Sterek AU: The Hale Farm Pumpkin Patch - Derek’s family runs Fall festivals on their farm, where they sell pumpkins, host pumpkin carving contests, and give hayrides. No one knows that Derek’s been secretly dating one the seasonal employees, Stiles (and stealing kisses (and more) out in the woods).
graphic (and au idea) by foreverblue-navy
Derek loves fall. He loves the colors in the trees, all the bright reds, golds, and oranges surrounding him, the crunch of leaves beneath his boots, the crisp chill in the air. Loves Halloween and Thanksgiving, and the anticipation of Christmas. But mostly, he loves working in the pumpkin patch on the Hale Farms’ Fall Fun Days.
After loading a bunch of large pumpkins in the back of an SUV, Derek walks back into the pumpkin patch where two little girls are looking through the mini pumpkins. He crouches behind them, and they turn to glance at him shyly.
“See one you like?” Derek asks, giving the oldest a soft smile. She grins at him as her sister eyes him warily.
“This one,” she says, picking up a tiny orange pumpkin. Her hand is so small it covers her entire palm.
“I think that’s a good choice,” Derek nods, then flicks his gaze to the sister. “What about you?” The little girl stares at Derek for a moment before grabbing a white baby pumpkin. “Do you know what my grandpa calls those?” he asks. The little girls shake their heads. “Baby boos.” The girls giggle, and Derek grins as they run off to their mother.
“If you treated all the customers that way, you’d sell five times as many pumpkins.” Derek stands and glares at Laura. She’s got her arms crossed, sleeves rolled up to her elbows despite the cold air.
“I don’t like people,” Derek growls.
“Those two girls are people.”
“I don’t like big people.” Laura rolls her eyes before turning to help a customer. A hand lands on Derek’s shoulder, and he looks over to see his grandfather smiling out at the large pumpkin patch. Pumpkins are set out and stacked as far as the eye can see. Large pumpkins, tiny pumpkins, carving pumpkins, smooth and bumpy gourds, butternut and acorn squash. The Hales have been selling pumpkins in this spot since right after the depression, back when his grandfather’s father was a boy.
“You’re just like your grandma,” Grandpa says, turning to give Derek a smile. “She loves hard, but she doesn’t like anyone.”
“I like people,” Derek protests, and his grandfather raises an eyebrow in disbelief. “Some people,” he amends.
“Only those worth liking, right?” Grandpa asks. “It’s okay. You choose wisely and guard your heart. That’s a good trait.”
Derek nods, though he’s wondering why his grandpa has turned into some kind of fortune cookie in the middle of a pumpkin patch with people all around. His grandpa has always been weird like that.
They’re interrupted when a loud squeak followed by “OHMIGOD NO!” erupts in the middle of the patch. One of the seasonal hires, Stiles, has tripped and fallen onto his back; his arms, however, are wrapped protectively around the pumpkin he was carrying. “I’m okay!” Stiles calls out like everyone cares. “My behind is broken, but the pumpkin is not.”
Grandpa laughs and gives Derek a look before pushing him towards Stiles. Derek tries to hide his blush as he schools his features into a scowl. “Are you trying to break all the pumpkins?” Derek snaps.
“Dude, it was totally an accident. Moonfang tripped me. On purpose.” Derek gives Stiles a withering look. Stiles looks around, arms still around the huge pumpkin in his lap, and speaks to a nearby small boy. “You saw it, right? Back me up.” The boy just looks at Stiles like he’s crazy.
A moment later, a black cat curls itself around Derek’s feet. He bends down and lifts the cat, who starts purring as soon as Derek cradles it to his chest. “Moonfang, are you tripping Stiles?” Derek nuzzles the cat then glowers at Stiles. “The cat didn’t trip you. You just apparently should be cleaning the bathrooms instead of selling pumpkins.”
“Please,” Stiles says, nearly falling over again as he gets to his feet while trying to balance the oversized pumpkin. “No one else, not even you Derek, could save a pumpkin like me.” Derek rolls his eyes and sets Moonfang on the ground.
“Go give the lady her pumpkin before we have to refund her money and take it out of your paycheck.”
Stiles walks by Derek and says, “You have no appreciation for my awesome pumpkin ninja-ness.” He sticks out his tongue, and Derek tries not to stare. It’s hard when Stiles follows that by swiping his tongue over his bottom lip. There are crumbs at the corner of his mouth, and crumbs and a smear of orange icing on the blue plaid flannel shirt he’s wearing. Derek wants to lean in and kiss the corners of that mouth, chase the taste of cinnamon and spice. Stiles catches him staring and smirks, and Derek glares despite his burning ears.