Peter Hayes is a lot of things.
He's stubborn, malicious, conniving, and crude. I know this better than anyone else. For the better part of eight weeks, I was on the receiving end of most of his hatred. Yeah, he didn't like it at all when I went from being some twiggy girl from Abnegation to outranking in Dauntless. I thought I would be the next Edward; Peter wasn't above stabbing him and the eye, so why should I be any different?
"Malicious" doesn't quite cover it, when it comes to Peter.
Even then, he saved my life. So what if it was to repay a debt? I can't say he's pure evil. A truly evil person wouldn't have any debt to repay, or any guilt to feel. On top of that, (according to George Wu, at least), he asked Four for the memory serum. Begged him for it. "I want the serum because I'm sick of being this way, I'm sick of doing bad things and liking it and then wondering what's wrong with me. I want it to be over. I want to start again." That's what Peter said, word for word. An evil person wouldn't want to start over.
Tobias wouldn't give the serum to him. Instead, he forced it down Marcus' throat, and told Peter he needed to learn how to live with himself.
I'm standing on the rooftop of the apartment complex—it's my new home. It's where we all re-started, after peace was brought to the city. Only now, it seems like what little peace I'd managed to find had been shattered. Because four weeks ago (when Tobias was outside of the fence, helping escort civilians inside of the walls), he was killed. Shot in the head by some teenager. It was instantaneous, and it was painless, but that doesn't change the fact that he's dead.
The memory of him is enough to make my knuckles go white.
"Careful, Stiff. Wouldn't want to fall over the ledge."
Normally, Peter Hayes' voice would be enough to make my hair stand on end. But he's reached a point in his "detox" (as he calls it) where he's completely harmless now. The only bite he has left are a few stinging insults here and there.
"What are you doing here?" I demand, tiredly.
"Christina's looking for you. It's pizza night at her place—better you're with her than hanging over a railing. That could kill you, you know."
He says it so plainly. The words sound foreign, coming out of his mouth.
I laugh. "Christina talked to you. Really? You didn't bite her head off?"
I watch for any sign of anger (flushing skin, boiling blood, something) but I'm met with nothing more than an eye-roll. "You're just a ray of sunshine, aren't you?"
I don't say anything for a minute. We both stand in place, the wind whipping around us on the rooftop, and wait for the other person to speak.
He's the one that breaks the silence. "I wasn't going to go to pizza night, if that's why you planned on staying up here."
"I wouldn't care if you went."
"Okay. So what gives?"
"What do you mean?"
"You love Christina. I wouldn't be surprised if you two were secretly lesbian for each other, or some shit—why are you avoiding her?"
I feel my face flush. "I'm not avoiding her, asshole. I just don't feel like talking to people right now."
A small smile curls up on his face. "Well, alright."
And with that, he walks forward, until he's next to me and leaning over the railing.
I groan. "What are you doing?"
"I'm making you talk to 'people.'"
"But you're not people. You're just some simple-minded jerk that I wouldn't talk to anyway."
"Gee, Stiff, always so empathetic." He sarcastically clutches his chest. "You're hurting my newly awakened, beating heart."
I roll my eyes. Peter has been in a therapy program for the last few months; after he tried to snatch the memory serum, Tobias made a point of calling him a coward. "If you were really brave, you wouldn't run from who you are. You wouldn't try to forget. You'd change. So man up, and find a reason to change." So everyone's surprise, not only has he stayed in Chicago, but he's also made a point to try and 'recover.' Since Peter was never good to begin with I don't really see how it can be considered 'recovering,' but I guess that's a minor detail.
To say he's in the "early stages" is a definite understatement.
Even then, I don't hate him. And I'm definitely not scared of him, not anymore.
"Stop thinking about it," he says, finally.
I look over. "Stop thinking about what?"
"Four," he goes. A small smile crosses his face. I can't tell if it's meant to be mean or encouraging. "You're up here, stuck inside of your head, thinking about your dead boyfriend. It's not good for you, Stiff."
"Gee, Peter, always so empathetic," I parrot.
"You know that I'm right."
"Since when do you care about my well-being, exactly?"
He picks at his cuticles, and looks to the railing. "They always talk about 'concern for others' at therapy. Sorry if I'm trying to practice good behavior."
"You could practice good behavior elsewhere," I say. It comes out much colder than I meant it to, and for the first time in my life, I feel bad about saying something mean to Peter Hayes.
"Hey," he goes. "Believe it or not, I'm actually trying here. It would've been a lot easier to take that serum, but your peach of a dead-ex-boyfriend didn't exactly give me that option, did he?"
"Because he knew that if you took it, nothing would change," I say. "You'd start over, and then what? You're still bad, Peter. There's still that part of you that makes you do awful things. Some stupid memory serum won't take that away from you. At least now you're actively realizing why you're such an asshole."
He jerks his head to the left. His striking green eyes stare into mine, and I realize that the only thing keeping us both from falling over the edge of this building is a metal railing.
"So you think there's hope for me, huh?" he goes.
I laugh. "I never said that."
"Yeah, you did. You think it's better that I didn't take the memory serum—that means, you think there's a way I can be fixed."
"Well, if that's what you believe, then sure—whatever helps you sleep at night." I look away from him, and out to the Chicago horizon. "I'll say this much—it's nice to know that you're starting to feel guilt."
"Yeah. That's what this is, isn't it?" I motion back and forth, between him and myself. "You feel bad for terrorizing me, for almost killing me. And now this therapy shit has brainwashed you into trying to repent for it. So bravo, my friend, on this new milestone."
I hope it's enough, and honestly, it was just almost enough to get Peter Hayes to leave me alone. Because the truth is, there are a million things I could say about Peter, and there are a million different ways that I look at him now. But being around him and thinking about him is exhausting. As much as I think I have him figured out, he's become endlessly complicated to me, now that he's adopted this "nice-guy" philosophy.
It's in that moment that I realize just how much his therapy has changed him. Instead of throwing me an insult or storming off (like the Peter I knew would've), he laughs.
"C'mon, Stiff. Think a little more of me. We've saved each others' lives a few times in the past—and, yeah, maybe I do feel guilty for terrorizing you. But I think my debt's been repaid."
"So what is it, then?" I snap. "Why are you here?"
He shrugs. "I was bored. I knew you needed a distraction." He rolls up his sleeves; it's equal parts blustery and hot outside. "You do more sulking than talking nowadays, so I figured any human interaction would be good for you. Even if it's with someone you hate."
I roll my eyes. "Oh, c'mon," I go.
"Seriously?" I look at him. "You're not going to make me say it, are you?"
"What? That you don't hate me?" And then he does something that surprises me—he moves his hand on the railing, so his fingertips are touching mine. I jump the slightest, and he goes, "hey, easy there," as gently as he can. I look back from my hand to him. "Because, Tris, let me tell you something—I hated you. I really, really hated you. You already knew, obviously, but I really can't stress just how much I loathed your guts."
"And this is in the past tense?" I ask. "So, what changed?"
"What changed is that you saved my life. I went to therapy, you lost your boyfriend—"
"What, so you need a charity project, now?" I grumble.
He laughs. "You're not a charity project."
"Then what am I to you, huh? Why are you bothering?"
He sighs, and inches his hand so now his fingers are intertwined with mine. I resist the urge to recoil, and try to not to pay attention to how much my heart is suddenly pounding.
"You're asking the wrong question," he says. "It's not what you are to me, so much as what I am to you."
"And what would that be?" I ask.
"Well, I guess that's up to you," he says, with a shrug. "We can keep pretending like we hate each other, even though we don't. I can be the annoying asshole in therapy, if you want. Or," he says, slowly, leaning in ever so slightly, "I can be your distraction."
He hangs there for a minute, and then pulls away. He releases my hand.
"That's up to you, though," he says throatily.
I mentally kick myself. How had I not realized it earlier? He knew what he was doing, he had the entire thing planned out the entire time. Lay the therapy thing on me, take advantage of the fact that I'm grieving for my ex boyfriend—it's all too obvious. While Peter isn't pure evil anymore, he is definitely not good. And in between this conversation, the hand shifting, him trying to sexually assault me all of those months ago and him pulling away my towel when we were in Dauntless . . .
It's obvious. Too obvious. And I was somehow completely blindsided.
I don't say anything for a minute. He lets me weigh my options. So this is what therapy's done for you, huh? I think. It's made him appreciate the notion of consensual contact, yeah, but his conscience is still various degrees of fucked up.
I know what I could do, and I know what I should do—I should walk away. I should tell him, 'no,' and he would leave me alone.
But I don't. In between how much my heart is aching, how much my world is spinning, and how his face looks in the setting sun, I don't.
"Let's get out of here," I say.
And then we were kissing.
I live just down the hall from Christina, so we went to his room. We hadn't thought any of this out, obviously, but the second we closed that door behind us, it kind of just started. The kissing. The furious, guilty, impassioned kissing. He pushed me up against the wall, and I wrapped my legs around his waist. I ran my hands through his hair. We paused, and I took a minute to look at his eyes, his face, his body.
Of course I'd noticed that he was attractive before. His personality had always been enough reason for me to look away. But on this night and this room, Peter Hayes didn't have that personality; in fact, he didn't have any personality. He was a distraction. A free-floating, sexual thing, sent to satisfy only my most carnal desires.
Don't think. Don't think about Tobias. Just do.
And so, we did.
It escalated pretty quickly, much more quickly then I was used to. I almost froze, thinking of how Tobias would touch me, after the war had ended. I used to wonder when my fear of sexual intimacy would leave—once the fighting was over and we had a chance to settle down, it didn't take long for us to explore that avenue. It was a natural, loving progression. Kissing became fondling, fondling became touching, and touching became sex. It was easy, it was simple, and (most importantly) it wasn't scary.
Except now, this isn't easy. Or simple. No amount of therapy in the world would change Peter's innately aggressive traits. He didn't gracefully tug at my shirt fabric, like Four would; it came off in one sloppy, uncoordinated swoop, because he was too busy simultaneously crushing his lips against mine. Considering the fact that he was my worst enemy up until about eight months ago, I should've been terrified, or at the very least uncomfortable.
Instead, I didn't hesitate. I grabbed at his belt buckle, tugged it off, and pushed him backwards onto his bed.
His back flopped against the mattress. "Got some fire in you, huh Stiff?"
"Don't call me that," I snapped. I leaned in, and crushed my lips against his. I straddled my legs across his waist, and reached over to take his shirt off. After I did, I stopped for a second. I looked at his exposed chest. It was paler than the one I was used to seeing, and it had freckles in the wrong places. But to say that he was attractive ws a definite understand.
He sat up, and pulled my mouth to his, "Fine. Beatrice," he muttered against my lips. I felt a shiver creep up my spine.
And then, I went off like a bomb.
I turned on my side and pulled him on top of me. I ran my fingers through his hair deliberately but roughly, and the only thing that I could think was, more. I want more. I didn't stop and wonder about the moral implications of what we were doing, or how we would feel the next morning, or what it would mean moving forward—I just wanted more.
"I want you," I said.
"I know you do."
"No. I mean I want you, right now."
"C'mon, Tris, we're just getting started—"
I clamped my hand over his mouth. "You said you could be my distraction, didn't you?" He nodded. I reached over, and pulled his boxers and pants down. I then didn't waste any time slipping down my own shorts and panties. I heard his breath hitch.
"Well, then," I said, holding his gaze. "Distract me."
As he took that first thrust inside of me, I couldn't help but notice his eyes. They were alive, but not with the murderous rage that I was used to seeing. They were alive with something else entirely—lust, maybe. Most likely. But there was something else, and something I couldn't quite place. Smugness? Possibly.
And in that instant, Peter Hayes wasn't free-floating sexual object, meant to fulfill my most carnal desires. He wasn't my mortal enemy, who was often out to kill me. He wasn't some broken boy trying to mend his conscience. In that instant, Peter Hayes became my distraction. He became the best possible distraction, and for one simple reason.
I had a sneaking suspicion before, but now, I could tell.
If Peter Hayes wasn't already in love with me, then he was damn well on his way there.
Whoa, well I never meant to brag
But I've gotten what I wanted now
Whoa, it was never my intention to brag
To steal it all away from you now
But God does it feel so good
'Cause I got him where I want him now
And if you could then you know you would
'Cause God it just feels so
It just feels so good
~Misery Business by Paramore
A/N: I don't think I could feasibly write a fic without relating it to some kind of song. In this case, Peter is Hayley Williams, and Tobias is the other girl—sorry, Theo :D
I'm partial to both Fourtris and Petris, but Spectacular Now has made me like Petris infinitely more (I love you, Miles Teller). I haven't seen ANY Petris smut in the archive, so I'm happy to contribute, even if it's in the most soft-core way possible.
Let's get some more Petris up in here, ya? For Aimme Finicky and Sutter Keely's sakes.
PS. Debating whether or not to make this a multi. Would you want me to continue this? Let me know!