“I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.”
There had always been an inept darkness inside Stiles that he couldn’t shake. Peter figured some were just born to destroy. Not him. He’d been made. The same fire that had swallowed up his family had also burned away what remained of his morals.
He’d learned to get over it.
He’d felt free for the first time in his life. A wolf might be stronger in a pack, but he’s also more vulnerable. When there’s nothing to lose, there’s everything to gain.
Stiles did not seem to share his sentiment.
The demon that inhabited his body for the past few months seemed to have altered him.
Stiles was different now.
He was quieter. Less...twitchy...
Peter missed his quick wit and malevolent quips. Even if most of them had been directed towards him.
Especially when they had been directed towards him.
Peter would’ve gladly set himself on fire again, just to hear Stiles laugh at his expense.
He’d seen it once. Truly looked at it .
The confident way in which Stiles moved across the hallway, every step, every look, calculated and observing. When before he’d been a dangly teenager, wanting to be seen and stand out from his fellow ‘powerful’ friends.
But now, he could’ve easily blended with the walls. There was nothing behind those empty eyes. He seemed akin to a walking corpse, controlled through magic, made to roam the earth and look for something to consume.
Peter halted in his steps, couldn’t help himself.
The thing wearing Stiles’ face turned slowly to look at him. His head was slightly angled, as if imitating a look of human curiosity. It was a psychotic look. Inhuman pretending to be human.
He was nothing more than a reanimated sack of bones and skin.
But what a pretty body to choose. What a wicked little mind to play with. Peter felt a pang of envy. He’d love to roam around inside Stiles’ body, one way or another.
There was the inkling of a smile on the boy’s face. As if he knew exactly what Peter had been thinking. It sent shivers down his spine.
That smile would haunt him in his dreams.
“How did it feel?” Stiles asked.
“When I fell from heaven?”
“I was going to say; when you crawled out of Hell.”
Ah. There’s his boy.
Peter chuckled. “Not so bad, the climb wasn’t that steep, really.”
If he didn’t have werewolf hearing, he wouldn’t have heard Stiles whisper to himself; “Then why can’t I get out?”
Life certainly took a strange turn when Stiles started dating his daughter. And Peter swore that the little prick just did it on purpose.
Malia would meet him, drenched in Stiles’ smell and it would eat away at him more so than any lingering memory of the fire ever did.
Or he’d watched from the safety of the shadows as he kissed her and there would be a glimpse of Stiles’ eyes looking directly at him. Mocking him.
So, that’s how he’d figured he’d build himself up again. By destroying someone else.
She was a rebound, nothing more than that. They’d fucked for the first time when Stiles had been committed in Eichen House, as if that didn’t tell Peter all he needed to know. She’d been a distraction from his deteriorating mind then, and so was she now.
At the very least, Peter could still take a small sadistic comfort in knowing that Stiles was still fucking some part of him .
He’d said something along the lines of that to Stiles once. Just to mess with him. To watch the boy choke on his spit and flush at the perverse insinuation.
“I know,” he then replied, leaving Peter at a loss for words.
Chess is Stiles’ game.
Peter had heard his rusty old jeep squeek to a halt in the parking lot, long before he barged into his apartment.
“You called her, didn’t you?!”
“By all means, do come in,” Peter said, unable to hide his joy.
“You called Malia!”
“Of course I did, Scott needed her urgently.”
“No, he didn’t, or else he would’ve called me .”
Peter inhaled the stink of hormonal teenager polluting the air as he calmly put down his book and got up from the couch. He had timed that perfectly, it seems, judging by how rattled Stiles was.
“I’m truly sorry if I interrupted your five minutes of grope and grind, it was not my intent.”
Stiles snorted. “Yeah, right. You’re a fucking piece of work, you know that?”
“Please, Stiles. Flattery will get you everywhere with me.”
There was a pause and for a terrifyingly brief second Peter thought that Stiles might leave it at that. But then he just got closer instead.
“It’s not five minutes for your information.”
“Very good to know, I’m glad to hear you’re treating my daughter well.”
Stiles stuck his hands inside his pockets and rolled back and forth on the balls of his feet, eyes glued resolutely to the floor.
“This is weird,” he said. “You shouldn’t - say stuff like that, it makes it weird.”
Peter knew he had him. When the boy dared to look back up, Peter motioned for him to take a seat in the armchair as he resumed his own.
“It’s just that I’m concerned for you two, that’s all. I’ve picked up on some - frustrations with your relationship on her side.”
“What kind of frustrations?” Stiles asked, his fingers picking at the fabric of the chair.
“Well, she might’ve mentioned that lately you don’t seem to be able to... perform ...as well.”
Oh, how he never grew tired of seeing those mole dotted cheeks turn pink.
“What? She told you that?”
“No, she told it to Lydia, but I happened to overhear.”
“Eavesdrop, you mean.”
Peter did not care for the accusatory tone. Even if he was correct about that.
“What is it, Stiles? Did those things you were trying to run away from finally catch up to you? Or is it perhaps the opposite? Do you miss them?”
Stiles did not reply. He just sat there, cowering in silence. His eyes were glassy but he remained still, as if Peter wouldn’t see him if he just didn’t move. But Peter did see him. He always saw him.
“I don’t want to talk about this,” Stiles choked out, his voice sounding wrung out and tired.
“That’s it, isn’t it? You miss the darkness, the power it provided. You finally knew what it was like to hurt others, to replace your own pain with theirs.”
“No...” Stiles said. He shot up out of his seat, heading for the door, but Peter was faster. He cornered Stiles against it.
“It felt good, didn’t it? It felt good to kill. All that power coursing through your puny little human body. How could you not miss that?”
“Stop -” Stiles said, his eyes aflame, so unlike the Nogitsune’s, so full of fire. After all these years, Peter still hadn’t learned not to mess with fire.
Perhaps they were both still trapped in Hell after all.
Stiles might’ve been crying when Peter kissed him. He might've had his eyes open or closed, he wasn’t sure. All he knew was that he wanted to be consumed by the flames, that he’d become an addict over time.
He wanted those lips to return him to ash.
Skinny fingers dug into his arms, pushing Peter back.
“What are you doing?” Stiles asked.
The look of confusion hurt Peter in a way he hadn’t expected.
What does he mean, what are you doing?
This is what they’ve always done.
Peter stayed away from him after that, resumed his role of lurking in the back at meetings.
The boy would meet his eyes, but there’d be a strangeness in his look. Was it defeat? Peter leaned back against the kitchen counter, listening to the other members of the pack chittering away in the living room.
At least he’d gone out with a victory.
From the sound of it, the meeting was coming to an end. Everyone gathered their things and got ready to leave.
Stiles loitered behind, until they were alone.
Peter's heart fluttered at their proximity. They hadn’t been alone since…
“What is it, Stiles? You need help with your backpack?”
“I’ve been thinking, and it must just eat you up, doesn’t it?”
“You don’t care,” Stiles simply said. “You don’t care about anyone. You don’t care about Malia, who is your daughter. Or Derek who is your nephew. Or even Scott, who you’ve bitten. They all have some sort of connection to you, but you just don’t care about them.”
Peter stood there with his arms crossed, waiting for whatever point Stiles was trying to make, waiting for the gasoline smell to hit.
He then all of a sudden remembered that it had been Stiles who had set him on fire the second time around. Or maybe he’d never forgotten in the first place.
“But, you do care about me,” Stiles finished, swinging his backpack over his shoulder.
“And I’m so sorry about that, Peter.”
Perhaps that look he’d seen on Stiles' face hadn’t been one of defeat, it might’ve been pity.
He’d always had a hard time distinguishing between the two.