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All My Stars Aligned

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Stiles has been on lockdown in the state heat facility for eight long, horrific days.

Most of it is a blur, but he remembers some of it vividly. How needy he was. How out of it. So out of it, in fact, that he had to be instructed by an omega nurse on how to use the provided toys for relief. At the time, he didn't care. He wanted it, wanted anything to help sate the need. But now, remembering it, he wants to hide in this ruined pile of sheets and maybe die a little.

He drags himself from the sheets in the corner of the otherwise too-sterile room. He stumbles, legs still shaky, into the bathroom. He's so thirsty he drinks straight from the tap. In the mirror, he finds he looks the same as he feels: like absolute shit.

He's paler than usual, with dark circles under his bloodshot eyes. His hair is matted with dried sweat. There are scratches and dried blood on his neck and chest, and when he looks down he sees there are marks where he's scratched his arms, as well. He's surprised no one ordered him to be restrained during his heat so he wouldn't injure himself.

Small mercies.

He's never going through that again. Not one more heat cycle will be spent in a state facility. If that means he goes out and finds a mate, so be it. (Or two, as the doctors have recommended, but he's not thinking about that right now.)

He has time. His heats come every three months instead of monthly like other omegas. Three months is enough time to find…

His hormones are fucking with him. He tries not to cry. He never wanted to be pushed into this. And he's too young to be mated for life, he's only seventeen. He's not even out of high school yet, for god's sake.

But suppressants don't work on him, and it's the law if he isn't mated. He tried to hide it. He did hide it, for two whole heats. It helped that he was a late bloomer, and hadn't actually gone into heat for the first time until he was sixteen. But now?

His options are more of the hell he's just gone through, or a mate. He thought he could do this, but now that he knows what the facility is like, he's not putting himself through it again.

Mating? Not a problem.

It's not so much that finding a bondmate is a problem, it's that finding a decent alpha who doesn't want to turn him into a cook/maid/baby-maker is harder than Stiles thought.

It's been a month and he's been to five mixers. Every single one ended in anger and (then later, once he got home) despair.

But he's not giving up. There's a local party coming up soon, and while this one is smaller because Beacon Hills isn't a sprawling city, it will have a different mix of alphas and omegas. Stiles knows, because he overheard someone talking about it in the grocery store. Chris Argent. An older man Stiles has watched (and crushed on) from afar for ages, who is an alpha without a bondmate. So Stiles is already hopeful. If Chris is going to be there, that means he might have a chance to talk to him. It also means the party isn't going to just be a bunch of people Stiles already knows; there will be different age groups there.

Which is good, because Stiles has already gone through his own age group in Beacon Hills with a fine tooth comb, and he's found them lacking. But seeing Chris Argent makes him think maybe his problem was that they just weren't what he was looking for, not that the younger alphas were in some way deficient. Maybe Stiles just wants someone… more experienced. More mature.

"You're sure about this?" his dad says, cutting in on his thoughts.

Stiles blinks and smiles. "You've asked me that before every mixer I've gone to so far," he points out.

"It's a legitimate question. You can change your mind, you know. You're still young," his dad says. He looks worried, and Stiles knows he's been trying to find a loophole in the law — meant to protect omegas from uncontrollable alphas, supposedly — ever since they found out the omega suppressants didn't work on him.

"You know why I can't," Stiles mutters. "And anyway, plenty of omegas mate before they turn eighteen. Just because it's not as common today doesn't mean it doesn't happen."

"It doesn't happen as much now because it's… Stiles, you're seventeen," his dad finishes, sounding helpless.

"I'm old enough to decide this," Stiles says. "And you already agreed I could."

"I can't help but want to protect you, kid," his dad says.

Stiles nods. "And helping me find a good mate is the best way to protect me."

"What about what the doctors said about…"

"About… two alphas? I don't know. I'm thinking about it," Stiles says, trying not to blush over the topic. Sometimes he can talk about it without feeling shame over his fucked up biology and sometimes he can't.

"If your mom was here she'd have something to say about Fate and how it'll work out the way it's meant to be," his dad says.

"Yeah," Stiles says with a wry smile. "I know she would."

Stiles is going to make his own Fate.

The music at the event isn't as loud as the other mixers Stiles has been to lately. It's being held at Beacon Hills' nicest hotel, a place Stiles has only been to with his dad for county law enforcement parties. There are actual conversations going on inside, and not just outside where couples have escaped to get some privacy. There's very little dancing happening, and more milling around and casual talking. The crowd isn't full of people he knows, like he thought there would be. There are plenty of people he's never met before, though some look familiar, like he's seen them around town.

His eyes find Chris Argent almost immediately. Stiles tries not to stare, but he looks incredible. He's wearing an open collared striped shirt, and even from a distance Stiles can tell the stripes match his eyes. He's standing next to another alpha, and Stiles knows who he is, but he's never met him before. One of the Hales, an attorney who's a partner at the most prestigious firm in the county, who Stiles knows by name because he's heard his father curse and bless the name in turns. Peter Hale. Peter's wearing a dark gray suit, no tie, with a pale blue shirt. Seeing them side by side is almost enough to make Stiles's brain short-circuit.

But he isn't trying to catch anyone's eye at the moment. He's thinking about approaching Chris, but he's not sure what kind of line he should open with. For some reason he doesn't think 'Hi, I want to be yours' will go over well for a first introduction.

He's breathing and walking, walking and breathing, trying to get one foot in front of the other and avoid tripping himself up. The refreshment table looks like a good destination while he contemplates what to say to Chris Argent.

"Bilinski?" a familiar voice asks, sounding more astounded than Stiles thinks is warranted for the situation.

"Heyyy Coach," Stiles says, turning around to face the man. Bobby Finstock is an omega, but Stiles didn't know he was looking for a mate.

"What are you even doing here? Do you know the kinds of alphas who come to these things? Fucksticks, that's what they are. Testosterone overloaded fucksticks. I should know, I've been to a million of these events and I've been disappointed every time."

Stiles cuts his eyes over toward Chris Argent, and frowns when he sees him and Peter Hale walk out onto a balcony. Coach follows his gaze and makes an 'ah' sound.

"Well. Hale's a fuckstick but only to people he thinks deserve it," Finstock says.

"I wasn't looking at him," Stiles defends, holding his hands up.

Finstock frowns. "Argent, then? Good eye. But he's still an alpha so you take your chances. You never know, maybe he's okay. But then again he's probably… you know."

"A fuckstick?" Stiles asks dryly.

"You got it. But don't let me hear you talk like that at school or I'll have to write you up," Coach says, and then blasts Stiles with a crazy smile.

"Right. I'm just gonna go now," Stiles says, hooking his thumb out in the general direction of 'not here'.

"Yeah, you go chase your heart and get it broken. That's what these parties are for, anyway."

Stiles hopes not.

"Okay. Um, good luck, Coach," Stiles tells him, and heads off after Chris.

It's still balmy this time of year, but the weather is slowly turning. Stiles is looking forward to cooler temperatures, because he likes to wear layers and feel comfortable. Tonight he's wearing a blazer over a t-shirt with some dark jeans. He's in sneakers though, because it's a casual gathering and a blazer makes up for a lot of fashion sins, he's always thought.

He's not sure what he's doing, following Chris outside onto the balcony. It's a large one, and at first he doesn't see him.

Then he does and his stomach flips. Because Chris and Peter Hale are looking at each other like they're either going to fight or…

Maybe he's got it wrong. Maybe they're angry. There's a sort of wild desperation in Peter's eyes when he looks at Chris. He reaches toward him and it doesn't look like he's lashing out. It looks — Jesus. Stiles feels like he's intruding on something now. Because there's a wary vulnerability there in the movement, and while Stiles can't see Chris's face, he can read body language pretty well. Chris is holding himself stock-still, but it's not a strong pose. It looks like he may move forward, give over, in the next heartbeat.

Stiles should move. He should go back inside. Maybe, if he's brave, he should let himself be known. This is a private moment. Stiles shouldn't be seeing this.

But it also pulls hard at something inside him. Two alphas at once are hurting, in need, and Stiles can't help but want to give them something of himself to make it right.

God, he can't imagine what it might be like to be an alpha in love with another alpha. Because if he's not mistaken, that's exactly what he's seeing right now. His instincts tell him he's right.

He really should back away and give them privacy. But he's rooted to the spot, unable to tear his eyes away. He has to put a hand over his mouth to keep from gasping out loud when Chris grabs Peter and kisses him.

Stiles has only seen two alphas together in porn, and he's affected just as strongly now as he was then. They are beautiful. Passionate. Except the alphas in porn have never looked this desperate for each other. They've never held on to one another as if they were afraid they'd be torn apart at any moment.

Stiles backs away and goes back inside as silently as possible. He cuts off someone who's about to go out the door with a grossed out face. "Dude, somebody barfed out there. You don't want to see that or smell it, believe me."

He hopes the man isn't a werewolf. He knows they can tell when someone is lying.

Stiles doesn't mean to, but he ends up posting himself outside the balcony door. He uses the barf line more than once, and no one calls him on it.

It catches Stiles by surprise when the balcony door he's leaning against opens in. Of course he nearly falls, so he turns around really quick and then he sees the floor coming up really quickly toward his face. But he doesn't hit the floor because someone catches him.

Stiles didn't think about this, didn't consider the two alphas having to come back inside eventually. Didn't think the door would open. And he really didn't think Peter Hale would catch him, an amused twinkle in his eye.

He opens his mouth to say something, but all that comes out is, "Erp?"

"Are you alright?" Peter asks.

"No, yeah, no, I'm fine, I'm good," Stiles says, righting himself with help from Peter.

"I heard you keeping people from coming outside," Peter says.

"How…?" Stiles is feeling a little 'deer in the headlights' right about now.

"Werewolf," Peter says, and that makes sense. His attractiveness is probably supernatural in nature. "Why?"

"Um?" Stiles asks, not understanding the question.

Peter rolls his eyes. Just a little, but Stiles still sees it. "Why did you keep people from coming outside?"

"Oh," Stiles says quietly, and searches for the right words to explain why. Or explain that he saw them kissing. "I thought you could use some privacy."

Peter's gaze is laser sharp, honing in on his face, and Stiles feels like he's under a microscope. He grabs Stiles's wrist and squeezes, though not too hard. Just firmly, more threat than pain. Peter's words are low and intense when he says, "And why would that be?"

Stiles can't explain, not right now, why he did what he did. Or what he felt when he saw two alphas in such obvious pain. He knows they belong together, that they should be able to be with each other, but also that the world isn't kind to alphas who choose that path.

He lays his hand right over where Peter is holding onto him. "Because I saw you," he says, voice only barely above a whisper.

"Did you follow us outside?" Peter asks. "What were you doing?"

Stiles swallows. "I followed Chris. I didn't realize he was taken," he says, and lets his thumb brush over the back of Peter's hand in an obvious way. To say, 'I get it. He's got you.'

Just like that, Peter is smiling and letting go. His expression changes so fast to something pleasant and charming that Stiles almost thinks he imagined the intense scrutiny. "You're an omega."

He blinks and touches where Peter had held him. "I… yes?"

"Dance with me," Peter says, his head tilted toward where a few others are dancing.

Confused, Stiles shakes his head. "I don't really dance? I mean I'm not good at it."

"It's a slow song," Peter points out. "Just let me lead." He takes Stiles's elbow gently and leads him to the edge of the polished dance floor.

"I don't understand," Stiles says.

"You're very young, are you not?" Peter asks. One hand is warm at Stiles's waist while his other clasps Stiles's hand. "I'm surprised to see you here."

"I'm looking for a mate," Stiles says. "I hear this is how you go about that. Get to know people, see if you click."

"But why this little get together?" Peter asks. "I would think you'd want to be around alphas your own age. And… you seem a little young to be looking for a mate already. How old are you?"

"Old enough," Stiles says sharply. "I'm seventeen."

"And why did you come here tonight?"

"Because I felt like it," Stiles says, narrowing his eyes.

Peter laughs. "What's your name, little omega?"

Stiles glares. "I'm not little."

"You're adorable, though," Peter says, like he's pointing out something Stiles should know.

It's unnerving. Even more unnerving are the muscles Stiles can feel under the hand he has on Peter's shoulder.

"I'm… not," Stiles sputters.

"Your name," Peter reminds him.

"Stiles Stilinski," he says, then bites his lip when he sees Chris walk through the door from the balcony over Peter's shoulder. He looks as if he's been disheveled and then attempted to put himself back together. Which is close to reality, Stiles suspects.

Chris Argent is very attractive. But so is the alpha in Stiles's arms.

"My family might try to understand if I was to follow my heart," Peter says suddenly. Stiles looks away from Chris and meets Peter's eyes.

"That's good," he says quietly.

"But his never, ever would," Peter tells him.

Stiles lets out a soft sound at the hopeless longing in Peter's voice. At the pain.

Peter smiles mirthlessly. "Why don't you ask him if he'll dance with you?"

"I couldn't," Stiles says, eyes widening.

"You're a sweet thing," Peter says, and sighs.

"I'm really not," Stiles says, feeling his face heat.

"But you are. Now let me buy you a drink," Peter says.

"I don't need one," Stiles says.

"But it's a party," Peter says, giving him an over the top faux pout. It makes him laugh.

"Okay, okay," Stiles says, smiling at the alpha.

Peter inhales in that way alphas do when they're smelling him sometimes. Stiles wonders how much stronger his scent is to a werewolf alpha.

"Have a seat and I'll bring you something," Peter says, his eyes a little darker than they were. It makes Stiles's heart skip a beat.

"Alright," Stiles says.

Peter's eyes scan the room and he nods his chin. Stiles looks where he's looking and of course it's at Chris. "Go ahead and introduce yourself," Peter says.

"Oh. Should I?" Stiles asks, biting at his lip.

"I'm going to tell him you saw us," Peter says, stepping closer to him, murmuring in his ear. "He'll want to know who you are."

This close, Stiles can smell Peter's natural alpha scent, the faint pheromones. He closes his eyes when Peter speaks, when he feels his breath against his skin. Peter inhales again then steps back quickly.

"Go on," he says, his face suddenly blank like stone.

Oh, is it like that? Stiles smirks at him. Peter can't hide the fact that his pupils are dilated. Stiles may be a lot of things, but unobservant is not one of them. He turns and walks toward Chris, nervousness temporarily abated.

Chris is watching him, a small frown between his pale eyes. God, the man is attractive. Stiles has been sneaking looks at him for over a year now, though his crush really intensified in the past few months when the man grew his beard. It looks perfect — not too soft, not too scratchy, with just the right amount of gray on the chin. Though to be honest, Stiles would think any amount would be the right amount of gray when it comes to Chris Argent.

He realizes he's standing in front of the man without saying a word. He doesn't want to be creepy with the staring, even though he could do it for hours. "Hi. I'm Stiles."

"The sheriff's kid, right?" Chris says.

Oh. Shit. He knows who he is. "Yeah. Yes. That's me. Though you know, I'm not a kid. I'm seventeen."

Chris raises an eyebrow.

Stiles tries not to get defensive. "I'm old enough to be here anyway," he mutters.

"Is there a reason you came over to introduce yourself?" Chris asks.

Stiles looks around, trying to find Peter. He doesn't see him anywhere. "I thought it was a good idea?"

"Are you asking me or telling me?" Chris asks, smirking a little. The look does funny things to Stiles's insides. His heart's already pounding just from talking to Chris. His eyes, up close, are even more mesmerizing than they are from a distance. They're so light that they look almost otherworldly. Stiles knows he's human, or at least that's what his father said once when Stiles asked him about Chris, but he's still something… apart. Special.

"Um…?" Stiles says when he realizes Chris is apparently waiting on some kind of answer.

"Here you go," Peter says suddenly, coming from out of nowhere, it seems. He hands Stiles a cup and smiles at him, apparently delighted at the way Stiles is spooked by his sudden appearance. Peter turns to Chris. "Stiles here saw us on the balcony and proceeded to keep others away until we finished our conversation. I thought you might want to thank him for such… thoughtfulness."

Chris looks at him suddenly, his pale eyes narrowed. It makes Stiles shiver to have that much of his attention.

"It was nothing," Stiles mutters, looking at his shoes.

"So modest," Peter drawls.

Stiles takes a nervous gulp of his drink and nearly spits it out. It's not punch. Or it is, but not the kind he had earlier.

"Did you give the boy alcohol?" Chris asks.

"One or two drinks won't hurt him," Peter answers with a shrug.

Stiles smiles a little.

"And what was the point of you dancing with him?" Chris asks. Stiles wonders if he watched them the entire time, if he saw how close Peter stepped up to him to whisper in his ear. If he could tell, from across the room, that Peter was attracted to Stiles.

"Christopher, you are the one who dragged me to this event, and I seem to remember you saying something to me about meeting omegas?" Peter says. "Well, I met an omega. I would think you'd be happy."

"He's practically a child," Chris says through his teeth. He nearly stinks of jealousy.

"And funny thing, he came here hoping to talk to you," Peter tells him.

"I'm not a child," Stiles mutters.

"What do you mean, he came here to talk to me?" Chris asks Peter. Deliberately ignoring Stiles, acting like he's not even there.

Peter doesn't do that. He's watching Stiles. "I think our little omega here was hoping to catch your eye tonight, Christopher."

"Don't make fun of me, asshole," Stiles says.

"I'm just stating fact," Peter says.

"Well… it doesn't matter now, does it?" Stiles mutters, taking an angry gulp of his drink. And then another until it's gone. Peter switches it out with a full cup and a wink.

"Are you trying to get the boy drunk, Peter?" Chris asks, sounding… well, it's not horrified. More like fondly resigned.

God, these two love each other and it hurts. Stiles hurts because they hurt. He wants to make it better. Even if Peter Hale is an asshole.

Not that Chris is any better, really. They're both assholes. Stiles knows. He's one himself.

His mom believed in fate. He believes in luck and making what you can of it. He's glad he doesn't believe in fate right now because someone who believes in fate might think Peter and Chris are star-crossed, that circumstances actively work against them. That there's no way for them to have a happy ending.

Stiles doesn't believe that. He refuses to. He's usually too cynical to believe in happy endings at all, but for them, it's something he'd like to see.

"What are you thinking about, sweetheart?" Peter asks him.

Stiles feels his face heat and takes another drink of the cold beverage Peter so thoughtfully provided. He wants to tell Peter not to call him that but at the same time… it's kind of nice.

"Here, Chris is going to go get you another drink, okay?" Peter says. "And then maybe we can all have a chat about what's bothering you."

Stiles gapes. "How do you-" He blinks. Whispers, "Do you read minds?"

"One more drink should do it, okay, Christopher?" Peter says with a smile, not looking away from Stiles.

"This is a bad idea," Chris grumbles but then he walks away. Stiles watches him for a moment until Peter steps in front of his view.

"Would you like to sit down?" Peter asks him.

"Sure," Stiles says.

"How about in the lounge off the main hall?" Peter asks, and guides him to a smaller room where there are chairs and tables and not much else. There is some music playing softly, a man at a piano in the corner, but the room is otherwise empty. Peter smiles at him and Stiles smiles back, forgetting for the moment what he had been thinking of altogether.

"You have a nice face," Stiles says. Then rolls his eyes. "Sorry. I mean you're good looking. I haven't had that much to drink, I swear I'm not a lightweight."

"You're seventeen. Unless you're a heavy drinker I wouldn't expect you to be able to hold your liquor well. Do you drink a lot, Stiles?" Peter teases.

"No, no. Well, after I got back from the heat facility I went straight to my dad's whiskey when I got home," Stiles says truthfully.

"The state hospital?" Peter asks, smiling when Chris walks up to them, bringing fresh drinks for them all. "Why were you there, Stiles?"

Stiles finishes his drink and takes the new one. He rubs his hand over his face. "Because. They found out the suppressants don't work on me and I had to go. Couldn't hide at home anymore. Heat lasts too long, too strong. It was dangerous at home, anyway, but." He takes a shaky breath. "Stupid fucking law."

"I've heard some omegas have that problem," Chris says slowly, carefully. "But I've never actually met anyone who…" He trails off and shares a look with Peter. Stiles can't decipher it. He wishes he could.

"You would have been perfect," Stiles sighs, watching Chris. "I've been crushing on you for months and months. Sorry," he says to Peter. "I would have crushed on you too if I'd met you earlier."

Peter huffs a laugh. "Apology accepted. Here." He pushes his own drink closer to Stiles so now Stiles has two fresh drinks instead of just one. That's nice. "Drink up. Why don't you dance with Chris? I had my turn so it's only fair he does, too."

The piano in the corner is playing something sweet and slow, familiar but Stiles can't put his finger on it yet.

"I want to be fair," Stiles tells Chris. Then he frowns at Peter, remembering something. "You didn't drug my drink, did you? I'm not supposed to accept open drinks from strange alphas. It's like a rule."

"That sounds like a good rule," Peter says, "and normally I'd agree with you a hundred percent. But I didn't put anything in your cups but punch, and neither did Chris."

Stiles watches them both for a moment, then gets up. "Okay, then. Let's dance, Mr. Argent."

Chris's mouth tilts up in the corner. "Just Chris is fine."

"You're harder than I thought you'd be," Stiles tells him when he puts a hand on his shoulder. "I mean your muscles, not… Well I'm sure you'd be… Hmm, maybe I should be quiet. Oh, I know this song. I'm gonna love you like nobody's loved you, come rain or come shine…" Stiles sings softly, not too loudly, because he's not that drunk. He looks up and sees Chris smiling at him.

"That's an old song. How do you know it?" he asks.

Stiles sighs and sways with the music. "My mom. She liked grunge, big band, 80s pop, and jazz standards."

"Eclectic mix," Chris says.

"And my dad likes classic rock and country from 'when country was good'," Stiles adds with a grin. "They only ever agreed on Billie Holiday and old stuff like that when it came to music."

"You have a nice voice," Chris says, and Stiles scoffs and feels his cheeks pink with embarrassment and pleasure.

"I think all omegas have decent voices," Stiles says. "For soothing alphas and babies or something. Not that I've ever sang for an alpha before. Until now. Oh, sorry, I didn't even think about it, should I have not…?" He blinks up at Chris and wonders if he was affected at all.

"It's fine," Chris says. "Consider me soothed."

Stiles laughs and stumbles a little. Chris steadies him with both his hands at Stiles's waist. The warmth of them seeps through Stiles's shirt, almost as if Chris's hands are on his bare skin.

That thought makes him shiver.


"The opposite," Stiles says, licking his lips. "Your hands are warm. I can feel them. It's nice."

Chris looks over at Peter and Stiles follows his gaze.

Peter's sitting back in his chair, watching them, an indulgent smile on his face. He looks relaxed, but at the same time Stiles gets the idea that he could move fast if he needed to. If he wanted to cut in on their dance, he could.

Stiles remembers Peter's expression right before Chris kissed him on the balcony, how desperate and yearning he looked. And he thinks maybe Peter and Chris have never had a chance to dance together, at least not in public.

It makes his heart ache.

"How long were you in the heat facility, Stiles?" Chris asks, interrupting his thoughts.

"Eight days," Stiles mutters.

"Why so long?" Chris takes Stiles's hands and repositions them around his neck, then holds him at his waist. "If you don't mind answering, that is."

"My heats last a week or more," Stiles says. "It's why I couldn't hide it. I tried, but they're just so… violent. The doctors say-"

He cuts himself off because it's embarrassing. He can't imagine telling Chris.

"It's okay. You don't have to tell me. It's private. I'm just concerned," Chris says.

Stiles looks at him and yes, he does look worried for him. "It's okay. It's my problem, not yours."

"Here, let's go sit down," Chris says as the song ends, and takes his hand. Stiles likes that. He knows it doesn't mean anything but it still feels nice.

As soon as he sits, Peter is handing him his drink. "Here you go, sweetheart. Dancing is thirsty work."

Stiles rolls his eyes but takes the punch. He is thirsty, so he gulps half of the drink down at once.

"Not so fast," Chris says.

"The boy is thirsty," Peter counters. "Let him drink."

Stiles wipes his mouth and watches as the pianist leaves the room. Then he leans into Peter, who has scooted closer to him. "I wish you and Chris could dance together," he says.

The look on Peter's face is what Stiles would call stunned. His eyes are wide and his lips are slightly parted… it's a good look. Stiles wishes he had the courage (or the right) to kiss him.

After a moment, Peter smiles. "You're a sweet one. You'll make an alpha very happy one day."

Stiles takes another drink and then leans even more into Peter. "Or two."

Chris is watching him. He's on Stiles's other side, not as close as Peter. Stiles wants to cuddle with him, too. He reaches out and takes Chris's wrist, then pulls him closer.

Amazingly, Chris moves where he's pulled, until Stiles is practically sandwiched between the two alphas.

"What do you mean, two alphas?" Chris asks, his voice sounding slightly strained.

"It's embarrassing," Stiles says, caught between wanting to tell them and wanting to keep it to himself.

"We won't laugh, darling," Peter tells him. His voice is low and teasing in his ear. Stiles shivers again. For the first time, he thinks about what the doctors told him in more than an abstract way.

And he feels a rush of arousal run through his body. Because… well. His current position is distracting him and giving him impure thoughts.

Both alphas inhale deeply and lean in closer to him. Stiles knows they're picking up on his pheromones. He's getting a bit of feedback on their end, too.

"I guess I might as well tell you," Stiles says, putting his cup down and turning his body so he's curled up along Chris's chest with Peter at his back. He's aware of Peter's hot breath on his nape. His hands grasp at Chris's shirt without a thought. "The doctors say I probably need two alphas. Not just to help me through heats but… well, mostly to help me through heats, but also to keep me healthy the rest of the time. Something about my chemistry being twice as powerful as a normal omega."

He knows his drinking is the only reason he's sharing what he's telling them. But he's also very comfortable right now and not caring much.

"How long did you keep your heats secret?" Chris asks.

"Not long," Stiles says ruefully. "I only go into heat every three months, though. I… I was a late bloomer. I didn't hit my first heat until right before I turned seventeen. I guess I'm grateful, because then I would have been spending even more time in the heat facility, since dad wouldn't have let me mate too young. He still says I'm too young but I'm not going back in there. I can't."

He sounds pitiful and wretched in his own ears, but Peter and Chris both make soothing noises that actually do make him feel better.

"I can't imagine it was comfortable," Peter says.

Stiles snorts and leans back into him. "It wasn't. This, on the other hand, is very nice."

Chris makes a soft sound. "We probably shouldn't be-"

"Shush, Christopher," Peter says. "We're just giving the boy some much-needed comfort."

"I like it," Stiles says, closing his eyes.

"Don't fall asleep, sweetheart," Peter says.

"'m not.," Stiles says before yawning. He doesn't open his eyes. He's just so comfortable. "You both deserve to be happy, you know."

"So do you," Chris whispers in his ear. That's the last thing Stiles remembers before he wakes the next morning.

"I'm not impressed, Stiles," his father is saying.

Stiles groans. His head throbs.

"I don't know if I'm less impressed by you coming home drunk, or by the two alphas who brought you home in that condition."

"I think I fell asleep?" Stiles says.

"You woke up long enough to tell me you don't believe in fate, right after Argent and Hale left you with me," his dad says. "You were slurring so bad I could barely understand you." He sighs. "So did you have a good time?"

Stiles holds his head. He feels a little nauseated but he doesn't think he's going to throw up. "I really like them," he says. It comes out sounding like a whine. "And I embarrassed myself by passing out on them. I didn't think I had that much to drink."

He puts his head down on the kitchen table. The surface is nice and cool against his cheek.

"I'll make you some coffee. You can tell me what happened because I'm sensing a story," his dad says.

"Coffee sounds great," Stiles mumbles with his face smushed against the table. He doesn't want to tell his dad about Chris and Peter's relationship. It's personal, and he's sure they don't want people knowing. The only reason Stiles knows is because he saw them, not because they confided in him.

And they got him back, didn't they? Stiles realizes it was their way of making it more even, getting him tipsy enough to confide his secrets. He doesn't even mind. It was manipulative and amoral, and Stiles thinks it was probably Peter's idea.

That shouldn't make him more attractive, but it does. Stiles apparently likes sneaky bastards.

His father is waiting for a story.

"I was looking to talk to Chris but I ended up talking to Peter first," he says. "We danced, and he bought me a drink. Well, brought it to me, anyway. Pretty sure the punch was free."

"And spiked to hell and back," his dad mutters.

Stiles huffs a laugh. "Yeah. So then we went into a smaller lounge area-"

"You and Hale?"

He can feel himself blush. "The three of us," he says. "I, um…"

His father sits down at the table and looks him over. "You told them?"

"I didn't mean to," Stiles says, looking at his fingernails. They're bitten down from stress and worry.

"You have a hormonal condition. It's nothing to be embarrassed about," his father says, not for the first time.

"It's weird and makes me feel like a-" He swallows the word 'slut' and hides his face in the crook of his arm.

"It's not your fault. You didn't ask for this," his dad says.

"I don't wanna talk about it," Stiles says quietly.

His dad lets out a deep breath. "Okay. Okay, we don't have to. Just tell me… were they nice to you? They didn't treat you badly when you told them, did they?"

Stiles shakes his head. "They were really sweet."

"They're too old for you," his father says, but it's accompanied by a resigned sigh, so Stiles doesn't argue.

Stiles has been listening to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald nonstop. He got his mom's old record player and records down from the attic just to listen. He closes his eyes and remembers dancing with Chris, with Peter, and he sighs. He thinks he probably ruined any chance he had with either of them. Or both of them, if he wants to dream big.

He does want to dream big. The memory is fuzzy but he remembers how content he felt while nestled between the two of them. It was perfect, but Stiles has no idea how to ask them to consider him.

He does know that the way to get people to give you what you want is to figure out what they want, and work it into the deal somehow. So what do Peter and Chris want?

He doesn't know them well. And yet, he knows a pretty big secret about them. Maybe…

Maybe what they both really want is each other. And maybe Stiles can give that to them, if they'll take him on as part of the bargain.

Stiles spends the next two days planning, plotting, angsting, and wondering whether he's being at all realistic in going after Chris and Peter.

He doesn't know how to approach them again. He could get Chris's number from his father. He could just show up at Peter's office. Or he could… No. He's got nothing. He doesn't know, and not knowing is slowly driving him crazy. If he believed in fate or anything like that, he'd be looking for some kind of sign to point him in the right direction.

He misses the commotion downstairs because of the music and doesn't know anything different until his father comes into his room, turns down Dream a Little Dream of Me, and says, "Son, you have a couple of gentleman callers. They come bearing gifts." There's a complicated look on his face when he says 'gifts', which Stiles would find hilarious if he wasn't confused as hell.

"Who? What?"

His father sighs. "Argent and Hale. I'll leave the 'what' to them."

Stiles panics. He nearly trips getting in front of the mirror. He's wearing a shirt that's somewhat disrespectful to single mothers and a pair of holey Spider-Man boxers. Good god, he can't face them like this.

He looks at his dad, who is smirking like the asshole he is, and yells, "Stall them!" before he pushes him out of the room and runs to his closet.

Clean shirt. Jeans. Oh god, which shirt? He doesn't want to look like he's trying too hard but he doesn't want to look like he's not trying at all.

He has a shirt that's clean, not too wrinkled, and fits snug but not too snug, but he can't find any clean jeans. No, he has a pair, but they've got holes in both knees. Not huge ones, but big enough to show a little skin.

Maybe he should show a little skin. He changes shirts and jumps into the jeans, then faces the mirror again.

The shirt is too tight. He knows guys wear tight shirts but it makes him feel naked. Maybe a hoodie over it. It's not exactly chilly enough for a hoodie but he'll feel more secure.
It's only when he's halfway down the stairs that he realizes the hoodie is red and one of the men waiting for him is a wolf. The irony trips him up but he catches himself at the bottom of the stairs by the banister rail.

It's fine. He's cool. He's so totally cool, he tells himself, forcing a deep, slow breath even though his heart is threatening to race away from him.

He sees them both in the living room. Chris looks concerned. Peter is smirking, obviously amused by Stiles's almost-fall on the stairs. Or maybe it's the hoodie. Or, since he's a werewolf, maybe he's smirking at the way Stiles's heart suddenly beats faster when he comes face to face with the two men.

He has to look somewhere else besides at their beautiful faces. It's just not fair.

He spies a cooler at Chris's feet. "Did you bring me illicit beer? Because while the sentiment is nice and all, I think I might start to get worried about our relationship since you already did this once."

His father makes a disapproving noise, and that's when Stiles notices him in the doorway to the kitchen. Standing. Frowning. Looking like he's ready to kick everyone out, including Stiles.

"It's venison," Chris says.

Peter, who doesn't seem to care about Stiles's father watching, comes forward and takes one of Stiles's hands. "It's a joint gift, Stiles, to show our intentions."

Stiles blinks. "Your…?"

Swearing under his breath, Chris steps forward, too. "We want to court you."

Deep breath. Don't panic. Don't jump up and down or grin too hard, either. Just…

"Ohthankgod," Stiles says in one long, rushed exclamation of relief.

His father is facepalming and shaking his head but Stiles doesn't freaking care. Chris and Peter want to court him. They want him.

"I mean, yes. Thank you. I accept your gift and… yes, please," Stiles tells them both.

Chris's smile is small, but Stiles can tell he's pleased. Peter, on the other hand, is grinning at him. At them both.

Stiles wants to hug them both. Together. "Dad, can we have a minute?" he asks, wanting some privacy for the alphas. "Can you take the cooler?"

"I suppose," the sheriff says, looking at it dubiously. He takes the cooler out of the room, muttering. "Seriously, they've never heard of flowers? Jewelry?"

Stiles watches to make sure he's gone, then turns to the alphas. They turn to him, too. All eyes on Stiles, and boy is that unnerving.

He stands there, messes with his hoodie strings for a few moments. He wants to tell them... He wants to ask...

"Do you really like me or do you just want to be together any way you can?" He isn't even expecting the words to come out of his mouth. He just blurts the question, but once it's out, he really wants the answer. "Because I like you both. A lot. But I'm okay with it if you just-" He swallows the rest of the phrase because he knows it'll sound pathetic.

Except it's true. He wants them to be happy. He wants alphas to keep him from having to go through another dangerous heat in a facility run by the state, too. But he'd like to get his own happily ever after.

Stiles can't read the expression on Chris's face. It's Peter who says, "We like you, Stiles."

Chris says, "We'd like a chance to court you, to get to know you. Because we're… intrigued."

Peter shakes his head. "The chance to be together is something we talked about," he says. "I'm not going to lie. It's a big draw. But we wouldn't have considered it if we weren't attracted to you in the first place."

"You may change your mind about us," Chris says. "Peter's too old for you as it is, and I'm even older. Maybe you'll decide you don't want anyone old enough to be your father."

Stiles bites his lip hard and tries not to laugh. Now is not the time for daddy kink jokes, he tells himself sternly. "It's really not a problem," he says instead.

Stiles has two daddies, his mind supplies, and he struggles not to burst into laughter.

"You've said before that you had your eye on Chris," Peter says slowly, teasingly. "And your heart only beat faster when he mentioned our ages."

"That's creepy, listening to my heartbeat," Stiles tells him. "And I don't know how many ways to say it's not a problem."

"Are our ages more of a draw for you than a difficulty, sweetheart?" Peter asks.

Chris starts to smile, his eyes taking on a mischievous twinkle. "Well. It seems that's the case."

Stiles feels the blush all over. He's never blushed so much in his life as he has around these two. And they haven't even said anything particularly raunchy yet! Fuck, what if one of them (or both) likes to talk dirty? He'll die. He'll be dead.

Peter steps forward, talks softly in his ear because dammit he knows Stiles likes that. "I can't wait to see how far down that pretty blush goes."

"Peter, behave," Chris says mildly. Stiles watches the way it makes Peter shiver. Just a little. Almost imperceptibly. But Stiles sees it and by the way Chris's eyes darken, so does he.

Stiles wants to know everything about the two of them. He wants to know every detail of their history. He wants to find out how he can fit with them without coming between them. Or how to be between them in a way they both will like. The way they all will like.

He has a few ideas but almost all of them are sexual and he wants to focus on the emotional, the practical, before going there. Even if it's difficult, because even the most stray of stray thoughts is beyond hot. But there's a reason he sent his dad out of the room.

"I wanted us to be alone for a minute because… I thought we should hug," Stiles says. "Have you two even really had a chance to just… hold each other? Without having to worry about anything? Not just people seeing but. I mean, I can't imagine what it's been like. But maybe you'd like to do it without having to worry about what it means. What it has to mean."

Peter looks at him in surprise for a moment, and then he smiles. It's a nice smile, not a smirk like the asshole likes to do, but more like he's genuinely pleased.

Chris looks at Peter like he's been aching for him for so long he's not sure what to do with the suggestion. Like it can't possibly be real.

Stiles wonders if the empathy an omega sometimes feels with their alpha is already showing itself. He seems to understand what Peter and Chris are feeling quite easily. He has since he first saw them together.

"I can leave the room if you need me to," Stiles offers.

"Not necessary," Chris murmurs. And instead of wrapping his arms around Peter, he comes forward and hugs Stiles, instead. "Thank you. Thank you, Stiles," he whispers against his temple.

Then Peter comes forward as well, arms moving around both of them, holding on tightly. Stiles shifts until Peter and Chris have their arms around each other and Stiles is slightly squished in the middle.

Stiles makes a soft, contented omega sound. Peter rumbles and Chris does something like it too, only less wolf-like. Content alpha sounds.

Maybe it's too early to be thinking about forever, but that's how long Stiles wants to hear these noises for.

It's two weeks later, at school, and Stiles is giddy with excitement. So is his closest omega friend, Kira. It's lunch and she's finally got him somewhere he can answer her questions. She talks quietly, knowing Stiles is worried about people knowing the details of his current private life. There's enough speculation going around already without everyone knowing he's being courted by two alphas simultaneously.

"So tell meee," Kira asks Stiles, her eyes shining with happiness for him. "Tonight is your first real date with your alphas, right? Where are you going?"

Stiles is flushed, he knows. He's probably leaking happy omega pheromones everywhere but he's caring less at the moment than usual. "No, a date with just Chris. And I don't know. He won't tell me where, but… maybe somewhere fancy? I'm not sure."

"You've been spending a lot of time with them already," Kira points out. "They know what you like. I'm sure he won't take you somewhere you feel uncomfortable."

"Yeah, we've had supervised dates with my dad there at the house? If you can call them dates," Stiles says. He's smiling, though. The past two weeks have been amazing. Even with his father chaperoning, spending time with Chris and Peter is wonderful.

"Is your dad still acting like an overprotective mama cat?" Kira asks.

"More like a bear, but it's not that bad? Peter especially seems to respect him for it. I think it's a werewolf thing. And Chris told me over text that he thinks it's nice, that my dad cares so much about me."

"I think it's sweet, but I understand how you feel," Kira says. "You know how my dad is."

They share a look of commiseration.

A group of seniors walk past and one of them, Ray Jules — an alpha from the lacrosse team — double takes at their table. His eyes zero in on Stiles, ignoring Kira, even though she's an omega, too.

Stiles looks away and tries to focus on his lunch tray while the hairs on the back of his neck go up. He doesn't like the way the alpha looks at him. It's not the first time, either. Ray has been giving him looks for weeks now.

"Um. What's that about?" Kira asks, adorably confused. "I swear that's not the first time I've seen an alpha look at you weird."

Stiles hunches into himself even more. "You can't smell it, but I'm not on suppressants. So I smell more like an omega looking for a mate. And I'm the only omega in school who smells like that, so I'm gonna get looks."

Behind him, he hears someone talking about him. He doesn't catch the whole thing due to the general noise level in the cafeteria, but he does hear 'Stilinski' and 'omega' and 'knot'. Followed by an eruption of laughter.

Kira gasps. She must have heard, too.

And then there's a familiar growl. Stiles and Kira both turn toward the sound and see Scott glaring at Ray and his friends. Friends that include twin omegas, who shouldn't — at least in theory — go along with another omega being talked about like that. But one of them even raises her voice so Stiles can hear.

"Then he shouldn't flaunt it in school, should he? Everyone knows he's been going to local mixers, too. We're not stupid. We know what that means."

And then the other omega says, "It's obscene. All the alphas can smell how ripe he is. He's not even graduated and he's looking for a knot. He should drop out if he's that desperate for it."

"Oh my god," Kira whispers, groping for Stiles's hand.

Stiles, his face flaming, shoves his chair out and walks quickly to the exit, every eye in the cafeteria on him. Or at least that's how it feels.

"Stiles, wait up!" Scott calls.

Stiles goes to his locker and opens the combination with shaking fingers. He wants to run home. He can't stand this. He's mortified.

Scott catches up to him. "You alright?"

Stiles levels him with his best blank-faced expression. "What do you think?"

Scott winces. "Yeah. That… that was rough."

"Do I smell that bad, really?" Stiles asks.

"No! It's not bad, just… it's kinda strong?" Scott tells him. He'd know, since he's an alpha. "It's worse because you're the only omega in school who smells like that, but it's… it's normal, right?"

"Do I smell like an unmated omega off suppressants or do I smell like a slut?"

Scott wrinkles his forehead adorably. "Okay first, you're a virgin? So… um," he says and shakes his head. "And second, what's with the slut talk? Omegas are allowed to have as much or as little sex as they want, haven't you told me that a million times? Don't slut shame, you tell me. So you know better than to compare yourself to a word based on alpha-hierarchical oppression and the sexual policing of omegas. Unless it's used in a good, reclaiming way or like, if you want to be called that. In a um… sexy way. Which would be between you and your alphas and I never, ever want to know about it."

Stiles groans and lets his head hang into his open locker. He regrets every socially conscious conversation he's ever had with his best friend in this moment and at the same time is incredibly proud. It just isn't doing him any good right now.

"And… I don't know what you smell like?" Scott continues. "You smell good, but not like Kira good."

"It's just going to get worse," Stiles tells him without looking at him. "Gossip around here is like a disease. A really contagious one. Everyone is already talking about it, calling me names, thinking the absolute worst."

"Uh, since when do you care what other people think of you?" Scott asks. "You're my favorite 'gives no fucks' person ever."

Stiles looks at him. "Scott. Buddy. I'm sorry to wipe out your delusions like this but that's just a front. I care what people think of me. Everybody cares what people think. Especially if they're spreading it around the whole school."

"But what does it matter?" Scott says, frowning. "You know the truth. And so do I. I don't think those things, and neither does Kira. Neither does your dad. And your alphas don't, right?"

Stiles looks down and swallows hard. "I hope they don't. But what if they start thinking that way? What if-"

"Stop," Scott says. "The only people who are calling you names and talking shit are teenagers, okay? Who don't even have all the right information. They're just assuming and making shit up because they don't know, and they want drama and gossip. Your alphas aren't like that at all, are they?"

Stiles shakes his head.

"So… see? There's no reason for them to start thinking bad about you. They like you. They're courting you."

"Right. Yes, I know you're right," Stiles says, straightening and holding his head up. He closes his locker. He's not going home. He's going to finish out the day, go to lacrosse practice after, then go home and take a shower and get ready for his date. His first real date with Chris, where he finally gets to spend some time with him away from his dad.

It's going to be great. He's just got to get through the day.

Everyone is gone after practice already so when Scott says he's going to meet Kira, Stiles waves him off. "That's fine. I'm going home to shower and get ready for my date."

"You've got that look," Scott says with a grin.

Stiles uses his practice jersey to wipe the sweat that threatens to pour into his eyes. "The look that says I had to run suicides because Coach is a sadist?"

Scott keeps grinning. "Nah man, you've got that look like you accuse me of having when I talk about Kira."

"That bad, huh?" Stiles says, but he's smiling. He can't help it. "I guess I'm just as hopeless as you."

"It's weird but it's the same dopey look for both of them," Scott says. "And when I say weird, I mean awesome. I'm happy for you, man."

Stiles huffs, embarrassed but pleased. "Go on out of here. Go see your girlfriend. I know you're dying to. Even though you've already spent every minute you could with her today."

"Yeah but that's school time. I want some just us time, too."

That's something Stiles can relate to. He's getting his first 'just us' time with Chris tonight and he's giddy with it, though he thinks he's doing a good job hiding it. Mostly.

"Call me tomorrow," Scott says. "So you can tell me how it goes. I know it's payback time for all the times I told you every detail about my first dates with Kira."

"You're the best," Stiles says, honestly touched. "Now go on out of here before I start hugging you. We're sweaty and gross and neither of us want that right now."

Scott waves goodbye and leaves, a happy spring in his step. For real, Stiles is surprised he's not skipping. He and Kira are grossly cute. He's happy they found each other but sometimes it's just too much.

He doesn't think he'll be grossly cute with Chris or Peter. Maybe with their kids, though. Which is a subject he should bring up with them, he knows. He was given a birth control shot at the heat facility but it came with the warning that with his biology, there's no real guarantee of its efficacy. If he spends his heat with them, he could get pregnant.

He takes a deep breath when he realizes he's thinking of this as permanent. That he is expecting to bond with his alphas, even though it's early in their relationship. Is it too early? Should he keep his expectations down a little lower?

His thoughts are interrupted by a scraping sound and a bang. The exit door closing. ...It's a little late for it to have been from Scott, who left several minutes ago already. He hurriedly dresses in a t-shirt, covering up as best he can, and peeks around the row of lockers.

He doesn't see anyone. He doesn't hear them, either. Maybe… maybe there was wind, and that's what caused the door to slam. He's just jumpy because of today, and the way alphas have been looking at him. It's nothing.

"I don't know why you keep showing up to practice," a voice says from behind him.

Stiles whips around and nearly falls over, catching himself on the edge of the lockers. It's Ray Jules. Great. "What?"

Ray walks forward, like he's stalking. He's not as good at it as Peter. But then, Peter makes it look sexy and Ray's just…

Kind of scary, in this moment. Stiles tries inching away but his back hits the lockers and there's nowhere to go.

"You just warm the bench during games," Ray says. "So I think there's another reason you stick around a team full of alphas. You're hoping one of us will wise up and give you want you want, aren't you?"

He doesn't have to spell it out any more. Stiles knows what he means, and he's ready to get the fuck away from him. "Go away, Jules. I don't want anything you're offering."

"I didn't even get a chance to offer yet. You're eager, aren't you?" Ray asks, smirking as he stalks closer.

"Fuck off," Stiles says. He doesn't understand why he can't move away. His heart is pounding and he's sweating again, but he feels frozen.

"You've always had a dirty mouth," Ray tells him. "You want a knot in it? Or just in your slutty omega cunt?"

"Back the fuck off," Stiles says, but then Ray is right there in his face, so close Stiles can smell his alpha pheromones. His head gets a little cloudy but he's not in heat and he's not a fucking idiot, either. He hates this guy. Fuck this guy, getting up in his space and trying to touch him…

Ray's got his hand on Stiles's shoulder and he's leaning in to smell him, taking a deep breath, but Ray isn't his alpha. He might have a heady alpha scent but it's sour at the edges, not comforting or exciting like Chris and Peter.

Stiles reaches for him. Ray's got a look on his face like he's drugged by Stiles's scent, which is hilarious, but it also gives Stiles a chance to surprise him by grabbing his junk and yanking as hard as he can.

He hopes Ray's balls are never the same again.

The alpha hits the floor, hollering in pain, reminding Stiles of a slapstick comedy. Unfortunately, Stiles is too shaken to find it funny.

He hears footsteps running toward him as he steps away from Ray and grabs his bag.

"What the hell is going on here?" Finstock asks, then stops when he sees the alpha rolling on the floor, holding his crotch.

Stiles rubs his face with a trembling hand. "Just another fuckstick alpha, Coach."

Finstock narrows his eyes and looks down at Ray, then turns to Stiles, walking him away from the alpha. "You okay, kid?"

"I just want to go home," Stiles says.

Coach nods. "You go on then. I'll take care of Jules. You okay to drive?"

"Thanks," Stiles says, and shakes his head. "I'll call someone." He really doesn't think he can drive like this. He's too shaken. He feels like he could jump out of his skin.

"Why don't you call your ride and stay in my office until they get here? You can lock yourself inside if it'll help you feel better."

That actually does sound good. "Yeah. I will. Thanks, Coach."

He makes a beeline to Finstock's office and locks the door once he's inside.

He's not sure why he calls Peter and not his dad or Scott or even Chris. But right now he needs to feel safe, and the person he needs is Peter.

Maybe it's because Peter is a werewolf, and Stiles gets the idea he'd rip someone to shreds if he needed to. That thought shouldn't be comforting but at the moment it really, really is.

By the time Peter shows up at the school, Stiles is past the point of adrenaline surge and is just shaky and in need of hugs. All of the hugs.

Coach knocks on his own door and Stiles unlocks and opens it when he hears Finstock's voice.

"You okay to go with this one?" Coach asks, thumb pointing at Peter. Peter, who is standing there looking tense and worried and Stiles is so relieved to see him. He's still wearing his business clothes, having come straight from work to get Stiles. He looks wonderful.

"Yeah, Coach. Thanks for letting me hide out in your office," Stiles says.

"Are you alright?" Peter asks, looking Stiles up and down, his gaze zeroing in on Stiles's hands, which are trembling — still.

Stiles shakes his head.

"You'd better take care of him, you hear me, Hale?" Finstock says.

Stiles would be touched but he's busy flinging himself into the alpha's arms. Peter catches him easily. He says something quietly but Stiles doesn't hear him. He is vaguely aware of Finstock leaving and giving them privacy. Stiles is grateful because he feels like he's going to cry.

Maybe he's already crying. Peter holds him close in his arms and rubs his back, pets his hair. He makes a low sound, a soothing rumble, and Stiles relaxes even more into his embrace.

"It's okay, I'm okay," Stiles assures him, though he thinks he may be saying it for his own benefit. "He didn't hurt me. I grabbed him by the balls and pulled as hard as I could."

Peter growls. "Your father will want you to file an injunction against the bastard."

Stiles pulls back and looks at him with surprise. "You mean like a restraining order?"

"Exactly that. And I'll have my own chat with him, of course," Peter says. He smiles, and there's a hint of fang in it. "You won't have to worry about him again."

Stiles should be… something other than relieved. Scared, maybe. Affronted, that Peter thinks he needs to do something other than what Stiles has already done. But he's not. He feels safer, knowing Peter will take care of it.

"I don't want to have to go to court. Won't I have to appeal to a judge for an injunction?" Stiles asks.

"Will you do it if I promise to be with you every step of the way?" Peter asks. "It's okay if you can't. I'm sure I can… persuade him to leave you alone entirely."

Stiles shakes his head, then shrugs. "I don't want to think about it right now."

Peter pulls him close again and kisses his temple. "Okay, sweetheart. You don't have to. Let's get you home."

"I'm sorry," Stiles says, feeling like he's done something wrong, that everything is his fault. He shouldn't be so messed up that he can't talk about something. Ray barely touched him.

"You have nothing to apologize for," Peter says. "Nothing." He escorts him to his car with one arm around his shoulders, opens the car door for him, and makes sure he puts his seatbelt on. It should make Stiles feel like a child but at the moment it's the kind of care and attention he needs.

They leave Stiles's Jeep in the school parking lot and Peter drives Stiles home. When Stiles thinks he'll just drop him off and leave, he's surprised because Peter not only walks him up to his door, but follows him inside the house.

"You don't have to stay," Stiles says.

"Do you want me to leave?" Peter asks. "I just thought you might like some company while you get ready for your date tonight." He smiles, and Stiles melts a little.

"I just figured you might have something to do," Stiles says. "I know I called you at work."

"I was already done for the day, on my way out the door, actually. You caught me at a perfect time," Peter says. "But I would have come for you even if I was busy, you know."

"I didn't, but it's good to hear you say," Stiles says honestly.

Peter hugs him. He's so much more tactile than Chris, Stiles realizes. Less reserved. Maybe it's part of being a werewolf. He knows he has a lot to learn about Peter, but today he learned the man is both dependable and protective, both good qualities for an alpha bondmate.

Stiles wonders what Peter learned about him today.

"I'm proud of you," Peter says, interrupting Stiles's thoughts.

Stiles gives him a bemused smile. "What?"

"You defended yourself well. It couldn't have been easy to do," Peter says, squeezing him. "Your coach told me the alpha who assaulted you was on his way to the ER."

"He didn't assault me," Stiles says quickly, because no. "He harassed me, and said some… shitty things. He put his hand on me and… he got close enough to confuse me with alpha pheromones or something. But that's all. I made sure he didn't do more than that."

Peter growls. This close, Stiles can feel it rumble through his own body. "If he had, he'd be dead."

Stiles rolls his eyes, feeling more fond than anything else. "You can't just go around killing people, Peter."

"Hmm. Maybe. But I can certainly maim someone who threatens my mate," Peter says with a smile. "It's instinctual. I'm a werewolf. No court would convict me."

"Your…" Stiles starts to say. Then doesn't ask about the 'mate' thing. It's too early, he knows, and Peter probably knows, too.

Peter doesn't answer right away. Instead he leans in and rubs his face against Stiles's neck. Scenting him. Stiles gets the feeling he's embarrassed by what he said.

"Okay. Um, Chris is going to be here in an hour," Stiles says. "I need a shower. Do you know where he's taking me? He said to dress nice but not too nice, so I thought a blazer over a button shirt? You think that's okay?"

Peter smiles, and Stiles thinks he sees some relief in it. "I think that's perfect. And yes, I know where he's taking you. No, I'm not telling you where."

Stiles gives him a dramatic pouty face. Peter laughs and kisses his cheek. "Go on upstairs, then. I'll find something to read while I wait. Come down when you're done so I can tell you how gorgeous you are."

That's enough to make Stiles grin.

Chris takes Stiles to a place he knows well, but hasn't been to in years. Artcore Station is an art gallery situated in what was once an abandoned train depot in downtown Beacon Hills. Stiles knows the owner through his mom, and Stiles wonders if he'll see him tonight.

After they park, Chris takes his hand. "Before we go in, are you sure you're okay after what happened today?"

Stiles nods. "I'm over it. I hurt him pretty badly, probably his pride, as well. And Peter said something about having a 'discussion' with him, so." He shrugs and smiles.

Chris smirks. "Peter will make him want to move out of state. You don't have anything to worry about. Now, about the showing. You mentioned once that your mother was an artist. Is this okay?"

"This is… actually pretty great, thank you," Stiles tells him. They get out of the car and walk up to the front entrance.

Chris smiles. "A friend of mine is an artist, and it's her show opening tonight," he says.

"What does she do?" Stiles asks.

They walk inside the open door to the gallery and Stiles sees the first piece. Chris laughs softly when Stiles stops in his tracks, staring. "That."

It's a tapestry, but not like anything Stiles has seen before. It's a portrait of the Fates at their own loom, and their unfinished tapestry is of silver stars. Stiles steps closer, looking at the weaving within the weaving, and is transfixed. The stars stand out on a canvas of midnight. In the foreground, the Fates are amazingly detailed, complicated work out of simple material. Yet Stiles's eye is repeatedly drawn to the stars.

Chris stands beside him and doesn't rush him. When Stiles finally comes out of the trance-like state he's been in while looking at the piece, Chris is watching him, a small smile on his face. "Good, huh?"

Stiles grins. "This is fantastic. You said you know the artist?"

"I do," Chris says. "I'll introduce you later. Look around, first. Are you hungry? There's plenty of food."

Stiles is hungry. He's starving. He didn't eat a snack when he got home from practice, too excited about his date. He nods. "Famished. But I want to see all the pieces."

"I'll bring you a plate while you look, how's that?"

Stiles nods and goes on to the next piece. This one's inspiration is apparent, and it makes Stiles smile.

"You like it?" someone asks from behind him.

"Reminds me of Frida Hansen's Milky Way," Stiles says without looking away.

"Stiles?" the man asks, and Stiles turns to see who is speaking.

It takes him a moment but then he recognizes the man. "Frank!" Stiles says, and moves in for a hug. Frank owns the gallery, and was a friend of his mother's. Stiles hasn't seen him in years.

"God, look at you. You're so grown up. I barely recognized you," Frank says, hugging him tightly. The hug isn't exactly the most comfortable because Frank is heavily pregnant.

"Look at you," Stiles says. "I won't say you're glowing because I know that's such a cliché but wow, you're… really, really pregnant."

Frank laughs. "Yes. It's not so bad, this is my third time so I've gotten used to it."

"I didn't even know you were bonded," Stiles says, motioning to the ornate cuff on Frank's wrist.

Frank grins. "For six years now. She's human, which I never thought would be a thing I could be into, but wow. She's great."

"Congratulations, then," Stiles says. "Even if I'm late."

Chris appears by his side and hands him a small plate filled with cocktail foods. "Here you are," he says, and Stiles smiles gratefully at him.

"Thank you. This is Frank Cain, the Station's owner. Frank, this is Chris Argent, my date."

Frank's eyes widen, but otherwise just smiles at Chris and holds out a hand to shake. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I know Stiles from way back. His mother and I were good friends."

Stiles knows that tone of voice. Frank is holding back threatening Chris to take good care of him. It's part of the werewolf thing, Stiles thinks. Peter has the same protective instincts.

"Good to meet you, too," Chris says.

Stiles suddenly has the urge to tell Frank about his other boyfriend, who's a werewolf. But now's not the time. "Can I get your number? I'd like to see you again, catch up when we have more time."

He can't help it, feeling so hungry, he stuffs a couple of hors d'oeuvres into his mouth at once. Frank smiles at him and hands over his phone. Stiles wipes his hand on his jeans and programs in his number and sends himself a text.

Frank says, "Have you met the artist?"

Stiles shakes his head while Chris motions a woman over.

"Chris!" an older woman exclaims, leaning in to give him a hug. She has long blonde hair streaked with white. She's taller than Chris, probably about six feet tall even without her heeled boots. She's smells like an alpha, but in a comforting way. Stiles smiles at her when she turns to him. "Aren't you cute? Is this the young man you were telling me about, Chris?"

"This is Stiles, my date," Chris says. "Stiles, this is Sylvia Kester, a good friend."

"More than just a date, or have you forgotten you told me about your courtship?" she says.

"It's great to meet you, Ms. Kester," Stiles says, taking secret delight in the Chris's sudden embarrassment. "Your art is… extraordinary. I love everything I've seen so far."

"Call me Sylvia, Stiles," she says. "I'm so happy you like my weaving. I've been doing it for years and someone talked me into having a show." She grins at Frank. "He wouldn't leave me alone about it, and you know how hard it is to say no to a pregnant person."

"Yes, it's such a hardship to have your work admired," Frank says, rolling his eyes fondly.

Sylvia shakes her head, then offers her arm to Stiles. "Let me show you around my work. Let these two talk awhile."

Stiles allows himself to be led to some of the pieces he hasn't seen yet. Sylvia talks about the materials, her looms, and how she gets ideas. Stiles wishes he hadn't turned his back on his own art, though he was never as good as Sylvia. He only draws, anyway. He just hasn't for awhile.

"Frank looked like he had a million questions when I mentioned Chris's courting," Sylvia says after awhile. "Might as well let him ask Chris instead of you. You look like you're having a good time. Being grilled for answers would tarnish that, don't you think?"

"Probably, yeah. Thanks for rescuing me, then."

"Well, the boy's got to practice explaining what he's doing with such a young omega," Sylvia says. "Oh, don't make that face. I don't mean it in a mean way. Just that people are going to ask, and Frank at least is a good person who won't judge. Good way for Chris to cut his teeth. It won't be long before he's introducing you as his bondmate, am I right?"

Stiles's eyes widen. "I don't… I don't know. Maybe?"

"I'm sure of these things," Sylvia says. "You and Chris and Peter, right? You'll be happy together. Now I don't have the Sight, that was my grandmother and my mother. It skips alphas, so I can't tell much of anything for certain. But I have faith and when I see you two together, or when Chris told me about you and Peter, well. I'm not wrong. You three are destined."

This old lady is fucking crazy, Stiles thinks. But so are a lot of artists, so it comes with the territory, really.

"I know what you're thinking. It's fine, I don't need you to believe me," Sylvia says, stopping in front of another tapestry inspired by Fate. This one portrays the Norns at the foot of Yggdrasil, pouring water from the well of fate over the world tree's roots. "But there's such a thing as destiny, and you've got one."

Stiles looks at the tapestry. He studies the flowing water, how deftly the scene is woven. "My mom believed in Fate."

"Smart woman," Sylvia says. She looks over at Chris and Frank. They seem to be talking quietly now, friendly, the interrogation apparently over. "There. Now you go on back to him or you can wander around with me some more. I have more to show you. And I promise to shut up about what's meant to be."

"Maybe just one more piece," Stiles says, smiling at her. He really does enjoy her art.

"While you were talking to Sylvia, Frank told me you used to be an artist yourself," Chris says when they sit down in the diner.

Stiles laughs and opens the menu. "I was a kid."

"He said you had a lot of talent. He made it sound like it was a big deal," Chris says.

Stiles shakes his head. Then shrugs. "I don't know. It was something I did with my mom. And after she died I didn't want to anymore."

Chris nods. "I used to do little crafts with my mother.
. Papier-mâché. That kind of thing."

Stiles smiles, thinking of a tiny Chris getting his hands full of sticky glue with his mom.

"My father hated it. And of course he only wanted me to hunt and train after she died," Chris says.

"Train for what?" Stiles asks.

Chris sighs. Sets his menu aside. "The Argents were traditionally werewolf hunters. Since before werewolves were known to humans at large, we hunted those who hurt humans. And the tradition has been passed down, even though we don't do the same things anymore. Now it's mostly just… political. But everyone in the family still learns archery and marksmanship with guns. We still learn hand to hand, and certain battle tactics. A lot of the family has turned to the military, but my father…" He sighs.

Stiles doesn't know how to react. "Does Peter know?"

Chris gives a short nod. "My father always told me to stay away from the Hales. From all werewolves, really, but the Hales are a prominent pack. I knew the name Hale before I ever met Peter, and when I did meet him, I didn't know who he was at first."

"How old were you?"

"Young. A teenager. And Peter was younger still. He hadn't presented yet, even."

"And when you found out his name?" Stiles asks, dreading where this was going.

Chris smiles as the waitress walks up to their table, gives his order and lets Stiles order for himself. The waitress takes their menus and walks away, and Chris puts his hands flat on the table, not looking up. "I thought… I thought maybe there was still a chance. He was a werewolf but we…"

"You loved each other," Stiles says softly.

Chris shakes his head. "I wouldn't call it love. Not back then. But it was something close."

Stiles rests his hands over Chris's. "What happened?"

"Too much," Chris says. "My father found out I was friends with him and he threatened to disown me. I didn't even tell him how I felt about him, just that I knew him and he wasn't so bad. Dad didn't care. Peter was a werewolf and that was enough to make him an animal."

"Has he changed his mind? I mean, it's obvious you and Peter are friends now," Stiles says.

"I can't say he's changed his stance on werewolves, but he's mellowed somewhat. Back then, though, it was rough. And I was still close to defying my father and continuing to see Peter, anyway. I think I would have run away with him under different circumstances. But I was about to go off to college and then-" Chris breaks off and clenches his fists beneath Stiles's hands. Stiles squeezes them, giving unspoken support. Chris continues and it almost breaks his heart. "Peter presented as an alpha and that was that."

"What is your father going to say if you and me and Peter are in a bond together?" Stiles asks quietly. "How big a problem will that be?"

Chris turns his hands over and clasps Stiles's. "I don't care." His eyes are steady now when he looks at him, and Stiles knows he's telling the truth, to a degree. Chris knows what he wants, and he's not going to let his father tell him no this time.

"You said it wasn't quite love when you were a teenager," Stiles says. "What about now? Do you love Peter?"

Stiles watches Chris's adam's apple bob as he swallows. And then Chris nods, a short, sharp jerk of his chin.

"Okay," Stiles whispers. He knows then that even if the three of them don't work out for some reason, that he'll do any and everything in his power to make sure the two alphas can be together.

When Stiles goes back to school on Monday, things are different. Ray is nowhere to be seen. There's a rumor he's transferring schools, but that's only second to the gossip that Stiles caused him some major, embarrassing injury. Stiles hears more than one person make a joke about how 'Jules lost his jewels'.

Stiles personally thinks Peter had a lot to do with the fact that Ray is nowhere to be seen. Peter can probably be very scary, and Stiles already knows he's protective. It makes him feel good to think Peter dealt with the situation for him. It makes him feel… protected. Safe.

There are still whispers behind his back, and a few alphas lean too close to catch his scent, but no one says anything else to his face. That probably has something to do with how Cora Hale has taken to shadowing Stiles like she's his bodyguard, glaring at anyone who looks sideways in his direction.

Cora is an alpha, but she seems to be like Scott. She doesn't lean in or do any other idiotic things like other alphas in the school. Stiles is still a little confused why she's sitting with him, though.

"Okay, what's going on?" Stiles asks her after her gaze zeroes in on a couple of whispering omegas.

The pair of omegas (fraternal twins, Oliver and Ashley, the same ones who tried calling Stiles out on Friday for distracting all the alphas) look over at Cora and stop talking all at once. Stiles knows Cora is a werewolf and can hear whispered conversations, but he doesn't want to know what the other omegas were saying. He can guess.

"My uncle asked me to keep an eye on you," Cora says. "And after what happened on Friday, I agree."

Everyone at the table looks at Stiles. He rubs the back of his neck and grumbles, "Nothing happened."

"Because you were a badass and grabbed Ray by the balls," Scott says proudly. "Where'd you learn to do that, anyway?"

Stiles smirks. "My mom taught me when I was a kid."

"Did they really… detach?" Kira asks.

"I didn't exactly wait around to find out," Stiles says dryly. "But I doubt it. Even though I did yank pretty hard."

Everyone at the table laughs, including Cora. And then she says, "So how do you know Peter?"

"He didn't tell you?" Stiles asks, wondering how he feels about that.

"Peter's pretty private," Cora says. "I mean, he doesn't tell us anything about what he's up to until after the fact. Like when he made partner, we found out when his firm put Hale on their building. So… yeah, tell me. I'm sure not gonna hear it from him."

Stiles looks around the table at his friends. Only Kira and Scott know, but if he says something to Cora now, then everyone else will find out, too. There's a full group sitting with him today, all in solidarity. Boyd and Erica are across from him with Isaac, and Jackson, Danny, and Lydia are sitting a little further down the table.

Jackson and Isaac are both snarky assholes. Stiles doesn't know what they'll say when they hear.

He's surprised it's not around already that he went on a date with Chris Friday night. But then again, the students at his school don't frequent art galleries, so there was no one there to gossip.

Stiles ends up shrugging. "We met at a party," he says. "And he's been nice to me."

Cora gives him a look like she knows he's lying, or at least not telling the whole truth, but she doesn't press. Thank god.

"I'm so hungry," Stiles says, wondering at how his stomach growls for food. He's eaten everything on his tray already without noticing.

Cora passes him a large chocolate chip cookie. "Here."

Then Scott slides a pudding cup his way. Stiles nods his thanks and then he's eating the stuff. Did he forget breakfast this morning? That must be why he's so hungry.

"You don't have to follow me around, though," Stiles says after he eats the cookie. He looks at Cora. "Really. Ray's gone so it's fine."

Cora gives him a dubious look.

"And I can take care of myself," Stiles says defensively. "I may not be a werewolf like you, but I fight dirty."

"I know," Cora says. She hands him another cookie. "But it won't hurt having me look out for you, too."

After everyone has finished their lunch and Stiles's friends are getting up and walking toward their lockers or upcoming classes, Lydia scoots into Scott's vacated chair right next to Stiles and hooks her arm through his. She gives him a long look, then nods. "How long has Peter Hale been courting you?"

Stiles's eyes widen and he looks around quickly to see if anyone has heard. No one is looking but Cora has gone still.

"It's okay. Everyone's busy, and I sent Jackson to see if I left my phone in my last class," Lydia says. She smirks and shows him her phone peeking out of the top of her purse.

Stiles sees Isaac near the exit, talking to Boyd.

"I'm not going to tell anyone," Lydia says airily. "It's your own business."

"You just want to know all my business," Stiles says dryly.

Lydia smiles. "Of course. And Cora wants to know, too."

Cora turns to him, seemingly giving up on pretending she can't hear. "It would explain why you smell like Peter. Is he really courting you?"

"He's a catch," Lydia says. "If you like older men. I can see the attraction."

"Ew, that's my uncle," Cora says. "But really? My mom's gonna flip the fuck out."

Stiles gives a small nod. He can't keep the smile off his face, though. "Yeah."

"I heard my mother on the phone with a friend talking about him dancing with a 'much younger omega' at one of the local events," Lydia says. "But also that the omega had more than one suitor. So… is there more to this?"

Stiles feels himself turn pink. "Oh. Um."

"I can smell Peter on you, so he must be scent marking you," Cora points out, making Stiles blush harder. "But you also smell a little like another alpha. It's… familiar but I can't place it."

"Familiar?" Stiles says, wondering why Cora would know Chris's scent.

"I'm thinking," Cora says, closing her eyes. "It's… sometimes Peter smells like this other alpha, but I've never met them. Maybe one of my uncle's coworkers, or a close friend?"

Lydia's eyes have narrowed and Stiles almost hear her brain working.

"I think you've both gotten more than you should out of me," Stiles says.

Cora opens her mouth, probably to protest, but then she shuts it and glares over Stiles's shoulder. Stiles turns and sees one of the omega twins, Oliver, whispering to someone else.

"I don't want to know what he's saying," Stiles says firmly.

"Good," Cora says, still glaring.

"Making someone drop dead with a look isn't one of your werewolf abilities," Lydia tells her. "Stop trying. Let me handle it." She taps out a text and then puts her phone away.

"What was that?" Stiles asks.

Lydia gives him a haughty smile. "Just wait."

A minute later, Ashley comes running back into the cafeteria, straight to her twin. She says something to him and he turns pale. They both look over at Lydia, hilarious looks of dismay on their faces. Stiles turns his head and laughs.

"And that's why you're the queen," he says.

Cora must have heard what Ashley told Oliver but she doesn't seem inclined to tell Stiles what it was. Just as well. It's funny enough to imagine.

Stiles had his first date with Chris, and now it's time to have one with Peter. Stiles likes spending time with the alphas together, but he also enjoyed spending one on one time with Chris. He's looking forward to his afternoon with Peter.

Peter picks him up from his house shortly after Stiles gets home from school.

"Before we go, I wanted to give you this," Peter says, handing over a large bag.

Inside there's a small sketchbook and a set of drawing pencils. Stiles doesn't know what to say. He runs a hand over the sketchbook and then puts it back in the bag. But he likes it — he likes that Peter and Chris have paid attention, that they know art holds a lot of importance to him, and that he's ready to give it another shot now that the memories aren't so fresh.

Peter seems to know how Stiles feels. He smiles and wraps his arms around him, and Stiles clings back.

Finally, Stiles is able to say, "Thank you, Peter." His voice is slightly hoarse, but he thinks Peter understands.

"It was Christopher's idea."

Stiles leans back a little in the hug and smiles at Peter. Peter says Chris's name like he's caressing it. It's much better than sounding like it pains him. Stiles knows Peter is happier lately. He remembers the way Peter looked that first night they met, like something was weighing on him day and night. Now, Peter looks like he has hope again, and Stiles is proud of being part of that hope.

"Do I have something on my face?" Peter asks, a bemused smile tugging at his lips.

"Just a smile," Stiles tells him. "It looks good on you."

Peter leans in and scents him, rubbing his cheek against Stiles's. "It's good to have a reason to smile."

"You're reading my mind," Stiles says. "Now tell me where you're taking me. It's not a secret, is it?"

"Atlantis Books," Peter says.

Stiles perks up and hugs Peter tightly. "The new bookstore with the deli inside? That's awesome, I've been wanting to go there," he says, and then steps back before Peter gets sick of all the hugging. Stiles is not that big of a hugger, really. Peter just brings it out in him. And he likes to hug when he's excited. He just doesn't get that many chances to do it.

Peter is looking at him with fondness. Stiles is happy about that, too.

"We can browse the books for awhile and then get something to eat after," Peter says.

"That sounds good to me," Stiles says. "Let's go."

They follow the plan. They both browse through the books for a while, both together and separately. Peter ends up buying Stiles an art book of Dutch sketches, which Stiles is fascinated with. He puts it away when it's time to eat, though. He doesn't want to spill anything on its pages.

Stiles is starving by the time his southwestern beef panini is served. It's hot and delicious, and Stiles nearly inhales it. Peter has ordered a reuben sandwich, which also looks pretty good.

Dessert is raspberry cheesecake, which Stiles eats at a much more sedate pace.

"I have to go out of town soon," Peter says.

"For work? Where are you going?" Stiles asks.

"Sort of. It's pack business, really," Peter says. "My sister has me going all the way to New York to help smooth over some ruffled feathers. My niece was courting someone from a pack there and broke it off, but the omega's father is the pack alpha and… well, it's a mess, and I need to go make nice with everyone so there aren't any lingering bad feelings."

"Your sister is your pack's leader?" Stiles asks. He doesn't know a lot about Peter's family or pack, but he wants to.

Peter nods. "Talia. She's been our pack's alpha since my mother died," he explains.

"Cora seemed to think her mom didn't know about me," Stiles says.

"She doesn't. I haven't told her about you yet," Peter says.

Stiles can't help but feel a little hurt. Which is probably silly. But Peter is courting him, and that's… important. Isn't it? "Why?"

"She'd butt in and I don't want that," Peter says bluntly. "It's none of her business."

"Okay," Stiles says, feeling better about it.

"She knew about Chris when we were young, before I presented. Everyone in the family thought I'd be an omega because… well, I guess some stereotypical things like I was the smallest, and I was always following my big sister around as a child," Peter says.

Chris told him their relationship pretty much ended once it was clear Peter was an alpha, but Stiles hasn't thought how it must have been for Peter.

"You were surprised, too," Stiles says carefully.

Peter gives him a wry look. "I was devastated."

Stiles reaches out and takes one of his hands and Peter takes it, looking grateful.

"My family was slightly better about me being close to an Argent than Chris's family was about him and a werewolf. But I still thought I'd be an omega. My heart was set on it. Chris… well, he's an alpha and I was so in love with him. I thought-" He cuts himself off.

"You thought you'd bond," Stiles finishes. "I'm so sorry you couldn't."

Peter shrugs. "It's in the past. I was young."

"But you still love him," Stiles says quietly.

"I thought I got over him," Peter says. "And Chris… he never showed as much emotion as I did, so I was never really sure how he felt about it when I presented. We just moved on. He went off to school and a few years later, I did, too. When Chris never came back I was relieved. I didn't have the reminder there all the time." He shakes his head. "But he came back to town two years ago."

"What happened?" Stiles asks.

"Everything came back, all the feelings and then some," Peter says.

"For Chris, too," Stiles says. "You aren't the only one who's…" He trails off. Smiles slightly at Peter. "He may not show it, but he feels the same way."

Peter slides his thumb over the back of Stiles's hand. His blue eyes are clear and solemn. "I can't even begin to thank you for what you've done for us. What you're doing."

Stiles flushes. "It's not just for that."

"I know," Peter says with a smile. "I don't want you to think I'm only interested in you because of what you're doing. I think you're remarkable, and beautiful, and intelligent-"

"You're killing me here," Stiles says, covering his red face with his other hand.

"And Christopher thinks so, too," Peter says. "We're both quite… smitten."

Stiles is grinning. He can't help but grin. The words are everything he's needed to hear since they started this unconventional courtship. "I'm... yes, okay. I'm pretty gone on both of you, too."

"I'll miss you while I'm gone," Peter says, reaching out to brush Stiles's cheek with his fingertips. "Making you blush, especially. It's quite pretty on you."

Stiles blushes harder. "How long is your trip going to take?" he asks.

"A few days, no longer than a week," Peter says. "Hopefully I'll smooth things over within three or four days."

"You should text me while you're gone," Stiles says.

Peter smiles. "I will. And I'll call you when I can."

Stiles ducks his head and grins.

Peter is due to leave on Wednesday night. That afternoon, he comes over to Stiles's house for dinner. Chris is there, and Stiles's dad is off work.

Stiles isn't very hungry. He's feeling a little emotionally needy, though. He thinks it's probably because Peter is leaving. Peter is more open of the two alphas. Chris is honest, straightforward, but emotionally he keeps things to himself. Stiles is sure of where he stands with Peter — they like each other and enjoy each other's company. Peter's open in his appreciation of Stiles, and he's not hesitant to tell him anything if Stiles asks.

Chris is a little more closed off. Stiles doesn't usually mind, but he's a little worried Chris isn't as sure about their courtship as Peter is. It's still early yet, though. Stiles has a little over a month before his heat is due, and that's a good amount of time to spend together and learn more about each other.

He's not sure it's enough time to be certain of a bonding, though.

"What are you thinking about, sweetheart?" Peter asks him after dinner, when Stiles's father has retreated upstairs to give the three of them some time alone in the living room.

Stiles rests his head on Peter's shoulder. "I'll miss you, I guess."

Chris sits on Stiles's other side.

Peter says, "Chris will be here to pay attention to you. Won't you, Christopher?"

Stiles turns his head to look at the other alpha. Chris gives him a faint smile. "I will. I wasn't going to mention it yet, but I thought I'd take you to see the new Deadpool movie on Friday night."
"That sounds great," Stiles says. He takes one of Chris's hands in his own, but turns back to Peter. "Do you think I could get a kiss from you before you leave?"

Peter gives him a slow smile. "Oh, sweetheart. All you had to do is ask."

Stiles's stomach swoops and he sits up and turns, suddenly very focused on Peter. Behind him, he feels Chris, who moves closer until he's nearly plastered against Stiles's back. It's making him breathless before Peter's lips have even touched his.

Then Peter tilts Stiles's chin up with one finger before he's descending on his mouth. He teases him at first, dragging his lips against Stiles's, before kissing him more thoroughly. Stiles sucks in a breath and Peter's tongue slicks into his mouth like a thief. Stiles is going to moan but it comes out more a whimper. He clutches at Peter's shoulders and tries dragging him closer.

Behind him, Chris kisses the nape of his neck, making Stiles gasp and shiver. Stiles has a wild thought about his dreams coming true before the reality of the moment crashes over him. Peter breaks their kiss and gently pushes Stiles toward Chris.

Chris meets Peter's eyes for a moment, then looks at Stiles. For permission, it seems, as if Stiles isn't already turning in his arms and pulling him closer.

Chris doesn't kiss like Peter. It's harder, but more careful. His beard scratches against Stiles's skin, and it feels like Stiles's nerves are being set on fire. It just feels so good. Stiles wants more.

Stiles wants them both. But more than that, he wants something else. He drags himself away from Chris's mouth, sucking in a deep breath. They look at him, wondering why he's stopped.

"You should kiss, too," he says, leaning back on the couch. "Both of you. Please."

Peter's eyes light up like he thinks it's the best idea ever. Chris's reaction is much more reserved, but Stiles is learning to read him. He can tell Chris wants it just as much as Peter. As much as Stiles.

They lean into each other slowly. Peter looking like he's afraid the moment will disappear, and Chris like he's intent on savoring each second. When they kiss, it seems like Stiles can breathe again, even though he didn't realize he was holding his breath. Peter and Chris kiss each other like they've been waiting for the moment all their lives. Like they want it never to end.

Stiles sits back on the sofa and watches, his heart feeling almost like it's too big for his chest. It's just right. It's funny, he thinks, that he doesn't feel any kind of jealousy. He does wonder how he can fit between them, but he knows he'd never begrudge them their love. They've yearned for each other for too long, they've been hurting and loving for just too many years for Stiles to want to change that.

He's happy he can help them be together.

They break apart after several minutes and Chris licks his lips. "Thank you," he says to Stiles. His voice is deeper, more filled with emotion than Stiles has ever witnessed. Stiles nods in reply.

Peter doesn't thank him in words. Instead, he kisses him, hard and deep and breathless. Stiles can only hold on for the ride.

Chris laughs. Peter pulls back, grinning wide. Stiles wonders how he can possibly ever be happier than he is in that moment.

Stiles has a fever the next morning. He doesn't really notice at first, other than realizing he feels a little under the weather. It makes sense, really. He lost his appetite recently. Maybe he's coming down with something.

His heat isn't due to hit for another month, so he doesn't even consider that as the culprit. At least not until he's at school halfway through the day and he starts leaking.

Cora is the first (and hopefully only) alpha to notice. Maybe because of her werewolf senses. Stiles is so grateful for her. She tells their teacher he's sick and smuggles him into the parking lot. She calls his dad so he'll come pick him up.

"What are you going to do?" she asks. "Do you have to go to the… the heat hospital?"

Just the thought of going back there makes Stiles want to cry. "No. No, I don't think so." He scrolls through his contacts to call Peter, but it goes straight to voicemail. He leaves a message. "Peter? I'm going into heat. I don't know what to do. Please… please call me back."

When he looks up, Cora has a sympathetic look on her face. "Why no suppressants?"

Stiles snorts. "They don't work on me."

"And you're unbonded. Oh god, Stiles, you'll have to go to the heat hospital."

Shaking his head, Stiles says, "Not if I can help it. I've been. It's hell."

He's about to call Chris when his father pulls into the parking lot in his patrol car.

"Thank you, Cora. I wouldn't have known what to do without you there," he says. "You're a good friend."

"Hey, you might be my new uncle sooner or later," Cora says. "And that would make you pack."

Stiles smiles at her, as best he can, another wave of heat running through his body.

His dad gets out and walks over to him, takes a good look at Stiles, and says, "Oh, kid. You never have it easy, do you?"

Stiles wants to laugh. It's pretty funny, in a dark way. He shakes his head and gets into his dad's car. "Get me out of here."

Cora walks back into the school, presumably to class. Stiles's dad gets into the patrol car and looks over at him. "Where to? You may need to go to the state heat-"

"No," Stiles says, interrupting him. "Not again."

"You can't ride it out at home," his dad says. "The last time you did that, it got dangerous, kid. Your heats are just too much, you need medical observation."

Stiles fists his hands and shakes his head. "Dad… let me spend my heat with Chris and Peter."

"Absolutely not," his father says, but Stiles knows he can be talked around easily. "Anyway, isn't Peter in New York?"

"He can come home," Stiles says, hoping he will.

"You don't even know if they'll spend your heat with you," his dad says.

"Dad," Stiles says, hearing the crack of tears in his voice. "I can't go back to the hospital for my heat. It's... I can't do it. I'd rather die."

"Don't say that. I understand that it was bad, but-"

"You don't understand!" Stiles says. "You're not an omega. You don't know what it's like to be in heat, or to have them like I have them. It's bad enough that my biology is fucked up, but to have to spend over a week like that, being watched by strange doctors and nurses and being given instructions on using 'omega sexual aids' because I'm so stupid when I'm heat-drunk is… it's debasing. Humiliating. Please, please don't make me go through that again."

His father is silent for a few moments, and then he says, "Okay. Let's get you home and we'll call Chris."

Stiles wipes at his wet eyes and nods. "Thank you," he says quietly.

"You've had a birth control shot," his father says. "At the hospital last time. I saw it on the insurance billing."

"Yeah," Stiles says.

His dad takes a deep breath. Lets it out. "Well, at least there's that."

Chris comes as soon as he can, it seems. Stiles's father calls and Chris is there within the hour.

Stiles has been worried since he realized he's in heat. He's been worried Chris won't actually agree. But maybe he's being silly. It's just… it's so early in their relationship still. It's too early for heat and bonding.

But when Stiles tells Chris his worries, Chris just… kisses him. Tells him it's okay.

"You're sure?" Stiles asks. He's been feeling hotter and more irritated, but being near Chris eases some of the discomfort.

"Peter and I have discussed it," Chris says. He runs a hand through Stiles's already sweaty hair. "Peter thought there was a possibility your heat would hit earlier than you thought, and we went through different scenarios. We both wanted to bond with you before your heat, but we both know life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

Stiles smiles a little, then asks the question on his mind. "But Peter's out of town; do you even want to be with me without him there?"

"Stiles," Chris says, his voice low and sexy. "You're a beautiful, smart, funny omega who I've been courting, and you're going into heat. Of course I want to be with you."

He's already flushed as much as he can be, he thinks. But he still feels a wave of embarrassed happiness hearing that out of Chris's mouth.

"I've had birth control," Stiles says, wanting to say so before he gets too heat-drunk. He remembers what heat is like. He's not going to be this coherent once the heat hits full blast. "But with the way my body works… it's not a hundred percent. I might get pregnant."

Chris makes a low, alpha noise. Like a growl. It makes Stiles's stomach flip. "We'll deal with it when or if it happens," he says.

Stiles nods. "And… bonding?"

Chris takes Stiles's face in both his hands. "Stiles, I want you. After your heat, the three of us will go to the courthouse and file for a bond. As soon as we possibly can, I swear it."

Stiles is good with that. "Where are we going for my heat?"

"I told you Peter and I discussed this. I have a key to his apartment. We're going there. It's not fully stocked for heat but I'll make some calls and have some deliveries made, okay?"

Stiles nods. Heat is beginning to take over. "We'd better go. I can feel it."

He barely remembers the ride over. By the time they get to Peter's apartment, Stiles has become little more than a bundle of nerves and need.

"Chris," Stiles begs, pulling him closer.

"Shh, baby just wait a minute for me, I have to make a few orders and then I'm all yours," Chris tells him. "Why don't you go into the bedroom and strip out of your clothes for me. That can't be comfortable when your skin's overheated and sensitive."

He's right. Stiles can't wait to get out of his clothes. "Hurry," he says, and finds Peter's bedroom.

His bed isn't made. The rest of the apartment looks clean and fresh, but the alpha's sheets are rumpled like he just got out of bed. Stiles strips out of his clothes and slides between the sheets. They must have an outrageously high thread count. They feel exquisite against his sensitive skin.

He puts his face down on Peter's pillow and breathes in the scent of the absent alpha. He doesn't know how long he lies there on the bed, belly down, breathing in Peter's scent. He can feel slick dripping out of his hole, coating his inner thighs. He can't help but bring a hand back to feel his hole, how wet and hot it is, how hungry for his alphas' cocks.

It's not unbearable yet, but it's getting there. He whines and pushes two fingers inside himself. It feels good, but it's not enough. He needs Chris.

He gets him.

"Fuck," Chris says from the doorway. Then, when Stiles whines again, "Okay, baby. I'm here."

His hands settle on Stiles and calm him immediately. Stiles doesn't remember feeling anything but scared and desperate during heat before. He can even think again.

"Did you call Peter?" Stiles asks, pressing against Chris's hands, rolling over and pulling the alpha to him. He wants more of the delicious skin contact.

Chris's pupils are blown and he's putting out alpha pheromones full blast. "I left another message."

"Okay. Thank you," Stiles says. He tugs at Chris's collar, wanting the man's shirt off.

Instead of undressing, Chris kisses him. His hands roam over Stiles's body from his cheeks to his calves. It's slow, like Chris is intent on learning his body first before doing anything more.

"You won't be able to take your time for long," Stiles hisses through his teeth. He can feel his heat growing stronger. "I want… I want it while I can still think. Please."

"This is your first time, right?" Chris asks. "I want it to be good for you. Make you feel every single touch."

Stiles leans back and smiles at him. "I've wanted you for awhile, you know. Pretty sure anything you do is gonna be good. Plus you know, I'm in heat, in case you've forgotten."

"You're not quite there yet," Chris says. "I think we have a little time."

"Remember when I told you my heats are crazy strong?" Stiles asks. "I meant it. So get undressed and let me see you before I'm… you know."

Chris sits back on his knees and slips his shirt off over his head without unbuttoning it. The sight steals Stiles's breath. He's got the most gorgeous muscles, hard and defined. His nipples are small and tight already, and he hasn't shaved his chest. He looks fantastic. Stiles wants to put his mouth all over that, and feels himself trying to move forward before he can help it.

But then Chris is sliding away so he can unbutton his jeans. Stiles lets out a whimper and feels himself slick up even more. Chris smells it. His senses aren't as strong as Peter's, but he's still an alpha. He knows what's happening.

"Please get back over here and touch me," Stiles says.

Chris undresses the rest of the way and stalks forward, making Stiles feel like he's about to be conquered. It's a good feeling that makes him shiver and want. It also gives Stiles his first view of the alpha's cock, a large, perfect specimen if you ask Stiles. His mouth waters for it and he wants it any way he can get it.

"You've been so patient," Chris murmurs, putting his hands on Stiles again, running his palms down Stiles's arms, eyes widening when Stiles moans brokenly.

"Chris, please, I feel it coming on stronger, I need you to do something," Stiles says, nearly clawing at his alpha to get him closer.

"Okay. Okay, just let me-"

"Now," Stiles begs, widening his legs and hooking one around the back of Chris's thighs, urging him closer. "I need you."

Chris kisses him then, and Stiles kisses back, desperate to get him closer. Stiles loves it. Loves the way Chris fucks into his mouth with his tongue, slick and hard and controlled. Stiles wants him to lose control.

He whines, reaching for Chris's cock. His heat has made him bold, too far into it to care about how it's his first time or how he doesn't really know what he's doing. He just wants Chris's dick inside him. "Fuck me. Please, Chris."

He's thick. Hard. It feels like he's splitting Stiles apart when he starts pushing in. Stiles whines for more, though, because it feels like everything he's been missing since he knew he was an omega.

"God, baby," Chris says, then swears when he pushes in some more before bottoming out.

Stiles lets out a long moan and clutches at Chris, wanting so much more. "Give it to me. Fuck me."

"Yeah," Chris says, bending Stiles's knees and pushing them up higher so he can get deeper as he begins to fuck into him. It feels incredible.

"Alpha, oh, fuck, yes," Stiles babbles, nails digging into Chris's shoulders, only able to hold on as Chris fucks him. He fucks him for a long time, until Stiles is panting so hard he can only hear his own breaths, his heartbeat pounding in his ears, and the delicious slap of flesh on flesh.

"Gonna knot you up good, fill you up," Chris mutters, but Stiles hears him and nods his head very quickly because yes, that sounds terrific.

"Knot me, do it," Stiles cries out, somewhere between begging and ordering. He digs his nails into the back of Chris's neck and Chris grunts in pain and pleasure.

Then Stiles feels it. Chris's knot teasing at the rim of his hole. Chris rocks back and then fucks it into Stiles while it's still growing, and it hurts in the best way, the way that means Stiles is finally, finally given what he needs.

It grows and grows, locking them together. Chris rocks just a little and it tugs just right.

"Oh God," Stiles mutters, his head falling down on the pillow. "That's incredible."

After that, things start getting a little fuzzy. The time seems to melt into one big impressionist painting of sex and sleep and more sex.

A few times, Chris feeds Stiles. Not a lot, just enough to keep him going. Water. Pears. Grapes. A little bit of cheese. Stiles can barely think, but he does what his alpha asks.

Chris cleans him up a few times, too. "Much bett'r th'n strang'rs," Stiles mumbles, but Chris either doesn't hear him or chooses to let it go. Stiles doesn't want to think about the heat facility anyway.

"D'ya call Pet'r?" Stiles asks at one point. Because he's not entirely coherent or with it at the moment, but he definitely knows something is missing.

"He's on his way, baby," Chris says, followed by, "Thank god."

"Hmm?" Stiles asks, blinking at his alpha.

"I can barely keep up with you," Chris says with a laugh, stroking Stiles's sweaty face.

Stiles catches Chris's thumb in his mouth and sucks on it. He wishes it was bigger. More. He needs so much more.

"You're killing me here," Chris says, smiling at him.

"Mmm. Fuck me," Stiles says, enunciating the words so Chris is sure to understand him.

Chris grins and kisses him. "In a few more minutes, baby."

And then everything goes blurry again. Stiles knows he's demanding, but Chris stops fucking him quite so hard, doesn't knot exactly when Stiles demands it.

"I'm tired, baby," Chris says when Stiles tries to ask about it. "It's been three days. But don't worry, Peter will be here soon."

"Hmm," Stiles says, and finally pushes Chris over onto his back so he can just take what he needs.

"There you go, good," Chris says, then gasps when Stiles clenches around him. "Ride me, beautiful."

"Knot me," Stiles whines. "Do it, alpha. I need you. Need you to come in me, need your big knot to tie me up… oh!" He's surprised when Chris slides two slick fingers inside him alongside his cock. It's not quite a knot but it's good, so good, and Stiles nearly purrs from the sensation.

"There, how's that, baby?" Chris asks.

"Good, so good," Stiles says, digging his fingers into Chris's pecs.

"This is a lovely sight to come home to," Peter says from behind him, and Stiles shudders and comes.

"Thank god," Chris mutters. "Get over here and knot him."

Peter laughs. "Oh, are we a tag team now?"

"I'm serious, he's insatiable, I'm so worn out," Chris says. "Put some of that werewolf stamina I keep hearing about to good use."

Stiles laughs a little, more delirious than anything. He feels good, but still not sated. He feels better with Peter home now, though. Like maybe everything will be okay now.

"Peterrr," Stiles says, twisting toward his voice. "I miss'd you."

"Oh, sweetheart," Peter says, and then he's kissing him gently. "I'm so sorry I didn't get back earlier."

"You should apologize to me," Chris mutters. He looks exhausted.

"I'm surprised his heat didn't trigger your rut," Peter says. "Just being in the same room as him has me feeling… well, I think I'll be just fine."

Stiles whines when Chris rolls him to the side and pulls out of him. "Nooo, I need it!"

Chris kisses his forehead. "Peter's going to take care of you for awhile, baby. Just give him a few minutes."

Stiles blinks up at Peter, who is still wearing too many clothes. "Promise?"

Peter smiles and nods. "Of course, sweetheart. But I have a toy for you if you can't wait to be filled up-"

Stiles shakes his head, not wanting anything to do with toys after his horrible last heat. "No, no toys," he says, eyes filling with tears. "I don't wanna go back."

"Go back, sweetheart?" Peter asks, sitting on the edge of the bed and petting Stiles's hair. "It's okay. You don't have to do anything you don't want to."

Stiles speaks slowly, even though it's hard to think. But this is important. "Heat hospital. So bad. Please… can't go back there."

Peter strokes Stiles's cheeks and forehead. "No, sweetheart, you never have to go back there again. Chris and I are going to bond with you, remember? You're safe, shh."

"Hated it. So awful," Stiles says, tears escaping his eyes.

Peter and Chris both touch him, soothing strokes on his arms and chest.

"He reacted poorly to a toy yesterday, too," Chris says. "I should have mentioned it."

Stiles doesn't remember that. The past few days have been a blur of heat and desperation.

"He seems mostly lucid right now," Peter says.

"He hasn't been. For the most part, until you came in, he's been… needy. Heat-drunk," Chris says.

Heat takes away inhibitions and the ability to feel any kind of shame. Stiles nods his head and tells Peter, "Slutty."

Peter laughs and takes his shirt off in one fast movement. "Are you going to tell me what you need, Stiles?"

"Take the rest off," Stiles says, writhing on the bed, feeling empty and like his heat is starting to overcome him again. It's so powerful. "And fuck me."

"Good boy," Peter says. The words make Stiles light up inside. Chris praised him a little, that he can remember, but Peter says it like he means it, like he knows how much it means to Stiles.

"It's coming strong again," Stiles says, and cries out when Peter flips him over onto his belly and goes straight to where he's the most needy. Peter licks and laps at his oversensitive hole, making the most obscene slurping and smacking noises. It feels so good, Stiles can almost forget how much he needs to be filled.

There's murmuring behind him, as Chris tells Peter something, but Stiles doesn't know what it is. He's losing it again. Peter's tongue breaches his hole and Stiles cries out, pushing back on Peter's face, trying to ride it, get the sensation deeper.

Peter growls and the vibration makes a delicious feeling well up inside him. "Fuck me, please, please," Stiles babbles.

"Such a good omega," Peter says, nipping at a fleshy part of Stiles's thigh. "Up on your knees, sweetheart."

Stiles scrambles to obey and then Peter's cock is there, teasing at his slick hole, and Stiles fists his hands in the sheets, rocking back and taking him in before Peter can even start to push in himself.

"He's so impatient," Chris murmurs. Stiles quietly agrees. He wants it and he wants it now.

But Peter is growling again, not seeming to care at all. He starts to thrust and Stiles's hole makes way for his cock, much thicker than Chris's but not like a knot, which Stiles realizes will be bigger, too.

Stiles rocks back in time with Peter's thrusts until he's mindless with it, wanting it deeper and thicker and just more. They are wild, and Stiles can't get enough. There's never enough, it's just on the edge of enough, until Peter snarls and his knot is growing and growing, plugging Stiles just right, and it's enough to make him slip off his hands to his elbows, pushing his ass up further for his alpha.

"Beautiful," someone says, probably Chris because Peter's beyond words by now the same as Stiles.

Stiles's orgasm is so hard, so strong, it sends him floating off to somewhere else.

The next thing he knows, he's sore and sated and feeling utterly wrecked. He wakes up with two alphas curled around him, and while he knows he should be filthy with dried sweat and slick and come, he's not. He's been cleaned and taken care of, and he purrs with contentment. He's hungry, thirsty, but otherwise completely happy.

Chris is sleeping. Stiles looks at Peter and sees his eyes are open. He gives his alpha a shy smile.

"Good morning, sweetheart," Peter says.

"Hi," Stiles says, and is surprised at how hoarse his voice is. Like he's been screaming. He flushes. The lack of embarrassment his heat caused is now gone, apparently.

Peter reaches for a pitcher on the nightstand and pours Stiles a glass of water. "Here."

"Thanks," Stiles says, and gulps it down. It's cold and refreshing. It must not have been sitting there long. Peter must have prepared for Stiles to wake, must have known when his heat was breaking. Stiles is lucky to have such a thoughtful alpha. It makes him feel safe. Cared for.

"I'm sure you're hungry, too," Peter says. "I'll help you shower and then fix you breakfast."

"I don't need help," Stiles says, attempting to roll out of bed. Except every muscle he has seems to twinge at once, and he's sore in certain places, making it difficult to walk.

Peter helps him sit back down, then places a hand on his lower back. The pain eases suddenly, and Stiles remembers werewolves are able to take a person's pain from them.

"Does that hurt to do?" Stiles asks, slightly worried.

"Tingles, that's all," Peter says.

Chris makes a snuffling noise and opens his eyes. Stiles grins at his bedhead. Peter looks as impeccable as ever, though Stiles suspects he's had time to groom himself already this morning. He does look tired, though.

"So… sorry about wearing you both out," Stiles says. He rubs at the back of his neck, not quite ashamed of his heat but definitely bashful about it.

Peter kisses his temple. "It was wonderful, sweetheart. We're honored you chose us."

Stiles thinks back on their courtship, on their first meeting, and wonders how much of it he chose and how much was fate. Or Fate, with all its capitalization, that his mother believed in.

"Well… you both chose me back," Stiles says. "I'm pretty happy about that, by the way."

Chris sits up with only a small wince and leans over to kiss him. He doesn't seem to mind the morning breath, and Stiles doesn't actually care about it, either.

"So are we," Chris says. He shares a soft look with Peter, and Stiles feels his heart swell.

The rest of the morning is spent with Chris and Peter looking after him, taking care of him, making sure he's fed enough (Chris) and comfortable (Peter).

It may take a little time for Stiles to recover from his heat, but he has two amazing alphas willing to help.

"Hey, Mom," Stiles says as he lays the flowers down in front of his mother's stone. The lily of the valley is an odd choice for some, but they're his mom's favorite and in season now that it's spring. He also puts a folded sketch on the grave, something he's done of Chris and Peter. He hasn't let anyone else see his art yet, but he doesn't have to worry about his mom.

He used to feel self-conscious talking to her, but now it's just a normal part of his routine. He visits every month or so, sometimes less, sometimes more often. He's not sure about an afterlife, but it makes him feel better to talk to her.

"I've got a lot to tell you about. Um, so, I'm bonded. For about a week now, actually. No big ceremony or anything because… well, neither of their families really knew they were courting me and I definitely didn't want anything big and noisy. I was happy just with a judge at the courthouse, really."

He sits cross-legged in front of the stone that says Beloved Wife and Mother. He holds out his arm, showing off the simple bonding cuff on his wrist. He thinks his mom would like it. She always liked the classics. "Peter wanted to get me something more ornate, said I deserve proper craftsmanship. He may still get me one. But for now, this is the one I've got. Chris picked it out. The three of us have simple ones just like this."

Stiles smiles, thinking about his alphas. "I really like them. Chris is quiet but he's intense. He's pretty stoic; he acts like he doesn't feel a lot but he really does. And Peter's snarky and smart, and he likes to stretch the truth a little for the sake of a good story. It's funny. I know he cares about me, though. And they both love each other so much, Mom. They're really happy about the bonding. We all are."

He smiles. "You know, all that stuff about Fate you used to say, I'm kinda starting to believe in it. Because… well, it's like everything was set up perfectly for us to be together. I just happened to need two alphas and there they were, a perfect fit." He laughs softly. "All my stars aligned and here we are."

He lets out a sigh. "It's not love yet. It's way too early. But I think that's where this is headed. I… I care about them. And they've been so good to me, and to each other. I think we have a real shot at a happily ever after. With work, though. As much as I'm believing in Fate lately, I do remember you always said a bond isn't the answer to everything, but it's the beginning. That you have to work at it."

He stands and touches the stone. "I've gotta go now, Mom. I love you, and I miss you so much. But I'll be back. I'll be keeping you in the loop, don't worry."