Stiles checked the readings once more on his screen, almost not believing them. When he had pulled the body into his cargo-hold, he hadn’t expected the man to really be alive. He had figured that his readings of there still being a heartbeat had simply been a malfunction of his sensors. There had been parts of the skin missing to the point where he could see bone, and it was clear the man had been freezing and hurt by the chunks of the debris out there.
Still, once pulled in there had been a sluggish heartbeat, and Stiles had done the only logical option. He had put the man up in the only other bedroom on the ship, strapped him to the bed, and tended to his wounds the best he could. He only had some basic medical training, so his expectation of the other to actually survive had been rather low. Even when he ran a DNA test and discovered the man was a shapeshifter, with accelerated healing.
To be honest, Stiles hadn’t been sure he wanted the man to survive. No one good and honest floated around in those parts of the void. It was one of the dark pathways that people on the wrong side of the law used. Stiles being one of them. The man had either been dumped by his crew, or his ship had run into trouble. Still, Stiles might trade in stolen goods, and he didn’t hesitate to kill in self-defence, but he wouldn’t let someone die without good reason. So to see the vital signs spike as the man slowly started to wake up, was both a good thing, and possibly a very, very, bad thing. At least the guy was strapped down to the bed.
“Welcome back to the land of the living. It’s a good thing your ass is pale, or I would have mistaken you for another rock.” He commented once those blue eyes peered up at him. They were still cloudy, but with each passing second the man seemed more and more lucid.
“Who…re…u?” Stiles could only winch in sympathy at the scratchy sound of the man’s voice. He had put an IV in, but rehydration could only do so much.
“I’m your hero, current provider of food, and the reason you’re still alive, but Stiles will do. I’ve got some water capsules for you, they’ll probably help with the killer headache you’re having.” Water capsules were an easy way to carry water on board for long trips. He did have regular water for showers and making the toilet function, but for drinking purposes capsules were better. At the very least because water could only be filtered so much before it tasted like shit. The capsules reacted to contact with even the least bit of spit. Stiles may or may not have relieved a couple of boxes off of his last target.
Having the bed angled up a bit, and a few water capsules down his throat, the other man did look a little better. Still a long way off from glowing health, but considering how he had looked when Stiles had taken him in, he might as well have been dancing a jig right now.
“Where are we? Whose ship am I on?” So much for friendly introductions.
“We are currently about two weeks away from the port on Anthorax, and you are on my ship, the Nogitsune. Now maybe you can stop being rude and tell me your name.”
“The spirit ship? Why are we heading to Anthorax?” After a moment of clear reluctance once Stiles stayed silent, the man bothered to add a name. “Peter.”
“If I robbed you at one point or another, I think we’re even now.” Stiles was rather pleased his ship was known to the man. He was a one man crew, with a small black ship that was basically untraceable. Perfect for a thief. Stiles usually stole from other shady people. It was what he was hired for really. “I have a delivery to make there. It’s also where I am going to leave you. I’m sure you can find your own way back to wherever you came from. If you don’t annoy me, I might even give you a few coins to pay your way onto another ship. So there is no need for maiming me. This ship doesn’t fly without me, literally.”
Peter seemed a little offended at that. “As far as I can tell right now, I think it will be a case of you not annoying me. Do you ever slow down when speaking?”
Stiles gaped at him. “I saved your sorry behind, you ungrateful ass. Without me you would still be floating out there pretending to be a piece of space junk!”
“Yes, and I’m currently uncomfortably restrained to a bed, with you talking my ear off. The silence of space was a lot more comfortable.” Peter drawled.
“You…you…you’re an ass.” Not his best comeback.
“Yes, and I’m sure you’ve been spending quite some time with my ass. I am a little too clean to have been just taken in.”
Stiles threw his hands up in frustration. “You know what, you’re alive, you’ve had your fluids. See if I bring you dinner. And for that matter, your ass isn’t all that nice to look at.” It was almost a shame the doors were electronic, as it ruined the effect of being able to slam it shut.
Stiles had settled at the bridge only a minute later, sinking down into his chair to check if the ship was still flying on course, when something dawned on him. It was rather stupid to antagonize your captor like that without having a lot of information. Peter had been deliberatedly trying to antagonize him so he would leave the room. Turning his chair around, he was just about to go back to see why when Stiles found the man in question standing in front of him. One harsh whack to his head, and he was out like a light.
Coming to from being knocked out wasn’t particularly pleasant in any situation, but finding Peter yelling obscenities at his ship made it just a little more bearable. “I told you, she will not fly without me.”
“I don’t want her to change course, I need to contact someone.” The werewolf snarled at him, turning around. The man still looked incredibly woozy, and it seemed that breaking free of his bindings and knocking Stiles out had taken most of the strength he apparently had had. He hadn’t even bothered to tie Stiles up.
“Look, aside from your rather horrible manners as my guest, who are you trying to reach?” Stiles groaned, pushing himself up a little and winching at his throbbing head.
“I need to contact the Triskelion.” Stiles blinked, letting that sink in for a moment.
“Peter, the Triskelion was destroyed almost six months ago. It was all over the chatter. I picked you up more than a month ago…you were floating out there for more than four months?” It was insane to think about. No one should be able to survive that. Considering the amount of damage Stiles had seen, the first few weeks must have been absolute hell if the man deteriorated that slowly.
Peter seemed to sink into himself at that news, collapsing against the control panels of the ship. “I know some of them got out…My nephew and niece, they were running an errand in one of the pods.”
The Triskelion belonged to the Hale pack. Werewolves who tried to maintain some order in the lawless areas of the galaxy they were in. They weren’t innocents themselves, but they were powerful enough for people to know better than to go against them. They were just one of the werewolf packs who worked to keep the peace. The destruction of their mothership had been all over the chatter. The survival of some of the Hale’s had not made the news however.
“I didn’t hear anything of anyone surviving. If they did, they are probably with one of the other packs.” Wolves stuck together. Peter’s face distorted into something grim and gruesome.
“I sent out a signal. I know it made it to their pod. I told them that I would be out there…they left me.” The snarl was part beast, part human. It was a terrifying thing to see.
“Look, I can’t do anything about your ship, and you’re too weak to even so much as stand. You can get into contact with one of the packs when you’re there. They’ll probably know more about where they are. Right now, I would really appreciate it if you didn’t try to give me a fucking concussion.” Touching the bump on his head gingerly, he decided he would probably live. Getting up from his chair, he approached the wolf. “If I show you the kitchen and the bathroom, are you going to behave this time?”
Peter had the decency to look at least mildly contrite about hitting him over the head. “As long as you don’t try to feel up my ass when we’re walking.” Or maybe not.
Having at least cleared up who the man was, Stiles was a little more at ease with letting Peter roam about his ship. To be fair, there wasn’t that much space to actually move around in. Peter’s own room was fairly small, and aside from the kitchen and the bridge, there was very little open space. The cargo-hold was the biggest part of the ship, and that was currently taken up by Stiles’ current job. It was nearly unavoidable that they would spend time together.
Peter wasn’t a bad guest now that he had gotten his slightly more violent tendencies out of the way. He still talked about killing the Argents, who were responsible for the Triskelion destruction, but at least he acknowledged that Stiles being alive and healthy was better for his own survival than murdering him. They actually got along fairly well, aside from Peter’s constant need to make an innuendo out of everything Stiles said. The amount of times Stiles’ ‘bite me’ had been answered with a ‘gladly’ was numbering into the dozens right now.
He couldn’t even deny the man was hot. With a decent meal three times a day, and some exercise, the werewolf was recovering faster than either of them had expected. Peter was filling out nicely, and Stiles had to admit that he might have looked once or twice –okay more like fifty times- at that ass. It wasn’t like he had company all that often. He was a one man team, and that meant the only action he got was when he was long enough in a port to find someone to share a night with.
“Why do you work alone?” Stiles glanced at Peter from where he was lying on his back. They were currently hiding from a nearby larger vessel, which meant Stiles had had to kill the engine as far as possible and let her float for a little while to avoid sensor detection. To kill the time, he had opened up the protectors that usually covered the top of the ship, letting them look out into the galaxy. Dragging some pillows and blankets, they had settled down on the floor, stretching out and simply looking out at the stars around them.
“This isn’t exactly a ship large enough for a pack.” Stiles snorted, pulling out some crisps from his packet.
“It’s big enough to have more than a one man crew.” Peter countered, stealing one for himself.
Stiles knew what the man was asking. It wasn’t usual for someone to be on their own completely. There usually was a mechanic on board, or some other person to help out and take orders from the captain.
“The Nogitsune isn’t a regular ship. She can’t fly under anyone else’s command but me…A while back, I was running with one of the lawful packs. We did edge the laws sometimes, but mostly we did honest business. Then my dad got into trouble, and…and I made a deal to get him out of it. It wasn’t even in the morally grey area what I did. I made a deal to get a ship that was fast enough to get to him. Strong enough. One that was hard to catch. I got that ship, but by doing that I tied myself to it. The Nogitsune cannot die. Her engines will never fail, she will never run out of power. Not as long as I’m alive. I die with the ship. I cannot leave her. Not for longer than a few days at most.”
Stiles had gotten his revenge on the people that had taken his father. He had gotten him back, only to be rejected from the people he had once called a pack. His dad still occasionally checked in with him, but even he couldn’t quite look at Stiles for very long. Stiles could see it in his eyes. The way he wondered where he had gone so wrong that Stiles had gone that far beyond anything his father could ever condone. The man still believed he wasn’t worth the sacrifice Stiles had made. Stiles still didn’t regret a thing.
“You could still find someone to stay on the ship with you.” Peter pointed out after some delay.
“Peter, most people like to have the option to settle one day. I can never be that person. I will have a new crewmember every five years or so, maybe a decade if I’m lucky. This kind of life isn’t for everyone.” Stiles preferred not to get attached like that. He had friends of sorts. As much as you could have them at least in their world where stabbing each other in the back for gold was common curtsey. Living with someone for so long, trusting them to have his back, only to watch them settle down at one planet or another. It would hurt too much.
“I always hated living on the Triskelion. My sister was in charge, and you cannot imagine how much that can get on someone’s nerves.” Peter drawled lazily. “I’ve never wanted anything other than to fly, but she made it more trouble than it was worth half the time. Pretending to have any moral high ground when we stole just as much cargo as the rest of them. We just called it taking back misappropriated goods. They just never went back to the original owner.”
“You don’t miss your home planet?” While the wolf packs did rule these parts of the galaxy, they had their home planet, which they returned to on a regular basis. Most species had their own base of operations.
“What’s there to miss? I was happy to leave it behind. Going there just means finding some mate to breed pups with. Pups who then go one to patrol the lands, until they breed pups. There’s no adventure in that.” Peter scoffed, munching on another crisp.
“Yeah, as much as I don’t like not having a choice, I would have never settled down either. I love this life too much.” It was lonely whenever he was away from the ports, but Stiles couldn’t imagine ever getting a home somewhere, and a wife or husband to have kids with. He needed the adrenaline of a good heist, and the beauty of the galaxy as his ship sped through it.
Stiles wasn’t all that surprised when Peter rolled over and kissed him. There was no urgency to it as they got rid of their clothes, and fucked underneath the stars. It was slow, easy, as if they had been together for years. Stiles already knew he was going to miss the wolf once they reached their destination. He was going to enjoy the company while it lasted.
Anthorax was a loud an busy port, which was filled with illegal cargo ships. It was a place where you could find more whorehouses than actually market stalls, and thus perfect for Stiles to meet with his most recent client. Peter should also be able to find a ship there that would take him back to his own planet, or close enough to it. Neither of them were particularly expressive emotional people, and they had both known this day was coming. Stiles still had bruises on his hips from the night before.
“Hey Peter, “ He called out as he watched the werewolf walk down the ramp. “If you’ve gotten what you want…look me up sometime.”
All he got was a smirk and a salute, and Stiles was fairly certain that this would be the last time he’d see his wolf. It didn’t matter anyways. Peter wanted revenge on Kate Argent and her family, and Stiles didn’t disagree with that. He just couldn’t be involved. Peter deserved closure, but there was a huge risk involved. Especially as the Argents had quite a few ties with the Alliance, which meant that Peter risked getting caught. Getting jailed would be a minor punishment compared to what they could do to him for all his crimes committed. Deciding to simply try and keep the man as a fond memory, Stiles focussed on his actual work. His cargo needed to be delivered, and he had to restock on food and other supplies.
Stiles was just near the Andromeda nebula when his screen pinged with an incoming call. He nearly fell out of his chair when Peter’s face popped up. Nearly a year later, and the man was still as handsome as ever. The news of Kate and Gerard Argent’s demise had reached Stiles several months ago, and he had been rather happy for Peter. The fact that the man now was also on a wanted list was just a minor problem. Stiles kept up with the news though, just to make sure that if the authorities caught up with Peter, he would know about it.
“I’m in need of my hero again, if you would be so kind.” Peter grinned, and Stiles fought the urge to smile.
“Really, and why exactly should I save your sorry behind this time? It’s not that good.” He shot back, already locating Peter’s signal to see where he needed to pick him up. When he got the coordinates, he raised an eyebrow. “Are you seriously on an Alliance ship right now?”
“I am, but I am a bit of an uninvited guest, and I’ve seriously outstayed my welcome…and we both know you love my ass.” Peter scoffed, and from the way the image wavered, Stiles was pretty sure the man was running through the ship.
“Are you seriously suggesting I just come and knock on their door?” Despite his complaints, the Nogitsune was already turning around, and Peter probably knew it to.
“I’ll be launching myself with a pod in about five minutes. Now the alliance will shut it down before I make it too far, but I can cover another bit by launching myself from the pod.” There was some noise from the background, and Stiles’ grin faded into a grim look as he forced his ship to speed up.
“Get your ass out of there Hale. I’ll be there to pick you up. You better make the sex fucking spectacular for all the trouble you’re giving me here.” Stiles cursed, making Peter laugh.
“You can count on that, darling.”
“Peter, I swear to god. I told you to deactivate the alarms!” Stiles yelled down his com as he raced down the hall, the book tucked beneath his arm nearly slipping, as he tried to stay ahead of two three-headed dogs.
“I did. It’s not my fault your informant didn’t tell us about the damn dogs!” Peter snapped back, and Stiles could already hear the whirring of the engines as the Nogitsune came closer to his location.
With a sigh of relief, he grabbed the rope extended from the ship, sliding his foot into the hold as he was pulled up and out of reach of those dangerous teeth. “You know, next time we’re celebrating our wedding anniversary, let’s go to some beach somewhere and just get drunk and have sex.” Stiles panted.
“Couldn’t agree more, but next time you can let me do the stealing. Two years of being tied to this ship, and she’s still temperamental.”
Stiles laughed, letting himself be pulled inside as the hatch closed behind him. “That’s just your influence on her.”
“I disagree.” Peter was already appearing in the hold, no doubt having set their coordinates for their client’s location. “Now how about you put that book away so we can go and have victory sex, hmm?”