A/n: Not much to say about this one, guys. Uh, it'll probably be shorter than the last chapter, hopefully it won't take me two fucking weeks to finish.

Warnings: I have a few plans for possessive!Derek, and I think I want to start introducing physical elements into their relationship [probably not sex, I want them to develop a bit more before I drop that bomb]. So...you know, you've been warned. Possible trigger, which is right at the end. Slight gore and sexual assault of a male, by a female. If that makes you uncomfortable in any way, please skip the last few paragraphs.

Song of Choice: Hearts a Mess by Gotye. I actually saw a pretty good Sterek video on YouTube with this song, and it kind of stuck. I feel like it went along with the theme of this chapter pretty decently, so give it a listen.


In the middle of Derek's upper back, there were dark swirls writhing under his skin. Three of them, crawling from a sort of skewed center. It was a very black design that stood out from its curvilineal, brown canvas. The black furls wrinkled and widened with Derek's absent twisting and stretching. Derek was ink - stained, and Stiles wondered how he was just noticing this. Derek hadn't made any attempt at covering himself, he'd been [and continued to be] nearly naked since the moment Stiles first glimpsed him. He wondered if the stained skin felt any different, harder or rougher. He barely stopped himself from reaching out.

He ripped his tagenite pancake into fluffy bits to give his hands something to do, dipping the frayed ends in his wine and popping them into his mouth. The sun was a sleepy, post - dawn pink ball creeping behind the acropolis. Derek stood by the window. He looked out at nothing for a moment more, then came to join Stiles for breakfast. He swiped a fat fig from his plate and took a bite, the purple [bruise - reminiscent] skin ripping under his teeth. Stiles could sit in silence for only so long. There were a lot of questions to be asked.

He quickly settled on, "Why do you have a triskelion on your back?"

Derek paused in his systematic devouring of the fig. He swallowed the bite he'd just taken and sat the half - eaten fig back on his plate. "The triskelion means many things, as different people interpret it differently. To me, it's...balance. Whether you take it as past, present, and future or creation, preservation, and destruction, the individual legs rely on one another to be complete. You cannot have the body without the mind, the soul without the body. Balance is achieved in threes."

Stiles was in awe of that explanation. He wasn't expecting such insight to come from Derek. "That's, well..." He trailed off, unwilling to be mean and unsure what else there was.

Derek's laugh was almost self - deprecating. "Contrary to what you might think, I'm not a neanderthal, Stiles. Some measure of intelligence is required to rule half decently."

Stiles puffed his cheeks out. He was a little ashamed of being called out on a biased preconception [his opinions/judgements were usually spot on]. "I know that!"

Derek made a noncommittal noise, and that was the end of that. They split a terra cotta bowl of black olives, crisp and kissed with morning moisture. Again, Stiles became uncomfortable with the silence [and how easy it was to share with Derek]. He chewed the salty, dimly bitter fruit thoughtfully, aromatic juices spritzing the inside of his mouth. "We should go out." He blurted.

Derek squeezed his brows together. "Why?"

Stiles threw his arms out. "Wh - because! I can't speak on your behalf, my King, but I can only take so much sitting around or watching your men break each other like it's good sport. There's an entire city beyond these walls! Don't you want to see it?" He was grasping at nonexistent straws, and they both knew it.

Derek waved off his weak cracks at persuasion. "An entire city, that's precisely right. Given the chance, you'd slip away like a specter through paper walls. I won't take that chance, not with you."

Stiles cringed. He hadn't done a great job of building up the trust - blocks between them. Derek had every right to suspect him of trickery. While he'd by no means given up his ultimate goal of getting home, he just wanted a few hour's worth of something different. Only three days had passed, but he was already on the fast track to stir - crazy madness. If he wasn't Derek's fidgety and unwilling shadow, he was left to his own devices [locked away in the same room, guarded by the same guards who'd adapted well to their duties]. He crunched obnoxiously on a mouthful of olives.

"Derek, I swear on the namesake of every deity I know, I will not try and escape you. Please, you must grant me this one request."

Derek barked an incredulous laugh [Stiles wondered if he ever laughed just because something was funny, then Stiles wondered if he'd ever heard a good joke]. "I must grant you...? I'm under no obligation to grant you a thing. You, however, are mine - a slave. A disobedient one, but a slave nonetheless. Between the two of us, you are the one who should be bending to my will without a word or tremble of hesitation. Tell me, Stiles, what was the last request of mine you so graciously granted?"

Stiles couldn't get a lid on his anger. He jumped to his feet, his mostly - full cup thunking on its side. Wine rushed over the table like a maroon river. "Whatever my status might be, I don't owe you! Loyalty and obedience, as far as I'm concerned, are things to be earned. Whoever my Master might be, they will treat me as a human being before I so much as make their bedding. If I'm to be punished for disobeying the likes of cruel and assuming men, so be it. You are not my Master, Derek Hale." He spat the name out like it was a bad taste. His face blossomed party red, and his chest pumped out one laborious breath at a time. Gods, he was so upset, he couldn't see straight. Derek was three, separate blurs.

They stared each other down with everything they would ever have. Stiles slowly calmed, and Derek approached him. Rightfully wary, he took a step back. Derek paused and splayed his palms placatingly. "If you grant me one request, I'll grant you yours. Fair enough?" He said in a very plain voice. Stiles eyed him. Derek was full of surprises, and Stiles wasn't sure how to handle it. It sounded like a simple enough deal, but as previously mentioned, Derek was full of surprises. There was no telling what he might ask for. After minutes of rigorous thinking, Stiles agreed.

"A simple kiss, that's all I ask."

Stiles opened his mouth to vehemently protest, because there wasn't any trust there [between them], but Derek stopped him cold with just a look. "It's a good deal, and you'd be a fool not to take it. I give you my word, I want nothing but a kiss. I will not force anything beyond that." He assured. Stiles chewed up his bottom lip, indecision rendering the pink flesh raw and slick. Despite their rocky beginning, Derek had his moments. Obviously consent was of some importance to him, or Stiles would be well without his closely - guarded chastity. Derek was within his rights to take whatever he wanted from Stiles, but he hadn't.

Stiles decided that counted for something. He looked Derek brazenly in the eye and nodded once. That was permission enough, as Derek was suddenly in his space. Hands were big and grating on his face, his mouth was taken too suddenly for him worry about it. Stiles hadn't been kissed too many times in his life, but he knew no kiss [no matter the prowesses of the one bestowing it] would compare to that first one shared with Derek. It was wholly new, electrifying in a way that tickled him all over and raised the short hairs on his arms.

He was ashamed to say he melted slightly. Derek didn't mind.

He grappled for purchase on spasming shoulders, his lips cracking open under Derek's insistent swipes and soft bites. He made an embarrassing, fitful noise [or three]. Derek remembered to stop, step away. Fortunately, or maybe not, Derek was a man of his word.


They did go out, but it wasn't the private affair Stiles had pictured. Isaac and Jackson were permanent fixtures at his sides, Derek a short step ahead of them. Small crowds parted for them, and harried herds stopped to let them pass. Stiles didn't enjoy the limelight, he just wanted to slink back into the grey matter of anonymity and nondescript servitude. Derek was totally indifferent to the mild seas of slack, day - smeared faces they were made to wade through. Jackson and Isaac preened under the attention. They were an odd hodgepodge of personalities and statuses, Stiles thought, and they shouldn't be as amicable as they were.

"Did you have a destination in mind, or are we meant to wander aimlessly until you tire?" Derek asked, his chin hooked over his shoulder so they might hear him. Stiles harumphed and pointedly said nothing. As silly as Derek made it sound, that was the plan. He wanted to wander aimlessly, he didn't think he'd have a posse to entertain. He wasn't their sherpa anymore than he was Derek's eager whore. He turned to Jackson, seeking conversation outside the colorful parameters of Derek's monosyllables and apathetic grunts [not that Jackson would provide more than that].

"Is your hand causing you pain?"

Jackson looked surprised to be addressed, or maybe that someone was asking after his wellbeing. Did he think Stiles would forget the admittedly morbid pleasure of shoving a piece of tapered bone through his flesh, repeatedly? Jackson was his patient, and Stiles kept up with his patients. Deaton said it so many times during their apprenticeship ["our job only ends with time, the time it takes for a wound to become a scar"]. If not properly cared for after immediate treatment, the smallest cut could ripen with infection. Jackson looked the type to ignore an injury until it went away on its own or eventually killed him.

He lifted his wrapped hand and considered it, looking his usual brand of surly. Stiles was surprised to see fresh, obscenely white bandages hugging the slant of his hand. He wanted to ask if his wrap felt too tight, but didn't want to get caught mother - henning. He did that, apparently. Jackson shrugged. "Itches." He admitted. Stiles nodded, because without the regular application of paste, itchiness and mild pain were things to anticipate. "I'll make you a salve when we return, I wonder if Morrell has any Calendula - what?"

Jackson was looking at him like he was the unsolvable riddle, guarding the secrets of this realm and all the ones after it, and if he just thought hard enough, he'd come up with the right answer. It was kind of flattering, but also befuddling. Stiles didn't think he was that hard to figure out. Jackson scowled and shook his head. Isaac caught his eye overtop Stiles' head and cut a series of expressive, meaningful looks at him. He gestured to Stiles with a chaste, jerky nod. Jackson knew what he was getting at and puffed a sigh. "Thank you, for...helping." He offered lamely. Stiles blinked, both brows shooting into his choppy fringe.

He didn't sound very sincere, but Stiles got the feeling Jackson wasn't one for verbal gratitude. Sincere or not, it was shocking to hear. Maybe he felt obligated because Derek was within earshot, and Stiles was Derek's in that intimate way. Stiles was still appreciative. He bumped shoulders with Jackson like they were friends, because he didn't care much for propriety [and he liked to pretend]. "I do what I can."

Unbeknown to the three of them, Derek was stewing in his own unprecedented feelings of surprise and perplexity. He knew what Stiles had done for Jackson, he'd turned it over in his mind regularly after learning the details from Peter. He asked himself why, when he was so close to getting away, would Stiles do something so...? He couldn't fit the right word to it, but many came to mind [selfless, foolish, masochistic]. Derek would've used such an obvious weakness against his impromptu enemy, not sit him down and patch him up. That, more so than most incidents with Stiles at the epicenter, puzzled Derek.

He couldn't decide if Stiles was too foolish to survive, slave to his misguided compassions, or just a better person than Derek would ever be.

"How do you know so much of medicine and healing?" Isaac asked, curious. It was a fair question, as medicine was more miracle work than science. It wasn't commonplace, but Stiles believed it would be, given time.

In the Iliad, Homer wrote detailed descriptions of the wounded Machaon, and how Patroclus was made to cut an arrow from his thigh, wash away bubbles of his blood with warm water, and treat his wound with soothing ointment. Even being as old as it was [more than three - hundred years], medicine men still studied his text in temples dedicated to Asclepieia. Not many understood it, just accepted that it chased away their pains.

"My Master is a man of medicine, I'm his apprentice." Stiles said, faint nostalgia in his voice. He knew it was only days ago that he and Scott were learning how to weave good thread under Deaton's easy instruction, but it felt like years. His home was a coil of smoky memory, doomed to dissipate against the roof of his skull, and he was afraid he might forget it completely. Suddenly, a destination came to mind. He hastened to Derek's side and nudged him with an excited elbow. Derek scowled, but Stiles wasn't deterred. He tried to make himself look as small and humble as possible. "Might we visit my home?"

After several minutes of heated deliberation, they did.


Stiles knocked on the outer doors. He wasn't about to parade his small legion of Spartans through Deaton's home unannounced. Said legion were marinating in their combined discomforts behind him, Stiles could actually feel their turmoil. Derek was a certifiable storm - cloud all his own, complete with thunderous sighs and lightening in his eyes. It must be odd for them, knocking on the doors of a lesser man instead of kicking them in. Although, Derek had proven himself to be less of the barbarian Stiles pegged him as. Stiles reminded himself not to judge harshly.

The doors swished open, and Stiles was ecstatic to see his Master's brown face. All he could offer was a dopey smile. It was a fight not to smother him with floppy hugs or wax poetic about the smoothness of his swarthy head, but he kept still and subdued. Derek had done him quite a few favors that day, the least he could do was act like a slave should. He stepped aside so Derek and company could do all the greeting and explaining, as it wasn't his place. Deaton looked surprised, but not surprised enough. Ironically, that didn't surprise Stiles. Deaton knew something about everything important.

"King Hale, you've honored me with your presence." He bowed deeply, and moved so they could enter. "Please, come in."

"Thank you." Derek said, stoic and overly - formal. They filed into the courtyard one at a time, and Stiles was happy to be last in their orderly line of four. He beamed big and bright at Deaton as he sauntered past, and Deaton visibly relaxed. Derek made a show of looking around, though Stiles couldn't tell his approval from his disapproval. His eyebrows spoke a language all their own, and Stiles was still deciphering it. While Deaton wasn't bathing in gold and silver, he was definitely well - off. Their home was nicer and larger than most. Then, he remembered he wasn't supposed to care, wasn't supposed to want Derek's approval. This was his home, and he liked it just fine.

"You have a fine home." Derek complimented, and Stiles felt a rush of unexpected warmth. He vehemently ignored it. Deaton smiled a neutral smile. "No need for flattery, my King, I'm sure it's lackluster compared to your usual accommodations." He laughed his meager bourgeoisie off elegantly. He continued before any more subtle barbs could be traded. "Will you and your men join me in the andron? I have plenty of food and drink, too much, if I'm honest."

Ever the collected and hospitable host, no matter if he was serving peasants or kings or Gods, he was everything Stiles remembered. He escorted them to their modest andron, and one look from Derek had him sitting on the ropy long - couch. He didn't want to be here, sitting between Master I and II. He didn't want to feel Derek's naked heat sunburning his side, pinkening his ribs. He wanted to find Scott and pick garbanzo beans together like he never left, then [maybe] break down and talk about every moment of the past few days until his voice was too raw to leave his throat. "Derek, I should help in the kitchen - " He started to whisper.

Again, just a look had him clamming up. Deaton left them to fetch the aforementioned snackage and returned just as quickly. However, the moments in between were stuffy, and Stiles got the feeling no one wanted to be here but him. Scott filed in behind Deaton, his arms ladened with fruit and wine. Their reactions to each other were instant and noticeable. Stiles perked up and leaned forward, a silly grin halving his face. Scott's mouth fell open, his eyes smacking between Stiles and the Spartans flanking him. He looked happy and terrified and on the verge of saying something stupid.

He stuffed a proverbial fist in his mouth and carefully doled out three goblets. They caught eyes multiple times, desperately trying to communicate telepathically. Derek noticed in a bad way.

"I see even kings cannot say 'no' to Stiles." Deaton began lightly, getting straight to the heart of their visit. The following silence was short but unbearably tense. Derek looked taken aback by his straightforwardness. Then, he smiled a tiny thing. "I find it's not worth the trouble." He replied goodnaturedly, but with a hint of underlying steel [saying "don't test me"]. Stiles was starting to regret coming home. He was a slave, had been almost all his life. He was used to being treated like a piece of pretty furniture and assuming total subservience in the presence of greater men, that didn't mean he hated it any less than when he was a kid.

To be talked about like he wasn't in the room [right there], it drove him mad with the urge to loudly remind the room of his presence. He didn't, because he knew better. Instead, he focused on Scott's dopey, open - mouthed smile and the hopeless slump of Isaac's shoulder nudging his. Deaton drew in casual mouthfuls of wine. "How long will you and your men be here, in Athens?" He asked.

"As long as we must be." Derek replied. He leaned over his spread legs, his knee knocking lightly against Stiles' [who was starting to feel a little claustrophobic]. Deaton nodded like he knew the woes of politics, and he did to an extent.

"I sincerely hope you plan to return Stiles to me before you take your leave." The room held its breath. There it was, the question Stiles was both scared and eager to hear answered. He didn't know what he'd do if Derek's plans for him were long - term. Derek was expecting the question, and he respected Deaton for asking it outright. He steepled his fingers under his bearded chin.

"I'm not a thief." He grunted. Immediately, tension began to bleed from the room. Stiles tried not to sag in relief. Derek glanced at him, his face closed off. "Leave us." He ordered, and it was definitely an order. Deaton turned to Scott and made a similar request. Scott all but dropped the jug of wine on his toes in his haste to beat Stiles into the hall. Derek watched them hurry out with a frown.

Once in the courtyard, they fell into each other, arms wrapping and squeezing and never letting go. Scott pressed his face to Stiles' collar, and Stiles let his chin rest heavily on Scott's browned shoulder. "I was scared." It was muffled, but Stiles heard.

They clung tightly to one another for several minutes. Stiles didn't know what to say, so he was grateful for the spare seconds to think. They reluctantly parted and dropped onto the bottom step at their heels, their synchronization uncanny. Stiles folded his arms around his bent knees and stared pensively into the dirt. Scott watched him, respectfully holding his tongue, though the anxiousness never left his face. "I...I'm sorry." Stiles didn't know what he was apologizing for, but he felt the need to say it. Scott tilted his head, always so puppy - like in his mannerisms. It was familiar in a good way.

"Why? You were dragged off into the night against your will, how is that your fault?" He asked bitterly.

"It's not, but...you were worried, and that was my fault."

"Stiles, I worry every moment you're out of my sight. You need to face facts, you're more accident prone than a three - legged mule." They shared a helpless laugh that quickly died. Scott tried to catch his eye, and he eventually let himself get caught. Scott fumbled with his words before halfway getting them out. "Did he...? I mean - "

"No." Stiles put a stop to that question before it could fully develop. "No, uh, he didn't." Stiles considered telling Scott he tried, and if not for the timeliest of interruptions, he would've succeeded. For some reason, he didn't want to. He didn't want to besmirch Derek in the eyes of his dearest friend, because Derek had been decent to him. He played with his fingers. "He hasn't - doesn't hurt me, or...touch me." Stiles thought of big masculinity nestled in the vee of his legs, a shoulder purpling the soft meat of his stomach, deals and kisses that taste like fig. It scared him how not unpleasant he found those thoughts.

Scott studied him through squinty eyes. "That's good."

"It is." Stiles agreed without thinking, his mind the next room over.

"Why did he want you, then? Pericles could've offered up one of his own slaves, Stiles, but he had you taken from us. You're not exactly a model servant, you're half - distracted at the best of times!"

Stiles was at a loss. What could he say, Derek thought him beautiful? Thought he'd look splendid on his back? "I...I don't know, Scott." He lied.

"I hope they leave soon. It's not home without you."

Stiles took Scott's hand in his and bit back an upsurge of tears. "I miss you too, I miss being here."

The quiet settled like a warm, specially knit throw. They tried not to think about their inevitable separation or how long it might be before they could do this again. They pushed back their respective fears, just enjoyed the time allotted to them. Stiles eventually remembered that particular something he wanted to share with Scott. "Hey, guess who thinks your name is 'different, but in a good way'?" He teased.

Scott blinked, his brows knitting. "Uh, who?"

"You're queen, of course, Allison! Those were her words, you know, verbatim."

Scott sputtered. "You spoke to her?! Wha - ? When? Why? How does she know my name? Did she say something about me? Gods, Stiles, what did you tell her?"

Stiles laughed hard enough to earn a few cramps in his side. "Calm down! King Hale and his men are the Argents' esteemed guests. I bumped into her, literally. It was not my finest moment, I'd rather not relive it. She was very...sweet, as sweet as you imagine her to be. No, she doesn't know who you are, just your name. I might've used it as my alias." Scott looked at him like his sanity was in danger of expiring.

"Stiles, we are going to talk about this, in depth."

"I look forward to it."

The grins they exchanged were reserved for brothers [matching mischief cultivated over time made them a little sharper than they had to be]. They thunked foreheads and chuckled for no reason. The moment didn't last, as Deaton led his guests from the andron. He and Derek seemed to be getting on surprisingly well, talking in low tones about something Stiles couldn't hear. Jackson and Isaac wore their relief like badges of honor. Stiles almost felt bad, then he remembered they were uninvited guests on this outing. When Derek caught sight of him, his face darkened a disconcerting shade or two. "Say your goodbyes."

He and his men were through the outer doors before Stiles could get out a grateful word. Stiles stood and made a beeline for his Master. Deaton accepted his hug easily. "There is nothing to be done, Stiles, he is adamant about keeping you close until his business with Pericles is finished. I'm sorry, I've failed you." Deaton's normally placid voice was off in a way that hurt Stiles.

"Don't apologize, it isn't the worst arrangement. I know you did all you could. I'll be home in no time at all." Stiles wasn't entirely sure who he was reassuring. Scott stepped up for his goodbye hug, and Stiles was happy to step into it. That final embrace left them with bruises. "I'll come back." Stiles promised.


This time, he and Derek took up the rear. Isaac and Jackson were several paces ahead, pretending to give them space. It was the most awkward silence Stiles had shared with Derek thus far, and he wasn't sure why it was. Derek refused to acknowledge him or his increasingly sad attempts at conversation. Eventually, Stiles gave up and resigned himself to a soured afternoon. As they passed through the fat shadows of the recently completed amphitheater [of Dionysus], Derek caved. He had to ask.

"I was surprised to see Deaton...owned more than one slave." It wasn't phrased as a question, but it was. Stiles shot him a funny look. "You never asked." ['I didn't think you cared' went unsaid.] Derek grunted, it was true. He didn't know much about Stiles, and Stiles didn't know much about him. Their conversations usually didn't cover favorite meals or past follies or the intimate details that make up a healthy relationship. Their's wasn't meant to be a healthy relationship, he reminded himself. "How long have you served in that house, with...?"

"Scott. Uh, ever since I was a kid. I actually don't remember much before Scott and Deaton. Scott, well he's been there his whole life."

At Derek's silence, Stiles went on. "His Mom used to be Deaton's only slave. She didn't want a family or a...baby. I mean, he never told us, but we kind of knew." He didn't have to say it, Derek understood. Scott was a bastard, a product of forced copulation. Despite not knowing Scott personally [or at all], that realization didn't sit well with Derek.

"When she was with child, Deaton took good care of her. He treats us like family, you know, not slaves. He helped her take care of baby Scott and toddler Scott." Stiles laughed. His eyes were fuzzed over, and Derek knew he was picturing a tiny Scott.

"But uh, when he was still really little, four or five, she got sick. She didn't...last long, after." The words were hard to get out, their delivery clumsy and uncomfortable. It...pained Derek to see him bleed for a woman he'd never met and the heartbroken tot Scott used to be. Derek was beginning to understand that was just Stiles. He didn't know what to say [Stiles didn't need his condolences], so Stiles took it upon himself to change the subject.

"Deaton bought me at auction when I was six, or so he tells me. I don't remember my Mom at all, I barely remember my Dad. We were separated or...something. I was crying so hard, I remember that. I cried all the time back then." He chuckled. Derek didn't think it was funny. He pictured a small, half - naked Stiles, freshly ripped from his father's arms, fat tears cleaving through the dust on his roasted cheeks, scared out of his fledgling mind as all manner of scum throw out desperate bids for the young, pretty thing he surely was. He felt something akin to a knife twisting a messy hole in his heart.

He scowled.

Their conversation was getting away from him [again], and he didn't like the direction it was headed. "You and...Scott are close." It was another question phrased as a statement, because Derek had too much pride to ask too many questions. Stiles exhaled suddenly through his nose, a not quite laugh. "That's accurate, yeah. We, Gods, we've done absolutely everything together, he's my brother in all but blood."

That answer both reassured and frustrated Derek. He now knew Stiles' relationship with Scott was a platonic one, but what did 'absolutely everything' mean? Derek didn't know why he cared so much, why he cared at all, about any of this. He resolved not to think about it, because it didn't matter. The sun was beating down on them with a ferocity that only early noon brings. He stopped walking, Stiles followed suit. Isaac and Jackson turned to face them, once they noticed the lack of noise on their heels. Derek angled his body towards them and looked back the way they came.

"I'm due to speak with Pericles shortly. Jackson, you're with me. Stiles, Isaac will escort you back. Do not leave his side." He looked Stiles in both eyes, daring him to argue. Despite the inner strife he caused by simply existing, Derek didn't want to leave Stiles yet. It was that [not so] minor epiphany that pushed him to take the first step. He felt Stiles' gaze on him for a long time after he turned his back.


Isaac was friendly, Stiles decided, as they chittered on about literally everything [but nothing that mattered]. A little silliness made the idea of wasting in 'his' room for the rest of the day a little more bearable. Isaac was a lot like Scott, with his puppy-ish tendencies and floppy curls. It was difficult now, to fit him back into the role of bad guy. There was much more to him than being a Spartan, a soldier [he had become a square peg to the round hole that was Stiles precious preconceptions]. Stiles liked Isaac, and he wasn't supposed to like his captors. He shrugged off his mixed feelings, only to notice Isaac slipping him subtle looks.

"What?" He huffed.

Isaac looked away. "What?" He parroted.

"Don't 'what' me! You're giving me that...look."

Isaac smiled sheepishly. "I guess I was."

"Well? What is it?"

Isaac embraced the puppy analogy wholeheartedly, ducking his head and kicking his feet as he walked. "You're just...strange, the way you interact with my King is strange."

Stiles snuffled in agreement, because nothing had been normal for days. Strange was the first adjective he'd use in describing his recent experiences and escapades. "That's a compliment if I've ever heard one." Stiles smirked.

Isaac waved a wild arm at him. "That, right there!"

Stiles reared back playfully and grinned on accident. "What, I can't make jokes?"

Isaac ignored the question. He looked away again. "He acts strangely too, with you. I don't know, I don't think he was expecting you. I think...you'll be good for him."

Stiles wasn't expecting such seriousness. He didn't know what Isaac was getting at and he wasn't eager to analyze. Luckily [Zeus be damned, did he just think that?], they came upon his room before the quiet could stretch too thin. "I'll be right here, at least until the King returns." Isaac told him, and Stiles figured as much. He pushed into their room, contemplating a long nap or maybe twisting the sheets into a noose, but was stopped short at the feminine vision supine and stretched on their bed. He audibly choked, and that was enough to rouse her. Kate lifted her head from the mess of malachite pillows.

"Scott." She smiled that same, red, twisted smile. "No, that's not right, is it?" She laughed, and her voice had a natural scratchiness to it that rubbed Stiles in all the worst ways. She rolled about like a kitten in a wicker of sun - dried laundry. "This bed smells like you, you know. It smells like his Kingliness too. Has he ruined you yet, Stiles?" She purred [purred!] at him, sliding her creme dela creme legs over the side of the bed. Stiles jolted at the sound of his name, because she wasn't supposed to know that. He pressed himself against the door, feeling for the handle. He couldn't find it and he was panicking.

"He hasn't? I wonder why." She tapped her forefinger to her chin in faux thoughtfulness. How did she know that, how did she - ? She stood, beryl fabric drooping down a full shoulder. Beaded, marigold wisps whispered with every step she took towards him. She was taller than him, Stiles noted with disgust.

"Is he...displeased with you? Can you not satisfy him like he deserves?" She pushed her hands into his hair, nails scraping lightly at the base of his scalp. She dragged her open mouth up the side of his face, her lower lip kept catching and sticking to his skin.

Stiles' heart was beating so hard, he couldn't feel it. That didn't make sense, but nothing was making sense, so it was okay. He cringed at the uncomfortable wetness associated with saliva. Isaac was right outside the door, if he just called out - "Gahmmph!" She wrenched his head back, her grip on his hair bordering brutal, and kissed him like she was trying to kill him. She ground his bottom lip between her teeth until the thin skin popped. They shared a small drink of his blood, in which she fed him drops at time with curls of her tongue, and Stiles thought he might be crying. His eyes burned, and he couldn't see through a sudden fuzz.

After an agonizing second [or eight], she pulled away. "My, that was fun, wasn't it? You're a lot of fun, Stiles." She licked her front teeth of his blood and made an appreciative noise Stiles wouldn't be soon forgetting. She left him with a too white smile and phantom fingers tearing out his hair. Goopy red settled in the dip of his throat, bits of his torn lip flopped against his chin, and Stiles found a vase to vomit in.