"We don't have a lot of time, so listen," Peter says.
Stiles is trying not to have a panic attack. The hunters would be back in an hour, they said. Which isn’t all they said, but Stiles is trying desperately not to think about that part.
The part where they said they had a strain of wolfsbane that causes werewolves to go feral on the full moon. The part where they promised to dose Peter with it, just in time for moonrise. The part where they want Peter to tear Stiles apart.
"Stiles," Peter says, gentler than Stiles has ever heard him. He takes Stiles's hands in his and draws in a deep breath. "Breathe with me." He lets the breath out and takes another one, slowly this time.
Stiles can't go that slow. His breath is too hard to catch. He knows if he doesn't calm down he'll start hyperventilating, but knowing that doesn't actually help.
"Let's count," Peter says, and takes another slow breath, counting slowly, two, three, four, five, six, seven, "And out. Two, three, four…"
Stiles can't keep it up, not really, but he starts being able to go at least to four before sucking in another breath.
Peter smiles, pleased. "That's good, Stiles. You're doing well."
The praise makes Stiles a little lightheaded. He's not used to it. He keeps his eyes on Peter's and breathes, letting Peter continue to count and anchor him.
"Okay. Now we have to talk. I have an idea, and you need to take it seriously," Peter says.
Stiles's breath hitches.
"Shh, just breathe and listen to what I have to say." He squeezes Stiles's hands. It reassures him.
It makes him remember he's not in this alone. They have each other right now. Stiles just wishes he could've had a chance to tell Peter he's glad they've become friends. How much Stiles appreciates him. And now… well, Peter will kill Stiles and then the hunters will kill Peter. Or maybe keep him as a pet for awhile so they can set him loose on the rest of the pack.
"Stop thinking about it," Peter growls. "Focus."
"I'm sorry if I can't stop thinking about how you’re going to tear me limb from limb," Stiles says between his clenched teeth.
"That's not going to happen," Peter says vehemently. "I have a plan."
Stiles calms instantly because Peter knows how to plan. He knows how to make sure he comes out on top of every situation. Well, not every situation. But he always has a backup. And… maybe this isn't a death sentence after all. "Okay. Tell me."
"No matter how feral, there are two kinds of people a werewolf won't harm. If Malia was here, I wouldn't hurt her, because she's my daughter. No matter the state of our relationship, the wolf won't hurt our pup," Peter explains.
Stiles blinks. "That's…strangely sweet. But I'm not your kid so I don't see how that helps us." He pulls his hands out of Peter's to anxiously tap against his lap.
Peter takes a breath. Gives him an inscrutable look. "The wolf won't hurt our mate, either."
Stiles goes still. Looks down and clenches his fists. "I'm not your mate."
He knows mating isn't something that just happens. There's a ritual aspect, from what he's been able to piece together. He doesn't know all the details but he's sure it's not like in the movies. It isn't something that just is. It's something that's chosen.
"I'm not going to let you die. Especially not by my hands." It sounds like an oath.
"Do you know how…?" Stiles shakes his head. "But, isn't it for life? It's a bond, right? There's no getting out of it. I know that much."
"Do you want to die?" Peter asks harshly.
"Of course not!"
"We don't have much time. I don't know what’ll happen when I'm feral, but I do know the wolf won't hurt our mate," Peter repeats. Stiles believes him.
It's so permanent. But then again, so is death. "What'll I have to do? It's not--oh god, it's a sex thing, isn't it?"
"It doesn't have to be. It requires a period of heightened emotion, but it doesn't need to be sexual," Peter says.
"What is 'it', anyway?" Stiles dreads the answer. It's going to be painful. He just knows it.
"I bite you. I'd… prefer if you bit me, too. The bond can be established one way but I'd rather it be reciprocal," Peter explains.
Stiles nods. He doesn't think that's too much to ask. He'd rather be an equal in their relationship, anyway. But… "You can't actually want this, though," Stiles half-asks.
Peter leans into him, his body comforting and warm against Stiles's arm. "Darling, I want nothing more."
Stiles whips his head up, looking at Peter incredulously. "Are you for real?"
"I'd rather we talk about this under different circumstances, but yes."
"We don't have different circumstances right now, sorry." Stiles isn’t sorry at all. "Just explain what you mean. You want this? Why?"
"I don't think now is the time to stroke your ego, darling," Peter quips.
Stiles sputters. "I'm not…that's not what I want. I just…why?"
"I've always wanted you." The words are too bold, too much, but Stiles wants to hear more. "Though I'm grateful now I didn't get you as my beta. I’d much rather you as my mate."
"I'm not-" Stiles cuts himself off. Saying 'I'm nothing special' would be pathetic. He tries to inject some lightheartedness into his voice he doesn't feel. "I mean I know I'm awesome, but I didn't know I was mate material awesome."
Peter reaches up and touches his face. Stiles flails a little, surprised, but since he's sitting against a wall he can't go far. He stills once he realizes what Peter's doing. He regrets flinching when Peter goes to pull away, so Stiles grabs his wrist and brings it back to his face.
"Sorry. You — you can do that. I just wasn't expecting it."
The frown between Peter's brows smoothes out once Stiles finishes talking. He nods and cups Stiles's cheek, fingers gentle. "You’re everything I could ever want in a mate: loyal, clever, and vicious to any who’d hurt your pack. It's like you were made for me, sweetheart."
Stiles gives in and closes his eyes, enjoying the touch. He can feel his heartbeat thumping hard in his chest. He wonders what it sounds like to a werewolf. He tries to process what Peter’s said, but all he can think about is how wrong Peter is about this.
"I'm not perfect," Stiles says. "I'm kind of an asshole." He opens his eyes and watches Peter's face. It's gloomy, and the sunlight creeping through the small barred windows near the ceiling is faint. The moon will have risen before they know it.
But Peter doesn't react negatively. He laughs. It's soft, but it still counts. And then he smiles, eyes glowing. It takes Stiles's breath away seeing the bright blue in the dimness. And so close, too. He knows he should be afraid, or at least wary, but he can only think about how beautiful Peter's eyes are.
"I hope you've realized by now that description also applies to me," Peter says. "I hate to ruin this romantic moment, but we're out of time. We don't know how long before they drug me, so we need to do this now."
Stiles lets out a long breath and nods. "Okay. Just — one more thing."
"I want a kiss," Stiles says. "Before the mating thing. Before we get started. I want to know what it feels like before I… you know. Bond with you for the rest of my life. I want a kiss."
Peter smirks. "I think I can accommodate you."
"Oh my god! Accommodate me? Just-"
It's so cliché that Peter cuts him off while he was talking. I'm in the middle of a supernatural romcom, he thinks, tries to say, but it comes out muffled and gives Peter the opportunity to slip him the tongue.
...And Stiles can't think clearly anymore, because Peter is kissing the sense right out of him. He doesn't even notice when he wraps his arms around Peter's neck, but that's the position they end up in.
Peter kisses his jaw and Stiles gasps, trying to get his breath back. There's nibbling and licking and that shouldn't be sexy but it really, really is. Peter trails his lips down Stiles's throat and it's exciting, the danger of having a predator's teeth at his jugular, and yet Stiles can only press closer and moan for more.
But Peter pulls back and takes his hand. "We don't have time, darling." He sounds as disappointed as Stiles feels.
Stiles licks his swollen lips and sees the way Peter watches his mouth, hunger in his eyes. It’s odd, makes his heart beat faster, to see that on Peter's face and know it's for him.
Peter kisses his wrist and presents his own.
"Here?" Stiles asks, rubbing a thumb over the inside of Peter's wrist. "Really?"
"It doesn't have to be." Peter gives a playful nip. "But call me sentimental."
"That is not at all romantic," Stiles lies. "You're so twisted."
Peter grins, "One of my most best qualities."
It's funny 'cause it's true. God, what is he getting into? But he wants it, and not just to get out of being eaten alive.
Just the idea that he's already gone on Peter is enough to set his heart racing. "Okay so…I think you should go for it," Stiles whispers. "Bite me. Because my emotions are pretty heightened right now."
Peter cradles Stiles's hand in his own. "As are mine," he replies, pressing his wrist to Stiles's lips.
Stiles doesn't wait, biting down as hard as he can with his blunt, human teeth. He's eager, and tastes blood in his mouth. Somehow, it's not as gross as he thought.
Then he can't think because pain. Peter's bite is white flame that travels through his whole body, radiating outward from his wrist. Stiles thinks he's going to die from the intensity. Maybe that's melodramatic.
But it's followed by a pleasure so intense his whole body shakes. He must make a noise because Peter hushes him. Right, can't be too loud or the hunters will catch on. Oh, but it feels so good.
"I know." Peter sounds choked up himself. "But we have to be quiet."
Stiles hides his face in Peter's neck, muffling his gasps and whimpers against Peter’s shirt. Peter strokes up and down his back, comforting but also, he knows, scent-marking him.
He eventually catches his breath, nuzzling at Peter's throat. "I'd say it worked." Stiles gives a quiet laugh.
"I didn't know it would be so… intense.I would have tried to prepare us if I had."
"Was a nice surprise, though." Stiles takes a deep breath. "How do you smell so good during an abduction?"
Peter squeezes him and chuckles before dropping a kiss on his head. "I could ask you the same question."
Stiles lifts his face to see if Peter's joking. "What, seriously?"
"Underneath the scent of hunters and fear, of course." Peter smirks.
"I would think you'd like the fear," Stiles mutters.
"Not in this case." Peter takes Stiles's hand and examines at his wrist. "Look."
Stiles's wrist is healed. There's a scar, but it's not fresh-looking. He gapes before scrambling to see Peter's. It's hard to see now that the sun has gone down, but Stiles can feel the scar tissue, the crescents left by his teeth. It makes him feel… pleased, in a possessive way.
"This means you're mine," Stiles says quietly.
"It does." Stiles doesn't have to look to hear the smile in his voice.
He looks anyway, then steals a kiss. "Say it. Please?"
"You're mine," Peter says instead, kissing him hard before pushing him away.
Peter shushes him, and Stiles hears the hunters open the door to the basement. Stiles doesn't give a shit right now what the hunters think of him. He grabs to Peter's hand and holds on tight.
Peter squeezes back, then shakes his hand loose. "Stay here," he whispers, and Stiles knows he's going to try to attack their captors.
Stiles can hardly see until a hunter flips the light switch. Then it's too bright. Luckily, Peter doesn't seem to have that problem. He moves so fast Stiles’s eyes can barely track what he's doing. He sees the first hunter go down, and Stiles grabs the only weapon at hand--a jar. There's a gunshot as Stiles pitches the jar at the second hunter's head. He doesn't miss. The hunter goes down, and then Stiles is lifted, slung over Peter’s shoulder like a sack, and they're running. Well. Peter’s running. Stiles is along for the ride.
Peter shifts him into a traditional bridal carry (ironic, Stiles thinks) before propelling them out a window. He hears breaking glass but he doesn't feel any cuts. He figures he's okay.
Peter snarls and then they’re moving so fast Stiles can only see dark blurs moving past them. It makes him dizzy, so he closes his eyes. Peter will keep him safe.
Though he wishes he was trusted to run himself. Not that it would be that great an idea in the dark, when Stiles can't see.But it's the principle of the thing.
Is the moon rising? Did Peter get hit with the wolfsbane that would turn him feral? Stiles thinks so. It doesn't help that Peter isn't speaking, running with Stiles tucked in close against his chest.
He sighs and holds on, hoping his mate isn't too far gone and won't run away from home rather than towards it. He wonders where they'll end up. For now, there's not lot he can do but wait and let Peter run.
Peter takes Stiles to a cave. There are a number of jokes in there. About a caveman carrying his mate off to his lair, or maybe this is the actual network of underground caves Peter teased him about in the past. But Stiles isn't in the mood for humor.
He's scared. So far, so good, but he's not comfortable with the idea that mating is going to keep Peter from killing him. For now, Peter’s dumped Stiles in a corner (more like the back since the cave isn't that big and there aren’t really any corners) and proceeded to stalk back and forth at the mouth, stopping occasionally to tilt his head; he’s probably listening for danger.
There's a skylight of sorts in the roof of the cave, letting in a stream of moonlight. There are also scattered patches of bioluminescent moss giving off a creepy glow. Stiles is grateful, because if not for the moon and — to a lesser degree — the glowing fungi, he would be in total darkness. Being human had its downsides.
Peter isn't talking, so Stiles figures he's beyond verbalizing. He doesn't know exactly how feral Peter is, whether he'll get worse, turn on Stiles, or what. And Stiles hasn't checked to see if he understands spoken words yet.
Now might be a good time to try.
"Hey, wolfie," Stiles says softly. "You can calm down. I think we're safe. You ran pretty far away from those hunters… Bet we're miles away from danger now."
Peter stops, turning toward him. His forehead ridges are much more pronounced than in any other beta shifts Stiles has seen. He looks dangerous, and his glowing eyes remind him of exactly how lethal Peter can be.
His heart is trying to beat out of his chest. He's fucking scared, and if he doesn't calm down he'll have another attack, and then what? How does a feral werewolf handle someone freaking out or having a panic attack?
He can imagine some pretty bloody scenarios he wishes he couldn't.
Peter comes forward, and Stiles thinks he looks… worried? It's hard to tell when Peter's shifted. It's not the most reassuring look.
The werewolf tilts his head and slows his approach. Stiles isn't sure if Peter’s trying to keep him calm or stalking him like prey. He has to close his eyes. "Please, please don't. We did the whole thing, the wrist biting thing, remember?"
Stiles shuts his eyes and holds his scarred wrist out to Peter. "See, wolfie? Mate. I'm your mate. You don't want to hurt me."
His eyes fly open when he feels something wet and warm on his wrist. Peter… is licking him.
Stiles's brain stutters to a stop. Peter, on the other hand, does the opposite of stopping. He takes hold of Stiles's arm and just… licks. And keeps licking. He's lapping at Stiles's wrist, and fingers, and forearm. His eyes are half closed like he's really enjoying himself, too.
"What are you doing?"
Peter whuffs. Like a puppy. An overgrown, ferocious puppy. He whines a little when Stiles tries to pull his arm away. Apparently Peter doesn't like that.
"Are you tasting me? Seeing if I'm worth eating?" Stiles teases with a half-smile.
Peter slants him a look, eyes still glowing. It's almost a smirk.
"Oh my god, do you understand me? Because that would be awesome. That or smirking is just your resting face. Like some people have a resting bitch face and you have a resting smarmy asshole face."
Peter snorts against his hand.
"Oh thank god, you do understand me. At least a little. You're not gonna eat me, right?" Stiles gets the feeling that if Peter was in his right mind, he'd roll his eyes.
"Okay. Okay," Stiles says. It's hard not to calm down when Peter's giving him that look. It's kinda funny, and he can't help the laugh that escapes. Peter tilts his head.
"Your ears are pointed," Stiles giggles. "It's kind of adorable. Like elf ears. I want to touch them but I don't want you to bite my hand off so I think I'll just keep it to myself."
Peter backs off and starts clawing at his shirt. And then it's off.
"Guess you didn't like how that felt? Can we, um, keep the pants on, though?" Stiles asks, trying not to ogle Peter's chest and failing.
Peter huffs and puts the shirt down on some leaves and other things Stiles can't identify, but look soft, collected near the back of the cave. Like he's making a little nest.
It's getting colder, and the cave was cool to start with. Stiles is only wearing a t-shirt and jeans. He shivers, regretting losing his hoodie in the hunter’s basement. Peter blinks at him before shuffling closer. And closer.
"What are you doing?" Stiles asks through teeth that are starting to chatter.
Peter frowns and grabs him. Stiles startles and tries to push away before realizing that's probably not a great idea. So he lets Peter do what he wants. Which is, apparently, to settle him on the newly built nest and crowd in close to… cuddle? He tucks Stiles's head under his chin and wraps his arms around him. It's hard to ignore the claws when Stiles can feel them tickling his scalp as Peter pets him.
Stiles is tense at first , but Peter is warm and making worried little growls now and then, and it's hard not to relax. Stiles is relieved Peter wasn't mistaken about the mate thing.
" I guess I'm going to have to trust you more often," he jokes.
Peter rumbles softly and cuddles more aggressively. It's weird and kind of sweet.
"Thanks," Stiles says as he feels himself warming up. Peter continues to pet his hair. It feels good. "You're not going to hurt me. You were right. I'm glad you thought of mating."
He trails off. Is he actually glad he's mated for life to Peter Hale? He wiggles around and tilts his head up so he can look into Peter's face. He doesn't look how he usually does, that's for sure. The heavily shifted features are still foreign to him, but he's getting used to them.
"My dad's gonna freak," Stiles says after a minute. Peter licks along his hairline, and Stiles squawks. "What, seriously?"
A pleased rumble is Peter's only reply.
At some point he falls asleep. He doesn't mean to, but being abducted and scared out of his mind is exhausting. The surprising thing is that he only sleeps until dawn. He opens his eyes and sees the pink light of sunrise coming through the mouth of the cave.
Peter's arms are wrapped around him. His hands are human, without a hint of claws. Which is great since they’re perilously close to his vulnerable belly.
Stiles takes a deep breath and tries to wriggle out of Peter's hold. His bladder is full. Peter makes a grumbly sound in his sleep and tightens his arms around Stiles's middle.
"Look, normally I'd be all for spooning in a cave on a makeshift bed of leaves and sticks and… what looks like the rest of your clothes? Are you naked?" He tries to peek but Peter's holding onto him like he's never going to let go and it's a little impossible. "Hey. Peter. Wake up and let me go, I gotta go to the bathroom. Or you know, find a bush."
A louder grumble-growl. Great.
"Peter!" Stiles yells. He feels the werewolf jerk awake. "I have to peeeeee."
"Stiles," Peter rasps, and it's a relief to hear actual speech from him. Not such a relief to hear a happy rumble that sounds more like feral Peter than the snarky smartass Stiles is used to. Especially when, instead of letting him go, Peter starts nuzzling the nape of Stiles's neck. His goatee is scratchy, but in a good way. Stiles would appreciate it if his bladder wasn't making its demands felt.
And then more licking.
"I thought we were past this." Stiles squirms when Peter's tongue swipes across his nape and into his hair.
"Mate," Peter says. He sounds happy about it, at least.
"Great, so we've passed the non-verbal stage, but I'm guessing you're still pretty wolfy in the head," Stiles says. "And, as fascinating as that is, it doesn't change the fact that I really need to piss."
Peter nips the back of Stiles's neck with mercifully blunt teeth and lets him go. Stiles sighs, then he wriggles away and stands, sneaking a peek at his (yep, mostly naked) mate, before high-tailing it outside to relieve himself.
He's almost done when he hears a sound behind him. It's Peter of course, so Stiles doesn't look, instead finishing his business before zipping up.
Then he turns, and is stunned at what he sees. His mate is wearing nothing but navy blue boxer briefs, arms up as he stretches. Fuck, he looks incredible. Skin smooth in some places, dusted with hair in others, muscles everywhere. Not the awkward, overly-bulky ones some men have. Instead, he looks like he's built for finesse, for speed and stealth. Stiles imagines Peter could capture his prey before it even knew he was there.
Any threat would be taken care of before it touched him. And now, as his mate, before danger ever touched Stiles. The thought shouldn’t be as sexy as it is.
Peter tilts his head as his nostrils flare. His eyes gleam in the early light, and then he's stalking toward his prey: Stiles.
That should not
be hot. But fuck, it really is.
Peter presses against him and the half-hard dick in Stiles's pants likes that very much. Peter's warm and smooth and rumbling at him like he knows exactly what Stiles has been thinking. Which. Right, he can smell the arousal. Stiles wishes he could turn the tables and know how Peter is feeling-
Oh. The hard cock pressing against his hip is proof, isn't it?
"Mate," Peter says, and kisses him.
Stiles pulls back panting and dazed. "I hope you mean that I'm your mate and not, like, we're gonna mate. Because this is not the best place for that, and unless modern caves come stocked with lube these days, it'll be pretty impossible. Just sayin'."
"Stiles," Peter says, kissing his temple and sounding fond.
Thank god. "Your brain coming back online? Because that'd be great. I don't want to argue with you over consent and how you can't really give it if you're not a hundred percent you at the moment. I mean, not that I don't like wolfy you, but I prefer the whole-minded Peter."
Peter makes a satisfied sound that's almost a purr. Of course it's not, since Stiles has been around cats enough to know the difference. But it's still similar enough to a purr that Stiles is going to tease Peter mercilessly once he's himself again.
Stiles sighs when he realizes Peter isn't stepping away anytime soon. So he wraps his arms around Peter's waist and stands with him, swaying a little. Stiles has no idea what they're doing, but it's nice.
"I miss your mouth," Stiles says with another sigh.
Peter answers by licking his neck, and Stiles laughs. "I meant your smart mouth. Your snark, you asshole." Peter clucks his tongue and nips at his skin. "You're going to remember this and use it against me later, aren't you?" Stiles says with a fond sigh.
"Mhm," Peter agrees. Which is two syllables, so hooray!
Stiles's stomach chooses then to growl. "We need to find civilization before you're tempted to bring me Bambi."
Peter huffs against his skin.
"Is that a laugh? Are you laughing at me?" Stiles pretends to be offended. "Okay, how about you use those heightened senses to find home, huh?"
They start walking. Peter seems to know where he's going. Stiles is hungry and thirsty but he knows Peter will get them somewhere safe soon. Preferably with vending machines this time.
An hour (Stiles thinks it's been an hour but he has no way of knowing) later, Peter is speaking in short sentences. "This way," he says, and, "Home soon."
Stiles will be so relieved when he's up to complex sentences again. He likes Peter best when he has to work to keep up.
Peter suddenly stills and grabs Stiles. He thrusts Stiles behind his back and drops into a defensive stance. Peter senses a threat. Stiles tenses and hopes it's not the hunters.
But then Peter relaxes and straightens. Before Stiles can ask about it, Scott and Malia come running into the clearing.
"My bros!" Stiles exclaims. "Awesome! Hey, you wouldn't happen to have some water or, I don't know, a cheeseburger and curly fries on you?"
"Stiles!" Scott gasps, hugging him. "We've been tracking you for miles."
Malia clears her throat. "He means I have. I could’ve tracked you faster if he didn't insist on following me."
Scott looks scandalized. "I couldn't let you come out here alone!"
Stiles laughs. But then he notices Peter is standing unnaturally still and Stiles wraps an arm around his waist. Scott doesn't notice at first but Malia's eyebrows go up.
"You should probably lead us back to civilization," Stiles says. "Not that Peter wasn't doing a great job of it already, but he's been drugged a little and he's still not a hundred percent."
"I'm fine," Peter argues. "Much better."
"Uh huh. You're still speaking in two word sentences." Stiles rolls his eyes.
Scott's eyebrows go up. "Drugged?"
Malia's eyes are shrewd. "Something's different about you."
Stiles shuffles a little closer to Peter. "We mated. Long story, but it was to save my life. I'm alive, ta da! So let's not be getting into how bad an idea it was, Scott."
Scott opens his mouth to protest, but then closes it without a word. He gives Stiles a look that promises a thorough grilling later, but for now it seems he'll let it slide.
"Does this mean you're my stepfather?" Malia asks, mischief in her eyes.
"And Scott and Peter are bros-in-law. Yep," Stiles replies, thankful for the banter. Scott scowls but thankfully keeps his trap shut. It's a miracle.
Peter relaxes, putting an arm around Stiles's shoulder and kissing his temple. "Let's go home."
Stiles smiles. That sounds good. And also, "Three words! You're getting better!"