Fandom: Teen Wolf
Summary: When Peter gets sick, Stiles is the only one who cares enough to check on him. That’s where it all begins.
At seven in the morning, Peter’s condition takes a turn for the worse once more.
Stiles is half-dozing in his chair when Peter jerks awake with a strangled noise, and that alerts Stiles that something is wrong. It takes about three heartbeats for him to catch on, and then he’s lunging for the wastebasket and thrusting it in front of the werewolf just as Peter’s body convulses, and then he’s heaving up the meagre contents of his stomach.
“Bathroom, come on,” Stiles murmurs as Peter stops throwing up long enough to hobble to the bathroom with Stiles bearing most of his weight. “You’ll be okay, just have to ride this out, Erica and Cora were like this too, and Isaac couldn't keep anything down for two days. You’ll be fine, I promise.”
He keeps up a stream of babble about nothing in particular as Peter retches into the toilet, and Stiles tries to help by rubbing a hand over Peter’s back in slow, comforting circles.
“Stop,” Peter gasps out, and Stiles has half a second to blink in bafflement before a slightly clawed hand presses against his chest and shoves him away. The werewolf is weak though so the push only sends Stiles sprawling back on his ass, more out of surprise than any actual momentum.
“Get out,” Peter snarls, sounding more animal than human as frustrated, pain-filled eyes glare angrily at him from a face almost completely bleached of colour. And then the Beta is coughing and gagging again, claws scraping at porcelain as he fights in vain to get himself under some semblance of control.
Stiles wavers in place, torn between moving forward to help and backing out. In a way, he can understand. Peter must feel positively mortified at having Stiles see him like this, at having to depend on Stiles at all. For someone so used to virtually having no Pack to fall back on, being fed earlier by Stiles’ hand must have already been pushing it; Peter’s helplessness now must be a hundred times worse.
Still, Stiles has already seen Peter at his worst. Quite literally, and in more than one way too, from insane killer out for revenge to febrile hallucinating invalid. He’s washed away vomit, and bathed the guy, and let him practically sleep on him for two days; Stiles isn’t about to leave now.
So he crawls forward again, planting a solid hand against Peter’s trembling back. He stays silent this time, at least until Peter finishes his latest bout of dry-heaving, and then rounds on Stiles in a way that would be far more impressive were he not just puking his guts up.
“Leave,” Peter growls, low and rough and dangerous. Fury fuelled by humiliation dances across his features, and his hands flex and clench around the rim of the toilet bowl like he really wants to rip Stiles’ throat out.
Hah. Story of his life.
“No,” Stiles refuses adamantly. “I'm not leaving you alone. Not in the state you're- OW, damn it-!”
Stiles scoots backwards and chokes on a curse the second the pain hits, and he actually gapes like a fool for a moment as he stares in shock at the crimson stain blossoming on the front of his shirt from where Peter managed to tear into him with a set of claws.
“Holy fuck, Peter-!” Stiles staggers to his feet- don’
Stiles doesn't wait.
There’s another bathroom down the hall, and that’s where Stiles’ feet take him as his heartbeat pounds in his ears, and he can’t seem to see anything but the blood drenching his hands. In a detached part of his mind, he knows he’s on the verge of a panic attack, and he forces himself to breathe, to count, to center himself somehow, someway, because he can’t afford to lose his shit right now.
He stumbles over to the sink and turns on the cold water at full blast before sticking his head under the tap. The icy blast of liquid shocks his brain back online, and even though he’s still sucking in too much air too quickly, and his hands are shaking, he’s also clearheaded enough to grab a wad of paper towels and begin staunching his most recent injury à la werewolf.
It’s not like he hasn't seen copious amounts of blood spilled before, especially his own. He’s fought and been captured and treated his Pack’s injuries enough that he’s pretty much desensitized to this sort of thing.
But this, this was Peter, and yeah, the guy once tried to kill everybody, and he may have an ultimate end-game even now, but at the same time, after he resurrected himself, he’s also been far less batshit crazy, and he hasn't actually hurt any of the Pack up until now in spite of how most of them are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Stiles supposes that this attack came as such an unexpected shock to him because he was really only trying to help, and in his mind, if Peter ever turns on them in any way, it would certainly not be in a situation like this.
He takes a cautious deep breath, thankful that he can, and when he checks his injury again, four gashes scoring diagonally down his stomach, he can see that it isn’t that deep, there’s just a lot of blood. Worse than the scratches on his arm, that’s for sure, but nothing a few dozen stitches won’t fix, and short of that, he can just wrap some gauze around his torso and add them to his ever-growing scar collection.
He inhales and exhales again as he strips off his shirt (there goes another one) before proceeding to soak away all the excess blood blotching his skin. Everything stings but he’s lived through worse agony; Gerard Argent comes to mind, along with a couple Alpha werewolves, and an assortment of other monsters. This is nothing in comparison.
Resting his forehead against the edge of the sink, Stiles lets his mind wander back to Peter, and that makes him jerk upright again because the guy is still worshipping the porcelain throne and-
And he almost ripped Stiles’ intestines out of his belly in the process.
“I don’t think he did it on purpose,” Stiles tells his dripping reflection, recalling Peter’s sharp (concerned?) words before he fled. “He was just lashing out, and he forgot himself.”
He stops and wonders if that makes him sound like a domestic abuse victim.
Honestly, the smartest thing to do here is to leave just in case Peter ‘forgets himself’ again. He can call Derek first, tell him to get his emotionally stunted ass over here so that he can make sure Peter doesn't fall into the toilet or something, and Stiles himself should beat it while he still can.
But he’s convinced that Peter didn't really mean to claw him one, especially in such a vulnerable area. Maybe shove him away again but not actually draw blood. Besides, it’s not like Stiles to throw in the towel after he sets his mind to something, and he’s already told Peter that he’d stay until the werewolf is properly functioning on his own again, so...
Stiles straightens and resolutely squares his shoulders, digging out more bandages from the medicine cabinet and clumsily binding it around himself. That will do for now until he can come back to tend to the injury more closely.
Once he’s dried his hair and dug out a new shirt from his duffel bag, Stiles takes a deep breath and marches back to Peter’s bedroom.
The Beta has stopped retching by the time Stiles tiptoes back into the bathroom, and he has his forehead resting against one forearm instead, face still poised over the toilet bowl and therefore hidden from Stiles’ immediate line of sight. His breathing comes in irregular pants, and his shoulders are slumped with fatigue. His momentary rage seems to have run its course for the time being, leaving him even more worn-out than before.
Stiles hovers just inside the doorway, chewing on his lip for a long moment before continuing his advance. He doesn't reach out to touch Peter this time, only sliding down the wall to sit beside the werewolf so that their shoulders are an inch from touching.
“...Come back for Round Two against the Big Bad Wolf?” Peter croaks out without raising his head, sassy to the very end apparently.
Stiles shrugs. “I’m a persistent guy.”
Peter scoffs in derision, though it comes out sounding more like the wheeze of a dying asthmatic. “I never would've guessed.”
Stiles quirks a smile despite the situation. He slants a sideways look at the Beta. “How are you feeling?”
“Only marginally better than being set on fire,” Peter shoots back, and Stiles winces. Mostly because he still doesn't regret it. Under those past circumstances, he’d do the same thing all over again. He wouldn't with this Peter though; that should count for something.
“...That was uncalled for,” Peter says after another tense silence, and Stiles turns to gawk at the werewolf. Was that an apology?
“Not really,” Stiles mutters, absently plucking at the front of his shirt. “I set you on fire; I'm sure there’s some protracted resentment leftover from that.” He hoists himself back to his feet before Peter can say anything else in response. “If you're done trying to hack up your spleen, you might as well take a bath before going back to bed.”
“And will you be waiting on me hand and foot for this as well?” Peter snipes half-heartedly as he also heaves himself up onto wobbly legs, reaching unsteadily for a glass by the sink to rinse his mouth out.
“I’ve already bathed you once, dude,” Stiles reveals dryly, though he has to turn away to hide the unbidden flush rising in his cheeks. “And I gave you a sponge bath yesterday. Seeing you naked a third time is nothing special.”
Even as he begins running another bath, he prays fervently that his heart did not skip on the last sentence.
“Don’t drown,” Stiles instructs after ensuring that the shampoo and body wash are within easy reach of Peter. The werewolf still can’t walk anywhere by himself but taking a bath seems to be within his capabilities this time around, something Stiles is thankful for because 1: his stomach throbs with pain every time he bends over or stretches or moves, and 2: it’s one thing to give an unconscious guy a bath; it’s apparently another to give a cognizant Peter the same thing.
“I’ll try not to disappoint you,” Peter deadpans. He watches Stiles with something akin to curiosity. “What are you going to do now?”
“Change your bed sheets – again – and raid your closet – again,” Stiles ticks off. “You've been sweating a lot; it’s not doing any favours for your laundry.”
Or it wouldn't be if Stiles wasn't handling that too. God, Peter owes him two weeks’ worth of curly fries.
He breezes out of the bathroom, distinctly aware of Peter’s gaze on his back until he’s out of sight.
Twenty-two minutes later, Stiles is skidding back into the bathroom with clean clothes under one arm while his other darts out to catch Peter around the waist just as the werewolf’s legs give out and he almost dunks himself back into the water face first.
“I got ya,” Stiles grunts out, tossing the clothes onto the counter before using both hands to steady Peter and prop up/lift the Beta out of the tub. “Why do werewolves have to be so heavy?” He complains as he snags a fluffy green towel (and determinedly keeps his eyes above chest level at all times). At least he and Peter are almost the same height, though Peter is broader in the shoulders, and made of pure muscle which is just plain unfair. “It’s not like any of you are fat either. Actually, do all werewolves naturally upgrade in the looks department? Do you get, like, acne? Double chin? Anything?”
“Werewolves are above such human flaws,” Peter replies with a lofty superiority that makes Stiles roll his eyes even as he hooks a foot around the leg of a stool and pulls it forward to sit Peter on it.
“Of course; how could I forget? God forbid our petty problems ever affect your awesomeness,” Stiles grumbles, wavering for a second before passing Peter his clothes and turning around to give the man some privacy. The subsequent chuckle from behind him makes his ears feel hot.
Stiles’ phone buzzes with an incoming call at eight just as he’s taking Peter’s temperature after the werewolf is in bed again. Peter looks faintly disgruntled around the thermometer in his mouth but he doesn't protest so Stiles will count himself lucky.
“What’s up, Scott?” Stiles puts his phone on speaker because he’s busy pouring another glass of water, and Peter will hear both sides of the conversation anyway.
“Hey man, Derek wants to know if you've seen Peter lately.”
Stiles meets Peter’s gaze briefly. “Dude, why would I have seen Peter?” He answers the question with a question because he has become a pro at lying to werewolves without actually lying to them. “You've got your Hales mixed up if you think he pays me random visits in the middle of the night. Derek’s the only one who ever breaks into my house. I don’t even know why I bother locking the window anymore. He just forces it open.” He holds out a hand for the thermometer when it beeps. “Anyway, why are you looking for Peter?”
“Derek’s been trying to get a hold of him but he sent another text yesterday saying that he was busy, and he hasn't been heard from since.”
“Well then, leave him to whatever it is he’s doing,” Stiles suggests, frowning at the 106.4° F blinking back at him. Werewolves run hotter than your regular humans but this is definitely still too high. “Do you really need his help hunting down our new never-friendly neighbours?”
“Well no, I guess not, but it’s Peter, Stiles. He could be up to something.”
“True, Peter is always up to something,” Stiles catches the fleeting smirk that crosses Peter’s face. “But not always something nefarious. Who knows, man? Maybe he just wants an extra couple days to recover from the witches. He’s not as young as he used to be, you know.”
Peter arches an eyebrow in a really, Stiles? sort of way. Stiles grins cheekily back at him.
“Yeah, I guess you're right. I’ll pass it on to Derek. You're staying inside though, right? The spider-people move pretty fast, and you're just human, so don’t go after them alone or anything.”
Stiles inwardly bristles at the just human part but he’s fairly used to it by now, and he knows that Scott is only worried about him.
“I’m not that reckless, Scott,” He says instead, and Peter’s face calls him a liar. Stiles sticks his tongue out at him. “I’ll be careful. Call me if you need anything.”
“I will. Talk to you later.”
“Yeah, see you.”
Stiles hangs up, and then turns a scowl on Peter. “Your temperature’s still too high.”
Peter – the inconsiderate bastard – only shrugs dismissively. “I feel much better than even just an hour ago, and certainly better than I did before you arrived.” His eyes glitter. “Speaking of which, how did you find my apartment?”
Stiles scratches at one cheek before shrugging back as nonchalantly as he can manage. “After you rose from the dead, I figured you wouldn't want to live with Derek twenty-four/seven, and I wasn't about to let you drop off the grid completely, so I called in a few favours. Danny owed me one for covering for him with Coach one time so I got him to keep an eye out for any new records of apartment leases around that time, no questions asked. There was a handful who moved into various apartments but only one ‘Peter Fenris’.
“And luckily for me, your landlord just happens to also owe me a favour. He was framed for embezzlement and manslaughter a few years back and the case was all but closed, but I was a nosy kid who liked snooping through the Sheriff’s files – still am actually – and I managed to dig up some evidence that got my dad to take a closer look at the case. Ended up clearing his name, with the real culprit sent to jail, so he was more than happy to keep me updated about you when I asked.”
A smirk curls at one corner of Peter’s mouth by the time Stiles is done. “Nicely done, Stiles. Son of the Sheriff... I wouldn't be surprised if you had half this town in your pocket; what would your father say? I assume you also know where I work?”
Stiles nods without shame, ignoring the minor jab. “Yeah, I do. Bee tee dubs, I called in sick for you, for another week. You're down with the stomach flu.”
“How dreadful,” Peter drawls. He’s still appraising Stiles with an unsettling amount of intensity. “...Obviously,” He eventually goes on. “My darling nephew didn't send you here to play nursemaid. So why are you here, Stiles?”
Stiles’s brow knits together. “I thought we already covered this. Or do you not remember? I wasn't just gonna leave you on the bathroom floor. You were completely out of it, you didn't even twitch when I dumped you in the bathtub. You think I’d just leave you in that bad a condition?”
Peter’s expression hardens even though his smirk remains. “Frankly, yes, so I would very much like to know what you want in return for this very benevolent care that you've been so graciously providing me with.”
Stiles falters at the straightforward reply, and he fumbles for one of his own when several seconds of deafening silence tick by without either of them looking away.
“You're wrong, I don’t want anything from you,” Stiles snaps back belatedly, involuntarily bristling at the very implication. Yeah, he and Peter aren’t best buddies but come on, he doesn't come off as that heartless, does he? Has he been giving off vibes of I'm-only-on-speaking-terms-with-you-
His stomach pulses an irate reminder that it still needs to be treated, and truthfully, Stiles doesn't want to talk about this anymore. He hasn't slept in over forty-eight hours, there’s a headache building behind his eyes, and now Peter is accusing him of being the kind of asshole who would leave a comatose guy – packmate – suffering on the ground.
“Just get some sleep,” Stiles mutters, shoving a stack of freshly frozen icepacks closer to the bed so that Peter will be able to reach them before turning on his heel and stalking out of the room.