It's not that Stiles hates David. Hate is a strong word. It's just that...he hates that guy. And it kills him. You're not supposed to hate your soulmate, the one person the universe has decided is perfect for you. The person made for you. Intellectually, he knows that's ridiculous. Abusive soulmates exist. Cheating, lying, violent soulmates exist, and he would never expect someone to stay with someone like that.
David isn't abusive, though. He's selfish, distant, and can be mean (to be fair, so can Stiles), but not abusive. David's smart, attractive, and makes good money. He's his soulmate and Stiles isn't attracted to him at all. And it breaks his heart. His parents had been soulmates, and before his mom got sick, she'd regaled him with stories about how she felt when she met his father. The excitement, the passion. How when he'd said her words, it was like her world slotted into place.
Stiles hadn't felt that when David had said his words. He'd bumped into David at a bar, muttering something uncharitable under his breath at the way his ribs hurt from the man's bony elbows. David had raised his eyebrow and spoke.
"You're a mouthy little thing, aren't you?"
Stiles' jaw had dropped. Those were his words. The words printed under his pec, along his ribs. He didn't say anything for a moment, then blurted out, "Those are my words."
David's eyes had widened and he'd tugged down his shirt, showing Those are my words printed neatly under his collarbone. There had been no fireworks, no excitement and world-shifting moments. Just shock and disappointment.
"You should leave him," Derek tells him time and time again. "There's no law saying you have to be with your soulmate."
Stiles knows that, and he knows there are plenty of people without marks that live happy lives, plenty of people with platonic soulmates. He doesn't know how to explain to Derek that it feels like failing his mom all over again, not even being able to make it work with the person he's destined to be with. She'd been so happy he'd been born with his words, so excited for him to meet his soulmate. What would she think if he threw that away?
So he stays, despite itching to go. He finishes up his degree in San Diego, because that's where David works. He spends the night with him more often than not, gets a job he hates, settles for Skyping his dad and friends every week because David doesn't want to visit Beacon Hills, because this is his soulmate and damn it, he's going to make this work.
Until he finds lipstick on the collar of David's shirt in the laundry. It's the most cliched thing in the world, something you see on bad daytime television, but there it is, in its ruby red glory. Stiles doesn't say anything. He takes the shirt and lays it flat on David's side of the bed. He doesn't feel the least bit bad taking a Sharpie and marking up the $200 material, drawing an arrow to the offending red.
Stiles calls Derek on his way out the front door, saying, "I'm coming over. I need all the alcohol and taquitos." He hangs up before Derek can question him.
It's a fifteen minute drive from Stiles' apartment to Derek's, but Stiles makes it in ten thanks to his general disregard of speeding laws. Derek's waiting for him, leaning against the door frame, frowning at the look on Stiles' face.
"I don't want to talk about it yet," Stiles says. "First, I want tequila and taquitos."
"Tequila is in the freezer," Derek says. "Taquitos are still at the store."
"I'll get the drinking, you get the food?" Stiles asks.
Derek nods easily and steps aside, letting Stiles in, before leaving. Stiles loves that about Derek, the easygoing way he is, how he knows when to push and when that'll get him nowhere. He loves that Derek can handle him, as much as he hates being someone that has to be handled.
Stiles skips over the tequila in favor of the fancy rum hiding behind a carton of ice cream. Tequila makes his clothes fall off anyway, and that's not a particular road he wants to go down with one of his best friends. He mixes the rum with some of the fruity juice Derek tends to keep in his fridge and settles onto one of the breakfast bar's stools to wallow.
His mom...his mom would be disappointed, he thinks, to find out that he left his soulmate, but he can't stay with David. He knows that. Once they get away with cheating once, it just proves to them they can do it again and again. Soulmate or not, Stiles isn't going to spend the rest of his life dealing with that shit.
Stiles rubs a hand over his ribs, over You are a mouthy little thing, aren't you?. Stiles hadn't minded his words growing up, taking them as a sign of his soulmate's good humor. Now they feel like a scar, an accusation about how he's not good enough, he's too much, just wrong wrong wrong.
He takes a long drink of his fruity rum, content to wallow. Tomorrow he'll barge into David's apartment and take all his stuff back. Tomorrow he'll have a stiff upper lip and deal with this like an adult. That's not for tonight, tonight is for wallowing.
Stiles hears the front door open behind him, light footsteps signalling Derek's return. Stiles doesn't turn around, just stares morosely at his drink.
"I swear to god, if you don't have taquitos, I will not be held accountable for my actions," Stiles says, eyes on the little bubbles in the rum. "I'm talking blood and brimstone, buddy."
There's silence behind him except for a quick intake of breath, the footsteps stopping.
"You are a mouthy little thing, aren't you?"
Stiles gasps and whips around, eyes wide. In the doorway isn't Derek, but his uncle, Peter, a man Stiles has only ever seen in passing. He looks surprised, but focused and determined. Peter said his words, his words. And this time, unlike with David, Stiles feels the rush he'd always anticipated. There's a tingling over his words, and it's like his whole world has shifted, like something clicking into place inside of him.
"Did I...did I say your words?" he manages to ask, though it takes him a while to stop gaping.
Peter nods and strides forward, rolling up the arm of his v-neck as he goes. There, wrapped around his bicep, are the words Stiles spoke to him.
"Oh god, you have taquitos on your arm because of me," Stiles says, then, "I don't understand, I have...thought I already had a soulmate...What are the odds of hearing my words twice?"
"Considering everything Derek's told me about you, I'm surprised you haven't been called mouthy more than just twice," Peter says.
"Oh, ha ha, rich coming from you," Stiles says, but Peter just smirks.
"Can I see them?" Peter asks.
Stiles swallows hard and nods. His hands shake a bit as he lifts up his shirt, baring the words over his ribs. Peter reaches out, running gentle fingers over the black letters. Stiles can't repress the shudder at the contact, muscles jumping under his touch.
"David said my words," Stiles says quietly, confused.
"Did he?" Peter asks.
Stiles thinks to his first meeting with David, frowning. "You're a mouthy little thing, aren't you?". You're. You're.
"Son of a bitch," Stiles says. "He said 'you're', not 'you are'." Stiles wasted two years of his life with a dick of a 'soulmate' over a goddamn contraction! David's words weren't especially unique, Those are my words is a relatively common soulmark and Stiles hadn't even stopped to think... "Son of a bitch."
Peter snorts and steps closer. Stiles lets him, breath catching. His soulmate is fucking hot, there's no denying that. The attraction simmers under his skin, so much stronger than anything he'd ever felt toward David. David had felt like an obligation. He wasn't unattractive, but he didn't make Stiles' soul and body sing. Just standing chest to chest with Peter, his hand coming up to cup Stiles' jaw, is more erotically charged than anything that's happened to him in the last two years.
"This is real," Stiles says softly. "I'm not broken, you're real."
"You're not broken, sweetheart," Peter says, thumb brushing over his cheek. "I've been waiting for you for a long time."
Stiles grins, wanting nothing more than to kiss the hell out of Peter, and that's of course when his phone rings. Stiles groans, pulling it out of his pocket, fully intending to turn it on silent, but it's David. Well, no time like the present.
"It's over, David," Stiles says as he answers, not bothering with a hello. "You can keep the girl you're fucking, I found my real soulmate. He's a hot werewolf and we're about to do some rated R shit. Bye."
Peter's grinning down at him. "Are we about to desecrate my nephew's couch?" Peter asks, tugging Stiles closer by the hips.
"Unless you can make a compelling argument why we shouldn't," Stiles says, draping his arms over Peter's shoulders.
"Don't know why I'd do that," Peter says, then he's closing the distance between them, pressing his lips to Stiles'.
It's everything Stiles has been missing. It's passion and need and desire. Peter kisses him like he's aching for it, like nothing is more important than his lips on Stiles', his tongue dipping into his mouth. Stiles clutches him, arms around him, and Peter holds him back just as tightly. He loses himself in it, in the feeling of someone who wants him, someone who touches him and caresses the skin of his throat, who feels like promise and a future.
"Seriously?" Derek asks. Stiles jumps, but Peter doesn't let him pull away, keeps his arms tight around him. "I thought you agreed to stop hitting on my friends after the Carla incident?"
"Extenuating circumstances," Peter says, not taking his eyes off Stiles' face, and Stiles can't help but flush.
"Yeah," Stiles says, licking his lips. "I think meeting my real soulmate kind of makes it okay."