There are a number of things Derek didn’t think he’d ever do in his life, and he made a list, five items that weren’t in the cards for him after Laura. One was traveling – he’d dreamt of Asia when he was younger. Now he was rooted to Beacon Hills, to his new pack. Two was to completely rebuild the Hale’s book collection, which he’d tried to do, still tried to do sometimes, but too many rare books had been lost in the fire. Three and four were childhood dreams – be a firefighter or a professional surfer, and it was easy to say that wasn’t going to happen.
Five was getting married, which he never thought he’d do because finding someone he could trust enough to love seemed completely beyond the realm of possibility, ten years ago when he’d made his list. He’d been so absolutely burnt out, the shell of his heart barely still beating, that it had been one of these things he could just put down on paper without even thinking about, because it would just never happen.
He’d been wrong. He can’t really bring himself to be bothered by just how wrong he’d been in the past when he walks into his bedroom, only to find Stiles sitting on their bed, surrounded by a sea of papers and color swatches, a pen in his mouth and his index finger tapping a rhythm on the notepad laid over his knee.
Ten years would be considered long for anyone, but it feels like barely any time has passed since the day Derek met Stiles, barely enough time for someone to flick their fingers, blink their eyes open, switch on a light. Derek couldn’t say which of them started burrowing under the other’s skin first - probably it was mutual. He always thinks too quickly when he thinks about Stiles, too used to the rapid-fire rhythm of Stiles and his thoughts and his words and sometimes his touch. Stiles is too eager, too thirsty for affection, respect, love; too giving when it comes to his own heart, but Derek cherishes the part of it he’s been given. Maybe that was the way Derek needed it, needed to be allowed in, needed someone to bare himself open the way Stiles had done, all too willingly.
Nowadays Stiles is less speedy, his speech is more measured, but there’s still the hyperactive kid in him that grins brightly at Derek when he looks up from his notepad, the one that asked Derek to marry him, with no trace of accepting no for an answer, like Derek can deny him anything, list be damned. He’s getting married, and that’s that. Maybe someday he’ll even go to Asia.
“Hey, come here. I’ve been working on our vows,” Stiles declares, and Derek walks closer, raising his eyebrows at the balled up notebook pages strewn across the floor. “I’ve also decided that trying to come up with a color scheme that will look good in the moonlight is a pretty hopeless idea, so we can just go with off white. It’ll look silver anyway. What do you think?”
“Off white and silver, sounds fine. Told you, as long as we get a moonlit ceremony, you can go to town on the color scheme,” Derek replies, sitting on the bed after making a clear spot, gathering papers in his hands. He only has one condition; he wants to get married at night under a first quarter moon, like his parents did.
Stiles gives Derek a look, tapping his pen against his lower lip. “You know, it’s the first time I’m going to a wedding where the guests will be served food before the ceremony.”
“They get cake after. It still counts,” Derek answers with a smile, leaning in to hook his chin over Stiles’ shoulder. His hoodie is soft against Derek’s skin, worn and smelling exquisite, this heady mix of strawberries, dirt and sweat.
“What about these vows?” Stiles asks.
He reads three lines before pulling back, growling. “Not happening, Stiles.”
“What? What’s wrong with my vows? They’re very heartfelt!”
Derek raises an eyebrow as Stiles looks at him with this ‘I am completely innocent and wear my heart on my sleeve’ look, dubbed the Bambi look by Isaac, but it doesn’t make Derek waver for a second. It took him almost five years to accept he had feelings for Stiles, and two more to manage to talk to Stiles about them, and he definitely isn't ready to say any of what Stiles had written down out loud. In public.
“Stiles, this is ammo for Scott and Jackson for the rest of our lives. Do you really want them to repeat these words at you whenever they get the chance?” Derek gives Stiles his best unimpressed look, and Stiles wavers, his mouth closing.
“Are vows something we can skip?” Derek is a little hopeful. Maybe they can manage to get out of this whole thing with their dignity intact. But of course, Stiles shakes his head, tapping his pen against Derek’s chin.
“You’re not getting out of it. It will be the only time where I will get you to say anything close to ‘I love you’ in public. Not skipping the vows.”
“Can I just say that, then?”
Stiles waits a second before replying, looking like he’s very intently weighing his options. “I’ll consider.”
Stiles drops pen and notepad by his side on the bed before shuffling around, making himself comfortable in the open space between Derek’s legs, his back to Derek’s chest, the two of them looking out the window at the new moon, breathing in sync, Stiles’ thumb lightly brushing back and forth over the top of Derek’s bare foot. As always, the contentment that explodes through Derek’s whole body is like music to him, humming right under his skin, a symphony that spells out comfort and belonging.
“Promise me if I turn into a Groomzilla you’ll sock me.”
Derek grunts a laugh, his mouth in Stiles’ hair. “You make me promise this every two weeks. The answer is still ‘with pleasure, Stiles’.”
“Okay. Good. I just want it to be nice, Derek, you know? We should be able to remember it fondly, and all that.”
Stiles sighs, sounding frustrated, and Derek nips at the shell of his left ear, playful. “Let me recap. We are having a moonlit ceremony, which your father is officiating; your best friend is your best man, I’ve got Isaac as mine, and Isaac is the closest thing to a cub I’ve ever had. We’ve got too much food, an enormous cake, and we don’t even have to worry about noise complaints out here. I think we’re on the right track.”
“Remember Allison and Scott’s wedding? It was perfect.”
“The food wasn’t. The music definitely wasn’t.”
“That’s because you didn’t get drunk,” Stiles points out.
“Shit 80’s music is still shit 80’s music, drunk or not.”
“You have appalling taste. Well, besides me, of course.”
“Of course. Are you done worrying for the night?”
“Mmrmm.” It’s not a grumble and it’s not a growl either, it’s Stiles’ low back of the throat noise, to be defined as agreeing or disagreeing depending on the situation; right now it’s mildly agreeing. It took Derek two years to be able to decipher it.
“Come on, if you get some sleep, tomorrow I’ll let you freak out over the lights.”
Stiles turns his head, nose bumping against Derek’s chin. “Promise?”
Derek grins. “Promise.”
The afternoon of the wedding, the chairs are empty and the blankets they’ve decided to provide their guests are still all neatly folded on each of them. Derek burns his list in the backyard, right where he’ll be standing a few hours later. He burns the list and watches ash and embers float in the summer breeze, making him squint when they disappear into the sun.
He doesn’t need a list anymore; it’s been proved wrong anyway. Next step, learning how to surf, possibly while in Asia. Derek feels like tempting fate these days.