It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Derek could buy presents for everyone. That wasn’t the issue. But picking out presents was always stressful for him – left him anxious and doubting and how well did he even know his fellow pack members?
So it had seemed like a good idea – take something that was stressful for him and solve it with something he did to combat his stress. He’d decided to knit all his Holiday Gifts for the pack.
A shrug for Alison, a beanie for Boyd, a cowl for Erica, a scarf each for Jackson and Isaac, a cowl for Lydia and gloves for Scott.
But for Stiles – he’d wanted to do something more. He’d decided to go all in for Stiles’ gift. He decided to knit Stiles a novelty Christmas themed sweater.
It was new territory for him – he’d never even knit a sweater before. He’s knitted beanies and scarves – even socks. But never a sweater. Still, when he’d first tried knitting a beanie he had no experience with that – there’s always a first time. He’d managed that time – he’d had to pick up all the new stitches on the go – yarn over, knit two together, and make one. He’d bought a knitting guidebook, and attended a ‘stitch n bitch’ group on Wednesday nights. When he got stuck there’d always been someone willing and able to help him out. They were truly amazing.
So a sweater shouldn’t have been that hard.
He may have underestimated the project.
He’d chosen something entirely over the top. The pattern was titled How to be a Christmas Tree . It was a red knitted sweater with a Christmas tree, lights and even pompoms. It was perfect for Stiles.
Well it would be if Derek ever completed it.
The truth was – knitting the sweater had been hell for Derek. Since it was for Stiles, he couldn’t knit it at home - his only opportunity to knit it was at the weekly ‘stitch n bitch’ group. It was enough time between knitting that he always struggled to pick it back up each week – he had to reread the pattern, and look over his work every Wednesday. He was so paranoid about Stiles finding out about the gift that he didn’t even take the knitting home – instead he had Ellen take the pattern home with her for safekeeping. When he’d finally finished knitting the front, back and sleeves, he’d had to sew it all together – and sewing in ends had always been his weakness. The worries of – ‘am I doing this right?’ and ‘what if it all falls apart?’ always plagued him, the peace he’d experienced while knitting the pattern now replaced with panic.
Then he’d tackling the embellishments. The light chains, and the pompoms had been difficult – but he’d managed. What had been hell was the star. He’d failed to realise that the star needed to be crocheted. He had offers at the group to crochet the star for him – but he’d been so determined to do it himself.
Now he was sitting with only Ellen and Denise still remaining in the light night cafe – everyone else having left earlier – as he still struggled to finish the whole thing off. He really had severely underestimated the sweater.
“You don’t have to stay,” he’d told them when most of the group was finishing up – packing up their needles, hooks and wool and saying their goodbyes.
“Mmmm no,” Denise dismissed his words easily with a wave of a knitting needle – thankfully wool-free, “I still need to finish my shawl. You do your thing Derek.”
“I’ve got nowhere better to be.” Ellen replied, smiling at him gently, her hands not even ceasing when she looked at Derek. Ellen had been knitting since she was in Elementary – she could carry on conversations, watch TV, even read a book while knitting. Nothing fazed her.
When the barista with the shaved head came round and asked them if they wanted anything else Derek ordered a round of Hot Chocolates for the table and banana bread. If they were going to stay while he finished it was the least he could do.
He only had the pompoms left to secure anyway; it shouldn’t take much longer and then the sweater would be done – and then they were all free. He’d even packed the wrapping paper so that he could wrap it as soon as he was done – and could finally take the sweater home to their apartment. The wrapping paper was also red and green with Christmas trees – Derek had found it fitting.
He’d store the present in his car overnight. Tomorrow when Stiles left for work he’d place it under the Christmas tree – a Christmas tree sweater in Christmas tree wrapping paper, under the Christmas Tree – and then Stiles would be none the wiser about his present.
He just needed to fix the pompoms.
Christmas Eve was pack night.
Derek and Stiles always took the day off – spent all day preparing the house, preparing food for everyone. It was a feast worthy of a pack of werewolves.
They were running on schedule – the turkey and vegetables were in the oven and Derek had pre-prepared the pies and salads. Derek was taking advantage of the break in cooking to set the table and Stiles was washing the dishes.
He finished the table – all cutlery and plates set up for the pack later tonight. Derek looked around the room and took in the table, including the room, the Christmas Tree and – very importantly – the presents. One particular present which seemed to call out to him.
“Hey babe,” he called out, waiting until Stiles looked in his direction before he continued speaking, “wanna open one of your presents now?”
“Yes!” Stiles yelled, throwing up his arms in excitement soap suds flying from his fingers. Derek heard the pot thunk against the sink and winced at the sound. “Do I get to pick which one?”
“No. My choice.” Derek informed him.
“Okay!” Stiles didn’t let that disappoint him, racing to dry what moisture was left on his hands off on the tea towel – not the hand towel, never the hand towel – despite Derek’s many insistences he use the towel which was intended for that purpose .
Stiles rushed over, dropping to his knees in front of the Christmas tree. Stiles loved Christmas, and Derek found his enthusiasm to be infectious. Derek had been ambivalent about it before – the year after the fire he and Laura couldn’t bring themselves to celebrate and it hadn’t got better with time for them; the echo of the rest of their family too loud, too obvious at a time that was meant to be shared with family. It had only gotten worse after he’d lost Laura too. So he’d given up on Christmas – along with other festivities – Easter and Thanksgiving – pushed them all aside together and tried to ignore them – not that it had ever worked.
Stiles had been the one to drag Derek down that first year with claims of “I can’t live in a place with no Christmas tree” and “are you trying to be a scrooge Derek”. While Derek hadn’t cared Stiles had – and he wanted to make Stiles happy. So Derek purchased the tree, bought presents, and for the first time in almost a decade, he’d celebrated Christmas.
Now their Christmas Party is a regular event – the whole pack comes over for Christmas eve before heading out to their own families. For Derek and Stiles that means lunch with the Sheriff before Derek skypes Cora. Cora even says hi to Stiles now. It’s progress.
But tonight is for the pack.
“Okay,” Stiles leant forward, inspecting the pile of presents in front of him, “which one can I open?”
Derek smiled softly as he knelt beside Stiles, reaching for the present he wanted - the soft, lumpy, terribly wrapped present which he put so much effort into.
“This one,” he told Stiles and handed over the present.
Stiles face lit up like it always does for presents at Christmas. Derek felt his own face echo the expression, the corners of his lips pulling upwards.
Everyone has their own way to open presents. Derek prefers a methodical approach. He’ll peel the tape away if he can do so without tearing the wrapping paper – otherwise, he’ll slice down the tape – before unfolding the wrapping paper following the folds that were made when it was wrapped.
Stiles is not like that. Stiles ripped straight into the present, taking a handful of the paper from the middle of the present and tearing . He tore a giant strip off, before wrapping his fingers around the edges and pulling the present open, finally revealing the sweater.
Stiles stared at it for a second – then another. The time kept stretching out – it started to feel like forever to Derek. Stiles seemed frozen and suddenly Derek is filled with terror that Stiles hates the sweater.
The silence grew and Derek considered telling Stiles he’d take it back – he could replace it with something better – something Stiles would actually like.
Finally Stiles broke the silence – drawing Derek from his thoughts “Did you – did you make this?” Stiles asked
“Yeah,” Derek swallowed, “If you don’t like it though I’ll get you something different.”
Stiles fingers dug into the jumper, pulling it towards him – the jumper is still half wrapped but the paper falls away into his lap when Stiles hugged the jumper to his chest.
“No way!” Stiles exclaimed – hugging the jumper tighter, “I love it! I can’t believe you made this for me.”
Derek’s face flushed at the words. He watched as Stiles held the jumper out to inspect, eyes roving over the jumper and the smile on his face grew even larger. He dropped the jumper to the ground haphazardly, ripping the jumper he had been wearing off – flinging it to the ground beside him, and he pulled the Christmas Sweater on.
Stiles looked down at the sweater he was now wearing. “I love it, thanks.”
Stiles rushed forward, wrapping his arms around Derek and knocking him over with the force of his movement. Derek could recover – could have stayed upright but he let Stiles push him over – going with the movement easily. He wrapped his arms tight around Stiles to return the hug. He could feel the pompoms and fake lights on the sweater trapped between their bodies and he smiled and buried his head into the base of Stiles’ neck.
“I’m glad you like it.” He whispered into Stiles’ skin.
Stiles braced his hands against the rug – he pushed up and away from Derek, putting space between them. He locked eyes with Derek, shifting his weight to rest on one arm so he could place a hand on Derek’s face. Derek briefly felt the urge to close his eyes – to break eye contact with Stiles – to block out the unmasked affection he could see in his eyes, but he’s getting better at accepting these moments. He’s had years of practice now – the feeling is fleeting and he ignored it – instead keeping his eyes locked on Stiles.
“I love it Derek.” Stiles whispered again, dropping his body down to kiss Derek.
The kiss started out soft and innocent but when Stiles doesn’t pull away Derek opened his lips to deepen the kiss and Stiles follows the motion. Derek licked his way around Stiles lips, and his hands slid down to rest at Stiles’ hips, holding tight. He pushed his hips off the ground and up into Stiles – the movement forcing a moan out of Stiles – the sound captured by Derek’s own mouth.
Derek slipped his hands up – pushed them underneath the sweater and Stiles’ top, running his hands over the warm smooth skin. He thrust up again, and this time they both moaned into the kiss. One of Derek’s hands slipped underneath Stiles’ jeans – the other pressed firmly on Stiles’ back – keeping them pressed tight together. He pushes further into the jeans – thankful that Stiles hadn’t worn a belt today so there’s space to do so – truly a Christmas miracle – reaching down to grab a handful of Stiles’ ass, groaning at the feel of the skin and muscle beneath his fingers.
Which is when the doorbell rings.
Stiles and Derek broke the kiss immediately at the sound.
“Fuck,” Stiles said with a huff of laughter, “that’s probably Dad and Melissa to help set up.”
They don’t really need the help – but it was appreciated nonetheless. Derek willed his body to relax – wished for the arousal flooding his body to fade away. The last thing he wanted was to greet Stiles’ dad with a budding erection.
The doorbell rung again. The Sheriff had a key but he also respected their privacy – and is probably aware of the risks of walking into their house – risks such as finding them humping on the living room floor.
“C’mon hound dog.” Stiles slapped at Derek’s arm – the one connected to the hand still in his pants.
They extricate themselves from each other, reset their clothes – Derek pulled the sweater flat for Stiles, and placed a quick kiss on his lips.
“You look beautiful.” He told Stiles.
“Must be the jumper.” Stiles said with a wink, sauntering off in the direction of the front door to their apartment.
Stiles wore the jumper all night – proudly showing off Derek’s creation and talking it up every time anyone mentioned it. Derek felt his face heat up every time he did so, ducking his head to hide the flush when Stiles talked it up even as he’s secretly – or not-so-secretly – pleased that Stiles loves it that much.