The sheriff scrubs a slow hand over his jaw, brows up as he stares at the forms spread out over the table top. Adjacent from him, Stiles sits and bounces his leg, gnawing at the hard corner of his thumb.
There hasn’t been much noise in their house these days. The only thing that accompanies them is the tick-tick-tick of the clock hanging by the door and that creaking hum the fridge kicks into every once in a while. Stiles keeps glancing between the papers and his father’s face, arm wrapped over his own ribcage, fingers bunching and unbunching the time-worn material of his t-shirt.
“I thought you wanted to stay local,” the sheriff says, finally, after what seems like forever.
“I changed my mind,” Stiles says.
The sheriff nods. “I figured. But… Montana?”
“They have a really great program,” Stiles nods, sitting forward in his chair. “They liked my stuff, and they had rolling admissions so I went for it. They’re even offering a scholarship to make the tuition basically in-state.”
His dad sighs, nods again, and glances up at where Stiles is worrying his lower lip between his teeth. “And this is what you want?”
“I could use a change of pace,” Stiles says, tone firm.
Leaning in, the sheriff places a hand over one of Stiles’. His smile is small, a sort of grimace, and he dips his head in order to keep his gaze locked with Stiles’ own.
“You gonna tell me what happened?” he asks. “Or am I just supposed to guess.”
Lips thinning, Stiles shakes his head. “I just—Something happened, and I can’t stay, I just—I can’t anymore, dad.”
He squeezes at Stiles’ hand. “It’s okay, kiddo. Whatever you need, you know I’ll give.”
Stiles’ expression fractures. The firm set of his jaw quivers, calm brow breaking to furrow together, lips folding in and pressing tight as Stiles nods just shy of too quickly.
The sheriff’s grip on his son’s hand goes tighter.
“I know,” Stiles says and his voice cracks. “I love you, dad.”
Frowning, the sheriff tugs him closer, pulls him against his chest and wraps him up tight. He cradles the back of Stiles’ head the way Claudia might have, kisses his temple, and lets Stiles cling to his work shirt.
Stiles doesn’t cry. The sheriff wonders if that time has already passed.
“I love you too, kid.” He says, instead of asking, kissing the top of his head. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Missoula?” Lydia asks, skeptical.
“It’s really pretty,” Stiles assures.
Lydia snorts indelicately, then flicks her hair over a shoulder with a defying deftness. “It sounds like a pasta.”
Glancing over his shoulder at her, Stiles grins as he rolls his eyes, then gestures to the mirror in front of him. “Can we focus?”
“Go a size down,” she insists. “You’ve got a cute ass, might as well show it off.”
Stiles’ cheeks pinken. “Not so sure I want to be showing it off these days.”
Cheeks puffing out, Lydia shoves to her feet and prances over, turning him with both hands at his shoulders. “Derek and his merry band of furry little muppets can go fuck themselves, okay?”
“I know,” Stiles nods.
“Good.” She twists him about to face the hall that leads towards the dressing rooms, swatting his butt to get him moving. “Now go try on that blazer combo. If you’re going to go up into the middle of nowhere, Montana to study, you might as well look good doing it.”
When he gets back out, tugging at the collar of the shirt beneath the jacket, Lydia is waiting with an entire armful of new items. He lets her tug him in front of the mirrors, smiling crookedly as she runs her fingers through his hair to muss it.
His brow goes up as she rolls up the sleeves of the blazer neatly, followed by the button up’s, cuffing over and over until the overlap—rich blue on a plaid of green and navy hues. She hums, smoothing down the shirt over his chest, and then unbuttons the top two fastens by his throat. Her fingers tug gently at the collar, and she smiles brightly.
“There,” she breathes and takes a step aside.
Stiles laughs at the sight of himself.
“I look ridiculous.”
“You look hot,” Lydia says. “Trust me. The dark blues suit you. And this?”
She touches the hollow of his throat with ginger fingertips, then strokes down one of his forearms.
“All tease,” she rocks up onto her toes briefly. “Everyone will be drooling.”
Stiles stands up a bit straighter, tugs at the lapels and tilts his head. “I doubt it.”
Lydia hums, staring at him in the mirror. “I’ll miss you.”
“You’re going all the way to the east coast,” he shakes his head. “Don’t even start.”
She slips her arm around his waist, pulls him close, and he watches in the reflection as she balances on her tiptoes to kiss his cheek. “Doesn’t mean I won’t miss you.”
“And that I’m a phone call away.”
Stiles smiles. “I know.”
He falters when he finds Peter in his room. His face goes steely, hard. Peter smiles at him with white teeth, leaning back in Stiles’ desk chair, fingers crossed over his own stomach.
Sneering, Stiles sets his bags down and walks straight towards his closet. Peter watches him, head canted. When Stiles pulls out luggage instead of speaking, he sighs loud enough to be noticed.
“You know,” Peter says, lips pursed as Stiles tosses his suitcase onto the bed. “I’ve always found humiliation to be something that is beneath me.”
“How gallant of you,” Stiles mutters.
“Someone’s in a mood,” Peter inhales slow, then exhales as he pushes to his feet.
Stiles’ jaw ticks; he doesn’t look Peter’s way. “Fuck off.”
Drawing closer, Peter stops barely more than a breath away. Stiles goes rigid as Peter places a palm against the middle of his back. Shuffling in a bit more, Peter dips his head, voice low when he speaks.
“Tell me, Stiles.” He says. “Do you imagine yourself to be his Ophelia?”
Stiles shudders. “What part of fuck off don’t you get?”
Peter’s hand eases lower. It is hot through Stiles’ shirt, burning when it stills at Stiles’ hip. Gooseflesh rises along Stiles’ arms, and he frowns, eyes locked on his empty suitcase.
“As I was saying early, humiliation just isn’t my thing.” Peter mutters, flush with Stiles—not quite at his back, not quite at his side—intimately close in ways that make Stiles’ stomach tighten. “What Derek did…? Well, let’s just say, idiocy is one of his stronger traits.”
“Because you would have fucked me twice before telling me it was a joke?” Stiles spits.
Peter laughs; Stiles feels it thrum at his core. “Oh, have I got news for you.”
He pulls away. Stiles twists around, brows pinched. Peter is already headed for the door.
“Where are you—What do you mean?” Stiles calls after him. “Peter.”
Pausing in the threshold, Peter turns back. His eyes stray over Stiles; they linger in places that might have made Stiles uncomfortable if it was anyone else. It is a predatory, assessing look. Peter hums when their eyes meet again.
“That color suits you,” he says.
He holds up a hand, letting out a burdened little breath. “When are you leaving?”
Stiles hesitates, then licks his lips. “A week.”
“So early?” Peter asks.
“I’m going to take a few summer classes,” Stiles says. “Get ahead of the game.”
Peter nods, smile small. “That’s a good plan.”
“I’m leaving with you.”
“What?” Stiles shakes his head. “Why?”
“Quite frankly?” Peter holds out his hands. “I’m tired of this town. Need a change of pace.”
Peter laughs again, softer this time. He steps back into the room, shuts the door behind him, and tucks his hands into his pockets. Stiles waits, shifting from foot to foot, and swallows as Peter goes back to regarding him with that quiet, eerie little smile.
Crossing his arms over his chest, Stiles doesn’t look away. Peter’s lips thin like he’s trying to keep from grinning to broadly.
“All you have to do is ask me—“
“What are you tired of?” Stiles snaps.
Peter’s brows rise. “Mostly my nephew. The fact that all he does is associate with teenagers doesn’t help.”
“I’m a teenager.”
“Yes,” Peter nods. “And no.”
“No?” Stiles asks, haughty and exasperated.
“Like Miss Martin, you are very much beyond your years.” Peter breathes. “Besides, you already know that I like you enough to want you around.”
Stiles snorts. “That was a long time ago.”
“It was,” Peter nods. “A lot has changed.”
“Like what?” Stiles’ upper lip curls in disdain. “Like you?”
“And you,” Peter insists, drawing forward slowly. “Do you want to know why Derek did what he did?”
For the first time, Stiles steps back. His eyes flit, anywhere but Peter, and he clears his throat.
“If you want to leave so bad, why don’t you just go?” Stiles asks.
“Contrary to popular belief,” Peter says. “I actually don’t like being alone. Six years in a coma will do that to you.”
“So you’ve decided to stalk me halfway across the country?” Stiles asks.
Peter shrugs. “I might not stick around. But it sounds nice, doesn’t it? Having a familiar face?”
Stiles bites the insides of his lips, scanning Peter quickly. “Next Saturday. Six a.m. Be here.”
Peter smiles, gives a polite dip of his head and steps back from him. “I will be.”
“Good,” Stiles says quickly. “Because I won’t wait for you.”
“I would never expect you to.”
“You remind me of Richard III.”
“Royalty,” Peter hums. “That’s high praise.”
Stiles throws Cheetos at him from the passenger seat. “Jackass.”
They drive through Helena on their way to Missoula. It is a little out of the way, but Peter insists. He leaves Stiles when they get there, nothing but a promise to see him soon and a phone number for emergencies before he walks out of the little diner they take their pit stop in.
Stiles doesn’t hear from him again until September.
The fall semester has started. Stiles has his nose buried in an anthology, highlighter in his mouth, pen tucked at his ear, pencil tapping against the desk between his fingers. He finds poignancy in the words, and is startled when there is a pounding at his door.
Glancing at the time in the bottom corner of his laptop screen, Stiles blinks. It’s late—later than he thought, and he frowns when the knocking starts again. Pushing away from his desk, he pads slowly over to the door, opens it and nearly chokes on his highlighter as he catches the body that slumps over the threshold. He grunts as dead weight topples them both down.
Stiles doesn’t even panic. At first, he thinks maybe it’s his suitemate, locked out and drunk again. When he pushes the heavy body off of himself, rolling the other man over, he pauses at the sight of Peter—pale but grinning, eyes a bit wild. He’s bleeding, of course, all over Stiles’ floor.
“Fuck, Peter, my dad won’t get the deposit back if you make a mess.”
Peter just laughs. He doesn’t even help Stiles pull him off the ground—too limp and lax—head lulling back as he’s shoved into a desk chair haphazardly. The door shuts with a click and Peter is humming.
“Are you crazy again?” Stiles asks, moving cautiously close.
He frames Peter’s face in his hands, angles his head over, and looks rapidly along the defined lines of Peter’s features. There is no injury there. Only the gash over Peter’s abdomen; something that Peter is cradling carefully. He’s still smiling.
When his eyes go a deep red, Stiles goes still for a second. Then he rolls his eyes and lets go of Peter’s face, watching the man’s head go lulling again. He puts his hands at his hips, lips pursed, and sighs.
“I have homework to do,” Stiles says.
Peter practically purrs as Stiles moves to haul him out of the chair. “We should celebrate.”
“You killing someone?” Stiles snorts, Peter’s arm heavy around his shoulders. “No thanks.”
He guides him the few steps across the room to where his bed it, dropping Peter into it unceremoniously. He earns a grunt, smiles to himself, and turns to head back to his desk when Peter catches him by the back of his shirt.
“Celebrate with me,” Peter insists.
“Get some sleep,” Stiles replies, brushes Peter’s hand aside, and sits back down in front of his textbook.
He can feel Peter watching him until the uneven puffs of Peter’s breath evens. Then there is nothing but Stiles and his thoughts.
Stiles snorts awake, nearly ripping out section of Charles Olson’s Projective Verse where it is drool-stuck to his cheek. He slows upon seeing Peter standing in front of him with two cups of Starbucks in hand. Nose wrinkling, he peels the page away from his face and holds out an expectant hand. Peter doesn’t disappoint him.
“Mm, coffee.” Stiles mumbles against the lip of the cup.
“You’re welcome,” Peter says, leaning against the edge of his desk.
Stiles blinks up at him. “Considering last night, I think this is the least you can do.”
“I did offer more.”
Stiles lifts a droll brow. “Do I look like the kind of guy that takes advantage of power drunk werewolves?”
Peter shrugs a single shoulder.
Taking a slow pull from his cup, he finds it just to his liking. Stiles watches Peter do the same, watches Peter watch him, and finds that the three months apart hasn’t changed much of anything.
Setting his cup down, Stiles leans back in his chair and regards Peter for a long, quiet moment. His arms cross over his chest, and he clears his throat to rid himself of any sleep drowsy roughness.
“So that’s what you’ve been doing this whole time?” he asks.
“What?” Peter grins.
“Chasing down an Alpha to kill,” Stiles gestures at him. “All healed up I see.”
Peter hums, takes another drink, and then sets it down to square with Stiles. “If it makes you feel better, I did ask politely first.”
“And when they said no, you took what you wanted.” Stiles mutters, tone dry. “You’re a terrible person.”
“Never said I was a good one.”
Stiles huffs. “And you came back to me, why?”
“If I said I missed you, would you believe me?”
“Not a chance.”
Peter grins. “I’m moving into an apartment in town. I’ll see you again soon.”
He heads for the door. Stiles watches him go, idly sipping his coffee.
“Aachen said, Every one of us will be dying of cold before morning. Freezing here. In Nebraska.
His wife just lay there, saying nothing.
Aachen later said he sat up bodingly until shortly after 1 p.m., when the house temperature was so exceedingly cold that a gray suede of ice was on the teapot and his pretty girls were whimpering in their sleep. You are not meant to stay here, Aachen thought, and tilted hot candle wax into his right ear and then his left, until he could only hear his body drumming blood. And then Aachen got his Navy Colt and kissed his wife and killed her. And then walked under the green tent cloth and killed his seven children, stopping twice to capture a scuttling boy and stopping once more to reload—“
Stiles elbows Peter in the abdomen where the man is bent over his back in the small café. He sighs heavily, glowering up at Peter with his right eye twitching. Peter grunts but smiles.
“A bit morbid, don’t you think?” he asks.
Stiles shakes his head, marks the page, and shuts the book. “It’s about a storm.”
“Didn’t sound like it,” Peter says. “School reading?”
“Yes,” Stiles nods, watches as Peter rounds the table to take a seat. “What are you doing here?”
“Thought I’d drop in,” Peter grins with sharp teeth. “Say hello.”
“Hi,” Stiles forces a smile. “Now, bye.”
Peter leans back in his chair, crossing his legs. He laces his fingers over a knee, eyes narrowing slightly as he keeps his gaze locked with Stiles’.
Leg beginning to bounce under the table, Stiles sighs. He packs up his books in his satchel, sets it by his feet, and sits straight, elbows resting on the table top, hand over hand against the polished wood. Peter’s lips twitch, and Stiles’ eyes are drawn there.
“Ask me whatever it is that you’re here to ask me,” Stiles says.
“You know what I want to ask you.”
“My answer was no back then,” Stiles replies. “It’ll be no, now.”
“Yes,” Stiles nods. “But if you want to be sure, you can always ask again.”
Peter sighs and leans in a bit, voice lowering. “Alphas can’t be omegas.”
“I’ve been human and part of a pack before,” Stiles says.
That gives Peter pause.
Stiles’ shoulders go up with his brows. “Won’t know until you ask.”
“Be part of my pack, Stiles.” Peter says in a hot little breath. “Be my second.”
Stiles breathes deep, looks smug, smile small and wondrously triumphant. Peter matches it.
“Okay,” Stiles nods.
They agree to meet up again soon. Peter scribbles down an address on a stray napkin and slides it across the table for him. Stiles tucks it into his pocket with surprising delicacy.
When Peter leaves, he stops long enough to invade Stiles’ space and kiss the top of his head. Stiles bites the inside of his cheek, but is otherwise a pane of glass—still and giving nothing away.
It isn’t until Peter is out the café door and Stiles’ friend Celia is sliding into the chair across from him with wide eyes that he finally smiles. She kicks him under the table, setting mismatched mugs of tea down between them as she waggles her brows.
“Who was that?”
His father comes up to him for Christmas. It is the beginning of a tradition—one of many— that they are not aware of yet, but the sheriff smiles at the layers of snow that weigh the town down. It is picturesque. White trees line the streets, and often the only sound at night is the crunch of ice beneath boots and the rushing of Clark Fork River that runs through the middle of the town.
They spend it at Peter’s apartment. The place is lavish enough to be obscene, just the right mix of homey and modern. When the sheriff arrives, he can tell that Stiles spends quite a bit of time there. He doesn’t comment until the holidays are almost over, and even then it is more curious than accusing.
“So,” he says. “Peter?”
“Peter,” Stiles nods.
“Can I ask why?” he asks.
“Dad, it’s not like I’m dating him.”
They walk along a salted sidewalk, hands gloved but still stuffed in pockets. Their breath matches, clouds of silver sheening in the night. The sky is clear; there are nothing but stars beyond bare branches. Stiles kicks at a rock and tips his head back.
His father regards him quietly. Nudging at Stiles’ shoulder with his own, he gives a gentle smile, and they stop at a corner. Halfway between the university and Peter’s flat. The sheriff can see two strings pulling at Stiles’ attentions.
“Do you want to?” he asks.
“I don’t really know,” Stiles admits, shivers, then laughs. “He’s an asshole, but he’s honest. That’s really important to me these days.”
“If only you’d had that mindset at fifteen,” the sheriff mutters with a playful roll of his eyes.
Stiles kicks at his father’s shoe. “There are very few people I miss these days, dad. Especially ones from Beacon Hills.”
Lips thinning, the sheriff nods and sighs. “What ever happened, kid? To Scott? To Derek?”
“At first?” Stiles shuffles a bit, buries deeper into his own coat. “A cruel joke.”
“Then I found out that it was just a big ploy to push me away,” Stiles says. “The goal was to break my heart and spook me off to keep me safe. And I don’t need anyone to make those kinds of decisions for me, dad.”
The sheriff mulls this over. “What did—What exactly did they do?”
“They hurt me,” Stiles replies. “And that’s all that matters. Good intensions or not.”
Reaching for him, he curves a hand against Stiles’ face, grimace harsh over his face. “And Peter?”
“Not the kind of guy to stab me in the back,” Stiles smiles, fond and amused. “He’s more of the full frontal attack type.”
The sheriff nods. Pulling Stiles close, they embrace. It lasts a long time, the kind of hug that a lonely father gives to his only son when they haven’t seen each other in months. Stiles holds on just as tight.
When they pull apart, they pivot back around and head back the way they came, the university fading into the night behind them.
The river that threads through Missoula is much colder than Stiles ever expected. Looking like a drowned rat, he hauls himself out, Peter at his back. There is blood on both of them, clothes soaked through and torn in places. Stiles is shaking.
Peter is rough getting him away from the bank. He practically drags him up to dry ground, Stiles’ teeth chattering the whole way. It is too early in the morning for anyone to see them crawling out, just as it was too early to see them falling in—a third body not far behind, a third body not coming out with them. When Stiles looks out over the rushing water, he almost expects to see blood—graphic and absurd, like a bad horror film—but there is nothing but the current.
They go to Stiles’ dorm. It is closest, and Peter is insistent about seeing the damage done to Stiles’ side by the Wendigo.
The second his door is shut, Peter is knocking Stiles back against his own closet and stripping the sopping wet shirt over his head. Lips blue, Stiles lets him, shivering and shuddering too much to protest. Peter’s hand is hot at his neck when it drains away the pain still throbbing dully through him. He stands there, jeans riding wet and low at his hips, as Peter inspects him.
“Won’t even need stitches,” Peter tells him.
“Good,” Stiles quivers, batting him away in order to shirk out of the rest of his cold clothing—ice still vivid in his veins. “We seriously gotta get more pack members.”
Peter’s eyes are dark on him. He stands there as Stiles moves, naked, further into the room. Stiles just slings on a pair of loose boxers, and then throws some oversized clothes Peter’s way. Sweats from the bottom drawer, Greek lettering down one pant leg from the fling Peter had been livid about for days.
He laughs when Peter’s expression pinches. He watches as Peter strips, and watches as he dresses. They are on even ground together—equally hungry, equally reluctant—have been since at least December. It’s February now.
“More pack members?” Peter asks.
“Yeah,” Stiles nods. “Is there an application process we can do for that?”
Peter snorts. “Not that simple, I’m afraid.”
“We’ll figure it out,” Stiles shrugs, plopping down into his desk chair and spinning to face his texts, tomes, and tech.
He tugs the anthology of short stories to himself. Peter pads close, leans over, and waits as Stiles flips open the book.
When Peter noses at his temple, the heat of his body already working the cold out of Stiles’ system despite the distance between them, Stiles closes his eyes. He shivers in a different way, hears Peter breathe him in, and hums.
Chuckling, Peter lets his lips graze the shell of Stiles’ ear. “What are you reading?”
“The Ceiling by Kevin Brockmeier,” Stiles replies. “School stuff.”
“What’s it about?” Peter asks.
Stiles smiles, mostly to himself, angling his head back, his face up. “The inevitable.”
They kiss and Stiles’ lips burn-tingle with the rush of heat.
“Derek loved you,” Peter tells Stiles as he’s lying against Peter’s chest, as he’s stroking through Stiles’ hair. “Maybe still loves you.”
Stiles hums, tracing images of nothing against Peter’s skin. “That’s nice, dear.”
Peter chortles. “Stiles.”
“I know what he did,” Stiles mutters, rests his chin over one of Peter’s pecks. “I know why he did it. I’m not stupid.”
“No,” Peter breathes, knuckles soft at Stiles’ cheek. “You’re definitely not.”
He leans into the touch. “I also don’t care.”
Shifting their weight, Peter presses Stiles back against the mattress. He kisses him breathless, a bit desperate, a bit needy. Stiles moans and draws him closer.
It breaks not long after. They’re both hard, for the third or maybe fourth time that day. They rut slowly, eating up each other’s soft gasps, swallowing down sweet little moans and mewls, greedy against one another. Stiles arches for Peter and leaves red lines up his back.
“Were you worried I’d find out and run back to him?” Stiles asks.
“Yes,” Peter admits.
Stiles purrs out a little laugh, but it catches as Peter urges his hips up to meet his. “Nah. There’s only one douche bag I really like these days. His name’s definitely not Derek.”
They come moaning each other’s names.
“There is nothing of her body he can’t
conjure—texture, heft, taste, or smell.
This is heaven, and this is also hell.
He can dream the way moonlight comes slant
through the window, illuminating breast
and breast, her navel a shadowy pool
he drinks the darkness from, her skin grown cool,
and her lips and her lips and all the rest.”
Stiles breathes sweet words against Peter lips, pinned against the jamb between bedroom and bathroom. He likes the way Peter makes him feel helpless and heated, tugs him closer in order to feel the hard press of Peter’s body with his own.
Laughing, Peter kisses him breathless for a moment. They don’t strip each other the way coaxing fingers tease at, plucking and pulling at shirts, at waistbands, at buckles. They taunt, smiling against one another’s mouths.
“I was only gone for a week this time,” Peter tells him. “And you’re already reciting me poetry?”
Stiles hums, nodding, chuckling. “If she were here, he thinks, and he thinks too much, he thinks. He thinks too much when she’s here, and when she’s gone. And the window’s a mirror he’s all alone in.”
Peter urges him into the bathroom. Drags him into the shower and cranks the cold water on to earn a squeal even as they are both drenched beneath the spray.
“If he could say he knew every night would be made of her, a thigh in the true air, her long, elegant spine blossoming forth from the clothes on the line, he would have asked, he would have asked her why the sigh of the evening breeze is her tongue and the rose of her cast off shirt his hand unfillable and trying,” Stiles rambles between kisses, alongside moans and laughs. “He can stand and go and find her still-damp towl among the morning’s last mementos, and the shape of her ear, a whorl on the pillow’s white.”
Peter takes his wrists in hand, pushes them up against the tile and pins them there. He smiles as he kisses Stiles for so long that the boy’s toes curl.
“Should I be worried?” Peter asks, finally stripping Stiles of his shirt, letting it drop to the shower floor with a wet sound. “You keep talking about some woman.”
“You’re the woman,” Stiles says, then jolts when Peter gives a sharp pinch to his ass. “I won’t change art for the sake of your masculinity.”
Peter rolls his eyes, dips his head, and starts making a hot trail over Stiles’ jaw, down his neck. “Proceed then.”
Hand cradling the back of Peter’s head, Stiles hitches a leg up at Peter’s hip. “He can feel the whole weight of her at night, and the weight of her absence, and her hip. He would say when she’s gone he loves too much.”
“You missed me,” Peter concludes.
“I always do,” Stiles admits. “You know that.”
“My sweet boy,” Peter groans, kisses him, and then pauses. “Summer is around the corner. I’d like to take you on a trip.”
“The rest of the pack?” Stiles asks. “Jamie and Spencer?”
“Will join us,” Peter assures.
“Good,” Stiles nods. “Now get your clothes off. I want to memorize every inch of you.”
Peter lets out a pleased little rumble. “I’ve already memorized you.”
Stiles’ return to Beacon Hills is just as quiet and quick as his departure. Only his father knows at first, six years having passed since Stiles had been back, but it doesn’t take long for others to put it together. Especially not once they buy the Hale property and start to rebuild.
Derek shows up on their doorstep within hours, and he’s shocked with Stiles answers the door. “Stiles, what are you--?”
Big blue eyes peak out from behind Stiles’ leg, small fingers at Stiles’ thigh, trying to curl into the material of his jeans. “Papa, he smells funny.”
Stiles laughs. “I’m sure he does, cutie pie.”
He stoops and scoops the little girl up into his arms. Derek’s eyes are wide, his mouth open, and Stiles’ brow goes up.
“Say hi to your cousin, Penny.” Stiles says, holding her against his hip. “Derek, this is Penelope. Penny, this is Derek.”
She has unruly blonde hair, curls spilling everywhere. For a moment, she just stares, but then she leans in and whispers loudly into Stiles’ ear.
“I don’t think I like him,” she says.
“Penny,” Stiles scolds, setting her down. “Manners. Apologize.”
“Sorry,” she mumbles. “Can I go play with Spencer?”
Stiles rolls his eyes, but he’s smiling. “Go on. He’s out back with grandpa at the grill.”
Penny jaunts off. It is only when she is out of sight that Stiles turns his focus back on Derek. Derek who hasn’t stopped gawking even for a moment, lips parted still, chest rising and falling pointedly.
Stiles tilts his head. “What’s up, dude?”
“Stiles—“ Derek’s voice cracks, and he takes a step forward.
Stiles’ brows draw together and up; he doesn’t move an inch. “There’s kind of a meal I should be supervising the cooking of right now, so if we could wrap this up?”
“Someone said-- You bought the Hale property?” Derek schools his features, scowl in place.
Stiles leans against the door jamb. “Yep. Well—co-purchased.”
“Stiles,” Peter says, emerging from around the door. “Penny said there was a strange man at the door—Oh. Hello, there.”
Derek glances between them.
“Don’t get cheeky,” Stiles mutters. “You knew who it was.”
Peter smiles lopsidedly. “How are you doing, nephew?”
“What’s going on?” Derek says, jaw flexing.
“Nothing much,” Peter shrugs. “Just decided to come home, settle down, start fresh. Saw the place was on the market and snatched it up.”
Derek shakes his head. “You can’t.”
Peter lets red eyes flash, drapes an arm around Stiles’ waist, and smiles tightly. “I think you’ll find I very much can. In fact, I can do a lot of things these days.”
At his side, Stiles rolls his eyes. “Well, now I know where Penny is getting her manners from.”
“Stiles—“ Derek tries.
Stiles holds up a hand. “Six years too late for whatever it is you’re going to say, dude. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have a pack meal to make. If you two want to talk shop, do it on a different night.”
Peter goes as Stiles pushes him back inside. “Tomorrow, nephew?”
“Tomorrow,” Derek grunts.
The door shuts between them. Stiles stands there for a moment, squinting up at Peter with tight lips. Peter gestures to the door, but Stiles presses a finger to his lips.
“I swear to god, if you say he started it, I’ll make you finish making dinner with Jamie by yourself.”
Peter cringes. “I’m not sorry.”
“No, because you’re an asshole.” Stiles nods.
Peter smiles, crowds close, kisses him. “But I’m your asshole.”
“You hold grudges for too long.”
“Agreed,” Peter replies, kissing down Stiles’ throat.
Stiles is smiling even as he rolls his eyes again. “I love you.”
Stiles pinches him.
“Love you too.”