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You Are My Kansas

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“Heeeeey, Dorothy,” Stiles drawled as his call was answered. “How’s Kansas?”

“Your subtlety needs work, darling,” a dry voice answered him. “While I do admit that the Perkins pack will make a good ally for the Hale pack – they were before the fire too – I have a feeling this match will not work. A home this place is not. I am just too much for them to handle.”

Stiles snorted. “I told them it wouldn’t work. Derek knew it wouldn’t work. He was just pissed at you when the letter came. You did go behind his back and killed the witch even though he let her go, Peter.”

“At Scott’s insistent behest,” Stiles swore he could hear the epic Hale eye roll that was totally happening. “And you were there with me the whole time, don’t even front. I swear Derek let her go only to shut him up. Loyal he may be but he’s a sack of rocks where it counts. I should’ve bitten you when I had the chance. My lament is eternal.”

“But then you wouldn’t have had the chance to rise from the grave like the second coming of V-neck Jesus of all-powerful sarcasm and snark. Drama llama.”

“You would’ve made a magnificent wolf, Stiles,” Peter leered. “It would’ve been my pleasure to haunt you instead.”

“Would it have worked, though?” Stiles wondered out loud. “I mean, if you hadn’t bit Lydia, could you have made Scott resurrect you?”

“Theoretically, yes, but the connection between Scott and I was shaky and strained from the beginning; you were more his alpha than I was. However, you’re much more similar to me so I might’ve been able to latch onto you.”

“I might’ve even let you.”

“I’m swooning, sweetheart,” came the mocking reply. Stiles rolled his eyes but smiled. “Honestly, though. Alpha Perkins has tried to shove her five daughters at me since I arrived. When I didn’t show any interest – the youngest was only six, for Christ’s sake – she moved onto her sons. I wish she would tire out already so we could start talking about the treaty. It’s not like the previous alliance needed such insurance.”

“And of course they didn’t understand you weren’t up for grabs.”

Peter sighed from the other side of the line. “How the packs, ours and theirs, haven’t figured that out already, I have no idea. Useless, the lot of them.”

“Hey, Scott knows! Derek does too. And Lydia, probably, she’s just holding a grudge. You did make her almost lose her mind.”

“What a minor thing to be mad about,” Peter said dismissively, and then continued, “It’s not like she hasn’t bought herself ten pairs of the most expensive shoes and bags she could find on my credit card and borrowed those books she never returned. Besides, you know Scott wouldn’t have ever figured it out if you hadn’t told him. Explicitly. He wouldn’t even look me into the eye for a month!”

“Two weeks and five days. And you enjoyed it the whole time.” Stiles grinned in amusement, recalling how Peter had stalked Scott around the whole two weeks, just to see him squeak and scurry away the moment he saw Peter or anything Peter-shaped.

“What can I say? It was just too easy.”

“Mm-hm.”

Stiles heard some commotion coming over the line, a whiny male voice asking Peter something, but it was quickly settled when Peter said no in the most saccharine tone he could muster and possibly scared the poor boy because Peter and sweet? Not synonymous. Stiles heard a door slam and a sigh coming from Peter.

“If Alpha Perkins doesn’t quit her attempts before Friday and start talking shop, I may have to do something drastic. Just a heads-up.”

Ah. Matchmaking attempt. Gotcha.

“I’ll inform Derek. He would probably like to have his beta back at some point. Preferably alive and before Christmas.”

“You do that.”

Stiles was quiet for a moment, smiling softly as he listened to the calm breathing across the line. Should he ask, he pondered, shook his head and then blurted out his question before he could second guess himself and convince himself to just forget it.

“Would you like to come over for the Christmas dinner? My dad finally brought up the fact that I’ve been sneaking around since before graduation and he hasn’t been able to threaten anyone with his gun yet. I can make sure that the wolfsbane bullets Mr. Argent will give him as a present won’t be opened until after you leave.”

“How sweet of you. He’ll just shoot me with his regular ones.”

“I do my best.”

“Scott and Melissa will be there too?”

“And Derek and Cora, if you want. Christmas at the Stilinski’s is all about family.”

This time it was Peter who fell silent.

“Just think about it,” Stiles continued after a while, thinking he had overwhelmed Peter, but was interrupted.

“I would love to.”

Stiles smiled.

“Really?”

“Really.”

“I’ll make sure that Scott and Derek will have your back. Even if they won’t, I will.”

“Even against the big, bad Sheriff?” Peter jeered but there was an undercurrent there that Stiles picked up on instantly.

“Even against my dad.”

Stiles watched as the clock neared midnight. He had to be up in six or so hours. He silently cursed the past him who had thought it would be a great idea to have a class at eight in the morning three times a week. At least his schedule would ease after the semester ended.

“I miss you,” he admitted softly to the empty room and Peter who was far too many hundred miles away.

“I miss you too, dearest,” Peter replied, tone for once completely void of any sarcasm. “I will be home before Monday even if it takes me another murder spree.”

“Don’t, Lydia will not take it kindly if you start haunting her again if you get killed.”

“Do you have so little trust in me?”

“I have trust in your ability,” Stiles answered dutifully but couldn’t help but continue, “but those wolfsbane-laced heels she had made are even more frightening.”

He could hear a snort coming through from the other side of the line.

“Until tomorrow.”

“I’ll be waiting for the call,” Stiles answered and hung up. He flopped down on their bed and let Peter’s scent flush over him. Honestly, how the pack hadn’t figured it out that Stiles and Peter were together astounded him. He had to be saturating Peter’s scent, more than just living together would’ve made him. When Stiles had decided to go for Berkeley on his own, his mother’s alma mater, Peter had ‘volunteered’ – more like demanded – to be the one to go to stay with him. Despite some lingering prejudices from the pack, Stiles had accepted and promptly moved in with his boyfriend.

It was logical since none of the pack had been accepted close enough for a possible commute; well, Lydia had, but she was on her way to the east coast and Stiles wasn’t about to deny her that. Also, truthfully, part of the reason he applied to Berkeley had been because Stiles just wanted some space of his own. He might be the human in the wolf pack but he wasn’t a werewolf himself, a fact he was extremely happy about. Unlike the wolves, he didn’t need the constant closeness of the pack. It was a nice thing to have – the lonely nights of post-mom came into mind – but Stiles had been far too independent to ever give up that part of him completely. It came with partly having to raise himself when his father had become the sole breadwinner of the family. With that and his ADHD, becoming a werewolf might have been a complete nightmare.

Peter was nice about his issues too, and he had never tried to force Stiles into anything. Despite their rocky start – though even then he hadn’t tried to force the Bite on Stiles – and Stiles’ ever-present paranoia, he had managed to worm himself into Stiles’ graces and never really left. The many casual touches, condescending snark, nicknames and whatnot and almost before Stiles had truly realised Peter had been part of his life that he didn’t want to separate from anymore. At some point during the senior year he had recognised that there no longer was just “Stiles” but there was “Stiles and Peter”.

It was funny how no one else seemed to have picked up on that, even after they got together.

Although that might give Peter too much credit. Stiles had noticed the slow change in their relationship but… he hadn’t really minded it. Even now, the only person he didn’t mind sharing his space so wholly was Peter. Even Scott and his father, despite how much he loved them and they loved him, didn’t know how to connect with him as well. Peter and he, just, they were both assholes with seriously skewed moral compasses that pretty much drew them towards each other.

Well, that, and they had grown on one another. In the beginning, post-kanima mess, the pack had mostly left Stiles and Peter on research duty together. Back then Peter had still been weak from his resurrection, Lydia had disagreed on staying anywhere near him and Stiles had been recovering from a broken leg. So, it made sense to the pack that since the two were unable to participate in the supernatural drama of the week – that always somehow ended up culminating either in the preserve or the high school – they were relegated to cover their bases with google-fu and bestiary-fu and all manners of research-fu and the latter two just don’t really work, do they.

Seriously. What’s up with all the weird fascination with the Beacon Hills’ High School? It was the most boring place. Ever. And it had Harris, for fuck’s sake-

Anyway, Berkeley, moving there together; that had been actually the time they had told both Derek and Scott, some of the biggest protesters, of their very much consensual relationship, thank you Scott. While they hadn’t taken it very gracefully initially – Scott had given him the silent treatment for approximately three days before he had caved which was some sort of a record – they had decided that if there was someone who could handle Peter, or Stiles for that matter, it was the other person. Their abrupt changes in attitudes had caused some narrowed eyes and dark looks but no one but Lydia had figured it was something more. Probably. Stiles still wasn’t sure how much she had figured out since she hadn’t flown back since she made her way to conquer the east coast a few months ago, and on Skype she still pretended Peter didn’t exist.

Avoidance as a coping mechanism, thy name is Lydia Martin. At least when the subject’s name is Peter Hale. Do as I say, not as I do.

Stiles snorted and burrowed deeper into the blankets.

Oh well, the pack would find out eventually.

It’s not like they could do any harm, right?

***

Wrong.

Stiles had been so wrong.

He had never been so wrong in his life.

When he had gone to visit the pack during the weekend (deadlines, what deadlines?), he hadn’t had any idea on how it would turn out to be. Most of the pack had been home as well, with the exceptions of Lydia, Allison and Jackson and, of course, Peter who had finally gotten to iron out the little print. Lydia was busy terrorizing the whole Ivy League despite studying at the MIT on the opposing coast and Allison had gone with her, even though her choice of college was more modest (although not by much thanks to the intense tutoring sessions Lydia forced the whole pack to have, with Stiles as her second-in-command). Scott had been heartbroken when his college dream had been crushed; his best friend and girlfriend, neither was at his choice of college. At least he still had Isaac and Boyd going nearby. Speaking of Jackson, he had also come back to the States for college and gone to Yale of all places. One day he had just turned up on Derek’s porch and asked to be able to join the pack again, officially this time, which had been a surprisingly positive surprise. Stiles hadn’t been home then but Scott had and he had relayed how England had done Jackson a whole lot of good.

Well, Stiles would judge that himself when he’d see Jackson during the Christmas holidays. He had tentatively reached out with Skype a couple of times but those calls had been, with one word, awkward. Most of what he had heard of him had been through Lydia. To his knowledge, they weren’t kindling their super love romance of sophomore year. Maybe they were waiting to know each other again to see if it was even possible? Jackson had disappeared for two years with no contact after all.

Stiles didn’t know and, to be honest, it wasn’t his business. If Lydia wanted to talk to him about it, she would.

Still, most of the pack had been home and that for once had been a bad thing. While Stiles had been happy to see his best friend, their grumpy alpha and the leatheriest betas to ever leather, he had not appreciated being pimped out.

Fucking Derek.

It had started on Saturday. He had spent Friday with his father as always and left on Saturday morning after swearing to be back for the Sunday lunch before he had to leave again. He had been glad to see them all at the renovated Hale House, complete with a new design since neither Derek, Peter nor Cora (who was apparently Derek’s sister and Peter’s niece that had appeared around the time of the Alpha Pack, complete with capital letters) had been able to stomach living in a house filled with memories of past long gone and trauma still present. Anyway, see them, glad he was.

Until the evening.

They had been laughing about how Scott felt all alone without Allison there (his sad puppy eyes enough proof of that) when Derek who hadn’t laughed with them per his forever grumpy and woe-is-me demeanour which had also mellowed down during the years – Cora had helped a lot with that – had teased Stiles. Teased him. Not that there was anything bad about that, especially considering how rare it still was although, as said, mellowing was happening, but what he said was pure evil and the upcoming doom of Stiles life.

“But Stiles, aren’t you feeling pretty alone too?”

Well yeah he was because Derek had sent Peter away to deal with the Perkins pack.

Not that their pack knew that which was the actual problem.

They had then proceeded to decide that Stiles needed to get a date before New Year’s, preferably before Christmas too.

Like, what the fuck.

“What?!” Stiles yelped. “No, I don’t!”

“Stiles, you haven’t dated anyone since you got over your crush on Lydia,” Erica flicked her hair and wrinkled her nose. “And that was over two years ago. You’re in college! It’s high time for you to get some actual, real dating experience.”

Stiles sputtered, “But I do have dating experience!”

Erica looked back, unimpressed. “Which is why we’ve heard so much about it.”

Isaac snickered.

“He does!” Scott protested. “He talks about his dates to me all the time!”

Stiles actually did, much to Scott’s horror. Revenge for the Allison phase Scott never grew up from and continued to torment him with. Well, that and because he couldn’t help but gush about the bantery and snarky romance that he was in the middle of. On their first (official) anniversary Peter had given him a bouquet that pretty much said ‘Fuck You’ in flower, which he later actually did.

Romance à la asshole.

Stiles was into it.

“His hand doesn’t count,” Erica said after a moment of silence. Even Boyd looked amused at that although Cora looked disgusted. Stiles pouted.

“Mean!” he whined. “Really, I don’t need a date. I have a date! I have plenty of dates!”

“You should set him up with someone,” Isaac said, grinning behind his hand. Stiles whipped around and stared at him in horror. “Help him settle down! Stiles has to be lonely, right?”

But you’re single too! Stiles wanted to argue but was interrupted by a loud squeal.

“What an excellent idea!” Erica grinned, all bright and delighted. “I know a few people whose type is a twink exactly like Stilinski!”

Boyd actually turned around and snorted. Stiles looked on in horror. There were no words to describe how he felt at that moment.

“But… Stiles really does have a date,” Scott tried again. “A date as in he’s dating someone.” Bless his golden soul. Stiles will drown him in bro-time and won’t even complain the next time he got lost in Allison-land.

“I need to consult Lydia!” Erica said, already opening her laptop, completely ignoring Scott.

Scott deflated.

Me too, buddy, Stiles thought as Lydia answered the call. Me too.

***

“What an excellent idea,” Lydia unknowingly repeated Erica’s previous words. There was something dark in her tone that Stiles didn’t like. “We should also set up Peter.”

Yeah, he definitely didn’t like it.

Erica looked thoughtful. “He does have this hot older man vibe on him, especially with those muscles and the V-necks. I don’t think I’ll have trouble finding matches for him either.” She tapped her fingers before snatching her phone and opening her Facebook, clearly searching for targets. “A good fuck might lessen the chances of a new murder spree. He hadn’t been able to get laid for six years in the hospital. Unless some of the nurses were into that.”

Cora made another disgusted noise from somewhere in the background.

“I could think of a few!” Allison piped up where she had been leaning against Lydia.

“I also have some ideas,” Lydia said. “We should compare notes.” Her eyes found Stiles’. There was an evil, evil look on her face there. Stiles was immediately suspicious. This spelt no good for him, no good at all. What did she have on him that he didn’t know?!

Had Peter done something to make her even more angry? If she knew about their relationship. She had to know, Lydia was anything but stupid and non-observant which couldn’t be said about the pack as a whole. What was her angle? Get back at Peter somehow? Good luck with that, his man never went anywhere without a back-up plan. Case in point, the resurrection. But it was totally hot when he was planning for other people’s doom. Or Stiles’ sex life. Which was happening. As well as dates. Which were also happening, despite the public consensus.

As the plotting escalated, he watched as the dark look in Lydia’s eyes turned one the Satan would’ve been proud of.

Yeah, he was definitely screwed in more ways than one.

And it wasn’t even the fun kind.

***

“Why didn’t you stop them?!” Stiles complained at Derek who had just watched everything go down without interfering like he should have as their alpha. Alphas should care about their pack’s distress, right?! Well, Stiles was plenty distressed! It was his relationship that was being questioned here! His manhood! His ability to get a date! His life! “You know I’m dating your uncle! You’re supposed to be on my side! We’re family!” he paused, and then corrected. “Well, almost. Or not really. But we’re pack!”

“Peter stole my last Reese’s when he left.”

Stiles closed his mouth mid-rant and stared at him blankly.

“And you stole the ones before that.”

Stiles gaped.

“Since when do you eat sweets? You’re the sourest person to ever sour! Y- You sourwolf!” he yelled at his retreating back. Derek just flipped him the finger before he disappeared into the living room where Stiles could hear the loud squealing and planning of his doom happening. Stiles flopped down on the kitchen floor and banged his head against the wall.

“I thought they were Cora’s,” he mumbled. To be fair, she was probably even sourer than the sourpuss there. How was he supposed to know whose those sweets were? They were calling for him!

They were giving him the rumblies that only they could satisfy!

Stiles winced as he hit his head particularly hard against the wall.

He was so screwed.

Wait, it wasn’t about the witch? Or was this, like, revenge 2.0?!

“Derek, come back here!” Stiles yelled and scrambled out of the kitchen, only to end up getting dragged by Erica to the circle of hell where he was being explained his foreseeable future. He couldn’t even escape. Erica’s grip was like a vice on his arm and her nails were digging into his flesh.

Derek kept smirking at his plight before leaving him to it.

Worst. Alpha. Ever.

***

“They did what?” Peter asked, his voice incredulous. Stiles winced.

“I know right? Matchmaking happening, on both ends of the line! Well, now I have this breakfast date thing with someone called Mandy tomorrow. Since you already told Derek you’d be back on Monday with the treaty, the girls decided that your first date would be on next Friday,” he explained, feeling like he was finally getting the headache that had been lurking since the evening.

“And they wouldn’t accept that you’re actually in a relationship? Are their noses broken?”

Stiles shrugged although he knew that Peter couldn’t see it. He let the silence speak for itself. It had been rather depressing to be honest.

“Scott actually yelled at one point that we, as in you and I, were together but he was ignored. Again. You should give Scott a break, Peter. He was actually keeping our side the whole time.”

“Miracles happen once in a blue moon,” Peter muttered but it wasn’t as cutting as it could’ve been. Stiles would take any victories he could get.

“Lydia knows, by the way. I’m almost 100% sure it was just revenge on her side. Derek, too, was just being a little shit. I think I preferred when he just loomed in a corner all dark and gloomy,” Stiles continued, and then sighed.

What a mess.

“We’ll just have to show them we’re together,” he soldiered on. “If they see it with their own eyes, they can’t just ignore it. Right?”

Peter was silent.

Stiles wasn’t too sure about that either.

Scott’s forever optimistic thinking pattern had never really caught up. Shame.

Stiles needed some fucking optimism right now.

***

“Um, Stiles, right?” the girl who arrived at Stiles’ booth asked, smiling hesitantly. Stiles raised his head where he had let it fall five minutes prior with a loud thunk. He thought she looked familiar somehow. Brown hair to her shoulders, in ringlets, make-up but not too much to be tacky, blue dress that fit her petite figure. A normal, kind-looking girl.

The exact opposite of Peter.

Stiles hated her at first sight.

“And you’re?” his smile was empty, unwelcoming, but the girl brightened up immediately.

“I’m Mandy! Well, Amanda Kerry, I was a year below you in high school. You probably don’t remember me but I remember you! I mean, um,” she blushed and looked flustered. Stiles sighed inwardly and helped her sit down. His father would never forgive him if he wasn’t polite to ladies. Mandy looked grateful and blushed a bit more.

She was pretty, he had to admit, and Stiles was bi so there was no trouble on that front. If he had met Mandy before all this werewolf mess, he probably would’ve jumped on the opportunity to take her out.

But he hadn’t and now he was in a relationship while being forced to go on a date with a girl who appeared to have a crush on him if her ‘discreet’ looks told him anything.

This was going brilliantly.

Stiles hated his friends. He had tried to sneak away when most of the pack was still asleep but Boyd had been awake and watched over him so he couldn’t leave. Then Erica woke up and drove him over to the diner with strict orders not to leave before half past eleven to make it to the lunch date with his dad.

“You’re friends with Allison?” he asked finally since the girl was clearly waiting for him to start. Mandy screamed Allison’s influence. Lydia and Erica were far too frightening for a girl this shy and bubbly to ever approach or talk to.

“Yes! Has she talked about me? All good things I hope!” Mandy laughed nervously. “I was in a class with her last year and we became pretty good friends. You’re friends with her boyfriend, right? Scott?”

“Yeah, Scott and I go way back, to kindergarten and sandcastles.”

She made a cooing sound. Stiles’ smile was strained.

“Should we order something?” Mandy quickly agreed and then they had a couple minutes of blissful and awkward silence. Stiles checked his watch. He considered ignoring Erica’s orders. How soon was polite enough to make up an excuse and leave? He still had over an hour to stay; it was barely ten minutes past ten.

When the waitress came, Stiles ordered pancakes with extra syrup and a large black coffee – he was going to need it – and the girl quickly followed with a similar order, only with a tea and strawberries instead of syrup. He wished he could roll his eyes. He could see the page she had been looking at and it hadn’t included any of the pancake selection. Imitating him would get her nowhere.

Just endure it, Stiles, Peter’s voice whispered in his mind. Alright. He would try. He checked the time. It had been just two minutes since the last time he looked.

Damn it.

“So, what are you studying?” Mandy asked after the waitress left. She offered him a shy smile. “I heard from Allison you went to Berkeley. I wish to stay in-state too. Is it nice there?”

“Sure,” he said and shrugged. “The campus is pretty great, and atmosphere is busier than in Beacon Hills.”

“How’s dorm life?”

Stiles shrugged again. “Beats me. I don’t live there.”

Mandy blinked. “I thought all first years live in the dorms! To get the whole college experience?”

“Not me.”

She looked puzzled but then the waitress, Stiles couldn’t make out what her name plate said, came back with their drinks. “Two coffees, right?” she asked.

“No, I- I ordered a tea,” Mandy said quietly, hesitant.

“Oh, sorry. I’ll bring your order soon then. My bad.”

She actually popped her bubble gum. It was so cliché Stiles wanted to laugh. Fuck it, he thought, and just did that. Mandy looked almost ashamed, even though it was no fault of hers.

Stiles took pity on her and launched into a tale about his, rather eclectic, mix of literature studies and computer sciences. What could he say? Research had been his life and knowing shit was his shit. Besides, he rather hated the hours his father worked despite wanting to follow in his footprints when he was younger. With Cora and Erica going to join the force, there wasn’t even need for him to join for information or to fight the crime. With those two on board, no one will even dare to try anything.

Needless to say, Mandy listened with rapt attention, ooh-ing and aah-ing in all the right places.

It was rather boring.

Suddenly, the girl was drenched in hot tea. Stiles’ eyes widened as she let out a scream, holding her dress away from her body. The waitress popped her gum in shock, doing nothing.

Stiles scrambled to hand Mandy some napkins.

“Here!” he thrusted them forward. “You should try to dry yourself.” She looked at him, tears in her eyes. He tried for a kind smile. Stiles removed the hoodie he had taken to the date and gave it to her. “The bathroom’s on the left.”

She blinked, sniffed and nodded, disappearing from view. The waitress had also left when Stiles bothered to look at her direction. He checked the time.

He still had an hour and ten minutes to go.

Mandy returned after a while, embarrassed flush on her cheeks but slightly pleased expression on her face as she clutched at Stiles’ hoodie she was wearing. He sighed inwardly. Thankfully it wasn’t one he or Peter were particularly fond of.

She tried to pick up the conversation, which was kind of admirable when she still looked like she wanted the ground to swallow her, but couldn’t because the waitress was back with their dishes. She set a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries in front of Stiles (which definitely wasn’t his) and stumbled, the plate with Stiles’ pancakes and the extra syrup falling on Mandy.

Her expression was heart-breaking as a pancake slid down her cheek, leaving sticky syrup stains everywhere on her person.

Mandy babbled something incoherent, burst into tears, and ran out of the diner before Stiles could get a word out. With his hoodie.

Yeah, thankfully he hadn’t been that fond of it.

Suddenly another person slid into the seat opposite him that Mandy had occupied just a minute before. Within a second, another plate was set in front of him, filled with a stack of pancakes only a wolf could handle doused with a bucketful of syrup.

Stiles’ amusement bubbled over as he burst into a laugh and leaned over the table to kiss Peter.

Gosh, he had missed the man.

***

“So, what was with being mean to Mandy?”

“I have no idea what you’re on about, dear heart.”

“Peter.”

“Stiles.”

“You’re impossible, you know that right?”

“Thank you.”

***

The next weekend came far too quickly. The girls hadn’t been too happy with how things had gone down with Mandy, especially Allison. Still, they had also heard it hadn’t been Stiles’ fault that she couldn’t face him again and that the date had been ruined so they had just settled with setting him up with someone else. Stiles’ hadn’t mentioned Peter’s part in it all and none of them had asked. He hadn’t needed to even lie to cover for him.

Another weekend in a row at Beacon Hills. Thankfully most of his assignments could be returned online so he could work on them as Peter drove them back and when he’d have free time. His dad had been amused beyond belief when Stiles had explained what was happening, despite him actually being in a relationship. Noah just told him to bring his date, whoever it ended up being, to the house on Christmas and that was it.

Even his family by blood was out to get to him.

Traitor!

Stiles sighed and rolled his shoulders. He looked at his assignment on his laptop but couldn’t concentrate. Peter was about to have his date in the classiest restaurant the city had. He had, naturally, claimed that if he had to endure this after the trip to the Perkins pack, he would demand some compensation. Without asking for permission, Erica and Lydia had promised that the pack would pay for the dates. Stiles felt insulted that he hadn’t been offered the same deal and had complained loudly until they gave in.

If free food was on the table, you could bet he was going to go for it. He wasn’t that easy but to have to go through all those painful dates with no perks? Ugh.

On the plus side, when Derek had found out, he refused to use the pack funds which in turn had forced the pack to pay for the dates out off their own pockets. The look Lydia gave to Stiles was poisonous even through Skype but he just sneered back and stuck out his tongue.

Take that.

Ten minutes until Peter’s date.

Stiles suddenly flailed as an idea struck to him. Crap, if Peter ruined (saved) his date, he could ruin (save) his! He snapped his laptop shut and rushed past his dad, yelling something incomprehensible. He stopped, looked at his outfit of large V-neck that wasn’t really his and pyjama pants that definitely were his, and ran back up to change into something more appropriate.

His prom suit was still there in his closet. Sweet!

Stiles quickly dressed, styled his hair, all within five minutes. He still had time to make it. He grabbed his laptop and stuffed it into a bag before almost crashed into his door. Stupid pants, what’re you doing there?!

When he rushed back down he flashed the biggest shit-eating grin ever to his dad who just raised his hands in surrender. He didn’t want to know.

“Be back before midnight!” Noah called after him.

“I’m an adult! I have no bed time!”

He slammed the door shut and jumped on his trusty blue jeep. It was conspicuous but it was past the date starting time. Whoever was in charge of Peter (probably Cora) wouldn’t want to stick around any longer than needed when Peter was unpleasant. Stiles would bet a hundred that Peter had been extra annoying the whole time he had spent at the Hale House.

The little shit.

Stiles was already waiting to hear the stories.

He parked a block away from the restaurant and grinned. He quickly opened his laptop and hacked into the restaurant’s site and reserved a table for himself. He did ponder a bit whether or not to put a false name in but it seemed like a waste if he didn’t.

Stiles was still snickering when he stepped inside Delilah’s delight.

“I have a reservation under Mr. Wayne,” he said as snottily as he could. The man seemed to judge him but, after checking and confirming he wasn’t pranking him, he was showed to a table behind Peter and his date. Yeah, Stiles had made sure of the seating order too. The man looked like he was having the time of his life, very much unlike Peter. The twitch of his eyebrows and the small half-smile that almost showed fang told everything Stiles needed to know about how the date was going.

Also, the way Peter’s head jerked slightly when he must’ve smelled Stiles and the way his eyes flickered over to him – and yes, Stiles did see the quick flash of approval over his appearance – gave Stiles renewed purpose of following through his plan. Peter’s date was dressed in a rather flamboyant purple suit and his pale blond hair was slicked back to tight it almost looked like he was bald. He looked pretty fit and he seemed to know it. With one more glance he could see that his nails were also painted to match the suit. Stiles quickly averted his gaze. His retinas were burning.

He sat down, back to the date, and just listened.

“…can you believe it? Me! He was asking me to actually touch the dirt! I wouldn’t be caught dead walking through the preserve. Who knows what might lie in there!” the man said. The self-importance he was able to muster into his voice already made Stiles want to laugh. It was like Jackson before he left Beacon Hills.

“Yes, who knows; perhaps you could even encounter a wolf,” Peter replied dryly.

“And be eaten by it,” Stiles said quiet enough that he was sure the date was able to hear it but no one else. Well, except for Peter who hid a snort with a cough. “No, wait. The poor animal might get an upset stomach.”

“…yes, indeed, a wolf,” the man said slowly, distaste colouring his voice. It left quickly, however, and a flirtatious tone took its place. “But you would protect me from the big bad wolf, wouldn’t you, Peter?”

“Or leave you to him, more likely,” Stiles said. When the server came to ask for his drink, he quickly scanned and selected the most expensive wine he could. He did the same with his dish. The server looked at him dubiously, clearly thinking he would be dining and dashing, but took his order and left.

“As you say, Dave.”

“Daniel.”

“Derrick.”

Stiles snickered. He could imagine the winsome smile on Peter’s face.

“Yes, well, anyway, what do you do for a living, Peter? You must be rather well off to be able to afford a man like me,” the Douche flirted.

“With that figure, yes,” Stiles commented quietly. He picked up the low rumble that told him Peter was amused.

“I have a rather fine fashion line if I say so myself,” Peter said. “I practiced as a lawyer previously but it was awfully dull in the end.”

“Why, a line in the industry!” the Douche said. “I wonder if…”

“You wouldn’t fit into them anyway.”

“I mean, perhaps I could…”

“What a shame, the world would laugh until it would burst!”

“I-“

“Your dishes, gentlemen. Which one of you ordered the Filet Mignon?” Peter indicated himself. “And then for you I have the Caesar Special.”

“Ah, thank you!” the Douche piped up all happy again, babbling about he needs to keep an eye on his figure. Stiles rolled his eyes. Of course. A salad in a high class restaurant. How pretentious could he get?

“You’re going to need it.”

Stiles felt the exact moment his words finally went through. The thickness in the air was palpable. A chair scratched the floor. Stiles waited in anticipation. He felt a tap on his shoulder and slowly turned around to face Peter’s date and…

Oh gosh, he even had purple eyeshadow.

“Excuse me but I am on a date. Could you keep your comments to yourself?” the Douche asked, smiling coldly. Stiles kept his expression mild and slightly confused.

“I’m sorry, what are you talking about?”

The Douche seemed ticked off. “I am talking about the fact that you’ve sent snide comments my way since you arrived. I would appreciate if you stopped. Now.”

Stiles sent a quick look at Peter who seemed extremely amused. He turned back to the man who had definitely seen him ignore him in favour of Peter. He seemed even more pissed off.

Good.

“I’m sorry,” he repeated. “But I am just not sure what you’re on about. Are you sure you’re alright?”

“I am perfectly alright,” the Douche’s voice got higher the longer he spoke. “I just don’t appreciate people disturbing my date!”

“Mister, please calm down. You’re embarrassing your date.”

“No, you’re trying to embarrass me! Peter! You heard what he told me, didn’t you?!” the Douche turned back to Peter beseechingly. Peter’s expression took the same innocent look Stiles had tried for. It didn’t fit his face well. Or Stiles might know him too well to ever believe it.

“I do not know what you’re trying to do here but I haven’t heard of anything, Dylan.”

“It’s Daniel,” the man yelled, face turning a similar shade of purple his outfit was. Stiles watched in fascination. Some people just took colour coordination a step too far.

“Excuse me, mister,” the waiter that had server Stiles came to stand by Peter’s table, “but I’m going to have to ask you to leave. You’re troubling our customers.”

Stiles looked around and saw almost everyone watch the scene with either glares or too curious eyes. He could just imagine the gossip material tonight would yield.

“Why, I never!” the Douche gasped as if mortally wounded. “If anything, it is this despicable man,” he pointed at Stiles who quickly did his best to look as astounded as possible, “who is trying to ruin my evening!” he shouted.

“Mister, please calm down,” the waiter said, unknowingly echoing Stiles words and Stiles looked on with delight how the Douche turned to a lovely shade of puce. “I do not want to call the police.”

“Fine!” the Douche turned to Peter. “Peter, we are leaving this place! Come!”

Peter’s eyebrows rose. “I don’t see why I need to leave just because you made a scene. I would like to enjoy my evening, if you don’t mind.”

The Douche gaped at him, shocked, but gathered himself when Peter just made a shooing motion. He strode away, whispers following him. When he passed Stiles, Stiles couldn’t resist sending him away without a goodbye:

“Nice knowing you, Dick.”

The Douche turned around, about to confront Stiles again, but one look at the waiter’s stern expression sent him away with a tail between his legs. Stiles turned back to Peter who toasted him mildly.

“Would you like to join a man on his dinner? It seems like I am short of company now.”

Stiles toasted him back.

“Why not? It’s not like I have anyone else to entertain. Might as well save your evening from this disaster.”

At the end of the night, when they’d drank the bottle of wine Stiles had bought and eaten both their dishes, the salad the Douche had left and two desserts each, they left the bill on the tab that was set for Mr. Hale. No doubt those responsible for it would be now several hundred dollars lighter.

Well, it wasn’t Stiles’ problem.

The pack knew what they were getting into. If not, well…

That wasn’t Stiles’ problem either.

***

“Your lack of plan was just appalling.”

“It’s not like I had much to go on! Besides, it’s not like you did anything better last week.”

“I’ll endeavour to do better next time then.”

“You better. Since Mandy was all Allison, that means I have Erica and Lydia left at least.”

“As you wish.”

“You’re no Wesley.”

“And you’re no Buttercup.”

“Imagine that.”

***

“Do I have to?” Stiles whined. Lydia twirled her hair.

“But Stiles, would you leave your date waiting?”

“Yes,” he said bluntly. “I have no desire to go anywhere but to get myself the greasiest pizza I can find and watch a movie, preferably about the nerdy shit you still won’t admit to liking.”

Lydia rolled her eyes. “Even though you think Star Wars is the epitome of cinema, others don’t have to agree. Now, dress casual but cool. I know you can do it. And…” she paused, eyes burning into Stiles’ soul. Or, more likely, his sense of style which hadn’t changed that much since high school, unless he counted the overhaul Peter did to his wardrobe. “No. Plaid.” She hung up on him. Stiles stuck his tongue at the screen of his phone before sighing. He stared forlornly at his quirky t-shirts and flannels of which he had so many fond memories of. The red plaid one he had worn when they had ran from a kelpie, the Batman shirt had offended a very Marvel vampire, the green one that was… tattered and missing a few buttons and a sleeve, hidden behind the shirts because Peter…

Well.

Just to see if he could get away with it, he put on a blazer that hid a dark blue, almost black, plaid shirt underneath.

Boyd picked him up. He had Lydia on facetime.

Stiles went to change, grumbling on every step.

He was driven to a dance studio (what the fuck) on the east side of Beacon Hills. Apparently Lydia’s chosen dating prospect was an avid dancer and hearing that Stiles had two left feet (which wasn’t actually true, he was just clumsy and a bit flail-y on the days that end with an -y, thank you very much) had taken it as a challenge and suggested the Saturday Trial Night where one class a week was being introduced for free.

This week was tango.

Stiles tried to turn back but Boyd was like a wall.

Fuck his life.

His date was a guy this time. Unlike Peter’s date, however, he was even attractive. Curly dark hair, gorgeous forest green eyes and a slim body that definitely hid a six pack underneath his shirt. He didn’t even try to flaunt his looks too much although the smirk he wore when Stiles met his eyes told him that his date knew how he looked. He probably thought he would even pull tonight.

Stiles had to admit, Brandon was hot. In addition, the way he took control of Stiles’ movement was swoon-worthy. Stiles had to wonder where Lydia had found the guy. While she probably excelled in dancing like in everything she did, she hadn’t mentioned any classes she might’ve taken – and their frequent disasters would’ve made lessons impossible anyway – and, since Stiles was kindly informed his date wasn’t even bi, Brandon couldn’t have been her former hook up either.

He decided to ask. The only answer her got was a low laugh and a sultry grin and some sort of tango movement where Stiles was bent towards the floor.

Well. That didn’t help.

Hello, boner. You’re trying to twitch into existence and you’re not on the list of approved visitors because you’re inappropriate, confused and inappropriate because you’re confused.

Stiles sensed the glare aimed at them from somewhere around the room. Yeah, alright, Peter was there somewhere and definitely not happy. It wasn’t Stiles’ fault what his dick liked! He might have a small manhandling kink – god knows how many times Peter had taken advantage of that – and it wasn’t like he was in total control of his body. If he was, he wouldn’t spent so much time making sure the ground stayed his best friend forever.

Scott’s sad puppy face flashed through his mind.

Yeah, bye boner. Come back later so we can get acquainted again under better circumstances.

Suddenly Brandon stumbled and fell on Stiles who groaned under the extra weight. He was going to be sore from finding muscles he hadn’t been aware of before and now also he was going to have bruises. Geez. Definitely not his day.

“I am so sorry, are you alright?” Stiles heard Peter ask. The false sincerity would be killing him if Brandon wasn’t doing his best to off him right now. He felt Brandon being lifted from him and he could breath. Air, my old friend, how you’ve been missed. May we never part from each other again.

“I’m fine, and so are you,” he heard Brandon say and… was he eyeing Peter? He so was! He had totally forgotten about Stiles and was busy appreciating Peter’s rather muscly and well-trained arms which the rolled-up sleeves showed generously. He was even licking his lips! Oh, that so wasn’t fair! Stiles wheezed unattractively. Gosh, he wanted to smash something in Brandon’s face.

“Why, thank you.”

Peter offered his hand to Stiles and pulled him up with a show of strength that had Brandon whistle appreciatively. His back to Brandon, Peter rolled his eyes at Stiles, his grip never leaving his hand.

“Are you alright?” Peter asked, mock worried with an undertone of real concern. Stiles nodded.

“Yes, thank you,” Stiles smiled, faking embarrassment. “I may just have two left feet instead of having also a right one. Genetics, you know?”

“Well, I’d say they did rather well on you,” Peter said, all suave and charming. He was still holding Stiles’ hand. Peter smirked, before raising their hands and dropping a light kiss on Stiles’ knuckles. He even presented a flower to him. Sure, it was small and kind of sad looking, but it was a flower nonetheless.

Stiles had to bite down on his lips not to laugh aloud.

He heard a cough and turned back to Brandon who was now looking extremely unamused.

“I hope I’m not interrupting,” Brandon said with a grin so tight it had to physically hurt. He was giving Peter some meaningful glances and tried to catch his eyes. Yeah, Stiles definitely wasn’t his type if he was ready to drop him like a hot stone when someone older and hotter arrived.

Not that Stiles didn’t know he was good-looking too but have you seen the Hales? They were insanely hot, all of them; probably bred to showcase their perfect pedigree too.

“Oh, you are,” Peter said cheerfully. Brandon looked taken aback. Stiles couldn’t help it. He snickered. He felt more than saw the evil eye Brandon sent him. “I’d like to ask your dance partner for the next dance. My own had to leave.”

More like there never was one.

“I don’t mind,” Stiles simpered. He pretended to swoon. “You more than deserve one!”

“In that case, I don’t think Stiles would mind if I gave you the dance. Tango and I are like… old lovers,” Brandon said, flashing what had to be his most seductive grin.

Stiles blinked. Wow. Just… wow.

He knew he could be subtle as a brick sometimes but this was definitely taking the cake from anything he might ever have done, and that included him yelling at Scott that he was a fucking werewolf.

“Well, then you shouldn’t have trouble entertaining yourself while I spin – Stiles, was it? – for a bit,” Peter said, grinning charmingly, and leaving Brandon to stare dumbfounded at their retreating backs when Peter pulled Stiles away. He settled them into the position just before a new song started and then they were off.

And oh.

How come Stiles hadn’t been aware that Peter could dance?

He was being pulled, twirled and used. Stiles had no idea of what the moves were called, had never cared about dancing enough to learn anything else but the mandatory waltz but here they were moving in these super sharp twists, large steps, small steps, and again large ones, he was being dipped even deeper than he had been before, and holy- he was being held really close. All. The. Time.

Stiles was literally dancing the dirtiest foreplay ever. The way Peter’s leg was pressed between his during every step and turn and how his eyes never left Stiles’…

He licked his lips.

He licked his lips.

And then smirked.

Yeah, Stiles could admit it.

He was having sex on the dancefloor.

Damn it, Peter. If he was coming in his pants, he would be taking him with him.

***

“How could you let someone else steal you away fifteen minutes to your date?!” Lydia screeched shrilly. “Brandon was perfect boyfriend or, at least, one night stand material!”

Stiles shrugged, rubbing his ears. Damn banshee. “What can I say? He didn’t make that much of an impression.”

“’Didn’t make that much of an impression?’ He left Danny so much of an impression he went back for seconds.”

Stiles perked up. “Oh, Danny boy! I did wonder where you found him. How’s Danny nowadays?”

Lydia rolled her eyes. “He’s fine, keeping in touch with Jackson. Apparently they kept contact the whole time Jackson was in England, through thick and thin and whatnot. That’s not the point! What is this talk of you being swept away by a stranger?!”

Stiles just shrugged again. Lydia stared at him but Stiles didn’t budge. He knew she knew that the ‘stranger’ was Peter. She just wouldn’t admit it because of her wariness of the werewolf which hadn’t lessened over the years. Well, it had to some extent but Lydia had always been fond of being in control and to lose all of it had rattled her far too much for her to forget it. Now that he thought about it, all this ‘dating’ crap was probably her misguided attempt to offer Stiles a chance to find someone else in case he wasn’t sure what he wanted rather than just purely revenge.

He sighed and just shook his head in silence. Lydia pursed her lips.

“Well, you have another date next Saturday. Prepare yourself!” she sniffed and hung up on him. Again. He sensed a pattern. Stiles rolled his shoulders and smiled fondly at the small wallflower, twirling it with his fingers.

That idiot.

***

Peter’s second date on the next Friday wasn’t a disaster.

Far from it, actually.

It was just too bad his date never actually made it to the date.

It was just bad luck that her car was towed away just before the date.

It was just unfortunate that someone drove past her when she was walking and drenched her on the unfortunate puddle’s water.

It was also just really unlucky that she was arrested as a suspected aid in a robbery two towns over before ever making to the Christmas fair.

Stiles wasn’t, of course, looking a gift horse in the mouth. He had a very lovely evening, thank you very much.

(Of course he made sure the charges wouldn’t stick. He wasn’t that cruel. It wasn’t her fault she was Erica’s dentist.)

***

Stiles’ third date wasn’t something he had ever expected to happen.

“Derek?!” he gaped, and then blurted out, “What the hell are you doing here?”

Derek scowled at him.

“Apparently Erica thinks that, quote, since we are both oh so lonely, we could find some sweet, sweet relief in each other, unquote.”

Derek had a painful look on his face when he repeated Erica’s words. Stiles feared his frown would carve itself into his skull and his eyebrows would actually kill him dead.

Stiles continued to gape.

Derek sighed.

“We’re supposed to have dinner at Stella’s.”

Stiles jaw clicked shut. “Stella’s Place? You mean only the best diner in Beacon Hills? The one with the greasiest burgers, curliest curly fries and milkshakes that bring all the boys and the girls to the yard?” he demanded.

Derek sighed again. “Yes, Stiles.”

“Well, what are we waiting for?!” he said, and dragged Derek to his jeep. “I’m driving.”

“Aren’t you supposed to protest and destroy your date before it even really starts?” Derek protested. Stiles stopped, narrowed his eyes and just stared at Derek for a moment. He then grinned.

“Nahhhhh,” he drawled. “I think this date will go just fine. Now buckle up, o’ alpha of mine, while I’ll never be the mate for you, we can find some sweet, sweet comfort for you at Stella’s.”

“Mate? What the hell have you been reading on again?” Derek mumbled to himself but climbed on the passenger seat like the good little sh- wolf he was under all those eyebrows.

“Supernatural fanfiction,” Stiles answered promptly. He burst out laughing at the pure disgust angled his way. “No, even I wouldn’t touch that, don’t worry. One of my college mates, however, does. Gina’s been crazy about the show since it started, and with the latest fad of vampires and werewolves, well, you can’t guess who has been her sounding board.”

“You told her about…?!” Derek asked, aghast. Stiles snorted.

“Thanks for the trust. It’s not like I haven’t saved your backs several times.”

“It’s- No- I- Stiles.”

Stiles laughed again, waving his hand. Derek scowled and looked forward, slight red hue tinting his cheeks. They drove in a more or less companionable silence for the next few minutes.

“By the way, why Stella’s Place? I’d have thought another fancy restaurant would’ve struck the girls’ fancy.”

Derek rolled his eyes in the way signature Hale way. Gosh, they had to have patented it because Stiles hadn’t seen anyone else even come close to rolling their eyes to that effect of sarcasm, condescend and exasperation. Secretly he had even tried to practice it in the mirror during the sophomore year but it just hadn’t worked out.

He was ever grateful that no one had caught him during those humiliating hours.

“No, it didn’t. I didn’t give them the choice.”

Stiles parked and gave him an unimpressed look. Derek’s scowl deepened.

“Fine,” he gritted his teeth. “They’re low on funds. Jackson refused to pay for anything even after they asked and Lydia had to dip into her savings to pay for one of Peter’s dates. They had to be sparing with this one.”

Had that place been that expensive?

Well, fuck ‘em.

Ha.

Stiles snickered as he jumped out of his beloved jeep. Derek sent a questioning look his way but he ignored it, didn’t bother answering. Together they entered the diner, settling down on a booth near the corner where they were mostly hidden from the eyes. Stiles had his back towards the door while Derek, the paranoid wolf he was, sat opposite him with view on the possible threats.

They were immediately sent a waitress, Rosie, who Stiles was very familiar with. He came here with his dad once a month on his cheat day and Rosie knew never to serve the Sheriff if he came in without Stiles. She was an angel of the olden sort.

“What can I get you boys?” she asked, grinning at them. Derek pointed something on his menu while Stiles ordered three portions of curly fries and two house’s special burgers with chocolate milkshakes each. When she left with their orders, Derek gave him a flat look, clearly trying to judge if he was going to eat it all.

Stiles leaned back and just waited. Not five minutes later, Peter sat next to him at the booth.

“Did you order for me too, sweet boy?” he asked, pressing against Stiles’ side. While the booth wasn’t the biggest, there was still space for them not to touch if they wanted, but Peter cared nothing for it. Once Stiles might’ve, and had, protested. Now, he just enjoyed the easy atmosphere and the warmth that radiated from the werewolf.

“Yeah, our usual.”

“Lovely.”

Derek sighed.

“No wonder none of your dates ever worked.”

Peter looked amused. “Did you really think they would?” His nephew shook his head.

“Not really. Although it now makes sense why they all ended up a disaster.”

“Who says they were a disaster?”

Stiles watched fondly as the Hales exchanged biting comments and snark like there was no tomorrow. A few years ago that wasn’t something that could have happened. The chasm between them had been far too wide with Derek’s unwilling role in the fire, Peter’s subsequent abandonment and Laura’s death. Really, only after Cora’s arrival had their relationship taken a turn for the better. Before her, Stiles had seen Peter try to make some attempts at mending their relationship but Derek had been awful at trying to reciprocate – still too deep in his hole of self-loathing and hating everything – which in turn had made Peter answer with caustic sarcasm and then they had been off again. A vicious cycle, it had been. Cora, however, had forced them to work on their differences. She had approved neither of their actions, previous and after, but she had claimed that family should win over them in the end, if only because there was only three Hales left and pretty much all of them were responsible. Stiles wasn’t sure why she added herself to that count but her approach worked.

Slowly.

Glacially.

But it worked.

While all those deaths would remain there, unforgotten, they were no longer something that created too much schism between Peter and Derek. The Hale blood was strong in these ones.

He snickered.

“What’s so funny?” Derek growled, but there was a playful edge to it. His eyes were even twinkling a bit. Even that had changed. Derek was no longer a caveman with no manners or humour but an actual, functioning werewolf being that could use words without them paining him too much. At times. It was still under some work. In addition, Peter was far more sane and clearheaded than before his death and resurrection.

What a stable pack could do to a werewolf.

(Privately, Stiles sometimes wondered if accepting Peter’s bite, becoming his first willing beta, might’ve made him realise his irrational behaviour, change his anchor from pain and revenge to something more positive, and save him from burning for the second time. He never shared those thoughts with Peter. He didn’t want to know the answer, had even discouraged himself from searching for it, even though he knew Peter didn’t blame him for his death; rather, he admired Stiles’ determination and loyalty, and those traits had been parts of why he had started to pursue Stiles.)

(Yet, it didn’t make Stiles any less likely to wonder and, sometimes, feel a bit guilty.)

Stiles didn’t have to answer since their food arrived. He just grinned wickedly, watched as Derek and Peter exchanged a quick look, and dug in.

He loved his pack, his family.

He really did.

***

“Peter, I’m too full.”

“Poor boy, what will you do now?”

“Carry me.”

“Let me think- no.”

“Peterrrrrr.”

“Carry yourself.”

“That doesn’t even make sense.”

“I have faith in you for finding a way.”

Pout.

“You’re the worst.”

“I have Reese’s in the bedroom.”

Sweet.”

***

Stiles didn’t have classes during the week before Christmas, and neither did he have any exams, so he and Peter never drove back to Berkeley on Sunday. Most of the pack was there already too, either done with their studies or commuting from home, and those that weren’t (Lydia and Allison) would be flying down in the next few days after Allison’s last exam. Stiles had even completed all his assignments before their deadlines – yeah, he couldn’t really believe it himself – so he was completely free to enjoy his winter holidays before going back for New Year’s. Even Peter had cleared his schedule so he could enjoy some downtime.

Unfortunately, it also meant that they were free game for the ‘matchmakers’.

Even Derek had looked guilty at how packed Stiles and Peter’s days were but not enough to call of the crusade. Even more likely, he probably didn’t have the balls to do that. Stiles wasn’t sure if he had the balls to do that if he was the alpha. Truthfully, Stiles wasn’t sure that Derek hadn’t tried it. Now that he thought of it, he probably had, using his red eyes, the growl and the like. Unfortunately, the ladies in the pack were worse than harpies, no, pixies when they got an idea.

Gosh did Stiles hated pixies. He wished they would all just combust and die in the most painful way possible. They were small, blue and had the sharpest teeth ever. They were also venomous and the biggest pain in the ass to get rid of. Stiles hated them. He hated them so much.

This was also the first Christmas he could spend with Peter and he wasn’t even able to see him that much like they had planned. All their time was spent on ruining the other’s dates through as much creativity as possible – it had evolved into a competition at some point, gosh it probably was one from the beginning, the asshole – but even that didn’t give them much pleasure anymore. On the latest date Stiles had actually resorted to dumping a bucketful of oil on the unfortunate date (a bottle blond with far too much makeup although she had been surprisingly down-to-earth; Stiles felt sorry for her if only because he was starting to draw a blank on unique ways to interrupt the outings. He also hoped his father never found out about it. Or the arrest. Or anything really).

And even then, when he was finally free from obligations, the pack took it on their shoulders to keep him company because they were clingy werewolves who miss their favourite toy or something. That’s what Stiles felt like, anyway. The only person who actually treated him like, well, Stiles, was Jackson.

Jackson.

It was that bad. Scott even looked guilty while whisking him away but he was the only one actively trying to bring Peter with them.

And Stiles was getting pissed off.

Hell, Peter was getting pissed off which was never a good thing. Provoked, he was hot, yeah. Hella hot. But while he was running on all cylinders, that also made him even more dangerous. A cross Peter was, yeah, no good. Shouldn’t they have learnt that lesson already?

But most of all, it wasn’t fair to them. He wanted to spend time with Peter. He didn’t want to be dragged to the Jungle and have Erica and Isaac play wingmen for him. He didn’t want Boyd to set Peter up with his little siblings’ teachers and whatnot. He didn’t want to see the resigned expressions on Scott and Derek’s faces when they were rebuffed again and again. He wanted to just sit and read in the Hale library, preferably next to Peter. He wanted to watch movies with his friends and pack, cuddling with Peter. Hell, he would even run on the full moon with them if he could do so with Peter too.

Why couldn’t the pack get that? How could they, with all their supernatural senses and other crap, not realise that they were together? Stiles and Peter hadn’t been obvious about their relationship but they hadn’t been subtle either. They were adults, they had sex. Great sex. Fantastic sex. Stiles was so not a virgin anymore although they had decided to wait until he was legally legal and no one could claim it wasn’t consensual. It’s just, of course they would shower after and clean themselves. They weren't animals, for fuck’s sake. Even that wouldn’t, however, hide the scent completely. In the beginning, the pack had to have smelt the awkward, weird boners Stiles would get – hello, teenager – when Peter had leered at him, creeped on him, called him sweet boy and dear heart and other assorted fun stuff and kept up with his fucking train of thought which had been the cause of so many uncomfortably turned on squirmy moments that he could’ve done without.

Not to even start about the things he did to Stiles’ feelings. The asshole. Unfairness was his jam and why did Stiles want to drown in it?

Peter was a dick but he was now Stiles’ dick, just as Stiles was Peter’s. Neither thought they really belonged to each other but, well… Couldn’t they just belong with one another?

Yeah, so, Stiles was tired.

***

It all came to its head on the day before Christmas.

***

“I am not going on anymore dates!” Stiles yelled. He had been sitting in the Hale House living room, just chilling and laughing with Scott and Derek – well, he and Scott had laughed, Derek had rolled his eyes and grinned behind his hands – with Peter sitting next to him, their thighs pressing against each other. The comfort was real.

It had been nice, no, it had been perfect.

But then Lydia and Erica had burst in like a hurricane, dragging Allison with them, and the rest of the pack arrived behind them. Cora had a longsuffering expression etched on her face at whatever Jackson was saying and Boyd and Isaac were snickering at them from behind.

“Stiles!” Erica had hollered, her voice steamrolling over all the other noise. The grin on her face had been unmistakeable and Stiles’ control had snapped.

Enough was enough.

“No, no more dates!” he yelled, pressing himself even more against Peter. “I am not going on anymore more dates! They are all bullshit and I’m tired of trying to entertain people I don’t care about at all! Fuck them!”

Erica pouted, her red painted lips jutting out the way Stiles suspected had gotten her out of many a speed tickets. “But this time, it’s going to be perfect! She’s a snarky sweetheart, geek at heart but with a sense of styles!” she claimed loudly, winking lewdly. “She’s adorable, really, and…”

“No. Never. Not again. I am happy in my own fucking relationship and I tried to go this stupid notion you guys got since I thought you would get at some point that I am not on the market but apparently not. What the fuck. I thought you guys were werewolves and not… wereblonds.”

Peter cocked an eyebrow. “Weak, Stiles.”

Stiles huffed and crossed his arms. Whatever.

Peter continued, “Nonetheless, he does have a point. I am very happy with my relationship too, so you should just stop trying to force either of us to date someone else. It’s petty and childish.”

Isaac blinked. “You are in a relationship?” his tone was doubtful.

“Is that such a surprise?” Peter asked. He seemed slightly put out by that.

Yes,” the pack chorused.

“It’s not!” Scott insisted, and then blanched, “Well, it is, but it’s not that Stiles is!”

Cora snorted at that. Peter glowered.

“It’s… well, it is. Prior to-, you were a bit…” Derek tried and failed. In any other situation, Stiles would’ve found his floundering and attempt to excuse his uncle’s past escapades hilarious. Now? Now he wished Derek knew how to use his words. At all times. Derek’s training had huge holes if he was reduced to this when the need for them arrived.

“No, that’s a surprise too,” Jackson commented. “Stilinski’s a weirdo. It’s a surprise you were able to sell him well enough to set him up on as many dates as you did.”

“No one asked for your opinion, Lizzy,” Stiles bit out. Neither of their comments held that much venom, though, which actually surprised Stiles. If Jackson’s look was to be trusted, he seemed just as off-balanced by that as Stiles.

Well.

That’s something to ponder about.

Later.

Fuck waiting for them to realise on their own.

“Peter and I are going out,” he announced, finally getting those words across without interruptions or being ignored, and was met by a few significant looks. Isaac snorted.

“Right. That’s even more improbable than you two being in separate relationships.”

“No, it’s not!” Stiles insisted. “Look!”

He turned to Peter, sending him a pleading look. He received a blank – fake, it was so fake, stop it, Peter – look in return. Stiles bristled and pouted. He was just about to tear his hair out in frustration when he felt Peter grab him and haul him into a passionate kiss in front of the whole pack, tongue and all. For good measure, Stiles felt his butt being grabbed too, also in front of them all as he seemed to have shifted to sit on Peter’s lap.

When he finally was able to catch some air as Peter let him go, he turned around slightly, just enough to look at the pack while staying where he was.

What? He was comfortable!

The pack stared at them.

Stiles stared back.

Silence.

Then…

“The day before Christmas! I won, you fuckers!” Isaac crowed, bumping his fist in the air. “Pay up!”

Groans filled the air.

“I was so close!” Erica whined. “Just a day more! Christmas day was just here! Why couldn’t you have waited for just one more day?!” she pointed at Stiles and Peter who blinked with similar looks of confusion etched their faces.

“…What?” Scott asked faintly.

“The plan worked brilliantly!” Allison said brightly, smiling like some kind of Disney princess.

“What plan?!” Stiles demanded. He no longer had any clue on what was happening. Peter didn’t seem to have much of a one either at first but then his expression cleared.

“Were all these dates in order to get us together?” he asked slowly. Stiles gaped. What the hell?

“You two were just taking so long,” Erica moaned, and rolled her eyes. “The sexual tension was awful! We could smell the arousal from both of you but you never did anything! We thought that, now that you live together, you would’ve done something but no!”

“We had to stage an intervention,” Boyd said. He looked smug. Stiles wanted to break his face.

“I can’t- what?” Scott whined. Allison gave him a quick kiss.

“I’m so sorry. I couldn’t tell you. You would’ve accidentally revealed the plan to Stiles,” she apologized. “It was nice of you to say that they were fine. I mean, they were. Now, they’re just better!” she beamed.

Scott looked at her helplessly.

“Well, we didn’t tell Derek either. We couldn’t have him trying to stop things from going our way. Besides, would you have wanted to have a part in matchmaking your uncle?” Erica asked. Derek looked like he was carved from stone.

“But we were together already! Have been for a year, even!” Stiles tried to protest but he went unheard. Again. Peter pat him on the head rather condescendingly. He pinched his arm in revenge.

“You did try to match make him and Stiles,” Allison pointed out. Erica shrugged.

“It was a tactic! But think about it, two good-looking Hales, battling over Stilinski’s pretty fine ass!” she leered. Cora made a disgusted noise at that. It was a wonder how much she had contributed to this whole disaster without saying a single word.

“He’s a little lonely too. He can be our next project!” Erica continued, a calculating look entering her eyes.

Derek blanched, his expression turning into pure terror.

Hah. Taste the pain, alpha.

Peter seemed to be biting his tongue not to make a comment. Stiles rewarded him with a quick kiss. With Cora within the hearing distance, it was better to not make waves, even though the opportunity was golden.

Okay, maybe the kiss was also to shut Stiles up since he was about to say something too.

…Okay, maybe he just liked kissing Peter.

Shut up.

The chatting and congratulating continued while Stiles and Peter remained pretty much silent. It became quickly clear that the pack had picked up on their so called ‘sexual tension’ around the time they had told them they’d both move to Berkeley (during which they had already been officially together a couple of months shy a year). Apparently they’d tried to entice them to see each other in a new light. Stiles couldn’t remember anything like that really happening but now it made sense why his shirts seemed to magically disappear. Peter hadn’t been too happy about that since Stiles often stole his despite having closetful of clothes Peter had given him, mostly from his own collection. There even was plaid although Peter called it ‘tasteful’ plaid. Stiles just saw plaid.

Stiles was also getting a headache.

“Didn’t you bite a smart pack for yourself,” Peter snarked when he couldn’t suppress it anymore, rolling his eyes at Derek. Derek actually seemed to agree if his suffering expression was any indicator.

Cora snorted and dragged Jackson to the kitchen with her. Stiles watched them go and then watched Lydia watch them leave. Their eyes met. Lydia seemed sad for a split second before she wrinkled her nose, tossed her hair and pointedly looked away. Yeah, she wasn’t apologizing for her part on this all. She wasn’t happy with his relationship, that was certain, but it didn’t seem like she would act out against it. Any more than with this farce, at least.

Peter and she would never be best of friends but maybe she’d now try to tolerate him more since the relationship was now ‘officially’ revealed. Especially since the alpha and the rest of the pack seemed happy about Peter and Stiles ‘finally got their acts together’ or something.

Stiles still couldn’t believe they thought their mess of a plan actually worked.

God, what a bunch of unobservant puppies the pack really was.

He needed a holiday from the pack.

Actually, that sounded rather brilliant.

“We’ll be going now!” he proclaimed and stood up. He plastered a smile on his face. “We’re going to go and celebrate our new relationship.”

It was rather funny how only those previously in the know seemed to acknowledge his sarcasm. The rest, well… the leers and catcalls were a bit disturbing. Isaac actually seemed to imply he would be getting his v-card finally taken away.

Really, Isaac?

Stiles saw Cora roll her eyes, though, from the kitchen door. He quirked his brows at her and she just tapped her nose before disappearing back inside.

Ah.

She had known.

Was being unobservant a bitten wolf problem? Were there some nuances that were more difficult to pick up? Maybe the pack, as mostly bitten, weren’t as much to blame as they hadn’t been raised to recognise certain signs.

That bore to be investigated at some point.

Stiles filed it away for later and dragged Peter away with him. Now that the circus was over, they could finally have some downtime and a good relaxed night with maybe some unfortunately recently neglected special time between the sheets.

Sex.

He was talking about sex if someone didn’t pick that up.

Screw downtime.

He was taking Peter home and sexing him up right now.

From Peter’s throaty chuckle and pull against him, Stiles had said that aloud. Oh well.

It wasn’t like Peter wasn’t up to it, in more ways than one.

Wink wink.

Peter swatted him on the bum as they climbed into Peter’s rather flashy SUV. Ah, he had said that out loud too. He wondered what else he could say. Oh! He could start talking about that one Thursday night two months…

Stiles found his mouth gagged by some sort of bundle of cloth not a moment later.

Rude.

***

They did manage to get to Peter’s apartment rather quickly after that, though.

***

“Remember how I used to say I never thought any sort of relationship would work for me? Like, whatever poor soul ended up with me would be doomed to suffer eternal research binges and being second to the pack?”

“And then I told you that ambiguous morality was such a turn on.”

“And I hit you.”

“And I pretended I actually felt it.”

“Rude.”

“That’s what you said then too.”

“Peter, I’ve never been so glad I broke my fucking leg and we chased the Alpha Pack out of Beacon Hills despite that. Fuck the pack, you’re it. They’ve been demoted to the third place.”

“It was rather romantic, wasn’t it?”

“Asshole.”

“Dear heart.”

“Ugh, I just can’t with you.”

Kiss.

Fine. Take me to bed, you know you want to.”

“Aren’t you bossy today?”

“Peter.”

“Such a hardship is this life of mine.”

“Heh. Hard.”

Snort.

Squeak.

Jostle.

Toss.

“Peter!”

***

In spite of the whole build-up and the pack’s best attempts, it turned out that Christmas didn’t end up a disaster. Go figure.

***

The next day Stiles burst in his dad’s place with three Hales in tow. When Noah quirked his brows, Stiles introduced Peter as his significant other. His dad answered by stating he was only surprised Stiles wasn’t having it on with all three.

Stiles squeaked. Since when did his dad have such a dirty mind?!

Peter seemed amused by the comment, and sent meaningful looks at his nephew and niece.

Derek blushed and looked away in embarrassment.

Cora looked disgusted. Again.

Did she have any other expressions besides disgust and the default Hale Eyeroll? Stiles didn’t think so.

Stiles later heard from Melissa after she and Scott arrived that she had seen him and Peter around the town, fooling around after the miserable ‘dates’, and reported back to the Sheriff. It explained why Noah hadn’t been surprised when he had introduced Peter as his boyfriend.

He was a little disappointed that his dad hadn’t taken out his gun. It would’ve been hilarious. When he asked, Noah had just shrugged and said that he trusted Stiles to handle his own battles and, that…

Well.

The Stilinski Hug they shared after that had never felt better, especially when Scott jumped in and they then turned around and attacked all Hales with it. Melissa took a picture of it, an amused smile twitching on her lips. She even did it in selfie style so she could be seen at the corner of it.

Stiles framed it when he and Peter got back home and put it on the wall so everyone could see it when they entered the apartment or sat in the living room. Behind it, he hid the small, now pressed, wallflower Peter had given him.

Parts of the pack were still in the dog house (heh) but it was alright. Even if they didn’t get that they needed to grovel yet, they would at some point, even if they might not understand why.

Peter had been rubbing off on him. It was brilliant, even if it wasn’t the sexy kind this time.

Peter dragged Stiles into a slow kiss that left Stiles tingling before putting on the Christmas classics which Stiles had missed – tradition, ruined! – during the Senseless Holiday Intervention of Thick-headed Matchmaking Annoyances to be in Suffering (or SHITMAS for short). Stiles cuddled into Peter and smiled at the cartoon as he leeched on his heat and drowned in his V-neck. Peter snarked on how he was being used just for his body and Stiles readily admitted to it.

He also helpfully pointed out that he was in for the money too.

Stiles shrieked when he was suddenly being pushed to the ground and tickled and he could no longer breath Peter I’m so sorry please stop oh gosh PeterPeterPeter!

Outside, the firecrackers lit up the sky and walked in the air.