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To Catch a Fallen Star

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There are no stars. They have all fallen.

And of those fallen, Stiles is one of the last ones left, one of the only ones strong enough to survive the Fall.

He lands – an age and a half after he first began his forced descent – in the blackened remains of a mortal dwelling, and at first, he thinks he’s the one that caused the destruction around him. He thinks he is lucky that the area seems to have been abandoned.

But then he smells ash and terror and the lingering whispers of malicious intent, yet not a trace of stardust amongst the wreckage, and so he concludes that he must have stumbled onto a site where human cruelty was unleashed instead.

This is why no star would ever wish to fall. Stiles has seen it all his life – mortals know no bounds when it comes to the suffering of others, and the terrible stories that the Elders reprimand unruly, curious children with are all the more horrifying when there are visuals to go with their tales. It is why exile is the worst fate to befall a star gone rogue.

Up in the endless expanse of space, they are safe. They are free.

Or at least the used to be.

Now all of them have fallen, and most of them are dead.

Stiles survived though. Stiles has always been a survivor, and so he will survive this too.

But for now, weak and exhausted and grieving in the aftermath of the Fall, he stifles his Spark as much as he is able to hide from any prying mortal eyes before tucking himself away into a crumbling corner to get some much-needed rest.

 


 

The earth takes almost five journeys around the sun before Stiles manages to mould himself a proper human body. He was taught how in his lessons (he misses his lessons; he’d give anything to feel Vulpecula’s cunning starshine brushing against his own again as his teacher taught him the things Stiles’ parents wanted him to learn, along with the things Vulpecula wanted him to learn), but he’s never actually done it before – never had the need – and so it takes quite a bit of trial and error before he succeeds.

Vulpecula would’ve been proud. And then he’d tell Stiles to do it faster next time.

Stiles never left his landing site. The place is well and truly abandoned, surrounded by wildlife with only animals for company every winter once everything from squirrels to deer to raccoons to even birds sense Stiles’ softly glowing presence and decide to nest with him during the coldest season of the year to share his warmth.

Stiles doesn’t mind so long as no fights break out, but animals are so much better than humans this way – they realize that they won’t be able to sleep without worrying about the cold if they don’t cooperate, so they all pick their own patch of territory in the dilapidated dwelling, and then they settle down without any tricks or backstabbing attempts, all of them willing or at least resigned to share.

The dwelling is a haven, though Stiles supposes it does help that none of the animals are overly carnivorous in nature.

Other than that though, Stiles is alone. He can no longer hear the melodious hum of his fellow stars, and he doubts they can hear him, even if some of them manages to land on the same planet as him. It gets depressing fast so he entertains himself with hope, hope that – because he doesn’t know – his friends might still be alive out in the universe somewhere.

The first time Stiles stands on two feet and steps outside, toes wriggling in the fresh spring grass, he almost feels as if he is floating and flying at the same time. When he closes his eyes, he can feel the earth moving under his feet, rolling and tumbling forever onward, orbiting the sun – the only one of them that didn’t fall, thank the heavens – all the while, never ever straying far.

It is when he opens his eyes that Stiles’ Spark stutters with heartbreak, because up above, the sky is dark, and the glorious starlight that once lit up the universe with their kind’s very existence has been completely snuffed out.

Once upon a time, the stars danced for humans too, even if most of them didn’t deserve the honour. Stiles wonders if the humans have noticed the absence at all. He wonders if they mourn the loss.

He spends a lot more time indoors for a long while after that.

 


 

It’s a little daunting when Stiles finally plucks up the courage to venture out amongst humans. Clothes have long since become a requirement amongst mortals, Stiles knows, and his exploration of his new home has turned up the necessary garments.  Most are tattered or burnt beyond repair, but a few are still untouched by fire, so he picks out the ones he likes, and he makes sure to be extra careful with them to express his gratitude. He may not understand why humans are so violent all the time but even stars honour their dead, and he sees no reason not to show the same to mortals.

The thing is, Stiles must have done something wrong all the same because as soon as he’s spotted around town, the humans start giving him strange looks, and a group of males – young – take one look at him and break out into sniggers that Stiles can sense are not at all friendly.

He doesn’t understand why. The ‘shirt’ he is wearing is perhaps a little large on him but it’s comfortable to wear, and the dark colour and long sleeves help hide the muted starshine beneath his skin. He supposes he should have gone with ‘pants’ instead of a ‘skirt’ to cover up his ankles, but the pants he tried on felt restricting, unlike the skirt that lets him feel the brush of wind against his legs, and the latter is too close a reminder to starflight for him to give up. Besides, the skirt reaches halfway down his calves, and he’s suppressing as much of his Spark as he’s able; surely human eyes can’t see anything amiss, and even if they can, laughter would not be their response, would it?

Perhaps it’s because Stiles isn’t wearing any ‘shoes’? He couldn’t find any that were still intact, which was honestly a relief because he doesn’t think he’d like them anyway, so he’s gone without. Is being shoeless really so odd though?

Well, no matter. It isn’t as if Stiles knows any of these mortals – they certainly aren’t friends of his – so why should he care about their opinions? Clothes are clothes, and the ones Stiles is wearing are not against the rules, so there’s really no point getting worked up about it.

He spends the day wandering around instead, taking in the bizarre-looking ‘vehicles’ and ‘shops’ and ‘restaurants’. He’s never been so glad for Vulpecula’s unorthodox lessons, if only so he can at least identify most of what he comes across.

He doesn’t enter any of the buildings. He saw one filled with books, and he wanted to go in there, but he wasn’t sure if he was allowed, and a man standing by the door and wearing a uniform labelled ‘SECURITY’ gave Stiles a dirty look, so maybe there’s a proper procedure to entering certain buildings. Stiles will have to find out because the books do look very interesting, and he’s already read all the ones he could find in his dwelling that were still legible.

He goes home once the sun begins to set. He doesn’t want to be outside when night settles in. Daytime is… dimmer nowadays, but tolerable; nighttime makes Stiles want to cry and scream and raze the universe to the ground.

It’s best not to tempt himself.

 


 

He keeps making return trips into civilization, mostly because it gets boring on his own now that he doesn’t have the creation of a body to keep him occupied. Humans still give him odd looks but there are less as time goes by, and as it turns out, Stiles is even allowed in the ‘library’ despite the security man always looking like he wants to chase Stiles away.

The library is lovely. Stars have long memories so they have no need to record anything and store it away even if they could, but mortals have to, and if there’s one thing Stiles adores about humanity, it’s their books.

He still stays away from most buildings and – after one memorable scare when crossing a street – vehicles whenever he can. It isn’t as if he needs to eat, though he does do the gardening for a kind lady mortal every Sunday in return for some paper money after he observes other people exchanging the stuff in stores. He uses it to buy himself clothes of his own, not much, just enough to get by, and so he doesn’t have to keep wearing the borrowed clothes. Those he washes and dries before putting them away again.

The earth is halfway around the sun again when Stiles passes by a building that smells of sickness and grief and sorrow. He doesn’t like it, and he almost hurries away, but then he smells – senses – something familiar, and it makes him pause.

The dwelling that Stiles crashed into no longer feels like just an abandoned human residence. Instead, it feels like Stiles’ home even with various animals coming and going, partially overrun with flowers, and some areas occasionally flooded with rainwater.

But there is nothing that time does not remember, and so the underlying stench of ash and terror and malicious intent remains, faded and overshadowed by Stiles’ presence, but existing all the same.

And here and now, outside this building with the sign that says Beacon Hills Memorial Hospital, Stiles can sense the same ashterrormalice emanating from somewhere above him.

Before he knows it, Stiles is through the front doors, and he slips into the nearest stairwell when nobody takes any notice of him. It doesn’t take him long to find what he’s looking for in a section of the building that holds so much impending death that Stiles almost turns right around again to leave. He’s made it this far though so he may as well go the rest of the way.

The person he is looking for is at the very end of the ward. He ducks inside and is promptly blasted by a much stronger tidal wave of rage and grief and loneliness. There is malice, but it’s more a remnant than an actual emotion coming from the man sitting in the wheelchair by the bed, and there is – of course – impressions of fire and smoke and ash, but that’s hardly surprising consider the burn scars ravaging part of the mortal’s face and probably half his body as well.

The human doesn’t move when Stiles takes another step forward, but Stiles can sense the suspicion and mistrust and underscore of fear permeating every inch of this room. And the man’s eyes – like crystallized twilight – are open and almost entirely unblinking, but they are not vacant, and someone stares out of them – someone desperate and desolate, furious and alone and so very damaged – and they focus when Stiles steps into his line of sight.

Stiles stares back for a while. The room grows brighter, and he’s absently aware of the fact that his starshine is slipping his leash. It doesn’t help that Stiles is in a t-shirt today, and his skirt only reaches his knees because it’s September and still too hot, even for Stiles.

He draws even closer. He thinks he almost hears a snarl, which is… odd coming from a human.

“I think,” Stiles starts haltingly without much of a plan in mind. His voice is a bit rusty; he doesn’t have much reason to talk these days. “I think I live in your house.”

Another animalistic snarl reverberates on the spiritual plane that only Stiles can hear. This mortal is not human, which is… fascinating. Vulpecula told him stories of creatures that are more than human, but so far, Stiles has never met one.

“I didn’t really mean to,” Stiles continues. “But the place is abandoned and I needed somewhere to stay, and I just never left.”

One more snarl, feral and telling.

Ah. The unmistakeable timbre of wolf.

And before he can stop himself, Stiles blurts out, “You’re a wolf-man!”

The mortal’s disfigured features actually twitch, like he’s fighting tooth and nail to move, so Stiles hastily reassures, “It’s okay; I won’t tell anyone. It’s just that I haven’t met anything other than regular humans before. I’ll trade you, secret for a secret. You’re a wolf-man, and I’m a star.”

A star who’s staring at a man left to rot in the ruins of tragedy, and even Stiles – who’s never been the most empathetic of his kind – feels his Spark reaching out.

The man’s face is entirely still again, blank with guarded confusion.

Stiles’ shoulders drop, and he smiles and lets his starshine surface until he’s silver and gold all over. The light is dazzling in its intensity but it does not sear.

Stiles extends a hand and touches his fingertips to the back of the mortal’s hands.

And everything disappears in a sweep of swirling, glittering brilliance.

 


 

Starshine does many things, but above all, it cleanses.

 


 

The wolf-man is gasping and clutching at Stiles’ hand with a white-knuckled grip when the light finally ebbs. Stiles doubts he’ll be able to stand and walk just yet but at least he can move again. His scars are still visible but already no longer as harshly carved into his skin as before, and his mind… oh, his mind, clearer and more cognizant, the negative emotions still there but no longer choking every part of him, and the madness soothed and calmed to the best of Stiles’ ability.

“What-” The wolf-man wheezes out, and there are tears trickling down his cheeks, but Stiles thinks they’re good tears so he doesn’t worry about them. “What was that? What did you do?  What are you?

The mortal still hasn’t let go, and Stiles doesn’t force him to.  He reaches out again instead, this time touching one scarred cheek. The wolf-man doesn’t flinch away; if anything, he freezes for a long, breathless moment before leaning cautiously into the cool sweep of Stiles’ glowing fingertips.

“I’m a star,” Stiles repeats.

The wolf-man’s brow furrows.  “Stars don’t exist anymore, except the sun. They disappeared before I was born.”

“We fell,” Stiles murmurs, swallowing the bite of his own anguish, something the wolf-man seems to sense if the way his eyes sharpen is anything to go by. “We fell for so long, and most of us probably didn’t survive the Fall, but I did. I crashed into your house, and I’ve been staying there ever since. It has been my home for almost six round trips now.”

“Six round- oh, you mean six years,” The wolf-man’s frown deepens. “Six years.”

Stiles doesn’t like the bleak darkness creeping back into the mortal’s eyes. He rubs a thumb over the drying tear tracks, urging his starshine forward again to wrap the wolf-man in a blanketing hug.

The wolf-man blinks, looking startled, like he didn’t know he was crying to begin with, and he doesn’t know how to handle the comfort offered to him now.

Rapid footsteps interrupt them, and Stiles straightens and turns, only to turn back when the wolf-man makes a panicked noise at the back of his throat, and his grip on Stiles’ wrist tightens until the bones practically creak.

“Don’t-” -leave.

The wolf-man doesn’t actually say it. Stiles hears it anyway.

Stiles glances at the door before taking a step closer, smiling when he sees the wolf-man’s shoulders loosen.

“Okay,” He nods. “I’ll stay.”

Even Stiles is surprised by how much he means that.

 


 

It takes a lot of lying (“Old family friend; I saw him and I was suddenly able to move.” “But what was that light?” “What light?”) and even more fast-talking (“Clearly, I heal better in my friend’s presence. He stays or I go.”) to get the doctors and nurses off their backs. By the time it’s just the two of them again, the wolf-man’s face is creased with fatigue, and Stiles himself is feeling somewhat lethargic.

“You are Peter Hale,” Stiles tries the name out once they’re alone. Peter is back in bed; Stiles is sitting cross-legged at the end of it, skirt long enough to pool over his knees. “Mortal names are so strange. Why do you need two?”

Amusement quirks one corner of Peter’s mouth. “One is a name for me, the other is a family name. You don’t have two?”

“Nope,” Stiles shakes his head. “I’m just Stiles, and my constellation was just-” He wrinkles his nose, doing his best to translate starspeech to English. “-JónnClaudettaStiles. We were a small constellation.”

Peter tilts his head to one side, looking thoughtful. “…So a constellation for you means family then? You know, humans have records of constellation names.”

Stiles snorts derisively. “I know; I’ve seen in the library. I can never decide if it is funny or insulting.” He puffs up indignantly. “They call Vulpecula a constellation! That is just mean. Vulpecula lost his entire constellation even before the Fall. It is cruel to throw that fact so boldly in his face.”

He pauses and droops. “Well, if he survived anyway.”

To his credit, Peter doesn’t say he’s sorry. Stiles has never understood that particular human custom but Vulpecula swore up and down that it’s true.

“He was a friend?” Peter enquires instead, looking genuinely interested, gaze as intent on Stiles as it has been since Stiles first entered the room.

“He was my teacher,” Stiles clarifies. “He was… He taught me a lot. If anyone else survived the Fall, I would bet my Spark that he did.”

Peter hums. “He sounds strong.”

“He is.”

Peter blinks once before glancing down at Stiles’ hand still held between his own. “…Why did the stars fall, Stiles?”

Stiles focuses on breathing. He looks away.

“We didn’t want to be eaten.”

Peter doesn’t ask again that day.

 


 

Stiles literally doesn’t leave for a month. The doctors insist on keeping Peter until they’re one hundred percent certain that he’ll make a full recovery. Stiles can sense the lie, and Peter rolls his eyes and mutters about miracle patients and ripping throats out.

But Peter refuses to stay without Stiles at his side, and Stiles has never met anyone – star or mortal – as stubborn as his wolf-man, so eventually the doctors relent and allow Stiles to pretty much move in to Peter’s room so long as he uses Peter’s bathroom and buys anything he may want or need with his own money.

“You don’t have money?” Peter asks in low tones, looking ready to call the nurse back to arrange something with the hospital.

Stiles just shrugs, chewing on his bottom lip as he concentrates on sewing a wolf into the hem of his skirt. “I don’t need to eat. I get my energy from-”

He waves a vague hand at the world at large. Even he doesn’t know how to explain where he gets his energy from. It just… replenishes on his own, and it isn’t as if he’s expending much of it on a regular basis anyway. Peter was a special case.

Something that still perplexes him. Peter is a wolf-man, yes, but he’s also a mortal, and he shouldn’t mean anything to Stiles. For some reason though, Stiles continues sticking around, as unwilling to leave Peter as Peter is to let him go.

“I do the gardening for Lady-” Stiles frowns. “-Mrs. Reyes most Sundays, and I sometimes teach her daughter about plants because she has epilepsy and doesn’t really go out aside from school, so I get a bit of money there for clothes and books and some patchwork on my home.”

He stops, lifting his head. “Well, I guess it’s your house. I can move out after-”

“You can show me what you’ve done with the place once I get out,” Peter cuts him off, and the look in his eyes is mostly accepting, if also a little melancholic.

Stiles studies him for a few seconds before bobbing his head. “We can share.”

Peter smiles. Even with the scars, his smile is beautiful when it’s as honest as it is now.

 


 

Peter’s primary nurse – Jennifer – doesn’t remain Peter’s primary nurse for long, not after she sneered at Stiles’ favourite blue skirt and made a scornful remark about the bag of pretty plaid shirts that Stiles bribed a (different) nurse to buy and deliver to him. Unlike Jennifer, Melissa is kind.

Peter takes offense even more than Stiles, verbally flaying the nurse until she’s in tears before raising a ruckus until she’s removed from the ward entirely. And then he vows to have her fired.

“You don’t have to go that far,” Stiles rolls his eyes, lounging on the bed with his head pillowed on Peter’s thigh. “I didn’t understand at first why people stared at me when I walked into town wearing a skirt. I thought it was because I wasn’t wearing any shoes. But I know now so I only wear them because I want to, and I can always switch to pants if I get tired of human stupidity.”

“You don’t ever have to switch if you don’t want to,” Peter swears in response, voice a low growl. “If someone bothers you, I’ll tear their throat out.”

Stiles heaves a sigh, and he’s almost appalled at how fond it sounds. He’s beginning to realize that even without insanity eating away at the wolf-man’s – werewolf’s – mind, Peter isn’t the particularly forgiving type, especially when it comes to people who try to attack – in any possibly way – someone Peter calls his.

Right now, Stiles is the only one Peter calls his.

Stiles is strangely okay with that. After all, Peter is also the only one Stiles calls his.

 


 

They leave the hospital a month later and immediately head for the Preserve where the Hale House once stood. Now it’s Stiles’ home – soon-to-be Stiles-and-Peter’s home – and Peter looks wistful right up until he sees the cozy nest of blankets inside and all the flowers growing around and up the walls of the house like colourful vines. Then he’s just astonished, especially when a deer moseys by, giving Peter a deeply mistrustful look but ignoring him for the most part in favour of nibbling at a bush.

“I think I accidentally gave the animals that hang around here a degree of human intelligence,” Stiles explains sheepishly. “Starshine does… funny things to earth inhabitants. But it shouldn’t be a problem. They’re mostly only around twenty-four/seven during the winter when they sort of hibernate in the house with me because I make the place warm enough for them to live. The rest of the year though, they’re off on their own. Bambi here is one of the few who really stays close by year-round.”

“Bambi.” Peter deadpans.

Stiles beams and rubs Bambi’s ears. “It’s a good name, right? I read the book!”

Peter palms his face. And then he proceeds to ignore Bambi right back, making his way further into the house instead to poke around.

Stiles pouts and runs a hand shimmering with starlight along Bambi’s back. “Don’t worry; he’ll love you just as much as I do once he gets to know you.”

Bambi flicks an ear and scoffs her doubt.

 


 

Peter settles into life with Stiles like he’s always been part of it. He’s perfectly content with the blanket nest, never mentioning wanting an actual mattress, and sometimes, he even shifts into a wolf before burying into the blankets with Stiles.

The one thing he does insist on is beginning the repairs on the numerous holes and crumbling walls around them.

“I am not going to wait for the ceiling to fall on us before fixing the place,” The werewolf tells him firmly, and Stiles supposes that’s very sensible.

“I don’t have the money for it though,” Stiles confesses, fishing out a wad of bills that mostly consists of a few tens and a dozen fives.

“No need to worry, dear heart,” Peter chuckles. “I have more than enough.”

He does, as it turns out. In fact, Peter is rich from his prior job as a lawyer.

“Is that why you don’t care that Laura took all the family and insurance money?” Stiles asks, already having been told about the other two Hales.

Peter is quiet for a minute, fingers twining with Stiles’ in an absent but increasingly instinctive gesture.

“…I don’t want it,” He says at last, lifting Stiles’ knuckles to his lips, blue eyes gleaming like starfire as they focus on Stiles.  “And I certainly don’t need it. I have everything I need here.”

Well then.

Stiles presses closer. Peter gathers him into a cuddle-hug and carries him to their nest, and moments after they lie down, a rumbling purr starts up in the werewolf’s chest.

Well then. If Peter is happy with the life Stiles has given him, then who is Stiles to complain?

 


 

It doesn’t take long for Peter to catch on that Stiles doesn’t like the night sky. He doesn’t push at first, but after a few months, the werewolf coaxes him onto the newly restored roof to stargaze.

“Stargaze,” Stiles echoes skeptically as he allows Peter to pull him down on top of the blanket. “Is this an activity humans take part in? For what purpose? There are no stars save the sun, and if mortals gaze at the sun, they go blind. If you tell me humans find this enjoyable, it will only confirm my belief in the insanity of humankind.”

Peter rolls his eyes. “It’s supposed to be done at night, or so I’ve read. People use telescopes to find stars.”

“There are no more stars to find,” Stiles mutters grumpily. “Mortals are stupid.”

“Hush,” Peter scolds, maneuvering Stiles until he’s lying on top of the werewolf. “I found you, didn’t I?”

I found you.”

“So you did,” Peter agrees, one hand curling around the back of Stiles’ neck in a gentle but possessive grasp. “And I will always be thankful for it.”

Stiles huffs but goes silent. He’s wearing nothing but boxers and one of Peter’s shirts tonight, and Peter is in the same, so Stiles can feel the werewolf’s naturally heightened body heat, and Peter can soak in the gentle warmth of Stiles’ starshine.

And then, with a sigh, Stiles rolls off to lie beside Peter, their fingers automatically tangling together.

“Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing,” Stiles accuses out loud, though he doesn’t shift his gaze from the black sky above. “You want to know why the stars fell.”

Peter squeezes his hand but remains unapologetic. That’s just the way Peter is, though to be fair, Stiles got the story about Kate Argent and Derek Hale and the fire two months ago.

(And when Kate Argent comes back to finish what she started, Stiles will show no mercy. He didn’t show mercy for the men who assisted her either, never batting an eye when Peter came home with a body to burn and scatter.

He will catch her and bring her to her knees and make her bow at Peter’s feet. Perhaps his time spent amongst humanity has already corrupted him, but Stiles has been around since the time of kings and emperors; he knows where those who are lesser belong in the days of old on earth, and the mortal huntress will kneel before Peter and await her judgment, as is Peter’s right to deliver.)

“I told you,” Stiles says softly. “We didn’t want to be eaten.  So we chose to fall instead when the black terrors came.”

 


 

There is only one way to stop a black terror – feed it. It is always hungry, never full, but there is a limit to the amount of starshine a black terror can devour at any one time, and if wielded right, a handful of stars can use their starshine to force an explosion within it.

The price – of course – is death for all parties involved.

That is a star’s job – to cleanse the universe of the black terrors that live in the Void beyond, stopping them before they can reach moons and planets and star kings and all those mortal lives.

But then the black terrors began to learn.

Stars have always only ever had to stop one or two black terrors at once, possibly three, for the simple reason that they are mostly solitary beasts and do not like to share their meals.

But alone, they can be stopped. And they realized that. It took them years, centuries, millennia, eons upon eons, but they learned.

And the next time they crept through the cracks in the universe to feed, they attacked in droves.

Terrible and endless and forever hungry.

The stars were no match for them. They were laughably outmatched. They tried to fight, but it was only a matter of time.

In the end, they were left with a choice. They could stand and fight and lose and die and let the universe die with them, or they could combine every last drop of their collective starshine and wipe out the black terrors once and for all.

The price however was worse than death.

The price was to fall, and once they fell, they would no longer be able to return. They would lose their home, their freedom, and most would not even survive it. They would no longer be true stars, their lifespans would shorten significantly without their home in the sky to support them, and eventually, what remained of their Spark would sputter and die out, leaving them to waste away as the end approached.

That was the choice.

But with moons and planets and star kings and lives at stake, it really wasn’t much of a choice at all.

And so they chose. The Elders – the Old Ones – stood at the fore to give their brave younglings a marginally better chance of survival. Even with their lives cut short, they could still live and find happiness once more.

But only if they lived.

The star kings were forbidden from joining. There would be no point if the suns were extinguished too.

And when the next surge of black terrors came, every star attacked, pride in their hearts and courage in the face of death or exile, wanting, needing, hoping, praying, screamingpleasepleaseplease-

-that they would be enough.

And guess what?

They were.

 


 

“Black terrors?  Black holes?”

“Is that what humans call them?  Well, I suppose it fits.”

“…”

“…What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

“…You saved us.”

“Well, yes, but it wasn’t just me.”

“…”

“…”

“Thank you.”

 


 

There is a quiet sort of reverence in Peter’s gaze for several days after Stiles tells the story of his past – of every star’s past – before it simmers back down to a respect that’s no less powerful or resolute.

It’s flattering and embarrassing and a little bit heady to be held in such high regard, and it makes him wonder when he started caring about a mortal’s opinion so much.

Other than that though, nothing really changes. Peter was already pampering Stiles quite a bit before the revelation, though the werewolf insists that he isn’t, that he’s cooking meals for himself so he might as well get Stiles to try new foods at the same time.

He also teaches Stiles about human things, and he snaps at anyone who looks down their nose at the way Stiles likes to dress, and if Stiles is exhausted and tripping over his own feet after a long day of tending to the flowers and animals with just a little too much of his starshine, Peter will carry him to the bathroom and bathe him with gentle hands before tucking him into bed and feeding him one of his newly discovered favourite meals. After that, Peter will get ready for bed too, wrapping himself around Stiles as Stiles nestles into the werewolf’s chest.

Is all that not being pampered? Stiles feels pampered at least.

And he can’t say he minds.

 


 

Kate Argent comes back and tries to burn the Hale house down again with the two residents still inside and sleeping.

Peter is on his feet with a roar of pure rage the second she lights the match even from a good distance away from the house.

Stiles on the other hand is already gone, blurring and melting from human to star – a ball of amber gold light hovering in the air where human limbs and torso used to be – and then he’s whizzing out the nearest window, punching right through the glass like it’s rice paper, and before Kate can blink, Stiles slams straight into her face, burns her eyes to bloody sockets, and hurls her to the ground, screaming and writhing with agony.

The matches – lit and not lit – scatter across the lawn, but out of the blue, Bambi is there, hooves trampling them to nothing before retreating to the tree line again, duty apparently done because immediately afterwards, Peter is suddenly there in wolf form, towering over the huntress responsible for burning his family alive, one set of claws shredding her abdomen as fangs flash an ominous white under the moon, and crimson liquid spills.

Kate’s screams weaken to a wet gurgle, and then to nothing. She twitches once, throat torn wide open, and then goes limp.

Peter steps off of her, breathing hard, flanks heaving with emotion.

And then he tosses back his head and howls.

There is triumph in the sound, but also grief. Pride is there too, and satisfaction.

His family is avenged. They can finally rest in peace.

Stiles returns to his human form, completely naked. The moment he’s back on two feet, Peter is shifting as well, body equally bare, and a second later, he barrels into Stiles and sends them both tumbling onto the grassy front lawn and almost into the nearby daphne bushes, clinging to him like Stiles is the only thing keeping the werewolf grounded.

 “We have a body to bury,” Stiles reminds him even as he pets a hand down Peter’s back, tilting his head back to accommodate the werewolf’s desire to lick stripes along his neck, smothering Stiles with Peter’s scent as if Stiles doesn’t already smell like him.

“Later,” Peter growls, and then he captures Stiles’ mouth in a greedy, heated kiss that tastes of copper and lust and victory and love.

Stiles melts into it. How could he not?

 


 

They clean up the body and the front lawn in the dewy morning, and then they go back to bed. Or Stiles does; Peter makes pancakes and feeds them to him once they’re done.

“I don’t really want to do anything today,” Stiles mumbles once he’s finished.

“Fine with me,” Peter yawns back, and they promptly go back to sleep in their cozy blanket nest on the sitting room floor.

They don’t wake up until sundown, and then Peter takes them out to an Italian restaurant whose staff doesn’t stare at Stiles.

They’re even nice enough to bring them a free cake when Peter tells them – pleased and smug – that this is their first official date.

Stiles rolls his eyes at the heavens but digs in with the enthusiasm of a chocolate addict.

Peter eats his portion and spends the rest of the evening staring at Stiles’ mouth.

Stiles supposes he should congratulate his dumb werewolf for waiting until they got home before he pounced.

 


 

“Good morning, starshine,” Peter greets him on some mornings, the faint strains of a tune lilting his sleep-rough voice. “The earth says, ‘Hello’.”

Stiles always laughs under his breath and pulls Peter close, mouthing I love you too against a once-scarred temple. A muffled thump comes from somewhere above their heads, and then Bambi is leaning down to chew on Peter's hair, which has Peter grumbling half-heartedly but doing nothing to push Bambi away.

The deer always does what she wants anyway, and Stiles knows that Peter secretly adores her, no matter how much the werewolf denies it.

The three of them are a constellation now, a family, star and wolf and deer.

Stiles thinks of his mother and father and Vulpecula and all his old friends.

He’s found his happiness, here with Peter.

He hopes they have too, wherever they are in the universe.