“So we’re agreed,” Talia said, with a nod. “Peter and Stiles will marry to unite our packs to share the territory. I imagine the extra protection will also be quite beneficial for you.”
“I’m sure we’ll all appreciate its benefits,” Scott said lightly, very aware of Stiles’ tight smile. They’d discussed it and Stiles was fine with the arranged marriage and got along fine with Peter. Less so with Talia, who hadn’t exactly been subtle about her unimpressed attitude about our unconventional pack.
“Hopefully you’ll be able to properly organise your pack dynamic.”
“Yes I’m sure your pack will also benefit from a real Emissary,” Stiles said in a bright tone. Talia’s face immediately fell.
“We have an Emissary.” She said flatly, just a hint too much teeth.
“Oh, yeah, the druid. Sorry, I just keep forgetting about him with how little he does.” Stiles said with a faux laugh. “Well, we better get going. Thank you for meeting us but we have a pack dynamic to properly organise before the ceremony.”
Stiles stood and moved to the door, though he stopped there to wait for Scott. Scott ignored the pointed look Talia gave him. He wasn’t going to reprimand Stiles for saying what the whole pack was thinking.
“Thank you for your time, Alpha Hale,” he said instead, offering his hand as he stood.
“And for yours, Alpha McCall,” Talia said, standing to match him. Her handshake was possibly a bit too tight but Scott felt his hand contract to match the grip. When they let go and he turned towards the door Stiles was just barely holding back a sneer. Neither of them commented further until they were in the car and moving.
“I hate it when you do that,” Scott said as Stiles drummed his fingers on the steering wheel.
“One of us has to stand up to her,” Stiles said bluntly. “We can’t let her Alpha us. Especially you.”
“Wasn’t the point of joining with a larger back to let us relax a little?” Scott asked.
“The point was safety in number and letting us finally settle in a place we can be happy. It’s not to submit ourselves to another Alpha who barely takes us seriously as it is.”
“She has more experience-”
“She has a stick up her ass and superiority complex that’s going to bite her in that ass.”
“I’m not going to say it to her face,” Stiles said with a roll of his eyes. “More importantly, we have a week till I get married. Lydia’s on the warpath, I still have to ward our new pack houses, and if that druid comes anywhere near our place I will blow him up.”
“You’re not blowing anyone up,” Scott said with a sigh as Stiles parked the car and they climbed out.
“Who are we blowing up?” Erica asked as she came out to greet them.
“No one,” Scott repeated; “and don’t sound so excited about it.”
“It could be pretty exciting,” Isaac said with a shrug. “How’d the meeting go?”
“We’re not being kicked out so obviously everything is going ahead,” Lydia said plainly, as they all came into the house. They all moved “Stiles, we still need to put the finishing touches on the tux. Has he organised the flower girl and ring bearer?”
“The Dark Lord Voldemort? Yes, I’m sure he’s organised it. You can use his name Lyds.”
“I don’t like him.”
“We know, Lyds.”
“I hate basically every part of this plan.”
“We know, Lyds.”
“Still got your balls, Jackson?”
“No you’re not, Lyds.”
“I’m just saying, after everything we’ve been through aren’t we better than an marriage of convenience?” Lydia snapped, making Stiles pause in his dinner preparations. Silence fell and Stiles turned to take in the pack.
Lydia stood with her arms crossed, scowling at him. Jackson was leaning against the counter beside her, looking bored but also plainly backing her up. Erica was leaning back into Boyd who had his arms wrapped around her. Danny had his ‘I am questioning your life choices face’, Isaac was avoiding eye contact with anyone, Kira was fidgeting uncomfortably, and Scott was rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly.
“Are we seriously having this discussion now? We’re three weeks in,” Stiles said with a raised eyebrow. “We agreed-”
“We agreed we’d appreciate a stable territory but this is starting to feel an awful lot like selling ourselves to a larger pack,” Lydia said flatly. “Especially you.”
“Except that I’ve said I’m fine with it,” Stiles said easily. “And we’re not folding into the Hale pack. We’re forming an alliance, not joining them. Being respectful of another Alpha doesn’t mean you have to obey her. The marriage just helps pack bonds form between us.”
“It’s just, kinda old fashion,” Kira said. “It doesn’t really feel right with everything we’ve been through.”
“Listen,” Stiles said with a sigh. “I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t how I imagined my wedding going down, but this is a better opportunity than I thought we’d get. I might not love Peter but we do get along, I might not like Talia but she does have a strong pack. As long as we don’t let them push us around this isn’t going to damage our pack.”
“But are you going to be happy,” Isaac asked, all concerned and sincere.
“Well, Peter’s not exactly bad looking,” Stiles said with a smirk. Erica and Danny both let out snorts of laughter and Stiles turned away from the impromptu intervention. “Besides, have you ever known me to put up with someone I didn’t like?”
“You’ve put up with worse for the pack,” Isaac said lightly. Stiles ignored him.
Peter glanced up as Talia paced and rolled his eyes. She always came back from the meetings agitating and defensive. Frankly, Peter thought it was ridiculous. The two packs got along well enough, he and Stiles had met and agreed that they were compatible. Talia just seemed unable to get over the ‘slight’ of ‘a left hand for an Emissary’.
Peter and Stiles.
It made perfect sense but Talia was so defensive about Deaton’s position as their Emissary. Well, that and…
“Those children think they have any right-”
“You agreed that you and McCall would be equals,” Peter said with a sigh. “You Alpha you’re pack and he handles his. An alliance, not a convergence. You agreed.”
“Because you told me they’d be an asset to our territory!” Talia snapped. “You know I value your opinion and you’re usually right but those boys-”
“Those boys have formed a stable pack of extremely different people, and they’ve managed to keep that pack together and alive without any tutelage in what they are. If even half the stories of what that pack has been through are true they’ve more experience than most of our pack combined.”
“Because they failed to stabilise a territory.”
“Because they were unwilling to bow to anyone who didn’t treat all of them like people,” Peter corrected. “They stand for their beliefs against things that would make much older people crumble. Talia, we have no way of losing from this. The Emissary and I get married, our packs share the territory, over time we mingle, and things will settle. You just have to remember not to force your authority over them.”
“It’s my terri-”
“You agreed,” Peter said sharply, finally standing to match his sister. “If you can’t handle sharing the territory you need to say something before the wedding.”
“What about you? Can you handle it?” Talia asked with a challenging look.
“Him, you mean?” Peter asked with a smirk. “I’m confident my husband and I will be able to handle each other. I’m rather looking forward to it.”
“Lovely,” Talia said with a wrinkled nose. Then she collapsed on the couch with a sigh, Peter sat down beside her with far more poise, which was quickly offset by Talia putting her feet in his lap. “I just don’t know what to do.”
“Would you like my advice?” Peter asked lightly. Talia gave him a deeply unimpressed look and he just raised an eyebrow. Tahlia rolled her eyes.
“Yes, please, Peter, shower me with your wisdom.”
“Oh, well, since you asked so nicely,” Peter said with a smirk, before shoving her off the couch. Talia snarled but Peter just grinned as he pointedly lounged over the couch. “What you need to do, dear sister, is stop treating them like your children.”
“You look at them and you see your children,” Peter said with a shrug. “It’s understandable, they are around Cora’s age, but you need to stop. You are in charge of your children because you’re their mother and their Alpha, you raised them, you watched them grow, and you protected them so they didn’t have to. The McCall pack, on the other hand, have learnt to protect themselves. They don’t need a mother because they rely on each other for support and advice. They don’t need an Alpha because they have one, and regardless of how unconventional their pack is, they are stable and strong.”
Talia looked up at him with a familiar stubborn expression and Peter mentally prepared himself for a fight. After a moment though Talia let out a gusty breath and rested her head against his knee.
“I know. I know I shouldn’t but I just… I don’t want to think about how they built such a reputation, they’re so young.”
“I’m marrying one of them,” Peter said with a raised eyebrow.
“Peter, you’re young. Mum’s precious baby.”
“Don’t you start, Tea Time.”
“Really, though, Peter, are you sure you’re ok with this?” Talia asked climbing back up to sit next to him.
“You know I’d do anything for the pack,” Peter said, and received a whine and sad-eyes in return. He sighed. “Yes, Talia, I’m ok with this. Stiles certainly has an… appeal to him. Although, there is one thing you could do for me.”
“Stop calling them children.”