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Good Lock-Picking Skills Make Good Neighbors

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"Derek Sebastian Hale, if you do not unlock this door right now I am going to redefine your adolescent definition ofpain." Peter stands outside of his apartment door, struggling not to let his claws spear the doorknob.  

He’s been in charge of his sister’s children for less than a full day, and he is so incredibly close to losing his mind all over his oldest nephew it’s not even funny. In moderation, he loves them like crazy. In his apartment, he’s struck with the impression of a particularly effective ad for birth control.

A round of giggles strikes up on the other side of the door, and Peter realizes that all of them are laughing their perky little butts off at his predicament. He’s not going to call their mother. He will not bare his throat to the enemy.

This means war.

“Uh… Peter, right? Our mail got mixed up a few days ago.”

Peter stops short of ramming the door with his shoulder when a voice calls to him from surprisingly nearby. How did he not notice that? The potential witness is an attractive young man with an armful of groceries, short but messy brown hair and a pretty face. He wears thick-rimmed hipster glasses and a flannel shirt, and Peter feels a sudden and inexplicable urge to rip his clothes off.

“Hi. Hello. I’m afraid you find me at a loss.”

“More than one.” The man grins. “I’m Stiles, your new neighbor. I’d shake your hand, but...uh…?” He lifts his shoulders, hiking the groceries up demonstratively.

“Let me help you with those.”

“Oh, I’d hate to interrupt.”

“Please. Give me a chance to calm down before I kill them all.” He growls the last bit at the door, and another round of howling laughter is muffled through the wood.

“Sure.” Stiles laughs. “Come on, I’ll make you some tea or something.” He manages to unlock his front door and shoulder it open, nodding for Peter to enter.

Peter follows Stiles into the kitchen and sits at the island while the other man busies himself with putting away his purchases, including three boxes of sugary cereal and four different flavors of PopTarts.

“Just gimme a sec, I finally got the kitchen completely unpacked. I think Danny put the tea… up … damn it.” Stiles huffs, his hands planted on his hips as he stares at a high shelf that he is apparently unable to reach.

“Need a hand?”

“You’re not that much taller than me. How are you going to… oh.”

By the time Stiles has finished speaking, Peter’s rounded the counter and planted his hands on the other man’s hips, hoisting him up easily to reach the contents of the shelf.

Stiles retrieves a container of tea and kicks his feet a bit, and Peter sets him down. Once he’s planted back on the floor, Stiles rests his hip against the counter and regards Peter with a sly smile. “I like a guy who can hold me up.”

“What are your feelings on being held down?” Peter rumbles.

And then there’s a howling from next door. His sister’s children are a bunch of cockblocking bastards. He groans, letting his head thump forward onto the younger man’s shoulder.

“Your kids are kind of evil.”

“They’re not even mine. I just can’t say no to my sister.”

“That explains the whole locking you out thing.”

“I’m not afforded the same courtesy as their parents?”

“Sorry, but nine times out of ten aunts and uncles are just tall children.”

Peter rolls his eyes.

“The way I see it, you’ve got three options : One, you call the leasing office. They’ll let you in free the first time, but after that they start to charge. Two, you try the fire escape. Three, you let me pick the lock.”

“You can pick locks?”

“Sheriff’s kid.”

“That does not explain why you can pick locks.”

“Doesn’t it?” Stiles waggles his eyebrows.

Peter goes with Option Three.


The next morning, Stiles wakes up to strange noises in his kitchen. He creeps from the bedroom with his baseball bat cocked and ready at his shoulder and finds a small mob of children gathered around his kitchen table.

The milk is uncapped in the center and there is more cereal on the table than any of their bowls. The youngest girl looks up at him with stuffed cheeks and lisps, “Oopths” through a mouth full of artificial flavoring.

Milk dribbles down her shirtfront, and Stiles can’t even be mad. One of her sisters mops at the stain, reminding her to chew with her mouth closed, Cora, good grief.

“Do I wanna ask why and how you’re all here?”

“Peter doesn’t buy Froot Loops.” The older brother shrugs. “And we tried the fire escape.”