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Unexpected Interference of the Emotional Nature

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     “This is bullshit, Scott!” Stiles throws his hands up in the air. He doesn’t know what to do. Once Scott makes up his mind, he’s an immovable object. But they can't just let Deucalion go free. He killed Erica and Boyd. He tried to kill the rest of them. He tried killing Scott.

     “He’s on a path to redemption,” Scott says, sounds so earnest, so hopeful, so naive . Stiles kind of hates him for it. “Things are different now. We have to give him a chance.”

     “He doesn’t deserve a chance,” Stiles growls. Behind Scott, Isaac bristles. Stiles fights the urge to roll his eyes, because really? Out of the three betas Derek made, he really dislikes the fact that Isaac is the last one standing.

     “So, what, you want us to be killers too?” Scott argues. “That’s not how we do things.”

     “That’s how we did it with Jackson,” Peter pipes up. Stiles turns to look at him from where he’s lurking on the spiral staircase. “I mean, he survived, but that was of his own volition.”

     “What are you even doing here,” Stiles mutters under his breath, glaring daggers at Peter. Because seriously, what the fuck is he still doing here? Derek and Cora left. He should have gone with them. Yet here he is, being his normal, creeper self.

     “That was when Derek was Alpha,” Scott says, straightening his spine to stand a little taller. “I’m the Alpha now. If you don’t like it, leave.”

     Fuck it.

     Stiles doesn’t even hesitate, just storms past Scott and Isaac without another word towards the loft door.

     “I meant Peter!” Scott exclaims. He sounds slightly panicky. Good.

     Stiles doesn’t turn around, just walks through the door and replies, “sure didn’t feel like it, Scotty.”

     It hurts a little that Scott doesn’t try harder to stop him. He hears feet drag against the floor, then Scott says, “Don’t, Isaac. He’ll come to his senses soon enough.”

     And that? That pisses him the fuck off. Because he’s not batshit crazy. He didn’t let a fucking sociopath walk away scott-free.

     He doesn’t stop until he’s outside. It’s not until the cool air hits his face that he realizes he’s shaking. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, working on decreasing his heart rate.

     “So.”

     Stiles yelps. There’s no denying it, he one thousand percent sounded like a scared puppy just now. It’s one of the most unmanly sounds that’s ever left his lips. He spins around to glare at Peter, who had silently crept up behind him. He’s wearing a shit-eating grin, because of course he is.

     “What the fuck do you want, Peter?” Stiles spits. He doesn’t have time for Peter’s games.

     “The same thing you do.”

     Stiles narrows his eyes. He knows where this is going, so he cuts to the chase.

     “Think you’ve got it twisted, buddy. I don’t want you to be Alpha again. And that’s exactly what you want.”

     Peter makes a show of gasping and clutching his chest.

     “You wound me. Do you really think so little?”

     “No,” Stiles replies. “I think less.”

     Peter grins again, like he wasn’t just insulted. It’s a grin with too many teeth, and it sets Stiles on edge.

     “Let’s be honest. I’m done with my murder spree. I left my insanity in my grave under the floorboards. I give Deucalion a month before he starts collecting alphas again. Who would you rather have as an Alpha, me or him?”

     “I’m not teaming up with you.” Stiles says flatly. “You’re Peter Hale, resident psycho.”

     “And you’re Stiles Stilinski, resident pain in my ass.”

     “You wish I was a pain in your ass,” Stiles scoffs before he can stop himself. Peter arches the patented Hale brow, and Stiles snaps his jaw shut with a click.

     “Just let me know when and where, sweetheart,” Peter purrs seductively, and no. Stiles is not going all heart-eyes for Peter. The psycho. Nope. No way.

     He opens his mouth to tell him to fuck off, but stops short. Stiles knows three things to be true: Deucalion needs to die, he can’t do it himself, and Peter can’t be Alpha again. But if Peter were to die alongside Deucalion? That’s the best possible outcome for this shitty situation that Scott forced him into.

     So instead of another insult, he says, “You know what? Fuck it. Help me kill Deucalion, and you can have his Alpha Spark.”

     Peter gives Stiles a calculating look, and Stiles is sure that Peter knows he plans to double-cross him. Even still, a slow smile spreads across the man’s face.

     “Deal.”

     - - -

     The next day finds Stiles at Peter’s surprisingly upscale condo, which he apparently owns.

     “I thought you lived at the loft?” Stiles asks casually, trying not to race for the bookshelf and root through the old tomes. He still has to keep his guard up. Even if Peter’s agreed to help him, he’s still Peter. So instead of perusing the books, he keeps his body faced towards Peter and his back to the wall. Peter doesn’t pay him mind, just sits on the pristine couch in the pristine living room and fires up his laptop that sits on the pristine coffee table.

     “I like to keep up that appearance, yes. But actually live there? Stiles, I had assumed you thought higher of me.”

     The pout he plasters on his face has no right to make him look as good as it does. Stiles looks away and clears his throat.

     “So what’s the plan?” He asks to change the subject. Back on track. He knows Peter better than to fall for his charm. And besides, the end game is Peter dead too, right next to Deucalion. No sense in getting attached. Not that that would ever happen.

     “How are you with a firearm?” Peter asks, not bothering to look up from his laptop.

     “I’m the son of the sheriff. I can handle one,” Stiles says, slightly affronted that Peter would even ask. Just because he never uses one doesn’t mean he can’t.

     “Handling is one thing. Being proficient is another.”

     Stiles scoffs are crosses his arms.

     “I could easily clip you if you were running away from me, is that proficient enough?”

     “Oh honey,” Peter gives him that toothy grin that makes the hair on the back of his neck rise. “I would never run.”

     He flashes his blue eyes, and Stiles can hear the audible click his throat makes when he swallows. He can’t quite tell if it’s a flirt or a threat, but it makes his cheeks heat regardless.

     “Back on topic, please?” He asks, his voice an octave higher than he’d like it. He hates to admit to himself that Peter disarms him. But he does. It’s just a whole lot easier to keep a handle on it when there’s other people in the room. This one-on-one though? He’s fighting an uphill battle.

     Just remember that he’s a psycho, he reminds himself. He tried to kill you. He tried to kill Scott.

     But all thinking of Scott does is ignite flames of rage in his belly. Scott, who let Deucalion get away. In Stiles’ book, Deucalion is worse than Peter. At least Peter thought what he was doing was right. And Stiles can see how it was justified, even if he didn’t agree with it. But Deucalion? The dude was just power-hungry.

     “Stiles?” Peter’s questioning tone pulls Stiles back to the present.

     “Huh?” He says stupidly, blinking rapidly and trying to remember the question that Peter had asked.

     “I said, if you’re a decent shot, then Nordic blue wolfsbane would be our best choice. If you can hit him in the heart, it’ll immobilize him long enough for me to make the kill. Think you can manage that?”

     Stiles straightens his stance and drops his face to a somber expression. After all, they are planning murder.

     “Consider it done.”

     - - -

     The bulk of their time is spent tracking Deucalion down. Getting the bullets and a gun had been easy enough. All it had taken was a conversation with Chris, and the promise that if his dad found the handgun, he’d say he bought it black market.

     “It’s about time,” Chris says to him while he walks through his armory, looking for a handgun he deems fit for Stiles. “You’re human, you need something better than that damned bat.”

     “Hey! Don’t diss the bat,” Stiles grumbles. He likes that bat, okay? It’s a solid defense. “I just… need something with more firepower, you know? After the Alphas…” he lets the statement hang in the air. Chris pauses for a second, not looking at Stiles but lost in his own thoughts.

     “This one,” he decides, grabbing a small, modern handgun off the shelf. Stiles takes it from him, tests the weight in his hand.

     “I like it,” Stiles says, turning it left and right to get a good look.

     “Well, let’s load ‘er up and you can see how she feels,” Chris suggests. 

     Stiles had forgotten how much he enjoyed shooting ranges. He wasn’t lying - he’s a decent shot, just never really had a reason to own a gun. Then, when all of the supernatural shit hit the fan, the thought of taking a life terrified him. That’s why he likes his bat. It’s enough to teach something that you aren’t a free meal, but it’s not a death sentence. If Scott won’t step up to the plate though, Stiles will do what he has to to protect his home.

     After twenty some-odd minutes at the range, Chris clasps him on the shoulder and asks, “You mentioned Nordic blue wolfsbane bullets?”

     Peter had curled his lip and snarled when Stiles walked into his apartment the next day. He was taken aback when Peter grabbed him and shoved him face-first against the wall.

     “Hey!” He yelps. “What gives?”

     Peter is rucking the back of his shirt up, a constant growl rumbling from his chest.

     “Buy me dinner first, asshole,” Stiles spits, pushing back uselessly. Then Peter is pulling the gun out of the back of his jeans, where he had it comfortably nestled. He slams the gun against the wall in front of Stiles’ face, holding it in place, and presses his chest against Stiles’ back, pinning him in place. He’s a solid wall of hot muscle, and Stiles is actually embarrassed at the whine that he has to bite back. 

     “You don’t bring this into my den, Stiles.” Peter growls lowly into his ear. Stiles lets out a shaky breath, because he’s actually a little scared. Sure, they’re working together, but at the end of the day he’s going to kill this man, and they’re far from friends.

     That’s part of what’s making his fear boner so confusing.

     “Sorry, I… sorry.”

     Peter holds him there a second longer, then eases off. Stiles steps away from the wall, glad he wore baggy pants. Not that it hides the scent he’s sure Peter can smell.

     “I’ll just, uh, bring this home and be back,” Stiles mutters, grabbing the gun off the side table where Peter had placed it. Peter is standing nearby, arms crossed over his chest, and a smirk playing on his lips.

     “You do that, sweetheart.” Stiles fights the shiver that runs down his spine. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with him? “Don’t be too long, we have a lot of planning left still.”

     - - -

     They’ve been at it for almost two weeks now, finding whatever time they can to get together without drawing suspicion. It actually hasn’t been that hard, which kind of hurts Stiles a little. Scott’s been all about helping Isaac and repairing his relationship with Allison. He hasn’t invited Stiles to the past three Pack meets, and neither has Peter. Even today, of all days, Stiles has yet to hear from him.

     He’s sitting in his Jeep outside of Peter’s building. As per usual on this day, his dad is working a double. He didn’t see him this morning, and he doubts he’ll see him tonight. That’s their routine though, and Stiles doesn't mind. He prefers it that way.

     He takes a deep, calming breath. If he cries, Peter will be able to smell it. He doesn’t think he could handle the ridicule. Not today.

     He finally pulls himself together and makes his way inside. He usually takes the elevator, but the stairs give him a few extra minutes to gather himself. When he gets to Peter’s door, he lets himself in. Peter can hear him well in advance, and has taken to keeping his door unlocked when he knows Stiles will be there.

     “If you were anyone dangerous, you’d just break the door down regardless. And besides, I don’t want to be interrupted every time you arrive. I’m not your babysitter.”

     Remembering the rant puts a small smile on his face that he immediately feels guilty of. He lets it fall, walking through the foyer and into the living room where he knows he’ll find Peter.

     “Dude, did you even sleep?”

     Peter’s right where he left him last night, on the couch hunched over his laptop.

     “Of course I slept,” Peter mutters, not bothering to look up. “What a ridiculous question.”

     Stiles makes a face at him, then notices a large package on the recliner where he normally sits.

     “What’s this?” His curiosity is warring with his suspicion, and it’s winning.

     “It’s for you,” Peter says offhandedly, waving his hand towards it with little thought. Stiles arches an eyebrow, but it’s lost on Peter, who hasn’t looked at him once yet.

     “Ooookay,” Stiles says, walking over and picking up the large box. It’s heavy, but not overly. He kneels down and  sets it on the coffee table, pulling the top off. Inside is something woven, definitely some sort of fabric. He can see that the edge is charred. The smell of old burn reaches his nostrils, and he has a sinking feeling in his gut.

     “What is this?” He asks in an unsteady voice, lifting his head to glance at Peter. Peter’s looking at him now, head cocked with a look that Stiles can’t quite figure out.

     “Something I thought you might appreciate, is all.”

     Stiles looks back down at the box and reaches out with trembling hands, gently lifting the folded fabric out and pushing the box away to lay it on the table. He can tell that it’s high quality, either handwoven or made out of country. He carefully unfolds it until it’s laying flat, spilling off of the table and onto the floor. He sits back on his heels and stares in awe.

     “I don’t understand,” he whispers, tears pooling into his eyes. Why would Peter give him this?

     “It’s been sitting in that box for a long time,” Peter says, and Stiles jumps, because he’s standing right behind him. His back bumps into Peter’s legs, but he doesn’t move. He might as well be a solid wall. “I thought you might like to have it. Bloodlines, lore, history, all of the things you enjoy are there.”

     Stiles looks down at the tapestry, the Hale family tree emblazoned on it. The edges are singed, and the bottom of the tree is missing entirely. Stiles guesses there’s about ten-ish generations here, even with the earliest ones burnt away. He leans over the top of the tapestry, scrutinizing the names.

     “There!” He says after a few seconds, pointing to Talia’s name. Next to hers is Peter’s, and above them is Laura, Derek, and Cora. His eye catches another name, just above and connected to Peter’s.

     “Justine?” He whispers, turning his head to look up at Peter.  Peter maintains his stoic posture, but he’s clenching his jaw and his eyes are a touch too shiny.

     “My daughter,” He says. Stiles is surprised by how even he can keep his tone. “She would be eleven now, on the cusp of presenting as wolven or not.”

     He smiles, but it’s a broken thing that looks more like a grimace. Stiles feels his heart constrict in his chest. Why is Peter sharing this?

     “When we woke up to inferno and ran to the basement, she was already passed out from smoke inhalation. I curled around her, tried to protect her from the flames…”

     The first tear spills over and slides down his face, and Stiles can’t take it anymore. He reaches up and grips Peter’s hand firmly. Peter doesn’t say anything, just sinks to his knees next to Stiles and holds him with a fierce grip, staring at the tapestry through watery eyes.

     “I can’t… I can’t accept this,” Stiles says, even as his eyes continue to roam the family tree hungrily. “This is a connection to your family, Peter. I can’t take that away from you.”

     Peter chuckles and wipes his tears with his free hand.

     “This is the first time I’ve looked at it since it was salvaged from the fire. I’ve kept it boxed up. It’s history, and it’s beautiful. It should be with someone who can appreciate it. I tried giving it to Derek and he nearly tore my head off.”

     Stiles chuckles at that. It’s awkward and choked off, but it lightens the mood regardless.

     “My mom… she had this necklace that she wore every day. So much, that years later her perfume still clings to the cord. I gave it to Melissa, after…” He takes a deep breath, then continues. “It hurt, to look at, to smell it. Sometimes though, on really difficult days, I ask Melissa if I can see the necklace. It’s nice, to see it sometimes.” Stiles realizes he’s rambling, and clears his throat. “Thank you, for this. It really is amazing. And if you ever want to look at it, just ask. I’ll keep it safe.”

     He gives Peter’s hand a final squeeze before letting go and standing, carefully folding the tapestry and placing it back into the box. Peter stands as well, and there’s an awkward few seconds where Stiles doesn’t know what to say.

     “It hurts, remembering them,” Peter says, looking down at his hands. “It would be exponentially more painful to forget them entirely.”

     Stiles chews on his inner cheek, willing his watering eyes not to spill. He can’t cry in front of Peter. He’s the enemy… right? Honestly, he’s not so sure anymore and that terrifies him.

     Because somehow, Peter knew that today was the day he lost his mother. The hardest day. Harder than her birthday, harder than his birthday. It cuts him to the quick, and then some. And out of everyone, it’s Peter who’s here for him.

     Stiles wipes at his eyes with the heel of his and puts on a hard face.

     “Are we killing an alpha or not?”

     - - -

     Peter’s going to kill him. Stiles had let his guard down, and now he’s going to die. 

     They’d been several hours north, close to Deucalion’s hometown, poking around to get a feel for the small city. They were on the outskirts of an obsolete steel factory, chatting and joking - an easy banter that’s become commonplace with Peter, one that makes Stiles’ chest swell and makes him feel giddy - when Peter went still. Stiles had continued a few paces before realizing he wasn’t next to him anymore.

     “And so that’s why- Peter?” Stiles had stopped mid-sentence and turned to look at him. Peter was frozen in spot, head cocked. Then his eyes flashed blue and he dropped claw and fang, lunging at Stiles with a snarl. Stiles only had time to press his hand to his holstered gun and let out a clipped yelp before he was crashing hard against the pavement. The back of his head painfully connected with the cement and his vision blurred.

     So yeah, he done fucked the fuck up.

     How could he have been so stupid? Wandering hours away from home, alone with Peter. He’s going to die now, mauled or torn apart, and no one will know what happened. Peter will make it look as if he simply vanished.

     And he - fuck - he had started to like Peter. The man had grown on him considerably in the last few weeks. From an enemy to a friend of sorts.

     Peter’s only hovering over him for a second before his weight quickly vanishes, lifted by an unseen force. Stiles blinks a few times, confusion clouding his thoughts.

     The first thing that becomes apparent when his vision starts to clear is glowing red eyes. The second is a deafening roar.

     He knows that roar.

     Deucalion found them. He doesn’t know how, but they were stupid somewhere, showed their hand. Asked the wrong person the wrong question, and they must have tipped him off. Stiles is staring death in the face, and he can’t even muster the courage to scream.

     Deucalion lunges towards him, fangs and claws glistening in the moonlight like a bad horror movie, except this isn’t a horror movie. It’s Stiles’ life, and it’s about to end very bloody and painful.

     Peter plows into him at the last second, knocking him off course and buying Stiles extra time. They land with a thump and roll away, claws flashing too fast for Stiles to keep track of who’s winning.

     He scuttles backwards until his back bumps the side of the building, then scrambles for his gun. The two are standing now, coming together to trade blows before backing away to regroup. Stiles raises the gun, but he can't get a clear shot. Peter’s back is to him, and his hand is too shaky to even attempt it.

     Peter stills very suddenly, and his feet leave the ground. Deucalion shifts just enough, and Stiles can see that he has Peter by the throat, holding him in the air. His fingers are buried in thick cords of muscle, and blood oozes over his hand and down his arm.

     Peter has one second, maybe two before he’s killed. Stiles hesitates. He can wait it out, let Deucalion finish him before he then kills Deucalion. The thought makes his stomach twist and his heart constrict. No.

     His hand steadies. 

     He aims.

     He shoots.

     Deucalion’s body moves with the force of the bullet, his shoulder thrust backwards by the velocity. He roars in pain and drops Peter onto the concrete.

     Peter is probably in agonizing pain, but he doesn’t hesitate. He stands swiftly, punching into Deucalion's stomach on the way. He literally punches into Deucalion’s stomach, shoving his arm in deep. Stiles can see enough, even in the poor lighting, that his entire forearm has disappeared into the man’s body. There’s a moment of stillness, then he wretched his arm out. Deucalion lets out a startled gasp.

     He falls to the side, his dying gaze trained on Stiles. Stiles watches with wide eyes as the red slowly fades from his irises, until the light is extinguished. Peter’s back is still to Stiles, but his hand is by his side, and Stiles can see the outline of Deucalion’s heart within its grips.

     Stiles pushes himself to his feet in a daze. They did it. They really did it. Then reality kicks in. It’s not over yet. There’s still one more thing left to do.

     Peter turns, and his eyes burn fiery red. His shirt is torn, but the deep gashes that mar his chest are already healing, putting the newfound alpha spark to quick use. Stiles adjusts his grip on the gun at his side and lifts it back up, aiming it at Peter.

     Peter makes no move to run or attack, just holds his arms out wide, giving Stiles a clean shot. He lets Deucalion’s heart slip from his fingers. The solid, wet thud of it hitting the ground makes Stiles flinch, but he holds his stance.

     “Do what you gotta do, sweetheart,” Peter purrs.

     Stiles licks his lips, readjusts his grip a second time, and wills himself to pull the trigger. These last few weeks? They weren’t real. He was playing Peter, right? And Peter was surely playing him. So why is it so hard to pull the damn trigger?

     He feels a fat tear roll down his face. He doesn’t know when he started crying. His lip trembles, and he bites down on it in an attempt to still it.

     He… he can’t.

     Realization crashes into him with the force of a truck. He drags in a ragged gasp, dropping the gun to his side.

     “That’s what I thought,” Peter growls, stalking towards him with purpose. Stiles instinctively tries to step backwards, but all that does is press his back against the brick of the building.

     There’s a look in Peter’s eyes, one that pins him in place with equal parts thrill and terror. Peter grabs his shoulders, bunching the fabric of his shirt in balled fists and pulls him forward. Stiles only has enough time to let out a yelp of surprise before Peter’s pressing their lips together, kissing Stiles with a hungry force.

     Stiles shoots Peter.

     Okay, he doesn’t shoot him on purpose, but the dude didn’t give him warning. He was half expecting to get his throat ripped out, so a kiss was very unexpected. He can’t help that he tensed, it was a natural reaction.

     Peter reels back with a roar.

     “Sorry!” Stiles squeaks at the same time that Peter growls, “what the fuck is wrong with you?” 

     Peter clutches his thigh, staunching the blood flow. Stiles is quick to eject the clip and pop a bullet out before pushing it back into the gun and harnessing his weapon. 

     “I didn’t- it was an accident!” Stiles rambles as works. When his gun is safely holstered, he points an accusing finger at Peter. “You kissed me!”

     “You could have just pushed me away,” Peter grits through clenched teeth, digging into his flesh with clawed fingers.

     “I didn’t want to push you away,” Stiles says, biting his lip and wincing in sympathy as he watches Peter work. It looks really fucking painful. “You just… took me by surprise, is all.”

     Peter pulls the bullet out and tosses it aside like it’s poison. Which, to be fair, it is. Stiles takes the bullet he’s holding and bites down on the casing, pulling the cap off and tapping it against the cement to free the crushed wolfsbane.

     “I only just realized that I… you know, had feelings, and uh, I don’t know…” he keeps his head down while he talks, not willing to make eye contact. Is he professing an emotion other than loathing for Peter right now? His head is so fucking turned around and it’s confusing as all hell.

     He sets the wolfsbane aflame with a lighter and steps back, standing awkwardly while Peter scoops it up and presses it into the wound with a hiss. Then he straightens and gives Stiles a calculating look.

     “Are you going to shoot me again?” He asks, a touch of annoyance lacing his words.

     “I don’t think so?” Stiles replies.

     “Good enough for me,” Peter says with a smirk.

     He struts back over, wrapping a muscled arm around Stiles’ waist and hauling him in close. He kisses Stiles with the same intensity as the first time. 

     And Stiles? He thinks it’s pretty fucking great.

     - - -

     “Reckless!” Scott throws his hands up in the air, mimicking Stiles’ same mannerisms nearly three weeks ago. It’s the next day at the loft, and Scott is laying into Stiles. “You… you killed someone, Stiles.”

     Stiles snorts, completely unperturbed by his little outburst. All Scott knows is that Stiles shot Deucalion, and he’s dead. He didn’t lie per se, just omitted… certain truths.

     “Someone? It was Deucalion, Scott. He wasn’t a good person. He didn’t deserve to live.”

     “That’s not for you to decide,” Scott growls, eyes flaring red. Stiles can feel Peter tensing beside him, but true to his word, he doesn’t say or do anything. Stiles had hoped that they could come to an understanding with Scott. After all, he’s still Stiles’ best friend.

     Isaac stands behind Scott, trying and clearly failing to bite back a smug grin. Stiles wants to slap the look right off his face, werewolf or not.

     “Stiles,” Scott says, drawing his attention back to his friend. His best friend. “I can’t look past this. I’m sorry.” His face is screwed up, and he’s wearing his emotionally pained look. Stiles knows it well.

     “Scott,” Stiles warns. Because while he’s not about to beg or plead, he does love Scott, and he’s afraid that Scott is about to do something unforgivable.

     “You’re out of the pack.” Scott interrupts him, and it’s said with a sense of finality. Stiles sucks in a breath, feeling like he’s been punched in the gut. He allows the pain of what he knows is a severed friendship to wash over him for a moment, then pushes it away.

     This has been coming for a while. Scott wants to act like they’re kids still, innocent and good, looking at the world in black and white. Stiles isn’t so disillusioned. He knows that there’s grey. He lives in it.

     “You can’t kick me out.”

     “I’m the True Alpha, and I just did.”

     “No, Scott. You can’t kick me out because I’m not in your Pack. I’m in his.”

     He points a thumb behind himself. Peter chuckles darkly, and Stiles rolls his eyes. Always with the theatrics. He must shine his pretty reds, because Scott gasps and reels backwards. If he had pearls, he’d be clutching them.

     “You didn’t,” Scott whispers in horror.

     “Oh, he did,” Peter purrs, stepping past Stiles to square up with Scott. Scott tries to hold composure, but Stiles can tell that he’s scared. Isaac looks lost, like he’ll bolt at the first sign of trouble. 

     “Stiles is with me now, Scott.” He walks a step forward, and Scott stumbles backwards. “A threat against him is a threat against me-” another step- “and I do not take threats to my pack lightly.”

     Scott is backed against the wall, and Peter pushes into his personal space. He leans in close, and Stiles can see that he’s whispering into Scott’s ear. Scott’s eyes go wide, and Isaac snarls from across the room.

     Peter straightens and turns back around, an easy, amused smirk on his face. Stiles arches a questioning eyebrow at him, but Peter just gives him a wink that’s far too sexy and it stops Stiles from saying anything.

     “Stiles,” Scott almost whines, capturing his attention once more. “You can’t- he’s a murderer, Stiles. You didn’t kill Deucalion, so you can come back.”

     Stiles actually throws his head back and laughs.

     “Are you for real, Scott? I don’t want to be in your Pack. I’m happy with my Alpha.”

     “He- it has to be mind control!” Scott sputters, and wow. He’s lost his damn mind.

     “Werewolves can’t mind control, you absolute twat,” Peter says, rolling his eyes. He turns to Stiles. “Are we done here? I’m starved.”

     Stiles smiles at Peter, a warm feeling blooming in his chest. Because Peter? He accepts Stiles, just as he is. And Stiles thinks that he accepts Peter, too.

     “Burgers?” Stiles asks, pretending as if they’re the only two in the room.

     “Anything for my little love,” Peter replies, his smirk turning softer and more genuine.

     “No!” Scott yells in anger. “This is wrong, Stiles.”

     Stiles brushes past him, making his way to the door.

     “Maybe it is, Scott. I don’t care.”

     Peter follows him out. Stiles is mildly surprised that Scott just lets him go, but at the same time, he was really unsettled about Peter’s renewed Alpha status. Either way, he doesn’t let it bother him.

     When they’re in Peter’s car and away from prying ears, Stiles turns to Peter.

     “What did you whisper to him?” He asks curiously.

     “I told him that Beacon Hills was Hale land, and if he continued to act like a petulant child, I’ll run him out of town. His mother is more than welcome to stay, though,” Peter replies casually, pulling out into traffic.

     Stiles doesn’t want to laugh at Melissa’s expense, but he can’t help himself.

     “Hands off Ms. McCall,” He says seriously, once the laughter subsides. He wants to make a point, feeling the need to set that boundary. “The woman is like a second mother to me.”

     “Of course, sweetheart. I just wanted to rile his feathers.” Peter gives him another soft smile, one that Stiles is quickly becoming used to. “So. Burgers, you said?”

     “Absolutely. You know the diner on Main?”

     Peter doesn’t say anything, just switches lanes and heads towards the diner. 

     Stiles smiles to himself. Two weeks ago he planned on killing Peter. Now he’s wondering how he got along without him. Things with Peter are just so easy. Natural. Stiles doesn’t feel like he has to walk on eggshells around him. He can just be.

     He leans over to turn on the radio. When he goes to pull his hand back, Peter snatches it in his own and brings it to his lips, brushing them over Stiles’ knuckles. Stiles’ breath catches, still so new to this sort of touch. Peter gives him a sly grin.

     Stiles rolls his eyes and shakes his head, pulling his hand out of Peter’s grasp with feigned exasperation. But when he turns to look out his window, he can’t stop the wide grin that covers his face and the blush that paints his cheeks.

     He doesn’t know where this path with Peter will take him, and he knows it won’t be easy. There’s one thing he’s sure of, though.

     For the first time in years, Stiles feels free.