He was running low on sugar. And eggs. And butter too, for that matter.
“Hey,” he said, snagging Derek’s sleeve as he passed by. “Hey, furface, I’m talking to you.”
Derek raised one eyebrow and looked unimpressed—nothing new. “Actually, I shaved today. Nice of you to notice.”
“Oh, ha ha, very funny. Why don’t you take your funny self out for a drive and get me some sugar? And eggs and butter. And, why not, get me some frosting while you’re at it.” Stiles let go of Derek’s sleeve and went back to the recipe, twisting his face up.
“No.” Derek headed to the back porch.
“Fine, be that way,” Stiles said, following him. Peter was sunbathing in the yard, which was ten different kinds of weird, none of which Stiles was comfortable with even after having known the guy for years. Honestly, Peter still kind of creeped him out. “Hey Peter, would you mind running to the—“
“I’m not getting you frosting,” Derek said, slapping his hand on the nape of Stiles’ neck and dragging him back into the house. “We all know you’re just going to wait until everybody’s asleep and then eat it while watching cartoons.”
“You should consider changing your shirt,” Peter yelled. “Pink is not your color.”
“It’s not pink,” Derek yelled back. “It’s salmon.” He frowned at Stiles in a way that clearly said did you buy me a pink shirt and trick me into wearing it by calling it a kind of meat?
“Thanks you’re the best I’ve gotta go call Erica now bye!” Stiles said as he ran away.
Isaac was totally Stiles’ favorite because he pretended to be surprised even though he could probably smell the candle smoke and hear Stiles hissing at everybody to hide from a mile away.
When everybody jumped out from behind the couch (except Derek, who was too dignified or something and therefore just sat on the couch in plain view) and yelled “surprise” Isaac barked out a laugh and said, “You guuuuys,” like they were the cutest thing he’d ever seen.
Then he blinked in confusion. “Wait. It’s not my birthday.”
“Well, obviously,” Stiles said. “Happy wolfday!” Everybody was really quiet and everybody except Derek was also suddenly staring at him.
“Stiles,” Derek said, turning to stare at him. “What is a wolfday.”
“Oh my God you are such a bad wolf dad,” Stiles said.
“Really, Derek, I would have thought as Alpha you would know that a wolfday is the day someone became a wolf,” Peter said, rolling his eyes at least five times more than was necessary. “Where did I go wrong with you?”
Derek pointed at him threateningly and said, “I killed you once, I can do it again.”
The pack went silent. After about thirty seconds of Peter looking vaguely hurt, Isaac looking like a kicked puppy, and Derek looking very unapologetic, Stiles said, “I made cake!”
“What kind?” Isaac said, turning the brunt of his puppy dog eyes on Stiles.
“Whoa, put those away. And it’s just regular white cake, with chocolate frosting. The frosting might be a bit weird because it’s homemade because somebody refused to buy me any,” Stiles said.
Derek crossed his arms and pouted ever so slightly.
Stiles looked around at the pack. Jackson was leaning on the back of the couch, looking like he could drop dead of boredom at any moment. Lydia was studiously examining her nails and ignoring everybody else. Peter managed to look both sad and sassy. Allison was eyeing the door desperately. Erica was texting, which was actually very rude and he would have to tell her off later. Scott was gazing mournfully at him, which, what was that all about? Boyd was—well, it kind of looked like Boyd had fallen asleep against the bookshelf (but he’d cut the guy some slack since he worked third shift and it was technically still his bedtime).
And Isaac was still standing in front of the door, looking hurt and sad and emanating “hug me please” while Derek glowered at the blank television.
“You guys,” Stiles said. “Seriously you guys, stop it. This is ridiculous. Obviously what’s going on here is that none of you have figured out that Derek is like the most socially awkward person ever.” Derek turned around just long enough to give him a have fun sleeping in the doghouse look before going back to hating everything. “I’ve tried really hard to teach him how to make jokes, but it just won’t take. You know, can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I’m sorry. There’s only so much I can do.”
“I’m not sorry,” Derek said, crossing his arms. Then Stiles slapped the back of his head and he said, with a sarcastic grin, “I mean, I’m so sorry Peter, that was so insensitive of me, mentioning that time you went completely crazy and—“
“Children!” Lydia snapped. “You are ruining Isaac’s wolfday party.” She finally looked up from her nails to see the pack staring. “And I don’t care if a wolfday isn’t a real thing, it is now, so suck it up and deal. Derek, go start the grill. Peter, you help.” She smiled around the room and raised her eyebrows. “Okay?”
Nobody moved until her left eyebrow started twitching, at which point everybody suddenly wanted to be really helpful. Stiles decided he would probably be most helpful by distracting Isaac from the fact that all his friends sucked, so he ran over and jumped on him.
Luckily Isaac was awesome and knew when someone was asking for a piggyback ride. He grabbed Stiles’ knees and barreled through the rest of the pack on his way through the living room and kitchen to the back porch. Then he started running in circles while Stiles made airplane noises.
Eventually the rest of the pack migrated out to the porch to watch Isaac and Stiles make fools of themselves. Scott dragged the kitchen table out, somehow managing to fit it through the door. Lydia began ordering everybody around.
Derek and Peter were standing together by the grill, both looking simultaneously depressed and pissed off. The next time Isaac ran by them, Stiles flung out his arms and yelled, “I’m the king of the world!” just because he knew it would make Derek at least want to smile.
Instead Derek just reached out, grabbed his arm, and yanked him off Isaac’s back. Painfully.
“You are the stupidest person I know,” Derek said.
“That may be true, but I am also the only person you know who truly understands your deep and abiding love for rom-coms,” Stiles said. He caught Peter’s interested glance. “Yes, that’s right, your nephew—“
Derek clapped a hand over his mouth and said, “How about you go get us some hamburgers, hmm?” Stiles could practically hear the fake smile in his voice.
“Hey Stiles, when’re we eating cake?” Isaac said, startling Stiles so much that he accidentally bit Derek’s hand. (Derek was not amused.)
“Well, I figure we’ll eat cake after we eat dinner. Which will happen a lot faster if you go get the blue cooler from the kitchen.” He shooed Isaac away and then turned back to the Hales. “Okay. So what happened back in there? Not okay. You—“ He pointed at Derek. “—need to learn how not to sound like a total jerk when you’re joking. And you—“ He pointed at Peter. “—need to learn that it’s not nice to kick someone right in the Alpha.”
“But I—“ Derek started.
“But he—“ Peter said.
“And if the two of you don’t stop being idiots right now and apologize to each other, I will get Isaac back here and make him cry on you. Don’t think I won’t. I will totally do it. You don’t know how far I will go.” Stiles crossed his arms, trying to channel Lydia since whatever she did seemed to keep the wolves in line. “We good?”
Derek nodded, his lips pressed into a pouty line. Peter shrugged and then nodded when Stiles raised his eyebrows. Apparently using Isaac and his emotions as a threat was extremely effective. Stiles would have to remember that.
“Awesome,” Stiles said. “Now apologize.” When no apology was forthcoming, he poked Derek in the ribs. “Go.”
“Sorry,” he muttered. “I really was joking. Guess it wasn’t that funny.”
“I’m sorry too,” Peter said. “You’re actually doing a pretty good job these days. Also, pink is totally your color.”
“It’s called. Salmon,” Derek said from behind gritted teeth. Stiles started running.
“Wait, but why can’t I eat my cake while opening my presents?” Isaac whined, proving that he was actually a five-year-old trapped in a grown werewolf’s body. “You can’t have too much of a good thing!”
“Now that is patently untrue,” Stiles said, brandishing the grill tongs at him. In the end it just hadn’t felt right to punish Derek and Peter by making them char things over a fire. “Case in point—the cinnamon challenge. Let’s all take a moment to remember that time nobody listened to Stiles and ended up vomiting because, hello, you just can’t eat that much cinnamon. Or the gallon challenge. Milk is awesome but—“
“Will you shut up,” Derek said.
“—you can only drink so much before getting really sick. Or home improvement shows. You can only watch so many before you either claw your eyes out or rip down a wall to start renovating. Trust me, I—“
“Stiles, please shut up,” Derek said.
“Anything for you,” Stiles said, grinning. He had learned long ago that the only time Derek would say “please” was when they were either in a life-or-death situation, or when Stiles wouldn’t stop talking. Which was actually kind of insulting, but whatever.
“I’m hungry,” Erica said.
“You are free to eat raw hamburger, if you want,” Stiles said. He glanced at her over his shoulder and was horrified to see that she looked tempted. “No. False. That was a joke. Stop that right now.”
He blocked out the rest of the pack’s increasingly whiny requests for food and quirked an eyebrow up when Derek came to stand by him. Derek reached across him and somehow threw at least twenty hamburgers on the grill in like two seconds.
“What are you doing, you’re overcrowding the grill!” Stiles said. He lunged with his tongs and scowled when Derek slapped his hands away. “Okay, fine, but they won’t cook as fast, whatever, I don’t care.”
“I like mine rare,” Erica said.
“Me too,” Isaac said.
Boyd, who someone had woken up long enough to move out to the porch, finally woke up for real and said, “Well-done for me. Did you get any barbeque chips?”
Stiles glared at Derek, who obviously did not care that he was literally giving Stiles an ulcer by inflicting demanding betas on him. “Well, Derek? Did you?”
“They weren’t on the list,” Derek said, shrugging.
Stiles narrowed his eyes, taking in the tiny creases forming outside Derek’s mouth. “In the pantry, Boyd,” he called. “You don’t fool me for a second,” he muttered at Derek.
“You know I actually was joking, right?” Derek said, ducking his head and glancing around. “With—you know?”
“Yeah, I know that,” Stiles said. “But you can’t just say stuff like that and not expect people to get upset. And he’s your uncle, so, I don’t know, don’t do that.”
“He just—gets to me. Still.”
“Dude, it’s been like seven years. Don’t you think that if there were going to be a Crazy: The Sequel, it would have happened already?” He poked at a hamburger with his tongs and then elbowed Derek. “I think you need to lighten up a little.”
And of course Derek glared at him, because Derek. Glaring was cool, it was fine, it was totally Derek’s way of saying I really hate it when you’re right and also you are my favorite person ever. Although in this case it might have meant what Derek actually said, which was, “Is that why you keep buying me shirts? Because I need to lighten up?”
“Well,” Stiles said.
“Stiles, is salmon a shade of pink.”
“I mean. No?” Which, okay, obviously Derek’s childhood had been kind of weird because anybody who had ever had a box of crayons would totally know the answer to that question.
“I can tell when you’re lying,” Derek said. “And I am going to go change now.” He started walking back to the house.
“Plenty of men wear pink, Derek,” Stiles called after him. “Like, a lot of men. Manly men.”
“You should just stop trying, sweetie,” Erica said, suddenly beside him. He accidentally freaked out and beat her over the head with his tongs.
The hamburgers turned out fine. Stiles was no expert at grilling, but he managed rare and medium rare, and he was pretty sure that Boyd’s ended up being mostly charcoal, but whatever. Hungry werewolves would eat just about anything.
And then it was time for cake. Isaac was practically bouncing up and down in his chair because, again, he was five years old. It would have been adorable except for the part where he was definitely a grown man who had just eaten six hamburgers.
…Well, it was actually still kind of adorable but that was just Isaac.
“Presents now?” Isaac asked, grinning and still bouncing.
“No. Presents after cake,” Stiles said, pointing the cake knife at Isaac and then going back to cutting.
“Jeez, Mom, you’re no fun,” Erica said.
Stiles and Derek both glared at her and she looked suitably afraid.
Of course, cake didn’t take long because, hello, werewolves. Derek was the last one eating. And since he was Derek, he took his sweet time.
“How many pieces have you had?” Stiles asked suspiciously. “I have seen you eat cake before and you are usually much faster.”
Derek froze with the fork halfway to his mouth. “Um,” he said. “Four?”
The only sensible response was to smash the rest of the cake into Derek’s face. Derek was stunned for about two seconds while everybody gaped. Then he recovered his dignity and—dumped a half-full bottle of champagne on Stiles’ head.
Because Scott was still mentally a high schooler, he screamed “Food fight!” and squirted mustard all over Lydia’s face. Lydia tackled him and ground some baked beans into his hair. The rest of the pack promptly went crazy
Stiles spent the next ten minutes hiding under the table while the pack busily ruined the porch and each other with food. “What is my life,” he groaned as Derek ducked in beside him, grinning.
“Come on, you know you love it,” Derek said, practically giggling as he mashed a handful of coleslaw into Stiles’ face.
“I hate you,” Stiles said.
When the food fight finally calmed down, Isaac, panting, ketchup-stained, and with onions tangled in his hair, said, “Hey, so we’re done with cake now, right? Present time?”
“Why did I ever agree to this,” Stiles said. He crawled out from under the table, dragging Derek with him. “Boyd, would you—never mind, you’ll drip all over the carpet.” He cast around for the least disgusting pack member and found Peter sitting in a tree, perfectly clean. “Peter. Could you please go to the coat closet and bring out the red bag?”
Peter slid out of the tree and edged around the pack. “Now might be a good time to mention that I’ve been considering moving out,” he said, eyeing Scott, who as the most enthusiastic food fighter was a veritable rainbow of smashed food.
While Peter was gone, Allison said, “I need better friends.”
Lydia grimaced and said, “This shirt was new.”
“You guys are the best,” Isaac said, grinning wolfily. He wrapped Stiles up in a tight bear hug, which was sweet and all, but also disgusting because the guy was slimy and ketchupy. “So wait, does this mean we get to have Erica’s wolfday party next week? And then Boyd’s?”
“Yes,” Stiles said. “But if there are any more food fights I am never making cake ever again. And then next year we’re just having one giant party because it will make my life at least twelve times easier.”
“Will you make me a chocolate cake?” Erica asked. “You always make vanilla and vanilla is just kind of gross.”
“Can I have strawberry?” Boyd said.
“Why didn’t I ever get a wolfday party?” Scott asked, looking sadly at Stiles.
“Peter would you hurry up,” Stiles yelled just as Peter stepped out on the deck. “Oh, awesome, thanks dude.”
Isaac bounded over and grabbed the bag, totally ignoring the way Peter recoiled from him. “Which one should I open first?”
“Open mine!” Scott said, apparently over the grave injustice of his forgotten party. “It’s awesome.”
Apparently Stiles was not the only one who thought Isaac was more or less a little kid, because Scott had got him a giant water gun and Erica got him a book of nursery rhymes. Boyd, in a surprisingly humorous moment, handed him a leash and collar, which was extremely funny until he said, “And I have to go pick up the rest of your present tomorrow.”
“Boyd,” Stiles said. “Did you—“
“Did you get me a puppy?” Isaac asked, his eyes going huge.
Boyd had got him a puppy. A beagle, apparently.
“Do you know how loud those are?” Stiles said. “They are really—“
Derek clapped a hand over his mouth and said, “We’ll deal with this tomorrow. Isaac. Go.”
Isaac was only too happy to comply. In the end, besides the water gun, book, and puppy (oh my God a puppy Stiles thought over and over in abject horror), he acquired a CD of oldies music, a gift card for coffee, a bag of string cheese (Really Jackson? Really?), and a blue tie that looked suspiciously like the one Stiles had given Peter for Christmas.
“You guys are so great,” Isaac said, carefully placing everything on the one clean spot on the porch, which turned out to be Peter’s lap. Peter was not amused.
“Wait, but—Derek? Didn’t you get Isaac a gift?” Scott said, turning to stare at Derek.
“What, the bite wasn’t enough?” Derek said. Stiles slapped his shoulder. “Fine, fine. Yeah, I did.” He fished around in his jeans pocket and pulled out a wrinkled paper bag. He handed it across the table to Isaac.
“This is from both of us,” Stiles said. “Well, I mean, actually the party is my present but whatever, this was totally my idea so—“
“A watch?” Isaac said. He turned the silver watch over in his hands and froze when he saw the triskelion engraved on the back. “Is this—“
“Yes,” Derek said.
For a second, Stiles was actually worried that Isaac was going to cry. But in the end, he just tackled Derek to the porch and hugged him while Derek yelled at him to get off.
“We really should have hosed them off,” Stiles said, leaning his head back on Derek’s outstretched arm. “I don’t even want to think of all that gunk going down the drain.”
“You probably should have thought of that before everybody fell asleep,” Derek mumbled.
Most of the pack had drifted off in a tangle while stargazing in the middle of the yard. It was kind of cute, but they all smelled and the food was beginning to dry. At least Jackson and Lydia had left, deciding they were too cool to stargaze—which was fine because Stiles did not need to deal with them and their whining in the morning. Peter had also left, going upstairs to sleep or be creepy, or probably both.
“Next year we’re having one big party, and I’m going to make a layer cake with every flavor so everybody will shut up and be happy,” Stiles said. “Also you and Boyd really raised the bar for gift-giving. I hate you.”
“No you don’t,” Derek said, scraping coleslaw off of Stiles’ face.
Stiles grinned. “No, I really don’t.”
They watched the stars for a while, listening to the quiet sound of the pack breathing. Erica was snoring gently. “Wanna go eat the rest of that frosting and watch cartoons?” Derek said.
“You know I do,” Stiles replied.