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the horrors of being employed

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"To adulthood!" Stiles roars, a statement he heartily punctuates by drinking his beer with a curly straw.

"You're not an adult," Isaac says instantly, arriving just in time to dole out the vodka shots. He hands one to Scott and another to Stiles, settling into his seat. "If anything, you're an elderly baby. What you are is employed."

"You're a downer," Stiles shoots back, snatching up the proffered vodka. "Can't you let one go now and again?"

"I can't let you walk around thinking you're an adult," Isaac says defensively. "Yesterday you were watching Scooby Doo while eating Fruit Loops."

"Fine. To employment!" Stiles amends with a hearty shout, and that one actually gives him a smattering of meager claps from a few strangers close to his table. Stiles winks in their direction.

"Wow," Scott gives Stiles a few congratulatory pats on his back. "Could you imagine being a professor of your own class in a few years?"

"I still can't believe they hired you," Isaac says around his glass.

"It's not like I'm the teacher," Stiles says. "I'm just a TA. With a really bad salary, I'm gonna add."

"At least now you can actually join in on paying the rent," Isaac chips in, Scott promptly smacking him under the table.

"To paying the rent!" Stiles hollers, lifting his glass and proceeding to slosh beer down the backside of the girl behind him. He doesn't notice, too busy slurping away the rest of the foam coating the walls of his beer glass.

"Plus you're qualified," Scott mentions in his favor. "Teaching criminology is perfect for you."

"You mean having a sheriff father counts for more than just being denied entry to any parties with underage drinking?" Stiles says darkly.

"Let it go, Stiles." He will not. He missed out on a good seven crazy parties in high school because high schoolers are afraid of potentially being lectured in the back of a police cruiser.

"Well," he mutters. "At least now I'm the adult everyone has to listen to."

"Stop calling yourself that," Isaac growls over the thump of the music. "You're still in school too. Some of them are probably older than you."

Stiles will not argue logistics with Isaac on his big celebration day. He's employed, he's young, he's totally free, and he's legally downing shots in a college bar. Isaac will not rain on his parade.

“Hey, Stiles. Eight o’clock,” Scott cuts in, grinning. “Someone’s interested in you.”

He turns around. The club is dark and Stiles' fifth drink is blurring the details around the edges, so all he really makes out of the boy is a pair of startlingly blue eyes and a cocky smirk. It's an expression Stiles recognizes as lofty come hither eyes, and he feels a warm thrill go through him at the idea of being sought out in a bar of sweaty, gyrating beauties and willingly talked to.

Employed and sexy enough to be hit on. Prime of his life, here he comes.

“Boys,” Stiles salutes the table. “If you’ll excuse me.”

He jumps off his stool and approaches, doing his best to school what he hopes is alluring temptation on his face on the way.

“Good luck!” Isaac hollers after him, somehow managing to override the heavy boom of the music, and Stiles makes the mental note to put laxatives in his breakfast tomorrow. Assuming, of course, he won’t be having breakfast elsewhere. Like in bed with a gorgeous blue-eyed onlooker. He slides up to him, grazing around an enthusiastic dancer and somehow managing to avoid being hit by an eager limb in the process.

"Hi," Stiles says, deciding that a lascivious wink is a good way to break the ice.

"Hello," the stranger says. His voice is deep and dark and sounds like the type of voice Stiles would like to roll around in. "Don’t worry. You won’t need any luck.”

Stiles colors, and thanks the heavens for the dark lights. He goes for an airy laugh. “Not sure about that,” he says. “I have pretty bad luck.”

“Hmm,” it sounds like sex, that voice of his. “Maybe your luck is changing.”

Stiles looks him up and down. A leather jacket, shiny shoes, tight jeans, and an unmoving smirk. Stiles thinks with a tingle that maybe his luck is finally doling out what Stiles deserves after all of those years of playing unsuccessful wingman to Scott.

"Can I get you something?" The boy asks. He looks like he could be around Stiles' age, possibly younger, possibly older depending on the light, and his lapels look like the perfect thing to hold onto while licking into his mouth.

"A drink would be sublime," Stiles tells him, even though he already has both hands full of sloshing alcohol. The boy seems to find it endearing, and laughs.

"How about a Slow Comfortable Screw?" He offers, and Stiles stumbles a little where he's bopping along to the insanely loud remix pulsing through the walls.

"What kind of boy do you think I am?" He asks, even as his brain chants yes, yes, yes, yes on repeat.

"It's a drink," the boy tells him, and leans in. "The other kind can wait until later."

Stiles doesn't realize that there's a hand slung low on his hips until it's slipping away, the brazen stranger quickly lost in a sea of bodies while Stiles blinks after him, dumbfounded.

"I think I just lost my orgasm for tonight," Stiles tells Scott ruefully as he swivels around after a few seconds of trying to spy out the boy's head amidst all the others.

"You lost your what?" Scott repeats, shouting over the roar of the club. Stiles points over his shoulder where his flirtatious new friend vanished.

"This guy was totally into me," Stiles groans. He sets his drinks down on the nearest flat surface and frowns at Scott. "He just left."

Scott's eyes zero in on something past Stiles' shoulder. He smiles. "I'm not so sure."

And then hands are twining around Stiles' waist from behind, snaking around to push a fresh glass in his unsuspecting fingers. A chin hooks over his shoulder and a voice purrs in his ear, and that's when Stiles becomes painstakingly aware of the erection pressed into his back, right into the groove of his ass.

"And by the way," it's the boy from before, back from the bar apparently, and Stiles feels his ego reflate when he realizes that he was most certainly too delicious to abandon. "I think you're the type of boy who appreciates a good fucking."

Okay, so maybe that's true.

"Are you roofying me?" Stiles asks, turning around in his arms and tilting the fresh drink in his hands at him. "Are you a sex offender?"

"No," the boy says. His grin is wide, similar to a tiger's right before they sink their teeth into prey, and Stiles is bizarrely turned on by it. "Why would I drug you when you're already interested?"

Stiles nearly spits out his mouthful of alcohol—slightly fruity, slightly hard-hitting, definitely disorienting in a way that only gin can be for him—and thankfully keeps it together. He raises his eyebrows. "You think I'm interested?"

"Just a guess," he says, then bumps his hips forward into Stiles'. He's half-hard, giving him away, and the boy grins, as if his point has been proven. Stiles is much too tipsy to be embarrassed.

"Busted," Stiles murmurs. His eyes flick down to the boy's lips, taking a moment to appreciate his face. There's something carnal there, tugging at his mouth, flashing in his eyes, but Stiles finds himself drawn to it. He winds an arm around his hips, staying close. "Your place? Mine?"

The boy's grin grows, apparently appreciative of somebody who doesn't beat around the bush. Stiles wants to get him out of his clothes, get himself out of his clothes, and certainly doesn't want to spend the next five minutes talking about the weather. He knows what the weather is like. What he doesn't know is how long it's been since he's had a mind-blowing one night stand.

"Yours," the boy suggests. He's close enough to kiss now, tongue first. "My place is a mess."

"Let me guess," Stiles murmurs. "Ants? Roaches? Have a boyfriend at home?"

He chuckles, tipping Stiles' chin up. They're the same height, perfectly eye-level, but the boy looks younger than Stiles by a year or two. Isaac will never let this go if he finds out that Stiles now has a thirst for younger men. "None of the above," he tells him. "Just moved here. Lots of boxes. Not enough furniture to fuck you against."

Instantly, Stiles' mouth goes dry. God, this boy is vulgar and filthy and built for long, passionate, and very naked nights. He loops his arms around his neck and kisses him, feeling the electricity zap him that he knew would, and nearly drops the drink in his hands as arms encircle him instantly, fiercely.

"Your place," the boy growls against Stiles' mouth, actually growls, "Or I'm pulling your pants down right here."

"My place," Stiles agrees, and wishes, not for the first time, that he could teleport.

--

They make it back to Stiles' apartment. It's a small miracle, but they do.

"Wanna fuck you," Stiles slurs in the boy's ear. He's been keeping a watchful eye on that ass and wants nothing more than to watch it take his dick.

"Not typically my division," the boy says, raising an eyebrow. Stiles shakes his head, snaking his hands around the boy to squeeze his butt cheeks.

"Please?" Stiles begs, unashamedly, and ducks in to lick a wet stripe up the boy's neck. A chuckle is the response he receives, something low and amused, and somehow it shoots straight to Stiles' midsection. He rocks into him, already desperate to be naked and stretched out on his sheets.

"Hmmm," a hand comes up to the nape of Stiles' neck, holding him in place as he sucks a mark into his neck. "What will I get out of it?"

"I'll suck you," Stiles promises right away. He's already been thinking about it, how it'll feel to have a warm cock in his mouth again, how he'll spend time reducing his new friend to quivers and gasps.

"Tempting offer," he says. "All right."

Stiles considers singing straight into the air. He's hard enough that his dick could be used as a weapon by now, aching to be touched and pushed to the brink over and over. He pulls back from the boy's neck, instead tugging clumsily on his forearms.

"My room," he explains. He stumbles backward, pulling his friend along as the alcohol blurs over the details of the room. It seems being sober isn't a requirement for the evening, however, as he's held steady by firm arms as they move down the hall. "Third door."

And somehow, they make it. He must be missing pockets of time, he thinks, his brain cutting out anything that isn't touching, sucking, or heated kissing. Who needs those memories anyway? Stiles doesn't. What he needs is to be naked, naked very quickly, so he pulls his shirt off and falls down on the bed. He pats the wrinkled sheets next to him.

"Come on, big boy," Stiles encourages, holding his arms out so his friend can get a good look at what he's offering. A wide expanse of pale, pasty skin and flailing limbs for the taking. Stiles is such a fucking catch.

The boy, however, doesn't need telling twice. He pulls off his shirt as well and crawls on the bed almost like a hungry predator, his preferred prey being horny guys willingly offering blowjobs. They're face to face in seconds, warm breaths passed between them, and then they're kissing, rough and hard and with urgent tongues. Stiles rolls on top of the boy, reveling in the feeling of a hot, real, hard line of body beneath him, and pulls away from his mouth to breathe.

"You taste like vodka," Stiles points out, his tongue swiping over the boy's bottom lip.

"That's you," he says, snorting. "You're wasted."

"Hey, I know what I'm doing," Stiles says defensively. "I'm a master of blowjobs."

"Prove it, then."

He's all too happy to. He slithers down his chest, gloriously naked, and stops to suck a few marks on his way down. Finally, he's face-to-face with the line of his hips, the waistband of his pants. He wrestles them off, the boy lifting his hips to help ease the process along.

And honestly, it's been too long. It's almost embarrassing how much he enjoys sucking dick, how he loves the taste and the feel and the rush of arousal that runs through him when he first feels somebody shudder under his tongue. He eases the boy out of his boxers, licking his lips when he gets his first glimpse of his hardened cock, and circles it with his fingers before leaning in to flatten his tongue against the head.

The boy responds with more than just a smug exhale, a point Stiles throws in his favor, encouraging Stiles to continue. He lifts his hips minutely, feeding his cock into Stiles' mouth with a challenge in his eyes, which Stiles can keep up with quite well, thank you very much. He opens his mouth more, relaxing his jaw and curling his tongue under the dick in his mouth, and sinks down as low as he can go. He looks up then, right when his cock hits the back of his throat, and makes eye contact just in time to see a flash of astounding awe flicker over his friend's face.

"Told you I was good at blowjobs," Stiles says proudly when he pulls back, his voice slightly hoarser than before. He licks down the boy's shaft, exploring underneath to briefly lick over his balls, and resists the urge to grin when his hips shift.

A hand tangles in his hair, yanking him higher up and back onto his cock. "Do you want a round of applause?" The boy asks, the tip of his dick rubbing between Stiles' lips. He parts them obediently and hollows his cheeks around the length slid into his mouth.

A trophy will do, he thinks faintly, as he watches his teeth and slides down and back up on the dick on his tongue. He tastes musty, like bitterness and too much salt, but Stiles doesn't mind. It's almost dizzying, the feel of shaking hips under him while a cock fucks his mouth.

His glasses have become crooked, hardly balancing on his nose, and a moment later, they're yanked off his face by impatient hands before they're deposited on the floor without a care in the world. Stiles doesn't care. He just wants more, more, and sucks more of the boy into his mouth to get this point across.

"That's it," he's murmuring, and when Stiles looks up, his head is pitched back into the pillows and his chest is heaving. "Perfect."

God, he wants to be inside this boy now, wants to hear him groan and ask for more and whisper filth in Stiles' ear. He speeds up his work, swallowing him down as far as he can, and tries not to come himself when he hears the boy's answering groan, long and strangled.

He’s a grown-up, though, and that means he can keep it in his pants until it’s time to make it count. He traces the underside of the boy’s cock, then suckles at the head, then licks a stripe up his length, eager to see what makes him quiver the most. It all seems to rev him up, a flush spreading over his chest while Stiles lets his tongue experiment.

"Keep that up," the boy growls, the fingers in his hair getting tighter. "And I'll come in your mouth."

Stiles meets his eyes and gives him the go ahead with a cheeky wink right before he swallows him back down again, and that seems to give him enough of a green light.

He comes and his grip on Stiles' hair doesn't relent, so Stiles performs well and swallows what he has to give, grabbing his hips for support. He's practically tearing Stiles' hair out by now, insistent and rough, but all Stiles is focusing on is the way his mouth is letting out the most exquisite moans, low and unrestrained. Stiles is responsible for that, he thinks with a swell of pride, and takes the liberty of licking his softening dick a few more times before letting it slip from his mouth.

"Good, right?" Stiles murmurs, his voice sore. His companion seems all too revered by the husky quality his words have taken on, leaning upright to touch his jaw while Stiles peppers slow kisses up his hips.

"Not bad," he says, sounding slightly out of breath. Stiles grins, endlessly smug at being the one responsible for stealing the breath from him. "I suppose I went home with you for a reason."

"Save the flattery for later," Stiles dismisses, smiling at him from between his legs. "I still want to fuck you, remember?"

"How could I forget?" the boy murmurs, the fingers fisting his hair loosening to run through the strands. He pulls Stiles up into another kiss, this one even more heated than before, and loosely wraps his free hand around Stiles' dick.

And damn, Stiles is excited. It's been too long, a dry summer at its very best, and even just picturing an ass around his dick is disorienting. He responds to the kiss with a sloppy tongue, eager to get this show on the road, and he ruts his hard cock against the hand gripping it, desperate to have the grasp tighten from the loose fist it is now.

"Come on," Stiles says on his slick lips. "I want you hard again."

Something that may be the word impatient is mumbled near him, and then: "Where are your condoms?" is being muttered against his mouth, pulling him back to reality. He tries to focus, hear the words being asked of him, but it's difficult with a hand lazily stroking his dick.

"Condoms," he repeats, trying to match a meaning to the word. "Right. Bedside table. Don't want you getting pregnant."

The boy gives him an odd look, like Stiles is a fucking idiot. Whatever, he still has enough game to lure boys into his bed. He reaches across the mattress to fumble for the drawer, yanking it open and grabbing the first thing his fist closes around. It's a tube of lube, which is probably also going to be useful, so Stiles tucks that between his teeth and goes fishing for a condom.

"What is wrong with you?" his friend says, pulling the lube from his teeth. "Honestly?"

"So many things," Stiles says, grinning, feeling light-headed and so hard he's in very real pain by now. He smashes their mouths together again, headier by the second. Teeth bite down on his lower lip, hard enough to sting, and his shudder is strong enough to reach his toes. He swears. "What are you, a shark?"

The boy grins at him, feral and predatory, almost like Stiles has no idea what he's in for. He'd be terrified if he wasn't so damn turned on, every part of his body on high alert like electrical shocks are coursing through his bloodstream, and then his hand is being pulled up from between their bodies and two of his fingers disappear in the boy's mouth. Jesus Christ.

"You're trying to kill me, aren't you?" Stiles breathes out, watching with rapt attention as a tongue wraps around his knuckles, wetting his fingertips. He doesn't remember sex being this hot last time, and he vaguely wonders if sex has changed, if things have gotten kinkier and no one gave him the memo, but then his fingers are set free and being led down between the boy's legs and suddenly Stiles' mouth feels very, very dry.

"Go on," he says, his hand still pumping Stiles' dick, and Stiles has to swat it away, gripping his wrist to still it.

"Okay, but not with you—doing that," he grits out. "I need to focus."

The boy laughs at him, acquiescing and pulling his hand safely away from Stiles' nether regions, instead stretching his forearms out underneath his head and waiting for Stiles to finger him. Shit. There's a naked boy spread out underneath him waiting to be ravaged. Stiles should probably take pictures, just to remember that this happened.

He doesn't, though, because he has enough memory of what decent manners look like even in his slightly disoriented drunken state not to whip out a camera. Instead, he squeezes lube out onto his wet fingers, rubbing it between his fingertips before sliding in the first finger. The boy doesn't even jolt, just watches him from where he's propped up by the pillows.

"Is that all you got?" he asks, sounding bored. Bored. Stiles is amazed.

"I got four more fingers, actually," he says, feeling cheeky, and to prove a point, slips another one in. That one gets him a jerk of a thigh.

"Good for you," his friend says, his voice still frustratingly intact even as Stiles pushes his fingers in further, scissoring them apart. "When do I get your cock?"

Stiles huffs out a breath of laughter, not sure if he's brought home with him a monster or what might just be the best one night stand he's ever going to have. He pushes in a third finger for good measure, watching them disappear instead his stretched hole, and creates a slow rhythm as he pushes them in, then back out. The boy's hard again, recovered from Stiles' blowjob, and it makes him want to see him come again, and possibly again. How many times can someone come in one night? Stiles wants to know.

He pulls his fingers out after that, listening raptly to the breathy sigh that escapes the boy's mouth as he does so. He sits up a moment later, pushing the condom foil into his hand and reeling him in by his neck for another kiss. Surely it was just a few minutes ago that they kissed last, but Stiles feels the need to do it again, to prolong this one until it involves teeth and tongue, but his cock is aching for attention and only a few minutes away from being involved in the party, so he breaks away and focuses on slipping the condom on.

It's hard work, especially when his friend starts nipping up his arm to his shoulder and further up to his neck, nibbling on his ear while Stiles' shaky fingers try to slide the condom on properly. Not a second passes when there's a hand stroking him, spreading lube and threatening to end this much too soon, so Stiles grits his teeth and squeezes his eyes shut and tries not to get overexcited too quickly.

When he opens his eyes, the hand on his dick is gone, and his friend is on his stomach, ass propped up like it deserves a spotlight. Stiles wants to spend more time with him, take him apart with his mouth, lick over his hole and slick him up with his tongue, but his dick is calling the shots and is desperately in need of speeding up the show. He lines his cock up with the boy's hole, licking his lips as his mouth goes startlingly dry.

"Finally," his friend groans, pushing his ass back to slide against Stiles' erection and urge him to continue. He's a little cheeky, and definitely cocky, and Stiles wonders if he'll still be able to bark out quips when Stiles is fucking him. Only one way to find out.

He slides into him and is absolutely mesmerized at the sight, how the guy's hips rock back into him while Stiles fucks him. He's definitely the opposite of a blushing virgin, unashamedly interested in being fucked, and Stiles watches with everything but drool dripping from his mouth as the boy's hole stretches around his dick.

“Jesus Christ,” Stiles groans, head hanging. It’s been too long, too damn long since he’s last had a good round of sex, and this boy is everything he needs to get his fix. He's so, so perfectly tight around him, warm and inviting and pleasant torture for his cock, and Stiles feels like he wants to spend at least five minutes frozen like this just to memorize the feeling. Then the boy shifts his ass. "Fuck, fuck, fuck."

"Are you going to fuck me," he snaps, "or just sit around and yap all day?"

"Shut up," Stiles manages to get out. His lungs feel robbed of air for a few seconds, like his entire body is too busy focusing on the feel of the ass clenching around his dick to function properly.

He pulls out, watching the ass beneath his hands flutter in response. It's revering, almost distracting, and Stiles pushes back in with the single thought not to come too soon. He doesn't remember the last time he had an ass on display like this for him, begging for more, and he doesn't miss the way his friend's breathing becomes labored after a few slow thrusts.

"You okay?" Stiles asks, dipping down to brush his lips over the boy's back. It ripples under the touch, his muscles reacting instantly.

"I swear to god," the boy snaps out. "Keep going."

And okay, Stiles can do that, even if it wouldn't have hurt him to say it nicely. He starts up a rhythm, something slow and unhurried, trying his best to focus when there's so much to pay attention to with the body in front of him. The soft expanse of his back, the sweat dabbled on his neck, the grunts slipping free from his throat. Stiles tries to drink it all in, and apparently, it slows him down too much.

"More," his friend is saying. "Come on."

He seems to lose patience with Stiles. It takes two seconds, and suddenly Stiles is on his back, eyes on the ceiling as the boy clambers onto his hips and slides back onto his cock. Stiles nearly comes then and there, vaguely trying to figure out what he did in a past life to deserve a boy riding his dick like this, and his hands scramble to grip the boy's hips as he lifts himself and sinks back down in one smooth, fluid moment.

Again, Stiles has no idea where to focus. The way the boy's abdomen shakes when he sits on Stiles' cock, or maybe the way he bites his lip in concentration. Stiles reaches out to push the hair out of his face to see his eyes, the sharp blue drawing him in like a turbulent ocean, and wishes he was more clear-headed, more sober, just to remember this moment with crystal clarity.

"You really like this, don't you?" the boy asks through a wide smirk, apparently also capable of talking the sort of filth that has Stiles nodding frantically. His hips buck up helplessly, and instantly, a hand on his waist stills the erratic pushes of his thighs upward. "Seeing someone ride you. Being inside someone."

"Stop it," Stiles gasps out as the boy speeds up his pace. "Or I'm—I'm gonna."

"You could come from hearing me talk?" he sounds amused now, if not slightly breathless, as he lifts himself off Stiles' hips and slides back down, faster than before.

"Yeah," Stiles admits. "Shit. God, that's embarrassing."

"It's flattering," the boy says, right before he pulls Stiles' head up by his hair to push their mouths together. Stiles responds as best as he can, propping himself up on his elbows and opening his mouth to the teeth sinking into his bottom lip, his responding moan loud in the air.

He should really clear his head, Stiles thinks, as he finally remembers to wrap his fingers around his friend's erection and squeeze gently, stroking upwards in time with the snaps of the boy's hips. He already knows that everything will be blurry tomorrow, fogged over with alcohol, and he wants to remember it all perfectly. The way his entire body felt as if it were on fire while a boy bounced on his dick, the way his neck ached after marks were bitten onto his collarbone, the way a dick in his mouth felt familiar and thrilling.

"Keep doing that," Stiles says when their mouths break apart again and the boy starts rolling his hips on his cock, pushing him in deeper. He tries his best to breathe, to compose himself, but it's too much, nearly sensory overload, and he knows that holding back has become a lost cause.

He comes seeing stars, learning secrets to the universe, reuniting with dead relatives, and he nearly blacks out until there's a hand slapping him lightly on the cheek.

"I know I'm good," his friend is drawling, already sounding much too composed. "But you couldn't possibly be fucked stupid."

Stiles peels his eyes open just in time to see a smirk looking over him as his dick slides free of the boy's entrance. It makes him moan, something wanton and needy, and the boy laughs at him like his noises are the most entertaining thing on earth. Stiles musters up the energy to sit up and tug him closer by the nape of his neck, pulling him in for a messy kiss that results in his hair being fisted to maneuver Stiles into the right position.

"That was good," Stiles murmurs into his mouth, woozy and spent and all the right emotions pulsing under his skin. "You're good."

"I know," the boy says in return, his slick lips curving into a smile against Stiles'. He kisses him again, harder this time, and Stiles edges close enough to feel his erection against his stomach, not yet taken care of. Stiles pulls back.

"You didn't—" He slides his hand around his dick. "Lemme help."

"I'll just have to fuck you," the boy says, pulling Stiles' hand away. "And then both of us will be one hundred percent satisfied."

"What?" Stiles blinks, trying to push away the sleep he was ready to sink into. "You wanna fuck me?"

"Yes," the boy says, like it's obvious. "It's your turn."

And then there's a wicked smile on his face Stiles is almost afraid of, and he's being pushed back onto the mattress and given approximately five seconds of recovery time before the boy leans in to his ear to whisper, "I'm going to eat you out so you're slick for when I slide into you."

And yeah, okay, okay, that's much better than sleeping.

--

Someone is turning drywall into debris. Someone is smashing a wrecking ball directly into Stiles' room, he's sure of it. He’d really appreciate if they’d stop.

Stiles blinks, facing the living world. No construction sites, just a pounding hangover that feels like there's a man banging on the inside of his skull trying to find his way out.

He wakes up embarrassingly past noon with a persistent bulldozer in his head, the hangover almost dizzying as he gets accustomed to the bright sunlight filtering in from the window. It's then that he remembers that he had a companion, someone in a leather jacket with a lot of charm, and that's all his memory wants to contribute.

There was a man, he remembers that much. That detail is still there. He shifts under the covers, haphazardly gathered around his hips, and tries to blink what feels like sand away from his dry eyes. One of these days, he’ll learn to go easy on the drinks.

He manages to do the impossible and lift his head from the sheets, bracing himself for the sunlight running unabashedly through the windows as he fumbles for his glasses. Investing in curtains is going to be a must now, Stiles thinks, and rolls on his side to feel for another warm body. His hands skirts over the wrinkled sheets, finding nothing but empty air.

His new friend is gone, not even in the shower or rummaging through Stiles' kitchen cupboards looking for coffee filters. There is, however, a tiny note on the nightstand that reads: Your ass is lovely. Hope to see it again someday.

It makes Stiles smile. Having a memorable ass is something he’s going to pride himself on from now on, even if it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever get to see the boy from last night ever again. Still. Asses count. Asses are important.

“The walk of shame,” Isaac announces, too loudly, when Stiles stumbles from his room eleven graceful minutes later with his sheet wrapped around him toga style. “Where’s your friend?”

Stiles wanders blindly over to the windows to close the shutters before dignifying any of Isaac’s questions with answers. Only when the kitchen has been thrown into darkness does he bother making conversation, sticking his head into the cupboards to look for painkillers while something in the pan Isaac’s looming over sizzles.

“Already gone,” Stiles croaks, clearing his throat. “So you didn’t see him leave?”

“Just got up,” Isaac clarifies. “Were you that bad in bed that he didn’t want to see your face in the morning?”

Stiles throws a spoon in his direction that ends up missing his backside by a truly pathetic margin, clanging to the floor instead. Stiles settles onto a kitchen stool and lays his cheek on the cool counter, waiting for his human reflexes to kick in again.

“Ha ha,” he mutters, “he left me a note saying he liked my ass. Pretty sure I did just fine.”

A plate clatters in front of him, nearly succeeding in jolting Stiles out of his seat. He looks at the array of soggy eggs and bacon in front of him and takes what he can get.

“Thanks," Stiles mutters, pulling it closer along with the fork sitting adjacent to it. The smell of grease is a little off putting for his delicate head, but a few bites of scrambled egg already feel like relief from the pounding in his skull.

"Will you see him again?" Isaac asks, preparing his own plate of breakfast while Stiles works on his own.

"I don't know. I don't remember giving him my number," Stiles tries to remember the details of the night. "It was probably just a one night stand. Which I'm more than fine with, by the way."

He shoots Isaac a lewd wink just to remind him of how pathetically horny he is ninety percent of the time. Isaac looks at him like he absolutely does not need reminding.

"It's a small campus, you know," Isaac points out. "Maybe you'll see him again."

"Unlikely," Stiles says, all too confidently. He should've kept his mouth shut. "If I ever run into him, I'll just act cool."

"Not bend over?" Isaac suggests, sliding next to him with his own plate.

"Maybe," Stiles shrugs, just to see Isaac flush. He's been playing this game with him for years now, he might as well learn that Stiles is perfectly willing to talk about gay sex. "We'll see."

"A real love story in the making."

"Yeah, yeah. We'll see."

Yeah, right, says Stiles' inner monologue. Stiles never runs into Robert Downey Jr. and he's been waiting for that to happen for years now. What are the chances he'll ever see his one night stand again, really.

--

He oversleeps again the next day, wrapped up in foggy dreams of a mouth nipping up his neck, and wakes up to Scott vigorously shaking him awake like he's missed the apocalypse.

"Stiles! Stiles! Stiles!"

He's persistent, too persistent to ignore, so Stiles rolls over and fixes him with the harshest glare he can muster up at seven in the morning. "What?" he grumbles.

"It's your first day," he tells him, looking slightly panicked. "You overslept."

"My first day?" First day of what? First day of kindergarten? First day of parole? "Oh, shit."

First day of classes. First day of actually tricking the students into thinking that he’s a responsible adult capable of fulfilling his TA duties. He shoots out of the bed hard enough to shift the mattress out of place, and grabs blindly for the first thing draped over his chair not covered in a) lint and dust b) dessert stains and c) amusing text that to some, might be unprofessional and reeking of slacker potential.

“Here,” Scott says, a beacon of light, and hands him the shirt he actually pressed like a fifty-year-old housewife last night. Stiles wrestles it over his arms. “You’ll do great.”

“Thanks for the blind faith,” Stiles says, and actually means it, tripping into his pants all the while. “Think they’ll like me?”

“The students?” Stiles nods. “How could they not?”

Stiles loves Scott, he really does. He jerks him into a pantsless embrace, his jeans hanging forgotten by his ankles while he pats his back in gratitude. Then he kisses him on the cheek, wet and sound, and jams his glasses on his head before he stumbles out the door.

--

Class is good. Stiles is only four minutes late, skidding into class with minimal amounts of sweat dabbing his forehead as he adjusts his classes and says a jovial hello to his class that about three people half-heartedly reciprocate.

He keeps reminding himself over and over that, as a teacher's assistant, he doesn't have nearly as much of an obligation to make a good impression as the professor does himself. Needless to say, some of them seem to find his chaotic entrance and disorganized notes charming in a way that only real skivers can appreciate, like he is one of them. He is, of course, especially considering that after three hours of discussion sessions and pretending to be a real qualified adult, he gets to run to his own grueling classes on the other end of campus.

The best part, he thinks, is that most of the faces in the crowd seem to actually be listening instead of doodling on the desk. He takes that to heart in a strange, appreciative way, and revels in the way his nerves melt away after the first day ends.

It’ll only take about a week, Stiles thinks, for the novelty to wear off and the exhaustion of juggling his own classes and assisting another will weigh him down. People will start drawing obsession things on the whiteboard in Sharpie and Stiles be forced to ignore it—or possibly, forced not to laugh—and he’ll think about whining to Professor Finstock but then ultimately smash that idea down. It’s not a bad gig, after all. Things could be a lot worse.

--

"I'm sorry," Stiles says, very convincingly for how little he actually means it, at a boy who he thinks is named Freddie. Maybe Eddie. "But did you really expect this to do better than a D? You should be lucky I even graded it."

Eddie's entire face twists into a giant pout, one probably unjustly stolen from a two year old, and flaps his failed paper under Stiles' face. "My mom is an English teacher and she thought it was great," he mutters petulantly, crossing his arms.

God, Stiles deserves so much better than this. He runs a hand through his hair and resists the urge to pull it free from his scalp.

"Look, Eddie—"

"Kenny."

"Shit, sorry," Stiles barrels on through his words. "If you're upset with your grade, take it up with the professor. He puts me in charge of grading so my word is his word."

Kenny—had it always been Kenny?—looks more put out than ever at the idea of going through the effort of physically emailing Professor Finstock to whine about his third failing grade in a row. Stiles refrains from pointing out the obvious, that perhaps Kenny ought to spend a little less time folding paper airplanes during lectures if he wants to actually pass the class, and instead passes him a patient smile that everybody who knows a shred about his personality knows is much more derisive than it is understanding.

Kenny seems to realize that his options have been whittled down to rather unfavorable choices and decides to let this particular battle slip away from him. He sighs, grumbles, and heaves his backpack up his shoulders before he slumps from the classroom, Stiles screaming silently into the air all the while. He hates college students, even if he is one. He's a TA, and that means somebody believes he's mature enough to lord over other kids his age, so he might as well pretend he's older and wiser and allowed to be frustrated with their under developed brains.

He grabs his phone to send Scott his usual two o'clock I'm going to quit and sleep until Christmas text, pulling his glasses off his nose to rub at the smears with his t-shirt. He could probably get away with napping on the desk until his next class, just a quick half an hour of hopefully snore-free rest, but the universe has other plans for him as a subtle knock on the door jerks him back to reality.

"Hello?"

He looks up, unwisely.

"Well, shit," is the first thing that flies out of his mouth, the very picture of professional decorum. "You're—"

It's the boy from the bar, the boy Stiles spent an entire evening with sucking the DNA off his tongue. He looks at him and can't even remember his name, only the amazing mind-boggling sex, his face burning red as his fingers grip the desk for support. This might be the lowest of the low.

The boy seems to remember him as well if the slow curl to his lips is any sign, and he lets himself into the room enough to brandish his backpack. His backpack. Stiles sucks in his breath because he sees where this is going and no, he was wrong, this is the lowest of the low.

"Looks like we meet again," the boy says, stepping to the desk. He doesn't look nearly as nauseated as Stiles, rather just amused and slightly pleased, an expression that makes Stiles feel that much more interested in hurling into his wastebasket.

"Uh, yeah," Stiles' palms are a little sweaty. "Looks like it. Did you forget something at my place?"

He nearly squeezes his eyes shut in sheer hopefulness that he'll say yes, that he'll mention that his grandmother's priceless family heirloom fell out of his pocket while the two of them were busy playing hide the salami and he's going to be needing it back.

"No," he says, and Stiles feels his hope deflate. Funny how he can look at him and remember the exact length of his dick but not know his name. "Actually, I think I'm in your class this semester."

"You—you are?"

In his class. As a student. As someone very much out of his proverbial reach. Stiles swallows.

He hands over the schedule in his hand as confirmation, and there, underneath the name Hale, Peter is Stiles' class. The class Stiles foolishly thought would be a good, painless investment for his future. The American Dream really is dead.

"Oh. So you are," Stiles says, very dryly. He can think of little else to say except for a flat no.

"My apologies that I missed the first week. I’ve actually just moved here and had a lot of settling in to work on.”

"Right. I remember." When you told me we couldn't fuck at your place because of the boxes. "It's fine," Stiles says, very breezily. "I'm sure you can catch up." He thinks about offering him a few after school sessions where he can debrief him on everything they've covered thus far, and promptly shuts that idea down to avoid sounding like he's looking to drum up One Night Stand 2.0. "You could email the professor and see what he wants you to make up."

He scribbles the email down on a piece of paper he rips off of somebody's test—shit, but still, more important issues at hand—and hands it to Peter, wondering if that was a name he ever actually knew that night they decided to get naked together. He should start doing surveys and questionnaires long before he invites somebody up into his apartment, requesting addresses and identification and employment information. Definitely at least names.

Peter takes it from him. "I suppose I should start calling you professor."

"No," Stiles says quickly, mostly because his nether regions are enjoying the word being aimed at him a bit too much. "I'm just an assistant. Call me Stiles."

"All right," Peter says. "Then I suppose we'll be seeing a lot of each other, Stiles."

And honestly, the way he says Stiles, all low and husky, isn't any better than the seductive way he says Professor, so either way Stiles is properly doomed. He nods, feeling very much like a man left alone at sea, and tries to pull a cheery smile on his face.

"Guess so," Stiles says through the grin. "Discussion session on Friday, don't forget to come."

"I always do," Peter says, letting their eyes linger, and Stiles is profoundly glad that he wasn't in the middle of eating something he would now instantly be choking on.

Two seconds after Peter is out the door, Stiles takes a moment to collect himself, take a breath, and then thunder out the building to race across campus.

--

"This is bad," Stiles moans to the ceiling at large once he reaches Isaac. He had actually intended to find Scott and wildly predict the right destination, his panic-fueled energy shooting him across campus without a problem. He finally ended up at the library, out of breath and running wild when he found Isaac, taking notes over by the computers salvaged from junkyards from the eighties, and promptly threw himself into a chair.

Now he's turning endlessly in a creaky swivel chair, neck leant back on the headrest to survey the spinning ceiling, feeling his mind go twirling into an abyss. This is what he'll be forced to do all day in prison, so he might as well get used to it.

"Tell me again," Isaac asks, with seemingly no sympathy for Stiles' plight. "You first met this guy where?"

"In a bar," Stiles says, just like he would to the head of the administration—it never hurts to rehearse—and pushes himself into another circle with his foot. "I had no idea he was going to be my student."

"He's not technically your student," Isaac points out, idly playing with a mechanical pencil. He could at least pretend to be concerned, Stiles thinks. "You're just a TA. And he's legal, isn't he? No jail time."

"I am mortified," Stiles grits out just in case Isaac is losing the moral of the story. "And the university could fire me for sleeping with a student."

"Really?" Isaac sounds intrigued now.

"Yeah. It's against the rules."

"Really?" Stiles hates Isaac so much. "Is he the type to tattletale?"

Stiles' fingers wind into his hair for something to grip onto and preferably tear out in frustration. "I don't know, Isaac. I slept with the guy once. Literally all I know about him is what he sounds like when he climaxes."

He squeezes his eyes shut at the crudeness of his own comment, feeling one hundred times more disturbed than before.

"I'm here," Scott's voice breaks through the horrors collecting in Stiles' brain. He opens his eyes in time to see Scott rushing toward them, taking a seat next to Stiles and halting the circling of his chair with one firm hand. "Are you okay?"

"He's being a drama queen," Isaac says unhelpfully, and then promptly gets shushed by the librarian, saving Stiles the trouble of doing so, as she passes by with her ancient cart.

"Remember that kid I slept with?" Stiles whispers. Scott nods. "He's in my class. He's in my discussion session. And he looks even better in the daylight."

Scott, bless him, does not seem to undermine the seriousness of the situation like Isaac is. He touches Stiles' knee gently. "Is he threatening to tell?"

"No. Not yet," honestly, Stiles hadn't even considered that yet. He wonders if he should've. "I just. I broke the rules."

"You didn't know he was your student," Scott reminds him. "They can't fire you."

"But I'll be distracted all day," Stiles whispers miserably. "He's so. He's so."

“You’re interested in him?” Scott asks, like this changes the game. Of course it does. It turns the situation from harmlessly embarrassing to downright troublesome.

"Maybe you can still sleep with him," Isaac says, a surprising silver lining. "Do you have a rule book? Something telling you not to fuck a student?"

"Common sense?" Scott points out.

"You're right," Stiles is willing to cling onto even the slightest smidgen of hope. Lazily, he starts turning in slow circles again in his croaking chair. "Maybe it's never stated. Maybe it's totally fine."

He looks to Scott for his confirmation as well, who does little but shrug unsurely. "It's possible."

"I'll look," Stiles promises. "There may be good news ahead."

--

Laid out in front of him in indisputable black and white words is bad news.

It's his policy handbook, the one he was debriefed on when he first became an assistant, the one swearing him to honorable behavior and moral fairness. It was all very annoying and repetitive at the time, Stiles only looking forward to sitting behind the big desk making orders, but now that he peruses it more carefully, it has gone from annoying to downright distressing.

Teacher's assistants will not harbor personal relationships, whether they be sexual, romantic, preexisting, relative, or in any way out of the realm of a professional teacher-student relationship that may affect the class itself. Ignorance of this rule will result in either removal of the student from class, or in severe cases, termination from the staff.

It's all very grim, Stiles thinks. Excuses like I barely even knew his name when I fucked him probably won't color his reputation pleasantly should he be questioned by inquiring faculty. And for all he knows, Peter has already babbled, possibly to his friends or classmates or, under very bleak circumstances, the Dean. He doesn't know if Peter is the type of guy to do that. He doesn't even know how Peter takes his coffee or what his favorite movie is. All he knows is what type of underwear he wears.

He should probably tell the faculty himself before any grotesque rumors begin swimming about, but he's not entirely sure how that situation would go. Downplay it and refer to Peter as an acquaintance he's slightly partial to, and a fellow teacher will probably offer to grade Peter's papers for him to avoid bias. Tell the nasty truth and mention that he's seen Peter's unmentionable places, and he might just be packing up his desk at the end of the day. He feels a little nauseated.

Now is not the time for sickly stomachs, however. It's the time for action.

"I have a problem with someone in the class," Stiles tells Professor Finstock twenty-four hours later, trying his hardest not to wring his hands in front of him.

"Who doesn't?" Finstock huffs. "Is someone doing something highly illegal?"

Stiles sees where this is going. "...no."

"Then could you please get over it?"

Stiles seesaws back and forth on his feet. He wishes there was a way to say this delicately, some magical euphemism for I accidentally slept with a student and it's making me very, very uncomfortable that would still be professional in the work place.

"I just know one of the students more personally than I'd care to," Stiles says carefully, rolling his lips into his mouth as he gauges Finstock's reaction.

"What is it? A cousin? An ex?"

Stiles doesn't want to say it. Stiles can't say it, not without bursting into flame and crawling under the rug. He grits his teeth. "I'm just concerned it'll interfere with the class."

"Listen, Stilinski," Finstock stares up at him, eyes wide and uninterested in listening to his beating around the brush. "Are you saying you want out of the position? Want to be replaced?"

"No," Stiles says quickly.

"Good," Finstock fixes him with a look that shows him perfectly clearly that this is the last he wants to hear about Stiles' whining. "If it's an issue, we can always get somebody else to grade the bad apple's papers so you can be fair."

The fair ends up being bracketed in air quotes. Stiles feels slightly mocked.

"It's okay, I'll do it," Stiles says, defeated. "I'll get over it. It's fine."

"You bet you will," Finstock says, with eyes that Stiles have never seen blink.

He leaves the office feeling disgruntled, annoyed, and devalued, but most importantly: doomed.

All right, so he'll just have to find a way to deal with it. He's an adult—despite Isaac's refusals to acknowledge him as one—and he's had more than two decades worth of self-control training. He's not the same six-year-old who couldn't resist putting his hand in the jar of sweets he was expressly forbidden from touching. He can resist temptation just fine.

So the only thing left is the discomfort and the general feeling of a horde of elephants following him to any room that Peter is also inhabiting. As a concept, it's simple—forget the night of unbelievably hot passion and get to work. In reality, Stiles isn't sure it translates as smoothly.

If only Peter was ugly and hunchbacked and truly grotesque, then he'd be nothing other than a seriously misjudged and drunken mistake that Stiles could eventually airily laugh off. But he isn't—he is gorgeous and distracting and altogether the bane of Stiles' existence.

Whatever, he thinks fiercely, straightening up. He's an adult. He's matured past the point of laughing every time he sees a penis sketched onto a school desk. He's in control of his loins. He's perfectly capable of keeping his cool.

--

Stiles' whole-hearted praying that Peter catches a debilitating flu and is forced to retch over a toilet for the next six months or so until Stiles can stop mentally picturing his face kneeled between his naked legs is left forgotten and unanswered by any and all deities that Stiles had been hoping would be more merciful when Peter walks in to class the next day.

There he is, in a crisp v-neck blouse and a smile that reminds Stiles of hungry lions in the animal kingdom—but then Stiles forcefully reminds himself that he is the adult, the responsible TA, and the idol to all the students who aspire to be awesome people. Awesome, with a side of slightly immoral, what with the whole sleeping with your students thing. Stiles fixes his eyes pointedly on the lesson plan in front of him.

A gentle clearing of a throat by his desk alerts him to look up, and when he does, he regrets it instantly. Peter's standing by his desk, a private smile on his face probably reserved for people he's seen in their underwear, and Stiles goes pink again. His cheeks burn.

"Hi," Stiles says, too quickly.

"Hey," Peter says. He leans in just a hair. "I hope this won't be weird for you."

"Why would it be weird?" Stiles brushes off, all very nonchalantly, even when he knows perfectly well why it might be weird. It's already weird, right here and now as he's shifting his legs under the desk while staring into his student's unfairly blue eyes. Fuck.

"It's not every day someone in the front row knows what you look like naked," Peter says, and he says it casually, like there's nothing even slightly humiliating about that statement. As a matter of fact, he's smiling. Stiles is deflating from the inside out.

"Right," Stiles' vocal chords finally comply with the idea of speaking. "Well. No weirdness. This is fine."

It's most certainly not fine. Peter's grin is illegal, what with how it curls up at the edges and seems to draw him in like a haunted house. He knows perfectly well that it's bad for his health, that it'll scare the hell out of him, but he's still stupidly curious. Stiles is fucked.

--

So here's the worst part: Peter is probably the most interesting kid in his whole class.

He's sitting, grumbling, in the dark at the desk in his room staring over Peter's first paper and wishing hopelessly that it was full of grievous errors and grammar mistakes. It isn't. It reads cleanly, neatly, almost like a charming postcard from old England, and the fact that a nonfiction essay about fingerprint analysis is actually drawing him in is troublesome. Suddenly, the lamp on his desk flicks on. Stiles nearly jumps out of his seat.

"Gah!" He cries, gripping the papers in his hands for support. He looks up and there's Scott, clearly concerned that Stiles is grading essays in nearly complete darkness like a skulking vampire who happens to also be a TA—what a plot idea, Stiles should write that one down—with Isaac behind him hanging up his leather jacket.

"Why are you in the dark?" Scott asks him.

"I got caught up," Stiles says, rubbing at his eyes. Truth be told, he had gotten a little distracted reading Peter's essay and studying his handwriting. You know, like a loon.

"He's probably mooning over that guy in his class," Isaac says, unhelpfully. "The one he brought home and slept with."

Stiles glares over Scott's shoulder in Isaac's direction, who shrugs like he's just telling it how it is. They had very mutual, consensual, incredibly hot sex that night, and Isaac's wording of things is exactly the sort of story that will get him kicked off the teaching staff.

"Don't you have somewhere to be?" Stiles grits out to Isaac as Scott kneels by him, hand on his knee.

"Don't worry about it," Scott tells him. "It was just one night. You won't get fired for that."

Across the room, head lodged in the fridge, Isaac speaks up. "Pretty sure Stiles is more concerned with how he still wants to fuck him."

"Isaac, I swear to god."

"What?" Scott turns from Isaac to Stiles. He seems shocked, like he actually thought Stiles was a better person with self-control. "You're sleeping with him? I thought you found out it was against the rules!"

"No! I’m not sleeping with him!"

"He just wants to," Isaac says, still snickering into the fridge.

"Oh my god, shut up," the overwhelming urge to scream that comes over him in waves when Isaac is around returns. Stiles sighs. "He's attractive and smart. But I have it all under control."

Scott looks doubtful. He does, however, have the decency to hide it even though Stiles can still read him like an open book.

"You know you can't, right, Stiles?"

"Oh my god, yes,, I know," Stiles passive-aggressively shovels all the papers together and dumps them on his desk. "I have great self-restraint. Hell, I feel like punching Isaac in the face almost every day and I keep that urge in check."

He points to where Isaac is busied with the fridge, except when he looks up, the kitchen is empty. Instead, Isaac has materialized beside him, leafing through his freshly graded papers.

"What are you giving him the A for?" he remarks idly. "Was the sex that good?"

Stiles seizes it from him. "It was a good paper!" He smooths it out. "Oh my god. Is that what it looks like?"

"Not it it's actually good work," Scott cuts in, just as Isaac talks over him with a loud "Like you're exchanging A's for handsies? Yeah."

"Maybe I should give him a B," Stiles can't figure out if he's overthinking or not thinking hard enough. "A B is safe middle territory."

"Lower," Isaac suggests. "Make him work for it."

"Literally neither of you are helping," Stiles grumbles, throwing his hands into the air. He stuffs Peter’s paper under the rest, deciding to focus instead on the freshest, newest, undoubtedly dullest essay on the top of the pile. It’s written by the infamous Kenny, so Stiles is already prepared to expect something at least under sixty percent. “You’re making me overthink.”

“You’re not thinking enough,” Isaac says, taking to opportunity to sit on Stiles’ desk. The drawers rattle under his heavy weight. “You have to treat one night stands carefully.”

“What would you know about that?” Stiles asks. “Like, at all?”

“Fine,” Isaac hops back off. Once again, the entire desk shakes. “Lead on your student. See where that gets you.”

He heads down the hall with the firm air of never helping Stiles again, Scott alternating between watching him go with a bit lip and watching the back of Stiles’ head with obvious concern. Stiles doesn’t need his concern, really. He knows how to handle the situation.

“Maybe a B,” Scott recommends softly, and then leaves him to his grading.

--

He sticks with the A. Foolishly perhaps. But the A stays. He'll just have to explain it properly.

He hands out the papers before class ends, ignoring the way Peter's fingers brush his when he hands him his essay. His brain is going one hundred miles an hour down inappropriate lanes, thinking about how that hand has been wrapped around Stiles' dick. Has touched him when he was naked. Has fisted his hair while he's been fucked. Stiles gets so flustered he ends up handing the rest of the papers out to the wrong students, watching them as they swap with each other with a sinking feeling in his gut for the state of his mind.

Dear lord. He needs to get a grip.

He'll call him up after class, he thinks. He saw that smirk go over his face when Stiles handed him his perfect A, and that smirk could mean ten million different things. None of them reflect particularly well on Stiles' character.

"Uh," he calls out over the throng of bustling students when class is dismissed. Instantly his cheeks go red as he sees Peter in the crowd. Pull yourself together, Stilinski, he thinks steadfastly, be cool. "Peter, a word, please?"

The other students take no notice, which Stiles counts as a blessing. Then, as the crowd thins, Peter steps up to the desk.

"Hi," he says, and the fact that a monosyllabic word has Stiles fumbling to collect his thoughts is worrying. He’s inordinately glad that the desk serves as a buffer between them lest he stand close enough to breathe in the scent of his shampoo and do something impulsive and rash and stupid. "Something going on?"

"Um, well," Stiles draws himself up in his desk to remind himself that he is the figure of authority here. "I just wanted to let you know, about your paper."

Peter raises a curious eyebrow and pulls his essay out of his bag. The bright red 100% seems to mock Stiles where it's leering at him from Peter's hand. Maybe a ninety-eight would've worked.

"This one?"

"Yeah. The one hundred. That's not," Stiles says, mouth feeling a little dry. "It's not like—it isn't because—"

What he's trying to say is that he's not running a bribery based education system run on sexual favors, but he can't get himself to say me fucking you has nothing to do with the A+. He feels his face burn and his cheeks go ripe like very red tomatoes sitting in the sun.

"It isn't because we had sex?" Peter says, the words Stiles didn't have at the ready perfectly at ease on Peter's tongue. He seems very amused by all this, and it makes Stiles wish for a sudden earthquake or flash flooding straight into his classroom just so he can excuse himself from this conversation with a shred of his dignity left.

"Yes," Stiles says. "I just didn't want you getting the wrong idea."

"Of course not," Peter says, all very smoothly. Stiles wants to kiss him, preferably smack on the mouth right on this desk. He doesn't.

"And, um, not to prolong this topic, but," he leans in closer, just enough that Peter gets the hint to duck his head in. "You didn't tell anybody, did you?"

Peter smirks. Stiles must have all of his emotions and then some written in sharpie on his face, from I'm crazy intimidated by my own student! to not having me fired for sticking my dick in your ass would be swell!

"I never kiss and tell," Peter promises him, still ducked in close as if they're sharing whispered secrets. "Or in this case, fuck and tell."

The pencil in Stiles' hand goes skittering out of his grasp with one clean fumble, sliding across his desk. Peter's eyes follow the movement.

"I'm sorry," he drawls. "Was that crude?"

He knows perfectly well what he does to Stiles' mental state, Stiles is sure of it. He paints a smile on his face, the picture of professionalism, and shakes his head while his brain adamantly chants oh my god, oh my god, oh my god on high volume.

"I'd say watch your language, but I'm not exactly the best example for that, am I?"

“I remember,” Peter grins.

Stiles feels himself go red and hopes, dearly hopes that Peter won't feel the need to drum up the memories with recaps.

"Right. I try to watch my language at school, though," Stiles tries to veer the conversation over to something that doesn't involve the swear words he shouts when he climaxes. "And, um. That's all the elderly wisdom I'm handing out today."

"Elderly wisdom," Peter repeats slowly. "How old are you?"

Too old for you, Stiles' inner voice brings up helpfully. "Twenty-two," he says. He narrows his eyes and hopes he isn't staring at an illegal prodigy that's in college at only seventeen. "How old are you?"

"Nineteen," Peter says. It's a big relief that he at least won't be seeing the inside of a prison up until—

"Hold on," he says. "You're under the drinking age. How did you get into that club?"

"I'm charming," Peter smiles, something enigmatic probably stolen from the Mona Lisa. "And I have a certain gift of... persuasion."

Stiles doesn't want to know. He leans in, tone hushed. "Were you drunk that night?"

"Not as much as you," Peter murmurs. It kills Stiles that Peter probably remembers every single moment of that night to replay in his head in high definition whenever he pleases. "I'm a very responsible drinker."

He winks. Stiles feels himself color, probably an unattractive green shade. If he’s not careful, his head will get so purple it will explode and splatter all over Peter’s pristine shirt—then again, it would be an excellent way out of this conversation. "That's good," he says, clearing his throat. "Fake ID?"

"I can't reveal my methods," Peter scoffs. "You're a member of authority. You'll confiscate my trade secrets."

"I'm not the Dean," Stiles huffs. "I'm one of you guys. I'm still in school too, you know."

“I figured,” Peter murmurs. He smirks, and leans in that much closer until Stiles is fidgeting. “If you really want to find out my secrets, I’m sure you have your own persuasion techniques as well.”

Stiles freezes. Is he being propositioned? Is he being asked out? Is he being messed with?

He clears his throat. “Are you trying to worm more As out of me?”

“Not at all,” Peter says, and Stiles wishes desperately he would’ve said yes. It would be much easier than deciphering and then ignoring what he actually means. “Think about it.”

“No!” Stiles says, very loudly, instinctually. He will absolutely not think about it. “I mean. This was a nice chat. See you later, Peter.”

“Of course,” Peter smiles. Can he see that Stiles’ eyes are as wide as frying pans right now? Is he amused? “Lovely seeing you.”

He’s out the door with his one hundred percent paper swinging behind him, a constant reminder of Stiles’ shaky conscience.

All right. Maybe the B would’ve been a better idea.

--

"Ugh. Pumpkin spice." Stiles really ought to stop bringing Isaac with him to places.

Stiles really ought to stop bringing Isaac with him to places. He's like a drooping cloud over Stiles' generally upbeat demeanor, starting with his contempt for Stiles' love interests and ending with his lack of appreciation for fall-inspired beverages.

But it's a nice day, only mildly chilly and free of teaching, absolutely perfect for camping out at a coffee shop with all the other slackers procrastinating papers and homework. He can definitely handle Isaac for a few hours quieted by slurping down coffee over books, so he lets the comment slide as they reach the door.

"Is it really fall already?"

"Look at it this way," Stiles says, pushing the coffee shop door open. "One step closer to winter break."

"Are you sure you don't mean one step closer to getting to fuck that kid in your class once the semester's over?"

Stiles whirls around, jaw dropped, and sees Isaac give him little more than a blasé shrug in response. Isaac really is the worst. If only he had brought Scott, who probably would've offered to share the pumpkin spice coffee with him, he wouldn't have to deal with this torture.

"Oh my god, no," Stiles says. "And how bad would that look? Two days after finals and I'm strolling around with my tongue in a kid's mouth who was sitting in my class just a few hours ago?"

"You think too much," Isaac says, pushing him up to the counter. "No one's even looking at you that much, let alone noticing you and your love life." He pulls a few wrinkled bills out of his pants pocket and slides it on the counter, turning to the barista. "Two coffees."

"Make mine pumpkin spice," Stiles says, just to see Isaac's answering look of contempt. "And you know, it must be nice to work in a job where no one cares if you just decide to urinate in aisle two, but people are a bit more critical when you're impacting kid's lives."

"Stop talking about them like you're old and wise," Isaac says. "You're a kid too. He's a kid. You're attracted to each other. No one cares."

Stiles bodily elbows him out of the way to grab his coffee cup as it's held over the counter, watching how a moment later, Isaac pushes his way through the crowd of overworked students in need of caffeine gathered by the creamers and sugars with unfriendly hands. He returns with a handful of seized sugar packets, which he proceeds to throw at an empty table to mark it as theirs.

Stiles settles down by it a few seconds later, Isaac right behind him, and shrugs off his coat, setting up camp and ready to blissfully waste away the next two hours while getting his daily dose of overpriced caffeine and ignoring all of Isaac's snide comments. He watches Isaac settle his scarf on the table and tries his hardest to keep his own derisive comments at bay.

"Hey, I think that guy over there is checking me out," Isaac says.

This oughta be good, is Stiles' internal monologue. So he looks across the cafe and sees something horrible.

"Oh fuck," Stiles hisses. There's Peter, over by the counter chatting with the barista and much too close for comfort, and immediately Stiles' thoughts are inexplicably torn between wishing he was anywhere but here where his fuckable student is and wishing he hadn't chosen to wear his ratty hoodie today. He slumps down in his chair, taking the time to do a small prayer just in case somebody up there is listening to his woes.

"What's wrong?" Isaac asks him. He sounds a little bored, like this sort of behavior is old hat now that he's faced with Stiles' idiosyncrasies as a roommate.

Stiles says nothing, instead jerking his head discreetly over to the cashier counter where, through a throng of people, Peter has a clear view of them. He curses a few more times for effect where he's nearly crouching under the table, nose level with it.

Naturally, Isaac doesn't understand the frantic snaps of his head in Peter's direction to mean mayhem. He knits his eyebrows together, confused.

"He's not flirting with you, dumbass," Stiles grits out. "That's Peter."

"Peter?" Isaac says the name like it bears no meaning to either of them. Stiles needs better friends, ones who listen to him so attentively they take notes. He grinds his teeth together.

"Peter, the guy I slept with, the guy in my class, the guy who's coming over here to us, fucking—"

He cuts himself abruptly off as Peter comes within earshot, instead turning around to deliver a 2000 watt smile in Peter's direction as he approaches. Isaac's ohhhh of recognition is cut short by Stiles' elbow slamming into his kidney.

"Mr. Stilinski," Peter says, slinking over to their table. His eyes fall on Isaac for a fraction of a second as if determining his role in Stiles' life. "What a surprise."

Peter looks good, too good, handsome in his tightly drawn trench and soft scarf, so good Stiles has to see-saw back and forth on the chair just to keep his nether regions from getting any ideas. It's not his fault that looking at Peter reminds him of licking sweat from the dip of defined collarbones.

And it feels odd, hearing someone who's literally had his dick in his hand call him Mr. Stilinski, but Stiles will be damned if he'll point that out. He grins like he’s absolutely prepared for this conversation, straightening up in his chair.

"Why, hello," Stiles says, and his voice doesn't sound like it even belongs to him, too high and airy to be his own. "You come here too?"

Peter holds up his coffee cup in response, the side of it marked caramel macchiato in shorthand. For whatever odd reason, Stiles sees this as pivotal information. Isaac clears his throat next to him as if reminding Stiles of his presence in the most obnoxious way possible, and Stiles remembers the rest of the earth. Right.

"Sorry, this is Peter," Stiles stammers, hands then swiveling to his right to gesticulate in Isaac's direction. "Peter, this is Isaac. We're not dating."

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Isaac send him a look. Stiles cringes because he knows perfectly well what that look means. It's a mixture of what the hell are you doing mixed with an indignant what, I'm not good enough to be your boyfriend? Stiles wishes he knew what possessed him to say that, why he feels the strong urge to sound as available as possible to a student in his class. He resists the instinctive reflex to thump his forehead on the table.

"Nice to meet you," Peter says, holding out his hand for Isaac to shake.

Isaac takes it, smiles sweetly, and then says, "How do you two know each other?"

"He's my favorite teacher."

"Assistant," Stiles pipes up, because there's an important distinction, and not just in salary. "Teacher's assistant."

"Right," Peter grins, unperturbed by the interruption. "I always look forward to your classes."

"Trust me, Stiles does too," Isaac gets another elbow to the midsection for that, the scuffle well hidden under the table. Ignoring Stiles' warning, Isaac plows on. "I've heard a lot about you."

"Really?" Peter's eyes sweep over to Stiles, as if raking over him in a whole new light now that he knows he's the subject of Stiles' conversations with the closest people in his life. It feels like an X-Ray passing over him. "Word must get around fast. Tell me, what have you heard?"

"Oh, just—"

Stiles doesn't wait to hear the rest of the sentence, the millions of disturbing options filing through his head horrifying enough. Just the size of your dick. Just what you look like naked. Just how totally obsessed he is with you. He cuts into that deadly conversation as quickly as possible.

"—how good your papers are," Stiles says, beaming so hard he feels like there's a hanger lodged inside his mouth. "I really enjoy reading them."

“Oh?” Peter asks, swilling what’s in his cup left and right. “Glad you're enjoying them."

"You've got a great grasp on juvenile justice," Stiles says. "Hope you're ready for forensics stuff in two weeks."

"How come you're taking criminology?" Isaac pipes up. "Looking to become an officer maybe?"

Peter shrugs. "I'd rather commit crimes." At the silence that stretches across the table, he leans in and grins. "Kidding, of course." He slides his sleeve out of the way and checks his watch. "I'm right out of time. Nice meeting you, Isaac. See you on Monday, Mr. Stilinski."

His gaze seem to linger on Stiles' like sticky toffee is keeping their eyes locked, something intense in his look that has Stiles burning from the inside out. He smiles and sends him a two finger wave as he disappears in the crowd, and then promptly slumps down in the chair once more, horrified.

"Is it just me or does he say my name funny?" Stiles mutters into his hands. "Like it's my stripper name or something?"

He watches him walk further away, unfairly mesmerized with how his ass is hugged by his jeans. He's so fucked.

"So that's the guy?" Isaac asks him, all very coolly, as he takes the lid off his coffee to pepper in sugar and leisurely stir it. His eyes find Stiles' over the table, the silent judgment there in his parted mouth and furrowed brows extremely hard to miss. "The guy you'd consider getting fired for to get a feel of?"

"I already got a feel of him, thank you very much," Stiles reminds him hotly. He looks across the cafe to make sure that Peter is far enough away to not be overhearing their conversation and snickering to himself all the while. He's already had enough mortification in his lifetime.

"Oh right," Isaac says. "And now? All lust is gone?"

"Sure," Stiles says with an air of confidence that definitely isn't believable. "I'm an adult. I can control myself."

Isaac scoffs, fitting his lid back onto his cup. His entire body language reads skepticism of Stiles' choices and restraint, but there's something else in the way he tilts his shoulders toward Stiles other than criticalness. It takes Stiles a moment to read him, to identify that underlying emotion, and then he gets it—interest. He's interested in how this'll all turn out.

"You want to see my life ruined, don't you?" Stiles asks him, a little peeved.

Isaac shrugs. "Might be entertaining."

Of course it will be, for everybody but Stiles, who feels like screaming in a pillow eighty percent of the week.

"I thought he'd be taller," Isaac speculates from where he's murmuring around his coffee cup. "Then again, you have weird taste."

"Hey," Stiles yelps. He would argue, but he's not exactly great when it comes to picking the candidates, not when the last boy he bagged happens to be in the front row of his class. "It's not like your taste is any better."

"So are you gonna do anything about it?" Isaac asks him, breezing past Stiles' off-handed comeback. There's something in his eyes like he'd be perfectly happy stepping in to do something about the situation if Stiles won't, which is an idea so preposterous—no. Absolutely not. Stiles' fingers curl around his napkin.

"Don't you dare," he warns.

"What?"

"Don't interfere. Don't send him love notes from me or try to set us up because you think it's funny."

"Do you really think I'd do that?" Isaac asks skeptically. Frantically, Stiles nods.

"That's exactly up your alley, Lahey," Stiles pokes him hard in the chest. "Leave it alone."

"Sure," Isaac shrugs, much too casually for Stiles' liking, and then smothers a grin in his coffee cup.

Stiles is on high alert.

--

On the top of his inbox, unread and gleaming with horror, is the nightmare of the day courtesy of his email. It reads Peter Hale has accepted your Facebook friend request.

"Isaac!"

Isaac comes strolling out from the hall a moment later, the very picture of disinterest. It's a disguise Stiles isn't buying, not when this stunt screams Isaac at him in loud, shrieking capslock.

"What?"

"Get over here."

He looks a little annoyed now at Stiles' crisp tone but obeys anyway, wandering over to the computer Stiles is brandishing toward. When his eyes fall on the open email in Stiles' inbox, his lips quirk upwards at the ends.

"Well, that's nice," Isaac says mildly, contributing little effort to consciously hide his grin.

"What do you know about this, huh?" Stiles grills him. "Did you hack my Facebook?"

Isaac shrugs very noncommittally. "It's not so much hacking when you just leave it open like that all the time," he scratches at the back of his head. "Logged in, computer on, you're just asking for trouble."

If only there were real, federal laws capable of punishing Isaac for fiddling around with his social media accounts. He shudders to think what else Isaac has done, the possibilities ranging from posting those highly embarrassing pictures of Stiles from last year’s New Year's party online to giving out his phone number and address on Instagram for shits and giggles. Stiles is not giggling.

"Oh my god," Stiles twists around in his chair to glare directly into Isaac's face. "You friended him? You friended the student I slept with? What else did you do, post my prom pictures? Send my dad explicit details of my sexual encounters?"

Isaac's fist is shielding his mouth now, Stiles catching a flash of lips twisting into bouts of laughter before his hand flies up to cover them.

"All really good ideas, actually," he says, too seriously for Stiles' liking. Stiles gets to his feet, thinking about using his laptop as a murder weapon that the court will later see as the blunt object responsible for Isaac Lahey's bloody death.

"Were you hit on the head as a child, is that it?" Stiles grits out, feeling a little aggressive and a lot like curbing said aggression by stuffing his face with licorice and Swedish Fish. "How irresponsible were your parents in raising you, exactly?"

Isaac's eyebrow tilts upward. "Actually—"

"Oh, I don't even want to hear it," Stiles grumbles. He points accusingly at his inbox. "I can't friend my students. Especially students who I have to walk on eggshells around because I literally fucked them all night long."

Isaac isn't listening; he's too occupied reaching past Stiles to scroll down Peter's Facebook page, no longer locked with privacy, and peruse his information.

"He said yes, so he's clearly interested in you too," Isaac points out.

"Talking to a wall, I must be," Stiles mutters under his breath incredulously. His hands find his hair just so his fingers have something to clutch. "I can't encourage my students into thinking I want to date them."

“He’s only going to be your student for a few more months,” Isaac says. “You can’t even be friends with students?”

“Not if I have prior relations to that student. Naked relations.”

“Look at this,” Isaac says. All right, maybe Isaac isn’t the wall, maybe Stiles is, with the way his words are being wisped away into the ethers, unheard. Isaac points at his Facebook page.

There, as if it was fated that Stiles personally lay eyes on it, is the information that Peter Hale is interested men and women, grew up in Beacon Hills, and is single. Stiles grits his teeth and says nothing, all the while refusing to look Isaac’s smug grin in the face. He closes his eyes to avoid it.

“Stop trying to set me up with him,” Stiles says. His teeth are pure dust by now, he’s sure, with the way he’s grinding them together. “It can’t happen.”

“You’re being a prude,” Isaac says. He swivels the laptop in his direction, deciding to peruse through Peter’s pictures. “I know you want him. Stop moping and do something about it.”

“I thought you liked me paying the rent.”

“He’s shirtless in some of these pictures, you know,” Isaac snickers to himself. “Not that you haven’t already seen all that and then some.”

“That’s enough!” Stiles all but screeches, seizing the computer. He slams it shut, not willing to tempt himself by stalking through Peter’s apparently indecent photographs. “I’m not dating my student.” He gives Isaac a long, hard look that he dares him to challenge. “Will you promise to me that you’ll stop meddling?”

Isaac gives him nothing but an infuriating shrug. “I’ll think about it.”

Murder, Stiles remembers as Isaac walks away, would be a pretty grueling prison sentence.

--

The next day, Peter spends the entire class period sliding his pen into his mouth whenever Stiles is watching.

He wobbles out only half alive.

--

He's in the shower the first time it happens.

It's all very routine. He'll step out of his clothes, step into the shower, and have himself a small masturbation session while the water runs down his back. With his tight schedule, he doesn't mind a little multi-tasking here and there.

And then out of nowhere, it comes to him. The image of a cock in his mouth, warm and insistent like the water pounding down his spine, Stiles on his knees and eager to give the dick in his mouth the Stiles Experience when it comes to what his lips can do in terms of blowjobs.

The worst part comes to him a nanosecond later: it's a memory, not a fantasy. It's a dredged up recollection from the steamy sex he had the night he and Peter were together. Most of it had fallen to the drunken wasteland where most of his foggy memories of intoxicated nights went, the rest firmly repressed the second he saw Peter step into his classroom. Apparently, Stiles' brain hasn't gotten the message to delete them all, every single memory of Peter and him twined in the sheets.

And oh god, it hits Stiles exactly how amazing that night was. Uninhibited pleasure, and nothing but naked skin interacting in the most intimate possible ways, and Peter knowing exactly what he was doing and then some. He knew it was good, he felt that in his bones when he woke up sore and riddled with teeth marks, but he didn’t know it was this good.

He jumps out of the shower while it’s still running lest it be the contraption responsible for jogging his memory, for forcing him to relive a night that will probably go into Stiles’ Sex Hall of Fame. He instantly feels a headache throb through him that even the thick steam isn’t helping, and to make matters worse, he is now very much interested in the lower regions.

This is the morally gray area criminology class never prepared him for when he was taking it. Should he be dwelling on memories of the best sexual escapade of his life or smothering them down? Is it wrong to masturbate to a student? Is it only semi-wrong, since said student already slept with him, or does that make it extra wrong? Should Stiles just resign himself to a life of wrongness?

Isaac banging on the door telling him not to use up the hot water makes the decision for him. Contributing his life to nun work, that should do, he thinks, right before he steps back into the shower and turns the spray cold.

It will probably not be his only cold shower of the winter.

--

Research and grading, that will surely distract him.

It’s his new, rather boring motto. If Stiles could time travel and tell his sixteen-year-old self that he would one day be relying on books to maintain a steady head, young Stiles would probably spend many years dreading the future and the ultimate character reversal he would be undergoing. Stiles appreciates a good research session now and again considering it’s actually mildly titillating, but this, this right here is purely a diversional tactic. Something to pin down his mind and force it not to wander to unsavory streets.

It would work better, however, if his determined attempts to avoid trouble wouldn’t be thwarted by trouble finding him.

"Stiles," a voice is saying, breaking him out of his thoughts. "Stiles."

Stiles turns around and feels the strong urge to throw his hands up into the air. It's Peter, book bag in one hand and coffee cup in the other, looking devastatingly put together in his leather jacket and v-necked sweater. Stiles' eyes do not look at the hair visible in the dip of his shirt. How is this guy always wherever he is? How is he always in a v-neck when it happens? He's sure the campus is bigger than this.

"Peter, hi," Stiles says with a tiny wave hello. "Stalking me now, by any chance?"

"I promise you that if I was, I'd do it much more discreetly," Peter says, smiling.

"That's not creepy at all," Stiles blows past his own discomfort by checking his watch. "I'm actually going to the campus library, so."

He hopes Peter gets the picture that this is his goodbye. Not only does he not have the time to hang out with a student he's seen naked, he also doesn't have the maturity or the dignity. Especially not when the entire point of holing himself up in the library is to distract himself with mustier, duller things.

"What a happy coincidence," Peter says, flashing teeth. Stiles feels like he's staring at a shark's grin. "I'm heading there as well. Shall we go together?"

"Um," Stiles readjusts the backpack resting on his shoulder. "I think that's a bad idea."

Peter raises an eyebrow. "Why?"

"I just," Stiles frowns, because he's sure Peter already knows. "I don't want to lead you on. I don't want to give you any bad ideas."

"Is that what I am?" Peter's eyebrow stays arched. "A bad idea?"

The worst. "Kind of, yeah," Stiles admits, watching a feral grin split over Peter's face. "I just want you to know that this—" he points between them quickly. "It just can't happen."

Peter's grin doesn't dampen in the least. If anything, it grows a fraction of an inch more, and he leans in to murmur by Stiles' ear. "Maybe I just want to rile you up. Professor."

Stiles is half-mast in under two seconds, which would be impressive if he wasn't petrified.

"So," Peter says. "Shall we go?"

Stiles is a little too dumbfounded to resist. How exactly did he roped into this study session so effortlessly? He looks up in time to see Peter walk briskly down the street waiting for him to catch up.

"You're going the wrong way!" Stiles hollers at him. Peter swivels around on the heel of his boot.

"We're stopping for pastries first."

"Pastries."

"Sugared baked goods," Peter clarifies, unnecessarily. Stiles shakes his head, baffled, and catches up to him.

Is this what running into hell feels like?

--

The library is quiet, god bless, when they arrive, stifling the need for conversation and what would ultimately have become highly infuriating banter. Stiles leads the way to his favorite table, secluded behind most of the less popular shelves of dusty history books, and hears the steady footsteps behind him reminding him that Peter is hot on his heel. He feels slightly imprisoned, Stiles realizes grimly as he unpacks his work and Peter follows suit, or possibly stalked. Maybe kidnapped, even if he has been treated to baked goods and was fully intending to go the library himself.

The cinnamon pastry he's been rewarded with for putting up with all this torture feels very much like a bribe as he sets it down onto the table and glares at it, unfairly. It would've been a fine snack had he bought it himself and Peter hadn't used it for nefarious purposes, but he feels slightly manipulated eating it in the current circumstances.

"It'll get old, you know," Peter whispers over the table as he takes a seat. Stiles does the same, pulling out his own stack of Finals Hell. "No one likes stale pastries."

Stiles' eyes flick to the treat and back to Peter. "Stop talking," he hisses. "We're in a library."

Peter's lips twist into a sneering grin that ends up looking quite intimidating. "Of course," is what he ends up saying, chivalrously at worst.

He tries a bite of the sugared pastry by pulling off a portion with his hands, instantly finding it unjustly delicious. Peter had picked it for him with no prior knowledge of his inordinate fondness for cinnamon, which Stiles takes to mean that he really is that transparent or his earlier suspicion is frighteningly dead on and Peter is actually a stalker.

If he is, Stiles is possibly the worst of the two for still agreeing to study with him as if they are pals. Buddies. Compadres. They are not. He clears his throat. Peter looks at him as of sensing himself to be the subject of Stiles' thoughts.

"Have a lot of work?" Stiles asks before he can help himself as he watches Peter pull a thick notebook out of his bag alongside a sleek pen. Peter's lips smirk at him.

"Unfortunately," he admits. "Some teachers just love overworking their poor students."

Stiles chuckles. "That wouldn't include a certain criminology TA by any chance, would it?"

"Obviously," Peter rolls his eyes, and then leans in, as if sharing a secret. "At least he's very good looking. Makes class a little better."

Stiles promptly stuffs a bite of cinnamon crumble into his mouth, focusing all his energy on chewing rather than Peter's advances. He swallows carefully, tapping his gnawed pencil against the table.

"You love messing with me, don't you?" He asks dryly. Peter nods without missing a beat, pulling out his textbooks.

"Obviously," he snorts. "Your reactions always make it worth it."

"So not funny."

He grabs his bag and pulls out a sheaf of essays and his red pen, deciding that aggressively slashing red marks onto students' papers is better than trying to focus on studying for his own tests while Peter's shoe rests innocently against Stiles' under the table. The librarian shuffling by with a cart of books is already shooting him dirty looks for carrying on such a lengthy conversation, so Stiles stuffs another bite of pastry in his mouth and shuts up. Peter, however, has other ideas.

He looks up, feeling eyes on his forehead, and catches Peter smirking at him. Perpetually smirking. His cheeks heat up. "What?"

"You remind me of my nephew," Peter says conversationally. He twirls his pen around in his fingers, every movement frustratingly dexterous. "He's... incredibly easy to mess with as well."

Stiles sees him smile to himself, as if reliving memories of him torturing his poor nephew by feeding him misleading information about sex or locking him into cramped closets or pranking him by coloring his shampoo is delightful. With someone as dangerous as Peter, Stiles is sure the list goes on and on.

"I feel sorry for him already," Stiles says. "Do you flirt with him like you flirt with me?"

Peter smirks, apparently impressed by Stiles' wit. "You're on form today," he tells him. "Usually you just stare at me. Tell me, do you go home at night thinking of the comebacks you wished you had thought of when talking to me?"

"Pretty much every night," Stiles admits, scratching his head.

"Shame," Peter murmurs. He flips open his textbook, apparently capable of both taunting Stiles and reading highly complicated concepts from his calculus textbook as well. It's downright annoying how out of his depth Stiles feels. "I was hoping you were too busy thinking about me in the shower."

Stiles feels his jaw drop open, the first thought flying into his brain being holy fuck, how does he know and the second being close your fucking mouth, Stilinski. Peter looks up again, his smirk growing smugger by the second.

"See, that's the look I'm used to," he says, leaning forward to touch Stiles' chin with his forefinger and thumb. "Complete and utter bewilderment at just my words."

He looks supremely proud of himself. Stiles fumbles none too elegantly in his attempt to swat Peter's hand away from his face.

"You know I grade your papers, don't you?" Stiles threatens, wielding his red pen. Peter seems to find his warning adorable.

"Impressive blackmailing," he murmurs. "Relax, Stiles. Maybe I just love knowing that I affect you so much."

"You don't," Stiles feels a vein in his forehead twitch. "You just annoy the hell out of me."

"Same thing," Peter grins.

Stiles feels his lips flatten into something white and thin, like he’s secretly a disturbed older woman. He leans closer. “Listen here. Whatever you’re trying to—”

Stiles falls quiet when Peter’s finger splays over his moving lips, shushing him with a delicate shhhh. Stiles feels the strong urge to bite his finger off, Gollum style. “This is a library,” Peter whispers. “Stop talking.”

“You little shit,” Stiles hisses the minute Peter pulls his hand away. His lips feel warm, touched with purpose, and he hides his flustered complexion in the paper he rustles in front of him.

They spend the rest of the day studying together. Stiles does not dare to say that it was nice. But it was.

--

So Stiles sometimes watches Peter during class. Not too obviously. Not obsessively either, just the occasional glance in his direction. The worrying bits is how most of the time, Peter's looking at him too, usually with his pen in his mouth in a way that doesn't feel at all PG or his hand wrapped around his water bottle in a way that makes Stiles’ mind wander into inappropriate corners.

It's starting to get a little worrisome, Stiles thinks, exactly how many hard-ons he's had to hide under his desk in class by now. He looks up despite himself, and there's Peter, sharing a hushed conversation with the kid sitting next to him—Jetson? John? Jackson?—and watches, frozen, how a second later Peter's eyes are locked on his, like he has a sixth sense for whenever Stiles is staring discreetly in his direction.
The class files out, lazily wishing Stiles a good afternoon, and then Stiles see Peter nod goodbye to Jackson and leave the group herding toward the door to instead approach Stiles. Stiles feels himself freeze, especially when he senses Jackson's eyes on the two of them, possibly figuring things out, connecting dots, seeing mental images of them sleeping together—

"Hi," Peter says, stepping up to his desk. Stiles' eyes flick back over to Jackson, who's no longer watching with eagle eyes.

"Hey," Stiles replies. "Can I help you with something?"

"I hope so," Peter says. Is it just Stiles or does everything he says accidentally sound like suggestive propositions? "Do you have time tonight? Six-ish?"

And this is the moment, the moment where Stiles either falls down the rabbit hole or stays firm on the moral high ground. This is probably what Jesus felt like what he was being tempted by the devil. Stiles is Jesus. Proverbial Jesus. He huffs out a laugh.

"God," he says, and reaches to fiddle with his glasses and readjust them on his nose. That paperweight at the corner of his desk sure is interesting. He stares at it. "I'm really flattered. I mean, you're smart and hot—obviously, I slept with you before—but I would get into a lot of trouble if anybody found out. You're my student. Not that I don't think that you're great, but going out with you would be pretty hard if I had to live off of breadcrumbs and my friends' couches because I was fired from my job. Still—I really am sorry."

He looks up at Peter, folding his hands together on the table and waiting for the awkward shuffle of rejection out the door or the casual dismissing laughter. Maybe even anger—after all, Peter was pretty aggressive in bed. Scratch that last thought.

Except he doesn't look angry, not in the least. Matter of fact, if Stiles had to label his expression, he'd say amusement. He straightens up in his chair.

"Stiles," Peter says, and he seems to be trying hard not to chuckle. "I was only going to ask if you were free for me to ask you some questions about the homework."

Okay, so this is how Stiles will die, an early death by extreme humiliation.

"Oh. Oh." Stiles tries to cling onto some words. That thing happening in his stomach definitely feels like death. "Wow, that's embarrassing. Homework. Of course, yeah."

"Do you have time tonight?" Peter asks, the default smirk still stuck on his face. "I promise not to bring wine and candles."

If possible, Stiles feels his cheeks go redder. He's a tomato by now, surely, from the way his face feels like it's been dipped into red paint, and that's when the hysterical laughter bubbles up. He quickly smothers it.

"Sure," he checks the clock on the wall. "Sure. Six is good."

"Perfect," Peter says, slipping out the door.

--

Stiles believes that if Peter is an even remotely decent person with any shred of mama-taught manners, he will not dare show his face in Stiles' office at six p.m. He might even go through the trouble of switching classes just to save Stiles the horror of seeing his face again. Maybe the world will be kind tonight.

It isn't, and never was. Stiles realizes this when he sees Peter's face peer through his ajar door at precisely six that night, a soft two-fingered knock on the door shattering all of his hopes and dreams of the good in people. Now he knows that Peter did not have a very decorum-oriented mother.

"Mr. Stilinski?" Peter says, slipping inside. "Glad to see you're still here."

And if it was anybody else Stiles would tell them to please, call him Stiles, but doing so with Peter would encourage a sense of familiarity, of friendliness beyond the general teacher-student relationship, and Stiles will do no such thing. He forces a smile and waves Peter inside.

"Hey," he says, watching Peter take a seat opposite of the desk. "So you had questions about the homework?"

"Yes," Peter says. "I was wondering what you thought of me writing my paper on Locard's exhange principle."

“Oh,” Stiles hums. “Well, you could. It might be a little general.”

“Overall, I feel like the topic might be too… banal. And I would hate to give you a boring paper considering you’ve been enjoying mine.”

Stiles did say that, didn’t he? Why, why? “I’m sure you could spruce it up,” Stiles says, amazingly straight-faced. “But I might choose something a bit less broad of a topic. Focus on a specific crime. Hell,” He waves his hands. “There’s a lot of murders even in Beacon Hill’s history. You could write about one of them.”

“Isn’t everybody doing so?”

Stiles chuckles. “It’s not our fault we have a lot of revenge sprees in our past. People think it’s juicy.”

“And what do you think?”

Stiles looks up. Peter’s eyes really are blue, the type of blue on a perfect summer day when he looks straight into a cloudless sky. “I think you could find something no one else has written about yet,” he offers. “But entertaining me isn’t exactly a requirement.”

“I always aim to do so,” Peter says. That grin, Stiles thinks, should be locked up forever. He clears his throat.

“Right, well,” he shifts. “I could give you some books or some links to sites with lots of information of the town’s past if you want to find something interesting. Or you could stretch out to a number of town’s histories.” Peter’s still looking at him like he’s something to eat for lunch. “Is that all?”

“Yes,” Peter says. “I’d appreciate those links.”

“Sure,” Stiles promises. “Well, if you’d excuse me. I have some textbooks to clean up, so.”

He gets up then, because that's that, the conversation is over, and now the suspended awkwardness can be relieved. He moves to the bookcase to slide away a few textbooks, because if he's busy, maybe Peter will take the hint of finality to this interaction between the two of them and leave, wish him a good evening and be on his merry way. Again, eyes fixed on the spine of a novel he's fitting between battered textbooks, the universe fails him.

"Mr. Stilinski," Peter murmurs, and when Stiles looks over his shoulder, he's still in his chair, almost lounging, unbelievably comfortable. "Mind if I ask you something?"

"Sure," Stiles says, because he's a TA, and by motto they're supposed to be helpful, even though he feels like a father who knows he's about to get grilled with sex questions from his young bumbling children.

"Have you been thinking about me?"

Stiles' hands fumble a little on the book he's sliding into place. The father, he would say something ambiguous like all bees must find birds, but in this situation, Stiles isn't sure what the appropriate equivalent is.

"Why?" Stiles asks.

"So you have?"

"I never said that," he says quickly. He grabs for another book from where they're piled on the floor and pushes it on the middle shelf, and suddenly Peter is right behind him, close enough that Stiles can feel his warmth behind his back. He freezes.

"Because I thought you might," Peter is saying, and his voice is unfairly steady, and unfairly close to his neck, "be thinking about me, that is. You were just so quick to assume that I was here to try and date you." Stiles blinks and then there's a hand, barely there, on his waist. "Weren't you?"

And Stiles must be totally transparent. Everybody must be able to read his mind, and nobody ever told him to cushion him, and now here he is very much uncushioned feeling cornered in his own office. Peter somehow knows that Stiles has been thinking about him, about his eyes, about his hands, about how he kisses with his tongue.

"No," Stiles says. The hand on his waist is very warm, sliding around to his stomach. "I promise you my mind is full of other totally irrelevant things. Like beating my friends at Call of Duty. Or figuring out how to use a washing machine."

"So I'm all off base then?" The hand slithers down to Stiles' waistband, brushing, teasing his hipbones.

He's right on home plate, all right, not that Stiles would admit it. He swallows carefully.

"I said no when I thought you wanted to date me, remember?"

"Yes, you did," Peter leans in, and suddenly there's a pair of lips skirting up the shell of his ear. "Right after you mentioned that I'm great... And smart... And hot."

Stiles swivels around, which he realizes too late is a bad idea upon finding himself inches away from Peter's nose.

"You should probably go," Stiles breathes out. His chest feels tight, like there's possibly an elephant sitting on his torso, and he flattens himself against the bookcase. Peter's so close, close enough to feel his warm exhales on his chin, and it reminds him of the night at the bar, Peter wrapped around him and sliding his tongue into his mouth while the music pulsed around them.

Peter looks at him, and for a moment it seems like he's planning on ignoring him and arching closer, mouth tantalizingly close to his. Stiles sucks in a breath.

And then he's sliding away, sighing as he smoothes out his shirt. "Probably," he murmurs, apparently acquiescing. His eyes are locked straight on Stiles’ like he’s seeing entirely through his masks. "Thank you for the homework help then, Mr. Stilinski."

"Um."

He goes to grab his bag, slung over the side of the chair, and sends Stiles a smile. "It was most enlightening."

And he says it like he's not talking about homework at all, like he's somehow finding a way to make school work sound like a filthy double entendre. Stiles' mouth feels a little dry.

--

"Stiles, you're coming."

Firmly so it'll leave no room for discussion, Stiles shakes his head. "I'm not," he says, and then buries his face into a couch cushion. "I have grading to do."

Loosely translated, it means I can never leave the house again in fear of running into the student I unintentionally solicited. He picks his nose up off from between the pillows, and there's Scott, arms folded together and expression decidedly suspicious.

"Come on," he needles. "We haven't been out in ages."

"The last time I was out, I picked up a student."

"We'll watch you," Isaac promises. "Make sure you keep your hands to yourself."

"Mostly," Scott adds.

"Mostly?" Stiles parrots, propping himself up from the tomb he's built himself on the sofa. "Where are we going, an orgy?"

"Strip club," Isaac says with a wink Stiles never wants aimed at him again. "Get dressed."

Stiles considers it. Gorgeous women gyrating against him and writing on polls and sexually fluid men making out in the corners—it’s not a bad idea. Probably more entertaining than a night of cruising Netflix. Not nearly as safe, though, when it comes to avoiding people that somehow always know where he is. Stiles grumbles, deliberating.

“I have a body bag in my trunk, you know,” Isaac says helpfully. “So you’re coming along no matter what.”

“You’re a master of persuasion, you know that?” Stiles grumbles, peeling himself off the couch. “Fine.”

He won’t be trying very hard, though, Stiles thinks darkly as he rifles through his closet for something other than pajamas. He slides into pants and throws on a t-shirt that only vaguely smells of cheese crackers and considers himself good to go.

It's not a very long ride, which is good news for Stiles, who is extremely annoyed by Isaac's constant reminders that there will be naked people there aimed directly at Stiles multiple times in the car, almost like this is Stiles' first time interacting with the human form. He feels like Isaac is up to something, which is hardly anything new, but the disturbingly enough, he’s pretty sure Scott’s in on it. And that, he knows, is actually dangerous.

The evening will be a long one.

--

"What about him?" Scott asks loudly in his ear, pointing across the club.

Stiles follows his finger to a raucously laughing tanned boy who looks like he spends all year lifeguarding at the beach with muscled arms and sunny hair. Stiles turns to Scott.

"Didn't know that was your type," Stiles says, downing the rest of his tequila shot.

"For you!" Scott clarifies. "I saw him checking you out a few times!"

Stiles raises his eyebrows, sneaking another peek. This time he catches the guy's eyes on him, a coy wink being sent his direction.

"I don't know," Stiles says, shrugging. The music has gotten louder, thumping through the floors and shaking the tables enough that Stiles firmly holds onto his shot glass as an apron-clad waitress refills his drink. "He's a little too... Ken doll for me."

Scott isn't deterred. He nudges his shoulder and points to another corner of the bar, this time at a slightly older man with a peppery beard. "What about him?"

Stiles looks at him, grinding along to the music while he wrangles dollar bills out of his pocket to throw onto the stage. He shakes his head. "Pretty sure he's totally straight," Stiles says.

"That guy over there definitely isn't," Scott points through the crowd where a shirtless boy is passionately locking lips with a man slightly taller than him. It's a little obscene, and Stiles looks away when he can't identify anymore whose limb belongs to whom.

"Is someone paying you to get me laid?" Stiles asks suspiciously, gulping back his tequila once more. That one makes his throat burn just enough to make his eyes water.

Scott's expression takes a turn, something sympathetic clouding over. Stiles is instantly on guard. "I just," Scott sighs. "I think it'd be good for you to have a distraction."

"From what?"

"From thinking about students in your class," Scott says, looking slightly sheepish.

Stiles freezes. "Hey. Just one student," he aggressively waves over the waitress, waving his empty shot glass in the air to wordlessly ask for more. "Don't make it sound like I'm preying on the entire class."

The appearance of the waitress by his side to trickle more alcohol in his shot distracts him, and he takes a moment to compose himself as he downs it and holds his arm out for more before she can meander away. Has he really been that bad that Scott is dragging him to strip clubs to distract him? Has he been talking about Peter nonstop like a schoolgirl? He's feeling a little nauseous.

"I wouldn't do anything," he says hotly, feeling his face burn as he swallows down his shot in one flaming gulp. "I have some morals."

"I know," Scott says gently, putting a hand on his shoulder. "I'm just saying I know how it is when you like someone. It's hard—"

Stiles sputters. Like someone? This is the opposite of liking someone. This is not prancing around a schoolyard watching a girl's dress fall down to her nose while she does handstands, his stomach fluttering. This is his utmost frustration, times one hundred. If he could, he'd rip Peter's head off.

"I'd like to rip his head off," he voices out loud, just so Scott knows it. "This isn't about liking someone."

Scott looks at him as if trying his hardest to read him while Stiles downs Isaac's shot for him. He's in the bathroom; he won't miss it. "Okay," he acquiesces, even though he sounds like he's doing it for Stiles' sake. "Then what's the harm of a nice distraction?"

Nothing, Stiles thinks mulishly. It'd be great if he could look at any number of the people here in the club without wondering if they'll pop up in his class next semester, or even worse, if having sex will dredge up his memories of sleeping with Peter. He doesn't want to remember every detail, not when it's hard enough as it is not licking up Peter's neck when he stands too close.

"Maybe you should slow down with those," Scott points out. Stiles realizes then that he now has Scott's shot in his hand as well, ready to chug it down his abused throat. Scott looks concerned, like Stiles has already proven himself to be an untrustworthy drunk, but Stiles shakes his head and downs that too.

"I'm good," he declares, even as the club swims back and forth. He grabs the table for support. "Great, actually."

"You look like you're going to throw up," Isaac's voice drifts over, apparently back from the bathroom. Stiles tries to focus on his face and sees two of him, multiplying like a kaleidoscope. "You're green. Getting greener."

"I'm gonna go get some air," Stiles says, pushing himself up from the table and steadying himself shakily.

"Can you stand?" Scott asks, shooting up from his own seat to help sturdy him. Stiles nods, prying his hands off his shoulders.

"I got it," Stiles says, even as the world sways a bit more, the walls pushing in and tumbling back into place. He blinks. "I'm okay. Just some fresh air."

He grins over his shoulder, feeling his way to the door and slipping outside with minimal staggering and only one instance of crashing into a waitress holding a tray full of drinks. He stumbles past her, breathing in the cold air as he makes it out of the pulsing music and sweaty atmosphere.

A gust of strong wind rushes over him, sobering him up one or two vodka shots. Up ahead, a lamppost is flickering, urging Stiles to wrap an arm around it to ground himself. The air is sharp, cutting into his cheeks, and Stiles thinks about how easy it would be to turn around and let Scott buy him a lap dance from a beautiful woman slathered in oil. It would feel good, that much he knows for sure, so he can't wrap his head around why he can't shake Peter free of his brain, of his muscle memory.

It takes two seconds for his frustration to turn into anger, unadulterated rage at Peter for forcing him to undergo the morality crisis he's been wrestling with ever since he started battling between sleeping with a gorgeous boy and keeping his job. He fumbles for his phone, ready to put this anger to good use, and finds Peter's number in his phone.

It rings, and rings, and only vaguely reminds Stiles that calling students is a no-no unless he has serious messages to impart. Then again, this is serious. This is all too serious. Stiles' sanity is on the line. The ringing cuts off.

"Hello?" Peter's voice says.

“You’re the worst,” Stiles garbles as his opening line, leaning against the lamppost. The air is bitter out here, but not nearly cold enough to make him sober. He hiccups.

“Who is this?” Peter says over the line. Stiles feels his face heat up.

“Stiles. Shit, Mr. Stilinski,” he corrects himself. “I need to talk to you. It’s important.”

He shifts on the lamppost and nearly falls into the street, losing his footing. It’s okay, it’s all right, because his head is still as sharp as cheddar. He hears a snort come through the phone.

“Is it all that professional to call your students while you’re drunk?” Peter asks.

“I’m not drunk!” Stiles insists, steadying himself by wrapping an arm around the lamp. It feels cool against him, the frozen air pulling white puffs of air from his mouth as he speaks. “And I’m serious. I’m calling for important reasons.”

There’s a pause. It feels like Peter’s waiting for Stiles to pass out, or possibly throw up, and when the moment passes, he speaks up. “All right,” he says slowly. “Let’s hear these important reasons.”

“Okay,” Stiles gathers his thoughts together. “Number one. You’re ruining my life.”

“Excuse me?”

“You are!” Stiles’ forehead tips forward, thunking heavily against the lamppost. It hurts, like it might be a bruise tomorrow, but the alcohol is pleasantly blurring over the pain. “Everything was fine until—until we fucked. Is this God punishing me for having casual sex?”

Again, Peter is silent for a beat. A huffy breath floats over, almost like a stifled bout of laughter. “What exactly did I do?”

“Oh, don’t play stupid,” Stiles says aggressively. “Always doing stuff with your tongue in class. It’s distracting.”

“I distract you?”

“Of course you fucking do, you bastard,” Stiles howls, feeling truly undone. It’s quite freeing, telling Peter exactly how much of an asshole he’s been to him these last few months, how watching his tongue dart out to lick his lips and his eyes lock on Stiles’ across the classroom has felt like someone’s been shooting electrical shocks up his legs. “What's that song? That song I'm thinking of?"

"It's flattering how you think I'm a mind reader."

"I got it," Stiles barrels on, ignoring him. He clears his throat to prepare his singing voice. "You got me begging you for mercy, why won't you release me."

A couple walking by him chuckles, clearly amused at his antics. He holds up his middle finger and watches them hustle down the street.

"That was charming," Peter says. "Why would you possibly think that I'm teasing you?"

"Fuck you," Stiles mutters. He feels very much like he's at the end of a long-winded practical joke with multiple tiers and layers while he's being crushed underneath all of them.

"That's been my plan for a while now," Peter says. It takes Stiles three minutes to get it, and when he does, he groans, his head falling against the post with a heavy thunk. It's right where he hit it before, and this time he sees a few stars behind his eyes.

"Stop," Stiles whines. "It's not funny."

"Where are you?" Peter asks curiously, not bothering to soothe Stiles' bemoaning. Stiles slumps against the wall, feeling the frigid bricks seep through his jacket.

"Strip club," Stiles laughs. Something about this is funny. "Scott and Isaac thought I needed to find a new object of obsession."

"Your roommates, I assume?" Peter interjects.

"Yeah," he clarifies. "Did you know that I'm surrounded by gorgeous women in underwear and men who are hitting on me and I shtill. I shtill. Gosh, that's a hard word." Stiles huffs out a white cloud of air. "I'm so drunk."

"Do you need a ride?"

"What!" Stiles shakes his head vigorously. "I can't let a student drive me home when I'm drunk."

"Don't flatter yourself," Peter murmurs. "I would call you a cab."

"What a gentleman," Stiles murmurs, hanging his head. The world has gotten a little fuzzy around the edges, and he fights to stay sure-footed even while standing still. "Just tell me. Why do you give me such a hard time?"

This time, the pause is Peter slowly breathing out a heavy exhale. It feels like three years of high-strung suspenseful silence, forcing Stiles to rethink every decision he's ever made that's brought him to this point in his life.

"I like you, Stiles," is what Peter ends up saying.

"What the fuck does that mean?" Stiles moans.

"What do you think?" Peter says, unamused. "I find you irresistible."

"Irresistible?" Stiles asks, desperately needing more words, more answers—

The club door swings open, pushing a loud thump of music outside that catches Stiles' attention. It's Isaac who comes closer, eyes snapping up to the phone in his hand.

"There you are," he says, apparently relieved. "You can't wander off when you're drunk."

He sounds like a parent from their child after losing them at the mall, exasperated and fully ready to drag Stiles back inside where he can keep tabs on him. Stiles points to the phone in his hand to try and shush him.

"Just getting air," he says defensively.

Isaac steps closer. "Who's on the phone?"

"Peter," Stiles says, that fifth or sixth shot probably responsible for his unfiltered honesty. Isaac's face hardens and he quickly amends his answer. "No one."

Isaac yanks the phone away, ripping it from his hands to end the call and stuff in his back pocket. Stiles swipes for it with an indignant hey! which goes ignored.

"Drunk dialing? Really?" Isaac grabs Stiles by the elbow, trying to pull him back inside the club. Stiles resists, wringing his arm free. He feels close to something, like if he had stayed uninterrupted on the phone just for a few minutes longer he'd be closer to what he's been wanting to hear. Whether that's a good thing or not is something he hasn't been able to determine yet, not even after months of watching Peter watch him in class. Still, the need to know pulls at him like strings wrapped around his middle.

"Give it back, you bathplug," Stiles swipes at the air again, managing to grab a handful of Isaac's sweater. "I was having a conversation."

"You'll thank me tomorrow!" Isaac says, bodily prying him off his shirt. He manages to do so after some fuzzy wrestling, the details of the world spinning away as Stiles feel the alcohol sink that much deeper into his skin cells.

He blinks and he's being pushed on his ass on the cold curb, Isaac manhandling him into compliance and grumbling all the while. He wants his phone, he wants to finish the damn conversation, he wants to know what Peter was going to say.

"I'm getting Scott," Isaac says. "And then we're getting you home. Somewhere you can throw up in peace."

It sounds like a good idea—or at least, it would if Stiles wasn't feeling so snubbed. He wants his phone, he wants to know more. He whines, very pitifully, and then passes out against the wall while Isaac swears loudly into the night before grabbing Scott as back-up.

--

The very epitome of professionalism, Stiles slides into work on Monday with dark sunglasses covering his bloodshot eyes and more than two dozen aspirin in his pocket lest the hangover headache gets rough.

The good news is, his students seem as up for the day as he is. There's a kid in the front row wearing pajamas and there's another behind him who is most definitely high, and Stiles feels like looking them straight in the eye and saying me too.

Drinking is bad, he's thinking of sharing. If it serves but nothing but a cautionary tale, these kids deserve to know the horrors Stiles has fallen prey to these last few months all under the traitorous effects of alcohol. Nostalgically, he remembers the days where the worst thing he did while intoxicated was leap off Scott's garden shed in sophomore year of high school, resulting in him landing unceremoniously in the bushes underneath and suffering a mild scraping from badly trimmed branches. It was a simpler time.

He remembers the smell of Isaac's lotion as his hands demandingly pulled and pushed him into bed, tugging sheets over him like he was a hopeless corpse and arguing with Scott all the while, nearly disturbing Stiles out of his unconsciousness. Although loud, their bickering regarding Stiles' "life choices" and "questionable decisions" didn't fully lure him from sleep, which was good, as Stiles feels very strongly that the result of him waking would have been vomiting over his linens and then falling asleep in his own sick. Then there was getting up, the zombie-like rise from his bed, and the sinking feeling of having disappointed his ancestors last night.

He ends up putting a documentary in about fingerprinting, something mindless that plays on a low, soothing volume while Stiles tries not to bury himself in his arms and catch a few extra z's at his desk. His sunglasses bathe the classroom in a mollifying lack of light while the slackers in the back start building paper airplanes and drawing tattoos on each other's arms, and Stiles doesn't have the energy or the bother to remind everybody to pay attention. Instead, he moves the discussion session he was in charge of today to Friday and chugs half of his coffee down.

The scariest part of it all, however, was waking up to Missed Call from Peter Hale flashing on his phone, a sign that surely warranted a deeper story. All Isaac knew is that he had called him, presumably to ramble, but Stiles felt it was imperative he knew exactly what he had rambled. The multiple options were dark and dank, much like Stiles' vision behind his sunglasses.

He looks up from his desk a few times to see the worst: Peter looking at him curiously from his desk. He said something to him last night, Stiles is sure of it. Something unsavory and horribly unprofessional. He swallows, the taste on his tongue still sour like old vodka settled into his mouth, and he slips out the door while the others are pretending somewhat valiantly to watch the movie.

He edges his way to the nearest bathroom, a room so white even under the protection of his sunglasses that Stiles feels a fresh throb of pain hit him in the temples. He heads to the sink, fixedly ignoring his reflection in the mirror, and takes off his glasses right before he pushes his head under the faucet.

The water is cool, pleasantly refreshing against his forehead, and he splashes some against his warm eyes, all the while wondering exactly what it is he said yesterday. A part of him nags at him to let it go, that he won't want to know and he'll sit in a pool of his own horror after finding out, but another part aches with curiosity. He wants to shut both parts up very much.

"You all right?"

Stiles whirls around from where he's dipping his head under the sink faucet, water dribbling down his chin. Seeing a Peter is a bit like seeing a dead relative rise from the grave—so many questions, and so much terror.

"Fine," Stiles says, pushing the sunglasses quickly back over his eyes. "Thanks for the concern."

"Of course," Peter steps closer, offering Stiles a paper towel he snags from the dispenser. "After you hung up on me last night, it was all too easy to imagine you had been run over by a car."

"You don't have to sound so gleeful about it," Stiles grumbles, ripping the paper towel away from Peter's fingers to dry his nose.

"Sorry," Peter says, without feeling. "I'm not pleased at your near death experience." Stiles knows what it feels like being mocked. Stiles is being mocked. "More so that of everybody in your contacts you thought it prudent to call me last night."

"Don't read into it," Stiles says right away, and then adds on a convincing lie, "You weren't the only one I drunk dialed."

"Sure," Peter says, not convinced in the least by Stiles' convincing lie.

Stiles balls the paper towel up and tosses it uneasily into the trash can. Peter's still standing there, and that can only mean one thing: he's waiting for explanations. Of what he heard. Of what Stiles' mouth had thought were good things to say. He shifts. "Listen," he says warily. "That call last night... We're good, yes?"

"I don't see why not," Peter says. "It's more the texts that interested me anyway."

"Texts?" Stiles feels a new jolt of panic run through him at that. He grabs his phone, lifting his sunglasses to scroll through his text messages. There, in a previously empty thread with Peter, are the texts I like the way you smell, did you know that I am trained in the art of Middle Eastern belly dancing, and the most horrifying, we should put my thingy in your thingy. He wonders if blurting out that these are all the work of his nefarious roommate would serve well for him.

"You're a Lord Byron in the making," Peter says, watching him frenetically read his own garbage. "I was truly inspired."

"Oh god," Stiles feels his life flash through his eyes as he scrolls past we should raise gerbils together and so who'd you have to kill to get hands like that. Quickly, he pushes the phone back into his pocket. "For starters, I'm sorry. And horrified."

Then Peter's hands are lifting Stiles' sunglasses off his nose, peeking at his bloodshot eyes with a chuckle. "Add hung over to that list," he says. "Don't be sorry. I don't mind."

"Why not?" Stiles pushes the sunglasses back into place. He figured this morning that they were more important than his eyeglasses, a decision which is resulting in blurring everything from the graffiti on the stalls to Peter's facial expression. He wishes he could see it more clearly.

"You don't remember our conversation last night?"

"God," Stiles wants to throw up. "There're more horrors?"

"I like you, Stiles," Peter says, stepping closer. He's not more than a hair's breath away now, close enough to tickle their noses together if he leaned in. "Actually, I want you."

He steps forward; Stiles automatically steps back. The sink nudges him, wedged into the side of his spine.

"I was drunk," Stiles says helplessly. "Whatever I said I didn't really mean."

"Really?"

"Peter," Stiles feels urgent now. "We had this discussion already. You and me—just—no." He shifts. "Fine, I've been thinking about you. But that's it."

“That’s it?” Peter repeats, his voice a reverent whisper. “Why is that it?”

“Because I like my job,” Stiles says petulantly. Peter is so close, close enough to touch on the jaw and feel his stubble. “And you’re my student. I’d get fired.”

“Maybe I just want to get to know you,” a hand comes up to touch his skin, a fleeting moment. “Is that so terrible?”

Stiles swallows. “Feels like it,” Peter’s close enough now that he can see the details he couldn’t from afar without his glasses, clearly a bad sign. He steps away, away from Peter’s hand on his face and the proximity of their bodies. “Let’s just stick to what we are.”

Peter looks at him curiously, frustratingly, like Stiles is making life hard on him. Stiles can relate, and refrains from laughing. He straightens out his wrinkled sweatshirt, the comfiest he could find this morning, and heads for the door. Peter intercepts him before he can make it.

“You do realize,” he murmurs, his voice like liquid gold. “That what we are still isn’t as professional as you’d like?”

Stiles knows this very much. “Not really,” is what he ends up saying. It has the intended effect: shutting Peter up long enough to slip by him. He holds the bathroom door open, glancing at the back of Peter’s head. Somehow, even that manages to look tempting. Every part of Peter’s body is tempting. To touch, to feel, to smell.

“Back to class then,” Peter sighs, and walks by him.

--

Stiles foolishly looks up a few times at Peter’s desk a few more times during class while the documentary drones on. This time, he’s licking the rim of his water bottle while he watches the movie, probably perfectly aware that Stiles is watching, and Stiles thinks about crawling under the desk.

--

As of the end of the day, there is only one shining light in Stiles’ life: Thanksgiving break.

Three long, extra days off to sit on the couch in his pajamas and gorge himself on turkey. No Peter. No blushing in his presence like a flattered six-year-old. No more jeopardizing himself by daydreaming about the smooth line of a student’s back. Just turkey.

He walks home on his last day with an extra pep in his step even as the cold descends, Stiles pulling his hat down over his ears to compensate for his lack of gloves. The air is chilly, perfect for a night of hot dinner and then, steaming hot chocolate, and nothing could ruin Stiles’ good mood. Nothing.

"Hey," Stiles calls out as he makes it inside the apartment, throwing his beanie in the general direction of the couch. He vaguely registers the sound of a bubbling pot. "Something smells good."

"Thanks," Peter says.

Stiles jolts, not in a way that saves him any dignity, and watches in horror as his eyes confirm what his ears just suggested to him. There's Peter, a wicked smile on his face and plates in his hands as he goes to set the table like he actually belongs here. Stiles is feeling slightly weak if at this point he has to deal with house calls as well as obscene treatment of pens during class.

Okay, he was wrong. A handful of things could ruin his good mood.

"Stiles, you're back!" Scott's voice calls out from the kitchen. He's wearing a big smile as he comes out carrying a pot of steaming noodles, almost like all of this is normal for a Thursday night. "Your friend showed up half an hour ago to help make dinner, so I thought—"

His friend. Peter is the furthest thing from a friend possible in Stiles' mind. If he were to illustrate a chart of the different relationships he maintains with people, ranging from sex to friendship to professional, Peter would be right at the bottom filed under Bad Mistakes. He grabs Scott's arm and steers him forcedly back into the kitchen.

"Why the fuck did you let him in? Did Isaac do it?" Stiles narrows his eyes as he drops his voice and scans the apartment for Isaac's amused face. This stunt has Isaac's name written all over it.

"No, I did," Scott tells him slowly. "He told me he was your pal from school, so I let him come in."

Stiles slumps against the counter, feeling slightly ill. Behind him there's a spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove that smells like tomato heaven, which is a shame, because he's one hundred percent sure that Peter is its chef and liking anything Peter is responsible for or related to seems like another bad idea.

"He's not my friend. He's the student I fucked. Fuck, fuck, fuck."

Scott's eyes widen. "What? Really?"

“Don’t you remember him from the bar?” Stiles asks, frantic.

Isaac shows up then, a scarf still haphazardly wrapped around his neck and a deep frown of confusion creasing his face. "Why is your fuck buddy in the dining room?"

"Oh my god," Stiles wrings his hands into his hair. "He's not my fuck buddy. He's my student."

"Fine," Isaac seems to care little for whatever labels Stiles wants to use to make him feel more comfortable. "Why is your student in the dining room?"

"Scott let him in!" Stiles points accusatorially at Scott, who shrugs uneasily.

"I had no idea, Stiles," he says. "I thought for sure—”

“Table’s set!” Peter calls from the dining room, like everything is going according to plan. Stiles wanted turkey. Lots and lots of turkey and blubbering on the couch like a comatose vegetable while he digested over thirty pounds of poultry and stuffing. This is not what he ever could have prepared himself for.

“Think it’s too late to pitch myself out the window?” Stiles asks, deadly quiet and deadly serious.

“Yes,” Isaac says, and then grabs him by the elbow to veer him into the dining room.

--

No one knows what to say at dinner.

Wordlessly, he and Scott have already have a lengthy conversation. It's all in the subtle conversations their eyes and their tiny twitches can convey, something not even Isaac can distinguish after years of living alongside them.

Get him out of here, Stiles says with a flare of his eyes, widening them for a fraction of a second as he twirls noodles on his fork. Scott's jaw tightens.

Then, his shoulder lifts a centimeter. How?

Throw up on the carpet, Stiles' eyes flick briefly to the floor and his tongue darts out to lick his lips. He hides it all under the guise of spearing noodles on his fork, all the while considering how nothing truly breaks up a dinner party better than bodily fluids possibly caused by the dinner itself.

No! Scott's eyes say in return, begging Stiles to come up with a simpler, less embarrassing remedy to the situation. As far as Stiles is concerned, he's already been drained dry of any remaining dignity and is completely up for whatever humiliating shitshows will cause the appropriate diversion to cut the evening short.

Across the table, fully aware that he is missing out on an important speechless discussion, Isaac drops his silverware on the table and glares over the rim of his glass. If Peter is noticing, he is too busy smothering his judgment—and possibly amusement—in his leisurely sips of red wine to comment.

"So Peter," Scott speaks up suddenly in the silence, clearing his throat. "Any plans for tonight?"

Stiles bites back a groan. He will admit, hurling on the tablecloth might have been too extreme, but Scott's attempts are far too mild. He aggressively collects more noodles on his fork.

"Not a one," Peter murmurs, clearly delighted. "Although I am very much enjoying this evening here with you three." He picks up his glass once more, taking a sip. "Do you cook much?"

"Stiles doesn't," Isaac pipes in. "Not that we'd eat any of it and risk food poisoning."

"Really, Isaac?" Stiles grits out. Across the table, he can feel Peter's smile on him. It's unnerving, and also makes him want to leap across the table to kiss him straight on the mouth. He swallows, wondering how the two feelings coexist. "Very helpful."

"So no homework?" Scott fishes, trying again. Peter shakes his head.

"I never let assignments linger," he says. "Finishing work before play makes playing so much more satisfying."

Very quickly, Stiles wonders if he's under the play category. Under oath, Stiles would vehemently pigeonhole Peter into work, but then again, he's sitting with him in his apartment sharing a dinner Peter himself prepared, so he'd also be hideously lying.

"You already did the forensics essay?" Stiles asks.

"Of course."

"And the response to the second amendment articles?"

"Yes."

"And read chapters nine through eleven?"

"Yes," Peter repeats, meeting Stiles' insistent eyes across the table with a sly grin. It sounds like he's challenging Stiles to doubt him and fish for more questions regarding Peter's educational obligations, which makes Stiles feel—as usual as of late—like he's the butt of a joke he can do nothing to thwart.

"You must really like criminology," Isaac speaks up, causing an end to the staring contest electrically suspended over the table between Stiles and Peter. "Are you taking more of Stiles' courses next semester?"

"I would love to," Peter responds. His eyes find Stiles' again, as if sharing an unspoken secret. "And at the same time, I would rather be in anyone's class but his."

"Hmm," Isaac mumbles, and Stiles knows where he's going with this. "Why is that?"

Peter opens his mouth; Stiles promptly knocks his wine glass over into Isaac's lap to cause a distraction. It is a very rash, unthinking move that results in Isaac shooting to his feet and nearly pushing the table over in the process, the plates clattering. It also, much to Stiles' reliefs, quiets Peter.

"Fuck!" Isaac yells, very eloquently, as the wine spreads into a dark red, sticky stain over his pants. "Stiles, you fucking moron."

He thunders away after slapping his napkin onto his chair, the slamming bathroom door resonating loudly in the quiet apartment. Stiles wishes there was music playing just to fill the silence. He'd happily accept Justin Bieber singing, without auto tune, in his kitchen right now only to provide background noise.

"Right," he straightens up as Isaac's curse words filter through the bathroom door. "What were we talking about?" He quickly answers his own question before someone else can. "Papers. Writing papers. You sure you don't have any to do?"

"Positive," Peter says, arching an eyebrow as Stiles presses the matter.

"Well, to be quite honest," Stiles shifts in his seat and decides to drop the niceties. "It's not really appropriate for you to be here. That late." At all, his brain adds but decides not to say out loud.

"As if!" Peter tuts, unimpressed, and finishes the rest of his wine with an unfairly elegant swig. His foot kicks Stiles' softly under the table, almost intimately. "Don't worry, I'll help with the dishes."

"No," Stiles says right away. Lamely, he adds, "Dishes are my thing."

Peter cocks his head at him like he's infinitely pleased at the things he learns about Stiles—or possibly, the things Stiles will lie about to get Peter to go away. He must really be enjoying this, Stiles thinks wryly, getting a rise out of Stiles and seeing just how uncomfortable he can actually make him in his own home.

It's then that Isaac returns, a rigidity to his step despite the fact that he's replaced his soiled jeans with sweatpants, loose and worn around his legs as he settles back into his chair. "Peter," he says, even though his eyes are on Stiles. "Why don't you stay the evening? We'll do a movie night."

I'll disembowel you in your sleep, Lahey, is on the tip of Stiles' tongue. Scott's foot, clearly intending to slam into Isaac's shin, hits Stiles' instead. He bites his lip and sends glares where glares are due: the entire table.

"No," Stiles interrupts before Peter can answer. "He's leaving after dinner."

Still hungry, and only half-finished, Stiles gets up from the table to show that dinner is very much over. He grabs his plate, still full of unfairly delicious noodles, and stalks toward the kitchen.

He hopes he makes himself clear. He aggressively pulls on his yellow gloves, feeling riled up as ever, and starts belligerently squirting dish soap into a pan. Angry cleaning, that’s today’s theme, apparently. He scrubs a pot clean and pushes it onto the dish rack, hoping the chatter he hears behind him is a handful of goodbyes.

It isn’t. It’s the din of plates being stacked on top of each other, the table being cleared with the odd mumbled word now and again. What on earth are they even saying? What on earth could they think to say other than please get out, thank you!

Stiles wonders, briefly, if he really is that irresistible. Or maybe he’s just that entertaining to watch when he’s being teased. He can’t help but feel that something is fishy, that he’s missing something big

The collected plates land on the counter next to Stiles, deposited there by a hand Stiles hopes belongs to Scott. He’s afraid to look over his shoulder and be met with grim news.

"Do you need any help?"

Stiles whips around, eyes landing on Peter as he approaches. He had been sure, so sure, that after dinner was over, Peter would take the glaring opportunity to put on his coat and take his leave, but he's still here. Frustratingly so. Stiles grabs the dirty plates and shakes his head.

"I'm fine," he says, turning around and focusing his attention on scrubbing the plates. Once again, he waits for the sound of footsteps headed toward the door. They don't come.

"You don't have to be so stubborn," Peter chides, stepping closer to lean his hip against the fridge.

Stiles sighs, resisting the urge to drown himself right here in the suds. "You shouldn't have come here, Peter," he says, not bothering to check his reaction.

Peter tuts. "Not very hospitable, are we?"

Stiles glares, pushing a handful of utensils on the dish rack. He looks over his shoulder where Scott and Isaac are settling onto the couch, wordlessly requesting backup. Scott sees him, misconstrues his silent begging, and promptly springs to his feet, pulling Isaac with him into the hall to shelter Stiles in privacy. He screws his face up in a deep set grimace, wishing the world would stop laughing at him just for two minutes, maybe three. Peter follows his gaze.

"Afraid to be alone with me?" He asks, sounding amused.

Stiles yanks off his gloves, setting to work instead on drying the dishes. Keep his hands busy, keep his eyes downcast, keep ignoring Peter. He repeats the advice in his head like a mantra.

"Actually, I'm wondering what you're still doing here," Stiles says, hoping Peter will get the hint. Peter probably sees the hint and then waves it dismissively away.

"Just a friendly house call."

"Lovely," Stiles spits out. "You've called the house. Now you can go."

"I find it rather charming how valiantly you pretend we didn't sleep together," Peter murmurs mildly. And then, all too suddenly, there's a hand draped over Stiles' hip, his only warning before a body sidles up to his backside. Peter's tongue darts out to touch Stiles' ear a moment later and it takes every ounce of Stiles' self-control not to smash the plate in his grip. "But you do remember, don't you?"

"Not really," Stiles' voice sounds three octaves higher than it should be. "I was pretty wasted."

"Do you want a reminder?"

"No," Stiles says right away, twisting away from Peter before the mouth on his ear starts getting any ideas. He pushes the plate in his hands into safety in the cupboard.

"You hurt my feelings," Peter says, even though he's grinning. "I'm very memorable, and you don't even want a repeat performance to jog your memory."

"Oh my god, go away," Stiles says, caught somewhere between annoyed and aroused and extremely disappointed that this is what his life has come to. Physically dodging the agonizing teasing of a non-dateable boy.

He tries to sidestep him, focused on putting the plates away in the cupboard, and Peter smoothly gets in his way. He can hear the muffled chatter of Isaac and Scott talking down the hall, much too far away to be useful buffers to Stiles, so he turns around and concentrates all his energy in filing away the forks sitting in the dish rack.

"I'll be honest with you, Peter," Stiles grits out as he passive aggressively (heavy on the aggressively) wipes clean another plate. "I sort of want to strangle you."

"You always know exactly the right thing the say," Peter sighs, a bit too sardonically for Stiles' taste.

"I don't think you get it," Stiles says, frustrated and horny and tightly strung all at once. "I like being employed. I like being able to afford Cheetos. Me and you happen, and all that could go away."

Something flickers over Peter's face—regret? Resignation? Sadness?—but it's gone in a heartbeat, too fast for Stiles to identify the emotions behind it. He opens his mouth to say something, maybe even apologize and tell him to try again when time has passed and Stiles isn't his TA, but Peter speaks first.

"Getting fired," he sums up, inching closer. "That's all that's holding you back?"

He says it like a job, a reputation, and a salary aren't solid reasons at all, and Stiles fights the very strong urge to scream. Then again, he might have a point. If he was a student, or if Peter wasn't, he'd already be texting him dirty pictures and walking around wearing Peter's shirts on accident. If they had met under any other circumstances where they could verbally spar with one another and match each other's quick wit and not have obligations to jobs and people and what have you, Stiles thinks it would be different. They would be different.

"Well—yeah," Stiles sighs, because it's true.

And that was apparently the right thing to say—possibly the wrong—and when Stiles looks up at Peter there's a renewed fire in his eyes, something that looks that unleashed urges. And that's the extent of the warning Stiles gets before he's slammed up against the counter and the dish rack digs into the small of his back, Peter pressed close to him.

That's all it takes for Stiles' Good, Responsible Teacher instincts to fly out the window—a slight personal disappointment in terms of self-restraint, but in his defense, there's a boy's hips pressed into him—and he gives in, leaning in that extra inch that pushes their lips together. It feels like relief, like feeling the sun after months of unrelenting snow, and Stiles feels his body unwind as he presses closer and opens his mouth to let Peter deepen the kiss.

He does, almost instantly, tongue slipping in to brush Stiles'. He tastes like spaghetti sauce, like wine and salty noodles, and Stiles licks into his mouth to taste more, to pull noises from his throat and listen to him whimper. Instead, Peter pulls away, tugging Stiles' bottom lip as he goes and biting down on his chin before he puts breathing room between them again.

"Peter," Stiles breathes out, shifting closer and feeling his thighs bump into Peter's.

His breath is warm on Stiles' chin as he responds. "What?"

Stiles shifts again. "There's a fork in my back," he says. "And I think a pan handle as well."

He can't help it; he laughs. It breaks up the tension a bit, reminding him of exactly how ludicrous he actually is. Here he is, impaled on utensils with his student pressed up against his chest and his roommates down the hall, and all he can think about is kissing him for a few more hours.

He can't think about it too long, though because then Peter's rolling his eyes and grabbing him by his forearms and turning them around until suddenly he's up against Stiles' fridge, standing against the magnets like he's waiting to be ravished. His thumbs slide up Stiles' elbows, running back down again like spiders.

"That better?" he asks.

"Um," Stiles says. "A lot."

"Good."

And that's it for talking, then, because Peter pulls him in by his shirt and settles his mouth into the crook of his neck, tongue flattening under his chin to trace his pulse point.

"This is so bad," Stiles says, even as he shuffles closer and tips his neck to the side. Peter hums on his neck, something dismissive, and then a hand is palming Stiles' crotch, pulling his thoughts away from how very, very bad this actually is.

"Do you really think," Peter murmurs, interrupting himself with a slow, open-mouthed kiss he presses on Stiles' jaw, "that I can't keep a secret?"

"I don't know what to think," Stiles admits. "It's not like I know who you are."

Peter pulls back for a fraction of a moment, eyes clouded over with an intense arousal Stiles is sure is mirrored in his own as well.

"Do you have to?" Peter asks.

He kisses him again before he can answer, swallowing his words away with soft lips that part under Stiles' just as he thinks well, probably not, but it'd be a smart idea, and then remembers that actually none of this is a smart idea. Peter only kisses him harder, as if intent on pushing all of his conflicting thoughts away with his tongue and teeth.

"Stop distracting me," Stiles says when he succeeds in pulling away from Peter's ridiculously addictive mouth. It's wet from Stiles' tongue, just on the tempting side of swollen from their hard kisses.

"You have to stop saying that," Peter murmurs, hooking his fingers around Stiles' belt loops to tug him back in, slotting a knee between Stiles' legs. Now he's in the dangerous territory of being able to tell exactly how hard Stiles is becoming, which Stiles knows will not bode well for him. "It's feeding my ego too much."

He vaguely registers the sound of his pants being unbuttoned, his zipper sliding open a moment later. Then there's a hand snaking into his underwear, fingers sliding around his shaft, and the world blacks out for a moment. Logic, what logic? All Stiles needs is this, a pretty boy with his mouth on Stiles' neck and his hand on Stiles' dick.

"So, Stiles," Peter murmurs on his collarbone. "Should I stop?"

He takes his time swiping his thumb over the head of Stiles' cock right before his fingers wrap around him again in a firm fist, sliding upwards, then back down, then back up—

"Bastard," Stiles manages to get out, and Peter promptly punishes him with a bite to his neck. Stiles' hands fly up to Peter's shoulders. "Fucking ow."

"Just say the word," Peter murmurs, licking over the red, bitten skin. "And I'll stop."

"Liar," Stiles breathes out, because he knows better by now. His hands slip downwards to squeeze Peter's waist.

"You really ought to stop calling me so many names," Peter chides, and then reprimands him by roughly stroking him to a faster, harder pace that has Stiles wondering what his own name is.

Something about Peter's touch is infinitely different than his own hand, almost magically so. It works on a tempo of a different rhythm, and it slides against Stiles' skin more roughly, with practiced and impatient fingers. He wonders if this is the last time he'll allow this to happen, or possibly the first of many more hushed handjobs in his kitchen. His brain is praying for the first, but his body is putting money on the latter.

He's sagging, he feels as much when Peter keeps him upright with the free hand that's roped around his waist. He's chuckling, of course he is, while Stiles whimpers pitifully against his neck, hips bucking into the fingers on his erection. He's embarrassingly hard, was ever since Peter first slammed him against the dish rack and kissed them and their hips aligned, but Peter is too, pressing against his thigh insistently. It drives Stiles insane, thinking that he might make Peter as crazy as Peter makes him, and honestly, how could that even be true—

"Let me hear you," Peter growls on his ear, and Stiles obediently unleashes the string of groans he was keeping inside. He hopes that by now, Scott and Isaac have found enough common sense to no longer be loitering around the hallway, but he can hardly worry about that, not when Peter's hand is pulling at his cock all too amazingly.

And why didn't they do this sooner? Rules, class, students, right, but Stiles feels like this is a pivotal moment in his sexual history he shouldn't have put off for so long. It's been so long, so many weeks of looking away when Peter caught his eye, so many months of blushing like a schoolgirl at his innuendos.

Peter is doing something obscene with his tongue on Stiles' neck while his hand wrings Stiles' dick that much closer to orgasm, so Stiles decides to focus on that and cast everything else away. He feels much too warm, and much too vulnerable, but maybe that'll do for now. He bucks his hips forward, wanting more, and Peter squeezes him—almost too tightly—in response.

"Fuck," Stiles breathes out, panting. "I'm so close."

He grips the back of Peter's neck for support, burrowing his face in his collarbones while Peter speeds up, eager to see him come. He's so close, close enough to feel it rumble through his body like an impending thunderstorm, but he almost wants to hold back if only to avoid the feeling of regret that'll inevitably slam into him after. He always wants to feel this oblivious of the world, this wrapped up in sex, this content next to Peter and committing his aftershave to memory.

But he does come, hard enough to probably send him spiraling into space, but Peter's hand on his hip keeps him steady. Straight into his pants, without preamble, and with Peter watching no less, but he can't bring himself to dredge up the feelings of humiliation he was sure he would be overwhelmed with.

Still, he feels ridiculous when the dust settles, especially when Peter pulls his hand out and wipes his palm off on Stiles' pants. He just came in his boxers like a fourteen-year-old at the hands of his student, here in his kitchen, slumped against the fridge. He can't decide if this is the best or the worst moment in his life.

Peter scatters his thoughts as he kisses under his ear, dragging his lips down his neck as he buttons up Stiles' pants for him.

"What's," Stiles tries to find the right words, swallowing. "Where do we go from here?"

"You could always return the favor," Peter suggests, pressing his erection into Stiles' thigh. Stiles tries to concentrate and looks pointedly at his eyes.

"I mean, what do you want?"

"I just told you."

Stiles squeezes Peter's arm, trying to wipe the smirk off his face. "Do you just want to get laid? Or do you actually want to do the cheeseball stuff with the going out for lunch and spending holidays together?"

"Hm," Peter's eyes scan Stiles' face. "Yes."

"Which one?" Stiles asks, exasperated, all the while ineffectually pushing at Peter's forearms to put an agreeable distance between them.

"Does it have to be one or the other?" Peter asks, eyebrow cocked. He snags Stiles' hands by the wrist to still his half-hearted shoving. "Why can't we fuck," he leans in, dragging his teeth up Stiles' neck, "and then grab sandwiches together?"

Stiles must be crazy, legitimately crazy for considering this. He wishes his friends would be here, looming in the corner shaking their heads as present reminders of Stiles' poor decision making skills. He's starting to think that this could work, that with the right amount of discretion and effort he could actually get away with having his cake and eating it too. Peter must feel the fight leave him as well, a smile growing on his lips that Stiles feels tickle his shoulder.

"You'd understand that this would be top secret, right?" Stiles tests the waters hesitantly. "No boom boxes blasting love songs outside my window."

"I'll try and contain myself."

"And you couldn't tell anybody,” Stiles says. He pokes Peter in the shoulder until he withdraws his head from Stiles’ shoulder to look him in the eye. “You’d have to keep it totally quiet. One hundred percent mum’s the word. And stop teasing me in public.”

“You’re very bossy,” Peter observes. “Are these your terms and conditions?”

Oh god, he really is considering this. Peter’s only a few inches away, impairing his judgment and making his coherence cloudy, urging him to always have him this close, to always have his body close enough to reach out and touch. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad; maybe it’d be totally manageable. Maybe it could be a total secret until Peter’s finished his class. Maybe Isaac and Scott wouldn’t even tease him mercilessly for his lack of self-restraint.

“Yes,” Stiles breathes out. It feels final, like now that his toes are in, the rest of his body will probably fall into the quicksand too. He sees a smile curve the corners of Peter’s mouth.

“Any fine print I should worry about?” Peter asks.

“I’m not sure,” Stiles says honestly. “I haven’t written up the first draft yet.”

Peter laughs, the sound throaty and altogether too lovely for Stiles’ ears. His hand comes up to brush aside a loose strand of Stiles’ hair, tucking it behind ear and nudging his glasses in the process. “Well,” he murmurs, leaning in close enough for their lips to brush. “Let me know when it’s all printed out.”

He pulls Stiles in for another kiss, this one less hungry than the ones before, the ardency replaced with a slowness that almost has Stiles whimpering. It’s quite embarrassing, really, how he’s practically already on his knees for Peter, and he clutches his forearms to stay upright while he kisses back, delighting in the way he can push Peter’s body against the cupboard and whittle the air between them down to nothing.

Okay, okay, this is a little crazy. And maybe suicidal. Definitely under the bad ideas category, but Stiles would be one hell of a hypocrite if he started being a firm advocate for good ideas and stopped indulging in his bad ones. He pulls Peter in for a few more kisses before the evening ends, before he has to face his eavesdropping roommates and pile of papers waiting to be graded in his room, and absolutely does not whine when Peter finally pulls away.

“How about I stay the night,” Peter suggests. “And you return that favor.”

“Without your pajamas?”

“A completely pajama-less sleepover,” Peter promises with a wicked glint in his eyes. Stiles is about to persuaded when once again, he remembers the life still lingering on outside of the kitchen. His shoulders slump.

“I can’t,” Stiles grumbles. “I have grading. It’s going to drown me if I don’t work on it.”

"You and your grading," Peter growls. For a second, Stiles considers offering that he stay, hang out in his bed while he grades, but then he remembers his poor attention span and thinks it's better he doesn't. "Fine."

"Tomorrow," Stiles promises, and can't believe this is happening. He can't believe his heart is as happy about it as it is, thumping against his chest. "I'll text you."

Peter nods, the ends of his lips curving upward. He must be pretty smug, Stiles thinks, having finally bagged the object of his obsession, but Stiles is a little too pleased about it all to slap the smirk off his face.

He kisses him goodbye, something hard and passionate, and Stiles tries to stay upright.

"See you," he says against his lips, and then shimmies out from between Stiles and the fridge like he didn't just blow Stiles' mind in under ten minutes.

Needless to say, he doesn't focus on grading very well for the rest of the evening.

--

From: Bobby Finstock (bfinstock@beaconhillsuniversity.com)
Subject:Urgent Matters

Stiles,

My office, first thing Monday. Bring coffee.

Finstock

--

It all comes crashing down with that one tiny e-mailed request for Stiles to come to his boss's office the second he walks into school, an e-mail that makes it to his inbox only a few hours after he's done pressing Peter up against his fridge. It all feels connected somehow, that this is what he gets for screwing around and not taking the job seriously, and Stiles only manages about three hours of sleep total on Sunday night.

He lays there, counting the notches on the ceiling wondering exactly how he was found in literally two hours into a sort of, kind of, not really relationship he foolishly agreed to. Was someone watching Peter go into Stiles' apartment? Was someone paying attention to them that day in the library? Was someone connecting the dots that Stiles thought he was fastidiously keeping hidden?

It's nauseating, and his foot jiggles all night long under the covers he throws here and there for hours. He gives up sleep at five a.m., instead distracting himself by playing a nervous round of Grand Theft Auto by himself before anybody else awakens in which he does nothing but drive aimlessly around on a stolen motorcycle wishing the Worst Case Scenarios of the day would stop playing themselves on repeat in his head.

He shows up at Finstock's office with the requested coffee and a semi-prepared speech about mistakes and second chances and how he's already learned his lesson at the ready, and takes two deep, rattling breaths before he opens the door.

"Stilinski, finally!" Finstock yells the second he's in, snatching the coffee from his grip and prying open the lid. "You look awful."

"Didn't sleep very well last night," Stiles admits, sitting down in the chair opposite Finstock's desk. He takes a deep breath. "I think I have some explaining to do."

"What?" Finstock looks up from where he's ladling creamer into his cup. "Later. First I have some news for you."

He looks grim, extremely grim, like he's about to give Stiles news of the death of his grandmother. He takes a sip of the scalding coffee, apparently unfazed by the heat, and folds his hands together on the desk. "It appears you have some..." he grimaces. "I'm going to use the nicest word I can think of. Assholes. In your class."

Stiles feels the conversation start to steer in a difference direction than he anticipated. Something inside of him unclenches a fraction. "What?"

Finstock picks up a piece of paper, eyes scanning its contents. "Do you know Peter Hale and Jackson Whittemore?"

He swallows. "Uh," he tries to picture Jackson, and his memory produces a cocky boy with a typical jock face and light brown hair, maybe third or fourth row of his class. "I think so."

Finstock throws the paper back onto the desk, clearly disgusted. "Well," he says. "These clowns have been consorting behind your back."

"Wait—what?"

Finstock nods, taking another sip of his coffee. "Apparently Whittemore thought it'd be funny to challenge the class to a bet. A hundred bucks to whoever could get you fired. Seduce you or injure you or something nasty that, knowing you, could’ve easily killed you."

Stiles feels it hit him like ice water straight to the face, trickling down his chest and oozing straight past his skin, past his ribcage. A bet. A hundred dollar bet. Something in him feels frozen to the chair.

"You're—you're serious?"

"Deadly," Finstock says. He sighs, clearly disgruntled with the situation. "Anyway, Hale apparently decided to take him up on his offer. I don't know what he's done or if he's been a little shit in class, but he and Whittemore have both been moved out of your class. So problem solved."

"Oh," Stiles feels something buzz in his chest like a swarm of bees, not entirely sure if it's anger or surprise or even sadness. He decides on something close to self-hatred, if only for not being able to notice he was being played. He swallows. "How do you know who—?"

"That's the good news, I suppose," Finstock cuts in. "For every asshole out there, there's a goody goody trying to reverse the damage. Some kid stepped up to the plate and told me what they were up to."

Some kid. Stiles is wondering now if the entire class knows, if they've known since the start of the semester. How many of them probably thought it was hilarious. How he had Peter close to him last night, how he had told him that he needed his job. How Peter's eyes had flickered with something inscrutable.

"Anyway. You wanted to say something?"

Stiles' head snaps up to see Finstock staring at him expectantly. "What?"

"When you walked in. You said you wanted to explain yourself."

Explain himself. He was here to give a tell-all about the time he slept with Peter, and later, how he had let it get even farther. How he wanted it to go farther and had somehow been powerless to stop it all. There comes that wave of ice water again, swooping over his head. He stands up, nearly knocking his own cup of coffee over in the process.

"Never mind," he says quickly. "Was that everything?"

"Yeah," Finstock settles back in his chair. "Coffee delivery was super fast, by the way. Excellent service."

Somehow, he finds his way out of the office, out of the building, and into the cold.

--

The walk home is a little numbing. He knows now, apparently, his self-worth, topping out at a meager one hundred dollars.

He tries to replay the last few weeks in his head, look for signs of lying, of acting, of Peter's flirtatious advances all being part of a grand performance. All he remembers is how good it had felt to finally give in there in his kitchen, arch into his body and not worry about the consequences. Maybe he should've worried a bit more.

He should've gone home, but he doesn't. The nagging, impulsive urge to find Peter and confront him tickles at him like a poisonous spider. It runs his feet for him, guiding him to Peter's usual haunts—the coffee shop, the library, and then—the quiet lunch tables in the campus courtyard.

He's actually there, and it shoots a fresh batch of ice over Stiles' head. Surely he must know, surely he's gotten the email telling him his classes have been swapped. Surely he knows he's been found out, but then why hasn't he tried to find Stiles himself?

Because you didn't matter, Stiles reminds him, and this time, instead of ice, it's a wave of misery that pulls him under. His fumbling fingers search through his pockets for his wallet, yanking out the biggest bill he has and crumpling it in his fist. He approaches Peter's table with a renewed purpose, with a vigor that only anger could fuel in him. He stops short in front of him.

He slaps the money onto the table in front of him, watching as Peter's eyes outline the bill and slowly travel upward to Stiles' face. He searches it for the regret that should be sagging his eyes, the apology quivering on his lips, and sees nothing. Stiles' fists harden in his pocket.

"There," Stiles grits out when Peter says nothing. "So you can pay Jackson."

Peter waits a beat before picking up the crumpled bill between two fingers, observing it. “That’s unnecessary,” he finally says, voice flat. Stiles feels his insides dissolve just a bit.

“I figured I might as well pay you for all that hard work you put into that bet,” Stiles says, drawing himself up and trying his best not to fidget. He’s upset, upset enough to start a brawl right here on campus, but Scott isn’t around to hold him back and lead him away, which unfortunately means he has to hold himself back on his own. He takes a deep breath. “All those handjobs probably don’t come cheap.”

Peter raises his eyebrows. He looks disturbingly undisturbed, like Stiles confronting him and crashing his bet is completely run of the mill for him, if not expected. It makes Stiles wonder with a pang to his stomach if he isn’t the first person Peter’s tried to play.

“Are you insinuating I’m a prostitute?” Peter asks him slowly.

“Not really, since people actually know they’re in for emotionless sex with absolutely no meaning attached to it when they hire prostitutes,” Stiles points out, feeling the bitterness well up. “So this is a bit different.”

“That’s not very nice,” Peter says. So blasé, so unperturbed. Stiles wants to kick him in the shin and see how unperturbed he is then. “I didn’t force you.”

“Right. Okay, fine. Let’s give you person of the year award,” Stiles can’t believe this is happening. He can’t believe he’s standing on campus having a showdown with the boy who played him and said boy can’t even muster up a smidgen of remorse. He pushes his glasses up his nose. “Have yourself a great life.”

He goes to walk away, to make a statement and walk out with the last word, but Peter grabs him before he can. His hand wraps around Stiles’ arm, tugging him back. It feels like a poker burning him.

“Let’s not do this, Stiles,” Peter says with a heavy sigh, pushing the bill back into his hands. “You can’t believe everything I did was because of a bet.”

Stiles watches him tuck the money back into his hand and promptly slaps it back onto the table. "What am I supposed to believe?" he stuffs his hands into his hoodie pockets. "I have no clue who you are."

Peter's looking at him like he's a dramatic teenager he has no time for, which is ironic and slightly annoying, because Stiles is the responsible adult who's older than him and is not over-dramatizing anything, not when Peter already did a swell job of that himself.

"That's not true," Peter says.

"You know what, you're right," Stiles interrupts. "I do know. You’re a terrible person. Really bad. Disney villains will probably be designed after you.”

"That's a little flattering, actually."

"Just—just tell me one thing," Stiles grits out. "Why did you do it? Are you just that evil?"

"You certainly seem to think so," Peter says. Everything he says has that perpetual edge of amusement to it, like all of this is nothing more than the average Monday for him. Stiles is probably one of many who's had this talk with him, he realizes dryly.

Stiles doesn't want to talk anymore. He's said his piece, and not because he's looking for excuses and apologies. Peter is the last person to dole out meaningful apologies—at least, for free. Stiles supposes he might do just about anything for a hefty check.

"Never mind," he mutters to the ground. "Have lots of fun with the next TA's pants you decide to stick your hands into."

"Stiles."

"Bye, Peter," he says, and he hopes it sounds permanent.

He turns around, feeling one hundred dollars poorer, riled up, and unbelievably hoodwinked. He doesn't stop until he's home.

--

He tells Scott and Isaac about it over dinner. He keeps the story brief, sticking only to the bits where Jackson Whittemore turned him into an unknowing pawn of prostitution and Peter had joined in, and leaves it at that.

Scott's jaw ticks through the whole story. Isaac interrupts only to heatedly mention how he's seen Jackson strut around campus before and now has good reason to hit his overpriced sunglasses off his nose.

"Did you punch him?" Isaac asks.

"Who, Jackson?" Stiles stabs his potatoes with more force than strictly necessary. "I didn't see him."

"No, Peter," Scott pipes up. When Stiles looks up, they're both staring at him with thinly veiled concern in their eyes that makes Stiles feel like a lost puppy caught in the rain. He bristles, straightening up. "Did you talk to him?"

"Yeah," Stiles says. "And in case you're wondering, he's not sorry, and my taste in men sucks."

He shoves the aforementioned potatoes in his mouth, again with too much force, succeeding in nearly stabbing his tongue with the prongs of his fork. It's really been a lovely day for him.

"But he's out of your class, right? You don't have to deal with him anymore?" Scott asks him gently.

"Yeah. Both of the douchenozzles," Stiles musters up a wry grin. "Good riddance."

Isaac speaks up next, looking slightly constipated. "Sorry," he says, an edge of guilt to his voice. "I shouldn't have pushed you at him so much. I was sure he was really—" He clears his throat. "Sorry, Stiles."

“Are you serious?” Stiles rubs his hands over his eyes. “It wasn’t your fault. I’m the one who bought the whole charade.”

“That doesn’t make it your fault either,” Scott cuts in sharply. “You’re the victim.”

The victim. Stiles knows they’re trying to help, they’re trying to soothe him, but he feels the irritation bubble up under his skin once more like poison itching to escape his flesh. “I think I’m going to bed,” he declares.

Scott looks worried. Isaac looks guilty. Stiles doesn’t feel like he has the energy to reassure both of them that he’s fine.

“Okay,” Scott ends up saying. “If you want to talk—”

“I know where to find you,” Stiles promises. “Thanks.”

He feels their eyes on his back the entire time he heads to his room, interested only in turning all the lights off and jamming music into his ear so he can fall asleep with Fall Out Boy screaming at him. Somehow, even the gazes aimed at his backside feel pitiful, like Stiles should be pitied—oh, that poor boy never saw it coming—and it makes him hurry down the hall.

--

In under twenty-four hours, Peter flies to the top of his list of people he does not want to run into on campus, even topping out slimy Professor Harris who was single-handedly responsible for Stiles nearly having to retake his science course when he was a freshman.

He had forgotten to move somebody else up his list as well: Jackson Whittemore. So naturally, Stiles sees him first thing Wednesday morning.

He's pushing his way through the gaggling crowd of students lingering in the hall before class, hoping to be on time if not early to the discussion session he's in charge of today, when he sees a flash of a gray leather jacket and hears the sound of grating, familiar laughter. He turns his head left and sees Jackson.

It happens very fast. Jackson sees him, throws out a few hushed swear words, and tries valiantly to duck behind a group of students and disappear into a stairwell. Stiles thinks about letting it go, about power-walking all the way home and then assaulting the couch pillows a few times, something that'll keep him from sinking to any truly pathetic levels. Then his better judgment takes a backseat to a surge of anger bubbling up in his chest, and he makes the snap decision to follow him.

He pushes through the giggling students in his way, pushing open the stairwell door just in time to see Jackson booking it up the stairs. He has long legs, the type that could easily outrun Stiles', so he grabs him before he can shoot away and pushes him against the nearest wall.

"What the fuck, man?" Jackson spits out. "You're harassing a student!"

"I'm not harassing you, for god's sake," Stiles says hotly, taking a step back. He watches Jackson smooth out his leather jacket like Stiles' plebeian hands have ruined the integrity of his clothing and instantly feels a coiling of displeasure lace up his spine just because he's having this conversation with this kid. "You should be lucky you weren't suspended."

Jackson huffs, clearly not intimidated. "I didn't do anything wrong," he says coolly. "I just created a harmless bet. It was nothing personal, Stilinski."

"Nothing personal?" Stiles repeats. "You literally put a one hundred dollar price tag on me. One hundred dollars. You can't even buy a nice steak dinner with that much."

"Look, you didn't get fired," Jackson says. "So no harm done."

"You sent a kid after me to seduce me," Stiles says it slowly so it'll penetrate Jackson's skull. "Do you even think with your brain?"

"I didn't force him," Jackson says. He's the kind of kid that Stiles thinks he would've definitely tried and failed to punch a few times in high school. "And it's not really my problem if now you're in love with him."

Stiles feels a fresh bout of loathing course through him at that, a grimace twisting his face as he tries to figure out if this bully in front of him is real life. "Are you kidding me right now?" he grits out. “Are you really going to be this much of a douchebag in front of a teacher?”

“Teacher’s assistant,” Jackson reminds him. “You’re practically my age.”

"Wow," Stiles is truly impressed that somebody like this walks the earth. "When did you hatch this plan? Did you know Peter before class began?"

"No," Jackson says. "We came up with the idea a few days in."

A few days in. Stiles feels something perk up in his stomach, not quite feeling comfortable enough to identify it. As least one thing's certain now: the one night stand at the bar was all Peter. No meddling bets or money on the table. He doesn't know what to do with that information. He doesn't even know what to extrapolate from that, let alone if he wants to.

"Can I go now?" Jackson snaps, straightening out his jacket. Stiles sort of wants to punch him in the face, but refrains.

“Fine,” Stiles says. “You’re a horrible person, just for the record.”

Jackson flips his middle finger up at him as he coolly stalks out of the stairwell, like he doesn’t actually deserve to be called a lot worse. Stiles watches him go, leather jacket annoyingly shiny under the hall lights, and thinks he probably should’ve punched him. Just once.

--

It becomes evident that Friday when Stiles goes to class in the form of two empty desks that punishments have been served and Peter is gone. He looks up a few times, eyes zeroing in on the spot Peter used to stare at him from, and quickly averts his eyes.

Class goes by faster than normal, which Stiles counts as a blessing. He stays longer than necessary, hardly looking forward to Scott and Isaac’s worried, indiscreet glances at him every other second at home as if they expect him to burst into tears alongside a tale of woe and betrayal and reveal the full story of what happened with Peter.

He focuses on grading instead, sitting stooped in the darkening classroom while he collects pile after pile of essays that drone like bees in his skull. He always thought grading would be more fun. He always thought being a TA would be more fun, or that college would be more fun. He should sue all those John Hughes movies that make school look like a walk in the park.

Then footsteps sound in his doorway, and Stiles makes the mistake of looking up. There's Peter, leaning by the wall with his bag slung over his shoulder and an inscrutable expression on his face.

"Stiles," he murmurs, just like Stiles remembers him saying his name. He doesn't want to hear more.

"What now?" Stiles snaps. He's in no mood to see Peter—as a matter of fact, he's not sure he'll ever be in the right mood—and he fiercely wishes he could go back in time just to lock his door. And probably reverse some other things as well, like forewarn his naive younger self of the disasters to come and choose to coach gym or something equally inane instead of volunteer to assist with criminology.

"My new teacher," Peter drawls, almost like he's completely forgotten everything about their last conversation. He steps into the classroom. "Is awful. His voice is dreadful enough to make me want to wear earplugs in class."

Stiles wants not to be listening. He angrily slashes his red pen over a wrong answer on the test in front of him, nearly crossing out the entire question in his carelessness.

"Yeah, I don't care about that story at all," Stiles dismisses, turning the page and wielding his red pen like a weapon. Peter seems to take no heed of his aggression, stepping closer to his desk still. "Got anything where you fell down a sewer on accident? Maybe got mauled by an alligator?"

"Alligators in the sewer?" Peter raises an eyebrow. "Clearly a myth."

Stiles is not interested in answering. He's not interested in listening either, so he makes a show of pretending Peter is an invisible speck of dust in the air rather than a person hell-bent on talking to him while he leafs through papers his eyes aren't actually reading.

"You're still mad," Peter observes when Stiles stays silent. Stiles feels like smashing the desk in half, just a split second of Hulk powers to show Peter just how mad he really is.

"What do you want from me now?" he says, every fiber of his being thinking about throwing his paperweight at Peter's nose. "Fifty bucks if you get me to talk to you? A hundred if I forgive you?"

"You're being dramatic," Peter says.

"You're not welcome here," Stiles says, a little too loudly, noticing a second later that a colleague of his is walking by, curiously peering into the classroom as she goes. He heaves a sigh. "Look at that, maybe you'll get me fired after all. You and Jackson can fight over if it still counts."

He gets up, gathering his things even though his original plan had been to stay another hour or two finishing up his grading. He'll just have to do it elsewhere, somewhere Peter-free where he won't run the risk of punching out a student.

"Where are you going?" Peter asks him.

"Somewhere you aren't," Stiles says, shoving the last of his papers safely into his bag. He slings it over his shoulder. He's hoping, desperately hoping that he can get out before he explodes, but it's a battle he loses. He stops packing up to glare. "You know, what really kills me is that I actually put my career on the line for you."

"The exaggeration is unnecessary."

"Could you shut up?" Stiles grits out. "I was ready to actually sneak around campus with you, hide from teachers, make out in those seedy bars where college kids don't go. I was gonna do all that stuff."

"Stiles."

"And honestly, how the fuck do you even come up with a bet like that?" Stiles is jamming his pencils in now, feeling worked up and uncomfortably warm. "Let's see who can take away this poor guy's jobs by flirting with him for an entire semester? Let's see who can go to his house and make out with him against the fridge?"

"For record, Jackson was the one who came up with the idea," Peter says, unnecessarily.

"Right. I forgot how innocent you were in all this," Stiles moves to the door. He's not fast enough, though, Peter stepping in front of the doorway before he can escape somewhere he can actually breathe.

"You really ought to hear the whole story," Peter says. He actually looks like he might be begging, or at least a very mild subset of begging, and Stiles is almost convinced to let him explain himself. Then he remembers that he's really not interested.

"Why?" Stiles grits out. "Honestly, why?" He gesticulates between them, fiddling with his glasses as they slip down his nose. "We're one hundred percent done."

“Really?”

Really,” Stiles emphasizes. “But thanks for the effort.”

“You can’t keep running away from me, you know,” Peter points out as Stiles tries to brush past him. “If you’d just listen.”

“Uh, I can. And if I could, I’d sprint. Swim, climb, hop, leap, you name it,” he fixes Peter with a look that he hopes leaves no room for discussion. “I don’t want to hear it.” Something traitorous in his mind tells him that he does, he wants to hear it all. “I want to go home.”

They glare at each other, the heat palpable in the empty air. “You’re infuriating, you know that?” Peter mutters. “So stubborn.”

“Yeah, that’s me,” Stiles grins through his teeth. “If you really want to talk to me so badly, why don’t you start with no longer talking to Jackson, huh?”

“I don’t talk with him,” Peter grits out. “I never did, not like you think I did. He’s a spoiled brat.”

“I don’t want to hear it,” Stiles repeats. He definitely wants to hear more, but he’s not stupid. At least, he refuses to be again. “Now if you’ll excuse me,” he hitches his bag up his shoulder. “I’m going the hell home.”

He pushes past Peter and thunders out the door. He isn’t stopped along the way.

--

"According to Scott, who talked to Allison, who asked Lydia, who knows Jackson, says Jackson drives a silver Porsche that he parks in front of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity."

"Yeah. So?"

"So," Isaac draws it out. "He probably won't be using it tonight. Say around... Eleven o'clock."

Stiles closes the book in his lap. "Where are you going with this? Are we going to murder Jackson?" Not that he isn't on board with that idea. He's so on board he might as well be the captain.

Isaac looks slightly annoyed now. A second later, he holds up a crooked cucumber. "It would be a shame if something happened to his car," he tilts the cucumber. "I hear vegetables in the tail pipe aren't good for them."

It's brilliant. As a matter of fact, it's genius. Stiles feels a grin spread over his face as he grabs the cucumber from Isaac. "I don't tell you this enough," he says. "But apparently there's more in than head of yours than just sawdust."

"Thanks," Isaac says. "Who's driving?"

"I am," Stiles says, shooting off the couch with a renewed vigor. Why waste time reading books and watching Netflix when he could be committing acts of vandalism? He heads to the fridge. “Get Scott. We have to plan this out.”

--

The plan goes like this: exact revenge on Jackson Whittemore by jamming cylindrical vegetables into the tail pipe of his unbelievably expensive Porsche deep into the night. Scott takes watch of the frat house to make sure Jackson doesn't come sauntering out too soon for their plain to work, while Isaac and Stiles find the car and proceed to cause terrible damage to it.

“Okay,” Stiles says, decked out head-to-toe in black. He feels a bit like he’s on a Mission Impossible set and is definitely not complaining about it. “Which one’s Jackson’s car?”

“Look for something silver,” Isaac tells him.

“Let me guess,” Stiles adds. “And expensive enough that my grandchildren would be paying off my debts if Jackson knew I’m the one about to ruin his car?”

“Probably,” Isaac shrugs, then points a few feet away. “There.”

A flash of silver, perfectly clean and pristine and never seen a drop of dust longer than two seconds silver, shimmers under the moonlight. Stiles feels a wicked urge to destroy everything Jackson Whittemore loves bubble up, reminding him that if college fails, he could always become a criminal, and sprints toward the car.

"Is the coast clear?" Stiles whispers, and Isaac makes a stealthy circle around the car while Stiles fishes the cucumbers out of his pocket.

“Looks like it—fuck.”

Stiles freezes, fearing police, or worse, drunken frat boys. He ambles around the car after a split second of considering legging it for the streets, pulling Isaac along with him if he has the chance, and there, crouched by the car and rapidly straightening up is—

“Peter?” Stiles blurts out, loud in the dead of night. His words come out with ghostly puffs as he speaks into the cold.

Peter gives him a gentleman’s nod, standing up. He, too, is dressed in all black like he’s in the middle of a bank robbery, with the exception of his jacket, the leather reflecting the bright moonlight.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Isaac demands, instantly protective as he sidles closer to Stiles.

Peter doesn't answer, not until his eyes flick down to the vegetables in their hands. "Vegetables in the tailpipe," he murmurs. "Have to say, I expected more from you, Stiles."

"All right, you can fuck off now," Isaac says loudly. Stiles would tell him to quiet down if he wasn’t in the middle of protecting his virtue. Peter turns to him with a glare icy enough to frost over volcanoes.

"Don't bother," he says to Stiles. "He won't be using this car for a while."

"Why?"

Peter cocks his head to the side of the car. Beside him, Isaac edges closer, inspecting the door and then the tires. Stiles sees it almost instantly, the way the entire car is sagging on what looks more like deflated balloons than tires.

"Did you slash his tires?" Stiles asks, incredulous. He watches Peter shrug noncommittally, obviously smart enough not to confess to any vandalism crimes out loud. A moment later, Stiles sees a flash of shiny metal—a sharp knife—peek out from Peter's pocket. He tries extremely hard to not be impressed.

"Why'd you do it?" Isaac speaks up. "Or do you just generally like going around ruining people's lives?"

"My favorite hobby," Peter flashes Isaac a smile that's all warning teeth. He pivots toward Stiles. “Enjoy the show tomorrow when Whittemore finds out.

His eyes linger on Stiles for a while, too long. Like maybe he wants him to read into this. He turns on his heel, shined shoes crunching on the gravel as he turns around, sleek as ever.

“Wait,” Stiles calls, and Peter looks over his shoulder. “Did you do this for me?”

“Obviously,” Peter spits out. “Would he really be worth my time otherwise?”

That, if anything, seems to stun Isaac into silence. Stiles is equally silenced, watching Peter walk away into the darkness like a bandit. He doesn’t know what to think, not with all these stories overlapping. Jackson telling him that he didn’t take the bet until long after their one night stand. Peter doing personal favors for him in terms of defacing students’ property. He feels something fuzzy in his chest.

“Asshole,” Isaac says vehemently when he’s found his opinion again. “He should do a lot more than risk jail time if he wants to make it up to you.” He seizes the cucumber Stiles is holding. “Come on. I’m ruining this car no matter what.”

“Right,” Stiles says, pulling the other vegetable out of his pocket and watching Isaac kneel by the tailpipe. “Maybe actual jail time will do the trick.”

Then he joins Isaac on the ground, jams Jackson’s tailpipe to the point of no return, and tries to focus on not getting caught by campus police while his mind runs at five hundred miles per hour.

--

"Word on the street is Jackson Whittemore popped a blood vessel this morning upon seeing his car," somebody says, and suddenly the empty spot next to Stiles on the bench he's camped out on is full of one Peter Hale. "I also hear he's been carted off to a hospital promising to sue the school, but that part's being spread around by a freshman, so. Obviously unreliable." He shrugs, deliberating. "But definitely believable."

The sad part is, Stiles can picture it perfectly. Jackson swinging his keys left and right, swaggering to his car, and suddenly finding four very lifeless tires and if he looks closely, two vegetables jammed into his tail pipe. Stiles is sorry he wasn't hiding out in nearby bushes to see it.

"That's some juicy news," Stiles says. He bites down on the inside of his cheeks to keep Peter from seeing exactly how elated that actually makes him. "It might be the best news I've heard all year, actually."

He looks up and finds Peter watching him, almost reverently. It feels like the heat of the sun is on him, burning his back with the scrutiny of Peter's gaze, and he wonders if this sort of thing is normal, sitting here and fighting not to grin while sitting next to the boy who, two days ago, made him angry enough to leave a fist-shaped dent in his door. He should still be angry by all standards. Still, Stiles can't help himself; he gives in and smiles.

"I thought you'd agree," is what Peter finally says. "We make a good team."

Stiles snorts. "We didn't work together," he says. "We just happened to crash each other's acts of vandalism."

Peter shrugs carelessly. He scoots closer, just a few imperceptible inches. "So imagine how much damage we could create if we combined forces."

Stiles feels the grin slip off his face. That must be all Peter ever thinks about, seeing whose life he can tamper with for the sake of his own amusement. Seeing how much disaster he can get away before someone finally punches him right on that defined jaw of his. He sighs, the unexpected warmth of the afternoon fading. "Haven't you done enough damage this year?"

Peter must feel the heaviness behind his words, as he quiets a moment later. It feels like the conversation has ended, Stiles turning back to the homework in front of him and Peter turning back to watching the students race across campus to hurry to class.

Then there's a thumb on his jaw, sliding down from his ear to his chin, and Stiles is stupid enough to tip his head up into the sensation. Peter's watching him again, something intense in his eyes as his thumb swipes over Stiles chin and falls away.

"Just so you know, Stiles," he says. "You're worth a million dollars."

Peter’s looking at him like he means it, like it’s important that Stiles knows this, and all that tickles on Stiles’ tongue is an unsure really? that he doesn’t want to say out loud. He swallows, watching Peter pick up his book bag and slip from the bench, apparently having said his piece. Stiles seizes him by the wrist before he can walk away.

“Is that a joke?” Stiles asks, narrowing his eyes. “Are you just that much of an asshole?”

Peter looks unoffended, probably because he knows perfectly well how much of an asshole he is. “No,” he says. He tilts his head, and it looks like he wants to say something like you really still don’t trust me? but thinks the better of it.

“Is this about Jackson?” Stiles pushes, digging his fingernails into Peter’s wrist. “Do you still have a shot at scoring a hundred bucks, is that it?”

Peter’s fingers are on Stiles’ cheek an instance later, firm on his jaw to tip his chin up. Stiles tries to wiggle away defiantly, but Peter’s grip on him stays strong. It feels warm and soft and special, like maybe Peter doesn’t touch everybody like this, but Stiles’ entire body is on high alert like a boy pushed onto active train tracks, constantly on the lookout for more trouble. Every part of Peter’s being is like a sharp fence, all the prickly barbs covered in honey, so much honey that Stiles is always fooled at first. He looks away to avoid staring straight into Peter’s blue eyes.

“I would never have touched you if I didn’t want to,” Peter says. His thumb swipes under Stiles’ eye. “I wanted to.”

“And how lucky for you that you happen to get paid for things you want to do,” Stiles huffs out.

“Stiles,” Peter sounds a little frustrated by now, which Stiles is fine with. Let him walk away, deem Stiles as hopeless, all the better for Stiles. Less thinking about Peter and wondering if he’s sorry, more focusing on things that actually influence his future. “What exactly are you looking for from me?”

Stiles frowns. “An apology wouldn’t hurt,” he says. “Except I’m not sure those words are even in your vocabulary.”

He glares. Peter glares back. Finally, he grabs Stiles' face in both hands, roughly jerks it upwards, and kisses him.

It feels good, frustratingly so, and Stiles sinks into it for all of three seconds before he pushes Peter back and tries very hard not to lick his lips to avoid tasting him on his mouth. The anger he didn't have before has come back with a vengeance, swelling up in his throat as he wipes his mouth off on his sleeve.

"I meant with your words," Stiles spits out. "Not your mouth."

"That's a bit picky, isn't it?" Peter murmurs. He doesn't look mad at being pushed away, if anything, he looks like he's been challenged. "All right. For you."

"Excuse me?"

"I'll find a way to apologize for you," Peter says, straightening up.

"Should I be holding my breath?"

"Absolutely," Peter says with a grin, and then he's turning around again, back to wherever he came from. A hole underground, Stiles muses, or possibly a villain's cave.

He doesn't hold his breath. But he does watch him leave.

--

A steady rap on the front door pulls Stiles out of the fridge where he's looking for unexpired snacks, halfway to hesitantly trying his luck with a carton of questionable milk. It saves him from that possible disaster, and he closes the fridge to head over to the door.

When he cracks it open armed with dismissive speeches should there be yet more Jehovah's witnesses coming for him, no one's there. He cranes his head around the hallway, wondering if he's been ding-dong-ditched until his eyes cast downward to the sad pile of flowers tied together in a bouquet laying on the welcome mat. They look startlingly like dandelions and other assorted weeds he usually tramples through on his way into the apartments. He doesn't know whether to laugh or use them to slap himself over the forehead.

For whatever unknown reason, he brings them inside, closing the door behind him. He has a sneaking suspicion about who's behind this, and hardly needs confirmation.

“I said with words, you idiot,” Stiles mutters, leafing through the stems for a card. He finds one crumpled stuck between a few leaves, empty except for the words how's this?

It's pretty damn romantic, Stiles begrudgingly admits, and it would be even more romantic if they didn't look like weeds stolen from the strip of grass in front of the apartments. Still, it's a gesture, something that involved effort, and Stiles is mildly touched.

He stops being touched when his eyes start watering, itchy like a colony of red ants is behind his eyeballs, and his running nose joins the party two minutes later.

"You okay?" Scott's voice swims into place after Stiles violently blows his nose into the nearest tissue. "What's with the flowers?"

"Peter harassing me," Stiles says.

"Does he know you're allergic?"

"Wouldn't surprise me," Stiles hacks up a hearty couch. He brings them to the trash holding them between his forefinger and thumb, ready to discard of the offenders. "Let's find out."

He grabs his phone and finds Peter's name, calling his number. He waits for the ringing to stop. He doesn't wait for the cursory hello.

"Thanks for trying to kill me," Stiles says in lieu of a greeting. "Much appreciated."

"Stiles," Peter says, and it sounds like he's smiling. Stiles listens for any sign of breathlessness, like he might have just run from Stiles' door in an effort not to be caught delivering romantic gestures. Of course there isn't, the smooth bastard.

“What do you want, you menace?” Stiles grumbles, stuffing the flowers into the trash as his eyes tear. “You’re terrorizing me.”

“Terrorizing? I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” Peter says on the other end without missing a beat. Stiles wishes he could see his face, all too sure that he’d find a self-satisfied smirk spreading on his face.

“The flowers,” Stiles says. “I’m allergic, you fucker.”

Peter’s response is a sharp tut. “As if I would send you flowers. They’re hardly my style.”

"Not your style? Then what is your style?" Stiles asks.

Peter hums, carefully considering his answer. "Candlelight affairs by bare skin rugs. Aphrodisiac chocolates. Sweeping addictive boys with glasses and aversions to flowers off their feet."

Instantly, Stiles' fingers gravitate up to readjust his glasses as he stares at the deflated heap of weeds in his trash can. He should not be charmed by this, he should not be charmed by this. Why is he charmed by this.

"Why don't you try asking me out," Stiles says, taking a leap of faith. "I hear that's what normal people do."

"That's a bit presumptuous, isn't it?"

"Oh, is it?" Stiles steadily ignores the loud thump of his heartbeat. "Guess I better hang up then."

"Dinner," Peter says suddenly. "I'll take you out to dinner."

"You're supposed to ask me, not tell me."

"Is that a no?"

"I'm not sure," for a split second, Stiles wishes Peter was on speakerphone and Isaac and Scott would be huddled around him, listening in and providing valuable advice. He decides to take this challenge on by himself, sticking purely to his instinct. "Will I get my apology?"

"You'll get whatever you need," Peter promises. It actually surprises Stiles, such candor, and he shifts the phone as he considers it.

"No more flowers," Stiles demands.

"Friday, then," Peter says, taking his orders as an affirmation. "Be ready."

"Fine," Stiles sniffs, wondering how much longer he should be bitter about this. Probably not too long if he doesn't want to follow dinner up with the Botox he'll be needing after all that glaring he'll be sending Peter's way.

Peter hangs up then, hopefully procuring more grand gestures that don't involve triggering more of Stiles' allergies. He stuffs the phone in his pocket, knotting the trash shut and letting his eyes drift over to where Scott's watching him.

"Is it stupid to give some people a second chance?" he asks him.

"Sometimes it's stupid not to," Scott says. Stiles hopes he's right about that one.

--

“What are you doing here?”

Stiles is jolted out of his dozing on the sofa by the sound of Isaac’s voice, pulled down at least five octaves lower than normal, threatening whoever’s standing on the threshold. He rubs the sleepiness from his eyes, sitting up on the couch and pushing the textbook on his lap onto the floor to pick up later.

“As nice as it is for you to intimidate me on your friend’s behalf, I’m not here to brawl with you over Stiles’ dignity.”

Stiles knows that voice, of course he does. That voice can’t leave him alone for more than ten minutes—if it’s not his phone or his class, it’s his head, replaying bits of Peter’s snark when his mind wanders. He roughly shakes the last vestiges of his nap from his shoulders and hurries to the door.

“Why should I let you in?” Isaac says, practically dripping venom, just as Stiles shows up to check over his shoulder who’s standing in the door. As predicted, Peter stands there, smug in a leather jacket and a smattering of chest hair that disappears under the line of his shirt. Stiles clears his throat.

“Peter,” he says, watching both heads snap toward him. “More house calls?”

Isaac shuffles into his personal space, leaning near his ear to whisper, “I’ll make him go away.”

“It’s okay,” Stiles says, patting Isaac on the shoulder. He’s like a helpful guard dog, he thinks, sometimes downright vicious toward unwanted strangers at the door. He turns to Peter. “What are you doing here?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Peter asks, unimpressed. “I’m here to take you out.”

Stiles blinks, and takes a moment to look down at his ratty sweats. "You know, most people actually call beforehand and make plans even ten, five minutes before they show up."

"I did," Peter says. He knits his eyebrows together. "What sort of uncultured heathen do you take me for?"

Stiles fishes his phone out of his pocket, unlocking the screen. There, unread, are three messages consisting of warnings of Peter's arrival. He groans, stuffing the phone back into his pocket.

"I was asleep," Stiles says, running a hand through his hair.

"Good," Peter says, unperturbed. "Then you'll be well rested for tonight."

Next to him, Isaac lets loose a choked noise, similar to a cow being aggressively choked, and hides his face in his hands. Stiles refuses to do the same even as his mouth falls open.

"You better be talking about mini golf or laser tag or something that involves clothes," Stiles warns. Peter grins at him, something like a beast proudly baring its teeth, and Stiles feels it go straight to his groin.

"Of course," Peter says through his smile. "I'm a gentleman."

"Right," Stiles snorts. "I'll just go get dressed." He turns to Isaac after he reemerges from his hands. "Try not to kill him."

“You have two minutes,” Isaac tells him gravely, which Stiles takes at face value, and bolts to his closet.

--

Sitting under the romantic candlelight of a steakhouse so unbelievably out of his price range Stiles takes a long look around to commit a place he will never see again to memory, Stiles wonders exactly how stupid he is for agreeing to go out with Peter Hale.

The good news, he supposes, is that he doesn’t have to check around corners to see if professors are judging him, eager to gossip about his clandestine affairs with a student. It’s perfectly safe to hang around him now that Peter’s officially removed from his class for wrongdoing, even if it does look bizarre to anyone who knows the whole story. Stiles feels bizarre.

Then again, the way Peter just ordered a ludicrously overpriced steak for Stiles alongside a wine so rare it’s probably only sold by one lucky, possibly magical merchant in the middle of Italy, feels much more like he’s being courted than played. Probably impressed.

“Is this supposed to be another wordless apology?” Stiles asks as a sizzling steak lands in front of him, juicy and pricy and waiting to be devoured. He leans in and sniffs. “Another attempt to get me to pat you on the head and say it’s all right?”

“It’s not an apology,” Peter tells him. “And I’m not going to give you one.”

Stiles’ hand, guiding a forkful of steak to his mouth, freezes. He looks up and sees the waiter, currently in the process of uncorking a bottle of wine, and Stiles off-handedly thinks that he doesn’t want an audience while he has this conversation. Still, it seems inevitable that he will, especially considering that they’re surrounded with what looks to be a crowd of pretentious eavesdroppers. If they go out again, it’ll be to a fast food joint. He puts his fork down. “What?”

“Why would I apologize? I don’t regret it,” Peter says, taking an experimental sip of the wine poured for him. He turns to the waiter, a grimace on his face. “You call this a Sassicaia?” He shakes his head. “Get me the Chardonnay.”

“Peter,” Stiles tries to reel this back on track as the waiter wheels around with the bottle. “Are you just jerking me around here?”

“What?” Peter’s eyebrows furrow together. “No. Let me finish.” He lays the napkin out on his lap and cuts into his own steak. “I took the bet because I just…” he seems to search for the right words, a small smile flicking on his face, “couldn’t help myself.”

“Because it had been so long since you had ruined someone’s happiness?”

“Because, Stiles,” Peter talks over him, his voice firmer, “you are… exquisite.”

“I am?” Stiles repeats slowly, and the rest of his words are swallowed away when Peter’s hand, snaked under the table, lands on his knee, squeezing softly.

“Don't pretend you don't know how insane you drove me," Peter says, something intense suspended over his face. His hand crawls slightly higher on Stiles' leg, jolting him into bumping his knees against the underside of the table.

"I think it was more the other way around," Stiles says faintly. The hand on his leg is tracing his inner thigh, so of course that's when the waiter reappears brandishing a new wine bottle.

"Perfect," Peter says, his hand slithering out from under the table to grab the bottle once it's uncorked. He pours himself a generous helping, then tips the neck in Stiles' direction, who promptly shakes his head. The last thing he needs tonight is alcohol. "You really think you were totally innocent in all of this?"

Stiles sputters indignantly. "Uh, yeah!"

"Please," Peter rolls his eyes as he swills the wine under his nose, breathing in. "Calling me drunk. Staring at me in class. Those glasses."

"You're really saying I got to you?" Stiles feels a swell of pride in his chest. "I enticed you?"

"You want me to stroke your ego, don’t you?” Peter murmurs. “Yes, you enticed me. You seduced me.”

“Are you proposing marriage, is that what this is, then?”

Peter eyes him over his wine glass. The look seems familiar, like he very strongly wants to ask what’s wrong with Stiles. Too much, certainly too much for one evening, and there’s still so much more he wants to talk about.

“If you want an apology,” Peter finally says, putting the glass down. “I’m sorry for ever using Jackson to get to you. And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.” He slips another bite of steak into his mouth and takes his time chewing, probably to keep Stiles in suspense. “After all, we could’ve worked together. Pulled the sheet over his eyes as a team.”

“But you’re not sorry for hanging around me?”

“Why would I?” Peter shakes his head. “You’re addictive.”

Addictive. Enticing. Stiles really is getting his ego stroked tonight. He tries not to let the smile show on his face, focusing on the conversation.

“You know you put me through hell, right?” he says seriously, pushing a chunk of steak around on his plate under the guise of mopping up sauce while he tries to keep his hands busy. “All the who can seduce Stilinski first and get him fired drama. It sucked.”

“That wasn’t a requirement.”

“What?”

Peter swallows another bite, taking time to smile around his fork. “That was a personal addition of mine,” he murmurs. “The bet never said I had to seduce you.”

"Then why did you?"

Peter's smile slips away. "Do you ever listen while I talk?" His foot nudges Stiles' under the table, briefly sliding up his calf. "I wanted to. I wanted to be around you. I wanted to fuck you and watch you squirm whenever I so much as breathed near you. The bet was just convenient."

"But you already had me," Stiles blurts out.

"Pardon?"

"No, I mean," Stiles shakes his head, feeling horribly warm under the proverbial spotlight he feels shining on his head. "You could've just asked me to go out with you. You were fucking incredible in bed that night and the fact that I know this even though I was smashed is saying something."

"I was your student," Peter tells him slowly. "Isn't that a no-no for the rule-bound Professor Stilinski?"

"I'm not rule-bound. I'm a rule breaker. I'm a rebel," Stiles corrects him, straightening out his jacket. Peter's smiling. "I would've just told you to switch classes." Stiles wrinkles his nose. "What is wrong with your brain that you thought you had to use Jackson Whittemore to seduce me?"

"Well," Peter leans in an inch closer, close enough that under the dim mood-lit atmosphere of the restaurant, Stiles can carefully catalog every detail of his jawline. "It worked, didn't it?"

"Aren't you cocky," Stiles huffs. "What makes you think I forgive you?"

Peter leans forward. It makes Stiles want to do the same, like Peter is something of a compelling sun Stiles feels the need to arch closer to like a growing daisy. "Well," he murmurs. His foot has found Stiles' under the table again. "You're here, aren't you?"

"I am," Stiles agrees. "Shit."

"You can have time if you want," Peter says, though he sounds like he very much wants to disapprove of that idea. "I'm not looking for a quick fuck."

"You aren't?"

"Already got that, didn't I?" Peter says, cutting off the last of his steak.

"Wait," Stiles needs to recap, and slowly. "You want to be with me. And you're willing to wait for me."

“Seems like it,” Peter reaches inside his pocket, drawing out his wallet. “Do you want to get out of here?”

He does. He so very much does. He wants to sit somewhere he doesn’t have to lower his voice and worry about dropping steak sauce on a very clean carpet. He maybe wants to do more, too, like fold himself around Peter’s body and see if it still feels as mind-numbing as it did last time to kiss him. Peter’s kisses could probably make him forget everything, which is, probably, part of the problem.

“Yeah,” Stiles says, finishing off his steak with one more behemoth bite and balling up his napkin while Peter lays a generous tip on the table. He grabs Peter’s wrist before they can get up, warm under his touch. “Only to talk. Not to feel each other up.”

Peter raises an eyebrow. “All right,” he says. “But it’s nice to know you were considering the latter.”

Stiles ignores him. He gets up, pushing the chair out of the way and heading for the exit while the waiting staff practically bows them out. It’s a bit too posh for Stiles’ liking, what with the nearly Victorian tailcoats on everybody’s suits, but Stiles will be happy to show him the merits of a two-dollar hot dog vendor in the future.

In the future. So he is considering this, taking Peter’s explanation at face value. Trusting him not to fuck up. He wonders if perhaps, that’s everybody’s relationship at some point or another. Even friendships. People fuck up. Some worse than others, some earlier than others. Maybe one day Stiles will fuck up royally like he usually does and Peter will forgive him for that. Maybe he ought to give him the chance to do so. He wants to.

That’s half the fun, isn’t it? Getting over the hurdles. Throwing those ridiculous things under the bridge to be washed away with the rest of the water. He’s lost count of how many times Isaac’s fed him expired food, or how many times Scott has accidentally deleted his papers off the computer. That’s the same thing, only in smaller doses.

So okay, he’s going to do this. He’s going to try this. He at least wants to try, if only to see the look on Jackson Whittemore’s face if nothing else. He could make a sign, something like nice try, you fucker! that he waves whenever he passes them on campus—

“That steak wasn’t too bad,” Peter’s commenting. “Even though the cook doesn’t seem to grasp the definition of rare.”

He pushes the door open for Stiles, and they slip out.

"Thanks for dinner," Stiles says as the restaurant door jingles closed behind them, the cold rushing at them. He wraps his coat around himself, ducking his face against the wind.

"Don't thank me, it was your treat," Peter says.

"It was—no. You didn't. My hundred dollars?"

"The idea of spending your money on my personal endeavors felt... immoral," Peter admits with a shrug.

"Really? You have morals?" Stiles laughs at that, loudly and obnoxiously so it grates on Peter's nerves. He nudges Peter with his hip as they stroll further away from the restaurant, perusing leisurely down the street. "You're paying for the next one."

"There'll be a next time?" Peter asks him, clearly curious. The one million dollar question, Stiles thinks, and wishes he didn't want to say yes and push Peter up against the nearest lamppost to slide his tongue into his mouth so much.

And that should be enough, shouldn't it? Wanting someone, and having them want you too. Maybe it's not as complicated as Stiles thinks, give or take a few bets and diabolical behavior. He considers laughing, because it really is quite comical, but then he looks up and sees Peter watching him, his eyes as intensely blue as always, and decides now isn't the moment.

"I don't know," Stiles says carefully, even as he's thinking yes. "Where do we even go from here?"

"I suppose that depends on you," Peter tells him, and he was afraid of that. "You're the one who doesn't trust me."

Stiles looks over at his smirk and feels the weight of decision on his shoulders. He stops walking, pivoting to face Peter and jamming his hands in his pockets partly to ward off the cold and partly keep his nervous fingers contained. He figures that he might as well contribute honesty to the table now or never.

"I want to be with you," Stiles breathes out, speaking more to the lamppost overhead than to Peter. He briefly wonders if he's being a fool again and laughs, the air turning white around his mouth as he exhales. "I feel like we've been here before. Deja vu."

Peter smiles. "You pressing me against your fridge door. You asking me what I want from you."

"Yeah, and you never really told me."

Peter smiles at that, and the way his mouth curves upward feels intimate and personal in a way like it's meant only for Stiles. He steps closer and Stiles sucks in a quick breath, the air around him suddenly warmer with Peter standing in close proximity. A hand slides down his cheek, soft knuckles grazing by his eye.

"To drive you crazy, obviously," Peter says. "Keep you all to myself. Find out what you like best. Make you mine."

Stiles is slightly dry in the mouth. "I want those things," he confesses. "If you really mean it."

"If I don't," Peter's even closer by now, "you can let your roommates beat me up like I'm sure they've been aching to."

Isaac would jump on the possibility, and Scott might even help hold him down if Stiles asked him to. He thinks hard about it, if there's anything holding him back, like a teacher assistant's rulebook or doing the right thing, and realizes if he wants it, he can have it.

"Deal," Stiles nods, and the world doesn't even implode. "They would beat you up so hard."

"I don't want to find out," Peter says. "How shall we seal the deal?"

"Oh, you think you're so smooth, don't you?" Stiles groans, and then yanks him in by the lapels of his coat.

He's probably being stupid, Stiles thinks vaguely as Peter's lips touch his, drowning out the cold and the din of the street around them. This is him foolishly being fooled yet again, lured in by a siren song that is probably Peter's smirk, but he finds that oddly enough, he doesn't care. Not even a little bit, not when there are hands slipping under his coat to touch him through his shirt and feel his skin.

The kiss feels long, almost suspended in time, and Stiles only distantly registers being pushed up against the brick wall of the nearest building before winding his arms around Peter's neck, keeping him close and tilting their mouths together. A second later, a door two feet away opens, a gust of warm air flutters over them, and a catcall reminds Stiles of the audience he may or may not be attracting.

"Take it inside!" a voice yells, accompanied by a loud giggle, and Stiles pulls away from Peter's mouth at the sound.

"Not a bad suggestion," Peter says to him in hushed tones. His hands, hidden under Stiles' coat, slip a few inches under the waistband of his jeans. "My place? Yours?" He leans in to plant a lingering kiss on Stiles neck. "The nearest bathroom stall?"

"You promised me laser tag," Stiles says, a little breathlessly. "Honestly. What kind of boy do you think I am?"

Peter grins, pulling away from his neck. "The kind who appreciates a good fucking," he says, and it sounds familiar. It slots itself into Stiles' memories a moment later—that night at the bar, Peter nothing but a handsome stranger that bought him free drinks and whispered in his ear.

"You're not wrong," Stiles says. "But not out here."

"My place then," Peter decides for them, grabbing his hand. He kisses him one last time, frigid hand on his cheek, just for the onlookers still watching. "Unless you really want to first do laser tag."

"Next time," Stiles says. He nods, wanting there to be a next time. "Next time."

--

Stiles wakes up in foreign sheets, too much sunlight, and one hell of a long night lingering in his mind thirteen hours later. The first thing his body thinks to do is smile, which makes him feel dopey and silly and hopelessly smitten. It’s not a bad feeling, especially the way it runs up his spine and makes him want to stretch out in the sun like a pleased cat. He twists on his side, silk caressing his very naked hip, and sees Peter watching him from the other side of the bed.

“Creepy,” Stiles murmurs.

"You're still here," Peter murmurs, ignoring him. Stiles frowns.

"You don't have to sound so disappointed," he says, voice thick with sleep. Peter's leg curls around his hip, keeping him close.

"Not that you're here," Peter amends. "Rather that you're not in the kitchen making waffles."

"I'm your guest," Stiles sputters.

"Who I treated extremely well yesterday," Peter reminds him, leaning in to fit his mouth over a very prominent teeth mark left on his shoulder last night. It jolts Stiles awake. "I deserve a reward."

"Hey," Stiles says, trying his hardest to be indignant when Peter's nibbling on his collarbone. "I did not sign up for a food-for-sex relationship. I refuse to trade waffles for blowjobs."

"Together, then," Peter compromises on his chest. "I'll fix your cooking blunders."

"The compliments just keep coming," Stiles forces Peter's head up by the hair. He looks sleep-mussed, hair out of place and eyes unnaturally blue, and the overwhelming need to kiss him tickles his midsection.

"Here's another," Peter says, kissing the corner of his mouth slowly. "Nice underwear."

Stiles looks down, lifting the sheets where they're tangling around his midsection, and sees his discarded boxers at the foot of the bed. Captain America, his favorite. "Are you dissing my choice in undergarments?"

"Never," he drawls, his hand sliding up Stiles' back. Stiles will give up breakfast all together just to have Peter continue doing so. "I have the utmost respect for Captain America."

"Really?" Stiles narrows his eyes. "You seem more like a Thor kind of guy."

Peter raises his eyebrows. "Have you been thinking about this long?"

"Of course," Stiles says. Being naked together in the daytime, knowing that it actually means something other than dark, drunken one night stands, it keeps him from constantly turning beet red around Peter. Then again, this isn't Peter his student anymore. It's Peter his boyfriend. Fuck, that sounds nice. "All night. I think about you every hour. Every minute. My world revolves around you."

"I'm glad," Peter says, deadly serious. Then he picks himself up from Stiles' chest, still gloriously naked, but very un-gloriously out of reach. "All right. What about those waffles?"

Stiles doesn't want to eat. Eating breakfast may just be the last thing on his mind right now. He pulls Peter back down, hooking his legs around his waist to keep him in place. "What about them," he mumbles, and pulls Peter down for a kiss.

"And I'm the menace," Peter scoffs, biting Stiles' lower lip. "You don't want food?"

"Not yet," Stiles whines. They're both naked, their chests, legs, hips, and hardening cocks pressed together, doing most of the persuasion for Stiles. "I’d rather suck you off.”

Peter freezes, clearly tempted. He drapes himself over Stiles, straddling his hips. He’s so, so naked, and Stiles’ for the taking. He would call this extraordinary luck if it hadn’t taken them so long to get here.

“Okay,” Peter agrees slowly. “Then waffles.”

“Done,” Stiles says. “Now get down here and kiss me.”

Peter complies.

--

Peter comes home with Stiles after midterms, unfairly composed unlike all the other ragged, exhausted students tired from staring at endless sheets of test paper and essay questions. Stiles is glad he's no longer in his class if only to keep Stiles from watching him stick his pencil into his mouth for an entire three hours of finals rather than actually be productive. It's amazing how much he can accomplish when there's no one to stare at in the first row.

The first thing that happens is that Peter walks through the door and Isaac punches him, at least once for good measure. He gets him ice later, but not until the bruise swells to the surface of his jaw. Stiles tries not to laugh.

"If I ever see you next to Jackson Whittemore again," Isaac warns him when they all settle onto the couch, “I’ll personally take out each one of your teeth."

Peter turns to Stiles. "Any help?"

"Definitely not," Stiles scoffs, enjoying this a little too much. "We could make a real profit selling your teeth on the black market."

"You'd sell my teeth on the black market?" Peter repeats. "I would require a cut of the profits."

"Not a chance," Stiles shakes his head. "Never do business deals with toothless men. Pretty sure that's a ground rule."

"You guys are weird," Isaac comments from the armchair. "I'm trying to threaten him here."

"Of course," Peter gives him a gratuitous smile. "Please continue."

"Well, okay," Isaac seems to be thrown by Peter's willingness to listen to his threats. Stiles is almost positive he only wants to hear them so he can offer critique. "Just—" He falters, looking at Scott for help.

"Be good to Stiles," Scott fills in helpfully. Isaac nods, and Stiles feels a ridiculous swelling of affection for his friends well up in his chest. Offering to do unofficial dental surgery on an ex is the mark of true friendship, Stiles thinks.

"Or we'll take action," Isaac follows up.

"Very chilling," Peter says. "I'll give it a four out of ten. Too ambiguous."

“That’s probably on purpose,” Stiles says. “So you’ll never know what to expect.”

“Oh, all right,” Peter winds an arm around Stiles’ shoulder, casual and nonchalant. Three pairs of eyes, none of them Peter’s, all follow the movement carefully. “Then a five out of ten.”

The silence is deafening for a good thirty seconds, nothing but the sound of Peter rearranging a towel full of ice against his mouth in the air. There’s an unspoken conversation between the three of them, Stiles begging Isaac to keep his cool and Isaac deliberating whether or not another punch is in order.

“I can live with that,” Isaac says finally. It sounds like I’ll forgive you for this one, you son of a bitch.

“Five out of ten isn’t too bad,” Scott says with a grin. Stiles takes it to mean me too, but be good.

“I can help you work that threat up to a good eight, possibly nine if you’d like,” Peter offers. I’ll try not to fuck up again.

Stiles muffles his smile, too big to be bitten down, behind Peter’s shoulder.

--

“To winter break!”

At least thirty people, most of them complete strangers to Stiles, lift their glasses in reverence and collectively sigh in relief. That, Stiles thinks, has less to do with his popularity and more to do with the stress of college exams. Still, an upcoming break is always worth celebrating even in times of testing, so he swallows down a shot of tequila that succeeds in making his eyes water and grips the table for support.

“I can’t believe you’ll still be teaching next semester,” Isaac says skeptically. “You’re sleeping with a student.”

“Hey, he’s not my student,” Stiles says, because the distinction is important. With Peter in his class, Stiles is immoral and possibly running a gradebook based on sexual favors; out of his class, Stiles is hopelessly charming enough to bag himself a younger man.

“Anymore,” Peter mentions helpfully, and then his hand slides around Stiles’ back to rest on the curve of his ass. Stiles is pleasantly tipsy enough to not bother protesting public groping.

“Do you know what Jackson is saying about you two?” Scott asks them.

“Surely nothing good.”

Scott shakes his head, laughing. “He keeps telling people he’s responsible for getting you two together. That if it wasn’t for him, it never would’ve happened.”

“He’s got a point,” Isaac mentions.

“No, he doesn’t,” Peter drawls, drawing Stiles closer. “I went home with Stiles long before I ever met Jackson.”

"He also made things a lot more complicated than necessary," Stiles points out. "If I'll be telling him anything, it certainly won't be thank you. Maybe a few choice words."

"Hear, hear," Scott agrees, and all four of them clink glasses with minimal spillage.

The conversation derails there, Isaac turning the subject to finals and exactly how many brain cells were lost during the fifth consecutive test. Stiles tunes him out when Peter molds himself against Stiles' side, his lips brushing his temple.

"Hey," Peter murmurs into Stiles' ear, tapping him on the hip. "Come home with me tonight."

Stiles attempts to consider it. "Maybe," he checks his watch. "But I'm actually due to collect some money. I made a bet that I could get a student to sleep with me, you see."

Peter's eyebrows raise into his hairline. "Oh?"

"Yeah. Fifty bucks."

"That's what I'm worth, huh?"

"Who said this was about you?" Stiles says through a reproving shake of his head. "Nah. Very muscly kid in the back of my class. Drinks a lot of protein shakes. Could probably bench press a car."

“Sounds… meaty.”

“You bet,” Stiles nods. “Eyes like forest moss. Huge hands. You know what they say about hands.”

"Does he sparkle as well?"

They stare at each other, Stiles trying his hardest to bite the inside of his cheeks to keep his laughter at bay. He loses the battle.

"You bastard," Stiles says, the grin he had been holding back breaking out over his face. "Why aren't you exploding with jealousy?"

"Do you want me to?"

"Yes."

"Oh, all right," Peter schools his face into something explosively cantankerous. "How dare you stare at another man? I'll have his eyeballs removed in his sleep. I'll chew through his neck. The police will find nothing but mangled shreds." He tilts his head. "Are you ready to take on the commitment of escaping the law with me?"

"You're impossible," Stiles says. He pulls Peter in by the fabric of his shirt. "Yes, I'll go home with you tonight."

"Sure you don't have grading to do?"

"Nope," Stiles grins. "So what should we do with our time?"

"I'm sure we can think of something," Peter murmurs, and Stiles agrees.