There’s something wrong in beacon hills
Beacon Hills is a strange place and if people would pay attention they might see it. Then again, they might not.
Beacon County is one of the smallest counties in California, with a population just over 13,000 lives. Beacon Hills is the largest city in the county, with just over 3,500 people. The population number stays steady with people coming in as fast as people leave. Sometimes they do both within the same year.
Beacon County has about twenty percent more registered handguns than the average in California. Or as the Sheriff says, including unregistered, maybe forty percent more. Beacon County has a higher than average rate of missing people, and the majority of them are under the age of 25. Again, the reported number. Happily, they can confirm the majority of missing people are those who left and they’re later found alive. Far, far away, but alive.
It’s not unusual for a family to simply vanish overnight. It is unusual if it’s a neighbor who reports it. When the police investigate (if the police investigate) it’s only a fifty-fifty chance the neighbor’s noticed it at all.
Their crime rate overall is about average for a county of their size -- yes, the reported crime rate. Simple assaults and spousal abuse are higher than average. Homicides are about the average and the majority of deaths determined to be a homicide are solved.
Beacon Hills has more than its share of animal-related deaths. Yes, the county does have a lot of woodland; there’s actually more unlivable space than livable. So it might be natural that sometimes animals come out of the woods and sometimes humans end up dead. For the last few years, with the California drought, there’s been a few more deaths as animals extend their hunting area. Even in a town as small as this, there is some building towards their land, so that almost certainly has something to do with it. Right?
In Beacon Hills, a giant lizard can destroy the Sheriff’s office and it’s never mentioned again.
People in Beacon Hills have a short attention span and a short memory and sometimes that’s for the best.
“Why are you calling me?” Peter asks, but he is getting his keys and leaving his apartment, phone pressed between his shoulder and ear.
Chris sounds exasperated, which is fine. Peter owes him nothing. “We think you might be able to help. You’re a werewolf so you’re strong and you know…history and creatures.” He sounds like this is causing him pain and Peter grins.
Derek’s loft is close to Peter’s apartment, which is sometimes annoying, but now is a good thing. “And the Nogitsune is firmly locked in?”
There’s a pause and not a good one, Peter thinks. “I think so. And if he is…”
“You plan to kill a 17 year old?” Peter asks, parking the car and making his way to the loft as the sunlight starts to fade. Great timing, everyone. “Try to refrain yourself for a few minutes, please? No need to be trigger happy just yet.”
Peter enters and takes a quick survey of the room. Everyone seems to be there – the Sheriff, Chris, and his baby princess daughter, Derek, Kira, Scott, Lydia, and Isaac. Thankfully the murder twins aren’t there; Peter’s not sure why they haven’t been kicked out of the territory or preferably killed. But that’s for later.
The Sheriff has his gun, hanging by his side, staring at Argent who has his pointed at Stiles. And princess Argent has her bow and arrow, which really?
And of course Stiles is there, or at least his body. The stillness, the whole body and expressions aren’t his, why didn’t these idiots see it earlier? It’s like someone wearing a Stiles costume. Something wearing a Stiles costume.
Stiles sees Peter and rolls his eyes. “Oh, you’re here too? 15 minutes late as usual? You missed the floor show. Derek can fly!” he crows.
There’s some scent of anger, pain and humiliation from Derek, meaning the norm. Peter can get details later. “Sorry, there was a line at Starbucks. So it was fun having you visit, but why don’t you just leave?”
The Sheriff tenses and Stiles just laughs, saying, “Oh, now you don’t mean that; I know you’re looking for your little Stiles back.” He tilts his head and squints, as though trying to remember something and chuckles. “Oh my, you’re Peter, right? You wouldn’t believe what he wants to do to you. Or have you do to him more properly. I’m not sure if you’re the inspiration for the magazines under his mattress or the other way around. And the websites,” he continues, grinning as he apparently looks through Stiles’ memories. Interesting.
The Sheriff looks at Peter but at least he stays silent.
Peter shrugs and replies, “While that’s interesting, of course, he’s 17 and I certainly don’t want to upset his father. But now that you mention it, I’d like my chance at him, so perhaps you can find someone else to possess?”
Not-Stiles seems to consider it, looking at the group around him. “No. I did think about it, but you’re the only other one with that special something, the something that’s already there that makes me feel truly at home. So you would have been good, but you’re a werewolf. It’s so much more comfortable in a human, you know, so…” It looks around and points to wolves, calling out, “Wolf, wolf, wolf.” He points to Lydia. “Banshee. Poor thing, you picked the wrong place to live.” He looks at Kira, stops and smiles. “Kitsune? Lovely. Say hi to your mom for me.”
Finally he focuses on the humans, looking at the Sheriff. “You’re not… you’d be uncomfortably good. I’m not sure how that happened and yet your son is so perfect for me.” He tilts his head and looks up, apparently accessing memories again. “Oh! I see, Noah. Too much work, and the ability to ignore things right in front of you. His mother… oh, how you ignored that for a long time.” Not-Stiles rubs one wrist and says, “You could ignore bruising, it was easier to do that.” He rubs his neck and raises both eyebrows, shaking his head. “Tsk tsk tsk, my, my, the things you could ignore when it came to your wife. And of course, there was afterwards and the bottle, right?”
Noah steps forward and the gun in his hand half raises, making the Nogitsune laugh. “Ah, the truth hurts, but bullets will hurt him more. What’s left of him.” He turns towards Chris and chuckles, “Human, but you’re the type who would put a bullet in your head rather than let me in.” Looking at Allison, he grins and it’s very not-Stiles. He makes finger guns at her and says, “Bat. Shit. Crazy. Maybe I should have taken you, but then again, Daddy dearest is quick to judge. You’re such a murdery family.”
“You say he’s in there, but is he really?” Chris asks, stepping slightly in front of Allison. “How long can you be in possession before there’s no Stiles left?”
In a second, not-Stiles is gone and in his place is Stiles. He shudders, looking around and he stumbles towards Noah. “Dad? Dad, please…”
Noah moves to him, but before he can get there, Stiles straightens up and gives the not-Stiles grin. “Eh, eh, eh. He’s here, see? And on that note, no shooting the package, you’ll damage the contents.”
The sun finishes setting and the Oni are suddenly behind not-Stiles with their swords drawn.
“Did I mention I acquired some back-up?” He looks over his shoulder and then smiles at the rest of the group. “And now, I’ll just take my entourage and leave.”
Everyone steps aside to let him move towards the door, with the Oni flanking him. Suddenly Chris steps behind him, and puts the barrel of his gun to Stiles’ head.
Stiles turns and takes a step towards his father, eyes big and watery with unshed tears. “Dad, no, help me.”
There’s a bit of yelling, some moving towards Stiles, others away as the Oni lift their swords. Chris yells, “This isn’t Stiles, not anymore.”
And then Noah has his gun pointed at Chris, which only increases the general chaos.
Peter looks at the Stiles standing there, tears all gone and familiar smirk on his face. He raises an eyebrow to Peter and waits.
Finally Allison pulls her dad’s hand down. “Dad, if there’s any way to get Stiles out… Stop, please.”
“Yes, Chris, listen to your daughter. We’re going now.” He strides out of the loft, with his Onis following.
“Well, that was fun,” Peter says, sliding down the wall to sit on the floor. It seems to be permission for everyone to crumble and they sit on the sofa or one of Derek’s few chairs or like Peter, sit on the floor, using the wall for support.
The Sheriff stares at him for a minute and Peter’s pretty sure he’s thinking what not-Stiles said about him. Not Peter’s fault, of course, but interesting. Or maybe he’s thinking what not-Stiles said about Stiles’ mother. “He’s still in there, right? If he’s in there, there has to be a way to get him out.”
Scott is sitting next to Kira, holding her hand. “Deaton said he can’t be two things at once. But he’s human and… not, right? So shouldn’t that stop him?”
“His host can’t be two things,” Chris says, getting a nod from Peter. “Right now, he’s a Nogitsune possessing a human.”
“And he wasn’t interested in a werewolf as a host, so it’s easy. Bite him,” Peter says, nodding towards Scott.
“What?” Scott practically squeaks, looking around as though someone will say something else.
Peter rolls his eyes and tries not to snarl. “Bite. Him. It’s pretty simple. You’re the miracle alpha now, so bite him and turn him and then the Nogitsune can’t stay in him.”
“Stiles doesn’t want to be a werewolf,” Scott sputters. “And what happens to the Nogitsune? Does it die or look for someone else? Are we putting others in danger?”
“Well, Stiles certainly doesn’t want to be possessed by a chaos demon,” Peter answers, pushing himself off the floor. “And the Nogitsune can go elsewhere. As long as it leaves the pack and hopefully, Beacon Hills, who cares if it dies or leaves?”
“We don’t want it to leave Stiles and go into someone else. That person would just continue the killing and everything else,” Chris says, sighing.
“Okay, then. Get the Nogitsune out of Stiles by having Scott turn him. And then when it’s out, we kill it. Hopefully,” Peter says. It’s a good thing they called him, this group does need direction. “Now the problem is getting Stiles someplace where we can hold him down and have Scott bite him. I believe he’s rather strong now?”
Derek nods and rotates his shoulder, getting out the last of the pain. “Yes. He’s certainly much stronger than regular Stiles. So we need a plan to get him somewhere and immobilized.”
Peter chuckles and blows out a breath. “Too bad Stiles always has the best plans.”
“I have to agree with Scott, at least a little,” the Sheriff interrupts. “Stiles… Stiles said he didn’t want to be a werewolf. Team Human he calls it. Do we think there’s any other way?”
“This would be the fast way,” Chris says. He glances at Allison and says, “We have to be fast, because that thing is taking over. We have to get it out before there is no more Stiles.”
Scott stands and holds out a hand for Kira. “I don’t like it, but we’ll go talk with Deaton and see if he has any ideas on how to get Stiles in a room or something. Maybe if we threaten it with the bite, it’ll back down and leave? Deaton might know.”
Peter can’t help but snort and says, “Yes, helpful helpful Deaton. Fine, you all go and we’ll regroup and figure out what to do about our little void problem.”
Peter catches Chris and Derek’s eyes and says, “Sheriff, can you stay for a minute?”
He turns and Stiles’ classmates all stop as well. “We can stay,” Scott tells him, giving Peter what passes for a biting look.
“I think I’ll be okay,” the Sheriff says, giving him a wan smile. “Thanks, Scott, I guess… I guess we’ll be in touch.”
“What do –“ Chris starts and Peter holds up a finger as he and Derek listen for the rest of the pack to drive away.
Derek nods towards Peter to start, letting him take charge of this.
“First, Christopher, no killing Stiles. Or not-Stiles or void-Stiles or whatever we call them together. Because Stiles is in there. You try to shoot the Nogitsune and you can injure or kill the host. Are we clear on this?”
Chris glares at him and says, “Right now he’s in there, but that can change and…”
Stiles’ father growls in a way that gets everyone’s attention. “No shooting my son, Argent, or I swear to God, I’ll...”
“We’ve got it,” Derek says, holding out his hands to both of them. “At this point, there’s no reason to talk about shooting. We all know, we all saw it, Stiles is locked in there. And he knows he’s locked in there.” He turns to the Sheriff and studies him for a second. “Sheriff, if we have to – if there’s no other way, would you be okay if he were turned? If you have a werewolf for a son?”
“A living were son, versus a dead human son?” Peter adds in, arms crossed over his chest.
He nods. “Yes. I just… whatever, just help me get my son back.”
They all nod, even Chris, who says, “Then that’s the plan. Assuming we can get Scott to do it.”
“The Sheriff will need to let Scott know that he should. He has permission and needs to do it as soon as we can get an opportunity.” Derek scrubs his hands together nervously and joins Peter in pacing around the group.
“I’ll text him as soon as we’re done here. And call me Noah, I think this is way past Sheriff. And are we done?” he asks, pulling out his phone.
“One more thing,” Peter stops walking and scratches at his goatee before he sighs. “You need to stay away from him. Avoid him at all costs, do not let him near you. You need to remember the majority of the time, you’re not seeing Stiles. You’re seeing the thing that has control over him.”
Noah steps back and looks at the other men. “Why? I might be able to help get him somewhere, get him to Scott.”
“We’ll figure that out and let you know if you can help, but Noah…” Peter shakes his head and glancing at Chris, he knows the hunter understands. “Stiles is in there, buried inside, but he’s in there and he knows what’s going on, what that thing with his face is doing. You’ve seen how he looks; he’s not sleeping and it looks like he’s not eating. The Nogitsune is wearing him down, trying to make Stiles stop fighting him. When Stiles stops, either stops fighting or… or he can’t fight any longer, the thing will have his body permanently.”
“What does that have to do with me not seeing him?”
“It’s getting more violent and looking to hurt more people,” Chris says. He’s quiet and it looks like there’s actual sympathy, and pain on his face. “If that thing hurts you or god forbid, kills you and inside Stiles, the real Stiles sees it…”
“He’ll stop fighting,” Derek says, nodding as he catches on. “That would kill him inside and there’d be no point in getting rid of the Nogitsune, because there’d be no Stiles inside.”
Noah blanches and takes a breath. Then he steels himself, nodding. “Okay, I understand. I can… he doesn’t come home at night anyway. I don’t know where he’s been, but I can avoid him, as long as he doesn’t try to see me.”
“I don’t think he will,” Peter says, and carefully reaches out a hand to pat Noah’s arm. A wolf might appreciate it, he doesn’t know how the human will take it. “I think he knows something is brewing, and we’re not going to just wait around. This will end soon.”
Noah doesn’t seem to notice any of them, just looking down, nodding. “Just help me get my son back.”
It's time to get rid of the nogitsune and there's a few discussions on how to do it.
In Beacon Hills a girl assumed dead for eight years is found alive in the woods, with no one seeing her in all that time. You would think the national news would be there, and there’d be interviews with The Today Show and Good Morning America. But in Beacon Hills, it barely even makes the local news.
Peter arrives at Scott’s house where everyone is, including the guest of honor. Stiles is unmoving, tied to a chair, with tape over his mouth. His eyes are moving though, commenting on everyone and he’s clearly amused. Confident and amused, which Peter thinks should alarm the others, if they were smart.
“So what do we have here?” Peter asks, walking around what’s clearly not-Stiles. The eyes don’t lie.
Scott looks wrecked, and smells of recent pain and grief. Peter’s not sure what happened, but frankly he’s not surprised. There’s a Nogitsune on the loose and wreaking havoc is what it does.
Deaton’s there, along with Derek and Lydia. A surprisingly small amount of people, but that might be best.
“We need to get that thing out of Stiles,” Scott states, as though that isn’t obvious. “He’s…What can we do?
“He seems pretty secure,” Peter says, looking towards Deaton. “Kanima venom?”
Derek answers for him, “Yes, and so far it’s holding. Of course the tape is to shut him up – that was the only way to do it.”
“Effective.” Peter says, circling him again, watching his eyes follow as long as he’s able. “We may need to consider keeping this later.” He turns to Scott and lets out his claws. “This is something in his mind, not just his body. So we send someone in to pull him out.”
Stiles raises an eyebrow and looks interested rather than frightened. It does give Peter a moment’s pause, but they need to do something. It’s only been a few days since Stiles walked out of Derek’s loft with his Oni guards, but now he looks even worse; his cheekbones are even more prominent and the circles under his eyes look like he hasn’t slept in weeks.
“You’re thinking I should do it?” Scott asks, looking between Peter and not-Stiles.
“You and someone else,” Peter says, looking towards Lydia. “We need to make sure you don’t get lost.”
“And we should trust you why exactly?” she asks, turning towards him.
Peter likes her, he can’t help it. “Because in this case, I am actually being honest. And I’ll be as helpless as you.” He looks towards Deaton and says, “And how do I know everyone else is trustworthy?”
Derek sighs and rolls his eyes, because he’s a big drama queen. “No one gets hurt, I’ll watch for everyone and so will Deaton. No one wants anyone hurt, we just need to get that thing out of Stiles, while there is still a Stiles.”
Lydia and Scott are sitting next to each other with Stiles next to Scott. They’re nervous and Peter’s trying not to show he is, too. Before he can start, the door opens and the Sheriff and Melissa enter.
Melissa looks around and nods. “Good. You’re going to get rid of that thing, right?”
“Yes, Mom,” Scott answers her, glancing nervously at Peter. “Do you think you two should be here?”
“You’re getting my boy back. I want to be here,” Noah says, looking strong and steady. It’s actually rather comforting.
“How do we do this?” Scott asks. “Lydia and I can both go into his mind? And you can do that?”
Peter nods. He’s almost certain this will work, but makes sure he looks and sounds confident. “Lydia is in your pack, right?” He waits until they both nod and continues, “Find her in your pack bond, find her and grab her.”
They wait, while Scott shuts his eyes, taking deep breaths. Lydia is quiet as well, until her eyes pop open and she touches her chest. “Okay. That’s a little strange, but…okay.”
Scott nods and looks towards not-Stiles who still looks amused and winks at him.
“Stay still,” Peter says, hoping the Nogitsune will. He’s fairly confident, after all, it wants to keep Stiles’ body whole. He takes a breath and puts his claws into Stiles’ and Scott’s neck.
Scott is electric, a shock of alpha power Peter wasn’t expecting. But Stiles – Stiles is like grabbing an electric panel.
There’s vague shapes and shadows. He can see Scott and Lydia and it looks like they’re leaving one room, moving down a hallway. They’re holding hands, taking turns pulling the other one along.
Then in front of them is Allison? Scott’s stopped, trying to move towards her, with Lydia pulling him back. Allison drops her hands and there’s blood over the front of her shirt, a gash in her stomach still bleeding. Scott tries to pull away from Lydia, but she’s... yelling at him? She yells at Allison who vanishes and Scott wipes his eyes and follows her.
They walk down another hallway, this one with doors, like a bedroom hallway. Lydia moves towards a door and this time Scott tries pulls her away. They go down the hallway and go through a door at the end – and they’re in a room, huge and white.
At the far end of the room, sits the Nogitsune, in its last human costume, with bandages around its head and those weird teeth. It’s sitting on the stump of the Nemeton and curled up at the bottom of the stump, unmoving, is Stiles.
Lydia and Scott start to run towards him, calling, but he doesn’t move and they aren’t getting any closer. After running more, they stop, Lydia bent over catching her breath. She says something to Scott and he stops, then shifts, eyes flaring red and howls.
The Nogitsune looks up and snarls, while Stiles doesn’t move.
Scott howls again, a roar that Peter feels in his chest and the Nogitsune stands and screams something back.
But this time, Stiles moves, going to his hands and knees and crawls closer toward Lydia and Scott. They run towards him, and this time they’re actually moving and Stiles moves a little faster, almost on his feet, still supported by his hands on the ground, but he gets closer and closer to the two…
The connection is broken, and the three are left panting and clutching their chests.
Peter looks towards Stiles and sees the panic in his eyes and it looks like he’s choking. Noah reaches him and pulls the tape off his mouth.
“Stiles? Son, is that you? Are you okay?”
He doesn’t answer, as he continues choking, and then he’s throwing up strings of black goo which turns into a strip of bandages. Beige wraps like what Peter saw around the Nogitsune’s head, shooting out of his mouth into a sodden mess in front of him.
Noah doesn’t leave his side, even though everyone else has stepped back, both fascinated and repulsed by what’s happening.
At some point, Stiles stops vomiting and stumbles away from the pile of bandages on the floor. Before anyone can do much more, a hand pushes its way out of the pile and everyone steps back further. Peter’s pretty sure he’s not the only one who gasps.
Peter alternates between watching the pile on the floor and Stiles who grabs the furniture to keep from falling. Deaton also seems to be watching Stiles while Scott and Noah are on the floor, pulling more bandages off the creature that rose from the bandages. Which is a gasping Stiles.
Since it looks like Noah and Scott are helping that Stiles, Peter moves towards the original Stiles (and this is more confusing to Peter than the original Stiles and not-Stiles) and grabs him by the arm, pulling him upright. He still stumbles like vomiting out the other Stiles weakened him. This needs to stop.
“Scott, come here, you have to bite him!” Peter orders, making sure he has a firm grasp on Stiles’ shoulders.
Everyone looks over, and Deaton takes a step closer to Peter and Stiles. Peter’s never much liked the man, but it does seem he’s been working to get rid of the thing inside Stiles.
“No, he’s…” Noah looks between the two versions of his son, shaking his head. “Stiles?”
The one sitting on the floor looks up and so does the one Peter’s holding.
“It’s me, Dad,” Peter’s Stiles says, and tries to pull away. Peter’s still much stronger, but he can feel the strength coming back.
“It doesn’t matter, just bite him,” Peter says again. “Bite this one or bite that one, but I think this is the wrong thing.”
Stiles looks over his shoulder at Peter and for a second, the look in his eyes actually gives Peter chills. His teeth are bared and he hisses, “Let me go,” as he tries to pull away.
Derek seems to get it; maybe it’s something in the smell, but he moves towards Peter and grabs this Stiles’ arm. “Scott, he’s right, it’s this one. Bite him.”
“You’re sure?” Noah asks, looking at his son, or at least the version being restrained across the room.
“He’s getting stronger,” Peter warns and along with Derek they push him towards Scott. “Do it, Scott, do it!”
Scott looks to Deaton, who gives him a nod, which finally makes Scott move. Peter will be annoyed later.
The Stiles who was thrown up leans against the back of the couch with his eyes shut and Noah holds his hand muttering something too quiet even for the wolves to hear. Not that they’re listening right now, since they’re trying to hold onto the original Stiles who is getting stronger and angrier by the second.
“Bite him, dammit,” Peter growls and Derek growls as well.
“But what if it’s…” Scott starts asking, still looking around for everyone’s opinion.
“That thing is not Stiles,” Lydia states, looking the struggling boy in the eyes. “That is not Stiles.”
Peter takes an arm off Stiles who immediately starts trying to wiggle out of his and Derek’s grasp. “Please don’t, Scotty, please, it’s me, your brother, don’t do this,” Stiles begs as Scott looks around the room. “Please, please…”
Grabbing Scott, Peter pulls him closer and hisses, “Fucking bite him before he does anything else.”
Stiles growls and yes, he is not at all Stiles. “Don’t you fucking touch me, or I will kill you, Scott. I will kill you and everyone you’ve ever loved and…”
Scott takes a breath and his eyes go red as he grabs Stiles by the arm and bites into his shoulder.
Stiles looks at him, growling and suddenly… it’s as though he’s turned into a sculpture, something made of plaster and then the plaster just turns to dust in front of them.
“That was him! It!” Scott yells, panting as he turns back to look at the real Stiles behind them. “It was it and you’re you and…”
They stop when they see a fly push its way out of the pile of dust.
“What?” Derek starts and takes a step back as Deaton steps forward and wraps something around the fly.
“Got it,” he says and he sounds kind of smug, but since he truly has the Nogitsune, he should sound proud. He holds up a plastic bag with some dust in the bottom and a fly buzzing against the sides, falling back in to the dust and struggling out again.
Peter raises an eyebrow. “You captured the thousand year old fox demon in a zippered sandwich bag?”
“It has mountain ash in it; even the Nogitsune loses strength with it,” Deaton says, holding it up to his face to look at it flailing in the bag.
“Great, step on it. Or put it down and I’ll step on it,” Peter moves forward, holding out his hand to Deaton.
“Don’t, you can’t do that,” Scott says, moving towards him, stepping in between the two men.
“Fine, you do it, just someone get rid of that thing,” Peter says, sitting on the edge of the couch next where Stiles – the real Stiles – is watching quietly, drinking water from a bottle Melissa gave him. “Do you want to do it?” he asks Stiles. “You should get the honors.”
The boy shakes his head, and the movement makes him shut his eyes and make a tiny sound. Quiet so only wolves and fathers could hear it. “No, but feel free, there’s no love lost here.”
Peter puts a hand on Stiles’ arm, surprised at how much pain he can instantly take. Stiles sighs and leans back against the couch, with Noah on his other side, his hand on Stiles’ leg.
“Deaton, you don’t think we should kill it, do you? It’s been alive for what, a thousand years? Yeah, we don’t want it around, but we shouldn’t kill something. That would make us as bad as he – it is.”
“I wasn’t sure what would happen today, so I don’t have everything, but my thought was to lock it in a box and bury the box back at the Nematon. It held him before, we could do it again,” Deaton says. He puts the bag inside another bag and into his pocket. “I’ll can do that right away, if anyone wants to come and see it, to check and give any other suggestions.”
“Suggestion – kill it. If it got out before, it could do it again.” Peter shakes out his hand for a minute, waiting for the pain to recede. He catches Derek’s eye, giving Stiles a sideways glance.
Apparently, Derek understands as the two men quickly trade places and Derek puts his hand on Stiles getting more of his pain. Not as much as earlier, the lines aren’t as dark, but there’s still an occasional flair.
“Here, you look cold.” Lydia wraps a quilt she found in a closet around Stiles’ legs and another blanket around his shoulders. She touches his cheek and gives him a small smile.
"I should do something,” Melissa says, moving towards the kitchen. “Hot tea and toast, that’s a start, that shouldn’t upset your stomach or anything.”
“Let’s go and get rid of that thing,” Peter says, turning his attention back to Deaton. “We have a box, I’m told it was made from the Nematon. Would that hold him?”
Deaton’s eyes light up and he says, “Yes, that would be a help.” He looks at Stiles and his father, and the others crowded around him. “We’ll give you an update later.”
“Thanks. For everything,” Stiles says, as they exit. He slumps against his father, accepting the tea Melissa’s brought him. It feels like it’s not nearly enough.
Peter goes with Deaton, not quite willing to trust the man. It’s not like he truly thinks Deaton would let the thing go, but he influences Scott and Scott influences him and… Peter will be there.
Deaton leads and Peter drives behind him and they go directly to the vet clinic. Deaton goes inside and Peter follows. Again, he lacks trust, which he thinks is one of his best qualities.
“Mountain ash,” Deaton says, pulling out a small, square box of his own. “I think this will be good to put him in. And of course bury it.”
“Can’t talk you into just letting me crush it? Maybe I overpowered you and…” Peter shrugs, grinning in a way he hopes looks friendly.
“I’m sure this will work. Plus, I have one other idea, and I think you might like.”
The gate to the counter is open, so Peter follows Deaton into his back room. The back-back room, which has become the informal werewolf hospital. Deaton opens a cabinet and points at something on the floor. “How about you use your werewolf muscles and get that.”
Peter looks in the cabinet and this smile is real. “Gladly,” he says and easily picks up the bag of quick setting cement.
“How is he?” Peter asks Derek later that night.
“Stiles? Okay, I guess, I left just a little after you did.”
Peter looks at his phone, giving it a judgmental look since he can’t give it directly to Derek. “And his father is staying with him tonight? Is he at his house or still at Melissa’s? He didn’t look like he really needed the hospital, but then again, I’m not the best judge of human health.”
“Like I said, I didn’t stay. His father was there, and so were Melissa and Scott, so I’m sure he’s in good hands,” Derek answers and there’s a pause. “Thanks for what you did today. I don’t know what else we could have done and Chris was really looking at his guns….”
“I’m surprised he wasn’t there. Did someone tell him it’s gone? Just so he doesn’t shoot Stiles on sight.”
“Hopefully he won’t shoot Stiles, I’m sure he knows what happened was the Nogitsune and not really him.”
Peter thinks for a minute, wishing they were talking in person. Another rare thing. “Did something else happen?”
“You don’t know?” Derek takes a breath and says, “The Nogitsune, you know it had control of the Oni? And there was an ambush, basically, and Allison got killed. Scott got stabbed and that’s how Deaton got him over to Melissa’s. He was busy, I guess sucking up everyone’s pain and Deaton got him with the venom.”
“Allison’s dead?” Peter asks, truly surprised. “I…God, if we’d been a day or so earlier.”
“Yeah,” Derek says, sighing and sounding suddenly exhausted. “Yeah. I’m assuming there’s a service, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’d be welcome anyway.”
“Possibly not. I’m sure Chris would think we – or at least I – was there to gloat.” Peter finds the bottle of doctored whiskey, one he seldom drinks as too much gives him a hangover. Plus, it’s not always safe to be less than one-hundred percent in Beacon Hills.
“I don’t know, I don’t think so. I’d hope not, but I’ll keep you posted.” Derek sighs again and says, “Getting drunk?”
“Yeah, that’s a plan. Goodnight, Peter.”
Stiles tries to get back to "normal" after the Nogitsune. Peter tries to help.
Beacon Hills, the largest city in the small county, is a strange place.
In Beacon Hills, the Sheriff’s son can be leading the pack of Japanese warriors through an attack on the hospital and it’s not mentioned. There should be tapes from surveillance cameras, but there’s not.
In Beacon Hills, a girl can be killed by a car jacker’s knife, although her autopsy shows the ‘knife’ went clean through her and out the back. But that’s not mentioned either.
In Beacon Hills, the Sheriff’s son returns to school, looking a bit battered, dark circles under his eyes, and a few pounds thinner. People are told he was ill with something, had a high fever. Tests were done, but then it (whatever it was) was cured.
No one asks questions in Beacon Hills and perhaps that’s for the best.
Stiles goes back to school after another week. He gets a few sympathetic looks from teachers and most let him make up work. Coach takes one look at him and suggests Stiles use his office to catch up on homework rather than practice. Stiles isn’t sure if he’s upset or not. Practice, maybe being in a game for one play – that’s normal. Normal would be good.
After about a week of classes, Noah asks, “How’s it going?” He’s trying to be home more often, at least seeing Stiles either in the morning or the evening. It’s not perfect, but he’s trying to be more there. Coming to the rescue might be good, but not waiting until his son needs to be rescued would be a welcome change.
“It’s okay.” Stiles picks at his dinner, whole wheat spaghetti and garlic bread. He made it, and it’s pretty good, with ground turkey and a bottle of sauce. It’s usually one of his Dad’s favorites, but tonight they’re both mostly pushing it around their plates. “I’m still trying to catch up. And apparently re-do some tests. Coach is letting me re-do an econ test I bombed and didn’t even realize.”
“Hopefully your friends are helping you with studying,” Noah asks, glancing at his son. His friends, his pack. Noah hasn’t seen them around much and hopes they’re there when he isn’t.
“It’s hard, they’re studying different things now, got kinda ahead of me,” he answers and shoves most of a piece of bread into his mouth, in an effort to not have to talk any more.
Noah is patient and takes a bite of pasta himself, waiting for Stiles to swallow. Even if it is a ploy, (and he knows it), at least it means he’s eating. “This is good, by the way,” he says, twirling another few strands of pasta on his fork. “Do you think you should ask one of them for help? Or maybe there’s another student at school who can tutor you for a bit, just ‘til you catch up?” Stiles will hate that idea; he’s been the one who’s helped others after school. Up until werewolves.
Stiles hates that idea. “I think I’m doing okay. I missed a bit of chemistry; maybe Danny might be willing to help.” For a couple of twenties, but still better than other options.
“How about Lydia? I thought you and she were neck-and-neck on top of the class.”
“Maybe. She’s been concentrating on helping Malia now, both with school and, well, not eating anyone. Anyway, I hope you won’t be too disappointed that I’m not top of the class any more. More disappointed,” he mutters, and blinks a few times. His emotions all over the place, and sleep might help, but sleep. Sleep still doesn’t feel like a friend.
Noah rips at his bread, something to occupy his hands. Stiles got his twitching from him, not his mother like people might think. It comes out sometime, especially when he watches his son doing the same. “You know, it’s not your fault. I know you say that, but I don’t think you believe it.”
“I tell myself, but… I keep seeing the hospital, and your office. And Allison.”
“Maybe we could find someone for you to talk with.” Stiles’ head jerks up, and yes, that’s fear. “If you want. I’m sure we could find a professional.”
Stiles scoffs, pushing his plate away, and wiping his eye. He ate about half, that’s actually pretty good. “Yeah, no. Can you picture me telling a shrink about this, about this shit? I’d be back in Eichen before you can say paranoid schizophrenic.”
No. There’s no way in hell his kid is going back there. “Not a regular doctor, but I’m sure there’s someone in… in the world who is a doctor that might help. Hell, before the fire, Hale was a lawyer. Some werewolf or emissary must have become a psychologist or psychiatrist or something.”
“Hale? Which one?” he asks, kind of hating the first time he shows interest in something it’s a Hale.
“Peter,” his Dad answers. “He worked with family law. Shockingly, he was a bit of a shark.”
“Family law? What does that mean? Like divorces or something?” He can picture Peter helping people break up their marriage.
“Some, I think. He had some nasty stuff. Divorces after abuse, restraining orders, getting kids in or out of foster homes.” He remembers someone saying he’s a bad person who does good things. Tara said that. She’s dead now, too. “Anyway, if there’s werewolf lawyers, there has to be werewolf shrinks.”
“Probably. That’s interesting, I can’t picture the Peter we know now doing that.” He’ll have to think about that. He never pictured Peter doing something productive. “They’d need doctors, too. Because there’d be medical records and such – or the lack of them. And someone has to deliver babies, at least I’d hope so.”
“Good questions. Maybe one of them knows a counselor you could talk with.” Maybe it’ll make them go, Noah thinks. Stiles isn’t the only teen who could use a few hours with a professional.
“Someone local? I don’t think so, but one of them would know if there is.” They really do not need anything else in town, please.
“There’s video calls or whatever you call it. Let’s figure out how to do this, rather than why not, okay?” Maybe there’s something he can do for his son. Late, but maybe.
“Okay, I’ll think about it. I can ask Derek or probably Peter. If he was dealing with fucked up families, he may still know a contact,” he says, thinking of how to avoid asking, but still grill Peter.
“Do you think we can work on language?” Noah asks, picking up their plates and putting the on the counter. Maybe he should help Stiles with the dishes or cleaning up, he thinks briefly. But it seems like he has a method and when Noah’s asked in the past, Stiles seems surprised and unhappy. So yeah, he owns the kitchen.
Stiles snorts and says, “Sure. I guess that’s something I might be able to control.”
The next day is a Saturday, and that’s usually good. He doesn’t need to keep an eye out for anyone, working so hard to appear “normal” so he doesn’t make anyone uncomfortable. And he can sleep in. He has trouble sleeping at night and wakes up with nightmares, but for some reason when it starts to get light out, he can finally fall asleep.
Getting up and it’s almost noon and he’s had a good few hours of sleep. He checks his phone and there’s a text from his father, reminding him that he’ll be home for dinner tonight and they can get pizza if Stiles wants. He might, and it’s too bad it’s not great for his dad, but that’s hours away. It’s too late for breakfast, and that’s kind of hard work anyway. He wonders if he should be surprised that there’s no other texts and truthfully he’s not. Maybe he’s even relieved -- it’s just less work being alone.
Mac and cheese is easy and fast and warm and filling. He puts a pot of salted water on and pulls out his phone again to get something to listen to. You can make fun of Wonderwall as much as you want, but he picks Oasis, remembering his mother listening to them while cleaning the liing room or cooking in the kitchen like he is now.
The shells are cooked and he pulls over a package of the spicy orange cheese food, slicing off the top of the package with a chef’s knife.
“She’s got a cousin, in fact she’s got ‘bout a dozen,” he sings quietly, nodding his head in time to the tune.
And then he’s not alone and there’s a hand on his arm and he quickly turns, using his knife to stab, to protect himself, to not get taken again, not again.
It’s Peter in his kitchen, and he raises an eyebrow, pulling the knife out of his bicep and setting it on the counter behind him. “That was rude. Are you going to want that back or can I keep it?” He moves around Stiles, finding a paper towel and wetting it to wipe off his arm, front and back. “I’m glad I picked short sleeves to wear today; I wouldn’t have been happy losing a shirt.”
“Jesus Christ, dude! What are you doing here, Peter?” Stiles asks, trying to get his heart rate down. He reaches to drain the pasta and has to stop because his hands won’t stop shaking.
“Allow me,” Peter says, pouring the pasta out into a waiting strainer. “So what is your lunch today? Sauce with this? Or maybe a pasta salad?”
Actually, Peter being so Petery helps Stiles feel more stable. He can deal with annoyed, it’s much better than frightened. “Cheese sauce. If it’s any of your business,” he says, holding up the package and dumping the shells back into the pot. When it’s back on the burner, he squeezes the sauce into the pot and stirs until everything’s melted. He pours it all into a large bowl and grabs a soup spoon and moves to the table, shoveling the first hot, cheesy bite into his mouth. “What are you doing here and when are you leaving?”
“I came to check on you and I’ll leave when I think you’re okay or when another packmate shows up,” he says, studying Stiles, but mostly his food. “That smells nothing like cheese.”
“I’m fine and this is delicious. I don’t remember anyone asking you to be here,” he says and pauses because Peter being here is ruining his wonderful lunch.
Peter rubs his arm where the knife wound has completely healed. “Of course, Stiles, you’re fine. I’ll just stay until one of your pack shows up.”
Lunch suddenly doesn’t seem so good and Stiles pushes it away, half eaten. “Okay, so great. Now tell me -- why the hell are you really here?”
It makes sense in a way, which is scary by itself. Peter actually comes to the house just to check on Stiles. He doesn’t seem to want anything, he’s not asking for research or for Stiles to cover for him while he sneaks out and does something else. He’s not asking for help with homework or to let him borrow Roscoe. He just stops by to be sure Stiles is okay. That he’s eating and sleeping, at least a bit of each.
After a few times seeing Stiles look away, as though it’s somehow his fault, his father stops asking about Scott and the rest of the pack. Stiles sees the others at school and sometimes outside if he goes to their houses. He sits with them at lunch – if they’re there for lunch. Lately, Lydia and Malia are studying. Scott and Kira are off doing something snuggly. And even if Stiles wanted to spend time with Isaac, he’s gone. Gone with Mr. Argent to France for who knows how long.
Peter doesn’t push, he doesn’t make Stiles talk. Sometimes he helps Stiles with homework – if you consider eye-rolling and snarky comments helpful. But the papers he reviews do tend to get better grades and Stiles really wants to bring his average up. He might not be able to graduate early the way he’d hoped, but maybe he can at least graduate on time.
Stranger than that is when Peter helps Stiles make dinner. He brings over grocery bags of food, things that actually create a full meal. It’s great, it’s helpful. Stiles can concentrate on doing something productive, something helpful. He can put a full meal out for his dad’s dinner – assuming his dad makes it home before breakfast the next day. And when he doesn’t make it home, Stiles can go to the station and drop something off. As long as it doesn’t give him a panic attack.
“Do you want me to run it in?” Peter asks. They’re sitting in the parking lot outside the station with a bag of plastic containers full of dinner. Roast chicken with lemon sauce, and whole wheat noodles with green beans, cooked al dente. There’s a good quantity of it and it doesn’t taste like diet food; Stiles thinks his dad will enjoy it. Assuming he can get into the station to give it to him.
“I can do it.” Stiles takes a breath and shifts the bag on his lap, where it’s starting to get too warm.
Peter shrugs. “They don’t blame you, you know. They don’t even know it was you that did anything. Or the ones who do, your Dad and Parrish? They don’t blame you at all. It wasn’t you.”
“I know. I know all that, Peter.”
“You say you know it. You need to start believing it. Let me ask you – when Lydia brought back a murderer from the dead, did anyone blame her?” His smile is just a little too sharp, but at himself, not Stiles. He’s getting used to Peter faces now.
“Of course they didn’t. She was possessed by this total asshole,” Stiles answer grinning. Until he thinks where Peter’s probably going with this and the smile falls off his face. “It’s not the same.”
“No, it’s not, but it’s close, isn’t it? You can’t blame someone for something they have no control over. No one ever blamed Lydia; they blamed the asshole who was possessing her.” Peter juts his chin at the building and says, “Go feed your dad while it’s still warm.”
Stiles nods, putting his hand on the door opener. “I’ve been in before. Since… you know. No one acted any different.”
“No, and they won’t. It’s Beacon Hills. The sheriff’s station blows up and people just seem to forget about it. Go on and feed your father. I’ll be out here waiting for you.” Peter pulls out his phone acting toally uninterested. Which Stiles knows is complete bullshit, but maybe it helps.
No one looks at him any differently, greeting him as he comes in. Dutiful son of the sheriff, bringing his overworked father a hot, nutritious dinner. The sheriff’s so lucky to have such a helpful, loving son.
“I saw Scott today, out at the park. He was with that girl, the one whose dad is a teacher?” Noah says on an evening when he’s home. They’re eating pizza, acceptable now and then with a thin crust and as many veggies as meats.
“Yeah, Kira,” Stiles answers, shoving most of a slice into his mouth. He’s not sure what his father wants to talk about, but he’s pretty sure he doesn’t want any part of it. “They started going out earlier this year.”
“Hmm. I waved at them and he waved back. Haven’t seen him around much.”
Stiles nods, hoping this is a quick discussion. Outside of school, he sees more of Peter than friends his own age. Malia sometimes, because she asks him for help with classes, which is nice, kind of normal. “Nope. He’s been busy trying not to fail his classes and lacrosse practice and being a boyfriend and supernatural stuff. Cause that never ends.”
“So what did you do today? Hopefully nothing supernatural. I hope they’re keeping you out of it.”
“Today was okay. Homework after school and then Peter came by to check on me. You know, like he does,” Stiles says, smiling a little. He’s getting used to Peter’s company and enjoys how they can still snark. The wolf doesn’t treat him any different than he used to.
Noah grunts a little, taking another slice of pizza. “Why? I mean, I guess it’s okay, but… he’s a lot older than you and, it seems a little weird.”
“Maybe. I think he comes by just to make sure I don’t blow anything up or whatever.” Stiles doesn’t want to say how much he’s grown to like Peter’s visits and Peter’s concern. It’s probably something his father won’t understand.
Noah takes a bite of pizza, rubs his chest and burps quietly. “It just seems like it should be someone else. One of the ones your age. Scott or even Derek. At this point, he’s closer to your age than Peter is.”
“Peter comes over. The others barely do. When they see me, they either treat me like I’m made of glass or like… like I’m going to go crazy again. Peter doesn’t do that, he just treats me like regular, like he always has,” Stiles answers. It’s not quite like he always has, he knows that. Peter’s a bit more attentive, takes care a bit more.
“It wasn’t your fault,” Noah says, the same as he’s said before. The same as Peter’s said and the same thing Stiles tells himself. “They know that, it’s just taking a little while for them…”
“They don’t know it, or they don’t believe it or something,” he says bitterly. “Or they say they understand it, but when they think about it, they see my face being there, killing their Disney princess. So yeah, I guess it’s taking them a little while.”
Noah rubs the back of his neck and sighs. “It wasn’t you. You have to remember that, you need to remember that so they can…”
“Oh, I remember things, Dad. Memory isn’t my problem,” he answers, trying to keep the catch out of his voice. He pushes away from the table and paces back and forth in their small dining room. “I remember everything, all of it. I remember things that he saw a couple hundred years ago. Japan invading China, and fighting in the Civil War. And I remember when the Oni stabbed through Scott and how I stood watching my best friend in pain and how it felt and how good it felt, and I could take his pain and fear off him and it was like having the best orga –“
“Stop it!” Noah yells. They’re both panting by this time, angry, and it’s like a fight, but they’re not really fighting with each other. “Stop it, please,” he says, much quieter. “I don’t know what to do to help, Stiles. All I can think of is…finding a counselor who knows about this werewolf and Nogitsune and other stuff that you can talk with.”
Stiles slumps back into the kitchen chair, rubbing his eyes. “I don’t know, I think possession by a demon fox might be beyond even your most experienced supernatural shrinks. It’s something I can talk with Peter about. He’s read so much stuff and knows so much about the shit that comes to this town. And he had his own little murder spree when he wasn’t in his right mind, so…”
“Wasn’t in his right mind? He is now?”
“Yeah, Dad. I mean, I know he’s not always the nicest person, especially to people he thinks are stupid, but actually dying made him a much better person,” Stiles says, giving a half-grin.
“Well, you can’t say that about everyone. I have to say, I sometimes think I understand a little bit about his killing spree – at least parts of it.”
Stiles nods vigorously, sitting up in his chair. “Me, too. I mean if someone had done that to you and Mom, I’d do anything to get revenge.”
“I hope you’d use the law,” Noah says, snorting quietly.
Huffing out a breath, Stiles shrugs. “Law didn’t really work for the Hales, did it?”
“No, I guess it didn’t.” He stands and picks up their plates and crumbles the paper towels they used as napkins, tossing everything into the garbage. “Look, um… I don’t know how to bring this part up, but part of the reason I’m worried about Peter is when the Nogitsune possessed you. When it was in you, talking, he said some things about Peter. And Peter heard, and made it sound like he was thinking about –“
Stiles can’t keep the blush off his face, remembering what the Nogitsune said in Derek’s loft. And said in his head, how partnering with Peter would make them stronger, make Stiles and the Nogitsune stronger. “Dad, you know he – it said things just to mess with people. Chaos, remember? That was to throw Peter off guard and you and anyone else there.”
“Well, I don’t know, I guess that’s true, but if it was looking at your memories…”
This is the part his father will focus on? “Maybe we should both agree that not everything said was the complete truth, right? Maybe we’re both better off ignoring some of it? Leaving the memories it got from me out of it?”
Noah doesn’t blush, but Stiles knows him and that little bit of compressing his lips means it’s something he doesn’t want to talk about. He nods and takes a step towards his son. “Yeah. I know you’re doing whatever you think you need to, but let me know what I can do. Remember, you’re not on your own. And please to give other people a chance.”
Stiles nods as well, moving in for a tight hug from his father. “Yeah, I’ll try. I’ll keep trying. I am trying, you know?”
“I do know. And if Peter’s the one around, and he’s helping you, I’m fine with it. Just be careful, okay?” Noah holds his son, noting how tall he’s getting, but he still hasn’t gained back all the weight he’s lost. It’s slow steps, a little at a time. “You know, you can invite him over for dinner. I’m fairly sure I can restrain myself from shooting him for a couple of hours.”
“I’ll tell him, I’m sure he’ll be pleased,” Stiles says, as he pulls away. He scrapes a hand through his hair, taking a calming breath and trying for a smile. “A couple of hours is pretty much the most people can stand him for anyway.”
Stiles tries to spend time with his friends and some are better than others. Scott and Stiles have words.
Since there’s almost permission for Peter to come around, it seems like he’s suddenly there a lot. Stiles comes home from school and finds Peter in the kitchen, puttering around, making cookies, taking an inventory of the pantry.
It’s weird, but it’s good, too. Someone around when he comes home. And he cooks.
“What are you doing now?” Stiles asks, leaning over his shoulder to see what’s for dinner. Or afternoon snack, depending on how tempting it is, and how Dad appropriate.
“Macaroni and cheese. The way it’s supposed to be made,” Peter answers, raising an eyebrow. It’s amazing how much attitude Hales can put in one eyebrow.
“Smells good.” Stiles sticks his finger into the sauce, getting his hand smacked by the wooden spoon. “Tastes good. Cheesy. But I don’t like white cheese, it’s weird.”
“Suffer through it.” Peter pours the cooked shell noodles into the sauce and says, “This will be ready in thirty minutes, so when do you want it? Now or for later?”
“Dinner would be good. My dad can’t eat that though.” Stiles takes an apple from the bowl on the counter, chomping down. He’s not sure when fruit started showing up, but it’s probably when Peter did.
Peter looks smug when he answers, “Don’t worry, I sent him to work with dinner.”
“What? You did what?” Stiles nearly chokes on his apple.
“I went to the station and spoke with him yesterday. He had some questions and apparently I answered correctly, because I now have a full pass.”
“Full pass for what?” Stiles asks, hating the squeak in his voice.
He covers the casserole and sets it on the counter, putting the pots and utensils in the sink. “To be here, to help you. I think what’s next is you go do your homework or take a nap or text whoever in the pack or whatever.”
“I don’t really talk with much with the pack, you know that. Probably why you mentioned it. And I did my homework at school.”
Peter tries not to smile; of course he knows the pack isn’t around, that’s one of the things he discussed with Noah. “Well, if you’d like we can watch a movie. Or you can take that nap, it still looks like you need it.”
Stiles’ scent turns bitter and he turns his back to toss the apple core into the garbage. “Sleep would be nice, but it doesn’t always work. I’m still having those weird nightmares.”
“Your father mentioned that. What are they?” he asks. Noah didn’t have details and Peter’s not sure he doesn’t know or didn’t want to talk about them. Peter has nightmares, too, sometimes and he certainly doesn’t want to share with just anyone.
“Stuff,” Stiles says and that’s not vague, not at all.
“Care to share?” Peter asks. “I’ve had my share of nightmares. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
Stiles snorts and shakes his head, but at least his scent gets lighter. “I guess what you might expect. I dream the Nogitsune comes back. Or he’s never really gone and all of this is a dream. Or my own personal favorite is when I dream of the Nogitsune killing… everyone. And then I wake up and my Dad’s there and then I see Nogi behind him and he kills my dad and then I wake up from that. And have to try to figure out if I’m really really awake.” Stiles shrugs and his scent changes to dark again, it’s so back and forth that Peter can barely keep track. “So hey, sleeping. Good concept, bad execution.”
“If you want, I can just stay here until you fall asleep. And I’ll stay until your father comes home, if you think that’ll help you sleep better.”
Stiles’ scent changes again – there’s a second of happiness and then it’s back to dark and suspicious. “I’m not sure if I should fall asleep around you. Sounds kinda dangerous.”
“Oh for god’s sake,” Peter says, and pushes him back down on the couch, grabbing his legs and pulling them up so Stiles is actually lying down, head on an old, overly flat pillow. “Sleep here, it’s almost like public view. You couldn’t be safer unless you were actually sleeping at the Sheriff’s station.”
“What’ll you do?” Stiles asks, but he’s plumping the pillow at the same time, heartbeat getting slower as he’s pulled into sleep.
“I’ll sit here and read. If you look or sound like you’re having a nightmare, I’m right here to wake you up.” He smiles as Stiles nods and shuts his eyes, exhaustion in his scent. “You’re safe, Stiles. I won’t leave you.”
Peter picks a chair where Stiles can see him and pulls out his phone. “Shut your eyes and go to sleep.”
The next time Stiles wakes up, it’s when his dad shakes him and tells him to go to bed.
“Peter still here?” he asks, rubbing his eyes and pushing off the blanket that he doesn’t remember being there.
“He just left,” Noah tells him, giving Stiles a hand up off the couch. It’s old and while it’s comfortable to sleep on, sometimes it’s hard to get out of. “He said he’ll see you tomorrow. I told him I thought you’d be okay with that.”
“Umhmm,” Stiles mutters, staggering towards the stairs. “Gonna go back to sleep.”
“Love you, kid,” Noah says.
Stiles nods wrapping the blanket around his shoulders. “Love you.”
“You’re looking well today,” Lydia says, as they walk to their last class together. Helping Malia for the last couple of months has been good for her, giving her something to do to get over losing Allison. She looks him up and down and says, “Your pants fit. And so does your t-shirt. That flannel thing is still horrendous, but… you look almost put together.”
“Thanks, that’s sweet, at least from you,” He smooths out the t-shirt and whispers, “You’re sure this is okay, it feels really tight. And I’m trying not to pull these pants out of my butt crack.”
She slaps his hand away from his shirt. “That might be more than I needed to know. If you don’t like them – and you should – why are you wearing them?”
“Oh, Peter bought them for me. He also isn’t fond of my old clothes.”
Lydia raises an eyebrow and says nothing.
“Don’t do that, he’s just… I don’t know, he’s been around helpful and stuff. So for his reward, I let him buy me clothes.”
“I suppose that makes sense in some way. It’s certainly less offensive than some of your other clothes,” she says, reaching over to straighten up his shirt collar. “I’d suggest some new shirts that you can wear over the tees, if you have to.” She looks over his head and says, “Scott, what do you think of Stiles’ new clothes?”
He stops and looks at Stiles, wrinkling his nose. “He looks the same to me, sorry,” he says, shrugging. “I mean, you look good, kinda rested, but not really… different? Are you supposed to?”
“Nah, she’s just being Lydia. It’s a new t-shirt is all.”
“And a new pair of pants and everything fits,” Lydia says, taking Stiles by the shoulder and turning him around. “See, he has a cute bottom.”
“Lydia!” Stiles pulls away from her and turning back around, feeling the blush in his ears. “I don’t think Scott needs to look at my ass.”
She smirks and says, “Maybe not, maybe that’s for Peter.”
“What?” Scott says, head jerking to look at Stiles. “What about Peter? You do smell… you smell kinda like him.”
“He’s been over a lot,” Stiles says and shrugs. He keeps a straight face and doesn’t apologize or try to look sheepish or anything. Peter’s been good for him.
“Why?” Scott asks, looking from him to Lydia. “Is he bothering you, I can get rid of him if he’s bugging you. He should be leaving you alone, you know, to rest and stuff.”
Stiles can’t keep from rolling his eyes when he answers, “I don’t need more rest – well, I need more sleep in general, but who doesn’t? And he’s not bugging me, he’s helping me. He’s, you know, he’s around.”
“Helping you? How can he be helping you?”
“He is, he… he listens and he understands stuff and…” Stiles shrugs and looks away. “He’s around and we talk like everything’s normal.”
“Things are normal, I mean, it was bad before, sure, but now…” Scott snorts and shrugs. “Things are good now, right?”
Stiles pauses and looks from one friend to the other. “Yeah, things are okay.”
Scott gives his sunny smiles and says, “Good! Great, yeah. So…”
“You want to come over and work on the history paper that’s due next week?”
“Umm, I don’t know, I’m supposed to see Kira tonight. She wants to study for her chemistry test tomorrow.” Scott scuffs his feet on the sidewalk, rubbing his chin. “I told her I’d go to her house.”
“You can both come over if you want,” Stiles says quietly. He doesn’t expect that they will, but he still wants to ask. That feels normal. Asking and having his best friend accept.
Scott nods and looks almost sincere. “I’ll check with her, but you know her Mom’s kinda weird about her being out since her powers are still unstable.”
It would be good if he could hear heartbeats, Stiles thinks. “Sure, just drop by, you know where I live.” He turns to Lydia and says, “How about you, Lyds? Have any homework?”
“I wish. I have to help my mother clean up the lake house. It’s going on the market soon,” she says, and sighs, pursing her lips. “Part of the divorce settlement.”
“Sucks,” Scott says. Then he smiles and says, “Anyway, I’ll see you guys later.”
They watch as he gets on his scooter and drives away. “He won’t come over. He hates me.”
Lydia stands on her tiptoes and kisses his cheek. “He doesn’t, Stiles. He just needs time.” Stiles smiles as she wipes off the lipstick smudge she left.
Stiles slouches in his chair at the dining room table working on his homework, at least a little. Okay, along with his depressing paper on child soldiers, he’s also researching colleges that might be good for criminal law and also locations that are supposed to have a lot of intrinsic magic and foods that naturally lower cholesterol.
When he hears footsteps coming down the stairs, he’s a little surprised. Peter normally listens to find out where he is and comes in through the front or back door; he only comes in through the bedroom window when he’s sure Stiles is there.
“Hey,” Scott says, heading into the dining room. He looks around and wrinkles his nose, looking over at Stiles. “Hey. What’s going on?”
“Hey, I didn’t expect you,” Stiles replies trying to look behind his friend. “Where’s Kira? I guess she’s probably using the door?”
He shrugs and says, “No, she’s not coming. I just wanted to come by, I gotta go back to her house later. Her mom’s being weird about her kitsune stuff and doesn’t want her going out too much.”
“Okaaaay,” Stiles says, tilting his head and wishing he could smell his friend’s scent. “So what are you doing here?”
“You wanted me to come over, right? And I wanted to, just to be sure things are okay.” Scott prowls around the house, and he’s not very subtle when he sniffs his way around the room. “Be sure you’re doing okay. You’re okay, right?”
Stiles sighs and leans back in his chair, pushing his laptop away on the table. “Scott, what’s going on? What are you doing here? You’re never here and when you are, you’re not without Kira.”
“I just wanted to check up on you. It’s weird how much you smell like Peter. Your house smells like Peter. What are you doing?” Scott says, slumping into the chair across from Stiles.
“I thought we talked about it already,” Stiles says, letting his head thump back against the dining room chair. “He’s helpful. He listens to me and he’s helping me feel… feel like I’m normal again. He doesn’t treat me like I’m glass or like I’m going to go postal or something.”
“No one thinks those things, you know that,” Scott answers, and he looks exasperated or something. Something that makes Stiles think this is his fault again. “And you know Peter’s not helpful, he’s never helpful. It’s some kind of a trick -- he wants something.”
“Really? What is it you think I want?” Peter asks, coming in through the front door, with a bag of groceries in each hand. “I’m always fascinated by what you think, Scott.”
Stiles tries not to laugh watching his friend practically vibrate out of his skin. It shouldn’t be funny, how far apart he’s drifted from his brother, but after all, Peter is the one who’s been here for him.
“What I think – what I know is you can’t be trusted!” Scott answers, pointing at Peter. He looks at Stiles and says, “I don’t know why you can’t see that! The old Stiles used to know that!”
Peter cocks an eyebrow and says, “I’ll be in the kitchen, making that turkey your father likes for dinner.”
“Thank you, Peter,” Stiles answers, not turning away from Scott. “As for you, Scott, I think you should leave now. Rather than hang out here for the ten more minutes you were probably willing to offer to me.”
Scott grabs Stiles by the arm and hisses at him, “Stiles, that’s not fair! You’re not thinking or remembering or whatever! He’s bad, he kills people! He tried to kill us! He bit me, remember?”
Peter’s there in a second, pulling Scott’s fingers off Stiles. “You’re starting to upset him and you’re certainly annoying me,” he says. Scott stands, and finds himself backed towards the front door. “I think you should go now.”
“You can’t tell me what to do!” Scott exclaims, and flashes his eyes at Peter.
Stiles rolls his eyes and says, “Oh, for god’s sake, Scott, you sound like you’re six. Just leave, okay? We’ll… we’ll talk later.”
He’s surprised how exhausting that short conversation was, but he’s glad Peter’s there for support. It’s not clear who starts the hug, but it seems to be what Stiles need – a hug from his best friend.
Stiles and the pack get on a little more even footing. Peter and Noah have a discussion about Peter's intentions and then Stiles jumps into the discussion as well.
And then there’s the time the high school music program was interrupted when people started doing this chant-like thing until the music teacher got killed when her piano kind of exploded. Oh, and birds attack the school. And all the animals at the vet who killed themselves…. But let’s ignore those things.
After a while, Stiles starts talking more with the rest of the pack and they actually start talking back to him, without looking like they’re going to pull out a gun. Maybe taking a little clue from Lydia, he’s not entirely sure. Kira’s always been pretty good with him, but of course she didn’t know Allison the way the rest did. And she didn’t know Stiles too well either; apparently having few (living) friends works out for him. Derek’s the same as always, which is both good and bad. He’s never been overly friendly with Stiles, but he’s never been overly friendly with anyone. At any rate, he treats Stiles the same as he did before, like he’s an inch away from being a pest. A helpful pest, but a pest.
Malia’s interesting, that’s the best thing he can say about their friendship. Making out with someone while in a mental hospital probably isn’t the best start for a relationship, and it could be awkward, but she’s got enough on her mind that their history doesn’t even make the top ten.
“You smell like Peter,” she says, sniffing along his neck. Personal space issues, yes, add that to the list of things to suggest Lydia discuss with her.
Stiles takes a step backwards, rubbing his neck. “Yeah, well, we’re friends so that’s probably why.”
“All friends don’t smell like each other, at least not quite so much. You don’t smell like Scott or Lydia.”
“I don’t see them as much and Lydia’s not a wolf, so she’s not as touchy,” he answers, hoping that’s enough of an answer. It’s time to change the subject.
Which Malia does. “Scott says Peter’s bad and dangerous. I think he said crazy, too, like he killed a bunch of people?” They’re supposed to be studying math, it’s one of the things she has the most trouble with and something that usually comes pretty easy to him.
Sighing, Stiles answers, “Yeah, he did. When hunters burned his family alive and he nearly died and woke up after a six-year coma, he did kill a few people. Mostly the people who killed his entire family, his entire pack, and… there were a couple of accidents, I guess you’d say.”
“Scott says killing people is always wrong,” Malia states, but she doesn’t look like she quite believes what she’s saying.
“Do you agree?” Stiles asks her, curious about her answer. He already knows his opinion, but he’s curious to see if she’s her father’s daughter.
She shrugs, frowning. “I don’t know. He seems really sincere when he says it, but I know when I lived in the woods, there were times I would have been killed if I didn’t kill something else.”
“Sure, that makes sense,” he says. He stands and walks around his bedroom, where they’re supposed to be studying. “I have to tell you, the other reason Scott hates Peter is because Peter’s the one who bit him originally. Peter’s the one who turned him. Did you know that?”
“No, Scott never said that.” Now she really looks confused, wrinkling her nose and looking like a pretty typical confused Hale. “But why does he hate Peter for that? He loves being a werewolf. I mean not the hunter stuff, no one likes that. But he likes the strength and the hearing and all that. Why wouldn’t he?”
“Funny, isn’t it?” Stiles answers, hoping she’ll understand sarcasm. “He doesn’t hate it until you ask him about it directly and then…”
“Huh.” Malia shakes her head and then shoves her math book towards him. “This part highlighted in yellow – what on earth does it mean and why should I care?”
“I don’t know about the second part, but here, read these notes, it’ll help,” he answers, focusing again.
Malia just snorts, which is Malia-speak for “If I have to.”
“I’m sorry I have to work again tonight.” Noah picks up the lunch pack Stiles prepared along with his phone and car keys. “You going to be okay here? Is anyone coming over? Peter?” he asks, knowing by now that’s the most likely possibility.
“Maybe. Actually, I thought I’d go over to his apartment. He’s got a couple of new books I want to look at,” Stiles answers, looking up from the book he’s currently reading.
Noah’s glanced through it, unsure how he feels about the information in it; it’s spells, according to Stiles, and things he calls ‘runes’, which apparently are magic words that predict things or protect things – or something like that. “He can’t bring them here?”
Stiles looks up, blinking so his eyes refocus. “Umm, he could, but he’s got a lot of things that kind of work together. And…” he pauses, shrugging. “I like it over there when you’re not home. It’s like neutral ground, you know? Nothing bad ever happened there.”
“I guess so,” he says, pushing Stiles’ hair back off his forehead. One thing he’s relearned from Peter is how much his son likes to be touched – and how much he enjoys Stiles’ smile when he does. “I don’t want to sound paranoid, although I am of course, but he behaves…”
“Dad! Yeah, it’s fine. You don’t think I wouldn’t knock him flat if he got out of line?” Stiles answers, and for a second it’s like his eyes flash. “Remember I’m one of the ones who set him on fire before.”
“I remember, unfortunately. Just checking.” Noah checks his pockets one more time and gives Stiles’ shoulder a squeeze before heading out. “Call me if you need anything or just because.”
“You, too,” Stiles tells him, head already back into his book.
Stiles hasn’t mentioned he has what’s basically his own room at Peter’s apartment. It’s hard to figure out what his father would think of that. Is it good because it’s his own room, a guest room like an underage boy should have at an older man’s house? Or is it bad because, hey, he’s got a home, he doesn’t need a room at someone else’s house?
It’s something he hasn’t addressed; another thing that’s not quite a lie, just not the complete truth. It’s something he’d rather not do; that sort of thing hasn’t gone over very well previously. So it’s a complete judgment call and he knows at some point he’ll have to address his dual-living condition, but later. Not when his father and Peter are getting on so well together and dammit, he needs the support since he doesn’t get it from his so-called pack.
“Where are you tonight?” Peter asks, making Stiles startle. “You seem distracted.”
“I guess I am, maybe a little. Just thinking about my dad. And you and me and me being here and… it’s all a bit of a mess, isn’t it?”
Peter takes the book out of Stiles’ hand, putting a piece of paper in it before he shuts the cover and sets it aside. He takes Stiles’ hand and asks, “Is it? Tell me what you think is messy.”
“I don’t know,” he answers, sighing. “I think sometimes… I like it here, you know? I’m comfortable here and,” he shrugs and continues, “sometimes I guess it makes me feel disloyal to my dad.”
“I don’t think your father would object to you being comfortable somewhere, even if it’s not at his house,” Peter says, squeezing Stiles’ hand. “Even if he doesn’t completely trust me, he does trust you, Stiles.”
Stiles shrugs and mumbles, “Maybe…”
“He does, Stiles,” Peter says again, more forcibly, pausing until Stiles looks up. “Would you feel more comfortable if I spoke with him about it? About this, you being here?”
Stiles shrugs again and sighs quietly. “I don’t know. Right now, I’m just maybe being sneaky. If you talk with him and he doesn’t want me spending the night as often as I do, then I’ll end up being sneaky and being a liar. Because I’d do it anyway.”
Peter crosses his arms and sits, staring at Stiles for a minute before saying, “I don’t like being sneaky around your father. He’s been very fair with me and I, well, I don’t want to do things to make him regret that. I don’t want you to regret anything, either.”
“Who are you and what have you done with Peter?” Stiles tries not to grin. “Fine, go have confession with Father Noah but don’t be surprised if he ends up cleaning his gun at you.”
“Cleaning’s better than shooting.”
“So Peter, what’s going on? I mean, I get a beer and pork and Stiles isn’t even here?” Noah asks, sipping his drink and leaning back in his recliner. “Something you want to talk about?”
Peter sips his own beer before putting it on a coaster on the end table next to him. “It’s not like Stiles is gone for the evening, he just went for a run to the grocery store. He said something about wanting cinnamon rolls for breakfast.”
“Um hmm. Probably good idea for him to be out for a bit. It lets us talk for a few.”
“Okay, Noah. Do you have something you want to start with?” Peter asks. He checks Noah’s heart and it’s steady at his normal rate of about 90 beats per minute. Stiles’ heartbeat is usually that fast or faster and it’s a rate Peter’s used to hearing in the Stilinski house.
“Suppose so. Just checking in, mainly. You’re still here a lot, even more than you were before. Which, I’ll admit, it’s been helpful. Stiles is a lot more social than he was and I think he’s feeling more comfortable in his skin.” Noah flips through the channels as he talks, but his scent says he’s not paying attention to the television at all. “I appreciate that, especially since his friends haven’t been there for him.”
Peter shakes his head, lips pressed tight together. “No. No they haven’t. It’s not the way a pack should act; they should be supporting their injured packmate, helping him heal. Not avoiding him.”
“Like what you’re doing, right? You’re here – or with him at your apartment – because he’s a packmate you’re helping him to heal?”
It’s not a surprise after all. Peter would have brought it up if Noah hadn’t. “I want to be an ally to Stiles and to you. As I’ve told Stiles, I think I have a good perspective on what happened. Both from prior experience as a wolf and from my own… personal experiences. Stiles is smart and loyal and what happened isn’t his fault and if he’s going to stay in Beacon Hills, he’ll need to realize that. And, if you don’t mind my saying so, you’ll need to realize that he’s not fragile and while it’s taking a bit for him to recover, both physically and mentally, he will. But for as long as he’s here, he’s going to have to deal with the Nematon and with whatever’s been pulled into Beacon Hills because of it.”
“Has he said I’m treating him differently or making him uncomfortable?” Noah asks, sitting forward.
Peter appreciates he’s focused on that part -- what Stiles needs from him. “No, I think he’s feeling fine about it. He feels you’re supporting him, and he appreciates that you’re not pushing him towards Scott or the others.”
“Well, they’re being assholes, so that’s not too hard to do. I expected better from Scott, to be honest…” his voice trails off as he looks away, shaking his head. His scent sharpens with anger and disappointment and…betrayal? It’s not something Peter’s used to from Noah. From Stiles, yes, but not from his father.
“I’m not sure what I can tell you about that. You have to know I’m not Scott’s biggest fan. I’m sure he’d say the same about me, though.”
Noah snorts, and it’s a lot like his son. “Yeah, he’s actually said somethings a little bit harsher. He cornered me outside the station to tell me how you’re hanging around and poisoning Stiles’ mind. I suggested he take some time to look around at who’s there helping Stiles and who’s been absent.” He pauses and studies Peter for a moment, looking very much like a cop. “So you’re sticking around for Stiles’ health? And because he’s pack and loyalty and all that? That’s the only reason?”
Peter takes a breath and gives a small shrug. “He’s amazing, your son. I know I don’t need to tell you that.” He holds up a hand and says, “And he’s still in high school. I promise I would never betray him in the way you’re thinking. Kate Argent basically raped my nephew. She knew how to appeal to a teenager and she used him to kill our family. After that and, well, you lose some body autonomy when you’re in a coma for six years.”
“I’m not hearing the ‘No, sir, that sort of thing never crosses my mind’ that I want to hear,” Noah says, looking at Peter over the top of his glass as he sips.
“I can’t tell you I don’t think about being in his future, in whatever way he’ll have me. And I know that includes you as well, which I’m happy about.” Peter sinks into a chair and says, “Believe it or not, I rather like you – I can see from where Stiles gets a lot of the things that make him interesting. I can’t and won’t lie and tell you I have no interest, but I will tell you, I’ll never try to trick him or force him or manipulate him. Frankly, he’s too smart for that anyway.”
“I don’t like it,” Noah says, snorting. “I should kick you out now, but… you’ve done more for him than any of his so-called friends. He trusts you. Hell, I almost trust you.”
Stiles clears his throat from the doorway as he takes off his jacket, hanging it on the coat tree by the door. “Nice to know you guys are deciding my life while I’m at the fucking grocery store.”
“Language,” Noah says, a reflex by now.
“Oh, yeah, because that’s the issue.” He stands and looks at the two men who both look outwardly calm. “Dad, I am way too fucked up still – yes, that’s the word that works – to think about anything like a relationship. I hate to say it, but first I need to get my act together before I think about anything with anyone else.”
He turns to Peter and says, “And you. Did you think you were being subtle?”
Peter snorts and grins, shrugging one shoulder and doesn’t answer.
“Maybe when I’m 18, I’ll let you do a proper werewolf courting. Maybe,” he says, pointing at Peter. He turns to his dad and says, “It’s a thing, a real thing. I read about it a while ago. I tried to tell Scott about it, but…” He huffs a sigh and visibly shakes off the anxiety he feels talking about Scott. “Anyway, part of it is getting the alpha’s permission and since you’re pretty much my alpha, Dad, he’ll need you to approve.”
“So you,” Stiles says, turning to Peter, “you have just about 12 months to impress me and my father and convince us we should accept you as more than a family friend. If you’re still interested.”
Peter nods and says, “I’ll always be interested.” He turns to Noah and says, “In your family and your health and safety, of course.”
“Uh huh, that’s a ways away, don’t forget, so don’t make it weird. Weirder. Here, chicken legs were on sale,” Stiles says, pointing to the bags on the counter. “Let’s figure out what to make so we can stop talking about this and get dinner prepped for tomorrow before I die of embarrassment.” He looks to his father, “Late shift today?”
Noah nods, still shooting death rays at Peter’s back. “Yes. But I can stay. Or you can come with me.”
“I hate how much you have to work,” Stiles mutters, dragging his hand over his father’s shoulder as he starts putting things away in the fridge while Peter empties the bags. That’s something he’s started and although Noah found it odd (and way too wolfy) he’s become used to it and has to admit he likes it.
“I’m back on days next week,” Noah says, “You okay tonight?” He can’t help but notice Peter’s expectant look.
“Yeah, sure, I have an overprotective werewolf with me,” Stiles answers, not looking at Peter. “You okay if I go to his place tonight?”
“I still think you’d be more comfortable in a familiar place,” Noah answers looking around their comfortable, slightly old kitchen.
Stiles looks down, with the look both older men knows is embarrassed. “Actually, sometimes it’s harder. There’s…there’s a lot of ghosts here, you know?”
Noah nods and moves forward to pull him into a hug, whispering in his ear, “Go. I’ll call you and you call me if you need anything.” He looks over Stiles’ shoulder Peter and mouths, “I have wolfsbane.”
Peter nods and smiles, full of plain, white human teeth, turning back to the sink, getting ready to start on tomorrow night’s dinner. And to start thinking about the year he has to plan.
Additional awkward conversations with the pack. Scott bites Liam, and gets a bit bossy. Peter isn't happy with dead supernaturals. Stiles is a bit of a shit, but that's expected, isn't it?
When a family of four is killed and dead bodies are found in their house, you think that would make national news. But this is Beacon Hills and it’s quickly forgotten. When a man delivers beer to an underage party and is beheaded you think that might be noticed, but again – this is Beacon Hills.
It takes a while, but eventually the pack starts (finally) acting like a pack again. Derek may not be an alpha any longer, but he tries to get them together to talk about being a pack and he works on teaching Scott everything he knows about being an alpha and the leader of a pack. Which isn’t that much, honestly. He wasn’t meant to be an alpha. Then again, it’s more than Scott knows about being a wolf, so they’re all suffering through growing pains together.
There isn’t a lot Stiles can do to help Scott with this part of his werewolf life, but he tries to be supportive, remembering how difficult his last few months have been. At least with some time passed, his friends can look at him again and they’re acting like friends. Maybe Derek had a word with them, or his father or maybe Peter. Perhaps it’s just Scott and the others finally realized it themselves – Stiles was not the one responsible for the damage caused by the Nogitsune. He was a victim as well.
There is still an awkwardness with the pack because of Peter. Stiles spends most of his free time with the older wolf, technically, their pack’s senior member (even though no one really likes it). Stiles smells of him, which Scott and Malia have both noticed. Sitting in Scott’s room, one he knows as well as his own, Stiles suddenly feels less than welcome.
Malia’s there, too, looking comfortable with Scott and wrinkling her nose at Stiles, unsure how this works in the human world. Scott, of course, doesn’t understand and doesn’t want to try to find out. He doesn’t trust Peter and still doesn’t know why Stiles does.
“Are you having sex with him?” Malia asks, looking nothing but curious. At least not judgmental like most of the others.
Judgmental like Scott, whose head whips around so fast, a non-werewolf would probably have a neck ache. “You’re not! I mean, you don’t smell like you are and you can’t, Stiles, you just can’t!”
“We’re not, no. We’re friends and… he’s helpful and…” Stiles sputters because it’s always hard to explain what Peter brings to him and to Noah as well. “He’s around and he’s smart and yeah, he’s a good guy. And quit smelling me.”
“He’s not,” Scott states. “He’s not a good guy. Stiles. And I’m sorry, but sometimes you really smell like him, like you’re, I don’t know, it’s like you must be sleeping with him, you smell so much alike.”
Stiles can’t keep the blush from rising from his chest, but doesn’t answer otherwise.
Malia shrugs and Scott’s jaw drops. “Do you sleep with him? I mean, even if you’re not, you know, having sex, that’s just weird.”
“I have nightmares, Scott. I still have nightmares about everything. Hurting my dad, hurting you, stuff that happened or might happen, stuff I remember from, from his life…” He pauses and shuts his eyes, taking a breath like he’s done countless times with Peter. Inhale two three four. Hold two three four five. Exhale two three four five six. “He’s around and he helps, and he reminds me things are okay. Or if they’re not okay yet, they will be.”
Scott, bless his heart, ignores that Stiles still has nightmares or what might not be okay and focuses on the stuff important to Scott. His jaw does the stubborn locking thing it does. “Does your dad know about you and Peter? He can’t like it.”
It’s Stiles turn to shrug and he tries not to grin, because he knows Scott and his father have discussed this, and Scott did not win. “He trusts Peter. They had some kind of talk and yeah, Dad trusts him. Trust and verify.”
“It’s weird and wrong, Stiles. He’ll end up hurting you, you know that. He can’t be trusted,” Scott says, shaking his head and turning away. Turning his back again.
Malia gives him a small smile and plucks at the cover on Scott’s bed as Stiles picks up his backpack and leaves.
“There’s something weird going on,” Peter says, swinging through the window into Stiles’ bedroom. Noah’s at work so of course Peter doesn’t bother with the front door. Why bother with that, even though he has a key. Stiles is upstairs and what’s the point of using a door and stairs when you can just jump to the roof and use the window.
“Could you be a little more specific?” Stiles asks, glancing away from an article on how the moon landing was faked. “There’s always something weird going on around here.”
Peter flops back on the bed and then he’s back up pacing the short length of the bedroom. “There’s been murders here, in the county. Surely you’re not unaware of that? I know how you snoop through your father’s files.”
“Actually, yeah. Some weird stuff, and I’m told there was a wendigo killed? Or a family of wendigos? Wendigi? That’s what Lydia said – the killing part, not the correct plural.”
“Yes. And there’s been a werewolf killed.” He waves a hand when Stiles looks up, concerned. “No one we knew, some kid, no one important. Other than the fact he’s a… he was a supernatural and killed. Five in the last week, Stiles.”
“Did you talk with Chris?” Stiles asks him. “Maybe he’d know if it’s hunters.”
“I believe he’s still in France with Isaac,” Peter tells him, back to pacing the room until he heads for the closed bedroom door. “I’m going to cook something or maybe bake. Want to bake something?”
Stiles snorts and follows him downstairs. “Sure, you know brownies always calm me down. And it’ll give us something to take over to the loft to talk with the others.”
Peter starts pulling things out of the baking cabinet he set up while Stiles gets eggs and Irish butter out of the fridge. “We need to actually talk with them?”
“At least to let them know not to get killed.”
The conversation with Scott and the remaining pack does not go well, even with homemade frosted brownies. With pecans, come on.
“Why’s he here?” is Scott’s first comment.
“He’s probably lying, he probably killed them himself!” is the second comment.
Stiles can’t help but roll his eyes at his friend. “He’s not lying, I’ve seen the police reports. And Lydia was at the wendigo-thingies’ house. This stuff is all real and it doesn’t seem like a coincidence.”
“No, there’s something.” Lydia looks concerned and even with her make-up, the dark circles under her eyes are noticeable. “I feel… I always feel like I’m a second away from screaming,” she says. She picks at her brownie, able to make it last for at least fifteen minutes. Malia’s on her third.
“It’s not right. I’m not saying you didn’t feel what you think you felt,” Scott tells Lydia who raises an eyebrow at his words, “but you know that there’s nothing new here. We would know. Derek, you don’t think there’s a problem, do you?”
Derek looks between Scott and his uncle and Lydia and Stiles. He swallows loudly and finally says, “I don’t know. I mean, I trust Lydia. If she says she’s feeling something…” He takes another breath and shrugs. “And Peter’s observant. He was the pack’s protector, the left hand, if you will. The one who looked for problems and took care of them.” He gives a small smile to Peter and says, “I guess we keep an eye open and see what happens. And I think we should all be careful. Try to stay together, don’t run off alone.”
“Well, I guess that makes sense,” Scott says, looking around the group, a group much smaller than it was a few months ago. “Keep together and – and let people know where you are. Text or phone with your plans. You know, when you can.” He looks towards Kira and she nods and smiles. “Yeah, that’s it. Just be careful.”
After he and Kira leave, Malia looks at the remaining pack members and asks, “Is that it? Is everything okay?”
“It will be. Just don’t be alone,” Stiles says, looking at the pack. “Peter, you want to go?”
“More than anything,” the wolf answers, not bothering to look back.
“So you think this is a pattern of some sort?” Noah looks at the papers Stiles printed out, reading about the family that apparently was eating humans and the delivery man killed outside Lydia’s lake house.
It’s been a few more days and Peter insisted on discussing this with the Sheriff. Stiles wanted to wait, to be sure things are bad before alarming his father, but Peter said it couldn’t wait.
“Yes. There’s something out for us, for all of us. I’m not sure what it is or why, but… this is real, Noah,” Peter tells him.
“You’re sure?” Noah asks again, looking at his son and Peter. For once, Stiles looks almost calm and Peter’s the one who looks anxious, barely able to keep in his seat. “I guess you’re sure, you wouldn’t tell me otherwise. You’re safe though? And Stiles is, too?”
“I’ll do everything in my power to ensure he’s safe,” Peter says, flashing his eyes. Stiles and Noah both believe him. They’re pack.
The next couple of weeks are a little stressful. School’s in and there’s new students and suddenly Scott needs to try out for his position on the lacrosse team again. Stiles doesn’t much care, but this is something he and Scott can do together without it being weird, so he supports his friend. There may be a divide between them, but it’s hard to turn his back on his friend.
Overall, Scott’s acting better towards him, which is an amazing weight off Stiles’ mind; he didn’t know he was so concerned about it until some of that awkwardness is gone. To be replaced by new awkwardness.
And of course it’s the stress from Scott turning this new kid at school, Liam, into a werewolf. The kid’s already way too hot tempered and now he’s going to be moon-crazed and frankly, Stiles did that one time already and nearly getting killed by anyone isn’t his idea of fun.
“I don’t know what to do, Stiles! I didn’t want to turn him, I wasn’t trying to, but if I didn’t, he was going to die!”
“I’m sure he’ll appreciate it, once he realizes his choice was this or be dead,” Stiles says, looking at the new wolf tied up in Scott’s bathtub. “Listen here, you little shit… You need to listen to Scott, he’s going to explain this to you. Go on, Scott.”
“Okay, Liam. I’m sorry I bit you – to save your life – but now you’re going to experience some changes.”
“If you don’t die,” Stiles adds.
Liam’s eyes grow huge and he starts wiggling and making little squeaky noises behind his taped mouth.
“That’s not calming him down, Stiles,” Scott points out, because he’s a very smart alpha.
“Well, it’s probably hard to really calm down when someone bites you and then shoves you into a bathtub,” Stiles answers. “So your mom’s okay, right? And the wendigo is…”
“She’s good and he’s… not,” Scott says. “It wasn’t my fault, I wasn’t trying to kill him or anything.”
“Yeah, I’m sure you weren’t. So what can I do to help with him?” Stiles asks, gesturing to the tub.
Scott shrugs and says, “Help me train him? You know, like you helped me?”
“Dude, you’re an alpha. Aren’t you supposed to know how to train him? Or maybe Derek can help you?” Stiles thinks of Peter and decides that is not the way to go. Not unless Scott wants a beta who alternates between murder and heart healthy cooking.
“Derek? Maybe. Anyway, we need to talk with him and explain things,” Scott says, moving towards Liam who starts thrashing again.
Stiles grabs his arm and pulls him back a step. “Maybe we take him out of the tub and tie him to a chair, like a regular kidnap victim? And then call Derek?”
“I don’t want Derek to know this happened!” Scott exclaims. “We can take care of this. Like you helped me with control. Like you’re helping Malia.”
“Dude, you nearly killed me, remember? Frankly, I’ve had way too many near-death experiences and I’m getting a little tired of them. And Malia’s different, I know her; I trust her. I don’t know this kid at all, except from lacrosse, where he’s a dick.” Stiles sits on the toilet seat, tilting his head to study Scott. “So you said the wendigo guy was killed by some other guy with a pick-axe? Who had no face?”
“He had like, a half a face? No mouth. It was pretty creepy,” Scott confirms. He looks towards Liam to see if he’ll agree, but Liam’s eyes are just getting bigger and bigger as Scott talks. “Anyway, we can talk about it later. You need to help me with Liam.”
Stiles raises an eyebrow and takes a second to gather his thoughts so he doesn’t say the first thing he thinks of. Peter’s been a good influence that way. “You can ask me to help you with Liam, but I don’t need to do anything. I’m the lowly human, remember? You’re pretty good at reminding me of that when it works for you. You’re the werewolf and you bit him—“ he looks over at Liam and nods. “Yup, Scott’s a werewolf and assuming you don’t die, you’ll be one too. Anyhoo, Scottie, you’re the werewolf and the alpha. You have born werewolves around as teachers. I suggest you use one.”
“Well then it’ll have to be Derek, because there’s no way I’d trust Peter.”
“He’s trustworthy. It’s just he doesn’t particularly like you,” Stiles answers. He turns to look at Liam again. “You’ll meet them both, they’re pack. That’s what you call this weird little supernatural group you’re in. Anyway, you’ll meet everyone. Assuming you don’t die.”
“You need to quit saying that!” Scott yells and leans over, petting Liam’s head and it doesn’t look like either of them are enjoying it. “You’ll be fine, we’ll… we’ll figure this out, promise.”
“Yeah, you two should work on that. I’m gonna go, I have to go drop off dinner for my dad,” Stiles says, grabbing his hoodie and checking for his phone. “I’ll let Peter know what’s going on.”
“Sure, whatever,” Scott mumbles, keeping his back to Stiles as he leaves.
Whatever. Stiles has to go check on his real pack.
Peter discusses the supernatural killings going on and tells Noah and Stiles about his plan for all of them.
Against his better judgment, since Scott did creates a beta (“How do you accidentally bite someone, Scott?”) Stiles does try to help him with Liam. It could have gone worse, maybe. During his first full moon he could have outright killed a house full of high schoolers.
“Are you even listening, Peter? Scott turned someone. He bit this freshman kid and now he’s Scott’s new beta. He was not pleasant during the full moon. Not that he’s ever really pleasant. I swear we were never that young. Oh, but Malia did really well. Much less murdery.” Stiles stops his pacing to study Peter, watching him quickly typing on his laptop. “Things okay? Or no worse than before?”
Peter glances over and says, “I’m listening. And if Scott’s an alpha, he’s going to have to figure out how to really be one. It’s more than just flashing red eyes and thinking you can boss people around. He made a beta, now he can train him.”
“That’s kinda what I told him, that and he should ask Derek – or you – for help. Surprise, surprise, you were rejected,” Stiles says. He sits on the couch next to Peter and looks over his shoulder at the screen, showing local news stories. “What are you looking for?”
Peter shakes his head and says, “We need to leave, Stiles.” He pulls up an article, just something small about the murdered delivery man killed in a suburban neighborhood. “This was Lydia’s party, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. The one the other day when it was the full moon? I told you about it, how we got Liam there, to the boat house and tried to tell him again about what’s going on. You know, ‘You’re a werewolf, we’re brothers now.’” He looks at the article again and says, “This was right outside? Why does it mean you have to leave?”
Peter stands, walking the length of his apartment. “Because the thing hunting supernaturals has killed another. This man killed? He was a wolf. It’s not safe here any more – or maybe it’s just less safe, but it’s time to leave.”
Stiles looks around the apartment and sees there’s already a couple of boxes and suitcases packed and stacked against the hallway wall, and how did he not notice them? “You’re serious? You’re leaving? You’re leaving…me?”
“No, we’re leaving. Stiles, there’s something killing supernatural creatures.” He steps over and cups Stiles’ cheek. “And you, my little love – your spark is enough that I’m worried it’ll count.”
He pushes his face against Peter’s hand for a second before he moves away. “Oh, hell, no! Nope. That’s… that can’t be. Besides, I can’t leave my dad!”
Peter knows he looks wild, unable to keep his eyes from flashing as he scrubs a hand through his hair. “We won’t, Stiles. He’ll come with us.”
“He won’t, Peter. He’ll never agree to leave here, to leave his job.”
There’s a flash of teeth when Peter says, “We’re going, the three of us and as many others as we can convince. Even Scott and his mother if they’ll go. Even his new little beta. But we three -- your father, you and me? We’re going, even if I have to knock you both out and put you in the trunk.”
Stiles snorts and wraps his arms around Peter, letting the wolf calm down, deep breaths with his face against Stiles’ neck. “Yeah, that won’t attract any attention.”
Peter pulls back and looks at him, raising an eyebrow. “Here? Unfortunately Stiles, I have a feeling no one would notice.”
“Thanks for getting time off tonight, Dad,” Stiles says, cleaning up after their taco dinner. He doesn’t mention it was whole wheat tortillas, low-fat cheese and turkey instead of beef. His father likes it and that’s good for all.
“Not a problem and thanks for dinner.” Noah takes a tortilla from the basket on the table and pulls it apart, eating a small piece, more for something to do than because he’s still hungry. He looks at his son and then Peter. “At least I think there’s not a problem – nothing beyond the usual. Or is there?”
“There is,” Peter starts, pouring out another glass of beer for himself and Noah. “There’s something in Beacon Hills -- assassins, killing supernaturals. Stiles says you’ve been looking into some of the recent crimes, like the dead cannibal family. They were killed by someone targeting supernaturals.”
“Jesus,” Noah says, rubbing his suddenly dry mouth. “I mean, I thought the room of dead people was weird enough.”
Stiles raises an eyebrow at the wolf. “Assassins? That’s new, is that something you just came up with?”
Peter takes a drink of his beer and gives Stiles’ hand a squeeze. Yes, Noah notices, but right now, he can tell Stiles needs the reassurance. “Well, I was able to put it together. The wendigos, and werewolves, both. I don’t think it’s done by hunters, or at least not with hunter’s reasons. I reached out to Chris, he’s still in France, but he hasn’t heard anything about a cleansing in Beacon Hills.”
“So why are they doing this? How many are there? Are you in danger?” Noah asks, downing the rest of his beer. This would really go down better with whiskey, but he’s learned there’s many reasons to stay alert around here.
“I think they’re doing it for money,” Peter answers. “They don’t seem to have a hunter’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ attitude and they’re finding supernaturals who haven’t been on the radar. So someone must be telling them who’s who.”
“Are you in danger? Like now, like going home?” He bumps Peter’s foot under the table, not wanting to distract his father with this, whatever this might be.
Peter sits quietly for a long moment, and Stiles thinks he might not answer, which yeah, duh, of course he’s in danger. He’s a werewolf and he’s already said a couple other wolves were killed.
“I wasn’t going to tell you because it’s over and done with. I was attacked in Derek’s loft a couple of days ago. It sound like it was the same person who attacked Scott, the man you said Scott described as not having a mouth. He came into the loft and… he had something I think is called a tomahawk axe. Or an ice axe or something…”
Stiles rises out of his seat, turning Peter towards him with a hand to his shoulder. “An axe? A guy with an axe attacked you? You’re okay?”
“I’m fine now, thank you,” he says, holding Stiles’ hand for a moment, waiting until his heart beat slows just a little. His scent is still strong with worry and anger. Noah’s is as well, something Peter’s surprised (and slightly pleased) about. “It wasn’t fun, but Derek was able to help. The axe had wolfsbane on it and he had to…” He huffs a breath and says, “He had to burn it out with a blow torch. I think he didn’t enjoy it quite as much as he thought he might. I’d say that’s growth.”
“Oh my god.” Noah pats Peter’s arm, a little awkwardly, but still, it’s nice. packpackpack runs through Peter’s chest. “You’re okay? And am I going to find this guy’s body someplace?”
Peter smiles back, teeth just a little sharp. “If I’d done something, you’d never find his body. Not unless I wanted to make a point. But no. My plan instead, is to get the hell out of here. And you both are coming with me. Derek and anyone else I can get as well.”
“I’m not saying it’s not a bad idea for you to leave, but not picturing you as the running away type,” Noah says, pushing a bottle towards Peter. No, it won’t affect him like alcohol, but it’s good and maybe the thought will be soothing.
“He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day,” Peter says with a wan smile. “I think that’s from Bugs Bunny, at least that’s what I remember. But regardless, I’d like to leave tonight, to be on the road before sunrise.” He looks over at Stiles. “I know Stiles has packed what he’ll need for the next couple of months. How quickly can you pack, Noah?”
Noah snorts quietly and shakes his head. “I appreciate everything you’ve done for us, Peter, and especially for Stiles, but you can’t be serious. If there is something that’s attacking werewolves and others, it doesn’t mean we have to go. Stiles is in high school and I have a job.”
“Stiles has what’s called a spark. And I don’t know if that’s enough to make him a target or not, but is that something you’re willing to risk? Because I’m not. And Stiles will not be able to finish high school if he’s dead.” Peter takes Stiles’ hand and squeezes it again, hearing how his heart beat has ratcheted up again. “And as far as your job, I don’t know if that’s important in the vast scheme of things. If you’re worried about money, I have more than enough. The Hales have always had a lot of money and I hate to say it, but the life insurance from the fire… I’m more than comfortable.”
“But I can’t just leave! That’s ridiculous! And Stiles’ spark – what does that even mean?”
“You know what it means,” Peter answers, trying not to sound as annoyed as he feels. “You know, and you know you know there’s times he knows about things he shouldn’t, things he couldn’t. When there’s a storm and there shouldn’t be, when doors unlock by themselves. It’s his spark and he probably got it from his mother.”
Noah pales and Stiles looks away, his scent embarrassed.
Peter can’t have that. “It’s a good thing,” Peter says quietly, talking to both of them. “It’s impressive and powerful and he’ll be able to use it with training. But only if he lives, Noah.”
Stiles’ voice is steady when he says, “Dad, I want to go. If something could get Peter, it could easily get to you or me.”
“I can see if you have to leave, if you think that’s best. For a couple of months, maybe. You can do summer school or something. But I don’t know why I would.”
Peter’s lips thin and he looks at Stiles and then his father. “You know the world around you, and for those who want to find us, you can be a way to.” He stops and tilts his head, studying Noah like he’s never seen him before. “If someone wanted to know where I was – or Derek, or maybe someone you don’t know well – if someone wanted to know how to find Kira, the kitsune, how long would you, could you go without telling what you know. Assuming the people asking had you at gun point? Or told you how they could have Stiles at gun point. If you’re here and they’re here, you’re vulnerable and so are we.”
“Dad, Peter said he’d knock us both out and drive away with us in the trunk. I think we’d all be more comfortable sitting in the car. Please, Dad, if we’re wrong, what’s the worst that could happen?” Stiles asks, clenching his hands, looking both fearful and pleading with his father.
“I’d lose my job, for one,” his father answers, but Peter can smell he’s not as dead set as when they started talking.
“You can get another job, assuming you’re alive,” Peter says quietly, pushing his chair away from the table.
“I love you, kid, and I promised your mother I’d keep you safe.” Noah heaves a sigh and pushes his chair away as well, standing in their tiny dining room. “First stop when we’re on the road is going to be a steak dinner. He sighs again and says, “Leaving tonight, eh? Okay, what’s next?”
Now that he’s onboard, Peter and Stiles quickly outline the plans.
“You should call your deputy, Jordan, and ask him to come over while you pack. You can explain you’ll be gone and…” Peter and Stiles exchange a look and a shrug and Noah’s sure there’s a whole conversation there. “You could suggest he come along as well. I’m not sure what he is, but I think he’s something.”
“Jordan Parrish?” Noah asks, and his face has that questioning-doubting look Stiles is way too used to.
“Yes,” Peter says, not letting Stiles attempt to answer. “Remember how he said he was drawn here? This place does that – the beacon in Beacon Hills is literal, Noah. You could suggest he come or at worst, tell him we’ll let him know where we are if he decides to be smart and leave.”
“I don’t know about this, but I’ll ask him to come over. At least it’ll give me a chance to try to explain that I’ll be gone for a while. Maybe coming back?” he asks, but the look on his face says he knows it’s doubtful. “Stiles, will you need help packing?”
“Um… I’m mostly packed. I mean the things we’ll need right away,” he says, glancing over at Peter, who smiles, as he checks his watch.
“You knew you were leaving? Did you know I’d agree?” Noah asks, pulling open a drawer in the china cabinet and pulling out a file with papers in it, stacking it on the corner of the kitchen table. Apparently, now that the decision is made, he’s ready to start working.
“Like I said, you’d agree or ride in the trunk,” Stiles says, with a tired grin playing on his lips.
Noah looks at him and sees the exhaustion on his face again. Apparently, they’ve been thinking and planning this for a few days; Peter staying after being attacked is surprising, but speaks to how much they’re his pack. Somehow, he and his son are in a wolf pack -- and it feels safe. “Well, I’m glad you waited for me. You two need to do what? Finish packing at Peter’s?”
“There’s just a few things, mainly packing the car. We’re taking mine and…”
“My jeep?” Stiles asks, hope on his face. “With the three of us and all the stuff we might have.”
“My car carriers more than your jeep, we’ll do fine,” Peter says, turning to Noah. “We have a bit of packing at my apartment, then loading the car. And hopefully convincing Derek or anyone we can to come along. Derek or… I’d like Malia if we can.”
“Malia? Malia Tate?” Noah asks, looking very confused now. “Why her? She’s a coyote, right? Is she in extra danger or something?”
“Yes.” Peter straightens and looks challenging at Noah. “She’s my daughter. From a brief relationship years ago. I didn’t know I even had a daughter, but she’s mine.”
Stiles nods and says, “Yeah, weird, huh? But if we can convince her, we will. She’s pretty set on self-protection, which, hey, Peter’s daughter, so sure.” He moves forward to hug his dad, holding on tight for a hug longer than usual, especially recently. “We’ll see who we can get and get things packed. We’ll be back...”
“Between three-thirty and four,” Peter says, checking his watch. “Call Parrish, please and we’ll carry down boxes from Stiles room while he’s getting here. I don’t feel good leaving any of us alone.”
Noah nods and pulls out his phone, pushing buttons while he watches his teenage son go upstairs with an adult werewolf just a few years younger than he is. But maybe they can all live through this. Because they’re pack.
The group packs up to get on the road.
“Sheriff… You’re seriously going to do this?”
Noah sighs and looks around his living room, at the suitcases and boxes packed and waiting by the front door. “Yeah, Parrish, I guess I am. It’s hard to explain, but…”
“It’s not that hard, I guess. If I had a son and I was told he was in danger, I like to think that I’d do whatever it takes to keep him safe.” Jordan shrugs and says, “Are you sure you want to quit rather than just, I don’t know, take a leave of absence?”
He smiles slightly and shakes his head. “I don’t think that’s really fair. First I am running off with no notice and it doesn’t seem right to act like I might be back in a month or something. Honestly, I have no idea when – or even if – I’ll be back. I hope I will, but…”
“What’ll you do about your house?” Parrish asks, looking around. It’s kind of messy with boxes stacked up, but at the same time, Noah put things away and in boxes or drawers. It looks like someone’s in the process of moving in or out. Hard to tell which.
“Leave it for now. I’ve got savings and I’ll hit up Hale if it’s taking a while and I need help with the mortgage or taxes or whatever.”
“Wow. He’s got enough for that?”
Noah shrugs again and chuckles. “Apparently. That’s what he said. Depending on how things go, maybe I can rent it out eventually. If it looks like we’ll be gone a while.”
“I could rent it from you. If you want, if that’s okay. I mean if it’s not too much, you know? I have a little apartment and if I’m going to give my money to someone…” He looks hopeful, but there’s a bit in his eyes like maybe he’s taking advantage. Not that Noah thinks so; this might be a god-send.
“That might be something I appreciate. Maybe give me a couple of months to figure out what’s up and I’ll let you know,” Noah answers, stretching out his back. It’s been a couple of hours, but he’s got what he thinks he’ll need for a month or so. Important papers, including his passport (just in case and he really hopes it’s not needed), bank statements, insurance papers. He’s packed clothes, feeling strange at leaving behind his uniforms, but they won’t mean anything in just a few hours. He’s really doing this.
A suitcase has his razors and other grooming items, not that there’s a lot. Prescriptions and over-the-counter items in there as well; he doubts Peter has a lot to pack in that regard.
“I can’t convince you to go, can I?” he asks Parrish one more time. “I’m not the expert, but Peter thinks… well, he thinks you have something and he’s usually not wrong.”
Parrish sits on the edge of the couch, the lack of crocheted blanket over the back catching his eye. It must be in a suitcase or box someplace, meaning it must be something from Noah’s past with Claudia. “If I am something – and I don’t know that’s true – I think I’d find it here. Believe me, I won’t take any unnecessary chances, but if there’s others who aren’t leaving, I think I’d feel better staying.”
“Way to make me feel guilty,” Noah answers, but he’s smiling, because he’s actually okay with this. It’s his son and it’s about time he put him first and he knows it.
It’s just after three in the morning when a couple of cars back in to the driveway, parking next to each other.
“Hey, Dad.” Stiles pulls Noah into a hug, and whispers, “Thanks. You okay?”
“Yup,” Noah answers, giving him a squeeze before pulling back and glancing at Peter, who seems to be taking inventory of the room. “Got as much packed as I could in the amount of time you gave me. I’m guessing if I missed anything, we’ll stop someplace along the way.”
Peter nods and picks up some of the heavier boxes, moving them closer to the door. “We can do that when we get out of state. I want to put some distance behind us before we stop.”
“We thought we’d take Peter’s car and we have Derek’s SUV,” Stiles says, touching a place on the wall where the paint is slightly darker. A picture of one of their last Christmases used to hang there. “I hate to do it, but we’re thinking we should leave the jeep.”
“Really? Leaving the jeep?” Noah asks and he looks more upset than Stiles feels.
“Yeah,” Stiles says, slumping into his father’s recliner. “It’s held together by duct tape and prayer. It hasn’t been the same since I drove it through that garage wall.”
Noah raises an eyebrow and looks at Peter. “Drove through… do I want to know?”
“I cannot take the blame for that one, Noah, I had just come back from the dead. I was as surprised as anyone,” Peter answers, as he types something into his phone. “Are we ready to start taking this stuff out? I thought we could put it in my car and you could drive that. Stiles can start with you and hopefully sleep and then after we get a few hours out, he can take over driving for you while you sleep and then you can take over for me.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Noah passes him and goes into the kitchen, coming out holding a camping cooler in each hand. “Got this to help us stay awake and keep going. Figured I’d clean out the fridge, so there’s sandwiches and stuff. Made two thermoses of coffee, too,” he says and smells a little uncertain, maybe a little shy.
It’s the first time Peter can remember that he’s prepared food for the pack, even if he doesn’t really know he’s done that. “Great idea,” Peter says quickly, nodding as he takes the coolers, putting them by the door. “And we’ll have one for each car. This should let us go for several hours before we need to stop for food.”
Stiles opens one of the coolers and looks through it. “I’ll need to stop to pee. I have a bladder capacity of no more than three hours when I’m awake.”
“Charming,” Peter answers, looking at Noah, who is shaking his head. “Are we ready to get this out to the car?”
“What about the others? Were you able to get the rest of the pack?” Noah asks, sitting on the arm of the couch, indicating he’s not quite ready to move yet.
Peter straightens slightly while Stiles slumps in equal measure. “No. Derek said he felt he should stay here; he wants to protect the city, he says that’s what his mother would want him to do. I suggested his mother would want him to live.”
“Lydia said she needs to stay with her mother and she ‘would feel when she’s in danger’. Which is fucking stupid if you want my opinion.” Stiles shrugs and looks over to Peter. “Malia said…”
“Malia said she’s staying with her father and with Scott. She says Scott will protect his pack.” Peter’s expression is blank and it’s only because father and son know him now, they know he’s not as unaffected as he appears.
“Scott just refused to talk about it,” Stiles says and sits next to Peter, leaning into his side. “I called him and tried to talk and he ended up hanging up on me. Then he wouldn’t even answer my texts. My calls just went to voicemail.”
“It’s my fault of course,” Peter says, patting Stiles on the knee before he stands, picking up a couple of boxes. “I’m a bad influence, I’ve confused Stiles and you as well. So no, we couldn’t convince anyone other than you.”
Noah nods and says, “Well, hopefully they’ll be convinced when the next things – whatever those are – happen. Let’s get packed and get out of here.”
Peter organizes the packing, making sure that no one is outside by themselves and he and Parrish carry the heaviest things. No one’s taking too much, just things they deem essentials. Stiles and Peter are heavy on books, with Peter’s supernatural library. Stiles has more electronics, and seems to have cords for everything that they could ever want. The Sheriff has the most paperwork, with insurance papers, licenses and the most sentimental items. Peter seems to have the least of those; it makes sense, Peter lost most personal things in the fire.
Packing goes quickly, items split between the two cars and then it’s time to go.
“Whew,” Noah says, clearing his throat. He hands Jordan the keys to his car, along with this badge and gun. “Guess you should take these. I’m sorry I’m leaving you in a lurch, but…”
“Go, you need to take care of your family, that’s the most important thing.” Parrish looks at his service weapon and hands it back, “I think you should keep this. Hopefully you won’t need it, but it seems like a good time to have it.”
“I’ve got another. It’s in the car, under the front seat,” Noah says, shrugging. “Hopefully I won’t get stopped.”
Stiles steps forward, hand out towards Parrish. “I’ll take that one, it seems like a good idea, one per car.”
“Nice try, kid, you get the werewolf,” Noah answers. “That’s something I didn’t think I’d be saying.”
Parrish ignores that bit of the exchange (although not without a quick glance between Peter and Stiles) and asks, “So you’ll phone at some point? Where are you going?”
There’s a moment of silence, while Noah looks towards Peter, waiting for him to answer. Which might be strange, but they are basically putting their life in Peter’s hands. “We’re heading east. We’ll have GPS turned off, of course, and possibly get other phones shortly. I’ll be in touch with Derek and let him know to keep you updated.” He takes a cautious step towards the deputy, rubbing his arm from shoulder to elbow, keeping his hand off Parrish’s neck. “You are invited, it’s an open invitation. If you can’t come now, but can in a week or a month… we’ll tell you how to find us.”
“Yeah. I have to say, I hope I don’t,” Parrish answers. “No offense.”
“None taken. Oh, the hell with it,” Noah says, and pulls Parrish into a long hug before handing him off to Stiles.
“See you soon,” Stiles says when he lets go. “Let’s get out of here.”
Peter leads, sticking to about seven miles over the speed limit. Noah’s said in most cases, this won’t get you stopped for speeding, and it puts miles between them and Beacon Hills. Soon they’re out of Beacon County and after that, they keep going for another hour or so before they take their first stop. Gas up the cars, use the bathroom and refill coffee.
“So. Where do we go?” Noah asks, looking at Peter and Stiles. They’re standing by Peter’s car, as he’ll lead. They’ll drive together for a bit longer while Stiles sleeps, then Stiles will take over from whoever is more tired. It’ll be a challenge with two cars and three drivers, but Peter’s assured everyone they’ll stop at motels on their way. As soon as they get out of state.
“Get back in the car and keep on heading east,” Peter says, getting a nod from Stiles. “Get started on 36 and we’ll work from there.”
“Okay,” Noah says, turning his head to try to relax his neck before he moves back to the car. “I’ve trusted you so far, guess I may as well keep going.”
It’s just over six months later when movers quietly pack up Peter’s apartment and the contents are shipped to a storage facility. The name on the locker is not Hale.
The Stilinski’s house is also packed up and shipped to a different facility a town over. A fake name is used here, too.
Time jump, because I like time jumps!
This is how everything turns out and how Peter and Stiles and pack lives happily ever after.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!
Gearhart, Oregon is a small coastal town whose population doubles with summer tourism. The fluxuating population keeps their large home less noticeable and their fellow permanent residents know them, but don’t get too nosey.
Their house has 12 bedrooms, and there’s usually one that’s open for a visitor, if they want one. Usually they don’t. They occasionally get a tourist asking if they’re a B&B and have rooms available. Lydia’s mother is in charge of talking with them and letting the visitor know they’re a private residence, sending them to the large hotel that overlooks the golf course. She’s one of the few who doesn’t outright snarl.
Peter bought the land and they lived in the house during the extensive remodeling. There’s a gourmet kitchen, large living, dining room and a library. Stiles’ favorite is the large porch facing the waves. Peter and Malia both like how close it is to the state park.
Stiles is in one of the upstairs rooms, on the small deck looking into town when Peter joins him, slipping an arm around his waist.
“The runes are… there’s something, something happening,” Stiles says quietly, staring as though he’ll be able to see something. “They aren’t tripped, not even the far ones. It’s just something, I can tell.” They have protection for ten miles around their home and alerts ten miles past that. Even though they’ve lived here quite peacefully for nearly four years, Stiles can still go into fight mode in a minute. Thankfully, they haven’t needed it here, but it’s a habit much too ingrained to break.
Peter kisses his temple and nods. “Yes, I know, I feel it, too.”
“I don’t think so,” he answers, testing the pack bonds to see if there’s anything different. “There’s something…I don’t know, but I don’t feel worried.”
“You’re nervous though.” Stiles studies his mate and raises an eyebrow. “Anxious? Not like you, not at all. Any more information, Wolf?”
“I think we wait.” Peter pulls Stiles to him, wrapping both arms around his mate, resting his chin on Stiles’ shoulder. “Who knows, maybe Doug and Karen will be our early alert if they see someone approaching us.”
“They mean well,” Stiles says, smiling into Peter’s hair as he thinks about the couple who own the hardware store. “I like them; they’re harmless.”
Peter nods and says, “I know. They like us. We’re not even the ‘eccentric’ ones in town.”
“Nothing wrong with selling pot-growing supplies.” Stiles pulls Peter back into the house, saying, “It feels like there’s time before the next ruin trips. Let’s either nap or fuck, it’ll pass the time.”
By the time they’re making dinner, everyone is a bit on edge, feeding off the obvious tension.
“So it’s someone supernatural and that’s why the alarm went off?” Noah asks, dicing some onions as Peter instructed. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing, right?”
Stiles shrugs and looks to Peter. “Maybe not. It doesn’t feel dangerous though,” he says, checking to make sure Peter agrees. They’ve had other supes come through town, often without even realizing the pack that’s already here. It’s fine. They come, and depending on the type of creature, they either figure out who owns the area and leave or they leave without even realizing there’s a pack here. There’s no one supernatural in the town who doesn’t live at the house. Peter’s not going to allow that.
“Do you want us to take a look? See if we can find anything that needs to be checked out?” Brianna asks. She’s one of the wolves who joined before they picked the final location. Smart, loyal and fierce, both Peter and Stiles welcomed her into their pack.
“I don’t think it’s necessary, but I won’t forbid it,” Peter says, adding the onions to his pan of chicken. “After dinner, I’m sure there’s time.”
“Whatever’s out there is as nervous about us as we are about it,” Stiles says, rubbing one of the tattoos on his arm. He’s added them over the last four years, some part of his training, some that he personally feels are necessary (like the one that prevents possession) and some because they’re pretty. There’s a revenge spiral on the nape of his neck, right where Peter likes to nuzzle. “Let’s get eating and we’ll see what happens.”
Peter’s standing on their porch, facing the ocean when Derek walks up the stairs. “Wasn’t sure it was you,” Peter says, not even turning towards him. “I had a feeling, and of course, Stiles was saying it was you. What took you?”
Derek sighs, and takes a minute to remove his backpack before he leans against the rail, watching the high tide crash against the beach. “I needed to look around. And I wasn’t sure it was you either,” he says. “It sounded right and felt right, but… it seemed like too many people and that didn’t sound like you.”
“Yeah, I guess I can see that,” Peter says, chuckling. “I didn’t plan it. Originally it was me and Stiles and Noah. Just kind of grew from there.” He pushes an unopened bottle of orange juice towards Derek and watches as he drains it. “You got here yesterday?”
“Um hm,” Derek says, nodding, and wiping off his mouth with his arm. “Wanted to see the town a little bit. Nice place.”
“It is,” Stiles says, slipping outside and into Peter’s waiting embrace. “Hey, Sourwolf, nice to see you. Glad you’re alive.”
Peter kisses his temple, now a little higher than it used to be. He tilts his face upward to his mate, something relatively new, but not an issue. “Very glad. So what do you need to know?” He flashes red alpha eyes and Derek doesn’t flinch.
Derek studies the house for a minute, looking at the windows and small balconies facing the ocean.
“There’s a few people here. Stiles and his father, of course. Lydia and her mother came along after a few months.” Peter pauses and noses against Stiles’ throat for a second, noting the bitter smell from him. “That’s about all we ended up with. I invited two betas from the alpha I took down. That’s all of us.”
“Parrish,” Stiles corrects him. “He came in late. He was…”
“How could I forget? Jordan’s here, he’s recovered and – I don’t ask too many questions about he and Lydia; I’ll be told when it’s time.”
“Danny,” Stiles says, smiling and looking up to the house, where a shadow vanishes from the window. Such a nosey pack.
“Danny? The guy who did some tech stuff?” Derek asks, looking up, trying to see what Stiles was looking at.
“Yeah. Not surprised you remember him,” Stiles answers, grinning as he thinks back a million years ago. “He came in, what? Three years ago?” he asks Peter.
“I think so, I kind of lost track,” Peter answers, rolling his eyes. “The rest, I assume.”
Derek’s scent sours and he nods. “Scott was killed. His betas, too. I’m sure you know that.” The other two nod and Derek continues, “I was told Kira and her parents went into the desert for something or other. Training, maybe?”
“Um hm,” Stiles says, “We heard that.” He sighs and leans into Peter, taking a minute to study Derek. He looks almost the same, maybe a bit more facial hair, and a bit of it’s white. And there’s more chest hair, too. “I think that’s everyone I knew when we left.”
“We have Lydia and her mother. Danny, as I said,” Peter answers and turns to Stiles. “What else do you know?”
“Chris and Isaac are still in France, the last I heard. Jackson’s in England.” Stiles shrugs and says, “They’re basically all I keep track of. The new kids – I never knew them, they weren’t important. Not to us.”
Derek nods and sighs, leaning against the railing again. His scent is nervous, but there’s a thrumming in both Peter’s and Stiles’ chests saying familyfamilyfamily packpackpack. “It seems… it seems nice here. Safe.”
“It is,” Lydia says, coming out on the deck. She passes in between Stiles and Peter, touching both on their shoulders as she passes. There’s a quick touch on Derek’s arm as she passes, moving towards the railing as though it’s her rightful place. “I will grudgingly admit that this is both a safe and asthetically pleasing place for a pack.”
“She’s still my biggest fan,” Peter stage whispers to Derek, with a grin that says neither of them are too worried. “And yet, she and her mother were probably, what, the first to show up?”
“There’s only so much screaming a girl can do before it gets old,” Lydia answers, turning towards the group. “Are you thinking of staying here?” she asks Derek, asking the question point blank the others were dancing around.
“We’re comfortable here,” Stiles says. “Welcome and part of the community. With regular jobs and going to summer street festivals and all that.” He leans against Peter taking his hand, not-so-subtly showing off their wedding bands. “Peter’s a productive member of society.”
Lydia chuckles and pulls her hair off her face, wrapping her hair into a knot that stays for only a minute. “We all have regular nine-to-five jobs. Well, sort of.”
“Lydia and Danny both telecommute. Danny works for some tech start-up company. Lydia does – what do you do?” Stiles asks Lydia, who rolls her eyes.
She looks at Derek and sighs, as though tired of all the slow people she’s forced to live with. “I work on projects for the government and that’s enough of an explanation.”
“Her mother’s a teacher at the elementary school in Seaside. Noah works for the police department; he’s a senior officer,” Peter says, holding Stiles closer as he twitches.
“Not a Sheriff or – whatever it would be here?” Derek asks, checking the group, looking for Stiles’ scent.
Stiles shakes his head and leans into Peter. “Nope. Just an officer with an eight-hour shift. Unless something unusual happens, like drunk tourists in the summer or something.”
“Malia’s here, I don’t think I mentioned that,” Peter says, feeling another thrum in his chest from Derek. “She’s taking a couple of on-line classes, going with what she’s comfortable with.”
“She works at the hardware store. She’s good at it, does stocking and things that don’t involve people,” Lydia explains. “I think she’s happy. She’s more herself here, not trying to fit in so much.”
Derek checks their scents and everyone seems pretty content. “So, Peter…do you do something? I mean like a job or do…”
Peter snorts and says, “Yes, Derek, I actually do something. Hard to believe, but as Stiles said, I am a contributing member of society.”
“It’s great,” Stiles jumps in, and Derek’s pretty sure his eyes flash amber. “He works at the bakery café downtown. Five days a week, he’s in charge of baked goods. Four a.m. until ten a.m. Works great, it coordinates with my work schedule and we have so much good stuff to eat.”
“He gets to order people around,” Lydia says and she actually smiles at Peter. “And yes, his schedule works well with Stiles’ strange morning job. Plus, Peter takes requests.”
“I work at the bookstore downtown, ordering and stocking things, so basically the same schedule as Peter. Well, that’s part-time and then I still do some work for people who need spells or potions or stuff.”
“He probably doesn’t know that,” Peter says into Stiles’ ear, inhaling his scent. “That’s new since, what? A couple of years ago.”
“After college,” Stiles says, nodding. “That’s a side business only. Job number three.”
“Three?” Derek asks. “Bookstore, potions and…”
“He’s our emissary, of course,” Peter says, smoothing back Stiles’ hair. “Took a bit of time between college and work, but fully trained. And slightly frightening.”
Stiles just shrugs and holds out a hand with a tiny flame burning in his palm. “Obviously, this isn’t a favorite, but it’s got flash.”
Lydia smiles at Derek and says, “Nice to see you. Hope to see you later, at least for dinner.” She nods at Peter and Stiles, again touching their arms as she passes and goes back in the house.
They watch her leave, shutting the door behind her. “Subtle.”
“So…” Stiles says, looking at Derek with a smirk. “Anything you want to talk about in particular?”
“You’re an asshole,” Peter says to him and quickly turns to Derek. “You can stay. Be in our pack. There’s just a couple of rules.”
Stiles sits in one of the Adirondack chairs, putting his feet up. “You have to have a job.”
“Or be in school. But it’s a job or school. Everyone pulls their own weight,” Peter continues.
Derek smiles, and chuffs out a breath. “You sound like Mom.”
Peter starts for a moment and then smiles back, the lines around his eyes softening. “I guess I learned a few things. And thank you, I’ll take that as a compliment.”
“I worked construction in New York. Flooring and drywall and things, pretty sure it’ll come back. I’m sure I can find something.”
“Good. We know people and can help get you in, we can make some calls. So the second thing,” Peter says, glancing at Stiles. “As the newest beta, you’ll be the lowest member of the pack. The humans will be higher ranking than you.”
“Okay, I understand that. That’s pretty normal in a pack.”
“No one will be a dick about it.” Stiles looks over his shoulder to the house. “I mean, it’s not like anyone is going to order you around.”
“I will!” Malia yells from somewhere inside.
Peter rolls his eyes, and grins. “We’ve taught her to not eat her packmates, but still can’t get her to not eavesdrop.”
“I’m gonna go in and be sure dinner’s going.” He points at Derek and says, “You’re having dinner, that’s an order.” Peter gets a quick kiss and Derek gets a squeeze on his bicep before he leaves.
“He seems good,” Derek says. He’s quiet, but of course there’s only so much quiet around a house of wolves. “You seem good, happy. I’m glad.”
“Thank you. It’s good here. Peaceful. Safe.” Peter moves closer to Derek so they’re shoulder to shoulder, looking out at the ocean. “Stiles did a lot of research and picked the area. Then we tried to find the place big enough for the house in the small town.”
“Nice. I’m surprised you ended up back on the west coast.”
Peter chuckles and shakes his head. “We nearly had a place picked out in this little coast town called Cutler in Maine. That was when Noah went off on his own to scout out a site. Actually, I think he just wanted to give us some time alone to figure things out without having to witness it. Anyway, I thought we’d settle there, but Stiles was concerned that the sun was coming out of the ocean rather than sinking into the ocean. So, we did some more research and ended up here.”
They’re both quiet for a minute, just watching the waves and the fishing boats far out into the ocean.
“You can stay, if you’d like. I would like you to, and I know Stiles does as well.”
“I would like to. I think I need…something, some place new. But with family. I’m tired of trying to be on my own.”
Derek’s scent is nervous and Peter glances over before turning back to the water. “I’m the alpha. There’s no questions. It’s what it is. Assuming I live a long life, I’ll decide who should be the alpha after me.” He doesn’t mention that he could be killed; that’s a given with their kind and Derek certainly knows how to do it.
“I’m the alpha and Stiles is my mate and our emissary. He’s… he’s frighteningly powerful. He’s in control, one hundred percent in control.”
His Uncle’s scent is calm and Derek doesn’t sense anything other than truth. “I think I’m not surprised, not with everything he’s been through.” He shrugs and says, “I understand. I’ll say, I don’t mind that protection at all.”
Peter turns to him and asks, “Derek, do you want to join our pack?”
Derek’s eyes are shiny as he nods and steps forward, baring his throat, letting Peter scent him thoroughly, growl rumbling in his chest as he rubs his face against Derek’s neck and ending by rubbing their cheeks together. They step apart and Peter’s eyes are shining red.
He smiles, letting his eyes go back to their regular bright blue. “Come on in, I have a room I think will be good for you.” He grabs the backpack and opens the door, calling out, “Hey, all, come down and greet our new packmate!”