Derek let out a grunt as someone – Cora, judging by the neon-orange polish coating her nails – jumped on his back. He just sighed and hooked his hands below her legs, helping her shift upward to a more comfortable position as he continued walking through the park, trailing the rest of the pack as they chattered excitedly about what they wanted to do first.
“You know,” Cora said, her teeth sharp as she nipped at his ear, making him duck his head away from her with a growl. “You might be fooling the rest of them, but you forget I know you. You love Disneyland. So what’s with the sour face, Grumpy?” Then she let out a throaty laugh and pointed to where the Snow White character of the same name was posing for pictures. “We should get you, him, and Eeyore in a picture together before the day is over.”
Derek pinched the back of her thigh a little viciously before tipping his chin toward where Stiles was gesturing excitedly at something in one of the shop windows, Scott and Erica flanking him to look in before Stiles said something that set all three laughing uproariously. “After all the effort he went through to ‘convince’ me to come, I couldn’t disappoint him by agreeing too fast. Or looking like I’m enjoying myself.”
Cora laughed softly, then dug her sharp chin into his shoulder. “But you are, right?”
Derek made sure Stiles was still turned away before he smiled softly and nodded, squeezing Cora’s legs to him in a weird, backward hug. “Yeah.”
“When are you gonna put that boy out of his misery, by the way? Or are you planning on letting him twist in the wind forever?”
“I…” Derek sighed. “He’s so young, Cora. I can’t risk–”
“What? Being happy for once?” Cora nipped his ear again, drawing blood this time.
“No,” he muttered, then flipped her over his hip and into a headlock. “Neither of us are stupid enough to let anything between us affect the pack, and I trust him, but… what if he wakes up one day and realizes I was just a childhood crush? I don’t think I could survive being something he regrets.”
Cora elbowed him sharply in the stomach, knocking the breath from him, and Derek released her. But only because Park Security was walking purposefully toward them. So Derek threw his arm over her shoulder and gave her a noogie, smiling easily at the man, who backed off, but continued watching with narrowed eyes.
“No one has a crystal ball, Derek. But be careful that you don’t end up becoming a different kind of regret.” Then Cora was slipping away to go throw herself on Jackson’s back, causing the beta to nearly fall to his knees before righting them both.
Erica, seeing that, cackled and made Boyd climb onto her back, taunting Jackson all the while.
Derek turned, trying to fix his face into a grumpy expression even as his heart sang with joy at seeing his pack so whole and happy and carefree. Stiles was standing there, holding out a box toward him, eyebrows raised high in expectation and a grin threatening to break out over his face. It was there in the way his lips twitched at the corners, even as he obviously fought to keep a straight face.
“For me?” Derek asked, gingerly accepting the box and making a show of shaking it – gently – and sniffing it. It smelled of cardboard and strangers, with Stiles’ scent lying fresh along the edges.
“Yeah, it’s uh… Scott and Erica chipped in too. We just wanted to say thanks for, you know, agreeing to this whole trip.”
Derek allowed a soft smile to break free. “You know all you ever had to do was ask, right?”
Stiles ducked his head, that grin breaking free. “Shut up, dork. Open your present.”
The taped edge was easy enough to cut through with human nails, and Derek opened the box before letting out a bark of laughter. Inside was a Goofy hat, with ears that hung down, and a bill that was made to resemble Goofy’s snout. “What the–?”
“You have to wear it. We decided.” Shoving his hands in his back pockets, Stiles rocked on his heels, a shit-eating grin on his face.
“Oh, you decided, huh?” Derek asked, unable to hold back a chuckle.
“Yep. Group decision. And while we’re in the park, you have to refer to the pack as the Goof Troop.”
Derek stared from the hat in his hand to Stiles and back again. The thing was, he knew they didn’t expect him to do it. Stiles didn’t expect him to do it.
Sometimes it was totally worth a little humiliation to keep his pack – his Goof Troop – on their toes.
Once the hat was securely on his head, Derek flipped the ears behind him with a haughty sniff. “Admit it,” he said, his nose firmly in the air. “I make this look good.”
Stiles stood there for a long second, his eyes saucer-wide, before a helpless gurgling noise came from him, his eyes began to literally shine, and his cheeks – already a bit red from the sun – went splotchy just before he bent over at the waist, laughing so hard it sounded like he was having trouble breathing. It went on for long minutes, then the belly laughs would slow to chuckles before he’d look at Derek and lose it all over again.
In the distance, Derek heard the rest of the Goof Troop laughing their asses off as well and when he looked up, even Boyd’s large shoulders were visibly shaking from his perch sprawled across Erica’s back, his feet nearly dragging the ground. Isaac was having to hold Allison up, who was apparently laughing too hard to support herself.
Cora, also laughing softly, met his gaze with one challenging eyebrow raised high on her forehead. And, what the hell. He’d already defied one expectation today.
Raising his own eyebrow right back at her, Derek waiting until Stiles straightened, gasping for air, before he ducked his head and pressed their mouths together. Stiles’ laughter cut off like a switch had been thrown and he froze, entire body going stiff and unyielding.
Derek released him immediately, backing away with an apology on his lips that died as soon as he saw the look on Stiles’ face. It was open and so hopeful but guarded too. Like he was waiting to wake up. To find out this was a joke or that Derek had been possessed.
“There are,” he started, his voice shaking slightly, “better ways to shut me up, dude.”
Derek moved back in, slowly, telegraphing his movements as he reached out and gripped Stiles’ hips, tugging until he stumbled right up flush against Derek’s body. “Stiles,” he whispered, mock-outraged, “you can’t talk like that. There are children present.”
Derek saw the instant Stiles realized this was real. His eyes shined with happiness, so bright and luminous, he could be a wolf. “Shut up, asshole, and kiss me again.”
“That’s Goofy to you,” Derek murmured before lowering his head again, the bill of the ridiculous hat knocking against Stiles’ head and nearly falling off Derek. But he ignored it, just pushed forward more and met Stiles’ slightly parted lips with his own.
Of course, their moment couldn’t be complete without someone from the pack stepping all over it.
“I feel the urge to scream,” Lydia said lightly, which was when Derek finally noticed the pack surrounding them, giving them some small bit of privacy – and shielding small eyes from the way Derek was gripping Stiles’ ass.
But Lydia’s announcement had everyone whirling toward her, all senses alert. Instead of the pale, strange expression she normally wore when the banshee power overtook her, however, she was staring at Derek with one perfectly-colored lip curled in distaste.
“Fashion just died a horrible, tragic death.”