Peter Hale had been their salvation.
It was hard to think about how they’d all seen him before, when he was the raging Alpha, but Stiles still did, sometimes. They were the same people, even if it was hard to remember that. When he’d looked into Peter Hale’s eyes at the hospital or by his car, he hadn’t seen anything but a burning desire for blood. He had been functional but insane. Obsessed. And now...
Well, Stiles didn’t look into Peter’s eyes much.
From his research, Stiles knew that was an Alpha thing. A sign of respect, of deference. Meeting eyes was a challenge. But he’d never had problems with meeting Derek’s eyes, even after all the changes. He was the one with the glowing red eyes. But he wasn’t really making the decisions anymore, that Stiles could tell.
Peter didn’t need to kill Derek to become Alpha. He was already there. His nephew was simply a figurehead these days. When Stiles managed to think about it, he wondered if everyone else was blind or willfully blind. Was he the only one who still tried anymore?
It was hard, though. When he tried to concentrate on those kind of things, his head started to hurt and his brain lagged. Stiles thought he might have an advantage - he’d dealt for years before getting diagnosed with ADHD and getting medicine. This reminded him of that, sometimes. How his focus would almost slide away, and he had to catch it or ride it. But he had strategies and practice for dealing with that, so he could fight it. For a little while. Eventually he’d lose track and it would slip away, and Stiles would forget what he’d been trying to think about. Like the main character from Momento. He tried to leave clues as well, to jumpstart his head, but they always disappeared, and he quickly decided that wasn’t safe.
But then, what was safe, anymore?
A touch jolted Stiles from his thoughts, and he opened Beta-amber eyes to gaze up at Peter. The man gave him one of those slow, kind smiles that made him seem nice. He was the cool uncle, here to help everyone and be their friend. Any suggestions he made were for their own good, really. Even if they couldn’t see it yet.
Stiles shuddered under his touch. Part of him wanted to run, because he hated how this felt. He missed his home and his life and how things had been. More than anything, he missed the ability to be completely clear headed, instead of having this dark, unnavigable hole in his thoughts.
This was the reality of being a werewolf, though. There were instincts like that, if the Alpha - or, not, as the case may be - was able to tap into them. Derek wasn’t. Derek hadn’t known about them, other than as a personal experience. In his time on his own, with his little pack of lost children (was this one any different?), he’d never realized that he’d been missing what would create the obedience he’d expected. Instead of earning it or taking it, he’d been confused as to why he wasn’t simply getting it.
Peter had known. And, more than that, Peter had experience elsewhere. With Hunters and how to deal with them, or creating Pack dynamics out of chaos, or ways to keep from being discovered by suspicious humans. Most importantly, he’d known how to fight those things. Under his direction, their little impromptu group had managed to crush Gerard and his Hunters. Gerard’s throatless corpse had been a satisfying sight, in a completely sick way.
And Stiles couldn’t disagree with that. Even if he’d been able to pick and scratch at the things he didn’t like, he still would have agreed with that brutal strategy. It wasn’t pretty. But it worked. They’d been able to defeat the Hunters so soundly that they didn’t even need to defeat all of them - two were left alive. Allison and her Father were spared, under the condition that they left and never showed their faces again.
Scott... well, he hadn’t been happy with that. But he’d adjusted. Eventually. He was a little quieter now. Sometimes his temper was shorter. That was expected, when his anchor had been taken away. Peter showed him some methods of controlling himself, but Scott had to be the one to come up with a new one.
He hadn’t yet, and Stiles really hoped he would. Because an out of control Beta was a threat to the Pack, and they’d all seen how Peter dealt with those.
Not that they really had a choice. It was dangerous out there.
That wasn’t the only change in the name of safety. When Peter had pointed out that having human members in a Pack had only put them at risk, with none of the benefits, Derek had gone very quiet for a day, before agreeing that it was too dangerous. Which left everyone staring at him. Even Lydia was determined as good as a wolf, since she was immune and had proven herself already (And Stiles hadn’t? At his very limit, Stiles was able to wonder if her pardon had more to do with the way Peter watched her than her immunity.).
His choice had been to be bitten, or to leave. And Stiles had the funny feeling that leaving would end badly for him. Pack or death.
If he could have, Stiles would have wondered if he’d made the right choice. He would have realized the point of human members was to avoid this kind of totalitarian state. He would have made jokes about this being 2012, not 1984.
But he couldn’t, so he didn’t.
Peter was still looking down at him, eyes a little sharp now. In response, Stiles arched his neck back submissively. It was a subtle gesture, almost unconscious, and it relaxed Peter every time.
Hauling him up, Peter dragged Stiles so he was leaning back against the older man’s chest. A hand smoothed over his bare stomach, and he couldn’t help another shiver, this one pleasurable. It was an echo of how an approving Alpha touch felt, mixed with his body’s natural reactions.
“So sensitive,” Peter murmured, one finger tracing a pattern from his belly button to his neck. The tone was caught somewhere between pleased and analytical, and Stiles hoped that was a good thing. “Derek, could I speak to you for a moment?”
A few moments later, Derek stepped into the refurbished living room. Stiles had been surprised when the Alpha had agreed to let them fix the place up. By the time construction had been completed, he’d stopped feeling that way. “Yes?”
“Remember when I spoke to you about needing to acclimate the wolves to certain risks?” Derek’s head nodded, and Stiles tried not to wince when he looked like a puppet on a string. “I thought perhaps we could start with Stiles here.” A hand ran through the fine (though longer than they had been) hairs on his head, and Stiles let his eyes fall closed a little. It was too good not to. “See how reactive he is? If something were to happen to him, he’d feel it that strongly.” Red eyes focused on Stiles’ relaxed face, something almost heated in the gaze. That wasn’t unusual ever since Stiles had been bit. Occasionally, he felt a tug back toward him. But it felt dimmed and Stiles just couldn’t seem to find the energy to chase it down.
Giving a nod, Derek dragged his eyes away from Stiles to look at his uncle. “What do you suggest?”
The hand swiped over Stiles’ stomach again, this time with more pressure, and Stiles arched into the touch a little. “There’s nothing to be done for how strongly he feels it, I’m afraid. Thin skinned. It happens. So the key is to make him be able to deal with it. Change it into something he can deal with.” He paused, shoulders going tense. “When I was in the hospital, I had to learn to deal with the burns before I could heal. And I turned them into motivation. That’s how you get passed it, even when it should be too much.”
Derek nodded again, going a little tense himself. But for once it didn’t seem to be about the Hale tragedy. Instead, his eyes were locked on Stiles’ slack body. “That makes sense, but... I’m not sure how that applies here.”
Relaxing again, Peter shifted Stiles a little, so that his arms were tucked between their bodies. “Well, vengeance wouldn’t work here, obvious. But we could associate pain with other things. Like, for example, pleasure.” His voice dropped in pitch, and the fingers ran over him again, but this time with claws out. They scraped but didn’t draw blood, and Stiles couldn’t help the soft gasp that left him. “After all, it’s very hard to torture someone who likes it.”
Derek’s mouth fell open just a little, and the odd look in his eye got stronger. “I... see.” There was something eager to his posture, like he’d scented prey. But he swallowed hard and met Stiles’ eyes. “Is this something you’re comfortable with?”
The question was a formality. They were just playing at Derek having the ability to stop this from happening, or that Stiles could say no. As if he could, pinned between his Alpha and the one in charge. Giving another ghost of a whimper, Stiles tilted his head back and closed his eyes, giving his ‘permission’.
Stiles could feel the way Peter smirked at that as he gestured for Derek to come down with them. The Alpha sat down in front of Stiles, eyes fixed on Peter’s clawed hand. Slowly, he dug his nails in at the dip between his collar bones, and then scratched down his chest. Stiles’ breath caught at the pain, long and drawn out and sharp. But Derek’s eyes flashed and then there was a tongue on the top of the cut, licking the blood away soothingly. And there was a satisfaction in the way he lapped, and Stiles could feel it, far more clearly than he could with Peter. It drew a moan out of him, despite the pain.
As Derek moved down the cut, cleaning away the blood, it started to become hard to tell the difference between the pain and the pleasure. The cut stitched itself up almost as fast as Derek could lick it clean, and soon Stiles was left simply shivering from the leftover sensation.
Once Derek was done with the first set, Peter sliced across Stiles’ chest, cutting him across his sternum. The tongue was there almost before he started to bleed, messy in its eagerness. The metallic scent of blood became heavier in the air as more of it dripped down his chest, only to be licked away into Derek’s mouth. The sheer pleasure his Alpha got from it reverberated through Stiles, adding to the physical sensation, and soon he could feel himself hardening against Derek’s thigh, whimpering wordlessly in desire.
It happened over and over again. Peter called it conditioning. Stiles might have agreed, if he was able to think. Instead he started to arch up into the touches, wanting more, eagerly anticipating the cuts and the blood and the scent in exchange for the pleasure he got.
It was hard to tell how much time had passed, but Stiles had the dim feeling it had been a while. He’d lost track of how many times he’d been sliced open and healed - it was all a blur now, of iron-red-wet-pleasure-more, and he finally squirmed up hard, trying to reach for Derek as he came between them.
Derek’s head dove, and he started to lap that up. The sensation was too much for Stiles, oversensitive as he was, and he cried out and shook. Strong, clawed hands clamped down too hard on his hips, holding him in place so he wouldn’t dislodge the Alpha. The skin broke under his fingers, tiny sharp points, and Stiles gasped and twisted, pleasure spikeing through him once again.
Finally he went limp and pliant, placidly letting Derek do as he pleased. Once he was finished, Derek licked his blood-stained lips and picked his head up. Their eyes met, and Stiles felt the pull again, the strongest it had been in a long time. He tried to squirm toward Derek, but the claws digging into his skin held him into place.
“That was good.” Peter murmured, and Stiles jumped a little. Somehow, he’d almost forgotten about the other man, other than as an obstacle. “Very good. We’ll have to try it again some other time to make sure it sticks.”
Derek nodded, a little too enthusiastically, and then reached out to grab Stiles. There was a long second of hesitation, but then Peter finally let go. Making a pleased noise, the younger man reached up and wrapped his arms around Derek. On the deepest level of his brain, he knew Derek really was the Alpha he wanted, Peter’s control aside.
Picking him up, Derek stood slowly, watching the cuts heal on Stiles’ hips. “I think he’s earned a rest. I’ll take him to his room.” Settling Stiles’ head under his chin, Derek turned around and headed out the door.
Eyes still hazy, Stiles let his gaze settle on Peter. The man’s gaze was dark and tense and ominous.
Well, so what. Peter might be in charge at the moment, but that couldn’t last. All regimes fell, and Stiles knew which side he would be backing. As he snuggled into Derek’s chest, sleepy and sated and changed, he was pretty sure he knew which side would win. After all, Stiles had a vicious streak too. His goal was victory, nothing less.