The knocking on the door grows louder, and Stiles barrels down the staircase to answer it, shouting, "Coming, coming! Give it a rest al--ah!"" He pulls open the front door and stops mid-sentence when he finds Peter Hale standing on the other side.
"Hello, Stiles," Peter says calmly. He's trying to play up the facade of the laid-back, insouciant uncle, but Stiles can tell something's bothering him. For one, his eyes are locked on Stiles instead of perpetually rolling skyward.
"Can I help you?" Stiles asks, except it's not really a question the way he says it; he's not sure he wants to help Peter with anything.
"You know Scott's going to attempt some kind of peace treaty with the Alpha pack?"
"Did you know," Peter begins, more slowly this time, "that Scott McCall is going to visit the Alpha pack? To talk?"
"Why would he do that?" Stiles asks. "And why isn't he telling me?"
"Probably because he knew you'd think it was a bad idea," Peter says, using Stiles' fury and fluster to slip his way into Stiles' home.
"Of course I think it's a bad idea!" Stiles shouts, slamming the door behind Peter. "It's the worst idea in the history of bad ideas! Where is he right now?"
"He was at Derek's loft when I left," Peter says.
"Why aren't you still there?" Stiles crosses his arms, narrowing suspicious, dark eyes at Peter.
"Because Derek finally caved in to Scott's brilliant idea," Peter says. He peers around Stiles' living room, taking in the moderate disarray of the lived-in abode.
"What are you doing?" Stiles asks.
"Mm," Peter murmurs, returning his attention to Stiles. "Enjoying the decor."
Stiles rolls his eyes, pulling out his phone.
"What are you doing?" Peter asks.
"Calling Scott--what the hell do you think?"
"Good luck with that," Peter mumbles. He starts wandering further into Stiles' house, Stiles' voice following him even as the boy takes the conversation onto the front porch. He can't hear Scott once Stiles is outside, but he can hear Stiles: angry, shouting, and incredulous. Peter wanders around to the dining room as Stiles crosses through the front yard, around the house to the side, pacing sometimes as he talks. He hopes Stiles can talk sense into Scott, before it's too late.
"Do you remember the part where Deucalion wants people dead?" Stiles fumes under his breath.
He's trying very hard to keep his voice under control at that point, still angry with Scott but watching his surroundings carefully.
Peter finds himself in the kitchen, leaning against the counter with his hands in his pockets as Stiles makes his way around the back of the house. He listens intently, head tilted down and eyes transfixed on a wayward dish towel that somehow found its way to the floor.
"Huh," Stiles says. "Isaac's staying with you?"
Peter waits, Stiles silent as Scott fills him in on what's happened recently.
"You know this is all probably a trap, right?" Stiles says, biting his lip. Peter can now see him through the slits of the blinds hanging over the window of the backdoor. Stiles shuts his eyes. "Just remember you're doing this against my better judgement, Scott," he says, tapping the screen of his phone. Then he pauses, swiping his thumb over the screen again and putting the phone back to his ear.
Peter continues to wait, taking in the scent of the Stilinski family home. It smells like belonging.
"Hey, Derek, it's-- Yeah, I know, but listen, Scott's going-- Okay, you know that. To the point then," Stiles rambles on, insisting Derek needs to follow Scott, at least to keep an eye on him, maybe not to interfere with Scott's plan but provide back-up in case something goes wrong.
Maybe Peter should have told him that Derek already planned on doing that.
"You were-- yeah, fine. I'll let you get back to your little secret club."
Stiles' hand drops to his side, and Peter can hear faintly the sound of a sharp intake of breath, glances back up at Stiles to watch him turn and walk, somewhat shakily, toward the backdoor. He yanks open the door and stares directly at Peter.
"You're gonna be there, right?" he asks, his eyes barely concealing his hatred for Peter even as his heart rate spikes. He's close to begging Peter to follow Scott, and Peter hates it when people beg.
"I hadn't planned on it," Peter replies honestly.
"You son of a..." Stiles loses all steam before he can finish, although Peter gets the frustration behind it.
"It's not about saving my own hide, if that's what you're thinking," Peter says, folding his arms over his chest. "Although I will admit it's a hide I'd much prefer to keep."
"Then what?" Stiles demands.
"I'd be no good in a fight right now," Peter says. "At best, I might distract one of the Alphas for about five seconds before it got back to kicking someone else's ass."
"Then give them five seconds," Stiles says, the begging begun.
"No," Stiles cuts him off. "Derek is your family. Cora is your family."
"And we don't even how she--"
"Wow," Stiles says, his glare stone cold. "I must really be desperate to think you, of all people, would give a shit about family."
"All right, that's enough," Peter says. "I get it, Stiles, I really do: everyone thinks I'm a creepy, murdering psychopath. Thank you. You've driven the point well and truly home."
"Hey, no problem, here to help," Stiles says, then his voice rises a little as he adds, "except that's not something you can just walk away from! You have killed innocent people, terrorized others, and you want me to just hand you some forgiveness or something? To just--what? Back up and give you some space? Not happening."
"And how far would you go, Stiles?" Peter asks. "Someone comes into your house, or your school, starts taking away everyone you care about. They take Scott. They take Lydia. They take your father. What do you do, Stiles? How far do you go to avenge their deaths?"
Peter has Stiles backed against the sink, boxing him in, but Stiles' heart rate only picks up slightly.
"What about Laura?" he asks.
Peter sighs, backing away from the boy before he does something stupid.
"Laura... she ran away from her responsibility to the pack," Peter says quietly.
"You mean she ran away from you," Stiles says.
"No," Peter shakes his head. "At first, I thought she was just scared. When she came back, I learned the truth: she knew all about the Argents, and refused to act."
"You still didn't have to kill her," Stiles says.
"If I wanted revenge? Yes," Peter says. "Yes, I did."
"You had all the evidence, you could have taken it to the police," Stiles points out.
"I know you're new to all this, Stiles, but even you must realize there is a difference between werewolf and human justice," Peter says.
"Yeah?" Stiles asks, his tone goading. "And which one are you?"
Peter stalks over to Stiles slowly, wrapping a gentle hand around the wrist Stiles is using to hold up his weight against the counter. Claws edge against Stiles' skin, applying just enough pressure to mark it without bleeding. Stiles inhales, holding his breath, his body gone tense.
"You're even more observant than I gave you credit for," Peter says, placing his other hand on the counter beside Stiles to close him in. "I really should have given you the bite when I had the chance."
"Yeah, well, you snooze, you lose," Stiles says, laughing nervously.
"I could always... mark you in other ways," Peter suggests.
Stiles gulps audibly.
When Peter first walked through the door, Stiles reeked of defiance, but now his scent is shifting, and when Peter realizes why, he smirks.
"Really, Stiles?" he says, listening to Stiles' heart jumping against his ribcage. "That's what does it for you?"
"I don't--I don't know what you're talking about," Stiles lies.
Peter casually slips a knee between Stiles' legs, the bulge in Stiles' jeans meeting his thigh as he leans in closer.
"What are you--?"
Peter gently rubs his thigh up and down between Stiles' legs, leaning closer still, and Stiles moves his free hand to Peter's chest, pushing him away slightly before bunching the fabric of Peter's shirt in his hand and pulling him in. He brushes his lips against Peter's chin, hesitant.
Taking control of the situation, Peter makes the decision for him, palming Stiles' crotch as he claims his mouth and kisses him. He nips playfully at Stiles' bottom lip, drawing out the most debauched moan from Stiles' throat.
It doesn't take long for Stiles to have the desired reaction to Peter's touch; he slumps forward against Peter's chest as he comes, biting into the fabric of Peter's blazer to stifle further noises as if he's ashamed of them. He bunches more of the sleeve in his free hand, tightening his pull on Peter's arm when Peter tries to hold him.
"You suck," Stiles mumbles into Peter's shoulder.
Retracting his claws and loosening his grip, Peter lifts Stiles' bruised wrist to see the damage. Faint markings have left tracks on the inside. Peter rubs his thumb over the discoloration and wonders what exactly had gotten into him to make him do this. He isn't actually a creeper, despite what everyone thinks.
"Not yet," Peter answers finally with a smirk, bringing Stiles' arm up to press a kiss to the damaged skin.
Stiles relaxes in his arms at the gesture, and Peter falls back against the island in the kitchen to take all of Stiles' weight.
"We're not all gonna survive this, are we?" Stiles asks, and Peter doesn't need to see his face to know he's fighting tears.
"We might," Peter lies.
Peter feels his shoulder dampen beneath his shirt.