Falling in love wasn’t his choice, Peter told himself every day.
It was the bond, the terrifying joke the universe played on him when he was born: too late in his parents’ life, younger than his sister’s daughter by a month, denied a chance to become an alpha from the very start. Born to be second best.
The one thing that made him special was the soulmark that appeared on his hip in a black swirl of a crescent moon on the day his nephew was born.
The one thing that sealed his fate was the curse of finding his soulmate in the bassinet at his sister’s bed.
Falling in love was the bonds fault, Peter told himself through the years. It was etched into his skin from the moment Derek came into the world, seared into the marrow of his bones in a way that made him unable to breathe without thinking that there was no point to it all.
Everyone knew, there was no way to hide anything from his parents and his sister when he was barely six years old, unable to understand the reason why he felt so drawn to an infant.
His sister never loved him, but not she had a new reason hate everything that he was.
But she let Peter be, let him be friends with his son, a spare child among her own, right until Peter turned sixteen and their parents died of old age, soulbound to follow one another even into death.
She snuck on him as he grieved in the garden, under their mother’s tree, and sank her claws with a sickening snick into the back of his neck.
She took all that she could: the knowledge of the bond and his bonded, the feelings he couldn’t help, the freedom to decide about his fate.
When he came to, aching and confused, with a void deep within himself he mistook it all for the pain of losing his parents.
The first time he saw Derek after, the sight of him burned him to the core with anger he could not explain. Not until years later, half of his life spent aching over his halved heart.
When he remembers it’s because he died, died properly and returned because as much as living hurt he wasn’t quite done with it. He always knew something was missing, that the pain he felt when he looked at the strange bruise on his hip wasn’t without reason. That the way he hated Derek wasn’t due to the loss that his nephew’s naivety caused them.
When he remembers and feels the bond again, pulled taut by the weight of emotions neither of them could understand for so long because Derek was never told and Peter made to forget. When he remembers Derek is right there, weak and poisoned and used, a perfect reflection of Peter’s soul.
Falling in love wasn’t Peter’s choice, but it wasn’t his choice to forget he could love, either.