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Reclaiming Space

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Peter was picking up his scattered paperwork so they could use the table to eat dinner.

"Umm... would that be easier if you had, like, an office?" John asked hesitantly.

"It would," Peter admitted. "But it's only a few hours a week, and this is fine."

John dithered for a moment, then took Peter's hand. "Come with me."

John led him upstairs to the room that Peter understood used to be Claudia's workroom. Neither John nor Stiles ever went into it as far as Peter knew.

John opened the door, bringing Peter into the room.

"Maybe... maybe it's time to make room for you," John said softly.

Peter looked around the room that was actually practically outfitted, but with clear feminine touches. The walls were painted a now-faded pink, and the curtains on the windows were more whimsical than anything in the rest of the house. But the desk and bookcase were sturdy looking. There was a thick layer of dust over everything.

"I talked to Stiles, and he's okay if you'd like to maybe make this into an office," John offered.

"You don't have to do this," Peter protested. "I know how much Claudia means to both of you."

"And she'd be the first to kick my ass for letting this space go to waste," John grinned. "She'd've been up here cleaning and redecorating the day after you moved in."

"If you're sure..." Peter wanted to give him a chance to back out.

"Yes, I'm sure," John said firmly.

Peter drew him in for a warm kiss.

When it came to actually cleaning up the room, Peter found that John was endlessly distracted by every little object. He finally assured John that he could manage on his own, and suspected John was guiltily relieved to be let off the hook.

Peter deliberately took his time with the cleanup and renovations, not wanting the changes to be too shocking. He boxed up debris that clearly should be thrown out, to be dealt with later. He moved a lamp into their bedroom, finding a new lampshade before setting it next to John's side of the bed. He gave Stiles some of the pictures and nick-knacks from the shelves.

Peter hadn't always been one for painting and cleaning, but he found this specific task soothing. The work let him contribute to pack. He had moved in with John because he knew the value of home and didn't want to take that away from him.

"Come and see," he invited John after dinner.

"You're done?" John was startled.

"Done enough," Peter admitted. "If I go for perfect, nothing gets done."

"True!" John laughed.

Peter led the way and opened the door, drawing John into the room.

The evening sunlight threw shadows, making the room warm. Peter flicked on a light and the room sharpened into focus.

The wall where the sun landed was a warm mauve, and the other walls were a light gray. White accents on the baseboards. It was the same furniture, but re-arranged and polished so it shone.

There was a comfortable looking recliner in one corner, with a throw pillow made out of the old curtains.

"I'm surprised you could salvage anything from those curtains," John said, gingerly picking up the pillow.

"Stiles helped me with that," Peter admitted. "He had to put a preservation charm on the fabric before anything could be done with it. But there was enough for him to have a pillow, too."

"It's.... it's wonderful," John said, holding back tears. "Thank you."

Peter drew him close. The Stillinski men gave the best hugs. "Thank you for sharing her with me."