Jennifer's spirit comes back to haunt Deucalion. Or rather, she comes back to haunt Stiles since Stiles has some epic "spark" that makes him haunt-able to other magic users. Eventually she'll get to the Deucalion-haunting, she promises.
"Why couldn't you just haunt Lydia?" Stiles complains as he pours himself some lemonade. It's summer, and summer demands lemonade.
"Because Lydia's in Britain, dumbass," Jennifer says. "She's of no use to me there."
"You used to be my teacher," Stiles grumbles. "You can't call me dumbass."
"Oh, I'm sorry, did I damage your fragile self-esteem?"
"Yes. I don't know how I'll keep living."
This is a common exchange for them. Jennifer's been haunting him for weeks now, but besides talking Stiles to death, she hasn't really been doing anything. It's kind of disturbing sometimes. Like, really creepy even. Especially when she pops up while he's in the bathroom. Stiles feels violated.
"I feel violated," he tells her the next day as he steps out of the bathroom, a bath towel wrapped around his waist.
"Already?" asks a male voice from the shadows in the corner of his room.
"Peter!" Stiles jumps and grabs for the nearest object, a lamp, and holds it up threateningly.
Jennifer snorts. "Your towel is slipping." Then she's gone, disappearing from sight.
Stiles nearly drops the lamp in his haste to save the towel and his pride.
Standing tall with his hands clasped together behind his back, Peter stares at him, unimpressed. "Talking to yourself is never a good sign, Stiles," he says.
"Says the insane serial killer," Stiles mutters. "Why are you here, anyway?"
"Now that my niece and nephew are gone," Peter starts as he meanders towards Stiles, "I thought you might miss your usual life-or-death Hale-bonding moments." He steps up to Stiles, tsk-ing when Stiles holds up the lamp threateningly. "Really, Stiles?" He wraps his fingers around the hand holding the lamp, and his fingers are warm and rough against Stiles's skin. Stiles inhales quickly and tries to tug his hand away, only for Peter to slide his hand up to grasp the lamp and tug it out of Stiles's hold. "A lamp isn't going to save you from a werewolf."
Peter reaches around Stiles to set the lamp down, but before he can it sparks, and he drops it with a "What the-!"
The lamp falls uselessly to the floor, miraculously not breaking, as Peter shakes his hand, wincing.
"That's what you get," Stiles hears Jennifer say, but he doesn't see her, and Peter doesn't seem to notice. He briefly ponders telling Peter about her, but he decides to wait and see what Peter wants first.
"I'm sorry," Stiles says saccharinely. "What was it you were saying again?"
Peter stops shaking his hand and stands tall, eyeing Stiles. "Did you do that?" he asks, and Stiles doesn't like the curious gleam in his eyes.
"Do what? Magically make the lamp electrocute you? I wish."
"Ooo," Jennifer says, and Stiles feels the back of his neck prickle. "What's the big bad wolf up to?"
"Please, Stiles," Peter drawls simultaneously. "Save the sarcasm." He leans in closer, making Stiles fight the urge to back away. He stands his ground instead, heart rate picking up. "I know what you're capable of," Peter says. His voice drops to a murmur, "Even if you don't."
"Woah, dude, back off," Stiles starts to stay.
Jennifer laughs, suddenly appearing at Peter's shoulder and distracting him. She grins at Stiles and leans in between them. "Looks like the zombiewolf wants his own pet magician."
Stiles glares at her, practically scowling.
Peter follows Stiles's gaze, eyes flicking to the space where Jennifer is, but he still doesn't seem to see her. He looks back at Stiles, confused and suspicious. "Am I boring you?" he asks in annoyance.
"Oh, how could he possibly be boring?" asks Jennifer, leaning back and crossing her arms. "He's so theatrical. Did you know I caught him shouting at the sky once? Shouting. At the sky." Jennifer shakes her head.
"Um...," says Stiles, desperately trying to ignore her and think of something witty instead.
Peter stares at him expectantly.
"I mean, what did he expect -it to answer back!?" Jennifer goes on.
Stiles's mouth twitches in amusement.
Peter narrows his eyes.
"Melodramatic lunatic," Jennifer mutters.
Wow, the floor sure is interesting.
A hand buries itself into Stiles's hair and yanks his head back. Peter leans in, exceptionally close. "What will it take to keep your attention?"
"So demanding," Jennifer sighs.
Stiles ignores her in lieu of glaring at Peter defiantly. "Maybe if you'd actually get to the point I wouldn't be so bored," he snaps.
Peter's grip on his hair loosens, but he doesn't let go. Instead he eyes Stiles up and down slowly, eyes finally meeting Stiles's contemplatively. And wow, Stiles never noticed before, but Peter has blue eyes. Really blue eyes. He's also slightly shorter than Stiles. Stiles sometimes forgets that; for so long Peter had just always seemed so much --larger, in his head.
He is rather broad in the shoulders, Stiles can't help but notice.
"You know," says Jennifer casually. "This is kinda hot."
And holy crap, no. She used to be his teacher! She can't say things like that!
Stiles jumps back and hits the wall, yanking out of Peter's loose grip. "You still haven't gotten to the point, Peter!" he bites out, voice panicky and rushed, cracking in the middle. Jesus Christ on a stick. This is not happening. Peter starts stepping closer, and Stiles throws up his hands up to stop him. "The point!" he demands.
Peter sighs exaggeratedly and crosses his arms. There's so much attitude in his body language it's not even funny. "I need you to convince Scott to stay away from Deucalion."
Stiles narrows his eyes. "Why?"
"Because you know as well as I do that he's not going to change simply because he got his eyesight back. You're smarter than that," Peter says.
"Why do you care?" Stiles specifies.
"Maybe I just want to be a good Samaritan," Peter says with a crooked grin. He's not even trying.
Stiles nearly smiles despite himself. "Come on, Peter. Spit it out." He leans back against the wall and pretends to pick at his fingernails.
Peter uncrosses his arms and shoves his hands into his jean pockets. "Let's just say that it's to our mutual benefit that Scott stays away from Deucalion. Deucalion has less of a chance to manipulate Scott into being his bitch, and I don't have to deal with True Alpha Super Wolf Scott going mad with power and trying to kill every werewolf in a thousand-mile radius."
Jennifer snorts, now sitting in Stiles's computer chair. "Like he's one to talk," she grumbles.
Stiles frowns. "Scott wouldn't do that," he says.
Peter rocks back on his heels, looking up at the ceiling in contemplation. "Hmm..." He rocks forward onto his toes, eyes dropping to Stiles as he settles to a complete stand-still. His eyes are too bright, too knowing. "Given enough time, Deucalion could manage it. And now that he doesn't have Derek and much of a pack to distract him, he has all the time in the world."
Stiles looks away and thinks about how Scott had worked with Gerard. Scott had been working against Gerard the whole time, but he'd still pulled away from everyone. He'd kept secrets. He'd used Derek. And he... he'd barely noticed the bruises. Well, he'd noticed them, but he'd also believed Stiles's story that they were from some kids from the other team.
Gerard didn't succeed in using Scott, but Scott had become someone he shouldn't. Stiles doesn't want to see that happen again.
He nods, meeting Peter's watchful gaze. "Yeah," he says cautiously. "I'll talk to him."
Peter nods in relief. "Good. That should save us a lot of trouble."
"'Us'?" asks Jennifer. "Moving a little fast there, don't you think?"
"Uh, yeah," says Stiles, rubbing the back of his neck.
Peter snorts at the action and starts towards the window to exit like the creeper he is, even though Stiles's dad isn't home and he could totally use the front door. Stiles's dad probably wouldn't even be too surprised now that he knows about everything. Although, there's a good chance that he'd try to arrest Peter now that he knows the guy's a serial killer. That could be awkward.
Peter pauses just before leaving. "You know, Stiles, Derek and Cora may not be here anymore-"
"But you still are?" Stiles fills in, sounding bored.
Peter gives him a one-shoulder shrug, raising his eyebrows.
"So what's the price for your oh so generous help?" Stiles asks.
Peter dips his head to the side. "You might be surprised," he says with an odd little smile, and then he's gone.
"…You know, he might be creepy," Jennifer observes from behind Stiles. "But I can see the appeal...."
Stiles turns around to glower at her. "The appeal?" he asks unenthusiastically.
"Oh, don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about."
Stiles genuinely has no idea what she's talking about. He squints at her.
"I saw the way you looked when he got all handsy," she says smugly.
"Oh my god, he's like, 35. No." Stiles shakes his head in disbelief. "Absolutely not." Also, Peter's a serial killer. There's that, too.
"So? You think you can't handle that?"
"What even --oh god, you were totally one of those teachers who had affairs with her students, weren't you?"
"That power dynamic's so unhealthy," says Jennifer dismissively. "No, definitely not for me."
"Oh, wonderful," Stiles deadpans. "That makes me feel so much better."
They snark back and forth, and the conversation drifts away to other topics. And Stiles thinks that's that, that the whole definitely-not-attracted-to-Peter-Hale thing is over and done with. Except it's really not. This is just the beginning.
He can't stop thinking about it. It's like, the more he tries not to think about it, the more he can't help himself. And for a while, it's okay. Because even though he stays awake at night dreaming about broad shoulders and a wicked tongue and a smooth, demanding voice; even though he wakes up to see Jennifer glaring at him in annoyance and saying, "I regret I ever said anything"; even though he can't look at his window without thinking about it, it's okay. Because he doesn't actually see Peter for ages. Or, rather, he doesn't see Peter for a whole week after The Incident.
But then he sees Peter in the grocery store.
And all he can think is: S E X.
Sex against the cereal shelf where Peter's standing at the opposite end of the row. Sex against the shelves of chips where Stiles is, plastic bags crackling rhythmically every time Peter's hips roll forward. Sex on the floor. Sex in the parking lot. Sex in Stiles's Jeep. Sex in Peter's apartment. On his couch. In his bed. In his shower.
Stiles has never actually been to Peter's apartment. Hmm....
Oh, fuck, Peter saw him.
Stiles jerks his cart forward, past the aisle where Peter is, and rolls all the way down to the end of the store before turning his rumbly, bumpy cart down the second to last aisle.
He stops in the middle of the empty aisle and leans forward onto his cart, catching his breath. He runs a hand through his hair. Jesus. Did that seriously just happen?
"Your face is bright red," Jennifer says from behind him, nearly giving Stiles a heart-attack.
"Jesus, warn a guy, will ya?" Stiles groans.
Jennifer sighs. "He's making his way over here. I'll help you run away."
And so she does, really well actually, telling him to go forward, then freeze, then backtrack, then forward again, and Stiles never thought he would be this grateful to be haunted in his life.
Except then Peter ends up standing behind him in line, and that's just awkward.
Jennifer snorts when the werewolf gets into line behind Stiles. "Can't say I didn't try." She shrugs and disappears into thin air, leaving Stiles alone with the serial killer.
Although, Jennifer's a serial killer, too, so….
Stiles stares ahead determinedly, refusing to look back.
His neck prickles and his heart races the whole time he's in line. His ears are burning. They're probably bright red.
Once he picks up his bags to leave, he risks a look back.
Peter's not looking, but there's a hint of a smirk on his face. Bagel-faced dick.
Maybe this was just a one-time deal. Stiles is done thinking about the sex-thing because Peter's absolutely not hot, and he's never going to think about this week again because clearly he's suffering from a temporary bout of insanity.
It wasn't just a one-time deal. It happens at the local coffee shop two weeks later. Except this time Stiles is already sitting at a table working on summer school homework (yes, summer school; he's taking Spanish so he can pass out of it in college), so he doesn't have an excuse to leave when Peter sits at his table.
"Your heart's been racing since you noticed me in line," Peter says.
Stiles doesn't look up from his homework. Hear no evil, see no evil, and evil ceases to exist, right?
"Ugh," Jennifer groans from the empty table next to them. "Here we go again."
Don't think about sex, don't think about sex, don't think about sex, Stiles thinks, staring down at his paper blankly.
"Do you need help? You've been staring at the same paper for the last twenty minutes," Peter says. He slips the paper away and flips it around to read before Stiles thinks to snatch it away. "Hm... the days of the week. Very difficult to memorize, I'm sure," he says dryly.
Stiles scowls, still trying to burn a hole into the table with his gaze. "I could scream pedophile and get you arrested, you know. My dad would totally jump at the excuse."
"Pedophile?" asks Peter, looking genuinely taken aback before his expression shifts into one of contemplative amusement. "You know, I never really thought of our... relationship-," he says, voice dropping to a purr, "-that way before. But now that I think about it," Peter inhales deeply, humming thoughtfully. "How old are you again?"
Stiles looks up from the table, blinking. He's not sure whether to be more creeped out or confused. This would all be so much easier to ignore if Peter wasn't so ridiculously attractive. Fucking Hales.
"Huh," Jennifer says, sounding interested. She rests her elbows on the table and leans towards them, chin in her hands. She seriously needs to shut up.
"Seventeen, right?" Peter continues, smirk tugging at his lips. "A little young, I'll admit, but then again, I've always had a thing for good skin and a quick wit, so..." he trails off, quirking his head to the side with an approving smirk before meeting Stiles's gaze and smiling knowingly.
Peter's hitting on him, isn't he? Stiles can't possibly be imagining this all, right? Right!?
Next to them, Jennifer starts cackling.
Stiles's eyes flick over to stare at her incredulously, but before he can even meet her gaze she's disappeared. Stupid supernatural creatures and their stupid theatrics.
Stiles looks back at Peter and sees the werewolf watching him, brow furrowed. Stiles smiles weakly. "Heh," he merps, shrugging. Nothing to see here, just another crazy kid, he thinks, mentally face-palming. He still needs to work on ignoring Jennifer. Or he needs to talk to someone about her. Because by now he's pretty sure she's not just a figment of his imagination. But anyway-
The smirk falls from Peter's face, and he leans in, watching Stiles intently. "Is there something you'd like to share, Stiles?"
Stiles scrunches his face up, choosing to take Peter's question literally. After all, even if something was wrong, why the hell would he want to share it with Peter? "No."
Peter cocks his head to the side. "Let me rephrase that. Are you okay, Stiles?" He actually sounds serious. Weird.
Stiles blinks and scowls. It's been.... It's been a while since someone asked that question, actually. "Of course I'm okay," he scoffs.
Peter taps his ear twice. "No, you're not."
Yes, he is. Stiles is fine.
Even after he inhales deeply, his chest still starts to feel tight and constricted, and everything in the coffee shop seems to get ten times louder. He hears the cash register open behind him.
"You can keep the change," a man says, and then he hears the sound of shuffling bills and clinking coins.
The murmur of several different conversations taking place simultaneously becomes more distinct. The two people sitting at the table behind Peter rant about the ethics of pork factories, and the teenage girl two tables away jiggles her leg, making her table vibrate. Somewhere behind Stiles college students complain about the lack of paid internships for film students.
The bell from the front door goes off as an Asian woman in a Hillary Clinton-style pant suit stalks in, glaring down at her cell phone, high heels clacking across the wooden floor. The door closes, briefly making a gust of wind tickle Stiles's hair. The cash register closes with a ding.
"Para-para-paradise," goes Coldplay on the radio. "Have a good day," says the perky cashier. The espresso machine hisses and clicks only to be hushed by a fast-acting barista. A toilet flushes in the background.
Stiles's heart pounds in his chest, strong and steady, maybe a little too quickly. His shoulders are tense, and he can feel pressure mounting in his temples, a sure sign of an oncoming headache.
He's always fine.
"Stiles?" asks Peter warily.
Stiles blinks back into focus. "Sorry, what?"
"You were telling me what's wrong," Peter suggests helpfully.
"No, I wasn't," Stiles says indignantly, shaking his head.
"So you're admitting that there is indeed something wrong, and you're just refusing to share?"
"I-" Stiles sighs in frustration. "Of course there's something wrong," he bites out. "You're here, and in case you don't remember, you've tried to kill me before. Kinda puts me off my game."
Peter rolls his eyes. "Suit yourself.... But remember, Scott doesn't know any of the lore, Derek and Cora are gone, and the enigmatic vet has his own agenda." He stands up, continuing, "I wouldn't expect much from them if I were you," and then he walks away, not looking back.
Stiles watches him exit, then drops his head into his hands. This conversation reminded him of how incredibly exhausted he is.
He's exhausted because he can't sleep. He can't sleep because he can't stop dreaming. He doesn't know why he can't stop.
At first the dreams were of Peter and his skin and his voice and his smirk, and Stiles had hated how much he'd enjoyed those, but now he'd give anything to have them back. Because now he dreams of death. Of Heather. Of Tara. Of his mother. Of his father.
The nightmares started about a week before Peter asked if he was okay, and three weeks later, they've only gotten worse. He walks around with an ache in his heart and a horrible sense of failure looming over him like a cloud. He downs energy drink after energy drink, and he bounces between a state of nervous energy and one of aching exhaustion. Every night he sits at the computer, strained eyes burning and Jennifer chiding him over his shoulder, and it's only when he slumps over and faceplants onto the keyboard that he finally stumbles to bed. He considers telling Scott, but then supernatural shit happens, and he has more important things to think about.
Little more than halfway through summer break, Isaac and Scott go after a succubus trying to suck the life out the Beacon Hills townspeople and wind up in the hospital.
After a frustrating conversation with Deaton and some intensive googling, Stiles finds himself standing outside Peter's apartment.
He yawns as he raises his hand to knock, then pulls it back down. Back up, then down again. Up -he hesitates, and-
Leaning on the wall beside him, Jennifer sighs and starts to say, "Take any longer and he'll-"
The door opens to reveal Peter standing in the doorway, looking decidedly unimpressed by Stiles's complete failure at knocking.
"-that," finishes Jennifer. "He'll do that."
"Yes?" asks Peter simultaneously.
"You know, he might be a crazy little shit," Jennifer contemplates aloud, cocking her head to the side and looking the werewolf up and down. "But he certainly knows how to dress himself."
Stiles blinks, suddenly noticing the finer details of Peter's appearance. There's just a hint of artful stubble on his jaw, and thank god he's toned down the evil mustache (not that Stiles ever paid attention to that, of course). He's wearing a white Henley that's tight enough to hint at some nicely defined muscles but not tight enough to make him look like a porn star, its top two buttons undone teasingly. His dark jeans have got to be tailored, jesus christ, and he's barefoot. It's the 'barefoot' thing that throws Stiles off, really. He's a step away from being inside Peter's home. Peter, who actually has a home. Peter, who apparently has a life.
"Stiles?" asks Peter, and Stiles's eyes jump back up to meet his bemused gaze.
Stiles flushes and shifts his weight.
Jennifer laughs at him.
Peter raises an eyebrow.
"Scott and Isaac are in the hospital," Stiles blurts out.
"And I care why?" Peter asks, no longer amused.
"Because you're a good person?" Stiles tries.
Peter's face is judging him.
"Because Beacon Hills is your wolfy territory, right? So it's your responsibility to take care of its magical problems," Stiles tries again.
"Okaaay," Stiles trails off. He huffs, "Because you need Scott and Isaac for whatever little manipulative bastard plan you're cooking up behind our backs."
A woman turns the corner, staring, vaguely surprised, at Stiles and Peter as she walks down the hallway towards them. Stiles looks away awkwardly.
"Loving the subtlety," Jennifer murmurs.
"Afternoon, Jo," Peter says, nodding at the woman and raising a hand in greeting.
Jo stops at the door opposite Peter's and pulls out a key ring. "Hey, Peter. How's life?" She asks cordially, pulling out one of her keys.
"Same old, same old," says Peter as she starts to unlock the door.
"World domination plans going well?" She asks nonchalantly, stepping inside. She holds the door open, waiting for Peter's answer.
"Fantastically so," says Peter, lips quirking up.
She grins slightly. "Sweet. Hey, do you think I could borrow a cup of sugar in a couple hours? I'm supposed to bake brownies for the team, but I've run out."
"Of course," says Peter helpfully.
"Sweet. See ya later then!"
Peter raises a hand, and she shuts the door.
Stiles looks back and forth between Peter and his neighbor's door. He shares a glance with Jennifer. Even she looks a little disturbed. He looks back at Peter, squinting suspiciously.
Peter stares back. "Close your mouth, Stiles."
Stiles snaps his mouth shut and continues squinting.
"She's my neighbor, Stiles. What do you expect?"
Stiles shakes his head slowly. "Given the direction my life has taken recently, I have no idea."
Peter releases a long-suffering sigh and steps aside, gesturing for Stiles to enter. Stiles narrows his eyes, and leans back warily. "Do you want my help or not?" Peter asks.
Stiles hums, thinking, then looks at Peter, quirking an eyebrow. "World domination, huh?"
Peter shrugs. "She's a theoretical physicist. They tend to be pretty quirky."
"Oh, right," Stiles says. Clearly that's all it is.
"Peter's seducing a succubus, and you're hiding in the closet," Jennifer says from behind him. Ear to the door, Stiles waves his hand at her, as if to swat her away.
"I should've stayed dead," Jennifer grumbles.
"I have to say," Peter's muffled voice says from the other side of the closet door, sounding unsure. "I don't usually go home with a lady on the first date." He chuckles unevenly.
"Oh, darling," a husky, feminine voice says, her voice curling around Stiles like silk, making his heart race. "You're not nervous, are you?"
Images of lips and flesh and breasts bombard Stiles's mind, making him sweat. He leans more of his weight against the door. His blood rushes to his dick.
Behind him, Jennifer makes a gagging sound.
Stiles jolts into awareness at the sound. Jesus. One muffled question, and he's already starting to fall under the succubus's spell.
"-you sure?" he hears Peter ask sweetly.
Woah, how much has Stiles missed?
"Darling, I've never been so sure of anything in my life," the succubus's husky voice answers. Her voice starts to curl around the bottom of Stiles's spine, but-
Stiles hears choked laughter coming from behind him. He wishes he could kick Jennifer, but apparently it's pretty difficult to kick an intangible spirit.
Oh, gross, now they're kissing. At least, that's what it sounds like. Rustling fabric, the occasional moan, lips smacking, sucking. Oh, that's not a moan, that's a grunt.
"You're beautiful," Peter says. "Gorgeous." Shifting cloth. "God, I can't get enough."
"God, so good," the succubus moans.
"-iles? Stiles?" Jennifer asks.
Stiles blinks into awareness. Jennifer's right next to him now, staring at him with some sort of annoyed concern. Stiles opens his mouth to say something only to be shushed by the dimly lit sight of Jennifer putting her index finger to her lips in a gesture for silence. Right.
Stiles presses his ear harder against the door. "So good, so strong," the succubus moans. "You've got so much energy."
Peter moans weakly.
Stiles bursts out of the closet and thrusts his closed fist towards the bed. He ignores the soft, glistening skin in front of him as best as possible, opens his palm, and blows. A cloud of crushed vervaine engulfs the succubus's face, and Stiles backs away, chanting as the succubus screams.
She lunges toward him, and normally Stiles would be thrilled to have a gorgeous, naked lady throwing herself at him, but this time it's fucking terrifying. Peter grabs the succubus's biceps just as she tries tugging away from him, saving Stiles from death by ten-inch talons and dripping lamprey fangs.
The werewolf looks pale and sweaty, his arms trembling from the effort of holding her back, and Stiles tries to chant faster.
Her skin ripples and rolls, and her limbs begin to lengthen and shrink rhythmically. Just as Stiles reaches the end of his chant, she breaks out of Peter's embrace with a guttural scream and launches herself at Stiles.
He finishes just as she lands on him, and her limp body knocks him to the ground, knocking the breath out of him.
He lays there for a few moments, wheezing, trying to avoid her deadened, dull gaze, which is kinda difficult seeing as how she's right on top of him. But whatever. There might be a dead body on top of him, but at least he's alive.
Bed springs creak, and then a foot rolls the dead body off of him.
A very naked Peter offers him a hand, and Stiles looks up, blinking. Woah. Naked werewolf. Right there. Jesus Christ.
"He might have a decent sense of fashion," Jennifer narrates from the side, "but clearly his clothes don't do him justice."
Stiles would rather stay on Peter's good side (if Peter even has one; mostly the goal is to stay off Peter's shit list), so he takes the offered hand, eyes glued to Peter's face, and finds himself being pulled a little too closely to a far too naked werewolf. Holy shit.
Stiles swallows, feeling his pulse race and his skin prickle as his dick starts to take notice of the situation.
He steps back, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Aww," Jennifer whines disappointedly. "And here I thought we were finally getting to the good part."
Stiles ignores her, eyes now glued to the truly fascinating cherry-wood floor. It's very smooth. And, and wood-like. "So, uh, thanks, for the help and all…" Stiles tries to breathe deeply, mentally shouting at his dick to stop. "And um, yeah, hopefully nothing like this will ever happen again. I'll just, uh-" Stiles starts to step away only for a hand to cup his elbow and reel him back in.
"You were late," Peter, who's still naked, says.
"Late?" Stiles asks exaggeratedly. "What do you mean, 'late'? I was totally, completely o-on-" The hand cupping his elbow starts sliding up his arm. "-on time," he barely finishes his sentence, far too breathless for his own sanity.
"Is that so?" Peter (naked!) asks, his hand sliding over Stiles's shoulder to grip the juncture of Stiles's neck and shoulder.
"Mmhmm," Stiles absolutely does not moan.
"That's good," Peter says, claws pricking Stiles's shoulder blades. "Because if you'd been any later, I could've died, and I hope you know that if I had, I'd come back -again- and I would be very disappointed in you, to say the least."
Stiles scowls and glares at Peter. "I wasn't trying to get you killed."
Peter lets loose a rare smile. "Good," he says, claws disappearing but grip tightening. He leans in, "So what's my reward for helping out?"
God, he needs to put some clothes on. "Reward?" Stiles asks, throat dry. Don't look down. Don't look down.
Peter grins wickedly, thumb rubbing a circle above Stiles's collarbone, and Stiles fights the urge to go loose and sink into the touch. "I did risk my life, after all. Surely I deserve something."
"Hey, I risked my life, too," Stiles can't help but say. "Did you see the way she attacked me?"
Peter nods in acknowledgement. "Very true. So what is it you would like, Stiles? Something you want?" His voice lowers on the last question, and the way he says 'want' sounds impossibly dirty. Which makes sense. Because he's still naked. There are no clothes on his person. He's in the nude. In his birthday suit. Seriously, though, his abs, and--
Stiles swallows heavily, eyes locking with Peter's. "I-"
He's not going to look down again. Seriously. The werewolf's eyes are a deep blue, speckled with green and gold, the pupils wide and a thin black ring around the rim of the iris. The skin at the edge of his eyes crinkles, little crow's feet of amusement. He knows exactly what Stiles is thinking. Asshole.
Stiles steps back, desperately trying to ignore the loss when Peter's hand leaves his skin. He shakes his head, blinking. "Why are you doing this?" he asks suspiciously.
"Doing what?" Peter asks innocently.
Stiles crosses his arms, glaring expectantly.
Peter rolls his eyes and turns around to grab his wadded up pants off the bed. He starts tugging them on. "I like you, Stiles," he says simply. "And I think you should be asking yourself that question, not me." He grabs his crumpled-up shirt off the floor.
And then he leaves before Stiles can bring himself to respond, pulling on his shirt as he walks out the doorway.
He can still feel the tingling ghost of Peter's hand on his skin.
"Boys," Jennifer groans, making Stiles jump. He forgot she was there. He sticks his tongue out at her, and she makes a face in response.
Something changes after that. Scott, Stiles, and Isaac go to Peter more often for help, reluctantly at first, then more out of habit as time goes by. They deal with a couple ghouls, some Dobhar-Chu, and a rogue golem who everyone in the know blames Gerard for but can't prove. Stupid Gerard.
Sometimes Stiles feels the back of his neck prickle, and he looks up to see Peter watching him with unashamed curiosity. It's disturbing, too, how the werewolf switches so easily from unfazed disinterest to intent fascination whenever Stiles comes up with something clever or says something biting and sharp. Stiles isn't sure how to feel about it. He considers bringing it up to Scott, but what's he supposed to say? That Peter's being creepy? That's old news.
At least Stiles is sleeping better. After weeks of sleep deprivation and his father threatening him with a return to therapy, of feeling like there was something inside him hollowing his bones from the inside out, he went on the Deep Web and started to order several different medications purported to stop REM sleep, but before he could finish, Jennifer interrupted.
"You could skip the drugs and try me, if you're really that desperate," she murmured. "I can guarantee you, I'll actually work, and I won't even ask you for your college savings."
Stiles buried his face in his hands, sighing. "How do I know you're not the one causing this in this first place?"
"You're my host, kid. Can't have you dying on me, can I?"
"So you admit that you're a parasite?"
"Have you ever heard of mutualism, Stiles? It's where two completely different creatures depend on each other to-"
"Fine, fine, I don't need a lecture. Can you just –do your thing? Is it gonna hurt?"
"All you need to do is lie down, and all I need is your consent."
It was suspicious, but Stiles was exhausted, desperate, perhaps a bit crazed.
So he consented.
And that was that.
A week before school, and Stiles now sleeps like a rock, no dreams or nightmares or anything. Just darkness.
Stiles gets back from the first day of school to find Peter sitting in his computer chair, looking at something on Stiles's laptop. He closes it and spins around to look at Stiles. "I love how you filed werewolves under Igneous Rock. Is that all we are to you? Rocks?"
Stiles gives up on being indignant before he even starts, knowing he'll eventually resign himself to Peter's presence in the long run, anyway. He drops his backpack by his bedside and flops into bed, sitting against the headboard and folding his hands over his belly. "Vampires are filed under Hookworms, so…" he trails off with a shrug.
Peter hums. "I'll take it as a compliment, then." He spins back around and opens Stiles's laptop again, making Stiles sigh in exasperation.
Stiles pushes himself off the bed reluctantly and walks over to take his laptop away, only to pause when he sees what Peter's doing. The werewolf's searching the web for one 'Amala Patil'.
"Hey, that's my new English teacher, the one who's replacing Jennifer," Stiles says.
Stiles watches as Peter goes through a number of websites and leans in. Amala Patil's a stately woman in her early forties, and she's taught in a countless number of towns, each with its own bloody history of mysterious deaths.
Stiles leans in over Peter's shoulder, absently using the chair and tabletop to hold his weight, his mouth agape. "You're kidding. 23 people buried alive in a freak cave accident. 23 people who had no reason to be there. What the hell?"
"I think we should've kept Miss Blake," Peter says, leaning back in the chair so that his back falls against Stiles's hand.
"Damn right, you should've," Jennifer says from out of nowhere.
Stiles startles and pulls himself upright, crossing his arms. She's been showing up less and less, and he's gotten used to being by himself for most of the day.
Peter looks around the room, eyes narrowed. "What are you seeing, Stiles?"
Stiles looks down at him, blinking. "You, obviously," he says after a moment.
Jennifer stands beside Peter, crossing her arms and watching Stiles like a hawk.
Peter strokes his jaw analytically. "You've been acting oddly for most of the summer, you know." Stiles starts to shake his head in the negative, but Peter doesn't stop. "Jumping at nothing, talking to yourself, zoning out and focusing on things only you can see.... One might be inclined to think you have schizophrenia, but you don't smell like it."
"Smell?" Stiles blurts out, crinkling his nose.
Peter quirks an eyebrow.
Stiles makes a face. "I think it's time you leave." He turns around and walks to his bedside to pick up his backpack, speaking as he moves. "Talking about how I smell is pushing the creepy line, and I already have homework," he complains, setting his backpack on his bed. "So if you don't mind-"
Hands grab his biceps and whip him around. "You didn't answer the question, Stiles." When Stiles doesn't say anything, Peter's hands tighten around his arms, blunt fingernails pressing into his skin.
"Dude, yes I did," Stiles says angrily. "You asked what I saw, so I told you. Now would you calm the fuck down and stop trying to rip my arms off?"
Peter's fingers loosen but don't let go. "The whole truth first," he demands.
Stiles's jaw tightens, his eyes darting away unwillingly to make eye contact with Jennifer, standing by the door and watching carefully.
"Don't do it," she warns. "He'll just use us."
Suddenly torn, Stiles looks down at the floor. Maybe he should tell Peter. He doesn't want to tell Scott because Scott doesn't know anything and will probably just exacerbate the problem. He doesn't want to tell Deaton because the guy's mysterious and Stiles hates how little he knows about him. And he probably shouldn't tell Peter because he'll always be a Bad Guy in Stiles's book, but at the same time, Peter knows what he's talking about and Stiles knows where he stands with him. At least, Stiles thinks he knows where he stands with him. He thinks he's pretty close to the top of Peter's "Useful & Entertaining People Who I Probably Won't Kill" list, so that's a plus. Probably. Still, Peter's got an endgame and Stiles would rather not be part of it. It's probably best to keep his haunting to himself.
"Stiles," Peter says softly, thumbing rubbing the skin of Stiles's underarm soothingly. "You can trust me with this."
"Trust you?" Stiles scoffs. "I set you on fire, and I was happy about it," he says cruelly. "Why the hell would you want to help me?"
"That's an excellent question," Jennifer says.
Stiles feels something like fear run down his spine. He stares at the ground. Jennifer's being really pushy about him not telling Peter. That's -not a good sign.
A hand tilts his chin up, forcing Stiles to look at Peter's face. He tries to stare off to the side, but he finds his eyes inevitably drawn to meet Peter's intent gaze. "I want to help you because I like you, Stiles. I admire you. You're clever -cheeky, but clever. You joke about murder, but in the end it's you who makes the sacrifice. You're loyal and strong, devoted, really, and somehow I've found that even your chatter's starting to grow on me." He looks away briefly, and Stiles holds his breath. After a moment, Peter meets his gaze again. "I want to help... because I wish you had said yes."
Stiles breathes out, trying to keep his breath steady. He doesn't have to ask to what Peter's referring.
Somehow, Peter's hand has moved up from Stiles's chin to cup his cheek, his palm hot and comforting. He strokes his index finger up and down Stiles's skin soothingly.
"I-" Stiles starts to say, voice wavering.
"Stiles, don't," Jennifer warns darkly.
Stiles takes a fortifying breath and wrenches his eyes away from Peter to glower at her. He's had enough. He doesn't know why he never said anything before. This is insane. "It's-" he starts to say again, but his throat closes up of its own accord. A choked squeak comes out, and Stiles –Stiles can't talk. What the fuck?
"Stiles?" asks Peter, slightly concerned.
He tries again, but nothing comes out, and he can't breathe. God, he can't breathe! He clutches his throat, desperately trying to inhale, but nothing happens. His throat flexes, but the air won't come. It's like he's stuck, empty no matter how hard he tries. Everything feels hot and rushed, and his knees buckle. His ears roar.
"Stiles!" Peter's hands go to his shoulders, holding him up, and even the werewolf starts to panic. "It's okay. You don't have to tell me. It's fine. Come on, Stiles, just breathe already!"
The lock on Stiles's throat suddenly disappears, and he gasps for air desperately, chest heaving. He drops his head against Peter's chest, and the only thing that stops him from collapsing to the floor as he sucks in air is Peter.
"I told you, kid," Jennifer says sadly. "I told you not to tell. You should've listened."
"Oh, thank god," the werewolf breathes. "I thought I was gonna have to call 911, and God knows how awkward that would've been."
Stiles laughs weakly, still catching his breath.
"Sit," Peter orders, pushing Stiles down onto the bed. Peter sits with him, keeping one hand against his shoulder blades. "Care to explain?"
Stiles shakes his head no vigorously, and Peter nods in acceptance even as his brow furrows and his gaze turns analytical.
After a moment, when Stiles is breathing evenly, he looks down at his shoes, suddenly finding the laces fascinating. "Thanks," he mumbles.
Peter doesn't say anything, but he pats Stiles twice on the back before pulling away to rest his hands in his lap. "Maybe we should discuss your new English teacher, instead."
Stiles nods jerkily, and they move on to discuss possibilities and plans, and all the while Jennifer watches from the doorway, gaze cold and distant.
Ms. Amala Patil is not, in fact, one of the Bad Guys. She's a hunter with a code like the Argents', and she's pissed.
"I can't believe this," she paces back and forth, shaking her fists futilely at the rough stone wall when it refuses to move out of her way. "You've ruined everything."
"Excuse me," Stiles complains from his spot on the floor. "But I'm the one with his leg pinned under a bunch of rubble. If anyone gets to complain it better be me."
"Shut up, all of you," says Lydia absently, feeling up and down along the wall. "Peter, shine the light over here," she orders, tapping a small hollow in the stone.
Peter obeys dutifully. Ever since Lydia stole one of his kidneys, he's been a complete gentleman to her.
"There we go," Lydia says triumphantly, pressing up on something in the top of the hollow. The cave they're trapped in trembles, and Stiles feels adrenaline and fear pump through his body before he hears the sound of grating stone coming from behind him.
"A trap door," Stiles says flatly. "You're kidding me."
Lydia pats him on the head. "The vampire imported a genuine castle here. Of course there's a trap door."
Patil growls and starts stalking out. "We don't have time for this." She pauses in the doorway, looking back. "Martin, are you coming? I could use your brains."
When Lydia starts walking forward and Peter shifts in Patil's direction, Stiles yelps, slightly panicked. "Hey, what about me?"
Jennifer appears before him, sitting on a rock in the corner. She leans against the wall and waves at him. Stiles blinks and looks away, uneasy. He doesn't want to be alone with her in a dark, half-collapsed cave hidden in an underground network of tunnels beneath a crazy vampire's imported castle standing right next to a graveyard.
"We'll bring help, Stiles," Lydia promises. "Don't worry."
Ha. 'Don't worry.' That's a good one.
"I'll stay," Peter offers.
"Figures," Jennifer huffs from the corner.
"You mean you'll stay out of the fighting," Patil clarifies with a frown.
Peter shrugs. "You'd rather I fight with you?"
Patil scowls. "No. I don't like you."
Peter shrugs again, a little grin on his face.
"Well, now that that's settled," Lydia says to Patil impatiently. "Are we going?"
Patil nods, and she and Lydia start off, disappearing around the corner. Then Lydia pops back around the corner to glare at Peter. "Oh, and Peter," she says sweetly, "If I come back to find Stiles hurt in any way, the next thing that disappears will be your liver." She blows the werewolf a kiss, and then she's gone again.
"You know," Jennifer ponders. "I'm glad I didn't succeed in killing her. She's entertaining."
Stiles groans in frustration and lets his head fall back, but it's uncomfortable where he is, laying out on the ground. He's got one leg bent, and the other stretched out and pinned under several rocks, miraculously undamaged, just stuck. He's leaning back on his elbows, and he's getting tired. "Hey, can you get me a rock or something for me to lean on?" he asks Peter. "I don't know how much longer I'll be able to hold myself up."
Peter stares down at him, unmoving.
"Please?" Stiles tries.
Peter sighs and turns away from the hole in the wall to observe the pile of rocks taking up half the cave. He walks down the pile for several yards, then delicately starts picking his way through them, stopping several feet in. Then he turns off his phone light and plunges the cave into darkness.
"Peter? Peter, what are you doing?" Stiles asks, eyes straining.
He hears Jennifer snort in amusement.
Fuck you, too, he thinks.
"I can't pick up a boulder while holding my phone, Stiles," Peter's long-suffering voice says. His voice echoes slightly, making it hard to pinpoint his location.
"Well, then give me the phone," Stiles says. The darkness makes him feel antsy, like it's closing in on him.
Stiles hears the sound of rocks scraping together, then silence.
And more silence.
"Peter? Come on, dude, talk to me. I can't see anything," Stiles absolutely does not whine.
"Aw, you scared, sweetie?" Jennifer coos from somewhere else in the cave. She's moved, but at least Stiles is used to hearing her voice coming from nowhere. "Need a hug?" she asks from somewhere else. "I'd offer," she then says from right behind him, "But I'm a little too intangible right now," she says from in front of him, and okay, yeah, this could get really terrifying.
Something heavy and solid drops to the ground just behind his back with a muted thump, making Stiles jump.
"Relax," says Peter's voice from behind him. "It's just me." Stiles can practically hear the smirk.
"Could've said something earlier," Stiles grumbles. The ground vibrates slightly behind him, and Stiles listens as Peter pushes the rock up against Stiles's back. Stiles leans back against it and sighs in appreciation. His arms were getting tired.
A hand weaves itself into his hair, making Stiles twitch. "It's fun to watch you squirm," Peter says, and then the hand's gone.
Stiles hears a couple footsteps near him, the shifting and settling of fabric, pebbles being pushed aside, and then there's a shoulder brushing against him. "Peter?"
"You weren't expecting me to stand the whole time, were you?"
"This is going to be boring, isn't it?" asks Jennifer from Stiles's other shoulder, startling him into pushing against Peter slightly. He feels the werewolf's head shift beside him, and he turns his head to see two eerily glowing blue eyes watching him.
"Jesus, that's not creepy at all," Stiles says half-heartedly.
"You don't mean that," Peter tells him.
Stiles's brow furrows. Does he mean it? Peter's blue eyes are –well, really there are no words to describe them. Peter's eyes literally light up the darkness. Which is fucking weird, by the way. In what way are wolves bio-luminescent? It's like werewolves are part lightning-bug or something. Maybe they're actually aliens from another planet.
Stiles looks away and shrugs.
"How's the leg?" Peter asks.
"Still stuck, obviously, but there's only a little pain, so that's a plus." It is starting to fall asleep, though. That's no fun.
"Need a distraction?" Peter asks casually.
Stiles's mind runs through a thousand different ways Peter could distract him, but then Jennifer snickers from somewhere atop his injured leg, and Stiles shies away from those thoughts. "I'm talking to you, aren't I?" He asks, voice wavering against his will. Damn it.
Peter's eyes turn away as he huffs out a breath, and they sit in silence for a moment. Then: "You know, if you had said yes, we wouldn't be in this position."
Stiles stares into the darkness. He breathes in deeply, then out. Without his sight, everything else seems more intense. He can hear Peter breathing evenly beside him, the werewolf's shoulder pressed against his, their warm skin just barely brushing where Stiles's t-shirt sleeve ends.
Somewhere, water drips, a single drop at a time, every few minutes.
"I wasn't lying," he finally says. "Not really."
He expects the werewolf to object, to say that his heartbeat skipped, to say he's still lying. But Peter stays silent.
"I did want the bite," Stiles says tentatively, carefully choosing each word. "I wanted what Scott had. I wanted to know what it was like, to have that power." He closes his eyes and takes several moments to think about what he wants to say and whether it's safe to say it. "But I didn't want it like that. I didn't want it... from you. Not the way you were," Stiles murmurs.
Peter lets Stiles's words hang in the air for a while. Several single water drops drip to the floor, soft little plinks of sound that punctuate the silence. "Would you take it now, if Scott offered?"
"No," Stiles answers right away. "I don't need it," he says, lips turned upward.
"No?" Peter asks. A hand grips Stiles's chin gently, bringing Stiles's face around to meet Peter's gaze.
Stiles looks back steadily.
A finger strokes his bottom lip almost absently. "…I suppose you don't," Peter says fondly.
Stiles feels himself smile slightly, and Peter's dimly lit face starts to move in closer.
"Ugh, I am so bored!" Jennifer complains right into Stiles's ear.
Stiles startles violently, shaking Peter's hand off and doing something with his leg that makes the rocks shift. "Shit," he curses, the weight of several boulders suddenly pressing down on his leg. "Shit shit shit." He starts pulling his leg in, trying to tug it out of the rubble, only for the rocks to shift again, grating against each other as a particularly pointy one cuts dangerously close to his ankle. He shouts in pain.
Suddenly the weight lessens slightly, then more, and more, and then he's free. He pulls his leg in, opening his apparently scrunched up eyes to see Peter and Scott setting several boulders down on the ground, their bodies lit up by the flashlight in Lydia's hands. Patil stands behind them, arms crossed and face pinched.
"Hi, guys," Stiles says.
"Do I need to steal Peter's liver?" Lydia asks.
Stiles shakes his head quickly. "No, no," he assures her breathlessly, rubbing his leg. "We're good," he says, staring at his leg determinedly.
He doesn't meet Peter's gaze for the rest of that night.
"I think I almost kissed Peter," Stiles blurts out in the middle of Call of Duty time with Scott.
Scott explodes. Mostly out of confusion and protective rage. Stiles handles it.
He wakes up one morning several weeks into the school year strangely exhausted and out of it. He looks around his room, feeling oddly out of place. Everything seems normal, except.... his feet and hands feel tingly. It's weird.
"You were having a nightmare again," says Jennifer, suddenly sitting in his computer chair. "I put a stop to it, so things might seem a little off."
"Okay," Stiles says, feeling light-headed. Mouth parched, he lets it go and stumbles towards the bathroom. He's desperate for a glass of water.
That morning fades into memory, as most school mornings do, and Stiles moves on with his day. He looks down at his favorite hoodie in English class, bored to death, and he sees a small streak of dirt on it. He doesn't remember how it got there. He thought he just pulled the hoodie out of the wash a day ago.
"Stiles," says Ms. Patil. "Care to answer the question?"
"Forty-two," Stiles spits out, and Ms. Patil shakes her head at him.
"Pay attention, Stilinski. Now, moving on...."
And that's that.
Stiles is not the damsel in distress this time. It's Peter. Ha.
Peter's the one trapped in a circle of mountain ash, being tortured for information by the crazy witch, and Stiles is the one creeping around the outskirts of the building, trying to find a way to sneak in and get past the witch's defenses.
When he succeeds and breaks the circle, leaving Peter's captor knocked out in the corner of the dusty basement, Stiles grins at Peter, practically high from a job well done. "So, what's my reward?" Stiles asks with a grin, offering Peter a hand up from his sprawled out position on the floor.
Peter takes his hand, pulling himself up so firmly that he makes Stiles take a step forward to maintain his balance. Peter releases Stiles's hand only to slide it up to the crook of his elbow, bringing his other hand up to stroke his own jaw thoughtfully. Stiles looks down between their bodies. There's only a few inches between them. He looks up to meet Peter's intense gaze, and what he sees is….
What he sees is pride and want. He feels unsteady on his feet.
"Stiles," Peter says evenly. "What would you like it to be?"
Stiles blinks, breath shallow, and Peter's blue, blue eyes are so intense, so focused, that he has to look away. His eyes, unbidden, flick down to Peter's lips.
Peter kisses him. Just like that. Fingers weave into Stiles's hair as a hand cups his cheek, and Peter presses his lips to Stiles's, nipping lightly at his lower lip. Stiles freezes at first, all rational thought screaming for him to stop, but Peter's lips are warm and soft, so deeply persuasive, and Stiles feels his lips part of their own accord. God, Peter's tongue is amazing. The things it can do… Stiles starts responding, hesitantly at first, but then he realizes how good it feels when he participates, and holy crap, he's making out with someone, and even if it's creepy Peter, seriously, it's still Peter –scarily smart, intense, hot Peter-
Curled fingers drag down his skin as the hand in Stiles's hair slips down to the small of his back and presses their hips together, making Stiles's stomach drop because wow, that's a boner. That's definitely a boner. Holy shit.
Stiles feels like he's melting into a puddle of goo as Peter breaks the kiss and starts kissing across Stiles's jawline and down his neck. In a warm haze of pleasure, Stiles tilts his head back, baring his throat to give Peter easier access. A hand in his hair maneuvers his head slightly to the side as Peter's mouth reaches Stiles's collarbone and sucks, hot and wet, and Stiles feels a low moan bubble out of his throat. His own hands skate down Peter's firm back, urging the werewolf closer, and Jesus, why didn't he do this before?
Stiles freezes in place, everything suddenly rushing back into consciousness. Peter licks his collar bone one last time before bringing his head up to look inquiringly at Stiles.
"Oh, don't stop on my account," Jennifer says from over Peter's shoulder, watching them with interest. "I definitely approve."
Stiles glares at her.
Peter looks over his shoulder at her but doesn't see anything, turning back to look at Stiles with a determined expression on his face. "I don't know what's haunting you," Peter says. "But it's got to go."
Jennifer's smug expression hardens, and Stiles feels the phantom pain of his throat closing up, and his breath quickens.
He untangles himself from Peter hurriedly. "I-I don't think you should -I'm not -there's nothing wrong. I've got everything under control," he tries to sound assuring, but he doesn't succeed. At all.
Peter looks over his shoulder again towards Jennifer, and Stiles can't see his face.
Cold and business-like, Jennifer looks straight at Peter. "Tell him you'll talk to Deaton tomorrow," she tells Stiles. "And it'll be the truth," she murmurs. "You will."
Stiles swallows, then says, "I'll talk to Deaton tomorrow. Promise."
Peter continues to stare in Jennifer's direction for a moment before turning to stare at Stiles, unblinking, his gaze boring into Stiles's. After a moment of examination, he nods slowly. "I hope you do. Because if you don't take care of this, Stiles, I'll take care of it myself," he threatens, and Stiles isn't sure whether to feel terrified or turned on. He nods jerkily.
Jennifer watches Peter for a moment, then looks at Stiles. "It's time to go, kid. You need your rest."
Stiles swallows and nods again. He looks at Peter. "I -I have to go," he says, starting to back up towards the door, his feet practically moving of their own accord. In fact- he looks up at Jennifer.
"Go," she tells him, and Stiles goes, not because he wants to, but because he has no control of his body.
He looks at her, panicked. "How are you-" his throat closes up, and he feels himself start to struggle for air.
Peter takes an unsure step towards him. "Stiles..."
"Tell him that you're going home," Jennifer says. "And that you'll be okay. You just really need a good night's sleep. Its all true, I promise."
Stiles's lungs deconstruct, and he gulps in air. "I'm gonna head home now," he says mechanically. "I'll be okay. Just need a good night's sleep."
"You sound like a zombie," Peter says flatly.
Stiles makes eye contact with him, desperate for something, for Peter to let it be or follow him home to make sure he stays safe, he's not really sure. "I'll be fine," Stiles says firmly, and Peter nods reluctantly.
It takes Stiles forever to fall asleep that night. He stares up at his bedroom ceiling, feeling dull and light-headed. Something's not right.
That's stupid, he thinks. Of course, something's not right. He's being haunted by a ghost who's first choking him and then making his feet move. His life sucks.
"Go to sleep, Stiles," and Stiles feels himself sink into blissful, warm darkness like a switch has been flipped.
He wakes up to find himself standing in the middle of the woods, a knife in one hand and warm blood dripping from the other. He stares down at them. "What the-"
There's a dead body in front of him.
One of the twins' dead bodies. Splayed out across the Nemeton, bloody patterns and symbols carved all over his body like fucking tattoos. His dull eyes stare at Stiles blankly, glazed over with death, his mouth hanging open in an unfinished scream.
Stiles drops the knife, his hands shaking. He stumbles back a step, then another. "No," he says. "No, no, no, no, no-"
Sometimes he suggests murder and killing. He makes light of it. He sees it as a quick solution. But he never -he stopped Ethan from sawing himself in half, for God's sake- this can't be happening.
He takes another step back and stumbles over a tree root, tumbling to the ground. He leans up on his elbows, still trying to back away. He sobs.
A hand lifts him up by the throat, crushing, and throws him against a tree, and Stiles thinks he hears one of his ribs crack as he stares into Deucalion's furious eyes. "You did this?" the werewolf growls, eyes glowing red.
Stiles starts shaking his head no vigorously, unable to speak.
Deucalion growls and slams him against the tree.
"No," Stiles manages to choke out. "I didn't -I wouldn't," he wheezes helplessly.
"Aiden's blood is on your hands," Deucalion snarls. He bares his teeth, his canines lengthening, and oh, God, Stiles is going to die-
"He didn't do it," says Jennifer's voice from behind Deucalion, and both Stiles and the werewolf turn around to look at her, standing in front of the Nemeton in all her scarred glory. "I did."
Deucalion drops Stiles and steps towards her, and Stiles collapses to the forest floor, breathing laboriously. He leans his head against the tree to watch as Deucalion and Jennifer circle each other.
Deucalion sees her, Stiles realizes. Holy shit. He looks down at his hands -his bloody, aching hands.
He turns to the side and vomits.
When he comes to moments later, Jennifer and Deucalion are mid-fight, and Jennifer's winning.
She slams Deucalion to the ground without even touching him. "What's it like?" she asks. "Not to be the one with all the power?" She crooks a finger, and Stiles hears something in Deucalion *crack*. Deucalion groans, struggling to get up. "Do you feel weak?" She asks, and something else cracks. Deucalion makes a pitiful attempt to stand, and she flicks her hand at him. "Helpless?" Another crack as he's pressed to the ground.
"You know," Jennifer croons, turning her back on him. "I don't think I'll kill you right away," she contemplates aloud, tapping a finger against her lips. "I think I'll keep you." She looks over her shoulder coyly. "As a pet." She turns to Stiles, making him shrink against the tree. "What do you think, Stiles?"
"I think you're crazy," he spits out.
Jennifer narrows her eyes and takes a step towards him. "Really, Stiles? After everything he did to you and your friends?"
Stiles swallows, eyes darting away from her terrifying gaze. "I-" he chokes out, mouth dry, and then something catches his attention.
Peter, moving in the shadows behind Jennifer, watching him.
Stiles's eyes flick back to Jennifer, and he does what he does best. He talks. "He did a lot to us, you're right, and he's a horrible person, but that doesn't change what you did, either. That doesn't make any of what you did okay."
Jennifer takes another step towards him, and Stiles refuses to take his eyes off her, even when he sees movement elsewhere in his peripheral vision. "It was the only way," Jennifer says. "I needed to do it to stop him. Don't you see, Stiles? "
"You used me to murder someone!" Stiles shouts, and he's not just trying to distract her. He feels an ache in his chest; guilt looms over him like a shadow, and he can't bear it, can't bear what he's responsible for. "You practically mind-raped me." His voice cracks.
"I had no choice," Jennifer says earnestly, coming closer. "I didn't want to do any of this. I tried, Stiles, I did. If there was any other way..." She takes another step forward and crouches down in front of Stiles, who pushes himself back against the tree even as his ribs scream in protest. "But I couldn't let him go. Couldn't let him hurt anyone else."
"So you were the one to hurt people instead," Stiles fills in, voice harsh and condemning. "Was it all worth it? Was Tara's death worth it? Was Heather's?"
Jennifer starts to nod solemnly. "I'm so sorry-" she starts to say, but Stiles cuts her off.
"Don't lie to me!" he shouts, jerking forward to get in her face only to freeze, feeling like a knife just stabbed him between his ribs. Jennifer starts to reach for him as he eases himself back against the tree with a cough, but he flinches away. "I was friends with Heather since we were three," he tells her. "We used to play Power Rangers together."
Jennifer looks down and away, jaw tightening.
Stiles keeps talking. There's no going back now. His volume drops, his voice becoming more distant. "She was there for me when my mother died, you know. When my father liked his booze better than me... she was there." He inhales, breath trembling.
Jennifer continues to stare at the ground. "I'm sorry," she whispers.
"No, you're not," Stiles says, voice tired and resigned. "Because you got what you wanted. And that's all that ever mattered, isn't it?"
"He's not dead yet," Jennifer says darkly, still not meeting Stiles's eyes. "He still hasn't gotten what he deserves."
Stiles starts shaking his head incredulously, blinking back angry tears, but then there's the sound of tearing flesh, and a muffled gurgling, and Stiles looks up to see Peter standing over Deucalion's twitching body.
Jennifer snaps up into a stand, furious. "Hale-" she growls. The wind picks up, a low howl through the trees, and dead leaves roll across the ground, crackling against each other.
"You got what you wanted," Peter snarls, eyes glowing red, claws dripping with Deucalion's blood. "Now leave," he demands, voice guttural and deep.
Jennifer begins to stalk towards Peter. The sky darkens, and thunder rumbles in the distance. With her back turned to Stiles, he can't see her expression, but he can see the taut arch of her back, the tense roll of her shoulders, the fury in her footsteps. She raises her arms, fingers curled like claws--
"Please," Stiles murmurs.
Jennifer turns around and finally looks at him. She sags, the fury draining out of her. The wind dies down, the howl dropping to a low sigh. Her narrowed eyes widen, and Stiles watches as something in her gaze shatters. "Stiles," she starts, and he knows she's begging for something he can't give.
He looks away and tries to speak, but he can't find the right words. He doesn't even know what exactly he wants to convey. He starts to clench his hands into fists, only to stop at the feeling of his fingers sliding against each other, warm and slick. He breathes in deeply, the cool night air hiccuping and shuddering in his chest. Finally, he opens his mouth to speak again. "Please," he whispers, his plea but a sigh.
She looks down, gaze lingering on his hands. He looks away just in time to avoid making eye contact with her. "...I'm sorry," he hears her say, voice broken and distant, but he still doesn't look up. For a moment, she remains still, a dark silhouette in the corner of his eye.
Moonlight breaks through the clouds and lands on her face. She presses her eyes closed tightly, eyebrows knitting together and wrinkling her pale, scarred skin. She doesn't look terrifying anymore. She looks tired. The furrows and wrinkles of her skin smooth over as she opens her glazed, broken eyes and stares at the ground beneath her feet. Cool air gusts over the clearing, ruffling Jennifer's tattered clothes. Dust stirred up by the breeze makes Stiles blink, and when he opens his eyes, she's gone.
Stiles breathes in and out. In and out. In and out.
He doesn't know how long he stares at the ground, but when he finally looks up, Peter's standing over Deucalion's lifeless body, breathing hard and regarding Stiles with red, calculating eyes. Lightheaded with nerves and shock, Stiles avoids eye contact, looking around instead. The ground is cold and dry from drought. A mild breeze tickles his skin. Somewhere, an owl hoots, and a pale ghost of a smile tugs at Stiles's lips. It's all distressingly normal, isn't it?
His eyes land on the roots of the Nemeton, cracked and gray with age. Several tiny mushrooms sprout up from the dead wood, milky white in the moonlight except for one, splashed with dark, gleaming blood. Stiles finds his eyes drawn to Aiden's body, and he swallows. From this angle, all he can see are the soles of Aiden's bare feet, speckled with dirt and strikingly pale.
He did that.
Movement in his peripheral vision startles him into looking at Peter, stepping towards him. Their eyes meet, and Stiles holds his breath. The sly civility of Peter's post-resurrection self seems to have dissipated, the roundness gone from his shoulders and his chin lifted with entitlement. The last time Stiles saw him like this, they were on the lacrosse field, and Lydia was on the ground between them, unconscious. An idea, fragile and torn, nudges Stiles's already weary consciousness, and Stiles pushes it away with a vengeance. He wants to look away. He can't deal with this right now. He can't deal with Peter like this, like he was. Not now.
Keeping eye contact with Peter, Stiles watches as Peter pauses mid-step, gauging Stiles's reaction. Stiles inhales abruptly and tries to push himself off the ground, only to freeze, his chest screaming with agony. He winces and settles back against the tree, arms trembling from the effort. He blinks away the pain just in time to see Peter's posture soften. The werewolf tilts his head to the side as he watches Stiles, and his eyes narrow with concern. The glowing red drains out of his gaze as smug triumph bleeds into worry. His body going loose as relief washes over him, Stiles exhales at the sight. He lets his head fall back against the tree trunk behind him and closes his eyes. He can rest now.
Quiet, slow footsteps signal Peter's approach, and he opens his eyes as Peter cups his face with one hand, the werewolf's fingers sticky and warm against Stiles's skin, making him flinch away. "Shh," Peter murmurs, examining his face.
"Your hands are wet," Stiles says dully, meeting Peter's eyes.
"So are yours."
Stiles finds himself unable to repress a shuddering exhale and tries to turn his face away. Peter lets him, his hands trailing down Stiles's body, pressing gently against Stiles skin and moving his arms. Stiles hisses when Peter feels over one of his ribs. Peter hums, then continues examining Stiles's body.
Stiles lets his head fall back against the tree and closes his eyes. Peter's hands move down to feel his legs, bending his knees slightly and rotating his ankles. "Was this all part of your masterplan?" Stiles asks sluggishly, only half-joking.
"No," murmurs Peter. "No, it wasn't."
Stiles hums, uncertain whether or not to believe him.
"Mine was supposed to take longer and involve more emotional manipulation but less physical torture, if that makes you feel better."
Feeling wrung out and drained, Stiles lets himself drift off, and when he comes to, it's drizzling. He breathes in deeply, savoring the smell of rain and the cool slide of water droplets down his face. He opens his eyes. He's still resting against the tree, and his father's standing over him, talking to Peter.
"She possessed him?" Stiles's dad asks, long-suffering and vaguely disbelieving as usual.
Peter nods, and the sight of the two of them talking makes Stiles giggle.
"Stiles," says Melissa from beside him, and wow, when did she get here? "Please try to stay still."
She starts wrapping medical tape around his shirtless torso, and Stiles drifts off again.
He's suddenly very tired.
"It's not your fault," Stiles's dad tells him.
Maybe one day he'll even start to believe it.
Peter's an alpha now, and honestly, it doesn't really change much of anything. At least not at first. Scott, Stiles, Allison, and Isaac go to him for help against one supernatural thing or other, and there's a little tension between Peter and Scott, but Stiles and Isaac manage to keep them in line. Allison and Peter completely ignore each other. Lydia keeps her distance, only getting involved when absolutely necessary, and when that happens she still orders Peter around. And that's pretty much the extent of the drama.
Except then the full moon happens, and Stiles walks into his room at the end of the day to find Peter lying on his bed, shoes off and shirtless. Stiles closes his bedroom door and drops his backpack to the floor, staring at Peter and blinking.
Peter rolls his head over to look at Stiles. "Your father's working the night shift," he says casually.
Stiles nods slowly even though it isn't really a question.
"Fantastic," Peter smirks, and then Stiles finds himself shoved up against his bedroom door with his hands full of shirtless werewolf.
"I --what?" Stiles asks dumbly, even as he feels Peter's hands sweep up and down his sides.
Peter leans his forehead against Stiles. "You're not being haunted anymore, are you?"
Stiles shakes his head, licking his lips.
Peter's hands find the skin of Stiles's stomach and start exploring his torso, rucking up his shirt. "So we won't be interrupted?" Peter asks.
Head dropping forward, Stiles gasps as Peter tweaks a nipple. "Christ," he groans, hands finding Peter hips.
Peter tips Stiles's chin up to look him in the eye. "No, just me," he says solemnly.
"Really, Peter?" Smiling, Stiles huffs out a laugh and butts his forehead against Peter's. "You're secretly just a big, psychotic dork, aren't you?"
"You love it," Peter murmurs, nipping at Stiles's lips.
"Mmm." Stiles nips back. "Maybe." He tugs Peter's hips forward, smirking as Peter groans and buries his face in Stiles's neck. "And yeah, we've --fuck," Peter bites down on Stiles's collarbone and sucks. "--all night. We've got all night," he breathes.
Peter grins against his skin then begins nipping and sucking on Stiles's throat. His hands drag down to Stiles's hips, twisting and pushing him around until Stiles's back is to the bed. As Peter walks him backward, Stiles laughs breathlessly and buries his hands in Peter's hair. "You're crazy, you know that, right?" He tugs Peter's face away from his neck. "Completely crazy." He can barely believe this is happening.
Peter just grins toothily and pushes Stiles back onto the bed. Stiles grabs him by the shoulders, tugging him down with him. Heartbeat pounding in his throat, it's all Stiles can do to catch his breath as Peter climbs on top of him. Peter bites and tugs, tweaking his nipples and practically mauling him to death. Asshole.
Somehow Stiles loses all his clothes. He has no idea how it happens, and he's totally okay with it.
Okay, let's be real. The pack's competently running the town, only the bad guys died, Stiles is finally starting to be able to sleep at night, and his favorite sarcastic, psychotic werewolf's sexing him up like no other. He's more than okay with it.
They lay curled around each other afterward, and Peter's breath tickles Stiles's throat. Stiles nuzzles closer and sighs. "This is insane," he mumbles, a grin tugging at his lips.
Peter snorts elegantly and kisses his forehead, absently drawing his thumb up and down Stiles's forearm. "Everything in this town is insane, isn't it?" the werewolf shoots back.
Stiles hums. "Yeah...." he trails off.
"Are you about to freak out?" Peter asks.
"I dunno...." says Stiles, sounding genuinely unsure. "Why did you come here tonight?"
"It's the full moon," Peter says simply.
Stiles looks at him, and Peter's gaze is fond and intent. "So?" Stiles asks cautiously.
"I wanted to be near you," Peter says, as if that explains everything.
Stiles looks down at Peter's chest, tracing random patterns across the werewolf's skin. "Are we going to keep doing this?" Stiles asks, not looking up to meet Peter's eyes.
"Is this what you want?" asks Peter.
Stiles meets Peter's eyes, and they're patient and a little too hungry, a little too focused. He wouldn't have Peter any other way. He leans forward and licks his way into Peter's mouth, taking his time before pulling away to lean his forehead against Peter's.
Two years ago, Peter asked Stiles a different question, and Stiles said no.
This time, he says yes.