- Work in Progress
- Discussion - Murder
- Disturbing Imagery
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Action Adventure
The warmth of the mid-morning sun on his face pulled Peter from his dreams of pack, of his family. The rare lightness of his waking state confused him. He didn’t have good dreams. His dreams were always filled with pain, most often the pain he’d felt when the bonds of pack, of family, had been ripped away. They’d been shredded during the fire, one by one watching his family die around him. The burning flames had been torture alone but the breaking of the bonds that had filled his heart had been agony.
He never dreamed of his life before the fire, tried not to think of that life now that it was gone.
Peter frown, thinking. The morning sun didn’t enter his bedroom. The sun swept in through his windows in the afternoons, heating the bedclothes and holding that warmth, as if waiting for him to start the dreams of fire and death.
Tense, not sure where he was, Peter took in the room through slitted eyes and then relaxed. He was at Derek’s place. The loft, open and a bit cold except for the gentle warmth of the late morning sun streaming in through the large window that dominated the space.
Memories of the fight, of Kate and the vault, trickled into his mind.
He sat up slowly in Derek’s bed, noting he’d been stripped of all of his clothing, though the sheets were somewhat preserving his modesty. He’d been badly hurt. He smoothed his hands down his chest and then softly touched his neck, the evidence of Kate’s gaping claw wounds that had marked his flesh were gone. The salve Stiles had applied was gone as well, except for a few bits still clinging to his skin. Someone had cleaned him up a bit after his wounds healed.
He didn’t even feel any normal healing ache. It was unexpected. Since coming back from death he’d been regaining strength and the power of the wolf inside him at a snail’s pace. It had been a slow process, made all the more lengthy by not having pack bonds to heal and bolster him and his wolf. The hollow space of pack in his chest was still there but seemed smaller this morning.
Peter frowned down at himself, rubbing over his smooth chest. It was strange.
A whisper of feet over the floor pulled him from his maudlin thoughts.
“How are you feeling?” Derek asked. His nephew was still in his pajamas, tartan sleep pants, and a plain white t-shirt. It wasn’t surprising, they’d had a late night after all.
“I’m healed.” Peter paused, taking in the scent of coffee Derek was carrying. “I haven’t been able to heal this fast since I came back.”
Derek didn’t acknowledge the comment, just handed him a steaming mug then took a seat on the end of the bed. The warmth of the coffee soothed Peter’s dry throat. The bitter taste heavenly washing away the remnants of blood still heavy on his tongue.
Derek was glowering into his cup. His nephew was often quiet and somewhat moody, particularly when Peter was present. He hadn’t always been such a silent temperamental introverted person and Peter knew he was to blame for some of Derek’s quiet sadness, though not all.
Derek looked so much like Talia sitting at the end of the bed. Peter’s throat tightened at the memory of his big sister, more a mother to him than a sister with the twenty-five years between them, sitting on the end of his bed in their old house. They’d been talking through an argument, one of many they’d had about the safety of the pack. The argument had never been resolved and was a moot point now.
Now the safety of the rest of his family was the only thing of importance. Had been, even though Derek, Cora, and Malia didn’t trust Peter as far as they could throw him. He would have had their trust if he hadn’t killed Laura. His niece, who had been only seven years younger, his family that he’d always protected. Peter was never going to be forgiven for killing her and he didn’t expect to be forgiven, by anyone, even himself.
“Is there still cleanup to do?” The silence pressing down on him needed to be broken. He’d rather Derek growl at him, or yell than hear nothing except his nephew’s heartbeat and quiet breaths.
Derek shook his head. “No, I took care of it with Malia’s help. Kate’s body is burned, and the ashes scattered. We put Brunski at the side of the road just off the Preserve out of town. I’ll call it in at a payphone downtown later.”
Body disposal was more Peter’s area of expertise and he had to admit, he didn’t like that Derek and Malia had to do it. Derek was a soft person at heart and Malia was too young, though from what he’d seen so far, she did have an aggressive survival of the fittest outlook on life. She would make an excellent pack protector if she was trained to be more subtle.
“It could have waited, I would have taken care of it,” Peter said, softly.
“We didn’t know if you were going to survive, so there was no reason to let it linger. There’s still some work in the vault to do, but it can wait until tonight.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Derek gave a short nod. And the distrustful silence was back. Peter hated that silence.
“Do you remember everything?” He asked.
“I don’t remember what happened in Mexico if that’s what you mean. I only remember waking up at Deaton’s, not what… Kate did to me.”
“How are you feeling?”
“Different, but the same, I guess.” Derek shrugged.
It was like pulling teeth to get the boy to talk to him. Peter wasn’t sure what he could do to change that, yet.
“This Brunski person, do you know anything about him? Was he working with Kate?”
Derek heaved a sigh, frustration evident when he stood and started to pace at the end of the bed ignoring his coffee sloshing over the edge of his mug onto his fingers. “No, I don’t know anything about him. Stiles does, I think. I didn’t meet him with Kate or anything like that. I think she was working alone with the Berserkers. They took off after she died. Do you think they’re still around?”
Peter took another sip of his coffee. He was going to need another soon, and pants. Watching Derek pace, his nephew was so young at just twenty-two, but he seemed older, though not necessarily wiser.
“They shouldn’t still be here. Not without a master to answer to or direct them. They’re magic to the point it wouldn’t surprise me that they’re already back in Mexico. They’ll wait for a new master at La Iglesia. We shouldn’t have to worry about them again.”
Derek’s shoulders slumped. Peter didn’t blame him for the relief that was evident. Berserkers and trying to fight them was no joke and not an entity that would be easily defeated by a werewolf, even a pack of werewolves if McCall’s ‘pack’ could be called such.
“Didn’t the True Alpha help you and Malia?” Peter couldn’t help the sneer and resisted the tingle of his fangs wanting to drop. They always wanted to when he thought of McCall and the Alpha hood that had been bestowed upon the incompetent teen. He didn’t understand why Stiles and Lydia followed the boy.
Derek rolled his eyes at Peter’s disdain for all things Scott McCall. “He took Kira home, so no, he didn’t help us. And don’t start with your complaints about Scott. I don’t want to hear it.”
Peter closed his mouth with a huff. “Fine, I won’t. I guess I’ve made my feelings well known on the subject.”
Peter scooted to the end of the bed, keeping the sheet over his lap. “Can I borrow some clothes? I would hate to have to expose my neighbors to my bare ass this early in the day.”
Derek snorted and Peter did a double-take at the smile that was hiding underneath the hand Derek had over his mouth. It had been a long time since he’d seen Derek smile. Not that he could see it now, but Peter knew it was there and there was some satisfaction to be had in realizing he’d done that.
“I’ll get you some—” A shrill ringing burst throughout the loft and Derek’s eyes flashed gold. It was only for a second before the green of Derek’s human eyes returned.
“Derek—” Peter started, and the ringing pierced his ears again.
Derek stalked overset down his coffee and picked up his phone on the bedside table.
“Yo, Sourwolf! Is he still alive and breathing?” Stiles’ voice was tinny over the line, but Peter could hear him just fine. That boy was a menace and Peter desperately wanted him for a packmate. Having a pack bond with a vibrant personality like Stiles would help fill the hole left in his chest where pack was supposed to be.
Derek gave him the once over. “He is and naked on my sheets.”
“Well, don’t get your panties in a twist, you can change them later. If you wash them, I’m sure the Creeperwolf cooties will disburse just fine.” Such a menace, Peter though was having a hard time not letting out the chuckle that wanted to escape and rolled his eyes to hide his amusement.
“What do you need, Stiles?” Derek gave a long-suffering sigh. It didn’t cover the fact Peter could see his nephew, as tense as he had been, was now almost relaxed with Stiles’ voice in his ear. It was something to think about. Derek even had a bit of a blush on his cheeks.
Peter scented the air subtly. Interesting.
“Oh, yeah. Can you come over? I want to talk to you about a few things.”
Derek frown at Peter with his blatant eavesdropping. “Sure, what time?”
“Whenever you can get over here would be good.”
“Okay, be there soon.”
The call ended and Peter watched as Derek contemplated his phone for a moment. He shook himself, placing the phone back down on the nightstand.
“You know what that’s about?” Peter asked.
“It takes skill to discover and learn to use the Nine Herbs,” Peter said. Ignoring Derek’s reticence in giving him any information. He’d been helpful to the pack over the last year, but always with a price. They didn’t trust him, and he hadn’t trusted them, and he’d had his own goals to think through. Decisions needed to finally be made and he knew what he wanted, what he needed now, and it wasn’t to be on the fringes of a pack lead by an incompetent boy Alpha, True or not. It wasn’t good for him, his family, or Beacon Hills, his family’s territory for the last two-hundred years. “Perhaps Stiles would be able to help figure out why your eyes have changed.”
Derek flinched. So, he knew they had changed back to beta gold, Peter mused.
“Is that the only change?” Peter stopped himself from mentioning Kate, as he normally would. It would do no good to keep piling guilt onto Derek’s shoulders. He’d been a child; the fire was more the fault of Talia than it had ever been Derek’s. Peter needed to remember that. He needed to remember, Laura was the one to abandon him, not Derek, not a child. The Hale Alpha had abandoned him and severed the last of his pack bonds, not Derek. It had been easy to lash out at this nephew before in his rage and pain, but it needed to stop if he wanted Derek on his side in the future.
“I don’t know,” Derek replied, he wouldn’t look at Peter, “I don’t know what she did to me.”
“Talk to Stiles about it. I don’t know as much about werejaguars beyond they isolate themselves from other supernaturals and humans. I’ll do some research, if I don’t have a book at home that will do, I’m sure there’s something in the library in the vault, and if all else fails, I have some contacts who owe me some favors.”
“And what do you want from me for your help?” Derek asked, turning, his arms crossed over his chest. The defensive posture familiar. Peter wanted to change that.
He couldn’t say he didn’t want something, at this point in their relationship Derek wouldn’t believe a word he said. And he did want something. He wanted Derek, Cora, Malia, Stiles, and even Lydia. They were worthy of being pack. Three were family by blood, two could be family by friendship and trust. They were all his, even if they didn’t know it yet.
“Well, Stiles and Lydia are quite valuable to have as allies. And they did help me last night. Perhaps, I’m just returning the favor, since Stiles seems to like you so much.”
“What. Do. You. Want, Peter?” Derek growled out each word, protective. It almost made Peter grin.
“What any wolf wants, Derek, pack.”
Derek reared back, his arms loose and open at his sides. Peter was just silent and still, waiting and watching as Derek struggled with the shock. He’d told Derek before he needed a pack, needed an Alpha. The boy just hadn’t taken him at his word. Not that Peter could blame him.
“There’s already a pack, Peter,” Derek replied, “You’re just not part of it.”
“You and I both know that what McCall calls a pack, is not a true pack. You remember our pack, don’t you? You remember how pack is supposed to be. Derek. please tell me you haven’t forgotten.”
“Of course, I haven’t!”
“Good, so that is what I want, and I want Stiles and Lydia to be part of it. I’ll help you because you’re my family and I hope one day, a packmate again.”
Peter raised a brow and then raised himself off the bed. “You think on it, I’m taking a shower. Get some clothes for me, would you?”
He left Derek staring at his bare ass as he made his way through the loft. Perhaps he’d revealed too much too soon and overplayed his hand, then again perhaps what he needed to do to get what he wanted, what he needed was to start trusting those he wanted as pack. At least, a little bit.
Derek called out, “We don’t have an Alpha!”
“We don’t need one, Derek… yet.”
After his shower, Stiles headed downstairs to forage for some sustenance. Once he was fulled up, he’d get his crime boards started and work on what was bothering him. The visuals were always helpful in organizing his chaotic thoughts. After that, he’d call and see if Derek could come over.
The remnants of the scent of bacon and burnt toast were in the air when he made his way into the kitchen. Stiles squinted at his dad who was innocently sitting reading the paper at the kitchen table in his uniform with his reading glasses low on his nose.
“That better not be real bacon I’m smelling,” Stiles said, homing in on the still half-full coffee pot.
He heard an exasperated huff behind him while pulling a mug out of a cabinet. It made him smirk a bit. His dad’s cholesterol was fine, but Stiles was determined the man would eat healthy a majority of the time. Otherwise, his Pops would live off takeout and beef with nary a vegetable to be found.
Pouring himself a cup, and about to start his usual scolding, Stiles mouth abruptly closed when his father asked, “So, are you and Malia a couple?”
Turning, Stiles saw his father had pulled off his glasses and put the paper down. If he’d had wolf eyes, Stiles was sure they’d be glowing bright right at him.
“You’re using protection, right? I’m too young to be a grandfather.”
“No! No! No! That’s not what’s happening!” Flailing and unable to use both hands to do so, Stiles almost dropped his coffee on the floor. He juggled the mug in his hand and his coffee made it to the kitchen table mostly in one piece, just barely.
His dad raised a judgmental brow.
“There are no sexual shenanigans happening in my bedroom.” Able to talk with his hands again, Stiles waved them to emphasize his point as he sat down. Now both of Noah’s brows were up. “Well, not between me and Malia, I mean.”
“Okay,” his dad replied, slowly. “Why is she sleeping with you then? And I know she’s been sneaking in for a while now, what with the number of times I’ve checked on you in the middle of the night.”
Stiles sat like a lump at the table, speechless. He’d really had to stop underestimating his dad’s ability to be observant and sneaky. He did get those traits from his old man after all.
“Well, we’re friends, Dad.” Stiles took a sip of his coffee. He needed to wake his ass up so he could think straight. “She trusts me, and I think she just needs some comfort after being alone so long. I swear, I’m not having sex with her.”
“I believe you. You’re always both dressed when I’ve seen you together,” Noah replied, his smile went a bit nostalgic. “I used to be the little spoon too, with your mom.”
The pitter-patter of his heart settled in his chest. It was always painful to talk about his mom, but wonderful too. They both still missed her so much and they’d not had enough time with her. It wasn’t fair, though Stiles knew the cliché that life wasn’t fair was true. It sucked.
Stiles felt the prickle of tears starting behind his eyes and his dads were looking a bit watery too. It would not do to have their morning start with blubbering, Stiles decided. There was too much going on and Stilinski men only cried about Claudia on a sixth-month schedule. Otherwise, they’d be blubbering at each other every other week.
“It’s just platonic, dad.” Stiles cleared his throat rubbing the wetness from his eyelids. He took another sip of his drink, thinking. “I think… I might be her anchor.”
“Yeah, um, werewolves or I guess were-people need an anchor of someone or something to keep them from popping claws willy nilly. It helps them keep control of their wolfiness.”
“Does Scott have an anchor? Derek?”
“I don’t know. When we were trying to sort out Scott’s wolfitude after he was bit, Allison became his anchor. I’m not sure what his anchor is now, though. Derek’s was anger, last I knew, so it probably still is.”
“And you think, you’re Malia’s anchor?”
“Well, yeah, I guess.” Stiles shrugged. “She hasn’t said so, but that’s the only reason she sleeps with me most nights, I think. We’ve been working on her control during the full moon at Lydia’s lake house. She’s getting better at it, but she’s not all sorted yet in the control department.”
Noah nodded. “I don’t mind that she’s here, as long as you’re safe.”
“I am, dad, she won’t hurt me.”
“Okay, I have to get to the station.” He raised a brow. “I’m expecting a call about a body soon.”
“Yeah.” Stiles looked at his dad. Noah was the most levelheaded person Stiles knew. The most dependable. The most honest. “Dad? If you knew something important about someone, would you tell them or keep it to yourself, if you thought it might hurt them?”
Noah paused getting out of his seat. “Physically hurt or mentally?”
“Both? I don’t know.”
“What is it, Stiles? Is this about Scott?”
Stiles deflated a bit. “No, not really, though maybe? It’s just. I found out something about Malia recently and Scott and I haven’t decided whether to tell her or not yet.”
Noah folded his arms in front of him on the table. “Okay, you know last night when you told me that Scott had kept things from you?”
Stiles cringed but nodded. He knew where this was going.
“How did it make you feel when you found out? Is this something you feel you need to protect her from? If so, did Scott not telling you about the Oni work to protect you? Do you think, if you’d known about them and what they wanted you’d have been able to protect yourself in some way?”
“Dad,” Stiles whispered.
“Do you think she’s not mature enough to handle whatever it is you need to tell her?”
“I don’t know, I guess, I didn’t think so,” Stiles replied, rolling his shoulders, his discomfort with his dad’s words rolled over him. Noah was right. “She so strong, Dad. After everything and she’s struggling but you’re right we should tell her the truth. I’m just worried, you know?”
“I get that, Stiles. I’ve tried to do what I thought was best for you. You’re my son and I know I’ve screwed up in the past. That’s the way life is, no body’s perfect, and you can’t always protect the ones you love. No matter how much you want to.”
Noah was a wise, wise man and Stiles sometimes felt he was all grown up and didn’t necessarily need a parent as much as when he was younger for advice. Especially after the last year immersed in the danger of the supernatural, he’d been exposed to. He’d gotten used to making decisions, perhaps occasionally or often, stupid ones on his own.
His dad was right. It hurt him more that Scott had kept information from him, numerous times, especially his plotting with Deaton to have Derek bite Gerard Argent. Those actions hadn’t sat well with him. After seeing his mom lose her body autonomy through illness, knowing it had been done to Derek through the force of another was just cruel and unforgivable. Especially in light of what he now knew about Derek’s relationship with Kate Argent.
“Can you tell me what it is you need to tell her?” Noah asked after Stiles’ long silence.
Swallowing the lump in his throat, Stiles confessed, “Peter is Malia’s father.”
Noah’s eyes widened. “If he was her father why was she adopted by Tate? The Hale family was still alive, why wouldn’t Peter, or at least his parents raise her with the pack? He would have been what sixteen or seventeen when she was born?”
“I don’t know the whole story, only that Peter told Lydia, his sister Talia, the Alpha stole the memories from him. It’s why he and Derek couldn’t remember where the Nemeton was. I’m not sure how it’s done, but it’s similar to Scott getting into my head with his claws in my neck to get me away from the Nogistune.”
“God,” Noah said, rubbing his hands down his face. Stiles had been a handful from the day he was born but he knew his Dad loved being a dad. Even after his mom’s death, they’d had each other and no matter how much trouble Stiles got into over the years, Noah cherished his son.
“Why are you worried about her knowing?”
“I just… I don’t know if it’s Scott’s influence since he hates Peter, or if it’s just Peter, who can be mysterious and manipulating. You know, a creeper. I’m just worried, I guess I thought that it wouldn’t be good for her to know.”
“She needs to know, son.”
“Yeah, she does.”
“Is Peter as dangerous as I think he is?”
“He’s dangerous, Dad,” Stiles said, “but… I don’t think he’s dangerous to the pack. He always has a plan, an agenda. I’m not sure what it is, and I think that’s one of the reasons Scott and the rest of us don’t really trust him. He’s not the same as he was, though, before he… died the first time.”
“And you all had a hand in killing him.”
“Yeah,” Stiles murmured. He still felt terrible about that and even worse the first time he’d told his dad the truth about what had been going on last spring, boy howdy, did Noah have a few choice words about what had been done that night. Stiles had participated in a murder, after all.
It had been chaos, and terrifying and he’d thought his best friend was going to get caught in the crossfire and die. He’d thought Peter was going to kill them all. Still, using fire on a burn victim, on someone not in their right mind, shouldn’t have been the only option.
Stiles wondered if Derek felt that way too.
They were both quiet. Stiles could tell his dad was thinking some hard thoughts. It did not bode well for keeping Noah away from danger. Then again, Stiles hadn’t been able to keep himself away from danger either the last year. Perhaps instead of reacting and running around in a panic trying to figure shit out as it hit, they needed to be a bit more proactive.
“I’ll tell, Malia and I’m going to talk to Peter and Derek about Deaton,” Stiles stated, chin up waiting for his father to put his foot down.
Noah stood from the table and came around beside Stiles’ chair. Looking up into his father’s face, all he saw was acceptance there and agreement. It was unexpected.
Noah leaned down and kissed his forehead. “I need to have a conversation with Peter Hale, as well. In the meantime, just keep me in the loop, okay?”
“I will.” Stiles wrapped his arms around his father’s waist and hung on to the rock that had been the one steady thing in his world since his mom had died. “I will, Dad, promise.”