Everyone has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. They give advice, help guide their human through life. They tempt, they listen, they offer help. Everyone has one of each. Everyone except for Stiles.
It starts when Claudia dies.
Stiles' devil has always been strong. It's not the typical evil, not like the biblical devils are shown to be, at least not toward Stiles. It encourages him to get into trouble, to have fun, but never to the determent of himself. Others, yes, but Stiles' angel and devil both agree on one thing and that's keeping Stiles safe.
Stiles' angel has always been frustrated. It struggles to remind Stiles to be patient, to be careful. Stiles doesn't want to be patient or careful, and his devil knows that. His devil thrives on that. He struggles to remind Stiles to do the right thing when Stiles and the devil are in agreement that there isn't always one 'right thing', and that the 'right thing' often is the wrong thing.
They fight, his angel and his devil, all the time, with sharp words and sharper nails. They never stop snipping at each other, except for one day when Stiles is eight. They're both silent when Claudia dies. They're silent while Stiles wails and screams. They're silent while the sheriff isn't there. They're silent except for when Stiles talks to them, because one thing they both understand is loss.
That night, after the sheriff finally takes Stiles home, then proceeds to drown himself in a bottle, the angel sneaks across Stiles' shoulders to where the devil lies sleeping. It's for the best, the angel tells itself. The devil will cause more pain, will bring Stiles down a path he won't be able to come back from. It's to save Stiles. The angel opens its mouth wide, teeth lengthening into a monstrous grin, and lunges, devouring the devil whole.
Stiles wakes up to the fight on his right shoulder. He's scared and confused, trying to bat away whatever it is, but of course, angels and devils are incorporeal except to each other, so his hand passes right through them. By the time he realizes what's going on, it's over. The devil is gone, consumed by the angel. But something's wrong with it. It's shrieking and shaking, changing into a twisted-looking thing, all angry and burned. It calls itself Peter.
Stiles knows no one else that has someone, something, like Peter. The sheriff doesn't know what to do with it, and has bigger problems with his wife's funeral, so he ignores it. He tells Stiles everything will be fine. Kids avoid him at school, afraid of the monster sitting on Stiles' shoulder. Peter whispers to him about how pretty they'd look with a black eye. Parents whisper about how he must be disturbed and dangerous. They aren't wrong.
The sheriff doesn't know how to deal with Stiles, so he mostly ignores him. If he gets good grades and doesn't get into too much trouble, the sheriff doesn't have to deal with him. Stiles and Peter learn this quickly. They're careful to do just enough in school to not be noticed, and cause the right amount of havoc to not be punished.
Peter is Stiles' only friend. All of the parents make sure their kids don't interact with him. He isn't invited to any birthday parties, he never has a buddy on school field trips, always being partnered with the teacher. The poor sheriff, people whisper. A dead wife and a broken son. Stiles pretends he can't hear, but Peter hisses at them, whispering threats that only their angels and devils can hear.
"They're jealous," Peter tells Stiles.
"They're really not," Stiles says glumly. "They don't want to be a freak like me."
Peter doesn't take it personally. He never does.
"They should," Peter says haughtily. "We're much smarter than they are."
The problem is, Peter's right. The school suggests Stiles has his IQ tested and it turns out he's well into the genius range. The sheriff is proud for all of five seconds before he goes back to work and the bottle, the only loves he has left after his wife was taken from him.
When he hits middle school, Stiles gets something of a bully problem. It's just one boy, a little shit named Jason who transferred in that likes to push Stiles around and make fun of him for having a dead mom. Peter hates him, and hates his angel and devil, too. He tells Stiles they're arrogant, that they like hurting people because it makes them feel better about themselves.
Stiles lures him into the woods. It's disgustingly easy, all he has to do is loudly say he's walking home alone and Jason follows him. It's simple from then on out. He bludgeons Jason with a rock and leaves him there to bleed out, making sure the rock can't be found. Peter consumes Jason's angel and devil. The sheriff comes home late that night, saying a jogger in the woods found a dead kid from Stiles' school. Stiles plays dumb, asks who it is.
"His name is Jason Roberts, do you know him?" the sheriff asks.
"He was a bully," Stiles says with a shrug.
Peter hisses at him that he should have been more remorseful, acted surprised and sad. The sheriff gives him a funny look and watches him for a few moments before going to the liquor cabinet and pouring himself a drink. Stiles and Peter don't think he suspects them, but they'll have to be careful next time.
Because there will be a next time. The thing Peter hadn't mentioned is how good it would feel. It felt good for Stiles to watch as Jason slowly bled out, as his breaths stopped coming. Stiles felt strong, powerful in that moment, in a way he never did. Stiles feels nothing when he sees Jason's mother's emotional pleas on the news for any information. He doesn't feel moved as his teachers have a moment for silence for Jason. All he feels is the desire to do it again.
Stiles waits. He's the son of a cop and even at twelve he knows things. He doesn't want the police to pull up a pattern if he kills someone else so soon. He needs to be sure he isn't sloppy, that there's no way of being found. He was careless that first time, he and Peter too caught up in the possibilities of what they could do. Even Peter agrees they need to be careful and plan. Stiles isn't even sure who he'd go after now that his bully problem is taken care of. Not until Stiles' dad comes home one night when Stiles is thirteen and immediately tells Stiles that from now on, he's to come home straight for school and lock the doors.
"I already do," Stiles says, confused.
"I mean it. No dilly dallying or going to Scott's," the sheriff says.
"Why?" Stiles asks.
"We had a prisoner escape today," the sheriff says. He sits heavily at the table and Stiles brings him his whiskey, as usual. "He raped three people and escaped by shooting a deputy."
"Who?" Stiles asks.
"Tara," the sheriff says.
That makes Stiles angry. He doesn't have many people that he likes, but Tara's one of them. She's always bright and happy, even to him. She's never treated him differently, not when his mom died and not when he got Peter. The rapist by himself would make Stiles consider him as his next target, but the fact that he shot Tara solidifies it.
"What's his name?" Stiles asks casually.
Stiles researches everything he can about Evan Blake. He goes through his dad's case files, he looks online, everything. He finds out Evan Blake goes after families and maybe the police had him for three rapes, but Stiles is pretty sure he's behind at least twelve more, all of them families. None of it helps Stiles figure out how to find him. If anything, Evan should be getting the hell out of Beacon Hills, but Stiles has the feeling he's going to stay. That's when Peter suggests magic.
"I don't have magic, Peter," Stiles says for the tenth time.
"You don't have to," Peter says again. "You don't need it to work the tracking ritual. You just need the ingredients for the spell and the will."
Stiles is doubtful, but Peter's never led him astray, so he gathers what he needs, breaking into the local vet/druid's office to get it. Peter is right, the ritual is simple. He speaks the Latin incantation over a map and drops the mixture onto it. Black veins creep up from the corners until the entire map is coated in black except for a small ring in the middle of the preserve.
"There are hunting cabins out there," Stiles muses and he and Peter check the location. "He could be hiding in one."
"He probably is," Peter says. "Now the question is, how do you want to do it?"
"Stabbing is probably best," Stiles says. "If we shoot him, we'll have to deal with getting a gun and making sure it's not registered to my dad or tied to the force, so that just sounds like a hassle we don't need."
"He deserves a slow death anyway," Peter says. Peter's always liked Tara because she made Stiles happy.
They sneak out to the hunting cabins at night, Stiles wearing gloves and armed with a knife that he took off an older kid at school. The cabin is easy to find once he knows where to look.
"He's inside," Peter says. "He doesn't know we're here."
Stiles long ago stopped questioning how Peter knows these things; there are lots of things that Peter shouldn't be able to do that he does. Stiles assumes it has something to do with how he changed when he consumed the devil.
"Good," Stiles says.
It's easy to sneak inside. Evan is passed out on his bed, his angel and devil with him, a bottle of vodka in his limp hand. Stiles snorts to himself. It's almost too simple. It's nothing for Stiles to plunge the knife deep into Evan's neck. He jumps back and watches, fascinated as Evan chokes on his own blood, gasping and reaching for Stiles. His angel and devil struggle to breathe, dying as their human dies. Peter leaps from Stiles shoulder, another thing he shouldn't be able to do, and opens his burned jaw wide, showing ragged and sharp teeth. He devours the angel then the devil before Evan stops struggling and dies at Stiles' feet.
Stiles pulls out the knife and carefully puts it in a plastic bag so there's no blood trail when he leaves. They hike out to a deep lake a few miles away and Stiles washes the minuscule traces of blood on his hands. He puts rocks in the bag and throws it out to the middle of the lake so the knife will sink to the bottom quicker. Peter seems stronger now, like he had after he's consumed Jason's devil and angel. Stiles points this out to Peter, who flexes his clawed hands.
"I feel better," Peter admits. "More powerful."
"Me, too," Stiles says.
No one mourns the loss of Evan Blake and the sheriff's department doesn't look too closely into his murder.
Stiles kills twice when he's fourteen. One is the father of a boy at school that Stiles knows is beaten. Stiles opens Mr. Lahey's wrists to make it look like a suicide. The other is Mr. Harris, a teacher that is cruel to Stiles at school, always making snide comments about Stiles and his father, how Stiles must be raised wrong to have something like Peter. Not that he calls Peter by name, no one does. He calls it 'that thing'. Stiles takes great pleasure in slowly carving up Harris until the man's bedroom looks like buckets of red paint have been smeared over every surface.
Then, the sheriff dies a few days after Stiles turns fifteen. It's a traffic stop, of all things. The sheriff is shot by a man he stopped for going nearly one hundred miles per hour on the freeway. He dies on the side of the road as the man speeds away. Stiles catches up with him two days later. He isn't subtle about it. He spends hours on him, carving up his flesh, stripping skin from bone. The man screams and begs for death, but Stiles doesn't give in. It's only when Stiles can see the man's beating heart that his body finally gives out.
Stiles goes off the rails for a bit. Peter tries to calm him down, but Stiles gets reckless, leaves behind enough evidence that he needs to get out of Beacon County for a while until the heat dies down. When Peter finally manages to get Stiles to see sense, there's a trail of bodies behind him that just isn't acceptable. So he and Stiles flee. There's nothing left for them in Beacon Hills, so they leave. Peter is bigger and stronger now, his twisted body and burns slowly healing as he consumes more and more of their victims' angels and devils.
It's Stiles' idea to track down the witch. There are some rituals that Stiles can do on his own, but not major magic, not like they need to give Peter a real body. They find a shady witch who does some shady shit outside of Tucson. She's the first one Stiles sees that has deities that aren't pristine, anything similar to Peter. She has an angel and devil, but both are hunched over and weak-looking. Peter hisses that she's leeching energy from them for her magic.
She's unprepared, which Stiles suspects is the only reason he gets close enough to knock her out. He ties her up and tortures her for hours, until he finally tells her what he needs.
"It's easy," she cries, tears streaming down her face. "Why didn't you just ask?"
And that's the question, isn't it?
Stiles and Peter watch her carefully as she does the ritual. Stiles has a gun trained on her the whole time, ready to fire if he even thinks she's doing anything other that making Peter truly corporeal. He's looked up the spell, he knows the magic, he'll know if she deviates. She's smart enough not to, not until the spell is complete, at least. The body is forming on the table, slowly shaping into something real and human. She thinks Stiles is looking away, that he isn't prepared. She's wrong. She tries to throw a hex at him, but Stiles sees it coming. He shoots her right between the eyes. It doesn't matter, the ritual has already been completed. The body is forming and before Stiles can say anything, Peter disappears from his shoulder. A second later, the naked body on the witch's table gasps to life.
The body is handsome, free of burns and the twisted form that was Peter. If Stiles didn't know better, he'd say that the ritual didn't work, that this isn't his Peter. But then the eyes open. Those blue, icy eyes and a smirk pulling at the lips, and Stiles feels the tug, immediately knows that this is his Peter. Peter's extremely handsome, with a great jawline and thick neck. He's strong, though Stiles had expected that given the steady diet and angels and devils that he's been consuming.
"How do you feel?" Stiles asks.
"Wonderful," Peter says, stretching languidly.
"Come on, let's get you some clothes," Stiles says, stepping over the witch's corpse.
"Why?" Peter asks. "Don't you like what you see?"
Stiles' cheeks tinge pink but he doesn't answer. Peter follows him out to the car anyway and takes the sweats and t-shirt that Stiles tosses his way.
"Not really my color, is it?" Peter asks, frowning at the grey and grey ensemble.
"Everything's your color," Stiles grumbles. "We can shop tomorrow. Get in the car, we need to get going."
Stiles now has no angel or devil, and an older man attached to him at the hip. Wherever he goes, Peter goes. They can separate now for long periods of time, unlike before when Peter could only roam maybe ten feet. But they don't like to. Peter isn't comfortable with Stiles out of his sight, and Stiles needs Peter near him. He's had Peter for so long that he can't imagine life without him. They both get whispers when they're out, and people point. The angels and devils eye them warily. As far as everyone can see, they're both two people without deities on their shoulders. Peter's fingers turn to claws and he whispers to Stiles that they could kill them now, that it'd be simple, easy. Stiles hisses back that he isn't killing anyone in broad daylight, to get a grip. Peter snarls but does as he's told.
They make their way from city to city, state to state, killing as they go. Peter shouldn't be able to devour the angels and devils still. They're incorporeal to anyone but each other. Anyone, it seems, except for Peter. He gets a power boost each time, Stiles thinks. He's stronger, more agile. He can hear better, smell better. Stiles isn't envious, but it does worry him. What if Peter decides he doesn't need him anymore? It doesn't seem likely, Peter hardly ever lets him out of his sight, but what if?
Peter ends that line of thought as soon as Stiles voices it aloud. It's late, they're washing blood off their hands in their motel bathroom, and Stiles jokingly says that soon Peter won't need him for this anymore. Peter stills, water running over his hands.
"Is that what you think?" Peter asks slowly. "That I don't need you?"
"Well, you don't anymore," Stiles says with a shrug. "You're free, you're not bound to me anymore."
"You think that's why I wanted a body, to be rid of you?" Peter asks. Stiles shrugs. Peter wipes his hands on the hand towel. "No, you idiot."
"Well why then?" Stiles asks, rankled at being called that.
"Because you're mine," Peter says, stepping closer. He reaches out, traces fingers down Stiles' face. "How could you be anything else?"
Stiles shudders and leans into Peter's touch.
"I wasn't sure," Stiles admits.
"I couldn't keep you safe on your shoulder," Peter says. "I couldn't have you like I wanted."
Stiles' mouth is dry. He looks up into Peter's hungry blue eyes.
"And what is it that you want?"
"You know," Peter says.
Stiles doesn't, not really, but he lets Peter trail his hand down Stiles' cheek, down his neck and over his bare chest. He lets Peter tug him closer, nose at his temple.
"Peter," Stiles whispers.
"Tell me to stop," Peter says against Stiles' temple. "Tell me to stop and I will."
"Don't," Stiles says. "Don't stop."
Peter growls and yanks Stiles to him, their mouths crashing together. Peter kisses Stiles hungrily, like he wants to devour him like he devours all those angels and devils. He places claiming bite all over Stiles' skin. When he pushes into Stiles, it's fierce and fast, fucking him roughly until they're both screaming their completion. It starts there, in a dingy motel room in Carson City, but it doesn't end.
They keep moving, never staying in one place for too long. They make their way on money they've either stolen or cheated people out of. Stiles never once feels a shred of remorse for their victims. He's nothing but fascinated and hungry for the next kill.
They catch up to a serial killer in Oklahoma. Well, another serial killer, if they're being technical. When they get to his butcher shop (because really, how cliche), he's already chopped up his latest victim. Stiles lets Peter have this one; he's been itching to get some blood on his claws. Stiles can't help but be turned on as he watches. Peter is ruthless and efficient, but he does have a flair for dramatics that Stiles loves. He adjusts himself in his jeans as Peter finishes up, spraying the wall with the man's blood. Peter turns to him, nostrils flaring, and Stiles remembers that Peter can probably smell his arousal.
"Come on," Stiles says, beckoning Peter to him. "Let's get the hell out of here."
Stiles, despite Peter's best efforts, still has something of a conscience left, as twisted and morphed as it is, so they only go after people who Stiles thinks deserve it. In Minneapolis, Peter lashes out, digging claws into an innocent jogger and Stiles blows his lid. He screams at Peter, pushes him back. Peter lets him, until Stiles goes too far with his rage and punches Peter in the face.
Peter wraps his claws around Stiles' throat and pushes him back against a tree, the bark scraping over Stiles' back. Stiles raises his chin, defiantly.
"Do it, then," Stiles says. Peter snarls. "You can't, can you? Because you need me just as much as I need you."
Peter squeezes his hand tighter, claws digging into Stiles' skin, before abruptly letting go. Stiles chokes, sagging to the ground.
"Don't do that again," Peter says.
"You neither," Stiles shoots back.
They don't speak for the rest of the night. But Peter does brutally fuck him when they're back at their hotel room. Despite what the day held, Peter holds him close that night, even if the hands wrapped around Stiles are clawed. The next day, the tension is gone, neither feeling the need to be careful around the other.
"Where to now?" Stiles asks, pulling out a map from the car's glove box.
"Oregon sounds nice this time of year," Peter says conversationally. "And I hear there's a big white supremacist population in certain cities. That seems right up your alley."
Stiles rolls his eyes, but it's fond.
"Oregon it is."