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It’s going to be a long, long time before anything dethrones crawling out of the tent to find the rest of the pack waiting as the most embarrassing moment of Stiles’ life. Sure, everybody knows what you spend your wedding night doing, but normally it’s a few hours before you see anyone, not five minutes, and normally your groin isn’t still tacky with lube and come when you do see them. Stiles does his damnedest to not think about the fact that the wolves can smell it.

No one speaks, they just stand around for a painfully awkward twenty minutes or so, waiting for moonrise to be sure that Stiles is safe. Stiles still isn’t wearing a watch, but he knows when the time has come by the way everyone else starts anxiously looking from their wrists to Deaton and back again. Deaton makes them wait another ten minutes--maybe to be safe, maybe just because he can--before he announces, “Moonrise has passed. Stiles, come here and let me check that the mark is gone.” Stiles steps over in front of him and Deaton sprinkles him with something and frowns intently for a few seconds before his expression relaxes. “It’s gone. You’re clear.”

Stiles lets out a long breath of relief and accepts similarly relieved hugs and back slaps from the rest of the pack before each of them heads home. In no time at all, it’s just him, Peter, and his dad left in the clearing. The circles and the tent have been cleared away. It’s like nothing ever happened, except for the bond. You’d never know it to look at him, but Peter feels as uncertain as Stiles does.

“I’ll see you at home,” Noah says, and a spike of distress comes over the bond.

Stiles glances at Peter, but he’s wearing a neutral, maybe even slightly pleasant expression. It’s a front, though. The longer Stiles takes to reply, the more his distress is rising. “I’m not sure it’s a good idea for us,” Stiles waves between himself and Peter, as if that needs to be clarified, “to be apart this soon after bonding.” Surprise overwhelms every other emotion in the bond, not that Peter shows it.

Noah sighs and rubs a hand over his face. “I’m going to worry about you if you aren’t at home tonight,” he admits.

Stiles bites his lip and glances at Peter. There isn’t actually a physical need for them to stay close, he just doesn’t want Peter to be upset. But he doesn’t want his dad to be up all night, either.

“Perhaps,” Peter suggests carefully, “I could stay over in your home? For tonight.”

Stiles perks up and looks hopefully at his dad, who gives Peter a long look before nodding slowly. “All right.”

They drive back separately, since each of them had taken their own vehicles to the loft and then to the Preserve. Noah gives Stiles another long hug and takes another look at Peter before shaking his head and heading straight to bed. Watching him go, Stiles can’t help a spike of anxiety.

“He’ll be okay,” Peter says quietly.

Stiles turns his gaze on Peter and smiles weakly. “I hope so.”

“He loves you,” Peter’s voice is firm. He reaches out, hand hovering for an instant before settling warmly on Stiles’ back. “This is just a lot to adjust to.” Stiles nods, and even though he isn’t totally certain, he can feel that Peter is, which is almost as good.

Peter insists that Stiles take the first shower, which seems weird--Peter is considerably more messy under their pajamas--until Stiles gets back to his bedroom and realizes that letting him go first means that Stiles now has time to set up sleeping places for both of them. Stiles thinks that anyone else would have assumed--either that they’d be sleeping apart, because this hadn’t been a marriage of choice, or that they’d be sleeping together, because they’d already had sex, after all. But Peter takes nothing for granted. Yes, they’ve made promises, and they meant them, but there’s a lot of details to be negotiated. This is Peter letting Stiles decide what he’s comfortable with without Peter having to lose face by asking.

Stiles snorts at the maneuvering, but climbs into bed and flips the covers back in invitation. Peter may be skillfully navigating the practicalities, but Stiles has a direct line past his careful masks, and what Peter is feeling is anxious. Between his recent history and his comment about his family before the bonding ceremony, Stiles is willing to bet that Peter doesn’t have much personal experience with happy, healthy family relationships. He’s probably tying his brain in knots trying to figure out how Stiles’ relationship with his father is going to influence Peter’s relationship with Stiles.

When Peter reappears in the doorway he’s wearing a t-shirt and boxers that Stiles gave him to replace the messy pajamas. They’re a little tight, but they fit well enough considering that Peter always wears his clothes a little tight. He quickly takes in the bed--Stiles sitting up on one side, the covers turned back on the other--and barely pauses before crossing the room to slide into bed next to Stiles.

They just sit there for a moment, and then Peter snorts a laugh and Stiles breaks out in answering snickers and the two of them scoot down so that they’re actually lying down. They’re both on their sides, facing each other.

Stiles doesn’t even try closing his eyes. “I’m thinking too much to sleep,” he admits.

“Then I guess we’ll just lie here and rest,” Peter says.

“I’m not good at resting.” It’s true. If he’s awake, he’s moving, and he pretty much only sleeps through the night when exhausted. Tonight was tiring, but not at the passing out level. “What’s your favorite color?”

Peter’s eyebrows go up. “My favorite color? I haven’t really thought about it. Why?”

Stiles shrugs, as much as he can lying on one shoulder. “We’re married, but I don’t actually know much about you.”

“And my favorite color is going to help with that?”

“Maybe not,” Stiles says. “But it’s the kind of thing you learn when you spend a lot of time just hanging out with someone.”

Peter hummed softly, eyes distant for a moment. “I don’t think I ever knew Talia’s favorite color.”

Stiles hesitates, but that’s kind of an invitation to talk about it, right? “You knew other things, though. Right?”

“She loved fairy tales,” Peter says quietly. His eyes focus on Stiles again. “Even Little Red Riding Hood, and most of us hated that one.”

“What about you?”

Peter snorts. “I was a pretentious little shit. I read all the classics.”

It’s true, Stiles can feel it, but… “There’s more to it than that,” Stiles says, almost accusing. Faint embarrassment colors the bond. “Come on, give!”

“Romance novels,” Peter confesses. “Which I never told anyone.”

Delight courses through Stiles. “Seriously? Like the ones with half naked dudes and fainting women on the covers?”

“Yes,” Peter says, the embarrassment growing stronger. “And I think you owe me an embarrassing hobby now.”

“I haven’t got anything half that good!” Stiles protests, but he searches his memory for something anyway. “I, uh, still act out stories with my collectibles sometimes.”

Peter smiles but doesn’t tease. “I didn’t collect action figures,” he says, “but I had an army of hot wheels.”

“Did you build tracks for them?” Stiles asks, trying to imagine a young Peter with his toy cars and, sadly, failing.

Peter shakes his head. “I used to race them all over the furniture, though. It drove my mother crazy. Whenever I needed punishment, there was always furniture polish waiting for me.”

Stiles snickers. “Dad never could figure out a good punishment for me,” he says. “I already do most of the housework. I sneak out when I’m grounded, he can’t take my phone away completely because we might need to reach each other, and I understand computer restrictions way better than he does.”

“That explains a few things,” Peter says, and now he is teasing, but it’s not mean. “What did you do to get grounded?”

Stiles launches into his favorite story. Sleep is a long time coming, but he finds it hard to mind.

*

Stiles revels in waking up slowly. It’s not something he gets to do often. Even on weekends, it seems like there’s always pack business to worry about. Either that or he has to try and cram all the stuff he misses due to pack business into the few hours not occupied by it. So waking up slowly is a treat. It’s especially good today, for some reason. He feels really relaxed, and his bed is toasty warm. It even smells nice. Blinking his eyes slowly open, it takes Stiles a minute to process what he’s seeing.

Peter is sprawled face down next to him, his arms wrapped around his pillow. He’s turned to face Stiles, but he’s still sleeping. Peter. His husband. Stiles studies him for a minute. His hair, free of product after his shower last night and dry now, is two steps short of curly. His expression is relaxed in sleep. It makes him look… not vulnerable, exactly, but softer.

Waking up next to Peter, seeing him like that, brings home the reality of their marriage in a way that the ceremony and even the sex hadn’t. Last night Stiles had been laser focused on getting through the night. This morning… the bond is still there, and so is Peter. This is the man I’m going to spend the rest of my life with, Stiles thinks. How is that life going to look? He has no idea. But waking up like this doesn’t seem like a bad start.

Stiles somehow wriggles his way out of bed without waking Peter and tiptoes downstairs to find his dad waiting at the kitchen table, nursing a cup of coffee. Stiles goes and gets a cup of his own, dosing it liberally with sugar and cream before sitting across from his dad.

“How are you?” Noah asks quietly.

“Pretty good, actually,” Stiles says. The bond is a relaxed glow in his chest. It’s like he’s up and around and enjoying a sleepy lie-in at the same time. “Is, uh…” Stiles swallows, suddenly nervous. “Is it later now? I mean, have you had a chance to think?”

Noah obviously picks up on it, because he reaches across the table and lays a hand over Stiles’. “Son. I love you. You know that, right?”

“Yeah, of course,” Stiles scoffs, but he can’t deny the relief that rushes through him. His shoulders relax.

Noah pats his hand and draws back. “Good,” he says, but he’s silent for so long afterwards that Stiles can’t help but start to worry again. When he does go on he speaks slowly, carefully. “You’ve always had a strong personality. You’ve never been shy about what you think or what you want. About who you like or who you don’t like.” Noah gives Stiles a rueful smile. “I thought I knew you pretty well, even if you didn’t always trust me with the details.”

“Dad, it was never about trust,” Stiles insists, but Noah cuts him off with a headshake.

“It was about protecting me, right?”

“Right,” Stiles says, relieved.

Noah huffs a laugh without much amusement in it. “Stiles, I’m the parent. On top of that, I’m the Sheriff. I’m meant to be the one doing the protecting--you, the town, and myself--and the only reason not to let me do that is because you don’t believe I could do the job. Because you don’t trust me to get it done.”

Stiles presses his lips together and ducks his head. “To be fair, I kind of don’t trust anyone to get it done.” Anyone other than himself, that is.

Noah sighs. “Trust issues aside, I thought I had your hopes and dreams down pat. I was never sure the Lydia Plan would come to anything, but I figured you’d go to college, do stupid college shit, come out on top despite it, date a few people, and hopefully find a girl as crazy about you as you are about her. I had this,” he waves a hand, “this image in my head of what that would look like. All the good things coming your way. After I finally got up to speed on the supernatural shit, those things seemed even more important. Okay, the world is full of storybook monsters, I told myself, but he can still have the happy ending.”

“Sorry to blow your white picket fence dream out of the water,” Stiles snipes.

“Come on, Stiles, I’m trying to wrap my head around this,” Noah shoots back. “I didn’t even know you were attracted to men.”

“Because you didn’t want to know!” Stiles jumps up from his seat and paces a few steps. He rubs his hands over his face, and discovers that closing his eyes immediately brings his attention back to his bond with Peter. Feeling the sleepy glow of it actually calms him down, enough to turn and talk to his dad even if he doesn’t sit down. “Look, I can see how my epic crush on Lydia could confuse the issue, but I’ve asked several guys if they find me attractive. I am friends with a bunch of drag queens. And now that it’s a non-issue, I will admit that both Derek and Peter are,” he spreads his hands, “insanely hot and anyone who doesn’t have some gay thoughts looking at them is dead inside.” Stiles pauses and considers. “Or a woman. And I guess a lesbian having straight thoughts would be effectively the same thing.” He shakes his head. “You get what I mean. What I’m saying is, I wasn’t exactly being subtle about it.”

“You just don’t seem gay to me,” Noah says helplessly.

Stiles sits back down and puts his head on the table for a minute, wishing for patience. Where to even start with that? He looks up eventually. “It is, in fact, possible to be attracted to men without being gay. Bisexuality, dad. It’s a thing.”

“I know that.” It’s Noah’s turn to rub a hand over his face. “I just… never thought it was anything I’d have to worry about. And now you’re married to a man.”

Stiles swallows a sharp comment about bisexuality being a thing you had to ‘worry’ about. That was an argument for another time. “At least he’s rich and handsome?”

“Would you believe those aren’t the first qualities I think of when I hear ‘Peter Hale’?” Noah says dryly. Stiles can’t help the snicker. It gets a smile out of his dad, too. “Gender aside,” he goes on more seriously, “you were a lot more comfortable marrying Peter than I would have expected.”

Stiles drops his gaze and looks into his coffee mug. Part of him doesn’t want to say anything. When you let people come to their own conclusions, they’re usually happier with what they guess than with the truth. It’s why, despite everything that happens in Beacon Hills, most people don’t notice the supernatural.

But.

Honesty.

He promised it to Peter, not about Peter. Still, starting out his marriage by lying to his dad about it doesn’t seem in the spirit of his vows, no matter how much easier it would be.

So he steels himself and looks his dad in the eye. “This probably isn’t anything you want to hear,” Stiles says, “but Peter and I are a lot alike.”

“You’re not--”

“I am,” Stiles cuts in sharply. “If someone murdered you, and Scott, and Mrs. McCall, do you really think I’d settle for seeing them arrested?” he demands. “Peter lost three times that much. Hell, he lost more--Cora says that losing a pack bond is like losing a limb. It’s a physical part of you.” He pauses, touching his bond with Peter quickly. “After just one day, I know that losing my bond to Peter would be traumatic. Losing nine of them?” Stiles shook his head. “No, not nine. Eleven. I can’t even imagine.”

Noah raises his eyebrows. “Given that Cora survived, nine people died in the fire, not eleven.”

“Laura and Derek broke their pack bonds when they abandoned him,” Stiles explains. “To me, that’s almost worse than losing all the others. Pack bonds make a wolf stronger, especially the bond to their alpha--there’s no way it would have taken Peter six years to heal if he’d had them. Six years of enduring the agony of his nerves slowly growing back…” Stiles shakes his head. “Maybe Peter was insane when he killed Laura. Maybe he wasn’t. Either way, I can’t condemn him for that.”

“Those aren’t his only crimes,” Noah says, but it’s expectant now, waiting for Stiles’ response.

“Sure,” Stiles agrees. “And I helped light a man on fire who’d already burned to death once. I hit Jackson with my car fully expecting it to kill him. I--” He falters, then pushes on. “I’ve gotten you drunk so that I could fish for case details more than once. I’ve broken into the station.”

“You did those things to protect people,” his dad argues.

“And Peter was protecting himself,” Stiles says. “Why is that so much worse? If it was me, would you rather I was dead, or that I hurt someone else and lived?”

Noah swallows hard. “You always come first.”

Stiles nods. “I know, dad. And you know what? I don’t think anyone’s ever put Peter first.” Stiles pauses before going on, wondering if Peter’s comment the night before had been made in confidence. Probably not—the wolves’ ears were keen enough that they probably overheard. “Before the ceremony, he said his family didn’t like him.”

Noah raises his eyebrows. “All that vengeance for people that didn’t even like him?”

Stiles shrugs. “They were his pack. I think they were all he had.”

Noah mulls that over for a while, sipping at his coffee. “Kind of makes you wonder what he would’ve been like if he’d had someone in his corner,” he says eventually.

That hadn’t actually occurred to Stiles. Peter is who he is. “Don’t expect him to turn into a whole new person just because he has that now,” Stiles warns his dad.

“Not a whole new person,” Noah says, “but having a partner does change people. Probably you more than him, given your ages.” He frowns.

That’s a train of thought that Stiles needs to derail ASAP. He snorts loudly. “Yeah, right. I’m stubborn, and I’ve got you and the pack as influences, too. Peter’s just got me. You just watch, in a year he’ll be wrapped around my finger.”

Noah shakes his head, the frown dissolving into a laugh. “I guess we’ll just have to see how things go. There are some practicalities to figure out, though.”

Stiles nods. “Sure. But those’ll have to wait until Peter’s up.”

“He’s still sleeping?”

Stiles touches their bond quickly and lightly. Peter is still radiating warmth and relaxation. Stiles is kind of surprised the man is able to sleep so deeply, especially in someone else’s territory. “Yeah. You want me to wake him?”

Noah shakes his head. “No. I’ve already called the school and the station. You’ve got the day off and I’m going in a couple hours late. We’re not in a rush.”

Which turns out to be a good thing, because it’s more than an hour before Peter wakes up. Stiles had always kind of assumed Peter was a morning person—because morning people are evil—but as the minutes pile up and he still hasn’t made his way downstairs it becomes clear that isn’t even remotely the case. When Peter finally appears he still looks bleary. He’s dressed in the shirt he’d worn to bed and a pair of Stiles’ sweatpants and his hair is still a mess. And his feet are bare. The sight of him looking so ordinary sends a surprising rush of warmth through Stiles.

Peter stops at the bottom of the stairs and scrubs a hand through his hair, looking around like he’s not sure what to do with himself. “Peter,” Noah says, amusement colouring his voice. “Coffee’s in the kitchen. Grab a cup and join us.”

Peter blinks at them for a minute before obeying. He all but hunches over his mug, his eyes half closed as he slowly sips the coffee.

“You awake?” Noah asks when he’s most of the way done.

“No,” Peter mutters. “I haven’t showered, or shaved, or done my hair, because none of my things are here. I don’t have any clean clothes. No one could be expected to deal with anything in this state. Why the hell did I stay here last night?”

This is amazing. It’s all Stiles can do to stop himself from chortling in glee at seeing Peter, normally so put together and in command of the moment, off balance and petulant. Stiles’ amusement definitely carries over the bond, because Peter narrows his eyes at him over his mug. “Don’t give me that look,” Stiles snickers. “You slept over because you couldn’t stand being away from me. I am holding all the cards right now.”

“Oh, really?” Peter tilts his head and grins wickedly.

Abruptly, the bond throbs with lust. Stiles catches his breath and has to bite his lip hard to stop himself from moaning in front of his dad. Thank God they’re sitting at the table, because his dick has come straight to attention.

“Peter,” Noah rebukes, “whatever you are doing right now, I’m confident it doesn’t belong at the breakfast table.”

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” Peter says innocently, but the lust subsides into a more bearable undercurrent. It doesn’t vanish entirely, though.

Anyone could see through that play at innocence, but instead of rolling his eyes and moving on, Noah sets his coffee down and pins Peter with a serious look. “I may have been blind in the past, but my eyes are open now, and this is my son. You’re not doing yourself any favors by demonstrating that you have some kind of power over him.”

Stiles flushes. “It's not like that, dad.”

“Then explain what it is like,” Noah says. He looks at them and raises his eyebrows expectantly.

Some of the sharpness goes out of Peter and he scrubs his hand through his hair again. “I projected an emotion,” he says. “Stiles just reacted to what he was feeling from me. There’s no element of control, and once he’s had some practice, he’ll be able to do the same.”

Noah frowns thoughtfully. “Where did you get the practice?”

Stiles swallows hard at the stab of pain that goes through Peter. “Strong pack bonds have an empathic element,” the wolf says steadily. “The bonds between Scott’s pack aren’t strong enough for that, but my family’s were.”

“Stiles said earlier that even after a day he could tell that losing his bond to you would be traumatic,” Noah forges onward despite the tension in the air. “Is it the same for you?”

“Yes.” Peter looks away for a moment, jaw tight. Eventually he drags his gaze back to Noah. “Probably even worse than losing my family bonds was. This one is very strong, and there’s also an element of…” he casts about for the words, “grounding, I suppose.”

“And grounding means what?” Noah prompts.

Peter makes a frustrated noise and Stiles jumps in. “It’s sort of like a foundation, or a safety line.”

“A safety line protects you from something,” Noah says.

“And so does this,” Peter agrees. “The bond will shield both of us from anything that could have a mental influence.”

Noah rubs his eyes. “That’s all well and good,” he says, “but what does it mean for you in a practical sense? Long term? Stiles was worried about you being apart last night.”

Peter takes a long sip from his coffee. Stiles shoots him a quick glare, but really, it’s his own fault. “Just playing it safe,” he says. “Since the bond was so new and I had a fae mark on me when we formed it and all that.”

“I get this feeling that you’re not telling me everything,” Noah says dryly.

Stiles shrugs sheepishly. “We’re still figuring this out, too.”

“Peter has had bonds before.”

“Pack bonds,” Peter clarifies. “The bond with Stiles may be similar, but it’s not the same.”

Noah hums, an edge of dissatisfaction to it, but he doesn’t voice that. “Regardless, we do need to discuss living arrangements.”

Stiles frowns. “I figured once the bond had settled down, we’d go back to normal.” Peter’s shoulders tighten slightly, as much of a giveaway as the flash of displeasure across the bond.

“Pretending nothing’s changed and making this marriage work seem to be at odds,” Noah says dryly.

Stiles rolls his eyes. “There’s also a whole spectrum in between those two extremes. Most people call it ‘dating.’” He makes air quotes and ignores Peter’s pained expression. “I don’t see why we can’t do that just because it’s a little out of order.”

“You don’t see why?” Noah raises his eyebrows. “How about this: If anyone gets it into their head that your relationship with Peter has at any point been physical, I’m going to end up arresting him for statutory rape.”

Stiles winces. “They won’t be able to prove it?”

“Right now they couldn’t,” Noah says, but it doesn’t sound like he’s agreeing. “Forgive me if I doubt that a seventeen year old newly introduced to sex is going to remain celibate for nearly a year. I’d doubt it even if you didn’t have a direct line to your partner’s emotions.”

The protest that automatically springs to Stiles’ lips is cut off by Peter’s quiet remark: “It’s likely that the bond will be more open during periods of… strong emotion. Especially if we’re thinking of each other.”

Stiles’ mind leaps automatically to the thought of jerking off while fantasizing about Peter and he flushes. How much more intense would it be, knowing how it felt to be with Peter? Knowing that Peter could feel what he was doing? What if Peter was doing it, too? Could he really resist? “Okay. I can see how that could be a problem,” Stiles admits. “But I’m not sure how we’re going to make this work if dating isn’t an option--we kind of need to get to know each other better.”

“I’m not saying something like that isn’t an option, I’m saying you don’t want to be criss-crossing the city to see each other,” Noah says. “We were talking about living arrangements, remember?”

It takes Stiles a minute to connect the dots. “Wait, you want Peter to move in here permanently?”

Noah looks pained. “Long term, rather than permanently. But yes.”

Peter is frowning, one hand rubbing his mouth as he thinks. “Kate may be dead,” he says thoughtfully, “but Gerard is technically unaccounted for, and both of them had plenty of known associates. I could say I’ve received threats and I’m concerned for my safety. Nothing solid enough that you’re professionally concerned, but you could be… sympathetic to my fears, given what you learned handling the case, so you offer to let me stay with you until I feel safe again.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Stiles says, waving his hands until Peter blinks and faces him. “You’re okay with this?” Stiles asks. “I mean, giving up your own place which, I’m assuming, is pretty damn nice, to live with me and my dad in the suburbs? A second ago you were cursing yourself for staying over.”

“Stiles,” Peter says, a little exasperated, “I was cursing not having my things. Living in family groups is normal for werewolves. Honestly, the strangest thing about me moving in with my mate’s family is that there aren’t more of you.” Noah looks away from them. Stiles flinches, and a sharp pulse of mingled regret and pain comes over the bond before it is abruptly muted. Muted, but not gone. Despite the regret, Stiles isn’t surprised when Peter doesn’t apologize. Instead, after a moment, he says, “Would you rather I didn’t?”

Peter sounds neutral, but what’s coming over the bond is hurt and resignation. Stiles takes a moment, in the midst of his exasperation, to marvel over the insecurity Peter’s arrogance had been covering. “I didn’t say that,” he says aloud. “I am totally on board with you living here. I mean, it’s all upsides for me--I get to keep my space, be around my dad, and get to know my new husband at whatever pace works for us. I thought you two would be the ones with objections.”

“Believe me, I have them,” Noah sighs. “But I’m trying to be practical.”

Stiles turns to Peter, whose hands tighten around his coffee mug even as he meets Stiles’s gaze. “Being with you is more important to me than whatever I might be giving up.”

Sometimes, when Stiles is working on a mystery, whether its a supernatural one or a case of his dad’s, there will be a moment when he’s looking at a bunch of clues pinned to his board and suddenly, even though there are no strings stretched between them, they fall into place and he just knows how they’re connected. Epiphany is a word Stiles understands inside and out, and he’s having one right now.

Everyone’s been concerned with what Stiles is giving up by marrying Peter, and no one has cared what Peter is giving up. And yeah, maybe he’s getting something he wants at the same time, but he isn’t just giving up his plans for being an alpha again, like he’d mentioned the night before. He’s also giving up his own chance at a future relationship, just like Stiles is, and he’s giving up his privacy, and the luxuries he brags about all the time, and the option of just getting the fuck out of Beacon Hills if all the crap they deal with gets to be too much.

And the way Peter is looking at Stiles right now tells him that Peter knew that before he agreed to any of this. He knew it and he decided that he wanted a bond with Stiles more than he wanted any of those things. That’s kind of scary, and kind of amazing, and it kind of makes Stiles feel like a dick for making a big deal out of how they’re going to date and where Peter’s going to live. So all he says is, “Okay.”

His dad and Peter both frown at him. “Okay?” his dad prompts.

“Yeah.” Their frowns deepen, but Stiles is sure Peter doesn’t want to dissect his emotions at the breakfast table, so… time to redirect! “So is Peter sleeping in my room or the guest room?”

Peter opens his mouth, but Stiles’ dad gets there first: “The guest room.”

Peter snaps his mouth shut and then takes a long, slow pull of his coffee. The bond may be empathic rather than telepathic, but it’s pretty damn clear that the only way Peter is going to sleep in the guest room is if Stiles insists. “Right, of course,” Stiles says brightly, and he knows that Peter knows that he’s lying, but his dad looks satisfied. “So I guess you need to head to the station so that Peter can show up in fear of his life.”

“Subtle, son, real subtle,” Noah says dryly. He looks between the two of them, shakes his head, and then leaves the table anyway.

They don’t talk while Noah finishes getting ready, instead drinking their coffee and poking at the bond a bit. Well, Stiles pokes at the bond and Peter rolls his eyes. He doesn’t mute his reactions, though.

The door has barely closed behind Noah when Peter speaks. “Anything in particular you wanted to say to me without your father here?”

“The bedroom thing,” Stile starts, and Peter’s shoulders tense up. “Last night I thought you just wanted reassurance that I wasn’t going to pretend like nothing happened, but now I’m wondering if it’s a biological thing. I’d rather give my dad some plausible deniability about how much we’re sleeping together--in either sense of the word--but if it’s something you need, I can argue him around.”

Peter runs a hand through his hair. “It’s not exactly biological,” he says slowly, “but werewolves, especially born wolves, are extremely tactile. I’ve never heard of mates sleeping in separate beds.”

Stiles considers that for a minute and then bounces to his feet and comes around the table. “Come on,” he says, tugging on Peter’s upper arm.

Peter allows himself to be pulled up and into the living room, where Stiles pushes him down onto the couch before plopping down into his lap. Peter holds out his hands awkwardly. “Stiles…”

“‘Extremely tactile’ means you like to cuddle, right?” Stiles squirms a bit and then leans into Peter’s chest, fighting down a sudden surge of anxiety.

After a long moment, Peter slowly wraps his arms around Stiles’ waist, shifting him so that he’s seated more securely. “Right,” he says quietly. When he turns to look at Stiles, their faces are so close together that they’re a hair away from kissing. Peter’s eyes are very blue. Not glowing werewolf blue, but in some ways just as intense. Peter starts to speak, pauses. “May I…?”

He trails off, but Stiles nods anyway. Peter leans in, not to kiss him, but to nuzzle gently across his jawline and then down. He tucks his nose under Stiles’ jaw, lips brushing his throat, and huffs softly. After a minute, Stiles hesitantly reaches up and runs his fingers through Peter’s hair. The arms around his waist tighten, and eyelashes flutter against his skin, but Peter doesn’t move.

It feels a little strange to just stare into the living room, so Stiles closes his eyes, absently petting Peter’s hair. The bond between them feels wide open, but somehow it’s also quieter. Or maybe it’s Peter who is quieting down, because, pressed together as they are, Stiles can actually feel his heart rate slowing. It reminds him of how he felt when he woke up next to Peter, before they dug into the messy day to day reality of merging two lives. “We’re in this together,” he murmurs. “Everything else is just details.”

An image flickers past his mind’s eye: Himself, as he speaks the words I will hold no vow above the vows I make to you.

Peter pulls back and Stiles opens his eyes to let their gazes meet. “Whatever I have to do to make this work, I will,” Peter swears.

The scary/amazing feeling comes back, which reminds Stiles: “Don’t forget that the idea is for you to be happy, too.”

“Hopefully that’ll follow naturally,” Peter says lightly.

Despite the flippant tone, Stiles can feel that the hope is real. He can also feel the doubt creeping back in. Even after the magical ceremony, even with the bond between them, even though they survived an awkward conversation with Stiles’ dad, part of Peter believes he’s going to be abandoned again. Stiles doesn’t know what to say to make that feeling go away. Maybe there isn’t anything he can say. So he puts his hands on Peter’s shoulders to steady himself and leans in and kisses him.

It’s not familiar, not after just one night, but Peter is a good kisser, and Stiles can feel how much he’s enjoying it. Best of all, the doubt fades. Stiles knows it’s not gone, that there’s no easy fix, but for now he’s going to enjoy the novelty of making out on the couch and the warm current of pleasure flowing back and forth between them. It’s a start.

~End~