All told, the peace lasted just over a week. Which, not quite coincidentally, was one day longer than Stiles' father kept him out of school.
Sionn had started to adjust to the idea that the supernatural was not just a mythological notion, but in fact a regular part of his life now. Not that it was all bad - he and Boyd had had a number of conversations about Boyd's potential future in law enforcement after high school. He'd also warmed up to the Pack enough that he was getting used to walking into his house to find some combination of Boyd and Erica with Stiles.
The two Betas had practically moved into the Stilinski home. Stiles had done what he could to convince them that their parents were probably missing them, but he was quickly shut down. Erica's parents were busy with work, and, according to her, as long as she wasn't in danger of another seizure and wasn't getting in any trouble, they let her be.
"That's got to kind of suck," Stiles had said.
Erica had only shrugged. "Sometimes, yeah. But things are working out better now. I don't care if my parents forget about me. That's what the Pack is for," she'd told him. "Besides, your dad's pretty cool."
Stiles had grinned at her. "I'll share him. Sometimes. In dire situations only. And alternating Thursdays, maybe."
She'd nodded happily and gone back to her bowl of noodles.
Boyd hadn't even given him an answer. He'd just shrugged, not even looking up from his own bowl. "I won't be missed," was all he said. Stiles hadn’t asked for more after that.
He should have known better than to bring up the subject after Peter had made homemade noodles for them all. No one was all that keen on talking about their broken families, Stiles included, but when there was home-cooked food to add to the mix? Any chance for a serious conversation went out the window.
His first day back to school was relatively uneventful, if he didn't count the stares that followed him. His wounds from Collier were all covered and out of sight, but there remained the fact that he was once again the subject of a particularly juicy rumor. People still believed that he was in a three way relationship with Boyd and Erica, but this time the rumor had more to do with the dead body found in the woods. Small towns being what they are and all, it hadn't taken long at all for people to find out that there was history between Collier and the Stilinski family.
The rumors ranged anywhere from Collier abducting him to the woods, to Stiles hunting the man down and brutally murdering him before Collier could come after Stiles or his father.
The truth of the matter, however, was that Jasper Collier's body had been found just a few yards away from a bear's den. In pieces. Many of them. Peter had been particularly smug about it, telling Stiles that the Pack hadn't even needed to expend that much energy in getting rid of the body. Mother bears do tend to be particularly aggressive when there were cubs in her den.
Stiles didn't miss the way Scott and Isaac stared at him throughout the day, nor did he miss the evaluating gaze that he caught Allison shooting his way every once in a while. Erica and Boyd didn't miss it either, but they didn't say anything about it until after the three of them had retreated to the Stilinski house for a procrastination-and-leftover-meatloaf-fueled Mario Kart marathon.
"What was going on with the powerpuff girls today?" Erica asked, just as she finished creaming both Boyd and Stiles in their second try of Rainbow Road.
"Isaac's going to talk to one of us soon," Boyd said. "He reeks of loneliness, and he doesn't smell as much like Scott as he has for the past few weeks." He paused the game and looked up at Stiles, who was sprawled on the couch next to Erica. "If he doesn't go to Derek, he'll come to you."
Stiles frowned. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"You're Derek's Second, moron," Erica said, restarting the game and choosing yet another track that she was ridiculously talented at. "Why wouldn't our lost little puppy come to you?"
"Because I'm so far the opposite of nurturing," Stiles said.
Boyd paused the game and looked up at him again, ignoring Erica's disappointed groan. "Right. Since the rest of the Pack is just the prime example of cuddles," he said. "You're the Second, and on top of that, you've got that connection to McCall. It may be diminished right now, but if Isaac's looking for Pack or answers, you're probably the one he'll go to. We're not going to leave you on your own with him, but that's not going to change things."
Stiles grinned. "I think that's the most you've ever said at once," he said. "I'm flattered."
Boyd just snapped fanged teeth in Stiles' direction.
Erica opened her mouth to say something before falling silent and looking over her shoulder at the front door. "McCall's at the door," she said, a wicked grin growing on her face. "You want me to get it?"
"No. Hell no. Not a fucking chance," Stiles said. He tossed his controller out of the way, hoping one of the werewolves would catch it before something broke, and vaulted himself over the back of the couch. "You just stay there and kick Boyd's ass again."
"Rude," Boyd called, even as he selected the same character – Yoshi – and got ready to start the next round.
Stiles ignored him in favor of heading over to the front door. He took a deep breath, hoping to steady himself. It didn't work as well as he'd hoped, but he opened the door anyway.
Scott immediately pinned him in place with the puppy eyes. "You're hurt."
Stiles shrugged. "I'm a human in a werewolf Pack. Shit happens," he said, stepping onto the front porch and closing the door behind him. The conversation may not be a pleasant one, and Erica and Boyd were no doubt eavesdropping shamelessly, but if they reacted badly to anything Scott might say, Stiles wanted to at least make it a little bit harder for them to get to Scott.
"Yeah, but I heard this was because of that Collier guy," Scott said.
Stiles shrugged again, this time not saying anything.
Scott frowned at his silence. "I know you said that I had to wait until you were ready to come to me, but I can't," he said. "Not when you come to school smelling like blood and Erica and Boyd are acting like your bodyguards, not letting anyone get close enough to you to even touch you."
Stiles nodded. "I know."
"But you're not telling me that I fucked up again," Scott said, his expression lightening a bit. "Does this mean that we can go back to the way things were before?"
"No," Stiles said calmly. He'd resigned himself to having this conversation during his week at home, and he knew what he had to say. That didn't mean he had to like it though - he and Scott had been friends for years, and this was going to be a painful conversation no matter what. "No, we can't ever go back to the way things were before. Too much has changed."
"But they can change back," Scott said. He had a stubborn set to his jaw that Stiles recognized. There was no way to get out of this without a nasty argument happening, and Scott was already convinced he was in the right. Which meant he’d feel no shame about stepping on Stiles’ feelings if it meant he’d win. Most of the time, Scott was just an overgrown puppy, but when he got seriously angry, he could be almost as mean as Stiles. Almost.
"No, Scott, they can't," Stiles said. "You worked with the same hunters who strung me and Erica and Boyd up in a basement and tortured us. Shit, you used the one person who's been consistently trying to help us both so that that same fucking hunter could live longer!" he said, throwing his hands up in the air in frustration. “And on top of that, you’re still keeping secrets!”
Scott glared at him. “I’m not the only one keeping secrets. We’re supposed to be best friends!”
“And we were. Until you decided that it was better to work with a goddamn family of hunters!” Stiles snapped. “The Argents have blood on their hands, and we all know that! It’s just fucking moronic to agree to help them!”
“He threatened my mom, Stiles!”
Stiles paused for a moment, taking that into consideration and taking a breath to try and calm down before he started yelling. “You had other options,” he said, doing his best to stay calm. “Derek would have taken you and Melissa into the Pack and he would have protected the both of you. Or you could have told my dad that some geriatric asshole was harassing her. He would have done something even without knowing about the whole supernatural clusterfuck that was happening at the same time.”
“He couldn’t have stopped Gerard!” Scott said, though he was starting to sound a bit desperate.
Stiles pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “Dude. My dad thinks your mom is awesome. If he wasn’t still hung up on my mom, I’d be placing bets on when he was going to ask her out,” he said. “You could have said your mom was getting harassed and that you were worried the asshole was going to actually do something, and he’d have assigned a cop to stick with her twenty-four seven! Shit, half a dozen of my dad’s deputies would have volunteered for that!”
Scott fell silent, a strange look on his face.
“You had plenty of options. You just deliberately ignored them.”
“Just like you did before you killed that guy. Collier, or whatever,” Scott snapped.
Stiles straightened himself, his eyes narrowing. “You wanna rethink that accusation, maybe?” he asked, a warning tone in his voice.
Scott didn’t say anything, but his eyes started glowing gold.
“Scott, there were four different federal agencies looking for Collier. Cops in eight different counties were looking for him. The mob was looking for him. A biker gang was keeping an eye out for him in Southern California, Arizona, even down into Mexico. My dad wasn’t sleeping because he was going through all of his contacts and calling in more favors than he actually had to try and find Collier,” Stiles said. “I was in no way working alone on that, and if you’re going to throw shit like that around, try to make sure you can actually back them up.”
“No. I’m done,” he said. “Get the hell out and don’t come back until you’ve gotten your head out of our ass.” When Scott made to step forward, he held up his hand. “I’m serious. And if you try to force your way inside, I will call my guard dogs.”
“Watch it, Stilinski,” Erica called. Stiles frowned. He hadn’t realized the windows were open. “I may or may not be housebroken, and I might take offense to the insults by-“
“If you piss on the couch you have to explain it to my dad!” Stiles yelled back.
“Your dad loves me!”
“He likes Boyd most,” Stiles said before turning back around to face Scott, who did not look happy about the conversation, or about Erica’s quiet agreement with Stiles’ statement. “Once you get your head out of your ass and realize that working with hunters is nowhere near the same thing as having to kill a fugitive who, while he was on trial for murder, called me at home and told me in detail about how much he was looking forward to draining my blood and bathing in it, we can talk,” he said.
Scott glared at him, not willing to say anything else.
Stiles pointed toward Scott’s old motorcycle, which he’d parked dangerously close to Stiles’ Jeep. If there were scratches, Stiles would only be more pissed than he already was. “Go get on your bike and go home or to Allison’s or to wherever, and go away until you realize how much of an ass you’ve been lately,” he said.
For a moment, it looked like Scott was going to continue to argue with him. A few long seconds later, he nodded and headed out to his bike.
Stiles stayed on the front porch, watching Scott drive around the corner. He stayed there, watching the road until he could no longer hear Scott’s bike. He wasn’t quite worried about Scott coming back, but he wanted to make sure he couldn’t see any particularly wolf-shaped shadows chasing the bike, either from the road or from the woods just beside it.
“Hurry up, Stiles! I need some real competition in here! Boyd can’t handle turning Yoshi for shit!” Erica yelled. “And you have a freaky kind of mojo with Princess Peach,” she added when Stiles didn’t immediately come back inside.
“Yeah, yeah, hang on a sec,” he said, going back inside. He headed into the kitchen, pulling his phone out of his pocket. After a brief moment of internal debate, he called Derek.
He answered on the second ring. “Stiles?” he asked. “What’s wrong?”
“What makes you think something’s wrong?” Stiles asked, reaching into the back of the pantry for the chips he hid from his father.
“Because you’re calling me, not texting, and you already know I’m coming over later? Is there something going on?” he asked.
“Not really. Nothing important, really,” Stiles said, making a triumphant noise in the back of his throat when he found the chips. “But if you could make sure you can like physically see Peter for the rest of the night, that’d be great.”
Derek hummed, unimpressed. “What happened.”
Stiles pulled the phone away from his ear to scowl at it. “Ye of little faith. What happened to the question mark at the end of that question?”
“Stiles, there was a dead body in your house last week. It’s going to take a while for me to get past that,” he said. Stiles was almost certain Derek bit back the “suck it up” that would have only gotten his hackles up, and he grinned. “Why am I babysitting Peter?”
“You’re babysitting me?” Peter asked from somewhere behind Derek.
“Am I on speakerphone?”
“Yes,” Derek said. “Why?”
“Just wondering. Look, if you could make sure that Peter goes nowhere near a certain not-Pack werewolf who shall not be mentioned by name,” Stiles said, hoping he wouldn’t have to explain any more than that what was going on.
Both Hales were silent for a moment, though he could hear the vague sounds of a scuffle taking place on the other line of the phone.
“What did McCall do?” Derek asked, though there was no missing the slight growl in his tone.
“I’d really rather not get into specifics.”
“But it was that bad?” Derek asked.
Stiles nodded, forgetting for a moment that Derek was on the phone and couldn’t see him.
“It was bad,” Boyd called. “Erica’s probably going to kick his ass the next time she gets the chance.”
“It will be public,” Erica said, sounding all too smug about it. “And extremely humiliating for him.”
Stiles groaned. “It’s not that bad.”
“Yes it was,” Erica said. “Hurry up with the snacks, peasant!”
Derek huffed out a quiet laugh as Stiles grumbled under his breath at the command, both of them knowing full well that Erica could still hear him. “I’ll come over early, and I’ll bring Peter.”
“And food,” Stiles said. “My dad’s working late tonight to prep for court tomorrow morning and he’ll stop off here before he leaves, so he won’t be here for dinner, and I don’t have enough snack food in this house to sustain two werewolves and me.”
Derek grunted. “We’ll be over in five minutes.”
“Thanks, dude,” Stiles said before hanging up.
And here's a feel good chapter for Christmas. Enjoy!
Derek walked in the back door without knocking, and it was only thanks to Boyd’s subtle nudging of Stiles’ knee that he didn’t jump when the Alpha werewolf suddenly appeared in the living room.
“You’re late,” Boyd said placidly, looking over at Derek with a small smirk on his face.
“Two minutes and forty some-odd seconds,” he said. “I thought you were bringing Uncle Serial Killer and food?”
“Eavesdropping is rude,” Stiles said from his spot on the couch. After bribing Erica with his last bag of chips, he’d flopped down on top of her. He’d meant to annoy her, but she’d just shifted enough so that she was settled between Stiles and the back of the couch, all without compromising her view of the television. Boyd had made himself comfortable by pulling Stiles’ legs into his lap and grabbing the remote so he could change the channel over to the Fairly Oddparents, which was both surprising and not.
Boyd grinned over at him. “Because you’re the model of polite behavior, right?” he asked.
“Obviously,” Stiles said with a sniff.
“You’re a moron,” Derek said, though he seemed almost amused. “Peter’s parking his Jeep down the street and making sure that McCall’s not trying to lurk around somewhere to get his hands on you when you leave the house again.”
Erica squirmed out from her spot on the couch enough to sit up and look over at Derek. “Is he going to bring food?”
“He ordered it on the way,” Derek said. “Why are you watching cartoons?”
“Because the Mets are losing,” Stiles said, at the same time that Boyd growled. “To the Yankees. It’s ugly.”
Derek frowned slightly but didn’t say anything else.
“What’d he order?” Erica asked.
“Thai food and pizza,” Derek said. He looked at the three of them, looking suddenly less anxious, before narrowing his gaze on Stiles. “Did he touch you?”
Stiles frowned slightly. “What, like, the bad-touch?” he asked. Derek rolled his eyes, so he took that as a no. “He got a little bit close, but he never laid a paw on me,” he said. “Just yelled.”
Derek nodded, though he didn’t look pleased. “Peter’s going to be possessive until the whole thing with McCall is completely resolved.”
“He’s been okay, for the most part,” Stiles said.
Derek huffed out a laugh. “He’s been able to keep himself under control since McCall’s been keeping an appropriate distance. But when he shows up on your porch and threatens you, I can’t really tell him to stay away.”
“Why not?” he asked.
“He’s not Pack,” Boyd said, pitching in. “There’s always going to be a potential threat from someone who’s not Pack.”
“That’s why we’re going to stick close for a while,” Erica said.
“And that’s why Peter’s going to be more possessive,” Derek said, nodding at the front door just as it opened.
Peter walked inside, making a beeline for Stiles. He pulled the teenager out from between Erica and Boyd and into a tight hug, rubbing his cheek over the top of Stiles’ head. “The front of your house reeks of that Omega,” he said, a growl to his voice. “If I knew any better, I might think he scented your porch on purpose,” he said, pulling Stiles’ head into his shoulder.
Stiles leaned into the embrace, relaxing even as he felt the telltale pinpricks of claws against his scalp. “He might have,” he said. “People underestimate him a lot. He might be naive, but he’s not a complete moron about everything.”
“You’re going to stop talking about Scott now,” Peter growled quietly, tightening his grip on Stiles.
“Right, yeah,” Stiles said, his voice slightly strained. “Dude. I can’t breathe.”
“Let him go, Peter,” Derek said.
He did so, albeit slowly.
“Why is your father willing to let you stay home alone so soon after a fugitive came into your house and tried to kill you?” Peter asked, staring almost suspiciously at Stiles. “And while you’re injured, no less?”
“He’s up to his neck in court cases, and the whole thing with Collier has its own mount ant of paperwork,” Stiles said. “And I promised him I’d be okay on my own.”
“You can’t promise that.”
Stiles shrugged. “I can’t, no, but there’s no psychotic fugitive after me right now.”
Erica grinned. “And you do have a few kickass werewolves to back you up, and we’re not going anywhere,” she said.
“You’re sure about that?”
“How many nights have we already spent here? Do you really think we’re going to change anything tonight?” Boyd asked. “Your dad’s already set up the guest room for Erica.”
Peter smirked. “And the three of you spend the night in Stiles’ bed more often than not,” he said.
“Only because it annoys you so much. But he is pretty good in bed,” Erica said, smirking over at Peter.
“Remind me why I haven’t beaten the brat out of you,” Peter said, his hand coming to rest on the back of Stiles’ neck.
Derek growled lowly, flashing his eyes at Peter.
Erica grinned, throwing a hand in Derek’s direction. “That’s why.”
Derek growled again. “We can get back to the playful banter once we’re sure you’re going to be safe,” he said.
“What’s that mean?” Stiles asked. “We’re together. There’s no immediate threat.”
“There is from Scott,” Peter said. “He lost control once when you refused to bend to his will. He could very easily lose it again, and this time he may end up hurting you.”
“You don’t know that for sure,” Stiles said.
Boyd scoffed. “But you can’t promise he won’t,” he said.
Stiles opened his mouth to say something, but Derek shook his head. “Peter’s right. Until we know for sure what Scott’s going to do, we need to think of him as a threat. Do you have any way of keeping him away from you until you’re ready to talk?”
Erica grinned suddenly. “Give me ten minutes with him and I’ll make sure McCall leaves our boy alone,” she said. “And I’ll even get him to apologize for being an enormous ass to you,” she added, looking over at Stiles.
He smiled weakly back at her. “That’s sweet and terrifying, but really not necessary,” he said. “If Scott doesn’t get the hint that I don’t want to talk to him now, then he’s going to have to deal with me getting mean all by myself.”
Boyd laughed quietly but didn’t say anything.
Derek looked entirely unsure about the idea. “You don’t want one of us talking to him?” he asked.
Stiles shook his head. “Hell no, dude. I mean, I get that you’ve all got that enhanced strength and shit, but for a while Scott was my only friend. I know how to handle him, and all brute force is gonna do is piss him off and make him even more difficult to deal with,” he said. “So if we could, maybe spend the night eating shitty food and watching shittier movies and forgetting as much as I can about that conversation with Scott. And I will kick you out if you try to push the matter,” he added, glancing pointedly over at Peter.
“If I hadn’t already ordered takeout, I might consider being offended at your food preferences this evening,” he said, nodding toward the multiple large carryout bags piled haphazardly on top of the coffee table.
Stiles stared almost warily at Peter, waiting.
Peter nodded once, slightly.
Stiles returned the nod, knowing that was going to be the best sign of acknowledgement he got out of the older man. “Fantastic. Then I vote the first movie be American Werewolf in London.”
“Your taste in movies is disgusting,” Derek said, looking around for the best spot to sit.
“Says the one who watched all. Nine. Hours. Of that Ken Burns baseball documentary while we were sleeping off the effect of the Alpha Pack,” Erica said. “Can’t we just watch something with a decent plotline and better eye candy?”
Stiles shrugged. “I’ve got Galaxy Quest. Or the entire Avengers series so far, among others,” he said.
Boyd tossed Stiles his copies of the most recent Star Trek movies. “Or we could watch these,” he said. “That’s got both, and we can all pretend that you and Peter aren’t going to spend half the movie trying not to grope each other.”
Stiles went bright red.
Peter chuckled. “I’d like to have something to eat before we get to the aforementioned groping,” he said.
“There will be no groping,” Derek said. “Partially because Stiles is still underage, and mostly because I don’t need to smell any sort of my uncle’s arousal. Ever.” He looked over at Peter. “And if you try any shit like that, I will break your fingers. All of them.”
“Nephew, while I may not mind putting on a show, exhibitionism is not one of my personal kinks,” Peter said. “And I would certainly hope that rule applies to your wayward little teenagers. I have no interest in smelling any sort of arousal from either of them.”
Derek made a slightly pained sound, pinching the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. “There will be no groping during Pack movie nights,” he said, his voice strained. “Between anyone.”
Erica pouted. “Even you?”
“Especially me,” Derek said, sitting pointedly in the armchair, out of Erica’s reach.
“So that’s the first rule,” Stiles said, a shit-eating grin on his face. “There is no groping in werewolf club.”
Erica returned the grin, unsubtly prodding at Boyd to prompt them.
He sighed heavily and, with great reluctance, asked the question they all knew was coming. “What’s the second rule?”
“There is no groping in werewolf club,” Stiles and Erica said simultaneously before bursting out into peals of laughter.
Boyd just rolled his eyes and queued up Star Trek on the television, waiting for Erica and Stiles to calm down and for everyone to get seated, before starting the movie.
A few days passed and Stiles was able to start ignoring most of the rumors. It was helpful that one of the freshman got knocked up – teen pregnancy with an unknown but highly speculated babydaddy beat out suspicious, possibly bear-related death of a fugitive. It was a strange fact, but one that he was not ungrateful for. If the populace at large paid him no attention for the rest of the school year, he might finally be able to start seriously relaxing. Hypervigilance and paranoia brought on by nightmares were never fun.
Fortunately, Erica was able to distract him from the not-hushed whispers about Kelly Mitchum’s possible babydaddies. “McCall’s talking to Argent again,” she said as she dropped into the seat just behind to Stiles. Third period bio with her was never exactly what he could call boring, even if her current choice in topic of conversation sucked.
“I saw,” Stiles said, trying and failing to keep the bitter note out of his tone. “What about it?” he asked, turning around to look at Erica.
Erica just gave him a flat look. “That means that our stray wolf is out on his own, Stiles,” she said. “He’s vulnerable.”
Stiles frowned, knowing exactly what Erica wanted to hear from him. “I’m not good at recruiting,” he said.
“But you and Isaac have McCall in common.”
Stiles scowled. “More like a lack of Scott,” he said, turning around.
“Fine. Be difficult,” Erica said. “But you do still have something in common that Boyd and I can’t offer.” She looked up toward the front of the classroom, pretending to pay attention as their teacher launched into her lecture. She only waited a few minutes before leaning forward to rest her chin on Stiles’ shoulder. “I talked to Boyd.”
Stiles hummed, doing his best to try and ignore her.
“He thinks it’s a good idea.”
“He thinks what’s a good idea?” Stiles asked before he could convince himself to stay quiet.
“We’re bringing baby boy back to us,” Erica said. “So me and him are going to talk to Isaac at lunch.”
Stiles didn’t say anything for a moment. He wasn’t opposed to bringing Isaac back into the Pack, but he wasn’t sure how well the transition would go. For as much as he still cared about Scott, he knew his friend could be particularly vicious when his feelings were hurt. Scott wouldn’t try to set him up, but Stiles didn’t know what Scott had been saying during the inevitable rants about their arguments.
Erica seemed to pick up on his hesitation, if not the reasons behind it. “We’re not going to pull him back and kick you out or anything, and if he’s turned into a complete tool, I’ll tell Fearless Leader and he can sort Isaac out for us,” she said. “And if he weirds you out, you can hide behind me. Or Boyd, if he’d make you feel safer.”
“You’re being oddly nice about this,” he said quietly. “In any other situation, it would probably make pretty good mocking material.”
She was silent for a moment. “Yeah, but I can totally understand the reasons behind your hesitation. Bringing wolves back into a Pack is complicated, even without addressing the drama that kept them away in the first place,” she said, her voice wavering a bit.
Stiles was silent, thinking about that statement.
When Erica spoke again, her tone was much gentler. “Boyd and I want to make sure he’s doing alright, even if he doesn’t come back to the Pack. We’re not going to force you into the conversation if you don’t want to be in on it,” she said.
“I’ll sit in on the conversation,” he said. “I can’t promise I’ll be able to say anything, but I won’t try to pick a fight or anything,” he said.
Erica pecked him on the cheek. “Thank you,” she said before leaning back in her desk and turning her focus onto the lecture.
Stiles did his best to follow her example, but he couldn’t keep his mind focused on the lecture, too preoccupied with thoughts of how the conversation with Isaac would play out.
As soon as the lunch bell rang, Stiles found himself flanked on both sides by Erica and Boyd. They went into the cafeteria together, getting their food in a tense, almost expectant silence before looking for Isaac. They found him sitting at a table in one of the far corners of the cafeteria, picking absently at his food instead of eating it.
“Are you up for this?” Erica asked, looking over at Stiles as the three of them made their way over to the table.
He frowned, not entirely sure what to say. He’d be okay with the conversation as long as there were no uncomfortable or awkward revelations.
Erica looked over at Stiles, who finally just shrugged. They carried on a silent conversation for a few seconds before Boyd sighed heavily, rolling his eyes as he pushed around the two of them. He dropped onto the bench across from Isaac and looked over at the two of them, watching them expectantly.
Stiles nodded to himself and followed suit. He sat down next to Boyd, while Erica sat next to Isaac.
Isaac looked around at all three of them, obviously confused at what was going on. "What the hell are you guys doing?" he asked.
Stiles shared a quick look with Erica before nodding resolutely to himself. "Eating lunch," he said, looking over at Isaac. "What's it look like?"
"No, I got that much, thanks," Isaac snapped. "What the hell are you doing eating lunch with me?"
"You look like you could use the company," Stiles said. "Especially since the Disney couple are talking to each other again," he said, nodding at Scott and Allison, who were sitting at a table together on the other side of the cafeteria.
"Disgusting," Erica said lightly, not even looking at them. "Are you going to eat your pudding?" she asked Isaac. "They were out of chocolate by the time I got there."
"You can have it, but I want the chips in your backpack," Isaac said.
Boyd smiled over at Stiles as the two made the exchange. "You gonna share any of your food?" he asked.
"If you want some pre-masticated peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sure," Stiles said, taking a bite and chewing with his mouth open.
"What about those cookies you brought in?" Boyd asked, dutifully ignoring Stiles’ deliberate attempt to be obnoxious.
Stiles grinned. "Sure. Peter made extras," he said, taking the paper bag filled almost to bursting of cookies out of his backpack. "Cinnamon sugar and white macadamia cookies. I just grabbed a handful on my way here."
"He was baking in your house?" Erica asked.
Stiles shook his head, his face going bright red. "I stayed the night at Peter's place," he said.
Erica's grin went shark-like. "Really."
"Slept in the same bed and everything, I bet,” Boyd chipped in as he bit into a sugar cookie.
"Realllly," Erica drawled out, looking over at Stiles.
Stiles scowled over at Boyd, snatching his cookies away. "I hate you both."
Isaac frowned over at Stiles, obviously confused. "Peter Hale? The Peter Hale that was dead for a while?" he asked. "You're fucking the zombie?"
"Not yet," Boyd said. "But it's only a matter of time before they do end up in bed together. Well." He paused, looking over at Stiles. “I’ve got the feeling you and Peter are gonna get into some nasty, kinky shit and we’re going to walk in on it. Frequently.”
Stiles glared over at him. "Really. We're going there?" he asked. "Because I've got a video of you getting ready for role-play with Erica, and it involves-" He didn’t get the chance to say anything else, as Boyd clapped a hand over his mouth, effectively shutting him up.
Erica narrowed her eyes at Stiles. "Why haven't you sent a copy of that video to me?" she asked.
Boyd hadn't moved his hand, so Stiles just gestured almost viciously at him to make his point.
She nodded, humming to herself. “Is it on your phone?” she asked.
Stiles stayed silent, glancing pointedly up at Boyd. He just grinned back down at Stiles, so he just shrugged, not giving anything away to Erica.
“Are you going to keep your mouth shut about certain shit if I let you go?” Boyd asked.
Stiles nodded as much as he could, mumbling an agreement that was muffled by the hand still clapped over his mouth. When Boyd removed his hand, Stiles scuttled as fast as he could to the other side of the table, out of his immediate reach.
Erica grinned at him and opened her arms. “Come to Auntie Erica,” she said, halfway pulling him into the embrace. “Tell her all of your woes and she can make the hurt go away.” She couldn’t completely stifle the cackle as she pulled Stiles close to herself, and when Boyd let out a quiet, warning growl, she flashed her gold Beta eyes at him, looking entirely too amused by the play. “Sorry baby, he’s untouchable until I get that video out of him.”
Stiles grinned. “Not gonna happen,” he said.
“You’ll slip,” she said. “I can be quite.” She smiled slyly at Stiles. “Persuasive,” she purred.
“I don’t swing that way, sorry.” Stiles couldn’t quite ignore the derisive snort Boyd let out. “Shut up,” he said. “Loose lips sink ships and all, plus, there’s no way I’m losing the hottest werewolf bodyguard I’ll ever had.”
Erica laughed. “I outrank the Hales in that?” she asked.
Stiles leaned back against her, confident that she’d support his weight. “You fill out a v-neck so much better than either of them,” he said.
Isaac just watched the happenings with a bemused look on his face. “What the hell is going on here?” he asked.
“I have two gorgeous people fighting over me,” Stiles said, looking over at Isaac. “Also, we’re re-absorbing you. Prepare for that.”
“We are not re-absorbing him,” Erica said. “We’re just bringing him back into the Pack.” She looked over at Isaac, asking a silent question. When he nodded, she smiled beatifically at him. “Good. You’re back. Me and Boyd go running at about five every morning, and we’ve been doing Pack movie nights at Stiles’ house on Thursday nights,” she said. “You’re welcome to hang out with us again. In fact, it’s mandatory. But if you eat any of my dumplings when we order Chinese food, you have to give me a dollar for each.”
“Really?” Isaac asked.
Boyd nodded. “She almost bit my finger off when I tried to take one a few weeks ago,” he said. “Even Derek respects the dumpling rule.”
“Won’t he be mad at me for leaving?”
“We left,” Boyd said. “And he welcomed us back without saying anything.” He shrugged. “The worst you’ll have to deal with is Peter.”
“Peter the zombie, Peter?” Isaac asked.
Erica nodded. “Stiles can rein him in, though. He’s the zombie whisperer.” She grinned, pecking Stiles on the cheek and no doubt leaving behind an impression of her red lipstick. “Among other things.”
Stiles went bright red but didn’t say anything.
Isaac was silent for a long moment, clearly weighing things over with himself. “It’s Thursday today,” he said.
Boyd nodded. “We’ll head over early, but we won’t start watching movies until probably like seven o’clock, when Derek and Peter come over,” he said. “It’s probably going to be pasta tonight.”
“Because Peter’s really good at cooking, and he bought like four boxes of spaghetti the last time he was at the store,” Stiles said. “And apparently Kraft mac and cheese four nights a week is not an appropriate thing for a growing teenager. I did not realize how weird the dude got about food sometimes.”
Erica grinned. “You haven’t realized this before?” she asked.
“He’s really weird when it comes to you in general,” Boyd said.
Isaac frowned. “Why do I get the feeling that I’m missing something big here?” he asked, looking between Stiles and Erica.
Stiles shrugged. “You are,” he said. “But I’m not going to talk about it until I know we’re not around anyone I don’t want listening in.”
“You’re worried about that?” Isaac asked.
Stiles shrugged again, not saying anything else about the topic.
Knowing when to change the subject, Erica let go of Stiles and looked over at Isaac. “Are you ready for the French test later?” she asked, pulling her study sheet out of her backpack. “Because I’m having some trouble with the formal and informal conjugations of irregular verbs.”
As the two of them quickly settled into an impromptu review session, Stiles looked over at Boyd and grinned. “Wanna be my study buddy for Econ?” he asked.
He sighed, acting highly put upon, and rolled his eyes. “Get back over here and we can compare notes from the homework,” he said.
Stiles nodded and did as told.
Stiles didn’t say anything for a long moment, choosing instead to take in the sight before him. Isaac was standing on his front porch. Well, sort of. He was more shifting back and forth in place, hugging his arms around his chest and looking generally uncomfortable about being there. “Hey Isaac,” he said finally. “How’s it going?” He knew the invitation had been issued - he’d been there when it had been extended - but a not entirely small part of him never expected Isaac to actually take them up on it.
“Stop being an asshole and let him in, Stilinski,” Boyd said from his spot in the armchair in the living room. He raised his voice a bit, just enough for Stiles to hear him clearly but not so much that he was speaking above a conversational level. “Otherwise I’m gonna have to get off the chair and come make you move.”
“One day I’m gonna find a way to kick your ass and survive it, and I’m going to enjoy that day immensely,” Stiles said, though he moved aside enough for Isaac to come inside. “And then, once I’m done with you, I’m stealing your girl.”
“Dream on,” Erica said, not so much as budging from where she’d sprawled out over the length of the couch. “Not only am I incredibly out of your league, Boyd’s mine. You can be one of my boys, but Boyd is always going to be my bottom bitch.”
Boyd appeared without warning beside Stiles, an entirely too amused grin on his face. “The day you find a way to kick my ass is the day I win the lottery,” he said.
“You don’t play the lottery, babe,” Erica simpered. She leaned up enough to look over the back of the couch at the three of the, and the expression on her face was frighteningly similar to Boyd’s, though she’d loosened her control on her shift enough that her eyes were glowing gold, making for an eerie picture in the dimmed living room.
“That’s the point,” Boyd said. “Now get out of the way, Stiles.”
Stiles shot a half-hearted glare at Boyd. “You just need someone else on your team so we can have a decent Call of Duty competition,” he said.
“Damn right,” Boyd said. “Come on, Isaac.”
Still hesitating, Isaac glanced over at Stiles, who sighed gustily and motioned for him to come inside.
Isaac grinned as he edged around Stiles. “Are there any rules while I’m here?” he asked. “Because I’m pretty sure your dad would be pissed if he came home to see teenagers all kinds of wolfed out.”
“It wouldn’t be breaking news for him, but it would definitely not be good,” he said. “It’s kind of basic, as far as rules go. If you’re going to wolf out, don’t lose control and don’t hurt Stiles. Don’t break anything, and stay out of my dad’s office. It’s locked, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but that’s about it.” He frowned. “Oh yeah, when we get pizza, Dad doesn’t get any of the meat-lover’s slices. And Erica is no longer allowed to try to feel me up.”
“That’s a rule,” Isaac said disbelievingly.
“A very recent one. Made about three hours ago,” he said, glancing over his shoulder at Erica, who grinned but didn’t say anything. “So how good are you at the basic video games?”
“MarioKart, Smash Brothers, Call of Duty,” Stiles said. “I’ve also got a few others, but we’ve been sticking to those first three for a while now.”
Boyd slapped Stiles gently upside his head. “You have Erica on your team. Stop trying to poach more talent.”
“This is the only way I know how to kick your ass, dude. Let me have the moment.”
“Sure,” Boyd said, shrugging one shoulder. “Enjoy the moment. With Erica.”
Stiles grinned. “Thanks for the permission, dude.”
Erica cackled from her spot on the couch. “Yes, come here,” she purred, patting the open cushion next to her. “We’ll have a special moment on the couch and the other boys can just watch and wish they were you.”
Still grinning, he did as told. Not that he made it that far. As soon as he sat down on the couch, Boyd put his hands underneath Stiles’ armpits and bodily hauled him over the back of the couch. “Aww, come on, dude. There wasn’t even going to be any serious making out or anything. Heavy petting above the clothes. At most,” he said. “She’s too much sexual predator for me.”
“Which is why you can’t handle her,” Boyd said with a smirk as he settled in the spot he’d taken Stiles out of.
“And you have already told me not to try and take pictures, which is why you shouldn’t handle her in front of me,” Stiles said, launching himself back over the couch and very pointedly landing on Boyd’s lap. “Indecency being what it is and all,” he said, a little perturbed that the larger teenager didn’t so much as grunt at the impact.
Boyd just shrugged. “This works too,” he said.
Stiles narrowed his eyes at him, not trusting the placid look on his face. “You’re up to something.”
“I’m going to kick your ass in the game now,” Boyd said, wrapping an arm around Stiles’ waist to keep him in place as he reached forward to grab the controllers. “Isaac, shut the door and get over here.”
“I don’t want to interrupt,” he started.
Stiles scoffed. “You’re not. There’s only one more race to break the tie and finish the set and then we can start the four player race,” he said. “There’s an extra controller around here somewhere,” he added.
Isaac frowned. “I thought you were playing teams?” he asked.
“We are,” Stiles said with a shrug. “Just not teams according to the game.”
“Then how are you playing?” Isaac asked. He walked further into the room, dropping into the armchair and completely ignoring the game in favor of watching their dynamic as Boyd started the final race.
“We rolled dice,” Stiles said, grinning as his Luigi knocked Boyd’s Princess Peach completely off the course. “I got Erica on my team and when we win, Boyd has to choose between accepting my dare or Erica’s,” he said.
“And what were your dares?”
Stiles opened his mouth to respond when Erica not at all subtly kicked Stiles’ arm, causing him to send Luigi careening off the course. “Hey!”
“Snitches get stitches, bitch,” Erica said with a grin. “It’s always more fun when he doesn’t have too much time to think about it. Now focus and don’t make me use my bananas on you.”
“You’re just jealous I got Mario first,” Erica shot back.
Stiles just scoffed and knocked Erica’s elbow. He grinned when it sent her Mario spinning into a wall. “Take that. Circle of life.”
She caught up with him, slamming into him three times in a row. When he just made an outraged noise, doing his best to regain control of Luigi, she started cackling again. “Hakuna matata, mother fucker!”
“And so it goes,” Boyd said calmly as he passed Stiles to claim second place.
“Shit!” Stiles yelled, throwing his controller onto the couch. “You assholes were conspiring against me!”
“Superior reflexes are not something to be underestimated, Stilinski,” Boyd said. “What are your dares?”
Erica hummed. “Mine involves public sex and crossdressing. Not necessarily together. What’d you come up with, Stiles?”
He shrugged. “I was going to suggest the drag queens giving him a makeover and him going to school in full drag,” he said. “Heels included.”
“I’m already a good foot taller than you,” Boyd said, resting his head on Stiles’ shoulder and looking over at Erica. “What sort of crossdressing?”
“Fishnets and an underbust corset,” Erica said. “And maybe some red fuck-me lipstick, depending on how I’m feeling at the time.”
Boyd hummed, amused. “Alright,” he said. “I’ll take Erica’s bet, but that’s only because lipstick is much less work than full-on drag makeup.”
“And you look so fetching in lace, fishnets have to be just as good,” Erica murmured.
Stiles pouted. “And here I was hoping Anita would take you under her wing and turn you into a proper princess,” he said.
“You’d look better in a little black dress than I would,” Boyd said with a pointed smirk in Erica’s direction.
“Put some thought into this, have you?” Stiles asked.
Boyd hummed again. “I have a vivid imagination,” he said. “Isaac, are you joining us for this round?” he asked, finally looking away from Erica.
“Yeah,” he said, looking around for the last controller.
“Hurry up and get started, then. I only have so much time to keep Stilinski on my lap before he starts to squirm. When that happens, things are going to get awkward real quick,” Boyd said.
As soon as Isaac passed Erica again, she let out an irritated growl and launched herself off the couch. She tackled Isaac onto the floor, grinning at him. “I told you to knock off the lightning, Curly,” she said, maneuvering herself so she was sprawled on top of him but still had the perfect vantage point to control her character.
Boyd growled discontentedly when Stiles let out a victorious crow, having knocked him out with a blue shell. “I will end you,” he snarled, flashing Beta eyes at Stiles.
“Have to beat me first,” Stiles snapped, taking a quick shortcut and sneaking around Isaac and Erica to get into second place.
“Good to know that some things don’t change,” Peter said as he walked into the room.
Stiles grinned. “Hey Peter,” he said, not looking away from the screen. “We’re going to order food as soon as I kick Boyd’s ass,” he said.
“Not gonna happen, Stilinski,” Boyd snapped, dropping three bananas right behind him.
“Yeah,” Erica said as she started catching up to Stiles. “Nobody kicks my boy’s ass but me.”
Stiles laughed but didn’t say anything.
Peter looked between the four of them before rolling his eyes and heading into the dining room. He’d started leaving a small pile of paperwork on the bookshelf in there, and he seemed confident enough that the Sheriff wouldn’t poke through the papers. Stiles had looked through them, more than mildly curious about what Peter felt comfortable leaving around his house. He’d only made it through half of the first page, overwhelmed by the sheer amount of legalese. It didn’t help that a good chunk of the paperwork seemed to be written in Russian, either.
“Where’s Alpha dearest?” Erica asked, not bothered by Peter leaving the room.
“He’s on his way,” Peter said, making sure to pitch his voice just loud enough for Stiles to be able to hear him clearly. “When I left, he was on the phone with the Alpha who has a large territory starting about ten miles north of our borders and stretching over a thousand square acres,” he said. “There was some talk about keeping the possibility of a future visit, but I don’t believe there was anything set in stone just yet,” he added.
“Good visit or the kind that’s going to end with more blood?” Stiles asked.
“Amicable visits and nonaggression agreements,” Peter said, bringing his paperwork into the living room and taking a seat in the chair that Isaac had recently been vacated from. “We are starting to prove ourselves again, and the way we conducted ourselves with Deucalion and his Pack has earned us an impressive amount of credit in local circles.”
Stiles pursed his lips, his brow furrowing slightly as he set aside his questions in favor of knocking Boyd aside with his last red shell to take first. He let out another loud, victorious crow, tossing his controller onto the couch beside him and throwing his hands up. “King me, bitches!” he yelled.
Boyd grumbled, not happy about coming in second for the third time in a row.
Peter quirked an eyebrow at him. Or, more likely, the seating arrangement on the couch.
“What?” Boyd asked, unaffected by the irritation dawning in Peter’s expression. “I thought it would give me an advantage.”
“Doesn’t help the fact that you can’t play for shit,” Erica said.
“I did lap you once,” Boyd said.
She smirked up at him. “Yes, but who beat you the other two times you came in second?” she asked. “Just face it, babe, I’m always going to be on top of you.”
Boyd laughed quietly. “Get off my lap, Stilinski.”
“You’re trading me in?” Stiles asked, squirming around to look at Boyd and trying to pull on a faux pout. It didn’t work, and he knew it.
“Trading up,” Boyd said with a grin, shoving Stiles to the other side of the couch. “Why don’t we just order the food now and then we can get back to the games?” he asked.
Stiles looked over at Erica and Isaac. When neither of them showed any sign of objecting, he nodded. “I’ll go grab my laptop from upstairs,” he said. “I take it from the lack of objections we’re going to stick with our usual?” he asked from upstairs, not bothering to listen for an answer as he logged into his laptop and brought up the Domino’s pizza website. Convenience being what it is and all, he had their usual order saved in his favorites.
As he headed downstairs, he heard Erica and Isaac talking quietly with each other but paid no mind. If it was important, he’d find out eventually. He set his computer on the coffee table and looked over at Peter. “You want one tonight or did you already eat?”
“I’ll have my typical order,” Peter said, frowning at something in his paperwork.
“Anchovies and pepperoni it is. Hey Isaac, what do you want on your pizza?” Stiles asked as he made sure that was included in the order.
“What do you mean, my pizza?” Isaac asked.
Erica looked over at him. “We’re all growing teenagers, Isaac,” she said.
Stiles snorted. “And Erica tried to take my fingers off the last time I tried to take a slice of her pizza. It’s just safer for everyone to get their own pie,” he said.
“But I can’t afford-“
“We can cover you this week,” Boyd said with a shrug. “We’ve been tossing in like twenty bucks when we can, but Peter and Derek have been footing the bill mostly.”
“Really?” Isaac asked, glancing over at Peter.
Peter nodded. “I have an extensive savings account. A few months’ worth of weekly pizza nights will hardly break my bank,” he said. “Derek and I are starting to pool our resources, though. It’s where most of your contributions are going.”
“What do you mean, pooling resources?” Isaac asked.
“A shared savings and checking account for the Pack,” Peter said. “We did it before the fire as well, as do most of the other established Packs that I’ve met.”
“How come?” Erica asked.
Peter didn’t answer right away, choosing instead to look at the front door just as Derek walked inside. “Would you care to answer that question, nephew mine?” he asked.
Derek grunted noncommittally as he shut the door and made his way onto the couch. He frowned slightly, momentarily confused by the scents of Boyd on Stiles and Erica on Isaac, before shaking his head. Apparently it was better to just not ask. “It’s a way to make sure that no one in the Pack needs anything. The money is available to all of us, and eventually we’re going to ask that you all contribute to it as well,” he said. “Boiled down to the simplest answer, it’s just a way for us to make sure that everyone in the Pack has everything that they need.”
“Like what?” Isaac asked.
“If you guys need help paying for college, or if there are repairs that need to be made to cars or houses,” Derek said. “It’s a resource that’s tapped when necessary, but it’s meant to be a sort of financial safety blanket.”
“I can be down with that,” Erica said.
Derek nodded. “I’m glad to hear it,” he said with a wry smile. “Have you ordered food yet?”
Stiles shook his head. “Isaac hasn’t told us what he wants,” he said, motioning to where he’d set up his computer on the coffee table. The order was still open, and waiting for completion. “I got you your usual, which is still weird and I maintain that pineapple does not belong on a meat lover’s.”
“You ask for black olives and green peppers but no red peppers,” Derek shot back. “You’re just as weird.”
“I don’t have a special time of the month, dude,” Stiles said with a shit-eating grin. “That means I’m just eclectic, fuzzbutt.”
Erica and Boyd just laughed at the exchange.
Erica roped an arm around Isaac’s neck, pressing a kiss to his cheek. “Relax, puppy. You aren’t breaking any rules by being here,” she said.
Isaac, not looking entirely convinced, glanced up at Derek for confirmation.
“Do you want to be here?” Derek asked, keeping his tone gentle. “Nobody forced you to come?”
“Yeah,” Isaac said. He smiled slightly. “I mean, I don’t really want to know what Erica was planning on doing if I didn’t show up, but I came here on my own.” He paused, looking like he had to add something else to that. “I was invited,” he added quickly. “I didn’t show up randomly-“
“Isaac, you aren’t in trouble,” Derek said. “You’re here. You’re welcome to be here. We can settle the finer details some other time.”
Derek nodded, shrugging slightly. “You were never not in the Pack because you were having doubts,” he said. “And you are in no way intruding on anything.”
“Yeah, so shut up and tell us what you want on your pizza,” Stiles said, doing his best to lighten the mood. Judging from the simultaneous eye roll he got from everyone but Isaac, it’d worked.
“Always the picture of eloquence, aren’t you, Stiles?” Peter asked, his tone one of fond exasperation.
Stiles huffed but didn’t say anything. Instead, he looked over at Isaac.
He frowned. “Could I get a meat lover’s with the Italian sausage?” he asked.
“Sure,” Stiles said. He added it to their order and was about to enter his information when Peter snatched the computer and quickly charged it to his own credit card. “Dude!”
“Consider it a gift to welcome our final lost cub back into the fold,” he said, returning Stiles’ computer back to him with an innocent smile that no one bought. “I am more than willing to argue about it with you later,” he said.
Derek bared his teeth at Peter. “Take your bizarre and uncomfortable foreplay somewhere else,” he said, picking up Stiles’ abandoned controller. “It’s going to taint the food.”
Stiles grinned, opening his mouth to shoot off a response when Peter hummed almost thoughtfully. “What?”
“I could use your assistance with one thing while we wait for our food,” he said. “Do you still have your maps of the area?” he asked.
Stiles nodded. “Yeah,” he said, standing up. “It’s folded up on the bookshelf in my room upstairs.” He looked over at Derek. “Do not tank my record. Alpha or not, I will find a way to fuck you up if I find out that you’re letting Boyd win,” he said
Erica looked over at him. “Like I’m really going to let our Alpha give Boyd a victory?” she asked, picking up her controller and looking over at Isaac. “You in on this one?”
“He and I are actually going to sit this one out,” Boyd said, dropping onto the floor next to Isaac. When Isaac shot him a curious look, he smirked and pointed at both Erica and Derek. “Watching these two is beautiful in the most terrifying ways.”
“Have you ever seen half-shifted werewolves try to hold back their claws while snarling and snapping at each other over Mario Kart?” he asked.
Isaac shook his head.
Stiles grinned. “It is amazing,” he said. “Keep them from actually drawing blood this time, would you?” he asked, looking over at Boyd.
“Hold our victory, Catwoman,” Stiles said.
Erica grinned and blew a kiss his way before setting herself up with her usual character.
Peter gathered his files and looked over at Stiles, who nodded. “This won’t take long,” he said.
Stiles shrugged. “You’ve got my focus until the food gets here,” he said.
“Business as usual, then,” Peter said, amused, as he followed Stiles upstairs.
“Why are you following me upstairs?” Stiles asked as he headed into his bedroom.
Peter wasn’t more than a few feet behind him. He was silent for a few minutes, choosing to watch Stiles dig the maps out of his hiding spot: in between the cover and the hardback binding of his copy of Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire. “Why hide these maps?” he asked, finally breaking his silence. “I didn’t think you had any particularly sensitive information on them.”
Stiles shrugged as he unfolded the maps and made sure they hadn’t been changed. Not that he was expecting any changes, but still, better safe than sorry. “I’m not paranoid or anything. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to worry about a burglar breaking in and only stealing the maps with the supernatural territories pretty well laid out.”
“But still the precautions?” Peter asked. The question was pure curiosity; a not entirely small part of him was impressed at the measures the younger man had taken. He’d clearly taken to heart the idea that knowledge was currency, and must be protected as such.
“Better safe than sorry, I guess,” Stiles said. “And for all that he puts up a good front about it, my dad is still having a hard enough time adjusting to the whole werewolves-are-real thing. I don’t want him to have to deal with territory negotiations and witch covens that may or may not be friendly.” He paused. “I still haven’t told him everything that happened with the witches who tried to sacrifice me.”
“I don’t suppose he knows all the details regarding Erica and Boyd’s returns, either?”
Stiles let out a dry laugh. “Right. Because I told my dad that I went to a gay club with you to let a blind werewolf do the werewolf version of feeling me up so we could meet somewhere. And then I told him that I stole the keys to an old safe house and basically hijacked the place to have a conversation with a bunch of werewolves, two and a half of whom were kind of openly hostile at the time,” he said. “I love my dad, but there are some things that I will go to my grave without telling him.”
Peter nodded. That made some sense. “Sensible enough,” he said, walking back downstairs with Stiles.
“You’re not going to try to tell me that honesty is the best policy, or some other bullshit?” Stiles asked. He spread the maps out on the dining room table, tossing a sharpie on top of the pair of maps.
“Would that platitude really hold any value coming from me?” Peter asked with a quicksilver smirk, all knowing charm. “Given the sheer number of secrets I’m still protecting?”
Stiles looked over at him, his eyes narrowed into suspicious slits. “How did you rise from the dead, again?” he asked.
Peter just chuckled under his breath. He pulled his pile of papers off the shelf and spread them across the rest of the table, separating them into three separate piles. “You have a good mind for strategy. I have need of that mind.”
“Lydia’s the smart one. Or was, I guess.”
“Do not sell yourself short, little wolf-heart,” Peter said, smirking at the look the pet name earned him. “Miss Martin is intelligent, yes, but you have the sort of savage intelligence that will work to great advantage in a Pack.”
“So, what, we’re working out a plan to take over territory?”
Peter shook his head. “We have only barely begun to reestablish ourselves as a legitimate Pack. It’s far too early for us to even think about expanding boundaries. We’d only be inviting trouble.”
“Trouble in the form of messy and painful deaths?” Stiles asked.
“Something like that,” Peter said. “There are some details to work out when it’s just you and I,” he said with a less than subtle look toward the floor.
“Right,” Stiles said. “Details being what they are and all.”
Peter nodded. “And before we get too involved in the minutia of nonaggression agreements,” he said. “I want you to be aware of the fact that we may need to bring your father up to speed about at least part of this most current situation,” he said.
“Why?” Stiles asked. “Is this really going to get that complicated? I thought the politics here was supposed to be pretty much bloodless and dignified. Shared meals and shit,” he said. Not that he would deliberately keep his father in the dark about this. The sort of backroom deal that had first earned them a meeting with Deucalion was one thing, but this was a way to making sure the Beacon County homicide rates went back to what they were pre-Hale fire. Not only would he bring his father in on it, his father would probably actively help out.
“It is, most of the time. And from what I remember, all of the Packs surrounding our territory are well-established and stable. We shouldn’t have any serious problems with the negotiations, but proving that we’ve got established roots and don’t have plans to leave.”
Stiles frowned. “So you’re going to need to use my dad as proof?”
Peter shook his head, his brow furrowing. He wasn’t explaining this properly. Or he was expecting Stiles to understand something that only born wolves would understand. The young man was smart, but it wasn’t fair to expect him to understand something that he’d never been exposed to before. “Some of the strongest Packs have worked their ways into the law enforcement. It’s not uncommon for some Pack humans to go into law enforcement to help build alliances with outside human factors.”
“Making it harder for the hunters to come after Packs?”
“Partially, yes,” Peter said.
Stiles hummed, thinking about things. He could bring his father into this, but he was reluctant to pull him in too far. He was adjusting about as well as could be expected, but he still looked pained whenever Stiles mentioned werewolves in a serious context.
Peter shook his head. “This is a part of our world that tends to be surprisingly calm most of the time. We’ve had our territory established for the better part of two hundred years, so any claims that we are overstepping our bounds are going to be completely illegitimate,” he said. “The more proof we can provide to back that up, the stronger our position is going to be.”
Stiles started leafing through one of the piles, scowling when it was written in a sort of legalese that was difficult for him to understand even on a good day. “Then what do you need my maps for?” he asked, momentarily setting aside the idea of bring his father deeper into the rabbit hole. Uh, wolf hole? Whatever. He shook his head, trying to focus on the legalese. “This shit makes sense to you?”
“You found locations that I was not aware of. The covens, in particular.” He smirked slightly. “And you’re not going to understand the other half of that pile.”
“English legalese seemed to be painful enough for you. I doubt you’d have any better luck with Greek.”
Stiles huffed. “How is it that you understand this shit?”
“I am a very smart man,” Peter said with a smirk, giving a deliberately obtuse answer.
“More secrets?” Stiles asked, rolling his eyes.
Peter shrugged one shoulder. “Life is so dull without them,” he said, taking the papers away from Stiles. He looked over the map. “I’m in contact with Alpha Burke, to our north,” he said, picking up the sharpie and scrawling her name next to Stiles’ scrawled werewolf – established Pack note. “Her territory is about the same size as ours, but with close to two dozen in her Pack.”
“For now. Once we’ve got her backing and an agreement in place with her, it’s going to be much easier to reach out to Talbot and Martinez. East and southwest, respectively.”
Stiles frowned. “Are they going to be a pain in our ass?”
Peter shook his head. “They shouldn’t be,” he said. “But it’s still always going to be easier going into negotiations when we’ve already proven ourselves to someone.”
Stiles nodded, looking at the map. “I guess I can understand that,” he said. “I can reach out to some of my contacts to see if there’s any way we can find out if the covens around here are friendly.”
“Your man Ollie?”
“Not so much. He’s already done enough, helping me with the whole Collier clusterfuck,” he said. “And as far as I can tell, he’s not connected to supernatural shit at all. I’ve got a few others I can talk to about this.”
“Luanne?” Peter asked dubiously.
Stiles shrugged. “I can think about it,” he said. “But they aren’t my only birdies.”
Peter smirked. “Keeping secrets of your own now?”
“Gotta keep you on your feet somehow,” Stiles said. “You strike me as the type to be dangerous when you’re bored.”
At that, Peter chuckled. And Stiles heard Derek huff out something that could have almost passed for a laugh. “I know how to make my own fun when I need to.”
“Right,” Stiles said, holding back another roll of his eyes. “That’s not a terrifying prospect at all.” He paused for a moment. “Is bringing my dad in on this stuff early going to help settle the territory and make everyone agree to stop killing each other?” he asked.
Peter held back his answer, watching Stiles for a moment. “It would help our claim that we’re not planning on going anywhere, or trying to expand,” he said. “And it may help him to adjust more fluidly to see what it’s like for humans who are part of an established Pack. Granted, ours will likely always be unorthodox, but it will do him some good to have some of the more traditional Packs as a sort of example for what well-functioning machines we’re supposed to be.”
“And we’re going to make it to that point, right?” Stiles asked.
“Oh, undoubtedly,” Peter said. “With the two of us running this Pack, it will not take long.”
“You assholes do realize that Derek is the Alpha here, right?” Erica called from the living room.
Peter smirked. “It is never the king one must worry about, but those who are willing to do anything to protect their king who are the real threat,” he said.
Stiles snorted. “Alright Littlefinger,” he said. “I get what you’re trying to say, but I’m going to need some time to think about it. And there’s absolutely no way my dad’s going to give you any sort of immediate answer when it’s brought up to him, either.”
“I wasn’t expecting an immediate answer,” Peter said. “This is something that’s going to require a certain level of involvement and interaction with werewolves and their Pack humans.” He looked at Stiles, an odd expression on his face. “You have adapted to this better than anyone could have ever expected, but you are the exception to the rule. There is no such thing as a silent partner in a werewolf Pack, and your father needs to understand that and be moderately comfortable with that before he even considers agreeing to help.”
“That’s going to take a while.”
Peter nodded. “It may well never happen,” he said. “But I’d appreciate it if you brought up to him regardless.”
Stiles nodded absently, shrugging one shoulder. “When he starts asking questions without looking constipated, I can try bringing it up to him, see what he says about it.”
“That would be appreciated,” Peter said.
“Anything else immediately related to this topic?” Stiles asked.
Peter shook his head, the corners of his lips twitching up into a smirk. “Your mind is pulling you somewhere else?” he asked. At Stiles’ nonchalant shrug, his amusement only grew more visible. He chuckled. “What question would you like me to answer first?”
“I want to know why I can see my name in Russian in the third paragraph of that page,” he said, pointing at the page in question. “Because I don’t want you slipping me into any treatises or agreements without telling me about it.”
“That would be because that’s not entirely a legal document,” Peter said, handing it over to Stiles to read. He watched the younger man immediately start reading the contents of the letter.
“A letter to your sister?”
Peter nodded. “She’s asked for information about you,” he said. “I have been indulging some of her questions.”
“And telling her that I may have ties to the Ukrainian mob, but you haven’t pressed the issue because it adds to my allure?” he asked, looking over at Peter with an entirely unimpressed expression. “Really? In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s actually been better for me to stay under the radar. Examples include Duke getting weirdly touchy feely, being almost sacrificed by witches, and then being hunted down by an escaped convict who I ended up killing before he managed to get me,” he said with a scowl.
Peter smiled saccharinely at him. “Sweet boy, my sister adores you. She’s already planning to adopt you. Honorary cousin, of sorts.”
“Given what you and I have been getting up to, is it really wise to bring me into the family?” Stiles asked, cocking his head to the side. “I mean, I get that Pack is close, but I didn’t think you were the sort to keep-it-in-the-family close, if you get what I’m after.”
Peter just chuckled.
“There will be no incest in this Pack,” Derek said around a growl. “Not now. Not ever.”
“Fuck you very much for the mental images, Stilinski,” Boyd grumbled, wandering into the room and glaring at Stiles.
Erica cackled, following Boyd into the room. “I don’t know. It’s kind of hot, objectively.”
Peter looked over at her, arching an eyebrow.
“Don’t give me that look, Uncle P,” she simpered, earning an irritated growl from him. “Derek’s hot. You’re not the worst looking thing that’s ever crawled out of a grave,” she said. “It makes for a stimulating image.”
Boyd rolled his eyes. “You’re twisted,” he said.
She shrugged, not looking all that concerned by it. “It’s a sick world, I’m a happy gal,” she said in an almost sing-song voice. “Anything interesting in the letter to the foreign sister?” she asked Stiles.
“Apart from the blatantly false rumors about me, there’s a mention of a dedicated pain-in-the-ass with a great rack,” Stiles said. “There’s no name, so it’s got to be either Boyd or Derek.”
“Really?” Boyd asked with a flat expression.
Stiles shrugged. “What? You guys are allergic to your shirts. People are bound to notice that you have impressive man rack,” he said, gesturing at Boyd’s upper body. He was wearing a shirt at the moment, but the point was there regardless. When that only got a pair of raised eyebrows from Boyd and a quick grope and noise of assertion from Erica, he grinned. “See? Could be either of you.”
“Indeed,” Peter said quietly. “I thought you two were going to spend your time beating the hell out of my nephew and the stray pup on Mario Kart?”
Erica shrugged. “We’re trying to give them some privacy,” she said. “They looked like they were going to have a bonding moment, so we left them to it.”
“I remain unconvinced,” Peter said.
Stiles looked between the two werewolves. Boyd had his best poker face on, but Erica winked at him and smirked. “Right,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Whatever you’re going to do, clean it up. I am not your maid, and if my dad finds out that somebody was doing naughty things when I had a house full of teenage werewolves and Derek and Peter, I will rat you out faster than you can throw me across the house.”
“What happened to snitches get stitches?”
“Snitches do not have Sheriff fathers who are both aware of and incredibly uncomfortable with my developing relationship with Chris Hansen’s wet dream over here,” he said, jerking a thumb in Peter’s direction. He ignored Peter’s mildly offended huff and Erica’s snicker. “So you can either clean up after yourselves or explain to the Sheriff why werewolves were doing the underage nasty in his house.”
Boyd nodded, still looking nonplussed. “We won’t leave a mess,” he said.
Stiles looked over at Erica.
She grinned at him. “I’m very good at what I do,” she said.
Stiles just nodded. “Just for the record, I’m filing that away under things that I didn’t want or need to know.”
Boyd’s fanged smirk came suddenly. Almost unnervingly so. “Your loss, Stilinski,” he said as Erica led him out of the room.
Peter chuckled, clearly amused. He didn’t say anything, though, choosing instead to pick up the nearest stack of legal papers and start reading through them.
If you want to check out my tumblr for updates or if you've got questions or anything, check it out.
The next few days at school went by surprisingly uneventfully. Stiles spent most of his time focusing on maintaining his grades and spending time with the Pack. Pulling Isaac back into the fold. Not that that took long, given the way Erica and Boyd were insistent on making sure he felt welcome.
So Tuesday afternoon, while he waited for the three Betas to finish a last minute after-school run, Stiles made himself comfortable in the library, working on a few assignments. He was so engrossed in his work that he didn't register anyone around him until after they spoke.
“How long do you really think you’ll last?” Allison asked as she walked up to Stiles, completely ignoring the librarian's irate shushing.
“Given that I haven’t failed a course in years, I’m pretty sure I can handle writing one English paper. And I get that it’s a twelve page paper, but Brave New World is hardly the most difficult thing I’ve read,” Stiles said, not looking up from the outline he was scribbling notes on. “I don’t recall asking for your help anyway. We’re not in the same English block.”
Allison huffed. “I wasn’t talking about school.”
Stiles shrugged. “Yeah, don’t really want any supposedly helpful advice about my extracurricular activities either,” he said.
Allison tried to muffle her snort, but didn’t do a good job at it. “It’s a bit more than extracurricular, isn’t it?” she asked. “Given that you’re willing to put so much at risk to keep them alive.”
“Yeah, I’m such a shit person because I didn’t let your granddaddy-dearest torture two teenagers to death,” Stiles said. “And god fucking forbid that I just step aside and let your family tradition result in the deaths of people whose only crime was letting your batshit crazy aunt sleaze her way into a weak spot,” he said, biting back any further rants. He had his suspicions, but he had no intention of risking revealing any further details about anyone in his Pack. Especially when it came to Derek.
“You’re too involved,” Allison said. “There’s a reason humans are not involved in Packs.”
“Because you’re an expert on the internal workings of Packs?” Stiles asked snidely.
Allison ignored his tone, barreling on with what she was saying. “We’re not like them. You’re too fragile to survive,” she said. “And even if they are, for some reason, invested in your survival, you’re going to get one of them killed.”
Stiles paused mid-work and looked up at her. “Really. You’re the one playing the humans-are-helpless card. You,” he said pointedly.
“You don’t have the same training that I do, Stiles.”
“And you don’t have my training, either,” Stiles said. “And I’m not the one who has blood on my hands.”
That had Allison silent for a long moment. “You’ve got secrets, though.”
Stiles shrugged and went back to his notes. “We’ve all got secrets. You included.”
“And those are the most dangerous things, aren’t they?”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Stiles asked, quickly getting annoyed with the conversation. Cryptic only looked decently good on Deaton, and if Stiles had his say about it, he was never going near that man or his animal clinic ever again.
Allison did her best to look nonchalant and smug at the same time, which did not look good on her. “It just seems odd, doesn’t it?” she asked. “How many people die because of those secrets, how much blood is spilled.” She shrugged slightly. “Makes you wonder how many people are going to die because of your secrets,” she said. She shrugged again. “Good luck with your paper,” she said before sauntering away.
Stiles watched her go, trying to figure out what her game was. There was no way he was going to run to the Argents for any kind of help, and it was even less likely that he was going to suddenly decide to spill his secrets. To anyone. Not only did he have too many that were too valuable to risk people finding out about, but he was also not going to put any of his people at risk, Pack included. Being an intelligent enough Sheriff’s son meant that he had his fingers in a lot of pies, after all. Just because werewolves were at the top of his list did not mean that they were the only ones on said list.
Secrets did have the tendency to end up with too many people dead when they came to light.
He shook his head, trying to focus back on the homework in front of him.
It didn’t work. He ended up staring at his notes for almost ten straight minutes, unable to even read the words he’d written.
A door slammed shut and Stiles came out of his mind with a jolt, flinching at the sound. He hesitated only for a moment before packing his backpack and making sure that no one was staring at him before heading out to his Jeep and going home as fast as he could without breaking the law.
When he got home, he didn’t see anyone there. He relaxed when he realized that his father was off at work - and he found himself wondering when he’d gotten to the point that his father being at work, where he stood a decent shot of not coming home ever again, was a good thing. Especially after they'd made some progress in talking to each other. He sighed heavily, mentally tossing that little factoid onto the pile of guilt he carried with him. Pile. Mountain. Whatever. He wouldn’t break from one more thing.
He grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, looking through the cabinets for something to eat. When he didn’t find anything satisfactory, Stiles grumbled his discontent under his breath and headed back to the living room.
For lack of anything better to do, he pulled his homework out and started to work on it. Then stopped. Shot a quick text to Erica and Boyd, letting them know that he'd gone home. Another text to Derek, telling him that the Betas were going to need a ride home when they were done.
But no matter how hard he tried, Stiles couldn’t get Allison’s statement out of his head.
And for as much as he hated to admit it, she did have a point. Secrets, no matter who held them, had only worked to cause more death in Beacon Hills. He argued with himself about it the entire way home, only consoling himself with the knowledge that Peter wasn’t going to come over until later that afternoon. He had time to work himself up to the confession that he knew needed to come out. Hopefully the mauling that followed would come with a quick death.
When Peter walked in, he could tell immediately that something was wrong. For one thing, Stiles was doing his homework. From school. Not practicing his magic and not working on some hare-brained project based on something he’d talked about with Luanne. For another, there was no music playing, and the television was off, the remote forgotten under Stiles’ red hoodie.
Stiles mumbled a hello around the cap of his highlighter but didn’t look up from his Chemistry book.
Confused but willing to go along with the silence, regardless of how suspect he found it, Peter picked up the book he’d been reading the last time he was over and made himself comfortable in the armchair. He had no real intention of reading this time, but the chair gave him the perfect vantage point to keep an eye on Stiles.
He didn’t smell hurt in any way, but the tension surrounding him was obvious, even without using Peter’s enhanced senses. The way Stiles was holding himself, like he was expecting an attack any second, and the way he’d been staring at the same figure on the same page of his textbook since Peter had walked inside gave him away.
Still, reluctant to be the one to break the silence, Peter waited. Stiles had never been one for silences, he’d learned, but he knew that the teenager was well aware of the effect that drawn-out silences could have.
It took close to ten minutes and the completion of seven chemistry questions before he was proven right.
“Allison talked to me today,” Stiles said. “In the library at school,” he added, quick to notice the way that Peter’s hackles started to go up. “With at least a dozen witnesses who were out of earshot and no convenient abduction spots. It was, uh, enlightening.”
Peter hummed, more to acknowledge that he was listening than anything else. He didn’t trust himself enough to hold control when the Argents were the topic of conversation, but he did close his book and look over at Stiles.
“It was weird, talking to her without having to mention Scott,” Stiles said, ducking his head when he noticed that Peter was watching him. “She didn’t make any really serious threats, other than the whole part where she’s still an Argent and she could probably kill me with her pen if she wanted to.” He shrugged. “I don’t think she’s gonna tell Scott that she talked to me.”
Peter frowned, not entirely sure where Stiles was taking the conversation. Or if he was going anywhere with the conversation at all. He stayed silent, telling himself that he’d give Stiles a few minutes longer before trying to steer the conversation toward a more tangible point.
“She wanted to tell me that my involvement with the Pack is going to end up killing me,” he said. “That I’m fragile.”
“You are the furthest thing-“
“Dude,” Stiles said, cutting Peter off almost mid-word and capping the lid back on his highlighter. “I know I’m kind of broken. Fuck, we’re all kind of broken, but I guess it kind of works for us.” He smiled slightly, a small, private smile to himself. “We’re all just glass.”
Peter quirked his head to the side, making a curious sound in the back of his throat.
Stiles hummed. “I never got it as a kid, but Nan used to say that the strongest people she knew were like splintered glass,” he said. “We’ve all gone through shit in our lives, and some of it just kind of bounces off the glass, but other shit leaves cracks. Cracks turn into splinters, and we know where the weak spots are.” He sighed, running a hand over his head. “Some people take shots at the splinters, but then you find people who have their own splinters. Prop your glass up against theirs, and then the both of you get stronger, because the spots are less vulnerable when there’s support,” he said.
“That’s an interesting perspective,” Peter said, keeping his tone gentle. He wasn’t lying, either, and the story gave him an interesting bit of insight into some of the way Stiles’ mind worked.
Stiles shrugged. “So I get that I’m breakable. I’ve known that for way longer than I’ve known about the whole existence of the supernatural world, and the fact that my social circle is made up pretty much completely of werewolves isn’t going to change that,” he said. “But she doesn’t seem to get that. Werewolves suddenly show up, so of course that’s the only thing that could be happening to make me break.”
Peter frowned. This conversation was starting to head in a direction that he did not like. At all.
“So we have a conversation about how human frailty may very well lead to my death,” he said. “And that somehow turns into a little chat about secrets.” He shifted again, obviously uncomfortable.
“I’m sure she didn’t give up any of hers in your conversation?” Peter asked.
“And I didn’t give up any of mine,” Stiles said, not meeting Peter’s searching gaze at that admission. Peter made a quiet, curious noise in the back of his throat, not really prompting Stiles for an explanation but hoping for maybe at least a slight elaboration. “Dude, seriously?” he asked. “I’ve been a cop’s kid way longer than I’ve been involved with werewolves or any other supernatural people-creatures.”
“That you’re aware of,” Peter said, the corners of his lips twitching up at Stiles’ description of supernatural creatures. He didn't recall hearing that one before.
“Sure,” Stiles said. “And secrets come with both.”
Peter’s concern heightened. “And the sort you’re protecting are the secrets that are valuable,” he said. “The sort that could lead to a body count if the wrong people learned about them.”
Stiles flinched slightly at that, and for a moment, he seemed to recoil almost like he’d been hit. He didn’t say anything in response, and that was what had the werewolf concerned.
Peter watched Stiles, not sure why the teenager was unable to look him in the eye for this conversation, and why their conversation had only put him more on edge. He leaned forward, inspecting Stiles with a look on his face. “What’s got you so-“
“I’m going to tell you something and I need you to not lose control when you hear what I’ve got to say,” Stiles said, interrupting Peter again and doing his best to steel himself for an inevitably unpleasant conversation.
Peter frowned but nodded his agreement.
"Remember when I told you that Scott was being a dillweed about something big enough that I wasn't going to bother trying to get a lie past you?" Stiles asked.
"I do," Peter said. He failed to see how that related to the younger man's conversation with Allison Argent, but that would become clear soon enough.
Stiles was silent for a long moment, uncharacteristically still as he figured out how to breach the subject. Finally he decided to just get it over with. He scrubbed a hand over his head and looked over at Peter, doing his best to steel his nerves. “So you know that whole thing with the Kanima?” he asked. “Where Scott pulled his spectacularly uncool bullshit on Derek, and we all thought that Gerard bit the dust from mountain ash poisoning?”
Peter nodded again. His eyes were starting to flicker between human and Beta blue, the only sign that he wasn’t liking the way this conversation was heading. “I do.”
“And that really important part about nobody ever recovering Gerard’s dead body?”
Peter’s eyes narrowed at Stiles, but he didn’t say anything.
“So it turns out that there was less of a recovery needed and more of a retrieval,” Stiles said. “Which was way more successful than I want to admit.”
“Argent is alive?” Peter asked, his voice going gravelly with a growl.
Stiles hedged a bit but eventually nodded once.
Peter snarled. “Where is he?”
Stiles didn’t answer that question, choosing to just stay silent.
“You can’t go after him alone,” Stiles said, hoping this wouldn’t end as bad as his mind was telling him it could. “And I’m not going with you. So you have to tell Derek. He can go with you and you can have some bonding time with your nephew while you rip apart a hunter who’s lived way too long already,” he said.
Peter growled, clearly not happy, though he didn’t argue the point with Stiles. “How long have you known?”
Stiles hesitated again. “Long enough. Too long. I didn’t know how to tell you and I didn’t want you losing control and going after him without a plan or anything. But, fuck. With Allison today? I just, I didn’t want you to have to hear about it from someone else, and I definitely didn’t want you to find out on accident that he’s still breathing.”
“I appreciate that sentiment,” Peter said, his face going deliberately expressionless save for the Beta blue eyes. “And I am grateful that you’ve decided to tell me this.”
Stiles nodded slowly, reminding himself that trying to run away would only incite a chase from the already not-entirely-in-control werewolf. He’d hoped that telling Peter about it would help, but it had only seemed to make things worse. “Did I just fuck up?” he asked.
Peter shook his head. He moved forward, cupping Stiles’ face in clawed hands. “You did nothing wrong, sweet boy,” he said. “I just need time to think about how I plan to handle this new information. I’m going to go for a run. If you need to call Derek about this, I have no objection. I will come find you when I return. You did nothing wrong.”
“Alright,” Stiles said, not entirely sure he believed Peter.
Peter relaxed minutely and pressed a gentle kiss to Stiles’ lips before heading out the back door. For as tenuous as his control was at the moment, Peter looked almost like he was going out for a simple stroll in the woods.
Stiles waited only as long as it took for the door to shut before he took his phone out of his pocket and pressed for his number-three speed dial contact.
Derek picked up on the first ring. “Why did I just see Peter running in full-shift one on of our trails?” he asked. “Are you alright?”
“I’m fine. All good,” he said. “Peter’s not.”
“Because I told him something that he really needed to know, but it’s not really good news,” he said. “I’m not sorry I told him, but I need you to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself. Or anyone else, probably.”
“What did you tell him?”
Stiles glared at the wall, mentally debating about whether or not to tell Derek. “If he doesn’t tell you once he’s back in control again, then you can come to me,” he said. “But I need to know that I didn’t just press the reset button on crazy.”
Derek hummed, obviously not happy about this turn of events. “I’ll keep him in the Preserve, away from humans,” he said. “If Erica and Boyd ask where I am-“
“I’ll just say you and Peter are out for a run,” Stiles said. “If they get too weird about it, I can always ply them with takeout and Skyrim or Halo or something. We’ll be fine. I just need you to make sure that you and Peter are, too.”
“I’ll do what I can. Thank you for letting me know,” he said.
“No problem,” Stiles said.
Derek hummed again before hanging up.
Shoving his phone back into his pocket, Stiles let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding. He looked around the living room, wondering what, exactly, he should be doing now. There was no way he was going to be able to focus on his homework again, and he didn’t want to worry his father or involve Erica and Boyd too early.
“Fuck,” he snapped, dropping forcefully back onto the couch and staring at the blank television. One more thing to go on his personal mountain of guilt.
He stared at the television for a long moment before pulling his phone out of his pocket again. He scrolled through his list of contacts, choosing the one man who had experience in distracting him from his own mind.
“You okay, kiddo?” Ollie asked after the second ring.
“I don’t know,” Stiles said. “I think I might have just seriously fucked up. Are you busy?”
Ollie laughed quietly. “I don’t have anything that I can’t put off for a few hours,” he said as Stiles heard him moving papers around and muting whatever was playing in the background. “Want to tell me what’s going on?”
“Not really,” Stiles said, knowing his tone gave away more than he wanted to.
Ollie whistled lowly, clearly remembering what that tone of voice meant from Stiles. “What do you need from me?” he asked.
Stiles hesitated for a moment, not wanting to sound too childish. After a short internal debate with himself, he sighed again. “Tell me a story,” he said. “Please. A good one.”
“Sure thing, kiddo,” Ollie said. “I’ve got a doozie about the last time Darren and I went on a consultation for that moonshine crew over in Kentucky. It involves a bear, an honest-to-god musket, a motorbike, and my boss reaming me out because I almost blew my cover after a drinking contest with two of the assholes I was supposed to be keeping under surveillance.”
“How many stitches?” Stiles asked.
“Don’t jump ahead in the story. You have to hear the whole thing before I get to the good parts,” Ollie said. “Get comfortable. It’s one of the longer stories I’ve got right now.”
Stiles nodded and did so, waiting for Ollie to get started.
The two Hales made it back to Stiles’ house at half past three the next morning, both of them exhausted from their run. Peter had spent roughly nine hours running through the Preserve. Derek had tracked him down relatively quickly, and at first, he hadn’t been receptive. There were a few minor scuffles between them before Derek, fully shifted, had Alpha-whammied him with enough power that Peter started listening to Derek enough for him to start cooperating.
They’d run the length of the Preserve multiple times, even spending some time running through the river that weaved its way through the county.
“Is his father here?” Peter asked as he and Derek walked into the backyard of the Stilinski house.
Derek paused for a moment, doing a quick inspection. “No. Just Stiles, and he’s asleep, as far as I can tell.”
“That’s a bit of a surprise,” Peter said. At a curious look from Derek, he shrugged one shoulder. “I would’ve thought his insomnia would have kicked in tonight, with the way he was acting earlier.”
“When he told you whatever he told you?” Derek asked.
Peter nodded. “He’s still worried that we’ll hold it against him if he keeps his secrets-“
“Which is absurd,” Derek interjected, rolling his eyes at the side-eye he got for the interruption.
“In less bizarre circumstances, I might agree with you, but given the weight of the one he dropped on me, I can understand that concern,” he said.
“And what was his secret?”
“That our blood debt with the Argents remains unfulfilled,” Peter said. “Though his phrasing was a bit different,” he said as he walked inside. He didn’t go into the living room, choosing instead to take the stairs up to Stiles’ bedroom, where he found some of his clothing that Stiles had worn but never returned.
Derek was just behind him, grabbing a t-shirt and a pair of cotton pajama pants that were a bit snug but workable as a temporary solution. “What, exactly, does that mean?” he asked, aware of Stiles waking up and slowly making his way upstairs. “And keep the cryptic bullshit to a minimum for once, would you?"
“It means I told him that Gerard’s still alive,” Stiles said as he walked upstairs and leaned against the wall, watching the two werewolves with a tired look on his face. “And then I told him he couldn’t go after him alone.”
Peter growled to himself, still clearly unhappy with that demand, even though he had no intention of ignoring it. “You haven’t told me where he is and I would need a scent if I were to properly track him down,” he said.
“I thought you were sleeping,” Derek said.
Stiles shrugged. “I’ve been fading in and out since about eleven,” he said. “But other than that, not really. I’ve been kind of freaking out about, uh, this,” he said, gesturing vaguely at the two werewolves in front of him.
Peter offered him a small, exhausted smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “You are not the one in the wrong here, sweet boy,” he said. “The Argents have been trying to avoid paying the debt they know they owe.”
Stiles shrugged again, not looking entirely convinced, but it seemed he was willing to let it go for the moment.
Derek looked between the two of them, an odd expression flickering over his face before disappearing. “I don’t want you telling Erica or Boyd about this,” he said.
“Duh,” Stiles said, rolling his eyes.
“I’m not going to tell either of them about Gerard, dude,” Stiles said. When Derek quirked his eyebrow at him, he glared back. “They have enough nightmare fodder without me telling them that their boogeyman is still alive. As far as they know, he’s dead. Probably chewed up by something in the woods. I’m not going to do anything to let them know otherwise unless their lives are put in immediate danger because of it,” he said.
Derek paused for a moment before nodding his thanks.
Peter looked over at Derek, a smug look on his face. “Surely you didn’t underestimate the boy’s intelligence again, nephew,” he said.
Derek just scowled.
“Don’t be so smug. They still think you’re creepy, Peter,” Stiles said, smirking over at Peter.
The elder Hale shrugged, clearly not bothered by the accusation. “I’ve been called worse,” he said. “When are you planning on telling me where I can find this rabid hunter I intend to kill slowly and bathe in his blood?” he asked.
Stiles made an odd face. “See, that’s why people think you’re creepy,” he said. “No matter how justifiable the actions, saying shit like that out loud makes people think that you’re going to skin them and wear them like a suit.”
Peter sniffed. “I am in no way, shape, or form similar to Buffalo Bill.”
Stiles laughed. “Are you sure?” he asked. “You’ve never asked anyone if they’d fuck you?”
“People offer themselves to me of their own volition,” Peter said. “I don’t recall seeking anyone out for a quick fuck. My natural animal magnetism does most of the work,” he said with a toothy grin at Stiles, who’s only response was to roll his eyes.
“I was actually going to try to go back to sleep,” he said. “And then we can talk about all this more when it's not ass o'clock in the morning.”
Derek nodded. “When does your father’s shift end?”
Stiles frowned. “He should be home by four, unless he texted me. My phone’s downstairs, though. Battery might be dead by now, maybe. I’m not sure.”
“Do you want to sleep in your room or on the couch?” Peter asked. When Stiles cocked his head to the side in a silent question, he motioned at his borrowed clothes. “I intend to spend the night in my full shift.”
“And what about Derek?”
“I’ll sleep on that chair downstairs no matter where you two sleep,” he said. “And it’s entirely possible that I’ll just stay awake for the rest of the night anyway.”
As the three of them headed back to the living room, Stiles found Derek sticking closer to him than usual. “Are you doing alright?” Derek asked quietly.
Stiles nodded uncertainly. “I think I should be the one asking you that question,” he said.
Derek was silent for a few minutes. He only spoke after Peter had returned to the full shift, curling up on one end of the couch and seeming to go to sleep almost immediately. Neither of them were in any way convinced that he was sleeping, but Derek was calm enough, so Stiles took that as a good sign. “It’s a lot to take in at once,” he said. “I’ll deal with it, though. This just isn’t something I was expecting to have to handle.”
“I gotta be honest, dude, I wasn’t really planning on telling either of you guys about Argent. Like, ever,” Stiles said, getting comfortable on the other half of the couch, shoving his bare feet under Peter’s legs, using his fur to warm his toes. “I was kind of hoping that the old man would just croak on his own and I wouldn’t ever have to tell you that I knew he made it so far out of the warehouse.”
“How did you find out that he’d made it?”
Stiles went silent, very determinedly not looking over at Derek.
“McCall,” Derek said, growling when Stiles’ continued silence served as answer enough.
Stiles stayed quiet for another few seconds before finally meeting Derek’s gaze. “He wasn’t doing it to hurt you any more than he already has,” he said. “He thought Argent would be useful when it came to dealing with the Alpha Pack and he took me to see where he’s been living since the whole thing happened,” he said. “It’s not going to come as much consolation, but the dude’s leaking this nasty black shit out of every visible orifice.”
Derek huffed, looking mildly mollified but didn’t say anything.
“I’m not going to try and stop either of you from going after him.”
“There’s not all that much you could really do to stop us if we were determined to get to him,” Derek said. “I appreciate that you’re trying to protect us from possible backlash, but we are perfectly able to hunt vermin.”
Stiles hesitated for a moment.
“There’s something else.”
“It’s going to sound stupid coming from me.”
Derek frowned slightly but said nothing. He seemed almost patient as he allowed Stiles to get the right words together.
Not that the words were all that cooperative regardless. “Scott. He, fuck.” Stiles paused, running a hand over his head. “I’m not gonna try to apologize for what he did, because it’s like three hundred and fifty shades of fucked up. But. He didn’t do it completely out of spite toward you,” he said. “He was, shit, how do I put this?”
“He was absolutely determined that he was doing the right thing and he didn’t really care who he used and stepped on to get the outcome that he wanted,” Derek said flatly. “And no matter how much any of us hate what he did, he’s never going to accept that there were better options open to him.” He looked over at Stiles with an oddly empathetic look on his face. “Even if you’re the one trying to get that through to him.”
Stiles nodded, impressed. “You hit that nail pretty much on the head, yeah,” he said. “How’d you know?”
Derek hesitated for a moment before saying anything. “I know the type,” he said.
Stiles nodded again.
“I’m not going to go alone, and I’m not going to kill him when I first see him, but I don’t have any intention of letting him live any longer than he has to,” he said. When he caught an odd look on Stiles’ face, he shook his head. “I won’t let Peter within arm’s reach of Argent,” he added. “It’ll be purely reconnaissance.”
“I do,” Derek said. “Why are you pushing this part so hard?”
“Because there’s been enough blood in this town already,” Stiles said. “This has absolutely nothing to do with mercy for Argent. I’m just tired of people dying.” He sighed, his gaze drifting to the spot in the living room where he’d killed Collier. “Shit, dude, I’ve gotten so used to this revolving door of murder that it doesn’t bother me that I’m sitting on the couch less than ten feet away from the spot where I killed a dude myself.”
A gentle rumble from Peter as he shifted over to rest his paws against Stiles’ thigh and nudged his muzzle against Stiles’ hip. When Stiles looked down at him, he made an odd, almost comforting noise and moved so that his head was resting in Stiles’ lap.
“What’s going on?” Stiles asked Derek, not looking away from Peter.
The corners of Derek’s lips twitched up, and he watched Peter, looking more at ease than Stiles had seen him look in a while. “When we’re fully shifted for reasons other than a fight, we are more vulnerable to our baser instincts. In this case, Peter’s responding to the discomfort of a favored Pack member.”
“Really?” Stiles asked, resting a hand on Peter’s head and absently scratching him behind the ears, smiling slightly when he heard the happy sound Peter made.
Derek was silent for a long few minutes, watching his uncle relax under the ministrations of the teenager. “It’s not fair of either him or me to drag you into this, but as long as that particular Argent remains alive, there’s a debt that family owes us,” he said. “I’ve done what I can to ensure that those who were not directly involved in the plot to kill my family are not dragged into the blood feud, but if Chris and his daughter keep pushing things, I won’t be able to find a legitimate reason to exclude them from the rest of their family’s restitution.”
Stiles didn’t say anything. Instead, he thought about the possible outcomes of the more familiar Argents getting involved with things any further. It wasn’t pretty. “I get that you’re probably never going to forgive Scott for all the shit he’s pulled, but if anything happens to Allison, that’s probably the quickest way for him to decide to come after you, instead of pretending to forget that you ever came into his life,” he said.
“Which is one of my reasons for attempting to extend mercy on that family,” Derek said.
Peter snorted, the sound coming out just as derisive as it would were he human.
“McCall has wronged me a number of times, and I would not be surprised if Erica and Boyd had issues to settle with him as well,” Derek said. “And I am well aware that you are perfectly within your rights to demand your own fair share of restitution from him.”
“I’ll have it out with him sooner or later,” Stiles assured him.
Derek nodded, not looking surprised at that statement. “But even with all he’s done, I’m well aware of how it feels to be an Omega,” he said. “If he settles everything with us, I am more than willing to give him the opportunity to come into the Pack, and I will give him an honest chance.”
“Even if Erica and Boyd don’t want him here?” Stiles asked, hesitant. He knew it was a definite possibility. Even a highly likely one, given everything that had transpired between them.
“He’ll be given a fair chance, but if he does something that puts any of us at risk again, or if he makes any of the Betas feel unsafe, or if he gives me any reason to believe that he cannot be trusted, I will remove him from the Pack. He will either learn how to survive as an Omega or he’ll have to find a Pack that will take him in,” Derek said. “But that’s a long way off.”
“Right,” Stiles said. “He still has to do the whole making-things-right thing.”
Derek nodded. “To put it simply, yes,” he said.
Stiles was silent for a long moment. “There’s a place in Beacon Ridge,” he said, hoping he wasn’t about to make a mistake by revealing this. “A retirement home.”
“A retirement home,” Derek said.
Stiles was silent for a long moment. “Wolf Creek Resort retirement home,” he said. “As far as I can tell, he’s got some kind of private suite, and it’s a high-end place as it is. He was in a wheelchair when I saw him, but I don’t know if that was for an actual need or more for convenience.”
“He’ll need more than a wheelchair when we’re through with him.”
“When you do, can I ask that you do one thing?” he asked.
Derek watched him, his eyes starting to take on the red hue of Alpha.
“When you guys do decide to get your hands on Gerard to turn him into wolf jerky, can you make sure that you don’t leave him anywhere where my dad would have to deal with the fallout?” he asked. “He’s got it hard enough already, dealing with the whole my-kid-committed-murder-and-I’m-not-turning-him-in-for-it thing. And the supernatural thing, too. And that my-kid’s-possibly-maybe-sleeping-with-a-dude-almost-my-age thing. That’s a big one.”
Derek smiled a mean, fanged smile at Stiles, though the human didn’t so much as bat an eye in fear. “By the time Peter and I are done with him, there won’t be enough pieces left to even identify him as human.”
Stiles hesitated for a moment, not entirely comfortable with the fact that he was pretty much entirely comfortable with that outcome for Gerard. He swallowed thickly, meeting Derek’s eyes evenly, and nodded once. This wasn’t something to take lightly, he knew that much, and he was, for once, not going to ruin the moment with some flip comment. “Thank you.”
Derek nodded, the fangs receding but the red still present in his eyes. “You've been loyal to us, even when we did not ask such things of you,” he said. “And you are giving us the means to settle a debt that has left too many dead. I would be doing wrong to you if I denied your request, especially given that your information was freely shared.”
“I wouldn’t put it that way, dude.”
Derek rolled his eyes. “It’s courtesy in Pack, you moron,” he said. “You didn’t wait until Argent had his blade ready to kill another wolf, and you were not tortured for this information. You shared it with us without prompting and only asked one small favor of us.”
“Taking murder outside a specific jurisdiction is hardly a small favor,” Stiles started.
“Stiles. Think of this as a similar situation to the human fugitive, Collier. You had people helping you find him. If one of them had asked that, when you got your hands on him, you stab him in the eye or some other inconsequential favor-“
“And again, that’s not an inconsequential favor, eye-stabbing.”
“But would you have hesitated?” Derek asked, not berating Stiles for the interruption.
Stiles didn’t have to think about it for too long before he found himself shaking his head. “No. Not when they put as much at risk as they did to help me try and find him,” he said.
Derek nodded, his eyes gleaming with satisfaction. “It is the same for us. Gerard’s mere existence is a threat to our Pack, and he owes us a debt for the lives he took from Peter and me. We will settle the debt, and because you assisted us, it is not too much for us to honor your request.”
Stiles was struck silent. Clearly there were some things about life in a Pack that he still needed to adjust to. “Thanks, dude,” he said quietly, watching Derek with a new sense of respect. He hadn’t quite believed that Derek would be able to turn around and make a formidable Alpha out of himself, but this? This was light years beyond what he’d expected from Derek.
Looking back, his underestimation of Derek had been entirely unfair, but he told himself that he hadn’t had that much evidence that Derek had a plan. Now, though? He could definitely see the makings of the Alpha Derek would become.
He leaned his head back on the back of the couch, watching listlessly as Derek fished around for the remote and turned the television on, looking for something mindless and not too obnoxious for them all to watch.
As Derek settled on a marathon of Murder, She Wrote, Stiles let his mind drift to another man he’d miscalculated. It wasn’t going to be pleasant, but he knew he’d need to have a conversation with him before any more blood was spilled.
Later that morning, as the sun was rising and all three of them had gotten at least a few hours of sleep, the two Hales did their best to make sure that Stiles was going to be alright. After a quick breakfast of leftover pizza from the last time the Betas had been over, Derek and Peter both promised him that they weren’t going to hunt down Gerard and Stiles shot a quick text off to his father, letting him know that he wasn’t going to go to school that day. His grades were more than able to handle it, and he was fairly certain his father wasn’t going to push the matter. Not over text message, at least.
Everything alright? his father texted back about a minute later, just as Stiles turned the coffee maker on to brew up another pot.
Bad night, he replied, not even lying. Mental health day. Stiles frowned at his text, wondering if that wasn’t the wrong thing to send. He didn't want to worry his father.
Is this about whatever happened that I walked in on you asleep with two wolves earlier?
Shit. He’d actually hoped his father hadn’t seen that, even if it meant he’d crashed in the bunks again. A little bit. Don’t want to talk about it.
I’ll let it go for now, kid. his father texted. Followed seconds later by, we’re going to need to sit down for a serious conversation about all this sometime soon.
Stiles nodded, sending back a quick text of agreement before taking his phone upstairs and looking around his room for clothes. Their stalemate was nowhere near as bad as it had been a few months ago, but his father still didn’t know nearly as much as he probably should. Best it come out voluntarily, otherwise the next big bad would no doubt decide to try and use it as leverage.
He tried to put that inevitable outcome out of his mind, even if only temporarily. There was another unpleasant conversation coming. This one much more rapidly, and Stiles had no intention of missing it. Changing quickly into a clean pair of jeans and a black t-shirt that smelled vaguely of Derek, he grabbed his phone and shoved his feet into a pair of sneakers.
As unpleasant as this conversation was going to be, he was going to enjoy it.
For the first time in this particular dynamic, he had the upper hand and he knew it.
As soon as he opened the door and saw Stiles watching him with an expectant, almost angry look on his face, Chris Argent looked just about done with the conversation.
“Hey Chris, what’s going on?” Stiles asked, feigning casual and doing his best to pretend that being at the Argent house wasn’t bringing back flashbacks about his last, less voluntary visit.
“What are you doing here, Stilinski? It’s seven in the morning," Chris said, already looking exhausted. "And I was under the impression that you and I are on opposite sides."
Stiles nodded. "It is. I’m taking the day off. It’s great. And we are. On, ah, opposite sides," he said, scratching absently at his face. "But that doesn't change the fact that we need to talk. Can I come inside to talk, or do you want to have this conversation right here so we can risk your neighbors overhearing our conversation about werewolves and old men who shouldn't still be alive?" he asked.
Chris' only response to that was to sigh and open the door just enough for Stiles to edge past him in the living room.
Stiles didn't wait that long to start talking, either. He did have a plan to stick to, and getting distracted would only hurt his argument. "So I know about Gerard."
"What about him?" Chris asked, his eyes narrowing. He crossed his arms over his chest, and Stiles found himself wondering how many weapons the man had on him at the moment.
"You want a list? Fantastic. I've got a list," Stiles said, smiling meanly. "I know he's still alive. I know you helped him get out of that warehouse. I know you're paying for his luxury rooms over at the Wolf Creek Resort retirement home. Great name, by the way, so kudos to you for that. I know that you visit him at least once a week, Scott visits him a few times a month, and there's some kind of special consultant visiting him every Thursday at four,” he said, counting the reasons off on his fingers.
"You've been stalking my father?" Chris asked, on the verge of incredulous.
Stiles shook his head. "I haven't stepped foot inside that place since I found out that he's living there," he said. "But I'm very good at my research."
Chris nodded, not impressed. "And why are you researching my father?"
"Because he's a threat," Stiles said simply. "You're all threats, really, but Gerard is the one that needs to be addressed first. And he will be.”
“And how, exactly, do you plan on addressing the threat of a geriatric man who bit off more than he could chew?” Chris asked, looking quite a bit like he doubted Stiles was really capable of doing anything all that menacing.
Stiles glared openly at the man. “One,” he started. “That geriatric man was personally responsible for the torture of two teenagers, and he abducted and beat the shit out of me, too,” he said. “So it’s not like Pappy had a bad day and spouted a bunch of racist bullshit. Two?” He shrugged. “I don’t have to do anything. I could just, oh, accidentally let it slip that there’s a particularly delicious Scooby Snack at the retirement home for the Pack. They’re not animals, and they’re really not unintelligent, so they’re going to figure it out and they can take the pounds of flesh out of him that they need to.”
Chris opened his mouth to say something, likely some kind of argument on his father’s behalf.
Stiles beat him to the punch. “And you can try to relocate him to some other retirement home, but it’s my understanding that werewolves love a good hunt,” he said. “So if that’s your choice, you’re welcome to it, but you’re only going to be prolonging the inevitable.”
“And your personal comeuppance on my father?”
“Will be perfectly sated when I find my Pack picking little bits of what’s left of him out of their teeth,” Stiles said, deliberately going for the dirty shot and taking no small amount of pleasure in the horrified look on Chris’ face. “I don’t need to personally dip my hands in his intestines to know that he’s paid his debts.”
Chris was silent for a long moment, considering things. “How many other vendettas do you plan to carry out on my family?”
“How many of you have innocent blood on your hands?” Stiles asked. “And don’t think I’ve forgiven your family for trying to gas Scott to death.”
“That was my wife.”
Stiles shrugged. “What makes you think I’ve forgiven her?” he asked. “I’m not going to hold her crimes against you, but there is absolutely no way I’m going to just let bygones be bygones. And if I ever find the people who trained that into her, that conversation is going to end with them giving me an apology.”
"My wife is dead, Stilinski,” Chris said, his voice hard. “There is no reason to drag her name through the mud. She suffered enough before her death, don’t you think?”
"Oh, don't even think about playing that card, asshole," Stiles snapped. "You aren't the only one who's had someone you love die, and you definitely don't have the monopoly on helping. Them. Die," he said, spitting out the last three words with such vitriol that the older man actually flinched, though it was a minute gesture and Stiles didn’t notice it. “And it would only take me a few phone calls to have your ass blacklisted. I could ruin what’s left of your family without spilling any more blood.”
Chris frowned, studying Stiles for a long moment.
Stiles shifted under the scrutiny, not sure what to think of it. Chris could be thinking good things about him, or he could be wondering about the quickest way to kill Stiles and hide his body before the neighbors noticed something was happening.
"So what, exactly, are you doing here?" Chris asked. “Or are you only here to posture and badmouth my dead family members?” he asked.
Stiles hesitated for a moment, physically biting back the insult on the tip of his tongue, thinking about how to best phrase what he needed to say. "I hate what your family has done. I don't care about your code, because you're the only one left who seems to actually follow it," he said. "But for as much as I hate what your family's done, you still deserve the chance to say goodbye to your father."
Chris frowned slightly. "You're going to kill Gerard, aren't you?" he asked, though he didn't sound at all surprised by that.
"Not me personally," Stiles said. "But my Pack has a debt to pay him, and he's lived long enough already. We covered that part already.”
Chris nodded, a strange expression fleeting across his face before he spoke again. "And does your Pack know you're here?" he asked. "Or are you telling me all this without their knowledge?"
Stiles shrugged. "I told my Alpha," he said. "I don't know how much time you're going to have to say goodbye. What I do know is that you've got a pretty narrow window before Gerard goes missing from his fancy digs to a shallow grave. Or a few of them, depending on how angry my Pack is when they finally get their claws and fangs into him."
Chris was silent for a long moment. He had an impressive poker face, so Stiles couldn't tell for sure what he was thinking. "Are you going to tell Allison any of this?" he asked finally.
"Nope," Stiles said. "She's not talking to me as it is, and I wouldn't tell her even if she was. If you want to tell her, I can't stop you."
“Does she know that you’re this involved with werewolves?” he asked.
Stiles shook his head. “It’s none of her business how I choose to spend my time,” he said. “And since, until recently, she was spending quite a bit of time involved with her own werewolf, she doesn’t really have much moral high ground to stand on,” he said, doing his best to stomp down the feeling of smug satisfaction when he saw the look on Chris’ face.
Judging by the look that passed over the older man’s face, he hadn’t done as good a job as he’d hoped. “I still don't understand why you're doing this," Chris said. "I appreciate the advanced warning, but this isn't something that usually happens."
"Packs and hunters don't normally communicate like this," Chris said.
"Yeah, well, that lack of communication has led to way too many people ending up dead, especially good cops who really deserved to live long enough to retire, so I think that's something that's got to change," Stiles said. "Besides, Scott's not going to leave Allison alone and since I want him to stay alive, we're going to need to talk about some things."
Chris was silent, but he didn't hide the sour look on his face at the mention of Scott's name.
"I'm not saying we should become bestest buddies, and I'm not saying that we need to have a regular coffee date," Stiles said. "But we do need to have open lines of conversation."
"Does your Alpha know about this idea?"
Stiles gave him a flat, almost dead-eyed look. "Yeah. My Alpha, Derek Hale, knows and completely endorses my suggestion to work with the hunter family that's personally responsible for the cold-blooded, premeditated murder of his family when they'd done absolutely nothing that even remotely violated your damn code," he said. "He was jumping at the idea when I told him."
Chris arched an eyebrow at him, clearly unimpressed by the sarcasm. "You're willing to sneak around behind your Alpha's back, then?"
"I'm willing to do a lot of things if it means that my Pack is kept safe," Stiles said. "And I've got a lot of flexibility when it comes to typical legal and ethical standards."
Chris smirked slightly. "It's too bad the wolves got to you first," he said. "You've got the potential to be a great hunter."
"I'm not really one for the whole killing people just because they're different," Stiles said.
"We have a code," Chris said, obviously offended.
"I get that you say that. But you seem to be the only one that follows that code," he said. "Your sister manipulated Derek to kill his family. Your father locked up two teenage werewolves in the basement and tortured them. He beat the shit out of me to try and get me to play messenger for him. Your wife tried to kill my best friend because he's a complete moron about who he falls in love with," he said, counting things off on his fingers.
"Has not impressed me at all with your supposed code," Stiles said. "And I've got to be honest, if I find out that you've got innocent blood on your hands, I'll come here and kill you myself."
Chris frowned. "Don't you think that's a bit excessive?"
Stiles glared at him. "Given that the last time I knew someone was a threat and did nothing, twelve good cops died?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest. "And since I'd known most of them since I was a kid? Yeah, no. I'm willing to be a little trigger happy if it means preventing another massacre like that."
The older man was silent for a moment. Finally, he nodded. "I can understand that," he said. "And I can see the sense in cooperation, but I'd rather not risk disembowelment by an angry Alpha because I'm talking to you."
Stiles nodded, momentarily pacified. "I'll talk to him about it," he said.
"I'll stay open to the idea, but I don't want to start an exchange of information until all involved parties are aware of what's going on," Chris said. He glanced up at the stairs, an odd expression coming over his face before it disappeared under his typical poker-face. "And I appreciate you coming here, but you've told me what you came here to say."
Stiles nodded again, gesturing toward the door. "I've got better places to be anyway," he said, making his way outside.
Unsurprisingly, Chris followed him. "I understand that you're fully involved with your Pack, but if you find yourself in any kind of trouble that they can't help you with, you can come to me."
Stiles frowned slightly. "I get where you're coming from, but if I get in trouble, there's no chance in hell that I'm coming to you for help." He didn’t wait for a response before heading down the sidewalk to where he’d parked his Jeep. Hopefully Chris didn’t get it in his head to try and follow Stiles to try and intimidate him into some kind of skewed deal.
When he got home, he locked the door and immediately plopped onto the couch, turning the television on to something loud so he could do his best to shove the conversation to the back of his mind. As he sank into the mindlessness of the Expendables trying to out-cheese each other, he was slowly able to forget the way his hands had trembled throughout his chat with Chris.
Halfway through his impromptu action movie marathon, Stiles decided that pancakes and a serious change in genre were in order. He went into the kitchen to scrounge for something to eat, not all that surprised when he realized there were no pancake-makings in the house. Scowling to himself, he scribbled out a quick grocery list and made his way out to the garage.
He didn’t make it farther than the steps on the front porch before he was shoved against his front door, a clawed hand pinning him in place. Not that he was planning on moving any time soon – growling, irate werewolf was enough of an incentive to stay put.
"You reek of Argent," Peter growled, neon blue eyes looking particularly eerie in the hazy light. If the clouds didn't pass soon, it was going to be a stormy day. Maybe he should check the weather later - if there was something moving through, his Dad would probably be doubling later. Flash-flooding was a major concern in the southern parts of Beacon County. "Stop wondering about the weather and tell me why you reek of gunpowder, aconite, and Irish Spring."
Stiles scowled. He hadn't realized he was talking aloud. "I should be nominated for the Miss America pageant," he said.
Peter smirked, his irritation only temporary calmed. "You do have a rather fantastic set of legs, but I believe you have a different chest than their usual contestants," he said. "Attempts to distract me will not work, sweet boy. Answer my question."
"I went to talk to Chris."
"You're suddenly on first names with that Argent?"
"When I don't give a shit about respecting my alleged superiors, yeah," he said, shrugging as much as he could with Peter keeping him in place. "Are you planning on letting me inside, or are we going to have a conversation about werewolves and hunters while you're pinning me to my front door in plain view of the neighbors?" he asked. When Peter just let out an unhappy rumble, he rolled his eyes. "I get it, dude, exhibitionism is on your list of kinks, but it's going to get weird if Mrs. Blackburn calls my dad and brings up all the NC-17 parts of you getting to second base on his front porch."
Peter smirked. "The old woman across the street? She’s still asleep."
Stiles shook his head. "Theresa's got heart problems, and she keeps a pair of binoculars on the table by her window," he said. "She was convinced that keeping an eye on me when I was a kid would stop me from turning out to be some kind of juvenile delinquent. And she's still got my dad's cell on speed dial, so if she sees me getting felt up by a dude closer to his age than mine, she's going to use it."
"That's just hurtful," Peter said, even as he stepped back, though he didn't retract his claws. "I am at least eight years younger than your father."
"Right. Is that in regular people years or dog years?" Stiles asked before he could think better of it.
"Bold question for someone who could very easily find themselves on the wrong end of claws faster than they can blink," Peter said, stepping forward so that his chest was almost flush against Stiles. "We could give the old harpy a heart attack," he purred, running the tips of his claws along Stiles' jaw. "Solve your little hiccup."
"She's not a harpy."
Peter smirked. "You're sure about that?" he asked. "Entirely human?"
Stiles shrugged. "If she's one of the things that goes bump in the night, she's had plenty of time to take me out and she hasn't," he said. "She's a good critter, even if she is a nosy old bat."
"I suppose that's fair," Peter said, glancing at her house out of the corner of his eyes.
"Feel free to sniff around her place if you need to ease your conscious or whatever," Stiles said. "But I have to go out and get pancake mix, chocolate chips, and then I'm coming back to watch the Fairly Oddparents and stay out of my head, so if you're going off to trespass, get to it and leave me alone."
Peter huffed out a laugh. "You're getting rather brazen," he said. He pressed even closer, and Stiles wondered if he was going to move in for a kiss before Peter wrapped his hand around the door handle and opened the door. He wrapped his other hand around Stiles' waist, keeping him upright before he had the chance to stumble back. "And as much as I enjoy putting on a show, there are some things that I just would rather keep to myself."
"Like what, me?" Stiles asked.
Peter just hummed quietly, though there was a definite glint of amusement in his face as he let go of Stiles. "Go take a shower. Change into something else, and I'll drive you to the store," he said. "I'll fix breakfast and do a much better job of keeping you out of your head than any imbecilic cartoon could."
Stiles shook his head. "You can stick around, dude, but this isn't a time for you to cook for me," he said. At the odd look and half-smirk he got from Peter, Stiles shot him a knowing look. "I know what you're doing, with the cooking.”
“Do you now?”
“Yep,” Stiles said. “I may be kind of an idiot when it comes to emotions and shit, but I am aware that you’ve been providing for me."
"Is that so?"
"It is," Stiles said. "And since I know what you're doing and you're not doing it accidentally, we can both acknowledge that this is happening, but I'm not going to talk about it right now because I've already had too many serious discussions today," he said. He didn't say anything for a long moment. "We can cook together, but none of this courting shit you've been doing is happening today."
Peter's smirk only grew. "I can agree to those terms," he said, closing the door behind him. "If you hurry up with your shower."
"Yeah, yeah," Stiles said, flapping a hand at Peter before heading upstairs.
The trip to the grocery store was uneventful, if Stiles didn't count Peter taking him out to Raley's, in downtown Beacon Hills and pressing flush against him whenever he stopped for longer than ten seconds. Making suggestive comments about the ripeness of the bananas two aisles over was one thing, but it was something else entirely when his comments earned them a disapproving look from someone who looked ominously somewhat familiar. Stiles had ducked his head, face burning, while Peter had just stared the woman down until she huffed and hurried out of the aisle.
They managed to make it through the store and back home without Stiles getting a phone call from his father, which was always good. His father may know, but the less he heard about, the better. Spare both of them the awkward and uncomfortable conversations that came with Stiles' relationship with Peter.
Back in his house, Stiles turned on the Fairly Oddparents and blasted the volume just to be a shit. And if he sang along with the opening, well. It only got an irritated snarl and a mediocre eye roll before Peter set about making the pancakes. Stiles didn’t let him have the kitchen for too long before joining in.
Stiles had just elbowed Peter away from him when he heard someone choke back something that almost sounded like a laugh. He whirled around with a yelp, almost smacking Peter in the face with his spatula mid-flail. "Dude! Human here!"
The lanky teenager grinned, flashing fangs and wolf eyes at Stiles. His expression was as irritating as usual, but both Stiles and Peter noticed that he had gone a bit green. "But you've got a wolf with you to warn you about intruders," he said, gesturing at Peter.
"That'd be a valid point, if said werewolf wasn't stealing my goddamn pancakes as soon as I made them," Stiles said, glaring at Peter. "Drop it, fuzzy. I'm the hungry one here."
The older man just smirked and took a bite out of the pancake in his hand. "You've got some chocolate," he said.
"Yeah, in the bag on the counter, asshole," Stiles said, gesturing rather violently at said bag with his spatula.
Peter's amusement only grew. He stepped forward, backing Stiles against the counter and plucking the spatula out of his hand. "You are an insufferable brat," he purred quietly before pressing a firm kiss to Stiles' lips.
Well aware of what Peter was doing, Stiles rolled his eyes before returning the kiss.
The poorly disguised choke of shock on the other side of the kitchen came as no surprise, and they were both content to ignore it. For the moment.
Until Isaac felt the need to add commentary with an odd question. "You're seriously boning the zombie?" he asked. "What sort of sick freaky shit are you up to?"
Peter pulled back, a frown dimming his amusement. He flashed blue eyes at Stiles before turning around to face Isaac, though he very noticeably kept himself between the two teenagers. "That's rather rude, all things considered. I am standing right here."
Isaac snorted. "And you're committing statutory rape in the Sheriff's kitchen. In broad daylight! What the fuck is wrong with you?"
Exactly the wrong thing to say. Peter's eyes hardened, and when he spoke, there was more than a subtle hint of a growl. "You're a bit new to be throwing around accusations like that, Lahey," he said, baring his teeth more than strictly necessary. All blunt human teeth, as far as Stiles could tell. Not that that made things too much easier to deal with, but it was better than fangs popping out and making the situation worse.
"Both of you, shut the fuck up," Stiles snapped, stepping forward. He put a hand on Peter's chest, not pushing him back, but making his claim very clear. "What the hell are you doing here, Isaac?"
"I thought you wanted me to shut the fuck up," Isaac said.
Peter let out an unhappy, warning growl.
Without looking back at him, Stiles pushed him toward the stove. "Make sure the pancakes don't burn," he said. "Isaac, answer the goddamn question."
"You're here," Isaac said.
Stiles nodded, a deadpan look on his face. "I'm kind of aware of that, yeah."
"No, you moron," Isaac snapped, earning another growl from Peter. "You're here. Not at school. Erica got worried when you never showed up this morning and I've got an early free block. I came to see if you were here and in one piece so she'd pipe the fuck down," he said. "But it's kind of pretty clear you're in good hands-"
"Very literally," Peter said, taking the last pancake off the pan and turning the burner off. "Now, do us a favor. Tone back the attitude and go back to school. Let the lovely Miss Reyes know that our favorite human is being well cared for." His eyes narrowed at Isaac. "And that she is never to call me Pete again."
Stiles grinned at him. "It really pisses you off that she's not afraid of you, huh?"
Peter snorted. "I don't particularly care that she's not afraid of me. Some of the greatest advantages come from being underestimated. But I am not now, nor will I ever be, a Pete," he said, taking another pancake off the stack.
Stiles rolled his eyes but didn't say anything.
"This is weird," Isaac said slowly, looking between the two of them.
"It would be much less weird for you if you took yourself back to school," Peter said, leveling a not-quite warning look at the young Beta. "If you also informed the rest of the Pack that I will be taking very personal care of Stiles for the rest of the day, and that we are not to be interrupted, that would be ideal."
Isaac nodded, still looking a bit green around the gills. "Right," he said. "I'll see you later, dude," he said, shooting a quick glance in Stiles' direction before all but running out of the house.
As soon as the front door slammed shut behind Isaac, Stiles looked over at Peter. "Was that really necessary?" he asked.
Peter backed him against the counter again, his smirk returning full force. "That darling blonde pain in the ass is more than capable of reaching out to you herself, either by cellphone or in person," he said. "And for some reason, she doesn't strike me as the sort to be concerned with the possible consequences of playing hooky."
"So what, she sent Isaac in to play cockblock?"
"I would not put it past her," he said. "Now, I believe you and I had plans.”
“Food and cartoons until my brain melts,” Stiles said with a decisive nod. “Grab the pancakes and meet me on the couch, big boy. We’ve got Wanda and Cosmo antics to enjoy.”
Peter chuckled. “But of course, sweetheart,” he said, laughing quietly when Stiles grumbled under his breath but didn’t otherwise protest.