Stiles expected quite a lot out of his college career. After all, he’d done well in high school, if not socially, then definitely academically. He’d survived the soul-crushing oppression of having to deal with Jackson Whittemore’s constant stream of bullshit and actually managed to come out the other side with a close friend or two.
It was definitely way more rewarding to be friends with Lydia Martin than to sigh with disappointment each time she clicked past him in the halls. In retrospect, he’s actually really glad she never gave him the time of day when he was in pining mode. He wouldn’t give up bantering with Lydia Martin for all the deep fried comfort food in the world — and right about now, he could seriously use some.
As it is now, he’s hungry, irate, and feeling more than a little deprived in every sense of the word . The decision to leave his social circle far, far behind for the clean-slate college experience was, apparently, destined to backfire on spectacular scale. He wasn’t connecting with his roommate on quite the level he’d expected — that is, if being sexiled every other night could be considered connecting at all — and it was turning into the radioactive cherry on top of the bullshit cake.
And now here he was, on Lydia’s orders, exploring his ever-developing sexuality at the closest gay bar. He bit and suckled at his lower lip, trying to tuck himself into his hoodie and become as small as he possibly could. Perhaps not the most intelligent decision in this particular dive, but, really what else was he supposed to do?
He had somehow, through some bizarre twist of fate, become that one tiny twink at a gay biker bar called The Cubby Hole. There was no way he was going to be able to explain this to Lydia without her losing her shit completely. That is, if he made it back to the dorm without being kidnapped or killed or some other, equally terrifying twist of fate.
“Somethin’ wrong, sweetheart?” A mountain of a man is towering over him.
“I, uh…no. Thank you. Sir.”
The man laughs from a place deep in his belly, and Stiles doesn’t think he’s ever seen quite so many gold teeth in one place. “You catch that, Nate? Kid called me sir!”
“Is that not something that happens often?”
“Most folks call me ‘oh shit’. But around here it’s ‘Little Steve’.”
“Little Steve.” Stiles reaches out a tentative hand to shake the big, meaty one offered and finds the grip and subsequent shake surprisingly painless. “What does Big Steve look like?”
There’s another round of laughter, and another biker — nowhere near as huge, but still a lot more built than Stiles — saunters up next to the guy and puts an arm on his shoulder. “I like him. Can we keep him? Hey, Peter! What do you say, can we keep the little guy?”
Nate — this must be Nate — is calling down the bar, and suddenly the bartender is sauntering over and… wow. Just wow. Stiles has only recently had the opportunity to look at male specimens outside of a high school locker room, and while not exactly Beacon Hills’ usual GQ model fare, the man is definitely handsome.
He’s got a strong jaw dusted with scratchable stubble, broad shoulders, and capable hands. He also has tattoos that begin at the side of his neck and sweep down below the subtle V of his Henley. His sleeves are rolled up above his elbows, baring muscular forearms with just a hint of visible veins, and apparently that’s a thing for him. Stiles may or may not be staring.
He blinks once, twice, and looks back up into a pair of mischievous blue eyes. He knows , because that is exactly the way he looked every time he mad-rigged Finstock’s office. The toothy grin isn’t unfamiliar, either, though on this guy it looks less ‘Why yes I am a little shit’ and more ‘Why yes I am in the mood to devour nubile young flesh like yours’.
He doesn’t know the man, but he already likes him. The effect only strengthens when he arches a brow at Nate and Little Steve. “I’d say it depends on whether he’d like to be kept.”
His speech is articulate and light, with an almost breezy, whispering tone. It makes Stiles want to lean in and listen closely; ideally with as little distance between them as possible. He’s not having quite so many doubts about his sexuality just now.
“I, uh...could be persuaded?” he tries, and hell, if he sounds half as awkward as he feels. Maybe they’ll keep him around just for comic relief.
Peter studies him, his eyes sweeping up and down. “Could you now?”
Stiles doesn’t quite know what to do with that, and the look in his eyes is predatory, sure, but he’s got no way of knowing if that’s a positive reaction or just the way Peter is. The other two must get some kind of memo Stiles doesn’t, because they’re grinning and moving off toward a larger group at the pool tables.
“What brings you in here, Little Red?”
“Little…” Stiles looks down at himself, taking in the bright red hoodie, and can’t resist the automatic response, “You went there. Why does everybody go there? How would you like if I called you Tight Pants?”
“You want an honest answer?”
“I’m going to go with no.”
Peter offers up another smile; this one a little more gentle, and Stiles smiles back. It might be the first one of the night. He plants his elbows on the bar and leans in. “So, what’s the deal? Is Little Steve ironic, or is there seriously a bigger Steve, because let me tell you- ”
And that’s about when his stomach decides to growl as if Ragnarok has finally begun. Stiles jerks and grabs his stomach, as if he can stifle the noise, “Er. Sorry, I didn’t really...eat before I came? I mean, I had a cookie for breakfast, and I skipped lunch. Thought maybe I could scrape something together for dinner, but then--”
“Please don’t tell me the ‘something’ was Cup Noodles.” Peter has a horror-struck look on his face, as if the boy across from him has announced a predilection towards sacrificing newborns to his yuppie gods.
Stiles bites his lip, feeling suddenly even more sheepish, and whines, “I’m a college student!”
As if that fixes everything. Really, he has no idea why Peter looks so torn up.
“So you came to a gay bar looking for something to eat?”
“Well, technically I, uh--got sexiled again. My friend Lydia told me I should make the best of it. Do some exploring, so…”
Peter sighs and shakes his head, as if Stiles is some kind of hopeless case. He says, “Stay here”, as if Stiles has anywhere else to go, and disappears into the back. Stiles fiddles with the strings of his hoodie, taking in the place with a little more interest now that the situation doesn’t seem quite so scary.
The place is brightly lit, and surprisingly pleasant-smelling. Like they make a solid effort to keep the place, if not nice, then at least respectable. The decor is mixed, but not distracting, and there are pictures everywhere.
Stiles makes a mental note to inspect them later before Peter returns from whatever he’d been up to. He places a large tupperware container on the bar between them and waits. Stiles looks it over, investigates the contents; even places his hands on the freshly-heated plastic before taking a deep breath and inhaling the scent.
It’s rich, with a homey depth that makes him feel just that little bit less alone, and — sweet mother of mercy, that’s bacon he smells. Peter is his new favorite person. “Uh, I’ve gotta warn you, dude. If this tastes as good as it smells, you’ll never get rid of me.”
“Let’s hope I’ve done a good job, then.”
Stiles pauses, looking back at the bin. He pokes at it with the fork. “You made this?”
“Mmhm.” Peter is watching him intently, as if he’s perfectly content to observe Stiles playing with his food. “Cooking is something of a passion of mine.”
“Eat. It’s pasta, not a painting.”
“You, uh… you know I can’t actually pay you for this, right? I… well, I left my stuff back at the dorm and I’m sort of completely broke anyway.”
“Consider it a favor, then. I need more room in the fridge.”
“Yeah, I guess I can buy that.” Stiles smiles lightly before digging in, cutting the noodles down before twirling them around the fork and bringing the first bite up to his lips and-
“ Fuck me ,” he whimpers around the mouthful of buttery, creamy melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Peter is definitely his new favorite. Absolutely. Peter is in charge of cooking forever. When he finally opens his eyes to peek out at the man in question, he realizes that he’s being stared at. “Uh…?”
“Is that an open invitation?” Peter’s voice is a little rough at the edges, and suddenly Stiles is more than a bit embarrassed.
“Oh. Oh wow. I’m sorry. I suck. That was — that was my bad.”
“Not at all.” Peter’s grin is, once again, sliding towards the predatory, his eyes fixed on Stiles’ mouth. “Please, enjoy.”
He saunters off down the bar, continuing what Stiles can only assume is business as usual. He engages in rapid chatter with regular patrons, drawing the occasional bouts of raucous laughter with ease.
Stiles watches the slick spill of his mouth, the way his muscles move under his skin, and the natural confidence inherent in his every move. He feels his face warm, and it isn’t just the heat rising from the home-cooked food in front of him.
He could maybe get used to this.
Stiles finds that he can, in fact, get used to it. Once he’s finished with Peter’s home-made carbonara, Nate pops back up to the bar to rope him into a friendly game of pool. When he insists that he’s never actually played before the man pats him twice on the shoulder and winks , like they’re sharing some kind of secret.
He’s actually surprised when Stiles proves that he knows jack all other than hitting the little balls with the funny stick until they fall in the pockets.
The rest of the evening is spent learning pool from a bunch of overgrown kids in leather and denim, and Stiles can’t remember having this much fun since back in Beacon Hills. Halfway through, Peter makes it back to the nearer end of the bar to clear out the Tupperware.
“Enjoying yourself?” he calls.
And Stiles yells back, “I’m stripes!” like that alone is a personal triumph. Considering the amount of time it took for the guys to articulate the process of breaking, he’s counting it as a win.
Slowly but surely, his companions beg off to head home, extracting enthusiastic promises that he’ll come play with them again, which is nowhere near as terrifying a statement as it would have been at the start of the night. Stiles is a little surprised to find that he is eager to come back.
Racking up the balls for one last lazy game with Nate and Little Steve, he realizes that he’s actually making friends here — far more easily than he has been on campus — and it doesn’t feel strange at all.
It’ll be a hell of a story for Lydia, but for now he’s busy enjoying himself.
When Nate and Steve finally head out, arms slung around each other as if preemptively snuggling off the chill, he realizes that he’s stranded. There is no way he’s making the walk back to campus in this weather.
“Crap,” he mutters, fussing at the tip of his pool cue with his thumb, residual chalk dust smearing across the pad.
“And here I thought you were having a good time.”
Stiles only jumps a little when he hears Peter from just over his shoulder. He turns his head, offering up his biggest self-satisfied grin. “I only scratched four times.”
“Bravo,” Peter’s answering smirk is more teasing than condescending, but Stiles puffs up anyway. “If you wanted to not suck completely, I’m sure I could offer my services.”
“Don’t you have work to do?” Stiles surveys the rest of the bar and finds the place, surprisingly, empty. Well, that was fast. He doesn’t know whether to be intimidated or impressed. “You really wanted to get me alone, huh?”
Peter rolls his eyes. “It was closing time. Am I assuming you’re just that reluctant to leave such pleasant company?”
“That and the fact that I’m not so keen on hiking back to campus in negative hella degrees.”
“How did you even get here?”
“The waning warmth of day, youthful zeal, and a sock on the doorknob.”
Peter just laughs. “So you’ll need a ride back.”
“I would love you forever. Or until you did something profoundly creepy. You’re not going to do anything profoundly creepy, are you? I’m too young to be a statistic.”
He snorts. “How does this sound: I’ll teach you how to be slightly less pathetic at pool, give you a ride home, and you can… I don’t know… pay me back for the gas when you get a chance.”
Stiles is smirking back, now — the patented ‘little shit.’ “You just want a chance to press up against my ass, don’t you?”
“Are you complaining ?”
“Point. Please proceed.” He turns back to the pool table and lets Peter gently manhandle him into the correct posture. At first it’s awkward, then tauntingly sexual in a way Stiles isn’t entirely sure he’s prepared for.
Peter is warm around him, and it’s… well, it’s a lot more than he ever had in high school, that’s for sure. He doesn’t even know this guy’s last name, and he’s already contemplating five different routes directly into his pants.
But Peter actually knows what he’s doing. He alternates wisdom and experience with playful teasing. “What are you doing with your thumbs right now? That’s not even cheating, that’s just stupid. Show me how you plan to move the pool — there you go.”
After a bit of ‘instruction’ Stiles is perhaps a tiny modicum less pathetic than he was initially. But he can’t say he’s not having just as much fun as he had been with the others, if not more. Their interaction becomes easier, intimate with laughter and smooth conversation.
He doesn’t feel threatened at all.
In fact, looking at Peter as he wrinkles his nose, apparently disgusted at Stiles’ complete ineptitude at keeping the pool cue in his hands ,and not launching it at the nearest unguarded body part, he feels sort of… at home.
Stiles isn’t sure how he failed to realize that Peter would be taking him home on a motorcycle. Logically, this is a thing his genius brain should have processed, given the type of bar and the virtual lack of cars of any kind in the parking lot.
Still, when Peter escorts Stiles to the monster bike and presents it with a flourish and a “Your carriage awaits,” he’s not exactly sure how to proceed. How does one with approximately zero personal coordination go about mounting a giant metal horse? (Ideally without falling onto one’s face on the other side.)
After an awkward moment or two shuffling about with his hands in his front pocket, Peter takes pity on him, mounts the bike, and helps the teen with his helmet and offering a hand over.
“You might experience a draft.”
Stiles goes to swat his shoulder, but abandons the idea with the least masculine squeak ever when Peter gets her started up and roars out of the parking lot, shouting a laugh and wrapping his arms tight around the trunk of Peter’s body. Once he’s done losing it over the fact that they are rocketing down the street without the added protection of roof, windows, and doors, he finds that he’s actually enjoying himself. Sure, it’s cold as hell with the wind whipping at him, but it’s also a lot more exhilaration than he’s felt in a long time.
Peter is warm and solid pressed against his front, and the vibrations of the bike are new and kind of soothing. He can feel it rumbling up through him to settle in his chest, and he smiles wide, baring his teeth in the chilly air.
When Peter yells, sailing through the next intersection, he finds himself throwing his head back and joining in. He can feel the laughter in the body before him, just under the worn leather of the jacket, the colorful threaded work of his various patches, the make and model of Peter.
Stiles is content.
When Peter finally rolls up in front of the dorms, he helps Stiles dismount, careful of the new shakiness in his legs. He doesn’t let go of Stiles’ hip until he’s certain the man is completely steady on his feet. He waits patiently while Stiles takes off his helmet and hands it back, cradling it in his lap like some kind of gift as he offers a hand to shake. “Been nice meeting you. Peter Hale.”
“Stiles Stilinski.” He reaches to return the gesture, not entirely surprised when Peter reaches to clasp his wrist rather than his palm. “Guess I’ll see you around.”
“Guess so.” Peter grins. “And Stiles?”
“Next time he puts a sock on the knob? Plastic wrap the door. Then come see us.”
Stiles decides that he will.