For Halloween sterek, could you maybe do an au with Derek making homemade cider and it's his mom's recipe or something so he makes it every year and Stiles lives in the same building as him and he comes home from a college costume party and he's drunk so he just walks into Derek's apartment because the cider smells so good and Derek turns around and suddenly there's just a guy dressed up as Batman or something and idk maybe drunk cuddles end up happening?
I fucking love apple cider, so I really loved writing this, even though it took months (on ao3!)
When Derek turned twenty six his mother finally gave him the recipe for her famous apple cider.
It had been a tradition in the Hale household since long before he’d even been born, one every member of the family eagerly looked forward to each year. On the first day of fall in mid-September, without fail, after they offered Mabon prayers and shared blessings around a bonfire in the middle of the preserve, his mother would head straight to the kitchen to start making apple cider, her way of ushering in the new season.
When he was old enough, around six years old, she let him help, his siblings never having any interest whatsoever in helping out in the kitchen, too busy rough-housing with each other or watching football with their father and uncle Peter. But Derek was always eager to help, dubbed a mama’s boy at a young age by both family and friends.
His mother would always smile indulgently, happy to have a little helper, and pull over a footstool for him when he politely asked if he could help in the kitchen, peering up over the edge of the countertop at whatever she was doing at the moment. So every year on the first day of fall she’d help him up onto the footstool or lift him onto the counter and let him measure out the sugar and cloves, count out the sticks of cinnamon to add to the slow cooker.
Once he was older, and no longer needed a footstool, his mother would have him slice and core the apples while she peeled the oranges, both of them talking about their week and upcoming activities, classic rock on the radio. Throughout middle school and high school, Derek would rant and rave about the basketball tryouts in late November and his mother would nod and hum in acknowledgement, offering a few kind words about how well he’d do and occasionally asking about his classes or how his friends were.
And every year she’d have him turn around, rolling his eyes like a typical teenager, when she added the secret ingredient, only giving him the okay to look again when she’d placed the lid back on the slow cooker. She’d smile brightly at him as she set the slow cooker on low to simmer for several hours, wrapping her arm around his shoulders and leading him into the living room to sit with the rest of the family.
The entire house had smelt of cinnamon and apples for weeks after just one batch of her cider, welcoming fall with the scents of the season. It was the scent of his childhood, hours spent lounging around basking in the aroma while his siblings tried to sniff out the secret ingredient.
He’d never actually tried to seriously figure out what the secret ingredient was himself, save for the times when he was younger and always tried to steal a peek from between his fingers. He’d simply chalked it up to his mother’s many quirks and carried on, shrugging and figuring he’d find out eventually when she felt it right to finally reveal the secret ingredient.
It happened to be on his twenty sixth birthday, when he’d been back in California to visit his family, taking a few vacation days to fly back to Beacon Hills and spend his birthday with all his loved ones. Early on the morning of his birthday, just as the sun was rising up over the horizon, he’d walked downstairs into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee before going for a run through the preserve, only to find his mother sitting on the counter with a book in her lap.
She’d pulled him into a tight hug with watery eyes, whispering happy birthday and telling him how proud she was of him. He’d had to hold back tears of his own as she handed him the leather bound book which, upon further inspection, he found was a handwritten copy of all mother’s most safeguarded recipes.
The rest of their family had found them like that a few hours later, holding each other tight and crying into each other’s shoulders, any thoughts of coffee and running completely forgotten. Laura had teased him for the rest of his visit about him being a giant sap, only stopping when Derek threatened to withhold apple cider from her the next time she stopped by his loft in New York, their mother rolling her eyes fondly as they bickered like the children they’d always be to her.
He boarded his flight back to the Big Apple a week later feeling more like an adult than since he’d gotten his driver’s license, since he’d gotten his PhD early, since he’d bought his loft in Brooklyn and started teaching at Columbia.
So, there he was at ten p.m. on Halloween night finishing his third batch of apple cider since he’d been given the recipe, singing along off-key to the Queen song he had playing on his phone, a batch of white chocolate caramel cookies baking in the oven. He was straining the cider through a fine mesh sieve, his cat, a calico aptly named Autumn, watching him from her spot on the kitchen floor, stretching lazily as she swished her tail.
Tossing the drained apple mash into the trashcan, Derek moved to strain the cider again to make sure there weren’t any solids left behind. He paused when he heard Autumn meow, the lilting trill she used by way of greeting, turning on his heel to see what had elicited her loud mewl, the words of Somebody To Love dying in his throat when he saw someone standing in his living room.
He tightened his grip on the metal handle of the sieve, ready to bash the intruder over the head. But it wasn’t just anybody standing in his living room—it was Batman. Well, someone dressed as Batman, anyway. It was Halloween, after all.
The mystery man’s identity didn’t remain a mystery for long as he yanked off his cowl and asked in a slurred whisper, “S'at apple cider?”
Derek nodded silently, completely flabbergasted, eyebrows furrowing as he took in the sight of the intruder, immediately recognizing him without the obstructive mask. It was his neighbor Stiles, an undergraduate at Columbia who lived across the hall and always said hi in the hallway and hummed loudly in the elevator every morning and had an overabundance of male guests that Derek’s jealousy couldn’t handle.
They’d talked a few times in the year Stiles had been living in the same apartment building, at the mailboxes and in the elevator, occasionally running into each other on campus, even hanging out with mutual friends to watch baseball a couple times. But they were nowhere near close enough to just come barging into each other’s apartments uninvited and unannounced, let alone barging in dressed like DC characters.
Not that Derek would ever kick Stiles out of his apartment, Batman costume or not. He’d been harboring a crush on Stiles for an embarrassingly long time, falling head over heels for him the moment he’d overheard him ranting to his friend about how rampant bisexual erasure in history was, citing a disclaimer in his history textbook which essentially no homo’d Chopin’s letters to Titus before switching to fluent Polish and reciting a snippet of one of said letters.
That had been almost a year ago and he still got butterflies whenever he saw Stiles in the hallway or shared an elevator with him, blushing like a little schoolboy whenever Stiles waved at him or asked him how his day was going. He’d actually run into a wall once, distracted by the way Stiles’ entire face lit up when he smiled, not paying attention to where he was walking and smacking face first into the wall, his nearby students dissolving into hysterical laughter.
Derek had nearly had a heart attack when Stiles first met Autumn, sinking down to his knees in a move that made Derek’s gut twist with arousal. He’d scratched under her chin and raved about how gorgeous she was, claiming he adored cats, always greeting Autumn with a smile and a coo about her adorableness whenever he saw her after that.
Every morning, Derek looked forward to passing Stiles on the stairwell or seeing a glimpse of him at school, feeling like a lovesick puppy. And now Stiles was standing there in his living room dressed like Batman.
Derek had a dream like this once — it had quickly become R-rated. He swallowed thickly at the memory, reflexively licking his lips.
“Uh, yeah,” he managed to croak out, glancing back at the slow cooker, wondering what about apple cider was so intriguing. His eyes widened when he turned back to Stiles to find him crying softly, hands clenched into fists at his sides.
Derek tossed the sieve into the sink with a clatter as he rushed over to Stiles, stepping over Autumn who let out a plaintive cry as he did. He gently held Stiles by his upper arms, frantically looking him over for any injuries, for anything that could have elicited his tears, urgently asking, “Are you okay? Are you hurt? What’s wrong?”
“I’m sorry,” Stiles sniffled quietly, his soft voice a far cry from his typical loud, endearingly brash, confident demeanor, the sound breaking Derek’s heart. Stiles raised a hand to wipe his wet eyes, bottom lip wobbling as he tried to hold back more tears. "It’s just… My mom used to make homemade apple cider and I smelled it, and it smells so good, and it just reminded me of her so much and I really miss her and your door was unlocked… And I’m really drunk and…I’m sorry.”
“Hey, hey,” Derek soothed softly, rubbing his hands up and down Stiles’ arms, squeezing his shoulders reassuringly. “It’s okay, it’s alright. I know. Here–” he turned Stiles by his shoulders and led him towards the couch, gesturing for him to sit “–just sit down and relax. I’ll finish the cider and pour you a glass, okay?”
Stiles sniffed as he sunk back into Derek’s couch, relaxing into the comfortable cushions. He lifted his head to look up at Derek. “R-Really?”
“Yeah, really,” Derek confirmed, grinning warmly as he ran a hand through Stiles’ sweaty, disheveled hair, stroking his thumb over his cheek. “Just sit here and relax. I’ll be right back.”
“Okay,” Stiles mumbled, voice thick and gravelly as he hastily wiped his eyes, looking up at Derek with wide, trusting doe eyes. He licked his lips, sniffling miserably, “Okay.”
Derek grabbed the blanket he kept draped over the back of the couch and laid it over Stiles’ lap in case he got cold, tucking it around his hips before jogging the short distance back to the kitchen, weaving around Autumn. He picked the sieve up out of the sink, quickly rinsing it off before he strained the cider again. He stretched to grab a ladle from the drawer on the other side of the sink before fetching two mugs from the cabinet above the sink.
He spooned some of the hot cider into the mugs, adding a half stick of cinnamon to each the way his mother always did, and ventured into the medicine to grab a bottle of aspirin, remembering of some of his own more horrendous hangovers. He carefully carried the mugs back out to the living room where Autumn was curled up at Stiles’ hip, front paws in his lap, purring loudly as he scratched behind her ear, green eyes closed in pure bliss.
Smiling at the sight, Derek rounded the coffee table where Stiles had tossed his mask and took a seat beside him on the couch, Autumn mewing at him in greeting. He set the bottle of aspirin down on the table and handed Stiles a steaming mug of apple cider with a warm smile.
“Thank you,” Stiles murmured, uncharacteristically demure as he looked down at the mug in his hands. He carefully raised it to his lips, closing his eyes and breathing in the heady scent of cinnamon as he took a small sip.
His eyes popped open, wide and shocked, the moment the cider touched his tongue, moaning emphatically as he took another, bigger sip and then another. Derek smirked into his own cup at Stiles’ reaction, savoring both the amusing expression on Stiles’ face and the familiar taste of his mother’s cider.
“Oh my god,” Stiles moaned, blotting his upper lip with the back of his hand, gloves beside his mask on the coffee table. He pointed at his mug excitedly, licking his lips before he spoke, voice much less slurred, “This is amazing!”
“Thanks. It's—” Derek paused, not wanting to upset Stiles any further by being insensitive “—it’s my mother’s recipe.”
“S'really good,” Stiles reiterated, nodding gravely to himself. He raised the mug to his lips again, taking another deep swig, eyes falling closed at the taste.
Derek was about to ask him if everything was alright, but he stopped himself. He would let Stiles sober up, offer him the use of his shower, maybe give him a change of clothes. But for now, they would just sit there and enjoy each other’s company and his first batch of apple cider.