A Second Chance

Starting Over

The previous night had been a bit of a grueling one, with two younger werewolves turning in the only bed in the room, tormented by nightmares. So Peter was not surprised when in the middle of the night the two ended up joining him on the floor, seeking comfort. Only then were the three of them able to rest.

He woke up early but did not want to get up and disturb the two puppies that were using him as a pillow. Despite having his whole body held by the other two, it was a very good feeling to sleep on a heap. It was warm and gave a sense of security. And, incredibly, it was not uncomfortable. Far from it. So without realizing it, I was catching up on sleep again, as I curled Isaac’s golden curls between my fingers.

Isaac was reluctant to open his eyes. He was extremely comfortable and that was great, after having spent most of the night with his father and the damned freezer he was locked in.

With a superhuman effort, he opened his eyes and was startled to realize that he was on the floor, with his body wrapped around someone and this someone was apparently running his fingers through his hair. For a second, he froze.

-I bet that’s a hell of a time to wake up on a Saturday,” Peter said, yawning and stretching himself back to sleep and pulling him back onto his shoulder.

He smiled and relaxed again. He was comfortable.

When they woke up again they decided to get up and get ready. The day was beautiful and being able to spend the day together seemed great. The problem was that one of them didn’t share the same feeling.

-Go away,” complained the puppy, hiding his face with the pillows, “I’m not hungry. I just want to sleep,” he closed his eyes, pretending to sleep.

-Every puppy is like this?- asked Isaac, laughing at Derek, who occasionally opened his eyes and they were still there, but made no mention of getting up, and pretended to snore

-No, just the one that was lazy even to be born,” Peter commented, picking Derek up and tapping him on the shoulder with a sack of potatoes, Derek looked like a dead weight, “it took almost a day to be born. Poor my sister,” he explained, seeing Isaac’s curious expression.

-You were there when he was born?- asked Isaac, surprised.

-Yeep. I was. I saw Laura’s too. But I don’t remember much about hers. It was too small,” he said, as he carried the little one to the bathroom. -Do you mind grabbing a towel and sorting out some clothes?

-Very small? How old are you anyway?

-I ... I must have been about four years old when she was born,” he answered after thinking a bit. I hope you don’t mind that the water is cold, Isaac and I are done with hot water,” he commented, going to turn on the shower.

Isaac laughed out loud when the boy stopped pretending to be asleep at the same moment saying ‘I’m awake!’

After finally getting ready, they went downstairs to leave. Peter was already with the keys to the Camaro in his hand.

-Where do you think you are going? You’re not planning to go out without eating, are you? That’s not healthy,” he scolded Peter, “I went to a lot of trouble to make all this,” he complained, showing the table overflowing with food.

Peter looks a bit dull.

-You really don’t have to worry. I had called the puppies out for coffee,” he said, causing Stiles to drop the spatula he was holding hard into the sink.

- You can’t do that. We made a lot of plans,” Stiles said, causing Peter and Isaac to raise their eyebrows, “Scott and Alison should be here any minute, so I suggest you eat soon,” he continued, dragging Peter and the other two to the table and serving them, “I’m glad I saw them leave. Lydia would be very upset after spending hours picking out paints and catalogs yesterday. Even Jackson is coming over just to decorate the place.

Isaac didn’t like the intrusion of the other young people one bit. Besides making plans and not even bothering to communicate, they acted as if they were part of everything. And they weren’t. Derek’s pack consisted of her and Peter after Erica and Boyd left. But now, with Derek little, everyone seemed to have changed their minds.

-How can she go out and buy anything if she doesn’t even know the house?- asked Isaac.

-I know the house. And she saw it yesterday, when she picked up the keys at the real estate office,” replied Stiles, surprising Peter, “She went there and said she was your decorator, she’ll bring the keys when she comes,” he finished, making Isaac raise his hands in exasperation.

Before they could say anything, Lydia and Jackson entered without even ringing the doorbell or knocking.

-Lydia said, smiling at Peter and handing him a bunch of keys, sitting down with Jackson at the table next, they greeted everyone and she gives a wink to Derek, who turns red.

Scott and Alisson arrive next.

-How did you guess I was hungry?- he asked his friend

-When aren’t you?” recruited Stiles, serving Scott a stack of pancakes.

-What’s up? When do we start? We’d better hurry. I have to work in the afternoon,” commented Scott, before popping an entire pancake into his mouth.

-I’ve never painted a house. But I can help by bringing snacks,” said Alison, before nibbling on a pancake, “although considering how good this is, maybe we should let Stiles do that.

The teenagers agreed and ate quickly, leaving, running towards the house across the street.

-They’ve broken into our house, and we haven’t even moved in yet,” Isaac complained. We’re not going to do anything? asked Peter indignantly.

-He wants to pee in the corners, Uncle Peter,” accused Derek, “That’s disgusting,” he said, grimacing and Peter laughed, “I don’t want to live in a stinky place. Can’t we just leave them there and take this house here? It’s already fixed up,” he suggested, making them both laugh. I like him.

-It’s only natural that they stick around. They don’t trust me, and want to stay close to the puppy,” Peter explained, grabbing some more toast and scrambled eggs.

-Before, they didn’t have this concern. They even avoided us,” Isaac grumbled, tapping his fork harder than necessary, “and now they seem to be lining up to join the pack.

-First, they need to know what a pack really is,” said Peter, with his mouth full, barely making himself understood.

-What do you mean “Neither do we”? asked Isaac, confused

-We’re family,” Derek explained, his mouth all smeared with chocolate syrup, Peter nodded

Isaac was a little surprised by the little boy’s explanation, but it soon passed, as he realized that it was the absolute truth. The three of them had, in a very few days, bonded in a way that seemed like they had spent their entire lives together.

They were the weirdest new family he had ever seen, with a too young father with psychopathic tendencies, a younger brother who was actually older, and him and his traumas. They were totally different, but somehow they fit together and that was perfect.

He felt good. Very good. He was part of something. He had a family.

When they finished eating, they crossed the street.

-So that’s it, when we get out of here, it’s a new life,” Peter said, looking at the two of them.

-That sounds good to me,” said Isaac, smiling.

The two of them look at Derek who was looking at Stiles’ house indecisively.

-Are you sure we can’t take that one?- Peter said no, and Derek looked down, annoyed - What about Mr. Sheriff? Can we keep him?

-That depends. Will you remember to give him food and water? Humans are very fragile,” Peter asked, carrying Derek on his lap as they entered the house, making Isaac laugh.

They enter the house and here come Lydia and Alisson testing some shades of paint on the wall.

- I like this one for the living room. It will make everything clearer,” she commented as she moved on to the lighter one, passing with Isaac and Derek.

-That’s exactly what I thought,- agreed Lydia, following them

-So, it’s not very big, but I didn’t think it was too small either. Here’s the ...

-Peter, there’s a guy named Ferdinand calling you from the front,” interrupted Scott, with several paints balanced in his hands.

-Oh, that’s the contractor you hired. I’ll see him,” said Lydia, jumping for joy.

Everyone looked at Peter with betrayed expressions, but he had no idea who this person was. He hadn’t hired anyone. He hadn’t even stepped foot in the house he had bought again after the day of the purchase.

-Peter, this is Ferdinand, the contractor who is going to do the bulk of the renovation. Ferdinand, this is Peter, the owner of the money,” he introduced the two, “My family has worked with Ferdinand for years. He is great - explained Lydia - If you follow me, I can tell you what I thought a little for each room.

Everyone follows her. Ferdinand is taking notes on everything that needs to be done.

-In every room, I want to change those baseboards, for wider and more modern ones. The wooden floor needs to be treated. It is full of fingernail marks. I thought about what you said the other day, Peter, and I think it would be great to knock down the wall that divides the kitchen from the living room, integrating the two environments. To delimit it, we could put a counter here, with enough room for everyone. - Two huge refrigerators here, a big gas stove and the rest of the appliances on that side, and then we can cover the rest with cupboards.

Peter trying to distract the boy, messes up his hair.

-That sounds great my dear Lydia. Just forget about the stove. I don’t like something that produces fire, teenagers and me in the same room. Maybe an electric oven?” she suggested, heading for the stairs. But now I want to show them something,” Peter said, walking up the stairs with Derek and Isaac, “Could you come too, Mr. Ferdinand? We might need a specialist.

Scott and Jackson followed next. Stiles gave Lydia a yellow smile and a pat on the shoulder and then went upstairs. Lydia didn’t seem too happy about being put in the background.

-Don’t be like that. He just wants to spend some time with his new kids,” Alison tried to cheer her up, “and I think he was just kidding about the fire. He doesn’t think we’re going to set him on fire again, does he?

Peter led them to the entrance of the rooms on the second floor. On one side, facing the street, were one of the bedrooms and a bathroom. On the other side were the other two rooms.

-When I saw these two rooms, I thought about knocking down the wall that divides them and making one huge room. I could enlarge the closet area, making it big enough for the three of us to organize everything, and put two huge beds, like king or queen size, and make it look like a hotel. Not too much furniture. Maybe just some dressers or something. What do you think,” he asked the boys, who approved the idea.

-We can turn the one in front into an office. That way we’ll have a quiet place to study or research something,” suggested Isaac.

-But can we remove this wall? Isn’t it a load-bearing wall,” Peter asked the contractor.

-Yes, it is. We also won’t have any problem increasing the closet, as you said,” said the contractor, after taking a look at everything.

Lydia goes upstairs with Alisson and says that she thought about changing all the tiles in the house. They could suggest the same theme as the bedroom and make the bathrooms look like a hotel. Peter loves the idea and Isaac says that he would be happy if the bathroom wasn’t pink.

-We have already covered the downstairs and this one. Now all that’s left is the right white one”, he says, smiling, “What?” he asks when he realizes that everyone is looking at him, and shrugs his shoulders. That way we can get started on the painting,” says Peter, going back to the living room.

-What about the basement? Isaac stumbled when he heard this question, which did not go unnoticed by Peter.

He looked at the others who seemed strangely entertained by the walls, the floor, and the windows. Only Jackson looked at Isaac with a sad expression.

-Give me just a second?-said Peter, as he passed Derek to Stiles and pulled Isaac into a corner.

-So, what do you think so far?- asked Lydia, trying to distract the contractor.

He took the boy to another room, away from the wolves’ eyes, but not their ears.

-What was that?” asked Peter, looking at Isaac, who avoided facing him. Just put your claws here,” he put Isaac’s right hand on the back of his neck, digging his claws into his neck, “and concentrate on the memory you want me to see,” he explained in a soft voice to the puppy in front of him.

In seconds, his mind was invaded by a flood of painful memories, of a small boy being forced to clean the kitchen with a tiny mop. Getting beaten up because a teacher didn’t give him an A, and he just wasn’t the perfect brother who had died. After a teenager being tortured with the utmost cruelty and locked inside a freezer for two days. When Isaac finally removed his claws, Peter was taking a deep breath trying to calm himself down.

Without thinking, he brought the puppy close and hugged him. Isaac was trembling violently but seemed to calm down when Peter hugged him, and although he was taller than Peter (by a quarter of an inch), he didn’t feel awkward. He felt safe, and without realizing it, his face was hidden in his neck, sobbing. He hadn’t even realized when he had started to cry.

Sometime later, Peter came back into the room cm Isaac, who was red-eyed and stood a little away from the others. Derek got off Stiles’ lap and went to sit beside him on the stairs, resting his head on his arm.

-Where were we? In the basement, right? You can lock up. Seal it up. Put up a plaster wall so it doesn’t even look like there’s a door there,” he gave his verdict.

-But what if you need to fix some plumbing or electrical?

-Look, I have a small son, too. I don’t want a place where he can fall and hurt himself. He could roll down this ladder, break his arm or something worse,” he said clearly, making some excuse. If you need to change something, do it. But afterward, seal everything up,” the contractor seemed to agree.

-I guess that’s it, then. I’ll tell the guys to get started right away,” said the contractor.

-Actually, I’d like to hire you for another renovation after this one,” Peter said, following him. Can you take a look at Lydia?

-Why?” he asked, not understanding.

-Just to make sure she doesn’t turn it into a barbie’s dream house,” Isaac smiled wickedly and said, “I’m on it.

When Peter returned, Derek was lying on the floor, his head in Stiles’ lap, being petted and almost asleep despite the noise Isaac and Lydia were making. Apparently, the two of them were in a heated argument about the furniture.

-What about these?- he showed the brochure- These white pieces of furniture are beautiful,” Lydia argued.

-No,” Isaac was categorical, “Nothing too bright.

-But it will make the atmosphere lighter,” argued the girl.

- And I’ll go blind when I turn on the lights,” Isaac replied.

-And why do you have to decide, Lahey?- asked Jackson, grimacing.

-For two reasons, Jackson. The first is because Peter asked. The second is because I’m going to live here. And soon the last name will be Hale. Why don’t you go ahead and practice,” Isaac suggested, taking out the inserts and looking them over?

- As much as I love watching you two fight, can we at least start painting the office? pleaded Scott.

Lydia nodded and returned to her discussion with Isaac.

-I can’t leave the children alone for five minutes and they’ll start fighting. This way I’m going to ground you in the corner of the room,” Peter commented, not at all disturbed by the noise they were making.

Without delay, Lydia began to show the cards to Peter, who in the end agreed with Isaac.

-No Lydia. Let’s go for straight furniture with a simple design. No bright colors. And I want a giant black leather sofa over there,” she said, pointing to a wall in the living room, “But not a hard one, I want an extremely comfortable one. The kind that hugs you when you sit down? he gestured excitedly as he spoke, and Isaac seemed to love the idea. It’ll look great there,” he tried to calm things down.

Which worked perfectly well. She barely spoke, and Lydia’s eyes sparkled with pleasure.

-“You’re going to rebuild there? And will I get to decorate?- asked the girl smiling, hugging the booklet

-Yes, but only after we finish here,” answered Peter, “so I want this one with everything the boys want.

Isaac gave Jackson a winning smile and said he was going to help Scott and Alisson upstairs.

Lydia noted down any furniture that fit Peter’s decor. While she, Peter, and Jackson were measuring the rooms to see what furniture would fit, the contractor’s crew began work upstairs.

-And what kind of beds do you want in the rooms? And how many?” asked Lydia with her clipboard and pen in hand.

-Two box beds are fine, I’ll make it as big as I can fit,” she answered quickly, “and very large dressers. And complete bed sets with everything, bottom sheet, top sheet, pillowcase, bedspread, blanket, etc. Preferably in a color that is not depressing. And lots of pillows,” he added thoughtfully.

-I’m sure you don’t want a chocolate bar on your pillow too,” Stiles commented, playing with Derek’s hair.

-If it’s not too much to ask,” he added, looking at Lydia with such an innocent expression that she couldn’t deny it, wrinkled her nose, but added the chocolate to the long list.

-But only two beds? And where will you sleep?” thought Jackson aloud.

-With them, of course,” he answered, flipping through one of the inserts again.

When he noticed that Lydia and Jackson were looking at him strangely, he decided to explain

-Kittens hardly ever sleep alone. They end up looking for safety in numbers and comfort. That’s why I suggested putting the two rooms together,” he explained. And then I’m the psychotic one,” he grumbled.

-Is that why they slept with you on the floor last night? When I went over there, you were sleeping in a pile,” asked Stiles, curious.

-That’s right,” said Peter.

-What were you doing spying on their room, you sicko?- asked Jackson, disgusted.

-I couldn’t sleep, so I walked around the house until sleep came,” defended Stiles.

-If you have such a problem sleeping, next time you should consider joining the pile,” Peter commented, turning his attention back to the inserts, Stiles seemed to consider his idea. Lydia? I need to go do some things.

-You’re not staying to help?- asked Stiles, indignant.

-I need to buy a car and some safety items for him,- he said, pointing at Derek, who was still sleeping on Stiles’s lap- Out to get a lawyer and get all the paperwork for the adoptions

Jackson suggested that he go along, so they could stop by and talk to his father who is a lawyer. He wasn’t in the office, but he had certainly been home and would talk to Peter if Jackson asked.

- Would you do that? That would be great! And you can still help me pick out a car,” Peter agreed, smiling and putting his hand on Jackson’s shoulder.

-I think we’ve covered all the furniture,” he replied, checking his list, “Can you give me a ride and drop me off at the mall so I can start roasting your money?

Peter answered that was fine with him. Jackson suggested that they go in his car so that the others wouldn’t be on foot if they needed to pick something up on the street.

When Peter made mention of picking up Derek, Stiles said that it would be dangerous if he took the boy in a Posher and without even a booster accent. He then suggested that he and Derek go back to his house, where he could watch the boy until they got back. Peter agreed and called Isaac, who promised to keep an eye out so that Stiles wouldn’t run away from his parents and sell the boy on the black market.

-Are you guys going to look at the appliances today too?

-I’ll probably take a look,” Lydia conceded, her eyes narrowed.

- Could we buy some video games?- he asked hopefully.

-But of course,” Peter answered, and Lydia wrote down on the list, she asked which console, “Surprise me,” he replied, and she wrote ‘All of them’.

They dropped Lydia off at the furniture store and then off to the dealership to choose the car. Peter bought a silver Chevrolet Tahoe. They also stopped by Wal-Mart and bought a booster seat, and then headed to Jackson’s house.

When they got home, Jackson introduced the werewolf to his father. And Peter began to explain the situation. Jackson was amazed at how easily Peter could make up lame excuses and present them in a way that made it seem true.

He justified Derek’s appearance by saying that he was his nephew, the son of one of his irresponsible brothers who had dumped his pregnant girlfriend and that since she couldn’t take care of him anymore and heard that he had finally left the clinic and was fine, she decided to leave the child with him, without even leaving any documents or anything.

And he, as a good citizen, had sought out the sheriff who is a friend of his and happened to be hosting him, since he is renovating his house with Isaac, the boy he was going to adopt and who is a friend of Jackson’s, and who was living with his nephew who went on a trip. So, he wanted to settle all this legally and adopt them both, since apparently, neither of them had anyone else for them.

-Are you sure the boy is related to you?” asked David Whittemore, Jackson’s father.

-Absolutely, he looks just like my nephew Derek,- replied Peter, making Jackson laugh

-His other nephew’s name is Derek too?- the lawyer asked surprised, Peter smiled and shook his shoulders - Monday I’ll start all the paperwork, Mr. Hale. You’d better hurry with the house renovation because soon a social worker should visit them and see if everything is in order

Peter thanked him and said goodbye. Jackson waited for Peter to leave and hugged his father, thanking him for his help. David smiled.

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