The sound of Stiles Stilinski crying was one Peter Hale had never heard before, and yet it was one he instantly recognized.
Peter didn't know the boy well, but he knew who he was and had interacted with him a few times. Stiles was the only child of the local Sheriff and a favorite of Peter's sister, Talia, for some reason. Peter wouldn't have expected to find Stiles out in the trees on the Beacon Hills Preserve, though. He was adventurous, it was true, but tended to stay near home, as any good barely-pubescent son of law enforcement ought to do.
Peter had been walking around the Hale property -- to clear his head, as ridiculous and cliched as that sounded -- and had wandered well off the beaten path, literally as well as figuratively. All the more reason not to expect to come across anyone, much less little Stiles.
The boy was impossible to miss, though, once Peter knew to look for him. His red hoodie stood out against the tree trunks, and on top of that... he smelled of blood.
Peter stepped up his pace a bit at that. He wasn't so altruistic that he was concerned about a child he barely knew, but if Stiles was hurt on or near Hale land, things could get awkward with Sheriff Stilinski. Well, and the few times Peter had met Stiles he'd found him fairly tolerable. For a thirteen year old human, anyway.
Stiles' problem was that he was smart for his age and didn't have much by way of brain-to-mouth filter. Peter could hold his own in a battle of wits and words, but he knew there were some adults who found Stiles annoying, if not downright intimidating.
And not only adults, Peter scowled, as he came upon Stiles where he was curled at the base of a large oak tree trunk, He was sobbing into his knees, arms wrapped around his drawn-up legs, a tiny bundle of distressed child. Peter scented the air subtly as he squatted beside the softly crying boy, putting together a picture of how Stiles had gotten here.
It wasn't a pretty picture, at all.
"Hey, Stiles," Peter prompted, placing a hand on the trunk near Stiles' shoulder but not touching the boy. Yet. He didn't want to startle or frighten him and he'd already had hands laid upon him unwilling. "You okay?"
Stiles swallowed convulsively, lifting his head and blinking at Peter through tear-starred lashes. The blood Peter had smelled was from his nose, though it looked as if it had stopped bleeding. Its bridge was very slightly swollen, though it didn't look broken, and there was already a ring of purple bruising around the inside of the socket surrounding his left eye.
"I g-got blood on my Mom's hoodie," Stiles choked out, more tears welling at the rims of his huge brown eyes, even though he was clearly doing his best to stop crying. "It's r-ruined."
Peter understood the weeping now. Stiles' mother had died five years ago, and Stiles must only recently have grown enough to wear this hoodie that he so clearly treasured. It was still big on his slim frame, but Peter doubted that fact mattered to the boy. What mattered was that it had been his mother's, and what mattered even more was that it was now stained.
"Someone else got your blood on it, you mean," he pointed out. He could smell at least two assailants on Stiles' clothing and skin, and no matter how clumsy Stiles could occasionally be Peter knew the boy couldn't have given himself that bloody nose and blooming black eye. And that was to say nothing about the scratches on his neck.
Stiles shrugged, then winced involuntarily. So not all the damage was visible, Peter thought angrily. Hey, he'd never win an award for being a good person -- being too selfish to put himself out for anyone else -- but he wasn't heartless enough not to care when a young boy was so obviously in pain. When someone had deliberately rendered him so damaged.
At least no Hales had been involved. But it had happened on Hale land, acts of needless violence committed by those under the umbrella of Talia's forbearance and good will. Peter's big sister was going to hear about this, and as the Alpha, she was going to deal with it. Of this Peter was determined.
But first Peter had to deal with a weeping boy who was barely a teenager, who was in need of some looking after. And even though he tried, he wasn't selfish enough that he could convince himself he didn't care.
"It's my blood," Stiles mumbled, lowered his gaze.
"No need to protect the guilty," Peter chided, trying to sound serious and yet sympathetic at the same time. It was hard; especially since he wasn't born to it the way Talia was. It was the truth, though.
Stiles shrugged spastically, then whined low in his throat. Peter decided to hell with it and slid a hand up under the hoodie Stiles was wearing and the teeshirt beneath that. Once he was touching the bare skin of Stiles' side, fragile ribs and soft skin under his palm and fingers, he began to leech away Stiles' pain. It wouldn't do anything to heal the boy, but it would ease his obvious discomfort.
"I was mouthing off," Stiles said hesitantly, glancing at Peter out the corner of his eye. He didn't protest the intimacy of Peter's touch, but he'd known about werewolves for a couple of years now. The little brat really was too smart for his own good and had figured it out for himself. But he'd promised Talia he would keep their secret, even from his own father, and she trusted him to keep his word, despite the lack of control he had over his tongue at times. So far he hadn't let her down.
Peter was both irked and impressed that Stiles had figured out the existence of the Hale pack without any help from anyone else. The boy was going to become ever more formidable as he got older.
If someone didn't kill him first.
"There's a difference between someone giving you a smack-down for mouthing off, and this," Peter said, trying not to growl. He knew that Stiles was hurt pretty badly, and for some reason the more he thought about it, the more protective Peter felt. Stiles could be annoying, sure, but he had potential. And Peter wanted to see him develop that potential, even if the thought was slightly terrifying at the same time it was intriguing.
Stiles bit his lower lip and looked away.
"This is three teenagers who ought to have known better, deliberately hurting someone half their size who had no way to defend himself," Peter continued harshly.
"How did you know there were--"
Stiles cut himself off, but he'd already given the game away. His brain probably wasn't functioning all too clearly, between the blow he'd taken to the face and the way Peter was still draining away his pain. Too much of that could make a human woozy, Peter knew, almost mimicking the sensation of being drugged on normal painkillers, and yet he had no regrets.
"Listen," he said, because he felt the need to get Stiles out of the woods, and also to see how bad the damage was, "I know of something that will miraculously get that blood out, if we act quickly enough."
That captured Stiles' attention, his eyes snapping to Peter's face, huge and doe-like. "What is it?" he asked intently.
"This clear liquid that comes in a brown bottle," Peter smirked, knowing he was being snarky and not caring. "It's called hydrogen peroxide."
"And it'll get the blood out?" Stiles asked breathlessly. There wasn't a trace of guile on his face. Peter was a little surprised that the boy had never heard of peroxide, but he was young yet.
"It should." He nodded, and found his smirk somehow changing into a smile that he actually meant. "I have some at my place. Do you want to come with me and find out?"
"I-- Yeah," Stiles replied, though he looked trepidatious. Peter wondered if it was because he was a well trained son of a Sheriff who had surely warned him against trusting strangers, or if it was because of whatever damage the roving gang of asshole teenagers had done to him. He figured it was most likely the latter, because Stiles pretty much trusted him under the blanket of his sister's position as the Hale pack Alpha. Maybe Stiles shouldn't have, because Peter didn't feel he was particularly trustworthy, but if it got the boy to go home with him, he wasn't going to warn him otherwise.
"Is it your ribs?" he asked, still draining Stiles' pain. It was beginning to hurt him too, and that made him even more angry, that Stiles had been so badly damaged. He didn't think it was anything serious enough to require a trip to the hospital, but Stiles was definitely going to be feeling it for some time to come; especially with how slowly humans healed.
And yet it had been the blood on his hoodie that had brought Stiles to tears rather than his pain. He was strong and stubborn, and Peter really dreaded to think how he might have fared if Peter hadn't decided to take a walk in the woods and wandered in this direction, completely by chance.
The Sheriff would not have been happy, and Talia was very much going to hear about this. All of it.
"Mostly." Stiles was more relaxed now, blinking sleepily at Peter, and he reluctantly removed his hand. If he went any further he'd have to carry Stiles out of the preserve, and while he was certainly strong enough to do so without breaking a sweat, it would have been awkward. "My legs are fine."
"Come on, then." Peter helped Stiles carefully to his feet, and he'd done a good enough job on the boy's pain that he only winced a little as this jarred his side.
"Thank you," Stiles said, staring up at Peter with wide eyes. His head about reached Peter's shoulder once he was standing, so he'd definitely had at least one growth spurt since the last time Peter had talked to him. He looked adorable and kind of pathetic, with blood drying on his upper lip and smeared on his chin and cheeks. Peter wanted to get him home and get him cleaned off with a warm washcloth.
And since there was no reason not to and no one else out here in the woods, that was what Peter did.
For a while Peter had been thinking about getting an apartment in town -- maybe a nice loft -- but for now he was living in the carriage house about five minute's walk from the rest of the Hale family, who were still contained in the huge, sprawling house his sister ruled over.
He probably wouldn't have gotten away with it, except Talia wanted him around about as much as he wanted to be around. Which was to say, she wanted him close enough to keep an eye on his comings and goings but definitely didn't like having him under her literal roof.
Since that suited Peter right down to the ground, he had no complaints, and that meant he had his own place to take Stiles to now, without any awkward questions or the boy being whisked away by someone with an overabundance of maternal instinct.
Oh, Talia was going to hear about this; Peter was going to make sure of that. But not until after he'd taken care of Stiles.
Peter didn't stop to question why he was feeling possessive. He'd been the one who'd found Stiles in the wood. He'd been the one to ease his pain. He'd been the one to promise blood stain removal. And he was the one bringing Stiles into his house and leading him toward the bathroom.
Stiles was tottering a little, and Peter knew he'd overdone the pain relief. But if he hadn't he doubted Stiles would have made it this far.
"Come on, baby," he murmured, only realizing how wrong those words sounded once they were out of his mouth. Well, too late to take the diminutive back, and Stiles didn't even seem to have noticed. He was heavy-lidded and if not for Peter's hand on his upper back he'd doubtless have been lost.
Peter got Stiles to the bathroom then sat him carefully down on the toilet seat. Getting his hoodie off was an ordeal, even with the pain sapping, and Peter winced for Stiles.
He left him in his teeshirt, for the moment, and instead focused on getting the blood spots on his hoodie dosed with generous amounts of peroxide.
"That's so cool," Stiles said, eyes huge as he watched the pink foam, hissing and bubbling. "It's like it's eating the blood or something!"
Peter chuckled. It was a fascinating reaction, but one he'd seen plenty of times before. It was distracting Stiles from his pain, though, which was good.
Once he'd done his best and convinced Stiles that the blood stains were gone, Peter set the hoodie aside and soaked a washcloth in warm water.
"Ugh, no, stop!" Stiles protested, muffled, as Peter carefully but firmly wiped the blood off his face, but he was too weak to put up any real fight. "Peter!"
"Gotta get you clean," Peter told him mercilessly. "You didn't just get the blood on the hoodie, after all."
Stiles gave vent to a longsuffering sigh, as though he was so put upon, and Peter might have been amused and irritated in equal parts, but the movement of his ribs made Stiles wince in renewed pain and chased away those reactions. Instead, Peter felt anger toward the little pricks who had done this to Stiles.
Well, he'd deal with them later. Right now he had a wounded Stiles to take care of.
Once he was sure he had the boy's face as clean as it was going to get, Peter dropped the soiled washcloth in the sink and set his hand on the side of Stiles' neck, draining more of his pain out of him. It really was tipping Stiles over the edge, but they were safely in his house and the sofa wasn't far away.
Which was a good thing, because with a little exhalation, Stiles slid into Peter's ready arms and slumped against his chest.
"Don't worry, I'll take care of you," Peter murmured into Stiles' hair as he hefted him up and carted him into the living area. Stiles was light, all lean limbs and slim boy body, and he was warm despite the time he'd spent out in the woods. He didn't smell gross, like some of Peter's cousins and nephews did. He smelled like slightly burnt sugar and not a little like fresh sweat. It wasn't as pleasant as it could have been, though. It held the tang of fear and pain, no doubt due to Stiles' recent encounter.
"You okay, baby boy?" Peter asked, as he set Stiles down on the sofa, propping him up against a pillow. Stiles was nearly asleep, his head lolling. His hair was soft under Peter's palm, more so than he expected.
"Hm?" Stiles simply mumbled, giving Peter a slightly goofy little grin, before sliding easily into sleep.
Well, that worked out for Peter. He reached and carefully lifted Stiles teeshirt. Damn. The bruising was about as bad as he'd expected, and he knew it was only going to get worse.
Getting out his phone, Peter took some pictures of the damage done to Stiles' ribs and side, the scratches on his neck, and his budding black eye. He wished he'd thought to snap a shot before he'd cleaned the blood off Stiles' face, but the bridge of his nose still looked tender and it was clear that he'd been quite carelessly savaged.
By little shits who should know better. It was with a somewhat unfamiliar sense of moral outrage that Peter sent the photos to Talia, letting her know who it was, where he'd found him, and where he had the boy now.
In less than one minute after hitting send his phone rang.
"Is he all right?" Talia asked sharply, and Peter could hear her rapid footsteps and the sound of a door opening. The walk to his carriage house usually took five minutes but he was pretty sure his big sister would make it in half the time. She was on a rampage, and Peter was just grateful that he was on the right side of it for a change.
"He'll be all right," Peter replied, not wanting to freak Talia out too much, but not planning on sugar coating the situation. "He's just sleeping right now. But you need to clap leashes on some of your hangers-on. Possibly some muzzles too."
"Who did it?" Talia was definitely outside now and on her way to his place. Peter could hear the crunch of gravel and the hiss of the breeze moving through leaves.
"Stiles didn't say, but I smelled Erica on him the strongest. Isaac had a hand in it too. And the clearing where I found him held traces of Boyd's scent, though I don't think he touched Stiles. But if he was there, he clearly didn't do anything to stop the other two, which makes him culpable as well."
Talia actually snarled, and Peter grinned wickedly. Hey, she was far more fond of Stiles than he was, and as the Alpha she was in a position to get revenge legitimately.
Which freed Peter up to spend his time more productively. Like spending time with Stiles, the boy who wore a red hoodie into the woods where werewolves lurked. Who was smart enough to figure out that werewolves existed, but not quite smart enough to stay out of their way. Who didn't know about hydrogen peroxide, but who was brave enough to try to bear his wounds without whining. The boy who wept over a stained hoodie but not for his own damaged flesh.
Peter had never paid Stiles much attention before, but he thought this might need to change in the near future.
And, besides, if he was keeping a close eye on the human boy, that would afford the bullies less chance to get at him. Not that Peter didn't trust Talia to deal with the situation. But he knew that once they'd been called out on their transgressions and punished for them, the culprits were more likely to turn on Stiles as the "cause" of their travails, rather than feeling the guilt and remorse that they really ought to be experiencing.
Peter sighed, running his fingers through Stiles' hair again as his sister hung up and he awaited her pending arrival. Turned wolves really did tend to be far more trouble than born wolves, and when they were teenagers that made things even more volatile. It wasn't up to Peter, obviously, but if it had been the Hale pack wouldn't have had any room for turned teenagers.
Especially not when they could do this much damage to a thirteen year old human boy, for no reason other than that he had mouthed off a little.
Oh, Peter knew how capable Stiles was of pushing people's buttons. But that was no excuse for doing this amount of harm to someone who couldn't fight back, or even defend himself.
Well, Talia would take care of that. As well as dealing with the Sheriff, who was going to be pissed that his only son had been set upon this way. Peter was glad that he wasn't the Alpha, that he could just leave it to his older sister.
Sometimes Peter chafed under Talia's firm hand, but right now he appreciated it. Especially as he heard her on his doorstep, and then she was inside.
Although, he did think he should have waited a bit longer before sending those photos, in order to spend a little more time alone with Stiles, even if he was sort of unconscious right now.
But there would be more time for that later. He would make sure that it happened.
Peter raised his brows, blinking down at the young boy standing on his doorstep. He'd been expecting that he'd have to track Stiles down himself, make some excuse to spend time with him, and yet here Stiles was, just one day after Peter had come across him in the Preserve.
The purple surrounding his eye was blooming nicely, and he was holding his left arm awkwardly by his side, but he was on both feet and his pointed chin was lifted. He met Peter's gaze steadily, the amber-lit brown of his huge eyes gleaming with an intelligence beyond his years.
"Can I help you?" Peter asked, smiling a little.
"You already did," Stiles said earnestly. "And I came to say thank you." He fidgeted with the hem of his shirt. "But also I came because you still have my hoodie and I... I need it back."
His young, breathy voice hitched a little with the intensity of his emotions as he finished this sentence, and Peter decided against teasing him. Dead mothers weren't anything to make light of, and he wanted to be the one to protect Stiles, not the one to hurt him further. Even if he still wasn't quite sure why.
"Come on inside," he offered, holding his door open and stepping back. "I washed it for you; I hope you don't mind." It hadn't retained any scent other than Stiles and the faint mustiness that came from being in storage for years, so Peter hadn't felt he was washing away the smell of Stiles' mother.
"Did the blood all come out?" Stiles asked, eyes huge, plush red lips hanging open, the inside of his mouth even more red and moist. He didn't seem to mind that it had been laundered, was simply glad to be getting it back, and anxious about the potential stains.
Peter smiled at him, actually meaning the expression. "I promised, and I always keep my promises," he said smoothly. "Sit on the sofa and I'll go get it for you, okay?"
"Okay." Stiles sank down obediently. He was such a pretty little thing, with round pink cheeks and long lashes, his eyes bright and his mouth with its fat red lips and the way it was always hanging open inviting all sorts of bad thoughts.
As Stiles seated himself, with a tiny whimper of pain that he probably thought went unnoticed, Peter went to his utility closet and grabbed the red hoodie where it was carefully folded and resting on top of the dryer.
"Here, kiddo," he said, handing it over. Stiles clutched at it with his good arm, burying his face in the soft material. Peter smelled the tang of salt, but Stiles didn't cry.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"Do you want something to drink?" Peter offered, wanting to give Stiles a moment to pull himself together.
Stiles nodded. "Yeah. I mean, um, thank you."
Peter paused a moment to rest his hand on Stiles' head, pulling away a little of his pain, before he went into the kitchen and grabbed him a bottle of water.
"Thank you," Stiles said again, once Peter delivered this beverage, even though it wasn't very exciting. Peter didn't keep soda in his house, though, and he didn't think Stiles would appreciate either green tea or coffee, or the time it would take him to prepare them.
"How are you doing?" Peter asked, seating himself beside Stiles and palming the back of his neck, not even trying to hide the fact that he was leeching away some of his pain. "I'm surprised your Dad let you come back onto Hale land."
"Dad's talking to Talia right now," Stiles said, looking a little awkward sitting there with his hoodie in one hand and a water bottle in the other. "They said I could walk down here to get my hoodie and to say thank you. Talia said it was safe."
Peter nodded. He'd better not overdo it on the pain sapping, then. Not if the Sheriff was around and Talia knew Stiles was here. Talia probably actually wouldn't care, though she had scolded Peter for rendering Stiles unconscious the day before, but Sheriff Stilinski didn't know about werewolves or their powers, so it would be a little difficult to explain to him why Stiles had come to visit Peter in his carriage house and came away loopy.
Peter did wonder how Talia was explaining the scratches on Stiles' neck to the boy's father. Those were the marks that had made her the most angry. Peter too, if he was honest. Not only were they indicative of apex predators to anyone on the alert for such things -- like hunters, always looking for reasons to wipe out responsible packs along with feral omegas -- but they indicated that someone with less control than they ought to have been exercising had gotten their hands around Stiles' neck.
That was bad, very bad. Peter still had his hand on Stiles' nape, even though he'd laid off the pain leeching, and he could feel how delicate and twig-like his neck was, how vulnerable his throat was. Stiles was human and he was a skinny thirteen. It wouldn't take much to damage him permanently.
Peter wasn't sure what Talia had done with the bullies, but they weren't still roaming free if she'd told Stiles he was safe to walk to Peter's house. Whatever punishment they got, Peter was sure that they richly deserved it.
"Okay," he said, tamping down on his outrage and delayed fear for Stiles. "But you didn't answer the question of how you are doing."
Stiles shrugged uncomfortably with the shoulder on his good side. "Doctor Fenris said it was just bruising," he said, as if it was no big deal that three teenagers who were all bigger and incalculably stronger than him had waylaid him in the woods. "My ribs aren't cracked or anything. But it still hurts."
"Of course it does," Peter said, and he meant to sound soothing and understanding, but the words actually came out harsh and dripping with anger. Not at Stiles, of course. And the boy seemed to recognize this fact. He didn't flinch, instead raising his wide eyes to Peter and asking a question of his own.
"How do you do that thing?" he wanted to know, curiosity shining in his eyes, lighting up his face. "Where you take away my pain? I didn't know that was something that a werewolf could do."
Peter chuckled, squeezing carefully, affectionately at the nape of Stiles' neck before retrieving the bottle of water that was still unopened and now beginning to drip condensation on Stiles' thigh.
"Baby, what you don't know about werewolves could fill a book," he said, placing the water on the coffee table -- on a coaster, of course -- and wiping his hand on his own thigh. Even though it was Stiles' slim leg that he sort of wanted to palm.
"Is there a book?" Stiles perked up at this, eyes round, mouth rounder, breath gusting out between parted cupid's-bow lips, and he seemed to have completely missed the diminutive in his excitement. Probably just as well, Peter thought, smirking, amused by the boy's priorities.
"There are books," he said slowly, because he wasn't sure he should be telling Stiles that, but he'd already guessed about werewolves on his own and Talia liked him.... Well, he'd talk to his sister and see if she was willing to share the knowledge with the Sheriff's boy. Stiles was trustworthy, as far as the Hale pack's experience with him had indicated, and the Hale pack kind of owed him now.
Stiles was clearly thrilled by the idea, and Peter's grin broadened. He could use this to his advantage, just as he managed to turn almost everything to his advantage, eventually.
"I'll see what I can do about letting you see one or two, yeah?" he offered. It wasn't as though any of Talia's children were interested in reading about their history. Laura had read a few of the less dense tomes when she'd been about Stiles' age, but then puberty had hit and she'd turned her attention to other, less intellectual pursuits. Laura was in college now, Derek was caught up with his high school girlfriend, and Cora was quickly becoming the most popular student in her junior high. Only Laura had time for reading and it was spent on her coursework.
"That would be awesome," Stiles said breathlessly, tongue flexing pink inside his wet red mouth, gaze going distant for a moment, before snapping back into focus on Peter's face. "But you can tell me right now; how does that pain thing work? Does it hurt you? Do you even know how it works? Is it like magic or is it something actually physical? It's not healing, is it? Or is it? You know all this, right?"
Peter smiled, opening the water and taking a swig before handing it to Stiles. He didn't mind talking about the subject, and it pleased him to find that Stiles was so intelligent and interested. Not that he hadn't already known, of course. But the more time he spent with the boy, the more this fact was underlined for him.
Previously, he hadn't had much to do with Stiles and had only been vaguely aware of him. But that was going to change. And not just because he thought the boy was delicious enough to eat. He also had potential. A potential that Peter fully intended to nurture.
Someday Stiles would be a valuable asset. And Peter intended to make sure that he was his asset.
Besides, that pretty little mouth really did need some more of his attention, as much as what came out of it. Peter admired Stiles' quick and advanced brain, it was true, but he wouldn't have been anywhere near so interested if he didn't find the entire package so appealing.
He wasn't a predator who liked little boys. He wasn't a pervert. But he was literal predator, and he was growing ever more certain that he was going to like this one little boy in particular. Only Stiles, and only because it was Stiles.
He had no qualms and no regrets. And nothing to restrain him from going after what he wanted.
The Sheriff and Talia came to pick Stiles up about two hours after he'd shown up on Peter's doorstep. The Sheriff was clearly furious, but not at the Hales, so Talia must have successfully spun things. Talia was less obvious in her rage, keeping up her calm facade as she tended to do, but Peter knew his older sister and he knew she was still just as angry as she had been the day before. If not more so.
Stiles, on the other hand, seemed perfectly cheerful, even though he'd been the one who had been set upon and beaten. Of course, Peter had sapped just enough of his pain to make moving and breathing easier without sending him loopy, and he'd been answering Stiles' questions as clearly and candidly as he could. It was no wonder Stiles was so chipper.
"I wanted to thank you," the Sheriff said, standing in Peter's hallway, his son tucked up against his left side, broad hand holding onto Stiles protectively and possessively. Stiles sighed happily and leaned into his father, looking at home against the khaki of his uniform.
"I wish I'd gotten there in time to stop it happening," Peter said honestly, clasping the hand the Sheriff held out to him and exchanging a firm shake. If there was a human he respected as much as he did his sister, it would be the Sheriff. He'd have made a magnificent werewolf, Peter thought, as would his son, but Talia didn't go turning people willy-nilly.
After all, look what happened when random teens got bitten. They evidently shifted into raging douchebags. It wasn't as though Talia hadn't been trying to offer them guidance, either. But evidently they needed a heavier hand.
None of that was Peter's concern, thankfully. The harm had already been done and he was glad that he'd stumbled across the weeping boy in the woods. He didn't like thinking about how Stiles might have fared if he hadn't found him.
He could see the same thought echoed in the Sheriff's fierce blue eyes, and he was actually really glad that it had been Talia who'd been talking to him. Peter liked the perks of being in authority, but he preferred to avoid its downside. Like having to deal with unpleasant situations.
The Sheriff expressed his gratitude again, then took Stiles and departed. Peter wondered if he'd see the boy here again. He'd returned the treasured hoodie, it was true, but he'd also dangled the promise of literature before Stiles. He'd said he could get his hands on books about werewolf history, and Stiles had an insatiably curious nature, so maybe....
Talia turned to Peter once the Sheriff and Stiles were off of the doorstep and on their way back to the Police Cruiser, and Peter braced himself. She might want to know why Stiles' skin smelled of Peter's touch, why Peter had the scent of Stiles on his hands, though that was easily enough explained away by the fact that Peter had drained some of the boy's pain.
But, no. Talia just wanted to update him on what she was doing with the perpetrators.
"I called Erica, Isaac, and Boyd into my office last night," she said, striding into Peter's kitchen and setting the kettle to brew, making them each a mug of tea. "Confronted them with the photos and what you'd smelled on Stiles and in the clearing."
Peter could tell how truly upset his older sister was by this situation. She usually never discussed things like this with him, preferring to make her decisions alone and to only share what she felt he needed to know.
Btu this was a disturbing situation. An innocent human boy, barely pubescent, had been attacked in the woods. Not only that, which was bad enough, but he was the son of local law enforcement. They were just lucky that the Sheriff liked and respected Talia, and that he'd evidently bought whatever story she'd dreamed up to explain the scratches on Stiles' throat.
"Erica was defiant," Talia continued, frowning deeply. "She insisted that Stiles had deserved it."
Peter snorted. "A child she could break in half without even trying deserved to be punched, kicked, nearly throttled, and then left to bleed in the middle of the wood."
Talia snarled slightly before catching herself and smoothing her expression once again. Stiles might not be her child, but she liked the boy and he'd lost his mother. Peter was pretty sure that Stiles stirred up Talia's maternal instincts like no other Beacon Hills offspring outside her own actual children.
Which might explain.... "Erica is jealous, isn't she," he said, not bothering to phrase it as a question. "Even though Stiles is human and not a member of the pack."
Talia nodded, looking thoughtful. "She didn't say so, but when I pressed, when I confronted her with the possibility, she didn't deny it."
"What about Isaac?" Peter wouldn't be surprised if jealousy had been a factor there as well, but he didn't feel that was the whole story. Isaac came from a bad upbringing, so one might think he would abhor violent acts against someone smaller than himself... but Peter knew that sometimes the victims of bullies became bullies themselves when given a bit of power. And as a werewolf, Isaac was definitely more powerful than Stiles.
"Isaac stayed after the other two left and told me that he hadn't meant to hurt Stiles but that when he began to look and sound and smell like 'prey' he couldn't help himself." Talia's lips pursed in a distasteful moue. "Clearly he needs a lot more training on control."
Talia shook her head. "He didn't speak in his own defense, but as you said, he wasn't an active participant."
"Being a passive observer who doesn't stop atrocities isn't much better," Peter felt the need to point out. And Erica might have listened to Boyd if he'd said anything; they'd been turned at about the same time and had grown close recently.
"Don't think I went easy on him." Talia said sharply. As though Peter might have thought that of her, ever. If her own kids had been involved, she still would have come down on them like the proverbial sledgehammer. Of course, Talia's kids were too well raised for that. Cora was the closest to Stiles' age, and she was too busy building her empire in junior high to be seen picking on a boy a year younger in the woods.
"I'm sure you're not being easy on any of them," Peter said smoothly, because he never liked to get on Talia's bad side. As the three little monsters now knew, it was an extremely uncomfortable place to be.
Talia nodded and sipped at the tea she'd made. She always made it too strong, but Peter didn't complain, just drank his own. They were sitting in his kitchen, and while a part of him was bristling at the fact that she was "invading" his territory, the greater part of him recognized her as being his Alpha.
And, besides, she was the one paying for this place and its utilities. Peter really had no room to complain, no matter what his instincts urged.
"So where are they now?" he asked.
"You don't actually need to know that," Talia informed him coolly, and there she was, there was the sister that Peter recognized. The one who didn't share information unless she needed to.
"I just wanted to be sure they wouldn't come after Stiles again," Peter said honestly. As if he cared about any of them otherwise.
"Trust me to keep him safe," Talia said, and Peter bit back a grimace. It wasn't that he didn't trust his Alpha, truly. But who knew better than he, how one could work their way around behind and beneath her notice. It was something that he did on a regular basis. And if he could do it....
Well, none of the three teenage turned wolves were anywhere near as crafty or smart as Peter was, but if they managed to corner Stiles again and lost control of their tempers completely, the boy might be dead before they stopped. And no amount of punishment heaped on their heads would bring back the dead.
"Isaac is going to apologize to Stiles once I verify with Stiles that he's willing to allow Isaac to speak to him," Talia unbent enough to say. "Erica didn't seem inclined to do the same, so I'll give her two more chances, two more conversations with me. If she doesn't show any remorse for her actions, then I'll send her to stay with the Kelly pack, in Oregon. Boyd will have a choice as to whether to go with her or not."
Peter's brows rose and he was grudgingly impressed by his sister. Really, though, her actions weren't that unexpected. Werewolves who couldn't control themselves -- and especially those who attacked defenseless human children -- only attracted the wrong sorts of attention, and it was for the safety of the pack that they not be coddled or kept around where they could do more harm. Even if they were still pretty much children themselves.
He was willing to admit it; Peter was hoping that Erica would fail to live up to Talia's expectations. While he didn't have anything in particular against the girl, she was brash and noisy and wore too much makeup. She did too much to bring herself into the center of attention and then did too poor a job of hiding her wolfishness.
Cora was doing a much better, much more subtle job. But then, she was her mother's daughter. She also, as far as Peter knew, didn't have some strange vendetta against Stiles Stilinski. Which was the real reason Peter wanted Erica gone. No matter that Talia was giving her two more chances, Peter didn't think he would ever trust her around Stiles again. And by "around" he really meant in the same state, much less town.
"Did you have something you wanted to add?" Talia asked tartly, but she seemed to mean the question as much as she was needling Peter.
Peter looked as innocent as was possible. "Me? Nope." He drank the last of his tea and rose to put the mug in the sink. "I do wonder, though, how you explained the scratches on Stiles' neck to the Sheriff."
Talia huffed. "That's not any concern of yours."
Peter rolled his eyes, since he had his back safely to her, then realized she could probably see his reflection in the window over the sink. Oh well.
"Speaking of Stiles," he said, turning and leaning against the counter. "He's going to need to learn to defend himself against werewolves. Any chance I could borrow a few books from the Hale library to show him?"
Talia didn't get angry, instead smiling at him with both fondness and exasperation. "You already promised him?"
Peter shook his head. "I don't make promises I can't be sure I can keep," he informed her, trying not to sound snotty about it. "I did, however, tell him I would see what I could do. So that's what I'm doing now."
Talia nodded, looking thoughtful, and Peter got out of her way as she put her empty mug in the sink next to his. "I'll think about it. Stiles has proven he can be trusted, and we both know he's not going to stay out of trouble. I'll keep him safe from Erica and I think Isaac honestly regrets his involvement, but anything could happen. A stray omega with poor control could show up... and Stiles is young and impulsive and he knows about werewolves. He could very well put himself in danger without even meaning to."
Peter could all too clearly see that happening, and he resolved to make sure that Stiles learned and internalized several different ways to protect himself from werewolves. Even if Erica never came near him again, Talia was right, things might happen. And Stiles was too brash to remain clear of any potentially volatile situation.
It said a lot, Peter thought, that Talia trusted a thirteen year old boy enough that she was willing to let him learn how to potentially damage her family and herself. But Stiles had never proven himself to be less than trustworthy.
"Come to the house for dinner tomorrow night," Talia instructed as she moved to leave. "It's been too long since we've had you join us for a meal. And once we're done eating, we'll go see what books might be right for Stiles. You're going to keep them here, though."
"Of course." Peter was offended that Talia might have thought he'd do otherwise. "And thank you."
Talia paused just inside the door, and turned give Peter a long look. He was a little afraid that his nefarious plans for Stiles could be read on his face, but then she stepped forward and gave him a hug. It was startling at first, but then Peter kind of melted into it. He'd grown away from his sister and he knew she didn't completely trust him -- nor should she -- but they were family and affection was nice. Talia was his big sister and his Alpha, and her embrace was warm.
"Thank you," Talia said. "For taking care of Stiles and for stepping back and letting me handle everything."
"It was my pleasure," Peter told her. He meant it, but from here on out he meant to be the one taking care of Stiles.
Though maybe not in the same way his sister had done.
The next time Stiles turned up on Peter's doorstep, it wasn't until after several weeks had passed. Peter wasn't actually surprised by this; if he'd been the Sheriff he wouldn't have let his son venture onto Hale property for a good long time either, if ever.
But here Stiles was, and he seemed to be mostly recovered, even though he only had human healing.
"How are you doing, kiddo?" Peter asked, smiling down at Stiles. He was so slim that he looked shorter than he was, reaching Peter's shoulder as he did, and he was swimming in his mother's red hoodie. But at least this time he wasn't bloodied and crying.
"Don't call me that," Stiles said, not rudely but forcefully. "That's what my Dad calls me."
Peter raised a brow. He didn't have any problem with not wanting to remind Stiles of his father... but he wondered why Stiles cared. This could either be promising, or not make a lick of difference. Whichever the cause, he would do as Stiles had asked.
"Come on in," he offered, and for the third time guided Stiles into his home. He liked having Stiles here, though. Unlike Talia, Stiles didn't seem like an intruder. He seemed to belong. Peter couldn't for the life of him have said why, but he wasn't foolish enough to deny that it was true.
Well. He had an inkling. Though he'd have thought that his feelings for Stiles were more carnal and less emotionally cloying.
Peter was well aware that having any sort of intentions toward Stiles could only be seen as something wrong and perverted, and even he wasn't sure how far his interest went. But he did know that Stiles smelled good, he looked better, and the warmth of his body pulled at Peter the way the sun drew flowers from the earth. Maybe he would do nothing but teach Stiles some obscure werewolf lore and build him up to be a potential ally in the future.
But glancing at the boy's long legs encased in denim, knowing that there was a lean but soft torso underneath the material of the red hoodie he was wearing, fixating on that plush mouth with its tempting red lips....
Well, Peter could readily admit that his intentions were far from altruistic.
He'd never really felt any interest toward barely-teenage boys before. Not even when he'd been thirteen himself. No, he'd been pursuing seniors, both male and female, with limited success. Not because he wasn't attractive and charming, but because said seniors probably hadn't wanted to risk getting arrested.
It was something to consider, here and now, when Peter was so much older than those seniors had been, not to mention how much older he was than Stiles himself. On the other hand, Peter trusted to Stiles' intelligence and discretion. Even though his father was a sheriff, Stiles wasn't going to do anything dumb. Maybe more so because of that fact.
Of course, Peter would have to tread lightly, especially at first. It was entirely possible that Stiles only cared about the books on werewolf lore that Peter had gotten for him. The boy was too young to have really formed his sexual identity yet, but he might well prove to be completely heterosexual.
Though Peter kind of doubted that last. Not the way he'd caught Stiles staring slack-jawed at his nephew Derek a few times, when they'd all been over at the Hale house. And that had been back when Stiles had been only eleven; short, scrawny, and not even really pubescent yet.
Stiles was definitely still a virgin, though. Untouched by any hand other than his own. Peter would have been able to scent otherwise. He was pleased by this fact, and felt no shame over this pleasure. Even if he never got to touch Stiles himself, at least Stiles wasn't coming to him with some other teenager's stench all over his skin.
He'd smelled of Peter, after that day in the woods and the following day in his house. That had been weeks ago, though, and he now smelled only of himself, his father, and his schoolmates. Peter wanted to reclaim the ground he had lost, but without the excuse of sapping Stiles' pain would he really be allowed to get his hands all over the boy?
Well, that was up to Stiles. Peter might be a pervert -- information that was somewhat new and interesting to him -- but he was no garden variety molester. If anything, anything happened, it would be because Stiles wanted it as much as Peter did.
Now it was just up to Peter to make sure that Stiles wanted.
The situation was more ideal than it had been previously, Peter thought cheerfully to himself as he placed a hand at the vulnerable spot between Stiles' bony shoulderblades and steered him toward the kitchen this time, rather than the bathroom or living room.
"Would you like tea, coffee, or water?" he asked as Stiles plopped down at the kitchen table, eyes alight with curiosity, watching him closely. "Sorry I don't have soda or juice."
Stiles shook his head. "That's okay. I'm not allowed soda on weekdays and juice is for babies." He contemplated his choices for a moment, amusing Peter, but then he never liked to make rash decisions either. "Coffee makes me sleepy, so maybe some tea?"
"Sure thing," Peter said, pouring water into the kettle and getting the mugs down out of the cupboard. "Do you want to look in the fridge and see if there's anything in there you feel like snacking on?"
Stiles jumped up and went to do as instructed, pulling open the door. "That's a lot of power to give me," he said, peering into the fridge, but once he got a good look at the contents, he amended; "Okay, maybe not."
Peter chuckled. "I don't keep a lot on hand. I like to buy fresh. And I'm about due to make a grocery run."
"I could help you with that," Stiles offered, taking him by surprise as much with the casual way he spoke them as with the words themselves. "Dad takes me with him every weekend. I have to make sure he eats right so he stays healthy."
Peter felt a little sadness for Stiles, that he was so clearly worried about losing his remaining parent. If he remembered correctly, Stiles had been in the hospital room when his mother had died. Talia had thought it was awful. Peter thought it was fairly natural, but it sounded as though his father hadn't been there, which was troubling. Still, none of it was any of his business, so he shook that weakness aside in preference to taking Stiles up on his offer.
"We could go tomorrow afternoon," Peter offered, then at the thought of driving downtown and shopping in the grocery store, something belatedly occurred to him. "Does your father know you're here?" he asked, since that was kind of vital information.
Stiles grimaced faintly, pulling a block of cheese out of the dairy drawer and eyeing as though he expected it to perform tricks. It was pepper jack and Peter wasn't sure how old it was, so it just might. "He knows I came to see the Hales," Stiles hedged. "And you're a Hale, right?"
Peter contemplated this and what it might mean, both in terms of the Sheriff and Stiles himself.
"Do you have any crackers?" Stiles asked, closing the refrigerator door and brandishing the chunk of cheese still in his grasp. He'd evidently decided that it was edible. "To go with this?"
"I do," Peter replied smoothly, plucking it out of Stiles' hand. He sniffed it, and it seemed all right to his enhanced senses as well. "But I'll do the slicing. I don't trust you around sharp objects."
Stiles pulled a face, but trotted back over to the table. "Just as well," he said. "I don't have werewolf healing."
"Speaking of which," Peter murmured as he pulled out the cutting board and his cheese slicer, "How are you doing?"
There was still the faint brush of fading purple around the socket of Stiles' eye, but he seemed to be moving smoothly enough, so his torso must be doing better.
"I'm okay," Stiles said diffidently.
Peter wanted to ask if Stiles was relieved that Erica had left, and that Isaac had promised not to come near him unless Stiles chose to approach him, but doing so would make Stiles aware that Peter had been talking to Talia about him behind his back, and Peter thought that might be a bad idea.
Besides, he was pretty sure he already knew the answers to those questions.
While the tea steeped, Peter sliced the cheese, grabbed a salami Stiles had missed seeing on the second shelf of the fridge, sliced that, and put it all on a plate with some crackers, which he then placed on the table between them, just in time to get the tea poured into mugs.
"Do you take it with cream or sugar?" he asked, even though it was green tea, not black.
"Do I look British?" Stiles asked scornfully through a mouthful of cheese and meat. Then he seemed to reconsider. "Maybe some sugar."
"Good idea," Peter grinned, spooning in a generous amount. It was raw sugar, not the same as the fake crap they filled soda with, so maybe it wouldn't adversely affect Stiles' system.
Peter wasn't read up on ADHD, but he knew it did strange things to brain chemistry. That was why Stiles said that coffee made him sleepy. Peter wondered idly as he prepared their tea whether becoming a werewolf would change that about Stiles. Erica no longer had seizures, it was true, but that was a malfunction of her brain. Just because Stiles was wired differently than the norm, that didn't mean it was a handicap. As long as Stiles knew how to function with his ADHD, it could well prove to be an asset.
The point was moot, anyway, because Talia had no intention of giving Stiles the bite. Not without Stiles' permission, not without his father's permission, not without mitigating circumstances.... She just wouldn't risk the boy.
Talia hadn't bitten Erica, Isaac, or Boyd, but they were Beacon Hills' residents, nominally on Hale territory, so once they'd turned she'd taken them under her wing and done right by them.
And just look how that had worked out. Erica and Boyd had willingly gone off to live with another pack after disgracing themselves here, and Isaac was going to be on thin ice until he'd proven himself to his Alpha.
"Why do you look so annoyed?" Stiles wanted to know, blowing on his mug, then sipping at it carefully. He made a sour face but didn't complain, and he continued to drink his tea as he munched on more snacks.
"I'm not annoyed," Peter corrected, though he kind of had been, for his sister's sake. Not to mention Stiles' sake as well. "Just contemplative."
Stiles snorted but didn't argue. "So..." he crooned with a distinct lack of subtlety. "Were you able to get your hands on any of those books you were talking about?"
Peter chuckled. "And here I thought this was a social call."
Stiles wrinkled his nose. "Can't it be both?"
"Why not." Peter set his mug down decisively and stood. They were pretty much done with the cheese, salami, and crackers now -- Stiles having plowed through the snack like only a growing teenage boy could do -- and his tea was going cold, half-drunk and probably pretty unappetizing to someone unused to it as a beverage. "I've got them in my study. Would you like to come and see?"
He thought Stiles was going to fall and brain himself for how fast he scrambled to follow as Peter left the kitchen. The boy's eagerness was evident even before he answered in the affirmative.
Peter's study was just a small room, nowhere near as impressive as Talia's office-slash-library up at the house, but it was comfortable and filled with books that interested Peter, and the one big window had thick curtains so that he could either open them to let the sunlight in or shut the entire world out by closing them, depending on his mood.
Today, he was glad to see that the curtains were already closed. He felt like being alone with Stiles, here in his leather and vellum scented sanctuary.
"Wow. Can I live here?!"
It was gratifying, Peter thought, to find that Stiles was impressed by his study. He was quite fond of it himself, of course, but it spoke to Stiles' good taste. Only one other person had been in here since Peter had moved in, and that was Talia.
Peter liked it better having Stiles here than when his sister had been in one of his most private living spaces. Especially since Stiles was so obviously in awe.
"You can visit whenever you like," he offered, knowing that this wasn't the most logical thing he could do, opening his home up to a thirteen year old boy. One who was energetic and excitable and who was the son of the Sheriff. He didn't care about logic, though. Not when he was doing that he wanted to do.
"Were you interested in the books I promised you?" Peter offered, indicating the old tomes resting on his desk. They'd been there since he'd brought them home the night he'd gone up to the house for dinner, just waiting for Stiles to come and read them.
To be honest, Peter had been expecting to see Stiles at his house sooner. But he wouldn't have been surprised if he'd never shown up at all, half expecting that the Sheriff would have forbidden him from visiting the Hales. He was kind of glad it had taken Stiles the greater part of three weeks, though. Because now the boy's ribs were mostly healed up and Peter didn't have to worry about him being in pain or hurting himself worse somehow.
Stiles scrambled into one of the leather chairs, reaching for the closest volume. He paused just before he touched it and glanced over his shoulder. "Do I have to wash my hands before I handle these?"
Peter grinned. "Nope. They're meant to be handled and read by young members of the Hale family. None of my nephews or nieces are really interested in them right now, so feel free. Just be careful not to rip or bend any of the pages."
"I wouldn't," Stiles squalled indignantly.
"Then you're golden," Peter said magnanimously, sitting in the chair beside the boy and pushing the book into his outstretched hands.
They spent a good couple of hours poring over the three books that Talia had allowed Peter to temporarily appropriate. Peter enjoyed the refresher, since he hadn't had made the time to read them in a long time. He still remembered most of what was contained in their pages, but it was all new to Stiles and it was so clearly fascinating to him that it brought Peter even more pleasure.
Stiles asked a lot of pertinent questions, some that Peter actually didn't know how to answer. When that happened he didn't bullshit; he promised to find out and get back to Stiles with the knowledge. He could tell that Stiles appreciated this. It had always been the way Peter had been taught by his parents, and he'd always appreciated it. It felt weird to use those methods himself. Not that he was feeling parental to Stiles in the least.
Spending time with Stiles was clarifying a few things for Peter. As he'd already known, Stiles was bright and he figured things out before they were explained to him a frightening amount of the time. Well, that's how he'd come to realize that the Hale family was made up mainly of werewolves all by himself when he'd been just ten or eleven years old. Peter definitely wanted to nurture and shape this brilliance in the manners of his choosing.
But it wasn't just Stiles' brain that Peter was interested in. Stiles was such a pretty little thing.... Especially when he was focused on the text in one of the books and sat still for extended periods of time instead of fidgeting like he otherwise tended to do.
He had soft brown hair, cut shorter than Peter would have chosen, but it was probably easier for the Sheriff to deal with that way. Not that Stiles wasn't old enough to groom himself, but he was thirteen and unlike Peter at that age, he didn't seem to care much about how he looked.
Peter had already noted how wide and thickly lashed Stiles' warm brown eyes were and how red and wet his lush lips were. He also had a cute little upturned nose and a pointed chin with plump cheeks that flushed unevenly when he got excited and were speckled with random moles. He was going to be a real charmer when he got older and grew into his features, but that wasn't to say he wasn't pretty in his own way right now, right on the cusp of adolescence.
He was swimming in his mother's hoodie, but Peter had seen him in a teeshirt, had seen under his teeshirt, and he knew Stiles had wiry arms, a tight little chest, and a flat stomach. Not to mention the perky pink nipples that might have been more suitable on a girl than a boy.
But thinking about that while Stiles was sitting next to, paging raptly through books on werewolf lore, smelling of burnt sugar and fresh sweat, legs and feet curled up under him, made Peter feel even more like a pervert than he already knew he was.
Eventually, Peter checked the clock on his study wall and realized that it was going to be meal time soon.
"Do you need to get home to eat?" he asked, squeezing the back of Stiles' neck. He needed to pull the book physically away and repeat his question, as Stiles had been completely immersed in the chapter on folklore and legends that he'd been silently reading.
"Yeah," Stiles sighed reluctantly. Peter could hear his heartbeat pick up a bit when he glanced at the clock himself, and so he chivvied Stiles on his way, even though it seemed to physically pain him to leave the books behind. At least he didn't do anything so gauche as ask if he could borrow them. He did, however, ask on the way to the door; "Can I come back tomorrow?"
"Sure thing," Peter assured him, and then he quirked a brow as Stiles paused in the hall before his front door. "What is it?" he prompted gently.
"I wanna say thank you again," Stiles mumbled into his chest, long skinny fingers plucking at the hem of his hoodie. He glanced up at Peter through thick lashes. "You know, for getting the blood out of my Mom's hoodie. Well, I guess it's mine now...."
"It was my pleasure," Peter said smoothly, reaching and running his fingertips along the collar, close enough to feel the warmth of Stiles' skin, but carefully not actually touching anything but the material. "My own Little Red Riding Hood," he couldn't help crooning, even though it was a bit over the top and blatant.
"Does that make you my big bad wolf?" Stiles asked the question completely guilelessly, gazing up at Peter with wide brown eyes, but there was no way he'd mistaken the meaning behind Peter's words or his own. Not considering the books they'd just spent the last several hours reading.
Okay, so maybe Peter really was that huge a pervert. But Stiles seemed to be aware of it and not completely disagreeable to it. And Stiles was worth the risk, worth the effort.
"If you want me to be," Peter answered easily, and then sent Stiles on his way with a smirk and a promise that they could go grocery shopping and get better snacks when Stiles came by tomorrow.
Peter was kind of fucked, but he couldn't bring himself to mind.
Peter hadn't really expected Stiles to take him up on his offer to go grocery shopping, so he was a little surprised when the boy showed up just after lunch, almost as excited about the mundane chore as he had been about perusing the books on werewolf lore.
"And then I can read those some more after we get back, right?" he asked breathlessly, and what was Peter going to do, say no?
It turned out that grocery shopping was actually a lot more interesting when he had Stiles with him. The boy certainly was vocal when critiquing Peter's choices.
"We should have sat you down and made up a menu before we came here," Stiles said in exasperation, watching as Peter put a box of toaster strudels into his cart. "Shouldn't your taste buds be more refined or something?"
Peter actually laughed at that. "Sense of smell, yes," he informed Stiles, after making sure that there was no one close enough to overhear. "But according to those who've been turned, who were human before, there's not much of a change in their palates."
Stiles glanced around frantically, then relaxed a little upon seeing there was no one near enough to overhear. As though he thought Peter didn't know better. Still, it was gratifying to see that he was so protective over the Hale family's secret.
"You should eat more healthy, though," he insisted. "You got steak and potatoes but no vegetables, and there is way too much sugar in that brand of granola. You haven't gotten any fresh fruit, either."
Peter sighed. "Enhanced metabolism," he pointed out, indicating himself with a thumb to the chest. "Besides, you have no idea what a pain in the ass it is, cooking meals for just one."
"Yes, I do," Stiles mumbled, so quietly that Peter was pretty sure he hadn't really meant to say the words out loud.
Rather than verbally responding, Peter reached over and squeezed Stiles' shoulder bracingly. He knew that the Sheriff was a loving father who clearly valued his son and their relationship with one another deeply, but the man was also a single parent who happened to be the Sheriff of a moderately large burg. He was doubtless away from home often, and the fact that he was doing so to earn a paycheck to keep Stiles housed and fed probably didn't do a lot to ease the situation.
"It's all right," Stiles assured him, shoulder shrugging spastically under Peter's hand, and his smile was a little sad around the edges but it seemed real enough. "I still think you should eat more vegetables, though."
Peter considered it. "Tell you what. Go and get me some veggies to go with my steaks, and I'll not only cook and eat them, but I might invite you to join me, and I'll share the ice cream I'm planning to get on the way out of here."
Stiles' eyes lit up again and he darted off to do as directed. Peter wondered how he'd gotten saddled with such a little nag. He wondered why Stiles cared enough about Peter's health that he was fussing over him the same as he must do over his father. He wondered whether word of this shopping trip might get back to Sheriff Stilinski and what the man would think if it did.
Well, if the former happened, he'd find out the latter, he was confident. The Sheriff wasn't lacking a brain-to-mouth filter like his son but he was blunt and to the point, and just as likely to say whatever was on his mind.
Peter just hoped there wouldn't be any negative fallout. In large part because then his sister would probably get involved too, and he hated getting scolded by Talia. There was no dignity to it, even if she was his Alpha. Alpha first, big sister second, but that didn't make her not his big sister.
"Is broccoli okay?" Stiles asked, waving a bag that already had the chunky green vegetable in it. "Steamed, and maybe with some cheese sauce?"
Peter nodded peaceably. Stiles smelled anxious, and he preferred when the boy was warm and sweet with contentment or concentration.
"Broccoli is fine," he said, even though he wasn't too fond of it. Stiles could have made worse choices, Peter thought. Artichokes were only good for putting on pizza, not eating straight out of the produce section, and he'd be damned before he let zucchini pass his lips ever again.
"I can't make cheese sauce from scratch the way Mom did," Stiles said, sounding sad but not distraught. "We could get some of the kind in the jar...?"
"How about a little butter and some lemon pepper instead?" Peter offered. He might not have a palate as sensitive as his sense of smell, but he'd always thought premade cheese sauce was vile. Like spackle from Hell or something. Stiles nodded and agreed to his suggestion and they moved on.
The rest of the trip went pretty well and fairly quickly. Peter only got enough food for a few days and Stiles didn't argue.
"We have to make you up a menu before the next time we shop," he said, as though Peter had issued him a standing invitation to join him on this errand. Not that Peter minded; he just hoped that the Sheriff wasn't going to react too violently when and if he found out. "Then we can do the whole week's shopping all at once and can make sure we don't forget anything."
Peter actually enjoyed the shopping trip far more than he usually did, and he even let Stiles choose his own flavor of ice cream at the end of it, along with his own staple, rocky road. He was a little surprised when Stiles chose a simple vanilla, but then less so when he snuck the chocolate sauce that hardened into a shell upon contact with ice cream into the cart. Peter pretended not to notice, and grabbed a jar of maraschino cherries. They might as well do this right, if they were going to be naughty. Somehow some whipped cream in a can found its way in there as well.
"I texted Dad," Stiles announced, once the groceries were paid for and loaded into Peter's car. He buckled himself in and settled happily into the passenger seat. "Asked him if I could have dinner with you, help you cook it to thank you for helping me."
Peter blinked, taken aback by the boldness of this move, and loath to admit it, even to himself. "What did he say?" he asked, his heart beating a little faster even though he told himself this was a silly reaction for a grown werewolf to have. There was absolutely no way the Sheriff could suspect the still largely unformed intentions Peter had toward his son.
"He wanted to be sure I wasn't being a bother," Stiles said, pulling a sour face. "Then he said it was okay as long as you were okay with it." Stiles sighed heavily without seeming to realize he had done so. "I think he has another big case going on. He probably would have bailed on me for dinner if I hadn't bailed on him."
"Sorry, baby," Peter said absently, turning the key in the ignition. He noted the sudden flood of pink that suffused Stiles' plump cheeks from the corner of his eye and bit back a smirk. Stiles had definitely caught the diminutive this time.
Peter had no regrets.
"I'll tell Dad it's definitely not a bother," Stiles said, as Peter threw the car into gear and zipped out of the lot, headed home. "Hey, can we stop at Starbucks on the way?" he queried, thumbs flying over his phone, eyes intent on its screen, tongue caught at the corner of his parted lips. "I want a hot chocolate."
Since he had nefarious designs on the boy, whether Stiles suspected or not, and since he really had helped with the grocery shopping and was going to help cook dinner, Peter indulged Stiles.
He was gratified to know that the combination of smug happiness and imbibed chocolate brought the sweet burnt sugar scent to the surface of Stiles' skin and made him even more delectable.
"Thank you," Stiles said, at least remembering his manners enough for that as he sipped his treat. He was smiling, his eyes shining, his cheeks still flagged pink, and couldn't have looked more different from the boy Peter had found crying in the woods.
"You're more than welcome," Peter murmured, reaching over and softly palming one tempting, lean thigh. Only for a moment, but enough to appreciate the muscle and the warmth underneath the denim of his jeans. Stiles twitched in reaction, but Peter had pulled his hand back after two seconds and was plucking the mocha he'd gotten himself out of the drink holder and sipping it.
He was glad Stiles was enjoying his hot chocolate, Peter mused ruefully as he turned the car toward his carriage house, but sensitive palate or not, Starbucks drinks with coffee in them always tasted burnt to him. Maybe he should have gotten some hot chocolate too.
"Are you sure you don't want your meat more well done?" Peter asked, wielding a pair of tongs and squinting at the grill pan he'd set up on his stove top, next to the steaming broccoli. The potatoes were broiling in the oven, covered in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and everything was starting to smell amazing.
Well, except the broccoli. Cooking broccoli always smelled like ass. Literally.
"I like it bloody," Stiles reiterated, snapping his white teeth together in an adorable little snarl. He probably thought he looked predatory, but he really just looked like a cuddly kitten.
Which was technically a predator, Peter supposed, but a kitten was about as dangerous as Stiles was. And vice versa.
"All right," Peter said, pulling the meat off the grill pan and setting it on a handy plate to "rest", propped on its side. If a werewolf-cooked steak was too raw for Stiles to handle Peter could always cook it longer -- while mocking the boy endlessly -- but for now he'd do Stiles the favor of trusting him to know that he was talking about.
And evidently Stiles had known what he was talking about when he'd said he wanted his steak rare, because once the meal was done cooking and anointed with the proper spices and dairy products, he tore into it as though he belonged at the Hale family table. Which wasn't to say his table manners were bad.... But he definitely ate with more enthusiasm than grace.
Stiles sopped up his red meat juices with his potatoes and Peter thought that maybe they should have gotten some bread. Well, next time.
"Thanks for helping make dinner," Peter said, as they both finished up. He had to admit that he didn't exactly use company manners with Stiles, but the boy wouldn't have appreciated it if he had, so why bother?
"I didn't help much," Stiles demurred, chomping the last piece of broccoli and then drinking down the last of the milk he'd insisted they have with dinner. "You know, you could let me handle a knife. I cut things up at home without slicing off a thumb or putting out an eye."
Peter winced at the visuals Stiles' graphic words brought to mind.
Stiles laughed at him, and then they did dishes together. One drawback to the carriage house was that it had no dishwasher, which was part of why Peter didn't care for cooking too often. But with Stiles helping him the task went fairly quickly. Even when they did the pots and pans they'd used to cook with as well at the dishes they'd eaten off of and the utensils they'd eaten with.
Once this was done, before it was time for dessert, the two of them went back to the books in the den. Stiles was learning a lot, very quickly, but they were thick tomes and he'd only been at it for a few hours total by this point. Eventually Peter was going to have to borrow more books from the Hale collection, but not for a while.
"What time do you need to be home?" Peter asked, before Stiles could get too deeply involved in his study. He'd recognized quickly that Stiles was capable of a hyper-focus that it was hard to break him out of without physically removing what he was focused on. He assumed it had to do with Stiles' ADHD. Yet another example of how something most people considered to be a drawback could actually function as a benefit.
"Um...." Stiles sucked on his lower lip and raised wide eyes to Peter where he was sitting at the desk, then he sighed and slumped. "I'm supposed to be home before it gets dark, no matter where I am. Unless I'm spending the night with Scott."
"Well, you're not spending the night here," Peter said, because the Sheriff might have been okay with Stiles staying for dinner but there was no way he'd let Stiles sleep over. "So we've got about an hour."
Stiles let out a little whine.
"I'll drive you home," Peter offered. "That'll give you a little longer than if you rode your bike."
"But we'll put the bike in your trunk, right?" Stiles said anxiously, fidgeting and staring up at Peter entreatingly. "I wanna be able to make it back out here tomorrow."
"Are you sure your Dad is okay with you spending so much time at my place?" Peter asked, sitting down next to Stiles and grabbing the closest book.
"Yeah," Stiles said slowly, sucking on his lip and glancing at Peter out the corner of his eye. "He might be more okay with it if you talk to him and tell him it's okay, though."
"Oh, I see how it is." Peter chuckled, shaking his head.
"It is okay, right?" Stiles asked, suddenly anxious.
Peter clasped the nape of his neck. "I wouldn't invite you over if I didn't want you here, Stiles." He grinned. "You'd better give me your Dad's number, though. Do you think it would be better if I called him? Because I'd rather text...."
Stiles laughed. "Text him," he instructed, grabbing a post-it note that Peter had on his desktop and jotting down his father's phone number. "But he might call you once he gets your number that way."
Peter sighed, accepting the little slip of paper and resigning himself to behaving like a responsible adult. It was always so much easier when he could get Talia to do this sort of thing for him.
Peter didn't text the Sheriff that night, but he did call him the next day, like a real, live responsible adult. It wasn't even that difficult.
Oh, who was he kidding; it was one of the most difficult things he'd ever done. But it had worn away at him all night, what Sheriff Stilinski might think of Peter Hale having his son out to his house, taking him grocery shopping and feeding him dinner....
So while actually calling and talking to the Sheriff sucked, sitting here and wondering would have sucked more.
And, anyway, calling was better than having to talk to the man face to face. Peter was no coward but he kind of wanted to avoid that at all costs.
"Peter. Stiles said you might text. Or call. Or text. He wasn't very clear."
Since he didn't know the man very well, Peter couldn't tell whether the Sheriff was pleased or angry to be getting his call... but at least he didn't seem ready to tear Peter's head off for having perverted plans for his only child.
"Well, I did tell him I was likely to text," he allowed cautiously. "But I decided the direct approach was best."
"Approach to what?" the Sheriff asked, and his tone was sharp but not dangerous. At least, Peter didn't think so. He hoped not.
"I was just making sure it was okay that he spends time at my place," Peter said as calmly as he was able. So far he hadn't done anything wrong, and so there was no way anyone could pin anything on him. He was only suffering from a guilty conscience because he might at some point in the future venture onto the wrong side of the situation.
For a wonder, the Sheriff chuckled, a warm rumble over the phone. "And here I thought I needed to be asking you that question."
Peter finally felt on firm footing in the conversation, and he turned up the charm a bit, though not enough to be cloying or come off as fake. "Oh, it's perfectly fine as far as I'm concerned. He's interested in some of the books I have in my collection."
The Sheriff was silent for a few heartbeats, evidently thinking this over, but he replied readily enough. "I'm glad to hear that he's not bothering you. Stiles' heart is always in the right place but he's not always aware that things that fascinate him might not fascinate other people."
"We have many of the same interests in common," Peter inserted smoothly. Because it was true. He couldn't get his nephews and nieces to study the lore, but Stiles had dived into it not only willingly but eagerly.
"If he ever bothers you, be sure to tell him," the Sheriff continued. "I trust you not to be mean about it, and sometimes he needs to be told."
"I'll keep that in mind," Peter said, "But it's really no problem." He thought briefly about playing up the 'this place gets so lonely sometimes' angle, but decided that would be too much and too easy to see through.
"Well, in that case, it's fine with me if Stiles spends time at your place," the Sheriff said, speaking the words Peter had wanted to hear. "Better he's with an adult, learning new things, than off getting poor Scott McCall into trouble. And I wanted to thank you for feeding him last night."
"It was a pleasure," Peter responded honestly. "He insisted on helping me go shopping, so it only seemed fair to share the food I bought with him. And he pitched in with the cooking and the cleanup as well."
"That's good to hear," the Sheriff said, and he definitely sounded pleased. Which was the best thing Peter could have hoped for when he'd initiated this conversation. "Although I do worry sometimes that Stiles takes on too much responsibility for a thirteen year old."
Peter wanted to tell the Sheriff that he felt Stiles could handle it but he'd only spent time with the boy twice when he wasn't in extremis, or at the very least in physical pain, so he didn't go there. Even though he thought it was true.
"I'm just glad that you're not upset that I lured him into my lair with promises of dusty tomes," Peter took the chance of joking. Hey, so far as actual events had so far proven, that was all it was; a joke. He hadn't even touched Stiles inappropriately yet, aside from the times he's drained away some of his pain. Well, and a very brief squeeze of his thigh in the car yesterday, but that hadn't lingered past the point of being relatively reasonable. On purpose.
The Sheriff chuckled again. "I might not know you well, Peter, but I know your sister. And as long as he stays out of the woods, I trust that Stiles is safe on Hale property. Especially with certain people gone."
His voice darkened slightly on this last, but Peter was too busy laughing internally over the fact that his older sister was the one gaining him approbation. Talia, who couldn't even stand having him live in the house anymore.
Hey, whatever worked, though.
"Thank you," he said simply. A part of him wanted to tell the Sheriff not to be so trusting, especially with the beautiful, intelligent child he'd been gifted with, but the larger, more pragmatic part of him told that first part to shut the hell up because he was getting exactly what he wanted.
"Thank you for taking the time to call me," the Sheriff said warmly. "And for feeding my boy as well as keeping him entertained."
"Any time you need to work through dinner," Peter offered, smooth rather than eager, "Just let me know and I'll be happy to do it again. It'd be better than me sending him off and both of us wondering if he's eating something healthy at home or just having junk food."
He was momentarily afraid what he'd said had been too judgmental, but the Sheriff made a sound of agreement.
"Or Stiles cooking a meal that I don't show up to," he said ruefully. "That's happened more than once and it makes me feel even more guilty. As it should," he added, almost under his breath, mostly speaking to himself.
"I'm sure Stiles understands," Peter soothed, as politely as he was able when this really wasn't any of his business. He couldn't say he didn't care, though. The fact that the Sheriff sometimes had to leave Stiles home alone was opening up avenues for Peter, was rendering Stiles vulnerable and needy in ways that Peter could work with. Still, it would gain him nothing to rub the Sheriff's nose in it. In fact, it would be to Peter's benefit to gloss over the matter entirely.
"Well, thanks again for calling," the Sheriff said briskly, seemingly as ready as Peter to leave this subject behind. "And for being willing to spend time with my son. I know he can be a handful."
"Actually, once he gets settled, he's very quiet," Peter murmured.
"When he gets like that, just physically move whatever he's looking at," the Sheriff instructed, with the air of a man who'd had to do so many times in the past. "Or else move him. Or put your hand in the way or something."
"Got it." Peter didn't want to tell the Sheriff that he'd already figured that out; he could tell it made the man feel better to be able to instruct Peter on how to handle his son.
"Look, I gotta go," the Sheriff said, and Peter could read no lie in his voice. "I'll take you up on your offer to look after Stiles for me if I need it, as long as you promise to let me know if it's ever inconvenient for you. I can always make other plans, and I don't want to treat you like a babysitter just because my son likes you and you don't mind having him around."
"I actually do like having Stiles around," Peter correctly mildly, though he didn't want to lay it on too thickly. "But I'm fine with making that promise. If it's ever inconvenient I'll tell you, even though I doubt it ever will be."
They said their goodbyes and the Sheriff hung up. That had all gone far better than Peter had expected it might, he thought as he heaved a sigh of relief.
Naturally, this was the point at which his phone rang in his hand, and the screen read Talia Hale.
"Hey, sis," Peter answered jauntily, because he knew Talia hated being called that. "What's up?"
"Just checking to see whether Stiles likes the books you borrowed," Talia said, because of course she knew that Stiles had been to see Peter the last two days. Snoopy older siblings.... Though, to be fair, she was the Alpha of the Hale pack and Peter was still living on her property as well as being a pack member and her younger brother.
"You know he did," Peter said scornfully. "Can you imagine that he wouldn't?"
Talia let out an exasperated little sound. "It's still nice to hear it, when I let you take the books a couple of weeks ago."
Peter reminded himself that he had to stay on Talia's good side, if only in order to get his hands on other books for Stiles to read.
"I don't think he could like them more if they were made of pizza," he informed her with more amusement than he was actually feeling. If she was checking up on Peter, she wasn't going to come away with much. He was a master at hiding his plans from his older sister; he'd been working hard at it since they'd been very young.
"Hey, have you heard anything about Erica or Boyd?" Peter asked, as much because he was curious as to change the subject. He really didn't care about them, not the way he did about Talia's children, but it was partially because of him they had been sent off to Oregon. It was all their own faults, but if Peter hadn't smelled them on Stiles, he doubted the boy would have been willing to narc them out. No matter that they'd hurt him badly and could have killed him. It would have been either due to playground rules or just plain self preservation, in order to keep them from attacking him again.
So Peter was doubly, triply glad that he had found Stiles when he had. And he didn't regret his part in getting Erica and Boyd sent away.
"I haven't heard from them directly, but I don't expect to," Talia said. "Karin says they're adjusting well and seem to be finding their places in their new pack. She's going to keep an eye out for bullying, but I think it was something about Stiles that set Erica off."
Peter held his tongue, with some difficulty. That was a little too close to victim blaming for his tastes, even though it was probably true, and he didn't think Talia had meant it that way. He didn't want to start an argument, or give Talia any reason to look more closely at his budding protective, possessive feelings toward Stiles.
"Well, that's good, I guess." Peter didn't need to know more than that. Stiles had accepted Isaac's apology but evidently still didn't trust him and avoided him where he could. Considering that Isaac was sixteen and Stiles was thirteen, that wasn't too difficult. Stiles was still going to be spending time on Hale property, true, but he'd be in Peter's home for the most part.
Not that Peter intended to completely monopolize Stiles' time and attention. Doing so might be suspect. Especially when Stiles had always been free before, to run in and out of the Hale family house as though he was just that, family.
Which was evidently part of what had set Erica off, Peter thought, but to be honest he didn't really care to delve into the inner workings of her mind. She was nowhere near as interesting as Stiles had proved himself to be.
Of course, so far as Peter was concerned it was for the best that Stiles was distrustful of Isaac. With Laura off at college and Derek spending almost all his time with his high school basketball team or his girlfriend, that didn't leave Stiles with any reason to visit the Hale house as often as he had used to when he was younger. He didn't get along with Cora nearly as well as he did her older siblings, so Peter thought that it might actually seem fairly natural that Stiles begin spending more time here, with him, instead.
"Let me know when you want to switch out the books," Talia was saying. At least she seemed to be in a mellow, generous mood. "I don't expect it'll be for a while."
"Stiles has only visited me twice," Peter pointed out, even though he was pretty sure she already knew that. "But he reads very quickly and internalizes what he reads just as quickly. I'll be back for more books before you think I will."
"Just remember that the price of more books is dinner with the family." Peter rolled his eyes because he was on the phone and Talia couldn't see him. "Speaking of which, you're always welcome up here, Peter, you know that, right?"
"I know." Peter wasn't going to get into the fact that he'd been essentially kicked out of the house -- though not the pack, the family, or the territory -- because he liked having his own place.
"Okay then." Talia paused. "And, Peter, if Stiles comes up with something that's not in any of the books, something that seems new and real, you'll let me know, right?"
Peter was a little impressed that Talia had that much faith in Stiles' brain and intuition. He wasn't even sure he thought so highly of Stiles. The boy was only thirteen.... But then, he'd figured out that there were werewolves in his town when he'd been years younger than he was now. So maybe Talia's belief in him wasn't so misplaced.
"I'll let you know," he told Talia. She couldn't hear the potential for a lie in his voice over the phone. Hey, Peter had every intention of sharing any innovative ideas Stiles came up with if it was something that could seriously benefit the pack. But if it was something that Peter himself could make use of... then maybe he'd keep it to himself.
"Do you want to come to dinner tonight?" Talia asked. "Invite Stiles if he's going to be there."
"Maybe," Peter hedged. "But probably not. We got some fish yesterday, and that's always better fresh." He doubted Stiles would be eating with him, but either way he wasn't kidding about the fish.
"You have a point," Talia allowed. "Well, keep the invite in mind. It's open."
"I'll keep it in mind," he promised, and he actually kind of meant it.
As he hung up, Peter glanced around his living room. He didn't feel the need to impress a thirteen year old, and Stiles had just been here yesterday, but he could really stand to clean the place a little. Also, he should do laundry.
Peter sighed. He might not have a job but that didn't mean he was immune to mundanities. It was either that or live in filth, which wasn't an option. Maybe he should hire a maid. He wondered for a mad moment if Talia would pay for that, then decided "no" was most decisively the answer to that question.
Stiles would be showing up promptly after school let out, Peter knew. So he had a few hours to kill.
Might as well make good use of them. His laundry wasn't going to do itself.
Somehow, without Peter even meaning it to, Stiles showing up at his home after school became the norm. As did Stiles and Peter doing the grocery shopping and cooking together. Making up a weekly menu was a pain in the ass, Peter thought, but it did make the shopping and the preparing of meals exponentially easier.
No one seemed to find this building relationship weird. Talia never said a word. The Sheriff continued to be grateful for Peter's presence in Stiles' life. As though it was any great inconvenience; Stiles was there at Peter's invitation in the first place, after all.
Stiles continued to devour the books on werewolf lore. Peter even learned a few things along with him, things he'd either skimmed over or forgotten. It definitely held his attention, even when Stiles was so tightly focused that he stopped talking or hearing Peter when he said anything to him.
And then somehow Peter found himself helping Stiles with his homework. This wasn't really too bad because seventh grade coursework was fairly simple and Stiles was smart enough to manage most of it by himself. Still, Peter had seriously thought himself done with school once he had graduated from high school.
Well, maybe not so much, but he didn't begrudge Stiles the time or effort. Mostly he was there to reward Stiles when he got something right with a warm hand to the nape of his neck, and to help prod him through the moments where he had trouble with a few pointed questions.
Having a semi-reasonable excuse to get his hands on Stiles was no real hardship, Peter would readily admit.
Despite Stiles' bold words to Peter that first day he'd been here, as he'd been leaving, neither of them had made a move. Stiles did get a warm, somewhat spicy scent of budding arousal when Peter cupped and caressed the nape of his neck, and Peter knew he wasn't imagining that or blowing it out of proportion. But Stiles was only thirteen and Peter could be a patient man when it suited his purposes. He wanted to see if he could make Stiles come to him. And failing that, he wanted to be sure Stiles was comfortable with him before he made any moves himself.
Besides, as ridiculous as it might have seemed to him before he'd begun actually talking to the boy, Peter liked spending time with Stiles. He was smart and quick witted, and the better he got to know Peter, the more prone he was to sass him. Peter enjoyed the exchange of snark, and he came to realize that he was as much interested in Stiles intellectually as he was physically.
And maybe a little bit emotionally. But he tried to squash that part of himself way down deep.
So of course that squashed part of him would rise up to bite him in the ass when he least expected it, a couple of weeks after Stiles had become a near-regular house guest after school and on weekends.
Between the reading and the cooking and the sassing, Peter had almost completely forgotten about his intention to teach Stiles some self defense. At least, until the day that he showed up with a split lip, smelling of blood and misery, and Peter's mind immediately jumped back to the day he'd found Stiles crying in the woods.
"What happened?" he asked tightly, as he ushered Stiles inside. The boy was limping slightly and Peter could see a smear of mingled dirt and blood on the knee of his jeans. His hands were damaged as well, the heels of his palms slightly raw.
"Nothing," Stiles replied sulkily, head down. Peter had thought the bullying was over with the departure of Erica, but maybe not. This could only have happened at school, or just after. Stiles had obviously done his best to clean himself up, but Peter could smell the scabs and Stiles was so clearly upset. It made Peter grind his teeth, his heart thumping extra hard with the desire to hurt whoever had done this to Stiles....
And that was what broadsided him. Since when had he come to care that much about this human boy; that damage done to him sent Peter into a fierce protective rage?
"Don't tell me nothing," he chided, palming the back of Stiles' neck and sapping away some of his pain at the same time he guided him into the house. "Not when something so obviously happened."
"It doesn't matter." Stiles shrugged spastically. "I fell, okay? I'm a stupid klutz and I tripped over my own foot and I fell."
Peter hummed, leading Stiles silently into his bedroom. That was the truth, but he was sure it wasn't the whole story.
"What then?" he asked, stripping off Stiles' outer shirt and then his teeshirt without giving him a chance to object. There was no blood or bruising anywhere on Stiles' torso, but he'd had to check. Once he had Stiles bare from the waist up and shivering, Peter grabbed one of his softest sweaters and bundled the boy into it. Something in him calmed a bit once Stiles smelled like him, but he was still bristling, still ready to rouse to Stiles' defense.
"Some of the kids laughed," Stiles mumbled into his chest, arms wrapping tightly around himself. Peter knelt and stripped him out of his soiled jeans, being careful of his damaged knee, then lifted him onto his bed, seating him there in his underwear while he got a pair of sweatpants with a drawstring that he thought Stiles might not swim in too badly. He was driven by a desire to wrap Stiles up and keep him safe, and getting the boy in warm, comfortable clothing that smelled like Peter seemed the best way to start.
"They laughed even though you were obviously hurt?" Peter asked, gesturing angrily at Stiles' knee and then his scabbed over lip. When Stiles nodded, looking up at him with big brown eyes, he snarled. "What assholes."
"It was mostly Jackson," Stiles grumbled, and letting go of himself he reached for Peter. He seemed to simply want a hand up, so that was what Peter gave him, letting him loose once he was on his feet, but he did clasp the boy's nape and drain off enough pain that Stiles swayed slightly. And he had no regrets over having done so.
Peter was glad that it hadn't been bullies who had done this to Stiles -- though laughing at him definitely amounted to a form of bullying -- but still, this situation had jarred the memory loose, that he'd meant to teach Stiles some self defense.
Well, not today, obviously. Later; when he wasn't damaged and in pain. Or not in pain and woozy, thanks to Peter.
"It's not like it was anything new," Stiles mumbled, and when he would have tripped in the overlong legs of the sweatpants, Peter scooped him up and carried him into the living room. The books could wait; Stiles wasn't really in a place mentally or physically where he could read them. Not with the way Peter's draining of his pain had rendered him loose and pliant.
Stiles' head resting on his shoulder felt nice, and since Peter didn't really want to lose that sensation, he sank down onto the sofa and settled Stiles in his lap, wrapping his arms around the boy without one hint of hesitation or shame.
He didn't like the sound of Stiles' typical school day, but he was kind of limited in how he could deal with it. Holding Stiles close now and taking way his pain was about as far as he could go. Talia would have his hide if he started hanging around the school like a giant pedo and beating up junior high students simply because they mocked a classmate's misfortune.
Even though that last was a really shitty thing to do and they would have deserved any such beatings.
Peter wished he could get Cora to keep an eye out for Stiles, but he knew without asking that she was too busy building her little empire of popularity to watch out for a spastic boy a year younger who was the next closest thing to a social outcast. Too bad, because that would have been ideal.
Stiles' cheek was mashed, soft and warm, against Peter's shoulder. His breath gusted hot and moist over Peter's clavicle where it was exposed by his shirt. He nestled easily against Peter's chest, just the right size and shape. The scent of misery had faded and now his burnt sugar smell was mingling in extremely tempting ways with the smell of Peter on the clothing he was bundled in. Thin fingers clutched at Peter's opposite shoulder and chest, and Peter found himself rubbing slow, soothing spirals over the hard muscles and bones of Stiles' back.
This was cozy and sensually satisfying, and Peter felt his cock plump a little where it was underneath Stiles' tiny, taut little rear, but there was no urgency to his arousal. It was a slow burn that sent warmth through his body, making his groin, chest, and hands tingle with heat. He could feel his heartbeat in his cock, but he wasn't going to do anything about it. Not with Stiles half-asleep in his arms.
It was like a promise. A promise of things to come in the future. A promise he could wait to collect on. He wasn't going to do anything if Stiles wasn't ready.
"Thank you," Stiles said drowsily. Peter glanced down at where the tip of Stiles' thumb was denting his plump red lip, and he was suddenly completely certain that Stiles sucked his thumb while in the privacy and safety of his own bed. His cock jumped and maybe he felt a little more urgency now, even though he tamped it down. What he wouldn't give to see that....
Well, maybe someday. At this point Peter didn't think there was anything that could keep Stiles away from his house. And both Stiles' father and Peter's sister seemed to be perfectly okay with this situation. Being so circumspect for so long had served Peter well. He felt as though he could be a bit more bold now.
"I don't like it when you get hurt," he informed Stiles, spreading his hand over the boy's back, feeling how narrow it was. Stiles' shoulders were beginning to broaden, and Peter expected puberty was going to be good to him, but right now he was still very much a child.
"You think I do?" Stiles snarked, albeit sleepily. He blinked up at Peter, and then smiled. Sweet and soft, not goofy at all despite the haze in his eyes from the pain sapping Peter had been doing. "I like it when you care, though. And I like it even more when you make the hurt go away."
"It would be better if you didn't damage yourself in the first place," Peter chided, wrapping his other hand around Stiles' lean flank. Not quite far enough to be groping his cute little ass, but definitely too far up his thigh to be an entirely innocent caress.
He didn't think Stiles was going to notice, though. Not when he was already half asleep. And, yeah, maybe Peter had overdone things a little when it was just a few scrapes and bruises, but there was blood on Stiles' gorgeous mouth and something in Peter wasn't going to be happy until there was absolutely no trace of pain anywhere about Stiles.
"It's not like I do it on purpose," Stiles argued. His fingers were flexing lazily on Peter's pectoral, almost like a cat, and Peter wondered if he even knew he was doing it. Peter certainly didn't mind. In return, he slowly stroked his own hand up and down, the one that was Stiles' leg, and he only halfway meant the caress sexually.
"I know," Peter soothed, dropping a silent kiss to the crown of Stiles' head. He doubted the boy would notice the moment of pressure. At Peter's suggestion, he'd let his hair grow out, and it really suited him. Far better than the near buzz cut he'd been sporting when Peter had first found him in the woods.
"I like this." Stiles snuggled closer, tight little ass wriggling on Peter's thighs in ways that were almost definitely not deliberate. His cheek mashed more closely against the hard muscles of Peter's shoulder, and Peter locked his arm more tightly around the boy's slim waist, keeping him close. Stiles had moved his damaged knee without wincing and that was all the justification Peter needed to have sapped his pain to the point that he'd sort of incapacitated the boy.
"What do you like?" he asked, seeking clarification. Might as well use Stiles' lack of brain-to-mouth filter to his advantage. Stiles was the one who had volunteered the opening statement, after all.
"I like..." Stiles crooned dreamily, shifting closer, so that his face was almost buried in the curve of Peter's neck, "Being in your clothes. I like that you care when I get hurt. I like feeling safe here. I like the way your clothes smell like you. I like how big your hands are. I like that you could eat Jackson, even if you won't because that would put you and the pack in danger. I like how you like me."
Peter was actually a little touched by this litany, even if he tried not to be. "I'm glad you feel safe with me, little red," he whispered, nuzzling Stiles' temple. To hell with being discrete. Even if Stiles remembered this later, he wasn't going to run off telling tales to his father. "Most people don't around the big bad wolf."
"I like it when you put your hand on my neck," Stiles confessed dreamily. And maybe Peter had gone a little overboard in draining his pain, but he was reaping the benefits of it now. "It calms me down and helps me to focus. Dad does that sometimes, but mostly he does it when he's mad at me for something, and that doesn't make me calm."
"Hm." Peter wasn't surprised. He'd actually seen the Sheriff once grab Stiles by the neck when he'd been beyond frustrated with him. It wasn't abusive in the slightest, at least not in Peter's opinion. More like a father wolf grabbing his pup by its scruff. He couldn't imagine the Sheriff ever doing anything to actually harm Stiles -- his incidental and probably unrecognized borderline neglect aside -- and it helped that Stiles had been familiar with that sort of touch before Peter had ever clasped his hand on the boy's nape.
"Do you want me to move my hand now?" he asked, squeezing Stiles' leg gently, right below the hip, where the thigh muscle was at its thickest.
"No," Stiles hastened to squeak, almost startling a chuckle out of Peter. "No, I like this. A lot."
"All right then," Peter murmured, lips turning up in a wicked smirk. He could smell the faint arousal wafting off of Stiles' skin, strongest at his groin, of course. It smelled like fresh boy sweat, and yet the salty scent was also somehow sweet. The burnt sugar of Stiles' natural scent seemed more burnt, and it mingled surprisingly well with the smell of Peter's clothing that Stiles had on.
Peter wanted to bury his nose on Stiles and just breathe him in, especially his crotch. He wanted to taste his pale skin and see if it was just as delicious as his scent.
But he held off. Partially because Stiles was loopy on pain-relief, but also partially because Stiles had just said he was happy and comfortable where he was. So Peter was going to let him remain here on his lap, in the circle of Peter's arms, where he felt safe and valued.
"I was thinking," Peter said, after a few minutes of companionable silence, "Of offering to give you some lessons in self defense. Even though certain people are gone, and other people have apologized, you know about werewolves and you might someday find yourself in danger again."
Stiles snorted. "You mean I might get in trouble snooping around," he said dryly, peering up at Peter even though he was at an awkward angle.
"It wouldn't surprise me," Peter replied, equally dryly. "To be honest, it was Talia who mentioned the possibility to me."
He didn't feel at all bad about tattling on his sister. That was what older sisters were for, right? Taking the blame, and taking responsibility.
"Well, I don't know what help self defense is going to be against werewolves," Stiles grumbled, coiling in closer to Peter. "You're always going to be stronger than me and heal faster. I'd be better off carrying wolfsbane around.... Only that wouldn't be very friendly when you Hales have always been so nice to me."
Peter kneaded at the outside of Stiles' thigh, really wanting to reach down and grope his ass even though they were having an actual serious conversation here.
"True," he conceded. "But fighting back against a werewolf might give you an edge if they aren't expecting it. Besides, Talia's got this place pretty well locked down as far as wolves are concerned. Werewolves respect boundaries and territory where humans don't. So you're more likely to encounter an encroaching hunter than a rogue omega or anything like that, and hunters are human."
Stiles shuddered in his arms. They'd read several chapters recently detailing the things hunters had done to werewolves in the past. And even if the werewolves might have been feral and might have deserved it -- it was hard to tell sometimes, with only the hunter emerging alive to tell their tale -- it had still been horrific enough to make Stiles very nearly cry. It had even rattled Peter a little, though he wasn't about to admit to it.
Peter knew that he lived with that danger every day simply for being born what he was; he just didn't like to dwell on the fact.
"Also," he continued, perfectly willing to gloss over that possibility, no matter how legitimate it was, "If you start training in self defense, you might gain more control over your body. Things like tripping over your own foot might not happen as often."
He wasn't going to make any promises, was just putting it out there as a possibility. But it was certainly likely.
"Not today, though, right?" Stiles murmured, and Peter could see that his thumb was denting his lower lip again, on the verge of lazily sliding inside. "I'm so warm and comfy...."
Peter laughed. "Not today," he agreed. "I doubt you'd be able to stand right now."
"Could so," Stiles bleated, rousing a little. He lifted his head to glare up at Peter.
"If you say so," Peter murmured, humoring Stiles even though he knew better. "But we're not going to start any lessons today."
"Do you know anything about self defense?" Stiles asked curiously, settling into Peter again. Like this he felt heavier than he usually did, letting Peter support all of his body weight, his limbs loose, his entire being relaxed. It felt good and Peter never wanted to let him go.
"I do," he replied, not in the least offended by Stiles' potential incredulity. "My mother insisted, back when I was younger than you. Before the Hale pack had built up its name quite as securely. I still remember most of the lessons, and I'm sure what I don't remember will come back to me as we start."
It occurred to Peter that he maybe ought to ask the Sheriff's permission before starting the proposed lessons.... But sometimes it was better to beg forgiveness than ask permission. And as long as he was careful, he shouldn't damage Stiles in any way and bring the situation to the man's attention.
Now, as to whether Stiles might not hurt himself while training....
"Cool," Stiles mumbled, his head sinking back down again. "Then if Jackson pushes me around again, I can push back."
Peter scowled, fighting against the urge to tense up under Stiles, trying to keep his touches gentle and soothing. He'd hoped that the bullying would have stopped with Erica out of the picture, but evidently Stiles had human assholes to contend with too.
Well, he'd teach the boy how to deal with such things, and if there was still trouble, maybe he'd step in himself. Discretely, so that Talia wouldn't rip him a new one, and Stiles wouldn't be offended that he'd needed help. But if Stiles was being set upon at school, Peter didn't feel he could just ignore the situation.
Holding Stiles, warm and breathing and smelling of them both in his arms went a long way toward actually calming Peter, and he allowed himself to relax into the sofa cushions the way that Stiles was relaxed into his body. His cock was no longer hard, but the sensual enjoyment was still there. All closeness was good, and while it sucked that Stiles had gotten hurt today, it felt wonderful to have an excuse to hold him like this.
They sat together in silence, and Stiles even drifted off to sleep for a bit. Peter just held him and breathed in his scent, felt the heat radiating through his slender body. Then, after about half an hour Stiles roused and began to shift a little uncomfortably.
It couldn't be because of the pain, Peter thought, reluctantly loosening his hold as Stiles moved to sit up on his lap. So why was...?
"Hafta pee," the boy slurred out, eyes heavy-lidded, hair squashed flat on the side where he'd been resting against Peter's shoulder.
Ah. That was it, then.
"Go ahead, then," Peter replied, smirking, thinking back to Stiles' vehement declarations that he could stand on his own. Because he could be a dick like that, and he knew Stiles wasn't going to be able to do it.
Stiles pouted at him, and then he actually tried. Peter had to catch him before he brained himself on the coffee table when his coltish limbs buckled and would have betrayed him.
"This is your fault," Stiles grumbled as Peter swept him up in his arms and carted him off to the bathroom. Excitement was zinging through his veins already, and Stiles' harsh words did nothing to dampen it. Especially when he could tell the boy didn't really mean them.
"If you'd rather be in pain..." he said, setting Stiles carefully on his feet before the toilet.
Stiles glared at him, looking frankly adorable. Peter felt the desire to eat him alive. Though not in the general big bad wolf sort of way.
"I can...." Stiles trailed off, a look of dawning realization widening his eyes and coloring his face in blotchy crimson waves of embarrassment. No, he really couldn't do it himself. Peter was holding him upright with a hand under his elbow, and even though he seemed to have managed to lock his knees, he wasn't going to be coordinated enough to deal with undoing the drawstring, lowering his borrowed pants without letting them puddle around his ankles, lifting the overlong sweater, and holding his dick all at once.
Peter could practically see this revelation work its way through Stiles' head, and he didn't want to give the boy time to get too flustered, so he took things into his own hands. So to speak.
"Hold this," he instructed, not unkindly, and bundled the sweater up, indicating that Stiles should grab the hem. Once he'd done that, Peter wrapped one arm around Stiles' slender body, deftly untied the drawstring, and let gravity do the rest, catching the pants with one hand, and with the other grasping Stiles' prick before the boy could figure out what he was doing and protest.
"What--?" Stiles squawked explosively, then he went still and stiff in Peter's arms.
"Just helping you aim," Peter said smoothly, and it was even mostly true. He didn't really want to be cleaning urine off his toilet or bathroom floor.
"Oh my God, could you not?" Stiles squeaked, his cheeks still burning. It was too late, though. He was standing there with his dick in Peter's hand and there was no ignoring the situation.
"The sooner you go, the sooner we're done," Peter told him softly, making sure not to move, aside from breathing, even though he really would have loved to squeeze the penis resting on his palm. For his age, Stiles had a good size going, definitely living up to the promise of his big feet and hands. He was still slim, had a fair amount of dark pubic hair, and he'd been circumcised. Peter was a bit disappointed by that last, but it wasn't really unexpected.
"Oh my God," Stiles groaned, but evidently he'd really had to urinate, because even though he was still tense all over, he still managed to let loose and empty his bladder in short time.
Peter dutifully held onto his dick for him, making sure the stream was directed straight into the toilet bowl, not making it in any way gratuitous, feeling the blazing heat of Stiles' genitals, feeling the delicate skin cradled carefully in his hand, feeling the flow of urine pulsing through the shaft of Stiles' dick as it jumped in his fingers....
And, okay, maybe it was a little gratuitous on his part. But he'd been a virtual saint for weeks now. He almost felt as though he had earned this.
"Okay, I'm done," Stiles said in a tiny, breathless voice, even as his flow was trickling down to the last little bit. "Help me pull my pants back up, please?"
Wordlessly, Peter let go of the precious prick that had temporarily been in his possession, but not before he'd swept his thumb across the head to shake off the last beads of urine in a move that was incredibly daring and dragged a harsh gasp out of Stiles. Peter was pretty sure that he'd felt Stiles begin to grow hard just as he'd let go, but for the sake of the boy's dignity and sanity he ignored it, instead helping him set his pants to rights.
Stiles was still wobbly as Peter tied the drawstring, one hand clutching at Peter's shoulder, but he seemed to be determined to stand on his own two feet. His head was lowered, his gaze downcast, very deliberately not meeting Peter's eyes, and he was gnawing at his lower lip, rendering it red, swollen, and wet.
The moment was fraught, and Peter was suddenly concerned that even though he had Stiles on the hook with his books and his friendship, he might not see him back here due to humiliation or fear. So he did his best to lighten the mood.
"I thought you said you weren't allowed to have soda during the week."
"How did you--" Stiles' mouth fell open, his head snapping up, his eyes going wide. "Dude, gross! Did you--" His upturned nose wrinkled, and he looked outraged but no longer on the verge of passing out due to embarrassment "Gross! That's so gross!"
Peter shrugged, not bothering to hide his grin of amusement. "That might be the reason you tripped, you know," he pointed out smoothly. "Too much sugar in your system."
"No!" Stiles was bright red now, and he was definitely embarrassed, but now it was for a different, less potentially disastrous reason. "We are not talking about this, and that is gross! Boundaries!"
Peter found it amusing that Stiles chose to freak out about boundaries when it came to smelling his piss rather than holding his dick while he pissed, but he didn't say anything about it. Instead, he decided it was time to change the subject.
"Did you feel up to looking at the books some more?" Peter asked, taking pity on the boy. It had been rather crude of him to mention Stiles' soda consumption the way he had, but he'd needed to break the tension somehow. And it appeared to have done the job.
"Snack first?" Stiles asked hopefully, already beginning to bounce back from his emotional storm of confusion and embarrassment.
"Sure thing." Peter wrapped an arm around Stiles, letting him walk by himself but offering him the support he needed to keep from pitching onto the floor as they made their way to the kitchen.
"You're gonna wash your hands first, though, right?" Stiles asked. And while he didn't so much as glance at Peter as he spoke the words, while his tone was filled with forced lightness, he'd made the joke and Peter was pretty sure that they'd be okay.
He'd taken a chance and gained a little ground... and now he knew what Stiles' dick looked and felt like. He'd call that a pretty successful trip to the bathroom.
And, yes, he did wash his hands once they reached the kitchen. More for Stiles' sake than his own, but he did do it.
"Did you know urine is sterile?" Stiles asked, the next day, as Peter got them both some tea made up in preparation to returning to the books.
"Are you saying I didn't need to wash my hands yesterday?" Peter asked archly, turning from the kitchen counter and smirking at Stiles.
The boy turned red and glanced away. "No, don't be gross," he said, less than convincingly.
Since he was still leery about scaring Stiles off, Peter let the subject go, even though Stiles had been the one to bring it up.
He did wonder, though, whether Stiles had gone home the day before and look up watersports on the internet that night. He highly suspected that the boy had had done so, and he wondered what Stiles had thought of what he'd seen.
Peter was fairly ambivalent on the matter, himself. As a born werewolf with all the feral instincts inherent to the wildness at his core he understood the need to mark something, or, rather, someone with his scent. As a sexually active adult -- well, in theory, though it had been a while -- he'd never really gotten that adventurous. He certainly wasn't opposed to the idea, but it wasn't something he was just going to spring on Stiles without a clear indication that Stiles was interested.
Stiles was sucking on his split lip in a way that had to sting, but he seemed to be feeling better and so Peter hadn't taken away any of his pain. He was pretty sure Stiles wanted a clear mind for when they cracked open a couple of the new books he'd gotten from Talia the night before.
Dinner with the family was occasionally excruciating, Peter thought, what with Derek's sappy smiles as he prattled on about Paige and basketball, and Cora gossiping about classmates and sniping at her mother, but it was worth it for the brightness it brought to Stiles' face and the gleam in his eyes whenever he cracked open a fresh tome.
Of course by "fresh" Peter just meant fresh to Stiles, since very few of the books were actually new. Peter had ordered a couple of recent volumes off the internet, researched and written by authors he had met personally -- one a werewolf, one a human partnered to a werewolf -- but the rest of them were from the Hale family collection and most of these were older than Peter himself was. Which was perfectly okay; werewolf legend and physiology hadn't changed that much in the last century or longer.
They repaired into the study, settling themselves with their tea and some cheese-flavored potato chips, and Stiles grabbed the shiny hardback book written by Peter's human friend. Peter had paged through it when it had arrived and thought it was fairly accurate, so he didn't have any qualms about letting Stiles read it. Additionally, it had several chapters that were human-centric, detailing how to safely deal with werewolves when one was a squishy human.
Peter had found it moderately interesting, reading things from a human point of view, and while he'd initially thought about just giving the book to Stiles, since he'd bought it himself, he didn't want to do so until after he'd had a chance to read it himself. Or, well, maybe he could buy a second copy. He liked Skylar and Quinne both -- he was pretty sure they'd written the book together, even though Quinne's was the name on the cover -- so he didn't really have any problem with the idea of paying for it twice.
Peter could be a selfish dick, but he did have a few friends, and he was loyal to those people that he actually liked and cared about. Besides, the book was only twenty-five dollars, plus shipping. It wouldn't exactly break the bank.
There was rain pattering against the window, behind the closed curtains. Peter had driven to the school to pick Stiles up this afternoon. He'd thought that this might be a bit presumptuous on his part but Stiles had climbed cheerfully into the passenger seat, waving at a boy his age that Peter assumed was the McCall kid that the Sheriff had mentioned multiple times. He was cute enough, Peter supposed, with a mop of dark hair falling in his eyes and smooth, dark skin, but seeing him had only clarified for Peter that he really wasn't into thirteen year olds as a rule.
Stiles was just that special.
Also, Stiles was very pretty for a thirteen year old. Like right now, as he leaned over his chosen book, his mouth hanging open. Peter was, as always, terribly tempted to just slide something between his lips... over his tongue... into the humid heat on his mouth....
The night before, Peter wasn't ashamed to admit to himself, he had jerked off to the memory of holding Stiles' dick in his hand while he'd been pissing. How could he not have done? The sweet burnt sugar scent of him, and the warmth of his body leaning back against Peter's chest as Peter's hand had clasped his prick....
Sometimes when Peter masturbated it was simply a matter of releasing tension. That was satisfying but never very fun. Last night, though, his mounting arousal leading to a truly mind-rattling climax had shivered through him with a very real and visceral pleasure, leaving him panting for breath and loose-limbed with repletion and satisfaction at once.
It was something he'd very much like to repeat, but even better if at some point in the near future he could get off with Stiles instead of just thinking about him and fantasizing about his delectable little body.
Stiles was kneeling on the oversized leather chair Peter kept in his study, legs curled under him. Evidently his knee was doing better than it had been yesterday... well, Peter could admit that he may have overreacted a bit.
Stiles had the book open under his hand on the desktop, his other hand cradling his tea mug. He was wearing his mother's red hoodie, looking warm and cuddly, and Peter wished he was sitting in the same chair rather than one near it, holding Stiles in his lap, clasping him in the circle of his arms.
He'd had Stiles in his arms the day before. Both when they'd been sitting on the sofa and when they'd been standing in front of the toilet....
It burned a little, heated and intimate, in the center of Peter's chest, where he thought his heart would be if he were like a normal person. He wanted more of it, and he wanted to treasure what he'd gotten.
Peter was so focused inwardly that he almost didn't notice the sudden rise in Stiles' body heat and the sugary scent of him, wafting over and filling his nostrils, tantalizing and intriguing.
Brow furrowing, Peter looked over. Stiles was engrossed in his book, his cheeks burning, his mouth lax, breath gusting heavily in and out of his parted lips. Craning his neck a little, Peter took a look at the pages that Stiles had so enraptured.
Ah. The chapter on werewolf and human sexuality.
He sat back with a curling smile, taking in the totality of Stiles and his reaction to the pages he was reading. He actually didn't know what that chapter contained, not having dwelled on it when he'd flipped through the book earlier. But he knew that Skylar and Quinne had a very active sex life, and he knew that neither of them would have been shy about sharing their knowledge in the book they'd put together.
Unlike some adults, Peter didn't think kids should be sheltered from the realities of adulthood, up to and including sex. That was how things like teen pregnancy happened. Better they be fully informed as to what they were headed into, and then they could make educated decisions instead of relying on instinct and blatant, sometimes disastrous misinformation.
And, of course, Stiles was something special. Not only had he probably already educated himself all about sex on the internet, but he was smart for his age, and Peter thought he was quite a bit more mature than most thirteen year olds.
Having been there when his mother had died, having a father who worked a job he might not come home from someday, feeding himself and making up healthy menus for those he cared about, carrying his best friend's spare inhaler in case McCall's asthma got so bad he was on the verge of dying.... All of this had led to Stiles growing up quickly, Peter thought.
Oh, Stiles was still a child in a lot of ways. There was an unquenchable core to him. He was bright and cheerful and thoughtlessly spontaneous, and sometimes he made very bad decisions. But at other times he was quiet and pensive, and he also made good, informed decisions. Peter was getting to see behind the mask more and more often the more time they spent together and the more comfortable Stiles got with him.
And then there were moments like right now. When Stiles was blushing furiously at reading about how werewolf-human sex worked.
Although.... Peter quirked a brow, taking in a long, slow breath, trying to be subtle about testing Stiles' scent.
It was more arousal than embarrassment, he realized after a moment. And the way Stiles was squirming very faintly on his chair was definitely suspect. Peter thought that Stiles had a stocking-footed heel digging into his perineum, from the way the boy was situated, and he could smell the rising salt-and-sweet tang of Stiles' growing excitement.
Silently thanking Quinne, and by extension Skylar, Peter scooted forward a little, peeking at what Stiles was so avidly reading.
Peter was reluctantly impressed by how graphic Quinne had managed to be while at the same time maintaining a veneer of professional detachment. It didn't read like porn, but it left nothing to the imagination. Bless his pervy friends, there was even an illustration on the page, expertly rendered in charcoal, completely gratuitous and yet still relatively tasteful.
Stiles' spidery fingers were skirting the edge of the art, as though he wanted to touch but didn't dare. There was no mistaking the fact that he had an erection -- Peter could smell it even if he couldn't see it in the boy's jeans, hidden under the long hem of his hoodie -- and his cheeks were so red that it almost looked painful. Peter could see the tiny beads of sweat on Stiles' temples, and he was alternating between licking his lips and sucking on the scabbed-over split he'd given himself when he'd fallen the day before.
That last looked painful, but maybe Stiles liked the extra stimulation. Or maybe he was too turned on to even register that it hurt. Peter wanted to reach out and touch Stiles but he was a little concerned that if he did the boy would jump out of his skin. Stiles was so focused on what he was reading that he probably didn't even remember that he wasn't alone in the room.
It was a little frustrating, Peter thought. All those hormones and all that horniness, right there, right within his reach, and yet he didn't think he dared to reach.
He was so caught up in this quandary, so overwhelmed by the rich musk of Stiles' growing arousal, that he didn't actually notice at first that Stiles had lifted his head and was staring at him with huge eyes. The amber highlighted brown of his irises had been nearly swallowed up by the ink-blots of his dilated pupils, and his mouth was a sweet little circle of hot-gusting breath and swollen red lips.
"Is knotting really a thing?" he gasped out, voice more than a bit raspy. His cheeks were still painted crimson but his scent indicated it was entirely arousal without a trace of embarrassment.
Peter blinked, taken aback for all of a moment, then leaned forward to peer at the book. This put pressure on his cock, making him aware that it was achingly hard, and he valiantly resisted the urge to grind the heel of his palm into it. Instead, he reached over and claimed the book Stiles had been reading.
"What does this say?" he asked, curious. He'd had zero experience with knotting, and all the Hale family books he'd read had skirted the issue, but he expected Quinne would have gone into the subject in loving detail.
"Um." Stiles stuck part of his hoodie sleeve into his mouth, chewing and sucking on that rather than his split lip. His oral fixation would be the death of Peter yet. "That it mostly only happens between breeding pairs, like, a guy and a girl. And usually only when they're mated."
Peter nodded, skimming the entry himself, mostly to try and distract himself from the heat building up in his groin, under his arms, along his chest and throat. He didn't necessarily want Stiles to see him getting flushed, but the powerful scent of sex rolling off the boy was really getting to him.
"That would be why I don't really know anything about it," he replied absently, eyes running over the page. Quinne had said what Stiles had paraphrased, only with a lot more loving detail.
Jesus fuck, his friends were perverts. Peter was definitely buying Stiles his own copy of this book. And maybe giving it a good review online.
"Oh." Stiles' exhale sounded more like a gasp of pleasure than a sound of enlightenment. Peter dragged his attention away from the book and watched silently as Stiles shifted where he was sitting, subtly rubbing his thighs together, almost definitely as a means of stimulating his hard dick. He wondered if Stiles was unaware that he was doing it, or if he was just so turned on he'd left embarrassment and shame behind.
"I think you should probably get used to having a cock inside you before you build up to the idea of a cock with a knot," he said as calmly as he was able when he could practically feel steam rising from under his collar, when he could smell his own arousal as clearly as he could Stiles'.
He wouldn't have thought it possible for Stiles' huge eyes to get huger, but he was proven wrong as the boy's gaze snapped to his face, sleeve popping out of a mouth gone wide with shock.
"Have you thought about it?" Peter asked, staring back intently, watching the heat flood Stiles' gaze, watching his cheeks flare. He looked glorious like this, he looked like sex, and Peter was going to combust if he didn't get a taste of this delicious boy soon.
That wasn't exactly a helpful response, but Peter didn't really mind. He set the book down and settled back in his chair, holding out a hand to Stiles. This was a make-or-break moment -- especially since there was no way Stiles would miss seeing his erection between his spread thighs -- but he was convinced that there was no way he was misreading the situation.
"Come here," he ordered, but softly rather than forcefully. He was pretty sure Stiles was aware that he had a choice, and he was sure the boy was bold enough to say no if he didn't want to....
Stiles nearly fell headfirst into Peter's crotch, he scrambled to obey so quickly. Peter found this enthusiasm extremely gratifying, but even more gratifying was the way Stiles straddled his thighs, settling into his lap, hands on his chest, face inches away from his own.
"Have you ever kissed anyone?" Peter asked, hands coming to rest on Stiles' narrow boy hips. The material of his hoodie and the denim of his jeans were in the way of his soft, warm flesh, but Peter could make do. With Stiles' thighs spread wide around his own the rich scent of his growing arousal rose up to smack Peter in the face like an almost physical blow.
Stiles shook his head silently, his eyes immediately fixating on Peter's mouth. Peter didn't make a verbal offer, but he did lick his lips very pointedly. It felt a little sophomoric so far as sexual invitations went, but, hey, Stiles was only just barely in junior high. He wasn't even a sophomore yet.
Peter was leaving this up to Stiles in large part because Stiles was only thirteen. He wasn't going to force the boy into anything, no matter how much he wanted. And while Peter didn't care much for things like morals and human squeamishness when it came to sexuality, he felt that it was better to let Stiles make this decision.
Maybe Stiles' didn't want to kiss --
Peter didn't even really get to finish that thought in his head before Stiles' mouth was crashing against his with a distinct lack of finesse but a lot of enthusiasm.
While it was nice knowing that he was Stiles' first kiss, Peter resolved that he was going to have to teach the boy some skill, if only as a matter of self preservation.
Stiles' lips were plump and lush, but he was pushing them against Peter's with more pressure than pleasure, as though he was afraid of being rejected, as though he wanted to claim everything he could as quickly as he could.
Removing his hands from Stiles' hips, Peter reached up and cupped Stiles' face, feeling the softness of his flaming cheeks, the hard bones of his jaw under his fingers. He shifted the boy's head into a less awkward position and pulled back a bit in order to gentle the kiss.
Stiles let him take control without so much as a murmur of protest, and Peter rewarded him with a sweep of the flat of his tongue along Stiles' lush upper lip. Stiles' whined and tried to surge forward, but Peter held him still.
He was mindful of the scab on Stiles' lower lip -- even though Stiles certainly didn't seem to be -- and instead of licking at that Peter slid the tip of his tongue into Stiles' open mouth. Running it between the velvet-soft, incredibly hot inner surface of Stiles' lower lip and the line of his hard teeth, Peter was pleased to wring a throttled noise out of the boy. Then he slipped in past Stiles' teeth and swirled his tongue around Stiles' tongue, feeling it flex without hesitation against his own, slick and wet and hot.
Stiles leaned into the kiss as Peter slowed and deepened it, and as he seemed to figure out what he was doing Peter let go of his face, reaching down to grope momentarily at his ass, since he was pretty sure his carnal interest was right out there in the open by now. That put paid to kissing, as Stiles moaned and pulling back, open lips wet and pressure-bruised as he gasped for air, lightly-dewed forehead pressed against Peter's.
Peter didn't mind. Kissing Stiles was definitely nice, but now he could concentrate on what his fingers were doing.
Stiles' rear was just as tight and tender at the same time as Peter had expected, fitting into his hands perfectly. Stiles squeaked and jerked, but into the touch, not away from it as Peter grabbed. Peter flexed his fingers, squeezing Stiles' ass through the material of his jeans, but his focus was actually at the juncture of Stiles' thighs, at his crotch, where he was so obviously hard and beginning to leak in his underwear.
Steadying Stiles with one hand on his upper arm, Peter reached his right hand underneath the hem of Stiles' red hoodie, unfastening and unzipping his jeans, then reaching in without a moment of hesitation.
Stiles clutched at the shoulders of Peter's shirt, fingers fisting tightly in the material, and keened low in his throat, his hips canting forward into Peter's hand as Peter palmed the whole length of his erection.
Once again Peter had his hand on Stiles' dick... but it was much different than it had been yesterday.
Stiles gasped, lurching forward as Peter cupped his entire crotch, capturing Stiles' hard-on between the heel of his palm and the boy's belly, fingers prodding at his drawn-up balls. Stiles' wiry arms went around Peter's neck, his hot-damp cheek smashed against Peter's cheekbone, mingling their sweat together on their skin, and if Peter had turned his head he could have so easily marked the flawless white line of Stiles' throat....
He resisted this last temptation, though, because if anyone saw any marks on Stiles, Peter's life might as well be ended. If the Sheriff didn't get him Talia would... and vice versa.
Thinking of his sister and Stiles' father, though, was a bit of a turn off. And why would he want that when he had Stiles right here, humping into his hand with sharp snaps of his hips and sweet little catches of his breath, almost sobs but not really.
Peter's hand was twisted at an awkward, almost painful angle where he had it jammed in Stiles' jeans and yet he had no regrets as he felt Stiles' rutting into his palm, grinding closer and closer to his climax.
It wasn't like he wasn't doing Stiles a favor, Peter thought vaguely, his own hips flexing in time with Stiles even though he had no manual stimulation other than the press of his pants against his straining erection, since Stiles was raised up on his knees. After all, Stiles' palms were still a little chewed up from when he'd fallen yesterday. Peter's hands were undamaged.
Speaking of which, he did have two hands, and Stiles had a pretty strong grip in him now, was unlikely to fall over. So, letting go of Stiles' upper arm, Peter reached for his grinding little ass again. But rather than squeezing a round buttock, he pressed his fingertips down along the seam of Stiles' jeans. They were hanging a little loose, since they'd been undone, but he kept going until he found that one sensitive spot nestled deeply between his frantically flexing cheeks.
Peter had barely prodded at it through the material of Stiles' jeans and underwear when Stiles let out what was almost a wail, writhing in his arms, and there was a wet burst of heated liquid breaking over his palm and wrist, Stiles' hard prick jolting and throbbing in the cup of his hand.
It was even more awkward pulling his hand out of Stiles' underwear and open jeans when his fingers were coated in thin, somewhat watery jizz and Stiles had collapsed in a boneless, panting slump against his chest, but Peter managed it.
Stiles' face was mashed into his neck, the boy's hands twitching on his shoulders, and Peter tucked him close with his one arm, raising his soiled hand to inhale deeply. Stiles was so young that the smell wasn't as strong as Peter was used to, but he kind of liked that. Maybe it was just because it was Stiles, though.
Since Stiles had collapsed on his lap, Peter could have ground up into his limp weight. But that struck him as more than a little rude, considering that this was Stiles' first sexual experience outside fucking his own fist.
It was tempting. With Stiles panting against his collarbone, smearing his sweat all over Peter's throat, the smell of his come in Peter's nose, all over his hand.... The boy was radiating a crazy amount of heat, causing all the hairs on Peter's body to prickle. He wanted, he wanted so badly.
But Peter was a gentleman when it came to sex -- unless it had been requested otherwise -- and he'd already dared a lot, sticking his hand down Stiles' pants as he had done. He didn't want to risk scaring the boy off.
Though, honestly? Was that very likely at this point?
Still, Peter wasn't going to hump Stiles like he was the teenager here. He had no problem with Stiles spunking so quickly; found it both natural and flattering, in fact. But that didn't mean the reverse was true.
It would have felt good, the heat and weight of Stiles' ass resting on top of Peter's throbbing erection, if he hadn't needed so badly to come. Peter could appreciate anticipation, titillation, but not so much when he was so hard it actually hurt.
Suddenly Stiles took the choice out of Peter's hands, lax limbs tightening up as he raised himself up off Peter's chest and sat back. This moved him off of Peter's hard-on and back onto his thighs, which he wasn't sure was a good thing or not by this point.
"I wanna see," Stiles slurred, staring at Peter with heavy-lidded eyes. He looked well-fucked, even though Peter had really only given him what amounted to a half-assed handjob, his face red and damp with perspiration, his mouth hanging open and wet and hot.
"What?" It wasn't Peter's fault that he didn't really understand what Stiles was saying. Most of his attention was on his throbbing cock, the rest of it taken with how beautiful Stiles looked right now.
"I wanna see," Stiles said more coherently, scooting back a little, his hands going down to the bulge between Peter's thighs. Peter's poor neglected cock jumped, pre-ejaculate making a mess of his underwear, even though Stiles was groping him through his pants. Damn!
"Keep that up and there'll be nothing to see," Peter groaned, exercising all of his will power to keep his hips still. It really would have been beyond rude to buck Stiles off his lap. Having sex with a human meant always being aware of the fact that they were weaker, especially when they were a slender thirteen year old rather than an adult.
Stiles licked his lips, eyes gleaming. He seemed to be recovering from his orgasm quickly, and Peter was a little disconcerted by the wicked expression on his face, but it was intriguing and gratifying at the same time.
If Peter had wanted Stiles to be some blushing, flailing virgin, he'd really have considered himself a pervert. Well, he was a pervert.... But he was interested in Stiles for himself, not because he was a scrawny barely-pubescent little boy with no previous experience outside his own hands.
With a strangely lithe little wriggle, Stiles slid backward off Peter's legs, pausing once he was on his feet to fasten his jeans, then he stepped forward, shoving Peter's thighs boldly apart.
Peter blinked, a bit taken aback, but he certainly didn't mind.
Stiles was already reaching for Peter's fly, but Peter got there first himself, tugging the zipper down and pulling his hard, leaking erection out of his underwear, hooking the elastic under his balls. It wasn't exactly the most comfortable thing he'd ever done, but by this point any physical stimulation was exciting, and having Stiles' avid gaze on his hard-on was even more stimulating.
"Wow," Stiles breathed, much like he had done when he'd first entered Peter's study and seen his collection of books. This was a little different, though. His eyes were wide and he licked his lips involuntarily, then in another move that surprised Peter, Stiles knelt right in front of him.
"Like what you see?" he couldn't help asking, even though it sounded like something out of bad porn. He wrapped a hand around the shaft of his dick, the one that was still glistening and growing tacky with Stiles' thin come, tugging to pull the foreskin back from its head.
Rather than answering verbally, Stiles was leaning forward avidly, already reaching for Peter's cock himself, his mouth open and tempting. Peter really, really wanted to slide his hard-on right in there.... But there was no way Stiles was ready for that, no matter how bold he was being right now.
The leather chairs in Peter's study weren't particularly high and Stiles had long legs, so it wasn't much of a stretch for him to get in between Peter's spread thighs and lean over his crotch. Peter stroked himself lightly a few times, despite the desire to squeeze tightly and jerk himself off hard and fast. As more pre-ejaculate blurted from the pulsing tip of his cock, Stiles reached out and caught it up on curious fingertips.
Peter had to literally bite back a low groan as Stiles sucked his slicked fingers into his mouth, fattened red lips working around the digits as he tested the flavor of Peter's pre-ejaculate. God, the boy was going to be glorious at cocksucking. Even if he wasn't any good, he would look incredible.
"That's different than mine," Stiles said, removing his fingers from his mouth, his lashes flickering as he glanced coyly up at Peter. His cheeks were still flushed, his mouth open, and Peter stroked his hard cock a couple of times before he could stop himself, that much closer to coming.
More than anything he wanted to come all over Stiles' pretty face. Mark it up, cover Stiles in his scent, leave him dripping with the physical result of what he did to Peter.
But doing so would be beyond rude, and he might get jizz on Stiles' red hoodie. It had been Stiles' mother's and so Peter didn't think he'd be forgiven for that.
Then Stiles' wet hand was closing around Peter's cock, joining his own fingers in wrapping around the shaft, and that was it, Peter was gone.
Clapping his free hand over the head of his spouting cock, Peter did what he could to catch most of his load in his palm. He came more copiously than Stiles had done, and he was pretty sure that he'd just wrecked the leather of his chair, but Stiles' precious red hoodie was pristine.
"I wanted to put it in my mouth."
Only Stiles could sound so disappointed after watching a man come due to the mere touch of his hand, Peter thought hazily as he pulled himself together from the intensity of his climax.
"Maybe next time, baby," he rasped, and he wanted to sink his fingers into Stiles' hair, stroke the round bone of his skull, but one of his hands was still covered in Stiles' thin semen and his other hand was dripping with his own.
Stiles was still holding his cock as it began to slowly soften, and as Peter removed the hand he'd cupped over the head, the boy got a contemplative expression on his face, then he unexpectedly leaned in and lapped delicately at its tip, pink tongue sliding over the slit.
Peter was completely unashamed of the guttural curse that he let out, and even though he was spent he could feel his cock twitching wildly at the stimulation.
"Sorry," Stiles murmured, drawing back and licking his lips. At this moment, if Peter hadn't had both hands covered in jizz and hadn't been wary of wrecking Stiles' hoodie, he'd have grabbed the boy and carted him off to his bed to spend the rest of the day debauching him and teaching him how to use that tantalizing tongue and those tempting lips of his.
"Was that gross?" Stiles asked, wide-eyed and anxious. He was still on his knees, staring up at Peter from between his spread thighs, and Peter kind of thought that he needed to clean himself up, but he also didn't want Stiles to move. Ever.
"That was not gross," Peter assured him, smiling down at the gorgeous boy before him. This really wasn't how he had envisioned his day going... but he had absolutely zero complaints. "That was amazing."
"I still wanna put it in my mouth," Stiles said, sounding a little dreamy, his gaze moving from Peter's face to the pink, jizz-slicked head of his cock. "Can I?"
"Not right now," Peter replied, even though it killed something inside him to speak the words. "Right now I need to go get cleaned up, okay?"
Stiles settled back on his haunches and gave vent to a heavy sigh. "Okay...."
"Next time we do this," Peter said, tucking himself back into his underwear, even though it was kind of slimy from the pre-ejaculate he'd leaked in it earlier, "We're going to be wearing less clothing."
Stiles tugged at the hem of his hoodie, staring down at the red material, then his gaze snapped up to Peter's face, eyes and mouth wide, realization dawning.
"I can get naked right now," he offered, jumping to his feet.
Whatever Peter might have expected from the first time he had a sexual encounter with Stiles, this eagerness hadn't really crossed his mind. Not that he was disappointed by it. The opposite, in fact, but he wanted to proceed with caution.
"Let's just go wash our hands," he said calmly, fastening his fly. He desperately needed to change his underwear, but his hands came first.
"And then more kissing?" Stiles persisted as Peter herded him out of the study and toward the bathroom. "I liked the kissing. Did you like kissing me? I wasn't too terrible, was I? You were really good. I wanna learn to kiss like you do. I wanna kiss you more!"
"Hush." Peter clasped the back of Stiles' neck with the hand he'd used to masturbate the boy to climax. Stiles hadn't shot a lot and most of it had either dried or rubbed off on the fly of Peter's pants, so he wasn't making a mess of Stiles' nape. Not that he wouldn't have liked to do so... but not right now.
"Sorry," Stiles apologized, sucking at the split in his lip again.
"It's fine, baby," Peter crooned, squeezing before letting go to turn on the water, getting it warm for both of them. "You don't need to talk me into kissing you, you know. But we should probably talk about this first."
Stiles wrinkled his snub nose. "Really?" He lathered up and stuck his hands under the stream of water once Peter was done, even though Peter had been the one to field most of the jizz. "Figures you gotta be all grown up about it."
"Well, I am a grown up," Peter pointed out, drying his hands. Of course, Talia might argue that. But by human and werewolf standards, Peter was to be considered an adult. "Whereas, you are many years away yet."
"But you want... this... right?" Stiles asked in a small voice, taking a step toward Peter, then a step away. His sudden insecurity shouldn't have been as endearing as it was.
"Don't doubt it," Peter assured him, holding out the towel. "Dry your hands and go wait for me in the kitchen, okay? Do you want to make us more tea?"
Stiles' expression clearly said that he didn't want to leave Peter's side, but he reluctantly agreed to go make them some tea and Peter left him to dry his hands, headed to his bedroom for a change of both pants and underwear. His cock was warm and still a little thick, tingling, and Peter honestly couldn't figure out if it was lingering arousal or renewed desire. Knowing that he had Stiles begging him for more sex.... God, it could go either way.
Peter gave his cock a soft squeeze, much like he'd given Stiles' neck, before tucking it away. Sort of like a promise. Whether or not he gave in to Stiles' demands, he was going to be getting off again today, but not until later. Either he would let Stiles suck him, or he's be jerking off vigorously once the boy had headed on his way home. Maybe both. Probably both, if he was honest.
When he returned to the kitchen, hoping it wasn't too obvious that he'd had to change his pants like a horny teenager -- not that he thought Stiles would judge him for it -- he found Stiles sitting at the table, poring over the same book he'd been reading in the study.
"Anything in there that interests you in particular?" Peter asked, finishing up the tea preparations and joining Stiles. The boy's cheeks were red again... or still, more like. Peter was a little concerned that Stiles might not be able to act normally once he went home, but his "normal" was fluid and changed almost daily. It was probable that his father wouldn't notice anything different. Or so Peter devoutly hoped. Maybe that needed to be one of the things they talked about.
Stiles squirmed and Peter was pretty sure that he was getting hard again. Well, it was only to be expected. He was a thirteen year old boy reading a chapter in a book that talked about sex in fairly graphic detail.
"No," Stiles replied, shaking his head. "Not particularly, that is. Obviously it all interests me."
Peter smirked and sipped his tea.
"Pervert," Stiles said, but he said it affectionately and he was smiling back at Peter, his plump red lips curved up in playfulness rather than smugness.
"Well, yes," Peter agreed coyly. "And that's why we need to talk."
Stiles pulled a face. "Is this the part where you say that I can't tell anyone about what just happened?"
Peter snorted. "I wouldn't insult your intelligence like that," he said somewhat scornfully. "You know that I know that you know you can't tell anyone. Not unless you want me to end up in jail... or vanished."
"I don't think Dad would actually kill you," Stiles said, sounding far from certain.
"Talia might," Peter replied in all honesty. "Though I'd hope that I could escape before either of them got a hold of me. Hence the vanishing, one way or another." He sipped his tea calmly once he was done, because they were speaking hypothetically right now and he felt safe in assuming that they both knew it.
"Well, no one's finding out," Stiles clarified, looking determined, his pointed little chin high. "I don't want you to die or have to run away; I like you too much for that. Besides, if I told anyone then I'd never get to put your dick in my mouth."
Peter blinked, taken a bit aback by the boy's boldness, even though he maybe shouldn't have been by this point, but he just grinned and answered evenly. "There is that."
"I'm still disappointed," Stiles said, giving Peter what he probably thought was a stern look. "That you didn't let me."
"Well, that's something that we can remedy easily enough," Peter pointed out, raising his brows. He really hadn't expected Stiles to jump straight from blushing virgin to the eager instigator, but it made him feel better about what he was doing. After all, he'd wanted Stiles to want him. And that was what he was evidently getting.
"Right now?" Stiles asked, leaping on that opening, his eyes wide and bright, his mouth gaping at the same time it curled up at the corners.
"I'm pretty sure that this is the part where I say that I've created a monster," Peter murmured, eyeing the boy. There was a buzz under the surface of his skin as he envisioned his come on that flushed face, as he thought about the two of them getting naked, the way Stiles had urged. He didn't want to rush into this thing, whatever it was, but Stiles was making it awfully hard to practice restraint.
Especially given the fact that Stiles didn't want to be restrained and evidently wanted to rush headlong into everything.
"I'm not the monster," Stiles said earnestly, but with a gleam of humor in his bright amber-brown eyes. "I'm little red, right? And you're my big bad wolf."
Peter laughed aloud as Stiles preened, plucking at the red hoodie he wore, smoothing his fine-boned hands over its pockets.
"I guess that makes me the monster," he agreed, and his smile was probably more of a leer and yet he couldn't bring himself to care. Stiles obviously knew and liked him the way he was. "So what are you going to do if I threaten to eat you alive?"
Stiles beamed delightedly. "Take off my hoodie and get naked, right?"
"All the better to devour you, my dear," Peter paraphrased, and one might say that he grinned wolfishly. "All the better to devour you."