Hi guys! Yet another Christmas request :) this one is for HikariMelody. You asked for fluff - I hope this is good enough ;) Since I wasn't sure which version I just focused mainly on Emery and Derek instead of the others, but yep, here ya go! And to everyone else, this is based off the characters in my The Other Side trilogy, which isn't really posted here anymore. You may remember it as "Will of Siders" or "This Side of Dark". Either way, this is the side story of Christmas slashy fluff as requested :D

This story might not make sense unless you know what The Other Side is about...just so ya know. Basically, quick overview, there are Siders who guard our side (Earth) and the Other Side. Emery is the Lead Sider. That's pretty much all ya need to know...that and elemental abilities of Derek and Emery ;)

Read :D

This Side of Kissing

A "The Other Side" side story featuring Emery, Derek, and the other Siders.

Warnings:Slash, fluff, that's pretty much it.

"No – Emery – you can't put cheesecake on top of the tree!" Derek scolded his best friend as they helped decorate Cherish and Salem's lavish house. Their annual Christmas party would be held here this year, it had been decided, and so they'd all volunteered to help decorate – Cherish and Salem of course, but also Emery, Derek, Shyloh, Robby and Rubyn. Currently, Derek stood near the tree, glaring up at Emery who stood on a ladder.

"Why not?" Emery challenged. "Is cheesecake not starry enough for you? Are you prejudice against delicious desserts?" He jumped down from the ladder, cheesecake in hand as he flashed his friend a smile, mahogany eyes aglow with mirth.

"No – I just don't like them on my Christmas tree," Derek grumbled, looking away from the bright smile.

"It's not your tree," Emery corrected. "It's theirs." He jabbed his thumb toward the fraternal twins, Cherish and Salem. Though they had the same hair and eye color, their appearances were still different. While Cherish had medium-length, curly black hair and light gray eyes, Salem had long, flowing black hair and dark gray eyes. Though twins, Salem stood about two inches taller than Cherish.

"I'm pretty sure they agree with me," Derek told him, glancing at the twins, "right, girls?"

Cherish shrugged. "Cheesecake could really add some pizzazz."

Salem shook her head. "It could really get messy after a while."

"We seem to be at an impasse," Emery said, grinning. "But fine, I'll go get the star." He turned on his heel and exited the living room, entering the kitchen, where the box of ornaments sat on the table.

The entire house was pretty much covered in wrapping paper, ornaments, and garlic strings. It was going to be a hell of a mess to clean up.

Cherish looked at Derek, grinning. "So, Derek – what do you want for Christmas?" she asked, watching him innocently, but there was a gleam in her eye he wasn't sure he trusted.

So he shrugged. "I don't know."

Cherish pouted. "C'mon – you know," she insisted. "Perhaps something loving…black hair…cheesecake?"

"I already have a dog, thanks," he said, eying her suspiciously.

Even Salem rolled her eyes. Obviously he was missing something; he just wasn't sure what. He didn't think he'd ever understand women. A part of him doubted he even wanted to know what she was talking about.

Luckily Emery saved him from this awkwardness by lunging at him from behind. "Christmas tackle!" he cried as he hit Derek and knocked the two of them onto the floor. Derek barely managed to release a yelp before his chest hit the carpet.

"What the hell!" he growled as Emery got off him. He rolled over to find his friend sitting in front of him on his heels.

"Christmas tackle," Emery said again.

"And what, pray tell, is that?"

Emery shrugged. "Exactly what it sounds like," he said.

"Why me?"

Emery cocked his head to the side, frowning. "Why not?" Innocent enough, but nope, he wasn't buying it.

Derek sighed and shook his head, ignoring the tiny lurch in his heart. That meant nothing. Nope. Absolutely nothing. Because Emery was his friend, and he couldn't…just…no. His heart did not race at the thought of his friend. His best friend.

"Hey, Emery, why don't you and Derek go in the attic and look for more decorations?" Shyloh suggested from where he sat on the couch, untangling strands of Christmas lights. The tallest member of their group, Shyloh was also probably the nicest – next to Emery, of course. Shyloh was guaranteed to smile pretty much all the time. Though he was the tallest, he was also the youngest at the age of sixteen. He would be seventeen soon, as he kept reminding everyone. Derek was sure it was only because he demanded presents, and, as Emery stated, copious amounts of cheesecake.

What was so special about cheesecake, Derek doubted he'd ever understand. It was an interesting quirk his best friend had, and he'd had it for about as long as Derek had known him. Considering that was most of his life, he wasn't entirely sure when this infatuation with cheesecake started.

Not that it really mattered.

Both he and Emery went upstairs. Since Derek was a little taller than his friend – by about three inches or so – he reached up and grabbed the string to bring the attic stairs down. They climbed into the waiting darkness.

"A little light, if you please," Derek said.

A second later, fire sparked to life around Emery's right hand as he held it up like a beam from a flashlight. Little tendrils of flame licked at his palm with a practiced ease, reminding Derek yet again at the control Emery had over his elemental abilities. Derek wasn't out of control by any means, but every time he tried to do little things like that, it either didn't work or he went overboard.

As a Sider, though, it was his job to keep practicing so he could perfect his technique. As one of the first Siders in their group, it was his job to know what he was doing so he could help the others. Then again, he wasn't the Lead Sider, so it wasn't really his job.

Emery was the Lead Sider, and he did an excellent job of keeping everyone in line. A few times a week they'd all meet up and train. Usually they had a blast but when things needed to get serious, Emery was always there to tell them what to do. When Emery had gotten so intuitive, Derek would never know. He'd known Emery since the two of them were five-years-old, and they had both come into their powers just after they'd turned nine. If Emery was this talented with his abilities, Derek should have been too, right?

Then again, Emery lived to prove people wrong. Teachers thought he slacked because he slept in class, when in reality, Emery was a few chapters ahead of everyone else and always managed to turn his homework in on time while still managing to be Lead Sider, which, as it turned out, was a very demanding job.

Derek wasn't even in charge and he barely had any free time as it was. Then again, he had fun training because he got to be with his friends.

"See any decorations we might have missed?" Emery asked, glancing at him. Derek squinted through the light in his face as Emery's palm swerved, blinding him momentarily.

"No," Derek said with a scowl. "I think they sent us on a wild goose chase."

Emery shrugged. "Well…since they made us come up here…" A grin split across his face, lighting his features. "We should totally snoop and look through their stuff."

Derek barked out a quick laugh, unable to stifle it. "Cherish and Salem would kill us," he cautioned.

"So? It's their own fault for sending us up here unsupervised."

"We're seventeen, Em – we don't need supervised."

"Semantics," Emery said.

Derek shrugged. "Well…I'm game. Where should we start?"

Emery walked toward a large box on the ground a few feet away. It looked relatively new to the attic, as it had quite the lack of dust on it. "Let's start with this one." Emery pulled it toward him, scooting it across the ground. As his hands touched the cardboard, the flames dispersed as though they'd never been there in the first place. Now a faint, warm glow surrounded the Lead Sider, brightening the place up considerably.

Why bother with a lousy flashlight when one had Emery instead?

Not only did he not run out of batteries, but he could talk and joke and demanded cheesecake.

Derek knelt next to his friend. "What's in it?" he asked.

"I think it's – whoa!" They both jumped back when the box opened to reveal things jumping out, long strands of something foamy. Derek tripped over his own feet and landed hard on something warm and soft.

It was when his pillow moved and rumbled he knew what he landed on.

He blinked down at Emery, who lay pinned beneath him, groaning. Emery's mahogany eyes peered up at him. "The heck was that?" he asked softly, his breath ghosting over Derek's face.

Feeling his face heat up – because of Emery's hot breath because he controlled fire, that was all – he quickly climbed off his friend and sat up, looking toward the box. He barked out a quick laugh when he realized it was pool noodles – the long, bendy, foam ones – which had been bent in the box but now lay sprawled on the ground, freed from their confines.

Emery sat up as well. "Well…noodles out of the bag, eh?"

Derek smirked. "Guess so. Can we go now? I don't want to see what else they have stashed that will jump out at us."

"Aw, c'mon, it'll be fun," Emery said, grinning at him, and try as Derek might to look away and leave, he found he couldn't, so he nodded.

"Okay," he sighed.

Emery's face brightened and he started looking toward other boxes.

A few days later, it was Christmas Eve, the decided date for them to all share Christmas together. They did a sort of 'Secret Santa' thing, where they all drew names out of a hate and then had to get that person a gift. Derek had gotten Emery, which was easy enough. Hell, all he had to really do was go buy cheesecake, but that was too simple.

No, he wanted to get his friend something special this year.

It was hard, though.

He sighed as he sat on the couch, squished between Emery and Cherish. Cherish was grinning ear to ear, and Derek was sure he didn't want to know what she was thinking. It couldn't be good, especially with the looks she and Shyloh kept sharing.

Nope. He didn't want to know.

"Okay," Shyloh said, "let's start with the gifts!" A wide grin split across his face and he glanced at Rubyn. "You start, gloomy."

Rubyn rolled his eyes. Thought his last name was Joy, he was, in no way, 'joyful'. He was usually seen scowling at someone or something. "Okay, I got Salem," he said, holding out a wrapped box.

Salem grabbed it and opened it. After a minute, when the box was opened, she smiled. "Thanks, Rubyn," she said quietly, pulling out the charm bracelet. A simple gift, but Salem did like charms, whether she would admit it or not. "Okay, I got Robby."

She handed a wrapped package toward the girl and Robby grabbed it, smirking as she quickly tore into it. "Thanks!" she chirped when she revealed the shirt. She held it up to her chest, sizing it up, and laughed. "I think you actually got my size right!" Then she pulled out a tiny wrapped box. "I got Cherish. Here you go."

Cherish took the gift and unwrapped it. Upon opening the small box she saw it was a friendship necklace. Cherish beamed and quickly put it on. "I love it!" she said happily, before she handed a package to Shyloh.

Shyloh opened it to reveal a CD. Derek recognized it as one he'd been commenting on for weeks now. "Thanks, Cher," he said, before handing a package to Rubyn.

"Video game, nice," Rubyn said with a wide grin.

"Who hasn't gone?" Salem asked.

"Emery and Derek," Cherish said, smirking at the blonde. Derek scowled at her.

Emery shrugged. "Well, here ya go, Derry-Berry."

"I told you not to call me that!" Derek said hastily, looking around but everyone heard it, and people were laughing at him now. He shot Emery a quick glare and snatched the box out of his grasp. Quickly, he tore into it, trying to ignore everyone's gaze on him, and found himself shocked when he looked down at his gift. "Em…did you…?"

"I made it," Emery said proudly. "Am I good or am I good?"

"Well, given those options," Shyloh said, smirking. "So what is it, Derek?"

Derek held up the silver necklace, but it wasn't the necklace itself that amazed him. It was the pendant hanging from the chain, the pendant which looked like a roaring tornado, yet also very peaceful. Derek knew he would not find another like it in his entire life, because it could not be bought at a store.

"How did you…?" he asked, looking at Emery.

Emery shrugged. "Fire, melting, shaping, whatever," he said, waving it off.

Derek swallowed, throat suddenly dry.

"Emery, why don't you put it on?" Cherish asked, and Derek could hear the smirk in her voice.

Emery nodded and slid closer to Derek. As his fingers brushed across Derek's own as he took the necklace from his loose grasp, the blonde felt a chill sweep through him, but he found it wasn't unwanted. He didn't shiver, but it felt like he should. Emery's fingers tickled the back of his neck as his friend did the clasp of the necklace.

"It might come undone a bit, though," the Lead Sider warned. "I'm not that great at latches."

"It's great," Derek said, still amazed. Emery was still too close to him, though, so it was surprisingly hard to breathe. He blamed that on the fact fire sucked oxygen out of the air, and Emery was fire, therefore leaving Derek with little air to breathe, even though he knew the thought was crazy.

Cherish elbowed him in the side. Quickly, Derek pulled out his friend's gift, suddenly feeling unsure about it.

"It's not that great, but…"

"I'm sure it's fine," Emery said, snagging the gift from his hands. He ripped into it and opened the small box. Stuffed inside he pulled out the gift card, and then the other small box. Upon opening that, he pulled out a necklace.

Derek could remember Emery having a necklace once upon a time, but for the life of him couldn't remember what happened to it. He grinned as Emery pulled out the…gold…chain…

What? That wasn't what Derek got him! And it had a pendant too! The one Derek got was just a silver chain, nothing more!

Emery frowned as he read over the words on the pendant. Derek swallowed. Obviously he'd grabbed the wrong gift, or the store clerk gave him the wrong one, or-

"Derek, will you get me a glass of water?" Cherish asked, breaking him from his thoughts. He shot to his feet, suddenly nervous, because what did the necklace say? It wasn't the one he got his friend.

Crap, he'd messed up, right? Emery got him this awesome gift and all he had to show for it was the wrong necklace.

"Hey," came Emery's voice a moment later, and he spun away from the sink to find his friend entering the kitchen, a hesitant smile on his face.

"Hi," he said slowly. "I'm sorry about the necklace, I-"

"It's fine," Emery said, holding up a hand, stopping his words. "Just…explain it to me."

"Explain…?" Derek asked, confused.

Emery held up the necklace for Derek to see.

Holy crap it's engraved! he thought as he frantically read over the words, heart seizing in his chest because oh no

I love you, Emery. From Derek.

He felt like he couldn't breathe for a moment because what the hell? He certainly didn't put that there! He didn't even get this necklace! So how did it happen? Why did it have their names on it?

"I…I," he found himself stammering, but he didn't know what to say. The flipping in his stomach could only be described as panic, but all he had to do was explain the situation to Emery. Emery would listen. And even if his friend didn't believe him, Emery wasn't homophobic, so it wasn't like it'd actually cause a problem between them, but…

"So…explain?" Emery asked quietly.

"W-What do you mean?" Derek asked, keeping his gaze locked on the floor because it seemed easier that way.

Hesitation slithered across Emery's face. "Do you really…love me?"


Say no, he told himself. You don't.

But I think we both know you do, his mind said.

Emery was watching him. He looked up to lock eyes with his friend. Warmth spread through him as he looked his friend up and down. Emery wasn't, by any means, unattractive. Armed with a charming personality, enthusiastic and warm eyes, and of course his attractiveness, and he could probably have anyone…provided they loved cheesecake, of course.

But now Derek wasn't just looking at him like a friend. Instead, all those thoughts he tried to explain away or shove back – he has nice eyes; I wonder what his lips taste like – rose to the surface with a vengeance, and suddenly all he could do was say, "I want to kiss you."

Where the words came from, he didn't know, but once he spoke them he couldn't take them back. They settled around the two of them as they stood a few steps apart, in the kitchen of Cherish and Salem's house. There was a good room or so between them and the others so he was pretty sure no one else heard, but still, this was Emery and he just said he wanted to kiss him.

Silence for a long moment.

Finally Derek couldn't take it anymore. "Say something," he growled, glaring at his friend, hands clenching into fists at his sides.

Emery blinked at him and then smiled slowly. "Are you asking to kiss me?"

Derek swallowed thickly. "And…if I was?"

Emery blew his bangs out of his eyes but they fell right back into place. "You tell me."

Derek took in a deep breath. What did that mean? He watched Emery for a long moment and took a tentative step forward, but Emery didn't back off. His friend stayed where he was, unflinching and unaffected, so he figured that was a good sign. Swallowing, he took another step forward, then another, until he and Emery were practically taking up the same space.

His shorter friend's breaths slid across his neck.

Hesitantly, he hooked a hand behind Emery's head, threading fingers through his hair, and slowly brought his head toward him some. Then he leaned his own head down a tiny bit, and pressed his lips to Emery's.

To his surprise, Emery kissed back, a light bit of pressure added. He felt warm hands come around his waist, hooking behind his back, bringing him forward as well. When oxygen became an issue, Derek pulled back somewhat, swallowing as he looked into warm mahogany eyes.

There was no hatred in them, or disgust or even annoyance. Just Emery, being Emery.

The two stayed that way for a long moment, not stepping away from each other, or moving in the slightest. Derek kept one hand firm in Emery's hair – who knew it was so soft? – while Emery kept his arms around Derek's waist.

The flash of a camera caught them both of guard, and quickly they pulled away from each other. They spun to find Cherish and Shyloh standing there, grinning. In Cherish's hands she held a digital camera, and she quickly snapped another photo. "You two are so cute!" she gushed. "Please, don't stop on our account!"

"W-What?" Derek stammered. "It was you, wasn't it."

She grinned. "Well someone had to do it! You two have been dancing around each other for like…ever!"

"Give me that camera!" Derek said, lunging forward, but she simply yelped and ran off with Shyloh, leaving Derek and Emery standing together in the kitchen.

Slowly, he turned to face his friend. Emery had a somewhat annoyed expression on his face.

"Look," he said quickly, "I'm sorry…I didn't know…and…I didn't mean…"

"The least she could have done was given me cheesecake," Emery said with a scowl, cutting Derek off. Derek stared at him.

"You're not…mad at me? About the…kiss?"

God, he'd really just kissed his best friend. He'd kissed Emery.

And Emery had kissed back.

Emery frowned at him. "Why would I be mad? I mean, you did ask, after all."

"Oh." A pause. "So…if I wanted to kiss you again…"

"Yes?" A slow smirk spread across Emery's face.

"All I have to do is ask?"

"Do you?"

"Yes," Derek breathed, stepping toward him again.

"Yes what?"

Of course Emery wouldn't make this easy on him, damn it.

"Yes," Derek said quietly, "I want to kiss you again."

Emery smiled and Derek leaned forward, capturing his friend's lips with his own. This time it was Derek with his arms around Emery's waist, and Emery's arms looped around Derek's neck, but either way, they bodies pressed together and for the first time in a long time, Derek listened to his thoughts.

And his thoughts said…

"I love you."

I think I have for a while now…

"Good," Emery breathed, lips just centimeters from Derek's own, "because I would hate if this was one-sided."

Derek smirked and pulled Emery closer to him.

Those weren't the only kisses they shared that night – but they were the first.

And they would always be important.

And there's that :D I do hope it sounds okay! Thanks for reading and please review!