- Dark Themes
- Death-Major Character
- Hate Crimes
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
“Was it wise to reveal so much to an Argent?” Charles wondered aloud, after the rest of the people in the house were in bed.
Stiles and Scott had taken the Sheriff’s room again, with Peter and Derek in Stiles’, and Remy and Logan in the guest room.
Erik had tipped a wink at his great-grandson when asked where he’d sleep, and nodded in Charles’ general direction, so that was settled with another one of those teenage “ew” sounds that never failed to amuse.
So Erik and Charles, who’d elected to remain awake until Anya’s arrival, were sitting on the couch in the living room, close enough to be considered cuddling, if one were observant enough.
“Well, that was my thought, too, but I wasn’t going to argue about it in front of the man in question,” Erik allowed. “Stiles had some purpose, however. Apparently, there was an entire nonverbal conversation held behind my back about the trustworthiness of that particular Argent. And Derek did confirm that Chris Argent was not lying when he said he had no idea what his sister had been up to six years ago.”
“So what do you think will happen?” Charles asked.
“It could flush out the conspirators, if approached correctly,” Erik observed. “If Chris outright confronts his sister, he’ll probably end up dead. But if he’s sly about it, he could gather the intel needed to bring her up to the Hunters’ Council. Peter confirmed that Chris has always followed that Code of theirs, to the letter.”
“But even hunters who follow the Code can be led astray by bad information,” Charles pointed out.
“True,” Erik conceded. “So giving Chris good information was probably a good move, in that respect.”
“Hmm.” Charles leaned a little more into Erik. “Are we going to talk about this?”
Erik shifted an arm to wrap more tightly around him. “Do we need to?”
“Well, last I heard, you were back on again with Raven, so …”
Erik rolled his eyes. “No, I haven’t been with Raven in years. There might have been a night or two along the way with others, Charles, but it’s been you for me from the night we met.”
“Death threats and general assault aside?” Charles asked archly.
“Pulling your pigtails,” Erik said easily.
Charles shook his head negatively, but folded himself into Erik as best as he could. “I need my head examined to be entertaining this again.”
“Charles,” Erik said, looking down into the blue, blue eyes of the man he considered the love of his life. “I know I have hurt you terribly, and that our philosophies along the way have divided us more than they have united us, but in the end, we’ve arrived in the same place. I fell in love with you long ago, but I let guilt and anger and a desire for vengeance keep me from being with you. I hope you’ll have me now. And, perhaps, you’ll allow me to be at your side for the rest of our days together?”
“Will you promise to keep murder and mayhem to a minimum?” Charles asked solemnly.
“I will,” Erik replied, smiling.
“Will you promise to guard my heart as I guard yours, to be my partner in all things, and to leave me the caramels out of the Wilton box you buy at the holidays?”
“I will,” Erik laughed.
“Fine, then.” Charles laughed, too, and let himself be kissed breathless.
Derek smiled into the dark. It was nice to know that some relationships could last, or, at the very least, come back around again.
He resolved to corner Stiles the next day to ask if he could court him.
“Stop listening in, pup,” Peter said sleepily.
“As if you weren’t,” Derek retorted without heat.
“Can’t really help it,” Peter confessed. “I’m feeling pretty hypervigilant.”
Derek turned to look at his uncle, who was lying quietly in the dark, using all of his senses to ensure any threats approaching would be found immediately and dealt with. “How are you doing, Alpha?”
“Not as well as I’d hoped,” Peter confessed. “I’m lucid for the first time in years, and we’ve had immediate threats to deal with. This alpha power was never meant to be mine, and it’s making me itch with new instincts that I never trained for. I’m afraid this hypervigilance will be my new normal. At least for a time. And I keep…”
“What?” Derek prompted softly.
“I keep … looking for your Aunt Olivia. I keep expecting her to walk in the door and smirk at me,” Peter whispered. “I keep thinking that Liam and Connor are going to run out of the woods behind this house, fresh from playing hide and seek. I can’t … think, past it.”
Derek nodded, laying a hand on his uncle’s arm for comfort. “I know what you mean. It was easier in New York, where I didn’t have any memories. But here, it’s a lot more challenging. I actually thought I might run into mom at the hospital.”
Peter squeezed Derek’s hand where it lay on his arm, and then lifted it off. “So, I think you’re right. All the therapy. And I think, for the welfare of the pack, I’d best get started as soon as I’m able.”
“Right,” Derek agreed. “The Professor had some ideas. I wonder if he had a chance to follow up today?”
“Doubtful,” Peter said. “It’s been a roller coaster this week.”
“I know you’re going to have a hard time sleeping, Alpha, but remember I’m here. I’m right here, and I can take a shift so that you don’t have to. And remember that we have five powerful mutants in the house who can help if we need it.”
Peter nodded. “Okay. Will you take watch for the next two hours?”
“I will,” Derek said. “And if you’re sleeping deeply, I’ll let you sleep and stay up. You’re still healing, remember?”
Peter closed his eyes. “Right. Fine.”
Derek got up and sat next to Stiles’ bedroom window. “I’m here. Sleep.”
Stiles opened his eyes. He’d given it the old college try, for Scott’s sake, but sleep wasn’t happening.
He listened to Scott snore for a minute, then quietly got up and made his way downstairs, to find his Dziadek and guardian canoodling on the couch. “J’Accuse!” He whispered loudly, pointing to the men with two fingers.
Erik chuckled. “Of what, may I ask?”
“I clearly see cuddling. Or is that canoodling? Snuggling? Dare I say, making out? I better not see any tongue, dudes,” Stiles said, plopping himself down in his father’s easy chair.
“You young people think you invented everything,” Erik complained mildly. “Charles could do things with his tongue before you were even a twinkle in your grandmother’s eyes, young man.”
“There’s a thought I didn’t need,” Stiles pouted, but smirked. “Are you guys going to be a thing again?”
Erik and Charles looked at each other a long moment. Stiles suspected telepathy.
Charles turned back to Stiles, and nodded. “Yes. This time, with commitment and forevers.”
“Cool, Nana will love to plan a wedding,” Stiles said enthusiastically.
“Sounds delightful,” Erik said calmly, looking at Charles again. “I look forward to it.”
“As do I, love,” Charles said.
“Speaking of Nana, shouldn’t they be here by now?” Stiles looked at the wall clock.
“She texted just a bit ago,” Erik said. “We really do expect them any minute.”
“I’m glad I thought to air out the attic room,” Stiles said. “I put fresh sheets and blankets up there, too.”
“I’m sure it’ll do nicely,” Erik said. “They’re well accustomed to primitive conditions, as it is. They’ll be likely grateful for a bed.”
Stiles heard a car pull up. “Speaking of!” He dashed to the front door and opened it. “There they are.” He ran down the front walk and came to a fast stop by the passenger door, which he opened to reveal his Nana.
Anya Eisenhardt Stilinski, a petite, silver-haired woman no taller than five feet, stepped out of the car and right into her grandson’s arms. “Mischief,” she breathed, hugging him tight. “We got here as soon as we could.”
“I know, Nana, I know.” Stiles gripped her back, just as tightly, and started to cry.
Jeorg, a tall, fit man whose age only became apparent with the silver at the temples of the chestnut brown hair he’d passed to Stiles, came around from the other side of the car and wrapped long arms around them both. He held them for a long moment, letting Stiles cry, and he raised his head only to see his father-in-law come down the walk.
Erik laid a hand on Jeorg’s shoulder as he passed him. “I’ll just get the bags for you. Go on inside.”
Jeorg nodded, and started steering his wife and grandson toward the house, a tough job, as they were clinging to each other. He managed to get them through the front door, nodded to Charles, and settled Anya into the big easy chair, with Stiles curling his too-tall frame up to fit in her lap.
Stiles tucked his head under his Nana’s chin and bawled, thoroughly covering her with snot and salt, his chest heaving with the effort of messy, ugly tears.
Anya cried too, patting Stiles on his back as if he were a baby again, and tears stood out in Jeorg’s eyes, too.
It was like Anya’s arrival had finally given Stiles permission to totally fall apart.
Erik followed them quietly in, then guided their bags up the two flights to the rarely used attic room and set them in place. When he returned to the living room, Stiles had calmed a little, and Erik thought it interesting that the electricity that buzzed through the young man didn’t even touch his grandmother. Anya had gathered her grandson up and was cuddling him as he’d clearly needed to be cuddled.
He still found the sight of her to be a miracle.
For decades, he’d thought his eldest daughter to be dead, consumed by the fire that took his livelihood in the wake of the Second World War. His marriage to his first wife had not survived the event, and Erik, himself, changed his name and went hunting for those to blame.
He understood Peter, far too well.
That said, the call from someone claiming to be Anya, a little more than five years ago, had thrown him for a loop.
Very few people knew he even had a daughter Anya, so he’d paid attention, and met with her. Saw the DNA results.
But more, he’d seen his mother in her face.
Stiles looked more like his grandfather, tall and fit, with dark hair and eyes. But the shape of his eyes came from Anya. From Edie.
The irony of Anya was that he’d had less time to know her than with any of her other siblings, but she’d been the only child he’d had a direct hand in raising. He’d loved his little girl, deeply, and they’d had a loving bond. Her death had left a hole in him that couldn’t really be filled. To see her as an adult, her knowing who he’d become but loving her Vati anyway, filled that hole, had given it shape, and had allowed him to heal.
The miracle of his eldest daughter returning to him had led Erik to think about his life in new ways, and he was more than ready to settle back down, to forgive himself, and to allow himself to be happy, with Charles.
He approached the cuddling pair with caution, but knelt next to the chair, and offered a kiss to Anya’s forehead. “I’m sorry to see you under these circumstances, kleine, but I cannot regret seeing you.”
“It’s good to see you, Vati,” Anya murmured, combing her fingers through Stiles’ hair. “When did you arrive?”
“This morning,” he said. “It’s been a busy day. Stiles made some decisions about the services this morning, from what I understand, and plans to leave any religious details to you.”
“When is everything happening?” Jeorg asked.
“Saturday,” Charles said. “Private service for family and close friends at 10, followed by a public parade and Service for a Fallen Officer at the graveside. His ashes will be buried by Claudia’s.”
Anya nodded. “Though cremation is not tradition in our faith, it’s a practical choice, given everything.”
“It was dad’s wish,” Stiles mumbled into her neck. He was already drifting.
“Then I’m glad you made it so,” Anya soothed, continuing her stroking, letting the young man fall asleep on her. “You did well, Mischief.”
“Thanks, Nana,” he mumbled, and trailed off.
“Want me to move him for you?” Jeorg asked, quietly.
“When my arms fall asleep, I’ll move him myself, but thank you, love,” Anya said.
Charles and Erik took turns filling in the Stilinskis to date, including the information about the werewolves upstairs that considered themselves Stiles’ pack, and the fact that while Peter’s Bite is what led to Noah’s death, Peter himself was out of control due to circumstances beyond his.
“And what are we doing about that, Vati?” Anya almost hissed it, mindful of her sleeping grandson.
“Stiles has that well in hand, Anya,” Erik soothed, explaining the earlier confrontation.
“We’ll see,” Anya said, fiercely. “I want justice for my boy.”
“And we’ll have justice for him,” Erik said calmly. “We’ll make sure of it. Meanwhile, we have another boy who needs our attention. And our support.”
Anya cuddled Stiles more closely. “Of course.”
Charles leaned forward. “Let’s all head to bed, shall we? We’ve got much to do tomorrow.”
Jeorg nodded, and kissed the top of his wife’s head. “Come, Anya.”
Erik watched as she formed an energy plane from some sort of light, and let it help support Stiles as she carried him up the stairs to Noah’s room.