Derek doesn’t like Christmas. He used to, back when he was a kid and everything was bright and cheery and wholly his.
Then he grew up, and the idea of sharing his birthday with an over-commercialized holiday lost its shine.
Maybe that makes him a Scrooge.
But it makes him look like a good guy, when it comes to work. Always willing to fill a shift on Christmas, no questions asked.
That’s why he’s in the building that night, just having left an apartment after warning a group of drunk college students to quiet down after a noise complaint.
His uniform is a little more wrinkled than usual--courtesy of a handsy young woman in the aforementioned apartment--and he’s the kind of slogging tired that usually happens after the tail end of a double shift, but it’s Christmas Eve and he’s glad he’s here and not holed up back home with his sisters and his mother’s gentle needling about him settling down.
Which is exactly what he’s trying to remind himself of when elevator stops on the eleventh floor and a skinny kid in one of the ugliest Christmas sweaters he’s ever seen steps inside, the bells on his incredibly garish green pointed boots jingling with every step.
He’s trussed up like the spirit of Christmas personified, all the way from his overly fluffy red velvet Santa hat to his disturbing boots.
“Merry Christmas, Officer,” the kid says, smirking at him as the door closes behind him.
Derek grunts in reply, because he’s really not interested in starting a conversation with Christmas vomit.
The elevator clicks past the ninth floor when it suddenly makes a metallic shrieking sound, and stutters to an abrupt halt somewhere between the floors Derek can only assume are eight and nine.
“Gotta be fucking kidding me,” Derek mutters under his breath, though in the small enclosed space of the elevator he’s fairly certain the kid can hear him anyway.
He’s rewarded for his comment with a snort as he picks up the emergency phone.
Which leads to absolutely nothing, not even a dial tone.
Derek sighs and hangs up the receiver, turning to his radio instead to check in with dispatch.
Once he’s finished, he decides he no longer cares and sits down on the floor.
“Been a cop long, dude?” The kid asks, plopping down next to him with a loud cacophony of bells.
“Couple years,” Derek answers, trying to keep it rough and short to discourage the kid.
It... doesn’t work. He’s not all that surprised.
“Soooo, did you get stuck working the Christmas shift or did you volunteer for someone else?” he asks.
Derek is honestly more than a little surprised at the question.
“Volunteered,” he admits, looking the kid over again.
He’s pretty sure the kid is closer to his age than he initially estimated--his early twenties probably. And, despite the hideous taste in clothing, fairly attractive.
“My dad always took the Christmas Eve shift too--he’s actually on shift at the station now, back home,” the kid volunteers, which makes a lot of sense.
Though, Derek’s sort of curious to know why the kid didn’t go home for Christmas if he obviously loves it so much, even if his dad is working.
“That why you’re puking Christmas all over here instead of back there?”
The kid snorts again, “Puking Christmas?”
Derek gives him another once over, a little more overtly obvious this time.
“Ah, yes, this. It’s my finest Christmas gear. What, you don’t like it?”
“Not a big fan of Christmas.”
“Not a--how can you not be a fan of Christmas? Santa Claus, presents, massive amounts of food?”
“Not really into the whole commercial--”
“You’re a total Grinch, aren’t you? I bet your family hates that!”
“A Grinch? What are you, twelve?”
“I’m twice that, dude. Twice. Let me guess, you’re the only one without kids so far?”
“What--there’s no way you can know that!”
“Hahah, I’m right, aren’t I? That’s priceless, dude.”
“Shut up,” Derek growls, and he honestly wishes that the kid was less attractive when he was crowing about like that.
“I was actually headed to a Christmas party with a bunch of other students doing criminal justice at NYU. I don’t normally dress like I puked Christmas all over myself.”
The elevator starts to move again; at first, it’s just a shake and then it’s going down again.
The kid jumps up without any effort--obviously a perk of his age that Derek is slowly losing--and offers him a hand up. His hands are deceptively big, probably because that entire outfit makes him look like a fourteen year old who spent too much time in a Build-a-Bear.
“Thanks,” Derek says, and the kid smiles at him.
“It was a pleasure being stuck with you, Officer Hale,” the kid says, and Derek nearly startles before he remembers he’s wearing a name plate.
“I feel like I’m going to be visited by a bunch of ghosts when I go to sleep tonight now,” Derek mutters and the kid laughs.
“Well, Ebenezer Hale, I’ve got a party to be fashionably late to. How much of your shift do you have left?” the kid asks as the doors slide open on the first floor.
“Couple hours... Why?”
“When you’re off, why don’t you give me a call and I can show you the ghost of your Christmas future?” he asks, and Derek can’t help the little laugh that spills out.
“You got a number, Cindy Lou?”
The laugh he gets in response is totally worth it.
The eleven floors worth of stairs to Stiles’ apartment a couple hours later is worth it too.