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The Sun, The Moon, And The Stars

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Peter Hale felt the Beacon Hills high school boys locker room was probably the worst place to have a conversation about the secret supernatural world.

The whole place echoed, a horde of disgusting boys would be running in any minute, and (most importantly) it smelled absolutely revolting. Peter had been in literal sewers that smelled better. He was surrounded by utter fools and he just wanted this pointless meeting to be over and done with already. “If Jackson is dead, it didn’t just happen. Gerard wanted it to happen.” There. That was probably dramatic enough to catch people’s attention.

“But why?” as always it was taking Derek a while to catch up.

“Well, that’s exactly what we need to figure out. And something tells me the window of opportunity is closing. Quickly. Where the hell is Stiles?”

Scott instantly bristled. “Why do you care?” He even had the nerve to bare his teeth at Peter. What a little shit.

Peter rolled his eyes. “We need to come up with a plan and you three imbeciles aren’t going to be any help.”

Derek gave Peter a very flat look and Derek’s stick of a beta seemed affronted. Scott actually started snarling. “You leave Stiles alone, you psycho!”

Peter flung his hands out in annoyance. “Oh please! The last time I pissed Stiles off he set me on fire! You think I’m going to go through that again? Coming back from the dead isn’t easy, you know.”

Scott flailed around in bafflement. “What the hell are you talking about? Stiles helped kill you because you were killing people! We were saving lives!”

Peter eyed Scott in disbelief. Did Scott really think Stiles cared about the people Peter killed? Stiles cared about three, possibly four, people. The rest of the world could go hang as far as Stiles was concerned.

Of course, Scott was the moral police… Maybe Stiles hadn’t told him he’d only helped because he wanted revenge on Peter for hurting Lydia. And he’d probably been a little afraid Peter might kill Scott and/or the Sheriff.

Well, it wasn’t like Peter had any actual proof of Stiles’ motives. Just his intuition and the theories he’d made from observations.

Peter rubbed his face in annoyance. “Look, we’re wasting time. Where is he?”

Scott shrugged petulantly. “I dunno.”

Peter fought back a growl. “What do you mean you don’t know?”

It took Scott a few seconds, but he finally ground out an answer. “We think he ran off because of all the attention.”

It was official: Scott McCall was the dumbest person on the planet. “Stiles wouldn’t run away from attention.”

“How the hell do you know that?!” Good god, if Scott yelled any louder civilians might actually start paying attention.

“Because, unlike some people, I’m not an idiot.” Peter turned on his heel and stormed out. He had a genius spaz to find and a monster to kill and he didn’t want to spend all night doing either.

 

***

 

Peter knew Stiles’ scent. It was pleasant enough, underneath all the gross teenage boy parts. Peter just wasn’t quite confident in his ability to pick Stiles out of a crowd that was silently screaming in fear. Of course, Peter knew the smell of Stiles’ fear very well. He was intimately familiar with it, one might say. And Peter could easily find Stiles when he was afraid.

Peter followed the exhilarated-tired-happy-afraid Stiles trail from the lacrosse field to the parking lot and came to a stop at the curb.

He took a deep breath and stared straight ahead at Stiles’ distinctive blue jeep. A bit of what might be considered dread curled through Peter.

Stiles’ trail stopped at the curb but there was another scent mixed in with his. A very distinctive scent.

Wolfsbane-mount ash-blood- death .

Stiles hadn’t just run off. Hunters had taken him.

 

***

 

Off the top of his head Peter could think of three places hunters might have taken Stiles: there was the abandoned warehouse Peter had recently found that they seemed to be using as some sort of meeting place.

Or maybe the ruins of the old house. Peter had noticed the distinctive hunter scent was fresh there.

Or there was always the Argent family home…

The hunters would never had dared go so blatantly after the son of the local sheriff without Gerard’s say so.

And of the three, the Argent house was closest.

 

***

 

Peter had always been good at lurking in shadows.

Dying hadn’t changed that.

He had made good time across town and was now in the Argent’s very nice and shadowed back yard. From inside the house he could hear seven heart beats and the muffled sounds of people in pain. And he could smell fresh blood, both human and werewolf.

He was, as usual, disappointed at his nephew’s incompetence. Apparently, the alpha hadn’t been keeping a close enough eye on his puppies.

He debated on what to do now that he’d found Stiles. On the one hand, if the hunters were going to be so incredibly obvious in their illegal activities they deserved to get caught by the local law enforcement. On the other hand, that would make it a touch harder for Peter to kill Gerard Argent.

But as much as Peter longed to feel the blood of every last Argent on his hands a new plan was starting to form. There was something different about Stiles’ scent now. Something that hadn’t been there before, or maybe hadn’t been as strong before. Something that made Peter’s mouth water and his heart race. Something that filled Peter up with what some might call hope, but he called possibilities.

Stiles smelled like magic and Peter wanted .

 

***

 

Peter had a disposable cell phone because he was currently labeled a missing person, and only had so much hard cash squirreled away. He should probably see about getting his status fix…

One problem at a time.

He called Derek first. He didn’t particularly want to but there where loose ends that needed to be tied up. Namely the Kanima. If Peter got Stiles’ father killed Stiles would absolutely get his revenge. Revenge that would probably be even bloodier than Peter’s had been.

“Peter! Where the fuck are you? Something’s happening with Jackson!”

Peter fought an eye roll. “Yes, that’s why I’m calling. I’m about to seriously distract Gerard. You’re going to have to take care of Jackson.”

“How the hell am I supposed to do that?” Peter often wondered how he and Derek were related.

“Find Lydia. Tell her to use her human love. If that doesn’t work kill him. It’s really not that hard Derek.”

“God damn it. We don’t have enough time-”

“Yes, we do. Find Lydia. Have Scott call her. Do what has to be done with Jackson.”

Derek growled, and Peter took that as agreement. He hung up and made his next call.

“911 operator, what’s your emergency?”

“Yes, hello? I was out walking my dog and I saw three men pull a boy from a black SUV. I think it was the boy from the amber alert?” The sheriff was nothing if not diligent in his job. Peter had absolutely no doubt there was an alert out on Stiles.

“Sir? I need you to tell me where you are.”

Peter carefully gave the Argent’s address, casually mentioned he thought he remembered that the house belonged to arms dealers, and hung up when the operator asked for his name. He slid the phone back into his pocket before crushing it.

Everything taken care of he slipped back through the shadows and down the street where he could listen to the commotion without risking getting involved. And keep his eye out for Jackson, just in case.

He absently wished for some popcorn and settled in to listen to the fun.

Chapter Text

Stiles Stilinski was getting his ass kicked by a geriatric. This had gone from a very great day to a very bad day so quickly Stiles was a little afraid he’d get whiplash.

Gerard Argent smiled beatifically down at him. “Do you think Scott will get the message now, Stiles?”

Stiles tasted blood in his mouth, thought about all the times his father had told him he didn’t know when to leave well enough alone, and spit in Gerard’s face.

Gerard roared and swung at him, hitting him square in the nose. Stiles flailed backwards and landed on his ass. “You little piece of-”

Suddenly there was a loud crash from upstairs. Gerard paused, and his anger disappeared like a switch had been thrown. Stiles shuddered. He cupped his hand over his bleeding nose and decided it might be better if he just stayed on the floor.

“I wonder what that could be.” Gerard murmured and walked over to the bottom of the basement steps.

The basement door flew open with a bang and Stiles knew it was Scott. It had to be Scott. There wasn’t anyone else-

“Gerard Argent!”

Stiles’ heart stopped. There at the top of the stairs was Stiles’ father. Flanked by two deputies he looked like a gun toting avenging angel. Stiles had never been both so relieved and so terrified to see him.

“Sheriff Stilinski,” Gerard purred, looking way too calm for a person who had just been caught torturing three minors. “What a surprise.”

“It shouldn’t be,” his father growled, stomping down the stairs to grab Gerard. He wrenched the man’s hands back to cuff them together. It didn’t look like he was being very gentle about it. Stiles was just the tiniest bit pleased by that. “You abducted my son. What were you expecting to happen?”

Happiness curled through Stiles. Despite the problems he and his father had been having lately his father still loved him. That meant everything to Stiles.

“Oh, that’s right.” Gerard said benignly. “I completely forgot he was your son.”

Good god, Gerard was a freaking lunatic. He’d probably go with the insanity defense and end up in some cushy asylum somewhere, pulling the hunter’s strings from the comfort of padded walls.

The sheriff read Gerard his rights before shoving him into the arms of the deputy waiting at the bottom of the stairs to take him outside. The other deputy had gone around them and was in the process of trying to get Boyd and Erica down.

The lights flickered and the deputy yelp. Stiles winced in sympathy. He jumped up to try and help and blood rushed to his head. He swayed and tried to focus on where the deputy was cursing and holding her smarting hand. “Sorry, I can-”

Strong arms cut him off and he suddenly found himself wrapped up tightly in his father’s arms.

“Jesus Christ, Stiles.” Stiles fought back tears as he realized he hadn’t heard that tone from his father since…

He didn’t want to think about the last time his father had been shaking when he’d hugged Stiles.

“I’m okay dad, really!” Stiles burrowed closer to his father, so incredibly relieved that for a couple of seconds he could pretend everything was going to be alright.

Stiles had been in trouble and his father had come to save him. Every boy-hood fantasy come true. But of course, it’s wasn’t going to be alright. Gerard had a bunch of psychopaths working for him and had already proven that he wasn’t afraid of the police when he’d shot up the sheriff’s station.

Plus, there was still the problem of the Kanima running around. Stiles had absolutely no idea how to clean up that murderous mess.

“Okay?! It looks like your nose is broken!” his father rocked quickly back and forth, shaking Stiles as much as could while still clinging to him.

Stiles shrugged awkwardly with his arms still wrapped around his father. “It only hurts a little bit when I breath.”

His father muttered a quiet ‘fuck’ and tightened his grip.

The adrenaline must have started wearing off because Stiles realized his ribs were really starting to ache. He hid his wince against his father’s shoulder.

So maybe he wasn’t quite as okay as he said he was, but he wasn’t about to tell his father that. The man had done enough already. Swooping in for the rescue at the eleventh hour was good enough for Stiles.

He gave Stiles once last squeeze before finally letting go.

Erica and Boyd had been let down and they pressed close to Stiles. The deputy muttered something about crime scene techs and left the basement.

The sheriff straightened up and crossed his arms over his chest, looking every bit the strong and angry police officer he was. “Anybody want to tell me why the hell the principle of your high school would abduct three minors and chain them up in his basement?”

Stiles was at a loss for what to say. He couldn’t just drop the werewolf bomb now. If he did his father would have to lie to everybody and Stiles didn’t want to do that to him. Stiles needed to think of something plausible.

He looked at Erica and Boyd. They were looking back at him.

There was a long moment of silence before Boyd stepped forward.

“Sheriff,” his voice was a little bit shaky and Stiles could tell he was trying his best to seem calm. “Before tonight Mr. Argent had made some…” he paused, disgust flashing across his face. “disparaging comments. About myself and my choice of girlfriend.” He looked at Erica and her eyes widened with understanding.

She nodded rapidly and quickly picked up where Boyd left off. “Yeah! Like, you know, hinting that I was such a good girl and that I could do better. I thought he was just being a crusty old white guy, you know. I never thought he’d…” she trailed off and chewed on her lip, tears filling her eyes. Boyd wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

Stiles had to admit he was impressed. Painting Gerard a racist wasn’t even a lie. He couldn’t have done better himself.

The sheriff grimaced and rubbed his face. He nodded before looking expectantly at Stiles.

Oh right. Why the hell was Stiles there? What other things did racists hate? Stiles had an idea that might work, if his father believed him.

“He might have, um. Overheard a, uh. Conversation.” His father made a ‘go on’ gesture. Stiles nervously rubbed the back of his head. “You know. About guys? And me?”

His father’s eyes widened. And then he looked ready to murder someone. Stiles hoped it was going to be Gerard and not him.

“Right.” He nodded and gestured for them to go up the stairs. “Okay, we’re going to the station, you three are going to give your statements, and then I’m calling your guys parents and you’re going home. Sound good?”

Boyd and Erica both nodded enthusiastically and followed Stiles and his father out of the basement.

All in all, Stiles figured everything could have gone a whole lot worse. Of course, the night was still young…

 

###

 

Apparently going upstairs had just been a clever ruse to get Stiles into the waiting hands of the EMTs. It took a considerable amount of insisting and flailing around to convince them that it was only his face that was hurt. His ribs were killing him, but he was sure they were just bruised so going to the hospital would be pointless and expensive.

But the sheriff refused leave until they had looked Stiles, Erica, and Boyd over. It was a tense ten minutes before Stiles was cleared with only minor injuries and no real need to go to the hospital, his nose wasn’t even broken. And, of course, Boyd and Erica didn’t have a scratch on them.

Stiles hoped the lack of physical trauma wouldn’t hinder the case against Gerard. The old freak would probably just claim he wanted to teach them a lesson and if he had a good enough lawyer he might get away with just probation. God everything was such a mess. It would have been easier just kill the fucker. There’d certainly been less paperwork for his father. Well, only if no one had found the body.

Satisfied that Stiles wasn’t going to die the sheriff piled Boyd and Erica into a waiting squad care and pulled Stiles into his own cruiser.

The two of them drove in silence for several long minutes. His father kept nervously squeezing the steering wheel. Stiles picked dried blood off his face while he waited for him to say something.

“So.” That wasn’t an ominous being at all. “Is there a specific boy? Or just. You know. A general discussion?”

Relief cured through Stiles and he leaned back into his seat. “Oh, you know. Just a hypothetical conversation about whether or not people found me attractive. I didn’t really care much about the gender part.”

“Huh.” His father nodded, and his shoulders relaxed. “Okay. Just wondering.”

That hadn’t gone too badly. Hadn’t even been painful. Of course, Stiles should have known his father wouldn’t just leave it at that.

“So, are you thinking about expanding your horizons past Lydia Martin?”

Stiles groaned. “No, dad.”

His father hummed and was thankfully quiet for the rest of the drive.

 

###

 

Stiles and his father pulled up at the station at the same time Boyd, Erica, and their deputy did. Stiles hung back while the sheriff and the deputy walked inside. He looked at Boyd and Erica and whispered the only advice he could give them. “Keep as close to the truth as you absolutely can. Don’t embellish.” They nodded and looked solemn. Stiles smiled at them. “Don’t worry. You guys are doing great so far.”

Erica grinned at him and leaned into Boyd. “That’s because my boy here’s a genius.”

Stiles lightly punch Boyd’s shoulder and winked. “Couldn’t have done better myself, big guy.”

Boyd seemed to relax. He smiled a little and held out his hand for Erica. She took it and the three walked into the station.

It was pandemonium inside. There were tarps and boxes everywhere, deputies Stiles didn’t recognize ran around looking harried and overworked.

Stiles fought back a wave of guilt at having added to his father’s stress by making the man arrest Gerard. Not that it was completely Stiles fault, it wasn’t as though he’d called his father. And he was very curious as to how they had been found in the first place.

To Stiles’ surprise the sheriff herded them into his office. “We’re not going separate statements?” he asked, flopping down onto the more comfortable of the two visitors chairs.

His father pulled another chair in and didn’t speak until they were all sitting. “All the interview rooms are a little full at the moment. Is there are reason you three can’t give your statements together?”

They all shook their heads.

It was actually perfect for Stiles, this way he would know exactly what they said so he wouldn’t have to lie to his father about them.

And he could jump in just in case one of them slipped up. Not that he was expecting them to. So far Erica and Boyd had been doing a great job and Stiles had every confidence they would be able to keep it up.

“Stiles, you go first.”

Stiles gulped but quickly launched into what happened, minus any mention of werewolves, of course.

“Well, you see. It’s like this: I was being super amazing at lacrosse, which you saw. You saw that right?”

His father nodded and smiled proudly.

Stiles grinned back.

“So yeah. Super awesome at lacrosse. And then the lights went out? Like, I have no idea what was going on with that. That was weird right, that the lights went out?”

His father nodded again. “Yes, it was very strange.”

Stiles nodded rapidly. “Right. So, the lights when out and I had no idea what was going on and there were a lot of people screaming, you know. So, I tried to get off the field, just to get out of the way so I didn’t get run over. But then someone grabbed me. I thought it was maybe Scott, so I wasn’t too worried, and I went with them when they pulled me to the side of the field, since that’s where I wanted to go anyway. But then they just kept going and I realized that it must not have been Scott after all, so I freaked out but then another person grabbed me, so I really freaked out but by then we had made it to the parking lot and they shoved me into a car. It was still really dark, so I don’t know what kind of car it was. They didn’t say anything to me. We drove for a while and then we stopped, and they pulled me out into this garage and then they took me through a house and I recognized the Argent’s place and I was seriously confused. And then they shoved me through this door and down some stairs and I guessed I was in a basement and I heard something, so I found the lights and there were Boyd and Erica strung up from the ceiling and I had no idea what was going on, but I tried to help them down, but it was electrified so I couldn’t but then Mr. Argent came down and was talking about how I was going to be a message for Scott? Like. That didn’t make any sense? Like did he think Scott was gay and using Allison as a beard or something? I’m pretty sure Argent is cuckoo for coco puffs, you know?”

Boyd and Erica were staring at him slack jawed, but his father looked furious. He was used to Stiles’ long-winded ramblings and had probably been able to keep up.

“Let me get this straight. Gerard Argent, the high school principal, had two men abduct a sixteen-year-old from the high school because of the guy dating his granddaughter? Where the hell is the logic in that?”

Stiles shrugged helplessly. He hadn’t wanted to involved Scott at all, but he had to stick as closely as possible to what actually happened, so he wouldn’t forget and get his lies mixed up.

“Um,” Erica started hesitantly. “Isn’t Scott Hispanic?”

His father groaned and buried his head in his hands.

“Is that all Stiles?”

“Well, you know, other than the whole punching me part, yeah. That’s all that happened.”

His father turned to Boyd and Erica. “Okay, what about you two?”

They glanced at each other and Boyd straightened up. “Erica and I were out in the woods.”

His father gave them a flat look. “Why?”

Erica smirked and batted her eyelashes and his father quickly waved his hand. “Never mind! Okay you two were out in the woods?”

Boyd looked a little bit like he was blushing. “Allison Argent appeared out of nowhere and started talking to us.” Boyd glanced at Erica.

Erica jumped in then. “We thought that was super weird because it’s not like we’re friends with her or anything. And what was she even doing there at night?”

Boyd nodded. “Then we heard a sound, and someone grabbed us. I didn’t recognize them, but they had guns. They dragged us out of the woods and into a black SUV and took us to a house we had never been to before and tied us up in a basement. Mr. Argent came in and made some more…” here Boyd paused, wincing.

Erica jumped into his silence. “You know, he said things like ‘It’s not natural’ and ‘You all deserve to die’. The usual zealot bullshit.”

His father sighed. “Do you know if Allison was helping her grandfather?”

They both shrugged, not sure exactly what to say.

They looked at Stiles and he winced. “Well, she has been acting super weird since her mom died.” He really didn’t want to throw Allison under the bus but if she had been helping Gerard there wasn’t much Stiles could do. “Maybe Gerard just… Took advantage of her grief?”

His father sighed deeply. “Erica, Vernon? We called your guardians. They should be here soon. Once they get here you’re going to have to write out your statements but then you can go home okay?”

They both nodded, and his father pulled some paperwork out. “Stiles, come sit at my desk and fill out your statement. Do not go through my files.”

Stiles bounced up and then flopped into his father’s now empty office chair. “You got it, daddy-o.”

His father dithered by the door for a few seconds, just looking at them. “Do any of you need anything?”

Boyd and Erica smiled and shook their heads. Stiles twirled a pen in his fingers. “Coffee?” he asked hopefully.

His father smirked at him. “Nice try. It’s almost eleven.”

Stiles pouted, and his father finally left.

Stiles grinned at the werewolves in front of him. “You guys were perfect!”

They both smiled tiredly at him.

Erica got up only to climb onto Boyd’s lap and curl into him. Boyd wrapped both arms around her and nuzzled her hair.

Stiles tried hard to hide the spark of jealousy he felt.

He quickly looked down at the paperwork in front of him and winched at how much he had to fill out.

By the time he was done Erica’s mother and Boyd’s grandmother had shown up.

The adults were all crying, and Stiles desperately needed to get away.

He slipped out of the office and made a circuit around the station. He glanced into an observation room and saw a deputy talking to Chris and Allison Argent. Allison looked to be sobbing and Chris had his arms wrapped tightly around her shoulders.

Stiles wanted to turn the speaker on to listen in, but he was too tired to argue with a strange deputy if he got caught eavesdropping.

There was a sense of dread filling him. The Kanima hadn’t shown up and he was getting tenser and tenser as he waited. After all, the last time the Kanima had come to the station people died and he had almost lost his father. He needed to get out and get some air before he worked himself into a panic attack.

He dodged around boxed and tired deputies. Surprisingly, no one tried to stop him.

He made it outside and took long deep breaths, trying to calm himself. It wouldn’t do anybody any good if he got so worked up he couldn’t think.

He had been standing there breathing with his eyes closed for a few minutes when he heard someone walk up to him.

“Hello Stiles.”

Stiles yelped and flailed backwards. There, right in front of him wearing a smug shit eating grin was Peter Hale.

“What the fuck!?” Stiles whisper-yelled, not wanting to draw attention to himself, just in case he was hallucinating. “What the hell are you doing here?! You’re supposed to be dead !”

Peter flashed his teeth at him. “Oh, come on Stiles. Death was just so boring .”

Stiles groaned and debated whether or not it would break his fist if he punched Peter in the face.

He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself back down. “What. The fuck. Are you doing here?”

Peter pouted at him. “That’s not really the warmest of welcomes. And after I went to the trouble of calling the police for you too.”

Stiles gaped at him. “You called the police? Why the hell would you do that?”

“Well, it was either call the police or kill Gerard myself. I’ll admit I was tempted. But your little friend and my nephew weren’t very interested in the idea. Something about it being wrong to kill humans?” he shrugged, as if he didn’t get what the big deal was.

“So, what, you just listened to them?” Stiles asked, incredulity.

Peter looked at Stiles as if he was complete idiot. “Of course, I didn’t just listen to them. Have you meet them? They’re not exactly the brightest bulbs in the box Stiles.”

Stiles flailed and Peter rolled his eyes. “I called the police because we needed to get Gerard out of the way, so we could take care of the Kanima and considering Gerard was foolish enough to take underage wolves and the son of the sheriff I felt it would be best if I let the humans handle the humans for a change.”

Stiles couldn’t believe what he was hearing “What?! What about the murder spree you went on? Were you killed humans?”

Peter sighed like he was hoping Stiles had forgotten about that or something. “Stiles, I died . I’m practically a different person now.”

Stiles couldn’t believe this. “So, what? You died and came back and just decided you were done with murder?”

Peter grinned at him, calm as could be. “If you can’t change after you come back from the dead, when can you change?”

Stiles couldn’t believe this was happening. The world had to have gone crazy while his eyes had been closed.

“Of course,” And there it was. Peter Hale, unable to leave well enough alone. “If it had been anything other than humans I would have had no problem killing them.”

Stiles instantly felt better. Peter had come back to life after being dead for almost a month, but he hadn’t suddenly become someone different, the world hadn’t gone completely off its axis and was still only the usually amount of crazy when there were werewolves involved.

Stiles sighed tiredly. He was really starting to be done with this day. “Peter why are you here?”

Peter was quiet and seemed to be assessing him for a couple of seconds. “I knew you’d be worried about the Kanima, but you didn’t have your phone, so I decided find you to let you know that not only is Jackson still very much alive but he’s also a werewolf. So, there’s nothing for you to worry about right now.” He paused and narrowed his eyes. “And maybe try to get a couple of hours of sleep tonight. You look like shit.”

Stiles decided he would definitely break his hand if he punched Peter. He settled for shoving at Peter’s chest. Peter didn’t even have the decency to pretend to sway with the push.

It was official: Peter Hale was the biggest asshole in the world.

“That sentence right there? That sounds like something a crazy person would say. As in it was completely crazy and made absolutely no sense and you need to explain. Right now.”

Peter blinked innocently. “What part didn’t you understand?”

“Fucking all of it !”

“Jackson’s still alive.”

Stiles waited to see if Peter would go on. He didn’t. “Yeah great! And ?!”

“The great and wonderful power of human love saved him from himself.”

Stiles wondered absently if he was losing his mind. “What even?” he whispered.

“Lydia talked to him. He decided he’d rather die than hurt her, so Derek and Derek’s string bean of a beta killed him.”

“But you just said-”

“Then Jackson decided that apparently death didn’t suit him either because he came back to life a few seconds later. And he was a werewolf.” Peter’s smirk suddenly got sharper. “And by ‘you look like shit’ I meant you’ve got blood on your face.”

Stiles desperately wanted to strangle someone. Preferably Peter. “Peter Hale, how did you become the most frustrating person in the world?”

Peter looked at Stiles, heavy lidded and obviously pleased with himself. A grin slowly formed on his lips. “Practice.”

Stiles punched him right in his smug face. He didn’t break his hand and he didn’t break Peter’s nose, but Stiles felt considerably better than he had all night.

“Thank you for calling the police. Now, I have to go before dad starts looking for me.”

Peter was smiling at him now. It was soft and small but genuine. Stiles felt his stomach flutter and tried to ignore him.

“I’ll see you later Stiles.”

Stiles turned and headed back into the station. He had a lot to think about, first and foremost being what it meant that Peter was alive again, and what Peter’s plan was. Because Peter definitely had a plan. If Peter had run around looking for Stiles more than once that night, then that plan definitely involved him. And Stiles had no idea how he felt about that…

Chapter Text

Peter had to admit, he was mildly impressed with Derek’s other two betas. They, at least, had the ability to think on their feet and the common sense not to bring up werewolves when dealing with humans.

He had actually laughed out loud when he realized they were carefully painting Gerard as racist.

The best part was that he could hear their heartbeats and they weren’t even lying. Apparently, Gerard had been less than subtle in the way he interacted with them. Good. That meant that there would be witnesses that would be able to corroborate their stories.

Nobody liked a racist. Especially one that was so blatant he would abduct an underage interracial couple. If this went to trial the jury would definitely side with the kids who were charismatic, believable, and, so far, smart liars. The perfect combination as far as Peter was concerned.

Peter waited through Stiles being checked by the paramedics and listened to his heartbeat skitter around like a terrified animal. Stiles was lying through his teeth about his injuries.

Peter was quite confused by Stiles’ behavior. Why didn’t he let them check him completely? Was he afraid of being seen as weak by his father?

No, that couldn’t be it because he was whining loudly about his nose hurting.

Maybe he disliked hospitals? That might be it. Peter could definitely understand, he hated hospitals.

Maybe he was just worried about the cost of going to the hospital. Peter could remember the exorbitant fees when his…

He pushed that thought away.

There was something wrong while Stiles. Not just physically. There was something mentally wrong, some reason why he needed to put others before himself.

It sounded to Peter like Stiles was the type to put his only family member above himself and refuse medical attention if it meant he wouldn’t stress out his father.

This new insight into Stiles just reinforced how much Peter wanted him on his side and gave him a better idea of how to do that. If Peter could show Stiles that he could both take care of Stiles and the people Stiles cared about then he would start to trust Peter.

But Stiles’ trust was hard won, and he would probably only have one real chance to gain it. If he messed up, Stiles would never trust him and might even kill him, if Stiles thought it would be for the benefit of the pack.

Now Peter just had to figure out how to convince someone who didn’t easily trust that Peter was dependable. And it wouldn’t be easy, Peter had already attacked Stiles and two of the people he cared about.

Peter had a lot of work ahead of him…

 

***

 

Once Stiles and his father had driven off without incident Peter felt confident that the Kanima problem had been properly taken care of. He just had to find his nephew to confirm it.

Peter mildly regretted crushing his phone, but it had been the best move at the time. He decided a howl would work well enough to find Derek.

He made his way into the woods before throwing his head back and calling for his nephew.

A shaky and weak howl answered his. Definitely not Derek or Scott. It must have been Derek’s vicious twiggy beta.

He followed it out to the old house.

There was he found a very grumpy looking Derek, an incredibly pleased Scott, a bored looking stick, a crying Lydia, and a very naked Jackson.

He eyed Lydia and Jackson in interest. Blood was smeared across Jackson’s back and Lydia was clinging to his front.

“So, I take it everything went well?” he asked, eager to know if he had been right about how to defeat the Kanima.

Derek ignored him completely while Scott just glared.

It was Derek’s little bean poll that answered. “Derek and I killed him, but he got back up and was all wolfed out.” He shrugged. It didn’t seem like he found the situation very interesting.

“Did Lydia say something to him beforehand?” Peter asked, intrigued.

The boy shrugged again. “I guess.”

Well, that was good enough for Peter. He supposed all in all it hadn’t been the worst day. Nobody had died, which was a little unfortunate, but Peter decided it was a very good start to his dedication to turn over a new leaf.

“Well, if anyone’s interested Gerard was arrested.”

That certainly got everybody’s attention. At least there was a lot of exclamations of disbelief.

Derek growled and grabbed the front of Peter’s shirt. “What the hell did you do?”

Peter shoved him away and straightened his shirt. “Just my civic duty, nephew.”

Scott was doing a great impression of a flailing Stiles while Isaac, Lydia, and Jackson looked annoyed.

Derek growled some more. “What did. You do?”

Peter sighed and rolled his eyes. “I found Stiles and called the police.”

Scott squawked in indignation. “You called Stiles’ dad ? Stiles is going to kill you!”

“No, I called the police . And they found Stiles and Derek’s two other little betas in Gerard’s basement, so the police did their job and arrested him.” Peter was surrounded by idiots.

Isaac looked shocked. “Boyd and Erica? Are they alright?”

“Yes, they’re fine.” Unlike Stiles, but nobody had asked about him yet.

Derek was still growling. It was really starting to get old. “Where are they? How did Gerard even get them in the first place?”

Peter rolled his eyes. “Oh, I don’t know Derek. Gerard’s a hunter, how does he get anyone?”

Scott was still seething. “I can’t believe you called Stiles’ dad! Why didn’t you tell us where they were?”

Peter wondered if Stiles would get mad if he killed Scott. Probably best not to risk it. “Because Stiles is human, and his father is the sheriff. It was the best possible way to distract Gerard while the Kanima was being taken care of. And it has the added bonus of making Gerard not our probable anymore.”

“But you involved Stiles’ dad with this stuff! You can’t do that!” Scott still wasn’t getting it.

The temptation to kill Scott was getting harder to resist. Peter was going to have to leave soon. “Scott, Gerard is a human who made to the mistake of kidnapping the sheriff’s son. He was practically begging to be arrested. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go before I kill all of you.”

He turned and stomped off, towards the person who would hopefully understand his motives.

Peter couldn’t believe these people.

Derek was supposed to be an alpha. He should have cared, at least a little bit about a pack-adjacent human.

And Scott. Stiles’ best friend. His only concern was Stiles’ father. Of course, the sheriff was Stiles concern, too. It must have rubbed off onto Scott. But that just made Peter even angrier. Scott should have been able to see what Stiles was doing and taken care of him.

Neither one had asked about Stiles and they had seemed incredibly angry that Peter had managed a peaceful solution to one (or two depending how it was counted) of their problems.

As for Lydia, Jackson, and Isaac, they were nonentities as far as Peter was concerned. He could not care less about them.

Lydia had done her part in bring Peter back from the dead, so he had no more use of her. And Stiles would more assuredly get mad if Peter bothered her again, anyway.

Jackson was so used to be in charge he was going to make a terribly uncooperative beta werewolf. Peter didn’t even have any sympathy for Derek. The boy deserved it for acting rashly. He should have learned from Peter’s mistakes with Scott.

And Isaac had managed to both helpful and unhelpful at the same time, a juxtaposition Peter would normally find interesting, but he’d gotten the sense that Stiles and Isaac were indifferent to each other so until Stiles told Peter to worry about Isaac, Peter was going to ignore him.

Peter didn’t care about Derek and his little pack anymore. He was done with them. They weren’t his pack and he didn’t want them to be.

Actually, Peter was done with packs altogether. His first pack, his family , had been afraid of him because he didn’t mind getting his hands dirty, if it meant keeping them safe.

But they hadn’t been able to understand him or his motives and had always been worried he’d snap and kill them all. Or, at least, that’s what Talia had been afraid of.

His second pack had just been a complete disaster. One accidental beta that hated him and wanted to kill him and his nephew who hated him and had ended up killing him.

Yes, Peter was done with packs. He needed to find a way to stop himself becoming an omega without them. Stiles on his own might be enough, once Stiles accepted Peter, but the idea didn’t sit quite right. Peter was very weak still and having no pack would just make him weaker. He needed to be strong if he was going to prove to Stiles that he could take care of him.

Peter needed to be an alpha again. But he didn’t want to kill his nephew even if Peter wanted nothing to do with him.

Not to mention committing parricide four times in one lifetime was probably excessive.

Plus, he was trying to convince Stiles he was trustworthy. Killing Derek to become an alpha would only make Stiles distrust him more .

He needed some way to become an alpha without killing anyone.

He thought of the sharp boy-wolf-earth-magic smell of Stiles. He thought of a ritual he’d once read. If he could find the book with the ritual and convince Stiles it was a good idea maybe, just maybe he’d be able to become an alpha again and bind Stiles to him at the same time.

It was, at the very least, worth a try.

 

***

 

Peter went to the sheriff’s station first. It was late, but the sheriff was probably still working, and he would almost definitely be keeping Stiles close by.

Peter settled outside the view of the security cameras and listened.

He heard people moving around and talking about paperwork. He heard people crying. And someone excessively coughing.

He heard the sheriff speaking. “Let me see if I understand this correctly. You want me to not arrest Chris and Allison Argent for the assault and abduction of minors? You do realize I have overwhelming evidence and very reliable witness statements, right? Why would I just ignore all of that?”

A man’s voice that Peter didn’t recognize spoke next. “Because Sheriff, my client will be willing to plead guilty to all charges. As long as his son and granddaughter are not charged, and Mr. Argent is placed in a medical institution. The man has stage four lung cancer. He wouldn’t live long enough to stand trial.”

Well, wasn’t that an interesting development. Gerard was dying. That would probably explain some of his rasher decisions. Like trying to destroy the sheriff’s station and then killing someone right outside of it. Gerard was going off the rails because he was afraid of his own mortality.

Peter snorted. And then he laughed so hard he doubled over and had to hold his stomach when it started to ache.

He tried to get himself back under control because the sheriff was speaking again, and Peter wanted to hear what he had to say.

“I don’t need your client to plead guilty. Like I already told you we have a rock-solid case against him.”

The other man, assumedly Gerard’s lawyer huffed. “By witness do you mean your delinquent son? He wouldn’t hold up on the stand.”

Peter could tell the sheriff was trying to sound calm when he spoke again. “I personally found your client in his basement with my son’s blood on his fists and two sixteen-year-olds tied up to a machine that was electrocuting them. I have more than enough evidence. I’m not taking a deal.”

The lawyer sighed. “Well, we’ll just have to see what the DA has to say about you having such an obvious personal connection to this and how it’s clouding your judgment.”

The sheriff growled at that. It was even a little impress, for a human. “I guess we will.”

Peter heard a chair scrap across the floor and then a door opening and closing. There were a few minutes of normal late-night office noises before Peter heard the sheriff speaking again.

“Sorry to be the one to tell you this Jason but your boss just cut a deal. He’s got cancer and he’s throwing you under the bus, so he can go to a nice cushy hospital and get free treatment.”

“What?! No, Mr. Argent wouldn’t do that! He doesn’t have cancer! You’re lying!” Presumably Jason must have been one of the seven heartbeats Peter had heard inside the Argent’s house.

“It’s true. You haven’t noticed the way he’s been coughing lately?”

“But he’s just…got a cold?” Peter had to assume this man was a complete idiot.

“How long has he this cold, Jason?” And apparently the sheriff agreed with Peter.

“Look man, Mr. Argent’s been good to me. He wouldn’t just sell me out. He’s loyal.” Peter snorted. An Argent was only loyal to themselves.

The sheriff sighed. “You’re right. You caught me Jason. Gerard didn’t cut a deal-”

“Ah-ha! I knew it!” Jason crowed, interrupting the sheriff.

“You didn’t let me finish. He didn’t make a deal for you. He made a deal to save his son and granddaughter. He told me that this was all your idea. The one that decided to abduct Vernon Boyd and Erica Reyes. And my son.” There was a long moment of silence before the sheriff spoke again. “Now why do you think he’d say that, Jason?”

Jason didn’t say anything, so the sheriff kept going.

“You do realize that you’re going to jail for abducting three minors, don’t you?”

Jason suddenly started yelling. “Those three pieces of shit?! How can you care about them when they’re not even human?!”

Peter made a mental note to congratulate the two betas on a job well done. The sheriff didn’t suspect werewolves and the hunters were just talking themselves into a hate crime. It was pretty perfect. Peter could very easily picture the sheriff leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed over his chest and satisfied look on his face. “So, he’s telling the truth? It was your idea?”

“NO! I wanted to just kill them, but Mr. Argent said that it would be better if we used them as-” Jason cut himself off, no doubt starting to realize he’d made a mistake.

“So, you wanted to kill three teenagers, but Gerard Argent wanted to use them for something? What did he want to use them for?”

Jason didn’t reply so the sheriff kept talking.

“Jason, you have to help yourself here. If you don’t tell me exactly what happened the Argent’s are going to get away with this and you and your friend Todd are going to be left taking all the blame. Gerard is dying, Allison is seventeen and just lost her mother, and Chris just lost his wife and sister. A jury would find them very sympathetic.”

“Okay…” Jason said slowly. “I’ll tell you what happened.”

“Now Jason, that’s what I like to hear.” The sheriff sounded pleased as punch.

Peter would have happily listened in to a hunter’s censored version of the events, but he found himself distracted by the stations front door opening.

Stiles stepped outside, tripped over the door jam, and flailed for a moment. Peter let himself smile a little bit at the sight. Here was his chance to have a private conversation with Stiles.

 

***

 

Peter knew he was grinning. He couldn’t stop himself. The conversation he’d had with Stiles had gone perfectly.

Sure, Stiles had yelled but he’d been surprised to see Peter and understandably so.

Stiles had almost instantly accepted that Peter was alive again and he had been visibly relieved that the Kanima was no longer a threat.

He’d taken Peter’s reassures about the Kanima without demanding corroboration too. Of course, he was probably going to call Scott to get his side of the story, but Peter expected nothing less.

He’d even casually touched Peter, something no one else had done since before…

Actually, Peter couldn’t remember the last time someone had been so calm around him. Sure, the touches hadn’t been the friendliest, but they hadn’t been the least bit painful. And not just because Stiles was human. Stiles had shoved at Peter in mild frustration, but it had felt more like Stiles silently telling Peter to just get on with it rather than trying to hurt him.

And Stiles had punched him, but it had been so light Peter was tempted to call it a love tap. He knew Stiles had been trying not to hurt his hand on Peter’s face, but the touch hadn’t even stung. It had been more playful than threatening.

Peter decided that their conversation had gone perfectly.

Now Peter just had to continue to prove his trustworthiness to Stiles.

And a golden opportunity had just so happened to fall into his lap: the sheriff had only arrested five hunters. There was at least a dozen more running around Beacon Hills. None of them were going to be pleased that their bosses had been arrested and none of them had any respect for authority.

The sheriff had a target on his back and he didn’t even know it. But Peter knew, and he was going to do everything he could to keep him safe. Because that would bring Peter one step closer to fulfilling his master plan.

Chapter Text

Stiles was able to pretend that he hadn’t really gotten kidnapped by a geriatric psychopath for two totally normal days.

He had spent Saturday and Sunday curled up in bed binge watching crime shows on Netflix and popping Advil. His father had spent almost all of the weekend at the station, only coming home once to take a shower and change his clothes.

Stiles fought back guilt and made him a salad with bacon bits as an apology.

His father had looked at the salad, looked at Stiles, and then bear-hugged him before promising to eat something healthy for dinner. Stiles supposed that was the best he would get, all things considered.

He’d gone to school on Monday and tried to pretend everything was fine even though people were staring at him and whispering. He walked in head held high and tried to ignore them.

He found Scott waiting for him by his locker. Scott looked mad right up until he got a good look at Stiles’ face.

“Holy shit! What happened?” Scott asked.

Stiles stared at his best friend of a couple of seconds. “Have you been living under a rock?”

Scott made a face at him. “Stiles, just tell me! I’ll beat whoever did it!”

Apparently, he had been living under a rock. “Scott, you can’t beat up someone who’s in jail. Unless you’re also in jail. Which is not going to happen, so you can’t beat him up.”

Scott’s frown deepened. “You told your dad?”

Stiles facepalmed. “Scott! You’re not an idiot! Put two and two together please.”

Scott’s eyes went wide in shock. “It was Peter, wasn’t it?! I’ll kill him!”

Now it was Stiles’ turn to be shocked. “How in the hell did you come up with Peter? And why didn’t you tell me about him earlier?”

“I’ve been trying to call you, but your phone just kept going to voicemail and you never answered any of my texts.”

“I left my phone in my locker for the game. Didn’t you try calling the house? Or maybe you could have, I don’t know, actually come over to tell me the guy we killed that one time was up and walking around again. You didn’t think that was important for me to know? What if Peter had decided to kill me instead of being, you know, helpful ?”

Scott scoffed. “Peter wasn’t helpful. And I did call your house. Nobody answered.”

“Well, did you leave a message?” Stiles asked, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“No... I didn’t know what to say!” Scott said guiltily.

“How about ‘Hey Stiles, it’s Scott. Call me back, it’s important.’ Does that sound so hard?”

Scott was visibly gritting his teeth. But before he could say anything else Stiles felt arms wrap around him. He stiffened in fear before he relaxed, recognizing the perfume. It was just Erica.

“Hey, Batman! How you doin’ today?”

Stiles could hear Scott growling softly. “Scott. Knock it off before your headlights turn on.”

Scott shuffled closer. “Stiles, what’s she doing?”

Erica tightened her grip on Stiles shoulders. “Isn’t it obvious, Wolf-Boy? I’m giving my friend here a friendly hug.”

Scott looked shocked. “Since when are you two friends?” he yelped.

Stiles felt Erica freeze behind him. She gently pulled him back a few steps from Scott while Boyd suddenly stepped up, effectively squishing Stiles between the two.

“Um, guys.” Stiles said.

Scott looked like he was ready to start a brawl in the middle of the hallway and if Stiles had to judge just by Boyd’s stance he seemed ready to match whatever Scott threw down.

“Stiles,” Boyd started, not taking his eyes off Scott. “Can you believe I used to look up to this guy?”

Stiles bit his lip nervously. “Boyd, please.”

Stiles felt Erica sigh against his neck. “He’s not worth getting detention over, babe. Let’s just walk Stiles to class.”

Boyd nodded and walked around Scott while Erica pushed Stiles forward, forcing him to keep in step with Boyd.

“Stiles!” Scott called, sounding the most worried he’d been the whole conversation.

“We’ll talk later Scott. Somewhere more private.”

“But, Stiles-”

Erica had pushed Stiles around a corner. Scott wisely didn’t try to follow them.

Once they were out of sight of Scott she finally let him go, but not before giving him one final gentle squeeze.

Boyd opened a classroom door and held it for Stiles and Erica to walk through.

“Soooo.” Erica said, once they had made sure the room was empty.

Boyd settled with his back against the closed door, arms crossed over his chest. “Scott’s a moron. Why are you friends with him?”

Stiles bared his teeth at Boyd. “He is not a moron. He was probably just busy this weekend.”

Erica rolled her eyes. “How are you really feeling?”

“I’m really fine. What do you two want?” Stiles crossed his own arms over his chest, feeling a little worried about being cornered.

“Stiles,” Boyd looked the most serious Stiles had ever seen him. And considering Boyd liked to pretend to be stoic that was saying something. “You helped save our lives. We’re pack now.”

Stiles quickly shook his head. “I’m not in Derek’s pack.”

Erica looked away and when she spoke she sounded on the verge of tears. “Neither are we.”

Stiles took a step towards her, his hand reaching out to touch her shoulder. “What happened?” he asked quietly.

Erica sniffled and looked pleadingly at Boyd, who answered. “Before we got caught by the Argent’s we.” he paused and took a deep breath. “We told Derek we were leaving his pack.”

“Why?” Stiles asked, bewildered.

“Because we’re as dumb as Scott!” Erica yelled. She was openly crying now.

Stiles didn’t know what to do. He always got so awkward when girls cried around him, since half the time they were crying over something he’d said. He pulled Erica in for a hug and looked helplessly at Boyd.

Boyd sneered. “We thought there was another pack in the woods, but it was just Allison fucking with us.”

“Did you guys talk to Derek?” Stiles asked hesitantly.

Erica shook her head against his chest.

“Well then.” Stiles said decisively. “After school you two go talk to Derek. I’m sure if you apologize for skipping out and promise to just talk to him the next time you get freaked out he’ll forgive you.”

Boyd’s eyes flashed, startling Stiles who had never seen Boyd lose control in a public place before. “No.” Boyd growled.

“No.” Erica echoed.

“No?” Stiles asked. “What are you going to do then? You two need an alpha to stay sane.”

“Scott doesn’t,” they said in unison.

“Scott’s a weirdo with an incredibly strong anchor.” Stiles said fondly. “But even he tried to kill me once or twice.”

Boyd and Erica both looked surprised. “And you’re still friends with him?” Erica asked, sounding amazed.

Stiles shrugged. “It wasn’t like he could help himself. But you two can. If you go back to Derek-”

“No!” Erica said again, cutting Stiles off. “You helped Scott! Please! Please, can’t you help us too?”

Stiles was at a loss for words. “It was mostly just trial and error with Scott. He got lucky that his anchor is Allison.”

“Well then, you can be our anchor.” Erica said excitedly.

Stiles backed away from the both of them. “Oh, god.” He said, horrified. “Please tell me you two aren’t in love with me.”

Erica rolled her eyes so hard her whole head moved. “As if. I already told you I’m over you.”

Boyd just shook his head.

“Well, Allison only works for Scott because he’s in love with her.” Stiles paused. “I guess you could try using each other…”

Erica laughed. “Boyd and I aren’t in love.”

Stiles shrugged. “Not at that stage in the relationship, huh?”

Boyd smirked at him. “Erica and I aren’t dating.”

Stiles flailed around in surprise. “What? But I thought-! Gerard?”

Erica grinned. “We’re bros. The only romance we’ve got is a bromance .”

“Erica’s just a great actress.” Boyd said proudly.

“Oh. Okay.” Stiles said, before frowning in thought. “You two are really comfortable with each other. Maybe you could be each other’s anchors anyway?”

“Nope.” Erica said, stepping forward and wrapping her arm around Stiles’ waist.

Stiles frowned at her but was distracted by Boyd suddenly being close enough to sling his arm across Stiles shoulders. “Sorry Stiles.” Boyd said directly in Stiles ear. “But you’ve been elected the wolf whisperer and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

Stiles sighed deeply in defeat. Apparently, he’d somehow manage to adopt two more werewolves. As if one wasn’t enough already.

“You two had so better be ready with the bribes if I’m going to be helping you.”

Erica and Boyd both grinned at him. Stiles shuddered when he realized how sharp their teeth looked.

“Don’t worry Stiles.” Erica purred. “We’ll make it worth your while.”

“What have I gotten myself into now?” Stiles whispered.

Boyd and Erica didn’t answer. They just laughed at him.

 

###

 

At lunch Stiles went on a rescue mission to get his phone from the locker room. It was, shockingly, still alive and Stiles saw he had several missed calls from both his father and Scott from Friday.

Scott had sent a number of increasingly desperate texts over the course of Friday night. The last one sent around 11:30 read ‘ nvm jacksons fine ’ and that was it. No more texts from anyone. But Scott had called twice on Saturday. But he hadn’t texted or left a message.

Stiles sent a quick text to Scott, asking him to come over to Stiles’ house after school, just before his phone died.

Stiles started to make his way out of the locker room when someone yelled for him.

“Hey, Stilinski!” Coach Finstock called from his office.

“Yeah, Coach?” Stiles asked, poking his head around the open door.

“The principle really do that to you?” Finstock asked, gesturing at Stiles’ face.

Stiles stiffened. This was the first time all day someone had asked him point blank what had happened. He nodded hesitantly.

Finstock made a disgusted face. “Guy always gave me the creeps, you know. Thought it was real weird how he just showed up out of nowhere like that.”

Not knowing what to say Stiles just took a step into the office.

“Your dad beat him up?” Finstock asked with a grin.

Stiles grinned back. “No, sir. He just arrested him.”

Finstock shrugged “Too bad.” He said before suddenly turned serious. “Look, kid.” He leaned forward and stared intently at Stiles. “If anyone tries to mess with you over this you just let me know. I’m not going to have one of my new star players suspended for fighting, you hear me?”

“Star player?” Stiles asked, wide eyed.

“On Friday you played a hell of a lot better than Greenberg has the entire time he’s been on the team.” Finstock leaned back in his chair and eyed Stiles up and down. “If you can keep that up in practice then you can keep playing first line.”

Stiles was practically vibrating with excitement. “I won’t let you down, Coach!”

Finstock nodded. “Yeah, yeah. What are you still doing here? It’s it lunch? Don’t teenage boys have a hollow leg? Get out of here!” he waved his hands in a shooing motion.

“See you at practice!” Stiles yelled as he ran out of the room.

He almost ran all the way to the cafeteria but caught himself, only just managing to miss running pass a narrow-eyed hall monitor.

He walked inside the cafeteria and sauntered up to the table he regularly sat at with Scott only to realize Scott wasn’t there. He glanced around and saw that Scott wasn’t the only one missing. Isaac, Lydia, Jackson, and Allison were nowhere to be seen.

He supposed it made sense that Allison wasn’t there. Her grandfather, the principle , had been arrested. Chris probably didn’t want her to be the focus of the rumor mill. Not that they weren’t talking about her in her absence.

Jackson had supposedly died and come back to life, so Stiles was willing to give him a pass for missing school. People had been speculating like crazy about what had really happened on the lacrosse field Friday night. Jackson’s ‘death’ and Stiles abduction were being widely discussed.

Stiles wondered if it had been a good idea to come to the cafeteria at all. He had been so excited to tell Scott the good news he had momentarily forgotten about what had happened. He chewed his lip and was about to turn around and leave, suddenly not at all hungry, when he felt a hand on his back, pushing him towards a chair.

He glanced over his shoulder and came face to face with a furious looking Danny Mahealani.

“Stiles.” Danny said through gritted teeth.

“Danny!” Stiles answered nervously. “How can I help you?”

Danny jerkily pulled out a chair and then shoved Stiles into it. “You can sit here and tell me what the fuck is going on.” Danny whispered harshly.

“Um…” Stiles said, frantically looking around for help.

His eyes landed on Boyd and Erica, who had just walked in. They looked back at him and quickly made their way over.

“Hey Stiles, Danny!” Erica said, bubbly and happy sounding, but her eyes were hard. Boyd wasn’t even pretending to be smiling.

“You two go away.” Danny snapped, not looking at them.

“I don’t think so.” Boyd said quietly, pulling a chair out to sit next to Stiles.

Erica walked around and sat across down on the table across from Stiles, putting her hand on Danny’s shoulder and leaning into his space. “Whatever you want to talk to Stiles about you can do it with us here.” She said, smiling flirtatiously.

“Fuck off, Reyes. You know that isn’t going to work with me.” Danny pushed her hand off him.

Erica just shrugged.

Danny leaned back into Stiles’ space and looked at him through narrowed eyes. “Stiles. Jackson won’t talk to me. You need to tell me what happened. I saw his-” Danny blinked rapidly and it looked like his lip was trembling. “I saw him on Friday. He was all cut up and the EMT said he was dead. But I went over to his house on Saturday and he answered the door looking completely fine and then he wouldn’t tell me what happened. He closed the door in my face Stiles.”

He looked like he was on the verge of tears. “Please.” he whispered.

Apparently, Stiles was a serious sucker for that word because he didn’t look at either Erica or Boyd before he said, “You know anything about werewolves, Danny?”

Danny stared at him in disbelief before flopping backwards in his chair and putting both hands over his eyes. “Fuck.” he groaned with feeling.

“That about sums it up.” Stiles said with a sigh.

 

###

 

Stiles went straight home after school. He was tired, his ribs were killing him, and he just wanted to take a nap.

He made his way upstairs and plugged his phone in. After it booted up he sent a quick text to his father telling him he was home and had his phone back.

His father had asked him to check in periodically, just to be on the safe side and considering how freaked out his father had been Stiles was more than willing to keep in touch.

His father texted back almost instantly. He must have been waiting. ‘ Good, glad. Coming home for dinner. Don’t get into any trouble before then.

Stiles rolled his eyes and texted back ‘ I would never.

He checked his messages and saw that Scott had answered his text about coming over after school. ‘ can’t ’ was all it said.

Stiles stared at his phone and bit his lip. Was Scott so mad about Erica and Boyd he wasn’t even going to bother finding out what happened?

Stiles texted him back. ‘ why not?

Scott answered ‘ busy. at work .’

Stiles groaned. Work. Right. ‘ after then?

Stiles feel asleep waiting for a reply.

 

###

 

Stiles wasn’t sure exactly how long he slept but the doorbell woke him up from a nightmare about Gerard killing his father.

He rolled out of bed and stumbled blearily down the stairs. “If it’s not Scott somebody’s going down.” he muttered in annoyance.

He pulled the door open only to come face to face with Boyd and Erica. “Oh, come on.” He groaned. “Did we see enough of each other at school?”

“I’m hurt Stiles.” Erica said, hip checking him out of the doorway. He was surprised at how softly she did it. He didn’t even stumble. He turned to stare after her.

Boyd pressed his hand against Stiles shoulder and pushed him inside. “I thought you were going to teach us how to werewolf good.” He said.

“Well.” Stiles corrected absently. He realized what Boyd had said and spun around to look at him.

Boyd just smirked at him. “Just call me Superman.”

“Get it?” Erica yelled from what sounded like the kitchen. “’Cause you’re Batman and I’m Catwoman!”

“Yeah, I got it. And the 30 Rock reference. Good job and all that…” Stiles said with a sigh as he made his way into the kitchen, resigned to having two werewolves in his house.

“So, tell me what Derek already taught you.” Stiles settled in at the kitchen table and prepared himself for a long afternoon.

 

###

 

Boyd and Erica had been working on shifting their faces at will for more than an hour when the doorbell rang again.

“What is this, Grand Central Station?” Stiles grumbled as he got up to answer the door.

“It’s just Danny.” Erica said, following one step behind him. Boyd had wisely elected to stay in the kitchen.

Stiles opened the front door and stared at Danny.

Danny stared back. “You going to invite me in?” he asked after almost a minute of silence.

Stiles narrowed his eyes. “Depends. Are you a vampire?”

Danny’s eyes widened in horror. “Are those real?” he whispered.

“Depends.” Stiles leaned forward conspiracy. “Can you enter a house without being invited?”

Danny sighed. “I’m not a vampire, Stiles.” He shouldered Stiles out of the way and stepped inside to prove it.

“Hi, Danny.” Erica said, batting her eyelashes at him.

Danny frowned at her. “Why are you so weird?”

Erica just shrugged and strolled back into the kitchen. Danny shrugged back and followed her.

Stiles glared at the now empty hallway. “I guess it’s just converge on the Stilinski’s house day. Why didn’t I get the memo?”

He stomped into the kitchen and glared at his three uninvited guest. “What’s up Danny?” he asked through clenched teeth. His ribs and face were hurting, and he really wanted to go back to bed.

Danny suddenly looked awkward. He rubbed the back of his neck nervously. “I guess I just needed to see some proof with my own eyes?”

Stiles glanced at Boyd and Erica before shrugging.

Erica lit up. “Can I do it?” she asked excitedly.

“I don’t know. Can you?” Stiles snarked.

Erica bounced up and down in excitement before turning completely serious. She looked Danny in the eye and said in a deep somber voice, “Don’t scream.”

Danny just looked at her expectantly.

She pouted at him for a moment before shifting her face.

Danny gasped but instead of taking a step back like Stiles expected him to, he took a step forward. “Wow.” He whispered. “So, you’re a werewolf.”

“Yep!” Erica said, grinning to show off her fangs.

“That’s so…cool. You make much more sense now.” Danny beamed at her.

“Oh god,” Stiles groaned. “He’s like a literal ray of sunshine. How is this my life?”

Boyd gave Stiles a commiserating pat on the shoulder.

Danny turned to smile at them. “Are you two werewolves, too?” he asked excitedly.

Stiles shook his head, but Boyd nodded.

Danny just grinned some more. “This is so cool.” He said, bouncing up and down on his toes.

“I’m glad you’re taking this so well.” Stiles muttered suspiciously. Stiles thought Danny might be taking it a little too well.

Danny nodded rapidly. “I’m in shock. Just you wait. I’ll probably freak out once this shift in my worldview completely sets in.”

Boyd seemed amused by this. “You’re certainly self-aware.”

“You have to be, when you’re friends with someone who’s so self-conscious.” Danny said. Then he paused, and his eyes got huge. “Jackson… Is… A werewolf ?”

Danny started to hyperventilate.

Stiles quickly walked over and put his hand on the back of Danny’s neck. “Boyd, chair?” he asked.

Boyd jumped up and slid a chair over to them. Stiles pushed Danny down onto the chair before pushing Danny’s head down in between his legs. “Okay, Danny.” He said, slowly and confidently. “Breath with me. In one… two… three… four... Out one… two… three… four…”

After a few minutes of this Danny started to calm down. “Damn, Stiles.” He wheezed. “…thanks…”

“No problem, dude.” Stiles said, lightly patting Danny on the back.

“See? This is exactly what I meant this morning.” Erica said, coming up behind Stiles to wrap her arms around his waist.

Stiles couldn’t help but lean back against her and smiled when he felt Boyd’s hand on his shoulder. He still wasn’t completely sure about this being somebody’s anchor business, but he supposed he might be able to handle it.

“Are you feeling better Danny?” Boyd asked quietly.

“Yep.” Danny said, giving them a slightly watery smile. “Just adjusting to this strange new world. That probably won’t happen again.” He frowned in thought. “At least I hope it won’t happen again…”

“Well, this has been fun and all, but dad’ll be home soon and I should start making dinner.” Stiles said tiredly.

Boyd, Erica, and Danny all turned to frown at him.

“We could stay?” Erica asked hesitantly.

“Nah.” Stiles said, patting Erica’s hand. “I’m fine. I need to talk to dad alone, anyway.”

Boyd nodded and reached out to take Erica’s hand.

“If you’re sure…” Danny said quietly.

To everyone’s surprise Boyd reached out and took Danny’s hand too. “Let’s go.” He pulled the two out to the front door.

Before they left Stiles got a good look at Danny’s face. He grinned because Danny looked quite shell shocked at the casual touches.

Stiles waited for the front door to open and close before he flopped down to sprawl out on the floor.

He lay there for several long minutes, thinking about his life and his choices.

He knew he’d brought all of the werewolf nonsense onto himself and everyone else.

He wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t dragged Scott into the woods to look for Laura Hale’s body.

Would Peter have bitten a deputy? Or maybe Stiles’ father. Stiles shuddered at the thought. With Stiles’ terrible luck the bite would have probably killed him.

Stiles would rather have a werewolf best friend and an alive father than a normal best friend and a dead father.

He tried to fight back the guilt he felt at that thought. He took a long deep breath and sat up.

He was about to stand up completely when the house phone rang.

He frowned at it and pulled himself to his feet. It was going to be either his father or Scott, so he might as well answer it.

“’Lo?” he chirped, trying to sound happier than he was feeling.

“Hey kid.” His father said, sounding worried. “You didn’t text me back.”

“Oh sorry, dad.” Stiles said with a wince. “I left my phone charging upstairs.”

“It’s okay kid.” His father said reassuringly. “I just wanted to know how Chinese sounded for dinner?”

“That’s not the healthiest…” Stiles muttered, but he didn’t try very hard. Chinese food sounded pretty good, considering he hadn’t eaten lunch. Plus, his father never called to ask about takeout without already deciding he was going to get some.

“I won’t get any fried rice.” His father compromised. “You want the usual?”

Stiles gave a put-upon sigh. “Yeah, dad. Sounds good.”

“See you in forty-five.” His father said, sounding pleased.

“See you.” Stiles whispered before hanging up.

He sort of felt like he was going to cry. He wondered how his father could be so happy about Chinese food when he saw death and destruction every day.

Stiles made his way into the living room and flopped onto the couch. He might be able to get a nap in while he waited.

 

###

 

The sound of the front door opening and his father’s call of “Stiles! I come bearing the fruit of the takeout gods!” woke him up.

He rolled off the couch and stumbled into the front hallway.

His father’s smile faded a little at the sight of him. Stiles felt his heart drop. “You okay, son? You’re looking a little rough…”

Stiles shrugged. “I’m just tired.” His stomach growled loudly. “And hungry.” He said with a smile that didn’t feel completely forced.

His father smiled back. “Okay kid, let’s eat then!” he said, happily brandishing the takeout bags.

There was more than one, so he’d probably gotten enough for leftovers. For some reason, that neither could explain, they both loved leftover Chinese food.

“So how was your day?” his father asked, aiming for casual and missing by about a mile.

“It was fine.” Stiles said with a shrug. “A little weird, but fine.”

“Weird how?” his father asked as he pulled the food boxes out.

“Oh, you know.” Stiles said, grabbing plates for them. “Boyd and Erica decided we’re friends now.”

“Well, that’s good.” His father said excitedly, before pausing and glancing at Stiles. “Right?”

Stiles nodded. “It’s not bad, at least.”

The tension went out of his father’s shoulders and he reached over to wrap his arm around Stiles’ neck. He pulled Stiles in for a warm hug and Stiles just sort of collapsed against him. “I’m so glad one good thing came out of all of this madness.” Before pressing a kiss to Stiles’ temple.

He pulled back and started to dish up the food. Stiles just stared at him. He felt like he was going to cry again.

He couldn’t remember the last time his father had kissed him.

He quickly scrubbed his hands over his face and stepped forward to help dish out the food.

“So, how was your day?” he asked, hoping to deflect and maybe learn something interesting.

His father shrugged nonchalantly. “Long.”

Stiles waited to see if he’d keep going. When he didn’t he poked him in the back.

His father rolled his eyes as he set the heaping plates on the table. “And interesting. I guess.”

“You guess?” Stiles asked with a frown.

“Yeah.” He said, sitting down and scooping food into his mouth.

Stiles sat down across from him and started to pick at his food, suddenly not so hungry.

His father eyed him for a few minutes. “Just. It was weird.”

“How?” Stiles asked, his interest peaked even more.

“We went through the Argent’s house, looking for unregistered firearms.”

“Yeah?” Stiles asked excitedly. “So, did you find any?”

The Sheriff shook his head. “No. Which isn’t really that surprising. The Argent’s have a legitimate business after all.”

Stiles face fell. He’d been hoping they could pile on the charges.

“That wasn’t the weird part though.” The Sheriff said causally, setting down his fork. “The weird part were these plants we found.”

Stiles froze. He had a bad feeling about this.

The Sheriff continued. “See, we weren’t sure what kind of plants they were, so we spend hours looking them up. And it’s just the strangest thing.”

Stiles put his fork down too.

“They were a bunch of different kinds of aconite. Which is strange all on its own, what with it being a poisonous plant and all. But to have so many different kinds of it. It just got me wondering.”

Stiles stared at his mostly full plate, dread filling him. This could not be happening.

“They had a couple of those bullet assembly machines. Which, of course, they did. They’re gun enthusiasts. Why wouldn’t they make their own bullets?”

His father could not have figured everything out like this.

“But since I was wondering already I took apart a couple, just to see how well it was made. And surprise of all surprises there were plant pieces in them.”

Stiles started to take slow deep breaths hoping to stop himself from hyperventilating.

“The only reason to use a poison bullet was if you wanted to poison someone.” He paused and glanced up at Stiles. “Right?”

Stiles just stared back. He didn’t know what to say. ‘ Yeah dad poisoning someone with a bullet is the definition of overkill ’ just didn’t seem to cut it.

“So, I wondered about that. And I started wondering about the machine in the basement.”

Stiles felt his eye twitch at the casual mention of the Argent’s basement. And the electrical machine. In his nightmares Gerard had hung his father from it and induced a heart attack.

“I thought about how strange it was. As torture devices go it wasn’t half bad, painful but not necessarily deadly.”

Stiles leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.

“Don’t you think it was strange how Vernon and Erica didn’t have a mark on them. Not even electrical burns on their wrists?”

Stiles clenched his teeth together. This was it. His father knew. There was no going back now, no talking his way out.

“And then I found out that Erica has epilepsy. I find it just so odd that the stress of all that didn’t induce a seizure.”

His father had put two and two together and come up with werewolves. Stiles realized he was trembling.

“Sure, all of that was strange and confusing but it made sense, in a way. After I found this.” The Sheriff pulled a leather-bound book from his inside jacket pocket.

He set the book down on the table in between them. Stiles could guess what was in it. It was probably how to kill werewolves for dummies, hunter style.

“Do you have anything you want to say Stiles.” His father sounded so calm and understanding. He didn’t even sound angry, just tired.

Stiles opened and closed his mouth several times before finally just shaking his head. Of all the ways his father could have figured out about werewolves of course it would because Stiles got abducted by hunters. Stiles’ only consolation was that it hadn’t been his father getting hurt in that basement.

His father pushed his plate away and rested his elbows on the table. “So. Werewolves, huh?”

Stiles pushed his own food away. He folded his arms in front of him and hid his face in them. He didn’t even realize he was crying until a sob was torn out of him.

“Oh, Stiles.” His father whispered.

Stiles heard the scrape of a chair on the floor before he felt arms pulling him up.

“It’s okay.” His father said as he held Stiles tight against his chest. “You’re okay.”

Stiles cried harder and pressed closer. “How mad are you?” he managed to ask between sobs.

“Pretty mad. But not ‘move to another state and lock you in the house’ mad. Probably just ‘ground you for life’ mad.”

“Small mercies.” Stiles choked out.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” his father asked, sounding like he was on the verge of tears too. That just made Stiles cry harder. His father hadn’t cried in such a long time and of course Stiles would be the reason why he would.

“It’s not like you can lock them up. And I know you’d never go for just straight up killing them. It would have just put you in danger and giving you an impossible choice.” Stiles buried his face in his father’s shoulder.

“Oh son.” His father pulled back, so they were face to face. “That’s not a decision you should have made for me.”

“You were just starting to get back on your feet again and then I had to go fuck everything up with werewolves . I just-I couldn’t-” he hid his face in his father’s shoulder again.

“Okay.” His father whispered, running his hand up and down Stiles’ back. “Okay, son. Let’s go sit down and you can start at the begin.”

Stiles took a long shaky breath, breathing in the familiar scent of his father. Gun oil-fabric softener-air freshener- home . Stiles pulled back a nodded.

His father ran his hand over Stiles’ head. “There’s ice cream in the fridge.”

Stiles gave him a watery glare. “There shouldn’t be.”

His father shrugged shamelessly. “What can I say? We’re both rebels. Like father, like son. Only mine’s contraband food and yours is werewolves.” He made a face. “ Werewolves . You ever get used to that?”

Stiles shook his head fondly. “We’ve all got our dangerous vices.”

His dad grinned at him. Stiles grinned back.

 

###

 

“So, let me see if I understand all this.” His dad said, leaning forward with his spoon to get at the last of the ice cream. “Peter Hale went on a revenge filled murder spree.”

Stiles nodded as he ate his own spoonful of mostly melted ice cream.

“He killed everyone responsible for setting the fire that killed his family. But why did he kill his own niece?”

Stiles shrugged. “Probably a lot of reasons. The main one being he’d been stuck in his own mind for six years and he’d gone pretty crazy. Probably because he wanted to be an alpha. They heal faster than betas.” Stiles hesitated before he quietly said his final thought. “Maybe because he was mad at her for leaving him alone, completely defenseless and under his own name in a town full of hunters that could have killed him at any moment.”

His dad frowned at him. “You’ve thought about this a lot, huh?”

Stiles bit his lip. “Kinda hard not to, when you see the end result.”

“So, Derek Hale killed his uncle with the help of Jackson, Scott, Allison, Chris Argent, and you.”

Stiles nodded. “And Lydia. She told me how to make Molotov cocktails.”

His dad groaned and hung his head. “I never, ever want to see you use one of those.”

Stiles smiled sheepishly.

His dad sighed. “So, Derek became the alfalfa.”

Alpha , dad. You know, like the leader of a pack of wolves ?” Stiles said with a laugh.

His dad gave an exaggerated grimiest. “ Right . The alpha .” He rolled his eyes. “And Derek went around biting people.”

“Not without their informed consent!” Stiles jumped in quickly, not wanted his dad to get mad at Derek for the wrong reasons.

His dad sighed. “Sure.” He didn’t sound like he completely believed it. “He turned Jackson, Isaac, Vernon, and Erica.”

Stiles nodded. “Two of those were surprisingly good choices.”

His dad smiled. “I’m pretty sure I can guess which two.”

Stiles laughed delighted that they could already joke about the situation. He was so relieved he felt like he was floating.

“But Jackson didn’t turn into a werewolf he turned into a katsura. Because he’s a jackass.”

Stiles beamed. “Do you even know what a katsura is?”

His dad frowned. “It’s not a giant rage lizard?”

Stiles laughed. “No, it’s an ornamental tree native to China and Japan.”

“Oh.” His dad said, frowning. “Then what’s Jackson The Lizard Monster called again?”

“A Kanima.”

His dad shook his head. “A Kanima. It sounds fake but okay.”

Stiles stared at his dad in open mouthed shock. “Did you just-?” he started to giggle.

His dad frowned at him. “What?”

Stiles was laughing so hard he couldn’t answer.

His dad huffed and smiled at him. “Okay so. Jackson turned into a murder weapon and you all tried to stop him. By locking him up in a stolen police van.”

Stiles cringed at his father’s tone.

“I’m still mad about that. Even though I know why you did it I’m still mad.”

Stiles hug his head in shame.

“I can’t believe Jackson is such a fucking asshole though.”

Stiles head snapped up and he stared at his dad in surprise, his father never swore so much in one sentence.

His dad shrugged. “He knew he was turning into something and still didn’t believe you guys. What an asshole. I never liked him anyway.”

Stiles nodded. “Yeah, Jackson’s the worst.”

“So soft, squishy, animal loving Scott is a werewolf now, huh?” his dad asked, sounding perplexed.

“Yep.” Stiles said, popping the p.

“That’s weird right? That’s gotta be weird.” His dad looked like he was rearranging is worldview. He seemed to be handling it better than Danny.

“The weirdest.” Stiles said nonchalantly.

“But you’re not a werewolf.” His dad said, sounding kind of desperate.

“Nope. Just regular plain old totally normal Stiles the human.”

“Okay.” His dad relaxed back against the couch. “Ground rules.”

Stiles winced.

“Don’t even think about it, Stiles!” his dad said, waving a threatening finger. “You got hurt by hunters! Totally normal human hunters! That’s not going to happen again.”

His dad leaned forward and lightly put his hand on the back of Stiles’ neck. “I know you’re in your teenage rebellion phase so I’m not going to tell you leave all of this alone, especially not if Scott’s involved.” He made a face. “But I don’t want you getting hurt again.”

He put his hand up to forestall anything Stiles might try and say to that. “Don’t even start. I want you to let me know where you are after school and if you’re going to be out later than nine.

I want you home before midnight and if you can’t be you’d better call me with a good reason. On days that I have evenings off we’re going to have dinner together to talk. About anything that’s going on.

If there’s another supernatural serial killer running around killing people you are going to keep me in the loop. I need to know what’s going on to keep the people of Beacon Hill’s safe. I know you think it’s your job to protect me but it’s my job to protect everyone. And I can’t do that if I don’t know what I’m protecting them from.”

Stiles nodded hesitantly. It didn’t sound too bad. It wasn’t like his dad was giving him any punishment. And it would be nice to have a different perspective if something did start happening again.

But his dad wasn’t done yet. “And on my days off We’re going to hang out. For at least a couple of hours. Got that?”

Stiles flopped over and pressed his face into his dad’s shoulder. “Such harsh rules.” He said with a laugh.

“Oh, but I haven’t even gotten to the punishment part.” His dad sounded more smug than Stiles was comfortable with.

He sighed. He was in for it now. The statute of limitations didn’t exist in the Stilinski house.

But Stiles was still the happiest he’d been in months. His dad knew about werewolves now. It had been only mildly embarrassing and painful. And Stiles had one more person to help him through the low budget teenage horror show his life had become.

Chapter Text

Peter detested boredom. He enjoyed constant mental stimulation and tented to get destructive when he had nothing to do. He had always been like that. It was one, of many, reasons why the coma had had such a drastic effect on his mental health.

After the excitement of Friday, Saturday was quite the disappointment and Peter was furious. He’d wasted the whole day sitting in a tree outside the sheriff’s station. Even the book he had been reading had been boring. Magical books should never be boring but this one had been dry and written in Old English. Even after all the years he’d been forced to read the language it still gave him a headache.

He tried to remind himself that keeping the Sheriff safe was worth the inconvenience. What Stiles could give him was worth this and taking care of the Sheriff safe was the fastest way to endear Stiles to him. Besides something was going to happen to the man, Peter knew it. People didn’t just go around arresting the head of the Argent family and not get murdered for it.

Peter had given up on his book and was actually starting to doze off when around one in the morning the Sheriff finally said something that caught his attention.

“Tomorrow we’re going to search the house top to bottom. We’re going to go through every single gun. I want more on these guys.” There were tired murmurs of agreement before he spoke again. “Now, if you’re on over time get out of here, we can’t afford to pay you.”

There was some tired laughter before people started to trickle out of the building. Finally, there were only four heartbeats left.

There were a few minutes of quiet before someone started snoring. Peter sighed deeply. Apparently, the Sheriff was going to be spending the night in his office. And this was the perfect time for an ambush too. Only a few deputies and the Sheriff asleep. Peter spent the next several hours on watch.

Around seven in the morning deputies started coming back in and Peter went home to take a shower and get some food.

When Peter got back to the station the sheriff’s cruiser wasn’t in the parking lot. He cursed and frantically tried to think of where the man might have gone before remembering the search of the Argent house. Hopefully that meant something interesting was going to happen.

Peter decided he was done running around town and decided to borrow a car from a long term holding lot. He went to the one he always went to when he did something he needed a car other than his own for.

Even after almost seven years it still had terrible surveillance and the same desk clerk that left the booth door unlocked while he slept. Peter was honestly shocked it was still in business. Well, their loss was his gain.

He drove to the Argent house and took a careful pass. The house was crawling with police. People were standing on their front porches and in the street, trying to see what was happening.

Peter found a nice little side street about a block away and settled in to wait for something interesting to happen.

 

***

 

Peter had been listening with half an ear when finally, finally something happened. A deputy said “Hey, Sir? I found something you might be interested in.”

“What is it Rodriguez?” The Sheriff asked, sounding relieved that there was finally something after hours of work.

“This mini fridge is full of plants.” Rodriguez answered. Peter’s ears pricked up.

“What kind of plants are these?” the Sheriff asked.

“It’s called aconite. It’s also known as wolfsbane.” Peter wasn’t the least bit surprised. Of course, the Argent’s kept wolfsbane in their house. What self-respecting hunter wouldn’t?

“Wolfsbane? Isn’t that poisons?” the Sheriff asked, sounding confused.

“It is. But if it’s diluted and used in small doses it can be used as a pain med.” Rodriguez said helpfully.

“Gerard Argent does have cancer. Maybe he was using it for medicinal purposes.” The Sheriff said absently.

“Hey,” someone else was talking now. “They have a lot more of that stuff growing in their garden.”

“Alright. That’s a little strange.” The Sheriff said.

Peter wondered if the Sheriff would be able to figure out about werewolves based on the Argent house alone. It would certainly be an impressive feat if he did.

After about a minute Peter heard the Sheriff, the woman, and Rodriguez speaking again, this time it sounded like they were outside.

“See,” the woman said. “It’s everywhere.”

“Now that is strange. These look like they’re all different strains.” Rodriguez said.

“You’re right.” The Sheriff agreed. “Would there be a medical purpose for using different kinds of wolfsbane?”

“I don’t think so?” Rodriguez said. “But it’s not like I’m an expert or anything, I just googled flowers until I found the right one…”

Peter smirked. He found it quite amusing that the Beacon Hill’s County Sheriff’s Department was slowly but surely being dragged into the 21st century.

“Do you think we should send some down to the county lab, sir?” the woman asked.

The Sheriff sighed deeply. “It’s probably not worth it, Thompson. But why don’t you give them a call and ask what they know about wolfsbane, just for fun.”

“Sure thing, boss.” Thompson agreed.

What Peter found odd was how the Sheriff seemed to instantly know the wolfsbane was important. The plants had had nothing to do with Stiles’ abduction and seemed to be only thinly connected to Gerard Argent. Peter didn’t know what the Sheriff was learning from the search and it was making his heart race.

A few more boring minutes passed before Peter heard the Sheriff go down into the basement.

“Hey King, do you have anything for me down here?” the Sheriff asked.

“This thing is pretty crude but effective as far instruments of torture go.” Someone, another deputy or possibly a crime scene technician, said.

“Could this kill somebody?” the Sheriff asked.

“Sure.” King said. “There’s a control knob here. Just crank it up and boom, heart attack.”

“So, Argent could have been planning on killing them.” The Sheriff seemed pleased by that thought.

“It’s possible.” She said. “Did you say that the kids didn’t have any electrical burns?”

“That’s right. They were physically fine.” The Sheriff answered.

“That’s weird.” She said absently. “Because when I tried to pull them down it felt like I’d stuck my finger in a socket. If they’d been hooked up for even half an hour they would have had some sign of it.” It seemed that accelerated healing was going to be a hindrance in this case.

“The power must have been turned on just before we got here.” The Sheriff muttered.

“I guess.” King said with a sigh. “You know, it wouldn’t hurt to get a subpoena for the power company’s records and look for a spike in usage. Maybe the sicko’s done this to somebody who didn’t want to press charges. Or couldn’t press charges.”

“Yeah. That’s a good idea, King. Call the DA for me?” the Sheriff asked.

“You got it, boss.”

They probably wouldn’t find anything through the power company. Peter doubted that anyone else had been kept at the house. It wasn’t like Beacon Hills had a large werewolf population. Not anymore, at least.

Not to mention whatever reason he’d had to take two werewolves and the Sheriff’s son had made Gerard despite and sloppy. Peter was sure that before this Gerard had been much more careful with his hunting.

“Hey boss,” a man Peter didn’t recognize the voice of, said. “Will you come take a look at this?”

“Yeah Anderson, what is it?” The Sheriff asked.

After about a minute Peter heard the man, Anderson talking from what sounded like the second story.

“The measurements of this disk are off.” Anderson said. “I just wanted to get your okay before I messed with it, just in case I broke it.”

“What part is off?” the Sheriff asked.

“See, this draw is shorter than the others and it won’t come out.”

The Sheriff hummed for a moment before saying, “Anderson.” He sounded completely exacerbated. “This is just a simple hide-a-draw. My desk at work as this. You just need to-” there was a loud creak and then a pop.

“Welp.” The Sheriff said.

“Should I fill out the incident report?” Anderson asked.

“Good idea Anderson.”

“What is that?” Anderson asked.

“It’s an accounting ledger.” The Sheriff sounded completely done with the man.

After another minute Peter heard the Sheriff call “Hey Thompson!”

“Yes boss?” the woman from earlier said.

“Did you call the lab yet?” the Sheriff asked.

“Yep, they said they’d call me back.”

“Good, thanks. You know about accounting, right?”

“Well, I was a forensic accountant in another life. Why do you ask?”

“I need you to go back to the station and go over this ledger I found hidden in a secret draw in their office.”

Nice .” Thompson said. “On it like white on bread.”

“I don’t think-”

“You keep an eye out for the ‘real’ ledger, okay boss?” Thompson cut him off. “I’ll call you if I find anything.”

The Sheriff was quite for several minutes, no doubt trying to fit all the pieces together. Finally, he said “Hey Rodriguez, do you think they make these bullets themselves?”

Peter’s heart skipped a beat. Where had that question come from? He silently cursed not being able to see inside the house.

“Probably. They’ve got the right equipment for it and buying everything in bulk has got to be cheaper in the long run.” Rodriguez said.

“You got any pliers?” the Sheriff asked.

Presumably Rodriguez did because after a few seconds the Sheriff said, “I’ll be damned.”

“What is it?” Rodriguez asked.

“Does this look like pieces of a plant to you?”

“Yeah…” Rodriguez breathed.

Excitement curled through Peter. The Sheriff was turning out about as unpredictable as his son. If the Sheriff continued to be so fascinating it would be worth keeping him around just for his entertainment value.

“Do you think that that’s wolfsbane, sir?” Rodriguez asked hesitantly.

“It might be. But why would they put it in their bullets?” the Sheriff sounded completely baffled.

“For…overkill?” Rodriguez said, with a laugh at his own joke.

The Sheriff didn’t seem to be paying attention. He muttered under his breath. “You can’t use a poisoned bullet for hunting. It’ll just poison the meat. And why would you use a bullet and poison to kill someone? Is this some sort of new military tactic? If the bullet wound isn’t fatal, then the poison kills them? That just seems like…” the Sheriff trailed off.

“Like overkill?” Rodriguez said again and Peter’s eye twitched.

“Do you not have anything more helpful to add?” the Sheriff asked, sounding as annoyed as Peter felt.

“Sorry, sir. I don’t know why someone would use a bullet to try and poison someone.” Rodriguez didn’t sound the least bit contrite.

“Hey,” Peter recognized King’s voice. “Maybe it’s werewolves.”

Peter gasped out loud in surprise.

Rodriguez started to howl with laughed. “Good one, Terri!” he called.

“You two, knock it off and get back to work!” the Sheriff sounded furious. “We’ve got a crime scene to investigate!”

“Hey, come on!” King said, sounding like she wanted to laugh too. “Haven’t you ever seen The Wolfman , boss?”

“Get back to work.” It sounded like the Sheriff was speaking through gritted teeth.

Peter couldn’t help but laugh too. They were looking the truth in the face and they still couldn’t believe it. Humans were just so dense.

 

***

 

After spending several more hours at the Argent house the Sheriff finally went home. Peter thought he’d stay there but he heard the Sheriff call out “Just showering before going back in!”

He heard the sound of Stiles scrambling around before he yelled, “Everything okay?”

“Everything’s fine, Stiles.” The Sheriff said. “Don’t worry I promise to tell you if anything interesting happens.”

“Yeah sure, after everything’s already happened.” Peter couldn’t help but smirk at Stiles’ petulant tone.

For a while the house was quiet, save for the sound of the shower running.

Eventually he heard the water shut off and a bit after that the Sheriff speaking again. “Okay, kid. I’m off. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get home tonight, if I’m not be good, okay?”

Peter heard Stiles snort. “Yeah, sure. I’m always good, you know that.” Stiles sounded like he was trying to be chipper but was failing spectacularly. “Here, I made you lunch, or whatever.”

Peter grit his teeth at the thought of Stiles making his father lunch when he should have been resting. He was the injured one, the Sheriff should have made Stiles lunch.

There was quite a moment before the Sheriff said “Thanks son. I promise I’ll eat something equally healthy for dinner, ‘or whatever’.”

“Love you, dad.”

“Love you too, kiddo.”

Then there was the sound of the cursor starting so Peter made his way back to the station for another long and boring night.

 

***

 

It was around three in the morning and the book Peter was reading was only mildly more interesting than the last one when the Sheriff proved himself to be an invaluable source of entertainment.

The deputies had come and gone with boxes that Peter had been able to overhear had come from the Argent’s office. The Sheriff had sent everyone home late and once again there were only four people inside.

There had been only the faint sound of papers for more than an hour when suddenly the Sheriff said “Oh. It actually is werewolves. I’m living in a goddamn cliché…”

Peter desperately wished he was inside the station to see what the Sheriff had found to make him so sure that a joke said in passing was the right answer. The Argents wouldn’t have just left out proof of their crimes or proof of the supernatural world. Or would they? Their ‘secret’ ledger hadn’t ended up being quite so secret. Maybe in his grief Chris Argent had gotten sloppy. Or maybe in his desperation Gerard had made more than just the mistake of abducting Stiles.

Either way Peter understood now where Stiles had gotten his brains from. The Sheriff was not someone to be underestimated and if Peter ever managed to convince Stiles to become his pack the Sheriff would be a great ally.

Suddenly the Sheriff yelled “Stiles! That little brat !”

Peter actually jumped in surprise. Now he had to know what the Sheriff had found. He wasn’t about to break into the sheriff’s station, so he would just have to break into the Stilinski house at some point.

Peter kept listening, but the Sheriff didn’t talk to anyone or mutter anymore to himself and Peter eventually got bored enough to doze off.

 

***

 

Monday proved to be the best day of Peter’s watch so far. Peter followed the Sheriff from the station to a motel.

Peter wondered who the man was going to see. He didn’t seem the sort to hire prostitutes or used methamphetamines, but one could never really tell by appearance alone. People certainly didn’t think the Argents were serial killers.

Peter heard a knock on a door and then Chris Argent said “Sheriff. How can I help you?” he did not sound at all pleased.

“Can I come in?” the Sheriff asked politely.

“What is this about?” Argent demanded more than asked.

“I really think this conversation would be better had inside, Chris.” The Sheriff seemed to be losing his temper just slightly.

Presumably Argent agreed because when the Sheriff spoke next, he sounded furious. “So, your family hunt werewolves, do they?”

Argent spluttered in surprise and Peter heard who he was sure was Allison gasp.

“Are you feeling alright Sheriff Stilinski?” Argent asked, and Peter rolled his eyes.

“Not particularly, no. I’m not feeling alright, especially now that I know that your father abducted my son because he thought he was a werewolf.” So, the Sheriff didn’t know everything. He was just working off an educated guess.

“Sheriff I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about.” Argent was fooling exactly no one.

“If you want to play it that way, fine. I’ll talk, and you’ll listen.” The Sheriff sounded completely fed up with everything and Peter couldn’t wait to hear him knock the Argents down a peg or two.

“You and your father are werewolf hunters. Vernon and Erica are werewolves. For some reason your father felt the need to take them and my son. I have testimony that Alison was involved with Vernon and Erica’s abduction. So you have two choices here, Chris. You can either testify against your father and everyone that works for him or I can arrest Allison right now.” The Sheriff spoke in the most serious tone Peter had heard from him yet. Peter grinned viciously. Time for Argent to choose: hunting or his daughter.

Peter heard a door bang open and then Allison was speaking, “You can’t do that! I haven’t done anything wrong!”

“Allison!” Argent snapped. “Go back to your room.”

“No!” she yelled. “I haven’t done anything you can arrest me for!”

There was quite for a few moments before the Sheriff said “Allison, you helped abduct two minors at gunpoint. They were being tortured in your basement with your knowledge. I can most assuredly arrest you for that.” He sounded a touch pitying.

“They won’t testify!” she said, starting to sound a little despite.

“Allison, stop talking.” Argent said through gritted teeth. “She didn’t mean anything by that Sheriff.”

“I hope not. I’d hate to add witness tampering to the list of charges.”

“Dad!” Allison didn’t sound like the proud head of the Argent family. She sounded like a scared teenager. Peter didn’t feel sorry for her in the least.

“Sheriff if you arrest her the jury won’t convict.”

The Sheriff sighed deeply. “You’re right, they probably won’t. But the trial wouldn’t be talked about in just the local paper. Your father committed a hate crime.”

“You can’t tell people-”

The Sheriff talked right over Allison’s panicked interruption. “He targeted Vernon and Erica because they’re an interracial couple. So yes, as far as the general public is concerned, it’s a hate crime.”

It was quite for a few minutes before the Sheriff continued speaking, obviously aware he hadn’t convinced anyone yet. “Let’s say the jury doesn’t convict Allison. That’s all well and good but she won’t be able to keep living in Beacon Hills. She’ll be ostracized. And I assure you, after the papers are done with her, anywhere else she goes she’ll be recognized. And I will, of course, have to uphold my oath to protect people. Which means whatever town you move to I’ll have to let them know about Allison’s past.”

“Dad?” Allison whispered.

“That’s an abuse of power.” Argent said.

“No. That’s assurance Allison doesn’t become a bigoted blind fool like her grandfather.”

No one said anything for a few minutes.

“So, you want me to testify against my own father?” Peter grinned viciously at how resigned Argent sounded.

And the men who work for him.” The Sheriff was quite firm on that point.

“If I do that I’ll be…”

“Those are you choices, Chris. A bunch of racists or your daughter.”

Argent sighed deeply. “Alright. I’ll do it.”

“Thank you very much for your cooperation Mr. Argent. If you would please come down to the station to give a formal statement? Allison will have to come too, to give her statement on how her grandfather and his men forced her to play bate to catch Vernon and Erica.”

“Dad?” Allison asked again. Argent must have made some gesture because she whispered, “Alright, we’ll go with you.”

 

***

 

The Sheriff brought the Argents into the station before escorting them into an interview room.

He asked someone to call in his deputies, including the ones that were on call.

Peter gleefully made note of all the names and residences of the hunters Argent gave up. If Peter was the sort to bounce in delight, he would be.

There were currently 23 hunters in Beacon Hills, that Argent knew of, and the Sheriff seemed determined to arrest them all. Peter noticed how Argent didn’t mention any hunters outside of Beacon Hills but, for the moment, Peter would take what he could get.

Once the Sheriff had finished taking the Argents’ statements he called his deputies to him and gave what Peter was starting to think of as a Sheriff Talk. Short, simple, straight to the point.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve found a break in this case. Last night while I was going through the last of the boxes we pulled out of the Argent’s home office I came across their accounting ledger. But as you all know we had already found their ledger.”

There was murmurs of interest.

“As you also know, Thompson spent six hours going over the first one with a fine-tooth comb and then this morning going over them both to pick out the differences.”

There was a round of enthusiastic applause.

“Thank you, thank you.” Thompson said.

“And now!” the Sheriff said loudly, “With a statement from Chris Argent we have enough evidence to charge Gerard Argent with embezzlement. And tomorrow an IRS agent will be coming down. You all know what that means.”

There was a round of groans.

“That’s how they get ya.” King muttered.

“It’s always the taxes.” Rodriguez whispered.

“And once our friend from the IRS is done we’ll be able to make 23 arrests for tax evasion.”

“As long as the FBI doesn’t get called in.” King said.

“We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.” The Sheriff said. “For the time being we’ve got 23 background checks to do and a case to make against all of them. Now get to work.”

 

***

 

At around eight that evening Peter heard the Sheriff say, “That’s it for me and for everyone on over time. Go home.”

“Does that include you boss?” someone asked.

“Yes it does.” The Sheriff said tiredly. “I’m going to have dinner with my son. Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

There was laughter and calls of good night while the Sheriff walked out of the station.

Peter decided two nights of barely any sleep was enough. If the Sheriff was going home than Peter was going to sleep in a goddamn bed. Even if the bed belonged to someone else.

Peter drove the car back to the carpark he’d borrowed it from before running over to the Stilinski’s house. Stiles’ bedroom was laughably easy to climb into and the window wasn’t even unlocked. Peter made a mental note to give the boy a stern lecture on proper home security. The boy should really know better, anyone could walk in and sleep in his bed.

Peter wanted to thoroughly inspect the room, but he was so tired. He slipped his shoes and jacket off before pulling back the blankets and sliding into Stiles’ bed.

He pressed his face into the pillow and breathed deeply. He could tell the sheets were clean but the pillow itself smelled strongly of Stiles. Peter had a vague thought that it was a very nice smell before he drifted off, warm and comfortable, and safe in the knowledge that if anything happened he would sense it and be able to protect his humans.

 

***

 

Footsteps in the hallway woke Peter. For a moment he wasn’t sure why it was strange for someone to be walking around before he remembered he was in the Stilinski’s house.

In Stiles’ bedroom. Specifically, in Stiles’ bed.

Peter scrambled out of the bed and shoved his feet into his shoes before diving out of the open window.

He crashed into the ground and bit back a groan of pain. He lay on the ground and stared up at the light shining through Stiles’ window. He tried to sit up but could barely twitch.

He’d broken his neck jumping out of a teenager’s bedroom window. He couldn’t believe it. Peter couldn’t think of another time he’d felt more like an idiot. He sighed deeply. He was stuck laying in the Stilinski’s backyard until he could move again.

He lay there for about a minute before Stiles started muttering. “I could have sworn I closed my window.”

Peter winched.

“And I know I made my bed, what the hell?”

Peter resigned himself to being caught.

There was a long moment of silence before Peter saw Stiles lean out his window. “Peter!” he whispered loudly into the night. “If you’re going to sleep in my bed at least leave a freaking note, you creep!” he pulled himself back into the house without seeing Peter.

Peter stared up in bewilderment. How in the world had Stiles known it had been him? The jacket he had left on Stiles’ computer chair didn’t have any distinctive features or his name on it.

Stiles stuck his head back out the window again. “I’m keeping your jacket for rent!” and then he was gone.

Peter carefully rolled to his feet and staggered off, missing his jacket but with his dignity still slightly intact. He supposed it could have been worse. At least he still had his shoes.

 

***

 

Peter was back at the sheriff’s station early Tuesday morning in a different borrowed car and a large box of books from the vault in the passenger seat. He was going to find that ritual even if the boredom killed him.

Having to rush out of Stiles room had been incredibly humiliating but Peter was more determined than ever to get Stiles. And the Sheriff now that he had proved himself as intelligent as his son.

Tuesday was as boring as Saturday had been. The Sheriff and his deputies spend the day doing more paperwork and talking to lawyers and IRS agents. They seemed to be slowly but surely making cases against several of the hunters Argent had named. And it sounded as though the next day they would be able to start actually arresting people. Peter couldn’t wait.

He listened with half an ear as he went through every single book, over every single page before finally around midnight the police were finishing up and he found the ritual he was looking for.

It was just a simple as he remembered it being and he knew Stiles would be able to perform it.

All it would take was five white candles, some white chalk, and a tiny bit of blood from each of them.

That was all very doable. But there was a chant Stiles would have to say. Peter wasn’t sure if Stiles would be willing or able to say.

‘This wolf is worthy of myself and of my gifts.’ Was Peter worth of Stiles or his magic? After everything Peter had done he doubted Stiles would think so.

Peter would just have to prove to Stiles that he was worthy. Or at least had the potential to be worthy.

 

***

 

The Sheriff had once again spent the night in his office, forcing Peter to keep lookout from his borrowed car. He read the ritual words over and over again to himself, planning the best ways to convince Stiles that Peter was worth Stiles’ magic.

From what he’d gleamed of the time he’d been gone the first step should probably be convincing Stiles that he had magic in the first place.

At around 7 unmarked black SUVs pulled up to the station. Peter was instantly on alert, the possibility that the hunters had heard about Chris Argent's’ betrayal and would attack the station again waking Peter up faster than a cup of coffee.

Men and women in blue blazers swarmed out of the cars and into the station. Apparently the FBI had been called in after all.

Peter listened in amusement as deputies argued with agents about jurisdiction and proper procedure and whether or not there was even actually a case.

This went on for several minutes until finally the Sheriff called everyone to attention. “As you’re all aware by now the FBI will be taking over this case, as they do with all RICO charges.”

There was angry grumbling from the deputies.

The Sheriff ignored them. “This means we catch them up on what we have.”

More grumbling.

“And there won’t be any more fighting, we’re all just trying to do our jobs the best we can. And considering the recent losses this department as suffered-”

There were quite murmurs of ‘rest in peace’

“-we really can’t afford to lose any more deputies, can we?”

Murmurs of agreement and the dull hum of voices overlapping.

This went on for several hours before finally agents began leaving the station, presumably on their way to arrest tax evading hunters.

A man Peter didn’t recognize said. “Don’t you worry about a thing, Sheriff. My boys and I have this well in hand.”

“Make sure to keep me updated McCall. I’ll want to know if there are any white-collar criminals running around my fair town.”

Peter was vaguely interested in this Agent McCall. He wondered if he was any relation to Peter’s failed beta.

The Sheriff answered that question for him. “Don’t forget to drop by and see your kid, since you’re in town.”

“Oh, I doubt I’ll have time. I’ve got 23 arrests to make after all.” McCall said.

Peter supposed this was where Scott got his ability to disregard others from.

“Well. Good luck.” The Sheriff sounded slightly disgusted and Peter couldn’t help but agree with him.

A few minutes later the Sheriff said “Is that it? Are they all gone?”

There were several choruses of “Yes boss.”

“Perfect.” The Sheriff said. “Everybody’s got copies of all the files, right?”

Calls of ‘Got it.’ and ‘Yes, sir.’

“Good, good.” The Sheriff said. “We don’t want there to be any missing paperwork when this whole thing is done and over with, do we?”

There was laughter and Peter couldn’t help but join in. The Sheriff had certainly grown on him. And hopefully there wouldn’t by many more days he would have to spend watching his back.

If the FBI could actually be trusted to do their job, that was. Peter wasn’t going to hold his breath.

Chapter Text

Stiles felt like a physical weight had been taken off of his shoulders after he and his dad had their rather emotional supernatural reveal.

It had been months, or years maybe, since he’d felt so close to his dad and his determination to keep him alive had only been reinforced.

Not that his dad fully realized that, but he would once he saw Stiles’ new and improved heart healthy meal plans. Stiles knew there would be muttering and grumbling and attempted bribery, but he was not going to be swayed. His relationship with his dad was stronger than ever and he was going to keep it that way for as long as humanly -and maybe even supernaturally- possible.

Even the punishment Stiles had been given was mild. Well, mild to Stiles. Most teenagers would probably consider spending spring break doing a full house cleaning a devastating situation and argue for something less taxing, but Stiles had actually been planning on cleaning during the break already. The fact that now he would only be allowed to leave the house to go to the grocery store was mildly annoying, but his dad had accidentally left a loophole in his grounding rules.

He’d told Stiles he wasn’t going to be helping but hadn’t banned anyone else from doing so. Stiles was hoping he could convince Boyd and Erica to come over to move furniture and boxes around to ‘practice controlling their new supernatural strength’.

The fact that spring break wasn’t for a week and a half just solidified Stiles’ idea that his dad wasn’t really grounding him, just trying to distract him from the fact that he was doing something with the hunters, something very legal but probably life threatening if Stiles’ past experiences with them was anything to go on.

But Stiles wasn’t going to push his luck by asking his dad about working. At that moment. Stiles would ask when his dad was least expecting it.

Stiles made his way to his room already making meal planes, cleaning schedules, and writing a speech he hoped would convince his dad to let Stiles in on the Argent investigation. He pushed open his bedroom door and stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of his open window. He had thought he’d closed that. He was about to shrug it off when he noticed his bed was unmade when he vividly remembered making it. One corner of the sheet had popped off his mattress in the night and when he’d gotten up he’d decided to fix the whole of his bedding, not just the sheet.

His eyes narrowed as he took in the rest of the room, checking to see if someone had gone through the papers on his desk or opened his laptop. His desk looked just as chaotically organized as it always did but his desk chair had a jacket on it. A very familiar jacket. Carefully he stepped forwards and ran his fingers over the jacket as he thought about how to handle the fact that Peter Hale - definite murderer, possible psychopath, and maybe stalker - had been in his bed.

Stiles had about a thousand questions, beginning with ‘why had Peter been in his bed’ and ending with ‘what was Stiles going to do about it’?

On a whim Stiles picked the jacket up and slid it on, genuinely surprised when he realized it wasn’t as big on him as he’d been expecting. Peter had such a presence that Stiles had half thought he’d swim in the jacket. He caught his reflection in the mirror and was taken aback by how good he looked. He absently pressed his nose against a sleeve cuff and took in the very light and subtle scent it gave off. No doubt Peter used a very expensive werewolf friendly cologne.

He ran his hand over the supple black leather for a few moments before smirking and walking over to his window. He leaned out, squinting in the dark, and said as loudly as he dared “Peter! If you’re going to sleep in my bed at least leave a freaking note, you creep!”

He waited a moment and wasn’t surprised when he didn’t get an answer. Of course Peter was long gone, after all no one wanted to be caught dead in Stiles’ bed.

Satisfied he’d gotten the last word in, even if there hadn’t technically been a first word, Stiles leaned back into his bedroom and reached up to close the window. He stared at his arms in the jacket for a moment, suddenly reminded of Boyd, Erica, and Isaac in their leather jackets and leaned back out the window to say, “I’m keeping your jacket for rent!”

He grinned, knowing if Peter made a fuss Stiles could now say he’d warned him without even having to lie.

He closed and locked the window before dropping down onto his computer chair to get started on the new and improved meal plans and shopping lists.

 

###

 

Stiles didn’t realize Scott hadn’t texted him back until he was once again waiting for Stiles in front of Stiles’ locker.

“I’m sorry about yesterday, Stiles.” Scott said, pulling out his best puppy dog eyes.

Stiles sighed and shrugged. “It’s fine. I ended up having a busy evening anyway.”

Scott nodded wisely and asked, “So do you need help with a cover for you dad?”

Stiles stared at him for a long moment, hoping Scott wasn’t implying what Stiles thought he was. “A…cover?”

“Yeah, for why Gerard would kidnap you? Do you need help with that? Because I’ve been thinking-”

“Scott,” Stiles cut him off in exasperation. “You seem to be a couple days behind here. That’s all already been taken care of.”

Scott looked baffled. “But what did you tell him? Not the truth, right? Stiles you can’t tell him the truth!”

Stiles jerked back in surprise. “Why exactly can’t I tell him the truth?” he asked through narrowed eyes.

“Because he won’t believe you.” Scott said as if it was obvious.

Stiles’ mouth dropped open and he blinked several times while he tried to figure out how tell Scott his dad had already found out about werewolves on his own. He was about to say something, although he wasn’t sure what, probably something very cleaver, when someone grabbed his arm. He jumped in surprise and tried to pull his arm away when he realized it was only Danny.

“Stiles.” He said through clenched teeth. “Jackson’s here. I’m giving him the silent treatment. Can you play interpreter if he tries to talk to me?”

Stiles arched an eyebrow in amusement. “You sure you want me to talk for you? Jackson’s not my favorite person you know. I might say something you’ll regret.”

Danny just shrugged. “If I wanted someone better at neutrality I would have asked Boyd and if I wanted someone to punch him out I would have asked Erica. You seem like a good middle ground. Not to mention he might actually leave me alone what with that restraining order he has against you that you’ll have to explain to me at some point.”

Stiles decided he couldn’t argue with Danny’s logic. “Sure, Danny. You can follow me around like a duckling if you want to.”

Danny rolled his eyes before looking over at Scott and giving him an appraising look. He turned back to Stiles and said, “I mean I guess I can see it but I’d really go more for puppy than wolf.”

Stiles nodded sagely, not the least surprised that Danny had figured out Scott was a werewolf without Stiles having to tell him. “I know. It doesn’t really make sense until you see the fangs.”

Scott looked flabbergasted. He opened and closed his mouth a few times before saying, “Stiles what the hell?”

Danny looked amused and said “You’re not exactly the most subtle person in the world McCall. It’s so obvious I’m actually disappointed in myself for not figuring it out sooner.”

Stiles gave Danny a sympathetic pat on the arm. “Just to make you feel worse Jackson figured it out completely on his own.”

Danny look exasperated and took breath but Erica and Boyd walking up distracted him from what ever it was he was going to say.

“Stiles don’t pick on Danny.” Boyd said, wrapping his arm around Danny’s shoulders.

Danny blinked at Boyd for a few moments before smirking at Stiles. “Yeah Stiles, don’t pick on me.”

“Don’t pick on me.” Stiles mocked quietly before realizing Erica was giving him an appraising look.

She elbowed Boyd and Danny out of the way to run her hand across the jacket Stiles was wearing. She gave the lapel a tug and raised her eyebrows.

Stiles gave her his best innocent look. She leaned forward and pressed her nose against his shoulder.

“Where’d you get this?” she asked. There was a hint of a growl in her voice.

Boyd’s head snapped around and he leaned closer to sniff at Stiles too.

“What? What is it?” Scott asked, trying to step closer but Erica shot her hand out and pressed it against his chest to keep him away. Scott started to growl softly and wrapped his hand around Erica’s wrist.

“Don’t touch me.” He said lowly.

“Guys!” Stiles yelled, pushing both Boyd and Erica away from him. “No fighting in the hall! It’s just an ill begotten jacket, nothing to get your pretty little selves worked up over.”

Erica huffed and wrenched her hand away from Scott before taking a few steps back. Boyd moved away with barely a touch from Stiles, pulling Danny with him while Scott crowded up against Stiles and very obviously sniffed at him.

His eyes flashed and he bared his – thankfully human – teeth. “Stiles.” He said, his tone more dangerous than it had any right to be. “Why the hell do you smell like Peter?”

Stiles glared and pointy straightened the jacket. “Don’t flash your little wolfy eyes at me Scott. You didn’t warn me about him so you don’t get to get huffy over the fact I now own his jacket.”

Scott spluttered and his eyes went wide in shock. “Stiles.” He whispered. “Please tell me you didn’t kill him.”

Stiles stared in bafflement before saying, “As much of an ego boost it is that you think Peter would let me get the jump on him for a second time no, I didn’t kill him. He just left his jacket in my room so I’m keeping it because it’ll annoy him. And I live to annoy people, you know that.”

“Oh.” Scott said, relaxing before looking adorably confused and asking, “Why was Peter in your room?”

At the same time Erica asked, “Who the hell is Peter?”

Before Stiles could answer either of them the bell rang, making all three werewolves flinch.

“Well that’s my cue!” Stiles said cheerfully before taking off down the hall to class, leaving two very confused, and two amused,  people calling after him.

 

###

 

Lunch time came around and Stiles found himself being escorted to a table in the back of the cafeteria by Danny, Boyd, and Erica, with a sour looking Scott and a bemused Isaac joining them after a few minutes

Everyone was quietly focused on eating their lunch when a furious looking Jackson sauntered up their table.

“Danny,” Jackson said, sneering at everyone that wasn’t his supposed best friend. “Why the hell are you sitting with these freaky losers?”

Danny gave Jackson a terrifyingly sweet smile and said, “Hello to you too Mr. Died-right-in-front-of-me-and-then-came-back-to-life-without-explaining- jack - shit .”

Stiles, Erica, and Boyd exchanged impressed glances and gave a round of golf claps. Danny tipped an invisible hat at them.

Jackson looked visibly startled and spluttered dumbly.

Danny looked decidedly unimpressed. “Sorry Jackson, but until you decide to apologize to me for slamming a door in my face after I’d just seen my best friend’s mutilated corpse we shouldn’t talk. I might say something you regret.”

For a moment Jackson looked genuinely hurt. “Danny…” he said softly before visibly shaking himself. “Look, it’s best if you don’t-”

Danny shot to his feet and slammed his hands down onto the table. “Finish that sentence Jackson, I goddamn dare you!”

Jackson and Danny stared each other down for several long seconds before Jackson turned on his heel and left the cafeteria altogether.

Danny collapsed back into his chair and crossed his arms over his chest.

Stiles reached out and gently patted Danny’s shoulder. “At least I didn’t have to play mediator? I’m pretty sure it would have just turned into a brawl.”

Erica grinned and said, “Boyd and I would have held him down for you Stiles.”

Boyd nodded and pointedly leaned closer into Danny’s side. He held out what Stiles thought looked like a homemade cookie and said, “Lydia will explain how much of an asshole he’s being.”

Danny took the cookie and sighed deeply. “Doesn’t she always?” he said, taking a bit of the cookie.

From across the table Isaac spoke up for the first time. “Actually, I think most of the time she lets him flounder around because it amuses her.”

Everyone, including Scott, silently nodded in agreement.

Isaac seemed to take their agreement as permission to actively join in the conversation. To Danny he asked, “So does that mean you know about-” he waved his hand around vaguely. “-all the bullshit?”

“That’s me, the knower of bullshit.” Danny said with a smirk.

“I thought that was Stiles.” Scott muttered.

Stiles threw his apple at Scott’s head, pointedly ignoring that Scott had caught it without even looking, and said, “The title’s big enough for two.” He jokingly wiggled his eyebrows at Danny who chuckled and nodded.

“You know,” Scott said, rolling Stiles’ apple between his hands. “I have absolutely no idea what’s going on with you guys but I’m all for messing with Jackson. But only when he’s being an ass, of course.” He took a bite of the apple to punctuate his statement.

Isaac gave an exaggerated frown and asked, “But isn’t Jackson always an ass?”

There was laughter all around the table while Erica and Isaac high fived.

 

###

 

The rest of Tuesday flew by for Stiles and he was actually looking forward to getting home and having a totally average afternoon and evening. He should have known that wasn’t going to happen.

He had just unlocked his jeep and was climbing in when someone tapped him on the back. He flailed in surprise and smacked his head against the door jam as he scrambled to turn around.

Pressing his hand against his forehead he blinked dazedly at a very frowny looking Lydia.

“Can I...help you?” he asked uncertainly, glancing around for either backup or Jackson. Why Lydia would want to talk to him he had no idea.

“Sure you can help me.” she said, deceptively sweet smile on her face. “My best friend isn’t picking up her phone, my boyfriend has no idea what’s going on, and Scott McCall is a certified idiot. That leaves...you.”

He blinked dumbly at her for a moment before asking “So...what can I help...with?”

She casually tossed her hair over her shoulder and inspected her nails. “Oh I don’t know. How about how my boyfriend used to be the Creature from the Black Lagoon and my best friend is Van Helsing?”

Stiles couldn’t stop himself from grinning hugely at her. He opened his mouth to complement her timely pop culture references but she stopped him with a hand raised in the universal sign of ‘don’t even think about it.’

“Are you going to answer my questions or am I going to have to go to the burnt out shell in the woods and interrogate that guy with the serial killer face? Seriously I thought Scott was dragging me out there to murder me. You should really teach him how to properly explain a situation before someone maces him.” Lydia said, pure danger rolling off her at her last point. Stiles was positive that had been a threat and not a kind suggestion.

Stiles nodded along in mild terror before he realized too late that Lydia might take it for agreement.

She beamed at him and said “Thanks Stiles, you’re my hero.”

He suspected she was being facetious but before he could protest she sauntered around to the passenger side of the jeep before climbing in and making herself comfortable.

Stiles sighed deeply and got in too. He wondered why he was always left holding the bag when it came time to explain the supernatural. Scott was the one that wasn’t human, he should be the one doing the talking. Than again, if he’d freaked Lydia out enough that she would be willing to talk to Stiles of all people instead of him maybe it was for the best Stiles did the talking. After all, it was what he was best at.

 

###

 

“Do you honestly believe a grocery store is the best place to be having a conversation about the supernatural?” Lydia asked, derision in every line of her being as she paced behind Stiles.

“I’m grounded and only allowed out of the house to go to school and the grocery store. If you don’t want to come to my house this is the only other option.” Stiles said with a sigh as he compared two different window cleaners.

Out of the corner of his eye he could see Lydia cross her arms over her chest as she paused to glare at him.

“Well forgive me ,” her tone suggested if Stiles tried to forgive her she’d punch him in the throat, “for not being interested in being alone with you after Scott dragged me out to the woods to make me watch some guy we go to high school with and another guy I’m pretty sure was wanted for murder stab my boyfriend with claws .”

It was obvious to Stiles that Lydia was furious at being left in the dark on the supernatural boyfriend front.

Stiles winced and gave her his best sympathetic smile. “At least he’s not a lizard anymore?”

Lydia didn’t so much as twitch. “The fact he was a lizard in the first place without me knowing about it is cause for serious concern and a rethink of our entire relationship.”

Stiles winced again. He certainly wasn’t unbiased when it came to Lydia and giving her relationship advice wasn’t a very good idea, he might say the wrong thing and have her accuse him trying to break her and Jackson up. Best to steer as clear of making Lydia mad as much as he could when she was already pissed.

He finally decided to just get the cleaner in the brighter colored bottle and started to pushed the shopping cart farther down the aisle when Lydia stepped in front of him. He scrambled to stop the cart from hitting her, only to manage to pull back on it too hard and hit himself in the shins.

“So I’ve been able to infer the basics of what's been happening, in Beacon Hills but more specifically with me. Why don't you tell me your version of events so that we can compare notes.”

Stiles knew without a doubt that Lydia wasn't asking and suspected she would commit grievous bodily harm on him if he didn’t agree to her suggestion.

He sighed deeply and decided to start at the beginning.

 

###

 

Lydia was scribbling away in a notebook while Stiles happily went to town his blueberry scone. He’d gotten all of his shopping done, payed, and loaded everything in his car and still hadn’t been finished explaining everything to Lydia because she kept interrupting him to ask in depth questions, forcing him to elaborate on everything.

Now they were sitting in the coffee shop inside the store and Lydia had been writing nonstop since they sat down fifteen minutes before.

Stiles had only just finished his second scone when she finally put her pen down with a deep sigh. She absently reached up and started to braid her hair while her eyes were unfocused, obviously she was deep in thought.

“So the highlights of the last few months include but are not limited to five people we go to school with are werewolves including my boyfriend and your best friend. Jackson used to be a Kanima but now he’s just a regular werewolf because he died and came back life.” here she pursed her lips and undid her braid, only to start braiding again while Stiles smiled at the parallels between this conversation and the one he’d had with his dad the night before.

“Yep.” Stiles said, popping the p obnoxiously. “My best friend turning into a werewolf was definitely a highlight.”

Lydia hummed and rolled her eyes. “Finding out my best friend is a werewolf hunter was less of a highlight and more of an exercise in insanity. Speaking of insanity!” Lydia said brightly.

Stiles winced and focused his attention on his overpriced mocha.

“Ghost Bastard has a name and isn’t a product of my imagination but is in fact a confirmed murderer I somehow managed to help bring back to life.” She paused, most likely for dramatic effect before adding in derision “How fascinating.”

Stiles awkwardly rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah Peter Hale is...an odd one, to put it lightly.”

Lydia stared at him for a very long moment before turning her attention to her previously ignored cranberry orange scone. She started to meticulously cut the scone into bite sized pieces before stabbing her fork into a piece with far more force than the poor pastry deserved.

“To put it lightly.” she mocked lowly, glaring her forkful of baked goods down with a look of murder more terrifying to Stiles than the looks he’d gotten from an actual murderer.

He looked down at his bare wrist and loudly exclaimed “My god look at the time!” He jumped up from the table and bowed to Lydia. “I’m sorry but I have to go do… dinner! That is a thing that must be done!”

Thankfully for Stiles Lydia look mildly amused instead of offended. She stood up and threw away her mangled scone before scooping up her nonfat vanilla latte and her bag. “Dinner can wait for you to take me home.”

Stiles didn’t even bother to protest. “Okay but I’m not stopping so you’re going to have to jump out while I drive by.”

Lydia rolled her eyes so hard Stiles was worried she’s pull something. “Please, in these heels? What do you think I am, a strong independent female character in an action movie?”

Stiles grinned at her. “That’s exactly what I think you are.”

Lydia tipped her nose into the air and pointedly ignored him.

 

###

 

The rest of Stiles’ Tuesday night actually did turn out pretty normal. Or as normal as Stiles’ life ever got.

He made dinner for two and put the second helping in the fridge before eating in front of the tv while watching reruns of CSI. Afterwards he put all the cleaning supplies he’d bought on the kitchen table along with his printed out and color coded cleaning time table and itemized list of things he already knew had to be either taken to the dump or given away.

After that he did his homework and ignored texts from Scott and Erica but answered the ones from his dad, who was working late again but had gotten a salad and veggie burger for dinner.

Once his homework was completely done, including an essay that wasn’t due for another week, he got ready for bed.

He curled up under the covers and pressed his face against his pillow and tried not to think about how everything in his life could go wrong at any moment. He even managed to fall asleep at some point.

 

###

 

Wednesday morning Stiles once again found Scott lounging against his locker. “This seems to be becoming a habit of yours.” he said absently.

Scott just shrugged. “Still wearing Peter’s jacket I see.” He said, sounding slightly confused.

“I told you,” Stiles said as he dumped text books into his locker, “this is my jacket, I’m keeping it.”

“But why?” Scott asked, an obvious whine in his tone.

“Because it’s warm and cool and it smells nice.” he paused and shot a glare at Scott before adding “Not that I actually need to explain myself to you.”

Scott frowned at him. “It makes you smell weird. I don’t like it.”

Stiles flipped him off and stormed off to class.

 

###

 

At lunch Stiles once again sat with Erica, Boyd, Danny, Isaac, and a moping Scott.

Scott sat next to him and slid a package of cookies over to him. Stiles stared down at them for a moment before tossing them across the table to Isaac, who looked adorably confused before shrugging and accepting them, probably not about to turn down free cookies. From next to Stiles Scott just pouted ever harder than before.

Stiles was almost painfully aware of the weight of the eyes of everyone at the table staring at him. He ignored them and concentrated on his lackluster lunch.

For a few minutes everyone was quiet until Stiles heard the distinctive click click of Lydia’s very expensive and ridiculously high heels. The chair on Stiles’ other side scraped across the floor when Lydia pulled it out to sit down.

Stiles turned to blink questioningly at her. She gave him a saccharine smile.

Stiles tried to hide his relief when everyone turned their attention away from him and to Lydia instead.

“Where’s Jackson?” Danny asked hesitantly.

Lydia shrugged while she poked at her salad. “How would I know?”

Erica snorted. “‘Cause you’re dating?”

Lydia looked blank for a moment before shrugging again. “We broke up last night.”

Stiles awkwardly chewed on a finger nail for a moment before whispering “Sorry.”

Lydia hummed and kicked him in the shin under the table.

He winced and rubbed his leg. “What was that for?” he grumbled.

“Jackson seems to be under the delusion that it’s your fault we broke up and threatened to beat you up for it. Now you can tell him I beat you up already. He might decide you’re not worth it.”

Stiles nodded in agreement. “Sounds about right.” he muttered, staring down at the table.

He felt a sharp poke at his shoulder and quickly twitched away before turning to glare at Scott. “What.” he asked flatly.

Scott leaned in close to him and asked quietly “Why would you break Jackson and Lydia up?”

Stiles had to fight the urge to punch him in his stupid face. He shoved his chair away from the table and stood up. “I don’t feel well. I’m going home.”

He quickly walked out of the cafeteria, completely ignoring everyone calling him back.

 

###

 

When Stiles got home he barely even bothered to kick his shoes off before he was crawling into bed and sniffling into his pillow. He lay there for a long time, fighting the tears that were trying so hard to fall.

After all, there wasn’t anything to cry about. His life was going along better than it had been a month ago.

He must have drifted off to sleep at some point because he was suddenly wrenched out of a nightmare by someone shaking him awake.

Stiles struggled to untangle himself and shove the hand off of him at the same time, panic only subsiding when he recognized his dad’s voice.

“Why are you sleeping in your jeans, kid?” his dad asked.

Stiles blinked dazedly up at him and realized that it was pitch black outside. “What time is it?” he asked muzzily.

His dad frowned and gently squeezed his shoulder. “It’s after nine.”

Stiles stared at his bedside clock in disbelief. He’d somehow managed to sleep almost nine hours straight.

“Hey, where’d you get this jacket? It doesn’t look quite your style.”

Stiles looked down at himself and realized he hadn’t just fallen asleep in his clothes but his new jacket as well.

“Funny story...” he hedged.

His dad just stared him down patiently.

Luckily for everyone involved, including Peter, Stiles’ stomach chose that moment to make a truly horrifying sound.

His dad’s eyes widened in surprise. “Jeez kid, it sounds like you haven’t eaten in weeks.”

“I ate.” Stiles said defensively.

Unfortunately his tone caught his dad’s attention and earned him a very serious glare. “When?”

Stiles shifted uncomfortably as he tried to remember if he’d actually eaten any of his lunch or not while pointedly ignoring the fact he definitely hadn’t had any breakfast.

After Stiles had been quite too long his dad sighed deeply and said “I see. Get your shoes on, we’re going to the diner.”

“I thought I was grounded.” Stiles snarked as he untangled himself from his bedding.

“You are.” his dad said sternly. “But so long as you’re going to the diner with me and not by yourself it’s fine. I make the grounding laws after all.”

“Well I’m not going to argue, I’m too hungry for that.”

His dad just hummed quietly as he ushered Stiles out of the house and into the jeep.

 

###

 

Dinner at the diner was quiet and comfortable. Stiles immensely loved when they went there, half because it was a rare treat and half because watching the sixty year old owner Denise flirt with is dad was hilarious.

They’d been coming to the diner every few months for going on five years and Denise had been flirting since day one. She was hilariously bad at it and she knew it, playing it up to make people smile.

“So how’s the Argent investigation going?” Stiles asked as soon as Denise had walked away with their usual order.

His dad leveled a stern glare at him for a moment before sighing and saying “The FBI showed up to take over the case for us. Usually I’d complain more but they had to arrest over twenty people. I don’t envy them that part.”

Stiles gasped in surprise over the number. He hadn’t expected there would be so many people connected with the Argents in Beacon Hills.

“So do you know if they got them all?” he asked unsubtly.

His dad shot him a knowing look but answered him anyway. “I know they missed a couple. McCall Senor was furious about it. My pointing out that meant he could visit Scott didn’t seem to help.”

Stiles flinched and glared down at his soda at the mention of Scott’s father. “He’s leading the charge huh?”

“Yep. It was an unpleasant surprise to me too.”

They were quiet for a few minutes before his dad distracted him with talk of the latest Marvel movie and didn’t interrupt Stiles when he launched into a rant over the differences in the comics.

Stiles’ mood had lifted exponentially by the time they’d finished their frozen fruit dessert.

They stepped out of the diner and started to make their way slowly through the back parking lot. The lot wasn’t very large but it had been almost full with the late dinner rush they’d managed to catch the very tail end of.

Stiles fought back a shiver as he glanced around the empty lot. For some reason all of the parking lot lights were out. He glanced back at the diner, the only light was the one hanging over the back door. He nervously stepped closer to his dad.

“Weren’t the lights on when we got here?” his dad asked quietly.

Stiles chewed his lip in thought as he struggled to remember. He honestly couldn’t recall and it scared him that he hadn’t been paying close enough attention to something so mundane.

They were walking past the opening of the alley in between the bakery that kitty cornered the diner and the real estate office when there was a scrap of metal against brick.

Stiles was moving without conscious thought, shoving his dad as hard as he could moments before there was the earsplitting bang of a gunshot fired at close range.

Stiles fell heavily on top of his dad’s back to keep him down just in case there was a second shot. He heard footsteps and looked up to see a shadowy figure step out of the alley and walk towards them.

He could feel his dad struggling to move and felt something wet against his cheek when his dad reached his hand up to try and push Stiles away from him.

The shadow raised it’s arm and for a moment Stiles thought it couldn’t be a human with an arm so long before he realized it was holding a gun in it’s hand.

Stiles didn’t know what to do. He couldn't think. He couldn’t even move. Couldn’t close his eyes or hold onto his dad. They were going to be killed and there wasn’t anything he could-

Suddenly the shadow was gone. He heard a thunk and a clatter and then a loud crunch before the only sound in the lot was his and his dad’s ragged breathing.

And then he realized that where the shadow had been standing there was now a pair of glowing blue eyes.

His breath caught for a moment before his brain kicked back into gear.

He knew exactly what had just happened and that the danger was gone.

He sat up fully and quickly pulled his phone out of his pocket and turned on it’s flashlight only to about have a heart attack when he realized his dad was covered in blood.

He struggled to shrug his jacket off and hold his phone steady at the same time for a moment before he felt Peter come up next to him and gently take his phone and aim the light right where Stiles needed it.

His dad sat up too and pulled his own jacket off to start inspecting his arm. There was blood smeared all down his forearm and down his hand and Stiles fought back nausea as he wrapped the cotton inside of his jacket around his dad’s arm and started to feel along the wound, looking for the best place to put pressure to stem the bleeding.

Stiles took a long deep breath before speaking with a voice that was considerably more calm than it had any right to be. “Peter, please call 911 for me and put it on speaker phone. Then can you give the phone to dad and take...” He paused and glanced at what had been a shadow in the dark but now in the half light was a very dead man, head turned at an unnatural angle and blank eyes staring Stiles down threateningly. “...that somewhere else. Before the first responders get here and ask what the hell happened to him.”

Both Peter and his dad were quiet for a moment before they spoke at the same time.

“I suppose I could do that. Since you asked so nicely.” Peter said, voice silky smooth, with his eyes still glowing vivid blue.

“Stiles I don’t need an ambulance and he can most certainly not take the body of the man who tried to kill us.” his dad said sternly.

Peter dialed the phone before thrusting in into his dad’s hands and turning to heft the body over his shoulder.

“Peter!” Stiles hissed after him, low because the phone was already starting to ring. “Toss the gun into the dumpster back there while you’re at it.”

He caught a glimpse of a hand wave and Peter’s eyes before he heard the clatter of metal hitting metal.

“Stiles.” his dad said sternly. “I’m really fine. It’s just a flesh wound.” his voice was calm and steady and normally Stiles would have been instantly reassured but his dad had just been shot right in front of him. He wasn’t going to take any chances.

“No you’re not. That’s just the shock talking.” Stiles said in exasperation, pointedly ignoring the way his hands were starting to shake against his dad’s arm.

“Stiles...” his dad said softly. He didn’t get to finish his sentence because the 911 operator picked up and he had to tell her what had happened. Well, he told her the werewolf free version of it.

Stiles felt tears gather in his eyes again as he listened to his father lie. He had to do that because of Stiles. All of this was because of Stiles. If he hadn’t been such an easy target Gerard never would have tried to have his father killed. If only Stiles hadn’t brought god damn werewolves into his father’s life this wouldn’t be happening.

He felt his breath start to shorten and his vision blurred so that he couldn’t properly see his dad anymore.

“Hey, hey Stiles. Hey it’s okay. I’m okay. You’re okay. Shit . Are you okay?” he was vaguely aware of his dad dropping the phone and wrapping his free hand around Stiles’ shoulders, pulling him against his chest and cupping his hand against the back of Stiles’ head. He started to rock them gently, murmuring quiet nonsense words to try and help Stiles calm down.

Stiles heard the wail of the sirens and he knew he looked like a pathetic bloody mess but he couldn’t bring himself to care. He’d come so close to losing his dad, he wasn’t about to let go for a while. He wondered if this was how his dad had felt when he found Stiles in Gerard’s basement.

EMT’s came and shined their lights on his dad’s arm, cleaned him up and applied butterfly bandages before they wrapped it and grudgingly agreeing to let one of the arriving deputies drive them to the hospital.

Stiles’ was literally shaking in relief over the proof that his dad was going to be alright, that it really had been a graze.

Deputies King and Rodriguez were on night shift and Rodriguez ended up driving them to the hospital. Stiles was too shaken up to drive safely and his dad’s arm hurt when he moved it too much.

Rodriguez took their statements in the car and they told him a rather simple version of the truth in which whoever shot his dad had heard a car backfire and panicked, no doubt thinking his dad had pulled a gun on him, and took off back down the alley he’d come out of.

They’d no doubt find the gun in the dumpster and assume the would-be murderer had thrown it and forgotten to wipe his prints off in his panic.

With his dad there to assist the investigation they would never think to look for a dead body.

Once Rodriguez dropped them off at the hospital they were there for almost two hours before his dad was given three stitches, a bottle of extra strength ibuprofen, and a prescription for antibiotics, and they were finally able to go home.

King had very graciously swing by the hospital on her way back to the station and dropped them off home just before one in the morning.

Stiles helped his dad wrap his bandaged arm in cling wrap so he could take a well earned shower while Stiles cleaned himself up in the downstairs half bath.

He wrapped himself up in his softest pajamas and biggest hoodie before realizing that a nurse had taken away his leather jacket and had never given it back.

He sat down heavily on his bed and pulled his legs up to his chest, wrapping his arms around them and pressing his face against his knees.

He couldn’t believe he’d had the thing for almost two days before it got ruined. He sniffled and cursed himself for getting emotional over a jacket he’d taken from a murderwolf.

He wondered what Peter had been doing so close to them. He wondered why Peter had helped them, why Peter had listened when Stiles had told him what to do.

Stiles sat himself up and rubbed hard at his watery eyes. He listened to the shower running for a moment before getting up and going over to his window. He opened it and leaned out it a bit to whisper “Peter!”

For a few seconds nothing happened and Stiles started to second guess himself. Of course Peter wasn’t sitting outside his house. There wasn’t any reason for him to do that, after all.

But then he heard a scraping sound and hands appeared on his window frame. He watched in surprise as Peter pulled himself up and through the open window. Stiles quickly scrambled back so Peter wouldn’t smack into him on his way in.

“God, I was just kidding.” Stiles said flatly, trying to hide his racing heartbeat. “What the hell are you doing here?”

Peter straightened up and started brushing himself off and Stiles realized his clothes were singed. Not just his clothes, the skin of his arms had shiny burn scars up and down them.

“What the hell happened?” he asked quietly, heart clenching at the sight.

“Oh, just the usual.” Peter said in derision. He finally looked up and Stiles saw a pink burn on the side of neck. Stiles winced in sympathy.

“Usual for who?” he asked, turning away from Peter to start digging through his dresser.

“Me.” Peter said with a put upon sigh. “Hunters do so love to set me on fire.”

Stiles flinched and had to stop in his search to rest his head against his arms and breath through the nausea he felt at the reminder of having set Peter on fire himself once.

“I’m sorry.” he mouthed, so quiet he wasn’t even sure a werewolf would be able to hear.

But of course Peter did.

“What are you sorry for? Getting blood all over my favorite jacket?” Stiles thought Peter actually sounded amused.

Stiles grabbed onto the distraction with both hands. He rolled his eyes and pulled his largest pair of drawstring sweatpants out of his dresser along with his second favorite sleep shirt that was two sizes too big for him and had a silk screen print of different Star Wars spaceships on the front.

He turned back to Peter and held the clothes out. “Excuse you, that was my jacket. I acquired it in good faith.”

Peter looked at Stiles’ clothes like they might bite him before narrowing his eyes at him. “Good faith.” he grumbled but gently took the clothes from Stiles.

“What was it even doing in my room, hm?” Stiles asked, smirking knowingly.

“It obviously acquired a mind of it’s own and walked here.” Peter snarked as he pulled his v-neck off.

Stiles’ eyes widened in surprise and he spun around to face the wall so he wouldn’t be tempted to stare at Peter as he changed.

He heard Peter chuckle quietly at him and then the soft rustle of cloth for a minute before Peter said” This shirt is ridiculously and has no right to be so soft.”

Stiles carefully peaked over his shoulder to make sure Peter was fully dressed before turning back to face him. “I know right?” he said, pleased that Peter liked the shirt. He smiled and dropped a bomb Peter would no doubt be horrified by “I got it on the clearance rack at Walmart.”

Stiles had to cover his mouth to stop himself guffawing at the look on Peter’s face.

He couldn’t actually stop himself giggling at the sight of Peter Hale standing in his bedroom in black sweats and a dark blue Star Wars shirt looking like Stiles had told him he wove the clothes out of wolfsbane.

He was so busy laughing he didn’t realize his bedroom door had opened until Peter suddenly turned and stepped between Stiles and the door.

He looked over Peter’s shoulder at his dad, saw the genuine surprise and then confusion on his face before his eyes narrowed.

“And what do we have here?” his dad asked, voice low and threatening.

Stiles reached out and gently poked Peter in the back until he finally relaxed and shifted to stand behind Stiles, conveniently closer to the still own window.

“Dad, have you met Peter?” Stiles asked in faux innocence.

“I think I might have, when he killed the man who shot me.”

Stiles gave a full body twitch, hearing the “you’re welcome” coming and stepped on Peter’s foot to stop it.

Peter loudly huffed in Stiles’ ear and very lightly elbowed him in the stomach. “It was no trouble at all Sheriff.”

Stiles facepalmed. That was way worse than you’re welcome.

“Okay!” Stiles said loudly. “It’s like two in the morning and some of us might have school and or work in the morning which is soon so let’s shelf this argument.”

“What argument are you referring to Stiles?” Peter, genuine asshole that he was, asked.

“Yeah Stiles.” his dad chimed in. “Peter and I are having a very civil conversation.”

Stiles groaned and pushed Peter out of his way before walking across his room and pushing his dad out of the doorway. “I’m going to bed. You two can do whatever the hell you want so long as you don’t interrupt my sleep.” He stepped past his dad and out into the hallway.

“Stiles.” Peter called after him and he paused to look back at him questioningly. “I just wanted you know that if you were worried about someone else taking a shot at your father, you don’t have to worry anymore tonight.”

Stiles thought about hunters setting Peter on fire again and knew exactly what Peter meant. He gave a jerky nod before walking down the hall to his dad’s bedroom.

He climbed into the bed and pressed his face into the pillow and he didn’t cry because there wasn’t anything to cry about. His dad was okay and there was a werewolf right down the hall who had made sure he would stay that way, at least for a little bit. It was alright for Stiles to sleep for a while, he knew Peter was still keeping watch, for some reason Stiles would figure out eventually.