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Derek’s cabin was small. Tiny, even. He liked it, sometimes he missed having a big house, like the one he had grown up in, but the cabin was good, comfortable, and he, well, it was somewhere to hide, somewhere no one would find him. Somewhere no one would bother him.

Okay, maybe it was more along the lines of somewhere he could hide so no one found him and got hurt because of him, but that… Derek tried not to think like that. He had gone to therapy for a while, and the therapist had firmly told him he was not responsible for the actions of others, that it wasn’t his fault if people around him got hurt, as long as it wasn’t Derek himself hurting them. Stiles had said the same thing when they talked via chat, even John had said it.

So he tried not to think that way, but then he decided to buy the little cabin halfway up a mountain in southern Oregon, to get away from everything he told himself, and he found himself relieved knowing no one would get hurt because of him. It was what it was.

He was happy, though, sort of. Happier than in a long time, he had a comfortable little home, lots of land he could run on—and he did, shifted to his full wolf form and ran for hours, it was wonderful—and his life wasn’t bad at all.

So he occasionally missed people, but he had to shop for groceries every now and then and he had internet, it was enough. Sort of.

Then one day, the 21st of December on his second year living there, Stiles came to visit. There were a few inches of snow up there, but the Jeep easily handled that. Derek frowned as Stiles got out of his car.

”Hi,” Stiles said brightly.

”Hi,” Derek said.

Stiles grabbed a duffle bag from the Jeep. ”I come bearing gifts.”


”It’s your birthday soon, and all the winter holidays,” Stiles said, walking up to the little porch. ”Do you celebrate Christmas?”

”Yes,” Derek said. ”No. I mean, yeah, we did, but I haven’t for a few years, I wasn’t planning to this year.”

”Okay, cool,” Stiles said. He pulled Derek in for a quick one-armed hug. ”It’s good to see you.”

Derek hugged back, a little bewildered, awkwardly patted Stiles’ back. ”You too.” It was, it was ridiculously good to see him. ”What—why—how did you find me?”

Stiles rolled his eyes at him as if the question was stupid, and maybe it was. It was Stiles, after all, he had probably known where Derek lived since the day he moved in. ”It’s you, of course, I know where you live,” he said. ”Can I come in? The Jeep’s heating isn’t the best.”

”Yes, of course.” Derek opened the door. ”Hot cocoa?”

”I’d love some,” Stiles groaned.

He stomped the snow off his boots before going inside, put the duffle bag on the floor and crouched down to untie his boots. Derek went to the kitchen corner of the cabin to make some hot cocoa.

The cabin really was tiny, and he felt a little self-conscious about it, having Stiles there, like it wasn’t enough. The only room with a door was the bathroom, his bed was tucked in a corner in the main room, he had a loveseat and a small kitchen table with two chairs, lots of bookshelves, his laptop on a small coffee table placed between his bed and the loveseat, the TV hanging on the wall where he could watch it from his bed or the loveseat, and that was it.

“What a cozy place,” Stiles said, looking around. He gestured to the bathroom door. “Bathroom?”

Derek nodded. “Yeah,” he said, quietly trying to remember when he cleaned in there last. There was nothing he could do about it though, as Stiles hung his coat up and headed in there, so Derek focused on the cocoa.


Five minutes later they were sitting by the kitchen table, drinking hot cocoa and talking.

“Sorry to drop by unannounced like this,” Stiles said, “but I had some gifts and it wasn’t much of a detour to go this way on my way home and I didn’t want you to feel like you had to give me something in return or anything.”

“It’s fine,” Derek said, even though he really did feel he should have something for Stiles. He did have something, but he didn’t really know if he wanted to give it to him, and it would have been nice to have some time to get him something better. “When are you leaving?”

Stiles looked at his wristwatch. “I probably shouldn’t stay more than a couple of hours, I was up early, I don’t want to get there any later than midnight.”

“Okay. So, how is everyone? How are you?”

“I’m good,” Stiles said, smiling. “Dad too. He’s working Christmas, so we’re gonna celebrate on the 23d. Caitlin and Kira are good too, they’re gonna celebrate with us on the 23d, then with Kira’s family on the 25th.”

“That’s nice,” Derek said. “Wait, are they dating?”

Stiles laughed softly. “Yeah, they are, since summer.”

“Oh, okay, that’s—that’s good.”

“Yeah, it’s great, they’re really good together,” Stiles said, his voice warm and fond. “And how are you, Derek Hale?”

“I’m good,” Derek said. “I’m, yeah, I’m good.”

“Tucked away in the middle of nowhere in a tiny little cabin,” Stiles said.

Derek shrugged. “I like it.”

Stiles nodded, didn’t look convinced at all, but obviously humoring Derek. “If you say so.”

It was easy to talk to Stiles. It had been for a long time, but seeing him, having him there, Derek found himself talking a lot more than he usually did. Stiles looked ridiculously good too, his hair messy and a little long, made to run fingers through, his short stubble made Derek want to touch his face, his soft and zipped hoodie looked comfortable and cozy, like it would be really nice to snuggle up against him.

It was distracting, all of it, Stiles and talking and trying not to show how badly he was pining, and Derek didn’t realize it was snowing until it was snowing. It came down fast and it was so heavy that Derek barely saw the Jeep when he looked out the window.

“Fuck,” he said quietly, and Stiles looked out too.

“Oh, shit,” Stiles said. He scrambled up from his chair and went to open the front door. “Aw, hell.” He closed the door, smiled broadly at Derek. “So, it looks like I won’t be leaving today. Is it okay if I stay the night?”

Derek rolled his eyes. “Of course it is,” he said. “I don’t—” He sighed. “I, uh. I mean, of course, you can stay, I wouldn’t send you away in this, but… we’ll figure it out.”

“Figure what out?” Stiles asked carefully.

Derek gestured around the cabin. “I don’t really have a lot of places to sleep.”

“Oh. It's fine, dude, I’ll take the loveseat,” Stiles said, and Derek raised an eyebrow at him.

“We’ll figure it out,” he repeated. Stiles wouldn’t be able to sleep in the loveseat, the armrests were far too high, it was comfortable to sit in but not to sleep in, Derek had tried—as in that he had fallen asleep in it by mistake—and his neck was so stiff the next day that it affected most everything he did, and he was a werewolf. “The bed is… well.” It wasn’t a very big bed, sharing it with Stiles would be… a dream come true, very intimate, and not something they should do at all. “Maybe I could shift and—”

“No, you don’t have to do that,” Stiles said. “We’ll figure it out somehow.” He got his phone out. “I have to call dad, let him know I’m snowed in.”

While Stiles called his dad, Derek went to wake his laptop up to check the weather. He cleared his throat to get Stiles’ attention, then gestured to the screen, and Stiles came over.

“Yeah, so I’ll probably—oh. Uhm. So, it’s supposed to snow like this for two days,” Stiles told his dad.

“Oh, okay, well if it’s okay with Derek, then stay until it’s safe to drive, we can celebrate after Christmas too,” John said.

“Yeah, I’ll talk to him, and I’ll keep in touch,” Stiles said.

“Give Derek my best,” John said. “Take care, kiddo, love you.”

“Love you too, dad,” Stiles said.

They said goodbye and hung up, then Stiles smiled sheepishly at Derek.

“It’s fine,” Derek said. “I had no idea it was coming either, and it’s not at all the same as just a few miles away.”

”Yeah,” Stiles said. ”I’m sorry though, first I show up at your hiding place unannounced, then I have to stay too.”

”It’s fine, Stiles,” Derek said. ”Are you hungry?”

Stiles smiled. ”Yeah,” he said. ”Thank you.”


Having Stiles there was better than Derek had ever dreamed (and he had dreamed about it, more than he liked to admit even to himself). That first day Derek did most of the cooking, but Stiles helped with what Derek let him and insisted on doing the dishes after, then they moved to the loveseat and the bed, Stiles on the loveseat and Derek on the bed, and they talked until late in the evening.

Then it was time to sleep.

Stiles looked at the bed with a furrow between his brows.

”I wouldn’t mind sharing,” he said and looked at Derek. ”I don’t mind closeness like that, and while I am bisexual, I’d never do anything inappropriate if I didn’t know it was welcome, so, I don’t know. Would you be okay with that?”

”Yeah,” Derek said, willing his cheeks to not be quite as warm as they were. ”Werewolves, especially born ones, are tactile, I often shared a bed with one of my siblings. Me and—and Laura, we. We shared a bed a lot in the first years.” He forced a smile. ”And I’m ace and possibly sex-repulsed, so you don’t have to worry about that.”

”Oh,” Stiles said. ”I didn’t know that. I mean, it’s cool and all, I just didn’t know.”

Derek’s smile turned more real. ”It’s not something I broadcast,” he said, and Stiles smiled too.

”I guess not,” he said. ”I kinda do that with my bisexuality, don’t I?”

Derek huffed out a laugh. ”Kinda,” he said. Stiles almost always wore something with the bi-flags colors, a braided bracelet that day.

Stiles’ smile widened, then he looked at his duffle bag. “I should get ready. Can I steal some toothpaste from you?”

“Of course,” Derek said. “It’s in the cabinet, you can put your toothbrush in the cup in there too if you want to.”


Stiles rooted around in his duffle bag a moment, then he went to the bathroom carrying a bundle of clothes and a toiletry bag, and Derek busied himself with trying not to fret about everything and making sure the sheets were clean.

He had just sniffed the pillows for the third time—they were fine—when Stiles opened the bathroom door again and Derek swallowed roughly. He was wearing pajama pants and an FBI t-shirt, the B and I in the bi-flag colors, and he was… he looked good. Very good. And he was grinning.

“Speaking of broadcasting it,” Stiles said. “I did not plan this, I swear, it was just the first t-shirt I found in my bag.”

Derek raised an eyebrow. “Whatever you say,” he teased, and Stiles laughed.

Derek grabbed his own pajama pants and the t-shirt he was going to sleep in, just a plain black one, then he went to the bathroom too. He brushed his teeth extra carefully, didn’t want to have bad breath while being so close to Stiles, and when he was changed and ready he looked at himself in the mirror. His hair was messier than it usually was when he met Stiles, he didn’t use product in it when he was just home alone and he hadn’t expected anyone, so he ran his fingers through it, then stroked his hands over his beard, flattened it down a little—it was getting long and looked a little too mountain man—but then he had to go back out there.

Stiles was sitting on the edge of the bed, fiddling with his phone, and he smiled when he looked at Derek.

“Wall or not?” he asked, and Derek looked at the bed. “I’m fine with either, but I would suggest you sleep by the wall so I fall off the bed if I take too much room, instead of pushing you off it.”

Derek shook his head with a smile. “Yeah, okay, I’ll sleep by the wall.”

It wasn’t as awkward as he had expected it to be to get in bed. He laid down on his back close to the wall and Stiles laid down on his side, facing Derek, then he nuzzled the pillow.

”Smells good,” he said. ”Like you.”

His eyes were closed and he was smiling, and Derek watched him lying there, so fucking close. It wasn’t awkward, it was torture. Derek usually didn’t want to touch people, preferred to keep most people at a distance except a selected few that he felt comfortable being closer to, and he practically never wanted to actually cuddle. But there he was, lying next to Stiles and wanting nothing more than to curl up against him and touch his face and nuzzle against him and hold him and be held by him.

Stiles opened his eyes, and Derek blushed as he looked away.

”You okay?” Stiles asked and pulled back a little. ”I’m sorry, am I making you uncomfortable?”

”No,” Derek croaked. He cleared his throat and tried again. ”No, it’s fine.”

He tried a smile and looked at Stiles, who furrowed his brows.

”You say that a lot, it’s fine,” he said.

”Don’t worry about it, Stiles,” Derek said. He turned to his side too, facing Stiles. ”It is fine, I promise.”

”Okay. Good.”

”Goodnight,” Derek said.

”Goodnight. See you tomorrow.”

Derek smiled and closed his eyes. ”See you tomorrow.”

It took them both a long time to fall asleep, Derek longer than Stiles, and he spent a good twenty minutes just looking at Stiles sleeping before he followed.


Derek woke up slowly. He was comfortable, warm and it smelled good. He felt safe.

”Morning, sleepy,” Stiles said softly, and Derek’s whole body froze, except his heart that sped up and his cheeks that burned. He had his head on Stiles’ shoulder, his hand resting on Stiles’ stomach. ”Sleep well?”

Derek pulled away, rolled to his back and put an arm over his eyes. ”Sorry,” he croaked. ”I usually don’t do that.”

”It’s fine,” Stiles said, his heart steady and his voice soft. Derek lifted his arm to glance at him, and Stiles smiled. ”I hope I wasn’t too annoying to share a bed with.”

Derek closed his eyes and put his arm back down. ”You were fine,” he said.

”Good,” Stiles said and started to get up. “Bathroom.”

”Kay,” Derek said.

He used the minutes Stiles was in there to pull himself together, and he had just sat up when Stiles came out. Stiles smiled when he saw Derek.

”I’m not used to this soft you,” he said, and Derek blushed again. ”Do you have coffee?”

Derek nodded. ”I’ll make some.”

”I can make it if you wanna go to the bathroom?”

”It’s fine,” Derek said and smiled when Stiles rolled his eyes.


The snow kept coming. It kept snowing the entire day, and as they were eating dinner Stiles looked out through the window.

”I’m starting to wonder if I’m gonna have to live here until spring,” he said.

”Once it’s stopped snowing it’ll be a day or so, then they’ll plow the road and we just have to dig your car out and clear the driveway,” Derek said.

“You mean the half a mile long dirt road leading in here?” Stiles asked.

“Well, yes,” Derek said. “But I have a lawnmower.”

Stiles blinked at him. “A lawnmower.”

“It has a plow attachment,” Derek said, his cheeks hot.

“Oh. Oh, that’s, okay. That’s smart.”

Derek shrugged, tried to will his cheeks to stop burning. “I have a lot of lawn and a lot of driveway.”

“I feel so bad though,” Stiles said. “I didn’t mean to come here and stay for days, I know you like your privacy.”

“It’s okay,” Derek said. He took a breath, looked at his plate as he spoke. “It’s nice. To have you here.”

“Yeah?” Stiles asked, and Derek didn’t look up as he nodded. “Good, that’s—that’s good. It’s nice to be here too, to see you again and to spend actual time with you. I’ve missed you.”

Derek looked at him, found him staring at his own plate with pink cheeks.

“I’ve missed you too,” Derek said quietly, and Stiles looked at him and a slow smile spread across his face.

“In that case, I’m glad we got snowed in,” Stiles said. “That I got an excuse to stay a little.”

Derek dipped his chin as he smiled. ”Me too.”


It was still snowing on the 23d, but neither of them really said anything about it, and it felt like Stiles was enjoying being there as much as Derek enjoyed having him there. Derek had woken up clinging to Stiles that morning too, and while it had been embarrassing—it wasn’t something he chose to do, he did prefer having control over what he did—it wasn’t as bad that day. He still moved away quickly, but he was more relaxed with it.

But then, as they were doing the dishes after lunch, the power went out.

“That can’t be good,” Stiles said.

“No, I don’t think it is,” Derek said. He put the towel away. “I’m gonna get some candles out.”

“Okay. Do you usually get power outages here?”

“This is the first one,” Derek said. “But I’ve only lived here a little over a year.”

“Okay. Hopefully, it’ll come back soon,” Stiles said.

It didn’t come back soon. Five hours later the cabin was getting chilly and they were eating cold leftovers for dinner. Another hour later Stiles was sitting on the bed, the covers wrapped around him as he tapped on his phone.

“I’m asking dad to check if there’s any information on it,” he said.

Derek got more candles out, he had some tealights that he put on plates everywhere he dared around the cabin, to hopefully get it a little bit warmer. Or a little less cold at least.

“Okay, let me know what he says,” Derek said.

He got his blanket, it was just a regular blanket, very soft, and warm enough to curl up on the couch with when he had heat in the cabin, and wrapped it around himself as he sat down on the loveseat. He hoped it and the covers would be enough to keep them warm through the night because he didn’t really have anything else.

Stiles put the phone in his pocket. ”He’s checking now. I gave him the address, sorry.”

”That’s fine,” Derek said. ”You’re already here, my hiding place isn’t a secret anymore.”

Stiles grinned. ”So you admit you are hiding,” he said. His phone buzzed before Derek could say anything, and Stiles fished it up. ”Oh. Yeah, so probably a few days, there are apparently several lines that are down. That’s not good at all.”

Derek had considered installing a fireplace, but the cabin was small and he wasn’t a fan of having fires burning indoors, the candles were bad enough. He was starting to regret that decision.

“That is very bad,” Derek said. He poked his laptop to wake it up. “I have to empty the freezer, but I have a few hours of battery, wanna watch a movie when I’m done?”

“Yeah, sure,” Stiles said. “What do you have?”

He didn’t have much at all, but he had some downloaded from Netflix and a handful of DVDs, and Derek showed them all to Stiles and told him to pick, then he went to get a cooler. It was quick work, emptying the freezer and putting the cooler outside in the snow. He hurried back inside, and Stiles watched him from where he was sitting on the bed, wrapped in the covers up to his ears.

Derek sat on the loveseat again and patted the cushion next to himself.

“Bring the cover,” he said, and when Stiles sat down next to him he wrapped the covers over their shoulders and put the blanket in their laps, so they were properly covered, both of them sitting with their legs up. He was glad the loveseat was deep enough that they could.

Being a werewolf, Derek was warmer than Stiles despite having been away from the blanket, and it wasn’t long until Stiles started to lean against him.

“God, you’re so warm,” he mumbled, and when Derek snaked his arm around his shoulders he groaned softly. “I’m keeping you.”

Derek laughed quietly and tugged him a little closer. “Okay.”

Stiles snuggled in closer, really tucked himself against Derek’s side, and Derek wanted nothing more than to put his mouth to his hair and wrap his other arm around him too. He managed to keep just the one arm around him, and he didn’t nuzzle his head, but he focused more on that than on the movie.

As soon as the movie was over, Stiles shut the laptop down.

”To save some battery, you never know when you might need it,” he said and leaned back against Derek. ”Is it still snowing?”

Derek squinted as he looked out the window, and after a moment his eyes had adjusted enough that he could see trees.

”I don’t think so,” he said.

”Good.” Stiles grabbed Derek’s wrist and pulled his arm tighter around him, burrowed back against him. ”Do you think there’s a chance of them plowing the road tomorrow?”

”A slim one,” Derek said. ”Maybe towards the evening.”

”Okay.” Stiles was quiet for a few seconds, and he leaned more against Derek as he sat there, until he was halfway up his lap it felt like. ”We should clear the driveway tomorrow while it’s light out.”

”Mm,” Derek agreed.

”And you should come with me,” Stiles said.


”I know you’re a werewolf and all, but you can’t stay here for days without heat,” Stiles said. ”And dad would love to see you.” Derek didn’t say anything, and Stiles was quiet for a few seconds before continuing. ”You could sleep in my old room. With me.” He swallowed. ”Or in the guestroom if you prefer that.”

Derek sort of wished he could see Stiles’ face, but it was also easier to ask when he couldn’t, ”Do you want that?”

”Yeah,” Stiles said quietly. He smelled nervous and hopeful, so Derek wrapped his other arm around him and put his mouth against his hair. Stiles took a shaky breath. ”Do you?”

”Yeah,” Derek said.

Stiles slowly moved his hand to Derek’s, gave him plenty of time to pull away, and when he finally took it, Derek squeezed his hand and took a deep breath as he nuzzled his hair.

”Awesome,” Stiles said softly, and Derek smiled.

”Yeah. Awesome.”

Stiles huffed a little laugh, squeezed Derek’s hand. ”Do you want to go to bed?” he asked. ”I know it’s early still, but it could be nice. More comfortable.”

Derek nodded against his hair. ”Okay.”

Neither of them moved, and half a minute later Stiles laughed quietly.

”Okay, we have to actually move to get there though,” he said. ”Also, I need to use the bathroom.”

”Okay,” Derek said, smiling as neither of them moved.

Stiles sighed heavily. ”Okay, I’m doing this now.” He squeezed Derek’s hand, then he started to get up, so Derek let him go. ”Oh, jesus fucking christ, it’s cold.”

He hurried to the bathroom, and Derek got up to put the blanket and covers on the bed. He got in under them, partly because it really was as cold as Stiles said, but also to warm the bed up a little.

Stiles smiled softly when he came out from the bathroom and saw Derek. He had changed to his pajamas, but he crouched by his bag and rooted around in it a moment, then he went to sit on the edge of the bed to change socks. And put on an extra pair, apparently. He also pulled on a light sweater that looked super soft.

”There, all done and ready to go to bed,” he said as he balled up his old socks and threw them to his bag. They landed on top of it and bounced off on the other side. ”So close.”

”So close,” Derek agreed. He sat up, and Stiles moved so he could get up. ”I’ll be right back.”

”I’ll be here, staying warm,” Stiles said as he slipped in under the blankets. ”Ooh, nice and toasty, thank you.”

Derek smiled and went to the bathroom. He changed to his pajamas too, but he didn’t bother with extra clothes, he didn’t think he would need it, and he could go up and get some if he was wrong.

On his way back to the bed, he grabbed Stiles’ socks and put on top of the bag, and Stiles smiled at him from where he was in the middle of the bed with the covers up to his chin.

”Do I have to get up, or can you use your superior acrobatic werewolf skills to get in?”

Derek smiled and shook his head, then he climbed over Stiles, who scooted a little to the side to give him room. Derek quickly slipped in under the covers and laid down on his side, facing Stiles.

”Turn your back to me?” he asked, and Stiles smiled, then rolled to his side and scooted back, so Derek wrapped his arm around him and pulled him close.

”God, you are so cozy, Derek,” Stiles said.

”Good,” Derek said, and the happiness in Stiles’ scent spiked.

”Very good,” he agreed.

After just a few minutes of quiet talking, Stiles started to move around, so Derek pulled back to give him space. He turned to his back and smiled at Derek while holding his arm out, and Derek ducked his head and smiled as he put his head on Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles held him close and took his hand to hold on his chest, then he pressed his mouth to Derek’s forehead, not in a kiss, just pressed it against him a moment.

”I like this a whole lot,” he said.

Derek squeezed his hand. ”Me too.”

”Do you maybe want to do this on a regular basis?” Stiles asked. ”Like every time we meet?”

”I’d like that, yeah,” Derek said.

He was smiling so much that his cheeks nearly hurt, and he pressed the side of his face against Stiles’ chest. Stiles’ scent was so much, so happy and excited and warm and good, he never wanted to leave.


They cleared the driveway the next day, shoveled snow and Derek got the lawnmower from the shed to plow, but most of the day was spent sitting close together under the blankets. Stiles liked to fiddle with Derek’s hands, and Derek liked, well, everything about being close to Stiles.

Derek was very bitter about not being able to make them hot drinks or proper food, but Stiles was very at ease with everything. He drank bottled water and ate whatever Derek had that could be eaten cold, and he didn’t complain about it once.

It was early evening, they were curled up against each other and talking when Derek heard the plow truck, and he told Stiles.

“Yes,” Stiles said quietly, but with very much feeling. “Are you coming with me? Dad has lots and lots of electricity, and I can make you hot chocolate.”

Derek smiled against his hair. “Okay.”


“Yeah. I just need to pack, then we can go.”

“Yes,” Stiles said again, quietly and with feeling, and when Derek got out from under the blankets to start to pack, he beamed at him.

Derek blushed. He ducked his head and smiled as he went to grab a bag. When Stiles wasn’t looking he quickly stuffed the things he had knitted in a plastic bag that he then shoved into his bag.

They took Stiles’ car, he drove slowly and steadily, and he stopped at the first gas station they passed to get them hot chocolate. Derek was tasked with calling John once Stiles’ phone had been charged enough in the car.

“Hey, kiddo,” John said when he picked up.

“It’s Derek.”

“Oh, hi, son,” John said. “Everything alright?”

“Yeah, Stiles is driving so he asked me to call, to, uh, to say we’re on our way?”

“Okay, that’s good,” John said. “Four hours or so before you get here?”

“Something like that, yeah,” Derek said.

“Alright, tell him to drive safe and I’ll see you soon,” John said.

“I will,” Derek said.

“Love you, Dad, see you soon,” Stiles said loudly as he leaned closer to Derek.

“Tell him I love him too and to focus on the road,” John said, laughing softly.

Derek smiled. “I will.”

They said goodbye and hung up, and Derek put Stiles’ phone back in the charger.

“He says he loves you too, that you should focus on the road and to drive safe,” Derek said and smiled when he saw Stiles’ smile.

After just a few miles, Stiles reached for Derek’s hand, and when Derek gave it to him he put their hands on his thigh, gently fiddled with Derek’s hand as he drove. Derek leaned back against the headrest and smiled.


When they arrived, John greeted Stiles with a long hug, then he smiled at Derek.

“It’s good to see you, son,” he said.

”You too, sir,” Derek said shook the hand John held out, only to be pulled into a quick hug.

John clapped him on the back, then smiled at them. “There’s a casserole in the oven, it’ll be done in 20 minutes or so,” he said.

“Awesome, thanks dad,” Stiles said. “I’m just gonna dump my stuff in my room.”

He looked at Derek, who nodded and followed him.

The house looked like it always had, and it was warm and well lit. Stiles’ room looked mostly the same, a little bare, but still blue and very much Stiles.

John went to bed soon after they had eaten, and Stiles made them hot chocolate. He sat close to Derek, leaned against him as he took his hand.


Derek woke up to Stiles carding his fingers through his hair, and he smiled and nuzzled against his chest.

”Happy birthday,” Stiles said softly.

”Thanks,” Derek said.

”Did you sleep well?”


”Good. I was thinking of making coffee and taking a shower,” Stiles said. ”If you want to, you can stay here a while longer.”

”Mm,” Derek said, and Stiles carefully started to move out from under him. Derek grumbled and kept his eyes closed, but he smiled.

”You are so stinking cute,” Stiles said quietly and stroked the back of two fingers over Derek’s cheek. ”I’ll be back in a bit.”

”M’kay,” Derek said. ”I’ll be here.”

He listened to Stiles start the coffee, but he fell asleep when he was in the shower.

The bed dipped as Stiles sat on the edge of it, and Derek yawned as he blinked his eyes open.

”Good morning,” Stiles said and brushed his fingers over Derek’s temple.

”Good morning,” Derek said.


”Mm,” Derek said. He rolled to his back and stretched. ”Can I shower first?”

”Sure,” Stiles said, and Derek turned his head to smile at him.

It was nice to shower, the house warm and the water hot, but he didn’t linger in there, and when he was done and dressed he padded to the kitchen, where Stiles was making pancakes. Stiles smiled when he saw him.

“Sit, I’m almost done,” he said, so Derek went to sit.

Stiles poured him coffee and put the milk in front of him, and Derek took some. “Thanks.”

“You like pancakes, right?” Stiles asked.

“Yeah,” Derek said. “Who doesn’t?”

Stiles smiled. “Good.”

He put the pancakes on the table and sat down diagonally from Derek, just around the corner. It was a good breakfast, better than what Derek had had in a long time, though he wasn’t sure if it was the food or just the company. The pancakes really were great though, so it was probably both.

Derek helped clean up once they had eaten, and then Stiles made them hot chocolate again.

“Are you making up for all the warm stuff we couldn’t have at my place?” Derek asked as he hooked his chin over Stiles’ shoulder.

“Maybe,” Stiles said, smiling. “I just want warm drinks and cozy.”

He pressed his cheek to Derek’s, who nuzzled against him and gently pressed a kiss to his cheek.

“It’s nice,” Derek said. “It is cozy.”

Stiles smiled at him, then poured the chocolate in mugs for them. He dumped the pot in the sink with some water to deal with later, then he handed Derek a mug.

“Go sit in the living room, I’ll be right there,” he said.

Derek took his mug and went to sit. He got the folded blanket and spread over the back of the couch, prepared it for them, and Stiles came to the room not even a minute later, carrying his mug and a wrapped present. He smiled as he put the mug on the table, then sat next to Derek and held the present out for him.

“Happy birthday,” he said, and Derek gingerly accepted it.

“You didn’t have to,” he mumbled quietly.

“I know, but I wanted to,” Stiles said softly.

He wrapped the blanket around their shoulders as Derek opened the present. His fingers were a little shaky and he had a lump in his throat, but he got it open. It was a book, he knew that the moment he got it in his hands, but it was a book that genuinely made him happy, one that Stiles had to have put some thought and time on getting.

“Thank you,” Derek whispered.

“You like it?”

Derek looked at Stiles and nodded, then he wrapped his arms around Stiles and tucked his face against his neck. “It’s—thank you.”

“I’m happy you like it,” Stiles said softly.

He held Derek, stroked his hand over his back and put his mouth to his forehead, and Derek stayed until he wouldn’t start to cry just looking at Stiles.

”Sorry,” he said as he pulled back, tried a smile, and Stiles’ smile was soft when he cupped Derek’s cheek before settling in next to him.

”What do you want to do today?” Stiles asked quietly, and Derek shrugged. ”Wanna watch something?” Derek shrugged again, smiled at Stiles soft groan. ”Okay, Die Hard it is.”

He pressed a kiss to Derek’s forehead when he got up to get the movie, and Derek smiled as he watched him. It was a good birthday.


John came home late, smiled at them where they were finishing making dinner. He changed out of his uniform, then came up to Derek with a present.

”Happy birthday, kiddo,” he said and pulled Derek in for a quick hug.

Derek looked at Stiles, a little panicked, but he smiled at John.

”Thank you,” he said, his voice just a little shaky.


Derek asked Stiles if they had any wrapping paper the next day.

“Yeah.” Stiles looked at him as he got up and headed to a storage closet. He got a cardboard box with a few rolls standing in it, a mix of Christmas and birthday wrapping paper. “Tape and scissors are in the kitchen, I’ll get them for you.”

Derek got up to accept the box. ”Thank you.” Stiles went to get the scissors and tape, and Derek smiled when he gave it to him. “I’ll be in your room a little while.”

“Okay.” Stiles smiled, but he looked curious and a little bit confused.

Derek had a sock pattern that he liked, so he knitted those a lot, and when he found a pink, purple, and blue yarn, he had to make a pair for Stiles. Then he made another pair for him, and two pairs for John, as well as scarves and hats to them both, and a cable knit sweater for Stiles. He never really planned to actually give them to them, it was his own knitting, it felt cheap and boring and not good enough, but he hadn’t really been able to go to any stores since Stiles came to visit him, and it was something at least.

The presents didn’t turn out very pretty, soft presents were hard to wrap, but they were wrapped at least, and there were ribbons and tags in the box with wrapping paper, so when he considered them finished, he stacked them on the bed and went to give Stiles the wrapping things.

“Thank you,” he said, and Stiles shot him a smile as he accepted the box to put it back.

When Stiles was busy with that, Derek got the presents and put under the tree, and he had just sat down on the couch when Stiles came from the kitchen.

”You’re a sneaky one,” Stiles said when he sat down next to Derek, who smiled and hooked his arm with him.


John was off work on the 27th, so they took that day to celebrate. They spent a lot of time in the kitchen, all three of them, Derek helping with whatever they let him do while they cooked. They smiled a lot as they worked, Stiles often came over to Derek to nuzzle or kiss his cheek, and John’s soft smiles were warm and happy.

They ate too much, then it was time for presents. Stiles beamed when he opened his things from Derek, put the bi-flag colored socks on at once, and the sweater. Both Stiles and John had presents for Derek too, and Derek choked up a little as he accepted them. It was a long time since he actually celebrated his birthday or Christmas, and he felt so accepted and included and loved by them both.

He hugged John before they went to bed, then he snuggled up against Stiles and held him tight.

”Thank you,” he said softly.

”Of course,” Stiles said, then after a beat, ”for what?”

”My birthday, Christmas,” Derek said. ”For including me.”

Stiles pressed a kiss to his forehead. ”I’m very happy that you came,” he said. ”I liked celebrating with you, and I definitely think we should do that again.”

Derek smiled against his chest. ”Okay. That’d be nice.”

”Good,” Stiles said.

Derek lifted himself up on an elbow so he could look at Stiles, rested his other arm on his chest, and Stiles smiled at him.

”Can I kiss you?” Derek asked.

Stiles furrowed his brows. ”Yes,” he said. ”Of course you can. I don’t—I wasn’t sure what we were, and I don’t know what you’re okay with, but you can pretty much do whatever you want.”

Derek nodded and put his hand on Stiles’ cheek, thumbed the corner of his mouth and just below his bottom lip, then leaned down for a soft kiss. He pulled back soon, and Stiles was smiling.

”I’m not sure what I’m okay with,” Derek said, ”I just know I want… so much more with you than I’ve wanted with anyone in… a long time.”

”Okay.” Stiles stroked Derek’s cheek, carded his fingers through his hair, then held his hand so he was cupping the back of his neck, his thumb gently stroking his hair. ”I know I want everything with you, cuddling and handholding and kissing and sex and all of it, so if you want to try anything, test it out how it feels, if it’s something you want, then we can. Whatever you want.”

Derek nodded and leaned down to kiss him again, and Stiles moved his hand to his cheek.

”Okay,” Derek said.

”Just don’t do anything you don’t want, okay?” Stiles said. ”Tell me if I do anything you’re not comfortable with, and stop if you change your mind about anything.”

Derek nodded again, and when Stiles lifted his head he smiled and leaned down to meet him for another kiss.

”Thanks,” he said against his mouth, then kissed him again.


Two days later the internet told them that all the electricity was back on around where Derek lived.

”Wanna celebrate New Year’s in your cabin with me?” Stiles asked. ”I don’t have to get back to Portland until the 5th, but I’d like to spend some more time with you before that. Unless you wanna come with me?”

He winked at Derek, who shrugged.

”Maybe New Year's first, then I can come to visit in a couple of weeks?”

Stiles nodded. ”If you want to, I’d like that.”

”Yeah,” Derek said. It would be nice to have that to look forward to. Maybe he didn’t need to hide all the time after all. Maybe he could allow himself to be happy with Stiles. He smiled and pressed a kiss to the corner of Stiles’ mouth. ”I’d like that too.”