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This Time Around

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Stiles dreams about the fire for four months before he can make any sense of what it means. It takes that long to get a clear enough picture. To know who's in danger, and why. And how.

 

It's the how that's important. He can't just approach a family (of werewolves, he discovered a month into having the visions) and warn them of some unseen danger. No one would believe him if he did it that way. Thankfully, he's inherited more than snark from his parents. His mom had been a seer, like him, and she taught him about psychometry before he even came into his gift.

 

When he knows what he's looking for, he just needs to touch things to find information. So when he sits down in the booth at the diner one of the Hales just vacated, he can pick up vibrations and more. It takes a few times, with a few different family members in different places around town, but eventually he discovers a few helpful things.

 

Like what family (pack) member is most likely to be able to do something when he does get all the information. Like what one of the girls is worried about, namely her brother. Like what’s happening with a hunter group that's moved into the area recently, from the Alpha. Like where the boy, Derek, is meeting his girlfriend.

 

Stiles could have left it there, but he believes in completionism. He's also a little sucked in by the Hale family. Seeing them die every night for months and having the power to stop it might do that. But seeing the little things, the details and facts and foibles of their lives - he's gotten attached.

 

He knows he shouldn't. He knows he'll have to let go as soon as he gets word to one of them and stops the tragedy. (Peter. It's going to be Peter, he's decided.) That's part of this whole gift of his: don't let anyone too close. Don't tell.

 

He promised.

 

So the last piece of the puzzle is the girlfriend. He's already discovered she's a hunter. He just doesn't know how she's going to do it. Or when. So he looks for a particular clue, and then he finds where she'll be. Where she'll spend a lot of time. And then, when she's left work (probably off to lure the poor werewolf kid in some more), Stiles breaks in and starts touching things.

 

An hour later he's got all the answers he needs and then some. He's shaking with rage and disgust. But he's glad he did this now, because there isn't much time. She and her accomplices are striking soon, so he needs to act fast.

 

He buys a burner phone. He uses the number he's already found for just this. And then he texts Peter Hale the details.

 


 

 

The role of pack enforcer was often an ambiguous one in modern times. There were less petty territorial disputes these days, and the Hales were a respected enough family that most issues were solved via diplomacy rather than violence. Peter had killed an Omega five days into formally taking on the role all those years ago - a feral man who had tried to take Laura from them - and his blue eyes had born the price of that ever since. But over the years it had proven to be an unprecedented event.

 

There was still violence involved, he’d beaten the shit out of one of their second cousins a few months ago when he’d assaulted a girl in his class. And when they had to annex a smaller pack from their sphere of influence, Talia had sent him to quell any particularly unsavoury responses. It was considered more polite to send an enforcer over your Alpha in such cases. Alphas would cause irreparable damage, that would leave the other pack licking its wounds for too long. Peter, although good at what he does, would be able to say that those he had hurt would be back to full health by the next day.

 

It also helped that it let Talia feel like herself and her family were more civilised than what wolves had been throughout history. If you rolled all the more unpleasant aspects of policing other packs into one person.

 

Peter didn’t mind, he loved his pack. And he loved doing what he was good at.

 

Scaring the shit out of people was a particular trait of his, and since much of his role was more for show, he took to it with relish.

 

Something had been a little… Off… Of late however.

 

Talia had taken on some new responsibilities, and a stressed Alpha meant a stressed pack. Laura was growing up strong and fast, every day learning more and more from her mother, but also entering the stage of life where she thought she could challenge Talia on things. (Oh boy had that delighted Peter, when in a pack meeting he’d gone to voice his disagreement to Talia’s decision - as normal - only to be beaten to it by his oldest niece. The girl had always been a tad too spoilt for his taste, but finally all the self belief was paying in dividends)

 

The knock on effect had meant that whole house had been slightly on edge, the general cohesion of the pack was off, and things felt like they weren’t quite the tight pack they normally were. It wasn’t a very big threat however, the Hale pack was strong, old, and unshakeable. As long as they had each other, things would work out.

 

Still, Peter couldn’t shake that off-ness.

 

He’d poked Laura about it one time, begrudgingly inflating her self importance as future-Alpha, but the girl had been strangely evasive. Weird because her discontent was clear on her face.

 

“Just because Talia can’t hold court with you right now, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be reaching out to the rest of the pack.” He warned her.

 

There had also been a strange taste about recently. Peter could taste it under his tongue, a mixture of explosive mercury and charcoal. It hung in their air sometimes when the pack went about their business, like something otherworldly was brushing up against them.

 

But like Peter said, this was standard fare for a wolf pack, especially a strong one. All number of magical creatures were drawn by their power, their dominion. In the end they’d reveal themselves, try their best to obtain their protection/respect, and then fade out again. He was sure of it.

 

The text changes everything however.

 

The second he reads it he knows it would be suicide to ignore its warning. Possibly it was a hoax, or worse a trap, but either way it was a sign that they had become vulnerable.

 

Peter had been driving home when the text had hit. Ever the conscientious driver he had waited until he reached a red light before he even bothered to pick up the phone. He broke the speed limit once he had read it however.

 

“Tell me now: how do you know this? Who are you? Why are you telling me this?” Is all he has time to reply before getting to his house.

 

Talia is on the phone in her study, while Laura sat in the corner of the room doing some school work, although really watching her mother like a hawk.

 

“Leave, I need to talk to the Alpha.” Peter barks at her.

 

She opens her mouth to argue, but Peter cuts her off, “Right now. I’m not interested.” She looks at her mother for support, but Talia is barely paying them attention for how engrossed she is on the phone. Laura slips out the room without another word.

 

Peter attends Talia, only to receive a rather rushed hand in his face; Talia halfway through a particular monologue to whomever is her phone partner. In response Peter slashes his claws through the phone cord. The growl he receives has him showing his neck in submission all the same.

 

“Peter,” Talia begins, “you better have the world’s best reason for this.”

 

“The pack is in danger. Do you know where Derek is right now?”

 

From there, everything starts happening really quickly.

 

**


A day after the fire that didn't happen, Stiles' dreams are free of the event. He has normal, non-seer dreams for the first time in months. He wakes up and breathes a sigh of relief. The Hales must have taken his warning to heart. Not that he didn't expect Peter Hale to listen to him, but there was always the possibility that Stiles missed something.

 

He doesn't destroy the phone. He should. He knows he should. But there's a little something in the back of his head saying to wait, to hold off, and Stiles knows better than to go against his instincts at this point.

 

It's probably tempting fate to text Peter Hale again. Tempting… something. But he does it anyway.

 

Congrats on not dying

 

Maybe he could have been a little more tactful, but since when is that him?

Chapter Text

In the aftermath of everything that happened, the identity of his mystery source was on the back burner. There was a time when he wondered if it had been one of the hunters, that woman's brother - Chris - had quietly proven himself to be innocent of what had been planned. Peter had gently pressed him on the matter, not revealing the existence of a text, but insinuating the idea that a message had been sent. But the man apparently knew nothing at all about the attack nor the warning.

 

Derek was a mess, the younger man have never been laconic, but he’d completely clammed up since the incident. He and Laura appeared to not be on speaking terms, and he had just started crying every time Talia had spoken to him about it.

 

Matthew - Talia’s husband - had been the voice of reason. To just let things blow over, and to give Derek some space to think about things. Peter had been putting on babysitting duty - especially since Derek had apparently been preyed on while in school - and as such had now been put back on school run duty. Dropping the kid off, and collecting him in the afternoon.

 

He’d complained, but at heart hadn’t really minded. His blood ran cold every time he thought about the fact that that monster had managed to get at their most vulnerable member.

 

Peter was sat in his car waiting for Derek to get out of school when the text came through. He saw it as a welcome relief.

 

Ah, the mysterious savior returns.

 

I must say, if it had been me who saved the life of upwards of 20 people, I’d be a little more eager to show my face and receive the praise.

 

Peter paused, unsure if he was going too far.

 

Unless it wasn’t really good intentions that motivated you?

 

**

 

Stiles frowns at his phone when the last text comes in. It's not that his intentions particularly matter. He's given the information and the Hales were saved. What Peter Hale thinks of him shouldn't be a thing he cares about.

 

I don't need praise he sends, a little too quickly.

 

Maybe he cares what Peter thinks. But only a little.

 

Good job handling it. Glad you're okay. That's all.

 

He means it to be goodbye. He tries to keep it straight to the point. He doesn't need to talk to the guy like he's a friend or anything. He just needs to…

 

Nothing. No more. He doesn't need to do anything else. This is it.

 

***

 

Peter is a little worried that he is scaring whomever is on the other side of the phone off. Maybe this whole brush with death has gotten to him, normally he’s known for his good humour.

 

Derek gets into the car suddenly, his eyes on the floor, and his mouth in a permanent scowl.

 

“You ok buddy?” Peter calls, watching the younger boy through the rearview mirror.

 

Derek half nods, half shrugs.

 

“Anything happen at school today?”

 

Derek’s heart rate increases, and Peter pauses his move to start the car.

 

“What is it? Did something happen?”

 

“It’s nothing-” Derek cracks out, tears in his eyes again.

 

“Derek, you need to tell me. Not talking is what-”

 

“SHUT UP.” Derek shouts suddenly, his expression more visibly shocked than Peter’s own. After a few moments of heaving breathing Derek finally breaks the silence again. “They replaced her. We got a new teaching assistant. Everyone was asking where… She went.”

 

Peter feels his claws itch to come out when he thinks about that woman touching Derek again. Instead, he tries to keep calm, provide a space where Derek can express things without having to deal with other people’s emotions.

 

“Ok. That sounds… Pretty tough.”

 

He turns on the ignition switch and pulls out of the school parking lot, turning out to the right - away from the preserve.

 

“Where are we going?”

 

“Pizza. And icecream. And I’m getting a whisky.”

 

“Why?”

 

Peter shrugs, “Felt like the best decision.”

 

Derek thinks about it for a moment, before nodding and sitting back in his seat.


That night when Peter is home and has emptied the better part of his on liquor store: this one with a variable wolfsbane content, he gets his phone out again.

 

I’m not really handling it.

 

But I got the job done.

 

**

 

Stiles isn't expecting that. He doesn't know what Peter means and he doesn't know why the words pull at him the way they do.

 

He thinks of the months of dreams, of visions of the Hales dying horrific deaths.

 

He wants to tell Peter something about them, but he can't, not without revealing himself. Or at least the part of himself he's always been careful not to reveal.

 

He thinks over the texts and sighs. Peter must not have anyone he can really talk to about it. The others would be too close. Reluctantly, he sends another message. His hands pausing over the buttons as he considers the clunky question he wants to ask.

 

Is there anything you need to talk about?

 

***

 

Is it really over?

 

He asks the question that has been beating steadily in his head ever since that day.

 

You never answered my original questions. But I need to know: is it over?

 

He feels like he’s holding his breath as he hits send.

 

**

 

Stiles knows he has to answer this a certain way, without letting on that he knows because he Saw it, capital S.

 

Thing is, he doesn't know how Peter or any other pack member handled the threat. He just knows the fire didn't happen. He knows they used his information.

 

As far as I know, but I'm not all-knowing. Hunters suck, dude. Keeping an eye out can't be a bad thing.

 

And that's the best he can do.

 

***

 

Peter tries to let the reply placate him, in the least it lets him sleep.

 

They next day he’s slightly hung over and kinda’ embarrassed by his emotional leaking that happened through the texting the night before.

 

He’s keeping half an ear out for the conversation Chris Argent is having with Talia over the phone. The man is asking for the body of his sister so that he can hold a funeral.

 

“It’s not for me, it’s for my daughter. She’s young, she doesn’t really understand anything that has happened.”

 

Talia is clipped but apologetic when she explained that there wasn’t very much left after. (After Peter was done with her, but she leaves out naming exactly which of her wolves did the deed). She explains that they burnt the body afterwards, as is tradition, but she can organise the ashes being delivered.

 

Finally the smell of charcoal that had been haunting him makes sense.

 

“Pete-y! Un-CAL Pete-y!” Chimes his youngest niece, pulling at his pant leg. Cora has all the confidence of Laura, but the soft heart of Derek. It’s a nice blend of the two of them, and makes her Peter’s favourite.

 

“Can I have chocolate pancakes please?”

 

“Did you eat your fruit salad already?”

 

“Yes! Even the kiwis!”

 

“Ok, sit at the table while I make them up.”

 

She’s also the only one in the house that doesn’t know that something has happened. Making her a veritable bundle of joy when compared with the austere to outrightly miserable faces that every other pack member wears.

 

When he drops the plate on the table, he puts a hand to Derek’s shoulder, squeezing him slightly. The boy soaks up the affection, but scowls even harder. It’s not a nice sight to see him so conflicted over what he wants and needs right now. But if Talia doesn’t have a clue what she’s doing with him, it’s not like Peter is going to have any better ideas.



I apologise for last night. But thank you for answering.

 

He’s in the workshed, blowing off some steam by sanding down the rough edges of a cabinet he’d been making.

 

And I agree with your opinion of hunters. Can I assume you’ve also had some run ins with them?

 

**

 

Not me personally, but there's a whole branch of my family I never got to know because of the bastards

 

Stiles has it typed out and sent before he knows what he's doing. He's usually a lot more careful than this, and he knows he shouldn't trust anyone, but he blames it being early morning before he's gotten his daily intake of caffeine.

 

***

 

Peter makes note of the information, and considers pressing whoever is on the other side for more details… Before backing off.

 

The conversation is charming, if not a little stunted, and he values the odd little outlet he’s been given.

 

A hunter’s worst character trait is their belief that their actions are just.

 

He pushes the edge of a piece of wood so hard into the sander it cracks down the centre, Peter rolls his eyes and throws it aside, before picking up his phone again.

 

Your family, whoever they are, deserved better.

 

**

 

Stiles can't help but be a little touched by the message. He's not sure how to answer. He does know he shouldn't answer at all. It's a good place to leave off, to let Peter go live his life while Stiles lives his. Separate. For good.

 

But he's not doing that, is he?

 

Thank you.

 

But now I've been able to save people from the same fate as them. It feels like a good revenge.


Saving a family using gifts he would be killed for, thwarting the same righteous hatred as took his mom's relatives, feels damn good. It seems natural to share the feeling with Peter Hale, who may not know the specifics but can probably appreciate what he's trying to say.

Chapter Text

Peter had savoured the text for the rest of the afternoon. He’d be unsure what to say, on the topic of revenge.

 

Peter had gotten revenge on Kate Argent. The woman named in the text, and the four people who had helped her plan to kill his family. Peter wonders if Kate’s death would have been enough to turn his eyes blue. Surely her life could not be considered that of an innocent.

 

Some of her colleagues…

 

Little Cora is playing in the sand pit in front of him, she can’t control her shifts very well right now so she’s out of play school. And her cute little ears poke out of the bob she’s sporting. Earlier that day Peter had collected twenty odd beetles for her, and now she’s using her senses to dig them out again.

Every time she finds one, she brings it to show Peter, a look of delight and pride on her face. Like it’s a precious gem and not a wriggly little insect trying to scuttle up her sleeve. He can’t wait for her to find the stag beetle, she’ll be jubilant.

 

Peter doesn’t care if there’s any court that might find Kate’s colleagues innocent.

 

He protected his family.

 

Revenge is a pleasure one does not treasure to own.

 

He thinks about his stranger, how… Sweet they sound at times, candid and human in a way he hadn’t pictured the messenger initially. Peter wonders if they truly understand the weight of their actions.

 

I wonder if you know what has happened to those that you named. I would be silly to put anything I did in writing… But I can’t help but ponder on whether you understand what your choice of action led to.

 

He thinks again of Kate’s body. How little of it was left intact when he was done with it. How burning the carcass was probably the kindest thing they could do for the remaining Argent family. Lest they know the true extent of the massacre.

 

Is his stranger able to handle that?

 

**

 

Stiles doesn't think Peter could understand without knowing the full circumstances. That he saw the pack die, over and over, for months. Stiles knew who to send the information to, not just because Peter would listen and understand, but because as an enforcer, he would take care of the problem.

 

I understand.

 

***

 

Peter would be lying if he said that the response wasn’t a relief. The idea that deep down his ally could never accept what Peter had done would have left a bitter taste in his mouth.

 

Furthermore, it didn’t sit with the image that Peter had forming in his mind. Of a mysterious stranger proving themselves to come down on the side of the wolves.

 

Peter itched to know more about them.

 

This makes you all the more intriguing.

 

**

 

Stiles puts the phone away for a whole day. He reaches for it several times, but stops himself. He shouldn't keep this up.

 

He has trouble listening to a lecture on cow digestion in his Bio class, because he's thinking of Peter, and how he's learned about him. He's going to have to stop this or his grades will tank and he'll lose his scholarship to UCBH.

 

He remembers the first vision he had of Peter specifically, a month after the dreams of fire began. He slipped into a booth at a coffee shop and put his hands on the table and then he saw him, sitting in the same place, reading a book and drinking espresso. He remembers the emotions he got from him: focused, amused by what he was reading, light contempt for another patron in the shop who'd ordered something Peter felt was over the top frou frou.

 

He remembers how he was charmed  by Peter before he even knew his name or that he was connected to the dreams. He remembers feeling intrigued, and how that feeling never really went away.

 

And now Peter is telling him he feels something similar towards Stiles. It's like a drug.

 

Stiles knows better than to feed the hunger it leaves in him. He does. But after a day of not answering, he picks up the phone again and sends another message.

 

Because he wants Peter to know.

 

Maybe I can be just as ruthless as you under the right circumstances.

 

***

 

He could hear Derek cry in his room.

 

The pitiful little sobs wormed their way out from under the teen’s door, down the hall, and were intelligible in Peter’s study.

 

Good hearing was often a curse in a house of teenagers, and married couples. You all had to enact active ignorance, and a certain amount of soundproofing had been employed to try and mitigate the worse of it.

 

But Peter’s office had always shared a landing with Derek’s bedroom, and it had meant that Peter had been tolerating listening to the trials and tribulations of being a teenage boy for a good few years.

 

Didn’t stop you missing some pretty big clues though. Didn’t stop Derek’s almost bringing them all to ruin. Not Derek. Her. The Hunter. The hunter who had touched your nephew.

 

Maybe the crying was only so noticeable because of how happy Derek had seemed.

 

And wasn’t that a kicker. That Derek’s carefree delight over the past few months should have been a warning sign. That the overly serious little guy should have been treated with suspicion just for being happy.

 

The crying was new though. Derek had never been a cryer, not since he was little and Laura had teased him mercilessly for it.

 

Twice Peter had gotten up from his chair with the aim of going into the room, only to hold himself back. He didn’t want to embarrass the boy. Talia’s fussing had been nearly choking him, and had done nothing other than push him further away from them all.

 

His stranger hasn’t text him all day, and the itch to ask him more about what he knows rises again. Whoever it is has been sufficiently coy on giving him more details, a sign that either they won’t budge on clueing him on, or they maybe don’t even know anymore information.

 

But he wants to know how far it got with that women.

 

He wants to know if Derek is crying because he almost got them killed; or because Peter killed his girlfriend.

 

Peter hopes with all his heart it's the former.

 



Instead of approaching Derek, Peter drinks again. Only a little, but enough that he isn’t sober.

 

Wolfsbane is potent stuff for a wolf, and it takes him three glasses to get the sound of whimpering out of his head.

 

Derek had fallen asleep a few hours previous, and Peter had finally had the confidence to retreat to his own bedroom.

 

The text from his stranger the only adequate distraction he can find.

 

I bet you can be.

 

I have you dressed up in all these interesting faces. Sometimes you’re shady back street thief, sharing interests to a fellow crook. Looking to curry favour for a future scrape you might get yourself into.

 

Other times you’re sneak, cloaked in daggers, and you’re just setting me and my family up for a bigger fall. And I can be nothing but grateful, because from my position you’re helping.

 

But sometimes - or most times - you’re glorious. You’re still obscured in shadows. And you’ve still got your back against the wall. But when I hold you in my mind, you’re a white light. You’re trembling with power, and it brings me to my knees just to look at you.

 

Peter realises he’s crying himself a little, and he isn’t completely sure why.

 

**

 

Stiles holds the phone to himself after that and just breathes.

 

He has dinner to get to, a standing weekly date with his father, and a test to study for. He has friends, a few, to check in on. He has a whole life apart from Peter Hale, and yet…

 

He doesn't want to be doing any of it. He wants to keep talking to Peter, because at this point he's not fooling himself anymore. He's got a little infatuation going on. He has for months. But now it's different because there's actual contact, if only by text.

 

And what Peter sent him has his heartbeat and breath coming faster, and something twisting inside him that feels good.

 

I'm not any of those things really. I'm mysterious only because you don't know who I am, and that's more to protect my own secrets. I did this to protect you, to save your pack. I wouldn't turn around and fuck up my hard work like that by hurting you.

 

I'm not any of those things, but

 

He pauses, not sure how to complete the thought.

 

I'm not any of those things, but I like that you think of me at all? That you think I could bring you to your knees? God, that thought, and maybe Stiles hasn't gotten laid in too long.

 

Stiles spends half an hour thinking about how to finish the thought. It takes some time because he has to think about the way Peter phrased his words, the way he uses the word 'hold' as if he's actually holding onto Stiles. It's all very sensual, very intimate, and Stiles… wants. So much more than he ought to.

 

Finally, Stiles knows. He's sitting in his parked Jeep outside his house, waiting to go inside to get dinner started. But this first.

 

I'm not any of those things, but you make me feel like I could be powerful.

 

***


Peter can imagine his stranger blossoming under him.

 

It’s strange, with every conversation the impression of them changes: sometimes they’re older, other times young. Often he envisions a beautiful woman, other times a pretty young man.

 

I know you know so much about me, and normally the power imbalance would drive me to world’s end. But even though I know it’s foolish, I can feel myself trusting you.

 

Peter knows he’s being foolish, part of him can hear himself reprimanding Derek for this very childishness. But this person saved his pack. Every time he sees their faces, it’s a reminder that this person was on their side.

 

Just give me a name to call you. You don’t even have to pretend it’s your real name.

 

Tell me just enough to have a sense of you…

 

Help find a way to trust you, to stop suspecting you around every corner.

 

The alcohol has loosened his tongue, and the mood of the day has made him desperate.

 

But more so, it’s the way that he felt that electric taste in their air every time he received a message from the stranger. Like the two of them were linked somehow.

 

**

 

Stiles feels his breath catch. Peter knows, has recent proof, that trusting people isn't smart. And yet he gives him this.

 

I would never betray the gift of your trust

 

The way Peter opens up, the things he says, makes Stiles want to give back. And maybe it isn't fair that he knows so much about Peter and yet Peter knows next to nothing about him.

 

What's a name? Stiles isn't his birth name, it can't be used against him in any magic he's ever read about. And while there's the slight possibility that Peter might hear his name one day, that doesn't mean he'll find him.

 

Would it be so bad if Peter did find him?

 

If not for his mother's warnings still ringing in his ears, he'd say no. But because of her, because of those warnings, he'll stay careful. Secret.

 

He can give one thing away though, can't he?

 

His father is asleep in the other room, worn out from another gruelling week at work. He'd gone to bed right after dinner, had barely spoken during the meal because of how tired he was. Stiles is feeling… lonely.

 

But he always feels a little less lonely after hearing from Peter.

 

You can call me Stiles.

Chapter Text

Peter instantly wants to question the name, it sounds odd and entirely made up. It doesn’t ring of any of the supernatural creature’s languages he knows (Elvin doesn’t tend to utilise the ‘St’ plosive sound and Selkie, although keen on plural names, normally go for titles that are longer…) but it definitely doesn’t sound English to him. He says it out loud one time to himself, and enjoys the way it slips off the tongue. 

 

I’ll assume that even if I tried searching for that name in records I wouldn’t find it.


Although I guess I should respect your secrecy.

 

Stiles, his stranger, had clearly never respected Peter’s privacy, but then again, that had led to Peter’s pack being saved.

 

Would it be so crass to ask if this name is as masculine as it sounds?

 

**

 

Oh! Yeah, I'm a guy.

 

Stiles sends it after changing 'dude' to 'guy'. He's a little more worried about how he sounds now.

 

He thinks of telling Peter that Stiles is the name everyone knows him by, but maybe that's too much information. He's already given away too much. He shouldn't even be…

 

But he is. He's already made the decision to talk to Peter and he needs to stop worrying over it.

 

***

 

A man. His stranger is a man.

 

Peter would be lying if he said he had thought so. The stranger was always so careful to not let slip a detail up until now. And he had never done anything crassly masculine, like demand respect or belittle the weak. Peter, a wolf & a fighter, had met many a man who couldn’t help but force their masculinity on you. Due to Peter’s own physique and implied power, his mere presence was often enough to prickle others into wanting to prove their manliness.

 

His stranger however had never seemed that fussed; his lack of attempt to make Peter feel small or helpless even with his upper hand - if Peter had been pressed to make a guess, he would have gone female.

 

He’s not disappointed that Stiles is a man however.

 

It’s been a long day, and Peter let’s himself fall asleep thinking about what it means that he’s managed to eek out some details from the - no longer unnamed - stranger.

 


 

The next day while Peter is waiting for the kids to get their things together for school he plays with his phone and ponders the situation, up until now he’s assumed that his stranger - Stiles - knows everything about what has happened. He’s assumed that Stiles knows what they look like, and what has been happening.

 

Tell me Stiles… Do you know what I look like?

 

Part of him is pressing for more details on what his helper knows - the smart thing - the other part… Just wants to know more about their connection.

 

If not, I’d be happy to describe myself.

 

The lines between flirting and interrogating had never been that distinct for Peter.

 

**

 

Stiles sits in Peter's preferred chair at Peter's regular table at Peter's favorite coffee shop. He closes his eyes for a moment and lets his gift work. He can see Peter even more clearly when he's in places like this. Another spot he can see Peter clearly is a certain chair at the public library, even though it's been a while since Peter's found the time to go there.

 

Psychometry is just one way Stiles sees things, but it's definitely the most reliable. Much more so than dreams or visions, though readings through various objects like tarot cards can be useful, too. But just feeling an object's energies can give him so much information.

 

Sitting at Peter's table, Stiles can see a worried look on Peter's face. He feels his uneasiness.

 

But that's not what Peter is asking. Stiles looks over the last two texts and gives them a quirk of a smile. Peter's close to flirting with him now. Stiles wants to flirt back, but he's never been all that good at it. He tends to go for either way too subtle or way over the top with no inbetween.

 

I do know what you look like. But I'm curious to see how you'd describe yourself, too.

 

***

 

Peter was packing Cora’s lunch when he gets the text through and almost laughs: right now he sees himself as a babysitter. Like a family man gone soft, when he should be at his sharpest. But it’s hard to constantly remain the stoic warrior that a pack needs, when they also need their uncle. He never really realised how at odds those two roles could be.

 

That of course was not what he’d been suggesting when he spoke to Stiles however, he wanted to know if the man knew him attractive, strong and capable. An asset.

 

Tall, dark & handsome, of course. I never undersell myself (;

 

As he pops into Derek’s room to make sure the boy is almost ready to go - walking up and giving the younger wolf a pat on the back and some gentle scent marking - he thinks about the fact that Stiles does know what he looks like. He might have even met Peter, in passing.

 

Have we met? Have I ever had the chance to see you?

 

He pauses and thinks about the most important question to his wolf.

 

Have I ever scented you?

 

It’s a bit forward for wolves, although to other kinds - and especially humans - it might even be mundane. But to him, scent was everything. He knew that if he had ever even brushed up against Stiles in a busy restaurant, that scent would be identifiable to him again.

 

**

 

I've sat in your chair at the library. The one you like in the corner. I like it, too. The lighting is perfect.

 

Stiles isn't sure if it's too much. It's close to giving away his secrets. It makes him sound like a stalker. But the text is sent and it's too late to take it back.

 

***

 

Peter is at a stop sign when he reads the text, the kids are still in the back of the car and he has to go on to drop Cora at his youngest sister’s house afterwards for a playdate. All the same, the urge to just put his foot down and speed to the library is almost irresistible.

 

‘If it would protect the family, it’d be justifiable,’ he tells himself, still mulling it over, ‘but Stiles didn’t even say he was there now.’ Peter takes in a deep breath and carries on with his journey for the school run.

 

He has to admit to himself that his reaction was a bit ridiculous, he shouldn’t be getting this excitable. Something about Stiles though, the connection between them from what happened - what almost happened - it’s as if he’s the missing piece of a puzzle Peter has been struggling to complete.

 

Peter doesn’t text Stiles back until he’s in the library, he knows exactly what ‘his favourite chair’ is, because he’s been opting to sit there for years. Up the cold stone steps on the left hand side of the building, via the smaller door into the round reading room, through the stacks of classic literature P-V and tucked behind Family & Agriculture Records 1866-1886, you find it. A large stained glass window in cherry pink and cobalt blue of the blood moon, with a soft wingback chesterfield chair - in an inkwell green - at cater-corner to it.

 

He must have been about six the first time he saw it, running about causing mayhem for his mother, climbing under desks, and clearly disrespecting the quiet-study atmosphere of the room, until the image caught him. The blood moon. The most beautiful moon he’d ever seen. His mother had snorted in laughter when she caught up with him, as he was just standing there staring at it, transfixed. He’d been coming back to the seat ever since, every time caught in its beauty the same.

 

Today however, he closed his eyes and took a deep lung filled breath of the room. Public spaces always provided a cornucopia of smells, and it was a wolf’s duty to filter most of them out. Pack, wolfsbane & magic were the only things that one could ever truly keep in mind to track, and even then when in a place that had had so many visit it over the years - with so many books that had been through so many hands - it was almost impossible to tell from the off what was here.

 

All of a sudden however, he could taste it: the explosive hint of mercury that had be laced into some of their usual haunts over the past month. This time the scent of cleaner, less mixed up with the acrid charcoal that had been dogging them, instead the bitter-pop of mercury was mixed with honeydew sugar, like a sweet that bursts with citrus before soothing you with a honey centre. Peter took another few steps closer until he could sit in the chair proper. A thousand people could have sat here between him and his stranger, but with the mercury taste as his guide he knew exactly who Stiles was.

 

The sweat and youth of a young man, probably not a teenager, but younger than what he imagined. He must have come here multiple times - why? The boy didn’t smell like a wolf, or any other kind of were, but that mercury held secrets even Peter’s nose couldn’t unveil.

 

Finally he gets out his phone.

 

I sit where you have sat; bemused because I know that you only came here because of me. And now here I am because of you.

 

I know you’re young now. The price you paid suddenly seems so much higher now I know your youth. The responsibility of murder should never grace the shoulders of those too young to carry it.

 

You have given me a gift, letting me see you like this. I wonder if you understood what a wolf can glean from your echos.

 

**

 

Stiles reads what Peter has to say as soon as he gets the text.

 

"That's not your phone, is it?" his father says.

 

Stiles doesn't live with his dad anymore even though it would be convenient. But Stiles likes that he has his own apartment, a space he can claim all his own. Still, he brings breakfast over to the house when he can, or - like today - lunch. He got into the habit of taking care of his dad before and he's never quite gotten over it.

 

"Uh… it's a burner, actually," Stiles says. His dad knows about his gift, knows sometimes he does odd things because of it.

 

"Yes, it's the same one you had the last time I saw you. I feel like you're defeating the purpose for some reason but I'm not sure I want to know why," his dad says. Stiles can tell he's only half joking.

 

"I'm doing anonymous wrong, you're absolutely right about that," Stiles mutters.

 

Knowing Peter has his scent, knowing he's gleaned things from it, should bother him. He should never have given away so much. And yet. And yet.

 

Stiles wants to hear the man's voice. To see him with his own eyes. To reach out and maybe touch, see what it's like to complete a connection. Because that's what it feels like right now, like the two of them are slowly, tentatively reaching out to each other.

 

What would happen if Stiles let himself truly be known?

 

"Are you going to finish that?" his dad says, jolting him out of his thoughts.

 

Stiles looks down at his plate, then rolls his eyes. "You've had enough grease tonight," he says, and shoves a fry in his mouth.

 

It's not until much later, when he's getting ready for bed, that he answers Peter.

 

The responsibility was to save you and your pack. That's what was on my shoulders.

 

I'm not as young as you seem to think I am. Maybe I'm exactly as old as you think I am, though. There's a difference.

 

Stiles hesitates before sending one more text, but then he sends it after sitting with it on his phone for fifteen minutes.


Do you want to call me?

 

Chapter Text

“Uncle Peter, can I come hang out in here?”

 

Peter has his back to the study door when Derek opens it, but he had been able to hear the boy hesitate outside the door for the past ten minutes. He turns around slowly in his chair, trying to keep his face neutral.

 

“Sure, do you have any homework to do?” Derek makes a face of distaste, but turns around back to his room before returning with his school bag. Peter hadn’t really meant it as a price of admittance, but it’d probably put him in Talia’s good graces if he encouraged the boy to do his school work.

 

Actually, he’d been in Talia’s good graces permanently since that night; not only from intervening to save their family - but because of how involved he’d been with the kids ever since. Peter had always been close to his family, an integral part of the pack, but ever since the Alphahood had passed to his sister and the family unit became about her lineage…

 

Peter knew he was never going to be Alpha, Laura was probably old enough now for the Alphahood to pass to her (possibly, it shouldn’t yet, she was not ready to be Alpha) and he had tentatively made his peace with it the first time Laura hesitated to show her neck to her mother. (Younger than he would have expected, but Laura truly was feisty at 15 years old.) And if not Laura, Cora would definitely be there to take up the role, not Derek though. Never Derek. That boy would never be ready for Alphahood… Maybe that’s why there was a begrudging solidarity between them.

 

He had always resented Talia for not knowing how to include him in the pack the same way she did the other wolves. He was the only one of his generation who hadn’t settled down with kids, even his younger sister had popped out twins earlier that year (the youngest would-be victims if the attack had happened) and it always felt like Talia didn’t know what to do with him.

 

Since the fire however, Talia had been at the most frayed he had ever seen her. Two nights ago he had caught her just sitting on Cora’s bed crying, her hands clasped in her lap. He hadn’t known what to do with it, and sheepishly had to approach Matthew to deal with it. She could barely look at Derek without her emotions telegraphing throughout the pack: sadness, anger, betrayal, fear. Derek had begun going to greater and greater lengths just to keep out of her line of vision.

 

In the centre of all the chaos, a new role had been made for him: Uncle Peter. Uncle Peter who could help fill the gaps that having your mother being the Alpha left. Uncle Peter who knew how to keep silent in an argument, and when to shout someone down for you. Uncle Peter who loved his family, and could be approached when things got tough.

 

Two days ago even Laura had crashed into his side on the livingroom couch and had just burrowed into his jumper, her tears as harrowing as they were silent. She looked so much like her mother like that, tiny now to him, but when he was younger Talia had always seemed giant. Like comet descending on whatever she set her heart on; it didn’t stop her from crawling into Peter’s bed in tears every time she had an arguement with their father however. And he would soak up all her anger and discontent, before she was ready to turn back around and bring down hell on the house again.

 

He had told Laura this, her little body in his lap, about how it’s ok for her to take a minute of vulnerability with her pack. That’s why they were there, it’d help when she was ready to start fighting again. He hadn’t expected it to work, he hadn’t even really thought it through, but she had looked at him like he had given her a gift. “Thanks uncle Peter,” she hiccuped, fixing her hair with a quiet smile and wandering off to probably plot some more hellfire.

 

Derek though, it always came back to Derek. Their little oddball. Not really fitting in anywhere in the Hale pack, never certain of his place, never knowing what he was supposed to do with himself… It was laughable really, how similar they are, and how much he resisted to accept the comparison until now.

 

“What are you working on?”

 

“French.” Derek is scowling at a piece of paper in front of him, as if it had personally offended him.

 

“Ah… What’s the assignment?”

 

“Irregular verbs in the past tense.” Peter had spent a year in Europe, mainly between Berlin, Strasbourg and Alsace. His French had never been strong, but he could read it well. He reached over and grabbed a copy of Candide in the original French, and his well worn French dictionary, and then threw them at where Derek had been sitting.

 

The boy - crouched against the wall, as if violently angry that he must take up any space whatsoever - jumped when they landed next to him, his eyes popping gold, before he got them back until control. He hung his head in shame at his lack of discipline, and Peter couldn’t bring himself to chide him.

 

“What is this?” the boy snapped.

 

“It’s a book.”

 

Derek’s scowl deepened, he hated being forced to use more words than he wanted to.

 

“About what?” That however was exactly what Peter wanted him to ask.

 

“It’s about how the world is an awful selfish place, and if we don’t fight to protect ourselves, our lives will be nothing but misery.”

 

Derek sent him an accusatory look, unsure if there was something in what Peter had said that was a personal jibe.

 

“I don’t understand.”

 

Peter smiled at him benevolently, “Good, you haven’t read it yet.”

 

Derek opened the book and growled, “it’s in French!”

 

“That’s why I gave you a dictionary.”

 

“I’m not any good at French.”

 

“Again, that’s why I gave you a dictionary.”

 

Derek growled at him in frustration, and if Peter was going to be honest if felt better than a hug. Derek had been so withdrawn since forever that even this was a pleasant change.

 

“If you wanted me to leave you could have said so.” The boy bit out finally.

 

Peter sighed, getting out of his chair and sinking down next to Derek on the floor. His room looked giant from down here, bookcases up to the ceilings. Ancient and modern maps over half the walls, about six paintings in baroque style, and a chalk board with various ancient letters on it. At some point he’d become his old University lecturers, and he wasn’t entirely sure when.

 

Comment Candide fut élevé dans un beau château et comment il fut chassé d'icelui. ” Peter read out from the first page, “tell me what of that you know.”

 

Derek frowned at him, but sometimes that was just simply his thinking face, as the boy picked up the French dictionary all the same.



The book is surprisingly short, but Derek truly had a very small grasp of the French language, so they only made it to the end of the first chapter. It would be difficult to say whether Derek enjoyed the task, he never asked to stop, but also never conveyed his interest in continuing. When they made it to the end however, Derek quickly picked up his sheet of French verbs, and they went over them together. So Peter at least assumed that Derek appreciated their studying.

 

It wasn’t even that late when Derek left, but Peter was suddenly felt exhausted. He thought about picking up his phone and texting Stiles - but the young man hadn’t responded since Peter’s last texts. He might have scared the man off, he had been quite full on.

 

“You’re as awkward as Derek at the heart of it.” Peter chided himself, before pulling out a text from a bestiary to translate.

 

An hour or so later he finally got a response; his fingers hovering on the keyboard deciding what to say after the second text, that he almost jumped when the third came through.

 

Yes, Peter definitely did want call Stiles - he hit call button instantly:

 

*ring ring*

 

**

 

Stiles answers almost immediately, the phone still in his hand, his heart pounding.

 

"Hi, Peter," he says, and a smile breaks out on his face. He feels… well. As young as Peter thinks he is.

 

***

 

Stiles voice sounds breathy and a little shaky, phone sounds aren’t always the easiest to translate, but he’d assume the boy was nervous. Nervous, because he was speaking to Peter.

 

Peter’s mouth cocked into a grin.

 

“My night finally feels like it’s on the up; now I get to hear your voice.”

 

**

 

Stiles snorts and grins wider. "Glad to add a little positive spin on your night, then." He falls back, letting his head hit the pillow. "So how was your day, dear?"

 

***

 

Peter feels himself get up out the chair and start pacing, the moment feels so momentous it’s ridiculous. Shouldn’t he be interrogating Stiles? Using this increased communication opportunity to wring more details out of the man? While all he really wanted to do was hear more words that sound like there’s a smile plastered on his partner’s face.

 

“A round about of things. As a pack… I guess you could say we’re living with the reminder of our own mortality.” As soon as he says it, he almost regrets it. It’s shocking how at ease he is when talking to Stiles that such details fall out of him, but all the same, he didn’t want to darken the tone.

 

“Tell me about yours… What you feel comfortable telling me anyway.”

 

**

 

"School," Stiles says, shrugging off the part of him that says he shouldn't say more. "Dinner with my dad. Homework." He laughs. "Which all probably sounds about as immature to you as it does to me. But you know, gotta get that education." Stiles closes his eyes, imagining Peter's face. His blue eyes. He might as well tell him more. He's already gone this far. "I go to UC Beacon Hills. I'm a sophomore there."

 

**

 

The answer was a rollercoaster, one second he’s scared he’s speaking to a highschool student . (Please, don’t say that his stranger is but a teenager) to quickly swing around in excitement that no, Stiles is - thankfully - a University student… A University student at the UCBH.. Sophomore of all things. If Peter wanted to, he could probably open up his library account and get the entire graduating class, and scour through until he finds someone who resembles a ‘Stiles’ in name.

 

He doesn’t, he’s not sure why he doesn’t… Maybe it would turn their conversations into some manipulative cat and mouse game (that Talia had always complained he was too good at) instead of something authentic.

 

“That makes you… 20?” he does the maths quickly, he was 21 as a sophomore, but he’d taken a year out before university to travel. He knows his voice is rich, and attractive; you don’t live 29 years without finding out people think your voice sounds like sex, but there was probably a positively gleeful twist to it now, that was undermining the effect. Peter felt a bit like a school kid himself.

 

**

 

"Yeah, I am," Stiles says, smiling back at the amusement he can hear in Peter's voice. "You planning ways to find me now?" The question is a tease. Of course Peter has thought about it. Stiles has picked up enough about him to know that.

 

***

 

“Darling, the minute you kept your phone on I considered tracing the number,” he says with a grin, “I thought it impolite to intrude. Although, I won’t lie, the thought of seeing you with my own eyes has been playing on my mind.” His voice is filthy, and he’s eager to see how Stiles can handle him.

 

***

 

Stiles sucks in a breath, then laughs quietly. "Can't say you're the only one to think that," he tells Peter. "I've wanted to…" He trails off. If he's entirely honest, which he can't be with Peter right now, he's wanted to do a lot of things. "I've wanted to meet with you, maybe casually run into you somewhere just to see if you'd know me."

 

***

 

“Yeah?” Peter finally takes his seat again at his desk. He doesn’t want to push too much and force Stiles the other way, “does that mean if I happen to be in the library tomorrow… I might see you there?” He holds his breath a little.

 

**

 

Stiles lets himself imagine it for a moment. The two of them, meeting. Maybe a handshake, his fingers brushing against Peter's wrist. A closed circle, finally.

 

"Not yet," Stiles says, even though his heart is pounding and he wants to say yes.

 

***

 

It’s like a bucket of cold water, he was almost certain that Stiles was about to say yes. Peter tries to take it gracefully all the same.

 

“Of course, whatever makes you comfortable.” He looks over to his wall of symbols, and thinks of a change of conversation. “Tell me what you’re studying, it’s been six years since I’ve been out of college. I’d love to hear how things have changed.”




Their frequent texting quickly became frequent phone calls, not that they didn’t still text, but it became one of Peter’s favourite wind downs at the end of the night. To sit in his office with Stiles on the other end and hash out the day. Derek coming in to do his homework had also become a ritual, but he carefully omitted talking about the actual pack with Stiles.

 

It’s not that he didn’t trust Stiles - the man had saved them after all - but probably akin to how Stiles wasn’t ready to actually meet yet… It felt strange to share private pack details. Maybe one day, Peter told himself.

 

Unfortunately, like all good things, they often come to a sudden end.

 

Peter calls Stiles that night, his body language already pacing in his study, and his mind uncomfortable with what he has to bring up.


He gets out his phone and dials, waiting for Stiles to pick up.

Chapter Text

Stiles answers right away, like he always does. He always feels like he could drop everything for Peter, especially more now that they've been talking.

 

"Hey," Stiles says, smile already on his face. "How's it going?"

 

***

 

Peter wants to take a minute to enjoy their conversation, to hear about Stiles’ day and have him laugh down the phone to him. He knows however that the Stiles wouldn’t appreciate him hiding this information longer than he should do.

 

“Hey Stiles, I have some,” he pauses, “well really it’s bad news. It’s difficult news.” He sounds ridiculous, and he knows that if he had thought about it more he could have probably used the situation to his advantage. Forced Stiles to show his hand, or get a meeting out of it. But he doesn’t really want to do that here, he doesn’t want to be that guy.

 

**

 

Stiles feels suddenly cold and worried. He hasn't felt anything, hasn't had any dreams or visions. "Are you… I would know if you were in immediate danger, I think. I…" He bites his lip. Hard.

 

***

 

“No it’s not me, it’s..” He thinks back to the conversation he had with Talia earlier that day. “Look, there’s only so much I guess this will make sense to you but... Talia asked me about you today. You know Talia, my Alpha. And I gave her some information, but told her I was respecting your wishes to let you stay as anonymous as you want but… ...But she’s my Alpha. She didn’t force me to give your details up today, as she would rather she doesn’t have to..” Peter feels really fucking stupid, like he’s admitting to someone that he doesn’t have control over his own life. It reminds him why he always hated being a Beta. That his words weren’t trusted.

 

“I don’t know if packs make sense to you. I need you to know that I don’t want to give her what I know about you…” He trails off, unsure what to say next.

 

**

 

Stiles can feel his heartbeat pick up and begin to pound in his ears. He knows he was close to revealing himself to Peter, to agreeing to meet, but someone else is a different story. It doesn't matter that the someone is Peter's sister, he feels… vulnerable. Wary.

 

"I don't know if I can- I'd really rather not-" He breathes. He has to remember to breathe. "What are you going to do?" he asks in a smaller voice.

 

**

 

Peter feels like he’s been shot when he listens to the sound of Stiles’ voice. He’d heard so much of it over the past week, that he would have said he was fairly knowledgeable of the range of Stiles’ emotions. Fear though, fear and vulnerability, feels like a stab.

 

“All I’m thinking is how much you must be regretting talking to me… And that makes me.. To be honest, and pretty fucking furious that Talia has put me in this position.”

 

He’s growling, and he’s barely got his claws under control. He doesn’t want Stiles to hear him so angry, but he doesn’t really know what else to say.

 

“I’ll fight her on it. Or… Or do what I do best and try and convince her that she’s the one who wants to protect your privacy. But… But I wanted to tell you the truth.”

 

Peter hesitates slightly, “I’m telling you because you’re precious to me Stiles. If you weren’t I wouldn’t stop to think about giving something over that might help my pack, even in the smallest of ways… If you weren’t I’d do what I always do, and play you on a merry chase until Talia was at your door. I’m telling you this now as I don’t want you have some false image of me. That I’m saint, I’m not. I know you know I’m not.. That’s why you chose me to carry out the task, I know that… I just need you to know that I’m trying to protect you to.” His voice feels pretty wrecked by the end of it. But he’s glad he got to say it.

 

**

 

Come over , Stiles wants to say. Come over right now and…

 

But he can't. It's not the right time. He can say what he's feeling, though.

 

"I don't. I don't, Peter," he says. "I don't regret talking to you at all." He swallows, listening to Peter on the other end of the line, his breath. "Tell her you'll be meeting me soon. Can you- do you think she can hold out? Just for a little longer?" His voice breaks a little on the last words but he manages to get them out.

 

***

 

“Yeah, I’ll do it. I’ll do something.” He thinks over what Stiles said, “And look, you don’t have to meet me just because Talia is forcing our hands. Jesus Stiles, I’d be happy even if it was just nightly phone calls between us.”

 

He’s trying to bring a bit of sweetness to the conversation, he doesn’t want to leave them in such a raw place.

 

**

 

"I want to meet you," Stiles says. "You know I do, you know that. I hope you know that." He bites his lip again. It's tender now.

 

**

“Yeah, I know that Stiles… Tell me about your day, I want to hear about your day...”


Peter spends the day thinking about the situation before he really snaps. It’s actually all thanks to Derek really, Derek and his miserable little face, and his crying at night, the their little routine of reading French literature in the evenings.

 

“Laura’s jealous you know.” Derek brings up randomly, Peter had been marking Derek’s attempt at his French homework, gently circling his mistakes in pencil so he knows what to try again with.

 

“Jealous of what?”

 

“Of this.” Peter looks at him, and Derek has a little embarrassed look on his face that seems to come whenever he chooses to actually talk about something. “Of me coming in here every night.”

 

“She wishes you were spending time with her?”

 

Derek lets out a low laugh, “no. I don’t think she’s really forgiven me for…” Derek pauses, his face making a deeper frown than normal, it makes Peter’s own mouth dip in sympathy, the boy carries on all the same, “that I get to hang out with you. She says it’s unfair that I hog all of your time so she doesn’t get to.”

 

Peter feels like he’s been blown out the water, “you’re saying that Laura is upset that she doesn’t get to hang out with us too..?”

 

“Yeah, and I know it’s not nice, but… but I asked first and I don’t want to give it up.” Derek is suddenly standing up shouting, it’s such an extreme reaction Peter has no idea what to even say. “Everything has been…. Shit. SHIT! It’s been shit uncle Peter, and I like coming in here every night, and I don’t want to have to give it up for her.” Derek himself looks a little bit shocked about the outburst as well, but his forehead it set in resolute determination all the same.

 

“You don’t have to give up anything Derek, hey. Hey it’s fine, you don’t have to cry. But… You can if you want. Fuck, come here.” He’s hugging Derek suddenly as the young boy cries in his arms, and he’s so bloody confused about everything that is happened, but he thinks it is probably a good thing.

 

He rubs his jaw on Derek’s head, scent marking him, and just soaking up whatever miserable emotion the kid is omitting.

 

Finally when the boy calms down he takes a step away, grabbing a handkerchief for the boy to help him scrub away the evidence. There’s silence in the room for a few minutes, as Derek catches his breath and lets his heart rate return to normal.

 

“Derek -” Peter finally intervenes, “-you do know… You and Laura can come in here any time though, right?”

 

Derek gives him an odd look, “what, like if it’s an emergency?”

 

“Well of course if it’s emergency, but… The evenings aren’t the only times I let people in. You guys can come in whenever you want.”

 

Derek gives him another look, this one perhaps a bit more beseeching, “Don’t you… Don’t you hate spending time with the family?”

 

Peter frowns at him, “what gave you that idea?”

 

Derek shrugs, “you just… You never wanted to do this stuff before, we thought-” he pauses, thinking better of speaking for Laura, “-I thought it was because you didn’t like us.”

 

Peter thought about it, how different his relationship to his pack was today compared to how it was only a month before. It felt like the world had been turned on its head.

 

“I’m sorry if I made you feel that way Derek, you and Laura. But I promise you, I’d have you both in here all day and all night if that’s what either of you wanted. I can’t promise I’ll always have as much time to chat, but my door is always open to you.”

 

Derek’s eyebrows had risen halfway up his head at this, but he nodded very seriously, as if this was very important and treasured news.

 

“But the evenings, like right now, they’re just for me, right?”

 

Peter leaned forward and pulled Derek into another hug, “sure thing kid, just for you.”

 

Peter was thinking about that moment while he was making the kids breakfast the next day, it was their new routine. Peter made them breakfast and took them to school, and picked up Derek in the afternoon (Laura got the bus with her school friends after school) a routine that had been thrown together in the aftermath of the would-be-attack and had just stuck.

 

It was definitely then that he snapped. He popped another six slices of toast on the table, chiding the kids to eat up as it was almost leaving time (he slipped a hand on Derek’s shoulder to scent mark him, before thinking of their conversation, and then leaned over and bumped his cheek against Laura to include her too) before storming off to Talia’s study.

 

Matthew was in there, and they were in an idle conversation about the paper when Peter arrived.

 

“Matthew, I need you to take the kids to school today.”

 

Matthew to his credit just popped an amused eyebrow, completely used to his brother in law and his wife’s antics, and making space for what would take place. “Do you need me to pick up Derek later as well?”

 

Peter kept his eyes on Talia, who was analysing him with a critical eye as he stood there, “no, I can do that. Thanks Matthew.”

 

They two wolves remained in silence until they heard Matthew pack up the three kids in the car, and cart them off on the school run.

 

“Peter, to what do I owe this pleasure?” Talia finally broke the silence.

 

“Derek has been a fucking mess Talia.” It was a low blow, because any composure Talia had been collecting instantly collapsed at the very name of her son.

 

“You don’t need to tell me that Peter, I know very well-”

 

“He’s been a mess. But, if I was to make a guess… I think he’s going to be alright.”

 

Talia’s eyebrows fly up into her hairline, and suddenly he can see Derek in her for what feels like the first time. “Really! Because Peter, I’ve been so scared. I’ve had no clue what to even do.”

 

“I know you haven’t Talia, and that’s because you’re in a fucking impossible position. Alright? As an Alpha you just had to preside over your pack almost fucking dying, with your own son as the weak link that let that attack in. There was no right answer or path for you here, you just had to hold on.”

 

Talia nods, she doesn’t cry, but he can see how vulnerable she is now.

 

“Peter, I don’t understand… Why are you so angry?”

 

“I’m angry because I fucking did this. I’ve been…. Your kids love me, did you know that? They fucking love uncle Peter!”

 

“Of course they love you Peter, they always have!”

 

“‘Could have fucking told me before Talia!” Peter’s pacing, and he realises that he’s lost grip slightly on what he came here for. He tries to take a deep breath, and shoots his eyes over to Talia a few times. She’s projecting the face of calm and understanding - trying to be a strong Alpha for her packmate - but he can feel how close her own emotions are to the service.

 

“What I’m saying here Talia, is that… I’ve double downed for this pack since what has happened. We’ve all been a mess, and Derek’s been the messiest of all of us. And I love him Talia, stupid little shit is just… He’s a fucking mess, but he’s going to be alright. And I’m helping with that, do you know that?”

 

If Talia was going to cry during this conversation, it would be now, but she appears to hold it together all the same. “Yeah, I do. I don’t think I really got it until now, but I know this Peter.”

 

“Good!” He shouts, then again, slightly more even handedly, “Good, I’m glad. I’m glad you know I’m there for him. But I need you to understand now, that… That you have to trust me when it comes to the stranger who text me.”

 

“Peter this is a low blow even for you-”

 

“-this is not a fucking low blow Talia, this is the most fair and just blow I’ve ever served you. Look, just listen to me… You know that I’m in this now, I’m in this for life. Maybe both of us always wondered if one day I’d leave and hunt down an Alphahood of my own - yeah, I’m calling a spade a spade and saying it - but that’s done now. I’m in this, this is my pack. These are my kids, I care about them and I’m not going anywhere.”

 

It feels final, like he’s finally burnt away any last residue of who he once was, but it feels good all the same.

 

“That’s… That’s amazing Peter.”

 

“Yeah it is. So, you’ve got to trust me Talia when I say that I would never do something that would risk this pack. That if I thought for a minute that me withholding this information would lead to even the smallest of harm coming to us, I would come to you. But that’s not what’s happening here… And I need you to show me you trust me on this.”

 

Talia is silent for what feels like a punishingly long period of time. Twice she looks like she’s about to open her mouth to say something, before shutting it again and thinking some more. Peter feels like he’s going to wolf out and scream just to deal with the tension, but he stands stoically all the same, reading every minute piece of body language she gives him.

 

“I keep thinking-” she finally begins, “-about how good you were at getting what you want all the time when we were growing up. It was like you wanted to prove that even without being in line for the Alphahood, you were untouchable. I always admired that about you, even though it scared me some.”

 

Peter nods a little, he has the horrible feeling she’s going to say that she’s just never going to be able to trust him the way he wants her to…

 

“I’m not always going to trust you Peter, not blindly, not… Yet. But, then I keep thinking about how every night when Derek leaves your room, he doesn’t look like he has the whole world on his shoulders. And I know you can see that too, and I don’t know how anyone could ever jeopardise him getting out of this.”

 

Peter’s mind it whizzing at a mile a minute, “does this mean….?”

 

“Yes Peter, it does.”

 

He came in here full of indignation on behalf of Stiles, but suddenly realises what he’s earned for himself in that moment.

 

“I think we’re all going to be on a path for some time Talia, trying to work out where we’re going.”

 

“That sounds about right.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

Talia smiles at him, her heartbreaking smile that lights up her whole face - another similarity she has to Derek - unfortunately they both hide it too much,

 

“Come here, my stupidly clever and brave little brother.”

 

She hugs him, managing to envelop him in her grasp even though she’s half a foot shorter. It feels good to have his Alpha’s approval, to be working with her and not against her. Even if he doesn’t want to admit it most of the time.


Talia isn’t going to be a problem anymore xoxo.

 

**

 

Stiles looks at the text and breathes in relief. Then he quickly sends Peter his address. Quickly. Before he can think better of it.

 

He looks down at himself. He's wearing a t-shirt, flannel, and jeans. He looks like he's on his way to class… which he was, before he got Peter's message.

 

He can probably do better, but he wants Peter to see him how he is. He wants Peter to accept him. He also realizes he's going to be telling Peter his secret today, if he comes over. If-

 

If you can, that is. I don't expect you to drop something important if you have something to do.

 

***

 

Peter is already walking to his car when he realises he has to pick up Derek.

 

He really wants to say fuck it, it’s one day and Matthew wouldn’t mind doing both the runs. And by that he means he really wants to, he means he is one breath away from doing that. Every instinct in his head is saying ‘Go to Stiles. Go to Stiles now. Before something else gets in the way.’

 

But then Derek and his sad little face, and his sad little voice, and his sad little need to feel accepted. And Peter knows that the whole point of his argument with Talia, to protect Stiles, was because he was a full time pack member. That he didn’t cut and run when he wanted to. And that meant keeping up his promise to Derek.

 

He checks the time, it was already noon… It wasn’t even that long.

 

You have no idea how much I want to leave right now to see you.

 

He hesitates bringing up Derek… Even though he knows he trusts Stiles.

 

At 3:30 I’ll be in a car to your house, tell me you’ll be there.


Chapter Text

Stiles nods like Peter can see him, then laughs. He's got a smile on his face that almost hurts, even though his insides are squirming with anticipation.

 

I'll be here.

 

He laughs again, then tries to decide if he should go to class. He has time to make his biology lecture, but he knows if he goes his mind will be elsewhere. Still, he should be somewhat responsible.

 

Or he could spend the time pacing his apartment, maybe showering again, maybe cleaning up - shit! The place is a mess. He didn't even think of that when he practically invited Peter to come scrutinize everything about him.

 

He has a couple of hours. He has time to pick up, pace, shower, and work on not freaking out.

 

No class, then.

 

***

 

The clock crawls by, the first hour alone has Peter almost break his phone he had been getting it out to double check that Stiles hasn’t cancelled.

 

By two he decides to take a shower. His dick is hard, and he has a small crisis about taking care of it: is he going to have sex with Stiles?

 

He doesn’t even really know what they’re meeting for. So much of it was this deep seated need to find him, he’d be happy if he could just get his hands on the man and burrow his nose into Stiles’ neck.

 

Peter’s dick throbs at the thought.

 

Maybe he should jerk off. Take the edge off… Help calm the situation in case that’s not what Stiles is hoping for.

 

It’ll probably help you stretch out the fucking if it happens.

 

Peter tries to shut up the devilish little voice in his head, but decides to pull on his cock all the same. Fuck he wished he knew what Stiles looked like, as he worked his hand over his erection. It was Stile's mouth that more than anything Peter wished he knew what it looked like. So many hours he'd listened to Stiles talking, picturing what the words look liked from soft lips. What it would feel like to kiss. What Stiles tasted like.

 

His vivid imagination built Peter up to a hilt, and he came hard in his hand trying to imagine what Stiles’ looked like from his voice alone.

 

It felt like a waste, seeing his cum slip down the drain of the shower. Soon, he told himself.

 

He got to Derek’s school early. Annoyingly it was much closer to Stiles’ house than the Hale house, but he was going to have to make the round trip all the same. It wouldn’t be too long, even if Derek came out late he’d be on the road in time.

 

To his surprise though Derek tapped on his window at 2.30pm.

 

“Wow, how did you know gym was cancelled?”

 

“I didn’t, I was just early. We good to go now?”

 

“Yeah.” Derek was smiling a little, he reached in through the window and awkwardly tapped Peter’s shoulder. Like he was trying to mimic Peter’s scent marking, but came off more like he was trying to brush lint off him.

 

Peter smiled, and mirrored the gesture a little bit more warmly.

 

In the car home he broached a subject.

 

“Ok, I promise this has nothing to do with last night… But I might be home a bit late tonight.” Hopefully. “Maybe not, but I just wanted to warn you.”

 

“Oh, that’s ok.”

 

“But tomorrow’s Saturday, so how about me and you go hiking in the preserve? Get some fresh air, shift for a while?”

 

Derek had looked disappointed when Peter had gently let him down, but he let out his heart-breaker smile at Peter’s suggestion.

 

“Yeah, that sounds great.”

 

“Ok, and you can think about whether you want to invite Laura. It’s ok if not this time… But we should try and bring her along in the future.”

 

“But if I wanted it to just be us?”

 

“Then it’d be just us.”

 

“Yeah. Ok, I’ll think about it.”

 

“We can always do something just us another time.”

 

“Yeah. That’s great.”

 

Be there in 10.

 

**

 

Stiles jumps when the message comes in and his phone vibrates. He's a mix of nerves and elation, but his apartment is clean and so is he. Not that he needs to be, but something's been telling him it's a good idea. Probably more his own libido than any psychic sense, to be honest.

 

God, he's being presumptuous. But he's been thinking about Peter nonstop for weeks, more than he has any excuse for. He knows exactly how the man walks (stalks) from a touch of the threshold of his favorite coffee shop. He knows his voice from the phone already of course, but he knows the shape of his mouth from the table in the cafe, where he'd lean against it as he drank his favorite coffee. Or tea, sometimes the man likes tea, and Stiles doesn't have anything to offer him when he arrives except Mountain Dew and bottled water, because he's pretty sure the milk went bad already.

 

But Peter isn't coming for refreshments. What, Stiles wonders, is Peter even thinking right now? So many times he's lamented his inability to read minds.

 

He jumps when there's a knock on his door. He tries not to rush but too late, he's already there to open it.

 

***

 

The scent is so familiar when he stands outside the door, and he can hear the heart inside racing like a live wire.

 

The air in the hall feels thick, and something feels like it’s ticking, like the universe is telling him that something amazing and multidimensional is about to explode in front of him. He blames the mercury, the way something about Stiles makes his senses pop and crackle like there’s electricity running through the air.

 

And then he’s there.

 

Stiles is there.

 

And he’s everything and nothing like Peter thought he’d be.

 

“Stiles” he whines out.

 

Stepping forward into the threshold and just reaching forward so he can cup Stiles’ jaw with both hands, breathing a deep breath in of everything Stiles is.

 

“Stiles.”

 

**

 

Stiles isn't expecting a touch so soon, isn't prepared, so when a barrage of images come crashing into him he can only gasp and reach up blindly, holding on to Peter's wrists.

 

They're there and gone in a flash, but Stiles is used to it, has learned to catalog the sights he sees as quickly as possible. He's overwhelmed by these, just as he's overwhelmed by Peter's nearness, his touch, the sound of his voice so close and saying his name like that.

 

The flash image of them kissing lazily in bed is almost expected, but there are things Stiles doesn't know what to do with: images of the two of them nearly stalking after someone else, and an image of Peter covered in blood, kissing Stiles with something that can only be triumph.

 

He can think about them later.

 

Now he has the living, breathing version of a dream Stiles has been chasing for weeks. He looks into Peter's eyes - bluer than his visions showed him - and wants. Desperately.

 

***

 

Peter can’t help but move closer as Stiles’ seems to falter slightly, that electric feeling doubles, and Peter can feel his hair turn up on end as Stiles makes a breathy little noise.

 

Peter wants to put his mouth over him, and just swallow him down.

 

He drinks in the speckle of moles up Stiles cheek, his upturned nose and pouty lips. He drinks in the burnt butterscotch scent that lives in Stiles’ pores, and the fluttering thump-thump-thump of his heart.

 

When the man finally returns to look at him, Peter can’t help but break out in a smile.

 

“You’re more beautiful than I could imagine.”

 

**

 

Stiles huffs a laugh and says, "You're one to talk." Even knowing what Peter looked like, even preparing himself for it, he's still in awe of the reality. And he really, really wants to kiss Peter now. Unfortunately, he has things to tell him first. Important things. Like inviting him inside.

 

"Come in," he says, and slides his hand into one of Peter's so he can pull him into the apartment.

 

He's made sure it's neat but not antiseptically clean. His apartment is small because he doesn't have a lot to live on, between working part time and getting more help than he probably should from his dad.

 

"Welcome. Have a seat. I sound like a… not myself, sorry. I'm nervous, can you tell?" he asks, smiling at Peter. Then, "But I really do have something to tell you."

 

***

 

The wolf in Peter wanted to patrol the space. Search out all the hidden corners of Stiles’ territory and insinuate himself into them. It was ridiculous, how fast the you-yes-you-please-be-here-let-me-hold-you rush of feels came with the younger man.

 

His body itched however as he detected the scent of another werewolf: not in the apartment now, but probably recently. An old well worn presence, as if this was in some ways part of another wolf’s territory. It made Peter uncomfortable, it was impolite to trespass. And although the Hales had the run of the majority of Beacon Hills, an apartment this far out was not officially on their land. It wouldn’t be appropriate for a wolf to start up a land grab so close to them, but a human friend of who lived this close…

 

...A long term human friend?

 

Stiles’ couch, that Peter had been placed on, smelt inherently like wolf. Like the were who had been here had been there hundreds of times.

 

A boyfriend?

 

Peter felt his mouth drooping in a frown and his teeth aching to drop.

 

Stiles was saying to him that he had something to tell Peter.

 

Was it about this wolf? Was it that Peter should step off on the affections? Had he read everything wrong?

 

“You can tell me Stiles, I’m all ears for you.” He answered in his most neutral voice, drumming his fingers against his thigh, funneling all his energy into simple fidgeting.

 

**

 

Stiles looks at Peter's fingers, then back up into his face.

 

He shouldn't bite at his lip, he thinks when he does and finds it already sore from being overly bitten already. Nervousness gnaws at him.

 

"I've never had to tell anyone this before," he starts, then shakes his head. "Not that I have to tell you. I want to."

 

Peter is very still except for his fingers. Stiles wants to reach out and touch him again, but maybe he shouldn't until Peter knows what it means beyond the obvious.

 

"I'm… psychic? I'm precognitive. I have dreams. And I have psychometry, where I can touch things to get a clearer picture of people and events. So… I guess that's it. I'm a seer. That's how I knew about the fire." Stiles knows he's babbling and spitting out things awkwardly, but he wants Peter to know it all.

 

***

 

There was a moment when Peter almost got up and kissed Stiles. Like he was afraid if Stiles told him - told him about his werewolf boyfriend or his allegiance to another pack. A rival pack? What if Peter was here to split them up, what if this werewolf was going to hurt his family. But Stiles wouldn’t do that, Peter felt it. Felt that Stiles wasn’t something to fear - then they would be passing some line in the sand that would stop him from ever kissing Stiles.

 

“You’re… You’re a seer?”

 

Suddenly things started to click into place. Stiles knowing so much about the accident, but apparently not knowing about what had happened since. His ability to have learnt so much about them, without ever meeting them. How none of the hunters appeared to know about the source of the message.

 

His brain flick about trying to remember everything he knew about psychometry. His brain reminding him that Stiles had gone to the library and sat in his chair. That he’d been reaching out read Peter.

 

Peter’s hands finally went very still, and he felt his claws on the edge of coming out.

 

“Can you read my mind now?” The prospect of his thoughts - all the things he knew about his pack, their secrets, their weakness - being taken from him, suddenly made him feel very alarmed.

 

What if this inherently need to want Stiles: to trust him… Was just something that Stiles had put in his mind… ?

 

**

 

Stiles can see alarm growing on Peter's face and it makes him sick. "I can't read anyone's mind," he says. "I only see things that have happened already or will happen, not… not anyone's innermost thoughts. I mean, sometimes I wish I could read minds. It would have made saving your pack a lot easier, let me tell you. But I had to sort through- it doesn't matter. I can't read minds. I can't mess with minds at all. I don't even have low-level empathy… that was my mom. I get flashes of things, sometimes something you've said or done in the past, but not…" He bites at his sore lip. Maybe this was a mistake. He feels anxiety building and washing over what were only pleasant expectations.

 

***

 

He wouldn’t have told you if he wanted to use it against you.

 

That’s what Peter began telling himself, trying to talk himself back down from his line of thought.

 

This can all be reasonable. He can be some guy, some guy who knows werewolves, and is a seer, and just wanted to do something good. Stiles can be a good person, not a threat.

 

Stiles isn’t a threat. (What if it’s Stiles telling you this?)

 

“Okay!” Peter suddenly says loudly, getting up from the couch. He knows his eyes are blue - fuck his control was bad tonight - but self doubt was not something Peter had ever experienced before.

 

“Okay,” he said again, putting a little space between them, as much for Stiles sake than his own, he didn’t want to jump and hurt him, “let’s say… No.. I mean.” Fuck this was not going well. Stiles heart was thumping away in his chest, and man was leaking a slew of chemicals that read: sad, unhappy, anxious, betrayal. They hurt to know, but Peter lent into them. He trusted his abilities as a wolf, what he could sense was what was real.

 

“I want to trust you here. So… Tell me what you can do. How did you get access to what you know about my pack?”

 

**

 

Stiles nods. It's a fair question. "Six months ago, I started having dreams. There was a fire. At first that's all it was, just dreams of flames, of an inferno. Night after night. Fire… and screams. But I know how to meditate and lucid dream, how to make the visions become more clear. So… well it still took awhile but I finally figured out who you were, and that you're werewolves. I didn't know the Hales were weres before this, but my best friend was bitten a few years ago by a rogue Alpha and so at least I knew about werewolves." He takes a breath and tries not to think about how hard it was on him to get those first visions without any direction on how to stop the fire. "About four months is what it took to find out the where and who. But I didn't know how, or why. So.. I started using my psychometry to learn. I had to find out more about your family, and I'm sorry if you think that's an invasion."

 

He sighs. Runs a hand over his face. "The dreams were brutal, you have to understand. And they didn't let up until I was able to stop it. I dreamed of your family burning to death night after night… after night. Over and over. It was horrible." He can still hear the screams sometimes, even though it isn't going to happen. Residual… something. Or maybe they just affected him that much.

 

"I started seeing things other than just the fire, though, and once I figured out who you were and could track you guys's favorite places in town, then I could try to get a clearer picture, you know? That's when I started seeing Kate Argent's face." He sneers without meaning to. Wishes he was a werewolf himself so he could growl. Wishes he could have been there when Peter killed her.

 

He swallows hard. "When I touched something of hers I could see her laughing. It was disgusting. I could see her laughing about what she was doing to your nephew, but there was no way for me to tell at first if it was the past or the future." He looks up, locks eyes with Peter. "I'm sorry I wasn't faster. If I'd figured it out before she got to him, I could have really saved him a lot of… something. I don't know. I just couldn't figure it out fast enough. I'm sorry."

 

***

 

At some point during Stiles’ response Peter had sat down again. He thinks it was when Stiles was describing them burning to death again and again in his mind. Something about it chilled him: that was them. That was his family. His pack, his beautiful pack, from his sister to his baby niece, almost obliterated.

 

He wanted to hold Stiles again, that this man had saved them. That was why Peter felt tied to him, because he has saved them.

 

Peter ached at the thought of Stiles having to see it. That the scars of what happened had cut so deep on the slighter man. It made sense that they were bonded somehow in what had happened, the fire that didn’t happy had left wounds on both of their lives.

 

Peter didn’t really want to hear about Kate Argent, he was scared to ask more. Scared to hear what she had done to Derek; he wasn’t used to fear. It wasn't a Peter Hale emotion. It was one of the reasons he had always felt so distant from his pack: keep those most vulnerable away from you, and it's like you’re not vulnerable. That was all proven untrue when a hunter came knocking on Derek’s door.

 

“You don’t have to say sorry.” His voice sounds wrecked now, unaided by his urge to grind his teeth.

 

Peter stands again and takes a small step forward. His hands raise from his sides, as if to take Stiles’ face again, before hesitating.

 

“What will happen if I touch you now?”

 

**

 

Stiles looks up, relaxing slightly. "I might see something again," he says truthfully. "I got flashes of it before, things that haven't happened yet. Nothing I could really point to and decipher, except…" He flushes, remembering the vision he had of them kissing, touching. They were in bed. It could be the far future and it could be immediate. He has no way of knowing.


He reaches out. "But mostly… I'll touch you back. Because that's all I've wanted to do since you've come through the door."

Chapter Text

It all comes together quickly from then.

Peter felt utterly drawn to Stiles, it didn’t help that he felt emotionally wrought due to their harrowing conversation. He just wanted to pull the man closer and soothe all the feelings of unease.

Finally with nod of certainty, he decides to reach out and touch him.

As soon as their hands touched he watches Stiles eyes fall shut, his eyelids shuddering as if he was having thousands of dreams in a handful of seconds. It was beautiful in its own way. Like Stiles was more and less present for a moment. When Stiles eyes fluttered open again, Peter pulled him closer to his body, so he could get his large hand around the man’s comparatively dainty jaw.

He breaths in the scent of butterscotch once again laced with mercury, corresponding to Stiles’ seer abilities, and lets a thick grumble of pleasure roll out of his chest. Finally, Peter moves Stiles jaw up and closer, so Peter’s own mouth just hovers over the boy’s lips.

“Tell me what you saw,” he whispers.

**

Stiles feels his lips pull up into a smile. "You weren't wearing as many clothes as you are now," he teases. He brushes his lips against Peter's, teasing in a different way. "And you were in my bed."

***

Any self restraint Peter has in that moment is gone.

He pulls Stiles forward so their lips can finally meet, sucking the plump pouty bottom lip into his mouth, and moving the hand that wasn’t directing Stiles’ jaw to securing the man’s waist against him.

When Stiles lets him, he licks deeply into the mouth open to him. Pulling the man as close as possible.

**

Stiles hitches his leg up and then flails a little when Peter picks him up completely. But he gets with the program and wraps his legs around Peter's waist, just as Peter starts walking him toward the bedroom. It's a small apartment, there's only one direction to go. Peter finds his room no problem and then he's tumbling Stiles to the bed.

"Jesus, that's hot," Stiles mumbles, then reaches for the hem of Peter's shirt. "Off. Please?"

***

“I thought you’d never ask,” he growls out, his mouth in a sly grin.

Stiles’ legs are still slung around his hips as the man lays supine on the bed, and Peter grabs the hand holding his shirt, and places it on the hard cut muscles of his stomach for Stiles to feel, as Peter pulls the shirt up over his head and throws it behind him.

“You look good in bed, doubly so when I can look down at you”.

He enjoys the reaction of Stiles face as he gives the man access to touch him, Peter tamping down on an all out growl when Stiles clever hands slip down on his erection through his slacks.

Peter leans down so he can kiss Stiles again, slipping his own hands under Stiles’ t-shirt. “Et tu?”

**

Stiles grins and nods, then lifts his arms for Peter. Only until he gets the shirt off because then his hands are back on Peter, not wanting to leave.

"I hoped…" he says, then shakes his head. His mouth finds Peter's jaw and he mouths there, hands wandering to the man's fly so he can get it open. "Yeah," he says when Peter's dick is free and it slaps into his hand. "I want you in my mouth."

***

Peter can’t help but thrust impulsively a few times in Stiles’ hands at his words.

“Shit, you are so fucking hot.” He tells himself to get in under control, that if he doesn’t start enacting some discipline he was going to end up slicing through Stiles’ bedding.

“That sounds like a really fucking good idea.”

He moves his mouth back to Stiles’ so he can fuck his tongue into its depths, before moving back so he could remove the his jeans completely. Peter encourages Stiles to sit up, his hands combing through the man’s hair, as he positioned Stiles’ head in front of his thick uncut dick.

Peter drags the tip across the boy’s lips, enjoying the way his precum coats Stiles bottom lip and cheek. Stiles quick little tongue dashes out to taste it, and the sound of Stiles moaning is like a pleasure unto itself.

“Yeah, you’re going to look so good with cock in your mouth,” Peter faux-whispers, as he pushes his thumb into Stiles’ mouth, and drags the bottom lip down and open.

**

Stiles's eyes flutter closed and he moans softly. He's throbbing already and they've just started. He sucks a little at Peter's thumb, then opens his eyes again so he can look at Peter with a plea in them.

He's never wanted to suck someone's cock as much as he does right now. It'd be funny if he wasn't feeling so goddamn needy.

Then he's got it, Peter pressing in and giving it to him, just as much as he wants. Peter's smooth and thick, filling his mouth, and heavy on his tongue.

***

“Jesus Fucking Christ.” Stiles mouth is as warm and wet as he dreamt it would be. Better, suddenly his rushed session in the shower feels like a sham in comparison to what he has in front of him.

He hisses in pleasure as Stiles pushes the majority of Peter’s length down his throat, the man’s gullet bobbing as the wide girth takes up so much so quickly, choking slightly.

“Hey-hey, shhh.” Peter drags his dick out of Stiles’ mouth, letting the leaking tip his rest on Stiles’ lips. “We can go slow, you look amazing. You could stay just kissing my dick all night and I’d be happy.” He runs his hands through Stiles’ hair, massaging the scalp, and encouraging his bedmate to keep things low intensity.

**

Stiles tries not to whine when he's encouraged to slow down. He's had a low level want going on since he invited Peter over, and it's only grown in his presence. He wants to suck the man's brains out through his dick, wants it deep in his throat and… damn, he just wants it. But yeah, maybe going slower is right. He looks up, blinking away a little wetness, then pulls back.

"Tell me what you want," he says. It sounds a lot like he's begging, but that's about right. Peter's everything he wants right now. He keeps looking up, resting the side of his face against Peter's thigh, exposing his neck unconsciously.

***

Peter’s control is completely out the window. He doesn’t want to scare Stiles; even though he knows the man is familiar with weres, wolfing out during sex isn’t really a redeeming feature.

But Stiles is pushing all his buttons, the perfect picture below him. Peter has to growl deep in his chest (his eyes definitely glowing blue: does Stiles know what blue eyes stand for?) just to keep his teeth from descending. But it’s not his fault because Stiles is bearing his neck for him, and begging him, and it takes all his willpower not to just bite him and whisper ‘You, you, I want you’.

Stiles must be able to see the effect it has on him.

“Let me taste you.” He’s not sure if he means Stiles’ mouth, cock or hole. Whatever the man would give him.

**

Peter's voice does things to Stiles. It's not particularly deep, but it's smooth and sexy and the words themselves are what make Stiles moan. He sees Peter's eyes flash and it makes Stiles stomach clench - but not in fear, god no. It turns him on even more. Makes him feel desperate to see more of that control slip. Makes him feel desperate, period. Because Stiles has fooled around enough, fucked around enough, that this should be familiar terrain. But damn, every time Peter touches him it feels new, and Stiles feels like the world is on its head because of it.

"Yeah," he says, and realizes he's breathless, panting for it. "Anything. Taste me everywhere. Just let me return the favor at some point." He grins at Peter, happy and excited for what's to come, whatever it may be. He watches his face, his eyes, and then flops over on his stomach. "Here, maybe?" he asks, wiggling around before spreading his legs a little.

***

“Jesus, you’re so pretty.” Peter let his hands frame Stiles’ waist, the man’s lean body dipping gratifyingly, before curving out again into a cute bubble butt. Peter gropes him as he removes Stiles' trousers and underwear. Peter didn’t want to stop the moment feeling romantic in the face of pure sex, and he leaned up to pepper Stiles’ neck, cheek and jaw with kisses. Peter’s own erection knocking enjoyably against the boy’s arse.

“I want to make you feel good, I want you to know how much I have thought about you, wanted you-” Peter was whispering hotly into Stiles’ ear, and let one of his hands slip down the cleft of Stiles’ arse, so he could rub slowly over the boy’s entrance, “-dreamt about you.”

The guttural whines that Stiles’ gave him were gorgeous. And he kisses the boy hard on the cheek before moving down and finding his prize.

The first long lick he gave against the trembling little hole was like paradise. Peter was a wolf at heart, and in that moment he felt not a hint of embarrassment in how much he enjoyed doing this. Using both hands now to hold Stiles open to him, he began lapping in earnest.

**

Peter doesn't give him a chance to get used to it before he's lapping at him, almost hungrily. Stiles whines in pleasure, pressing his cock against the bed.

It's not that Stiles has never been rimmed before. It's just that he's never been rimmed like this. It's always been treated like a chore, like something super special that Stiles damn well better be grateful for. But this…

Peter acts like this is exactly what he wants, that it's perfect. Stiles has never been treated like he's this… delicious before. The difference in how it makes him feel is marked. He hides his face in his arms and rocks back onto Peter's tongue because he can't get enough, and apparently neither can Peter.

"Please," Stiles whines, not even knowing what he's asking for. The word just keeps slipping out as he rocks back, begging with his body as well. "Please, Peter…"

***

Peter could genuinely do this for hours, there’s part of him who just might attempt it, but he knows he wants more. Wants to get closer to Stiles, share the moment between them. Mournfully he slows down, moving his lips so he’s just kissing the sensitive skin: giving playful nips and nibbles as he makes his way back up to Stiles’ shoulder blades.

Stiles is just so perfect for him, naturally the man is strung out, bearing his neck to Peter. He’d love to mark him, a dark bite mark standing out from miles of milky white skin. His lips are dry from his journey up Stiles’ back, and when he places a gentle kiss to the back of Stiles’ neck, the man gives him a gratifyingly sweet whine.

“I am so grateful you would share your body with me.” He murmurs into Stiles’ hair line, rubbing his jaw against the ridges of Stiles’ skull, scent marking him. “It is a gift I would never take for granted.”

Peter flicks his eyes to the bedside drawer, he can smell the generic brand of lubricant and the plastic taste of condoms. He gets up, shedding the last of his clothes as he goes, and retrieves them, putting them both on the bed.

When Peter looks up, Stiles is gazing at his body, taking in his nudity in full. The attention encourages his cock to leap a little: Peter was never one to shy from attention.

“I retrieved this for your sake,” he tells him, Peter’s voice wrecked from their earlier ministrations. He’s gesturing to the condom, “as a wolf, I don’t need it. But I know that for some people they’re uncomfortable going without all the same.”

He let’s the unasked question hang in the air.

**

"I already kind of figured that out but it's good to have confirmation," Stiles says when he can think enough to speak coherently. He's never had sex without a condom. The thought gives him a taboo thrill, along with the mental image of the aftermath. He grins. "I'm okay with getting a little messy."

He looks over Peter's body again, mouth watering. He rolls over and pulls Peter to him. Kisses his shoulder. Nips lightly at the muscle there. Runs his tongue over it in apology.

His legs spread out and Peter settles between them, his cock hard against Stiles's thigh. Stiles knows he needs a little more prep before he can take it, but he's distracted by the solid weight of Peter over him. His legs twine around Peter's as he ruts up, searching for friction.

***

Messy, Peter really really wants to get Stiles messy.

Peter thoroughly enjoys the way he can box Stiles in while in this position. His forearms are either side of Stiles head, and he’s able to just kiss Stiles, while the young man squirms against him. Stiles has a healthy sized cock, not as thick as Peter’s but only a few inches shorter. And he enjoys the way Stiles whines into his mouth each time the man’s dick slides just the right way along Peter’s abs.

He’s going to need to fuck Stiles soon, his ability to hold off it wearing a little thin. And Stiles has the kind of mouth that is almost more tempting than his arse.

Deftly he grabs the bottle of lube, giving Stiles a mischievous grin when he takes the man’s own hand and slathers it in the slippery fluid. Carefully he encourages Stiles to fuck himself on his own digits.

As soon as Stiles starts gasping, Peter feels his eyes turn blue in delight.

“Just like I said, you are more beautiful than I could ever imagine.”

**

Stiles loves the way Peter's eyes glow, loves even more that he's the reason why they do. He can't really concentrate on that at the moment though, because he's getting close to desperate.

"Fuck me," he begs, and moans when one of Peter's fingers joins his own to test him. "God, yes, just like that…"

But it's not enough. Stiles wants Peter's cock, wants him badly. He whines and pulls his fingers out, not quite as carefully as he should, and pulls Peter closer. "Please."

***

Peter hesitates, unsure if he wants to push Stiles this way, seeing how they clearly haven’t prepped enough. Stiles in whining and already making sensual pulls at his dick encouraging him to push in.

He really needs to fuck Stiles soon. His cock and Stiles are co-conspirators in urging him to hurry the fuck up.  

Peter pulls Stiles leg up and around him, and then rearranges them so he can spoon up close behind the younger man. He can gently latch his teeth onto Stiles’ neck this way.

“You ok?” Peter grumbles, smiling as Stiles gives him a breathy moan and nods.

He places his hand on Stiles’ stomach as he grasps his own cock and eases into the tight heat that is Stiles body, all the while gently pulling the pain away. Small black stains visible in his veins, as he’s careful not to pull too much lest he masks any serious damage.

“Wow,” Stiles gasps, his eyes glued to Peter’s hand.

“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.” Peter smiles, gyrating his hips so he’s giving Stiles slow thrusts, as he slowly stops removing the pain.
“This good?”

**

Stiles nods and grips Peter where he can, pulling their bodies close together. He loves the feel of Peter, behind him and inside him, and his eyelids flutter as he has another vision, though it's so similar to what's happening in the present that he can barely distinguish one time from the next. He pushes it away, wanting to live in this moment, because there is only one first time.

Peter's stretching him with his thick cock, making a place for himself inside Stiles's body like he belongs there. Stiles moans and clenches around him, his fingernails digging into Peter's smooth skin, and still Stiles can't get enough.

"Fuck me," he begs, and the words push Peter on, making him move deeper, drive harder. "God, yes."

Stiles licks his hand and wraps it around his cock to stroke himself while Peter fucks him. The feeling is intense, and he feels himself climbing higher. He clenches again, wanting to milk the orgasm out of Peter's dick, wants him to come inside him, mark him, and maybe he says some of that out loud and Peter's reacting, driving on.

Stiles comes before he knows he's going to and makes a choked, wrecked sound that sends Peter over the edge as well.

***

They don’t manage to stay awake very long after that. Their spooning position lends itself easily to Peter pulling Stiles close against his body, and slipping into sleep.

Stiles smells like him, his body is soft and pliable, and apparently the man doesn’t mind Peter trapping him to the bed.

The soft chant of ‘mine, mine, mine, mine’ lulls him, as he keeps his bedmate close. Peter’s lips pressed against Stiles’ nape.

Chapter Text

 

A neighbour slamming a door wakes Peter but an hour later. His body goes into alert, and without realising it, he is leaning over Stiles - claws out - ready to protect him from whatever threat is at his door. The dainty cotton sheet of Stiles' double bed almost slicing under the sharp points. 

 

Peter hasn’t spent much time in apartments since his University days, and remembers why when he can hear four different families going about their lives through the walls around him.

 

He looks down at Stiles and sees an amused grin.

 

“Hello.” He answers cheerfully, retracting his claws.

 

**

 

Stiles snorts, snickers, and grins up at Peter. "Hey. Jumpy?" he teases, and leans up to kiss Peter's chin. "How about hungry? I could go for some food, myself. Should I order in or do you want to go out?"

 

***

 

Peter looks around at their little nest, and considers the pros and cons. Going out meant Stiles having a shower, removing the traces of their times together.

 

“Order in.” He answers, looking down at Stiles and enjoying the livid red marks on Stiles skin. Swooping down to lick one of them, and nose against Stiles jaw. “And I make a polite request that you don’t shower - just for now.”

 

Luckily for Peter, Stiles is game, going so far as to put on Peter’s cashmere sweater when they finally get out of bed. (Peter has the urge to bring him straight back into it again).

 

They squabble playfully over what to order, deciding on chinese food, and then squabbling some more on what items. Every time Stiles suggests something for himself Peter decides that’s the best thing on the menu and also wants to order it, it’s like he can taste Stiles’ excitement and wants some of it.

 

Finally when the order is in they climb onto the couch and Stiles begins fussing with his laptop, so he can hook it up onto the TV screen.

 

Peter pats the seat next to him, and puts on a mock serious face. “Come sit, we should probably talk some more.”

 

The way he says talk makes it clear that he’s talking about more than whether watching Gilmore Girls for the fourth time can be considered tragic. (It’s not, it’s an investment).

 

**

 

Stiles raises his eyebrows. "Sounds serious." He smiles and reaches out once he sits, holding on to Peter's hand.

 

Touch is such an important thing to Stiles. It's not just a way to utilize his gift, but to him it's all about connection. And he feels a connection with Peter, even more than he thought he would.

 

***

 

“A little,” Peter smiles, using the hand he has available to him to tug Stiles close enough so he can steal a kiss. He’s trying to be sensible, he normally is the sensible one. The enforcer. The first and last defence. Even with everything that has happened with the pack since the fire-that-wasn’t, he’s under no illusions. When push comes to shove, he’s the one that goes down first (and thus, hopefully last).

 

It doesn’t stop him wanting to take this moment as his however, to just enjoy having Stiles.

 

“I want you tell me what I can tell Talia.” He holds Stiles wrist a touch tight when he feels Stiles about to pull away, “hey-hey, listen to me. I’m asking what you feel comfortable with me saying.”

 

**

 

Stiles forces himself to meet Peter's eyes. "You're the only person I've ever told," he says. "My dad and you… you're the only people alive who even know. Telling you was… saying it was difficult would be a huge understatement. But I trust you. I feel like I know you. Your sister not so much."

 

He looks down and sighs. He doesn't want to share this part of himself with anyone else. "It's not just a case of me being private. My mom made me promise I'd stay safe, and staying safe meant not telling anyone. She lost her whole family because of gifts like mine so she knew first hand why it was so important to keep it secret."

 

Peter strokes over his hand, just waiting for him to go on, and Stiles is grateful.

 

"I know you know what it's like to hide, and I'm sure your sister can keep a secret. But it still doesn't feel safe. So I don't know what to say. I don't know what to tell you. I'm…" He sucks in a breath, and whispers when he admits, "I'm scared."

 

***

 

It’s horrible really. Stiles decompressing in front of him, his breaths fractured. Scared, Stiles is scared. It’s like a shot in the chest. Worst because it was him who was causing it. Stiles’ safety was pitted against his own pack’s.

 

Peter let’s out a deep sigh and hugs Stiles to his chest, kissing the top of the man’s head.

 

“I know, it’s unfair. Unfair that you did something good and admirable for us, and you’re repaid with jeopardy.”

 

He leans back so he can cup Stiles face, using his thumbs to stroke Stiles’ cheek bones, “I’m going to try my best to protect you. You know that?”

 

**

 

"I'm safe with you. I know," Stiles says, and it's the truth. He feels utterly safe with Peter. It's just that he doesn't trust anyone else -- that is, besides himself and his dad.

 

He doesn't know how he got to the point of trusting Peter so much, other than a feeling, and Stiles knows by now to follow those. He doesn't get gut reactions for just anything. But is this fear of being known by anyone else another Seer feeling, or is it just habit? He's been hiding for so long.

 

"I have nightmares sometimes about the wrong people finding out about me," he admits. He looks away, unable to meet Peter's eyes as he confesses his fears. "It's not the ones where I die that scare me the most. It's the ones where they keep me. To use me."

 

He doesn't know how legitimate his fear is, or if the nightmares are wrapped up in hints of visions. They occur just enough to keep him wary of others finding him, but not enough to haunt him on a regular basis. They're just a fact of his life, and he's had them since he was a child.

 

***

 

“Fuck,” Peter feels glib, but there isn’t much else he can say. “I don’t think I can even imagine how you feel.”

 

Peter can’t believe that suddenly his life revolves around giving comfort to others. If you had asked him even a few months earlier where his skills laid, he would have opted for: strength, vigilance, strategy. Making the difficult decision is also one he was known for. Comfort, empathy and sympathy? Yeah, those went in the weaknesses column. (Not that he’d admit to having one). And yet here he was again.

 

“I don’t know what to say. I want to tell you how beautiful you are to me. How brave you are. How my opinion hasn’t changed about you being a bright light that beautifies everything it touches.”

 

He leans forwards, revelling in the pitter-patter of heart racing, and the chemical smell of embarrassment and happiness coming off Stiles (unfortunately layered over his fear and sadness). Peter kisses Stiles forehead, and then over his eyelids, the taste of salt flooding his senses. Peter kisses Stiles cheek bones, and then his lips - chaste - and finally a quick kiss on the tip of his nose.

 

“I don’t know what to say, but you can keep telling me. If that makes it better. And if it doesn’t, then don’t tell me. Tell me about what makes you happy, what you’re excited about. Tell me anything. I just want to hear you, and appreciate the fact that you’ve allowed me in your life.”

 

**

 

Stiles smiles a little. "You make me happy. Is that too soon to say?" He looks up, his eyes still shining with unshed tears, but the smile on his face is real. "Talking to you, getting to know you… letting you know me? It means so much." He takes a deep breath. "If you trust your sister… if you think it's okay, then you can tell her a little about me. Just… try to keep it vague."

 

***

 

“I’ve been telling my sister as little as possible all my life; so vague is good.”

 

The doorbell rings and Peter snags Stiles as he tries to get up. “You’re the college student, let me pay for it.”

 

Stiles grumbles, arguing that it might not even be the delivery. But Peter just taps his nose as an answer, and opens the door with his wallet.

 

They eat messily and enthusiastically, stealing from each other’s cartons and talking over the show that is playing in the background.

 

Peter toys with the idea of suggesting he stays the night. He wants to, and he feels like Stiles might be amiable… But then he thinks of Derek at home, and feels pulled in the other direction.

 

Peter kisses Stiles, “I think I should head off.”

 

He’s pretty certain they’ve already committed themselves to at least five dates of some sort already. (The cinema, actually going out for a meal, the park so Stiles can complete his bet that he can climb a tree without shoes one, the library, the second season of Community). But he’s not completely certain if they’d really decided on anything concrete.

 

‘It’s ok’, Peter tells himself, as he regretfully removes his shirt from Stiles’ slighter frame. ‘We’ll work it out’.

 

When Peter is at the door pressing his final intimacies to Stiles’ lips, he has that warning feeling. It feels silly, like Stiles might simply stop existing once Peter leaves. He shakes it off. “Tonight, I’ll call you like usual. Yeah?”

 

**

 

Stiles smiles against Peter's mouth, then presses one more kiss to his lips. "Definitely. You have no idea how much I like talking to you. And on the phone I'm not constantly distracted by all this." He slides his hands down from Peter's shoulders to his hips, making sure to linger a bit on the werewolf's pecs. (What? He has a thing for Peter's muscles now. How could anyone blame him?)

 

"Be safe," Stiles says, and as Peter walks out the door, he has a quick flash of something, a vision he can't make out. He blinks it away and locks the deadbolt behind Peter.

 

He knows from experience that if a vision is important, it will come back again and again until it's clear. Honestly, it's probably just another flash of his future with Peter, given the situation.

 

It's hours before Peter will call, and since Stiles skipped class today, he should at least do some reading. Maybe he'll text a classmate to make sure he didn't miss anything super important. He doubts it, since his professors mostly stick to their syllabi.

 

He finds himself smiling not long after saying goodbye to Peter, thinking of little things the other man said or did, the way his smile is so much more devastating in person, the lightness of his eyes when he teases Stiles about anything at all. He'd roll his eyes at himself for being so infatuated if he wasn't so happy about it.

 

***

 

Peter thinks about Stiles all the way home. He thinks about Stiles underneath him, on top of him, beside him. Thinks about Stiles’ fingers, slender but strong. Daydreams about Stiles butt, and how it felt pushed up against him as they slept.

 

Peter thinks about Stiles' smile that cracks open his face, a little crooked, but entirely warm. He thinks about Stiles voice, breathy, scared and small. As he confessed his fears.

 

The drive home is barely noticeable to him, as he remembers and analyses the whole evening. Holding up each memory to the night, and committing it to memory.

 

He feels content, happy, in a way he hasn’t done since… Well, that’s hard to say. Peter feels like he has something good and valuable, all for him. Because of him. It’s not as if Peter hasn’t dated before. Countless wolves, a handful of humans, and one very memorable druid, have all passed through his bed. Some taking up a few months of his life.

 

(When at University, Peter had had a serious relationship with a human. The man had never known Peter was a wolf, and at the time Peter had appreciated it. Inevitably, it caused too many problems however. Talia had forbidden him from telling Stuart about their secret, before she met him. And in the end the lying had broken them apart. It was ok, Peter had gotten over it. He hadn’t really expected it to last anyway, even if he had wanted it to.)

 

Sties knew him. The man’s powers had scared him, there was no point denying it. Psychometry was a terrifying prospect to those who had a lot to hide. But inevitably it had led Stiles to him, and it meant that Stiles understood him. The good, the bad and the devilishly handsome. Peter didn’t feel the need to lie to him, and that in itself was a gift.

 

When he gets home it’s later than normal, past the usual hour Derek would come to him. Not far from when Peter would send him off with a hug. Talia is in the kitchen with a tired and ratty Cora who can’t sleep. Her eyes snap up to him when he comes in, her mouth opening to say something.

 

“Not tonight Talia.” He answers, guarding his tone.

 

“Are you going to tell me where you’ve been?”

 

Peter rolls his eyes, “not tonight anyway.”

 

She bites her lip, stirring the hot milk on the stove for Cora. “Derek missed you today.”

 

“I thought so, I’m taking him out camping tomorrow.”

 

She can’t help but smile, nodding, “alright, another time.”

 

When Peter gets upstairs he can hear nothing from Derek’s room, he pushes the door open and the bed is empty. Odd. As he climbs the second flight of stairs he hears quiet murmuring from Laura’s room. Peter knows he smells like sex, like sweat, like chinese food. He saves the kids’ noses by jumping quickly in the shower, when he exits back onto the landing, Derek is in the doorway of Laura’s room.

 

“Hey Peter.”

 

“Hey champ, you good?”

 

“Yeah,” Derek gives him an attempt at a smile. It’s not the kid’s fault, he just doesn’t know how to convey any emotion other than misery.

 

“You and Laura make it up?”

 

“He’s a dickhead. We never fell out.” Laura calls from inside the room.

 

Peter grins, walking into the room - scent marking Derek on the way.

 

“Maybe you should have told him that earlier,” Peter responds, sitting on Laura’s dainty desk chair. She had painted all her furniture white years earlier, and decorated them with illustrations from her picture books. It was pretty, and he appreciated the craftsmanship. Thinking about, he should probably invite her down to the workshop sometime, she would probably enjoy it.

 

“I had to let him stew a little bit ," she says with a grin.

 

Derek rolls his eyes, and gets onto the pallet he’s made up on the floor by her bed.

 

“Having a sleepover?”

 

“Yeah… I invited Laura to come with us tomorrow.” Derek says seriously.

 

Peter can see Laura glance at him nervously. Primed for his reaction. It’s sad really, he should have thought of this before.

 

“Sounds great, more people to carry my stuff.”

 

“Fuck off.” Laura said with a grin, she had a filthy mouth when her mother wasn’t listening, and Peter loved her for it.

 

“Do you want to join our sleep over?” Derek asked.

 

“Since I have my own bed just down the corridor, I think I’m good. Don’t stay up too late, we should head out by noon tomorrow.”

 

“Alright uncle Peter.”

 

He ruffles both of their hair on the way out, scent marking them playfully, before relocating to his own room.

 

It’s not much earlier than when he usually calls Stiles, so he gives in to temptation.

 

**ring ring**

 


“Hello handsome.”

Chapter Text

Stiles grins into the phone and flops back onto the bed that still smells like Peter and sex. He's showered, cleaned up a little, but he's deliciously sore and still feeling used in the best way.

 

"Hello yourself," he says, unable to keep the smile out of his voice. "Would it be weird to say I miss you already?" He touches the pillow where Peter rested his head during their nap and gets a flash, an image of Peter resting beside him, one arm wrapped around him almost possessively. Stiles was asleep himself at the time and missed it, but now he can close his eyes and examine the moment. He likes it more than he can say.

 

***

 

“Probably,” Peter answers with a smile, “you wouldn’t be alone however.”

 

He dropped his towel in the laundry basket when he entered his bedroom, and was now standing in his room naked. Peter rummages in a drawer for some sleep pants, enjoying the feel of air on his dick and ass. Peter will always have a wolf’s affinity to nudity.

 

“I think you ran me a little bit ragged today though, I’m worn out.”

 

Peter collapses on the bed, the soft track pants low on his hips. His cock is heavy against his thigh leg, and paying a little bit of attention to their conversation. Stiles voice and the recent memory of the man naked and writhing, keeping him from being completely soft.

 

“Job well done.”

 

**

 

Stiles rolls to hide his smile in the pillow, humming contentedly. He smells Peter and takes a deeper breath, feeling giddy.

 

"I smell you on the pillow. I wish I had your sense of smell so it would be more, you know?" he says. "What do I smell like to you? Or is that something I'm not supposed to ask? I don't mean to pry or be rude."

 

He closes his eyes and he can see Peter there as he was so recently, bare and hungry for him. It makes his dick twitch and grow just a bit.

 

***

 

Peter lets out a deep rumbling laugh, “you have no idea what kind of question that is.”

 

Peter feels like he could fall down a rabbit hole trying to describe Stiles’ scent. Especially now he’s had him. Knows what his ecstasy tastes like. Peter has had his teeth against Stiles’ hot damp skin. It wasn’t something that was easy to explain.

 

“I tasted your abilities first.” He muses, thinking about those weeks when that was all he had. Didn’t even know what it was. “I don’t know if you can think about your seer capabilities like that. But I knew it when I touched you for the first time. It was like the air between us had been electrified and all I could taste is mercury. Or something like mercury; like the fabric of the world has been torn slightly, and something mysterious has seeped in.” Peter has his eyes closed, his forehead creased slightly in concentration.

 

He can hear Stiles slightly heavy breathing down the phone, “is that what you wanted to know?”

 

**

 

"Wow. I just… I guess I wanted to know if I smelled good to you, and you come out with this fantastic and kind of weird thing… Not weird in a bad way, just…" He huffs a laugh. "But can any werewolf tell, then? Could someone smell me and know I'm different?" He doesn't like the idea of that at all. But he's letting his fears creep into the conversation again and that's the last thing he wants. He closes his eyes and takes another deep breath, inhaling Peter's scent on the pillow, remembering what it felt like to get fucked in this same bed. It's enough to push the unpleasant thoughts away and make his dick pay attention.

 

Before Peter can answer his question he asks, "So is it just the mercury? I've got to smell like more than just my gift."

 

***

 

It’s a curious question, one he isn’t sure about. “Maybe if they saw you have a vision… Maybe if you were stalking them like you were me.” He snorts out a laugh at Stiles’ indignant squawk at the word stalk, “ok, ok, I mean - maybe if you visited all their favourite haunts, like you did with me.”

 

He thinks about it some more, “there’s a lot of reasons for people to smell different. Wolves have to deal with so many thousands of scents a day, you aren’t able to categorise them all. What if it was your house mate that had abilities, or your teacher you’d just had a meeting with. We just file it all away, building up profiles. It’s different when you know what you’re looking for.”

 

Peter had the urge to write about it. A wolf’s senses from a human’s perspective. What his readership would be for something like that he doesn’t know. But since he gave up on a life of academia to return to the pack, he’s been without the chance to write seriously.

 

“But Stiles, ” he let’s out a pleasant grumble, thinking of their day together. “To even begin to describe how you tasted to me in person.” He touches himself gently through his pants as his erection fills out. “From the moment I found you, it was all burnt butterscotch and honey. Kissing you was like drowning in caramel.”

 

Peter whines a little as he pinches the tip of his cock, “ Experiencing you come apart beneath me was like burning wine; I felt intoxicated.

 

Peter wonders if he’s gone too far.

 

**

 

Stiles hums. "I want that, too. To feel you under me as I ride you, so I can watch your face, see your eyes glow. I love that, you know? But I didn't get to see your face this time." He slides a hand into his flannel sleep pants, unsurprised by the way his dick twitches into full hardness. "I can't smell it, can't taste your pleasure, but watching you fall apart would be the next best thing."

 

He hadn't picked up the phone expecting this, but that was naive of him. All he has to do is hear Peter's voice and he's aroused, and that started long before they met for the first time. Now he knows the feeling of Peter's skin, the muscles beneath his hands. Knows what Peter's hands feel like on his own skin.

 

"Just thinking about it right now has me wanting you all over again. Fuck, Peter," he whines, bending his knees up so he can palm his balls and press behind them. "Your voice. Keep talking. I like it when you talk…"

 

***

 

“You’d look glorious like that Stiles.”

 

Stiles had asked him to talk, and Peter feels like he might never stop. “There genuinely couldn’t be anything sexier than watching you fuck yourself on my cock.”

 

The image in his mind drives him crazy, and he gives in and slides a hand under his waistband. Three fingers just holding his foreskin, dragging it over the sensitive head. Working his cock like he was getting ready to fuck Stiles now.

 

“I’m so glad you’re not scared of me, that my wolf can peek out at you and you welcome it.” He grips his prick a bit harder, “I watched you as I fucked you. I saw you slip through, drench your sweat in mercury. Did you see me fucking you again? Was it a promise of more?”

 

**

 

Stiles moans at Peter's words while his fingertips tease over his hole. "I did, I saw that, but the reality was so much better. You're so much better when you're here, I could have a dozen visions and I'd prefer the real you every time."

 

He can't help but be embarrassingly honest now, straightforward and full of hope he won't be laughed at. Peter's been honest with him.

 

***

 

Stiles moans out through the phone, and Peter wishes he never left. He could have spent the whole night with Stiles. Kissing him, learning about him, fucking him . Peter feels stupid for letting the chance slip by him.

 

“You’re so hot. ” His word feels crass, like a teenager. But he can’t work out how to explain to Stiles that everything about him feels molten. Like he brands Peter with his touch, with his taste.

 

“Tell me what you’re doing; what’s making you moan.” Peter is jerking himself now, unabashed. “I want to hear you whine on your fingers, wishing it was me.”

 

**

 

Stiles groans. "Hold on," he says, and then wiggles out of his sleep pants and grabs his bottle of lube. He slicks his fingers quickly before grabbing the phone again with his not-slick hand. "I had to get some lube," he explains, and he feels hot all over, desperate for Peter to come back and touch him. He says that out loud too. "But I know you can't. I'm just. God, Peter, what you do to me…" He laughs breathlessly and circles his hole with a finger. Teasing himself the way Peter might tease him.

 

"Tell me to do it. Tell me what you want me to do," he says, knowing it gives away just how submissive he's feeling.

 

***

 

Peter growls at the request, “ darling .”

 

His sense memory supplies the sound and taste of the lube they had used earlier that day. Stiles was offering him a gift.

 

“You’re so gorgeous. I can see you laying there in your bed. Your sheets still smelling of me, of us.” Peter pushes his pants down so he is able to free his cock. He does a cursory glance at the door: he knows he locked it. The room had gone quiet when he had, speaking of the sound proofing all the adult rooms had in the house.

 

“I want you to slowly drag your fingers across your taint. Press hard against your sensitive skin. I want you to feel yourself.” He’s picturing Stiles doing it, “then gently slide one slick finger down. Don’t push inside. ” He growls, his voice demanding but still light. He relishes the breathy whine Stiles gives him in response. “That’s it, just make yourself wet for me. Keep rubbing over your entrance. Use two fingers, stretch open your little hole so I can see you. Don’t push inside. I want you wet and aching for me.”

 

Peter has been talking as calmly as he can, slowly stroking his own hand down so as to not sound rushed. “Tell me how you feel.”

 

**

 

Stiles whimpers in response. "Ready. I feel so ready. Getting kinda desperate here," he says, not pushing in though wanting to, but wanting to follow Peter's voice more. His fingers press, circle, tease, open… Everything Peter tells him to do, he does, and he feels himself sinking down into a place where only Peter's voice exists and Stiles is helpless to follow whatever he says.

 

" Peter ," he says, desperate and breathy. The only thing missing is Peter's touch, that connection Stiles craves, but this is the next best thing. Hanging onto every moment, every word.

 

***

 

“Ok, it’s ok, give it to yourself sweetheart.” Peter feels a light sweat coat his body, his endorphins pulsing pleasantly through his flesh. He’s going to need to shower again. He doesn’t care now. “I bet you’re still loose from me. Push in two fingers hard, three if you can. Make the stretch a bit too much. Think about me being there.”

 

Peter’s eyes are closed and he’s listening to every minute sound Stiles makes. The pictures behind his eyes are that of earlier. He wishes he could smell Stiles. Peter was an idiot for not taking home a memento. A pillowcase, some damp underwear, even a hoodie. Anything to keep the taste.

 

Fuck . Just thinking of you had me hard. And all these gorgeous noises you’re giving me, I’m pulling on my cock wishing I could brand you with my cum.”

 

He keeps up his own pace jerking his cock, “tell me when you’re close darling.”

 

**

 

Three fingers is a stretch despite having been recently fucked. Stiles likes it, though. Likes that Peter wants him to feel it, too. "Three fingers," he tells Peter. His voice sounds wrecked already, like he's really being fucked. His heart is racing, his face hot. Hell, his whole body is hot like this, hanging off Peter's words. "Wish you were here. Can't wait to see you again, have you fill me up like I need. Shit."

 

Stiles is panting now, though he turns his face into the pillow now and then to suck in a lungful of Peter's scent. He wishes it was stronger, that Peter had stayed long enough to really leave a heavier scent.

 

"I'm not even touching my dick now and I'm close," Stiles gasps, and he'd never believe it if someone told him it was possible. Not before this. But Peter…

 

Peter does something to him. Makes him lose his head. Lose his inhibitions, too. Plus he's got his whole body in some kind of heat just from his voice.

 

"Please, Peter."

 

***

 

“That’s it darling,” Peter kneels up so can jerk off with two hands, his phone cradled by his shoulder. It makes Stiles’ moans sound breathier and more close. Peter is well endowed enough that the second hand is appreciated, but he can’t help but wish he could be breaching the soft wet mouth of Stiles’ again.

 

“Keep going, you’re so good. I’m going to kiss you for years when I see you next. Push my cock inside you and just have you squirm as I deny you anything but kisses.” He’s jerking off faster, trying to get as close as Stiles is. “When I finally fuck you you’ll be so relieved you’ll cum on my cock alone. Your hole fluttering. Fuck it’ll feel so good. I’ll cum inside you, make you all messy like you want. You loved smelling of me, having my scent over you. It was so good.” Peter has lost the moment when he was speaking just for Stiles, and is now just narrating filth as he feels himself push up to orgasm.

 

“And when I fuck you full of my cum, I’ll flip you over and lick it all out again.”

 

The image is enough, he’s cumming. “Shit - fuck, fuck, fuck. I’m cumming.” His cum pumping into his own hand, the sound of Stiles ringing in his ears.

 

**

 

Stiles feels himself getting closer and closer until everything whites out with pleasure so intense it's almost pain. He hears Peter in his ear, raining filth, and it's perfect. Almost.

 

The only thing that would make it better would be Peter with him.

 

After a few minutes, both of them gasping at each other as they come down, they say goodnight before Stiles slips into sleep.

 


 

 

Stiles dreams... They start off as run of the mill, regular dreams where he's doing stuff, mostly boring. Peter shows up, which isn't out of the ordinary. Peter teases him about his taste in fashion, and Stiles rolls his eyes fondly. Still, all regular type stuff.

 

But then the dreams slip into vision territory, and Stiles frowns in his sleep.

 

Visions have a different tint to them, a golden glint around the edges. Stiles notices when his dream dips into vision mode because of this. He's sitting in Peter's chair at the library, looking up at the stained glass, and he's alone. Or rather, he thinks he's alone, but he can feel someone watching him.

 

Maybe someone's been watching for some time. Someone knows about him.

 

The dream flips on its head, giving Stiles a case of vertigo. He feels sick. It's all dark except for the golden lines at the edges, telling him it's still something he's Seeing, not a nightmare.

 

He's scared. He can't move much because he's bound to something. 

 

He wakes gasping in terror, his alarm clock blaring.


Stiles picks up his journal from his bedside table and tries to describe what he saw while it's still fresh in his mind.

 

He's still shaking.

Chapter Text

Peter sends Stiles a long text detailing how much he enjoyed his company (there’s a short derail when he describes how much he enjoyed the sex also). He finds himself smiling the whole time he writes the detailed missive, ignoring the way Talia is staring at him. He tells Stiles his phone will be off for the majority of the next 24 hours however, so not to worry about a lack of response.

 

Peter has the odd predicament where he doesn’t know whether he should tell Stiles about the camping trip with the kids. They hadn’t spoken about his pack very much other than Talia. Peter knows that at some point he’s going to need to ask Stiles what he knows happened between Derek and Kate, but if he was going to be honest, he likes the ignorance.

 

Laura slips into the kitchen, her hair still wet from the shower. She hesitantly scent marks him with her cheek on his chest, and snags his half drank cup of coffee.

 

“Are we heading out soon?”

 

“Yeah, Derek is just grabbing some spare clothes.”

 

They take the family car, it’s a range rover and has better four wheel control than Peter’s own benz. He wants them far out enough from Talia’s hearing range, and deep enough into the preserve that there’s no worry that humans might spot them.

 

“Shut up Laura!” Derek snaps as Laura teases him about how big his pack is. Derek was a worrier and appeared to have brought enough clothes to see him through the winter other than a simple night’s camping. Peter smirks as he gets out the car and grabs the boy’s backpack, rifling through it and dumping some of the spare clothes in the back seat.

 

“She’s right, you don’t need this much stuff.” Peter tucks his phone away in the glove box. He’s tempted to see if Stiles has responded, but knows that he wouldn’t have time to really read it anyway. Derek and Laura hadn’t brought their phones at all, and it would be a bad example if he made a fuss of using his.

 

“Where are we going?” Laura asks, a streamlined bag on her back, and sensible walking boots on her feet. She looked much more prepared than Derek, who had his converse on and a still unnecessarily large bag on his back. Peter kept the tent in his own pack, he’d done this enough times to know his limits.

 

“Up there,” he nodded towards the ruthlessly steep hill in front of them. Derek sighed a little, but followed amiably enough as they started their long ascent.

 

The journey up and down would be much easier shifted, but he wanted them to get a grip on the difficulty. It’d be safer as well to wait until the sunset. He enjoys the view this way anyway, as a wolf everything always looks different. Less saturated in colour, things burning with vivid alacrity based on scent, temperature, sound. A wolf has a blended position of senses that isn’t translatable to the human eye. Sometimes enjoying the view through a human perspective was important. On the way up he points to various shrubs and plants, asking the kids to name them. Laura is better, of course. But the competition forces Derek to make his answers quicker, stop second guessing himself.

 

They set up camp and Peter sends Laura out to do some wood collecting, Derek is to arrange the campsite. Laura thrives on independence as much as Derek needs the close by familial bonds. She was a born Alpha Peter notes with chagrin. One day she’d make a beautiful one. She almost didn’t make it, it’s probably up to Peter now to make sure she gets a chance .

 

“Uncle Peter, can we shift now?” Derek asks later into the early evening, his stomach gurgling. His face had been a picture of disappointment when he realised that Peter had brought no supplies and they’d only be hunting for their dinner.

 

The light is still twilight, and he knows his sister would prefer they wait a little longer. Laura is eyeing him suspiciously, trying to gauge whether he’d bend the rules.

 

“Definitely, whoever brings the biggest game back doesn’t have to wash up.” He's the first one to shift.

 

Peter is a big black wolf, just like his parents. Just like his sister. He was always impressed with his size, long legs let him tower over even Talia. It meant he could keep up with her in a hunt, and even get a few harsh bites in when they scrapped. He was over all slighter though, Talia lower and broader. A centre of gravity that made her hard to flip in a fight. Bigger didn't always mean better in shifts. He had some white rings on his muzzle, that made him look battle worn even though he had had them since he was a pup. This matches Talia’s own moonlit eyes. A gift from their own mother, who had gentle white paws.

 

Talia’s husband was a grey and brown, and had spoilt the Hale ebony legacy. (Peter had told Talia so when Laura had first shifted, and she had slapped him.) Laura was still a dark wolf, but almost russet around her legs and chest, bleeding into a dark brown along her back. She was incredibly pretty, her face white, then red, then brown. Her ears and tail black. Tricoloured wolves are uncommon, especially an Alpha. She’d be everyone’s envy. Doubly so as she was built to be a fighter.

 

Derek however.. Peter lops over to him as he stays in him human guise. Nosing his waist, and tugging on his jean’s leg. Nudity was not something that phased were families, but Derek was always hesitant… Even more now… Ever since she came…

 

Peter notices he’s growling when Laura gives out a curious whine. Derek is frowning, he’s always frowning, but he looks like he thinks Peter is going to hurt him. Peter gives his hand a lick in apology and gallops off towards the tree line, Laura following him. Sometimes it’s better to give people their space. If anyone needed it, it was Derek.

 

The evening sets in properly within the next hour. Derek appears close by not long after, and dogs him for the afternoon. They go after some stout together, and Peter steals Derek’s rabbit. They pull it to pieces until Derek’s muzzle is sodden with blood. They catch the scent of fox to the west, and track it for a while. Finding some waterfowl on their way. Just as Peter is grabbing a drink of cool water from a stream, Laura bounds out from the thicket and tackles him.

 

Derek whines, unsure what to do as his uncle hits heavily into the water bed and Laura growls at him with her hackles high, but Peter takes it in his stride. Fighting between packmates keeps them sharp. He wouldn’t fight Derek like this, but Laura is high on her own self confidence, and ready to fight dirty.

 

It’s satisfying when he wipes the floor with her. She’s bleeding across her skull, the tacky red blood ruining her perfect white face, and Peter is sure he broke the bones in her paw. He blames Talia really, for always pulling her punches with her daughter, it’s given her a false confidence. Laura had been sure that being next in line would mean she must be the strongest, the fight had her question it.

 

She turns back into human, cradling her hand, “how did you do that?”

 

Peter wanders to Derek, scent marks him. Gives a little tug on the soft skin of his neck, and licks his ear. The boy whines back at him, his black fur matching his uncle’s. He doesn’t answer Laura until he’s padded back to her and checked her hand. It’s crushed, and in the wrong position to heal cleanly. He turns back and takes her hand in his.

 

“This will hurt.” Laura nods, and he digs his thumb into the top of her hand. Breaking the bone again, and bending her fingers straight so they fall into their proper face. Laura winces but doesn’t complain.

 

“Thanks… You didn’t answer me.”

 

“Your question was too vague I’m afraid.”

 

“How did you beat me?”

 

“Simple. You’re not a very good fighter.” Laura growls at him, then stops. Clearly shocked at herself.

 

Peter takes it in stride and just grins. Walking over to the pile of game he’d been collecting, a few rabbits and the waterfowl. Most of it is usable, bar the rabbit they mauled.

 

“Shouldn’t I be stronger than you?”

 

“Probably, maybe not. Talia wasn’t the strongest wolf in the pack.”

 

“She could kill you.” Laura answers, her voice more of a question than a statement.

 

“True, but the wounds I give her heal. She has the advantage.” He walks over to Derek who is sitting on his hunches with his ears low. He isn’t enjoying the confrontation. Peter strokes his ears patiently, running his finger under the boy’s eyes, like he’s wiping away tears that aren’t there.

 

“So if I was an Alpha I could beat you.”

 

“I doubt it.”

 

Laura gasps. She looks a little smaller all of a sudden. Before now, even naked, she had had a magnificent presence. All her power and self confidence filling up the space around her. Now she looks like a confused little girl. Peter has the urge to put a blanket around her.

 

“I never thought of this before.” She says quietly. He knows what she’s thinking, she’s thinking that if she was the Alpha now, Peter could take it from her. He could. He doesn’t know if he would. If she resisted, it would mean…

 

Best not to think about it.

 

“You should ask your mother about it. Come on Derek, grab the rabbit.” He's keeping an eye on Derek's mood, he doesn't his nephew to feel alienated. 

 

Laura gets up and takes a handful of the waterfowl, and puts her hand on her uncle’s arm. She’s wearing nothing but blood spatter. Her hand almost healed.

 

I m asking you . If you can beat me, why am I next in line to be Alpha?”

 

Peter smiles at her. She’s so clever really, he’d underestimated her thanks to Talia’s coddling. The woman liked to keep them so civilised.

 

“The same reason why your children will be Alpha and Cora won’t be.”

 

“What’s Cora got to do with this?”

 

“Everything. Cora has everything to do with this.” He’s enjoying this, he keeps walking on, Derek padding alongside him. Keeping his body close to Peter, like he’s hoping this will keep him out of the line of fire.

 

“You’re so fucking cryptic Peter!” She sounds like her mother too, not that Talia would admit she swears. But she never could curb her tongue when shouting at Peter.

 

“Laura. If you died tonight, who would become the Alpha?”

 

Laura snapped her mouth shut and thought about it, she’d smeared some of the waterfoul blood in her hair. It suited her.

 

“You?” She didn’t seem too perturbed by a question about her apparent death. He liked that about her.

 

“No, Derek.”

 

“Why not you?”

 

“Because if I was Alpha, Cora would never get to be one.”

 

“Why would that matter?”

 

“Because then Talia’s line would end.”

 

Laura ground her teeth some. Derek appears at Peter’s elbow. “Why would Cora get to be the Alpha if I got it?”

 

“Because she’d take it from you.” Peter said with a smile, a little bit sorry.

 

“What if I didn’t want her to.”

 

Laura paused, her eyes large. Peter knew she knew the answer. “She’d take it from you.” Peter says again.

 

“Oh…” Derek says quietly. Peter puts his arm around him and kisses his head. Derek smells like woodland, freshwater, pack and his inherent Lavender scent. It was endearing. “It’s ok, you don’t want to be Alpha. It doesn’t make you happy to have something no one else has.”

 

Derek nods, trying his hand at a smile. But mostly frowning.

 

“I don’t understand what any of that has to do with it.” Laura insists.

 

“Ah, well. The point is, Cora would be the next rightful inheritor of the Alphahood. But what happens if you don’t die Laura?”

 

“Then I’m the Alpha.”

 

“Yes, but what happens to Cora?”

 

“Nothing, she’ll be my Beta.”

 

“Exactly.”

 

Laura thinks about this some more, she’s quiet for a while as they walk back. Derek is the one who breaks the silence, asking Peter about whether they would have eaten the fox if they had caught it. Peter tells him it's not really worth it. The best part is always the hunt with foxes.

 

“If my mother had died before becoming Alpha, you would have been in line for the Alphahood.” Laura finally says.

 

“Of course.”

 

“And now you’re her Beta.”

 

“That I am.”

 

“Did you fight her?”

 

“I did.”

 

“And lost.”

 

He gives Laura a very even stare, “only just.”

 

Laura nods, “so Cora, she’ll fight me.”

 

“And she might win.”

 

Laura nods again, thinking about it. Derek rolls his eyes, “you’re right. I don’t want to be Alpha. It sounds like a waste of time.” Peter loves him too.

 

“Will you teach me how to fight?” Laura asks, her eyes shining. Some of that ferocious determination is back. Even if her ego is a little bruised. Peter kisses her head as well. Blood, embarrassment, pack, lemongrass. Talia’s children had been a beautiful addition to the home, Peter could never begrudge her for giving the pack such sweet smelling children.

 

“Of course.”

 

When they get back to the camp, Laura has left them a small deer to eat. She’s grinning ear to ear. High from the glory of winning a competition. He laughs. “Alright, clean up is on me and Derek”.

 

It’s an interesting trip.

 

**

 

Stiles is delighted by the long texts Peter sends him. He reads them once he's out of class, before he heads over to Scott's to hang out.

 

"You gonna finally tell me who has you so happy?" Scott asks as soon as he sees him.

 

"I just walked in the door!" Stiles tells him. "I haven't even sat down yet!"

 

"But you've been grinning at your phone for weeks and today you smell like sex, so spill."

 

Even though he knows it won't do any good, Stiles tries to sniff himself. He smells like a shower.

 

Scott shakes his head and laughs. "Not recent sex, but… yeah, I can tell. So tell me what's going on. You're happy. I want to know who it is that has you like this, man."

 

Stiles has thought this over a lot, knows what to say without giving too much away. "His name is Peter, if you absolutely have to know."

 

"Yeah, so how'd you meet? Do you take any classes together or…?" Scott trails off, giving Stiles room to share.

 

"No, he's out of school. But we go to the same coffee shop just off campus," Stiles says. It sounds like they met there. Stiles is pretty good at lying to Scott. The trick is just not to lie but to lead him around to the untruth. Say one thing without meaning what they think you mean. Stiles would enjoy it if it didn't mean he was tricking his best friend.

 

"Okay. And?" Scott asks.

 

"What, you want to know the whole thing? He's hot. I got his number."

 

"Good for you," Scott says, looking really enthused.

 

Stiles rolls his eyes fondly. And then, because it doesn't hurt to say this much, "I really like him."

 

Scott and Stiles spend some time munching on snacks and gaming, just generally unwinding from the week.

 

"You headed out now?" Scott says after a few hours, when Stiles is stretching and considering just that.

 

"Mind reading now?" Stiles jokes.

 

"Nah, your scent changed," Scott says. "You going to your dad's?"

 

"Yeah, I think I'll spend the night over there," Stiles tells him.

 

"You telling him about Peterrr ?" Scott teases.

 

"Probably," Stiles says, and ducks his head a little. "I think it's going to be a thing. More than just… a regular thing. A-"

 

"If you say 'thing-thing' I'm gonna laugh at you, bro or not," Scott warns.

 

Stiles opens his mouth, then closes it again. "How 'bout I just go now?"

 

Scott laughs. "Yeah, I thought so. Okay. Maybe next time you'll tell me more about him."

 

Stiles makes a face. He isn't being secretive on purpose. It's just habit.

 

His dad's house isn't far from Scott's, but thankfully Stiles has had much longer to rehearse what he's going to say. Unfortunately, that all falls apart once they're sitting down in the living room and Stiles opens his mouth.

 

"I told Peter about my gift," he blurts.

 

His father sits up straighter. He frowns and nods, says,  "I think you'd better start at the beginning, son."

 

So Stiles does. He tells him about the visions he'd only touched on telling about in the past. The ones about the fire he had had for months. He hadn't told his dad any specifics in the beginning, or at all, really. Now Stiles tells the whole truth, every detail. Well, not about what he knows happened to Kate Argent. He lets his dad fill in those blanks.

 

Everything else, though. The visions of fire night after night. Of the whole Hale pack-

 

"They're werewolves?"

 

"Yeah, let me get to that…"

 

-burning to death at the hunter's hands.

 

"I knew I had to stop it. And I did. But then something made me keep the phone, and when he got in touch I kept reaching back," Stiles says.

 

His dad nods, taking in every detail. Listening with a detective's ear. "I know how dedicated you've been to keeping your gift a secret."

 

"Mom was too, but she told you," Stiles reminds him.

 

His father's face goes soft and sad. "I'd already figured out a lot of it before she did, though. She may never have said a thing about it if I hadn't been suspicious."

 

But Stiles shakes his head. He knows better. "She would have told you. She wouldn't have wanted to keep it from you."

 

"Even if it meant her safety?"

 

Stiles bites his lip. Lets out a breath. "It was scary to tell him, I can't say it wasn't. Even right now, thinking about someone else besides me and you knowing… it's still scary. But it was a relief, too. And I'm glad I did. Because… I didn't want there to be anything that big in the middle of us."

 

His dad raises his eyebrows. "That serious?"

 

Stiles pulls back and rubs the back of his neck. He can't meet his dad's eye. "I don't know. We've only met in person the one time and it's probably way too early to be saying it's serious , but. Yeah?"

 

"I knew your mother was the one for me before I ever asked her out. I fell hard and fast and never stopped," his dad says, a smile on his face while his eyes are far away.

 

"I'm not sure how he feels…" Stiles says, though that's not entirely true. Unless Peter waxes poetic about everyone's scent the way he does with Stiles, there are some pretty strong indications that Peter's fallen the exact same way as Stiles has.

 

"I guess your mother never had that problem," his father says, smiling. "Her empathy would have given me away."

 

Stiles thinks about how Peter reacted to his revelation. "That never scared you? You didn't worry about what else she might be able to do?"

 

"I knew my own mind. It was your mom who was scared. She worried about how I would take it when she told me. But I never… Look, I was terrified for a long time. But not of what she could do. From the moment I understood what her gifts meant, I was scared for her. The same way I worry about your gifts."

 

"Like about people finding out?" Stiles asks.

 

His dad shakes his head. "I see what your visions do. I watched you for months while you were having visions of this fire, and I didn't know what they were showing you but I saw what they did to you, kid. You were a mess. But I stayed out of it, because your visions belong to you just like your mom's gift was hers."

 

Stiles wonders if he'll ever have a biological child. He could, with a surrogate maybe. One day. He wonders if his mom ever had second thoughts about bringing him into the world, a child who could be born different thanks to genes or inherited magic or whatever it is that gives him his visions. He wonders how she felt after he came to her with his first vision, back when he thought it was just a weird golden nightmare. Was she sad? Proud? Did she worry the way his dad worries?

 

She never told him and now he'll never get the chance to ask.

 

"So he took it well, I'm assuming. You don't look like you got hit by a truck or anything," his dad says, interrupting his thoughts.

 

"Once he got his head wrapped around it," Stiles says. He can't help the smile that breaks out on his face.

 

"I'm happy for you, kid."

 

Stiles spends the night with his dad and heads back to his own apartment the next day. His pillow doesn't smell as strongly of Peter now, and he'd like that to change.

 

He rereads the long messages Peter sent and sends back his own.

 

Out of touch is fine - thanks for letting me know ahead of time. I've gotten a little attached to your texts and calls and if you'd stopped without warning I'd have worried.

 

I spent some time with my best friend and then my dad.

 

My bro wants details he didn't get, but my dad and I had a nice long talk. Good stuff. He'll probably be inviting you over for dinner some night soon so be forewarned.

 

The other stuff you said - not the sex stuff, but the feelings stuff - I'm not as good with words as you are, not with this. But I like you, too. It scares me how much I trust you. I worry maybe I trust you too much, but then I think about you and I know I trust you just the right amount. You're worth

 

-and here Stiles is stumped, because Peter is worth everything.

 

You're worth me being vulnerable because I know you won't use it against me. I keep thinking it's way too early to trust this much or feel this much but that's just my brain. My heart

 

-and here Stiles is about to break into hives but he's got to say it

 

My heart says it's the perfect time.

 

Chapter Text

Getting back to the house after camping was an interesting affair. The kids were more relaxed, well worn from all their hunting. But there was definitely an air of intensity, especially from Laura.

 

She had been craving something to funnel her instincts into for weeks, to explain her would-be inheritance. Her passive stalking of her mother and increased dominance going wasted in the pack. Suddenly the task seemed harder but a worthier challenge to her now. Derek too seemed more content, reasonating on a more even level. Peter had never noticed before how much he relied on his older sister. Peter had always seen him as a lonely child, but really they had a healthy friendship together. Complimentary in a way that his and Talia’s had never been.

 

It was strange for Peter to be plugged into the pack like this. Not so much an outsider himself anymore. Peter, had you been a lonely child?

 

Peter thrums his fingers on the wheel on the way home, his eyes sliding to the glove box. He wanted to know what Stiles had said to him. It was silly really, how much the younger man played on his mind. But he felt like they were on the tip of something. About to fall over into something scary and exciting. Something worth the risk.

 

He managed to hold off until he’s home, a mug of milky coffee in front of him as he sits at their kitchen table. Derek has slinked upstairs somewhere, probably to sleep. They hadn’t done much of it last night, too excited and full from their hunt. Laura had sequestered Cora somewhere, and Peter can hear soft tones talking with her little sister.

 

We’ve got a lot on our plate now … I’m going to be the best Alpha for you … But I’d respect you if you wanted it too … I’ll teach you how to fight...

 

Peter opens up his phone, a smile growing on his face as he reads the message.

 

‘Yes, it is the perfect time. No matter how irrational it feels’ he tells himself.

 

He sends a message back straight away.

 

I cannot tell you how welcomed this message is. Just 24 hours without being able to contact you at will felt like a loss, but your heart filled confession is a balm to my wound.

 

To meet your father would be an honour. I’ll pack the claws away, and pretend I have never defiled his son in my mind or in your bed.

 

Peter can feel a smirk on his face.

 

Your trust is a gift I treasure and covet. I’ll do everything in my power to keep it.

 

How are you tonight my prince?

 

**

 

Stiles smiles at the texts once he reads them.

 

I'm good. I'm better for hearing from you. Tell me what you've been up to?

 

He doesn't usually ask about what Peter does with his pack, but maybe it's time he got to know a little more. It can't hurt to ask, at least.

 

***

 

Peter hesitates texting back, Talia is looming in the stairwell and the awkward flutter stop of his heart has her looking at him.

 

He sticks her tongue out at her.

 

I took my niece and nephew out for a camping trip. Fires, tents and hunting - oh my.

 

Talia walks past him, an empty mug in her hand and fills up their english kettle. Their broad eight hob stove needs matches to light, and the smell of sulphur and gas fill the air as she ignites.

 

It puts Peter’s teeth on edge.

 

**

 

Sounds like fun actually. I used to go camping with my dad sometimes. Probably not the same but we always had s'mores.

 

Stiles lays back on his couch and puts something light on Netflix. Comedy, maybe? He's not looking for anything he has to think too hard about.

 

After his mom died, Stiles and his dad stopped doing as much stuff together, at least the fun stuff. No more camping. More holding each other together. It makes Stiles want to drag out the old camping equipment from his dad's garage and ask his dad to go camping with him.

 

Maybe he will.

 

Stiles wants to break down and say I wish you were here , but he shouldn't be too clingy. Instead he asks about the future.

 

So when's our first date?

 

***

 

Peter’s heart races for a different reason altogether.

 

He doesn’t like doing this with an audience, but he knows he’d just be inviting Talia to follow him if he sequestered himself upstairs.

 

Is this you saying that passionate sex and chinese food doesn’t constitute a date?

 

Talia reaches past him to pick up his half empty mug of coffee to replenish it. He tries not to hold his phone tight as her hand gets closer to the cell.

 

**

 

Only counts as a date if the food comes first. C'mon, don't you want to romance me right? Lol

 

Stiles bites his lip. His fingers got away with him. Maybe…

 

He started to think maybe Peter isn't into romance , but that's ridiculous. Peter is very much a romantic. He knows him well enough to know that, at least. He just wants to know more. Everything he possibly can.

 

The man has him hook, line, sinker. Stiles can barely contain his fascination.

 

Not that I'm complaining about the way things went. Our first meeting was perfect.

 

***

 

Talia puts the replenished mug of coffee in front of him. Lots of coffee, a little water, and more milk than is reasonable. Never sugar. The same way he’s had it since he got back from college. She knows him.

 

She knows who he’s talking to.

 

I would love to romance you. Give me the chance I’d be at your door in a tux, ready to sweep you away for an evening.

 

He thinks of Stiles’ casual wear, and wonders if the younger man even owns a suit.

 

But if you prefer, I have a few ideas up my sleeve that have a more casual dress code.

 

Peter would be lying if he said he hadn’t been thinking up date ideas with Stiles since he left the man’s house.

 

**

 

I wouldn't mind seeing you in a tux, if only because I'd like to peel you out of it. But casual wear is more my style.

 

And ooh, I'm interested in your ideas. Can you tell me or are they a surprise?

 

Stiles grins at his phone, then has a sudden thought.

 

Hold on. Gonna send you something from a different number.

 

He grabs his own phone, his personal one, and sets the burner aside. This one is much better, and the camera on it is high grade. He snaps a selfie of himself (a few, just to get the right one) lounging against the couch, an obvious empty spot next to him.

 

Wish you were here and the picture is sent from his real phone.

 

***

 

An unknown number messages him, and Peter flicks to it, welcoming the surprise. Stiles looks gorgeous. Casual, unkempt and clearly lounging at home. He’s on the couch that he and Peter shared chinese food, tears and kisses. Peter wishes he was there.

 

The new number must be Stiles regular phone, for his non-seer use. Peter feels like he’s just been promoted. He saves the new number as ‘Stiles’ and hovers over the contact of the old one. It’s still saved on his phone as ‘the stranger’. Just to be safe he keeps it, it’d be good to know the number… Peter also doesn’t want to lose copies of all their previous conversations.

 

You look beautiful, as always.

 

He texts back. Talia is now sitting opposite him, staring at him over the top of her mug.

 

A surprise for now. Tell me when you’re next free. I’ll need a whole evening of your time, and if it was up to me, the chance to stay in bed with you the following morning.

 

Peter doesn’t want to push. They rushed into a sexual relationship when they met, but it’s not a deal breaker for him. He’s pretty sure he’d be happy to spend the night holding Stiles’ hand and scenting the man’s neck.

 

**

 

Stiles grins, excited to spend that much time with Peter. But he's got two big tests coming up and needs the rest of the weekend to study. Especially for Biology, because he wants to pull his grade back up to a solid A instead of a weak B. It's the principle of the thing at this point.

 

My weekend is shot... nothing but numbers, formulas, and brain chemistry to study... but Tuesday night through Wednesday morning I'm all yours, if that works.

 

He hopes it works.

 

And the thought of spending so much time in bed with Peter, sleeping beside him or in his arms, makes him grin even wider.

 

***

 

The phone buzzes again and Talia gives him a bemused smile. He was hoping that she’d end their little game of cat and mouse when she’d made her point, but alas she appears determined to get the issue on the table tonight.

 

“Talia… Come on.”

 

She rolls her eyes and takes a deep gulp of her tea, “exactly what I was thinking Peter. This has gone on long enough.”

 

“What exactly is ‘this’?”

 

“That’s what I’m trying to determine! And it’d be going much smoother if you would stop being so tight lipped.”

 

Peter rolls his own eyes and types out a reply to Stiles.

 

I can just about bear three more days. You should pick the restaurant though, make a table for two reservation for about 9pm & I’ll pick you up at 6.

 

“I’ve always kept my personal business private Talia. Normally you have more respect.”

 

“Normally you don’t keep pertinent information that could endanger our pack to yourself!”

 

Peter growls at her. She answers with her own, and the prickle of submission has him going quiet. It’s a dangerous game he’s playing, if he riles her too much she might force it out of him. Best to remind her how much she prefers to be civilised.

 

“Tell me Talia, when did you decide to switch to brute force as a form of leadership.” He spits cruelly. She looks uncomfortable and the sour taste of pickled embarrassment emanates from her.

 

**

 

You should know right now I've never been to a restaurant that requires reservations. But there is an Italian place across town I like that's quiet and makes a delicious lasagne. If you don't like lasagne we can do something else. What do you think?

 

He reads over Peter's text again, smiles, and sends one more

 

And three days feels like forever.

 

***

 

“I always know when you’re trying to manipulate me Peter,” Talia says with a put upon tone. She backs off all the same though, that they both recognise. Talia may always have her eyes open to Peter’s word games, but it didn’t stop them being effective. It worked when she was 18 and it works now she’s 38. Their nine years age difference hadn’t counted much when it came to wits.

 

“Someone needs to keep you from going off the deep end,” Peter says with a wink as he grabs his coffee and heads upstairs.

 

“This conversation isn’t over Peter,” she calls after him.

 

“This conversation didn’t begin Talia,” he snarks over his shoulder, taking the stairs two at a time.

 

Italian sounds amazing, although I clearly need to get you into some more upscale restaurants some time.

 

Peter closes his study door with his hip, taking a seat in his padded wooden chair.

 

His study door has a lock on it, and it is sound proofed better than his bedroom.

 

Stiles’ phone also has a camera.

 

It was however the middle of the day, and Stiles did just say he had revision to do, so it would probably be for the best if Peter didn’t raise the idea….

 

A three days wait before I get to kiss you again, does feel like torture. Especially now I know how breathy..

 

Peter deletes the second half of the text.

 

A three days wait before I get to kiss you again, does feel like torture. My mind is inventing all these creative ways I can distract you from your studies.

 

**

 

I'm going over the anatomy of a neuron - it wouldn't take much to distract me.

 

But Stiles is smiling, thinking of what those creative ways could be and wishing he and Peter were in the middle of those ways.

 

How about you send me an idea you have and I'll reward myself with it after another hour of advanced nervous system physiology?

 

***

 

Peter lets out a deep grumble growl of pleasure.

 

You’re testing my restraint when it comes to being sensible.

 

He gets up and paces around his study, trying to shrug off the urge to palm his cock.

 

Let’s just say an image to go alongside those breathy moans you gave me two days ago would be the perfect christening for this phone.

 

Peter pauses and sits back down, thinking about it.

 

This is your regular phone isn’t it? For your personal use. That’s where I am for you.

 

**

 

Stiles doesn't look even though he hears the texts come in. They make him want to study as hard as he can. So.

 

Neurons. Synapses. He's got this.

 

He does watch the clock a little too closely, and when his hour is up, he grabs his phone to see what his reward is.

 

He reads. Smiles. Teases Peter with a picture of him how he is, a little rumpled and tired, looking like he's ready to take a nap. Maybe with Peter.

 

Like this? Or something more revealing? And yes, you're in my life. It started to feel a little dumb talking to you on a burner and keeping you separate like that.

 

***

 

Peter had begun working on a translation an obscure rune based cryptogram from a book he had inherited from his grandmother. His father’s mother, the wife of an Alpha who should have been an Alpha in her own right. That’s the problem with Hales, so many potential leaders, you never knew what to do with them. Thankfully the inbreeding had mostly died off a few generations ago. If he was his great grandfather, he might have been forced to marry Talia. And then they’d all be dead.

 

He made a little progress, but then ended back at the start trying to work out how the verbs were conjugated. He had the feeling it was done via vowels, but since the vowels weren’t written down, that made the whole thing ten times more complicated.

 

He picked up the phone has soon as it trilled, smiling warmly at the sleepy image he’s rewarded with.

 

You look vulnerable and on low alert. You’ve revealed everything a wolf could want from you.

 

There’s more truth in his comment than he lets on. But his aim is to make Stiles smile.

 

**

 

Stiles smiles and bares his neck, takes a picture of his throat on a whim.

 

Everything?

 

***

 

Peter’s claws pop out. His teeth are threatening to follow suit.

 

‘Stiles, you fucking tease’ he says to himself.

 

I have a puzzle for you.

 

I have a very hard prick, and you have a very wet mouth.

 

But I’m also supposed to let you study for this test of yours.

 

Peter’s spare hand is just resting on his thigh. On a whim he flicks back to the image of Stiles’ neck. Peter might be imagining it, but it looks a little bit pink near the jugular. A mark perhaps from Peter’s ministrations a few days prior. Fuck he hopes so.

 

What am I supposed to do with pretty pictures like this?

 

**

 

Stiles reads and his own cock gets hard. His mouth waters.

 

Two tests he writes, fingers shaking just a little. God, he wants. He wants so badly.

 

He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Peter. He's never felt like this. Ever.

 

But he doesn't want his grades to suffer. He's trying to improve them, not tank them. So he says,

 

I'm going to be studying somatosensory tracts because I've got the Trig down pretty well now.

 

And if you send me a pic of that very hard prick I'll have something to look forward to for our date. Or after our date. Or whatever, maybe I won't be able to hold out and so I'll give you a quick blowjob in the parking lot of that Italian place I mentioned.

 

Yep. With the way Stiles is feeling, he'll be lucky if they make it to the restaurant at all.

 

***

 

Talk some more somatosensory tracts to me, it’s very hot (;


Peter laughs, at himself. At Stiles. He laughs in joy because he’s happy. And it’s such a gift.

Chapter Text

Peter turns up twenty minutes early for their date. Partly just in case Stiles was being sincere when he said he'd suck Peter off as soon as he got there, but also so he can gauge Stiles' mood on whether his plans are a good fit. If not, they can always go straight to the restaurant. 

 

He knocks in the door, scenting the air. Stiles is home, burnt sugar abounds. Probably getting changed.

 

Peter had opted to dress reasonably casual. A tight pair of black jeans and a midnight blue satin shirt. No tie.

 

He's quietly confident stiles will approve. The dressing down was for his benefit, to take off the pressure. It suited the activities he had in mind as well.

 

Peter knocks on the door.

 

**

 

Stiles jumps when he hears the knock. Peter's early. At least, it'd better be Peter. He's not letting anyone or anything get in the way of his date tonight.

 

He hasn't decided on a shirt so when he answers the door he's got one arm in a white button shirt but only one arm and none of the buttons are done up, of course. He probably shouldn't be answering the door in such a way but… it's Peter. Stiles can't possibly wait the extra minute it would take to finish dressing.

 

He opens the door and grins at Peter, but then his mouth falls open as he takes in how gorgeous his date is. "Wow. You look good enough to eat."

 

***

 

“The desired effect,” he swoops in and claims Stiles’ mouth. Nipping playfully at the pouty bottom lip and enjoying the way their proximity amplifies Stiles’ scent. Showered, clean, but still him. Free from any interfering cologne or deodorants.

 

“Mmmh, you smell good enough to eat.” He growls. There’s a pinch of mercury in the air, suggesting that something about their touch has been mystical. Peter inhales it like a treat.

 

“I’ve been waiting for this since I left.”

 

**

 

Stiles kisses back enthusiastically and gets two solid, consecutive flashes. His hands come up to steady himself, fingers clenching tight in Peter's shirt. He sees this, them, smiling in front of the restaurant they're going tonight. Peter is wearing this exact shirt. And then darker, more visceral, a vision of Peter's eyes burning bright, blood smeared across his face. Kissing him desperately.

 

Stiles isn't sure which one thrills him more. The promise of a sweet moment together tonight or of something more violent and yet just as pure.

 

He opens his eyes and takes a breath, looking into Peter's face. He grins. "Gimme a minute, gotta grab a shirt."

 

***

 

Peter lets him run off, muttering, “You're welcome to stay half dressed.”

 

He looks around Stiles’ apartment. It's small but homey. Decorated on what was obviously a student’s budget but littered with nicer pieces. Probably from the family or donated. Peter likes it. The first time he was here he was on high alert and perturbed by how much the place smelt like wolf.

 

Stiles’ best friend. Platonic. Apparently had no idea about Stiles’ seer abilities.

 

Peter felt pleased that he’d been allowed into the secret inner circle and the other wolf hadn’t. It was petty but gratifying all the same.

 

When Stiles finally returned to him he was fully dressed. Still casual, even compared to Peter’s dressed down look, but attractive all the same. Peter would lament the first time he’ll see Stiles in a tie, as it would hide some of that gorgeous long neck.

 

Compulsively he drags Stiles into his arms, giving him access to the man’s jaw. He kisses there playfully. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how you taste.”

 

He relinquishes the man, giving him some space.

 

“My car okay?”

 

**

 

Stiles grins. "Yeah… you can meet Roscoe another day." Peter's heard about the Jeep already and probably read between the lines that it's not the most dependable vehicle. Stiles wouldn't mind getting stuck somewhere with Peter, but he'd also like this night to go well. First date and all.

 

Stiles climbs into Peter’s car and let’s the man drive them to their first destination.

 

"So I know it'd just be rude of me not to offer to blow you before dinner after bringing it up the way I did, but if you're okay with waiting so am I." Stiles says this with an innocent look, and it's truth that he'd go for it in a minute, but there's also something to be said for savouring the time they spend together and waiting until later to get off.

 

...But then if Peter came now and it would probably make things last longer later, and that might be worth looking into. But no, Peter's a werewolf and doesn't really have any problems in the stamina department.

 

Stiles realizes he's drifted off into fantasy land for a moment and missed what Peter said.

 

He blushes. "Um, can you repeat that?"

 

***

 

Peter’s laughs deep and genuine, “I was telling you how much stronger your scent is when you’re talking about sex.”

 

He reaches over the console and squeezes Stiles’ wrist. It’s hard to resist when Stiles smells so sweet.

 

He grumbles in enjoyment when Stiles clearly becomes even more aroused.

 

“You’re a delight.”

 

The journey to Peter’s surprise date venue is quick, and he pulls into the parking lot a low building with a petite garden on its right side ahead of them.

 

“Okay, a little unorthodox but this is what I spend my Tuesday nights doing.” He says with a smile. They get out the car and walk to the door, Peter itching to take Stiles’ hand.

 

The sign above the door says Beacon Hills Cat Rescue centre. The main door is closed at this time, but he takes them to the side where the staff entrance is.

 

“So, how do you feel about a few hours petting cat rescues?” He has a soft smile on his face. A little vulnerable as he shows the softer parts of himself.

 

**

 

Stiles grins. "Oh my god, seriously?" He takes Peter's hand and squeezes, but that's not enough. He leans in and kisses his cheek for good measure. Nope, still not enough. "This sounds like a lot of fun," he says, and kisses Peter for real, though it's short. He's too excited, ready to get in and see the cats.

 

Peter holds the door for Stiles as they go inside the building, and Stiles can't keep the smile off his face.

 

"Scott works at an animal hospital but he rarely lets me play with any of the patients there. They're usually recovering from one thing or the other. This is so much better."

 

***

 

Cats.

 

Cats and kittens everywhere.

 

It’s truly one of the best stress relievers in the world. And this comes from a man who sometimes shifts into a wolf and hunts deer.

 

Cats are truly a gift, Peter loves them.

 

He heads Stiles over to a coop of kittens with their surrogate mother. Only two of them look like her, the rest are a mismatch of colors and sizes.

 

They’re big enough now to run around, but not old enough to stop themselves from falling over.

 

As soon as they step inside the little balls of fluff run at them. Trying (and failing) to climb up their legs.

 

Peter scoops up a tabby and hands it to Stiles, “so… I take it you approve?” He smiles at Stiles’ squeal of delight.

 

**

 

Stiles grins and pets the friendly kitten, scritching between and behind its ears. "This is the best first date ever. I'm glad you brought me here."

 

He looks down at all the kittens and is definitely sad he can't hold more as he is. So he carefully sits down right where he is and lets them crawl all over him. He beams up at Peter. "Thank you."

 

***

 

Peter leans down to kiss his lips. Something chaste but meaningful, before settling down beside the mother cat to give her some attention. He is assaulted by his own army of kittens.

 

He’s glad he brought Stiles here.

 

“You’re welcome.”

 

It’s a remedy to how Stiles met him. The enforcer. The killer. The one who makes the hard decisions.

 

Even if he is a little bit embarrassed about his softer side.

 

“Did you ever have pets growing up?”

 

**

 

Stiles laughs. "You know those people who are allergic to everything? Tree pollen, grass pollen, dust, shellfish, peanuts, and any and all pet dander?" he asks. "That was my mom. It was awful because she loved animals and I would have loved a pet." He shrugs. "My dad worked too much anyway and when I was a kid, I had the kind of attention span that would make the responsibility of a pet seem like too much. So no, we never had one."

 

One of the kittens jumps over another one and Stiles is enthralled with their antics. He's thinking about how he's an adult now, with his own place, and his apartment isn't a no pet zone. Maybe it's something to think about. Not a kitten, though. He'd want a cat slightly less hyper.

 

"What about you? Any pets?" Stiles asks, his eyes falling on a beautiful Russian Blue watching from the sidelines. He holds out a hand and makes his best cat calling noise, a cross between a kiss and a click.

 

***

 

“Allergies,” Peter says with a smile, “such a human thing. Not that there aren’t things that a wolf could eat and die..” Wolfsbane, certain strains of mistletoe. Ingest enough mountain ash and a wolf isn’t going to wake up easily. “...but it always seemed idiosyncratic that some normal things would be so deadly.” He hopes he’s not patronising Stiles. If he was, he’d tell the man how brave he is. That when Peter hadn’t know who he was he thought ‘this must have been a great warlock, or demon, or fey’ because truly nothing so fragile as human would risks themselves like this.

 

“We’ve had a few dogs, wild things that lived on the grounds. The pack used to keep horses when I was young,” a cold memory of his father slapping him in the stables flitters through his mind. He moves on, “the kids have stick insects.”

 

Peter watches Stiles trying to interact with his feline friend. Typical that the young man would find what is precious to him so happily, “come on now Miss Genevieve -” he calls to the cat, “- you’re never going to get adopted if you keep this antisocial.”

 

The pretty short haired feline potters over to him, happy to slink past Stiles and brush enthusiastically against Stiles’ shin.

 

**

 

Stiles gets a flash from the cat, of Peter saving her from a feral dog in an alley one rainy night. He sees her dirty and skinny, then being brought to the shelter. He sees Peter visit her, on more than one occasion. Sees her react to him happily as she grows stronger and more healthy.

 

Stiles smiles. "Genevieve, huh?"

 

She's a beautiful cat. Stiles wonders why Peter hasn't adopted her himself, but then remembers he lives with his pack, and that bringing a personal pet in would probably cause problems.

 

"She loves you," Stiles tells Peter, watching the two interact.

 

***

 

Peter can’t help himself, he gives Stiles a horrifically vulnerable look. Like what he said was a gift. It frightens him how genuine it was. Not wrapped up in his usual charisma and charm. Just… Scared and longing, and hope.

 

He tries to hide it quickly, under something more wry, “she’s a silly thing. I saw her hiss at a young couple that wanted to adopt her once.”

 

It’s hard being invested in other’s happiness. They don’t always fold away neatly like you want them to. Their idea of the best decision and your idea doesn’t always go eye to eye.

 

Peter strokes her under the chin, enjoying the way she butts into his hand.

 

He wants to change the topic away from himself and his vulnerability.

 

“Tell me about this Scott. Who is a werewolf, looks after sick animals, spends loads of time in your house, and is definitely one hundred percent only a platonic friend.” He gives Stiles a cocky grin, like he knows he’s being ridiculous.

 

**

 

Stiles laughs and rolls his eyes. "We've been best friends since third grade," he says, "and that's all. No reason to get jealous or anything." He gives Peter an amused look. "Though if you wanna do wolfy things to make me smell more like you, or make my apartment smell more like you, I'm all for it." He has a sudden mental image of Peter rolling around on his couch and laughs to himself.

 

***

 

Peter had a very long list of ‘wolfy things’ he’d do to Stiles to make sure the younger man carried his scent. Only three of them were even vaguely appropriate for public consumption however.

He kisses Genevive on the head, and gets up (scattering a few kittens that had tried to sleep in his pants) reaching out a hand. “Let’s go visit some of the grumpy old ladies who can’t socialise with other cats.” He says with a smile, he has a soft spot for those cats too.

 

As Peter leads them over to the other part of the centre, he rubs his jaw on the top of Stiles head. He catches Stiles’ toothy grin and shrugs, “well.. Since you gave me permission.”

 

Peter is glad how the date is going nonetheless.

 

When they finally drag themselves away from the cats (how Peter had assumed that they’d only be there for an hour, he’ll never know) they make for a while against the car door, before laughing at their teenage antics, and climb back into the car. Peter types in the directions to Stiles' pick of restaurant. He's on a mild wolf high, happy and content that Stiles is smelling like him, and cat, and excitement. He has hours yet to enjoy his company. 

 

Chapter Text

“So,” Peter cuts in as they make their way into the restaurant, “I hear a meeting with your father is on the cards. Is this going to be scarier than when you inevitably meet Talia? Because she has built in weapons. Your old man got a glock hanging around the house?” How bad could it be? 

 

**

 Stiles laughs. And laughs. "He usually has his service pistol strapped on," he says. "And his backup piece, too. But you don't have to worry about that. He's going to love you. Are you saying your sister won't find me utterly delightful? I don't know what to say." He's joking yet at the same time he's slightly worried. If Peter's alpha doesn't accept him, what then?

 

He shrugs off the question. It doesn't matter. Tonight matters, and Stiles is hungry. They spent longer in the cat rescue shelter than he thought, and the whole evening of delight is in front of him.

 

The restaurant is simple, old school, with candles on tables and red checked tablecloths. They make great pizza and even better lasagna, among other things.

 

While they wait to be seated they sit close on a padded bench, and Stiles reaches over to hold Peter's hand. The touch doesn't bring any more visions, but it's a warm connection Stiles craves.

 

***

 

“Talia will love you when she actually meets you. She’s awfully personable like that. And she loves getting her nose into anything I’ve put off limits, so every little detail about me you give her will be like gold dust. You’ve got nothing to worry about on that front.” He knows though that Stiles isn’t just talking about meeting his Alpha. Even as Peter’s (sort of) boyfriend. Instead they were talking about Stiles’ role in preventing the fire, about his powers. Things weren’t always as easy as you wanted them to be.

 

The conversation moved on however, both eager to focus on the good. On the exciting possibilities of spending time together in person. Peter regretted ever telling Stiles they should go to more up market places. There was a closeness here, more intimate, that you didn’t get when you were paying the waiters a lot of money.

 

Good food, wine and charm was part of Peter’s facade. He did truly like those things, it was part of himself that he built when away from the pack. Away from his father… and then his sister… But, he didn’t need to put that on Stiles.

 

Peter leans forward and kisses Stiles’ forehead. “It’s such a gift to be so intimate with you in public.” His voice is a quiet mumble again Stiles’ temple as they wait, “so often my life feels locked away behind a door of secrecy. It’s a rare pleasure to spend time with you in the open.”

 

Secrets. It was a heavy burden they both understood.

 

**

 

Stiles blinks, touched deeply by Peter's bald honesty. He always is. Peter seems like the type to keep things close, to harbor his feelings where they can't be used against him. But he lets Stiles in, lets him know exactly what he's thinking, and Stiles always feels honored.

 

Stiles himself isn't as open about his feelings. Maybe it's the way he's been socialized, maybe his dad and he have spent too much time trying to stoically bear their burdens alone so they don't add to the other's. But it's not just the bad things Stiles has been keeping close, he realizes. He's not used to sharing his positive emotions, either. Jokes he can do. Sarcasm is no problem whatsoever. But the honest communication that seems to come so naturally to Peter is difficult for Stiles.

 

But he definitely wants Peter to know he feels the same way. So he gives it a shot.

 

"Keeping secrets about one thing makes me feel like I need to keep it all locked away," he says, "and I'm not used to this. I'm not used to having someone I can share everything with. It's scary. I know I've told you this, but… it's scary but it's good, too. I like that I can be open about everything with you, and…" He leans over again and kisses Peter's lips. It's quick, chaste, but he knows the open affection means as much to Peter as it does to him, if not more.

 

***

 

Peter is smiling. He can’t stop smiling, and it’s making him feel stupid and young. And he also can’t bring himself to care too much. They are only really a few years apart, but there are years of experiences that make them very different people. Peter had always thought that only another wolf would ever find a place in his world. Something as instinctual as a pack bond, something to snub the hold that Talia has on him. Recently however… all that is starting to give.

 

“Your father is a cop then. He must understand then why you help people. Your volunteered job isn’t entirely different from his. Although the means is different.”

 

He likes hearing more about Stiles’ world, it helps encourage him talk about his own.

 

Stiles is real. Stiles is safe. Stiles isn’t going to hurt him or his pack.

 

**

 

Stiles gives Peter a little grin. "You're looking at the son of the sheriff of Beacon county," he says, and can't help the lilt of his voice. He's proud of his dad and he's never hidden it. "So yeah, he's a cop." He laughs a little. Squeezes Peter's hand.

 

A waiter appears and shows them to their table. It's out of the way and intimate, just what Stiles was hoping for.

 

***

 

“Wow, am I glad we’re not in high school. Meeting my date’s father who is not just a cop but the sheriff ” he puts on a grandiose accent, but not in a cruel way, “would probably have been terrifying. Your high school dates must have had nerves of steel.” He’s smiling at Stiles, enjoying imaging the man younger. Possibly before the seer stuff. Probably just as loquacious and talkative, but maybe not so confident.

 

Peter’s eyes flicker to the wine list. Nothing amazing, but at least there was some decent red. “Red or white?” His eyes flick back to Stiles’ face taking in his reaction.

 

**

 

Stiles snickers. "Red, please. I'll let you choose. I can drink wine but I can't really choose it that well." He rests his head in his hand. "I didn't really date until college, actually. I had a huge crush on a girl from like elementary school onward and I was pretty focused on her until I got to know her and we got to be friends. She's at MIT now. We Skype occasionally and last time we talked, she'd finally gotten over her high school sweetheart and started dating again. She didn't spell it out exactly, but I'm pretty sure the new beau is a professor."

 

***

 

“I’m glad our relationship didn’t end tragically over wine choices.” Peter said with a smile, closing the menu as he knew exactly which bottle he’d buy.

 

“That sounds incredibly healthy and wholesome. I’m pretty sure if I saw my first crush now I’d feel slightly sick,” it didn’t help that said first crush was one of Talia’s friends and Talia had teased him mercilessly for it.

 

“Although I definitely did fuck a professor when at College.” Just that moment the waiter turned up, the young man’s cheeks slightly pink at interrupting the conversation. “Can I take your orders? Drinks?”

 

“A bottle of your Salice Salentino red,” it was good to know wine that didn’t need to be aged to give a good flavour, none of the bottles seemed like they were from a good year’s yield, but they were also under forty dollars, so it made sense, “and some antipasto for the table.” He said to the waiter.

 

“Are you ready to order food?”

 

**

 

Stiles can't help but be slightly aroused at the way Peter ordered the wine. It's ridiculous. Stiles doesn't care about wine at all. But Peter's voice caressed the words and his confidence is extremely sexy. "Um," Stiles says, blinking just a bit. He shakes off the inappropriate thoughts, reminding himself that Peter can smell arousal and now is the time for food, not sex. He looks over his menu again even though he's already decided what he wants.

 

"I want the eggplant parmesan," he says, and has a dumb thought that maybe he should have tried ordering something a little more fancy. Well. At least it's not pizza.

 

***

 

Peter enjoys showing off. He always had, he’s naturally vain and works best with an audience. If he didn’t have the responsibility to the pack on his shoulders, he would have minored in drama at College. He’d tried his hand at some plays, memorably played a gay homeless man in a modern rendition of Hamlet, and won a small award for a selection of monologues he put together for a festival.

 

It was a hobby he still yearned for, but he could appease the craving when he got to play his favourite game: fine wine, fine food, fine company. The night was a gift.

 

“Linguine Con le Vongole,” he told the waiter, “keep the nervetti on the table for our mains.” Peter had opted for seafood for his main, so he wanted to make sure the pressed beef cartilage starter was available. He liked fine food, but it didn’t stop him having a wolf’s palette.

 

He smiled at Stiles, enjoying the low set of arousal that answered him. “Do you have plans for after college?”

 

**

 

If Stiles didn't already know how good they were together, he might have been a little intimidated by just how fancy Peter was. As it is, it just gives him a boner.

 

He just hopes Peter doesn't mind that he's anything but fancy himself.

 

"I used to think I wanted to be a cop, like my dad. It's all I ever talked about when I was a kid. But now I'm looking more into the forensics side of things, which is going to make school a little tougher, but… we do what we've gotta do. It's still working with the cops and investigations, but harder." He grins. "I'm looking forward to it."

 

***

 

Peter bites his lip, “I was going to make a comment on the subject of a man in uniform; but I have the feeling you’ve probably had enough of that since you lived with a Sheriff.”

 

It’s still an appetizing thought however, “have you ever put one on?”

 

Suddenly Peter is jealous of Stiles’ powers - he rarely is of others, too in love with his own wolf abilities - but being able to see something from someone’s past… A little snapshot of what has happened. He yearned to be able to experience that.

 

**

 

Stiles doesn't laugh even though he wants to. "Well yeah. I think I was a cop for every Halloween growing up - except for the one year I was Batman. But not as an adult, no."

 

He suddenly has a wild thought of Peter meeting his dad and a photo album coming out. It's not a premonition but it might as well be.

 

"What did you used to dress up as for Halloween?" Stiles asks, suddenly curious.

 

***

 

Peter does a funny flip flop with his face, he hadn’t expected the question. He’s normally very good at keeping his less than happy reactions under wraps.

 

His father didn’t approve of Halloween growing up, something about it being a mockery to them. Talia had resented him for it more than Peter had, but he’d gone along with some of her rebellions. He bore the punishment for them too.

 

They celebrated the day every year now in Talia’s pack, “We normally have a party with a theme. And I’ll go along with that. Last year was classic horror films, I was Freddie.”

 

The wine and antipasto had arrived. He pours Stiles a class of the red and encourages him to try the bruschetta. Warm oil, sweet and drippy over the crisp bread.

 

**

 

Stiles notes Peter's initial reaction and doesn't ask. He's smart enough to figure it out. Peter doesn't talk about his childhood, but his more recent past. Instead of commenting on it, he nods and takes a bite of bread. It's good, and some oil drips down his chin.

 

Dammit. He laughs and grabs his napkin, wiping it away, then takes a sip of wine. It's delicious, as far as Stiles can tell. He's far from an afficianado.

 

"Freddie's a good choice. Sarcastic, funny... I'm not a big horror fan but those movies were entertaining."

 

***

 

Peter’s eyes dilated slightly as he watched Stiles tackle the oily bread. Sure, it was clumsy, but Peter relished the idea of Stiles slathered in oil.

 

He tries to push the thought out his head, they were doing the civilised side of their date right now. He’d save the sexual fantasies for later.

 

Their evening coasted well on good conversation and flirtation. He fed Stiles some of his dish, and encouraged him to drink as much wine as he wanted. Peter was well and truly designated driver, and with enough carb-y Italian food on the table, he wasn’t worried about getting Stiles too drunk.

 

Inebriation was always fun, but Peter liked Stiles sober and able to banter with him. As a werewolf that could kill most humans in the blink of an eye, he didn’t need to increase the uneven power dynamics by adding intoxication to the mix.

 

He was glad that Stiles indulged in dessert, as if also eager to keep this part of their date alive. He was worried that maybe it was just the intensity of emotions from the fire-that-wasn’t and the sexual chemistry that brought them together, but instead they fell in with each other so easily on a whole range of topics.

 

“I can’t believe I haven’t gotten around to asking you about books. I minored in English Literature and I don’t even know what genre you read.” Peter rolls his eyes at himself, “I promise I won’t judge.” He says with a smirk that is all teeth and teasing.

 

**

 

It's such an attractive smile. Stiles nearly throws himself across the table at Peter then and there. But he was asked a question and he's going to keep this date going until it's done.

 

He wonders how many marks Peter will leave on his body tonight.

 

"Honestly, I don't have a lot of free time to read lately. But when I do, it's mostly either fantasy or true crime. Though I do like good detective novels now and then, but only if they're well-researched - nothing pulls me out of a story faster than made-up forensics," Stiles says with a smile. "I like graphic novels and comics, a lot, too. I never grew out of that phase."

 

***

 

Peter isn’t really sure just what it was that Stiles said that made him think about it. Maybe it was the comic books, although Derek hadn’t read them in years. Possibly the true crime. Maybe it’s just the joy he’s feeling. There’s only so much happiness someone can feel before they start worrying about what can spoil it.

 

He glances to the nearest to them with guests, they aren’t close. Probably can’t hear them. This isn’t the venue for the conversation anyway, but Peter feels the need to forewarn Stiles anyway.

 

“I think.. I need to ask something of you,” strangely, he’s still smiling. Not the same delighted one as before, but because he’s happy. Happy that he can ask this of Stiles. “This is just a warning, to give you some time to think about what you’re going to say.”

 

Ignorance is bliss, but he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t ask.


“I need to know when you saw what was happening… I need to know what that-” his fist tenses on the table, and it’s only years worth of control that keeps claws from poking out, “ hunter” -  Peter needs to at least try to keep his cool. “I need to know what she did to him. My nephew… I’ve… Had the feeling that there’s been something missing from the picture. I need to know how far they got.” They. They as if Derek was a willing participant and not a child. “How far she got.”

 

**

 

Stiles freezes for a moment, then nods. "Okay. Let's pay the bill and go somewhere else," he says, certain Peter will need to be away from people for this.

 

Peter agrees and pays. Stiles doesn't argue.

 

They get to the car and Stiles knows Peter is thrumming with impatience. He'd been hoping Peter would wait until they got back to Stiles's apartment, but now it seems he needs to know now.

 

Stiles fiddles with the lock on the passenger side and that's when a vision hits. He sees a flash, of Derek this time. He's upset. He's sitting in the car with Peter. "They replaced her, " he says. His face is a mess of emotion, of grief and anger and disgust.

 

Stiles pulls his hand back with a wince. Peter is watching him.

 

He doesn't know how to say it. He can tell Peter is dreading his answer. But Stiles can't put it too mildly or it won't do the act justice. What Kate Argent did to Peter's nephew was rape, the boy was too young to consent, and he would never have done so if he had any clue the older woman was hunting his family, planning to wipe them out.

 

"I don't know how many times," Stiles says. "But she… used him. She did get that far."

 

***

 

Peter flinches. It’s all he can do.

 

It feels like Stiles has put a knife in his gut, and the fragile denial and doubt of what really happened has started to soak in.

 

Derek.

 

His Derek. His stupid little nephew, with awkward social skills, and good intentions.

 

He seemed so young, some children always did. Laura at his age seemed capable of taking over the world but Derek… He was such an awkward kid. He was the perfect weak link. Right under their noses.

 

“Did he..” Peter doesn’t really want to ask, he needs to. Needs to work out what Derek needs from him now, “Did he want to do it? Or was it her idea?”

 

Peter is holding himself so still. It’s the first time all night he isn’t looking at Stiles.

 

**

 

Stiles doesn't know what's worse, what happened, or the hunter having forced Derek into it.

 

"He's a teenager who thought he'd found his first love. She manipulated the hell out of him, but she didn't force him. She probably made it seem like it was all his idea." He can still see after-images of Derek's stricken face. Poor kid.

 

***

 

Peter nods. It makes sense. Derek’s confusion, his anger. The way realisation and rejection had set into his bones. He hadn’t wanted to talk about it with anyone, the only way they had managed to bring him out of his shell again was approaching him on his own terms. Showering him with love and acceptance.

 

It was probably time to start having that conversation now though.

 

Before the rot set in, before Derek is unable to trust people. Before he worries if they ever found out what happened they would hate him.

 

Peter accepts that this is probably what he’d been building to all this time with Derek.

 

He crumples, a little.

 

He cups his face with his hands and just wants to hide from it.

 

“Shit,” he says, letting out a long sigh.

 

**

 

Stiles lets him hide for a moment, before reaching out and stroking over Peter's hands. "Hey. Hey." Softly. Gently. "It's going to be okay."

 

He realizes that sounds… patronizing and dumb, maybe. But he really does think Peter - and Derek, of course - will be alright. And sometimes that's what you need, for someone to look at you and promise things will get better.

 

Peter lets him take his hands away from his face, and Stiles gives him a solemn smile. "I promise. It's gonna be okay."

 

***

 

Peter stares at Stiles like he’s offered him a lifeline.

 

White light his brain tells him.

 

“Can I?” Peter asks, and Stiles nods, even though Peter doesn’t even really know what he was asking for, but in the end he just brings Stiles in close to kiss.

 

He wants to tell himself that Stiles has seen the future, knows that Derek is healthy and happy and none of this has affected him.

 

He doesn’t ask though, instead he just kisses all his soft vulnerable feelings into Stiles’ mouth.

 

Peter's hand cupping Stiles’ face, keeping him close, as Peter kisses the younger man like there’s a prayer on his lips.

 

**

 

Stiles remembers he was going to tell Peter about the vision he had, where he's taken and bound, but…

 

Now's not the time. Maybe later, if the date goes on. Maybe tomorrow.

 

Now, Stiles kisses Peter back with all the gentleness he can muster, and pours his soft, protective urges into it.

 

"Come home with me," he whispers. "Just… come be with me for a little while."

Chapter Text

“Yes,” Peter sighs back. “Anything, even if it’s just you, just this. Yes.”

 

His brain is telling him that he has to at least stop kissing Stiles if they are going to drive home and do just that, but he doesn’t quite want to let go.

 

Peter scent marks him, rubbing his jaw against Stiles’ scalp. He wants to tell the slighter man what it means to him. How close he feels. How this feels right , like pack, like home.

 

“Yes,” he says again against Stiles’ skull.

 

He gives the man a little smile, “Although… I would not say no to more than just kissing.”

 

Peter would be remiss not to acknowledge the erection in his trousers. Not as stone hard as it has been in the past, but everything about Stiles just sets him alight with arousal and excitement.

 

**

 

Stiles grins against Peter's mouth and dives in for one more kiss. "Take me home, then. I'll just sit over here and fantasize about what 'more than kissing' might mean."

 

He laughs as Peter guns it out of the parking lot. "Careful, you don't want a ticket."

 

He wonders just how strong the scent of his arousal is in the confines of the car. He wishes he could smell or feel how affected Peter is, as well. And the closer they drive to Stiles's apartment, the harder Stiles gets, until he's uncomfortable in his pants and ready to run hand in hand with Peter to the bedroom.

 

Now that's a silly, overly romantic thought. He grins to himself.

 

***

 

Stiles tastes amazing. The memory of deep kisses on his lips, and the burnt wine flavour infused with his car. He feels like he’s going to remember this moment every time he sits in the seat: it was going to make school runs with the kids hard.

 

He brings them home, Stiles home , in record time. Playfully kissing Stiles as soon as they are in park. Peter knows he’s trying to shake off the vulnerability from before, maybe over compensating a little with playfulness, but it’s genuine.

 

Happy, I’m happy.

 

He crowds Stiles in as he unlocks the door. Taking deep drags in of Stiles sweet scent from his throat, and nibbling at his neck. “You’re going to have to give me some clear lines if you want anything but me pinning you against that door when we get inside.”

 

The door clicks open and Peter growls in pleasure at the idea.

 

**

 

Stiles moans at the sensations Peter's giving him and he can't think of one good reason why being pinned against the door and ravished could be a bad thing. "Anything, Peter. God. I need you."

 

He opens the door and pulls Peter along with him inside, and then Peter's on him.

 

***

 

Door closed. Perimeter safe. No one else in the apartment.

 

Peter is kissing Stiles, pushing him snug up against the door they just came in through. He does a supernatural patrol of the building, analysing every little sound and scent, making sure he’s safe to let his guard down. To focus on nothing but Stiles.

 

Stiles who smells like sugar and tastes like wine.

 

They’re safe, it’s fine. Now it’s just Stiles.

 

Stiles, Stiles, Stiles.

 

He drags one of the man’s legs up around his waist, letting him get closer. Push his hard erection up against him, like a request and suggestion. He wants Stiles closer, wants to fuck him through the door, and devour him whole.

 

Peter pins one of Stiles’ hands above his head, and grips the boys hair so he can lick deeply into the soft mouth.

 

He reigns himself back, “tell me.” He breaths out, excitement and want all repressed in his chest. Begging to come out. “Tell me my lines,” he needs to dial it back or he’s going to scare Stiles, “tell me what you’re comfortable with.”

 

It’s hard being an animal that confuses prey with mate.

 

**

 

"Perfect. You're perfect," Stiles pants against Peter's mouth. "Give me everything you have."

 

He gasps and arches against Peter, his own cock hard as stone.

 

Peter's eyes are glowing and it gives Stiles a thrill. He wonders if Peter even knows he's doing it.

 

***

 

Peter actually whines at that. Tucking his face into Stiles’ neck, to hide his excessive needs and to take in more deep breaths of Stiles.

 

He’s conflicted. He doesn’t want to scare Stiles, is so excited that every inch he gives Stiles the man seems to just readily swallow it.

 

Peter can’t stop thinking about fucking Stiles’ mouth. He’d cut the man off too soon last time.

 

Peter was used to being the monster in the attic for the pack, there was a reason why he has only dated one human. A human he kept everything a secret with, whom he always held back with.

 

He so desperately wants to just give Stiles everything, but he’s worried that it’ll be too far.

 

Peter drags Stiles’ other leg up, so he’s at the mercy of Peter’s strong arms.

 

“Your bed, I want to fuck you in your bed.”

 

**

 

Stiles is desperate for it, and Peter's words only make him need it more.

 

"Yes, please, now," Stiles babbles, gripping at what he can with his hands and nearly humping against Peter in his need to get more friction. "Want you to fill me up, want to feel you…"

 

***

 

Peter gets Stiles in the bed and begins the delightful task of undressing him. He just want Stiles to stay still , so he can kiss him, and taste him, and fuck him. But the younger man is aroused, and writhing, and reaching out to touch Peter too. He can only half complain.

 

He gets Stiles fully naked, wanting to see. Kissing down the man’s sternum, his teeth chasing lips, dangerously close to the thump thump thump of Stiles’ heart. Peter keeps swallowing Stiles’ words with kisses, dragging his fingers into all of Stiles softest places.

 

“You’re so gorgeous,” he knows his eyes are supernatural blue because they are reflected back at him from the blown black pupils of Stiles’ eyes.

 

Peter drags a hand down, bypassing Stiles’ hard dick, and cups the sensitive balls beneath. They’re warm and tight in his hand, and he pushes a finger up the centre to separate them. Relishing the moan he gets in response.

 

“There’s an unending list of things I want to do to you, but right now, I just want to fill you with my cock.” His voice is deeper and filthier than even he expected.

 

**

 

Stiles whimpers and writhes, his hips bucking up as much as Peter will allow. He likes that Peter's in control.

 

"Stop talking about it and take it, then," Stiles whines.

 

***

 

Peter growls at him, at the challenge. He cuts it off with a smile and a kiss, that quickly gets deep. He really doesn’t want to move away to get the lube, but there was no way that something this hard was going to make it gently inside the slighter man.

 

Begrudgingly he drags himself away to grab the lube. He’s still wearing half his clothes. Buttons and zips undone as Stiles’ grabby hands pulled at him, but there was something attractive about the thought. The increased power dynamics, Stiles soft naked skin brushing up against his clothed one.

 

But he wants to feel him, and there was something akin to a cheap fuck about keeping your clothes on. (An attractive thought all the same, but not what he wanted right now, maybe he and Stiles could play strangers one time.)

 

Peter sheds his clothes, slower than he wants to. Trying to enact a bit of control, tease Stiles over their neediness. He doesn’t bother to fold them however, climbing back onto the bed, pushing Stiles thighs open so he can sit in between them.

 

Without intent of pushing in just yet, he drags the head of his cock up Stiles’ cleft. The sticky tip brushing over Stiles’ entrance.

 

Stiles hands go to grip him, probably not in censure just in reaction to the stimulation, and it makes Peter grin.

 

“One day I would love to tie you down to this bed.”

 

**

 

Stiles shivers. "You could. There isn't much I wouldn't let you do to me," he says seriously. "Now either get to working me open or hand the lube over and let me do it. I fucking need you, you don't even know."

 

He can't believe the words coming out of his mouth. He's never this into sex, never this needy. Peter just brings it out of him and makes him want to just… roll over and take it.

 

***

 

Peter is nothing but obliging, pushing two slick fingers in just to make Stiles gasp. He loves opening people up for him, if he wasn’t so hard he’d consider using his lips and tongue as well. But he’d wait for that, for now just working Stiles open, his slick hand alternating between two fingers and his thick thumb. His other hand is keeping Stiles pinned to the bed, pushing low on Stiles’ stomach to stimulate his prostate from the outside as his fingers don’t quite press on the sensitive glans inside.

 

He makes Stiles babble, and its music to his ears.

 

The man is a constant well of surprise, every time Peter throws more of himself at him, Stiles just takes it and asks for more.

 

He makes the prep last longer than either of them want to, but he’s so hard, so keyed up , that he doesn’t want to risk hurting Stiles. Finally he slips both his thumbs inside Stiles’ entrance and opens him up for Peter’s cock. The little hole twitching as it gapes for him, wet with lube.

 

Finally, finally, he can slide his thick length in. Entering in one long push that doesn’t stop until his balls are flush against Stiles’ ass.

 

Fuck” he sighs, gripping Stiles’ thighs hard enough to bruise as the pleasure runs up his cock.

 

He wants to kiss Stiles, wants to devour him, but he holds still for now.

 

“Tell me when,” he grits out, “I can wait for you to get comfortable.” He believes himself 70% of the way.

 

**

 

Stiles whines high in his throat - he'd be embarrassed at any other time - and his head rocks back and forth. He's overwhelmed, there's a few moments of needing everything to stay still, but it's not long before he's ready for more. Lots more.

 

"Peter," he gasps, breathless and desperate. "Fuck me. I need it. Need you. Please, please, just give it to me…"

 

***

 

Peter fucks him hard. Long hard strokes, where his cock almost leaves Stiles’ body every time. It makes Stiles quake under him, shaking from the force of being entered. Peter can’t shake the idea of making Stiles feel him.

 

“You’re so good for me,” he growls, changing it up to quick jabs of his hips. The tight feel of Stiles channel dragging his foreskin over the head of his prick, dragging him ever closer to the edge.

 

He wants to make Stiles’ cum first.

 

Using one hand to balance himself he cups Stiles’ cock with the other, still slick from the lube. He jerks the slighter man’s cock, rubbing his fingers around the sensitive tip. Encouraging precum to leak from the tip.

 

“I’m going to make you cum all over yourself,” he whispers as a promise. Shifting his hips around until he can find the right angle to slide over Stiles’ prostate.

 

**

 

Stiles is too far gone to be embarrassed by the noises he's making. He can barely even hear himself, he's so far into pleasure. He loves this. Loves the way Peter makes him feel, and loves the way Peter has taken such complete control of his body.

 

"Close," he manages to say, possibly lost within a long string of unintelligible curses and choked-off sounds. He thinks he's crying, it's so good.

 

Every stroke of Peter's dick is hitting just right. Stiles doesn't stand a chance of holding out in the face of that. He lets out a low sob and then he's tensing and spraying his release everywhere, so hard it hits up to his chin.

 

***

 

Peter wants to hold the memory of Stiles coming undone beneath him in his mind forever. It’s beautiful in its own way, Stiles tensing up in what appears like pain but then whining out deep moans of pleasure. He smells gorgeous. Peter keeps up his steady rhythm through Stiles's orgasm. Not letting him miss a second of it.

 

Stiles mewls under him, once his orgasm is over. Softer and more pliant, giving Peter the ability to speed up.

 

He’s never going to take for granted the sweet pleasure that Stiles is sharing with him. He cums hard, his eyes flaring and his hand gripping the bedsheets hard so it’s not Stiles’ fragile flesh that takes the brunt of it.

 

His dick doesn’t go soft straight away, and grinds it against Stiles’, ringing more sounds from the slighter man.

 

“I hope you’re not too tired” Peter tells him, his voice hoarse from his own groans.

 

Finally he pulls out, turning Stiles over so he can get his hands on the fantastic ass available to him. Pulling the cheeks apart he dips down so he can lick over the puffy hole, sensitive from the thorough fucking they just enjoyed.

 

**

 

Stiles whimpers from the tender licking. From the thought of Peter eating his own cum from his hole. God, it's hot, and if Stiles could, he'd get hard all over again. As it is, his dick gives a sympathetic twitch.

 

But just because he's soft doesn't mean he doesn't enjoy it. Peter's thorough and greedy, and Stiles can't help but push back into it.

 

"Gonna kill me," Stiles tells him, though it's not a complaint. He can't help but laugh softly, even though it turns into another soft whine of pleasure.

 

***

 

Peter is never going to tire from putting things inside Stiles. His dick, his fingers, his tongue. He pushes in his thumb and presses against Stiles’ already sensitive prostate, the scent of another pulse of Stiles’ cum entering the air and Peter milks every last inch of sensitivity from him.

 

He gentles him after that, sympathetic to Stiles’ tired whines. He licks up the cum he’s encouraged from Stiles’ hole and then gives a careful nuzzle to the puffy flesh.

 

Peter would go again. He’d keep licking Stiles open until the man was hungry for him, and then he’d fuck into him slow and even until Stiles was begging for it fast. But the man seemed drowsy, wrung out already. And Peter had other pleasures to seek.

 

“Let me clean us up” he said as he slid off the bed, heading to Stiles’ bathroom. Washing out his mouth and returning with a damp cloth. Stiles had barely moved, which let Peter wipe down his cleft. The cloth cold and rougher than Peter’s mouth, and it makes Stiles whine in discomfort.

 

Peter turns him over and wipes down his front to. Taking care of him, cleaning his trembling stomach and delicately around the tip of his soft cock. Peter would do this with his tongue if he could, but the intention was to wind down.

 

Finally he throws the cloth away, bringing Stiles into his embrace.

 

“I don’t know what your plan was, but I’m thinking of sleep.”

 

Here, in Stiles’ bed. With no plans for tomorrow but waking up and having sex, and eating together, and talking more. It’s an image he’s longed for since they met.

 

Chapter Text

Stiles is happy. Peter must be magic because he somehow makes a full breakfast appear right as Stiles is waking for the day. The scent of coffee, syrup, and bacon wafts into the bedroom, perking Stiles up. He rubs his eyes, sits up, and then Peter is there with a tray.

 

"You're going to spoil me," Stiles murmurs sleepily, leaning over to give Peter a gentle kiss.

 

***

 

“That my dear is the plan.” Peter pushes his nose against the side of Stiles head and breathes. The slighter man smells like him, like their sex, like happiness. It all tastes sweeter than any syrup.

 

He watches Stiles eat, enjoying the feeling of providing for someone. Of making sure his little pack is safe.

 

Pack.

 

Oh.

 

It shouldn’t be a surprise. Not really, not with how he’s felt about Stiles this whole time. Not with his wish to branch out on his own away from Talia his whole life. Making his own little pack of two isn’t the worse thing. He’d felt that way about past partners (although, not like this. Not with a bond like this).

 

The problem was Derek and Laura, Cora too if he was honest. They were his pack too, and the uncomfortable slide of Stiles not wanting to know them (not feeling safe knowing them) rubs him the wrong way.

 

It’s Talia’s fault, he reminds himself. For always pushing, for never respecting Peter’s boundaries or trusting him. That lack of trust has vibrated all the way down the wire and Stiles had felt it. Backing away as far as possible as he could from even the idea of Talia.

 

Peter sighs, taking a mouthful of salty bacon. It’d be so much easier if he could just burrow his way into Stiles’ life and never leave.

 

**

 

"What's that for?" Stiles asks, hearing Peter's sigh. "Something on your mind?" He wipes his mouth and pushes the tray away. There's food left on it, but Stiles can't eat another bite. He picks up the coffee instead, smiling when he sees it's creamy and sweet. Perfect. He takes a sip while he waits for Peter to answer.

 

***

 

“Mmhh,” Peter hums. “Thinking of the good and the bad.” What a succinct way to describe himself and Talia. He pulls Stiles' chair a little closer to him, so he can nose against the man’s ear. Enjoy the way he can hear the blood gushing under the fragile skin of his neck. Kernels of mercury popping over his tongue, complementing the taste of breakfast meats.

 

“Would you like to meet the kids?” He thinks about it, Laura and her two parts gregarious friendliness, one part stubborn elitism. Bowling over Stiles with enthusiasm. Derek, reserved and cautious. Doubly so if he knew anything about Stiles’ powers, scared of what Stiles might know about him. That he might be judged for his inadequacies. Cora. Cute cuddly, and sometimes deadly, Cora. Currently permanently wolf eared, eager to climb on anyone who will let her. A bundle of love and affection.

 

“Not, now of course. But one day, how would you feel about that?”

 

**

 

Stiles has a short vision as Peter nuzzles his ear. It's so fast, there and gone before Stiles can really focus on it. It's good, though. A flash of fur, soft and warm. Stiles isn't sure who or what it belongs to, but it makes him think about the cat at the shelter. The one Peter rescued himself. Stiles doesn't mention it now, but he's decided. He's going to adopt her.

 

He smiles and thinks about Peter's question. Not now , Peter said, respecting his boundaries, understanding his concerns.

 

The truth is, Stiles would love to meet Peter's nieces and nephew. But he can't see himself doing that until their mother knew more about him, and Stiles definitely isn't ready for that. Doesn't know if he'll ever be ready for that. Kids are easier. Even werewolf kids are less dangerous than adults; human or supernatural, it's the grownups who scare Stiles. Kids don't have the same prejudices. And they don't smile falsely while plotting how best to use Stiles's abilities.

 

He knows he's paranoid. But he's had the nightmares all his life, and the cautionary tales his mother told him as a child were all true. She didn't have to make up fairytales to teach him his lessons.

 

Peter's pack is important to him, probably more important than anything else in his life. Stiles doesn't want to push himself away from such a big part of Peter. But he's wary for a reason.

 

"One day," Stiles says, the only answer he has.

 

***

 

Peter is given a few hours with Stiles before Talia rains on his parade.

It was still a really enjoyable few hours. He gets to shower with Stiles, and rub his scent all over Stiles’ clean hair. Being away from the house if often a ticking clock however. For when he needs to go back, needs to play his roles again, needs to carry on the dance he and Talia have been doing ever since he declared he was keeping something for himself.

 

The phone rings, and Peter warns Stiles to be quiet, because Talia will definitely be able to hear him.

 

“And I need to come back right now?”

 

“Yes Peter. Right now. You’ve already missed two of my calls.”

 

Peter cards a hand through Stiles hair, the younger man had fetched some of his College work and was reading something suitably academic. He knew that Stiles was also trying to listen to the conversation, but that was to be expected really.

 

“Okay, I’m on my way.”

 

He hangs up before Talia can demand anything else from him, leaning forward so can push his nose again behind Stiles’ ear. It’s his favourite place, he’s decided. For now anyway, when Stiles is naked he tends to have a longer list of favourite spaces.

 

He sighs a hot breath over the skin, enjoying the way Stiles reacts as if it tickles. He doesn’t want to say good bye right now. He doesn’t want to say, ‘we’ll make some time again soon’ and not really know when it would be best to fit him in. Peter feels like the weight of everything is pushing down on them.

 

“You know what I’m going to say now.”

 

**

 

Stiles nods and kisses Peter hard and deep. He doesn't want this to end, doesn't want to give his werewolf up for the day and until they can find time again. But he has to.

 

He doesn't say he'll miss him, doesn't say how he feels. He's pretty sure that's a given at this point.

 

"Be safe," Stiles says. "Don't drive like a maniac just 'cause you're pissed off." He smiles, kisses Peter again.

 

***

 

The drive back home is long, but Peter is savouring every moment of it. Like every minute is a buffer between what he has with Stiles, and Talia. She didn’t give any details on the phone about what this is about, which could be due to two things: she didn’t want Peter to try and convince her he doesn’t need to come home; or that she’s wary of the ‘mystery person’ hearing it.

 

More time, he just needs to give himself and Stiles more time.

 

He gets home and all the kids are still at school. He resents how early is, as it reminds him how he was ripped away from Stiles before even lunch could come around. ‘Imagine the luxury of spending the whole day with your lover’ he snorts to himself. Keeping anything that separate from the pack would be impossible however. No matter where he goes, he’ll be dragged back here.

 

Matthew walks out the door from the workshop and slaps him on the back. “You smell like you’ve had a great time.”

 

Peter muses that perhaps sucking Stiles off in the shower hadn’t been the best move, but at the time he hadn’t planned to come home only an hour later.

 

“Do you think she’ll let me sneak off for another shower before I have to talk to her?”

 

Matthew rolls his eyes and ruffles his hair, like he’s an unruly kid. It’s to be expected, no matter how many times Peter tries to lure the man into siding with him against Talia the man never capitulated. It made him a good Beta husband. The kind of endless loyalty that an Alpha would need to count on. Peter didn’t begrudge him, it was for the best.

 

“She’s dealt with worse. We had to live with you every summer you came back from College remember?”

 

Peter did, before making a go of it in a relationship he’d been making the most of being free to hook up with whomever he wanted and being away from the pack. Some of that glee had slipped over to the summer as well, and thus resulted in him keeping up a healthy sex life. It was a simpler time, disappearing for nights to other people’s bed and turning up at the table reeking of sex. Talia shouting at him for his behaviour, for not being considerate of the kids.

 

He doesn’t miss it though. Even if he wasn’t currently with Stiles.

 

He feels his fingers itch to text him. To tell him that this is exclusive, at least on his end.

 

Instead he sighs and heads to Talia’s office.

 

**

 

Genevieve is still available for adoption when Stiles gets to the shelter. Good. Not that he thought she'd be adopted in the short time Stiles has been away, but he did have a little irrational fear that she would be.

 

She's smart. Seems to remember him, and maybe it's because she smells Peter on him but maybe not. Stiles can't wait to surprise Peter. "Ready to go, girl?" he asks her, after signing everything short of his life away to adopt her.

 

Thankfully, she doesn't seem to mind her carrier while Stiles drives. He doesn't want to leave her in the Jeep when he goes into the pet store, though. So… he carries her inside in his arms. Stiles is grateful she seems to like him and doesn't scramble to get down.

 

He carries her with one arm while he steers the cart with the other. It's a little awkward, but they manage to pick up dishes, cat food (wet and dry for variety) and lots of toys, plus a scratching post because Stiles doesn't have much, but he'd like to keep what he has in one piece. He's on his way to the checkout when he slaps his head.

 

"Right. Litter box," Stiles says, and turns the cart around. It's a little difficult and he looks at Genevieve. "You think you could sit and ride in the cart for me?" He puts her up front carefully, keeping a hand on her. She doesn't seem inclined to jump out, so Stiles scritches behind her ears and coos at her, telling her what a good girl she is.

 

Genevieve doesn't seem to mind one way or the other. Her expression is slightly bored. Stiles laughs. He likes her.

 

He picks up a litter box, a scooper, and some litter that claims to freshen up with every step. Stiles has his doubts but he gets it anyway.

 

He puts the cat back into the carrier while he drives back to his apartment. He can't wait to show her around. He's sure she'll smell Peter, too. Maybe she'll like that.

 

***

 

“You’ve been busy.” Talia comments as he takes a seat in one of her hard back chairs. She’s behind the desk, donning a role of professionalism. It tells Peter that she’s not looking to play sibling games and he’s sitting here in front of her as her Beta. Her enforcer. He feels the role settle over him as relaxes into the chair.

 

“I had some free time to play with.” Peter says back evenly.

 

He doesn’t ask Talia what this is about, refusing to give her any help in making this go smoothly. It’s a game Talia knows he’ll win.

 

She gives him a small smile, knowing that they’re starting up this tournament again. He raises an eyebrow.

 

She scents the air, “He’s younger than I thought he’d be. Although that is your type. Young men. Easier to control.” Her gaze is steady the whole time.

 

It’s a direct hit. Peter can feel his heart rate knock up slightly, and a mixture of that wasn’t yours to know and I don’t need to control him flavored anger ripples under his skin. It makes Talia smile more. It’s rare she gets to undermine him like this.

 

Peter lets got of the chair’s arm rest, he wasn’t sure when he’d started gripping it.

 

“I guess I’m predictable.” They both know that’s a lie, “That should assuage your concerns.”

 

She smiles at him again, “Is he human? He smells human.”

 

Peter purses his lips, he really didn’t want to do this. “He’s human. That’s my type as well.”

 

“Tell that to the random Alphas I’ve had to call up in the morning explaining that my younger brother fucking half their pack isn’t a sign of aggression.”

 

Peter smirks. This is safer ground, there’s nothing here Talia can unbalance him with. “Well, there was definitely some aggression.”

 

Talia rolls her eyes, before setting them back on him. “Is this what you’re doing? A second childhood? Fucking around with fire just to prove you can’t get burnt?”

 

Peter scowls at her, disliking the metaphor. “I’m not the one who brought fire into this house.”

 

Her scent darkens with sorrow, but she doesn’t dwell. “You’re trying to shirk your recklessness onto Derek’s shoulders now?”

 

Peter can hear the alarm bells that she’s goading him. That she said it on purpose to initiate an emotional response, that Talia herself doesn’t really think that. Unfortunately he bites anyway. “You know that’s not fucking true Talia.”

 

“Really? Because I’m trying to work out why you’d spend time with someone who might be involved in the plot to kill us all. That doesn’t sound like Derek’s best interests.”

 

Stiles' words from the night before, about how far the hunter touched his nephew bubbles like bile in his stomach. He needs to calm down, he’s broadcasting all his reactions.

 

“He had nothing to do with the fire.”

 

“Does he know more than what you told me?”

 

It’s the right question at the right time from Talia, because Peter’s heart rate ticks up uncomfortably - too angry and unhappy from their conversation to hide it - confirming her suspicious. Talia looks a mixture of triumphant and furious.

 

“Nothing pertinent.” Peter growls out.

 

“You’re saying you know everything he knows?”

 

Lying to Talia is an art he has slowly honed over his many years. The first lessons came from his father: where being caught trying to mislead his Alpha would result in bruises that didn’t heal for a week. Talia had been a softer art, she had know him better than their parents, it meant carefully constructing mistruths.

 

The way his emotions were flying high made that neigh on impossible now, and she knew it.

 

He growls at her, “You remind me more of him every day.”

 

Talia narrows her eyes, “Who?”

 

“Father.”

 

“You shut your fucking mouth.” Her voice is sharp and absolutely torn apart all in an instant. 

 

If Peter was more in control maybe he would commend himself in evening the odds between them. But he was mostly acting out in defense.

 

The fact that Talia knows he’s not lying now playing in his favor.

 

Peter grinds his teeth, it was almost a direct order from his Alpha. A sloppy one. She’s too keyed up for it to stick. “Your belligerence is almost as pathological as his. He’d be proud.”

 

Her claws are out, and Peter takes an unhealthy pleasure in looking at them. Raising his jaw in response.

 

Prove me right Talia, I dare you.

 

She let’s out a shaky breath, breaks their eye contact, and gives them both a minute to calm down.

 

Peter keeps his mouth shut.

 

“Okay.” She says, more to herself before looking at Peter, “Okay. I guess I was playing with fire myself just now.”

 

Peter keeps his mouth shut.

 

“I’m trying my best here Peter.”

 

Peter is trying to keep his mouth shut, “That doesn’t mean what you’re doing is right.”

 

She pinches her lips.

 

Peter wonders what it would be like to have a good relationship with his Alpha. He’s never had one. Maybe that’s why he always yearned to be one himself. More than the power, or the ability to start his own pack. Talia would never understand that. Or maybe she did. She got out from their father and started here new life, with a family and Betas under her.

 

Maybe if their father hadn’t fucked up their lives so much, him and Talia would be good.

 

You’re not him.” Peter says. He doesn’t mean to let it out, Talia doesn’t really deserve the reprieve. But for himself he deserves it. Richard Hale was a cruel and backwards fuck, who reduced his kids down to assets. He had controlled Peter in a way that no one would ever do again. Talia didn’t deserve the insult nor the praise for her power.

 

**

 

"This is yours," Stiles tells Genevieve, pointing to the scratching post. "You can climb on the couch, but please don't scratch it up. That's what the post is for."

 

He doesn't know if the cat will ever decide the post is the most scratchable, but he hopes so.

 

He sets up her litter box in the bathroom. Puts out fresh water for her in her new bowl. He puts out a toy, and tells her it's all hers. Just the one, though. He doesn't want to spoil her.

 

He sits on the sofa with a textbook and notecards, making some flashcards for himself with various definitions. He gets distracted relatively early on just watching Genevieve prowl around, getting used to her surroundings. He hopes she approves.

 

He can't wait to tell Peter.

 

"Genevieve is a mouthful," he says after awhile. "But you're definitely not a Genny. Hmm. Vieve, Viva, Vivi. Can I call you Vivi?" The cat ignores him. Stiles sighs. "Well at least it's not one of those long names like Princess Ladybug Genevieve of Purrrsia." He grins. "Which I kinda like, actually. Maybe I'll call you that sometimes. Or just Ladybug. Don't tell Peter."

 

Eventually, Genevieve hops up on the couch and comes over to Stiles. She kneads his lap, which doesn't feel great with her claws but at least it's through jeans and not something thinner.

 

"I think you like me, Ladybug," Stiles says. And then he gets back to his studying. Genevieve falls asleep on his lap, and Stiles works around her.

 

***

 

Talia nods. She appears to know that he didn’t mean it as a compliment, but takes it as a relief all the same.

 

“I received a phone call from Chris Argent this morning.”

 

“What did he want?” The name Argent tastes like acid in his mouth.

 

“He told me he has information about the attack. He asked if we were contacted about it-”

 

“This means nothing, I even asked him myself if he knew who sent a message.”

 

“I know. He was being open with me, that he’d been investigating who might have known what his sister was doing-”

 

“And you trust this hunter more than your own brother?” His words are surprisingly wrought, and it takes them both back. Peter instantly regrets not saying the word pack or at least your enforcer. Unfortunately the emotions from before are still running high.

 

Talia however seems to relish it.

 

“I trust you more than anyone when it comes to the safety of this pack. And I have done for years.”

 

Peter can’t help the pleasure of his Alpha praising him, “But then?”

 

“But this is a threat. Argent told me he’ll get back to me soon, I’ve invited him here next week. I’m giving you five days.”

 

“Five days to do what?”

 

“To tell me everything you know on your own terms.”

 

Chapter Text

Stiles manages to fall asleep while studying. It's ridiculous, but something about Genevieve purring on him and generally being catlike was extremely soothing. They end up napping together for about an hour.

 

He wakes up to a rough tongue licking his thumb. It's not slobbery or gross so Stiles decides he'll allow it. "Are you kissing me or does my thumb taste good?" he wonders. It's a mystery.

 

He checks his phone, but there's only a message on there from Scott. He thumbs an answer, then considers texting Peter. Just to check in.

 

"Ladybug, what do you think? Should we text? Call? Find out what Daddy's up to?" Stiles asks the cat. Then thinks back over what he said and frowns. "Do not tell Peter I called him that. Ever. It doesn't matter if I only meant it like… he's your… never mind. Let's just keep this between us."

 

Genevieve slits her eyes at him and goes back to licking his fingers. Stiles takes that as assent.

 

"Good, we have an understanding. Now… how do we want to tell him about you?"

 

Stiles pets her, finding out quickly that she enjoys a good scritching behind her ears and under her chin. She purrs loudly. Stiles ends up getting it on video.

 

He shoots the video to Peter with a text.

 

Look who loves me now.

 

***

 

Peter is tired. The conversation with Talia was grueling, and appeared to go from bad to worse. After her declaration he knew there was no arguing, but he’d tried anyway. It was all a bit of a shit show.

 

Matthew had gone out to collect the kids, but had apparently taken them on somewhere. Probably for the best if Peter and Talia were still fighting.

 

Maybe if you were a better Beta and actually did what she asked.

 

He quiets the voice, the sound of a needy Beta wanting to be liked by his Alpha. Peter knew his principles and why he was doing this.

 

He sits at his desk chair, his head in his hands as he tries to even out his breathing. Getting so worked up was not useful to anyone.

 

The phone vibrates in his pocket.

 

It would be unfortunate that he had just spent all that time trying to calm down, when the contents makes his heart flutter. But he can’t complain when he sees the subject matter. He can’t do anything other than watch the video again.

 

He sends the text before he even really thinks about the contents.

 

I see my little pack of strays have found each other.

 

**

 

Stiles is more amused than anything. He is a bit of a stray, if he's completely honest with himself. He has his father and his best friend, but other than that he's sort of… disconnected. Or had been, until Peter.

 

"You see that, Vivi?" Stiles says, showing the cat the phone. She looks unimpressed and butts against his other hand. "What do you think he means?" He pets her between her ears, behind them, around her head wherever she moves it. "Demanding little thing, aren't you?"

 

Stiles thinks about the possibility of being in little pack with Peter. He doesn't think Peter would have said it if he didn't feel something like that. Pack is pack to werewolves, and while Scott has often called him his brother, he's never taken it to the 'pack' step.

 

"It's probably just a joke," Stiles tells the cat. "And I think I'll let it go. He can't really mean pack pack, right?" He puts his face against her fur and listens to her purring. He brings his phone up and takes a selfie with Genevieve, which is slightly more difficult to do than he thought. She keeps moving. He ends up taking fifteen different pictures, and sends the best one along with a text.

 

We miss you!

 

Stiles almost asks When are you coming home? but stops himself at the last minute. That's… too much. Right?

 

***

 

Peter wonders if he should regret what he said, but it feels good to say. Real. Honest. Like the beginning of a conversation he didn't even realise he needed to have.

 

He watches the video again, smiling at Stiles' voice and laughter as Genevieve licks his fingers. It makes his heart ache slightly.

 

Another text comes through. It's a photo. He has the ridiculous urge to print it out and frame it on his desk.

 

I miss you both too.

 

I realise what a cunning plan this is: now I have twice the reason to come knocking at your door.

 

Peter knows he's asked Stiles already about meeting his pack (his 'proper pack') and there was eagerness but also fear. It just feels slightly lopsided that their relationship only takes place in Stiles world.

 

Peter will deal, he understands the necessity. But he's beginning to realise how unfair it is for Stiles that so much of his life is cut off from him. He's been so busy trying to learn who Stiles is, make up for the fact that Stiles knew him before he knew who 'the stranger' was, that he didn't realise that there were limits on what Stiles could get from him.

 

It makes him sigh.

 

Talia's words ringing in his ears.

 

Five days.

 

Five days to put together what Stiles has told him in a way that protects him, in a way that convinces Talia this is everything he knows.

 

It isn't going to work, he knows that really, but he can try.

 

If he was a better man Peter would probably tell Stiles about the conversation, but for now he wants to keep their relationship protected.

 

**

 

Genevieve doesn't want to sleep in the bed with Stiles because apparently she'd rather stalk around the apartment, playing guard instead. That's fine. Stiles is used to sleeping alone.

 

But no matter how many times he has the dreams, he'll never be used to them.

 

They're nightmares, but Stiles is never sure if they're premonitions or not. He's had them all his life. He dreams of being found, caught, held captive. It doesn't help that he's been having similar visions during the day, either.

 

In his dream he's held in some way and can't escape. There are things tied to his hands. He can't see what they are, but he knows it's important. He can't run. He's chained, or caged, or…

 

He doesn't know. But he knows it's fruitless to try to escape. He's had the dreams since he was a child, and he knows there's no getting away. He feels so helpless, so alone.

 

He wakes up, too scared to scream. Genevieve kneads his stomach, little claws digging into the blankets. She mews.

 

Stiles is so relieved to be out of the dream that he feels like crying. He read once that trauma can be passed down genetically, and sometimes he wonders if this is what the dreams are. Leftover trauma from Seer ancestors who were taken and used the way he's always been afraid of being used.

 

There's no way of knowing.

 

He thinks of Peter, wishes he was there to wake up to. He knows Peter would hold him, would make sure he felt safe again. He always feels safe with Peter.

 

He looks at the clock. It's 4 o'clock in the morning. Too early to call Peter, but his dad is on shift tonight and Stiles can call him at work. Or maybe…

 

Stiles gets out of bed and wanders into the kitchen, Genevieve on his heels. He goes ahead and puts some food in her dish, then starts looking through his cabinets, seeing what he has.

 

An hour later, he pulls fresh oatmeal blueberry muffins out of the oven. Stiles isn't much of a cook, though he does what he can, but what he can do is bake.

 

"Not bad for five AM," Stiles tells the cat. "Will you be okay if I take off for a little while? You probably will. You've got your food, water, and the litter box. And toys if you get bored."

 

He puts the hot muffins in a basket wrapped up in a nice cloth and heads out. The drive to the station is relatively short. Myra greets him when he walks in. Stiles presents Myra with a muffin and she takes it greedily.

 

"Thank you, Stiles," she says, and waves him through. His dad is in his office, then.

 

He walks down the hall and knocks once on the right door, waits for the gruff, "Come in." He opens the door and sticks the basket through.

 

"I come bearing breakfast," he says. "Muffins for you."

 

"Stiles?" his dad asks, looking surprised but pleased. "It's a little late for you to be up and about."

 

Stiles walks in and closes the door behind him. He plops the basket on his dad's desk. "More like early." He sits down in a chair and pushes the basket closer to his father.

 

"These aren't bran, are they?" his dad asks, peeling back the cloth and revealing the muffins. "Oh, oatmeal blueberry." That is definitely a pleased expression on his face. He picks up a muffin and takes a bite. "Mmh. Good."

 

Stiles smiles. "Don't eat them all, now. There's enough in there for everybody."

 

His dad polishes off three muffins and sits back, taking a sip from a bottle of water. "So. Couldn't sleep? Nightmares?"

 

Stiles shrugs. "Same ole, same ole."

 

"You want to talk about it?" his dad asks.

 

Stiles shakes his head. "Not really. Just… ended up making muffins, thought you'd like them."

 

His father nods. "I do and I appreciate it. But I worry when you lose sleep."

 

Stiles shrugs again. "It wasn't as bad this time, at least not the waking up part. I got a cat to keep me company."

 

"A cat," his dad says, sounding unimpressed, but Stiles grins.

 

"Don't front, you love animals," he says. "I adopted her yesterday. She was at the shelter after Peter rescued her."

 

His dad sits forward again, hands on his desk, looking like he's ready to interrogate. "How are things going with him? And when do I get to meet him?"

 

Stiles smiles. "Really good. And… soon. We talked about you meeting him. He wants to. He… he wants to be part of my life." Stiles knows he sounds a little wondering at that, but he can't seem to help it.

 

His dad nods and reaches for another muffin, but Stiles grabs the basket before he can.

 

"You had three, I think that's plenty."

 

"One more?" his dad wheedles.

 

Stiles rolls his eyes and tosses one to him, which he catches. "There. No more, though."

 

His dad grins, eyes crinkled with affection. "Thanks, kiddo."

 

Stiles puts on a longsuffering sigh.

 

His dad polishes off the muffin, takes another sip of water, and says, "So. He knows everything. How's that working out for you?"

 

"Good," Stiles says. Then he shakes his head. "I mean, so far? It's good. It's weird, having somebody besides you who knows about me, but… I mean, I trust him? I just don't know what to do about his family. I don't want anyone else to know but it's going to have to come out."

 

"Why?"

 

Stiles sighs. "It's a long story. I just hope we can figure out a way to keep most things… private. Every time I think about other people knowing, I just…" He trails off.

 

"Flash back to your nightmares?" his dad says quietly.

 

Stiles nods.

 

"It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you," his dad says mirthlessly.

 

"Yeah, exactly," Stiles says. "And I haven't told Peter yet, but I've had a couple of weird…" He checks to make sure the door is closed. "I've had some visions. I don't know what they mean, but I don't think it's anything good."

 

"Are you in danger?"

 

"Maybe?" Stiles says. Then, "But when am I not?"

 

"I want you to check in with me every day," his dad says sternly. "And you should tell Peter, too."

 

"Like I said, I don't know what they mean, yet."

 

"Stiles. It's important enough for you to be worried about. Important enough that you told me. So tell Peter."

 

Stiles nods and picks up the basket of muffins. "I'm gonna head out. You off soon?"

 

"At seven," his dad answers.

 

Stiles nods again but his dad gets up and holds out his arms.

 

"You're not getting more muffins," Stiles teases, but hugs his father.

 

"Stay safe, son."

 

Later, after Stiles has distributed his muffins and gone back home, he takes a picture of the sunrise from his fire escape. He sends it to Peter.

 

Wish you were here.

 

***

 

Peter had meant to finally sit down with Derek and talk to him about what he now knows. The conversation with Talia had blindsided him however. By the time Matthew came back with the kids (he had clearly taken them out for something after school, which was for the best since him and Talia had not kept much of their conversation civil) he couldn't face Derek.

 

It made him a cop out. A coward. But he needed to lick his wounds some what before trying to be there for his nephew. During his argument with Talia he almost threw it in her face. That Stiles knew, that Peter was the one going to be cleaning up the messes. But it was for the best that he kept it all separate.

 

If Talia was clever she'd use it as a chance to learn more about Stiles, but more likely she'd just break down. Winning arguments when you care about the emotional disposition of the one you're talking to is always harder. Peter yearns for the times when he could let himself be as mercenary as the situation required.

 

Stiles.

 

Stiles has texted him. A moment of respite offered.

 

He hits the call button.

 

"If you're going to tell me you've booked two tickets to Venice and want to run away together: the answer is yes." Peter says as soon as Stiles picks up.

 

**

 

"Hello to you, too," Stiles says, sitting down with the phone on the sofa. "Are things so bad we need to leave the country? Give me a few hours to pack." He's joking but Peter sounds a little off, like something is going on.

 

Genevieve jumps up on the couch and walks across his lap to get to the other side. Stiles smiles at the way she butts against his hand for pets.

 

***

 

Peter sighs loudly, “My plan was to not let my bad mood spillover onto you. You’d look lovely in Venice. Lots of pizza and all the wine is good so you don’t have to worry about it.”

 

He finally eases himself down on his desk chair, letting his body relax. Highlighting how tense he was been up until now.

 

He hears the tell tale sound of a cat preening, stealing affection from Stiles. “Is that Miss Genevieve I hear?”

 

**

 

"Yeah, that's her," Stiles says with a smile, leaning down to kiss between her ears. "Do you want to tell me about your bad mood? I don't mind, go ahead and spill. Isn't that part of the whole relationship thing?"

 

He's fairly confident about this. What Peter and he have is definitely a relationship, and calling it what it is feels good in his mouth. His heart, too.

 

***

 

Peter has a moment of unsurety. In some ways this information is about Stiles. It’s not new though, it’s the same. The same threat that has always been hanging over their heads. It’s shaping up a bit more real now, but that’s just going to scare Stiles.

 

...He decides to hang back. And hopes it’s the right decision.

 

“I feel like I could hear you describe us as in a relationship all day.” He says with a smile, more genuine. Hearing Stiles talk such a way brings out more contentment in his voice. Pushes the conversation with Talia away.

 

There are still some things on his mind though, “I need to talk to Derek. I just have no idea where I’m supposed to start. They don’t put this in the Supportive Uncle manual.”



**

 

Stiles blows out some air. "Not sure what to say there. I guess… be honest with him, don't hold back. I think he's probably hurting and confused or angry, probably with himself. I doubt he sees it the way we do, more like… he should have known, should have seen something, probably sees the fault in himself, not her." He pets the cat some more, thinking. "And not having anybody to tell him it's not his fault, keeping it all inside, it's probably hurting him a lot. I wish I'd said something earlier," he says, feeling genuinely sorry that he hadn't.

 

***

 

Peter’s heart squeezes as he listens to Stiles’ advice about Derek. It all sounds true, which makes it all the more worse.

 

“It’s not your fault - you did everything you could. More really, you risked yourself keeping in contact with me,” a threat of his conversation with Talia comes to mind and he pushes it out the way, “I feel like I will never be able to put it into words how glad I am that you did however.”

 

Peter switches the phone to the other ear, and let’s out a long sigh. “You deserve to be cherished for what you’ve done for us.”

 

He doesn’t want to focus only on the bad though. “Tell me about our date. What you liked about it the most. What I should look into repeating the next time I manage to squirrel away some hours with you.”

 

**

 

Stiles smiles and thinks about their date. About spending time with Peter. "I liked just spending time with you," he says. "That sounds cheesy but… I'm just really, really into you." He remembers the flashes of vision, which leads him to thinking about his nightmares. "And you make me feel safe." He doesn't mean to bring this particular tone of voice into the conversation. He doesn't want to sound desperate, but.

 

"There's something I need to tell you soon," he says. "When can you… I mean, can you come over sometime?"

 

***

 

“Yes,” Peter says straight away. Rushing to give Stiles whatever he wants. Except, “Well, I want to. I can’t tell you when right now. I have a tough week in front of me-” this would be the time to tell Stiles about Talia’s ultimatum, but he can’t. “-and there’s Derek to see to. But, still yes. When I can, as soon as I can. I’ll give you a whole evening. Hopefully we’ll make it to lunch the next time.”

 

It’s so utterly frustrating that he can’t just reach out and hold Stiles whenever he wants to.

 

“I’ll work something out, for you.” Maybe it’s something about Peter being an enforcer. Taking everyone’s troubles onto his shoulders, slotting Stiles’ protection into that just seems natural.

 

Pack.

 

**

 

"Okay," Stiles says, breathing deep. "Thank you. Okay." He looks at his watch and winces. "I have to get to class. I'd much rather talk to you, but yeah. School." He hates that he has to go to class on a day when it feels like he's running on an empty tank, but he's used to it. He had been dreaming of the fire every night for months and he still managed to live his life. He can do it today, too.

 

***

 

“It’s okay. You keep studying. It’d be awful if my lover failed all his exams because of me.” He says with a laugh, mostly fuelled by the joy of calling Stiles his lover. 

 

He needs to start planning how he's going to handle all of this, before it slips away from him. 

Chapter Text

Peter is a coward, he puts off everything for almost three days. What he’s going to do with Talia, telling Stiles about the ultimatum, and worse: talking to Derek.

The boy still comes into his room every evening, and for the most part he thinks he’s helping, but he knows that until they crack open the truth of what has happened nothing can really be fixed. Derek still freezes up sometimes, still cries in his room at night, still looks at the floor whenever his mother talks to him.

There are wounds that need airing before time can try to heal them.

“Tell Derek’s teachers I’m picking him up after lunch so he’ll need notes for those classes.” He tells Talia in the morning. She’s typing something on her laptop, reading glasses halfway down her nose. She pauses at his words.

“Is this you asking me if you can take Derek out of school?”

“No, this is me telling you that I’m spending the afternoon with Derek so his teachers need to be notified.”

She snorts in bemusement, her eyes flashing red at the challenge. Peter just smirks at her, not even feeling an inch of need to show her his neck.

“What is your play here?”

“My play is that Derek will benefit from some time away from the house.”

“And that can’t wait until the weekend?”

“Come the weekend we don’t know what my relationship will be with the pack, I would rather Derek doesn’t suffer for that.”

It’s a loaded statement, facing Talia’s ultimatum. Voicing the fact that everything might fall apart between them.

She looks sad suddenly, and it annoys Peter how much affection he feels for her: she is already mourning the loss of her brother even as she pushes him away.

“Okay.” She says finally, “I’ll call them.”

“Good, I have an errand to run first, so I won't see you until I'm back with Derek.” It's almost like telling his Alpha his plans for her to approve, but also like throwing his agency in her face. 

He jogs out to the car, picking up the cool box he prepared. It’s already eleven, so lunch will be just around the corner. He hopes he’s remembered Stiles’ schedule right.

Before I make a fool of myself, I should probably at least check that you’re sitting on the green by your campus right now?

 

**

 

Stiles lights up when he sees the text.

I am. Are you coming to see me?

He doesn't even care that he sounds overeager. He hasn't seen Peter in days, and it hasn't been fun. He craves the man's company. Misses him tremendously when he's not there. It seems so soon to be feeling this deeply, but he can't seem to help himself.

 

***

 

Peter has always been horrible at waiting for things he wants, he’s already in the car driving down to Stiles’ campus when he gets the text back. It makes him smile.

The closer he gets the campus the more he can pick up Stiles’ scent. The place is a literal zoo of scents and tastes. So many unwashed and drug taking young people hoarding about, dragging sensations from every inch of the city to one concentrated space. But he knows Stiles scent like his own pack’s. Because he is his pack… In his own way .

He parks his car and begins walking along the invisible scent trail winding its way around.

Tell me: do you always sit under oak trees, or was this because you knew how beautiful I’d find you spotted with from light through the canopy.

He’s close enough he doesn’t even need a wolf’s eyes.

 

**

 Stiles reads the text and smiles, then looks up, looks around for Peter because he wants him close now, can practically feel him already. When he spots him, he's caught between running to him and staying still because the moment is almost too perfect.

"Come here," he murmurs, knowing Peter can hear him, knowing Peter will do as he says because he wants to be close as much as Stiles wants it.

 

***

 

He doesn’t even think about whether it’s a bad idea, if maybe he should ask whether he’s allowed to touch so intimately out in the open, whether there should be a shroud of secrecy around them. One moment he’s away, and then he can hear Stiles’ voice, and then he’s there.

Crouching down - depositing the cool box on the grass next to him - Peter puts his hand to Stiles’ jaw and brings them together for a kiss. He growls quietly against those soft lips, sucking the lower bow into his mouth, and holding them together for a handful of moments.

When he finally let’s them part the look on Stiles’ face makes him want to just kiss him all over again.

“Darling. How much I wish we could spent the whole day kissing.. You have no idea. But I have to leave in an hour.”

 

**

 

Stiles feels his lips quirk up into a smirk. "I'm thinking of all the things we could do in an hour," he says. He reaches out for one of Peter's hands. "Or you could just sit with me. I enjoy your company no matter what we do."

It's true. Stiles craves Peter's presence. Lights up when he's around. Feels less than himself when Peter's gone for too long. It's ridiculous, but it is what it is. (He almost wonders if it's something… magic. Something Peter might be able to explain to him. But he thinks he'll keep this to himself a little longer. It would probably sound pretty dumb spoken aloud.)

 

***

 

Peter presses another hard kiss against Stiles lips, repeatedly reminding himself that trying to jerk Stiles off in public is not the done thing and finally moves back.

“Well, there’s more than just sitting in the cards.” He opens up the cool box and pulls out some Tupperware. Inside are sticky glazed chicken skewers, a bowl of turmeric-yellow couscous and some glass bottles of fancy European fizzy orange juice. With a napkin he picks up the end of a skewer and offers it to Stiles. “You might as well get something in your mouth.”

His flirting is dirty, crass and cliche. Peter’s mouth is split open in a grin at the delight of it.

 

**

 Stiles's eyes widen at the bounty. "You went all-out," he says, taking the skewer. "This looks incredible. He laughs when what Peter said catches up with him. "And incorrigible, but my mind is right there with yours, so I like it." He takes a bite of chicken, his eyes never leaving Peter until the taste hits his tongue and he's closing them, moaning.

 

***

 

They eat together, Peter constantly getting distracted by Stiles putting things in his mouth and chasing the tasty of sweet teriyaki sauce into said mouth with kisses.

Mostly though he just sits next him, his partner. A stolen lunch in between all the stress. Talking amiably about Stiles’ classes and how much better Peter’s food is than the cafeteria.

His phone goes off, telling him that he only has fifteen more minutes before he has to leave. Peter sighs, then hums, and puts his jaw on top of Stiles head so he can tuck the slighter man closer to him.

“Almost out of time. I’m glad we did this though.”

 

**

 Stiles hums and his hand ends up clutching at Peter's shirt, not wanting to let go. "This was a wonderful surprise. Feel free to drop in with delicious foods and yourself anytime. I loved it all. But this especially." He closes his eyes, snuggles closer. God, he wants to get so much closer, crawl into Peter's lap and not let go.

 

***

 

Peter revels in the contact. “It’s a good idea. More shorter moments even if we can’t make time for the overnight stays.” He pushes his nose into the soft hair above Stiles’ ear and whispers, “although I do love the overnight stays.”

 The second alarm goes off, saying he only has five minutes left and he begrudgingly packs up. Leaving Stiles the final skewer and the bowl of couscous and packing the rest of the things away.

 “Soon, I’ll see you soon. I promise.” A promise is a heavy thing, but he has a plan now. A series of difficult - but necessary - steps ahead of him. Life is probably going to look different soon, but hopefully Peter will be able to lean into having Stiles there in the face of all the turbulence.

He kisses Stiles behind the ear one more time, before heading back to the car.

 Making it to Derek’s school from Stiles’ campus isn’t hard, and he makes it in time before the lunch bell. Sending Derek a text that he’s here and waiting in the car for him, the engine idling and the taste of Stiles and lunch on his lips.

 “You didn’t tell mom until this morning did you.”

 Derek says, getting into the backseat of the car and dumping his bag on the seat next to him.

 “Well, I can’t have her knowing everything. That would make her too arrogant.”

 Derek snorts and shoots him a smile. “Where are we going?”

 “The preserve.”

 “Is Laura coming?”

 “Nope, just you and me this time champ.”

 “Good. I’ve learned enough about Alpha challenges to last me a lifetime.” Derek says rolling his eyes, looking out the window as the buildings pass by the car.

Peter texts Stiles as he parks the car.

 My phone will be off for the next 24 hours, maybe longer. I’ll be thinking of you the whole time. X

 And tucks his phone into the glove compartment along with Derek’s device.

 “What if mom wants to get hold of us?”

“Then she can use her nose and come find us.” Peter smiles, pulling out a cool box (leaving the empty one from him and Stiles in the back) and rucksack, handing them to Derek to hold.

“Am I wearing the right thing?” Derek looks down nervously, always a worrier. Although Peter did drag him and Laura halfway up a cliff face last time.

“Change into your gym shoes, we’re not going vertical though, you’ll be fine.”

Their trek is almost an hour long. Their pace is too fast to be leisurely but Peter isn’t in too much of a hurry. He just wants to be far enough from the car that someone would have to track them to find them. Not that he really worries that Talia will. He’d text Talia before switching the phone off to call Derek’s school to say he won’t be there tomorrow either. Two nights in the woods will be long enough.

When they finally stop in a barely there clearing Derek is tired. Peter gives him the job of setting up the fire pit as he sets up the tent. Two man, not much space, but enough that if it rains they’ll have somewhere to camp up out and their bags have somewhere to be housed.

The light is finally starting to give over to evening and Derek’s stomach grumbles in complaint. Peter shoots him a smile, “You ready to go hunt?”

Derek shoots him a look, “I thought the cooler might mean you’ve brought supplies.”

Peter shakes his head stripping down for the shift. Ignoring Derek’s put upon sigh as he starts himself. Clothes not so neatly shoved in the tent, and they start. Looking at each other through canine eyes.

Peter fusses with Derek first. Snuffles his ears, butts his head against Derek’s front leg. Friendly, scent marking. It makes Derek preen, and nose him back. Muzzle under Peter’s jaw, friendly, family, vulnerable. Peter grumbles a happy growl at him, before darting back a few paces. He bends his front legs down and barks playfully. Derek freezes, not sure what he wants. Always worrying about doing the right thing. And then yips when Peter darts forward again to bite his tail. Peter circles him, and then nips his hind leg instead. Derek yips, slightly more angry this time, and trots forward.

It’s what Peter wants, he bounds after him, and finally Derek bolts.

One day Derek will be a fantastic wolf, the perfect mixture of strength and agility. Built lighter than Peter that should give him speed, and enough muscle that taking someone else down won’t be a challenge. But he’s untrained. Always hesitates to go out with his mother or father (and until now, Peter) to learn about his abilities.

Peter’s stocky build therefore doesn’t limit him in easily keeping pace. Only nipping Derek now and again for encouragement to keep the game going. Get some blood pumping through them, help Derek shake off his human head space.

They chase through the forest for a while, Peter keeping Derek on his toes. They head East of the camp, and then North, Derek alternating between dead sprints away from him and trying to feint out of the way. It’s fun.

About an hour in Derek gets distracted by something, it’s the scent of rabbits that Peter had picked up almost a mile back. A large warren, lots of young fleshy adolescents to be pruned, grazing a reasonable distance from their warren. He pauses to catch the scent again and Peter jumps him.

Derek would be an idiot to fight back if this was for real. His opponent is bigger, stronger and heavier than him. Bests to lay still and submit. Thankfully Derek has shucked off some of his human wariness and understands the game, squirming and trying to snap a Peter’s legs framing him. Peter revels in it, doubling down on pinning Derek. He opens his jaws wide and gets them around Derek’s throat. From behind him he has to push Derek’s head down to the side to get his sharp teeth around the vulnerable part, biting down hard enough that a wrong move and the damage isn’t playful anymore.

Derek goes still. Submits. Pines pitifully, gives over to domination. Peter snorts, letting go, licking over Derek’s face in apology and noses his ear again before getting up to stretch his legs. Derek gets up and shakes the leaf litter out of his fur. His ears are twitching around tracking the sound of the forest. It’s exactly what Peter wanted, getting Derek out of his human head space. Give him a break from everything that had been going on.

They were almost killed for being wolves, might as well let their nature help them.

Peter bounds off towards the scent of rabbit, deciding to start up the age old lesson of the hunt.

Chapter Text

Spending time with Scott is relaxing. Normal. Helps Stiles think about things besides how much he misses Peter when he's not around and how much sleep he's not getting because of recurring nightmares.

 

(Stiles is starting to believe the nightmares are actually visions, since they've been increasing lately. In the past he's maybe only had them once a month. Now they're coming every night but they're too vague to actually help him stop it - whatever 'it' is.)

 

"You got a cat with this guy and I haven't even met him yet," Scott says. He's good with animals but Genevieve is keeping her distance so far. She keeps peering out at him from behind the couch. Stiles finds it hilarious.

 

"It's not like Peter's moved in, we're not raising babies together or anything," Stiles says. "Vivi's mine."

 

"You just told me how Peter rescued the cat and then visited her at the shelter," Scott points out. "She was practically his. Why didn't he adopt her himself?"

 

"I told you he lives with his pack," Stiles says. "I guess… they aren't cat-friendly at home."

 

"It's so weird that you're dating a werewolf," Scott says.

 

Stiles blinks. "Why? I don't have any reason to not date a werewolf. My best friend is one and he's okay, I guess." He grins and elbows Scott but Scott just shakes his head.

 

"I don't know. I just never think of you as part of this whole… supernatural world. You're human. You can be normal."

 

Inwardly, Stiles laughs and laughs. "When have I ever been normal?"

 

"You know what I mean," Scott says. He sounds frustrated. "It's not exactly a safe life."

 

"Yeah, I know," Stiles says. "Somebody…" He pauses, wondering how to say this. "A hunter planned on burning their house down with them trapped inside, but they figured it out in time to stop her. I know people are dicks to werewolves when they know about them."

 

Scott's eyes go big. "What? You mean… humans tried to do that? I meant like, werewolves can be dangerous, not…" He trails off and makes a soft sound.

 

"And that's why it's important to hide what you are," Stiles says. "You never know what can happen. You never know if you're safe."

 

He knows he's talking more about his own situation than Scott's, but he wants Scott to be safe, too.

 

"That sounds like a really awful, paranoid way to live, Stiles," Scott says. "I mean, I'm careful enough, but I don't think of it like that. I just." He shakes his head.

 

"I know, but maybe you should think about it more often," Stiles says. "She came from a hunter family, the woman who tried to kill the Hales. The family… I think they're still around. So be careful ."

 

Stiles must sound more desperate than he thought because Scott hugs him. "I will be, man. Don't worry about me so much."

 

Stiles doesn't tell him he's more worried about himself.

 

They watch the latest Marvel series on Netflix and analyze the choreography for the next few hours. They eat some cookies Stiles stress-baked in the early morning hours.

 

On Scott's way out, he stops and puts a hand on Stiles's shoulder. "You look like shit, by the way. You studying too hard? I know you want to ace all your classes but you look like you need to slow down. Sleep a little. Maybe take some naps during the day."

 

"Thanks for the advice, buddy," Stiles says wryly, wishing it was that simple.

 

"Just looking out for you."

 

***

 

They’re sitting half clothes round the fire, the taste of meat on thier tongues and the sweat smell of pine wood burning infusing with the air. It’s late, the sky has given over to night and a new moon hangs in the sky.

 

Peter is happy. Contentment bubbles under his skin, high with the feeling of being close to pack, of a hunt going well.

 

It’s time.

 

Derek is sucking on the bones of a rabbit, scraping out the marrow with a claw and licking it up in little dabs. It’s uncouth in a way that only a wolf who knew the glory of feasting on prey would know. The sort of thing that Derek would normally feel too abashed to do in company, even as his family feels comfortable in their skin.

 

Derek is so rarely comfortable.

 

Peter resents himself for having to ruin it.

 

“You did good today.” He says, breaking the silence. The sound of wet wood popping and crickets their only audience.

 

Derek looks up at him with a grin. He looks happy.

 

“I crushed the first one though.”

 

Peter shrugs. “It was the kind of mood we were in.”

 

Derek smiles, preening under the praise. He’ll have to talk to Talia about praising him more. It’s probably been so long since Derek has felt like he’s been doing something right.

 

“I’m going to ask you some difficult questions now.”

 

Derek looks back at him, a frown already marring his beautiful face.

 

“About hunting?”

 

“No.”

 

“About French?”

 

Peter laughs. If only Derek’s biggest worry was his French homework.

 

“No, but we can do some of that later.”

 

“I’d rather not.”

 

“We’ll see. You might appreciate the respite.”

 

Derek shoots him a look, it’s a little scared and Peter can hear his heart rate tripping up in intensity.

 

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

 

He’s clever, smarter than Laura but without her wits. Peter hopes for a long and happy academic career in front of him.

 

“I know.”

 

Derek doesn’t say anything, scowling at the fire in front of him. He’s miserable again.

 

Peter wipes his hands on his pants, as if the added civility might help them. He has no idea what he’s doing really. This shouldn’t be him, none of this should have happened. It’s all so cruel.

 

“Did you love her?”

 

Derek flinches. He drops the bones he was holding and shoots Peter such a betrayed look that Peter wants to stop. Wants to shift back to their wolf bodies and lick his ears in apology. It’s not fair that he needs to push the knife in before cleaning out the wound.

 

“Uncle Peter…”

 

“It’s okay. I’m not going to be angry.”

 

Derek is crying, it’s horrible.

 

“I… I didn’t know.”

 

“Of course you didn’t.”

 

“I should have-”

 

“-maybe.” And it’s such a horrible thing to say that Peter hates himself for it, “But she was very good at what she did. She’s taken down whole packs before, one wolf shouldn’t be expected to have bested her.”

 

“You did.”

 

Peter smiles. He never realised how sweet the affection of a nephew could be. How much it warms you to be looked up to. “I’ve had a lot of practice. I’ve hurt a lot of people. That doesn’t make me a better wolf than you.”

 

“It wouldn’t matter how strong I was… Physically… She didn’t do it like that.” Derek’s bottom lip is wobbling but his tears have dried up. It’s still just as awful.

 

Peter lets out a low breath. He wishes he had some kind of plan for this, a checklist of things he should say. None of it feels viable.

 

Derek is hurt, and betrayed, and oh so fucking young. None of this should happen to him. He’s still just a kid.

 

Inspiration - or perhaps dawning realisation - falls on Peter.

 

“You know… Even if she hadn’t turned out to be a hunter what she did was wrong.”

 

Derek casts him a wary glance, his face is doing something very unhappy. “I told you, she didn’t hurt me-”

 

“-she did. Derek, fuck, has no one told you this? What she did was wrong. She was an adult, a teacher, someone who you’re supposed to trust. She broke that trust.”

 

“Of course she did! She was a fucking hunter!” Derek is shouting, angry but Peter isn’t even sure what at.

 

“Yes, she was. She was a hunter that was her motivation, she betrayed you… But even if she wasn’t, she betrayed you by making you do something so adult while you were a child.”

 

“I’m not a child.” Derek snaps.

 

“You are. You’re a child Derek.”

 

“I asked for it, I wanted it, I fucked her.” It’s fucking dire hearing Derek speak like that. There’s a brilliantly angry look on him that doesn’t look natural.

 

Peter nods. What Derek says is true, he shouldn’t try and deny him the truth he knows. “You can want something… And it can still be awful and horrible.”

 

Derek’s face crumbles. He doesn’t say anything.

 

“You can have said yes, but it still hurt you. It still betrayed you, the way it… Violated you, isn’t taken away because you were willing.” Peter’s words are so quiet and soft, but they feel loud as he watches the way they pierce Derek’s armour.

 

Peter delicately gets up, he reaches out to touch Derek’s arm, it makes the boy flinch but then in a second his face is burrowed into Peter’s bare chest. Salty tears punctuating the rough sobs that burst out of him.

 

“I’m so fucking confused. I miss her. Not her, not who she really was. But the one who liked me, and was nice to me, and made me feel… Less worthless all the time.”

 

Peter has the bizarre urge to take Derek’s pain even though all the wounds here aren’t physical. He wishes he could, would do anything to lessen the burden. “That’s okay.” Is all he can say.

 

“If I had known, I wouldn’t have, I promise. Even though I loved her, even though I wanted to give her everything, I wouldn’t have given her that.”

 

“I know, it’s okay. I’ve always known that.”

 

“I don’t know how any of you can forgive me.”

 

Peter holds him tighter. “But we have. Any mistake you made wasn’t worthy of the punishment you were handed. You’re forgiven. We love you. I love you. You’re forgiven… You just have to try forgiving yourself now.”

 

Derek doesn’t say anything else for a long time, but that’s okay by Peter. It won’t be their last conversation, if only it was that easy, but it’s been opened now. Derek has the rest of his life to put himself back together again.

Chapter Text

Stiles's dad calls, checking up on him. It's late afternoon and Stiles is fine, though he's worn out. Depleted. Tired.

 

He knows Peter's busy, so he doesn't bother to text him once he's off the phone. He collapses into bed and Genevieve hops up on the mattress with him. He knows he should be writing an essay, but right now he's too worn out. He can't even think right now.

 

He falls asleep but instead of rest he gets thrown into another nightmare vision.

 

There's a man asking him questions. When Stiles refuses to answer, he gets hit. When Stiles answers sarcastically, he gets hit.

 

It's one of those dreams where Stiles knows the man is there, but can't see his face. He knows he's being asked things, but the words don't make sense. He talks back, but he can't understand what he's saying.

 

He only understands the situation. He's not safe. He's taken. He's hurt. And there's a hole in his heart that says no one is going to save him.

 

Stiles wakes on a silent scream. He wishes Peter was there to tell him whether he smells like mercury or not. Maybe that would tell him if it's a true vision or just a dream.

 

(He knows he's kidding himself at this point. These are definitely visions.)

 

***

 

Taking the two nights in the preserve was the right idea. He was slightly worried that Talia might turn up and drag them home, furious that Peter used spending time with Derek as a buffer to bend her five day rule, but they were left to it.

 

Peter had the slightly cold feeling that this might be because after this he might not have the same access to Derek… Like Talia could feel the storm brewing, but he pushed it out his mind to focus on Derek.

 

Although it was good that the two of them had the alone time, he did yearn suddenly for Laura. His little Alpha in training. They hadn’t had the opportunities to grow closer like he and Derek had, and seemed like just on the cusp of getting to know each other. And then there was Cora, who would be too young to really remember him anyway, even though he would never forget her.

 

I need to stop treating this like I’m never going to see them again…

 

“Did auntie Sadie ever want to be Alpha?” Derek asked him on the second night.

 

“Not really, she was much younger and always grew up knowing Talia would be Alpha.”

 

“So would Cora.”

 

“True. But Cora might be Alpha material.”

 

“So auntie Sadie is like me?” Peter isn’t sure what to say entirely, his youngest sister was many years below him and Talia. Had missed the brunt of their father, although she probably still remembered some of his rages. Through most of her adolescence Talia had been her Alpha…. Peter wonders what Talia would do if he just told Derek right now about the night that they killed him. It probably couldn’t be any worse than what she will do when he gets home and refused to talk about Stiles.

 

“In some ways. Not everything about being a wolf is wanting to be Alpha. You got a weird experience in this house - your father has never wanted to be Alpha. I would say you’re more like him than auntie Sadie.”

 

Derek smiled at that, he looked up to his father although tiptoed around him as if he couldn’t really trust him to take his side of Talia. Maybe this is why the kids love me so much, they know how much I love to ruffle Talia’s feathers.

 

Peter keeps them in the preserve late into the third day, he’s definitely pushing it now. Derek can feel it, shooting him some nervous glances but enjoying the freedom all the same.

 

“Are we running away?” Derek says apropos of nothing.

 

It makes Peter laugh, “Derek, if we were running away we’d have left on the first day.”

 

“Oh okay, are you waiting until mom comes and gets us?”

 

“Not really. I’m testing her patience.”

 

“For what?”

 

Peter looks up from where he was tidying up some of the bones they’d collected from their trip. “What do you mean?”

 

“Well you said you were testing her patience, what were you testing it for?”

 

It’s such a weird thing to say, but somehow it makes Peter think of his father all the same. Of how he was always testing Silas’ patience, pushing boundaries. Trying to make sure the noose stayed as loose as possible. Talia and he would take it in turns to bare the brunt, fighting him with disobedience which nine times out of ten was simply being a kid.

 

“I need to tell you something.” Peter suddenly says, it seems ridiculous all of a sudden that Derek doesn’t know.

 

“Is this about mom?”

 

“No, well kind of, it’s not about anything to do with now. It’s about our history.”

 

Derek looks really serious - he always looks serious - and comes over to sit by Peter. It’s a lovely thing really, his family companion, his pack wanting to stay close. Fuck I’m going to miss this, please say I don’t lose this. Shit.

 

“I don’t know where to start -” he has even less idea where he’s supposed to finish, “- one day you’re going to have to ask Talia to fill in all the details, okay?”

 

Derek frowns some more at him, “Why are you talking like you’re not going to be here? Mom’s going to be pissed, but it’s only a few days off school.”

 

Peter laughs, “Sorry. Serious subject, I’m all macabre all of a sudden. Okay, shit. If you tell Laura any of this make sure stress that I’m sorry she wasn’t here to hear it with you?” Peter is mess of the whole thing, he should have planned it.

 

"Yeah, of course."

 

"I just need you to know that... Your mom and I, we didn't always have a good time of it with your granddad."

 

"The Alpha?"

 

"Yeah, he was fucking mental to be honest. Really fucked up everything half the time, it made growing up strange. Made your mom and I people we might not always like being, but we got through it, and we survived."

 

"What did he do?"

 

"Lots of things... We'll talk about it one day, you should probably ask your mom first. I just wanted you to know that she's a really great Alpha really. Things have just always been complicated between me and her."

 

Derek's frowning at him, "Is she going to kick you out the pack?"

 

"Maybe, maybe not. I might leave,” She’ll either kick me out the pack for refusing, or I’ll have to leave so she can’t force me...How am I supposed to tell Derek this? “I don't know. If I do go, I need you not to be angry at her. Well, you can be, but sometimes things are set into motion so long before that you can't stop them."

 

Derek doesn't say anything for a moment, before walking straight into Peter's arms, hiding his face into Peter's chest. "Oh Derek..."

 

"It's not fair." Derek whispers furiously. Peter closes his arms around him, keeping him close. "I only just got to get to know you properly."

 

"I know. Shit I know." It makes everything so complicated, he was so certain when he saw Stiles at lunch that he'd just have to leave. That he couldn't hand it over, that this was a goodbye.

 

"Everything was just starting to get better... Please stay, I'll ask her. I don't know what you did, or she did. But please don't go."

 

It's like being torn in two different directions, like his own pack needs two completely different things from him and he can't give both of them. He was going to pick Stiles, he wants to pick Stiles. It's only right if he does, Stiles doesn't deserve to have all his secrets thrown around.

 

Derek doesn't deserve to be left alone right now.

 

"We'll make it work." He tells him, feeling a heavy sad feeling in his gut, like he's just started down a path that is going to ruin him. "I'll make it work for you." All he can do right now is hug Derek.

 

--------------

 

By nightfall Talia knows everything.

 

--------------

 

If I could I would do this in person, or at worse, over the phone. But I currently don't have that option.

 

Today I had to tell Talia everything you've told me. Although I am sorry from the deepest depths of my heart, I know that doesn't mean anything in the face of the betrayal you must be feeling.

 

I wish I could mince my words, but to make it clear: she knows where you live, she knows what you can do, she knows who you are. That is the consequence you have received for your kindness to my family. I am sorry.

Chapter Text

Stiles's phone falls from his nerveless fingers and makes a clattering sound when it hits the floor. His heart pounds, faster and faster, hard enough that he can feel it.

 

Peter told her everything.

 

"This… is my own fault," Stiles says, then laughs bitterly. It's true. He let himself trust, when he knew better. When his mother told him time and time again, You can't tell. Don't tell.

 

Since when does Stiles know better than his mom, anyway? She saw what happened to her family when the secret got out. She ran, she had to, and never looked back. She changed her name and never contacted her friends again.

 

God, does Stiles have to do that, now? The visions have been haunting him for so long, is it inevitable?

 

Stiles sinks to the floor beside the couch and draws his knees up. His breathing feels… not enough. He can't get a good breath. He tries to breathe better and ends up just breathing faster. He's going to hyperventilate. He is, but he can't stop. His heart feels like it's breaking into pieces as it pounds and pounds.

 

He has to get away.

 

He'll have to leave his dad behind. Dad has a good job, doesn't deserve-

 

His breath is coming too fast, too hard, and he knows it but he can't stop. He can't blame Peter. He wants to blame Peter but he can only blame himself.

 

He let himself fall in love . Why would he be so stupid, so monumentally and avoidably stupid? From the beginning it was destined to fall apart. To lead to this.

 

Darkness dances in front of his eyes and he puts his head between his knees. He's panicking. He can't panic. He needs to pack up and get away.

 

He can't do it if he's panicking, though. How long does he have? Will Talia Hale herself be the one who comes for him? Why? Maybe not. Maybe it's someone else.

 

Does he have time? Maybe. Maybe not. Something he does have is Klonopin, and maybe that's the short term answer. He needs to calm down. If he's freaked out the whole time he won't think straight. He's not thinking straight now.

 

He gets his breathing under control. He's wobbly when he stands, but he holds on to the wall on the way to his bathroom and it helps.

 

He takes two of his anti-anxiety medication, or rather sticks them under his tongue so they'll dissolve and get into his system more quickly. He has to wait for it to work and then he'll pack up. Then he'll decide what to do, or rather, how far to go.

 

He used to have a go-bag when he was a kid. His mom always had one, too. After she died, Stiles stopped having one packed and ready.

 

Really, he should never have stopped listening to his mother.

 

The visions seem so much closer now. The memory of them looms like a dark cloud. Like imminent danger. Is it a warning or inevitable? Can he escape this fate, can he get away? It has to be soon. They'll come for him soon. The secret is out…

 

The secret has been out since he let Peter get close.

 

He thinks about Peter's face, his smile, his bright eyes. The way he touched Stiles, like he was something precious. Like he'd take care of him. Keep him safe.

 

How much of that was a lie? Was it all a lie? Why did he do this? Why did Stiles allow himself to fall in love?

 

There are tears running down his face now.

 

He gets his suitcase from his closet and starts packing. He needs to get far away. His heart is still breaking but the panic is receding. The pills are doing their job.

 

Genevieve jumps up on the bed beside the suitcase. He doesn't know what he's going to do with her. He can't take her back to the shelter. Maybe his dad will watch her.

 

Not watch her. Keep her. Stiles is leaving for good. He has to, in order to stay safe. He needs to get used to the idea.

 

He doesn't know where he'll go. He doesn't even know if he can take his Jeep. Will someone be able to track it? Should he dump it and get another? The thought hurts him.

 

Everything is hurting him.

 

The thought of leaving Peter behind hurts the most. But he…

 

Peter betrayed him. Yes, Stiles gave him the rope, but Peter used it to hang him. Stiles wants to know why. Wants to know if it's possible Peter could ever have loved him like Stiles realizes now he-

 

He crawls up onto his pillow on his bed and cries into it. He doesn't really have time for this, but he can't seem to help himself. He can't stop crying, honestly. Maybe he shouldn't have taken two Klonopin. He's so sleepy now. Tired and worn out and heartbroken. He aches for Peter. How pathetic.

 

He falls asleep wishing for the werewolf's arms around him.

 

***



It’s been a busy day and Peter is genuinely exhausted. It feels like he’s not talking to anyone in the house but the kids, but if he were to be honest that was just fine by him.

 

Having three different hunters in his house today was not helping matters.

 

Chris was the only one invited into Talia’s study, Matthew had stayed out with the other two. Laura had waited with him, the only one of that generation who was allowed to stay in the house. The whole thing toxic.

 

Peter had to listen as Talia gave Chris Argent the details of his lover, not where he lived - thank fuck - but what his powers were, how it’s unlikely that he was involved based on her information. He’d directly asked Talia not to reveal him and Stiles were involved, and she’d stood by it for the most part. Except…

 

“How do we know that’s all his powers are? Maybe he can make people believe things. Maybe he made Kate do what she did.”

 

Peter had barely concealed his growl, he did it mostly so Talia wouldn’t think he’s emotionally compromised when it came to giving realistic assurances of what happened.

 

“I think we should leave the blame at the door of who tried to kill my pack, Chris,” Talia had responded. Even though they were currently neck high in their own troubles, Peter loved her in that moment.

 

“I’m not trying to excuse her. She’s dead, it doesn’t matter. I’m just saying, does your source really know him?”

 

And Talia slipped up. Her eyes flicked to Peter’s just for a second, a second of doubt and consideration. Chris caught on, turning to look at him. “Oh, so it’s the boyfriend then?”

 

Everything had gone to hell a little bit after that, mostly Peter wanting to kill him, but also Talia being scandalised that her pack appeared to be under surveillance. No one left the situation with their head high.

 

Peter is currently sitting in his study holding his phone. He hasn’t heard from Stiles since he texted him, in some ways he didn’t expect to. If he could, he would have waited until he could see Stiles in person, but then the Argents were coming, and it just felt fairer to tell Stiles.

 

Fair.

 

What an empty word.

 

He needs to tell Stiles about what the Argents know however, that they’d been watching Peter and have put it together that Stiles is the ‘mystery caller’.

 

Peter hits call.

 

**

 

There's a crash. Broken glass. Stiles gropes for his phone but it's not there, it's in the living room where he dropped it. He doesn't have an escape out of his room. Genevieve is making a strange low sound like a distressed blender.

 

His eyes are slightly unfocused and he attributes it to the extra Klonopin he had a few hours before. It's dark, too, only a little bit of golden light coming in through the high window from the street lights.

 

No phone. He reaches below his bed for the baseball bat he keeps there, and his hand closes around the tape wrapping as he draws it out. He gets out of bed. He's scared, but angry with himself for not leaving already. He knew this was coming. He knew-

 

There are five of them. They aren't dressed in black like a special ops team or anything, but they move in sync and surround him. They have guns, and the guns are pointed at him.

 

"Don't make a sound," one of them says.

 

Stiles opens his mouth to tell them just how impossible that might be and gets a hand around his throat before he can say anything. It takes his breath. Will they strangle him to death right here and now?

 

"Get up," the first man says again, and he's jerked roughly out of bed. The bat thuds to the floor. He still can't see properly. He feels sick. Scared to death. He wishes, hopes, that Peter will come to check on him now, maybe come to apologize to him. Peter would protect him.

 

Or maybe Peter set this up.

 

His dad- would just get hurt. These are hunters and his dad's only human. God, they could hurt Peter, too. They'd definitely hurt Scott.

 

They're going to hurt Stiles. This is what Stiles has been dreaming of for years. This is the moment the real nightmare begins, that puts all the visions of the past to shame. They're not going to just hurt him, they're going to take him somewhere they can use him.

 

He is reminded of his visions of Peter with blood on his face, but are those visions still viable? If they aren't together anymore, will it still come to pass? The future can change. Stiles has changed it, he knows this well. So he can't trust his visions. He may never be rescued.

 

"Get the syringe," the leader says, and Stiles looks at him in horror. He hates needles. It's a stupid reaction - these men are going to take him somewhere unspeakable things will happen to him, and he's worried about a needle - but Stiles can't help it. He doesn't want to be, what, drugged? Dosed with something to make him pass out or hurt or worse. Maybe make him compliant. Make him give them whatever they want.

 

He shudders and then once he sees the needle approaching him in the hands of a hunter, starts to fight.

 

"Please don't do this," he tries to say, but with a hand still around his throat he can only manage a terrified noise he's only heard in his dreams.

 

But they do, they stick him in his neck, and then everything goes-

 

He comes awake with a gasp, his hand flying to his throat. He breathes in and coughs, the dream still holding him. It was so vivid, so-

 

There'd been a gold tint at the end of his vision. That's why he couldn't see too clearly at times. He has to get out of here. Now.

 

He closes his eyes and tries to visualize what he needs to do. He'll finish packing, just a few toiletries to go now. He'll grab Genevieve's carrier and drop her off at his dad's on his way out of town. The tank in his Jeep is almost full, he won't have to stop for gas, at least.

 

He breathes out in relief. He can stop this vision from coming true. He will tell his dad, maybe even - maybe even get a gun from him while he's there. If he has to shoot himself out of a bad situation, he'll do it. He'll do anything to keep from becoming some hunter's plaything.

 

He starts to move off the bed, nodding his head resolutely. He can save himself.

 

Then there's the sound of glass breaking. Stiles reaches for his phone but remembers: it's in the living room where he dropped it. Genevieve is making the blender sound.

 

He's fucked.

Chapter Text

The phone rings through with no answer. Maybe he should have called earlier, it’s late now and Stiles could be asleep. He needed those hours though to calm down from Argent, to put his thoughts in order about the whole thing.

 

He gets Stiles's voice mail.

 

“Oh, I didn’t plan to leave you a message like this. I’m calling… I have more bad news. We believe the hunters were tailing me prior to this, and thanks to an indelicate conversation with Talia, they’ve probably put two and two together. I wish I had something to say other than bad news… I wish… I’m going to let you go. You probably want your space, you might be halfway out of town by now. I should respect that, not come hounding you. Stiles, I am so sorry. If you do hear this, please know that the last thing I wanted was to hurt you… If you want to talk, I’m here. I’ll wait for you to reach out, but whenever you’re ready, I’m here.”

 

He hangs up the phone and puts it on the desk. It’s all starting to crash down on him that this is probably over. That the relationship that appeared to burst out of nowhere, every moment he thought of or spoke to Stiles had just cemented him further into Peter’s life. It was almost like wildfire. No wonder Talia was suspicious, Peter didn’t fall for people like this. But it was real, he knew it was real.

 

Peter takes himself to bed. He wanted to spend the evening with the kids but he’s just wrecked as it is. Tomorrow he’ll take Laura into the workshop, help Derek with his homework, do face painting with Cora. Right now he wants to sleep.

 

Unfortunately his dreams - when sleep finally comes - are restless, and he feels like all he does is dream of Stiles all night.

 

**

 

Stiles wakes to a nightmare. To his living nightmare, visions come true.

 

He's strapped down to a bed, full restraints, when he comes to. A man is hovering over him, smiling smugly. The first thing Stiles does is spit in his face.

 

He expects the slap. Of course he does. He just doesn't expect it to hurt quite so much. The pain in his dreams was always muted, always far away. A vision. Not real.

 

This is very, very real. And Stiles just wants to go home.

 

"What do you want?" he whispers.

 

The man doesn't answer, just tips his head and leaves.

 

Fucker.

 

Stiles lets his head fall back down to the mattress he's restrained to. Or on. He's not sure where the straps lead since he can't sit up to look.

 

He realizes he has to piss, and now he's been left alone in the darkened room - the high windows make him think it's a basement - so there's nobody to tell.

 

Not that he thinks they'll kindly escort him to a restroom anyway. He'd be lucky if he gets a bedpan, the way he's been tied down.

 

Just. Fucking. Great.

 

***

 

For the most of the morning Peter is restless; he didn’t sleep well and his mind feels like it's constantly buzzing with thoughts. By the time lunch comes around he forces himself to lock his phone in his desk drawer just to stop him looking at it. Wondering if Stiles will get back to him finally, if his betrayal can ever be forgiven. It’s the way of madness, and putting it aside is the only thing he can do.

 

If Peter was younger he would describe his and Talia’s relationship right now as ‘not talking’. They pass each other in the halls twice that morning, and it’s like the air is electric. He can smell sadness and sympathy of Talia, and it doesn’t assuage any of his bitter feelings. In fact it might make him more angry. They haven’t decided what will happen next, they’re waiting for Chris to return with more details.

 

He doesn’t really know what Talia feels about the whole thing, whether she trusts the information Peter gave her about Stiles. She knows now that Peter isn’t lying to her, that everything Peter knows she knows (even many things he didn’t want to tell her… Like the cat, and Stiles’ mother, and how Stiles had cried in his arms…) but from her perspective it’s possible Stiles has lied to him. That his powers mean that he’s able to convince Peter of things that aren’t true.

 

It makes him sick to remember how he felt in that moment when he first discovered what Stiles was. His own doubt that anything between them was real, that what he assumed was his natural reasoning instead was being manipulated. It makes it more difficult to tailor a cohesive argument against Talia, especially because he’s so angry right now.

 

He spends the afternoon with Cora. She still has permanent wolf ears, and he feels like it’ll be a horrible thing when she finally gets them under control. There will never be anything more cute than his niece chewing on his arm, her little fangs barely piercing him, and her ears flicking around like she can track prey.

 

“Should we make a picnic for when Derek and Laura come home?” He asks the top of her head, pushing his nose against her hair and rubbing his cheek against her soft fur.

 

“Yes! Cupcakes! Choc’late!”

 

They make a horrible mess in the kitchen. Peter does most of the actual work of course and allows Cora to try her best to help by wrecking everything. He’s in a petulant mood, so has no problem with about three grams of rolled oats being scattered over the floor as she sits on the counter pouring things into the large mixing bowl.

 

He makes potato salad with spring onion and gamon, about twenty tuna sandwiches, and uses up all of Matthew’s nice roast turkey slices from the fridge for rolls. He makes two different kind of cookies and - of course - cupcakes. And then sets Cora loose with the icing sugar to decorate them all.

 

By the time Derek and Laura get home the kitchen is a lost cause, he’s made pink lemonade and Cora is crying because he is trying to get her to wait before eating everything. She perks up as soon as she realises the teenagers are home. “We can eat now?”

 

The four of them set up right on the edge of what is considered Hale property (but is still at the centre of Hale territory) not far enough that Talia couldn’t hear them, but enough that Peter can ignore her more easily.

 

“You can have as many cupcakes as you like if you eat all of your sandwich.” Peter tells Cora, who then tries to shove the whole thing in her mouth.

 

“You’re going to let her eat as many as she likes?” Laura says with a bemused expression.

 

“Yep. She decorated them, she can eat them.”

 

“She’ll be a nightmare to put to bed tonight.” Laura responds, watching her younger sister who has begrudgingly taken the half chewed sandwich out her mouth and started eating it normally.

 

Peter shrugs, “Today I don’t care. So neither should Cora. And neither should you, Laura. None of that watching your figure bullshit I know your girly magazines push.” Laura is quintessentially the opposite of a girly magazine girl, so it makes her laugh.

 

“But Peter, how am I going to be beach body ready if I don’t watch my weight?” She says through a mouthful of chocolate.

 

Peter rolls his eyes fondly and enjoys eating his own cupcake. The texture is good, and the mixture turned out okay, but it’s absolutely slathered in icing thanks to Cora. He’s glad that he doesn’t have to worry about toothache as a wolf.

 

Still, something niggles at him. There's a heartache he can't assuage, even spending time with the people he loves the most. He aches for Stiles's presence, for his laugh. His touch.

 

If Chris doesn't get back to them soon, he's going to track the man down and demand answers.

 

**

 

Stiles stopped counting how many times they stuck him with needles, drugging him, making him see things - or maybe that's just the objects they've placed in his hands. He dropped them at first. Threw them to the floor. Then they got smarter and started taping them or tying them to rest against his skin.

 

Horrible things. He's seen… horrible things.

 

He wants to wake up but there's no relief, not even if he passes out. There's no time for dreams of rescue, there's just image after image, events he'd rather not know about.

 

And there are questions. So many questions.

 

"I don't know," he says, or tries to say. "Please let me go home. Please let me go."

 

(His words slur in his own ears. He cries. He just wants to escape the visions. They won't let him.)

 

"You gave him too much," one man says. "What good is he if you can't understand what he's saying?"

 

Someone else says pain should be a sufficient motivator. That they don't need drugs to keep him docile. Footfalls all around him. Blood. Gold. Gold in his eyes, visions, always, to where he can only see in gold. He's in a constant trance, he thinks. Maybe.

 

More footfalls, going away this time. Someone finally unstraps one of the objects from a hand. Then the other is gone.

 

"Let's try again later."

 

Then there's silence. He passes out but can't escape the visions.

 

He sees Peter. Peter with his family, with his pack. Peter happy, and completely unaware.

 

Then there is blood, so much blood. Stiles's blood? Peter's?

 

He's jostled awake, more aware now that he's been in some time.

 

And that's when the pain begins. When he learns what it takes to break him down, to make him comply. He's too tired, too hurt to fight. He wants to spit in their faces. He wants to deny them even his tears.

 

He ends up giving them screams. Fuckers seem to revel in it. After, they strap an object to his hand again, and this time - his throat raw from screaming, every word hurting him - he tells them what they want to know.

Chapter Text

Cora is passed out on the blanket, she’s had too much sugar and ran around screaming for a while before tiring herself out. It’s early evening now, but him and the kids are still awake. He should probably take Cora into the house, wash off all the chocolate and sugar and put her to bed. But he’s feeling selfish and reckless, so doesn’t.

 

“Can we get out the tent?” Derek asks, buoyed by Peter’s obvious lack of responsibility, both of them have been becoming more and more confident in Peter’s mood to be one of the kids instead of one of the adults today. It makes the four of them feel like they’re in a secret club. Peter revels in it.

 

“That’s a brilliant idea. You guys are setting it up though.” In the end he definitely does help set it up, but not before he pushes Laura over when she’s trying to sort out the tent poles. They scrap for a while; his lessons with Laura have made her a better fighter. She knows a lot of his moves now, but she doesn’t know how to leverage her agility against his strength yet. She’ll get there. Their scrapping wakes Cora up, and she shoves a cookie in her mouth and jumps into the fray instantly. Such an Alpha instinct, she’s going to give Laura a run for her money one day. And the fight becomes more play, and in the end Laura even drags Derek into it.

 

They have a second meal inside the tent, Cora is a bit grumpy at being awake but at least is finally eating something with nutritional value. (She eats seven tuna sandwiches and Peter starts to worry that she might be sick.) And the four of them play Uno, and then eye spy, and then any other game Cora demands of them before her body realises that it’s had an exciting day and it’s late and she wants to sleep again.

 

“Can we have beer?” Laura asks as soon as Cora is asleep.

 

Peter’s ears twitch, he knows that Talia is in the kitchen at the house, cleaning up the mess he and Cora made earlier. She definitely heard that. He doesn’t care. “Sure, you can go get it.”

 

Laura grins, and Derek looks at him hopefully, “Do I get some too?” All three of them hear Talia snort, and they all freeze a moment, before laughing.

 

“Yes Derek, you can definitely drink whilst underage. I am facilitating your delinquency.” Peter says a bit louder than he needs to, with over the top theatricality. He can hear Talia sigh dramatically, and Laura takes that as a sign that she’s good to get some.

 

He may be taking a holiday from being a responsible adult but he doesn’t let them drink too much of the wolfsbane-laced alcohol. Enough that they’re maybe tipsy. They’re good kids that don’t want to push their luck. The atmosphere in the tent is close and friendly, Peter is struck that he hasn’t thought about Stiles for hours. It means that when he does sadness hits him all over again and Derek and Laura clearly notice.

 

Talia is in her office, either for her own privacy or their own. It’s the only room in the house that’s properly sound proofed, although most of the bedrooms are too somewhat.

 

Laura looks at Derek, obviously deciding something, before taking a deep swig from her can. “Derek told me about Grandad,”

 

“Ah, that’s good. I didn’t want you to be left out the loop.”

 

She nods, not voicing any upset about being left out. “Is that why you’re sad? Why you and mom aren’t talking?”

 

“No. It just felt important that you guys knew.”

 

“Because you were going to leave.” Derek says suddenly, his own lips turned down.

 

“That’s not what I said.”

 

“Then what is it?” Laura asks.

 

Peter thinks about it for a moment, drinking some more of his own beer. He strokes Cora’s back. She’s completely passed out, still clutching a cookie in her little fist. He’s hit again by how much he loves them.

 

“I made a friend. Well, that’s not right. Not how it started… There was someone who helped us, about what happened.” His eyes flick to Derek, just to check. The boy’s heart rate has increased but he doesn’t say anything, “He did something really good. And I wanted to know more about him and he took a risk and let me into his life. Even though just knowing me was a risk to him, he let me get to know him. And Talia wanted me to tell all of his secrets.”

 

“But we’re supposed to tell Mom everything… That’s the point right?” Derek says, he’s upset. He’s leaking misery. And it’s horrible, because that’s the point. He kept secrets and it all went horribly wrong.

 

“Maybe. I know it’s confusing, this was a different kind of secret. It was like when we don’t tell people we’re wolves. It’s to protect us from those who want to hurt us. His secrets didn’t hurt anyone.”

 

“Mom didn’t believe you.” Laura answers.

 

“No. She made me choose between him and the pack.” Peter's angry, sad, pining. He tries not to let this seep into his words, but he's sure they smell it on him.

 

“And that’s why you were going to leave. You were going to pick him over us.” Derek says, maybe it was a bad idea to let him drink. He isn’t keeping it together very well.

 

Peter sighs, wishing he’d planned this conversation before. “It wasn’t like that. Well, maybe a little. It was different though. Of course I didn’t want to pick anyone, it’s why I was - why I am - so angry at Talia. It’s just… You guys have each other, and your mom, and everyone else in the pack. He didn’t have anyone like that except his father. I didn’t want to leave, but I felt like someone should be in his corner. Should protect him, like he did us… And I love him. And love is a hard thing to ignore.” He looks Derek in the eyes when he says that, and Derek to his credit doesn’t look away.

 

“But you stayed.”

 

“But I stayed.” You guys needed me, I know that now. “This is my pack. Even though he was also my pack, I couldn’t lose one part for another.”

 

Except now he fears he has. He feels like there's a hole inside, or something there is twisted and pulled out of joint.

 

Derek nods, stops for a second before putting down his can so he can shuffle towards Peter and lay down. His head in Peter’s lap. “I’m glad you didn’t leave.” He says. He’s definitely a little bit drunk, it makes Peter smile even when his heart aches. Even when he thinks about never seeing Stiles again.

 

Laura decides she also wants pack cuddles and clambers into Peter’s lap, she puts her hand in Derek’s hair. “I’m glad you didn’t leave either.” She says quietly, “And I don’t think mom wanted you to leave.”

 

“No, she didn’t. But she risked it all the same. But that’s not always her fault. Like I said, she and I were dealt a bad hand. She doesn’t always… see things the same way with me as she does others. And I can’t always see things the same way with her. Too much has happened.” And while he hates the circumstances, there's a part of him that hates Talia for not trusting him, for giving him an impossible choice.

 

“Will you see your friend again?” Derek asks.

 

Peter's heart is in a vise. “I hope so.”

 

“I don’t like him. I know you love him, but he wanted to take you away.” Derek says the words into the meat of Peter’s thigh. Like he’s ashamed of them.

 

“He didn’t want to take me away. I know it looks that way, and I don’t want to say that you should hate your mother here… But it wasn’t his fault. He was just trying his best, got stuck in a shit situation. Maybe one day I’ll get to see him again, and you can both meet him.”

 

“Will mom let you?” Says Laura.

 

Peter sighs. “Well, that’s an argument for another day.”

 

Cora wakes up suddenly and begins crying about not being in the house. Peter really should have taken her in before. Laura surprises him though. “Derek, will you take Cora inside?”

 

It’s not that she used an Alpha voice, but it’s a clear request. Derek looks at her uncertainly, before glancing at Peter. Peter has no reason to disagree, and lets the two of them leave.

 

The tent is silent until they hear Derek take Cora up the stairs.

 

“Laura.” He says, waiting for her to say whatever she needed to with them alone.

 

“I need to ask a question about Grandad.”

 

“Okay.”

 

She chews her lip, looking at him. She looks younger all of a sudden. “Did he… Did he ever, do stuff to mom? Sex things?”

 

Peter’s pulse skyrockets, and his skin feels warm. It’s all the answer she needs, but he responds to her anyway. “I never knew for sure, she never said so… But yes. It was clear it happened.”

 

Laura nods. “I thought so… I’d even wondered before.”

 

“How?”

 

“When I was younger she like… She gave me these big talks. About my body, about how being a wolf involves a lot of nudity, but that never meant I shouldn’t be wary of people’s attentions. That even if they were family, I should never think it was okay, that I shouldn’t tell her.”

 

Peter feels sick, and sad. He imagines Talia trying to impart wisdom to her daughter, protect her. Keep her innocence without leaving her unarmed.

 

“I didn’t know that.”

 

“Yeah… And then the stuff with Derek. I heard her talk to Dad once. About how she spent all this time worrying about me, but never thought about Derek. How that made her a bad mother.”

 

Peter nods. The information snaps into place. The height of Talia’s guilt, how even now Derek and her’s relationship feels broken. “She couldn’t have known. A mother shouldn’t have to expect that.”

 

“Yeah. Dad said something like that. I just, I had thought about it. I didn’t know who or whatever. But then Derek told me, and it kinda… made sense suddenly.”

 

“She’s an amazing woman. I am so fucking angry at her and the mess she’s made of this. But she’s not a bad person. She’s scared and hurt, and her children have been hurt. She’s doing whatever she can to make them safe again. None of this should have happened. Even if everything falls apart, even if I do still leave… I need you to know I think that. That this didn’t start with her, that I’ll never really hate her for any of it.” He wasn't even sure before he said it that he still had the option to leave. That it's still on the table, at least in the back of his mind.

 

Laura nods, and settles back in his lap. “I’m really glad you didn’t leave.”

 

I regret betraying him, but I can’t regret not leaving you all. “I know. I know and that’s why I’m here.”



The three of them sleep in the tent, Peter wakes repeatedly throughout the night to dreams of Stiles. It almost feels like his subconscious is taunting him for having an evening not thinking about him.

 

They’re horrible dreams really, Stiles is always in distress and Peter can’t get to him. He rolls over and drags the nearest warm body to him closer. Tucking his face into Laura’s sweet smelling hair. He’s with his pack. Everything should be okay.

 

Chapter Text

"Hey, kid. I know I'm being your annoying old dad, but if you could give me a call I'd appreciate it. You promised to check in every day. It's been a day since we talked and… look, I get that this is probably me being overprotective, but those things you told me, that's nothing to ignore. So give me a call.

 

"Love you, kiddo."



Stiles is lucid. The drugs have worn off entirely. He wishes to have them back, because at least then he didn't feel pain and didn't know what they were doing with him.

 

His head hurts the most, but he's got aches and pains in other places, too. The bottoms of his feet, even, where they beat them with a crop. If he hadn't hurt so much, he would have joked about it. About… something. But at the time he couldn't think. Couldn't parse words.

 

He knows he doesn't want them to hurt him more. He hates himself for it, but he's broken. Maybe he's always been broken.

 

The hunters are Argents. Stiles knows because the main one, the old man who visits and oversees his torture and interrogations - the other hunters call him Mr. Argent. Stiles doesn't know anyone else's name. Maybe he's heard them, but he's too far gone for words, names, to stick in his head. They flow away like water. Like the time.

 

Stiles wants to go home. He wants his dad. He wants-

 

Peter. Peter, who betrayed him but Stiles still loves. Peter, who called him pack but-

 

Stiles just wants to be far away from where he is.

 

He opens his eyes and Gerard Argent is standing over him. "You gave us some trouble at first, but I see you're cooperating now. That's good. Smart."

 

Stiles forces himself not to look away.

 

"You'd probably like a shower and some food, but that's going to have to wait. I need something from you, Stiles," Argent says, and the way he says it, so calmly, like it's all normal, twists something in Stiles's stomach.

 

The man unstraps Stiles's arms from the bed. Just his arms, nothing else. He holds out an item, what looks like a necklace. "I need you to tell me everything you can about this."

 

Stiles doesn't want to touch it, but he forces himself to reach out and take it. His arm is weak, but he's able to get it. The moment he touches it, he knows who it belongs to. He knows because he followed her, touched her things, in his quest to find out how to save the Hales.

 

"Tell me," Argent says softly.

 

Stiles closes his eyes. "You gave it to her."

 

"I did. She was my daughter. Tell me what else."

 

Stiles shakes his head. He doesn't want to play this game.

 

Argent strikes out before Stiles can even think to anticipate it. The backhanded stroke leaves his cheek throbbing. "Tell me how she died."

 

The necklace is still in Stiles's hand. He keeps seeing Kate Argent's face, her sneer, her hatred. Her… monstrosity. She was a terrible person and Stiles is relieved she's dead. But her father, the man who made her what she was, is still here.

 

Maybe Peter will kill him as well.

 

Thinking of Peter, of what Stiles did for him, of what he saved his pack from, gives him a second wind. It makes him stronger. Makes him want to fight. He's not broken, not yet.

 

"Tell me!" Argent says. "How did my daughter die?"

 

Stiles slings the necklace toward him and smirks as best he can with a swollen face. "She died screaming ."

 

It's the last thing he's able to say for a long time.

 

***

 

The kids are tired and grouchy from staying up late, drinking alcohol and sleeping outside for the night. Peter still makes them get up early, eat a proper breakfast and get ready for school. He’s not quite ready to let go of his petulance, but he’s not going to let them get into bad habits just because he’s going off the rails.

 

He goes upstairs and unlocks his desk drawer, getting out his phone. Still no messages from Stiles. His fingers hover over the call button, just to check, just to know if Stiles is even still using this number… He puts it back in his pocket, and decides to himself not to get it out again. He can’t spend the next few weeks? Months? Stiles doesn’t speak to him hoping for contact. It doesn’t work that way, Stiles might never speak to him again, that’s a fact.

 

In the kitchen he makes himself some coffee and waits for the kids to get their stuff together and come down for the morning commute. Talia comes in, grabs the full coffee pot and fills up her own cup again. She’s meeting with another pack today, he knows because normally he’d be there, but he’s skipping it. Their brother in law is stepping in instead, so it’s no real bother, but it’s strange that he’s not already in her office prepping for the meeting.

 

They don’t say anything and the room feels fraught with tension. In the end Talia sighs.

 

“Peter..”

 

“Don’t.”

 

He’s not ready to have it out with her yet. He’ll wait until they at least hear more from Chris and this whole business of mistrusting Stiles can be put behind them. She nods, and goes to leave before pausing. Tentatively she brings an arm up and touches his neck, scent marking him gently, before nodding again and leaving them room.

 

Peter feels rubbed raw.



In the end he decides to go to the animal shelter. He’d sat outside the kids' school for almost ten minutes not knowing what to do with himself. He’s been a few times since his date with Stiles - and countless times before - but it reminds him of the younger man all the same.

 

Sally is on reception as he comes in and he smiles at her.

 

“We had a visitor today that I think you’d be interested in.” She tells him.

 

For a second he thinks she means Stiles, before he realises that’s ridiculous. Sally hadn’t even been there the night Stiles and he came here.

 

“Oh?”

 

She leads him to the short visit wing, a lot of the cats here are just waiting for their owners to come back on holiday or move somewhere that allows pets. In a cage halfway down the room he sees Genevieve.

 

“No, don’t tell me he brought her back?”

 

He feels like his heart is breaking all over again. It’s too horrible to think, that his carelessness has led to his small friend losing her home.

 

Sally smiles at them. “Oh I doubt it. We just found her skulking around this morning. We called but no one answered the phone.”

 

Peter opens the cage and the Russian blue comes to him instantly, eager for the attention. “Oh, you nuisance. I can’t believe you ran away.” She chirps at him, butting her head into his palm.

 

“Yeah, we assume she got out, got a bit lost, and then found her way here as somewhere she remembers.”

 

Peter feels like this is supposed to be his chance to say goodbye. It hurts, possibly more than it should. “I’ll take her back.”

 

He borrows a carrier from the sanctuary and drives to Stiles's apartment. It’s a ground floor place, and he muses that Stiles must have just left a window open when at college. Peter can’t quite make himself get out the car however, he has no idea what he’s supposed to do.

 

“This was a mistake, I should have let them do this,” he says to the cat, who is currently trying to poke her paw out from the cage.

 

What if Stiles slams the door on his face? What if he’s angry that Peter came here? There’s a small chance that maybe Stiles has moved, and then Peter has no idea what he’ll do with Genevieve. Probably take her back to the animal sanctuary and let them find her a new home. The thought feels so wrong, though.

 

He sees someone pull up and get out of the car, and forces himself to grab the carrier and leave too. It’ll be easier if he doesn’t have to buzz the intercom and instead just knock on the front door. If no one answers he’ll leave the cat with a neighbour for when Stiles gets home… It’ll have to do.

 

The other building occupant doesn’t think anything of it as he follows her inside and she goes up the stairs as he approaches the front door. There’s only four apartments on each floor and Stiles’ door is the first one along the corridor. Genevieve meows loudly in her carrier as he stands dumbly outside the door. At first it’s just nerves, he doesn’t know if he should knock.

 

He uses his senses to tell if anyone is inside, they aren’t, and that’s fine. Better really, this whole thing was stupid. But then he smells something else. The taste of panic, the underlying hint of wolfsbane. There’s something wrong with how the apartment smells, something is wrong.

 

He knocks just in case but gets no answer. Something is wrong.

 

Peter leaves the hallway and walks around Stiles’ building, he gets to what should be the window to Stiles’ living room and sees broken glass.

 

Something is wrong .

 

Genevieve is meowing in her carrier.

 

Something has happened to Stiles.

 

“I take it you’re Peter?” comes a voice from behind him.

 

**

 

Stiles doesn't know if it's day or night. There aren't any windows. He doesn't know how long he's been here. Between the drugs and the beatings, he's lost a lot of time.

 

He's no longer strapped to the bed. Instead, he's been caged like an animal. He knows by now that the hunters don't see him as human.

 

There's no bathroom, but he has a bucket. He still hasn't eaten.

 

Someone gave him a bottle of water, at least. He used some of it to wash a deep cut on his arm. He remembers the face of the hunter who cut him. Who threatened him with more if he didn't start 'respecting' the head of their psychopathic band.

 

He finally gave them some information. Not much, not Peter's name or the information about Kate's death, but enough to make the pain stop.

 

Home seems very, very far away.

Chapter Text

The sheriff has a spare key. They enter the apartment together. Peter leaves Genevieve's carrier outside the door.

 

The first thing they do is examine the broken glass door in the living room. Then Peter spies Stiles's abandoned phone on the floor.

 

The scent of Stiles, of his panic, is everywhere. Peter's insides are twisted with dread. The sheriff only says, "Don't touch anything," and Peter nods mutely as he makes his way back to Stiles's bedroom.

 

He can see where Stiles was lying on the bed, next to an open, half-packed suitcase.

 

Stiles knew. He was going to leave. Something happened and he wasn't able to, not in time.

 

"This-" Peter starts to say, but bites off the words. This is all my fault.

 

The bed where they spent such glorious hours together is the scene of a kidnapping. Peter can smell them there; his own scent is covered by wolfsbane and gun oil and heartbreak and panic . He has to cover his nose and back out of the room.

 

"No blood," the sheriff comments.

 

That fact does little to relieve Peter, though. "Why didn't he see this coming, why couldn't he stop it?" He knows it isn't fair to think that way but he can't seem to help himself. Stiles saved Peter's pack but then couldn't save himself?

 

"He'd been having visions," the sheriff says. He looks like he's just narrowly keeping himself from punching a wall. Or maybe Peter. "I told him to tell you."

 

Peter's head is hurting. He's a werewolf, he doesn't get headaches. For fuck's sake. Everything hurts. His claws itch to come out. He needs to find Stiles. He's half a second away from shifting and running off to find Stiles but he doesn't know where he is or how to find him and he feels like…

 

He feels like he's dying. Like Stiles is his air and he can no longer breathe. He needs to find him, make sure he's safe. He needs to touch him again, breathe him in, then take him away somewhere just the two of them. Where no one will find them. Where no one can hurt Stiles.

 

Stiles, Stiles. His heart is beating faster with every thought of danger. For all his abilities, Stiles is still human, vulnerable. Peter expanded it somehow, put him in further danger, and now Peter can barely think beyond Save Stiles .

 

"I need to find him."

 

"We both do. Any guesses who did this?" Stilinski asks.

 

"Smells like hunters," Peter growls. He's sure his eyes are shining. He blinks and attempts to get it under control. This… is Talia's fault. Not his. This is on his Alpha, who forced his hand, who couldn't trust him even when he begged her to. Did she arrange this somehow? Did she set Stiles up? "Talk to Chris Argent. I'm going to speak to my sister."

 

"Hey," the sheriff says, and puts a hand on his shoulder. Peter cuts off a snarl. This man is not his enemy. He's Stiles's pack.

 

Peter looks at the man, sees the strain in his eyes. Stiles is his son, his only child, and he's got to be as worried as Peter is. Somehow he's much steadier, though. Strong. Tough. Ready to get down to business. Unlike Peter, who just wants to find someone to rip into.

 

"Keep it together," the sheriff says. He sounds so no-nonsense. He'd be a good Alpha.

 

Peter takes a deep breath and nods. "Give me your number. I'll call you if I find anything."

 

The sheriff takes his phone out and they trade. "I'll take the cat for now." Which is good, because Peter's beyond thinking about Genevieve.

 

Peter has one last piece of advice to give. "Be careful with Christopher. He lives by his Code, but from what I can tell, the Code is easily bent to a hunter's will. And make sure you speak alone. The rest of his family is even more dangerous than he is."

 

Stilinski rests a hand on his gunbelt and gives Peter a stubborn look. "I can be dangerous, too." The family resemblance is strong enough to make Peter's eyes burn.



It's easy to find Talia, and he's sure she can feel him coming. His righteous rage fills him like fire. The closer he gets to her, the more he focuses, the stronger it burns. He's never felt this way before, except the night they killed their father and Talia became Alpha. He supported her then, was right at her side.

 

He is in direct opposition to her now.

 

The children must feel him coming too. They are smart enough to stay out of the way.

 

He feels like the ground is shaking under his feet. He wishes it were. He wants to make something shake, wants to make someone pay. He's half-feral with the desire, but his anchor holds because he needs to get to Stiles. Somehow. He needs to make sure he's safe.

 

But he knows he has to do this first. He's not strong enough to save Stiles alone.

 

He nearly rips the office door off its hinges with the force he uses to open it. Talia's face is white, her fists clenched tightly, but her eyes burn Alpha red.

 

"What the hell are you doing?" she asks.

 

"They took him. Hunters took Stiles. I want him back ."

 

"I know nothing about this." She grits out the words. He knows she sees him as a threat, can feel the violence coiled beneath his skin. But she stays tall and regal behind her desk, as if civility will save her.

 

"This is your fault!" Peter snarls. He takes a step toward her and feels his fangs drop in his mouth.

 

"Peter, are you here to challenge me?" she asks, and he curses her for her even voice.

 

"I fucking well should be!"

 

She relaxes at that. "But you aren't."

 

"I need to save Stiles. You're going to help me get him from them."

 

Talia sighs. "Look, I didn't know the Argents were going to go after him. I'm sorry about your boyfriend. I'll call someone, see if I can work something out."

 

"He's not my boyfriend," Peter growls. His wolf is slavering, more in control than he is at this point. "He's my mate !"

 

Talia's burning eyes go wide.

 

Peter is caught between human and wolf. His rational side wants to examine what he just said. His wolf only knows it spoke truth, and now they must find Stiles. If Talia won't help, then he should kill her. No one will stop him if he's the Alpha. No one will hurt an Alpha's mate.

 

"Peter!" she says, and he realizes he was advancing on her. He stops. Cocks his head at the desk between them. He can jump it easily. He can get to her throat in less than a second. "Peter, listen to me." The Alpha is pleading now. His claws are ready. "We'll find him. If he's your mate, you'll be able to find him easily. I'll come with you. We'll get him back. We'll take our pack's best fighters, and we'll save your mate. Peter, please, snap the fuck out of it."

 

"Uncle Peter," Laura says from behind him. He turns sideways so he can keep an eye on both of them. "Is he really your mate?"

 

"Laura, get out of here," Talia orders.

 

Laura's hair needs brushing. She looks like she just ran in from rolling around in the woods. She's still just a girl, his niece. He loves her. She's pack, and he chose her and Derek and Cora over his mate…

 

Peter is broken into pieces, and every piece is pulling into a different direction. He makes a soft, distressed sound and then Laura is hugging him tightly. She ignored her Alpha's order for him.

 

"It's okay," she whispers, and since when does he need reassurances from his niece? He's there for her and her siblings, and this turnaround has him feeling too vulnerable. He hugs her back, buries his nose in her hair. He's shaking. He almost attacked Talia. He could have either gotten himself killed or taken Laura's mother away from her.

 

He hears Talia walking closer. slowly, but now that the danger is past she has nothing to be wary of. Maybe she can feel that. She stands beside him but doesn't attempt to enter the hug. She looks at them both wistfully.

 

Peter pulls away from Laura a bit and gives Talia a long look.

 

Talia nods. "I suppose we'll have a lot to work out once this is over."

 

Peter snorts and deliberately turns his face away.

 

***

 

Stiles hurts more than he's ever hurt in his life. The pain comes, and when he closes his eyes he sees gold, gold, gold. He passes out.

 

But when he comes to again, there's a smile on his face.

 

"What's got you so happy, you little shit?" a voice mocks.

 

Stiles ignores the taunts. He saw Peter in his dreams this time, drenched in blood, smiling in triumph. He can still taste the iron in his kiss.

 

The hole inside him, the one that said no one would come for him, is gone. Instead, he feels a connection. A recognition.

 

Peter will come.

Chapter Text

Peter is near silent in the car as he focuses on Stiles and his whereabouts. Several times, Talia opens her mouth but he glares at her and she closes it again.

Peter's driving. Talia's in the passenger seat. Laura and another beta, their cousin Will, are in the back. There are three other cars following, one of them the sheriff's. They have prepared for war, and if Peter had the presence of mind to think about it, he'd be grateful.

But he's not grateful. He's angry and near-feral with worry.

"Do you want me to drive?" Laura asks when Peter cuts into another street, over the curb. "You can just tell me where-"

"I've got it," Peter bites out. He doesn't mean to be short with his niece, but he can't dredge up politeness at the moment.

Talia shifts uncomfortably. "Peter…"

"You sold out my mate to hunters you already knew we couldn't trust. You forced my hand, using your power and status and my pack against me. Stiles could be dead-" His voice cracks and he can't go on.

"Chris Argent has never broken the Code," Talia says. "I had no reason to believe he would use the information to-"

Peter snarls and speeds up. "Shut up, Alpha."

The two in the backseat gasp at the blatant disrespect, but Peter doesn't give a shit. He blames Talia for this, but also himself. He knows he shouldn't have given in to Talia, no matter what she threatened. Neither the red of her eyes nor the timbre of her voice should have made him give up his mate's secrets. Stiles was always so scared of being known, of being found out. Peter tried to be understanding, to be respectful, but he let the love of his pack and respect for his Alpha get in the way of his mate's wellbeing.

And now he may have lost his mate for good. Guilt eats at him, but his love keeps him going. He can feel the bond strengthen the more he focuses on it, and it's pointing the way.

Talia tries again. "Peter. Please."

"He saved us all," Peter says. "He kept our pack from burning to ash, and you might as well have handed him over."

"Peter, for all I knew he spelled you and used you to attack the Argents."

"Is that what they told you?" Peter asks incredulously.

"It was a possibility. They said they wanted to investigate on their own."

"But you knew what she did! To Derek, for god's sake you should have known just from that alone!"

Talia rubs at her forehead and squeezes her eyes shut. Very quietly, she says, "I misjudged the situation."

"Admitting it does nothing," Peter says. "I want nothing more to do with you after this. I'm leaving the pack. I can't stay with an Alpha who would force her will on me and turn on her allies."

"Uncle Peter?" Laura asks shakily.

He meets her eyes in the rearview mirror. "We'll discuss it later."

Talia clears her throat. "Maybe when you've had some time to reassess, you'll see what a terrible idea this is. Peter, you can't possibly want to go omega."

Will is silent through the whole exchange, though his scent is full of agitation and confusion.

"I've made my choice. Laura, will you call the sheriff and tell him I know where they're holding Stiles but not to call in his deputies yet?" Peter asks. He parks the car and stares at the huge abandoned house his bond led him to. He doesn't know what he'll find inside, but he knows he's willing to kill anyone who stands between him and Stiles.


Stiles floats above his pain. He can, at times like this, when no one is actively hurting him. And it's a good time to close his eyes and try to dream. He's been forced to See too much, though. His gift is weak. He's weak.

More than weak; he knows he's hurt badly. Gerard beat him soundly, and it hurts to talk, to breathe. They aren't feeding him, either, and he's pretty sure he's dehydrated. He got some (drugged) water earlier as a 'reward' for telling part of a vision. What he Saw didn't mean anything to him, and he gave it up, but he hopes the information doesn't get anyone else hurt.

It's not your fault, he tells himself. If someone is hurt or killed because of what he saw, it's not… he can't help what he sees, and now he's been drugged and beaten and starved and it's not his fault.

It's his fault he was caught, though. He shouldn't have texted Peter beyond the original information about Kate. He shouldn't have started a relationship with the man. Keep it secret. He can hear his mother's words to him as if she's standing beside him.

But now that thought hurts, too. He can't imagine having never been with Peter. If he hadn't let Peter into his life, he never would have fallen in love. And that… that's been worth everything. Even the… betrayal.

Tears spring to his eyes. He's seen what happened. Knows for sure that Peter didn't want to give anything away. But what could he do besides refuse his Alpha? Stiles knows how packs work. Knows Peter would do anything to keep his.

It hurts, though. It shouldn't, because there's no way Stiles is more important to Peter than those kids.

He closes his eyes again. Sees the golden misty edges of a vision. No. He doesn't want to see more. He wishes he could make it go away.

But he sees Peter coming for him. Sees him with blood splattered on his clothes. Sees relief and worry in his beautiful eyes, and more blood on his face.

Stiles knows he needs a hospital. Knows if Peter doesn't come for him that he'll die in this place. But he's seen Peter come, and knows it's going to happen.

"Someday, my prince will come," Stiles rasps to himself. A song from an old cartoon. A Disney movie he watched with his mother once upon a time. He used to beg to watch it over and over. He knows every word to every song. He wonders if all the song will come true. "Someday, we'll meet again. And away to his castle we'll go… to be happy forever, I know…" It hurts to even make the sounds, but he does it anyway.

Maybe today is the day.


The sheriff goes in with Peter, Talia, Will, and three more of Talia's betas. They aren't sure if they'll encounter mountain ash, and having a human in the know go in with them is just smart.

The house is old, huge, and Peter's sure there will be plenty of twists and turns before they reach their destination and find Stiles. Peter can hear heartbeats, but they're muffled and he's too agitated and impatient to count them. Talia holds him back with a hand to his chest and does it for him.

"Seven people inside," she says, murmuring loud enough that the sheriff can hear her. The pack stands ready. Peter pulls away from Talia's hold and stalks to the door, ready to bust it down.

"So that's six hunters?" the sheriff says in an undertone. He takes his sidearm out. "Can you tell which heartbeat is Stiles?"

Talia shakes her head. Peter can hear a heartbeat start to pick up and then someone inside yells. They've been seen.

The element of surprise is over. Peter kicks the door in and immediately moves into the room and to the side, narrowly missing being shot. The hunters are quick and well trained, but Peter's faster. He smells the wolfsbane and gunpowder in the air, knows he's in danger, but doesn't actually give a shit. He's here for his mate.

Then Stiles's father surprises everyone. "Beacon County Sheriff's Department!"

Peter can tell the hunters are confused. The sheriff steps through the door, grabs the first hunter in view, and spins her around so her face smashes against the wall. Handcuffs go on almost too fast to see. Peter would be impressed if he wasn't already trying to catch Stiles's scent. It's muted but there, mixed with blood and fear and pain.

Peter's fangs drop in his mouth and he feels his face shift. His claws come out, eager to rip into anyone who stands in his way.

"Anyone who resists arrest has to deal with that one," the sheriff says, nodding in Peter's direction. The three hunters in the room put their guns down. Peter knows it won't be this easy the whole time, and part of him is disappointed. He can smell his mate's pain. He wants blood.

He hears hunters in other parts of the huge house, hunters who don't know yet what's going on. When Peter smiles, he knows it isn't pleasant. He doesn't feel pleasant, especially when he finds someone who smells strongly of Stiles.

Peter grabs him from behind and throws him to the floor. Talia and Will come into the room after him, going after the other hunter in the room. Peter leaves them to it. He wants the one he knows dared to touch his mate.

"Where is he?" Peter growls, turning the hunter onto his back. The man tries to bring a knife up to slash at Peter, but it's easily batted away. Peter squeezes the man's throat, enough to let him know he means it. He's going to die, of course. But Peter will let him think otherwise until he tells him what he needs to know.

"Basement," the hunter gasps.

"How do I get there?" Peter thinks to ask. The house is so big Peter could spend precious time trying to find it without direction.

The hunter points at a door. His heart is fast but steady, so Peter knows it isn't a trick.

But he smells like Stiles's fear and blood. This hunter helped torture Peter's mate. Peter can't allow that to stand. It's too easy to dig his claws in and rip out the man's windpipe. Blood sprays, but Peter doesn't care.

He's got to find Stiles.

Talia says something but Peter isn't listening. He opens the door to the stairs and Stiles's scent hits him in the face, urging him on. He only hears one heartbeat so he rushes down. He finds Stiles tied to a bed, eyes unfocused, face bruised and swollen.

"Stiles," Peter breathes. He hurries to his mate's side and rips through the ropes holding him down. "Stiles, darling. Can you sit up?" He asks as gently as he can. His fingertips run over Stiles's bruised arms. He starts pulling pain and Stiles looks at him.

"Peter?" Stiles struggles to sit up and does so with Peter's help. He's lighter than he should be. His eyes look sunken. Peter imagines he's dehydrated. He looks around for water and picks up a half-full bottle from a table nearby.

Stiles eyes it but shakes his head. "It's drugged."

Peter's heart is breaking. "Darling…"

"You're covered in blood," Stiles says, but he's trying to smile now. He reaches out and Peter is drawn in for a tender kiss.

Peter feels tears of relief fill his eyes. "Stiles."

Stiles leans against him. "I need a hospital."

"Anything." Peter expects Stiles to say something else, but his mate closes his eyes and goes limp.

Peter focuses on his heartbeat, which is still steady. He picks Stiles up against his chest and carries him up the stairs and through the house. The other hunters are subdued. The sheriff sees Stiles and hurries over, worry and relief clear on his face.

Peter ignores everyone, focused completely on the man in his arms. "We need to get him to a hospital."

The sheriff hurriedly leads him to his cruiser and they speed away, siren blaring.

Chapter Text

Peter and John sit side by side in the waiting room. They both radiate tension and worry. Talia tried to stay but Peter snarled her away early on. Laura is probably nearby, still. Waiting. Worrying.

"I still don't understand what happened," John murmurs. "Stiles has always been so careful."

The guilt is a heavy thing. It weighs on Peter like steel chains around his neck, choking his answer. "It's my fault."

John's eyes narrow. "How? What did you do?"

Peter stares at his hands. They aren't bloody anymore, but he can still feel the tackiness of it between his fingers, under his nails. "My alpha gave me an ultimatum, and I chose my pack over Stiles's safety."

The chair John's sitting in creaks as he leans forward. "I think you'd better explain this to me."

"I didn't know what she was going to do with the information. I swear, I had no clue what the hunters had in mind. I never would have said a word."

"What. Happened."

Peter's afraid to look at him. John smells like a storm, and his scent is close enough to Stiles's that it makes Peter want to beg forgiveness.

"How much of what Stiles did for us do you know?" Peter asks.

"Not much. But I know it has to be something big, or Stiles wouldn't have gotten involved."

"And what do you know about how packs work? Do you know what an omega werewolf is?"

John doesn't know much about that, either. So Peter starts to talk. He explains pack hierarchy. He explains hunters, which John does understand, thanks to his wife. And Peter talks about his sister's children, and how much he cares for them. How he loves them like they're his own pups.

Peter talks, and talks, skirting around the truth of what happened. He wants John to have a clear picture of what happened, he tells himself. He wants…

He wants forgiveness and absolution, even though he doesn't deserve it, but he also knows the only person who can truly give it is Stiles.

He gets to the ultimatum. John goes tense beside him.

"Your alpha put him in danger like this? She handed over his information to the people who tried to wipe out your pack. How?"

"I did, too," Peter says quietly. "I tried to keep his identity a secret, but apparently someone's been following me. Us. They reasoned it was Stiles."

"He saved you!" John yells.

Peter bows his head. "In more ways than one."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"He's my mate. He's… he's everything to me."

John scoffs. "You could've fooled me."

"I knew I loved him," Peter says. "I didn't realize he was my mate. Not until it was too late. If we knew, Talia never would have- and I never would have let her-"

"It's too late for that."

"I'm leaving my pack. It's dangerous to do, but I can't stay," Peter says.

"Dangerous how?" John asks.

Peter sighs. "We're social creatures, werewolves are made to work together. My wolf won't do so well alone." But there's nothing for it. He doesn't have a choice. Talia's taken the choice from him. He can't possibly stay in her pack now, even if it means leaving the kids.

"What does that mean?" John presses.

"Some omegas go feral," Peter says, "but that's usually the ones who lose their packs. If Kate Argent had succeeded, if Stiles hadn't stepped in, the pack would have been wiped out. Anyone remaining would have had a hard time, even if they weren't alone. But I can't help but think… what if I was the only one left? I would've gone mad."

"But breaking from the pack on purpose, will that make a difference?"

"I hope so."

John sighs. "So she threatens to push you out and you end up leaving anyway."

"I can't properly appreciate the irony at the moment," Peter says tiredly. He hangs his head. He can feel Stiles, knows he's alive and getting the care he needs, but the urge to see him, touch him, is overwhelming.

Peter and John have nothing else to do but wait, and talk. John asks more questions, wants to know every detail of what happened and then go over them again. Peter's sick with guilt, but talking it out helps him see it clearer.

"She's lucky I didn't kill her," Peter finally says, mostly to himself but partly to John. "I could still. But that would mean taking my nieces' and nephew's mother away and I can't do that to them."

John looks at him. "It's a bad situation all around."

"I am going to kill Gerard Argent, though," Peter says. "As soon as I find him, I'm going after him."

"I'm still the sheriff, you know," John says wryly. "You probably shouldn't plan a murder in front of me."

"No one is going to stop me," Peter growls. His vision goes sharper for a moment and he realizes his eyes are flashing. He ducks his head again, glad that he and John are the only ones in the waiting room at the moment.

"You can't afford to go after anyone in this state," John murmurs.

"I just need to know Stiles will be alright," Peter says. He sighs and pushes down his wolf. There's no one to hunt at the moment, no one to be on guard against. He can't rip into the doctors for taking so long. He flexes his hands and wills his claws to stay away.

"He's a fighter," John says.

"I really do… I love him," Peter says vehemently. "I hate feeling this helpless."

"You know you have to leave before he wakes, right?" John tells him.

Peter feels like he's been struck.

John nods. "You betrayed him, whether it was intentional or not. You need to wait until he's ready to see you."

Peter knows the man is right, but he doesn't want him to be. He wants everything to be… to be like it was before all this, before Talia dragged the truth out of him. He wants to lie in bed with Stiles and drain his pain and tell him how cherished he is, how special. But he can't. He can't turn back the time and make things right that way. Maybe he'll never be able to make things right.

"What do I do?" he asks, even though he's certain John doesn't have the answers either.

"Go home. Wait for Stiles to ask for you."

"I don't have a home anymore," Peter says, and hopes it doesn't sound as pathetic to John as it does to him.

"No friends you can stay with?" John asks.

Peter has a sinking feeling. It's clear to him now that he doesn't have people outside of the pack. Not besides Stiles. Something must show on his face because John reaches over and pats his arm.

"You can stay at the house," John says.

"Until Stiles comes home, you mean," Peter murmurs. But John shakes his head.

"I'm going to have guards posted outside his room, and when he goes home I'll make sure one of the deputies watches the house. But he'll need... " John trails off. He looks like a combination of lost and pissed, and when they meet eyes he looks like he's begging. "I can't protect him on my own."

"I was already planning on staying nearby," Peter admits. "I'll keep out of Stiles's sight but I'll be there, John. I need to protect him, too."

It will probably be good for his wolf to have a job to do. Protecting their mate is something both Peter and his wolf agree on, especially after what's happened. He doesn't know if Argent will strike again, or send someone else to, and until they can get rid of him and make sure every hunter involved is dead or in prison, Peter will be on edge and ready to fight.

It reminds him, he needs to confront Chris Argent. He was the best of the lot, and he doesn't think Chris knew what his father was doing anymore than Peter suspected, but he needs to know for sure. If Chris knew, if he pulled the information from Peter and handed it over with Stiles's abduction and torture in mind, then he has to die. There is no other way it can end.

"Do you know where Chris Argent is?" Peter asks.

John gives him a knowing look. "I sent him home to his family. He helped, when we were still looking. I think he's as innocent as you, but I didn't give him a polygraph or anything. I told him not to leave town."

"Even if he didn't know his father's plans, it still leaves him with a lot to answer for," Peter murmurs.

Just then, the waiting room door opens. Peter and John stand, anxious for news, but it's not hospital personnel, it's Laura.

Peter isn't sure how to react, but Laura takes the decision from his hands when she pulls him into a tight hug. Her hair is damp and smells like hospital soap, but beneath that she smells like home and safety. Like the pack Peter's leaving.

"No word yet?" Laura asks.

Peter shakes his head.

John holds his hand out to shake. "I don't think we've met."

"I apologize, Sheriff," Peter says, automatically introducing them. "This is Laura Hale, my niece. Laura, John Stilinski."

Laura shakes John's hand. Normally werewolves don't like to shake, not like that, because it's a sharing of scent reserved for pack members. But Laura's been taught to be diplomatic, or she honestly sees John as an extension of pack because of Peter's mate. Peter can't be sure at the moment. Most days he'd be curious, want to pull apart the actions so he can properly see the big picture, but he's too tired and worried to worry about politics. Not that Hale pack politics mean what they did to him anymore. Not when he's not even pack.

Fuck, it hurts to think of, like there's an empty place in his chest, and he hasn't even formally cut ties yet.

"Derek wanted to come too, but Mom's forbidden it. Says we've caused enough trouble and we should leave well enough alone." The tone of Laura's voice tells Peter exactly how much she respects that decision.

"Well enough?" John asks incredulously. "My son's been tortured, for chrissake."

"Did you disobey her again?" Peter asks Laura quietly.

Laura raises her chin. "She can take her rules and shove them up her ass for all I care," she says steadily. If she'd said it with more of a snarl, with less conviction, Peter might put it down to youthful rebellion. Temporary. But Laura seems adamant.

John says nothing, but his eyebrows shoot up.

"Laura," Peter murmurs, but his niece shakes her head.

"Mom's not fit to be Alpha. I told her as much."

"You can't leave the pack, too," Peter says. "You're the heir."

"Oh, I'm not leaving," Laura says. "I'm challenging her."

Peter sucks in a breath. His thoughts spin. "What?"

And then the door opens again, and this time it is someone who can tell them about Stiles. Two someones, a doctor and a nurse. The doctor smiles and the nurse — a woman with curly brown hair and purple scrubs — gives John a hug. They're obviously familiar with each other, but John doesn't introduce them.

"How is Stiles?" he asks instead.

The doctor nods. "He's been through a lot. From what I can gather about his captivity, he was drugged quite a bit and beaten, but there will be no permanent debilitating injuries. He's going to heal up just fine, though he will have some scars. But most of it is superficial, and we're giving him lots of fluids to counteract the dehydration. He's not awake yet, but that's normal. He has a lot of healing to do, and he's suffering from exhaustion. He probably won't wake up until tomorrow."

Peter lets out a long breath and Laura hugs him.

"Can we see him?" John asks.

The doctor nods. "Not for too long. After this I want only one visitor at a time."

Laura hangs back, but Peter and John follow the doctor down the hall into Stiles's room. He's hooked up to machines and bags and smells like disinfectant. There's a frown on his face even though he's asleep. He's beautiful though, because he's alive, and Peter hurries to him and puts a hand on his arm lightly. He immediately begins to drain his mate's pain, and Stiles's face relaxes.

"What is that?" John asks, staring at Peter's black veins.

"Taking his pain," Peter murmurs. "He's going to hurt when he wakes up, but I can ease his sleep a little now, at least."

John pulls up a chair to Stiles's bedside. He looks like he's staying awhile.

Peter bends down and kisses Stiles's forehead. He lingers a moment, breathing in his mate's scent. It's there, underneath the blood and pain and hospital smells. "I love you," he whispers.

Then he straightens. John gives him an even look, and he knows he has to leave.

"If you need anything, call me. Or Laura. And if Stiles wakes up…"

"I'll keep you updated," John promises. "The key to the house is under the gnome on the back porch. Get cleaned up. Maybe take a nap before you go confront Chris."

"I don't think I can sleep, but I do need a shower. Thank you for your hospitality, John."

"Stay safe," John tells him.

Peter leans down again to kiss Stiles's unmarked cheek. "Heal, darling," he whispers.

And then he walks out.

Chapter Text

Peter isn't expecting Laura to follow him out of the hospital. He'd stop to talk, but he needs to get going, so he talks while he heads to parking.

"I need you to stay here. If I can't watch over Stiles… At least if you're here, I know he's safe." Peter doesn't like showing this much vulnerability to his niece, but it's important.

"The Sheriff is armed, and he has at least two other deputies nearby," Laura says as they walk the length of the parking garage. "I want to come with you when you go to Chris Argent."

Peter growls and it echoes. Laura doesn't even flinch, apparently expecting this reaction. "I don't need your protection from one measly hunter," Peter says.

Laura rolls her eyes. "No, but you may need someone to stop you from killing him and kicking off a war."

"We're already at war," Peter says, almost snarls. He's losing his temper, which is quite out of character for him.

"So far, no one has died who didn't deserve it. Chris didn't know anything about what his sister or father did. He's not our enemy."

"He took the information I shared with Talia straight to his father. He's complicit in Stiles's kidnapping and torture, and that's not something I'm going to forget."

"At least hear him out before you tear his throat out," Laura says. "Fuck, Peter, you're letting your emotions get the best of you right now, and you've always told me not to do that. Listen to your own advice for once."

Peter growls in annoyance, but she's right. His niece is right. He's angry and he's been scared for his mate, and now all that emotion is searching out a proper target. His wolf is uneasy, prowling around inside him. He wants to be by Stiles's side, but that's impossible right now. The least he can do is make the world safer for his mate.

"I'll talk to him. Maybe he knows where his father is." Peter unlocks the car doors and sighs. "Come on, then."

Laura quirks a smile now that she's won and gets into the car with him.


The drive isn't too long, but there's obviously something else on Laura's mind.

"Are you still set on challenging your mother?" Peter asks, guessing that's what has her preoccupied.

"Do you disapprove?" Laura asks.

"No. I considered doing it myself," he confesses.

Laura twists the hem of her shirt, not looking up. "Do you think I have a chance, Uncle Peter?"

"You've gotten better," Peter says.

"Thanks to you."

"I wish I'd had more time to prepare you. I didn't think this would happen… not this soon, at least."

"But you thought it was a possibility?" Laura asks.

"It's hard to say. Not that long ago, I promised Talia I wouldn't leave the pack. I promised her I would be there to protect you all, and she told me she trusted me." His smile twists bitterly on his face.

"This is so fucked up," Laura huffs.

Peter silently agrees. "Have you talked to Derek yet?"

Laura shakes her head. "Everything's happened so fast. He went to school today, but I think it was mostly to escape the tension."

Peter pulls up in front of Chris Argent's house. Curtains twitch in the front window.

Laura reaches over and squeezes his hand before he can get out of the car. "Try to stay calm. Listen to what he has to say."

Peter gives her a dry look. "I'll try to refrain from bathing in his blood."

Laura smiles brightly. "That works!"

When they walk up to the front door, it opens before Peter can ring the bell. Chris Argent looks like he hasn't slept. His hair is mussed and his eyes are red-rimmed with dark circles beneath.

"You look about as good as I feel," Peter says pleasantly.

"Come in," Chris says tiredly. "Hello, Laura."

"I'm surprised you know my name," Laura says.

Chris winces. Shrugs. "You're Talia's heir." He leads them to a table in the dining room. "My wife is at work and my daughter is at preschool. Are you here in your official capacity, Hale?" As pack enforcer, he means.

"I'm here as Stiles Stilinski's mate," Peter tells him, and watches Chris's eyes go wide.

"I wasn't aware. I knew you were seeing him, but…" Chris trails off and scrubs a hand through his hair. "I thought my father just wanted information. He lost his daughter, his pride and joy." Here, Chris's voice goes brittle and bitter. "He even had me half believing she didn't do anything wrong."

"She raped my underaged nephew and plotted to burn our pack to ashes," Peter says with a growl. Laura twitches beside him but says nothing.

"And we were supposed to believe that on whose word?" Chris says. "I never got a chance to talk to her about it. Your pack killed her. Maybe if I'd been able to confront her, maybe if she admitted it… but there was no chance of that."

"You can't convince me your father didn't know what she was doing," Peter says.

Chris sighs. "I believe you, now. But at first, all I heard was Gerard's side. He told me someone was out to ruin us, someone who had it in for hunters. It made sense when he said it. He sent me to Talia to get information. I didn't know what he would do with it."

It hits Peter then. Chris is in a similar position as himself. Peter had no idea what the information would lead to. He indirectly gave over Stiles into Gerard's hands, and so did Chris. It doesn't make him more predisposed to like the hunter any more than before, of course. But at least he understands. Dammit.

"Where is your father now?" Laura asks. Getting right to the point.

"I haven't seen him and he hasn't contacted me," Chris says. Then, in a steely voice, "But what he did is against the Code. He needs to be punished."

"I'm going to kill him," Peter says, feeling eerily calm.

Chris gives him a sharp look. "Not if I find him first. He's my father, that makes him my responsibility."

"You'd kill your own father?" Laura asks. She doesn't sound shocked, only curious.

"Sometimes the most terrible things are what's right," Chris says grimly.

Laura frowns. Peter can tell she's thinking of her mother. Wondering if she has it in her to fight to the death, if it comes to that.

It won't. Peter won't let it.


Laura speaks softly. "What you said back there, about Kate… what she did to Derek. I didn't… know. Not really."

"Or you just hadn't heard it stated so baldly," Peter says.

Laura nods, pursing her lips together.

Peter sighs. "She used him. There's a reason why there are laws against what she did. She was in a position of power as his teacher, and she abused it. She abused his trust and his love."

"I knew Derek was depressed after, but-" She sighs. "He's going to be okay, right?"

"I think so," Peter says slowly. Laura nods, and Peter thinks about the help he's given Derek, the safe place to heal he's provided. Laura seems to be thinking the same thing.

"You won't have to leave the pack if I'm the Alpha," she says. "And… I'll need you."

Peter smiles. Talia had needed him too, though in a different way. "I'll be there to help. If you're Alpha, then I'll be there." He drives into the hospital parking lot, around and around until Laura points out the Camaro she drives. He stops the car.

Laura reaches over the center console and hugs him. She smells like herself, loam and lemon, plus an added hint of determination. "Stiles will be welcome in the pack, too."

Peter hugs her tighter.

She pulls back and looks at him after a few more moments. "He's going to forgive you."

"I hope so," Peter murmurs.

"He's your mate."

He knows she doesn't have a lot of experience with mates in real life, just has heard the stories. Talia and Matthew are a good match, but they aren't mates.

"This isn't a fairytale, Laura," Peter says. But what she says is true. Stiles is his mate. Maybe that will mean something to him.

Or maybe it's just wishful thinking.

"I'm going to pick Derek up from school and tell him everything," Laura says. "Do you think… Will he take Mom's side?" She sounds suddenly vulnerable.

"I don't know," Peter says honestly. He doesn't think of Derek as someone who would risk a big confrontation, but then again he's loyal to a fault. Peter isn't clear on who Derek would feel the most loyal to, though. "Just be straight with him. Let him decide himself."

"Okay." Laura takes a deep breath. Nods to herself. "Okay."

"Good luck," Peter tells her.

"Can I call you later?" Laura asks.

"Of course. You can always call me. Text me. Come by. Anything."

She smiles. Then she gets out of the car and unlocks the Camaro. Peter waits until she's started the engine before he drives away.


Peter drives over to Stiles's apartment before going back to the Stilinski residence. There's crime scene tape he steps over. He does his best to ignore the still-lingering scent of Stiles's terror. He remembers something Stiles said about his pillow, and decides to bring it along with him, not before burying his face in it to get his mate's scent.

He gathers Genevieve's things: her food and treats, her toys, her bowls, the scratching post and litter box. Everything is loaded into the car and taken back to the sheriff's house.

He gives the cat fresh food and water in the kitchen. She gives him a look before she starts to eat, and it clearly says, What took you so long?

Peter realizes he hasn't eaten. The kitchen isn't well stocked, but he makes himself a bowl of stew from a can. It tastes like nothing to him, but it fills him up and that's what's important.

He falls asleep on the sofa, face against Stiles's pillow, Genevieve purring against his side. He doesn't dream.

He gets up two hours later when his phone gives a buzz. It's a text from John.

He's awake.

Chapter Text

Stiles doesn't open his eyes when he wakes. He tries not to go stiff, tries not to give any indication at all that he's awake.

At first the beeping is just background noise, not as loud as the panic and fear inside him. But then he hears it and remembers.

Peter came for him. He's safe, unless that was another vision. His head feels clearer but it could be…

He slits his eyes open. Sees his father asleep in a chair pulled up to his hospital bed.

What if this is a another vision? He opens his eyes wider, looks around for the tell-tale golden mist. It's not there.

He swallows and it hurts. His head is pounding, his torso is a mix of ache and sharp pain when he takes a deep breath. Does the pain make it real?

"Dad?" he croaks.

His father sits up all at once, eyes wide. "Stiles? Oh, god. Thank god."

Stiles is ashamed of how small his voice is when he asks, "Is this real?"

"Yes," his dad says, sadness flashing across his face before he goes strong again. Firm. "You're out of there. You're safe."

Stiles reaches for him and his dad clasps his hand. There's a flash of Peter in what looks like the hospital waiting room. Stiles pulls his hand away quickly. He's not ready to deal with more visions. Not yet.

A sudden wave of nausea hits him and he has to close his eyes.

"What's wrong?" His dad is already clicking the nurse call button.

"I feel sick." Then, in a whisper, "I don't want to See anymore."

A nurse comes in and smiles at him. He doesn't know her. He wishes she was Melissa.

She seems nice enough, but Stiles would rather have the familiar. "Awake? That's good. I'm Marcie. How are you feeling?" She takes his pulse and he gets a flash of something, a birthday party, and he pulls his wrist away from her. He doesn't want to be touched. He doesn't want to see.

Marcie shakes her head. "I'm sorry. You've been through a lot. But I really do need to touch you to do my job. I'll try to keep it to a minimum."

His dad looks worried. Stiles has never shied away from touch like this before, he knows. Not even when it meant visions. But he's not used to seeing a vision with every single touch, either. Something's off.

Marcie attaches a clip to his finger and Stiles is thankful when she barely touches him to do it.

Stiles asks for water and gets it, along with ice. It's soothing on his throat and he's able to talk without pain. He gets the rundown on his injuries, which aren't as bad as he'd thought. He'll probably have some scars. The worst he suffered from was the dehydration, which was apparently quite bad.

He remembers the drugged water he kept refusing, and what happened when he couldn't.

Marcie goes away after making some marks on his chart, and then he's alone with his dad again.

"My Sight is wonky," Stiles says tiredly. "It won't stop whenever I'm touched."

"What do you think it is?" his dad asks.

Stiles shrugs and hurts his shoulder. He flops his head back on his pillow. His pillow. "Where did this come from?"

"Peter brought it in," his father says. Neutral voice. No judgement either way.

Stiles wants to ask where he is now. Wants to call him, tell him to come. But he's conflicted. He wants him, loves him, but he doesn't trust him. That's a problem. Stiles looks away from his dad's probing look and says, "Maybe my Sight will go back to normal once the drugs get out of my system."

"Let's hope." His dad takes out his phone and taps on it.

Stiles raises his eyebrows in question. His dad shrugs.

"I have to tell Peter you're awake. I won't say anything else unless you want me to, but maybe he'll finally get some rest if he knows you're going to be okay."

There's a calendar on the wall. Stiles doesn't know how long he was taken, doesn't know how long he's been asleep in the hospital. He can't imagine how Peter feels, though.

"Did you… chase him away?" Stiles asks. "Is that why he isn't here?"

His dad nods. "He told me what happened. I thought you should set the terms on which you'll see him next. Believe me, he wanted to stay. But. You know. Did I do the right thing?"

Stiles aches to see him, but there's a small, scared part of him that wants to keep Peter away. He'll need to deal with all that, but not right now. Not today. Not when he's tired, hurting, and vulnerable. "Yeah, Dad. You did the right thing."

He needs to use the bathroom. He's weak, but he can walk holding on to the bedrail, the chair, and his dad. He knows it's temporary, but that doesn't make him feel safer. He can't run if hunters come back for him.

"How safe am I?" he asks once he's back to the bed. He's exhausted just from walking to the bathroom and back. He's afraid to sleep, though. Afraid of what he might See, or who might come while he's vulnerable.

"I'm here, as are two other deputies. There's an APB out on Gerard Argent, but until he's caught, you're guarded."

Stiles relaxes. "What about the other hunters, the ones that were with him?"

"Dead or in jail."

Stiles remembers the blood Peter wore when he came down and found him. The taste of it on his lips. The hunters were dead at Peter's hand.

There's a part of him that thrills at the thought of Peter killing the people who tortured him. It should scare him but it just makes him feel safer.

Stiles is able to close his eyes then. "Okay."

"Get some more sleep, kid. I'll be here."

For the moment, it's making him feel secure, so he doesn't fight it. Stiles tells himself that later, once he's slept some more, he'll send his dad home for a shower and some rest.

But for now, he lets him stay because he's Stiles's rock.


He's asleep again. He needs it.

Peter looks at the text and wishes it said more. Is Stiles angry with him? Scared of him? Will he let him back eventually? He knows he has a lot to atone for, so much groveling to do at Stiles's feet, but he'll do it all. He'll do anything for his mate's peace of mind.

He shoots back a text to John. Thank you for letting me know. Can I do anything?

The phone beeps not long after. You're doing it. Give him his space.

Peter nods though there's no one there to see. He can do that. He just hopes it's not for long.

Chapter Text

"I need to train and Derek needs to talk. So… here we are," Laura announces. Then she walks into the Stilinski house like she was invited. Derek follows, much less confident in his posture.

Peter keeps his smile to himself. "Go into the backyard, then."

Laura is about to, but she stops. "Have you heard anything yet?"

"Yes." Peter doesn't pretend not to know what she means. "He was awake for a short time today, but he's resting again now."

"You look like you're the one who should be resting," Laura points out.

Peter sighs. "I will. Later, maybe." He turns to Derek. "Hey. You okay?"

Derek keeps his eyes trained on the floor. There's a scowl on his face.

Laura leaves the room, presumably to go out into the backyard. Peter will check on her training after he talks with Derek. If Derek will talk, that is.

"Come sit down with me," Peter says gently.

Derek follows. He sits on the Stilinskis' sofa and when he finally looks at Peter, it's with full-on confusion and hurt. "I don't understand anything. Laura tried to explain, but… she's challenging Mom and you want to leave the pack, and you have a mate and he's in the hospital because… because of something Mom did?"

Peter feels his heart break because his nephew is honestly barely holding it together. Peter can tell. He knows the look on Derek's face intimately. Peter sits down next to him and pulls him into a tight hug. Derek huffs but doesn't pull away. He clings, instead. Pulls in great big huffs of Peter's scent.

"I miss you." Derek's voice is soft but unmistakable.

Peter closes his eyes and breathes in the scent of Pack and Derek. "I know. I've missed you too. I'm sorry I haven't been there for you lately."

Derek pulls back and looks at him. "Please tell me what's going on. You said you were choosing us." And yes, Peter had said that. It feels like so long ago now, though.

"I put my trust in my sister and she betrayed it." It feels like he's pouring salt on his own wounds to talk about it, but Derek deserves the truth. "She betrayed me and she betrayed an important ally, my mate. I can't be in a pack with her at the head. Not anymore."

"Tell me everything," Derek pleads. "Don't leave anything out. I don't understand how Mom betrayed anyone, let alone your mate. I know she came home the other night with blood on her and she just looked… so defeated. What even happened?"

Peter nods. That's fair. Derek doesn't know everything, not even that Stiles is the one who saved them. "A while ago, I got a text from an anonymous source, warning me about what Kate Argent was doing to you, and what she planned for our pack. That information saved us all. She was going to burn our pack to ashes, do you understand? She was using you to get close, and then she planned to circle our home in mountain ash, bar the escape tunnels you told her about, and trap us in an inferno. Our pack would have been destroyed."

He watches closely as Derek's eyes shimmer with tears. His bottom lip begins to quiver. "She said she wanted to visit me without anyone else knowing. I told her about the tunnels so… so we could meet up and she could get in and out without…" He swallows audibly. "I was even going to give her some of my clothes, so that nobody would smell anything different."

Peter can see it all. They were so close to destruction, within a few days, maybe. Kate would have waited until the Wolf Moon, during celebration, when the pack was together and vulnerable.

"We stopped it," Peter says, reminding himself as much as Derek. "Stiles stopped it."

"How did he know?" Derek asks.

"He wouldn't tell me at first. He was too afraid. With good reason, it turned out. He told me part of his family was wiped out by hunters, and he was afraid of being killed or worse. So he didn't tell me right away. He wanted to keep it a secret."

Derek nods. "Hunters… He's like us?"

"Not quite. Much rarer than werewolves, I think, and more sought after. Powerful, and hunters hate what they can't control." Peter sighs. "Your mother, she wanted me to tell her his secret, but I didn't. Not at first. I wouldn't do that to Stiles. He was so afraid of Talia finding out, of anyone else knowing. But then Talia threatened me. She used her power to make me submit and tell her the truth. I could… I could have fought harder, but I was so afraid of losing you. You, and Laura, and Cora. We only just got close, and I felt like you needed me. So when Talia threatened to kick me out of the pack-"

Derek gasps and Peter nods grimly.

"When she threatened that, I felt like I had no other choice. I didn't realize yet that he was my mate. But then again, I didn't expect Talia to hand him over to hunters, either."

"He's really your mate?" Derek asks. Then, "She handed him over to hunters?"

"She told them his secret. They kidnapped him without me knowing. They held him and tortured him-"

"But he saved us!" Derek exclaims. "He should have been protected!"

"We all should have been protected. Talia working with the Argents even after what Kate did, that's reckless and irresponsible. Using her power against me, threatening me, that's not how an Alpha should behave. She's made a lot of mistakes. I'm not willing to stay in a pack with an Alpha like that."

"And that's why Laura is challenging her," Derek says. "Does Mom know yet?"

"I think she might suspect, but Laura hasn't told her."

Derek gets up and walks toward the back window. Outside, Laura is going through fighting forms. She needs a sparring partner. Derek shakes his head. "Do you think she has a chance?"

They can't be sure, and he's going to do what he can to train Laura to fight her mother. He sighs. "I think she has enough chance that we can hope."

"Will Laura leave the pack if she loses?" Derek asks shakily.

Peter nods. "I think so. She's eighteen, she can leave home."

"I guess my own situation isn't so cut and dry." Then Derek stands up straighter and nods. "So let's make sure Laura wins."

They spend the rest of the day sparring, readying Laura for a fight against an experienced Alpha. Peter teaches her every dirty trick he knows, all the ones he's kept to himself until now. This is too important to hold back information.

Laura soaks it all up like a sponge. She won't be ready yet, though. He doesn't think she can win in an all-out fight. She may be able to hold her own, but win? Not now. Not yet. And they don't have another six months of training to make up the difference.

So Peter makes up his mind. He's going to talk to Talia and ask her to step down.

Chapter Text

Peter goes to Talia, like he said he would. He declines when she suggests they go into the house, into her office. They end up in the backyard, sitting at an old wood picnic table. No one else is around.

"Laura wants to challenge you," he says. It's a bold introduction, and it has the predicted reaction. Talia's jaw drops. Peter wishes he could enjoy the moment, but he knows this isn't the time or place. Maybe later, when he can savor the expression on his sister's face in private.

"She can't think she'll win," Talia says after long moments of silence.

Peter smiles thinly. "She does have righteousness on her side."

Talia puffs up, but then quickly deflates. "What am I supposed to do with this information? Why are you telling me?"

"You and I are through," Peter says. He knows it's hurtful to say, but he doesn't mean to hurt her, only tell the truth. "But you still have a chance to salvage your relationship with your children."

"Derek too?" Talia asks quietly.

Peter nods. Takes a breath. "Step down. Let Laura take the reins."

"She's eighteen years old; she knows nothing about what it means to lead a pack. I can't in good conscience just-"

"Talia, it's your only good option," Peter says. "Listen to me. Take your husband and go on an extended trip. Leave Beacon Hills. Let Laura be acting Alpha."

"No," Talia says. "She's too young, you know the pack would eventually run over her."

"You have so little faith in the pack that you think that's true?" Peter asks. His voice demands an answer.

"She would be challenged within a week," Talia says with a shake of her head. "Maybe you have too much faith, brother. Yes, the Hale pack is family. But never forget what we are. We're wolves. We don't follow weakness."

"Laura is young but she is not weak," Peter stresses. "She's bright and strong in a way an Alpha should be-"

"I know my daughter," Talia says, and it sounds final.

"So you're going to, what, let her challenge you? Fight her? If you let it come to that, you'll lose more than your standing in the pack, you'll lose your child as well. Is that what you want?"

"Laura can't beat me," Talia says, but there's a thread of doubt in her voice.

Peter looks at her with pity. "Just leave. Let us work out the pack dynamics ourselves."

Talia places her hands on the wood of the table. She looks at them, scrutinizing her fingers, her nails. Maybe she's thinking of shifting, of sprouting claws. Peter waits, knowing she's making up her mind.

"I can't leave Laura as acting Alpha," Talia says finally. Peter opens his mouth to argue but she holds up a hand. "But you could step up."

"Me." Incredulous.

"Why aren't you the one challenging me? You have every right to do so." Talia says the words as if they're nothing.

"Laura is your heir," Peter says, keeping his voice strong. Steady.

Talia nods once. "But you would be the better choice."

"Since when do you believe that?" Peter asks, feeling lost but unwilling to let her see that.

"I've had some time to think," Talia says quietly. "And I realize I owe you more apologies than I can give." She looks up, at the sky or maybe past the clouds to somewhere she thinks will give her guidance. "I know it won't fix anything. But I can do this thing for my pack — I can give them the Alpha they deserve."

Peter narrows his eyes. "Is this a trick?"

Talia's smile is sad. "No, Peter."

"You're willing to hand me the responsibility of the pack while you're gone?" Peter asks, still unable to believe what she's telling him.

"More than that, even," Talia says.

"You can't possibly mean-"

"I'll pass the Alpha power to you."

"No," Peter denies. "You'll be an omega." She may have threatened him with the omega status, forced him to think about becoming an omega of his own free will, but he can't… he can't let her do it.

But Talia shakes her head. "Matthew's pack will take us in."

Peter nods slowly. That makes sense. But… "What about Cora?"

Talia gives him a sharp look. "At least let me keep one of my children."

Peter feels a stab of pain at the thought of losing his youngest niece. "Of course."

Talia deflates a little. "I'll send her to visit. Often."

"Thank you," Peter says.

"Will you… will you tell your mate that I'm sorry?" Talia asks, uncharacteristically timid sounding.

"No, I won't." Peter sets his jaw. "I don't do your dirty work anymore, Talia."

She looks down again. "I guess you don't." She rubs her face, looking tired. "For what it's worth, I am sorry. I have no excuse."

"How did you justify it to yourself?" Peter asks. He told himself he wouldn't poke at this, but he has to know.

"Your mate-"

"Stiles. His name is Stiles."

Talia frowns a little. "Fine. Stiles. He was an unknown. I couldn't trust that he hadn't tampered with your mind. The way you protected him, what else was I supposed to think? You were a step away from betraying your pack over him, a stranger, and what the Argents said made too much sense."

"How could you trust the Argents over me? After what they did?"

"Only one of them was responsible for what happened, and-"

"How can you still say that after what happened to Stiles?" Peter asks, low and dangerous.

Talia slams her hands on the table and stands up, glaring. "Well I know that now, don't I? But I had no way of knowing then that they were just as big of monsters as Kate was. We had a treaty with them, for god's sake."

Peter stands as well, if only to be on equal ground with her. "I repeat, again, you trusted them over me. I am the one who is pack. I'm the one who's your brother."

"I was wrong! I admit that, Peter! I'm trying to make it right so just… let me!"

"Making me Alpha won't take away the hell Stiles went through," Peter hisses.

"I can't fix your mate's trauma," Talia says with a bitter laugh.

And Peter stops. Stops talking. Stops raging. He takes a moment to mull over the words in his mind and yes, he understands. Neither of them have that kind of power. Stiles will have to heal the way everyone else does — slowly.

He can only be there for him as it does.

"When do you want to do it?" Peter asks, subduing his voice, not letting himself continue to fight about this. It would do no good.

"I'll pass the power to you the right way," Talia says. "Give me some time to prepare, and then we'll call the pack together."

"Everyone?" Peter asks.

"Everyone who can make it on short notice," Talia says. "I would like to talk to Laura first about my decision, but she's not speaking to me. Won't answer my calls. So I guess it's up to you."

Peter nods, trying to figure out what he's going to tell her. He hopes it comes to him, because this is an uncomfortable situation.

"How is Derek?" Talia asks. "Because he stopped answering, too."

"Hurt. Confused. Betrayed," Peter says, and watches Talia close her eyes and sigh.

"I fucked up," she murmurs.

"You really did."


On the opposite side of town, Stiles wants to go home. Forty-eight hours in the hospital is more than enough, and he definitely has been counting. There's nothing keeping him in, no injury too severe. So he talks to the on-call doctor, who talks to his regular doctor, and together they decide Stiles is well enough to go home. Not that he didn't tell them that himself to begin with.

The Seeing has gotten a little better since the drugs have left his system, but it's still unpredictable and he's not going out of his way to touch people. His dad looks worried when Stiles flinches from an offered hug.

"Still?" John asks. The lines on his face seem to have deepened just in the past week.

Stiles shrugs. "It's not as bad as it was."

"And of course there's no one we can ask for help," his dad murmurs.

"Let's just go home," Stiles says tiredly. He can't wait to crawl into his own bed. Sleeping in a hospital is fraught. The sounds of the place alone are enough to make for uneasy sleep, and then there's the nurses waking him every few hours as they check up on him. Stiles gets into the wheelchair provided by the hospital — a precaution against lawsuits — and puts his things on his lap. "Can I have a push?"

"One more thing," John says, sitting on the edge of the hospital bed so they can look at each other eye to eye. "There are three werewolves staying at the house, and I need to know how you feel about that. Do you want me to chase them away so you can settle in without any bother? Or do you want me to tell them to stay out of your way, or… what?"

"Three?" Stiles asks. He knows about Peter of course, and part of him is thrilled at the possibility of just seeing him again.

"Laura and Derek have been crashing on the couch."

Stiles knows they're just teenagers, and he's seen them enough in visions that he's familiar with them. But he's never met them. Has always been afraid of them finding out about him. But now he supposes they know everything. Which is weird. He's never had people know before, not beyond his family and Peter, and he's not sure how that makes him feel beyond vulnerable.

When he doesn't say anything, his dad gives him a slight smile. "They make for good guards."

Better, Stiles imagines, than the deputies his dad has had posted outside the hospital room.

"I'd like to see Peter, I think," Stiles says quietly. And he knows how much Laura and Derek mean to Peter. Also, that things have been going down in the Hale pack and the teens need to be somewhere they can feel safe and accepted themselves. "I guess… I do want to meet them."

"Are you sure?" John asks. "I don't want to overwhelm you."

"I need to face the world eventually," Stiles says. "And at least this is at home."

John nods. "What are you going to say to Peter?"

"I wish I knew," Stiles says. He thinks back on every vision he's had about Peter, and reminds himself that they've always been good or neutral. Nothing bad. He's never Seen anything to indicate anything but love and safety and care. He frowns a little, thinking, wondering why he never saw Peter betraying him to his sister. If he was likely to cause danger, Stiles should have seen it coming. But maybe he didn't because Peter wasn't the real threat.

His dad cuts into his thoughts. "Laura and Derek are good kids. They're in a tough situation, but you can tell they love Peter. Which is good, because-" He stops and makes a face.

Stiles frowns. "Is Peter okay?"

"Not really, son," John says with a sigh. "He isn't doing too good without seeing you. I can't say I understand everything, what the wolf part of him is going through, but it seems bad."

Stiles doesn't know what he means by that, but for the moment he's willing to let it go. He's tired. He wants to get home. And he wants to see Peter, as thrilling and scary as that thought is.


The conversation Peter has with Derek and Laura goes better than expected.

Laura doesn't get angry when she hears Peter is going to be the new Hale Alpha. She lets out a breath and the unmistakable scent of relief blooms in the air. Not just from her, but from Derek, too.

"I don't think I could do it anyway," Laura admits, her arms thrown around Peter, her face buried in his neck.

"You will. One day," Peter says, rubbing her back. "You're still the heir." Laura pulls back and gives him a tremulous smile. He squeezes the back of her neck, then looks at Derek. "How do you feel about this?"

Derek looks surprised to be asked. "I think… I think you'll be a good Alpha. I think you're what we need. Sorry, Laura."

She shakes her head. "No, you're right." She gives Peter a smile, this one stronger and more genuine. "You'll make a good Alpha."

Peter's not so sure. He's spent a lot of time in the shadows, working for Talia, for the good of the pack. He's used to being seen as a necessary evil, not a leader. He knows doubting himself isn't the right way to start off, but he can't seem to help it.

His phone vibrates in his pocket. He takes it out, looks at the message from John.

Stay put. We're on our way home.

Peter sucks in a breath.

"What is it?" Laura asks.

"Stiles and his father are headed here," Peter murmurs. He sends back a text and waits for an answer.

"Oh," Laura says. "Should we go?"

The answering text pops up and Peter shakes his head. "Stiles wants to meet you both."

Laura puts her hand on his shoulder. "That's good, right?"

Peter smiles. "I think so."

He hopes so.

Chapter Text

Stiles takes a deep breath, then opens the car door before his dad can say something like 'you don't have to go in if you don't want' or 'I can send them away'. Because Stiles needs to face this head on.

Peter's at the door, has it open before Stiles reaches it. Their eyes meet and lock. Stiles's breath catches. Peter's right there, close enough to touch, and Stiles wants to touch so badly.

Peter is rigid, holding himself back as well. The longing in his eyes is obvious, but he's smiling. Happy to see him. "Stiles," he says, soft and almost worshipful.

Stiles steps closer, needing him, but when Peter reaches out for him he flinches back. Peter's smile drops and he looks pained.

"Sorry," Stiles mutters. "My… I just can't…"

"No, you're right. I haven't earned that," Peter says. He says it so honestly that Stiles wants to cry.

"It's not that, I-"

"Geez, this is painful to watch," John says from behind him. "Let's just get inside first, okay?"

Stiles nods quickly. He'd forgotten where he was, what he was doing. Everything faded into the background as soon as he saw Peter. Now he remembers, and he knows he has to meet Derek and Laura. While not flinging himself into Peter's arms. No problem.

The teenagers are sitting on the sofa, side by side. Stiles has seen them in his visions but never in real life. He gives them a smile, hoping it looks genuine and warm. "Hi. I'm Stiles."

He conscious of the way he looks. The bruises are healing but they still look awful. He's limping a little, can't really help it. And he knows he's still too pale and skinny. It's not the best first impression.

He limps over to the recliner and sits. He sees something out of the corner of his eye, a gray blur, and then Genevieve is jumping up onto his lap. She butts against his hand, demanding pets, and he grins at her. "Hey, Vivi." He looks up and sees Peter watching, love in his eyes. Stiles knows it's not just for the cat.

He blushes and looks away. Focuses on Laura and Derek, who are watching with interest. He drags up another smile, though he's constantly aware of Peter, who's standing to the side. Stiles shifts in the chair and tries to hide a wince. He's sore.

"I can take your pain," Peter says softly. He takes a step closer.

And as much as Stiles wants to avoid having another vision, he can't really pass that up. Not that the pain is manageable, but because he wants to feel the heat of Peter's skin so badly he craves it.

"Son?" John says, clearly worried.

Stiles locks eyes with Peter. "It's okay."

"But-"

Peter looks worried now, too. "What is he talking about?"

Stiles nibbles at his lip. "My gift is kinda acting up." But despite that, he holds out his hand. "Go ahead, though. I mean, if you want."

Everyone is watching them like they're a show, but Stiles doesn't care. He needs Peter to touch him. His hand trembles as he reaches out. And then their palms slide together, and maybe Stiles gasps, because he sees the golden haze and knows the vision is coming.

It's like a clip show running before his eyes, all of Peter, speaking earnestly to his father or yelling at Talia, slice after slice of his life. And he says the same thing, more or less:

 

"I need to save Stiles. You're going to help me get him from them."

Talia sighs. "Look, I didn't know the Argents were going to go after him. I'm sorry about your boyfriend. I'll call someone, see if I can work something out."

"He's not my boyfriend," Peter growls. His wolf is slavering, more in control than he is at this point. "He's my mate!"

 

and

 

"You sold out my mate to hunters you already knew we couldn't trust. You forced my hand, using your power and status and my pack against me. Stiles could be dead-" His voice cracks and he can't go on.

"Chris Argent has never broken the Code," Talia says. "I had no reason to believe he would use the information to-"

Peter snarls and speeds up. "Shut up, Alpha."

 

and

 

Peter talks, and talks, skirting around the truth of what happened. He wants John to have a clear picture of what happened, he tells himself. He wants…

He wants forgiveness and absolution, even though he doesn't deserve it, but he also knows the only person who can truly give it is Stiles.

He gets to the ultimatum. John goes tense beside him.

"Your alpha put him in danger like this? She handed over his information to the people who tried to wipe out your pack. How?"

"I did, too," Peter says quietly. "I tried to keep his identity a secret, but apparently someone's been following me. Us. They reasoned it was Stiles."

"He saved you!" John yells.

Peter bows his head. "In more ways than one."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"He's my mate. He's… he's everything to me."

John scoffs. "You could've fooled me."

"I knew I loved him," Peter says. "I didn't realize he was my mate. Not until it was too late. If we knew, Talia never would have- and I never would have let her-"

"It's too late for that."

 

Stiles is crying when he comes out of the visions. Peter is staring at him, looking on helplessly, and at that moment Stiles knows he can forgive him. "It's not too late," he says, and throws himself into Peter's arms the way he's wanted to since he first saw him again.

"Darling?" Peter breathes, like he's not sure if he can believe this.

Stiles's vision goes gold and this time he sees more. He sees Peter accepting something from his sister under the full moon. He sees Peter's eyes glowing red, power infusing him, cloaking him. And he sees himself with Peter, sees them covered in blood and victory as Gerard Argent lies dead at their feet.

Stiles closes his eyes and holds on tightly to Peter. Peter's grip around him is tight, holding him up — somehow, at some point, he stood and now they're holding each other in the living room while everyone watches, and Stiles doesn't care. He lets out a soft sob, so grateful and happy to be in Peter's arms again.

And he realizes he hasn't felt safe, not in the hospital, not even with his dad, not until this moment. He feels safe and beyond that, like he's finally come home.

"I love you," he chokes out, and Peter makes a sound like it hurts him to hear it.

"Oh, love. You have no idea how much I love you, too." Peter's voice is shaking, he's full of emotion as well, and Stiles never wants to let go of him.

But he has to. He pulls away, just enough to look in to Peter's eyes. "What does it mean, that I'm your mate? Does that go both ways? Are you mine, too?"

"I have always been yours," Peter says vehemently.

And Stiles touches Peter's face, runs his fingertips over the man's stubble, and says, "We have so much to work through."

"I know. I'm so sorry, darling."

Stiles swallows and nods. "We'll get through it." He doesn't know if he can trust Peter fully, not yet, but he knows he loves him and he's willing to do anything to build the trust between them back up.

Peter's eyes shine, not with tears or supernatural blue, but with hope.


Peter hears a cleared throat behind him, and then another one, and another. He glances at John, Derek, and Laura. They're looking on with various degrees of amusement and fondness, but he gets the idea. There will be time to talk to Stiles more. To hold on and revel in the closeness. But now's not the time.

Stiles lets out a giddy laugh, and pulls away. Sits back down. Peter stopped draining his pain and he knows his mate is sore and tired. He can practically feel it coming off him.

Peter doesn't want to go too far away, so he sits on the floor. At Stiles's feet. Laura's eyebrows go up, probably thinking it's not a very Alpha thing to do, but fuck it. He gives her a challenging look and she nods. Smiles.

She must understand. Stiles is Peter's everything.

John clears his throat again. "I'm glad to see that settled."

Derek makes an agreeing noise, but he's smiling.

"Sorry, didn't mean to ignore everyone," Stiles says, not sounding sorry at all. He's smiling still, and it makes Peter feel warmth inside again. "Did I say it's good to meet you two? Because it is. I know how important Peter's pack is to him." There's a contemplative lilt to his voice.

Peter looks up at him and Stiles puts his hand on his shoulder.

"It's good to meet you, too. How…" Laura bites her lip, thinking. "How did you know about the mate thing?"

Derek looks curious as well.

Stiles squeezes Peter's shoulder hard. His heart starts racing. "Oh. I thought… I thought you'd know. It's my gift. I'm…" He swallows. Takes a breath. "I'm a Seer. When I touched Peter, I saw some things that have happened. And things that will happen."

"Peter told us you were supernatural, but not specifics," Derek says slowly. "You can see the future, really? That's… oh. That's how you knew about, about. Her. Kate."

Laura bumps her shoulder against Derek's. Derek smells of shame and guilt, but the scents are not nearly as overpowering as they would have been in the past. He's come a long way, even in this short a time. He may never be over it completely, but Peter's so proud (and relieved) to see evidence of his healing.

Stiles nods, and even without the slight mate bond, Peter'd be able to smell the nervousness coming off him. "I dreamed of fire and screams for months before I worked out what was going to happen. And then I contacted Peter, and made sure your pack would be safe."

"Thank you," Laura says quietly. "I know my mother hasn't thanked you for that, and I don't know if Peter has, but I want you to know how grateful we are that you reached out and saved us."

Stiles takes a breath and nods. Peter thinks he doesn't trust himself to speak yet. Laura goes on, though.

"And what my mother did, it was wrong. If I was Alpha, I would have offered you a place in our pack, and we would have honored you the way you should have been honored." She looks at Peter. Smiles. "I'm sure the new Alpha will do that."

Peter nods. "I most certainly will."

Stiles looks overwhelmed.

"Talia's stepping down after what happened. She's unfit to be Alpha," Peter says. He takes a breath, hoping Stiles will take the news well. "She's transferring the full Alpha power to me."

Stiles nods, as if this isn't news. Maybe he saw something. The scent of mercury still hangs in the air from when they first touched. But Peter needs to know if this is something Stiles can accept. Being mated to an Alpha is kind of a big deal.

But Stiles wouldn't know that, would he? He bends his head down to Peter in a show of privacy. "We'll talk about it later. But just answer this: is that what you want?"

Peter glances at Laura, who seems interested in his answer as well. "It wasn't expected. I was hoping Laura could be acting Alpha, with me as a sort of advisor. But Talia didn't like that idea, and decided I was the better choice."

Stiles narrows his eyes.

"He's worried he won't be good enough for the position," John says suddenly, and he's right but Peter hasn't told him that. Then again, John is very perceptive, just like Stiles. "A good leader doesn't ask for the job. Or at least, not at first. They just want to do right be the people they love, who they want to protect."

John Stilinski is a leader, and Peter wonders what circumstances made him seek the position of Sheriff. But he was drawn to law enforcement, to protect and serve, first. And that's what Peter wants to do. Protect and serve his pack. It's all he's ever wanted to do, though it will be a big change to go from pack enforcer to Alpha. From working in the shadows to leading in a spotlight.

"Thank you, sir," Peter murmurs.

"You'll be a good Alpha," Laura says. Derek nods in agreement.

Peter looks at Stiles to see what he thinks, and finds his mate smiling softly at him. That's more than enough endorsement.

Then Stiles yawns, and Peter leans in to ask him if he'd like to sleep. Stiles nods.

"I have to go into work in about two hours," John says. "But there'll be a deputy in a squad car out front. Plus you have werewolf guards, so I guess you can sleep easy."

"I'll guard him with my life," Derek says. He's frowning like speaking pains him, but his heartbeat is as steady as his voice. "It's the least I can do after everything Stiles has done for us."

"Anyone would have to go through the three of us," Laura says. She smiles over at Stiles. "He's pack."

Stiles's eyebrows go up. "I am?"

"You're the mate of the soon to be Alpha, darling," Peter teases him. "Of course you're pack."

"But even without being Peter's mate, you'd be pack to us," Laura says. "I'm sorry my mother didn't see that immediately."

Stiles nods, looking down. He pulls his hand away from Peter and twists his fingers together. "I'm not used to people knowing what I am."

"And it doesn't have to go farther than this room," Peter assures him. "You don't have to tell anyone else."

Stiles takes a breath. Lets it out slowly. Nods. "I... for now, okay. But there is one person I should tell."

"Who's that?" John asks.

Stiles gives him a lopsided smile. "Scott."

Scott, the werewolf best friend. Peter's never met him. Hasn't been able to make a judgment on him. But he trusts Stiles's opinion, and if Stiles thinks he can share his secret with Scott, then that's all there is to it. It's up to Stiles.

Though Peter's going to watch for Scott's reaction, if he's allowed to. He needs to know Stiles will be safe, that nothing like his abduction and torture ever happens again.

Stiles yawns again, but says, "You're frowning."

"And you need a nap," Peter says.

Stiles huffs. "Nice deflection."

"I do my best. Bed?"

And then Stiles looks vulnerable again. "If you'll join me. To sleep, I mean."

"Of course," Peter says softly. There's nothing he wants more than to hold Stiles and reassure himself his mate is safe and whole.

Stiles's childhood room is still set up for him. The bed is a double, so there's enough room for both of them. Stiles toes out of his shoes, then takes his shirt off and slides under the sheet quickly, as if Peter can't see the awful bruises and cuts on his torso at a glance. As if he didn't see him when they were fresh and has forgotten they're there.

But Peter doesn't say anything. He slips out of his shirt and shoes to lie down beside his mate. Stiles hesitates a moment, but then moves into his arms. Peter smells mercury again and frowns.

"You're having a lot of visions," he remarks.

Stiles sighs. "Yeah. The Sight's been wonky ever since… since then."

"Is it dangerous to you?" Peter asks, worried.

"I don't think so. And it's not as bad as it was," Stiles says. "It's actually tapered off a little. And I think it's because of you."

"Me?"

Stiles shrugs. "Just a theory. We'll see how it pans out. Keep touching me. See, they've stopped."

Peter huffs a laugh. "I can't exactly see that. But I get your point. If I'm helping in any way, I'm glad."

Stiles closes his eyes. "I wasn't sure if I could forgive you. I didn't know if I could trust you again."

"I guessed as much," Peter says carefully.

"Love doesn't make everything better again, and knowing we're mates doesn't fix it. But… those things help." Stiles's voice is soft and sure. "I just know we're going to be okay."

"Did you see it in a vision?" Peter asks curiously.

"No. But I have faith."

Peter waits to see if Stiles will say more, but soon he's listening to his mate's quiet, even breaths. He's asleep.

And Peter is holding him. He kisses Stiles's hair and thanks the universe for giving him a second chance.

Chapter Text

Scott and Stiles have been best friends since they were in third grade. Scott knew Stiles's mom. There's history there. And Stiles is worried to death that Scott's going to be mad at him for not telling his secret sooner.

Peter takes one hand off the steering wheel and places it over Stiles's fidgeting fingers. "Try to relax."

Stiles is so glad Peter's coming with him. "Keep your eyes on the road. Don't worry about me."

"He's your best friend. Your brother, you've called him. I don't think he's going to disown you." Peter squeezes Stiles's hands.

"Maybe not, but he'll be pissed off. He doesn't like secrets."

"Sometimes secrets are necessary."

Stiles huffs. Turns his hands so that he can play with Peter's fingers. "Scott's always seen things in black and white. I know him. He's not going to like this. He's gonna be pissed."

"So let him be," Peter says easily. "You had good reasons for not telling him. Maybe he sees that and maybe he doesn't, but you know you were right."

Stiles points to the house when it comes into view. "Here."

Peter nods and pulls into the driveway behind Scott's motorbike. He puts the car into park, turns it off, and leans over to give Stiles a nuzzle. "I'll be with you the whole time."

It's so nice that Peter's… Peter. Affectionate, even more so than he was before Stiles's kidnapping. Supportive. Stiles knows he's trying to be the best mate he can be. Well, it's working.

"Let's go then," Stiles tells him. He turns his head before Peter pulls away and kisses his cheek. "For luck."

Peter smiles and then they get out to walk up to Scott's door. Scott's expecting them and has the door open before they get a chance to ring the bell. Stiles's hand squeezes Peter's, almost an involuntary spasm. He's glad he doesn't have to do this alone.

"What happened?" Scott asks, and Stiles realizes he still has fading bruises from Gerard and his hunters. He'd forgotten, just for a little while, when his mind had been focused on other things.

"It's a long story. Can we come in?" Stiles asks.

Scott looks back and forth between him and Peter, then nods. "Sure, man."

Stiles takes a deep breath and leads Peter inside to the living room.

Scott still lives with his mom. He's saving for a house of his own, which is smart. Can't be too thrifty these days, really. Which reminds Stiles, he needs to figure out what he's doing about his own lease. But that's something to worry about later.

"This is Peter," Stiles tells Scott.

"Good to finally meet you," Scott says, giving a little wave. Stiles knows he doesn't like to shake hands with people he doesn't know well, and Peter's the same way. Sharing scent is a personal thing, and werewolves are weird like that. It makes Stiles smile a little at the thought. Scott raises his eyebrows. "So… what's up with the bruises?"

And just like that, Stiles's mood sours. He leans back into Scott's couch and Peter takes his hand. Scott sits in his recliner and leans forward, looking worried.

"I've got something to tell you that I've kinda kept a secret," Stiles tells him. He looks up and catches Scott's eyes. He wants to look away but he knows that'll just make him look more guilty.

"Okay. You know you can tell me anything," Scott says earnestly.

Stiles winces. "Yeah. This is big, and I've been keeping it from you since we met, so…" He shrugs. Licks his lips. "I'm kinda… supernatural, too."

Scott's eyebrows rise. "You don't smell like it."

Peter makes a soft noise. When Stiles looks at him, he shrugs. "You do sometimes. It's subtle, though, and if someone didn't know what you were, they might dismiss it."

"So what is it?" Scott asks. "You said you've been keeping it a secret all these years, so either you were bitten young or you were born with it?"

"My mom was one, too," Stiles says quietly. He's squeezing Peter's hand tightly. He eases off the pressure, not wanting to hurt him, giving him an apologetic look.

"One what?" Scott asks. His voice is neutral. Not necessarily kind, but not angry yet, either.

"I'm a Seer," Stiles says, then clarifies because Scott needs that sometimes, "Psychic."

Scott's eyebrows are climbing higher on his forehead. "How does that even work, really? Do you, um, do tarot cards or something? Read tea leaves?" He laughs quietly, like maybe he's joking, but Stiles knows him well. He's confused and getting nervous.

Stiles wiggles his fingers on his free hand. "I touch things, or people sometimes, and I can see stuff. And I have psychic dreams, too. Visions."

"How often do you see things?" Scott asks. "Is it… have you seen stuff about me?"

"I have," Stiles says with a slow nod. "It's… it's everybody. I can't keep from seeing things."

"What have you seen about me?" Scott asks. He frowns. "Did you know… back in high school, did you know I was going to get attacked?"

Shit. Stiles feels his heart in his throat. He should have seen this coming, and that's not even a joke. He knows his bro, and he knows Scott's not going to like his answer. He decides to be a hundred percent truthful. "When we were kids, I had a couple visions about you where you died. It's why I started carrying a rescue inhaler for you." He remembers the first time he saw Scott dying, and how he ran home crying to his mother. "It was Mom's idea."

"What?" Scott sounds shocked. "You saw me dying?"

Stiles nods grimly. "Your asthma, man. It… it was dangerous. And then when you got older, I saw the attack, but… I also saw you getting better from it. I knew the Bite wouldn't kill you, and would actually make you stronger, so… I let it happen."

"But you could have stopped it," Scott says thinly.

"Scott, I… I see things all the time. I have visions almost every day. Sometimes it's bad stuff, and sometimes I can stop the bad stuff from happening. But I learned really early that I can't- I'm not-" His voice breaks. He wants so much for Scott to understand, but he doesn't think anyone who isn't in his position can.

"He's not a superhero," Peter says suddenly. His voice is strong. "Sometimes, bad things happen. Stiles doesn't cause the bad things, and it's not his responsibility to change the course of Fate. Sometimes he finds he can change things, can do good, and he does and that's his choice, but he doesn't have to. It's not his job to save the world."

Stiles looks at Peter. For the first time since his mother died, he feels like he's honestly known. "Exactly," he whispers.

Peter gives him an understanding smile. Is this what it means to have a mate? To have someone who not only loves you and has your back, but who knows you inside and out?

"But that's not fair," Scott says. "How is it your place to decide who has bad things happen to them and who doesn't?"

"It's not my place, that's what I'm trying to say. I do what little good I can, when I can without giving myself away."

"But you…" Scott trails off, frowning. He looks like he wants to argue, but he's thinking, too. "What do you mean, without giving yourself away? Is this… is this to do with those bruises?"

Stiles nods. "Yeah. Um, so. It's a long story how it happened, but this asshole hunter found out about me and decided he wanted a pet Seer. He got some more asshole hunters together and kind of… kidnapped me." He runs a hand through his hair and exhales hard. He doesn't like to think about the time he spent with Gerard Argent. He could probably use some therapy.

"Jesus, what happened?" Scott asks, his eyes wide.

Stiles shrugs. Peter moves closer, leaning against him, lending his strength and support. Stiles leans back into him. It makes him feel a little better, somewhat more grounded in the moment. He's out of that place. He's safe. "A lot of stuff happened, but Peter saved me. Got me out."

"I don't understand. What… I mean… Why?" Scott asks, sounding so confused.

"Seers are really rare," Stiles says. "And hunters hate us. They either kill us off or they try to use us. This one… his name is Gerard Argent. He did a lot of shit to me, and I don't want to talk about it."

Scott unexpectedly growls. "What happened to him?"

Stiles shakes his head. "He's missing, for now." He knows it won't be forever. He knows from his visions that Gerard isn't going to last long.

"Missing? So he could come after you again?" Scott asks.

This time, it's Peter who growls. "Let him try it."

Stiles laughs. It's not really funny, but it does make him feel safer to know that every werewolf in his life is protective of him. "Yeah, between the both of you and Laura and Derek, not to mention Dad and his deputies, I'm pretty well looked after. Gerard would have to be suicidal to come after me."

Which leaves Stiles with the question of how they're going to find him. He knows they will, his visions won't be wrong, but if Gerard was smart, he'd be far from Beacon Hills by now.

"Who are Laura and Derek?" Scott asks.

"My niece and nephew." Peter looks proud, Stiles just knows how much Peter loves them.

Scott nods. "More werewolves?"

Peter nods. "You should meet them. We're the local pack, and I'm surprised Talia never came to talk to you after you turned."

"Why would someone come talk to me?" Scott asks with a frown. "Is Talia another werewolf?"

Stiles looks away. He'll never be comfortable with Talia, though he feels this conversation is important. He looks at Peter, wondering what he'll say next.

"My sister," Peter answers. "She's been alpha of the Hale pack, though soon that responsibility will fall to me. And as the future alpha, I'd like to talk to you about what you want to do, packwise. Right now you're an omega, but that can change. It's something to think about."

"You'd want me to join your pack?" Scott asks. "You don't even know me."

Peter smiles. "You're my mate's brother. That makes us family and practically pack already."

Scott looks floored. "Um, mate?" He looks at Stiles, and Stiles can feel the blush creeping into his cheeks.

"There's a lot to talk about," Stiles mutters. He's starting to feel tired, though.

Which Peter picks up on right away. "I think we should head back to the house."

"But... you're not mad at me?" Stiles asks Scott.

"What, for not telling me about the psychic stuff?" Scott asks. He shakes his head. "I mean, I might have been, but you've already told me enough to make me understand why you didn't. When we were kids, I probably wouldn't have been able to keep it to myself. And then… I guess it's not just something you tell people. It's dangerous. Like when you were telling me how I should stay safe and not let anybody know I'm a werewolf. I thought you sounded kinda paranoid, but you were right, weren't you?"

"Hunters are dangerous to supernatural people," Stiles murmurs.

"And you told me about Peter's pack almost getting killed…" Scott trails off, but then he picks his head up fast, eyes wide. "You're the one who saved them!"

"He saved us all," Peter says.

"And that's how you met? Not really in a coffee shop, then?"

Stiles winces. "I may have let you believe that, yeah. But no, I contacted Peter when I figured out everything and how to save the Hales."

Scott frowns. "What made you decide to save them and not just… let bad things happen?"

Stiles doesn't know how to explain how intense the visions were, how there was no way he could have 'let bad things happen' to Peter and his pack. He shrugs and Scott frowns harder.

But Peter saves him. "We're mates. It couldn't have gone another way."

And Stiles believes him, because the alternative is unthinkable.

Chapter Text

Everyone who could make it is here. Every Hale in the county, and then half of the ones from surrounding areas, every partner and child who could come on short notice. It's a large crowd. They stand in the clearing around the nemeton, murmuring quietly to each other as they wait for Talia to arrive.

It's dusk and the moon is rising. Even the humans can feel the fullness of it tonight. Peter knows Stiles can, because he mentioned it in the car on the way over.

Stiles stands protected, Laura and Derek to the back of him, Peter on his right side. The sheriff is on his left, and then close by is Scott, coming to his first official pack function.

Scott had been nervous about coming, but Peter explained what it meant, that even though this ceremony is important to everyone and means a great deal for the future of the pack, it's also a gesture for Stiles.

Scott wanted to support that, so here he is. Peter thinks it's a good introduction to the pack, despite the reasons why.

Peter looks at his pack. Some of the packmates here are ones he hasn't seen in some time. After the wolf moon celebration was called off, rumors ran like water through the pack. Everyone knows what happened, what almost happened. They know now that Stiles stopped it, that they have him to thank for their continued safety, for their survival. They don't know how he saved them, only that he did, and that the details will remain secret.

And the news that Talia betrayed him has traveled, too. Not many people know what happened, exactly, but they know Gerard Argent kidnapped Stiles and that Talia put him in that dangerous situation. Many of them have been anxious and on edge since it happened, and if Peter could feel it through their bonds, he knows Talia could, too.

Stiles presses against Peter's side. There's still wariness there, but it's starting to lift. Stiles has called himself Peter's mate, has accepted the bond as fact. They haven't yet talked about the future or what Peter being alpha will mean for their relationship, but Stiles hasn't given any indication that he's running away from it. Peter has hope that they will find their footing again.

Just as he's thinking this, Stiles's hand finds his and their fingers twine together. The scent of mercury blooms, and Peter looks at him worriedly. The visions have calmed down a lot, from what Peter can tell, but Stiles is still having a lot of them.

Stiles looks at him and smiles. His eyes are a little unfocused, but the smile reassures Peter tremendously. Not a bad vision, it seems.

His mate leans in and whispers, "After the ceremony I'd like to be alone with you." This close, and Stiles smells like desire, as well. A very good vision, then. Peter squeezes his hand and closes his eyes, leaning his head against Stiles's. It feels so good to touch him, to be close, and Peter can't wait to get him alone, if that's what he wants. Sex won't cure their problems, but being close and reconnecting isn't something Peter's going to turn down.

"We'll go back to the pack house, then," Peter murmurs.

And then the murmuring in the clearing stops at once and a hush falls as Talia and Matthew come into view. Talia is gripping her husband's hand tightly and her lips are pursed. She looks pale and Peter knows this has to be at least a little scary, even to someone as normally unruffled as Talia.

Talia lets go of Matthew's hand with a wan smile, and comes to the center of the group. Beside him, Peter can smell Stiles's sudden anxiety. Has he ever even met Talia before this? Ironic, when she's done so much to ruin his life. Talia looks at him, her face blank. The last time she would have seen him — the only time — was when Stiles was passed out from the effects of drugs and torture at the hunters' hands.

Nearby, Scott lets out an almost inaudible growl. He smells like anger, and Peter can't blame him. Then, there is another growl, and still another, as if Scott's displeasure has given them the permission to let their own feelings out.

What little color left in Talia's face drains away. "I deserve that," she says shakily. Her eyes cut over to Stiles and she quickly looks away. Peter wonders if she feels shame when she sees him. She should. "A few hundred years ago, this kind of gathering would end in my death."

Peter has a flash of what it might have been like, the betas turning on their alpha, tearing her to bits. Peter roaring triumphantly as he lands the killing blow and gains the alpha power.

Talia straightens as she continues. "But that's not necessary. I'm passing on my power to your new alpha, my brother, Peter Hale. Then Matthew and I are leaving."

There are murmurs of approval. Peter thought that the pack might put up some resistance to his ascension but apparently that's not the case at all.

"I'll let Peter introduce his mate later," Talia says, and then falters. She takes a breath, then looks at him. Peter comes forward, and Talia holds out her hands. Peter knows it's part of the ceremony. So this is it. Peter looks at Stiles one last time and finds him smiling slightly. Peter turns back to Talia.

Their hands touch and she holds onto him. Peter knows his sister, but he can't read the look on her face. "Now?" he asks.

Talia nods stiffly. Then she begins as if she's pulling his pain. Peter hopes she knows what she's doing.

He begins to feel lightheaded. Talia is straining now, muttering under her breath. "Alpha, beta, omega." Their mantra, the one they learned at their mother's knee for keeping control. For giving power, now. Any werewolf can ascend, and any werewolf can fall back down. It's a humbling reminder for Peter, and he knows Talia has to be thinking the same thing as she chants it.

Peter squeezes her hands. Closes his eyes. Whispers it with her. "Alpha, beta, omega."

Then the power comes into him, like a hot coal lodged in his throat, in his chest. Talia howls in loss, in pain, but Peter's howl drowns it out. When he opens his eyes again it's through red vision, and he's looking at Talia's own blue eyes. Peter's almost shocked to see them, the ice blue of a murderer, but then he remembers how they killed their father — how Talia dealt the killing blow. He was not an innocent, but he wonders if Talia's guilt somehow plays into the display of blue.

"Treat them well, Alpha Hale," Talia says before he can ponder further, and then she slips away, her and Matthew, and they are gone.

Peter turns and looks at his mate, and Stiles is smiling as sharply as any werewolf. Peter wants to pick him up and carry him around, wants to show off to his pack, his pack. Instead, he tilts his head back and howls again in the light of mother moon, and his pack answers immediately. He even hears Scott's howl, trembling with nerves, but unmistakable. Stiles and the sheriff do not howl, but Peter can feel their bonds in the pack, even if they can't feel them back. He feels all the bonds, all at once, and they shine bright in his mind. He's overwhelmed for a moment, feels tears prick at his eyes — he's full. He's full of power and love and devotion to his pack, and they feel it right back.

Laura laughs nearby, her bond pulsing with happiness. She's not disappointed at all that he's the alpha now, and he opens his arms to her. She hugs him, and he says to the gathering, "The heir. My heir."

The crowd reacts positively. They're happy he hasn't named someone else. They love Laura, despite what Talia might have thought. But this way, at least, she'll have more time to learn and prepare. One day she'll be a fine alpha.

He turns to Stiles, who's watching on with shining eyes. Peter takes a quick breath in. His mate is beautiful in the moonlight, and he can't wait to touch him. He holds out a hand to Stiles and he moves forward easily. Their fingers intertwine and Peter pulls him close, gives him a quick kiss. "My mate," he murmurs. Then, to everyone, "My mate, Stiles Stilinski." He knows how much that means to the pack. He doesn't have to say anything more.

And the pack knows Stiles saved them. There's applause and more howls and Peter can feel how accepted Stiles is and hopes Stiles realizes it. From the look in Stiles's eyes, he does.

"Take him home!" someone yells. "Get a room!" There's laughter and Peter grins. Looks at Stiles's blush and shrugs playfully.

Stiles nods quickly and kisses him again. More howls and good natured laughter erupt.

"You should do what your pack wants, Alpha," Stiles murmurs against his lips.

"They probably want me to sling you over my shoulder and carry you out of here," Peter says with a smirk.

"Do what you have to do," Stiles says, and Peter takes that as the invitation it so clearly is. Though instead of using a fireman's carry, he picks Stiles up like a bride, and Stiles laughs so he guesses that's the right thing to do.

Catcalls follow them as Peter stalks off with his mate. Stiles is laughing, hiding his face against Peter's shoulder, and Peter's never been this happy in his life. So he picks up the pace, running through the woods with Stiles in his arms, until they make it to the house.

It's empty, for once, and Peter carries Stiles right up the stairs to his bedroom and locks the door behind them. He supposes he'll move into the master bedroom soon, but for now it smells too much like Talia, and that's the last thing he wants to be thinking about now.

"I saw a vision with your red eyes," Stiles says, "but it's so much better in person."

Peter realizes he hasn't really turned them off since he gained the power. He sets Stiles down gently on the bed. "You don't mind?"

Stiles touches his cheek, looking into his eyes. "Not at all. They're beautiful. But then again, so were they when they were blue."

Peter doesn't have the heart to explain to Stiles what blue eyes mean on a werewolf. Then again, Stiles might already know. Might know the exact circumstances, too. He's powerful, and Stiles has never said just how much he's Seen.

"I love you," Stiles says, cutting into Peter's worries and throwing them away. He says it so simply, and Peter knows it isn't easy for Stiles to share his feelings.

"I love you too, darling," Peter says. "I can't even begin to explain how much."

Stiles pulls away to touch his own chest. "I feel it. A little. The mate bond? I guess that's what it is. I feel it even stronger after tonight."

Most humans can't feel it, especially not right away, and not so early into a relationship. But Stiles isn't just a regular human.

"What's the smug look?" Stiles asks.

"I was just thinking how extraordinary you are," Peter says.

"Of course I am," Stiles says. "I'm your mate, aren't I?"

"We haven't really talked about what it means," Peter says.

"I imagine it's a bit like a soulmate, right? I know that concept well enough," Stiles says. "And for werewolves, it has to mean a lot, if the pack's reaction — and your own over the past weeks — is any indication."

"You were made for me, and me for you," Peter says, feeling the truth of the words deep in the bond.

"That's a lot," Stiles says softly. "But I believe you. I've always been drawn to you, right from the start."

"I only wish I could have figured it out before I did," Peter says. It would have saved so much misery.

"Well, I have to believe in Fate now, right?" Stiles says. "I mean, I already did, but mates… that's a Fate thing. And so everything that's happened to us, and they way it did, that has to be Fate as well. Right?"

Peter frowns. "But you can change what happens."

"Some things," Stiles corrects, then makes a sour face. "Oh, god, are we going to get into an existential debate tonight instead of having sex? Because I was really looking forward to the sex."

Peter smiles slowly and reaches out, touching Stiles's cheek. "I can't disappoint my mate."

"That's right, you can't," Stiles says, smiling back. "That should be a rule or something."

And once again, Peter is enthralled. He's so in love he'd do anything for Stiles, and he hopes to prove that every day for the rest of his life.

Chapter Text

Not everything is perfect.

Stiles has trauma from his time with Gerard, and because he also has visions, the flashbacks are even more harrowing. It's difficult to differentiate between the two, and then there are the dreams. Sometimes they are memories that turn worse than reality. Sometimes they are just monstrous. And then sometimes they are visions he's supposed to pay attention to.

He writes every dream down, as he always has, but now he has to do so with flashbacks as well. He has to ask himself questions he's never had to before: what is real? What is memory? What is a vision? Is this something that's happened to me in the past, or something we have to worry about in the future?

Peter begs him to see someone, a trusted psychologist the pack has used for years, someone Derek has been talking to. But Stiles balks, knowing that would mean divulging his secret once again, and he just can't do that.

Peter tries very hard to be Stiles's rock, his anchor, but he's only one man and he's not a professional. Stiles can see the frustration and helplessness in Peter's eyes, but he can't seem to find a way to deal with the PTSD without trusting someone new. He shuts down, tries to keep the worst of it away from Peter, but all Peter sees is Stiles pulling away from him.

Stiles researches on his own, of course. He uses techniques and strategies he finds in online medical journals. But there's a missing component — objectivity.

Joyce comes into their lives at exactly the right time. No one goes out to find her; she comes to them. To Stiles. She's another seer, and a licensed therapist. She says she's been dreaming of Stiles for months, saw his pain and suffering.

It took her awhile to find him, she says. Her visions aren't quite as clear as Stiles's, and she doesn't have psychometry at all. She has low-level empathy though, just like Claudia, which once he finds out about it, puts Stiles at ease. Because of the familiarity, he knows.

Not so for Peter, who feels like it's an invasion of privacy, at first. That is until Stiles points out it's just another sense, like werewolves use their sense of smell to figure out chemosignals.

Joyce stays with the Hale pack for eight months. Long enough to see Peter settle into being the alpha — and a good one, at that. Long enough to see Derek blossom. Long enough to see Laura decide she doesn't want to be alpha for years, not until she's finished with college and has a career going.

Long enough to see Stiles well on his way to recovery. It'll still be a long road, Joyce warns, but he's taken the right steps forward.

In a way, the Hale pack has to heal, too. Losing Talia was a blow, no matter the circumstances. They accept Peter but it takes some time before they stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. It helps that Peter's a good alpha, always ready to listen to any grievance, always as fair as he can be with them.

And even though Stiles is wary of new people, especially after his ordeal with Gerard Argent, the pack takes to him as well. It starts with his obvious love of Peter, which they respect and honor, but it doesn't stop there. He becomes good friends with Laura and Derek, a confidant, and that trust spills through the bonds until Stiles isn't just their mysterious savior and the alpha's mate, but a real member of the pack.

A year after Peter becomes alpha, Stiles wakes up one morning with a clear vision of where Gerard is hiding. He tells Peter, not knowing if his mate will want to leave the pack to go after him yet.

But Peter's just as eager to make sure the old hunter is put down. They tell Laura where they're going but no one else. It's a long drive, and Peter and Stiles don't talk much on the way there. They find Gerard exactly where Stiles knew he was, and they take care of him much more quickly than he deserves. When it's over, when they look down on his dead body, they both know they can breathe again.

Now that Gerard isn't hanging over their heads, they can plan their future. On the long drive back home, they talk about what that future should look like. Somewhere in Kansas they get engaged, and by the time they reach Utah, they are discussing how many kids they should have.

They almost decide to stop in Nevada for a quick wedding — Stiles loves the little chapels in Las Vegas — but Peter knows his pack will rebel if they don't let them plan and host a huge spectacle.

Back home, they settle in together again. Gerard Argent is just a footnote now. The pack knows something has changed but not what.

Everyone can tell their alpha and his mate are much happier, and that's all that matters.