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A Better Attempt

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Stiles and Scott never should have chosen to go out to the preserve on the night of the full moon. They never should have left their warm cozy beds that night. They should be home, safe and sound with the knowledge that their parents -big strong doms who could do anything in the world ever- would be home later to take care of their soft little sub teenagers who maybe shouldn’t be left alone the whole night because they were around that age where teenagers have trouble regulating their headspaces, and Lydia was on a date with Jackson so she couldn’t babysit like she usually did when John and Melissa needed to work late, so maybe they had been feeling a little lonely and understimulated at their houses without anyone to play with them, and the full moon was so big and round and it made Stiles all bouncy and excited, and then he heard that there was a rouge asshole on the preserve running around and biting people, and so he’d been a little curious-

 

They never should have left their houses. Scott should never have let Stiles talk him into looking for a maniac with a biting fetish in the woods, and now here they were, running in opposite directions like absolute idiots because Stiles can hear growling in the background and he’s feeling a little bit scared because that’s not the playful cute growling that Scott does when they play tug-of-war, that was kind of a scary growl that made him wanna curl up in a ball and hide, and-

 

They never should have gone to the preserve on a full moon with a rouge biting man running about.

 

Stiles skids into a tree and is all but frozen when he hears a growl behind him. Directly behind him. He tries not to cry, he really does, but his eyes are stinging and he can feel his throat going tight and closed, and it takes everything he has not to sob.

 

He’s so scared he doesn’t even realize it’s not the same growl that sent him and Scott running.

 

He’s so damn close to breaking down into terrified sobs, but he’s even closer to a panic attack, he’s not breathing right, and he can barely move, otherwise he likely would be sobbing. He can’t hear growling anymore, but he doesn’t know if it’s still behind him, and he’s too scared to look.

 

“Peter, Peter no, you cannot hurt him, he’s done nothing wrong.”

 

Stiles hears the voice from the other side of the mini clearing they were in, another humanoid, he hopes, a woman.

 

“Laura, you’re just going to scare him off again, he’s still confused, whatever that nurse was drugging him is still in him.”

 

There was a soft sigh, and Stiles sagged against the tree he was standing against, feeling all the energy just sap out of him as he attempted to breathe.

 

He slowly slid down to the forest floor, and found himself face to face with the biggest wolf he’d ever seen in his life.

 

It was massive, dark brown fur and big blue eyes, and half it’s muzzle was scarred and missing fur.

 

And it was still the most beautiful creature he’s ever seen in his life. And it was staring so intently at him that he was a little scared, but then it’s tail wagged, once, twice, and a third time.

 

Stiles still couldn’t breathe all that well, his ears were pounding with rushing blood and a headache, he couldn’t hear what the humanoids were talking about, but he shakily reached a hand out to the big guy, wanting to sink his fingers into that soft fur and scratch him behind the ears.

 

It was a Little instinct, he knew that, the need to touch new textures and rub soft things on his face. Sometimes, if something is especially pretty or nice looking, he’ll want to put it in his mouth. Dad said that was a baby instinct, and even though they wouldn’t know his little age for sure until he’s at least twenty-five, when the brain is fully formed and mindspace is easier to define, Dad is sure that he’s gonna be below two. Maybe below one.

 

But he doesn’t care right now, he wants to feel soft fur and give the nice puppy a big hug and maybe nap with him, as babies do when they make a new best friend, and Stiles is sure that Peter is going to be his new best friend, if only he gives him a few scratches first-

 

“Kiddo, kid, hey sweetie, you might not want to do that, he’s still very confused about what’s going on he might not-“

 

Stiles fingers connected with Peter’s big soft muzzle, and the wolf’s tail wagged again, before the muzzle pushed into his cold hand, licking and sniffing him to get his scent. Stiles let out a little giggle.

 

The adrenaline was crashing, his headspace was slipping, he felt exhausted and tiny and still a little scared, he wanted to be home with Scott and cuddle before they went to bed. No, Scott could sleep over with him and cuddle all night. They’ve done that before.

 

Peter was getting closer again, pushing his oversized head into Stiles’s neck, licking at some dried sweat there. Stiles couldn’t stop giggling as the big nice puppy kept tickling him. Doctors say that littles and subs give off different pheromones than doms and caregivers do, so animals can tell the difference between them by smell, but humans can’t really tell to be honest. Peter seemed to love the smells Stiles was giving off now.

 

“Peter, Peter please, it’s cold out and he’s just a little human, he’ll get a chill.”

 

Stiles startled, looking up past the wolf to see a man next to them. He looked familiar, dark hair and scary eyebrows and big eyes and a growing beard. Stiles wanted to pet his beard a little, but Peter the wolf was warm and comfy and he wanted to snuggle up to him for the rest of his life.

 

The wolf sat back on his haunches, so close to Stiles that he could feel the heat pouring off him in waves, and gave the man a pointed look that was way too human, nodding at the man’s jacket and then back at Stiles.

 

The man sighed, shrugging out of the jacket. “You’re right, you’re right, here kid, you need to keep warm, it’s going to get colder out tonight.”

 

Stiles didn’t take the jacket. He was still confused, and he was dropping fast. He sniffled. It was a bit cold out.

 

The man looked back to where the first person he’d heard -Laura- was standing on the other side of the clearing, keeping a pointed distance between her and Peter, who kept growling at her when she got closer. She shrugged. “He’s little, Derek, just look at those glassy eyes, he’s not big enough to know what’s going on.”

 

Derek turned back to him, and Stiles nervously put his thumb in his mouth, not sure if he was in trouble or not right now. He sucked quietly, hoping that all the issues would just go away and someone big would take care of him for now. Peter, his new giant best friend, cuddled down into him, hunching over his shoulders so he could provide a warm blanket of heat against his back.

 

It was nice, but Stiles’s nose was still cold.

 

Derek crouched next to him, taking a moment to let Peter smell his neck, head cocked to the side for better scenting purposes, before the wolf finally sat Bad satisfied. Derek held out the jacket again, this time with it opened for Stiles. “Come here, pup, you’re okay, but you need something warm on right now, okay?”

 

Stiles nervously reached his free hand out to help Derek manipulate his arms into the warm garment, only whining when Derek had to pull his thumb out of his mouth to get the other arm in.

 

As soon as the jacket was fully zipped up, Derek backed off, giving Peter a cautious look. Stiles, calmed a little at the loss of the chill of the night, finally felt secure enough -with a wolf at his back and firmly enough in headspace to be all but useless if something wanted to hurt him- to ask what was going on.

 

“Peter doesn’t like Laura.”

 

Derek looked between Peter and Laura for a moment before giving a sad little nod. “Peter got hurt a while back, and now he’s really confused about what’s happening. Laura looks like our mom, and Mom was never very nice to Peter. He’s wary.”

 

That made sense. He thinks. Stiles nodded. “Peter is a werewolf.”

 

That got all three of them to gawk at him like he was crazy. Laura seemed to open and close her mouth a few times, but genuinely couldn’t think of what to say to that. Derek was giving him a bewildered stare. “Why would you think that sort of thing?”

 

Stiles pulled his thumb out to give his own bland look back, unimpressed. “Wolves eyes don’t glow blue.”

 

Laura shut her mouth with a little snort, rolling her eyes a little. It’s not like no one knows, they just didn’t expect it from a little human-smelling human. “Sweetie, I recognize your scent but I can’t place a name to it, who are you?”

 

Stiles tucked himself back into Peter’s chest, and the wolf looked honestly smug at being used as a pillow. Cute little snuggling up to him, of course he’s smug. “Stiles Stilinski.”

 

Derek hummed. “Stilinski, as in, the sheriff’s little boy?”

 

Stiles nodded, looking proud. He was always very proud of his papa. Papa was the best at everything. Except eating healthy.

 

Derek smiled a little. “Well that’s good. Now, what were you doing out in the preserve tonight?”

 

Stiles sniffled again. “Heard on Papa’s radio that some weirdo was running around biting people on the preserve. Me and Scott got bored and decided to go look for them. Was it Peter?”

 

Derek and Laura shared a long look, before shaking their heads. “No, we’ve been tracking Peter since he got out of the hospital tonight, he hasn’t come across anyone til you. You said you came out with someone else? Where did they go?”

 

Stiles looked around for a moment, trying to remember what direction he came from, before letting out a sad little sniffle and shrugging. “Dunno, we went opposite ways. Is my Scotty okay?”

 

They shared another look between them, before Derek sat down on the ground less than a foot away from Stiles and his big wolfy bodyguard. “I’ll stay here with them, you go look for stray children and whoever is biting people. I’ll take them to the hospital in the early morning when Peter’s calm enough to shift back.”

 

Laura was about to nod in a agreement before she looked back the direction they’d all come. “I’ll be back in five minutes with the emergency bag from the car. I don’t know if we still have pull-ups from when we babysat Maria, but I’ll check for those too. It might be a while out here.”

 

Derek nodded, still watching the little and the wolf burrow into each other. “Yeah, I’ll be fine myself, but he’ll need the supplies.”

 

***

 

Stiles was nice and cozy later on. They put him in a pull-up because they didn’t know if he was potty trained or not -and, admittedly, he’s had more than his fair share of accidents in his life, so it’s probably a good idea- and Derek had basically burrito wrapped him in a thermal blanket before letting him burrow back into Peter’s side with a big hat and too many clothes to feel comfortable if he were indoors. He was so warm and comfy.

 

And he’s probably been dozing for the past six or so hours now, and Derek is glaring at a fully humanoid Peter, who’s naked, and still insisting that they need to wait till later to go back to the hospital.

 

“Peter, he’s a little, he’s probably going to get sick if he stays out the whole night, you’re fully naked and even werewolves get cold sometimes.”

 

Peter rolled his eyes, the expression tugging at the scars on his face. Deaton had taken a look at him the week before when the hospital suspected he might be starting to wake up soon, and said Peter was honestly making an effort not to heal it right away, since it would likely get him quite a few looks.

 

That was almost a full six days after they found the dead nurse in the woods. The police are ruling it as an animal attack, but Deaton said it was obviously a werewolf attack. Derek isn’t even slightly surprised. Not after they found out she was drugging and molesting the coma patients.

 

“Not my fault the hospital never gave me any proper clothes to wear. You’d think they’d give the rape victim clothes, but, I guess that’s too much to ask when they’re male.”

 

The words were sarcastic, but the tone was halfway hysterical already. Derek hasn’t seen his uncle talk this much in over eight years, and even then, he still remembers the way Mom would talk about his ‘fits’ whenever their father was mentioned. Dad said grandpa wasn’t good to Peter. He said that when they were still too little to understand that men, that doms, that werewolves , can be hurt too.

 

Mom never touched him like that, but she got rough with him sometimes, and Derek knew that likely scared and scarred him just as much. Mom was always so insistent that she was better than her father.

 

She wasn’t better. She was just different. Laura was nothing like her, but she looked almost the same.

 

Derek reached over to gently fix the hat on Stiles’s head, pulling it down over his ears the rest of the way, and Peter seemed to lean into the touch, even though it wasn’t him being touched.

 

“I think that we need to get Stiles back to the hospital. His dad is unlikely to not know he’s missing by now. I’d be worried if my pup went missing on the same night there’s possibly a rogue wolf on the loose.” He gently poked Peter in the arm, a little smile on his face when his uncle looked at him with kind eyes. “A few rogue wolves, to be honest.”

 

Peter cracked a smile, pressing his lips to the hat on the back of Stiles’s head, before starting to get up, keeping the little one in his arms the whole way. “Fine, fine, he needs to go back to his family, I guess.”

 

He refused to let go of the little one for the whole walk back to the hospital, until they were in the parking lot and Derek told him he was supposed to pretend to be a human coma patient and wouldn’t be able to carry a teenager like this. Peter had sighed, handing over the vaguely awake teenager, before accepting the blanket instead as a covering.

 

Of course, there was no way of getting through this one without a fuss, and Peter is just thankful he actually accepted the blanket, because he’s feeling the need to wolf out with all these people staring at him right now.

 

In fact, he kind of wants to growl at them till they leave.

 

Stiles stares at him for a long moment from Derek’s arms in the crowded waiting room while Peter is biting his lip not to snap at the nurses trying to help him into a wheelchair, before tilting his head back and saying with a little half sob in his voice, “I want my papa! And my Scotty! Where’s my Scotty?”

 

That alone dragged about half the nurses away from Peter, who was angrily clutching at the blanket pooled in his lap as in one of the nurses might be stupid enough to try and take it. He’s not shy , but if one more person touches him without his complete consent, he’s going to throw a fit to end all fits.

 

He’s tired and pissed and more than a little upset. Most wolves felt a little hungover when they had to go through a full moon while sick, but he swears he could feel his brain swelling in his head right now.

 

The idiotic nurses who are currently the bane of Peter’s existence all flock to the little in distress when Derek says he’s spent just about the entire night out in the woods. Of course, he had protective wolves standing guard and warmer clothes than he’d gone out in, but it doesn’t help them right now for them to know that.

 

Melissa McCall is the one that saves them all, because apparently the ER is overrun that night and they’re partially staffed by nurses from other departments.

 

“Heights, please take Derek and Stiles to the area we’re keeping the other teens in, I’ll take Mr Hale back to his room.” The nurses scatter, and before Derek could let the man lead them off to the other teens -that he assumes were the victims of the biter from earlier that night- Stiles sits up in his arms with a noise of honest distress.

 

“Peter, no, don’t go.”

 

Peter looked just as distressed. He couldn’t help it, he was a caregiver, and here was a little asking for his help by name, upset.

 

He’s never hated hospitals more in his entire life. He’s never hated being looked at like some invalid who can’t take care of himself. He’s never been more upset that he can’t just tell these idiot humans that he’s fine and doesn’t need their help.

 

Melissa ran her fingers through the boy’s buzzed short hair a few times, calming him down with relatively few mumbled words that none of them could make out. “Calm, Stiles. Peter needs to get dressed and I have to be sure he’s not hurt or sick. If all goes well, I’ll bring him by to see you in a bit, but you need to be looked over yourself.”

 

A few crocodile tears slipped down his pale cheeks, and he nodded, looking like his whole world was being torn apart, but he let Derek carry him down the hallway.

 

It felt like Peter’s soul had just been torn out of his chest. He took a shaky breath, trying not to show how much that hurt.

 

Melissa wasn’t like any of the other nurses who thought he was some pathetic abuse victim that needed to be coddled and cooed at. She’s been his replacement nurse ever since he tore the other one in half.

 

He really had been in a coma for a long time, and the things she did to him while he was down… those are going to haunt him for a long time yet… but when he’d started to wake up again, that’s when she’d tried drugging him down like she’d done with the rest of her favorite coma patients.

 

The drugs hadn’t worked to keep him down, but they had left his brain so confused he didn’t know what was happening for a long time. The next time she tried to touch him, he hadn’t been able to hold himself back.

 

Her death was what made Derek and Laura come back. Animal attacks like this were rare in Beacon Hills, and nine times out of ten it was a werewolf.

 

They hadn’t been upset in the slightest when they realized what she’d been doing to the patients. They were glad she was gone. He can feel and smell their guilt every day, absolute guilt over leaving him here.

 

He’s just happy they came back for him. They said Cora was somewhere in Brazil right now, but he’s not sure if she’ll come up to see them. He’ll stick with the family that shows up.

 

But Melissa was the one who’s taken over since the position was… opened… she was a lot better.

 

She didn’t talk to him like he was some child, like he was a little. She didn’t touch him without asking first. She insisted that even patients had the right to be asked first if it’s not an emergency.

 

She brought him books. Everyone just assumed he would want to spend the majority of his time sleeping, just recovering from eight years of exhaustion, but she didn’t assume that. She’d brought him books, and none of them were those shitty hospital gift shop books either.

 

Admittedly, Peter Hale, bibliophile extraordinaire, had elevated her to a near godlike status among the staff here after that.

 

“What other teens?”

 

Melissa was silent for a moment before she replied, as they were heading into Peter’s room. The room was still the boring shade of white and sterile smell that wouldn’t leave his nose no matter what, but at least it was out of the hallways where anyone could see him.

 

They’d moved his room after his last nurse died. At his request, and they could have said no, but they had moved his room, and he was thankful for that.

 

“Some other teens in Stiles and Scott’s year were bit by what your niece and John are saying was a rogue alpha in the area. As far as I can tell, the two of them only just… got rid of him…”

 

Actually, Peter had no idea that she even knew about werewolves to begin with. Maybe that’s why she’s nicer?

 

He looked back at her as she closed the door, an eyebrow raised. “And, what do you think about that?”

 

She frowned, barely holding back an angry snarl. “I think that fucker bit my kid and I’m pissed about it. Half this damn town knows about werewolves, that doesn’t mean we want to have to deal with this shit on a daily basis. None of those teens other than Stiles knows about the Hale pack, the rest of them thought you lot were just a bunch of woodsmen, how am I going to explain to them that none of them are human anymore, but it’s okay , because at least none of them are dead .”

 

Peter nodded, standing up from the wheelchair with a long stretch that he wouldn’t be able to fake the energy for with anyone else. She averted her gaze, but it wasn’t just polite, it seemed respectful.

 

Peter rather thought he liked her.

 

“Don’t worry about that part, that’s what Laura’s there for. That’s what alphas do . None of them are ready to be werewolves, but that’s why an alpha steps in to help them.”

 

He was pulling on sweat clothes, the closest thing he had to looking like he wasn’t a hospital patient against his will, before turning back to her with a curious noise. “Can I get outpatient if Derek and Laura have a house here? I want out of this bleach smelling germ factory.”

 

Melissa couldn’t hold back the little amused smile, looking away and trying to drop the stress for a minute. “Yes, you’ll likely be bullied into getting a home nurse to come by once a week-“

 

“Fuck that. I have two able bodied relatives willing to wait on me hand and foot. Well, I say willing…”

 

Melissa nodded. “Yes, but you’re recovering from a coma, and doctors who don’t know about werewolves are idiots. I’ll see what I can do about that, but you need to make sure Derek and Laura have a house to keep you in before you get out. No hotels.”

 

Peter scoffed, sitting down on the edge of the bed he hated so much. “As if I would stay in a hotel. Barely a step up from here.”

 

“...what happened? Tonight, I mean? I got out of Scott that he and Stiles snuck off to look for the alpha, without realizing he was an alpha, and they split up and Stiles got lost, but… you’ve been quiet in the past month, even on the last full moon? I thought you were still too weak to go out?”

 

Peter was quiet for a long moment, cringing. “I shouldn’t have gone out. I feel like I have the world’s worst hangover. My body couldn’t handle being shifted the whole night, it was too much stress. I shouldn’t have gone out.”

 

“But you did.”

 

Peter nodded, and he just looked purely sad when he said it. “Laura was in the room when I woke up. She fell asleep in that chair. She looks exactly like her mother did when I was little. Exactly like her. I woke up confused and all I saw was Talia, and I was scared. She was my alpha, and for a long time I genuinely loved her for that, but it doesn’t mean you’re not terrified.”

 

Melissa hadn’t known Talia, but she had always thought she must have been a good alpha. No one in her pack ever had a bad thing to say about her.

 

She wondered if all of them were too afraid to speak up, or if Peter was the only one who had anything bad to say.

 

That was more than she wanted to uncover for right now.

 

***

 

The room she lead him to -back in that dumb fucking wheelchair again that he’s starting to loathe- to see the teens, see who his niece is going to take as her new batas, is a small ICU room, curtains between beds for a semblance of privacy most of which were throw open to reveal a bunch of loud bratty teenagers all showing off their scars and talking big about their battle wounds they’ll get to show to the other kids when they finally get to school.

 

Today is the first day of school, it starts in three hours, but none of them are going to make it there obviously.

 

How sad, that none of them are going to have scars to show by the time they get there.

 

Stiles is sitting on a playmat in one of the corners, looking tired, cranky, and also kind of cute.

 

He was in a hospital set of footie pajamas, so Peter wasn’t too worried about him being cold, but he was crankily avoiding some of the other teens trying to get his attention. Mostly, an upset looking redhead girl with a bandage around her left arm, and a blonde boy.

 

It was mainly the blonde boy that he was avoiding, who wouldn’t stop poking him in the stomach. “Oh come on, don’t be such a little brat, you didn’t even get bit like the rest of us did, you’ll be fine.”

 

He jabbed a pointy finger into Stiles’s side, who let out an angry little noise and started getting up so he could run away from the mean jerk. Peter didn’t blame him for that, but he took a moment to look around the ICU room to look at the other teens. There was a curtain drawn covering the two sleeping teens from the rest of the room. One of them was a blonde girl, hooked up to an IV, with a boy sitting at her bedside, gently petting a single finger through her hair.

 

The other one, was where he found Derek. Derek was sitting at the kid’s bedside, one of those frail hands in his own, and Peter could see occasional black lines running up his nephews arm.

 

He wondered where the kid got bit that he’s in enough pain for Derek to worry.

 

Something solid connected with his leg and he looked down to see Stiles clinging to his sweatpants, looking over at Derek and the teen. His voice was barely a whisper when he spoke. “Isaac’s dad hits him, but we’ve never had a big enough incident where he’d have to take his shirt off for something. He got bit on the side, and the nurse made him get the shirt off, and then Scott said Dad showed up and they took him to another room to document the bruising before he’d heal because of the bite, and now Dad thinks they’ll be able to take Isaac away finally.”

 

Derek looked up from where he was standing guard over the kid, Peter finally realized, and gave him a little nod, looking back down to where he was needed. Peter nodded back, knowing that his nephew would stand between any angry parents and the hurt kid.

 

“And the girl?”

 

Stiles looked over at Erica, smiling a little sadly. “She had a bad seizure when she got bit, and it made the bite worse. Her parents are gonna freak out when two days go by and it’s closed up already. Boyd’s been with her the whole time.”

 

Peter considered that for a moment. “Deaton can make her an amulet that will make them… well they won’t want to look at the area. It’ll slip their mind every time. That could be used until it’s been long enough that the scar is conceivably gone.”

 

Stiles gave him a funny look. “Deaton knows magic? Scotty’s boss knows magic?”

 

Peter looked at him funny. “Scott works for Alan Deaton?”

 

Stiles nodded so hard his head might break. “Yeah, Scotty works at the vet’s clinic. Scott got taken to another room after he had a bad asthma attack, and his mom put him on oxygen until he’s better again. He’ll be really happy when he never has to deal with that again.”

 

So far Peter likes Stiles. He knows all the rumors.

 

The little one rubbed his face tiredly into Peter’s knee, looking exhausted. “Laura is gonna have to tell them all soon. It’s not gonna be easy. Scotty doesn’t even believe in magic.”

 

Peter reached down to pet at his head, soothing him in a way that made him go boneless against his leg. He wished he could pull the little into his lap, scent him properly like he’d been doing earlier, but those damn fussing nurses were still about, and they would take the little away if it looked like he was ‘being a bother’. He would growl if they tried. He’d be pissed. He found this lost cub, and he’d take care of him.

 

The blonde and the redhead were glaring at him, like he was crossing some unknown boundary with the teen at his knee. He stared back at them until one of them got nervous and looked away first. It was the boy. The girl looked completely fearless. She was either going to be the best new beta in the pack, or the hardest to control.

 

He honestly looked forward to seeing which it would be.

 

***

 

Peter didn’t get a chance to see the sheriff and Nurse McCall again before Erica and Isaac were brought into another room. They would be with the hospital the longest, and the other kids were nearly ready to discharge from the hospital. Peter left Laura to flail about in an attempt to get their contact numbers for when they inevitably started growing fangs.

 

He was currently fighting with a sticky wheel on the wheelchair while Stiles dozed in his lap. They’ve managed to find a corner of the ICU where they weren’t being constantly hounded by nurses coming to check up on him, so he didn’t mind when the little had climbed up into his lap, tiredly looking for a safe place to sleep.

 

The rest of the teens have been checked out by their respective guardians, and Peter is fairly sure the rest of the nurses still think he’s resting in his room after his nighttime escape.

 

Peter is almost bored in the relative quiet of the room. He’s getting sudden flashes of what it’s like to be surrounded by the sounds of the hospital, the scent of bleach, bright white lights that bother him.

 

He’s not immobile now. He can move his whole body. He’s got a little one tucked into his arms -like god intended, when he was born a caregiver, to take care of little ones, not to be so weak and defenseless and constantly hurt- and he could stand if he wanted to. He didn’t hear anyone coming, he could probably pace a little with Stiles in his arms, gently easing the boy into a restful slumber.

 

He buried his nose in Stiles’s hair at the base of his neck, breathing deep, eyes fluttering shut while his claws bore holes in the metal arm of the chair. It was hard to breathe, so he just spent a minute with his face there. Stiles smelled like sweat still, but also like he’d been given a rub down with some soapy water when the nurses had changed him.

 

It might bother a bit wolf, but to a born wolf, who’s been smelling that since birth, there was actually nothing better than non-chemical soap. Bit wolves always tended to complain that it never covered up the smell of sweat. Born wolves know that sweat only smells bad if you have a bad diet, and the only reason people hate it is because they’re taught it’s gross.

 

Scent was so important to wolves, but covering it up was actually a bit of an insult sometimes. Peter’s spent the past eight years breathing in chemicals. He just wants to bury himself in pack scent and never come back out.

 

Stiles smells a little like chemicals, but even more than that, he smells like himself and Peter, still thoroughly scented from the night before when he’d made sure to rub them together as well as he could in that form.

 

Peter startled back to the present when a hand lay on his shoulder, tightening his arms around the snoozing little until he squeaked, before quickly loosening up again, not wanting to hurt him.

 

It was Alan Deaton. He was standing there with a bag in one hand and the other on Peter’s shoulder.

 

Peter didn’t always used to like Deaton. He used to think the man practiced too much witchy-who-haw for his tastes, and he never understood why Deaton’s house was covered in so many ruins that even werewolves felt uncomfortable there.

 

Deaton’s never been attacked though. He’s probably learned. Maybe if Talia had trusted the man more-

 

Deaton’s been here for eight years, checking up on him monthly -with his regular human nose, that sadly couldn’t detect how inappropriately mingled his and his nurse’s scents had been- and keeping up ruins so hunters couldn’t get into his hospital room.

 

Peter has never trusted the man more.

 

“You okay, Peter?”

 

Peter let out a shaky breath, gently rubbing his thumb against the base of Stiles’s neck. “I want out of this hospital as soon as possible.”

 

Deaton nodded. “As soon as Derek and Laura have a house, they’ll be allowed to take you home.”

 

Peter hummed, shaking his head a little. “Yes, okay. What are you doing here, now?”

 

Deaton held up his bag. “I’ve brought some stuff for the remaining kiddos. Laura is gonna track the others down to explain things, but the ones left are all subs with prior medical conditions that will need a little more help.”

 

Peter nodded, reaching down again to get the wheelchair moving again. “Fine, let’s go see them. I’d like to be able to get out of this damn thing.”

 

Peter was out of the chair as soon as he realized the three teens in the room were still went under in unconscious for the moment, Stiles still tucked up into his side, but a little more awake now. The sheriff was standing between Erica and Isaac’s beds, giving them a little smile when his son lifted his head to look around.

 

Stiles let out a little whine in the back of his throat. “Papa, Papa’s here.”

 

John came over, not nearly close enough to crowd Peter, but enough to grab a hold of Stiles’s slim hand. “I know, Papa had so much to do tonight. I’m glad you’re okay, Stiles.”

 

Stiles smiled a little, sucking the hospital paci on the clip hanging off his footie pajamas in his mouth, giving it a shy little suck. It didn’t take a werewolf’s senses to realize this little absolutely adored his father. “Glad I’m back, Papa. Was real scary out before Peter found me.”

 

John just pressed a grateful little kiss to the back of his only son’s fingers, not wanting to know what would have happened if Stiles and Peter hadn’t found each other. “I’m sorry, Miecio, it must have been horrified. But still, you are grounded till you’re old enough to live on your own.”

 

Stiles made a sad little noise. “Never gonna stop being grounded, am I?”

 

John nodded solemnly. “Grounded forever. Constant babysitters all the time.”

 

Stiles just sighed sadly. It was hard being so tiny. No one ever trusted you with anything, but he fully understands. Right now he’s too little to think of all the nice parties he’ll miss out on, all the interesting dangerous stuff he can get into when he doesn’t have a babysitter breathing down his neck. He’s mostly just sad because being grounded means no running off on his own for whatever his heart desires.

 

He laid his head on Peter’s shoulder, who was watching Deaton carefully inspect each teenager with the help of Melissa.

 

“What’s that, Alan?”

 

Deaton was holding three small wooden medallions in his hand. “Scott, Erica and Isaac can’t show a rapid healing factor. Erica’s parents will freak out if she’s suddenly healed overnight, and as parents to an epileptic child, they will be checking her regularly, and I’m not completely sure they should ever be told about werewolves to begin with. These medallions won’t change a werewolves healing rate, but to anyone looking for scars, they’ll be healing at a normal human rate. Of course, this only applies to cuts, I’ve never seen it fool anyone with a broken bone before.”

 

Stiles sat up a little, looking way too curious for his own good. It’s a good thing he’s grounded, because magic suddenly sounds like the funnest thing in the world to learn. “Can’t they just take them off? Won’t they just take them off?”

 

Deaton nodded, slipping the first medallion over Erica’s head. “Part of the medallion’s magic is for the sake of the patient. It’s hard to notice if you’re wearing one. You have to be actively looking for it, and you won’t want to take it off till it’s done it’s work.”

 

Peter shifted in place with the slowly waking little, rubbing his hand up and down Stiles’s back, hoping it soothed him back into a restful state. It was not working, but Stiles was a little snuggle monster anyways.

 

A squirmy one.

 

“What ‘bout Isaac?”

 

Deaton checked on a bruise the size of a thumb on the inside of Isaac’s collarbone with a sad look on his face before slipping the second medallion over the teen’s head. “I really wish we could let these bruises fade, that we could let him forget they were ever there.”

 

John sighed, looking at the teen with a frown. “Not if we want the court to take away custody rights from his father. He needs to show some sort of evidence, and no one’s going to believe the bruises in the pictures we took would fade in less than two weeks.”

 

That was very true. If the way all the adults were freaking out was any indication, Isaac really needed to go somewhere else. He frowned though. “Isaac’s a wolf now, can’t go to foster home?”

 

John sighed, nodding. “No, he can’t. Laura has already offered to foster him. Until her and Derek are ready for both Peter and Isaac to live with them, he’ll either stay with us, or Melissa and Scott.”

 

Deaton was already putting a third medallion over Scott’s head. Stiles looked between Melissa and Scott for a moment. “Melissa knows ‘bout wolves, Scotty doesn’t need to hide.”

 

Melissa gave an amused little snort, running a hand through Scott’s soft curls. “This is to protect Scott from himself, Stiles. He’s going to panic. We need to ease him into it.”

 

That was true enough. Scotty was going to flip out. Very scared. Well, one good thing out of it; Scotty’s always been a puppy -Stiles’s puppy, Stiles has always thought to himself, because Scotty tended to act like Stiles was his too- and now that he’s a wolf, the instincts should come to him even easier. That’ll be interesting.

 

Stiles let out a jaw cracking yawn, immediately hiding his face back in Peter’s neck again, little whimpering noises coming out. He’s been awake for so long , it’s probably been forever. He wanted his bed and favorite teddy bear and blankie. His teddy bear probably missed him something terrible.

 

There was a hand going through his hair, gentle little noises and coos in his ear, and swaying, very nice swaying that made him sleepy and boneless. “I know, I know, you’re just so tired.”

 

Stiles really was, he wanted to sleep forever.

 

It was safe to sleep now, he thinks. Erica was never going to have a seizure again if this all worked out, and Scott wouldn’t have asthma, and Isaac wouldn’t be with his awful father, and Boyd would likely agree to be friends with all of them so he wouldn’t always be so lonely anymore, and it’s not what any of them planned in their lives, but it’ll be better. They had Laura and Derek and Peter to help them all out.

 

Stiles kinda had Peter too. He didn’t know much about Peter, but he did know that he was a natural caregiver on the far end of that spectrum, and being around a little would probably keep him sane, so maybe having Stiles around would be a good idea.

 

Well, Lydia and Jackson were going to be unbearable. Lydia was a roundabout Domme, which meant she could be any kind of Domme a sub needed her to be within reason, which is why she babysat Stiles so often, but Jackson didn’t show any specific signs of conformity to anything like caregiving even being a master. He was just… regular. Stiles doesn’t really think anyone is regular, but Jackson didn’t have anything that made him stand out to be honest.

 

But since he was dating perfectionist Lydia, he was constantly trying to keep up with her. Offering to babysit Stiles and Scott -a bad idea that neither of their parents have made the mistake to let happen again if Lydia isn’t there as well- and he’s convinced he could be roundabout too.

 

He really cannot. What he can do is get on Stiles’s nerves though. Him and Lydia being werewolves was going to make them insufferable to be around. Jackson might even insist on carrying Stiles with his super strength, because he refuses to do it as a human. Jackson needs to stop pretending he’s a caregiver.

 

He just hopes things work out well, because if any of them went crazy over this now, it would really throw a wrench in things.