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Red Strings

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Peter's not sure what wakes him. Things in the Hale house have been hectic ever since Stiles's big reveal and Claudia being turned. John and Claudia have taken up temporary residence in the guest room until the full moon passes. Peter has taken to locking his bedroom door to keep Stiles from sneaking into his bed. It only works half the time.

Tonight appears to be one of those times. Peter is alone in his room. Light from the full moon streams in his window and nothing is out of place. Peter can't help but feel like something is off.

He pulls on a robe and starts checking bedrooms. He pauses outside each door and listens to the even heartbeats inside. Talia and Paul. Claudia and John. Amelia and Jessica. The stairs creak as he wanders up to the attic. He finds Cora, Laura, Derek, Charlotte, and Amber all where they should be. Stiles is not. He peeks inside Derek's room just in case but the air mattress on the floor is empty.

His heart jumps to his throat but he refuses to panic—at least, not immediately. He concentrates and there it is—Stiles's heartbeat—even and steady. Peter sighs in relief and wanders down to the first floor. Stiles is out on the porch, sitting on the front steps and staring intently out into the darkness.

Stiles doesn't even turn as Peter settles onto the porch steps next to him.

"What are you doing up so late?" Peter asks. "It's cold out. Come inside." As a werewolf, Peter's relatively resistant to cold but Stiles is human. At least Stiles is wearing a jacket over his Batman pajamas.

"I'm waiting," Stiles says, like that's an answer. "You can go inside if you want. You don't have to sit with me."

Peter snorts. In what world would he leave his soulmate alone in the cold? He shifts over to sit on the stair behind Stiles and wraps himself around the child. If Stiles feels the cold, he doesn't show it. "What are we waiting for?"

He's used to Stiles acting odd. He used to think it was just a personality quirk, just a child being an imaginative, creative child. His eyes have been opened and he's starting to wonder if all those quirks had a hidden meaning he was too blind to see.

"The bad woman."

Peter's heart freezes and he can't help the way his arms curl around Stiles, pulling him protectively tight against Peter's chest. The last 'bad' person Stiles had mentioned was Gerard Argent who planned to murder Deucalion's pack at their peace treaty meeting. Stiles had convinced Deucalion to talk with Gerard's son Chris instead. For the first time in years, there's a solid treaty between the Argents and the werewolf clans of the United States. All thanks to a remarkable child.

"What bad woman?" Peter forces himself to ask. Gerard has a daughter, but there are a number of other unaffiliated hunters who might see the treaty as a sign of weakness.

Stiles doesn't turn away from the woods. "The one with the bad man. They want to take our family away." Peter starts to rise, to call out to Talia and Amelia and the others so they can get the kids to safety, but Stiles's small hand grips Peter's arm impossibly tight. "It's okay," Stiles says, his voice sure and confident. "My friends won't let them."

Peter swallows. He doesn't sit down, but he doesn't finish rising either. "Stiles, I don't think pixies will be of much help. They're hunters. They know-"

Stiles squeezes Peter's arm and points off into the trees. "Look."

Peter does look. At first, there's nothing. Just trees and shadows cast by the moon. Then the shadows move, fluid and sinuous and not at all like any living thing Peter has ever seen. He swallows hard and sits heavily on the porch steps. That's not… Those aren't… He doesn't even know what they are but the very sight of them frightens him to the core. Stiles, the impossible child that he is, doesn't even seem afraid. The dark shadows slip away into the trees.

"Stiles, what…."

"Shh." Stiles brings a finger to his lips.

The woods are silent. The house creaks slightly, old wood settling. Eleven heartbeats sound in steady rhythm. John snores faintly before there's a shift of fabric and he quiets, lulled by Claudia wrapping around him. Amelia talks in her sleep, muttering about needing turnips for soup. He has no idea what he's supposed to be listening for until he hears it—faint and distant. Screams.

Peter sits up ramrod straight. Out there in the woods people are dying. It sounds awful. Their screams are terrified, pain-filled, wretched and cut off too quick. They're not nearby but they could have been. They're definitely on the Hale property. They were coming here.

All too soon the screams are gone and Stiles stands up. He moves to step down from the porch but Peter stops him, hand shooting out reflexively as he sees shadows in the treeline once more.

Stiles turns. He smiles and pats the hand holding him. "It's okay. They're my friends. Your friends too." And then he slips away, out of Peter's grasp and down onto the dead grass and gravel of the lawn.

He doesn't go far. Only a few steps. One of the shadow things lopes out to meet him. As it comes closer a sort of shape takes form. Not quite a wolf or a cougar but something similar, though sharp and jagged and unreal. There is no color to it but inky darkness. No eyes, but a definite sense of a mouth that hangs open, gaping like a panting dog but much more deadly.

Stiles pets the thing, somehow, on its strange pseudo-head. He doesn't even have to lean down. The thing is almost as tall as Stiles is. It leans against Stiles, rubbing against him in a way that's obviously affectionate.

Stiles looks back at Peter and grins. "Do you want to pet him?"

"I'll pass."

Stiles shrugs and kisses the top of the thing's head before sending it out into the night with a few words of thanks and a promise to play some other time. When Stiles reaches the steps, he holds out his hand. Peter takes it. Together they lock up the house and head up to bed. Peter doesn't even think of protesting when Stiles crawls into bed with him.

Stiles is out in seconds, his body curled against Peter's side as close as he can get. Peter lies awake staring at the ceiling.

How had he not known those things were out there? How is he supposed to go out in the woods again without thinking that one of them might be watching him? He's terrified but also not because apparently, those things are friends of Stiles and somehow, by association, friends of the Hales. They protected him and his family. They're probably still out there, guardians of the Hale land.

Peter wonders how many other strange friends Stiles has. How many more terrifying creatures come to his soulmate's beck and call? Peter knows he's the adult in the relationship but it makes him feel better knowing that Stiles is sleeping by his side, protecting Peter from the monsters lurking in the night. It shouldn't work that way, but it does, and Peter has never been prouder that Stiles is his.

He can't wait to see what a terrifying force Stiles will be when he grows up. If he's feeling generous, he might even warn the others.

No. He won't warn them. What's the fun in that?

Chapter Text

Stiles knows that he is different from the other children. They can’t see what he does. They don’t understand like he does. He’s not sure if anyone really understands, even the adults.

He remembers meeting Padwa first. Padwa’s tree sits in the middle of Summer Street Park, though it’s disingenuous to say that the willow is Padwa’s tree when Padwa is the tree and also not. To him, Padwa looks like a lady made out of vines. Her hair is a long flow of wispy leaves that trail along the grass behind her as she dances. She notices Stiles first and greets him, and it’s only polite for Stiles to greet her back. He’s two, maybe three, at the time, so his vocabulary is limited for their first few conversations, but Padwa seems to know what he means even if he can’t say it.

His mom can’t see Padwa but Padwa doesn’t mind. She isn’t usually seen and is fine with just the birds and squirrels for company but she says it’s nice that he comes to visit her sometimes.

After that a few of the locals pop up to make themselves known. There’s the gnome family that lives in Mrs. Johnson’s garden and the pixies that flutter by one by one until he’s met the whole swarm. He meets the crows that are not crows and a lost badger and a handful of creatures there are no names for but who are pleasant just the same.

Then he meets Peter the wolf. His wolf. With Peter comes a whole pack of wolves—and Paul—and Stiles doesn’t mind being the odd child so much when he has other odd children to play with. Derek and Laura are the oldest at ten and twelve, respectively, then Charlotte who’s seven, but Cora’s only a year older. Amber’s just a baby but Stiles knows they’ll grow up to be friends and tries to include her when he can.

They spend a lot of time in the woods, running and laughing. They swim in the lake while Nadra watches over them. The nymph won’t let any of them drown. He meets Takta and Mera, who are like Padwa but not, more of air than of tree. Cousins, they tell him.

He plays hide and seek with wolves and only cheats sometimes when the howlers are out or when the pixies want him to play with them instead. He meets the stump and talks to the thing inside. It’s not nice, so he tells Padwa and a lady in silver comes to take it away. The stump seems happier after that.

He’s eight when he meets the shining lady. He’s old enough by then to know that people think the things he talks about are weird and they don’t understand. Still, he checks with Cora first to see if she can see the sparkles but she can’t. Stiles shrugs and leaves Cora to her book. They’re supposed to be having quiet reading time but Stiles wants to talk to the lady—their new librarian.

He tugs on her sleeve lightly to get her attention. She blinks once behind thick glasses on thin wire frames as she looks down at him. The glasses make her eyes look large like an owl’s. Stiles leans close and whispers “I think your sparkles are pretty.”

The librarian smiles and kneels down. She whispers too, saying that she just moved here but that she’s happy to have met Stiles. He tells her about Padwa, Nadra, Takta, and Mera. She seems like she would get along with them. She says her name is Amarannaleeah but to call her Amanda. Her grandmother moved with her and she invites Stiles over for tea. They make arrangements for Saturday when Stiles’s mom is working and he can slip away from the Hales for a bit.

He debates telling Peter about it, maybe asking him to come along, but when he gets home and tells Peter about the sparkling lady, Peter gives him that same look his mother does when he talks about Padwa and Stiles decides it will be his secret for now. He can introduce Peter when he’s older and Peter understands a bit better.

Still, he tells everyone about Amanda at dinner and he smiles back when they smile fondly at him, even if they don’t understand. He watches the adults shoot knowing looks at each other and the children snicker but he doesn’t mind.

Padwa says that it takes a long time for people to understand and that it’s okay. Stiles believes that the Hales will get there eventually. Until then, he’ll talk to the unseen for them and be their voice where they can’t speak. Padwa says that it’s a very important thing that Stiles does but Stiles sees it as just being polite.

He knows what it’s like to be different.

Chapter Text

Peter arrives at the Beacon County Sheriff's Department at approximately 1:10 AM. He's showered and changed clothes but he still feels like a filthy pervert. Tara greets him as he walks in.

"The Sheriff's not here right now." It says something that she knows him on sight. All of the deputies do, even the ones he's never been officially introduced to.

Peter's lips twist into a frown. He squares his shoulders and puts his wrists out on the counter. "I'm here to turn myself in."

Tara snorts. "For what? It doesn't count as bribing the Sheriff if he doesn't give you anything for making his favorite cookies."

"Statutory rape."

Tara's eyes widen. Peter looks longingly at the handcuffs on her waist but she doesn't reach them. Instead she whistles and shouts "Finally!" Both of the current deputies on duty turn to watch them. "So you and Stiles…" She makes a circle with one hand and pokes a finger through the circle.

Peter flushes. "What? No! He's sixteen." How is he the only one that cares about that?

"Oh." Tara's face falls. She waves a hand dismissively. "Go away."

"But… he… I…"

Tara leans forward with her elbows on the desk and gives him a level look. "Was it oral or anal sex?"

Peter is fairly certain his face is going to literally start sprouting flames. The two deputies are snickering. "Well… neither."

Tara raises an eyebrow. "Did you touch Stiles in a sexual manner?"

"No."

It's obvious that she's trying hard to keep a stern face but she can't seem to stop herself from smiling. "Did you actually touch Stiles at all while this alleged sexual act occurred?"

Peter frowns. He shifts on his feet. Getting arrested really shouldn't be this hard. He also shouldn't be as well versed as he is in sexual conduct laws but Talia told him to stop asking her so he made a cheat sheet. "No."

Tara's head drops in what Peter first assumes is defeat and then realizes is actually an attempt to not laugh in his face. Her shoulders are shaking and even with the hand pressed over her mouth he can still hear her.

Peter sighs. "Criminal sexual act?"

Tara shakes her head.

"Endangering the welfare of a child?"

Tara snorts.

"How about disseminating indecent materials to a minor?"

Tara's head shoots up. "You sent him porn?"

"No!" Peter hesitates. He really doesn't want to admit it out loud because it just sounds so… juvenile, but she's not arresting him. "We had phone sex."

Tara doesn't even bother hiding her laughter this time. Her head falls back and she has to put one hand on the desk to steady herself while the other wraps around her middle. She eventually tapers off and waves her hand towards the bullpen. "Go wait in the office. I'll call John."

He goes and sits in the chair in front of John's desk. Tara closes the office door but Peter can still hear her making fun of him with the other deputies. It feels like being sent to the principal's office, like he's a child again and not in his thirties. He hears Tara call John and then he waits.

And waits.

And waits.

John finally shows up close to three in the morning with Claudia, Paul, and Talia in tow. They file into the office behind John, all three of them grinning like lunatics. Claudia doesn't even wait until the door shuts before she starts laughing at him. It's obvious she's trying to say something but all that he can make out is "your face."

John settles behind his desk and at least tries to look professional. He's wearing a flannel and jeans and smells a bit like margaritas so he doesn't quite pull it off. "Why don't you tell me what happened, Peter?"

Peter stares John straight in the face and says, "I had sex with Stiles."

John nods like they're talking about the weather or Stiles's grades. "Over the phone."

"Yes."

"While you were next door to each other."

He's pretty sure that wasn't a question but he answers anyway. "Yes."

John sighs and gets that put-upon look on his face like he usually does whenever Stiles and Peter's relationship is part of the conversation. "And did you call him or he call you?"

Peter licks his lips. Talia and Paul are whispering bad lines from pornos to each other. Claudia has yet to stop laughing. Sometimes Peter feels like the world's gone insane and he's the only one unaffected. "He called me."

"Uh huh. Did you, at any point, do or say anything that made my son act against his will?"

"No. Of course not."

John nods and looks down at his desk and then over at his computer. "Well, that's all I need to hear." He looks pointedly at Peter. "And I mean that. Nothing. I want to hear nothing. Nothing about you and my son and the sex you are not having."

"But, I-"

"Nope," John says. He points a finger at the door. "Out. All of you. It's far too late for this. I just want to go home and go to bed and then have a discussion with my son in the morning on appropriate phone conduct."

Peter is not pouting. Not at all. "You're not going to arrest me?"

"You damn well know that." John stands and pushes his hand through his hair. "Now, you can either keep sitting in here, alone, or you can go home and get some damn sleep." With that, John walks out. Talia clasps Peter on the shoulder before exiting with Paul.

Claudia drops into her husband's chair and spins around. "You know, that boy masturbates far too much. You'd think he's forgotten that he lives with a werewolf." She grins at him. It feels kind of predatory. "I never had much shame as a human, and I certainly don't have much left now, so if it'll make my son happy I can give you tips if you need. What he likes and all that. I was the one who gave him the talk about the bees and the bees so he's well educated."

Peter is pretty sure his eyes are as wide as saucers. It takes him a full minute to process the words that have come out of Claudia's mouth, out of his soulmate's mother's mouth. He's disturbed. Deeply and utterly disturbed and he's fairly certain he needs twelve more showers before he'll consider himself clean again.

"He thinks about you a lot when he touches himself."

That's it. Peter's up and out of the chair. He runs out of the station. Talia and Paul are standing outside with John, waiting on Claudia, and they laugh raucously as he slams his car door and takes off out of the station parking lot at speeds that are definitely not legal.

This is one time when he's very glad that he can't get speeding tickets.

Chapter Text

A car rolls onto the Hale property shortly after dinner on Thursday night. Peter frowns and mentally counts heartbeats. Everyone that should be here is and they weren't expecting guests. He shares a look with his siblings and then Amelia's on her feet herding the children into the basement with Paul's help.

"What?" John's half out of his chair, hand going to his hip where his gun would be but he keeps it locked in the cruiser when he's at the Hale's.

Talia raises a hand. "Just some unexpected visitors." Three, if Peter's hearing is correct.

John frowns and his brow furrows. He can't hear the car switch off, but he does hear the doors slamming shut as whoever it is gets out of the car. "How did you...?"

Talia taps her ear. John and Claudia are still adjusting to their sudden awareness of the supernatural world, including the idea that Claudia may soon be part of it. Talia is waiting by the door before their guests even step on the porch. Peter's behind her along with Amelia's wife Jessica. Claudia peers from the kitchen doorway while John hovers at the living room entrance.

After a single, polite knock, Talia opens the door. There's a family on the other side—a mother, father, and their teenage daughter. They look normal but there's something about their smell that's slightly off. It's not a large difference, not even one he would probably notice at other times but they're still all on edge after Stiles's warning about the Argents.

"Can I help you?" Talia asks. Her shoulders are drawn up and she looks every bit the commanding Alpha she is.

The father grips his daughter's shoulders and nods. He's nervous. They all are. He licks his lips twice before speaking. "Um, yes. Alpha Hale. I, um... We're actually..." The wife shifts closer to her husband's side and grips his sleeve. "We were hoping to ask permission to move into your territory. It's just... we've heard... and we thought..."

Talia raises an eyebrow but she steps aside, wordlessly inviting them in. Peter and Jessica move to block the doorways to either side, herding them back toward Talia's office. John and Claudia seem unsure what to do with themselves until Talia gestures for them to follow. They might as well get a taste of pack diplomacy firsthand.

Once everyone's settled, Talia asks "Who are you?"

The family exchanges glances. Their eyes keep straying around the room, as if looking for something. Wolves, maybe? Piles of bones and raw meat?

The father answers. "I'm Gregor Anastas. This is my wife Junia and our daughter Ellena. My family is from Greece but we moved here years ago. It's been hard, though. To find a place. Somewhere safe."

"You're worried about your safety?" Peter asks. It's his job to look out for the pack's safety, especially where others might endanger it. "Worried enough that you'd bring your trouble to our doorstep?"

Junia pales but Gregor is quick to shake his head. "No. No, we do not wish to bring trouble. It's just..." He shifts slightly on the couch and squeezes his daughter's hand. "People are not always welcoming of our kind."

Both Peter and Jessica shift on their feet, prepared to act if they've let something dangerous into the pack house.

"And your kind are...?" Talia asks.

Gregor looks to his wife who shudders and shifts. Her face goes from a bland and ordinary visage to one of unnatural beauty, obviously otherworldly in its shape alone. Her hair turns into a plumage of long red feathers. Her hands are scaled and end in sharp talons, longer even than a werewolf's claws. She shakes her head and the vision is gone, replaced by a seemingly fragile woman.

"What..." John's gone pale, though Peter is both pleased and terrified to note Claudia's rapt fascination.

"Sirens," Peter supplies, since he assumes—rightly so, judging by Talia's sharp glance in his direction—he's the only one who knows the answer.

Gregor nods. "Junia, yes, and Ellena is new to the gifts." Both women remain silence. Not in deference to the father, Peter realizes, but out of respect for the Hales, so they can't be accused of undue influence.

Talia's eyes are wide. Tales of sirens are rare. The few who still exist keep hidden. Peter can think of at least a dozen people who would pay millions to own one, none of whom would do anything good with a siren in their control.

"And you want me to allow you haven here? In Beacon Hills?" Talia looks to Peter because she's always been the soft heart, always the one who wants to help where they can. Peter grimaces. It's his job to say no, to keep the pack's safety as his number one concern, but he doesn't want to turn them away even though he knows he should.

"Actually," Gregor says, "we were..." He quickly holds up a hand. "No offense, Alpha Hale, but we... we came to speak to the child... the Boy in Red."

A mixture of dread and wonder fight in Peter's belly. He pushes away from where he'd been leaning on Talia's desk and opens the door. He doesn't have to ask who they mean, though where they got that name, he has no idea. Amelia looks up at him when he opens the basement door.

"Stiles?"

There's a quick scamper of feet and then Stiles is brushing past Amelia. "What's up?"

Peter holds the door open and gestures Stiles to proceed him into the study. "There are some people here to see you."

"Cool," Stiles says, with the kind of blaze attitude that only a ten-year-old can manage. Stiles practically skips into the study and then smiles widely at the nervous family. "Hi!" Before Peter can even think to stop him, Stiles is lunging forward to hug the family one at a time—Junia then Ellena then Gregor. Peter must make some kind of strangled sound because Stiles turns to look at him the same as he did the day he'd met Deucalion. "It's fine," Stiles says, dragging the last word out. "Geez." Stiles shakes his head like Peter is the weird one.

What is his life?

Stiles turns to beam at Talia, his face so eager and open that Peter wants to give him anything he asks for. "Can they stay?" Stiles says. "Filiastria said they were nice and that they needed our help. Padwa thinks it's a good idea. She said they could live near her and then she could keep an eye on them."

Peter frowns. He has so many questions, he has no idea where to start. He settles for "Who? What?"

Claudia's face scrunches up. "Is this about that tree?"

Stiles groans and rolls his eyes. Gregor and his family look slightly terrified. "Padwa isn't a tree, mom. She just looks like one."

John's mouth is hanging open. He'd missed the whole pixie swarm reveal so the fact that his son is magic has yet to fully penetrate. Peter had seen it and even he still has moments of skepticism.

"Who vouched for them?" Talia asks, ever the diplomat. Peter is at least slightly vindicated that she doesn't even try to reproduce the names Stiles had mentioned.

"Padwa," Stiles says with another eyeroll. "She's the big willow in Spring Street Park. She's like a nymph but older, I think? She explained it once but I forgot. And Filiastria is Amarannaleeah's grandmother."

Peter's mind is busy trying to imagine a tree spirit older than a nymph while Talia asks, "Whose grandmother?"

Stiles lets out a long-suffering sigh. "You guys never listen to me. Amarannaleeah." At their blank expressions, he continues "Miss Amanda?" Peter tries to think of an Amanda Stiles has mentioned and comes up blank.

Claudia, at least, seems to know the name. "Your librarian?" She shares a look with John. "The one who sparkles?"

Stiles throws up his hands. "Geez. Yes."

"When exactly did you meet Miss Amanda's grandmother?"

"Ages ago." Stiles waves a hand. "I go over for tea." At Claudia and John's shocked looks, Stiles hastily adds, "They invited me. Filiastria's teaching me to make cookies. And she has some really cool stories."

John falls into a chair that Jessica hastily pushes over for him. Claudia just covers her face with a hand. "We are talking about this later," Claudia promises.

Stiles pouts.

Gregor lets out a nervous cough. Junia seems to have calmed and Ellena obviously finds the whole situation hilarious, though she politely holds in her giggles. Well, most of them.

Stiles turns pleading eyes on Talia. "Can they stay? Pleeeaaase?"

Talia sighs and waves a hand. "Sure. I just... If you think it's safe." Her face twists slightly after, like she can't believe she just deferred to a child.

Stiles turns his doe-eyes on Peter and Peter nods. He knows he should have some objections but they've flown from his head. He's not even sure where to begin processing all this new information.

Gregor is quick and profuse with his thanks, even going so far as to enthusiastically shake Stiles's hand. Stiles just grins and gives the man a hug before announcing that Junia needs to sing for him sometime. Peter pales but Junia nods like it's nothing and Ellena beams. The women whisper their thanks. Their voices are like the chimes of clear and perfect bells.

After everyone's emerged from the basement and the Anastas family has left, Stiles grabs Peter's hand and beams up at him in that way that means nothing good for Peter. "Will you come for tea with Filiastria? She made me promise to ask once you knew."

Terror and wonder vie for Peter's attention as he says, "Of course." How long ago was it that Stiles first mentioned the sparkly librarian? At least a year, if not more, and Stiles has apparently become well acquainted with her and her grandmother in that time. Enough that they have tea, it seems, and that they know about Peter. He still has no idea what they are beyond 'sparkly'.

He wonders if they'll let him take notes.

Chapter Text

"Peter."

He looks up from his book to find Stiles standing in the door to the study with a sly grin. Dread and excitement war inside of Peter as he realizes they're the only two people in the house. How the hell did that happen? He'd thought after the phone sex incident that John wouldn't let Stiles and Peter be alone together but John isn't even on the property right now.

Peter stands and drops his book onto the chair. "Stiles. Darling. Where are your parents?"

Stiles walks toward Peter. His smile could probably be considered devilish on anyone other than Stiles. His soulmate doesn't have an ounce of devil in him. Trickster, maybe, but he's more likely to tell a fly to move along than swat it. It's made for some interesting summer barbeques.

"They're double dating," Stiles says. That explains the disappearance of Talia and Paul.

Peter clenches a hand around the phone in his pocket. Exactly how long will it take for the whole extended family to stop laughing at him if he calls for a chaperone? He's fairly certain that he would never live it down.

"What's wrong, Peter?" Stiles asks as he sidles up to Peter. His hand rests on Peter's chest and Peter has to close his eyes to push down the sudden wave of want that wells up inside of him.

"We shouldn't be alone together."

Amusement tinges Stiles's voice but his scent is pure lust. "Why not? We could have fun."

Stiles's arms wrap around Peter's neck. Peter's still taller than Stiles but he opens his eyes to warily watch for another attempt to kiss. He knows most of Stiles's tricks by now. His childhood prank wars with Talia and Amelia turned out good for something. He's developed a sixth sense for attempted molestation from his soulmate, and right now that sense is screaming danger, danger.

"Stiles..."

"It's okay, Peter. I just want to touch." True to his word, Stiles melts against Peter's chest. He tucks his head under Peter's jaw and presses his cheek right over Peter's heart. He wonders if Stiles can hear how fast Peter's heart is racing. He wonders if Stiles can smell Peter's want the way Peter can smell Stiles.

His hands rest lightly on Stiles's hips. It's not his fault for seeking out such a simple touch. It's been so, so long since Peter's had sex that he thinks he might have forgotten how, but that's not why he craves this. Werewolves are tactile by nature. There's nothing more pleasing to his instincts than having his scent mixed with his mate's. They used to touch all the time when Stiles was younger, hugging and cuddling and simply reveling in being near each other. Those days disappeared when puberty hit. There's a small part of Peter that wishes they could go back in time, return to the days when Stiles was too young and too innocent to understand the lure of sex. Instead, they march maddeningly forward.

Two more years, Peter reminds himself. Two more years.

"Peter, I love you."

Warmth spreads through Peter and he smiles. He tilts his head so that his cheek rests against Stiles's hair. Despite their age gap, Peter couldn't imagine having a better soulmate. Stiles is and always will be perfect. "I love you too, darling."

Stiles's arms tighten as Stiles shifts closer, pressing their bodies together to leave no space in between. For a second, Peter lets himself imagine what it would be like without clothes, just skin to skin. His cock stirs and he pictures his grandmother naked to kill that unfortunate reaction before it can get out of hand.

"Peter..." Stiles's voice comes out in a groan as Stiles shifts against him.

The noise that Peter makes is high-pitched and incredibly embarrassing. Stiles is, thankfully, the only one to hear it but Stiles is also the cause of it. Stiles has slotted himself against Peter's right leg and there's no mistaking the hardness pressing into his thigh.

"Stiles." Peter's voice is strangled. "Stiles, we can't."

"Why?" Stiles whines. His hands fist in the back of Peter's shirt as he rubs himself against Peter's leg. "Please?"

Peter's hands are frozen on Stiles's hips. He should let go. He should move away. He can't do either of those things. His mouth seems to be the only part of him that works. That and his cock. He's gone from vaguely interested to fully hard in a second. Thankfully, Stiles is positioned just off-center enough to avoid grinding straight into Peter's dick.

"Stiles, you're too young."

"'m not too young," Stiles grumbles. His body slides against Peter like a languorous cat. "Just... just let me..."

The smells coming off Stiles are a dizzying mix of lust and need and desperation and affection. Peter wants to bury his nose—and maybe his teeth—in Stiles's neck and just give in. He wants to give Stiles everything he wants, everything he desires. His hands tighten on Stiles's hips, steadying Stiles's wobbly movements. If he happens to keep Stiles pressed against him, there is no one to tell.

"Peter," Stiles moans. "Peter, I want you so bad. Always you. Only ever you."

Peter licks his lips, they've suddenly gone dry. "I know, darling. I know."

If he could bottle up this smell, it would be enough to fuel his masturbation for the next two years. He wants his memories of this to stay as crisp and vivid as the night two months ago when Stiles had called him on the phone.

"Just two more years," he promises. "Two years and then I'm yours."

"Tell me what you want."

He shouldn't. He can smell the slight leakage already pearling on Stiles's cock and wetting his briefs.

"I want to take you apart with my tongue," Peter's traitorous mouth says. "I want to make you shiver and beg before I put my cock in you. I'd fill you up, baby. Better than that toy I know you have." Stiles's moan is loud enough to fill the room. It echoes inside Peter's skull. His left hand shifts, just slightly, fingers brushing against the curve of Stiles's ass. "I'd make you come again and again. Work all that tension out of you until you're boneless and pliant but I wouldn't stop there. I'd take my time, building you up to orgasm after orgasm until you come dry, until you have nothing left to give."

"I want that, Peter." Stiles's voice is soft and breathy. The smell of precum fills the air. "I want you so bad."

"I know, baby. I want you too."

"Peter..." Stiles's breath hitches and he shudders. The smell of his release turns Peter into stone. He can't move. He can't think. His claws and fangs are out and his instincts are screaming at him to mate-take-claim.

He can't. Not yet. Two more fucking years.

"Peter, let me..." Stiles slides a hand down Peter's chest and worms a finger under the waistband of Peter's pants.

Peter is gone. He bolts up the stairs and shuts the door to his bedroom. He locks it for good measure and falls to the floor with his back against the door. Stiles follows him, of course, and Peter can still fucking smell him but at least there's a door between him and eternal damnation.

"Peter? Peter, please let me in." The door doesn't muffle Stiles's voice in the slightest.

Peter is so hard it hurts. His head smacks against the wood as he yanks his pants open. The button goes flying across the room. He's certain he's ruined the zipper but he doesn't care because he can finally wrap his hand around his aching cock.

He's going to Hell. One way trip. They're probably sending a basket for him right now.

"Peter. Let me help you. Let me touch you. I'll be good. I'll do whatever you want, just open the door."

All he has to do is think about Stiles's pretty hands—or even better, his gorgeous mouth—wrapping around his cock and he's coming hard enough to see pixies. He blinks twice to make sure Stiles didn't send actual pixies to watch him jack off.

"Peter," Stiles whines. "Let me in."

"Go home, Stiles."

Stiles's pout can be felt through the door. Peter makes it across the room to the box of tissues he keeps next to the bed before Stiles stomps off, grumbling about stubborn wolves. Peter doesn't consider himself safe until he hears the back door shut and Stiles's heartbeat receding as he walks home.

Once Peter's hand is clean enough, he pulls out his phone and sends a message to John Stilinski. His phone rings five seconds later.

"I swear to God," John says without preamble, "if you don't stop asking me to arrest you, I will lock you in a room with Stiles and let him do his worst."

The call disconnects before Peter can even open his mouth to respond.

Why is it so hard to get arrested? Doesn't Stiles's friend Scott's dad work for the FBI? He'll have to look up the closest branch. Tomorrow. After he showers a dozen times.

If he releases a bit more frustration in the shower, no one's home to hear it.

Chapter Text

The screaming wakes Peter from blissful sleep, not only because it's loud but also because it's right next to his ear. Peter jerks upright, eyes glowing as he sweeps the room for potential threats. He's not the only one waking. The house is full of werewolves, but even the two humans—John and Paul—are jerked alert.

"Get out," Stiles screams, his face twisted and tear-stained. "Get out. Get out."

Peter follows Stiles's gaze to the open closet door. There's nothing there. Just shadows.

"Stiles, honey..." He reaches for his tiny soulmate but Stiles flinches away. Peter frowns. Stiles has never rejected touch, especially not from Peter. Stiles is even more of a cuddlebug than Derek was as a child.

Stiles growls at the closet. Peter's momentarily concerned that Stiles has picked up that behavior from one of the children, but if he's honest, even the adults fall on that bad habit now and then.

Claudia is the first one there, pushing Peter's bedroom door open with a loud bang. Stiles doesn't even flinch. Peter closes his eyes as the lights turn on. He can hear Claudia moving closer. "Baby, what's wrong?"

When Peter opens his eyes again, Stiles hasn't moved. Even with his mom crouching at his side and Peter next to him, he's still staring at the closet with a look of fear.

"Stiles?" Claudia prompts.

Stiles glances at his mother for only a second before snapping his gaze back to the closet. He lifts a shaky finger and points. "They want to take me away."

Ice runs through Peter's veins and he starts to rise, fangs and claws ready. Stiles lunges across the bed and grabs Peter's arm. "No! They'll hurt you."

Claudia's on her feet. Despite being a freshly-turned werewolf, she's kept herself human. It shows a promising amount of control. "Honey, there's nothing there." She takes two steps toward the closet.

"Mom, stop!" Stiles screams.

John pushes through the crowd at the doorway. "What's going on?"

"Stiles had a nightmare," Claudia says. "You know the ones he used to get? Where he wouldn't go in the basement for weeks and we had to check under his bed every night?"

"It's not a nightmare," Stiles says, voice small. "I wasn't sleeping."

Peter thinks back to the night in January where he'd sat on the porch with Stiles. There are howls nearby that are not from wolves. Talia and Amelia flinch from the sound but Peter's certain he and Stiles are the only ones who know the cause.

"There's something outside," Claudia says, her voice tinged with wonder at her new abilities. She moves to the window, near the closet door, and Stiles screeches an unearthly sound that makes them all freeze.

"Don't," Stiles pleads. He lets go of Peter to reach a hand out for his mom. "You can't go near them. They'll hurt you."

Claudia rolls her eyes. She hasn't seen Stiles do anything magical yet. She doesn't believe, not like Peter does. "Stiles, silly, it's just a closet." She marches over to the door and grabs the edge. As soon as she does, a shadowed hand reaches out from the closet. Claudia cries out in pain and falls back, clutching her arm to her chest. There's a vivid red welt on her arm in the shape of a hand.

"NO!" Stiles loses it. His voice rises into a piercing scream that has everyone clutching their ears. The three lamps in Peter's room shine brighter than ever, filling the room with white hot light. It's all Peter can see.

Then there's a pop, like a bubble bursting. The lightbulbs all shatter, plunging the room into darkness. Stiles had been standing upright, but now he crumbles. John and Peter reach out at the same time to catch him and lower him to the bed.

Stiles's hands grip John's sleeve and Peter's wrist. "Not gonna go with them," Stiles mumbles, consciousness clearly fading.

"How about you sleep with us tonight, kiddo?" John says, already pulling Stiles into his arms. Stiles nods against John's shoulder.

"What was that?" Talia asks as she steps in the room. Her eyes are wide, much like Peter's.

"I have no idea." Peter's not used to being without answers but it seems to be his constant state whenever dealing with the supernaturals that Stiles draws.

"We can ask Stiles in the morning."

Peter's not sure he wants to know. He's even more certain that he never wants to know when Amelia walks in with a flashlight. She pushes aside Peter's dress shirts and shines the light on the back wall of his closet. There are three strange scorch marks burnt into the wall. They look like strange, elongated humanoids.

Peter had never even felt their presence. He hadn't smelled them or heard them or seen them. Not until one grabbed Claudia. Would he have even known they were there, if not for Stiles's screaming? Would he have slept through them abducting his soulmate?

"Talia, can I-"

She jerks her head toward the bedroom she shares with Paul. "Come on."

Peter grabs his pillow and follows his sister as they all slowly disperse. Amelia and some of the kids head downstairs, giving up on sleep for the night. Peter's tempted to join them but instead he slips under the covers next to his sister. Talia curls around him and he can hear Paul settling down at her back.

It takes a long time before any of them fall asleep but at least he's not alone.