You woke up one morning, and he was looking at you like you were everything.
It took your breath away.
You wake up one morning to the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen and pancakes cooling on the table.
You wake up one morning and he smells like home.
It shouldn’t surprise you, the way this boy, man now, has managed to reach inside the hollowness inside your chest and make a place for himself. It shouldn’t surprise you because he’s resilient and stubborn like that, he’s careless enough to want this, to want you, and everything that this choice entails.
“It’s not a choice,” he tells you one day. “The way I feel about you, it’s not a choice, it just is. The only thing that I chose was to take a chance, and I chose right.”
You go downstairs and hover in the kitchen door, drinking in the whole scene, Stiles in a flannel pajama pants and a tee-shirt you recognize as yours, a spatula on his hands, oil sizzling on a pan, a heap of raw bacon sitting on a plate, a soft smile on his face when he sees you watching him, as you’ve been doing for years.
“Hey, creeper,” his voice is still a bit gruff and sleepy, and it still makes something stir in your stomach, sweet and slow, even after all these years. “Don’t I get a 'good-morning, Stiles'?”
“Good-morning, Stiles,” you parrot out, trying and failing to keep the amusement from sneaking into your tone. By the way his smile grows exponentially wider, you know you’ve failed. But it’s okay – it’s been a while since you’ve learned to be okay with that, with giving something to Stiles that you haven’t allowed yourself to give to other people, to anyone really, for a long time after… after everything.
“You should know I expect some kind of retribution – and by that I mean the sexy kind of retribution, not the revengy, is that even a word? I’ve no idea, but whatever, the revengy kind. Of retribution. So, yeah, mister. I let you sleep in, and I’m cooking us breakfast even though it’s technically your morning in the kitchen. So sexy-times are being expected as a thank-you from yours truly. Because we’re that kind of a household. The one were we repay our significant other, significant wolves? Mates? Boos? Okay, don’t frown. Significant-something! With sex. Hopefully a quickie in the shower. But I can settle for a blowjob. Just FYI.”
“Stiles.” And you don’t even know when his rants stopped being annoying and turned into endearing to you, it's been that long, but you’ve also learned not to question anything when it comes to you and him. It makes more sense to grip his hand, trust the way he looks at you, and let yourself be tugged along for the ride.
“If those are chocolate chip pancakes, I’ll get anything you want.”
“I want children,” he blurts out, and you can tell by the way his eyes are widening that he hadn’t meant to say this out loud. But you can also tell by the way his heart is beating, excited and cautious at the same time, that this something he’s been thinking about, something that's precious for him.
You look at him, and you see trust.
You look at him, and you think about all the different ways he’d helped you stay alive, feel alive. All the ways he helped you carry on, rebuilt while still honoring your past, your family. All the ways he helped you find peace, contentment, and a whole lot of things you’d never thought possible. Love. Joy. Hope.
You look at him, and you imagine a little girl with his eyes and his unstoppable bravery. A little boy with his freckles and his curiosity.
You want that.
You want them.
You want more.
“Okay,” you finally say, after what it feels like centuries for the two of you, but was possibly seconds.
“Okay,” he repeats evenly, but there’s no mistaking the wetness in his eyes. “Pass me the plate, then. The bacon won’t fry itself.”
You wake up one morning, and you have chocolate chip pancakes and bacon with Stiles. You wake up one morning, and the two of you bicker about baby names. You wake up one morning, and there’s your daughter, babbling with her Daddy in the adorable way that most two years old do. You wake up one morning and there’s your youngest, doing his chemistry homework on the kitchen table while his older brother teases him about his grades. You wake up one morning, and Stiles has grey hair and lovely laughter-lines on his cheeks that you trace with the rough pad of your fingertips, amazed and humbled that you'd helped put them there. You wake up morning and you realize that, apart from the ever-present ache that comes from losing your parents and your siblings, that this it, that this is the life you had wanted before the fire, the life you’d never thought you deserved after it, but got to have it anyway.
You wake up everyday and his scent lingers on the sheets. Some mornings he’s still asleep next to you. Some mornings he has his hands all over you, and you let him do anything he wants with your body because it's his anyway, his to take it apart and put it back together. Some mornings there’s kids lying between the two of you, and sometimes they're your children, sometimes they're your grandchildren, and your hearts feels like bursting. Some mornings, you have to pinch yourself until it hurts and you draw blood because you still can't believe you’re truly awake, that this is your life now, that you have a family, and that you haven't ruined them, or failed them, or burned them to the ground.
You wake up every morning, and you know you’re his.
And every morning when you wake up, you know he’s yours as well.
It’s more than enough. It’s everything. And it still takes your breath away.