Stiles hated silence. He really did. And that was one very silent dinner table. Stiles had resorted to grumbling to himself in his brain, which only happened when his mouth was stifled to silence. Stupid Derek with his stupid monosyllabic answers. Just because he was an alpha didn't mean he had to do the whole tall dark silent type act. After all, Stiles was an omega and he hardly ever played the damsel in distress. Nor was he particularly matronly. Nor did he swoon at the thought of being overtaken by an alpha. So. Case in point, Derek Hale falling to archaic stereotypes? Not cool.
And he was hardly going to start catering to that broody, moody, rude attitude-y (this could go on - he was going crazy with the all the silent silence) alpha. So he cleared his throat. Loudly. And - success! - Derek's hazel eyes lifted from the table. Stiles grinned. "Hey there, Hush Hush McZipped Lips. Trick question: How was your day? Feel free to not summarize your answer in five words or less."
True to form, Derek managed to not say any words, and just gave a shrug and a positively cavetrollish grunt. Stiles made a face. He was this close to dropping his forehead to the table, roper etiquette be damned. "Dude, isn't it, like, omega cruelty to make me sit here in oppressive silence all night? I know you kind of own me now, but the least you can do is just say enough so it isn't so freaking awkward all the time."
Derek’s eyes were sharp when he peeked back up and Stiles grimaced.
“Stop talking like you’re my pet,” Derek grumbled, and Stiles had to laugh.
“You know you just gave me a command, right?” Derek’s frown deepened and Stiles lifted a forkful of potato to his mouth. “Almost like a master would do. To his p-”
“Don’t say it.”
"Well what do you want me to think?” Stiles rolled his eyes. “I mean... you buy me, take me home, give me a bed, feed me, and that's it! What, you want an omega just to... furnish your home? I know, I know - I compliment the drapes, but geez.” He sat back and glared into Derek’s openly surprised face. “I've got to tell you, I am prime omega territory here. If you hadn't already bought me, some other alpha would have totally been on this already. So the obvious conclusion to buying an omega but not talking to him, not even fucking him, seems to be that you just wanted a low-maintanence pet." Stiles crossed his arms over his chest and cocked a brow. Yeah, after months of this, he was feeling pretty damn comfortable being snippy with the uninvolved alpha. "Are you going to teach me tricks? Show me off to your friends once I'm really broken in?"
Derek stood up suddenly, pushing his chair back from the table. He glared back at Stiles for a short minute, and then took his plate to the sink.
Stiles watched him go. He sniffed. “It’s the freckles, isn’t it? All my little imperfections!”
Truth was, he didn’t mind it as much as he could have. He knew he didn’t have it bad in the Hale house. Not bad at all. The possibility that an abusive alpha could have been the one to have bought him at the fancy-schmancy auction, brought him home, and used him was not lost on Stiles (though being at the mercy of those muscles couldn’t be the worst thing in the world). Not that he would have ever suffered at the hands of terrible violence; luckily, the alpha instinct was to protect an omega at all costs. He counted his lucky stars on a daily basis that he wasn’t a beta - for the love of his ever-running mouth, he would have been torn to shreds a thousand times for annoying as many alphas as he did.
But that didn't change the fact that he had now been living at this house for two and a half months, and had pretty much only inteacted with the dark mystery that was Derek Hale for meals (and 'interacted' was a generous term for their stifled companionship). Otherwise he was just left alone, and it was driving him crazy. He kept worrying that the alpha was going to jump out of a dark corner and decide that even though his first heat of the year hadn't yet hit, he'd want to breed him at any given moment. But then there was another fear on the opposite end of the spectrum: Would Derek even touch him when his heat came on? Or would he continue being all standoff-ish and leave Stiles to suffer all on his own without offering anything to quench his -ahem- thirst?
And when he wasn’t anxious about being pulled into Derek’s Batcave/secret lair/possible torture chamber of a bedroom (the monochromatic wardrobe, frequent shirtlessness, and Derek’s unsettling fondness for leather made him wonder) for an impromptu ravishing, he was dying of boredom. He’d asked Derek on his second night at the manor, still nervous and twitchy and completely unable to stop his mouth, if possibly any of his furniture or wares would turn out to be sentient beings and burst into song à la Beauty and the Beast, and it had just earned him a taken aback expression.
The only time of the day that he enjoyed was when he got a call from his dad, or sometimes Scott. His dad was always apologizing when Stiles voiced his complaints, and though he denied it, Stiles sometimes wondered if what he was really apologizing for was Stiles' lot in life as an omega. And Scott had recently just started babbling about this new girl at school. The school that Stiles no longer attended, ever since he had put himself up for sale, and was thereafter sold to the highest bidder. Or possibly the only bidder, as was probably the case. After all, for a budding omega, Stiles was a fairly late bloomer - hadn't really matured until he was seventeen.
It wasn’t like he had much of a choice in the matter, even though omega rights had come a long way in the past few decades. Omegas were allowed to find their own alphas if they so wished, and the act of selling them off was no longer obligatory, as it had been a mere century ago. Now there were pills - suppressants - that fought the heat, and ones that masked the overwhelming pheromones, allowing omegas to choose whether they wanted children or not. There were laws that protected omegas from being bred against their will, from underaged omegas from being taken from their homes by alphas who felt their claims were staked, from any number of atrocities that had befallen omegas from the dawn of time.
But the auction business was still up and running, now almost exclusively run by the wealthiest and most prestigious alphas. Thanks to the laws set in place, the only way an omega could be legally put up for auction was if the omega had admitted themselves for bidding. And Stiles had done just that.
He was the last of the Stilinski line, and his father - thanks to Stiles’ antics - was out of a job, had been for a year, and, well. Being mated would kill two birds with one stone: Stiles would be able to carry on his family’s genes, even if it was under another name, and he would take the burden of an extra mouth to feed off of his father’s shoulders.
Stiles took his dish to the sink, and started cleaning up the kitchen. He didn't really have to; he had never been told to clean up, but figured that he had to earn his keep somehow. Maybe this is why Derek really bought him? As a maid that smelled really good and posed no threat to his authority? Well, whatever, he would stop worrying about what the emotionally stunted man wanted, until he just... told him. Though that seemed fairly unlikely at that point. Maybe eventually Derek would just get bored of him and give him back. It wouldn't be that strange, really; there were only two people in the world that could stand him, and they didn't really have a choice: his dad because they were related, and Scott because neither of them could really get any other friends - they'd both been painfully socially awkward ever since they'd met, and while it worked for them, it didn't really appeal to other people.
Regardless of his sadly lacking social circle, Stiles was going to have to get some conversation or he was going to explode. Seriously. It’d be messy and Derek would probably get even more emotionally constipated having to clean up bits of Stiles brought on by...
… severe boredom. Yeah, he needed a distraction from his own brain.
And finally, that boredom was alleviated by... puzzles.
Seriously, puzzles. Derek had come in one day, put a huge stack of boxes just inside the door to Stiles’ room, and walked away without any sort of explanation. A lot of puzzles, the type with the teeny tiny pieces, and a whole lot of them. And then he just left.
"Hey, what am I supposed to do with these? Is this like a toy? You're getting your pet a toy so that I won't get bored? Or, you know, you could actually pay attention to me!" There was no response. Not like he'd be expecting one. Oh god, he was a pet. He needed affection, dammit! No wait, attention. He meant attention.
Okay, maybe some affection would be nice, too.
Even his not-so-handsy alpha dad had been careful not to leave Stiles untouched for even a day. Omegas were notoriously responsive to (and somewhat dependent on) physical touch, and the old man had always been good about wrapping an arm around Stiles’ shoulders when he could, clapping him on the back, reinforcing positive behavior with big bear hugs.
Weren’t alphas supposed to respond to their omegas’ needs?
In fact, he was so starved for contact that the one day that Scott came over to see him that week, Stiles didn't care that all he was talking about was the new girl, didn't even care that he called her twice in their hour together. All Stiles wanted was a freaking hug, was that really too much to ask?
Well, he got his hug, and then Scott left. For a date. Of all the times for his friend to grow a love life. But Derek was going to be home soon, and he always insisted on eating together, so it was almost that time.
What Stiles definitely wasn't expecting was the door to his room suddenly opening without any warning, and when he saw the alpha, eyes glowing and nostrils flaring... well. He may or may not have squeaked. Those eyebrows were seriously terrifying. “There was a beta here."
“Holy mother of- shit, dude, knock much?”
Derek just glared and gripped his doorframe like he was trying to strangle it. Or not strangle Stiles. The boy swallowed. “Uh. Yeah. Scott. You know. I’m sure I’ve mentioned him once or twice or like a million times. He showed up and we spent, like, an hour here.” Derek’s expression didn’t change. A little ball of something acrid in the pit of Stiles’ stomach swelled. “What?” he snapped. “I’m not allowed to have friends over?”
The alpha’s head dipped low. “That’s not...”
“It’s definitely what this sounds like, Derek.” Stiles pushed away from his desk and gestured wildly at it. “This is the third thousand-piece puzzle I’ve done this week. Is this seriously what you expect from me? No connection to anyone - not even you, you frickin’... brick wall of a man - just... just sit here and put together giant fucking puzzles until you want to bone? Because I’m going nuts here, Derek. Fucking batshit bananas. I can’t get out because of my fucked up hormones, I can’t go to school because I’m a bought man, and now I can’t have friends. Awesome.”
Derek looked almost... constipated, Stiles decided. Yup, constipated. Emotionally constipated. And he was shaking. "I don't like you... smelling like him. It's everywhere." His hand was turning white, holding the door frame so tightly. "You can have friends. Just don't... smell like them."
"Uh..." Stiles started, because really, his mouth must have a death wish or something. "How exactly could I have friends over and not smell like them? It just kind of happens. Scott is just a beta, you shouldn't be getting territorial." Then he looked down to the bed, glancing at the half finished puzzle. "Besides, if it bugs you so much, you could always try to cover up his scent."
Derek blanched, and Stiles felt almost insulted. Wait... nope, definitely insulted. “Hey, you bought me, remember?” he sneered. “If you didn’t actually want me, you should have picked someone else.”
There was seventeen seconds of silence -Stiles counted- and then Derek stepped forward. "I... want you. I really... want you." And really, that was practically a speech coming from him. Stiles could feel the moment his heart went from normal to whoa-there-Speedracer and he backed away slowly, hands held out before him.
“Nuh-uh. You may be ab-licious and you’ve got a jawline to die for, but in the two months I’ve been here, you’ve probably said all of fifty words to me.” Derek stopped in the middle of his room, that grumpy little frown right back on his face.
“You talk enough for the both of us.”
“Yeah, heard that one before. Doesn’t cut it.”
Derek closed his eyes and gave one small nod. Then he turned around and went back to the door. "Fine."
"Hey wait! What are you- you don't have to run away! Just talk to me! It isn't the end of the world you know. Look, I'll even shut up so you can do all the talking. This is me, shutting up, like right now. Alright, so... you should talk. And I'll shut up."
He was given nothing but Derek's back for the longest time. Stiles could smell him - Derek's scent, in his room, and he realized it had been the first time Derek had actually set foot there since Stiles had moved in. His sense of smell was nowhere near as good as a werewolf’s, but eu d’ Derek was distinctive.
"We could, uh... get to know each other. Beyond our respective manila folders. Honestly, I couldn't care less what your blood type is, but I'm... I'm pretty interested in your favorite movies and other stupid stuff."
"You obviously don't know what shutting up means," Derek said, and even though Stiles couldn't see his face, he was almost positive that that was supposed to be a joke.
"Ah, well the shutting up really only works when you start talking. So do you wanna... sit down? Here, it's a big bed, plenty of room." Stiles plopped down and patted the bed beside him, inviting Derek.
The alpha turned to give him an incredulous look. "You really think that's the best idea?" he asked, and Stiles had to grin.
"You're kinda snarky. Awesome. I thought you might totally be emotionally dead." He gestured at Derek's... everything. "Snark makes you spicy."
"Spicy?" Derek asked with a raised eyebrow. But then he stepped forward hesitantly, and sat on the very edge of the bed. "I'm not sure what you want me to say."
Stiles shrugged and shot him a goofy grin. "It's not about what I want you to say, dude. It's just basic communication. You know - how was your day, how's your life, what's your favorite color, are you allergic to chocolate because I could kill for some brownies - that sort of thing."
"My day was fine, my life is fine, I don't really have a favorite color, and I'm not allergic to chocolate." Derek shrugged, pointedly not looking at him. "I don't really see what that accomplished."
Stiles rolled his eyes and tossed a pillow at Derek's face. Which he caught. Dammit. "Don't be such a souralpha. What you just said there? Not spicy. C'mon, Derek, you've gotta have some interests." Derek just gave him a long, wordless stare. "Hobbies. Pastimes. Holy shit, you don't just go off and broodily sit in the woods all day, do you?"
Derek frowned, flexing his hands against his knees. "I really don't see why it matters."
"It matters! How could it not matter? We're going to be mates for the rest of our lives. I'm going to have your fucking -” werewolf, appeal to the werewolf “- cubs! I should at least know your hobbies!"
Yeah, maybe conversationally baiting an alpha who also happened to be a werewolf with cubs wasn't the best idea he'd ever had. Derek's nostrils flared and he did that piercing stare thing that made Stiles feel like he was being peeled apart, layer by layer. "Uh. Well. I mean-"
"I - well, yeah, but you don't have to sound so grouchy about it."
Derek sat still for a second, just staring at him. Then, "I want you to like it here. I want you to like... To like me. I didn't want to do anything with you before you liked me. So... There."
Stiles' mouth opened and shut for a minute, but luckily, silence was Derek's forte so he didn't make any comments about a bad fish impression. (Or a good fish impression, for that matter.) "I, uh... didn't know this was gonna turn into a middle school romance thing."
"It's not a middle school romance thing. It's a respect thing. Just because you were born an omega, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a choice about this." And at that, Derek shut his mouth, obviously deciding that he had said quite enough for one night. He stood up, and just waited there awkwardly. Stiles made a little noise of recognition before leaping up and shuffling over to the door with his weirdly polite alpha and gestured toward the hall with flourish.
“Well. This was. Nice.” Derek snorted and turned, but Stiles grabbed his arm. “No, really. Okay, so it was weird and awkward too, but that’s just how things start.”
Stiles waved a vague hand between their bodies. “You know. People connecting. Relationships. I can’t really like you if I don’t know you, so, y’know... feel free to try the whole talking thing more often.”
"Alright. See you at dinner." There were a few seconds where they just stared at each other, and then Derek suddenly leaned forward, before Stiles could jerk away in surprise, and kissed his neck. And then he was gone.
… What the fuck?
What the actual fuck just happened?
Stiles was left gaping at the empty doorway for a good five minutes, his hand clamped over the warm, tingly feeling on his neck. Unexpected. That was a good word for what the fuck just happened. Some others were surprising, befuddling, unsettling, confusing... maybe arousing.
Which was dumb because it wasn’t even a kiss kiss - more of a mouth-press than a kiss. And it was weirdly polite. Like they were in the Victorian era and Derek was bestowing a gentlemanly kiss upon a lady’s knuckles. Except it was Stiles. And a neck.
Well, there was about another hour until dinner. Which meant it was time for more puzzles. Stiles gave a long sigh, and sat down on his floor, deciding to put the kiss out of his mind completely. After all, it was a kiss to his neck, it wasn't like anything big. Even though he suspected that the heat in his cheeks was from blushing and had been going on since Derek had left.
Dinner was... surprisingly not awkward. Derek didn’t open up exactly, but he made eye contact with Stiles through the whole meal (and seemed to be attempting to keep doing so when Stiles was looking away, resulting in The Piercing Stare tearing at his very soul until he managed to look back again. The result of this was several disastrous attempts at maintaining a clean fork-to-mouth experience). “Do you cook all this?” Stiles eventually asked, gesturing at the food on the table. “‘Cause you don’t exactly strike me as the masterchef type.”
"I pay a beta to make all the meals and deliver them. She drops them off every day, still warm, so that I don't have to heat them up." Derek had another bite, still not taking his eyes off of Stiles.
"Oh... that's interesting. And not really surprising, frankly. So, um, how about you tell me about your family?" At the look Derek gave him, he quickly backed up. "I mean, not family, haha, why would I say family? I just meant... tell me about your wolf form!"
Derek raised a brow and Stiles tried to backtrack. It was... surprisingly difficult. “Yeah, can’t think of anything good to backtrack to, Derek. You’re gonna have to come up with conversation now. I can only do about ninety-nine percent of the work here before this whole relationship building thing starts to seem a little one-sided.”
"I just... I'm not very good at this. I haven't really had to talk to people for a few years." Derek finally looked down at his food, giving Stiles a break from the constant unblinking stare.
“Well!” His clap seemed to startle Derek out of whatever reverie he was diving into. Surely that was good news? “Time to dig you out of that shell! I think we should go somewhere together and... uh, okay, that face is telling me maybe we should start slow? Slower than a trip out of the house, apparently.” Derek blinked at him from across the table and Stiles nodded. “Fair enough. Baby steps. Why don’t we do something you like to do. Anything at all that isn’t puzzles.”
Derek blinked, and gave a short nod. "I like to hunt. And work out. And-" But at that he quickly cut off, and didn't look like he was about to continue.
That just wouldn't do. "Oh no no no, you can't just stop there. Come on, what else do you like to do? You have to tell me now!"
There was that Piercing Stare again. Maybe he should just call it the Derek Stare.
“I build furniture.”
Stiles blinked. “Okay, so... your hobbies include muscle building for recreation and muscle building as a result of productivity. No wonder you’re so built. So why do you build furniture?”
The alpha almost seemed to have trouble getting it out, cleared his throat. "I donate them. To charities that are having auctions. The ones I'm making now are going towards funding for the local animal shelter." He was looking away again, and Stiles was sure that he saw a light blush creep up his cheeks.
"Oh... my... god! That is so... well, I guess ironic, because I never would have thought that you would do things for charity, but it's so cute! You have to- I mean, could you show me?"
Derek snorted into his cup. “Not if you’re going to call it cute.”
“Oooh, someone’s a little insecure in their masculinity.”
That earned him a glare. Stiles didn’t mind. He liked the fact that Derek’s range of emotion extended beyond polite constipation.
He started thinking that the conversation was finished, and worked on his meal. And then, "I'll show you tomorrow."
Stiles knew his mouth was hanging open, and that there was still some food in it. He hastened to close it and swallow. "Right, alright, that's cool. And I won't call it cute. I will call it rugged, and manly, and... sexy."
Derek was giving him the Stare again. He pointed his fork accusingly at the alpha. “Look. I’m allowed to think a big, bad werewolf alpha making chairs for the good of orphaned puppies is attractive, okay?”
“Never said you couldn’t.”
“Yeah, but you were wearing this incredulous face.”
And Derek smiled a tiny smile, which was really more a twitch of his lips, but Stiles counted it as a smile. "Tomorrow," he said again, as if Stiles would forget about it or something. He didn't think he could forget about it if he had wanted to.
… That was what his life was reduced to: Getting we’re-going-to-a-theme-park-excited to walk down a set of stairs in his own house to look at furniture. All those damn hours wasted on putting puzzle after puzzle together was brainwashing him. Boredom-washing him.
“Okay. So after that, what are we going to do? I mean, I could go for bench pressing a whale or whatever too, but I don’t think my stamina and yours are on equal ground, you know?”
"You could start with a catfish."
And there! That was definitely a joke! At Stiles' expense, but it was definitely a joke. "Wow, uh yeah, sure, catfish. That was kinda funny, you know. Maybe I'm rubbing off on you a bit. You'll be cracking jokes left and right pretty soon!" He sniffed. “And now that the obligatory positive reinforcement coddling is over, I’ll have you know that I could absolutely bench press at least a baby dolphin.”
“Okay, funny guy, I changed my mind. No jokes for you.”
The door was unremarkable, just another door, one Stiles had never even really noticed before. Derek took out a small key and unlocked it, then turned on the light on the staircase. They started down, and Stiles was watching his steps, not used to such steep stairs. At the bottom, there was another light Derek grappled for, and he just looked around the large basement for a few seconds.
It was an organized mess, huge slabs of wood and bolts of fabric situated in piles and stacks against the walls. The rest of the room was cluttered with sanding tables and power tools and beautifully crafted pieces of furniture that were just a polishing away from being ready for auction. Wherever he walked, clouds of sawdust followed.
In the corner there was one fully completed chair, the wood grain brought out by a deep stain. He was a bit worried he would get some sawdust in his eyes, because they were open so wide. "Wow, this is..." He glanced back to the stairs, where Derek was still standing, waiting for his reaction. "Sexy. Very definitely sexy."
That got him the Raised Eyebrows and the Rueful Snort, but he could tell Derek was pleased. Stiles bounced on a plush, old-fashioned-looking armchair before springing up to move onto the next cool thing. “No wonder you always smell like cedar. I was starting to think you had a secret stash of hamsters or something.”
"Hamsters?" Even more Raised Eyebrows, but Stiles wasn't going to stop just because of that.
"But seriously, this place is a mess. How can you do anything in here? You could die from like, sawdust poisoning or something. Hey, I could clean it for you! It would be better than doing puzzles. When is the auction? Will there be cute puppies there? I wanna go see cute puppies."
Stiles spun about on his heel and grabbed onto the back of a nearby chair before he toppled over. “What, seriously? That was so much easier than I thought it was going to be.”
Derek frowned. “Do you really feel that confined here?”
“Uh.” Stiles blinked. “Yeah? Dude, I haven’t even left your garden since I arrived. Nearly three months ago.”
The older man pressed his lips together. "It's- it's not like I forbade you to leave."
Now it was Stiles' turn to raise his eyebrow. "Seriously? I know how possessive an alpha can get of his omega. You being a werewolf too is like the cherry on that claim-crazy sundae. I wasn't just going to go out for a stroll. You kind of went nuts when Scott just came over for an hour and gave me one hug. Which I needed."
“It just wasn’t a scent I was anticipating in my home. Or on you.”
“Yeah, and that would happen, like, all the time if I was out and about like a free man.” And there was the broody face. Stiles grimaced. “Look... I get it. Sort of. I’ve read the books on werewolves and on alphas, so I understand at least some of the stuff your instincts are going through. And neither of us know when my heat is coming, so we’re both a little twitchy. After I have it, though, we’re gonna need to have a serious talk about how severely cabin fever and no physical contact affects Stiles in everyday life.”
Derek stepped off the last step, and dragged his hand along an unfinished chair leg. "Physical contact..." He phrased it almost like a question, but a mostly rhetorical one. Well. Fuck that.
"Yeah, physical contact. I'm an omega, it just makes my skin itch not to be touched. It's just like I'm not in the right body, which is why I was so happy for Scott to come over." Derek looked up and through him in that way that wasn’t as though he didn’t see Stiles but saw right through him instead. His mouth was suddenly very, very dry. “You, uh... didn’t read up too much on omegas before you went browsing for one, did you.”
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
Stiles shrugged, peering down at a power sander. “I kinda took the hint when you didn’t touch me until after I’d been here for a week. Accidentally. And even then you looked like you’d stuck your hand in shit or something.”
Derek gave a small nod and walked forward. "Any physical contact?" He hesitantly put his hand on Stiles' shoulder. "Like this?"
"Uh... well I guess... normally a bit more though. Oh, but yeah, that's... well, way better than not touching at all." Personally, he liked hugs the best. The bro hugs that Scott gave him were fine, but his favorite contact was a full on, arms squeezing, chests touching hug. Not that he ever got them very often. But even with the awkward shoulder touching, he was already leaning into it, instinctually wanting more.
And like Derek could read his mind (or his body language. Stiles’s heart rate was practically soaring from just the curl of a hand on his shoulder) he pulled Stiles closer, and without skipping a beat, Stiles curled his arms under Derek’s jacket and burrowed against the alpha. He couldn’t tell if the rumble in Derek’s chest was a warning growl or a werewolfy purr, but either way, he wasn’t going to be deterred. Scott had understood his need for contact, and had kept his arm wrapped around Stiles’ shoulders for nearly as long as his visit allowed, but this was something he hadn’t been able to enjoy since the last time he’d seen his father. Stiles was drowning in the sensation of another warm body against his, and it was like the buzzing livewire under his skin had finally calmed.
Yeah, that was definitely the werewolf equivalent of a purr coming from the big bad wolf.
Finally, Stiles pulled away, and for the first time in months, he felt calm. And possibly a little drunk. Damn, drunk off of Derek. "So, ah, right, that was, mmmnhm... good, is what I meant. Yeah. Good. Amazing. Uh, damn, we, we should do that again. Hugging. At least once a week. Would be good. Or more, if you want more. But I'm going to. Going to go, I mean. Upstairs. Puzzles and stuff. Nice... Stuff. Furniture. Nice furniture. Yeah, puzzles." And then he managed to stumble up the stairs, trying not to think of the strange look on Derek's face he'd left him with.
He'd have time for a little retrospect after he spent about an hour making high-pitched muffled noises into his pillow.