When Theo would tie him to a table leg, he’d hold it close. He’d embrace it; a solid thing he could hold onto. More constant than Theo, harder than Malia. But it was still insubstantial. The wrong shape. Too thin, too weak. It was barely enough to anchor him to the present. The wood’s vicious angles beneath his fingers were better than nothing though. He’d press his face against the ridges, rub his legs against the corners to cause himself a bearable kind of pain.
Whenever he was bound, he’d pull against whatever bound him. It was the best way to make himself still. Theo was good with knots. He always bound Stiles efficiently, so his hands would be motionless. It helped Stiles to stay grounded, in a way that he couldn’t remember being.
It was like he wasn’t him anymore. He was less. A possession. A thing.
He could sleep upright when tied to the table leg.
He liked being tied to chairs less. Being tied sat to one was nowhere near enough. In that position he could simply forget he was tied up, and he would get restless. Being tied the wrong way up was better, his arse in the air, staring at the seat. It was humiliating, but possessions didn’t have pride or vanity. Humiliation was useless to someone incapable of human decency.
The voice was soft, kind, out of place. It shouldn’t have been part of Stiles’ existence. Stiles was a spoil of war, the property of Theo, there was no way that voice…
He opened his eyes. Derek’s beautiful pale eyes blinked at him, and his heart broke. He lifted a hand to the stubbly check. It felt real beneath his fingers.
“I miss you,” he told the figment of his imagination.
Derek’s exquisite eyes blinked, and there was panic in them that made Stiles smile. Even his imaginary Derek would be confused by warmth and honesty.
“I brought you some food,” said Derek, pulling roughly away from the hand and determinedly ignoring it.
That movement made Stiles realise he wasn’t asleep and dreaming. He wasn’t tied to any of Theo’s furniture, he wasn’t waiting for Theo to return. He was in a hotel or motel with Derek Hale and his creepy uncle.
He sat up too fast. Derek was by his side, eyes wide with concern.
“Hey, it’s OK,” Derek told him, “There’s no hurry. No one’s going to hurt you.”
He pressed a hand on Stiles’ shoulder, and Stiles couldn’t help but look at that hand. Derek almost never touched him except in violence. And except when he rescued Stiles.
“Why are you doing this?” Stiles asked.
Derek took his hand back and shrugged helplessly. He began moving plates around, placing one on the bed beside Stiles. It held a couple of sandwiches, apparently made by Derek. There were also some apples and bananas in a bowl nearby, and some chips in a bag not far away.
“What do you want from me?” Stiles asked.
“Nothing,” said Derek. “Eat.”
“I’m a monster,” said Stiles. Though he’d said it before and Derek hadn’t accepted it.
“No,” said Derek.
“Do you want to fuck me?” Stiles asked.
Derek’s sandwich jarred on the way to his mouth.
“I wouldn’t mind,” said Stiles. “I wanted you to, you know. Before.”
“Eat your food,” said Derek, pushing his sandwich into his mouth, in a forced motion that didn’t quiet seem to be eating.
“I used to imagine it every time you threw me against a wall or something,” Stiles told him. “Not so much fucking as kissing when you were there. Your face is beautiful.”
Derek chewed without relish. He was not looking at Stiles, with extreme commitment.
“But when I was alone, I had these fantasies. They were totally adolescent. I’m not even sure they were physically possible.”
“Stop,” Derek grumbled.
“I used to imagine you holding me against a wall, my feet wouldn’t even touch the ground.”
“Stiles,” Derek was growling now. Danger signs. They sent a tiny thrill through Stiles. A little sign that maybe he wasn’t dead.
“You’d have me wrap my legs around your waste, and then you’d start on my neck.”
Derek threw his plate to the floor.
“Stop talking,” he growled, furiously, “Stop talking!”
Stiles searched his face. He didn’t want to run or anything, he just wanted to feel. Maybe Derek would shove him against a wall, then when Stiles eventually went back to Theo he could say it was fine, Derek treated him as he deserved. It didn’t matter that he hadn’t been with Theo. The punishment had continued.
Stiles opened his legs.
Derek stared at him like he was a creature he’d never seen.
“I’m not… I … Stiles…”
Derek was never lost for words. Derek said things as they were, shoved your head into steering wheels or threatened you against a wall. This was wrong.
“Hit me,” said Stiles.
“No!” Derek cried.
“Hurt me,” Stiles tried again. “I’m wrong. If you can’t control me, give me back to Theo.”
Derek muttered a swear word, still staring intently at Stiles’ face.
“Please,” Stiles whispered.
He held Derek’s eye contact as long as he could, pleading with his eyes. Derek had to hurt him, or he’d fall apart, had to tie him down or he’d drift away, had to rape him or he’d forget how to breathe.
“I will never hurt you,” said Derek.
It tore at Stiles’ insides. Hurt so much. He couldn’t just exist, a nothing, to be forgotten and abandoned to his own misery.
“Eat,” said Derek. “You need to get better. You won’t unless you … get some … strength.”
He turned away from Stiles once more. Maybe he was disgusted. Stiles would be. If Derek had killed some kid who had had no choice in becoming a monster, Stiles would have been disgusted with him.
“You took me just to wind him up?” Stiles asked.
Derek’s eyes seemed wet. That was silly. What was there to get upset about?
“Eat,” said Derek. Then he went out the door and didn’t look back.
But Stiles didn’t need werewolf hearing to know he hadn’t gone far.
He cleared up the dropped plate and sat back on the bed.
They’d spent the remainder of the previous day watching TV and eating relatively healthy food. Stiles was pretty impressed with the food actually. If he’d caught his father eating it, he wouldn’t have minded. They hadn’t really done anything though. Peter hadn’t tried to talk to him again, at least not about his state of mind. Stiles had watched them all day, but they were always two steps ahead of him. When one went to get supplies, the other would sit beside Stiles, wide awake. They only slept when Stiles did. But Stiles knew he only had to wait them out. They couldn’t watch him forever.
The door opened and closed. Stiles didn’t look at who it was.
“I hear you’ve been a very naughty boy.”
He gave Peter exactly the look that the phrase deserved.
Peter smiled back at him. “Honestly, winding up my nephew like that when you know perfectly well that he’s a prude and in desperate, self-loathing love with you.”
The werewolf was holding a sports bag casually in one hand. When he put it down not too far from the door it made an ominous metallic noise, which told Stiles it wasn’t Peter’s gym kit.
“That’s a lie,” said Stiles, hoping his voice sounded bored. He really was a long way from bored at that moment, but he wasn’t going to let Peter know that if he could help it.
“No, Stiles,” said Peter, more seriously than Stiles could ever remember him speaking, “It’s not.”
Stiles felt a cruel sting in his eyes. “Well, even if that isn’t an ugly, ugly lie, then it should be!” said Stiles. “Derek shouldn’t!”
“Why?” asked Peter. He was standing back, either so he could watch Stiles more fully or in the hopes that the distance will enable Stiles to talk more. Stiles decided it was irrelevant.
“I’m disgusting,” he said, fiercely and truthfully, “If he wants to use me, I don’t care, but he’s not going to save me. This isn’t a lifetime movie.”
Peter laughed. “No, it isn’t.”
He kept watching Stiles, but didn’t add anything.
“I’m going back to Theo, you know,” Stiles told him.
“No,” said Peter, “You’re not.”
“I have to,” said Stiles. “There’s nothing else.”
“I disagree,” Peter replied.
“Like your opinion counts,” said Stiles.
“You are suffering from PTSD, Stockholm Syndrome, depression and survivor’s guilt, among many other psychological complaints,” said Peter, “We will not be trusting your opinion on anything until you at least try to get better.”
“Stop making excuses!” Stiles snapped, “Don’t you get it? I’m not the person Derek knew! I’m no one! I…”
“You’re still one of the most incredible people I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet,” Peter interrupted.
There was a bare moment of silence.
“God, you’re creepy when you’re trying to be nice,” said Stiles.
“I brought something for you,” he said, nodding to the bag he’d entered with, sat innocuously near the door.
Stiles looked at the bag for a moment, then rolled his eyes. “Pills?” he said, “For some of my many medical problems?”
Peter shook his head.
“A method to send creepy zombie werewolves to hell?” asked Stiles.
“No,” said Peter, “You would miss me if I weren’t around.”
“I really wouldn’t,” said Stiles, “Literally nobody would. You were dead for like, months, and no one cared.”
Peter smiled. Then suddenly he was on top of Stiles. Hands pinning Stiles’ arms to the bed, full weight on Stiles’ legs. Stiles gasped.
“You know how to get what you want, don’t you?” Peter purred in his ear. “You want someone to hurt you, so you do everything you can to hurt them. Keep it truthful, though, or it doesn’t work.”
Stiles bit his lip.
“Look at your face, all flushed,” Peter breathed. He pressed his face into Stiles’ neck. “You smell so wonderful. The want does stuff to us, you know? The smell of someone who wants us is better than any perfume to a werewolf. I could breathe it in all day.”
“Where’s Derek?” Stiles whispered, amazed the younger werewolf hadn’t stormed in.
Peter’s lips touched his neck. “He needed to calm down so I sent him for a run,” he told Stiles, voice gritty with promise. “He’ll be back in about an hour.” He lifted his face again, made powerful and terrifying eye contact with Stiles, “Why? Rethinking your death wish without your saviour so close?”
It was enough to make Stiles actually tremble. He didn’t know if Peter would kill him or not.
“Ah, there it is,” whispered Peter, “That tiny dot of fear. I was beginning to worry there was no self-preservation in you at all.”
“You wouldn’t kill me,” said Stiles, “Derek would…”
“Why would I care what Derek would do?” Peter asked, “He killed me already and yet here I am.”
Stiles didn’t know. Stiles didn’t know why Derek hadn’t killed Peter again.
“I killed his sister and he forgave me,” said Peter, “I could kill his little human crush and he’d have no one else to rely on in the whole word, but me.” His teeth slowly grew, sharp and vicious and inches from Stiles’ chin. “I think you should stay very, very still.”
Stiles did. His only movements were his breathing, and that was as light and shallow as it had ever been. Then he realised another part of him was moving. Even though he was terrified, his penis could do nothing but react.
He was a fucking disgrace. What sort of person got turned on by a zombie werewolf pinning them to a bed and threatening to kill them? He closed his eyes. He remembered that he wanted Lydia, all glorious hair and clever tongue. He wanted Malia, confused and strong but beautiful and feminine. But maybe he had never wanted them. Maybe he’d always been this monster, wanting to be raped and beaten and terrified. Maybe he’d chosen Lydia because she’d never look his way. Maybe he’d chosen Malia because she was an acceptable version of what he wanted.
“Ah,” said Peter, “Maybe you are the monster groupie after all. I’m going to add denial to your list.”
“Get off!” Stiles grunted.
“You don’t want me to,” Peter told him.
Stiles wanted to deny it. But he also didn’t.
“Hurt me,” he whispered. “Please.”
“Why?” asked Peter.
“Because I deserve it,” Stiles hissed.
“No,” said Peter.
“Not good enough.”
Burning tears stung at his eyes. “Then let me go back!”
“No,” said Peter, more quietly this time.
The frustration and anger made Stiles struggle as violently as he could. It made no difference to Peter. Stiles could move his body an inch either way, could clench his fists, could throw his head from side to side. But he couldn’t move any part that Peter was touching. He gave up with a groan of fury and exhaustion.
Peter was still watching him patiently. “Finished?” he asked.
“I hate you,” Stiles told him.
“But you find me strangely appealing too,” said Peter. “It’s normal.”
“No it fucking isn’t!”
“You must be so confused,” said Peter, “Still waking up to your sexual desires when you’re thrown into a world of monsters and danger, while you cling to your best friend’s definitions of good guys and bad guys.”
Stiles groaned again. He didn’t need understanding from Peter.
“It’s OK,” Peter cooed.
Then suddenly he wasn’t on Stiles any more. He was stood a few feet away, as though nothing had happened. Stiles began to doubt his own memories, except there was still evidence left over.
“I brought you something,” said Peter.
Stiles looked at him warily. He smiled back.
“Look in the bag,” he instructed, voice almost kind now. Like a parent with a child.
Stiles glared at the bag, hoping it would just fucking leave.
“I promise you will like it,” said Peter.
With all due caution, Stiles clambered gracelessly from the bed. He gave Pete the look he deserved, and went to the bag. He unzipped it with more care than he would defuse a bomb.
Surprisingly, he did like what was inside.