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Some things are worth the wait

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The very first time Peter meets the newly appointed head of the Argent family, he’s twelve and he shouldn’t even be there in the first place, so he’s hiding in some bushes downwind in the most undignified manner ever. To make matters worse, he just knows that mama caught him like ten minutes ago but can’t say anything to save face with said head of family.

It’s all Talia’s fault. If she hadn’t been needling him the whole week about attending the meeting, calling him baby, treating him as if she was his mother and, as always, throwing the alpha material thing in, he wouldn’t be in this situation. He’s going to get it so bad… but at least she won’t be able to hold it over his head. Sacrifices needed to be made.

Peter frowns. This Argent doesn’t look like much, to be honest. He wears the most horrible plaid shirt he’s ever seen, a graphic t-shirt (is that batman?), faded jeans and converse shoes, and where said shirt rides up it’s covered in tattoos. He doesn’t have to look at mama to know that she doesn’t respect him much to begin with.

But then, when mama starts negotiating, uncle Charles a stony presence at her side, it’s clear he doesn’t respect her either. Peter’s mind is blown away by the concept. They start trading barbs that make Peter want to laugh so bad and then it gets even better when Talia snarls threateningly and, after a brief look at her, he snorts dismissively.

Best day ever. He will commit her face into his memory and maybe even paint it and gift it to her.

He thought he would get bored halfway through the meeting, but it’s like watching his favorite show and reading a new book all rolled into one. Treaties are made, insults are traded and Peter ends up having hope for the future, because if a man like that can be respected (you just have to see his people’s faces) and rise to run a family like the Argents… He squints his eyes. And, if you take off his beard, he doesn’t look much older than Talia!

As they are leaving, the man looks in his direction and smirks. Peter goes home chastised, punished for a month and nursing a crush the size of Mexico.

Kate doesn’t know what to think about her new guardian. Judging by the closed off face Chris is sporting, he’s the same. They are in the living room, sitting side by side, and he’s in front of them, leaning on his knees with his elbows. The cane their father used is still leaning on the doorway and she eyes it warily. The man follows her gaze and visibly blanches before covering it.

“Okay,” he says, clearly bracing himself, “okay. First things first, that" he motions to the cane ”is never happening in this house again. Ever.“ He looks at them earnestly and they both nod cautiously because he seems to be expecting some kind of response. “Second, my name is Stiles, well, not really, but no one can pronounce my name because it’s polish, hence, Stiles. Much easier for everyone. Anyway, back on track. As you know, I’ll be your guardian from now on and I think it’s best if we lay some ground rules for everyone.”

It takes them two months before they start to believe that things won’t be done the same ever again. For starters, they don’t have to train if they don’t want to, and they can give their opinion on things without being taken to task or being ridiculed. The cane was gone from the get go, burned to cinders in the fireplace. He takes them to Ikea to change their rooms however they want to and they remodel the entire house until it’s unrecognizable.

When, after those two months, Chris asks to be trained again, this time of his own volition, she sits to watch. Not even that remains the same. Creatures aren’t just monsters, but bifaceted beings. Good and bad, he teaches. She joins them the next day.

Victoria comes to visit, an almost sneer in her face and veiled insults about the way he’s running the family in her mouth. She leaves furious, slamming the door, and Chris is devastated. Stiles apologizes for hurting Chris but not for making things clear. Victoria ignores Chris for a week, leaving him a moping mess, before she comes back and Stiles shows her why he’s head of the family when he honest to god threatens her not to hurt Chris ever again. Kate superglues all her textbooks for good measure and Stiles high-fives her. She grins for the first time in his presence.

For the first time in her life, someone shows to parent-teacher meetings and helps her with homework if she needs it. When she turns eight, he gives her an entire container of snickerdoodles to bring to class and share. And, after asking her and letting her decide, he organizes the best party ever, inflatable castle included.

Chris dares to bring university brochures home and waits for his reaction with bated breath. It’s still too soon for that, but if that’s an option that’s on the table, he wants to know so he can at least try to raise his GPA his last two years of school. Stiles just sits down to listen and give advice on career options, going as far as taking his laptop out to look for information when his own knowledge is lacking. Kate gives her brother one of Stiles’ homemade cookies when he looks about to cry.

The second time Peter meets the head of the Argent family, he’s fourteen and his cousin Daniel has disappeared without a trace.

The entire family is in uproar. Daniel was there one second and then he wasn’t. There’s no scent to track, no clues about what happened. His human twin, Amalia, was left behind, untouched. His mom is at the end of her tether, Aunt Isabel can’t stop crying and uncle Charles is devastated too.

While Peter gets stuck with babysitting duty, they search the woods, contact Deaton, they talk to the merpeople in the lake and to the flock of garudas in the preserve, but nothing. Three hours have passed and they are as lost as they were the first minute.

Then lo and behold, Argent pulls his beat up jeep to the front of the house. When he exits the car, little Daniel is in his arms, a little dirty and shaken, but otherwise unharmed. For a moment Peter expects a bloodbath but the man snarks his way into the house when the little boy doesn’t want to let go. He signals his men to wait by the car and they obey immediately, with no sign of complaints or doubt. Peter stares transfixed as he treats the pup with infinite care and patience until he finally reaches for his mom. The man doesn’t even complain when the kid, even in his parents arms, doesn’t let go of his sleeve.

He explains with hushed tones about the witch that had kidnapped Daniel because she needed the blood of a born virgin male beta for a ritual. He also states very clearly, a ruthless glint in his eyes, that the witch won’t be a problem anymore.

The pup reaches for him again and that implacable expression melts into something soft as he gives him his undivided attention. Talia tries to berate him about not contacting them before and he shots her down without even taking his attention from the kid. Peter is certain he’s a little bit in love.

Three year old Laura chooses that moment to grab Derek’s hair and pull with all her might. Derek starts bellowing and Peter sighs at the dirty look Talia throws at him. Argent’s lips twitch with mirth, oh so terribly amused for some reason.

Kate watches as Stiles helps Chris load his car, fussing all the time, and shares a fondly amused look with her brother.

“I think that’s all?” Stiles muses thoughtfully, checking inside the car. “I can’t believe it’s already time. I feel like I have to give you the obligatory awkwardly sentimental leaving-the-nest speech.”

“Please don’t.” Kate snickers at Chris’ pained expression.

“But then your dormmates will share their embarrassing goodbye speeches and you’ll feel left out…”

“I won’t,” he cuts in, but to no avail.

“… and then you’ll be singled out and won’t make any friends and I’ll have ruined your university experience altogether!”

“Dad!” Chris exclaims frustrated and then stops abruptly, shocked with himself. Kate looks at him wide eyed.

To his credit, Stiles only misses the beat for a nanosecond before recuperating. “And there you have it. I’m sure it will be the most original of them.” He looks at Chris earnestly, waggling his eyebrows ridiculously. “An embarrassingly emotional speech about not having an awkwardly sentimental leaving-the-nest speech. Aaand…“ He tackles him and Kate falls from her seat on the porch laughing. “Complete with a farewell hug.“ Then he honest to god pats Chris’ head. “I’m so proud of myself right now. Here, take the care package.”

“Aren’t those supposed to be sent after leaving?” Kate inquires from the floor, still giggling.

“What’s in here anyway? It weights a lot.” Chris opens it a bit and his eyes widen. He tries to look nonchalant as he closes his arms protectively around it. Stiles grins wickedly.

“I knew you would change your mind.”

The third time Peter meets the Argent family head, he’s sixteen and he is in deep shit. As in he’s going to die painfully tortured by the unholy collaborative union of a huntress and a darach shit. And all it’s thanks to Talia, of course. And her pup, don’t forget that devil spawn called Laura.

He told her not to go to meet those damn hunters alone, that it stank of trap, but did she listen? Did their mom listen? Or their dad? Of course not! He’s just a child, what does he know? And Talia is alpha material, an adult, she always knows best.

He had to follow her, of course, because if she died he’d end up on babysitting duty for forever… and also because Minilucifer had somehow sneaked into Talia’s trunk when they weren’t looking. She probably hadn’t noticed because these days her car is full of baby crap that smells of her children all the time.

Long story short, Peter helped her escape with the pup, only to end up captured himself. Why do these things happen to him? Why is it that his sister can mess up badly enough to have things go to a profoundly deep and wide pool full of shit and she always emerges smelling like roses?

He grunts when the darach gouges three deep gashes into his chest, in the shape of a triangle, and collects the blood to paint strange symbols in the immense tree stump beside them.

They’ve coated the ropes in some sort of wolfsbane, because they are burning his skin badly. It’s almost unbearable but he doesn’t give them the satisfaction of struggling and squirming like he needs to. In fact, he relishes in telling them nonchalantly what’s going to happen to them when they are found. He gets a fist to the face for his lip but he doesn’t stop.

Where the hell is the cavalry? Talia escaped at least an hour ago and still there’s no sign of the rescue team. Do they care so little? Peter knows that his family doesn’t care for him like they should, but he’s always thought that at least they would try to save him if something like this happened.

The huntress turns to hit him again, only to be flung backwards with a huge spray of blood that bathes the darach and messes with the markings on the stump. The darach turns startled and swiftly follows the same fate.

Peter loses consciousness and the next thing he sees is Argent untying the ropes and catching him before he falls, his tattoos dancing furiously on his uncovered skin. He carefully cleans the area where the rope touched him and applies some kind of ointment to it, as well as to where the darach cut him. Like magic, his accelerated healing kicks again. In a matter of minutes his mind starts clearing.

He lets the man put on him his jacket and inhales the scent that permeates it greedily. Argent gets up for a moment and Peter can’t help the whine that escapes him. He leans again and passes a hand through his hair soothingly and mutters something about waiting for him for a moment while he performs a cleansing ritual because he doesn’t know when he'll find it again if he leaves and it’s too good of an opportunity to miss. Peter doesn’t understand completely but nods.

Afterwards, he watches as the man unearths an old looking jar and talks to it. He can’t make head or tail of what’s being said but the bottom line is that Argent opens the jar and something oppressively powerful comes out, hovers for a moment and leaves.

Not much later, in the man’s jeep, he resolves to win him. If he can have him for himself, he doesn’t care if his family doesn’t love him the way they should.

He doesn’t give the jacket back.

Kate has spent the whole weekend holed up in her room binging on snickerdoodles and Stiles has let her be and listened to her when she wanted to rant. Chris, who is visiting for Easter, tried once and afterwards has dedicated to resupply her with more sweets (that Stiles is steadily making) when she runs out.

The problem isn’t being dumped per se, no matter how unpleasant that was, but that the boy has gone out of his way to make it the most humiliating for her, with the added bonus of going for her best friend, Jessica. Former best friend. Did she mention that that former best friend has gotten her kicked out of the cheerleading team too?

Now, don’t be mistaken, Kate is a though lady, but she didn’t expect this at all and it hit her hard. She’ll get up like she always does, but for now she wants to wallow in her misery, thank you very much.

The next day, Stiles pokes his head into her room to ask her if she wants to go to the movies and it’s in the tip of her tongue to say no, but she takes a look around and decides she’s wallowed enough. She nods and he grins.

Of course, with her luck as it is, they run into them when they are buying snacks for the movie. She wants to bang her head into the nearest flat surface, but what she actually does is look at them as if they are beneath her, which, in reality, they are. She gets the satisfaction of seeing them bristle. She may be a damsel and in distress right now, but she doesn’t need the rescue because she also is a huntress and a ninja, as Stiles always tells her fondly.

They come near as a group, like the damn sheep they are, and try to bully her. Keyword: try.

“Kitty Kat?” Stiles comes to her side, passing an arm over her shoulders. Chris, as stoic as ever, stops on her other side. Jessica’s eyes bulge and it takes her a moment to remember that she has never actually met Stiles.

“You didn’t wait to replace me, huh?” her former boyfriend sneers, which is absurd, because Stiles is obviously way older than her. “What a…”

“So you are little Jimmy Wilson,” Stiles interrupts him, a wide dangerous smile in his face, his hand coming up to scratch at his beard. And then, not giving a damn about the fact that his preys are twelve year old kids, he proceeds to scare them to death without actually saying anything incriminating.

Kate starts laughing as soon as they scamper off, tears rolling down her face, and he embraces her, protecting her from prying eyes. “Oh, dad,” she hiccups. She doesn’t need the rescue, but it felt really, really nice, to be honest. She can be a huntress and a ninja another day.

Or maybe just a little bit later, because they skip the movie to play Hide-and-seek in the dark in their house, secret passways included, like they used to do when she was eight and starting stealth training.

The fourth time Peter sees Stiles Argent, he is eighteen and he’s standing beside Talia as her left hand, her husband Phillip on her other side, and they are reinforcing the treaty with her as the alpha. Alpha Deucalion and Alpha Satomi are present too. Christopher Argent flanks Stiles.

He shouldn’t be happy that it all goes to hell when rogue hunters attack the meeting place, but it gives him the opportunity to show how much he has improved on the last two years. He’s good and he knows it. He wouldn’t be Talia’s left hand at eighteen if he wasn’t.

Stiles Argent, though, is superb. Watching him fight is a thing of beauty. The way he mixes magic, guns and martial arts is an art on itself, flowing and brutal at the same time. A blast he produces reduces a hunter to a cloud of thin blood that evaporates. The skirmish is over in a matter of minutes. Peter has never wanted someone as he wants Stiles Argent.

Stiles gives him a hand to get up and his attention fixates on the jacket he’s wearing. The corner of his eyes wrinkle and his lips twitch. Peter grins delightedly.

“Wake up! It’s Christmas!” Stiles bellows from a level below and Kate groans. She decides to make a preemptive strike to avoid being squashed when he inevitably throws himself over her like every damn year, and seeks refuge in Chris' room, pillow in hand. His voice grows nearer and she rushes. “Come on, slowpokes! Up, up, up!”

Chris grunts when she rushes into his room but opens the sheets for her. He grunts again when her cold toes find home under his calves. They hear the distinct sound of a picture being taken before a dead weight falls over them and wiggles. They both groan in response.

“Okay then, I’ll eat these by myself if you don’t want any!” he singsongs as he races out of the bedroom and both siblings spring from the bed as if they have been ejected, rushing after him to the kitchen. Stiles only makes his famous Death by Chocolate monster cookies on Christmas. Missing them is a sure cause for tears and desolation.

Stiles laughs.

Before leaving for university to study law, Peter tries to insert his presence in as many aspects of Stiles’ life as he can but seems to be foiled again and again. He finally succeeds when a damn hydra starts attacking the merepeople because she wants to take over their territory. What starts as a simple research meeting evolves into a permanent fixture in their schedules because they enjoy their bickering way too much. Peter may or may not have executed the most undignified victory dance ever and got caught by Derek.

When he actually leaves, he cons a promise out of Stiles to keep those dates up via Skype. They do it throughout the whole four years that his university stint lasts. His papers for class always end up featured in the professor’s lessons because Stiles is a devious little shit that dismantles all his arguments with ease, making him work for airtight ones. He graduates valedictorian.

He’s so stupidly in love with him that he doesn’t even look at anybody else the whole four years.

Kate debates between laughing at her dad’s babbling and crying herself. Chris is looking very handsome in his wedding suit and he looks like he himself is debating between being amused at Stiles' antics and exasperated. They both share a smile. She passes him a tissue and he blows noisily.

She will be eternally grateful for her dad appearing in her life. What would have been of them if Gerard was still alive? She shudders. Thinking logically, she’s always know that he had something to do with Gerard’s disappearance, but she doesn’t care. This wonderful man came into their lives and turned them around completely. He gave them love and understanding in equal measures, and also the tools to make themselves self-sufficient, to be able to stand on their own two feet proudly. He let them try new things for themselves, helping them when they needed it, cheering them on their successes and catching them on their failures. Can anyone question why she loves him so much?

When Victoria starts walking down the aisle, her dad gives her a kiss on the crown of her head first and then another in her forehead before rushing to his allocated position as the groom’s best man. At the reception, when he gives his mandatory speech, he threatens the bride again, like he did all those years ago, and Kate laughs so hard that she cries. Chris facepalms.

Yes, she will always be thankful of his presence in her life.

Peter is twenty-six when his fourteen year long campaign bears fruits. He eyes the naked sleepy man beside him and smiles.

“Yeah, yeah, persistent little bastard… you win. If you have time to be smug, bring me some coffee,” the man grumbles and Peter snickers but complies, placing an affectionate kiss on his shoulder before going to the kitchen.

“What’s the plan today?” Peter asks, coaxing Stiles to lay on his chest between his legs, his own back leaning on the headboard.

“I promised to take Allison to the park.” Stiles will never get over the fact that he’s a granddad at thirty-four years old. Sometimes he still doesn’t believe it.

Later, at the park with a two year old Allison, his breath catches and Peter looks at him questioningly. He closes his eyes and smiles at him, leaning for a kiss to make what’s coming more sweet than bitter.

“Ah, hello! Is she your daughter?”

“Granddaughter, in fact.” In the sandbox Allison laughs. “Stiles Argent, nice to meet you.”

“Claudia Stilinski. Nice to meet you too.” She looks to her right and beckons a man closer. “This is John, my husband. And that little boy is our son, Miłosław.”

Allison laughs again, making grabby hands at him and he indulges her. She hugs him and plants a wet kiss on his cheek. He carries her to where a little boy with way too much energy and not an ounce of power of concentration sits. He knows that the kid has a difficult time making friends even at this age, which is probably why his mother has approached a complete stranger in the park.

“Hello there, Miłosław,” he ignores the surprised gasp from behind, “this is Allison. Do you want to be friends?”