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The Claiming

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"Ow! Fuck!" Stiles swore as he tripped over a tree root. Again.

"I offered to carry you," Peter said dryly, steadying Stiles.

"Much as I'd appreciate it," Stiles replied, "I think I need to do this on my own. Mostly, anyway."

"We have time," Peter replied. "You don't have to rush, that should make it easier."

"I know, I know," Stiles said. "It's... it's just eager and keeps pulling me there."

"Well, just let it know you're coming and we all have to wait for sunrise," Peter said practically.

"Worth a try," Stiles agreed. He stood still for a moment and took a deep breath.

We're coming! Wait!

The pull lessened slightly and Stiles grinned. "Good thought," he nodded. "That helped."

"Now, take your time and you won't be all battered when we get there," Peter said. "If you're bruised or bleeding, your father will not be pleased."

"He's used to me being all bruised," Stiles retorted. "I've never been graceful!"

"But he's turned you over to my care," Peter replied. "It won't be good if he thinks I'm not taking proper care of you."

"Awww..." Stiles grinned.

"Now get moving," Peter gave a playful swat to Stiles' naked rear end.

"Good thing it's relatively warm," Stiles commented as he started to move on. "Walking around naked in the woods is not something I'd want to do in colder weather."

"You're the one who interpreted that description as skyclad," Peter retorted. "It's your own fault."

"I know, I know," Stiles sighed as he walked forward carefully. "It sounded cooler in my head than it does in reality."

Peter laughed.

Stiles stopped. "We're almost there," he announced. "Is everyone here?"

Peter listened for a moment. "Yes. Derek says they're ready for us."

"Good. You go ahead and take your position," Stiles ordered. "I'll be right behind you."

"I'll be waiting!" Peter promised.

Stiles stood still and listened as Peter moved off. He drew deep, even breaths to settle himself and prepare for the formal claiming of the Nemeton and the Hale territory.

Both Cora and Derek had accepted the invitation to participate. As they both held a trace of the Hale Alpha spark, it was important that they be there to acknowledge and accept Peter's formal claim to the land.

It was interesting that Scott hadn't noticed, or at least hadn't asked any questions, about both of them being in town.

The ceremony Stiles had found needed to be done at dawn, after the night of the New Moon.

They also needed to do it after Scott had left Beacon Hills. While he had made no formal claim of the land, as a supernatural creature he would feel something and they didn't want to risk their plans going awry.

Stiles had let slip that he had 'found' that it was good luck to claim a new territory on the night of the New Moon, so Scott had arranged to be in Oklahoma two days before, to have a chance to settle in before he did the simple claiming ceremony Stiles had provided. The member's of Scott's pack that were moving with him had arranged their own travels to be there for the claiming.

Stiles was not surprised that he had not received even a casual invitation to come to the claiming.

The Nemeton pulsed a warning at Stiles. It was time.

Stiles stepped into the clearing, focused on the tree and Peter. He ignored Derek, Cora and his father -- they were witnesses and not participants in this ceremony. They were here as family.

Stiles strode confidently into the clearing and to Peter's side. He took Peter's hand.

"We are here to affirm our responsibilities to this land, to Hale land. We affirm that we will protect this land. We will care for the land and those that live here. We will protect this land from those who would not honor the land. We will protect this land from those who will not honor Mother Lycon."

Stiles released Peter's hand and leaned over slightly to pick up the knife Derek had placed there for them to use.

"We mark this promise with our blood, freely given." Stiles made a slice on his palm and handed the knife to Peter, who made the same cut. Stiles knew Peter had to focus on the wound so it would not immediately heal.

They held their cut hands together and let their mixed blood drip onto the roots of the tree.

"We seek the blessings of this land, of this tree, of Mother Lycon," Stiles said solemnly.

"We promise to honor this land, honor this tree, and honor Mother Lycon," Peter added his part. "I am a Hale, of a long line of Hales and claim this land as my own."

The sun burst through the trees.

"From the dawn of this day forward, we will be your protectors," Stiles said.

From nowhere a wind came through the trees and a shower of leaves fell upon them. It stopped as soon as it started.

A feeling of rightness filled Stiles.

"It is done!" Stiles smiled.

Peter drew him in for a hug and a kiss.

"It feels... lighter," Derek admitted.

Cora leered at Stiles' naked form. "Looking good!" she teased.

John stepped in and handed Stiles a backpack. "I think you can use this!"

"Thanks!" Stiles said as he took out clothes and sneakers. "Not sure my bare feet would be up to the walk back."

"Come back to the house," Peter invited. "We will have a meal together to celebrate and to further the bonds we've built here today."

The walk back, and the day, was filled with love and laughter.