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Holiday Thief

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“Stiles!”

“Yes, El Capitan?” Stiles replies with a grin, leaning on the desk of the Sheriff, his boss, who also happens to be his father, which means he can get away with a lot (lies, if anything he gets away with less).

The Sheriff gives him an unimpressed look. “We got a call about a suspicious person and possible B&E. You get to go check it out.” The Sheriff hands him a slip of paper with an address and the info of the caller.

“Mrs. Wilkinson? Are you sure this is legit? You don’t think she’s just bored, or like her cats aren’t entertaining enough tonight?” 

The Sheriff sighs. “We have to look into every tip we get. Just go check it out; if you don’t see anything, you can go home.”

“Fine,” Stiles says with a sigh, knowing it’s rare that his dad would offer for him to end his shift more than an hour early. “I’ll radio what I find.”

With a wave, the Sheriff sends him off, and Stiles goes to his desk to grab a set of keys and his radio. He’s almost positive Mrs. Wilkinson is just giving them a test to see if they’ll come to her aid when she calls; he’s not going to find anything, let alone some burglar.

 

**** 

 

“Damn it.”

Derek knew he should have fixed the lock on the door before he decided to put lights up outside. He’d noticed it sticking the last few times he’d used it and had made a mental note to run to the hardware store to get a replacement, but he hadn’t gotten around to it yet.

Really, there were several more things than just the lock that needed replacing. 

The house was old and had been empty for quite sometime, but it was perfect for Derek, in his opinion. He was new to the neighborhood, and the town, really, and was looking for a fresh start and a quiet place to settle down. Beacon Hills seemed like that kind of place, and it was conveniently only an hour’s drive from where his sister Laura and her kids lived.

He had a few things--a bed, table, a couch--but most of his things were still being shipped to the house or on the moving truck from New York. With nothing better to do than wait for the rest of his furniture, he had had the brilliant idea to brighten up his home’s facade by decorating it for the holidays. He also thought it might be a way to let the neighbors know that someone lived there now (and to not park in front of his mailbox or in his driveway).

After a trip to the store and buying far more lights than he probably needed (his nieces and nephews would love it though), he set everything out on the lawn to get started. It was going fairly well; he’d hung up a few icicle lights on the roof’s edge and covered a few bushes with some netted lights. It was really starting to come together, and he thought Laura might get a kick out of seeing him be so festive. He went to take a picture, only to realize his phone was still inside.

Which is how he realized he was locked out because of the sticky lock.

And his keys are inside, too. 

“Great,” Derek mutters to himself. He hadn’t had time to install a electronic keypad on the garage, which is shut, both his back door and now his front door are locked, and he has no idea how to get back into his own house.

And he can’t call for help because his phone is also inside.

This is not good. 

 

****

 

Stiles slows his patrol car down when he approaches the neighborhood. As much as he’s sure that the “tip” Mrs. Wilkinson called in was false, he was taught and trained to be cautious and ready for anything just in case. Mrs. Wilkinson hadn’t been specific on the address, but it had to be near her house for her to see it.

As he approaches, he surveys the houses on both sides of the street, looking for anything out of the ordinary, or for movement from someone running away or trying to get in. It’s only now starting to get dark, and given what time Mrs. Wilkinson called, if there really was a burglar, they were pretty stupid for trying to get away with it while it’s still daylight.

On his first pass down the street, he doesn’t see anything, but he can hear his dad’s voice in his head that he should double check, so he parks his patrol vehicle near Mrs. Wilkinson’s and gets out.

It’s when he reaches the next house that he sees movement in the bushes from the home across the street. The house has a few Christmas lights up, and upon closer inspection, there’s still several decorations outside that haven’t been plugged in.

Or they’ve been unplugged.

Stiles makes a joke in his head about catching a grinch but grows serious when he can see the outline of a man near the front bushes trying very hard to squeeze into the small space of a window that he very clearly has jimmied open. The screen of the window is lying on the ground beside him and it looks like it’s partially broken.

It’s a bit odd the burglar hasn’t just gone ahead and broken the glass of the window, but maybe he was trying to avoid more noise?

When Stiles steps closer, he makes sure he’s quiet and unheard by the suspect. The element of surprise is always better on his side than a suspect’s. As he stands there though, it looks as if the guy is stuck?

He might stand there staring longer than he should. The guy’s ass is kind of amazing if he’s being honest. But, he pulls his mind out of the gutter and decides now is the perfect time to confront the suspect.

With a smirk, Stiles leans against the side of the house and shouts, “Need a little help?”

 

****

 

At the shout of someone behind him, Derek jumps and proceeds to bang his head incredibly hard on the window that he is… was currently stuck in. 

It takes him a minute to stop seeing stars and not feel like he’s going to fall over. He can feel hands on him, steadying him, but he has to blink several times until his vision clears and he’s able to connect who the hands belong to. 

It’s a man… a very nice, attractive man… in a uniform… Oh! A policeman! Maybe he noticed Derek’s plight and decided to come help Derek call a locksmith or something?

“Hi,” Derek says, and if he were in less pain and more aware, he’d be more embarrassed about how silly he sounds.

The policeman smiles, his hands still on Derek’s shoulders. “Hi there. Are you okay?” The policeman’s eyebrows furrow when Derek tries to nod, only making his already forming headache hurt worse.

“I hit my head,” he supplies as the answer to why he’s like this.

“Ha ha, um, yeah I noticed that. Sorry,” the policeman says wincing slightly. “So, buddy, what were you trying to do here before you hit your head?”

Derek stares blankly at him for a minute, trying to focus on the question and answer. “I’m trying to get in,” he finally says, thumbing at the window behind him. 

“Uh huh. I could see that.”

“But, now that you’re here, you can help me!” 

The policeman lifts an eyebrow at that. “Excuse me?”

“Will you help me get in to the house?” 

“Now why would I do a thing like that?!” the policeman shouts, his face bewildered at the idea.

Derek’s eyes widen. “That’s what the police do, right? Be helpful. Isn’t that why you’re here? Why won’t you help me?” It registers too late that Derek sounds whiny, but he has a head injury and has been trying to get into his house for the last forty minutes.

“Police tend not to voluntarily help criminals though,” the officer shoots back. 

“Criminal?” Derek dumbly asks. He’s so confused.

“Look, big guy, I caught you red-handed breaking into this house. Now if you’ll just cooperate and come with me to the station, we can keep this civil, I’m sure.”

“Red-handed? Breaking in…” Derek scrunches his eyes and groans, now realizing what’s happened.

“This is my house!” he emphasizes, voice almost desperate. The last thing he needs is to be arrested for trying to get into his own place. He takes a breath and continues. “Officer, I got locked out, my keys and phone are inside, and I’ve been trying for the last while to try to get in.”

“This is your house,” the officer deadpans. 

Derek nods and immediately stops because of the pounding in his head. “Yes. I promise, this is my house. If I were a thief, why would I take so much effort to squeeze through the window instead of just breaking it?”

“You know, I thought that was odd, too.” The officer nods. “If I help, I’m going to need proof.”

“Of course. I’ve got the paperwork inside. I just bought this house a week ago.” 

The officer nods. “Okay. I’m holding you to that. Hang tight.” Then, the officer walks away down the sidewalk to his car.

Derek figures he’s probably going to radio or use his own cell-phone to call a locksmith, and Derek goes to follow him only to see the officer coming back towards him.

“You already called someone?” Derek asks. The officer only shakes his head with a smirk, walking past Derek to his front door; curious, Derek follows behind him.

Watching as the officer pulls out a few metal tools, Derek eyes him. “What are you--” he starts to ask, stopping himself when he sees the officer twist the tools inside the lock of his front door and after a few moments unlocks the door and twists the knob, opening the door. 

“Did you just pick that lock? How did… why do you have those tools in your car? How did you even know how to do that?” Derek blurts out in a rush, surprised and shocked at what he just watched this policeman do. 

The officer grins. “Let’s just say I haven’t exactly always been on this side of the law, and you never know when the tools come in handy. Like now. I’m Stiles, by the way,” he says, sticking his hand out. 

Derek eyes the officer curiously but shakes his outstretched hand. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” Stiles says. He stands smiling at Derek, and suddenly Derek realizes he’s probably waiting for Derek to prove he owns the house.

“Come in. I have the paperwork on the kitchen counter,” Derek goes to step into the open doorway, but Stiles stops him with a hand on his chest. 

“While I’m not saying I don’t believe you, I don’t quite trust you enough that you’re not going to pull a knife or knock me out or something. I’ll go in first.”

“Of course,” Derek says, waving for the officer to enter. He even waits a few moments outside while he sees Stiles inspect the house and make his way towards the kitchen.

Once he’s inside, and moving cautiously so as not to spook Stiles, he sees that Stiles has already found the paperwork on the counter. 

Without prompting from Stiles, Derek slowly pulls his wallet from his pocket and slips his driver’s license out and slides it on the counter for Stiles’s view. 

“Derek Hale. From New York,” Stiles says after picking up his license. “What brings you all the way over here?” Stiles says, looking up at Derek as he hands the card back.

“Needed a change of pace, and I have family nearby. Wanted to be closer to them.”

Stiles nods then eyes Derek a little more and moves towards the refrigerator (one of the few things that had already been delivered). He opens the freezer door and stares.

“You’ve already got a good-sized bump there,” Stiles says, grabbing the one bag of frozen fruit (for smoothies) that Derek has in there. He hands the bag to Derek, who accepts it and applies it gently to the sore spot on his head.

Aside from the pounding headache he has now, he doesn’t feel as dizzy as he had initially, but he knows his head’s going to hurt for a good while. He doesn’t think he has a concussion or anything though and says as much to Stiles.

Stiles eyes him critically. “Come here,” Stiles says crooking a finger for Derek to step up to him as he pulls a small flashlight from his belt. He waves the light in Derek’s eyes and after he’s seemingly satisfied, he puts the flashlight away and nods.

“Well, it doesn’t look like you have a concussion, which is good. Sorry about that, again. We got a tip that someone was breaking and entering, so I thought--”

“It’s okay,” Derek says, putting up his hand. “I guess I should be grateful I have observant and cautious neighbors?”

“I think you mean nosy busy-body neighbors,” Stiles says with a smirk.

Derek chuckles. “Thank you again for helping me in the end.”

“Of course.” Stiles pulls his pen from his pocket and walks toward the counter, flipping over one of the papers lying there. Derek sets the frozen bag down and peers over to see Stiles writing a number, a phone number, down.

“Here.” Stiles hands the paper to Derek. “You can call me anytime you need help and my unique set of skills.”

“And what if I want to call to take you out to thank you?” Derek asks, hope apparent in his voice. 

With a small smile, Stiles steps closer. “I’d be okay with that, too.”

“Good.” Although, if Derek really thinks about it, he’d rather Stiles and he go out right now. “And what if I just took you out right now?”

Stiles’s grin goes wider. “Well, my boss did say after this call my shift was over…”

Derek can feel himself smiling. “Italian?”

“Love it.”

“Shall we?” Derek says gesturing toward the door.

Stiles winks as he steps past Derek and goes back toward the front door. “Don’t forget your keys!” Stiles calls out with a slight laugh. 

Derek sighs and grabs his phone and keys before following Stiles out the door. He can already tell this is something Stiles will taunt him about for a long while, especially if anything results from this sort-of date they’re about to go on.

(He totally does. One of the first gifts he gets Derek is a hide-a-key, and when it comes time in their relationship for the exchanging of keys to their respective places, Stiles gives Derek two sets. Just in case.)