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Black Fire

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"I suggest you keep an eye on him," Chris Argent is saying. Stiles flattens himself against the wall and keeps his breath steady.

"There's nothing wrong with Stiles," Scott says.

Stiles can't see them but he imagines Chris is rubbing his forehead, exasperated by Scott. Stiles imagines everyone is often exasperated by Scott. "There's something not quite right with him. I can sense it."

Oh really? Since when can Chris Argent sense things like that?

"You're wrong." Scott's voice sounds weird, though. Like he's not sure.

"I think the nogitsune left something behind. A taint. You should be careful around him. Watch for signs he's going dark."

And oddly enough, Scott is silent. He doesn't stick up for Stiles again after that, and Stiles feels like he should just get the fuck out of Scott's house before his best friend remembers he has supernatural hearing. Especially when Stiles's heartbeat is galloping like a herd of wild horses.

Stiles makes sure he's alone in Derek's loft before holding his hand out, palm up, and letting the magic come to life. Black fire, that's what it looks like. It's not hot against his skin, though it does tingle. Stiles feels an affinity to it, a possessiveness. It's his now, a gift left behind by the nogitsune. He knows there's more to it, but he hasn't had a chance to try anything else. The black fire comes easily, like it's meant to be there. He just wishes he knew what it meant.

He closes his hand, curls his fingers into a fist, and the fire goes out. But he still feels it, tingling under his skin, ready to be called whenever he wants it.

He looks up and sees he's not alone after all. Peter is sitting on the spiral staircase, eyes glowing in the dim light of the space. Stiles drops his head, breaking their short eye contact. He's about to say something, though he's not sure what, when he hears the elevator.

Stiles spends the majority of the pack meeting on edge, wondering when Peter will reveal his secret. Curiously, it doesn't happen.

"I have something for you," Peter says a day not long after, when Stiles thinks he's alone in his room. He's so startled he flails out of his chair. Peter watches him with an amused smirk.

Stiles picks himself up. "Holy fucksticks, what are you doing here?"

"I just said," Peter drawls. He pulls a book from somewhere and sets it down on Stiles's desk. "This is for you."

Stiles looks at the book with suspicion. "Why would you get me a book?"

Peter sits down on Stiles's bed, and Stiles clenches his jaw at the familiarity. "Why don't you read it and see?"

Stiles's curiosity overrules his suspicion, and he pulls it closer. There's no title on the front, just a stylized flame. His eyes flick to Peter and back to the book. "Does this have anything to do with what you saw the other day?"

"It has everything to do with it." Peter flicks invisible lint from Stiles's comforter.

"Look, just tell me what you want," Stiles says, sighing.

Peter just raises his eyebrows.

"You don't do anything for free unless it benefits you somehow. So… what's your price for not saying anything?"

"Do you know what the black fire is?" Peter asks. Stiles shakes his head. Peter points at the book. "It's chaos. One of the most difficult kinds of magic to control, and I don't wish to see you pull yourself apart at the base level because you don't understand it."

Stiles sucks in a breath. He knows he can't trust Peter to never lie, but somehow he knows here he's telling the truth. Great. Of course Stiles would get stuck with magic that dangerous. "But why do you care? I'd think watching me fail spectacularly would be amusing to you."

He expects a smirk, a joke, but Peter looks very serious. "How many times do you have to hear it before you believe me, Stiles? I like you. I may despise most of the pack, but you're an exception."

Stiles looks away, unable to deal with whatever that even means. He picks up the book. Sometimes he's had to decipher rare occult books in all kinds of condition, and all kinds of languages. This one is black with worn gold decoration. He opens it and is pleased to see it's not handwritten. It's written in English as well. His eyes rest on the word: Chaos. It's what the nogitsune fed off of, so it makes twisted sense that this is what it left behind.

"I'm not ready to tell anyone," Stiles murmurs. He doesn't know what anyone's reaction would be to him suddenly having magic. He'd like to think it would be welcome, a positive addition to the pack's arsenal, but then again he can't be sure. The pack hasn't had the best experiences with magic users.

"That's smart of you. You'll have to watch out for the druid the most, I believe. It's better to learn to defend yourself first before he finds out."

Stiles blinks. He tilts his head. "Dr. Deaton?"

Peter nods, a sour look on his face. "He deals in balance, in order. Chaos magic is everything he opposes. If he finds out about this, you'll be in danger."

"From Deaton?" Stiles sputters incredulously.

"Don't sound so surprised. He's a dangerous man."

Stiles frowns. "He wouldn't hurt an innocent teenager, right?"

"Not an innocent teenager, no," Peter says. "But a chaos mage? He'd think he had to."

Stiles swallows hard. "I'm not a mage."

Peter's lips twitch up. "Read the book."

The book feels good in his hands. It makes the tingles under his skin feel stronger. He doesn't want to say it, but he feels like he has no choice. "Thank you."

Peter's eyes widen fractionally, as if he's genuinely surprised. Then he covers it quickly with a smarmy smile. But Stiles saw the surprise. He wonders how long it's been since someone thanked Peter for anything.

"Just don't try any more magic without a spotter, if you will," Peter says. "It can be dangerous, and I don't want you taking on too much at once."

"Are you volunteering to help?" Stiles asks.

Peter rolls his eyes. "Obviously." He gets up from the bed and comes closer. Close enough that Stiles can feel the heat his body gives off. Peter taps a finger on the book. "Read the theory before you try the practical."

"How do I get in touch with you if I want to?"

Peter takes his phone out and they exchange numbers. It's surreal. Stiles knows he should be more cautious, but he really does want to figure out the magic and Peter's offering help. It probably won't come cheap, but Stiles ignores that for now. Then Peter leaves out the window.

"I have a front door!" Stiles calls out after him. He gets no reply, but he's sure Peter's laughing at him.

Stiles stays up reading. The clock doesn't matter. He only realizes how late it's gotten when birds sing and early morning light streams through his window.

Peter was right. Stiles is a chaos mage.

It's hard to accept but it's right there on the page. All the signs he's been showing, the feeling of the magic tingling under his skin, the black fire. It all points to chaos magic, and the only people who can call it as easily as Stiles are mages.

He's so tempted to try some of the magic the book says he can do, but Peter was right. This is some dangerous shit. Chaos magic can involve so much, even the shifting of reality at high levels. Stiles isn't about to try anything and accidentally rip through the fabric of time and space.

It's also a little concerning that chaos magic is considered dark by most people in the know. It doesn't feel dark, does it? At least, it doesn't feel bad. Not evil. Maybe a little bittersweet, like good dark chocolate.

He doesn't let himself practice anything, but he can call the black fire. It leaps to his hand easily, both hands now. He can even hold his palms close and watch it jump back and forth, kind of like a slinky.

It wears him out. Makes him sleep hard. He wakes up and reads the book again cover to cover.

At school, Scott is still grieving Allison. The pack gathers around him protectively, like a wall, and Stiles… just doesn't talk to anyone. He's too busy thinking. Part of him feels guilty but then another part of him is just angry. He doesn't know why. Maybe it's the way everyone expects him to be okay, over it all, while Scott gets coddled.

Lydia shoots him a few calculated looks but he manages to slip away before she can corner him and ask him what's going on.

When he's out of school, he texts Peter.

They meet at the old abandoned depot. Derek and the pack don't use it anymore, so it's the perfect spot for Stiles to practice magic.

Peter's already set up targets. Stiles wants to practice some of the more esoteric uses for chaos magic, but he guesses Peter's got a point. Offensive magic is important to learn, especially with the kind of lives they live.

The thing about his magic is that… well, it seems to like Peter. It's weird. Magic shouldn't have a personality or preferences, but Stiles's does. And it's drawn to Peter. Stiles doesn't mention this because he knows what it means. His magic is an extension of himself. If his magic is comfortable with Peter, if his magic wants to be close to him, then Stiles does too.

He wished he didn't understand that so clearly.

"You aren't focused," Peter says, frowning a little.

Stiles sighs and looks at the target. Then he tries slinging a ball of black fire at it. It gets halfway there and sputters out. He's about twenty feet away.

"We definitely need to work on your range," Peter says.

Stiles hates that he feels warm when Peter says 'we'. He ignores it and turns around to focus again.

It takes Stiles two weeks to master throwing the black fire. Peter gets a gleam in his eyes that Stiles isn't sure how to interpret. Maybe it's hunger. Maybe it's possessiveness. Maybe it's just pride in Stiles's abilities. Stiles doesn't want to know for sure, though he does know it's enough to make something warm pool in his stomach.

At school, things are about the same. Stiles puts off Lydia by telling her he has work to make up for, and waves her off when she suggests they work together. Stiles is actually ahead of everyone in most classes, and when he gets stuck it's Peter he goes to for help.

Sometimes Stiles has to just blink a little at how Peter's become integral to his life. It's not just magic practice. Peter cooks for him when Stiles's dad is working, asks him how things are at school, gives him a ride to get groceries when the Jeep is temperamental and duct tape doesn't fix it.

Peter even takes Roscoe to be serviced one weekend while Stiles is sleeping in.

"You need a new alternator," Peter tells him. "We can get that done tomorrow if you want."

"Sounds expensive," Stiles mutters.

"Don't worry about it." Peter waves his hand like it's nothing.

Stiles narrows his eyes. "You're not my sugar daddy."

That makes Peter laugh. He's been doing that more and more often lately. At first it sounded rusty, but now it's just a clear, pleasant sound that Stiles really likes to hear. Once Peter's done laughing he says, "No, but we're pack."

And Stiles doesn't know what to say to that. He bites his lip. Peter's looking at him out of the corner of his eye. Braced, maybe, for rejection. Stiles doesn't want to do that to him. He could make a joke about it, gloss over it. Change the subject.

He doesn't do any of that. It's too important. He nods and reaches out, touches Peter's hand for a moment then pulls away again. "Okay. Thanks."

Peter looks at him, defiant at first then melting into something warmer, more honest. Hope. Gratitude.

Stiles has no idea what he's just let himself in for, but he thinks it's worth it to see hope in Peter's eyes. Which, dammit, shouldn't even be his thinking. He shouldn't care so much. But, as Peter says, they're pack. Stiles is going with that as the explanation for these sudden feelings.

The next thing Stiles works on perfecting is a shield, and he quickly learns that defensive magic is much harder than offensive. Just throwing fire is easy, once he gets the hang of it. It's quick and doesn't take a lot of energy. The shield has to be sustained. It requires focus and more magic. It leaves him feeling wrung out like a rag in the aftermath. More than once he blinks open his eyes to Peter looking concerned because he just passed out.

"It's like a muscle. You have to work to build up your endurance."

Stiles snorts. "Do I look like working out is my thing?"

"If you don't want to be killed, you'll do this," Peter says.

"As threats go, that's a little less growly than usual," Stiles jokes. His grin falters at the serious expression on Peter's face. "Okay, okay. I'll work at it."

"Good boy," Peter says, and Stiles has to turn away quickly to hide his sudden blush.

Peter brings more books. Some of them are really hard to read, but when Stiles doesn't know the language or can't figure out what a writer is trying to say, Peter doesn't leave him to falter.

"How many languages do you even know?" Stiles finally asks.

"I'm only fluent in a few," Peter says modestly. Which is weird, because modesty isn't usually Peter's thing. Stiles comes to the conclusion that he's embarrassed. Peter can read and decipher a whole host of languages, though, even dead ones and ones he can't actually speak fluently in.

"You can brag. I don't mind when it's something you should be proud of," Stiles tells him.

Peter shrugs. "I missed out on a lot of time I could have been learning more. I keep thinking of the things I would know if I hadn't had a forced vacation."

Peter doesn't talk about his lost years much. When he does bring it up, Stiles gets uncomfortable. Is he supposed to make light of it? Ignore it? Respect it? Offer some sympathy?

"Sucks. But you've got time now," Stiles ends up saying. "And you've been really helpful. I could never figure out this stuff without you." He points to the current book he's been trying to learn from.

"You have a gift. I would be remiss as your packmate if I left you to struggle with it."

Stiles smiles to himself. "Yeah, well. Thanks anyway." They read on. Some of what the book refers to has been hinted at in other books, but nothing is laid down concretely and it's frustrating. "They just expect us to understand this shit." Stiles pinches the bridge of his nose as a headache threatens.

"Here," Peter says, and reaches out. It's a testament to the trust built between them now that Stiles doesn't question him or move out of range. Peter puts his hand on Stiles's forehead and runs his thumb between Stiles's eyes gently. The pain is sucked away, leaving Stiles feeling a little lightheaded and giddy. He smiles and reaches up to touch Peter's hand.

That's another thing that's been happening. They touch a lot more lately. Stiles is sure if he asked, Peter would put it down to pack bonding and how werewolves are tactile, blahblah. But Stiles is sure there's more to it.

Peter's eyes are soft on him. Stiles sighs and looks away. He doesn't need to be having feelings. He's got much more important things to focus on, like keeping himself safe from Deaton or other druids who might see his chaos magic as a threat.

Or hunters. Peter hasn't mentioned hunters, but the idea is always hanging there in the air when they talk about danger. Stiles remembers the conversation he eavesdropped on, when Chris told Scott he was tainted by the nogitsune.

"What's on your mind?" Peter asks.

Stiles sits back. Shrugs.

"Your scent went sour," Peter points out. "You're worried about something."

"Chris Argent said something about being able to sense… things. Have you ever heard of that?"

Peter's eyes go sharp and he abandons his book entirely. "I have. A hunter's instincts are almost supernatural. From a line like his, I wouldn't be surprised if he could sense something new on you."

"He told Scott I was tainted," Stiles says quietly.

"When was this?"

Stiles shrugs. "About a month ago."

"Why didn't you say something before this?" Peter asks, and the look in his eyes…

"I didn't trust you yet," Stiles says. I trust you now is left unspoken, but the way the hurt clears from Peter's eyes tells Stiles he heard it loud and clear. "What do we do about Chris?"

"The pack, too. If he told Scott, then…"

"I don't think Scott would do anything to me. Not the way a hunter would. He might… he might try to convince me not to use the magic but he wouldn't… He won't. He just won't." Stiles isn't sure if he's telling Peter or himself.

"Has Scott said anything to you about it, mentioned it in any way?" Peter asks.

Stiles huffs a laugh but it feels tired and rough. "I've barely even seen Scott. The pack kind of just surrounds him because he's 'grieving'. It's been easy to avoid him."

"If we can get Argent to leave town, then I doubt we'll have much more of a problem with him," Peter says.

"How do we do that?" Stiles asks.

"A few well chosen words," Peter says cryptically. He smiles. "Leave it to me."

A week later, Chris Argent is packing up, and Isaac is going with him. Stiles takes it as a gift. Though he's determined to one day find out how Peter did it, he's willing to let it go for now.

But somehow, he doesn't think Deaton is going to be as easy to get rid of once he figures out what's going on with Stiles.

He's right. Unfortunately, Deaton goes to Scott and what's left of the pack before confronting Stiles. So really, it's like an intervention.

Deaton looks dangerous in his dark clothes and forbidding expression. He's brought his sister, too.

Scott looks adorably confused but also like he's disappointed, like Stiles has done something awful. Derek stands away from them, like he's not quite with them… but not against them, either.

Kira looks confused, too. Malia looks bored. But Lydia has a sharp look in her eyes that Stiles dreads seeing.

"What's going on, guys?" Stiles asks, but he knows. He knows.

Peter puts a hand on his shoulder. Silent backup. He's there no matter how this goes down.

Scott narrows his eyes. "Peter, what are you doing here?"

"Protecting my pack," Peter says. Stiles feels the way he shifts on his feet, showing he's ready for anything.

Derek gives them both a look and takes a step farther away from Deaton. No one else seems to notice but Stiles and (he's sure) Peter.

"We know you've been using dark magic," Deaton says, loud enough that his voice carries throughout the loft space.

"Call it by its true name, Deaton," Stiles can't help but sneer. "It's not dark unless you're overly concerned with the balance."

"Chaos is dark," Deaton says mildly. "You're messing with forces beyond your control."

Stiles rolls his eyes. "You sound like you're in a movie, dude. I can control it just fine."

"Stiles, he knows more about it than you do," Scott says. "He told me what it is. You can… you can disrupt reality, man. I know you don't want to do that."

Stiles blinks at his best friend. "You know I wouldn't fuck up the fabric of the universe, Scott. Do I look like a comic book villain?"

"Maybe not on purpose! But this is dangerous stuff!"

Stiles holds out his hand and calls the black fire. Just a little flame in his palm. "Does this look out of control to you?"

Deaton's face changes from mild distaste to outright disgust and hatred. "If you don't stop using the dark magic, we'll have to find a way to stop you."

"What are you gonna do, kill me?" Stiles asks.

Scott looks appalled. "What? No, of course not."

Morrell tilts her head and catches Peter's attention. He speaks up now. "No, they want to put you away in Eichen House, instead."

Stiles starts to shake. "No," he whispers. But he can see it on their faces. They've talked about this. They're all… Even Scott. Even Malia, who knows what that place is like. And they wouldn't have him in with the general population of patients. He'd be in supernatural lockdown. "You're not doing that to me."

Peter pulls him back so that they're standing shoulder to shoulder. Stiles can tell Peter would rather be in front of him, protecting him. Stiles would think more of that fact if he wasn't busy freaking out.

"Buddy, listen," Scott says, wheedling, putting on his best puppy face. "Just stop using the magic, you don't have to be put away anywhere if you just… stop. Okay?"

"I'm not doing anything wrong," Stiles says. "And I'm leaving now. If any of you follows me and tries to… tries to put me away, you'll be sorry. Just leave it."

And then he throws some of his magic out and freezes everything. Or rather, slows it down to a crawl. He doesn't have the kind of control over it that it doesn't hit Peter, too. But Peter will find him, he knows.

He's got to get out of the loft. Out of town.

"Dad, I'm not going back to Eichen," Stiles says, his head in his hands as he takes a break from packing.

His dad is on his side. "Of course you aren't. But is running away the best option?"

"Deaton's not going to stop coming after me," Stiles explains.

"Let me talk to the man."

"It won't do any good," Stiles says. He looks up at his father, who looks older than he should, more worn out than he deserves. Stiles sighs. "This is the safest way. I leave town, I don't let anyone know where I am-"

"Except me," his dad says firmly.

Stiles smiles. "Yeah, dad. You get to know where I am. I'll keep in touch."

His father nods and purses his lips. Stiles goes back to packing while his father watches. Finally, his dad says, "And Peter Hale. He'll be going with you, too?"

Stiles freezes. Looks up slowly. "Yeah?"

"Can't say he's what I would have wanted for you," his dad says, "but he seems to care. And I know he's not afraid to get his hands dirty to protect you."

Stiles opens and closes his mouth a few times before he can ask, "How do you even know…?"

His dad winces. "Peter came by the station one day, let me know what was happening with you. He also told me he intended to court you, once you were of age."

Stiles is boggled. He's not sure what part of that to respond to. "You didn't shoot him?"

His dad laughs. "I sure was tempted. But… that man talks about you like you hung the moon. And I knew you'd need someone on your side, after he explained things."

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you about the magic," Stiles murmurs. He rubs at his face, hot from the revelations. Thinking about Peter talking about him, showing his father how much he cares, opening up like that when he has everything to lose… It does weird things to Stiles's insides, makes him warm and twisted up at the same time.

"Do you care about him, the way he, uh," his dad asks, or tries to ask. He rubs at the back of his neck. "Aw, hell. Is it love, kid?"

And Stiles does not have the answer to that. He's been pushing the feelings away for so long that when the question comes up, he's not even sure if it's the right one. So he shrugs and smiles and says, "I'll let you know when I figure it out."

His dad doesn't look reassured.

"Look, it's… I trust him," Stiles says. He says it low, measured, so his dad gets the gravity of what it means to Stiles. What it means to Peter.

"That's important," his dad says. "C'mere." He holds his arms out and Stiles collapses into the hug gratefully. "Stay safe. Don't get into too much trouble. And if you can come back, don't stay away forever."

Peter catches up the first time Stiles stops to eat. He walks — saunters — into the diner with a smirk on his face that Stiles wants to taste.

"You could've texted me," Peter says, though he doesn't look too put out. He slides into the booth opposite Stiles.

"I knew you'd find me."

Peter smirks again, looking full of himself now. "It wasn't hard."

"I wasn't exactly hiding," Stiles says. He can't help the way his lips twitch into a fond smile.

Peter looks soft at that. "Because we don't do that anymore."

Stiles shakes his head. "Not from each other, at least. The others… Deaton..."

"We'll disappear," Peter promises.

"If I was better at the magic, we could just slip into another dimension. He'd never find us there," Stiles says, only partly joking.

Peter reaches across the table and steals a pickle off Stiles's plate. "I don't think we need to do something as drastic as all that, darling."

It's not the first time Peter's used that particular endearment, but it's the first time since Stiles's dad asked him if it's… that. Love. He licks his lips. "How much farther do you think we should go before we rest?"

"Let's at least get out of state."

"I used a lot of magic at the loft," Stiles says. He knows Peter's already noticed how worn down he looks, how tired. "I hope you don't mind driving while I get some sleep."

"You know I don't," Peter says. "Though it'll be better sleep once we get to a bed."

They're both surprised when Derek comes into the diner. He looks around, sniffs the air (werewolves are so blatant about their abilities, it's ridiculous that they're still a secret to the world), and looks over at them.

"Shit," Stiles says. Under the table he flexes his hand, readying his magic.

"I don't think he's here to get you," Peter murmurs, though he seems as surprised as Stiles to see his nephew.

Derek walks over, hands loose at his sides. Peter slides over and Derek takes the invitation, sitting down across from Stiles. "Hey."

Stiles blinks. "Hey?" he says incredulously. "How'd you find me?"

Derek shrugs. "I followed Peter."

"Why are you here?" Stiles asks warily.

"Yes, please tell us before I commit bloody violence in public," Peter says mildly.

Derek… laughs. It's soft, but it's there. It makes the situation that much more bizarre. "I brought you some money. I figure… you're going to be on the run for awhile, and that's not cheap."

"Why would you help us, dear nephew?" Peter asks.

"It's creepy when you say things like 'dear nephew'," Stiles mutters.

Derek ignores him and answers Peter. "I don't agree with Deaton or Scott about this. I've read enough about magic to understand what's going on. Chaos magic isn't dark, not the way Deaton says. And it's… you're Stiles. I'm not going to let anything happen to you, not after everything else you've been through."

Coming from Derek, it's practically a speech.

"Do you want to come with us?" Stiles feels he has to ask. Stiles doesn't know if Peter feels like Derek is pack, but he's family, and Stiles knows how important family is.

But Derek shakes his head. "I think I'll go my own way for awhile. But… uh. Thanks for the invite." He gets up from the booth and puts two twenties on the table. "I already put the cash in your Jeep."

As he's walking away, Stiles stops him. Grabs his forearm and holds him in place. He squeezes, trying to put his gratitude into it. "Thanks, man."

Derek shrugs. The tips of his ears are pink. Stiles realizes Derek isn't used to thanks, either. What is it about the Hale men that just tugs at his heartstrings?

"Stay in touch," Derek says gruffly.

Stiles releases his arm and lets him walk away. Then he turns to Peter. "That was unexpected." They make their way out to the Jeep and Stiles opens the bag Derek left. He can't count it all. It's too much. "Holy shit."

Peter looks in the bag, rummages through it a little. "Looks like about a million."

"A million dollars?" Stiles says with a gasp.

Peter shrugs. "It's enough to get us started."

Stiles stares at him until Peter escorts him over to the passenger seat and buckles him in.

They don't stop for a hotel until Boise.

"Boise?" Stiles asks, incredulous.

Peter just shrugs. "No one would look for us here."

Damn him, he's right.

Stiles calls first dibs on a shower. He turns it on as hot as he can stand it and tries to scrub the anxiety away. Running away from Beacon Hills isn't something he ever wanted to do. He's not the sort to run away, and Beacon Hills is home. But it's that or kill Deaton, which he's not prepared to do. He knows Peter would, no problem, but Stiles would rather keep the murder count to a minimum.

There's an idea brewing in the back of his head, though. He knows how he could handle the druid. He just isn't powerful enough yet. Not precise enough to pull it off.

Stiles walks out into the hotel room with a towel wrapped around his waist. "You're up."

Peter doesn't hide his interest in Stiles's body, though he doesn't linger long. He must want a shower as much as Stiles did.

Stiles puts on a pair of boxers and slips under the covers of one of the beds. It's a double room, so they each have a bed of their own, but Stiles might sleep better if Peter was in his bed.

When Peter saunters out of the steamy bathroom, he doesn't even bother with a towel. Stiles rolls his eyes after a moment of looking. "Show off."

Peter smirks and puts on a pair of loose pants. He moves to get into the other bed but Stiles feels brave enough to pull back his own covers in invitation.

"Just to sleep," Stiles clarifies.

Peter smiles. "Of course." And then he slips under the covers with Stiles and pulls him close.

Stiles's heart feels like it's about to beat out of his chest, but he turns in Peter's arms so that he can tuck his head up under Peter's chin. Peter tightens his hold.

"Good?" Peter asks.

"Perfect," Stiles whispers.

They drive a lot. From town to town, state to state. Peter insists they put some money into repairs and Roscoe gets a bit of a fancy tune-up. Belts and hoses are replaced, even some of the wiring. It's worth it to be able to move around without breaking down constantly.

After about two months of moving constantly, Peter thinks it's safe enough to settle. At least for a week or two.

Stiles has been practicing his magic as well as he could on the run, but it's hard when there's no set place to rest.

Stiles calls his dad often. Peter texts Derek. Stiles thinks it's good they have more than just each other. Peter probably agrees but doesn't bring it up.

They sleep together every night, but that's all it is: sleep. They both want more but taking it slow and easy seems to be their silent, mutual agreement. They haven't so much as kissed, though. Sometimes Peter looks at him like he wants to kiss him. Stiles knows he looks back in just the same way. But so far? Nada.

They rent a house on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. There's an old barn on the property, and they work to clean it up so there's nothing cluttering up Stiles's practice space. He gets to work on his precision, though he doesn't tell Peter exactly what he's doing. He probably knows, anyway. To say Peter's pretty smart would be an understatement. Stiles likes that about him. He likes that Peter can keep up with the way his mind works, every twist and turn. It's thrilling at times.

Stiles also has a gift, now that he can control his magic. He just doesn't know how to give it to Peter. Doesn't know how he'll react, either.

They're eating dinner quietly when Peter says, "Something's on your mind."

Stiles looks up from his perfectly spiced chili con carne and smiles. "Can't hide anything from you." Peter tilts his head. Stiles sighs. "I've gotten pretty good at my precision with the chaos magic, and I was wondering if there was anything I could do for you. I can't… I can't send you anywhere, but you could get a peek. At the past, I mean. You could, um. You could see your family. If you wanted."

Peter goes still. He puts his spoon down and gives Stiles a long look. "I don't know if that's wise."

"I know it's… it's not the same as having people back. But… look, today I took a peek at my mom when I was little, before she got sick, and I saw things I'd forgotten… I forgot she had her hair dyed red when I was six, for about a month, and I forgot she had an herb garden she tried to keep going but ultimately failed at." Stiles pauses and blinks away the tears that threaten. "I never forgot the way she said my name but… I got to hear it again. And it was… amazing. So I wanted to give you something like that, too."

Peter's eyes are wide. He's vulnerable, like he only lets himself be with Stiles. It's another gift, and Stiles never knows what to do with it. Peter is quiet for almost too long, so long that Stiles is worried he's done the wrong thing in his offer. Then, he says, "Perhaps… you could show me something from our childhood. Before Talia became Alpha."

Stiles wraps his arms around Peter and holds on. "Anything you want."

Opening a window to another time is different than opening a door. They don't have to step through to have a peek, so it takes less power, though about the same amount of precision. Stiles is endlessly proud of himself. He doesn't think he could ever have the power to actually step through to another time, plus he's afraid what would happen if he ever could. But he can turn back the clock and look. Which is what he's already done once, with the scene of his mom and her herb garden. He does it again, concentrating the chaos magic and focusing on Peter's life. It's like following the thread of Peter's life, and he lets it wind back, back before adulthood, before his sister's adulthood, until they are just children running through the forest on pack lands.

Stiles recognizes the Preserve and feels an aching for it, a longing for home. He ignores it and focuses on widening the window so Peter can peek in with him.

"There," Stiles whispers. Peter looks and his indrawn breath is worth more to Stiles than any amount of magic in the world.

After half an hour, Stiles can't sustain the window anymore.

"I have to close it," he says. "I'm sorry." He turns to look at Peter and sees tears on his face. Stiles closes the window and wipes away the wetness at Peter's cheeks. Then he leans in and kisses him gently.

It's chaste and slow, and Peter only pulls away to rest his forehead against Stiles's. "Thank you."

Stiles smiles. He's worn out from exerting so much energy, but he feels it was worth it. "Any time."

Deaton finds them. Or at least, he's on his way to them. The chaos magic Stiles used to open windows to their past caused a ripple Deaton could feel, or so says Derek, who heard it from Malia, who heard it from Scott.

"Shit." Stiles knows that means they have to move again, and that he needs to be more careful with his magic.

"We could always just get rid of the problem," Peter says, and Stiles knows he would rather kill Deaton so they can go home than run away from the problem. Part of Stiles wants that, too. It isn't fair that they have to run. It isn't fair Stiles can't just be himself, magic and all, in his hometown.

Even though Deaton probably would have no trouble killing them at this point, he hasn't tried yet, and Stiles reasons that the druid doesn't deserve death. Not really. He has a plan he's working on, though. If Scott heard his plan, he'd probably be appalled. Good thing Scott isn't Stiles's moral compass anymore, and hasn't been in years.

"I don't need much longer," Stiles says quietly. He looks at Peter. "Don't worry. We'll go home one day."

Peter gives him a long look. "Sometimes home isn't a place."

Stiles flushes and looks down at his hands. It's as close as Peter's ever come to outright saying 'I love you'. "I know," he murmurs. When he looks up, Peter has turned away to pack.

Thousands of miles away, they settle again. This time, it's in a suburb, a loft over an old gym. The gym isn't in use, and the landlord gives them a key to it so they can 'work out'. Stiles is thrilled. When the sunlight shines through the windows, it's a much better space than the barn had been.

Peter finds a book about shielding chaos magic from druids, and from there on out, Stiles is free to do what he needs to do.

Derek visits. He's expected this time, so Stiles is able to find just the right point in time to show him, if he wants. The future is shaky and hard to see, but some things are important. He makes sure his workspace is shielded when he shows Derek a possible future. It's one of many, but Stiles picked this one in particular because it doesn't show too much, but will give Derek an idea of what could be.

In the future Stiles chooses for him, Derek's happy. Ridiculously happy. His smile is wide and bright, and there is silver in his beard and a child on his hip. Stiles isn't sure if the little girl is Derek's, and Derek doesn't know either, but there's no denying the happiness and love there.

Stiles only lets Derek see for about ten minutes. Stiles is getting better, but the future takes even more power than the past, and it's exhausting.

When the window is closed, Derek gives Stiles a hug. "Thank you," he whispers.

Stiles hugs back and hums. "Anytime, man. We're pack, right?"

Derek pulls back and gives him a bright smile. "Yeah."

Stiles spends a lot of time lately just sleeping. He's exhausted from all the training. Peter doesn't like it.

"You're running yourself ragged, darling."

"I have to be ready," Stiles tells him, extinguishing his black fire and turning to talk to Peter.

"You will be," Peter says. "But I think you should slow down. Deaton can't find you with the shielding up. We have time."

Stiles sighs. "We've been on the run for six months already. I want to go home. I'm already missing out on so much school-"

"You were ahead. You can go back and graduate with your friends." Peter sounds so reasonable.

"You think I'll be ready by then?" Stiles asks.

"You're so close," Peter says, coming close and wrapping his arms around Stiles. He nuzzles Stiles's temple. "I believe in you."

Stiles turns his arms until they're face to face. "What if I can't do it?"

Peter touches his cheek. "Then I kill him." Stiles rolls his eyes and then Peter smiles. "Come on. Let's take a break. Take a walk, maybe?"

"...Can we get fro-yo?" Stiles asks hopefully.

"Anything you want, sweetheart."

Stiles turns 18 away from home. He Skypes with his dad, but it's not the same.

Peter cooks his favorite foods for dinner, serves Stiles's favorite wine. That Stiles even has a favorite wine is down to Peter, though he's never been allowed to overindulge.

"What should we toast?" Peter asks, filing his own wine glass.

Stiles thinks of all the things he's thankful for, all the good things in his life. He smiles. "I think we should make it to us."

Peter's eyes soften and he lifts his glass. "To us, then."

"To us," Stiles murmurs, and never takes his eyes off Peter's face.

That night, Peter slides down Stiles's body and looks up at him, face inches away from Stiles's rapidly hardening dick.

"Are you asking permission?" Stiles squeaks. "Because… I'm so on board for this. Go for it."

Peter proceeds to suck Stiles's brains out through his dick.

After, Stiles is left wrung out and panting, and Peter just smirks.

"What about you?" Stiles manages to ask.

"Not tonight, darling. This was for you."

Stiles would argue but he's halfway to sleeping already. "Mm. K."

He falls asleep to soft laughter.

They underestimate how smart and resourceful Deaton can be.

It's the dead of night, and Peter hears him first. He wakes Stiles and whispers for him to stay in where he is. Then Peter prowls down the stairs to the gym area.

Deaton is waiting for him with a syringe.

Stiles freezes the entire building in time and makes his way down to see what's happening. He should have kept Peter upstairs, but the wolf wants to be the Big Bad. Stiles frowns when he sees how deftly Deaton captured Peter.

He can also feel Deaton working against his magic. Stiles needs to work faster.

For weeks he's been searching for the right place to put the druid. He didn't want Deaton to have to go somewhere bad, not a hell dimension or anything. Instead, Stiles found a similar dimension where Deaton died as a child. No paradoxes waiting to blow up in his face once he gets to where he's going…

And all Stiles has to do is open the door.

"Now or never," Stiles mutters to himself. He concentrates and opens the door to another dimension. It takes a lot of power. A lot of precision. But he does it. Every second of his training has been leading up to this point, and he manages to do it perfectly well on his first try.

Except Stiles isn't expecting someone else to be with Deaton, True Alpha backup just waiting to come to Deaton's rescue.

"Stiles, what did you do?" Scott says, running into the gym.

"Stay out of it," Stiles grinds out, pushing his shock away as he concentrates on pushing Deaton through the door.

"No!" Scott calls out, making a grab for Deaton. Stiles doesn't have a good choice at this point. He has to close the door, but Scott is halfway through it. It'll kill him if he gets caught in the rift.

"I'm sorry about this, man," Stiles says between gritted teeth. And then he uses what little magic he can spare to push Scott through the door before closing it on both him and Deaton.

The door closes. The light from the other dimension fades. Stiles gasps and falls back, right on his ass.

"Oh, shit. Oh shit, oh shit," Stiles mutters. He crawls over to where Peter is collapsed on the floor. He takes Peter's pulse with shaking fingers. It's there. Slow, but there. Stiles breathes out a sigh of relief. Deaton probably just wanted Peter out of the way and sedated. Probably sedated for a long while, if he wanted to transport Peter to Eichen House. Which, Stiles guesses, was probably the plan.

Stiles pets Peter's cheek and curls up next to him. "I did it," he whispers. He uses what magic he has left to burn the sedative out of Peter's bloodstream. By the time Peter's able to wrap his arms around him, Stiles is crying.

"Oh, sweetheart," Peter murmurs. "What happened?"

"Scott was with him," Stiles says. He sniffs and wipes his eyes. "It happened so fast."

Peter goes still for a moment, then goes back to rubbing Stiles's back. "Did you send Scott with Deaton?"

"He had a hold of him," Stiles says. "I couldn't pull him back without bringing Deaton with him. And I couldn't close the door on Scott without killing him. I don't want to kill anybody, but… what if sending Scott there with Deaton fucks something up? I don't even know how paradoxes work, it's all been guesswork!"

"Scott will be fine," Peter says.

Stiles swallows back a sob. "What do I… How do I explain this to Melissa?"

"Worry about that later," Peter tells him. He tilts Stiles's chin up so he's looking into Peter's eyes. "You did the right thing. You did the only thing you could."

Stiles nods and takes a breath. Then another, until it's easier. "I did."

"And now you can go home," Peter reminds him.

Stiles leans in and kisses Peter's lips, soft and gentle. "Sometimes home isn't just a place."

Peter helps Stiles up the stairs to their apartment over the gym. Stiles stumbles a little. He's too tired to pick his feet up all the way. It seems he's asleep by the time his head hits his pillow.

He wakes in the morning to Peter talking quietly on the phone.

"I don't know when," Peter says. "It took a lot out of him. He'll probably need to sleep all the spell exhaustion off. But I know he'll be eager to get back to Beacon Hills."

Stiles stretches and notices he's been stripped down to his boxers and a t-shirt. He feels refreshed, though when he tries to call the black fire, he only gets a little flicker of flame in his palm. He needs a lot more rest and time before he can try to do more than that.

"John, I'll let you know when we leave for California. Right now, Stiles needs his rest."

Stiles smiles at the ceiling. Seeing his dad again will be nice. Maybe by now he'll be more pleasant to Peter. Stiles closes his eyes and tries to imagine family dinners together, just the three of them. He wonders if it's possible or just wishful thinking.

Peter peeks into the bedroom and raises his eyebrows. "Okay, I need to go. I need to feed him and put him back to bed, because he's looking like he thinks he should get up."

Stiles makes grabby hands for the phone.

"Hold on, he wants to talk to you." Peter hands the phone over.

"Daddio!" Stiles says, or at least tries to say. He's caught off guard by the way it comes out half-slurred. "Wow, I'm more tired than I thought."

He can hear the smile in his father's voice. "Peter's been telling me about what happened. After all that, you should be sleeping."

"I will!" Stiles says. And yawns. "Don't worry, Dad. Peter's taking care of me."

His father is quiet for a long moment.

"Dad? Still there?"

"Yeah. Yes. I was just thinking. Peter's… still being good to you?"

Stiles looks up but Peter's presumably gone into the kitchen to cook Stiles some breakfast. Not that he can't hear everything Stiles says. "Always."

"Remember that thing I asked you about?" his dad asks. And Stiles remembers. His dad asked him if he loved Peter. And at the time, Stiles didn't have an answer.

"I remember. And I didn't know. And now… now I do." Stiles closes his eyes and smiles, imagining Peter's soft-eyed looks, his grins, his touch. "And yeah, it is. What you asked me about. It's that."

"Well, shit," his dad says with a deep sigh. "Now I can't shoot him."

Stiles laughs and yawns again. "I… I'm gonna go. I love you, Dad."

"Love you too, son."

Stiles ends the call and snuggles back down with Peter's pillow. He likes it best because it smells like him. It probably smells like both of them. He knows Peter likes that kind of thing.

He must doze a little, because the next time he opens his eyes Peter's there with a tray of food.

Stiles smiles and sits up. "Thanks," he says. "I'm starving."

"Exhausted, too." Peter sets the tray on Stiles's lap.

"Oh, you noticed that?" Stiles snarks before taking a large bite of fresh bagel with homemade raspberry cream cheese. "Mm. Issogood!" There's melon on the tray as well, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Frozen grapes, because they're Stiles's favorites. Stiles pats the bed next to him and urges Peter to sit with him.

Peter lies down beside him, pressed tight against his side. "I'm glad you like it." He turns his face into Stiles's neck and breathes in deeply. It makes Stiles smile. But then Peter says, "I'm going to miss this."

Stiles frowns and pauses with a grape halfway to his mouth. "Miss what?"

"Lying in bed with you. Being close like this."

Stiles doesn't understand at first. But then it clicks. "Peter, I'm totally moving in with you when we get back to Beacon Hills."

Peter blinks at him. "But… your father…"

Stiles kisses his furrowed brow. "You let me worry about Dad." Peter still looks concerned, though.

"You should graduate before you move in," Peter says. "And I'm going to find a better place for us."

"I love your apartment," Stiles says. "You don't have to do that."

Peter smiles. "I let the lease go. I had no idea how long we'd be away."

"Oh, right. I guess it was dumb to think the apartment would just be waiting."

"I put my things in storage before I followed you," Peter says.

"You must have moved fast," Stiles says. "You found me pretty quick."

"I didn't have much to store," Peter says. "Just some books, mostly. I hadn't started collecting furniture again."

Stiles frowns. "But you had furniture."

Peter waves a hand. "Nothing important. I like to collect antiques, though. Our new house will be decorated properly."

Stiles huffs a laugh. "Don't trust me around antiques. I'm liable to break everything."

"It'll be fine. Better than fine," Peter says, and when Stiles looks at him again he's smiling wide. "What style houses do you prefer?"

"Um... the kind you live in?"

Peter laughs. "We'll figure it out."

"I like seeing you this happy," Stiles says, and yawns.

"Eat a bit more before you fall back to sleep, darling," Peter says gently.

Stiles rolls his eyes and finishes off his bagel. It's so good. He thinks chewing it makes him more tired, though.

"Drink your juice and you can sleep," Peter cajoles.

"I need the bathroom," Stiles says, and takes a sip of the juice. "Wow, this is good." He finishes the juice, takes a quick trip to the bathroom, and then he's back in bed, Peter cuddled beside him.

"Rest, darling."

Stiles yawns, barely able to keep his eyes open. "Don't let me sleep all day."

"You'll sleep as long as you need."

Stiles wants to argue, but he's tired. He's amused by this side of Peter, though. He closes his eyes and imagines what Peter would be like if Stiles ever got the flu.

He falls asleep quickly, a smile on his face.

Altogether, Stiles is in bed for two days. When his magic comes back, though, he feels more powerful than ever.

They're in a motel right outside of Beacon Hills. They'll go home tomorrow. For tonight, they've decided to stay here and spend some time together. Time they soon might not have.

Yes, Stiles is moving in with Peter. But after he graduates high school, months away. They won't have times like this often, when they can relax in bed, skin touching skin, fingers tangled together. And Stiles won't just be able to tilt his head up for a kiss at any time. He's become spoiled, he guesses. Maybe both of them are now.

"I'm going to take a shower," Stiles says, and hopes he isn't too unsubtle about why.

Peter nods. "Do you want me to get you something from the diner across the street?"

"BLT and a chocolate shake?" Stiles asks.

Peter smiles. "Not a problem. I'll be back in a bit." He kisses Stiles's forehead and slips out the door.

Stiles lets out a shaky breath. Nerves. He's totally jumping Peter tonight when he gets back, though.

Hotel soap will have to do. He showers with the water hot as he can stand, scrubs himself as good as he possibly can. He's clean everywhere. Everywhere.

He's naked with the sheet artfully arranged over his lap when Peter comes back from the diner. Peter stops in the doorway. Just stops, staring. And then he grins and kicks the door closed without looking. He puts the food down on the table by the door and then stalks over to the bed.

"Is all this for me?" he murmurs.

Stiles squirms. He's still a little damp from the shower, and hot from the water, so he knows he's pink all over. He hopes it's an attractive look. Peter hasn't looked away since he opened the door, so maybe so.

Peter sits on the edge of the bed and puts his hand on Stiles's thigh through the sheet. "You're nervous."

"I want this," Stiles is quick to assure him. "I just… I've never… done what I want to do."

Peter raises his eyebrows. The corner of his mouth twitches up into a smile. "And what do you want to do, darling?" Of course Peter will tease him now. Of course.

"I think you know," Stiles says dryly.

"I want to hear you say it," Peter says. It's more than just a challenge. Peter wants explicit consent, and Stiles feels warm that he knows his wolf well enough that he understands that.

Stiles reaches out and pulls Peter in until they're nose to nose. Stiles is close enough to breathe Peter's breath. Almost too close to look into his eyes. But just how he wants to be. He whispers, "I want you to fuck me, Peter."

Peter must have been expecting it, but his breath catches at the words anyway. And then he kisses him, so deep and hungry Stiles is left panting, stunned by the intensity. Peter lays him out and pulls the sheet back. For a long moment he does nothing but look his fill. Stiles squirms, not used to the scrutiny. But then Peter puts his mouth on him.

Peter starts with Stiles's chest, then drags his lips down to a new spot. Over and over he does this, bypassing Stiles's nipples even though they're in stiff peaks. It takes awhile to figure out what Peter's doing. Then…

"Are you kissing my moles?"

Peter hums and licks another. "Tasting them, yes. Something I've wanted to do since I figured out you had them all over."

Stiles isn't sure what the proper reaction to that is. "Um. Okay?"

Peter laughs and rubs his cheek against Stiles's belly. Peter's scruff tickles and makes Stiles laugh with him.

"I really… I just…" Stiles says, overcome with emotion.

Peter picks his head up and meets his eyes. "What, darling?"

"I really just love you," Stiles murmurs. He reaches out and runs his fingers through Peter's hair.

Peter leans into the touch, though his eyes are wide. "I love you, too."

Stiles grins. His heart feels overflowing. "You gonna show me, wolf?"

Peter gives a playful growl and kisses down his neck, nipping at his shoulder. Stiles shivers. Peter's hands are everywhere now, and all Stiles can do is hold on.

"You smell like hotel soap," Peter complains. Stiles laughs.

"At least I'm clean. Um. Everywhere."

"Yeah?" Peter asks, sliding down Stiles's body. "Everywhere?"

Stiles can't help but blush. "Yeah. I didn't want anything to be gross."

Peter's eyes glow blue. "You want the big bad wolf to eat you up?"

It should be silly. Corny. But damn, the way Peter says it, the timbre of his voice and the glow of his eyes... it's hot. And Stiles wants him everywhere, in every way. He nods quickly.

"Roll over, sweetheart."

Stiles's heart pounds like thunder in his chest as he obeys.

"You have a beautiful ass," Peter murmurs. Then he parts Stiles's cheeks and licks over his perineum and hole. It's a shock, at first, and Stiles's instinct is to wriggle away. But he holds himself still, because Peter makes a delighted noise, almost a purr. "Perfect. Hold still for me, darling."

And then Peter proceeds to lick until Stiles is pushing back, wanting more. Peter doesn't leave him wanting for long. He slowly opens Stiles up with his tongue and his fingers. Stiles can't help the soft whimpers he makes, and he can't hold still after a while. It's too much. It feels too good.

Peter pulls back and Stiles whines. He's so ready, he thinks, but he's still got some higher brain functions. He grabs the bottle of lube from under his pillow and tosses it to Peter.

Peter's lightning-fast reflexes come in handy, because the lube nearly hits him in the eye.

"Sorry," Stiles says with a giddy smile. "I'm enthusiastic."

Peter looks at the lube bottle for a moment, and it seems to pass inspection. When he looks back at Stiles his eyes are hungry. Stiles's breath catches and he almost forgets what he was going to say.

"What is it, sweetheart?" Peter asks.

Stiles clears his throat. "Stretch me out like this but… I want to be on my back when you fuck me." Peter looks like he's going to argue so Stiles continues. "Please. I want to see you. If I'm stretched enough it should be okay, right?"

"Alright," Peter says, and Stiles turns to hide his smile in the pillow.

Stiles is a mix of giddy and nervous. His body gives a shiver every now and then to remind him of it, as if he could forget. But every touch Peter gives him, every time he uses his tongue, everything — it all feels incredible. He knows Peter won't let anything go wrong. He trusts him… completely.

"You're thinking too much," Peter murmurs, running his hands down Stiles's back. "Relax."

Stiles takes some deep breaths and Peter moves a pillow under his hips. He feels like he's on display now.

"Don't worry, darling. I like what I see," Peter says, like he's reading Stiles's mind.

Peter's fingers are thick, thicker than Stiles's own. Being stretched out like this hurts a little, but feels good at the same time. Stiles finds himself breathing deep, trying to relax into the stretch, and Peter keeps praising him for it. Something about Peter's words makes Stiles that much harder, and of course Peter can smell him dripping precome.

"There you go, sweetheart." Peter twists his fingers and presses against his prostate. Stiles cries out. It feels incredible. How much better will it feel when it's Peter's cock?

"Please," Stiles whines.

"Soon," Peter promises, kissing the base of Stiles's spine. "Be patient."

"But I want you now," Stiles tells him. Even his magic wants Peter. Stiles can feel it buzzing under his skin.

"I know you do," Peter rumbles. After a few more pumps of his fingers he finally says, "Roll over."

Stiles does so quickly, then he can look his fill. "When did you take your clothes off?"

Peter smirks but doesn't tell him. Instead, he settles between Stiles's legs and readjusts the pillow beneath his hips. Peter is over-warm, like always, and Stiles loves it. He can't get enough of Peter's heat, of the feel of his skin. Now they're naked together, and Stiles can feel every inch of him. Well. Almost every inch.

Stiles smiles up at him. "Fuck me."

Peter gives him a long, deep kiss before slicking his cock with lube. Then he's pressing the head against Stiles's hole, pushing in, and Stiles sighs with pleasure.

"More," Stiles begs, and Peter gives it to him, sliding in slowly, watching his face. Peter's cock is thick, filling him up just right. Stiles moans loudly at the feel of it.

"I knew you'd be perfect for me," Peter says. His eyes are glowing blue, and Stiles catches a hint of fang in his mouth.

Stiles tightens around him once he's used to the fullness. "Fuck me," he says again, and this time Peter does.
It's not long before they're both panting, Peter rocking into him rhythmically, Stiles crying out when he hits the right spot. Stiles's legs get repositioned to Peter's shoulders, and when the angle deepens, he loses the ability to speak. All he can do is take it, basking in the pleasure.

"Yes, perfect, mine," Peter growls, and then his strokes become erratic and all he can do is make low, animal noises that make Stiles climb even higher.

Stiles reaches between them and strokes his cock hard and fast. It doesn't take long before he comes.

The smell of Stiles's come must do something to Peter because his face shifts and he growls. He slams into Stiles's body. Once, twice, and then the third time he stills and empties himself with a short howl of triumph.

Stiles doesn't want to leave the motel, but at the same time he's eager to see his dad again. So they get in the Jeep and drive into Beacon Hills.

They hold hands up the sidewalk to the house. Peter's invited inside when it's time to go in. And he's invited to stay — in the guest room — until he finds a new place to live.

Stiles's dad takes the news that his son is moving out after graduation with grace. He's a little concerned that Stiles doesn't want to go to college right away, though.

"I've spent too much time away from home lately," Stiles explains. "A gap year won't hurt anything."

Stiles's dad goes with him when it's time to explain to Melissa what happened. Peter stays away, everyone agreeing it would do more harm than good. Melissa still takes it hard, says she can't look at Stiles right then. Stiles's father says he'll talk to her again later about it, see if she can at least accept it.

Stiles doesn't know how the pack will take it, but thankfully, Derek comes back to town — an Alpha again — and basically adopts the strays.

"Are you okay with your nephew being your Alpha?" Stiles asks Peter.

Peter nuzzles Stiles's neck. "It's a better option than I had before. And at least he's family."

He and Derek work together now, and they've gotten close again. Peter has a firm place in the pack, and Derek listens to him when he needs to. They still fight every now and then, but it's nothing like before.

Derek asks Stiles to be his pack's emissary. Stiles is struck speechless at first, but then he quickly agrees.

Peter ends up buying Stiles's dream house after all, and Stiles moves in the day he graduates as salutatorian. Lydia beats him out of the top spot, of course. Still, Stiles thinks it's not too shabby the way he kept up with everything while away.

They get a cat from the animal rescue shelter. His name is Eugene. He tolerates Stiles petting him occasionally, and adores Peter. It's hilarious.

Stiles tries to get Scott back. He really does. He just can't even see into that dimension anymore. He doesn't know why, doesn't know if it's because of something Deaton is doing or if it's the universe's way of saying Scott shouldn't come back. He keeps that last thought to himself.

Sometimes, now and then, a new threat pops its head up in town, but everyone works together to get rid of it. Mostly, Beacon Hills quiets down and gives them a little peace. Peter says they've earned it. Stiles smiles, gives Peter a kiss, and agrees.