Work Header

Don't Fail Me Now

Chapter Text



They don’t know you

Not like I do

 from “Toy Soldiers” by Marianas Trench




Stiles is absolutely sure he’s fucked up for life.

“Come on, pretty,” the guy says, and seriously, pretty? Fuck his life, and fuck his choice in guys. That’s not the worst of it though, because the dude follows that up with just about the most terrifying thing he possibly can: “Let me in.”

And suddenly it’s not this guy, or this back alley, or the fact that Stiles said he’d blow him, not give up his ass, but somehow the guy’s hand is shoved down the back of his jeans and his fingers are pushing at him anyway, because suddenly none of that shit even exists.

“Let me in.”

Suddenly Stiles is trapped in every nightmare he’s ever had, in increasingly small places, confined, chained, constricted, and it knows he’s there. Maybe it can smell him, the acrid stench of his fear sour and thick in the air. Maybe it can hear the desperate thumping of his heart, or the strangled whimpers that he tries his hardest to smother, but can’t. And it’s coming closer and closer.

“Let me in.”

He can’t breathe. He’s sucking air into his lungs as fast as he can, but it’s not working. His heart is palpitating, beating so fast that he’s terrified it’ll give out. He’s going to vomit, too. Sour, burning bile rises in the back of his throat and he can’t—god, he can’t breathe.

The guy is saying something maybe, but Stiles can barely hear him. Because the guy doesn’t exist, and the alley doesn’t exist, and nothing exists except his fear and his panic and his absolute fucking certainty that he’s going to die. His vision blurs, and goes gray at the edges. He can’t hear anything except the buzz of static in his head and the choking, rasping sound of his own useless breath.

“Let me in.”

Everything hurts. His lungs feel like they’re about to explode. He’s coughing, gasping, choking, and he can’t get any air.

If he had the breath, Stiles would scream.

If he had the breath—

But he doesn’t.




When he comes back to himself in tiny blinking increments and heaving breaths, he’s shaking and alone. It takes him a little while to figure out where he is. It’s an alleyway a few streets away from The Jungle. He doesn’t want to go back there and get his Jeep. He’s downtown now, and close to Derek’s loft. He’ll go there. Crash on the couch until morning. He’ll worry about the Jeep, and his dignity, in the daylight.

He likes Derek. He’s always liked Derek. There was a time when he seriously crushed on him, but that was back before everything, back before Stiles had the darkness running in his veins. Back when nobody or nothing could shut him up, not even the full force of Derek’s glower, back when Stiles still felt like a human being.

He still likes Derek, but in a different way. It feels almost like nostalgia, like remembrance wrapped in sweet regret, because he knows it’ll never happen. Stiles isn’t that guy anymore. It’s nothing but an echo now, that instinct in him that whispers to go to Derek’s loft, that he’ll feel safe with Derek, when he hasn’t felt safe in months. It’s only an echo, but Stiles wants to believe it.

Except when he bangs on the door, trying his hardest to keep his hammering heart from broadcasting his panic to every fucking wolf in the vicinity, it’s not Derek who opens the door to him.

It’s Peter.




“Stiles,” Peter says, his mouth curving up into a smile. “What an unexpected pleasure.” He lifts his nose and moves his head from side to side gently. His eyes narrow, but his smile broadens. “The Jungle?”

Stiles opens his mouth and then closes it again.

“You stink of vodka, and cheap cologne, and other men’s sweat.” Peter inhales. “How many men got their hands on you tonight? Painted their stench all over you?”

Stiles’s stomach clenches and churns. He hears the guy from the alley again. He hears his nightmares: Let me in. He takes a step back, struggling to keep a lid on his rising panic. He focuses his energy on getting the question out: “Is Derek here?”

“No.” Peter crosses his arms over his chest and leans in the doorway. He tilts his head as he stares at Stiles, and his smile fades. “Stiles? Are you alright?”

Stiles can’t meet his gaze. “Yeah. I’m just gonna go.”

“No. You’re not.” Peter turns away from the door and walks back inside.

Oh, fuck you, Peter, seriously. He should just turn around and walk away, and not get into whatever stupid game Peter thinks they’re playing. But he really doesn’t want to go back outside, and be alone, and risk another panic attack.

Stiles follows him in, all the way through to the kitchen. He leans against the counter, trembling hands shoved in the pockets of his jeans, while Peter plays good host.


“Derek has tea?”

“No, I have tea,” Peter says. “Which I keep here for pack meetings since I refuse to drink those awful protein shakes that Derek apparently exists on, and I got tired of tap water.” He rattles around in the cabinet. “I have some chamomile. That might calm you down.”

“I’m fine.”

Peter raises his eyebrows, but he doesn’t call Stiles on the lie. He doesn’t have to, Stiles supposes. They both know Stiles is full of shit.

“Chamomile it is,” Peter says.

Stiles shifts his weight from foot to foot as he waits for the kettle to boil, and for Peter to make the tea. He doesn’t even want tea, but Peter has a tea infuser out and everything. And Stiles can’t be bothered waste his scant energy arguing about something so inconsequential.

When the tea is ready, Peter ushers him out toward the couch, gestures for him to sit, then presses the mug into his hands. Then he sits down on the chair opposite and drinks his own tea. “What happened tonight?”


“You’re shaking pretty badly for nothing.”

Stiles almost laughs, because it was nothing. An abortive encounter with some random fucking asshole, and he took it and magnified it and turned it into a full-blown panic attack. Because apparently that’s who he is now. He’s the guy who’s so mentally fucked up that even an attempted hook up ends in a panic attack. It’s like the nogitsune took everything with him when it went and left him stripped bare, peeled back, every nerve exposed.

 “You think you’re the first person in the world who’s had to deal with the dark thing living inside him?” Peter’s mouth curls in a smile. “Stiles, you’re not even the first person in this pack.”

Stiles isn’t sure what that smile means. He can’t tell if it’s supposed to be sympathetic, or cruel or, somehow, both. But with Peter, attack is the best form of defence. “Oh, that’s cute. You think you’re a part of this pack.”

Peter has always responded well to sarcasm. His smile broadens, and his expression sharpens. It’s obvious he likes it when Stiles snaps back, which is creepy as all hell but, on some level, reassuring. Peter’s just about the only one of the pack who treats Stiles the same. He isn’t wary, like he’s afraid Stiles will break or, worse, he doesn’t look at him like he’s wondering if the darkness is still somewhere in him. Peter looks at Stiles with the same way he looks at everything: like he finds it all slightly beneath him, and is deeply amused by that. Arrogant douchebag.

The small spark of anger flares and fades in a heartbeat, and leaves an ache behind. For a second Stiles almost felt like his old self, but now it’s gone again and he knows he’ll never get it back. He doesn’t deserve to get it back, to be the old Stiles.

People died.

He takes a sip of his tea, then leans down to set the mug on the floor before he spills the lot. He should just go. Just go home and curl up in his bed and let the nightmares tear him apart, just like every night. Then maybe, one day, they’ll stop. Or he will. Maybe one day he’ll just decide he’s done with all this. Maybe everyone will be better off, himself included, if he just wasn’t here anymore.

It isn’t the first time he’s thought of suicide. It happens a few times a day. He doesn’t know if it’s a problem or not. Doesn’t know if his thoughts of taking his own life are any more serious than the others he has: he’ll move to San Francisco without telling anyone and start again. He’ll buy a plane ticket to some place on the other side of the world he’s never heard of. He’ll vanish from here and reinvent himself in some new place. Or maybe he’ll just vanish.

Peter’s holding his gaze like he can read every thought running through Stiles’s head. Maybe he can.

“It doesn’t go away, Stiles.” There’s nothing in Peter’s face to indicate this is a lie. “The darkness. It’s always there. Even when the madness is gone or, in your case, the demon, it leaves a shadow.”

Stiles knows he’s being manipulated—this is Peter, of course he’s being manipulated—but that doesn’t make it a lie. “Don’t.”

Peter doesn’t listen. “It’s always there. The things you did, with your own two hands, the chaos you called forth, and the blood you spilled. It doesn’t matter that it wasn’t you, because it wore your face. The demon, or the madness. It wore your face, and mine, and it took the things we knew and used them against the people we loved.”

“It wasn’t me.” Stiles stands—he needs to get out of here—but Peter is on his feet as well, and he’s stepping toward him.

“It was.” Peter is too close now. His breath is warm against Stiles’s face. “It was those hands, Stiles. It was those eyes. That mouth.” Peter’s gaze drops to his lips, and narrows. “That smart fucking mouth.”

White noise.

Stiles can’t move.

Peter hooks a hand behind Stiles’s neck. Presses his thumb against his jugular, and exerts just enough pressure that Stiles is forced to lift his chin to relieve it.

“Peter…” He’s terrified, heart thumping wildly behind his ribs. It must sound as loud as a barrage to Peter.

Peter’s gaze is cool and knowing. He keeps the light pressure on Stiles’s jugular with the thumb of his right hand. With his left hand, he grabs Stiles’s right wrist. “Quiet now. Just give me a moment to see it all fall into place for you.”

Stiles blinks, his eyes stinging. He tells himself the only reason he’s not trying to pull away is that Peter could rip his throat out in an instant, but he knows that isn’t true. At least, it isn’t the whole truth. He’s not fighting this because it somehow feels inevitable. Sooner or later another monster was always going to come along and destroy him. It might as well be Peter.

Peter inhales deeply. “Oh, yes. You’re seeing the predator again, aren’t you? I hide behind a smile, the same as you, and they let themselves forget. You let yourself forget too, Stiles. What am I to you? Zombiewolf? Creeperwolf? You’ve turned me into a joke, into a punchline, but guess what? That was a mistake.”

Stiles blinks again, and tears slide down his face.

A smile tugs at the corners of Peter’s mouth. His eyes gleam. “Oh, well aren’t you lovely when you cry? I’m glad. It’ll make this so much better.”

“Peter. Don’t. I don’t want—”

Peter tightens his grip on Stiles’s wrist, claws digging into fragile flesh. “And who said this has anything to do with what you want?”

He twists Stiles around suddenly, and shoves him back toward the couch.




Where’s his panic attack now to take him out of this?

He’s numb. He’s already sinking into shock, when he should be fighting. He should be yelling and screaming and telling Peter no, but he doesn’t. And not just because it’s pointless.

Maybe he knows it wouldn’t stop Peter anyway, so later he can pretend that by not begging he was able to keep a tiny shred of dignity.

Maybe he doesn’t want to give Peter the chance to laugh at him.

Maybe because a part of him doesn’t care enough to try and stop it.

Or maybe some strange sick thing inside him actually wants to be hurt and reviled and made to bleed.

Peter pushes him down over the arm of the couch, one hand on the back of Stiles’s neck, and the other tugging at his jeans. “These are tight. No wonder you stink of other men. I’ll bet they had their hands all over you, didn’t they?”

For a second Stiles is back on the dance floor at The Jungle, in that press of bodies, flushed and horny, and he wonders if this moment is punishment for that moment; the universe reminding him that he doesn’t get to be happy, not when he should be guilty. Not when he should be hurting. If he’d only been stronger, or smarter, or more careful, or better, the nogitsune would never have chosen him as its host.

Peter grunts as Stiles’s tight jeans refuse to budge. He pulls Stiles back slightly, making room to get a hand underneath him.

“Don’t,” Stiles says, and here’s his panic again, a sickening, shuddering wave of it, then Peter has his fly open and suddenly Stiles’s jeans are being tugged down. He squirms and tries to pull away. “Don’t!”

Peter tightens his grip on Stiles’s neck. Claws dig into the soft unprotected flesh of his throat. “Quiet. I’ve been waiting years for this, Stiles. Don’t ruin it.”

Stiles whimpers. He clenches his fingers into fists. He’s crying again, or still, or something. Everything tastes like salt.

Peter keeps that hand on the back of his neck while he divests Stiles of his jeans. His underwear is next. The black and gray striped boxer briefs that Stiles had worn just in case—his breath shudders out of him as the thought hits him—in case he got lucky. Then both of Peter’s hands are on his ass, thumbs digging into the cleft, and Stiles jerks forward when Peter spits and then rubs it around Stile’s hole.

“Don’t!” He tries to twist away, but Peter’s too strong.

Peter leans over him, all heat and menace, and breaths against his ear. “It’s going to happen. The only choice you have to make is how much it’s going to hurt. My advice to you, Stiles, is to take the path of least resistance. Do you understand?”

He thinks so. He nods anyway.

“Show me you understand, Stiles.”

He’s cold. It takes him a moment to realize that Peter is no longer leaning against him. It takes him a moment longer to realize what Peter wants.

“I don’t think…I don’t, I can’t—” He’s not trying to be difficult. He knows he can’t run. He knows it’s going to happen, and he doesn’t want to make Peter angry, he just doesn’t think he can do this. It’s different, being asked to give when he knows Peter can just take. It shouldn’t be different, shouldn’t be worse, but it is. Just another way that Peter’s going to fuck with him tonight.

Peter slides a fingertip down his spine. “Show me, Stiles.”

Stiles wants to scream, wants to fight, but this is just like it was with the nogitsune. Whatever nightmare Peter has created for him, Stiles is stuck in it, helpless. He toes his trainers off. His tears are silent as he holds the arm of the couch for balance and steps out of his tangled jeans and underwear. His shirt is next. Stiles tugs it over his head and then he’s wearing nothing but his socks, and it should feel ludicrous, but he’s too fucking scared to feel anything but that.

Peter’s laugh is low and pleased. “You always were a clever boy.”

Stiles thought so once, but how can it be true if it’s led him here to this moment?

No, he can’t do this. He can’t. He takes a step away from Peter.

The slap is sudden. It’s brutal, sharp. It’s as loud as a clap of thunder. It leaves Stiles’s face throbbing. It leaves a stream of blood trickling out of his nose. It leaves him stunned, and wrenches him free of the dull shock that was softening the edges of his awareness.

This is real. This is happening.

Peter smiles and bends him over the couch again, and Stiles fights the urge to vomit.

“I wanna go home now,” he whispers, shaking his head.

Peter grips him by the hips and nudges his feet apart. His voice is sweet and dark, like molasses. “When we’re done.”

Stiles chokes on a sob.




His first time was going to be with Lydia, and she would have been beautiful, letting only Stiles see that sweet vulnerability that she kept hidden from everyone else, but he would never judge her for it. He’d protect her cold reputation fiercely. It’d be a secret how sweet and kind she was, a secret that maybe a few people would be able to read in his smile, but he’d never tell.




It hurts. It hurts more than he’s ever thought it would, and he doesn’t understand how people do this. It’s too big, and he’s going to tear, and there will be blood, how is he going to pretend none of this ever happened if Peter rips him apart? It fucking hurts, and he wants to crawl away from the pain, but Peter’s fingers are digging into his hips and holding him down over the arm of the couch, and Peter’s dick keeps shoving in and in and in, and the thin, reedy wail that rises out of Stiles sounds like it belongs to a much younger boy.




His first time was going to be with Derek, because how was anyone on the planet allowed to be that hot? Stiles kind of liked girls and guys, and some days he wavered between them, and some days he thought that eventually he’d land on one side or another, and some days he didn’t care if he never did. Fantasies of Lydia and imagined softness and butterfly kisses had transformed into fantasies of Derek in his leather jacket and his glare, of stubble burn and something rougher. Rougher, but still gentle when it mattered.




“That’s it,” Peter croons in his ear. “That’s a good boy.”

Stiles curls the fingers of his left hand around the corner of a couch cushion. His right arm is gripping the back of the couch. Every thrust pushes him forward, and his stomach hurts where it takes their combined weight each time. The leather squeaks and rasps under his abraded skin. He can’t breathe.

Everything hurts, and he’s terrified that every thrust hurts more than the last, but somehow glides in smoother. Peter’s making moaning sounds behind him, and his fingers are claws again. He’s punctured the skin around Stiles’s hips, and Stiles can smell blood. He’s bleeding inside too, he knows he is, and god, he can’t go to the hospital after this. Even if Scott’s mom isn’t working, everyone knows who his dad is.

He’s crying again, or still, or something.

Peter thrusts harder, and jolts the couch forward. Stiles’s mug, sitting too close to the leg of the couch, rattles a few inches across the floor. Tea slops over the rim.

You made me chamomile tea. You made me chamomile tea, and now you’re raping me.

In what universe does that even make sense?

The same one, maybe, where Peter leans down and licks a wet stripe up the back of his neck, and growls, “fucking whore” and it sounds somehow like an endearment.




His first time was going to be with a stranger, because if nobody he was crushing on was showing any interest, then a stranger might. And it’d be better with a stranger in a lot of ways, because if he did something embarrassing—which he probably would—then at least with a stranger it wouldn’t matter so much. That way, by the time he was with someone who mattered, he’d have an idea what to do. So he put on a shirt that Danny said looked hot on him, and a new pair of black and gray striped underwear that made him look more grown up than his favourite Batman pair, and went to The Jungle to get some experience.




It lasts forever, and yet it’s over quickly. Time stopped making sense somewhere between then and now. Peter’s thrusts get faster, then faster still, and then he’s groaning as he comes, and it hurts again when he pulls out, and Stiles feels something wet leaking out of his ass, hot even against his feverish skin, and then, when it hits the air, suddenly cold. Too cold. He’s shivering.

He slides down onto the floor.

He can’t get enough air.

He can’t understand. For some reason he thinks that understanding is just outside his grasp. If he can reach it, if he can somehow make sense of this, then he’ll be himself again. Not this shivering, crying, trembling thing.

This isn’t him.

This can’t be him.

Again. Can’t be him again.

Let me in.

Except he’s been this thing since the nogitsune, hasn’t he? This pitiful, frightened thing. He is reduced to a thumping heartbeat, to tears and snot, and to the rough, raw rasp of breath in his throat. He hurts, but he hasn’t got the strength to move. He’s hardly got the strength to shiver. He feels feverish and cold at the same time, unanchored, like he’s close to passing out. Like there’s nothing holding him here except the force of his own concentration, and he can’t… he can’t hold on.

A sob tears out of him, and the sound startles him. He didn’t intend to make any noise, but the distance between his body and his mind is growing larger. It was a crack a moment ago. It’s a gulf now. He’s scared. He can see his fingers twitching, tapping out some panicky tattoo on the floor, but he can’t feel it.

“Stiles.” Peter runs his fingers down his spine.

Stiles flinches, and the noise that rips out of his throat this time is harsh and guttural, like the bark of a seal. An ugly sound.

“Stiles,” Peter says again, his voice low. A claw digs into Stiles’s lower back, and taps against his spine. “Get up. Come on.”

Stiles rolls onto his side, and uses the side of the couch to pull himself up into a seated position. The muscles in his stomach burn with the effort. Pain stabs his gut, and his ass, and a wave of nausea crashes over him. He fights the urge to vomit all over Derek’s floor.

Oh god.

Derek’s loft stinks of this now. Of him and Peter. Cum and blood. And all the bleach in the world won’t disguise it, not from werewolf noses.

“He’ll kill you.” Stiles wipes his nose on the back of his hand, and stares down at the slick trail of blood left behind. Then he looks up at Peter again. He wants to laugh, this is so ridiculous. Peter raped him, and Derek will rip his throat out, and nobody will come out a winner. Nobody. “He’ll kill you.”

“Who? Derek?” Peter smiles, pityingly. “Are you sure about that, Stiles? He doesn’t trust you. None of them do. They look at you, and they wonder if you’re really there, or if you’re just a passenger and something else is behind the wheel.”

Stiles doesn’t want to believe that, but he’s been afraid of it ever since the nogitsune. That even though the nogitsune is gone and he’s back, that it’s not the same. It will never be the same again. People died. Allison died.

“That thing in you is gone,” Peter says, his voice low. Stiles can’t stop looking away from his fingers as he buttons his fly, at the way they brush over the fabric of his pants with a light touch he didn’t bother use on Stiles’s skin. “It’s gone, Stiles, but it left a hole. It left an open door.”

When is a door not a door?

When it’s ajar.

Stiles swallows, and tastes blood. He flinches away as Peter squats down in front of him and reaches out to cup his cheek. “Don’t.”

“You’re weak, Stiles.” Peter’s tone is almost tender. “You can’t hold that door closed on your own, and sooner or later something’s going to slip through. You know it. You can feel it. And, Stiles?” He scrapes a claw down his cheek. “You’re not strong enough to stop it.”

“And you are?” Stiles meant for his words to come out in a derisive sneer. He didn’t mean for them to lift, achingly, with hope.

Peter holds his gaze. “I am.”

Stiles is shaking, tremors running through him, lodging somewhere in his bones. He’s so tired of being scared of everything and nothing all at once—of possession—that it’s almost a relief to look at Peter Hale and know that this is his monster, right here. If it has a name, and it has a face, then Stiles won’t have to shrink from every shadow, from every noise in the dark. “H-how would you?”

“Anything that wants you, Stiles, has to come through me first.” And Peter is a monster. He’s proved that. He presses the point of his claw into Stiles’s cheek until the skin yields and a drop of blood, as hot as a tear, wells and slides down his face. “I know what you need. I can help you.”

Stile can’t think straight. He feels like he hasn’t for months, and here’s Peter offering to help. And he knows, he knows that Peter’s manipulating him, but there’s an insidious voice in the back of his head that tells him if he’s this easily manipulated then he fucking deserves whatever Peter’s got in store for him.

He just wants it to stop.

If he has to hurt, if he has to be tortured by nightmares day in and day out, then he just wants someone else to be in charge.

It could be Peter.

Couldn’t it?

For a moment Stiles can’t breathe, and then a wave of fear crashes over him. The realisation of how close he just came to giving up, to giving in to a monster again, sickens him. The path of least resistance, Peter said, but what’s that except defeat?

“It doesn’t work like that,” he manages. “It can’t.”

“Why can’t it?” Peter rubs his thumb along the damp skin under Stiles’s eye.

Stiles wrenches his head back. “Because you just—you just—” He can’t even say the word aloud because, once said it can never be unsaid. It’ll be out in the world then, made real, and Stiles isn’t ready to look it in the face yet. “This isn’t help.”

 “It’s what you need, Stiles.”

He shakes his head. Impossible.

Peter wraps his warm fingers around Stile’s left wrist and draws his arm out straight. “You’re different. It changed you. You need a little darkness in you now, to settle you, to keep you grounded. I can give you that.”

Stiles watches, heart racing, as Peter extends his claws. Then catches one against the pale skin of his forearm, against the faint blue-green vein. Peter presses down, and Stiles moans and shakes his head, and then his skin yields, blood wells, and the claw digs deeper in.

“Don’t,” he whispers, light-headed with fear. “Peter, god, please.”

“Shh.” Peter’s gaze is intense. “You’re doing so well, Stiles. Let me have this.”

Stiles moans, afraid to pull his arm back and risk Peter opening the length of his vein. The pain is bearable, and it hurts no worse than any other part of him. A little sharper, maybe, a little more immediate than the dull throbbing ache that shudders through his body in time with his heartbeat. He closes his eyes and leans his head back against the side of the couch. His rising panic sucks the air out of his lungs.

“No,” Peter says, his voice quiet. “Open your eyes, Stiles. Watch.”

He opens his eyes. Blinks away tears. And watches as Peter’s claw opens up his vein.

Peter smiles at him, eyes bright with delight.

“No,” Stiles whispers.

“Shh. It only stings a little.” Peter pulls his claw out of the bloody wound. “And it feels so good afterward.”

Stiles wants to close his eyes again as the endorphin rush hits. He knows this is just biochemistry, but he’ll take it. He stares at the blood welling out of the wound and thinks, dimly, that he needs to bandage that. He might even need stitches. He feels a little woozy, but not in a bad way. He feels like he’s floated just far enough away from his body to not care about what’s happening to it. He’ll take that too.

Peter lifts his arm to his mouth and licks at his blood, and Stiles moans and feels himself slipping a little further.

“Good boy,” Peter says. His mouth is hot and wet against Stile’s wound. “Such a good boy, Stiles.”

Tears slide down Stiles’s face. “Please let me go now, Peter. Please let me go home.”




It hurts to walk. Peter has an arm slung around his shoulders and is guiding him down the stairs. They’ve left blood in the loft. Derek will know, but that’s okay. Peter says that’s okay, and Stiles is too tired to argue. He thinks that Peter’s wrong. He thinks—hopes—that Derek will burn with anger when he finds out what Peter’s done, but he’s not sure. It feels like forever since he’s felt sure of anything.

Peter helps him into the passenger seat of his car, and leans over him to clip the seatbelt shut. Stiles closes his eyes as Peter takes the opportunity to press his mouth against his throat. Nudges Stiles’s chin up to give himself more room. Stiles doesn’t resist. He sits there numbly, cold fingers twisted together in his lap.

It’s almost dawn. The sky is softening into gray at the edges.

It’ll be day soon, and Stiles needs to focus on the practicalities.

Peter murmurs something against his jugular, and then pulls away. He closes Stiles’s door and walks around the car to the driver’s seat. When he starts the car, music begins to play. It’s something classical that Stiles thinks he almost recognises, but Peter turns it off before he can think of it what it’s called.

Stiles leans his head against the window as Peter drives.

Maybe if he goes home and showers and goes to bed, maybe in the morning things will make more sense. Maybe by then he’ll know what to say to his dad if he asks if something’s wrong. And maybe he’ll figure out what to say to Derek and Scott, because they’ll know. They’ll smell it all over Derek’s loft, and maybe all over Stiles’s skin as well.

He’s always hated feeling weak, and now it’s the first thing they’ll all see when they look at him. They’ll look at him and they’ll see what Peter did. Every time.

Stiles starts to shiver again.

He thinks of his dad’s gun safe. He thinks of the bottle of sleeping pills in the back of the bathroom cabinet. He thinks of kitchen knives and rat poison and rope. He thinks of how easy it would be, and how he’s spoiled for choice. He thinks that at least this way his dad and his friends can stop mourning him by degrees, can stop trying to get the old Stiles back. He was never going to come back.

Maybe he’ll do it when he gets home.

He’s just so tired.

Peter reaches over and put his hand on Stiles’s thigh. Stiles presses his mouth into a thin line to try and stop his lower lip from wobbling, to try and stop himself from making any sound. His throat is sore when he swallows; just another ache, another twinge, another stab of pain to add to his collection.

Peter misses the turn onto Washington.

Stiles’s heart beats a little faster. “Peter?”

Peter doesn’t answer. Stiles curls his cold fingers around the sash of the seatbelt. Another missed turn, and he knows for sure. They’re heading in the wrong direction. Peter’s not taking him home.

“Where are we going? You said you’d take me home, Peter.”

Peter hums, and then smiles. “I said I’d take you home when we were done, Stiles.” His smile widens. “And we’re not done.”