“Derek,” Stiles whined. “I’m stuck.”
Derek looked up from the box he was opening. Stiles had somehow wrapped his entire body in a string of Christmas lights. A dramatic frown was plastered on his face as the colored lights blinked cheerfully. “You’ve had that strand of lights for less than three minutes,” he chuckled, rising from the couch.
“Have you considered that maybe these lights are sentient and trying to strangle me like some kind of holiday boa constrictor?” Stiles asked indignantly.
Derek stood in front of him, smirking. “Have you considered that maybe I like you tied up?”
Stiles blushed and tilted his head to the side, exposing his neck.
Derek’s eyes flashed red for a brief second, and he buried his face in Stiles’s neck. There was a rumbling in his chest that almost reminded Stiles of purring. His arms wrapped around Stiles and fumbled with the cords twisted around him. After a few tugs, the cords dropped to the ground, and Derek stepped back, giving Stiles room to step out of the pile of lights.
Stiles’s lips twisted up in a smirk. “Thank you, my alpha.”
Derek rolled his eyes and sitting back down on the sofa, resuming his tour of the box’s contents.
“Come on,” Stiles said. “You know you’re genetically predisposed to find me irresistible.”
“I hear scientists are making excellent progress with gene therapy,” Derek said, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh, please,” Stiles said, waving his hand sarcastically. “Scientists can’t do shit about this.” He gestured between them with his finger. “We’re virtually soulmates, and you know it.”
“Virtually,” Derek whispered to himself, a giant smile spreading across his entire face.
The next two hours passed with Stiles winding lights around the branches of the tree in the corner and then asking Derek to fix it when he inevitably got tangled after each branch. Derek happily obliged, helping each time with a smile.
When they were finished, there were so many lights on the tree, the green was hardly visible. They stood back, admiring their handiwork. Derek wrapped his arm around Stiles’s shoulder, and Stiles wrapped his arm around Derek’s waist.
“We make quite the team,” Stiles said quietly.
Derek nodded in agreement.
“Ornaments?” Stiles asked.
“Ornaments,” Derek confirmed.
They plopped down on the couch. Derek reached into the box and pulled out a handful of glass candy canes and laid them out on the coffee table in front of them. They each pulled a tiny metal hook out of the package and threaded one end through the loop at the top of the candy cane.
“Ow! Shit!” Stiles gasped.
Derek snapped his head towards him. Stiles was holding a finger as a tiny drop of blood pooled at the tip. Derek wordlessly reached out and took his hand. Black lines traced up his veins for a second before disappearing. He held the tip of his finger firmly, applying pressure to the puncture.
Stiles sighed. “Derek, it’s not that serious. You didn’t have to do that.”
“I know. But I wanted to,” Derek replied without taking his attention from Stiles’s finger. “I don’t like you hurting when I can do something about it.” His voice was soft, and the words seemed to float on the air.
Stiles reached over and kissed Derek on the cheek. “Thank you.”
Derek nodded. Releasing Stiles’s finger, he inspected to make sure the bleeding had stopped and gently placed Stiles’s hand into his lap. “How about I put the hooks on the ornaments, and you hang them?”
“Dude, I am not saddling you with the shitty job just because I can’t prep an ornament without inflicting bodily harm.”
“I don’t mind. Besides, I don’t have an eye for design like you do,” Derek deadpanned.
Stiles took a candy cane and stood up. “I know you’re joking, but I also know you’re right.”
Derek chuckled and wound another hook onto a candy cane while Stiles stood in front of the tree trying to find the perfect spot for the one in his hand. After much deliberation, he hung the candy cane from a branch about two thirds up the tree with an incredibly serious look on his face.
Derek watched silently as Stiles continued to hang ornaments around the tree while humming Deck the Halls. Before he knew it, he was humming along as well.
Stiles placed a red and gold ball on the tree and took a step back. “All done! That’s the last of them.”
Derek joined him and looked at the tree. “It looks great, but I think it’s missing something.”
Stiles turned his head and gave him a confused look.
Derek walked over to the bookshelf and pulled a book out, grabbing a small navy blue box sitting behind it and replacing the book. “We should hang this on it.” He handed the box to Stiles.
Stiles gingerly accepted the box. He lifted the lid slowly and his eyes grew wide. A crooked smile grew on his face. “Derek, this…”
“Do you like it?” he asked hesitantly.
“Derek, I love it.” Stiles lifted the ornament out of the box by its silver ribbon. Two crystal stars linked together, each etched with one of their names. At the bottom, it read Our First Christmas with the year underneath. “It’s beautiful.”
Stiles hung the ornament by its ribbon at eye level on the front of the tree. The lights refracted through the crystal making it look like the crystal itself was glowing.
Derek wrapped his arms around Stiles and pressed a kiss to his temple.
“Hold on,” Stiles said, pulling away.
Derek’s eyebrows knit with disappointment.
“Just a second!” Stiles said as he pulled on his coat. “I need to grab something out of the jeep.”
Stiles darted out of the door and was back in a flash carrying a small red box with a green ribbon on it. He handed it to Derek with a smile and shrugged off his coat.
Derek untied the ribbon and lifted the lid off of the box. The room was immediately filled with Derek’s laughter. He doubled over clutching the ornament in one hand and his stomach with the other. “Is this supposed to be us?” he wheezed.
Stiles burst into laughter and through much effort, yelled out, “Yes!”
Derek lifted the ornament out of the box and wrapped a hook through the loop at the top. It was a silver oval with a very poorly painted Little Red Riding Hood in a forest with an even more poorly painted wolf behind her. He proudly hung the ornament next to the crystal one, right at eye level and tried to catch his breath.
“I love it so much,” he said, grabbing Stiles and pulling him close. “I love you so much!”
Stiles whole body tensed in Derek’s arms.
Derek loosened his grip on Stiles. “I mean…” Derek fumbled around for words, looking anywhere other than Stiles. Sighing, he turned his eyes back to man in front of him. “I said exactly what I mean. I do love you,” he said. “But if you’re not ready, you don’t have to say it. I completely understand. No pressure at all.”
“You love me?” Stiles asked, eyebrows raised in a manner eerily similar to Derek’s. “Like you really love me?”
Derek nodded slowly.
Stiles threw his arms around Derek’s neck and pulled himself as close as he could. Their bodies were lined up against each others’ and Stiles was staring into Derek’s eyes with a goofy grin on his face. “I am totally, one hundred percent, head over heels in love with you too.”
Derek pressed his lips against Stiles’s, kissing him deeply before pulling away slowly.
“I cannot believe Derek frickin Hale is in love with me,” Stiles said giddily.
“We’ve been dating since spring, Stiles.”
“I repeat,” Stiles said seriously. “I cannot believe Derek frickin Hale is in love with me.”
Derek fell onto the couch and pulled Stiles into his lap. “I am genetically predisposed to find you irresistible.”
Stiles snickered and wrapped Derek’s arms around his stomach. He sighed contentedly as Derek nuzzled into the crook between his neck and shoulder. They sat like that for hours in the rainbow glow of their tree.