“Bye guys! We’ll see you soon, alright. Be good for Uncle Scott!”
Stiles waved at the three figures in the doorway, as he got into the car.
“Don’t worry about it Stiles, we’ll be fine! We’ve done this before.” Scott said as he nudged Noah in the ribs. He was already half-way through second grade, Stiles mused. Maybe they should get another one soon… Though Natalie was only five. And they were already on their way to adding another family member.
As they rounded the corner, Stiles turned around in his seat to watch Scott herd the kids inside. Noah may be able to stand the cold, but Natalie was human, and the snow lay unusually thick on the ground. They had gone to the park earlier in the day, and both Stiles and Natalie had had to bundle up until they were unrecognizable. Unless you were a werewolf, in which case you could just smell it, of course.
Stiles turned back around in his seat, smiled. “This is The Best Christmas Surprise, Der.”
Derek hummed in agreement. This Christmas was going to be The Best Christmas. The last few years had been filled with Good Christmases, though, so whatever happened this year, it would probably be a Good Christmas anyway. “I’m looking so much forward to this. I can’t believe we’re picking her up today!” Stiles exclaimed suddenly, and Derek huffs amusedly at him. “Me too.” he says with a content smile.
After a few hours drive, they finally pulled up to a big house in Oregon. They wouldn’t get back home until the middle of the night, but Scott had promised it was not a bother, despite it being Christmas Eve. He knew where they were, even if the kids did not. Noah and Natalie thought their daddies were celebrating 10 years as partners is crime (not their actual anniversary, though. That had only been two and a half years. Natalie had just been old enough to be flower girl.).
As Derek pulled the car into park, Stiles eagerly reached for the door. He was in desperate need to stretch his legs after the long drive.
Derek, on the other hand, stayed seated for a few more seconds. Despite them both being in their thirties, with two kids, he found Stiles long legs, and firm butt as attractive as ever. Especially in these moments when he stumbled around like Bambi on ice. There was some irony in that, he supposed.
Legs properly stretched and shaken out, Stiles turned around and noticed that Derek was still in the car. He knocked on the window. “Ready?” He asked with a lop-sided grin. Derek would always be ready for Stiles, he thought, but didn’t voice any of it.
As they approached the door, hand in hand, Derek could hear the puppies stumbling around. They had first visited the dogs in the middle of summer, when Stiles and Derek had finally agreed on a breed (which really was not as difficult as one might think, considering the fact that the dog in question had to be sturdy enough to handle werewolves). It had been a struggle, to find a dog that suited their lifestyle, though it was one they both enjoyed taking on.
In the livingroom, where the puppies were contained, Stiles immediately fell to his knees to embrace the three puppies left. Their mother had an eye on them from the sofa, but by now she recognized Stiles and (especially) Derek as friends, and did not seem worried. Karma, their newest addition, was snuggled up in Stiles lap, and Derek was sure she would fit right in.
Before they left, they had a cup of coffee with the – now previous – owner. Christine was a pleasant woman in her forties. The kind of woman who both enjoyed Stiles’ chatter (some things would never change, thankfully) and Derek’s quiet calm. They had already agreed to keep in touch, and come to puppy meet-ups in the future. It would be a great.
“To think, we’re adding another bitch to the family, huh” Stiles mused in the backseat. Derek choked a bit on his own saliva. “Are you making dog-jokes about our human daughter Stiles?” He forced out through gritted teeth.
“Don’t be silly, why would I call my daughter a bitch? I was talking ‘bout Laura.” Stiles teased. Derek had been glancing back at Stiles with the dosing puppy in the backseat, but huffed when he got caught. Laura was not a bitch, either. She was actually the one who had carried Noah around for nine months. Derek though Stiles might want to remember that next time he called her a bitch, and told Stiles just that. An unattractive snort was heard from the backseat. “Yeah, right. Don’t even pretend you don’t think she’s a bitch sometimes!”
At first they thought to put Karma in the kitchen, but then they realised that the kitchen was, in fact, their most used room in the whole house. The kitchen was not only for food, but for drawings and homework and for when Derek or Stiles worked from home, and it was where they all gathered when they had guests (which was all the time). What they came up with instead, was to put her under the stairs. Derek had, the week before, gotten his tool box out and adjusted the the space so that it was better fit for a dog. Stiles had joked about it being like Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs, but they both agreed they would never lock little Karma in anywhere.
For this one Christmas night, though, she was allowed to sleep with Stiles and Derek in their bed.
Derek and Stiles had tip-toed into their house past midnight, but Scott, who was sleeping on their sofa, had not even stirred. Stiles had quietly shaken him awake and ushered him home, while Derek took the puppy up to their bedroom and checked on the kids.
When they were all settled in bed together, Karma lay between them, getting her belly rubbed by Derek’s big palm, and her big ears scratched by Stiles nimble fingers. Despite being two months old, her belly was round and white, and her brownish grey fur fluffy and soft. She was The Best Christmas Surprise.
Derek woke up by getting a knobbly knee on his bladder. Despite that, he managed to catch Natalie before she crashed head-first between her daddies, and straight on to their new family addition. “Careful, sweetie, we’ve got a surprise for you.” he grunted. He sat up a bit, leaning against the headboard, and Natalie curled up on his lap. “I’ll show you something we got for you two yesterday, if you promise to be very quiet, hm?” Her dark curls bounced against her back as she nodded eagerly. How she could be so awake at five thirty in the morning was beyond Derek, but her eyes were clear and wide as she answered “Yeah ok!” It was supposed to be a whisper, probably, but Derek could hear the puppy stirring, and saw Stiles’ eyes peek open. For his two humans it was pitch black in the room though, and Natalie would not even be able to smell something was off. Therefore, Derek reached for the lamp on his bedside table, and it cast a dim light across the room. When Stiles shifted, their duvet hitched down a bit, and Karma’s big ears popped up by Stiles’s chin.
“Daddy!” Natalie squealed, and there was Noah awake as well. “Is it real Daddy? Oh please can we keep it?” she continued, and Stiles had to calm the puppy down while Derek hushed at Natalie. As they all settled, Noah hurried in as well, and pounced on his papa’s feet, and then cozied up to Stiles’ tummy. “Can I pet her?” he asked reverently, and Derek took that as his cue:
“Yes, carefully. And yes, sweetie, we’re keeping her.” Stiles hummed along. “Her name is Karma, and she’s our new family member. But she’s just a baby, and you’ll both have to be careful with her. You can cuddle her, but you are not allowed to squeeze her, and if she tries to get away, you have to let her.” he said in his Dad Voice.
Stiles grinned. “She’ll grow past you guys by summer though, and then we can take her out camping, and Daddy can bring her to work, and she might even run along when we bike to the lake!”
All of Christmas morning had been filled with their new puppy. At first, the kids had wanted to be with her all the time, in everything she did, whether that be sleeping or playing or exploring her new domain, or going out in the backyard to do her business. Now, though, Derek was alone with Karma outside. Stiles had convinced the kids to get dressed so they could help with cooking, and Derek could see them through the kitchen window. His family. Sometimes he thought he was dreaming. He had talked to Laura about it, but she did not seem worried, said she felt the same way sometimes with her little family. Cora, on the other hand, had just given him her look. Derek knew she felt it sometimes too. In moments where everything felt perfect.
In moments such as family Christmas Lunch. The rest of the pack would arrive soon.
Stiles’ and his house would be filled with laughter and running children and the smell of cooking. They would all be too full to move when opening presents. Derek thought this Christmas would be The Best Christmas.
Karma lumbered over to him, as she was tired now, and he carried her inside and put her in her little bedroom under the stairs. It was good.
Life was good.