Stiles wasn't sure what he expected, what he'd thought, but looking in hindsight he guessed it was only a practice in inevitability to run with wolves and then expect to never be bitten.
He winced as Peter prodded at the bite in his side, careful fingers familiarizing themselves with his flesh. Theirs was a complicated dance, circling each other and never quite making the plunge. They weren't dating, not really, but they were something. Something made of silent acceptance, warm comfort, gentle support. Something made of late night texts, after nightmare cuddles, and secret laughs.
Stiles took in a deep breath, trying to calm himself. His chest expanded with the inhale and pulled at the edges of the wound. He flinched and Peter's hand was a solid warmth against his side, pulling the pain from his body.
“Think it'll take?” Stiles asked nervously, wondering if he should start a countdown.
“It'll take,” Peter promised. “You'll make a wonderful wolf, Stiles,” he murmured. His voice was sure and confident and Stiles found himself nodding, believing it. “Let’s get you cleaned up,” he said, and Stiles knew everything would be okay.
The first full moon is the hardest, they say. Stiles felt restless, but not angry. Not really. Just...twitchy. Like he'd forgotten to take his Adderall.
There was definitely a clawing inside him though. A wildness that hadn't been there before. He stood before the Pack, all watching him with varying degrees of concern and anticipation. He felt the shift coming, rippling across his skin, and he threw back his head in a howl.
He startled at the sound that he emitted, as did the Pack. That hadn't been a howl, but a roar. He looked down to see the skin of his hands darkened, the claws slimmer than a wolf's. Stiles felt horror slowly start to creep in as his mind suggested just what he'd turned into. He looked up at the Pack and they all flinched from his gaze. Derek looked like he was going to be sick when Stiles met his eyes, physically recoiling like Stiles had punched him. Stiles trembled, disgust and fear welling up within him. Maybe Derek wouldn't be the only one; he certainly felt like he was going to be sick too.
Sometimes the Bite didn't result in a wolf. Sometimes the shape you take reflects the person you are.
What did it mean that he had become a werejaguar, when the only other werejaguar they'd met was Kate Argent?
Stiles could feel himself working into a panic, knew he needed to breathe, but he couldn't. Kate had burned a whole innocent family alive, kids and humans and all, and had been proud of it. Stiles was apparently similar enough to her that his shift took him to the same shape.
He heard the voice like he was under water, distorted and muffled. Warm hands cupped his face then, forcing his eyes to meet familiar blues.
“Stiles, focus. You need to breathe,” Peter murmured. Their foreheads were pressed together intimately. It helped Stiles block the rest of the Pack out, only looking at Peter and following his direction on breathing. “There you go,” Peter praised him quietly. Stiles whimpered, collapsed into Peter's hold, and the man embraced him. Stiles snuffled against his neck, squeezing his eyes shut, wishing this was all a bad dream.
“I'm not—” he started before breaking off with a sob. “I'm not her!” he cried out between lungfuls of air.
“I know,” Peter said into his ear, solid, steady. Just as confident as he'd been in Stiles’ taking to the Bite. “You're nothing like her.”
“But— But—” Stiles wailed in despair. He'd thought he could handle being a wolf. He'd even been excited at the idea of running with everyone, at truly being part of the Pack. He wouldn't have to stay behind or be a liability anymore. But this. How was he supposed to deal with this?
“You. Are not. Her.” Peter growled out, clutching Stiles closer. “Repeat,” he demanded.
“I,” Stiles began, wetly gasping against Peter's shoulder. “Am not.” He stopped, words caught in his throat. He peeked his eyes open, accidently catching Derek's horrified gaze over Peter's shoulder. The man instinctively flinched under what was no doubt Stiles’ new shifted eyes, the same supernatural green that Kate had had. He looked instantly contrite, but Stiles still whimpered, squeezing his eyes shut again and hiding further in Peter's hold. “I don't want to be her,” he whined.
“You're not,” Peter assured him. “I promise. And I would know, wouldn't I?”
Stiles didn't know why Peter was so determined to make him feel better about this, why Peter was trying so damn hard, but fuck if Stiles was going to ask him to stop. His hands were curled into the man's shirt, clutching so tightly Stiles was sure there were holes from his claws, and he didn't even think about letting go.
“I’m scared,” Stiles admitted in a hush, burrowing closer. He could still feel the shift just under his skin, pulsing with his every heartbeat.
“I am too,” Peter whispered, voice much too low for the rest of the Pack to hear. Stiles breath caught at the honesty, his senses now able to tell him that Peter’s heart hadn’t skipped. Oddly enough, it made him feel better, that he wasn’t alone in his insecurity.
“Stiles,” Scott spoke carefully, smiling supportively whenever Stiles opened his eyes to see him over Peter’s shoulder. “Do you want to go for a run?” He looked excited at the idea, puppy eyes geared up to eleven, and Stiles felt himself regaining a bit of his earlier excitement at being able to keep up with the Pack now. Still, even as he pulled away from Peter, he glanced at the rest of the Pack unsurely to try and determine their reactions to the suggestion.
Erica was nearly vibrating with delight at a new Packmate, having had very little to do with the Kate fiasco in Mexico. Boyd, too, was looking eager, though he did a better job of hiding it. Isaac was biting his lip when Stiles looked but he offered a tentative grin when he met Stiles’ gaze. Stiles finally turned to Derek, waiting for his Alpha’s judgment.
Derek met his gaze like he was preparing for battle, jaw set stubbornly. Stiles hutched in on himself in expectation of…something. Derek stepped forward and Stiles flinched, squeezing his eyes shut. He was startled though at the calm hand that settled on his shoulder, clasping in a turnabout from long ago when Stiles’ had done the same thing to comfort Derek when the Alpha Pack had come very close to forcing him to kill Boyd.
“I think a Pack run is an excellent idea,” Derek said, voice almost shy. Stiles peered at him and was almost overwhelmed as the man managed to shaky smile.
Erica nudged Derek’s side, grinning mischievously, and Derek rolled his eyes, relaxing minutely. “Come on, Derek,” Erica urged. “We can’t start without it.”
Derek sighed, acting put out even though the quirk of a smile on his lips told another story. Then Stiles was instantly at attention as Derek’s eyes glowed bright red and the man howled to the moon. Erica, Boyd, and Isaac followed automatically, already shifting into their beta shifts. Stiles looked to Scott and his brother grinned happily before throwing his head back and adding his own howl to the night. Peter hummed at his side, smirking significantly and nudged him suggestively. Stiles looked to Derek to make sure and the Alpha was watching him, raising a brow expectantly. Nervously, Stiles took in a deep breath before roaring into the night.
The wolves’ howls joined his, echoing through the preserve. Stiles felt the warm comfort of a solid Pack bond settle within him as he ran with his Pack.