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Riding on the Amtrak

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Stiles couldn’t take his eyes off of Derek. It had taken a while, but Derek was finally the most carefree and open than he had ever been. Stiles was grateful that he was there to see all the progress he had made. Derek still had his moments, they all did, the trauma from their past would probably never truly leave its trace. But Derek had started to heal, and that had opened up so much potential for their relationship to grow and flourish. And it had.

Now Stiles was able to enjoy moments like these. Moments where Derek was so happy; his smile wide enough for dimples in his cheeks, his eyes twinkling brightly, his body loose and comfortable. Sitting there opposite him, he was laughing at Erica and Boyd tease Isaac, while the scenery rushed by. Sitting there basking in the sunlight, Stiles was sure that the warmth he was feeling had nothing to do with the sun, and everything to do with the man who he’d grown to love so much. All Stiles cared about was making and keeping Derek as happy as he could. So that he could sit there and watch the smile bloom on Derek’s face, so he could take snapshots of moments like this when everything felt easy and mellow. Stiles could live on moments like these, and he was ready for a lifetime of them.

It was so easy to imagine their life full of laughter and comfort and love. They had gone through so much together, had grown as individuals and had lived through so much horror, it was easy to imagine a painless life because they deserved it. Had earned their retirement from the terror-filled lives they had lead. Stiles knew they deserved some peace. They had fought their battles and had lived through to tell the tale. They could live the lives they wanted, without any guilt, or pain, and without any fear.

Watching Derek smiling and bantering with the others, he knew he was ready to begin his life. His fingers twitched against the square velvet box in his pocket as his thoughts swirled in his mind and a contentedness settled in him. Yes, he was definitely ready; and soon enough he would ask Derek if he was ready and willing for that life as well.