John Stilinski would like it noted, for the record, that this werewolf business is bullshit. Because when you get a call from your nineteen-year-old kid at two o’clock in the morning saying he needs your help, well, that should mean that he’s lost his wallet on a night out, thrown up everything he drank in the nearest gutter, and you have to drive his drunk ass home. That’s what needing Dad’s help should mean to a nineteen-year-old.
Not… not whatever the hell this is.
John thought this werewolf business was bullshit back when it wore a leather jacket, a resting bitch face, and Stiles couldn’t keep his eyes off it, and he thinks it’s still bullshit now when it wears a v-neck, a smirk, and Stiles spends way too much time researching alongside it.
Peter Hale lives on the nice side of town, in an apartment on the top floor of what was, back in the 1930’s and the heyday of the local lumber industry, the Beacon Hills Beneficial Society. The less John thinks about the irony of Peter Hale living in a place that had been built by a charitable organization, the better.
He parks the cruiser on the street, and heads for the front doors. He doesn’t even need to get buzzed in: Stiles is lurking in the lobby, and opens the door for him.
“Did you bring it?” he asks, as shifty-eyed and twitchy as a junkie waiting for his next fix.
John shows him the file. “You want to tell me why the hell you need this case file at two o’clock in the morning?”
“Research,” Stiles says, and holds out his hand.
“You’re looking into a eight-year-old unsolved murder at two o’clock in the morning, and it’s so urgent you needed the file now?” John tucks the files back under his arm and fixes his kid with a stare. “Try again.”
“Fine.” Stiles jabs the button for the elevator. “Come on up.”
The doors open and they ride up to the top floor in silence. John is sure that with every passing second Stiles is weaving a more and more ludicrous story in his brain. He knows his kid, okay?
“Okay, so,” Stiles begins as he leads John down the hallway to Peter’s door. It’s the only door on this level.
“No bullshit,” John says sternly.
“Fine!” Stiles closes his eyes and groans, and pushes the door open.
The apartment is exactly as pretentious as its owner. John runs his gaze over the expensive furniture, the gleaming appliances in the large, open kitchen, and the French doors that lead out onto the balcony. It’s exactly what he expected.
“So this is where you’ve been hanging out for the past few weeks, huh?”
“Yeah.” Stiles wrinkles his nose. “Peter doesn’t like his books to leave the apartment.”
John moves forward and sets the file down on the probably-mahogany dining table. “And where is Peter?”
“He’s in the shower,” Stiles says. “Okay, so, tonight there was an incident.”
John folds his arms over his chest.
“A feral omega attacked us,” Stiles says. “We’re fine. Peter took care of it.”
John doesn’t need to be a trained investigator to know what that means.
“Except the thing is,” Stiles says, “this happened over in Blue Lake Valley.”
John exhales slowly. “That’s not my jurisdiction.”
“Yeah.” Stiles drags his fingers through his hair. “Worse than that, it happened on federal land.”
“Aw, shit, kid.”
“Right?” Stiles quirks his mouth. “And since we stopped for gas and snacks on the way there, there’s a damn good chance we’re on CCTV at the gas station nearby.”
John draws a deep breath, and lets it out again.
“Also,” Stiles says, “there was a park ranger coming, so we didn’t get a chance to hide the body.”
“Hell.” John gazes at Stiles, and wonders, not for the first time, when their lives took such a sharp turn that talking about hiding bodies became ordinary. He’s about to say something—although he doesn’t know what—when Peter Hale himself appears. He’s wearing sleep pants, a soft-looking shirt, and is toweling his hair dry.
“Sheriff,” he says. “I take it Stiles has filled you in on our little problem.”
“He’s in the process,” John says. He catches the look at Stiles gives Peter. It’s a lot like the appreciative ones he used to give Derek, but without any associated awkward flailing. Stiles seems comfortable in his skin around Peter. Way too comfortable for someone who’s just admitted he might be a suspect in a killing, but then, John knows he’s only heard half that story. “But before we get into that, where’s your bathroom? I’ve been drinking coffee all night.”
Peter gestures down the hallway.
John pokes his head into the rooms he passes. A spare room with an unrumpled comforter on the bed. A study, with shelves full of old-looking books that John has no desire to get near. The master bedroom is at the end of the hallway. John looks inside briefly before returning to the bathroom.
John’s no fool.
When he reappears in the living area, it’s to find Stiles and Peter flicking through the case file Stiles requested. They’re standing close together, shoulders touching.
“So,” he says, and Stiles jumps and turns to face him. “You left a body on federal land, and you’re on CCTV in the general area, and at the right time to really get the FBI interested.”
“That’s the gist of it, yeah,” Stiles says. “Except—”
“Don’t bother,” John says, gaze flicking to a smirking Peter and back. “I’m not an idiot. You asked for the case file on the murder of Alexandra Grouse. The killer was never found, which is precisely the point, am I right? You remembered this case because whoever killed Alexandra Grouse slashed her up brutally, and put rocks in her mouth.”
Stiles’s mouth drops open.
“You must’ve heard me talking about it at the time,” John says. “Little kids with big ears. Except you had to be sure, didn’t you? That’s why you asked for the case file. Because you wanted to be certain that you got the details right after you framed Alexandra’s murderer for killing the omega tonight. Because you didn’t have time to move the body, but you had time to put some rocks in its mouth.”
Stiles just blinks.
“Smart,” John says grudgingly. “Because eight years ago you were an eleven-year-old kid, and Peter was in a coma. If you can make the feds think they’re dealing with a serial killer, you’ve both got the perfect alibi. Is that about right?”
“Yep,” Stiles says, snapping his jaw shut again. “That’s about it exactly.”
“I figured,” John says. “I’ve been a cop for a long time, Stiles. I’m not an idiot.”
“So you can stop all this bullshit about ‘researching’ as well,” John says, raising a brow at his son. “If you and Peter are in a relationship, you can at least do me the courtesy of admitting it.”
“On that note,” Peter says smoothly, escaping to the kitchen, “who wants a coffee?”
“Oh,” Stiles mutters. “When he’s killing feral omegas he’s all brave and shit, but now he suddenly has to be somewhere else? Typical.”
“Discretion is the better part of valor!” Peter calls back from the kitchen.
“That’s not what that means!” Stiles flings his hands up, and mutters and grumbles angrily to himself.
John has dealt with Stiles’s attempts as misdirection for almost twenty years now. He waits it out.
“Okay,” Stiles says. “For starters, there is no way you could possibly know that—”
“Your shirt is on inside out,” John says, ignoring the sudden chortling from the kitchen. “Your pillow—the one you can’t sleep without—is on Peter’s bed. And you guys went to Blue Lake Valley for no reason at all in the middle of the night?”
Stiles looks at him blankly.
“Come on, son. Everyone knows that all the kids only drive over to Blue Lake Valley to make out by the lake.”
“That…” Stiles blinks slowly. “I did not know that.”
“I did!” Peter calls from the kitchen.
“Peter.” Stiles’s jaw drops again. “Peter, was tonight supposed to be romantic?”
Peter reappears from the kitchen, with a tray of coffees. He sets the tray down on the table. “My answer very much depends on whether or not your father’s firearm is loaded with wolfsbane bullets.”
John really, really wishes it was. Of all the werewolves in town, why did it have to be this one? He pinches his nose and sighs.
“I am regretting all my life choices right now,” Stiles mumbles, but the look he throws Peter clearly says he’s lying.
“Not as much as me, kiddo,” John says, and pats him on the shoulder. “Not as much as me.”
He sips his coffee and settles down on the couch as he listens to his son and his son’s boyfriend discuss how well they think they framed a murderer from eight years ago with killing the omega tonight.
This really isn’t where John envisioned his life going.
But—as crazy as it seems—as he watches Stiles and Peter lean close over the file, and as he watches Stiles relax as Peter rubs his hand up and down his spine, John figures that hell, whatever this shit show is, maybe it just works for them.
And at least Peter makes a mean coffee.