It’s the sound of voices that drags Derek awake; Nikolas trying to referee a fight between the twins with little Ben piping up to throw his two cents in. Bleary, still, Derek can make out a few words here and there: cookies, too much, I wanna help! It sounds like a disaster in the making, something that requires parental supervision, but Derek’s not ready to leave his warm cocoon of blankets just yet and on the other side of the bed, Stiles is still out, all of his long limbs gathered close to his hard, round belly.
The yelling gets worse, though, and there’s the sound of a crash, loud enough for Stiles’ eyelashes to flutter. Derek smooths one hand through Stiles’ hair and presses a kiss to his forehead. “Sleep,” he murmurs, close and quiet. Stiles makes a warm, pleased sound, tilts his face into Derek's touch, but his fingers search for something to hang onto. Derek gives Stiles a pillow, Derek’s pillow, and Stiles pulls it close, allowing Derek to slip out of the bed and pull on a pair of sweatpants.
The raspy words, “I know this isn’t you,” stills Derek halfway through the door frame.
"You should go back to sleep," Derek says as an apology.
Stiles shifts, pushing the sheets further away from waist with his feet, and smiles, eyes still closed. “‘M gonna. Just wanted you to know you’re not as sneaky as you think you are.”
Derek grumbles. “You should not be this coherent before opening your eyes.”
"You love me."
Yeah, he does.
: : :
The kitchen is a disaster, with flour strewn everywhere, an upside down mixing bowl on the floor, batter dripping from the counter, and Reese’s Pieces littering the floor. Then there are the three boys tumbling around in the middle of the mess, wrestling for control over the wooden spoon, or maybe the pancake flipper, Derek can’t be sure. The only consolation is that Ben isn’t in the middle of the knot of limbs. Derek would breathe easier if Ben's fingers were farther away from dangerous gas burners, however.
Before Derek can say anything, Ben catches sight of him in the doorway and shrieks, “Daddy!” Derek winces; that was loud enough to drag Stiles out of bed, but at least it brings the fight to a halt. He stares them down until they pick themselves up, Nikolas with the wooden spoon fisted in one hand. Derek crosses his arms over his bare chest and stares them down. “Explain.”
They all start in at the same time, of course; happens every time. Derek doesn’t even focus on the words. His first priority is to scoop Ben up from the counter, that it’s a stall tactic for the boys to let off some of their indignation is merely a bonus. Still looking sleepy around the eyes and the tilt of his mouth, Ben conforms to Derek’s body instantly, tucking his head under Derek’s chin on a sigh. Derek rubs his chin over Ben’s head to make him giggle.
Derek spins around and silence finally descends, each of the boys looking contrite, unable to meet Derek’s eyes. He looks them over, trying to remember who’s turn it is to speak first, then gives up. It’s too early for fairness. “Logan first.”
"We wanted to make Dad’s favorite cookies for Christmas." Logan says, all big wet eyes and wringing hands. The same nonstop hands Stiles has.
"As a surprise," Drew adds, nudging Logan with an elbow.
Logan finishes, "Since he didn't feel like baking this year."
Derek nods and turns to Nik. “And you?”
"Supervising," he explains, hands tight around the wooden spoon. "I wanted to wake you up, but they wouldn’t let me." His eyes flash gold and there’s a hint of fang; typical teenage hormones. Derek has to bite his lip to keep from grinning.
"And how did the flour get…" Derek scans the room. It’s on the cabinets and the floor, half in the garbage and in small piles along the kitchen sink. "…Everywhere?"
"Distraction," Logan says. Drew tries to sneak him a high five. Derek’s raised eyebrows have them both wilting.
Derek sighs and stops Ben’s finger from continuing it’s meandering trip all over his chest and stomach. “Was the candy a distraction, too?”
"No," Drew spits out, shooting a glare a Nikolas. "Nik said chocolate’s not good for the baby."
"But the cookies are Reese’s Pieces peanut butter cookies," Logan says. "If there are no Reese’s Pieces in them, then what’s the point?!"
"The point," Nik hisses, "is not screwing up our baby sister."
"But how did they end up on the floor,” Derek asks again.
"Nik wouldn’t let go of the bag," says Logan.
"Neither would Logan," Nik spits out with a mulish pout.
"And now there’s no candy for nobody," Ben says sadly, his weary little sigh gusting wet over Derek’s chest.
Derek smooths his hand over Ben’s head, presses a kiss to his temple, and says, “Dad could’ve had a cookie or two and frozen the rest.” Drew doesn’t resist kicking Nikolas in the shin and hissing ‘jerk’ at him.
"I bet we still can," Stiles says from the doorway. Derek turns to watch Stiles waddle into the kitchen, one hand pressed tight to his aching back, and winces at Ben’s excited kicky legs and grabby hands. The boys rush over to smother Stiles in hugs and trampled apologies. It doesn’t stop until Stiles shushes them, his voice dropping low, conspiratorial. "I bet if you call Grandpa, he would bring over that stash of Reese’s Pieces he thinks I don’t know about."
All three of them dash for the phone in the living room, but Stiles stops them with one sharp whistle. “Last time I checked, you only needed one person to work the phone. The other two get to clean up this mess.” They all whine as one, but Stiles is having none of it. “Paper-rock-scissors for it or I choose.”
Logan comes out the winner, a tad too smug about it, and as the other two pull out the broom and a rag, Derek moves in close to let Ben give Stiles a loud, smacking kiss. “Merry Christmas,” Derek murmurs into Stiles’ ear.
Stiles beams up at him with sleepy eyes. “Merry Christmas.”