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A Thrill of Hope

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The snowball hits Stiles with an audible thwack. Sputtering, he reels around in a circle. “Hey!” He swipes the snow from his cheek with the sleeve of his too-thin jacket. “Who? What? Hey!”

His assailant doesn’t reply, and Stiles squints into the trees, looking for any sign of movement. There’s only stillness as fat, fluffy flakes of snow still drift down, enough to actually cover the ground and not melt. While Stiles is firmly anti-climate change, actual snow in California on Christmas Day is pretty cool. Scratch that, it’s pretty awesome.

Bending over, Stiles quickly packs a snowball. He’s never made one before, but he’s seen Elf enough times that he’s a master. Now he just needs someone to throw it at. He calls out. “Come on, don’t be a chicken!”

A twig snaps, and Stiles wheels around, his arm pulled back. But there’s no one there. It’s getting late in the afternoon and will be dark soon, and with a twist of his stomach, Stiles realizes that frolicking in the woods by himself might not be the greatest idea he’s ever had. Especially not with the alpha pack still hanging around being vaguely threatening yet not actually doing anything. Not that he wants them to do anything, but how long can you lurk menacingly before it just gets boring?

Another twig breaks, and as his heart skips a beat, Stiles clears his throat. “Hello?”

Then another snowball is flying toward him like it’s been propelled by a rocket launcher, and Stiles can only turn around and hunch so it hits his back and not his face. But this time he sees who threw it, and it’s on. Oh, it’s on.

He winds up and lets Derek have it, but of course Derek easily dodges out of the way before the snowball can reach him. Then he does the weirdest thing Stiles has ever seen him do — and there is stiff competition for that title.

He smiles.

Not a scowl or a frown, or even one of his wolfy, shit-eating grins — but an actual smile. Then he ducks back into the trees, and the chase begins.

Stiles crashes through the forest with Derek in his sights, stopping every so often to launch another snowball and duck one of Derek’s. Obviously Derek could outrun him in a heartbeat if he wanted to, but for some bizarre reason he apparently wants to hang out with Stiles and have an epic snowball fight. Maybe it’s a Christmas miracle. Or maybe Derek is just as bored and lonely as Stiles is.

It’s not Scott’s fault that he and his mom went to stay with his grandparents for the holidays. And while Stiles likes to think he’s come a long way with Lydia and Jackson, they don’t exactly get together without the whole group. Whole pack. Whatever. Things with Allison are still weird and awkward, and of course Stiles’s dad has to work.

They had an awesome Christmas morning involving presents, a greasy breakfast (the only day of the year Stiles will let his dad eat bacon and eggs) and Home Alone. But his dad had to go in at three o’clock to do a double so the deputies could spend time with their families, and Stiles can’t fault him for that. Usually Stiles would just go to the McCall’s, but Scott’s been gone for a week and isn’t coming back until after New Year’s.

Isaac’s actually pretty cool when he’s not being a psycho, but he’s visiting his grandmother. Erica and Boyd are still MIA, and it’s not like Stiles would ever call them up to say hey. So while Stiles and Derek may not be best buds — or particularly friendly, even — Stiles is just going to go with it, because it turns out Derek can be fun. (Who knew?)

Stiles dives to duck another missile and flops into the snow. He whacks his knee on a tree root, but whatever, Derek missed. Totally worth it. It’s getting dark as they reach a break in the trees, but it’s still light enough for Stiles to clearly see Derek suddenly skid as he runs, wheeling his arms to keep his balance. It is, hands down, one of the greatest things Stiles has ever seen in his entire life, and he’s laughing so hard he has to stop and rest his hands on his knees.

Twenty feet away in the clearing, Derek gives him a death stare, but Stiles keeps laughing. He’s about to comment on Derek’s uncanny and graceful impression of a windmill when the crack echoes in the crisp air. Derek’s gaze locks with his, and before Stiles can even blink, Derek plunges out of sight.

“Derek!” Stiles rushes forward and his sneakers slip on the ice, because of course they’ve reached the little pond near the lookout, and of course the ice isn’t thick enough to hold Derek because this is California, freak snow or not. Stiles does his own windmill impression before slamming down on his ass. He holds his breath for a moment, waiting, but the ice doesn’t break.

Remembering something he read once, Stiles flips over onto his stomach and tries to slither across the pond, distributing his weight over more area. His pulse races as he crawls forward. “Derek!”

Derek’s head finally pops up out of the water, and he looks extremely sulky. He catches sight of Stiles and his eyes widen. “What the hell are you doing? Get off the ice!”

“I’m rescuing you!”

“Get back to shore! I can rescue myself, you idiot! I’m a werewolf! The cold doesn’t affect me like it does humans!”

Stiles huffs. “Fine! I will! You know, just when I think—”

As Stiles’s mind processes the second crack that fills the air, he’s underwater and his body seizes up, panic taking over as his lungs stutter and his heart just about explodes and he can’t move because it’s so unbearably cold. He mentally screams at himself to move as he sinks. He tries to thrash his limbs, but they won’t work, and he’s going to die — oh God he’s going to die.

Hands grab him and then Stiles is rocketing up toward the hole in the ice. As they break the surface, Stiles opens his mouth and tries to suck in air through his frozen lungs. But he knows he’s safe, can feel Derek’s strong arms around him, and the panic subsides.

“Breathe!” Derek’s voice is really loud in Stiles’s ear.

They’re still in the water, but moving back toward shore. Stiles realizes the confusing sound he can’t place is Derek smashing through the ice like one of those icebreaker ships in the Arctic, and then Derek’s hauling him back onto solid ground.

On his back in the snow, Stiles concentrates on breathing. Derek looms over him, dripping icy water, his brows knit together. Stiles wants to tell him he’s okay, but he can’t seem to speak. The next thing he knows, he’s moving up through the air and he’s looking at the ground from over Derek’s shoulder.

As Derek races through the forest, Stiles bounces around, the hard ridge of Derek’s shoulder jammed into his belly. But Derek’s hands grip Stiles’s thighs, and Stiles knows Derek won’t let him fall.

In no time they’re going inside a house, and Stiles tries to figure out where they are, because from the upside-down glimpses he saw, he thought they were on the Hale property. But now they’re inside a room that’s warm and bright with coloured lights, and isn’t burnt or dirty or traumatizing at all.

Derek kneels down and deposits Stiles on the rug. Stiles is shivering now, which he dully recognizes might be a good sign. “Wh—?” His tongue feels knotted.

Derek’s rubbing Stiles’s hands between his own. “It’s the house.” He glances around at the cozy living room. It looks like there’s a kitchen beyond Derek’s shoulder. “Well, part of it. Peter and Isaac helped with the rebuilding. We only have this little bit done, but it’s enough for now.”

Stiles is trying to work up the ability to speak and ask what Derek was going to say, or maybe ask about the Christmas lights strung up along the ceiling — because seriously, Derek Hale decorates for the holidays? — when he realizes Derek is yanking off Stiles’s sodden clothes. Stiles wants to protest, but he only groans. Derek peels off his own clothes and boots as Stiles watches.

He vaguely thinks to himself that he shouldn’t look, but then naked Derek’s lifting Stiles onto a big, soft couch, and Stiles closes his eyes, shivering into the warmth of the cushions. A thick blanket covers him, and after a minute his mind registers a furry pillow emanating heat, so he snuggles close to it, wrapping his arms around it as he goes under.

*

He’s having the strangest dream.

Stiles is sleeping with a huge dog. His body is achy and stiff, and he stretches as best he can with the dog pressed against him almost from head to toe. Stiles hasn’t opened his eyes yet, because the dream is actually really nice. He’s so warm, and he thinks he was really cold before. He scratches the dog’s flank as the animal nuzzles him, its breath hot on Stiles’s cheek.

He pets and scratches, and after a while the dog starts licking him, its tongue rough and wet on Stiles’s neck. It feels strangely good, and Stiles murmurs happily. He should really get a dog, he decided. It keeps licking, moving down to Stiles’s chest. When its tongue meets Stiles’s nipples, a bolt of pleasure shoots up Stiles’s spine.

Now he should probably wake up, because this dream is getting kinky, but he just keeps petting the dog, arching into its questing tongue because it feels too good to stop, and it’s just a dream, so whatever. It’ll be his little secret.

Then he shifts and realizes he’s not in his bed, so where is he? And hey, that dog has a raging hard-on, and—

With a gasp, Stiles opens his eyes and pushes the dog away, sending their blanket flying with it. As the dog rolls off the couch it transforms into Derek, who stands and stares down at Stiles with wide eyes. They’re both stark naked, and Stiles sits up, his expression likely just as shocked and guilty. For a long moment they just gape at each other because oh my God, what the fuck?!

Derek looks actually afraid standing there in the dark room. The Christmas lights provide the only illumination, a warm glow of red, green, blue, yellow and pink on Derek’s skin. And on his dick jutting out from a thatch of dark hair.

It’s only a foot way from Stiles’s face, and if he’s being perfectly honest, maybe he’s wondered what it would look like. Maybe he’s imagined it, because maybe he’s a little bit gay. And Derek’s cock is as magnificent as he thought it would be, uncut and thick.

As Derek starts to back up, Stiles wants to tell him that it’s okay and it doesn’t have to be weird because they were both traumatized and stuff. And it’s fine. Actually it’s more than fine because Stiles has secretly been beating off to thoughts of Derek and his huge cock for months now and—

Instead, Stiles lunges forward, grabbing Derek’s thighs before Derek can leave, and opens his mouth. He kind of misses, his lips just grazing Derek’s cock as he smushes his face into Derek’s hip. But he hears the sharp breath Derek takes, and obviously Derek could make him stop if he wanted, but maybe he doesn’t want to?

So Stiles musters his courage and licks up the underside of Derek’s shaft, and fuck, he is definitely a little bit gay or bi or whatever. He sucks the head into his mouth sloppily, fingers digging into Derek’s thighs, and Derek groans and cups Stiles’s head, urging him on, and holy shit they’re doing this.

Stiles thinks he might still be sleeping, but this is the greatest dream in the history of humanity and he does not want to wake up. He licks and slurps at Derek’s dick, taking it in as far as he can without choking. He has no finesse — not surprising since he’s never even gotten to first base before with anyone — but Derek doesn’t seem to mind.

Glancing up through his eyelashes as he hollows his cheeks, Stiles watches Derek in the glow of the Christmas lights. Derek’s eyes are closed, his lips parted as he takes these little gasping breathes, and Stiles is doing that and it’s pretty freaking amazing.

Derek thrusts his hips and Stiles almost chokes, but it thrills him in a weird way that makes his balls tingle. He sits back on the couch, pulling Derek with him, and Derek kneels over him. Bracing his hand on the wall over Stiles’s head, Derek starts fucking his mouth. Stiles’s ass is right on the edge of the cushion, but he’s sitting up enough that he’s at the perfect height for Derek.

He’s fantasized about this in his dirtiest jerk-offs, and having Derek’s hot cock throbbing in his mouth has his own dick leaking. His lips are stretched and Derek’s thrusts are unsteady now, almost frantic. Stiles scratches his blunt nails up Derek’s legs and touches his balls, and then Derek’s shooting down Stiles’s throat.

It’s salty and musky, and Stiles swallows as much as he can before Derek slips out with a groan. Stiles is still licking his lips when Derek drops to his knees on the rug and splays Stiles’s legs wide. Derek ducks his head and swallows him, his tongue swirling around Stiles’s cock. It’s so hot and wet and good, and Stiles never wants it to end, even though he knows he’s going to blow any second.

He tangles his fingers in Derek’s wild hair, moaning and gasping and muttering about how fucking amazing it feels as Derek sucks him. Then Derek pulls Stiles even more forward, his ass hanging off the couch now, and pushes his thighs up and open even farther. There’s a hot blast of air on Stiles’s hole, and then Derek’s tongue is inside him and holy God.

Derek’s whole face is practically in Stiles’s ass as he licks and bites without teeth and laps at Stiles’s balls. His stubble rasps against the tender skin of Stiles’s inner thighs and Stiles never even imagined it could be like this. “Fuck, Derek. Fuck.”

Stiles’s whole body shakes as the pleasure erupts and he sprays his stomach and chest, crying out as he trembles, Derek’s tongue lodged in his ass as Stiles rides it out. He pets Derek’s hair, releasing his too-tight grip as Derek raises his head. Stiles is boneless, splayed out in a way that can only be called wanton (thank you, AP English), with Derek Hale between his legs.

Their eyes meet, and shit, here comes the moment where it all gets weird and awkward, because seriously, Stiles did not see this coming, and Derek’s probably just super lonely and horny and Stiles was convenient. He’s hoping he’ll at least get kissed before Derek throws him out. “I’m sorry,” Stiles blurts.

Blinking back something that looks like hurt, Derek’s gaze skitters away. “I didn’t mean to…I thought you…”

“Wait. What?”

Derek glances up. “You’re sorry this happened.”

“No, I meant…you’re not mad at me?”

Derek frowns. “Why would I be mad at you? You should be mad at me. I took advantage of the situation. You were out of it and—”

“I wasn’t out of it when I sucked your dick.” Stiles pushes himself up on his hand. “I just thought…I mean, I’m not exactly at the top of anyone’s list. You’re a Greek God and I’m…” He flails his other hand to indicate himself. “You don’t even like me.”

Surging forward, Derek kisses him, his tongue licking past Stiles’s lips, and huh. Stiles opens his mouth and moans into the kiss, wrapping his arms around Derek’s broad shoulders, his legs still parted with Derek between them. He can taste himself on Derek’s tongue, and it makes him moan louder as they kiss and kiss and kiss until Stiles needs to break away to suck in a breath.

Derek takes the opportunity to lean down and lick the drying come off Stiles, and his tongue feels almost the same way it did when he was a wolf, and that should really gross Stiles out, but actually turns him on in a way he can’t explain. “I guess you like me a little bit, huh?”

He can feel Derek’s smile against his belly where Derek nuzzles. He glances up. “I’ve wanted to taste you for…a long time.”

Stiles’s breath catches and his dick twitches. Derek kisses the tip gently before sitting back.

“Do you feel okay?”

He’s not sure whether Derek’s talking about almost drowning/freezing to death or about the mind-blowing sex, but either way. “Yeah. I’m good. Great. Spectacular, even.” Most people lose their virginity. He torched his with a Molotov cocktail.

Derek grins. “Good. Are you hungry?”

He’s always hungry, so he nods and watches Derek walk to the open kitchen. Stiles stretches out on the couch as Derek turns on the oven and putters around. Stiles has never been one for lounging naked, even in the privacy of his own room, but there’s something exciting about it here, and he’s so sated and warm that he can’t be bothered to get up to retrieve the blanket.

There’s apparently a little laundry room off the kitchen, and Derek collects their wet clothes and Stiles listens to the dryer rumble to life. The freezer in the fridge is stocked with wings and pizza, and Derek puts them in the oven. The Christmas lights extend all around the kitchen too, and Stiles watches the colours play over Derek’s skin as he bends and flexes.

“This is nice. Like a little apartment.” He’s glad to see Derek living in a place that isn’t creepy and ready for demolition. Belatedly, Stiles remembers. “Hey, where’s Peter? Is he going to be home today? Because I’d like to be less naked when he arrives.”

Derek smirks. “He’s in Mexico.” He shrugs in answer to Stiles’s unasked question. “I don’t know.”

“I have to say, I didn’t peg you for a Christmas person.” Especially after that whole his-family-getting-burned-alive thing.

“Isaac.” But he doesn’t sound annoyed or anything.

“It’s nice. Decked halls and everything. I like it.”

Derek glances around. “I was thinking…” He stops and opens the fridge.

“What?”

There are a few moments of silence. “I was thinking next year I could cut down a tree and have everyone over. The dining room will be done.” He hitches his shoulder in a shrug and mutters. “But everyone has their own families, so they probably couldn’t come.”

“I’ll be here. I mean, if you want. My dad always has to work at some point on Christmas.”

“Really?”

“Crime waits for no holiday.”

“I meant…” He trails off. “He’s at work now?” Derek opens the fridge and takes out two bottles of beer.

“Yeah. Won’t be home until morning, so I can stay. If you want me to. I think you do? This is all kind of weird and surprising, but in a good way. A good weird. Not a bad weird. If it was a bad weird I’d probably put some clothes on even if they’re wet, but it’s kind of a cool weird, and...yeah.”

The smile on Derek’s face could probably be called affectionate. “Yeah.” He glances at the flat-screen TV on the wall. “Want to find something to watch?”

“Sure. You’ve actually got cable out here?”

“Dish.” Derek points up.

Stiles was kind of out of it when they came in, so he’s not sure how much of the roof has been rebuilt aside from the new ceiling above them, but apparently enough to mount a satellite dish. “I never pictured you watching TV.”

“How did you picture me?”

Derek’s standing there naked, with his ridiculously chiselled abs, and Stiles swallows hard. “Um…”

But Derek just smiles and lets him off the hook, turning away to go rummage through some plastic drawers in the corner since apparently this is his bedroom too, so it’s like a studio apartment they’ve built for him for the time being.

Stiles is flipping through the channels and resolutely not watching Derek bend over when Derek appears in front of him wearing flannel pajama bottoms. He tosses a pair of boxers at Stiles as the oven timer goes off.

Obviously Derek’s boxers are too big, but they fit well enough and Stiles likes wearing them. He continues flicking through the channels and pumps his fist as he gets to TBS. “Score! Christmas Vacation.”

There’s no coffee table, so they balance their plates on their laps and keep their beers on the floor. Stiles recites half the movie as it goes, but Derek doesn’t seem to mind and even laughs a bunch of times. It’s almost like Derek’s someone else, because he has this huge smile and a low laugh that lights up his face and he’s the most beautiful person Stiles has ever seen.

He realizes he said that out loud when Derek turns his head, an unreadable expression on his face. Reaching over, he traces Stiles’s cheek with his fingertips. Then he leans in and presses their lips together with a tenderness that makes Stiles’s heart skip a beat.

“Thanks for saving me today,” Stiles whispers.

Derek kisses him again and pulls Stiles into his arms. It feels so natural and right, and yeah, definitely a little bit gay, if not a lot. Also possibly a little bit in love. Definitely in like at the very least. “Did you really want me for a long time?”

Taking Stiles’s face in his hands, Derek nods. “Yes.”

“So this isn’t just a one-time thing, right? You’re still going to want me tomorrow? There’s going to be, like, Boxing Day sex?”

Derek’s lips twitch. “Boxing Day?”

“You know, that British holiday our forefathers stupidly didn’t keep after independence, which frankly makes me question their judgement, because who doesn’t want an extra holiday?”

“So what do people do on Boxing Day?”

“I have no idea. And you didn’t answer the question. About Boxing Day sex and whether it’s going to happen.”

“Yes.” Derek licks along Stiles’s jaw. “It’s going to happen.”

“What about the day after that? The twenty-seventh?” He’s joking, but part of him holds his breath anyway waiting for Derek’s answer.

“I want you on all the days, Stiles.”

“Oh.” Stiles has to take a deep breath, his stomach fluttering. “Okay. That’s good to know. The feeling’s mutual, just in case that wasn’t a hundred percent clear. I feel…things. There are feelings.”

“Yeah.” Derek looks at him with this soft expression that should be out of place on his usually scowling face, but isn’t.

“Okay. Glad we got that settled.” He’s pretty sure Derek has feelings too? He seems to, at least. Which is totally crazy, but somehow not at all. Which strangely makes sense because this is Stiles’s life.

Derek kisses him again gently. “By the way, don’t go out in the woods alone again.”

“Why, is there a big bad wolf?” Stiles bites Derek’s earlobe and murmurs. “Because it turns out I really like being eaten.”

A full-on growl vibrates in Derek’s chest and Stiles doesn’t even have time to be embarrassed by the ridiculous thing he just said because they’re tumbling onto the floor, empty beer bottles rolling away to the corners of the room. They’re naked again in no time, Derek’s eyes glowing red in a way that sets Stiles’s pulse racing. Derek lets Stiles straddle him, and they wrestle and kiss, laughter echoing off the new walls.

There’s a window over the kitchen sink. When Stiles wakes up in the middle of the night, curled into Derek’s arms on the couch with the blankets tucked around them, he watches the fat flakes of snow still falling outside. As he listens to the low rumble of Derek’s breathing, feeling it ghost across the nape of his neck, Stiles thinks maybe he believes in Christmas miracles after all.