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Fame is a Vapor

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Most people wouldn't assume Peter likes baseball. There are a lot of stereotypes that come with being a bisexual man in fashion, and one of them is that he must hate sports and typical 'manly' things. Such blind assumptions and gender roles are, of course, ridiculous, but he's not above using them to sneak off when his PR team gets a little too gung ho on his speaking events.

He's wanted at various fashion schools and charity events, and has the Project Runway team pestering him to guest judge again, as if he doesn't have his hands full with running Hale Fashion. It's taken years of hard work and maybe a little bit of blackmail, but he's the head of his own company, and he thinks he deserves an afternoon off.

Technically, he's in New York to discuss a possible merger with another label, but negotiations are long and tedious, and his assistant Erica is perfectly capable of handling that for a few hours without him. He excels in the boardroom, but design is his passion, and he bores of talking to most people quite easily, especially the self-important representatives from Whittemore Designs. So he'd excused himself for lunch and just never went back.

Citi Field isn't his favorite ballpark and the Mets aren't his favorite team, but his team is the Dodgers and they happen to be in town, so after slipping out of the office and texting Erica that he won't be back for a while, he drives to Citi Field for a day game (a businessman's lunch, it's commonly referred to). The game isn't nearly sold out, so he's easily able to get a good seat. He doesn't go for a $600 seat right behind home plate, if only because he prefers a higher view, instead paying for a still quite expensive club seat higher up.

It's nice. He has a view, he's able to relax and forget, momentarily at least, the mess going on in his office, and he has a drink. Normally he isn't a fan of beer, preferring wolfsbane-laced wine or a good scotch, but it's part of being at the ballpark for him, buying an overpriced beer. He decides it's time for another during the fourth inning when his runs empty, and when they woman a few seats down starts eyeing him appreciatively. He's not sure if she recognizes him, especially since he's wearing sunglasses, or if she's just attracted to him (it's hard to differentiate scents, especially ones of attraction, in an environment this crowded), but he doesn't really want to find out. He doesn't feel like dealing with it today.

Peter stands before the woman can get up the nerve to talk to him, and takes the awkwardly spaced steps up quickly until he gets to the promenade that circles around the field. The closest beer vendor isn't far away, but he feels like a bit of a walk anyway and weaves his way through the crowd. His mind is still being pulled in all directions, from the buyout of Whittemore Designs, to the pack reunion Talia wants him to attend, to the stack of designs he has on his desk in LA waiting for his approval. Peter sighs deeply. He's supposed to be playing hooky to relax, not think more about work, but it seems like his brain hasn't gotten that memo.

Peter only notices how long he's been walking when he glances out toward the field and realizes he's almost lapped the stadium and still hasn't gotten a new beer. He makes his way toward to nearest line and waits patiently, ignoring the persistent buzzing of the phone in his pocket. He vaguely wonders if the woman in his row is still there, and if he should find another seat.

Three transactions later, Peter's finally at the front of the line and shells out $15 (ridiculous) for a wolfsbane-laced beer. He hands the money over to the vendor right when cheers erupt from the stadium. Peter turns quickly to the side, trying to crane his neck to see what happened (if the Dodgers made another error, he swears to god...) only to crash into the person standing on the other side of the beer cart.

The man shouts in surprise as Peter's beer spills all down the front of his formerly white shirt, the man's pretzel dropping to the ground and accompanying cheese spilling all over his shoes. Peter is mostly unscathed, the beer spilling over his hands and bare forearms more than anything else, but he still wants to snap at him to watch where he was going (even though in reality, the other man had been standing still and Peter was the one to crash into him). Plus, one look at the man's face and his irritation evaporates.

The man's eyebrows have flown up in shock and his mouth is open as he squeaks, yanking his cold, wet shirt away from his body. Even with the weird expression and slight flapping, Peter can tell he's attractive. He has slightly messy brown hair, wide brown eyes (though some of that may have something to do with the face that he's shocked and probably cold now), and the smoothest, fair skin dotted with moles. Peter's wolf reacts strongly, very strongly, and Peter is hit with the sudden urge to lick him.

"I'm so sorry," Peter says. He grabs a handful of napkins from the dispenser on the beer cart and steps into the man's space, pressing the napkins to the wet shirt. The man hisses as the wet shirt is pressed against his skin. "I didn't see you."

"It's fine, it was an accident," the man says, but his voice is tight and unhappy and really, that just won't do.

"I'll pay for the cleaning," Peter says.

The man huffs a little laugh at that and bats Peter's hand away from where they're still dabbing the napkins against his torso.

"It's like a $10 Target shirt," the man says. "Not a big deal. Dry cleaning it would cost most than I paid for it in the first place."

It's then that the man finally looks at Peter's face. There's no spark of recognition, but his mouth does open a bit and his breathing catches before he can stop it. He goes a little pink in the cheeks and his scent blossoms with attraction, and really, Peter can't help but preen a little.

"Let me replace it then. There's a team store here, isn't there?" Peter says.

"Yeah, but that shit's way overpriced," the man says and really, Peter can't see why he's fighting it this much. It's just a shirt. "It's fine."

"I can afford it," Peter says with a shrug. "And really, would you rather walk around for another four innings wet and smelling like beer?"

Peter can see the man's resolve wavering, never let it be said that Peter isn't good at talking his way into what he wants, and he finally sighs.

"All right," Stiles says. "Only because I don't want to get thrown out because I reek like beer they think I'm wasted. You drive a hard bargain."

"Yes, I'm asking for so much," Peter says. The man snorts. "I'm Peter." Peter reaches out a hand.

The man takes it, shaking firmly.

"Stiles," the man says.

"Bless you?" Peter says.

"Ha, ha," the man says. "My name, it's Stiles."

"Stiles," Peter says, and Stiles blushes. He also seems to realize he still has a grip on Peter's hand and hastily tries to tug it back, but Peter's reluctant to let go and caresses the soft skin with his thumb before loosening his grip for Stiles to pull away. Stiles is blushing again and really, it's a bit unfair that he makes it look so good. When Peter blushes, which is a very, very rare event, he just look like he has a blotchy sunburn.

"Uh, yeah, team shop," Stiles says, tugging at his hair a bit. "This way."

"Lead on," Peter says.

"So," Stiles says as Peter falls into step next to him. "Is it your first time?" Peter cocks an eyebrow at that. "First time here, you perv."

Peter chuckles.

"No, but I've only been a handful of times," Peter says. "Why?"

"You didn't know where the team shop is. You weren't even sure if there is one," Stiles says, then narrows his eyes. "You're a Dodgers fan, aren't you?"

"Guilty," Peter says.

"Why?" Stiles says dramatically. "Why must such a pretty face be cursed to a Dodgers fan?"

Peter laughs.

"I could say the same for you. Mets? I'm disappointed, Stiles," Peter says.

"You do realize you're at the home of the Mets, right? That you're surrounded by thousand of loud Mets fans?" Stiles says with a smirk. "And that the Mets are currently clobbering your Dodgers seven to one?"

"Details," Peter says. "Corey Seager is having a hell of a year, and Cody Bellinger in having a record-setting rookie season."

They argue baseball until they get into the team shop, then as they look through the racks of clothes, then when Stiles pulls up a shirt consideringly, holding it up to see if it'll fit (the worker looks vaguely worried that Stiles, who is still covered in beer, will want to try it on).

"Céspedes?" Peter says when he sees whose name is on the back of the shirt. "Not exactly having the best year, is he?"

"His year is going fine," Stiles says with a huff, but he puts the shirt back.

Peter steers him away from the clearance rack and tells him to just find one he likes.

"You're going to have to live with wearing it, do you really want it to be a shirt with someone's name on it that isn't even on the team anymore?" Peter asks.

Stiles sighs, like he's being put so far out of his way, but he does eventually find a blue shirt with a simple Mets logo on it that he likes. Peter plucks it from his hands and puts it back, ignoring Stiles' irritated squawk, only to grab a size smaller and gets in the line for the register.

"That is not going to fit," Stiles says.

"It is," Peter says. "You're swimming in a shirt two sizes too big for you. This will fit you better and compliment those broad shoulders." Stiles looks at him with an eyebrow raised. "I work in fashion," Peter says, not used to having people not know that. How novel.

"Of course you do," Stiles says. "What with your...everything."

"My everything?" Peter repeats, amused.

"Yes! The tight jeans and nice shirt and perfectly coiffed hair," Stiles says, flapping a hand in Peter's general direction. "It totally fits."

They're up to the register then and Peter pays for the shirt, even though Stiles says again that he doesn't have to.

"You're bad at accepting gifts, aren't you?" Peter says as the walk out of the store. "And that wasn't even a gift, it's in recompense."

Stiles just shrugs and tugs the price tag off the shirt.

"I'll be right back," Stiles says and ducks in the restroom. A few minutes later, Stiles emerges in the new shirt, though still smelling a bit like beer. There's a short and awkward silence, and Peter realizes it's because it's the time when they probably part. Stiles has a clean shirt, Peter has no debt left. Stiles bites his lip for a second before seeming to say fuck it, and asks, "Do you want to get a drink? Maybe one you won't pour down my front?"

Peter smiles.

"I'd love to."

They both get a beer and lean over the railing to watch the rest of the game. This time Peter is very careful to keep his drink away from Stiles, especially after in the middle of a story, Stiles gestures wildly and knocks his hand into Peter's arm, almost toppling the cup from his hands. Stiles sheepishly apologizes and admits that that happens a lot.

They talk about what feels like everything. About Stiles' best friend who went with him to New York for college, who got bit by a rogue alpha on campus. About how he and Stiles kind of stumbled through trying to teach him control because werewolves are secretive and Google can only tell you so much, until Stiles finally forced Scott to find the local pack's alpha and ask for her help. They talk about how Peter's a born wolf, about how he's impressed that Stiles managed to help Scott as much as he did. Stiles looks like he's brimming with questions but barely manages to hold himself back.

Stiles is in the middle of a story about his boss, an erratic man named Finstock, in the bottom of the eighth when the Dodgers start to man an impressive rally. Then, it's back to shouts and groans and trash talking until finally, after tying the score, the inning is over. Peter looks over at him smugly.

"Don't you start," Stiles grumbles.

"I didn't say anything," Peter says innocently.

"You were thinking it, you bastard," Stiles says.

Peter just hums, neither confirming nor denying.

No one scores in the ninth and it goes into extra innings. Peter isn't complaining at all. He and Stiles are still standing next to each other, though they've gotten closer since they first picked this spot. Stiles is close enough that when he gestures when he talks, or when he grabs his beer, their arms and shoulders brush together, sending a thrill through him, and isn't that more than a little embarrassing. Peter can't decide if Stiles is doing it on purpose (he has a theory that the man can be quite devious when he wants to) or if he is genuinely oblivious to how much he's touching Peter (if he's friends with werewolves, he must be used to being tactile, right?). The sly looks Stiles sends him once in a while make him lean toward option number one.

The best part of it all is that Stiles has no idea who Peter is. There's no recognition at all when Peter gives his name, or when they talk, so Stiles isn't clamoring over himself to impress Peter for the sake of his money, or his ties to one of the most powerful packs in the United States. Stiles is just talking to him because he wants to.

In the end, in the bottom of the twelfth, the Mets win with a walk off home run. Peter barely even cares, because he leaves with his number programmed in Stiles' phone.

Peter stops by the office on the way back to his hotel room to pick up some paperwork. Erica is still there, even though most employees have gone home, and raises her eyebrow when he walks in.

"You smell," she says.

"You're such a charming assistant," Peter says. "Remind me why I keep you around?"

"Because I got Whittemore to go down $500,000?" Erica says.

Peter blinks at that, a little surprised, though he knows he shouldn't be. Erica is quite ferocious and...tenacious when she tries to be. Peter's glad (most days) that she works for him.

"Congratulations," he says. "You just earned a bonus."

Erica grins as he walks past her to pick up the briefcase he'd left behind.

"You still smell like beer and arousal," Erica calls.

Peter ignores her, grabs his briefcase from the office, and walks past her again.

"Come on, it's late," Peter says. "I'll even share a cab with you back to the hotel if you keep your nose to yourself."

He only threatens to kick her out of the cab twice.

It's later, after dinner in the hotel's restaurant and a phone call from his niece, Cora, that Peter is sitting in bed propped up against the headboard. It's not the most comfortable mattress, despite the outrageous cost of the room, but it serves the purpose fine. He tries to relax and opens up a sketch book and pencil and lets his hands flow over the paper.

This is why he'd started Hale Fashion all those years ago. This is what he wants to do, not sit in tedious board meetings and deal with mergers. He wants to let his creativity flow from the paper to the real world and to watch his designs come to life. He sits there for a long time, sketching erasing and re-sketching until his phone buzzes and jerks him out of his creative haze. He's acutely irritated until he sees it's a text from Stiles. He snorts when he opens it. It's a picture of Stiles in a bar with a laughing man behind him, Stiles looking decidedly unimpressed. Half his shirt is soaked.

From: Stiles
Isaac spilled beer all over my shirt. Are you sure you sure you two don't know each other?

Peter texts him back almost immediately.

To: Stiles
Of course not. I wouldn't let a friend of mine wear a scarf from a collection four seasons old.

Stiles' text comes back less than a minute later.

From: Stiles
I'll tell him you said that. Maybe I can make him cry. He loves his scarves.

To: Stiles
Good. Who is Isaac?

Peter's hoping not a boyfriend. It's irrational of course, he has no claim over Stiles. He's known him less than twenty-four hours, but that little possessive streak he has rears its ugly head anyway.

From: Stiles
My replacement

To: Stiles
Your what?

Stiles doesn't answer for a few minutes, so Peter goes back to sketching, trying to lie to himself that he isn't waiting excitedly for Stiles' response.

From: Stiles
I guess that's a bit dramatic. Scott and I couldn't get in the same dorm when we were in college. He got paired with Isaac and they've been disgustingly chummy since. Then Isaac went and got Scott a job with his company, and we've been stuck with him since. Instead of me and Scott, it's me and ScottandIsaac.

So, Stiles has a little possessive streak of his own. How interesting.

To: Stiles
You could always strangle him with his knockoff Prada scarf.

From: Stiles
Of course you would advocate murder

To: Stiles
I'm a practical man.

From: Stiles
I mean, I didn't say no

Peter snorts and sets aside his sketch pad, knowing he isn't going to get much work done tonight, and really, he isn't too concerned about that.

To: Stiles
Why are you texting me if you're out with your friends?

From: Stiles
Scott and his girlfriend are sucking face in the corner and Isaac is trying to pick up the bartender

Then, a second later.

From: Stiles
Do you want me to stop?

To: Stiles
I didn't say that.

They chat for a bit, later than Peter would normally stay up, though he doesn't particularly care. There's a bit of a lull after Stiles sends him a picture of Isaac with water dripping off his face from the bartender who didn't appreciate his advances, while Stiles and his friends catch a cab home. Peter thinks that's it for the night and settles down to try to sleep, when his phone buzzes once more.

From: Stiles
Goodnight, Peter

To: Stiles
Goodnight Stiles.

---

"Scott, I'm telling you, I think he's the most attractive man I've ever met," Stiles says, sitting across from Scott at the kitchen table in their cramped apartment. Scott just hums under his breath, not looking up from the application in front of him. "Are you even listening?"

"Yeah," Scott says, looking up. "He's got a great neck, good shoulders, pretty eyes, you said that already."

"I have to listen to you wax poetic about Kira all the time," Stiles says.

"Yeah, and you complain about it all the time," Scott says.

"Whatever," Stiles grumbles and lets Scott get back to the paperwork in front of him.

While Stiles had graduated from NYU, it hadn't been a great fit for Scott, and he'd withdrawn, instead getting a job at a local vet clinic like he had in high school in addition to the office job Isaac got him. Apparently he'd found his calling, because he's looking into going back to school to be a veterinarian. And yeah, Stiles is happy for him, but come on, all through high school Stiles had had to listen to how perfect Allison was, even after their breakup, and since Kira came into the picture, it's been even worse. You'd think Scott could spare a few minutes of attention, but whatever.

His phone buzzes with a message from Peter, so he lets Scott be. Stiles and Peter have been texting all morning, even though Peter's in a meeting. Stiles had offered to let him go and just talk later, but Peter had assured him that he's much more interesting than the meeting.

From: Peter
What about you? Do you have work I'm distracting you from?

To: Peter
Nah, I'm off today. My boss is at some conference and doesn't seem to trust the rest of us not to mess everything up while he's gone. It's paid time off, so I'm not worried.

From: Peter
I'm envious. My assistant keeps angling for something like that.

To: Peter
You have an assistant? Just how important are you?

From: Peter
Well, I like to think I'm the most important, but some people would disagree.

To: Peter
So humble

From: Peter
I don't think I even know the meaning of the word.

"Hey, Stiles," Kira calls out. Stiles looks up to see her slipping in the front door, a bag of Chinese food in her hands.

"Hi," Stiles calls back. "Off work early?"

"I had an early shift," Kira says.

Kira kisses Scott before setting the food down on the table and handing Stiles his box of fried rice. Stiles really likes Kira, and not even because she feeds him. Well, not only. In high school, Scott and Allison had been in their own little world. Yeah, Allison was never mean to him and didn't mind when he was around, but Kira actively goes out of her way to include Stiles, even suggests things she thinks Stiles will like to do, even if Scott won't. She's a sweetheart of the highest order and Stiles loves her. He kisses her cheek and thanks her, digging into his food.

"So Stiles," Kira says slyly. "Tell me about this hot guy."

Stiles chokes on his rice. He takes it back, he doesn't like Kira anymore. He glares a Scott, who at least looks a bit sheepish.

"Er, was it supposed to be a secret?" he asks.

And, well, Stiles guesses not. But he can feel a crush the size of Russia coming on and he's learned for his loud and humiliating high school crush on Lydia to keep those kinds of things to himself. And sometimes Scott. Maybe not anymore.

"I'm never telling you anything ever again," Stiles says.

"You don't have to tell me," Kira says quickly, like she didn't realize Stiles didn't know she knew. "You might want to prepare to tell Lydia, though."

"Lydia?" Stiles asks, rounding on Scott.

Scott does look repentant at that. There supposedly is an understanding that Stiles tells Lydia the important parts of his life in his own time, specifically so he can figure out how he feels about them before she demands details and gives her opinion, but also because Stiles thinks he has the right to tell people about his thoughts his damn self.

And okay, maybe he's getting a little worked up over nothing. He literally met Peter a day ago. They've been texting, and that's it. It's not like he's dating that man, so he's not really a secret or anything, but...it feels private. There are very few things in Stiles' life that he's able to keep to himself unless he really works for it. When his best friend's a werewolf that can literally smell and hear all his secrets, it's hard to have something that's just for him. Scott knows all of Stiles' friends, even if it's by smell alone, and where Stiles goes, again, by smell. Peter is new. Peter is Stiles'...friend? Friend, he'd say. And he doesn't feel like sharing him just yet.

"Look, I'm sorry, okay?" Scott says. "I didn't realize it would be a big deal."

Scott looks so sincere, so earnest, that it's hard for Stiles to really be mad, but he is still a bit agitated, so he just shrugs and says, "Okay."

Scott obviously doesn't believe him, but he doesn't push it. That's one thing about his best friend, he definitely knows when to let Stiles be. Kira shoots Stiles a worried look but Stiles just smiles a bit at her and her furrowed brow smooths out. Stiles glances down at his phone to see another text from Peter. He very carefully makes sure his face is neutral so Kira and Scott don't see the ridiculous smile that tends to creep up on his when he talks to Peter.

From: Peter
It seems that my punishment for skipping out on work yesterday is double the meetings today.

To: Peter
You poor thing. However will you survive?

From: Peter
I know. It's quite tragic.

Stiles ignores the knowing looks he can see Kira and Scott share when they think he's not looking.

To: Peter
Scott asked about you last night

From: Peter
Oh?

To: Peter
He said I smell like a werewolf had rubbed themselves all over me

From: Peter
Well, not all over you. Though that can be arranged if you'd like.

Stiles can't help the blush and smirk at that.

To: Peter
You're an absolute menace

From: Peter
Are you free tomorrow night?

To: Peter
I work until 6, but after, yeah. Why?

From: Peter
I fly back to Los Angeles the day after tomorrow. Would you like to get dinner before I leave?

Stiles freezes for a second. Peter asked to go to dinner with him. That doesn't necessarily mean he meant as a date. Why would he? He lives across the country, that's just ridiculous. But he could mean it as a date...Stiles has mostly gotten over his self esteem issues from high school, he knows he's not unattractive, but he's pretty sure he isn't close to Peter's level. Still...it could be a date. Even if it's not, he likes Peter. It's not like spending a meal with him will be a hardship.

To: Peter
Yeah, that'd be great

Stiles' good mood from that carries him through the rest of the day and well into the next. It dims a little when Finstock dumps a load of work on him that absolutely has to be finished today! Normally, Stiles wouldn't mind. He'd stay late and finish up and just come in later tomorrow. But he has plans tonight, damn it. Plans he actually wants to keep!

Luckily, Peter seems to be immersed in work as well and doesn't seem offended when Stiles can't text back as quickly as he had the day before. Stiles sends him a selfie next to his pile of paperwork that is literally over a foot high at this point. He gets one back of Peter rolling his eyes spectacularly, saying My assistant is the only smart one in this meeting with me, I swear.

Stiles actually does end up staying ten minutes late, which means he's in a rush to get home and doesn't have time to shower before Peter picks him up. He changes his clothes into the nicest he owns (jeans without holes in them and a deep blue button down that Lydia had bought him for his birthday) before attempting to tackle his hair. Usually he doesn't do much to do, more of a hassle than it's worth, but even if this isn't a date, he still is struck by the need to impress Peter, and that's not an urge he gets a lot. And Scott's out with Kira, so he can't even make fun of him (or tattle to Lydia) about Stiles' fussing.

Peter arrives at exactly 6:30, of course he does, and knocks on Stiles' door. Stiles can't help but grin when he opens the door and damn, Peter looks good. He's changed out of the dark suit he'd been wearing earlier and into black slacks and a deep, white v-neck sweater, but he still looks much more put together than Stiles does.

"How'd you get in?" Stiles asks. He steps out and closes the door, locking it behind him. It wouldn't do to let another werewolf into somewhere that Scott considers his den. "Pretty sure I didn't buzz you up."

"Someone held the door open for me," Peter says. "Considering you don't live in exactly the best part of town, your neighbors are alarmingly lax about security."

Stiles shrugs and leads Peter down the hall to the stairs. The elevator is, of course, broken.

"It's what we can afford. We're technically illegally subletting it from some lady who's lived here forever, so thanks to rent control it's a freakin' steal," Stiles says, nudging Peter with his elbow. "We can't all wear $1,000 suits."

"Don't be absurd," Peter says, smirking a little. "It was $2,500."

Stiles shakes his head. "You know I could have paid for almost a semester of school with that? And you just wear it?"

It's Peter's turn to shrug and says, "I have expensive taste."

"You'd get along fabulously with Lydia," Stiles says. The reach the bottom of the stairs and out the door. Peter had somehow found a parking spot nearby, miracle of miracles, and Stiles gapes for a second until his brain comes back online. "Of course you drive a Jag."

"Like I said, I enjoy my creature comforts," Peter says.

"I feel like I'm living in an alternate reality. Is this going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight?" Stiles says as he slides onto the soft, leather seats. "I'm pretty sure these seats are softer than my mattress. Wow, I'm glad we didn't take my jeep, you'd probably get hives just from looking at it."

"I'm not that much of a snob," Peter assures him.

"You say that now," Stiles teases.

Peter rolls his eyes but starts the car, the engine purring to life. He glances over at Stiles and smiles softly. He says, "You look magnificent tonight," before turning his attention back to the road and pulling out of the parking spot. Stiles is glad Peter isn't looking at can't see his blush, but by the self-satisfied smirk on Peter's face, he probably knows it's there. Smug bastard.

Peter takes them to a restaurant with a fancy name that Stiles can't pronounce. He's glad he dressed his best, because everyone, minus a few, is dressed nicer than he is. Peter doesn't seem to mind in the slightest. There are quite a few people waiting, but they get seated right away and Stiles wonders again just what kind of clout, or money to throw around, Peter has.

"Do you have a wine preference?" Peter asks, glancing over the wine menu.

"Not really," Stiles says with a shrug. "The only time I ever drink wine is when Lydia brings a bottle over for wine and whine Wednesday. I guess I like white better than red?"

Peter hums.

"Would you be offended if I made a suggestion?" Peter asks.

"Would that stop you?" Stiles asks and Peter smirks. "Nah, dude, go ahead."

Stiles lets Peter order both of them glasses of wine, though Peter's is the special wolfsbane blend that will allow the werewolf to feel the drink a little bit. The wine is good, a lot better than he had been expecting. Lydia doesn't exactly skimp on quality, but he still has the feeling that this isn't exactly in the realm of what they usually drink.

"Cheers," Peter says, clinking his glass against Stiles'.

"Cheers," Stiles echos. He takes a sip and before he can stop himself, blurts out, "So is this a date?" As soon as the words leave his mouth, his eyes widen. "I swear, I did not mean to say that. I mean, not that I don't want to - I mean, you can probably smell attraction so - see, this is why I'm not allowed out in public!"

Peter surveys Stiles with mild amusement, but not in a way that makes it seem like he's laughing at Stiles, which is good because Stiles would probably have just gotten up and left if he had. He has a little bit of pride left, after all.

"I would like it to be one," Peter says. When Stiles looks confused, he clarifies, "A date. If that's not what you want, I'm more than happy to enjoy a meal as friends."

"Even though I'm just human? And live on the other side of country than you? And you look like a freaking supermodel?" Stiles asks.

"I'm reasonably sure you're not 'just' anything. You being human doesn't matter," Peter says indifferently. "While it's true that most of my time is spent in LA, I do make quite a few trips to New York. And phones do exist." Peter's voice is teasing and Stiles enjoys it entirely too much, but he really wants to shiver when it drops to a purr as Peter says, "As far as supermodels go, I do know a fair few, but none look quite as delicious as you."

Stiles jaw drops but before he can say anything embarrassing, the waiter is back refilling their glasses and taking their orders. Stiles is pretty sure he orders a pasta dish, but his mind is still on what Peter said. Peter who, now that the waiter has taken their order and walked away, is studying Stiles with his eyebrows raised, as if waiting.

"Is that amenable to you?" Peter asks and Stiles realizes wow, he hasn't even answered him yet.

"Yeah," Stiles says immediately, nearly tripping on his words. "Yes, very much so. I'd like that."

"I don't know if you know, but most werewolves tend to only date one person at a time," Peter says carefully. "I'm not asking you to profess undying loyalty to me, but I won't be seeing anyone else, so you're aware."

"It's not like there's a line of people waiting to ask me out," Stiles says. "But I'm kinda like that, too, so even if there were, I prefer to focus on one person and I'd like that to be you."

Peter smiles at that and fuck, Stiles is really fucked.

---

Peter thinks he's made a mistake.

Not in asking Stiles out, oh no. Not by a long shot. His mistake is probably him assuming he would be able to control this, the desire he feels for Stiles, and make logical choices. Usually that's not an issue for him. He's deeply in tune with his wolf, the logical and instinctual parts of his mind working seamlessly together, but he's having to focus a little harder than usual right now. Instinct wants him to kiss Stiles here, claim him so everyone can tell that Stiles is his. He wants to sucks marks onto the soft flesh of Stiles' neck, to rub his scent all over him until no one has any doubts. All in all, it's a bit much for someone he just met two days ago.

Stiles is interesting in a way so few are. His mind is beautiful as it flows from one topic to the next, making leaps in logic that Peter can see, and some that even surprise him, but always make sense when he thinks about it. Peter barely pays attention to eating, despite how good the food is, too busy focusing on his conversation. Stiles gestures wildly, almost knocking a plate out of a waiter's hand once. Peter tries not to find it charming, and fails. It doesn't matter that some people would fine their topics of conversation bizarre (sexuality in 19th century Europe), Peter's enjoying himself, and not many people can say they've caused that.

"Why New York?" Peter asks over dessert. Stiles has a slice of cheesecake and Peter a scoop of gelato.

"I wanted to go to NYU," Stiles says. "My mom went there and I always wanted to follow in her footsteps in that way, ya know?"

There's a whiff of sadness when Stiles says it, enough that Peter can guess that Stiles' mom is no longer in the picture.

"Why'd you stay?" Peter asks.

"I dunno, I like the big city. I grew up in a smaller town and it just was kind of stifling. So this is great. It's big, there's always stuff going on. I might move back home eventually, and sometimes I miss Beacon Hills a bit - are you okay?" Stiles asks, cutting himself off when Peter chokes on a sip of his wine. Peter nods and clears his throat a few times before attempting to speak.

"Beacon Hills?" Peter asks. He takes a sip of his water to try to make his voice less hoarse.

"Yeah, it's a town in northern California," Stiles says.

"I know," Peter says. "I lived there."

"You what now?" Stiles asks.

"I grew up in Beacon Hills. Well, on the outskirts," Peter says.

Stiles frowns a bit, then a bit of comprehension draws. "Peter Hale?" Stiles asks. "Part of the Hale pack that lives out in the preserve?"

"Before I left for college, yes," Peter says.

And that's just....not what he had expected. Of all the people to run into, Peter meets someone from quiet little Beacon Hills all the way across the country at a baseball game. He'd be suspicious (what arethe odds?) but Stiles had sounded and smelled genuinely surprised at the revelation.

"I guess that makes sense why I didn't recognize you, you're enough years older than me to have been at college before I really noticed you," Stiles says.

"Not that much older," Peter grumbles, making Stiles laugh. He can seem the gleam in Stiles' eye though, and knows he's holding back a barrage of questions. He's hoping it's not about the Argents and the attempted arson. It's something he'd rather forget, and something that inevitably gets dragged up once a year in the tabloids when they're running low on other stories. "Yes?" Peter asks.

"Is it true that there's a naiad living in the preserve?" he asks, leaning forward excitedly.

Peter blinks for a second, then smiles.

"No. She did pass through, though," Peter says.

"Shut up, really?"

"Really."

Stiles quizzes Peter on the supernatural for a while longer, and Peter finds that he doesn't mind. Stiles isn't doing it to be nosy, he's just naturally inquisitive and that's the kind of curiosity that Peter doesn't mind indulging. While Stiles knows a lot, a shocking amount for a human that isn't affiliated with a pack, it's all information he's put together on his own through guesswork with a bitten werewolf best friend, and his eyes light up with excitement when Peter confirms that something he'd guessed is right.

They take a walk after dinner, neither one of them quite ready for the night to be over. It's a warm night with a soft breeze. Peter's never really found New York to be romantic. Sure, he likes it well enough. It smells and is loud, especially to his werewolf senses, and there's a lot to do and see. For all the excitement New York gives though, romantic is not something he'd associated with it. Now, he's walking down a softly lit street with Stiles, the wind catching them every once in a while as they talk. They walk slowly, drawing out the time they're together. Peter's hand finds Stiles', tangles their fingers together, and Stiles holds tight. Peter is turning into a sap of the highest order. If Talia could see him now, she'd probably have him tested for possession or mind control.

Eventually, Stiles starts yawning and even Peter has to admit he's getting tired. It's much later than he'd thought, he has a plane to catch at 6:00 a.m., and Stiles has to work tomorrow. Neither of them seem particularly thrilled about it, especially when Peter pulls over in front of Stiles' building and they both climb out of the car. There's a car alarm going off down the block, there's a man muttering to a wall a few doors down, and there's a very foul smelling cat up a nearby tree; all in all, not the most romantic environment, but Peter pushes all of this to the back of his mind and tugs Stiles closer until their chests are pressed together. Stiles' breath catches as Peter nudges their noses together, then slowly presses his lips to Stiles'.

It's not Peter's first kiss, not by a long shot, but the exhilaration he gets from it makes it feel like it is. That's when he knows he's truly fucked. It's not even a deep kiss, though he wouldn't call it chaste. It's heated, Stiles pressing closer to Peter, grasping at the man's arms. If Peter's eyes were open, he's sure they'd be flashing electric blue. When Stiles pulls away, he looks just as wrecked as Peter feels.

"Wow," Stiles says.

"Mmhmm," Peter hums.

Peter presses closer and it's hard to not devour Stiles right there. His wolf wants to, he wants to, and by the scent of Stiles' arousal, he wants to as well. But this isn't something Peter wants to gamble with. He doesn't want to turn this into a one-night stand. He wants Stiles. He wants all of him.

"I enjoyed this," Peter says, brushing his nose against Stiles' temple before pressing a kiss to his cheek.

"Me too," Stiles says breathlessly.

"As much as I hate to, I really do need to go. My flight is quite early," Peter says. "I'll talk to you tomorrow?"

"Absolutely," Stiles ways with a grin.

"Goodnight, Stiles," Peter says.

"Goodnight, Peter."

Stiles looks extremely reluctant to part, glancing over his shoulder at Peter one last time before he walks into his building. Peter waits until he can't hear Stiles' footsteps on the stairs anymore before turning around and getting into his car. It's late, very late. He needs to be up in three hours to head to the airport. Peter doesn't give a damn and wouldn't trade a second of the night.

Peter only gets about two hours of sleep before he has to wake up and leave for the airport. He's grumpy and tired, but he still gets up and does his morning regimen, not leaving the room until he looks as immaculate as always. Erica's waiting for him in the hotel lobby and even though she is as put together as he is, there's no hiding her exhaustion.

"Did you not sleep?" Peter asks was they walk to the hotel's parking garage.

"Did you?" Erica asks.

"I had a few hours," Peter says.

"Same. Whittemore's people called at 10:00 last night trying to wiggle another clause into the contract," Erica says. "So I was on the phone with them until 1:00 a.m."

"Why didn't you call me?" Peter asks. "What did they want?"

"You were out, and you rarely do that," Erica says with a shrug. "I figured you earned your night off. They just wanted to add an addendum to keep more stock options."

"What'd you tell them?" Peter asks. They load their luggage into the rental Jaguar's trunk, then slide into the car.

"I was nice and polite, don't worry," Erica says. "...For the first hour. I finally just told them they've already signed the contract and we aren't going back to the negotiating table."

"Good," Peter says.

"Are you sure we needed to buy them out?" Erica asks.

"Yes," Peter says. "As unpleasant as dealing with them is, they have a strong presence in the young adult market."

Erica humphs, but doesn't disagree. He's actually rather impressed with how she's dealt with the whole buyout process. He'd hired her because she's competent, of course, but also because she was the only one he interviewed who would look him in the eye without smelling of fear. Nerves, yes, but not fear. She's been an exceedingly good assistant, anticipating his needs and doing her job quickly and efficiently, and has actually been instrumental in the whole Whittemore deal. Plus, he actually likes her.

"I'm giving you a raise," Peter says as he pulls onto the street.

Erica blinks in surprise.

"Not that I'm complaining, but why?" Erica asks.

"You've been working hard, you've earned it," Peter says.

Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Erica grin, and her scent takes on an air of contentment. But of course, she has to poke at it.

"Aw, you like me!" Erica says.

"I do not," Peter says. "Don't push it."

"You so do. Am I your favorite employee?" Erica asks.

"That's not a hard position to take," Peter says.

"That's not a no!" Erica says.

Peter sighs.

They both plan on working on the plane, but there's enough turbulence that it's hard to even read the papers in front of him, let alone get anything accomplished. After Erica yawns next to him for the third time in as many minutes, triggering his own yawn, he gives up and packs everything away. Normally it's hard for him to sleep on planes, even in the comfortable first class cabin, but the lack of sleep from the night before and pure exhaustion from the entire trip drag him under quickly.

Peter wakes about fifteen minutes before they land. Erica is asleep, her head resting on Peter's shoulder, and he feels an uncharacteristic bout of generosity and lets her sleep until they touch down. When he takes his phone out of airplane mode, he's pleased to see a text from Stiles waiting.

From: Stiles
You make it there all right?

To: Stiles
We just landed. I slept the majority of the flight. My assistant fell asleep on my shoulder. And drooled.

From: Stiles
LOL oh no, however will you survive

To: Stiles
Brat

From: Stiles
Well I mean, yeah

Peter smirks a bit, then has to put his phone away while they disembark. He'd planned on going straight to the office, but he's tired, he's grumpy, and Erica is as well. He sends them both home instead and says they'll pick it up in the morning. Erica looks relieved.

Peter's home is large, beautiful, and quiet, nestled in the Holmby Hills area. It's not the largest in the area, but it definitely isn't the smallest either. He has plenty of guest rooms, a large backyard, every luxury he could want, but still, it's quiet. Most of the time, that's the way he likes it. Growing up in a large pack grants one very little privacy and as soon as Peter was able to live alone, he'd jumped at the chance. And he loves it, mostly. Sometimes, though, especially when he comes home from a business trip, he feels a pang of loneliness. His niece and nephew, Laura and Derek, live a short drive away, but it's not really the same.

He's just finished unpacking and starting his laundry when his phone rings. If it's Erica with another Whittemore problem, he's not answering. If it's Talia about the damn reunion, he's definitely not answering. But it's not, it's Stiles.

"Shouldn't you be working?" Peter says when he answers the phone.

"Well, hello to you, too," Stiles says. "And nah, I'm on lunch. I can let you go if you need me to?"

Peter shakes his head, even though Stiles can't see it. That pesky self-esteem problem is something that they're definitely going to need to work on.

"You're always welcome to call me, sweetheart. I can't guarantee that I'll always be able to answer, but I will when I can," Peter says.

"I thought I'd end up going to voicemail anyway," Stiles admits. "Aren't you working?"

"I decided to take the day off," Peter says. He reclines back onto his bed (which feels so, so good after the hotel mattress). "The place won't fall apart without me for one day."

"I wish I could do that, but I already called out to go to the game the other day. Which worked out pretty well for me, actually. Maybe I should call out more often," Stiles says.

"I have a feeling your boss would have strong opinions about that," Peter says.

Stiles heaves a dramatic sigh and says, "Yeah, I guess. Fine, I'll be a responsible adult."

"Such a hardship," Peter says.

"It really is," Stiles says.

They chat for a bit longer, Stiles telling him about the woman in his building that's always trying to foist her baked goods on him, and that they're really, really terrible, but he feels guilty not taking them since she seems lonely. Peter tells him about the fall line he's working on, about how his fellow designers are taking their sweet time to finish their designs.

"Maybe they're scared of you and your perfectionist tendencies," Stiles says.

"I do like to instill a healthy level of fear," Peter says.

Stiles snorts but before he can answer, there's a good deal of shouting in the background. Stiles heaves a sigh. "That's my cue. Finstock is pretty close to a meltdown, I think," Stiles says. "But Greenberg's dad is high up in the company so he can't really fire him."

"What a pity," Peter says. "One of the joys of management is the ability to fire people."

"Of course you'd think that," Stiles says, laughing slightly. "I have to go. I'll talk to you later?"

"Absolutely. Enjoy your day, sweetheart," Peter says.

"You too," Stiles says.

Peter ends the call in a much better mood than before, but he's still exhausted. He really wants to nap, but something Stiles had said about the 'turquoise, ocean jewel of a jeep' he owns has given Peter a bit of an idea for a dress he's be experimenting with, so he pulls out a sketchpad and pencil that he keeps near his bed (he has some scattered throughout his house just in case inspiration strikes). He works for a few hours, not even noticing the time or that he should probably eat soon, until the design in front of him is beautiful and perfect.

Of course Stiles would act like a muse, the adorable little idiot.