A Life Worth Living

Chapter 60


Harry relaxed the very moment their feet touched the carpeted floor of his living room; the Portkey having brought him straight here instead of his office. Leaning against Peter, closing his eyes and inhaling softly, suddenly so very drained. Peter was swift to pick him up and ease him onto the sofa, "Are you alright? Do you need me to get you something? Shall we head to bed?" they had all had a sleepless night last night. He'd tried to stop his worry from cascading down the bonds, but he wasn't successful.

"I need to talk to Derek first," Harry said, yawning, exhaustion swamping him, between healing and the baby it was no surprise he was feeling more than just a little tired.

"Everyone is with Derek right now," Peter stated, putting his foot down, "You and I are going to get some rest, I'll order dinner for tonight, you were told to rest, so rest is what you'll do."

"But I…" Harry protested; it was such a weak protest that Peter knew that he was doing the right thing. "Where's Aaron?"

"Cora has him, he's fine, he's sleeping, don't change the subject, now can you move on your own? Or would you prefer my aid?" Peter asked, kneeling beside him. Almost hovering, now that the last of his anger at Granger had dissipated a little. Just hearing Harry and the healer talk about it…overwhelmed him, he and Harry were going to be fathers. His pack, their pack was going to expand. So safe and secure where they were.

"I'd rather speak…" Harry grumbled, batting Peter's hands away in annoyance.

"You almost died, the baby almost died," Peter stated, his tone unrepentant and firm, blue eyes staring into green, filled with all the worries and fears that had been plaquing him since the whole incident yesterday.

Harry swallowed at the fear directed solely for him, he was so used to bouncing back he hadn't really thought about how Peter was dealing with this. Hell, not even his friends would be shocked by this attack or that he survived. He was Harry Potter, sadness swamped him, was he so used to almost dying that he was honestly immune to that fear? Was he just covering up his own feelings to survive? He knew what it was…he didn't value his own life. However, Peter did…Peter valued his life against all others, he could see it, Peter wouldn't survive without him, without his mate. Or without his pack again.

There would be no coming back from that.

Reaching out with his hand, he cupped Peter's face, his thumb stroking up and down his face, tickling it with the facial hair he had. He was so very handsome, Harry was a very, very lucky wizard indeed. "I'm sorry, let's go bed, you're right I'm very tired." It didn't seem to assuage Peter's fears but it did make him a less agitated, perhaps at the fact he had something to do? Or believed they would be okay now that Harry was doing exactly as he'd been ordered.

Peter pressed a kiss to Harry's palm, feeling a bit less anxious with something to do. Harry stank something awful, but Peter paid no mind to it. It was something they were used to as werewolves. People stank of different things every day of their lives, body odour, sickness, sweat, stress, and most of all other people's scents. Normally Harry's base scent – with or without the scents of pack – was all Peter caught a whiff off, occasionally smelling of everything outside if he went out like yesterday.

Peter was delicate with the hands, he could see where the skin was still healing, the faint outline – probably not discernible to anyone else – of where his hands had become detached. Growling low in his throat, causing a great rumble in his chest. He forced calmness on himself, lest he injure his mate more than he already was. The last thing he needed was alpha claws penetrating his skin. What he wanted to do was make sure his pack was safe then go out and tear through the fuckers who had hurt his mate and pack.

Firmly planting a hand on Harry's back and under his legs he hoisted him up so very easily. Not even straining the slightest, as he moved out of the living room. Harry was lax in his hold, trusting and already out for the count. As he moved through the hallways, seeing all the pictures of Teddy growing up here with the abundance of pictures he realized he didn't want to move from here. This was where he wanted the pack to remain, but to let anyone close enough to add on to the property? Didn't sit right with him at all. Perhaps there were magical companies out there that would do it without him having to fear they would do something to the property.

He'd always been cautious…but until the fire he'd never been this paranoid, where everyone could be a danger…but now he knew what it was like to lose those closest to him. It was better to be cautious and paranoid than live with the loss. They say the brave might not live forever but the cautious do not live at all, but that was such bullshit. Bill See didn't know what he was talking about, didn't see the world as it truly was.

Didn't see the underbelly of the beast, and the sheer unmitigated prejudice that followed.

"Hey! How is Harry?" Stiles asked, padding forward to open the door, whiskey eyes filled with worry. Stiles it seemed worried very easily about those he loved. His father, Harry, Derek and even he was on the list now by the looks of it, after the…beginning they'd all had he was surprised. He'd assumed he'd destroyed any real chance of being close to Stiles, but he was very pleased to see that it wasn't. No, Stiles took to being pack as if he had been born to it, and he was truly in awe of the young man, he revelled in the intelligence too.

"He just needs some sleep," Peter informed Stiles, nothing gave away his own fears and insecurity, not even the bond. There were things you learned to keep back from the rest of the back. Whether you were a Beta or Alpha, it wasn't easily done, Talia hadn't taught anyone to do it, not wanting them to 'hide' anything from her, but Peter had taught them all when they'd inevitably asked. Cora had been the youngest to seek him out and ask, but she'd had the most trouble emotionally. Almost as bad – some days worse – than Derek.

"Oh," Stiles said, relaxing fully, still the shadow of worry remained, it probably would until he spoke to Harry himself. Or perhaps it had more to do with someone he respected, saw as unbeatable taken down so swiftly. It had shocked even him, but he wasn't a teenager with absolute belief that those he loved was safe because they had magic. It was a hell of a lesson to learn for him, never mind how Stiles felt. "Don't worry about it, the Healer wouldn't have allowed him out if anything would go wrong. He's just used a lot of magic that's all." something else he was telling himself.

"So, it's true, what Hermione said?" Stiles asked, leaning closer, naturally only Derek, Stiles, Peter, Hermione and Harry knew – well, the bad guys too he guessed – nobody else knew. He hadn't said anything, he could tell how angry Peter was at Hermione for what she said. He was slightly perplexed by the 'how' but he believed it nonetheless.

Peter merely nodded, "But I'd like you to keep it quiet, for now." he wanted at least to be able to tell the pack, so attempt to wipe out the horror of the past day. To perhaps think on a more welcoming memory of the newest addition to the Hale pack. His first child, his first birth child, not that he didn't love Aaron, he did, very much, but even now despite being called 'dad' he still thought of Aaron as his nephew, the one that had been failed so grievously – next to him – it made him hate Laura so very much. How dare she run and leave them alone? Vulnerable? To be tortured?

Stiles glanced longingly at the library, nodding his head in understanding. On one had he wanted to investigate and see how wizardkind male pregnancies worked…were they born with a second set – gender – of organs? Did they just turn the kid into the sex they wanted? Or was it all magical people could do? Have children without a womb? Did Witches have kids different from normal humans? He didn't consider it though; he went straight back to the bedroom with everyone else. Pack came first before his curiosities, and if he thought for a second, he could find it online, he'd be on like a shot. Unfortunately, there was no way this information would be available online enough to let him be with pack and sate his curiosity as well.

Peter chuffed, out of everyone in the pack, Stiles was most like him. He didn't need to know him as well as he did, to know where his thoughts were going. Their thirst for information truly knew no bounds, regardless of whether the information was…ever useful. Although, when it came to collective information, Stiles was definitely winning hands down.

Entering their bedroom, which smelt solely of himself and Harry, a beautiful combination if he didn't say so himself. He moved over to the bed, and expertly hooked his fingers in the covers and flipped them back. He eased Harry down onto the bed, and let him choose his own position as he covered him over.

"Mione," Harry murmured tiredly, before his breathing evened out again in cadence of sleep.

Peter's lips pursed in utter displeasure, narrowing his eyes, he knew without needing to exit the bedroom that Hermione Granger was in his home. Exiting the bedroom, he wandered down the stairs, to find her standing in the hallway. Any anger he still harboured for her popped like a balloon. Her hair was extraordinary fizzy, misery was wafting from her in droves, and a muted sense of fear oddly enough. "Is the baby…?" she ventured, eyes rimmed red, as if she'd been crying. "Please tell me it survived." Her desperation was visible to three of his senses, hearing, sight and scent.

"It survived, but nobody else knows, I'd really like you to keep it that way," Peter said, but without any bite he'd felt previously.

Hermione almost bowled over with the relief, salty tears let Peter know she was crying, the genuine heartache made him feel sorry for her. Then he remembered Harry telling him that she'd lost her child and husband? Boyfriend? Within days of the other. That husband/boyfriend had been Harry's best friend throughout his Hogwarts schooling. It would seem as though she had come to an understanding what she'd done was wrong, judging by the resolute shame coating her like a second skin.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," Hermione said, so genuine that even Peter wouldn't have had to use his senses to figure that out. "I couldn't think of anything to say, except from Voldemort…children are the most cherished thing in my world. Or at least they're meant to be, but I've get to hear of…never mind, I know there's no real excuse but I just wanted to save everyone."

Peter just felt inexplicably tired as well, "I know," she might have gone about it the wrong way, but she had meant well, how do you deal with situations like this? "I knew you were doing only what you thought was best." he found himself unable to truly forgive her, but did he let her know and ostracize a friendship that was more a brother and sister turn after all they'd been through? Or did he just keep quiet and allow her to believe that he had forgiven her? Maybe when it wasn't so raw it might be a little easier.

Hermione chomped on her lower lip, easily reading behind the lines, grimacing when she tasted blood, "This, this time of the year isn't easy for me, I know…I know what would happen to Harry if anything happened….and I just, I just had to do something."

"This time of year?" Peter questioned, staring pensively at Hermione, he was pretty sure he had a good idea, but he wanted answers as to why nobody seemed to care that he'd almost died. Except for Stiles, Derek, him and the rest of their pack respectively. Even Hermione was brushing it off as if he'd just been under the weather and was prone to it.

Hermione licked her lips, a subtle sign of nervousness, "It's the anniversary today," she confessed, looking like she just wanted to curl up on the floor and lie there.

"I am sorry," Peter said sombrely, "I too rather dislike this time of year," it might be years and years since the fire but to Peter it sometimes felt like it just happened. That this anniversary was going to be the first one…truthfully, it's exactly what it would be, their first anniversary when they were all together. Laura's death had been the catalyst to making them all a pack again, after she had so cruelly left them all behind to save her own skin.

What else should he have expected of Talia's daughter? When Talia's own motto was run and hide?

"Oh, of course," Hermione said softly, quietly, "I'm sorry, here I am falling to pieces when you lost most of your…"

"My loss doesn't make yours any lesser," Peter said sincerely, "Certainly not because I lost more people than you, it's not a competition, would you like a drink? Firewhisky doesn't do anything for me, but I do rather like the taste." And the burn, and it actually affected him far longer than normal alcohol which is to say he felt it briefly before it passed, the alcohol, the drunkenness humans feel. Suddenly he felt a kinship with her that he hadn't really had the time to create. He nor Hermione had yet to take the time to get to know one another for their own merits, not just as their best friends significant other or husband's best friend.

"I really shouldn't," Hermione murmured clearly indicating she definitely did want something.

"Harry is resting, he won't be awake for a few hours yet," Peter said, watching Hermione stare at him as if he had just spoken in a foreign language.

"You…you got him to rest?" Hermione asked dumbstruck. "He was awake and he actually willingly went to rest?" gaping at him in disbelief.

Peter's lips twitched in amusement, "Yes," he drawled blue eyes gleamed in merriment.

"Harry has never listened to anyone, ever, about resting," Hermione said, dazed as she and Peter padded into the kitchen, she sat as Peter wandered over to the cupboard the alcohol was stored in. The most alcohol that got consumed was usually Butterbeer, and nobody underage could get into the cupboard. Peter, however, wasn't underage, and thus the spell allowed him access. "He's as stubborn as a mule."

"It's not just him he has to think about now," Peter confessed quietly, knowing exactly what had gotten Harry to desist being a stubborn ass.

"No, it's not, this is true," Hermione agreed, smiling as Peter poured a generous measure into a glass.

"How do you do it?" Peter asked as he sat down, drinking his own, relishing in the sting in his throat.

"Do what?" Hermione asked, having no clue as to what Peter meant, they'd gone from one conversation to something else entirely.

"Brush off someone nearly dying," Peter asked, he was having trouble doing it, whether it was because of the shock of actually seeing Harry hurt when he had been so…untouchable before this…or perhaps it was the way they handled it altogether. He hadn't stopped panicking – even if only inwardly – since it happened, hell, he was even worried and panicked about Derek and he'd already healed, at least physically.

Mentally was an entirely different concept.

Peter had no doubt that every single piece of progress they'd made was reduced to nothing.

Hermione blinked staring at Peter pensively, pondering on whether to say what was on hear thoughts, "Why don't you say what you actually want to?" instinctively knowing that this wasn't really what Peter wanted to know.

"Why was Harry so easily over come?" Peter eventually bit out, yes it was still baffling him so sue him. "I've saw him take on others with relative ease and deadliness."

Hermione grimaced, yeah, she'd suspected that question would be asked, a lot of questions she'd easily dismissed.

"Harry insists that he couldn't risk using magic, but I have seen him use it, felt it, he was holding back," Peter vehemently stated, standing up, confused.

"You know, Harry, if someone he loves is in danger, he's all in, even if it means his death…hell, he'd die for a stranger, he doesn't believe he's important," Hermione stressed out, brown eyes filled with sadness. "If that doesn't change, one day it's not going to end happily, and try as I might to make Harry realize what would happen should he die…it's never changed much. To be fair to Harry, he calmed considerably when Teddy came along, when he realized that he was all Teddy had in this world. Remus and Tonks made Harry his godfather. They didn't bother about a godmother." She had never understood why they would risk only Harry being the godfather. He was more at risk than both put together, ironic, she knew, that they both passed, Hermione only wished she would have had Tonks strength, for she didn't think she would have been able to leave her baby.

Then again, her and Tonks situations hadn't been equal.

"That doesn't answer my question," Peter pointed out, perplexed, but he made a mental note to himself to ensure that his mate knew that risking his life for anyone except pack was unacceptable. To enunciate exactly what the pack would go through without him there at his side. "He was definitely powerful enough to take them on without risking the baby."

"Of course, he was," Hermione said blankly, "I don't know if you've noticed or not…but Harry doesn't really see how extraordinary powerful he is compared to everyone else. Plus, Harry wouldn't have risked the baby for anything, and was overcompensating when it came to being careful about his magic usage. I know he comes across as this uber powerful wizard, and he is that, he's vulnerable to his own belief." That he was nothing, the Dursley's hadn't half done a number on him.

"Why did his magic brush off the Alpha pack?" Peter asked, taking a seat again, "Would that have happened if he used something far more powerful?"

"The magic is…tainted," Hermione shuddered, "It's like someone made Horcruxes, mashed them back together again, did decades worth of dark magic and became a Darach at the same time…their wolves are crying out in agony, distressed to the core." Explaining in the way a witch would understand but luckily, she'd used some terms Peter could understand. "They killed their Emissaries…it absorbed their magic, but it's the fact they killed their beta's that's broke their minds from reality. Before all this though…there's some sort of magic on them. That heralded the break from reality. I've never seen anything like it and hope never to see it again. Any magic at this point would probably bead up and roll off them."

Peter stiffened, pursing his lips, recalling his own bout of insanity, and how it would have continued if not for Harry, "They are going to be fixed?" the vindictive part of Peter wanted them dead, but the reality was, werewolves were naturally vicious, that fight hadn't been the most brutal one he or even Derek had been in. Recalling his own claws in his nephew's chest, he came so very close to killing him. They had wronged him, but that was no way to say whether they'd deserve that punishment.

"I am not sure they can, but the MACUSA President is meeting with the healers regarding it today," Hermione said, rubbing her temples. She really should be back there helping; it was her division. "It might be that…it's best to let them go, it might be a mercy…if this has all been perpetrated how do you live with killing your Beta's? How many is that between them?"

"Quite a few," Peter said quietly, subdued, recalling each and every single one of them, Duke, Kali and Ennis he'd known before the fire, Duke was so intelligent and peaceful, Kali sharp and Ennis was easy to rile and dumber than a bag of rocks. He'd met them only briefly, mostly when they were introducing themselves to Talia seeing as they were in her territory. He'd found it odd that the Emissaries were introduced too, Talia was adamant that hers be all so secret. All those lives…he couldn't help but wonder if this had been some elaborate scheme by the Argent's to cause them to decimate their own ranks…but he shook his head, they were not the great evil behind everything, they were just one family who had hurt his own family deeply but they're paying for it, the ones left alive anyway.

"Peter," Hermione said softly, gaining the werewolves immediate attention, "Harry is powerful, but he's also human, overly emotional, and more importantly doesn't think of how much he'll be missed if anything happens. Tell him, don't let him brush it off or walk away, make him hear you."

Peter nodded that he understood, "I will," Peter vowed, he'd never really sensed insecurity from Harry, or taken his words as such. Did believing something as facts – when its clearly not – affect whether one feels insecure? He's never really dealt with that sort of thing in a long time. Not since he was surrounded by self-conscious – and insecure – teenagers in high school. Those he'd befriended in university had been in the know, and very confident in and on themselves. "I assume you're leaving?"

"My break will be up very soon; I'll be coming back at lunch…maybe dinner?" Hermione asked glancing at Peter, still seeking forgiveness. She had come here just to make sure Harry was okay, she'd fully expected him to be up. Instead, she felt so uncomfortable – a good sign she knew she'd done wrong – and just wanted to get away but not before giving him a piece of sound advice.

"I don't suppose you would sneak me into MACUSA and tell me where they are?" Peter asked, they hadn't been in the hospital wing for sure, unless there was an individual area for criminals? Which now he thought about it was highly likely. He wasn't a forgiving man, his wolf wasn't forgiving either, he wanted them to die in excruciating agony, they'd almost cost him his mate and unborn child. It helps that she had said they might not be able to help them, which meant it was death for them.

Unfortunately, it made something uncomfortable pang in his heart, he couldn't be the only one worth redemption if their insanity was genuine. The old him…before the fire, would have been less concerned with what he'd been through, would have stuck to his guns.

"No," Hermione stated, giving a small sympathetic smile that looked more like a grimace. It wasn't worth her job, them almost dying didn't really bother her. "Have you…uh…looked into the hellhound?" using his creature status as if to distance herself from him entirely.

Peter gave her a knowing look, she wouldn't be able to feign that for long, he felt a moment's pity for the guy, he was going to have his work cut out for him. He had a funny feeling that Hermione wasn't going to be as amendable to a relationship as his and Harry's had been. His husband had been happy to begin one with him but then again, he presumed the last relationship she had ended in devastating loss.

Could he blame her for attempting to prevent that same loss for him?

"I've got someone looking into it," Peter replied, she gave a nod, before turning to leave with a little wave goodbye, "And Hermione?"

Hermione glanced back in silent query, wondering if he'd sensed Harry getting up?

"You're forgiven," Peter replied, his tone solemn, it was not forgotten, it would never be forgotten. He already had enough hatred to fill the super dome, and God, after everything that happened…was it wrong to want to live his life unburdened by hatred? By the anger? He and Derek both needed to be able to do that. With therapy they had begun to learn to let the anger go, but new traumas kept happening impeding that thought process.

Hermione swallowed thickly, "Thank you," she croaked out, before Apparating away, trying to regain control of her raging emotions. Honestly, the suddenness of the attack left her feeling shaken. Yes, she knew out in the field it would happen, but she hadn't been in the field. PTSD, flaring up, she knew, and she'd be hypervigilant in a way she hadn't been in too long. Not even Eichen House had elicited this sort of response from her.

She worried Harry's own PTSD would flare up.

Peter put the empty glasses in the sink, and the bottle away almost on autopilot. The buzz long gone, it lasted only a minute, Peter sometimes wished he could get roaring drunk like the humans did just to see if it did actually stop you thinking on whatever was bothering you. It seemed to be a cheap way out, but days like this…it felt worth it. Or felt like it would have been worth it.

He instinctively knew it wouldn't be.

Sagging in exhaustion, arms gripping the worktop, closing his eyes, for the first time allowing the full weight of what happened – and that they were going to be alright – course through him. Physically he was in peak condition but mentally? Mentally Peter was drained, he hadn't felt like this since he'd undergone the process of those potions to regain his sanity. Minus the potions and of course, the severe sweating he had done.

Swallowing thickly, he turned around, left the kitchen making his way upstairs, he could smell that his and Harry's scents had been added too. Instead of checking in on the others as he had intended to, he made his way to his bedroom. The mounting tension and exhaustion seemed to just fade away, seeing his pack all together, Harry curled in the middle with Aaron as the little spoon. Derek, it looked like he'd tried to distance himself, but Teddy and Stiles hadn't let him, Cora and Erica at the outer shell. Isaac was sandwiched uncomfortably – even in sleep as if he still feared being hurt – between the girls.

They'd left a space for him beside his mate.

By the look of it, none of them had slept until now, Peter padded over, easily able to get next to his mate without wakening anyone up. Their strength allowed them to contort their bodies into the most arduous shapes that humans wouldn't be able to do without constantly working at it. They wouldn't collapse, which was a good thing, since Harry was wrapped around Aaron, who for all intents and purposes was still human. May still end up entirely human again, and he didn't care, as long as he was healthy. Although, Harry did suggest he had a higher chance of being something, whether Wizard or werewolf due to the adoption. That the inherit magic might push his lycanthrope through.

Peter wrapped his arm around Harry and Aaron, moulding entirely against Harry's back, his nose pressed against his neck. The smell of pack, family, safety, magic wrapped around his senses and before long he was asleep.

It should surprise nobody that by lunch time rolled around, Harry was up and cooking lunch for them all, or at least he was attempting to until he heard the very quiet padding of footsteps down the stairs.

Harry just happened to glance out to see who was sneaking about and why – used to checking on Teddy when he attempted to be quiet – and saw that it was Derek…and he wasn't just attempting to go out, get some air, no, he had that very familiar black bag with him. One Harry hadn't seen since he settled down, he was attempting to leave, to run. Harry found himself gravely disappointed.

"So, where exactly are you planning on going?" Harry asked, making no effort to hide his disappointment and his anger, but hopefully Derek would understand the anger wasn't pointed at him. Never stopping to doubt himself or wonder if this approach would see Derek running even quicker.


A/n – You'll need to forgive me for not writing often these past few weeks, it's just one of those months where everything that can go wrong just continues to go wrong. Sick dogs, things breaking, bed, dryer, and my phone which sucks nothing compares to losing my brother, of course, but at least they caught the guy, he's being arrested with culpable homicide (Scots law equivalent is Manslaughter) yes, Scotland had their own laws still 😊 I think for the most part that this story is mostly finished, the ideas I had don't seem to be taking much, so do you actually want to see them living their best life now and without drama? The rest of the 'teen wolf' stuff won't be happening, including the Deadpool etc…it can't everything has changed, and Theo doesn't stand a chance with Peter or Harry lol I would be amusing to him try although I do contemplate the idea of making one last fight but with the magical side of things like maybe the last Death Eaters or a group determined to put a stop to the 'care' they're putting into helping creatures? R&R please