Stiles has a routine he follows no matter how chaotic and very unlike a routine it may seem to others. It consists of going to: school, Derek’s house, Scott’s house, outdoors to chase baddies, and finally home. It’s the familiar pattern he’s followed since his life was plunged into the supernatural world.
The beginning of him straying away from this well-worn path is subtle. Something he chooses to not take notice of until it’s too late.
There’s no special reason as to why Stiles decides to seek Peter out. Curiosity, mainly. Outside of Pack meetings, scary encounters with malevolent or just plain ol’ asshole supernatural creatures, and Peter’s scheming to massacre a lot of people, Stiles hasn’t seen him in a normal, domestic setting. He doesn’t know if it sticks to the story of Red Riding Hood if the innocent little girl wanders off the path after the scary wolf. Or in Stiles’ case, the teenager who isn’t innocent of bloodshed pursues the werewolf out of interest.
Rules are meant to be broken. Also, Stiles’ impulse control has been broken his whole life. His recklessness just got worse after mom died was all.
The first time he leaves what is safe and familiar is when he sees Peter out shopping at the same time he is. Call him dumb, but Stiles has rarely seen Peter out and about acting like a casual human in....well...never. He means to follow along in a sneaky fashion, but that’s difficult to do with a werewolf, not to mention one that’s so attuned to his scent.
“Stiles, as much fun as it is to hear you following me, why don’t you come here? I think we’re beyond silent staring. Besides, that’s Derek’s schtick. No need to take that one thing from him.” Peter beckons, unminding of the startled, odd looks he’s getting from fellow shoppers for saying that. With as much grace as he can muster, Stiles steps out from behind a cardboard display for twinkies and promptly steps in front of a woman hurrying by with a full shopping cart.
“Sorry!” She apologies for bashing him in the hip although she zooms off when Stiles waves away her concern. The spot throbs from his hipbone to his knee, but whatever. Not like he hasn’t been hit with worse. Peter’s been watching the whole exchange and shakes his head when Stiles is finally next to him. He gestures him closer, winding his arm around Stiles’ waist when he steps within arms’ reach.
“Hey! What’re you doing, weirdo?” Stiles hisses, his squirming only stopped by the pressure of Peter’s elongated nails through his clothes.
“Helping you, since you can’t seem to look both ways when leaving aisles. I wonder how you survive crossing streets every day,” Peter muses. The persistent throbbing is lessening, before disappearing as if he never got rammed by a shopping cart. Stiles looks from Peter’s face, which is studiously gazing at the meat in front of them, to his hand on his hip to see black veins standing out through his skin.
Stiles glances around, but no one seems to notice anything weird besides the fact a teenage kid is being hugged by a grown man. Before he can try to squirm away again, because being this close to Peter is causing certain feelings to flare up, Peter’s letting go of him. A breathlessness lurks in Stiles’ lungs that has nothing to do with the pain syphoning that just happened in front of normal unaware people.
So, seeing Peter at the grocery store is likely a fluke. A happenstance that he ran into him in a place where everyone goes. With that mindset, Stiles isn’t expecting to find Peter at the local library a week later, but, more than that, being in a local writer’s group that’s convening there.
Stiles himself is browsing around at the library one Saturday for new reading material. He’s got a book on the history of coffee, a second book on masturbation, and a third on male circumcision. Much as the supernatural fascinates and terrifies him, it’s nice to have a fresh subject to learn about. By chance, he wanders by the study rooms as he makes a lap of the library seeing what new displays have been put up to entice people to explore.
A glance over has him freezing in his tracks. Stiles blinks, looks again, and yep, that’s most definitely Peter. He’s sitting at a table with people of various ages, chatting and smiling like they’re all good buddies. Before Stiles can move away, he’s noticed by a brown-haired teen who grins and waves him in. Reluctantly, he enters, embarrassed to have been caught staring.
“You’re here for the writer’s group, yeah?” the teen girl asks, curious, although she’s still smiling. In fact, everyone is looking at him with happy expressions, like Stiles showing up is a pleasant surprise. There’s no way he can back out now.
“Um - yeah! I just forgot where this was going to be,” Stiles lies, getting an utterly unimpressed expression from Peter. However, no one else seems bothered by this lame excuse. After quick introductions around the table, it’s time to share today’s work and Peter’s up first.
After clicking around on his laptop a few times, Peter is ready to read. “Okay - I’ve added more to my lore. It’s not much, but there’s more psychological dynamics this time,” he summarizes. There’s no missing everyone’s interest as they shift in their seats, eyes focused on intently on Peter. Clearly whatever he’s been writing has got this group’s rapt attention.
Peter straightens up a little in his chair. “Pack is important to a werewolf. This is something that should never be forgotten when interacting with them. To insult, hurt, or kill Pack mates is the most suicidal thing a human or supernatural creature can do.” What - what - the - fuck. Stiles thinks his ears are going to fall off. “Pups and adults alike need constant contact. Scenting and physical affection are the two most common ways for pack mates to reinforce the bond.” Stiles knows he’s gaping, but he physically can’t stop himself. Peter is disclosing intimate werewolf details to regular people like it’s no big deal. But he doesn’t stop there.
“There are known occurrences of werewolves descending into madness and despair from becoming isolated from their Pack. To be so alone is considered a fate worth than death for any werewolf. Pack is everything.” A moment of silence before Peter looks from the screen to all of them, expectant. The reactions from the others are thoughtfully positive.
It’s an older man who speaks first. His appearance is the perfect stereotype of a hippy professor.
“Your lore has a detailed richness to it I’ve not heard often in other fantasy or supernatural stories. It’s impeccable.” This gets a small but genuine smile from Peter. Stiles forces himself to shut his mouth and play along with this insanity.
Now the teen girl speaks up. “I wish we’d heard more about the different relationships! How a romantic connection would affect the bond versus a familial or pack mates. But otherwise, I totally agree with Henrik. Your lore was perfect!” If she uses anymore exclamations, Stiles feels like she’ll be shouting in her excitement.
This is so bizarre that Stiles can’t even react properly as the others comment and critique what Peter has shared. The only reason he can think of as to why everyone’s still so calm about the existence of werewolves is the fact they think Peter’s just making up a detailed background for his story. His fictional story.
But the thing is, Stiles knows that what Peter’s just revealed isn’t casual information. This says something about Peter and his feelings on Pack, past and present. Stiles doesn’t even pretend to listen as the teen girl shuffles her printed pages to start reading next. Despite the fact Peter is technically pack mates with Scott and Derek, there’s no way to disguise that he’s barely tolerated. From the information just revealed on Pack psychology dynamics, this is no way to live, but what other choice does Peter have? To leave or somehow sever the Pack bond would leave him unmoored psychologically, not to mention weakened physically by not having his mates there to back him up when danger showed up, as it always did. The thought startles Stiles that perhaps Peter is unhappy with the way things are. He’d always assumed Peter stuck around because Derek was the only family left and to keep Beacon Hills in some semblance of okay from the supernatural creatures that loved to swoop in.
Of course, this doesn’t mean he comes close to forgiving Peter for killing people when he was the Alpha. However...much as he’s loathe to say it, Stiles can empathize with the loss and suffering Peter’s gone through, having escaped death by fire only to barely be a part of what bonds werewolves together. This is no natural way to live on the fringe of a Pack.
A touch on his shoulder has him wincing away to find that it’s Peter. Everyone else is chatting, laptops and papers put away. Clearly it’s the end of the writers workshop already.
“Something on your mind, Stiles?” Peter asks, as if what he’s revealed is no big deal. Maybe he’s so nonchalant because no one in the room besides him and Stiles knows the truth about the supernatural..
Stiles pitches his voice low. “Why did you do this?” He truly wants to know. What does Peter get from giving away werewolf secrets and knowledge to people who will never understand? Peter’s fingers tighten on Stiles’ shoulder.
“Who else would listen?”
That shuts Stiles up.
It’s all tangled up in his head. On the one hand, Stiles wants to reach out to Peter, but on the other, he’s aware Peter would see it as a form of pity. Instead, he takes to sitting closer to him when they have Pack meetings and giving him light touches. Nothing extreme like hugging, but subtle displays such as reaching out to swat at Peter’s shoulder when he’s being a sarcastic asshole, bumping shoulders with him, disguising it by being more affectionate with everyone else. Perhaps he shouldn’t be surprised that no one questions him giving more hugs and leaning against their sides when talking.
Stiles doesn’t go back to the writers workshop, avoiding the library when the club meets. As much as that accidental meeting revealed to him, it’s clear that this is a safe place for Peter. No one there who knows him as a werewolf or anything but a charming man with an alluring smile. Stiles would like to know more, but it feels too invasive to go back or ask Peter himself. Derek won’t talk while Scott, Isaac, Boyd, and Erica don’t really have the words to describe the bond. It’s still too new to them, many aspects unexplored.
Nothing changes between them, or so Stiles thinks. It seems Peter pays no mind to the extra attention. It’s as if he’s always been touchy-feely with Peter. ot until Stiles’ last lacrosse game of his junior year does it become abundantly clear just how Peter feels about Stiles reaching out.
Really, the game isn’t anything special. The seniors are fired up because this is their last act of winning in a high school match, and everyone else on the team is pumped because of it. No surprise, Stiles has remained the bench warmer for most of the game. He’s never been invested in being the all-star of the team. Lacrosse used to be his and Scott’s bonding time outside of school. That and trying to look cool for the cute girls and guys at school. Neither’s really worked out, but Stiles hasn’t given up on the game. The sport means too much to him and to Dad.
So he really doesn’t think anything of Peter until he sees him sitting right next to his dad in the stands. Scott’s out on the field kicking the other team’s ass, so he doesn’t notice anything out of the usual. Stiles, meanwhile, is staring in surprise. Dad notices him looking into the crowd and grins and waves energetically. In an effort to appear that everything’s fine, that there’s nothing weird about Peter casually hanging out at their lacrosse game or with his dad, Stiles waves back.
“Stilinski! Stop waving at your dad! You’re up next, Greenberg is out,” Coach Finstock hollers over even as he too waves at Stiles’ dad. Stiles jogs out onto the field, reaching out to pat Greenberg on the shoulder as he limps towards the bench. Poor dude. Coach has had it in for him since he joined the team freshman year.
The game is all but in the bag thanks to Scott and Jackson. There’s really nothing for their team to do besides provide cover for those two. And anyways, Stiles is having trouble keeping his eyes off of Peter, who cheers and claps when Dad does. As if he legitimately is having fun watching this sport. Watching Stiles play.
He becomes so absorbed with trying to glance at Peter without making it obvious he ends up getting smacked in the face by the ball (thank god for his helmet) moments before he’s bulldozed by Jackson knocking him over. He’s furious for the obvious miss to the point Scott and two other teammates take hold of Jackson as he shouts at Stiles for being an idiot. Coach is there too, hauling him to his feet, pointing him towards the bench again. Stiles limps along, realizing he’s somehow twisted his ankle in all the chaos.
There’s no time for him to say anything as Peter’s at his side, gently talking down Coach saying that they’ll go get him fixed up with first aid supplies from Coach Finstock’s office. They get only a passing concerned look before Coach is dismissively waving his hand for them to go do whatever. Stiles looks for Dad in the crowd, who’s trying to push through all the people. He waves and smiles, hoping that Dad understands he’s fine, no need to follow. Dad doesn’t smile back, but he does wave to see he gets what Stiles is conveying and stays where he is.
Peter supports Stiles back to the locker room with an arm around his waist as he limps along. The silence and proximity feels heavy with anticipation. If this is anything like at the grocery store, Stiles knows what’s coming next. His sense of importance is heightened, knowing now that Peter is touch-starved for Pack contact, for ties of belonging. Even though Stiles is human, he’s considered Pack just like the rest of them.
Carefully, Peter lowers Stiles onto one of the wooden benches. An irrelevant thought crosses Stiles’ mind: it must stink something wrenched in here, being a locker room. However, Peter only has eyes for him.
“Give me your leg,” Peter says patting his thigh to indicate where Stiles should rest his injured ankle. Stiles does so, his feelings all tangled up. Gently, Peter works Stiles’ shoe and sock off before lightly gripping his ankle.
Stiles’ mouth gets ahead of him. “Are you doing this just for Pack reasons?” Really it shouldn’t matter if Peter’s only reaching out because of needing Pack touch but...Stiles wants...this concerned contact to be more than just a means to an end. Peter’s gaze shifts from his ankle, which is starting to swell up to Stiles’ face.
“I do need Pack touch, but that isn’t why I’m doing this. I want to be close to you. I want you for reasons outside of werewolf needs.” Heat washes over Stiles, his mouth so dry he feels like he can’t talk. He...hadn’t thought of Peter reaching out for him in such a way. A lie. He just hadn’t entertained that possibility. At this point, it’s not even that Peter’s killed people (being possessed by the Nogitsune had changed him), but that Stiles is only a weak human, and the fact that anything romantic between them would be sure to anger the entire Pack against them.
Arousal sparks up his spine, his nipples tingling at Peter’s blunt admission of interest, of his longing for touching Stiles in ways that are more than friendly. Voicing what’s been between them since they’ve known each other. Peter’s nails (transformed from human to werewolf claws) lightly tickle the swelling skin.
His gaze is steady on Stiles. “Do you reach out for me just because of Pack?” A blush flares over Stiles’ skin. He shakes his head no. His heartbeat would give away the lie if he tried to say yes.
The pain that has been twinging in his ankle is gone. Peter’s warm hand wrapped around his ankle is the only thing Stiles feels. He seems to keep straying further and further from the path of safety when it comes to Peter.
It becomes clear a month later how foolhardy Stiles has been in beckoning the big bad wolf close to him. Namely that one day Stiles finds said werewolf curled up in his bed. He discovers Peter there when he comes home from school, a snack in hand, as he tromps upstairs from the kitchen. What catches his attention is the fact that his bedroom door is closed.
He always makes sure to keep his door open when he leaves the house. Easier to spot Scott or Derek in his room that way and to note when something is out of the ordinary. Cautiously, Stiles nudges his bedroom door open his other hand in his hoodie pocket for the mountain ash concealed in a pouch there. Mountain ash doesn’t defend against all supernatural creatures, but it’s good as a distraction if nothing else.
But he gets no further then taking the pouch from his pocket before his brain realizes that the only thing out of the norm is that someone is in his bed and that it’s - Peter Hale! The one and only murderous werewolf is dead asleep (pretending to be) looking far too...vulnerable to be real.
“You awake?” Stiles quietly asks, even as he knows that his tromping up the stairs and chattering to himself would likely have woken Peter up at this point. Indeed he is, for Peter opens his eyes just a bit, enough to look at Stiles through his lashes. His heartbeat is picking up, heat working its way over his body. This is more than just casual cuddling.
Peter doesn’t answer, just pushes back the covers for Stiles to get in. There’s no question of whether he will or he won’t. In moving back the comforter, it’s revealed that Peter’s without his shirt, wearing only sweatpants. The desire - the need- to curl up against the warmth of Peter overtakes Stiles. It’s the only excuse he can give for abandoning all common sense along with his shirt, socks and shoes to climb into bed with a werewolf. Gingerly, he settles himself in. The way anyone does when they have a new person in their bed. The scent of Peter washes over him when Peter moves closer to spoon him. This isn’t just about physically being in his space, but scent marking too. Claiming him.
Peter nuzzles Stiles’ hair. “Are you uncomfortable?” His breath ghosting over his ear sends a pleasant shiver down Stiles’ spine.
A shake of his head. Truly, he isn’t discomfited at all, but rather nervous. Unspoken, this is a confession nevertheless from the both of them. They want this closeness, not just with anyone, but each other. Stiles feels weird lying here with his back to Peter as if he doesn’t want to look at him. That’s not true. He squirms around, unable to help himself smiling in response to Peter’s soft laughter.
Genuine laughter looks amazing on Peter. He really should grin more. As it is, Stiles already wants to kiss that smile off his face.
“So if this is a new Thing between us, does that mean I get to come over and sleep in yourbed?” Stiles asks, doing his best and failing to not glance at Peter’s lips. Not that he seems to mind in the least. Peter leans in to nuzzle his nose against Stiles’.
“I would be disappointed if I didn’t find you in my bed from now on.”
Finally, he can’t take it anymore, cupping Peter’s jaw to kiss him. “Oh my god, you’re gonna tease me to death,” Stiles whispers against his lips, moaning softly when Peter strokes his back. Another grin and seriously Stiles’ heart isn’t going to stand a chance against such fond looks that he’s receiving.
“The perfect use of my time.” Peter replies, kissing him once more.