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.
School swings around again so Stiles’ time is split between homework, chasing down supernatural creatures bent on death and destruction, personal training, and hanging out with Peter. Oddly enough, or maybe not, past few weeks considered, hanging out with Peter no longer consists only of research, and before Stiles can really take notice of it, Peter is meeting him regularly for coffee after school, sometimes bringing along an obscure text or two, sometimes bringing conversation, sometimes bringing only his own quiet company, and Stiles returns the favour by ambushing Peter with exotic teas on the handful of days that the werewolf has to go in for work, as well as having a hot meal prepared whenever Peter comes over during the weekends for either hours of research or hours of The Mentalist and Buffy the Vampire Slayer because Peter has all the seasons on Blu-ray.
The real kicker comes when Stiles’ dad is actually at home on a day that Peter decides to use the front door, and all the Sheriff does when Peter greets him like he’s been coming over every Sunday for years is raise an eyebrow before waving Stiles and his werewolf companion upstairs, though he does eye Peter for a second or two longer than necessary before returning to the football game on TV. From that point on though, there’s an unspoken agreement between them that the Stilinski household has an open door policy when it comes to Peter Hale.
Their friendship works, possibly better than any relationship Stiles has ever had before in his life so far, and he’s honestly oblivious to all the stares he gets when he strolls into Derek’s loft one morning, bagels in one hand and drinks in the other, and automatically makes a beeline towards Peter, absently dropping down beside the Beta and holding out half the food. He barely registers the way Peter shifts so that their shoulders brush as they sit side by side.
“So,” Scott pulls him aside after the meeting disperses. His face makes that scrunchy discomfited look that means he’s trying to silent-speak something that he doesn't really want to say out loud but has steeled himself to confront Stiles about because – in his opinion – it’s the Right Thing To Do. In Stiles’ opinion, that expression mostly means Scott Has Finally Taken Notice Of Something In Stiles’ Life That He Disapproves Of. Either way, he’s going to speak up about it, so when Stiles only blinks back in wary confusion, Scott scratches his head before coughing out, “Er, what’s- what’s with you and Peter these days?”
Stiles’ brow furrows. “Me and Peter? What do you mean?”
Scott fidgets. Stiles frowns harder.
“You know...” Scott stalls. Stiles pulls an impatient get-on-with-it face, and the werewolf ends up gesturing wildly at the door that Peter exited from earlier. His nose screws up. “You two stink. Of each other. Though mostly, you smell like him.”
Oh. This again. He wonders if Derek put Scott up to this.
Stiles can’t even begin to express how fed up he is with the exasperated sigh he releases next. “We spend a lot of time together these days,” He reiterates dully. “Research, coffee, well, tea for him. We’re- friends.”
And yeah, they are, aren’t they? Friends hang out and chat and sit in comfortable silences, although Peter also deigns to help him with parts of his homework at times, and the man is teaching him more Latin each week. In return, Stiles teaches Peter how to cook some of his recipes. He still feels somewhat nonplussed that the werewolf apparently doesn't know how to make anything beyond sandwiches and plain pasta with sauce out of a can because he’s always figured Peter to be the type to be good at- well, everything actually (not that he’ll ever tell him that; the guy’s ego is big enough as it is), cooking being one of them.
“It’s not the same,” Scott insists, expression pulling something between befuddled and judgemental. “You two- You’re like-” His eyes dart around the loft, and his voice lowers to a near-whisper like he’s imparting a terrible secret. “Peter’s scent-marking you!”
Stiles stares, not seeing the significance at all. “Well yeah, you guys do it with each other all the time. I'm fine with it.”
Scott runs a frustrated hand through his hair, and aims a look at Stiles that conveys his you’re-being-slow opinion perfectly, which is a first because Stiles is usually the one aiming it at Scott, with good reason, not the other way around.
It makes him feel just a little bit indignant. “Hey, just because I'm human and unattached to a werewolf doesn't mean I'm not Pack! And the scenting thing can be for humans too, you can’t lie to me about that, I'm the one who explained it to you in the first place-”
“That’s not what I mean!” Scott hisses, voice still hushed. “You-” He flails, which is totally a Stiles thing, not a Scott thing, so whatever this is, it definitely has the werewolf more than a little freaked out.
At last, Scott stammers out around a flush of what looks like embarrassment and revulsion mixed together, “He’s scent-marking you, claiming you as- you know, his. Like I do with Allison. So are you- Are you two dating?”
And just like that, Stiles’ mind abruptly goes blank.
The first thing Stiles does when he gets home (after slapping a resounding NO on Scott, along with a Mind Your Own Business For God’s Sakes) is make lists.
He makes a list of Peter’s likes:
- Orange blossom tea
- Lemon blueberry scones
- Stiles’ Chocolate-Peanut Butter Mousse Cake (the Penne Bombay apparently doesn’t hold a candle to Stiles’ desserts)
- Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
- The Hale library
- Shakespeare (Stiles actually went out of his way to whisk Peter off to a live performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the theatre on the man’s birthday two weeks ago. Peter looked at him funny when Stiles procured the tickets but he seemed to enjoy himself all the same.)
- Old lore/Mythology
- Gabriel from Supernatural
- Manipulating people
- Provoking Derek
- Sketching, but only in pencil, and mostly clothing designs
The list goes on, in no particular order. Stiles can name all of it off the top of his head, and that fact alone strikes him as foreboding. The same goes for a list of Peter’s dislikes:
- Cooking meat (he can still eat it but windows must be open while cooking)
- Most of the Pack (Indifferent more than dislike)
- People when they’re stupid
- People in general
- When Stiles leaves his shit lying on the floor and doesn't bother picking it up
- Sitcoms (though he does like making disparaging remarks about everyone on the shows)
Stiles knows more. It’s worrying.
He makes other lists as well, a list of all the time he and Peter have spent together both before and after those days that Stiles spent taking care of the werewolf, a list of all the non-Pack-related conversations they've had that Stiles has enjoyed, a list of all the things Stiles likes and dislikes about Peter, a list of all the things Peter seems to like about Stiles, a list of how much more often Peter has been touching – scent-marking – him, a list of Stiles’ more recent magical experimentation and practice that he’s been working on in private as a future surprise for Peter, even a list of how much Peter can make him laugh in one sitting and how much Stiles can coax genuine amusement from Peter in return.
Then he makes one last list of similarities and differences between the two of them, a list of how they seem to balance each other out, and it doesn't take a genius to see just how compatible they are.
And really, the only question left is whether or not Peter is actually well and truly interested in him, perhaps even attracted, or if the werewolf is just screwing with Stiles for his own entertainment. Oh, the new habit of scenting Stiles is probably something instinctual for Peter now that the man knows Stiles doesn't mind, but all the rest?
On Stiles’ part, well, he can certainly admit to attraction. Anyone with eyes would agree that Peter Hale lacks nothing in the looks department, and Stiles can also own up to an appreciation for the Beta’s quick wit and sassy nature. The guy’s brain is a work of art, although admittedly sociopathic with an inclination towards killing people with extreme prejudice. Then again, Stiles could potentially be diagnosed as a borderline sociopath too so he hasn't got much room to point fingers.
On a deeper level however... the entire matter actually makes him want to laugh, and not in the funny ha-ha way either. Peter, attracted to him? Stiles hasn't gone on a single date, ever; the one with Lydia doesn't count, she was just using him. So, evidently, he’s not boyfriend material, and if he thinks about it, there’s really no reason why Peter – who can never be called a good person, but then, Stiles isn’t either, and the werewolf is certainly the type to have much higher standards than jailbait human boys with ADHD – would be remotely interested in Stiles aside from a possessive sort of friendship that satisfies Peter’s wolf and messes with Derek and the rest of the Pack at the same time.
That line of thought – startlingly enough – actually comes as a disappointment. There’s the age gap of course, but that really doesn't bother Stiles in the grand scheme of things, not when he likes spending his free time with Peter, looking forward to even just having the Beta as a quiet presence in his bedroom when Stiles is busy with homework. The idea of dating Peter Hale is... not something Stiles would be opposed to when it comes down to it.
And to think, all this came about from a handful of days in Peter’s apartment. Stiles almost regrets it.
Because Peter’s happier now, Stiles thinks so anyway, and he himself can’t say he doesn't enjoy being the focus of Peter’s non-homicidal attention. It makes him feel like he actually comes first in someone’s books, and even if that someone is the outcast of the Hale Pack, Stiles doesn't care. It’s not so bad to be regarded positively by Peter Hale.
Of course, there’s the whole Stiles setting Peter on fire thing. That can put a bit of a damper on any relationship. Frankly, Stiles hasn't the faintest clue why Peter honestly doesn't seem to hold it against him.
In the end, none of it really matters. Besides, he only has Scott’s word on this, and Peter’s always been the creepily possessive type.
So Stiles scraps the lists, shunts them behind the Harry Potter series on his bookshelf, and doesn't bother angsting about them any further. He doesn't know what game Peter is playing, or if it’s a game at all, but Stiles can play it just as well. After all, when confronted with any potentially dangerous issue, he’s never been the run-away or back-off type. Far more often, he’s the poke-it-with-a-stick-and-see-what-
So that’s exactly what he does.
Between the two of them, Peter has always been the one to initiate touches. Stiles has returned them when given, but aside from taking Peter’s temperature when the man was sick, and that one time in the werewolf’s kitchen, he’s never instigated any deliberate contact.
So the next time Stiles sees Peter – at a Pack meeting coincidentally – he switches it around.
When he goes to hand Peter his morning tea (all the while ignoring Scott and Derek’s respective staring and glaring from across the loft), he casually runs a hand down Peter’s arm from shoulder to elbow as he takes a seat beside the werewolf, not so subtly leaving his own scent behind.
Beside him, Peter freezes in surprise. Stiles just pretends not to notice the intensely assessing gaze suddenly drilling holes into the side of his head. He also turns a blind eye on the narrow-eyed what-the-fuck looks coming from the rest of the Pack.
It’s none of their business.
Things continue along that vein.
When Peter comes over for lunch, Stiles rests a palm against the man’s shoulder blade as he leans forward and puts a plate of lasagne in front of him. Muscles flex under Stiles’ hand but Peter doesn't shrug him off.
When they sit down together on Stiles’ bed – Stiles annotating yet another page of obscure text, Peter on the laptop (they trade every time) – Stiles sprawls and throws his legs perpendicularly over Peter’s instead of retreating to their typical one at the end of the bed and the other at the head.
The sound of typing abruptly stops for several speculative seconds. And then it starts again. Stiles doesn't say anything either when a socked foot hooks under his ankle.
“Do you know what you're doing?” Stiles’ dad asks one evening after Stiles sees Peter to the door. The werewolf says goodnight by dragging his nose down the length of Stiles’ neck and ending the exchange with a wet flick of something that can only be Peter’s tongue swiping over Stiles’ skin before finally pulling away, smirking like he’s throwing down a challenge.
“Dad, I always know what I'm doing, even when I don’t.” He scratches his neck. It’s still tingling.
His dad looks appropriately unimpressed by his quip.
Stiles sighs gustily, shuffling his feet because this is fast becoming one of those embarrassing father-son talks that he’d really like to duck out of right about now.
“Sort of?” He finally offers. He clears his throat. “Er, do you? I mean about- you know. Me and Peter. Not that there is a me-and-Peter right now. Actually, I don’t even know if he’s just screwing with me, if it’s a werewolf thing, or if he’s genuinely interested in- whatever. Just...”
His dad looks a mix of amused, sympathetic, and stern. “First of all, I don’t care if he’s serious or not. If he hurts you, I have access to wolfsbane bullets, and I'm not afraid to use them.”
Stiles has to grin at that, inwardly pleased.
“And second,” His dad continues in a voice that brooks no argument. “No sex until you turn eighteen.”
Stiles flushes red and flails for emphasis. “Dad!”
“I'm serious,” His dad barrels on in his I-am-the-Sheriff voice. “Your birthday’s less than six months away, and I am not afraid to throw his ass in a jailcell. You can both wait.”
Stiles splutters. “What?! No! That’s not what I- We’re not even- We’re not even at first base yet!”
His father just snorts, crossing his arms. “Stiles, he lounges on your bed like he thinks he belongs there. You spend the majority of your time with him these days. He takes you out for lunch, he comes over for dinner, and he obviously knows you well enough to lure you in with dusty tomes and curly fries. You let him touch you-”
“That’s a werewolf thing!”
“-all the time-”
“-you don’t let Scott do it-”
“Scott doesn't want to do it-”
“-do you actually like him, Stiles?”
A short silence falls over the kitchen.
“...Yeah,” Stiles admits in a mumble after a full minute ticks by and his dad continues watching him with patient expectance, evidently not about to let this one go. “He’s- He’s good company.” The words pour out of him like a waterfall after that. “I can have debates with him – he argues with me and never lets me win if he thinks he’s right which is practically always but he… he also listens to me when I have something to say. And he likes my food, and I like his books. I know he misses teaching the younger kids in his family how to play basketball, and he knows I miss going to the shooting range with Mom.”
He pauses, and peripherally, he’s aware of his dad’s eyes widening in shock. Understandable. Stiles doesn't talk about his mom with anyone. Not even Scott when they were closer and neither of them had any other friends.
Carding his fingers through his hair, an absent smile quirks his lips. “He makes me laugh, and it’s always a challenge for me to make him laugh, but it’s a nice challenge because nobody else can do it, and we snark at each other on a regular basis until Derek wants to pull his hair out and Scott starts looking like I’ve stabbed him in the back or something. Peter’s teaching me Latin, and I'm teaching him how to cook, so- you know, things are fair between us. But, um, I guess, what I like most of all,” Stiles shrugs, stuffing his hands in his pockets and feeling rather self-conscious. “What I like most of all is that he doesn't make me feel like I have to prove myself to him.”
And that was always a problem with the people Stiles interacted with. With Lydia, whom – before they became friends – Stiles was never good enough for no matter how hard he tried, and she made that plenty clear to him, sometimes in humiliating ways. With Derek, who never trusted him no matter how many times Stiles saved his life. And with the rest of the Pack, who all saw him as a nuisance and shoved him around after they all upgraded to werewolf, lording their new confidence and power over him like all the other bullies at school tried to until they realized that Stiles really wasn't someone they wanted to mess with, not if they didn't want their dirty laundry aired. The only reason Stiles didn’t retaliate with Erica or Isaac or even Boyd was because they were already – marginally – Pack. Otherwise, they would've learned exactly how Stiles – and by extension, Scott – managed to hang at the bottom of the social ladder for so long and yet still get by without being blatant victims of harassment.
But it took so damn long for those pack members to accept Stiles as a friend, and that was only after Stiles bent over backwards for them and nearly got himself killed several dozen more times fighting alongside them before they learned to somewhat respect him, at least enough to tolerate his oddities. And even now, despite all that, he’s still seen as the weakest member of the Pack. The token human and sometimes bait. They’re friends, he likes to think, but they’re certainly not close.
“Okay,” His dad says.
Stiles blinks back into the present. “Wh- That’s it?”
His dad shrugs, uncrossing his arms and moving to the fridge to grab himself a beer. “That’s it.”
“Oh,” Stiles shifts his weight, and then prods somewhat tentatively, “Sooo... you’d really be okay if me and Peter maybe possibly feasibly became... me-and-Peter?”
His dad looks amused all over again but the smile on his face is kind. “Stiles, he honestly seems to make you happy. I actually haven’t seen you this happy in a long time. I know there’s a bit of an age gap, but so long as he treats you right, and you keep a handle on his penchant for murder-”
“-then I say go for it.”
Stiles glances at his feet, listening to his dad bustle around the kitchen. And then he looks up again. “Thanks, Dad.”
His dad just claps him on the shoulder on his way to the sitting room. Sometimes, words aren’t necessary between them.