"You don't look well," Peter cut straight to the chase as he stopped in front of Stiles in the store and eyed him pointedly up and down.
They were both well aware that he was taking in the paleness of Stiles' face, the dark bruises around his eyes, the too many layers he was wearing for the warm weather and the fact that he still seemed to be cold, the smell of tiredness and pain lingering around him.
"Thanks, when you get possessed by an evil fox you can comment on recovery time," Stiles grunted.
"And I am weak human anyway," he muttered.
"You are many things, weak is not a term I would ever use for you, stubborn maybe," Peter shrugged before meandering back down the aisle away from Stiles leaving the human to gawp after him.
Muttering to himself he concentrated on carrying on with his shop, trying to pretend that he was ok, trying to pretend he was recovering.
That he wasn't hurting. Physically and emotionally.
That he wasn't angry.
Because he was, an ugly rolling ball of anger was in his stomach and he was scared because it felt too much like the nogitsune for his peace of mind.
But once again he had been left. After everything that had happened, everything that he had gone through the people that he cared about most, the people he loved had once again patted him on the back and told him he would be ok and disappeared again.
They had all asked how he was doing, but they had also clearly only wanted one answer.
I am fine.
His dad was back at work.
Scott was distracted with Allison and Isaac and whatever the hell was happening between the three of them.
Mellisa was back to concentrating on Scott and Stiles' replacement as her second son - Isaac.
Lydia was busy focussing on Aiden.
Derek was concentrating on Cora - which yeah he could totally get that one but a text would be nice!
They had all disappeared and...and he was drowning.
He couldn't get warm, no matter how hard he tried he could not get warm. He had spent the first week trying and failing to sleep under 3 duvets and 4 blankets but nothing had worked. It was like the cold that settled over him when the Nogitsune stole his energy had sunk through to his bones.
So once again he was lying on his bed under his duvet, and trying desperately to sleep while shivering painfully.
He would like to say that the chattering of his teeth covered the sound of his window opening, but in reality, it was how tired he was and the fact he wasn't able to concentrate on anything anymore that meant he missed it.
He started badly when his bed dipped as someone sat on it, rolling as quickly as his sluggish body could go to meet familiar wolf-blue eyes glowing in the dark.
"Fuck! Peter, you gave me a heart attack!" Stiles snapped. "What's happened now?" He sighed starting to try and sit up.
"Nothing happened, lie back down," Peter said, and before Stiles could really do anything he had manhandled him onto his side and slipped his hand under Stiles' hoodie as he lay down spooning closely behind him.
"I kind of feel like I should be shouting bad touch right now," Stiles muttered.
"And why aren't you?" Peter, the bastard, sounded amused.
"Curiosity," Stiles admitted.
"And?" Of course, Peter had to push.
"This is the warmest and safest I have felt since..." Stiles drew off knowing he didn't need to finish that sentence.
"I can one-up it as well," Peter said softly in his ear.
As Stiles opened his mouth to ask how he gasped and arched slightly, gazing down he took in the sight of Peter's arm with black veins creeping up it from where it was in contact with Stiles' stomach. It felt amazing like a barrier was going around him to keep him safe from the rest of the world.
"Do I win best cuddle buddy?" Peter asked making Stiles laugh breathlessly.
"Yes, definitely. 20/10," He nodded. His mind-clearing slightly as the initial feeling of not being in pain lifted, instead, he just felt warm and floaty. "Does it hurt you?" He frowned concerned brushing his fingers over Peter's arm.
"No, it is like someone brushing their finger firmly over my skin," Peter answered.
"I am going to want explanations in the morning," Stiles warned even as his eyes grew heavy.
"I will be here, I will take you for pancakes for breakfast," Peter agreed.
"I'm gonna pass out now, but that sounds amazing," Stiles sighed before indeed finally giving in to the exhaustion his body was feeling.
When he woke up he felt warm and comfortable, loose-limbed and content in a way he hadn't felt since...god knows when, certainly before the Nogitsune.
Peter was still snoring gently behind him, his nose pressed into Stiles' neck and puffing warm wet breaths against his skin. He rarely saw the older man so human, only on a few occasions had he been allowed to witness anything but the sharp spikes, snark and smirk that Peter put out to protect himself.
But right now he was a warm, firm line against Stiles' back, still making him feel warm and content, every now and then black veins would appear showing that even in his sleep he was still taking Stiles' pain.
It wasn't just the comfort though. He felt safe. Peter was wrapped around him, cradling him in a way that made Stiles feel safe and guarded. Peter was dangerous and vicious when he needed to be, his power was coming back after his resurrection and it was clear that he was getting stronger by the day. Stiles doubted he would have been able to take his pain a few months ago.
But even though Peter was dangerous and powerful and vicious, cruel when he wanted to be and the master manipulator, even over someone whose brain was as intelligent as Lydia's, Stiles felt safe where he was, he felt guarded.
The feeling of being rested, of actually getting a good nights sleep, of not feeling the bone aching cold rolling through his body in painful waves, it felt amazing. And with a content sigh, he settled back down and was happy just to lie in Peter's arm and enjoy the difference.
"Stiles?" The 18 year old wasn't sure how long that he had been lying there happily before the werewolf woke up. He rubbed his face into Stiles' neck and shoulder, scenting him as he drew him even closer into his body. He went quite happily, wiggling a little closer to Peter himself.
"Thank you," Stiles said softly.
"You know exactly what for jerk!" Stiles huffed elbowing Peter and getting only a laugh for his trouble.
"But seriously, this is the first time I have had a full nights sleep since... everything, so thank you,"
"Are they bad?" Peter asked, his hand rubbing Stiles' stomach soothingly.
"Every night dude," Stiles sighed drooping into his pillow.
"I have the number of an excellent therapist who is in the know of the supernatural and used to dealing with cases like yours, he lives about an hour from here," Peter suggested.
"Lovely idea, but 1) My jeep won't make that journey 2) I can't afford to pay for therapy 3) No one will want to deal with my shit," Stiles said, sounding too numb and defeated for Peter's liking.
"1) I will take you there and back 2) I will pay for it, I can more than afford it, but in return I expect you to have supper with me afterwards 3) He listened to my crap, all of it, so I am sure that he will listen to yours," Peter retaliated.
"You want to pay for my therapy and drive me there and back?" Stiles rolled over and narrowed his eyes at Peter. "What do you get out of it?"
"You," Peter said simply. The teen blinked at him confused.
"Me?" He frowned pointing to himself.
"You. I want...I need a pack, I need...I want you, I want to make a pack with you, I want to look after
you, and be here for you, with you," Peter for the first time since Stiles met him looked slightly nervous.
"What about the others?"
"They are children playing at a game they don't understand, they are not pack,"
"And I am not a child?" Stiles asked calmly.
"You have not been a child for a long time sweetheart," Peter smiled running his fingers through Stiles' brown hair.
"Why me?" Stiles asked softly.
"You trust me, you let me near you, you make a point to touch me and help me feel like I have pack o stop me falling into madness again. You understand why I was the way I was, why I did what I did..." Peter closed his eyes as he shuddered faintly, but he opened them when Stiles' cool hands reached up to cup his face.
"I can't imagine how painful it must have been for you, healing while locked in your own head, knowing and remembering what happened, and then waking up an Omega knowing that Laura and Derek...left you," Stiles said softly. He carefully ran his hands up to run his chilled fingers over Peter's temple, the place that he spent so much time locked away.
"You can say abandoned," Peter huffed.
"I understand," Stiles responded instead.
"I know you do, and that is why I want you. The world isn't black and white for you, any pack that I have now, I am going to guard fiercely, I will kill any threats to them, I can't risk losing pack again. I need someone who understands that someone who accepts it and who needs it," Peter said slowly, his blue eyes intent as they stared at Stiles.
"I need to feel safe, totally safe," Stiles murmured the admission for the first time since he had woken locked in his own mind. "I feel so exposed and vulnerable, and I don't feel safe with the others because I can't trust them to do what is needed sometimes to protect pack...I don't trust them to...they didn't notice it wasn't me,"
"I will protect you, I will guard you, I will make sure you're healing properly. I will kill for you," Peter vowed.
"I feel like there is something wrong with me for finding that comforting, Scott never would," Stiles sighed dropping his face into Peter's shoulder and burying closer.
"You would have made a much better wolf than him,"
"He is a good person,"
"It is called self-righteous when your 'goodness' is to keep your own hands clean but hurts other people as a consequence of your actions. Have you heard about Deucalion?"
"What? No," Stiles frowned before a small shiver slithered through him. He had barely felt the cold moving through him when Peter drew him even closer, throwing his leg over Stiles' so that he was now completely entwined with his larger body, his hand sliding under Stiles' shirt again and flattening his palm against his smooth back.
Stiles' shiver this time was for a completely different reason.
"Deucalion has been killing again, he is trying to rebuild a new Alpha Pack. Scott let him go, pretended that a man who was damaged and twisted, who had spent decades murdering and had slaughtered dozens of people, including his own pack, for no other reason than power, would change just because he could see again, all so that he did not need to bloody up his pretty new Alpha claws. The blood of the people Deucalion has killed is on his hands instead," Peter shook his head. "That isn't goodness,"
"I think our idea of goodness is twisted," Stiles snorted and was treated with a flash of fang.
"That it may be, but it is the way that we see it. And as long as we see it the same way, a Pack we make," Peter stared at Stiles, the questions hovering unsaid between them.
Will you be my Pack
Will you choose me above the others
Will you let me be what I want in your life.
In answer Stiles shuffled and tilted his head to expose his neck to Peter, the offering so explicit, the trust so clear that Peter's breath caught in his throat.
Stiles was so perfect, he was all or nothing, when he went in he went fully in, and that was what Peter loved about him, that loyalty, that determination and that surety made him perfect Pack and made Peter want him all the more.
He leaned down and pressed his lips to the bare skin of Stiles' neck, mouthing at it, nosing at it was he breathed in the perfect scent of this amazing man. If he were a better man he would ask if Stiles was sure, but then he knew Stiles too well, once he made a choice he would plundge headlong into it and would not look back.
He opened his mouth and sunk his teeth quickly into the skin of Stiles' throat, biting until he could taste blood in his mouth, his hands were firm on Stiles sharp shoulder blade sucking the pain from him leaving nothing but a moan of delight on Stiles' lips as he felt the Pack bond snap into place.
"I can't wait to feel what this will be like when you're an Alpha again," Stiles muttered and then groaned as Peter bit even deeper, electric blue eyes snapping to his face as Peter withdrew his teeth and licked the wound to clean it.
"You shouldn't say things like that when I am buried inside of you Sweetheart," Peter growled.
Stiles blushed bright red, but grinned cheekily anyway, the action for the first time feeling like his own and not the smirk of the Nogitsune.
Though Peter was not an Alpha the bite had bonded them as Pack, something that a born and powerful Beta had the ability to do. It was how werewolves started Packs of their own, to start the basis of their power to make them strong enough to be able to claim an Alpha spark for their own.
Stiles closed his eyes as he felt the warm hum of the Pack bond in his chest, a proper Pack bond, and one that was echoing protectiveness and home. He now no longer only felt protected from the outside but from the inside as well. Peter would feel if something changed in him, he would feel if something was wrong with him. He would never fall into the same situation with the Nogitsune again because Peter would know that there was something wrong with Stiles immediately. Not that Stiles really thought that he needed the Pack Bond for that.
Peter would have known, he would have known right away. He would have burnt the Nogitsune out of Stiles before it had time to burrow itself so deep inside of him.
"Where are we going?" Stiles asked as Peter bundled him into a pile of blankets breaking him from his thoughts.
"I am taking you home, yes to my den before you say anything," Peter snorted poking Stiles gently between the eyes before he stood and started hurrying around the room packing clothes, books, dvds and games into bags for Stiles.
The human lay bundled up inside his blankets and calmly watched, faintly amused and delighted as Peter unerringly collected all his favourite things, either by knowledge or by scent. He loved how...werewolf Peter was. He was unashamed and unapologetic of being a wolf, he was proud of what he was and he used all his scenes and powers so naturally, it was like watching water flow. The world that Stiles loved despite everything that had happened, the world that still made him so excited and interested was the world that Peter belonged to and embraced with everything that he was. He wasn't like the others who stifled and smothered it, embarrassed and frustrated with their instincts while enjoying what they saw as the pluses that came with it.
Without Peter taking his pain the ache from his bite was making itself known, but instead of being sore, the heat of it seemed to be sweeping through Stiles, laying alongside the cold left by the Nogitsune. It felt as though Peter's power and the Nogitsune's were measuring each other up before being ready to fight for Stiles' body.
"Come on," Peter scooped Stiles up off the bed, his bags thrown over his shoulders, chuckling as Stiles yelped and tried to get his arms out the blankets to wrap around his neck. When the chill of the air hit him however he decided to trust Peter and stuffed his arms quickly back in.
Moments later Stiles was humming appreciatively as he snuggled into Peter's side. He had been shocked when Peter had rocked up in a pickup truck the first time. It wasn't what he imagined Peter driving, it wasn't old or cheap of course, it was the best that money could buy, but he had imagined something else. Then Peter had pointed out that there was absolutely no practicality to the Camero, whereas you could throw a body in the Pickup truck to drive out to the Preserve to bury.
Stiles still wasn't sure whether he was kidding or not.
But right now he was very happy with Peter's choice of vehicle as the bench seat allowed him to snuggle into Peter's side, the werewolf had one arm wrapped around his shoulders, and Stiles didn't have to worry about space between them when right now he knew that would leave him feeling raw and exposed.
"What?" Stiles frowned as Peter turned off the main road.
"I promised you breakfast," Peter said pulling into the parking lot.
"I don't think I can go in there Peter," Stiles admitted softly. Now that he had admitted he wasn't ok, the thought about being around other people felt like the idea of putting headphones on and turning it up to 1000.
"I know," Peter smiled not even turning to the engine off. And then a woman in the cafe uniform opened the door and hurried out with a massive bag in her hands.
"This place doesn't do take away," Stiles frowned.
"It does for the right price, it is your favourite place," Peter shrugged and opened the door as the woman reached it, a waitress that Stiles indeed saw often as this was one of his favourite places in town.
"Get better soon Stiles, your boyfriend...partner...said that you haven't been well," She waved before taking the cash Peter held out and jogging away again before Stiles could even start trying to figure out a word to describe Peter.
"You're a sneaky bugger," Stiles huffed taking the take away bag and sniffing happily at the scent of the food.
"I will be as sneaky as I need to be to start getting weight back on you," Peter slammed his door shut and kissed Stiles cheek before driving off again, driving them home to safety where he could make sure Stiles recovered properly.