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.
Stiles slips out at dawn, wondering if this is what it feels like for a one-night stand to sneak out and avoid the awkward morning after, except without the amazing sex, or even the sleeping together in a bed, so... not like a one-night stand then. Never mind.
Nevertheless, Stiles does need to leave. No matter how lively Peter seemed last night, the werewolf has just recovered, and he should get in as much rest as possible. Stiles isn’t about to wake him at dawn just because his dad texted him to warn him about Isaac swinging by in the morning to drop off a case file that the Pack borrowed earlier, and may subsequently ask where Stiles is if he’s not back in his room by then. Besides, Derek – unlike his uncle – is far more predictable, so Stiles knows that the Alpha will most likely call a morning pack meeting to wrap up the whole Arachne debacle before moving on to that day’s training for the pups. Stiles will have to be there, at least for the first part, and Peter will have to make an appearance too if he doesn't want the Pack to become even more suspicious of him than they already are.
His dad is still asleep by the time he gets home so Stiles stays as quiet as possible as he dumps all his dirty laundry into the washing machine before heading up to his room. There’s still a few hours before Stiles’ favourite coffee shop opens for business so he gets to work on updating his Bestiary while jotting down a list of questions that he still has on Arachnes. He’ll ambush Peter with it later.
Two hours later, he’s standing in line at the aforementioned coffee shop, ready to ruin the lives of all the people waiting behind him if only because he’s been waiting for the past half hour for the five customers in front of him to finish their purchases and stop nitpicking over everything.
His phone buzzes. :You’re missing out. Derek is being remarkably charitable with his words this morning.:
The number is unknown but Stiles knows instantly who it is. Derek’s probably yelling at Peter for skipping out on Arachne hunting.
:I’ll be there soon.: Stiles types back, one foot still tapping against the ground with jittery impatience. :There’s a long lineup at the coffee shop.: He pauses. :Your favourite is lemon blueberry scones, right?:
He has to wait for a full two minutes before Peter sends back a simple, :Yes.:
Stiles cocks an eyebrow but shrugs it off. He busies himself with adding the number to his contacts.
Under Creeperwolf of course.
“I’d like to buy a dozen of everything,” Stiles announces with a viciously happy smile when it’s finally his turn. He usually doesn't buy so much out of courtesy to the other customers and the employees but the wolves can actually pack a lot more away than the typical quota of breakfast that he sometimes brings to the loft.
And the best thing about this is that Stiles swiped one of Derek’s credit cards ages ago and never actually returned it. To be fair, Derek’s never noticed either, or if he did, he’s never complained. Fortunately for the Alpha, Stiles also has enough restraint to only use it for Pack matters.
“-can’t be trusted if you're never around to help-”
Stiles pauses on the front steps, juggling several bags’ worth of food as Derek’s condemning words reach his ears.
“-only tolerated here because you're useful-”
He heaves a sigh before shouldering open the door. Derek’s voice immediately gets louder, and Stiles can even pick up one or two disdainful sniggers coming from the rest of the Pack.
“-can’t even be that, give me one good reason why I shouldn't run you out of Beacon-”
“Dude, would you cut him some slack?!” Stiles barks as he storms into the loft, cutting Derek off mid-sentence. All eyes swivel around to converge on him.
“You're late.” Derek growls.
Stiles would throw his hands up if he isn’t holding so much stuff. As it is, he just busies himself with plunking all the bags onto the coffee table by the sofas where Erica, Boyd, Scott, Isaac, Allison, and Lydia are all congregated. Cora is sprawled on the window bay while Peter – decked in one of his signature v-necks once again, and wow, it’s good to see him up and about again – is sitting on another couch at the far side of the room with Derek pacing back and forth in front of him.
“Late for what?” Stiles demands, noting the way Peter looks – at least outwardly – fatalistically bored with his nephew’s tirade, and not at all like he’s spent the past week and a half in bed, though now that Stiles has arrived, the Beta is as focused on him as everyone else is. “You’re just ragging on your uncle again; that’s nothing new. I think I can live without listening to another family feud.”
Derek only scowls even harder. Stiles is tempted to snark out something about his face sticking that way.
“I'm just saying,” He barrels on before the Alpha can speak. “Maybe we can get down to actual business or at least do something more important than point fingers and gripe about what’s already over and done with. You know, preferably sometime this century. None of us are getting any younger, Derek.”
Derek opens his mouth, no doubt to argue because, hell, that’s their relationship in a nutshell, but the Alpha is cut off when Cora bounces up, sniffing the air. “Hey, did you buy cranberry orange scones today?”
Stiles is quick to latch on to this very handy change of topic. “I bought everything scones today. And danishes. And other pastries.”
“Cinnamon danishes?” Isaac perks up and scrambles over as Stiles begins lifting boxes out of the bags.
“Strawberry scones?” Erica speeds over with everyone else at her heels.
“Chocolate chip muffins for me!” Scott pipes up.
“Yup, yup, and yup,” Stiles nods with a grin. “I practically bought out the coffee shop. Got everyone’s favourites so- whoa! Hey, watch it!”
Stiles suppresses a wince when an elbow accidentally jars his stomach wound as he’s all but shoved aside by a pack of starving wolves. Lydia and Allison are more polite about it but they know that if they want breakfast, it’s every man and woman for themselves.
“Black holes, the lot of you,” Stiles huffs as everyone pretty much descends on the food like the ravenous animals they apparently are.
“The apple strudels are mine,” Lydia declares primly but there’s a glint in her eyes that says touch them and die so she at least has no worries about missing out on breakfast.
Stiles glances over at Derek who’s scowling at his Pack with a long-suffering sort of resignation.
“Better dive in there before everything’s gone, sourwolf,” Stiles suggests before tacking on slyly, “I bought your favourite raspberry scones.”
Derek lasts for exactly three-point-five seconds, and then Scott remarks, “Hey, the raspberry scones smell really good,” and then the Alpha is wading straight into the mess with a flash of crimson eyes at Scott.
Stiles rolls his eyes. Werewolves. Ah well, at least the food successfully derailed Peter’s lecture. Speaking of which...
“’Morning,” Stiles greets, joining Peter on his designated couch. The man’s made no move to join the feeding frenzy, which Stiles predicted. He thrusts one of the paper bags and the drink tray he managed to liberate from the rest of his purchases at Peter. “Lemon blueberry scone and an Earl Grey tea.”
Peter arches an eyebrow even as accepts the food and drink. “You’re spoiling me. What’s the occasion?”
Stiles shrugs evasively as he sips at his latte before taking a bite out of his own scone. Honestly, he just figured Peter could do with his favourite pastry since there was no doubt that Derek would get all growly-face at the Beta today for giving a miss on the whole Arachne issue.
“Just thought you wouldn't want to wage war for breakfast first thing in the morning,” Stiles replies, tipping his head at the free-for-all over by the coffee table.
Peter scoffs around his tea. The minute stress lines previously creasing his brow that Stiles didn't notice until now smooth over as he relaxes further into the couch. “Against Derek’s band of unruly misfits? Please, I’d win.”
That’s true too, which gives the werewolf bragging rights. Out of the Pack, only three are born wolves, and out of them, Peter is by far the most experienced, and not just because he’s lived longest either. He certainly reads more than Derek and Cora combined, is more knowledgeable about everything from pack structures to Hunters to obscure creatures like Quetzalcoatl, and he knows how – and is perfectly willing – to utilize every dirty trick in the book (and all those that aren’t) to come out on top in any fight. Unlike Derek and Cora, Peter is perhaps even more dangerous when not using his fangs and claws.
It’s why Derek hasn't put him down or run him off yet – their Alpha is a believer of ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. If there’s any additional sentimental reason, it’s buried deep. Really deep.
“If you want,” Stiles says abruptly. “I could tell Derek that you gave me the information on the Arachnes. I don’t like taking credit for other people’s work anyway.”
He waits as Peter glances at him, a sardonic smile twisting his lips.
“If I knew you’d become this kind when I get sick,” The werewolf murmurs. “I would've fallen ill sooner.”
Stiles instantly bristles because that’s just not fair. “Hey, I’ve bought you drinks before, and I’ve told Derek and the Pack to back off more than once.”
On rare occasion, Stiles amends in his head. But then, it isn’t as if Peter can’t defend himself.
Peter inclines his head in acknowledgement. “True, but you're less subtle about it today.” He lifts his partially eaten scone. “You've never personally bought me breakfast, Stiles. Should I start looking forward to lunch as well?”
“You wish,” Stiles retorts. “I have better things to do than slave away in the kitchen for you.” He frowns. “That’s a no then?”
Peter shakes his head, looking amused now. “It isn’t necessary. I can handle my nephew’s temper tantrums; they hardly ever consist of anything I haven’t heard before. Derek is terribly repetitive that way, I'm afraid.”
Stiles can’t quite bite back his own amusement, and because it’s Peter, the werewolf spots it and smirks at him like they're partners in crime. Stiles scowls at him on principle but even he know it’s half-hearted at best.
They sit side by side, sniping at each other with sarcastic barbs even after Derek gets the actual meeting started (then they just lower their voices and endure Derek’s judgmental glowers together).
“And you're absolutely two hundred percent certain that there are no more of them running around?” Stiles asks once Scott’s finished his recount of his first encounter with the Queen. “Because the last time you said that, three more vampires popped up at the hospital and almost sucked the entire long-term care ward dry. I’d rather not have a repeat performance. Melissa was so pissed.”
“And scary,” Scott tacks on with a shudder. “She electrocuted one of the vampires, remember?”
“Terrifying,” Stiles agrees, sharing a grin with Scott. “But also really badass.”
“We’re as sure as we can be,” Derek cuts in grimly.
“Guess we’ll be waiting for that repeat performance after all,” Peter mutters snidely under his breath. Stiles jams an elbow into his side, stubbornly maintaining a straight face.
The meeting wraps up after that, with Derek ordering everyone to head over to the Preserve for training.
“You can be bait again, Stiles,” Erica says breezily as she heads for the door.
“No thanks,” Stiles shoots back without looking up from his laptop. “As fun as it sounds, I’ll give a pass on playing chew toy for a bunch of overgrown puppies today.”
He can hear Erica’s exaggerated pout even from across the room. “Aw, come on, Batman, what are we gonna track if not you?”
“Use Allison,” Stiles ignores the immediate squawk of protest that comes from Scott. “Or track each other. You can practice evasive manoeuvres.”
A snort. “This is real life, Stiles, not a video game.”
“And thinking like that is why we all get beaten up every month,” Stiles retorts, adding a few footnotes about Arachne mating habits at the bottom of his word document for posterity. You never know; it could come in handy.
“One of these days,” He continues distractedly. “The ‘fling yourselves headfirst into danger over and over again until it works’ plan is gonna fail, and – provided we’re all still alive afterwards – I’m gonna give you guys the biggest ‘I told you so’ known to mankind.”
He makes a shooing motion with one hand. “Now go chase your tails under the sun. You couldn't track me even if you wanted to anyway.”
Erica draws herself up, looking torn between patronizing amusement and haughty affront, and even a few of the other wolves stick their heads back in to scoff at him. Derek raises his eyebrows in his I can’t believe you just told werewolves that they can’t track one measly human sort of way.
“Stiles, you trip all over the place,” Isaac points out. “We can hear you from a mile away, never mind your scent and heartbeat and general flailing and screaming.”
Stiles finally looks up, equally offended now. “I’ll admit to the flailing but I don’t scream.” Isaac just smirks tauntingly at him. Stiles’ shoulders subconsciously square themselves, and his fingers curl around his laptop.
“I don’t!” He insists, because seriously, he didn't even scream when Deucalion broke bones and twisted claws into him, meant to torture instead of kill. Stiles doesn't scream when he’s in real danger; unless he’s in too much pain to not cry out, and even then, he doesn't scream, he mouths off like tomorrow until he can’t anymore, and then he goes quiet, and that’s when you know things have hit rock bottom.
“Besides, that was ages ago,” Stiles dismisses. “You couldn't track me now if your lives depended on it. I’ve improved.”
This earns him a round of laughter, which grates on his nerves. Didn't any of them ever wonder how Stiles managed to sneak up on those vampires a few months back, distracting them long enough for the wolves to retaliate?
“Pull the other one, Stiles,” Cora shakes his head, a smirk playing on her lips. “You're just human, you know.”
“There’s nothing wrong with being human!” Stiles snaps back.
“Well no,” Cora concedes dismissively with a roll of her eyes. “But hiding from werewolves is a bit much for you.”
Stiles frowns at her, and then at the others who all seem to be in agreement. Fine, if that’s how they want to play it.
He inhales and digs deep, reaching for the Spark inside him like its second nature, and at this point, it’s pretty much as easy as breathing for him. He’s been practicing magic constantly ever since he discovered he had a knack for it, experimenting and failing and trying again and succeeding, and it’s always exhilarating, especially the first time he accomplishes something, like when he produced a controlled ball of flame on one fingertip at two in the morning after a solid month of trial and error and inflicting himself with minor burns, or when he sent out mountain ash in a giant tidal wave with a single thought instead of just a thin line of it, weaving patterns in the air as the ash obeyed his every command.
His greatest achievement to date – in his opinion – is what he likes to call his chameleon suit, something he’s been improving on ever since spring break. He cloaks himself with it now, a mental chant of hidehidehide running through his head as he syncs himself with his surroundings.
He hasn't quite figured out how to mask his scent and heartbeat completely without the aid of other supplies like wolfsbane to cover him but he has learned how to blend in.
However, the chameleon suit is basically what it implies – no matter how rabbit-fast his heart is pounding, his magic cloaks it with everyone else’s heartbeats (everyone in the Pack) so that the wolves can only hear the everyone else within their hearing range while Stiles simply hides beneath theirs. Likewise, his scent is also masked with the scents of his surroundings (pastries, the wolves, Allison and Lydia, last night’s pizza, the waft of nature and civilization drifting in from the window) so that Stiles can slip under the wolves’ nose radar. There’s no place in the world that doesn't smell and sound like something (small animals, flowers, pollution, food) so outright erasing his scent and heartbeat completely isn’t that important (though he’ll figure out how sooner or later) when he can simply conceal it.
All this takes several seconds even after all the practice he’s put into it, and he knows the exact moment when his heartbeat seemingly blips into nonexistence, and his scent is ostensibly whisked away on an invisible breeze. All the werewolves freeze, nostrils flaring as they all zero in on him like they can’t understand why he’s still physically there when all their supernatural senses say he’s not.
Stiles smirks back at them, wide and smug and proud. He debates turning invisible too, camouflage himself with the wall and sofa just to freak them out, but then decides against it. It never hurts to have a few extra cards up your sleeves, and while he trusts the Pack as a whole, that doesn't mean they won’t accidentally talk about it where a potential enemy can overhear.
He grins at his friends’ stunned and somewhat disturbed expressions instead. “Ooh, what now? Can’t track me anymore, can you?”
“That’s impossible! What did you do?” Cora demands, stalking closer and still sniffing in vain. Derek is glowering like a thundercloud a few steps behind her like Stiles just committed a criminal offense.
“Magic,” Stiles wiggles his fingers. “Literally.”
He catches sight of Peter out of the corner of his eye, and when he turns to assess the Beta’s reaction, Peter only looks faintly impressed and mildly surprised. He’s frowning a little too, gaze focused on Stiles’ chest area as if attempting to find the missing heartbeat just by looking, but otherwise, the werewolf doesn't act at all like he ever thought this was something beyond Stiles’ abilities.
Stiles will never admit to preening just a little under that attention.