It was too much. Too loud and too quiet and too, too much. He had to get out, to get away and just be somewhere different. He couldn’t keep watching her like that, watching her lay there as she faded away. She looked so -- weak , and that wasn’t right, Stiles -- knew it wasn’t right. His momma was strong, the strongest person he knew, and his dad was a policeman! She was laughter, and singing in the kitchen, and bedtime stories. A warmth he could curl up to whenever he was cold, or scared, or just wanted to.
He hadn’t been able to cuddle with her in weeks. That may have been the hardest part.
At thirteen, Stiles understood the fundamentals of what was going on. His mother was sick in the brain, and it was going to kill her. Sure, no one had said that, but Stiles knew was smart enough to figure it out.
And he needed a break. He needed to be gone just for a second, because he wasn’t sure what he would do if he had to look at his mom like that any more. She didn’t even smell like herself at this point, and while his dad let him take his mother's shirts and wear them around the house so he could smell her, he didn’t like it when Stiles wore them outside. It just made everything extra bad, because he couldn’t even trick himself into thinking things might be okay.
So he had left the hospital room, began wandering the halls. He entered a different part of the hospital, skimming his fingers along the wall as he went, dragging his fleet slowly over the floor. Most of the doors he passed by were closed. He wasn’t quite tall enough to see inside the windows, but that didn’t stop him from looking over the charts. It didn’t matter that he had no idea what anything meant, or what could possibly be wrong with these people - reading let him get out of his mind for a little while, even if the things he were reading were hospital charts.
He passed an open door, looking in to find a man sitting in a wheelchair and gazing out the window. There was no one else in the room, and it didn’t look like the man was doing anything, which must have been really boring. Stiles knocked on the door softly. The man might want some company after all, and if he was lonely and Stiles was lonely, well, then -- neither of them would be lonely any more.
It was obviously a great plan.
Stiles entered the room quietly, keeping his steps light when the man didn’t answer his knock. He tiptoed over, determined not to wake him if he was sleeping. He edged around the left side of the man’s chair, trying to see if his eyes were opened or closed. Stiles jumped back when he saw that not only were the man's eyes open, but half his face was covered in raised, bumpy scarred skin.
His face looked like a Halloween mask, and Stiles drew in a deep breath before all but running out of the room and grabbing the man's charts, quickly flipping through the different pages. He still didn’t understand what a lot of it meant, but he understood enough to know the man had been burned in a fire. A bad fire, probably.
Stiles took a deep breath and took a step forward - ashamed that the man may have thought he was running away in fear. His mother had always taught him nothing mattered other than the quality of a person's heart. Stiles wasn’t sure about Peter’s heart, but he was determined to have an excellent heart. He would never run away from someone for being different. So he pulled the standalone chair from the corner of the room and placed it next to Peter’s, crossing his legs under him as he settled himself onto it and turned to face the man.
Peter - that’s what the chart said his name was - had yet to move. Stiles wasn’t sure why that made him so sad - maybe it was because he moved all the time, had trouble not moving - but having to stay still didn’t seem like very much fun. Peter wouldn’t even be able to read anything! Stiles loved reading! So, with a decisive nod of his head, he took a deep breath.
“Peter, tomorrow I am going to come and read to you. Do nothing if that’s okay.”
He did, in fact, go back. It was easy to sneak into the man's room after visiting his mother quickly - his father only ever stopping by later in the evening to pick Stiles up after his shift. He had been working more recently to pay for everything, and Stiles missed the man, missed the time he once spent with his father.
It was a little better when he was reading to Peter. He would be able to lose himself in the book, bring Peter on these insane journeys with him. He had begun checking books out of his school library after only two weeks, wanting to make sure Peter never had to hear the same book twice. Stiles himself didn’t much like to reread books, and he imagined Peter especially wouldn't, not being able to do anything else.
So Stiles constantly brought new books, becoming a regular with the librarian over the next few weeks.
His routine was simple now: wake up, school, visit Mom, then read to Peter. Stiles liked the strict structure he had built for himself. It made things a little easier to handle, knowing he would at least do the same thing each and every day - that for at least right now, no one could take this one thing from him. It didn’t make it stop hurting, Stiles was sure it would always hurt, but knowing he was losing his mother was made easier when he had a set schedule for himself.
He couldn’t think about it if he didn’t set time in to do so. Besides, sitting with Peter always helped; the man's silence steady by his side as he read.
Peter doesn’t talk, which may be a good thing since Stiles decides to talk more than enough for the two of them. He tells the man about his day, about his mom and his dad, about the things he reads on Wikipedia at night, until his vision goes blurry and he has to stop. And he reads - obviously - whatever he can.
Spending time in Peter’s room is like safety. It’s a place he can go and let his guards down; to allow himself to be weak , something he doesn’t want his dad to see. Not only that but there are so many asshole guys in his class - especially fucking Jackson - that he doesn’t feel comfortable letting his guard down at school. He doesn’t need another reason for them to bully him.
He also doesn’t like to let his guard down at home, not quite sure what may happen if he lets himself fall to far into his feelings when he’s alone. He can be extreme, can act without thinking and those two are not good traits while mixed with such fragile emotions.
So instead of letting his guard down, he reads to Peter and let’s himself get caught up in the comfortable repetition. Reading was easy for him, always had been. He learned to read early and excelled in it, reading far beyond his age level for as long as he could remember. So he doesn't mind reading to Peter, likes that the man is a solid presence by his back that he could turn to if he ever needs he can turn too.
He also knows that Peter will never judge him, mostly because he’s still not totally clear whether or not Peter can hear him. It’s the one thing he doesn’t want to look up, the one thing he won't research, because he doesn’t want to know for sure. It feels so much like Peter can, that even though he isn't an active part of the conversations he’s still there for Stiles in some way.
None of the nurses tell him, either. They find him often enough, it’s inevitable with how much time he spends there. They all know who he is at this point, know his situation. His mother has been there for almost five months now and she isn't getting any better. Her health is too bad to put her in a care home - her blood pressure too low and her mind failing far too often. Her heart is no longer doing well either and everyone - including Stiles - knows it’s just a matter of time.
So seeing Peter helps, because he doesn’t have to think about any of it. Doesn't have to acknowledge he’s going to loose his mom forever , that she’ll never hug him again, never again tell him goodnight or that she loves him. That she’ll never yell at him for doing something stupid, or kiss something better when he hurts himself.
She’ll just be gone , and he has no idea how to handle that.
With Peter, he doesn't have to. All he has to do is read.
His mother is going to die within the month. He knows it because he’s still small enough that he’s not often noticed by doctors until after they clinically speak about his mother's life. He wanders into Peter’s room in a sort of daze, distractedly pulling out the paper back he’s going to read for the day when he feels it.
There, there is something between them. He knows it's there, that there is no way he is just imagining it. He walks into Peter’s room, already pulling the books for today out of his bag before he stumbles to a halt, his chest squeezing tightly. He knows the griefhurtpainnoletmedie isn’t coming from, couldn't be.
He hasn’t felt this, this broken since he first found out just how sick his mother was, and he has no idea what to do about the foreign feelings he knows he can’t be making up. He turns to ask Peter - often forgetting and generally just not minding that the man never answers. But Peter - Peter almost looks the same as he always does. It’s just, just that Stiles doesn’t remember Peter’s eyes ever being so blue before. Stiles doesn't think he’s ever seen eyes so blue.
He reads like normal that day, having to choke down the bile that’s rising in his throat at the pain the other man is in. It hurts him, a phantom pain settling over his body as he continues. But he doesn’t leave, can’t leave when the man must be feeling so much more than him. If he can help at all he will.
It happens again, which Stiles is thankful for because it just assures him that he isn't crazy. He’s reading to Peter, a light hearted comedy and he’s laughing along with the scene in the book when he feels a wave of humourjoyhappy that is so quickly replaced by despairhurtloathing that it shocks him into silence. He blinks rapidly at the pages in front of him before turning to the older man to see if he’s right.
Peter’s eyes are shinning blue again.
It happens the day his mother flat lines. It has happened several times before then, and by now it’s something Stiles almost expects - the overwhelming feel of loss and mourning and pain trying to take him over. He’s now easily able to separate them from his own emotions though, and that makes things easier.
He's never felt anything remotely positive from the other man, but the day he shuffles into the Peter’s room and softly closes the door behind him, face already wet with tears, he’s hit with a shock of warmthcomforthomepackpleasebeokay that almost makes his eyes dry. He sits silently beside the man, letting the feelings the man is putting out wash over him as he tries to calm himself, to get his heartbeat under control and to stop sobbing fat, ugly tears.
When he leaves he presses a soft kiss to the man's cheek. It’s something he’s seen his mom do to his dad often enough - every time he would do something nice for her. He doesn't really know why he does it to Peter, but it makes him feel even better. He spends the rest of the night thinking about how weird the man's burns felt under his lips.
He decides to call it a bond. He really has no other name for it, and fundamentally it doesn’t make much sense. He feels Peter’s emotions sometimes, often in answer to something he’s said or read or even done. It seems to be Peter’s way to communicate and just having it makes these visits that much more important to Stiles, especially now.
It works for them though - has since the day his mother passed away. When Stiles is having a bad day, or feeling down, or just not okay , Peter will push at Stiles every good feeling Stiles has ever felt. Sometimes he even gets more than feelings. Impressions, vague images, sometimes even half formed sentences filter from his chest - where the warmth that he now knows is Peter - and into his mind, only making sense after he’s left the room.
It is amazing that they can finally talk, that after nearly nine months Peter can communicate back. It makes everything more real in a way - that his best friend is a coma patient suffering from severe burns over most of his body. It isn’t a comforting thought, but it’s one that doesn’t seem to matter when he pulls out his book to begin reading out loud, taking a long break to rant to the man about how much of a fucking asshole Jackson is oh my god Peter !
It doesn't matter, because coma or not, Peter is Stiles’ best friend, and that’s not going to change anytime soon.
Stiles isn’t sure why the first place he thinks to go is the hospital. For so long it had been somewhere that hurt , somewhere that meant his mother was dying. Now, now it has Peter, and that has made the world of difference. So it’s where Stiles goes when he needs to get away, when he doesn’t know how to handle the emptiness of his house, when the silence eats away at him.
Usually, it isn’t so bad. He can ignore the absence of his father, fill it with video games and TV shows, words and words and words, jumbling his mind with useless information so he doesn’t have to think that his dad doesn’t love him anymore. And it works, really. Most days he’s able to look past the empty spots in his life that his parents used to occupy.
Today, it’s not as easy.
He’s not sure why he expected it to be any different, for his father to come home from the station for more than a few hours. Stiles is fairly sure he’s sleeping there, though the thought that he was suddenly living somewhere else crossed Stiles’ mind. Stiles bit down on that bit of childish abandonment hard, telling himself a firm no, that there was no way he would be able to do so with the bills Stiles kept seeing from the hospital.
Which was where he was now, because he couldn’t be at home. It wasn’t as though his father would notice him sneaking out - which was the problem, really. He just - he just thought his father would be there for him, at least for just today. He never thought he would have to go through his birthday completely alone, not even when he first learned his mother was going to be sick. He had thought it would become he and his dad against the world, that they would be okay because they had each other.
But Stiles didn’t have him, didn’t have anyone . So, he snuck out of his home and made the forty minute walk to the hospital, slipping in a side door he only knew about thanks to Melissa. It was the closet door to Peter’s room and made it easy to sneak himself in. He only had to pass another two closed doors and slowly inch Peter’s open - the light from the street lamps outside giving him just enough to see. No one came ‘round this late - the patients on their own until the morning rounds began.
Stiles would be safe for the whole night, would be able to be away , to let it all go and not have to worry about anything as long as he was in this room, with this man. He could forget about the devastation he was feeling, about all the mixed up hurtanger in his chest and just let himself relax. Normally it would be enough too, but Stiles - Stiles just needed a little bit more.
“I’m sorry,” Stiles choked out, already climbing onto the bed and lifting the light blanket draped over the man's waist, “I know, I know this isn't okay. I r-read about con-consent the other day. But-”
Here Stiles does start crying, finally allowing himself to let just a little of what he’s feeling out into the open. It just hurts , and curling up around Peter’s body, lifting the man's arm over his own shoulder so he can snuggle deeper is already making him feel better. His right side is full of scarred skin, but his left is smooth and he puts out an incredible amount of body heat that Sites sinks into.
He feels what he can only describe as acceptance flowing down their bond before he’s hit with so much comfortwamrthlove that he starts crying all over again, only now it’s because of Peter, because he knows he’ll always have Peter. It doesn’t matter if his father has forgotten him, or if Scott usually acts like he would rather not be with him. Peter cares about him, and it’s solid and real and Stiles’ can feel it echo within himself.
He cares about Peter too, maybe more than he should and more than he knows what to do with. He’s done more research about, well, everything than most anyone he knows, and he knows at fourteen that he’s bisexual and that he probably has a crush on Peter. He also knows no one else would understand it, especially without being able to tell them about the bond they share.
So instead Stiles snuggles closer, and Peter projects down the bond so strongly Stiles feels like he’s being wrapped up in the man's arms, and he falls asleep with a sigh, a smile on his face.
Stiles has no idea what woke him up and he refuses to think it may have been Peter.
He can’t fill himself with misguided hope. Not anymore. Not this time.
The first time Stiles searches the man’s name - he isn’t prepared for what he finds. The fire was news, national news with so many dead, though Stiles’ mother had just been taken to the hospital around the time, so he never heard of it. Nothing else had mattered back then.
But now, he has to look through photos of who the man used to be, see his family around him, how happy they all were. He finds out that only two others survived and for a moment Stiles is brimming with rage. How dare they leave Peter alone, without family, without anything . Stiles has no idea how someone could do that to Peter, especially his family. He would never leave, not at this point.
He considers that maybe Peter was once a horrible person, was an asshole or maybe even abusive - but he just, he just can’t imagine Peter like that. He cares so much for Stiles, always checking in and making sure Stiles is doing okay. In the time since their bond formed it’s grown stronger, building with the years they’ve spent together. Now, Stiles can feel Peter even when they aren’t together.
Some days, it’s the only reason Stiles keeps going. It’s no secret he doesn’t have many friends at school - barely has Scott since Allison transferred and began going out with him. It’s hard to be so alone - his father never quite stepping up as he should. Stiles figures he doesn’t even realize how distant they are this point, not when it is significantly better than it used to be. Though the fact remains his father doesn’t know Stiles spends most of his free time - and a fair few nights - alone with a coma patient, holding a conversation that’s one part emotions, vague ideas, and barely there sentences.
But it’s okay, because he does have Peter, and he can’t imagine the man being anything close to awful.
So he doesn't understand why Peter’s only family may have left - not that it really matters, not now when Peter is Stiles’. The man is his now, his family and his best friend and his everything . Peter is his, it’s that simple. Stiles is also Peter’s, in all the same ways. And, Stiles has always been rather protective of what’s considered his.
He looks up the fire, the thought of it being an accident never sitting right. Accidents, accidents can’t kill that many people, it just isn’t fair, isn’t how the universe works. There’s not enough bad in the universe for something like that to happen, and Stiles has to believe that. Peter has also always been so violent towards the topic, his feelings always so clear about how wrong the entire thing was - that Still isn’t sure how else to take it.
What he finds - he almost wishes he hadn’t.
It wasn’t an accident, and even at sixteen Stiles can tell. He reads over everything as finely as he can, making sure to leave nothing unchecked. He also spends hours and hours researching, piecing together as much as he can from so little. There is nearly nothing concrete, nothing that can say this really happened - but it’s enough for now.
Firstly, there is no way an electrical fire could have burned as quickly and violently as this one did. It just doesn’t make sense. There is also nearly no way an entire family - eight out of eleven people died that night - couldn't get out. The only people who lived were those out of the house to begin with. The chief inspector sighted that the fire began on the main floor, burning through the walls and causing the house to concave - but again, that would have been noticed. It wasn’t as though this fire happened in the middle of the night. No, first responders responded on scene at seven fifteen in the morning.
Stiles gets Danny to hack into the inspector's bank account. He doesn’t like blackmailing the other boy - mostly because he’s always been so nice to him. But desperate times.
He finds out what he wanted. Three months after the fire the man came into a large sum of money and quit his job on it. Most of it has been used now, but the records will forever be there on the internet, and he gets Danny to make him copies of absolutely everything.
It doesn’t feel like enough, so he has Danny help him again - you learn a lot about people when no one takes notice of your presence - and does the same for the Sheriff at the time. Six months after the investigator retired, the Sheriff followed, opening up a second bank account - one that readily received tens of thousands of dollars. Stiles doesn't think that was nearly enough money for all the lives lost.
Stiles is sure it was arson, especially when he looks deeper into the file to see investigation reports put out on more than one person. Clearly someone at the station didn’t think it was an accident either and had been looking into it, before being let go. Apparently the deputy in charge of the reports failed to pass a multitude of mental health checks and were forced to resign.
But still, the man had interviews with two men who were convicted for arson only years later, his fucking chemistry teacher and even more surprising, Allison’s aunt.
He’s not proud about using his friendship with Scott to break into the Argent’s house, but he does it anyway. He raids the room Kate is staying, wearing gloves and a hair net - just in case. His shoes don’t have a thread and none of his clothes have any runs. He makes sure to take pictures of everything and takes extra care to put everything back where it belongs.
What he finds has him running to the bathroom to throw up.
Kate has a binder of photo’s. Most were of Derek Hale - who couldn't have been more than sixteen at the time, much younger than Kate’s twenty five - and most are incredibly stalker-esk. They’re of him out with his family, his friends. At the grocery store or driving in his care. There are also some of him, well, some had caused Stiles to hurl. None of it, none of it made sense, though. Why Kate would go through all the trouble to murder an entire family.
It didn’t matter, though. Stiles took the binder and everything he had learned straight to his father, determined and steely gazed and refusing to bend on this. He would get right by Peter.
“Peter, I think someone killed your family,” Stiles says it quietly, curled into the man's side. It’s not that he comes here often at night - at least he doesn't think three nights is too often - but he likes it here. Peter always gives off so much warmth, is so incredibly comfortable to lie on. And Peter always sends the most wonderful feelings over their bonds when he does that Stiles can think nothing other than that the man likes it just as much as he does.
Which is what he had been doing, until Stiles started talking. Now the bond is raging at him, and Stiles feels lost in it for an entire minute before he’s able to pull himself back out - to distinguish his own feelings from Peter’s. He can still feel everything the man is and it’s ugly, and horrible, and it hurts Stiles, so he just curls closer, pulling Peter tighter against him, letting the man lean against his chest as Stiles wraps himself around him, holding him tight.
He nuzzles into Peter’s neck, not knowing why but being pushed to, guided. He knows the instincts are not his own but he does it anyway, rubbing his chin into the crook of the older man’s neck and sighing quietly when some of the hurtpaindontstoppleaseleavemealonehelpsavethemithurts starts to lessen and he can breath in full. He feels Peter’s arm twitch against his - or at least what he thinks is Peter’s arm twitch but ignores it until it happens again. Then he smiles, pushing his face further into the man's skin as he laughs, tears slipping free.
He’s not even sure what he’s feeling, but Peter moved and it’s the first time that it has happened in the three years he’s been coming here. It’s progress, however small it still counts because he does it again and Stiles just laughs louder, his joy being choked out as he sobs, happy .
“My d-dad,” Stiles says as he tries to calm himself, taking deep breathes that rattle in his chest, “Reddick and Unger - their both arsonists that can actually be linked to the house - have been arrested. Garrison - he was the insurance inspector - he’s dead now. And, and Kate,” He says the name in nothing but a whisper, moving his head back as he speaks, not wanting to say the woman's name against peter’s skin, “Is wanted by the FBI now. “
Stiles knows for sure that Peter moves then, because a scarred, rough hand falls onto his own and the fingers twitch lightly against his skin. Stiles replies immediately, quickly flipping his palm upside down and twining their fingers tightly together, laughing again against the mans neck.
They fall asleep like that, homesafelovehappythankyou coursing through him as he continues to hug Peter to himself.
Stiles realizes he's attracted to Peter easily. It’s something he has always known and just never questioned - his attraction to the man being another fact of his life. He goes with it, let’s it happen and doesn't think much about it. He masturbates often, but he tries his best never to explicitly think about Peter. And if his fantasies often include scarred-rough skin, well.
It has never mattered to him until the day he walks into Peter’s room in new clothes. Somehow he had been forced by Lydia and Allison to go shopping - the two girls taking pity on Scott’s awkward and quite tag-along friend. It didn’t really matter, it wasn’t as though he minded the two dressing him up. He was pleasantly surprised with the results, knowing he looked good.
Apparently wearing the ‘proper fit’ could do a lot for a boys ass, and he’d bought more jeans than he probably needed - including a variety of shirts that weren’t two sizes too big. He also had something done to his hair - though he thought it kind of looked the same just shorter on the back and sides, and really didn’t understand why he paid fifty dollars for it.
But, the girls has said it looked good, and he had trusted their opinion.
Then he hadn't thought about it again. Clothes were not a big part of his life - was not something he thought about more than once during his day. So when he walked into the hospital room in new skinny jeans and a light blue shirt, he thought nothing of it. He walked around Peter like he always did - pressing a soft kiss to the man's cheek. It was something he had started doing after he had told the man about the fire and he had moved for the first time. That had been months ago now, and touching Peter seemed like second nature.
He knew the man loved it, too. He would always light up - or rather the bond would. He didn’t feel nearly as bad as that first night he had climbed into the man's bed, now knowing with certainty that Peter was okay with it. So Stiles kissed his cheek, moving to pull a chair up in front of Peter so they could sit facing in other when Stiles felt wantminelustletmehavedesirefuck course through the bond, so intensely Stiles actually stumbled a step.
He turned to the man with wide eyes, staring into too-bright blue. They were staring at him, tracking down his form. Eye movement was another newer development, one only in the last little while but now the man would watch, follow Stiles with his eyes as he talked and paced, moved around the room during the hours he spent there.
It was amazing, almost as good as the time Peter held his hand. Now, now it felt different, charged. Stiles knew his cheeks would be red and blotchy, his blush intense as the man continued to stare at him, walking over his form. Stiles could only stare back, his body reacting to the heated gaze and the feelings he was being sent.
And Stiles, Stiles just ran away. He muttered out a sorry, letting his hand run through the man's hair on the way out. He was hard in his pants, outrageously so and he felt guilty . Guilty for being so attracted to a man who could still hardly move, a man so much older than he. But he couldn't stop, and he had to pull into a parking garage, driving to an empty level.
His heart was beating fast when he fiddled with his belt buckle, hastily pulling it off and throwing it onto the seat beside him, unbuttoning his jeans before fishing his cock out of his boxers. He was hard , already leaking - the head was a dark red, blood pooling almost painfully as it pulsed in his hand. He was so worked up, his balls already drawing in tight as pleasure licked his spine.
He could still feel Peter and if he focused could see flashes of images, of himself and Peter together, things the man was thinking of the two of them fueling him on. It hardly took five tugs before he was shooting off, doubling over at the force as he panted. He slumped back and looked in the rearview mirror. He had a rope of cum hanging off his chin, another glob on his neck and a third in his hair. He focused on what he was seeing, trying to memorize the image he made and push it towards Peter.
When he got home he was beyond glad his father wasn’t there.
He had no idea how to explain the cum in his hair.
Stiles was sure that if someone asked, he wouldn't be able to tell them he was excited.
In fact, he was trying pretty hard not to burst into tears. He’d already done that enough, curling close to Peter every night for the last couple of months and crying. He was leaving, leaving and he couldn't feel anything but heartbreak at the choice. But, but Berkeley had a good program and offered him an even better scholarship, and he couldn’t say no.
But Peter, god, leaving Peter might just break him. He loved the man, was sure of that at this point, anyway. He’d first made the decision to read to him over four years ago, and he’s spent nearly all of his free time with him since. Sure, Stiles was probably horrible dependant on the other man - but he wasn’t ashamed to admit it.
Peter had gained more movement in the last year. It had all started with the soft, twitching of his fingers but now he could move his head and his forearms. Holding the man's hand was one of Stiles’ favorite things to do, and would be one of the things he missed the most. He still had trouble with speech, but would sometimes mutter would a few words. They didn’t always make up a sentence, but that was okay. The first time Peter said Stiles name the boy had bawled for an hour, pulling Peter close and not letting go.
So leaving was going to be hard - easily the hardest thing he’d ever done. But he couldn’t - god he couldn’t stay. Peter would never agree with that, and never forgive him if he did anyway. He knew that, knew that however much he loved the man Peter somehow loved him more. Leaving would be horrible, heartbreaking for both and if Stiles wasn’t sure how he was going to survive it, he could hardly imagine how Peter would.
But that - that wouldn't matter, not now. No, now his name was being called and he was walking towards the stage, gown floating around his ankles. He takes a deep breath, still trying hard not to cry. No one here would truly know why, and he doesn't want to let anyone think his tears are for anything other than Peter.
He takes his diploma, throat too tight and chest hurting too much to smile for his photo. He’s sure he looks miserable, and he feels worse than it shows. He just wants to go back to the hospital and lay with Peter, curled up into the man's warmth and trying to forget that he’s leaving and hoping that he'll never forget how good it feels to be so close.
He goes back to his seat, having to scrub at his eyes as he sits and sniffles heavily, not even caring about the looks he knows he’s getting. He doesn’t care about any of them. He cares about two people in this town and he's leaving both and that - well that is too much . It steals his breath from him and forces him to bite hard into his fist to keep down the sob that is trying to bubble over.
He manages to hold it together for the rest of the ceremony, finding his dad promptly and hiding his face in the man's shoulder. He had really stepped up the last year, apologizing for the years and years of neglect. Obviously it hadn't fixed everything, but it had been a start and Stiles had been more than appreciative of it.
He takes another breath of gun oil and old spice, letting his dad squeeze him extra tight before stepping back. He looks around him quickly, watching as others pose with groups of friends, hugging and crying and sad to be leaving. Stiles doesn't have anyone to turn to - the results of spending all of his time in a hospital - and instead tries to muster up a smile for his dad, even though he knows it’s weak.
He looks around once more, thinking that maybe, maybe he should feel more for these people when his vision catches on something too familiar. He swirls back, breath catching. It’s, it’s Peter , but his hair is trimmed neatly and he’s in a fitted suit. His scars shine in the sun, wrinkle harshly when he smiles - and Stiles decides it's the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.
Stiles sobs out then, falling to his knees as he hugs himself tight, shaking his head. He couldn't - god he couldn’t. It wasn’t true because fuck if Stiles knew would to do if it was. The last time he’d seen the man Peter could hardly speak, no way was he standing there with tulips. Fucking tulips which he told the man were his mother's favourites three years ago.
Peter just walks forward slowly, students and parents alike staring. His dad pulls him to his feet as Peter steps in front of him before fluidly kneeling to one knee - Stiles finally seeing what’s in his other hand. It’s a box, black velvet and when he opens it there’s a ring, thin and rose gold and everything Stiles could have ever wanted for himself.
“Mieczyslaw Stilinski, you saved me from myself. You - you took away the darkness, the stillness and the rage. You took away the pain, and you stood by me for four years. You made yourself a spot in my life, carved yourself into my heart and it is something I have come to cherish. You , are something I have come to cherish. You saved my life - gave me something to live for, something to get better for, to survive for after I lose everything. You are the reason I am here today, talking and walking and I can’t let you go,” Peter’s eyes were watering as much as Stiles’ were, and the boy had once again knelt down, knee brushing Peter’s as he stared at the man, taking his face between his hands even as he finished, “I will never let you go. Please, please let me hold you forever.”
Stiles just nodded, touching their foreheads together as he laughed. He knew everyone was watching - after all how many adult burn victims proposed to freshly graduated teenagers at their graduation - but Stiles couldn't care, especially as Peter slipped the ring onto his finger, the metal cool against his skin.
Stiles just laughed again, bright and loud as he leaned forward, pressing his smile to the older mans for the first time, sharing their first kiss.
And in his bond all he could feel was finallyminelovejoyforever forever , and Stiles couldn't agree more.
Holding Peter forever sounded like an amazing plan.
“God, you being a werewolf explains so fucking much .”