The door was offensively boring. Located on a high-end street with no renovations done for the past few years, it was everything one could expect; grey, metallic, with a somewhat tasteful design that was repeated over and over again in every other door. The only interesting parts were how the grey paint was peeling at the top corner of the metal and the scratches that told tales of leans against it and scrambles for desperate support. Stiles glanced at the card Erica had shoved into his hands and grimaced.
“D.A.D.D.Y. Hale,” he read aloud, louder than he was supposed to, and winced, glancing around to see if anyone had heard him. At this hour the only other person within thirty feet was an old hag with a turban for a hat and a cat in her bag. Somehow she seemed to walk with the same purpose Lydia did whenever she had set her sight on something… or someone.
Stiles shivered. He couldn’t be happier that they had settled for academic rivalry and sniped words over dinner table whenever their parents called their makeshift family together for a Sunday lunch. While he was glad he was no longer an only child in a sense—nor could wish for a better sister if he was honest—having her over was always such a whirlwind that he didn’t understand how Jackson still stuck around. Was it the heels? Did he like being stepped over?
His eyes drifted down again and he made another face. He rummaged through his bag until he found his phone. Unlocking took barely a thought as he quickly swiped the speed dial and waited for the call to connect.
“Are you sure you didn’t give me the wrong person?” he asked the moment he heard the telling break in the beeps. “Absolutely sure? Surest as the sure sure Sammy Sam? Sure as in—”
“Stiles,” Erica’s exasperated lilt cut him off. “I got the card from Derek. You know he wouldn’t stand for it if it was a prank.”
Stiles glanced at the offending card. His doubt couldn’t be clearer when he cautiously asked, “…You got it from Derek?”
“You mean our Derek?”
“The sourpuss Derek that we both know? The one who has a stick so far up his—”
“That Derek, yes, got it.” He still couldn’t believe it. “…He’s related to someone using daddy as his acronym?”
“The Hale part stands for Peter Hale. His uncle,” Erica supplied, voice far too amused to be entirely helpful. “I’ve met him. It’s accurate.” The leer was unmistakable.
“Not what I asked.”
“Yes, it was,” she snorted. “Now get in and get your… stick.”
“For the last time, Erica, I’m not—!”
Her mocking laugh was abruptly cut off as she hung up on him. Stiles was left to stare at his phone, annoyance growing by the second. The turban cat lady had stopped and was now watching him with her beady bug eyes. Stiles stuffed the phone back into his bag, gave her the finger and pushed the door open.
Or tried to. It didn’t budge.
He took a deep breath and pulled instead, finding no resistance. He sent more curses Erica’s way—this had to be her fault somehow, most of his humiliating experiences were—and Derek’s for good measure but forged forward regardless.
Stepping into the lift and getting out eighteen—eighteen—floors later, Stiles moved past the few doors that could have led to Madame Tussaud’s for all he cared, focusing only on the door near the end of the corridor. He had honestly no idea why a Hale would want to offer their services here of all places. It couldn’t be the rent as, while he knew for a fact that Derek was loaded and that his older sister’s law school hadn’t left her with a single penny in debt, it would absolutely be a waste to stay here unless Hale extorted his customers. The upper floors were reserved for those paying around ten grand a month or more, Stiles had checked.
Erica had said he was interested in antiques and finding them for a price, with the addition of those with a supernatural flare—hence why Stiles was looking for him—but this was no place for a shop like that either.
Seriously, the eighteenth floor?
Well. Considering that Hale was a werewolf, yeah, Stiles might get why he wanted to be lowkey, but there was lowkey and then there was this.
The door Stiles stopped in front of had a plaque with a relatively ordinary lettering again proclaiming a number 37. That was it, just a number. Nothing that claimed this place belonged to a pervert.
What about your internet history? Erica’s voice floated in his mind, entirely unwelcome.
“Shut up,” he murmured.
No mention of D.A.D.D.Y. anywhere near here. No information what the part might mean. Erica had to be pranking him, the way she had taken him to a gay club before he had completely shrugged off his Lydia-pink shades—and prior to the whole stepsibling thing, that is—and embraced both genders like he was born to. If this was her way to make him go to someone’s sex dungeon instead to figure out his kinks—
“Are you coming in or do you intend to hover there the rest of the day?” a voice rang through the door, giving Stiles yet another pause. It was low and pleasant, with a hint of an edge that could turn into a growl at any given moment. Someone who knew how to give orders and expected others to obey them too. Definitely did not take away any doubts lingering in Stiles’ mind.
“Can I think about it for a minute?” he raised his voice to call back. “I’m still unsure whether or not I am being led to my doom or not.”
“Do so somewhere else then. You are making it hard to focus.”
“Focus on what?” Stiles asked before he could stop himself. He could practically hear the eyeroll from the other room.
“Get in or get out.”
Well, when you put it like that. Stiles shrugged to himself and pushed the door open, letting himself in and—
It wasn’t a sex dungeon.
Stiles ignored the part of him that was slightly disappointed and merely took in the more tasteful design that managed to combine the harsh lines of minimalism to the abundance of wealth the whole district reeked. The walls were a soft white with one painted a dark red, the dance of light and dark continuing through all the furniture to carpets and curtains. The place looked straight from one of Lydia’s magazines and Stiles could imagine the little print describing the apartment and its owner.
The dark passion of the mahogany meeting with the tainted purity of the mind—
He shook his head. This wasn’t why he had come here.
“Are you Peter Hale?” he asked from thin air, slowly moving towards the room nearby with light peeking into the corridor. “I got your card.”
“I didn’t send any out this Christmas,” came the answer from inside the room. Stiles snorted as he reached the doorway and stepped in.
“Nothing I could put on the refrigerator anyway, I bet. I heard you collect special items for a price?”
The man—Hale—inside the room was bent over a large, dusty old book that even from a distance looked magical and Stiles itched to get his hands all over it. It reminded him of the tomes Deaton kept inside his backroom of his office which he kept under lock and key. If asked from the vet, no one but Scott had ever been inside the room. If asked from Scott…
Well. Scott never found out the reason he couldn’t find his keys on that one Tuesday a few years back, so Scott had nothing to say about it. Stiles, on the other hand, had a lot but, honestly, Deaton had refused to help him with his magic even a little bit. If looked from his perspective, he was entirely justified!
Besides, Deaton’s security system was awful. At that point, the guy was begging to have his office be broken into. And it wasn’t like Stiles had done anything but borrow a couple of books. At a time. He had even returned them after copying everything!
Then the guy broke Stiles’ intense intellectual longing by raising his head and meeting Stiles’ gaze with a piercing blue look. He swallowed as he took in the strong features that yelled how he was the best-looking man in the room and he knew it, the strong jawline and shoulders that could carry the world and not feel it. Stiles refused to let his eyes drop to see just how toned the man’s body was—he hadn’t been able to see it that well when the man had been hunching—but he was certain the rest of him was just as great as the top.
Jesus. If this actually was Erica’s idea of matchmaking—no, focus. Stiles cleared his throat, inadvertently watching as the guy’s smirk turning just a tad bit smug. Even that was hot. Damn it.
“I’m Stiles. Stilinski. You might know me through Derek.”
Hale inclined his head, eyeing Stiles with much less restraint than Stiles had shown. “I recognized your voice from behind the door. You yell a lot at my nephew. His phone bill blew up after he met you.”
“Well, he’s being stupid a lot. Can’t help it,” Stiles replied before he could shut his trap and, whoa, he just insulted the guy’s pack. Yikes.
“Unfortunately you are right.” Wait, he was? “His lack of judgement has always caused him far too much trouble than he’s worth.”
“That’s a bit rude.” Stiles said, instinctually rising to defend his friend even though he’s always ragged at him about the same thing. “He’s just…” Say something clever, please. “Derek.”
Hale’s smirk widened and Stiles wanted to die. “You may call me Peter,” Hale—Peter—said, letting the matter drop graciously. “You said you came to see me for a… business arrangement?”
That sounded far too much like a suggestion of a different sort. Stiles was still gripping the card in his left hand and somehow it managed to burn his skin.
“Yeah, I, uh.” He waved the card, attempting to make it somehow stop being on invisible fire. “A friend of mine gave me your card. From Derek. After I complained about not having materials to make my own amplifier. I am, ah, magic,” he said and then adding, “a spark.”
Peter moved away from his tome until he was able to lean against the table, somehow managing to be poised, relaxed, and looking like he was on display when he was actually not—or the other way around, Stiles didn’t know, but he appreciated the sight of his tight shirt and jeans either way.
“Your power comes from belief,” Peter said, apparently being one of the few who actually knew what being a spark entailed. “Why would you need an amplifier?”
Stiles shrugged. Sure, it sounded stupid and something that shouldn’t or wouldn’t work, but since Lydia had helped him look into it, he knew he wasn’t too far off, so he just said, “Merlin.” Peter gestured him to continue, so he explained, “So I started with the Potter series as a kid, you know, like every kid born in the nineties, and, like, they were interesting, you know? But lately I went into a binge and realized the wizards were using their wands more as a way to control their magic. The wand woods and cores were completely bullshit, as I read into it, but it all had to come somewhere, right?
“So I went digging. Merlin is one of the best-known magic users to date and a born one to boot. I mean, he’s a warlock and I’m a spark, but we are no druids, so there’s that thing we share. About always having magic and not just learning it from others. Even if his manifested way earlier and—that’s not important. The point is that he used a staff to amplify his magic, helping him direct it, and I thought…” he trailed off. When he had gone this over with Lydia, it had seemed so simple. But they were both amateurs in the end. Peter was a professional. Oh shit, what if he thought he was off his rocker and laughed at him like—
“I can see where you are coming from,” Peter said instead. Instead of making fun of him, he tapped his crossed arms in his thought. “You believe this will help you?”
“My mom never learned to direct hers and she died.” Stiles saw Peter’s attention snap on him that instant and he just shrugged again, self-deprecating smile on his face. “As you can see, I am desperate.”
“So rather than an amplifier, perhaps something more of a director…” Peter mused aloud and Stiles nodded along. “Are you looking for the specific type of wood Merlin used? Many sources suggest a gem was placed on top of it to act as the conduit.”
“I was thinking of using a smaller version, hence why my friend likes to call me discount Potter.” Stiles winced at the descriptor. “I know I just ragged on Rowling but I can’t just walk with a stick half my size everywhere.”
“Nor with a Potter wand; one that size would only break under the strain in any case.”
Peter lifted his head to stare at the ceiling, giving Stiles an ample view of his neck. Jesus. Stiles needed Jesus after this. He had wank material for years to come.
He directed his attention quick to the bookcases lining the office. Some were classics he had seen in Deaton’s office but most were names he had never seen before. The theory on necromancy was particularly interesting to him and he wondered if he could borrow it for Lydia. It might have a chapter or two on banshees…
“I am going to need to research this,” Peter finally said. He tapped his left bicep twice, nodded, and then turned back to Stiles. “Your dilemma is intriguing. I do not know if it is possible but in theory it should be.”
“Yeah, that’s what my stepsister and I thought as well. Take all the time you need.” Stiles scratched his head. “Um, do you want to be paid by the hour or…? Because I am a fulltime student and my loans…”
“Considering I don’t know if I can take the job, I will not charge you for the research,” Peter said magnanimously. “Although you need to understand I am not doing this from the goodness of my heart. We can discuss the price when I can tell you if it is possible or not.”
“That’s… honestly more than I expected,” Stiles admitted. “You were kind of my last resource. My friends and I have exhausted all the other options we could think of and when Erica asked her pack, well…”
“Reyes?” Something in Peter’s voice changed. Stiles narrowed his eyes just a tad.
“Yeah, that’s her.”
“I should have known, considering you said you know my nephew.” Peter shook his head but didn’t elaborate. Something in his stance changed, however, and Stiles was pinned by a look that was hungrier than before.
It confirmed his suspicions then; helping him with his magic wasn’t the only thing Erica wanted to help him with. After all, he knew she knew his type down to a D. He flexed his fingers, remembering the card in his hold again.
“What does the acronym stand for?” Stiles blurted out, unable to hold it back anymore. From the way Peter didn’t even twitch, that was a very predictable question he had been asked far too many times.
“I have two I use, depending on the situation.”
That gave Stiles a pause. “You… what? Registered your brand so you could switch the meaning whenever you felt like it?”
“What can I say? It was free for the taking, my sister hated it, and it’s the perfect way to steer away customers who I definitely would not like to make business with.”
In a very roundabout way it made sense. However— “Two situations?”
Peter cleared his throat. Considering the smugness he emitted, it was all an act. “My business is officially called ‘Desirables and Antiquities from the Delightfully Daring and Yieldless’ Peter Hale.”
“‘Delectably Attractive, Dazzlingly Devious and Yieldless’.”
“You used yieldless twice,” Stiles pointed out although he… honestly couldn’t find any other flaw on the name. Peter was, unfairly, all of the things he had pointed out. Not a single lie in any word. It was both infuriating and hot.
Peter looked almost amused and his tone definitely was. “Do you have any better suggestion?”
Stiles thought of it for a minute. “…Young-at-heart?” he tried. “Yare?”
“What am I, a child? A boat?” Peter huffed a laugh. Even that was attractive, what the fuck. “To be perfectly candid, it was mostly to fuck with my sister. You have met Talia, haven’t you?”
Stiles had. Considering what he had learned about Peter in this short time—
Yeah, he could say he understood.
Peter then moved from his position by his desk, stalking forward with the grace of a predator. Stiles’ mouth suddenly dried.
“So,” Peter said, stopping right in front of him. “Do we have a deal?”
“Deal?” Stiles echoed before his brain restarted itself. “Deal. Deal! Yes, deal. We have a deal.” He took Peter’s offered hand and shook it. His grip was just as strong as he had imagined and the heat of his body—
Stiles laughed nervously, heartbeat fluttering. “Honestly, I thought I was walking into a sex dungeon the first time I was presented the card,” he confessed, attempting to take his hand back to scratch his head. “You know, with the name and all…” Peter, however, seemed to have a different idea as his grip only tightened. He leaned into Stiles’ personal space and Stiles’ heart skipped a beat in its hurry.
“You weren’t completely wrong,” he breathed, tone suddenly taking a dive for the rougher. “It’s just down the hallway.” And then the smirk was back with a hint of teeth. “Care to join me for a… different kind of business?”
Stiles licked his lips and watched as Peter intentionally lowered his gaze to follow the movement, flicking it back with the invitation written in the darkening hues of blue. “Deals for all new customers?” he asked in return.
“Only for the ones I like.”
Son of a bitch.
He really did owe Erica that gift basket.
“No further appointments?”
“None for today.”
Stiles didn’t move back, only mirrored Peter’s stance so their breaths mingled between them. Calculation entered his expression as he asked one final clarification, “Separating business and pleasure?”
The smugness turned into delight as Peter practically purred, “Always.”
Then… there was no problem. The decision made, Stiles nodded, the movement barely brushing their lips together. Peter pressed forward and Stiles opened himself to the heated exploration. It was not tender by any means but spoke of practice and slow, calculated seduction. He didn’t allow himself to lose his mind to it, meeting the challenge head on.
They separated. Peter’s naked hunger and flashing approval brought more fire to Stiles’ desires than any of his actions before. With one last heated look, Peter stepped out of his office. It took less time for Stiles’ brain to catch up this time—a miracle, considering all the blood that had rushed downstairs—and he followed eagerly barely a step behind Peter. If this panned out, Stiles vowed to make Erica’s basket the gaudiest he could for Christmas from her favourite sex shop. Naturally to open at her parents’ place. She and Boyd would thank him after he avoided their murder attempt. It was all she deserved after what she put him through.
Yet, he had a good feeling, one that claimed that he might have a… different kind of father figure to save him from her wrath this time. If he played his cards right, that is, and for once he was interested enough to try. Which reminded him.
“Just saying, my issues are all about my mom, not dad.”
The next time Stiles saw Noah, the only word he resolutely called him was ‘pops’.