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don't go out tonight (it's bound to take your life)

Chapter Text

Stiles didn’t think this was how he would become a werewolf.

Of course he’d thought about it. How could he not entertain the idea of getting the bite? It’s like daydreaming about getting superpowers or waking up in an alternate dimension; except this specific fantasy had its roots in his own fucked up version of reality.

He thought maybe if he was dying Scott would bite him to save his life. Maybe if he was bleeding out or had a terminal illness. Could the bite cure frontotemporal dementia? If Gerard thought it could cure his cancer wouldn’t it not hurt to try? He knew Scott would try, at least. His friend wasn’t one to give up easily. He tended to be a glass half full, pocketful of sunshine little shit. Stiles loved and hated that about him.

Point was, Stiles always thought it would be someone from his own pack, probably in a valiant effort to save his life.

Nothing like this.

It started with a feral wolf in the preserve. They had no clue whether it was a packless alpha or an omega, all they knew was that it needed to get out of the McCall territory. The sheriff's department had been finding the bodies of half-eaten animals littered on the edge of the preserve for the past week, and they were fearing the worst about finding a hiker next. It was supposed to be simple. But it so rarely was with their little ragtag band of things that went bump in the night.

With all the animal blood, they couldn’t catch a scent. The wolf must have been practically bathed in it, and just the thought made Stiles’ stomach turn in disgust. Why can’t they ever have normal antagonists? They get poisonous lizardmen and trickster fox demons.

Stiles continued his internal rant as the pack decided splitting up was a good idea. Because splitting up always ends well, right?

He’d made it about fifty yards from where the pack broke apart when he heard a sharp snap of twigs behind him. Why was it always him? Dread pooled in his stomach. He opened his mouth to call the others. He wasn’t stupid; he knew that trying to be the Silent Hero in Denial is what gets you killed in horror flicks, and there’s no denying his life had become some cheesy Wolfman knockoff. But before any sound can make its way out of his vocal chords, a clawed hand wraps around his throat from behind him.

“I wouldn’t do that, Little Red,”

Really? Were all werewolves this cliche or is it just the creepy ones? This was his favorite hoodie--one of the few that actually stuck with him through his weird growth spurts without betraying him and riding up to the elbows. And yeah, it just so happens to be red.

The wolf gave a predatory growl, and Stiles could see half a grin out of the corner of his eye. Stiles was sure he saw some viscera stuck between his incisors and his stomach turned in the most unpleasant way.

“You stink even more up close, Fido,” Stiles bites out. It would have been much more impressive if his voice didn't crack halfway through.

The wolf runs his tongue over his teeth, burying his nose in the mess of Stiles’ hair, dragging upwards as he takes a long sniff. His hand has yet to move from Stiles’ throat and the claws are starting to break the skin.

Stiles is trembling in the wolf’s grasp, fight or flight response warring with his prey instinct to freeze.

It's not exactly that he's terrified of dying. It gets old after you've had the barrel of a pistol pressed against your forehead enough times. At this point, Stiles has accepted that it's unlikely for him to live to the ripe old age of 96 and die in his sleep, as was his original plan. But if he's going down, he's going down fighting.

It takes a moment for his brain to catch on. He has to psyche himself up for a second to get his body back under command.

Here we go. You can do this. Come on. Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well. You’ve got this.

Stiles jabs his heel into the pressure point on the top of the wolf’s foot, bringing the heel of his hand up and jamming it into his jaw at the same time. It buys him a split-second in which he uses to free himself, landing a right straight-punch right into the bastard’s nose. There was an audible crack and Stiles knows he has to run. He turns aboutface, but before he can even get a foot out, claws wrap around his wrist and yank him back. He comes face-to-face with bright red eyes and a snarling grin.

No. Nononono. Nope.

An Alpha.

A feral Alpha.

Not again, for fucks sake.

Stiles’ mind goes fuzzy, the edges of his existence clouding over with static.

His last conscious thought before the autopilot of fight-or-flight kicks in is “I hope they know it isn’t their fault”

Stiles vaguely feels skin break under his fingernails--he thinks it’s the alpha’s, but at this point he can only guess. He throws a punch and feels the crack of his knuckles reverberate up his entire arm and throwing him off balance. He’s falling for what seems like an extended period of time. His back hits the Preserve floor.

There’s a snarl, and the wolf is talking now. He gets bits and pieces.

“-like it when they fight-”

Those red eyes inch closer. They’re level with Stiles’ face now, but he’s frozen. Why can’t he move?

“-a good beta, won’t you?”

There’s pain in the juncture between his shoulder and his throat. A sharp, pointed pain and Stiles chokes off a sob.

Oh god. He could feel it, too. It’s like a fire under his skin, flowing into his veins and seeping deep into his muscles. His chest aches for a moment, and he just knows. If the bite doesn’t kill you, it turns you. And in that moment he knew he wasn’t marked for death.

Stiles stumbled back and fell to the ground as the Alpha dropped him from its grasp, eyes shining red in the darkness. The Alp-- his Alpha grinned with too many, bloody teeth. No. No no no no. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He was starting to panic. He still feels like he’s floating, like his body isn’t his own, and, oh, isn’t that an all too-familiar feeling for him. Breathe. Breathe. Breathebreathebreathe-

The Alpha leans in, lapping his tongue over the blood and nuzzling his nose into Stiles’ throat. Stiles scrambles back about a foot until he hit the roots of a tree.

“You’re mine now, Little Red. You can run, but I will always catch you,” the Alpha steps closer, looming over Stiles in the darkness with a laugh that reminds Stiles of turning rusty bolts, “You’re my little bi--”

It happens in a fraction of a second.

There’s a thunderous growl and a pair of electric blue eyes in the darkness behind the Alpha. A slash of claws and a tv-worthy spray of blood. And finally Peter, standing where Stiles’ former Alpha had crumbled to the ground at his feet.

Peter closes his eyes for a few seconds. The only sound between the two was Stiles’ racing heart and rapid breathing-- Stiles himself couldn’t hear anything over them. They stayed like that for what felt like hours, Peter just seeming to bask in the moonlight, covered in blood.

Stiles couldn’t look away from him.

Finally, Peter opened his eyes, the preternatural red glow of an Alpha lighting up the darkness. He frowns down at the corpse and uses his foot to move it over a few feet, then kneels down to Stiles’ level. Stiles, on the other hand, is completely and utterly frozen. Everything about him feels heavy, like that game he used to play on the trampoline. Something about sand.

“You’re going to change,” Peter says, placing his forehead against Stiles’ with one hand cupping the back of his neck, disturbing the coagulating blood and no doubt leaving a handprint in the gore.

Good.”

Chapter Text

Stiles was floating.

Wait. No. Scratch that. Someone was carrying him. Big, strong arms underneath his back and the bend of his legs. There was a thumb rubbing circles on the back of his calf and another running back and forth on his shoulder blade.

He could smell blood, the coppery tang worming it's way up his nostrils and tickling his senses. Was it his? He couldn’t feel anything hurting… Wait. He got bitten. But it can’t all be his blood, the smell is way too potent for that. His mind is fuzzy--like it’s full of those cotton swabs you get at the doctor’s office.

And… there was something else he could smell. Like sequoias and petrichor. It was intoxicating.

Someone was yelling. Was it Scott? It sounded like Scott. And… Derek? Stiles looked up and saw Peter, his face half-shifted and eyes glowing.

“That wasn't your call to make!” Scott growls. That’s his Alpha Voice (trademark pending). He must be super angry about something. There’s tension in the air so palpable he can taste it.

Peter’s grip on Stiles tightens marginally; protectively. “If I didn't make the executive decision to tear out his heart, Stiles would be as good as gone. Someone had to do it, and it might as well have been me.”

“You just wanted the power for yourself, you don't care about Stiles. You don't care about any of us,” Derek scoffs. He doesn’t seem angry at this point, more disappointed and resigned. Like he knew whatever happened was in fact inevitable, but he doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows about it.

A snarl rumbles in Peter’s chest and Stiles feels it in his soul. Something warm blossoms in his chest, shooting to the tips of his fingers and toes. “I care about him more than any of you know, don't you dare presume otherwise.” Peter’s voice is full of venom.

“Bullshi-”

Stiles lifts a hand and caresses Peter’s cheek. He likes the course field of overgrown stubble rooted there. He drags his hand across it, enjoying the sensation. He then realizes the yelling has stopped, and Peter is looking down at him with an unreadable expression. Fondness? Maybe a bit of bewilderment? The preternatural red is still glowing in his eyes, and his fangs are still visible, but the emotion on his face is almost painfully human.

He looks at his hand and sees the black lines drawing pain away from him and into Peter’s cheek. Huh. That's why it doesn't hurt.

Peter breaks his gaze away from Stiles’ as if it were physically distressing to do so. “I’m taking him home,” He states, daring someone to challenge him on it.

Stiles’ hand drops from Peter’s face as they start moving again. He fades in and out of consciousness on the way. The darkness beckons him as he’s laid in the seat of a car, and as the engine turns he lets unconsciousness engulf his existence.

-------------------------

Stiles wakes to the sound of a shower being turned on. He looks around, noticing his environment. He’s on a bed (a rather large one) and by the view out his window, he’s downtown somewhere. From the buildings, it looks like the old part of town with all the fancy new apartments no one can afford. There’s light coming from a doorway to his right, spilling through a crack between the door itself and the jamb. From what Stiles sees of the apartment, it’s modern, but homey in its own way. The colour scheme is a lot of blacks, whites, and greys, but there’s a couple of plants on the windowsill and a few frames of art hung about the room. The square footage of this room must be over half the size of his entire house.

This must be Peter’s apartment. Fucking figures, the posh dick.

The pain on his shoulder is back again, but more of a dull, throbbing ache than the sharpness it once was. He brings his fingertips up to the wound and gently feels the holes in his favorite hoodie. He doesn’t feel too high anymore, probably because Peter isn’t taking his pain. The events of the night come flooding back in pieces. He lays there, processing it all. He kind of zones out, and next he knows the shower is off.

He sits up, meeting resistance in the form of pain and stiff muscles. Peter must have heard the bed shift, because he pokes his head out of the bathroom doorway, the light making his already angular face more contrasted. His hair clings to his head and water drips onto the tile. The Alpha comes fully into the bedroom, shirtless and a pair of blue lounge pants hanging low on his hips. The blood is gone, scrubbed from his arms and chest leaving skin and muscles that Stiles is vaguely jealous of.

“Can you stand?” Peter asks, moving towards Stiles.

“Uh, I think so,” he pushes off the bed, “yeah, no, I’m falling, help!”

The Alpha huffs a soft laugh against the skin of Stiles’ neck as he catches him, and it sends a chill down his spine. He picks Stiles up, hands under his thighs like a reverse piggyback.

Stiles flushes, but he doesn’t know why.

Peter sets him down on the toilet, pulling out a well-stocked first aid kit.

“Why the fuck do you have that?” Stiles asks, furrowing his brows and shimmying out of his hoodie.

“It comes in handy.”

“But you can heal. You've literally come back from the dead.”

“Not everyone that spends the night in my apartment is a werewolf, Stiles.”

“But they all need medical attention? What are you doing to those poor girls?”

Peter smirks down at the kit as he opens it, that smirk that automatically lets you know that you aren't privy to all the information, and he knows something you don't. A breathy chuckle escapes his lips.

“Dude. No. You are literally the creepy uncle.”

“I wasn't reminiscing a night of sadism; I was laughing at the audacity you expressed in assuming I was straight,” Peter’s eyes meet the younger man’s as he uses a clawed finger to rip open the shirt.

Stiles opens and closes his mouth a few times, trying to find a way to retort that. Peter eases the ruined shirt off and washes his hands in the sink before putting on a pair of gloves.

“I'm going to change… aren't I?” Stiles asks in a low voice, like he wasn't sure he really wanted an answer.

“Yes,” Peter states, pouring alcohol on a bandage, “Give me your hand.”

Stiles does as he is asked, and watches the black tendrils of pain shoot up Peter’s toned arm. The Alpha grunts a little, rolling his shoulders before using the bandage to clean away the dried blood and grime.

The floating feeling is back. He hangs his head back, trying not to look at the spinning room.

The next thing he knows, his shoulder is bandaged, there's ointment on his cuts and bruises, and he’s being carried again. Peter lays him back on the bed, then crawls under the covers on the opposite side, still holding his hand.

Sleep takes hold of Stiles in no time flat. He dreams of the forest after it rains.

----------------

When Stiles wakes up, sunlight is already streaming through the large window to his left. Peter is gone, but the side of his bed is still warm. Stiles thinks he couldn't have gone far, and gets up to find him.

He can hear his footsteps on the dark hardwood flooring like it's being played through a speaker next to his ears. He walks on the balls of his feet to try and alleviate it.

As soon as he opens the bedroom door, he sees Peter. He's sitting on a modern-looking couch drinking a mug of tea and thumbing through what seems to be a very old book.

“Good morning,” Peter says without even looking up, because he has no manners.

“Everything is so loud,” Stiles groans, face comforting into an unpleasant expression.

“You'll get used to it,” The Alpha says, obviously trying to come off as uncaring, but Stiles notices the way he lowers his volume, “are you hungry?”

Stiles nods, bringing one hand to the bandage between his shoulder and neck. “I think it healed.”

Peter sets his tea and book down, getting up and moving towards Sitles, taking a whiff of the air as he does. “Yes, I believe it has. You're already starting to smell different.”

“You saying I stink, zombiewolf?” The younger man asks playfully.

“Quite to opposite, but interpret it how you like. Cheese danish or Raspberry Tart?”

“Danish, please.” Stiles watches him go into the kitchen and starts peeling the medical tape off his skin. Peter was right, it's completely healed.

The elder man comes back in with a pastry and…

“Is that chocolate milk? I'm not 12, Peter.”

“Are you saying you don't want it?” Peter smirks, raising an eyebrow.

“..... give it here.”

They make their way back to the couch and find comfortable silence. Peter is back in his book, and Stiles munching on his danish.

“Peter…”

“Yes?”

“Do you… I… What…” he can't seem to find the right words, “What colour are my eyes going to be?”

That seems to take Peter by surprise. He closes his book with his thumb inside, marking the page. “You're referring to the nogitsune, am I correct?”

Stiles doesn't answer.

“Do you feel guilty?”

“Who wouldn't?”

“It's not your fault, Stiles.”

“Yeah but that doesn't really change a God damned thing, now does it?”

Peter sighs. “Your friends, it won't matter to them.”

“You might have been Scott’s alpha, but you don't know him like I do.” He feels empty inside. Like someone carved out his chest and stuck a black hole in the place of the heart. It reminds him of the void.

“If you're as good of friends as you say, he won't care.”

They settle back into silence. Stiles finishes his Danish, and takes a sip of his chocolate milk.

He hears Peter’s heart beating. It's steady and strong. It lulls him back to sleep as he curls up with his head on the arm of the couch.

He doesn't see the look Peter gives him, the adoration written in his features.

Chapter Text

It had been a long time since Peter had felt a true Pack bond. After the fire--after being left behind-- he genuinely didn't think he was capable, that maybe that capacity was just something else that turned to ash in the inferno.

But Stiles always did have a way of surprising him.

His Beta sits on the floor, back against the couch where Peter had sprawled out with his phone. The TV was on, playing the news, but neither of them were paying attention.

Stiles’ hair is wet from a shower, and the smell of Peter’s shampoo is clinging to him, and he’s wearing a pair of Peter’s pajamas which are just a little too big. The scent of seqoias and petrichor melds seamlessly with the spicy scent of cinnamon that wafts of Stiles. Some dark and possessive part of Peter is grinning in delight. Mine it growls through a grin with too many teeth

“I’m going to have to go home sometime… I’m going to explain all of this to my dad,” the new wolf says, scent tinged with the bitter smell of anxiety.

“He’s not going to disown you, if that’s what you’re afraid of.”

Stiles seems to mull that over for a minute, taking his time with his reply. “I can’t just keep putting it off.”

“Is that what you’re doing? I thought you just enjoyed my company that much.”

“Yeah, because you’re such a joy to be around,” Stiles replies sardonically, tilting his head back against the couch to get a look at Peter, “Hey, did you grab my phone from the preserve, or is it still in Roscoe?”

Peter looks up from his phone with an eyebrow raised. “I don’t know how much you actually remember about last night, but between the Alpha power fucking with my head and the primal need to keep you safe at all costs, I wasn’t really worried about your jeep or your cell when you were bleeding and unconscious in my arms.”

“Aw, so you do care. Be still my heart!” Stiles clutches a hand to his chest, faking a swoon, and Peter feels his chest tightening in an emotion that he doesn’t want to come to terms with.

The Alpha gives a resigned smile, clicking his phone off and giving his complete attention to Stiles. “I can go drop you off in the Preserve so you can go get Roscoe and see your father, if that’s what you’d like.”

“You… no one calls him Roscoe.” Stiles scrunches his brows, still looking backwards at Peter.

“You do.”

“Yeah, but I’m the only one. No one else bothers.”

Peter frowns. “It’s not as if it’s an extense hardship to use the name you gave one of the most important objects in your life. I might have been literally raised by wolves, but I have common courtesy.”

“I… I don’t even know how to respond to that.” The chemosignals coming off Stiles are too jumbled to interpret, instead Peter focuses on Stiles’ natural scent. The sweet cinnamon reminds him of Christmas.

“Are you serious about going to see your father?” In complete honesty, the Alpha doesn’t want him to leave. He’s safe here, in his their den.
Stiles hesitates, reluctance passing over his features.

“Yeah, um,” he hesitates, “I also need to talk to Scott.”

Anger flashes though Peter like a bullet through his heart. He can't keep a snarl from escaping his throat. Stiles frowns, turning around and putting his back to the coffee table so he can look Peter in the eyes.

“He's the presiding Alpha in this territory.”

“This is Hale land, and I'm quite sure Talia’s allies will agree with me.” Peter’s eyes drift from Stiles’ gaze downward, wheels of his mind already turning away.

McCall is going to take Stiles away, he already knows. He's going to leave, just like they all do. He shouldn't have let his wolf grow so attached to Stiles. He's always going to pick McCall over him. He shouldn’t have pined so hard for Stiles, he shouldn’t have fallen--

“I’m not joining his Pack, Peter.”

The Alpha's eyes jump back to hold his Beta’s gaze. He… he wasn't leaving? Say something, you dumbass! Don't just stare at him!

“You… me?”

Idiot

Stiles gives a grin. “Did I break you? Where's the sarcasm? The egomaniacal retort?

“You're obviously making the right choice, I'm the epitome of a good, strong Alpha.”

“Uh-huh, because you did so well last time,” Stiles chuckles.

“I guess I just want to know... why?” Peter looks at Stiles like he holds the key to the secrets of life, staring into his eyes and trying to decipher the Universe itself.

“Don't get me wrong, Scotty is a good Alpha--”

Peter scoffs, rolling his eyes in a signature Hale fashion.

“--but we just don't see eye to eye on important issues. He… he's a good person. He has a moral compass always pointing true North. And… and after everything that's happened…” he pauses, as if trying to find the right words, “I'm nothing like Scott. I'm angry and vengeful. I'm not above getting my hands dirty for the right cause. Scott doesn't know what it's like to lose someone and feel that darkness threaten to consume you. He doesn't know what it's like to be stuck in your own mind… but you do.”

It feels like someone has a deathgrip on Peter’s heart. He's thankful that Stiles hasn't learned how to pick up on chemosignals yet because he is going through a plethora of vulnerable emotions, and would quite rather keep his cold and distant facade.

What is it about this skinny little disaster that cuts through all of his walls?

When Peter’s brain catches up, Stiles is standing above him, scrutinizing his face. “Oh, good, you're back online.”

Peter can't even find words, but he yanks his Beta down into a hug, burrowing his nose into the crook of Stiles’ neck, so he figures that is better than any jumbled vocabulary he could mush together.

Stiles goes limp with a soft whine, and Peter melts into him.

Cinnamon overwhelms his senses, blanketing him in a warm, safe feeling.

Pack his wolf whispers to him Mate

Chapter Text

“Hey Petey-Pie!” Stiles croons, leaning his head out of Roscoe’s driver’s window at Peter, who is leaning against his own car taking in the sunlight of the warm summer day. Peter gives him a glare behind his designer sunglasses, arms crossed against his chest (that of which Stiles has repeatedly called “unreasonably toned” and “rude for existing”).

“If you ever call me that again, I'm not liable for my violent actions.” Peter says it in a low voice, a Hale-trademark monotone and Stiles laughs, obviously finding it hilarious.

“Yeah but the look on your face was sooooo worth it. Just texted them, and we've got 20 mins to get to mi casa.”

“We?”

“You're coming, right? I'm brokering peace between our Pack and another; its tradition for the Alpha to be present.”

Peter grins wide, a flow of pride washing over him. He isn’t used to this feeling--happiness. He hadn’t got much of it over the past few years.

He sees Stiles grinning back and a ball of warmth blossoms in his chest. I could spend forever like this, he thinks, I want to spend forever like this.

--------------------------

Peter follows Stiles to his house even though he already knows the way. Derek’s Camaro is parked out front, as is Scott’s bike.

Stiles pulls his hunk-o-junk jeep into the driveway, and Peter parks parallel on the street, something he is quite used to being so close to Sac and San Francisco. He takes a moment to gather himself, pushing his aviators back up on his face.

It hits him like a brick fucking wall. His chest hurts like his heart is about to beat right out of his ribcage and he feels extremely claustrophobic. He can’t breathe, like he’s drowning on dry land. Every cell in his body feels like it’s soaked in pure terror.

These aren’t his emotions. He doesn’t get panic attacks like this--his are always triggered, like exposure to fire, and never this severe. He hasn’t really been tri--

Stiles

He leaps out of the car, completely ignoring the implications of the fact that he can feel Stiles’ distress. Stiles is still in the driver’s seat, hyperventilating. He’s in Beta shift, and Peter’s brain short circuits for a second, seeing it for the first time. He may look like a monster to the human population of the world, but in Wolf standards, he’s absolutely breathtaking. The sound of Stiles’ claws digging into the already chipping paint of Roscoe brings him back online.

Peter puts a hand over Stiles’ clawed one, cupping his Beta’s cheek with the other. Those eyes open, and a bright preternatural blue has swallowed the normal honey-amber.

“Stiles? Listen to me,” he pleads, "you've got to anchor yourself.”

“I don't… I can't…” A tear rolls down Stiles’ cheek and he wipes it away with the back of a clawed hand, looking down at it like he didn’t realize he was crying.

Peter yanks open the door and crowds into Stiles’ space, putting a hand on either side of his face and staring into his eyes, blood-red meeting sky-blue.

“Breathe; you can do it, Stiles. Come back to me. That’s it.”

It takes a few agonizing minutes, the blue fades from his eyes, claws retreating. Peter smiles, moving the hands caressing Stiles’ face to card through the mess of black hair on his Beta’s head. He never knew how touch-starved he was until he actually had someone to touch.

Stiles gives a shaky smile in Peter’s general direction, looking drained. “I hope that didn’t set the mood for this entire evening.”

“With the amount of werewolves in your house at the current moment, I wouldn’t put it past them to have been eavesdropping the entire time.”

“That’s not reassuring, Peter.”

“It wasn’t meant as a reassurance, it was meant as a warning. Be on your guard,” Peter remarks, and jerks his head towards the house, “are you alright to go in?”

Stiles closes his eyes for a minute, then nods. He gets out of the car, following Peter to the front door. They stand outside for a moment, relishing in the calm before the storm they know awaits them on the other side.

The younger man turns to Peter, and the look on his face is alight with mischief. It briefly reminds the Alpha of the Fox. He still looks worse for wear from the panic attack not moments ago, but there’s this glint of chaos in his eyes and the Wolf inside Peter howls. “If you harm anyone in this house, I will not hesitate to kill you, steal your power, and cremate your remains.”

Peter flashes a thousand-watt smile. “I would expect nothing less.”

Stiles opens the door and steps inside, Peter follows a half-step behind.

Scott is sitting on the couch looking happy to see Stiles. Derek is standing by the TV with his arms crossed, but it just so happens that Peter can understand the cryptic body language of the Hale dynasty, and deciphers the mixed messages he’s sending to mean he is relieved Peter didn’t kill Stiles. Scott and Derek’s noses twitch, and they exchange a wordless glance between each other.

Peter’s scent marking must be that obvious.

Good.

Scott gets up from his seat, opening his arms for a hug and coming towards Stiles. “Lydia couldn't make it, there’s a conference in Sacramento with some big-wig math guy, and Kira’s parents wanted her to go, too.”

Stiles nods in the embrace, putting a hand on Scott’s back lightly, “We need to talk.”

Scott speaks up first. “Stiles, buddy, you’re welcome in my Pack, you always have been, you know that.”

“I’m not…” Stiles hesitates, “I’m not going to join your Pack, Scotty.”

Scott looks like he’s just been slapped, and Peter wishes he had a camera to savor that moment forever. Derek looks ready to give his two cents, but the True Alpha speaks back up.

“Bro, I know you’re smart enough to know manipulation when you see it… he--he’s using you. He won't even let you come talk to us alone because he's scared you'll come to your senses!”

The anger coming off Peter is palpable. He knows they can smell it, and he must look the picture of boiling rage. How dare they? His wolf snarls in his soul, and Peter can feel his partial shift overtake him--the fangs, the glowing eyes, the claws.

Stiles throws a quick look over his left shoulder at him, and Peter can practically see the wheels turning in that beautiful mind of his. The boy’s eyes flick down abruptly, and Peter realizes he’s been white-knuckling his fists, the claws digging into his palms. He must have smelled the blood.

Stiles raises an eyebrow, wordlessly asking if he’s got it under wraps.

“I'll be outside,” the Alpha says curtly to Stiles as if he were the only person there before about-facing and heading right out the door, not even bothering to close it. He shakes out his hands and tries not to lose it. Peter isn’t one to keep his wolf hidden and caged beneath his skin. He lets it flow through him so much that there isn’t a place where Peter ends and the Wolf begins. What is it about this skinny little teenager that makes him lose control so easily? He paces on the porch, avoiding the obvious.

“Peter offered me the bite Sophomore year,” he hears Stiles tell the trio, and it catches Peter so off-guard that he nearly trips on his own feet, “I told him that I didn't want to be like him. And after all these years, after all those long nights together researching and combing through lore… it made me realize I'm more like him than I'd like to admit. After the n-” he chokes briefly, and Peter wants to hide him away from all the darkness threatening to swallow him whole, “after the Nogitsune, I wasn't the same, and I don't think I'll ever be the same little boy you grew up with, Scott.”

“Stiles,” Derek growls, “he's a killer. It’s just a matter of time before you’re his next victim.”

The newly turned beta barks out a harsh laugh. “You want to lecture me about being a killer?” Peter hears the telltale shifting of bones that tells him Stiles has partially shifted,“We’re all killers. The three of us helped murder Peter. We set him on fire again, that’s not just murder, that’s torture. Scott, you directly killed the nogitsune. I..” he pauses, and Peter can taste the guilt rolling off of him--he can feel it, “I’ve killed so many people, Scott… And don’t tell me it wasn’t me, because I felt every second of it.”

Scott shuffles in Stiles’ direction and Peter stiffens against his will, “Stiles we forgive you for that,”

“Do you forgive Peter? Because our situations are pretty fucking alike, dude, but you’re so quick to demonize him just because Eyebrows here whined about his dead sister,” it was a low blow, but Stiles isn’t pulling any punches. Peter can hear his heart rate rising, can feel the righteous anger through their bond connection. It’s intoxicating.

“Your mother would be ashamed of you.” Derek says, and Peter whips around to the open door.

Stiles loses it. He yells, the Wolf taking over completely. Peter catches his arm an inch before the clawed hand can rip out something Derek would probably like to keep, like a trachea.

“STILES!” Peter growls harshly. He should have known his Beta wasn’t ready. He doesn’t have an anchor, he’s letting his emotions control him. His red eyes bore into Stiles, the younger wolf jerking his head to face Peter with a snarl, “BACK DOWN!”

His Beta’s face goes through a range of emotions--fury, confusion, despair-- before crumbling completely, his humanity taking over his features once more. He whines, a sob catching in his throat as he falls into Peter’s chest.

Peter shoots a venomous dirty look Derek’s way and scoops Stiles up into a bridal carry, letting him bury his head in the Alpha’s chest. He wants so desperately to give his nephew and McCall a piece of his mind, but he doesn’t want Stiles to lose it again.

“Get. Out.”

------------------------------

Peter turns the ceiling fan on and opens the windows, trying to air out the scent of Stiles’ former packmates. Stiles is balled up on the couch, a batman throw blanket wrapped around him even though it’s well into the late 90’s outside. Peter settles back down on the cushion adjacent to Stiles, putting a hand on his Beta’s ankle.

“I thought I’d be better at this,” Stiles says, and the tone of his voice makes Peter’s heart ache.

“You’re a magnificent Wolf, like I always said you’d be.”

“I nearly killed your nephew today,” Stiles doesn’t say in an incredulous manner, more of a yeah, that happened way.

“He needed to be put in his place.”

Stiles snorts. “Thank you for not letting me maul him.”

“You don’t need any more guilt on your conscience.”

“I don’t know why--I’m usually so much better at controlling my temper.”

“Darling,” Peter croons, leaning his head back to rest on the back of the couch, “you’re a brand new Wolf with no anchor, you’ve got ADHD and are unable to take your meds, and you’ve had nothing short of a traumatic past few years. It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to take that anger out on people that deserve it.”

Stiles is silent for a moment, maybe letting it soak in. “Darling? You really are one of those bay area gays, aren't you?”

Deflection. Peter could handle that.

“I own a townhouse in the Castro, so I really can't even begin to dispute that.”

“Were you there for Harvey Milk?” Stiles unfurls from the fetal position to look at Peter.

“Exactly how old do you think I am?” Peter raises an eyebrow, relishing in Stiles’ blush. “I moved down there in the mid-eighties, at the height of the AIDS crisis. Nobody knew what was going on for the longest time, and when we finally did, Reagan was too much of a cunt to do anything about it.” He purses his lips. “I was so young and the furthest away from my Pack than I had ever been.”

“That must have been hard,” Stiles frowns.

“It was. I finished up high school down there and attended Berkeley, then moved back and started a life. The Fire was actually my first time back in Beacon Hills since I left.”

“Berkeley? No shit? What was your major?” Stiles looks like he’s hanging on every word, but Peter’s glad he didn’t touch the subject of the Fire.

“Nuclear engineering.”

“Holy fuck, really?”

“No, you fucking imbecile. I majored in English.”

“Your heart didn’t skip!”

“I grew up in a house full of walking polygraphs, did it truly never cross your mind that I could have learned how to manipulate them?”

Stiles narrows his eyes. “You better teach me how to do that.”

Always pass on what you have learned.” He says it in such a terrible Yoda impression, but the message still gets across.

Stiles’s face goes through a range of complicated emotions, like he didn’t know what to feel. There’s a warmth in Peter’s chest and a fluttering in his stomach, and that buzzing connection between them that he is actively ignoring.

“I’m hungry.” Stiles says abruptly, almost panicky.

Peter raises a brow at the change in his Beta’s demeanor, but ultimately doesn’t ask. “Your father won’t be home for quite a while, do you want to pick up something and head over to his office?”

Stiles nods, still visibly on edge. ‘Yeah, I’ve got to--uh--go get, um… changed. I’m still wearing my,” he looks down, “pants.”

Peter’s gaze narrows, but he doesn’t object.

Stiles trips up the stairs twice, letting a mouthful of curses fall from his lips.

It’s not that it’s unusual, it’s just…

Weird.

Chapter Text

PANTS? What the Hell? Fucking smooth, Stilinski.

Stiles closes his bedroom door and slides down it until he’s sitting. He covers his face with his hands, groaning.

He can feel his Wolf whine, and Stiles is not appreciating that shit one bit. It’s clawing at his ribcage, as if it were about to burst from his chest to go back to Peter. Stiles wished he had a spray bottle because he is not above classically conditioning that motherfucker.

So he’s caught feelings. It’s not a big deal. It’s just a little itty-bitty micro-crush.

Yeah, the back of his mind supplies, the Black Plague was microscopic too.

Stiles frowns, it’s not like Peter feels the same way, right? Stiles doesn’t have to tell him, and that way there won’t be any awkward rejection.

He can hear Peter downstairs, and he seems to be pacing in the living room. Stiles has noticed that seems to be one of his nervous habits. If you would have told sophomore-year Stiles that Peter “Satan Incarnate” Hale could get nervous, he would have lost his shit. Then he would have told Scott and Co. and they would have also lost their collective shit.

Oh, the times, how they change.

“Fuck my liiiiiife,” he says to himself, aloud and dragging out the last word. He scrubs his hands down his face with a groan.

A wave of sadness washes over him, and it feels so foreign. His typical sadness was all felt in his stomach, like a rock at the bottom of his gut fucking with his gravitation and pulling him down. But this? This was heartbreak--wrapping around his heart like barbed wire and wringing it like a rag. His Wolf howls in anguish and Stiles feels like a stranger in his skin.

Whatever, he can do this. No need to waltz down there with a ring or anything, just keep it casual. Nothing has to change.

Except his pants. Those have to change.

He only trips over himself twice while putting a new pair of jeans on (he's not going to pick apart the reasons why he chose the only nice pair of black skinny jeans he had, the ones that Scott said “makes your butt look good, no homo bro”). He takes a look in the mirror to try and make sense of the messy mop of hair on his head, then heads downstairs.

Peter is still pacing, but looks up and stops in his tracks when Stiles appears in the hallway.

Neither of them say anything, but Stiles’ heart does a little flip as Peter blatantly runs his eyes up and down the beta’s figure.

“You look nice,” Peter says, walking up to Stiles after a moment. He runs a hand through his beta’s hair, calming the mess and then resting his hand at the base of Stiles’ neck. “Ready to go?”

Stiles opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. What the fuck, it's just Peter! Not some fucking celebrity! Get a grip!

“Yeah,” he croaks.

Peter flashes a smile. “Good.”

--------------------------

They drive through one of the hole-in-the-wall places downtown that has the absolute best curly fries in California and book it to the station.

Stiles knows Peter is trying to win favor with the Sheriff by bringing him greasy red meat, but he doesn't mention it. It might actually work.

Stiles barely makes it in the front door before his dad comes running out of his office.

“Hey, dad--” big strong arms wrap around him and squeeze the air from his lungs. “Its okay. I'm here, see? All alive and shit. No need to worry. You're kind of crushing the food here, though.”

His father lets him go, but catches Peter’s figure standing next to Stiles, and his face becomes nothing but rage.

“Wait, Dad--”

His father takes a swing.

Peter catches his fist in the air, and looks down at it with confusion. He looks so goddamn affronted that the sheriff wanted to deck him.

His father pulls Stiles behind his back with his free hand, then places it pointedly on his sidearm. “Stay away from my son.”

Peter drops the sheriff’s fist with a frown, looking to Stiles with a raised eyebrow. are you okay? it asks.

Stiles nods, and Peter leaves without a word.

He doesn't look happy about it.

-----------------------------

When Derek opens the industrial sliding door to his loft, he’s met with Peter’s fist breaking his nose.

Peter probably should have gone the diplomatic route now that he’s an Alpha trying to mediate peace between his Pack and the presiding Pack, but the anger at the sheer audacity Derek exhibited today with Stiles takes over his entire system.

Derek reels back from the blow, eyes flashing a bright blue and a snarl coming out his mouth. He reaches up to feel his obviously broken nose and winces before setting it so it will heal properly. He closes his eyes and takes a breath.

“Yeah, I deserved that.”

“Damn fucking right,” Peter says, shaking out his hand as the bones of his knuckles start mending back together. He should really stop doing that, it itches terribly. “Is McCall here?”

“No.”

“May I come in?”

“Will you take no for an answer?”

“Not in the slightest.”

“Whatever.” His nephew was always such an eloquent wordsmith. He steps aside and gestures Peter to come in as he uses his free hand to wipe the blood off his face and onto his pants, the fucking neanderthal.

“I’m not here to fight,” Peter says as he sits down on the worn couch in the middle of the room.

“You literally just punched me in the face.”

“You asked for that.”

“What are you here for, Peter?” His nephew sounds exasperated, spread too thin.

“He’s…” There’s a lump in his throat and he swallows, trying to breathe around it. His chest aches. “He’s my Mate, Derek.”

“Stiles?” The beta doesn’t sound extremely surprised or disgusted, so there’s that. Maybe it is that obvious, then.

No, Peter wants to say, I’m madly in love with Scott McCall. The whole self-righteous, holier-than-thou schtick he has going for him really turns me on.

He doesn’t say anything, though. Sarcasm might not be well appreciated in this situation. He finds the floor of Derek’s loft very interesting in that moment and decides to catalog every little suspicious stain at his feet. He knows at least three of them are blood and he really hopes the fourth he sees isn’t semen.

“How long have you known?”

Peter finds his eyes again, “I think I've known the entire time. When I was feral, I offered him the bite.”

“He told us that.”

“On his wrist.”

“Oh.”

Peter sighs, “The bond has already taken root, but I don’t think he knows it yet. It’s just flashes of feelings, like when you hit scan on a radio. They’re fleeting, easily ignored. And I honestly don’t think he knows anything about Mates.”

“Do you think he’s going to reject the bond? Is that why you’re pussyfooting around it?”

“I am not--” Okay, yeah, maybe he is being a bit of a schoolgirl about it. But Fuck Derek for pointing it out, he’s got enough on his plate, alright?

There’s so many things he wants to say.

He’s just a kid. Barely 18. When I was 18, I was just a stupid college kid swept up in the injustice of the world. I still had hope. I can’t even remember what hope feels like.

The boy’s already been through so much, he doesn’t need me complicating things.

I don’t deserve him.

He deserves someone better than me.

“Peter, listen. I’m not saying I forgive you for… for Laura… but if some cosmic force decided you two were two halves of the same soul, you need to take the shot, because even after everything you’ve done, you deserve a chance at happiness. That’s why I’m in Scott’s Pack. I believe in second chances.”

Peter purses his lips in thought. “Don’t tell Scott.”

“He’s gonna find out anyway.”

Peter gets up, brushing lint off his pants and looking to Derek. “The kid doesn’t know his asshole from his elbow, I think we’ll be good if you don’t blatantly say that I, the resident undead psychopath, am soulbound to his childhood best friend.”

“You’re not a psychopath.”

“What?”

“One of the most popular criterions for psychopathy is lack of anxiety, and you’re currently losing your head over whether or not a boy likes you.” He says it so deadpan that it throws Peter for a loop, even though he knows damn well Derek majored in psych at NYU.

“You know what, Derek?”

“Huh?”

“Fuck you.”

“Get out.”

--------------------------------------------

“Why the hell did you try and punch Peter in his moneymaker?” Stiles and his father are back in his father’s office. Stiles is sitting in one of the comfy chairs across the desk and his father is pacing.

“Scott told me what he did! He’s a murderer!”

“Peter was stark raving nuts at the time.”

“And he isn’t now?”

“He’s…” Better? Changed? Most likely not gonna go batshit bonkers again? Probably not going to kill me because I like pineapple on pizza and he’s a food snob? “He’s not the same man he was.”

“And you know this, how? He told you himself? People don’t change, Stiles.”

“Don’t give me that shit, Dad--”

“Language!”

“I’m being serious! Everyone changes! I’ve changed! You’ve changed! Yeah, he went off the deep end. But did Scott tell you what he’s been through?”

“I don’t think anything justifies--”

“Watched his family die, nearly died himself, got stuck in his own mind for six years, abandoned by everyone he called family. And you know what? He paid for that! He died, dad. I helped kill him. That makes me no different than him!”

“Son--”

“No, Dad. He’s my Alpha. He’s my…” there’s that warm feeling in his chest again. A fire burning behind his ribcage, engulfing his entire existence anchor Mate “he’s my Pack.”

“If you feel like this is the right decision--”

“It is.”

“--then I support you, son.”

They sit in silence for a moment before Stiles holds up the crinkled, grease-stained brown paper bags. “Peter bought you lunch.”

“I take back everything I said.”

They laughed. It was nice to find some peace in all this chaos.

-----------------------------------------

Peter finds himself at the burnt husk of the Hale House. He hasn't been back here in a while, and all the emotions are hitting him like a brick wall.

He opens the door and walks in. The charred wood creaks beneath his louboutins, but he has faith in it holding. This house has withstood the hurricane that was the Hale Family for several generations, it was going to hold. The lump in his throat is back, accompanied by a stinging in his eyes.

“You’d like him, Talia,” he says to the ash-filled air, “he’s whip-smart, so you don’t have to tell me to stop fawning all over idiots.”

He wipes his eyes with the back of his hands. “He’s sarcastic like me, and he’s got that same darkness in his soul--the one you told me to use for the betterment of others, for the protection of the weak and to cross the lines no one else dared to cross for the good of the Pack. He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty for the right cause.”

He sits at the edge of the hole in the floor, the same one that he had been buried in so many years ago. “He’s beautiful, too. All long limbs and moles dotting his skin like uncharted constellations… honestly, Tal, I could wax poetic about him all fucking day.”

He looks down into the pit where they buried him. Bright red flowers Peter doesn’t know the name of have started blooming from the charred dirt. It reminds him of driving through the aftermath of the wildfires, how the greenest grass always comes from the blackest earth. “Did it hurt this much with you?” he asks the wind blowing through the glassless windows. “Did your heart ache for him like mine does for Stiles?”

A tear falls down his cheek. “Is that all that love is? Pain?”

The wind doesn’t answer.