When they’re thirteen, Stiles says, “Do you even like people like that?”
Scott knows, somehow, exactly what he means, because he always knows what Stiles means. What he doesn’t know is how to answer it. He’s tried thinking about sex before, and while it’s not exactly repulsive, there’s no one he can really picture trusting enough to do that with. He thinks that’s probably weird, because he is thirteen, and his mom keeps calling him a bundle of hormones and he’s pretty sure that means something about sex. Probably. Most things seem to be about sex.
Just…not for him.
So he just shrugs, and Stiles doesn’t bring it up again.
Arousal is still a new thing for him by the time he and Allison work through their first box of condoms.
He figures out pretty quickly that he likes sex while it’s happening, but he’s not sure how much of that is just him liking Allison, and liking the way she looks during it. By the twelfth condom, he knows what triggers a reaction from him—a bite behind his ear, Allison’s toes curling against his calves, a hand on his dick—but none just by seeing Allison nude, at the thought of Allison and sex.
And still nothing from porn.
One day at lunch, Stiles makes this face like he’s figured Scott out. “Dude,” he says. “You like girls!”
Scott’s been saying that for years, because he does like girls, more than he likes guys, anyway, but he still thinks Stiles doesn’t get it, and probably won’t get it, because he can always smell the arousal on Stiles, and it’s a smell he’s never recognized on himself, outside of the bedroom. So he shrugs, says, “I like Allison.”
Stiles purses his lips. “Not like…girls in general? Boobs? Nothing?”
Scott had never really understood the fascination with boobs until Allison’s were touching his bare chest. He gives Stiles a blank look and says, “I like Allison’s boobs.”
Allison announces her arrival with a smack to the back of his head then, but her fingers curl in his hair and she kisses his cheek quickly. “Dork,” she says fondly.
Stiles is still looking at him like he’s a puzzle he can’t solve.
After Allison, there’s Kira, who’s so charming and sweet he can’t help but be drawn to her. She hands him a packet of research on death and demons, and all he can think about is how beautiful her smile is, even when it’s embarrassed and obviously a little annoyed.
He wants to hold her hand and go hiking with her, which is such a weird urge he has to sit down two seats away from her to keep himself from asking.
He finds her phone number and a note at the end of the research offering to answer any questions he might have, and he doesn’t really hesitate before sending, “Hey, it’s scott.”
She doesn’t hesitate before sending back a smiley face.
He feels something warm settle around his heart, which is out of the blue considering all the darkness there, and he smiles at his phone for a long time.
They text a lot, after that, always under the guise of Scott asking a question. ”Did we have history homework?” gets sent a lot, but he asks other things, too, like whether she prefers chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt (ice cream), what her favorite color is (blood orange), what she wants to study in college (probably linguistics), and would she like to go out some time? (Yes.)
Their dates go well, because they’re both passionate about Lady Gaga, puppies, and getting good enough grades to get into a good college. The first time she kisses him, it’s nice and a lot like the way it used to feel when Allison kissed him. Just sort of…sweet.
"I don’t really want to have sex," she tells him one time, when they’re sitting in a coffee shop, legs tangled and holding hands. "Is that a problem?"
"No," he says and takes a drink of his tea. "I mean, sex is okay but I don’t really need to have it or anything."
Kira’s eyebrows lift in surprise, and then she smiles. “Are you—sorry, I just didn’t think—are you ace?”
He has no idea what she’s talking about. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
"I mean," she bites her lip. "You don’t like girls? Or guys? Like…you’re asexual."
"I thought asexuality was the thing where you divide in half. Binary fission or whatever."
"That’s strictly reproductive," Kira says briskly, like she’s had this discussion before. "Here, look." She opens her phone and types something quickly into QuikLookUp before handing it to him.
It’s a page on the AVEN wiki, and his heart stutters when he reads “It’s an intrinsic part of who we are.” He reads the whole page, clicks on several links, caught up in the shock of it all, until Kira’s phone flashes a 20% battery warning at him, and guiltily he remembers that he’s on a date.
"Sorry," he whispers, and hands her back her phone. He feels a little shell-shocked. It’s never particularly bothered him that he doesn’t feel the same way about girls—or guys—that Stiles does. It has always been enough that he likespeople, that he can be with them.
"It’s okay," Kira says, smiling. "It can be overwhelming at first."
He nods numbly.
"I’m demi," she offers, when he doesn’t speak for several minutes. "But I guess that probably wasn’t mentioned on that page. And you’re probably having an information overload right now, so maybe—I’ll tell you later. Oh, um, your tea is probably cold by now." Her own cup is empty, he can tell, because he can smell the chocolate on her breath more strongly than in the cup.
He breathes slowly, and then downs the tea.
Slowly, Scott puts it all together.
His initial feelings for both Allison and Kira had been squishes that developed into romantic attraction, he thinks, but the squish he has on Stiles has never moved past friendship.
And he doesn’t really have a sex drive, but that doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy sex, he determines, and it’s okay that he kisses and cuddles Kira, that he likes the feeling of her tucked under his arm and the way her hair tickles his neck when they watch movies.
"I might want to have sex one day, if that’s okay," she says. She’s staring at herself in the mirror, methodically scrubbing away a splatter of her own blood. There’s a cut on her palm where a faery tried to stab her but instead only knicked her. Her coral lipstick has smeared off all but the edges of her lips, and her hair isn’t as shiny as normal.
Scott still wants to curl his fingers through it while he hugs her, but after fights like this, she always needs a few hours to come back to herself, to allow his touch, especially skin contact.
"Is that okay?" she repeats, and now she looks at him through the mirror, licks her lips once.
He’d forgotten she’d asked. “Yeah,” he says. “But I don’t have any condoms right now.”
"Not right now," she says, but her lips twitch, like she almost wants to smile. "But you can read to me." She points at the book sitting on the back of the toilet: a collection of T.S. Elliot’s.
He reads to her about hollow men stuffed with straw and cats who act human, and when she’s finally clean again, she curls up in his lap and they stay seated on the bathroom floor until her father sends her to bed.
Scott sneaks in through her window to cuddle with her, and wakes up with a face full of hair and a heart full of peace.