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The Only Permanent Tenderness

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Having super-strength and a boyfriend who can teleport should make moving easier, Teddy thinks, but apparently, not so much. Somehow, as soon as the pizza and beer they'd provided for their friends was gone, so were their friends. And he and Billy are still stuck with dozens of boxes to unpack.

"How do we have so much stuff?" he asks, flopping backwards onto the ugly old futon that's currently serving as their living room couch, though between Mrs. Kaplan's desire to meddle and Kate's belief that they have the worst taste in furniture of any gay men anywhere, Teddy's pretty sure that arrangement's not going to last long. "I'm pretty sure I didn't have this much stuff before it all got put in boxes."

Billy drops down next to him looking sheepish, which is adorable (though Teddy thinks most of Billy's looks are adorable, and it's kind of startling to think that even after as long as they've been together), and says, "Most of them are books."

Teddy rolls his eyes. "Of course they are. Do you breed them or something? Or do they reproduce anaerobically in the dark?"

"Given that some of the books came from Dr. Strange," Billy says, "that is entirely possible, though not something I'd really thought much about until now." He laughs. "Now, every time I hear something rustle in the dark in the middle of the night, instead of expecting a lurking supervillain, I'm just going to assume my books are getting it on."

"Good plan." Teddy gives him a thumbs-up that's only half-sarcastic. The others don't realize it, or they think Billy's just high-strung, but he still has nightmares sometimes, still wakes up and needs to be reassured that Teddy is real, that he's safe, that they're home. Believing that his books are mating in the dark is way better than some of the other stuff Billy's imagination has come up with over the years. Though hopefully he won't actually make it happen. Teddy's kind of afraid of what the offspring between Billy's Batman comics and one of Dr. Strange's grimoires would be. He doesn't want to be the grandparent of a book that tries to take over Manhattan while wearing a really ostentatious cape.

And just thinking about the possibility of being a grandparent someday--being a parent someday--makes him glance over at Billy with what he's sure is a giant, goopy smile on his face. They're not old enough now, and there's college and superheroing to juggle, but someday...someday, maybe, there can be little Altman-Kaplan rugrats.

He must say it out loud without realizing, because Billy laughs and says, "Maybe they should be Kaplan-Altman rugrats."

"Sure," Teddy replies amiably. "Maybe they won't always have to sit up front then, when classes are arranged alphabetically."

"On the other hand, there might be some advantage to coming so early in the alphabet. Hm..." And then Billy straightens up out of his slouch. "Did we just have the kids conversation?"

"I think we just agreed to table the kids conversation for now," Teddy answered. "Unless you mean the fact that we want them." He pauses, then, "We do, don't we?"

"Yeah, though given the givens, we should probably adopt." Teddy's heart feels like it stops for a second (which he knows is impossible because hello, awesome control of his autonomic functions, but still), because he totally understands on an intellectual level that being some kind of alien hybrid does not really make him prime genetic donor material, despite what the Kree and the Skrull seem to think, but then Billy continues, "I'm not sure the world could deal with another Tommy."

Teddy hums in agreement, his easy mood restored. "There is that." And of course, Billy has his own parental issues to deal with; the Kaplans are pretty fantastic, but the whole thing with Wanda... "Yeah. I am totally up for adopting, when the time comes." He heaves himself to his feet then and offers a hand to Billy. "Come on, we should get some of this stuff unpacked and put away before we collapse into the sleep of the newly-moved and super-sleepy."

Billy takes his hand and pulls, so Teddy stumbles forward and topples on top of him, sending them both sprawling onto the futon. Billy grins up at him, goofy and mischievous and bright as life from three inches away. "Hi."

Teddy returns the smile and shifts a little to get more comfortably settled in the cradle of Billy's thighs. "Hi."

"We can always unpack in the morning," Billy says. "I think we should spend tonight christening our new home."

"Our new home," Teddy repeats softly. He's lived in a few different places since his mom died, but only Billy ever feels like home. "Yeah."

Billy draws him down for a kiss, and Teddy sighs into it, relaxed and at home.