- Character Bashing
- Discussion - Other Trigger Topics
- Discussion - Rape
- Discussion - Torture
- Dubious Consent
- Explicit Sex
- No Beta
Peter knew he was the absolute last person Chris Argent expected to see on his doorstep that Thursday morning. The hunter’s face went through a myriad of micro expressions before settling on his usual stoic look.
As much as Peter was desperate for help, he couldn’t stop himself from screwing with the hunter by smiling pleasantly.
“Christopher. Aren’t you going to invite me in?”
The werewolf counted six heartbeats before Chris (and he had to think of him as Chris, not Argent if he wanted to keep his wolf from going mad) bared his teeth in a mockery of a smile and reluctantly opened the door wide enough to admit his uninvited guest. It amused Peter to note how wolf-like the hunter’s expression was.
He also congratulated himself on being smart enough to wait until Allison had left for school. An alliance between the Pack and the Argents only went so far; there was no way in hell Chris would invite a ‘wolf of questionable mental stability into his home if his precious daughter had been there too.
Peter adjusted his messenger bag cross-body strap and casually stepped into the house. His nostrils flared, and his wolf gave a mental growl at the pervasive scent of mountain ash, wolfsbane, and gun oil.
“Coffee in the kitchen,” Chris stated, nodding toward the doorway.
Peter mentally nudged the wolf back, not allowing so much as an eye flare give away his discomfort. He was there to ask for a favor, as much as he loathed the idea of asking a hunter for anything. At least he knew he could trust Chris to fulfill his end of the deal, if he agreed to it at all.
“That would be lovely,” Peter said with a smirk.
He headed toward the kitchen, well aware Chris wouldn’t allow him to be at his back. The wolf didn’t like it, but needs must.
“It smells like an organic blend, if I’m not mistaken. None of the bitterness chemical herbicides and insecticides leave behind on the beans.”
“It’s Fair Trade,” Chris reluctantly admitted, pouring a dark green mug full and sliding it across the counter to Peter. “Allison insists on buying organic and Fair Trade as much as possible.”
A brief relaxing of Chris’ facial muscles and upturn to his lips told of the man’s affection for his only child.
Peter settled on one of the bar stools and took the offered drink, humming in pleasure at the taste. All the while, he was careful to keep his movements relaxed and unhurried. He had no doubt Chris had at least one weapon with wolfsbane-laced bullets close at hand. Christopher might be curious enough to let Peter in his home, but the man was a hunter at heart. He’d never let himself be put at a disadvantage, especially when facing a known danger like Peter.
“Cut the crap, Hale. What do you want? I know you didn’t just come here for my coffee.”
Peter cupped the hot mug, grateful for the distraction that would hopefully keep his hands from shaking. He had no intention of letting the hunter know he wasn’t as calm as he pretended to be.
“Ah. Well, you see, Christopher, I need a favor.”
“A favor,” Chris repeated flatly.
“Yes. It seems I am in need of someone who will promise to kill me, and, if things go the way I presume, will follow through on that promise. Not even I am cruel enough to make my nephew rip out my throat a second time, so who better than a hunter with vast experience in taking down my kind?”
Chris stared at him for a moment, his eyes narrowing, then he abruptly set his own mug on the counter, the porcelain hitting the marble surface with more force than was good for either one.
“This has something to do with when you and Stiles were captured. What didn’t you tell us?”
“And that’s why I can tolerate you: you’re smarter than the majority of the people in this hellmouth.”
“Very well.” Peter carefully removed his messenger bag and set in on the stool next to him. “First, you need to understand that, out of the entire Pack of misfits and inept children, I truly care about only one. If forced to choose between him and my dear nephew or the so-called True Alpha, I will choose Stiles every time.”
“That’s not news to me, not after the complete fit Scott threw when he realized you two hadn’t come back from your patrol. He was certain you’d taken off with Stiles yourself.”
Chris didn’t roll his eyes at the stupidity of the child-Alpha, but Peter got the sense that he wanted to.
“I’ve heard more than one rant from Scott about how you’re trying to corrupt Stiles with your evil research sessions that might or might not be poor attempts at seduction.”
Peter snorted. “Not that I wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to take Stiles from that idiot, but he is unfortunately as loyal as he is intelligent. I’d be in hell an hour before I realized I was dead, and Stiles would be right back with Scott.”
“True enough,” Chris smirked. No doubt the hunter had also noted the rather wide vicious streak the young man possessed. “I always assumed that was why you insisted on patrolling with him – as long as you were working for the Pack, he’d have your back. More than I could say for most of the others.”
Peter saluted the hunter with his half-empty coffee mug. “I also happen to be the only person who seems to remember that while Stiles is human and ‘squishy,’ as he puts it, and without the skills of someone like your daughter, he’s never going to allow himself to be sidelined. Not even his best friend understands that just telling him to stay home will work.”
“He’s not a dog, after all.”
Peter sneered at the implied insult, but refused to allow himself to be sidetracked.
“It is by my preference that Stiles and I are often paired for research duties and for patrols. I like to think we have come to an understanding and conditional loyalty, if nothing else.”
Stiles was, for all intents and purposes, the only person Peter truly considered Pack. He could see Stiles’ worth as well as his potential. He and his wolf side had both known they were still working their way into the young man’s good graces; however, he’d been willing to take things at a glacially slow pace as he wooed the young man. Or he had been until the hunters with delusions of being scientists captured them both. What had happened between them then may have destroyed all of Peter’s careful planning to one day have Stiles as his mate, preferably after Stiles had had a chance to get out of Beacon Hills, attend college, and settle more into his own skin.
Chris shifted his weight and propped his hip against the counter, then made a “go on” motion with one hand.
“Knowing what little you do of Stiles and his remarkably loyalty, you’ll understand why he didn’t run when those supposedly rogue hunters found us.” Peter’s expression twisted at the thought of the sick bastards who’d caught them. “He stayed and fought, which resulted in their capturing both of us instead of just me. By the time the tranquilizer dart they’d hit me with wore off, Stiles and I were locked together in a basement that had been set up as both confinement and torture chamber.”
Of course, the hunters hadn’t seen it as torture but experimentation and “science.” They’d wanted to see just what was different about Peter that had allowed him to come back from the dead. If their experiments caused unspeakable pain to Peter, well, that was just a side benefit. The other things they’d done to him they hadn’t even tried to cloak in the guise of science, but Peter forced those memories back, locking them away with the memories of the night his first Pack had been murdered.
“Stiles was conscious but concussed,” Peter continued. “Fortunately, I was able to recover quickly enough to be able to hear the argument going on just beyond the door. Having figured out that Stiles was human, the hunters were trying to decide what to do with him. Unfortunately, the majority were all for eliminating him, as they had been surveilling us all for several weeks and had come to the conclusion that he was unimportant to the Pack.”
Yet another failing of the weak, immature Pack. None of them had realized they were being watched, not even Peter. He was still weakened from his temporary death… not that anyone but Stiles believed him about that. It was a testament to how truly terrible Derek was as an Alpha that he hadn’t immediately recognized how weak Peter was, nor had he recognized that Peter and his wolf weren’t quite right either. They were not meant to be as separate as they were, especially not in a born werewolf. Peter had to hope that time would heal and rejoin the two aspects of his nature.
Chris’ expression had turned grim, his lips a thin line. “So you figured out a way to make him important enough to keep around.”
“I did,” Peter admitted. “I had less than five minutes to explain to Stiles what they were saying and to offer him to protect him the only way I could at that point.”
“You bit him.”
“Just do it!” Stiles had whisper-yelled desperately. “You can’t turn me, and I don’t wanna die. If this will convince them to let me live, you have to help me.” He’d torn back his sleeve on his right wrist and pushed the shaking limb at Peter. “Please, Peter. Please, please, don’t make me leave my dad alone.”
“I bit him with his consent, but I don’t know that he truly understood. His concussion kept him nauseated and not in any condition to make such decisions for quite some time.”
Even after that, the young man had been so traumatized by what happened afterward that Peter wouldn’t have considered him capable of consent then either.
“It was enough to convince the hunters.”
That was more true than Chris knew. It was all Peter could do to keep from snarling and letting the wolf come forward as he remembered the rage he’d felt and how he’d killed the bitch who’d been intent on killing Stiles, plus the three fools who’d tried to take Stiles from him after that. Only the knowledge that all the hunters were now dead was able to calm him enough to keep from shifting his fangs and claws.
“I assure you, I was able to put on a show that convinced even the most reluctant that Stiles was essential to my continued cooperation. If they wanted to continue their ‘experiments’ on me, they had to keep him alive and relatively unharmed.”
“Stiles was leverage.”
That was all Peter intended to say about that, but there was a reason Stiles had only come home with bruises, cuts, and cracked ribs, and it wasn’t that the hunters were reticent when it came to hurting him or making him scream. Stiles was Peter’s mate, and the wolf would have—in fact, had done everything he could to protect him. It was a duty, an instinct written into his very DNA.
To Peter’s wolf, that was still the absolute truth. Even now, the wolf paced and whined at the back of his mind for their mate. He didn’t understand why his human hadn’t brought their mate to their den. The wolf had understood that they couldn’t consummate the bond while they were weak from torture and still in danger, but now the drive to finish what they’d started was an unrelenting itch beneath their skin.
The wolf had wanted Stiles even while stuck in the madness the fire had left behind. He’d offered him a mating bite and had only been able to accept his refusal by looking at it as a challenge to prove himself worthy. Now that Stiles was marked, the desire to have him, to mate him was as inexorable as the call of the full moon. Man and wolf knew what it felt like to bite and mark his mate’s body. They had defended their mate from all threats and had protected him with everything they had. They’d also held Stiles in their arms as he’d slept, trusting that they would protect him from the horrors around them.
The wolf believed he had proven himself, and now it was time to reap the benefits. It was time consummate the bond and mark his mate in the other way that mattered, by spilling his seed within his mate’s body and changing his base scent. It was only Peter’s iron control that kept him from taking what he knew Stiles was not prepared to give. Stiles might never want to give himself to Peter that way.
Seeing that Peter wasn’t going to elaborate on the time he’d spent in captivity, Chris changed tactics and pointed out, “He’s only seventeen, Peter.”
“Eighteen,” Peter corrected. “Stiles was held back the year his mother died, so he turned eighteen while we were captive. Believe me, I am quite aware that I’m more than a decade his senior.”
“Eighteen. That’s still far too young,” Chris sighed. “Does he even understand what the mating bite means?”
Chris frowned at that. “They why are you here? Why aren’t you explaining it to him?”
Peter’s smile was more snarl, his teeth pointier than they should have been.
“Because I can’t. If he refuses me…” Peter growled and flashed his eyes before wrestling control back from his wolf. “Put it this way: I don’t think the wolf will let him refuse me.”
Chris jerked back. “You’d rape him?”
Peter shot to his feet and slammed his palms down on the countertop. “No, you fool! That’s why I’m here!”
He righted the stool he’d knocked over when he’d stood and ran through his personal mantra, trying to calm down. When he looked back at Chris, he was unsurprised to find himself looking down the barrel of a .45, no doubt loaded with wolfsbane bullets.
Peter held up human hands and grimaced. “We both know I’m not a good man. I was doing Talia’s dirty work long before I lost my Pack and my mind to your sister’s version of hellfire. I’ve never cared much about the laws of God nor those of man, but the one thing I’ve never done is force myself on anyone. I’m many things, but I’m not a rapist.”
Chris winced at the blunt reminder of what Kate had done, but his aim didn’t waver. “So you’re here for me to kill you? You just said your wolf wouldn’t let him tell you no.”
“No, Christopher.” Peter shook his head and explained with what little patience he had left. “I want you to lock me up in whatever little dungeon I’m sure you have here. Then I want you to inform Stiles of what the bite means and what it means to be a werewolf’s mate. I want him to have a choice.”
“Even if he chooses to reject you?”
With Peter’s decisive answer, Chris cautiously lowered the gun, though he didn’t set it down. “You’re serious about this. You want me to cage you, tell Stiles about werewolf mating, then kill you when – if he says no.”
“Yes,” Peter repeated tightly. “If he decides to refuse the bond, I will have to choose between being a rapist and being dead. I’m making the choice ahead of time, and I choose death. I only ask that you make it fast and as painless as you can.” He nodded at the .45 Chris still held in one hand. “One of those bullets between the eyes, perhaps.”
“You know Stiles will never let that happen.” Chris shook his head. “If he knew I was responsible for your death, no doubt I’d be the one watching my back for the rest of my life. The boy knows how to hold a grudge.”
Peter’s eyes flashed beta-blue.
“Do not tell Stiles under any circumstances. If you have to end me, tell him I left Beacon Hills to keep the wolf from claiming him against his will. It’s true, in a way. I’ll just be leaving the planet, not the city.”
He motioned to the messenger bag.
“Records are in here for all my assets. I’ve taken the liberty of adding him to my accounts, so he shouldn’t have any trouble that way. Give it to him after I’m gone. Cremate my remains so there’s no trace, then tell him I left this for him. At the very least, he’ll be able to pay off his father’s debts, go to the university of his choice, and support himself while he’s there. He’s too smart to waste on this hellmouth’s community college.”
Chris frowned, looking from the bag to Peter.
“Why would you leave everything to him?”
‘Why not leave it to Derek?’ was the unspoken question.
Peter held Chris’ gaze. “No matter what happens now, Stiles is my mate.”
…and I’ll provide for him the only way I can.