"This was a mistake," is the first thing out of Stiles's mouth when he wakes up in Peter's apartment, in Peter's bed, lying stark naked underneath Peter's sinfully comfortable sheets. "Is this Egyptian cotton?" is the second thing out of his mouth, because seriously, so comfortable, and then "Is that French toast?" because Peter is standing in the doorway, smiling at Stiles, dressed in nothing but a pair of silk pajama bottoms, and holding a tray that smells amazing.
"Twelve hundred thread count," Peter says, "and yes, it's French toast."
"I love French toast," Stiles says, with more than a little trepidation.
"Well then, eat up," Peter says, and places the tray gently in Stiles's lap. The French toast is sprinkled with powdered sugar and decorated with artfully sliced strawberries. There's also a glass of orange juice - freshly squeezed, Stiles is sure - and a steaming mug of coffee.
"Oh my god," Stiles says, already reaching for the fork. "Okay, this was still a huge mistake, but --"
"But who can say 'no' to French toast," Peter finishes.
Stiles moans in agreement because his mouth is full. Fuck, this is good. He would even go so far as to say that this French toast is better than sex, but he had some pretty fantastic sex last night, so maybe not?
"At some point, we need to talk about this," Stiles says, gesturing at the space between them with his fork, when he breaks for juice. Yup, definitely fresh squeezed.
"Of course," Peter agrees mildly. "Finish your breakfast, and we'll talk."
"Are you just going to sit there and watch me eat?"
"I like watching you eat. You take such pleasure in it; it makes it a pleasure to watch."
"Creepy," Stiles says. He tries the coffee. It's perfect.
"Is there cinnamon in this?" he asks, taking another sip. "I love cinnamon."
"Again, creepy," Stiles says, but realizes to his own dismay that he only partly means it. There's another part of him, an insidious, treasonous part of him that's maybe kind of pleased to have someone notice. And that's his whole problem, isn't it? That's what got him into this mess in the first place.
Coming back from his first year at college had been weird. The pack had solidified so much while he was in high school that it had become like a second family, albeit a rocky and sometimes dysfunctional family. But then they graduated, and Stiles left for school, and everyone else stayed behind. He knew that so much time apart would change things, but he hadn't expected to come home and suddenly have it not feel like home anymore.
And it wasn't just with the pack. After an appropriate period of empty nest separation anxiety, Stiles's dad had embraced his new-found freedom. The steady decrease in supernatural murderation had meant that he could devote more of his professional time to crime prevention and community development. He'd helped to start a volunteer program for at-risk youth, and he'd started dating some lady named Lynette, and now he was talking about maybe selling the house and getting an apartment with her. Selling the house! The house that Stiles grew up in! It isn't like Stiles doesn't want his dad to move on and be happy, but it all feels so sudden. Except it's not sudden to everyone else. They've all been living their lives while Stiles has been gone. He's the one who has to play catch-up.
Peter is the same, though. Oh, sure, he claims he's different, that he's turned over a new leaf - no more plotting and scheming and necromancy; honesty is the always the best policy, blah blah blah - but he still gives off that same vibe, like he knows something no one else does, and he's going to lord it over them until the precise moment when it will benefit him the most. Once a creepy evil undead uncle, always a creepy evil undead uncle. It's kind of... comforting. The one constant amidst a sea of change.
Plus he's so nice all the time. He always makes a point to ask Stiles how he's doing, and then he actually listens to the answer. When Stiles directs thinly veiled insults at him (or just plain obvious insults, for that matter), he smiles and laughs, as though Stiles's lingering hatred for him is an inside joke they share. And there are all these stupid little things, like last week at the pack dinner, when he gave Stiles the biggest piece of lasagna, and then pressed a tupperware full of leftovers into Stiles's hands when he left. (“It's lean beef,” he'd said. “For your dad.” Stiles made Scott sniff it for poison.) He complimented Stiles on the decision to grow out his hair. ("It highlights the strong angles of your face in a very fetching way," was what he'd said, as opposed to Scott, who'd said "It's different.") He loaned Stiles a couple books on symbolic logic when Stiles let slip that he'd enjoyed the class he'd taken on it in his first semester. It's blatant favoritism, but for the life of him, Stiles can't figure out why.
It all came to a head last night. Stiles only went over to Peter's apartment to return the stupid books (which he'd read and enjoyed immensely, not that he'd ever admit it), and then Peter had ambushed him with a bag from some store with an Italian name that Stiles had never heard of.
"I was doing a little shopping, and I couldn't help but think of you when I saw this," he said.
Stiles glanced in the bag, fully prepared for the gift to be a mummified bat corpse, or a full set of human teeth, or something equally gruesome. Instead, it's a shirt. A dark red crew neck with long sleeves, made of some ridiculously soft cotton blend, and positively reeking of good taste and luxury. Stiles can already picture himself wearing it.
"I noticed you've been dressing a little more stylishly these days, and I wanted to encourage the trend," Peter remarked. "Not so much with the baggy button-downs and muted colors. Things more fitted to your... frame."
No one had ever made the word 'frame' sound so lascivious. Stiles felt suddenly self-conscious of his bare forearms and skinny jeans.
"Why don't you try it on?" Peter suggested.
"No way," Stiles shot back. "And you can keep your stupid shirt. You know what? I've had it up to here with this bullshit, dude."
"It's a gift," Peter replied mildly. "You don't have to wear it if you don't want to."
"Are you kidding me?" Stiles wanted to throw the stupid shirt at Peter's stupid, handsome face. "What part of 'no' don't you understand?"
Peter at least had the decency to look apologetic.
"I'm sorry if my attention has been unwelcome," he said, moving away from Stiles and towards the kitchen. "I didn't intend to make you feel... whatever it is you're feeling right now."
Stiles stalked after him, still angrily clutching the shirt. He was not about to let Peter weasel his way out of this conversation, not after putting up with his ridiculousness for two freaking months.
"Enough! Okay? I quit! What is your end game here? What do you want from me?" Stiles demanded.
"I was hoping that you and I might become friends," Peter said softly. He rummaged through a cabinet next to the sink, keeping his back turned so Stiles couldn't see his face.
"Like hell you do. I know you, okay, I know your - your style, and the Peter I know does not do 'friends.' Not unless it benefits him somehow." The phrase 'friends with benefits' popped into Stiles's head, and he quickly pushed it away. Nope. Not going there.
"You don't think the pleasure of your friendship would be a benefit to me?" Peter asked, glancing at Stiles curiously.
"Of course not! I mean - I mean, obviously I'm awesome, and being my friend is awesome, but - " Stiles faltered, and then barreled forward. Now was not the time to be addressing any of his inadequacy issues. "But you don't need me."
That made Peter stop in his tracks. He turned to Stiles slowly, with a funny expression on his face, somewhere between pained and hungry.
"You're right," he said. "I don't need you. I want you."
Stiles gaped at him.
"You heard me. I want you." Peter stepped forward, slowly, as though Stiles were a wild animal he didn't want to startle. "I like you, Stiles, whether you believe it or not. I appreciate your humor and your candor, I admire your intellect, and I won't deny that I find you extremely attractive. Frankly, I'm surprised that no one else has snatched you up yet. It's been very frustrating for me to watch you go unappreciated."
Stiles's mouth felt dry. He wasn't sure if he was supposed to respond or not, and while he was trying to formulate an adequate response, Peter continued.
"I thought that maybe I could keep my interests platonic, in case a romantic approach made you uncomfortable, but it appears that I've played out my hand. So - full disclosure, all my cards on the table: I want you. Sexually. If that's not a possibility, I would settle for friendship, although I can't promise that I will be entirely satisfied."
Stiles noticed with surprise that Peter’s hands were clenched tight, his whole body rigid, as though there were an invisible wall between them, and Peter was pressed hard up against it.
“You want me,” Stiles echoed, just in case maybe he heard wrong.
“I don’t know how much clearer I can make it.”
“Oh my God. You're serious. You think I'm sexy. You have a crush on me!” Stiles wished he could shut himself up, but he was thinking out loud now, and that train is hard to derail. “You genuinely want to get all up on this. You! With your, you know,” Stiles flapped his hands at Peter, trying to indicate Peter's overall... attractiveness, sex appeal, whatever. Creepy uncle, yeah, okay, but also really good-looking creepy uncle. And he thought Stiles was hot.
“Yes,” Peter said, with an intensity in his voice that made Stiles's breath catch in his throat.
And then they were kissing.
One second Stiles was staring at Peter, still trying to wrap his brain around the whole concept, and the next second he was grabbing Peter’s face in his hands and pulling him closer until their lips crashed together. Some combative part of Stiles felt like he needed to test Peter, to call him on his bluff. There was no way Peter would keep up this charade if Stiles actually took him at his word.
For a moment, Peter was still. Then he was kissing Stiles back, wrapping his arms around Stiles’s body and dragging him closer, kissing him like Stiles had split open a dam, and they were both being swept away in the ensuing flood.
It wasn’t like Stiles had never been kissed before - college had been a blessedly wider dating pool than high school, and he'd sown some wild oats - but he’d never been kissed like this. Like he was the only drop of water in the Sahara desert, like he was the last gasp of oxygen on the ascent to Mt. Everest.
Peter had Stiles backed up against a wall (how had that even happened? Stiles tried that move on a girl once, and they both tripped, and she got a bruise on her forehead from hitting a doorknob on the way down) and his fingers were skimming under the hem of Stiles’s shirt, feather-light touches that sent little sparks up Stiles’s spine.
He was too distracted by the way Peter’s teeth were grazing his lower lip to focus on anything else, but something in the back of his mind was wiggling around, trying to get his attention. He pulled back.
“Wait - wait, just for a second -” he said. His voice was rougher than he expected, breathless and embarrassingly needy.
Peter stopped. His eyes fluttered shut for a moment, as though he were strengthening his resolve, and he took a deep breath.
“Yes?” he prompted, when Stiles didn’t continue.
Stiles just stared. He knew he’d meant to say something - something important, because there were important things to be said - but he couldn’t remember what it was. Peter’s cheeks were flushed, and his lips were parted slightly, and his hair was wild from where Stiles had run his hands through it.
Stiles had never seen Peter look so... undone.
I did that, he thought. It was a shockingly pleasurable notion.
Whatever reservations he’d had flew out the window. Was this a bad idea? Almost definitely. Was that going to stop him? No, apparently not.
“Never mind,” he said, and leaned in for another kiss, sucking not very gently at Peter's lower lip, and relishing the soft inhale it evoked. “Fuck it,” he mumbled into the kiss. “Fuck it, let's just – yeah. Let's -”
Peter was nodding, kissing him and nodding, dipping his fingers under the waistband of Stiles's pants and tugging Stiles with him through the kitchen, back into the living room, steering them carefully around the couch and towards the hallway.
Bedroom, Stiles thought. We're going into the bedroom. Holy shit, I'm going to go into Peter Hale's bedroom.
Peter must have sensed a spike in Stiles's pulse, because he stopped and looked Stiles in the eye.
“We don't have to do this. Not now. We can just kiss. Or not. I don't want to rush you.”
Stiles paused to consider it. His cock throbbed.
“Nope. We're doing this,” he said decisively. He was one hundred percent sure that this was what people meant when they talked about thinking with your dick. “Lead the way.”
Peter led the way in more ways than one. When they made it to the bedroom, he stripped Stiles with a care and precision that made Stiles flush pink all over. Then he proceeded to fuck Stiles's brains out. He used his tongue and fingers in ways that Stiles could never have imagined. He fucked Stiles the way Stiles had only ever seen in porn, and had never really believed was possible. To say that the sex was good would be like saying Da Vinci was a decent artist.
Afterwards, when Peter was done wringing every last drop of pleasure out of him, they flopped down onto the bed in a sweaty tangle of limbs, both of them still panting with exertion. Stiles waited for his brain to come back online, but he must have dozed off, because the next thing he knew, Peter was gently wiping him down with a warm cloth.
“We should... we have to... talk,” he mumbled.
“Tomorrow,” Peter whispered. “We'll talk tomorrow.”
* * *
“So... what happens now?” Stiles asks as he polishes off the last of the French toast.
Peter shrugs. “That's largely up to you.”
“I'm going back to school in a couple weeks.”
“Yes,” Peter agrees.
“So,” Stiles says again, and then stops. He trails his finger through the remaining powdered sugar on his plate, and then absently sucks it into his mouth.
“So,” Peter prompts. “Where does that leave us?”
“I don't know. I don't think I can do the whole long-distance thing,” Stiles says. “Also, like, I'm not really sure if I want to date you? No offense.”
“None taken,” Peter says. He sounds somewhat blank and detached. Stiles's stomach twists.
“Fuck buddies?” he suggests.
“I'm afraid that's not really my style.”
“No, right, that makes sense. I get that.” Stiles looks at Peter, studies the planes of his face, the sharp cut of his jaw, the way his eyes turn down at the corners. Stiles feels guilty, all of a sudden. Assuming Peter is being honest - and based on last night, Stiles is more than halfway convinced that he is – he has actual feelings for Stiles. He bought Stiles a shirt. He made Stiles breakfast. And now Stiles is acting like a dick.
This doesn't make up for the things he's done, Stiles thinks. He's not a good person.
But then again, neither is Stiles, is he? Not totally. Not really.
“Tell you what,” Peter says. “You go back to school and think things over. Take as much time as you need. When you feel it's appropriate, perhaps we can correspond with each other.”
Stiles squints at Peter. “Correspond?”
“Emails, texts, what have you,” Peter says. “I'm sure it won't surprise you to know that I'm fond of writing actual letters on actual paper, the kind that get put in an envelope and delivered by a mailman.”
Stiles is not surprised. “Let me guess – you own a fountain pen.”
“Two,” Peter says.
Stiles rolls his eyes, but he's also kind of smiling, and he's not sure he can help it. And who doesn't like getting stuff in the mail? “Okay, you can write me letters.”
It wouldn't be entirely accurate to say that Peter's face lights up, but there's a glow of something around his eyes that makes Stiles feel... kind of powerful. Jesus, if he can make Peter that happy just by letting him write some dumb letters, imagine what else he could do.
“Is this what it's like to be wooed?” Stiles asks. “Are you wooing me?”
Peter grins at him, and for once, Stiles can't see even a hint of creepy uncle.
“With your permission, yes. I would like to woo you, Stiles.”
Stiles purses his lips, considering it, even though there's not that much to consider. Stiles knows a good deal when he sees one.
“Okay. Yes. You may woo me.”
Peter nods solemnly. “And now, with your permission, I would very much like to take you to the bathroom, introduce you to my apartment's excellent water pressure, and then fellate you until your knees give out.”
Stiles does not pause to consider this. “Permission granted!”