Actions

Work Header

Unpack Your Heart

Chapter Text

It was far too early for a Thursday morning in late August, but Stiles was dutifully pulling his old Jeep into the parking lot of the vet clinic, ready to ask for magic lessons, or whatever you might like to call them.  He was not at all sure what kind of super powers an Emissary was supposed to have, but based on his interactions with the veterinarian, he had to assume they were vagueness and condescension.  His research led him to believe that they were meant to be advisors and protectors, but he had yet to learn any details.

"Mr. Stilinski, to what do I owe the pleasure?" the man asked, leaning on his mountain ash counter.  Stiles heard a few barks from the back room.  It felt weird to be asking his friend's boss to be his Lupin or whatever, but he had a job to do, so he might as well just get on with it. 

"I need your help finding Erica and Boyd," Stiles blurted out before his mind could catch up with his mouth.  "Peter thought you might still have some contact with Emissaries from other packs."  He took a deep fortifying breath and rushed on before he lost his nerve, "And I'd like you to teach me to use my spark," he raised his eyes from his sneakers, "so I can become the Emissary for the Hale pack."

"I see," Deaton responded, flipping the counter up and disappearing into the hallway.  Stiles assumed he was meant to follow, so he passed behind the counter and lowered the heavy piece of wood, trailing after the man. 

"I'm not sure I'm really the one to be teaching you anything, but the Hale pack is young again, and it could certainly use some fresh blood.  I'm getting a little old to be chasing after wolves all the time.  As for the pack contacts, I'll see what I can do."

Stiles was hoping for something a little more definitive than that, but why he expected Deaton to be forthcoming, he really couldn't say.  He watched the man go to a bookshelf in the corner and pull out a few ancient looking volumes, placing them on the table.  Some of them weren't in English, and Stiles could already picture himself getting Latin lessons from Lydia for the rest of forever.     

"Druids are tied to nature, but not only the trees and the birds, also the ebb and flow of natural energies and supernatural currents.  They tune in to the elements and feel what binds them together.  Druids are protectors of nature, so their magic is defensive rather than offensive.  It's a way of keeping emissaries impartial.  They don't use their magic to kill, or exact revenge, only to maintain balance.  Although balance can mean different things to different people, so you should still be wary of any others you come across.  You should be able to manipulate the Earth's energy and bend it to your will, like you did with the mountain ash."

"So can they control the elements?  Like benders?" Stiles asked, not understanding a damn word the man is saying.  Forget Lupin, this guy was totally Dumbledore; cryptic and insane.  He probably liked knitting patterns.  Stiles was tempted to take a peek to see what kind of socks Deaton was wearing.

"Yes and no," he answered, "it depends on how powerful the Druid is.  Most can manipulate plants, trees, organic matter.  Some who are more powerful can manipulate the Earth itself; dirt, sand, rocks, et cetera.  Those are rare, but not entirely uncommon."  Deaton continued, calm and still as ever.  "The most powerful Druids can control the weather, the Earth, and other organic elements, some even commune with animals."

Stiles glanced around at some of the cats sitting in their cages and narrowed his eyes at Deaton.

"No, no.  I'm not that powerful, and I certainly can't speak to animals.  There are probably only a few people in the world with that kind of magic.  Some are born with more potential and innate power than others, and some just work incredibly hard to get there, often at their own or other's expense.  You might want to look into your ancestry and try to find other Druids.  Some of your relatives may have written down their experiences."  Stiles made a mental note to ask his father to send some letters off to Poland, but pressed onward with his questions.

"So what can you do?" Stiles asked, crossing his arms over his chest and appraising the vet.  Deaton tightened his mouth slightly, growing irritated by the younger man's needling.  This was why he worked with animals, not children.

He went to a wall cabinet and unlocked it.  There were glass bottles of herbs and plants interspersed throughout the medical supplies, none of which were labeled.  Deaton seemed to know exactly what he was looking for though, and plucked a small vial from the back of one of the shelves.

He tapped a few small seeds out onto the metal table and dropped them into the palm of his hand with a careful movement and a serious look of concentration.  Clearing his throat, Deaton gestured at his hand, making sure Stiles was paying close attention before closing his fist and reopening it to expose a handful of small pink flowers.

Stiles' eyes widened as he leaned over the table to take a flower from Deaton's hand, twisting it this way and that, examining the long fresh petals.  "Woah."  The vet let the other flowers fall to the surface of the table and crossed his arms, mimicking Stiles' earlier pose.

With the constant chaos that made up his life, sometimes Stiles forgot that his friends were actually magic.  He forgot that werewolves weren't a fact of life for everyone else on the planet.  He had forgotten what it felt like to see something that by anyone else's standards should be truly unbelievable, and feel awed instead of terrified.  Those flowers just appeared; not out of thin air, out of seeds, but it was impressive nonetheless.

"I don't move the ground or anything, but I haven't tried in a while either.  Maybe I could if properly motivated, but I doubt it."

Stiles was still staring at the flower in his hand with an open mouth.  He could do this?  He could literally move the Earth?  It just didn’t seem possible.

"We can prepare magic by mixing herbs and other earthen substances into spells and rituals, the effects don't just come from our bodies or focus objects like witches or other magical practitioners.  Everything has to come from the Earth itself."

Stiles twisted the flower in his hand a bit, nodding as he listened.

"Things are also a little different because of where we live," Deaton said, looking a little more pleased with himself than his usual stoniness allowed.  "Beacon Hills is actually a beacon."

"What are you talking about?"

"Telluric currents."

"Which are?"  Stiles makes a circular motion with one hand, urging Deaton to elaborate.  Conversation was like pulling teeth with this guy.

"Extremely low level electrical currents that run through the Earth.  Usually they wouldn't do much of anything, but the topography of Beacon Hills amplifies them and makes our city a beacon for supernatural activity.  Those that possess and use magic are drawn to the potential increase in power.  Surely you didn't think Kanimas and werewolves and hunters were running all over the world in the numbers that we find here."

In fact, Stiles had been thinking exactly that.  How was he supposed to know they were living on the Hellmouth?  There better not be vampires coming out of the woodwork for his senior year of high school.  He didn't have time for that crap.  His dad kept nagging him to do yard work and his college applications. 

Thinking back to what Deaton had said before he got off track, Stiles found that he was still confused, "Can I get like a practical demonstration?" he asked, hoping it might clear things up a bit.

Deaton held out a palm, and to Stiles' surprise it started glowing a dark yellow, almost orange color.  He stepped forward and placed it on Stiles' forearm, where it instantly began to warm his whole body.  It felt pleasant and all encompassing, like it was radiating from the inside out.  Stiles eyes widened once more as Deaton pulled his hand away, a mist of something slightly shiny, almost glittery, hovering in the palm of his hand.   When Deaton had said "electric currents" he had expected a shock or a bolt, but this was completely different.  This was like light and goodness in its purest form.

"So you're a white lighter?" Stiles asked, trying to wrap his head around what he was seeing.

"I'm a what?"

"Can you orb?"

"Can I what?"

"Come on man, watch some TV once in a while!" Stiles said, slightly exasperated.

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Deaton said, flipping his palm over, light disappearing. 

"On Charmed, there are these people called white lighters, and they can throw these balls of energy around and turn into a bunch of light balls called orbs, and transport themselves and their friends around.  That would actually be really useful considering the amount of life threatening situations I usually find myself in," Stiles drew a breath and Deaton shook his head.

"No, I can't ‘orb.’  You have to just concentrate on the energy around you, and you will be able to direct it.  Like this," he said, raising his hands again.  The mist spouted out of both hands this time, heading toward Stiles' chest.  He felt it nudge him gently, and took a forced step backwards. 

"Can you heal people with that?" Stiles asked, excitement starting to color his voice.  Deaton shook his head, with a put upon sigh.

"What would I need to heal a pack of werewolves for?  They heal themselves just fine," he countered, not really finding the logic in Stiles' train of thought.

"There are humans in packs too," Stiles reminded him, gesturing at his entire body, "and werewolves are not exactly gentle."

"No, I can't heal anyone," Deaton said, effectively killing Stiles' mood.  The guy was such a downer.

"Okay, okay, so what about telekinesis?" Stiles asked eagerly, still wondering what the limits of Deaton's powers were. 

"No Stiles.  This isn't a movie," he said, a little harsher than he had been before. 

"Yeah, I'm aware,” Stiles answered angrily.  “This is my life.  I'm just trying to get some answers here."  He put a hand up to his forehead and turned around, pacing a little as he tried to think. 

"You need to clear your mind," Deaton told him, and dear God, now he was channeling Snape.  "Try meditating, feel the energy around you."  He quickly changed topic and continued on.  "There is a ritual that I can perform that will tie you to Derek as his Emissary, but it isn't immediate.  You're going to have to work at it."  Deaton spoke softly, trying to convey the seriousness of Stiles' magical education.

"Talk to Derek.  This is a big commitment you're making here.  I can sever the tie with another ritual, but depending on how close you become with the pack in that time, it could completely upset their balance and be very dangerous for everyone.  It's not something to be taken lightly."

 Stiles felt the gravity of Deaton's warning, but didn't anticipate changing his mind, even if his thoughts did flit back to those unfinished applications for a moment.  The older man carried on, giving instructions this time, "Spend more time with the wolves and really consider what you're doing here.  After the ritual you should form a bond with Derek that will allow you to sense him when he's not around.  That will extend to the Betas, and you'll be able to tell when the pack is in danger.  That is your biggest responsibility as an emissary.  Protect the pack from harm, be that harm mental or physical."

Stiles looked a little suspicious.  "So you can hear Derek in your mind?"  He wasn't sure how he felt about that.  Deaton hadn't done anything untrustworthy yet, but he still wasn't sure how safe he felt knowing that his pack was somehow tied into the Druid's mind. 

"No.  I could do it with Talia, but I have no real relationship with Derek.  And it’s not so much hearing as it is feeling," Deaton tried to explain.  "It will take some effort, but over time, you should be able to feel the Alpha the strongest, and then his Betas a bit less at first, but it’ll come with time." 

Stiles wasn't too thrilled about this.  Really connecting with Derek sounded like a nearly impossible task.  He wished he could just start with Peter and work his way up.   Before he could ponder that for too long, Deaton spoke again.

"Take this," he held out a truly gigantic leather-bound book, "and this," he handed him another, slightly less intimidating but equally dusty volume.  "Read these.  They should give you a good idea of what you're trying to accomplish.  Then spend time with Derek.  Try meditating with him in the room.  Somewhere quiet.  And call me if you think you're ready to do the ritual."

This was sounding more and more like couple's therapy to Stiles, and he couldn't say he was looking forward to it.  If Deaton asked him to stare deeply into Derek's eyes, he was going to lose it.

"Try meditating before bed.  I have some special candles you can use," he rustled through a medicine cabinet for a few minutes and then put two brown candles into a brown paper bag and placed it on top of the books.  "These are made with cedar.  They're best used to open your psychic channels and promote peace of mind.  You could probably use all the help you can get."

"Very funny, doc," Stiles shot back with a smirk.  "I'll get right on this.  But please, call me if you find out anything from another pack?"  Anxiety was creeping into Stiles' voice as he pleaded with the older man.  "We need to get them back, it's been months.  School starts next week."

"Do you really believe they're still alive?" Deaton questioned, daring Stiles to give him a show of juvenile optimism.

"I hope so," Stiles responded, eyes dimming slightly, "for Derek's sake, if nobody else's."

Deaton nodded and gestured toward the door, inviting Stiles to get the hell out of his office.  "I have a Pomeranian who needs bandaging."

 

***

 

Kicking off his shoes by the door, Stiles headed up to his room, balancing the bag of candles on top of the books Deaton had given him.  He flopped onto his bed, pulling one of the books into his lap and wrinkling his nose at the smell as he opened the cover.  This book, at least, was mostly in English, and he spent several minutes speed-reading through the pages, skimming when the language got overly flowery.  Surprisingly, Deaton had given him a fairly accurate description of the concept of becoming a pack Emissary, and he mentally thanked the man for being forthcoming for once.  He closed the book and glanced at the other one.  After noting that it was written in some sort of ancient language he'd never seen before, he set it aside and went to the floor, sitting cross-legged in the middle of the room.

Clear your mind.  Stiles giggled to himself, hearing Alan Rickman's voice in his head.  He thought back to what he had read about meditation during one of his late night Wikipedia marathons.  His psychiatrist had recommended he try it when he was younger and having frequent panic attacks, but he had never really been able to do it.  Breathing exercises were all well and good for keeping yourself from passing out when you actually had an attack, but when he just tried to meditate outright, circular thoughts always crept in.  Concentrate on your breathing.  When your mind wanders, bring it back to center.   Easier said than done.

Stiles stood to take off his red flannel shirt, shook out his arms, and reseated himself on the floor, closing his eyes.  In.  Out.  In.  Out.  He gave himself a minute of breathing before running through everything Deaton had said earlier.  He had to make a commitment to Derek, to the rest of the pack, and to Beacon Hills itself.  While he wouldn't mind making a commitment to Peter, Derek was an unknown quantity.  The man's issues had issues.  Did he really want to bind himself to Derek's mind?  To be responsible for his mental health?  Derek needed a professional therapist, not a spastic seventeen-year-old emissary poking around in his subconscious.  How would Peter feel about all this?  He had been encouraging before, but would he become jealous of Stiles' connection to Derek?

What about college?  He had planned on going, but he wasn't sure where or for what.  Part of him wanted to follow his father and join the police academy to become a detective, or something along those lines, but he wasn't sure.  The Sheriff had always hoped he would get out of town and explore, maybe not across the country, but at least out of the county.  But did he really want to leave his father anyway?  He would eat himself into an early grave if a troll or something equally horrifying didn't eat him first.  Were trolls real?  What about vampires?  And fairies?  And demons?  And ghosts?  Who knew what kind of supernatural baddies were going to come creeping out of the Earth the moment he left Beacon Hills.

Stiles squeezed his eyes shut even tighter and tried to breathe.  This was bigger than him.  Sure, graduating high school and going to college were important, but not more important than someone's life.  Erica and Boyd had been missing for months and he might be the key to finding them and bringing them home.  What if they were dying or being tortured by the Alphas and he didn't do anything to stop it?  He couldn't live with himself.

Making up his mind to at least move forward, Stiles texted his father to tell him where he was going to be, and headed over to the loft.

 

***

 

Knowing that Derek would hear him coming from the parking lot, Stiles slid open the door without knocking.  Derek closed the book he was reading and went to the fridge, wordlessly handing Stiles a can of soda and grabbing a bottle of water for himself.  Having no idea where Peter was, Stiles knew he was on his own for this conversation.  He cracked open the can of Coke and took a seat on the couch.  Derek leaned rigidly against a support beam.  With raised eyebrows, Derek said, "Peter's out."

"I'm here to talk to you actually," Stiles began, taking a deep breath.  "I talked to Deaton today, and--” He was cut off almost immediately by an irritated Derek.

"You know I don't trust that guy," he said gruffly, taking a sip of water and crossing his arms.

"Yeah, I'm aware, and I'm not sure that I do either, but I think I have a plan about how to find Erica and Boyd."  Derek inclined his head slightly to show that he was listening, and put his drink down on the table.  Stiles rushed onward, eager to get Derek on board.

"You need an Emissary."  Derek opened his mouth to interrupt again, but Stiles held up a hand and talked over him.  "No, shut up.  You do and you know it.  Deaton told me all about it and I read a bit and I think this is something I can do, so I'm here officially offering my services."

"As my Emissary?" Derek questioned, a laugh on his lips.

"As your Emissary," Stiles repeated, standing up and moving directly in front of Derek.  "Look, I know you think I'm an idiot, and don't know what I'm getting into, but I already got that lecture from Dr. Doolittle, so I really don't need it again."

Derek tightened his mouth and narrowed his eyes at the teenager squaring off against him.  He had balls, Derek would give him that, but he was also naïve and impulsive, always an inch away from putting his hand into the fire.  Stiles was going to have to do a lot better than that to convince him this was a good idea.

Sensing an opening, Stiles pressed on, full steam ahead.  "Look, I have a spark, okay?  And Deaton thinks I must have some Druid ancestors or something, because he said he could teach me to be like a Poison Ivy type badass and control plants and stuff," Stiles argued, but Derek just shook his head, nostrils flaring.  "If we do this ritual Deaton told me about, I can connect with you as your emissary, and then with your Betas, and then I can find Erica and Boyd, I know I can."  Stiles watched Derek's face soften ever so slightly, but he continued to shake his head.

"He also told me this town is an actual beacon for supernatural activity."  Derek tried to play it off but his eyes widened slightly at that tidbit, just enough for Stiles to see an extra millimeter of green.  Stiles barreled forward, knowing he had Derek on the ropes.  "Oh ho yeah, we're sitting on Sunnydale's sister city here my friend, and things are going to get worse before they get better.  You need me.  I can protect you."

"You're not a superhero Stiles, and I don't need you to protect me," Derek finally snapped, breath rumbling in his chest.

Stiles took another step forward, body tense with frustration, and pushed Derek by the biceps, causing him to unfold his arms and grumble even more.

"Fine!  You don't want to let me protect you?  Then let me protect my friends.  Peter," Stiles pleaded, growing more hysterical with every word, "my brother, my father, my home!"  He punctuated with a shove to Derek's chest.  The werewolf hadn't moved backward one step, but that didn't stop Stiles from trying.

"I can't let my friends die if there's something I can do to save them!  My father took an oath to protect the people of Beacon Hills," Stiles said, letting his outstretched arms fall to his sides.  "Let me do the same," Stiles finished quietly, turning away from the wolf and rubbing the back of his buzzed head.  Derek's face fell as he watched Stiles walk toward the windows, the afternoon sun just beginning to descend.

"I can't let you get dragged down with us.  This isn't your fight, Stiles.  It never was," Derek sighed heavily, following him across the room.

Stiles continued to stare straight ahead and spoke harshly, "This became my fight the minute Peter bit Scott.  The minute Gerard Argent cut me open while Erica and Boyd watched," he lowered his eyes slightly, "this became my fight the minute Peter said he loved me."

Derek raised his arm in an aborted movement to reach out to Stiles, but lowered it quickly, hoping Stiles didn't notice.  "I wanted to keep you out of it.  Our lives are dangerous and you don't heal.  What will happen to your father if you die?  And I don't even want to think about what Peter would do if something happened to you.  You're smart.  You could leave here, go to college, meet new friends."

"I'm not leaving my father," Stiles said firmly, having abruptly made that mental decision.  "This is my pack too.  I know that you know that, you've know it for months.  You can't push me away anymore."  Stiles turned back toward the Alpha and put an unsure hand on his shoulder, squeezing lightly.  "I know people have betrayed you before, but you can trust me.  This is family."

Derek watched a solitary tear fall down Stiles' cheek.  Stiles stood defiant and did not brush it away, keeping his hold on Derek's shoulder.  "What if they just left themselves?  Maybe they don't want to come back."

And that, Stiles finally realized, was the real cause of Derek's worry.  He thought he had fucked up so badly as an Alpha that Erica and Boyd didn't even want to come home.  "Derek, come on," Stiles soothed, "they would have called Isaac if they found a new pack.  They didn't leave you."  Derek shook his head, inhaling deeply.

"Do you think they're still alive?" he questioned lightly, his face lined in worry.  "I can barely feel them anymore, it's like-- a half a shadow of a feeling."

"I hope so," Stiles said, slowly rubbing the wolf's arm in what he hoped was a comforting way, expecting Derek to draw away any minute.  "And even if they're not," he stared at Derek until the man met his eyes again, "we can still bring them home."

 

***

 

Peter pushed into the loft with an improbable number of tote bags on one arm.  He found Stiles and Derek lounging on the couch with Isaac spread out on the floor, coffee table pushed to the side, movie playing.  "How's it going?" Peter asked, bringing some of the bags to the kitchen to put away.

"Ohana means family," Stiles replied, jerking his head toward Derek and winking.

"Family means no one gets left behind.  Or forgotten." Isaac added, smiling broadly up at Derek who rolled his eyes and held up the battered DVD case for Peter to see.

"Lilo & Stitch?" Peter questioned, turning to put some pasta in the pantry.

"Oh, I keep forgetting you missed six years of pop culture!  We have to catch you up on Disney movies.  There was Enchanted and Tangled, and then Pixar did some really great stuff too!  There was WALL-E and Up, and--"

"I know what it is, I was awake then.  I just wasn't a seven year old at the time," Peter said, "I can't believe you're watching that," he directed at Derek.

"It's not that bad," Derek allowed, letting his eyes flit over to Isaac and Stiles, who were holding back laughter.  Stiles heaved himself off of the couch and went to help Peter with the groceries.

"Where have you been all day?" he asked the wolf, handing him a few cans of pinto beans, gaze dropping down to Peter's mouth.  He did a quick check to see that the other two were still watching the TV before placing a soft kiss on his lips.  "I know you haven't been at the grocery store the whole time I've been here."

Peter hooked a finger into one of Stiles' belt loops and pulled him in, wrapping one arm around his back and bringing the other up to cup his face.  "No, I haven't," he said, kissing Stiles again with more pressure than he had gotten before.  "First I went to Sacramento to sniff around," he moved his lips to Stiles' jaw, rubbing them against his neck.

Stiles made a pleased noise and let him answer the unasked question.  "I couldn't smell any wolves that were there recently.  What I did pick up was a week old at best.  Went into the magic shop there, had a lovely conversation with a witch.  She tried to hex me--"

"I'm not surprised," Stiles muttered, letting Peter continue trailing kisses up behind his ear.

"I don't know what you're insinuating; I was painfully polite.  Must have just set off some silent werewolf alarm," Peter replied, pecking the beauty mark next to Stiles' mouth and then his lips again.  "Witches are notoriously wary of our kind, unless they really want to start trouble.  If you come across a witch that actually wants to talk to you, you should probably run.  They said they hadn't seen any wolves and that if they had they wouldn't tell me anyway, so that went well."

"You know we can hear you, right?" Isaac called over.

"Yes!" Peter yelled back while Stiles just cursed under his breath, hiding his face under Peter's chin.  Smirking slightly, the wolf pulled his human's face upward again and continued ignoring the others.

"Then I drove back to town, went to the library," he pressed their lips together one more time, "and then the supermarket.  Happy?"

"Ecstatic," Stiles replied, pulling away to peek in the last tote bag on the floor.  "You know you really shouldn't carry all the bags at once.  I don't care how big your arms are.  It's not subtle," Stiles warned, nudging his wolf with an elbow.

Peter rolled his eyes and moved away to continue putting the food away, but Stiles pulled him back by the bottom of his shirt and wrapped his arms around Peter's firm waist.  Stiles leaned in and whispered, "I need to tell you something."

"Is it that you're not wearing any underwear?" Peter questioned, raising his eyebrows.  Instead of another playful smack, Peter got pulled in closer, Stiles bringing his lips to the bottom of his throat and continuing to whisper.

"We are so not there yet, dirty man," Stiles teased, but returned to the serious by explaining, "Derek agreed to let me be his Emissary."  Peter was honestly surprised.  He had not expected his sullen nephew to give in nearly that easily.  Derek must have been much more desperate than he had realized.  He turned his head to press his neck further into Stiles' lips, silently asking him to keep talking.

"I want to know what that means for you though.  For us.  You're not really part of Derek's pack anymore are you?"  As much as Peter had hoped Stiles was taking their relationship seriously, he hadn't expected this kind of concern either.  If Stiles wanted to be sure that this wouldn't affect what they had, then he was going to reassure him.

"I want you to do anything that means you'll be better protected," Peter told him.  "If that's learning how to use your powers so you can defend yourself, then that's what you should do.  The rest will work itself out."

Stiles wasn't convinced Peter had understood the point he was trying to make.  "So, just to be clear, I'm going to mentally tie myself to your nephew and he's going to be able to get inside my head, and you're going to be okay with that?"

"I think you're underestimating my ego if you think that's going to be a problem.  You think I'm going to be jealous of my nephew because he could steal my boyfriend?  What is this, sixth grade?"

"No.  It's twelfth grade, thank you very much.  And have you seen your nephew lately?  He's a walking, talking wet dream."  Peter's scrunched up face told Stiles he really didn't need that bit of information.

"I changed his diapers, Stiles.  He's no threat to me."  Derek's scoff from the other room told them they had exited whisper territory and might as well invite everyone in on their conversation.  Isaac entered the kitchen carrying an armful of empty cans and water bottles destined for the recycling bin.

“What does that mean for us?” Isaac asked, brow furrowed slightly, his left arm rubbing the opposite bicep curiously.  “If you become the pack’s emissary, what does that mean for the Betas?”

“Any Betas that pledge themselves mentally to the Alpha and to the pack should be included in the connection,” Peter explained, having experienced this mildly in the past, “It will take some time though.  None of this will come easily.”

Stiles bit at the corner of his bottom lip, considering Peter’s words.  “And you’d be willing to do that?  Pledge yourself to Derek?”  There was no way Peter would willingly subjugate himself to his nephew.  Peter may have his trust now, and he was certain that the wolf would never do him harm, but he always had an ulterior motive.  The situation had to benefit Peter in some way, but try as he might, Stiles wasn’t able to puzzle it out.  Frustrated with his own lack of insight into his boyfriend’s psyche, he went for the direct approach; asking.  “Why?”

Derek, who had entered the kitchen when he heard his name, turned to face his uncle with crossed arms and an arched eyebrow.  He’d like to know the answer as well.  Peter wasted no time in presenting his case.  He did love to hear himself talk.  Stiles was surprised when he found out Peter used to be an architect.  He would have guessed lawyer.

“I don’t know how it’s managed to escape your notice, dear nephew, but our numbers are dwindling.”  Stiles forced himself not to wince, and instead met Isaac’s eye, silently asking the wolf to hear him out.  He hoped Peter knew where he was going with this, because that wasn’t the best opener.  “We used to own this town.  While I may not have always agreed with my darling sister’s politics, she was beloved and respected in this place.  We used to protect, not cower.  We used to demand respect.  It was a point of pride for our pack that I for one would like to see restored.  We are fighting a losing battle here, Derek.  I am not going to let our family name be dragged through the dirt and extinguished by some supernatural usurpers.  Hales do not go quietly into the night.  They burned us and broke us but we will rise again.”

“Literally,” Isaac said, snorting a laugh while Peter rolled his eyes.

“Figuratively.”  He turned his back on Isaac’s chuckling to stare at Stiles with wide blue eyes that looked about as close to pleading as Peter could get.  “If you can’t understand why I would want to bind myself to this pack, you’re not nearly as smart as you think you are.”

Stiles wanted to understand, he really did, but he knew he was missing something.  Was pride really all that important to Peter?  Maybe it was just werewolves in general that couldn’t stand to be overpowered.  Stiles was under no illusion that Peter cared about Erica and Boyd on a personal level, but that lack of fondness wasn’t a good enough reason to let Betas be stolen from the Hale pack.  It must be a point of embarrassment, like Derek was hinting at earlier.  If a werewolf left their Alpha, there must be some weakness there that could be exploited, something that must have made them leave.  Was Peter just trying to save face with the greater werewolf community?  Was there some secret ranking system he was unaware of?  Did someone become the Werewolf King of California like in True Blood?

Thankfully Derek pulled Stiles from his wandering thoughts before he went too deep into HBO folklore territory.  “He is an idiot,” Derek directed at Peter, “are you sure you want to be dating him?”

“Hey!” Stiles argued, opening his mouth to give more credence to his protest, but Peter just placed a firm hand around his wrist and held on.

“He’s doing it for you, dumbass.”

Stiles quirked his lips slightly, not wanting to have to ask Derek to elaborate, but hoping he would go on.

“Did you forget what Deaton told you about your connection with the pack’s Betas?” Derek pinched the bridge of his nose, realizing he would have to spell it out for him.  “He wants a connection with you.”  Stiles could feel the exasperation in Derek’s voice as it finally clicked for him.

Stiles turned back to Peter, searching his face for some sort of confirmation.  He barely noticed when Isaac and Derek left the room and went upstairs for the night.  “Stiles,” Peter began, taking the wrist he was still holding and bringing Stiles’ palm to rest against his chest.  This is how Talia had taught the young wolves to attune their hearing to someone’s heartbeat.  Before their hearing was strong enough, she would teach them to feel their family’s hearts and search for a lie.  “If there’s a way for me to know when you’re in danger, why wouldn’t I want that?”

Stiles mouth opened and closed a few times before he could come up with a response.  “I just,” he stumbled, still searching for the right words, “that sounds serious.  Super serious.  It didn’t even cross my mind.”

“Didn’t I tell you I was serious about you?” Peter asked, pressing Stiles’ palm harder against his chest with both hands.

“You did, I just--” Stiles pulled his lips in slightly, eyes softening, “I guess I didn’t understand how much.”  Peter ducked his head, pressing his lips against Stiles’ hand, which was now fisted in his V-neck.  “It’s not every day the spastic kid snags the hot, older man.”

“Flatterer,” Peter teased, bringing his head back up to Stiles’ to rub their temples together.  “I guess I’ll have to keep reminding you.  You’re not the spastic kid to me.”  He grabbed Stiles’ hand again and pulled him back to the couch, grabbing his guitar from the corner on the way.  Peter settled in his favored leather armchair and checked his tuning.  Stiles watched him attentively, he could never quite get enough of seeing Peter doing something so delicate.  It was both achingly sweet and kind of a turn on.

“I learned this one for you,” Peter smirked, waggling his eyebrows lasciviously.  Stiles shook his head slightly, knowing that almost every song Peter played he had learned for Stiles.  Not that the repetition did anything to diminish the effect.  He was still smiling when Peter began strumming.

 

“Hey there Little Red Riding Hood

You sure are lookin’ good

You’re everything a big bad wolf could want

 

Little Red Riding Hood

I don’t think that a big boy should

Go walking in these spooky old woods alone.

 

What big eyes you have

The kind of eyes that drive wolves mad

Just to see that you don’t get chased I think I

Ought to walk with you for a ways”

 

Stiles wasn’t even sure what he was listening to, but the wicked smile he got from Peter between verses made it clear he was joking with him, in his own way, and most definitely flirting.

 

“What full lips you have

They’re sure to lure someone bad

So until you get to Grandma’s place I think you

Ought to walk with me and be safe

 

I’m gonna keep my sheep suit on

‘Till I’m sure that you’ve been shown

That I can be trusted walking with you alone

 

Little Red Riding Hood

I’d like to hold you if I could

But you might think I’m a big bad wolf so I won’t”

 

At this point, Stiles couldn’t hold in the laughter.  Where had Peter learned this song?  It was completely ridiculous.   

 

“What a big heart I have

The better to love you with

Little Red Riding Hood

Even bad wolves can be good

 

Try to keep satisfied

Just to walk close by your side

Maybe you’ll see things my way

‘Fore we get to Grandma’s place

 

Little Red Riding Hood

You sure are lookin’ good

You’re everything a big bad wolf could want

 

Little Red Riding Hood

I don’t think that a big boy should

Go walking in these spooky old woods alone

 

What big eyes you have

The kind of eyes that drive wolves mad

Just to see that you don’t get chased I think I

Ought to walk with you for a ways

 

What full lips you have

They’re sure to lure someone bad

So until you get to Grandma’s place I think you

‘Ought to walk with me and be safe”

 

Peter ended the song with some fairly impressive simultaneous strumming and fingerpicking high notes and pulled his guitar strap over his head to lean it against his chair.  Stiles thought that was as good an invitation as any to muster up some dormant initiative and fold his long limbs into Peter’s lap, straddling him in the old leather chair.

“Where did you learn that song?  You didn’t write it, did you?”

“You’re kidding, right?  Even I couldn’t come up with something that perfectly dirty,” Peter laughed, running his nose up the side of Stiles' neck.  “It played during the credits of that stupid movie you made me watch last week.”

“The one with Amanda Seyfried?” Stiles asked, confused, “I must have fallen asleep.”

“How could you?  I watched the whole thing!” Peter huffed, somewhat put out.  “I thought you were trying to entice me into some weird, sexy role playing.”

“Poor baby,” Stiles soothed, pecking his wolf’s lips gently, “I’ll make it up to you someday.”

“Whenever you’re ready,” Peter responded, “maybe I’ll get you some red panties and a cape for the occasion.”  Stiles sucked in a breath through his teeth while trying desperately to refrain from rocking down into Peter’s lap.

“We’re still here, you know!” Derek called from upstairs, killing whatever mood Peter had managed to create with the oddly kinky serenade.

“That’s my cue,” Stiles sighed, leaning down to kiss his boyfriend goodbye while reluctantly lifting his lower body out of the chair.  Peter pulled him back in by the collar of his plaid shirt and deliberately deepened the kiss, plunging his tongue into Stiles’ mouth and making as much noise as possible.  Stiles darted out of his reach when he got the feeling he would never be able to leave, and pecked Peter on the forehead.  “Goodnight, Peter.”

Peter threw himself back into the chair dramatically, watching his future mate slide out the loft’s door.  “I hate you, you know!” he called up the stairs.

“Love you too, Peter!” Derek called in reply.

Chapter Text

Stiles’ memory of the last time he had been in the front seat of the Camaro was a blurry mess of tension and the sound of his own voice screaming at Scott to drive faster for the love of God.  This trip had a much more solemn vibe.  He glanced across to Derek, who was gripping the wheel so tight he may as well have been driving to his death.  Surely mind-melding with Stiles couldn’t be that terrifying.

“Yes.  It is exactly that terrifying, Stiles,” Derek gritted through his teeth.  Stiles really needed to work on his brain-to-mouth filter.  

He smacked Derek’s white knuckles with the back of his hand, teasing, “Come on Big Bad! You’ve faced down a raging Alpha who is now my boyfriend, a gigantic lizard monster who is now your Beta, and countless hunters holding guns to your head, who are now very, very dead.  You can handle this.  We can handle this!”

Derek just hit him back and turned to face out the windshield, ready to ignore him until they reached the clinic.  Stiles could see where he was coming from, as much as he hated to admit it.  Being in his head was not a walk in the park.  There was a reason he was medicated, and it had taken a long time for him and his father to reach a certain level of normalcy.

Before Stiles knew it, they were standing in front of the mountain ash counter while Deaton locked the door behind them.  He looked to Derek asking, “Did you bring it?” Derek handed him something round that Stiles couldn’t quite make out and then rushed off to continue whatever preparations the ritual needed, leaving Stiles and Derek to silently fight over who had to follow him first.  When Stiles finally entered the room after a less than gentle push from Derek, he had a hand over his mouth and was stifling a laugh.

“Dude!  What’s with the robe?” Stiles asked, watching Deaton adjust the hood and sleeves of the heavy gray cloak he was wearing.

“Shut up, Stiles!”  Derek growled, shifting his feet and looking every bit like he was a few seconds away from pummeling Stiles to the floor.

“Gentlemen,” Deaton interrupted, shaking his wrists and sighing softly.  “Shall we begin?”

After getting nods in response, Deaton stepped forward and started grabbing at their bodies, maneuvering them as he saw fit.  Derek only put up a modicum of resistance before allowing Deaton to put them in what felt, at least to Stiles' virgin body, like a very intimate embrace.  He was facing Stiles, but staring over one of his shoulders so he could pretend the rest of his body wasn’t doing what it was doing.  Derek and Stiles each had one palm resting on the other’s chest over their heart, and one hand cupping the other’s jaw and the back of their neck.  Stiles let out a deep breath of a sigh while Derek continued to ignore the situation to the best of his ability.

“Okay.  Now don’t move,” Deaton ordered softly, walking back to the exam table to consult the large tome he had set open on a surgical tray.  He reached into the pocket of his robe and pulled out whatever it was that Derek had handed him earlier.  It was a seemingly heavy metal disk the size of his palm that Stiles finally got a good look at.  The negative space had been etched out, leaving a somewhat rough looking triskelion raised in the middle.  Stiles was sure it was a symbol representing Derek’s pack, even if he had never asked.  He was sure Derek would not have answered him even if he had.  He wondered what the true significance was, and if he would ever actually find out.

“I’m going to start the incantation.  I need you to look at each other, and try not to blink.  And don’t move a muscle,” the Druid reminded them, like he was sure Derek would bolt if given the smallest opportunity.

When Derek reluctantly met Stiles’ eyes, he found that Stiles was already looking at him, with a pleading expression, like he wasn’t sure Derek would actually do this for him.  Derek wasn’t sure why Stiles was so insistent, but after their discussion at the loft, Derek reminded himself that Stiles’ motives seemed clear and genuine.  He would have heard a skip in his heartbeat if Stiles had been hiding something.  Stiles would do anything to help his pack, and all he had to do was let him.  Derek finally met his gaze and let some air out of his nose, steeling himself for what was to come.

Deaton held the triskelion in between his two palms, arms visibly tensing like he was trying to press water from a rock.  He began to speak in what Stiles assumed was some sort of Celtic tongue if the tone was anything to go by.  Stiles watched Deaton in his peripheral vision, which was quickly beginning to blur as he continued to stare at Derek.  The space between Deaton’s hands began to glow with a bright orange light.  The dim room lit up like he had caught the world’s brightest firefly.  Derek’s eyes widened as he felt his hands push further into Stiles’ body, like they were somehow merging together, a magnetic force pulling his palms inward toward Stiles’ core.

Stiles let out a soft gasp as his vision changed completely.  Derek faded from his view in a vivid flashing of white and pink light.  He felt like someone was rubbing against his closed eyelids, but knew for a fact that his eyes were still open, staring straight into Derek’s.  His eyes burned sharply and suddenly he was looking at his own face, irises shining a bright Alpha red as he was given a first-hand view of his own shocked expression.  He wasn’t sure what he had expected from the ritual, but it definitely wasn’t anything like this.  This was unexplainable.  Was he really seeing through Derek’s eyes right now?

Just as Derek was beginning to get used to the sensation of hugging Stiles’ heart with his hands while he stared at his own face, Deaton separated his palms.  The triskelion fell to the exam table, landing on its edge and spinning wildly.  Stiles hands unfroze and he felt himself fall forward, body suddenly too heavy to hold up himself.  Derek, who still had strong warm palms against him, caught his weight before he fell to the floor.  They breathed heavily for a minute, steadying themselves before they noticed the ringing noise that echoed through the room.  Acting on instinct, Stiles lunged forward and slammed a hand onto the triskelion, stilling it against the table.  He picked it up and handed it to Derek, who took it with a nod and put it back in his pocket.

“How do you feel?” Deaton asked placidly, lowering his hood and unclasping his cloak.

“Alright,” Derek answered, at the same time Stiles muttered, “heavy.”

“Stiles will feel it more at first,” Deaton said, looking to Derek, “you are supernatural.  You already project a certain level of magic that Stiles will find it difficult to absorb.  He will need some time before he learns how to do the same.  When he starts to project toward you, I’m sure you’ll feel something like how he looks right now.”

Derek did not find that comforting, as Stiles looked like he was just about ready to keel over, but took pity on him, moving to support his body with one of Stiles’ arms over his shoulder.

“Take him home,” Deaton suggested.  “He’s going to need to sleep that off.  But Stiles,” he called after their retreating bodies, “start working on your meditation tomorrow.  You’ll need a lot of practice until you’re able to use the connection.”  Stiles rumbled a low noise of assent and allowed Derek to half-carry him back to the car.

 

***

 

Stiles woke slowly to one of his boyfriend’s fingers repeatedly running down the bridge of his nose.  It had to be late afternoon already, judging by the height of the sun in the sky out the loft’s windows.  He must have slept a good 20 hours, stretched out on the long leather couch.

“Good afternoon, Stiles,” Peter rumbled, brushing some hair off of Stiles’ forehead.  Stiles stood up and followed the smell of bacon into the kitchen where Peter had laid out BLT sandwiches with avocado slices.  “I thought you might be hungry,” Peter joked as Stiles tore through one sandwich and started on another, pausing briefly to pull three bottles of water out of the fridge so he could guzzle them down between bites.

“Where’s Derek?” Stiles asked, slowing down when he reached the third sandwich.

“You know,” Peter replied, “maybe soon you won’t have to ask that question.  You would just know.”

That was a somewhat terrifying notion.  Stiles didn’t have too much time to dwell on it though, because Derek made his way down the spiral staircase with the requisite clanging of boot heels on metal.

“How are you feeling?” Derek asked, concern furrowing his dark brow.

“You had to carry me up here, didn’t you?” Stiles said, by way of an answer.  Derek nodded and took a seat on the couch.  Stiles chugged another bottle of water and felt like he was finally human again and ready to face the world.  Without wasting any time on more pleasantries, Stiles went for his backpack and pulled out the candles Deaton had given him.  He sat down on the floor in front of Derek and lit the three candles on the coffee table.  Peter closed the curtains over the wall of windows and perched in his armchair.

“Okay,” Stiles said, shaking out his hands and cracking his neck, “let’s do this.”

Derek stared at Stiles and raised his eyebrows expectantly.  “Do what?”

“Deaton said we should meditate.  It’s supposed to open my mind to the connection, or something like that,” Stiles finished with a wave of his hand.  Derek made an irritated noise in his throat but nodded again, sliding off the couch to join Stiles on the floor.   Having had quite enough of staring into each other’s eyes, Stiles and Derek allowed theirs to close and settled in.

Stiles inhaled deeply and smelled the rich scent of cedar overlapped with the bacon sandwiches he just ate.  It felt warm and comfortable, feelings one did not usually associate with the perpetually stoic Derek.  Just as that thought crossed his mind, he felt something.  He might have imagined it, but he thought he felt a minute tug at the back of his mind, almost behind his ears.

He tried to chase the sensation, like it was a thread he longed to pull.  Squeezing his eyes shut even tighter, Stiles focused with all his might, but couldn’t seem to grasp it.  He searched, but felt like what he was looking for was taunting him, like a fifty dollar bill blowing down the sidewalk, always out of reach.  Frustrated, Stiles opened his eyes and said gruffly, “Derek!  What was that?  Was that you?”

“Was what me?” Derek asked, suddenly defensive.  Stiles knew it had to be him!  He didn’t understand why Derek wouldn’t just help him do this.

“This is like watching preteen girls try to figure out who moved the ouija board,” Peter commented, sitting regally on his leather throne, seeming to enjoy their struggle.

“This is not a spectator sport, Peter!”  Derek argued, tensing himself to rise from the floor and leave the room.

“Derek, wait,” Stiles pleaded.  “Are you blocking me?  I think I almost had something there.”

Derek winced, “I don’t know.  Maybe?”  His jaw was still set in a firm clench, but Stiles thought he saw his eyes soften the slightest bit.  “I don’t know what you’re doing, but it doesn’t feel good,” he admitted, rubbing his hand across his forehead.

“I don’t know what I’m doing either, Derek, but you need to trust me,” Stiles begged him, “I’m not trying to hurt you,” he added, in what he hoped was a reassuring tone.

“Okay fine.  Let’s try it again,” Derek offered, relaxing his body once more.

Stiles needed a few extra minutes to steady his heartbeat again, but then closed his eyes and searched for that string.  He pictured his eyes rolling into the back of his head and searching for that spot that itched behind his ears.  The minutes stretched on, and still Stiles couldn’t find the string.  Rumbling with a growl, teeth clenched and tongue pressed to the top of his mouth, he opened his eyes again.  “Derek!  What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m not doing anything!”

“Well I almost had it before, and now, nothing!”  Stiles opened his mouth to start lecturing, but abruptly snapped his head to the side when he heard Peter strum his guitar.  Stiles knew this song.  Hell, even Derek probably knew this song, and he was not going to find it amusing.  Peter smirked evilly and sang.

 

“A winter’s day

In a deep and dark December

I am alone

Gazing from my window to the streets below

On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow”

 

Derek looked murderous.  Stiles really didn’t want to find it funny, but he could not physically stop himself from joining in.

 

“I am a rock

I am an island”

 

“Peter,” Derek gritted through his now-present fangs, “do I need to rip your throat out again?

 

“I’ve built walls

A fortress deep and mighty

That none may penetrate”

 

Stiles was laughing outright by this point.

“I could do it with my teeth this time,” Derek suggested idly.

 

“I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain

It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain”

 

Having caught his breath again, Stiles joined in.

 

“I am a rock

I am an island”

 

Peter continued singing, skipping to the last verse.

 

“I have my books

And my poetry to protect me

I am shielded in my armor

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb

I touch no one and no one touches me

 

I am a rock

I am an island

 

And a rock feels no pain

And an island never cries”

 

Peter finished dramatically with some exaggerated strums, grinning at the pair of them.  Derek wasn’t laughing.  Stiles was too busy reveling in his boyfriend’s new brand of musical humor and didn’t notice the pain in Derek’s eyes.

“There are some things he doesn’t need to know, Peter,” Derek said, with a good deal of finality.

“This is Stiles we’re talking about here,” Peter replied, “he probably figured it out two years ago.  There’s no sense in trying to hide it now.”

“What are we hiding?” Stiles chimed in, not sure where the conversation was going, but more than ready to find out.

“Either you want Erica and Boyd back or you don’t, Derek,” Peter challenged.

Derek’s face broke.  His eyebrows drooped and he swallowed, cheeks hollowing to a painful degree.  Stiles had never seen an expression quite like that before, but he knew he never wanted to see it again.

“You tell him then,” Derek growled, and ran from the apartment, candle flames flickering in his wake.

“What was all that about?” Stiles asked, leaning over to blow the candles out, since their quiet meditation time seemed to be over.  Peter lost his guitar and moved down to the floor to join his boyfriend.

“I’m going to assume you already know most of the story about the fire,” Peter started out gently.

“I know what you told me and what the police report said.  There were rumors online and conspiracy theories, but beyond that, I don’t have any first-hand information, but I have my own thoughts.”

“Did you do the math then?” Peter asked, “Between Derek and Kate?”

Stiles looked a little dumbstruck, and then it dawned on him.  “It wasn’t just a flirtation, was it?”

“No,” Peter admitted, “it wasn’t.”

“And he was 16?”

“Not even.”

“Shit,” Stiles sighed.  Rubbing his hands through is already sleep tossed hair.  "I mean I think I knew that from the start, deep down, but hearing you say it doesn't make it any easier."

“He blames himself.  Thinks he must have tipped her off, or helped her get inside.  He was just a kid though," Peter trailed off, eyes lowering to the floor where Stiles had curled their fingers together.  "I'm pretty sure that wasn't the thing he wanted me to explain, though," Peter twisted his lips slightly, bringing his other hand up to rub down his jawline.

"That's not enough?  What else could there be?" Stiles questioned, incredulous.  He must have changed even more than he realized in the last few years.  Stiles couldn't believe that he was actually proud of Peter for committing that particular murder.  What that monster did to Derek?  It was unthinkable.  What could possibly be worse?  He wasn't sure that he wanted to know, but curiosity was never something Stiles had the ability to keep to himself.

"Derek's first love, Paige, she was a frail, pale thing.  Spunky though, like someone else I know," he smirked, not meeting Stiles' eyes.  "She really made him work for it.  But the girl looked like a strong breeze would knock her over, and I told Derek she wouldn't live forever and he should get someone to give her the bite."  Peter's face was grim, and Stiles was almost positive he knew where this was going, but nodded at Peter, asking him to continue anyway.

"There were a few Alphas visiting Talia to work out an alliance against some hunters and Derek asked one of the less scrupulous characters, Ennis, to turn Paige.  But the bite didn't take."  Stiles could see how that would change someone, make them cold and cynical.  He had heard Derek say it enough times.  The bite either changes you, or kills you, there could be no happy ending to this story.  

"Derek tried to take her home, but she was dying, slowly."  Peter looked up, eyes catching Stiles'.  "She was in so much pain, and he had claws so...  He ended it," Peter finished, as if it were the easiest solution.  To them it probably was.  For all he knew, it could be.  To end the suffering of someone you loved?  Maybe it was the easiest thing in the world.

 

***

 

A few hours later, Peter lay spooned up behind Stiles on the couch, dozing off to the lulling voice of the Barefoot Contessa.  Peter quirked his head to the side, jostling Stiles awake as he listened to Derek's boots echo through the hall.  Derek entered the loft, jerking his head in Stiles' direction and raising his eyebrows.  Peter rolled his eyes at his nephew, shutting off the TV.  Would it kill the boy to use complete sentences every once in a while?  Stiles stretched, rubbing his hands through his hair and yawning widely.  Peter caught his arm and pulled him up, pressing a quick kiss to his temple before heading upstairs.

"Derek, I--"

"Don't," Derek growled, eyes flashing red.

"I just--" Stiles tried again.

"No.  We are not discussing it.  That's final," Derek told him, aggressively grabbing the box of matches off the coffee table and moving to relight the cedar candles.  Stiles really wanted to get Derek to talk about this before he went poking around in his mind again, but Derek was already sitting on the floor with his eyes closed, breathing heavily through his flaring nostrils.

Admitting defeat, Stiles joined Derek on the floor and tried to steady his breathing.  Wetting his lips and shaking his arms out once more, Stiles settled back into his earlier position and closed his eyes.  He turned his thoughts inward, focusing on that corner of his mind he couldn't see and could barely feel.

After a few minutes, Stiles grew impatient and was just about to confront his Alpha again when he heard Derek sigh.  As if a curtain had been lifted inside his mind, Stiles felt an immediate heat.  It started out a pleasant hum of accomplishment but quickly began to burn.  Pain, fear, and guilt broke into the back of Stiles' brain, ricocheting between his ears and ringing sharply.   The emotions built upon themselves and rose in temperature.  Face beginning to burn sharply, Stiles cried out in pain and opened his eyes.

The coffee table was on fire.

Derek leapt backwards as Stiles scrambled back on his hands in a crab walk until he hit a support beam.

"Stiles, what did you do!?" Derek yelled, eyes fixed on the flames.  When he tore his gaze away to check on Stiles, he saw that his eyes were glowing a deep red.  An Alpha red?  Derek didn't have time to dwell on the exact color too long as the table top cracked and fell to the floor, flames rising higher.

Mouth open wide, Stiles grabbed the pole behind his back and walked his hands up until he was standing, eyes fading back to brown.  Unfortunately, this did not cause the flames to dampen at all, fire continuing to crackle merrily on the floor as the two men stared at the destruction before them.

Peter dropped down from the catwalk onto the floor in a crouch, eyes darting between Derek and Stiles a few times before he stormed into the kitchen.  They were finally broken out of their trance by the splash-sizzle of Peter emptying two gallons of milk onto the floor, followed by a pile of kitchen towels that he began vigorously stamping on.

When the flames were out, Peter turned wide eyes to Stiles, and gestured to the wet ashen mess on the floor.  "What happened?"

"I—I don't know!" Stiles admitted sheepishly, "I started feeling Derek's pain and things got so hot and next thing I know, things are actually burning!"

"Derek?" Peter asked, looking for more of an explanation.

Derek, whose eyes were still fixed firmly on the pile of wood that used to be his Ikea coffee table, set his jaw and said nothing.

"Derek!" Stiles called, waving his hands on either side of his own head, trying to get the wolf's attention.

"I don't know what happened," Derek finally said, meeting Stiles eyes, "but your eyes were glowing red.  I think you did this, somehow."

"I did this?  I didn't do anything!" Stiles ranted, beginning to pace the length of the living room, "You were the one with the horrible burning emotions invading my head.  You probably did it, you melodramatic bastard!"

Peter walked over to his boyfriend, catching his shoulders and forcing him to still.

"I have a theory, but I think we should talk to Deaton," Derek scowled and Stiles nodded, eyes still unfocused.  "I'll clean this up.  You two get in the car."

With one last glance at the charred remnants of his living room furniture, wax pooling on the floor, Derek strode purposefully out of the loft, Stiles following close behind.

 

 

Chapter Text

Standing between two grumpy werewolves with their arms crossed and a bemused veterinarian was not where Stiles expected to end up that evening.  He canceled his pizza and video game date with Scott on the way to the clinic and still felt uneasy about it.  They hadn't had any decent bro-bonding time since he had started dating Peter, and Stiles had really wanted their relationship to return to some level of normalcy.  Alas, that would have to wait for another day.  He had bigger fish to fry.

"Let me get this straight," Deaton stated simply, tone betraying nothing, "You were using the candles I gave you to connect with Derek, and your brain felt like it caught fire," Stiles nodded rapidly, "and then your coffee table spontaneously caught fire?"

"Yeah, that about sums it up," Stiles agreed, biting his bottom lip, nodding some more.

"That's not what's supposed to happen, I assure you."

"No shit, doc!  What I want to know is why it happened and how to stop it from happening again," Derek's face twitched, sensing the human's growing anxiety, the emotion turning his nose sour.

"I'll need to do some research," Deaton told them, "Fire starting is not a typical Druid ability."

"I didn't so much start a fire as make a bigger fire than there already was?" Stiles argued, feeling there was some benefit to the distinction.

"I don't think you're going to have much luck with your Druid books this time, Deaton," Peter chimed in, leaning casually against the wall, eyes trailing over Stiles' body.

"And why is that?" Deaton asked with a touch of defiance.  He'd been an Emissary for one of the most prestigious packs in California, he did have some skills after all.

"Because our Stiles here isn't a Druid at all," Stiles and Derek, who had been sharing nervous glances as they watched the other two have a mental pissing contest, turned their full attention to Peter.

"He's a Fire Mage."

"Umm, what?  I thought you said only Druids could become pack Emissaries?" Stiles asked.

"I suppose it wouldn't matter as long as the person had some sort of magic.  I've just never heard of it happening before, so I assumed your family had been Druids once upon a time," Deaton admitted, hiding his apparent incompetence with cool logic.

"I met a pack in northern Russia who had an Ice Mystic as an Emissary.  Lovely girl, brilliant skater."

"Northern Russia?" Stiles questioned, eyebrows raised.

"I've traveled a bit," Peter remarked, looking back to Deaton, "Maybe you need to update your library.  I can suggest a few volumes--"

"What's 'a bit?'" Derek interrupted, just as curious as Stiles.

"About five years, six continents, 115 countries, and 11 languages?" Stiles squinted his eyes, regarding Peter with an open mouth.  "Well, 12 if you count English, I suppose."

"What?  When did you--"

"I don't know Polish, but I could learn if you feel strongly about it."

"What?  No, babe, that's not the point," Stiles said sharply, "How did you not notice your uncle was missing for five years?" He asked Derek, still confused.

"Teenagers can be incredibly self-absorbed.  I'm not offended." Peter said, winking at his nephew.

"I thought he was still in architecture school."

"Only for the first five years, nephew.  I did a bachelors and masters at Stanford."  He looked back to Derek, folding his arms haughtily, "Who takes ten years to finish college?  For the second five I was traveling," Peter clarified, shrugging.  "I came back for Cora's first shift.  It's not like I missed much."  Peter looked over at Stiles to gage his reaction to find him staring into space with a bemused expression.

"Stiles?" He asked, pulling him out of his daydream.  "What's wrong?"

Stiles just smiled, looking at Peter and giving him a saucy wink, "I'm trying to come up with a way to make the word polyglot dirty, but I've got nothing."

"I think we're straying from the point, gentleman," Deaton cut in.

"You are explaining yourself later, Mister," Stiles warned his boyfriend, but turned his attention back to Deaton.

"Firstly, as impressive as it is that you managed to connect to Derek so soon, I don't think you're going to be a typical Emissary.  Druids are usually able to manipulate plants and utilize prepared magics like spells and potions.  I don't think that's going to be possible in this case."  Stiles wasn't sure if he should be disappointed by that or not.  Hopefully he would get more of an explanation later.

"We are going to have to test your abilities and teach you how to control them," the former Emissary explained, going to his corner cabinet and retrieving a fresh candle.  "This has the potential to become an extremely dangerous situation if we let it get out of hand.  Elemental magics can be unpredictable, even at the best of times."

Deaton placed the candle on the exam table and backed up a few paces, gesturing for Stiles to step forward.  "Now Stiles," he instructed, speaking very slowly and clearly as if Stiles were still in kindergarten, "concentrate, and try to light the candle.  Gently," he added, expecting Stiles' impulsiveness to make a stunning appearance.

Stiles stared at the wick, picturing a small flame flickering into existence.  A few minutes passed in silence before Stiles huffed softly and shook his hands, stretching his long fingers.  He gave it another try, this time with an accompanying hand gesture; still nothing.  Stiles even spent a minute channeling his inner Sally Owens, but blowing at the candle did nothing more than make Peter snicker softly.

"Lumos!  Incendio!" He tried yelling, waving his arms and pointing his finger at the candle.  Dejected, Stiles rubbed his temples and ruffled his hair, walking in a circle around the table.

"The candle was already lit last time," Derek offered bluntly, throwing a muscled forearm out at the table as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

"So maybe he can't create a flame, only manipulate one?" Peter suggested, stepping forward to grab one of Stiles' hands, stilling him.

"Interesting," Deaton commented, pulling a small notebook out of his slacks and scribbling furiously.

"Not a word of this to anyone," Derek warned the man, stepping forward, chest puffed out.

"You have my word.  Professional curiosity, nothing more," Deaton said, tucking the notebook back in his pocket and holding his hands up innocently.

Peter pressed a kiss to the knuckles of both of Stiles' hands and then moved to the table, pulling the matchbook from his pocket and lighting the candle deftly before shaking the match out.  He pulled Stiles forward and stood behind him, hands on his shoulders, turning him to face the table once more.

"Just breathe, and slowly try to move the flame," the implied you can do this coming through crystal clear.  He nodded absently at his boyfriend and regained his focus, waiting a minute for his breathing to even out.  Stiles stared at the flame, not expecting much, and squinted slightly, imagining his eyes were shooting precision laser beams at the exam table.

With one last frustrated exhale, the flame expanded, shooting up and growing in width until it looked like Stiles had made a support beam out of red hot fire.  If he had any mental capacity to spare he would have thought it was actually a quite nice looking Greek column, only it was made of fucking flames.  With a yelp, Stiles waved his hands at the fire, flapping ineffectually, hoping it would go out. Instead, an arc of flames jumped from the table, which was starting to melt, and landed in the palm of his hand.

"Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god," Stiles yelled, trying to shake the fire off of his hand.  The other men leaped backward, Deaton running from the room.  Eyes glowing, Stiles brought his other palm down over the flame in his hand, hoping he could smother it out, but when he separated them, both his hands were aflame.

"Help!  Help me, you stupid werewolves!" He shouted, cuffs starting to smoke, looking around the room for something he could subdue the flames with.  Eyes catching the sink in the corner, Stiles stumbled across the room, trying to keep his hands away from anything flammable, including his own clothing, and stomped on the pedal, one Chuck slipping slightly on the linoleum.  Water rushed out, splattering everywhere as Stiles shoved his hands under the spray.  He could hear the whooshing noise that told him Deaton had gotten a fire extinguisher from the other room and put out the table.

Eyes fading back to honey brown, Stiles turned back to look at his pack mates.  Water dripping slowly off the bottom of his graphic tee, he could feel the fear and confusion rolling off of Derek, but that was nothing compared to the look of sheer horror in Peter's eyes.  Unsure of what he could say to make this situation any better, Stiles looked at the floor, rubbing his shoe back and forth in a puddle of water.

"Gentlemen," Deaton said, raising his eyes to the charred black circle that was burnt into his ceiling tiles, "I think we're going to need to take this outside."  

 

***

 

Several hours and a box of long stemmed matches later, Stiles stood in the preserve in the center of a ring of charred trees.  Birds chirped irritably in the distance, having fled the area once he had gotten started.  Derek had several holes burnt through his tee shirt, shiny red burns visible through each opening while Peter insisted that Stiles owed him a new pair of loafers after melting the soles of the ones he was wearing.  Hoping that Stiles would learn control faster if the pack was in danger was a sucky notion at best.  It was Deaton's idea, after all, and he was the last guy Stiles wanted to depend on to be his fire Yoda.  Derek could barely get out of the way fast enough as Stiles tried to keep the flames from getting out of hand.  They were lucky Stiles hadn't taken the whole forest down around them.

Admitting defeat for the afternoon found Stiles and Peter back at the Stilinski residence, taking turns showering the soot off their tired bodies.  Face turned up into the spray, Stiles pondered the irony of his situation.  He had always considered himself the useless human, the comic relief, the brains behind the operation.  Sure, he was a sucker for the Marvel universe, but super powers?  How was this his life?  How many times had he dressed up as Iron Man as a kid, or one of the X-Men?  Somehow the reality wasn't as brilliant or exciting as he had always dreamed.  It was terrifying.

He was out of control.  He was frustrated, and so, so tired.  Where was his school for talented youngsters?  As far as origin stories go, his was turning out to be complete shit.  Stiles heard a movie announcer voice in his head giving the most depressing promo ever.

In a world full of unfairly sexy werewolves with superhuman strength and senses, meet Stiles, the clumsy, skinny sidekick no one asked for.  Watch as he scares the ever-living  fuck out of everyone he loves by failing to control the element that killed his pack mates' entire family and left his boyfriend helpless and disfigured for SIX GODDAMN YEARS.  Will this ADHD addled idiot ever be able to concentrate long enough to find his friends before they are ripped apart by unknown Alphas?  Or will his entire life literally go UP. IN. FLAMES?  Tune in next week for the thrilling conclusion!

It hadn't escaped his notice that Peter had been two steps behind him all afternoon.  At first he took it as a supportive gesture, but after the third fireball blasted apart a pine tree, he had come to realize it for what it really was.  Fear.  Stiles couldn't blame him, he was surprised Derek had been as put together as he was under the circumstances, and he wasn't even home when the fire had actually happened, but Stiles was worried.  Peter's biggest fear, the thing that Stiles knew still haunted his dreams no matter how many times he tried to brush it off, one of the only things that could actually permanently scar a werewolf, and Stiles was literally throwing it in his face.  He was going to get a handle on this.  He had to.

Stiles spent the rest of the night on his laptop researching pyrokinetic superheroes and the science of combustion.  By three a.m. Peter was asleep on the couch and Stiles' fingernails were bitten down to the quick.  This was going to be one of the worst first days of school on record.

 

***

 

"We need to talk," Derek said, leaning against the door frame of the loft kitchen.  Peter, who was meticulously chopping up a pile of Roma tomatoes didn't respond.  He continued dicing his peeled tomatoes and added them to the pot of sauce he was assembling.

"So talk," Peter responded, eyes never leaving his knife.

Widening his stance and crossing his arms, Derek surveyed his uncle.  He looked focused and in control, but his scent was all wrong.  He was nervous, like the smallest noise would set him off running through the woods.

"You're avoiding your mate," he threw out, knowing this would get a response, even if he was clearly asking for trouble.

"He's not my mate," Peter said soberly, turning to a pile of fresh herbs.

"Yes he is," Derek argued, rolling his eyes.  Peter began aggressively pulling the leaves off a pile of rosemary stalks.

"Fine.  Why are you avoiding your future mate?" He asked instead, walking around the threshold until he was facing Peter from the other side of the counter.

"I'm not."

"Uncle Peter--"

"What goes on between Stiles and me is absolutely none of your business."

"My Emissary, my business," Derek countered.

"He's not your Emissary, not really.  I bet you can't even feel the bond yet."

"Fine!  My pack, my business," He said, and when that didn't get the desired response, "my family, my business," Derek carried on.  He wasn't going to let Peter get out of this conversation if his life depended on it.  "And we'd probably be further along if you would help a little bit instead of hiding like a child."

"I'm not hiding," Peter told him, turning to add some red wine to his sauce.

"What do you call this?" He gestured to the whole kitchen which was a complete mess, opened cans and utensils strewn across every surface, casserole dishes cooling on the counter, sauce splattered on the stove and refrigerator.

"It's this little thing I like to call cooking, Derek.  Maybe you've heard of it?  Or have you been living off rabbits in the woods all this time?  No?  Maybe ramen noodles?"

"I swear to God, Peter!  When is the last time you saw Stiles?"

Peter's forehead wrinkled, giving Derek a deeply skeptical look.

"A few days ago."

"It was a week and a half ago, Peter.  Did you even ask him how school was going?  Did you check to see how he was?" Derek couldn't believe how childish his uncle was being.  "He's probably terrified, and you're not supporting him at all."

Peter huffed angrily, stirring his tomato sauce with more force than was strictly necessary.

"Is this the kind of mate you're going to be?" Derek asked, going for the low blow.  "Are you going to run away every time things get tough?"

"No, I--" Peter didn't have anything else to say.  He was being an idiot, he knew that. He had known that from the beginning, but he just couldn't stop himself.  He wasn't going to admit that he was afraid.  Stiles, his skinny, whirlwind of a mate was scaring him.  Things were getting out of hand, and he didn't know what to do about it.  His nightmares were back and it had been days since he hadn't had the taste of ash in his mouth.

"He needs you."

Since when did Derek become such a veritable font of relationship advice?  Everything was unraveling around him.  Peter couldn't bear the thought of losing Stiles.  A few stolen weeks of one summer, that's all that he got with the love of his life?  There had to be more than that.  Panic welled up in his chest and he couldn't figure out how to make it stop.  How was Derek so calm?

"I don't get it," Peter whispered, finally putting the spoon down on the countertop.  "How did you just stand there, and let him throw fire at you?  How long did that take you to heal?"

Derek pulled up his shirt, revealing a few tiny marks, skin shiny, but healing.  "Think about the scars Stiles has, from Gerard, from the Kanima, from climbing a tree as a kid.  Do you think these matter?"  Derek caught Peter's face and lowered his shirt again.  That may not have been the best approach.

"He doesn't mean it, Peter," Derek said in what he hoped was a comforting tone.  "You know he would never hurt you, or me, any of us, if he could help it.  He just needs an anchor to help him learn to control it, and you walked away."

"I really fucked this up, didn't I?" Peter asked, closing his eyes and rubbing his face with one palm.

"You can fix it."

"What if he hates me?  I'm a coward."

"Look around here Peter," Derek gestured from the mess in the kitchen to the burn marks in the living room and up the stairs to the bedrooms that were still devoid of most furniture a normal person would deem necessary for basic life.  "What have you got to lose?"

"Nothing.  There's nothing left," He said quietly, "It's just a den, not a home."

"Exactly."

Peter looked around, really looked.  The loft window looked out upon the industrial district, his guitar and Stiles' GameCube looked out of place against the cold backdrop.  He thought of Isaac, sleeping on a beat up futon in a cold room with no curtains.  He looked at the small economy stove and the mountain of food piled up in the kitchen.  He thought of the beat up trunk that held all of Derek's possessions and the industrial metal that was holding the place together.

His eyes came to rest on his nephew, boots scuffed with wear, clothes looking like they needed to make another trip to the laundromat.  This wasn't a life.  There were no books, no rugs, no photos.  There was nothing that made this place warm.  There was no Stiles.

"Maybe we should build a new one."

 

***

 

Bright and early Monday morning found Stiles throwing his body into his Jeep and racing to school.  He hadn't been sleeping well, images of burning bodies and suffocating ash were following him into his dreams.  Deaton had assured him that his control would come with practice, but Stiles hadn't made much progress.  He barely had to look at a flame before it exploded and spread.  He had stopped using the stove.  If he made one more microwaved dinner his dad was going to know something was up.

No matter how many times he had dragged Derek to the stream in the preserve to practice his meditation, he still couldn't poke into the Alpha's mind without feeling like his head was going up in flames.  Relocating to the water had been a necessary step in the process as Derek had refused to let Stiles anywhere near his leather sofa until he had himself under control.  Peter didn't join them anymore, preferring to spend that time in the library or stocking the freezer with homemade meals for Stiles and the Sheriff once school started up again.  Stiles tried to pretend he wasn't upset that his boyfriend was basically avoiding him.  The only thing he could think to do was avoid him right back.  Not the healthiest decision in the world, but this time he felt the denial was necessary.

Derek urged him to find an anchor.  Stiles upped his Adderall usage, hoping his dad wouldn't notice that he was practically vibrating out of his skin whenever they sat down to watch TV after dinner.  He had tried using Peter and the Sheriff as mental anchors, but whenever he closed his eyes he saw one of them writhing in pain, engulfed in flames, gasping for breath.  The image of Peter that first time in the hospital, face completely covered in scar tissue, long hair, horrible 70s coat, kept swimming to the forefront of his mind.  None of that was very good for his concentration.  Stiles would have to do this without an anchor.  He just needed more time.  The weight of Boyd and Erica's absence increased as the first week of classes came and went.  There was an empty desk in the science lab that should have a feisty blonde sitting in it, a seat at their lunch table that Stiles couldn't look at.  One quiet companion and one wild card, still missing.  He was running out of time.  He could feel it.

The tension was getting to him.  Isaac kept glancing in his direction, concern and worry apparent in his expression.  He was sure Derek couldn't hide the charred floor in the loft from him for long.  Scott was already behind in history, staring at the back of Allison's head like it held all the secrets of the universe.  He was sure Jackson wouldn't care even if he knew what was happening.  Lydia could tell something was wrong, but uncontrollable fire power probably wasn't going to be her first guess.  Stiles knew she should tell her, should tell Scott at the very least, but something was holding him back.  The tension in Isaac's shoulders gave him all the incentive he needed to keep his powers from the rest of the pack.  He wouldn't show them until he could do so without hurting anyone.  He just had to figure out how.

Avoiding his friends probably should have been harder than it ended up being, but to be fair, Stiles had sprinted into the parking lot after AP Calc and sped off before anyone else had left the building.  After stopping home for a few supplies, Stiles reached his training spot by the stream and settled in.  He had done his research, he had a plan of attack.  He could do this.  He hummed the Team America Montage song as he rushed through the woods.

Stiles emptied the large bucket he was carrying and headed to the stream, filling it with water and lugging it back to his perch.  He sat it next to his fire extinguisher, matches, and a few pair of old work gloves he had pulled out of the garage.  He couldn't help but think he had a pretty sorry looking arsenal, but didn't take much time to dwell on it.  Sighing, he started pulling a thick canvas glove onto his left hand.  With only one hand to contend with, he hoped he might have better luck.  He took out a match and lit it, holding it at the tip of his fingers until it burned all the way down.  When the flame was just about to burn him, he dropped the match, letting it fall into his hand.  The fire grew until it became a sphere sitting in the palm of his hand.

"Go, go magic flame ball!" Stiles yelled, attempting to throw the fireball into the stream.  Instead of flying in an arc into the water, the ball fell out of Stiles' hand to the forest floor and began to spread.  Stomping in a circle as quickly as possible, he put the fire out, frustrated before he had even really begun.  Shaking his arms out, he went back to his position and lit his hand once more.

"Fire punch!" He tried again, pushing his palm forward.  This time it shot from his hand straight across the stream and set a nearby tree on fire.  "Oh god, no, no, no," he cried, hopping across the stream wielding the fire extinguisher.  The fire began to spread to the surrounding brush and Stiles struggled for a few minutes until he got it under control.  If things were going to get this hairy he might need to invest in a mask; all this smoke inhalation couldn't be good for his lungs.

On his next attempt he lost focus and managed to set his gloved hand ablaze.  Luckily it seemed like he couldn't burn himself, at least with his own fire, and he was able to plunge both of his flamey hands into the water bucket before things escalated too quickly.  Patting his hands dry on his pants, Stiles felt something in his pocket.  Pulling the object out, his lips twitched with a smile when he saw Peter's tuning fork in his palm.  He must have picked it up without thinking.  He tended to move objects around the house when he was distracted, finding them in odd places days later.

Thinking back to when he was first diagnosed, he remembered his doctor suggesting he try using a toy as a focus object when he had to sit still for extended periods of time.  Clutching the fork in his fist, he squeezed it until he felt the edges cutting into his palm.  Stiles focused on the sharp pain in the palm of his left hand, and lit another match on the rock at his feet.

A ball of fire exploded into his right hand and he marveled at it, not wanting to lose sight of the thrill of learning that he was magic.  He closed his hand a bit, staring in wonder as his fingers pressed inward, curling around what was somehow a solid ball of fire.

"You can do this," he told himself, squeezing the tuning fork again until it was all he could focus on.  With a deep breath he released his fingers and tossed the fireball gently into the air, catching it with ease.  Energized by his progress, he tossed it a little higher, deftly catching it in his palm once more.

Stiles backed up until he was ten feet away from his water bucket and curled his hand around the fireball, gripping it tightly.  Winding up, Stiles aimed for the water bucket and released his grip.  His entire body tensed as he watched the ball fall in slow motion, bouncing off the rim of the bucket and landing on the ground.  His deeper focus this time seemed to give the fire more power because he watched, stunned, as the flames spread rapidly.  Before he could move a muscle they were already heading toward the tree line, lapping at the base of a collection of bushes.

He looked down at his right hand and pulled with his mind, urging the flames to come back to him, but they just raged onward, climbing up the tree to the spindly dry branches and hopping to the surrounding trees.  Before he knew it, the fire was spread about twenty five feet in front of him, spanning three very tall trees and all of the surrounding bushes.

Stiles was panicking.  He was about to rush forward with the fire extinguisher again, but something pulled him back.  Looking down, Stiles saw a familiar hand grasping his.  Peter.  He shook his arm frantically, hoping to dislodge his boyfriend.  "Peter, let go!  I'll hurt you!"

"No you won't," Peter assured him, squeezing tighter until Stiles could feel his muscles start to strain.

"You do realize that my hand could catch fire at any moment, right?" He asked, eyes darting back and forth between the blaze in front of him and the man who was still clutching his left hand.

"You won't hurt me, Stiles.  Just relax.  Take a breath." Stiles felt another hand reach across his body until it was resting over his heart, looking completely out of place on the flannel.

"Breathe.  In, and out.  Slowly," Peter coached him, eyes never leaving his face, even as wood snapped and popped before him, the heat increasing every minute.  Stiles struggled to do as he suggested, but his breaths just came quicker and quicker, shortening until his chest started to ache.  Peter's hand left his shirt and joined his other on Stiles' wrist, removing the slightly melted tuning fork and bringing the long fingered hand up to his own face.  Peter pressed it against his cheek, taking deep, pointed breaths, silently asking Stiles to mimic him.

The pressure in Stiles' chest increased sharply, burning through his lungs as fear gripped him.  He knew he was seconds away from melting the skin off his boyfriend's face.  Stiles' skin paled and his eyes widened as he watched Peter turn his face into his palm, stubble catching on the soft skin, lips brushing the center of his hand.

"Stiles," Peter called to him softly, voice barely penetrating the fog in his mind.  "You can do this," another branch snapped, and fell to the forest floor with a crash.  "I know you can do this."

Something cool hit his palm and Stiles looked up to see Peter blowing air into his hand.  Starting at the wrist and covering every square inch of his palm until he reached the tip of his longest finger.  Stiles gasped, what little breath he had leaving him in a rush, as he felt the heat recede.  Peter kept blowing a cool stream of air across his palm, one eye on the forest, one eye on his mate.  A minute later, Stiles saw Peter wink as a smirk twist onto his lips as he relaxed.

"There," he said, as if were easy, "all gone."

Stiles looked back to the forest.  Where his fire had been blazing a few minutes earlier was only ash and blackened roots, smoldering slightly on the leafy floor, but demonstrably out.    

"Not exactly how I imagined my first time blowing you, but you can't argue with my results," Peter said, smirk returning.

"Oh my God!"  Stiles yelled, arms flailing out to smack Peter in the arm.  "All I had to do was blow it out?"

"No," Peter argued.  "All I had to do was blow you out.  All you had to do was find your anchor."

"And you're my anchor?" Stiles asked, curiosity and awe in his voice.

"Only if you want me to be."

Stiles looked up and met Peter's blue eyes.  They were honest and open the way they usually were when Peter was playing or singing for him.  He didn't see fear anymore, he only saw trust.  Peter held out the tuning fork, edges completely dulled by the heat of his hand.  Stiles took it and twirled it in his fingers, inspecting the changed metal.

"Yeah," he said, letting out a heavy breath, still waiting for his heartbeat to return to normal, "You can be my anchor."

"Good," Peter replied, "Because you're already mine."

 

***

 

It was six thirty that Friday evening and Stiles was watching Peter cook.  He already had a heavy AP Bio assignment and three chapters of East of Eden to read, but Peter was just... distracting.  His jeans were tight enough that Stiles could see the outline of what was a surprisingly shapely ass and he had a dishtowel over one shoulder that was just drawing more attention to the side of his throat that was visible.  The radio was on and Peter's hips were swaying in front of the stove in a way that had Stiles biting his lips more than usual.

The front door opened, breaking Stiles out of his reverie, and the Sheriff stepped in, hanging his gun belt up on the coat rack.  "Do I smell steak?' He asked, face brightening at the thought.

"Yes, sir," Peter said, grabbing a lowball glass from the cabinet.  "Why don't you sit and I'll get you a drink?"  He filled it with ice and a bit of whiskey, placing it at the head of the table.

"What did you do?" The Sheriff asked, dropping heavily into his chair and rubbing his forehead.

"Nothing!" Stiles claimed, way too quickly, making the Sheriff's eyebrows creep up into his hairline.

"Now why don't I believe that?"

"I have no idea, my track record is flawless."  Peter snorted and continued stirring his mashed potatoes.

"Is someone dead?" The Sheriff figured he would start from the top and work downward.

"What?  No.  No, no, no, no one is dead.  I mean, not that I know of!" Stiles rushed to clarify.

"Did you get someone pregnant?" He tried next, ignoring the way Peter was growling under his breath.

"No, no, why would you ask that?"

"I don't know, it's just what you ask!" His father argued.  Stiles opened and closed his mouth a few times, searching for the right words as the Sheriff reassessed the situation, remembering his son's boyfriend was a supernatural creature.

"You're not pregnant, are you?" He asked, wincing.

"Oh my GOD!  What?  He hasn't even touched me!  Plus, that's not possible," he thought for a moment, "it's not possible, right Peter?"

"No.  Not possible," he said firmly.

The Sheriff let out a big sigh, content with the fact that he had at least ruled out the truly horrifying possibilities.  He hesitated for one moment and asked, "You’re not a werewolf now, are you?"

Peter and Stiles shared a look that lasted a beat too long.  "Jeeze, really?  Did you let Derek bite you?  I thought you wanted to stay human."

"I am human," Stiles told him, then tilted his head to the side.  "I mean, I think I'm human.  I'm still human, right?" He asked Peter, who was plating up their food.

"As far as I know," Peter agreed, sitting down at the table and gesturing for them to start eating.  "You've just got a little something extra now."

"I became the Hale Pack Emissary," he explained.  "I wanted to be able to help Derek find Boyd and Erica, so we did a little magic ritual and now I'm the pack Emissary."

"Okay," the Sheriff said, digging into his ribeye and making a circular motion with his fork, prompting Stiles to keep talking.

"And while I was working with Derek I sort of realized that I'm maybe a bit more magic than I thought I was."

"What do you mean, 'more magic?'"

"I mean it turns out I'm sort of a bender?" Stiles offered as innocently as possible.

"Fire Mage," Peter corrected, in between small, polite bites of mashed potato.

"Fire Mage," the Sheriff repeated with uncertainty.  "And what does that mean exactly?"

"I can show you," Stiles offered, pulling away from the table.  Peter caught his hand before he got too far.

"I think maybe you should save that for after dinner.  And maybe out in the yard, just to be safe."

 

 

Chapter Text

The next day Stiles spent a few hours with Derek working on expanding their connection.  He had gotten to the point where he could sense Derek's general state of mind, and continued to practice periodically throughout the school day.  It was slow going, but Stiles was confident that with some more work he would be able to sense Derek's general location.  He could sometimes tell when he was getting closer to the loft by the way Derek's feelings somehow grew louder in his mind.  Derek didn't seem to be able to get much of anything from Stiles beyond that vague itching feeling behind his ears.  Since it was really Stiles' connection to Derek's Betas that was the most important, that was what he had been trying to focus on.

"Can you cut it out with the guilt for one minute, you melodramatic asshat?" Stiles was trying to be patient with the Alpha's mood swings, but when the full range of the swing was all that laid between anger and crippling self-loathing, there was only so much a person could take.

"I'm not doing anything," Derek argued gruffly, pushing himself off the couch with a stern expression and heading for the kitchen.

"Yeah, you're right, you're not doing anything at all," Stiles mocked, following him to the fridge and plucking a Coke out of his hand.  "You're not letting anything go, and you're definitely not moving on."

Derek pushed past him and went back to the living room, turning the TV on and ignoring Stiles’ attempts at conversation.  Stiles just grabbed the remote out of his hand and shut it back off, standing right in front of Derek's face with his hands on his lean hips.

"You know no one blames you, right?"  Stiles asked, utterly dumbfounded.  "You couldn't possibly still be thinking that any of this is your fault, because that would be insane.  Right?"

He was met with a stony expression but pushed onward anyway.

"Paige, Kate, Laura, fuck, even Jackson, none of that was your fault," Derek continued looking away, but Stiles needed to make his point.  "No one thinks any of this was your fault, because it wasn't, okay?"

Derek mumbled something that Stiles couldn't hope to hear.

"I'm sorry, what was that?"

"Scott does."

"Yeah well maybe that's true, and I love him just like he was my own brother, but sometimes Scott is wrong, and this is one of those times.  He is not infallible," Stiles said, putting a palm lightly on Derek's tense shoulder.  "None of us are."  Derek just sighed once more and shook his head.

"We will find Erica and Boyd, and when we do, they will tell you this themselves."

Derek nodded minutely, and Stiles took this as a solid victory.

"Just, don't serenade me with any more life lessons, okay?"

"Deal!" Stiles agreed.

 

***

 

"Pack meeting after school today," Stiles told the group as he slid into his seat in the cafeteria.  Lydia, Allison, and Isaac nodded in agreement and carried on with their conversation while Stiles peered over at Scott.  He looked conflicted and confused.  While the latter was a pretty common look for Scott, Stiles was a little worried about the first one.

"Scott, you know you can come to the pack meetings, right?"

"I guess," Scott mumbled, poking at his mystery pasta and frowning.

"Besides, we have some big news to tell everyone, so you should all be there," Stiles said, drumming his palms on the table in excitement.

"Let me guess, you and your geriatric boyfriend have finally started banging.  Congratulations," Jackson said, biting into an apple with a crunch.

"Not that it's any of your business, but no, that is not the news I was referring to," Stiles assured them with a grin, taking a bite of his sandwich.

"That wasn't an answer, Stilinski," Lydia reminded him, twirling her hair and raising a well-sculpted eyebrow.

"I'm aware of that Ms. Martin," he answered, feigning politeness, "and it really isn't any of your business either way."

"Peter can't get it up anymore huh?  Shame.  I bet he took one look at your skinny white ass and went running." Jackson remarked, still smirking around his apple core.

Isaac gave Stiles a guilty look, knowing he shouldn't let the cat out of the bag too early.

"Shut up, douche pants!" Stiles called down the table at Jackson.  "You just wait until later, I bet you will piss yourself when you find out what's going on."

"I'll believe it when I see it, ass munch."

 

***

 

The group was standing in a circle in the preserve surrounded by the ashen underbrush of Stiles' previous training.  Peter had almost finished preparing the place for Stiles and they were just waiting on their dear Alpha to make his appearance.  Allison watched in fascination as Peter hung a few rings from the tree overhead and fetched some water in Stiles' trusty bucket.  Scott stood with his arms folded across his chest, but he might as well have been tapping his foot impatiently on the ground.

Derek appeared out of seemingly nowhere in that creepy way he had perfected and addressed the group.

"So first off, meet Stiles, the new Hale Pack Emissary," Derek said, gesturing at him and then standing tall again, waiting for someone to backtalk him.  Lydia smirked like she knew all along, Isaac smiled knowingly, and Scott looked livid.

"Way to go Stilinski," Lydia joked, "adopting a literal pack of wolves?"

Peter sidled up next to him and put a soft hand around his thin wrist.  "There's a bit more to it than that."

"I'm kind of," he looked at Derek, who nodded in acquiescence, "a Fire Mage."

Jackson laughed outright while Scott relaxed his stance a little bit, like he was deciding whether or not to lean forward, grab Stiles, and carry him out of there.

"Maybe you should just show them," Derek suggested, "back up a bit," he told everyone else, pushing his hands out in a shooing gesture until they were in a wider circle, mostly behind Stiles.

Peter reached up to Stiles face, pulling him into a quick embrace and kissing his temple.  He whispered something into Stiles' ear and then backed up with the rest of the group.  Scott grumbled at the way Peter was coaching Stiles in how to use his powers.  He didn't like it one bit.

Stiles stepped forward and turned to face his friends.  Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, Stiles took the zippo out of his pocket and flicked it on.  He brought it over to his right hand and quickly tapped it to his palm.

Allison gasped and grabbed Scott's arm when a ball of fire appeared in Stiles’ palm.  Putting the lighter back in his pocket, Stiles brought his left hand over his right and split the fire in two, holding a ball of flame in each hand.

"Holy shit," Jackson muttered, pulling Lydia closer to his side.  Stiles grinned, energized by his friends' reactions, and threw the fireballs into the air, juggling them for a few moments before catching them both again.  He caught Peter's eye and smiled, closed his eyes once more and felt the power recede from his hands.  When he was sure they were out he held them up to show that they were empty and then opened his eyes again.

Peter rushed over and picked him up, spinning him and giving him a quick kiss.  Isaac clapped for him and Allison joined in.  Stiles glanced over at Derek who was smiling as much of a smile as he ever gave, but when he looked over at Scott, he still looked confused.  Scott's face soured when Peter leaned in to whisper in Stiles' ear again.

"Oh yeah, check this out," he began as he quickly lit his right hand again.  "I've been practicing," Stiles told them, before turning to face the tree.  He showed off for a minute, spinning his fireball on the tip of one finger like a basketball and then catching it behind his back in his other hand.  Then Stiles focused on the rope ring Peter had hung up and aimed.  "Inferno go!" He called as he released the ball and watched, rapt, as it sailed through the hoop and lit the rope on fire.  Taking a moment to concentrate, Stiles mentally called the fire back to his hand and then flipped his palm over, putting the flames out.

"Come on Scotty, how cool is that?" He asked, hoping his best friend would catch a little bit of his enthusiasm.  Scott just frowned, looking at the forest around them.

"Stiles, you did this?"

Stiles looked around, taking in the ashen wasteland of his training ground and shrugged.  "Yeah okay, I know it looks bad, but that was before I got a handle on this thing," he babbled, throwing his arms around in half-aborted hand gestures.  "Peter helped me figure it out, and now we're cool.  Just a little emergency bucket of water and we've got no problems."

Scott's sad puppy look turned into a scowl, and Stiles did his best to ease the tension.

"Yeah, I mean, it was going pretty badly there for a little while, but Peter helped me focus and now I've almost got a LoJack on Derek's angst, so we're doing well."

"You keep saying we," Scott argues, "Why didn't you tell any of us?"

"Look around Scotty, it was dangerous," he pleaded, "I didn't want anyone to get hurt, so I didn't say anything until I was sure I could control myself."  Stiles looked over to Peter and then down at his feet quickly, "Werewolves still burn, buddy."

Peter stepped forward until he could catch Stiles' hand in his and hold it tightly.  He stood tall and defiant in front of Scott and said, "Sometimes the scars are worth it."

 

***

 

Later that night, Stiles was curled up with Peter on the leather couch, Derek taking over Peter's usual perch on the armchair.  They were letting Derek catch up on the last season of The Walking Dead before the new one started up, but Stiles thought there were only so many hours of zombies you could watch before bedtime.  Feeling Derek's maudlin mood darkening as each minute passed, Stiles sat up and shut the TV off with a click that was far too loud in the motionless room.

"I don't get it," Stiles began, looking between the two werewolves.  "How can you guys even stand to be around me anymore?"

Derek looked even more confused than Peter, and Stiles knew he was going to need to elaborate, as embarrassing as the whole conversation might turn out to be.  With a deep breath Stiles went on, "I'm currently a walking, talking torch, and neither of you seem particularly scared that I'm going to combust and set this little pile of kindling you call a house up in flames."

"It's just a loft, Stiles," Derek reminded him, "and I own the building, so it's not like I'm going to lose my security deposit."

Peter looked curiously at Stiles, still not sure what he was trying to say.

"The one thing that has caused you both the most pain in your entire lives, and I'm carrying it around in my hand," he muttered.

Finally understanding his mate's problem, he spoke up, "That may be true, but think of it this way," Peter said, sitting back so he could see both Derek and Stiles at the same time, "We know you would never hurt us on purpose, and while you can wield fire, you can also control it."

Stiles licked his lips and stuck the bottom one between his teeth, nibbling nervously.

"So logically speaking, if I wanted to be protected from fire," Peter said softly, grabbing one of Stiles' hands, "the safest place to be, is by your side."

"You're pack," Derek chimed in, "and pack protects each other."

"Now," Peter said, pecking Stiles on the hand and getting up, "how about we cheer you up, hmm?"

"No," Derek said, "not again.  I don't need any more musical lectures."

"This is not a lecture, dear nephew," Peter said, checking the tuning on his guitar, "this is a conversation.  And you need to work on your communication skills."  He gave Stiles a wink and began to strum, "let's show him how it's done, okay sweetheart?"

Stiles sat up straight, inching closer to Peter, who began to play.  It was certainly a stripped down version, but Stiles recognized it the minute Peter opened his mouth.

 

"Don't listen to a word I say

The screams all sound the same

And though the truth may vary this

Ship will carry our bodies safe to shore"

 

Remembering that the song was actually a duet, Stiles decided to spare Peter the pain of the higher key and sing the girl's part.

 

"I don't like walking around

This old and empty house"

 

Peter, with a pleased twist on his lips answered Stiles' call.

 

"So hold my hand, I'll walk you through my dear"

 

"The stairs creak as I sleep

It's keeping me awake"

 

"It's the house telling you to close your eyes"

 

Stiles looked pointedly at Peter and sang dramatically, miming a fainting spell.

 

"Some days I can't even trust myself"

 

Peter threw his gaze over to his sullen Alpha and continued singing.

 

"It's killing me to see you this way"

 

They both starting singing the chorus together and Derek couldn't keep his eyes from rolling.

 

"Cause through the truth may vary this

Ship will carry our bodies safe to shore"

 

Peter da ta da da da-ed his way through the interlude and Derek couldn't keep the words in his mouth anymore.  "Do you guys practice this shit when you're alone?"

Stiles just shook his head and laughed, hopping up to dance around the room as his boyfriend kept singing.

"I always thought you were making out, but this is honestly much more disturbing."

Stiles came back in for the second verse and looked like he was having way too much fun at Derek's expense again.

 

"There's an old voice in my head that's holding me back"

 

"Well tell him that I miss our little talks"

 

"Soon it will be over, and buried with our past"

 

Peter can't help but stare Derek down for his next part, willing Derek to open up just this once.

 

"We used to play outside when we were young

And full of life

And full of love"

 

Something in those words piqued something in Derek's mind, because as Stiles began to sing again he could feel a kind of softening in the back of his head.  His mind didn't feel quite as dismal as it had for the past few hours.

 

"Some days I don't know if I am wrong or right"

 

"Your mind is playing tricks on you my dear"

 

Stiles joined Peter again for the chorus, and it looked like Derek was finally starting to loosen the death grip he had on Stiles' subconscious.  Feeling encouraged by this, Stiles beat out an accompanying rhythm on his thighs.

 

"Cause though the truth may vary this

Ship will carry our bodies safe to shore

 

Don't listen to a word I say

The screams all sound the same

And though the truth may vary this

Ship will carry our bodies safe to shore"

 

They carried on singing the last verse and Stiles could feel something settle.  A little sliver of something slid into place behind his ears and he could feel Derek.  

 

"Now wait, wait, wait for me

Please hang around

I'll see you when I fall asleep"

 

Somehow it was as easy as breathing, this darkness that had taken up residence in the back of his mind had lightened and a weight was lifted.  Stiles closed his eyes and smiled, pushing this warm feeling back into himself.  He wanted Derek to feel it too.

 

"Don't listen to a word I say

The screams all sound the same

and though the truth may vary this

Ship will carry our bodies safe to shore"

 

Peter surprised Stiles by switching to a low harmony to finish the song.  He grinned at his boyfriend and then turned toward Derek, huge smile on his face.

 

"Don't listen to a word I say

The screams all sound the same

Though the truth may vary this

Ship will carry our bodies safe to shore"

 

Stiles sang the last bit alone, staring at Derek, who didn't return the smile.  He couldn't feel it.  Stiles was sure of that now.  Whatever it was that Stiles could sense from Derek, Derek was getting nothing in return.

 

"And though the truth may vary this

Ship will carry our..."

 

Sensing a shift in Stiles' scent, Peter caught his eye.  Stiles shook his head, keeping a faint smile on his face as Peter harmonized the last few words with him.

 

"...bodies safe to shore"

 

Peter pulled the guitar strap over his head and retracted his claws, moving closer to Stiles on the couch and throwing one arm around his shoulders.  He could sense Stiles' disappointment but didn't know where it was coming from.  Peter looked at Derek who seemed to be just as confused.  Wanting to rescue the mood, Peter segued to a new topic.

"So, I think we should rebuild the Manor."  Derek's nostrils flared ominously, and Peter amended his statement.  "If that's okay with you, I mean."

Derek didn't look happy, but Stiles' head perked up at the suggestion, so Peter pressed onward.

"You have a growing pack here that could use a headquarters.  Somewhere comfortable, but defensible.  We could make it a fortress, Derek." Stiles looked quickly between the two werewolves, excited but trying to hold it in.  He wasn't sure that Peter would actually be able to convince Derek this was a good idea.  Stiles just wanted to see something good happen for Derek.  Rebuilding could only be good for them.

"And Erica and Boyd will need a nice place to convalesce when we get them back."

Stiles figured Peter had won this round at least, and was proved right when Derek said, "Okay."

"Wonderful," Peter said, clapping his hands together deviously.  "I'll start drawing up some plans."

 

 

Chapter Text

Mid-September meant the first Beacon Hills cross-country meet.  Coach had required everyone on the lacrosse team to keep in shape over the winter, so Stiles was attempting to suck it up with a limited amount of grumbling about how werewolves made any type of race unfair on principle.  Isaac and Jackson were good-naturedly ribbing Danny as they passed him and Scott jogged past on the other side.

"Scotty," Stiles panted, "wait up man."

Scott rolled his eyes, but slowed his pace until Stiles could catch up to him, making them the last two in the group besides Greenberg.

"What is your problem lately?  You've been totally weird for the last two weeks!" Stiles used up all his breath asking and had to stop to wait for Scott's reply.

"I don't get how you don't see what is happening," Scott said.  Stiles, who had no idea what he could possibly be talking about, pulled on his jersey until he was motionless, giving Stiles time to lean on his knees and gasp.

"What are you talking about?  What's happening?"  Stiles had been feeling a little something for the last few days.  He had shrugged it off as Derek just being in one of his moods, but now he was starting to think that it was more of a problem than he could understand.

"Peter!" Scott yelled at him, obviously frustrated and not doing a very good job of hiding it.

"What about Peter?"

"He's using you!"  Stiles gaped at him, thinking his best friend had seriously gone off the deep end this time.

"We haven't even had sex yet, what do you mean, 'he's using me?'"

"Ugh, God no, not for that!  For your powers!"  Everything finally snapping into place, Stiles rolled his eyes at Scott, preparing to defend his relationship.

"What would Peter possibly want a fire for?  If you haven't noticed, the Hales are not the biggest supporters of flamey death!"

"I don't know what he's planning on doing, but it can't be good.  I saw him with you in the woods that day.  It was like he was your boxing coach or something, rubbing your shoulders and sending you off to die," Scott argued, not letting Stiles talk his way out of the conversation.

"Peter hasn't done anything in months, why can't you just give him and Derek a chance?"

"He's wormed his way into your head and you don't even realize.  Maybe you don't even care.  So happy to finally have someone paying attention to you, you can't see that he's controlling you."  Scott knew he had gone too far, but he breathed heavily, eyes flashing yellow in anger, refusing to acknowledge the fact that Stiles might deserve an apology.

"It's not like that and he is not controlling me.  He has never asked me for anything, and you would know that if you could get your head out of your ass and spend some time with us."

"I'm not spending any time with that psycho.  You don't need him!"  Stiles couldn't let that comment stand and went for an answering low blow.

"What?  Like you don't need Allison?"  Scott gaped at his best friend, shocked and angry, mental wheels whirring.

"Oh my god, he's your anchor," Scott told him, voice tinged with disbelief.

"So what if he is?" Stiles argued.  "Allison is your anchor and you never seemed to think that was a problem, even when she was shooting your friends up with arrows!"  Scott didn't even try to answer that accusation.  They had been round and round that argument too many times already.

"He's going to do something.  I don't know what and I don't know how, but he's going to do something, and you are going to get hurt!"

"I can take care of myself," Stiles protested, "and now I can take care of my pack."

"I'm your pack," Scott insisted, pulling Stiles' wrist harshly, hoping to shake some sense into his friend.

"There's only one pack here, Scott," he said, wrenching his arm out of Scott's grip.  "You just have to decide if you want to be part of it or not."

Stiles sprinted off, not waiting to hear anything else Scott might have to say.  He was furious and hurt, and he just wanted to get away.  He ran until his lungs were burning and his calves started to sting, and then he kept on running, past Jackson and Isaac who were currently laughing, trying to trip each other, and straight on past the path and back to the football field.  He stopped in front of coach, gasping, face red, leaning over to grab the bench.

"Not bad Stilinski," Coach told him, glancing at his stop watch.  "How did you beat Whittemore and McCall?"

"They were playing dirty," Stiles huffed, stomping off up the stands to stretch out his legs.

He had only gotten a few levels up the bleachers when he saw his dad waving at him out of the corner of his eye.  Not only was his dad sitting there, but he was flanked on either side by Peter and Derek.  Stiles flailed a bit, missing a step, but hopped off to meet them.

He pulled Peter and his dad into a sweaty two armed hug.  "Look who it is, my two favorite men!  And Derek!  What are you guys doing here?  You know it's completely lame to come watch cross-country meets, right?  Like even Allison and Lydia wouldn't be caught dead at these things."

"Yeah, well.  Peter was at the station filling out some paperwork and we figured we’d come catch the big finish," the Sheriff said, ruffling his hair and then wiping his damp hand off on Stiles' jersey.

"Guess who had some remarkable reconstructive surgery and is no longer dead?" Peter said, sliding his hands into his back pockets and smirking.  If he kept his hands in his pockets he wouldn't be tempted to rub himself all over Stiles' body and lick the sweat off his neck.  Stiles, completely missing that body language, slid his arms through Peter's and gave him a hug, pecking his cheek on the withdrawal.

Derek laughed, drawing everyone's attention.  "Danny just asked if you were Stiles' uncle," he said under his breath, still chuckling.

"Oh God, gross," Stiles complained, "I don't think we're telling people yet."

"I agree, gross," the Sheriff said, pulling his jacket back on and checking his gun was still in its holster. "Ready to go home, kid?"  Stiles took one look at the group of guys still standing around Coach and saw Scott looking at him with a stony expression.

"Never been so ready, let's get out of here," he agreed, kissing Peter on the cheek once more and grasping Derek's shoulder as they left.

 

***

 

At their next pack meeting Stiles stood in the middle of their circle handing out Bic lighters.

"So my spidey sense is telling me that something is coming," Stiles told them, "and not in an upbeat West Side Story kind of way."

"What is he talking about?" Isaac wondered, flipping his lighter around in his hand.

"Don't ask," Lydia warned him, "it's not worth the singing."

"And dancing," Derek added, "don't forget the dancing."

"I can't do anything without a spark or a flame, so you're all going to carry these on your person wherever you go.  Think of them as backup," Stiles explained, "Now I can be a help to you if we run into trouble, so no more telling me to wait in the car and let the grown-ups handle it, alright?" He said, directing that comment at Peter and Derek.

"You can still get hurt, Stiles" Derek reminded him, "You have to be careful."

"Allison can get hurt too, and you guys never seem to worry about her," Stiles argued.

"That's because Allison could kill you with one pinky finger and you know it," Jackson said, pulling Lydia to his side.  "And Lydia knows better than to provoke a werewolf with a baseball bat."

"Hey!  That baseball bat has saved our asses on multiple occasions, I'll have you know," Stiles said, giving the last lighter to Derek.

"We know," Peter said, patting him softly on the arm.  He was still fuming about the bruise that Scott had left on his wrist and hadn't been able to stop touching him since he saw it that morning, trying to pull the ache away without Stiles noticing.

"Babe, I'm not going anywhere, can you please relax?" Stiles asked him.  "I know you're afraid for the puny human, but I am actually capable of healing a bruise on my own."

Peter rumbled in his throat and Stiles sighed, grabbing him by the back of the neck and pulling him close.  Stiles let Peter shove his face against his throat for a few minutes, damp breath making his skin prickle.

"Better?" Stiles asked.  Peter nodded, suddenly bashful.  "Good, because we've got a lot of work to do."

Stiles was so exhausted when he got home from training that night that he didn't notice anyone else was even home until he was hit so hard on the back of the head he fell down unconscious.

Chapter Text

Stiles came to very slowly.  Every time the fog lifted a bit, he took stock of another body part.  One deep breath, toes were still there.  Another, head still attached to body, always good to know.  He took a shallow breath in through his nose, remembering belatedly that it was always a good idea to pretend to be unconscious for as long as possible in hostage situations so you could take in your surroundings.  His wrists were itchy, that must be because his hands were tied behind his back.  His chest was tight, breathing was a bit of a struggle.  Maybe he had a broken rib or two.  His head was throbbing with every beat of his heart, head wound apparent from the sticky blood slowly seeping down his hairline.

Stiles took a few minutes to use his other senses.  He couldn't smell anything besides blood and sweat, so that wasn't going to help.  Instead he focused on his hearing, his last line of defense before he opened his eyes.  Holding his breath, Stiles listened intently, and thought he could hear something.  There was a faint rustling noise and something else.  A humming noise that sounded all too familiar.  Electricity.  It was the same sound he heard when he woke up in the Argents' basement to see Boyd and Erica strung up.

Hoping his ears weren't betraying him, Stiles let his eyes open slowly, adjusting to the light that was blessedly dim.  He couldn't move his neck far enough to see around some of the crates and pallets stacked up all over the warehouse he was in, but he could make out the toe of one black boot and the hem of a pair of ripped jeans just past the corner of one row.  His heart skipped a beat as he searched the range of his vision for any threat he may have missed.  Detecting nothing else in the room he hissed out a hopeful whisper.

"Boyd?" Stiles asked, "Is that you?"  Stiles strained his ears for a response but only heard a low, strangled murmur.  "You must be gagged," he thought quickly, "can you move your feet?  Tap once for yes and twice for no."  Stiles could see the foot struggle to move, and heard a faint matching tap noise.

"Yes, awesome!  I knew I would find you!" Stiles whispered triumphantly.  "Not that this is really what I had in mind in terms of a rescue," he admitted.  "Is Erica with you?"

Another faint tap.  "Is she alright?"  Two taps this time.  Shit.  Of course they weren't alright.  They could have been here for months at this point.  Tied up and possibly starving for weeks.  A human would have been dead by now.

"Just hang in there, alright?  Derek and Peter will find me."  He looked frantically around the room and saw a piece of plywood up on two sawhorses acting as a table.  Atop it sat the contents of Stiles' pockets, his lighter, wallet, and a pile of shards that was the remnants of his cell phone.  Next to that was a set of tools and a blowtorch.  Not liking the looks of that set-up one bit, Stiles kept talking, "Peter was supposed to meet me for breakfast tomorrow, so we just need to stay alive until morning.  That shouldn't be too hard--"

"Oh you have no idea," a female voice drawled.  Stiles looked up to see four sets of glowing red eyes approaching.  The last thing he remembered was the familiar sound of claws extending.

 

***

 

The next time Stiles woke up it was with a shuddering gasp of breath as a bucket of freezing cold water was thrown in his face.  He chased the water with his tongue, hoping to find a little relief.  His mouth was so dry it hurt to swallow, and every other inch of his body was searing in pain.  He had been in the same position for far too long and the ends of each of his extremities had started to tingle hours ago.  His wrists had chafed raw and were bleeding into the ropes he was being held with.  His legs felt like they were pin cushions.  He didn't need to look down to know that they were littered with punctures.

The Alpha twins were circling him, bantering back and forth about how pathetic his pack was.  How the Hales were a dying breed.  How turning a bunch of children into werewolves was just a desperate cry for help and this Deucalion guy shouldn’t even want anything to do with Derek in the first place.  Stiles didn't catch most of what they were saying.  The blood pounding in his ears was enough to make his head fuzzy and his vision kept fading in and out when he gasped his breath in a little too quickly or jiggled his shoulder accidentally.

Twin one gave him a few quick jabs to the stomach that had him choking on the bile that was escaping his chapped lips.  Stiles couldn't be bothered to look up anymore.  Everything hurt.  Help wasn't coming.  He was going to die here.  The black shadow in the back of his mind reminded him that Derek was still nowhere near here.  His pack wasn't coming.  He was going to die.  He was going to die and all he could think about was how he didn't want his dad to find his body.

When twin two flashed his claws in front of Stiles' face, his fear was somehow muddled, like he wasn't even present in his own mind anymore.  He was relieved when twin two jammed his claws into his chest because the pain allowed him to drift once more into unconsciousness.

 

***

 

Before Peter had even knocked on the front door, he knew something was wrong.  The house was far too quiet and he could sense a disturbance in the usual homey scent of the Stilinski house.  Not even bothering to call out for Stiles, he went round the side of the house and vaulted into Stiles' half open window.

Everything was wrong.  So very wrong.  The acrid stench of fear met his nose as he surveyed the room.  Stiles' computer chair was overturned and Peter didn't even need to use his nose to notice the bloodstain on the carpet.  Peter didn't bother looking around for more evidence.  Someone had taken Stiles and he couldn't afford to waste any more time.  The Sheriff had been on the night shift and still wasn't home.  This could have happened upwards of twelve hours ago.  Pulling his phone out of his pocket, he dialed Derek.

"What's wrong?" He said, without waiting for Peter to speak.  "You never call."

"I need you to call the Sheriff and meet me at the Stilinski's house," Peter barked quickly, "Stiles is missing."

"I'm on my way," Derek said and immediately disconnected the call.

Peter spent the next thirteen minutes combing every inch of the house for more information.  There was the scent of two other wolves, but they weren't even trying to cover their tracks.  The wood of Stiles' window frame was cracked and pieces dotted the floor around Stiles' bed.  The sheets had been pulled off the mattress as if Stiles had been trying to use them to pull away from his attackers.  Most disturbingly, there was a substantial bloodstain on the carpet and a splatter up the wall.  Someone had hit his mate while he was still standing up, and they had used a hell of a lot of force.  Judging by the amount of blood, they had probably hit him over the head and knocked him out.

Peter could feel his pulse rising and the shift rolling just under the surface of his skin.  He tried to control his breathing.  He couldn't really afford to shift right now when the Sheriff could be home any minute.  He needed to think.  He and Stiles, they were the thinkers, the planners, he could figure this out.  What if it's already too late?  Peter growled at the voice in his head, startling Derek and the Sheriff who had just entered the room.

"Oh hell, Stiles," John said, crouching down to look more closely at the blood on the floor and then going to the window.

"When was the last time you saw him?" Derek asked, trying to keep a cool head since it looked like Peter was seconds away from tearing his hair out.

"I wasn't even home for dinner last night," the Sheriff admitted, frowning, "You probably saw him last."

"He left the woods at about six last night," Derek offered.  He heard a high pitched whine and realized that it was coming from Peter's throat.  He went up to his uncle and flashed his eyes at him.  "Peter," he growled, hoping to scare his Beta into submission, "we don't have time for you to fall apart right now.  We need to find Stiles."

"You think I don't know that?" He yelled angrily, blue eyes flashing back at his nephew.

"Boys!" The Sheriff called, snapping them out of their argument.  "I need to get back to the station and try to trace his cell.  Can you follow him by scent?"

"I already tried," Derek told him, defeat apparent in his tone, "the scent disappears out in the street.  They must have put him in a car."

"Can you sense him through the bond?" Peter asked hopefully.

"I haven't been able to feel anything yet," Derek told him, "it only goes one way so far.  Stiles can probably tell where I am, but I don't see how that's going to help."

"You guys are going to explain that later," the Sheriff said, "but for now, we are going to the station."

 

***

 

"My, my Stiles," Kali taunted gleefully, "Your Alpha doesn't seem to care much about any of you, does he?  Nearly 30 hours later and still nothing.  He doesn't value his Emissary nearly as much as we had hoped."

"Nah, he's more of a perpetual loner, really.  Horrible at parties, only good for arm candy, no conversation skills," Stiles gasped, breathing through the pain, "You should probably just let us go.  No point in having us here, after all."

"I don't think so," the Alpha simpered, toenails clacking on the concrete floor of the warehouse.  "We're just going to have to give him a little hint, that's all."

Stiles didn't look up, he didn't want to participate in whatever the next part of this sick woman's plan was.

"Oh come now Stiles, don't be like that, smile pretty for the camera," she smacked him on the cheek harshly, making his jaw ache, but he still didn't lift his head.  "I guess we'll just have to do this the hard way then."

 

***

 

After a tense car ride, they spent a few minutes with the County's IT guy and found that Stiles' phone was no longer producing a signal.  The Sheriff made a few calls to be sure that all available units were out looking for his son.  Derek called on the rest of the pack to join them and had everyone meet up at Deaton's.  He was hoping the former Emissary would have some sort of tracking spell that they could use, but no matter how many times he tried it, he wasn't coming up with anything.

Peter hadn't stopped pacing for the last hour and the pain and fear coming off him seemed to reverberate in the clinic until all the wolves were ready to kill each other.  Isaac was sitting in the corner with his head between his knees, Scott whispering soothing words to him.  Jackson was outside running laps around the building, trying to burn off some of the pent up aggression that was ricocheting between the wolves.

"Peter," Derek said, grabbing his uncle's shoulders and stilling him, "I need you to calm down.  We aren't going to do Stiles any good if we can't think straight and you are driving all of us crazy."

"I called my Dad," Allison offered, hoping not to anger Derek any more than necessary.  "He's checking with his contacts and should be calling me soon."  Derek just nodded grimly.  They could use all the help they could get.

Peter looked around the room, glancing at each pack member in turn.  They were all tense, rigid limbs showing how stressed and worried they were.

"They're still just kids, Peter," Derek told him, "they can't handle this much stress going through the pack bond.  I need you to try to calm down.  Use your anchor."

"Stiles is my anchor," he growled, pulling himself out of Derek's grip and rushing out of the room.  Derek found him standing behind the mountain ash counter, claws and teeth extended, ready to rip the entire clinic apart if he thought it would help them find Stiles sooner.  Rounding on his nephew, Peter stalked forward in rage, backing him into a corner, growling, "You should have practiced with him more.  What kind of Alpha are you that you can't even locate your own Emissary?"

"We tried Peter," Derek retorted, not happy with the insinuation.  "You know that we tried.  We got a little side tracked with Stiles' other powers and we didn't have enough time.  This isn't my fault and it certainly isn't his.  If you were thinking clearly you would know that."

"I should have bit him," Peter admitted fiercely, "If we were mated I would have been able to find him by now."

"You should have what?" The Sheriff asked from the doorway, looking fearfully between the two wolves.  "I'm going to need you to explain yourselves this time."

Derek sighed heavily and turned to the man.  He really didn't want to be the one to have this conversation with him, and now definitely wasn't the time, but it didn't look like he had a lot of choice in the matter.  It wasn't like they were getting anywhere anyway.  Peter was vibrating next to him and he still hadn't put his fangs away.  The sound of his heavy breathing coming out of his mouth was a terrifying backdrop to what Derek said next.

"Stiles is Peter's mate."

"What does that mean?"  John hoped it was better than it sounded, but wasn't expecting a miracle this time.

"It means they were sort of, made for each other, I guess you could say," Derek told him reluctantly.  "It's kind of hard to explain."

"Try me," John ordered, authority spurring Derek on.

"Our wolves, we can sense when someone would make a good match for us and are drawn to that person.  We are stronger with them, like a pack mate, but more than that."  Peter's rough breathing had turned to whining again, and he slumped to the floor with his back against the wall, defeated.

"Once a wolf finds their mate, they can give them a mating bite.  It connects them, binds them together in a way that's similar to marriage.  It's a sacred thing, mating.  They support each other and give each other strength."  Derek looked over at his uncle, who was curling up on himself in the corner, a shadow of his former self.  "My parents were mated and my mother was able to lead one of the most powerful packs in California with my father there to guide her."

"So what's wrong with Peter?  He needs Stiles?"  The Sheriff asked.  Anyone could see that the man was beside himself, but at the same time, it didn't look like a normal grief reaction.  There was something more going on with his son's boyfriend, and he felt obligated to help in some way.

"Wolves, we don't do well without our mates," Derek admitted, looking at his uncle in shared anguish.  "When we're apart from them, we tend to come unbalanced.  Like losing an anchor, but worse.  When our mates die, some wolves go feral and have to be put down, some grow too weak to go on, but either way, usually we don't survive."

The Sheriff nodded tiredly, seeing Peter through a new lens.  He had no idea any of this was possible, but once Derek had said it, he knew it to be true.  His son had a werewolf mate, and if they didn't find him soon, there was going to be more than one body.

They spent a few minutes in silence, just listening to Peter's breathing ratcheting up again.  John thought he was a minute away from sobbing, and he just wasn't sure he could handle comforting someone else at a time like this.  Then Derek's phone buzzed with an incoming message.  He pulled it out of his jeans and pressed play on the new recording.

The sound of heavy breathing echoed through the office, and John was on Derek immediately, pulling the phone in between them both.  A tan woman with impressive looking teeth came into view.

"Well Derek, since holding on to your Betas for two months couldn't get you to come out and play, we got a hold of your darling Emissary."

Peter flung himself off the floor with a roar, lunging into Derek's side to watch the video.

"Quite the mouth on this one.  I don't think he's learned his lesson yet though, do you Ennis?"

John heard a rumble come from Derek this time and looked up to see his eyes flashing red and his nostrils flaring in rage.

The woman backed out of the frame to reveal the scene behind her.  Stiles was tied to a support pole with his hands behind his back.  His head was slumped down on his chest and he looked to be unconscious.  His left shoulder was pulled at an odd angle and had at the very least been dislocated.  There was blood all over his gray tee shirt and his legs were slumped together, also tied, like he had long since lost the muscle power to keep himself standing.

A brick wall of a man came into view behind Stiles and pulled back harshly on his hair until he was looking at the camera.  His eyes were half closed, barely managing to keep awake, and he had a huge gash across his forehead that left blood trails down the right side of his face.  Stiles' throat convulsed like he was trying to swallow the blood in his mouth and when the Alpha raised his head, he revealed a huge slash across his chest.  Five jagged lines had been cut through his shirt from his collar bone to right above his heart.  These wounds were still visibly bleeding, dark lines slowly saturating the fabric over his ribs.  Stiles struggled not to cough as it looked like the pain in his chest was preventing him from breathing properly.  The woman peeked her head into the corner of the camera and smiled, showing off even more teeth than before.

"Ennis here is sick of listening to this one talk back, so he's going to pull out one of his teeth every five minutes until you get here."

The Sheriff set his jaw and looked away as he heard a muffled groaning noise and a cut off scream ripped from his only son's lips.

"I'm not sure he's going to make it much longer Derek," the woman teased, coming back into full view.  "It would be a shame if you had to put him out of his misery," Derek's body tensed and his face seemed to wince at the insinuation.  "We know how fond the Hale family is of mercy killings, don't we Ennis?"

A rough laugh joined her throaty one.  "I'm really disappointed you couldn't find him on your own, but I don't know why I'm surprised.  You're a pathetic Alpha with a bunch of idiot kids for a pack.  But don't worry," she smirked, flashing red eyes at the camera again, "once you kill this one, there's three more where he came from.  Better get a move on, Hale.  We're in the old Greene building in the warehouse district.  Tick tock."

The video cut off and Peter was already rushing forward, banging his useless fists on the ash countertop, unable to move beyond it.

"Kids, let's move," the Sheriff called into the back room and flung the counter up for Peter to get through.  He went to grab the radio off his shoulder and call it in, but Derek caught his wrist.

"Don't," He said, face as grim as John had ever seen it, "we don't know what we'll find when we get there and it'd be better if you didn't have to explain any bodies."

John nodded, not arguing the seriousness of the situation and hopped in the cruiser as the rest of the pack piled into Derek and Lydia's cars and sped off.

 

***

 

Blood filled his mouth but he couldn't muster the effort to spit it back out.  It was all he could do to push it slowly out over his bottom lip with his tongue.  Stiles wondered absently if swallowing some of it would make his throat hurt more or less.  What little mental capacity he had left told him it would probably be a bad idea to fill his empty stomach with extra bodily fluids, so he refrained.

Stiles knew he wouldn't be able to handle many more tooth extractions and prayed Derek and Peter would be coming soon.  He couldn't imagine it would take them very long once they had the damn address, but two more back teeth later and Stiles was losing hope.  Maybe they had sent the twins out to pick them off before they got here.  Maybe the mysterious Deucalion was waiting in the wings to end them all before they even made it through the door.

If they weren't coming for him, it wouldn't just be his death, it would be Boyd and Erica's as well.  They had been here too long, Erica hadn't moved in what felt like days.  They weren't going to make it.  Fear and pain made way for panic as Stiles wrenched his eyes open and searched the room.  There had to be something he could do, some way to get the upper hand.  Think Stilinski, think!  You're smarter than them.  You can do this.  His eyes roamed the table, the only thing worth looking at in the dim warehouse and he thought once more that there was nothing he could do until one of them decided to bring out the blowtorch, and even then, he wasn't sure he had the strength to use his powers.

The tell-tale clacking noise warned Stiles that Kali was approaching.  The hulking form of Ennis visible behind her was stalking forward with far too much enthusiasm for Stiles’ liking.

"Time for tooth number three," Kali told him, "your Alpha sure is taking his sweet time."  Man, did she ever put those fangs away?  Ennis picked the bloody set of pliers off the table and came around to his side once more.  Clenching his jaw, Stiles decided it was now or never.  Spitting the remaining blood out of his mouth with as much attitude as he could summon, he fumbled through a few words.

"Can we stop it with the teeth thing?" Stiles muttered, raising his swollen face defiantly.  "I'd like to be able to eat my bodyweight in curly fries when I get out of here and if you hadn't noticed, talking is kind of my thing."

"Got a better suggestion?" Ennis growled, snapping the pliers together sharply in his ear.

"You're already going to be living with some pretty serious scars here, if you manage not to bleed out.  Which isn't looking very likely at this point," Kali said.

"There's more than one way to make a scar," Ennis suggested, gesturing back to the makeshift table.

Stiles held his breath, not wanting to give anything away.  "No, no, I think we can go back to the teeth now," he argued, opening his mouth in offerance.

"Time to have a different kind of fun," Kali said, grabbing the blowtorch off the table and waving it menacingly.

Here we go, Stiles thought.

Just as he heard the whooshing noise of the gas give way to the click of the ignitor, all hell broke loose.  The twins ran in, several others hot on their trail, and at the same time Stiles used his power to turn the pointed flame of the torch into a fireball, causing Kali to drop it immediately.  She lunged forward, swinging her leg around and slicing her claws through Stiles' stomach.

Stiles couldn't even scream, he just made a pained gurgling noise as he felt blood gush from his abdomen.  He tried to keep his mind on the flames, wanting to draw them back into his hand so he could direct them, but his focus was slipping.  Everything was slowing down, like his mind was pushing through a pool full of tar.  With every ounce of energy he had left, Stiles tried to focus his eyes and make sure his friends were going to get out alive.

Time seemed to speed up and slow down at the same time, Stiles didn't think bullet time was a real thing, but he knew more unbelievable things had happened to his pack before.  As Stiles focused on the scene before him, the fire spread, running along the floor and igniting several of the wooden pallets.

It was dark, but through the hazy heat of the flames, Stiles could see Jackson and Scott getting their collective asses kicked by the Alpha twins.  Jackson let out a pretty impressive roar and threw himself back into the fray as Scott was pummeled by two Alphas at once.  Scott looked like he was a few blows away from getting knocked unconscious, but Jackson took a running leap onto one of the twin's backs and pulled him off his friend.  Hoping Scott would get back up soon, Stiles turned his attention to his left.

The pile of crates that had been blocking his view of Erica and Boyd had collapsed into a charred mess.  Through the smoke, Stiles caught Allison and Isaac untying three people and securing Erica over Isaac's back, pulling her to safety.

Meanwhile, Derek was baring his teeth and roaring at Ennis, who was dancing circles around him.  Derek must have been empowered by some long suppressed rage, because he managed to finally bring Ennis to the ground and slash repeatedly at his chest.

Stiles let out a sigh of relief when he finally saw Peter.  He had come to Scott and Jackson's aide, pulling one of the twins off Scott's prone form with the loudest roar Stiles has ever heard.  When he got a good look at Peter, he could tell something was different.  He didn't look like he normally did when he shifted.  There were distinct differences from when he was in his rogue Alpha form, but fewer than Stiles was strictly comfortable with.  With that last roar, Peter's body seemed to grow, more hair sprouting off his body and larger claws protruding from his hands.  His clothing began to tear at the seams as he strode toward the twin again.

The Alpha was backing away on hands and heels, but Peter was quick to pick him up by the throat with one hand.  He lifted the twin up into the air and slammed him down hard enough on the concrete to crack it open, dust and shards flying into the air.  Peter roared again as the twin turned his head, searching for his brother.  Peter took the offered throat into his mouth, bit down, and pulled.  Blood spouted everywhere and a loud cracking was heard as Peter pulled on the opposite side of the Alpha's hair and snapped his neck.  A scream sounded from somewhere to his left, and Stiles hoped that it wasn't what it sounded like, because what it sounded like was Lydia being cut in half.

Stiles could feel it.  Besides the darkness in his mind that he could identify as Derek's anger, another presence appeared, pulsing with rage and grief.  Peter slowly rose out of his crouch on the floor to look up.  Blood and viscera dripped from his mouth, claws dug into the concrete as he opened red eyes.

Peter was an Alpha once more.

He caught sight of Stiles and began moving forward, but the flames rose higher and blocked his way.  Stiles could feel pride and terrifying joy from Derek and he was sure that the Alpha Ennis had just met his much deserved end.  Lydia screamed again, and the noise was just too much for Stiles' mind to take.  He lost what little control he had on his power as he slipped deeper into the blackness.  

The flames burned hot and heavy, surrounding Stiles.  A cracking noise sounded just before several metal beams fell from the ceiling, blocking Peter's route to his mate.   The building was on its way to collapse and half of Stiles' friends were still inside.  The last thing he heard before he completely lost consciousness was Derek screaming, "Jackson, stop!"

 

Chapter Text

All Stiles could see was blackness.  There was nothing here, nothing to look at, nothing to focus on.  He drifted, in an endless sea of blackness.  If this was what death was like, he wanted a refund.  Where were the white light and the angels?  Where was his mother?  If he was dead he better at least be able to talk to his mother.

Then everything changed. A white light pulsed in the back of his mind.  It was Derek.  He must be here somewhere.  Was Derek dead too?  No.  There was no way.  Stiles had just seen him kill another Alpha.  He must be damn near invincible at this point.  Unless Stiles' fire had killed him.  No.  There's no way that happened.  Just wake up now, Stiles.

"Stiles?" A rough voice asked quietly.  Stiles blinked a few times and then squeezed his eyes shut tightly, blocking out the light of what he now knew to be his hospital room.

"Dad?"

"Yeah, I'm right here kiddo," the Sheriff said, grabbing one of Stiles' hands and rubbing it gently.  Stiles took stock of his body.  Everything hurt, but the pain was dulled a bit like he was pretty heavily medicated.  He could feel wrapping tight around his chest, making it a little tougher to breathe than he would like, and speaking that one word already had his head throbbing, jaw feeling like he had just lost a boxing match.

"How long has it been?" Stiles asked.

"Five days, give or take."

"Is Derek here too?" He asked, finally opening his eyes.  He had an IV and a sling around one arm, cradling his elbow close to his body.

"Yeah, I'm here," Derek said, stepping in from the hall.

"Is everyone okay?  Where's Peter?"

"I think I'm going to let you handle that one," the Sheriff said, pulling himself out of the visitor's chair.  "I need to get back to the office.  You," he said, pointing at Stiles and then leaning in to kiss him on the forehead, which was half obscured by a bandage, "You've got to quit almost dying on me, kid."  His voice was tight and Stiles felt a bit of guilt creeping into his heart.  "You do what the doctors tell you and don't hurt yourself for at least another month, alright?"

"Yeah, alright Dad."

Derek took the Sheriff's vacated seat and pulled it over to Stiles.

"Tell me," Stiles pleaded, already anticipating a conversational struggle.

"Peter, he's," Derek fumbled for the right words, pausing and taking a deep breath, "he's not good," he finished lamely, looking at Stiles' swollen face with discomfort.

"He's practically feral, Stiles.  Deaton has him locked up in the storage room at the clinic."

Stiles couldn't say he was really surprised by that fact, based on what he had seen at the warehouse, but that didn't make it any easier to hear.  Wincing as he turned to face Derek, he asked; "Take me to him?"

"I don't think that's such a good idea," Derek admitted, face stern.  "He'd just as soon rip you apart as look at you, and Scott won't let you get within ten feet of him."

"Help me get these off," Stiles ordered, pulling at the tape on his IV and trying to shrug his way out of his gown before the extent of his injuries finally caught up to him.

"Stiles, you're still healing," Derek said, pleading, "you don't know what you're getting yourself into."

"If this is about me being Peter's mate, don't bother with the lecture," Stiles said, grimacing as he dislodged his IV.

"You knew?"

"Yeah, if the way Peter mumbles ‘mate mate mate’ at me when he's napping wasn't enough to tip me off, I did some research.  Dude is not subtle."

"The doctors are not going to let you out of here, you need to rest.  You're lucky to be alive," Derek reminded him.

"Yeah, that's why you're going to sneak me out of here," Stiles said, sucking air in through his teeth as he sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed.  "Now help me with my pants."

 

***

 

The closer they got to the clinic, the more anxious Stiles became.  He wasn't sure when he had tapped into his connection with Derek's Betas, but it was like a migraine when you had already taken a bullet to the forehead.  Derek's hand on his forearm was only dulling the pain to the point where he could keep himself conscious.  A cacophony of emotions rolled around inside his mind; Isaac's joy at having his friends back, Erica's sleepy discomfort, Boyd's resigned worry, and Jackson's anger.  Stiles wasn't sure what Jackson had to be angry about right now, but Derek had just said "later" when he had asked, so he tried not to dwell on it.

The loudest one of all was Peter.  Every minute they got closer to Deaton's, Stiles' mind echoed with the deepest anguish he had ever known.  It wasn't just a little grief or worry, this feeling was soul-crushing pain that made his remaining teeth ache.  When they finally arrived, Stiles was lucky to still be sitting upright, the pack's emotions were weighing on him so heavily.  It was a rough day in paradise when Derek's general sullenness didn't even move the needle.

By the time Stiles finally dragged himself to the door, Scott was blocking his way.

"Derek!" He called angrily, "you were supposed to keep him in bed!"

"What was I supposed to do, Scott?" Derek argued, "Tackle him?  He's barely standing!"

"You could have taken his pain until he fell asleep!"

"I didn't think of that," Derek admitted, folding his arms across his broad chest and daring Scott to argue with him some more.

"Step aside, Scotty," Stiles said, waggling his fingers in his friend's face, "I've got some magic to work in there."

"No way man, you are not going in there," Scott said defiantly, blocking the doorway.  "He will literally eat you."

"He's not going to eat me, I'm his mate," Stiles insisted, moving to push Scott aside.

"Ew, can you not use that word?  It is creeping me out."

"Get used to it, buddy," Stiles said, winking, "now seriously, get out of my way before I sic my Alpha on you," he said, poking his free elbow in Derek's general direction.

"He's not the only one," Scott muttered under his breath, ignoring the way Stiles rolled his eyes.  "Seriously.  You remember what he was like.  What makes you think it's going to be any different this time?"

"This time he's got me," Stiles said simply, pushing his way inside.  

The four walls of the animal clinic seemed to amplify the feelings that were echoing in Stiles' mind and he staggered a little under the weight of it.  Gathering his strength, Stiles made his way to the storage room, unlocked the door and pushed it open with his good hand.

The scent of blood and unwashed man hit Stiles before he even noticed the pile of ripped clothing and muscles in the corner that was his boyfriend.  He was barely wearing anything anymore, waistband and tee shirt sleeves the only things that were entirely recognizable.  Stiles took a step forward and then caught himself when a loud, low rumbling warned him to stay back.  Breathing deeply, Stiles poked at the black feeling in his mind and pushed forward again.

"Peter?" He called quietly, taking small, steady steps forward, Chucks squeaking on the linoleum.  "Peter, it's me," he said, raising his arm out toward his mate.  Peter turned his face so quickly Stiles itched to back away  He mentally reminded himself that Peter would never hurt him, and fought to keep steady.  Red eyes fixed on him, boring into him.  Peter growled fiercely, snapping his teeth while still curling his body back into the corner.

Stiles tried not to associate this Peter with the rogue Alpha of two years ago, this wolf more resembled a wounded dog who had tried to bite the veterinarian who was trying to stitch them up.  He stared into those red eyes and looked for some semblance of recognition.  His Peter had to be in there somewhere.

"Peter," Stiles said, hand still outstretched, "it's me.  Smell me, listen to my heartbeat.  I know it's you.  Do you know it's me?"  Throwing out his last shred of self-preservation, Stiles stepped forward, ignoring the rumbling that was still coming out of Peter's throat and pressed his palm to the side of Peter's furry cheek.  Exhaling in relief, Stiles crouched down on the floor, mindful of his sore stomach, and lowered himself until he was right in Peter's space.  He let his hand trail down Peter's neck, mindless of the dirt ground into his boyfriend's skin, and pulled ever so gently.  The sound the wolf was making turned from a groan into a whimper as Peter pressed his face into the side of Stiles' neck, inhaling deeply.

Stiles stayed incredibly still, breathing as deeply and evenly as his chest wrapping allowed, waiting for the dread in his mind to recede.  He made a conscious effort to let all the other Betas' emotions fade away as he focused on his mate.  Peter whined, high in his throat as he took in the smell of barely suppressed agony coming from Stiles'.  Refusing to be cowed by a few claw marks, Stiles snuck his good arm around Peter's back and pulled him closer until the wolf was practically draped over his lap.  Rubbing his palm slowly up and down Peter's spine, Stiles waited him out.

About ten minutes in, Peter seemed to notice that Stiles was still hurt and pulled his weight off of his lap and back a few feet.  He was still shifted, eyes still glowing red.  That was going to take Stiles some getting used to.  A few more minutes of thoughtful eye contact and Stiles could see the moment when Peter started to pull out of it.  The hand he reached toward Stiles with was unclawed, filthy, but unclawed.  Stiles watched the red fade out of Peter's eyes as he slumped backward, asleep.

 

***

 

It was blessedly quiet inside Stiles' bathroom.  He was grateful for Derek's help in getting Peter into the car and up the stairs, but after learning that his little sister Cora was the third werewolf being held by the Alphas, Stiles knew Derek was dying to get back to her and the rest of the pack.  Sore and ripped apart as Stiles was, Peter was his mate and he would be damned if he'd let anyone else take care of him when he really needed it.

Peter was still drifting in and out of consciousness and while Stiles longed to join him in that sleepy oblivion, he was not letting Peter get anywhere near his bed before he got cleaned up.  Moving as slowly and carefully as possible, Stiles man-handled a semi-conscious Peter into his bathtub and got the water to a safe temperature.  Stiles tugged at the remains of Peter's V-neck until it came apart in his hand and freed it from around the man's neck.  Soot marked his entire body, reminding Stiles how easily his power had slipped out of his control.  This was the kind of horror that he could wreak without even being properly awake.  They were going to need to take a lot more time to train once he and Peter were healthy again.

Removing Peter's pants was a bit more difficult, but Stiles moved as efficiently as possible, pointedly ignoring the fact that this was the first time he was going to see Peter naked.  This couldn't be further from what Stiles had envisioned for their first encounter sans clothing, but somehow, he thought this was almost better.  This was how Stiles knew how to show his love.  He didn't have any experience with sex outside of porn, but caregiving, that he knew.

After a few minutes of gentle tugging, Peter was free of his pants and underwear and Stiles was panting, and not in the way he expected after getting his boyfriend out of his stupidly tight jeans.  As Stiles looked down at him and started wiping gently with a damp washcloth, he realized something.  Behind the bravado and brashness, Peter was just a man.  He had weaknesses and vulnerabilities.  He could be brought low by something, and the fact that that something could be Stiles was a lot to take in.  Stiles felt his cheeks start to blush as he felt the weight of Peter in his hand, moving his member aside to continue wiping at his legs and lower abdomen.  He shoved his embarrassment deep down and soldiered on slowly.  Everything took at least twice as long with only one hand to work with.

Stiles had to rinse out the washcloth every few minutes and when he finally got around to washing Peter's face he was startled by how much older the man looked with the black dust caught in every line of his face.  Peter had lived a life.  He had actually lived more than one life, if truth be told, and every minute of it weighed on his face.  Rubbing gently until Peter's tan skin was clean, Stiles then grabbed the cup his toothbrush was sitting in and started rinsing Peter's hair.  He took his time shampooing and rinsing repeatedly until the water ran clear and smiled when he felt Peter turn into his touch and begin to rumble in his chest when Stiles rubbed his head.

"Peter?" Stiles questioned, pulling gingerly with his good arm.  "Can you sit up?"  Red eyes opened to meet Stiles' gaze and Stiles reminded himself that this wasn't an Alpha to be afraid of, this was Peter, his boyfriend who loved him.  Grabbing the cup again and getting cool water from the sink he brought it to Peter's lips, asking him to drink.  Afterward, he brought him some mouthwash and the empty cup to spit in, not having the effort to actually brush Peter's teeth for him, but knowing there was still blood in his mouth all the same.

Peter, coming back to himself a bit, got out of the tub under his own steam, which Stiles appreciated as he was barely keeping himself vertical.  He handed Peter a towel and ushered him into his bedroom, shimmying out of his pants one-handed and throwing a pair of boxers in Peter's direction.  Without another word, Stiles shut off the light and got under the covers, careful to keep his sling away from the wall.  Peter got in after him and busied himself with sleepily rescenting Stiles.  The hospital smell all over his mate was most displeasing and he spent several lazy minutes running his nose up and down Stiles' throat.

With a heavy sigh, Stiles let himself be nuzzled.  He wasn't sure he would ever get to have this again, and here he was, settling in for a heavy sleep in his own bed, surrounded by the scent of his born-again Alpha mate.  Stiles wondered absently if his father would go back to the hospital looking for him as he listened to Peter's breathing slowly even out.  Just when he thought the wolf had finally dropped off to sleep, he mumbled a request.  Simple in words, but complex in meaning he asked, "sing for me?"  And Stiles felt compelled to comply.

Rubbing his scruffy cheek on Peter's bare chest, Stiles began to sing, as softly as a lullaby.

 

"I'm dreaming of sleeping next to you and feeling like a lost little boy in a brand new town

I'm counting my sheep and each one that passes is another dream to ashes and they all fall down

As I lay me down tonight

I close my eyes

What a beautiful sight

 

Sleeping to dream about you

And I'm so damn tired

Of having to live without you

But I don't mind

Sleeping to dream about you and I'm so tired"

 

Stiles occupied himself with kissing a line across Peter's chest, humming the guitar riff between the verses, lips curved in a smile in between each kiss.

 

"I found myself in the riches

Your eyes, your lips, your hair well you were everywhere out there"

 

Stiles pecked each body part in turn, delighting in the honest to god purr that was coming from Peter's throat.

 

"But I woke up in the ditches, I hit the light and I thought you might be here

But you were nowhere

Oh love, you were nowhere at all

 

And as I lay me back to sleep

Lord I pray that I can keep

 

Sleeping to dream about you

And I'm so damn tired

Of having to live without you

But I don't mind

So I'm sleeping to dream about you and I'm so tired"

 

Stiles refused to cry.  He knew that's what the lyrics said, but there was nothing to cry about, not anymore.  He was here, he was alive, Erica and Boyd were alive, Derek was reunited with his sister, and Peter was here, alive and warm in his bed.  There was no need for tears, but Stiles felt his throat clench slightly anyway, the weight of all those hours he spent waiting for death finally hitting him.  It made the last few lines come out croakier than he intended.

 

"It's just a little a lullaby to keep myself from crying myself, a little lullaby to keep

Oh just a little lullaby to keep myself from crying, I'm trying to get myself to fall asleep

It's just a little lullaby, oh I need just a lullaby

Before I dry these eyes, I try

 

I'm sleeping to dream about you

And I'm so damn tired

Of having to live without you, but I, I don't mind

So I'm sleeping to dream about you

And I'm so tired

Oh yes I am, I am, I am"

 

Rumbling in gratitude, Peter pressed a kiss to Stiles' temple, rubbing his nose up and down the side of his face in a comforting gesture.  "Sleep now Przemysław, it's alright.  Just sleep," he murmured, as they both drifted off.

 

 

Chapter Text

Stiles and Peter spent a few days in bed recuperating before Stiles could gather the effort to throw himself into the mental wolves’ den.  He had just gotten used to the subtle fluttering in the back of his mind that was Peter's emotional wellbeing.  It was all well and good when it was just the two of them cuddled up in a dark bedroom, but Stiles wasn't sure how well he was going to cope with the onslaught of Derek and his five Betas.  Things were quiet.  Sure, there were still a few Alphas on the loose, but in the dark of Stiles' bedroom, the only sound he heard was Peter's deep and even breathing.  It soothed his nerves in a way he didn't know was possible.

Pushing into the loft, Stiles was met with a lot more noise than he had ever before encountered in the space.  Isaac was locked in a debate over Harry Potter with a girl who could only be Cora.  Boyd was sitting on the couch, Erica draped over his lap.  She had her feet laid across Derek's thighs and seemed to be trying to convince him that he wanted to give her a pedicure.  It finally felt like pack again, and Stiles smiled as Peter helped him inside.  Even after a few days of lying around watching bad movies, Stiles was still feeling the pull of the stitches across his chest and stomach.  He was going to have some pretty impressive scars after all was said and done.  He had already lost some of what little hair he had on his chest to the scalpel and stitches and there was a long gash running diagonally across the right side of his forehead ending at his temple.  Those stitches hurt whenever he made a particularly deliberate facial expression.

"Just because J.K. Rowling said Dumbledore was queer doesn't mean it's canon," Stiles jumped in, shuffling across the room.  "Although for the record, I think him and Grindelwald were totally banging."

"Uncle Peter!" Cora called, and sprinted across the room to pull the wolf into a hug.  Stiles watched the interaction with a pleased expression.  He had never seen Peter interact like this with Derek before, and it was refreshing to see him almost bashful at the positive attention from his long lost niece.  Then he inched over to the couch and gestured at Derek to get his ass off the only place to sit.  Erica lunged forward, causing Stiles to let out a guttural "oomph" noise as she wrapped her arms around his neck and smacked a few red lip marks on his cheek.

"Thank you," she whispered in his ear, kissing that too.  Boyd clasped his good shoulder and smiled broadly, which was all the thanks Stiles could possibly need.

"Back, foul temptress," Peter barked, smacking ineffectually at Erica, who just snuggled in closer to her new Emissary.

"Oh right," Erica drawled, "you're married to Uncle Creeper now.  Weird."

"We're not married," Stiles argued, "not that it would be any of your business if we were."

"My Emissary, my business," Erica said, wriggling her body until she was comfortably pressed against Boyd again.  Peter raised his eyebrows at the phrase that he had heard come out of Derek's mouth only a few short weeks ago.

"I've been hearing that a lot lately," Peter said gruffly, rubbing the pigment off his boyfriend's cheek with a pinched look on his face.  Cora took that opening to approach Stiles and run a blunt nose up the length of his throat, getting his general scent.

"You're his mate?" Cora asked, jerking her head toward Peter and inhaling sharply, "but it doesn't smell like you've mated yet."

"Hey," Stiles said, pushing the newcomer off of his sore body, "lay off the underage human please," Stiles whined, wincing at the pain.  "That is so none of your damn business," he added under his breath, pointed toward Cora.

"Now that we're all here," Peter cut in, "maybe I should bring out the grand plan."

"Grand plan?" Derek asked, sitting up, "that sounds ominous."

"We are not all here," Stiles countered, "specifically," he said, looking at Derek, "one of your Betas is missing.  Where's Jackson?"

"I don't think Jackson will be joining us for a while yet," Derek said, crossing his arms and looking over his remaining Betas.

"Is he alright?" Stiles asked, remembering the overwhelming anger and sadness he had felt from the wolf a few days ago at the Animal Clinic.

"He jumped into the flames to pull you out," Peter began, placing a gentle hand on Stiles' good arm.  "We tried to call him back, but he was determined, and—he was badly burned."

"How bad is bad?" Stiles asked, guilt obviously creeping into his voice as much as he tried to hide it.

"Bad," Derek required.

"He looks a bit like I did before I healed," Peter said quietly, throwing a look at Stiles that he couldn't quite identify.  It was one part wistful and two parts frustrated.  Stiles ran his tongue over the tender parts of his still exposed gums as he considered Jackson’s fate.  It was odd not being the only one who got hurt after a fight.  

"He's probably scarred for life," Derek confirmed with a hard look, "hopefully we can get him back to school next week.  It was a big blow," he said carefully, "He'll need help from all of us.  Be good to him."

"And Allison, and Lydia?" Stiles questioned, hoping the rest of his friends had come out of their showdown unscathed.  He flicked his tongue to the back of his mouth, prodding at the numb part where he had lost nerve function.  He was lucky his father hadn’t argued when Peter had offered to cover his medical expenses.  Stiles had a dental appointment later that week.

"Are fine," Derek confirmed, pulling Stiles from his thoughts.  "I don't know that they'll be around any time soon, though."

"Good riddance," Erica chimed in.

"Allison has apologized, and she is a loyal part of this pack now," Derek said firmly, not giving Erica an inch.

"She hasn't apologized to me," Erica said, snapping distinctly canine teeth at her Alpha, "that means I can still get a few shots in, right?"

"Give her a chance," Stiles pleaded, knowing he had enough trouble with Scott's reluctance.  He didn't need the girls starting a second feud.  "She got you out of the Alpha's lair, didn't she?  She'll make it up to you."

"She's got about eight arrows to make up for," Erica pouted, "probably 18 between me and Boyd.  Don't I get a few more rescues before I have to be nice to her?"

"You don't have to be nice," Derek told her, flexing his neck in frustration, "you just have to be civil.  I don't need you all to love each other, I just need you to work together."

"Fine, fine," Erica conceded after a few pointed looks from Boyd.

Clearing his throat, Peter grabbed a tube out of the corner and brought it to the center of the room.  Pulling a few pages from the tube, he crouched down to the charred floor where the coffee table used to be and waved Derek over to hold down two corners of his blueprints.

Stiles caught sight of a few marks outlining several rooms that had to be on the first floor of the new Hale Manor and his heart flew.  He could feel the excitement of the Betas, the hopeful nervousness radiating off of Peter, and the wariness of Derek.  The Alpha's eyebrows furrowed as he pointed to the vast first floor.  "Is this the living room?" Derek asked, glancing in Peter's direction.

"First floor is family room, kitchen, dining room, hall closets, etc.  Second floor is all the Betas' bedrooms," Peter confirmed, pointing to each room in turn.  One for Erica, Boyd, Isaac, Jackson, even Scott and Cora seemed to have spaces of their own.  Erica was just piping up to explain that she and Boyd would share when Peter cut in to add that they could discuss it when they were no longer minors.

Derek agreed that they would need extra rooms, just in case the teens’ high school relationships didn't last. He didn't want to have to act as landlord to a bunch of hormonal, angry werewolves.  Peter carried on, pointing out the Alphas' wings on the third floor.  One for Peter and Stiles, and one for Derek.  Stiles raised his eyebrows but couldn't find any real reason to argue with Peter about the assumption.  He would be spending most of his time in Peter's wing and he knew it.

Peter spent a few minutes outlining the safety precautions he had built in and the safe rooms in the basement.  He had even added in a few barred off cells for the inevitable supernatural hostages the pack might come across.  Derek was the most interested in the exterior.  Peter whispered quietly to him about the land they owned and how it extended all the way to the stream.

Stiles sunk back into the sofa, meeting Peter's bright blue eyes, alight with the promise of a new project to focus on.  He would let the Betas argue over room placement while he took a much-needed nap.

 

***

 

The room was dim and quiet when Stiles woke, wolves pressing into him on all sides.  Erica and Boyd were still wrapped around each other on the couch and Stiles could see the outlines of Cora and Isaac leaning against Derek's sides on the floor, throw pillows strewn around the group.  Peter was the only other person awake, quietly tuning his guitar which was propped up in his lap.  Afternoon light streamed through the loft's windows and as the others began to stir, Peter began to play.  A small smile crept across Stiles' face as he slowly sat up, eyes fixed on Peter's claws as he strummed.  A few grunting noises were muttered around the room, but Stiles only had ears for Peter as he began to sing.

 

"I've just seen a face

I can't forget the time or place where we just met

He's just the boy for me

And I want all the world to see we've met

Mmm, mmm, mmm, mm'mm, mmm"

 

Had it been another day

I might have looked the other way

And I'd have never been aware

But as it is I'll dream of him tonight

Di, di, di, di'dn, di"

 

Erica pulled her head off of Boyd's lap when Stiles joined in with a harmony.

 

"Falling, yes I am falling

And he keeps calling

Me back again"

 

"Oh. My. God," she said, smacking Derek on the shoulder as he sat up.  "Are we in an alternate dimension?"

"No," Derek said gruffly, rubbing one hand along his scruffy beard while he pulled a smiling Cora close with the other arm.  "They've been doing this for months."

"It's like a goddamn Disney movie in here."

 

"I have never known

The like of this, I've been alone

And I have missed things

And kept out of sight

But other boys were never quite like this

Di, di, di, di'dn, di"

 

"I feel like I'm being punked," Boyd piped in, barely audible over the music.  "Are you sure that's the same Peter?"

"Unfortunately, yes," Isaac told them, rolling his eyes as he watched Stiles sing along with Peter.

 

"Falling, yes I am falling

And he keeps calling

Me back again"

 

"Stiles has him whipped, doesn't he?" Erica asked, pulling red lips into a fiendish smile.

"No," Derek admitted regretfully, "I'm pretty sure it's mutual."

 

"Falling, yes I am falling

And he keeps calling

Me back again"

 

Peter was in heaven.  Since he and Stiles weren't having sex yet, and he knew they wouldn't be for quite some time, this sort of intimacy was the next best thing for his wolf.  He loved sharing this with his mate, but sharing it with the pack was almost as good.  Peter liked being able to show the others that he loved Stiles and that Stiles loved him in return.  Not only did it make him feel like he was part of a cohesive pack again, but it made him feel like he was someone who could finally be worthy of someone like Stiles' love.  That was something he wanted to share with the world.  He was valuable, and his love had value, at least to someone.

 

"I've just seen a face

I can't forget the time or place

Where we just met

He's just the boy for me

And I want all the world to see we've met

Mmm, mmm, mmm, mm'mm, mmm"

 

"Oh, my, God," Erica said again, and Derek couldn't help but roll his eyes at the phrase.  "It just hit me!" She said, eyes looking to Boyd's and then Isaac's in a search for understanding.  Boyd just tilted his head in a questioning gesture.  "They're gay!"  Boyd stared at her blankly.  "Like I don't know why I didn't notice before, but they're like super gay.  This is the gayest thing I've ever seen!  I had a crush on a gay guy!" She exclaimed, smacking Boyd on the arm.  

"This is the gayest thing you've ever seen?" Isaac muttered, throwing his head back to look at Erica upside down.  "Why do I find that hard to believe?"

"How can you gay up the Beatles?" Erica asked, "It's like sacrilege."

"Technically I think they're both bi," Derek corrected, knowing not everyone knew about Peter's late wife, his beautiful Aunt Savannah.  He hadn't thought about her in a long time. There was a little bit of her in Stiles.  Not enough that he could make a comparison, but a touch of fierceness that he could tell was common to both of them.  One of those things that must have attracted Peter to each of them in the first place.  "Not that it makes much of a difference at this point.  They're mates.  There's never going to be anyone else for either of them."

And hearing it said out loud like that really hit home for Stiles.  His eyes never left Peter, and his mind started placing him and Peter in a variety of situations.  He was picturing different moments of their future together; their first date, the first time they made love, their mating, their wedding, their first child, Christmases, Halloweens, BBQs, New Year's, and graduations.  Everything, all of it, every day, and he would get to spend it with Peter.  It was alarming and satisfying in equal measure.  He shook his head and pulled his lips into a smile, finishing out the rest of the song.

 

"Falling, yes I am falling

And he keeps calling

Me back again

Falling, yes I am falling

And he keeps calling

Me back again

Oh, falling, yes I am falling

And he keeps calling

Me back again"

 

Stiles hoisted himself out of his seat and lunged at Peter with what little effort he had left available in his still healing body.  Peter pulled the guitar out of his lap with one hand and held it above his head as Stiles invaded his personal space, capturing his lips in a sweet kiss.

Isaac made an exasperated huffing noise while Boyd started to pretend to vomit into Erica's lap.  Erica had an alarmingly toothy smile on her face as she watched the two men continue to kiss.  Derek knew that look and he didn't like it one bit.

"Can't you control your Betas?" Peter asked Derek as Stiles continued pressing kisses to the side of his face.  Peter was entirely unable to keep his pleased smile at bay, rumbling softly as Stiles continued lavishing him with affection.

"Can you get them to stop?" Isaac pleaded, hopping up on the couch next to Erica.

"All evidence says no," Derek said, pinched look on his face as he kissed Cora on the temple.  He sat up to take another look at the blueprints, marveling at the detail Peter had put in, especially in the greenhouses and outdoor living spaces.  The Betas gathered around once more and started discussing who would get which room and how much soundproofing Peter would be putting in.

Peter had finally gotten Stiles off of his lap and tucked into one of his arms as he began playing another song.  This time Derek recognized it as Teach Your Children Well and he knew that no amount of eye rolling could possibly stop his uncle from embarrassing him with unwanted musical lessons.

"When do you think it will be ready?" Derek asked as Stiles hummed the melody in a low, sleepy, but pleased tone.

"I'm meeting with a few contractors tomorrow.  If they get started right away we should be in by Christmas."

"Christmas?" Isaac asked, popping his head up and away from the building plans.  "But that's only four months from now.  Just how rich are you?"

"Peter's got huge tracts of land," Stiles murmured, eyes sliding shut in contentment.

"What's he going on about?" Peter asked, looking at the others for some sort of explanation.

"Don't ask," Boyd warned.  Stiles just hopped up out of his reverie with a grimace and started ranting about people "not appreciating the classics" as he fingered through the loft's growing DVD collection.

 

***

 

The next week at school was a tense mess of emotions.  Stiles hadn't yet had to deal with all the Betas at once while he was supposed to be focusing on classwork, and it was a bitch and a half just to parse the emotions out and be able to match them to each person.  He was infinitely thankful for the presence of Allison and Lydia. At least the humans weren't bombarding him with unwanted emotional baggage.  The girls were actually quiet, which baffled his mind.

Jackson hadn't returned yet and Lydia wouldn't give him any information on his whereabouts or general mental state.  Isaac was pining over Cora in an incredibly distracting way.  Thankfully, Erica and Boyd slipped right back into the fold without much of an upset from the administration.  Apart from a few pointed looks from the A-list girls in the cafeteria, raising their eyebrows at her creative fashion choices, it was almost as if they had never left.

Stiles' biggest problem, which seemed to be a recurring issue at this point, was Scott's attitude.  Stiles squatted between Isaac and Boyd in the cafeteria, vainly trying to avoid an all too apparent confrontation with his best bro.  Unperturbed by his attempts at camouflage, Scott cornered him by the garbage can and strong-armed him into the men's room.  Stiles, who had had quite enough of being manhandled for one lifetime snapped when he was pushed backward into a damp sink counter.

"Say what you want to say but stop touching me like that," Stiles growled, "I'm still healing, in case you had forgotten."

Scott looked partway sheepish, but still determined to give Stiles yet another lecture.  He positioned himself in front of the door and puffed himself up to his full height, which was still nowhere near Stiles'.  "I need you to listen to me," Stiles folded his arms and leaned against a sink, patience growing thin.  "You can't just go around school acting like everything is okay now.  Peter is an Alpha again, and he's going to get stronger and he's going to do something horrible.  I know you think he has feelings for you, but he doesn't.  He doesn't care about anyone but himself!  He's using you!"

"Everything is okay now?  Are you hearing yourself, Scott?" Stiles asked, voice inching higher of its own accord.  "Nothing is okay right now.  Erica and Boyd can't even look at Allison.  Jackson isn't coming to school yet and no one can seem to make him.  Lydia is hanging on by a thread and you are acting like such a righteous asshole I don't even know who I'm talking to anymore."

"I'm the asshole?" Scott raged, stepping forward toward Stiles, who backed further into the row of mirrors.  "I'm trying to keep you safe and you're calling me an asshole?"

"Yeah, I am," Stiles held his ground, steadying himself on his feet.  "If you could get your head out of your ass for one second you might notice that I'm not doing that great here.  I can barely stand for more than five minutes at a time, I'm in pain every second because half my body is being held together with string, and I can feel every one of those wolves’ emotions, except yours."

Scott looked confused and taken aback, not understanding what Stiles was saying.

"I'm their Emissary, Scott.  Theirs.  Not yours.  Do you know what that's like for me?  I can feel all of their emotions and they're slowly pulling my brain apart, but you're not in there with them."  Breathing out heavily, Stiles pushed himself away from the wall and took a step toward the door.  "You're my brother, Scott.  But you're not pack.  And you did that, not me.  So maybe you should stop worrying so much about Peter and start thinking about yourself."

Without letting Scott say another word, Stiles left the bathroom, door swinging heavily with his exit.

 

***

 

Peter pulled two beers out of the fridge and brought them back over to Derek who was sitting rather rigidly on the sofa.  The third season of The Voice was about to start and Peter couldn't help but get sucked in.  He even found himself liking the country songs, which was not a genre he had ever considered before.

"How did it go with the contractors?" Derek asked, eyes fixed on the screen as he watched Cee Lo Green flirt with a girl who was half his age.

"They break ground this week," Peter replied, amused at the fact that Derek seemed to like the show as much as he did.

Derek made an affirmative noise in his throat.  Peter watched his lips tense around the beer bottle and figured that a little good natured prying never hurt anyone.

"We have a few days before they start demolition," he offered, eyes ready to catch any emotions as they crossed his nephew's face.  "We could head over there one night and take a few swings with a sledge hammer if that would make you feel better."

"Maybe," Derek admitted, sitting his beer down between his thighs, as they still hadn't replaced the coffee table.

"It's okay for you to not be ready yet," Peter told him, eyes going to the TV as to not scare Derek away from answering.  "But I don't know if we'll ever really be ready."

"It's not that, I guess," Derek said, dancing around the topic.  "I'm just nervous.  All of us together in that house.  What's to stop it from happening again?"

"We are," Peter assured him.  "Plus several thousands of dollars of security enhancements.  No one is getting in that house that we don't know about."

"Okay," Derek agreed, still tense, "do you have a sledge hammer?"

"Not yet," Peter said.

They watched the TV in companionable silence for another twenty minutes before either of them spoke again.

"So when do you plan on asking Stiles to mate with you?" Derek said.

"Not before he's 18 at the very least," Peter said, "I don't have a death wish and I don't think I would manage to come back a second time."

"I'd rather not be involved if it comes to that, just for the record," Derek told him, giving his uncle a sideways glance.

"Noted."

"You think you're ready?"

"I know I'm ready, but I've had a lot longer to think about it than Stiles has.  It will probably take him some time.  I can't imagine why he would want to sign his life away to a man over twice his age when he's only 18."

"Because he loves you."

"No idea why, but yes, it seems that he does," Peter said with a tone of wonder.  "I just hope he doesn't wake up in ten years and wonder what the hell he was thinking.  Who marries the murderer who ripped into his high school crush?"

"Stiles," Derek said simply.

A few more minutes went by and Peter was really starting to get into this blind audition thing, but there was something gnawing at his mind that was stopping him from enjoying it fully.

"Don't you think it's time you started dating again?" Peter finally asked.

"I don't think that's really any of your business," Derek said gruffly, not making eye contact.

"My Alpha, my business," Peter told him, using Derek's own argument against him.  Derek sighed, knowing he didn't really have a leg to stand on.  Kate had been years ago, and while that relationship had just about the worst ending you could imagine, she was dead and that chapter of his life was closed.  He had his Betas back, and while Jackson's recovery was going to be a bit of a struggle, rebuilding the Manor was the fresh start he needed to move on.

"I'll consider it," Derek said with finality.  Peter figured that was the best he was going to get out of his sullen nephew.  He could work with it.

 

Chapter Text

By the time the second cross country meet of the season came around, things had settled into if not a comfortable rhythm, at least a somewhat stable one.  Jackson had returned to school but said almost nothing and seemed tense whenever Lydia displayed any sort of affection toward him.  Stiles did his best not to stare when Jackson removed his clothing in the locker room before the meet, but it was hard to miss the sharp inhale that came from Isaac when he got a look at Jackson's red and gnarled skin.  Large burns covered the right side of his body, the worst of which were on his torso and thigh and were hidden by his clothes.  He had taken to wearing turtleneck sweaters to cover the rest of them, but his hand and face were still badly scarred.  His eyelid looked stiff and heavy like it was painful every time he blinked.

Jackson pulled on long sleeved Under Armour and track pants and left the locker room as quickly as possible.  Stiles was actually proud of him for showing his body at all.  He would have expected Jackson to either hide in the bathrooms or refuse to participate in sports ever again.  Maybe there was a small bit of that self-confident douchebag still alive in there.

Stiles dressed for the meet, but would have to sit on the bench for at least a few more weeks while his body knit itself back together.  When the race was over, Stiles made his way to the stands, finding Peter almost immediately.  He jogged over to his boyfriend ready to throw his arms around Peter's neck and kiss him senseless but then remembered where he was.  There were an awful lot of witnesses around and Stiles wasn't sure if he should be outing them just yet.

"When are we going to tell people?" Stiles asked Peter, wrapping his arms around his own torso as the cool night air hit his body and gave him the chills.  Peter really needed to stop coming to these cross country meets if he wasn't going to be allowed to scent his mate.  It was torture.   Life just wasn't fair.

"Whenever you're ready," Peter said, shoving his hands into his jacket pockets so he couldn't make infantile grabby hands at Stiles.  "You're birthday is in another month or so.  It's probably safe for people to start seeing us together as long as we keep it PG."

"Are you asking me out?" Stiles joked, licking his bottom lip in such a way that Peter had to throw his gaze elsewhere.

"Well it looks like someone is doing some flirting, and this time it's not me," Peter said, throwing his head across the aisle to gesture at Derek who was actually smiling at a beautiful brunette.

"Oh my god, that's my English teacher!" Stiles hissed, smacking Peter in the arm.  "And he's doing his flirty smile."

"She's awkward and nervous.  Apparently that works for him," Peter muttered into Stiles' ear, which sent another shiver up Stiles' body that had nothing to do with the chilly October air.  "I think he's actually going to do it.  He's asking her out."

"This is going to be horrible," Stiles said, hoping he never had to interact with Ms. Blake outside of school.  "She better not be over at his loft when the pack is around.  She teaches every single one of us."

"I'm sure Derek can be discreet if necessary," Peter assured him, moving forward to catch Stiles' long-fingered hand in his own.  "So about that date," he trailed off, looking up as the flush on Stiles' chest spread up his neck and to his cheeks.

"I think I could date you," Stiles said, "if you make me a good enough offer."

"How do cheeseburgers and milkshakes sound?"

"Perfect," Stiles said, pulling Peter in by the hand he was holding.

"It's a date."

 

***

 

Wiping some invisible lint off his dark jeans, Peter hopped up the few steps to the Stilinskis' front door and knocked.

"Peter," the Sheriff greeted him as he opened the door and gestured inside, "Stiles is still in the shower, but he should be down soon."

"Thank you," Peter said, taking a seat on the couch and settling in to wait.  John sat down in his armchair and surveyed his son's boyfriend.  He was dressed nicely, if not casually, in a green V-neck and brown leather jacket.  Only the few deep wrinkles in his forehead betrayed his age.  He was an attractive man, John was secure enough to admit it, and he could see why Stiles would be drawn to him.  If he was being honest, he was actually glad it was Peter Stiles had decided to go for and not Derek.  He couldn't imagine how long a crush like that would have gone on unrequited.  As wary as John had been of their relationship at the start, Peter at least knew what he wanted and treated Stiles like royalty.  There wasn't much more a father could ask for, really.

Breaking John out of his thoughts was Stiles' voice coming from upstairs.  It was a little muffled by the running water of the shower, but unmistakable.  Stiles was singing again.

 

"Whenever I see your smiling face I have to smile myself

Because I love you, yes I do

And when you give me that pretty little pout

It turns me inside out, there's something about you baby, I don't know

Isn't it amazing a man like me could feel this way?

Tell me how much longer, it could grow stronger every day

 

I thought I was in love a couple of times before, with the girl next door

But that was long before I met you, now I'm sure that I won't forget you

And I thank my lucky stars, that you are who you are

And not just another lovely lady, sent down to break my heart

Isn't it amazing a man like me can feel this way?

Tell me how much longer, it could grow stronger every day"

 

John stood up, smiling fondly and shaking his head.  "I'll go tell him that you're here.  Save him some embarrassment," he said, heading for the stairs.  Peter smiled and leaned back further into the couch.  He was glad to hear Stiles so happy.  He knew his physical recovery would take a lot longer after the ordeal with the Alpha Pack, but thankfully his heart seemed to have mended fine.  A few minutes later Stiles skidded down the stairs, slipping down the last couple in his socks.  He wore his trademark plaid and a smile that was in no way diminished by the angry looking scar across his forehead.  It was still a while longer until he could get his stitches removed.

"Ready to go?" Peter asked, getting up from his seat.

"Just need my shoes," Stiles replied, skidding to the front door and shoving his feet into his Chucks.  Peter took his hand and led him outside as Stiles called a goodbye to his father over his shoulder.  He stopped after two steps, pulling Peter to a halt with their joined hands when he caught sight of what was outside.

"You're kidding, right?  This is the car Iron Man drives," Stiles said, mouth gaping as he took in the sleek black convertible idling in his driveway.

"Well I couldn't keep borrowing the Camaro," Peter said, "at least not when we have a date.  You need to ride in style."

"Now it looks like I'm a twink with a sugar daddy," Stiles muttered, running his hand over the shiny side panel.  Peter snorted like he didn't find that to be much of a problem.

"I have a Range Rover back at the loft too, if that makes you feel better," Peter said hopefully, opening the passenger door for Stiles and taking a minute to lower the roof as he got in himself.

"Oh yes, much better." Stiles agreed, grinning as he slid his palm over the red leather seats.  "What was this, 100k?"

"Something like that," Peter said, chuckling, and peeled off down the street.

They talked over burgers, topics covering everything from Derek's new relationship with Ms. Blake to Lydia's worries over Jackson to plans for a pack movie night that weekend.  If Stiles was nervous about being seen with Peter by a restaurant full of people, he barely showed it.  The waitress knew his order by heart, his father's job and his sparkling personality had clearly given him something of a reputation among the people of Beacon Hills.  He just held Peter's hand and played with his fingers as he finished his milkshake, mouthing at the straw like a wet dream.  Peter was glad to be leaving.

When they arrived back at the Stilinski residence, the Sheriff had left for his shift and the living room was dark.  Peter made sure to put the top of the convertible back down.  A damp breeze told him that it was going to rain shortly.  That and the smell.  The wolves could always smell when the weather was about to change.  Stiles just pulled Peter by the sleeve of his leather jacket until he was inside the house.  He locked the door and then wasted no time in pushing Peter up against it.

Stiles kissed him like a man possessed, tongue plunging into his mouth and teeth catching his bottom lip and dragging it down.  Peter found himself out of breath.  Stiles put his large hands on either side of his neck inside the collar of his jacket and slid warm palms over his shoulders, slipping the jacket off his body and letting it fall to the floor with an audible smack.  Peter knew he should stop Stiles, soften his mouth and ease the kissing down to a more appropriate level, but the warm hands on his lower back and the hot mouth trailing down his neck was more than distracting enough to make him lose that train of thought.

It was perfect.  It felt so right to be held by his mate like this, hot and possessive, scent sharp and strong, like evergreen and tart fruit.  An herbal note, like hops, hit him and Peter closed his eyes, reveling in the scent of his mate's arousal.  Stiles bit down on a particularly sensitive part of his neck and Peter went completely pliant.  Like a trained assassin, Stiles had zeroed in on the exact spot a mating bite would be placed and forcefully sucked blood to the surface, pulling back to watch the bruise heal until tan skin remained, and then swooping back in to do it again.

Peter's mind went completely offline.  His mate was playing him like a violin and he couldn't be bothered to put up any sort of protest.  He let his head fall back against the door with a thunk and surrendered to Stiles' lips, teeth, and tongue.  Long minutes passed and Stiles showed no sign of relenting, merely switching to the other side of Peter's throat when the first was wet enough to start tickling his nose.  Peter rumbled low in his throat and stretched his head up, subconsciously giving Stiles better access to his body.

One thin but muscular leg pushed forward until it was wedged between Peter's thighs.  He hadn't even noticed that he was hard until Stiles began grinding his hips into him.  Peter could feel Stiles' sizeable erection against his thigh and his mind finally snapped back on.  Jeans rubbed harshly into his body and Peter finally found the use of his hands, placing them as chastely as he could on Stiles' hips and slowly pushing him away.  He tried to find speech between kisses, but Stiles was still in complete possession of his mouth, assaulting his lips in a way Peter would never have expected after their few previous make out sessions.

"Stiles," he started to protest but was only met with another harsh kiss and a hand sneaking into the back of his jeans.

"Stiles," he tried again and was answered with a sharp bite to his cleft chin and a lick of the skin behind his ear.

"Stiles," and Peter was once more met with a hot and insistent mouth covering his.  The only thing he could think to do was to stop responding.  He closed his mouth and stayed perfectly still, waiting a few more minutes until Stiles had exhausted himself with nibbling at his collarbone and finally allowed Peter to push his hips away from his body.

"We need to stop now," Peter said, waiting for Stiles to open his eyes and actually acknowledge his words.

"Peter," Stiles sighed, pressing his body back against Peter's in a full-length hug, arms coming up to wrap around his neck.  "Come on, Peter."

"Baby, no," Peter protested, grabbing Stiles' wrists and untangling them until he could hold them away from his body.  "Just a few more weeks and then we can do whatever you want, but I'd like to stay out of prison if at all possible."

"Dad said he wouldn't say anything," Stiles argued, still rubbing his upturned nose against the side of Peter's neck, rubbing his lips back and forth.

"That doesn't mean that no one else will and I'm not going to put him in that position, Stiles," Peter said simply, "and if you were actually thinking clearly, I know you wouldn't either."

"I know, I just," Stiles trailed off, rubbing his nose behind Peter's left ear, "want you," he finished.  Peter could feel him pouting against his face but knew it was for the best.

"And you'll have me," Peter promised, "for your birthday."

"Is that my present?" Stiles whispered, flirting shamelessly as he snuck his arms back around Peter's torso.

"I have a real present for you too, but yes, if you'd like to put it crudely.  It can be your other present."

"I guess that'll have to do," Stiles whispered, disappointed.

"Try not to sound so upset about it," Peter teased, hurt tone obviously tinged with sarcasm.  Stiles just hummed into his skin and set his nerves alight.  Not wanting to give Stiles an opening for round two, Peter pulled away and headed into the living room, pulling Stiles along with one hand.  He maneuvered Stiles until he was sitting in his father's armchair and grabbed his guitar from the corner.  Stiles was starting to suspect he had bought several of the same guitar and had hid them strategically around town.  There was probably even one in a hollowed out tree in the preserve, the way Peter seemed to magically produce the instrument whenever he had something to say.

"I learned a song for you," Peter said, sheepishly, taking his smartphone out to tune his guitar.  Stiles was still amused by this statement.  He wondered if Peter ever really "learned" a song for anyone else, or even for himself.  Peter finished tuning and began to strum.

 

"I could spray-paint 'I love you' on that bridge or in the sky

And I could swear when you say it to me, there's a good chance I could fly

And I might, it seems like, yeah

If it's gonna be any night, it might as well be tonight"

 

Stiles wasn't sure that he would ever get used to this.  Peter was so much more than he ever expected.  If you had told him two years ago that he was going to be tempting the Alpha that bit Scott, Derek's uncle, to fuck him, he wouldn't have believed you for a second.

 

"There's this thing that you do, you don't know that it does something to me

It's in the way that you sway, that you talk, that you touch, that you kiss, that you breathe

That I need, you look at me, boy

You're shaking things up like you wouldn't believe

Crashing my comfort zone, setting me free

It's a 'who'da thought?' 'never dream' kinda thing"

 

Peter was a completely different person than the one he had first met.  He had been since he had walked into Stiles' house for that pack dinner and put on his father's apron.  When he sang to Stiles, he was open and honest in a way that no one else would ever understand.  Stiles treasured these moments.  The moments when Peter would put his ego and power plays aside and just be with him.  It was truly incredible.

 

"Your name, your name, sounds so good next to mine, just saying

And I think, I think, I'm gonna put it in all my rhymes, baby

'Cause with you, I'm gonna do, quite a few things that I never thought I would do

Your name, your name, your name

Would be a good tattoo

Would be a good tattoo"

 

Stiles couldn't help but talk over Peter's singing a bit as he got to the chorus of the song.  Stiles had never heard it before, and it definitely didn't sound like Peter's style.  He must have been expanding his musical horizons.  Maybe if they combined forces they could finally get Derek out of the emo ghetto.

"You do not have any 'rhymes,'" Stiles argued, laughing loudly in an uncontrollable way.  Peter just quirked his lips and kept on singing.

 

"Ink it in on my skin, sign me up, make it last against the time

'Cause this is more than a picture that fades of a first date Friday night

It's unerasable, unmistakable, hey, everybody wants to know

Now I think I know, I'll wear it on my sleeve, I gotta let it show

Makin' it permanent 'cause I never wanna let you go

 

Your name, your name, sounds so good next to mine, just saying

And I think, I think, I'm gonna put it in all my rhymes, baby

'Cause with you, I'm gonna do, quite a few things that I never thought I would do

Your name, your name, your name

Would be a good tattoo"

 

The lyrics finally started to sink in and Stiles looked absolutely horrified.  "Wait, wait, what?" Stiles protested, waving his arms around and getting out of his seat until Peter stopped playing and raised his eyebrows in askance.  "You're not serious about that, are you?"

"About what?" Peter questioned, not catching Stiles' train of thought.

"My name would be a good tattoo?" Stiles shouted, "My name?" He emphasized.

Peter just stared at him with his mouth open.

"Promise me that if you ever get a tattoo, which I'd rather you didn't, it will not be my name."

"I love your name," Peter muttered, somehow sheepish once more.  Stiles could see him mouthing the word, letting it roll off his lips silently.

"Well I don't want everyone else knowing what it is!" Stiles argued vehemently.  "That name is for you and me to know, and nobody else.  I think my dad has even forgotten it existed.  He hasn't said it since Mom died."

"I promise, I will never get your name tattooed on my body.  I think we've had more than our fair share of trouble with blow torches, don't you?" Peter said knowingly.

"Yes."

"Now sit back down.  I have another song if you don't like that one," Peter ordered, smirking when Stiles rushed to comply.

"Since when are you into country music anyway?" Stiles asked, as Peter settled his guitar back in his lap and flicked out his claws.

"I don't know, it just spoke to me, I guess," Peter told him as he began to play again.

 

"Everybody, they think they know us,

They think they've got us figured out,

Waste their words just trying to tell us,

How the typical, predictable, young love turns out"

 

Stiles snorted at the words "young love" but kept his mouth shut when he saw the stern but playful look on his mate's face.

 

"But little do they know boy, we've got a fast car

A James Dean spirit and a Norma Jean heart.

This blank sheet of paper has been waiting forever,

So baby just tell me where you wanna start"

 

"I'm James Dean in this scenario, right?" Stiles said, having trouble stemming the commentary once he got going.  Peter rolled his eyes as he continued to play.

 

"You and I can fall as hard as we want

Make the story all our own and blow Shakespeare’s mind,

It's ours to write, it's our love and it’s our life

And right or wrong, we'll write our own storyline

 

We can pack for Paris, plan for Tennessee,

Oceans, mountains, hey I don't care as long as you’re with me

Running like crazy, kissing in public

Who cares what the world thinks?

Boy they don't know nothing about us

 

You and I can fall as hard as we want

Make the story all our own and blow Shakespeare’s mind,

It's ours to write, it’s our love and it’s our life

And right or wrong, we'll write our own storyline"

 

Stiles thought back to the way Peter had held his hand after dinner.  Just that little touch had felt electric to him.  It was the first time they had done anything overtly romantic in public, and just that small, light brush of fingers had made Stiles' heart skip.  He was ready now.  He looked at the man sitting across from him, eyes closed as he sang to Stiles.  He sang for Stiles.  That was flipping unbelievable.  He had a romantic older boyfriend that liked to serenade him on a daily basis.  There was nothing on Earth that could top this.  Stiles spent a minute trying to picture Lydia singing him a love song and had to laugh.  It would never have been like this with her.  It could never have been like this with anyone else.   

 

"Let's make the story of our lives whatever we wanna make it,

There's rules about the way this works I think it’s time that we break them,

From the moment that I met you there's just one thing I’ve been praying

If this man gets you boy, boy would you take my name?"

 

Stiles did his best to convince himself that those words were just part of the song lyrics and not what Peter was actually thinking.  He knew what becoming mates meant.  He knew it was forever, yet somehow, marriage felt way bigger.  Marriage was public.  Everyone in town would know that the 18 year old Stiles had gone and married an older man.  He was a guy, so it couldn't possibly be a shotgun wedding, but still, something about the visual unsettled him.  What he and Peter had was private.  Mating was about him and Peter, and maybe the pack, but it absolutely stopped there.  Was Peter really thinking about proposing?  He hoped that it would be a long time off at least.  Stiles wasn't sure his dad's heart would be able to take his only child getting married right out of high school.

 

"'Cause you and I can fall as hard as we want

Make the story all our own and blow Shakespeare’s mind,

It's ours to write, it’s our love and it’s our life

And right or wrong, we'll write our own storyline

 

I said right or wrong, we'll write our own storyline"

 

When Peter finished the song, Stiles lurched out of the armchair and into Peter's lap, resting his weight lightly as to not cross the physical line Peter had set earlier.  Peter put the guitar aside and pecked Stiles lightly on the lips, taking both of Stiles' hands in his and twining their fingers together.

"Have you ever heard the expression 'singing is praying twice?'" Peter asked, placing a kiss beneath the collar of Stiles' plaid button down.

Stiles hummed, enjoying the sensation of Peter's lips against his skin.  Peter's mouth hadn't strayed much past his neck yet in their relationship, but Stiles could honestly say that he was definitely a fan of Peter's mouth being anywhere and everywhere he wanted to put it.

"Have you found God?" Stiles asked, "Melissa will be so proud.  Converting the heathenous werewolves to Jesus and all that."

"No, that's not what I meant," Peter said softly, pulling back from Stiles' body but not meeting his eyes.  "I think that when I sing, not for other people, just for you—well it's what I imagine going to confession would feel like."

Stiles put his fingers underneath Peter's chin and lifted his face to look at his boyfriend.  Somehow the wolf could always manage to surprise him.

"Well then," he said, pressing his lips to Peter's, soft but deliberate, "you can confess to me any time you want."

"Thank you, Przemysław."

Chapter Text

Stiles had hoped that holding the pack movie night at his house would be a bit more of an incentive for Scott to actually come along, but they were well into their first film of the night and the Beta was nowhere to be seen.  Peter and Stiles had appropriated most of the couch, with a grumpy Derek squished into the remaining space.  Trying to be an accommodating host, Stiles had thrown cushions and blankets on the floor in front of the sofa for the rest of the pack to get comfortable on.  Cora was tired of being asked out by Isaac, who could not be convinced that Danny was probably a safer bet for him if he was looking for a relationship.  She had put Erica and Boyd between her and the offending wolf, with Allison and Lydia snuggled together in the remaining armchair.

In deference to the two older members of the pack, the group had decided to make their way through some of the classics instead of the sci-fi and dramas that Stiles and Lydia were fond of.  They were nearing the end of Some Like it Hot, laughing (in the case of Erica), and cringing (in the case of Derek), respectively.  As the Betas argued over which movie to watch next, Peter strummed Your Smiling Face softly, making eyes at Stiles and grinning.  They were broken out of the moment by the appearance of Scott, and almost more unexpectedly, Jackson, entering the house.

"Don't you know any songs written after 1980?" Scott complained, lips tight on his disapproving face.  Allison smiled but made no move to get up off the chair.  Scott would just have to be a man and come join them on their own.  Jackson sat down next to Isaac and ignored Lydia's attempts to get his attention.

"No appreciation of the classics," Peter muttered, putting the guitar back in the corner.

While things were still a long way from being repaired between that couple, Stiles was happy to see Jackson take the initiative to get Scott to come to a pack gathering.  Jackson seemed to be the most sensitive to the pack dynamic besides Derek, and Stiles could tell when he was feeling unsettled.  He was glad that Jackson was taking an interest in developing their makeshift family and was able to tell, at least subconsciously, that he needed the stability of the pack to help him recover.

Peter eyed Scott warily.  He still didn't trust the boy.  He couldn't trust anyone who claimed to have Stiles' best interests at heart but then didn't listen to him or trust his judgment.  Stiles was always five steps ahead of everyone else his age, and it was frustrating to Peter that no one else could see the value of Stiles' instincts.  Peter was glad that Scott had agreed to come at all, for his mate’s sake.  

It was important for Stiles that he be included in the pack, and he liked it better when he could keep an eye on the wayward Beta.  There was also something to be said for having one more wolf in their pack to help defend the humans from the rest of the Alphas that were no doubt plotting their demise as he listened to Erica argue that Mary Poppins absolutely was a classic and they would be watching it next, or else.  He wasn't sure if Scott would end up being an asset to the pack, or a liability, but either way, he'd appreciate any change that could make Stiles sleep easier at night, and if that was watching a movie with the bastard that Stiles insisted was like a brother to him, then so be it.  He threw a glance over to Derek who was doing his best to tune out the bickering of the younger wolves.

"Training tomorrow?" Peter asked.

"Yeah.  That would be a good idea," Derek agreed.

 

***

 

A few weeks passed with no sign of an impending doom.  The pack trained a few days a week and Stiles was proud to say that he has gotten a lot better at controlling his gift.  Once Peter helped him visualize the flames blowing out of his hands, everything seemed to click.  He was also finally getting a handle on the mess of emotions going on whenever he was around the pack, and had practiced a few breathing and focusing techniques that allowed him to tune in to each of the wolves in turn and determine which feelings were coming from which people.  He had expanded his range to at least being able to pinpoint where Derek and Peter were, even if they were all the way across town.

The Betas were still a work in progress, and he knew he definitely had room for improvement after bursting into the bathroom while Erica was changing her tampon because he could have sworn she was being stabbed in the stomach, the pain was so bad.  After getting a lecture from Lydia on the inner workings of a woman's cycle, he had never been so happy that he was in a homosexual relationship.  There were some things he could have died without knowing.

With only two more weeks until his birthday, the pack had made plans for everyone to meet up at Jungle for dancing and underage debauchery.  Lydia had even managed to track down some of Stiles' old friends from elementary school and he was excited that they had agreed to come along and buy him some birthday shots.

After getting one too many suspicious looks from Peter, Scott had taken it upon himself to join in on all pack gatherings, if only to keep Allison and Stiles out of Peter's evil clutches.  Peter wasn't helping the situation, antagonizing Scott whenever possible, but Stiles couldn't really blame him.  Scott's presence had set off Peter's protective instincts and the Beta knew exactly how to press Peter's buttons, hugging Stiles just a little too long, and rubbing his scent all over his mate whenever Peter was in sight.  It was petty and childish, and it was totally working.  Peter couldn't have hated Scott more if he had been outwardly hitting on his mate.  Stiles was surprised things were going as well as they were, all things considered.

Like most things in life, their safe streak was too good to last.  The Sheriff was called in late one night to the scene of a murder.  A boy from the next town over had been killed in a ruthless and violent way that spoke evil to Stiles, loud and clear.  A threefold death just had to be related to the supernatural, and Stiles spent the next few days holed up with Lydia, going over a pile of old books and Peter's e-bestiary.  Lydia was more shaken by the death than any of the others, and Peter researched right alongside the pair, though not on the same topic.  There was something different about Lydia, and he was determined to figure out what it was.

Stiles' search kept coming up empty.  He needed more information.  He pleaded with his father to let him take a look at the case files, but to no avail.  The Sheriff had been working more and more, as there were no leads on the violent homicide that took place under his jurisdiction.  Lydia had roped Allison into their research, and the four of them spent almost every night in Stiles' bedroom, looking for references to threefold deaths and ritual sacrifices.  Often haunted by bloody visions and searing pain, Stiles hadn’t been getting much sleep, so Peter wasn’t surprised to see him dragging as the night wore on.  

Stiles had just nodded off against Peter's shoulder when Lydia let out an earth shattering scream.  It pulsed and echoed in his brain like nothing he had ever heard before, but his discomfort was nothing compared to Peter's.  The noise had actually knocked Peter on his ass, not responding when Stiles called his name.  At the same time, Lydia seemed to slip into unconsciousness and Stiles and Allison spent frantic minutes trying to revive the pair.  Peter came to slowly, like his mind was being lifted out of a fog, and he kept muttering under his breath.  When he finally managed to say the word out loud, Lydia's eyes sprang open.

"Banshee," Peter said, scrambling off the floor to grab at some of the books laid out on Stiles' desk.  "You're a banshee!"  He said, with both awe and excitement, flipping through the book to a section he had marked with a post-it and turning it so Lydia could see the passage.

"I thought maybe a medium, or a siren, but no," Peter confirmed, giving the group a few minutes to read over each other's shoulders, "you're a banshee."

Stiles phone buzzed in his pocket as he attempted to wrap his mind around his boyfriend's theory.  He was going to have to do a lot more reading on that subject.  When he pulled up his new message, it was his father telling him that he wouldn't be home until at least tomorrow night, as there had been another murder.  Stiles quickly tapped back, asking if it was the same injuries as the last victim.  He sat down hard on his bed as he read his father's confirmation.  Someone was performing ritual sacrifices, and they weren't going to stop at just one.

 

***

 

After exhausting the library and the internet of anything and everything they could possibly find about banshees, Stiles had to admit that their knowledge did not go much further than "harbinger of death," which was not at all a comforting answer.  Lydia had shut herself up in her bedroom and wouldn't allow anyone in.  It looked like her relationship with Jackson was well and truly finished, as he didn't even make any attempts to talk to her, just sulkily continued about his daily business, snapping at everyone even more than usual.

Derek was desperate to pull everyone out of their funk, and suggested they go over to the Manor construction site to have a bonfire.  Erica had gone all out, dragging Boyd to the store to get hot dogs and buns and the fixings for s'mores.  There was even a Styrofoam cooler full of sodas that Peter had thrown a six pack of beer into.

Stiles had driven Scott over in the Jeep and was regaled with yet another stunning argument about why Peter was the devil and was going to eat his soul while he was sleeping.  Stiles really didn't want to get into it with him tonight.  It had been a stressful enough week with the second sacrifice and all Stiles wanted to do was eat a hot dog in peace.

The group was gathered around the back of the house, which had come quite a long way in just a few weeks.  The foundation was done and most of the walls were in place.  Stiles stared for a minute, taking in the vastness of the space.  When he had seen the plans he knew it was going to be big, but he didn't really appreciate what the word "Manor" entailed until he saw it in person.  The house sprawled, taking up at least three times the space of the old ruin.  It looked more like a 20 room bed and breakfast than a house, and Stiles couldn't help but smile at the thought of him and Peter sharing their own soundproofed wing in the new pack home.

Peter had gone all out with the landscaping, most of which would be put in once the building was complete, but out back there was already a fire pit set up with strategically placed logs and tree stumps, giving the group a great place to gather.  Of course, Peter had brought his guitar, and Stiles could feel Scott rolling his eyes behind his back.  Feeling a little more spiteful than usual, Stiles hopped over to Peter and sat down right next to him on the log, pushing his body as far into his right side as he could while still giving him room to strum.

"I learned this one for you, Scott," Peter said, with a truly evil smirk, as he flicked his claws out, flashing them a little more than strictly necessary in the glow of the firelight.  Peter began to whistle and Stiles could recognize the song instantly.  It was pretty popular and played on the radio all the time.  The rest of the Betas joined in whistling the tune.  Stiles was pretty sure even Derek knew the song by the way he had started tapping his feet as he stoked the fire.  Stiles decided he could take one for the team and be the girl, so he began the song.

 

"Alabama, Arkansas

I do love my Ma and Pa

Not the way that I do love you"

 

"Well, holy moly me oh my

You’re the apple of my eye

Boy, I've never loved one like you"

 

Erica could not stop herself from laughing at the ridiculousness that was Peter singing those words.  She was outright cackling by the time Stiles got to sing the second verse.  Derek swatted her on the arm, but she kept on laughing.

 

"Oh man, oh man, you're my best friend

I scream it to the nothingness

There ain't nothing that I need"

 

"Well, hot and heavy pumpkin pie

Chocolate candy, taste so nice

There ain't nothing please me more than you"

 

"How can you guys keep a straight face when they do this?" She asked, still laughing.  "It's goddamn ridiculous.  Peter just called him pumpkin pie.  Are you not seeing the humor here?"  Stiles was more than a little tempted to throw a handful of fire at her, but he settled for thrusting his hand into the flames and waving the fireball in her direction.  He had forgotten that Erica, Boyd, and Cora hadn't seen his first lights show when he had just gotten control of his powers, so he indulged himself by splitting the fire and juggling, all while still singing along with Peter.  He may be clumsy, but he was learning to multitask, especially with his magic.  It helped him focus on controlling his power if he pushed himself to do multiple things at once.

 

"Oh home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

Oh home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you"

 

Peter surprised him by switching songs.  This song suited him much better, so he let Peter take the lead, continuing to toss and spin his fireballs as Erica and Cora clapped politely and Scott seethed.  Derek flashed his red eyes at Scott, but that show of power didn't seem to have much effect on him.  In fact, it seemed to make him even angrier.

 

"Jumping up and down the floor

My head is an animal

 

And once there was an animal

It had a son who mowed the law

 

The son was an ok guy

He had a pet dragonfly

 

The dragonfly he ran away

But he came back with a story to say"

 

Peter switched back to the original song, and Stiles could swear he heard Derek start humming along when they came to the second chorus.  Warm contentment radiated from the pack, with the exception of Scott, and Stiles was starting to get mad.  Why did Scott have to piss on their parade when they were having a lovely homecoming moment?  Did the guy not notice how much of a dick he was being to the Hales on their first night in their new home?

 

"Oh home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

Oh home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you"

 

"Home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you

Oh home, let me come home

Home is wherever I'm with you"  

 

Peter stopped playing, and Stiles threw the fire back into the pit to allow him safe access to give him a passionate kiss.

"Is this what you guys do all day?" Erica asked, incredulously.  "There's no sex, only sappy duet singing?"  Isaac smiled widely, glad that someone else was finally into messing with Peter and Stiles the way he had been trying to do for the last few months.

"Yeah, Stilinski," Jackson chimed in from beside Derek.  "You too busy channeling Taylor Swift over there to turn in your V-card?"

"Or is this just some sort of really creepy foreplay and then you go back to the loft and get weird and freaky?" Isaac added, shivering at the thought.

"So how is the Hale dick, Stiles?  I walked in on Derek in the shower once and I'm wondering if it runs in the family," Erica snickered, staring pointedly at Peter's crotch.

"Wouldn't you like to know," Peter drawled, obviously getting a kick out of the needling they were getting from the rest of the pack.  He looked smug and sure of himself.  Erica stopped pulling her punches.

"Are you his sub, Stiles?" She asked, allowing time for Jackson to laugh before she carried on.  "Does he use his Alpha voice on you in the bedroom?  I bet you get off on seeing those red eyes telling you to get on your knees."

As if to prove her right, Peter flashed his red eyes and growled out, "Get me a beer, Stiles," in his authoritative Alpha tone.

"Ohh, I see, you work better with an audience," Erica taunted, "I'm available any time."

Half of the group burst out in laughter as Stiles stood up abruptly.  They actually thought he was going to do it, when he reached for the cooler, shaking a can and then cracking it so it spewed all over Peter and his guitar.

"Fuck you," he said venomously, staring Peter in the face.  Stiles wasn't just humiliated.  He was angry.  "Don't follow me," he growled at Peter and stalked off to his Jeep.  Stiles had been working for weeks to show Scott that he didn't need to be concerned about Peter using him, but that little whisper of doubt had never escaped his mind.  He was broken and ugly, scarred and damaged.  It was becoming clear now that Peter had taken advantage of him, snuck right into his heart by saving him from certain death.  

Every time Scott brought it up Stiles began to wonder what Peter was actually doing with him, what Stiles really had to offer, and now he had gotten his answer.  Stiles had never been so embarrassed in his life.  He didn't know how he could be so wrong about Peter after all they had been through.  Had everything between them been a lie?  Stiles was filled with blinding rage and overwhelming sadness.  Scott followed him quickly as he strode away, wiping his eyes.

"I told you he would do something like this," Scott hissed, slamming his door as Stiles peeled out of the gravel driveway.  "Has he been doing that to you this whole time?  Controlling you with his Alpha power?  I knew it!"

Stiles was too angry to argue, he just drove aggressively and fumed, slamming his gear shift and trying to tune out Scott's indignant gloating.

"You should have lit him on fire," Scott said, gathering even more steam to continue his rant.  He didn't notice Stiles wincing at the suggestion.  He would never use his powers on Peter, no matter how angry he was.  That wasn't how relationships worked.  You couldn't just hurt someone and expect there not to be consequences.  Had Scott learned nothing from his relationship with Allison?

"I knew he was using you.  This is exactly what I thought was going to happen, and you just kept blowing me off," Scott carried on.  "He sings you a song and gives you a kiss and you think he's changed, but he hasn't.  He's smooth and manipulative and all he does is lie to you.  He's almost twenty years older than you, Stiles!  That is creepy and wrong and he's basically a pedophile.  I can't believe you let it go on for as long as it did!  And your dad!  He actually charmed your dad!  Do you think he might be under a spell or something?  Maybe I should ask Deaton."

"Scott!" Stiles shouted, cutting through all the bullshit that was just making him feel worse.  "Get out."

"What?" Scott protested.  "No, take me back to your place, we can talk about this some more."

"We're done talking," Stiles stood firm, gesturing for Scott to get the fuck out of his Jeep.  "I don't need you to lecture me all night.  We're finished.  Just let me mope in peace, alright?"

"You'll call me tomorrow?" Scott asked, laying a comforting hand on Stiles' arm.  Stiles fought the urge to shake him off.  He didn't want anyone to touch him right now.

"Fine, just—just let me be alone for a while, okay?"

"Okay," Scott said, heading into his house.

Stiles threw the Jeep back in gear and sped back to his house.  He barely made it inside before his breath became labored, each inhale feeling like a stab to the chest.  Forcing himself to crawl up the stairs, he made it to his bed and tried to steady his breathing.  Focusing on lengthening each exhale, Stiles made a poor attempt at some breathing exercises.  Then his phone went off.

When he looked at the screen he saw a message from Scott.  Then another appeared before he had the chance to look at the first one, an entire string popping up in just a few seconds.

I'll kill that bastard for what he did to you

I'm going back over there

He's not going to get away with this

Panic surged through Stiles' body, imagining Peter's blood covered form standing over a dead Scott, he began to hyperventilate.  Vision blurring, he barely managed to get out a reply before he fell over on to his bed, passed out.

Don't you dare.  You go over there and I'll never speak to you again.

 

Chapter Text

Stiles didn't go to school the next day.  He made a playlist of sad breakup music, pulled the sheets up over his head, and stayed that way for the entire day.  He wasn't prepared for this.  He was Peter's mate.  That meant something, something really important.  Why would Peter do this to him?  He thought it was funny, to try to control Stiles like that.  Had Scott really been right all along?  Was their relationship really all just an elaborate ruse to get control of Stiles' power?

Maybe Peter wanted him to leave Derek and just be his Emissary.  Stiles would have followed him anywhere, he was in so deep.  He wouldn't even have noticed if Peter had put him under a spell.  Everything had felt so perfect, so right.  Peter could have asked for anything and Stiles would have done it.  What had happened to him?  He didn't let anyone push him around.  Fuck, he'd even been yelling at Scott for weeks, defending Peter, only for this to happen.  Stiles was disgusted with himself, and angry at the world.  He just let another sappy song play and turned over under his sheets, waiting for night to come.

 

***

 

"Stiles?" John called as he made his way up the stairs.  "I got a call saying you didn't go to school today.  What's wrong with you?"  The Sheriff pushed Stiles' door open and was hit with not only the smell of unwashed teenager and feet, but the sound of Bye Bye Love playing on Stiles' laptop.

"What's going on?  It sounds like a bunch of hippies are about to commit group suicide in here."

"You're not too far off," Stiles muttered, head still under his comforter.  John sat down on the edge of Stiles' bed and pulled the cover off of his son.

"What happened?  You were so excited to go to that bonfire last night."

"Peter happened."

"What did he do?  Sing you Taylor Swift?"  Did everyone think they were a freaking fairy tale romance?  What was happening to his life?  Everyone knows that real fairy tales all end in pain and death.  Why should his be any different?

"He did not play Taylor Swift."

"Did he hurt you?" John asked worriedly, pulling the blanket further off of Stiles and rucking his shirt up a little.  He was met with a sight he hadn't seen in a few weeks, Stiles scarred and battered chest and stomach.  "Oh, Stiles," John said, running a soothing hand over his son's stomach.  "It's been a hard month for you guys.  Maybe it's just going to take a bit longer for everything to go back to normal?"

"He used his Alpha voice to try to get me to do something."

"Did he pressure you?" John asked angrily, reaching for the gun that he had left downstairs.

"No, dad, no," Stiles assured him.  "He tried to make me get him a beer."

The Sheriff looked a little confused.  "That doesn't work, does it?"

"No," Stiles said, "he doesn't have any power over my actions, don't worry."

"He's got power over your feelings though.  Doesn't he?"

"Not anymore."

"Really?  Just like that?" John asked, rubbing his hand along the stubble on his chin.  He really needed to get home more often if this was the kind of meltdown that happened when he had a homicide case to deal with.  Who goes after an elderly nun anyway?  Psychopaths, that's who.  He was getting too old for this shit.  "Did it ever occur to you that maybe he thought he was flirting with you?"

Stiles just rolled his eyes and huffed, turning away from his father.

"Honest to God, Stiles," John continued, "If I were him I might have expected you to find that funny.  No one could possibly believe that they could make you do anything that you didn't want to do."  Stiles sat up in bed and peered at his father with a questioning gaze.

"You're more like your mother than you will ever know," John told him, putting one heavy hand down on Stiles' blanket covered knee.  "Stubborn as hell, she was.  Had me wrapped tight around her little finger.  There was nothing, and no one that could stop Claudia when she was focused on something, and you do the same thing.  Relentless, you are."

Stiles swallowed heavily and looked at his phone.  38 missed messages, 14 missed calls.  The first few were from Peter, but a lot of them were also from Scott and Lydia, asking if he was okay and if they could come over.

"You have to know that that man is head over heels in love with you," John said, "as much as it worries me that you two got so serious so fast, there is nothing that could convince me that he would hurt you on purpose."  Stiles dropped his phone and starting wringing his hands.

"You didn't see him when you were missing, son.  It was like a piece of him was broken.  He was completely useless.  Sounded like a dying kitten."  Stiles huffed a little laugh, not that he wanted to picture a distraught Peter, but he had to admit to himself that his dad's assessment was satisfying nonetheless.

"Scott thinks that you and I are under a spell that Peter is using to take control of my Mage powers."

"Son, listen to me, and listen good," John said, giving Stiles a stern look, "if anyone is under a spell here, it's Peter.  And if I know anything about him, he's not going to stay away for long, so, up you get."  Mad Season came up next on Stiles' playlist, and the Sheriff had just about had enough.

"Get up, take a shower, I'll make some dinner," John offered, and Stiles raised his eyebrows, "and for God's sake turn off the Matchbox 20.  Rob Thomas never helped anyone."

"I like this song," Stiles protested, but headed toward the bathroom anyway.  The Sheriff smiled and shook his head, tapping the spacebar on his way out of the room.  Maybe they still had some ramen in the back of the pantry.

 

***

 

Stiles was flipping through a new stack of mythology books he had found at the public library and slurping down a bowl of ramen with a slightly revised playlist going on.  The group still wasn't sure what Lydia being a banshee would really mean to them, but Stiles was determined to find something that might put her mind at ease.

John was holed up in his office, looking for any sort of connection he could find between the two murder victims when he heard a rustling outside the window.  Before he could get up to investigate, another noise fluttered into the house, a guitar strumming.  John didn't need three guesses to know who that was.  Hell, he didn't even need one guess.

"Stiles?" He called up the stairs, but didn't receive an answer.  Tiredly trudging up the steps, John pushed open Stiles' door to see him drumming against his desk with a pair of chopsticks and humming along to the music.  "Hey, Earth to Stiles!" John said, whistling to get his attention.  "You're being John Cusacked and you're missing it."

"I'm being what?" Stiles said, chewing on the end of one chopstick, eyes still focused on the book in front of him.

"You're being serenaded out your window and you're not even paying attention," John informed him, gesturing to the closed window.

"What?"

"Go take a look," John said, heading back downstairs.

Stiles took a few wary steps toward his window, pausing with his hand on the latch, hesitant.  He held his breath and tried to focus his hearing.  A few seconds passed and then Stiles heard it, the rhythmic strumming and low voice of his boyfriend.  When he realized he couldn't make out the lyrics, he exhaled slowly and flicked the latch open.  With his heart in his throat, Stiles slowly slid the window open and stepped back to listen.

 

"...like them old stars

I see that you've come so far

To be right where you are

How old is your soul?

 

Well, I won't give up on us

Even if the skies get rough

I'm giving you all my love

I'm still looking up"

 

Peter voice sounded rough, like he was having trouble getting the words out.  Stiles wondered if he had been crying.  He didn't think he'd ever seen Peter cry.  It always seemed to be him that was letting the tears out and Peter that was holding everything together.  God, he was such a chump.  Peter may have cried while Stiles was missing, but he would never ask, so he would never know.  Unable to stop himself from getting that little bit closer, Stiles stuck his head out the window.

 

"And when you're needing your space

To do some navigating

I'll be here patiently waiting

To see what you find"

 

Peter had his eyes closed and his face turned up toward the window, but Stiles knew that his presence was known.  Peter would have heard the window open.  When the next chorus came around and the octave changed, Stiles could hear the strain in Peter's voice.  It was full of both worry and determination, like he wasn't sure if Stiles would take him back, but he was trying his best anyway.  Stiles smiled and leaned his chin down on his hand, settling in to watch the show.

 

"'Cause even the stars they burn

Some even fall to the earth

We've got a lot to learn

God knows we're worth it

No, I won't give up"

 

As angry as Stiles was, he was also pretty sure that leaving Peter was never really an option for him.  He might have thought it at first, in a fleeting sort of way when Scott was hammering his points home, but he wasn't sure he actually gave it any real consideration in his heart of hearts.

When he was thinking clearly and not actively having a panic attack, Stiles knew Peter wasn't actually using him.  He could tell that Peter's feelings were genuine, but that didn't stop the nagging in the back of Stiles' mind that wondered why Peter bothered.  Why would he want to spend all his time with a spastic teenager who wouldn't even put out?  Stiles knew that Peter was attracted to him, but would he really put in all this effort to romance someone just for sex?  That didn't make any sense.

Putting aside that thought, what bothered Stiles the most was that Peter didn't see him as his equal.  If it could even cross Peter's mind that Stiles could be controlled or used for his personal gain like he was an object and not a person, he wasn't sure he could trust that kind of man.  Not only was he as smart as Peter, he could fucking light his ass on fire if he wanted to.  If that wasn't enough to demand respect, Stiles didn't know what was.

Stiles should be wary of going any further with his and Peter's relationship if he couldn't be treated as an equal.  What kind of mating or marriage would they have if Peter wasn't going to value him and see him as a true partner?  Peter was going to have to do some groveling before they were alright again.  In the meantime, Stiles would listen to him sing, eyes still closed, something beautiful and impassioned about the way he was standing there in the dark of the night, vulnerable and hopeful and honest.  Well at least Stiles was going to assume that he was being honest until proven otherwise.  That was the only way he could really enjoy the moment.  

 

"I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily

I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make

Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use

The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake

And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend

For us to work, we didn't break, we didn't burn

We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in

I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am"

 

What an interesting thought that was.  That Peter didn't know who he was.  He was closing in on 40 years old, and he didn't know who he was?  Stiles knew who he was.  He was an Alpha werewolf with a tortured past, a broken soul who was trying to make a life with a teenage boy.  It sounded so simple when he put it like that.  Like the famous line from Notting Hill.  He just needed to convince Peter of it.  But not before he told him the fuck off.

 

"I won't give up on us

Even if the skies get rough

I'm giving you all my love

I'm still looking up, I'm still looking up."

 

Stiles wasn't anyone's submissive.  Yes.  That was a good line.  He should remember that when he started yelling at Peter when the song was over.

 

"Well, I won't give up on us

God knows I'm tough enough

We've got a lot to learn

God knows we're worth it"

 

Peter had a lot of groveling to do.  Stiles set his jaw and waited.

 

"I won't give up on us

Even if the skies get rough

I'm giving you all my love

I'm still looking up"

 

As the song came to a close, Peter opened his eyes and looked straight at Stiles.  Stiles smirked, knowing he wasn't going to make this easy for the wolf, and said, "Get your ass up here.  Now."

Less than thirty seconds later, Peter was in his room, slipping his guitar off his back and stepping forward with his hands outstretched, palms up, like he was proving he came in peace.

"I learned Love Story too, if you prefer."

Stiles glared at Peter, arms crossed angrily.  "Don't let Dad hear you say that."

"Stiles," he pleaded, voice broken, "I'm sorry."

"For?" Stiles said, sitting down in his desk chair and spinning in a circle, trying to come off as cocky when he knew Peter would be able to hear his heart hammering in his chest.

"For offending you, for trying to use my power to get a laugh from Erica, and for not defending you when they were taking shots at us."

"Go on," Stiles prompted.  That was definitely not enough groveling to make up for 24 hours of heartbreak.

Peter stepped forward, but Stiles held his hand up to stop him from coming any closer.  

"I'm sorry you felt that I was manipulating you or disrespecting our relationship.  You are the best thing that has happened to me in a long, long time, and I don't want anything to ruin it."

"I'm not your submissive.  I'm no one's submissive."  Damnit!  That had sounded better in his head.  Now he just sounded ridiculous and weak.

"I know that," Peter agreed, "you're my partner.  And I hope you will be for a very long time."

"Tell me you love me."

Peter stepped forward, ignoring Stiles' protest this time, and grabbed Stiles' hand.  He brought it to his chest and pressed Stiles' palm against his heart to say the words.

"I love you, and I will always love you.  You're the most important thing in my life."

"Why are you doing that?" Stiles asked, looking down at his hand, which was now clutching Peter's blue Henley.

"It's what Talia used to do, to teach the wolves before they could hear each other's heartbeats.  You can feel my heart through my chest, and know I'm telling you the truth."

"Oh," Stiles said, feeling a little silly.

"I need you to really listen to me now," Peter said, a change in tone evident in his voice.  "You are my mate, and I know you haven't seen a mated couple before, but it is a much bigger deal than you could possibly imagine.  Did you know that I never mated with Savannah?"  Stiles' mouth started to flap up and down, and Peter just talked over him.  Stiles had a thing for answering rhetorical questions.

"One of her sisters was mated, and when her mate was killed by hunters, her sister completely broke.  She left the family and became feral; just a born wolf whimpering out in the woods.  Eventually, she stopped hunting and died.  Savannah saw what it did to her sister and made me promise never to ask her.  So I didn't.  But I'm asking you."

Stiles didn't understand.  If mating was so goddamn dangerous, why did anyone do it in the first place?  Surely it was better to be together and alive than mated and dead.

"I'm asking you because I've seen how amazing it can be, and I've never wanted something so much in my entire life," Peter continued, laying himself bare.  "Talia and Eric were mated, and while Eric eventually took the bite and became a wolf, when she first brought him home he was human."

Derek's father had been human.  That was something Stiles would never have expected, but he still didn't understand what Peter was trying to tell him.  How great could Derek's parents' relationship have been that Peter was putting so much stake on it?

"They mated and got married and had five pups and they were happy.  They were so happy it made me sick sometimes."  Peter had a far-off, fond look on his face that Stiles had never seen before.  When he spoke about his family, it was usually with anger or pain, but this was a happy memory, and Stiles hoped he would see that look on Peter's face more often from now on.

"Being mated isn't just being together forever.  It's a connection so deep that no one can tear it apart.  It's like the way you can feel the wolves of the pack but more.  It's being irrevocably bound to someone.  And Stiles," Peter said, softer than before, "you are my world.  So please, believe me when I say that I love you, and I will never give you cause to hate me like this ever again."

"I don't hate you," Stiles said, pulling his hand up to Peter's throat and rubbing his thumb back and forth underneath his jaw.  "I just want to know that I'm your equal.  Your partner in everything.  And we have to stick together and talk about these things.  You can't push me around, and you shouldn't want to."

"I understand, and I'll do better, but I need you to do something for me too," Peter said.  "You have to trust me."

Stiles opened his mouth to argue, but Peter didn't want to hear it.

"If you really trusted me, you would have known I was joking when I tried to command you."  

Stiles closed his mouth with a snap and twisted his lips.  "You should have known better than to joke about that!  You know that Scott has been warning me about this exact thing happening and then you make a joke that proves him right?  You had to know that was a terrible idea!  He's going to be even worse now!  You just fueled the fire big time."

Peter nodded and said, "I'm sorry.  You're right.  But you can't let Scott have a say when it comes to you and me.  If you love me and want to be my mate, then you will, and he will have to respect that.  I can't have him trying to come between us all the time, or I will lose my temper and it won't be pretty."

"I can't promise he'll get any better, but I can promise that I will stand up to him."

"I guess that's all I can ask for," Peter said, bringing his hands up to cup Stiles' face.  "Are we good?" He asked, hopeful, eyes shining in the dark.

"We're good," Stiles agreed.

"Tell me?"

"I love you."

"I love you too, Przemysław," Peter said, rubbing his nose along the side of Stiles' face until he could capture his lips in a scorching kiss.  Stiles was just inching his tongue into Peter's mouth when they heard the Sheriff call from downstairs.

"If you two are done making up, can Peter come down here and make us a real dinner?"

"On my way, John," Peter said, stealing one more kiss before pulling Stiles downstairs with him.

Chapter Text

It took a while for things to get back to normal, if you could call waiting for your impending death normal. A week went by without another sacrifice. Derek had given the Betas the lecture of their life about respecting their Emissary, with an extra little ass beating for Erica for creating a problem between Peter and Stiles, and while Stiles was still a little pissed off, he felt they had learned their lesson. Scott wasn't speaking to Stiles after he found out that he and Peter were back together, and Stiles fought to summon the energy to fight with him about it.


Stiles had given him an ultimatum. Either Scott respected him and trusted his judgment when it came to Peter, or he didn't. After all, Stiles was the one who was tuned into werewolf FM. If anyone would be able to tell if one of the wolves was planning something sketchy, it would be him. He was already battling with the mental dark cloud that had formed after the first sacrifice, and he really needed his best friend to be with him. Scott wouldn’t budge. He still felt that he knew best, that Peter was up to something. Frustrated, Stiles decided not to speak to his friend again until he apologized. He would not be the one to make the first move. This was Scott’s problem, not his. He was done.


Jackson’s attitude continued to be a problem. Every time Stiles tried to speak with him, he got shot down. It seemed that any expression of gratitude was unwelcome, and Stiles figured that Jackson’s injuries were just another one of those things that they wouldn’t discuss. Peter told him to let it go, that Jackson would come to him when he was ready, but Stiles continued to push. He spent a lot of time sending good vibes to the Beta through the pack bond, but never had any luck. Jackson kept to himself and avoided body contact, which worried Stiles. He hoped Jackson would find his way out from under his guilt and self-loathing sooner rather than later, for everyone’s sake.


With the beginning of November came Stiles' 18th birthday. Lydia planned a big night out at Jungle with the entire pack and Stiles' old friends. Stiles, who desperately needed a break from all the supernatural anxiety that was floating around his mind, was totally pumped, even more so since he had convinced Peter to join them as well. Peter had tried to protest that no one wanted an old dude creeping on all the young boys at the gay club, but Stiles had insisted that he needed his boo there to defend his honor. It was like shooting fish in a barrel with Peter, one nudge to his protective nerve and he would agree to anything.


They piled into a few cars, Peter taking a handful in the new Range Rover, and hit the club. Stiles made a show out of passing over his real ID, not that the bouncers cared, and then bounded inside. Peter didn't know what the point of drinking before you went out to drink was, but settled in for a night of underage babysitting. Derek looked like he wanted to be literally anywhere else and glared at anyone who looked like they wanted to ask him to dance with a death stare so potent everyone was leaving a four-foot bubble around him. Peter wished he could be so lucky.


"I want to introduce you to some of my friends!" Stiles exclaimed, slurping down the remains of a fruity frozen drink that Lydia had bought him. It seemed she had an open tab at the bar, which was completely absurd given her age, but the redhead did always seem to get what she wanted. Peter wasn't much ashamed to say that he still found her fascinating, terrifying, but also fascinating.


Stiles grabbed Peter by the hand and dragged him into a lounge room where a group of drag queens was seated at a large circular table. "These are the girls!" Stiles yelled over the music, pointing to each as he rattled off their names. "This is Dixie, and Amanda Lovegood, Chastity," He said, pointing at a giant of a woman in a pink wig with claws longer than his. "And then there's Arugula Darling, and Mike," Stiles said, pointing to a younger girl with green streaks in her hair. Peter wanted to laugh, but held it in.


"And finally," Stiles said, with a sweeping gesture at the woman at the head of the table, "Miss Ima Notabottom."


"Pleasure to meet you, ladies," Peter said, ever the gentleman, reaching out to take Ima's hand and kiss it gently.


"Everyone," Stiles called, getting Chastity and Dixie's attention before continuing, "this is Peter!"


Peter would never admit that the girls made him nervous, but Arugula hit him with a hungry look that was downright terrifying and Ima had not yet let go of his hand.


"This your Daddy, Little Red?" Amanda asked, eyeing Peter up and down.


"He's my boyfriend," Stiles confirmed, not playing into the sugar daddy thing any more than necessary.


"He looks big enough that maybe he needs a little side action," Ima said, reeling him in by the hand until she could snag her talons through the buttons of his V-neck. "Need a real woman, baby? I can oblige."


"Ima!" Chastity admonished from the other side of the cushioned seat. "Don't you worry your pretty bottom, Little Red. She's just playing. We promise; only looking, no touching. Right girls?" Stiles heard a few grumbles mixed in with the couple affirmative replies and decided it was time to make their escape.


"Thanks Chas," Stiles called back, shoving a long-fingered hand into Peter's back pocket. "I think I need another drink, how about you, baby?" He asked Peter, who had finally extricated himself from Ima's clutches and was backing away.


"Lovely to meet you all, have a nice evening," Peter said hastily, and pulled Stiles back into the other room.


"I thought you were going to get eaten alive back there," Stiles hissed, pulling Peter back to their table in the corner and sipping on a new drink Erica had just placed in front of him. "I should have warned you not to wear your stupid cardigan tonight."


"You love this cardigan," Peter protested, looking down at his chest.


"Yeah, but it's not a shirt babe. You're showing more cleavage than Crystal, and that's saying something."


"It's only for you though."


"Damn right," Stiles agreed. He wriggled in his seat when a new song came on and grabbed Peter's hand once more. "I love this song."


"Oh no, go dance with Lydia. I think she could use some cheering up."


"Well she's not gonna get it from me tonight," Stiles said, nodding his head in the direction of the dance floor where he saw Allison pressing her body so tight to Lydia's they could be stuck together, possessive hands on the waistband of her skirt. Peter just raised his eyebrows and pulled back his hand. "I'm too old for this shit, Stiles."


"It's my birthday. You're coming. End of story." Stiles said, and dragged Peter by the front of his sweater until they were just two more bodies in the throng. He wasn't much for dancing, and if he had to choose, he would rather salsa than whatever this was. Maybe he could convince Stiles to learn some ballroom dances when they had the time. But club dancing? Peter hadn't done this in a very long time. Probably not since Germany or maybe Denmark, but it was Stiles' day and he couldn't really call it a hardship with the way Stiles had wrapped his arms around his neck and stuck one leg between his thighs. He got lost in the beat, just listening to Stiles sing along in his ear.

"We were victims of the night
The chemical, physical, kryptonite
Helpless to the bass and the fading light
Oh, we were bound to get together
Bound to get together"

Then Stiles turned around in his arms and thrust his ass against Peter's hips, and Peter knew he was done for. He had promised Stiles sex for his birthday, and while he was dying to make good on that promise, Stiles had already been drinking enough tonight that he knew it would have to wait for another day.

"She took my arm
I don't know how it happened
We took the floor and she said"

Peter was dying. Stiles continued to sway his hips and rock his ass back into his erection and he was hanging on by a thread. He was a minute away from having to excuse himself to the bathroom like a teenager. He only prayed that Stiles wouldn't take that as an invitation to follow him.

"'Oh, don't you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me'
I said, 'You're holding back'
She said, 'Shut up and dance with me'
This woman is my destiny
She said, 'Ooh-ooh-hoo
Shut up and dance with me'

Deep in her eyes
I think I see the future
I realize this is my last chance

She took my arm
I don't know how it happened
We took the floor and she said"

As if saved by the grace of God, a group of teenagers Peter hadn't seen before pushed onto the dance floor and greeted Stiles with an exuberant group hug. Peter took the opportunity to back away and find Derek, nursing what was probably his eighth beer. The song ended and Peter and Derek's quiet table was suddenly mobbed by drunk and flailing teenagers, one of whom was carrying a tray full of shot glasses. This was going to get very messy, very quickly.


Stiles was passed not one, but four glasses and proceeded to toss them all back, crowd cheering him on. A few of them were even drunkenly slurring Happy Birthday to him. Then a pretty blonde girl grabbed his waving hand and dragged him back to the dance floor. Peter just huffed out a laugh and settled in to watch the show.


It was a slow song, or whatever could pass as a slow song when you were basically at a rave, and Peter spied Allison rocking back and forth with her head on Isaac's shoulder. The rest of the pack seemed to pair off, Lydia giving in to a dance with an eager looking man as Jackson moped in the corner. Erica leaned into Boyd’s body, pressing her breasts against his chest as she leaned in to whisper, “Don’t you think we should go cheer him up?”


“He’ll come around when he’s ready. Plus, he’s not my type. You on the other hand,” Boyd muttered, catching Erica’s mouth in a kiss as they swayed to the beat, losing themselves for a while.


Cora slipped into the booth beside Peter and nudged him with her elbow. "I think Barbie is scamming on your man, Uncle Peter," she joked, nodding over to the dance floor where the pretty blonde was inching her hands into the back of Stiles' jeans and whispering in his ear. Peter concentrated hard on his hearing so he could make out what was being said.


"I've got a present for you," the girl said, giggling into Stiles' neck as they swayed back and forth.


"Oh yeah? I think the shots were present enough," Stiles said, ever the gentleman.


"I was so excited when Lydia messaged me. We haven't seen each other in forever."


"Yeah, I'm glad you could make it."


"So about that present," the girl said, removing her hands from Stiles' pants and moving them up to wrap around his neck. "I think we should have sex."


"Uhh, what?" Stiles said, pulling back a little bit as if to see how drunk the girl looked, making that kind of offer.

"You haven't done it with anyone yet, right?"

"Umm, no, not yet," Stiles admitted. While Peter knew Stiles was going to let her down, he couldn't help the way his hackles started to rise as he watched the girl run her fingers through his artfully gelled hair.


"Well I want you to be my first then," she said, kissing him on the cheek and pulling him in closer by the hair. "Is the Sheriff working tonight?"


"Ohh wow," Stiles said, tensing up when she bit down on his earlobe. "That's really sweet Heather, and I think you're amazing, but I'm actually seeing someone."


"Oh." She said, looking around the dance floor. "Lydia finally caved, did she?"


"No, it's not that," Stiles said, turning the girl's body until she was facing the Hale's table. "You see that guy over there with the cleavage coming out of his sweater? That's my boyfriend."


"Oh damn, Stiles. How did that happen? Look at him."


"I know," Stiles said, winking over at Peter, who breathed a sigh of relief and waved back.


"Well I hope you have a good night then. Let me know if you change your mind," she said, slipping out of Stiles' personal space and disappearing into the crowd.  He smiled to himself and sauntered back over to Peter, allowing himself to fall bonelessly into his lap.


"You heard that, didn't you?" Stiles asked, looking from Peter to Derek and Cora.


"Yeah. Girl has good taste. I can't really blame her," Peter purred into Stiles' ear, licking the pulse spot behind his earlobe. A chill ran down Stiles' body as he reached for another mixed drink and started slurping noisily on the straw. "Go have fun with your friends," Peter suggested, pushing Stiles' off his lap. "You only turn 18 once. I'll be here when you're done."


"Okay," Stiles agreed, and hopped off to go join Erica and Boyd, grinding against Boyd's ass to see if he could get a rise out of Erica. Once Stiles figured out that Erica was more than happy to watch him mack on her boyfriend, Stiles laid off and went in search of Lydia and Allison. After a few more songs, Stiles made his way to the corner where Jackson was hiding, still leaning against the wall with a sullen look on his face.


Taking a chance, Stiles reached out and took Jackson’s healthy hand, holding on tight when the wolf tried to pull away. “It’s my birthday,” Stiles shouted at him over the music, “I need a birthday dance,” he said, puffing out his lower lip in a pout until Jackson rolled his eyes and relented, letting himself be dragged onto the dance floor.


“You’re lucky I like you, Stilinski,” Jackson growled as Stiles pulled him forward. Erica threw her hands up in the air, exposing her stomach as she waved them over.


She wasted no time in pressing her chest against Jackson’s back, sandwiching him between her and Stiles.  Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Isaac came running over, plastering himself to Stiles’ back, reaching over to tousle Jackson’s hair. Catching Boyd’s eye across the dance floor, Erica mouthed at the scarred side of Jackson’s neck, pulling a full body shudder out of the wolf. Stiles put his hands on either side of Erica’s waist and pulled, smushing Jackson between them and grinding in rhythm to the music.


In what must have been an adrenaline-fueled move, Isaac leaned around Stiles to plant an open-mouthed kiss on Jackson. Erica hollered in excitement, getting a chorus of yells from the rest of the pack, and everyone nearby, in response.  Jackson pulled back, shocked but blushing at the unexpected kiss. “Don’t get any ideas, Lahey,” Jackson shouted at the wolf. Stiles smiled broadly at him, eyes twinkling in the pulsing lights until Jackson answered his smile.


“We good?” Stiles shouted into his ear as Erica continued to press Jackson forward into his body.


“We’re good,” Jackson said, rolling his eyes and wrapping his arms around Stiles’ neck. He closed his eyes, basking in the attention he had been rejecting since his injury. Stiles raised his eyebrows at the wolf, grinning in drunken glee. He was just about to ask Jackson if he thought Isaac was hot when Boyd came barreling into the group, lifting Jackson up until he was forced to wrap his legs around the larger man’s waist.


“I thought I wasn’t your type,” Jackson said sharply, still clinging to Boyd’s body as the group closed in around them, dancing and laughing.


“You’re everybody’s type,” Boyd answered with a dazzling smile, carrying him through the crowd to the center of the dance floor as the pack followed behind, converging once more in a tangle of sweaty limbs.


Twenty minutes later and those shots had finally hit Stiles. He stumbled off the dance floor and back into Peter's arms.


"Ready to go?" Peter asked, holding Stiles up with one arm over his shoulder and a firm hand around his waist. Stiles hummed into Peter's ear. He waved Lydia, Erica, and Boyd back over to the table and told them if they wanted a ride, he was leaving now.


Peter longed to just pick Stiles up bridal style and carry him to the car, but he figured that would look a little suspicious to the bouncers, so he settled for drag-carrying him back to the Range Rover. The rest of the teens hopped in the back and Stiles seemed to catch a second wind once he heard the radio playing. He hit the scan button and searched for a song. Fiddling with Peter's XM radio was one of his favorite pastimes. Finally hearing something he liked, Stiles stopped the radio and started singing along.

 

"Word on the street, you got somethin' to show me, me
Magical, colorful, myster-mystery-ee
I'm intrigued, for a peek, heard it's fascinating
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath"

Peter didn't think the night could get any worse for his penis, but Stiles was proving him wrong.

"What's up your sleeve? Such a tease
Wanna see the show-oh-ooh-oh
In 3D, a movie, heard it's beautiful-oh-ooh-oh
Be the judge and my girls' gonna take a vote
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath

I want the jaw droppin', eye poppin'
Head turnin', body shockin'
Oh ooo oh, oh oh ooo oh
I want my heart throbbin', ground shakin'
Show stoppin', amazin'
Oh ooo oh, oh oh ooo oh"

It was getting worse. Now Stiles wasn't just singing along, he was dancing in the most obscene way. Hips shimmying in the front seat and making a crude gesture with one fist and his other hand stroking it up and down. Peter was going to crash the car soon if he didn't stop doing that ASAP.


Energized by the hooting and encouragement from the three assholes in the back, Stiles sang the chorus with renewed vigor.

"Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
Don't be a chicken boy, stop acting like a bi-otch
I'mma peace out if you don't give me the payoff
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath
Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
What you're waiting for, it's time for you to show it off
Don't be a shy kinda guy I'll bet it's beautiful
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath"

"Sing it, birthday boy," Erica called from the backseat. Peter chanced a glance over at the Beta in the back and caught Lydia out of the corner of his eye, recording Stiles on her phone.


"This is such beautiful blackmail, Stiles," she simpered, twirling a long piece of red hair with her other hand. "You are never living this one down." Boyd couldn't possibly wipe the shit-eating grin off his face. Peter could see his white teeth almost glowing in the dark of the car.

"I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock
Your peacock, cock
Your peacock, cock, cock
Your peacock
I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock
Your peacock, cock
Your peacock, cock, cock
Your peacock"

"You're going to send me a copy of that," Peter ordered from the driver's seat. Stiles had started jerking his head around like a demented pigeon, and things had gone from sexy to hilarious. Peter was sad that he was missing some of the show while he was driving and knew he was going to need to see this performance again.

"Skip the talk, heard it all, time to walk the walk
Break me off, if you bad, show me who's the boss
Need some goose, to get loose, come on take a shot
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath"

They pulled up to Erica's house and with a whine, Boyd pulled her out of the car. Only one more stop to go before Peter could give Stiles his birthday present and then promptly put his ass in bed. The disappearance of some of his audience didn't seem to deter Stiles one bit. He kept on dancing like he was putting a show on for Lydia's camera, and the predatory look in his eye was getting very distracting for Peter.

"I want the jaw droppin', eye poppin'
Head turnin', body shockin'
Oh ooo oh, oh oh ooo oh
I want my heart throbbin', ground shakin'
Show stoppin', amazin'
Oh ooo oh, oh oh ooo oh

Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
Don't be a chicken boy, stop acting like a bi-otch
I'mma peace out if you don't give me the payoff
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath
Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
What you're waiting for, it's time for you to show it off
Don't be a shy kinda guy I'll bet it's beautiful
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath"

Peter could have lived his life without hearing how Stiles said the word "cock" over and over again. The way he kept cracking the k at the end of the word was starting to do something to Peter again. He kept his eyes on the road and firmly ignored Stiles for the chorus, but once the bridge hit, Peter was a goner once again.

"Oh my god, no exaggeration
Boy all this time was worth the waiting
I just shed a tear, I am so unprepared
You got the finest architecture
End of the rainbow-looking treasure
Such a sight to see
And it's all for me"

Stiles was all but climbing into Peter's lap while he was driving. He had one hand shamelessly groping his own body, pulling up his tight red tee shirt to show off his sculpted stomach and running back up to run through his hair. The other hand was pressing firmly on Peter's upper thigh, fingers digging into his tight jeans.

"Turn that off Lydia," Peter growled as he pulled up to her parents' house.


"Thanks for the ride. I'll let you two get back to whatever it is you had planned for tonight," She said, smirking as she carefully slipped her stilettos out of the car.


"I want details tomorrow, Stiles!" She called back into the open window before clacking up the sidewalk to her door. Stiles went right back to torturing Peter once they were alone. This time he had both of his hands on his own body, running them up and down his tight torso and then crossing them over his dick and letting them run down his legs.

"Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
Don't be a chicken boy, stop acting like a bi-otch
I'mma peace out if you don't give me the payoff
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath
Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock?
What you're waiting for, it's time for you to show it off
Don't be a shy kinda guy I'll bet it's beautiful
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath"

Just when Peter was ready to tear his hair out, watching his boyfriend rub at his nipples through his shirt when he couldn't touch, Stiles switched back to silly mode. He made fake glasses over his eyes with his fingers and then flapped the extra ones like he was moving his bird feathers. Peter burst out laughing and pulled into his driveway as the song came to an end.

"I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock
Your peacock, cock
I wanna see you
Your peacock, cock, cock
Your peacock
I wanna see your peacock, cock, cock
Your peacock, cock
I wanna see ya
Come on baby, let me see what you hidin' underneath"


"In the house," Peter growled, "now."


Stiles scrambled out of the car, nearly falling over on his way to his front door, scurrying after Peter like a puppy. Peter plucked Stiles' keys out of his pocket and unlocked the door as his boyfriend plastered his entire body against his back with his arms around Peter's neck, and then let his weight drop. Peter obliged in dragging Stiles into the house, flipping on the light as he kicked off his shoes. Stiles looked like he needed some help getting his sneakers off, so Peter kneeled down to assist, getting two grabby hands pulling at his hair for his trouble.


"Couch," Peter ordered, pointing into the living room.


"You love me so much, we are going to have the best sex ever," Stiles slurred, flopping himself onto the couch facedown.


"Yeah, well if you vomit on my sweater I might have to rethink my devotion," Peter said, lifting each of Stiles' legs onto the couch so he was lying down properly. "And there will be no sex tonight. You're trashed."


"'mm not," Stiles protested, getting his arms under him and pushing until he was in a plank position, apparently not having the strength to actually get himself sitting. Peter's eyes were drawn to the way Stiles was thrusting his ass in the air and promptly looked away. He pulled a large gift bag from the corner and brought it forward


"Are you not-trashed enough to open your present? Or should I save that for tomorrow as well?"


"I'm up, I'm up," Stiles grumbled, finally pulling himself up until his butt was actually on the couch and not in the air.


"Here you are then," Peter said, presenting him with the bag. Stiles pulled on each piece of tissue paper with utter relish and tossed them in the air, pulling out three wrapped parcels and placing them on the coffee table.


"This one last," Peter said, pushing the smallest box aside, and the other two larger ones toward Stiles. Smiling fully, Stiles grabbed a large rectangular box and pulled off the lid. Under another few layers of tissue were a new pair of Chucks. Stiles looked up to meet Peter's eyes and held the shoes to his chest.


"I love them," Stiles said, running his long fingers around the white edge of the sole.


"Turn them over," Peter instructed.


Stiles saw a glint of metal on the heel of each shoe and looked askance at the man in front of him.


"I had someone online insert flints into the heels. So if you're outside and you scrape your foot against the ground, you should be able to create a good enough spark to light your fire."


"Wow, Peter, that's amazing!" Stiles said, rubbing a thumb against the rough metal on the shoes.


"I don't want you to be caught off guard again," Peter said fondly, "I need you safe."


"Thank you, these are great."


"This one next," Peter said, nudging the next large ball of tissue paper toward his boyfriend. Stiles ripped through the paper and pulled out a new red hoodie. It had a fleece lining that was as soft as a cloud, and Stiles could hardly wait to wear it that winter when the nights got a bit colder.


"There are two more flints in the hood strings of this." Stiles fingered the two metal weights on the bottom of each white string, awe lighting up his eyes.


"Well hopefully I'm kidnapped fully clothed then," Stiles quipped, unzipping the hoodie so he could put it on.


"If I could have found a way to get a flint on your body without marring your perfect skin, I would have," Peter purred, lips quirking upward, "but these will have to do for now."


"S'not so perfect anymore," Peter heard Stiles mutter sadly under his breath before eyeing the last of his present. "What's this?" Stiles asked, reaching for the small white box that was left on the table.


"This is something special," Peter said, holding out the box for Stiles to take, "I hope you like it."


Stiles lifted the lid and pulled the medallion out of its nest of white cotton. It was a triskelion, smooth and heavy with a chain looped through one arm of the symbol. Stiles lifted the chain and dangled the pendant in front of his face to get a better view. It was heavy, iron maybe, and buffed to a beautiful shine.


There was a tiny engraving toward the bottom of one of the arms, and he squinted to read it. He recognized it as "A 440" and then it clicked. This wasn't just a piece of metal, it was Peter's tuning fork, the one he had melted a few months ago, reshaped into a necklace. He felt tears begin to pickle at the corner of his eye as he ducked his head and pulled the chain over, catching it on his ears before the pendant fell in place and landed between his collarbones.


"I wanted you to wear our mark," Peter admitted, eyes bright with the happiness of seeing his family's symbol grace the throat of his mate. "You don't smell like a true wolf, but you've been scented by us enough that anyone would be able to tell you belong to a pack. Now they'll know that you belong to the Hale Pack."


Stiles put his hand around the medallion and held the cool metal in his palm. He was special. He had been chosen to be part of this pack. And now the world would know. Apart from sex with Peter, this was the best present he could have hoped for.


"You're a powerful Emissary, Stiles, and a powerful Mage," Peter said, moving over to the couch to sit next to him. "We're lucky to have you with us, and everyone should know that."


"Your ego knows no bounds."


"We're gaining ground. The Hale pack is going to be strong again."


"We are strong. We're just a little green. We'll get there," Stiles said, grabbing one of Peter's hands and holding it tight.


"You keep setting entire warehouses on fire and we're going to get a bit of a reputation."


"You're just dying for notoriety, aren't you?"


"Aren't you?" Peter asked, quirking an eyebrow in his direction.


"Maybe after I've finished college," Stiles chuckled. He could see the appeal. If they had a strong reputation no one would want to mess with them. But then again, there would always be someone vying for their power and position. It could go either way, and Stiles for one could use a few quiet years after the way his high school career had turned out.

"I can wait," Peter assured him, "I can wait forever if I have to."


"Not forever, just--" Stiles words were interrupted by a long off shriek. Thankfully Peter was far enough away that he didn't pass out this time, but there could be no mistaking that voice. Lydia was sounding another death. There had been a third sacrifice.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Stiles dragged his hungover ass out of bed, pecked Peter on the cheek, and headed over to the station to answer his father's summons.  He stopped through the drive-thru for a few breakfast burritos and the largest coffees possible before arriving at his dad's office.  Stiles reluctantly handed over a burrito and sat down in front of the Sheriff's desk to dig into his own breakfast.  He should have known something was wrong when his dad didn't pounce on the burrito like a man possessed.

"Stiles," he started off, grim look on his face, "I'm sure you somehow know that there was another murder last night."

"Remind me to explain to you later how Lydia has banshee powers now," he answered, finding a little bit of humor in the disparity between the tumultuousness of the supernatural world and the law and order of his father's world.

"I don't even want to know," the Sheriff said, rubbing his palm across his forehead.  "Did you have a good time last night?  Got to dance with a lot of your friends?"

"Yeah, it was pretty great," Stiles said, smiling as he leaned back in the hard wooden chair.  "Totally worth the morning after."

"I don't want to know about that either."

"Right, right, sorry," Stiles said, taking a moment to unwrap his burrito.

"The victim was found outside of Jungle last night," the Sheriff began, breathing out heavily.  Stiles sat forward in his chair and dropped his food on his father's desk.  It couldn't have been one of the pack.  He would have known about that, would have felt it.  Unless it was Allison, oh God, was it Allison?  "It seems you were one of the last people to speak to her before she was killed."

"Who was it?" Stiles said, working himself into a decent panic.

"Heather Lougheran."

"Heather?  Oh my God," Stiles whispered, "was it the same as the others?" He asked, finding his voice again.

"Yes," the Sheriff confirmed.  "Strangled with a garrote, blow to the head, slashed throat."

Becoming more determined by the minute, Stiles made a demand.  "You have to let me see the rest of your files.  Have you been able to find any connection?"

"None yet, but we have everyone looking.  Apart from the injuries, we haven't been able to find anything."

"Dad," Stiles pleaded, "this is Heather.  I've known her since preschool.  Please, let me help."

"Alright, alright, it's worth a shot," John said, rolling over an office chair that was piled with file folders.  He pushed it toward Stiles and then reached for his own burrito, digging in with a frown.

 

***

 

Two double cheeseburgers and about a pound of curly fries later, and Stiles was no closer to finding a connection between Heather and the other two sacrifices than he was when he started.  Troy Harper and Heather were both average high school students, but the similarities stopped there.  He could find absolutely nothing that could link either of them to a visiting nun who was killed outside the local church.  Having exhausted every written document in all of his father's files, Stiles let out a sigh, knowing there was only one bit of evidence left that he hadn't looked at.

"I have to look at the coroner's photos," he said, leaning back and closing his eyes.

"No, you don't," the Sheriff said plainly, taking another sip of his Coke.

Stiles opened his eyes, just to roll them in his father's direction.

"You really don't want to look at them, son," he said.

"Well just let me see Troy and Sister Grace's.  I won't look at Heather's."

"You know I’m not supposed to do that," the Sheriff said, giving Stiles a stern face.  

“But it’s a supernatural murder!” Stiles argued, flailing his hands around in frustration.  “What if there’s something there and you’re missing it because it’s not something you would even understand?”  

John knew his son was grasping at straws, but he also knew that the entire station had looked over the files and come up empty.  He reluctantly pulled another few folders out of his pile and handed them over. "You don’t tell anyone about this.  Are we clear?”

“Crystal,” Stiles said, opening the folder.  He cringed but managed to keep his dinner down as he analyzed the photos.  There were several of the bodies exactly as they were found, then full length and close up shots of the bare bodies from the autopsy, then there were a few of their clothing and any personal effects they had on them at the time.

Stiles studied the pool of blood around the nun's habit.  The garrote had sliced completely through the woman's wimple down to her throat.  He couldn't discern anything new from these photos, besides learning how complex a nun's outfit was, and moved on to Troy's photos.

He had been found sitting up in a lifeguard's chair and had therefore been drained of a significant amount of blood before someone had found the body and called the police.  His swim trunks and tank top were completely drenched, stiff and dry by the time they had been removed from his body and photographed.  The only other picture was that of the contents of his pockets.  Wallet, keys, and one other item.  Stiles picked the photo up and brought it closer to his face, squinting to read the tiny engraving on the outside of the ring.  It read one word.  "Purity."

As if it were only yesterday, because it was only yesterday he had been dancing with her, Stiles heard Heather's words echo in his head.

"You haven't done it with anyone yet, right?  Well, I want you to be my first then."

Heather was a virgin.  Troy was a virgin.  That left only one possibility.

"Dad!" Stiles yelled, pulling the Sheriff out of the doze he was taking in his desk chair.  "Do you have any information about Sister Grace?  Do you know when she took her holy orders?"

"Yeah, I think it's in here somewhere, hold on," he said, shuffling through the papers on his desk.  "Why?"

"Nuns take a vow of celibacy right?" Stiles said, frantically skimming the file of the nun's personal history.  "She took hers when she was only 17.  So she'd probably been a virgin."

"Son, why are you asking me about this little old lady's sex life?"

"Because there is one thing they have in common," Stiles concluded, heart pounding in his chest.  "All three of them were virgins.  Someone is sacrificing virgins."

"Well, shit," the Sheriff said, rubbing his weary eyes with one hand.  "You're sure?"

"Positive," Stiles responded.  "Is there some sort of call signal you guys have for warning everyone to stay inside and have sex for the safety of the community?  Can you call a mandatory curfew and encourage everyone to screw?"

"Let me get this straight," his father said, standing up and leaning across his desk.  "You want me, in my official capacity as county Sheriff, to encourage teenagers to have sex?"

"Yeah, I guess that would look pretty bad, huh?"

"We'll just have to find another way.  But in the meantime, see what you can dig up in your old magic books about virgin sacrifices, okay?"

"Okay, yeah," Stiles agreed, beginning to pace and then turning tail and heading straight out the door.  "I'll see you later, okay?"

The Sheriff just gave him a tired wave and left his office to go talk to his team.

 

***

 

Stiles was yelling over the rumble of his Jeep as he sped back to his house.  Derek just didn't seem to understand what he was saying.  "They're killing virgins Derek, virgins!  As in, the perpetually unsexed, much like myself.  Can you find a non-awkward way of asking if Cora and Isaac are virgins and then tell them that they should probably bang for the safety of their pack mates?"  After a bit of mumbling about how he would not be talking to his baby sister about sex on Derek's end, Stiles kept on talking.  "Well just do it for me, will you?  And get Allison to ask her father if she knows any supernatural baddies who like to eat virgin blood while you're at it.  I have some sexing to do.  Yeah, yeah, I'll spare you the details, Sour Wolf.  Okay, bye!"

Stiles slammed the Jeep into a higher gear and gunned it home, nearly braining himself on his front steps as he rushed back into the house and up to his bedroom.

"Peter?  Peter!"  He called as soon as he was in the house, oblivious to the fact that Peter could probably hear his car coming down the block.

"Up here," Peter said calmly, looking up from the book he was reading, legs stretched out across the length of Stiles' bed.

"We need to have sex right now," Stiles demanded, frantically unbuttoning his flannel shirt and pawing at the fly of his pants in his haste.

Peter froze for a fraction of a second, eyes glued to Stiles' crotch of their own accord before he shook himself out of it and assessed the situation.  "Wait, what?  Not that I don't want to, but what is going on with you?  And can you stop undressing yourself for a minute?  I can't think when you're stripping like that."

"Oh, you mean like this?" Stiles asked cheekily, pulling his shirt off his shoulders just to get the cuffs caught on his wrists, fumbling in his struggle to free himself.

"Yes, that, stop doing that," Peter requested, putting his book aside and standing up to meet Stiles on the other side of the room.  "What brought this on?"

"Virgins," Stiles blurted out, still fighting to get his cuffs unbuttoned so he could continue undressing himself.  "The sacrifices are all virgins, and now, apart from being a cause of embarrassment and making me a complete loser of a high school senior, my lack of sexual experience is literally a threat to my life.  I have a terminal case of virginity and I need you to give me your dick like yesterday."

"As romantic an offer as that is, sweetheart, I think we should talk about this for a minute."

"No," Stiles said, pulling his undershirt off over his head and getting it stuck around his ears for a second before finally freeing himself.  "No talking, only sexing.  We need to do all the sex, right now."

"I don't think this is a good idea," Peter protested, not able to even believe his own words.  His gaze was drawn to the necklace hanging low on Stiles' chest.  He should really get Stiles a shorter chain.  Everyone should be able to see the triskele on his mate.  Peter was then distracted by Stiles’ pert nipples for a few seconds before he found his words again.

"You're stressed and you're not thinking clearly.  I don't want you regretting this tomorrow.  This should be something special for you."

"It will be special, it will be your dick, and your dick will save my life, so hop to lover boy."

"Again, touching, but I'd like it to be a bit more special for me than 'your dick will save my life.'"

"But, Peter!" Stiles whined, not understanding why his boyfriend was putting up this much of a fight.

"Don't 'but Peter' me, darling.  I'm not just a quick fuck; I'm your mate," Peter honestly sounded offended, and Stiles could do nothing but just gape at him, lips making a soft popping noise whenever they closed and reopened.

"Well if my mate would like me to be alive tomorrow, my mate will give me the fucking D right the fuck now."

"Oh baby, you are turning me on so much right now, I won't be able to resist you for long."

"This is no time for joking, Peter.  I could be triple-D dead tomorrow if we don't do this tonight."

"We can do this tonight," Peter assured him, stepping forward to rub his warm palms up and down Stiles' bare forearms.  His nipples had started to pebble in the cool air of his bedroom and Peter gave them a glance, losing his train of thought for a moment.  "But we're going to do it right.  And first things first, I need you to calm down, because your heartbeat is driving me crazy.  Then we are going to talk this through until you are relaxed.  You know it's not just Derek that can feel your emotions now.  I can sense them too.  I can't have sex with you when I know you're just doing it because you're panicked."

"Alright, alright, fine," Stiles huffed, flopping down on the bed and pulling Peter to sit down next to him.

"Now what kind of virginity are we talking here?  Is this an any type of orgasm counts thing, or does it have to be penetrative?  Do you have to sleep with a woman?  I doubt many evil ceremonies take gay relationships into account," Peter mused, holding Stiles' hand lightly and keeping one finger on his wrist so he could feel it as well as hear it.

"I didn't think of that.  Damn heteronormative social constructs dictating my life.  They really need to start writing manuals for this magic bullshit."

"I think any type of sullying will suffice, but I would cover all the bases, just to be on the safe side."

"Okay," Stiles agreed immediately, "so BJs and then you on top?"  Peter couldn't help but smile at the excited tone Stiles used when planning their evening, but he also knew he would need to correct him before things went any further.

"Actually," Peter began, pausing to make sure that Stiles' heart rate was steady before he continued.  "I think you should fuck me."

Stiles' jaw dropped and he looked like he was seconds away from a whole lot of babbling in protest.  Peter figured he should explain himself before Stiles really got worked up.

"I don't really want to be the one in control here," Peter admitted, knowing Stiles wouldn't understand unless he laid it all out for him.  "If I'm anywhere near your throat, I don't think I'll be able to stop myself from biting you, and I don't think either of us is ready for that."

Stiles closed his eyes for a minute, mulling over Peter's words.  As sure as Stiles was that he and Peter would be mating eventually, he didn't think he was mentally prepared for it to be tonight.  He just needed a minute to wrap his mind around being inside Peter.  Stiles expected him to be pretty dominant in the bedroom, being on the other side of things had never crossed his mind.  And it was good that it hadn't, because just the thought was enough to get Stiles hard in his jeans immediately.

Peter's nostrils flared.  Stiles knew he could smell when he had an erection.  He was about to ask what it smelled like, but Peter began to speak again.  "Also, I've never had sex as an Alpha before, and I've been informed that it's a bit different from what I'm used to."

"Why?" Stiles asked, immediately curious about the new werewolf information.  "Do you wolf out and get all snarly?"

"No," Peter said simply, not really wanting to use the words.  "Alpha males have knots," he said finally exhaling heavily.  He knew Stiles wasn't just going to let that one lie.

"No shit, for serious?" Stiles said.

"For serious," Peter confirmed, with a roll of his eyes.  Sometimes he forgot how young his boyfriend was.  Now was really not the time to dwell on it.

"How big does it get?" Stiles asked, suddenly more excited than he had any right to be when learning about a possibly painful part of his boyfriend's anatomy.

"I don't know," Peter admitted, rubbing the stubble on his jaw thoughtfully.  "I don't think Derek has slept with anyone since becoming an Alpha and it never really seemed appropriate to ask.  Especially if he has already started doing it with your teacher."

"Oh God, no, let's not and say we did on that one," Stiles said, wincing slightly.

"Neither of us were supposed to be Alphas, so I'm not sure we would have thought to get the details.  Hale Alphas are usually women.  I think the power only got to my grandfather when his sister died."

"Okay, fine, but you didn't answer my question," Stiles said, getting back to more important matters.  "How big does it get?"

"I already told you I don't know, Stiles.  Why don't we just not worry about it until we get there?"  

Stiles immediately hopped off the bed and went to his closet, rustling around for a long minute and then appearing before him once more, both hands full of some black object Peter couldn't identify immediately.

Stiles started squeezing his one palm repeatedly and then opened the other one to reveal a black silicone plug that was getting bigger and bigger, filling with air until it was the size of a cantaloupe.  Peter could feel his eyebrows going higher and higher until the toy looked like it was about to burst and Stiles stopped pumping.  Stiles watched Peter's throat convulse as he swallowed, licking his lips before he could find the words to speak.

"Where did you get that?"

"Where does anyone get anything?  The internet," Stiles replied.  "The girls were pretty eager to help me pick some things out once they helped me realize I was bi."

Peter just nodded absently, eyes popping open when Stiles released the knob on the end of the pump and let the plug deflate.  Even completely devoid of air, the plug was still of no small size.  Peter had apparently lost all power of speech, needing Stiles to bring him back to the present.

"So if it's that size or smaller, it should be no problem, is what I was trying to say," Stiles told him, wrapping the cord around the plug and shoving it in his bedside drawer.

"Well," Peter said, finding his voice again, "I'm not sure that it tapers back down at the end like that, so it might be stretching your rim as wide as that toy goes, and that can't be what you're used to."  Peter found himself imagining Stiles stretching himself out on the toy, toggling the vibrate function to keep himself on the edge for as long as possible before coming all over his flat stomach.

"Um," Stiles said, visibly gulping, "I guess we'll have to work up to it then.  Any chance I'll be able to see it in action before we get to that point?"

"I'm not sure that it works like that," Peter said slowly, unhappy with his lack of knowledge on the subject.  "The knot is for... breeding."  He could hear Stiles' heartbeat ratchet up at the word, and wasn't that interesting.  Peter was going to have a lot of fun with that reaction when the time came.  "So I'm not sure that it will present itself during other acts."

"Your knot knows I'm not a woman though, right?" Stiles pondered out loud, already planning out a few experiments on the subject.  "So maybe you won't get one at all with me."

"Maybe," Peter said, "but you're my mate and I'm not willing to risk it just yet.  So you can be the one on top tonight."

"Okay," Stiles said, licking his lips once more.

"You're sure you're okay with this?  It was only your birthday yesterday." Peter reminded him, pressing his palm against Stiles' pendant to feel the warm metal on his skin.

"If I had been sober yesterday, I would have jumped you then, but you were being all noble about it, so today it is."

Peter figured it was now or never and decided he should put Stiles out of his misery and make the first move.  He slipped his loafers off his feet and scooched back on the bed, pulling Stiles into his lap so he could get to his mouth.  Stiles was up and off him immediately, concerning Peter slightly until the older man realized he was just going to the door to flick the lock before settling back on the bed, nerves apparent in the way he was holding his body.

Peter wasn't sure what had happened to that confident, domineering man who had him pressed up against the front door only a week ago, but he wanted him back.  There must be something else going on here that he didn't know about yet.

"Stiles," Peter said, pulling back a little until he could look into his eyes, "how did you figure out it was virgins?"

"You remember what Heather said to me last night?" Stiles asked, eyes closing as Peter nodded in recognition.  "Well, now she's dead."

Peter didn't hesitate in reaching out to Stiles' shoulders and pulling him in until his head was resting on Peter's shoulder, face pressed into the side of his neck.  "Oh baby, I'm so sorry."

"So you can see why this is really a time sensitive issue.  I'm not going to die a virgin."

"Yeah, I understand," Peter assured him, kissing the side of his head and rubbing his cheek along Stiles' temple.

"I love you," Stiles said, wanting to make sure he was perfectly clear.  "I want this because I want you, not just because I'm scared."

"I want this too," Peter told him, surging forward until he had captured Stiles' mouth.  Stiles pushed back with more force than ever before, and Peter knew that his mate's fierceness was back in full.  Teeth caught Peter's lower lip and he knew he was in for it.  He was going to make a mark on his mate tonight.  Maybe not the kind of mark that he really wanted, but still, they would both be irrevocably changed.  They would belong to each other.  Other wolves would be able to smell their connection.

Peter felt long, cold fingers flutter along his stomach as Stiles pulled up his shirt, lips only leaving his to let the shirt go over his face.  Before he knew what was happening, he had two armfuls of squirming limbs, Stiles relaxing his lower body until his full weight was on Peter's lap.

Stiles' mouth left Peter's to begin exploring the rest of the skin he hadn't been able to appreciate since that day in the woods when he had hit his head on a rock.  A hot tongue traced his throat and followed the long lines down to his collar bone, teeth grazing the tender skin.  All the breath left Peter's body when Stiles' mouth found his nipple, tongue rolling over it in a way that Peter couldn't help but imagine happening on his dick later.

Peter's hands jerked up to run through Stiles' hair as the hot wetness traveled lower, inching over his chest down to his abs.  Fingers pulled at the waistband of his jeans as Stiles flicked the button open and pulled down the zipper.  Stiles' mouth continued to move over the planes of his stomach, causing him to squirm and pull on the hair he had caught between his fingers.  

Stiles' head came up to give Peter a wicked smile before dipping right back down, giving the skin right above Peter's waistband a line of little nips followed by soft pecks of lips that had Peter eager to get his pants off.

"Up," Peter said finally, hopping off the bed to pull off his jeans and then grabbing Stiles around the waist and pushing him to lie down on his back on the mattress.  He wasted no time in straddling Stiles' slim hips and running his hands up and down his sides then going for his pants.  Peter knew he could probably stand to be gentler as he all but yanked Stiles' jeans off, but he really couldn't be bothered to slow down.

Once Peter had Stiles in nothing but his boxers and pendant, he got back in his lap and ground his hips down, pulling a moan out Stiles.  Teeth met Stiles' throat as Peter sucked a mark onto his skin.  Peter could feel Stiles' hardness against his.  He continued rolling his hips as he closed his mouth on Stiles' nipple and kneaded the skin at the base of his head, rubbing the short, soft hair.

Stiles gasped as Peter's teeth came down on his nipple, Peter's blunt fingers pulling and twisting the other one.

"Peter," he whined, thrusting upward until the hard points of his hip bones were digging into Peter's waist, "you need to stop or this is going to be over before it even starts."

"You're allowed to come more than once," Peter muttered, lips trailing downward until they were resting just below Stiles' belly button.  Once Peter's face was level with Stiles' crotch, he couldn't stop himself from nuzzling his nose into the gray cotton of Stiles' underwear, rubbing along his erection with his rough cheek.  Stiles shivered as Peter's stubble caught on the fabric, pulling it taut across his dick.  Peter couldn't get enough of the scent of his mate, continuing to nose at the legs of Stiles' boxers until his face was pressed up between one of his balls and Stiles' inner thigh.

Stiles' hips jerked when Peter's nose rubbed against his perineum, and a bit of precome jerked out of him, dampening the opening of his shorts.  Peter lifted his head when he caught the scent of ejaculate on Stiles' body and wasted no time in sucking the damp fabric into his mouth.  Once he had gotten all that he could from the outside, Peter pulled his hands up to Stiles' waistband and wrenched his boxers off.

Stiles fisted his hands in the sheets and exhaled loudly as Peter trailed his tongue along his length.  It was warm and wet and not nearly enough, flicking lightly over every inch of him.  When he rounded back up to the top, Peter stuck his tongue into Stiles' slit, searching for more of the liquid that he was craving.  Finding nothing more than his mate's sweet scent, Peter sucked the head into his mouth and pulled hard, sucking more and more into his mouth until his nose hit the coarse hair at the base of Stiles' dick.

Stiles had never felt anything like this before, everything was too hot and too tight, and there was no way he was going to last through more than a minute of Peter's attentions.  Just when Stiles thought he was about to fall over the edge, Peter pulled back.  The bastard could probably tell from his heartbeat how close he was.  He wasn't left with nothing, though, Peter lowered his head and sucked one ball into his mouth, lightly rolling his tongue over it.  Stiles thought this was perhaps worse torture than the blow job, but kept his mouth shut, breathing sharp little puffs out through his nose.

Peter switched to the other side and continued driving Stiles absolutely crazy with his talented mouth.  Releasing Stiles' balls and moving upward once more, Peter surprised Stiles by swallowing him down completely.  Stiles' hips jerked off the bed of their own volition and began thrusting deep into Peter's throat.  Peter backed off slightly, and then pulled off entirely, coughing a bit and chuckling.

"Easy," he said, voice gravelly and low, "I haven't done this in like twenty years, and it's not like you're small."

Stiles opened his eyes and smirked down at Peter.  He hadn't been particularly worried about it, but hearing the reassurance that he was a decent size went a long way to easing his apprehensions.  Peter smiled back softly and then went right back to what he was doing.  He slid down further and further until Stiles could feel the back of his throat on the head of his dick, fluttering convulsively against him.  Stiles felt like he was about to die, heart pounding loud in his ears and fingers clenching in the sheets until he was pretty sure his nails were ripping them.  Peter just bobbed his head a few more times, swirling his tongue around and sucking lightly.  He wasn't going to make this easy on Stiles.

Peter was in heaven.  The weight of Stiles on his tongue and the scent of his body filling his nose was pure bliss.  It was all sharp and crisp, flooding his senses, urging him onward.

Peter hadn't had sex with a man since he was whoring around Europe in his twenties, and he really didn't know what he was missing.  Sex with Stiles was unlike anything he had ever experienced before.  He didn't know if that was because Stiles was so responsive, jerking minutely with every move Peter made, or if it was because Stiles was his mate and it was just meant to be like this, but he didn't much care either way.  If he could do this every day for the rest of his life, he would.  Bringing Stiles pleasure with his mouth was turning out to be much more fun for Peter than any blow job he had ever given before.

Peter was hard in his tight boxer briefs but made no move to touch himself or even rub up against the sheets.  He wanted to give this to Stiles, and he wanted to do it right.  He slowed down until he was just lapping at the head of Stiles' cock, pursing his lips to give him a few dirty kisses as well.  He held tight to the base of Stiles' dick, feeling the heat and blood pulse beneath his hand in rhythm with his heart.  He wondered if he held tight enough if he would be able to hold off Stiles' orgasm and enjoy the moment a bit longer.

Stiles was dying.  This was what dying felt like.  Peter's hand was tight around him, and his mouth was hot and wet and it was bringing him higher and higher with every suck.  Peter had abandoned the use of his tongue and was instead just sucking the head of Stiles' dick in his mouth for a quick second and then releasing it with a loud pop.  Over and over again, suck and pop, suck and pop, and the noise itself was enough to drive Stiles over the edge.

With one last suck downward, Stiles pushed against Peter's palms, thrusting his hips upward until he was buried in Peter's mouth and let himself go.  He felt like his entire life force was exiting his body, and after several hard pulses, his body finally relaxed.  Stiles felt 100 pounds lighter, head floating in a cloud of contentment.  Peter swallowed around him and then pulled off, licking the remaining fluid from Stiles' tip with more enthusiasm than Stiles could ever have expected.  Peter liked sucking cock.  Who knew?

Peter rested his head against Stiles' thigh, giving him a minute or two to come down from his orgasm.  He rubbed the stubble of his cheek against the soft hair that covered Stiles' leg and rumbled out a hum of accomplishment.  His mate had been sated at his hand.  His wolf was very pleased.  Knowing it wouldn't take Stiles long to be ready again as his breathing had already started to even out, Peter threw his arm out of the bed and rummaged around in the bedside table for the lube.

He pulled his underwear off and then sat up on the bed on his knees, slicking his fingers and reaching around behind his body.  It had probably been even longer since he had bottomed for anyone, and Stiles' dick was a lot bigger than any he could recall having shoved up his ass before.  He started out with one finger, just circling his hole, urging his body to relax.  Peter couldn't remember the last time he had even touched himself like this, but his wolf was even more eager to bend over for his mate than his human was.

He gave a little pressure and pushed the tip of one finger into his hole, wriggling slightly on his knees until he could get a better angle.  His fingers were shorter and blunter than Stiles' were, and for a moment, he busied his mind with that mental picture.  Stiles' hands were amazing; strong fingers attached to perfect thin wrists that made way to muscular forearms.  He sighed, imagining his mate's fingers in him, and let out enough tension that he could slip his first finger all the way in.  The stretch was a bit of a burn, but Peter knew it would pass.  He thrust in and out a few times and then moaned when his second finger started pressing at his hole.

Stiles' eyes wrenched open when he heard the noise escape Peter's lips, and Peter could have sworn he saw a flash of red.  Stiles sat up abruptly, and inched over to Peter, manipulating his boyfriend's body until Peter was straddling his hips.  Stiles grabbed the lube and poured some out onto his fingers, eyes never leaving Peter's as he moved his hand to join Peter's behind his back.

Peter gasped when a long, thin finger nudged between the two that were already buried in his ass and inched its way into his body.  He could feel his dick jerk against his stomach when Stiles brushed over his prostate.  Peter was surprised at Stiles' apparent skill and removed his own fingers.  Gripping Stiles' shoulder, he shuddered, allowing Stiles to open him up with another finger.  Somehow he had managed to find the perfect angle, and Stiles' fingers were drumming against his sweet spot with alternating beats.  Peter should have known that Stiles' fingers would be magic inside of him.

Peter allowed his head to fall forward onto Stiles' shoulder and just succumbed to the sensation.  Stiles' other hand rose to his dick and began stroking him with a firm grip.  Two fingers turned into three and Peter couldn't hold it back any longer, he let out a string of moaning noises that he was only mildly aware of.

Stiles' eyes darted between Peter's face and his dick.  Having never seen Peter erect before, he was floored by how beautiful he was.  Could dicks be beautiful?  Of course they could, because Peter's was perfect.  It was nearly as long as Stiles' seven inches, but almost twice as thick.  Stiles was in awe of the dark skin that had pulled back from the head of Peter's cock.  He had always had a fascination with foreskin, and Stiles couldn't wait to get his tongue underneath it and map out every inch of Peter's beautiful cock.

"Oh God, Stiles," Peter moaned as he assaulted his prostate, pulling groans from his mouth and sending shocks up and down his body.  Stiles’ mouth found his collarbone once more and teeth scraped over the thin skin it found there.  A hot tongue moved from his shoulder up to his throat to suck on his Adam's apple.  Before Peter could realize what was happening, he was shooting his release all over Stiles' hand and stomach, clenching down on the three fingers inside of him and all but growling out his pleasure.

Stiles brushed over his prostate a few more times, pulling an extra pulse of come out of Peter's body that he caught in his palm.  Stiles then brought his hand up to his mouth and licked Peter's release off of his fingers, taking a moment to swipe his tongue through the liquid on his palm, and then going back to sucking each of his fingers into his mouth, one at a time.  Stiles still hadn't removed his fingers from Peter's ass, and Peter found that he did not mind one bit.  Watching Stiles reverently lick his come off his body had Peter rocking back onto Stiles' hand with a natural roll of his hips.  He had the sexiest mate in existence, and he couldn't wait to get that nice, long cock inside of him.

"Stiles," he muttered, lips against the side of his throat once more, "I'm ready."

Stiles didn't make much noise at all, merely eased Peter off of his fingers and patted around the sheets until he found the discarded lube.  He poured a bit out on his hand and slicked his cock, hissing at the contact.  Then he moved his hands to Peter's hips, pulling him over into his lap.  Peter pulled his body weight back to stop Stiles.

"As much as I would love to look at you while we do this," Peter said, cock already starting to fill once more, "I can't have my teeth anywhere near you.  I'm already three seconds away from biting you, and we just can't do that tonight."

Stiles just nodded, getting up on his knees and positioning himself behind his mate.  Peter went down on his elbows, thrusting his ass into the air, not at all ashamed of the way he was presenting himself for his human.  He wanted this, his wolf wanted this, who was he to deny his instincts?  One of those instincts was calling him to sink his teeth into his mate and claim him as his forever.  Peter tried his best to shove that one down deep and concentrate on the way Stiles' fingers had come back to stretch his hole again.

Two fingers were quickly replaced by three and Peter muffled his groans in the pillows squirming with every thrust.  Stiles was already working his magic on his prostate and Peter really didn't want to have a second orgasm without Stiles buried deep inside him.  Thankfully, he didn't have long to wait, because not a moment too soon Stiles was leaning over his body and massaging his ass with both hands.  He seemed to be fascinated by the way his hole twitched whenever Stiles' pulled his asscheeks apart, because he kept doing it over and over, and it was driving Peter crazy.  Peter could feel his hole clenching on nothing, and desperately wanted Stiles to fill him.

As if Peter had said the words out loud, Stiles brought one hand down to his dick to hold it steady at the base and nudged the tip of his cock into Peter.  Peter gasped and moaned at the same time, completely overwhelmed by the way his muscles clenched down hard around Stiles, trying to pull him in deeper.  Stiles tried a minute thrust, pushing a scant inch of his length into Peter before rocking it right back out again.  He repeated the motion a few more times, and then pulled out completely.  Peter could feel Stiles' gaze on his body.  Knowing that Stiles was watching his hole wink closed around nothing, waiting for Stiles to fill it again made his entire body flush.  He could hear himself growling as if he was hearing it from miles away.  Stiles was just looking at his most intimate place and seemed utterly fascinated, judging by how long he spent there, motionless.

Stiles brought the pad of one finger to trace around Peter's open hole, marveling at the way the puckered opening stayed open for him, waiting to draw him in.  He brought up another finger, wetting them in his mouth, and then continued circling around Peter's opening, tapping his fingers around the needy flesh.  Something in his mind urged him to pinch down on the wrinkled rim and pull, just to see more of the inside of Peter's body and feel him jerk in his hands, but Stiles figured that could wait for another day when Peter was more prepared for rough play.  Stiles brought his two wet fingers back to Peter's rim and traced them around the inside of the hole, completely transfixed by the way Peter's body accepted him.  A rogue twitch of his dick reminded him that he had another task at hand.

Stiles brought the head of his dick back to Peter's hole and pushed inside, sighing contentedly when Peter's body offered no resistance.  Unable to hold himself back any longer, Stiles thrust long and deep, burying himself in Peter as far as he could go.  Stiles' hands came up to Peter's hips and pulled him even closer, trying to join them together as tightly as possible.  Peter just let out an undignified grunt, relishing in the way Stiles' balls slapped against his body.

Stiles found a rhythm and gave several long, slow thrusts into Peter's body.  Peter gasped on every push, hearing his own breath heavy and wet in the otherwise silent room.  Silent.  It finally dawned on Peter that Stiles hadn't made a noise in the last half hour.  Besides a few heavy breaths coming out of Stiles when he orgasmed, Peter's was the only voice in the room.  Determined to make his mate moan, Peter thrust his ass backward, hard.  Stiles' fingers tightened around his hips as he thrust a little faster, but he still hadn't made a peep.

Completely baffled by his mate's lack of verbal response, Peter ground his hips back into Stiles', rolling them in a move that was sure to get his attention, but still nothing.  Peter couldn't understand what was happening.  Apart from Stiles' scent in the room, it could have been anyone that was buried in his ass right now.  He had to say something.

"Stiles?" Peter questioned, stilling his movement and turning his head so that his words could be heard.  "I need you to make some noise.  I can't even tell if you're enjoying yourself, and it's starting to scare me that I can't hear you babbling."

By way of response, Stiles slammed his hips into Peter's body so hard, that the headboard smacked against the wall.  "It's not my fault that your ass is so tight my mind completely shut off."

There he was.  There was the snark that Peter was missing.  Now the fun could really begin.  Stiles got his rhythm back and began slamming into him with some speed.  Peter was about to say something when Stiles' rough voice cut him off.

"Your body is fucking distracting.  It's like it was made for me, my dick, your hole, they were just waiting for me to fill you up."  Peter gasped as Stiles' dick grazed his prostate, pulling his attention back to his own throbbing erection.

"You just taste so good Peter, the way you came all over my hand.  God, your come," he said, moaning shamelessly.  "I couldn't decide if I wanted to taste it or rub it into my body.  You feel so good, hot and tight and holding me just right," he growled, finding the angle that made Peter gasp and nailing it with such precision, Peter would have thought he had been doing it his whole life.

"The way your hole feels around my fingers.  I could finger fuck you for hours.  I want your dick in my mouth, ramming down my throat, making me breathe you in.  Your hole is amazing, Peter.  I want to stick my tongue in it, eat you out until you're begging me to come, then eat you out some more.  I'll keep you on the edge for hours.  You won't be allowed to come until you beg me with your pretty mouth."  Peter should have known Stiles wouldn't be able to stop talking once he got going, but he had no idea it was going to be like this.

"Your skin is perfect, and your ass belongs to me," Stiles said through clenched teeth, speeding up his thrusts until he was pushing Peter up the bed a little with every stroke.  "I want to get my teeth around that hot little pucker and pull.  I want to come so deep in your ass you're smelling like me for weeks.  I want to watch it drip out of your hole and then push it back in with my fingers.  Fuck you on my fingers until you come again and again, until you're coming dry, jerking against your tight abs.  I'm going to eat my come out of your ass and then make you lick it out of my mouth.  And you're going to love it Peter, you're going to love every second of it, because you're mine."

"Yours," Peter sobbed, eyes watering with the tension that was building in his body.  He panted, open-mouthed into the pillow and just hung on for dear life as Stiles rammed into him.

"I'm going to ruin your ass, Peter.  You're never going to want anyone other than me.  You're going to be on your knees for me every night because you just love having my dick in your mouth.  Aren't you?"

"Yes," Peter gasped, shocking even himself as he felt his fangs descend.  He was losing control.  Thank God he was ass up, face down in the mattress right now.

"Then you're going to push your big, fat knot into my ass and stuff me full.  I'm going to milk myself on your knot, riding your cock for hours.  You’re going to breed me, stuff me so full of come it’s leaking out around your knot.  Then I'm gonna throw my head back and let you bite my neck.  You want that, Peter?  You want that?  Tell me you want it."

Peter's entire body seized at Stiles' words, as he came, untouched.  His ass clenched and his abs locked tight as rope after rope of thick come landed on Stiles' bed sheets.  Stiles pounded into him, nailing his prostate, forcing more and more come to shoot out of his cock, drenching the bed.  Then Peter felt it, Stiles pulsing deep within his body, fingers clenching so tight on his hips that he could have sworn he would have had bruises.  Stiles' body collapsed, mouth landing on Peter's shoulder and biting sharply, bringing Peter's body back to the present.

"Oh my God," Peter whimpered, spitting bits of pillow case out of his mouth.  He brought his hand to his face, pulling a few threads out from between his teeth.  Stiles was really glad Peter was face down on the bed if that was the kind of action his neck would have gotten otherwise.  "You're never allowed to be quiet in bed, ever again," Peter said, voice gravely and broken sounding.

"I promise," Stiles muttered, pulling out of Peter and rolling over onto his side, throwing an arm around his mate's waist and nuzzling his face into Peter's thick neck.  "We're gonna do that every day, right?" Stiles asked, sleepily mouthing at the side of Peter's neck.

"You're going to be the death of me, sweet thing," Peter rumbled low in his chest, pulling Stiles' arms tighter around his body.  He could feel himself drifting off when an all too familiar noise sounded in the distance.  Lydia was screaming again.

"Someone sure knows how to ruin the afterglow," Stiles mumbled, sighing heavily.

Stiles jumped out of the bed almost immediately, grabbing his phone to text Lydia with one hand while the other pulled a towel out of his laundry pile to start cleaning Peter and himself off a bit.  Before Peter even processed what was happening, Stiles was already pulling his jeans up his slim legs and rummaging around for a clean shirt.  

"Where do you think you're going?" Peter asked, stretching out with one arm behind his head.  "We've got more snuggling to do."

"I have to go find Lydia and see who is dead," Stiles answered immediately, pulling a tee shirt over his head and checking his phone again before shoving it in his pocket.  

"You're leaving this bedroom to go hunt down a serial killer with no idea who it is or where they might be hiding?" Peter asked, trying to get Stiles to understand how completely ridiculous that sounded.  

"Lydia is my friend, and she is completely freaking out right now, and if we are ever going to find out who is doing this and what they want, we need information sooner rather than later."

"I'll go, you should stay here," Peter offered, rubbing the towel over his body and rushing to dress himself.

"Are you fucking kidding me Peter?  You can't stop me."

"Stiles, please.  I don't want you getting hurt."  Stiles couldn't believe Peter was trying to pull this protective crap on him again.  He could fucking shoot fire out of his palms.  He wasn't some defenseless little human anymore, and it was time Peter understood that.

"Peter," Stiles called, getting his attention as Peter was pulling his shirt back on. "Remember this?" Stiles flicked a lighter on and opened his hand, a ball of fire sitting in his palm.  "What makes you think I can't defend myself?"

Peter stared for a minute, getting lost in the red gleam of Stiles' eyes.  He looked so beautiful when he was wielding his power.  Peter found it sexy as hell.  "Sometimes I forget," Peter admitted softly, walking toward Stiles and reaching to put his fingers around Stiles' wrist.  Peter brought Stiles' fire filled hand up to his face and blew lightly until the flame went out.  "It's just instinct.  My wolf wants to lock you in a tower sometimes."

Peter sighed and rubbed his hands over the stubble on his chin.  "Let's go together," he compromised.  Stiles smiled and reached for Peter's hand, pulling him out of the bedroom.

Chapter Text

Peter never thought he would ever find himself in this particular place, but nevertheless, he was sitting on a divan couch in Lydia Martin's bedroom, waiting patiently as Stiles comforted his friend.  Lydia had actually found the body this time, and Stiles knew what those bodies could look like.  She had left her bedroom without noticing, just walking right out the front door with no shoes on and before she knew it, she was walking straight into a puddle of blood.  Luckily the Sheriff had been called to the scene and was able to smooth over why Lydia was there in the first place.  It looked pretty suspicious, a young woman in her pajamas and bare feet managing to walk right into a crime scene.

The victim this time was none other than Jake Fairfield, the manwhore of the Sophomore class at Beacon Hills high, so there was no denying that he didn't fit in with the current pattern.  Unless there was some crazy Easy-A shit going on in town, the murderer had changed their game, and they had to figure out why.

Peter wished he had brought his guitar to pass the time.  He didn't know why he had really stayed in the first place, subjecting himself to a full hour of Lydia whimpering on his boyfriend's shoulder.  The murderer wasn't going after virgins anymore, and while Peter wasn't regretting the amazing sex they had just had, he also didn't want to let Stiles go home alone until they figured out what the murderer's game was this time.

Lydia's emotions had finally gone from fear to anger and determination and she and Stiles were currently locked in a debate over whether or not this kid Jake could have faked his entire slutty reputation.

"I really can't do much with one data point," Stiles was arguing with her, beginning to pace the room and chewing on a pen he had gotten off of Lydia's desk.

"Looks like we're just going to have to wait for someone else to die," Peter said cheerfully, getting out of his seat, hoping the evening was over.

"Don't sound so excited about it," Lydia huffed, sitting back on her bed.

"I'm not excited, I'm cautiously optimistic," Peter said, steepling his fingers together.

"Go home," Lydia told them both, pulling her comforter down her bed.  "There's nothing more we can do tonight, and I need some beauty sleep.  We'll check with Deaton and maybe Mr. Argent tomorrow."

“You're going to be alright?  Your mom isn't even home," Stiles asked, rubbing a large, warm palm up and down Lydia's back.  She just rolled her eyes and motioned for Stiles to turn off the lights and lock the door on his way out.

"Okay," Stiles said, pulling his hoodie back on.  He was much more careful with it than he used to be with his old one.  The last one had been a cheap Target purchase, but this one was not only a gift from Peter, it was a gift that might one day save his life.  "See you tomorrow."

Peter grabbed Stiles' hand and pulled him out of the room.  "You know," Stiles mused, "you could tone down the murder face every once in a while."

"I do not have a murder face," Peter protested.

"Your resting face is a murder face.  You have perpetual homicide face."

"Fine, well you have resting blow job face," Peter shot right back.

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Stiles asked, incredulous.

"It means whenever you aren't talking, you're almost always fellating something, and it's fucking distracting."

"Oh, you like that, huh?" Stiles said with a smirk, and Peter already knew what kind of dirty talk that mouth was capable of, and it was a school night.  He wasn't starting all over again with Stiles tonight.

"Come on, let's get you home."

"You didn't answer the question," Stiles sing-songed back at Peter.

"That's because you already know the answer.  I'm not giving you the satisfaction."

"I gave you the satisfaction earlier," Stiles reminded him.

"That you did."

 

***

 

Stiles had barely been in his bedroom for twenty minutes before Peter was climbing into his window.

"What are you doing here?" Stiles asked, "I thought you said it was a school night."

"It is a school night, but that isn't stopping Derek from fucking Jennifer loudly in the loft.  I hope Isaac and Cora had the good sense to get out of there before that started going down."

"Oh gross," Stiles said, pulling a face.

"So as happy as I am that Derek has reentered the land of the sociable and sex having, I don't want to listen to it.  Can I stay here tonight?"

"I guess," Stiles said, pulling his hoodie and shoes off.  "I'm 18 now, so we managed to follow all of Dad's rules.  I'm so proud."

"He told me that I would have to hold you off, and I did."

"He did not."

"Oh, yes he did."

"Well I guess it was for the best, but I don't like knowing that my dad thought I would be the sexual predator in this relationship," Stiles said, going for his fly and pulling his jeans down.

"Have you ever seen The Sound of Music?" Peter asked, a complete non-sequitur as far as Stiles was concerned.

"Yeah, my mom loved musicals, all types of movies really," Stiles said, going to his dresser to pull out her original Star Wars tee shirt to sleep in.

"You know the song How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"

"Are you comparing me to a singing nun right now?" Stiles asked, shocked, as he changed his shirt.

"Governess.  To be fair, she never actually did become a nun."

"I am not a problem-child, almost-nun.  What the hell is wrong with you?"

"I'm not calling you a nun, I'm just saying that you are a puzzle that no one person can solve."

"Well I still think that was the weirdest movie reference either one of us has ever made, and I'm including that string of Twilight pot shots."

"You do sort of have seven children," Peter mused, silently counting off the Betas on his fingers.

"I am not the pack dad," Stiles argued, pulling up his flannel pajama bottoms.  Peter really needed to take this man shopping.

"No," Peter replied, "I wasn't suggesting you were.  Derek is clearly the pack dad.  You're the pack mom."

"The fuck I am!" Stiles had to disagree.  He was nobody's mother, least of all Jackson and Isaac's.

"Well definitely not in the traditional ‘coddling and sandwich making’ way, although you do cook for them a lot.  I meant more in the defend you to the death, nearly get killed trying to rescue you kind of way."  Peter cocked his head to the side, assessing his mate for a moment.  "You're a wolf.  Just like the rest of us.  But whereas I would leave them all for dead if it meant saving you, you actually care about them all."

"I guess.  But as I recall, you're the one that makes the best sandwiches."

"Well if we get married one day, we can share custody with Derek, I suppose."

"Is that something you would want?" Stiles couldn't stop his mouth from asking.  He wanted to reach into the air and shove the words back into his mouth, but it was too late.  He turned his back on Peter, busying himself with pulling off his socks, not wanting Peter to see his reaction.

"Eventually.  Maybe you should get through high school first, though," was Peter's only response.  

Sometimes Peter had to remind himself that this captivating, beautiful, fascinating man was still a teenager.  Stiles had already grown up so fast in the last two years, constantly taking on more and more responsibility, shifting his priorities to care for others before himself.  Peter couldn’t bring himself to push Stiles any further.  He was already spread so thin, shouldering the burden of finding whoever had been sacrificing virgins.  Asking Stiles to give up even more of himself, to Peter, or to anyone, seemed like too much.  

Stiles let out a heavy exhale and a short nod.  Figuring that was as much as he could expect from the conversation at the given time, Stiles turned off the light and settled into bed.  He let out a contented sigh when Peter wrapped a muscular arm around him and laid a palm on his chest.  The sex was amazing, and he loved kissing Peter, but the spooning was definitely something he could get used to.

 

***

 

After school the next day Stiles walked into a shouting match at Derek's loft.  Judging by the way Cora kept dramatically rolling her eyes, Stiles had to conclude that she was the losing party.  Not only was the anger and fear audible, Stiles could feel the anxiety rolling off of Derek.  He was terrified.

"I can't protect everyone all the time, Cora!" Derek was yelling at his sister.

"I can take care of myself!" She yelled back.

"It's not just ourselves we have to think about.  I have Jennifer now, and the rest of the pack.  I can't focus on my reckless little sister."

"You're really putting Jennifer before the rest of your pack?" Peter was honestly confused.  Had Derek really fallen that hard that fast?  Derek's trust issues had trust issues.  There was no way he was feeling that strongly about her.

"Did you even let her in on the family secret yet?" Peter chimed in, needing to know how far Derek had gone with the woman.  If he had exposed the pack without consulting him, they were going to have a big problem.

"No," Derek assured them, hoping to win back a little goodwill.  "I wanted to get rid of the present threat before we got anyone else involved."

"I just don't see why you're trying to send me away," Cora said rationally, crossing her arms and setting her stance.

"I do."  Everyone turned to look at Peter, not believing his words.

"You do?" Stiles asked, wondering what Peter's angle was.

"Yes, I do," Peter said, flopping on the couch and folding his fingers on top of his stomach.  "Last time we went up against these Alphas Stiles almost died, Jackson was permanently disfigured, and the rest of us barely made it out alive, including you.  I'm thinking this is an entirely different threat on top of the other one and we don't even know what it is or what they want yet.  There are too many variables in this equation, and we need to remove one."

"I'm not a variable.  I'm your niece, not a piece in your stupid fucking chess game!" Cora yelled back, eyes flashing yellow at her uncle.

"I'm only trying to say that if I thought I could actually make him go, I would send Stiles away, too.  At least until the threat is neutralized."

"You're such a dweeb," Stiles said, laughing as he curled up next to Peter on the couch.  "I love you anyway though."

"Do you have to do that here?" Isaac asked, stomping down the iron staircase.

"This is my home as well," Peter said, "so yes, I will love my boyfriend wherever I like."

"Where are you trying to send her anyway?"

"Back to Ecuador," Cora sighed.  Stiles almost expected her to give Derek a patented Lydia Martin hair flip, but she actually just continued staring down her brother, completely ignoring Isaac's question.

"I could go with you," Isaac offered, a little too eager.

"No," everyone echoed through the loft.  Peter had just rolled his eyes.  Stiles was starting to think it was something that the Hales learned in utero.

"You're staying here and graduating high school.  Cora already has her GED."

"At least give her something useful to do," Peter suggested, eyes focused on Stiles' fingers that were currently fluttering in between his.

"Like what?" Derek asked, biceps bulging out of his tee shirt with the sheer force of his crossed arms.

"Have her go north and talk to some of our old allies.  If we can't stop this threat ourselves, we're going to need some help, and right now, there's no one for us to call on."

"Do you even know who we should be talking to?" Derek asked, intrigued and relieved that someone had made a useful suggestion.  Stiles could feel his mind start to relax minute by minute.

"I could make a list of the Alphas Talia used to be in contact with that live in the North."

"Would you do that?" Derek asked, turning to Cora, tone betraying the hopefulness he felt at Peter's suggestion.

"I guess," she said, sighing heavily and actually flipping her long brown hair this time as she turned her back on her brother, going to stare out the window.

"Just for a little while," Derek pleaded, or came as close to pleading as Derek got, "until we can be sure it is safe.  You should still finish your college applications."

"I'll finish them if I actually decide to go to college, don't get on my ass about it.  What should I even say to them?" She asked, turning toward Peter.

"I'll come up with something," he said, and then leveled his niece with a stern look, "but I don't want you to say anything about Stiles' Mage powers.  That's the kind of thing people would want to see for themselves."

"Why?" Stiles asked, squeezing Peter's fingers a little tighter.

"I'm not sure there's another Fire Mage on the West Coast.  There might be only a handful in the entire country.  Your gift is rare, and some packs might see you as something of a collectible."

"I don't like the sound of that," Stiles said, catching Derek's eye when he felt his anxiety ratchet up a notch.  

"They'll hear about you eventually," Peter said, patting Stiles' hand fondly, "but we want them to have a healthy fear of you so they won't come looking before you've got full control of your powers.  The pack is not yet strong enough to battle on any more fronts."

"He's right," Derek agreed, moving to the window to put an arm around his sister.  "Don't let on anything, but tell them we have a new Emissary and are looking to make allies again.  We may not have much in the way of numbers, but we do have two Alphas, and that's more than any other packs can say."

"We haven't even tried to kill each other yet," Peter said, smirking at Derek.

"Well that's not technically true," he replied.

"Not this year, anyway," Stiles chimed in happily.  Stiles' phone began playing an overly digital version of Material Girl, and he knew Lydia was calling.

"Hello?"

Stiles always found it amusing that the wolves didn't even bother trying to pretend they couldn't hear the person on the other line when anyone got a phone call.  They were the least subtle wolves in the world.  It was a wonder everyone in town didn't know about their little ragtag pack.

"Another sacrifice?" Stiles asked, "That's just fucking wonderful.  I'll meet you there."  He looked to the rest of the group, sliding his phone back in his jeans pocket.  "Anyone want to make a trip to the Argents' house with me?"

"I'll come," Peter said immediately, getting off the couch.

"Me too," Derek agreed, heading for the door.

 

***

 

It was completely surreal, Stiles thought, that he was sitting in the Argents' living room sharing an actual cup of tea with two werewolves, a banshee, and a seasoned werewolf hunter who had personally shot at both of the wolves in present company.  Lydia, demure as ever, just sipped on her cup, legs crossed primly.  Derek scowled at the sugar bowl like it had personally offended him, while Peter sat back in the corner of the couch like he owned the place, teacup balanced perfectly on the knee of one crossed leg.  Stiles tapped his feet rhythmically against the carpet, patting his hands against his knees and waiting to see who would be the first to speak.

Lydia, fearless as always, broke the silence.  "Do you know anything about these sacrifices that would help us find who is doing it?" she asked Argent, pausing to sip her tea again.

"I wasn't sure until this last one, but yes, I think I do."

"Please," Peter said, waving his hand, "go on."

"It's an ancient Druidic ritual to gain strength and power.  One must make three sacrifices in each of the five categories.  The first was virgins, which is what threw me off.  There are all sorts of people who think virgin sacrifice is a good idea, even regular old humans.  But the last two, that boy was in Air Force ROTC, and Harris was an ex-Marine, those are warrior sacrifices."

"So there will be one more person in that category?" Derek asked, finally piping in.

"I would think so, but there must be dozens of veterans living in Beacon Hills, I don't know how we would be able to find and protect them all."

"I can ask my dad to look them up, but I don't see how any of his officers would be any match for whoever is doing this, especially if they're a druid."

"That is a problem," Chris agreed, pouring more tea for Lydia and Peter, who held out his cup politely.

"What are the other three categories?" Lydia asked, hoping there would be some way to form a strategy around what remained of the ritual.

"If it's the one I'm thinking of, it will be guardians, healers, and scholars.  Each is an arm of a five-fold knot."

"Are those literal definitions, or are they open to interpretation?" Stiles asked, still wringing his fingers and completely ignoring his tea.

"I think they can be interpreted in any way the Druid wishes.  So scholars and guardians could be difficult to track.  We can have someone watch at the hospital for healers.  That one is fairly obvious, but we can't follow everyone home when they get off shift, so the Druid would just have to wait for their moment."

"I'm not sure we're going to have much luck tracking them down unless we could pinpoint who they were planning on sacrificing beforehand," Peter pondered, stirring sugar into his tea.

"So we are no closer to stopping these deaths than we were before," Derek said, always the downer of the group.

"We know that no one in the pack fits any of the categories," Stiles reminded him, anxious to at least find something useful in their new information.  "And we know we should keep a closer eye on Melissa.  Other than that, we're going to have to improvise."

"Maybe there is some sort of spell Deaton knows that can help track a magic user?" Lydia asked, still convinced there was a way to stop her from walking into classrooms and finding more dead bodies.

"We can stop there next," Derek said, already getting up from his seat, more than ready to leave the hunter's home.

"I'll keep looking and call you if I find anything," Chris assured them as he showed them out of the house.  "Look out for Allison when you're with her please," he requested, looking mostly at Stiles, knowing he was with Allison at school and had a few tricks up his sleeves now.

"Allison is pack," Derek said simply, walking right out the door.  He clearly didn't trust honor among hunters based on his experience with them.  They didn't understand his kind, treating them like a bunch of animals with no morals.  He would never let an innocent teenager come to harm, especially not one that had been manipulated by Kate just like he had been.  Derek couldn't understand how Chris could think he wouldn't watch out for his pack mates.

"We take care of our own," Peter agreed, exiting the house without a backward glance.

 

***

 

Not only had Deaton not had a tracking spell for them to use, but he was also supremely unhelpful in general.  He spent several minutes explaining why a Druid would employ the threefold death and then the next half hour warning them how dangerous a Darach could be.  He seemed to think that they should neutralize the Druid as quickly as possible but had absolutely no information that would help them do so.  As always, the fate of the people of Beacon Hills rested on the deductive skills of the resident pack of werewolves, and Stiles knew that the responsibility really laid with him and his legendary mystery cracking skills.  He had a long night of research ahead of him.

He searched through the neighborhood watch websites looking for any suspicious suspects and then moved on to checking with his tumblr coven of wiccans, asking if they had any tracking spells that might work on a Darach.  Not two hours into his internet binge, his father called to tell him that one of his officers was found dead in his home when he didn't come in for his night shift.  He easily confirmed that the man was a veteran of the Gulf War.

Stiles had no way of knowing which of the last three categories would be next, but warned his dad all the same.  The Darach's sacrifices were coming closer together, and they had very little time until the next body showed up.  His dad was already getting calls from the FBI, wanting to come into town and take over the investigation.  Stiles couldn't help but think they might as well.  It might put a few more people in between the Darach and his father, and as horrible as it was to think of, he'd prefer a stranger to die before his dad.  He couldn't lose both of his parents.  He wouldn't survive that.

As if the Sheriff had read his mind, he came home from the station an hour later, not being able to accomplish anything else before seeing the coroner's report.  John looked wearier than Stiles had ever seen him.  He wordlessly reached for the bottle of whiskey and didn't even feel guilty when he poured his father a glass.  After the day he had, he deserved a drink, even if it made Stiles nervous.

His father had done a lot of drinking near the end of his mother's life, when she had started being unable to recognize the two of them and then became violent, and the drinking didn't stop with her death.  There was a year and a half of late nights where Stiles would cook dinner and try to get his passed out father to wake up to eat a meal so he could sober up before work.  While Stiles didn't want a return to those dark days, he hoped one glass every once in a while wouldn't be enough to start the Sheriff on another downward spiral.  Stiles couldn't protect everyone from every threat.  Sometimes he just needed to believe that his father would be able to fight his inner demons himself while Stiles worked on the outer ones.

"Scholars, healers, and guardians," the Sheriff recited, taking a large gulp of whiskey and rolling the glass bottom back and forth on the table.

"Yeah," Stiles said, too tired to say anything more.

"And we don't know which set will be next?"

"No."

"And you have a Calc exam tomorrow?"

"Yes."

"Did you and Peter have sex?"

"Yes."

Stiles didn't even have the energy to be embarrassed about it.  There were bigger problems pressing on his mind than the fact that his father might be upset about his lack of virginity or his older boyfriend.

"That's good," the Sheriff mumbled, taking another sip.

"That's good!?" Stiles echoed, completely baffled by his father's response.

"I hope you would have said something if he had hurt you.  If not to me, then at least to Scott or Derek."

"Probably Lydia, if I'm being honest," Stiles said, kind of wishing he had thought to bring himself a glass so he could wallow in supernatural misery with his father.  "She would have put the fear of God into him.  Lydia is the only person I'm pretty sure can't be killed by a werewolf.  She has him scared shitless."

"Things are really serious between you two, aren't they?"

"Yeah, I mean, it feels pretty serious," Stiles had to agree.  Besides the constant threat of death by bludgeoning and strangulation, nothing in his life right now felt nearly as serious.  The Sheriff just nodded, pouring himself a bit more whiskey.

"Why are you so okay with this?"  Stiles really didn't get it.  He had a boyfriend who was twice his age, and he'd just admitted to having sex under his father's roof before he had graduated high school.  There was something wrong with this picture.

"Son," he started, rubbing a hand across his tired eyes, finding the right words, "I told you, you're as stubborn as your mother."  He smiled sadly, staring down into the bottom of his glass with a faraway look.  "If I had been really against you two, and you loved him, you wouldn't have listened to me.  You would have fought me, and then when I couldn't be swayed, you would have lied, and snuck around, and if I continued to push, I would have lost you like I almost did last year.  You would have ran away to be with him at the first sign of a fight."

Stiles opened his mouth to argue, but the Sheriff cut him off before he could get a word out.  "I know you wouldn't have wanted to, but you would have.  If I didn't respect your choices, you would have gone off to be with him anyway, and I would barely see you.  You'd be angry, and rebellious just like you were with Scott.  And I know you."

"I guess you do," Stiles agreed, laying a soft hand on his father's arm.

"I've seen nothing between you two that I have had a problem with.  He treats you well, and he loves you.  Yeah, he is way too old for you, but really, you would never have been happy with an airhead teenager, so it's really not all that surprising.  Are you happy?"

"I mean, if you don't count the string of supernatural deaths we're dealing with, and the Alpha pack that I nearly set on fire calling for my blood, yeah, I'm happy."

"That's all I want for you," the Sheriff said, not meeting Stiles' eyes but smiling all the same.  "If I could have had one more day with your mother, to have one more day of feeling that love?  I can't deny you that same thing.  She would have made me sleep on the couch if I made you miserable like that."

"I miss her too," Stiles whispered, watching a tear slip out of his father's eye.  Whiskey made the Stilinski men weepy, it was a well-documented fact of life.

"Are you going to do that thing with him?  The mating?" The Sheriff asked, wincing a bit.

"Umm, eventually?"  The Sheriff just nodded, as if that is what he expected.  "Maybe sooner rather than later, since it is looking less and less likely that I will make it out of high school alive.  Would you be okay with that?" Stiles asked, sheepishly, biting down on his bottom lip as he brought his eyes to his father.

"I can't say I'm thrilled you'd basically be getting married before you could legally drink at your own wedding, but I also don't think I'm particularly surprised by that either.  You're sure you know what you're doing?" he asked, not wanting to leave it at that.

"I know that I'm still young and there are a lot of other people out there, but it's just different with him.  My life is not turning out at all the way I thought it would, but it feels right.  I think he's it for me," Stiles said, internal mood brightening with another mental decision made.

"If you're sure," the Sheriff said, still not thrilled, but coming to terms with the idea much quicker than Stiles could have ever reasonably expected.

"I know I'm young, and this seems really fast, but people are dying every day, and I don't think I want to wait.  I'd rather enjoy the time I get to spend with him while we're both still alive to enjoy it, you know?"

"Yeah Stiles, I know," his father said, grief showing on his face.

"I'm sorry, Dad, that's not what I meant."

"No, it's fine, it's the same thing really, I get it."

"It's just, this is my pack, and this is my land to protect, and I can't see myself leaving it.  We're building a life here and I want to start living it."

"You don't need like witnesses to some weird ritual, do you?"

"What, oh God, no Dad, gross," Stiles said, grabbing the empty glass out of his father's hand and getting up to put it in the sink.

"I don't know, I've been skimming some of those weird books you have in your room and there is some crazy stuff in there."

"No, we will be doing that alone, and on our own terms, okay?"

"Okay,” the Sheriff agreed, trudging up the stairs to go to bed.  "Just, be careful and-- I love you, you know that right?"

"Yeah, Dad," Stiles said, rubbing the back of his head as he followed his father upstairs, "I love you too."

"Even if you're getting werewolf married to a guy who's mostly my age."

"I know," Stiles said, sighing as he went to his room.

 

 

Chapter Text

First it was their history teacher, then the local librarian.  Two scholars down, and the pack still couldn't find any way to predict who was going to die.  Derek was convinced this was Deucalion's doing; that he must be trying to amass even more power and make a calculated strike against them once all the sacrifices have been made.  Stiles had to vehemently disagree.  He didn't know how to explain it, but he could tell that there were two separate threats coming their way.  The Alpha Pack was already there, a dark cloud in the back of his mind, out of sight, just out of the corner of one eye, and it hasn't moved at all since the deaths started.  Whoever was making all the sacrifices was coming on much stronger, like a hurricane centered in the back of his mind, gaining speed and power with every passing day.  It was taking a toll on his mood, living with this darkness in his head.  Stiles was finding it very difficult to go on pretending that everything was fine.  When the head of the foreign language department turned up dead, they closed the school for the week, giving Stiles and the pack nothing else to distract themselves from their rising doom.

Before they knew it, it was Thanksgiving.  With the Sheriff and Melissa working night shifts, Stiles was too depressed and lazy to make any sort of effort cooking.  Instead they had settled on a dozen pizzas and a truly staggering amount of baked goods courtesy of Peter.  The pack met up at Stiles' house for a movie night.  

Stiles hadn’t been able to stop himself from inviting Scott over.  They had shared holidays ever since his dad left, and there was no way he could stand knowing that Melissa was at work and Scott was alone for Thanksgiving dinner, even if it was just a pile of pizzas.  

So, Scott had decided to cut Peter an inch of slack and attend with the others.  He was stiff and didn’t say much, but he was there.  They were only watching comedies this time, doing whatever possible to keep their minds off the now nine deaths that had occurred.  Stiles was doing his best to pretend that Derek hadn't brought Jennifer to their den.  The wolves were all on edge, unable to really relax when they were hiding their true nature.  Jennifer, to her credit, had been quiet all night, bringing a tray of snacks to share and then settling into the V of Derek's legs, leaning against his chest as they watched Legally Blonde.

The mood was tense, and Stiles put it down to the oddity of seeing Derek with a girl, soft smile on his face as he nuzzled her.  Stiles wasn't used to being out snuggled by another couple, he and Peter having been the reigning grossly romantic couple until now.  If Jennifer had a problem with one of her students dating her boyfriend's uncle, she didn't let it show.

When he really thought about it, he hadn't seen Allison and Scott kiss in several weeks.  The pressure of the Darach must have really been weighing on everyone.  Derek seemed oddly relaxed.  Maybe Cora's departure had actually allowed him to let his guard down a tiny bit, better able to focus on keeping his girlfriend safe.  When the credits of their first movie began to roll, Peter did what he did best, distracted the group with a song.

Stiles had to laugh at the thought.  Peter was the one who brought them together.  Peter was sharing something with the group, and now Jennifer, in an open and honest way that still shocked several of the wolves.  Remembering the last time Peter had played for the pack, Stiles hoped this song ended better.  He couldn't handle another fight with Peter right now.  Peter's constant presence in his mind was probably the only thing holding him together.  Derek's presence felt happy, but muffled, like he was in his own little blissed out world with Jennifer, a beautiful love bubble.  Stiles was happy for him, he really was, but Peter's reassuring calm was what he needed right now, and Stiles was happy to close his eyes and listen to Peter's skilled playing.

It was actually a little bit clumsy, Peter playing without the aid of his claws.  It was a little funny how his fingers tripped on the strings.  After a few bars, he gave up finger picking all together and settled for a rhythmic strum.  Stiles could see the frustration on his face at his subpar playing, but smiled, remembering the last time the group was together in his living room listening to Peter play.  Stiles had been singing Pack Up Your Sorrows and his father had been swinging Lydia around their makeshift dance floor.  The difference in mood between the two days was incredible.  Stiles settled in to listen as Peter sang.

 

"There's a rhythm in rush these days

Where the lights don't move and the colors don't fade

Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams

In a world gone shallow

In a world gone lean

 

Sometimes there's things a man cannot know

Gears won't turn and the leaves won't grow

There's no place to run and no gasoline

Engine won't turn

And the train won't leave

 

Engines won't turn and the train won't leave"

 

Stiles was surprised, Peter was singing another song he had never heard of, and yet, he had somehow fit the mood perfectly.  It was low and quiet, a different tone than he usually had.  Stiles had to wonder if they would ever get back to that place again, the carefree feeling of living without fear.   

 

"I will stay with you tonight

Hold you close 'til the morning light

In the morning watch a new day rise

We'll do whatever just to stay alive

We'll do whatever just to stay alive"

 

That was really what it felt like these days.  They weren't living, they were hiding.  They were doing whatever they could just to stay alive.  And what a life it was.  They all had scars, some more visible than others.  Jackson's life would never be the same, and while he was the most obvious example, Stiles had gotten more scars in the last three months than he had in the entire rest of his life.  Erica and Boyd; they would never forget what had happened to them.  Stiles had never even tried to ask how long they were being held by the Alphas, but as he could attest, any length of time was too long.  Even if their scars faded, the pain remained.  

 

"Well the way I feel is the way I write

It isn't like the thoughts of the man who lies

There is a truth and it's on our side

Dawn is coming

Open your eyes

Look into the sun as the new days rise"

 

Stiles looked around the room, taking in the group.  Lydia and Erica were mostly silent, but gesturing violently at each other between several DVD cases.  It looked like Lydia was trying to convince Erica that The Notebook was a comedy, but Boyd wasn't having any of that, judging by the tight look on his face.  Jackson seemed to be having one of his quiet days and was sitting a bit removed from the group, staring absently at the bookshelf, eyes unfocused.  Boyd nudged his leg with one foot, pulling him back into the present with an understanding nod.  Jackson met his eyes with a quirk of the lips, not a smile, but a soft look of recognition.  

Isaac, Allison, and Scott were listening to the music, but Allison was sitting further from Scott and closer to Isaac.  Stiles wondered when that had happened.  Derek pressed his lips to the side of Jennifer's head as they both watched Peter play.  If he wasn't still preoccupied by the oddness of Derek's mental signature, he might have thought they were a cute couple.  This was certainly the oddest holiday Stiles had ever celebrated, and that included the infamous Fireworks Incident of '02.

 

"And I will wait for you tonight

You're here forever and you're by my side

I've been waiting all my life

To feel your heart as it's keeping time

We'll do whatever just to stay alive"

 

Stiles looked back to Peter and admired his mate.  He was going to ask Peter to mate with him tonight.  It was time.  Death was all around them, and Stiles knew he would be a fool to wait a day longer.  He looked at his mate and smiled.  Peter's eyes were closed as he repeated the same six words.  Stiles could tell he was speaking directly to him.

 

"Dawn is coming

Open your eyes

Dawn is coming

Open your eyes

Dawn is coming

Open your eyes

Dawn is coming

Open your eyes

 

Look into the sun as the new days rise"

 

Peter opened his eyes and looked at Stiles.  His Stiles.  He couldn't wait to make it official.  Peter had been horribly jealous of what Talia and Eric had.  He had never asked Savannah, and never resented her for her decision, at least not consciously, but the fact that Stiles was not only willing but eager to be his mate for the rest of his life was an amazing feeling.  It was indescribable.  Peter knew that the pack bond deepened when two wolves mated, and he hoped there would be something different about his and Stiles' connection after they had joined.  He had never asked Talia for details, but he knew it just had to be something profound.

 

"There's a rhythm in rush these days

Where the lights don't move and the colors don't fade

Leaves you empty with nothing but dreams

In a world gone shallow

In a world gone lean

 

But there is a truth and it's on our side

Dawn is coming open your eyes

Look into the sun as a new days rise"

 

Peter ended the song a cappella, strumming his last chord a few lines beforehand.  His voice had this odd quality to it that night.  It sounded almost, smoky?  Was that a vocal descriptor?   Stiles couldn't think of a better word.  Looking at Peter sometimes made him dumb, stealing the words right out of his head.  He caught a glimpse of Jennifer out of the corner of his eye, smiling serenely as the song ended.  It occurred to him that he knew next to nothing about her, and she definitely didn't know anything about them.  They were probably just a bunch of dumb students to her, she had no idea that she was sitting amongst actual wolves and other supernatural creatures.

Eager to brighten the mood even further, Stiles asked, "One more?" And Peter was kind enough to comply.  The rest of the wolves perked up, recognizing the song and turning back toward Peter.  The wolf nodded at Stiles, asking him to take the lead.  Stiles knew Peter preferred singing only for him, so he didn't hesitate in helping out his mate.

 

"Hold on, to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you're not alone

Cause I'm going to make this place your home"

 

Luckily, the song was really popular and Stiles actually knew all of the words.  He wondered when the time would come that Stiles wouldn't know what Peter was trying to say when he started to play a song. He hoped that day never came.  Somehow it was always clear to Stiles what Peter was getting at.  The man could argue someone to death, but when it came to talking about feelings, he clammed up unless he was communicating through music.

The pack was looking for security and safety in numbers, and they had found it in the Stilinski house and in each other.  The pack was a home, and Peter was building them a literal home.  It was only a matter of time before they actually had a safe place of their own.  Peter had said it would be a fortress, and right now, Stiles could think of nothing better.

 

"Settle down, it'll all be clear

Don't pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone

Cause I'm going to make this place your home"

 

When the song reached the interlude, Stiles was pleased to hear several voices joining his own.  First Peter, then Allison, and Scott.  Poor Derek was horribly tone deaf, but he hummed along anyway, rocking Jennifer softly in his lap.  Erica had her eyes closed, snuggled tight into Boyd's chest with Isaac resting his head on her thigh.

Maybe he was the pack mom.  Stiles looked over at Jackson.  The Beta was on the road to recovery, but there were still days that Stiles could see the pain on his face and feel his anguish through the pack bond.  All he wanted to do was make it better.  Jackson had literally walked into fire to help him, and Stiles knew that he would always do his best to return the favor.  Right now though, they were facing an invisible threat.  There was no fire to throw themselves into, no fight to start.  It was only pressure, closing in all around them, inching into their minds and their hearts.  

Stiles' own mind was a tempest.  The walls were closing in and the air was getting thicker, and Stiles knew it was reaching a fever pitch.  It felt more like a pending apocalypse than he ever thought he would experience.  He was Morgan Freeman in Deep Impact and there was a wave coming that he could do nothing to stop.

 

"Settle down, it'll all be clear

Don't pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone

Cause I'm going to make this place your home"

 

Watching Peter play through the last set of chords as the pack voices swelled around him brought a small sense of calm and warmth to his overtaxed mind.  He was pleased to hear Scott playing along.  Stiles supposed fear could either bring out the best or the worst in people, he was just lucky that Scott was trying.  He wasn't sure it would last past the current crisis, but he could hope.  Stiles was giving Scott a pass for the holiday, but he was still fuming on the inside, waiting for the apology he deserved.  

Peter put his guitar away as the pack settled in for their second movie.  Getting lost in the mindless fun of Dodgeball gave Stiles time for his mind to wander.  As usual, Peter was at the forefront of his mind.  Work was going well on the new house and Peter was fairly confident they would be spending Christmas in their new home.  Since the Sheriff always had to take at least one holiday shift, Stiles was usually alone for at least half of the day on Christmas.  He was looking forward to having the whole pack together for the occasion.  He pictured cooking a big Christmas meal with Peter in their new kitchen and smiled into the wolf's neck, nuzzling in.  Stiles couldn't wait for the movie to be over so he could be alone with his mate.

As if he were reading Stiles’ mind, Peter pressed his lips to Stiles’ ear and whispered, “Tonight?” as he squeezed down on Stiles’ throat where his future mating bite would be.

“Please,” Stiles replied, pressing down on the hand on his neck, letting Peter know he understood.  He was glad that he and Peter were finally on the same page.

None too soon the pack was filing out Stiles' front door, Scott promising he would make sure Lydia got home safely and watch his mother closely.  Stiles gave him a Tupperware full of cookies for Melissa, shrugging when Scott asked why there were so many.  They had already eaten at least a dozen each.  Stiles brushed him off.  He didn't really feel like explaining about Peter's stress baking, he just wanted everybody out of his house.  After closing the door on the last the group, Stiles put his back against the blinds and sighed, "Finally."

"Upstairs, now," Peter growled, all but lunging at his mate and grabbing two handfuls of his ass.  Stiles didn't need to be told twice.  He hopped in the air and wrapped his legs around Peter's waist, knowing the wolf would catch him with ease.  Stiles clung to Peter's hard, compact body like a spider monkey, attaching his mouth to the side of Peter's neck as he was carried up the stairs.

"I've been dying to get my mouth on you for hours," Peter said, dropping Stiles onto the mattress with a bounce.

"Clothes," Stiles said, jumping right back off the bed to start attacking Peter's shirt, "there needs to be one hundred thousand percent less clothing right now."  Stiles was frantic, hands wandering quickly all over Peter's abs.  Peter let out a low hiss when Stiles' teeth came down on the curve of one of his pecs.  This was what Peter had been missing the last time Stiles had initiated sex.  There was no fear this time, only intensity and confidence.  His mate was so beautiful when he was in control.

Peter's hands found Stiles' belt and swiftly removed it, pulling a little to get his button open.  His hands trailed upward under Stiles' shirt, easing it over his shoulders.  Stiles' mouth was still occupied with Peter's chest, and he was having trouble getting the garment off.  Not expecting Stiles to stop sucking on his nipples anytime soon, Peter tickled his mate's side until he dislodged his mouth to laugh.

"Cheater!" Stiles said, allowing Peter to finally remove his tee, still with a smile on his face.

"It's not cheating," Peter protested with a smirk, "it's strategy."

"Whatever you say.  Now take off your pants."

"Pushy, pushy," Peter said, but started removing his jeans nonetheless.

"Oh babe, I can be the pushiest bottom you've ever seen," Stiles joked, running his hands along his now bare chest, taunting Peter.

"Not tonight.  Tonight you let me set the pace.  I don't want to hurt you."

"Fine, fine," Stiles agreed, beginning to pull off his own pants.  "But next time it's my pace."

"Let me do that," Peter requested, taking a few steps closer to Stiles so he could get to work on Stiles' fly.  He peeled the skinny jeans off Stiles' thighs, sliding down to his knees as the fabric descended.  His mouth chased his palms down, down, down, running lips and tongue over Stiles' lightly furred thighs, knees, and calves, causing the man to squirm.  He gently pulled Stiles' socks off, tapping each ankle so he would lift up each foot in turn.  Peter was being so careful with him, apparently the Alpha knew how to be romantic without music.

When the two of them were left with only their underwear, Stiles surged forward, capturing Peter's mouth in a searing kiss.  Peter reached down to get his hands back around Stiles' ass, lifting one side, and then the other, encouraging Stiles to wrap each of his legs around Peter's waist once more.  Instead of heading directly for the bed, Peter pushed Stiles' back against the bedroom door, unable to resist the cliché.

Peter sucked hard on the side of Stiles' neck like he had never allowed himself before.  Stiles ground down onto Peter as much as he could with his limited leverage, frustrated by the lack of friction on his dick, but enjoying the way Peter was growling into his neck anyway.

"You gonna bite me, big guy?" Stiles asked, a little breathless.  Peter took his sweet time answering, mouth reluctant to leave Stiles' skin.

"Not until I'm deep inside you," he growled, setting his teeth around Stiles' earlobe and biting down gently.

"Well you're not getting in my ass over here," Stiles pointed out, rocking his hips forward into Peter.  "Bring me over to the bed."

"What did I say about you bossing me around?" Peter said, voice low in Stiles' ear.

"You said your pace," Stiles teased, bouncing on the bed when Peter dropped him, "you didn't say anything about taking orders.  And I'm ordering you to fuck me," Stiles dropped his voice low and said slowly into his ear, "at your pace."

"And if my pace is painfully slow?" Peter said, climbing over Stiles to straddle his lap.

"Then I suppose 'painfully slow' will have to do," Stiles said, smirking wickedly as Peter rubbed his hands up and down Stiles' sides.   Peter hooked his thumbs into Stiles' boxer briefs, rubbing them in circles over the sharp points of his hip bones.  If he was going to make this 'painfully slow' he figured he should probably start as soon as possible.  He got a grip on the waistband with his teeth and slowly pulled them down, stopping when the elastic strained across Stiles' dick.  Peter liked the look of that, soft head poking out while Stiles' balls and the base of his cock strained against the tight fabric.

Peter inched his head down, keeping eye contact with Stiles as he sucked the tip of Stiles' cock into his mouth.  Stiles stared at him, eyes wide and mouth gaping as Peter tongued at his slit, humming when the taste hit his tongue.  Lowering his head with a satisfied smile, Peter pushed his nose into the curve between Stiles' thigh and balls, nuzzling in with a deep inhale.

"You really like that, huh?" Stiles said dopily with a lopsided grin.  Peter hummed in agreement, nudging in closer and breathing in again.  "What do I smell like?"

Peter took his sweet time answering that, first spending a minute pushing his face into Stiles' other thigh and sucking a hickey into the creamy flesh.  "You smell like sweat," he began listing, punctuating each item with a small nip to Stiles' inner thigh.  "You smell like the forest, and the moon, and pears, and strong, hoppy beer," Peter continued, scraping his stubble across Stiles' skin.  "And you smell like mine.  My Stiles.  My mate.  My Przemysław."

Stiles didn't realize he had been holding his breath while Peter spoke until he tried to inhale and realized he couldn't breathe in anymore.  Peter continued mouthing at his thighs, but his head was swimming, dancing over the list Peter had made for him, and turning each word over in his mind.  Peter had said he smelled like the moon.  It was like he was Peter's entire universe; maybe he was.  What a head rush that was.  He was the moon, he pulled at Peter's tide, the ebb and swell of his very existence.  He almost didn't notice when Peter pulled on the legs of his shorts until his cock sprang free, smacking his stomach with a bounce and leaving a smear of fluid just above his navel.

Peter wasted no time in licking the precum from Stiles' abdomen, trailing his tongue down again, lapping at the head of Stiles' dick until he had gotten every last drop off of his skin.  Then he went further, letting his tongue lave Stiles' shaft and the base of his cock where it met his balls.  He sucked one into his mouth, and then the other, rolling them lightly with his tongue and pulling a gasp out of Stiles' mouth.  Tempted to surge upward and suck the gasp right out Stiles' lungs, instead Peter decided to continue his journey downward, licking a stripe up Stiles' perineum until he caught the bottom of his sack, lifting it up with his tongue and letting it drop back down.

Stiles breath was coming out in hot, heavy pants that sounded much too loud in the quiet bedroom.  Peter licked up the cut of his hip and ran it back up Stiles' cock, sucking at the head once more.  "Flip over for me, gorgeous," Peter rasped, hands coming up to cup one of Stiles' ass cheeks to nudge him over.  "I think I remember hearing something about rimming until you were begging for it.  How does that sound?"

"Fucking amazing," Stiles groaned, rolling onto his stomach and clutching a pillow to his chest.  He let out a much too high-pitched yelp when Peter's teeth came down on his asscheek.  Quickly getting used to the sensation, Stiles only hissed mildly when Peter repeated the motion on the other side.  Peter rubbed his palms over each of Stiles' cheeks, curving them to cup the flesh as he rocked the heels of his palms downward to meet Stiles' thighs.  He used his thumbs to separate Stiles' crease and look at his tightly furled hole.

Peter took a minute to just breathe Stiles in, digging his thumbs in deeper.  He flexed his fingers, pushing and pulling Stiles' cheeks apart, watching the muscle tense as Stiles got more and more aroused.  Leaning forward, Peter flicked out his tongue, giving the barest touch to Stiles' hole.  His reaction was immediate and intense.  Stiles clenched his hands into his pillow and arched his back, pushing his ass out toward Peter's face.  Encouraged by the way Stiles' body asked for more, Peter dove back in, this time with more pressure, fitting his palm into the divot made by Stiles' raised shoulders, pushing his stomach into the mattress.   He pointed his tongue and circled Stiles' hole, repeating the action until the muscle began to relax and he could push a little further into the center.

"Fuck, oh fuck, Peter," Stiles whined, wriggling his hips down the bed until he had impaled himself on Peter's tongue.  Peter was in awe of his mate, the way he chased Peter's mouth down the bed, completely unashamed and uninhibited.  He wished Stiles could always be like this.  Not that he would want anyone else to ever see it.  This was only for him.

"That's not begging.  I guess you're not ready yet," Peter teased, not waiting for a response before shoving his tongue back into Stiles' hole.  He pushed and pushed until Stiles was loose enough for one of his thumbs to inch in.  Peter continued to lick around his finger and get Stiles to open up even more.  He glanced upward to check on what Stiles was doing to find him pressing his forehead hard into the mattress, hands fisted in the sheets above his head as he panted, hips thrust upward, presenting himself for Peter's mouth.  Peter had never seen anything so fucking sexy in his entire life.

Wriggling his thumb until it was all the way inside, Peter flattened his tongue and gave long, broad strokes of Stiles' hole until he could fit the tip of his other thumb inside as well.  Knowing it would take a bit more time for Stiles to be ready for him, Peter slipped the tip of his tongue between his fingers and continued flicking it up and down, pulling a series of deep moans from Stiles' throat.  He settled in, feeling like he could do this all day.  He knew his tongue would get tired eventually, but it wouldn't be any time soon.  Stiles would wear out long before he would, and that thought made him smile.

When he felt Stiles was ready, and the exasperated sigh and widening of Stiles' legs was a good indicator, Peter slowly started pulling his thumbs apart, spreading Stiles' hole wide.  The view was fucking amazing, Peter couldn't help but roll his tongue in the offered space, giving Stiles' ass a lewd kiss with as much tongue as he could.  He spent a few minutes making circuits of the opening, pulling his thumbs a bit further apart and pondering how far he could go without lube.  His lips pursed and came down on the top of Stiles' rim, sucking as he would on Stiles' bottom lip when they were kissing.  He remembered Stiles telling him how he wanted to catch his hole with his teeth, and made himself wait for it.

Peter kissed Stiles' hole, sucking on his rim and spreading his thumbs until Stiles' began to babble.

"Oh my God, Peter!" He gasped out, rocking his hips down into the mattress without even thinking about it.  Peter could tell he was getting close, hips thrusting every time his lips came down on Stiles' rim.  Then the time felt right, and Peter stuck his tongue into Stiles as far as it would go, brought his lips down on the rim and then bit.  Stiles screamed and came violently all over his pillow.  Peter could feel his body pulsing through his teeth.  It was something he had never experienced before, and he couldn't wait for it to happen again.

Peter eased off, licking softly as Stiles came down.  He removed his thumbs, continuing to bathe Stiles in tiny kitten licks as he relaxed his weight and collapsed on the bed.  With an affectionate tap to Stiles' bottom, Peter rolled over, lunging off the bed to get the lube from the bedside table.  He flicked the cap open, slicking three of his fingers and bringing them right back up to Stiles' ass.  His body had loosened up nicely and was able to take two of Peter's fingers with little trouble.  It seemed that Stiles was well and truly fucked out, barely flinching when Peter slipped his third finger in.  Knowing that they still had a long way to go tonight, and wanting to wake Stiles up for the next round as quickly as possible, Peter gently nudged his prostate.

"Holy fuck," Stiles moaned, voice pitched low and relaxed.  Peter smirked at the way his mate's voice seemed to slur, barely getting the words out.  Stiles was nowhere near awake enough for Peter to fuck him.  He needed Stiles to be alert and aware if they were actually going to mate tonight.  It was far too important to him to allow Stiles to sleep his way through it.  Stepping up his game slightly, Peter stretched his fingers and rubbed harder, assaulting Stiles' prostate until he had the energy to get back up on his knees once more.

Peter was relentless.  Once he found that spot inside his mate, he nailed it every single time, never giving Stiles time to relax.  When Stiles began gasping a string of high-pitched "fucks," Peter twisted his hand and nudged his pinky into Stiles' well-stretched hole.  He had no idea how big his knot would get, but he wanted to make damn sure that Stiles was as ready as he could possibly be before the time came.

Peter could feel his erection get even harder as he watched his hand curl into Stiles' ass, rocking back and forth until he could get the four fingers in and out easily.  He contemplated folding his hand and trying to get his thumb inside as well, but was afraid that would be too much for Stiles, remembering this was his first time with another person.  Fisting was a bit much for someone's first time bottoming, even his tenacious mate.  Stiles would probably tell him he could take it and then end up bleeding, insisting he was fine.  No.  Four fingers would have to do for tonight.  He hoped it would be enough.  Peter really didn't want to have to deal with the smell of silicone on his mate tonight.

Not wanting the taste of lube in his mouth either, Peter had to settle for using his hand, rocking his fingers gently and the bringing his other hand up to knead the tension out of Stiles' back.  Stiles had been breathing heavily the entire time, panting open-mouthed into his pillow and squirming.  Peter slipped back to three fingers and massaged his prostate again, waiting for Stiles to give him the go-ahead to continue.  Thankfully, he didn't have to wait much longer.  Stiles was grinding his ass back into Peter's hand, moaning wantonly, hips circling as he chased the tips of Peter's fingers.

"Enough Peter, enough," he gasped, pushing his ass as far as he could backward.  "Please, just get in me already."

"You were supposed to beg earlier," Peter said, sighing sarcastically, "but I'll take it."  He eased his fingers out and stepped off the bed, gracelessly shucking his underwear and climbing back onto the mattress.  Stiles had turned over and was staring up at him, chest red with blush and heaving as he sucked breath into his lungs.  Peter's eyes trailed from Stiles' shaking hand that was spasming above his head all the way to the sticky fluid that was covering his treasure trail, evidence of his earlier orgasm.

Peter settled back between Stiles' legs to lick the come off his stomach.  Stiles' abs twitched with every lick, only spurring Peter on to nip at the skin below his navel and purr, delighting in the taste of his mate's release.  Peter trailed his tongue up and down each of the scars on Stiles' stomach, trying not to remind himself how close he came to losing everything.

Stiles' heels dragged down his body, hooking under his ass in an attempt to pull Peter's body up and into his.  Peter liked the look of his mate like this, hot and desperate, but knew this wasn't the position they were going with tonight.

"Get up," Peter said, flicking Stiles' knee with one hand as he flopped onto his back on the mattress and began positioning Stiles until he was sitting astride Peter's hips.  "You're going to ride me.  That way you can control the depth and pull back if it's too much."

"Okay," Stiles gasped, finally getting a look at Peter's full erection.  He grabbed the lube from the side table and poured some into his hand, taking a blessedly still moment to admire his boyfriend's dick.  Sure, he had felt it before, even seen it in the bath those long weeks ago, but he'd never been able to look his fill until now.

Peter was impressive.  Stiles was suddenly glad for the extensive prep Peter had just had him suffer through when he was reminded of how thick Peter's cock was.  Stiles had long fingers, so it wasn't too much for him to get his hand around, but he could see how that could be a struggle for some people.  Stop picturing Lydia's hand around your boyfriend's dick, Stiles.  It's all yours.

He rubbed his slippery hands together, warming the lube a bit and then brought them down to wrap around Peter, one hand over the other.  He wrapped his hands around Peter lovingly, making sure every inch of him was covered.  Stiles paid extra attention to the base where he figured Peter's knot would be appearing any minute now.  A shiver ran down his spine, half excitement and half anxiety.  He distracted himself by sliding Peter's foreskin up and down, marveling at the feel of it in his hand.  One day he would map out every part of Peter's body, but today was not that day.

With a perfunctory wipe of his hands on the sheets, Stiles lifted his hips and positioned Peter at his hole.  Peter's hands jumped up to Stiles' waist, holding on tight and preventing him from having to strain to keep himself up.  With a deep inhale and an even slower exhale, Stiles lowered his body.  The push was incredible.  Stiles didn't know why it felt so much different than most of Peter's hand pushing into his ass, but it did.  With a little more pressure, Peter's head breached his hole and they both gasped simultaneously.

"Wow," Stiles whispered, clutching his fingers into Peter's pecs where they were resting on his chest.  Peter held fast to Stiles' hips, giving him time to adjust before he let his mate try to slide down any further.  He could feel his blunt nails digging into Stiles' back but he knew it couldn't be helped.  It had been a really long time since he had been inside of anyone, let alone an ass as tight as Stiles'.  If he didn't want this to be over before it even started, he was going to have to breathe.

Stiles took a minute to breathe as well, letting his body get used to the intrusion.  He knew that the head of Peter's dick was actually the smallest part, so the stretch was going to get worse before it got better. With a quick peck to Peter's slack mouth, Stiles sunk down a little further, and then immediately pulled back.  That was a lot of dick in his ass.  He needed to ease on to it.  Peter met his eyes.  Stiles could see the fear and apprehension there and he didn't like it.   He gave Peter as cocky of a wink as he could manage given the circumstances and slid down even further.

There was a burn, but not much pain, so Stiles kept going, lowering his hips until he was fully seated, ass cupped by Peter's upper thighs.  Stiles let out a heavy exhale and let his body go loose.  Wide-eyed, Peter let his hands trail up and down Stiles' back, stopping at his shoulders.  Stiles leaned forward, changing the angle completely, and caught Peter's lips.  He did it.  He had a werewolf up his ass.  Yay for him.

Peter chuckled, and Stiles winced as he realized he had been thinking out loud again.  Peter just kissed him harder, pulling his tongue into his mouth and giving an experimental roll of his hips.  Stiles gasped as Peter's length nudged his prostate.  This was going to be amazing.  Emboldened by the pleasure he had just felt, Stiles sat back again, planting his palms on Peter's taut stomach and grinding downward.

"Oh God," Peter whimpered, feeling Stiles' squeeze around him.  "I don't think this is going to last very long," he admitted, biting down hard on his lower lip.  Stiles smiled, pulling his lips into his mouth in that shy way that told Peter he was really in for it.

"Well in that case," Stiles said, leaning back even further, "let's make it the ride of a lifetime."  Peter's laugh was cut off when Stiles arched his back and brought his palms down on Peter's knees.  In a show of strength that Peter would forever be in awe of, Stiles flexed his thighs and bounced on his dick.  Hard.  Peter couldn't help but let his eyes slide closed and just feel the tension of Stiles sliding up and down his length, gaining speed and momentum every second.

Stiles rode him like a pro.  Peter was almost expecting him to swing one hand around his head and pretend he was in a rodeo.  He could do nothing but hang onto Stiles' hips for dear life, not even needing to guide him as he bounced up and down, ass making an amazing smacking noise every time it met Peter's thighs.  When Peter finally opened his eyes his mouth dropped open.

Stiles had his eyes closed, back arched beautifully and head thrown back, panting and moaning with every exhale as he brought himself down on Peter's cock.  Peter's eyes roved over his face, taking in the wet, open mouth, the trail of beauty marks across his face, and the way his eyelashes fluttered like his eyes were rolling into the back of his head.  His mate was sex on legs and Peter couldn't believe he got to keep this, got to have this forever.

Peter hung on for several long minutes, only sheer force of will keeping him from shooting his release into Stiles' tight body.  On one particularly forceful thrust downward, Stiles' elbows gave out, and he slumped down, almost falling backward off of Peter's body.  Peter's strong hands caught him around his lower back before he could do any irreparable bending of Peter's dick and pulled him forward again.

Stiles' body was limp with exhaustion and followed Peter's hands forward until he was bent almost double, forehead coming to rest upon Peter's clavicle.  Peter pressed frantic kisses to Stiles' forehead, rubbing his palms up to his shoulders and pulling gently until he could see Stiles' face.  Stiles' eyes blearily blinked open before locking onto Peter and smiling broadly.

"I think it's your time to do the heavy lifting, Mr. Alpha," Stiles mumbled, eyes fluttering shut again.  Peter brought his hands back up to Stiles' shoulders and curled them around until his fingers were anchored.  Lifting Stiles' lower body with his thighs, Peter got his heels up under his ass and balanced them both on his lower back.

"Just hang on," Peter muttered as he simultaneously thrust his hips forcefully and pulled down hard on Stiles' shoulders.

"Oh fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck," Stiles started repeating as the angle allowed Peter to rub against his prostate so perfectly.  He raised his head and wrapped his arms around Peter's neck, bringing their mouths together for a sloppy kiss.  Peter fucked into him hard, raising them almost completely off the bed as he supported their bodies on his heels.  Stiles wouldn't be surprised if there were dents in his mattress after this was all over.

Peter kissed him like a man possessed, hips pistoning harder and harder as he claimed Stiles' mouth.

"God, Peter," Stiles gasped, mouth open and slack, just breathing into Peter's open mouth.  "I'm close," Stiles whispered, burying his face into Peter's neck, giving Peter the opportunity to do the same, trailing his tongue up and down to the juncture of his neck and shoulder.

"Peter," Stiles repeated again, even more breathless, hot air brushing across the sweat that was dripping off Peter's brow, chilling him.  "You can do it now, I'm ready."

Peter closed his eyes and thrust up even harder, hoping to bring Stiles' off and bite him simultaneously.  "You too," Peter gasped, open mouth already curving into the shape of Stiles' throat.  "Together."

With one more thrust, Peter stilled, pulling Stiles' hips down into his with such force he was sure there would be marks tomorrow.  Stiles groaned, spasming as he came, open mouth coming down to sink his teeth into the base of Peter's throat.  Peter felt his canines descend as he orgasmed, pushing one palm into the back of Stiles' neck to bring their bodies close enough.  His teeth broke skin and hot, tangy blood entered his mouth.  Peter could feel something shift inside of himself, but he didn't know what.  Stiles' teeth weren't as sharp but they were still buried deep in his throat.  Peter could feel the groan in Stiles' throat vibrate through his teeth and into his body.  He echoed the noise, letting a canine growl escape his mouth.

Teeth to teeth, blood to blood, body to body, they were together now.  

Eventually, Stiles needed to take a breath and swallow the blood that had seeped into his mouth.  He wasn't eager to pull back.  Now that he had his teeth in Peter, what had at first seemed like a disgusting but necessary evil now felt exquisite.  He was inside of Peter as Peter was inside of him, a fully connected circle that he was loathe to break.  The way Peter's mouth twitched made the decision for him.  With a gasp of pain, Stiles released his grip on Peter's throat and swallowed.

Peter's fangs hand sunk deep into Stiles' neck and he was concerned he had hit a nerve and was causing his mate undue pain.  He retraced his canines before he released the rest of his teeth, quickly bringing his mouth back down on Stiles' throat to lick off the blood.  Stiles tasted even better than he smelled, like drinking an IPA or biting into a crisp pear.  He savored the moment, knowing he would probably never be tasting Stiles like this again.

"Um," Stiles questioned, "do you feel any different?"

"A little," Peter replied, still lapping at Stiles' throat, "but not as much as I expected."

"Okay, good, just checking."  Stiles waited a beat before asking his next question.  "Isn't there something missing here?"

"What?" Peter asked, absentmindedly sucking on Stiles' throat with a pleased rumble.

"The absence of a certain part of your anatomy?" Stiles asked delicately, wincing a bit when Peter sucked a little too hard on his broken skin.

"Oh," Peter said, finally meeting Stiles' eyes.  "I'm not sure."

"Does this mean I'm not your mate?" Stiles asked, eyes betraying his fear, "because you don't have a knot right now?"

"Were you not here for the entire mutual biting process?" Peter asked, completely offended.  "You are definitely my mate."

"How can you be so sure?  You said you didn't feel that different!"

"Look at my neck," Peter said, tossing his head to one side so Stiles could get an easier look.  Stiles gave Peter a disgusted face, averting his eyes.

"Eugh, do I have to?"

Peter took one of his hands off Stiles' waist and flicked him on the nose.  "Just do it."

"Oh gross, there's so much blood," Stiles complained, wincing again.

"And why is that?" Peter drawled, dragging Stiles to his point.

"Because you're not healing," Stiles said, awe in his voice and then panic, "why aren't you healing?  Are you dying?"

"You're my mate.  Mine will heal when yours heals," Peter said simply.

"Does this mean I can hurt you all the time?  I don't want to hurt you," Stiles replied, still sounding a bit worried.

"I don't actually know.  I never saw Talia and Eric fight," Peter said, raising his eyebrows.  "We can test it out later if you want."

"Maybe not," Stiles said, looking at Peter's neck again with an inquisitive eye.  "But back to my original point.  Why didn't you knot me?"

"I'm not sure, but if you want to take a quick nap we can try again later," Peter suggested, nuzzling the side of Stiles' face.

"Okay, it might need to be a pretty long nap though," Stiles agreed, lifting his upper body off of Peter so he could swing a leg back over to one side.  He had just lifted one knee off the mattress when he felt a sharp tug at his hole.  Peter's leg had followed him when he tried to pull away, and he was apparently stuck.  "Fuck!" Stiles yelled, waiting for the pain to ease.

"Don't do that again," Peter growled, clamping his hands back around Stiles' hips.  The motion of Stiles' ass around him had caused his dick to pulse, and grow a little larger.  Peter bit down on his bottom lip and pulled Stiles close.

"Oh my God!  How did you not notice that?" Stiles asked, panic tingeing his voice as his hole began to stretch around Peter's growing erection.

"I was a little distracted by the life-affirming sex we were having," Peter argued, hissing through his teeth.

"Well newsflash buddy, the life-affirming sex is still fucking happening!" Stiles screamed at him, heartbeat beginning to race.  Peter heard the increase and grew worried for his mate.  He had no idea how long this was going to last, but he had hoped Stiles would have been stretched enough to at least be mildly comfortable.

"Yeah, I'm aware of that darling, my dick is still stuck in your ass," Peter ground out, fingers flexing around Stiles' hips, "and it's getting tighter."

"Are you seriously complaining about how tight my ass is right now?" Stiles asked, incredulous.  "Oh poor Peter, his teenage boyfriend's ass is just too tight for his thick cock to take."

Peter's dick twitched and swelled again at Stiles' words.  Apparently his wolf liked hearing about how big his dick was, or at least enjoyed preening about how desirable his mate was.

"Oh, poor Peter with his huge knot shoved up his little twink mate's ass.  I'm so sorry your enormous cock is the first thing to ever stretch my ass this far."

"Stiles," Peter hissed, gripping even tighter than he thought possible, "you're going to have to stop talking now."

"Oh, you like that, huh?" Stiles teased, rolling his hips and licking a stripe up Peter's cheek.

"Fuck, Stiles," Peter groaned.  He tried to thrust further into Stiles but found that he couldn't push anymore.  He had to settle for a small rock and grind, hands trailing down Stiles' body to grip his ass.  Stiles threw his head back once more, exposing his mole spotted neck to Peter's hungry gaze.  He sat down hard, pushing Peter's knot just that much further into his body.  Surging forward, Peter's mouth came down on the unmarred side of Stiles' throat, sucking the blood to the surface.  Stiles leaned into the sensation, wrapping his arms around Peter's neck and pushing his throat further into his mate's mouth.

Peter groaned and sucked harder, rocking into Stiles' ass as much as his limited range of motion would allow.  "You like my voice, wrecked from screaming your name.  You like me telling you how your big, fat knot is stretching my little hole wide open."  Peter's mate was going to kill him.  There was only so much torture a man could take, and supernatural as Peter was, he was reaching his limit.  With every word that came out of Stiles' mouth, his knot grew, forcing Stiles' ass to stretch even further.  Stiles pulled back a little, getting as far as he could without causing himself too much pain.  Then he circled his hips in a slow, wide motion, tugging at Peter's knot in every direction.

"God, Stiles, fuck," Peter moaned, unable to contain himself.

"Yes baby, more," Stiles said directly into his mouth, pushing down as hard as his weak thighs could manage, pulling more noise from his wolf's throat with every rock of his hips.  The pressure inside his body grew stronger, pressing against his most sensitive spot and pulling at his rim.  He could feel his hole spread wide to accommodate Peter's growing girth and cried out with the intensity of the stretch.  Stiles imagined what it looked like, how his hole was gaping.  He hoped it wasn't quite as horrifying as some of the more absurd insertion porn he had seen on the internet.

Stiles was so lost in his own mind and the sensations radiating out of his core that he hadn't even realized the way Peter's breath was coming in short, harsh pants.  He wasn't going to hold out much longer and Stiles really wasn't done with him yet.  With a renewed sense of purpose, Stiles put his palms down on Peter's abdomen and circled his hips, squeezing his muscles as hard as he could.  The sudden increase in pressure made his hips stutter and his breath catch.  He brought one hand up to his erection, which he had been completely ignorant of, focusing so much on the stretch in his ass, and stroked smoothly.  Stiles clenched for a few beats and then released, repeating the action until he was seriously worked up.  The way Peter's knot was rubbing up against his prostate had him whimpering.  He was closer to orgasm than he thought and wanted to bring Peter there with him.

With as much energy as he had left in his body, Stiles pushed down into Peter's lap.  "Peter, please," he gasped, urging his mate onward, "fuck me."  Peter obliged immediately, getting his feet under his body once more and lifting his hips off the bed.  The shift in pressure hit Stiles just right, making spots burst behind his eyes.  Logically, Stiles knew he must be having the most intense orgasm of his life, but in reality, all he saw was white as he screamed and blacked out.

 

***

 

When Stiles came to, he was face down on Peter's chest, legs completely cramped, but body still somehow lax.  Well, it was lax until he tried to move and then he came back to himself, feeling every ache and pull in all of his muscles, especially his ass.  He was still stretched wide around Peter, who was rocking his hips minutely, whimpering quietly into his neck.

"Peter?" He asked blearily, trying to place the foreign sensation.  "Are you still coming?"  All Stiles heard in response was a muffled whine, Peter's mouth vibrating against his throat as his hips continued to spasm.  "Oh my God, how long was I out?" Stiles wondered aloud, hoping Peter would answer him with something other than a high-pitched sound.

"About twenty minutes," Peter panted, eyes squeezed tightly shut.  Stiles wiggled his hips a little bit, shifting around Peter's cock and pulling a whine from his throat once more.

"Are you telling me that you've been orgasming for the last twenty minutes?" Stiles asked, awestruck.

"More or less," Peter sighed, gritting his teeth as Stiles continued rocking into him.  Stiles smirked, reveling in the way he was bringing Peter so much pleasure.  Infinite orgasms were definitely one perk of being mated.  Stiles lifted his head, taking stock of his body.  His arms and shoulders felt sore but normal, but as he directed his attention lower, he was struck by the feeling that something wasn't quite right.  Raising himself into a sitting position once more, he pressed down further on Peter, pulling a groan and a spurt of cum from his partner.

That was it.  It wasn't just his ass that was full of cum; it was his whole body.  Stiles brought a hesitant hand down his chest, trailing below his navel to his lower abdomen.  There was a noticeable bulge in his stomach.  "Peter," Stiles asked quietly, pushing down lightly on the protrusion with one palm, and pulling on Peter's chin with his other hand.  "Look at this."

"Tell me that's not a fucking baby," Peter gasped out, hips still twitching.  Stiles couldn't believe what an idiot his mate was.  He had been pumping Stiles full of cum for nearly a half hour and he thought Stiles had miraculously grown a womb complete with a four-month-old fetus.

"No, you idiot," Stiles sighed, rolling his eyes dramatically.  "Did you forget that you've been squirting cum into me this entire time?  I'm fucking drowning in it, you creep!"

"Oh," Peter said, pressing his face as close to Stiles' stomach as possible.  With a deep inhale, Peter tried to catch his scent through Stiles' skin.

"Holy shit, it's like you are high on sex right now.  You can't smell a baby on me, you weirdo," Stiles chided, pushing Peter's face away from his body.  When Stiles got a look at his face, he realized Peter was trying to hide a blush.  "Oh my God," Stiles teased, "you like this."  When Peter didn't protest, Stiles continued.  "You like your come filling me up.  You like me smelling like your jizz!"

Peter shrugged off Stiles' comment, unwilling to confirm his preference.  "Admit it!" Stiles demanded, wiggling his butt on Peter's lap to get his wolf to look him in the eye.

"Fine," Peter yelled back, "I like it!"  Stiles cackled, but Peter held his head high and told himself that he didn't need to feel ashamed of it.  "My wolf likes that you smell like you belong to me.  You're so full of it, you'll smell like me for weeks.  Every wolf in fifty miles will know you're my mate."

"I think I can live with that," Stiles said, leaning forward to capture Peter's lips in a soft kiss.  He circled his hips a few more times and realized that Peter's dick had finally stopped twitching inside him.  Relieved, Stiles sighed into Peter's mouth, capturing his tongue and sucking on it.  Peter began to soften after a few minutes of lazy kisses and he was able to shift his hips enough to slip out of Stiles' body.

"God, I'm going to be leaking for hours," Stiles complained, wincing as Peter pulled away.  His hole was noticeably looser than he would like and come dripped out onto his thighs.  He laid back against Peter's chest, sighing as his legs finally unclenched and straightened out.  With a satisfied rumble, Peter pulled Stiles closer, settling his ear against Peter's chest.  Stiles let out a contented sigh, snuggling in closer and listening to Peter's slow and steady heartbeat.  Peter thought about closing his eyes and sleeping, but his nose twitched and he couldn't settle himself.

With a gentle hand, Peter eased Stiles off his chest and laid him back down with his face against the cleanest pillow he could find.  Moving slowly, he slipped down the bed, bringing his hands back to Stiles' ass and pulling his cheeks apart.

"You are not doing what I think you're doing," Stiles groaned, glancing over his shoulder at the happy wolf.  Peter raised his eyebrows and rolled his eyes, which were just visible to Stiles over the curve of his own ass.  He felt raw and overused, but tired enough that he couldn't bring himself to protest.  Taking Stiles' silence as permission, Peter brought his mouth to Stiles' hole and lapped at the swollen and puffy rim.  Pointing his tongue, Peter plunged back into his mate, sucking until he could get at the fluid trapped inside.  He curved his tongue, doing his best to scoop his release out of Stiles' ass.  Not even the chemical taste of the lube could stop Peter from pulling every last bit of come out of his mate.

"This is a wolf thing, isn't it?" Stiles asked, words muffled by the pillow he had shoved his face back into.  Peter just rumbled a growl into Stiles' ass, causing a shiver of lust to go through his body.  His dick tried to rise to the occasion, but it seemed that three mind blowing orgasms in one hour was Stiles' limit.  Peter continued to suck and scoop the cream from Stiles, rubbing his stubble on Stiles' cheeks whenever he lunged forward.  While it wasn't necessarily a pleasant sensation on his raw skin, Stiles figured that beard burn would be the least of his ass' problems tomorrow.  He would be lucky if he could sit down.  Maybe he could just stay in bed with Peter for the rest of the weekend.  They could probably use some time to explore their bond.

Eager to get even closer to his prize, Peter flipped Stiles over, pulling a tired groan out of Stiles' throat, and hooked the back of Stiles' knees around his shoulders.  Sitting back on the bed, Peter pulled Stiles off the mattress, leaving him supported by only his shoulders and Peter's strength.  Sparing a moment to lick around Stiles' spent cock, Peter went back to eating his ass, ducking his head to get closer, palms spread out on Stiles' tight stomach.

Right on schedule, a scream broke through the contented sucking noises coming from Peter and pulled a long, low moan of frustration out of Stiles.

"Fuck you Darach!" Stiles cursed loudly, pulling his face out of the pillow.  Peter raised his head as well, bringing his fingers to Stiles' ass to pull as much as he could get out of the tight hole.  "If Lydia keeps screaming during our sexy times I'm going to start having a really awkward Pavlovian response to grisly murders, and that is just too fucked up, even for us."

Peter didn't respond, simply went back to fondling Stiles' ass.  Stiles knew that with the amount of come shoved into him it would be hours before it all leaked out, so there was really no reason for him to be awake.  Peter's fingers gentled, and he went back to his obscene sucking as Stiles drifted off.

 

Chapter Text

Pleasantly sore and extremely tired, Stiles dragged his well-used body into school on Monday morning.  After exchanging a few texts with Lydia and Scott, he confirmed that Melissa was safe, but another doctor at the hospital had been murdered.  Two more healers and three guardians and the ritual would be complete.  Unfortunately, they were no closer to finding the Darach than they were when they had first learned about their plan.  Despite the pack's current predicament, Stiles couldn't help but walk into first period with a smile on his face.

Scott slid into the seat behind him as the final bell rang, signaling the start of class, seeming to think that Stiles’ invitation to Thanksgiving dinner was an olive branch.  Too bad that really hadn’t been Stiles’ intention.  He was still furious at his so-called best friend and was wondering how long he would have to wait for a sincere apology.  

Stiles knew that the minute Scott saw the bandage on his neck, there would be a knock down drag out fight, and he wanted to avoid it as long as he possibly could.  He pulled the collar of his plaid shirt closed around his neck, hiding it from view.  If Scott was still his childhood best friend, he wouldn't have noticed anything was amiss.  However, Scott was now a werewolf with superhuman senses.  It was just Stiles' luck.  He didn't even need to be able to sense Scott's emotions to know what was going to happen next.

"Why do you smell like blood and pain?" Scott whispered into his ear, leaning forward slightly as Ms. Blake began her lecture.  Not even a scintillating discussion of Steinbeck's daddy issues could keep Scott from confronting Stiles.

"I'm fine," Stiles said, going for a reassuring tone, but probably sounding a bit terser than he meant.

"You don't smell fine," Scott insisted, panic creeping into his voice.  "What did he do to you?" Scott asked in a rush, like it had just occurred to him that Peter must be the only one capable of hurting Stiles, like Scott hadn't bruised him just as easily a few short weeks ago.

"Nothing that I didn't ask for," Stiles said hotly, in no mood to have to defend his relationship first thing on a Monday morning, especially not to someone who had no intention of changing his mind.

"That's not the point, Stiles," Scott argued, no longer whispering.  He got a stern look from Ms. Blake, who was in no way mollified by her relationship with their Alpha.  Scott leaned back in his seat again until she was sufficiently distracted by writing the list of themes present in East of Eden on the chalkboard.

"It really is the point, Scott," Stiles told him flat out, "we're both consenting adults.  We consented, quite enthusiastically."

"Gross, do not tell me the fucking details, dude."

"Oh like you spared me the details when you were with Allison?"

"What do you mean 'were?'" Scott asked, pouncing on Stiles' words as soon as they were out of his mouth.

"You must have noticed how she's been pulling away from you lately, even Derek probably knows and he's the most emotionally stunted person I've ever met," Stiles said unkindly.

"We're doing fine, I saw her yesterday," Scott insisted, worry coloring his voice.

"I'm not going to get into it with you, Scott," Stiles said dismissively, wanting to end the conversation as quickly as possible.

"This is about you and the zombie wolf, not me," Scott went on, still whispering aggressively into Stiles' ear.  

"You make it about you," Stiles raged, in as soft a voice as possible.  "Why can't you just leave us be.  There is no room for you in our relationship."

"I'm trying to look out for you," Scott said, offended by the insinuation that he could have ulterior motives.

"This has nothing to do with you," Stiles argued again, knowing Scott had still not gotten his point.  "Peter and I are happy and what we do is none of your business.  I love you, and you're my best friend, but you're being completely ridiculous."

"I can't just sit around and watch him use you when I know you're going to get hurt," Scott hissed through clenched teeth, aware of the way Ms. Blake was crossing her arms in frustration.

Rolling his eyes at the oft-used argument, Stiles raised his hand to answer Ms. Blake’s question.

“By the end of the book, Cal decides that people aren’t inherently evil.  They can overcome the human condition through their own force of will.  Even evil people like Cathy can change if they choose to,” Stiles concluded, turning in his seat to look at Scott with raised eyebrows.

“Very good Mr. Stilinski,” Jennifer said, writing a summary of Stiles’ point on the board.  “Can anyone else give me a running theme of this novel?”

Angered and unable to confront Stiles like he wanted to, Scott was forced to huff out a disgruntled noise and lean back in his chair, slumping in apparent apathy for the conversation.  Too bad Stiles knew that Scott hadn’t even read the book.  Maybe he would have learned something.

When the bell rang, Stiles gathered his things quickly and rushed out of the room, eager to put as much space between Scott and him as possible.  That didn’t work too well for him considering Scott had never taken anything out of his backpack for class and was already hot on his tail.  Reaching down to get a firm hand around his wrist, Scott jerked on Stiles’ arm and pulled him into the locker room.  So sick of Scott’s holier than thou attitude, Stiles wrenched his arm out of Scott’s grip and turned to face him, squaring his shoulders and staring him down.

“What is that?” Scott demanded, pointing to the bandage poking out of Stiles’ collar, his shirt askew from their confrontation in the hall.

“None of your damn business, I swear Scott, don’t even start with me.”

Not taking no for an answer, Scott lunged forward, pulling at Stiles’ shirt until he could see the whole bandage.  Taking one deep sniff, he confirmed his suspicions and ripped the tape off of Stiles’ neck.  Stiles swatted at Scott’s hands ineffectually as Scott gripped his chin fiercely and pulled it to the side so he could get a good look at what Stiles was hiding.

“You let him bite you?  Are you insane?” Scott screamed, heedless of the hundreds of students on the other side of the locker room door.

Let him, Scott,” Stiles said pointedly, voice a little muffled by the way Scott was holding his mouth closed, “the key word is let.”  Stiles dug his nails into Scott’s forearm until he released his grip.  Rubbing the sore spot on his face, Stiles turned back to face Scott again, defiant and angry.

“I can’t believe you let that psycho bite you.  Are you going to turn?  You don’t smell like a wolf,” Scott went on, paying little attention to Stiles anymore, completely lost in his own world of revulsion.

“It’s not a turning bite,” Stiles spat, in no mood to justify his actions to his friend.

“He mated you?” Scott screamed, anger growing as he sputtered out his words.  “Did he even ask you first?  You can’t just go around biting people!”

“I bit him first, if that’s what you want to hear,” Stiles said smirking, finding it difficult to keep from taunting Scott.  If Scott wanted to be an ignorant dickbag, Stiles was going to push all of his buttons.

“Do you want to hear how it happened?  Do you want to hear about how I was riding his huge cock, and his knot was in me and I blacked out I came so hard?  Is that what you want to hear?”

“Shut your damn mouth,” Scott growled, eyes flashing yellow as he pushed Stiles against a row of lockers.  He paid no mind to the way Stiles’ head bounced off the metal with a loud clang, or the way Stiles' hands scrabbled at anything he could grab.  Scott didn’t notice that he had Stiles by the throat, claws pricking into his skin right over his mating bite, like he wanted to rip the mark right off his skin.

“Scotty,” Stiles gasped, bating at his hands ineffectually.  He didn’t have enough room to strike his flint and light a fire to protect himself, but he was mad enough to burn the shit out of his best friend if he could have.  Blood welled around Scott’s claws as Stiles’ vision started sparking.  He needed to breathe.

Then all at once he was on the floor, gasping, gripping his throat with both hands.  When he pulled them away, they were covered in blood.  Stiles couldn’t catch his breath.  His vision tunneled and he gasped, violently wiping at his neck, pulling his hands back each time to see that the blood was still there.  He heard angry voices and the dull thud of fists colliding with skin.  Someone was growling again, and Stiles could feel himself slipping.  The more he wiped, the more blood came away on his palms, copper stinging his nose so strongly he could almost taste it.

Strong arms gripped him, curling around his waist to press against his chest.  When he looked up, the last thing he saw before passing out was Boyd’s dark, smooth hand on his chest, a soothing rumble coming from the wolf.  Strong arms lifted him off the floor, and he was out.

 

***

 

Stiles woke up slowly, noticing the scratchy sheets beneath him before anything else.  Before he opened his eyes he could hear three voices whispering and the tap tap tap of a high heeled shoe that told him either Lydia or Erica was in the room with him.  When he opened his eyes he was met with the harsh yellow light of one of the nap rooms of the school nurse’s office.  Isaac and Boyd were sitting in the two chairs against the wall while Erica paced in front of the cot he was lying on.

“You’re up,” Isaac said, relieved.  He looked over to see Boyd giving him a warm smile and a pat on his sheet-covered ankle.  Erica left the room without speaking.  Stiles wondered what the hell her problem was until she returned almost immediately, holding an ice pack.  He turned his neck, wincing at the pain the came from under the new, larger bandage around his neck and the back of his head.  He must have banged it into the locker harder than he remembered.  How many times did someone have to be knocked unconscious in a month before it became a chronic mental problem?

“What’s going on?” Stiles asked, voice rough from sleep.  He put his head back down on the squishy ice pack, holding his neck as steady as possible to reduce the pulling and itchy, burning sensation of the new cuts.  Those claw marks had better not scar.  Stiles didn’t want anyone marring the mark Peter had left on him.  That scar was for him, the only one he had ever chosen to receive, and he wanted it to stay intact.

“We could feel you getting angry through the pack bond and we followed it to the locker room,” Isaac said softly, as comforting as he could, which was really more than Stiles ever expected to hear from the usually moody and sarcastic Beta.

“Then we could smell blood,” Boyd said calmly, soothing Stiles without even trying.

“Jackson and I kicked the crap out of your dumbass friend and Boyd carried you here,” Erica finished, continuing to tap her heeled toe on the linoleum floor nervously.  Though Boyd had the best poker face Stiles had ever seen, he could tell that the three of them were unsettled to say the least.

“Where is Jackson now?’ Stiles asked, looking toward the door to see if he was waiting outside.  Jackson had been overly protective of the pack lately, and Stiles hoped he wasn’t too upset by the situation.

“He’s following Scott to the parking lot to make sure he gets the fuck out of here,” Erica said, flashing bright white teeth at him as she smiled wolfishly.  “Probably scaring the shit out of him too,” she added, obviously pleased with the outcome.

“I can’t believe he hurt you like that,” Isaac said, a lot softer than he usually spoke, looking down at his shoes.

“He wasn’t in control, and I pushed him,” Stiles admitted.  He was surprised that Scott had snapped like that too, but he didn’t necessarily want the rest of the group to know that.  This fight was between him and Scott.  The rest of them didn’t need to know the details.

“That’s no fucking excuse,” Erica shot back immediately.  “He knows you don’t heal, and he should be able to control his temper better than that, especially at school, and especially with you.”

“I don’t see why I would be any different,” Stiles mused, confused by her words, though that could be the sizeable lump that was forming on his head talking.  “He doesn’t trust Peter.”

“But he should trust you,” Jackson said, walking around the movable curtain that shielded the cots from one another.  “You may be an annoying prick, but you never lie.”

“I guess that’s true,” Stiles said, running a light finger over the bandage on his neck as he thought.  “The truth hurts more,” he said, words falling heavily in the quiet room.

“McCall’s just jealous,” Erica sneered, taking a moment to seat herself in Boyd’s empty lap.

“Of what, my devilish good looks?” Stiles joked, deflecting the tense mood as much as he could from his current position.

“He’s been trying to convince Allison to mate with him ever since he learned what it was, but she’s not interested,” Isaac piped in, apparently having much more insight into the situation than the other three Betas.

“And you walk into school with a mating bite like it was the easiest decision in the world,” Erica told him, filling in the blanks for Stiles’ sluggish mind.

“It was,” Stiles confirmed easily.  There hadn’t been any doubt in his mind that it was the right thing to do.  He had walked into school so happy this morning.  He wished that feeling would return to him instead of this dark worry cloud that consumed his mind.  Four Betas in one room, all worried about him, was a bit too much to handle.

“Well I’m sure he thinks Peter doesn’t deserve it.  He’s done everything wrong and you still love him,” Isaac said, again walking them through the inner workings of the Scott & Allison angstfest.  “Scott has done everything right and Allison still doesn’t want him.”

“Well,” Jackson felt like he needed to point out the obvious flaw in that assessment, “at least he thinks he’s done everything right.”

“Allison might not be so sure anymore,” Boyd filled in, finally starting to get it.

“The way Scott has been treating you and Peter over the last few months,” Erica said angrily, and Stiles could tell that she was fighting to keep her eyes from flashing yellow, “it’s no wonder Allison is doubting his character.”

“I’ve known Scotty for most of life, and one thing’s for certain,” Stiles said, wincing as he rolled his head to look at the pack, “he only sees black and white.”

“Where I like to live in the shades of gray,” a familiar voice said from the other side of the curtain.  Peter stepped into the nurse’s office of Beacon Hills High in what struck Stiles as an alternate universe.  It was like seeing a dinosaur run through a renaissance faire, the two things just had no business coexisting.

“What are you doing here,” Stiles groaned, wondering how he was going to explain his much older boyfriend’s presence at his school.

“I called him,” Jackson answered easily, like it was the most obvious conclusion.  Looking around the room at several of the dumbfounded expressions he was getting, Jackson clarified, “I wasn’t going to let an Alpha wolf find out that someone had hurt his mate secondhand.  He would have gone ballistic.”

“He’s right,” Peter said smoothly, going over to Stiles’ cot to give him a warm peck on the cheek.  He frowned when he smelled blood and saw the large bandage on Stiles’ neck.  While he didn’t expect Stiles to go to school with an obvious bite mark on his throat, he could tell that there was fresh blood on his mating mark, and he was starting to see red.

“Hey down boy,” Stiles muttered, grabbing one of Peter’s hands and bringing it to his chapped lips.  “No revenge on school grounds.  Why don’t you take me home?” he asked lightly, knowing Peter wouldn’t be able to resist taking care of him when the opportunity was offered.

“Of course,” Peter agreed, helping Stiles sit up with soft hands and then supporting him with an arm around his slim waist as they left the nurse’s office.  Stiles wasn’t sure where the nurse was at the moment, but he was glad that she wasn’t around to ask questions about the posse of puffed up body guards that were following Stiles out of the room.

“Thank you for taking care of him," Peter said and then looked over to Jackson, "and for calling me.  But now you should go back to class,” Peter told them.  Stiles was wondering if it was Peter’s age or his status as an Alpha that had the four Betas following his order without argument.  Stiles handed Peter his keys and allowed his mate to take him home.

No matter how many times Stiles insisted that he was fine, Peter refused to believe him and carried Stiles into the house anyway.  He hoped none of the neighbors were around to see that embarrassing display.  Stiles refused to be seen as the weak one in the relationship.

Peter helped him sit down in a kitchen chair and proceeded to fill a glass with ice water several times until he was satisfied that Stiles wasn’t dehydrated.  Stiles wanted to be angry at the way Peter was babying him, but he honestly couldn’t bring himself to mind it overmuch.  The soothing wave of Peter’s thoughts in his mind was enough proof for Stiles.  He knew Peter did these things because he cared, and was compelled to protect and care for his mate whenever possible.  Stiles couldn’t take that away from him, and really, it was nice to be pampered sometimes.  

Peter helped Stiles upstairs and laid him down on the bed, lying down next to him and pressing soft lips to his sweaty forehead.  Ever so gently, Peter peeled the bandage away from Stiles’ skin and took a look at the damage.  There were crescent shaped cuts on the back of Stiles’ shoulder, and one to the left of his mating bite.  Thankfully, they didn’t look nearly as deep as the bite was, and with any luck they wouldn’t scar.  Dried blood surrounded the bite, making Peter’s wolf twitch and scratch at his insides.  His mate had been bloodied not 24 hours after their mating.  It made his skin crawl.  He needed to clean it up.

Peter brought a washcloth with warm water, a towel, and some antiseptic out of the bathroom and set about cleaning Stiles’ shoulder.  Soft hands reached out to cup his face, pulling the discomfort out of his body until Stiles could relax.  He was so lucky to have a pain stealing mate, always willing to soothe away the hurt.  Peter hummed softly as he worked, wiping and patting his skin dry.  He rubbed some salve onto each of the cuts, but left the bite mark clean.  After all, they wanted that to scar.

When he was finished, he wiped his hands clean on the wet cloth and smoothed the hair off of Stiles’ forehead.  It was getting long, but it suited him.  Stiles looked older, more world worn, and Peter mentally listed the horrors he had overcome these past few years.  They were all scarred, but sometimes the pack forgot about the mental and emotional scars.  It was all too easy to do when the physical marks faded from view, but Stiles, his torso was littered with the many battles he had faced and survived.

Peter was proud to have Stiles as his mate.  He was brave and selfless, and much stronger than any of the wolves knew.  They all felt pain, but it was different for the wolves.  All a wolf had to do was endure, and he would eventually heal.  There was very little that they couldn’t survive.  For a human, the surviving was the easiest part.  It was the healing that was the real battle.  For humans, the pain didn’t fade.  It took days, months, sometimes even years for them to heal completely.  The pain lingered, and sometimes the wolves forgot what kind of endurance humans had to possess, just to live.  They didn't have the comfort of knowing that if they just held on through the pain, they would survive.  Humans had to endure knowing it could all be for naught.  It was something the wolves would never understand.

Peter grabbed his guitar from the corner and sat down in Stiles’ computer chair.  Stiles dozed peacefully, and Peter began to strum lightly, wanting to give Stiles’ dreams a pleasant soundtrack, but not to wake him.

 

“Well I came home

Like a stone             

And I fell heavy into your arms

These days of dust

Which we've known

Will blow away with this new sun

 

But I'll kneel down

Wait for now

And I'll kneel down

Know my ground

 

And I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you

 

So break my step

And relent

You forgave and I won't forget

Know what we've seen

And him with less

Now in some way

Shake the excess”

 

Peter sang quietly, letting the slow, steady beat of Stiles’ heart be his metronome.  He had pulled enough pain from Stiles that he should be near sleep, but when Peter got to the chorus, something shifted in his chest.  He knew Stiles had felt the same thing, because he sat up with a jerk, wincing at the way he pulled his neck when he met Peter’s eyes.

 

“'Cause I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you”

 

Stiles stared at Peter, not understanding what was happening, but knowing that Peter was feeling it too.  There was a clench in his chest, a faraway ache that had him longing to touch his mate.  Stiles stretched out one hand toward Peter, but held back.  Peter needed both hands to keep playing the song, and somehow he knew that no matter what, Peter had to keep playing.

 

“Now I'll be bold

As well as strong

And use my head alongside my heart

So take my flesh

And fix my eyes

A tethered mind free from the lies

 

And I'll kneel down

Wait for now

I'll kneel down

Know my ground

 

Raise my hands

Paint my spirit gold

And bow my head

Keep my heart slow”

 

A buzzing in Stiles’ mind distracted him from the odd feeling in his chest.  It still pulsed rhythmically, almost clenching to the beat of the song, but now Stiles focused on his mind.  There was something there that was new and yet somehow he was intimately familiar with it.  Peter’s emotions were always at the forefront of his mind, simmering just under the surface of his own awareness, but this was something much more.  His eyes roamed Peter's face looking for a reflection of what he was feeling.

He wasn’t just feeling an echo or personal interpretation of Peter’s emotional state, he was actually feeling what Peter was feeling.  Once he could put a name to it, it was like the floodgates were open.  Strong waves of affection and desire filled his mind, but also pride and respect and devotion.  It was like a window had opened in the back of his mind and he was seeing directly into Peter’s heart.  It wasn’t just random though, it called to him through the words of the song.  With every note Peter sang, more and more of his soul was poured into Stiles’ waiting heart.  A tingling on his neck confirmed what he was beginning to suspect.  This was their bond.  It sang to them.

 

“'Cause I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you”

 

“Peter,” Stiles asked as Peter finished the song.  He sat up on the edge of the bed and offered his mate his outstretched hands.  “Tell me you feel that.”

“Yes, I mean, I assume we’re talking about the same thing,” Peter asked cautiously, not wanting to get his hopes up before Stiles confirmed his theory.

Instead of answering, Stiles lifted himself out of his bed and pushed the guitar out of Peter’s lap.  He straddled his hips lightly, not wanting to get sidetracked by the friction of sitting in Peter’s lap, but wanting to get as close as possible.  By way of an answer, Stiles put one palm on Peter’s heart, feeling it beat through his shirt, and brought the other one up to rest on the fresh mark of Peter’s mating bite.  

“It’s the bond, isn’t it?” Stiles asked, rubbing his thumb lovingly on the underside of Peter's chin.  "What I feel in here?" Stiles said, putting a hand to his own heart.

"I think so," Peter confirmed, bringing one hand up to place it on top of Stiles', feeling his heartbeat under his palm.  "I never asked Talia what her connection with Eric was, but I'm sure it couldn't have been anything like this," he said, cupping Stiles' face and pressing a soft kiss to his lips.

"Maybe it's different for every couple?  I doubt many mated pairs sing to each other on a daily basis," Stiles suggested, bringing his face close in to Peter's neck and nuzzling in.

Peter had never had a lingering wound like this.  Even his worst injuries from Alphas had faded after a few days.  The twinge and ache that he felt every time he moved his head brought to mind the moment when he had received his bite, and reminded him of his mate and the matching mark on Stiles' neck.  He had a better sense of where Stiles was now also, but it hadn't yet progressed to the point where he could sense when he was in danger, much to Peter's dismay.  He should have known when Scott had started to threaten his mate.  It was a few days to the full moon, but that was no excuse.

"Maybe we're just special," Peter said, not even a little bit ashamed of how sappy he was being.  His mate was hurt and he be was feeling romantic and clingy.  Stiles didn't seem to mind at any rate, if the way he was currently sucking on the unmarked side of his neck was any indication.

"We should see if it works both ways," Stiles muttered against his throat, and Peter's mind jumped to the memory of Stiles fucking him, but somehow, he didn't think that was what Stiles meant.  "If it happens when I sing to you." Peter was grateful for the clarification and nodded as much as he could with Stiles' lips still attached to his body.

"We should," Peter agreed.  Allowing himself to get distracted by the way Stiles was trailing kisses back up to his mouth.

They sang to each other for the rest of the night, side by side in Stiles' bed, exchanging soft kisses and whispered words until the Sheriff got home and Peter slipped out the window, into the cool night air.

 

Chapter Text

It was a few weeks later and they were still a few sacrifices short of the whole shebang.  Stiles woke up bright and early on a Thursday morning, wondering if he had a Calc quiz that he was forgetting about when he felt it.  It was Derek.

Something was horribly wrong with Derek.  Besides the constant loom of darkness in his mind, he hadn't felt the pain of one of the pack members since Jackson was burned.  It was a feeling he could really do without.  Sparks flew in the back of his mind, a bright pain that threatened to knock him unconscious, the whiteness spreading out from behind his ears, trailing around to his eyes.  He clenched his jaw and ground his teeth together, fighting the sensation.  He needed to get to the loft.

Stiles threw on clothes as quickly as possible, not even bothering to tie his shoes, and launched himself into his Jeep.  He sent off a one handed text to Peter, who he could tell was out shopping in town and not at home, this werewolf LoJack he had going on was really useful sometimes.  Driving like his life depended on it, because he had a sinking feeling that Derek's did, Stiles raced to the loft, not even bothering to pull the key out of the ignition when he pulled into the parking lot.

Even Stiles' human nose could smell blood, and when he pulled open the door of the loft, he could see why.  Derek was down on the ground on all fours while Kali stood over him, one foot on his back pushing him down.  She really didn't need to exert any effort to keep him on the floor though, because a huge piece of pipe was lodged through his stomach, blood slowly dripping down.  Stiles almost gagged when he saw the pool of blood on the floor.  That was way too much blood, Stiles wasn't sure exactly how much blood a werewolf could lose before they died, but it if it was anywhere near that of a human, Derek didn't have much time.

"Oh, if it isn't the little Fire Mage," Deucalion simpered, inspecting the tips of his razor sharp claws.  "Come to watch the show?"

Words seemed to be failing Stiles.  He kept flicking his panicked gaze between the pallor of Derek's face and the evil smirk the European dick of an Alpha was giving him.  Swallowing dryly, Stiles tried to wet his lips and find a way to bring the situation back around.

"Sorry to have missed the opening act," he snapped, dragging one heel forward until it sparked against the floor.  Pulling with his mind, Stiles directed the flames into his hands and stretched his arms forward so that only a push outward would shoot the fire into the wolf's face.  "But I hear the finale is going to be amazing."

"You've been watching far too much television," Deucalion said, completely nonplussed.  "This isn't the part where you throw me a witty one liner and then I go up in smoke.  This is the part where I give your Alpha an ultimatum, and either way, you die."  Motioning with one clawed hand Deucalion beckoned, showing Kali it was time to leave.  The woman let go of the pole, though not before giving it one last twist, and followed her master out of the window.  As soon as they were gone, Stiles let his fire extinguish and rushed to Derek's side.

As gently as he could, Stiles got two strong hands around the pole and winced, not wanting to cause Derek any more pain, but knowing the pole had to come out.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Stiles repeated softly as he slowly slid the pole out of the wolf.  Derek manfully kept his scream on the inside, having only the strength to groan pitifully around his mouthful of blood.  Once the offending item was free, Stiles chucked it behind him, putting a soft palm against Derek's chest and helping him to turn over on the floor.

Stiles knees slipped on the blood slick floor.  He flapped his hands a little, wondering how he could help without causing more damage.  Knowing there wasn't much he could do but wait for Derek to heal, Stiles stripped off his tee shirt and bunched it up against the wound, pressing down hard.  He could at least make sure what remained of Derek's blood stayed inside his body.  Hoping that the pressure of the floor against his back would be enough to keep things together, Stiles pushed both palms against Derek's stomach.  Derek continued to moan pitifully, eyes clenched tightly shut and mouth a thin line.

"It's going to be alright," Stiles murmured, more for himself than Derek.  Blood had already seeped through his shirt and was coming up between his thin fingers.  He could feel his breath coming in quicker, the edges of panic setting in.  Just when Stiles was on the edge of hyperventilating, he felt a warmth blossom in his mind.  Peter was nearby.  He was coming.

"Peter's coming," Stiles said, hoping that was reassuring news for Derek, "he'll be here any minute and we'll get you fixed up.  Don't worry."  Again, Stiles felt like he was comforting himself more than Derek, but anything that kept him from passing out in a growing lake of blood was helpful.  Stiles took deep, slow breaths and counted, doing his best to ignore the fact that he thought he could feel Derek's pulse through his palms.  Focusing his eyes on the wolf's pale face, Stiles waited.

A few minutes later, Stiles could hear footsteps rushing up the stairs.  Peter paused a second in the doorway, taking in the scene of his mate covered in his nephew's blood.  He inhaled quickly, taking stock of the situation, and once he assured himself that none of the blood was Stiles', and that his mate's heart was beating at a too fast, but even pace, he rushed forward.  Kneeling down next to Derek's torso, he took one wrist in his arm and began to pull pain out of Derek as quickly as he could.  With his other palm, he shoved at Stiles' hands, trying to get his attention and push him away.

"Stiles," Peter said, in a steady, calm tone, "go to the bedroom and get Derek's sheets.  We need to wrap this up."  Stiles didn't move, eyes still locked on the blood seeping through his tense fingers.

"Stiles," Peter repeated, a little louder this time, "he's going to be fine.  Just go get the sheets and make some bandages."

"Should I call Melissa?" Stiles asked, blinking himself out of his trance.

"No, he'll be alright.  Werewolves don't do well with stitches.  She won't be able to help."

Nodding sharply, Stiles rose to his feet, looking down to see that his toes were submerged in the puddle of blood that was spreading throughout the loft.  Leaving a trail of macabre footprints all the way upstairs, Stiles bundled up the soft white sheets off the Alpha's bed and brought them back to the main room.  He couldn't help but take a second to stare off the catwalk at the scene below.  Peter was hunched over Derek's prone form, one hand pressed firmly into the wound in his stomach, pulling pain as well as adding pressure.  The other hand lightly brushed the sweaty hair off Derek's forehead, gentle, like a father tending his feverish son.

Something deep in Stiles' chest clenched at the sight.  This was his family.  A little broken, but good.  He smiled as he remembered watching the Disney movie with Derek and Isaac the day they agreed to make Stiles the Hale Pack Emissary.  His family certainly had come a long way since then, but it was still a little bit broken.  Stiles' heart yearned to fix it.  With that thought, he hurried downstairs.

Feet slipping in the blood again, he handed the top sheet to Peter who began shredding it with his claws.

"Go wash your hands," Peter told him, starting on removing Derek's torn shirt.  "I'll move him somewhere clean and then you can wrap him up."  Moving to the kitchen to follow Peter's instructions, Stiles spent a long minute soaping and rinsing his hands, watching the sticky blood swirl down the dark drain.  When he looked back into the living room, Peter had Derek in a bridal hold, carrying him to a clean patch of floor.  Stiles grabbed a few kitchen towels and wet them with warm water, going to meet the other men.

"Put him on his side," Stiles instructed, helping Peter to angle Derek's body until he could wipe the dried blood off his back before laying him back down.  Folding another dry towel to act as a bandage, Stiles pressed it hard into Derek's stomach, laying a few sheet strips over the top.  Peter helped him rock Derek back and forth so they could get the bandages around his back and secure them in knots.  Stiles itched to do more, wishing he had some antiseptic cream or hydrogen peroxide, though he doubted whether either would help much with werewolf healing.  "Let's put him on the couch," Stiles suggested.

Helping a bit by grabbing Derek's feet, Peter did most of the heavy lifting, situating the injured werewolf on the leather couch.  Stiles laid a cool but steady hand on Derek's forehead, testing for fever.  He figured a werewolf could fight off most infections, but he was still nervous for his Alpha.  Peter laid back in his armchair and turned toward Stiles.  "What happened?" He asked tiredly, rubbing a rough hand down the side of his face.

"Kali and Deucalion happened," Stiles told him, peering over at Derek to check that his eyes were closed in sleep.  "When I came in he was impaled by that," Stiles said, pointing to the blood-drenched pole that was sitting in the corner of the room.

"What did they want?" Peter asked, not taking his eyes off of his nephew's chest, rising and falling in short but even breaths.

"I'm not sure," Stiles said, coming over to sit himself in Peter's lap.  "We're going to have to ask him when he wakes up."

"Don't worry too much," Peter comforted him, pressing a kiss to his hairline while one finger trailed over the silver scar on his neck.  "It takes a bit more than that to kill one of us.  Rest a little bit."  Finding no need to argue with his mate, Stiles settled his weight on Peter, tucked his face into Peter's neck and fell asleep.

 

***

 

A few hours later, the sun was high in the sky and Derek was groaning himself awake.  Stiles figured he would need a bit more energy before he could heal fully, so he went to the kitchen to grab the takeout menus and make an order.  Peter got up from his chair to lend Derek a hand in sitting up.  Derek ran a bewildered hand over the bandage on his stomach, seemingly unaware of where they came from.  Stiles came back into the living room and sat down in the armchair, giving Derek a stern look.

"Deucalion said he gave you an ultimatum," Stiles started, keeping part of his focus on the rolling wave in the back of his mind that was Derek's emotional wellbeing.  "What was it?"

"Nothing," Derek grunted, putting one hand down on the couch like he was going to try to get up and walk away from the conversation.

"Sit your ass down," Peter growled, pushing on one shoulder until Derek's weight was back down on the couch.

"What does he want from us?" Stiles asked, glancing between Derek and Peter, trying to find a clue in their facial expressions.

"Not from us," Derek said with a heavy sigh, "from me."

"Okay, smartass," Stiles shot back, losing patience with Derek's reticence.  "What does he want from you?"

"He wants me to join their pack," Derek said, with a tone of finality.  But if Stiles had anything to do with it, the conversation was far from over.

"Well that's not going to happen, so what's behind door number two?"

"Either I kill one of you and join him," Derek said, eyes downcast, "or he kills you all and takes me anyway."

"What the fuck kind of ultimatum is that?" Stiles cried, flailing his hands in disbelief.

"The kind that an Alpha Pack makes," Peter answered, head cocked to one side as he pondered the situation.  "Do you know how you join an Alpha Pack," he asked, directing the question toward Stiles.

"I'm guessing it's not by doing their homework," Stiles quipped, angry that Peter wasn't just telling him what he wanted to know.  Not everything had to be a lesson.

"You kill your Betas," Peter said simply, waiting for that to sink in.  "With every Beta you kill, you get a surge of power.  So once you've killed them all, you're as powerful as an Alpha can be, and Deucalion would want you in his pack."

"You gain power from killing your family?" Stiles asked in disbelief, "What kind of werewolf bullshit is that?"

"They also killed their Emissaries," Derek chimed in, eyes still firmly locked on his own blood covered feet.

"Well I'm not down with that," Stiles said, "and I'm guessing neither are you, so what did you tell him?"

Derek kept his mouth firmly shut, not giving Stiles even a one word answer.  "What did you tell him, Derek?" Stiles asked again, voice fierce and demanding.

"I told them I'd go with them if they agreed to leave you all alone," Derek finally admitted, slowly bringing his head up to look at Stiles.

"Fuck no," Stiles said, not giving Derek one inch.  "That is not happening, so we will just have to find a way to take him and his little Alpha bitches down."

"You don't understand," Derek said, pleading with Stiles, "he's too strong.  You don't know what he looks like when he shifts."

"Enlighten me," Stiles said, rolling his eyes.

"They call him the Demon Wolf," Peter chimed in, always loving a good mythology lecture.  "They say that not only did he kill his own pack, but when one of his Alphas gives him trouble, he kills them as well.  The power boost from killing an Alpha is immense, and I'm sure he's done it at least a dozen times by now."

"When the full moon comes, he's unstoppable.  They call him a demon for a reason," Derek continued, laying out as many convincing facts as possible.  "He's coming for me, on the full moon.  Either I go with him, or everybody dies."

"Or you go with him and everybody still dies!" Stiles screamed at him, not understanding why Derek wasn't getting this.  "You don't make deals with the devil, Derek!  Everyone knows that!"  Stiles hopped out of the armchair and paced the room, continuing his rant.  "He will never keep his word.  You'll go with him and the moment he has you, he'll kill you for another hit of that werewolf mojo and then come for the rest of us."

"That's a chance I have to take," Derek said, setting his mouth in a stern line and staring Stiles down.

"You don't fucking get it, you stupid sour wolf!" Stiles yelled again, stopping his frantic pacing to stand in front of the Alpha.  "You're not a sacrificial lamb.  You do not get to play the martyr for us.  That is not your job."

"Yes, it is," Derek argued.  "It's my only job.  I have to protect you and protect the town.  If I go with them, everyone will be safe."

"Yeah, sure," Stiles said, throwing angry fists into the air.  "We'll be safe for what, a week?  A month?  And then the next supernatural threat rolls into town and we're missing our Alpha.  You are not expendable, you are necessary.  You are essential.  We need you.  Why is this so hard for you to understand?"

"No one needs me," Derek muttered, casting his eyes downward again.  "You'll have Peter, he can be your Alpha.  You're a mated pair, you can be his Emissary.  Mated pairs are the strongest leadership a pack can have.  You can take care of everyone like I never could."

"Oh my God Derek! You are so full of shit!"  Stiles' anger was rising.  Peter quirked an eyebrow at his mate, hearing the way the blood was pounding through his veins, threatening to boil over.

"He's right," Peter said, standing up to join his mate in front of Derek.  "You're the Alpha of the Hale Pack.  That's not nothing.  You're the most important piece of this chain, Derek.  We can't lose you."

"What about Erica and Boyd," Stiles pleaded, pulling out whatever weapons were at his disposal.  "They just got back to you, and now you're going to leave them?"  He could see Derek hid a wince behind one palm, so he kept on swinging.  "Jackson and Isaac, they need you to be there for them.  They're little lost puppies without you."

"You can be the Alpha of the Hale Pack," Derek argued, looking directly at Peter, "You have more of a claim to it than I ever did."

"Even if that were true, I don't need it," Peter argued, surprising the crap out of Derek.  “All I need is my mate.  I have no use for Betas."

"Well I might never have a mate," Derek said with finality.

"Is that what you're worried about?" Stiles asked, rubbing an agitated hand around his chin.  "What about Jennifer, or anybody else?  You don't think there's anyone out there for you?"

"She doesn't know about us," Derek continued to poke holes in all of Stiles' arguments.

"We can help you tell her if you want," Stiles offered, looking to Peter for support.  Peter nodded along, like his answer was obvious, and really, it should have been.  Derek should know that he has people, that he doesn't have to do anything alone.  The fact that he didn't seem to understand or believe that really broke Stiles' heart.  "And if she doesn't accept you for who you are, then she wasn't worth it in the first place."

"Maybe after things settle down," Derek acquiesced, wincing as he shifted his weight to look out the window.  Stiles, who wasn't going to let Derek get away with leaving the situation unresolved, decided to summarize his key points and make Derek repeat them.

"So you will let us help you fight the Alphas," Stiles began, holding up a finger to count.  "You will not make any deals with them without us," he held up his second finger.  "We will help you tell Jennifer about everything when the danger passes, and you will stay here, with your pack where you belong," Stiles finished, holding up his fourth finger.

"Fine," Derek said through gritted teeth, looking for all the world like he wanted to cross his arms over his chest but was stopped by the pain.  He twisted his lips and raised one eyebrow, daring Stiles to make him say any more.

"Promise me," Stiles demanded, already feeling a little bit lighter in the Derek department of his mind.  "You're my Alpha and I'm your Emissary.  Without you, there is no pack."

Derek stared at Stiles, and then looked over at Peter, unsure why Stiles would say something like that when his Alpha mate was present.  He couldn't hear any anxiety or untruthfulness in Stiles' heartbeat, and Peter had what could generously be called a smile on his face.  He didn't seem overly perturbed by Stiles' declaration, and if Peter could handle it, he figured he should be able to handle it as well.

"I promise," Derek muttered, almost inaudible to Stiles' human ears.

"I'm sorry, what was that?  I couldn't hear you over your massive martyr complex and angry eyebrows," Stiles needled him, wanting to make his point.

"I promise, you enormous pain in my ass," Derek finally snapped, yelling at Stiles.  His voice echoed off the walls of the nearly empty room, and if Derek had any energy left in him, he probably would have roared as well.

"He's actually a pain in my ass," Peter corrected, coming up behind Stiles to wrap broad tan arms around his waist.  Stiles relished in the way Peter almost had to stand on his tiptoes to hook his chin over Stiles' shoulder.  The fact that Stiles was the tall one in their relationship never got old.  "But I'll let you borrow him every once in a while if you're lacking in motivation.”

"How generous," Derek muttered, closing his eyes and lying down on his back on the couch.  Satisfied that Derek wasn't in imminent danger, Stiles figured he should clean up and try to catch the last half of the school day.  Or maybe he would wait and have some dumplings first.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 18

Stiles had no intention of talking to Scott, perfectly happy to let him come to his senses on his own, or maybe with a swift kick from Allison or Lydia.  He ignored the first six text messages, not bothering to open them.  Stiles was sick of the back and forth.  He didn’t want to let Scott back in only to have him snap again.  His heart and his fragile human skin couldn’t take it.

Stiles had talked Peter out of confronting him already, arguing that they wouldn't be able to see each other, or have any sex, if Peter was in jail for Scott's murder.  That had been sufficient motivation for the wolf to stop flashing his red eyes whenever Scott's name came up in conversation.  A promise that Stiles would stay away from Scott unless Peter was around had appeased him somewhat.   

Another three text messages, and Stiles was starting to get pissed off.  He just wanted to sleep off his headache in peace, having already decided he was taking a mental health day from school.  Peter had promised to come by later with burgers and have a snuggly movie evening with him and he had planned on spending the rest of the afternoon napping.  The shrill sound of Stiles’ ringtone had him ready to throw his phone across the room, but if he did that there would be no updates from the pack on the Darach and no sexting with Peter until he got a new one.

Stiles was ready to scream before Scott even said anything.  "This better be good," he growled into the microphone, already on edge.  He really didn't think one of Scott's puppy dog-eyed apologies was going to cut it this time, and it would certainly be a while before Peter was calm enough to forgive him.  He doubted if Peter would ever let Stiles be alone with Scott again, if he had his way.

"The hospital says my mom hasn't been in to work and I can't get her to answer her phone.  I think something happened to her," Scott said, all in one breath, panic in his voice.

"When was the last time you saw her?" Stiles asked, trying to determine the severity of the situation, not wanting to entertain the possibility that Melissa was already dead.

"Not since yesterday morning before school.  She had day shifts this week but she didn't get there today.  I have no idea where she could be.  You have to help me look."

"Yeah of course, where do you want to start?  Can you catch her scent at the hospital?" Stiles strategized, wondering if Scott could smell anything over the antiseptic scent that covered the hospital.  As mad as he was with his best friend, not helping him find his mother had never even crossed Stiles’ mind.  

"I can try," Scott said, "can you come pick me up from Deaton's?  I rode my bike."

"Yeah, I'll be there in a few minutes, just stay put," Stiles directed, searching under his bed for his improved Chucks and checking his pockets for a lighter.  He sent a text to his father, making sure the Sheriff's department was out looking for Melissa as well.  Stiles had zoned out a bit, so he wasn't expecting Scott to still be on the phone.  He was a little surprised when he heard a quiet voice on the other line.

"Stiles?" Scott asked, a little sheepish, but still determined.

"Yeah buddy?"

"I'm sorry."

"Yeah well," Stiles said, all the fight rushing out of him, "you'll make it up to me when this is all over."

"Anything dude," Scott agreed, hanging up the phone.

A few minutes later, Stiles was walking into the animal clinic, finding Scott manning the front desk.  Scott lunged at him, wrapping him up in a big bear hug.

"Alright, alright," Stiles said, wriggling out of Scott's arms, "save it for later when I'm not so pissed at you."

"Okay," Scott agreed, heading back behind the counter.  "Let me just tell Deaton I'm leaving early and we can hit the hospital."

Stiles followed him behind the mountain ash counter and into one of the back rooms with all the animal cages.  A loud crash and thunk spurred them on, and they slid into the room at top speed.  When they rounded the corner they found medical instruments all over the floor next to an overturned exam table and Jennifer Blake holding Deaton up against the wall, a hand squeezing his throat.  From the gurgling noise that was coming from the veterinarian's throat, he was quickly losing air.

"Still short one healer, aren't you Jennifer?" Stiles asked ominously, the puzzle pieces all seeming to snap together at once.  Deaton's face was losing color and he didn't want Scott revealing he was a werewolf before they knew more about Jennifer's powers.  Stiles stepped forward putting himself between Jennifer and Scott.

"Not for long," Jennifer finally said through her teeth, her oddly sharp canines poking out as she answered a question it felt like Stiles had asked five minutes ago.

"Let him go," Stiles growled, "and we won't kill you."

"What's going on?" Scott asked, not putting the pieces together.  "Why are we killing Derek's girlfriend?"

"Because Derek's girlfriend is the Darach and I'm guessing she has your mother," Stiles filled him in, fingers twitching, just waiting for an opportunity to light the bitch up.  Suddenly her relationship with Derek was making an eerie and disturbing amount of sense.  They had to get out of here and warn him before she did something else to his mind.

Scott's eyes flashed yellow and his claws began to grow, an angry, low noise in his throat was directed at the woman who was currently draining the life out of his boss.  Apparently deciding that there was probably easier prey elsewhere, Jennifer dropped Deaton and disappeared in a swirling vortex of black smoke.  Stiles looked to the open window in awe while Scott helped get Deaton off the floor, checking his throat for any further injury.

"Are you alright," Scott asked, but Stiles knew there was no time.

"We need to leave right the fuck now, Scotty," Stiles said, pulling on the back of Scott's tee shirt and turning his attention quickly to Deaton.  "Look doc, you're not like actively dying are you, because normally I would be really sympathetic of your near death experience, but we need to catch her."

"I'm fine, Mr. Stilinski," Deaton rasped, still slumped against the wall.  "Be careful."

"Thanks man, we'll let you know how it goes," Stiles said, pulling once more on Scott and dragging him out of the vet's office.

Stiles threw himself back into the driver's side of the Jeep, putting it in reverse before Scott was even in the car.  He needed to get to Derek before Jennifer decided that Guardian was another word for Alpha werewolf.  She had already fucked with him enough.  He was putting a stop to this now.

A few minutes later Stiles' Chucks were slipping on the floor outside the loft door as he struggled to pull it open.  Scott lent him a hand and they finally rushed inside, only to find Jennifer cuddling with Derek on the couch, movie playing in the background.

"Derek!" Stiles gasped, running forward to the couch and grabbing Derek by the arm.  "Get away from her.  She's the Darach!"

" My girlfriend is the Darach?" Derek asked in disbelief, "that doesn't make any sense."

"No," Stiles countered, feeling the words come tumbling out of his mouth in a frantic ramble, "it makes perfect sense and I will prove it to you.  Or well maybe I can't prove it to you, but I can explain it in small words and you will believe me because you know I’m always right."

Hearing his mate's voice reach that panicked frequency pulled Peter out of the bathroom and onto the catwalk, taking in the scene with a blank face.  Stiles longed for him to pick up his mental trail and do the talking, because he knew it would come out a lot more convincing with Peter's eloquence, but he soldiered on anyway.

"Look Derek, we just saw her with her cute little manicured hands wrapped around Deaton's throat.  She was about to kill another healer and we have reason to believe she's already got Scott's mother." Stiles started with the most recent events and moved backward, but not without giving Jennifer a cold warning.  "And if there is one little curl on her head out of place I will burn the shit out of you, no questions asked.  So tell me where the fuck she is."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Jennifer said, grabbing onto Derek's sleeve and searching the faces of everyone in the room with curiosity and shock.

"Don't think for one second that your little Bambi act is going to fool me, sister," Stiles warned her, "I've got you all figured out.  Well, mostly."

"Derek, you know I would never hurt anyone," she said softly, trailing a slender hand down his arm to take one of his.  "You don't believe any of this.  It's insane.  I don't even know what a Darake is."

"It's Dar-ach," Stiles said, over annunciating, getting a kick out of correcting the woman on how to pronounce her own name.  "You don't fool me, with your pencil skirts and your sensible heels, and your stupid perfect lipstick.  You're an evil witch, admit it!"

"Stiles," Scott warned through his teeth, "get to the point!"

"Right, well, all this bad shit started going down when you got into town," Stiles accused, ticking them off on his fingers as he listed her sins.  "There was the warriors, and the scholars, but first there were the virgins.  You killed my friend Heather, you heartless bitch!"

Peter longed to jump in, but colorful as Stiles' accusations were, none of them were incorrect.  She had killed at least ten people, and hopefully Melissa wasn't number eleven.

"I've been feeling this dark cloud in my head since you started teaching us, and there's something suspicious about the way Derek's been acting the last few months."  Finally, something clicked together.  Derek's mind had been fuzzy and distant since he and Jennifer got together.  He had been so focused on pulling Jackson out of his funk and mating with Peter that he hadn’t even noticed it.  She had been controlling him all along.

"You killed three virgins," Stiles said in wonder, pieces snapping together as he spoke out loud.  "Each arm of the knot gives you a power, and you killed three virgins!  You roofied my Alpha!" He accused sharply, pointing a long finger at Jennifer and jabbing it in the air.

Derek still had a serene sort of look on his face, like he was a bit baffled by what was going on but was still content to sit curled on the couch with his girlfriend.

"How does it work, Jennifer?" Stiles asked, eager to get a confession.  "You kill a few virgins and your lady bits are suddenly like catnip?  You have sex with him and he just does whatever you want?  Answer me!"

"Stop yelling at her," Derek said, standing up and stretching to his full height.  "I don't know what you're talking about, but I'm sure there's an explanation.  She was probably with me half the times there were murders."

"No Derek," Peter finally said from upstairs, tone soft, like he was sorry to be the one to break it to Derek.  "She wasn't.  Think back.  She wasn't."

"Even if you don't believe Stiles about the magic," Scott said, stepping forward.  "Believe me.  She was choking Deaton.  If we hadn't walked in, he would be dead."

Derek turned suspicious eyes on Jennifer, tensing his forehead like he wanted to believe Scott but just couldn't make the connection happen upstairs.  Realizing that Jennifer's hold on Derek's mind must be a lot stronger than he thought, Stiles backed up behind Scott, using him as a temporary shield and closed his eyes.

He pulled at that little thread in the back of his mind, pulling back the curtain to the window that looked into Derek's subconscious.  The moment he got inside he was bombarded with smoke.  There were clouds blurring everything, so much that he could barely tell what he was looking at.  When it became clear, Stiles wished he hadn't seen anything.  It was like a sexy rom-com was playing in Derek's mind, completely blinding him to anyone else but Jennifer.  She had her claws in deep and Stiles needed to pull him out of it.  He didn't want to do it, but he could think of only one angle, and he had to use it.

Wincing internally, Stiles walked through the sex scenes and pushed as far into Derek's mind as he could.  It was like Jennifer had mentally boarded up the rest of Derek's personality, hiding it away from the illusion that she had put in the forefront of his mind.  Stiles mentally chipped away at the wall, but he couldn't reach Derek's true thoughts.   He wondered if this was what legilimency felt like, wading through someone's half formed thoughts and memories.

Insecurity.  Self-loathing.  Embarrassment.  Guilt.  Stiles pulled at these emotions, he could feel them, just on the other side of the wall, but he couldn't reach them.  There was a reason Derek never dated.  There was a reason it had taken this long for him to trust Stiles.  People had used him.  They had used him in the most horrible ways, manipulating him and bringing him down so they could use him for their own purposes.  Like Peter, Stiles didn't want to be the one to remind Derek of the reasons he never let anyone in, but if they were going to defeat the Darach, they needed Derek to understand.  His feelings weren't real.  She didn't love him.  She was only using him, and for what, Stiles still wasn't sure.  She was no better than Kate.

Stiles wasn't getting anywhere.  He could feel the force of Jennifer's hold on Derek.  It was closing in on all sides, pressing sharply until Stiles was pushed forcibly from Derek's mind.  The force was so strong Stiles was laid out on his ass on the loft floor, already starting to feel the pain in his back from the impact.

"Derek," Stiles said, voice wavering as he tried to find the words.  "You have to push her out.  She's inside your head, making you believe her.  But you can't.  It isn't real, any of it!"

"Don't," Derek said, face stony and nostrils flaring.  "Just don't.  I know how I feel."

"Derek," Jennifer called, voice soft again, words flowing out of her painted lips like she had told this story before.  "I love you, and I don't want you to get hurt, but you have to understand.  I need your help.  The Alpha Pack-- they're after me."

Now everyone was confused.  They had been laboring under the assumption that Jennifer didn't know anything about werewolves, but now that it was clear that she was using magic against Derek, a little extra supernatural knowledge didn't seem too far-fetched.  What could Jennifer have possibly done to have the Alphas after her?  Sick of the way they were beating around the bush, Stiles just asked his question outright.

"What did you do for the Alphas to want you dead?"

"Oh come on, Stiles," Jennifer said, rolling her eyes and crossing her arms, "You're supposed to be the smart one.  You know they don't need a reason to want to kill you.  They're animals."

That was when Stiles knew something was really wrong.  The real Derek would have bristled at that remark, much like the low rumble coming from Peter on the balcony.  He would never have let her get away with calling them animals.  Derek was slipping away and Stiles didn't know how to fix it.  He needed more information.  He needed more time.  

"If you want our help, you're going to have to earn it," Stiles said mirroring her stance of crossed arms.  "So quit it with the insults and start talking.  You've got five minutes before Peter goes into your mind to find out where Melissa is."

"Do you know how the wolves of the Alpha Pack got their powers?" Jennifer asked, seeming to have given up all pretense.

"They kill their Betas," Stiles recited, as if the answers to these questions were his multiplication tables.

"No.  They don't just kill their Betas, Stiles," Jennifer said, annunciating each word separately to make her point crystal clear.  "They murder their own families.  They slaughter every man, woman, and child in their pack, they mutilate themselves, tearing away anything human left inside them.  But that's not all."

Stiles was mildly interested in what Jennifer was saying, but it only made him want to kill the Alphas more, it did nothing to warm him to Jennifer's cause.  If anything, Jennifer could be even more dangerous than the Alphas.  The pack had at least taken down two of them already.  Only three to go.  Stiles was quickly losing patience with Jennifer's dramatic storytelling and waved his hand in a circle the way his father did when listening to his deputies' reports.

"They also kill their Emissaries," Jennifer said, looking pointedly at Stiles.  "And I was Kali's Emissary."

"Well she wasn't very thorough then, was she?" Stiles taunted, not in any way sympathetic, he had already heard this from Derek, after all.  "I would have expected more from that sadistic bitch."

"I was nearly dead, but I managed to crawl to a sacred tree in the preserve, and my blood merged with its magic to bring me back."

"What are we complaining about then," Stiles said, gesturing around the room wildly.  "You're alive, we're alive, we'd all like to stay that way, but you're a murderer, so why should we help you?"  Stiles could kind of see the virtue of teaming up with a powerful Druid.  They could kill the Alphas and then find a way to off the witch, but working with the woman who killed Heather?  He couldn't do it.

"You don't get it," Jennifer snapped, and suddenly they could see the murderess underneath her good girl façade.  "You think I lived, so it should be alright now?  It's not alright.  What she did to me?  She needs to pay."

And just like that, in a crack of lightning, her face changed.  Stiles wasn't sure it was even really raining outside, but suddenly all the lights in the loft blinked out and the only illumination was the unnatural lightning that was flashing outside the loft's large window.  Jennifer's hair was gone, skin pale, but that wasn't the real problem.  Her skin was in tatters, white flesh torn open in what were obviously large bore claw marks, mouth partially ripped off, exposing the roots of some of her teeth.  She hadn't just been killed, she had been mutilated.

"Do you have any idea how much power it takes to keep that pretty face?" Jennifer said, words twisting out of her mangled mouth.  "Come on Derek, you know what it's like to have everything ripped away from you.  Help me."

Stiles could see the gears turning in Derek's mind.  He was considering it, but he was also confused.  His eyebrows were pinched together like he was puzzling something out.  Stiles could feel Peter tensing, ready to strike if things looked like they were turning the wrong way.  There had to be something left of their Derek in there.  Derek didn't trust like this, he couldn't.

"You believe me, don't you?" Jennifer said, voice growing rough.

"Derek?" Stiles called, not wanting to believe that he was really going to side with this monster.

"I believe you," he said, turning to Jennifer, seemingly unfazed by the change in her appearance.  "But I can't help you."

"You don't know what you're saying," Jennifer pleaded, "You know me.  You see what they did to me.  You need to help me end them."

Stiles couldn't let Jennifer sink her claws back in to Derek, not when it sounded like he was finally resurfacing.  He just needed a bit more time.  Stiles was ready to do what he did best, talk his way out of the situation in the most obnoxious way possible.

"Kali's quite the piece of work," Stiles mused, appraising Jennifer, eyes ready to pick up on any sign of recognition.  "Why did you ever agree to become that woman's Emissary?  She's absolutely crazy-pants.  And we know our way from crazy-pants, don't we Peter?"

"That we do, Stiles," Peter agreed, playing along, hoping Stiles knew what he was doing.

"Why would a young woman agree to be some monster's Emissary?"  Jennifer was staring him down, unmoving, Stiles hadn't hit the right angle yet.  "Unless she wasn't always like that."

There it was, that little flicker in the eye that Stiles had been waiting for.  "Oh I see how it is.  You loved her.  Everything was all sunshine and roses until Deucalion came along."

"You don't know what you're talking about," Jennifer snapped, control slipping.  Shocks of lightning lit up the sky once more.

"So you were young and in love, and you didn't even bat an eye when Kali started killing off your Betas, I bet you were into it," Stiles tugged at the loose thread some more, waiting for Jennifer to crack.  He felt his phone buzz in his pocket and hoped that his dad had some luck finding Melissa, because he wasn't keen to let this woman live any longer than necessary.  "You were ready to ride off into the sunset, just you and Kali.  Until you realized she had to kill you too."

Hearing footsteps on the stairs behind them, Stiles turned around to see the pack racing in.  They looked panicked, but collected, like Peter had already told them what to expect.  There weren't any shocked faces, no grimacing at Jennifer's appearance.  When he turned around to look at the witch, she was back to her old self.  Lipstick perfect, curls bouncy, one hand gripping Derek's like they were about to take a leisurely stroll through the park.

"What's going on, Derek?" Jennifer asked coolly, mask firmly back in place.

"Why don't you tell me," Derek said, eyes trailing Lydia and Allison as they marched up the spiral stairs.  Stiles was pleased, they were following protocol.  Get the humans up and out of the way, get Allison a good vantage point.  Keep Lydia away from the action.  They had come prepared for battle, and now all it looked like was a friendly disagreement between the happy couple.

"To recap," Stiles said, as the rest of the wolves trailed in behind him.  "Jennifer is the Darach.  She's got Derek under some sort of virgin sex-voodoo and she has Melissa hidden somewhere to be a healer sacrifice.  Also she's got no face and used to screw Kali.  Have I missed anything?" Stiles asked, casually checking the message from his father while he let his words sink in.  "Also, my dad says he found Melissa hidden in the woods, so I really don't see what possible use we could have for this bitch anymore.  Anyone disagree?"

"Derek!' Jennifer pleaded, looking around the room frantically.  "I love you, and I need you to help me.  I didn't get to the healers or guardians, so I need protection."  She turned desperate eyes on Derek, squeezing his hand for emphasis.  "Kali is going to kill me.  I know she is.  So who are you going to believe, your girlfriend, or some dumb kid?"

Panic and desperation coupled with Jennifer's struggle to keep her true face hidden had apparently used up enough of Jennifer's power, letting Derek snap out of it.  He dropped Jennifer's hand forcefully and turned to face her, aligning himself with the rest of the pack.

"You're lying," Derek said simply, like he had finally figured it all out.  "You can hide your face, but you can't hide your heartbeat."

"Derek, please!  You don't know what they're capable of.  Deucalion will kill you all if you don't help me defeat him.  You need me, not a bunch of teenagers who can't even pass my stupid English class."

"Stiles isn't a dumb kid," Derek said, taking a purposeful step sideways until he was standing next to the younger man.  "He's my brother.  And my Emissary.  And the most dangerous teenager you'll ever meet."

Smiling at Derek's words, Stiles took them as permission to put the fear of God into Jennifer.  Scraping a sneaker on the loft floor, Stiles conjured his fire, pulling massive orbs of it into both of his hands and directing them across the room at Jennifer.  She ducked out of the way in time, turning in the air to open her arms and draw her palms closed.  It felt as if all the air in the room shifted, so when Stiles threw another fireball at Jennifer, she thrust her arms forward and shot it right back at them.

Stiles and the wolves ducked and threw themselves to the ground to avoid the fire.  A set of heavy feet told Stiles that Peter had just jumped from the catwalk to join the fight.  The wolves circled up, all facing the current threat, deciding how they should strike, but they never got the chance.

With an ear-splitting crash, the loft's window broke, glass flying into the building.  Three figures leapt in with it.  The glow of three sets of red eyes told the pack that the Alphas had arrived.

Kali immediately lunged at Derek, swiping at him with clawed hands and feet.  He was able to block most of her blows, but after only a few seconds, the smell of blood was in the air.  The way Kali used her feet gave her four sets of claws where Derek only had two, and her fighting style was a lot more sophisticated than he was used to.

The wolves fanned out, trying to box in Aiden, Deucalion, and Jennifer, but none of them were having much luck getting any punches in.  Deucalion seemed completely unperturbed by the young wolves closing in on him.  Stiles’ flames were the only light in the room, but he was reluctant to throw them into the melee, worried he would hit the wrong person.  Limbs and bodies moved in a blur as Boyd and Jackson rushed Deucalion and the others came at Aiden from all sides.  Deucalion threw them with ease, Boyd hitting a pillar with a loud crunch.  He was only stirring slightly, the throw having hit him with incredible force, but he wasn't dead.

Allison, who could aim her arrows with far more precision than Stiles' fire started shooting into the fray, but the wolves were moving so fast, none of them met their target.  Stiles could hear Erica's scream, but felt impotent, completely unable to stop what was happening to his friends.  Isaac had gone to help Derek, who was bleeding from slashes all across his chest and back, but that left only Jackson and Scott to deal with Aiden and Deucalion.  Peter had taken it upon himself to give Jennifer a beat down, but seemed ultimately unsuccessful.  Every few minutes he would be thrust away by her push of air and would have to shake his head and regroup for another attack.

Stiles didn't understand.  They had seven wolves to three Alphas and a Darach, how could they not get the upper hand?  He looked down at his hands, still holding large spheres of flames, and couldn't find an opening to help his pack.  For all the good his powers did him the last time they were in a battle, he had also burned Jackson.   He was useless.

Boyd had finally regrouped and teamed up with Peter to rush Jennifer.  They distracted her sufficiently that Allison was finally able to get a shot in.  The wolves expected her to go down, but she just pulled the arrow out of her thigh and squeezed it in her hand, crushing the wood.  It didn't slow her down, but it did made her angry.

In a great rush of power, all the air in the loft shifted, snuffing out Stiles' flames and pulling the metal beams of the catwalk away from the walls.  With a deafening crash, the bars came tumbling down to the ground, bringing Allison and Lydia with it.  Stiles looked up, frozen.  He was going to be crushed and the beams were too big for him to jump out of the way.  He closed his eyes, waiting for the impact of swift death, but instead felt a painful push into his stomach as he was thrown out of harm's way.  Allison rolled off the pile of rubble to land on her feet, but Lydia wasn't so lucky.  A loud snap informed Stiles that she had broken an ankle.

Rubbing the side of his hip where his bones had come into hard contact with the floor, Stiles got up, wanting to help Allison get Lydia out of the way when he heard a muffled groan coming from the heap of metal beams.  Stiles did a quick survey of the room and quickly noticed who was missing.  Peter.

His stupid, noble mate had pushed him out of the way, but now he was being crushed by several thousand pounds of metal.

"Scott!" Stiles screamed, frantically pawing at the beams, trying to get a grip on something, anything that would help him get some of the weight off of Peter.  Scott and Boyd came running when Stiles called, looks of horror on their faces as they saw a puddle of blood seeping out of the rubble.  Scott immediately grabbed a beam, groaning as he tried to lift it, but even with Boyd's help, they could only get it a few inches off the ground, definitely not enough to pull Peter free.

"Stiles," Peter whispered, barely audible over the grunting and slashing sounds of combat.  One particularly loud scream from Derek threatened to pull Stiles' attention away from his mate.  "I'll be fine, go help Derek."

"Peter, no," Stiles pleaded, hearing the way Peter's voice sounded wet, like he had a punctured lung.  "We need to get you out of there."

"There's no time, you would need all of them to lift this.  Help Derek," Peter ordered, hearing another grunt of pain that sounded like his nephew.  "He's losing.  Help him."

Stiles eyes were wet.  There was no way he could leave Peter under this pile of metal to die.  But Peter was right.  They were losing.  Even as he took a minute to look at his mate before squeezing his hand and leaving him there on the ground, he could hear yells and screams of pain in his friends' voices.  He needed to end this.

"Don't go anywhere," Stiles said, lifting himself off his knees and scraping his shoe against the floor once more.

"You think you're so funny," Peter rasped, coughing and laying his head back on the floor.  With one more glance back at his mate, Stiles turned to face the action.  Everywhere he looked he saw blood on the ground, limbs flying as his friends tried to fight for their lives.  Then his eyes found Derek.  Kali had him pressed against the wall by one foot, claws sinking into his throat.

"This is for Ennis," she told him, as she tensed her back leg and flexed her dominant foot.

"Derek!  Get down!" Stiles screamed, drawing Kali's attention for a split second so Derek could dive to the ground.  With as much anger and pain as he could muster, Stiles sent a column of fire directly at Kali, catching her hair and clothes easily.  She screamed, clawed hands patting at her head, trying to smother the flames, but it wasn't working.  They didn't go out until Stiles said so.

Seeing the opening and taking it, Boyd kicked her back until she fell to the floor right in front of Derek.  Eyes flashing red, Derek slashed at her throat.  Cutting of her scream with a gurgling noise. Her mantle was taken up by Lydia's voice, echoing off the walls as she sounded Kali's death.  Derek's eyes glowed even brighter for a few seconds, some of the smaller cuts on his face closing with the power surge.  Stiles called back his flames and nodded at Derek, who smirked and moved forward to find his next target.

Derek stepped up to Deucalion, who was easily swatting at Scott, Jackson, and Erica like they were gnats.  "Why don't you take on someone your own size?" He called, flashing his bright red eyes at his foe.  Deucalion raised his eyebrows, glancing over at Kali's smoking body and back at Derek in realization.

"You like the rush, don't you Derek?" Deucalion said, accent making it sound like he was inviting Derek for tea, not discussing the murder of one of his pack mates.  "Imagine what it would feel like if it were one of your own."

With an expression of fierce determination, Deucalion threw Boyd and Isaac off of Aiden and grabbed him by the throat.  "Sorry, but when the occasion calls for it," he said, dragging his clawed hand across Aiden's throat, digging in deep enough to sever his head from the side of his neck, "you need a boost."

Seeming to grow several inches taller, Deucalion's eyes burned bright and he howled.  It didn't sound like any other wolf howl they had ever heard.  There was something deep and dark about the noise, like it would come and find you in your home and sneak into your ears, like it could raise the dead.  It completely drowned out the sound of Lydia announcing another death.

Aiden's body fell to the floor as Deucalion breathed in heavily, rolling his neck and shoulders.  With a new shift of his body, the Alpha's muscles flexed, breaking through his shirt and growing to twice their normal size.  His eyebrows darkened, and ears lengthened.  His skin turned a sort of blue-green color.  He became the Demon Wolf.

Derek roared and lunged at the wolf, only to be batted away like a rag doll.  The Betas howled at the sight of their Alpha being brought low by the creature, and attacked as a group.  Erica and Isaac threw themselves at Deucalion's back as the rest took either side.  Deucalion skin didn't break.  It was like their claws were safety scissors.  He twisted his arms around his body like he was stretching out his back and flung each of the wolves off of him with ease.

The group was preparing for another attack when Jennifer came back into play.  She held closed palms in front of her like they were holding fistfuls of sand and then threw her arms up into the air, releasing what Stiles could only describe as dark.  Not only was there no light in the loft, it was like Jennifer had also taken all the light out of the world.  The moonlight no longer streamed in through the broken window.  There were no street lamps.  There was only darkness.

Stiles scraped his feet furiously on the floor, desperate to spark his fire back into life to light up the room, but nothing came.  It was like Jennifer had actually pulled all the oxygen out of the world.  It was unnaturally quiet, as if they were in a vacuum where light and sound no longer existed.  Stiles had no idea if the fight was still going on in the blackness.  His friends could be dying, and he would have no idea.  He pulled a lighter out of his pocket and flicked it, took out his cell phone and opened it, but no light appeared.

"I told you not to underestimate him," Jennifer's voice sounded through the room, echoing and gruff like she had switched back to her natural form.  "I wanted to kill Kali myself, but you had to go and take that from me too," she said, angry and unhinged.  "Now you have to fight the Demon Wolf and not even a dozen of you could take him down.  I'll just have to do it myself."

Stiles could feel a rush of air brush past him, a whistle moving through the otherwise void room.  He knew that sound.  It was an arrow.

Jennifer screamed, a terrifying and otherworldly sound, and her power slipped, the moonlight returning to the room slowly.  Allison had followed the sound of Jennifer's voice and fired.  They needed to get that girl into the Olympic trials.  Stiles could hear the growls of the wolves, resorting to posturing in the dark because they still couldn't see anything.  Another arrow was notched and Allison fired one of her explosive arrows into the room, just missing where Jennifer was standing.  The light flash was just enough to give the room shape and depth.

Encouraged by the sounds of the wolves battling once more, Allison fired arrow after arrow at Jennifer, who ducked and dodged at breakneck speed, not having enough time to pull her power back into her hands.  Stiles scraped his feet and drew fire back into his hands, lending just enough light to the room so he could see the wolves dancing around Deucalion and Jennifer.  Allison had her bowstring pulled back, standing in a protective stance over Lydia's prone form.  Isaac and Erica inched over to the witch, looking for an opening to attack as Allison fired another explosive arrow into the fray.  

She missed.  The arrow didn't hit Jennifer, who had managed to duck out of the way just in time.  It hit Isaac in the throat.  He went down with a whimper, blood pouring out of his neck where the large explosive arrow head stuck out of his body and sparks and smoke rising up around him.  It had almost gone straight through, but was instead protruding from either side of his neck, torrents of blood escaping through the wound.  Erica crawled over to him, pressing down on the wound, but unable to stop the bleeding until she removed the arrow.

Seeing no other way as the arrow head was too wide to safely pass back through, Erica wrapped her hand around the end and pulled until the feathers made their way through Isaac's body and out the other side.  Stiles stared as the blood blossomed out of both sides, Isaac gurgling as he struggled to take breath.  Erica clawed at her shirt, pulling half of the fabric off her body and pressing it down into the wound.  With one arm around Isaac's waist she pulled him into the kitchen so he could heal in relative peace.

Stiles' attention was pulled away from the retreating Betas by a soft tinkling noise coming from the main room.  The tinkling grew louder and as the last of the smoke cleared, Stiles could see all the shards of glass from the broken window hovering in the air.  With a broken smile from Jennifer, they all turned in midair until the points of the shards were facing Deucalion and the rest of the pack.

"Down, now!" Stiles screamed as Jennifer closed her outstretched arms in a wing-flap motion, causing the glass to hurtle through the air at the rest of the group.  Stiles breathed a sigh of relief as his pack members dropped to the ground, leaving Deucalion standing to take the brunt of the attack.  Shards stuck out of his blue skin, but he didn't flinch.  Another wave of glass came rushing through the room, but instead of letting the second round hit the seemingly unaffected Deucalion, Stiles stepped in front of the storm.

Pulling his fire up from his shoes, Stiles pushed his hands together, creating one big fireball in between his palms and thrusting it outward with all his strength.  The flames met the glass before it touched him and melted it while it was still hanging in the air.  Stiles pushed his palms forward once more, giving his fire as much force as he could muster, and thrust it at Jennifer.  The molten glass hit her in a wave of flames, burning into her skin and melting the flesh off her body.  The liquid molded to her body, pulling ear-splitting screams from her throat.  Even over that, Stiles could hear the glass sizzle on impact, pushing into Jennifer like she was made of butter.

She clawed at her body, as if she could peel the molten glass off of her skin.  If she hadn't fucked with Derek like she did, Stiles might have felt bad about it.  Seeing that Jennifer was about to finally fall, Derek and Boyd ran across the room and slashed at her chest and throat, wanting to take no chances.  Lydia's scream announced her death.  That left only Deucalion.

Stiles did a quick assessment of his troops.  Lydia was out of commission, still huddled in the corner clutching her leg, doing her best not to draw attention to herself any more than she could help.  Erica couldn't leave the kitchen without Isaac bleeding out all over the floor, so they were down two wolves there.  And Peter.  He didn't even want to think about Peter, ignoring that corner of the room.  He knew if he looked over he wouldn't be able to walk away again.  Surely the four remaining wolves, Allison, and he could take on one lone wolf.

Stiles could see Derek giving the Betas silent signals, trying to come up with a decent play to take down the Demon Wolf, but they didn't seem to be having much luck.  Bodies swirled around each other, dipping and dodging claws whenever they got within range.  Deucalion was keeping at least one of the wolves between him and Stiles at all times, blocking him from making an attack.

The wolves moved in a dance, swirling around the massive form of Deucalion.  Stiles longed for an opening but couldn't find one.  He saw Derek lunge at Deucalion's back as the rest of the Betas distracted him from the front, but it was no use.  Deucalion grabbed Derek by the throat from behind and tossed him over his shoulder like he was a sack of flour.  Stiles winced at the sickening crunch coming from Derek's back as it made contact with the bloody floor of the loft.  Jackson and Scott leaned down to help him back on his feet, but they were hesitant to make another move with the Alpha injured.

Sensing weakness, Deucalion heaved himself up to his fullest height, spread his arms, and squeezed his muscles tight, expanding his chest and letting out an inhuman roar.  Stiles was sure if there were any glass left in the loft to break, it would have shattered.  The wolves fell to the floor clutching their ears, completely incapacitated.  Only Stiles and Allison stayed standing, but still wincing at the ringing in their ears.

When Derek finally found the strength to get to his knees and look up, he found Deucalion holding Allison off the floor, claws digging into her throat.

"Last chance, Hale," Deucalion growled, voice deep and throaty.

"Derek, don't!" Allison shouted as loud as she could with the way her windpipe was restricted.  Derek looked horrified, glancing quickly between the rest of the people in the room.  When he landed on Scott's face, he pushed off the floor, ready to stand.

"Too slow," Deucalion rasped.  He bit into the side of Allison's neck as his claws slashed across her throat.  Blood sprayed across the room.

Lydia screamed an earth-shattering "Allison" at the same time Scott yelled "NO!"

Even if Stiles' ears hadn't been ringing from the roar and his friends' protests, he didn't think Allison had any breath in her to scream.  She fell to the floor dead.

Scott and Jackson rushed at Deucalion, but it was no use.  The wolf barely had to swat at each of them before they fell on the floor clutching various bleeding body parts.  Derek and Boyd fared no better.  Stiles watched as one by one they were cut down.

"Stop!" Stiles screamed at them, wanting to get his chance to kill the beast that just took Allison from them.  He conjured as much fire as he could hold between two arms and continued to hurl it at Deucalion.  When he easily ducked out of the way, Stiles tried something else.  He focused his fire into a stream, sending it sailing at Deucalion like a flame thrower.  The wolf just swirled and swooped like he was doing a particularly deadly interpretive dance.  Stiles just couldn't get a hold on him.

When Stiles stopped to gather his strength, Deucalion laughed at them, deep and menacing.  "Have you given up yet?" He asked, sweeping his hand around the room to gesture at the group of them.  "I've evolved beyond the normal wolf.  I don't need anyone else to defeat an entire pack.  Don't you want to be like this, Derek?"

"I don't want to be anything like you," Derek snarled, wincing as more blood escaped his chest as he struggled to get to his feet.

"You come at me with a bunch of teenagers and you think you can take down the Demon Wolf?  No one can kill me, I've surpassed death!" Deucalion roared once more, knocking Derek down to the floor again.  The rest of them continued to clutch their heads and even Stiles' ears were ringing violently.  He could only imagine how painful the noise was for the wolves.

Deucalion's laugh cut off as a heavy weight fell from the top of the broken spiral staircase and landed on his back.  Stiles stared, dumbfounded as he realized that the weight was Allison, covered in blood, but alive.  Before Deucalion even knew what was happening, Allison sliced across his neck with her ring daggers, severing his head before thrusting down hard to embed the blades deep in the top of his skull.

His body fell to the floor and Allison rode his shoulders down to the ground before stepping down hard on his neck and kicking his head clean off his body.  She fell to her knees, exhausted, dark hair covering her blood stained face.  When she raised her head to look at the pack, her eyes glowed red.

The room was unnaturally quiet, it seemed that the death of a Demon Wolf was not worth Lydia's power.  Only the panting breaths of the wolves broke the silence.  Allison looked overwhelmed, but calm.  She stood up, not sparing a glance to the body at her feet and asked "Stiles?"

Stiles felt like he could read her mind in that moment and stepped forward, scraping one foot on the floor to bring a ball of fire into his palm.  He threw it to the floor as Allison stepped aside, lighting Deucalion's body on fire.  He watched in morbid fascination as the wolf's pants went up in flames and his shoes started to melt.  Stiles offered a hand to Derek and pulled him off the floor.

Scott, Jackson, Derek and Boyd followed Stiles over to where Peter still lay crushed under the twisted metal of the catwalk.  Five sets of hands lifted with all their strength, and raised the structure just enough that Allison was able to pull Peter free.  The metal dropped back to the floor with a crash as Stiles crawled over to Peter's side.  

"I'm okay," Peter whispered, twitching a finger like he wanted to touch Stiles' face.  Blood soaked his white V-neck where his head wound dripped down his neck, and his limbs were sticking out at odd angles like the bones were fusing together wrong.

"Does anyone know how to set bones?" Stiles asked, wiping a few errant tears from the corners of his eyes.

"I can try," Allison said, kneeling down on Peter's other side.  "He might need Deaton to reset a few, but I can do the big ones.  Hunter training," she said sheepishly, brushing a strand of bloody hair behind her ear and smiling at Stiles gently.  Jackson checked on Lydia and quickly decided that she would need to go to the hospital.  He lifted her in a bridal carry and started to leave the loft, but Lydia's voice stopped him.

"Allison?" She asked, not wanting to leave without reassurance that her friend would be okay.

"I'll be fine," Allison said, showing Lydia her dimples.  "You can go.  I'll call you later."

Lydia nodded, tears in her eyes, and tapped on Jackson's shoulder, letting him know that she was ready to leave.  A rustling from the kitchen told them that Isaac and Erica were emerging.  When Stiles looked over he saw a blood-drenched Isaac with fabric tied around his neck being supported by a shirtless Erica.  He reminded Stiles of the girl from that children's story with the ribbon holding her head on.  Stiles smiled, secure in the knowledge that if he was walking, he would heal and live.  Derek caught his eye and jerked his head in the direction of the living room.

"It's okay," Allison said, feeling around Peter's shoulder, "you probably don't want to see what's going to happen next."  Stiles nodded grimly and pressed a quick kiss to Peter's forehead before leaving them in the corner.  He wondered when he had gotten used to the way his sneakers slid on blood-slick floor.

Stiles walked over to a clean patch of floor and kicked his foot, sparks flying.  He caught them without looking, sparing a glance for Deucalion's corpse to see how long he should let the flames burn.  Throwing a handful of flames at Aiden's body, Stiles crossed the room to take one last look at Jennifer.  Stiles could swear he could feel how the magic had left her body, leaving only a scarred, ragged shell of a woman.  The woman who used Derek.

Stiles worried that this setback might mean Derek never trusted another person again.  They needed to find a way to test any potential dates for magic or latent evil before they let Derek anywhere near another relationship.  Maybe the pack could start dating by committee.  Stiles scraped his heel on the floor one more time and lit her up.

"I think you're going to lose your security deposit," Stiles joked, walking back over to Derek and the rest of the group.  The cracking noises that kept coming from Allison as she was hunched over Peter's body made him avert his eyes and put a fake smile on his face.

"I own the building," Derek told him again, "and we're moving," he added, nuzzling into the side of Erica's face and rubbing a comforting hand on Isaac's back.

"Oh, well, I guess the house is done then?" he asked, smiling broadly and clapping his hands together.

"Next week," Peter said from the floor, still groaning as Allison's hands roamed over his legs.  "Just in time for Christmas."

"Perfect!  Christmas is at the Hale house, everyone's coming, no excuses," Stiles said, trying to find a positive note to end the evening on and completely ignoring the three burning corpses on the other side of the room.  A few more loud cracks and Allison was finished, turning away from Peter and rejoining the group.

"I can't do much about the ribs, but those should heal themselves with time."

"You're going to be alright?" Stiles asked, kneeling down next to his mate again and taking his hand as gently as possible.

"Nothing a few hours in bed with you won't fix," Peter said, voice completely shot.

"Don't be gross," Erica said, rubbing her cheek along Boyd's shoulder.

"You guys should all go home.  We'll clean up here," Derek said, rubbing a hand over Boyd's head, craving some uninhibited contact with his pack after he had finally gotten Jennifer out of his head.  Erica, Isaac, and Boyd started pulling themselves off the floor to bring Isaac somewhere safe to rest.

"I'm not going anywhere until I get some answers," Scott said, standing defiantly in front of Derek.

"Scott," Stiles said, trying to reason with his friend.  "You need to go check on your mom.  She's probably had just as bad of a night as we have."

"No," Scott protested, turning back to Derek, "I have questions."

Derek nodded to the other two as they half carried Isaac out of the loft and turned to face Scott, crossing his arms and raising his eyebrows.  "What do you want, Scott?"

"Allison killed the wolf that bit her," he said, turning to look at Allison who was sitting cross-legged on the floor, face paling.  "Why is she still a werewolf?"

"The cure is just a myth, Scott," Peter said, eyes closed as he lay still on the floor, waiting for his bones to heal.

"And even if it weren't, there was no way I could take that chance," Derek said, rubbing a bloody hand across his stubble.  "You would have become an Alpha at sixteen after you'd only been a wolf for a few weeks.  You wouldn't have been able to handle the power."

"And Allison can?" Scott asked, anger showing through his outward skepticism.  Allison gave him a dry look, unimpressed by his opinion of her.

"Yes," Peter said simply, still not bothering to open his eyes. "She's probably the strongest one out of all the bitten wolves.  She turned in a matter of minutes and healed a massive wound."

"And she'll have a pack of Betas and two other Alphas to help her get used to her powers and the pull of the moon," Derek said, giving Allison a thoughtful look.  "I bet she won't be dumb enough to try to do it all by herself."

"Thank you Derek," Allison said quietly, looking down at her clawed hands with trepidation.

"And I'm sure she'll pick a better anchor than you did," Peter said, incapable of passing up the opportunity to dig at Scott.

"What do you mean by that?" Scott asked, definitely angry now.

"Traditionally, romantic relationships make poor anchors.  There's too much opportunity for change," Derek said, leveling Scott with a serious expression.  Scott looked at Stiles and opened his mouth to protest but Derek cut him off.  "Unless they're mated," Derek said finally, leaving no room for argument.

"They're right, Scott," Allison said, tears flowing freely.  "I'll pick a better anchor."

"Allison," Scott pleaded, crouching down to comfort her, "it's okay.  I can be your anchor."

"No Scott," she sobbed, looking up at him through red eyes, eyelashes already clumped together, "you should go."

"I'm not leaving you here like this," Scott said, reaching out to take her hand.

Allison flinched, pulling her clawed hands back to cover her face.  "It's over.  Please leave."

"We'll take care of her," Stiles said, heart breaking for his friend.  "You can go."

Scott looked from Allison to Stiles, then back to Derek, searching for someone to tell him something that made sense, but no answers came.  Stiles could see the moment Scott's world came crashing down around him, something good and innocent in his eyes dying.  He was really surprised that Scott hadn't started to cry.  Maybe he was still numb to the reality of the situation.  He had lost his girlfriend and his anchor in one fell swoop.  It was obvious now that Derek was right.  A romantic relationship was a poor choice.

Without another word, Scott backed away from Allison and ran from the loft.

Stiles looked to Derek for encouragement but found only bewilderment.  There were three Alphas in the Hale Pack.  They were practically an Alpha Pack in their own right.  Maybe Peter's goal of notoriety wasn't as far off as he had once thought.

He couldn't bear to hear Allison cry anymore and kneeled down in front of her.  "Ally, just breathe," he said softly.  He could feel the fear and disgust coming from the newly made wolf and needed to make sure she knew that there was nothing wrong with being a werewolf, no matter what her family history might be.

Stiles reached out to her and pulled a soft, shaking hand away from her face.  "It's going to be alright.  Just breathe."

"We're going to help you.  We'll teach you control, and you can run the pack with us.  The three of us can protect the Betas together," Derek offered, showing a lot more maturity than Stiles would have expected considering the circumstances.  Sharing a pack with the girl whose family had burned his alive was a lot of emotional growth for one evening.

"No," Allison said, refusing as easily as Derek offered.  "I don't want that.  This is your family."

"You're family," Stiles said clutching Peter's hand a little tighter now that he wasn't wincing at the touch.

"This is Hale land and you're the Hale Alphas," Allison told them, wiping the last streams of tears off her face.

"You can do this with us," Derek said, reaching out to take Allison's now claw free hand.  "Look how well you're doing already; you're a natural."

"He's right," Peter said, finally opening his eyes and looking at Allison, "but she's right too.  You're the Hale Alpha and the Betas are yours.  You run the pack."  Derek shook his head, but Peter just continued on.  "We'll call you out when you've got your head up your ass, but otherwise, it's your pack."

"You're the Alpha-Alpha!  You're the Commander in Alpha!" Stiles said exuberantly, pleased at his cleverness.

"Fine," Derek agreed.  Stiles figured it was just to shut him up, but he'd take it.  "But you stay with us tonight and we go with you to talk to your father tomorrow."

"Oh God, can't we skip that part?" Allison asked, picturing her father's face when he found out that both his wife and his daughter had been bitten by werewolves.

"It'll be okay," Stiles said, pushing her hair back in a comforting gesture.  "We'll help you explain.  And you took down the Demon Wolf, don't you think your father would be proud of that?  That's the stuff of legends!"

"Maybe," Allison admitted, but cast her eyes downward anyway.

"Just let me make sure this place is cleaned up and we can get out of here," Stiles said, releasing Peter's hand to push off the floor.  He walked around the room, checking to make sure the bodies had been completely turned to ash before pulling his fire back into his palms and blowing it out, winking at Peter as he did so.

"Time to go home," Stiles told them, kneeling down to get a shoulder under one of Peter's arms.  Derek came over to help, but Peter's legs gave out at his feet's first contact with the floor.  In one swift movement, Derek threw Peter over his shoulder in a fireman's carry and left Allison and Stiles to close and lock the door.

"You need to get your puppies to clean up the blood tomorrow," Peter said against Derek's lower back.

"I'm sure they'll love that," Stiles said, throwing an arm around Allison's waist as they got into the elevator.

"They'll like it better than being accused of murder," Derek said gruffly, exiting the building.  Stiles pulled the keys to the Range Rover out of Peter's blood-stiff pocket and winced internally at how expensive it probably was to get blood cleaned off the leather interior.

The ride back to the Stilinski's house was silent except for the soft wheezing of Peter through a few broken ribs.  The adrenaline crash had hit and they needed to get themselves into bed before they couldn't walk anymore.

Stiles led Allison into the house and set her up on the couch with pillows and blankets as Derek carried Peter upstairs.  "If you need anything, just yell, but the guys will hear you even if you whisper.  And you're part of the pack now, so I'm tuned in to Allison FM up here," Stiles said, tapping his temple.  "I'll know if you start to shift, so don't worry about hurting anyone."

"Thanks Stiles," Allison said, hugging a pillow and snuggling into the couch cushions.  "I didn't get it before, but I can feel it now.  Pack means family."

"And family means nobody gets left behind, or forgotten," Stiles recited in his best Stitch impression.  Allison just squinted at him in confusion.  "I'll explain next time we have a pack movie night.  Just get some sleep."

"Goodnight, Stiles," Allison said, and burrowed into her pillow.

"Goodnight, Wonder Woman," Stiles said, shutting off the light as he climbed the stairs.  Derek had laid an old sheet down on the bed and put Peter on it.  Stiles washed the blood off his hands and brought a few wet towels back into the bedroom.  He watched Derek pull a ratty old Star Wars sleeping bag out of the closet and then go to the bathroom for a shower as he washed as much blood off of Peter as he could and pulled some pajama bottoms onto his legs.

Derek came back from the shower in just a towel, and Stiles offered him a pair of his father's old BHSD sweatpants and averted his eyes as he got changed.  After sending off a quick text to his father to explain that they were out of the woods, Stiles gave Derek his favorite pillow, letting out a huge sigh as he pillowed his head on Peter's now healed chest instead.  With any luck his bones would be healed properly by morning.

 

Chapter Text

Peter felt like he had just closed his eyes when he woke up to the morning light streaming in through Stiles' window.  Derek was already up, a book propped open on his bare chest, legs still wrapped up in the sleeping bag.  "Allison is awake, I'm going to go check on her," he whispered, careful not to wake up Stiles as he exited the room.

Stiles was sleeping so deeply he didn't even wake when Scott hopped through his window, staring like a deer in the headlights when he found his best friend snuggled into Peter's bare chest.  Peter looked at him over the top of Stiles' head and raised his eyebrows in askance.

"What do you want, Scott?" Peter whispered, keeping as still as possible and listening intently to any change in Stiles' heartbeat.

"I want to talk to Allison," Scott said, going for the stairs.

"No," Peter said immediately, letting out a bit of a growl with his words.  "She doesn't want to talk to you."

"How do you know," Scott asked, offended.

"Because I can hear her telling Derek that she doesn't want you to come downstairs," Peter said, pointing out Scott's lack of observation.

"I just want to tell her I'm sorry," Scott said, dejectedly looking down at his sneakers.

"She'll come to you when she's ready, but I think you should give her some space," Peter told him, still keeping his voice quiet.

"I guess she really doesn't want me back this time," Scott said, surprising Peter by opening up to him.

"I think if you were paying attention, you would have noticed the way she started to smell whenever she was around Lydia," Peter said as gently as possible.  Getting your heart broken was never easy, no matter how old you were.

"Really?" Scott asked, a little dumbfounded.  "How did I miss that?"

"I don't know," Peter said with a bit of surprise, "I thought it was fairly obvious to everyone except the humans.  You're a worse wolf than I thought."

"I guess I was holding on to her so tight I didn't realize my hands were empty."

"That's rather poetic, Scott," Peter said sarcastically.  "Maybe you should write that down."

Scott didn't rise to the bait, but instead opened up even more.  "I guess I owe you an apology," Scott said, rubbing the back of his neck in a nervous gesture.

"Oh?" Peter asked, mildly interested in which of Scott's many sins he would freely admit to.

"I didn't believe you really cared about Stiles.  I was really worried about him."

"And now?"

"I saw the way you got crushed for him yesterday," Scott said, meeting Peter's eyes.  "You pushed him out of the way and let yourself get hurt."

"He's my mate," Peter said, plain and simple.  "What else would I have done?"

"You really love him?" Scott asked, like he needed Peter to say the words.

"With all my heart.  He's a part of me now.  Never the two shall separate."

"Okay just--" Scott said, trying to find the right words, "just take care of him.  You know how he jumps into things without looking.  He's going to get hurt one day."

"I'll protect him with my life,” Peter promised, looking at Stiles with a fond expression.  He turned back to Scott, voice going hard and cold, “And you nearly killed him yourself.”

“I didn’t mean to,” Scott said, immediately getting defensive, “I don’t know what happened.  I just got so angry, my anchor was slipping, and I snapped.”

“That’s not good enough,” Peter said, narrowing his eyes at Scott and speaking slowly and quietly, forcing the Beta to pay close attention.  “You will learn to control yourself and it will never happen again.”  Scott nodded, heartbeat ticking up a bit in fear.  “You’ll make sure of it, or I promise you, brother or not, you lay another hand on him and I will kill you."

Scott stared for a few seconds before nodding quickly again.  The room fell silent as Scott waited Peter out.  Peter let out a heavy breath, figuring Scott had apologized enough to not deserve a beating just yet.  The change in his breathing seemed to wake Stiles.  Scott actually smirked in what Peter thought might be an approving expression when Stiles snuggled tighter into Peter's side, humming in contentment.

"Stiles, baby," Peter whispered, jiggling his mate's arm gently, "we have company."

"Hey Scotty," Stiles said, opening one eye to take a look at their visitor.  "What are you doing here?"

"I wanted to talk to Allison, but I think Peter and I have come to an understanding."

"I told him if he touched you again, I'd rip his dick off."

"Mmm, good," Stiles said absently, shutting his eyes again and wriggling happily at the warmth coming from his mate.

“Stiles?” Scott asked, eyes cast downward in what Peter recognized as shame.  “I’m so sorry for what I did to you.  I lost control and you could have gotten really hurt.”

“And?” Stiles prompted, needing Scott to understand all his mistakes before he would even consider accepting an apology.  Peter smirked, loving how Stiles was making Scott work for it the same way he did when he and Stiles had fought after the bonfire.  Watching Scott have to spell out his mistakes was extremely satisfying.

“I didn’t trust you when you told me that Peter was good for you,” Scott said, glancing at Peter quickly before facing Stiles again.

“And?” Stiles asked, opening one of his eyes just a little so he could peek at Scott’s expression.

“I accused him of using you for your power,” Scott said, wincing as he clarified.  “I said that you were blinded by the attention, but I was wrong.  I shouldn’t have disregarded your bond with Peter and the pack.”

“Not quite what I was looking for,” Stiles said, quirking his head to the side while he waited for Scott to figure it out.  He kept his eyes closed and his expression bland, showing Scott that he wouldn’t be worth his attention until he apologized properly.  

“I almost killed you.”

“True, but oddly enough, not what I’m the most upset about.”

Scott bit his lip and stared at Stiles, thinking hard.  Stiles could practically hear the gears turning in his Scott’s head as he found the words.  

“You were happy and I tried to break you and Peter up.”

“Bingo,” Stiles said, opening his eyes and tapping the tip of his nose with his pointer finger, giving his best friend a stern but fond look.  

“I undermined you and belittled your relationship,” Scott added, hoping his apology had been good enough to earn him a second chance with his friend.

“Been studying for the SAT?” Stiles asked, feeling the corner of his mouth quirk up in a smile.

“Yeah, I could use some help though.”

“Sure buddy,” Stiles told him, “we’ll start over Christmas break.”

“Thank you,” Scott said honestly.  Stiles knew that he wanted a hug, but he really didn’t want to pull himself out of bed, especially not with a warm werewolf mate wrapped around him.  

“What did you want to talk to Allison about anyway?” Stiles asked, letting his eyes fall closed again as he snuggled back into Peter’s embrace.  

"I wanted to tell her I would be her Beta, so I'd be in her pack," Scott said, causing Stiles’ eyes to shoot open.  He sat up in bed abruptly, dislodging Peter's arm from around his waist.

"No," Stiles said sharply, "you are not doing that."

"But--"

"No."

"It's the best way to show her that I love her," Scott said, completely misunderstanding the situation.

"No Scotty," Stiles tried to reason with him, "that's the opposite of what she wants."

"How do you know what she wants?" Scott asked, offended by the insinuation.

"Because I can feel it," Stiles said, tapping the side of his head by way of an explanation.  "What she wants right now is to be left alone to process this.  And she definitely doesn't want the pressure of leading a pack.  She already told Derek that she wanted him to be the pack Alpha, not her."

“Why doesn’t she want me to be with her anymore?” Scott asked rhetorically.

“I don’t mean to be a complete dick here,” Stiles said honestly, “but I’m pretty sure she finds you immature.  I mean, you threw a fit just because Peter and I started dating.  It was childish and stupid.”

“That’s different,” Scott protested, “I thought he was evil.”

“Well I hate to break it to you, buddy,” Stiles said as tactfully as he could, “but you were the only one."

"I was sure he was going to turn you into a killer."

"Well he is a killer, but so am I, and so is Derek and so is Jackson," Stiles told him, "and now so is Allison.  And we all had our reasons.  It's not just a black and white world we're living in, Scott.  We don't always have a choice."

"I guess you're right," Scott admitted, he really couldn't argue with Stiles.  He had seen the way he had dispatched Jennifer last night, and while it still made him cringe, he thought he might be able to finally understand why Stiles did it.

"And as for Allison, it’s not like you’re meant to find your soulmate when you’re in high school.”

“You did,” Scott said simply, sitting down in Stiles’ desk chair and wheeling it over to the side of the bed.  Stiles had to smile at his best friend, relieved that he had finally gotten his head out of his ass.

“Well sort of, but Peter isn’t in high school anymore,” Stiles said, “so I guess we don’t count.”

“You count,” Scott said sadly, completely defeated.

“Thanks man,” Stiles told him, sitting up further on the bed so he was able to throw an arm around Scott’s shoulder, pulling him into a hug.  "Remind me later and I’ll tell you about our new mates-only super power.”

“Ugh, it’s not about your dick is it?” Scott asked, wincing as he threw Stiles’ arm off.

“No,” Stiles said, “although, Peter’s dick does—”

“Never finish that sentence,” Scott pleaded.  “Ever.”  Peter snickered, always happy to put Scott on his heels or make him feel uncomfortable.  As much as he liked to keep their sex life private, Peter would pay good money to see Scott’s reaction to Stiles explaining the knotting process.

“Okay fine, but you totally owe me for all the Allison sex talk you put me through.  Sorry buddy,” Stiles added quickly after seeing the way Scott’s face fell at the mention of his new ex.

“Well if I’m not going to be in Allison’s pack, would it be better for you if Peter were my Alpha?” Scott asked honestly.  Peter sat back a bit, stunned.  He had just threatened Scott bodily harm and here he was offering to pledge his loyalty to him.  Maybe Scott was catching on quicker than he gave him credit for.

“It’s nice of you to offer,” Stiles said, “I know that was probably hard for you, but no.  Derek is the AIC.”

“AIC?” Scott asked.

“Alpha in Chief?  Alpha in Command?  I’m not sure, the name could use some work.  I haven’t had a lot of time to think about it when one of us wasn’t bleeding to death.  Speaking of which, how are you feeling?” Stiles asked, turning back to Peter.

“I think I’m all healed up,” Peter said brightly, feeling down his legs a bit to check.  “Allison did a wonderful job.  She’s quite talented.”

Scott sighed heavily again.  It seemed to Stiles that his thoughts were ones of nostalgia and not longing.  If Scott and Allison had been growing apart for as long as he suspected, Scott may have had the time to come to terms with their separation, especially once they removed the threats to the pack and he had time to think.  

“Back to your question though,” Stiles said.  “We decided that Derek is the real Alpha of the pack and Peter and Allison will just be there to back him up and yell at him when he’s being a dumbass.  So if you want inside this sweet, sweet pack, you’ll have to be his Beta.”

Scott seemed to consider that for a moment before speaking again.  “Are you sure it can’t be Allison?” he asked.

“It can’t actually,” Stiles explained, “I’m Derek’s Emissary, so if you want us to have the super rainbow connection, you’ll need him to be your Alpha.”

“And how do I make him my Alpha?”

“The Alphanator?  President of the United Alphas of Hale?” Stiles kept working on the title as Peter and Scott worked out the details.

“You just have to mentally submit to him,” Peter said, lying back down next to Stiles and closing his eyes again.

“Ew, what?” Scott asked.

“Not like that,” Stiles assured him.  “Just close your eyes and think ‘Derek is my Alpha.’ And that should do it.”

“Okay, I’ll give it a try,” Scott said, taking a deep breath and letting his eyes fall closed.  A minute later Stiles felt a little Scott window open up in his mind palace and let out a sigh of relief.  All his children had come home to roost.  He was a happy Emissary.

“You did it!” Stiles said, getting up to hug his friend.  “Now remember you still owe me for going all psycho about Peter.  So I will take my payment in a month’s worth of video games and curly fries.”

“Deal,” Scott agreed easily, giving Stiles that wide smile that he had been missing the past few months.

“Also, you missed my birthday and you made me bleed, so make that three months, and throw in milkshakes.  Now get out of here.  We’ll have a pack dinner at the Manor next week when it’s all finished.”

“Yes, sir,” Scott said, giving a quick salute before hopping out Stiles’ window.

“Now comes the fun part,” Stiles said, snuggling back into Peter’s waiting arms.

“What’s that?” he asked, bringing warm, muscular arms around Stiles’ waist.

“Explaining all this to Mr. Argent.”

“I’m staying home.”

***

“That went better than I expected,” Stiles said cheerfully once they were on the other side of the Argents’ door.  “There wasn’t any growling and no one got shot.”

“That’s what you call a success?” Derek asked moodily.

“With you three as the Alphas of one pack?  Yes, that is a success,” Stiles told him.  “And Allison has a great new anchor, so everything is going to be fine once she’s trained up a bit.”

“You think they’ll stick with the new code?” Derek asked, somewhat skeptically.

“Nous protégeons ceux qui ne peuvent pas se protéger eux-memês?” Peter said with perfect pronunciation.

“Don’t speak French when Derek’s around if you don’t want me to climb you like a tree,” Stiles hissed at his mate.  He turned back to Derek and added, “I think it’ll stick.  Allison can just break her dad’s arm if he screws around.  I’m sure she’ll be very persuasive.”

“That’s not overly comforting,” Derek told him, getting in the back of Peter’s Range Rover.

“You have to at least give her the opportunity to disappoint you before you get on her case,” Stiles warned him.  “And speaking of disappointments, when are we going to have the talk about what Jennifer did to you?”

“We’re not,” Derek said tersely.

“You’re not getting off that easily,” Stiles said, turning around in his seat to look at his Alpha.  “Don’t forget, I can tell when you’re getting all dark and stormy up in here,” he reminded Derek tapping his temple, as had become his shorthand for their pack link.

“Trust me,” Derek said angrily, “I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget that.”

“Well then, I’ll make it easy for you.  Just repeat after me,” Stiles said, closing his eyes so he could prepare his speech.  “I was used by an evil Druid.”

Derek didn’t say anything, turning his head to stare out the window like a petulant three-year-old.

“If you refuse to go to a therapist, this is how we’re going to do this.  Right, Peter?” Stiles said, looking to his mate for support.

“Listen to your uncle, Derek,” was his only response.  Derek managed to roll his head and his eyes at the same time, bringing his gaze back to his regretful Emissary.

“I’m not going to do this every time you think I’m depressed,” Derek argued, crossing his large forearms over his seatbelt.

“You’ll do it every time I think you’re exhibiting self-destructive behavior and blaming yourself for things that aren’t your fault.  Now repeat after me.  I was used by an evil Druid.”

Derek sighed heavily, but knew he wasn’t going to get any dinner until he humored Stiles.  “I was used by an evil Druid,” Derek repeated, voice heavy with resentment.

“I was sexually and emotionally abused by said evil Druid.”

“I’m not saying that,” Derek said, looking out the window again.

“Because you hate me for putting you through this horrible exercise, or because you don’t think it’s true?” Stiles asked.

“Both?” Derek replied honestly.

“Derek,” Stiles said heavily, sighing at his Alpha’s naiveté.  “You are an abuse survivor, and you need to understand that nothing she did was your fault.  This is your second abusive relationship in a row, and you need to recognize the signs so it doesn’t happen again.”

“Stop badgering your nephew,” Peter said, eyes still on the road.

“I’ll stop badgering him when he stops it with his victim blaming,” Stiles protested.

“I was sexually and emotionally abused by an evil Druid,” Derek recited, eager to get on with the torture that was Stiles’ errant parenting of a 24-year-old Alpha werewolf.

“Good,” Stiles smiled, thinking back to his list.  “I have not failed my pack.”

“I have not failed my pack.”

“I will not date anyone without letting Stiles check them for evil magic.”

Derek sighed heavily once more, “I will not date anyone without letting Stiles check them for evil magic.”

“I will not continue to feel guilty over the fire.”

“I will not continue to feel guilty over the fire.”

“I have a pack who loves me and will support me through whatever dumb decisions I make.”

Stiles! ” Derek growled.

“Just say it.”

“I have a pack who loves me and will support me through whatever dumb decisions I make.”

“I will ask for help when I need it.”

“I will ask for help when I need it.”

“And I will not let this beat me, because I’m the fucking Hale Pack Alpha and I kick all sorts of ass.”

Derek rolled his eyes, but repeated his line anyway.  “I will not let this beat me, because I’m the fucking Hale Pack Alpha and I kick all sorts of ass.”

“I have the best eyebrows of all time.”

Derek just raised one eyebrow at Stiles and kept his mouth shut.  “Okay, okay, that was the last thing,” he relented, pulling at his seat belt until he could peer over his seat, long fingers clenched around his headrest.  The Alpha didn’t look convinced, and that worried Stiles.  His voice was soft when he spoke again.  “It doesn’t mean anything unless you believe it.”

The skin between Derek’s eyebrows pinched together as he brought his multicolored eyes to Stiles’.  He worried at his lower lip in a way Stiles had never seen before, it was a nervous and thoughtful expression that looked completely foreign on Derek’s face.  Stiles heart hurt just looking at it.  

“But seriously,” he said, leaning until his chin was resting on the top of the car seat.  “You’re gonna be okay.”

“Okay,” Derek said quietly, looking down at his folded hands, red cheeks still visible to Stiles until Peter smacked him and told him to sit down and put his seat belt back on.

When they got back to the Stilinski house, Peter started on dinner while Stiles found extra bedding to set up the floor and couch for Derek and Isaac.  The Betas had informed Derek that there was no way he was going to want to stay in the loft again, even after the windows had been fixed.  Stiles just thought about how much the loft must smell like the burnt out Hale home and mentally apologized for setting yet another fire in Derek’s house.

The Sheriff came home an hour later, hanging up his gun belt with a sigh, expression brightening when he smelled what Peter had made for dinner.  Peter set a beer down next to the Sheriff’s steaming plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, smiling at the man when he took his seat.

After they had finished eating and Isaac offered to do the dishes, the other four men retired to the living room to find something to watch on TV.  Finally getting within two feet of his son, the Sheriff got a good look at Stiles’ mating bite.

“I guess congratulations are in order?” John said, raising his eyebrows and pointing at Stiles’ neck with his beer bottle.

“I guess so,” Stiles said, blushing a bright red at hearing his dad basically congratulate him and Peter on boning.

“You sleep here until you graduate and you get married at some point after that, alright?”

“Deal,” Stiles agreed immediately, relieved that his father wasn’t making any other demands.  He was technically an adult now, but still being in school, he felt like he would obey his dad anyway, as long as he was being reasonable.

“Welcome to the family, son,” John said, getting up to give Peter a hug.  The wolf looked surprised, and then ducked his head to hide the way his eyes watered at the familiarity.  John pulled him in by one hand, hiding his face behind Peter’s to whisper, “You hurt him and I have a wolfsbane bullet with your name on it.  They will never find your body.”

“Yes, sir,” Peter said pulling away slowly, not letting anything show on his face.

“Don’t forget your new grand-nephew,” Stiles snickered, pointing to Derek.  Smiling, John dutifully pulled the sullen Alpha into a hug as well, giving him a few heavy pats on the back.  “Or is it grandson-in-law?  I’m not sure how that works.”

“You’re welcome here too, Derek,” John said, smiling anyway.  “You too, Isaac,” he called over the sound of rushing water coming from the kitchen.

“Thanks Sheriff!” Isaac called back happily, apparently content to clean up after dinner.  It really felt like family, apart from the way the two wolves had to sleep in the living room.  At least it was only temporary.

“The Manor is done next week, so we’ll have Christmas there.  Can you get off work for dinner?” Stiles asked.  “Melissa and Papa Argent are coming as well, so you won’t be the only grown up there.”

Peter coughed loudly, trust Stiles to count his mate among the teenagers.  If that made him feel better, he would go with it.

“And Deaton,” Stiles added, looking expectantly at Derek.  “Scott invited him.”

“That’s okay,” Derek said generously, sitting back down heavily and turning to watch the 49ers get their asses kicked.

“I guess now would be a good time to tell you I asked out Melissa?” John said warily, taking a big gulp of his drink.

“Oh my God, Dad!” Stiles screeched, throwing himself at his father who just barely got his beer out of the way in time.  “Are Scott and I finally going to be brothers for real?”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  She was pretty shaken up, maybe she won’t even remember me asking,” John said sheepishly, draining his beer in one last sip.

“I think she’ll remember,” Peter said easily, “she’s only been waiting for you to ask for months.”

“Really?” John asked, sitting up a bit straighter in his armchair.

“Werewolf,” Peter answered, tapping one finger to his nose.  “The nose never lies.”

“Well I’ll be damned,” John whispered in wonder, sitting back to watch the game with a small smile on his face.

 

Chapter Text

The group of them stood outside, about thirty feet away and just stared.  The place was huge.  There were at least a dozen windows just on the front of the house, a garage to the right side, and a large porch inviting them in.  It was three stories above ground, bright white siding with cheerful green shutters.  Each window had a flower box hanging in front of it, bright pink and yellow flowers pulling everything together.

“Peter, it’s beautiful,” Stiles said, smiling at the look of awe on everyone’s faces.  Isaac looked like he was going to cry and Derek had a sort of faraway look on his face, like he was trying to superimpose this house on top of the one that used to stand on the same spot.

“Thank you, Peter,” Derek said softly, laying a heavy hand on his uncle’s shoulder.

“Let’s go inside,” Erica suggested, eager to pick out which bedroom would be hers.

“Nuh uh!” Stiles yelled, blocking the door with his body.  “Pictures first!”  He pulled a tripod out of the Jeep and set it up facing the front steps.  “Everyone gather in, squeeze in really tight, and three, two, one!” Stiles counted down, smiling broadly.  “One more!” he yelled, pushing a little button he had hidden in his hand.  He gave Peter a huge wet kiss for the second photo, excited to be able to frame that and hang it somewhere prominent in the house.

“Okay, now you can go in,” Stiles said, stepping back to let Peter open the door and allow everyone inside.  All of the Betas ran forward except for Scott, who hung back, looking a little unsure of himself.  He looked from Stiles to Peter, gauging their reaction to him being there.

Peter pulled Stiles to his side, speaking quietly into his ear but looking at Scott.  “Did he make it up to you?”

“Yes, I’ve had at least a solid week of quality bro time,” Stiles said through a fake smile, words passing through his teeth.  He didn’t know why he was bothering, they all knew that Scott could hear everything and he was desperate to get inside and see the Manor.

“And do you really trust him not to hurt you again?” Peter asked, nuzzling into the side of Stiles’ neck while looking at Scott, daring him to make a comment.

“Duh,” Stiles said easily, smiling at his friend with a sheepish expression, not used to the way Peter was using his affection to make a point.

“Then he’s welcome here any time,” Peter said, pulling a giggle out of Stiles by blowing a raspberry on his throat.  

“Really?” Scott asked, peeking his head around the front door to get a glimpse inside.

“Of course,” Stiles told him, pulling out of Peter’s embrace to squeeze Scott’s shoulders in a familiar gesture.  “You have your own bedroom.”

“No way,” Scott exclaimed, rushing inside without a second thought.

“Oh, my, God,” he heard Lydia gasp.  Lydia wasn’t easily impressed, and Stiles was eager to see what had her OMGing in there.  Peter hooked a finger into one of his belt loops and pulled him back, leaning in to get a kiss.

“I love you,” Peter whispered against his lips, capturing them once more.

“I love you too, even when you’re traumatizing my friends,” Stiles said, pulling on Peter’s bottom lip.  “Now let me in the damn house!”

Peter stepped back to let Stiles into what had to be the biggest kitchen he had ever seen.  It was bright and airy, with white cabinets and dark marbled counter.  If he wasn’t mistaken, there was an eight burner stove top, a double oven, and two refrigerators.

“One for food, one for drinks,” Peter told him, as if it were obvious.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Stiles asked, running one palm across the beautiful counter.

“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Peter said, grabbing both Stiles’ hands and pulling him through an open doorway to the left.  Inside was a dining room with at least twenty chairs around a very long table.  Two china cabinets stood against one wall, bursting with plates, and four windows let in a beautiful array of light, illuminating the grain of the wood.

“You made Hogwarts!” Stiles said, dumbfounded, trailing his fingers along the wood as he walked the length of the table.

“Well, we have a lot of mouths to feed,” Peter said, coming up behind him to wrap arms around Stiles’ waist.  “Library next,” Peter told him, leading him through another door on the opposite side of the table.  Inside were dozens of warm wooden bookshelves housing what looked like not only normal fiction books, but also Peter’s entire magical library.  Stiles couldn’t wait to go through everything in the room in the beautiful reading nook set into the corner.

There was a cozy looking window seat and several poofy looking beanbags set on a rug.  On the opposite side was a large drafting table.  This would probably double as Peter’s office.  “Okay,” Peter said, pulling Stiles away from the window seat.  “On to the living room,” he said brightly, pulling Stiles back through the kitchen to the right.  Two L shaped couches and several armchairs centered around a gigantic TV, bookshelves on either side full of DVDs and video games.

“This is amazing,” Stiles said, pulling Peter in for another kiss.  He couldn’t believe how much his mate had built in just a few short months.  The place must have cost a fortune.

“Come on, there’s more,” Peter said, moving further to the right where a formal living room was.  Even more comfy couches were centered around a large fireplace, mantelpiece just waiting for that pack photo that Stiles had just taken.  It was perfect.

Behind the couches Stiles could see a grand staircase leading up.  The entire second floor was bedrooms for the Betas.  There were a dozen in total, six on either side, each wing with two bathrooms.  “I made them all exactly the same,” Peter said loudly, snickering, knowing the Betas would spend hours arguing over which rooms they got.

“You’re evil,” Stiles said, climbing the steps to the third floor, the Betas voices fading out of earshot as they went.

“You have no idea,” Peter told him quietly.  “One has an extra four inches in the closet.  I want to see how long it takes the girls to figure it out.”

When they go to the top level, Stiles saw one door in the middle with a pull down attic in front of it.  When he pointed at it with raised eyebrows, Peter shook his head.  “That room isn’t ready yet,” he explained, “I’m still waiting for a few orders to come in.”

“Now I’m curious,” Stiles whined, inching around Peter like he would be able to get inside without the Alpha catching him.

“Don’t even try it,” Peter said, grabbing Stiles around the waist and pulling him to the left wing.  “It’s locked.  You can see it for Christmas.”

“Fine, fine,” Stiles relented, walking past a few spare bedrooms into what could only be an entire wing for Derek.

Rich black furniture filled the room, dark green bedding with a walk in closet, several bookshelves, and a writing desk all spread out in the large room.  A master bath through the door on the back wall.  Derek sat on his bed with a book, and Stiles could see a Hale family photograph sitting on the tidy bedside table.  It was a bit singed around the edges, but he could make out seven smiling faces.  There were five Hale children.  Stiles had never known.  Laura and another two siblings that Derek had lost along with his parents that day.  Derek got up off the bed and followed them back into the hall to the last door.

Stiles gasped when he entered the bedroom.  It was much the same as Derek’s suite, but most of the room was taken up by a truly gigantic four poster bed.  Rich detail was carved into the mahogany posts.  Stiles ran a few fingers along the grooves, appreciating the work that must have gone into creating it.  The wood was still oily like it had been recently completed.  He looked back at Peter and Derek with a question on his lips.

“It’s traditional to give a couple a mating gift,” Derek said, looking down at the soft gray carpet.

“You made this?” Stiles said, completely awestruck.

“And the wardrobe, dresser, and side tables.”

“Oh my God, Derek!” Stiles said, throwing himself onto Derek, who hadn’t even raised his arms to accept the hug.  Undeterred, Stiles just hung there with his arms around Derek’s neck until the Alpha gave in, bringing strong arms up to circle his Emissary.

“Thank you,” Stiles said quietly, knowing Derek would have no trouble hearing him.  “They’re beautiful.”

“You’re welcome,” Derek said simply, giving Stiles a genuine smile when he pulled out of the hug.  Stiles left the two Alphas to talk amongst themselves to take a look at the bathroom.  There was a large soaking tub along with a double sink and a truly porn-worthy shower.  Stiles was going to like living here, he could tell.  Eager to test out the bed, but knowing there was still another dozen people in the house, that desire would have to wait.  Stiles heard a few raised voices as they walked down the stairs to the second floor.  It seemed the girls had no trouble telling which closet was bigger and Lydia and Erica were loudly debating who had more shoes to house, Allison staying out of it, but still giggling with her hand over her mouth.

They walked past a half bath and the basement stairs to exit the back door.  There was nearly as much outdoor living space as there was on the main floor.  A gigantic deck sprawled from the back door, half of it covered with an enormous awning.  There were two barbeques and several picnic tables set out on the grass next to the fire pit the pack had used a few weeks ago.

What really caught Stiles’ attention were the three sheds set a little closer to the forest edge.  Spread out in front of them were several raised planting beds and a large greenhouse.  “What are these for?” Stiles asked, looking over his shoulder at Peter, who had taken a seat on one of the picnic benches.

“They’re for Derek,” Peter said plainly.

“That doesn’t answer my question,” Stiles told him expectantly.

“Derek wanted a garden.  So I made him a garden,” Peter explained, waving his arm around at the trellises and compost box.  “There’s nothing growing yet, but he’ll get it up and running once the winter has passed.”

“Derek likes to garden?” Stiles asked, shocked at this new revelation.

“Derek likes to garden,” Peter repeated his words in a statement.  There wasn’t much more time to talk about it though, as several of the Betas burst out the back door, all yelling.  Stiles picked out a few words from each person, but couldn’t really tell what any of them wanted.  Peter, who had much better hearing, had no trouble and answered easily.

“You may not knock down any walls.  There will be no creating shared rooms unless you are mated, and all of the bedrooms are soundproofed.  Any other questions?” Peter asked, crossing his arms over his chest like a long suffering parent.  He wasn’t sure when he agreed to help parent eight supernatural teens, but he would at least be landlord and mediator in his own house.

“Thank you Peter!” Isaac yelled, launching himself into the air to land on the man’s shoulders.  Boyd was next, expressing his gratitude with a tackle to the ground.  Stiles laughed loudly as the rest of the pack continued to pile onto his mate’s back in the grass.  Lydia sat primly on top of the pile with her legs crossed.

Stiles got his phone out to take a few pictures and felt Derek’s hand come down on his shoulder.  “You did good,” Derek said, looking upon his pack fondly, and then jumping on the pile with a carefree laugh.  Stiles looked on, patting himself on the back mentally.  He had done good.

 

***

 

“Turkey, check; ham, check; potatoes, check,” Stiles listed, calling out the dishes that were completed and ready to serve as soon as the rest of the pack arrived.  He and Peter had really outdone themselves this time.  There was soup and salad, rolls, three entrée choices and a dozen sides.  Peter had made six pies and Melissa was bringing along a few more.  No one could beat her chocolate mousse.

“You’ve been in here for hours,” Peter complained, setting light hands on Stiles’ shoulders.  “Ready for a break?” he asked hopefully.

Stiles continued rattling off a list of foods under his breath, counting on his fingers and checking the table settings in the dining room.

“Not even for your Christmas gift?” Peter tempted him, wondering when the last time Stiles drank anything was.

“Christmas gift?” Stiles asked, perking up at the suggestion.  “Let me just get yours from the closet,” he said, ducking into one of the linen closets on his way up the stairs.  Peter smiled broadly when he caught sight of a guitar case with a bow on the top of the neck and a gaudy ribbon on the handle.

“Merry Christmas, baby,” Stiles said, propping the case up in front of Peter’s feet so he could take its weight.  Peter pressed a happy kiss to Stiles’ cheek and laid the case down on the floor of the hallway.

When he unlocked the latches and opened the lid, he was surprised by what was inside.  It wasn’t another acoustic, as he had expected, but a beautiful yellow starburst with a red ring on a Gibson ES electric-acoustic guitar.

“I thought you might want to change it up sometimes,” Stiles said, blushing, “you know, now that you like country, you might want to expand into rock music.”

“It’s beautiful, Stiles,” Peter said, lifting it out of the case to feel its weight.  It was already fitted with an embroidered decorative strap.  Stiles had been complaining that his plain black nylon one was no fun.  “I know just where to put it,” Peter said, setting it back in the case and securing it.  He took one of Stiles’ hands in his free one and pulled him further down the hall until he was in front of the mystery door.

“Your gift is in here,” Peter said.  “Well technically it is here,” he corrected, “the whole room is for you.”

Stiles was confused, but smiled good-naturedly anyway as Peter covered his eyes with his hands and led him inside.  Stiles inhaled deeply, but couldn't smell anything that would give him a clue.

"Okay, open them," Peter said, stepping back and taking his hands away.

Stiles stared, mouth hanging open at what was in front of him.  It was a music room.  One wall held a beautiful upright piano that must have been an antique.  It had carefully scrolled legs and a wooden music holder.  A full drum set sat in one corner next to a guitar stand that held two of Peter's acoustic instruments.  A bookshelf on the right held a few rows of sheet music books and a couple smaller instruments like a tambourine and a glockenspiel.  He wasn't sure what some of the cases were, but he imagined they were even more instruments.

"Peter," Stiles said, not able to finish the sentence.

Peter just waited him out, watching his mate as he trailed his fingers along the piano keys and tapped a cymbal with his fingernail.  Peter took that time to set his new guitar in the empty spot on the guitar stand and stow the case in the closet.  He lovingly ran a hand over the strings of the Gibson, thinking that he would have to buy an amp to go with it.

"How much money did you spend on this," Peter said aloud, just having remembered how expensive these guitars were, especially the Electric Spanish ones.

"It's used," Stiles said, relieving Peter of the worry that Stiles had borrowed a few thousand dollars to buy him a Christmas gift.  "And Melissa taught me how to embroider the band."

"You made this?" Peter asked, twisting some of the tasseled threads between his fingers.

"Yeah, I can be crafty sometimes," Stiles said, smiling at the expression on Peter's face.  He watched his mate play with the loose threads for another minute before speaking again.  "You did all this for me?" Stiles asked, sweeping his arm across his body to gesture at the entire room.

"Yeah," Peter said, taking Stiles' hand in his, "I thought you might like to learn an instrument. You mentioned something about the drums once, so I got you a set.  We can get you lessons after school if you're interested."

"I think I'd like that," Stiles said, tapping a finger on the snare drum.  "I'd like to be able to play something for you sometimes.

"That doesn't matter to me," Peter said.  "I love listening to you sing for me.  Even more now than I used to."

Stiles dropped Peter's hand to grab something from the corner.  "Then let me sing for you," Stiles told him, grabbing a nearby stool to sit behind a tall djembe.  Rubbing a palm over the tight skin of the drum.  Stiles gave it a few taps to test the sound before setting into a slow easy rhythm.  It wasn't completely even, Stiles had never really played a drum before, but it was enough to keep the beat, and he thought Peter would appreciate it, even if it was a little off.

Finally satisfied with the tone he was getting out of the drum, Stiles gestured to another one of those poofy pillows he saw in the library and asked Peter to take a seat.  Starting the rhythm back up again, Stiles closed his eyes and began to sing.

 

"The book of love is long and boring

No one can lift the damn thing

It's full of charts, and facts, and figures

And instructions for dancing

But I,

I love it when you read to me"

 

Stiles was so involved in the music, he didn't notice when a few of the Betas entered the room, following the music.  Peter didn't want to interrupt him, so he just nodded at Boyd and Isaac, letting them come in.

Peter figured nothing should surprise him at this point in his life and with this group of wolves, but he was happy to be proven wrong every once in a while.  Boyd sat down at the piano and began to play, matching Stiles' key.  Stiles' eyes wrenched open in surprise as he took in the new arrivals and the way Boyd was playing his song perfectly.  Not wanting to stop once he had already started, Stiles just carried on, determined not to be embarrassed by what he was singing to Peter.  At least no one else could feel what he projected to Peter when he was singing.  That was only for them.

 

"And you,

You can read me anything"

 

Boyd was messing with him.  He had to be, because he had just played a key change, making the song go higher.  Stiles was singing for a reason though, and he wasn't going to let a little harmless joke from the usually stoic Beta stop him.  Boyd looked at Stiles over his shoulder, smiling with his perfect white teeth.  Stiles rolled his eyes and continued with the second verse.

 

"The book of love has music in it,

In fact that's where music comes from.

Some of it is just transcendental,

Some of it is just really dumb

 

But I,

I love it when you sing to me.

And you,

You can sing me anything"

 

Peter didn't think he would ever get over the way he could feel what Stiles was saying when he sang for him.  There was nothing like it in the entire world.  With every word that came out of Stiles' mouth, Peter could feel his heart swelling.  There was love and affection, of course, but Peter didn't need a magical connection to tell him that.  What was really special about it was the way Peter could understand what Stiles was trying to say without listening to the words.

There was a warmth that started in the middle of his chest and radiated outwards, reaching every inch of his body.  Peter especially loved the way he could almost feel it in his fingers as he watched Stiles play the drum.  Having never seen Stiles play an instrument before, this was a new and exciting development.  Could Stiles feel the way he played the guitar?  The movement of his fingers and claws across the strings?  The way the nylon bit into the soft pads of his fingertips?  He wondered what that felt like to the human.  It was almost second nature to him now.

Boyd took the break in the verses as an opportunity to throw in yet another key change.  Stiles whispered, "Oh come on, what the fuck Boyd?" But kept on playing his drum anyway.  A few more Betas filed in, and by the time Stiles started singing the last verse, the room was full, several of the wolves taking seats on the floor and Melissa and the Sheriff peeking their heads in the open door.

 

"The book of love is long and boring,

And written very long ago.

It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes,

And things we're all too young to know"

 

Stiles knew what the rest of the words were, and he could feel many sets of eyes staring at him, but he didn't want to stop.  He could probably change the lyrics, no one would notice, but something deep down in him made him carry on anyway.  Peter was listening, and he could feel the buzz of warm yellow light in his head and in his heart that told him his mate was enjoying listening to him sing.  The rest of the group would just have to suck it, it wasn't like they weren't pretty much married at this point anyway.  Stiles closed his eyes and finished the song, praying Boyd wouldn't bring the key up any higher.  His voice was already starting to break on the slurred notes.

 

"But I,

I love it when you give me things.

And you,

You ought to give me wedding rings

 

And I,

I love it when you give me things.

And you,

You ought to give me wedding rings

 

You ought to give me wedding rings"

 

Melissa clapped politely as Stiles opened his eyes, locking his gaze on Peter without paying anyone else any attention at all.  Isaac, Allison, and Lydia also gave him a round of applause, but he tuned it out, standing up and plopping himself down in Peter's lap.  The pouf-cushion they were sitting on deflated a bit more and Peter's butt slid to one side, taking them down to the carpet.  Stiles laughed, throwing his arms around Peter's neck and pressing a kiss to his throat.  They ended up on their backs, side by side on the floor, looking up to see Erica confronting Boyd on the piano bench.

"I didn't know you could play the piano," she said, punching Boyd playfully on the arm.  It must have been a harder hit than it looked like, or Boyd was just playing along with his girlfriend, because he pulled back a little and rubbed his arm where Erica's fist had just been.

"You never asked," Boyd said simply, pulling her in close with an arm around her waist.

"What other things do I only get if I ask for them?" Erica asked, flashing her overly white teeth at her boyfriend.

"You'll just have to ask and find out," Boyd told her, eliciting whistles from Isaac and Lydia.

Peter took the other wolves' distraction as an opportunity to whisper in Stiles' ear, still snuggled close on the floor, ignoring the rest of the room.

"I have a ring," Peter told him, eyes closed, rubbing his nose purposefully on the skin under Stiles' chin.  "It's yours whenever you're ready."

"Thank you, Peter," Stiles said, inching in closer and pressing his face into Peter's throat where his bite mark was.  "Soon, I think."

"Soon then, Przemysław," Peter mouthed, pressing a soft kiss to his mate's nose.  Stiles started to lean in for a more explicit sign of his affection when the Sheriff cleared his throat and reminded them of the other twelve or so people who were crammed into the music room.

"Not in front of your father, Stiles," John pleaded, smiling when Melissa laughed and hid her smile into his sweater covered shoulder.  "How about one more song before dinner?" He asked, looking down at Peter who dutifully lifted himself off the ground, offering a hand to Stiles and pulling him up as well.  Peter walked to the guitar stand and picked up his well-loved twelve string, testing the tuning quickly before sitting down on a low stool, instrument propped up on one knee.

Stiles didn't recognize the song, and he was starting to wonder what kind of radio stations Peter had started listening to without him if he had such a large repertoire.  He would interrogate him about where all the new music was coming from as soon as dinner was on the table.  Peter extended his claws and began to play, fingers moving quickly on the frets in a beautiful opening riff.

 

"Meet me where the sunlight ends

Meet me where the truth never bends

Bring all that you're scared to defend

And lay it down when you walk through my door

Throw all of it out on the floor

Your sorrow, your beauty, your war

I want it all, I want it all

 

Bring your secrets, bring your scars

Bring your glory, all you are

Bring your daylight, bring your dark

Share your silence

And unpack your heart"

 

Peter sang beautifully, low and raspy.  Stiles turned his attention inward and realized he couldn't feel the usual connection from Peter.  It felt just like it used to, before they had mated.  He was worried for a minute that something had gone wrong with them, but one look at the smirk on Peter's face as he played told Stiles that everything was fine.  The only conclusion he could come to was that Peter wasn't singing for just him.  He was singing for everyone.  They sure had come a long way in the past six months.  Even Scott was smiling.

 

"Show me something the rest never seen

Give me all that you hope to receive

Your deepest regret dies with me

The days when you stumble and fall

The days when you grind to a crawl

The treasure that hides behind your walls

I want it all, yeah I want it all

 

Bring your secrets, bring your scars

Bring your glory, all you are

Bring your daylight, bring your dark

Share your silence

And unpack your heart

Then unpack your heart"

 

After the second verse, it dawned on Stiles that Peter was singing for everyone, but he was mostly singing for Derek.  Derek for whom he had built his own wing in this beautiful new house.  Derek who had carved their marital bed.  Derek who would tend to their family garden.  One of the only family members Peter had left, and somehow he knew that despite the strong exterior, Derek was hurting.  Peter continued to sing, reminding Derek that he had a large, strong pack, and they were in this together.

 

"Oh, I'm on your side

So shed your shadow

And watch it rise

 

Oh, I'm on your side

So shed your shadow

And watch it rise

 

Into your darkness

I'll shine a light"

 

Stiles watched his mate, eyes locked on the way his fingers and claws danced seamlessly along the strings of his guitar.  He let his gaze wander around the room, pausing on each of his friends' faces as he looked upon his family.  It wasn't so little, and it wasn't so broken anymore.  By mating with Peter and falling in love, he had unintentionally created one big family unit.

Lydia and Allison sat close together, heads ducked as Lydia tucked a piece of hair behind Allison's ear and whispered something.  Derek was quiet, but had a look of serenity on his face, one arm draped casually over Isaac's shoulder as he listened to his uncle pledge his love and support to the pack.  His father rocked back and forth with his arms wrapped around Melissa, her back to his chest.  Boyd and Erica sat closely on the piano bench, and even Scott and Jackson looked like they were enjoying the music.  Stiles still wasn't sure how Jackson was faring, watching his ex-girlfriend cozy up to another woman, but he would make a point of talking to him later.

 

"Bring your secrets, bring your scars

Bring your glory, all you are

Bring your daylight, bring your dark

Share your silence

 

Bring your honor, bring your shame

All your madness, I will tame

Won't you lay down, down your guard

Share your silence

And unpack your heart"

 

Peter finished the song, picking at his guitar strings with well-practiced ease.  Stiles was content, watching the group show camaraderie and affection to one another.  After the way he had been fighting with Scott the last few weeks, it was a Christmas miracle to see them all together.  The doorbell rang, and Stiles hopped up to get it, pressing a kiss to Peter's cheek as he put his guitar away.  Peter rumbled happily as his mate left the room to let in Chris Argent and Deaton.

Now that everyone had arrived, Stiles and Peter flitted around the kitchen, fetching drinks for everyone and laying all the food out on the table.  It truly looked like the Hale Pack had hired house elves for the occasion.  Melissa ooohed and ahhed at the way every plate was dressed with garnish and each seat had a place marker with someone's name on it.  She stood up to snap a few pictures on her cell phone to show the other girls at work.

Stiles prompted everyone to dig in, and Chris raised his eyebrows at the speed at which the food began to disappear.  He stared unapologetically, seated across from Boyd and Isaac who shoveled food into their bodies at a more alarming rate than most of the other wolves.

Before dessert, Peter passed out champagne flutes, and the Sheriff politely took his without giving a lecture on underage drinking.  If anyone looked sour about it, it was Chris.  Out of the corner of his eye, Stiles saw Allison elbow him until he forced a smile and took a glass from Peter's outstretched hand.  Stiles stood up and looked down the length of the table, cheeks flushed in happiness.  He wasn't sure when he had become the head of a household, but he felt like it was his duty to give a toast.

"So I wanted to thank you all for coming to the first annual Hale Pack Christmas dinner," he began, smiling at Deaton and Melissa.  "But I'd like to give special thanks to Peter, for giving us a beautiful home to host all our future Christmases, and to Derek for taking a chance on a bunch of teenagers, and protecting us as we figured out how to come together as a family."

Several people clinked their glasses between every one of Stiles' sentences, enjoying the novelty of free alcohol, whether it did anything for them or not.  Stiles shook his head a bit and carried on talking, "I'd also like to say thank you to--"

And they never did find out what else Stiles was thankful for, because he promptly collapsed, hitting his head on the seat of his chair on his way down to the floor.  Peter, who had a champagne flute in one hand and a serving tray in the other didn't react in time to catch him.  His glass shattered on the floor as he dropped to his knees, calling Stiles' name as he pressed frantic hands to his pulse and chest, checking his vitals.

"He's been working too hard," Melissa said, standing up to inspect the patient.  "Did he drink any water today?"

"I lectured him about it earlier, but I'm not sure if he actually had any or if he just ignored me," Peter said, worry coloring his voice.

"Well, he's probably just dehydrated.  Let's lay him down upstairs," Melissa suggested, motioning for everyone to start slicing the desserts while she checked Stiles over.

Peter picked Stiles up easily, swinging one arm under his knees and another around his back.  He didn't like the way Stiles' arms flopped with the movement, like he was completely unconscious.  It reminded him of the last time Stiles had been seriously injured, and that was a feeling he would much rather forget.

"If you'll forgive me, Melissa," Deaton said, grabbing his medicine bag and following them up the stairs, "it may not be as simple as you think."

Melissa wasn't used to being lectured by veterinarians and had to physically stop herself from rolling her eyes at the man.  "I think he'll be fine, it's just a little fainting spell."

"If Stiles were completely human I would agree with you," Deaton said, following Peter into the bedroom at the end of the hall, "but Stiles is also a Mage, and his illness may be magical and not medicinal."

"What are you talking about?" Peter asked him, pointing Melissa to the bathroom where she could get a washcloth and water.

"Stiles has expended a lot of magical energy in the last week, and he may not have fully recovered.  If he's been running himself down, using his powers too much without taking a break, he may have worked himself into magical exhaustion."

"And what can you do about that?" Peter asked, having never spent much time with magic users, he wasn't sure how serious an issue it was.

"Just time and rest," Deaton said, fingering Stiles' wrist to get his pulse.  "I can make him a restorative if things have gotten really bad, but he probably just needs rest and meditation."

"I'm sure he'll love spending his winter break alone in the dark," Peter told the man, taking the washcloth from Melissa and pressing it to his mate's forehead.

"As long as he's not spending it in the dark with you," Melissa shot back, prompting an offended look from Peter.  "I know what you two get up to, and Stiles needs his rest."  Deaton hummed in agreement as he lifted Stiles' shirt and began palpating his abdomen.  He pulled a stethoscope from his bag and checked Stiles' heart and lungs.  Melissa raised her eyebrows when he moved the bell from Stiles' chest to his stomach. She didn't think there was anything wrong with his blood flow or organs, but maybe she had missed something.  The veterinarian put his palms on Stiles' abdomen and closed his eyes, calling upon his spark.  Melissa's eyebrows rose even higher when a bright orange light illuminated Stiles' body where Deaton's hands were pressed.  

Nodding, Deaton pulled back, removing the instrument from his ears and looking directly at Peter. He pointed to Peter's neck and said, "I can see that you and Stiles have mated. Can I ask how long ago that was?"

"I don't see how that's any of your business," Peter snapped at him, turning back to Stiles to run the back of his hand along his mate's cheek, feeling the heat coming off his skin. Stiles was burning up.

"Humor me," Deaton said, folding his arms and staring Peter down.

"About a month and a half ago, why?" Peter asked, bringing his eyes back up to meet the man's.

"I think I know what's wrong with him. And if you took a minute to think about it, I'm sure you would know too."

Peter looked quizzically at Deaton, and then back down at Stiles. He thought for a long minute about what Deaton had just asked and what he had just done and felt his eyebrows creep up into his hairline.

His mouth dropped open of its own accord and he wanted to kick himself because his very first thought was the Sheriff is going to kill me.