"You look like crap."
Peter glared at the hunter but didn't answer. Though he loathed to admit it, the hunter was probably right. As much as he kept mentally chasting himself about keeping healthy through this, he still ignored a lot of his basic needs. His beard has grown and at the length, it is now, it makes him look like a hobo. His eyes are bloodshot and there are bags under them from the lack of sleep. He's got more gray hairs than ever, and even an annoying wrinkle that he cannot continue to ignore. Plus, there's only so much stink a body spray can hide before an actual shower is needed.
But he hasn't had it yet, so once Argent was close enough he wrinkled his nose and said, "You smell like it too."
"Unless you come with information, get lost," Peter growled.
He wanted to maintain an attitude of being unbothered and cool, but it was coming as a hard reality that he was looking, sounding, and smelling more desperate than he's ever been in his whole life. He'd opened the door knowing it was Argent. At this point and the circles he's been running around in, he'd accept Derek back in his life as long as he came with help. Stepping away from the door he went back to the living room where he had the investigation boards set up.
"I have some new stuff," Argent said as he held up a file. "But why don't you go shower."
"What'd you find?" Peter asked, ignoring Argent's request.
Argent stepped back when Peter tried to reach for the folder. "I'm serious, Hale. You reek. Go shower and look presentable. We're going somewhere and we might need some of that 'Hale Charm'."
"Where are we going?" Peter asked with a raised eyebrow.
"I've found Stiles's mentor."
"Thanks for this. As much as it's hurting my ego, I can't really argue with how non-discreet a minivan is." Stiles told Clint.
Clint was still pouting about being told to stay home from this mission, but he was still doing his best to help. "I would use it from time to time to take the kids to practice and stuff. But it at least has all the extra room I'm not taking up."
"Clint, we've talked about this. Not only do we not want you to have to leave your family or endanger them with a magical threat, but you know how these ops go. There are four of us already. If the group is any bigger, we'll start to make too much noise."
"I still hate this, but I guess I know the ins and outs of this gig. I'll be our handler. I'll be ready with resources, extraction plans, and everything else you need." Clint promised him with a small smile.
"You sure you don't want me or Scott with you?"
"I'm a hunger, Mels. I'll be fine. I can hold my own against Hale. Besides, he's not the same anymore." Chris told her.
"What do you mean?"
"I've never seen him like this. He's barely keeping it together. The Peter Hale I knew would never let himself get to the state he's in right now. Not to sound disrespectful, but he probably smelled better when he was in that coma."
"I know, I know. But seriously...you wouldn't recognize him if you saw him now."
"Is that why you're helping him? Pity?"
"Partly. A bigger part is to find out what happened to Stiles and get some closure. Part of it is making up for what my sister did. But yeah, a part of it is also pity...I think he's heartbroken. He's grieving...or should be. But I don't think he knows how."
"I'm not surprised. He's done a lot of awful things but when you look at the facts. His family was burned alive in his their home, he tried and failed to save them, ended up a burned out husk, went insane...and that was before he was strong enough to go through that insane plan to become Alpha. But in all that madness and anger, I don't know if he ever grieved." Melisssa said. There was a small pause before she continued. "I don't know what to think about Peter being in any type of relationship with Stiles. It's weird. So weird. Kinda wrong in some levels. But I know the lure Stiles has on people. Once he cares about you, no matter how sarcastic or snarky he gets...you kinda can't help but love him and want to protect him."
"Well, he and Derek aren't on speaking terms. Derek's the only other family member close by that could connect to Peter's pain on that front to that level. Malia's been around I think...but they have their own past that's messy enough as it is. I don't think I can be the guy to fix Peter or even help him get to the right path. I just need to keep an eye on him."
"Plus Stiles' mentor doesn't like hunters," Melissa added.
"And why are you so sure she'll speak to Peter? Wouldn't it have made more sense to go with Scott or Parrish?"
"Scott's time as Alpha has matured him. Parrish being ex-military and now the sheriff...they have a discipline that keeps their emotions in line. They'll be holding back because they know how negotiations should go. A valuable trait. But I've done my best to research this person. I think I'll need Peter's expressive dramatics in this to sway her to help us."
"Well, good luck. Keep your phone on. If you're not back or check-in in an hour I'm sending Scott to fetch you."
"Love you too."
"Magic huh?" Sam asked Stiles once they were alone.
Stiles had shared with them everything that led them to this point. Sam was a bit more expressive than either Clint and Natasha, but thankfully not too freaked out. Stiles knew that sometimes Clint got some flack about not being serious enough, but when it came down to it, Clint was an agent. And once with high rank back when SHIELD was still at it's prime.
"Yeah. Too weird?" Stiles asked with a knowing smile.
He's been around people who were just finding out about this stuff. "Weird, totally. But not the weirdest, sorry."
"So...I have to ask. If you can do magic, why not just..." Sam wiggled his fingers in mid-air. "Magic yourself to Salem?"
"Magic is something I have. Something I have trained and honed only because without discipline it could get me in more trouble than not. But magic was my mom's thing. After we lost her, I stopped practicing and stored away everything about it. It was just hard to look at it and not get angry. I had access and knowledge of a world that could supposedly do the impossible, but I still lost my mom. In my teenage years, I also learned that there were places and spells and beings who could make my magic obsolete. So I trained and learned, but I didn't let magic become who I am. It's something I can do, but it's not everything."
"As for the magically teleporting us to Salem, well...I'm not powerful enough to open a portal anywhere. From the spells I've read, it can only be done in my power range if I've been there before. But I haven't. And you've seen Harry Potter right? Do you really trust me to aparate you without splinching?" Stiles asked with a smirk.
Sam raised his hands in a 'that's fair' gesture.
"You don't have to do this," Argent said instead of asking if he was okay. Peter was not okay. It was stupid to even think about asking.
Though he showered, Peter still looked haggard. It was weird to think a man who's already been insane could look so near the brink of madness again.
"Yes. I do." Peter said as he opened the door and got out of the car. He closed his eyes and let the wind run through his face and wake him up a little.
"This witch isn't really trusting of hunters. I don't know where she stands with wolves either. But she cared for Stiles. She organized his funeral."
That made Peter snap his attention towards him. "What? I thought Scott and Melissa were doing that."
"They are. But his mentor is hosting a magical ceremony to honor Stiles's magic and appease his soul. Their bond was strong from what I've heard." Argent explained.
Peter didn't really know what to make of that. He was exhausted and drained in just about every sense of the word. He couldn't sleep, he couldn't eat. All he could think about was finding answers. But every lead eventually brought him to a brick wall. He was beginning to feel stir crazy. Emotions he didn't allow himself to feel were starting to creep up on him, but it was nothing compared to the gaping hole that grew each day that left nothing but a void. Finding the guys that did this to Stiles was the only thing keeping him from going down the deep end...again.
Since he's learned about Stiles's mentor he tried to picture her. In his mind, he always saw Carrie Fisher. But the person that appeared to greet them wasn't General Leia. She looked to be in her 20's, mocha colored skin, dark curly hair, vibrant green eyes that glared at both of them. She was fierce and beautiful. And she made Peter jealous. he'd known about Stiles's crush on Lydia, he knew Stiles had dated Malia, and deep down he always sort of knew about Stiles and Derek. But he had assumed that was it. Assumed that Stiles was too awkward and weird to really attract anyone else. Or that he'd at least be in the know about it. But Peter had no idea Stiles was magic, and no idea about this mentor. Though different shades of color, her glare was similar if not the same as the one Derek gave him when he found out Peter was sleeping with Stiles.
"Give me a damn good reason I shouldn't curse you right now?" She demanded.
Argent was about to speak, but one look from her and he shut his mouth and turned to look at Peter.
Peter looked between them. His mind was racing a thousand miles a minute. So many emotions, a lot of pain and discomfort from not taking care of himself. He felt so much uncertainty but there was one clear word he knew.