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An Understanding by Force

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The attack was over in seconds, just the sound of pounding feet, a quick intake of breath, a tearing sensation, and more pain than Stiles had ever experienced in his life. He could feel the blood running down his side and under his fingers as he instinctively grabbed at the spot where the pain was most intense. The impact had knocked him to the ground, and he could feel someone heavy on his back and warm breath on his neck. He'd never wanted to be a werewolf, not when Derek was alpha, not when Scott became one, and certainly not now, not sprawled out on the street in some alley in New York. He'd come here to get away from that life for a few years at least, and now he was cold and bitten and some stranger was breathing on his neck and petting his hair.

"I've always liked you, Stiles," the wolf said, and Stiles realized that this was not a stranger at all. Panic overtook any reason he had left, and he began to struggle, to fight to roll over, to do anything but lay here under Peter fucking Hale.

Peter only chuckled and pushed Stiles harder into the concrete with one hand on the back of his neck. "Calm down. You know better than that. You're still human right now and an injured human at that."

Stiles snarled into the ground and tried to push up into Peter's hand. "Get the fuck off me."

"Not until you calm down."

"Calm down? What the fuck? You just bit me! Are you even an alpha or are you just biting people for fun now?" Stiles could feel the panic rising, heart rate elevating, breath coming fast and uneven. He could taste bile in his mouth and hoped he didn't throw up while his face was smashed against the ground. That was an indignity he could do without.

"Oh, yes, I'm still the Alpha. And I didn't even have to kill Scott for it." Peter sounded smug and maybe a little amused, breath hot against Stiles’ ear. Stiles felt a moment's relief that Scott was okay, though he hadn't even had time to worry about Scott before this second. It had probably been less than five minutes since Stiles had first thought someone was following him from the subway station and less than a minute since he’d known it was a wolf. A lot can change in a minute.

Stiles felt the weight ease off his back but didn't have time to be grateful before the grip on his neck shifted to the back of his shirt. With an ease that Stiles didn't like to contemplate, Peter lifted him from the ground and shoved him back against the alley wall. Peter was standing in front of him, too close but not touching, claws extended and eyes glowing. Seeing Peter clearly for the first time in three years, Stiles was not surprised to see that he hadn't changed much: hair styled, fancy shoes, and a v-neck t-shirt. Stiles would have laughed at the shirt except for the one big difference between the Peter he’d known and mocked as a junior in high school and the Peter who was standing before him. This Peter didn’t have glowing blue eyes anymore. "I don't think the red really suits you.”

Peter smirked. "I don't usually take advice from someone who considers plaid to be the height of fashion."

Breathing heavily, panic sitting just below the surface, Stiles no longer felt like he was going to vomit, though it would serve the bastard right if he threw up his Pad Thai all over those expensive looking shoes. "Well, I don't usually get bitten by psycho werewolves either, but it seems to be a night for people not getting what they want. Speaking of-" Stiles gestured with his free hand toward the place on his side where he could still feel the blood slowly dripping. It was already hurting less, but he didn't know if that made him feel better or worse.

Peter reached out his hand, claws retracted now, and touched the top of the hand Stiles had clamped down over the bite. Black lines crawled up Peter's wrist, and the pain disappeared, leaving behind a dull numbness in its place. Stiles' head fell back against the wall in a gasp of relief and shock. Now that the pain was gone, Stiles just felt exhausted rather than panicked. "You still haven't told me what the hell is going on right now."

"I bit you. I turned you." Peter was staring at the bite mark with an intensity Stiles didn't like at all.

"I'd gathered that." Stiles wanted to yell at Peter, to kick and scream and run and pretend none of this was happening. Instead, he just watched as Peter looked up from the bite mark and met Stiles' eye.

"Don't play stupid. I've always liked you, and when I killed that alpha two weeks ago, I knew I needed to have you." The familiar insane gleam was back in Peter's eyes. He had seen it when he'd first met Peter in the hospital and again when they'd taken him down in Mexico, but he was really needing the sane, rational Peter right now.

"What's the plan this time, Peter? There's no one else to kill for vengeance. Derek is off being a wolf in the desert somewhere. Cora is in Brazil. And Scott... Well, you wouldn't have come to me if you really wanted to hurt Scott." Stiles was trying to remain calm and find that part of Peter who had helped break into a bank vault or helped rescue Stiles from the depths of his own mind. "Why turn me? What's in it for you?"

Peter smiled and touched Stiles on the side of the face, manic gleam behind the red of his eyes. "I need a pack, and I need it to be strong and cunning. I'm going to be the most powerful Alpha in the world, and I need you to do that. You see the world in shades of grey. You fight when you should surrender. You look beyond what's on the surface and see the truth. You were valuable as a human, but as a wolf, you'll be magnificent."

Stiles could only stare at Peter for several seconds, trying to make sense of what he was hearing. Before he could even consider the words, Stiles said, "Have you lost your mind again? You want me to help you? You tried to kill me. You tried to kill my best friend. You just bit me against my wishes. Why should I help you at all?"

Peter only continued to smile and rub his fingers gently across Stiles' neck. "Because I'm your Alpha now, and if you take the time to think about it, you'll know that I'll be better with you. What would I do if left to my own devices? Think of the horrors I could inflict. I know the greatness you can achieve, and I know your pride would have gotten in the way of it. You can be my moral compass if it makes you feel better. Come play Jiminy Cricket to my Big Bad Wolf, Stiles, and we can rule the world."

Stiles leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes, head pounding, side starting to burn again, and thought of a world with a rabid Peter in it with nothing to rein him in except for another death that might not stick. He thought of all the innocent lives that might be lost, including his father and maybe Scott or Derek or Lydia. Then he thought of the world where he and Peter created a pack together, created something strong and cunning and potentially ruled by Stiles’ moral compass, and he sighed in resignation. He opened his eyes and met Peter’s expectant, knowing gaze. “Okay,” he said. “Let’s do this.”