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Stiles doesn't know him, the first time he sees him. He's just another guy in the bar, giving Stiles a healthy once over, then another. Stiles returns the favor, taking in sandy hair and sharp cheekbones. Broad shoulders narrowing down to a tapered waist. He looks old; not dad old, but older than Derek, probably. Though that could be the clothes he's wearing; a white oxford under a black blazer, the top few buttons undone, revealing pale skin, the hollow of his throat.

The bartender sets a drink in front of Stiles and the guy across the bar lifts his in a toast. It's bourbon, neat. Stiles waits until the burn reaches his gut before he nods, a thanks, and turns away to watch the dance floor.

It doesn't take long for the guy to come around and introduce himself, his arm warm where it rests along the bar, pressing against Stiles' back. He smells of spice and fresh air, of sweat and alcohol. He doesn't talk much, but Stiles still detects a faint accent. British, he thinks, though Stiles is no expert on the subject.

Stiles doesn't make him work too hard for it. A dance, a dark corner. Duke loses his jacket and rolls up his sleeves, lets Stiles push him into the wall and kiss him slow and deep, hips grinding a little. Duke's hair is damp between Stiles' fingers, where his thumbs press into Duke's temples. Then a thigh slips between Stiles' legs, not obvious but definitely there, and Stiles breathes, "Not here," into Duke's mouth

"I've got a place," Duke says, low and raspy, his mouth wet over Stiles' pulse.

Stiles doesn't bother with specifics.

: : :

It takes four more meetings before they're properly introduced. By then, Duke has sucked Stiles fast and dirty, then slow and agonizing. Jerked him off once in the bar's bathroom, then rimmed him until he was hard and did it again. He's been four fingers deep in Stiles and fucked his face until Stiles saw stars, but never in that time did he mention his full name, what he does for a living.

Though, Stiles can admit, it was never a pressing concern.

The problem is, even though Stiles knows who and what Duke -- Deucalion -- is, he doesn't end it. The first time they meet, after, is rough and angry. Stiles pushing and pushing and Deucalion taking it all, tripping back, back until he falls onto the bed, legs splayed wide. Stiles punches him, once, across the face, his knuckles splitting with the effort, but he doesn't care.

Deucalion fights back after that, getting a grip around Stiles' wrists, stretching up to bite kisses into Stiles' mouth. His legs wrap around Stiles' hips and tug, and then it's a frenzy of pants and boxers, Deucalion pushing lube and a condom into Stiles' shaky hand.

"On your knees," Stiles grits out, his dick throbbing in his too-tight fist.

Deucalion rolls with it, hips rocking back onto Stiles' fingers, taking no care at all. Stiles should be worried at how much he wants this. How much he doesn't care if Deucalion isn't ready for him yet. How badly he wants to shove in deep, until they're skin to skin.

Stiles can't fuck Deucalion as hard as Deucalion fucks Stiles, can't pin him down and make him beg until tears cling to his eyelashes, but Deucalion's little punched out breaths feel like a victory anyway, Stiles marking up his heaving back with jagged red bites, there and gone in the blink of an eye.

They're both quiet in the aftermath, sprawled out next to each other but not touching, Stiles on his back, Deucalion on his stomach, still. The room feels too still and hot, humid and sticky. Stiles nudges Deucalion in the hip. "Should get cleaned up. We're not done yet."

Deucalion mumbles something Stiles doesn't catch, but slides out of the bed anyway. When he comes back, he's still rubbing a wash cloth over his groin, but he looks fresh as a daisy and ready for round two. Not even Stiles' teenage stamina can match that.

"It's not about using you," Deucalion says, low and careful. He looks Stiles in the eye, though, and Stiles can feel it's true, lets out a long breath.

Later that night, late enough for it to be the next day, Stiles walks away with bruises all over his thighs and hips and neck, a sour weight in his gut, but it isn't anywhere near the end.

: : :

It should be. Now that the pack knows Deucalion's scent, it's going to be much harder to hide, but that only seems to feed Stiles recklessness. And, he finds, it's easier to lie to his dad when he's lying to every-fucking-body.

It's almost like a drug at this point. Stiles only texts Duke when he's at the end of his string, eyes bugging from too much research, heart thudding because of another lie he had to tell.

For Deucalion's part, he doesn't always answer; sometimes he's busy threatening the lives of Stiles' friends or training with his own pack. Maybe even just grocery shopping, who the fuck knows. Perversely, those are the times Stiles feels the need the most, like he and his dick are the only thing standing in the way of his friends' survival. It's a ridiculous thought, and yet.

But they never talk about it, not when they're together. The house is always empty, of people and plans alike, until Stiles shows up and fills it with his voice, grunting and groaning while Deucalion makes Stiles ride him, slow and steady, his hands a bruising grip around Stiles' wrists, held firm to the small of Stiles' back.

: : :

Derek is the one who confronts Stiles, of course. It's after a fight and Deucalion showed up just before Stiles did, so theoretically, there is a perfectly logical explanation for why Stiles might smell like him. What's not so easily explained are the mouth-shaped bruises on Stiles' chest, the ones in full view after Kali ripped his shirt off. The fingerprint smudges on his ribs and forearms probably don't help, either.

The whole pack forms a circle around Stiles, bruised and bloody and so, so angry. The things they say aren't anything Stiles hadn't told himself, way back when he first learned the truth, but they're so angry and it's hard not to laugh. They snarl and roar and use all the tricks they can think of to get Stiles to submit. What they fail to remember is he's human and he's their friend, not Deucalion's. A little trust wouldn't be uncalled for.

"It's just sex," Stiles says. "Really fantastic sex, yes, but still sex. We don't discuss wolf politics or any of you at all." With the adrenalin drop and the cool night air, he starts to shiver, but he won't surrender here. "You can't control who I fuck. You can't control me at all." The last he says to Derek, looking him in the eye, swallowing hard. Stiles isn't looking for permission, but acceptance would be nice.

Stiles thinks it says something about himself that he can't translate Derek's frown, the crooked slump of his shoulders.

: : :

After all that, it changes almost nothing. Derek's pack still treats him as human and fragile, even though he's shown them what he can do. How much help he can be. That getting hurt isn't a hardship as long as it means his friends are safe. But whether it's because they're worried for him or trust him less, Stiles can't tell.

Derek is the worst, spitting and roaring at Stiles after each battle, trying to shove him around like a rag doll. Stiles hasn't grown at all, hasn't gotten stronger, except for his will. The spark in him that isn't related to magic. The need to be equal. He pushes against Derek until Derek backs down, more out of confusion than anything else. It's obedience Derek wants, and Stiles isn't about to give it.

Stiles takes his frustrations out on Deucalion instead, who will give as good as he gets, who doesn't care that Stiles is human, so long as he can fuck Deucalion as hard as Deucalion wants. As long as Stiles can throw a solid punch and accept one in return. Deucalion knows Stiles limits but pushed them anyway, and that's what Stiles is looking for: to be the respected, to not be underestimated.

It's not love, but it's good enough.

: : :

Stiles doesn't see it coming, at the end, both packs studying the battlefield with blood on their faces and hands, in their hair. Two down, each of them -- the twins on the alpha side, Peter and Isaac on Derek's. Deucalion offers Stiles the bite in a quiet voice, his face as impassive as Stiles has ever seen it.

Stiles doesn't have to think about his answer. And even if he did, even if it as the bite or death, even after everything, Deucalion is not the alpha Stiles would pick.

They leave in a blur, the three of them shifted into full alphas. Erica, Boyd, and Scott follow behind, leaving Derek and Stiles to claim the dead. To bind them with wolfsbane for a proper burial.

: : :

The Hale family plot feels too full by half, tucked away in a corner of the preserve. Most of the headstones are merely reminders, with no bodies to bury, but they moved Laura, after the house was re-built, and now Peter and Isaac join them, thirteen black headstones, each with a small triskele etched at the base.

The service is simple and small, nice. Respectful. Scott says a few words about Isaac, Derek says less about Peter. Nobody sticks around after, except for Derek, Stiles standing sentry behind him. There's a slight wind and Stiles find himself distracted by how it brushes through Derek's hair.

After awhile, Derek turns to leave, but stops just in front of Stiles, the look on his face a heart-breaking mix of loss and need, of anger and relief. Derek somehow manages to look all of ten years old, with his bangs and his eyes, and Stiles can only open his arms and pull Derek close.

It's when Derek clings back that Stiles can finally breathe.