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The Tears of the Tired

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"You know," Stiles says in a whisper soft voice, "I always thought we'd go down in a hail of bullets or something. Not like... this."

Peter hums and keeps holding his mate's hand. (so soft, so fragile)

"But," Stiles continues, "I think this is better. This is something my ancestors didn't have, I don't think."

Peter knows he's tearing up. For all the knowledge the nogitsune left in Stiles, for all the power the nemeton forced on him, for all the contacts Peter has, nothing could stop this. Time can't be stopped. Death comes for them all sooner or later. He's already asked Ákos to shoot him after Stiles goes. He knows he can't live without his sweet little killer.

***

Stiles stops breathing, his heart stops beating and a scream that melts into a howl rips through the woods surrounding the house.

Peter feels the bond he's had with his mate for almost a century snap and then there's nothing. All the rest, his pups and their pups and their pups and the bonds he has with them, they're nothing now. Nothing without the central anchor of his mate shining like a star, like a beacon of home and love and belonging.

There's nothing but emptiness and he doesn't care anymore. He's a wolf and he's lost his mate and he sheds the form his mate loved for the one he adored, the one where he doesn't need to think about human things, like loss and grief and being there for others.

He runs and runs and runs.

He runs until he finds himself running back to the house empty of life and to the room with the body that no longer holds his mate in it.

He curls up next to it and goes to sleep whining at the cold stillness.

He doesn't wake when his pup walks in quietly.

He doesn't wake when his pup puts the gun to his temple.

And then he can't wake anymore.

***

When they have a funeral they lower two bodies into the ground.

Ákos and Anasztázia don't shed tears, not now, not here. The rest of the family does but the family elders (ana hates they can now call themselves that) don't. They knew this would happen before Papa had even asked Ákos for mercy.

They'd grown up with the two known in the supernatural world for their uncompromising protection of their family-pack and in the mundane world, well, the authorities had never been able to even connect all of the bodies never mind pin blame for them on someone.

They'd grown up knowing their parents' love for them and each other, and now the two base pillars of their life and pack weren't there anymore.

Neither of them knows what to do with that.

(time heals all wounds, is what the people claim. it remains to be seen.)