She pushed the gardener away and called for them. In her sleep she had seen love. It was poisoning. It was possessing. Devouring. Or it was seven pairs of boots climbing up the stairs to find her.
Snow, Francesca Lia Block
They'd tried kissing him first, he thinks. Hands on his face and clouds of strong, werewolfy musk. The brief stick of lipgloss. Kissing only makes sense; it's probably the only version of the fairy tale most of them know. Grimm to Perrault to Disney - each a little less frightening, a little less gory. A little less true. Farther and farther from the cautionary tales that passed from village to village in the darkness. Because what Stiles has learned about magic? Has a lot to do with blood and life and death, and not a lot to do with romance.
You'd think Derek would know better - but that's the story of Derek's life, isn't it, knowing better. At least Lydia has the sense to go looking for a different solution. Something more - pure.
It's Erica, first.
A little heteronormative of them, sure, but Stiles can't really fault that line of thinking. He's not going to end up pregnant with twins either way.
He's pretty sure it's not that kind of story.
Anyway, Erica; he thinks it's her, because the scent around him is female, undeniably - not just some powdery flower-soaked scent, but the smell of a woman - like ozone, or rain, made human. Her hands on his shoulders; seemingly delicate, sans claws.
Is he hard? he wonders. Must be. He’s only sleeping, right – a seventeen-year-old boy getting hard in his sleep, stop the presses. He won't say he feels nothing, but he doesn't feel much. Feels her gasp more than he hears it. Feels her body shudder around him, the lift of her weight. Nothing else.
He's still asleep, mostly. Knows he's asleep, like a lucid dream, but the whole concept is fuzzy, liminal - the slip between sleeping and waking and nothing about it seems quite real. He composes a thought, fully-formed and vibrant, and just as suddenly it twists away. Inconsequent as smoke.
Fucking faeries, Stiles thinks, before he drifts off somewhere else.
He wakes - for a definition of the word - to a pissing contest between Derek and Scott. Must be Monday.
" -- I'm the Alpha," he hears Derek growl, and Stiles wants to say, no shit, buddy. Derek's one-size-fits-all response for any situation, and look where it got them. Going up faeries without nearly enough cold iron, and now Stiles is in the goddamn magic version of a coma.
"And I'm his best friend," Scott counters stubbornly. "You don't think that counts for more to him?"
Now, now, girls, Stiles would say. You're both pretty. If by pretty I mean I want to rub my face on your stubble until my delicate skin cries for mercy. This is a thing he would do. It's difficult being a bisexual in a pack full of distressingly attractive, if emotionally stunted, people. Or it's difficult for Stiles. This situation is, ironically, a thing he has jerked off to in the past. Minus the coma.
Suddenly this does seem a lot like faeries. Mischievous little jerks.
"Hey buddy," he hears. Scott's voice, coming like a beacon of sunshine through a cloudy fog. The feel of mud between his toes, and the smell of the tamales Mrs. McCall always makes for his birthday. Like falling through history. "We're gonna figure this out. I promise."
Stiles is smiling on the inside, at least. Can't tell if he's smiling at all on the outside, but it seems as quiet as it ever was, so probably not.
Scott is near him, Stiles realizes. Has to be. There's a feeling Stiles gets at the base of his spine, a prickle that says - relax, Scott's around, shit can only go so bad with your best friend at your side - and it's there, but only barely. Hangs over him only faintly, like a chill.
Scott is probably on top of him, Stiles thinks, and snorts. Snorts in his head, anyway. He wonders how sleep-like he's actually behaving. He moves a lot in his sleep - flinging his arms and scratching his nose. Lets his mouth hang open and breathe. Is he unnaturally still? Posed like a storybook picture, tucked away in the rapidly improving but still outwardly alarming shell of the Hale House.
It has to be weird. Uncanny. Wrong.
But oh, Stiles wants to sleep. He wants to sleep, as much as he's thinking about waking up. Maybe that's the problem. It's always so easy to go back to sleep, isn't it? To let yourself drift. To go back to the comforting warmth, and the soft edges. Stiles's life doesn't have a lot of soft edges anymore.
He's dreaming about his mother. (It's weird, right, to be thinking about his mother right now?) His mother, and the scent of her, hairspray and detergent and crayons and milky cereal, essence of stay-at-home mom. The exaggerated length of her arms, and the perfect curl of her fingers to push Stiles's hair off his forehead.
Who else will ever love him like that, he thinks.
It's about the time Derek tries that Stiles starts feeling his own body. Gets the sense that he is, in fact, getting fucked.
Which is something he knew all along.
Yeah, he - what else could it be. What else was it going to be, after kissing? Sleeping Beauty - sure, take a minute to laugh at the Stiles-Sleeping Beauty parallel, he's laughing on the inside too - but Sleeping Beauty wasn't woken by a kiss in the old days. Stiles really doubts he's going to get it that easy.
"Stiles," he hears. A rumble like an earthquake, so big it almost seems small; passing in a moment and leaving little cracks that run through everything - and deep purple all around him. Should be laser red, he thinks. Like Derek's eyes. Maybe because he can't see.
"Stiles, come on - "
He thinks it's Jackson next, and then Boyd. They blur together a little, but Stiles thinks it's Jackson first, from the scent. Cologne thick enough to taste - not because he's wearing too much of it, no, Jackson wouldn't make so obvious a mistake - but something about it coats the back of Stiles's throat when he breathes in.
Locker rooms, Stiles thinks - or is it dreams, now? Does he dream what he thinks? Is he in control enough to think what he dreams? - the lockers. Hard metal biting into his back, and the humidity of a thousand neverending showers.
He's getting fucked pretty hard, he thinks, when everything goes hazy. What could be lust, or just anger - the only emotion Jackson shows, sometimes. Boyd is more careful. Consistent. Forceful; not because he's putting force behind it, exactly, but because he always seems to know exactly what the hell he's doing. Boyd's werewolf life exists at the corner of 'you fucking people' and 'I did not sign up for this shit'. Stiles owes him an apology pizza or something.
"Sorry," he manages to force out, and he feels Boyd stutter to a stop. Stiles thinks about the ice rink, and ice floes - skating across them before breaking and shattering into bits.
Because the prince raped her, Stiles remembers. Didn't stop until the birth of her children - what really woke her up. Not exactly true love's first kiss.
And the stories never mention whether she knew. Whether she felt anything. Seems like a big detail to overlook, right? A hundred years of this might drive Stiles crazy, and he has a sudden, unexpected welling of sympathy for the six years Peter spent in a coma. Was it anything like this? In and out of reality, in and out of dreams, until the overlap is less and less defined, border of a Venn diagram slipping away until it's just a gradient of more or less fantastic. And with a life like Stiles's, the headful of memories that he has - how the hell is he supposed to know what is real?
He rouses a bit under Isaac's hands.
It makes sense that Isaac would be last. There's something about Isaac that pulls the need to protect out of everyone. Even knowing he's a werewolf, knowing that he could tear Stiles to pieces without much of an effort, Stiles usually has an undeniable urge to hug the dude. It's very disconcerting. Stiles is sort of feeling it now even though he can't, you know, move his arms.
Isaac is hunched over him. More than the others, maybe, who've only kept their hands on Stiles's hips, his thighs - trying to do what was needed and nothing more. But Isaac hunches. Braces himself over Stiles, like a shield, and Stiles is struck, again, with the urge to protect this kid from the world. Isaac is sweet, oh. Stiles thinks he'd like to do this with Isaac sometime, when he can move his limbs.
"Shit," someone says. Jackson, maybe? "I thought that would - "
Yelling, and slamming doors, and a little red truck in the corner with a broken wheel. Constantly broken promises for constantly broken things, though that isn't the only thing -
"He's waking up a little..."
- and the taste of ginger beer, and Scrabble tiles, worn from use, missing two of the Es and one of the Ns -
"... twins... "
- the smell of fire, the scorch in his lungs making every breath as good as a Hail Mary, a single endless penitence he will never stop paying -
"Kiss him again?"
- like a dozen radio signals going in and out, a hundred film reels spinning in front of his eyes, spinning around him, and there's something burning on the tip of his tongue.
"Peter," he says muzzily, and there's that uncanny silence again. "S'Peter."
Because - get this - Stiles needs Peter. Not 'needs' as in 'wants'. Or even 'needs' as in 'likes', hello. 'Needs' because Peter makes seven. Erica, Scott, Derek, Jackson, Boyd, Isaac. Peter. A magic number in fairytales - if it's not three it's seven. Sure, the occasional twelve, maybe, with those goddamn dancing princesses, but seven. Seven brothers, seven rings, seven ravens, seven days, seven brides. A werewolf pack with seven wolves, and a cursed human at the center.
It's got a certain ring to it, you have to admit. It's not that Stiles doesn't appreciate the pack keeping Peter away from his unconscious body, what with all the murdering and psychological torture and coming back from the dead - but this has to happen. Stiles knows it in his bones, somehow.
"Seemed fairly clear to me," he hears Peter say. Smug.
An uncomfortable silence. An eternity, for Stiles - do you remember wanting to fly, as a kid, and it seems great, until you learn about Icarus and airplane crashes and, also, that first, horrible time you dream and hit the pavement? - before anything else happens. Before he wakes up again, and even then only a little.
Stiles feels Peter the most. Probably because Peter is last. Stiles is almost awake, now - he can feel it, he can - and so he feels Peter.
It's not bad, he thinks. Certainly he's gone through worse. Peter isn't hurting him, exactly. Stiles is still slick from the others. Loose, and easy, and if you think about it in the context of having been banged by five other dudes, maybe the fact that Stiles feels anything at all is kind of notable.
Not that he's an expert in being gangbanged. Though hey, at least he has an interesting story to bring to college.
He can feel Peter moving, shuddering inside him. Gone so very deep, as though Peter were the thorn in his finger, the prick of the spindle – god, prick, Stiles can’t even - a single point of heat. A beacon, a place to focus on, for Stiles's mind to wander, and stick, and finally, finally he comes. Orgasms, really; a clinical word for an awful feeling. Stiles can feel himself react - the muscles all through his thighs and abdomen. The uncontrollable jolting of his own body. It knocks the wind out of him, like a punch to the chest. Rockets him awake, and Stiles can't do anything for a minute but try to find his breath.
"Oh my god," he can hear Scott say. "Oh my god, we just gangbanged him, and it didn't even work!"
Stiles struggles to his elbows. Rubs at one eye with the palm of his hand, and sort of revels in the theatrical gasps, because yeah, bitch, sometimes Stiles gets to come back from the dead too. He's like the fourth person in the room to do it, but it still carries a certain cachet. "Scott. Dude."
And before Stiles can blink he's got half the pack on him. Peter is still shoved mostly between his legs - which, wow, awkward - but Scott has his arms around Stiles, a full-on bro hug, and Lydia is clutching one arm, Isaac reaching tentatively out to wrap his hand in Stiles's shirt. The rest of the pack peering over their heads, jostling for space. Jackson is smelling him, only semi-discreetly, and this part is actually sort of wonderful.
"It worked!" Scott says, happy as a clam, and he squeezes Stiles hard enough for Stiles's vision to go fuzzy again.
Erica pulls a face, peeking out over Isaac's shoulder. "Please tell me this doesn't mean Peter is your one true love, because I might puke."
"Ugh, no," and he can feel the way Peter's claws slowly grow, and scrape across his shoulderblade. "No, it was - it was the pack. All seven of you. Like completing a circuit. Or breaking a curse, I guess."
"Makes sense," Lydia says. "Seven," and she and Stiles share a look of mutual knowing. "I'm just glad you're back."
"We all are," Derek says, and Jesus Christ, Stiles feels tears spring to his eyes.
He looks down at the blankets around him, the disarray. Feels the stickiness between his legs. The ache between them. The stiffness. "I'm tired," he says, and he watches Scott's face fall. "Not like that, you moron. Like I just got fucked seven times."
"Oh," Scott says blankly. What, like Stiles wasn't going to mention the gigantic elephant in the room?
"I'm fine," he insists, though he has the sinking feeling he's going to be put through another round of 'fragile human treatment' when he wakes up in the morning. "I'm fine, really, just - totally tired. Naptime tired." He should be more afraid to go to sleep, maybe, but the time he spent under the spell wasn't exactly restful.
Naps in werewolf packs tend to be communal things, and Isaac is halfway into the bed before he catches himself.
"Sorry," he says. Worrying his bottom lip, and looking away. "I -"
"Hey, come on!" Stiles says. Whining a little, and doesn't care. "Where's my afterglow? Way to make a girl feel special." But he sort of realizes he’s not entirely joking. He's just been devirginized - a couple times over, at that - and he wasn't exactly conscious for a lot of it. Better than the Big Sleep alternative, sure, and Stiles wouldn't change what went down, minus the getting caught by faeries in the first place, but he still has a feeling this is planting the seeds of various issues he's going to be reaping sometime down the line.
Either way. Isaac gives the best cuddles. He is made for cuddling. Like an exceptionally tall teddy bear. He even smells like something you want to cuddle, and Stiles is not entirely sure how to better put that into words, but it's true.
"You're gross," Jackson says baldly, and Erica doesn't even bother to hide how hard she elbows him in the stomach.
Stiles knows Jackson too well by now to be anything like offended. Which one might be, after getting gangbanged and then called gross. "We've climbed into this bed covered in mud and gunpowder and blood, and spunk is where you draw the line?"
Lydia solves this by leaning over and kissing Stiles on the forehead. "He's just cranky his first gay experience wasn't with Danny," she whispers, knowing full well that everyone's werewolf ears can pick her up just fine.
"I hate all of you," Jackson mutters, but a minute later he's crawling into bed behind Lydia. Curled up around the top of Stiles's head.
No matter how you stretch it - or squish it, maybe - the entire pack of werewolves, significant others, and Stiles don't fit in one bed. They have two gigantic ones instead, in the same room, close enough to reach out and touch one another when they feel the need to. Erica and Boyd are already snuggled onto the second, Scott tucked against Boyd's other side. Or maybe Boyd is tucked against Scott's. Stiles has never totally figured that out. Wolf packs make relationship boundaries kind of... cloudy.
But what does he care, really. He's got Lydia running her fingers through his hair, Stiles's head snuggled somewhere in the belly-boob squishy region, and Jackson's hand occasionally dips down to scratch at the base of Stiles's neck. Slide off his shoulder and rub at the knots there. He has Derek wiping off the insides of his thighs, brisk and thorough and somehow entirely unembarrassing, while Stiles clutches at Isaac, and Peter curls up at Stiles's back.
"Sleep," Stiles says, and pulls at Derek's sleeve. Derek's face looks particularly emotionally constipated, and Stiles can't be the only one who notices. “Come on, sour wolf pack, freakouts in the morning."
"I'm not freaking out," Derek grumbles, but he stops staring and gets into bed. Snuggling up behind Isaac, because Stiles is not kidding about Isaac being a cuddle magnet. No one is immune.
"Seriously though," Jackson pipes up, "you smell."