Derek hates going to rescue cats from trees.
He hates rescuing most animals to be honest.
It's not that he hates animals; he actually likes most animals and has even considered getting a cat. The problem with animals though, is that they don't understand that they're getting rescued and most of the time they put up quite a fight against their rescuer. So Derek and his colleagues don't really like getting calls telling them to rescue a cat from a tree because it will end with someone getting claw marks on their arms – despite the thick coats they wear.
If it got itself up there, it can get itself down again, his colleague Erica always says. Derek agrees wholeheartedly.
In the truck towards the address they’ve been given, Erica holds up her hand in a fist and Derek copies her. It's a well-known procedure for all of them.
“Rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock,” they count in unison.
Derek chooses lizard, which Erica smashes with her rock. Erica then beats Danny as well and then Danny beats Derek with his lizard that bites Spock.
Stupid game, really.
Danny looks like he's sorry Derek is the one who has to retrieve the cat, but also glad that it isn't himself. Derek can relate to that feeling.
They arrive and when they climb out of the truck they are met by a (rather cute) dark-haired guy in a ridiculous orange sweater with a black bat on. Derek's opinion of the guy’s shirt is caught on by the wearer - probably because of his eyebrows, his sister Laura has told him quite a few times how judgmental they can be (it's not Derek's fault Laura does stupid shit that Derek can silently judge her for). The guy grins at Derek.
“It's Halloween, give me a break,” he says with a wink. (Ridiculously long eyelashes surrounding ridiculous almost-amber eyes.)
“I didn't say anything,” Derek defends himself.
“Not your mouth but your eyebrows did.”
See? Derek has judgmental eyebrows, but again, it's not his fault people do stupid shit Derek can judge them for – like wearing an orange, knitted sweater. No matter how good their chest might look, the sweater is still hideous.
The guy grins at him and Derek takes a moment to admire his pink, full lips.
“Is there a cat that needed help?” Erica asks, interrupting Derek in trying to count the moles that are visible on the guy’s face. Derek wonders how many there are on his body and if the guy would like Derek to follow them with his tongue. Derek thinks he would like that.
“Yup, she won't come down. Or can't, most likely. She's not used to be outdoors. Snuck out when some kids came knocking on my door.”
Erica shoves Derek back towards the truck and they get the hydraulic platform and Derek up in the air. The cat is almost at the top of the tree; Derek can only see parts of its black fur because orange leaves cover the rest of its body. When he gets closer he sees that it's not, in fact, leaves at all.
“What the fuck...?”
The cat is wearing an orange sweater, matching the one of its owner.
Surprisingly, the cat lets itself be grabbed and held in Derek's arms without too much fuss. It growls but doesn't do much else. Once back on the ground Derek hands the cat over to the owner who smiles as he kisses the cat's head.
“Thank you,” he smiles blindingly at Derek as if Derek had rescued his only child out of a burning building, not a freaking cat (in a sweater) from a tree.
“Have you considered that maybe your cat tried to run away because you force it to wear ugly holiday sweaters?”
“Shut up, she loves her holiday sweaters. You should see her Christmas sweater.”
Derek can tell that the guy isn't offended at all. Derek himself likes that someone talks back at him without missing a beat.
There's a bit of awkward silence during which Derek stares at the guy who stares back while patting the now purring cat absentmindedly.
“You wanna come in for some coffee? I make a mean pumpkin spice latte,” the guy finally offers.
Derek’s just about to accept when the sound of Erica clearing her throat startle them both.
“Uh, I've gotta get back to work.”
The guy looks dejected so Derek hurriedly adds, “I'd love to taste that latte of yours some other time though. And see your cat's other clothes.”
The smile he receives this time is even more blinding.
“Great, call me. I’m Stiles, by the way.”
Boyd honks the truck and the cat climbs over the guy's shoulder and makes a beeline for the opened door to the guy's house.
“I've gotta... See you.”
Stiles leaves and Erica shoves Derek’s shoulder so hard that he almost falls to the ground. It’s not his fault Stiles’ ass is practically illegal.
Erica cackles all the way back to the station.
Derek finds out that Stiles’ Christmas sweater is equally ridiculous and ugly. So is Moonfang's. The most ridiculous sweater is the one Stiles forces Derek to wear.
The worst thing is that when Stiles face lights up and he laughs until he cries, Derek feels his heart swell and he doesn't even mind wearing the sweater or the antlers.