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The Tale of Two Curses

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The feeling of smooth skin against his own was euphoric, sweat dampening them as they tangled together in the darkness.

“Stiles,” Peter murmured, voice a purr without the rasp of his shift interfering. “Stiles,” he repeated, just because he could, just to taste his mate's name on his lips without it being hindered by large teeth and cumbersome jowls.

“Peter,” Stiles gasped against his very human ear, mouthing at the skin of his neck as he grasped at him. Peter fought the urge to howl, burying his face in Stiles’ neck just as he buried himself in Stiles’ body.

Peter had been cursed for longer than he could remember. Centuries and centuries of time lost to the mind of a beast. By day he held the mindless form of a wolf, by night the monstrous but vaguely more lucid form of a bipedal beast. Only when both the moon and sun's light was hidden could he walk as a human, the new moon a blessing and a curse.

Peter had met Stiles on a new moon, his skin painted with runes as he danced by firefight with his coven, loud and joyful and brilliantly beautiful. Peter had been captivated, longing to trace the constellations in his skin. He'd almost thought he'd wandered into a fae ring, the temptation so great, but when he'd taken Stiles to bed that night, there had been no tricks or evil harborings.

“There's old magic in you,” Stiles had murmured, hands smoothing across his skin. “Old, evil magic. Who has cursed you?” 

“The one who killed my family,” Peter said, “the one I then killed. She cursed me to live as a beast, less for the nights when the moon doesn't shine on my bestial nature.”

Stiles snorted in humor at the wording, hands curling into the hair at the nape of Peter's neck.

“That's a shame,” he said, pressing closer and mouthing at his skin. “Guess that means you have until dawn to impress me.”

Peter hadn't expected much beyond a night of fun, hadn't truly grasped then what Stiles meant when he told Peter to impress him. But apparently he had, as the next night, when he was forced to shift from simple animal to his more twisted form, Stiles was there, watching, his eyes sparkling with delight. The smile that had curled his lips was mischievous and challenging and Peter had never wanted to kiss someone more.

“I'll help you break your curse, wolf,” he offered, and that was how it began.

Peter still wasn't sure what Stiles did with him during the day, when his mind was nothing more than an animal's, but he suspected he'd done something to control him because after that a night never came where he was far from the sparks's side. They stayed with Stiles’ coven for a while, researching, but soon rumors of new magic led them to leave to explore new spells not known by Stiles. Peter had had no real attachments to them, but Stiles missed them, as much as he would admit. At night, he'd curl into Peter's fur, unconcerned by his drooling jaws or sharp claws. On nights of the new moon, Peter would cover him with his body, litter him with marks that he hoped would last to the next new moon, even though they never did. Stiles was enthusiastically responsive though, returning the fervor every time and trailing electric magic down his spine.

It had taken a long time for Peter to notice, as out of it as he was, but eventually he did.

“Do you not age?” He questioned once at their fire's side, Stiles sitting within Peter's furred arms for extra warmth, idly playing with his claws distractedly.

“No,” Stiles answered evenly, unconcerned.

“Why not?” Peter rumbled, his voice in this form a haunting rumble like distant thunder.

“Because I'm cursed,” Stiles said, wan smile on his face, watching the flames lick at the wood. “I have been for millennia.”

Peter frowned, rubbing his muzzle against Stiles’ shoulder. “Who has cursed you?” he asked.

“The one who did nothing to save my family in the name of balance,” Stiles murmured, hot anger banked in his voice, “the one I then hunted down and did to him as was done to my family. He cursed me to walk this earth alone, forever, as it was the worst thing he could think of to curse someone who wished to die.”

Peter held him tighter, careful of his claws, and he threw back his head and howled. It was long, mournful, and it resonated through his chest. Even though Stiles himself was not a beast in form, he threw his head back and howled in return, echoing the soulful call.

The next new moon, Peter kissed him and kissed him and kissed him. Stiles entered him on that night, holding him like he was precious, and Peter bared his throat and knew he was owned.

After that, it wasn't such a concern to break the curse. Peter didn't have to worry about outliving Stiles and, even if they could only be with each other as humans once a lunar cycle, they were immortal with an infinite number of new moons to look forward to.

“My precious wolf,” Stiles murmured against his human skin, magic sparkling at his fingertips as he thrust into Peter. “My beautiful wolf.”

Peter preened under the attention, gasping and arching under his touch. “Mate,” he begged, and Stiles grinned, a wicked flash of teeth that made Peter's heart pound with want. Stiles bit first, initiating the courtship, but at the next new moon it was Peter whose teeth sunk into white flesh and Stiles who bore his mark, their mateship complete.

It was after that, that Peter noticed he could control his shift, able to remain human for longer and longer each time. Stiles noticed he could bleed and wouldn't instantly heal. They both found it hilarious, that in not trying to fight their curses, they were making more headway than when they had been.

Their lives were empty of all but the other, unconcerned with lands or leaders when nothing could stop them. Stiles would dabble occasionally with newly made sparks, teaching them chaotic spells and finding humor in the ruin their selfishness caused. Peter had learned on accident that the nature of his curse could spread, giving him the ability to infect those he bit. Oddly, Stiles had seemed unchanged by their matebite, but the man had simply shrugged, said his curse was older magic than he knew, plus he was one of the few true sparks left. No simple bestial bite was going to bring him down.

Peter had fun spreading his curse though, cackling as the humans who tracked them down maliciously left as beasts themselves. Stiles rolled his eyes fondly, humoring his mate in the mayhem he brought. It felt good, to drink in the chaos, so he didn't mind.

Slowing down brought them to a small town, a young spark frail and withering leading Stiles to them through a desperate cry for help.

“Claudia,” Stiles murmured, as if he was greeting an old friend.

She welcomed them, embracing Stiles’ teaching that set back her demise by sickness beyond magic's control. But Stiles’ magic always had a price and her mind turned on her, on others, until she cursed the same man she'd begged for help. Stiles lingered though, not quite able to so easily cut her out as they did so many others.

“Wait,” Stiles asked of him, and Peter waited. Stiles illusioned himself as her son, giving the appearance of aging, filling in blanks in her husband's mind until Stiles had always existed.

Peter found it humorous that descendants of his curse also resided in the area and Stiles, in his own humor, also illusioned him into their lives, always there, never questioned.

Claudia dying was expected, but it still hit Stiles surprisingly hard. He'd tried all the tricks he knew, even offering part of his own spark, but it only left himself hollow and drained. His magic was never meant to heal. He curled around Peter for a week after her passing, weak and exhausted, slumped with defeat and disappointment.

They still lingered. Stiles found purpose in caring for her widowed husband, feeding him and caring beyond his very nature.

Peter found himself also attached, the younger pups of this pack naive and welcoming of him. He hadn't held a child in so long and he smiled genuinely at the babe in his arms. So young, so precious, so bright.

When the fire came, Peter had no understanding of what held them in the building. He'd never encountered wolfsbane beyond what Stiles occasionally used in his magic, he'd never known of his own curse's limitations. He howled as flames sparked against his skin, furious and hurt and desperate as the pup in his arms suffocated on black smoke.

Stiles swept away the flames as soon as he arrived, but the damage had been done. The sown pack bonds had acted like fuses, following through to Peter and burning up Peter's mind and leaving him hollow. Stiles wept for his mate, cursing his lack of ability when it came to healing spells, chaos and destruction no match for the scars on his mate's face and mind.

“Peter,” Stiles cried, kissing his mate's forehead.

After that, he stayed. A couple of the pups from the pack lived, but they didn't come. Stiles grew bitter as he visited his mate in the hospital, rage welling and feeling the echo of the same from his mate bond. Peter was still there. His curse meant he couldn't leave him, he just needed time to heal. Luckily, that was the one thing they had to spare.

When Peter came to himself and focused on those who'd taken his new family, Stiles hadn't stopped him. When others got pulled into the mix, Stiles fell along with them, barely putting in the effort to magic up an illusion, knowing the short-sighted mortals only ever saw what they wanted to see anyways. He was too caught up in having his mate returned to him anyways, both losing themselves to the pleasure and lust of a lost few years.

Their arrogance led to their undoing, which Stiles should have known and expected, being a chaos mage. Stiles didn't pay attention, Peter wasn't careful, and Stiles could only watch in horror as one of the wolf pups clawed his mate's throat out and Peter's chest stopped moving.

“No,” Stiles plead. “Not him. You can't take him,” he begged over Peter's body, magic thrumming from him and sending everything around him into a blind unnatural panic. “My wolf,” he whispered wetly, hand cupping his cheek. They had broken the curse, on Peter's side anyways, but Stiles had not known. He had not wished to know.

Stiles walked the town empty. There was no life for him without his mate. He hadn't not felt his curse so strongly in millennia.

He should have known that his mate had read some of his tomes, however. Feeling the shift in the atmosphere, the chaotic stench of death magic cloying the air, Stiles jerked awake and knew, even without the familiar pulse from his mate bond.

Stiles ran through the trees, barefoot, howling into the air. Peter echoed his call and soon he barreled into Stiles, nuzzling and scenting and holding and belonging.

“My wolf,” Stiles cried, tears trailing down his face.

“My love,” Peter murmured in return. “You know I would never leave you.”

Stiles cried into his chest, holding him tightly. The prospect of empty centuries, hollow millennia, was terrifying. Magic sparked around them and Stiles’ eyes were void when he met Peter's.

“No one will ever touch you again,” he decreed. “I am the strongest mage of this era, but I was careless. Never again.”

When hunters tried to search for revenge against them, Stiles tore them apart, apathetic in the bloodshed. When the wolf pup that had stolen his mate's spark tried to rise up, it was like a pathetic mewling. Stiles mostly ignored them until the point when the geriatric hunter tried to force his involvement in their petty spat. Stiles set fire to his blood within his veins and watched flatly as he writhed and spat, hatred in his eyes until the moment he died. When Alphas came to try and claim the territory, along with a Darach messing with things beyond their control, Stiles laughed at their good fortune. They worked independently of the the local pups running around unheedingly, chasing down the Alphas one by one and letting Peter take their spark until only one remained.

“Deucalion,” Peter drawled, tasting his name on his lips like one would sip a fine wine.

A challenge and a call in one. The Darach hardly concerned Stiles, but not from inattention. He let her have her fun, her turmoil, then easily stole the magic she'd tainted in hopes of killing the Alpha wolf once she'd failed. She shriveled and died, heart stopping without her magic. Peter roared, fully shifted, and tore into the Alpha wolf, biting down into his heart. As if a knockoff could ever hope to be greater than the original. He laughed, a harsh bark without humor, as he spat the other's blood on the ground by the Darach's still body.

“My mate,” Stiles welcomed his touch, unconcerned as blood painted his skin just as easily as runes had once painted him while he danced in the firelight. Peter pressed their foreheads together and they breathed.

“We could leave,” Peter suggested lowly.

Stiles smiled, a wicked flash of teeth that spoke of chaos and ruin.

“Chaos has come again,” he said instead, anger and power beyond anything a mortal could touch in his voice.

“Nogitsune,” they called him, a nightmare walking and bringing about their destruction.

They feared that which they did not understand. Stiles raged against selfish humans and pups, temper released on those that ran wild without care or concern of those around them. The only ones left unscathed were the ones truly innocent, like the kind Melissa McCall or the optimistic but lonely kitsune Kira Yukimura.

“Possessed,” they reasoned, watching Stiles like he'd never been this way. He only grinned. This was as he had always been, they had merely never seen behind the curtain of Stiles’ illusions until he'd allowed them to do so.

“Chaos reigns,” Stiles declared simply, regally, a king making a statement to his people.

When they left Beacon Hills, it never remembered the existence of the void mage and his cursed mate. Stiles had stripped the town of all lycanthropy, the power in the ley lines, and the power within the nemeton. It would no longer be a beacon to monsters or creatures of any kind.

Peter hummed at his side, pulling him to a stop and cupping his face, watching flames flicker within his mate's void-black eyes.

“Stiles,” he said, because he could, and because the taste of his mate's name would never be marred by misshapen jowls or awkward sharp teeth ever again.

Human lips met human lips, and they both felt cursed no more.