“I don’t have a good singing voice,” Derek insisted. His insisting didn’t matter. Stiles was still pulling him out onto the sidewalk and down the road. “I really don’t.”
“Caroling,” Stiles informed him, “is not about singing well. It’s about spreading cheer. You want to spread cheer don’t you?”
“Is cheer code for something?”
“Ha. Ha,” Stiles said sarcastically, “don’t pretend like you’ve never felt cheer before. I saw you smile once. In your sleep.”
“Stop watching me sleep.”
“Make me,” Stiles scoffed and pulled them up to their first house.
Four pairs of large child eyes stared up at Derek waiting for him to bite their heads off or do a trick. Damn it. Derek loved kids. Stiles probably somehow knew that about him too. Stiles had most likely picked this to be the first house just for that reason.
“Ding dong merrily on high,” Stiles wailed out in such a way that Derek could not at all feel bad about his gruff and untrained singing voice. Truly Stiles did think it was about spreading cheer rather than any kind of talent. Derek joined in and the children were gleeful and clapped. Derek had to admit that he was pretty happy with that result as Stiles smugly carried them down the street to the next house.
“Do you do this every year?”
“No way,” Stiles admitted, “this is my first year. My dad said that people will usually rather kick your ass than let you sing at them for three minutes in the cold.”
“So that’s why you brought me,” Derek sighed, “to make sure you didn’t get your ass kicked.”
“That’s ‘a’ reason. Indefinite article.” Stiles nudged Derek with his elbow seeing his sad face take hold. “Come on. Like you don’t like swooping in and rescuing me from certain doom. You get off on it. I happen to know you do.”
“Shut up,” Derek grumbled and looked away pretending to look at the trees and not let Stiles know he was hiding a blush.
“Also I thought that you would get a kick out of it. And I like hanging out with you. You did get a kick out of it, right?”
“Yeah,” Derek admitted, “a kick or two.” He tapped his foot gently against Stiles’ leg and Stiles pretended to be tripped up and flail about up until the made it to the next door.
This was a pair of old ladies who, after hearing them perform “Silent Night” asked that they please sing one more and for that one to please be “Jingle Bell Rock” because that was their favorite. Derek didn’t know all the words but of course Stiles did. He sang louder to cover up Derek’s muttering through the lyrics. When they left, the women gave them brownies shaped like trees and wished them a happy holiday.
“See now? Free sweets. I’m an awesome boyfr-er whatever sex person.”
“That dissolved quickly,” Derek chuckled.
“Hey man I just don’t want to apply any labels that aren’t applicable in this situation here. After all you might get antsy if I give names to things that aren’t their names.”
“Yeah okay.” He actually did stop talking until they got to the next house which had a very angry old man in it who tolerated the first three chords of “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” before slamming the door in their faces.
Stiles started to walk away but something in Derek was stirred and enraged. He banged on the door but the guy would not open it. Stiles put his hand on Derek’s arm. “Come on, Der. Let it go.”
“No,” Derek said simply. He banged again and Stiles sighed looking to the sky to ask any God that there might be up there to please end whatever this was quickly so he could get back to spreading good cheer and love and peace through the power of song.
The grumpster opened the door handling a shotgun this time and although Stiles yelped and jumped behind Derek, Derek himself was unphased.
“Get out of here!” The old man shouted. Derek snatched the shotgun from him and literally bent it in half over his knee. The man grabbed his door and tried to shut it but Derek forced his way in and stopped the door with his foot.
“Derek you are being insane,” Stiles whinned.
Derek, apparently ignoring him, sang a full verse of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer then walked out of the house. The old man, now looking too terrified to be defined as “the grumpy old man” shut his door eagerly and Stiles heard the distinct clicking of locks on the door.
“Jesus Christ!” Stiles shouted as Derek walked down the street. “You didn’t have to horrify the guy!”
“He was being an asshole,” Derek grunted.
“You practically broke into his house-”
“He came to the door with a gun.”
“That you then bent in half.”
“So maybe he was Jewish or something. Maybe that’s why he didn’t want to hear us singing.”
“He had a Christmas tree. I checked.”
“You can’t just-urgh!” Stiles dissolved into noises of frustration. Derek stopped in his tracks and turned to face Stiles glaring darkly.
“You wanted to go caroling, so I went caroling. What’s the matter now?”
“The matter is that if the cops are called I have to carol from inside a cell.”
“Your dad wouldn’t arrest you.”
“You’re overestimating my father’s patience.”
“Do you want to keep caroling or not?”
Stiles was ready to launch into another angry outburst when he looked into Derek’s face. “Wait a minute. Are you enjoying this? Do you want to?”
Derek rolled his eyes. “It was kind of nice. For a minute.” A smile spread across Stiles’ face distorting it to a point that made Derek grimace. “Stop that.”
“You do!” Stiles cheered. “You do like it! It’s lame and crazy and loud but you’re having fun and you want to keep going!”
“Yeah,” Derek said giving Stiles a rough shove to turn him around, “I do.” Stiles stumbled a little bit but caught himself and skipped along.
“You act all tough. Like some cool werewolf that’s too good for Christmas cheer but really in the end-” Stiles stopped, his tongue gluing over in his mouth as he felt a very warm sensation in his hand. What was it? It couldn't’ be Derek’s hand. Stiles looked down and it was, indeed, Derek’s hand clasping his in an undeniably affectionate way.
“I want to sing Jingle Bell Rock again,” Derek said not mentioning that Stiles had stopped mid-sentence. Stiles couldn’t even remember what he’d been saying before.
“You don’t know the words.”
“I’ll figure it out. I like it. It’s upbeat.”
Stiles swung their hands together between them and walked with a little more pride and swagger in his step.