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Derek woke up to a ringing in his ears and a heavy weight on his chest.  The heavy weight began to rumble when he opened his eyes, but pricked his skin in warning when he tried to roll over and stop the ringing. He flailed an arm at the warm body next to him instead.

“Stiles. Stiles, wake up. I need you to answer my phone.”

Stiles swatted back at him, his face buried in a pillow. “S’your phone,” he argued.

“Yes, but Callisto is pinning me down, and she’ll take a chunk out of my flesh if I try to move her,” Derek explained patiently.

His husband made a sort of whining groan, wriggling to the edge of the bed and then thumping out of it onto the floor. After a few seconds, his hand reached up and grabbed Derek’s phone off the charging stand.

“Whazzit?” he mumbled into the speaker. “Peter? What d’you want, it’s—” he checked the face of the phone “—two a.m.”

Derek heard his uncle’s voice snarking back faintly, and Stiles suddenly sat bolt upright. “She did? They are? We’ll be there in twenty minutes.” He paused for a second, then added in a sly tone, “Thanks for calling, Grandpa Hale.”

Peter’s outraged squawk mixed with Stiles’ cackle as he ended the call. Bouncing to his feet, he scooped up their enormous Maine Coon in one practiced motion, allowing Derek to slide gratefully out of the bed and shuffle toward the bathroom.

“Malia had her baby?” he asked over his shoulder.

“Yep!” Stiles confirmed. “Madeleine Hale has arrived in the world, and according to Peter is the most perfect baby to ever be born. Of course.”

Derek’s phone pinged as he came out of the bathroom and caught the pair of jeans his husband threw at him. He checked it and saw a picture message from Melissa. “Oh my GOD.”

“Holy crap, we have blackmail material forever,” Stiles said, peering over his shoulder. Melissa had taken a photo of Peter holding his granddaughter for the first time. The baby had her fist wrapped around his index finger, and Peter was gazing at her with a soft, dazed expression.

The phone pinged again, and the next picture made them both laugh. Scott was reaching out for his daughter with a hopeful expression, while Peter clutched her and glared at him with narrowed eyes.

“To be fair, I’ve been a little worried about Scott being responsible for a newborn ever since Malia got pregnant,” Stiles said.

“I’m pretty sure Peter has nominated himself as permanent babysitter anyway,” Derek said, then continued softly. “He told me that he still doesn’t remember anything about Malia when she was a baby, so I think he’s been really looking forward to this.”

Stiles ducked under Derek’s arm and snuggled up against his chest. He peered up at his husband through dark eyelashes. “I’m kind of looking forward to watching you hold a baby, to be honest. As long as we can give her back when she needs to be changed.”

Chapter Text

The first time Stiles woke up in Peter’s bed, he didn’t want to leave it. Not for any sentimental reason; Peter’s billion-thread-count sheets were just ridiculously comfortable, and the fluffy white duvet provided exactly the right amount of warmth. Even minus the werewolf he went to bed with.

Then said werewolf sauntered in, holding a paper bag from the posh bakery down the street and two steaming cups of coffee, which he set down on the nightstand.

“Did you…did you go get breakfast for me?” Stiles asked, pushing himself up on his elbows.

“What? No,” Peter said, looking appalled. “I had it delivered.”

Stiles boggled at him, even as he reached into the bag and pulled out a perfectly buttery, flaky croissant. “How is this your life?”

Peter smirked at him. “Priorities.”

 

A few weeks later, Stiles woke up to find a strange car in his driveway. Specifically, a silver Audi S8, parked where his Jeep should be. Grabbing his phone to call his dad, he found an envelope next to it, containing a note and a set of keys.

Stiles –

Don’t panic, your Jeep will be returned next week. In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy driving something that can make it to its destination without the application of duct tape.

- Peter

Stiles stabbed in Peter’s number instead of his dad’s. “What did you do with my Jeep,” he hissed down the line when the werewolf answered.

“Hello, Stiles, how nice to hear from you,” Peter said smoothly.

“What. Did. You. Do.”

Peter gave a despairing sigh at the human’s lack of manners. “It’s being fixed. I couldn’t let the pack’s emissary rattle around in a death trap like that. What kind of protector would that make me?”

About a hundred scathing remarks came to Stiles’ mind, but he held back. Peter actually had proven himself useful lately, even coming to pack meetings and contributing research materials. Stiles was pretty sure he was just trying to stay in Malia’s good graces, but still. An ally was an ally. Especially one with an ass like Peter’s.

 

When his Jeep was returned the next Friday, Stiles was a little sad to see the Audi go, but happier to get his baby back. And then amazed at the repairs that had been done.  It looked like the Jeep had gotten a whole new engine, and the paint job was suspiciously rust-free, even though the color looked exactly the same. The interior looked identical (he’d half-expected Peter to have heated leather seats installed), but the upholstery had clearly been deep-cleaned. The sound system was subtly improved, now including a Bluetooth option. Otherwise, the dash looked the same.

He was oddly touched at the care Peter had taken to restore Roscoe without destroying his character. He shook it off before he could let himself read too much into it, and hopped in to meet the pack at the diner.

 

“Dude, is that the new iPhone?” Scott asked him.

“Yeah, Peter replaced mine because the screen was cracked. He’s really taking this ‘pack protector’ role seriously.”

The alpha gave him an incredulous look. “Stiles, when my old phone was crushed by a harpy, Peter just told me he’d text Malia if he needed anything until I got a new one.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. “I’m pretty sure he just wants a way to track me the next time I get kidnapped, so he doesn’t have to ruin another pair of three-hundred-dollar shoes trudging through the woods.”

“That’s actually not a terrible idea. You do get kidnapped a lot,” Scott mused.

Grinning, Stiles shoulder-checked his friend. Then he stuck his tongue out at Malia, who was eyeing him thoughtfully.

 

She caught up with him afterward as he was walking to his car.  “I think you should stop having sex with Peter,” she said without preamble.

He stared at her. “Okay, one, who I sleep with is not really anyone else’s business, and two, I didn’t think you’d care.”

“I’m not jealous, Stiles. I’m just pretty sure my dad is in love with you, and I don’t want to see him get hurt if you don’t feel the same.”

“What?” he sputtered. “I cannot even begin to address the absurdity of that sentence. Peter Hale is not in love with me. He’s just blowing off some post-battle steam with my skinny ass until he finds a new supermodel to date.” That wasn’t hyperbole — Peter’s last boyfriend had literally been a GQ cover model.

“Whatever. Just talk to him, Stiles.” She rolled her eyes and turned to walk away, then shot him an appraising glance over her shoulder. “And your ass isn’t that skinny anymore.”

Stiles nearly strained his neck trying to peer at his own backside before huffing and climbing into his Jeep.

 

He didn’t intend to drive straight to Peter’s, but twenty minutes later found him riding the elevator to the werewolf’s penthouse apartment.

Peter opened the door before he could knock, barefoot and wearing nothing but his cashmere sleep pants. “Stiles. To what do I owe the pleasure?” he asked, gesturing for him to enter.

“Your daughter thinks you’re in love with me,” he blurted out after Peter had closed the door.

The werewolf’s expression went carefully blank. “Does she.”

Stiles trailed after him as he headed to the kitchen and flicked on the electric kettle. “That’s it? That’s all you have to say?”

“What would you like me to do, Stiles? Drop to my knees and profess my undying affection?” Peter sneered.

Stiles blinked at the bite in his words. Then his mouth dropped open. “Oh my god,” he breathed. “You totally love me.”

“Annnd it’s time for you to leave.” Peter turned him around by the shoulders and gave him a little shove towards the door. “I’ll be sure to thank my daughter for her meddling.”

He staggered forward a few steps before whirling around. “Wait, Peter. Does it…have to be a bad thing?”

Peter narrowed his eyes. “Now is really not a good time for your charming sense of humor, Stiles.”

“Give me a minute to process here, okay? This is kind of coming from left field for me,” Stiles complained.

“We’ve been sleeping together for two months, Stiles. I let you name my cat,” Peter said, unimpressed.

“Purrsephone is an awesome name for a cat.” He jabbed a finger at the werewolf. “And how was I supposed to know I was more than just a booty call? You could have literally anyone, Peter.”

The older man’s expression finally softened, and he reached out to cup Stiles’ chin. “When will you stop underestimating yourself, sweetheart?”

Stiles shrugged. “Probably never. But now I’ve got a hot werewolf boyfriend to remind me how awesome I am.”

Chapter Text

Stiles fell back on Peter’s bed, his face flushed and gleaming with sweat.  “Mmm, thanks for that. I really needed the workout.” He gave an outrageous wink as he scooted over to press his lithe, naked body against the werewolf’s.

Peter curled his arm around the younger man’s shoulders, allowing himself a few moments to hope that tonight, Stiles would actually stay. Then—

“Uggggh,” Stiles groaned. “And now I have to meet Scott for patrol. Why do my nights always seem to be the ones it’s freezing out?”

Schooling his expression as Stiles pried himself out of the bed, Peter deadpanned, “Because the universe hates you and the gods are displeased.”

“Clearly,” Stiles laughed as he shuffled off to the bathroom, no doubt to scrub off Peter’s scent under the hottest water available.

Not that he needed to. Peter glared at the scent-masking bracelet on the nightstand and, not for the first time, contemplated shredding it. Instead he buried his face in a pillow to stifle a growl. How had he managed to find himself in a ‘friends-with-benefits’ arrangement with a man he’d wanted as a mate for years? Maybe Derek’s masochistic streak was rubbing off on him.

By the time Stiles came back into the bedroom, half-dressed but mostly dry, Peter was pretending to read. Scooping up his bracelet and phone, Stiles just paused to give his shoulder a little squeeze before leaving without another word. Peter could still feel the tingle of his touch as the door clicked shut.

 

A few hours later, Peter was yanked out of sleep by the buzzing of his phone.  Stiles launched immediately into his usual rant as soon as he answered.

“So, I ended up waiting for him for half an hour, freezing my ass off because Roscoe’s heating is on the blink again, and finally he shows up with some lame-ass story about ‘Liam had a hard day at work and they lost track of time.’  It seems no matter who he ends up dating, I’m always taking a backseat!”

“Imagine that,” Peter replied, then cursed himself. He wasn’t awake enough to keep the sarcasm out of his voice, and of course Stiles noticed.

“Are you okay?”

Peter told himself he was imagining the sudden soft tone in the other man’s voice.

“I appreciate the concern, considering you woke me up at 2 a.m. to deliver the same rant you do every week, but yes, I’m fine.”

“Alright, I’ll let you get back to your beauty sleep,” Stiles said fondly. “See you tomorrow for Taco Tuesday?”

“Actually, I’m going out of town for a few days.” He wasn’t.

“Oh,” Stiles said, surprised. “Anything I should tell Scott about?”

“No, it’s a personal trip. I do have a life outside the pack, Stiles.” He didn’t.

“Yeah, I mean, of course. Well, have a good time I guess? Shoot me a text when you get back.” Stiles sounded uncertain, and Peter felt a little stab of satisfaction at having caught him wrong-footed for a change.

“Sure,” he agreed, and hung up.

 

He did end up going to L.A. for a couple of days, visiting some old acquaintances and sight-seeing. Stiles texted him a few times, the usual random thoughts and updates on the pack, but Peter didn’t answer them.  Things had to change, he decided as he headed back up the 5.  Either they were friends, or they were dating, but this in-between thing couldn’t keep going on. Peter was many things, but he wasn’t a doormat.

Despite this resolution, he didn’t contact Stiles right away when he got home. In fact, the next time they saw each other, it was at the weekly pack meeting in Derek’s loft. Peter lounged in the armchair through the whole thing, making his usual acerbic comments. He didn’t so much as glance in Stiles’ direction, even though the man had clearly positioned himself right in Peter’s line of sight.

He didn’t escape quite quickly enough afterward. “Hey, are you avoiding me?” Stiles asked. He looked more like the insecure teen he used to be than the slightly cocky, self-assured man he’d become.

“I’ve just been busy, Stiles. Why would I be avoiding you?” Peter said, trying to sound bored.

“I don’t know! It’s just…you haven’t been answering my texts, and I haven’t seen you all week…” he trailed off. “I thought we were friends.”

“Friends,” Peter said flatly. “Sure.”

He took advantage of Stiles’ stunned hurt to duck inside the elevator and press the button, but the human wedged his lanky body between the doors and wrestled his way inside.

“Look,” he said, poking a long finger in Peter’s chest, “I don’t know what your problem is. I get that the sex was just casual, and I never pushed for more, but I think I at least deserve the courtesy of actually being told that you’re done with me.”

You never pushed for more?” Peter said incredulously. “You’re the one who’s been scrubbing my scent off and zipping out the door without so much as a good-bye kiss!”

“I didn’t think you wanted anyone to know!” Stiles shouted.

“I thought you were ashamed of me!” he shouted back.

“Well I’m not!”

“Neither am I!”

They stood staring at each other for a few long moments, wild-eyed and panting.

“So, um…What now?” Stiles said finally.

“Well, you could date me,” Peter said.

“That sounds good.” He smiled. “We could go tell the pack right now.”

Peter nodded toward the open elevator doors. The rest of the pack was standing in the hall, looking equal parts shocked and amused. “I’m pretty sure they already know.”

Chapter Text

“I brought you a present from Mexico.” Stiles plops a small plastic jar on the table in front of Peter before sitting down across from him with his own coffee. The coffee shop is sparsely populated at mid-morning on a weekday, so there are few witnesses to the way the werewolf’s face lights up like a Christmas tree as he picks up the jar.

“This is a Brachypelma emilia! Is it a wild specimen? Where did you find it?” Peter turns the jar around slowly, then holds it up to look underneath.

“It fell on my face, Peter. ON. MY. FACE.” Stiles deadpans, but he can’t contain a tiny, fond smile. Luckily Peter is too absorbed in the spider to notice it.

“Hmm, must be a male then, searching for a mate. And…yes, there are the tibial hooks!” Peter points, and Stiles peers at the thing like he has any idea what he’s looking at.

Peter is a total spider geek. Well, insects in general, actually. Stiles hadn’t had any idea until Liam ran from the bathroom at a pack meeting, screaming about a giant hairy monster trying to eat him. Peter had identified the two-inch tarantula as an Aphonopelma anax, scooping it up gently and cooing at it as he placed it outside. While everyone was busy staring, Derek whispered to Stiles that his uncle had been studying entomology at UC Riverside before the fire.

Since then, Stiles makes it a point to take a photo of every insect or spider he finds and send it to Peter for identification. He even captures live specimens, like this one, whenever possible. It’s worth it for the way the werewolf’s eyes shine, and the infectious enthusiasm of the mini-lectures that follow.

It’s also completely masochistic, because every time Stiles falls a little bit more hopelessly in love with the man.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were courting me with spiders, Stiles,” Peter jokes as he sets the jar down.

Stiles tries to hide his blush behind his coffee cup, but Peter’s not distracted now. His gaze sharpens.

“Why Stiles,” he drawls, trailing a finger down Stiles’ other hand where it rests on the table. “Is there something you’d like to say to me?”

“Okay, fine,” Stiles admits, flushing furiously. “I want to date you, alright? You’re impossibly attractive on a normal day, and when you’re geeking out over insects you’re absolutely irresistible. Is that what you want to hear?”

The werewolf looks mollified for a moment, then picks up Stiles’ hand and kisses his fingers. “Not what I was expecting, but certainly a pleasant surprise.” Still holding Stiles’ hand, he slides out of his seat, drawing the other man up with him and crowding into his space.

“I’d like to date you, too,” he adds, before kissing him with all the enthusiasm he’d previously reserved for his present.

Chapter Text

“No,” Derek is saying flatly as Stiles slides open the door to the loft. “Absolutely not. I lost a pint of blood the last time I tried to feed that thing. Find someone else to look after your pet demon.”

“It’s not my fault you tried to give him the wrong food. I left you very specific instructions,” Peter argues back.

Stiles clears his throat, drawing both men’s attention. “Hey. I came to return this?” He waves the book he’s holding in the air.

Derek’s glower doesn’t change, but Peter begins to stalk forward, looking speculative. “Stiles,” he drawls. “My very favorite human.”

“Nope,” Stiles says, tossing the book on a chair and backing very quickly into the hallway. “Nope nope nope.”

Stiles is surprised to find that the pet in question is actually a cat, not a literal demon. Then he meets Odin, and everything makes perfect sense.

“This cat is you. With more fur, and fewer eyes,” he tells Peter. Odin is basically a small, very fluffy panther. He only has one eye, but it’s actually hard to tell at first glance; glossy black fur has grown over where the other used to be, so it looks like he’s perpetually winking. His great poofy tail sways as he saunters across the room, heading for a cushion to the left of the door. He pauses by Stiles as he passes, sniffs him once, and then continues on as if the human is barely worth his notice.

Peter scoops the cat into his arms and looks pleased. The cat rubs against his cheek, clearly scenting him. “I knew he’d like you.”

“This is him liking me?” Stiles raises an eyebrow.

“Well, he didn’t hiss or try to claw your shins.” Setting the animal down gently, Peter lifts Stiles’ overnight bag and leads him down the hallway to a large bedroom. “Now, I’ll only be gone for two days. You’re welcome to sleep on the couch if you like, but I wouldn’t recommend it.”

He thinks about asking why, but he’s afraid if he knows the answer he won’t be able to sleep at all.

“I’ve left a list on the fridge with his feeding schedule and the vet’s number — do not call Deaton if there’s an emergency. Odin doesn’t trust him,” the werewolf continues.

Smart cat, Stiles thinks.

“The litterbox is self-cleaning, his water fountain should only need to be refilled once a day, and extra cat toys are in the cupboard to the left of the fridge. The catnip is locked in the filing cabinet in my office; he shouldn’t be able to get at it, but if he does, just shut him in the bathroom for a few hours until he calms down.  I just bought him a new scratching post yesterday, so that should last him until the end of the week.”

Stiles nods helplessly, starting to feel a little overwhelmed. He’s never actually had a pet. His mom was allergic, and then after she died Stiles had enough responsibility looking after himself and his dad.

“Don’t worry, Stiles,” Peter says reassuringly. He runs a hand across Stiles’ check and rests in on the side of his neck. “I know Derek told you some horror stories, but he’s not really a cat person. You’ll do fine. And you have my cell number if you need anything.”

“Yeah, okay. I’m sure it’ll be fine.” Stiles forces a smile, and the werewolf chuckles.

It is fine, mostly. For the first few hours, Odin merely stares at him from the top of his cat perch while Stiles watches House Hunters on Peter’s enormous flat screen. Then he thumps to the floor and strolls down the hallway, where Stiles hears the crunch and whir of his automated cat box. A commercial for dish soap plays; the cushions dip as Odin settles next to him and begins to purr like a racecar. Stiles has to turn up the volume to hear the show.

By the time he’s watched two more episodes, made himself dinner, and used the bathroom, Stiles has noticed a pattern. Whenever he leaves the room, Odin follows a few minutes later, acting like it’s a complete coincidence that he happens to be occupying the same space as Stiles. He settles somewhere within arm’s reach, posing elegantly like there’s a Home and Gardenphotographer lurking nearby. He allows Stiles to pet him as though granting a boon to a favored worshipper. His fur feels like velvet, and he smells strangely spicy, like chai tea.

Stiles thinks he’s the best animal he’s ever met. He’s never really been a dog person; the ones he’s encountered at other peoples’ homes, or at Deaton’s, always make him feel vaguely guilty. They follow him around with mournful eyes, begging for attention or scraps or god knows what else.

With Odin, his inferiority is assumed, and benevolently tolerated as long as it’s accompanied by gourmet food and a few chin scritches.

That night Stiles sleeps better than usual, curled up on freshly laundered sheets that nonetheless smell like Peter. Odin drapes himself over Stiles’ legs, holding down the comforter like a paperweight.

He feels safe.

Peter’s business in LA takes longer than expected, and by the time he gets home on the second day Stiles is already asleep. Odin eyes him from the nest he’s made in the curve of Stiles’ arm, clearly having staked his claim. He purrs as Peter toes off his shoes and settles gently in beside them. “So, you think we should keep him, hmm?” Peter asks as he rubs the cat’s cheek fondly. “So do I.”

Stiles wakes up with Odin’s tail swishing lazy in his face. Peter is propped up on the pillows next to him, holding a paperback with one hand and scratching behind the cat’s ears with the other.

“You could have woken me up,” he says, stretching slightly.

“No, I couldn’t. Odin was comfortable.” Peter closes the book and puts it on the bedside table, then turns to face him. “It seems like the two of you got on well.”

“He’s a good cat,” Stiles says fondly. “Just like you.”

“I’m a good cat?” Peter looks amused.

“You’d make an excellent cat, if you ever got tired of being a werewolf.”

“You’d make an excellent werewolf, if you ever got tired of being a human,” Peter counters.

Stiles laughs lightly. Peter thinks he could get used to the sound very quickly.

“You’ll have to talk to Odin about that. I’m pretty sure I’m his human now.”

Peter mock-snarls at the cat, and Odin gets to his feet and stalks off the bed. Satisfied, the werewolf scoots closer to his prey. “He’ll just have to learn to share.”

Chapter Text

Stiles used to have a boyfriend. Now he has a sentient pile of blankets.  “Hey, c’mon, babe. It’s not that bad.”

“I can see exactly how bad it is, Stiles. I own mirrors.”

Stiles has to give him that. He does own a frankly alarming number of mirrors — including a floor-length one strategically positioned at the end of their bed.

“I made you a hat,” he offers. “It’s cashmere.” Peter loves it when Stiles knits him things; most of the blankets he’s currently engulfed are handmade.

A hand shoots out from the pile, and Stiles seizes the opportunity to worm his way into Peter’s cocoon. It’s soft and warm and smells of them, and it would be romantic if it weren’t for the waves of petulance radiating off his boyfriend. The light filtering through layers of alpaca and cotton paints Peter’s pout blue.

“Hair grows, Peter,” Stiles says, slipping the hat over his disastrous haircut. “But if it makes you feel better, we can stay here for a while.”

Peter makes a little huffing sound, but cuddles him tighter. They spend the rest of the afternoon snuggling and dozing, and when they finally emerge Peter makes sure to properly express his appreciation for the hat.

He wears it for the next three weeks, even when he sleeps.

Chapter Text

It's possible Peter loved Halloween a little too much. Chris and Stiles had had to ban him from decorating their house after the Zombie Incident of 2019 – Mrs. Cheevers still flinched any time she passed their yard after dark. Now he threw himself into decorating the pack house in the Preserve instead, transforming it into Beacon Hill’s best haunted house (and, incidentally, the one you were least likely to be actually murdered in).

It seemed to have gotten progressively worse after Peter had become a ‘good guy’ and settled down with his mates in a normal suburban neighborhood. Chris had decided it was some kind of werewolf mid-life crisis.

“He needs to prove he’s still scary,” he whispered to Stiles as they watched their husband finalizing designs with the makeup artist he’d flown in from L.A.

“I’m pretty sure he’s scarier as a lawyer and an HOA director than he was as a feral alpha,” Stiles answered, shamelessly ogling the werewolf’s ass as he bent over the kitchen table to point at something.

“Hearing still works!” Peter said over his shoulder. “And I’ll show you scary, squishy humans.”

“If I find another animatronic spider on my pillow, you’re sleeping in the garage until Christmas!” Stiles called back. “C’mon, Chris, let’s set up the jack o’lanterns on the front porch.”

~

Halloween had always been Derek’s favorite holiday. Growing up, it was the one day of the year when he could be exactly who he was. Sure, he’d had various costumes for school and parties, but at the end of the day the best part was watching Uncle Peter hand out candy in his beta shift, growling dramatically and flashing his eyes at giggling toddlers. Once a little red-headed girl in a Xena costume had pretended to fight him, and Peter had obliged with a dramatic death scene worth of Shakespeare.

(Eight years later, that little girl had helped set him on fire, and then brought him back from the dead. Eight years after that, she was his star witness whenever he needed an expert in forensic chemistry.)

Things changed.

But Derek still loved Halloween, and he still loved watching the joy his uncle took in being the monster everyone loved, for one night.

~

The year after they defeated the Anuk-ite, Peter showed up at the loft with his arms stacked high with boxes. He shouldered past a stunned Derek, an equally laden Malia following him.

“What is all this?” he asked, watching his uncle and cousin begin efficiently unpacking fake spider webs, electric tea lights, and bags of candy.

“We’re decorating for Halloween,” Malia told him. “Peter says it’s a family tradition.”

“It…used to be,” Derek admitted. Peter had been dating Stiles for four months now; clearly the human’s steamrolling tactics had rubbed off.

She shrugged. “I’m mostly in it for the candy.”

Peter swiped a bag of Kit-Kats from her. “The candy is for the children.  Small children. We’re already down a bag of Reese’s because of Stiles.”

“Is Stiles coming?” Derek looked at the door expectantly. He didn’t hear the human’s hummingbird heartbeat, but he had been experimenting with obfuscation spells lately.

“He’s working on a paper,” Peter said, not looking up. “I didn’t want to interrupt him.”

Derek was surprised to notice Peter’s heart rate spike, and his scent sour slightly with anxiety. His expression softened as he realized that this was his uncle’s attempt at family bonding.

“Where do you want me to hang this ghost?” he asked.

Chapter Text

Peter is vaguely disappointed that spending the summer with Cora in South America seems to have regressed Stiles’ fashion sense.  Before he left for Emissary training with Cora’s old pack, Peter had just talked him into wearing a couple of form-fitting henleys here and there.

(Okay, so maybe he ‘accidently’ shredded a few of Stiles’ shirts and then replaced them with the henleys, but still.)

Unfortunately, since he got back, he’s gone back to the layers of plaid he wore in high school, complaining about how much colder Northern California is than the Columbian jungle. Still, he’s back: Peter has someone to snark and complain with again, and the fact that Stiles can do some very impressive magic and speaks fluent Spanish now is enough to distract him.

(These things absolutely don’t distract him when he’s lying in bed at night. And he didn’t miss Stiles’ sharp banter and lightning-quick brain, either.)

But then Derek decides that Stiles needs to be able to defend himself physically as well as magically, so he’s going to join their sparring sessions. Peter notices Cora smirking to herself in the corner, but she doesn’t say anything, so he figures that she’s just looking forward to mocking her Emissary’s clumsiness.

(He’s wrong. He’s so, so wrong.)

Somehow, while he was busy learning magic and Spanish in Columbia, Stiles also learned to fight with his whole body. It’s mesmerizing. Despite Isaac’s werewolf strength, Stiles manages to take him down in a few short moves, grappling and using leverage like an octopus. It ends with Isaac on his back, Stiles straddling him and pressing a knife to his throat that he seems to have plucked from thin air.

(Peter thinks it’s the hottest thing he’s ever seen. And it is, until—)

Isaac yields, and Stiles gets to his feet in a fluid motion. He helps his packmate off the ground, and then strips off his loose plaid shirt, using it to wipe his forehead.  

The bottom drops out of Peter’s stomach. Underneath the layers of plaid flannel, Stiles is dressed in a clingy grey t-shirt. It hugs and skims subtly defined abs, and bares newly muscled forearms. Stiles isn’t bulky, but he’s fit. It’s all lean muscle, the effectiveness of which the Emissary has just demonstrated, and Peter needs to be somewhere private right now.His dick is hard enough to pound nails, and he’s pretty sure he’s wolfing out a little.

(He hears Cora cackling madly as he flees for the safety of his car.)

He’s taking deep breaths and debating the risk/benefits of jacking himself off right here versus waiting until he gets back to his place, when Stiles raps on his window.  Peter’s sure he looks equal parts startled and guilty as he rolls down the window.

“You doing okay there, Wolfman? Need help with anything?” Stiles smirks.

“In. Now,” Peter growls. “Please,” he adds when Stiles simply raises an eyebrow.

“I was starting to think you’d never ask,” Stiles says, and circles around to slide into the passenger seat.

Peter swears he hears Erica yell, “Get it, Batman!” as he tears away at completely illegal speeds.

(Stiles and Cora totally planned this. Peter was taking way too long to act on his obvious attraction. Also, they’re assholes.)

Chapter Text

Peter was not impressed with the Beacon Hills Pack. The alpha, Scott McCall, is a bitten wolf, turned by a rogue whom he then killed because someone told him it would ‘cure’ him of lycanthropy. McCall knew nothing about werewolf culture or lore, and actually refused Peter’s nephew’s offer to be an advisor. Derek was the one who reported the young pack to Peter, calling his uncle on the way out of town to say, “There’s a new alpha in Beacon Hills. He’s not ready for testing, but with his attitude any pack he forms is going to be in serious trouble. Someone should go and put him in his place.”

‘Someone,’ in Derek’s opinion, obviously meant Peter. As an official of the Shifters’ Council, Peter was responsible for enforcing the council’s rules among all the packs on the West Coast of the U.S., so Peter supposed he was right. He could have sent a representative from his office, but Beacon Hills used to be Hale territory. He had a personal investment in seeing it well taken care of. Unfortunately, with his busy schedule, it was almost a year before Peter had a chance to take the trip out to the small California town.

Waiting had obviously been a mistake. When Derek was there, the alpha’s pack had consisted of McCall, a banshee, and a human who seemed to have some magical ability. His nephew had assumed this boy would eventually become the pack’s emissary.

Now, gathered in a suburban living room, Peter was faced with four teenaged werewolves and a growing headache behind his eyes. The banshee had apparently seen the writing on the wall and left for early admission to Yale. Scott, the alpha, had turned two of his classmates: a girl who suffered from seizures when she was human, and a boy with an abusive father who had since mysteriously disappeared. Not the best choices, perhaps, but at least they’d been turned with consent. The third beta, Liam, was a younger boy with a previous history of anger management issues and violent outbursts. He’d been turned to save his life—a life that was only in danger because of McCall’s carelessness.

Peter was tempted to just fail them outright and save himself some time, but he needed something to put in his report. “Where’s your emissary? I was told you had one.”

“Emissary?” Scott said blankly. When Peter briefly outlined an emissary’s role, the alpha brightened a little. “Oh, you mean Deaton! He’s my boss at the vet clinic. He helps us out with that kind of stuff.”

He just barely refrained from facepalming. “Alan Deaton?” he asked slowly. When the alpha nodded like an eager puppy, Peter just turned on his heel and left.

When he made it to the car, he immediately called the California Council of Druids and asked them if they’d like to explain why one of their number—a man who was forced to retire and have his powers bound due to incompetence—seemed to be providing magical advice to a pack of teen wolves. She told him in a grim voice that they’d look into it immediately, and he hung up.

Then he drove back to his hotel, hoping to reach his room in time to stave off the migraine he felt coming on.

 

When he arrived at the house the next day, the pack wasn’t there, and McCall was arguing with a lanky, mole-speckled boy who radiated power.

“Stiles, you can’t be here right now! This is werewolf stuff, I don’t want you getting in the middle of it. You could get hurt!” Scott was hissing dramatically to the other teen. Peter noticed his eyes flash briefly red.

‘Stiles’ looked like he was suppressing the same urge to facepalm that Peter had felt the day before. “Scotty, the trials aren’t dangerous. Well, normally they’re not,” he amended, clearly thinking that his friend was perfectly capable of creating danger out of thin air. “Did you even look at the information I gave you?”

The ‘alpha’ (yes, Peter had started putting that in quotation marks) put a condescending hand on Stiles’ shoulder. “No offense, buddy, but I don’t think that some urban legends you found on the internet are gonna help right now. This is life or death.”

It…it really wasn’t life or death. The trials were pretty basic exercises to test pack cohesion, individual control, and an alpha’s control of his pack. If—or in this case, when—the pack failed, the alpha was stripped of their power and the council recommended another pack for the werewolves to join.

Stiles was clearly aware of this. “I printed out the info sheet from their fucking website,” he muttered, but McCall was texting frantically on this phone and clearly not listening anymore.

Ignoring the erstwhile alpha, Peter approached Stiles and offered his hand. “Peter Hale, Representative of the Shifters’ Council.”

Stiles blushed as he accepts the handshake. “Stiles Stilinski. Umm…friend?” he sounded a little uncertain about this as he flicked his eyes to McCall. “Though Scotty would probably just call me a liability.”

“Your friend is a moron,” Peter said bluntly. “Can we go somewhere and talk?”

The human looked bewildered, but nodded. McCall didn’t even notice them leave.

 

They settled at a local coffee shop, Peter with a cappuccino and Stiles with a hot chocolate.

“So, these trials…” Stiles started. “They’re not going to go well, are they.”

“Your friend is going to fail. He doesn’t have an emissary, he doesn’t have control over his own shift, and he can’t even get his pack to show up for an official meeting.” Peter takes a sip of his coffee. “I was actually surprised when he told me his ‘emissary’ was Deaton—who isn’t eligible, by the way, whatever he told McCall. My nephew Derek had thought that you were in line for the position.”

“Me?” Stiles sounded genuinely surprised. “I’m just an ordinary human, dude. I mean, I did get a mountain ash line to work that one time, but that’s it.”

“First of all, contrary to what your friend Scott seems to think, humans are a valuable addition to a stable pack. They keep the shifters anchored to their humanity. A pack with at least one human in it is less likely to be aggressive, and other packs are more likely to form alliances and make treaties with them. That’s actually the biggest part of an emissary’s job; it’s not required that they be magic users, though I’ll admit that’s the norm these days.” He thought about added that Stiles clearly has a great deal of untapped magical ability, but the boy seemed to be having enough trouble assimilating that information.

The human was silent for a moment. “So, if I could get Scott to accept me as his emissary, would that help him pass the trials?”

Peter sighed. “If he had six more months, maybe. And you could file for an extension due the change in pack dynamics. But if you want my unofficial advice?”

Stiles nodded.

“I wouldn’t bother. It’s not your friend’s lack of experience or even lack of intelligence that are the problem. It’s his attitude. He wants to be special, to have people look up to him, but at the same time he’s too insecure to be willing to learn. He refused the help of an experienced werewolf when it was offered, and he’s not even willing to look at the information you’re providing him, even though Derek told me you’re the only reason he figured out he was a werewolf in the first place?” Peter raised an incredulous eyebrow at that.

“Yeah. I was the one who put it all together a couple days before the full moon, and it still wasn’t until he transformed in front of a mirror that he believed me.” Stiles looked at his hot chocolate like he was contemplating drowning himself in it. “So, your website says that alphas who fail the trial are stripped of their power. Is that true? Does it…does it hurt?”

“From what I’m told it’s not a pleasant experience, but it’s not actually painful,” Peter reassured him. “And then he and his former betas will be assigned to other packs. The Garrison pack in Beacon Lake should be able to take them, and Addy’s a great alpha.”

Stiles hummed thoughtfully, but he looked a little less anxious.

“The future I’m really interested in discussing is yours,” Peter added.

 

The trials were, predictably, a disaster from start to finish. When challenged to work together against an ‘rogue omega’ (enthusiastically played by Peter’s niece Cora), the pack spent so much time arguing that she was able to ‘kill’ half of them before they even noticed. Isaac was the only one who maintained control during the individual trials, although Peter could feel the fear radiating from him the whole time.

They failed the third trial by default, because no one except Scott showed up for it. Stiles texted him to say that he’d told them about Addy and they decided they’d rather take their chances with the Garrison pack.

 

Peter took Stiles out to breakfast on the day he was scheduled to leave. They placed their orders and made some small talk while Peter tried not to press him on his decision.

After finishing a bite of his pancakes, Stiles finally said, “Well, Scott’s going to stay with the Kelly pack in Sacramento for his senior year. He’s not speaking to me, and his mom thought a change of scenery might do him good.” He looked a little sad, but not surprised.

“How have the rest of the pack settled in with the Garrisons?” Peter asked.

“They’re doing pretty good. Isaac actually moved in with Addy’s family, since he was staying with Scott before. Liam and Erica are commuting. It’s only a thirty-minute drive, so it’s not that bad. They seem happy.”

“And you?” he tried to look disinterested, spearing a piece of his omelet and chewing slowly.

Stiles smiled shyly. “The Garrisons’ emissary has agreed to give me some lessons, and then I was thinking of joining the official program when I graduate. If you still think that’s a good idea?”

Peter couldn’t help the wide grin that spread across his face. “I think it’s an excellent idea. And if you need a place to stay while you’re in LA…”

Chapter Text

Peter wanders over to where Stiles is sitting with his head resting in his hands. The rest of the pack is gathered at the tables by the window, planning a non-lethal ‘attack’ on the wendigos that have wandered into the territory. He leans on the back of the couch and says quietly, “Are you even listening?”

“Yes, it just takes me a while to process so much stupid all at once,” Stiles replies hopelessly.

Peter glances up, but none of the others seem to be paying attention; not even Derek, who’s previously expressed concern over Peter’s ‘interest’ in Stiles. He whispers, “It looks like it’s going to take them a while here. What do you say we go do some research of our own?”

Tilting his head, Stiles regards him narrowly out of one eye. “As sketchy as that sounds, I’d do just about anything to get out of watching this trainwreck. Let’s go.”

He waits until they’re in Peter’s car to ask, “So is this actual research research, or just a euphemism for getting me along so you can do terrible things to me?”

Peter notes with interest that Stiles doesn’t seem to object to having ‘terrible things’ done to him. “As much as I’d love to jump straight to the second one,” he purrs, “we should probably take care of our little wendigo problem first, don’t you think?”

“By ourselves?” Stiles says skeptically.

“I’m pretty sure that between your magic and my claws, we can take care of a pair of half-starved flesh eaters,” Peter says. “But if you don’t feel up to it, I could always drop you back at the loft…?” He makes a show of putting on his turn signal.

“No!” Stiles says, a little too loudly. “God, I can’t listen any more to Scott convincing the others that they can somehow talk wendigos into, like, being vegan or something.”

“I really do regret biting him,” Peter sighs.

 

Taking out the wendigos is a little messy, but not as difficult as Stiles expected. Peter takes the brunt of the physical assault, so Stiles only ends up with a few scrapes and bruises that can be easily explained by his own clumsiness. Peter patches his him up carefully and drops him off at his house without so much as an inappropriate leer.

Stiles is a little disappointed.

It becomes a habit for them, from then on, to slip out of whatever disastrous planning session the pack is having and quietly take care of things on their own. Everyone assumes they’re having sex, with reactions ranging from overt interest (Erica) and quiet fist-bumps (Isaac), to disgust (Scott) and terminally awkward questions about whether he’s being forced into anything (Derek).

Stiles is mostly amused by this, although if he finds one more helpful pamphlet in his bag he’s going to put wolfsbane in Derek’s coffee. It’s nice that he cares, but Stiles is a little insulted on Peter’s behalf. And his own—sure, he may be the ‘weak little human,’ but he did help set the guy on fire, once.

He isn’t sure what’s holding the wolf back. He’s nineteen, and he’s pretty sure Peter can smell his interest. And Peter’s flirted shamelessly with him almost since he came back from the dead.

It’s Lydia—the only one who doesn’t assume they’re banging—who finally clears it up for him. “He’s serious about you, Stiles,” she tells him with a put-upon sigh. “And he doesn’t want to start something that’s only going to be about sex for you.” Then she flounces off, leaving him stunned.

 

Stiles has started staring at him. Not just staring at his ass or his artfully displayed pecs the way he usually does, but observing him through narrowed eyes like he’s an exhibit at the zoo. Peter swears he even saw him taking notes once.

And then it starts. Little things, like a box of his favorite tea in the cupboard at the loft. Derek never buys it, telling Peter that he has more than enough money to buy his own damn tea if he wants it. So Peter usually brings his own.

Then cups of it start appearing by his elbow when he’s reading or researching, often accompanied by small treats: Reese’s cup brownies, dark chocolate chunk cookies, a Cadbury crème egg when Easter rolls around. He’s pretty sure there’s magic involved, because no matter how alert he tries to be he never catches Stiles at it.

He’s not sure what’s happening, not sure enough to put his weight on it, but he starts reciprocating anyway. He buys a good coffeemaker for the loft and makes lattes for Stiles. He doesn’t have Stiles’ magic, so he only manages to sneak up on him with it once. After that, he gets a small, slow smile from the mage that melts something in him bit by bit.

Oh, who’s he kidding; he’s always had a marshmallow center where Stiles is concerned.

He buys Stiles a cashmere sweater in a deep red shade that brings out the warmth of his eyes. Stiles knits him a silk-blend scarf that’s so soft he has to use actual claws to defend it from Isaac.

This goes on for six months, slowly escalating, before Derek pulls Peter aside.

He’s standing in the kitchen, leafing through a catalog of high-end cars because Stiles has been making sad noises about having to retire the Jeep soon. Derek clears his throat, then glowers at him until he stops flipping pages and looks up.

“Just accept the kid’s suit already,” he says bluntly. “We all know you’re going to, I’ve given up trying to talk him out of this, and it’s starting to get ridiculous. He saved up for months to buy the yarn for that damn afghan.”

“Excuse you, that afghan is a work of art,” Peter huffs.

Derek’s lips actually twitch up. “You know, I really thought this was a terrible idea at the beginning. I mean, I’ve seen it coming for years…I always assumed it would just be a horrible train wreck, and at best only one of you would walk away from it. But you guys are so gone on each other.” He shakes his head, turning to leave. Then he pauses.

“Uncle Peter…things are never really going to be the same between us. There’s a lot of things you’ve done that I’m never going to be able to quite forgive. But you’ve done a lot of good too, for me and for this pack. You’re still my family, and I think you deserve some happiness.”

“Maybe we both do,” Peter says quietly.

 

Stiles stares at his phone, not sure what to make of the text message he’s just received from Peter.

Research, my place, five o’clock?

First of all, there’s no new monster in town that he’s aware of—a quick text to Scott confirms this. Second, Stiles has never actually been to Peter’s apartment. He knows where it is, of course, but he didn’t think Peter knew that.

So this is a game. Or maybe just a continuation of the not-really-a-game that they’ve been playing for months now. Oh god, what if Peter’s asking him over to finally reject his suit? No, if that were the case he wouldn’t have phrased it so playfully. And he probably would have come over to Stiles’ place so Stiles wouldn’t have to worry about getting home afterward. Peter’s an asshole, but he’s not cruel. Not to Stiles.

So, on the other hand…is this Peter accepting him? His palms begin to sweat, and suddenly four hours doesn’t seem like enough time to prepare.

So he does what any desperate man would do, given his resources: he calls Lydia.

 

Peter is not pacing. It seems like everything has gone wrong since he sent a text to Stiles, inviting him over. First he worries that Stiles actually doesn’t know where he lives. Then he can’t find his favorite black v-neck. He has to choose between the blue and the dark grey, which takes him nearly an hour. Then he allows the elaborate dinner he was making to burn because he’s so caught up wondering if he’s somehow terribly misread this whole situation.

And now, five minutes before Stiles is due to arrive, he is patrolling his apartment with forced calm, making sure absolutely everything is in place. He’s plated the takeout, which is from the excellent Italian place down the street that doesn’t actually deliver, and he’s debating whether or not candles are a good idea. Probably not, he thinks with a shiver.

He hears Stiles’ heartbeat before he knocks, and opens the door quickly. The human looks absolutely edible in a tight-fitting wine-colored shirt and skinny jeans that highlight all his best assets. (Peter’s glad now that he went with the dark grey.) He also smells about as nervous as Peter feels.

“Hi,” Stiles says, almost shyly. Peter invites him in, and he looks around curiously for a moment before letting out a low whistle. “I knew your place would be swanky, but this is above and beyond.”

It is a nice apartment, Peter thinks with pride. His mid-century modern furniture is stylish but comfortable, and the space is large and open, with windows facing the woods. He wants to tell Stiles that the bedroom is just as nice as the rest of the place, but he should probably at least feed him first.

Stiles breaks into a please grin when he sees the food that Peter’s ordered: all his favorites, including eggplant parmesan and tiramisu for dessert. “I hope you’re not just buttering me up to let me down easy,” he quips, but Peter hears the hint of worry behind the words.

“Just the opposite, I hope,” he reassures him. He’s rewarded with a soft, fond smile that makes him want to skip the rest of the meal entirely.

 

By the time they’ve finished dinner, Stiles is ready to vibrate out of his skin. He helps Peter carry the dishes into the gorgeous, professional-grade kitchen, admiring the sway of the wolf’s ass as he walks. When Peter tentatively suggests coffee, he’s just done. With a low growl of frustration, he lunges forward, pressing the werewolf up against a counter and kissing him with all the pent-up sexual frustration of the past six months.

“If you don’t show me to your bedroom now, your kitchen is going to become a health hazard,” he says, only half a centimeter away from Peter’s lips.

 

“This wasn’t what I was expecting,” Peter says a few hours later with Stiles’ head pillowed on his chest.

The human cracks an eye open. “Well, what did you think was going to happen when you finally accepted my suit? A few chaste kisses and a flash of Victorian ankle? Hell, I would’ve hit that a lot sooner if it wasn’t so important that you knew I was serious.”

Then he sits up a little. “Wait, this is you accepting, right?”

“This is absolutely me accepting,” Peter reassures him. “But don’t think for a second that just because we’re past the courting stage I’m going to stop spoiling you rotten.”

“I think I can live with that,” Stiles says smugly, curling up against his mate.

 

 

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Chris asked.

Stiles shifted his grip on the steering wheel and glanced at his boyfriend. “That’s, like, the third time you’ve asked me that in as many hours. I’m starting to have flashbacks to the beginning of our relationship.”

Chris huffed. “Well, that was a big step, and so is this.”

“We’ve been dating for five years, and now we’re planning to move in together. I don’t know how much longer we can keep things a secret. And it’s not like my dad doesn’t already like you. I think he’ll adjust,” Stiles said reasonably.

“I know.” The older man fell silent for the rest of the drive, staring out the window as they passed into Beacon County. Stiles looked over at him periodically, but Chris had mastered ‘stoic and expressionless’ long before he met the man. He’d talk about it when he was ready, when he had things all sorted out in his own mind. Stiles knew from experience that pushing him to discuss things before he was ready would get them nowhere.

He kept turning things over in his own mind, though. So as they walked into Chris’ apartment, he couldn’t help asking, “Is this about my dad, or about Allison?”

“It’s not about Allison,” his boyfriend said gruffly.

“What’s not about me?” Allison rounded the corner too quickly for them to disentangle their hands. Her sharp gaze flicked from their twined fingers to Stiles’ rolling suitcase, and her eyes narrowed. “Hi, Stiles. What are you doing here?” she asked slowly.

He ended up in the kitchen, making the world’s slowest cup of coffee while he pretended to give them some privacy.

“You’re dating my friends now? What is this, some kind of midlife crisis? Should I tell Lydia she’s finally got a shot?”

Stiles couldn’t make out Chris’ response, but the angry rumble of his voice was like an impending thunderstorm.

“Well at least my werewolves were age-appropriate!”

“I have a right to my private life, Allison!” Chris’ raised voice startled Stiles. He rarely yelled. “I don’t need you to approve of my romantic partners.”

“Clearly you do if you think Stiles Stilinski is a good candidate to be my stepfather!” Allison shouted back.

After a few quieter exchanges, Stiles heard the door slam, and a tired, subdued-looking Chris entered the kitchen. “Well, that didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.”

“She seemed pretty upset,” Stiles agreed.

“Well, maybe I deserved that after what I put her through over Scott and Isaac, but you didn’t. I’m sorry you had to hear all that.” Chris enveloped him in a hug, and they stood there quietly for a moment, just taking comfort in each other.

“It’s okay. I mean, yeah it hurts, but Ally and I were never super-close, you know? There was too much stuff with Scott between us.” He tilted his head up to look at Chris without moving out of the embrace. “She’s right about one thing, though—I’d make a terrible stepfather.”

Chris chuckled, and Stiles felt a little proud of making his lover laugh again.

 

An hour before Stiles was supposed to introduce his dad to his boyfriend at their favorite steakhouse, the sheriff called.

“Hey Dad, what’s up?” Stiles answered brightly.

The sheriff responded in the same ‘what shady business has my son gotten wrapped up in this time’ tone that Stiles knew all too well from his childhood. “Hi Stiles. I’ve cancelled our reservations at the restaurant. I think we should do this in a less public setting, don’t you?”

“So I guess Ally called you.” Stiles sighed.

“She’s just concerned, son. Anyway, I’ll see the two of you here at the house at six. We can talk more about it then.”

Stiles agreed and hung up, then flopped his head back on the couch. “So, my dad wants to meet us at the house tonight instead of going out. Apparently a little birdy called and told him that the Mysterious Boyfriend was you.”

“Should I wear my tactical vest?” Chris asked, only half-joking.

“Nah, he’ll probably aim for something non-vital anyway. Do you have any bulletproof underwear?”

 

Dinner with the sheriff was quieter than the conversation with Allison had been, but not much friendlier. John had decided to go with ‘disappointed and disapproving’ rather than angry. There were some pointed questions about how long they’d been together (they rounded the years down to four, since even though Stiles had been eighteen when they started dating, he was still in high school), and what Stiles was planning to do now that they’d graduated.

When Stiles told his father that he was planning to move in with Chris, his lips pressed into a white line, and he asked Stiles to help him make coffee in the kitchen.

“Well, this has got to be the best caffeinated ‘meet the family’ trip in history,” Stiles quipped as he left the dining room.

John leaned against the counter and closed his eyes, rubbing a hand over his face. “I guess this is my fault somehow. I know I didn’t pay enough attention to you, wasn’t there for you…”

“Dad,” Stiles interrupted him impatiently. “Chris is my boyfriend, not a replacement father. Our relationship dynamic is actually pretty normal, not that it’s anyone’s business either way. Yeah, he’s paying for the place we’re moving in to, but that’s because he’s got the resources, and I’m not going to ask him to move into some rat-infested dive just to prove a point.”

“I just don’t understand why you have to date someone so much older than you! I know you’ve always been insecure, but there are plenty of kids your own age who would be interested.”

“Dad, you’re not listening.” Stiles gritted his teeth. “I love Chris. We are together because we, as individuals, are in love. Not because of his age or mine, not because he has money and I don’t, and not because of whatever parental skills you think you were lacking. When you’re ready to acknowledge that, I’m happy to try this evening again, but until then I don’t think there’s much more to say.”

He managed to make it to the SUV without breaking down, but Chris pulled over a couple of blocks from the house and gathered Stiles into his arms. “I’m so sorry, love. I wish that could’ve been better for you.”

“I just…I just expected more from him, you know? I mean, he was really supportive when I came out as bi—after a few cracks about my wardrobe choices, at least. I guess, to me, this didn’t seem more shocking than that. Why should it matter so much that you’re older than I am? It’s not like we don’t have plenty of things in common. And god knows that in our world, age doesn’t have much correlation to life expentancy.”

Chris flinched a little at that, and Stiles gave him an apologetic squeeze.  “Let’s just go back to the apartment and start getting things ready for the move. Hopefully they’ll come around, but in the meantime I don’t see any reason to put our lives on hold while we want for other people to be ready to accept us. If they can’t see past this, it’s their loss.”

They both knew that wasn’t quite true. Allison was the only family Chris had left, just like the sheriff was all Stiles had. But in the end, all they could really do was hold on to each other and hope that the people they loved could accept them as well.

Chapter Text

Peter hated feeling vulnerable. Ever since he was a child, if he were injured or even just upset, he’d find a secure place to hide and lick his wounds (literal or metaphorical) until he could put on his usual swagger again. First it had been his bedroom, and then when his parents had died and Talia started invading every area of his life, he’d found a snug little cave in the Preserve, which he proceeded to wreath with every magical and mundane protection he could think of.

This latest fight had left him too injured to be moved. The rest of the pack had gone chasing after their enemy, leaving Stiles to help Peter as much as he could. The young human had learned some healing magic in the last year, largely because Peter wouldn’t trust Deaton even if he were on death’s door.

It was enough to get Peter’s insides back where they belonged, but the werewolf was utterly drained. Nevertheless, he tried to struggle to his feet, or at least to a sitting position. There was no way he would leave himself exposed in a place where enemies — or even ‘allies’, whom he knew all too well could become enemies at any time — could happen upon him.

Stiles placed a hand on his shoulder, restraining him and effectively demonstrating that Peter was in no condition to go anywhere. “You need to rest and heal. I managed to put everything back where it belongs, but unless you give your own healing time to work, it won’t necessarily stay that way.” He leaned forward and kissed Peter’s forehead softly. “You nap, I’ll stay awake and keep watch.”

Peter spared a moment to wonder when Stiles had become the only person allowed past his tightly held defenses. Then he closed his eyes and slept.

Chapter Text

The pack is just about done with Stiles practicing his stealth charms. As the Alpha, Derek has borne the brunt of his experiments, starting with Stiles hiding in Derek’s bedroom one night after a pack meeting. The werewolf hadn’t noticed him sitting in an armchair in the corner until Stiles cleared his throat. He nearly punched a hole in the brick in surprise.

“Oh, did I scare you, big boy?” Stiles snickered. “Consider this payback for all the lurking you did in my teenage bedroom back in the day.”

He snuck up on other pack members as well. Peter was a particular favorite, and Stiles just chuckled at the increasingly creative threats the older werewolf made when he was surprised. But Derek was his clear favorite.

“You were like, the king of lurking back in the day. I can’t count the number of times you almost gave me a heart attack hanging around my house, the school, the lacrosse field. And why exactly were you in the boys’ locker room so much?” Stiles raised an eyebrow, and Derek found himself stammering something about an urgent errand he needed to run, very far away.

The one time he tried to get back at the human by sneaking into his new apartment, he found himself trapped in a circle of mountain ash that seemed to form around him on its own.

“Semi-sentient wards,” Stiles told him when he came home, standing outside the circle and smirking. “You don’t want to know what they would’ve done if you’d had ill intent. Peter helped me with those ones.”

That gave Derek an idea. When Stiles finally freed him, he went straight to Peter for some insight into their Emissary’s motives.

“He’s pulling your pigtails,” Peter told him. He looked exasperated, like Derek was being incredibly slow. “He’s been interested in you forever, and you’re finally both adults and in a reasonably good emotional place for a relationship. Well, I say adults, but obviously neither of you have actually grown past the mental age of sixteen. Now go away and deal with your own problems, I’m trying to read.”

Derek waited until the next time Stiles popped up in his loft, this time as he was getting out of the shower. From the rising flush in the younger man’s cheeks as his gaze travelled Derek’s body, he could tell his uncle was right.

“You are going to stop sneaking into my apartment,” he told Stiles.

The human rolled his eyes. “Because you’re going to rip my throat out with your teeth?”

“No, because I’m giving you a key.” He moved forward and placed a gentle kiss on Stiles’ lips, and then a deeper one when Stiles made a happy noise and pulled him closer.

Peter was going to be insufferable about this.

Chapter Text

Chris was already annoyed at Peter before he even walked in the door. First he’d ignored Chris’ repeated texts about whether he need to pick up anything for dinner. Then, when he pulled into their driveway, he’d found Peter’s Cobra parked right in the middle of it, forcing Chris to park sideways or leave the end of his SUV hanging out into the street. The finally straw was the bag of trash listing on the front porch, ready to spill all over their hydrangeas.

“Peter Francis Hale!” he shouted as he toed his shoes off in the foyer. “Please explain to me why there’s an actual bag of trash falling over on our front porch!”

It didn’t even occur to him to be worried until he heard their mate give a long, pained groan from the other room.

“Stiles?” he called, rushing toward the living room. “Stiles, honey, are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Stiles said. “Stop yelling. And the trash isn’t Peter’s fault. He’s pampering me, let him be.”

The man in question was kneeling by the side of the couch, kneading their pregnant mate’s back with both hands. “This little idiot decided to take out the trash before I could get to it, and then nearly keeled over because he didn’t eat lunch,” Peter said, sounding fondly exasperated.

Chris noticed a bowl and a small plate on the end table, with the remains of a sandwich and some soup. “Stiles, you know the doctor said it’s very important to eat regularly and keep your blood sugar up.”

He came around the back of the couch and began to stroke their mate’s head.

“I know,” Stiles whined a little. “I just didn’t feel like it. This damn baby keeps pressing on my insides, so I never really feel hungry.”

“That’s why we made up the meal schedule,” Peter reminded him. “You just have to follow it.”

“I know.” Stiles relaxed under the soothing touches from both his mates. “I’ll try to do better from now on. Now could somebody give me a foot massage?”

Chapter Text

“This is not what I pictured when you said you would ‘take care of’ Deucalion,” Stiles said from the doorway to Peter’s apartment.

Peter disentangled himself from the alpha and scowled at Stiles. “Could you close the door, please? And how do you have a key to my apartment?”

“You live in the penthouse, it’s not like someone’s going to come wandering down the hall,” Stiles argued as he shut the door behind him. “And if I were you, I’d be more concerned about how I picked the lock without two werewolves noticing.”

“We were…occupied,” Deucalion said from his graceful sprawl on the sofa. Despite his disheveled hair and the residual smears of blood on his sculpted chest, he still managed to look regal.

“I can see that.” Stiles edged into the room, pulling the door almost closed behind him but hanging onto the knob. “Scott sent me to make sure Peter wasn’t killing you. I guess I can reassure him on that point.”

Peter rose from his knees gracefully and stalked over to him. “You could,” he purred as he reached behind Stiles and shut the door completely. “Or you could keep your precious Alpha waiting a little longer and stay to have some fun with us.”

Stiles was acutely conscious of the heat of Peter’s bare chest through his own thin t-shirt. He imagined he could feel the individual muscles flexing as the wolf pressed closer, nestling his face in the crook of Stiles’ neck and inhaling deeply.

“Fun?” he asked faintly. He was proud of himself for managing not to stutter.

“Peter was about to give me a blowjob,” Duke told him conversationally, like just the image of that wasn’t enough to melt Stiles’ brain. “You could give him a hand, or just watch if that’s what you’re comfortable with.”

“We don’t want to make you uncomfortable,” Peter said seriously, pulling back a little to look him in the eye. “But so far it doesn’t smell like that’s a problem.”

Stiles blushed a little but didn’t try to deny it. His dick was pressed tightly against the zipper of his jeans, and he was sure he reeked of arousal to the weres’ supernatural senses. “I think I’d rather watch, for now? If that’s okay?”

“Of course.” Peter ducked forward and gave him a quick kiss, then led him over to the armchair across from the sofa. “Feel free to join in if you change your mind.”

Stiles sank into the plush cushions as Peter settled back down onto his knees. He opened his zipper and pushed his jeans down over his ass. Even if he was just watching, he had no illusions about being able to control himself, and he’d rather not come in his pants.

Peter was wearing a pair of comfortable-looking sleep pants, but Duke was already nude, except for the blanket he’d quickly draped across his lap when the door opened. Peter brushed this aside, but didn’t immediately wrap his mouth around the Alpha’s cock. Instead he braced himself over Duke’s chest and started licking a trail downward, stopping to lightly suck at the other man’s nipples and lap up the streaks of blood.

A younger Stiles might have been uncomfortable at the reminder of Peter’s bloodlust, but adult Stiles was far past denying how hot it made him. The majority of his fantasies these days revolved around hot, older werewolves splashed with the evidence of violence. He was panting a little now, but fought against touching his cock so soon.

Deucalion’s expression when Peter finally got his mouth around his dick was incredible. Stiles never thought he would see the Alpha of Alphas look so vulnerable and open, even since he’d reformed. His eyes were closed, and there was the barest hint of a flush on his cheeks. Whatever Peter was doing with his tongue, he was clearly skilled at it. Duke gave a low moan, and his hand reached down to cup the side of the beta’s head.

Stiles wrapped his own hand loosely around his cock and began to stroke it lightly. He could hardly believe the scene in front of him was real. His daydreams about each of them had always been separate. He never expected to see them together like this, though he supposed the attraction made sense. Including him made considerably less sense, unless they were just exhibitionists, but he was trying not to think too hard about that. Even if this never happened again, it would give him spank-bank material for months.

The tips of Duke’s claws were shifted, and Stiles could see the barest hint of red peeking out from under his lowered eyelids. Peter was making muffled moans around his cock, and the outline of his own erection stood out against the soft fabric of his pants. Stiles stroked himself harder, imagining what it would feel like to have Peter’s sinful mouth working like that on him. He came hard, just as Duke gave a sharp cry of his own.

Peter pulled off after a moment, looking incredibly smug. He flicked his gaze to Stiles, and his grin just grew wider. He shoved the waistband of his sleep pants down, and Stiles’ mouth watered at the sight of his thick, hard cock. Before he could process what he was doing, he’d slipped down off the chair and crawled across the carpet, all without taking his eyes off Peter’s erection.

“Can I?” he flicked his gaze up to Peter, who nodded. Duke pulled his feet back so Peter could sit on the couch and spread his legs, allowing Stiles to kneel between them.

After fantasizing about it for so long, having the heavy weight of Peter’s cock resting on his tongue almost made him dizzy. Duke made an approving noise at the sight, then slipped off the sofa and maneuvered behind him to press against Stiles’ back and mouth at his neck. “Beautiful, isn’t he, Peter?” the older werewolf murmured.

Peter answered with only a groan as Stiles took him deep and swallowed around him. Stiles didn’t have a ton of sexual experience, but a disproportionate amount of it was in blowjobs, because of his oral fixation. He’d gotten pretty good at them; a fact that Peter was clearly appreciating right now. His control over his shift was fading in and out, and the moan had morphed into a continuous low growl, which Stiles found incredibly hot.

Duke continued murmuring encouragement as he sucked. “So pretty on your knees, darling. Next time we’ll make it all about you. I’ll suck your cock and then open you up for Peter’s, let him fill you up so good.”

Stiles moaned, and the vibrations caused Peter to jerk his hips. Luckily he wasn’t deep enough for Stiles to choke on. Stiles wrapped a hand around the base of Peter’s dick, pumping him as he flicked his tongue against the head. He could tell that by now Peter was barely holding on. Stiles groaned again when Duke started sucking a hickey at the base of his neck, and Peter came in a rush, flooding down Stiles’ throat.

Stiles slid to the floor limply, where Duke cradled him against his chest. Peter leaned against the couch and panted.

“We should definitely do this again,” Peter said, his usual purr somewhat hoarse.

“As often as possible,” Deucalion agreed, smoothing Stiles’ hair back from his forehead.

“Hnnnngh,” Stiles contributed intelligently. Peter laughed and draped a blanket over the two of them, before joining them on the plush, soft carpet.

“We’ll discuss it later,” he said, and pressed a kiss to Stiles’ mouth.

‘Later’ and ‘again’ sounded good to him.

Chapter Text

Stiles whistled as he walked into the shiny new lab. Lydia already had her station set up in the far corner, and was staring very intently at a bubbling flask through her goggles.

“Jesus, Peter, how’d you pay for all this? I thought you lost all your money when the high school blew up.”

Peter scoffed. “Please, that was less than half of the money I’ve got secreted away. It was just the easiest to get a hold of. And to answer your question, I dusted off some old skills: brushed elbows with the right people, let them take me out to dinner…”

“You were an escort?” Stiles blurted out, wide-eyed. Lydia turned to stare at them, suddenly interested in the conversation.

Peter raised an eyebrow. “I was a fundraiser. But it’s interesting that ‘sex worker’ was the first place your mind went to when imagining my former profession.”

“Escorts aren’t necessarily sex workers,” Stiles muttered defensively. “And I’m nineteen. Sex is always the first place my mind goes.”

Peter just looked at him for a moment with an unreadable expression, and then said, “Anyway! Let me give you a quick tour.”

He led Stiles through their new headquarters, housed in a converted brick building in the warehouse district. In addition to the state-of the art lab in the basement, there was a room full of computer and surveillance equipment to help guide them on missions; the upper floors housed a communal kitchen and common area, as well as individual apartments for all the members of the team. The whole building was secured with both state-of-the-art technological and magical protections.

Lydia joined them at the penthouse on the top floor, which Peter had of course claimed for himself. Stiles had to admit that was fair, considering he was not only bankrolling the operation but overseeing his and Lydia’s training as well.

“Well, what do you think?” Peter asked him.

“It’s definitely a step up from the train station,” Stiles admitted.

“It’s an entire ladder up from the train station,” Lydia said. Then, more cautiously, “What does Shadowfox think?”

“You don’t have to walk on eggshells, Lyd. Fox and I have come to an agreement. He thinks the place is good, although a little too industrial. Also the wards on the back door need tightening.” Stiles could feel his alter’s satisfaction at the back of his mind. This was a good place. They could keep their people safe.

What was left of them.

Chapter Text

Stiles had always had trouble sleeping, especially since his mom died. If it wasn’t nightmares, it was anxiety; if it wasn’t anxiety, it was his ADHD making his mind race.

And if he was finally resting peacefully, woe betide the person who woke him up! Everyone in his life knew to let a sleeping Stiles lie. That rule had only been reinforced when he came into his magic. The last time someone interrupted his nap, Derek’s loft had gotten a new hole in its wall.

Apparently, Beacon Hills’ latest villain hadn’t gotten that memo.

“Who raises zombies at seven o’clock on a Saturday morning?” he raged, uprooting a tree and flinging it at the necromancer, who was cowering behind a large rock. “That was the first good sleep I’d gotten in TWO WEEKS!”

The pack was staying well out of Stiles’ way, dispatching the zombies at the edge of the crater he'd created when he arrived. The first time this had happened, Scott had tried to intervene and talk his friend down. He’d spent the next three days healing his nearly severed arm.

For his part, Peter just watched his lover in awe. He wasn’t happy about Stiles’ interrupted sleep—he was always worried about the effects of insomnia on the younger man—but on the other hand, he was gorgeous like this. Stiles’ eyes were storm-filled, black with flashes of white. Magic crackled around his hands, filling the air with the scent of ozone.

The necromancer just smelled of terror, sweat, and piss. Peter almost felt sorry for him, but then again the man had been planning to take over the territory with an army of the undead.

Still, the man was human, and if Stiles killed him they’d have to listen to Scott whining for the next month. After wrenching the head off the zombie in front of him, Peter sauntered over to Stiles’ side and took his hand. Leaning in, he said in a conspiratorial tone, “I think death’s too good for him, don’t you, sweetheart? We should use him to send a message.”

Stiles turned his head, and for a moment his flashing eyes softened. “Always thinking ahead, aren’t you, babe?” he said fondly. “In that case, why don’t you give him some scars to remember us by, while I work up a nice curse? I know how much you love getting your hands dirty.”

“Happy to help!” Peter gave him a toothy grin and flicked his claws out. The necromancer looked like he might pass out.

In the end, Scott wasn’t too happy about the creative redecorating Peter did of the man’s face, but he was pleased that Stiles had seen things his way and let the man go. Neither of them told the True Alpha that letting the necromancer live was hardly a mercy. Stiles had cursed him to never get more than a half hour’s sleep at a time. He’d be stark raving mad within weeks, if something else didn’t manage to kill him first.

Exhausted by his anger and the expenditure of magic, Stiles fell asleep in Peter’s car before he could even get them back to their apartment. The werewolf carried him gently upstairs and made sure he would be undisturbed for at least eight hours.

And after that, any bad guys who came to town made sure to check if the local Spark was well-rested before executing their evil plans.