Stiles hears them first--he’s listening for them, though, so it’s not surprising.
Still, he forces himself to keep his attention on Derek where he’s talking about the new training regime and not on the door swinging open, and the way Peter presses close to Chris’ back when they enter.
He doesn’t breath in.
He can’t breath in.
God, getting bit by that fucking werejaguar in Mexico was the worst thing to ever happen to him.
Because even without looking at them--he can fucking smell it.
No one was really sure when Chris Argent stopped hating Peter Hale. They were even less sure when the antagonistic snarling turned into sly teasing and companionable conversations.
But all of them were very sure when they started fucking--no were worth their fangs could miss the scent of it.
And Stiles was human but he was smart and observant and the hickies decorating Chris’ throat were far too obvious to miss.
It was obvious they were fucking and just as obvious that they were ridiculously happy together.
And as much as that stung--he was happy for them.
“Stiles,” Derek prompts and he drags himself upright.
“Ok, so research says a salamander moved into the preserve.” Stiles starts.
“You researched?” Peter cuts in and Stiles grits his teeth. There's surprise in his tone and scent and it's cutting, because--there.
Right on cue. The bitter bite of hurt.
“I thought you were going to look at our books.”
Stiles shrugs, looking away. “I had the digital copies and we're kinda on a time crunch if we wanna get ahead of this.”
None of that was a lie and from the way Chris narrows his eyes, he knows it.
“We think,” Stiles goes on, “that it's nesting.”
The thing is--nothing really changed after they get together.
Peter was still snarky and cutting with the pack and inexplicably not with Stiles.
Chris still looked like he's not sure what the hell he did to end up with this ragtag pack but still insisted on teaching Stiles hand to hand.
They're kind to him, and there are moments when he thought if they weren't together, they would be flirting.
But they are. And he dismissed those moments as wishful thinking.
It was easy to be around them, because they're never blatant about their sex life. Peter would touch Chris sometimes and Chris would watch him with a quiet sort of hunger that made Stiles stomach twist, a mix of pleasant arousal and low anxiety.
But they weren't Erica and Boyd with their constant sexual banter and touching. They're not Scott and his rambling about Allison or Isaac or Kira.
Even Lydia was far too open about sex and sometimes Stiles wondered if it's a pack thing or a teenage thing. Mostly he just squirmed silently and wished everyone had some fucking boundaries.
And they did .
Being around them was comfortable and easy and if he sometimes wanted more , that was only his business.
And then Mexico happened.
“You’re avoiding us,” Peter says.
The meeting is breaking up and Stiles can feel them at his back, just as he can feel the gazes of Scott and Derek from across the room.
“I’m not,” he says, but the denial is weak and even he can hear the trip of his heartbeat.
There’s a long silence, and then, “Stiles.”
Just that. His name, murmured with such defeat and longing it makes him hurt.
“Leave him, Peter,” Chris says, his voice soft. A hand touches his shoulder, and Stiles bites back the whine in his throat. “When you’re ready, you know where we are, Stiles.”
When he was bitten, it was Peter and Chris who took care of him. Chris kept the rest of the pack--Scott, in all his furious over-protective uselessness--away and Peter eased Stiles through his change and shifts, coached him to a control that felt tenuous most days.
Peter was solid and even when Stiles was furious and violent, he never truly hurt the other shifter.
He was a safe place for Stiles to batter all his helpless anger against, and Chris--Chris was the calm soothing are when he calmed, when they were both limp and exhausted, and he coaxed them both to eat.
He felt safe between them, cared for in a way he didn’t let himself think about because if he thought about it, he’d want and he couldn’t.
The care was one packmate helping another, was friendship and he was an idiot to think it could be more.
Derek sits next to him and Stiles leans into him.
Touch, he’s realized since he was bitten, is vital, and Derek was almost starved for it. Derek rumbles a little, settling deeper into the couch and dragging Stiles into him.
“You’re not being fair to them,” he says.
Stiles closes his eyes.
“You smelt it, didn’t you?” he whispers.
“They smelt like sex. They always smell like sex. Do you have any idea how often then fuck, Der? Because I lived with them for those two months, and it’s a lot.”
He’s quiet, and then, “Does it bother you?”
Stiles goes still and his scent is sour with defeat and disappointment. “They don’t know--and they wouldn’t want me if they did.”
“Don’t you think that’s their choice?”
Stiles presses deeper into Derek, inhaling the clean warm scent of friendsafepackAlpha and thinks that no.
Living with Chris and Peter while he learned to control his shift was a revelation.
Some things were easy, unremarkable--Peter had a sweet tooth and they kept baked goods and ice cream on hand all the time. Chris enjoyed tea at night but coffee in the morning and never ate breakfast.
Some things were amusing, guilty pleasures they rarely showed beyond the walls of their home--Chris loved bad TV and cheesy horror movies. Peter liked to listen to Enya while reading scifi and--Stiles giggled when he found them--romance novels.
Some things took his breath away--the way they touched each other, constant easy touches that spoke of deep love and familiarity and trust. The way Peter would relax, his smirk falling away into something genuine and sweet. The way Chris looked in the kitchen, eyes half lidded and face ruddy with the heat of the stove as he watched them eat the food he cooked, the adorable way he preened under their compliments.
There was one thing though--one thing that was unexpected and heartbreaking.
They had sex. All. The time.
He isn't terribly surprised when Chris shows up at his house. He's a little startled that he's alone and the quick look around doesn't go unnoticed.
“He isn't here,” Chris says softly and Stiles’ shoulders droop.
“Is he mad at me?”
“No, Stiles, of course not. He's worried. We both are.”
He sighs and lets the older man in, retreating to the kitchen to make coffee for them. Chris is quiet, watching him.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?”
His heart jumps, that rabbit fast painful thing. He’s still not used to that--the casual affection from both of them. Peter’s always done it, but it’s different now, less mocking and more tender.
Chris--Chris calls him things like sweetheart and honey and it feels like a promise, and he can’t quite work out what he’s promising.
“Nothing,” he says, and Chris makes a low, displeased noise. “You didn’t do anything. I have to figure this out on my own.”
Chris is quiet, staring into his coffee for a long time, and then, “Are you still coming to dinner tomorrow?”
His heart aches, but he nods, and his smile is shaky but real.
Loving Chris and Peter, he thinks, is the most painful thing he’s ever done.
He stayed with them for two months.
At first he was too consumed with the change to notice or worry when they were together.
But then he got a handle on it--and things he’d overlooked were suddenly impossible to ignore.
Chris was loud when they were in bed together, and the scent of it worked it’s way down the hall, crept along the guest room and wrapped around him.
Sometimes he could hear Peter’s dirty praise, taunts and teasing.
Sometimes, he heard him whisper, “I saw you watching him, today.”
Stiles always buried his head, at that, biting his lip and flushing as he tried to block out the sound of them having sex.
It wasn’t just at night--if it was, he could handle that. It was that sometimes, he’d walk into the kitchen and find Chris plastered to the fridge, Peter on his knees in front of him.
He’d walk by the laundry room and see Chris leaning against Peter’s back, hips thrusting against his too tight jeans, a hand down the front of his pants.
Sex was as important to them as the quiet comfort and domesticity.
And he couldn’t--there was no place for him there.
Even if they wanted him, and Stiles was smart, he knew they did--there was no place for him.
“Tell them,” Derek says.
“I haven’t told anyone,” Stiles answers. “Just Dad and you.”
It goes unspoken that he’d only told Derek because he was Derek.
If anyone was going to understand Stiles’ complicated relationship with sex, it would be Derek.
“They love you,” Derek says. “And they should. You’re amazing.”
“You know that’s not true,” Stiles says, weakly.
“I know that you think being ace means you don’t deserve them,” Derek says gently. “And I know you’re wrong. At least take a chance, Stiles.”
“And if it blows up in my face?”
“Then I’ll beat them both up and get you very drunk until you forget they’re the worst.”
Stiles laughs, but it’s wet, and Derek’s eyes are gentle and his eyes are warm as he pull Stiles into a hug.
“It’s ok, Stiles. You’re gonna be ok.”
There was one night.
It was ordinary , almot painfully so, right at the end of his stay with them.
Chris had cooked, and after, Peter had coaxed him into a game of chess. Chris had lazed on the couch, his fingers scratching through Stiles hair as he sat on the floor and scowled at the chessboard, and it had a kind quiet comfortability that Stiles wanted to keep.
And then, when the wine was gone and the game was over, when Peter rose to put the glasses in the sink and check the house--Chris murmured, lips brushing the shell of his ear. “You don’t have to go to bed, Stiles.”
He’d stammered over a response that he knew didn’t make sense, and he could feel Chris’ gaze, twisted confusion and longing, following him from the room.
Stiles is fidgeting, the words bursting against his lips, as he watches Chris and Peter moving around the kitchen.
He knows they won’t press--Chris won’t let Peter press--so if he wants to have this conversation, he has to be the one to say something.
He really doesn’t want to have this conversation. But Derek’s quiet belief and encouragement are echoing in his mind, still.
“You have a lot of sex,” he blurts out.
Chris glances at him, an eyebrow raised, and then pulls dinner from the stove. Stiles wonders if it’s done or if it’s just good enough.
He thinks probably the latter.
“We do,” he says easily.
“But you want me,” Stiles says, and his heart pounds because after all the dancing around each other, all the flirting and innuendos and never quite stepping over the line--it’s out there.
“We do,” Peter says, huskily, and Stiles skitters back a step.
“I can’t--I can’t have sex with you.”
“Ok,” Chris says.
Stiles opens his mouth--and pauses. Stops to frown at them.
Chris shrugs, and puts dinner on the table, wiping his hands on the dish towel. “If that is all that’s holding you back, it’s fine. We don’t want you just for sex.”
“But I won’t ever have sex with you,” Stiles says, his voice going shrill. He can feel claws pricking at his fingers, and still, Chris approaches him. “You are never going to change my mind about that. I’m not--I don’t--” he chokes, tears welling in his eyes.
“You’re asexual,” Peter says, calmly, and Stiles shudders, nodding into Chris’ shoulder. “Darling, I knew that.”
“How?” Stiles whispers, mind racing, trying to figure out when or why Derek would have told Peter.
“You don’t smell like sex. And whenever the pack talks about it--you get anxious, uncomfortable. I did consider trauma, but there was never any fear or pain in your scent.”
“And I did a very thorough background check,” Chris says easily and Peter nods, smiling at his lover.
“With that ruled out--it made sense. I have some experience with Derek’s sexuality, but I’m afraid it’s limited,” Peter says, almost apologetically.
“You--you know. And you still want to be with me?” Stiles’ voice squeaks at the end of his question and Peter’s eyes flash, his temper slipping for a moment.
“Baby,” Chris says, gently, drawing Stiles gaze to him, “we don’t want you because we want to fuck you. I would never turn you down, if you wanted that. But we want you because--we’re better with you. You make Peter laugh. And you like my TV shows and the way I make fajtas. You’re brilliant and you understand our world and you fit with us.”
“Do you want us?” Peter asks, softly, and his voice is thick with fear.
“God, yes, so fucking much,” Stiles chokes out and Peter smiles, wildly triumphant and Stiles--
He presses in, kissing him hard and hungry, and Peter gasps as Stiles licks into his mouth, nipping at his lip.
Chris presses against his back and murmurs, “So kissing is ok?”
Stiles breaks away from Peter’s lips and drags Chris closer by his hair. “Kissing is ok,” he agrees fervently.
He can smell it, still, during pack meetings, and in the morning, when Chris kisses him before reaching for his coffee. He smells it when Peter slips into the shower behind him, chattering about the day while he washes Stiles’ hair.
They still smell like sex.
Chris smells like Peter and come, and Stiles’ sweet contentment, and Peter smells like new blood and lust, and love, and Stiles leans into him durning pack meetings, quietly happy between his mates, sleepy and almost purring and happy .