Deucalion had been searching for a long time. Longer than most. But he knew when he’d come to the right place. The world – which had up until this moment been a grey, lifeless wasteland – was now beginning to fill with bits of color. He could see faint markers of it in the air, weaving a path through this small Californian town.
He followed it like a man possessed, ignoring Kali’s shouting as he moved past her. He got as far as the town proper before the colors overlapped so often that he couldn’t discern which way to turn. It was frustrating to have to give up, even for a moment – worse still to have his soulmate’s proximity teased before him, in Erica Reyes’ startlingly bright blonde tresses and then in a powder blue Jeep that passed him on the street.
Seeing things as they truly were was a gift he’d been given. The grey that had been his world was slowly being peeled back, more and more frequently with each passing day that Deucalion lingered in Beacon Hills. But people were, for the most part, still as utterly meaningless as before – perhaps more so now that he knew he would have something to compare it to. He could cut through them even more easily, like one would a charcoal painting. It was no great loss to him.
Deucalion saw him, finally, when he summoned Derek Hale for a meeting. The idea had been to bargain Derek’s betas in exchange for Derek’s cooperation, but instead he pointed his finger directly at the human boy who was trying to look inconspicuous. He was the only person Deucalion had ever seen in full color.
“Him,” Deucalion said. “Give him to me and your betas will be returned to you unharmed and alive.”
Derek seemed startled at the request, but the boy was already pushing forward cautiously, eyes flickering all over Deucalion’s form – seeing as Deucalion did the truth of what they were to each other.
Deucalion extended his hand. “Do we have a deal?”
The boy nodded, but didn’t take Deucalion’s hand just yet. “The betas first,” he demanded, shifting uncertainly when Deucalion nodded to the twins to fetch them.
“Is that all?”
“No,” he said, waving Derek off when the alpha hissed a question at him. “But the rest of it would be a personal favor to me…” He licked his lips, glancing at Deucalion’s open palm as if it were a trap. “As your soulmate,” he finished.
“Anything you ask of me, so long as it is within my power to give, will be yours,” Deucalion promised.
The boy nodded and then, after taking a deep breath, slid his hand into Deucalion’s. The world burst into color, every inch of it – from the dirty crimson brick to the pale orange of the lights that hung overhead – but none of it mattered compared to his soulmate, who stood before him draped in blues and greens, whose eyes were a molten amber, whose lips were a blushing pink.
“Your name?” Deucalion asked.
“Stiles,” the boy said, breath hitching when Deucalion brushed his lips over his knuckles. “You can call me Stiles.”
He finds the small, smooth stone waiting on the front step of his cottage.A pebble, really; not much larger than his thumbnail, and a near-perfect sphere that’s only slightly flattened. He picks it up, pinched carefully between finger and thumb. It’s firm, dense, and warm to the touch from sitting in the sun. Bone white, with flecks and subtle veins of pale grey.
He places the stone on the sill of his kitchen window, above the sink. Right next to his fresh herbs, growing merrily in their pots. They were a housewarming gift from Talia: basil, parsley, and rosemary. Something alive, for him to care for. Something to remind him to eat.