Stiles is early. His last final had gone by a lot quicker than he'd expected, so he'd driven home a day early instead of waiting for the next day like planned. His dad is at work and everyone else is still at school, so Stiles heads to the loft to see Derek and Peter. What he doesn't expect is for Peter to be watching Brokeback Mountain.
"Uh, what?" Stiles asks, staring between Peter and the screen in utter confusion.
"What?" Peter asks, pausing the movie.
"You're watching Brokeback Mountain?" Stiles asks.
"Is there a problem with that? I was under the impression that you're bisexual, surely two men having a relationship isn't scandalous to you," Peter says.
"No, it's not that, dumbass," Stiles says. "I just didn't think it's your style."
Peter seems uncomfortable for a moment and Stiles is sure he's about to be told to fuck off, but then Peter sighs.
"Now that the nemeton is dealt with, the territory is finally somewhat secure. I have a chance to catch up on all that I missed," Peter says.
"While I was in a coma, Stiles," Peter says exasperatedly.
Peter's looking at Stiles like he's waiting for something, maybe for Stiles to make a sarcastic comment or laugh, but Stiles doesn't find it remotely funny.
"Oh," Stiles says awkwardly. "Okay, but if you're doing this, you're doing this right."
"What do you mean?" Peter asks, and Stiles doesn't think he's imagining the slump of relief in Peter's shoulders.
"If you're really going to catch up and get all the cultural references you've missed, you can't just take Derek's advice on what's worth watching," Stiles says. He shrugs off his backpack and sits next to Peter on the couch. Stiles pulls out his laptop and opens up a Word document and Google. "You keep watching. I'm making a list of things you need to catch up on."
Peter studies him for a moment and Stiles tries to pretend he doesn't notice, that the gaze doesn't make him flush. Peter finally turns back to the TV and presses play. Stiles sighs and starts on his list.
The next day, the pack is all back together and meets at Derek's loft. It's the first time they've all been in the same room since last summer and everyone is jumpy with excitement. Lydia and Kira are chatting in the corner. Isaac, Scott, and Allison are all flirting heavily with each other, which Stiles tries not to gag at, and Erica and Boyd are in an epic video game battle with Derek, much to Stiles' amusement. Peter is off by himself, sitting on the spiral staircase looking bored, but Stiles thinks he sees a hint of fondness in Peter's expression, though he doesn't ask.
"Hey," Stiles says, taking a seat next to Peter on the stairs.
"Stiles," Peter acknowledges. "Enjoying having everyone together?"
"Yeah," Stiles says. "It gets a bit overwhelming, you know? Everyone wants to hug everyone and talk to everyone about everything that's happened all year and just...yeah, it's too much sometimes. I love them all, but I'm ready for us to all relax and get back into the swing of things."
"You, overwhelmed," Peter says flatly, raising a disbelieving eyebrow.
"I get overwhelmed!" Stiles says defensively. "It's an anxiety thing, it doesn't have to make sense, Mr. Judgey McJudgerson."
Peter raises his hands in surrender.
"You're right, my mistake," Peter says.
"That's right," Stiles grumbles. He digs into his backpack and pulls out a tall stack of CDs and hands them to Peter.
"What's this?" Peter asks.
"This is me getting you caught up with good music," Stiles says softly, so none of the others would hear unless they were listening for it. Somehow Stiles has the feeling that this isn't something Peter wants the pack to know.
Peter takes the CDs and rifles through them.
"Are you sure?" Peter asks.
"I don't need them anymore, who even uses CDs?" Stiles asks. "Educate yourself."
"Gorillaz, White Stripes, Janelle Monae, System of a Down," Peter says as he flips through them. "Gin Wigmore?"
"She'll change your life, I swear," Stiles says.
Peter shrugs and goes through the rest of the titles, which include Muse, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Justin Timberlake.
"You have a wide music taste," Peter says.
"You bet," Stiles says. "Why limit yourself, ya know? And these are all important things, okay? So listen closely."
"I'll do my best," Peter says.
"What do you got over there?" Scott asks, apparently noticing that Stiles isn't deep in the love fest. Peter tenses next to Stiles.
"I'm schooling Peter on good music," Stiles says, carefully leaving out the real reason.
"Not everyone likes Gnarls Barkley," Scott says.
"Oh ye of little faith!" Stiles says.
Scott rolls his eyes but goes back to his conversation. Peter relaxes next to Stiles.
"Thank you," Peter murmurs.
"It's your business, not theirs," Stiles replies just as quietly. He thinks Derek might be listening, but it's not like he can glean what they mean, so Stiles isn't too concerned.
Eventually, Stiles and Peter migrate into the living room when everyone starts settling down. They order food and gather around the coffee table, digging in. Stiles sits by Peter and is very aware of the wide berth given to both of them. Stiles would think it's just Peter, but he knows better. It's been like this for the better part of the year, he'd just forgotten since they've all been at different schools.
Last summer, before school had started, a dark coven had come to Beacon Hills intent of taking control of the nemeton. In order to put it back to sleep, Deaton had supplied them with a ritual that Stiles, as the spark, had to complete. It'd involved slaughtering a goat and basically bathing in its blood. Stiles had felt powerful in that moment, more powerful that he's felt since the nogitsune. The pack had looked at him in fear as he's chanted, covered in blood with what was apparently a manic grin on his face. After, when no one would touch him, Scott told him that his eyes had turned a milky white color, almost like the darach's had been. No one had looked him in the eye for weeks. No one but Peter.
Sitting here with Peter, with the two of them on one side and the pack on the other, reminds him exactly how awful those two weeks before college had been. It reminds him how Peter was the only one who didn't flinch when he saw him. It reminds him of the nogitsune and how even then, Peter was the only one who would meet his eye and talk to him like he wasn't breakable. Stiles suddenly isn't feeling up to the pack bonding.
"How was school, Stiles?" Derek asks, probably noticing the scent causes by the downward spiral Stiles' thoughts had been taking.
"Good," Stiles says, latching onto the words like a lifeline. "Passed everything, met some cool people. How's it been with us gone?"
"Quiet," Derek says.
"Yeah? Glad to have some time to yourself?" Stiles asks.
"No," Derek says, surprising Stiles. "It's not the same without you all here."
"Aw," Kira says.
The rest of the pack looks pleased and surprised. Derek's gotten a lot better about the whole emotional constipation thing, but hearing him so open about it still is new.
"We missed you, too," Scott says, clapping Derek on the shoulder.
Stiles kind of tunes out the rest of the conversation. For weeks he's been anticipating being back and seeing his friends but now, with Peter and Derek the only two who have really initiated a solid conversation with him, all he wants to do is be alone.
"We're doing movies today," Stiles says, walking into the loft. It's empty apart from Peter, most of the pack going on a bonding hike thing. Stiles has had more than enough running in the woods for his lifetime and hiking up a hill in the sweltering heat that they're having isn't his idea of a good time. The loft has AC, and the loft has Peter.
"Are we now?" Peter asks.
Stiles follows his voice into the kitchen, where Peter is making lunch.
"Yep," Stiles says. He hops up onto the counter next to where Peter is spreading mayo on a piece of bread. "Did you listen to the CDs?"
"Since yesterday? No," Peter says. "I got through Gin Wigmore and that's it."
"And?" Stiles asks. "What'd you think?"
"Very different, I liked it," Peter admits.
"Yes!" Stiles says and fist pumps.
"Yeah, yeah," Peter says and nudges Stiles off of the counter. Peter starts on a second sandwich for Stiles without being asked, leaving off the mayo and adding honey mustard.
"Thanks," Stiles says when Peter plates it and hands it over.
"So," Peter says, following Stiles into the living room. "What do we have on the docket today."
"That depends," Stiles says. "Have you seen the Harry Potter movies?"
"I saw up to the third, then I was in a bit of a coma," Peter says dryly.
"Hey, you could have caught up since then! They're on TV basically every other weekend," Stiles says. "Okay, well that's what we're doing today, Harry Potter marathon."
"Okay," Peter says easily and settles onto the couch. Stiles sits on the other send, cross legged, with his sandwich balanced precariously in his lap.
Stiles had expected more of a fight from Peter. He'd actually had a ten-point argument ready for why it's absolutely essential that Peter sees the Harry Potter movies, but he hadn't had to use it at all. Stiles wonders how much of a secret nerd Peter really is.
Stiles gets fidgety partway through Goblet of Fire, as he tends to do. He stretches out his legs on the couch, then pulls them back in, then taps his fingers against his knees before stretching out his legs on the couch again, tapping his toes against Peter's thigh, not really realizing what he's doing. He looks up to see Peter looking at him with a raised eyebrow, and Stiles flushes.
"Sorry," Stiles says. "Habit."
Stiles goes to pull his feet back but Peter wraps his hands around Stiles' ankles and tugs his feet into his lap. Stiles squawks in surprise but then Peter is digging his thumb into the arch of Stiles' foot and Stiles can do nothing but moan. He lets Peter rub at his feet until he's relaxed and pliant, by which time Peter's moved on to resting his hands on Stiles' ankles, rubbing his thumb over the soft skin. Stiles relaxes for the first time since he's been back.
They make it through the end of Order of the Phoenix and ten minutes into the Half-Blood Prince before the pack comes back, all loud and rowdy. Stiles sighs and stops the movie, knowing there's no way they're going to be able to finish with the pack there. He reluctantly pulls his feet from Peter's lap and sits up.
"Hey," Stiles calls.
"What's up?" Scott asks.
"Watching movies," Stiles says with a shrug.
"Cool," Scott says absently. "Who wants dinner?"
"I'm heading out," Stiles says quietly to Peter.
Peter doesn't ask questions, just looks at him like he knows exactly why Stiles doesn't want to be there.
"Tomorrow at my place instead?" Peter asks.
Stiles' heart does something funny at that, at being invited into Peter's home, into his den.
"Yeah," Stiles says. "Yeah, that's, yeah."
"Bring popcorn," Peter says.
"Yes, sir," Stiles says with a mock salute.
Peter's eyes get darker at that and interesting, Stiles will have to file that away for the future.
"Okay guys, I'm out," Stiles says, picking up his backpack.
"Bye," the pack choruses, only Derek and Kira turning to wave to him.
Stiles tries not to be hurt by it.
Stiles goes to Peter's the next day with a backpack full of movies and a box of extra buttery popcorn.
"That's more than Harry Potter," Peter says when Stiles puts a stack of DVDs and Blu-rays on his coffee table.
"Harry Potter isn't all you missed," Stiles says. "These are just 2005 alone."
Peter peers down at the titles, which include The 40 Year Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Serenity, and Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit. Peter gives Stiles a very flat look at that one.
"Oh come on, I had to try," Stiles says.
"Star Wars Episode III?"
"We can watch it, but you're not going to be happy. Hayden Christensen gets a lot of a crap, but he did the best he could with some awful dialogue. Thanks, George Lucas."
"For the sake of completion, I feel the need to see it," Peter says.
"I'll try to keep my rude commentary to a minimum then."
They don't get to Star Wars that day, though they do finish the Harry Potter movies. Peter sighs when the credits roll on the eighth movie. He stretches and runs a hand over Stiles' ankle, which mysteriously has ended up in Peter's lap again.
"Not as good at the books," Peter says. "But not awful."
"Oh you caught up on the books? Good, I can take that off my list," Stiles says.
"You have a list of books?" Peter asks and Stiles would almost say he's excited.
"Yeah, let me grab it," Stiles says. He leans over the side of the couch and manages to snag his backpack, not willing to have Peter stop touching him quite yet. He hands Peter the list.
"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,The Road, Cleopatra: A Life, The Hunger Games," Peter reads.
"The first Hunger Games book is good, but she kinda dropped the ball on the last two. Still, it's worth reading and you'll get a lot of pop culture references," Stiles says.
"Everyone is talking about this Twilight book," Peter says, but Stiles interrupts him.
"Do NOT read or watch Twilight. It sends a horrible message and it's lazy storytelling," Stiles says fiercely.
"...Okay," Peter says slowly.
"Plus,you'll hate the werewolf portrayal," Stiles says.
Peter wrinkles his nose.
"I've seen enough bad werewolf movies to last me a lifetime," Peter says.
"Yeah, I figured as much," Stiles says.
It takes them a better part of a week to get through all of Stiles' 2005 must-see movies. They move into 2006 with The Departed, Casino Royale, and Happy Feet.
"Dancing penguins?" Peter says skeptically.
"If you say so," Peter says.
Peter ends up loving Happy Feet, as Stiles knew he would. They take a break after watching it to make dinner, something Stiles is growing to love doing with Peter. Peter has him slicing vegetables for the salad while he gets the salmon ready.
"You seem better," Stiles says, broaching the subject he's managed to sit on for the last few weeks.
"Better?" Peter asks, seasoning the fish.
"Yeah," Stiles says. "Less on edge. A little less brutal to the betas. Don't worry, you still got your snap."
Peter snorts, then is quiet for a few moments. Stiles doesn't think he's going to answer and goes back to slicing cucumbers, but that's when Peter starts to talk.
"I feel...better with you all back," Peter admits.
"We're stronger together," Stiles says. "It's safer."
"It's not just that," Peter says, very carefully not looking up from the salmon. "It feels closer to what it was like. Before."
"Oh," Stiles says. He's not paying attention, too lost in what Peter said, and the knife nicks his finger. "Ouch, shit!"
Peter's over in an instant, taking Stiles' hand and maneuvering it under the faucet.
"You can't go one day without hurting yourself," Peter says with a sigh.
"I can! It just isn't today," Stiles says.
"Stay here, I'll grab a bandaid," Peter says and walks out of the kitchen.
"What do you need bandaids for?" Stiles calls
"For whenever you inevitably manage to hurt yourself!" Peter calls back. A few seconds later, he reappears with a first aid kit.
"You bought a first aid kit with me in mind?" Stiles asks. "I don't know if I should be flattered or offended."
"Probably both," Peter says and takes Stiles' hand. The bleeding has stopped, thankfully the cut isn't deep, and Peter is able to dab some Neosporin on it before wrapping a bandaid around Stiles' finger.
"Thanks," Stiles says.
"You're welcome," Peter says. "Go sit over there. No more knives for you today."
Stiles sticks out his tongue but does as he's told, hopping up on the kitchen island behind Peter. Stiles loves Peter's kitchen, like he loves all of Peter's apartment. It's sleek and modern, but still has a homey, lived-in feel. Stiles' favorite thing in the apartment is a picture of the Hale pack that Peter had managed to salvage and sits in a frame on the bookcase in his living room. Stiles had waited until Peter had gone to the bathroom to look the first time, not wanting to be caught snooping, but Peter had come back and hadn't seemed to care, had simply pointed out who was who in a soft, sad voice. They hadn't finished the movie that day, instead just sitting and reading in companionable silence.
"Done," Peter says, closing the oven behind the salmon and turning around. Stiles is swinging his feet, also kicking Peter in the process. Peter steps between Stiles' legs and grabs his thighs, right above the knees, stopping him from swinging his legs. "Stop," Peter says.
Stiles pouts but stills, trying hard to ignore the man standing between his knees. Peter squeezes his thighs once then pulls away.
"Come on, we have some time to start Wall-e before the salmon is done," Peter says.
Stiles jumps down onto somewhat wobbly legs and follows Peter out into the living room.
"You're not ready for this, man," Stiles says, sitting next to Peter. Peter casually drapes his arm over the back of the couch as he reads the back of the Blu-ray case. "This is going to tug on your blackened, hidden heartstrings."
They end up watching Wall-e while they eat dinner. Peter doesn't cry, but Stiles does.
Peter falls asleep during the Dark Knight. Peter falls asleep during the Dark Knight! To be fair, they'd spent ten hours the day before running around the woods with the pack, looking for a rogue nymph of all things. But still, Stiles thinks this counts as sacrilegious. Stiles only notices Peter's out about halfway through, not sure how long ago Peter had fallen asleep. It makes him inexplicably proud though, that Peter is comfortable enough with Stiles in his home to fall asleep with him around.
Stiles really wants to get up and poke around, his natural curiosity, as usual, overriding any self-preservation instincts, but he realizes he's tired, too. He wants to fight it, wants to be a nosy little shit, but exhaustion wins out. He leans his head back against the back of the couch. He'll just rest his eyes for a few minutes, then get up. Just a few minutes.
Stiles wakes up slowly, his brain a little foggy. He's ridiculously comfortable, but he's not in his own bed, he knows that right away. He's not worried. He knows the feel and smell of Peter's apartment, he knows he's safe. What he doesn't know is why he's lying on a firm chest with two strong arms wrapped around him. Stiles groans and buries his face against Peter's shoulder. Of course he'd fallen asleep and of course that'd led to sleeping on Peter, why the fuck not.
"This is not a big deal," Stiles says, voice muffled against Peter's shoulder.
Peter laughs, his arms tightening briefly around Stiles.
"Of course not," Peter says calmly.
"It doesn't even warrant talking about," Stiles says, then groans. "God you're really comfy."
Peter laughs again brushes his cheek over the top of Stiles' head, making Stiles flush.
"Okay!" Stiles says, clambering up, not-so-accidentally elbowing Peter in the ribs. "All right, we're up, we're at 'em, and wow, we slept through the whole night."
"We needed it," Peter says, sitting up and stretching. "You've been wearing yourself too thin."
"All I've been doing is watching TV with you," Stiles says.
"And researching on nymphs, and cooking for your father, and cleaning your house, and summer homework, and - "
"I get it," Stiles cuts him off and stands, looking around for his plaid overshirt. "All right, I needed a nap, okay?"
"Are you sleeping?" Peter asks.
"Obviously, we just slept," Stiles says, looking away.
"More than last night?" Peter asks.
"I've gotta go," Stiles says, digging the shirt out from the back of the couch cushions. "My dad's off today and we're supposed to get lunch."
Peter doesn't push it, just lets Stiles leave. Stiles closes the apartment door behind him and leans against it, taking a deep breath. He knows Peter's guessed about the nightmares, it's not like it's a stretch that he'd have them, not after everything, but he doesn't want that part of himself known. He doesn't want that vulnerability out there, even to Peter. Especially to Peter. He groans, well aware that Peter can still hear him, and pushes off the door and heads down to the jeep.
Peter starts touching Stiles more after that and Stiles hates how much he loves it. He doesn't remember the last time someone properly hugged him besides his dad. Scott had given him a quick half-armed hug when he saw him for the first time at the beginning of summer, but that's it. The pack still avoids touching him like he has the plague, like the nogitsune and the magic he's used have tainted him somehow. Peter notices, and Peter changes that.
No one seems to notice at first how Peter will grasp Stiles' shoulder when he walks by, or that he trails his fingers over Stiles' hand when they're both reaching for a can of soda or the last piece of pizza. No one notices for weeks how Peter firmly grasps the back of Stiles' neck when he's close to panic and calms him down. It takes the better part of a month, but finally Derek notices.
"What are you doing?" Derek asks.
Peter and Stiles looks up from the book they're poring over. They're the only three in the loft, the rest of the pack out doing patrols or at home.
"Uh, looking up lamias?" Stiles asks.
"No, I mean what are you doing?" Derek asks, motioning vaguely in their direction.
Stiles looks at Peter, perplexed, but then Peter removes his hand from Stiles' back and waves his fingers at him.
"Oh," Stiles says, blushing. "Uh..."
"If he's bothering you..."
"He's not," Stiles says quickly. "It's - he's..." Stiles takes a deep breath and rubs a hand over his face. "He's the only one who doesn't treat me like I'm poison."
Derek looks taken aback at that. Peter places his hand back on Stiles' back, rubbing in soothing circles.
"We don't treat you like you're poison," Derek says, brows furrowed.
"Well, you don't, but you don't really touch anyone so I don't think it's me-specific at least," Stiles says. "But yeah, they do."
"Watch for it next time, nephew," Peter says. "Watch how True Alpha Scott McCall and the pack of misfit toys act around their spark."
Derek frowns but doesn't argue. Stiles feels his eyes on him for the rest of the afternoon while he and Peter read over the lamia text. When the pack gets back from their patrols, when they're roughhousing and playing video games and ordering food, Stiles feels Derek's eyes on him. When the pack greets him before promptly ignoring both him and Peter, Stiles feels Derek's eyes.
"I didn't realize," Derek says.
Stiles shrugs. The rest of the pack isn't paying attention to them, engrossed in chatting and playing Uno.
"I didn't expect you to," Stiles says.
"You should have," Derek says seriously. "This is a pack, we need to function for everyone."
Stiles just shrugs again.
"I'll talk to them," Derek says.
"Don't," Stiles says quickly. "I'm not going to force them to spend time with me. If they want to be around me, they know where I am."
Derek looks like he wants to argue, but Peter says, "Let it be, Derek."
"Please," Stiles says.
Maybe it's the please, but Derek nods, though he doesn't look particularly happy about it. He does start paying more attention to Stiles, trying to pull Stiles in to conversations, touches Stiles when he walks by. Peter bares his teeth at this sometimes, but Stiles just elbows him in the ribs and mutters for him to behave.
It's not the best solution, Stiles would like to feel like a real part of the pack again, but having Derek in his corner helps.
Stiles and Peter are just finishing Avatar ("It made a fuck ton of money but no one talks about it ever.") when Stiles' stomach growls. Peter looks over in amusement.
"I just fed you," Peter says.
"That was lunch! It's almost 7:00," Stiles says.
Peter looks surprised at that and looks down at his phone.
"Huh," he says. "So it is. Let's go to dinner."
"Let's...go to dinner?" Stiles asks.
"Yes," Peter says slowly, like Stiles is being purposefully dense. "Out, to a restaurant, where they serve dinner."
"We've never done that," Stiles says.
"Will it be weird?"
"I don't know, just 'cause?"
"No, Stiles," Peter says, looking entirely too amused. "The only difference from what we normally do is that I don't have to cook."
"Hey, I offered to cook!" Stiles says.
"You almost cut your finger off cutting cucumbers the other day," Peter points out.
"It wasn't that bad," Stiles says.
"We're going out to dinner. And you're not wearing flannel," Peter says.
Stiles pouts but takes off his plaid shirt. He's wearing a simple black t-shirt underneath. Peter looks at it critically but apparently decides it'll do, because he shrugs and grabs his keys, ushering Stiles out the door.
The end up at Siobhan's, a high-end restaurant in the swankier part of Beacon Hills (well, as swanky as Beacon Hills gets). Stiles has never been there, the prices higher than what he spends on food in a week. Peter doesn't seem to care. Fuck it, Stiles thinks. If Peter's paying, Stiles is going to eat like a king.
"Dude," Stiles says, looking over the menu. "The prices aren't even listed."
"That's because if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it," Peter says.
"Then I seriously don't belong here," Stiles says. "Everyone here is in like a suit and tie besides us. And you still look nice!"
It's true. He might not be in a suit, but with nice slacks and a fitted button down, Peter looks significantly more presentable than Stiles.
"You think I look nice?" Peter asks with his asshole grin.
"Shut up," Stiles says and looks back at the menu. "What's good here?"
"Everything," Peter says.
"You know, I would have been happy to go to McDonald's or something like that," Stiles says.
"You might, but I'm not," Peter says. "Get the lobster if you're having trouble deciding. You won't regret it."
Stiles lets Peter order for them, two lobsters and a wine that Stiles can't pronounce to go with it. He's never particularly been a wine person, but what the hell, he'll give it a shot. They sip wine and talk quietly for a bit until the food comes. Stiles has never had lobster, that's a bit too much money for his dad and him, so it takes a bit of Peter showing him how exactly to deal with the whole shell thing before Stiles finally takes a bite.
"You're right," Stiles says with a groan. "This lobster has changed my life."
Peter chuckles and looks pleased with himself.
"It pairs nicely with the wine," Peter says, taking a sip.
Stiles follows suit and finds that Peter's right.
"Okay, you can pick restaurants from now on," Stiles says. "As long as I still get curly fries once in a while."
Peter looks pained, but he agrees.
"This movie is ridiculous," Peter says.
"I know, that's the point," Stiles says. "It's called Jackass for a reason."
"And why am I watching this?"
"Because the third one came out while you were comatose. This is important cultural knowledge," Stiles says.
"I don't believe you," Peter says bluntly.
They finish Jackass 3D, even though Peter hates every moment of it, before moving on to Toy Story 3.
"I warn you, I'm going to cry exactly three times," Stiles says.
"Three," Peter says flatly.
"You probably won't because you're dead inside," Stiles grumbles. "But yes, there are three parts that definitely make me cry every time."
"Does this pick up where Toy Story 2 left off?" Peter asks.
"Yeah it explains it, it - You saw Toy Story 2?" Stiles asks.
"I watched a lot of movies with my nieces and nephews," Peter says carefully, looking at his nails instead of at Stiles.
"Oh," Stiles says. "You know, it's a lot easier to pretend you're not a real person and all when you don't say stuff like that."
Peter rolls his eyes.
"You wouldn't be here if you didn't think at least a little bit of me is redeemable," Peter says.
Stiles glares. He doesn't have an answer to that, so he doesn't try, just grumpily gets up and puts in Toy Story 3.
Just like he predicted, he cries three times. Once in the beginning, once in the furnace scene, and at the end. Peter looks as him critically, but not like he's judging him, more that he's trying to figure him out.
"Walk me through why it made you cry," Peter says when the movie is over.
"Are you heartless?" Stiles asks. "Okay, at the beginning because duh, nostalgia, the pains of growing up. And the furnace scene, uh duh? When they know they're going to die and can do nothing else but hold hands? And at the end, well, childhood is over. It kind of speaks deeply to my generation, dude."
"Hmm," Peter hums.
"I can't believe you didn't cry once! Where is your humanity?" Stiles asks.
"I've left that behind long ago," Peter says loftily.
"That's bullshit and both of us know it," Stiles says.
Peter levels him a look that has Stiles stilling. It's not predatory, not really, but it's a look that makes Stiles think that Peter is looking right through him.
"What's next?" Peter asks after the long pause.
"Uh, Despicable Me or Inception," Stiles says.
"Is Despicable Me where those little yellow tater tots come from?" Peter asks.
"They're minions," Stiles says. "But yes. It's a good movie despite that."
Peter looks doubtful at first, but he actually ends up enjoying it ("Of course you'd like the villain."). They watching Inception the next day, followed by Iron Man 2, before Peter declares that they need to go outside.
"Why?" Stiles whines. "It's hot outside."
"You're halfway through your summer and you've spent all of it inside," Peter says.
"Yeah, on purpose," Stiles says.
"We're going to San Francisco."
"San Fran - that's an hour away!" Stiles says. "Why?"
"We're going to a Giants game," Peter says.
Peter's slipping on his shoes, getting ready to leave as if he hasn't just thrown a huge curveball at Stiles.
"We're going to a Giants game, why?" Stiles asks.
"You enjoy baseball, I enjoy baseball, and a team is close," Peter says. "Plus, we can't rot inside all summer."
"Oh yes we can," Stiles says, but he too grabs his shoes from by the front door and starts pulling them on. "Not dealing with people is nice."
"We won't be dealing with anyone we know, it'll be fine," Peter says.
"I require ice cream in one of those little baseball helmet cups," Stiles says.
Peter rolls his eyes, but Stiles knows he's giving in.
Stiles uses the car ride to plug in his phone and play more music that Peter missed while in a coma. Peter gets tired of it halfway through the Gorillaz's album and switches to classic rock. Not something Stiles had expected, truth be told, but he can roll with it.
The hour in the car goes by faster than Stiles had anticipated. Their usual banter, the sarcastic back and forth, doesn't change at all, though the closer they get, the more excited Stiles gets, and by Peter's smirk, he can tell. Stiles and his dad have never been rich, but they'd used to drive up to games when they could. It's been a few years since he's been here and he's stoked, so sue him.
They're halfway through the game (Giants leading 2-0) when Stiles' phone buzzes. Stiles ignores it. He's finishing his helmet of ice cream, okay? It buzzes a few more times and Peter finally makes Stiles check it, saying the incessant vibration is irritating. Stiles wants to make a vibrator joke, but brain freeze hits and he has to close his eyes and try to get through it.
The texts turn out to be from Scott, asking where Stiles is. All Stiles says it 'Out'.
Well we're having a pack meeting tonight and you need to be there.
It rankles Stiles a bit to be told what he has to do, especially by Scott.
I'll be there if I can
Stiles puts his phone away, ignoring the persistent texts. Peter side eyes him, but by the set of Stiles' jaw, knows not to push it.
Stiles tries to shake it off. He doesn't want to be in a bad mood. He's having a good day and he wants to keep it that way. Peter catching a foul ball and handing it over to Stiles goes a long way toward that goal.
It's close to 11:00 pm when Peter and Stiles pull into the loft's parking lot. They'd considered just going home, but Stiles figured they should at least try to follow through on what he'd told Scott he'd do. Everyone's cars are still parked outside so Stiles figures the 'meeting' (group hang out session) is still in full swing.
He's right; when he and Peter open the loft door, the entire pack is scattered around, some playing video games, some just chatting, a few playing Uno. Scott looks up from where he's munching on a piece of pizza and promptly chokes. Derek pats him on the back.
"Dude," Scott says, his eyes watering. "What are you doing with Peter?"
Stiles looks at Peter incredulously. Peter just shakes his head with amusement.
"Coming to the pack meeting?" Stiles says.
"But...why are you with Peter? Since when do you two spend time together?" Scott asks.
"Peter and I have been coming to pack meetings together all summer," Stiles says slowly. "It's just easier to take one car."
"One car from where?"
"Usually Peter's place," Stiles says with a shrug.
"Peter's...you're hanging out at Peter's place and none of us knew this?" Scott asks.
"Derek knew," Stiles says.
Scott rounds on Derek, who just shrugs.
"You knew? Why didn't you say anything?"
"It's not Derek's fault that he's the only one of you all that's bothered to pay attention to Stiles all summer instead of treating him like a pariah," Peter says silkily.
A nasty silence follows this and everyone looks around uncomfortably.
"That's not fair," Lydia says quietly.
"Oh it absolutely is," Peter says. "Has anyone tried to reach out to him? Asked him to do something outside of pack meetings? Called him? No?"
There's a lot of uncomfortable shifting and it makes something in Stiles viciously happy.
"Let's fix that," Scott says. "Stiles, we never hang out anymore, we should do something."
"Dude, you haven't called me once in over a year," Stiles says.
"That's not true! We talk all the time!"
"Yeah, we do. Because I call you. I text you. You don't ever initiate conversation with me," Stiles says.
"I've been busy with school, and Allison and I - "
"For over a year?" Stiles asks scathingly. "You've been too busy to send a text that says 'hi' for over a year?"
"Then let's do something! Tomorrow," Scott says, side eyeing Peter.
"I have plans tomorrow," Stiles says coldly.
"The next day, then."
"I have plans," Stiles says.
"Well, when do you not have plans?" Scott asks.
Stiles looks at Peter, who shrugs.
"We don't have anything after the Game of Thrones premiere," Peter says.
"That's what, this Sunday?" Stiles asks. Peter nods. "Okay, I'm free Monday."
"But...today is Tuesday!" Scott says. "You and Peter have plans every day this week?"
"Yep," Stiles says. "You snooze, you lose, Scotty."
"We haven't been ignoring you on purpose," Allison says softly, like she's trying to calm everything down and really, that just annoys Stiles more.
"Yeah, you have," Stiles says. "I saved all your asses by putting the nemeton back to sleep and because of it, you can barely look at me. What, was animal sacrifice what finally pushed you over the edge? Being possessed by a demon I can come back from, but killing a goat is just too far? What, did it remind you of the nogitsune? Or, god forbid, someone other than your furry werewolf asses is strong."
"That's not fair," Scott says.
"Yes, it is," Stiles says. "You don't get to treat someone badly then say it's not fair when you get called on it."
"I'm sorry, Stiles," Kira says and of all of them, she looks like the one that means it. Her eyes are watery and she looks nervous, but sure. "It was wrong of us, I'm sorry."
"How lovely for you," Peter says. "One whole person with a conscience. Charming."
"You're not helping," Scott says hotly. He turns to Derek and says, "Come on, say something!"
"You aren't going to like what I have to say," Derek says slowly.
"What?" Scott asks.
"Look. You've driven your best friend away. The only person who's treating him well is Peter," Derek says.
"To be fair, you haven't been too bad," Stiles says.
"I could have been better," Derek says. "What we need to do is own that we made a mistake and do what we can to rectify that."
Scott glares, looking completely betrayed, but Derek just shrugs again. It's not like he can help what Scott feels.
"But...Peter? Murderer Peter?"
"Reformed," Peter says.
"Look," Stiles says. "Is there a reason you wanted me here for the pack meeting?"
"Yeah," Scott says, still frowning. "Yeah, a few members of the Johnson pack are going to be visiting."
"Johnson pack?" Stiles asks.
"Yeah, the pack that werewolf guy I met in college is from, I told you about them," Scott says.
"Sure as shit didn't," Stiles says.
"What? Yeah, I did," Scott says.
"Pretty sure that's something I'd remember," Stiles says.
"Well they're coming," Scott says. "And I want all of us to be there to greet them."
"Okay. When?" Stiles asks.
"Cool. Let's go, Peter," Stiles says.
"What? Why?" Scott asks.
"Why would I stay?" Stiles asks.
No one seems to have an answer for that, so Stiles grabs Peter by the wrist and pulls him from the loft. Peter salutes the pack over his shoulder and seems to enjoy the stunned and worried faces.
Peter doesn't say anything as he drives them back to his apartment so Stiles can pick up his car. Stiles doesn't know if Peter's just that good at reading Stiles that he knows to leave it alone, or if he's in his own head, but he doesn't say anything on the drive. Stiles tries to get out of the car when they get there, but Peter stops him with a hand on his arm. Stiles doesn't know what he's expecting, but Peter's face is open, eyes soft.
"I'm okay," Stiles says. Peter gives him a look. "No, really, I am. Thanks for saying what you did."
"You're welcome," Peter says.
"So, what do I have to know about meeting the Johnson pack? Any customs or anything so I'm not starting an inter-pack war?" Stiles asks.
"We can go over it tomorrow if you'd like," Peter says. "Are you too tired to drive?"
"No, I'm fine, thanks," Stiles says. Peter looks like he wants to say something else, but Stiles isn't up for a heart-to-heart and just says, "See you tomorrow," and hops out of Peter's car.
It takes a while for him to get to sleep that night, thoughts of Peter and the pack swirling in his head, but around 2:00, he finally passes out.
Stiles is over with coffee and another stack of DVDs the next morning. Peter opens the door with sleep-tousled hair, wearing only his low-slung pajama pants. Stiles feels like his heart is skidding to a stop. Peter Hale looking soft, Peter Hale shirtless, Peter Hale sleep-rumpled, god it's like the trifecta of Stiles' weaknesses.
"I overslept," Peter says in explanation.
"It happens," Stiles says, sounding a little strangled. He hands Peter his ridiculous hazelnut soy latte and Peter sighs in contentment as he takes a drink.
"Come in," Peter says, stepping aside for Stiles to enter. Stiles definitely doesn't brush his arm against Peter's abs, nope, not at all.
Stiles waits in Peter's living room for the man to be done with his shower and morning ritual. It takes almost an hour, but Stiles guesses that's the price for Peter's ridiculous grooming regimen. When Peter emerges again, he looks significantly more awake and put together as always. Stiles can't unsee the soft, sleepy Peter, though. He doesn't exactly try hard.
They start Stiles' list of 2011 movies with Bridesmaids, X-Men: First Class, and Thor. Stiles sits on the floor in front of Peter, resting his back on the other man's legs until Peter gets the hint and starts massaging the knots out of his shoulders and neck. Stiles groans, his eyes fluttering shut. It's fine, he's seen these movies, it's Peter that has to pay attention.
After Thor is over, Peter stops Stiles from starting another movie.
"Werewolf etiquette," Peter says.
Stiles sighs dramatically, but both of them know he doesn't mean it. Stiles is always badgering Peter for more supernatural knowledge. Stiles moves up to the couch, sitting sideways and cross-legged, looking at Peter expectantly.
"When the other pack arrives, we wait for the alphas to greet each other before anyone else says anything," Peter says. "The pack stands behind Scott, our alpha, showing their submission and the alpha's willingness to protect his or her pack." To Peter's credit, he only sneers a little bit at that.
"Okay," Stiles says. "I can do that."
"The alpha's second and the emissary usually stand behind the alpha and to the side. So that would be Derek and you," Peter says.
"I'm not the pack's emissary," Stiles says immediately.
"You're far closer to one than Deaton is," Peter says. "You're a spark and you sometimes act in an emissary capacity."
"I'm not good at the whole balance thing," Stiles says. "I can't be cryptic and unbiased."
"Which is why you're a much more valuable asset than Deaton," Peter says. "After the official greeting, everything is much more casual and the packs mingle."
"That doesn't sound so bad," Stiles says.
"It's more boring than anything else," Peter agrees. "Just try to keep the sass down to a minimum and I'm sure we'll be fine."
Stiles sticks his tongue out but doesn't say anything. It's not like he can really argue that point.
The representatives from the Johnson pack come to town right when Peter and Stiles start in on all the TV shows Peter's missed (he'd missed the finales of The West Wing, The Wire, and The Sopranos, not to mention everything that had started since 2005), so they manage to finish the first few seasons of The Office before Scott assembles them all together in Derek's loft. Derek gives them a crash course on inter-pack etiquette, basically telling them what Peter had told Stiles.
"All packs aren't like ours," Derek says. "They aren't as diverse. They don't include kitsunes and ex-hunters and banshees and sparks. Just bear that in mind that they might be more...traditional."
"Traditional?" Kira asks.
"You may get some prejudice for that shining aura of yours," Peter says.
Derek looks pained, but he doesn't contradict Peter.
"We don't know the Johnsons are like that," Scott says quickly.
"No, we don't," Derek says. "But I'd rather everyone know it's a possibility."
Great, Stiles thinks.
The Johnsons arrive on a hot Wednesday afternoon, having driven six hours from Los Angeles to get to Beacon Hills. The McCall pack meets them in the preserve, a place where they can all let their inner natures out a bit. Mariann, the Johnson alpha, a severe-looking woman in her sixties with her hair pulled back in a tight bun, almost reminds Stiles of Professor McGonagall, but thinking of Peter's comment about reining in the sass, he manages to keep it to himself.
The pack is fanned out in a line behind Scott, with Derek on his right and Stiles on his left. Peter has chosen to stand behind Stiles. The Johnsons brought six members of their pack, including the boy Scott had met at college, a beta named Greg.
"Alpha McCall, we appreciate your invitation into your territory," Mariann says.
"Alpha Johnson, we welcome you to Beacon Hills with an overture of friendship," Scott says solemnly. Stiles is actually impressed that Scott managed to do it without a goofy smile.
"This is my second, Andrew Johnson, and my emissary, Amanda Harrington," Mariann says.
"My second is Derek Hale," Scott says, nodding to Derek. "And my acting emissary, Stiles Stilinski."
"Acting emissary?" Andrew, the second asks.
"Yes," Scott says, not offering any explanation other than that.
"It's a pleasure to meet you all," Mariann says. "When Greg told us he met a True Alpha at college, we were understandably shocked. I knew at once that we must meet."
Stiles kind of wants to kick Scott. You don't go telling strange werewolves that you're a True Alpha! A muscle in Derek's jaw twitches and Stiles is pretty sure he's thinking along the same lines as he is. As Mariann and Scott continue to talk, the Johnson emissary, Amanda, has her eyes locked on Stiles. She's young, maybe a few years out of college, and is looking at Stiles in a way that makes him distinctly uncomfortable, though he's not sure why. Stiles tries his best to ignore it, to survey the Johnson pack representatives, but he can feel Amanda's eyes on him.
After the official greetings are out of the way, the packs come together to mingle and meet. It doesn't surprise Stiles at all that Amanda makes a beeline for him, stopping directly in front of him, just this side of too close to be polite. He fights the urge to take a step back, for some reason not wanting to give up any ground. Amanda is a head or so shorter than him, with a shock of short, white blonde hair and big brown eyes.
"Hello," she says, smiling widely. She doesn't stick her hand out to shake and Stiles doesn't offer his.
"Hi," Stiles says, not sure what else to say.
"It's so nice to see another young emissary. Normally it's me talking shop with a bunch of old, cryptic men," Amanda says.
And this is exactly what Stiles didn't want. He's 'acting' emissary, he's not even close to being trained, and has no idea how to 'talk shop' with Amanda. But he can't say that, can't tell another pack just how much they're lacking a real emissary.
"Yeah," Stiles says awkwardly. "That seems to be pretty common."
"From what I've heard, Beacon Hills has certainly gone through some stuff," Amanda says. "I'd love to get your take it on it, as a human and a spark."
Stiles swears six ways to Sunday in his head at Scott. We don't give out information like that, damn it! Jesus fucking Christ. Stiles knows his smile is brittle, especially after Amanda puts her hand on his arm and steps even closer. The look on her face is nothing short of predatory, though Stiles isn't sure what exactly she'd want from him. He's close to being rude and just walking away, but this is pack politics and he can't just insult someone in another pack like that.
Peter walks up next to Stiles, cutting off his mental gymnastics. Amanda's eyes flick to him and the look on her face dims a bit. Peter places his hand on Stiles' back and stands close, the lines of their bodies brushing together. Stiles instantly relaxes. Here's a man who knows pack politics, who can play the game far better than Stiles ever would be able to on his own.
"Hello, sweetheart," Peter says, placing a light kiss to Stiles' temple.
Stiles' mind freezes, because what. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Derek looking at them, but no one else seems to have noticed. Stiles very carefully keeps his face neutral, something he's actually mimicked from Peter.
"Peter Hale," Peter says, holding a hand out for Amanda to shake. She looks at it for a second and Stiles thinks she isn't going to take it, but she does eventually, dropping it quickly after they shake.
"Another Hale," Amanda says. "I was under the impression you were all wiped out."
Stiles tenses, but Peter's hand on his back just rubs in a soothing circle.
"Rumors," Peter simply says.
"And yet, the land long held by the Hales is now run by a different pack," Amanda says.
"Pack politics are quite complicated," Peter says with a shrug, like he's wholly unconcerned. Damn, his poker face is good.
"Indeed," Amanda says, then turns her attention back to Stiles. "We're going to be in town for a few days. I'd love it if we could get together before I leave."
"I'll have to see what I have planned," Stiles says.
Amanda frowns slightly, looking put out that she isn't getting the response that she wants. Amanda's name is called out and they all look to see Mariann talking to Scott, waving her over.
"See you around, Stiles," Amanda says with a wink before joining her alpha.
"What the hell was that?" Stiles asks Peter in an undertone.
"Later," Peter says quietly, glancing around.
Peter stays with Stiles for the rest of the afternoon, never far from his side when talking to any of the Johnson pack members. Amanda doesn't talk to them again, but Stiles still sees her looking their way once in a while. When they break for the evening, Peter and Stiles leave in Peter's car and head back to Peter's for dinner.
"Okay," Stiles says as soon as the car is on the road and away from any prying ears. "What was that about with Amanda? She looked like she wanted to eat me."
"Probably not far from the truth," Peter says. When Stiles looks at him blankly, Peter just sighs and says, "She was hitting on you, Stiles."
"Uh, no, she wasn't," Stiles says.
"Pheromones don't lie," Peter says, tapping the side of his nose.
"True, it was a rather clumsy attempt, but yes, really," Peter says.
"Oh," Stiles says. "How do I politely turn her down without starting a pack feud or anything like that?"
"Just tell her you aren't interested," Peter says.
"What if she tries to curse me?" Stiles asks.
"She isn't going to curse you, Stiles," Peter says. "Haven't you ever had to reject someone before?"
"No!" Stiles says. "I've always been the rejectee!"
"Then you should know exactly what to say," Peter says.
"Asshole," Stiles says, hitting Peter's arm. Peter just smirks.
They have halibut for dinner because Peter's caught on that Stiles really likes fish, but is garbage at cooking it himself. Stiles is allowed to stir the rice and that's it, Peter still not forgetting Stiles cutting his finger while slicing cucumbers ("One time!"). It's shockingly domestic, standing next to Peter at the stove, occasionally bumping elbows, both on purpose and not. He's used to Peter next to him, a solid presence that used to do nothing but put him on edge. Now, he finds himself relaxing, finds that he knows in these walls, he's safe. Despite the fact that Peter is dangerous, that he isn't a danger to Stiles.
And oh. Oh.
Stiles freezes, wooden spoon poised right over the rice. Peter looks over, confused at the change in Stiles' heartbeat.
"Shit," Stiles says.
"What?" Peter asks.
"This was so not supposed to happen."
"What, the rice?" Peter asks, but his voice is deceptively light.
"You were supposed to be Derek's kind of creepy uncle, that's it," Stiles says.
"If that were true, you wouldn't be here right now," Peter says, backing Stiles up against the counter. "You wouldn't have come over in the first place. You wouldn't be sitting through hours of movies with me, or joining me for dinner, or going to baseball games with me."
"I know," Stiles says, and even to his own ears he sounds frustrated. He's trying to focus, but that's hard with Peter so close, with his body caging Stiles in.
"Then what's the problem?" Peter asks.
"You're older than me, for one," Stiles says. "You're a literal murderer - "
"Reformed," Peter interrupts, nudging his nose against Stiles' temple and wow, it's getting hard to think.
"...I have other reasons," Stiles says.
"Tell me," Peter murmurs.
"I'm going to be away at college."
"We have phones."
"I don't...I don't know what you want."
"That's simple. I want you," Peter says.
"Do you really need me to stroke your ego?" Peter asks, pulling back and raising his eyebrow at Stiles.
"No! It's just...okay, yeah maybe," Stiles says.
"This low self esteem of yours is something we really need to work on," Peter says. "To start with, you're wonderfully intelligent, a quality I find most attractive in a partner. You're cunning, you're ruthless, you're loyal. The fact that you're beautiful doesn't hurt matters, either."
"Of course you would find ruthlessness attractive," Stiles mutters, but his cheeks are red.
"Now, I would ask if you're attracted to me, but we both know the answer to that," Peter says. Stiles wants to protest, but he knows Peter can smell it all over him, can hear it in the way his heart is racing at having the man so close. "So the real question is what do you want to do about it?"
Stiles looks at Peter, really looks at him. His face is open, completely honest in a way that's rare, and Stiles knows that Peter will follow his lead on this. If Stiles wants nothing, to just keep things the way they are, Peter will honor that. If he wants more, well, he knows Peter would be more than happy with that.
Stiles is prepared to say he doesn't know, it's probably what he should say, or just leave, but instead, what comes out is, "I want you." Peter looks a bit startled, like he'd expected Stiles to tell him no. Stiles has never been one for much self-control, though, liking to take what he wants. "I just...I don't know how."
"So we take it slow," Peter says. "We continue as we are."
"You're okay with that?" Stiles asks.
"Very," Peter says. "I need to make myself abundantly clear. I care very much for you. I am willing to move as slowly as you want because I want you to be sure about this."
"Okay," Stiles says. "That's...yeah. Okay."
"Okay," Peter says, smiling slightly. He reaches up and cradles Stiles' jaw in his hand, running his thumb over Stiles' lower lip. "I want very much to kiss you now."
It's a question, one that Stiles knows he can say no to, but he doesn't want to. He nods. Peter leans in slowly, like he's trying not to scare Stiles, but Stiles isn't scared. He wants this, wants to feel Peter's lips on his. The kiss is electric, nothing like when Stiles has had fumbling kisses with kids at college in the back bedroom of house parties. Peter kisses with a purpose, like he wants nothing more than this in the world. It's closed-mouth, Peter not trying to press his advantage, but it in no way feels chaste. When Peter pulls back, Stiles realizes he's holding onto Peter's upper arms, pulling the other man closer. Peter smirks and steps back, like he hasn't completely unmoored Stiles.
"Why'd you stop?" Stiles whines.
"The fish is almost done, and the rice is burning," Peter says, turning his back to Stiles to take the rice off the burner and remove the fish from the oven. "Trust me, there's nothing I want more than to kiss you until you're breathless, but we also need to eat. And I don't want you to rush into anything you aren't ready for."
And that's...surprisingly sweet. And fair, because he just figured out what he wants from Peter ten minutes ago, he's not exactly ready to fall into bed with the man, though it's tempting. Instead, they eat halibut and rice on Peter's couch, watching How I Met Your Mother (Stiles warns Peter that Ted is by far the worst character and that they ignore the final episode).
The Johnson pack ends up staying for the rest of the week, and as much as Stiles and Peter would love to make themselves scarce, they both know it's important to put up a united front, even if their pack isn't coexisting quite as harmoniously as they claim. There are a few close calls, particularly when Scott can't hide his distaste at Stiles and Peter near each other, but they manage to avoid a major incident. Stiles sticks close to Peter to try to keep out of Amanda's metaphorical claws. She does manage to corner him on the way out of the bathroom of the fancy restaurant their packs are at on their last night in town.
"Uh, hi," Stiles says, wiping his still-wet hands on his jeans.
"Stiles," Amanda purrs, and it's so much different than when Peter does it that it actually makes Stiles shudder a bit. "Come back with me to my hotel room tonight?"
Her hand is on his arm and he can feel the electric thrum of her power. Stiles takes a step back, breaking the contact with her.
"I'm uh flattered, really, but I'm seeing someone right now," Stiles says, and it's the first time he's said that out loud. He likes it, it feels good.
Amanda frowns. "I thought your alpha said you were single?"
Damn it, Scott. Derek needs to go over the werewolf inter-pack relations talk again.
"It's new," Stiles says. "Excuse me."
He steps around Amanda, who looks put out but doesn't say anything.
"You're seeing someone?" Scott asks, well, hisses, when Stiles takes his seat at the table, a few seats down from Scott. Scott winces, and Stiles is pretty sure it's because Derek stomped on his foot, because Jesus Christ, Scotty, can we not discuss things like this in front of other packs?
After an awkward dinner, Stiles and Peter take off before Scott can question Stiles about his love life.
"You know you'll have to tell him eventually, right?" Peter asks when they get into his apartment.
"I know, but it doesn't have to be today," Stiles says. He flops down onto Peter's couch, face first, and groans loudly. "Why did you make me wear dress shoes? These things feel like they're eating my feet."
"They look good, and we were at a nice restaurant," Peter says. "They wouldn't have let you in with the ratty abominations you usually wear."
Stiles grumbles into the couch cushion. Peter sighs and pushes Stiles' legs up so he can sit at the end of the couch with Stiles' feet resting in his lap. Peter unties the dress shoes, which Stiles can admit look nice, and drops them to the side.
"What're you - oh my god," Stiles groans, body going boneless. Peter digs his thumb into the arch of Stiles' foot, massaging at the ache. "Oh my god, you're the best."
"I know," Peter says.
Stiles would kick him, but it feels so good that he doesn't even care. Peter eventually moves to the other foot, giving it the same treatment, leaving Stiles a content and sleepy mess. Peter just chuckles.
"I should go," Stiles says with a groan, sitting up. He's tired and feels pleasantly lazy, and he really doesn't want to go, but he doesn't know exactly how to ask to stay. Luckily, he doesn't have to.
"You don't have to go," Peter says.
"Are you sure?" Stiles asks. "I don't want to invade your space or anything."
Peter's eye roll is truly wonderful.
"You have never in your life cared about if you're invading someone's space," Peter says. And yeah, point. "I'd prefer if you didn't drive if you're this tired anyway."
"Well, twist my arm," Stiles says.
Stiles has a brief moment of wondering how exactly this is going to work (is Peter going to make him sleep on the couch? If Stiles sleeps with Peter, if he going to want to do stuff? Maybe he hasn't thought this all the way through...) before Peter is taking Stiles by the hand and pulling him into his bedroom.
"Relax, I'm not going to ravage you," Peter says. "At least not until you want said ravaging."
And yeah, Stiles knows that, knows he's making a big deal about nothing. He mentally shakes himself and changes into the sweats and v-neck that Peter hands him.
"Watching me change, creeper?" Stiles asks teasingly.
Peter shrugs, completely unrepentant. "You're the one who decided to change while I was in the room."
Well, he's not wrong.
Stiles pointedly does not look while Peter strips out of his clothes, knowing that if he does, Peter will get a good whiff of just how interested Stiles is in his body. Instead, he slides between Peter's ridiculously soft sheets and wow, why has he never been on this bed before? It's like lying on a cloud. He groans out loud, starfishing out on the bed. Peter laughs.
"I take it you approve," Peter says.
"I'm never leaving," Stiles declares. "This is where I will be for the rest of my life."
"Don't offer things you aren't willing to give, darling," Peter says with a wink.
Peter shuts off the lights and slides into bed next to Stiles. For a moment, Stiles has no idea what to do. Does he cuddle up to him? Does he give Peter polite distance? This is so different than cuddling on the couch. Peter huffs in amusement and wraps his arm around Stiles' waist, pulling him against his body like he's done it a million times before. Stiles jumps in surprise at the touch, though he probably should have expected it. Peter likes to touch him a lot in normal situations, but in his bed? Yeah it's a little different.
"You're thinking too much," Peter murmurs against Stiles' temple. "Just relax."
Peter runs a hand between Stiles' shoulders and Stiles releases the breath he's been holding, slumping forward so his head is tucked under Peter's chin. He's comfortable, safe, in bed with his admittedly dangerous older boyfriend (partner? Whatever.) and yeah, not a situation he would have expected to ever be in, but he's good with it, and decides he should probably stop getting in his own way. He snuggles in closer, looping his arm around Peter and sighs, giving himself over to being held.
Stiles doesn't remember falling asleep, but he wakes with a start, Peter shaking him gently. Stiles' eyes fly open and he gasps, suddenly back in reality, not trapped in another nogitsune nightmare.
"It's just me, Stiles," Peter says.
"I know," Stiles says. His breath is still a little short, but that's one thing he does know. He knows the scent of Peter, the feel of Peter's arms around him.
Peter is giving Stiles some space, not crowding him, which is nice because sometimes after a nightmare, even the feeling of being stuck in his blankets is too much, but right now he really needs to be touching Peter. Stiles reaches out in the dark and Peter immediately takes his hand, tugging Stiles closer. Stiles goes willingly, draping himself over Peter's chest. Peter's arms wrap around him tight, rubbing up and down his back. Stiles takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, relaxing to the sound of Peter's heart under his ear.
"Did you want to talk about it?" Peter asks softly.
Stiles shakes his head, pressing his face against Peter's bare chest (and when did Peter take his shirt off?).
"No," Stiles says.
"Okay," Peter says.
Stiles loves that about Peter. He knows when not to push. Stiles is sure that at some point, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after, Peter will ask about his nightmares, but for now, Peter lets him be. He just presses kisses to the top of Stiles' head and holds him tightly until he finally gets back to sleep.
It's 8:00 the next morning that Scott calls. Stiles, still half-asleep, doesn't even think the check the caller ID, just answers on auto pilot.
"Hello?" he asks, voice groggy. Peter's arm around his waist tightens.
"Stiles! I'm at your house, where are you?" Scott says.
"What?" Stiles asks. He glances at the clock next to Peter's bed and groans. "Why are you at my house at 8:00 in the morning?"
"I wanted to talk to you and I figured that was my best chance without you saying you're busy!" Scott says.
Peter nuzzles the back of Stiles' neck and man, that's distracting.
"I'll call you later, I'm going back to bed."
"Are you are Peter's?"
Stiles hangs up the phone and groans, leaning back into Peter's warm body.
"I don't wanna," he says petulantly.
Peter laughs softly against the back of his neck.
"You don't have to right now. Just go back to sleep."
"'Kay," Stiles says.
Stiles wakes up an hour and a half later splayed over Peter's chest, the other man carding his fingers through his hair.
"Good morning," Peter says. Stiles makes a noncommittal noise and buries his face in Peter's chest. Peter laughs. "Why am I not surprised that you aren't a morning person?"
"Why am I not surprised that you are? Bastard," Stiles grumbles.
"Come on, sleeping beauty. If you get up, I'll make you breakfast," Peter says.
"But I'm so comfy here," Stiles whines.
Despite his protests, Peter slides out from under Stiles and gets out of bed.
"Blueberry pancakes," Peter cajoles.
"Fiiiine," Stiles says and crawls out from under the blankets. "I need a shower."
"You know where the bathroom is," Peter says.
The smell of blueberry pancakes starts wafting through the apartment when Stiles is halfway done with his shower and god, he's hungry. He dresses quickly, putting on his jeans from yesterday and one of Peter's v-necks before stumbling out of Peter's room and into the kitchen. He doesn't miss how Peter's gaze turns heated at the sight of Stiles in his shirt.
They chat a bit over breakfast, but Stiles still isn't up to full sentences yet so mostly it's Peter talking, which Stiles is fine with. Stiles helps him with the dishes when they're done and finally starts feeling like a real person.
"I should probably call Scott back," Stiles says when they're done. "Or else he'll try to track me down and that could just be awkward."
"It's your choice," Peter says.
"Stupidly supportive asshole," Stiles grumbles, but he pulls out his phone and dials Scott. He briefly thinks about how amusing it would be if Scott didn't answer, like he hardly ever answers for Stiles anymore, but Scott picks up on the third ring.
"What'd you need, Scotty?" Stiles asks. He joins Peter on the couch, lying down to rest his head in Peter's lap.
"How are you?" Scott asks.
"Uh, fine?" Stiles says. "You called for small talk?"
"No. Just, what you said to Amanda last night, are you really seeing someone?" Scott asks.
"Didn't you hear my heartbeat? I wasn't lying," Stiles says.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Scott asks, sounding entirely too hurt for someone who's been ignoring him, in Stiles' opinion.
"It's new," Stiles says. Peter starts to tangle his fingers in Stiles' hair, massaging his scalp.
"Do I know her?" Scott asks.
"Well, it's a him," Stiles says. "And yeah, you do."
"It's Peter, isn't it?" Scott asks, then plows on without waiting for a response. "Damn it, Stiles! Peter's dangerous! Can't you see that?"
"I know he is - "
"It's only a matter of time before he tries something and gets one of us killed!" Scott says.
"Scott - "
"Come on, Stiles! Think!"
"I understand your concerns," Stiles says.
"And?" Scott asks.
"And nothing. I understand what your worries are, but I'm not going to stop seeing Peter," Stiles says.
"Stiles, can't you see what he's doing? He's trying to turn you against the pack!" Scott says.
"All right, Scott, let's spin reality for a second and say that he is doing that. If, if he were trying to distance me from you guys, don't you think you're playing right into his hand by acting like this?" Stiles asks. "He wouldn't have to do much, you guys barely talk to me anyway."
"I'm trying to change that, you're always busy!" Scott says.
"Blaming me isn't going to make the fact that you've been ignoring me for months go away," Stiles says.
"Stiles, this is a mistake," Scott says.
"It's my mistake, then," Stiles says.
"Fine," Scott says, sounding mutinous. "We're doing a movie night tomorrow if you can fit us into your schedule."
Stiles bites back a million rude retorts and throws Scott a bone, saying, "I'll be there."
"Whatever," Scott says, and hangs up.
Stiles groans, tossing his phone onto the coffee table. Peter scritches at his scalp.
"That could have gone better," Stiles says.
"It could have gone a lot worse," Peter says.
"Yeah, yeah. All right, let's start Dexter," Stiles says.
"Nope, we're going for a run," Peter says.
"We're what now?" Stiles asks, looking up at Peter incredulously.
"We're going for a run," Peter repeats. "We've spent entirely too much time inside this summer."
"That's because it's hot outside and you have AC!" Stiles says. "I don't run, Peter. Not unless it's for my life."
"Which is why you should probably start," Peter says. "You could run for you life a little faster."
"I'm not running in jeans," Stiles says.
"You can borrow some shorts," Peter says.
"Yours won't fit me," Stiles says.
"Want to bet?" Peter asks.
Stiles narrows his eyes. "Did you buy shorts my size just to drag me running?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about," Peter says. "Come on, up."
An hour later, Stiles hates everything. He's out of breath, his legs are sore, and he's running next to Peter who doesn't even have the decency to sweat. They're running on a trail in the preserve so at least there aren't other people around to witness Stiles' misery.
"You're going to have to give me a piggyback ride home," Stiles says, bending over at the waist the catch his breath. "I don't think I can move anymore."
"I'll let you walk back," Peter says. "But I'm absolutely not carrying you."
"Asshole," Stiles grumbles.
They walk back to Peter's apartment slowly, Stiles wanting to just stop and sleep the whole time, but he's pretty sure Peter would just leave him here if he doesn't keep up, so he puts one foot in front of the other. All he wants to do once they get inside Peter's apartment is to collapse on the couch, but Peter steers him away.
"You are not sweating all over my couch," Peter says. "Go take a shower."
"You're evil, I don't know why I like you," Stiles grumbles.
45 minutes later, he and Peter have both showered, Stiles bundled in a pair of Peter's sweats and a t-shirt, and are cuddled together on the couch. Stiles' muscles feel like spaghetti and he knows he's going to be regretting it tomorrow.
"You'll probably like this show, he's all murder-y," Stiles says.
"My murderous tendencies have dramatically decreased," Peter says. "They only flare up once in a while."
Stiles just snorts.
Peter does end up liking Dexter. Stiles isn't even surprised.
The pack movie night is exactly as awkward as Stiles had assumed it would be. Scott had told the pack about Stiles and Peter and everyone has an opinion, whether it that Stiles is stupid, Peter is manipulative, or both. Peter just raises his eyebrows, looking faintly amused at the whole thing, until everyone seems to have gotten it out of their system.
"We done now?" Stiles asks. "Okay, let's watch the movie."
There's another eruption of voices and Stiles pinches the bridge of his nose and sighs deeply.
"Look," Derek says loudly, cutting everyone off. "Stiles is an adult, and we all know he's going to do what he wants, regardless of what anyone says. So let's act like the adults we are, and just watch the damn movie."
There's a good deal of muttering, but Liam puts in the DVD (some romantic comedy that Stiles doesn't know). Derek is the only one who will sit next to Stiles and Peter on the couch, which Stiles doesn't really care about, but it's nice of him to extend the effort.
All in all, it's an awkward night. Scott growls when Peter wraps his arm around Stiles, which makes Peter smirk and kiss Stiles' cheek, just to get a reaction. Stiles elbows Peter in the side in warning, which does absolutely nothing, of course.
They end up leaving after the first movie, not willing to sit around and watch Scott grind his teeth at them for any longer.
Peter takes his hand as they leave the loft, squeezing it slightly.
"They'll come around," Peter murmurs. "You aren't going to lose your pack."
Stiles is pretty sure the rest of the pack can still hear them, but he doesn't really care.
"Yeah, I hope not," Stiles says.
It's later that night when Stiles is home in bed that he gets a text from Derek of all people.
From: Derek Hale
You aren't going to lose your pack, Stiles.
To: Derek Hale
I mean, they're not really putting that much effort into keeping me around
From: Derek Hale
Come on a run with me tomorrow.
To: Derek Hale
What is it with Hales and the running?!?
From: Derek Hale
Consider it pack bonding.
To: Derek Hale
From: Derek Hale
I'll pick you up at 8 am.
To: Derek Hale
I hate you
Stiles starts running a few times a week with Derek after that. Sometimes Peter joins, sometimes he doesn't. Stiles loves spending time with Peter, but it's still nice to have something to do with someone from the pack that isn't just the usual pack nights. Peter actively encourages it, claiming it'll be good for Stiles to run and good for Derek's social skills to actually interact with people on purpose.
Peter and Stiles make it through Dexter and into Mad Men, which Peter is on the fence about, much to Stiles' surprise. They get through the first season and Peter doesn't want to continue, so they start on Breaking Bad.
Everything is going well. Pack nights still happen, they're still tense, but the pack is slowly thawing. Peter making a Hunger Games reference stops everyone in their tracks for a moment, much to Stiles' amusement. Lydia calls Stiles to make shopping plans. Liam is able to look him in the eye. Scott even manages to sit through a video game marathon with a disparaging comment about Peter. It's going too well, which is when Stiles realizes he only has a week left before he has to drive back up to Berkeley.
"You knew this was coming," Peter comments lightly when they're eating dinner. They're in Peter's apartment again because it's hard to kiss your older boyfriend when you're out at restaurants without getting some horrified looks by the judgey people of Beacon Hills.
"Yeah, but it feels like I still have a month left! Not a week!" Stiles says. "We haven't even started Modern Family!"
"You know, I can watch it by myself," Peter says.
"Bite your tongue," Stiles says, shaking his fork at Peter. "We will watch it together over Skype and it shall be wonderful. Your homework can be reading."
"I already read the books you gave to me," Peter says.
"Well, I'll find you more!" Stiles says.
"Stiles, you don't need to do that," Peter says. "We'll still have things to talk about when you're not pushing media my way."
"It's not that..." Stiles says.
"Then what is it?" Peter asks.
"I'm going to be hours away, you're going to have so many better things to do than talk to me," Stiles says.
"I really wish I could help you with the self confidence you're lacking," Peter says. "Darling boy. I am happy spending time with you. I'm happy talking to you. That's not going to change simply because we're going to be using the phone more."
"Are you sure?" Stiles asks.
"Very," Peter says. "Also, there is this radical device called a car. I believe if I get in one, I can travel to where you'll be?"
"Ass," Stiles says, kicking Peter under the table, but he's smiling.
"You love my ass," Peter says.
"I can neither confirm nor deny," Stiles says. Peter flicks a pea at him.
"Eat your chicken," Peter says.
When it comes time for Stiles to leave, he's embarrassingly weepy. He hides it, hugging Peter and burying his face in his shoulder, but he's pretty sure Peter knows. Peter rubs his hands down Stiles' back, presses kissing to his forehead, cheek, nose, lips.
"I'll see you soon," Peter promises. "And here."
Peter presses something into Stiles' hands, a box set of DVDs.
"What are these? American Werewolf in London, Nosferatu? Peter, are you giving me monster movies?" Stiles asks, delighted.
"I have a feeling I'll live to regret it, but yes," Peter says. "We used to watch these a lot before the fire."
"A bunch of werewolves would watch werewolf movies?" Stiles says, grinning.
"We enjoyed how much they get wrong," Peter says with a shrug, as if he hasn't just handed Stiles a huge chunk of his life pre-fire. "When you have downtime, not when you should be doing homework, we could watch these over Skype."
"You're gonna misssss me," he says.
Peter huffs, but there's a small smile at his lips.
"Maybe a little," he says.
"Uh huh," Stiles says.
"Call me when you get there," Peter says, pressing a kiss to Stiles' lips.
"Sure," Stiles says.
Stiles kisses Peter one last time, then steps away, out of the circle of his arms and climbs into the jeep, setting the DVDs on the passenger seat. Driving away is harder than he thought it'd be, and he can kinda get why Scott was always whining about missing Allison. Stiles glances out the rear view mirror before he turns the corner and sees Peter still standing right where he left him, watching the jeep drive away.
Stiles glances over at the DVDs on the seat and smiles before turning the corner and heading back to college.