Most of the pack is already in the car park, having thundered down the stairs from Derek’s loft. Stiles can vaguely hear Scott shouting something before the heavy fire escape door slams shut, laughter clear in his voice. Derek’s door is closed, and Stiles assumes he’s already in the shower, drowning out as much noise as physically possible. Stiles is frozen in the corridor, Peter’s hand curled around his upper arm, his nose nudging behind Stiles’s ear.
What Stiles should do is shake Peter’s hand off, lash out with an elbow to Peter’s solar plexus. He doesn’t. Leans back into the ridiculous warmth Peter puts out, tilts his neck so the older man has more access. It’s sinful, how soft Peter’s lips are, pressed against his skin. He’s never minded the texture of the burn scars scattered across Peter’s body, either. He’d enjoyed running his hands and lips over them, which is definitely not something Stiles should be reminiscing about with Peter pressing up against his back. And then,
“We all know you have favourites, Stiles.” Peter says, too low to be heard by Derek upstairs, not over the water and the clanking of the elevator working its way down the building, Lydia encased inside.
“Not you.” Stiles replies, finally pulling himself free of Peter, heading towards the stairs, refusing to look back, even as Peter’s laugh echoes down the stairwell after him.
Stiles figures he should probably stop joking about which pack member would make the best familiar - the jokes about favouritism have clearly gone too far. Clearly, he’s going to have to think of new jokes whenever his job application gets bounced because it wasn’t delivered in an ‘appropriate manner.’
Stiles hates birds, okay? He’s not gonna get a raven just to send off his CV. Not even if that means getting a job.
...Okay, maybe he’s considering renting one - but that’s it. No familiars for this Spark.
No jobs, either.
Stiles is elbow deep in rosin and bone and naturally died and hand spun wool when his phone buzzes. He’s converted the basement of his dad’s home into his workshop, so he can at least earn some money from commissions while he mooches from his dad while job searching. He could have tried to get a job at a some fast food place in town, but when he was sixteen he’d had standards, or something.
And now, he’s too old to be hired, because why hire someone who’d almost twenty three when there are teenagers to underpay instead.
He’s too deep into the zone to pay attention to anything but the charm he’s carving, slowly taking shape beneath his hands. His apprenticeship with Deaton apparently wasn’t good for securing employment, but he sure picked up a thing or seventy.
It’s only after he’s set the finished charm aside, and cleaned up in the stainless steel tub his mother used to use for tie dying, that he grabs his phone. A couple notifications from some job seeking websites, some channels he’s subscribed to, and - two messages from Peter. Stiles locks his phone, shoves it into his pocket, takes three steps across the basement, grabs his phone and throws himself into his work chair with a heartfelt groan. Stiles runs a hand through his hair, leg jumping restlessly, as he flicks his drop down menu up and down with his thumb.
[2 new messages]
He opens them. That was never really in doubt, is the worst thing. The first message has a book recommendation, and the second is a picture of Peter, hair wet, foggy bathroom mirror distorting enough of Peter’s body that’s it’s an excruciating tease. Stiles checks the time - one thirty seven on a Wednesday afternoon. Stiles worked through lunch by accident again but, more importantly, Malia’s still at school. His dad’s still at work.
Stiles should really close his phone, and ignore Peter for the rest of forever. It’s the same thought he has every time Peter texts him, and it feels more like habit than anything at this point. Like something he should think, rather than what he actually thinks. It’s a moot point anyway. He ignores the thought in the same way he should be ignoring Peter.
He scrolls up, through the string of pictures both sent and received. He can pinpoint when this all started, but a half drunken - barely tipsy, if he’s being honest - hook up after he’d finished his apprenticeship doesn’t explain what the fuck he thinks he’s doing now .
Apart from tapping the call icon, that is.
It rings twice, before Peter picks up.
“Took you long enough.” He complains mildly, and Stiles rolls his eyes, free hand already inching closer to his crotch.
“What makes you think I was gonna call?” It’s hard to sound appropriately offended when he can tell Peter’s already got him on speaker phone, can hear the rustling of what’s hopefully Peter’s clothes.
“You always do, Stiles.” Smug bastard, Stiles thinks, even as he pops the button on his fly.
He’s lazing on the couch, after a long shower where he pretended to feel bad about phone sex with Peter and actually just got off again, when he checks on his other notifications. Technomages have dragged most of the magical community into the age of technology, thankfully, otherwise Stiles would probably have to install some sort of fire pit or water feature to keep updated with the community. And get a fucking bird.
Instead, there’s the internet.
Stiles isn’t really expecting much from the job websites. Most job openings are conveyed by word of mouth, and filled by sheer nepotism usually. The world of wix and enchanters and magically capable beings in insular, and Stiles’s apprenticeship with a druid who runs a veterinary practice had not helped him form many useful connections. Not that the people he’d met and trained with under Deaton weren’t useful, they just can’t help him to get a job in the industry he’d like.
But if he ever wants to become a scuba diving instructor or a bail bonds person, he knows who to go to. God Deaton has weird friends. Weird, but good, and amazingly knowledgeable in their fields - both mundane and magical.
He’s barely paying attention when he clicks the link, but the business name just under the job title secures his attention instantly. Dark Oak Designs. They’re one of the best companies, and Stiles has wanted to work for them from the first time he tripped over their website. They dabble in the regular things - finder runestones for perpetually lost keys and pens, ward charms, protection spells. The rest of what they do is amazing, and covers an area of things Stiles had never even thought of applying magic to - assistive technology.
Prosthetics which have been grown and hand carved and charmed, and interface seamlessly with the body. Charmed walking frames and sticks and stim toys. Braille translators. Personalised hand grips. Medication dispensers which literally remind you to take them. Half of Stiles’ commissions come from ideas he had while skimming their page, little gaps he’s seen and knew he could fill.
He’s currently half way through woven hand wraps for a hag with rheumatoid arthritis! This is literally the perfect job for him - if he can get it, that is.
We are seeking a reliable, passionate individual to join our hardworking team, based in northern Beacon County, California. Successful applicants must have experience with -
- Rune work
- Spells and rituals of all kinds
- Working in a team environment
- The ability to think outside the box!
We have been a small family run business since 1628, and are hoping to hire someone who understands the importance of family values in this modern world.
Please send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
All applications are private and confidential.
It’s during a pack meeting that he gets the email. Stiles should be listening to Jackson, and he absolutely was, until he felt his phone vibrate against his leg. It’s been a fortnight since he sent out his CV, and a cover letter that he agonised over for a two days before slamming it out in a frenzy of anxiety induced delirium. He’d sent it before he was able to second guess himself, and has been agonising ever since.
The string of lewd pictures exchanged with Peter has increased exponentially, and if Stiles doesn’t think of how many times he’s come with Peter’s voice in his ear over the last two weeks, then he doesn’t have to deal with it.
The number on his screen doesn’t have a contact attached to it, and Stiles comes horrendously close to not answering, before his thumb slides right, and he puts it to his ear.
“Stiles Stilinski speaking,” He says, in his most professional voice, sticking his tongue out at Jackson when the wolf makes a face at interrupting him.
“Hello Mr. Stilinski, this is Julia Baccari, from Dark Oak Designs.” The voice introduces herself, and Stiles thinks he might be about to faint with shock. His heart probably does something funky, too, cause every pack member with supernatural hearing is staring at him now.
“Hi!” He manages to squeak out, voice only an octave or seven above what it usually is.
“We were wondering if you’d like to come up for an interview with us, at the start of next week?”
“Yes. Absolutely, yes, I’d love to come in and be interviewed by you Ms. Baccari, definitely, that’s something I want, for sure.” Stiles snaps his teeth together, restraining even more words that want to blurt out and say the same thing again and again, in infinite combinations. Peter, from across the room, smirks at him.
“I’m pleased to hear it.” She’s laughing at him. He can tell. “How does next Monday at ten work for you?” She asks, and Stiles can feel his head nodding enthusiastically for a few seconds before his mouth kicks back into gear.
“That’s perfect for me, actually.” Perfect because he doesn’t do anything with his life except for commissions and pack stuff, but she doesn’t need to know that. “Can’t wait.”
“Excellent. Is it alright if I text you the address?”
“Wonderful. I’ll see you then, Mr. Stilinski.”
“Yes. Yes you will. See you then! Bye!”
It’s not a secured job, but it’s an interview, and that’s better than he’s had for months. And with Dark Oak Designs .
“Congrats on the interview!” Scott says, twisting his body over the back of the couch to give Stiles a celebratory thump on the back. Laura jumps the couch to pull him into a headlock that he taps out of as quickly as possible, but thankfully the rest of the pack are lazy enough that all they do is verbally congratulate him. He probably won’t be able to escape a whole pack stacks on if he gets the job. His entire body winces at the thought of it, but it’ll be worth it if he gets the job.
He’d sacrifice at least three pack members for that job, swear to gods.
Malia bounces over to him, from where she’d been sprawled on the floor at her father’s feet, smashing some dolls together in what looked like a brutal MMA match. Before he’d gotten the call, Stiles had watched her lead her werewolf monster doll to victory over Eye Doctor Barbie and Astronaut Barbie. Stiles’s old Cobra Commander action figure was lurking by Peter’s feet, probably for the inevitable boss fight once she laid out Gabby Douglas Barbie. Okay, so maybe Stiles hadn’t actually been paying too much attention to Jackson.
“What’s up?” She asks, stopping her speedy little body by slamming into Stiles’ legs. He winces, but she remains as unconcerned as usual. That’s what happens when you’re a kid with super healing, he guesses.
“I got an interview.”
“Okay. Like when Dad visits my teacher?”
“Cool. Wanna play?” She asks, eyes suddenly huge. At age seven, Malia has absolutely perfected puppy dog eyes. She’s also one of the most mercenary kids Stiles has ever met, a fat of which he greatly approves. The first moment of active inattention, and she’d zoomed over to ensnare him in her games.
“Sure.” Not that he needs much prodding to abandon the ‘serious’ pack meeting. It’s a gorgeous Saturday morning, and he’d much rather be playing tag, even if it was with a bunch of supernatural cheats, than listen to everybody report that things were fine. As usual. Nothing supernaturally bad had happened in Beacon Hills since most of the were inducted into the world of what goes bump in the night.
Most, but not all, which is an important distinction. Danny and Lydia, neither being fully human, had apparently always known. Something which Stiles still gleefully teases Jackson about - being the last person in the know is something he can certifiably hold over his friends head for the rest of their lives.
And yet, Laura insists on having everyone give their reports before they can get to the fun stuff - running through Hale lands, and then a pack barbeque where a frankly ridiculous amount of meat is consumed. Stiles grumbles, and usually doesn’t pay attention, but he turns up early enough to throw his own ‘all clear’ into the mix, and Laura lets him get away with playing Avengers Academy on his phone most of the time.
For someone who’d driven into town a ball of furious Alpha rage - and completely terrified teenage Stiles - Laura’s a pretty cool Alpha. Stiles doesn’t even want to imagine what would have happened if the small but mighty Hale pack hadn’t swooped in to save the day, disposing with the rogue Alpha and dealing with the Argents.
Stiles might’ve have to deal with Victoria and Chris and - no. No, thank you. He’s had to see them semi-regularly over the past six years because of Allison, and they still give him the heebie-jeebies. And if Allison says she isn’t laughing at him, she’s lying through her teeth.
Most of them are laughing at him now, but that’s more to do with his amusing portrayal of Gabby Douglas and Cobra Commander, Lords of Doom, than his completely reasonable fear of Allison’s parents.
He’s especially proud of his dramatic reaction when Malia decides that the Gabby Douglas Barbie had been good the whole time, and joins forces with her Monster High Doll. With Howleen Wolf. There’s really no point pretending he isn’t aware of the names of Malia’s dolls, at this point.
And if, sprawled out with Malia, he’s close enough to Peter that his enthusiastic playing means he knocks into the other man’s legs…
What. A. Coincidence.
Stiles stumbles out of the cafe his interview had been in, a full half an hour after Ms. Baccari - Julia - had left. He’s sure he looks unhinged, eyes too wide, hair on end, fingers clenching and unclenching around the bag he’d brought, full of examples of his projects. The early November wind whips at his face, but he can’t quite bring himself to blink.
He got the job.
He got the fucking job .
Offered the position, on the spot.
This is some sort of dream, or hallucination, or - worst nightmare, really. Because he got the job, but-
“Scotty!! Open up!” Stiles shouts, frantic, fist hammering at Scott’s door. He knows his friend’s schedules, knows that there are currently three whole sentient beings lurking behind the closed door right at this moment. He doesn’t care if they’re literally right in the middle of fucking - which they probably are, given the time. Stiles is so far past caring about accidentally seeing three of his pack mates rolling around naked. He got over that literally years ago, and right now all he wants is for someone to open the fucking-
“Hey, what’s wrong?” Scott’s opening the door, ushering him in, a towel wrapped around his hips. Isaac and Allison are moving over from the corner of the studio which serves as their bedroom, Allison in Scott’s terry cloth bathrobe, and Isaac literally draped in the top sheet like a toga, even though Stiles can see his sweatpants right there .
Stiles can’t even bring himself to call the man on it though, because Isaac’s got that little frowny face going on which means he’s legitimately concerned, and he should be, because Stiles is literally the biggest fuck up.
Scott pushes him into the soft couch they’d found on the side of the road two years ago, and heads off into the kitchenette, while Allison curls into Stiles’ side, and Isaac retreats back over to the bed and grabs the huge doona off the floor. He throws it onto Stiles, completely obscuring him from the world for a few seconds, before Allison starts to fiddle with it.
“Just leave me in the dark where I belong.” Stiles moans, gripping the thick fabric and plastering it to his face.
“Stiles,” Allison says, the intonation of her voice too close for comfort. There’s a faint smile lurking around the edge of her mouth when Stiles lets her pull the blanket away, stopping his plan of death by suffocation before it can come to fruition.
“Here we go!” Scott’s voice is muffled, four forks dangling from between his teeth and, in one hand-
“Is that homemade Tres Leches cake?” He asks, and Scott beams wider than should be possible, with forks literally clenched between his teeth. He makes an affirmative sound and, after Isaac grabs the spoons, he wiggles the jar in his other hand.
“And cajeta.” Stiles reaches his arms out from the blanket, and makes grabby hands, while Isaac runs to grab a few plates from the kitchen before Stiles manages to single handedly devour both the cake and the caramel sauce. It’s entirely possible, seeing as by the time the taller man gets back, Stiles has already shoved three forkfuls of the cake into his mouth, and is eyeing the sauce.
“Did I disassociate while under the blanket, cause I swear I’ve only been here a few minutes.” Scott sits next to him, and Isaac squishes in at the end. The blanket gets shared between all four of them, and Stiles reluctantly loosens his grip on the cake platter in exchange for a plate.
“Nah, we figured you’d come here sooner or later. This was either gonna be a ‘congrats surprise,’ or an ‘our condolences surprise.’” Scott says, passing the cajeta down to Isaac because he’s a terrible best friend who plays favourites.
“Sucks you bombed the interview.” Isaac says, reaching around Scott to runs a hand through Stiles’ hair, knuckles rubbing into his scalp soothingly.
“Ha ha, funny thing, actually…” Stiles says, and his right shoulder is immediately grabbed by Allison in a grip comparable to Scott’s. Stiles has no doubt that she could absolutely bench press him.
“The interview went fine!?” She’s grinning at him, and maybe he should be a bit offended at how surprised Allison is. Then again, he did just try to break down the door and smother himself via blanket, so he can see where she’s coming from.
“Yeah. Really good, actually.”
“Cool. So the doom and gloom. Did you fuck Peter aga-” Isaac’s cut off with an elbow from Scott.
“You told them?” Stiles’ only regret about the shrill noise that erupts from his mouth, is that he loses tiny chunks of delicious, delicious cake as he does so. “What about the Bro Code, Scotty? Doesn’t that mean anything to you? I told you that in confidence, and you just blab it to Allison and Isaac?”
“Calm down, Stiles, Scott didn’t tell us.” Allison flicks his ear, and Stiles turns his narrowed glare away from his amused looking best friend. It’s almost like a decade and a half friendship has rendered him immune to Stiles’ many and varied antics.
“Yeah, it’s real obvious. Everyone knows.” Isaac interjects, and Stiles sinks back into the lounge, resisting the urge to pull the doona over his head only because it’d ruin the cake in his lap. He’d kind of known that everyone knew about his… indiscretion with Peter, cause the pack is full of nosy bastards with stupid senses. But it’d been nice to pretend for a couple of months.
“And we’re totally here for you bro. Whatever you decide to do with Peter. Even though he is a bit sketchy sometimes.” Stiles groans, and throws an arm over his face. He can still feel Scott’s bro-moment grin, which he usually loves, but right now it’s the worst because he’s still gotta fess up to what’s actually wrong.
“And old.” Isaac pipes up, and Stiles makes a face. He’s not that old. Like, almost 13 years isn’t much of an age gap once you’re in your twenties. Not that it matters, because this isn’t even this issue. And he doesn’t want to date Peter. No matter what he may or may not have confessed to Scott at one point under the influence of too much alcohol.
“And how he totally murdered my aunt that one time.”
“That was justified.” Stiles mumbles at Allison, and he can feel her shrug, where she’s pressed up against him. “And Laura helped. And your parents.”
“The point stands.” Fair enough.
“That’s not the issue here, guys.” Stiles finally admits, letting his arm flop off his face, barely avoiding his cake covered plate. All three are silent as he picks up his fork and shifts the cake around on his plate, smearing the cajeta all over it, to make one ridiculously sweet mass.
“So. I got the job. Confirmed, I got the job. She offered it to me at the end of the interview, and I accepted.” In the second’s pause where Stiles takes a breath, there are three ridiculously loud screams of congratulations . And then he continues,
“The interview went okay. She really loved what I showed her. The arthritis wraps, and the protection charms, and everything. But then we started talking about the company itself, and how family oriented they are, and how family means so much, and she was talking about her wife and kids and what was I supposed to do? I want this job so much, you don’t even know-” Stiles cuts himself off, dropping his head back onto the couch, staring at the ceiling. Ignoring Allison’s deadpan ‘ we know. ’
“Stilinski, what the fuck did you do?” Isaac asks, half hanging on Scott in order to lean closer. Stiles supposes it speaks to their years long friendship that Isaac sounds amused, rather than concerned, but it doesn’t mean he has to like it. God, Jackson’s gonna laugh his ass off. Stiles heaves a sigh, and digs in his pocket for his phone. Drawing it out, he pulls up his photos and turns his phone around.
“Meet my partner, Peter, and our daughter Malia. We’re just the happiest family ever. I love my family, because I am a family man who understands family values.” Stiles says, in the flatest voice he can manage.
There are a few seconds of silence, as the magnitude of the lie he’s told sinks in. And then,
Loud, boisterous laughter from Allison and Isaac.
Scott, best bro that he is, bites his lip to keep from joining them.
“At least you didn’t use a stock picture?” He offers, trying to look on the bright side. It’s not appreciated. Stiles throws his phone onto the carpet and shoves the cake-sauce amalgamation into his mouth, sinking down into the couch for the start of a proper sulk. Why the fuck does he do this to himself. He didn’t have to lie to his potential employer. He could have just let his body of work and CV speak for itself. But he’d wanted the job so much, he hadn’t thought through literally any of the ramifications of his actions.
And now, he had the job, and his boss thought he was in a committed relationship with the man he’d slept with once and then ghosted for a solid month, and they were raising a seven year old together.
Why anyone trusted him to make adult decisions, Stiles didn’t know.
“Okay but what the fuck am I gonna do?” Is the question that’s been bouncing around Stiles’ brain ever since the lie popped out, completely without authorisation from his brain. ‘I’ve got a little girl myself,’ he’d said, reaching for his phone to show her, before acting abashed. ‘Sorry, that’s probably super inappropriate for a job interview.’ She’d taken the bait almost before he’d finished demurring, asking what Malia’s name was, how old she was, what things she liked.
“Is there any reason your boss is ever gonna meet Peter or Malia?” Allison asks, scraping the last dregs of cajeta from the jar. Stiles eyes it mournfully. If he’d waited until after dessert time that he was bemoaning his own stupidity, he could’ve made a successful bid for the last of it. As it was, Allison had won the wrestling match between them fair and square. If you can count actual muscle instead of noodle arms fair, that is.
“The shop’s located north of Beacon Hills, so probably not. But it’s a small supernatural community in Beacon County, so there’s always a chance.”
“Tell Peter, so he knows to fake it if somebody asks.” Isaac suggests, and Stiles glares at him.
“I’m not going to tell Peter .”
“He’d do it.” Scott chimes in, gathering the plates together, disgustingly mobile for the amount of tres leches he’d had. Unlike Stiles, who probably won’t be able to move for a week. Good thing the couch is comfy.
“It’s a stupid idea.” Stiles grumbles.
“It’s a stupid lie.” Allison replies sweetly. Stiles groans again, flailing limply until he’s able to roll himself off the couch and onto the floor, near his phone. It’s definitely time for him to go and do the grocery shopping before his dad gets home and tries to come with, and sneak things into the cart like Stiles could possibly ignore the fatty cuts of meat.
“Urrrrrrrggh.” He finally says in response, hand loosely clenched around his phone. Scotty, awesome bro that he is, helps Stiles up off the floor. He’s still in the towel, like Isaac’s still in the sheet, and it makes his entire angst fest feel a little bit ridiculous. At least the dressing gown is sensible.
“Sorry there’s no leftovers.” He says, as though Stiles has been able to look forward to any leftovers in the past six years, when all his friends became superhuman metabolism factories with the constant need to feed.
“Thanks for letting me interrupt your sex morning.”
“Anytime, bro.” Their manly bro hug is interrupted by Isaac, from the kitchen,
“He’s lying, don’t ever interrupt our shared morning off again, Stilinski.”
He’s closing the door behind him when he hears a voice -
“Don’t know what his problem is anyway. Peter’s so fucking in love with him it’s not funny.” It’s Isaac of course, because the man doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut, and Stiles takes the stairs with a frown on his face.
It’s a ridiculous statement, and Stiles is gonna forget he ever heard it, cause it’s as much of a lie as the whopper Stiles’ had told Julia Baccari.
His phone vibrates in his hand before he gets to the bottom of the stairwell.
How’d the interview go?
Which is a perfectly acceptable thing to ask a friend and/or packmate who’d just had an important job interview. Definitely nothing romantic or loving about it.
am now gainfully employed!!!
*heart eyes emoji* *party popper emoji*
Peter’s not in love with him.
He’s not .