I have this sudden urge to write a story where Stiles has been under a curse all his life, to protect and help Beacon Hills forever and he's bound there and the only way to break the curse is to speak his name. But nobody knows what it is and he can't speak of the curse or say his own name so no-one realizes that he's under a curse. And every time he gets a new teacher and they try to pronounce his name he gets a little bit hopeful, even though he knows they won't manage it, and the disappointment is just as bitter every time. He looks at the teacher, sighs quietly, and says "Just call me Stiles", and they accept it.
Scott is a good friend, but he doesn't know about the curse so he doesn't really try to learn his real name, just accepts that he wants to be called Stiles. And he's not a werewolf yet so he can't smell the bitterness. Later, when Scott gets bitten, he does notice, but only vaguely, as Stiles has started to resign himself to never being free, and Scott spends most of his time with Allison anyway.
But then Peter comes into the picture, and the first words he says are "You must be Stiles", and of course he would notice then, that smell of bitterness and resignation, like ashes and pine wood and almonds (and he can't help but wonder if it's really almonds he smells or if it's cyanide) and when Stiles says "I don't want to be like you", it's true. Stiles wants to be free, to go where he wants, to only protect when he wants to protect, and Peter is shackled by his past, his madness keeping him there. Stiles doesn't want to be like him. And Peter leaves, because even as overcome by grief and pain as he is, he respects other people’s choices. Maybe not always, but when they smell like that, like they’re about to snap at any moment, like their entire world is focused on a single goal and they know they can never reach it, he knows that he can’t force them. He knows that people who smell like that are dangerous. And he’s curious.
So he researches. Peter might have gone crazy from the loss of his pack and the loneliness of being in a coma, all alone, but he’s smart enough to see that he won’t solve this mystery without research. He was called a genius when he was younger, and even now, when he can barely think straight and the only thing he cares about is revenge (“and how comes he’s so focused on this one teenager that has nothing to do with the fire?”, his mind whispers to him, but he ignores it), he still finds all the information he could possibly need about Stiles Stilinski. He finds his school records, his medical files, he’s even mentioned a few times in newspapers, though only in passing as a member of his school’s lacrosse team. But there’s nothing useful there, nothing to explain the way he smells like bitterness and sadness and resignation and captivity.
And then he realizes – there isn’t a single mention of his name. It said somewhere (a class report from the new math teacher last year) that Stiles was a nickname, so what was his real name? He couldn’t even find any birth records, though there were signs that someone had gotten rid of them. The name is a mystery that seems hard, though certainly not impossible, to solve. Peter grinned. He had always loved puzzles.
He doesn’t even realize that he’s completely forgotten about revenge until months later, when his efforts had finally born fruit and he’s found the name. He goes to find Stiles, and smirks at him slowly when he does. There is a word on his tongue, a name, and when he says it the boy looks like all his burdens are gone and he could finally get some rest. He smiles sweetly (not innocently, never innocently) up at Peter, and he asks him to take him away from there. And Peter doesn’t even hesitate, he’d researched everything there was to know about this boy and he still doesn’t know anything and revenge doesn’t really matter anymore if he’s got him. Nobody sees them again, but sometimes, when there is a great danger in Beacon Hills and certain people are in the middle of it, two strangers come to town. No-one ever sees their faces, and they’re always gone again as soon as the threat is taken care of. Don’t ever say that Stiles Stilinski doesn’t take care of his loved ones.