"We should have ice cream at the zoo to celebrate your job at the wildlife preserve," Stiles announced on Saturday morning as they headed to the zoo in Derek's Camaro.
"Celebratory ice cream works for me," Derek said with a grin.
"I mean, I would've gotten a bottle of wine to celebrate, but no one will accept my fake ID around here," Stiles said, grinning.
"You have a fake ID?"
"Um... That depends on what you plan on telling my dad," Stiles said warily.
"I'm going to pull over and call him right now. In fact, I'll put an ad in the local paper too, just to make sure everyone knows," Derek deadpanned.
"Oh, you've got all the jokes this morning, don't'cha?" Stiles muttered.
"How do you even know where to get a fake ID from?" Derek asked.
"I spend way too much time down at the station. I could probably name most of Beacon Hills' crooks off the top of my head. Admittedly, it's not a long list," he added with a grin.
"So you're not worried that whoever you got the ID from will name you as a customer?"
"Oh, no, I didn't get the ID from one of them. I made it myself. It looks legit, but because nearly everyone in town knows who I am, I know they won't accept it. I have to go further out of Beacon County if I want alcohol, and then I have to run the risk of getting back into Beacon Hills with it in my car. I nearly always get pulled over on the way back into town; I swear Dad's got someone watching the border just for me. Of course, I didn't realise how much trouble it would be just for a six-pack when I first made the ID," Stiles admitted.
Derek pulled into the zoo parking lot, turned off the ignition, and looked at Stiles with a frown. "It's worrying that you're so blasé about breaking the rules. Kind of endearing too, but don't tell your father I said that."
Stiles laughed, the sound lighting up his face entirely, and he grinned at Derek. "Does this mean you'll let me give you a blow job on the way back?"
"No. If you really think your dad's got someone watching your car, what do you think he's going to do to me after our first date?"
"Aw, you said this was a date. C'mere, boo."
"Not if you call me that again," Derek said with a shudder.
Stiles snickered and tugged Derek to him over the gear stick anyway. He kissed him firmly, licking into his mouth after a moment, and reached down, his fingers skating over Derek's lap before unlatching his seat belt.
"Come on, penguins and zebras and pandas await," Stiles said, grinning as he got out of the car.
Derek breathed in deeply and refrained from pulling Stiles back into the car to make him continue with his kiss and his hands. Fuck, he was in so much trouble. Stiles looked back into the car like he knew exactly what he'd done, and Derek breathed out just as deeply as he had inhaled before he stepped out of the car.
"So, what do you want to see first? There's a map here," Stiles said, tugging him over to the board. "Oh, they've got a peacock!"
Derek read the map carefully as Stiles started talking about male peacocks and their bright feathers.
"I mean, the female peacocks have got to feel pretty bad, just being all one colour, don't you think?"
"The male peacocks still fight over them and try to impress them with their colours; I don't think the female peacocks have anything to feel bad about," Derek replied, shrugging.
"Huh. That's a good point," Stiles said, sounding pleased he'd contributed rather than simply let him talk without listening or responding. "Did you see anything you wanted to see?"
"I'd like to see the red panda. It's at the other end of the zoo, though, so we can make our way up to it," Derek added.
The ticket booth roller door slid upwards, and Stiles took Derek's hand and led him over. Derek paid for their tickets before Stiles could get his wallet out.
"I'm buying the ice creams," Stiles said as they went inside with their tickets and maps. "It's bad luck to buy your own celebratory ice cream, anyway."
"Who said?" Derek asked, a little surprised as Stiles' grip tightened in his and he practically marched them through the zoo without stopping to look at the animals on either side.
"My mother, actually. I'd been given a gold star at kindergarten for getting all of my colours right, even though I guessed some of them. I had enough pocket money to buy us all ice cream, but mum said it was bad luck and that she had to buy the ice creams instead. So now celebratory ice creams can't be bought by the celebrator," Stiles said firmly.
Derek wasn't quite sure what to say to that, and fell silent as Stiles continued along the path without stopping. Then he saw that one of the zoo's food stalls was already open and guessed Stiles' idea.
"I don't think I could have an ice cream right now, Stiles," Derek pointed out.
"Oh, heck no. It's too early," Stiles muttered, continuing straight past the stall.
Well, there went that idea. Derek decided to just let Stiles guide them through the zoo, and tried to see the animals as they went racing past.
"Ah, here we are," Stiles said brightly, hurrying faster and pulling Derek along into a jog with him.
"Where?" Derek asked, stopping to breathe. Geez, he needed to take up running again if he was already out of breath.
"Ailurus fulgens," Stiles enunciated carefully. "Red panda."
Derek straightened up to see the large enclosure before them, the red panda's information plaque on the wall, and another sign stating not to feed the animals next to it.
"Holy crap, that thing's so cute!" Stiles cooed excitedly, seeing the red panda lounging up in the tree.
Derek stood there for a moment, looking at Stiles rather than the panda, surprised and touched that he'd brought them to the red panda first. He was sure that they had even passed the peacock somewhere back there, but Stiles hadn't even glanced at the creature.
"You want a photo with it? Well, not literally with it, but standing nearby or something?" Stiles offered, holding up his phone.
Derek pressed a firm kiss to Stiles' mouth, speechless and unable to think of another way to say 'thank you' without the words involved, then stepped back to let Stiles take his photo.
Stiles reddened at Derek's unexpected display of affection, and hurried to take the photo before he just stood there blushing as red as the red panda all day.
"Where to next?" Derek asked when he had taken a photo for himself.
Stiles looked around at the other animals, grinning when he spotted something written on a sign. Again, he grabbed Derek's hand and guided him along the paths.
"Really, Stiles? An actual panda?" Derek asked, trying not to laugh when Stiles grinned back at him.
"Well, I did say I wanted to see them."
"I'll find out where the zebras and penguins are then," Derek said, taking a photo of the panda before looking around for another sign with a map of the zoo.
Stiles laughed and grabbed Derek's hand before he could go. "Let's just walk around; we'll find the zebras and penguins eventually."
"What if we get lost?"
"The path is bright pink, Derek."
Stiles nodded. "I know. C'mon, you can choose which path we take."
"Left," Derek said, indicating to the path with a nod of his head.
"Left it is. An excellent choice!" Stiles exclaimed dramatically, looping his arm through Derek's as they headed towards the left path.
Derek couldn't help but smile and follow where Stiles led.
"I still can't believe you ordered a plain ice cream. Like, who even does that when there's free sprinkles on offer?" Stiles groaned.
"I like plain ice cream," Derek replied, shrugging as he licked at his cone.
Stiles muttered something under his breath that Derek didn't catch, but he returned to his own ice cream - packed with sprinkles, chocolate sauce, marshmallows, and some weird silver balls that apparently were edible.
"You're probably going to be sick after eating that, you know," Derek teased, grinning.
"Nah, I've got a steel trap for a stomach. Oh, look, there's that damn peacock again! Keep that greedy bastard away from my ice cream," Stiles said, glowering at the creature.
Derek hid a smile when the peacock challenged Stiles for the third time that day, feathers out on display, and making some weird squawking sound that Derek doubted was normal. The peacock's display brought on other people to stare, a few parents looking at the bird in awe while Stiles continued to glower at it.
"I promise to defend your food if it tries to get away with it again," Derek said.
"You're mocking me, I know you are," Stiles grumbled. "We were both there, you saw that thing go for my fries!"
Now that the peacock had the attention of others, it no longer seemed quite so intent on Stiles (or his food), and strutted away as other people cooed and followed at a slight distance, taking care not to step on the trailing tail of feathers.
"Yeah, you'd better keep walking!"
Derek shook his head and finished his ice cream in silence. Stiles hummed happily as he ate, almost choked on one of those silver balls until Derek was able to dislodge it after several firm smacks to his back, then ate everything else and left the rest of the tiny balls to melt away.
"That was seriously good," Stiles said, patting his bulging stomach with a sigh.
"Do you want to see anything else in particular?" Derek offered.
"Think I've seen all I wanted to see. Besides, I think moving is a bad idea right now. I'm just... gonna lie here... until the pain stops," Stiles groaned, lying back on the grass.
"I thought you had a steel stomach?" Derek teased, grinning.
"I do! It's the rest of me that's all... marshmallow-y. Oh, that's a bad word after so much food. Non-steel? Yeah, that works," Stiles murmured to himself, yawning widely.
Derek didn't mind sitting there as Stiles dozed off, looking through the photos they'd taken since arriving almost six hours ago. He snapped a few more photos of Stiles, lying there with ice cream on the tip of his nose, and a red blush on his cheeks from the sun overhead. Derek swiped the ice cream off in a motion so fast that Stiles didn't even stir, and moved so Stiles would be in his shadow and protected from the sun's rays. He sat there quietly, listening and watching the other people around them, his hand loosely held in Stiles' grasp.
The Sheriff was on the phone when Stiles and Derek arrived at the Stilinski residence that afternoon. He gave them both a smile and greeting wave before returning to his conversation.
"... and which agent helped you book the tour, Ms. Boyd?"
"Dad's been talking to Ronnie for four days. It's ridiculous how much red tape there is with those travel agencies," Stiles muttered, shaking his head.
"Who's Ronnie?" Derek asked, frowning and trying to remember if a 'Ronnie' had ever been mentioned before.
"Veronica, she's Boyd's older sister," Stiles replied. "She hates being called Veronica though, so tells everyone to call her Ronnie instead."
"So it's Ronnie, Boyd, and Mama Boyd?"
"And Papa Boyd, and Tee," Stiles said, ticking off their names on his fingers.
Derek was distracted by Stiles' fingers for a long moment before his words filtered through and he frowned. "Tee?"
"Verity, aka, Tee; she's Boyd's younger sister."
"Right. No one in that family likes their first name?" Derek asked curiously.
"Apparently they're all named after older family members, and the whole 'V' thing is a running joke in the Boyd family, so reunions are confusing beyond belief. Erica says that Mama Boyd's got one hell of a sense of humour."
Derek nodded, not doubting it for a moment.
"What about your family? There's you and I know Laura," Stiles said.
Derek closed his eyes for a moment, remembering the car crash as though he'd been there himself. He took a steading breath and when he opened his eyes again, Stiles was looking at him with wide eyes and a pale face.
"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry, I didn't... I completely forgot, oh my god, I'm so sorry. Shit."
"Stiles, don't worry. It's not the first or last time my family will be brought up. It's just," Derek stopped for a moment, licking his dry lips. "It's still painful. My younger sister and brother were in the van with our parents, and our Aunt and Uncle and baby cousin, and they... only Uncle Peter survived, and he's been in a coma ever since. So, it's just me and Laura."
Stiles bit his lip, not knowing what to say, and flung himself towards Derek, wrapping his arms around his torso and burying his head against his shoulder. Derek's breath caught in his throat at the unexpected action, and he wound his arms around Stiles' body, resting his chin against Stiles' shoulder.
The Sheriff found them that way later when he came up to invite Derek to dinner, and he recognised the distraught expression on Derek's face all too well, after weeks or months of staring at himself in the mirror after Claudia's death. He left again quietly without disturbing them, leaving Stiles and Derek to their moment.
End of the seventh chapter.
Thanks for reading!