Peter’s just finished setting up when the new model Laura scouted comes stumbling in, gangly legs and flailing arms almost taking out the lighting.
He can smell the nervousness on him as the kid blushes red, stuttered “sorry sorry sorries” dribbling from his mouth.
And, oh. What a mouth.
Peter understands Laura’s reaction now. Understands why she practically stomped in her Jimmy Choos when Peter said he had enough models on his call list, thank you, no untried models in my workspace.
“Careful, sweetheart. That lighting costs more than we’re paying you.” He drawls from his casual lean against the wall.
The kid yelps, heart rocketing up in surprise. The startled look on his face is reminiscent of spooked prey, and Peter knows that the target demographic of “Howl” is just going to eat this kid up.
If he can model well enough to meet Peter’s exacting standards, that is.
He pushes off the wall, advancing on the twinky little morsel slowly. Maybe he’s enjoying it a bit, the way the kid’s amber eyes widen slightly in recognition of the fact that he’s being stalked by a predator.
Peter’s surprised, however, when he doesn’t react like most humans do in this kind of situation: he doesn’t tilt his head to the side slightly in deference or appeasement or hunker down in his clothes, neck hidden in fear.
Instead, he meets Peter’s gaze almost boldly, chin raised slightly in an obvious gesture that presumes equality of status. It causes Peter to breath in deeper, scenting the air around the boy more closely.
He smells Alpha.
That explains it.
The kid’s taken the time that Peter took blatantly assessing him to regroup and confidently bares his clawless hands, palms down, in greeting.
Peter covers his surprise, returning the gesture after a small pause and flashing his blue eyes in identification. He might give a toothy grin while he’s at it, but he’s never been much of a stickler for protocol.
“Greetings to your pack, Beta. I’m Stiles, Emissary of the McCall pack from Beacon Hills.”
Peter snorts. “The hell is a Stiles?”
The kid glares. Peter sighs, picturing his big sister’s reaction to the way this pack introduction is going.
“Greetings to your pack , Emissary. I’m Peter Hale of the Hale pack, also from the Hill that warns and guides.” He drawls before pulling his hands back. “Now that that piece of tedious social interaction is over, shall we get down to business? Take your clothes off.“
Stiles’ face is priceless.
“Calm down sweetheart. I just need to see what I’m working with.”
“Don’t call me sweetheart, you arrogant-”
His angry response is cut off by the sound of the door to the studio swinging open once more, Laura strutting in in her platform stilettos.
“Stiles, sweetie! I see you’ve met Peter, our resident photographer. I trust he’s been behaving.” She greets, gaze flickering between the two at the obvious tension. “We wouldn’t want another harassment suit, would we, uncle peter?”
Stiles turns to face Peter again, eyebrow raised in judgement.
“A mere misunderstanding, my dear niece. And I’ve been a perfect gentleman with the lovely Stiles here.”
Stiles scoffs in response. “Telling someone you just met to get naked is not being a ‘perfect gentleman’. It’s kind of the exact opposite.”
“Well sweetheart, this is a soft core magazine aimed at werewolves. There’s a certain degree of nudity that comes with the territory.”
Stiles squawks in response, saucer-wide eyes darting towards Laura in question.
She grits her teeth and grates out a ‘thanks for that, Peter’ before approaching Stiles calmly.
“To answer your question: yes, technically, this is a soft core publication. But we tend to be quite well known in the werewolf world for our tasteful shots and spreads. And if you’re not comfortable with the end product then we can always negotiate. If worse comes to worst, we won’t use your shots if you hate it that much. This is just a trial, for you and us.”
“And, frankly, I’m not sure if you have what we’re looking for.“ Peter snarks, eyes flitting up and down Stiles’ form.
“Please. You’ve been eyeing me like I’m the last steak on the grill for the last 5 minutes. You and I both know you don’t actually believe that.” Stiles volleys back.
“I take my steaks raw, pet. Just like I’ll take y-”
“No! Oh gross, Peter! I don’t need to hear you hitting on the models like this! ” Laura wails, hands covering her ears and looking in dire need of some brain bleach.“ Also, what part of ‘harassment suit’ did you not understand? ”
Stiles, meanwhile, is speechless. Absolutely speechless.
And slightly aroused. God damn it. Why is it always the difficult ones that pull him in?