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A Spoonful of Sugar

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He’s so stunned that he opens and closes his mouth twice before managing to get actual words out. “Because you’ve been paying me?”

Peter’s jaw ticks as he clenches his teeth, but he takes a slow breath before speaking. When he does, his voice is carefully even. “We’re going to have a long talk tomorrow, sort out whatever backwards assumptions you may have made about me and what this is between us, but for right now, you’re going to let me take care of you. Understood?”

Stiles ducks his head, nodding. When there’s no response, he realizes Peter wants his words. “Yes, Daddy,” he whispers.

“Good boy.” Peter’s hand clasps the back of his neck, squeezing once before letting go. “Now, let’s get out of here.”

The hand Peter holds out for him to take shouldn’t make relief—light and sweet like soda—bubble up inside him, but it does. He slips his fingers into Peter’s, and lets himself be led out of the clinic.

 

***

 

He wakes up the next morning, and for a moment, he doesn’t remember where he is. Then he catches the smell of Peter on the sheets, and he remembers.

He gets out of bed carefully, because moving is painful, and when he sees what time it is, he starts to panic. It’s Friday, his class starts in fifteen—

“Calm down, sweetheart.”

He turns to see Peter in the doorway. “I have class, I’m going to be late—”

Peter shakes his head. “You’re taking today to rest, because you need it and your health is more important. But before you work yourself into a panic, first things first: breakfast and meds.”

He’s nodding and following Peter before he’s consciously decided to. He’s uneasy in a way he can’t quite name, so he uses the excuse of coffee, toast, and eggs to keep quiet. It’s not until Peter’s handing him his Adderall and painkillers that he remembers what happened last night. What he said.

His heart skips a beat before beginning to pound erratically. Peter gives him a sharp look, so he takes as deep a breath as he can manage and starts rambling. “So, I’ll need to get in touch with my prof about missing class—and I really, really wish I’d gotten a doctor’s note while we were there last night—and email Jenn about getting notes from today. Although, the upside is that at least I only have one class today, so it could be worse, I guess.”

Peter’s expression is amused. “Mm. I did get a doctor’s note for you from the clinic, which should make things easier going forward, and there’s no rush to contact your friend about notes—she won’t have taken them yet.”

“True. And, uh, thanks for getting the doctor’s note.” Another thought occurs to him. “Shit, I need to call my dad. He’ll need to know about this, but oh my god, I do not want a lecture.” He drops his head onto Peter’s breakfast bar. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”

A hand cards through his hair. “I’ve already called him, so he knows. He wants to talk to you, but you should be able to sidestep at least some unpleasantness.”

He sits up so fast he nearly gives himself whiplash, dislodging Peter’s hand on the process. “Wait. You talked to my dad? Why? That might have been the worst idea you ever had, and yes, I’m including biting Scott.”

Peter quirks an eyebrow. “I don’t know. Perhaps I contacted him because his son, whom I happen to care about, was injured and unable to call himself? Or perhaps I was hoping to shock him into a cardiac event, deposing the Sheriff in step one of my diabolical plot to take over Beacon Hills.” He gives Stiles a dry look.

Stiles ducks his head, flushing, hoping to avoid the topic of Peter and feelings. “Hey, weirder things have happened. You don’t wanna be taken for a Disney villain, maybe you shouldn’t act like one.”

“Stiles, we need to talk.”

He shakes his head, and leans away from the counter. “Nope, no we don’t. Nothing good ever follows those words.”

Before he can make his escape, however, Peter’s cupping his jaw, and turning him to meet those blue, blue eyes. “Stiles.”

He closes his eyes, deflating. “Fine. Let’s get this over with.”

Peter’s thumb strokes his cheek. “Sweet boy, tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”

“Do I have to?” It’s a token protest, and he doesn’t open his eyes to see whatever look Peter gives him for it. “I just—I grew feelings, okay? And I know it’s stupid, that this is—okay, it’s not just a business arrangement for you, because I’m pack, and this whole,” he flaps a hand at Peter, “sugar daddy thing is about sating pack instincts, but I know I somehow ended up in inappropriate territory, alright? I know. I’ve been trying to deal with it.” He drags a hand over his face, before opening his eyes. “I don’t exactly know how it happened, but I’m sorry.”

Peter’s expression is soft, and that—he doesn’t know how to deal with that. He doesn’t want to hurt Peter, doesn’t want this to be any more painful than it has to be, but he’s more than a little scared about what’s gonna happen, because there’s a reason he got tangled up with Peter in the first place and that reason hasn’t disappeared. Before he can get too lost in his building anxiety spiral, Peter tuts.

“I thought I was clear with you. I’m not sure whether I overestimated your intelligence, or underestimated your self-esteem.” Stiles squawks, but Peter goes on. “So let me be clear now,” he pauses, and Stiles holds his breath. “You are mine. My packmate, my companion, my boy. Of course I care for you.”

Stiles hears what isn't said, and the relief has him listing sideways until he’s slumped against Peter, resting his head on a broad shoulder. “Really?”

“I told you, I’ve always liked you, Stiles.”

And well, yeah, he did, but. “Okay, I just. Those feelings I mentioned? They, uh. Might be deep?”

Stiles refuses to put a name to them. This is insane enough already.

Peter cups the back of his head. “It’s natural, baby. The bond between a Dom and their sub is intense. It’s a very intimate relationship.”

He hadn’t thought of it that way. “So it’s—it’s just the sex?” For some reason, that thought makes him feel cold and hollow.

“No, sweetheart. It’s not just sex—sex is intimate, yes, but what we’ve been doing is more than that. And, even if you weren’t my sweet boy, we’re still pack. All of that makes this . . . visceral.”

It’s a lot to take in. “So, what does that mean? What now?”

Peter turns to kiss his forehead. “That’s up to you, sweetheart.”

 

***

 

He spends the rest of the day and another night with Peter, but they don’t talk. Not about anything important. Instead, they’re mostly quiet, sharing food and the couch as they watch TV. He hates how much he loves it, how comfortable and warm it is and probably shouldn’t be.

Saturday, he reluctantly convinces Peter to take him back to his dorm. He has class, and things he has to get done before Monday. Peter’s not happy about it, but drops him off anyway.

Of course, once alone, Stiles thinks about all the things he didn’t want a werewolf sniffer picking up on, because privacy is a wonderful thing, thank you very much. He tries to distract himself for about half an hour with some course reading, but it doesn’t work. He’s not retaining the words on the page. He needs to work this out, and the only person he trusts to help him with that is also the person with the most reason to punish him right now.

Lydia.

So, yeah. He’s about three seconds away from full-blown panic when he taps the icon to call her, but he does, in fact, tap it, which is what counts. She picks up on the third ring. “Stiles? What in the actual hell is going on that you’re calling me on a Saturday this close to finals?”

Whoops. “So sorry, Lyds, I’ll be sure to schedule my next breakdown at a more convenient time.”

If he’d hoped the snark would put her at ease, he was wrong. Her voice turns sharp. “Tell me exactly what’s going on right now, or so help me, I will make you suffer.”

He winces, because her threats aren’t idle. “It’s the sugar daddy,” he blurts.

She pauses. “Okay. What’s happened that you’re calling me about it? You said you had it handled.”

He swallows, cheeks heating with embarrassment. “So, uh. It turns out that I got stupid, and developed feelings.”

“Oh, honey.”

He pretends not to hear the sympathy. “And, like, I know that that’s stupid and inappropriate and not what he signed up for, but like. Apparently he has feelings too?”

There’s a long moment where neither of them speak. “You’re telling me that you both have feelings for each other, correct?” He grunts an affirmative. “You’ve both verbally acknowledged that you have feelings for each other?” He grunts again, tamping down annoyance. “Okay, and? What’s the problem here?”

He takes a deep breath and is unspeakably grateful she’s several hours away. “Um. My sugar daddy might be Peter. As in Hale. From Beacon Hills.”

There’s a long pause, and his lungs squeeze in panic as the silence drags. Before he can beg her to say something, anything, she finally speaks. “I don’t even know what to say to you right now. I can’t believe you didn’t tell me.”

He shuts his eyes. “I’m sorry, it’s just—”

“Did you not trust me enough to tell me? Or were you stupid enough to think I’m too delicate to talk about Peter? You do realize I’ve had actual interactions with him since he rose from the grave, right?”

And fuck, fuck, that isn’t what he thought at all. “It wasn’t that I don’t trust you or thought you needed protection, I just—”

“You just what?”

“I was scared, okay?”

That stops her cold, and when she speaks again, her voice is quieter, deliberately soft. “What were you afraid of, Stiles?”

He sighs. “Of what you’d think of me, alright?”

“Oh,” she breathes. “You were ashamed.”

This time, he’s the one who’s silent. Finally, he unsticks his tongue and mumbles, “Maybe.”

She sighs, sounding tired. “Have you been otherwise honest with me about the state of things between the two of you?”

“Yes?” He draws it out, making it a question he doesn’t have words for.

“You weren’t worried about his control? He wasn’t pressuring you for more than you wanted to give sexually? He didn’t intimidate or manipulate you?”

“What? No!” He’s so shocked—by the questions, the very idea of Peter trying to do that to him now, of lying to her—that he half-yells. “Sorry.”

She huffs an almost-laugh. “Then, from what you’ve told me? There isn’t really a reason not to give a relationship with him a shot.”

“What? Lydia, are you high right now? You promised me after the thing with the mushrooms you weren’t gonna try new drugs if I wasn’t there to keep an eye on you.”

“No, you moron.” He smiles a little, almost able to hear her rolling her eyes. “But, just. Think about it. I know that Peter has a bad history, one that makes all of us wary of him. But, from everything you’ve told me, he’s been good to you, and you’ve enjoyed spending time with him. The fact that he’s someone you’ve known a number of years, that he knows about the supernatural and what you’ve been through—and vice versa—actually,” she pauses, snorting. “I hate to say it, but it actually makes the two of you a good match.”

“I do not believe what I’m hearing right now. Who are you, and what have you done with Lydia Martin?”

“Just shut up and listen for a second.”

He nods, then remembers she can’t see it. She seems to take his silence as obedience anyhow, and he has a moment to think that he’s been very well trained before she goes on. “I will never like Peter. I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for what he did to me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand why he did it. He’s kind of fucked up, and the world has fucked him over, but the thing about having survived Beacon Hills is that that’s going to be true for all of us. We’ve all done things that would make your average civilian run screaming. We’ve all been affected by what’s happened to us, and made questionable choices as a result.”

“Questionable choices? Really?”

“Granted, some Peter’s choices were more questionable than others.”

He rubs his eyebrow. “That seems like an understatement.” She hums, but doesn’t speak. “So you really—you think I should go for it?”

“Stiles, you were in a really bad place when you called me in February. You needed help, and he gave it to you. Not for free, but he was decent about it. He gave you what you needed, and you’ve been happier lately.”

He decides to shelve that for now. “I don’t know what I’m gonna tell people.”

“Isn’t it a little early for that?”

He huffs because, technically, yes, but also: werewolves. If he goes home for the summer smelling like Peter, the jig will be up. “You honestly think this is something that I can keep a secret?”

After a long moment, she says, “Probably not.” He very politely doesn’t say I told you so. “Look, I understand why you’re hesitant, so if you want, I’ll tell the pack. You’ll still have to explain it, because they will definitely have questions, but if pass on the news, they’ll have time to get a handle on themselves before you have to deal with the Inquisition.”

“You’d really do that for me?” He’s not going to cry. He’s not.

“Mhm. But you’re telling your dad.”

And, well. That’s fair. “I don’t deserve you.”

“We’ll have to agree to disagree on that.” He can hear her smile in her voice. “Oh, and Stiles?”

“Yeah?”

“Let Peter know that if something happens to you on his watch, he’d better hope Scott or Derek get to him before I do.”

He laughs wetly. “Will do.”

 

***

 

He figures that, before he calls his dad and risks giving his old man a heart attack, he should probably make sure that he and Peter are doing this. Lydia agreed, so here he is, trying to will his heart to calm the fuck down as he rides the elevator up to Peter’s apartment.

He’s let in and waved through immediately, and he doesn’t stop to think about what that means. Instead he sits at the dining table, needing some space between them. If Peter touches him right now, he doesn’t know what he’ll do, but they need to talk. So—of course—he freezes.

After an unbearable amount of time, Peter breaks the silence. “Say what you came here to say, baby.”

Hearing the pet name makes the tension bleed out of his shoulders. “Okay, so you know how you said that what happens now is up to me?”

Peter nods slowly. “Yes.”

“I, um. I want to try? A relationship, I mean. I just—I don’t know what that would mean, with you, because of,” he stops, gesturing between them.

Understanding lights Peter’s face. “You’re worried about what it means for our arrangement.”

Stiles shifts uncomfortably. “Yeah, I mean. I don’t want you to think that I’m just with you for the money, because I’m not, but—” he has to take a deep breath, because he can feel his cheeks heating. “But if you suddenly decided to stop giving me a monthly allowance, I’d be in trouble.”

He’s looking down, picking at his cuticles, so he starts when Peter touches his forearm. “I’m not going to stop providing for you, sweetheart. I like doing it, remember?”

He licks his lips. “I remember. I just don’t know if it’s because you like the power it gives you over me, or because I’m pack.”

Peter tilts his head. “It can’t be both?”

“You realize how scary that sounds, right? Like, that is fear-for-your-safety levels of scary.”

Peter dips his chin, humming. “What about it is frightening, darling?”

“Uh, how dependent that makes me on you?” His hands ball up on the table, and he has to work to unclench them.

Peter leans back in his chair, studying Stiles for a long moment. “Being independent matters to you that much?”

“Yeah, well, when you say it like that, of course it sounds dumb.” He rolls his bottom lip into his mouth, nibbling on it as he tries to figure out how to put it into words. “I mean, I’m used to being independent. The idea of not being independent feels weird, and not in a good way. But mostly it’s—I need to know that I have the option to walk away, if I need to. I don’t wanna feel like I have to choose between staying with you or being able to eat.”

“I can understand that.” He gives Peter a look, because he really doesn’t think rich lawyer dude does, but Peter goes on before he can comment. “However, if that’s a major concern for you, I can offer you a severance package, of sorts.”

His eyebrows are climbing his forehead, but—“I’m listening.”

“I would write you a cheque for, say, three thousand dollars. You would keep it, and cash it after you and I . . . ended,” he finishes delicately.

Stiles swallows, his mouth suddenly dry. “That’s—that’s a lot of money, Peter.”

“It is, but if we split, you would need new living arrangements, and that money would ensure you could find somewhere decent. It would also ensure you weren’t financially distressed immediately upon leaving me.”

He can feel his pulse in his fingertips. What he’s hearing is hard to believe. “Okay, uh, leaving aside how incredibly generous that is, what do you mean by ‘living arrangements’?”

“I mean you would be living with me.”

His mouth falls open, and his brain shuts down. “What? I just. What?”

Peter sighs, and gives a little smirk. Like what he said was obvious. “Stiles, if I’m financially supporting you as your romantic partner rather than within our current arrangement, the best way to do so is to have you move in with me.”

“You want me to move in?” This is surreal. This is officially weirder than werewolves.

Peter tilts his head, considering. “Not right away, of course. It would probably be best for you to finish out the semester in your dorm, and spend a few nights a week here with me over the summer before moving in at the start of your sophomore year.”

“That sounds bizarrely reasonable.”

Peter huffs. “I do that from time to time. If you’re concerned about specifics, we can do what we did at the beginning of our arrangement and sit down to hash it all out, get it on paper. But is there anything else that you need to know, or need to tell me, that’s a determining factor?”

And, now that Peter mentions it, yeah. There is. “So, the whole—the daddy thing, does it—”

Peter cups his cheek, lips tilted into the smallest of smiles. “Yes, sweetheart. I’ll still be your Daddy, and you’ll be my baby. That was never down to our arrangement. It’s just what I like, and what you happen to like, too.”

He can feel the skin under Peter’s hand go hot. “I never said that.”

Peter quirks an eyebrow. “You didn’t have to.” Peter pulls away with a sigh. “Of course, if you’re going to be living with me, then that will change things.”

“How? I’ll call you ‘Daddy’ when we bang, and you’re gonna call me ‘baby’. What changes?”

Peter shakes his head. “I know you’ve done more research than that by now, and if you haven’t, that’s a separate conversation. But this isn’t something I can simply turn off. Our arrangement let me provide for you, and part of that is pack instinct. But part of it is caring for you because you’re mine, and you need it. Neither of those things will change once you’re living with me, but the fact that we have a pre-established power dynamic creates the potential for,” Peter pauses, searching for the right word, but Stiles is nodding, his mind filling in the blanks.

If it’s hard to say “no” to Peter when he feels all fuzzy around the edges, and he can’t go to his dorm for some time alone to sort out his thoughts, then yeah, they might run into problems. Weirdly enough, having it pointed out now makes him feel better about what Peter’s proposing. “Okay, yeah. I see what you mean. So, how’re we gonna do this?”

Peter smiles, and Stiles doesn’t think he’s imagining the pride in it.

 

***

 

The end of the semester—and his freshman year, Jesus—flies by in a frenzy of papers, studying, finals, and spending time with Peter. He's still arm-candy, but mostly they figure their shit out. He keeps Lydia updated, as per her demands, and she doesn't say anything to anyone yet, as per his. He wants to feel good about him and Peter before having to deal with invasive questions and judgement and attempts to break them up.

(And okay, granted, that last one isn't super-likely, but he wouldn't put it past Scott to try. So he's playing it safe.)

But while they've figured out as much as they can for now—Stiles will pay ridiculously low rent to Peter once he moves in, because it’ll give him the same protections as any other tenant, and he’ll keep his job at the bookstore so he has money of his own, and they’ve worked out a tentative set of rules for how the kinky shit will work that they'll test-drive during his visits over the summer—there’s no good way to explain how they got together. Telling the truth is pretty much out of the question. Scott will inadvertently call him a prostitute, Derek will probably try to kill Peter again, and his dad . . .

Yeah, what the hell he's gonna tell his dad is probably the biggest problem. And he’s so frustrated with himself for waiting so long, because now it’s 2am on the Thursday before he’s supposed to go back for the summer, and he’s crying on Peter’s couch. He’s not even trying to think about what to tell his dad anymore, he just feels bad that it’s so hard. It shouldn’t be this hard.

Peter pads down the hall a few minutes later. He doesn’t say anything, doesn’t reprimand Stiles for waking him or crying or not coming to him. He just sits, pulling Stiles against his bare chest.

“S-sorry.”

Peter’s hand rubs soothingly up and down his back, as he mumbles, “You’re alright. I’m here, baby. Daddy’s got you.”

And that, that makes him cry harder, because it’s exactly what he wants to hear but not from the person he desperately wants to hear it from.

 

***

 

The next day, he decides to get it over with and calls his dad. It goes as expected. The Sheriff swears, Stiles isn’t allowed to, they argue, his dad hangs up angry. Stiles knows that the next time they talk, it’ll be calmer, more reasonable. But right now he’s still shaking from all the things he didn’t say, so he puts his phone on silent, and finds Peter.

“Daddy? I—I think I need to go down. Just for a little while.”

Peter nods, setting his book aside and pulling Stiles into his lap. “Whatever you need. Did you have something specific in mind?”

He shakes his head, nuzzling Peter’s shoulder. “I don’t—I just wanna feel good for a while.”

“I can give you that.”

He ends up over Peter’s knee, a silicone plug nudging his prostate every time Peter’s palm connects with his backside. They haven’t done this before, but it’s exactly what he needs right now. It’s just him and Peter and the way everything feels soft and warm. Peter spanks him again, and he moans a little, melting into the bed.

“That’s it, sweet boy. You’re taking it so well for me.”

He whines, arching, and lets himself drift away in a haze of sensation.