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The flamingo in the yard

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Stiles hates his boss. It’s not that it isn’t completely logical that, when you’re working with an internet security firm that’s responsible for some of the biggest companies in the country, someone has to work the days everyone wants to have off. It’s that this someone had to be him, and not one of his colleagues who have their entire family in the state. Stiles’ dad is on the other side of the freaking country. It isn’t fair.

He’s just finished the day shift, and both envies and feels bad for Aiden who has to work the night shift on Christmas Eve. Bad, because who wants to work Christmas Eve? Envies, because if Stiles worked Christmas Eve he would probably feel less lonely. At least his dad is with Scott and Melissa, meaning that he’s not alone and not eating too much red meat. The weather is crazy. It’s snowing more than it has in years, and Stiles has heard that New York has been lucky in comparison.

Stiles enters his apartment building, carrying a bag with Chinese food that fills the entire space with a smell that isn’t at all as compelling as the actual taste. He’s planning to head to Mass at the church on the corner in a couple of hours. After that, he’s going to spend the evening watching White Christmas and eating too much candy. It’s a pretty solid plan. He’s got beer if things get too boring.

Just as the elevator door is about to close, he notices his next-door neighbour, probably New York City’s hottest cop, approaching. Pressing the button to hold the doors – because he’s not an asshole, and because, hello, hot cop – Stiles waits patiently.

“Working too?” he asks as a greeting, realising that it would be super rude to not acknowledge the person he just waited for.

“Just got off my shift.”

Stiles glances at him out of the corner of his eye. He’s still wearing his uniform, and Stiles effectively pretends that the night a couple of months ago never happened. It had been a very similar situation to this one, with his neighbour looking tired and still in his uniform. However, it had been four a.m. on a Saturday night and Stiles had had one drink too many, and therefore lost the little brain-to-mouth filter he has. Yeah, he had asked if said neighbour would like to bang right then and there. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why his neighbour had politely declined. Stiles still wants to die when he thinks about it. Since then, he’s pretended he doesn’t remember, and his neighbour hasn’t said a thing about it.

“Same,” Stiles says and sighs to himself as the elevator doors begin their usual ritual of opening and closing at least four times before actually closing. “Did you catch any bad guys?”

“None too exciting, I’m afraid.”

“It still counts,” Stiles decides. “I thank you on behalf of our city.”

His neighbour snorts.

“I’m Stiles by the way,” he says the same moment he realises that he doesn’t know the guy’s name.

“Derek.”

It sounds like a cop name. The doors finally close and the elevator begins rising with the same worrying creaking sounds as usual. Someone needs to tell the landlord.

“Nice to meet you, Derek.”

He might be mistaken, but he thinks that Derek might smile. A tiny one, but still. “We’ve met before–”

Stiles gets a little sweaty from thinking about what he might say next.

“–I’ve let in your pizza delivery more times than I can count.”

Stiles pulls a face to cover up his relief. “Ouch. I wish it was all the times I order healthy food.”

“For some reason I don’t think that’s very often.”

Chinese,” Stiles argues, and holds up the bag, as the elevator dings on their floor and they exit together. “That’s healthy!”

“I bet it’s all fried,” Derek says dryly.

God, that attitude with that uniform is a bad, bad combination. Derek’s parents should’ve known better.

“You’re terrible.”

Derek actually smiles then, and fishes up his keys from his pocket. “Enjoy your fried chicken.”

“Thank you!” Stiles calls loudly after him, even though the door has already closed.

He’s still feeling overly full as he changes his clothes into something warmer and more comfortable, a couple of hours later. It’s not like anyone in church is going to judge him for wearing plaid. They’re not allowed. It’s in the Bible somewhere, for sure. He puts on knitted mittens and a hat before he leaves. It was freezing before, so it’s probably even colder now.

As he reaches the elevator door, he notices that someone is pressing the button to hold it open for him. It’s Derek. He’s dressed in jeans and a warm-looking coat, and his hair looks a little damp, as though it hasn’t fully dried after a shower.

“Thanks,” Stiles says.

The door begins its usual open-close-open-close after Derek presses the button for the lobby.

“You heading to your family?” Derek asks.

“Nah, heading to church. My dad lives in California, and I had to work. I figured that going to the mass would be better than Netflix.”

“What church?”

“The one on the corner.”

Derek nods. “Me too.”

Humming, Stiles tries to come up with something to say, but he never really thought that Derek would be alone, too. “Is your family in another state as well?” he asks carefully.

“Yes, they’re stuck in D.C. I was supposed to spend Christmas with them, but with the heavy snowfall, their flight was cancelled.”

“Bummer.”

Derek shrugs. “I told them from the start that flying out on the twenty-third was an unnecessary risk.”

“Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow,” Stiles tries, and pulls his coat tighter around himself as they exit the building.

“Hopefully,” Derek agrees.

The walk to the church is short, but Stiles feels sort of awkward as he walks next to Derek. They don’t really know each other, but it’s not like he can’t not walk with Derek, now that they’ve bumped into each other.

“Do you like children’s choirs?”

Derek frowns. “I find them terrifying.”

Biting his lip, Stiles does his best not to grin. “Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

“You can handle a gun and criminals for work, but singing children terrifies you?”

“I can bust a drug cartel, but if there are kids in gowns performing Ave Maria, I’m out.”

Laughing, Stiles almost trips over his own feet. “Wow. Don’t tell your boss that.”

“Don’t tell the city gangs that.”

“You know, I don’t think you’d have to worry about them putting on gowns and singing.”

Derek smiles. It looks a little shy. “Better safe than sorry.”

Stiles shivers and fists his hands despite the mittens as they round the corner to the church. It’s dark outside, but the streetlights and the outdoor torches are making it difficult to see if the sky is cloudy or clear. It smells like melted candle wax, and pine trees, and cold.

“Are you meeting up with someone?” Stiles asks.

“No. You?”

“Nope. Just me.” He glances at Derek, noticing how he doesn’t seem to be bothered by the cold, whereas Stiles is convinced that his nose and cheeks are pinched and red by now. “Wanna grab seats together?”

Derek hesitates, and maybe he’s remembering the fact that Stiles once confessed his overwhelming desire to have Derek’s body against his. In an elevator. In their apartment building.

“At the back.”

Stiles snorts. “Yeah yeah, not too close to the kids in gowns.”

They sit down in the back row, accepting a candle from a woman who’s handing them out to everyone entering. They watch as the church slowly fills with families, old couples, young couples, and others who are as alone as they are. Well sort of. Stiles is pretty much here alone even though he’s sitting next to Derek.

“How long have you been a cop?” he asks, hoping to get Derek to engage in small talk.

“Five years.”

Clearly, Derek’s freaking terrible when it comes to asking the polite and you? questions.

“Do you like it?”

“In its own way, yes.”

Stiles is just about to ask what that means when the children’s choir enters and the entire room falls quiet. He has always loved this; kids looking proud to be in front of a crowd, and how they always seek their families’ gazes, grinning when they find them. It gives him some kind of sting of homesickness. It’s not like he ever went to church with his dad, but maybe that’s exactly why – he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s not with his dad.

“Do you want to do the communion?” Derek asks him, as the kids trot off a long while later, when people get up from their seats.

Shaking his head, Stiles moves out of the way for an older man who tries to pass him. “No, I’m good. You?”

“I’ll pass.”

They wait until the communion is over, and Stiles is fascinated with the sense of community here. People he’s sure don’t really know each other smile, as though they’re meeting a friend. Maybe it’s the Christmas effect. His heart grows a little achy as they light their candles at the end of the mass, singing Silent Night, and the acoustics in the church gives him goosebumps. Derek is a solid presence next to him, and Stiles wonders what he’s thinking.

They’re quiet the entire way home. It’s not stiff, but Stiles can’t stop trying to find something to say. He can’t.

“Thanks for the company,” he tells Derek when they part ways outside Stiles’ door. “Merry Christmas.”

Derek pauses for a fraction of a second. “Merry Christmas,” he replies, his voice quiet, and gives Stiles a small smile before he unlocks his door and disappears.

Stiles’ tiny studio apartment feels really, really empty after spending a couple of hours in a warm, candlelit church with live music. He turns on the TV and grabs a bag of Doritos before curling up in his bed. White Christmas is almost finished, but he knows it so well by now that he doesn’t mind just watching the end.

Just as the credits start rolling, everything goes pitch black.

“Um,” Stiles says to himself, and reaches out for the lamp on the bedside table. Nothing happens when he clicks the switch. “Um,” he repeats to himself, as he randomly presses the buttons on the TV remote. “Aw, crap.”

Swearing under his breath, he stumbles out of bed, acutely aware of the fact that the temperature in the building is going to drop about a billion degrees if the power is out. He has no clue how that works, but it’s just never convenient. He’s tried to tell his landlord this, but did he listen? Of course not.

He walks carefully to the door, regretting his decision not to tidy his place up yesterday, and turns on the flashlight on his phone as he hunts for the fuse box in the corridor outside.

“There’s no use,” a familiar voice says next to him, and Stiles almost jumps out of his skin. He’s proud of himself for not screaming.

“Asshole,” he mutters, and turns the flashlight right in Derek’s face in revenge.

“It needs a new fuse. I tried calling the landlord, but he couldn’t send anyone until tomorrow morning.”

“He answers when you call?” Stiles gapes.

Derek quirks an eyebrow at him, and Stiles glares in response.

“Of course he does. On Christmas Eve, even,” he mutters. Then he rubs his hands together. “Great, now I’ll just spend the evening freezing to death.”

“Don’t you own clothes?”

“No,” Stiles deadpans. “I’m here naked, can’t you tell?”

Derek smirks. “You’ll be fine.”

Stiles wants to kick him in the chin as he walks past. He gets cold easily, and he’s got less than 50% battery on his phone – that’s nothing when you’ve got nothing else to do but update yourself on all social media apps available.

Going back into his apartment, he wraps himself in all the blankets he can find, and decides to try sleeping.

It doesn’t work.

An hour later, he’s up walking, trying to warm up his cold feet. Half an hour later, he knocks on Derek’s door, because he needs to distract himself from the cold.

“I’m dying,” he says as a greeting, when Derek finally opens.

“You’re not.”

“Touch my foot and tell me I’m lying.”

Derek snorts. “Try sleeping.”

“I did, and it didn’t work because I’m dying.”

Derek eyes him, and Stiles suspects that he looks hilarious underneath the pile of blankets. “What is it that you want me to do, then?”

“Distract me.”

Derek quirks an eyebrow, and Stiles would probably blush if it wasn’t for the fact that all his blood has turned into ice.

“By talking to me,” Stiles clarifies.

Derek hesitates for so long that Stiles contemplates leaving him there and just going back to his own place.

“Fine,” he says then, and steps aside to let Stiles in.

It feels like he’s entering a different world. He doesn’t know Derek. All he knows is that he’s extremely attracted to Derek, that he seems funny, and that he speaks to Stiles on more than one level. And that he’s afraid of kids in gowns.

Derek’s apartment – well it’s dark so it’s hard to see – is clean and minimalistic. There are a lot of books, and it’s bigger than Stiles’. There seems to be a separate bedroom, at least, because all Stiles can see is a combined kitchen and living room.

There’s a computer balancing on the edge of the coffee table, but no blanket in sight. Clearly, Derek isn’t as bothered by the cold as Stiles is. It’s unfair.

“Nice,” Stiles comments, as it dawns on him that he’s actually in Derek’s apartment.

“Thanks.”

Stiles gestures towards the computer. “You watching something?”

“I just finished an episode of Game of Thrones.” Derek goes over and closes the lid. “The battery is about to die.”

Grimacing, Stiles decides to make himself comfortable on the couch. “Typical.”

“I was thinking about going to bed.”

Stiles gets up from the couch again almost instantly. “Shit, sorry. I completely forgot that just because I can’t sleep, it doesn’t mean that other people won’t.”

At that, Derek shrugs, and Stiles relaxes somewhat. “It’s fine.”

Tapping his fingers against his face, Stiles looks around. He tries to come up with something to say: a topic, an ugly piece of furniture to comment on, anything. But there’s nothing. For some reason, he hasn’t realised that being in Derek’s apartment is kind of weird, until now.

“So, I have a tub of ice cream. Do you want to help me eat it?”

To his surprise, Derek nods. “Sure. Do you have candles?”

Humming, Stiles thinks he can remember buying one of those multi packs of tea lights from IKEA. The bigger kind with like a billion hours of burning time. “I might. I’ll go check.”

Derek nods again, and goes to open a cabinet as Stiles leaves again. He thinks about never going back. It’s much colder in his own apartment, but at least he doesn’t feel like an idiot for wearing a mountain of blankets.

As he digs out the tub of ice cream from his freezer and makes sure that there’s nothing else at risk of melting, he also hunts down the packet of tea lights. He finds a handful of the smaller kind as well. Derek must own spoons, he decides, because he doesn’t have enough hands to carry any with him.

He hesitates before knocking on Derek’s door again with his elbow, and enters immediately. “Found tea lights,” he announces, and dumps the plastic bag on the kitchen counter.

“I hope you like fudge ice cream.”

Derek snorts. “Of course I like fudge ice cream.”

Stiles is surprised to see two bowls and two spoons on the coffee table, as well as a whole bunch of glass jars in varying sizes.

“I don’t have any candle holders,” Derek explains, as though he notices Stiles looking.

“Those will work great.”

Derek lights the candles, and Stiles watches from the couch as he places them throughout the apartment. The room is quickly filled with the warm, golden lights, Stiles clutches the tub in his hands as Derek places the last candles beside the TV and on the kitchen counter.

God, he looks freaking perfect. He’s wearing grey sweats that look way more stylish than any sweats Stiles has ever seen, and a knitted sweater. God dammit. And here he is, probably not looking very bangable for someone in Derek’s league.

“Ice cream?” He holds up the tub.

Derek sits down next to him on the couch, and the warmth from his body makes Stiles’ cold hands ache.

“Did you hear anything from your family?” he asks, taking the lid off and offering the tub to Derek.

“Still stuck last time I got ahold of them.”

He watches as Derek scoops ice cream into his bowl. It’s easier than looking Derek in the eye.

“I hope they’ll be able to fly out tomorrow. Are they from around here?”

“My parents live in New Jersey,” Derek says, and Stiles scoops ice cream into his own bowl. “My sisters live in Boston and D.C. My parents and my younger sister had been visiting in D.C., and they were going to fly back together.”

“Dude, talk about bad luck.”

“Could’ve been worse,” Derek reasons, and shrugs as he puts the spoon in his mouth.

“True.” Stiles must be the biggest idiot on the planet for suggesting ice cream, when he’s about to freeze to death. “The snow’s going to stop falling at some point.”

Derek smiles a little. “Can’t argue with that.”

They’re quiet for a while, and Stiles grimaces as his feet start to prickle. The numb feeling is going away, as the candles slowly raise the temperature in the room. He notices in surprise how there’s a little bit of a fog covering the lower inches of the windows.

“What is it that you do?”

“Hm?” He tears his gaze away from the windows, and turns to Derek.

“Your work. What is it?”

“I’m an internet security consultant.” Stiles clears his throat. “The company I work for is responsible for the security for a whole bunch of other companies. We make sure that they aren’t hacked, and if there’s a hostile attack, we need to make sure their website, their data and all that jazz stays safe.”

Derek looks at him for a long moment. “That’s interesting.”

“It’s okay.” Stiles doesn’t tell him that he’s helped develop some of the software they use to detect attacks, or that he’s the brain behind some of the protection. Or that he’s the one they call when there’s an attack they’re having trouble fighting.

“I don’t know anything about any of that.” Derek frowns. “Which is problematic at times, because crimes have migrated to the web, and we’re lightyears behind the people committing them.”

Stiles snorts. “I know. I’ll come talk to your people if you want me to.” He says the last part before he’s able to stop himself. “You know, like information and what’s new out there.”

“You would?”

“Sure. I’m in a constant race against the masterminds when it comes to finding ways to protect data from what they come up with next. I know a little about what’s new.”

Derek quirks an eyebrow. “You sure you’re not a blackhat?”

“Then I’d be working for FBI.”

“You never said you didn’t.”

Grinning, Stiles looks down at his bowl. “True.”

Silence falls again, and they booth scoop more ice cream into their bowls. It’s melted somewhat now, and it no longer feels like the spoon is going to break in two when they dig in. Stiles loses a blanket, starting to feel warmer in his clothes, and he curls up on the couch, folding one leg under himself.

“Your apartment is twice the size of mine.” It’s just to break the ice.

“It’s enough for me.”

“I’ve been looking around for a new place, because mine isn’t enough for me,” Stiles explains. “I have too much stuff and it’s annoying to have to see my piles of dirty dishes from my bed. It also makes it less sexy when you bring people home.”

Derek smirks. “They probably don’t care.”

“It’d be easier with a kitchen door you can close.”

“It would probably result in you not doing your dishes as often,” Derek points out.

“I hate it when you’re reasonable.”

To his surprise, Derek laughs. It’s short, but Stiles still needs to shrug off another blanket with the way warmth rushes through his body. Derek looks shy when he laughs.

Conversation flows more easily after that, and somewhere after midnight, Stiles drapes his last blanket over the armrest of the couch.

“So,” he says, scraping the last of the melted ice cream from the bottom of the tub. “I want to apologise for something.”

Derek frowns. “You don’t need to apologise.”

“No, I do,” Stiles insists. His heart is beating hard behind his ribs, but if he and Derek are going to be friends, he can’t keep pretending like that night never happened. “So, I know it’s not exactly the elephant in the room, but maybe like the flamingo in the yard, so it still needs to be addressed.”

“Stiles–” Derek tries, but Stiles holds up a hand.

“I’m really sorry for coming onto you like that. I sort of want to blame being drunk, but I guess that just removed my filters. I know it’s not cool,” he adds quickly, noticing how he’s starting to talk faster with every word. “But I want you to know that I won’t do it again. I understand, and it’s fine. I know you a little bit better now, and I’m not the gross guy who keeps insisting, you know.”

“Stiles,” Derek says again, and this time with more authority in his voice, forcing Stiles to close his mouth. “It’s not a…flamingo in the yard. I didn’t decline because I’m not attracted to you. I declined, because I had to lead you to your front door and unlock it for you, and then wait outside to make sure you locked it behind you.”

Stiles doesn’t remember any of that. Oh. “I thought it was because you weren’t attracted to dudes. Or me.”

Derek snorts. “I am both of those things.”

“Seriously?” Stiles breathes, absently wondering if the candles were too old and are now creating hallucinogenic gases, or if he’s so close to freezing to death that he’s started imagining things.

“Seriously.”

Stiles stares at him, and Derek meets his gaze patiently. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“I wasn’t sure if it was the alcohol speaking, or if it was you.”

“Oh, it was definitely me.” Stiles swallows.

To his surprise, Derek smiles so wide that his nose wrinkles a little, and he looks away for a moment. When he meets Stiles’ gaze again, the brief shyness is gone and the glint in his eyes makes Stiles feel a little sweaty. “So, can I kiss you?”

Nodding, Stiles shuffles closer to him on the couch, and it feels like he’s going to burst through his skin when Derek cups his jaw. Derek only looks at him for a moment, and just as Stiles is about to ask if he’s changed his mind, he leans in.

Derek’s lips are soft against his; gentle but sure. Stiles’ entire body sighs, and he grabs onto Derek’s arms, digging his fingers into the knitted patterns in the sweater, and almost groans when Derek deepens the kiss. It’s like he’s been waiting for months.

When Derek makes an attempt to break the kiss, Stiles shakes his head and pulls him back in, because he isn’t finished. He can feel Derek’s smile against his lips, and thinks that maybe this is when he’s supposed to get that heart-tick he’s read about in books. Instead, he feels like he’s on fire, and he’s panting when he reluctantly lets Derek pull away the next time he attempts to.

“You’re not going to ask me to leave, are you?” he asks carefully.

Derek smiles, lips a little swollen. “No, I’m going to ask you if you’d like to move this to the bedroom.”

Biting his lip, Stiles nods, as he gets this crazy rush of excitement making him feel lightheaded. “Yeah,” he breathes.

Derek kisses him again then, and Stiles kind of wants to ask him if the couch isn’t sufficient enough. But then, Derek pulls away again, and gets up. Stiles swallows heavily, as he notices that Derek’s just as hard as he is.

“It’s through that door. I’ll be with you in a second, I’ll just blow out the candles.”

Nodding, Stiles feels a bit awkward going to the bedroom alone, but he’s too curious to wait until Derek’s done. Also making sure that there are no burning candles left out there is probably a responsible thing.

Derek’s bedroom is small-ish. It’s big enough for a bed that can easily fit them both, and two nightstands, but that’s about it. Stiles body is thrumming, and his fingers tremble as he unties the strings to his pants, and pulls his shirt over his head.

Just as he hooks his thumbs into the waistband of his briefs, hesitating about whether to take them off or not, Derek enters the room. For a second, nervousness and insecurity hits him, as he thinks that maybe he misunderstood. But then he hears Derek’s shaky exhale behind him, and the rush of excitement chases away everything else.

When he turns, Derek’s standing there, watching him as though he’s been waiting for this. Like he’s been starving. Stiles shivers, and the contrast of Derek being fully clothed compared to him being only in his underwear really speaks to him.

Derek kisses him again then, and this time Stiles loses his breath for real. The kiss is harder this time, more demanding, and even though Derek’s touch is slow on his skin, it’s firm and with intent. Stiles groans as Derek pulls him closer, wants them to mould into one as Derek’s hands find his ass, and somewhere between those two, Derek loses his shirt.

“I really need...” is all Stiles is able to get out, as Derek’s lips leave his mouth and find a sensitive spot on his neck, and all he can do is groan.

“Yeah,” Derek says, and then Stiles is on the bed, kicking his briefs off, watching as Derek opens the drawer in the nightstand and tosses something on the bed, before untying his sweats and pushing them down along with his underwear.

Stiles closes his eyes for a moment, and reaches down to squeeze his dick. He opens them again, when the mattress dips under Derek’s weight. Derek’s on his knees, looking down at him. He’s hard, and the head of his dick is shining with precome, and if Stiles wasn’t so desperate for having Derek inside him, he’d probably put his mouth all over it.

“How do you want it?” Derek asks, and Stiles has no clue how he can be so coherent. Maybe Stiles is the weird one, but he’s been waiting for this for months.

“Like this.” Stiles folds his legs up, putting his feet over Derek’s shoulders, and grins with pride as Derek’s dick twitches and he seems to lose focus for a while. “That okay?”

Derek nods, and then proceeds to slowly drive Stiles crazy, as he reaches for the lube and then fingers him for what feels like hours. Stiles is pretty sure he’s been begging for at least ninety percent of that time, and he’s barely coherent when Derek finally pushes into him. And then all he can do is groan, and grab onto Derek’s upper arms. Derek’s skin is glistening with sweat, and his eyes half-closed. He groans, and Stiles has to close his eyes.

“Come on,” he begs, and Derek complies. And, oh god, Stiles gives up on any kind of dignity and self control after that. He comes a lot quicker than he wants to, a lot louder than he intends to, but Derek’s right there with him, and the sound that stutters out of him makes Stiles wish he could come again.

He mumbles his protests, when Derek pulls away, and gets out of the bed a while later.

“I’ll be right back,” Derek tells him, but Stiles is already asleep before he leaves the room.

He wakes from being overly warm. Stretching, he sticks his feet outside the covers, and tries to fall back asleep. But then it hits him.

Derek.

Suddenly wide awake, he stares at the shut bedroom door, trying to put the pieces together. The sex was great. He wants to groan just thinking about it, and his muscles are sore. Smiling to himself, he presses his face into the pillow, and holds his breath as a now-familiar hand slides across the small of his back.

“Morning,” Derek says, and Stiles’ chest swells.

He thinks maybe this is also a moment when he should get one of those heart-ticks.

“Morning.” He rolls over on his back, smiling at Derek’s messy hair, and the new morning softness to his features.

“Did you sleep well?”

“Very. Did you?”

Derek nods. “The power’s back on.”

Stiles’ heart skips a beat. He’s forgotten about the real world. That he has a job where he’s expected to be, and he has no clue what time it is.

“Do you have to go to work?” Derek asks, as though he’s read Stiles’ mind.

Stiles tries not to let his panic show. Most of all, he just wants to stay in bed. “Depends. What time is it?”

“Eight-thirty.”

Sighing in relief, Stiles relaxes against the pillows. “I need to be there at eleven.”

“That’s lots of time.”

“Don’t you have work?”

“No, I got today off. I was supposed to be with my family, remember?”

“Right.” Stiles stretches again, yawning. “Heard anything from them?”

“My phone died, and I haven’t gotten myself out of bed to recharge it yet.”

Stiles grins. “It can wait a bit longer.”

Snorting, Derek reaches for him under the covers. “I guess it can.”

Looking at him for a long moment, Stiles wonders what this means. “I guess that power outage was a pretty good thing, after all.”

“It turned out pretty great,” Derek agrees, smirking in a way that makes Stiles want to squirm. Then he grows serious, propping himself up on an elbow. “I was confused for a while.”

“Confused?”

“After what happened in the elevator. I had expected you to mention it, but you never did. I was beginning to suspect that you didn’t even remember, and that was...worrying. I was starting to think that you weren’t really interested. That it was a drunk thing.”

Stiles blinks. “I told you yesterday, it wasn’t a drunk thing. Obviously.” He adds the last part, while clearing his throat. “I felt really stupid for coming onto you and being shut down, so I decided that it would be less awkward for the both of us if I just pretended that it never happened.”

“I guess that makes sense,” Derek amends after a long while of silence. “Either way, all that’s been cleared up now.”

Stiles pulls him down for a kiss, laughing against his mouth when Derek loses his balance and almost crushes him.

Getting up to get ready for work an hour later isn’t easy, but at least he’s feeling a little less gloomy and alone when he takes the subway to work.

It’s Christmas Day, and he has to work a nine hour shift, but he doesn’t care.

He charges his phone at work, and doesn’t let his mood be ruined by the fact that he doesn’t have any texts waiting for him. Instead, he texts Derek during his breaks, and sometimes when he’s not on break. His boss doesn’t need to know that.

With two hours left on his shift, he glances at his phone again, and can’t stop himself from grinning.

 > Come by after work for dinner? I can’t promise a complete Christmas dinner, but it’ll be better than pizza. 

Stiles rolls his eyes, because what’s better than pizza? But Derek inviting him over is definitely a step in the right direction.

 < Can’t wait! I’m starving! 

He is starving. He’s also nervous. Having sex is one thing, and being invited over for dinner on Christmas Day is a completely different one. He decides to just stop thinking so much, and go for it. It’s not like he’s got anything to lose, is it?

It’s not snowing anymore when he leaves work, but it’s still cold and his nose feels like ice. He’s texted Derek to let him know that he’s on his way home, but as he gets off at his subway station, there’s still no reply.

Entering his building, he finds a handful of people he’s never seen before cramming themselves into the elevator, so he decides to take the stairs – it’s only three flights. He can hear them fighting with the doors on his way up. Maybe he should’ve told them that the only thing to do is wait it out, but they’ll find out soon enough.

As he finally reaches his floor, he hears voices. There’s laughing and a happy, loud surprise! and when Stiles rounds the corner, he sees Derek’s door closing.

Oh.

He slows for a step, before changing focus to his own door, and fishing for his keys in his bag. He’s never seen a picture of Derek’s family, but that must have been them. Apparently the weather cleared up in D.C. too. Getting his family over for Christmas Day must be the best surprise ever, Stiles thinks.

Locking the door behind him, Stiles kicks off his shoes, and then collapses on the couch. His apartment is more or less a mess, but he doesn’t care right now. Instead he checks his phone, and notices a Merry Christmas text from Scott. A moment later, there’s a new text from Derek. It’s short, but Stiles already knows what it’s going to say.

 > My family managed to fly out. They surprised me. Raincheck? 

< Sure! Have a great time with your family :)

Chewing his lip, Stiles blinks at the ceiling. It’s not that he’s not happy for Derek. It’s just that it’s Christmas Day, and he’s alone. Up until yesterday, that felt sort of okay, but then there was this brief promise of spending the evening with someone else, and suddenly being alone is so much more lonely.

He sends a few texts to Scott, but the replies take forever, and he just feels more lonely when he thinks about all of them being together without him.

In the end, he orders pizza, tries to ignore the pitying looks of the delivery guy, and watches twelve episodes of Friends on Netflix. He’s half asleep, with the pizza box still open on the coffee table, when there’s a knock on the door.

Blinking blearily, Stiles wipes his greasy fingers on his sweats, extracts himself from the cushions and forces himself over to the door. Standing on the other side is Derek, holding cake leftovers and a bottle of wine.

“Uh,” Stiles greets.

Derek gives him a slow once-over, and then quirks an eyebrow.

“I was tired after work, and felt sorry for myself, and I’ve had pizza,” Stiles says defensively.

At that, Derek smiles. “I know I promised dinner, but I figured it’s a better time for dessert?”

Stiles looks at the cake, and the bottle of wine again. “Where’s your family?”

“Heading back to New Jersey. I’m going there tomorrow. They were really tired after basically living at the airport for a couple of days.”

Stiles steps aside then, to let him in. “My place is a mess.”

Shrugging, Derek walks past him. “I’m nearsighted. I won’t notice.”

Stiles smiles a little, watching as Derek moves the pizza box to the kitchen counter, and sets down the plate with the cake leftovers in its place. “What did you come by for?”

“I said we’d have Christmas dinner,” Derek says, digging through the drawers for a wine opener. He looks so at home. So relaxed. He turns, gaze locking with Stiles as he pops the bottle open. “So I brought something to eat. Like promised.”

Stiles’ heart ticks.

 

The end.