears a few moments later, and Derek points at the trays behind her, “Grab some scissors. Watch closely.”

“Hale,” Finstock looks round the door, “How soon can she go up? I’ve got more traumas that need the room clear.”

“I need to look at her pictures, have orthopods look at her.”

“Don’t get fancy on me, Hale, OR’s open and ready for business, heal ‘em and wheel ‘em,” he instructs before disappearing again.

“Alright, you heard him,” Derek shoves his gown off, sees Stiles through the glass and heads out to the curtained area, “You okay?”

“I got a kid with no parents,” Stiles ducks to examine the little girl’s face and she reaches out to tweak Stiles’ nose. Derek ignores the hiccough his heart gives.

Allison smiles fondly at the scene, “Ninety over fifty, pulse a hundred and twenty five.”

“Lucky,” Derek breathes in surprise, “She was by herself?”

“Yeah,” Stiles pulls his stethoscope off. “But, no one’s come forward.”

“Get Ethan to stay with her,” Derek advises as Scott waves across the ER.


“What’ve you got? Reyes?”

“Right here,” Erica says immediately from beside him.

“Vitals normal,” Scott starts as they begin to wheel the gurney down the corridor, “Multiple contusions and abrasions.”

“Hi,” Derek presses against the latest patient’s chest, “Mr?”


“Mr Lowkins does it hurt when I do this?”


“Derek—” Allison shouts.

“One sec,” he glances in Mr Lowkins’ eyes, “Green tag him, waiting room.”

“How can you be sure?” Erica asks as they stride across to Allison.

“Because we don’t have the time or the luxury not to be.”

“But, I don’t feel like I can give an accurate assessment and be one hundred per cent about it. Doctor Hale—” Erica bites her lip, and Derek twists to look at her.

“You’re doing fine,” he promises, “If you weren’t I’d have got you on bedpan duty.”

“Gee, thanks,” she mutters, but when she follows Derek round the next patient’s bed, he can almost see a twitch of relief, perhaps even respect for Derek, in her expression.


“Dominic!” Derek pretends to frown at his young patient as he enters Dominic Mayetta’s room a few days later. “I thought I told you I never wanted to see you again.”

Dominic gives him a toothy grin as his mom stands to shake Derek’s hand. “Sorry, Dr Hale.”

Derek crouches in front of him, tries to blithely ignore Dominic’s obvious fatigue and the pallor of his skin. The Valvulor Stenosis is starting to seriously affect his circulation, and Dominic looks worse than Derek’s ever seen him. 

“’S’okay, champ,” he mutters, helping Dominic into a gown, “You know we like takin’ care of you.”

“Dominic!” Allison bustles into the room with an IV drip, “You’ve grown!”

“I’m five, now.”

“You look at least eight,” Allison says warmly, touching Mrs Mayetta’s arm on her way past. “Anything we can get you, Olly?”

“Vicodin?” Olly says with a tired grin.

“How about a coffee?”

“Much better,” Olly squeezes Allison’s hand, ducks to help Derek lift Dominic onto the bed. “He wouldn’t wake up this morning,” she says to Derek quietly.

“Okay, it’s okay,” Derek promises, “We’ll figure it out,” he chances a smile of his own, and Olly visibly relaxes, sits down to look at Dominic’s collection of birds with him.

Derek swallows at the familiar scene. Dominic’s been in and out of the ward since he was a baby, and he was one of Derek’s first patients here. He can’t concentrate on any outcome other than the one that has Dominic walking out of those doors, healthy again.

“Not a chance, Derek,” Stiles says quiet, but firm, ten minutes later as they’re leaning against the glass outside of Dominic’s room.


“Derek, you’re not on this case, no way. Let Danny take it, now. Walk away.”

“I’m not letting Mahealani anywhere near this kid,” Derek hisses.

“Then me,” Stiles says shortly, “But, you’re way too involved already.”

“I’ve known him since he was five months old.”

“Exactly,” Stiles sighs, pinches the bridge of his nose. “Last time he was in you didn’t speak to anyone for a week, and I’m pretty sure the dent in your locker is from your fist over the situation. Derek, you can’t consult on this one.”

“Too late,” Derek snaps, trying to snatch the chart away from Stiles.

“Hey, no!” Stiles shoves the chart behind his back, arches his eyebrows at Derek.

“Dammit, Stiles—”

 “You gonna body tackle me for it?”

“I might,” Derek warns, his patience thinning in the face of Stiles’ distance, the way he’s treating this like any other case, like this isn’t important to Derek.


“You’re not my boss, Stiles,” Derek says coolly, “Nor are you my superior, I didn’t ask for your opinion. Give me the chart.”



“No,” Stiles says flatly. “You’re too invested—look at yourself. The kid’s only been here five minutes and you look like you’re trying to crawl out of your skin. You can’t fix everyone.”

“I can fix him,” Derek barks.

“You can’t.”

Derek steps into Stiles’ space, shoves him up against the wall. “Give me the chart.”

“Take it from me,” Stiles retorts, meeting Derek’s eye firmly. He leans forward, there’s barely a breath between them, “I dare you.”

“I’m not playing games.”

“Neither am I,” Stiles says firmly, “Back off. Let me do my job, go get a coffee or something, Jesus.”

He pushes at Derek’s chest, and Derek lets him, steps away feeling horrified at himself. “I’m sorry,” he says quickly.

“Whatever,” Stiles mumbles, stalking past and opening the door to Dominic’s room. “Hello there, I hear someone’s feelin’ under the weather, you bring some sunshine, too?”

Derek listens to Dominic crow happily as Stiles greets him, and leans his head against the wall. He needs to get a grip.


Erica shudders when Stiles stalks past them and on to his own locker two days later.

“Wow, did you tell him he couldn’t top for a week?”

“Do you make inappropriate comments on purpose?” Derek snaps, whipping his glasses off so he doesn’t have to watch Stiles yank on his jacket and leave without looking back.

Erica tips her head to one side, considers the question. “Sometimes.”

“I’m writing your evaluation as we speak,” Derek says drily. “Try to remember that when you’re making ill-advised remarks about my sex life.”

“Non-existent sex life,” she corrects.

Derek opens his mouth to huff something, when his pager goes off, and Erica’s smirk dies.

“Noo, that means me too, right?”

“Yep,” Derek shoves his bag back in his locker, trying not to feel overly gleeful about not having to return to his empty apartment, and watch the clock until his next shift.

“But, I have plans,” she whines, following him out of the room and sweeping up her hair, “Drinking plans!”

Derek grins toothily at her. “They’ll have to wait.”

“You must be such a loser if you’re excited about going to the ER on a Friday night,” Erica snarks.

“I’m your superior, at least try to act like that means something.”

Erica folds her arms as they head out into the ambulance bay, “Will you admit Dr Stilinski’s mad at you?”

“In exchange for your silence?”


“Nope,” Derek snaps on his gloves as the van pulls up, Scott leaping out to give them an update. “Snake bite, delivered the anti-venom, but still shortness of breath, dizziness, name’s Alice Featherly, six, Isaac’s got the snake.”

“Reyes, take the snake off Isaac for examination, follow us in when you’ve got in touch with animal control.”

“You want me to take the snake?!”

“Yes!” Derek rolls the gurney in through the doors with Scott, timing the little girl’s pulse. “The hell was she doing near a snake?!”

“Dad has a collection,” Scott pulls a face, “Was gruesome, man, Stiles wouldda loved it.”

“Radical,” Derek retorts waspishly, and Scott rolls his eyes, stepping back as Allison and Ethan sail in to help move the girl.

“Sort it out, man, he’s getting unbearable to live with.”

“We’re fine,” Derek says shortly, pulling up a sheet list of snakes. “Reyes, do you have a confirmed name for the snake?”

“I can’t touch it!” Erica shrieks from the next room. “It’s a snake, Dr Hale!”

“You don’t need to touch it, google it, Christ.”

“It’s a Rattlesnake,” says a woman from the doors of the trauma room. “Oh god, Alice, baby, how many times has your daddy told you not to go near the glass?”

Derek disposes of the secondary anti-venom needle, and whirls to stare at her incredulously. “You let your husband keep snakes in the same house as your six year old?”

“They’re always locked up,” she wrings her hands, “One’s never got out before. Please, is she going to be alright?”

“She’ll be fine,” Derek ducks into the second trauma room where Erica’s still eyeing the box with the snake in. “Leave this here with me, go call child services.”

“No one’s going to be there at seven on a Friday evening, Dr Hale.”

“Just do it, ring until someone answers.”

“Just because you’re not getting any this weekend, doesn’t mean—”

“Do it,” Derek says again in a dark voice, and something in his tone must convince her he’s serious as she backs out of the door, and leaves Derek glaring down at the snake.

Half an hour later, Cora bangs into the ER, and glares at Derek over the desk.

“You’re serious? A snake bite, Derek?”

“The kid’s in danger, her mom can’t see it, you need to talk to them.”

“You need to get a life,” she snaps, chucking at his chin sharply as she passes.

“Oh, her I like,” Erica murmurs.

“She’s not a nice person,” Derek says, loud enough for his sister to hear, and she flips him off as she makes her way over to the curtains around the Featherley’s.

“Uh,” Erica glances at the sign in sheet. “She’s related to you?”

“What did I say about personal questions?” Derek rubs his face, tosses his glasses to one side. “Go home, Reyes, we have rounds in four hours.”

“I covered the ER, and I have to come in again in the morning anyway?!”

“Yep,” Derek slams the latest chart down in her lap. “Welcome to being an intern.”

“I don’t like you,” she calls after him.

“Tell someone who cares.”

Derek sleeps in the break room, wakes to Scott half passed out on top of him.

“He’s sad,” Scott snuffles sleepily, as Derek stretches, reaches for one of the clean shirts he keeps hanging in the corner.

“Not my fault,” he mumbles.

Scott rolls his eyes, “You need to shave.”

“Shut up,” Derek grabs his lab coat, ruffles Scott’s hair the way he loathes, “You need a haircut.”

“Give me some money for one!” Scott yells as the door swings shut.

Derek shakes his head, a small, rueful smile forming as he slides into the elevator. He doesn’t even realize he has company before the doors shut.

“Well, you look like hell.”

Derek starts, glances to the side as he clutches his chest. “Jesus, Stiles!”

“It’s just Stiles, but formerly yes, yes I am Jesus,” Stiles continues watching the elevator’s numbers light up, seems to be refusing to look at Derek.

It hurts more than he’d care to admit. He rolls back his shoulders, pretends he’s fine.

“Some of us were in the ER all night.” Stiles exhales sharply, and Derek sighs. “Sorry, that was—”

“No, sure, some of us are obviously real doctors.”


“Whatever, d’you want to follow me around all day to make sure I do everything to your satisfaction for Dominic’s case? Or can you trust me with this one?”

“I do trust you,” Derek blurts out, “But, this kid is personal, he’s special, he doesn’t deserve this!”

Stiles sighs, slams on the emergency break for the elevator, “Four months after I started working here, I had that case, what was her name?”

“Ella March,” Derek says quietly.

“Yeah,” Stiles jerks his head, bites his lip, “You remember? I remember, too. I remember you telling me not to make friends with her mom, and not to make promises I couldn’t keep, and I remember wanting to prove you wrong, that I could do it all. I remember getting so far in I didn’t sleep for three days, and it was you that made me go home and shower, and you that told me, what, Derek? What did you tell me?”

“It’s not your life,” Derek intones dully.

“He’s gonna die, Derek,” Stiles’ voice cracks, “You’re gonna have to face that, please—”

Derek straightens from where he’s fallen back against the wall, cuts off the alarm, “He’s not,” he says firmly. “I won’t.”

He knows Stiles is watching him as they finish the journey in silence, at the last moment, before the doors open he sighs and drops his head forward.

“He can’t,” he says finally, brushing his fingers against Stiles’ briefly, “I’m sorry. I need that case.”

“It’s a bad idea,” Stiles says softly. “Derek—”

“Just give it to me, please.”

Stiles swallows, nods, “Okay.”

Derek exhales, “Thank you.”

“Don’t,” Stiles says sharply, “Don’t thank me.” When the doors open he pulls his hand away and doesn’t look back.


Lydia shakes her head, even as Derek continues to approach her.

“Derek, I’ve tried, it’s not my trial.”

“It is, you know you’re doing all the work, Harris wouldn’t even notice.”

“That’s a lie, you know he would. He’s a fantastic surgeon, but he’s an awful, egotistical man, and he’d notice. He won’t allow Dominic on his trail—his results—”

“You’ll be taking over from in him in a few years, you could call the shots on this one,” he waves Dominic’s file at her. “Have you even read the notes? The stenosis was congenital, you’re looking for reasons why, his mom will tell you anything, give you access to her history—”

“Fine,” Lydia hisses, “I’ll try. But, Stiles is right,” she blinks in surprise at herself, and then glares at Derek, “You’re pushing with this one, too hard.”

“No,” Derek insists, “I’m being motivational.”

“Being overly involved, and motivational are two different things,” Lydia snipes, holding up her own version of Dominic’s file. “You left this on my desk this morning.”

“I had a spare,” he says stiffly.

Lydia snorts, “Derek.”

“Look, it might be that I’m in too deep, but if it can help the kid, I don’t care.”

“You need to shave,” Lydia says in reply, “You look awful. No wonder Stiles is moping up here so much at the moment.”

“I’m sure I don’t have any idea as to why that would be related to my needing to shave.”

Lydia cups his jaw, considers him, “You look tired.”

“So do you.”

“I look fabulous,” she dismisses, and Derek can’t really deny it. He doesn’t know how she walks into the hospital looking so put together, and leaves it in the same fashion.

Witchcraft, probably.

“I’m getting food,” Lydia picks up her jacket, “You’re coming.”

“I don’t need—”

“You don’t have to eat, but I need someone to witness my decision not to eat the Christmas Yule log the cafeteria has on offer, and admire my strong will.”

Derek grins, “I’ll go halves with you on a piece.”

“That sounds appealing,” Lydia nods, “Shall we?”

“So,” Derek digs his fork into the seriously decadent chocolate yule, “Are you worried about the board?”

“Not really,” Lydia purses her lips, “I think they want me to apologize to the family, and I’m happy to do that. It’s really more them trying to get Jackson Whittemore involved.”

“You not warmed up to him?”

“I find him supremely irritating,” Lydia sighs, brushes imaginary crumbs off her skirt, “But, he’s not going anywhere, and I don’t know how to convince them I don’t need his help.”

Derek hunches up his shoulders, “Show them you’re better than him.”


“By being yourself,” Derek smirks, “Always works when you’re putting us in our places.”

“You’re all afraid of me,” she says dismissively.

“Am not.”

“You are,” Lydia narrows her eyes dangerously, “I know all your secrets.”

“I don’t have any secrets.”

“Who was it that left a very drunk voicemail on Stiles’ phone last New Year’s? And begged me to delete it for him in a panic? Someone that talked about his ass a lot in the message,” Lydia taps her chin as Derek drops his fork.

“You listened.”

“Yep,” she helps herself to more yule log on Derek’s side. “But, Jackson hasn’t left any incriminating voicemails… That I know of. Maybe I could get hold of his cell phone.”

“Lydia,” Derek shakes his head, “You don’t need to blackmail him to get him off your back. You’re a bonafide genius, you could wipe the floor with him in a court of law, and you’ve never been to law school.”

“Of course I could.”

“Then,” Derek picks his fork back up, “Don’t back down. Don’t let Jackson Whittemore decide what’s best for you, or call the shots with your cases.”

“You’re right,” Lydia nods, eyes gazing into the distance, “I’m going to make him rue the day he was born.”

“Here, here,” Derek waves his fork approvingly at her.


Scott, Danny and Isaac all lift their heads in acknowledgement when Derek trudges into the break room late one morning.

“You off?”

Derek nods, scrubs at his face, “Anyone heard about Lydia’s presentation with the board?”

“She told them all to go to hell,” Danny smirks, “Think she won them round.”

“So, Jackson?”

“Is seething,” Danny shrugs, “I think he’s in love.”

“Ugh,” Scott pulls a cushion over his face, “He’s not good enough for her, he’s a lawyer.”

“I don’t think she’s interested.”

“You never know,” Scott retorts darkly, glaring at Derek. “Stranger attractions have happened in this place.”

“I got something for us,” Stiles slams into the room, yanking a gold, glittering Christmas tree into the room, “Stole it from dermatology when they weren’t looking,” he announces proudly.

“I’m an atheist,” Isaac says flatly.

“You don’t have to look at it, bro.”

“Does that apply to all of us?” Derek eyes the stringy tree.

“No, uh, not if you don’t want,” Stiles clears his throat, looks anywhere but at Derek.

Derek had forgotten, for a moment, that they’re not exactly on the best terms right now.

“It looks great, man,” Scott leaps up, clapping Stiles on the back and glaring at Derek. Derek holds up his hands in a silent apology.

“I think I still have tinsel in my locker from last year,” Danny suggests, “Could make the whole room festive.”

“Sure, celebrate the birth of a baby with gaudy decorations,” Isaac rolls his eyes, stuffing his feet back in his boots.

“Dude, don’t even, I’ve seen your eyes shining when we watch The Grinch,” Stiles leaps at him, skirting Derek as he does so. “You can’t deny the joy of Christmas.”

“Alright, fine, it’s a great holiday,” Isaac cries, “Get off me!”

“In all seriousness,” Stiles sits up, blows fluff out of his face, “You want me to take it away again?”

“Nah,” Isaac smiles, glances at the tree, then Derek, then back to Stiles, “We could use some cheer around here.”

Derek narrows his eyes at him, and Stiles flushes, rolls to a stand. “Tinsel?” he directs at Danny.

“Yeah, sure,” Danny gestures for them to head to the locker room, and the door swings shut behind them.

“Don’t,” Derek says immediately, aware of Scott’s eyes on him and pulling out Dominic’s case notes along with three others, “I don’t have time for it.”

“Make time,” Scott snaps, “You’re starting to look like you fit in with the furniture in here.”

“Thank you for the observation.”

“Derek!” Scott shoves at his papers, fixes him with a look. “You should come for drinks with us later, you need a break.”

Derek considers his pile of cases, thinks about the way Stiles has stopped dragging him into his and Scott’s pranks, suggesting they even eat lunch together. He misses it, he misses Stiles. He knows the chasm is of his own making, choosing his work, his own opinions, over Stiles’. Every minute Derek has is dedicated to trying to get Dominic on the trial, and proving he’s worth a shot. He needs to be focused, on top of things at all times. He can’t lose Stiles and have it be for nothing.

“I can’t.”

Scott frowns, gives Derek big, disappointed eyes, and Derek bites his tongue, trying not to blurt out he’d like to change his mind about most of his life choices.

“Dr Hale!” Erica skids into the room, “Casey took a turn for the worse?”

“Shit,” Derek steps away from the table, pats Scott on the shoulder briefly as he grabs his coat. “I’ll talk to you later.”

“No, you won’t,” Scott huffs. “Stubborn asshole,” he adds, but there’s the underlying fondness in his tone that always comes with criticism from Scott. Above all else, he’s loyal to Derek, to Stiles, and Derek knows he wants them to be happy, knows he wants Derek to be happy. If he could pick anyone to be the annoying little shit of a brother he never got, but would love and irritate the hell out of at the same time, it would have been Scott.

“She’s brading down,” Allison informs him as they fly into the ward, pushing the bed flat and moving Casey gently.

“O2 on a hundred per cent?”

“Yeah, pulse is tacky, BP’s one hundred over fifty—”

“We need to do a central line,” Derek snaps on his gloves, nods at Erica. “You’re up.”

“What?!” Erica’s face pales, “Dr Hale—”

“You’ll be fine, you’ve got this,” he insists, nodding at Casey’s collarbone, “While we’re young, Dr Reyes.”

The slight sarcasm in his voice makes her jaw twitch, and she grabs a pair of gloves.

“Scalpel,” she says determinedly.

“Be firm.”

“Let me concentrate!”

“You’re running out of time,” he says casually, stepping behind Erica.

“I’m in,” she says through gritted teeth.

“Heart rate’s coming back up,” Allison points at Derek, and nods towards the door as she pushes the bed back up, “A word? Good job,” she adds to Erica.

Erica smiles brightly as she looks down at Casey, and Derek thinks briefly of patting her shoulder, before thinking again and following Allison outside.


“Yes,” Allison folds her arms, “You’ve signed up to cover the ER over Christmas?”

“I don’t have any plans,” Derek says shrugging.

“You do, I know you do, Scott’s been talking dreamily about your roast potatoes for weeks.”

“I don’t—” Derek scratches the back of his neck, “I don’t think I’m doing Christmas with them this year.”

“Too bad,” Allison shrugs herself, “I’m coming over, too, this year. My dad’s away on a conference in Belgium, Lydia’s going to Paris.”

“Paris?” Derek interrupts in surprise.

“Yes, she won’t tell me who with,” Allison rolls her eyes, “Don’t redirect, Derek. You don’t need to be on call. I’ve cycled in nurses from gyn and trauma, we have enough hands.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Derek insists, “I’ll be available.”

“Fine,” she sighs, “But, we won’t be paging you.”

“Allison—” Derek steps forward, “Do I need to take this over your head?”

“When it comes to the ER,” Allison steps in to meet him, “I get the last call on who my nurses answer to, and of the two of us, I put more of the fear of God into Finstock than you could even dream of trying to.”

Derek clenches his jaw, folds his arms and Allison smiles sweetly at him, pats one of them.

“You might be trying to be a dick to everyone, but we knew you were already, and we still love you. Get over yourself, and get a life while you have the chance.”

“What is it with everyone and their motivational speeches today?” he snaps, turning to stride down the corridor, “I did just fine without them.”

“Maybe because over the last few weeks you’ve been a royal pain in the ass, and we all know why?” Allison calls after him.

Derek flips her off, and then flushes when he turns the corner and walks into a crowd of visitors.



“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la, la la la la laaa, sprinkle snow and make Doctor Hale jolly, fa la la la laaaaa—”

“Erica,” Derek fluffs at his hair, pulls out several torn up pieces of paper, “You’re not concentrating.”

From the corner of the office, Boyd snorts into his notes, and Derek glares at him.

“Don’t encourage her.”

“I wasn’t,” he says easily, “You’ve just got paper stuck in your glasses frame.”

Derek sighs, pulls his glasses off and blows.

“Make a wish!”

“I wish,” he says heavily, “That you would tell me what you’ve learnt about Valvular Stenosis in relation to Dominic Mayetta’s case.”

“Development of atrial fibrillation frequently leads to an acute deterioration in patients with mitral stenosis. The rapid ventricular response results in a decrease in the diastolic filling time. We’ve been using Beta blockers to control ventricular rate,” Erica glances at her notes, “My diagnosis would be that he needs open mitral commissurotomy.”

Derek shakes his head, “We can’t, Dominic’s valves are calcified.”

“Is he a candidate for PMBV?”

“Because of the onset of regurgitation, possibly, but we’re trying to avoid invasive surgery.”

“According to Taubert the prosthetic valve replacement would mean he has a much higher percentage of a normal life after this…”

“But, the treatment has a higher morbidity rate than the balloon valvotomy.”

Erica shrugs, “Then, why can’t he have that?”

“Because it’s not the simple,” Derek snaps, and then winces at the look of surprise on Erica’s face.

“We continue with therapy, then,” she says after a moment.

“It’s taking too long.”

“And, the trial Dr Martin’s running up in Cardio?”

“It increases blood flow, but the risks of pulmonary venous hypertension and congestion are sky high with a kid so young.” Derek rubs his face, “It’s hard to push a body so fragile in the first place.”

“Jesus,” Erica murmurs.

Boyd peers over her shoulder, pulls a sympathetic face, “Poor kid.”

“Don’t talk about him like that,” Derek huffs, “We’re going to find a way to fix him.”

“Sure we are,” Erica says bracingly. Derek rolls his eyes, but huffs out a grateful laugh.

“Anyone want coffee?”

“I’ll go,” Boyd waves his own notes in the air, “I gotta get these to Dr S.”

“Stiles is still here?”

“Yeah, he’s on the ward.”

Derek swallows, he’d assumed the reason Stiles wasn’t in their shared office was because he’d gone home already. He hadn’t thought Stiles was still actively avoiding him.

Erica clucks her tongue, and Derek dunks the shredded paper all over her.

“Not professional,” she yells after him as he heads for the door.

He slinks into the ward, glances over his sleeping patients until he sees Stiles dozing in the rocking chair in the corner. His neck’s at an odd angle, and Derek rolls up a spare blanket from the stack, pushes it carefully under Stiles’ head.

Stiles shifts, half opening his eyes and blinking up at Derek.

Derek opens his mouth to say something, anything, but before he can, Stiles nods his thanks slowly, twists more comfortably and shuts his eyes again. Derek gazes down at him for a moment, tracing the familiar lines of his face, and wishes he could smooth out the frown Stiles is wearing, even as he drifts off again.

He ducks to collect the toys some of their patients have been playing with before bed, chucks them in the chest he and Stiles painted a couple of years back. It’s looking a little worse for wear, needs a fresh coat of paint. He tries not to think about the stupid, metaphorical implications. Tries, and fails, not to think about Stiles jabbing a paint brush into Derek’s cheek, crowing when Derek glared at him, and the kids helping them had roared with laughter.

It had been a good day.

Olly’s asleep when Derek lets himself into Dominic’s room, and he moves quietly round the roll away bed, checks Dominic’s stats in the dark.


Derek starts, sees Dominic’s awake.

“Hey champ,” he says softly, “You can’t sleep?”

Dominic shakes his head, “’S’too dark.”

Derek twists the heart monitor away from the bed, and ups the brightness so it casts a blue glow on the room. Dominic gasps, and Derek grins at him.


Dominic nods, “Can you stay?”

“Of course,” Derek sits down, grabs Dominic’s hand, “I’ll be here the whole time you’re asleep.”

Erica wakes him at five, waves a coffee at him, “You never got the one Boyd brought back last night,” she says quietly.

“Thanks,” Derek rasps, cracking his neck.

“Were you here all night?”

“Yeah, he couldn’t sleep,” Derek stands, stretches, “You ready to present?”

“I can do it in an hour,” Erica points at his rumpled shirt, “You need to shower, Dr Hale, and I can kill time with paperwork.”

“Fine,” Derek rolls his eyes, “Mother.”

“It’s for my own sake,” Erica pokes her nose, “I have to follow you round all day.”

Derek glares at her, but there’s no heat behind it. “See if Dr Mahealani’ll do presentations with you, he owes me.”

He peers back into the ward on their way past, and Erica shakes her head. “He went home a couple of hours ago.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Derek objects immediately.

“Please, you’ve been making sad eyes for days.”

“I’m very busy, and very tired, any eyes I’ve been making have been at the very comfortable easy chair up in dermatology.”

“Those skin fuckers get all the luck,” Erica bemoans.

“Yeah,” Derek says faintly, watching Stiles fly through the ER doors, greeting Allison at the desk.

“Go shower,” Erica reminds him, “Try not to heart eye him too obviously.”

“Only if you don’t, either,” Derek snaps back.

“Totally different,” Erica says loftily, sailing back towards the office.

Derek wonders how she even survived a week with Deaton. Deaton wouldn’t allow for that kind of crap, Deaton would never be such a sucker. Then again, the personal details Derek knows about Deaton are limited to his first name, and the fact he drives a Mustang Isaac talks about dreamily, he highly doubts anyone knows very much more, or gets away with asking.


“What have we got?”

“Brought in unconscious, no pulse, been down five minutes,” Scott reels off as he and Isaac move the body onto the bed.

Derek swallows, this is all he needs, “Gloves,” he says curtly as Allison weaves a gown over his shoulders.

“Someone page Dr Martin.”

“Derek—” Scott winces, “This guy was pretty much DOA, man.”

“No harm in trying then,” Derek snaps.

“Martyr,” Isaac mutters, pushing the gurney from the ambulance back into the corridor.

Scott’s face twists in concern, “Derek, it’s ok to let this one go, he’s—”

“Get out of my trauma room,” Derek snaps, and Scott huffs.


“Please, Scott!”

“Fine, but you owe me a happy best friend, man.  He’s miserable,” Scott yells through the glass.

Derek cricks his neck, tries not to think about how tired he is, how weary he is of this being his life. He’s lived for this hospital, for these people, these strangers for so long. He doesn’t know how to step away, he doesn’t know how to have a life. He was lying to Stiles all those years ago, this is his life. It won’t be for Stiles, Stiles’ll find someone that has time for him, that doesn’t snap unnecessarily, or lose his temper, or bury himself in his work when things get tough.

“Crash intubate, get the sux, Pavulon and Versed.”

Allison looks at him for a moment, and Derek refuses to budge, “Versed first?” she says finally.

“Two milligrams, then succinylchloline.”

“Get a suction cap, too,” Allison nods at Ethan. “Estimated blood loss, forty percent,” she adds quietly.

“Doesn’t matter,” Derek pushes his goggles off, “Dammit, I can’t see a thing.”

“He’s crashing.”

“Crack the ribs, where the hell is my intern?”

“Up on the ward,” Allison picks up the phone. “You want to page Lydia again?”

Yes,” Derek holds out a hand expectantly, “Internal paddles, charge to fifteen. Clear.”

“Still in v-fib,” Allison steps in to give compressions.

“Charge to thirty. Give him another epi.”


“Again! Clear.”

“Down to sixty two…”

“Charge again, a hundred of lidocane. Clear.”

“Dr Hale—”

Derek wipes his brow with the back of his hand, “When was the last epi?”

“Four minutes ago. Asistole.”

“Push an amp of atropine and push another four milligrams of epi, now.”


“No, keep doing the compressions, Allison, don’t you dare stop. Give it a minute for the last epi to circulate, let’s go, Allison, do it.”

She takes a step back, lifts her hands from the table and the noise of the flat line is loud and clear in the room.

He drops the paddles, stumbling backwards and kicking at the tray next to him.

“God dammit.”

“Time of death, two forty five,” Allison says softly.

Without another word Derek stalks from the room, slamming back the doors. He tosses his gloves at the bin and leaves the hospital. He can’t breathe, there’s still sweat dripping in his eyes and outside he has to drop to his knees just to recover his breath. There’s rain pouring down his neck and he rests his hands on the wet concrete as the adrenaline rushes through him.


Allison rolls her eyes when she sees Derek suiting up beside her in the entrance to the ambulance bay.

“Don’t you want to go home?”

“No,” he says shortly, glancing up at the dark sky, snow falling thickly around them.

“You’re an idiot,” she says lightly.

“I’ll be sure to sign off that way in my Christmas card to you.”

Allison snorts, cuts a glance at him. “You’re so well suited.”

“What?” He frowns at her, “Who is?”

“Hey,” Stiles bursts through the doors after them.

“My point,” Allison mutters to herself.

“’M’not talkin’ to you,” Stiles jibes, “She was mean to me at lunch,” he informs Derek after a beat.

“You deserved it, moping into your salsa.”

Derek tries not to feel too upset they’re all still having lunch without him, reminds himself this isn’t high school, and that he can operate without a support system he has to eat lunch with every day.

“Like I said,” Allison says firmly, looking between them, “Idiots.”

The siren covers up any argument Stiles might have, and Scott leaps out of the back.

“Second and third degree burns, twenty five per cent body surface, and he’s hypotensive.”

“Trauma One,” Derek instructs, following them in.

They move around the gurney, Allison taking vitals and Derek setting up a drip. “Morrell?”

“On her way down.”

“Set up a chest tube—”

“On it,” Stiles tells him from the other side of the gurney.

“Right,” Derek nods, “Good thinking.”

Stiles snorts, pushes his goggles up as blood shoots out of the tube. “Anything else, Dr Hale?”

“Where’s Morrell?” Derek asks in lieu of rising to the bait.

“Here,” Marin strides into the room, gloving up, “Update me?”

“Five hundred cc’s out of the right chest, eighteen per cent second degree,” Stiles clangs up the sides of the gurney as Marin glances at the chart, “Nine per cent third degree, chest, abdomen and left leg.”

“He’ll be fine,” Marin pushes the gurney out with Ethan, “Call me if you have anything interesting later.”

Derek quirks a grin at her and the doors swings shut, leaving them all standing in the debris of the trauma.

“Super,” Stiles says to no one, snapping his gloves off and tossing them in the trash. “That all?”

Allison nods, “We haven’t had any more calls.”

“I’m going to return to sleeping then,” Stiles glances at Derek, swallows hard, “Dr Hale,” he says lightly, exiting after Marin.

“Ugh,” Scott grabs his board, kisses Allison’s cheek. “This is turning out to be a very bad Christmas season.”

“Call the Grinch,” Isaac drawls teasingly as he reappears, shrugging on his jacket. “Maybe he’ll come down with a sleigh full of presents.”

“Maybe he will,” Scott says vehemently, elbowing his fellow EMT on the way out.

Allison pings a glove at Derek, “Go shower, you stink, Thanks for the help.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Derek rubs his face exhaustedly.

He stands in the shower, lets the water beat down against his shoulders until they feel numb.


When Derek and Stiles first began working together they didn’t get along very well. Derek was resentful of how easily things seemed to come to Stiles, and Stiles thought Derek was an egotistical prick—something he has since informed Derek he’s changed his mind about, though Derek wonders if recently Stiles’ original evaluation has been reformed.

It took them a while to find a rhythm working together, constantly butting heads on cases, winding each other up, hitting on weak spots—Derek becoming obsessive and his lack of willingness to ask for help; Stiles’ inability to take anything seriously; both of them getting over attached. But, eventually it began to work in their favor. Derek became something of an anchor for Stiles, kept him weighted to a situation, kept him focused, and in return Stiles brought out Derek’s sense of humor, dragged him away from the hospital and his cases, whether physically on a run, or up on the roof, or sitting in their office and making Derek answer Have You Ever questions. They could lean on each other, Derek learnt how to trust Stiles, to ask for his opinions, for his help.

No matter how hard Derek tried to keep Stiles at bay, tried to keep his distance, Stiles clung on, dug under his skin and made himself at home there. He got used to looking to Stiles for advice, counsel, someone to bounce ideas off, and ply him with good natured ribbing, teasing him out of his shell. Stiles’ laugh, his smile, his endless enthusiasm and affection was irresistible, Derek started craving it. He’s never felt less awkward, less uncomfortable in his own skin than when he’s with Stiles. Stiles helped made him see he was good, he wasn’t a lost cause, a doctor destined to quietly drink himself to death, alone in his office, he had people, he had Stiles.

Derek throws back another shot, glares blearily at the bar clock.

“’S’that the time?”

“Mhm,” Kali wipes down the bar, picks the bottle of JD up, “You’re cut off.”

“Excuse me?”

“Off, done, go home,” she enunciates, “Before I drag you there by those cute little ears.”

Derek bashes his head against the counter top, tries not to think of the million times Stiles has tweaked said stupid, ridiculous ears and called them cute.

“Don’t,” he groans, “’M’gonna be sick.”

“Doctors are the worst with their liquor,” Kali rolls her eyes, “Derek, go home, sleep it off.”

“Can’t,” he sighs, picks up his head to rest his chin on one hand, “Gotta go back—”

Kali snorts, “As if you’d even make it across the road, let alone inside. You’re a mess.”

“Thanks,” he huffs.

“Look,” she props her elbows on the bar, eyes him carefully, “McCall and Stilinski have been coming in a lot without you recently, and you’re drinking alone at one thirty on a Thursday morning—you’re lucky you’re off in the morning.”

“Made sure,” he slurs.

“Of course you did,” Kali rolls her eyes to the sky again. “But, whatever the sad little break up you boys are havin’, you’re gonna have to have the wake elsewhere, because I’m closing up. I called your sister. That time I got shot?” She waves the bottle of JD at Derek, “Call it even for savin’ my life.”

“Callin’ m’sister doesn’t make us even,” Derek groans. “It makes us very not even.”

“I heard some loser needs a ride,” Cora announces from the door, Derek falls off his chair trying to hide from her.

“You’re pathetic,” Cora sighs, dropping down beside him and pushing his hair off his face. “Come on, if we get you to mine quick enough you might not be sick in my car.”

“’S’my car,” Derek points out, “My beautiful car.”

“Yeah? You gave it to me.”

“Cos you live further away from work.”

“I know,” Cora sighs fondly, “You made that argument when you gave it to me in the first place.”

“Don’t need a car anyway,” Derek mumbles, “Don’t have anywhere to go.”

“Alright, this pity party is officially over,” Cora hauls him up, “This is such a weird role reversal I’m getting whiplash.”

“See you later,” Kali winks at them both, “Get home safe.”

Cora drops Derek into the passenger seat with a grunt, “God, you weigh a ton.”

“You callin’ me fat?”

“Yep,” she slams the door. “You’re actually looking a little skinny, bro,” she eyes him as she clambers into the driver’s seat. “You eating?”

“Course,” Derek stares out of the window and then twists to look at her, “Didn’t you have a date tonight?”

“Yeah,” Cora smirks, “As if I’m putting out on the first date, she’s gotta work for it.”

“Atta girl,” Derek pats her thigh, “Be safe.”

“That doesn’t really apply to me,” Cora grins, “But I appreciate the sentiment.”

She must be feeling sorry for Derek because she barely complains when he throws up all over the upholstery of the Camaro. She even makes him pancakes in the morning and tells him to have a terrible day at work, which, in Cora terms means I forgive you, and probably love you. Derek hopes.

He sends her flowers with a note that says tell anyone about last night, and I’ll keep sending flowers.

She doesn’t tell anyone. She does text him telling him to sort his priorities out, and Derek pulls a face at the screen. His priorities are fine. He’s—

So not fine.


“I need a drink,” Danny sweeps into the break room, and Derek looks up wanly.

“What? God, don’t talk to me about alcohol,” he scrubs at his face, “I’m still recovering from yesterday. I had to have a banana bag all day.”

Danny sniggers, “You did look a little worse for wear. You okay?”

“Yeah,” Derek sighs, flashes him an attempt at a grin, “Are you?”

“’Course,” Danny says easily, “I’m not the one sleeping in my office, though.”

Derek glowers at him, scrubs at his face, “What time is it?”

“Eleven thirty,” Danny kicks off his shoes, lifts Allison’s feet off the couch and pops them back in his lap without waking her. “You on all night?”

“Yeah,” Derek sighs.

“That’s awesome,” Danny gives him a sarcastic thumbs up as he pulls out his iPod. “Where’s Stilinski?”

“Don’t know,” Derek says hoarsely, “Sleeping?”

Danny shakes his head, “Nope, ‘s’not like you two to not be attached at the hip, it’s starting to give me hives seeing one without the other.”

Derek gives him a sour glare, and Danny rolls it off his back like a duck with water, “You’re too pretty together to break up,” he points at Derek, “Don’t let him get away.”

“He wasn’t here in the first place.”

“Sure he was,” Danny says easily, “He always was.”

Derek scowls at the empty coffee filter because it’s hard to scowl at Danny in the face of his bright optimism for too long. He wishes he could talk to Stiles, but there’s something stubbornly holding him back, something making the distance between them worse.

It’s also possible that because of it, Derek is being nine thousand times more of an asshole than usual, if even Cora’s called him out on it and she normally thrives on it.

He hasn’t left the hospital in nearly ten days, aside from his decision to try and drink their local bar dry. He’s pretty sure he’s starting to look like a mountain man.

He misses Stiles.

“Do you have a minute?” Lydia pops her head round the door, scrunches up her face at the smell of the room. “What is that?”

“Danny’s feet.”

“Ha,” Danny flicks a paper ball at Derek’s head, “Just because we’re not all blessed with a private Cardio lounge, Lydia.”

“You can come visit any time you like,” she says sweetly, dimpling at Danny, and Danny freaking dimples back.

Derek clears his throat, “Did you need something?”

“Yes,” she jerks her head out into the corridor, “Can we talk?”

“The trial finishes on the thirty-first, and Dominic’s not made the break through we’d like,” Lydia launches straight to the point as the door swings shut, Derek pulls himself upright.


“So, the results of the trial, destroyed as they have been by your last minute case, will go through on the first, and Dominic will have to be dropped.”

“Lydia,” Derek says aghast, “This is his last shot.”

“I know,” she bites her lip, the sincerity in her gaze unusual from the hard hitting, unapologetic surgeon he knows and respects.

He nods slowly, trying to keep from punching the wall beside them. He feels suddenly, horrendously helpless.

“Thank you for letting me know,” he intones eventually.

“I’m sorry, Derek.”

“No,” he says immediately, “You were amazing, thanks for even… trying.”

“Any time,” Lydia says softly, giving him a sad smile.

When Derek goes back into the break room, it feels like the Christmas lights are mocking him. The only reason he doesn’t take them down is because he knows Scott would decapitate him, and nobody deserves to go down with Derek.

He grabs his coat, pulls the threadbare blanket over a passed out Danny, and heads for the elevators. He feels like a zombie, barely noticing people flitting in and out around him. There’s only the distant sounds of late night traffic, and the snow falling around him as he heads out onto the roof, stares bleakly across the town. Nobody’s laughing beside him, jostling his arm, or making him eat something. No one’s keeping his hands warm this time. He exhales sharply, watches his breath curl in the air. He’s so lost. His eyes catch on the faint lights of Stiles’ apartment block, and he swallows around a lump in his throat. He knows where he needs to be, where he probably always should have been.


Stiles takes less than a minute to answer the door. He blinks in the light of the hallway and squints at him in surprise, “Derek?”

Derek practically falls into him and Stiles trips, leading them both to the couch. “Derek, you—what happened?”

“You were right,” Derek sighs, clutching tightly at Stiles’ soft t-shirt. “You were fucking right.” And then he’s wracking in a huge breath and burying his face in Stiles’ neck. “I fucked up.”

Stiles’ hands tighten where they’re wrapped around his shoulders. “Not even possible.”

“I did, Stiles, I’m—I can’t do it anymore. And Dominic’s—it’s not worked.”

Stiles groans softly, drops his head back so that Derek falls against him, head still on his shoulder.

“Oh, Derek.”

“I should have fucking listened to you. I’m sorry; I should never have pushed with the case.”

Stiles moves a hand to scratch it through Derek’s hair. Derek pushes into the comforting warmth of it, wants to stay tangled on Stiles’ shitty, old couch forever.

“You wanted to do the right thing,” Stiles murmurs. “You’re forever trying to do the right thing.”

“Trying,” he sighs. “It didn’t even work. It was all for nothing—everything I said to you.”

“Forget about it,” Stiles says immediately.

“No,” Derek chokes, “I was a dick. And that kid’s gonna die, and I couldn’t fix it. You were right, I just couldn’t... I didn’t want to give up.”

“Derek,” Stiles sighs, “I’m sorry.”

“I don’t—I didn’t know where else to go,” he admits finally.

Here, you come here, always,” Stiles insists, “Even when you’ve been a total douche, this is still your place to come to.”

To come home to lingers wordlessly in the air, and Derek sighs, clings to the promise.

A few minutes later he says incredulously. “Are you wearing Star Wars pyjamas?”

Stiles snorts and nods, his chin digging into the top of Derek’s head, “They were a present, asshole.”

“No, no,” Derek clears his throat, sits up with his hand still pressed to Stiles’ chest. “They’re very fetching.”

Stiles rolls his eyes, and Derek couldn’t be more thankful for him, for how easily he’s let Derek in, looked after him, again. Every time.

“Thanks,” he says quietly.

“Don’t mention it,” Stiles shrugs, “I seem to remember havin’ a couple of meltdowns on you in our time together.”

“I didn’t have a meltdown.”

“Uh, buddy, you look like you haven’t showered, or eaten in weeks, and it’s two thirty in the morning,” Stiles points at him, “Meltdown.”

Derek flops back against the couch cushions, glares without heat, and Stiles grins, pushes Derek’s hair out of his face. He slides his hand to readjust Derek’s glasses, eyes warm and caring as he looks at Derek. Derek can do little more than blink dumbly, gratefully, adoringly no doubt, up at him.

Stiles trails his fingers across Derek’s brow, snorts, “You’re losin’ your laughter lines to this frown.”

“’S’been a bad couple of weeks,” Derek huffs, “I haven’t been laughing much.”

“Cos you’ve not been with me and Scott,” Stiles points out, correctly.

“Missed you,” Derek says faintly.

Stiles bites his lip, “Yeah, me too.” He clears his throat, and stands up, looks around, at anything but Derek. “Uh, you want somethin’ to eat?”

“No,” Derek sighs out, melting into the warmth of Stiles’ vacated couch space as he disappears into the kitchen, banging the microwave open loudly. “Thanks.”

Scott pads into the living room, spots Derek and comes over, “Hey.”

Derek opens one eye, nods his head, “Hey.”

“You okay?”

“No,” Derek rolls over onto his back, licks his lips as he glances at Scott. “’M’sorry if I was an asshole.”

Scott eyes him for a second, and then cracks a grin, “Nothing out of the ordinary.”

Derek reaches out to shove at his shoulder, trying not to smile, and Scott bowls on top of him, crowing as he thuds Derek over the head with a pillow.

“Don’t do it again,” he says after a minute, dark eyes going serious, “It blew for all of us, man. We have so much Christmas to catch up on.”

“Okay,” Derek feels his smile widen, “I can deal with that.”

“Wow, I’m gone for two minutes and you two start groping each other,” Stiles arches an eyebrow, “How will Allison take this betrayal, Scott?”

Scott rolls off Derek, shaking his head fondly, “Ha ha.” He heads for the kitchen, starts making breakfast, and Derek figures he must be starting at five to be up this early. They’re none of them morning people by choice.

“You stayin’?”

Derek blinks across at Stiles in the dimly lit living room, the soft light of the side lamp making his eyes glow warm as he looks back at Derek.

“Can I?”

There’s a beat, and Derek wonders, for the thousandth time, what’s going through Stiles’ head as he considers Derek.

“You can always stay,” he says finally, clapping his hands together, “I’ll go get you somethin’ a little more comfy to sleep in.”


Derek gazes at the wall Stiles and Scott have filled with pictures of their time as friends, smiles at the shots of himself, of Allison and Lydia and Danny and Isaac that have filtered in; Stiles with his arm looped round Scott’s head and half jumping on him; Derek looking unimpressed in reindeer ears next to a raucously laughing Stiles; Lydia sitting on a rock at the beach, beaming in the sunshine, oblivious to Danny behind her holding seaweed.

He spins round when Stiles comes back through to the living room, strips off his shirt to take the one Stiles is holding out stretched.

“Right,” Stiles says with a crack in his voice. “Sure, don’t—okay—I’m gonna go use the bathroom.” He trips over the coffee table, and Derek lunges out to catch his arm. “Now you’re just cheating,” Stiles sighs, looking up at him as he leans into Derek’s chest.

“Fast reactions,” Derek shrugs, “I spend time with you, go figure.”

“That wasn’t what I meant,” Stiles’ tongue pokes out to wet his lips, and Derek tracks the movement, frowning.

“What, then?”

“Nothing,” Stiles straightens, awkwardly pats Derek’s arm, and as his fingers brush Derek’s skin he can feel himself shiver.

“Okay,” he manages.

“Yell if you need something,” Stiles heads for the bathroom, “You on tomorrow?”

“Not till noon,” Derek drags his eyes from watching Stiles walk away, “You?”

“Two, I’ll come in with you, though,” Stiles glances over his shoulder, smiles softly. “Get some sleep.”

“You too,” Derek says, bending to pull his shoes off.

Stiles makes a strangled noise and slams the bathroom door.

Derek flops back onto the couch, and stares at the ceiling. When the pictures start mocking him for being a loser, he throws an arm over his face, tries to block out how aware he is of Stiles sleeping just feet away from him.

He’s always wanted. It took all of four months for it to grow into more. He’s kept it at bay because they work well as a team, amazingly, against all odds, and Derek’s never had such a good thing going in his life before. He’s never had someone like Stiles to chivvy him along, to wind him up, or care for him when he himself can’t even figure out what he needs. Stiles always knows. He can’t bear making things uncomfortable or putting Stiles in awkward position. He doesn’t want to ever be a dick to Stiles, is incredulous Stiles puts up with him on a good day, let alone forgives him for a bad month.

“Bye losers,” Scott yells, “I know you’re both awake because I can feel the awkwardness lingering in the air.”

He slams the door, and Derek pulls a cushion over his head as Stiles squawks in indignation from his bedroom.


Derek wakes to the sound of tapping on a keyboard. He rolls over, takes in Stiles sitting in his comfy chair, swathed in a hoodie two sizes too large, and typing fiercely. There’s coffee beside Derek and he hunches up to reach it, slides back into the warmth of the cushions to watch Stiles work. Occasionally, he chews at a pencil, puts his own glasses on to read something more closely, and Derek can’t get enough of this, of the feeling of home and domesticity.  He feels better than he has in weeks, he doesn’t know why he tried to pretend he doesn’t need this. Need Stiles, maybe. Probably. Most definitely.

Stiles starts when Derek clears his throat, glowers at him.

“That was my coffee, asshole.”

Derek grins over the rim, lifts the mug, “Thanks.”

“You don’t even like it black.”

“I’m dealing,” Derek smiles wider, “’S’delicious.”

“You know, if you’re too busy drinking my coffee then maybe you won’t wanna hear the awesome news I have for you.”

Derek arches an eyebrow, passes Stiles his coffee wordlessly.

“Yeah, damn right,” Stiles takes a sip, makes a satisfied noise. “Oh yeah.”

“Stiles, news?”

“Yeah, sorry,” Stiles unfolds his legs, shuffles to face Derek, “So, I emailed Chetan Mehta before I went to bed last night.”

“From Birmingham Children’s Hospital? In England?

“Yep, and he’s gonna consult on Dominic’s case.”

Derek feels his eyes go wide, and if he’d been holding the coffee he would have dropped it.

“Glad you gave my mug back now?” Stiles asks with a shit eating grin.

“I’m,” Derek runs a hand over his jaw, laughs stupidly, “I’m speechless.”

“Statements you have never made before,” Stiles crows, and Derek laughs again, tries to glare.

“I—I didn’t even think of getting in touch with them.”

“Yeah, it, I mean,” Stiles scratches the back of his neck, “I just… wanted to help.”

“You do,” Derek looks at his hands, “Stiles, this is…”

“Awesome? Amazing? Fantastic? Splendid?” Stiles wiggles his eyebrows at Derek and Derek shakes his head, gazes at him fondly.

“All of the above.”

“I’m going to type that out and hang it above my bed,” Stiles leans back in his chair, waves a hand across the air, “The day Derek Hale called me splendid.”

Derek rolls his eyes, “I’ll get you a plaque for Christmas.”

“That’s not what I want for Christmas,” Stiles says dismissively.

“No? What d’you want then?”

Stiles’ pupils blow wide for a second, and he throws his legs on the table, crossing them.

“You’ll think of something,” he says, staring at Derek intensely, “I’m sure.”

Derek stares back at him, swallows hard and it’s almost like the temperature in the room goes up about a thousand degrees. “Okay.”

“Yeah, but nothing Star Wars related,” Stiles says in a brighter tone, “Scott’s got that one covered.”

Derek laughs, lies back on the couch and tries to quench the butterflies in his stomach. He didn’t even know they were a real thing.


“Hold these,” Allison hands Derek the end of a paper chain, and Derek continues signing charts absently, taking the chain. “And these,” she shoves tinsel under his arm, and he clamps down on it as best he can. “And this,” she balances something on the top of his head. “Perfect. Now!” She calls, and Stiles leaps out of the break room, snaps his camera as Derek looks around in bewilderment. Stiles clutches his sides laughing as Derek peers down at himself, wrapped in tinsel and a star falls off his head.

“Ha ha,” he says drily, shaking off the tinsel, “Does this have somewhere it needs to be?”

“Yeah, we’re gonna go decorate the ward,” Stiles picks it up, winds it round Derek’s neck again, “But, it just looks so good on you.”

“It makes him seem… friendly,” Isaac comments, tipping his head to one side as he considers Derek from the ER desk.

Derek bares his teeth at him, and Stiles starts humming O’ Christmas Tree under his breath.

“Yo ho ho,” Scott announces his presence, and Allison squeals—a noise Derek has never heard her make before—right in his ear.

“Dude!” Stiles cries, bounding towards Scott, who is dressed as Santa. “You look awesome. Quick, go stand next to Derek, you guys can be—”

“What the hell is going on?” Finstock strides through the ER doors after Scott, batting snow off himself like it’s personally offended him. “McCall, you look fantastic, Hale, you look ridiculous.”

“Chief,” Allison’s immediately in professional mode, reaching over her desk to grab charts, “Everything’s up to speed, two patients in curtains, the interns are dealing with them.”

“Uh huh,” Finstock glances at the top chart and balks. “Whose writing is this?”

Allison glances over his shoulder, “Dr Reyes’.”

“Christ, it’s worse than Hales’, she’s been picking up bad habits.”

Stiles frowns, “Chief, Derek’s handwriting’s like a pretty picture, have you seen his loops?”

“Of course I have, they’ve offended me for years,” Finstock juts his head at Derek, “You never got the memo about short hand either.”

“So ironic considering his speech vocabulary,” Isaac mutters, and Derek leans over the desk to cuff him round the head.

“Shut up.”

“Case in point.”

“God,” Finstock wrinkles up his nose, “You’re all so full of cheer, when did this happen?”

“When Derek stopped being a martyr and showered,” Scott says brightly.

“Leave him alone,” Finstock chides, “He’s a good doctor, even if his handwriting’s an abomination.”

Behind him, Stiles stuffs his fingers in his mouth to stop laughing, and Derek can feel his whole face flaming up.

“Now, when’s this blasted party I’m supposed to be attending and pretending to enjoy?”

“You know you will, Chief,” Danny says easily from the step ladder he’s leaning on to hang lights. “There’ll be eggnog.”

Fantastic, Hale, Stilinski,” Finstock starts walking, “With me.”

Stiles shoots Derek a quizzical look, and Derek shrugs, just as confused.

“You two are getting your extra funding this year, think you impressed the board with how many hours you were putting in down here,” Finstock begins as they jog to keep up with him. “So, both your interns have put in requests to stay on paeds, they’re willing to float to the ER, too, though god knows how you convinced them to do that. You want to keep ‘em on?”

“Uh, both of them want to stay?” Derek asks in surprise.

“Yes, listen, Hale,” Finstock remonstrates.             

“I’d like to keep Boyd on,” Stiles nods, “He’s on top of things.”

“Uh huh, he make a good surgeon?”

“Yeah, definitely.”

“Who was he with before?”


“Of course he’s good then,” Finstock nods, glances at Derek, “And yours was with Deaton mmm, she any good?”

“She’s great,” Derek says honestly.

Stellar input.”

Derek rolls his eyes, “Yes, if she wants to come back, she can. She needs some time with Stiles, though; needs to see his bedside manner.”

“Yours is better than mine,” Stiles protests, “Have you seen yourself with kids?”

“Yes, I’m sure it’s heart-warming and adorable,” Finstock snaps, “Figure out the details between you, I don’t care, you’re both doing excellent work. Get back to it,” he dismisses them with a wave of his hand, continuing to stalk along the corridor. “Ethan! I like these decorations very much!”

Ethan leans out of the nurse’s office, waves a hand after Finstock, “Uh, thanks Chief.”

“He might be my favorite person on the planet,” Stiles says thoughtfully.

“No chance, you have Scott,” Derek teases.

“Of course,” Stiles turns back to the nurse’s station, grins at their friends.

“And your dad.”


“Second favorite then?”

“Third,” Stiles twirls on his toes, points at Derek, “You’re prettier than Finstock, you totally rank higher.”

“High praise indeed.”

Stiles rolls his eyes, is suddenly in Derek’s space, clutching his shirt tightly, “You’re in a whole other league, dude.”

Then he’s letting go, disappearing into one of the curtained areas to check on Boyd and the patient, and Derek’s left gazing after him, startled and a little awed.

“Derek,” Allison calls, snapping him out of it. “Stab wound, ETA three minutes, can you take this? Lewis is out.”

“Yeah,” he darts towards Erica’s curtain, pulls it back and juts his chin, “You finished?”

“Yep,” Erica considers her neat patch of gauze looking pleased. “Isn’t it—”

“We’ve got a trauma patient coming in, I need you on this with me.”

“You do?” She breathes out in surprise.

Derek sighs, “Don’t have a coronary over it, I need another pair of hands.”

“Well, gee, when you put it like that,” she snaps off her gloves, turns to smile sweetly at her patient, who grins back at her dazedly. Derek rolls his eyes.

“Keep it clean, and keep it dry, no funny business, Mr Alton.”

“Absolutely, Dr Reyes,” Mr Alton nods vehemently. Through the other side of the curtain Derek hears Stiles burst into laughter, and apologize to his own patient. He aims for the shadow, punches the curtain gently, and grins when Stiles jumps in shock.

“Seriously,” Erica follows him towards the ER entrance, “You two. How have you not climbed him like the tree he so obviously wants to be for you.”

“None of your business,” Derek snipes.

Erica smirks, “It’s totally my business, I’m your intern for the whole year.”

“Lucky me,” Derek gives her a toothy smile, “I have charts backed up from last winter.”

“If I wasn’t learning so much from you I would so go up to Ortho,” she mutters, “They break bones for fun.”

“But you are learning,” Derek says smugly, and then feels his chest compress a little with pride when Erica nods. 

“I guess.”

“You requested to stay on with me,” Derek pushes the doors open, “Means you like me.”

“Like learning from you,” Erica corrects, “Besides, if I stay with you, I can look at Stiles all day.”

Dr Stilinski,” Derek corrects.

“Do you call him that in the bedroom?”

Derek trips over nothing. Erica grins to herself. The ambulance pulls in and Aiden jumps out of the rig, pulls the gurney with him.

“Two guys got into a fight over a Christmas tree, multiple stab wounds to the back, pulse is sluggish.”

“Let’s go,” Derek leads them into Trauma Two. “Alright, on my count,” Derek slides his fingers under the back board, “Two, three, slide him across, spin a crit right away. Push etimodate and sux now. Number eight ET tube,” he nods at Erica, “Do the honors.”

“Chest tube tray?”

“No, start a central line.” He glances at Allison, “Blood pressure?”

“Ninety over fifty.”

“Four units of O-Neg, hang two on the rapid infuser.”

“You in?”

Erica nods, “Yeah.”

“Betadine and a sterile drape. Roll him, let me look again,” Derek clucks his tongue. “Missed the spine, should be okay.”

“Pressure’s up to ninety.”

“Book an OR. Hook up the Thora-Seal,” Derek snaps off his gloves, “Get X-ray down here for a chest, just in case.”

Allison picks up the phone as Finstock strides back into the room, “What a day. With any luck I’ll be in the OR and miss the blasted Christmas party.”

“No, you won’t,” Allison says firmly, gowning him up.

“It has come to this,” Finstock declares mournfully, “My life dictated by people who want me to be pleasant.” Allison beams dangerously at him, steps back to let him work.

Derek lifts his eyebrows at the door and gestures for Erica to follow.

“You’re keeping up in traumas.”

“Thank you, I think?”

“It was a compliment,” he says shortly, and Erica’s face lights up.

She clears her throat, nods jerkily, “Thanks.”

“Don’t mention it.”

“Oh, I will,” she promises in a steely voice, “A lot.”

“I don’t know why I chose to keep you on,” Derek grumbles.

“Because I’m good, and I’m loyal and I’d probably kill for you,” Erica examines her nails.

Probably,” Derek shakes his head, “Good to know.”

“I’m just letting you know,” she says sweetly, “I intend for you to be my mentor right up until I myself become an attending. You’re very much stuck with me.”

Derek considers her, gaze firm and assured, cool and collected in the face of mass traumas, picking things up easily, ribbing Derek in a way he doesn’t let many people get away with.

“Fine by me,” he says eventually, “I could do much worse.”

Erica arches an eyebrow, “Did we just have a moment, at Christmas?”

“It’s not Christmas for another four days,” Derek snaps, “Go do charts.”

“Yes, boss,” she says primly, flouncing off.

“I love her a little bit,” Allison says from beside him, pulling off her gown. “I can’t wait for her to meet Lydia.”

Derek shudders at the very thought.


Derek is not one for parties, or soirees, or being particularly sociable. He has a handful of people he likes to interact with, barely, and three, tops, he’ll actively seek out to spend time with. This Christmas party does not count as something he’d like to attend of his own free will.

However, when Allison hands him a hot mug of something and knocks it against her own, smiling fondly, he can’t deny he’s perhaps glad he’s here.

Scott’s sitting in the corner of the break room, possibly asleep, having been round all the wards this afternoon, handing out presents they all donated. It was his day off; Scott is literally the embodiment of the season he loves so much.  Derek takes him a beer over and allows Scott to lean against his shoulder when he dozes off again.

He would try and claim he’s not waiting for Stiles to show up before he relaxes, but he’s pretty sure every person in the room would know he’s lying.

“I got pizza!” Stiles bursts into the room wearing a lurid red jumper with a fluorescent green Christmas tree on, and winks at Derek as he passes, “Don’t be jealous now, I got you one, too.”

“I’m not wearing anything remotely similar to that, ever.”

Stiles throws his head back in a fake laugh, “We’ve got a jester here,” he tosses the bag at Derek, “It’s in your size. Wear it.”

Derek unfolds the sweater, gazes down at the mass of baubles on the front in different shades of pink and purple.


“Please?” Stiles juts out his bottom lip, “You were pretty mean to me for a while back there.”

Derek narrows his eyes, mouth falling open, “You can’t use that against me with this.”

“Sure I can,” Stiles hands pizza out on plates, beaming at the rest of the staff as he talks to Derek, “I can use it for at least a month.”

“Fine,” Derek sighs, stands and shrugs off his jacket.

From across the room Lydia wolf whistles, and Danny yells, “Bam Chicka Wow Wow.”

“God, the people I’ve hired are awful,” Finstock groans, planting himself in Derek’s spot on the couch and looking horrified when Scott curls into him.

“Perfect,” Stiles declares as Derek pulls the sweater over his head.

“I’m surer than ever that you use this season to humiliate me in the worst ways.”

“Nonsense,” Stiles chirps as he takes a picture, “My dad’ll love that one.”

“He coming up for Christmas?”

“Nah, he and Melissa are doin’ something quiet, seeing as Scott and I are both working between Christmas and New Year,” Stiles shrugs looking a little wistful, “We’re gonna go home on the thirty first, though.” His face lights up, “Hey, you should come with. My dad hasn’t seen you in forever.”

“Can’t,” Derek says softly, “Said I’d cover for Danny, seeing as he’s got plans.”

They both glance over to where Danny and Lydia are laughing at something, and Stiles pretends to crack his knuckles menacingly. “You want me to take him out?”

“No,” Derek laughs, “Then you’d have to work, too, dumbass.” He turns to look fondly at Stiles, “But, thanks for the offer.”

“No problem,” Stiles shifts on the table they’re leaning against, smiles at Derek, and just like that the room fades out, Derek’s having trouble breathing.

“Hey, oops,” Allison appears, dangling mistletoe between them, “I slipped,” she says flatly.

“Babe, no cheating,” Scott calls from where he’s half asleep on Finstock’s shoulder still.

“Fine,” she huffs, “You two owe me like fifty bucks.”

“We’ll be sure to pay up,” Stiles says drily. He stretches, glances back at Derek, “You’re on call, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Derek sighs, “Come on, we better catch some shut eye before this lot start singing.”

“Carolling,” Danny points at them both, “Tomorrow afternoon, everyone.”

“I can’t,” Isaac clutches his throat, “I’m an atheist.”

“Then why are you pretending to have a bad throat?”

“Because last year you made me sing anyway.”

“And I’m going to again this year,” Danny gives him a devilish grin, and Isaac bashes his head against the table.

“I can, I’m just not going to,” Stiles says breezily, “Nobody wants to hear me sing.”

“You did a pretty good rendition of Last Christmas the other day in the shower,” Scott pipes up.

“Thanks, man,” Stiles groans, face going bright red, “Totally on the list of things I want the whole world to know.”

“You’re down for it, Stilinski,” Danny warns, “Do your rounds early.”

“If I have to, Derek has to,” Stiles yells as they head out of the break room, Derek jabs him in the side.

“You think your singing’s bad? You don’t want to hear me sing.”

“I listen to you sing all the time,” Stiles rolls his eyes, “You always forget I’m in the room when you’re doing charts and listening to Queen.”

Derek stills in the corridor, mortified. “What.”

“’S’cute,” Stiles scratches his nose, “Made me very fond of a few of their songs. Can’t hear Love Of My Life without thinking of you caterwauling it.”

The elevator opens, and Stiles steps inside, smiles brightly at him. “Coming?”

Derek’s feet move automatically, still in horrified silence, and Stiles starts laughing as the doors close.

“Stop worrying, honestly, it’s adorable. I don’t think any less of you.”

“I didn’t think that,” Derek insists, “I just—why didn’t you tell me to shut up, or something?”

“Because it’s nice, it’s like,” Stiles shrugs, suddenly looks as awkward as Derek, “Feels like somethin’ you’d do at home, or when you’re comfortable. I like that you do that with me, even if you don’t realize it.”

“I am comfortable with you,” Derek says incredulously.

“I know,” Stiles says softly, stares at the elevator numbers.

Derek looks at him, drinks in his sharp, beautiful profile, the hands that fix children and Derek, the shoulders that hold up so much without even realizing it, keep them all pieced together, sweeps his gaze down to his ribs where his heart beats, his feet tapping with the restless energy that always makes him seem like more, like a wonderful, smart, kind, sarcastic, exaggerated version of all the things Derek loves. He lets it flood over him, how much he loves Stiles, and how far they’ve come, how much more he wants, how even when Derek’s stupidly oblivious, or rude, even in his worst moments, or his most embarrassing, Stiles has never run from it. He was there, constant, steady.

“I—” He clears his throat as Stiles turns his head to look at him. Derek takes off his glasses, messes with them for a moment before slipping them back on, and swallowing. “Nothing.”

“Okay,” Stiles gives him a small smile, the elevator slows.

Derek scrunches his eyes shut, takes a breath.

“I love you,” he says quietly.

The doors open, and Stiles grabs his hand before Derek can move, holds it so tightly Derek thinks he hears bones crunch.

“I love you,” Stiles breathes out, still staring straight ahead, and Derek feels his stomach lurch with joy at the very idea.

Derek squeezes his hand, the doors close, Stiles turns to look at him again, mouth curled up in a smile.

“I love you a lot, like, since before we were even friends, I think. I wanted to be around you, like, shit I think I probably drove you crazy, but I couldn’t stop. And I never get tired of it; I never get tired of you. I wanna be with you all the time, I look for you in rooms I know you’re not gonna be in just in case, like, shit, Derek, you have no idea—”

Derek tugs him into his space with their clasped hands, cups his jaw and kisses him.

Stiles makes a noise, low in the back of his throat and lets go of Derek’s hand to wrap his arms round Derek’s neck, curls his fingers in his hair. Derek leans into him, their bodies pressed tight together as Stiles parts his lips and Derek licks into his mouth, heat coiling in his abdomen at the way Stiles feels everywhere they’re touching.

He’s already addicted to the way Stiles tastes, seeking it out under the sugary candy cane Stiles must have been sucking on earlier, pushing his tongue against Stiles’ until it’s just Stiles, to where it’s warm, and sweet and exactly what he wants all the time.

“Derek,” Stiles murmurs, pulling away for a second, but letting Derek chase his lips, capturing them again. “Mmmf, Derek, god, we should—talk?”

“Later,” Derek promises, bumping his nose against Stiles’ cheek, breathing him in. He darts out his tongue and then kisses one of the moles on the side of Stiles’ face. It makes Stiles laugh. Derek’s insides burst delightedly at the sound. Stiles falls against the side of the elevator and tugs Derek with him, grinding into him with renewed fervour as they kiss again.

Derek groans, rubs his cheek against Stiles’, “We have to get out of the elevator,” he mutters, nipping at Stiles’ jaw.

“Yeah,” Stiles’ agreement turns into a moan as Derek slides his hands down his sides and under the stupid, ugly sweater, stroking smooth, hot skin. “Shit, your hands—”

Derek splays his hands out against Stiles’ ribs, digs his fingers in and pulls him in to kiss him again. He shoves his thigh between Stiles’ legs, grinds it up and Stiles breaks away, breathing fast.

“Fuck, Derek.”

“Wanted you for so long,” Derek murmurs, “I have no idea? You have no idea,” he ducks to kiss Stiles’ neck, sucking a bruise into the pale skin just above his shirt collar, relishing the idea it’ll last, that this is real.

“I hate you for not doing anything sooner,” Stiles huffs, fingers pushing up the back of Derek’s shirt and belying his words with how gentle they are, flexing against his skin. “You should have done something years ago.”

“I didn’t know, I didn’t—think you’d want this,” Derek kisses his neck apologetically, rests his forehead against the side of Stiles’ face for a second and they both still.

“I did. The whole time,” he tells the top of Derek’s head, his hands drawing slow, lazy circles down his back.  “You’re an idiot.”

You’re an idiot,” Derek retorts.

“God, you’re infuriating,” Stiles sighs, hauling Derek up by his collar and kissing him fiercely.

The elevator doors open, and they break apart to see Allison and Scott laughing together. They stop smiling when they see Stiles and Derek. Scott’s mouth falls open. They all look at each other in silence. Derek huffs a breath against Stiles’ mouth and feels Stiles’ lips twitch into a grin.

“Hi,” Stiles says after a moment, clearing his throat. “Going up?”

“You guys all lose,” Scott yells back towards the break room. “I win! I called it!”

“Shush, patients,” Allison elbows him, “Someone ought to be remembering they exist.”

“Ah,” Derek straightens up, loath to put too much distance between himself and Stiles, and Stiles catches his hand again. It makes him feel stupidly happy. “We knew where we were the whole time.”

“That’s weird on so many levels,” Stiles dismisses, “We didn’t. Derek was totally gone on my sweet moves. He couldn’t have told you his own name three seconds ago.”

Derek crunches his fingers together.

“Ah ha haaa, uh, I mean,” Stiles winces, “Look, are you guys going up?”

“Yep,” Scott strolls into the elevator beaming, “We’re gonna go look at the stars.”

“That’s so cliché,” Stiles groans.

“You were making out in an elevator,” Allison points out, “Neither of you can talk, ever again. Even if Scott and I get married in Vegas, or get matching tattoos, or—”

“Name our children after characters in books?”

“Yes!” Allison dimples at him, “Perfect example.”

“This is awful,” Stiles mumbles to Derek as Scott and Allison smile at each other.

“Making out in an elevator,” Scott and Allison say together.

The elevator comes to a stop on the third floor, and this time Derek pulls Stiles out, “Good night,” he says firmly. “Sorry,” he adds to Allison.

She laughs, “I’m only surprised it took you two this long.”

“I’m going to buy you breakfast with my winnings,” Scott tells her as the doors start to close.

“Hey,” Derek sticks his free hand out, stops the doors, “How did you—what was your?”

“Oh,” Scott nods understandingly, “Originally, I was going to bet a week. Then I figured if Stiles was gonna go for anyone, it’d be someone as awkward and anxious and awesome as he is, but that also pretends not to be. I figured it’d take a while. And, it’s you two, so I had the elevators because,” he shrugs, “I’m also awesome, and I know you two like to bond in here.”

“We’re not a hospital television show cliché,” Derek insists.

“Okay,” Scott says blithely.

“We’re not,” Stiles repeats.

“Okay,” Scott winks as the doors close again, and Stiles turns to glower at Derek.

“You couldn’t have said it anywhere else? Now everyone’s going to mock the shit out of us.”

Derek thinks for a moment, grins at Stiles, “I don’t care.”

Stiles’ face softens, and he leans into Derek, throws his arms around his waist. “I knew you’d be romantic.”

“’M’not at all, that was just the truth,” Derek argues, his own hands catching Stiles’ hips and squeezing them gently through the fabric of his pants.

Stiles shivers, “Y’are, you’re gonna blow my mind with it, I can tell.”

“We’ll see,” Derek murmurs, pressing his lips to Stiles’ again.

Someone slams charts down behind them, and they both spin to see a nurse pointing at the sign that says No Visitors After Nine.

“Oh, it’s okay, we’re not—” Stiles winces, “None of our lies make us look very good, do they?”

“No,” Derek wraps his hand round his, “We’re leaving,” he says to the nurse, and drags Stiles towards the on call room.

“FYI, we’re not having sex in here,” Stiles tells him as they fall against the door, teeth clacking because they’re too busy grinning to kiss.

“We’re not?” Derek arches an eyebrow, “Do you need candles and romantic music?”

“No, ass,” Stiles shoves at his shoulder, “Because I can’t ride you on one of those stupid, tiny bunk beds.” He palms the front of Derek’s pants, bites his lip, “And I really wanna do that. I really, really, really—”

“I get it,” Derek says hoarsely, catching his hand, but not moving it, “I see your point.”

“Also, we have a shift. You need to call Mehta, sort out approvals for Visas.”

“I really love you,” Derek breathes out.

“I know,” Stiles says brightly, flexes his fingers against the outline of Derek’s cock, “I can tell.”


“You knew what you were getting into,” Stiles steps around him, tugs off his sweater, “I didn’t say anything about us not having a really quick, dirty jerk off session, though.”

“Appealing,” Derek says drily, but eyes are drawn to Stiles’ chest, the sharp cut of his hips, and the trail of hair into his pants. He really, really wants.

“Fuck, you’re hot,” he blurts out before he can stop himself, tugging off his own sweater and hoping it lands in the trash by accident.

“Yeah?” Stiles lifts his eyebrows, throws himself on the bed and beckons Derek over, “Come here.”

“Figuratively, or literally,” Derek drawls, eyes on Stiles’ stomach.

“Ugh,” Stiles grins as Derek climbs on top of him, “Don’t.”

“You’re making it so easy,” Derek hisses as he presses Stiles into the mattress and his dick rubs against Stiles’ through layers of thin fabric.

“Only for you,” Stiles teases, before his eyes flutter shut as Derek ducks to bite his collarbone. “Oh, okay, yeah, totally easy for you.”

Derek feels himself smile, bites his lip as he runs a hand down the centre of Stiles’ chest, slides it to the side and rests it over his heart.

“Me too,” he admits.

Stiles trails his fingers up Derek’s arms, tugs on his shoulders. When Derek’s at eye level he pulls off his glasses for him, stretches to place them on the cabinet.

Derek knows his face does something stupidly tender because Stiles’ eyes go liquid, his cheeks flame up and he ducks his head. Derek pushes his chin up, kisses him slow and deep. Stiles sighs into it, before pulling away, grinning wickedly.

“Be adoring later,” he says, sucking on Derek’s lower lip and bucks his hips up into Derek’s.

“Boss, boss, bossy,” Derek chides, and Stiles laughs brightly, pinches Derek’s nipple in revenge.

It doesn’t have the desired effect; instead, Derek arches into it, kisses Stiles hard. Stiles shoves at his pants, kicks his own off and there’s a tangle of limbs and clothes before Derek’s on his back, Stiles stretching out, gloriously naked on top of him. Derek’s never been so turned on his life as he is in their dingy on call room, bathed in darkness and the sounds of the street, the hospital around them. It’s sheer ridiculousness.

“Ridiculous,” he huffs out loud.

“Yeah, totally,” Stiles agrees, sucking on Derek’s fingers and making him groan at the sensation. He wants to put his hands all over Stiles, discover every curve of his body, learn every way Stiles likes to be touched. Stiles licks Derek’s palm, spits in his own.

“Stop looking at me like that, that’s for later,” he chides.

“Sorry for lookin’ at you,” Derek grouses, pulling a face at him.

“I didn’t say you couldn’t look at all,” Stiles smirks, slides his hand down and wraps it round their dicks, eyes on where his fingers are curling round Derek’s cock the whole time. Derek can’t help the guttural noise he makes when Stiles starts to jerk them off together.

“Fuck,” he says loudly, “Fuck it all to hell, that’s so fucking hot. You are so fucking—” He dips to kiss Derek again as Derek tries desperately not to come all over Stiles’ hand too soon.

He pushes his own hand down to curl round Stiles’, tightening the grip and speeding the rhythm up.

“You wanted to come fast, right?”

Stiles laughs hysterically, “This will not go down as a moment of longevity, trust me,” he gasps as Derek thumbs the head of his dick, smears pre-come around, “It was never going to be drawn out.”

“Prowess is for suckers,” Derek teases, and Stiles starts laughing again, knees Derek in the thigh as his back bows elegantly. Derek slides his other hand down it, grips his ass, slips the tip of a finger lower, and presses in against Stiles’ hole.

“Derek,” Stiles whines, mashing their mouths together, and Derek can’t focus, can only pant against Stiles’ mouth, too much skin, too much heat, so much of Stiles. He can feel the bright, sharp tingle of his orgasm building, twists his wrist frantically, losing all rhythm, desperate to take Stiles with him.

“Come on,” he murmurs, “Let go, I’m gonna—I’m gonna take care of you, I promise, come for me.”

“Oh, god, I’m so done for,” Stiles complains before he cries out, stilling on top of Derek and coming between them. Derek grins, skates his knuckles across the mess and Stiles bats his hand away, takes over with his own.

“You’re such a loser with your stupid romantic everything, even when I tell you not to be,” he says reproachfully, eyes heavy lidded as he looks at Derek. “You’re so contrary.”

“You love it,” Derek manages, throat dry, and he tips his head back.

He feels Stiles lick up the side of his neck, graze his teeth under his ear, “I do,” he murmurs.

Just like that Derek’s done, his orgasm streaking through him, pleasure exploding across his senses, Stiles’ salty sweat skin on his tongue, his firm, come slick hand on his dick, Stiles surrounding him.

“I’d say that was a fine first effort,” Stiles announces exhaustedly, propping his chin up on Derek’s chest a few minutes later.

Derek’s heart is still beating frantically, and he nods, slides a hand up Stiles’ bare back.

“I really am enjoying all the different ways I make you speechless.”

Derek flashes a grin, ducks his head to look at him, “I look forward to seeing if it goes both ways.”

Stiles shivers charmingly, Derek continues to smile as his eyes drift closed. Stiles really is charming, Derek is so very charmed, so very warm and sated and so very happy.

“You’re being very agreeable,” Stiles rubs his nose against Derek’s, “I’m gonna use this fact to my advantage, you know,” he adds in a whisper.

“I have no doubt,” Derek says lazily, pushing up to kiss Stiles again, just because he can.


“Derek,” someone glides a finger down Derek’s nose, rubs their thumb under his eye and Derek drifts into wakefulness, blinks at that someone across the pillow.

“You awake?” Stiles asks innocently.

“I am now.” He rolls into Stiles, lays a palm across his back and pulls him close, “Go back to sleep,” he mumbles, “Sleep good.”

“We have to get up,” Stiles murmurs, curling into Derek regardless, “Night shift’s gonna be banging on the door any minute.”

“Mmf, tell them t’go ‘way,” Derek yawns, rubs his cheek against the pillow and he hears Stiles chuckle, “What?” He leaves his eyes shut, pats Stiles’ skin, “What’re you laughin’ at?”

“You’re like a little panda,” Stiles says gleefully. “If this was anyone else, I’d be filming it for the internet.”

“No,” Derek frowns, “No one else.”

“Aw, Derek, you know you’re the only one for me.”

“’Kay, good.”

“Seriously, this is what you’re like in the morning before work? Why don’t you bring this Derek to work?”

“Shh, this Derek’s your Derek.”

“I like all the Dereks,” Stiles says quietly, threading his fingers through Derek’s hair. Derek hides his face in Stiles’ neck, tries to avoid the light filtering through his eyelids and bask in Stiles’ warmth, breathes him in, savours it.


“Nope,” Stiles kisses his forehead, then moves away and Derek growls at the cold air as Stiles gets up. “Come on, we got kids to patch up. You remember them? You like them, they like you.”

“Ugh,” Derek rolls onto his back, throws one arm over his face, and uses the other to reach blindly for Stiles, finds his hip and pets at it. “Time is it?”

“Ten after seven,” Stiles starts moving, and when Derek cracks an eye open he sees he’s getting dressed. Stupid clothes, stupid priorities. “Derek—”

“Mmf, alright,” Derek sits up, throws the pillow at Stiles’ face.


There’s a loud bang on the door, and they both jump.

“I gave you guys half an hour extra, for the sake of true love,” Danny groans through the wood, “Please let me sleep.”

Derek throws on his shirt, wipes his face before padding over to the door, and Danny half falls through it.

“So thoughtful of you to crack the window,” he mumbles nose diving on the bed opposite.

Derek looks at the window in surprise, and then at Stiles, who rolls his eyes.

“One of us is smart,” he taps his head, “One of us.”


“Hey, I’m that, too! Lucky you, you got the whole package!”

Derek beams, suddenly, excitedly, and Stiles freezes on the bed, blinks up at him as his face softens.

“You did want the whole package,” he says quietly, looking oddly relieved. Derek needs to tell him until he gets it. Derek is so in this. For good.

“’Course I did.”

“Get out,” Danny yells into the pillow.

Stiles grabs his shoes, Derek’s hand and pulls the door shut behind them.

“On a scale of one to everyone, how many people do you think Scott and Allison told last night?”

“Everyone,” Derek grumbles, jogging down the stairs beside Stiles.

“Yeah, I was worried that’d be your answer.”

Derek hesitates at the door to the ground level, looks down at their hands, and then at Stiles. “Is that, something that bothers you?” he asks as evenly as possible.

“Nope,” Stiles chews his lip, “I just thought it might bother you.”

“Why would I care what anyone thinks?”

“Because,” Stiles flails a little, “They’re going to make a huge deal out of this, for a long time, we won’t get a moments peace. I think Allison might have a banner.”

Derek grins, “So, you’ll have something else to hang over your bed.”

“God, you—” Stiles grabs his collar and kisses him, hard and fast, “You’re a very surprising person, you know.”

“Nobody ever thought so before,” Derek says dumbly.

“Well, nobody knows you like I do, then, which, the no one else thing?” Stiles arches an eyebrow, “Goes both ways.”

“Okay,” Derek says immediately. “Was that the talk we needed to have last night?”

“Pretty much,” Stiles fusses with his collar, winks at him, “Seems like it was pretty easy, though.”

“Seems like a lot of things are,” Derek ribs, and Stiles jabs at his side, shoving him out onto the ER floor. They stumble across the floor together, and Allison visibly rolls her eyes when she sees them.

“Have fun at work today, honey,” Stiles says sweetly, tightening Derek’s tie in the break room for him.

“Don’t, even.”

“Doctor?” Stiles tries, pressing his chest against Derek’s, “Paging Doctor Hale.”

“If you say there’s a medical emergency in your pants, or anything along those lines, we’re never having sex.”

“Music to my ears,” Isaac grumbles as he staggers into the room, throwing his scarf and hat on the couch before collapsing on top of them, “Go away, I have ten minutes before I have to fill in like fifty reports for why our rig got so fucked this year. I need a power nap.”

“Poor baby,” Stiles sits on his legs, pats his head, “You want me to being you some coffee?”


“And a donut? With sprinkles?”

Isaac nods.

“And sing you a lullaby?”

“Get off me, Stiles!”

Stiles cackles, leaping off Isaac and at Derek, instead, “You go on up, I’ma go get cranky caffeine and sugar.”

“Such a saint,” Derek remarks wryly.

“I know.”

Derek wanders up to the second floor, half reading charts and half eating a Twinkie he stole from Stiles’ locker. He pauses inside his office door, and there’s a banner over the desk saying ‘Congratulations, It’s A Boy! On The Sex.

He’s only just managed to get it down and shove it in a drawer when Erica comes in.

“’S’up, boss, you’re late for rounds, and I’m assuming it’s because you decided to get ahead on your spring cleaning?”

“Ah ha,” Derek kicks the drawer shut, “I’m on my way. Tell me about Clara.”

“Patient presented with dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath.”

“What are her stats like?”

“Not bad,” Erica hands him the chart, “Could be worse—what’s that on your—is that a hickey?”

Derek slaps a hand over his neck, feels his face flush up, “No, it’s, uh, I fell,” he clears his throat, harrumphs a little, “It’s inappropriate for  you to comment on my appearance,” he manages finally.

Erica kinks an eyebrow, “If Dr Stilinski shows up with hickeys, you have to buy me lunch, and sit with me.”

“Why on earth would I do that?”

“Because, you were late to rounds and I didn’t tell on you.”

“There’s no one to tell,” he huffs. “I’m the boss.”

“I could tell Finstock.”

“He wouldn’t care, at all.”

“Morning folks,” Stiles says brightly from behind them and Erica crows when her eyes zero in on the much more obvious array of hickeys round Stiles’ collar at around the same time Derek does.

He feels something good lurch in his chest, and tries to tamp down on it. He should not be feeling anything but professional in the work place.

He’s a lying liar who screwed around in the work place last night.

He’s maybe going to hell.

“I can see we’re going to have an awkward moment,” Stiles looks down at the chart in front of him determinedly, “So, we’re going to call them allergies and move on, okay?” He heads into the ward without looking at anyone, and Derek can see his ears are pink.

He’s okay with going to hell if he gets to admire Stiles’ ears for the next forty years first.

Boyd hands Erica twenty bucks as he follows Stiles, and Erica stashes it in her pocket looking smug. “Told you.”

“Rookie mistake,” Boyd shakes his head, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“Always bet on the gruff ones having weaknesses for the cute ones,” Erica sniffs.

“How do you get any work done?” Derek asks flatly.

“I have an IQ of a hundred and thirty three,” Erica beams at him, “I get bored.”

“Can’t have that,” he puts all of his charts in her arms, “You run rounds today; show me what you can do.”


Derek heads for the first bed, “Hi Clara, I’m Dr Hale, this is Dr Reyes,” Derek smiles widely at Erica, “She’s going to have a little chat about you with me here, if that’s alright? Would you like to join in?”

Clara eyes them for a moment, and Erica winks at her, hands her a lollipop. “Okay,” Clara decides.

Derek suspects Erica’s already been making friends with Clara, patients never warm to him that quickly.

“You ready for lunch?” Stiles appears at the office door a few hours later, and Derek looks up, can’t help but smile at him. “Oh, or,” Stiles slips inside, shuts the door, “We could totally…” He wiggles his eyebrows at Derek.

Derek gets up, loosening his tie and pushes into Stiles’ space, kissing him soundly.

“Can’t,” he says after a moment, and Stiles’ face falls, “I uh, have to have lunch with Erica?”

“You’re already bored of me?” Stiles pretends to pout, and Derek rolls his eyes, kisses him again.

“She can sit with us, right?”

“Maybe that’ll convince Boyd to sit with us, too!” Stiles’ eyes light up, “We can finally bond like you two.”

“We haven’t bonded,” Derek arches an eyebrow, “The only thing we have in common is that we both have a weakness for tall, lithe doctors with nice hands.”

“Smooth,” Stiles grins, pulling Derek close with his tie, “Unfortunately, I don’t think Boyd has a crush on you. Which, is actually a good thing because I would not beat him in a dual.”

Derek snorts, holds onto Stiles’ hand all the way down to the cafeteria. Scott waves them over, and Derek nudges his chin against Stiles’ shoulder. “You go on, I’m gonna find Reyes.”

“See if you can sweet talk Boyd into coming, too.”

“Should I be jealous?”

“Yep,” Stiles says brightly, “Freaking pined over you for four years, but now I’ve got you I think I’m gonna trade you in for a younger, even more stoic model.”


“Uh huh, wrote your name and mine in the margins of all my notes.”

“That seems rather unprofessional.”

“Yeah, it drives Finstock crazy.”

“You’re such a dork,” Derek chides fondly.

“It’s like nothing’s changed at all,” Lydia sighs contentedly, resting her chin on her hands to beam up at them.

“Ugh,” Stiles flops down in his seat, “No comments until I’ve at least had something to eat.”

Derek strides across the cafeteria to where Erica’s hovering.

“I’ve changed my mind,” she says when Derek gets close, “You’re sitting with Dr Martin, and—”

“You’ll be fine,” Derek promises, “You and she have a lot in common.”

“Wow,” Erica gushes out a breath, shoulders dropping, “Two compliments in as many days, oh my god, you’re warming up to me!”

Derek rolls his eyes, directs her to the line-up, “If you want to get on her good side, get the yule log and tell her you can only manage half.”


“Where’s Boyd?”

Erica jerks her head to a table in the corner where Boyd’s pouring over notes, a half-eaten sandwich forgotten in his hand. Derek heads over, stops in front of him.

“Would you—”

“Can’t,” Boyd doesn’t look up, “I have notes.”

Derek whips them out of his hand, and Boyd looks up, outraged, “Trust me, if I’m asking you to sit with us, it’s a sign. You should eat lunch with your people.”

Across the room, Allison flicks a strawberry at Scott and he leaps up to catch it in his mouth, Stiles cheers, Boyd pulls a face.

Those are my people?”

“If you want them to be, and you really don’t want to do this,” Derek waves a hand around the empty table, “Alone.”

Boyd nods slowly, “I don’t… people are tough.”

“Yeah, but, they’re worth it,” Derek spins away, “Come on, before I change my mind.”

“I bet it was Dr Stilinski’s idea anyway,” Boyd huffs, jogging to catch up with him.

“He always has the best ones,” Derek says with a hint of pride in his voice, and Boyd makes a retching sound.

Derek pays for his and Erica’s lunch, directs the interns over to the table.

“Everyone, Erica and Boyd, Boyd and Erica, everyone, be nice,” he adds in a steely tone.

“So ironic coming from you,” Erica mutters.

“Love her,” Lydia declares, sliding her chair along to make room for Erica.

“I knew you would,” Allison leans forward, “So, when do you fly out?”

“Christmas Eve—”

“Hey, Boyd,” Scott carols Boyd into sitting down beside him, “Scott—you’re my best friends intern.”

“I’ve heard a lot about you,” Boyd nods.

“Really?” Scott’s eyes shine excitedly, and he leans over to hook an arm round Stiles. Stiles squawks in surprise, mid conversation with Isaac and pats his friend’s arm.

“Hey buddy.”

Boyd grins ruefully, digs into his sandwich. Derek sits down opposite Stiles and steals an apple slice off his tray when he’s not looking.

“Chocolate milk?” Scott asks, leaning back into Boyd’s space.


“Excellent,” Danny appears at their table, “It’s like Santa sent me a Christmas miracle.”

Derek lowers his apple piece, feels Stiles kicking his feet under the table and traps them with his own. “Danny—”

“You’re all invited to come carolling, and by invited I mean required, and by required I mean on pain of Lydia destroying you if you say no to me,” he beams widely at them all. “Shall we?”

“I don’t sing,” Boyd says immediately.

“Great, you can stand in the back and hum, we always needs more hummers.”

There’s silence for a moment, and then Isaac sighs, pained, “Fine,” he scrapes his chair back, “But, only because it’s you.”

“And, you don’t have a choice,” Danny reminds him, “This has been discussed, up,” he claps Stiles on the shoulder, “Everyone.”

Allison dusts her hands off, whips a Santa hat out from where it’s been sitting on her knees and handing one to Scott. “Anyone else need one?”

“Nah, I got these,” Stiles digs around in his satchel, pulls out reindeer ears. “Don’t worry,” he winks at Derek.

“Let me guess,” he says drily, “You got me some, too?”

“I’m always thinking about you,” Stiles teases, and Derek feels the corners of his mouth turn up, even as Stiles is leaning across the table and putting reindeer ears on his head. “Perfect,” he whispers.

“I hate you.”

“That’s the Christmas spirit!”

They clatter up from the table as a group, head for the elevators as Danny hands out sheet music, “Doesn’t matter if you don’t know it, make some noise and it’ll do just nicely.”

Isaac makes a braying noise like a donkey, and Danny trips him casually, “Nothing like that, Lahey, or I’ll surgically remove your hand in your sleep.”

“Oh god, so I feel so at home,” Erica murmurs, and Boyd chuckles.

The elevator opens, and Jackson Whittemore looks up over his glasses, a smirk forming. “Well, well—”

Isaac grabs his tie, pulls him out of the elevator, and ushers everyone else inside, “Only I’m allowed to ruin the spirit of Christmas,” he snaps over Derek’s shoulder.

Jackson opens and closes his mouth a few times before the doors shut in his face.

“I’m seeing you in a whole new light,” Lydia says breathily. Isaac grins at her brightly, lifts his eyebrows.

Scott sighs, “Why is it always in the elevators?”

“Hospital cliché rule number one,” Boyd shrugs, “’S’why I use the stairs.”

“I use the stairs for the cardio,” Erica says simply.

“You’re a wise woman,” Boyd nods, and Erica elbows him in the side.

“You look really cute,” Stiles whispers audibly to Derek, “Just so you know.”

The entire elevator awws and spins to stare at Derek. Derek steps on Stiles’ toes.

Halfway round the Cardio ward, Finstock joins them. It is a thing of beauty. Derek’s spent the last half an hour being deafened by Stiles and Scott’s enthusiastic repertoire of Jingle Bells, Jingle Bell Rock and various other carols, decimated by their incorrect lyrics, but the patients have looked at them with happy, bright eyes, and Danny’s handing out candy to anyone who can have it, dimpling away. They’re a gruesome bunch of singers, but they mean well, the spirit of Christmas and all that crap. Derek’s probably feeling lenient about it all because Stiles keeps groping his ass when no one’s looking, and grinning at Derek mischievously. Having their own secrets, being conspiratorial with him, it’s always been something Derek’s relished. It feels even bigger, even better now he knows he can follow Stiles when Stiles dances away from him, laughing manically, can crowd him up against stray walls and kiss him.

“Keep it off the floor,” Finstock yells from their right, “We’ve got dozens of offices, in fact, don’t you two have a home you can do this in?”

“Danny made us stay.”

“Of course he did, this is Christmas,” Finstock says incredulously, “Christmas is a time for being merry, and bringing joy, and sticking with your damn family—go catch them up, and I want to hear both of you singing.”

“He may not be my favorite anymore,” Stiles mutters into Derek’s neck as Finstock strides off up the corridor after everyone else.

Derek grins, nuzzles unapologetically against his cheek, “He has a point, we do have apartments…”

“Oh?” Stiles pulls back and arches an eyebrow, “And, what would we do there?”

“Beats me,” Derek rubs his hands up and down Stiles’ arms, shrugs, “Get take out? Watch a couple of games?”

“Make Christmas cookies?”


“Bake ‘em all day, till they’re all hot and delicious and ready to eat?”

“Way to euphemism.”

“Thanks, I try.”

“Stiles!” Danny leans around the corner, “Derek! We’re not finished!”

“Neither were we,” Stiles sing songs back, and Danny scrunches up his nose in distaste.

“This is a hospital.”

“Ugh.” Stiles wrinkles his nose back, Derek finds it adorable.

Stiles slides his hand down to find Derek’s, laces their fingers together, “Hey, do you wanna stay over?”


“Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, you know, Isaac is, and Allison… You could… stay, too?”

Derek widens his eyes in mock concern, “But, where would I sleep if Isaac’s got the couch?”

“Ha, the floor,” Stiles jibes, dragging him up the corridor.

“I want to,” Derek mumbles into his ear as they join the rest of the group, “If that’s okay.”

Stiles shudder, presses back against him and Derek’s eyes flutter shut for a second, “Think you can wait whole two days till Christmas?”

“Be worth it,” he says finally. Stiles winds Derek’s hands round his waist, slips them under his sweater and Derek rests them on his hips, has no idea what he’s supposed to be singing. He garbles out something as Stiles drags his fingers up and down Derek’s.


“Here,” Stiles presents Derek with something as he’s packing up for the night, vaguely thankful he doesn’t have a pet or a plant seeing as he’s not been back to his apartment in weeks. They’re going to Stiles’ for a crash sleep session before Christmas Eve madness. No ER is ever safe from the joy of Christmas.

“What’s this?” He picks his glasses up, peers at the paper Stiles is wafting in front of him, and feels his stomach jump at the form he’s looking down at. “Oh.”

“Yep, all clean,” Stiles wiggles his eyebrows, “Did ya know if you get tested down at the clinic on fourth, your sister finds out and comes and threatens you in the waiting room?”

“I—yes,” Derek says faintly, “I went yesterday.”

Stiles laughs, clambers into Derek’s lap in a chair that’s really not meant to fit two, “Great minds.”

“Mine aren’t back, but,” Derek swallows, looks at the ceiling, “It’s been a long time since I’ve been with anyone. Before you, obviously.”

“I just wanted to see if Cora would yell at me, to be honest.”

“She shouldn’t be yelling at you,” Derek huffs, “It’s not your fault I was an asshole.”

“Oh, no she wasn’t yelling about that,” Stiles grins lazily, runs his thumbs along Derek’s jaw and kisses him soundly, drops kisses down his chin and at the hinge of his jaw. “She was mad I let you brood for so long.”

“Still,” Derek frowns, trying not to tip his head back in a silent request for Stiles to keep kissing his neck. “She shouldn’t be abusing her power there.”

Stiles laughs, and his breath is hot and ticklish against Derek’s skin, making him squirm, grip Stiles’ hips tight. “I can’t believe of the three of you, you’re the only one that isn’t frightening.”

“Cora is not as scary as she thinks she is.”

“Mmm, okay. But, Laura?”

“I don’t want to talk about my sisters when you’re grinding down in my lap, Stiles.”

“Ohh, feisty, is someone in need of a nap?” Derek glares at him, and Stiles beams back blithely. “You’re cute. Come on,” he clambers out of Derek’s lap, “Walk me home?”

Derek winds his scarf around his neck, sets Stiles’ hat straight when they get to the doors of the ER.

“Thanks,” Stiles scrunches his nose at him.

“That’s so your Christmas card for next year,” Danny says sailing past. “Don’t die in the blizzard; I wanna be free of this place as soon as you’re back tomorrow. My mom’s making dinner and her potatoes,” his eyes go dreamy.

“Derek’s are better, bet you ten bucks,” Stiles says immediately.

“No more bets,” Derek huffs, grabbing Stiles’ gloved hand and yanking him out into the snow, Stiles’ laughter swirling round with the snowflakes.


Considering Derek’s group of friends were extremely enthusiastic about celebrating the holidays, they don’t actually get up to do so until noon. They had a late night in the ER, and everyone’s sleeping off the effects as Derek stirs his coffee, looks out of the living room window, and up at the hospital in the distance. He’ll probably call in to check on his patients in an hour or so, just in case. He’s okay with giving himself breathing room, trying to put some space between himself and his job, making room for Stiles, for this, but, he needs to keep his finger on things. He knows Stiles will call, too, so, he’s not too bothered about appearing obsessed. It eases some almost unrealized fear in Derek’s chest, to know Stiles has the same approach to working as him. That he understands Derek’s commitment to his job, his patients, but that he’s more than willing to drag Derek away, and keep him away, now he knows where Derek’s cracks are.

He’s appreciative, is all. No need to get sentimental. He sips his coffee, and Isaac rolls over on the sofa, snuffles in his sleep.

Derek considers finding a marker pen and drawing holly on his face.

Better not, he decides, padding back through to Stiles’ bedroom.

Stiles is awake, propped up in bed with a red ribbon on top of his head.

“Check it out, I’m your present.”

Derek snorts, clambers up on the bed and hands Stiles his coffee as he kisses him.

“You’re a good one.”

“Uh huh,” Stiles pulls the bow off, sticks it in Derek’s hair. “I thought I’d help you with the unwrapping.”

“I imagine that will be a thing that happens more years than not.”

“And on your birthdays,” Stiles says seriously. “Sometimes you take so long I just wanna,” he makes a throttling motion with his hands, “Rip it all off for you.”

“You could do that now,” Derek tugs at the faded hospital tee Stiles is wearing, “Only don’t rip this, I like this.”

“’S’yours,” Stiles says against his mouth, lowering himself onto the pillows and pulling Derek with him. “You left it here once.”

“Keep it, I like it on you,” Derek murmurs, kissing Stiles’ shoulder as he tugs at the loose collar, pushes it down further for more access to skin.

Stiles sucks in a breath, presses his fingers into Derek’s back, “Hey, I’ve got a Cristina Aguilera cd somewhere, you want me to dig it out, set the mood?”

Derek grins, pushes Stiles’ shirt up and mouths at his chest, “Think we’ll live without it.” He scrapes his teeth against Stiles’ nipple and Stiles jerks his knees up, cages Derek between his legs.

“Fuck, okay, joke time is over.”

“When is it ever over with you?”

“I can guarantee at some point there will be laughter in the bedroom, probably at my expense.”

Derek pauses from where he’s been sucking a mark just beneath Stiles’ left pectoral, “I’d never laugh at you,” he says softly, kissing the skin stretched over his ribs, feels his heart beating against his mouth. It’s the most intimate moment he’s ever shared with someone in bed. Trust in it he still feels like he hasn’t earned. Quiet, half-dressed and sleepy, Stiles’ skin warm to the touch and his fingers gentling through Derek’s hair. Derek looks up at him, smiles faintly.

“I love you,” he says simply. “I’ll probably laugh with you a lot. Not here, though,” he slides his hands up Stiles’ sides, down again, stroking his hips, left hand skating over the curve of his ass.

Stiles groans, “You’re such a jerk, I don’t know what to do when you say shit like that, or look at me like that.”

“Bask in it?” Derek suggests. Stiles lets his legs fall open, and Derek trails his hand delicately over Stiles’ inner thigh, runs his thumb along the join of his knee before curling his hand around it and pushing himself up to catch Stiles’ mouth in a kiss, fitting neatly between Stiles’ legs.

“Mmm,” Stiles tugs at his shoulders, spreads his hands wide against Derek’s back and pulls up his t-shirt with them. “Off,” he murmurs, “Take it off.”

Derek sits up in his lap, tosses his shirt away. Stiles follows him, cradles Derek’s face in his hands as they kiss. He pushes until Derek’s the one on his back, stretched out across the bed, with Stiles’ weight on top of him, covering him. Stiles rolls his hips, slow and deliberate and Derek arches into it.

“God,” he breathes out, hooks his thumbs in Stiles’ boxers, and pulls back to look at Stiles.

Stiles nods, “Yeah, do you—”

“Yeah,” Derek says immediately, “Anything.”

“How do you know I wasn’t gonna ask if you wanted to go get ice cream or something?”

Derek laughs, slips his hand into the heat of Stiles’ boxers, curls his fingers round Stiles’ cock, hard and wet at the tip. “You don’t really seem in the mood for ice cream.”

“Subtlety’s never been my strong point,” Stiles gasps, bucking into Derek’s hand. “How do you want this?”

“I want everything,” Derek croaks out, riveted by the flush spreading across Stiles’ chest, the way he’s biting his bottom lip, red and inviting. He leans up and catches it between his teeth, kisses Stiles until he’s breathless with it, still working his hand round Stiles’ dick.

“I don’t think I have the flexibility,” Stiles frowns, “Everything?

Derek laughs, “Maybe not all at once. You mentioned something the other night?”

“Oh yeah? That stick with you, huh?” Stiles catches his wrist, rolls away from him and shirking his boxers as he does. Derek swallows his tongue as he takes in the long lines of his back, spackles of moles and freckles everywhere and further down to his ass as Stiles wiggles around on his knees. Derek doesn’t know where to start.

“Gotta get—” Stiles yanks open a drawer, rummages around and Derek gets rid of his own pyjama pants—Stiles’ again, slightly too long— they made him feel stupidly warm when he put them on the night before as they’d stumbled towards the bed in tandem.

Stiles whips round, and claps a hand to his chest, “Jesus, you gotta warn me before you get all— all naked and lie across my bed like that.”

“I’ll page you next time.”

“Oh god, the fun we could have with those,” Stiles grins, crawls back over Derek and sits on his lap. “Yeah, this is—” he rocks down and Derek feels his dick jump, fitting snugly up against Stiles’ ass.

“The trouble we’d obviously end up in,” he argues in a strangled voice as Stiles coats his fingers in lube.

“Mhm, half the fun,” Stiles presses a finger to his entrance, and Derek watches, entranced. “’S’been a while, so, this is gonna be slow,” Stiles pants, “You should—help me—”

“Yeah,” Derek says stupidly, oblivious to anything else in the world but where Stiles’ finger is disappearing into himself.


“I’m—” Derek grabs the lube, slicks up his own fingers and winds his arms round Stiles’ back, twists them so that Stiles is underneath him. “I’m gonna—” he groans as he presses one of his fingers carefully in next to Stiles’. He teases against the rim before pushing in, shallow thrusts that get deeper into all enveloping heat, and he kisses Stiles, hard and open mouthed. Drags his cheek along Stiles’ and the rasp is loud in the room, filled only with their breathing, the sound of skin against skin.

Stiles pulls his hand away completely, lets Derek take over. He rakes his nails down Derek’s back, draws his legs up higher.

“Feels ok, feels good,” Stiles murmurs, “You can do two.”

“Yeah?” Derek works two fingers in, stretching them apart, slow and deliberate.

Stiles bites at his shoulder. “Fuck,” he exhales sharply.

“You feel,” Derek can’t explain it, doesn’t have the words, has never had the words to describe what Stiles does to him, how he feels about him, instead he kisses him, pours everything he has into it.

Stiles smiles against his mouth, runs a finger round the edge of Derek’s lips, “Yeah, me too.”

He makes a soft, needy noise as Derek slides in a third finger, brushes against his prostate. “Don’t stop.”

“’M’not gonna,” Derek promises, curling his fingers and Stiles arcs off the bed. “You look incredible,” he says unthinkingly.

Stiles flushes, slaps his shoulder, “Shut up, fuck, you should really—god, there—fuck me.”

“Okay,” Derek pulls his fingers out, and Stiles whines, pushes at Derek’s shoulders.

Derek finds himself on his back, Stiles sinking down on top of him, hands spread on Derek’s chest, mouth open and eyes dazed. He holds himself still, desperate not to push up into the heat, the delicious way Stiles feels all around him. He runs his own hand up Stiles’ side, tightens the other round his hip as he gives an experimental thrust.

“Yeah,” Stiles drops his head back, “Do that again.”

He looks like Derek’s favorite kind of dream, except, this is real. When he sits up to mouth at Stiles’ clavicle he can taste Stiles’ sweat, kiss the hollow of his throat, when he pushes his hips up, Stiles moans and it vibrates against Derek’s chest. He can feel it. Their mouths meeting, Stiles’ fingers gripping his hair, his thighs straining as he holds himself up over Derek, crashing back down and making Derek see stars.

Derek holds his hands under Stiles’ ass, sets up a slow, rolling rhythm as Stiles pushes down to meet his thrusts. He circles his hips, and grins viciously when Derek lets out a noise of surprise, clutches him tighter.

“Yeah? Like that?”

“Yeah,” Derek grunts, barely able to keep focus. “Stiles.”

Stiles smirks, leans down to kiss him and it changes the angle, makes Derek’s eyes flutter shut.

He gets a hand round Stiles’ cock, jerks him off in time with his thrusts and Stiles keens. Mumbles his name into his mouth, random praise, losing all rhythm as he pushes back on Derek’s dick and then into his hand.

“Gonna come,” he gasps. “God, can you— harder.”

Derek nods, plants his feet on the bed and drives up into Stiles relentlessly.

“Oh god, god, Derek, Derek, god, fuck,” Stiles bites down on Derek’s bottom lip, drops his head onto his shoulder as he comes, coating Derek’s stomach with come. “God.”

Derek soothes a hand across his back as he comes down, and Stiles mouths wetly at his neck, “You close?”

“Yeah,” Derek says in a strained voice.

Stiles wiggles on top of him, “Come on then.”

Derek groans, flips them and drops onto his elbows, kissing Stiles hard as he shoves into him with no finesse. It only takes a handful of thrusts, Stiles digging his heels into Derek’s ass, clutching at him, muttering about how good Derek feels, how beautiful he looks, and Derek’s coming inside him with a frayed shout.

“Huh,” Stiles pets a hand through Derek’s hair, squirms underneath him, “We’re pretty much compatible everywhere, then.”

Derek laughs breathlessly, presses a kiss to his shoulder as he pulls out.

“Mmf,” Stiles rolls into him, ducks his head under Derek’s chin, “Shower?”

“Yeah, in a—min—” Derek swallows, pats his thigh.

“Don’t go to sleep on me, Hale.” Stiles nips at his neck, holds his teeth against the skin and Derek tries not to shudder. He shuffles down the bed, runs a clumsy hand across Stiles’ face, and Stiles hums into it, “Hi.”

“Hi,” Derek grins back. “You okay?”

“Mm,” Stiles curls closer, “’S’a good start to Christmas I think.”


“We celebrated with a bang.”

Derek covers his face laughing.


When they emerge from the bedroom, Allison, Scott and Isaac are in the living room, curled up watching Die Hard.

“Sleep well?” Allison asks brightly.

I did,” Isaac drawls, “And then was rudely awoken this morning by Stiles praying. Loudly. Repeatedly.”

“I’m very devout,” Stiles sniffs.

“Yeah, to Derek’s dick apparently.”

“Dude,” Scott scrunches up his nose at Isaac, waves his spoon at his bowl, “I’m eating.”

“It’s gone noon,” Derek points out, “You were all asleep an hour ago.”

“You didn’t even try to keep quiet,” Scott turns to glare at him, “I had to get up.”

“Buy some earmuffs,” Stiles says loftily.

“Who wants presents?” Allison interrupts, elbowing Derek gently as she passes over towards Stiles and Scott’s tiny Christmas tree. At the top of the tree is a star with a picture of Finstock’s very angry face stuck to it.

“Me!” Scott’s eyes light up and he grabs Stiles’ arm, pulls him onto the couch, “Seriously, bro, we’re all… happy for you?”

“I’m happy for me too,” Stiles beams at him, “And for Derek. Derek are you happy for you?”

“Very,” Derek says drily, sitting at their feet and accepting a present from Allison. Stiles wraps his ankles round Derek’s waist, catches a present Allison tosses to him.

“Sweet, thanks, socks?”

“From Lydia, so, doubtful.”

Stiles unwraps a very expensive looking, sky blue silk tie, and quirks an eyebrow at Derek, “You think it’s got some decent durability?”

Derek smirks, unwrapping a similar tie in a darker, richer blue.

“How cute,” Isaac mocks.

“Shut the hell up and open your own presents,” Stiles whips the tie at him. “Even though you shouldn’t need any, seeing as you don’t believe in this holiday.”

“I believe in the spirit of giving,” Isaac retorts, waving his own present for Stiles above Stiles’ head.

“Douche,” Stiles snatches it out of the air, “Thanks, buddy.”

“Those are socks,” Isaac says, and Stiles crows when he sees they have a dinosaur pattern on.

“The kids’ll love these.”

“Do you often stick your feet in our patient’s faces?”

Stiles scrunches his nose at Derek as Allison unwraps a bright pink watch from Danny and immediately puts it on.

“Hey, unwrap this next,” Scott says nervously, handing Allison a thin package.

Allison takes it, frowning a little at Scott’s face, “You okay?”

“Yeah, just—” Scott flaps his hands. “Open it.”

Stiles squeezes Derek’s shoulder, and Derek feels suddenly nervous for Scott, too. Even though he has no idea what’s happening.

“Scott,” Allison breathes out, looking through the half opened wrapping paper. “This is a picture of that house on the corner?”

Scott bites his lip, nods, “Uh huh.”


“And, I put down a deposit. You’ve always said you liked it, and I figured, we could go look round. It went up for sale in October. It’s not ours, or anything yet, I can’t afford the mortgage by myself,” he smiles widely, “But, if you’re interested…”

Allison flies out the armchair and kisses Scott passionately.

Stiles squeezes Derek’s shoulder so hard he suspects he might get a bruise.

“So,” Stiles leans against the kitchen counter as Derek pulls out plates for their belated Christmas lunch.


“You never opened your Christmas present.”

“Oh,” Derek picks his bag up off the floor, hands Stiles a package, “Neither did you.”

“Awesome,” Stiles rips the paper off, laughs when he sees Derek Hale thinks I’m splendid in a needlepoint sign, framed. “Thanks,” he tugs at Derek’s vest, kisses him. “You plan that one in advance, huh?”

“Yeah, it was a joke at the time, I know you told me not to get it. But,” Derek rubs the back of his neck, “’S’pretty spot on, though.”

Stiles swallows, “Well, you should open mine. It was more last minute, but I think it might uh, show how much I reciprocate?”

Derek pulls the small package towards him, arches an eyebrow at the way Stiles is twisting his hands nervously. “You wanna do the honors?”

“At any other time,” Stiles gives a hysterical laugh, “But, this one’s all yours.”

“Okay,” Derek tears the paper, frowns at the little brown box. When he pulls off the lid he sucks in a breath, blinks down at a key in a familiar shape. “Stiles.”

“It’s so you can come home any time you want? Even if I’m not here? Or, with me and you can let us both in…”

“You’re asking me to move in?”

“I know it’s fast, super-fast, but I figured Scott won’t be moving out for a couple of months, he and Allison will have a lot to sort first. And, we can keep on being like we are—but, you’ll still have this. Even if it doesn’t work, I just never want you to feel like you can’t be here, that you won’t have me. This,” he adds quickly, waving his hands around.

Derek sets the key on the countertop, considers it for a second.

“You don’t have to keep it—”

He twists and presses Stiles up against the counter, kissing him firmly. “I want to.”

“Keep the key?”

“And the metaphor, and your terrible sweaters and everything else. You.” Derek kisses him again, feels his heart swell in his chest as Stiles slides his hands up his back, smiles at him like Derek’s just given him the whole world.

Stiles frees a hand to push Derek’s glasses up his nose, “You wanna call in, check on things?”

Derek lifts Stiles up onto the counter, his fingers catching on the key and making him smile wider. He steps between Stiles’ legs and Stiles hums, winds his arms round Derek's neck and kisses his cheek. Derek turns and finds his mouth, murmurs against his lips, “We can leave it, just for a minute.”