A/n: I just discovered Teen Wolf. Watched the entire series twice. I would've watched it sooner, but it seemed so cheesy. It played on MTV, for fuck's sake! Now I'm forced to retract those unfair biases. Because Teen Wolf is fantastic. Unsurprisingly, I'm a Sterek shipper. Dylan O'Brien is the current star of my daydreams and nightdreams. It's borderline disturbing, really, how bad I got it. Stupid, adorable moles. Big, shiny, brown eyes. Ugh.
This will be a chapter story [I know, I'm a horrible person]. The setting is ancient Greece, roughly 478 - 446 BC. Around the Peloponnesian War era, a little before. Derek, the Spartan warrior. Stiles, the curious-minded Athenian. I figured they were both perfect for those roles. I'm a very, very accurate writer, so my goal is to include a lot of very, very accurate historical details. I promise, I won't bore you to tears. I'm not a textbook, just accurate.
Now let's talk about the historical facts I was forced to fuck with. Derek is the King of Sparta, so he's pretty much replacing King Pleistarchus in name [the actual King during this time]. His father is King Hale, deceased by this decade, and King Hale is replacing King Leonidas I ["This is Sparta!" and all that fun stuff] in name. If you don't know who King Leonidas is, watch 300. Because who hasn't seen 300. The actual plot for this story is historically inaccurate but most of the background information will be on point. As long as I can help it.
Inspired by a Youtube video. It's titled, Derek/Stiles - Between two points (Ancient Greece AU). Go watch it. Seriously, go watch it before you start reading. So many feels.
Warnings? Slash [Derek/Stiles], graphic sex [eventually], violence and/or gore [eventually], and...awkward, ancient dialogue.
Song of Choice? Between Two Points by The Glitch Mob feat. Swan. Or To Build A Home by Cinematic Orchestra. Dig that song.
A fair [of sorts] had come suddenly. The agora was flooded with color and firelight in the evenings, merchant carts in the early mornings. Vendors and craftsmen shouted, beckoned, and sold without pause for breath. Grand hunts went on, and groups of men returned from near wilderness with limp animals over their shoulders. Fish and wine, armfuls of bread, barrels of oil. All in preparation for a citywide feast, was the speculation. Theaters were dressed for epic plays, and stadiums readied for beast and sport.
It was curious. Athens celebrated often, but always with significant purpose. This fair seemed wasteful in its lack thereof. Stiles frowned, prying open a cardamom pod. Inside was a small seed. He dropped it in the growing pile. Scott watched him with an easy smile, absently grinding the black seeds into fine, gray powder. "What a scary face." He finally said. Stiles spared him a look.
"Are you not the least bit curious?" He asked, gesturing wildly [as he was prone to do]. The open window brought harsh, gold sun and noise. Midday, and the marketplace was a distant roar. Citizens and their slaves, foreigners, animals and wood carts all loudly interacting. "No." Scott said. "I can't say that I am." Stiles found this disconcerting, to be so content with ignorance. He rolled a brittle pod between his fingertips, feeling the little veins and bumps. "I am." He huffed. "And you should be too."
"You're always curious, enough for us both."
"Is that an accusation?"
Scott smothered a laugh. "Must everything be some accusation against you?"
Stiles didn't answer, his mouth getting away from him as it always did. "This whole fair can't be for nothing. There must be a purpose. Appeasement? Of whom, the Gods?" He was muttering now, more for his own benefit. Scott wasn't bothered by this, only amused. Stiles had a vast mind. It was vast enough to sprout legs, as it wandered often. Wondering, discovering, solving. He was insatiable in his pursuit of knowledge, unlike Scott. Scott was content with simplicity, accepting things as they were.
Scott didn't want much, but like any man, he still wanted. He sighed suddenly, dropping his bony chin in the cup of his hand. "I saw the Lady Argent, with her father." He sounded sullen even to his own ears. Stiles stopped his angry, nonsensical muttering. He looked at Scott expectantly. "She wore blue. I think it was silk." His eyes went soft and foggy. Stiles pursed his lips. Allison Argent, daughter of the wealthiest house in Attica, second in power only to Pericles.
The Argents had a reputation for ruthlessness, though Allison seemed sweeter than Sunday wine. She was a rare beauty, with skin like polished marble and lustrous, nighttime curls [long lashes and raspberry lips]. She was easy to fall for, if nothing else. Neither had ever spoken to her. They'd lose their tongues, possibly their heads. Slaves didn't speak to highborn citizens unless addressed directly. Somehow, Scott fell fast and hard, beyond the point of return. He spent his days thinking of her, his nights dreaming of her. As far as Stiles could tell, unrequited love was absolute misery.
"You're insufferable." Stiles flicked an empty pod and laughed as it bounced off the end of his nose. Scott recognized the distraction for what it was. He made a huffy noise. "You're the insufferable one." He took the pestle, and renewed his previous efforts. The seeds popped like cherries under the grinding stone. They worked until they had a fair ounce of cardamom powder. Herbs and spices were always in high demand, now especially. Their Master [not like many Masters, as he preferred they call him Deaton] trusted them enough to handle most requests.
Stiles stood, feet slapping the floor, and filled a sheepskin pouch with freshly ground cardamom. "Perhaps you'd like to run this out?" He tried weakly, offering up the pouch.
Scott scoffed and gestured [rather curtly] to the sandy threshold.
Warm sand and small, barbed rocks clung to the soles of his feet. Elbows beat against his ribcage, and sun fell on his head in unforgiving sheets. A cacophony of voices rising up, up. Stiles clutched the pouch to his breast and twisted between seizing bodies. He held his breath, peering over heads and shoulders. He could just make out the jagged, squarish top of the Acropolis. It stood tall and floral white, a sprinkle of trees jutting from the rockside.
A shadow suddenly stretched over him. He cursed his own inattention, as he nearly fell over the worn, bottom step of the south Stoa.
The Stoa was something of a noontime refuge, teeming with slick bodies by that late hour. It was a long structure with hollowed out insides and ribbed columns. Men gathered there, talking state and gesturing madly. They cooled in the relative shade, wiping wet grime from their brows. Faint splashing and fairyesque laughter sounded from the neighboring fountain house. Stiles licked his dry lips and ducked between a procession of pony carts.
As alive as any red heartbeat, the marketplace was arguably the center of social Athens [elaborate stalls, clomping livestock, Indian tapestries and foreign faces]. It was unregulated madness, and Stiles knew to be wary. Merchants were thieves if nothing else. They'd bleed a good man dry [nary a drachma to his name], and do so cheerfully. He spotted a familiar booth in a shady nook, and hastened over. He greeted the vendor with a scowl, she scowled back. They scowled more out of habit than genuine dislike.
"Morrell." He said shortly. She was tall, whip thin, and dark skinned. Her hair was like spilled ink, and her face somewhat cherubic. Though her soft, feminine features belied the harshness of her person. She was the complete opposite of his tenderhearted Master, and not for the first time, Stiles wondered at their shared blood. They were siblings, supposedly.
"Do you have my cardamom?" She held out her hand, having little to do with pleasantries or idle chat.
"Pleasant as always."
She didn't say anything, just shook her hand impatiently. Stiles raised unimpressed brows, and stuck out his own hand. "Five οbolus."
One should never let their product go without first receiving payment, or you'd never see a coin of what you're owed. Morrell was as underhanded as any vendor. Stealing came like breathing, meaning second nature. She didn't differentiate between strangers and kin.
She scoffed, pulling five coins from the oxhide pouch at her hip. She dropped them in his upturned palm. He tucked them away in the stiff folds of his chiton. "Pleasure doing business with you." He said dryly, handing over the cardamom. She snatched it up and spared him a sickly saccharine smile. She held the sheepskin at eye level, bouncing it absently. "I'll be needing three more ounces."
Stiles frowned hard. Her spite knew no bounds, as he'd soon learned after their first few dealings. He had a scathing counter at the ready, but it was quickly forgotten. The constant roar of the market at his back fell to near silence [bare whispers and restless cattle]. It was immediate, like blowing out a candle. Stiles stiffened. Banging, clapping, yelling, clicking, clacking, then nothing, dead air. Morrell was staring at something over his shoulder. Her dark eyes were big and unblinking.
[thump, thump, thump, thump] It was faint at first, growing louder. Soon, it was like thunder trapped in the earth. Stiles recognized it for what it was [feet, marching]. Strong soles smacked the ground in seamless unison. He turned, craning his neck. There were too many people, too tall and too in the way. The marching was so loud, it couldn't be more than a double pace away. He caught brief glimpses of crimson, darkly shining metal. Then, almost mechanically, the crowd parted. Down the Panathenaic way, from the Dipylon gate, marched a small army. They were red clad, tunics and cloaks whispering over hard, brown skin.
They wore flanged, bronze cuirasses, and fitted greaves clung to their shins. Doru and leather shields [painted with the letter lambda] pulled tight to their bodies. Stiles held his breath. A hundred men at least, each bigger and more unruly than the last. Soldiers. Spartans.
Some strides ahead from the rest was their leader. He seemed taller, broader, harsher than any one man behind him. He wore very little plating, his stomach and thighs visibly rippled with every step. Black, jagged crops of hair and coarse smatterings along his square jaw. His eyes shone like gold stained olives. They flickered from face to slackened face, cataloguing and compartmentalizing. A short doru was held loosely in one fist, no shield to be seen. His utter lack of defense was either extremely good faith, or an overestimation of his own invincibility. Stiles knew this man to be King.
The procession of Laconians passed close [a scant five feet from the stall]. Stiles didn't move away. If anything, he tipped closer. He was frowning in outright confusion, and his brow dropped heavy. As the King [Hale. King Hale, Stiles absently reminded himself] marched past, he glanced over. A quick cut of the eyes, nothing substantial, but those eyes found him easily enough. They looked at each other, though only for a moment. It was enough. His stare was like punch to the throat. Stunning him, pinning him down, stealing his air. He jolted, a small sound stuck in his throat.
As suddenly as it snared him, he was left breathless in the kicked up dust. The Laconians marched on until they were just a faint sprinkle of red betwixt tall, white roofs. The corpselike quiet instantly gave way to deafening, unintelligible noise. Every man and woman was frantic in their distress, clambering and shouting over each other. Stiles shared a considering look with Morrell, before slipping back into the fray.
Spartan soldiers had come to Attica. He wondered briefly if he should be worried.
He crashed into the workshop, and dropped his five obolus on the tabletop. They scattered and rolled over the edge, bouncing in the dirt. He didn't stop to gather them. "Scott! Scott!" The workshop was empty. Groaning loudly, he hurried across the courtyard. Faint grunting sounded from the store house. He found Scott there, hefting a sack of sorghum over his shoulder. "Scott!" Scott started and whipped around fast enough to crack his neck bones.
"Gods, what are you trying to do?" He shot Stiles a reproachful look, his nostrils flaring out.
Stiles ignored the question. "Did you see them?" He asked excitedly. His cheeks were festival red, and his honeyesque eyes shone bright and liquid in the noon sun.
Scott had the good graces to look confused. "Who?"
"Of course." Stiles sucked in a big mouthful of air. "Did you hear them then? The marching?"
Scott frowned. He shook his head, his shaggy curls jostling. Stiles mouthed wordlessly, as he was a little appalled at Scott's nonethewiser nature. "The - the - !"
"Laconians, soldiers from the Capital." Deaton finished crisply. He nearly scared his young help out of their respective skins with his sudden appearance. He stood in the doorway, casting broad shadows across the straw and silt. His dark, round face was grim. Scott promptly drained of color [he rivaled the morning ash in his gray paleness] and dropped the sack at his feet.
"Spartans? Here?" His voice had gone faint and raspy.
Stiles snapped about, all big eyes and feverish question. "You saw them too?"
"I haven't, though I knew to expect them."
"Why didn't you say?" Stiles looked positively scandalized.
"Little time. I was kept in Council overnight." He seemed to age decades in a single breath. The lines deepened around his closed mouth. "They've put us to work, boys. We report to the Panathinaiko at first light."
This earned him two, confused frowns. Slaves weren't permitted to participate [nor spectate] in sport or games. Neither had stepped foot inside the Panathinaiko, with its climbing steps and proud ghosts. Deaton was disheartened by their considerable lack of rights, however hard he tried to hide it. He smiled something tired and seethrough. "The games begin tomorrow, midday. We'll be acting as onhand healers for the inevitable casualties."
Confusion gave way to excitement. Stiles bounced on the balls of his chalky feet and grinned with teeth and gum.
"Why now? They've never needed us before, only you." Surprisingly, Scott was the one to ask.
Deaton scrubbed a hand over his shaved head, feeling the short stubbles. "Some of our Spartan guests are joining the festivities. The Council expects they won't be holding back, their collective pride is something of legends." He laughed dryly. The excitement was quick to drain from the room. Scott and Stiles shared a panicky look. Neither had any great desire to get close and personal with a Laconian. No sane man did!
They knew not to argue. That night, little sleep was had. Stiles followed the blossoming, ceiling cracks with tired eyes. He twisted his fingers in the wool throw. He was too warm. The fleece ended up tangled tight around his ankles. He bit into the soft meat of his lips and chewed earnestly. He pictured a red army [gold stained olives and tan mountains]. Scott had gotten to sleep minutes earlier. His muted snores were a tiny comfort. Stiles breathed harshly through his nose, flipping over and squirming in the timeworn dips of his bedding.
Morning came too soon.
They were up scant moments before first light. They bathed, dressed, and gathered a plenitude of linen wrap and herbal paste. Not much was said, as Scott and Stiles were still wary of the day to come. Deaton ushered them into the dim street with both hands warming between their shoulder blades. "You'll be alright. You are capable." He said. They breathed and took his confidence to heart. The walk to the stadium was hurried and muggy, as the sun was beginning to stab through tall cloud heaps.
They came upon the Panathinaiko soon enough, and it was something to see.
She was many things: big, beautiful, shining sloping. Ring upon ring of ascending, marble steps atop thick column supports. In the center was a long, ovular pool of freshly raked dirt and stone platforming. Torch baskets sprouted from the round corners like blackened saplings. Scott and Stiles openly gawped, their heads on a constant swivel. Despite their early start, they weren't the first to arrive. Men and women milled about like honey bees, doing everything that needed doing.
They swept furiously with their straw brooms, filled each torch basket with dry kindling, and hung velvet drapery between the far archways. Stiles laughed incredulously, temporarily forgetting his trepidation in the rock tunnels from which they came. "This is incredible!" He elbowed Scott in the ribs. Scott looked just as starstruck. He wore his signature dopey smile. "I wish we could've seen it sooner."
Stiles' face dimmed, before immediately brightening again. "We're seeing it now, that's what matters."
Deaton was secretly pleased with Stiles' positive outlook and seemingly abundant enthusiasm. It lightened his heavy load. The guilt of owning another human being was sometimes unbearable. He reminded himself it was for their own good. They weren't slaves under his roof, they were family. He sighed and lead the way to their makeshift station. It was just inside the mouth of a ground tunnel. A long bench had been provided for their working convenience.
The morning hours were spent in preparation, though not much preparation was necessary on their part. The games were set to begin at noon, carrying on until late evening. Noon came quicker than Hermes. The Panathinaiko was suddenly throbbing with sound and spectators. Stiles watched, amazed, as the stadium filled one ring at a time. Deaton said there would be chariot races [two horses, then four horses], foot races, horse riding, fighting. Not to the death, Deaton explained, but nonetheless brutal [especially brutal, considering the few Spartan participants].
Stiles frowned. He sincerely hoped no Spartan would need his medical attentions. If rumors were to be believed, Spartans weren't the easiest to wound, nor the easiest to treat.
Speak his name, and of course. A significantly smaller group of Spartans filed into the stadium. They donned their blood-colored tunics. They stood [very still and uniform] with their fellow athletes. Stiles could just make out the tops of their unruly heads. He swallowed. His throat was suddenly dry as sunbaked sand. Scott hurried to his side and looked across the arena with round eyes. "What are you thinking, Stiles?" He asked, a snitch of desperation in his question.
"I'm thinking we'll be alright, Scott."
Then the games were beginning. A few words from Pericles, welcoming their Laconian guests and wishing every competitor the favor of Ares, was the proverbial starting gun. Men, runners [for they were more sinew than brawn], lined up for the stadion races. One stade was the length of the stadium. Then two stades, to the end and back. Finally, a crippling seven to twenty four stades, long distance. They ran like Hades' hounds were at their heels. Onlookers were screaming in delight. Some trackmen dropped from exhaustion, stuttering in the dirt [struggling to stand]. Stiles wondered if they would keep running til' their hearts gave out.
Soon after, horses clopped into the arena. Simple chariots were at their backs. They bobbed their heads, stiff manes flopping against their powerful necks. Twelve laps later, and the crowd was nearly hysterical in their excitement. Stiles could admit he was a little hysterical too.
Jockeys and their aerodynamic steeds then took their places, preparing to kick up earth. Around, around, faster, faster, their final lap, just around the bend. Scott and Stiles were bumping shoulders, shouting at one another, laughing and betting money they didn't have. Soon, the games had narrowed down to the simplest and harshest of human physicality [bare knuckles, cracked teeth, shattered finger bones and blackened eyes]. Wrestling, regulated violence. Men shed their tunics and stepped into the hastily scratched circle.
The crowd was screaming loud enough to deafen [the Romans could hear their indistinguishable cries, Stiles was sure]. The fights, the Spartan contenders especially, were just on this side of bloodthirsty. It turned Stiles' stomach. Men were thrown down like heavy, burlap sacks. Elbows were dropped, knees thrown out, fists and legs snapping too quick to see. Blow after terrible blow, until one fell. Three fair falls were necessary to win a match. It didn't take long for their bench to fill with broken, purpled shells of [once proud, now defeated] athletes. By the seventh match, some men were crumpled against the tunnel wall and curled in the dirt [as the bench was completely occupied].
Deaton tended to the more serious injuries. He set and wrapped all manner of broken bones. Scott and Stiles were left scrambling. They wiped sand and sticky blood from split skin and applied the crisply smelling salve with careful fingertips. As their patients weren't the kindest or most grateful [having just been publically trounced], they took care to be gentle and brief in their treatment. Stiles was kneeling at the feet of a Carian warrior. He pressed an ice chunk, wrapped in wool cloth against the dark [nearly black] smattering of bruises trailing his calf. Unlike his fellow wounded, he'd won his fight. He hadn't fought a Spartan, but a Crotone.
A sudden, piercing ripple of cries rocked the stadium on its old foundations. Stiles looked up, craning his neck. Two more men took their places. They faced each other with pulled back shoulders, and dug their toes in crimson sand. One man, Stiles knew at first glance [gold stained olives, tan mountains]. His heart stumbled over itself, skipping a few beats, then thudding harshly. The King, the Spartan King. He wore no armor, no scarlet tunic. Just him and the reddish, evening sun. His muscles jumped and rolled under his skin, as he took a low stance. His eyes shone, mouth hardened, jaw square and sharp. Stiles swallowed audibly.
"I thank the Gods this was not my fight." The Carian uttered warily. Stiles jumped, as he'd momentarily forgotten his place. He breathed a short apology and pressed the ice more firmly. The Carian flapped a dismissive hand. "Don't fret. It isn't every day one sees a Spartan, let alone a King, in battle."
Stiles paused, turning and peering over the short wall again. The match was just beginning. The opponents circled, both looking for an opening. One was obviously more hesitant than the other. Unsurprisingly, the Spartan lunged first. He ducked and wrapped both arms around his opponent's naked midsection, slamming him down with devastating force. Even from that distance, Stiles heard his skull crack the ground. Small, brown clouds rose up around them. The referee shouted, calling point. The King stood and backpedaled three steps. His opponent, a nameless Persian, was slower to rise.
Again, they circled. The Persian held himself tensely. His black brows trembled, and his eyes glistened with fever. Not only hesitant, but afraid too. The King smiled [Stiles could see the whites of his teeth] and jammed a knee into the Persian's soft belly. A stifled cry, and he was skidding out of the marked pit [point two]. The spectators were on their feet by this point, as were the presiding officials. With an almost reluctance, the Persian stepped back in the pit. Wasting no time, the King met him with a choke-hold. The referee called for time, but was ignored by all. Stiles held his breath without meaning to.
The King tightened his arm about that fluttering gullet, leaving no room for breath. It took scant seconds for the Persian to concede, and he tapped his fingers desperately against the arm at his throat. The referee called point three, and no one voice was distinguishable in the sudden uproar. The King released his opponent with a [disappointed] puff. The Persian crumpled, gasping for air and mapping out the fresh, purple band circling his neck with disbelieving fingers.
Smiling like a devil, the King looked around the stadium. His eyes [so smug, they were nearly black] swept over the sea of twisted, bobbing faces. Then, for a second time, those eyes found his own and stilled. Stiles might have inhaled his own tongue. He blinked, too shocked to do much more. They watched each other for a good, long moment. The King seemed content to stare. He dragged lidded eyes down the length of his face, pausing on his mouth, darkening. Then met his eyes again. Stiles flushed to the roots of his hair. To his complete and utter horror, the King [spartanruthelessGodswhat] seemed to be getting closer. He took long, leisurely strides. Stiles couldn't breathe. His heart was beating hard enough to leave webbed cracks in his ribs.
He came closer and closer. Stiles felt his pulse in his temples. At the mouth of the tunnel now, coming closer. He was suddenly right there, standing over him and casting shadows like some bronze rendering of Zeus. He cut thin, meaningful eyes at the Carian, who immediately stood. The King took his place, sitting before Stiles as though he belonged. The tunnel was silent, a mute pocket midst the outside clamor. They hadn't looked away from one another. Stiles couldn't. He told himself fear kept his gaze, and nothing else [the fear a mongoose feels when tangled in a serpent's tail].
"My thigh." He murmured, spreading his legs. He drummed big fingers against his right, inner thigh. "I've bruised it."
With burning cheeks, Stiles looked at the aforementioned area. He determinedly avoided the nakedness between those powerful legs, as most men went without undergarments [out of preference or poverty]. He found nothing. There was no bruising or knotted swelling, just smooth, browned skin. Stiles wasn't stupid. He knew a falsehood when presented so intimately with one, but he couldn't very well call the Laconian King on his blatant lie. He retrieved a new ice chunk and wrapped it in wool cloth. His ears pinkened to something floral, as he held the ice to the King's hard thigh. The silence didn't last long.
"You're a slave."
Stiles didn't look up. The King's eyes were weighty on him. "I am."
"Your name." He wasn't asking, but commanding. Stiles bit the inside of his cheek. He wasn't one to take commands easily. Deaton asked, never commanded.
"Stiles." He answered quietly, hoping the King wouldn't hear.
Stiles grit his teeth. He loved his name. He chose it himself, it was the only thing he owned. "Thank you." He bit out. His teeth snapped noisily. A heartbeat, a second. For a moment, Stiles feared he may have overstepped himself. The King huffed a laugh.
"Do you know my name, Stiles?"
The way his own name sounded from that mouth, like a [sinful, terrible] promise, had heat pooling in his gut. Stiles licked his lips nervously. His hands loosened around the ice. "King Hale of Sparta." His voice was absolutely meek. He blushed hotly. A rough chuckle shook the King's chest. "My name, not my title." He said. Stiles frowned hard, he studied the bumps and dips of his pale knuckles.
"It would be disrespectful to address you otherwise."
A heartbeat, a second heartbeat, a third.
"Look at me." Another command, this one sharper than the last. After a split second of hesitation, Stiles did. The intensity of it was near painful, getting in his brain and drilling tiny holes. Hundreds, thousands of them. His lips trembled apart, asking for something without really having to ask. Again, Stiles held his breath without realizing. Only when his lungs burned up did he allow himself an inhale. That chiseled, perfectly angular face held him hostage. Stiles hated this vulnerability, but he couldn't touch down to land.
"My name, Stiles."
Stiles did know his given name. He knew a lot of things. The King seemed to sense this.
"I - Your name..." He cleared his throat quietly. "Your name is...Derek."
The Bouleuterion was a place of prominence and politics. The Council of Five Hundred met there regularly. It was a mostly open space. The slanting, tiled roof stopped midway across the hall, leaving half the chamber in shade. There were rows and rows of wooden benches, curling around the center in an amphitheater fashion. Councilmen filled those benches, hardly a hairsbreadth between them. They murmured among themselves in hushed tones. It was just after sunset. The games had ended with the daytime. Firelight shuddered lazily in mounted, iron baskets.
Derek and his two, best men [one very curly headed, the other very square jawed] stood before that multitude of archaic bones, waiting to be addressed. Backs straight, shoulders broad, chins out [every inch of them was Spartan made]. Derek pursed his lips. He was a little miffed at having been kept waiting so many minutes. Pericles, perhaps the most prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens [unofficial ringleader of these councilmen and their "democratic" city], was round - faced with tight curls. His square brows hung low over slitted, grey eyes. Even before their meeting, Derek had cultivated strong feelings of dislike and mistrust. Those feelings were only cemented upon seeing the man.
He turned to face them. "King Hale of Sparta. I must say, you are your father's son."
His words brought silence to the room. Derek frowned, unsure how to interpret that. For the sake of diplomacy, he took it positively. "So I am, though my father is hardly relevant to what brings me here now."
"Oh? And what has brought you here, my King? We did not expressly request your presence, if memory serves correct." He had the audacity to feign ignorance. Derek wasn't impressed with his pussyfoot tactics.
"You deny any involvement in the Naxos blockade?" There would be no tiptoes, no carefully skirting the issue. Derek would have none of it. The chamber rumbled with hundreds of pitchy outcries. Pericles snuffled, his nostrils flaring. He was angry [furious even], though hiding it well. Short tempered, Derek was secretly pleased to learn. "No, we do not deny our involvement. The blockade was necessary." Again, the room quieted.
"If we're speaking of necessity, the Delian League is no longer one. The war with Persia has ended, the only reason for its creation. Naxos saw the foolishness in bleeding tax money for an unnecessary cause." He boomed. His voice carried over the hall with an authoritative quality all his own. Pericles was unruffled. He interlocked his fingers, and rested them against his breast plate. "King Hale, please. This council was meant to be brief. Let us save those heavy topics for a later time. I want you and your men to enjoy our city, before politics ruins us all."
Derek ground his teeth. He suspected Pericles was going to waste as much time as he possibly could. "Of course." He said tightly.
"Perhaps you or your men have any requests, to make your stay more enjoyable?" He asked, ever the hospitable host.
Derek was seconds away from declining, as Spartans had most of what they needed, but a thought struck him. It came suddenly. A bright picture of honey eyes and soft, inklike lashes. Pink mouth [bitable, swollen lips], porcelain pale, a million something moles. A short chiton sliding up thin, milken thighs. Skinny hands and strawberry dabbled cheeks. Snark, barely contained rebellion. A slave with more spark and dignity than most freedmen. The way his name sounded from that rolling throat. It was an easy decision. He would make the best of his time here, as unwilling as it was.
"I do have a request, if you'd be so gracious." He smiled, a dark little twist. "A slave."
"Of course. We have plenty, quality slaves, my King. I can have one outside your bed chambers before you arrive there."
"I have one in mind."
"And Gods, the way he looked at you! I feared he was going to lop your head off!"
Scott hadn't stopped ranting since their return home. Stiles didn't answer, or even lift his head. He stared at the dough caked between his fingers, as he kneaded furiously. Derek. Derek Hale. King Derek Hale. That godforsaken name wouldn't leave him. It rolled around his head like loose stones in the back of an empty cart taking too sharp turns. That face, those strikingly green eyes staring at him like he was the most interesting thing to breathe. It made his chest stutter, and his face redden.
"Was he even hurt? He didn't seem hurt! I don't believe that Persian landed a single blow!"
Unlike Scott, Deaton hadn't said much at all. He asked if Stiles was alright, if the King had threatened him, but left it well alone after that. Though Stiles wasn't blind to the constant, concerned glances. He flattened the dough with tightly balled fists. It relieved a bit of tension from his shoulders.
"Have you met him before? Why else would he - I - Surely you would tell me if you'd met the King of - Gods! - of Sparta!"
Stiles sighed. He just wanted sleep [dreamless and deep]. He didn't have any answers, and he didn't plan on seeking them out. As far as he was concerned, King Hale was a memory [distant, fading, best forgotten memory]. Those gold stained olives and tan mountains and liquid coal promises had no place in his life, nor his thoughts. He didn't want them. He glared accusingly at the dough.
"What kind of King - !"
There was a loud, slow banging on the outer doors, like tree trunks falling one at a time. Stiles jumped. Scott shouted, throwing a hand over his thumping breast. They met eyes across the room. More [earth shattering] blows to their courtyard doors, and Stiles was on his feet. He scampered into the yard and yanked open the doors. Deaton was padding down the staircase behind him.
Upon seeing two of the city guard, Stiles frowned. "You've woken my Master, what is it?" They could take his head for such rudeness, but Stiles couldn't find enough energy to care. They took stock of him, as dry and unimpressed as could be. "Is this the house of Deaton?" One asked, Stiles couldn't tell which. Deaton stood at his back.
"It is." He answered softly. "What is this regarding?"
"One of your slaves. We've been ordered to gather him." They looked at him then, Stiles could feel their eyes. "The one called Stiles."
Stiles whitened. He felt his Master go still behind him.
"I - I haven't done anything wrong!" He defended immediately. Deaton laid a hand on his shoulder, which he only now realized was shaking. "I'm afraid I'll need a very good explanation before I allow you to take my property."
"We know nothing more than our orders. Pericles gave this order himself. You will be compensated."
They stepped forward. Stiles shrunk back. "No! This isn't - !" He was yanked from safety, as both men took him by his biceps. "Let go!" He squirmed, to no avail. Their hands were tight around his arms, too tight. He was pressed between them, and their plating was cold against the naked parts of him. Deaton reached out desperately. "Sirs, wait, please! This must be some mistake, let me speak to the council!"
Scott flailed behind Deaton, peering over his shoulder and trying to squeeze past. "Stiles!" Deaton held him back. His face was so unsure, more unsure than Stiles could remember seeing him [Deaton was always sure]. "Stiles, what is going on?" He sounded scared, terrified, for Stiles. Stiles wanted to cry, because Gods, he didn't know! "Go inside, Scott!" Scott didn't need this, Scott didn't need to see this. "It's fine. I'm fine." He lied unconvincingly.
Without a parting word, the city guardsmen turned and begun a hard march. Stiles jostled betwixt them. He could hear Scott shouting, and Deaton frantically shushing him. His heart was stuck in his throat. Panic was a bitter, acrid taste on the back of his tongue. Their hands were no less tight around his upper arms, and he could feel bruises setting in purple. He dug his toes in the ground, trying to slow them. They didn't notice. "Will you let go of me? I haven't done a thing, you do not need to drag me through the streets like a prisoner of war." He gritted out and jerked his arms down.
"Cease your struggles." One said, Stiles thought maybe the right one. For the sake of being difficult, he kicked his legs up. Then, since he was feeling particularly rebellious, he sunk his teeth into one of the easily accessible wrists. He bit hard enough that coppery blood splattered his teeth. The right guard [definitely the right one] shouted some indiscernible obscenity and wrenched his wrist from Stiles' mouth. "You little - !"
A flurry of hands, knees, elbows. Stiles was on his back in the dirt, lazily tracing the invisible lines of Ophiuchus in the nighttime stars with blown eyes and licking blood from his front teeth, as fingers dug into his neck. Dimmer, dimmer, until he couldn't see much at all.
When Stiles awoke, he was freshly bathed [something herbal and fragrant, actual soap] and wearing unfamiliar silk. His bruises were wrapped, hidden from view. He felt softer. He was in a big, warm bed. It was so much bigger and warmer than any bed before it. The sheets were malachite green, and the multitude of pillows [so many pillows, too many for one head] were a matching shade. He found his head sunken deep in the pillowy depths. His vision was obscured by green, green, green. Despite the comfortable circumstances, Stiles was toeing the line of hysterics.
He sat up, the sheets and blankets falling away one layer at a time. The room was unnecessarily spacious. Colorful, Indian rugs spanned the marble floor. Cherry paneling, long drapes, ribbed pillars and elaborate, fire chandeliers. Stiles figured a Royal might like this place better than him. It was wasteful, and it wasn't home. It wasn't straw floors, lumpy bedding, and muted snores. He crawled to the very edge of the bed and stood on wobbly legs. He frowned deeply. The silk garb he wore was short. So short, it barely brushed the tops of his thighs. Blushing madly, he tried tugging it down. It refused to stretch.
Sucking his bottom lip between his teeth, he looked for the door. He had no desire to be here, wherever here was. In plain view, he found a set of tall doors. He eyed them suspiciously. Anything could be beyond those doors. Hurtful things, armed guards [maybe the same, vengeful two], or an empty corridor, his only escape. He padded across the room, the rug delightfully grating under his soles, and reached for the handles. Just as he got both palms pressed to the underside of copper handles, he felt a click. It shook the room in its loudness.
He reared back, withdrawing several steps. The doors swished open. His heart throbbed in his ears and he looked around himself for nothing and everything.
In stepped King Hale, and Stiles made this sound [like a warbler choking on its own song]. He preferred the two, vengeful guards with a penchant for strangulation to King Hale and his enigmatics. He fumbled [about as graceful as a newborn fawn] for purchase against a near desk. Because no, he didn't deserve the Gods' wrath. He was good, he was. "No - I - You..." Words completely abandoned him. Stiles was normally very good with words, he needed them. Words were his everything. "Why am I here?" He managed to summon a respectable bit of indignation.
Derek closed the door behind him. He looked at Stiles with an indescribable expression on his face [amused, curious, hungry]. Or a toxic mixture of the three. Stiles couldn't decide. His eyes were dark, like pitch. Stiles could barely make out those gold stains, and that really unnerved him. Those pitch eyes raked over him in tedious inches, pausing on his bare thighs. Stiles flushed and viciously pulled on the obscenely short chiton. He held it. The fabric bunched in his fists. Derek smiled, and it was a handsome smile.
"I asked you a question!" He snapped. His patience gone, his fear blatantly ignored.
"You seem intelligent." Derek started, whilst absently shrugging out of his scarlet tunic. It fluttered to the rug, a splash of wrinkled red midst blue and purple patterning. Stiles blinked at the impromptu compliment.
"You truly don't know? You have no ideas?" He tapped his forefinger to his temple, and Stiles knew he was being mocked.
He laughed. It was harsh and guttural. "No, I do not. I haven't the barest idea why I was forcibly taken from my home, my family. Why I was beaten unconscious in the road, why I woke in this despicable room, or why you, of all people! You are a King, the King of Sparta. You must have more important dealings, crises to exploit and wars to win. Why bother with me at all? Do you have so much time on your hands, you've decided to toy with some slave in your spare hours?" He spat in one, powerful breath. His chest heaved. Stiles was more furious than he'd ever been. His blood was like slow moving, freshly melted gold [sliding through his veins thickly].
The King looked harder. His jaw visibly jumped. He took four, big steps. Stiles, feeling stupidly brave, held his ground. The King was close enough to smell [faint sweat, dry earth, pungent musk]. He smelled of toil and callouses, living and winning by the salty beads of his own brow. Stiles instantly liked it. He wondered what he smelled like, and if the King could smell him too. Nerves begun to get the best of him.
"You know my name, where I come from, yet you still say so much." He said lowly, crowding Stiles into the long desk. "Do you know fear?" His arms came down like wood beams, palms slapping the desktop. They trapped him. Stiles did know fear, they shared an ugly past. He and fear never got on well. As Derek breathed into him, their fronts meeting like magma and volcanic walls, Stiles found fear again. He turned his face away, glaring at an oil painting on the far wall. It was a smeared rendering of Athena. Her cheekbones were fine and pink between the gold twists of her hair. He held his breath and let it out hurriedly.
"I will not apologize to you, my King."
Derek laughed. He brushed his nose down the barred chords of his throat. "I'm glad."
Stiles felt wet lips in the shallow dip of his collarbone, hands burning into his outer thighs [slipping beneath his chiton, tightening around his hips]. He stiffened. "I - don't - !"
"I saw you, in the market. You were confused, curious. I thought, 'too beautiful to be a slave.' But you're more than what you seem to be, aren't you, Stiles?" Teeth were sharp in the meat of his shoulder. "You aren't a simple slave. You have pride, a reckless sense of bravery. Then you were watching me as I fought. You couldn't look away, could you?"
Stiles was suddenly lifted off his feet and propped on the desk like a stuffed, wheat doll. Derek pushed between his legs. A high, chittery noise escaped him.
"I remember the way you looked between my legs, like you belonged- "
"Stop it! I - don't say such things!" Stiles squirmed. Mortification colored him stark red. He scrambled for hold on broad shoulders, shoving with all his inconsiderable might. "I will not be your whore!" He hissed. Derek rocked into him harshly. Stiles nearly bit his tongue in two. His spine snapped inwards wantonly. He was beginning to grasp the direness of his situation. His gut clenched. He gasped, because he couldn't breathe. He was better than this. He didn't want these affections, he didn't ask for them!
Growled into the pinked shell of his ear. "You will."