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Break Your Heart for Inspection

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Bastard. Bastard. Bastard.

It’s all they call him, all the guards. He finds it preferable to what the court calls him; monster, killer, half-breed. Those words dig into his skin and make him want to call forth his magic and show them just how much of a monster he could be. His father looks at him with love, but Stiles’ imagination runs wild with the idea that he hates him for taking away his love.

He knows the story. His mother and father were madly in love, but she was a chambermaid and he was yet to become a knight. They chose not to wait, and she kept Stiles a secret in her stomach. She planned on having him in secret too, if she had not died during the birthing. It was only through the grace of the Queen that his father was allowed not only to keep his position but to also keep his child. Growing up among the ranks of the soldiers was a lonely raising, however, especially when none would talk to him because he was born out of wedlock. His first few years, until he learned to hide it, was spent crying and pleading for affection, for someone to friend him.

He remembers when he meets Scott, prince and heir. He is called to be the kindness of the sunlight, laugh of the children, heart of a mother to her son. Stiles resents him at first, before meeting, because everyone just adores him. It doesn’t matter that his mother and father aren’t together anymore, or that he was bitten, no he is just loved.

But then, a day in the court so that his father could speak to Queen Melissa, and a few harsh comments later, he finds himself being dragged from the hall. The boy has dark curls, olive skin and a dimple he flashes when he looks back at Stiles. Stiles fights down the urge to send electricity out of his skin and get the boy to stop touching the bastard.

Maybe he doesn’t know who you are, whispers a dark part of him. Once he finds out, oh how he’ll hate you for not telling him.

“I’m sorry,” The boy says, and now, now, Stiles sees the small ring of golden leaves that sits on his head. Prince Scott. “I just couldn’t stand the things they were saying about you anymore.”

Of all the things the prince could have said, Stiles didn’t expect this. “What?”

Prince Scott looks at him for a moment. They stand in a small corridor, one that would lead to a blooming courtyard or back to the Great Hall. “Does it not bother you? How terrible they can be?”

“What does it matter?” Stiles manages to bark out a laugh, bitter and angry. His father stopped trying to make them say the things they said about Stiles after the first time he set a dress on fire. He figures that his father thinks he deserves it, he was a monster after all to everyone else. It’s not like he had anyone to help him control his magic.

Besides the seal, etched into him every week with thick ink and a Mage’s touch. But it only barely held down his power.

“It matters a lot!” Prince Scott yells back. “You don’t deserve that -- you’re just a kid.” He grabs onto Stiles’ shoulder, the touch shocking Stiles. Even his father was careful in how he interacted with Stiles, fearful of his magic, fearful of his emotions, and yet this prince had already put hands on him twice in less than a day’s time. “You should stop seeing yourself as something that doesn’t matter. I don’t know why they call you that, but it’s wrong. I don’t want to go back to all those stuck up adults, want to play with me in the courtyard?”

Stiles is so speechless, feeling whiplash from all this. Who was this Prince, this kid of light and kindness? “If we play together, then someone will think that I was going to hurt you.” Stiles tries to shrink away, knowing what he is saying is true.

“My mother won’t, and she’s the only one that matters. Your dad was talking to her, right?” Stiles nods. “Then she must know you aren’t bad. She won’t think that. Come on.”

Stiles follows, and he wants to trust this, this, puppy. This prince who smiles like the world was happiness and that everything had good in it. But he doesn’t, not yet. They go out to the courtyard, and play in the flowers, and across the cobblestones. Stiles takes the position of brave knight, guarding his king from every invisible threat that could do him harm.

Dusk sends a chill through the castle and a woman’s voice calling out for Scott. Stiles moves to hide almost instinctively, worried this woman will look at him and see a horrid demon. He doesn’t wish to be slapped again for playing with one of the nobles. But Scott grabs onto his arm quickly, a dimpled smile promising everything would be alright. It must always be good for Scott.

The Queen comes peering into the courtyard, wearing a purple dress that drags along the ground and a silver crown. She spots Scott, smiling slightly, before seeing Stiles. It causes her to pause, and oh gods, if it was not the queen, Stiles would have blown Scott so far from him so he could run.

She ghosts over to them, the perfect sign of elegance and form. “Scott, where have you been?”

He ducks down shyly, but doesn’t let go of Stiles. Stiles wants to pull away, leave before she can speak to him and tell him he has no right here. “I was playing with Stiles.”

“You’re the Knight Stilinski’s boy, right?” She asks, sounding more like a mother and less like a queen. Stiles blinks at her, surprised, before nodding. No one just left at the boy of a knight, no they left it at bastard child, bringer of death. “Your mother was very kind.” He controls his flinch this time, a cold wave of fury and loss crashing over him. He wouldn’t know.

“I was wondering if Stiles could eat with us, tonight? Please?” Scott interrupts, before Stiles can say something brash.

Wait until he finds out about your mother, the demon in his head hisses. The Queen is bound to tell him.

She looks between them, her lips pursed. “If it would make you happy. We can invite Stiles’ father as well.” Scott nods excitedly. “Would it make you happy?”

There is a long pause before Stiles realizes she’s asking him. “Whatever you wish, my Queen.” He manages to stutter out. She smiles at him, a quirk of her lips that he has never seen in court before.

“Call me whatever you like, Stiles, as long as it isn’t ‘my Queen’.” She said, laughing. “I can’t sit through a night of hearing that, when I just finished listening to stuck up nobles call me it.” He flushes, thinking that he must have done something wrong.

She leaves them, still chortling, letting them know that dinner would be in less than an hour. Scott removes his hand quickly, remembering that he was still holding onto Stiles. “Should I get dressed for it?” Stiles asks nervously.

Scott looks at him for a second to see Stiles full of fidgety worry and fear, fear that he will die before the night is out. And Scott tilts his head back with the sound of glee slipping out to the sky. Stiles wants to be angry, that Scott wasn’t taking him seriously, but then he dips his head back down and the look on his face, well, Stiles could become obsessed with it. It’s like someone has personally told them they love him, they love him so much and want him to be around always.

“No, you don’t have to change. You’ll be fine.” Scott assures him. And Stiles, strangely enough, feels reassured.

Stiles learns that his father calls the Queen Melissa, which is very strange to him but she seems enamored by it. After he sees everyone in attendance is comfortable with him, no harsh thoughts or whispers about him being a bastard, a monster, he settles into himself. He quickly says whatever pops into his mind, wildly hoping that it will return that look of happiness to Scott’s face.

Most of what he says leads to discussions with the prince, and he finds that he enjoys talking with him. He loves how he listens, how he lets Stiles make points. He isn’t the smartest when it comes to things, but he has quickly become the kindest person that Stiles has ever encountered. The feeling of home, contentedness, safety envelopes him and he wants to bask in it forever. He wants to return it, twice over to Scott.

So he speaks his mind, often telling funny jokes or being sarcastic because it will get a burst of joy or surprise out of the prince. A few times, the adults stop their discussion to listen in to what Stiles is spewing, chuckling at his random inquiries and ponderings. Stiles can hear what his father thinks, his astonishment because Stiles never speaks this much. Stiles wants to tell him that it was because there was no one to listen to him, but refrains because he doesn’t want to scare his dad with his abilities.
A habit of playing in the courtyard and eating together quickly develops into Stiles staying with Scott at night and attending his lessons. Only around Scott does he feel like he is wanted. The nobles may think what they wish, but they treat him polite when he’s around Scott. The prince isn’t oblivious to their cool indifference, finding ways to show Stiles how much he wants him around. He dedicates time to Stiles, time to make him feel like he was worth something. Being valuable, being desirable, it was a heady drug for Stiles.

Stiles just wishes to keep Scott wanting him. He helps in every way he can, finds any excuse to be around Scott. Scott doesn’t mind, doesn’t care that Stiles is there at every turn of the day. In fact, he seems lonely.

Looking into his mind offers no insights to what could plague him, besides a dark spot in the corner of his head. Stiles excuses the spot, knowing that most everyone else had much larger dark spots, much more graphic and angry thoughts. He avoided the minds of most. Scott is mainly concerned about his mother and Stiles, which is touching.

Only one who cares about you, his demons remind him. He’ll stop caring if you don’t keep working. You want to make him happy, right? You want to keep him right?

Stiles wants to return every kindness that Scott has ever given him.

It is two moons later that Scott confesses that he is angry at his father. He wonders how he could leave his mother to rule all alone, how he could find exploring other women to be more becoming for him than repairing the family he help build. It breaks Stiles’ heart to hear Scott so torn open. All he wants is for Scott to feel happiness, to be safe and content.

Three weeks later, when the once-King came to court, he died of mysterious illness. It was if his heart had just given up. The Queen cried, only slightly, at the funeral, whereas Scott shed angry tears. People in the court saw how Stiles comforted the prince, and while nothing was said out loud, he could feel the accusations being thrown at him. Murderer. Freak. Killer. Stiles felt slightly guilty, only at Scott’s real pain, but reasoned that he would never have to see those tears again. Scott could be happy without such a distraction in the way.

Better this way. The voices, the dark spirits, have built up the longer he has lived. He doesn’t want to be in his own mind half the time anymore, it’s so loud. But when they talk about Scott, when they speak on him, they share the feeling of dedication that Stiles has. Better the blood is on your hands than his heart be more broken. Protect him, protect him.

It was the summer after this occurrence, Scott’s thirteenth, that he takes the throne next to his mother. His studies haven’t completed yet, and he spends time with Stiles while his eyes have dark circles underneath but he only says good of taking up the kingdom. He enjoys ruling with his mother, a natural born leader that he was. He especially seemed to enjoy when Stiles would sit in on his encounters with his people, beaming ear to ear to have Stiles watch him.

The words that people spoke to Stiles, the harsh, unkind things they would say, were less frequently outloud now. It was obvious to all that he had earned the favor of the future King. Scott grew up, to be strong and handsome and charming. Stiles grew along with him, bitingly possessive over his only friend and tall and nervous. His magic built inside him, to where he could follow Scott in thought all day without even being near him.

It helped when he would go spend time over at the states of the Argent’s, which was becoming more and more frequent. The Queen seemed pleased with this development, and speaking on Allsion caused Scott to light up like he had witness the goddesses himself, so Stiles had no objections.

He loves her. They would whisper inside his mind. Does he love you as much? He loves her, he loves her. Does he love you? You want to keep him, right? Loves you, loves you not, loves you. Does he?

He met her when he was passing his fourteenth summer, she came into the celebration behind Scott. Her voice was soft, her eyes were kind and her smile was inviting. She spoke to him, told him how much Scott spoke about Stiles and how happy he was they were friends. How could he not love this being that brought such happiness to Scott?

All he ever wanted was for Scott to be happy, content and safe.

He learned archery with her, a useless craft to a Dark Mage, harborer of spirits and keeper of demons, like him. But still, the closeness that came from learning the skill helped Stiles a lot. He wanted to like her, he wanted to trust her. He wanted to make sure she was good for Scott.

He knew what he was the moment he began learning from Deaton, taught that only those with a dark heart would cause life to exit the world while they entered it. Deaton was the mage that inscribed a seal on Stiles every week, to ensure his emotions didn’t cause his magic to do damage while he was still learning to control it. He also needed to learn to quiet the voices.

He knew the voices in his head were people who belonged in hell, but clung viciously to anyone that they could. They were the only problem Stiles’ magic couldn’t solve, couldn’t eliminate. They were what caused Dark Mages to get the reputation of being evil, driven by the demons wishes within.

It did not even worry Stiles, for when he looked at Scott, and how Scott seemed to love his presence, how could ever think that his being was evil? Stiles would do no evil, for nothing was evil when done out of love. He was created to compliment this brother of his.

He cares for you. Only he does. Don’t you like being loved? Keep him. Keep him. Protect him.

Brother now in name as well, since his father and the Queen became closer than two thieves, spending day in and day out courting each other in the gardens, the arena, the throne room, the dinner table. It only took five summers until finally, finally, his father asked for her hand. Stiles wondered idly if he should begin to call her “Mother”, or if it would hurt his father. He decided that he would call her whatever Scott wished him to call her.

The months passed, more and more time spent around Allison. She brought a friend, Heather, with her wherever she went. The tag-along was a pretty girl, a blushing maid that held no title or riches besides the ones Allison lent her. It barely even took probing into Scott’s mind to see why Heather was invited everywhere.

Stiles couldn’t be bothered to woo her, uncharacteristic as she was in her flimsy, shallow, flirting. Rather, he turned her heart to his, devotedly, to ensure, make positive, that what Scott wanted to happen would happen. His magic shouldn’t have been able to be used to perform such a strong enchantment, but he had been rubbing off the seal the night he received it for the past summer. He could control the power, enjoyed the full feeling of it inside him.

The engagement was set before Stiles could even blink, but he was glad for it. She was not a hard creature, held no ill will towards him, and did not despise him for she never was a part of the court that knew his past. She didn’t love him, but how her heart longed for the fancier things. Enchanting her heart also gave him the ability to see within it, and how she longed for the life of a princess. It was a shallow thing to desire, but not an evil wish. Scott wanted Stiles matched, and she would do. It wasn’t as if he would have to marry her anytime soon, just hold the promise that he would.

He even had a soft hope that maybe he would find someone to love, really love, before he had to go through on the promise. But then he would look over at Scott, and wonder how he thought he could ever make room in his heart for anyone besides him.

However, the days got harder. Allison visited less, because Scott had less time on his hands. The happy kingdom was still mostly content outside the palace, but inside the walls was stress. For Scott to exude that feeling of unhappiness, of unsettledness, it was driving Stiles up the wall.

Your fault. Your fault. Fix it.

Stiles quickly learned that a neighboring kingdom was encroaching on their land, stealing supplies and messing with villages on the border. The Queen and Scott were both hesitant to do anything other than send out warnings, the King of the kingdom much more ruthless than other nobility they had encountered.

“Why not just attack?” Stiles asks one day, when Scott’s heart is heavy but he’s still taking an hour to himself. They sit in the courtyard, the sun shining but everything around them dying from the cold. Soon winter will cover the kingdom in snow. Scott has his head in Allison’s lap, and she calmly pulls her fingers through his locks. Stiles sits slightly away, happy to give the couple their space.

Scott groans. “They are the same size as us, basically. Just a lot crueler. It would be a hard fight, that we could very easily lose, if we don’t have an ally.”

Allison speaks up at this. “Isn’t there another kingdom you’re allies with? That doesn’t like Deucalion? The Hale kingdom?”

“They’re very far. Unless we were sneaky about it, we would never be able to set up the forces needed. And even if we were sneaky, Deucalion always seems to know when something is happening. I don’t like him. He may be blind, but it’s like he looks right at me whenever we’re in the same room.” Stiles can hear the distaste in Scott’s voice, and he knows what he means. If he could manipulate it to where Deucalion just happened to have a seizure… but his daughter, a banshee, seems to be so in sync with his magic. Everytime he goes to do something, she gives him the look. He could never pull it off with her around.

But if he could… Nothing is evil, when done out of love.

Scott sighs. “Besides, they have more manpower than Deucalion’s or mine, probably combined. They’re such the military kingdom, and who’s to say that if we take down Deucalion, they won’t come for us next? Just become a complete power over all the land? As much as I hate to say it, Deucalion’s kingdom offers a buffer that we really need.”

Stiles can feel there, on the edge of Scott’s mind, there is something else. “You don’t want to fight, do you?”

“You know I think everything can be resolved without killing anyone.” Scott smiles at him, a lot more tired than the last time he had said that. Stiles remembers it, when he had discovered one of the nannies of Scott’s was going to try and kill him. She was sent away, but only because Scott walked in before Stiles could end her.

He remembers being furious, the way that his tiny body could barely handle the rage. End her, protect him. She was going to kill the only one who loves you. Kill her. Protect him. Scott had run in, calming down Stiles and saving her life. Sparing her. Yes, Stiles knew the naive thoughts of his brother, but he also knew that he would do whatever it would take to keep Scott safe.

He snaps back to the present when Allison speaks again. “Well, maybe we won’t have to fight. The Hale kingdom dislikes Deucalion profusely...maybe they’ll just kill each other.” Scott looks up at his smiling companion, a frown twisted in his features.

“Or maybe Deucalion will change.” Stiles suggest quickly. Scott glances over to him, smiling, smiling that smile that lit up the insides of Stiles’ empty being. He doesn’t believe what he says for a second, but if it will make him happy, Stiles would lie through his teeth.
A resolution comes in a very strange form. Deucalion offers to reevaluate his kingdom’s lines, which is a roundabout way of saying he thought the villages he was terrorizing were his, if a marriage of one of the princes to his banshee daughter could be arranged.

Stiles couldn’t believe it when he said one of the princes. And yet, in the king’s mind, there was no difference between Scott and Stiles. Perhaps it was only the title that he was concerned with. It was exactly what Scott wanted: an end without a bloody means. But he saw the way Allison reacted when Scott told her about the compromise, the way she physically recoiled because she didn’t know which prince was going to be married.

He would never forgive you. He may be happy about the compromise now, but he will never forgive you if you allow him to be married away. He wants to stay with Allison, he wants to love her. You want his love? Take this from him. Protect him.

It wasn’t hard to turn Heather’s heart from him, turn it so hard and cold that she became unrecognizable. She dropped the engagement with him, saying she was disgusted by his etiquette and dress. Stiles pretended to be shocked, hurt and humiliated, because it felt nice to have Scott comfort him. It was so nice to have all that affection, all that kindness, washing over him once again.

He brought up Deucalion’s offer before Scott had the chance to, saying he wouldn’t mind marrying the banshee. Scott didn’t know that she could read his magic as well as Stiles could, but in that moment it was unimportant that he was playing into the enemy’s hands. If death would grace happiness to Scott, then Stiles would die a million times over.

Nothing mattered if it didn’t matter to Scott.

It was after his fifteenth summer that he leaves for Deucalion’s kingdom. He says goodbye to his brother, having fashioned him a charm to wear always. Stiles knows the charm is a direct link to his magic, will allow him to be with Scott day in and out, even kingdoms apart, but Scott sees it as a token. A token that he will never be removed, unless Stiles returns.

It has been almost a full year since Deaton has inked the seal on him, trusting Stiles like no one else would. They became close in inquiry, and when Scott was away from Stiles, Stiles would be in Deaton’s library. The lore of all mages, especially those dark, fascinated him. Deaton even let him take the last two that he didn’t get to read with him. An awfully large kindness for such an elder Mage.

Allison hugs him too, a tight, quick hug and a whispered thank you. She grew up in the court, hearing the rumors that a touch of Stiles was a touch of death. She may have long outgrown the belief, but that didn’t stop her from being wary. Even his own father was wary of touching him. Only his brother, his Scott, leaned in and wrapped around him like he wanted to pull Stiles into himself. It makes Stiles want to chuckle, because to him, he is already just a part of Scott.

A piece of a whole person. Nothing more. Without him, nothing. Protect him.

He promises to write everyday, but the only one who asks him to is Scott. He’ll make sure to include something for everyone else, trying to show just as much kindness as Scott would. He leaves in a carriage, alone, alone for the first time since meeting Scott.

The trip is less than two days, and someone who lived and breathed at the palace, Stiles should have been more excited about the scenery. It was early spring, and everything outside his window was colorful, beautiful, but he only thought of Scott. He often used the charm to tune back in, to see his brother.

He would see him jousting, cheering him on in his head. He saw him with Allison, but not with Allison, for his charm protected them both against that. He was glad to know his brother had pleasure with his companion, he didn’t wish to know what type. The night rolled around and there was dinner, which Stiles got to eat alone but still see his family together. His driver knew the tales of Stiles, the accusations and history, and had chosen to keep uncharacteristically silent around him. It was fine, the man just didn’t want to upset and provoke Stiles. He was...afraid, rather than disgusted.

Well, that was certainly an improvement in his mind.

Stiles couldn’t fall asleep in the carriage, not for the bumpy ride but for the voices swirling around in his head. He let you leave, doesn’t care. Does he? Does he still love you? He should, you took this from him. You gave him everything he wanted, a family, a love, anything. Give him anything.

He’s going to forget you. Happy without you, happy now that he doesn’t have to worry about the kingdom. Keep the kingdom safe, and keep him happy. Protect him. Protect his home. He gave you everything you ever wanted, a friend, a family, love. Give him anything.

They would toss between idolizing Scott, which was something that Stiles couldn’t help but agree with, and threatening that Stiles would be out of mind now that he is out of sight. A few of the spirits trapped within in his skull have been there long enough that they have just become insane. He can sense the spirits when they’re quiet, the transparent ones that seemed ready to disappear keeping far away from his wonderings. And when the insane ones, the really insane ones, weren’t quiet, the screaming blocked out everything else. He was starting to wish that they were screaming now, because he could at least tune that out.

He decides on reading, because it can offer distraction. He pulls out the books that Deaton had gifted him, both lore on Mage and werewolf connections. Stiles had specifically waited on reading these, knowing they may add more layers on his and Scott’s relationship. He had hoped that Scott would acquire a new interest in learning. Scott didn’t.

The first book delves into the how a werewolf is more resistant to a Mage’s charms and tricks, without conscious effort, mainly due to their magic blood. Stiles reads it hungrily, wondering what it would be like if he had encountered another werewolf and tried to use his abilities on it. Werewolves were scarce in the McCall kingdom, mainly because it had always been ruled by humans. Stiles held a small belief that a lot of the werewolves within Deucalion’s borders would flee when Scott took the main throne. From what he knew of the cruel king, his subjects would probably all flee given a good enough opportunity.

When the sun begin to break over valley they had stopped to rest in, Stiles finally managed to fall into an uneasy rest with the book still clutched in his hand. A single line of text had followed him into his dreams: “Without superior strength and automatic healing a Mage’s only defense is that, when able to, their magic can be hidden from the werewolf.”
It is quite the family that waited for Stiles. He pulls up to the castle, peering out of the carriage to see the line of werewolves wearing carefully blank expressions. Deucalion stands in the middle, holding the shoulder of a pale beauty. Stiles immediately recognizes her as a what she was, which was a dead, dark spirit that managed to cling to a person and overrule their mind. The woman was probably a Mage before she allowed herself to be removed entirely. He wonders if the spirit can use her magic, and if so how well it is able to.

He shudders to think of himself ending where she is, defeated by the voices within.

The banshee, the banshee he is betrothed to, stands next to her, keeping herself composed. She has light eyes and fair skin, with full lips and curvature. Overall, she would not be hard to look at for him. However, the cold flint in her eyes makes him question how hard it would be to speak with her. Stiles wonders if they would have a happy marriage, or even one that both could tolerate. She stands next to one of the twins, who looms close to her. He’s protective. On Deucalion’s side stands his eldest child, Kali, and the other twin. It almost appears as if they were planning to do battle.

Imagine Scott here. Imagine Scott having to tie himself to this wreckage of a family. Stiles bleakly wonders, selfishly, why he should have to. The voices don’t respond with words, but rather with shoving the memories in his face. Dead mother. Dead king. Unwanted.

Stiles tried to get out of the carriage slowly, to show he means no harm, but his long legs go quickly and he stumbles from it fast. No one moves forward to ensure that he doesn’t fall flat on his face. Once he rights himself, he flashes a quick grin at his accomplishment before he remembered where he was.

Deucalion moves forward slowly, so carefully, until he stands before Stiles. His smile is brittle, fake, and uninviting. “Hello, Prince Genim. Was your journey favorable?”

Stiles ducks his head, even though this king can’t see him. “Yes, my King.” His mouth tastes vile just saying it. “Thank you.” He wonders why and where he heard his official name.

Deucalion tilts his head for a moment, appearing to study Stiles despite the fact that he’s blind. “I’m glad to hear. I have heard that you have a few belongings you brought with you, so a servant will bring them to you.” He turns back to his family, all standing slightly straighter. “We just wanted to make sure we were all here to welcome our newest member. I think Lydia would like to show you to your rooms alone, however.”

Stiles feels a cold feeling slip into his stomach. He didn’t think she wanted to do it privately, and he had no idea what Deucalion wants from this interaction. He doesn’t dare ask though, as the man moves back to his wife and towards the castle. The rest of the family disperse very quickly, not bothering to hide their werewolf speed.

Stiles blinked at the sudden disappearance of everyone else, for Scott rarely ever used his werewolf abilities and he was still unaccustomed to it. After a second of staring blankly, Stiles forces himself to look at the banshee. She regards him coolly in return.

“I’m, uh, I’m Stiles.” He says nervously, not daring to take another step towards him.

“I’m aware.” She replied. “Come on, I’ll show you where you’re going to be staying.”

She turns without waiting for him, stepping ahead angrily. Stiles got the impression that she didn’t really want to be with him, or around him, or in the same breathing range with him at all. He follows behind her quickly, following and wishing he could use a charm to make this easier on him. It seems that even thinking on the magic alerts her, because her head whips around quickly for her to fix him with a cold glare.

The slight bit of magic he had called for is hastily returned back to it’s store. He wouldn’t be able to do anything with her around, which was frustrating in and of itself. They move into the castle, which is grand but empty. It feels nothing like the small castle that bustles with life and glows with energy that Scott allowed him to live in.

So empty. Scott would hate it. But you deserve it, a little piece of nothing to compliment its bare interior. It fits you.

He shakes his head, trying to shake the demons. The further he got away from Scott the more it seems that they were bent on being malicious. The banshee’s footfalls echo through the stone halls, the few servants in attendance scurrying to avoid her. They look tired and scared, but not sick. Stiles wonders if staying in the palace is hell.

They stop at one of the large oak doors, nothing remarkable about it besides the gold doorknob. Lydia, the banshee, doesn’t look at him as she pushes the door open and wanders inside. Stiles wants to shake apart, wants to feel nervous or excited, but he only feels like he must do whatever it takes here to keep Scott content, safe and happy.

A quick check with his magic tells him that Scott is in the throne room with his mother. His breathing is easy. Keep it that way.

Lydia makes a noise in throat, reaching out of the room and grabbing his arm. “Don’t do that where Jennifer can catch you!” Stiles stares at her shocked, staggering into the bedroom because of her pull. “Don’t act stupid.”

He looks down on her scowling face, uncertain of her now. He was sure when he came, path straight. He would suffer here, see Scott as often as possible, and use his magic away from his future wife. But it didn’t seem like she cared so much.

If she doesn’t care then you can kill Deucalion. You can go home.

“Jennifer isn’t Jennifer anymore.” Stiles stated what was obvious to him.

Lydia moves away from him, and he takes a second to survey the room. There is a full bed, two different doors leading elsewhere, a bookshelf and a chest for clothes. “Of course she isn’t. My father chose her because she can detect magic, not because she was a Mage anymore.” The banshee flips her hair, looking at him expectantly.

“What do you want from me?” If she died then you could go home. You miss Scott right? Does he miss you? Does even care that you’re gone?

“Well, I don’t know.” She seemed frustrated, seemed to be waiting for something more. Stiles usually felt like the intelligent one of the group, but he was having a hard time keeping up with her mind. “What are you planning?”


“To marry you?” Stiles ventures.

“Really? That’s it?”

“Really.” Stiles promises. It appears to infuriate her, though whether he thought her to be a savior or to be a spy, he isn’t sure. The voices tell him she is making sure her father is safe, which is a reasonable idea. But the way she stalks past him, as if he had personally wronged her by not having something else in store, makes him question.

“Well, dinner is a family event. It’s at sundown. Don’t be late.” Her voice returns back to ice, and Stiles doesn’t remember when she stopped speaking that way during their conversation. “Also, the left door connects to my room, for obvious reasons. Don’t bother me for those reasons. Only use it in emergency.” Her tone leaves no room for debate as she slams shut his door.

He waits anxiously for his things.
The next few weeks are quiet. Scott’s first letter comes the third day he is there, and Stiles wants to laugh in delight. He must have penned it the night that Stiles left. Most of it is rambling on Allison’s beauty and the Queen’s and his father’s blossoming romance. Stiles eats it up, and pens down a quick response, detailing the strangeness of the family he is being married to. He manages to ensure that he could find happiness here while still being honest. Mostly.

Stiles avoids all that he can, spending a lot of time in the library. Kali ignores him, acting as if he doesn’t exist, as does her engaged. They are set to marry long before Lydia and Stiles, a good six moons before they take their vows. Stiles came early to the kingdom to acquaint himself with the court, which wasn’t going to go well, but he didn’t dare protest.

Aiden doesn’t seem to mind Stiles. He doesn’t talk to Stiles without invitation but he doesn’t snarl when he gets close. Stiles learned from Lydia the first night that his room was a safe place to practice his magic, because it was already so clogged with his spirit that Jennifer couldn’t catch him doing it. It just blended in with his aurora.

Ethan, the twin, is as protective as Stiles feared he was. Wherever the banshee went, wherever the banshee took her presence, the werewolf was sure to follow. He distrusted Stiles, he didn’t even have to use his magic to try and check. Ever since he read the book from Deucalion, he had been itching to try his powers on other werewolves, but couldn’t because of fear of being caught.

Jennifer didn’t speak much.

As the days stretched on, instead of Stiles winning over Ethan, it appeared that he was slowly but surely losing ground with the brother. Lydia had offhand conversations with him, here and there, whether it be about her being a banshee or him being a dark Mage. Ethan always loomed behind her, making biting comments or trying to prevent her from telling him things.

Lydia didn’t speak much on the way of friendships, and Stiles realized she allowed Ethan’s behavior because he was her only companion. He saw how she would insult him and he would throw it back, but he also saw the way they laughed at each other. He could see the adoration in each other’s eyes. It reminds him of Scott, and he suddenly feels so, so lonely. So he keeps up trying to make Ethan like him.

Then one night, at the dinner table, he made a comment about Stiles just being an extra mouth. Stiles ducks his head down, wondering when he got used to no one saying anything about him. It almost hurts as bad as it did without Scott.

This is for Scott.

Deucalion got up quietly, causing Lydia to flinch back and lock her jaw up. Stiles saw blood on her napkin, under her palm. Something was wrong. Ethan fidgeted nervously in his seat but made no other moves. Deucalion placed a hand on his chair, leaning down to whisper something in his ear. Stiles felt really uneasy just seeing the claws on the woodwork.

And then he slashed Ethan’s throat.

Lydia screamed, the shrill pitch of death that shattered the glasses at the table, and Aiden pushed his father aside to grab at his twin. He was choking down tears, trying to find comfort, but Stiles was pretty sure Ethan was already gone. He made no move to attack Deucalion though. Stiles allowed himself a short gasp and nothing more, so accustomed to the idea of death by the spirits floating in his head. He hoped he was nowhere near Deucalion when he died, not wanting his spirit to attach to Stiles’ mind.

Dinner was cut short, as no one was in the mood for a corpse to attend. Stiles filtered out quickly after Kali, not wanting to watch as Lydia sat, statue-still, staring at Ethan’s body. He didn’t want to hear the quiet cries wracking the twin’s body, so silent that he must have been trying to hide them from his father. Had this happened before?

He’s going to kill you. You won’t be able to do anything about it, but we, we can protect you. Give yourself over, we will protect you. We will protect Scott.

Scott will die if you don’t do something. He’ll murder you. He’ll murder everyone. He’s crazy, crazy, crazy. The treaty means nothing. Rules mean nothing. Crazy.

Stiles returns to the library. It’s the only place he feels where he is standing on even ground. The books were always just going to be books. They weren’t like the beings outside, that could appear as a smiling, yet cold old King and turn out to be a father who slaughtered his own children. He hadn’t read most of the books that were in this library, and he allowed himself to lose his thoughts in a novel about a lonely werewolf that fell in love with a nymph.

He hadn’t touched the last book that Deaton gave him, hoping that maybe he would be back into a normal life before he read it. He missed Scott. He missed Deaton. He even missed the court that would jeer at him behind fans, because at least they weren’t a threat.

Lydia eventually came into the library, for the first time alone. Her makeup was done wonderfully, and if Stiles hadn’t tune into her spirit he wouldn’t even know she had been crying. A thought had been nagging him since seeing her blood-stained napkin, jumping to the very fore-front of his mind when he lay eyes on her. “Did you know it was going to happen?” He asks quietly. He feels no sadness that Ethan is gone, but it gives him no great pleasure either. “Could you feel him close to the world of death?”

Lydia sits down on the floor, a little in front of him. If he stretched, he could probably graze his fingertips against her strawberry blonde strands. Her face remains steadily facing the flames. “I warned him. I warned him that if he kept pushing that our father would use him as a lesson.”

“A lesson?” Stiles knows that she is in a tough spot, her mind probably exhausted. He shouldn’t be prodding her the way he was, but he didn’t truthfully care about her well-being. She was someone he had to cooperate with to make Scott happy. As long as she was alive, he wouldn’t complain.

“Our father…” Her voice grew small, trailing off as she lost herself in thought. “Our father is a cruel man. Ethan isn’t the first child he’s killed. Braden and Liam, my siblings, they were too much fire. I was scared that Ethan would follow them, but I thought, if I warned him.”

“You did everything you could.” Stiles tries to soothe her, his empathy not touching his soul. It was just what he was supposed to say.

“Why are you here, Stiles?” Her voice is devoid of emotion.

“I’m here to marry you.” He repeats himself, wondering why she would bother to ask him again. Maybe Deucalion expected him to tell her, so he could murder Stiles too. As if he could ever get close to Stiles.

She doesn’t turn, but her head slowly tilts. Her strawberry strands slide down her back slowly as she speaks. “The main courtyard is a beautiful place for a walk at night.” She pauses, as if she is trying to make a decision. He sees her shoulders tighten. “You should walk there tonight.”


The voices warn against it, warn that he’s going to regret trusting her. Afterall, she is a prequel to death.

She blames you. She blames you, hates you, going to kill you. Send you back to Scott, tell them that you can’t even do this right. Which would be better? To die or disappoint Scott? Do it, don’t do it, both are death.

Kill her.

He leaves her, leaves the banshee with her ghosts, still sitting and staring into the flames. He was certain she was going to leave at some point, but he felt like she was listening and waiting on her brother’s spirit to pass by her. She was so lucky that her voices at least left after their stay.

The night is slightly chilly, but Stiles pays it no mind. He keeps close to the shadows, not wanting to be caught unawares by a wolf. He knows that it is little help, his heartbeat and scent zeroing him out, but without magic to help it is a consolation. The courtyard is empty, the lights are turned off. He wonders why she told him to come here.

Bringer of death. She wants you gone.

Stiles almost turns to leave before he can hear a snippet of a conversation, carried by the wind. “Perhaps that will keep the other boy in line.” It sounds like Deucalion and Stiles freezes. His head whips around everywhere, and he almost summons his powers to make the demon show himself before he realizes that he is up at a higher level, and very much away from Stiles.

But Stiles can still hear him. “He’s angry, but I don’t think he’ll attack you.” That must be Jennifer, with a low scratch in her speech.

“And has Genim tried anything?”

“Nothing I can tell.” She said dutifully, and she was right. Stiles had done nothing, yet, that could be merited with ill intent. In the month and a half he had stayed with them he had been the perfect fiance. The wedding was mere weeks away, and he just had to make it until then. Scott told him that as soon as they were tied that, because Stiles was closer to the throne than the banshee was, he could plead that they needed to stay in the McCall kingdom more frequently than here.

Lydia probably wouldn’t mind anymore, not with Ethan gone. She could become close to Allison, he was pretty sure. Maybe even Heather would have sorted herself back out, and they could be friends as well. It would definitely put Scott’s heart at ease if Heather stopped behaving so crudely towards Stiles.

“That’s good.” Deucalion sighs. “We can’t touch him until he’s tied to Lydia.”

An icy fist closes around Stiles’ heart. Kill him now. Throw all your magic up and that wrench couldn’t stop you. You’ll be gone, we’ll be gone, before anyone finds out. Kill him, kill him, end him.

“It’s best to keep him alive.” Jennifer says, and Stiles steadies his breathing slightly. His heart thuds in his ears, wondering why Deucalion would kill him and just how much of the Mage remains. “He’s no use to you dead.”

Deucalion sighs. “I suppose. Lydia may warn him if she fears I will take his life.”

Stiles stiffens, needing to blend deeper into the shadows. He doesn’t dare call up his magic this close to Jennifer though. “Do you fear her to be unloyal?” Stiles knows that if he is found out now, she is as good as dead. And, in recent events, he knows she is his only ally here. Her wellbeing has become a necessity.

“I fear her not to be truthful.” Deucalion sighs. “I know she keeps things from me.”

“She has protected you from death in multiple turns.”

“I’m very aware.” His voice cuts cold. It seems that Jennifer, or whoever is pulling the strings, has reminded him of something sour. “We’ll just have to keep a close eye on her.” Stiles wants to dart away, wants to be as far from Deucalion’s eye as he can get.

Fortunately, he can hear them pad away shortly after. Half of what Deucalion said doesn’t make any sense to him, but he is pretty certain that he knows someone who could explain it to him. He steals away after a few heartbeats of silence, racing back towards his room.

Is she friend or foe? Does she want us found out or to help? Will this hurt Scott? What if this would hurt Scott? Find out what’s going on, we need to know, we need…

“If father didn’t fancy your little skills, you’d be dead where you stand.” Stiles startles to a stop, hearing Kali snarl a corridor away from him. Something solid hits the wall, a small cry calling out. Lydia. “At least you could act like it doesn’t bother you, or that you could manage anything without that brother.”

Knowing that he could, ideally, kill Kali with his magic (if it actually worked on the werewolf) he darted out from where he was rooted. The sight in front of him chills his blood, Lydia crouched forward with crimson leaking from her and Kali looming over her. “Stop!” He yelled, trying to hold in his magic.

He needed Lydia and himself both, alive.

Kali spun to face him, beta-shift showing off her blue eyes. “If you kill her, then our treaty is off.” His voice wavers, knowing that the promise of their marriage benefited the McCall kingdom much more. “I’ll leave.” Stiles swore.

Something wavered on Kali’s face...indecision? She still looked furious, looked righteous, but when she darted a glance back at Lydia - who really looked like she wasn’t doing well - she just growled frustratedly. She quickly straightened, shifting back to her normal face. “Well, don’t let me stop you from helping the princess, Romeo.”

She breezed past him as if this wasn’t her fault, with a scowl firmly in place. For a mere moment, right before she was in front of him, his heart stopped but he still glared at her, refusing to show his fear anymore.

Lydia didn’t move after she left, swaying sickeningly against the wall. “Lydia,” Stiles approached cautiously, knowing that sometimes the banshee would have to come back to themselves in their own time. He thinks on the fact that Kali might have interrupted that, that Lydia might be stuck there. Her arm had a large cut on it, probably from one of Kali’s nails.

He placed his hand gently above it, hoping she could still feel. It wasn’t deep, but he wasn’t sure all the powers a werewolf would have. Scott, Scott would never try them out for fear of actually hurting someone. And Deaton, as well as the library, was surprisingly bare of werewolf fact, most of it being lore.

Lydia sucked in a shuddering breath, her entire body shivering underneath it. “I don’t want to be here anymore.” Her large eyes shimmered with tears, and with a blink, one fell. Stiles had a pang of something familiar...regret? Remorse? Possibly a shed of pain for her.

“Then let’s go back to the rooms.” He moved her slowly, as if she was fragile and breakable and everything Lydia never acted like. She shuffled, following him on autopilot. Tears kept slipping down her face, but she kept quiet. Stiles took her to his room and set her down on the couch.

“I can’t heal you, but I can take away the pain.” Stiles was being selfish. He could heal her, he could heal her a thousand times over, but if Deucalion knew he was using magic it could really, really hurt him.

“I don’t want to be here.” Stiles frowned.

“You can go back to your room after I make sure you’re okay.” He focused his energy on her arm, sending feelings of ease and healing. She stopped crying, stopped showing weakness, wiping her face roughly, a cold anger settling over her pretty features.

“No, I don’t want to be in this castle anymore, in this family anymore.” She let one of her hands wave off his concerns. “It’s not a good place, here. It’s certainly not safe for us.”

Stiles did something risky then, hoping that Jennifer wasn’t so intune with magic that she could detect it. He threw out a charm to make his room sound silent, hoping that it didn’t cast too far away from him, hoping that it was still in the safe zone for his magic. He could see it shimmering, still within his bedroom walls. He wondered if Lydia could also see his magic, could see the way it danced, or if she could just feel it.

“I took a walk tonight. I heard Deucalion talking with...Jennifer. They don’t trust you.” Stiles pauses. “They think you’re helping me.”

Lydia looks at him, her expression almost bordering on amused by his stupidity. “I have been, so it’s not like they’re wrong. My father isn’t going to kill me though.”

Stiles’ breath catches, his magic stilling on her arm. He wants to wrap around the wound and squeeze, sending sharp pains that pulse with his fear. “Is he going to kill me?”

“No.” Lydia says simply, getting a far away look in her eyes. It’s the gaze of a banshee, lost within the souls she has seen come and go, and Stiles doesn’t trust her to be truthful. She shakes him off, but he stays crouched. She floats to the other side of the room, where he keeps his books but Stiles remains frozen, watching her warily. He doesn’t trust how easily she said that.

The banshee is right, he won’t kill us. But that doesn’t mean we won’t die. We will die here, alone and leaving Scott unprotected. Scott will die without us, so kind, so gentle, so loving. Is this how we repay him?

Lydia pulls out one of the books Deaton had given, face going curiously blank. “Lydia?” Stiles whispers. It isn’t her anymore, it’s the banshee. Stiles flexes his fingers, fighting down the urge to strike. Lydia would return. The banshee flipped through the book, landing on a seemingly important page before setting it down.

“Goodnight, Stiles.” Her voice slurs slowly, dragging out each syllable as if it pained her. Stiles stayed crouched, muscles taut as she moved to the door that separated their rooms. She left.

It took approximately two seconds for Stiles to be over at the book, staring at the page. When a banshee gave a warning, or even some advice, only fools fail to heed it. Stiles scans the parchment, wondering what she wanted him to gleam from this. He feels objectively guilty because he was supposed to wait until he saw Scott again to read this.

His hands shake, making the words nearly illegible when Stiles realizes what the banshee wanted him to. He forces himself to read it all, to understand it all.

“Just as only a powerful enough Mage may cast magic on a werewolf, so is the same with a werewolf.” It read, near the end of the page. “The werewolf may be able to use superior strength to kill a Mage, as a Mage may use physical magic (wolfsbane, or the such), but if a werewolf proves to be of excellent strength, it may control a Mage.”

The next page was an illustration of claws slipping into a person’s neck. Stiles felt some sweat slip down his, understanding finally why Deucalion made the deal. He knew Stiles would be the prince, which is why he included both of them, because it wasn’t about names or blood. It was about power.

He’s going to use us to gain power. He’s going to make us his puppet, so he can take more land and more power.

He’s going to use us to kill Scott.

Stiles snaps, his heart hammering as a heat spreads throughout him. That won’t happen, he won’t let it happen. He’ll kill them all, every last one of them even if he has to snap their necks with his bare hands, he will destroy them.

They think they can use us? Show them just how little they own you, make them pay, make them pay in blood.

Stiles paces the floor, images of Deucalion, Jennifer, Kali, all of them gruesomely cut open and bleeding out at his feet, bleeding for their sins. Show them exactly what he was capable of, exactly what he would do if they decided to try and turn him against Scott. He starts to laugh, tears escaping his eyes and rolling down his cheeks. His giggle is breathless at the idea of ripping every heart out in this cursed castle and returning to Scott. Except, as his heartbeat thundered ahead and his breathing slowed...

Lydia would stop him, would know if he tried that.

Kill her too. Kill her first.

Scott would never forgive him, thinking everyone could be saved. He would look at Stiles like he was the monster everyone thought he was. But, he just wanted Scott to be safe, content and happy. It wasn’t like he wanted to do it out of malice.

No, only love. You love Scott so much, you want to protect him so much. The voices soothed his sudden worry, worry that he was the creature of nightmares.

But how could he make sure that Deucalion wasn’t strong enough? It wasn’t as if he could use his power and see if he was strong enough to fight him, not with Jennifer always right next to him, not when Lydia could still tell him. He doesn’t think it would be smart to let Deucalion keep ruling, or his daughter either, but he can’t just kill them both. Aiden might want to help, and so may Lydia, but they’re both too afraid to try.

If only he could make someone else kill them, if only…

Allison’s smiling face flashes in his mind, her voice whispering. “The Hale kingdom dislikes Deucalion profusely…

“Maybe they’ll just kill each other.”

Stiles stays up all night, pulling leather and braiding it to hide the spell he placed in it. His mind never stops repeating what Allison said.
It takes three days for Lydia to fully return to herself. There were times that she was at the surface, a glimpse of her quick wit in the pools of her eyes or the crease of her lip, but each time her expression went lax within seconds.

Stiles lets her have the day to settle in, ignoring the urge to grab her and haul her back to his room to discuss things. He is patient, waiting until everyone turns in for the night before quietly knocking on her door. The illusion of calm shatters when she opens it, with him grabbing her forcefully and tugging her into his sanctum.

“We need to talk.” He grinds out of his mouth, ready to go into the spiel of his plan, but to avoid anything that may be used against him. The main idea is steady, but he needs some news and facts that Lydia would definitely be able to help with. He’s had the outline in his head for the past three days, with no one to tell. He doesn’t dare write it to Scott, doesn’t ask about the Hales or suggest he read either of the books Stiles has read.

Lydia lays a hand on his arm, eyes tight and mouth screwed up. Her voice comes out soft. “Oh, you mean on the wedding?” Her voice is a little high, but she flashes wide her eyes and lets her gaze dart to the door.

Kill the spy.

But Stiles isn’t sure if it’s just servant or common guard or if it’s one of Deucalion’s others. The entirety of the plan will crumble into ruins if Stiles takes a misstep here. He needs information, he isn’t sure how to question her this way. An idea pops into his head. “Ah, yes.” It’s been a few months since he had to school his heart beat with magic, causing the flutter to sound like part of the constant rhythm. “We’re both only fifteen. It’s kind of scary.” He laughs, pitching it to break.

Lydia walks away from him, hands touching the walls. “I guess.” She offers no help, waiting for Stiles to take the lead.

For once, Stiles knows this dance. “I was wondering why you’re father was so ready to marry you off at such a young age, when Kali hasn’t yet married.” He’s taking a shot in the dark, hoping his aim is true and his memories on rumors wasn’t murky. He hopes Lydia follows the path he lays down for her.

“She was supposed to be?” Lydia says softly, only the expression of her face showing that she meant it as a question, meant it for Stiles to assure her.

“What happened?” Stiles prodded.

“She was engaged to Prince Derek, from the Hale kingdom.” Lydia starts slowly, and because Stiles is unsure if he can speak yet, he nods frantically. “But he broke it off.”

“Why?” Stiles forces the next part out. “Kali is...lovely. Powerful.” The last word isn’t even a lie.

She shrugs delicately, appearing to actually be swept up in the guise of this conversation. “They call him the Lonely Wolf. Apparently it is more likely to catch a nymph than his heart.”

His heart must long for a companion. Wolves are creatures built for others, not to be alone. He would probably be so easy to turn to us, to trust us, to want us…

“How unfortunate,” Stiles murmurs. “How hard is it to catch your heart?” The last piece of the conversation is because all the things he wants to say can’t be spoken through code anymore. He’ll have to wait, or maybe they will go unsaid.

Lydia’s cheeks tinge pink, which would be beautiful if Stiles let his mind occupy itself on her. He couldn’t afford to, not with Scott being in danger. Not ever. “No one ever has, so I guess you’ll have to find out on your own.” She challenges, pretending to think that he would care to.

He laughs, and assures her that’s all he wanted to know. She looks back at the door, with a worried glance, and he wonders if he should invite her to sleep with him tonight. It may put her at ease, and it would make it easier for him to live if whoever behind the door decided to attack. Instead, he bids her goodnight at the door, letting the distress that darkens her eyes twist his heart.

In the morning, he knocks on her door again. He’s quiet. He asks if anyone is listening. When she tiredly shakes her head, hair fuzzy from the pillow, he opens the door wide. She meanders in, all the world appearing as if she would prefer to be anywhere but there.

Stiles leaves her standing here to fetch the leather cuff that he fashioned a few nights before. He had stowed it away between two of his books that he hadn’t burned. After reading both of the books on Mages and werewolves, he set flame to them, fearful of Deucalion grasping on to the knowledge. If he truly did not know all of it already.

“I made you something I would like you to wear always.” Stiles let his voice become hushed, reverent. He hadn’t even bestowed a gift of this magnitude to Allison, Allison who was going to take his spot when he could not. He places it delicately on her sparrow of a wrist, where she examines it and then looks back at him.

“If this is supposed to be your idea of fashion, then remind me to help pick out what you will wear to our wedding.” She snarks.

Stiles sighs deeply. “There is going to come a point when I will not be able to keep you safe. Please wear it.”

Lydia’s face slowly transforms into understanding, and then into shock and suspicion. He wasn’t going to tell her much, but he was going to tell her something. He takes her hand in his, trying to be mindful of his emotions of needing to keep her safe to fulfill his promise to Scott, that she may have told him sooner and Scott would already be safe.

“Scott is going to marry a girl named Allison, a very pretty girl with good taste so I’ve heard. If you ever find yourself wanting…” He looks superstitiously to the door, “I am absolutely certain that you could visit and stay with her. As long as you’d prefer. As long as you needed.”

Lydia loses some color, but her eyes burn bright. She may not understand exactly what was going to happen, she may want to push for more, but right now he had her satisfied. He left her with that.
Stiles waits a few days before leaving, waits until the werewolves are out on their full moon hunt. That day, while they all avoided being pent up behind the walls, Stiles wrote out a final letter. This wasn’t addressed to Scott but instead to Allison. It also wasn’t going to go through the mail by traditional means.

He wrote that she needed to understand that he was doing this to protect Scott, that she should back him if she loved him that much. He assured her that he was going to be fine, that everything was going to be fine and if the beautiful, red-head banshee happened to grace her doorsteps, that Allison must accept her in. Stiles told her to tell Scott that he was going away for a while, but not tell him that he was going to the Hale kingdom. He finished to note explaining that he saw things the way they were, just like she did, and that sometimes they might have to get their hands dirty to protect Scott. He was certain she would agree.

He quickly stabbed the note up in an arrowhead of hers that he took for fond memories, cutting open his hand to bleed on the note. It sizzled for a second before disappearing underneath the arrow head. It would be on the next one she went to collect, certain she’d see it before the next two days were out.

That night, when the moon was high and casting pure light on everything, he stole away. Stiles knew he wasn’t going to make it if he went through the woods, or if he tried the streets, so he slipped down to the sewers. The place rotted with the smell of feces and mildew, new and yet so improperly cleaned. He hoped the fad of these systems died out soon. They were just as unsanitary as the chamber pots, but people didn’t have to look at it.

He was certain the sun came up as he wandered down there. He had a small sack that he was carrying with him, that he did his best to keep dry even as his tunic was ruined. Stiles had focused mainly on food, because he couldn’t conjure something out of nothing. He could ensure that the fruit and nuts he ate would be sweet and kind to him, but he would have to have them before hand.

His tunic was near ruined when he exited, on the other end of the city. It was night again, the tell-tale curve of the moon letting him know that he had spent a day in the dark down below. He pushed off as much filth as he could with his magic, also toning the colors down as he did so. Stiles couldn’t have anyone recognize him as nobility, which meant that flashy clothes are no good.

The border was easy to get to, a large bridge that always had a line to come in, and a trickle to leave. He wasn’t sure why there was only a handful that wished to run from this kingdom, but perhaps Deucalion was a kinder king than he was father. Or perhaps he was a strict man with hawk eyes, ensuring that only those who would not be missed left.

Stiles shifted the bones in his face before stepping up to meet the guard. He gave himself a squashed nose and acne-ridden skin, with full lips and thin brows. The guard was a selfish man, with a dark heart and a hatred for the kingdom he served. He also wore a penchant for gold, greedy in his pursuit of the metal.

Stiles stepped forward. “Name?” The guard asked, bored. Stiles refused to let his fear show, unsure if the man was a werewolf or not. He hesitantly reached out with his magic, sensing slight resistance. Another Mage.


He felt his blood run cold. She could have a defensive block in every guard’s mind for all Stiles knew. How powerful a Mage could she be? Did Deucalion try to use her, and when he couldn’t did she lose herself? What happened? How could someone so powerful succumb? Who was she?

There had to be another way around the man. Stiles coughed, trying to get his head to work. “Horace.”

“Horace who?”

“Hor--” Stiles looked at his hands, spotting the gold band he wore for his engagement. Of course. “Is this gold I do spy?”

It perked the guard’s interest, who began to look at him with earnest, shifting slightly to see the small shimmer that danced across the band in the pale moonlight. “Are you trying to bribe me?” He whispered, snapping away from Stiles.

Stiles shrugged, trying to keep his cool. He wanted to kill this man, but just across the bridge was maybe one hundred fold of people. He couldn’t just demolish them all; the scene would undoubtedly be marked back to him. “I’m of no importance. What is a bribe, when there was never a briber?”

The ring slips off easily, slick with sweat. Stiles holds it casually in his hand, as if his entire existence isn’t hinging on the man being a selfish human. The door swings in his favor as the man snatches away the ring. “Go ahead.”
For a day, Stiles wanders west, finding streams and wading the water for hours to confuse his scent. He knows he’ll get to the Hale kingdom, but he isn’t sure when. It’s six days carriage ride from Scott, not that Stiles ever went. The spring time was when Stiles was weakest, Hallow’s eve a full half year away and between the solstices. With Deucalion there and so many werewolf’s enjoying the birth of new beginnings, Stiles never wanted to partake in the festival, thrown every few years.

Do you want to die? They would whisper. Scott will have fun, but if you go… They don’t like you. They will kill you. And that will leave Scott all alone, ready to be used and abused. Do you want to leave Scott alone forever?

It didn’t mean that he didn’t watch Scott very, very careful as he made the journey. He had never used his magic so far, as in a striking curse or capturing the physical essence of a being, but he would try if he felt Scott was being threatened.

But no, he flourished under the gaze of so many like him, unafraid of acting more wolf-like. It filled Stiles with something akin to jealousy, for him to not share that part of himself with Stiles but share it with them. Scott attending the festival always left a sour taste in his mouth.

There won’t be another festival when you’re done. You’ll get to keep Scott to watch the spring blossom. He’ll be so happy he won’t have to be cooped up in a carriage for two weeks. Thanks to you. The voices pause, merriment swirling around them all. Not that he’ll ever know.

Stiles treads on, occasionally eating some bread that he took. He has a canteen as well, that he could always fill with water from the stream and purify it later. There is one thing in the sack that he doesn’t touch, doesn’t linger on, but every time he sees it, he overflows with giddy excitement. Even if he had to go a few days without food, as long as he held tightly to the sacred item, everything would come to a happy end.

Happy for him and Scott and Allison, at least. But those were the only people that really matter to him anyway.

The day turns into night and Stiles shivers at the idea of sleeping out in the open. He creates a warm fire, using fallen branches and magic, and casts a small protective barrier to keep him safe. Paranoia floods his system, because Jennifer may be able to sense his powers, but it dwindles down quickly. Even if she could, even if she would, it mattered more that Stiles lived through the night than staying undetected.

The woods become lonely quick. Stiles sees the moment Allison tells Scott about Stiles, minus their swear to keep silent his plan, gets to see his panic and worry bleed out for Stiles. It hurts that he has caused distress for his brother, but to know he cares sparks a warmth in his chest. Stiles knows that Allison will soothe him, will keep his secret.

It’s all he can ask for.

The days turn cold as he wanders, not taking in the fact that it was the turn of autumn into winter. He enchants his tunic to keep him warm, letting it suck out his energy. He had little food, little water, constant need for his well of powers, and didn’t know if he was going the way he needed to be. Plus, the voices were all speaking now, for this was the most interesting thing Stiles had done so far.

Are you going to kill them all on sight? Are you going to make them suffer? Do you think the Lonely Wolf will really fall for you?

You must lure them, you must make them think you are nothing. You must make them believe that you are Deucalion’s.

Deucalion can never find out that you are here. Everything will go to shambles if you are found out. You can’t pretend that you did nothing, that you weren’t the culprit, if you have to kill all of them.

Can you kill all of them? Are we strong enough? Will our magic work against the werewolves? Will our magic turn the prince’s heart? Are we strong enough to protect Scott?

Stiles tireless walked forward, sometimes losing himself in thought and missing a step. His skin hit the dirt too many times and he left the grime and scratches for later because all his energy was being taken up by watching Scott, keeping a field out to protect himself and ensuring he stayed warm.

The third day walking resulted in the voices breaking down, just repeating Scott to the tempo of his tired marching. Stiles’ lips are chapped, because he refuses to refill the canteen until he can at least encounter a deeper stream than those present.

He falls into a ditch of some sort, too tired to let himself continue. A week of walking, of keeping away from wolves and lions and unsure of being out of Deucalion's borders has exhausted him. His body hurts so bad, laying limp on the forest ground. The voices pause, silent for once. It feels as if everything has gone silent around him.

Stiles feels bruised everywhere, except the souls of his feet. Those are cracked open, muscles pulled tight to snapping. He just wants to rest for a moment, but the thought of it feels wrong. The voices too quiet, as if they wait for him to give up.

He wants to rest indefinitely. He wants to give up, give over his power. He doesn’t want to have to do this anymore, this being such a difficult encounter. He doesn’t want to have to protect Scott, and then a surge of guilt and disgust have him sitting up. There is no way Stiles would think that, feeling enraged at the demons pulling at his own emotions.

He viciously rips control back into his hands completely, forcing himself to crawl out of the cold dip in the earth, feeling the weak sunlight on his dirty skin for the first time in a while. His mind feels bare, his control shaky. Stiles can’t afford to let the demons play a game with him when he has no one around to keep in check.

They snarl at him for a moment, taking up screaming. His head hurts so bad.

The streams become deeper, the trees become less fruitful. He can feel an empty being carved out of him, a desire to strike down whatever he may see. The deer, the squirrels, these meatbags that would give him no nourishment but perhaps slight pleasure as they died.

Stiles isn’t sure when his mind went dark, but this is the first time he’s allowed it to cover his thoughts completely. It’s like a blanket, warm and familiar to him. He thinks on striking down the castle the moment he sees it, watching it drop like the birds he strikes out of the sky. But then, Deucalion would know it was him.

If he wasn’t gone for so long, they would be able to trace any madness back to him. And that wouldn’t do, would it? He muses to the dying shrub in front of him. He grazes his hand against it’s thorns, plucking off the shriveled berries that somehow managed to survive the first frost.

He doesn’t eat much, hunger a constant friend. It makes him look twice at the rare animal he kills, look at it and wonder what would happen if he ate it? Would it end like the first time - where he tasted the last moments of the beating heart, the fear and failure that comes with being caught? Would he like it as much as he liked the first time, how powerful the stopped beat made him feel? Would it scare him again?

He trudges on, removing the sandals from his feet. It’s been a week and a half, if the moon hadn’t yet lied to a sinner like him. He dreamed of a thousand nights passing, of him waking up in a new world, with the kingdoms demolished and Scott gone. A world of nothing to him.

He didn’t sleep anymore, when he could help it. He takes to biting the skin around his nails, letting the voices urge him to give this up, to find another way to protect Scott. His hands bleed as he crouches in the moonlight, too tired to move on, too terrified to let sleep take him.

Protect him from home. This way is just killing you and worrying him. If you die out here, then who will tell him? He will always wait for you to return, as we all decay in this forest.

Stiles takes to shaking his head, telling himself that this is the best way to protect Scott’s innocence. He wants a happy brother, a brother that never has to see him as a monster. He does this selfishly, selfish because he was only a piece of Scott, desperate to remain in his heart.

Stiles fears that if Scott did not see him as someone to love that he would disappear entirely. His mind wanders to Jennifer. Did she lose her way too, lose someone close to her? Did they leave her? Scott would never leave him, would always see the good as long as he wasn’t forced to see the evil. He wouldn’t see the way the blood stained Stiles’ eyes, Allison’s dress, their friendship. His family.

He stumbles across a village, drab in the Hale colors, and he sighs in relief. An adolescent wanders near the woods, where he hides. He doesn’t approach, knowing that he would truly look like the bare bones of the dark Mage he tries so hard not to act like. The mind is easy to slip into, they probably don’t even notice. They pause for a moment, and Stiles sees that the capital, the castle, is only two days walk in the forest more, and he lets them go.

They respond accordingly, looking down and around confusedly. He watches for a minute, disinterested, knowing they weren’t going to remember what they came out of the village for. They take a cautious step forward, before shaking their head and turning around. Stiles lurches forward, staying away from the village. He should go in, to bandage up his hands and get a meal and rest, but he stays moving.

He’s so close, so close to where he needs to be. If he stops, if he gives himself even an inch of lax, things will fall out of place, dart out of his grasp. No one told him as he aged the voices would sound as if they were outside of them, that it would feel like hands were pulling at his very being. Stiles could finish this, and then go home to Deaton. He could blame the time away on the demons, on the voices, could blame them for his disappearance.

Stiles could say that he had no idea where the time went, and Scott would believe him. Scott would believe him and feel so bad for him, would try to take care of him. That’s just the type of brother he was, the type that would move sun and stars to show his dedication. And Stiles was the type of brother that would stop threats and lives to protect him.

The last few days, when it’s clear Stiles won’t die, the voices decide they can speak again. He knows, knows almost too well that some of them were screaming just to mess with him. How he hates his own head.

Do you really think you can find him? Do you think you can make him like us? That he’ll be able to be turned with your power? That he’s so alone that he’ll be easily manipulated? Do you think that his parents won’t be suspicious?

It’s at the castle, so pretty, so pulled away from the city, that Stiles makes his mistake. He was aware that almost every Hale was a werewolf, which was why the castle was surrounded by more wilderness than buildings. Stiles knew, and yet he still darted to the edge of it.

It was his second day watching from the trees, mumbling under his breath to distract from the voices, when he realizes he’s also being watched. A pair of golden eyes glint at him from a few yards away, and Stiles can feel his heart stop. He still hadn’t laid an eye on the Prince Derek.

Stiles knew how stupid it was to run, knew how fast werewolves were, but he still tried darting away. He ended up circled between six of them, only the tiniest bit of magic working on them. He was sweating from the effort of his power, and by all means they should be dead, but instead they growled, not coming any closer than several feet.

Eventually, one lifted his head and howled, realizing they weren’t going to get any closer. Stiles wanted to laugh, if the werewolves weren’t able to get to him, then how could some pathetic human guards?

If you kill them, we lose the art of secrecy. They will know our power, they will hear Deucalion ask for you, they will send us back. We will die if you continue this path. Is that what you want? To be rid of everything?

Then give it to us, we will take care of everything. Just don’t kill us, you idiot.

Stiles faltered, seeing the men run in their chainmail towards them. He draws his magic back, ready to strike for fear of being killed but letting the men get close. They hit him twice, hard, and he goes down.

He stays down, trying not to smile. They wrap him in chains, gripping it roughly. He can feel their fear, without even going into their minds, as if the werewolves had somehow warned them that they couldn’t touch him. The werewolves stay behind the men, growling low and rough. Stiles lets them manhandle them into this box, this carrier. As they do so, they rip the knapsack from him, and he screams for a moment.

He needs that, it’s everything for him. Lunging out to grab it ends with him getting punched in the gut. Stiles groans, stumbling forward, slumping down into the box.

The chains clink as they lock onto the box. Stiles sits down in it, glad to not have to walk anymore. Adrenaline runs out on him, from the fight, and he’s actually grateful to be caught. He wants to rummage around the heads of those around him, find out who the Lonely Wolf is, but he’s so tired. He just wants to sleep.

It’s an effort to not fall asleep on the walk back to the palace. They move slowly, laboriously, aware of the creature sitting inside their cage. The humans probably don’t really know what he is, how he could destroy them with a single whim. He dozes slightly, hoping that he could get his power up.

He has enough when they reach the bridge, and, and some thoughts scream at him from across the way. Confusion and awe and curiosity hit him all at once. Stiles snaps his head up, wondering who really could be that loud in thoughts.

A handsome man stands at the entrance of the castle, straight on one side. He stares up at where Stiles sits, where he rests easy. Stiles gazes back, wondering who this man was, gently reaching out with his magic to hear him. He hit a wall with thoughts, and the man didn’t even blink. This wasn’t like Jennifer’s magic, no this was, this was.

This man was a werewolf. Stiles looked at him, because he was the first werewolf guard he had seen in the flesh, instead of in the fur. He wasn’t hard to look at all, and Stiles just keep pushing, kept hoping that if he pushed enough into his head he could see into it. Why was he looking like a rabbit into the cage of the captured?

Stiles didn’t look away until they passed him, hearing a small sigh leave him. Did he, did he feel Stiles try to crawl his way into his skull?

You wagered our freedom on a gamble. We can’t just sit around and hope to find the prince, we’re going to be put away.

Steal away tonight. Forget this. You’re so tired, aren’t you? We’re so ready to help you, let us help, let us in.

Stiles lets what little bit of power he has trickle back into him, sighing softly. Should he try to scour the brains of the guards? How long would he have to look before finding information on Prince Derek? Would it be worth it?

You’ve exhausted yourself. Give us the reigns. Rest for a moment, rest for some time. You’ll feel so much better.

He forced himself to dig into the rust on the cage, cutting open his shoulder. It hurt, it burned so bad, but he felt stronger. Less likely if he fell asleep then he would lose his battle.
The guard brought him a blanket of fine linens, his body screaming curiosity. Stiles feared this werewolf, unsure if his curiosity was completely based in innocence or if he wanted something, more, from Stiles.

He prodded suspiciously around the mind of the guard, wondering if perhaps he could degrade the wall through time. But who was to say it would work, who was to say the man would be back? Stiles might have been able to understand werewolves, and how the common one counteracted his magic, if he could get him to return.

This guard wanted to know why Stiles was held captive. “Why do you think I’m here?” Stiles whispered softly, taking a hit in the dark. The man didn’t return. Stiles slept fitfully, wondering if he would see another trace of him, uncharacteristically warm from the soft blanket.

The morning brought a different man down, his emotions carefully blank. Stiles had never met someone so...wiped clean. He had gray hair and piercing blue eyes, walking with such predatory grace that there wasn’t even a question of if he was a wolf. His robes screamed regal, screamed important, so Stiles gleamed that he was part of the Hale family, and probably very self-idolizing for it.

Stiles sat far, far away from the bars, trying to appear submissive and non-threatening. He wasn’t sure what to do, rarely seeing Scott shift or act like a werewolf. “What do we have here?” The man spoke softly, a lilt of amusement on the tip of his tongue. He traced the bars gently, both of them knew he could bend them out of place if it was his desire.

Stiles kept silent, cracked hands forming fearful fists under his calves.

The man opened the door, and the voices screamed of freedom, of risking it, of staying and sticking to the safety behind these walls, of giving up to them. They weren’t a unit anymore, all different on how they thought the next step should go. “I heard that the wolves couldn’t step near you, when they found you spying in the woods. Did you think that you could come here and not be detected?”

Stiles keeps silent, watching as the man stalks into the cellar slowly.

“Why did Deucalion send you?” And Stiles, Stiles isn’t sure how to respond, because he can’t say he isn’t from Deucalion. They found his sigil in the burlap sack, in his belongings. “What type of magic do you possess to hold the teeth of wolves at bay?”

Do NOT use your magic on him, Stiles. It startles Stiles into looking up, looking at the werewolf who examines him cooly. This was the first time the demons had used his name since helping him kill the King. They couldn’t lie to him, his mind their habitat, but they could hide things. They could hurt him by not saying things, but they wouldn’t lie. He was unsure on how this Hale would know if he used magic, or what would be the consequence, but he bites back his desire to probe his mind, discover if this is the Lonely Wolf. He’s rather old.

Stiles keeps silent, unsure on what to say and aware of how it infuriates this Hale.

His vision whites for a moment when he feels claws on his injured shoulder, opening up the bruise. Stiles chokes out a cry, hands flying to push the claws out. By the time his fingers cradle his bleeding shoulder, the claws are gone. “Are you sure you don’t want to talk?”

This Hale’s eyes flash an even more electric blue, showing that he has killed. He has conquered lives, has done it whether for pride, pleasure, or promise and has lived to do it again. Stiles keeps silent. He sighs, moving away. “No, I suppose not. If it was that easy, then I wouldn’t be brought in. Think on my questions, and if you wish to keep up this mute act, because my next visit won’t be so pleasant.”

Stiles spends the next few hours hungry, prodding at his injured shoulder. He steals away the pain, until it’s numb, and tires to ignore the paper feeling of his tongue. The later hours brings another visitor, and Stiles can hear the tell-tale thump of the guard.

Maybe this man will be useful even if we can’t use magic on him. Maybe we could learn how to, he would never be none the wiser. He’s a common guard.

He brings food with him and water, water that almost has Stiles jumping towards the bars. He stays sitting, tied to the bed from wariness. The man drops the food in from a slot that Stiles knows is supposed to be where he can’t open. Not like they accounted him for having so much magic.

Stiles darts out to grab the food, dragging it closer to his cot, along with the cup of water. It’s bread and meat, not something he would choose on his plate, but he wasn’t going to complain for the grains. His magic has his hands shaking, so much in them in case the man tries anything. Stiles isn’t scared, Stiles is cautious.

He tears off a chunk of the bread, trying to ignore the idea of gulping all of the water down first. For a minute, he has silence, as the man refrains from indulging in his curiosity. Stiles knows it’s only a moment before the man speaks, pours out his interest. Maybe Stiles is the first prisoner that has been brought in with such heavy restraints, maybe he heard the horror stories that are probably spreading on him.

“What’s your name?” Stiles slows his chewing, realizing that maybe the guard is just another person trying to get information. Good guy, bad guy, good guy again. Trying to throw him off. Any royal would know him by the name of Genim, but he wants to be nice to this guard, even if he could lie.

He would end up lying later on anyways. “Stiles.” His heart stays true, even without his magic.

“Stiles.” The man’s mouth forms his name as if it’s a foreign word, in a different language. Stiles would laugh, but he knows how strange a name it is, and besides, he’s content to watch the pretty, full lips try out his name. “My name is Derek.”

“Derek?” Stiles is almost certain that he chokes on his bread, that his heart stops, that the world tilts, and that all of the demons explode from his skull to throw a party in celebration. “As in, Derek Hale?”

His cheeks go ruddy, as if he’s being caught, and it all comes slamming to realization. The other man, the older Hale, with loose resemblance to this one, must be his father. Must be toying with Stiles. Must be wanting to kill him.

They were sicker than him if they were letting the prince play with Stiles just for his own amusement. “Yes.”
The prince doesn’t just play with him, as it turns out. And the older Hale is his uncle, found out when he came down the next day and spoke on his nephew always picked the strangest things to get fixated on.

He hit Stiles a few times, but seemed much more interested in the fact that Stiles would seem to talk to the prince and not him. He learned from Derek that his tormentor, the one who was supposed to make him talk, was named Peter. He did a shit job at it, always pulling back, but Stiles didn’t doubt for a minute that he would be able to hurt him.

Stiles wondered if his magic would, could, hurt the older man. Or if he would recognize it in the air. One time he got a little too rough, and Stiles buckled and said he wasn’t there from Deucalion. His heart tripped, earning him a bruise on his cheekbone, but the lie had been intentional. A building block on his plan.

Derek stared hungrily, angrily, possessively at the bruise that night.

Stiles has begun to understand that Derek doesn’t understand the pull Stiles has on him, doesn’t realize every time he sits close Stiles tries to probe deep inside his mind and discover everything he can.

He paints a picture for Derek while he is present, another building block. He is almost certain that everything he says is spoken back to the uncle, despite the prince’s kindness. He talks on his father, placing him in Deucalion’s guard. He’s honest on the gladiators in the kingdom, never having the stomach to see them perform. Lydia stopped going too, apparently after Deucalion didn’t spare a gladiator by the name of Whittemore.

He talks about growing up there, painting a dreary picture. He acts as if he can’t speak on some things, some things too hard. He spends a moment or two in the passing talking about his mother, about feeling alone. He doesn’t even have to magic his heart beat, doesn’t have to explain because the prince just gets it.

Stiles starts to feel, thawing out the more time he spent away from Scott. Derek had been decidedly kind to him, had even started to give him things to occupy the day. Stiles moved from drawing pictures of Scott, pictures of Allison with her bow, of them in the gardens, to drawing Derek’s smile, the way his hands calloused.

He hesitantly asked to see the shift, because Scott never showed him, and it was breathtaking. Stiles wondered what Scott’s was like, wondered if his eyebrows went away and he grew a beard. He was strictly prohibited from Scott during the full moon, and the boy was bitten so young he grew easy over the control. He wondered if Scott’s eyes would be as beautiful, as luminescent, as Derek’s.

You really think he cares for us? He has no idea who we are. Stiles tried hard not to listen to the voices, feeling an empty carve itself into him. Thinking on Derek made him feel so many things, from happy to guilt. If he liked us, cared even a fraction of what Scott did, then we wouldn’t be in here for much longer. And he’d be dead.

That was a fact that Stiles couldn’t reason away. Derek remained persistently out of the reach of his magic, which was never the case with Scott. Scott, who as the moons passed, grew more and more anxious to find Stiles. He sent out spies to Deucalion’s, met with Kali, even begged Allison to tell him. She cried saying that she did not know. She lied for him, breaking their dear Scott’s heart, so afraid for Stiles.

It didn’t matter the petty feelings that Stiles may develop over Derek, because he knew without a shade of uncertainty that when time came, he would always choose Scott. This resolution grew stronger, stronger as the moons passed and the winter thawed. Stiles saw it through Scott, becoming impishly restless with the idea that Scott may be coming closer to him, coming to the Hale kingdom.

The older Hale frequents often, striking less. He can sense something off about Stiles, but is starting to at least be intrigued by him. The man brings games now, such as chess, and tries to engage Stiles. He sits close to the bars, but Stiles doesn’t respond, playing his hand quickly but clumsily. He hopes the ruse that he isn’t good at planning, because of a board game, would pull the wool over the wolf’s eyes.

A game is played by two characters. Is he our opponent? Or is Deucalion? Who are we protecting Scott from, or are we even protecting him anymore?

Derek brings by a woman, human, next time he comes. She follows him quickly, ducking around him with interest. Derek feeds off waves of selfishness, as if Stiles is a toy that is his and he doesn’t want to share. It makes Stiles taste bile in the back of his throat, the thought that he could be so possessed. Her mind is a plethora of time spent around guards, especially one with the name of Boyd. How her heart craves him, craves their bond that they get to have because he’s a knight.

Her name is Erica, and she’s a quick wit, sharp tongue that Stiles hasn’t seen since Lydia. His mind briefly flashes to the banshee, wondering how she is fairing. She had yet to grace the doorstep of Allison. Erica has years of memories from Derek, some even making Stiles want to smile fondly. She is close to his pack, a friend of deep ties.

Derek stutters over an introduction, not knowing that Stiles has already gleamed her life story in the last few seconds, his magic so pented up and ready to be to use on anything. He looks at her, carefully as if he fears her. She doesn’t seem to mind that she is in the presence of two very, very dangerous creatures.

At least, she knows one of them is dangerous.

She brings him food during the festival, throwing out anecdotes of the day, or stories of Derek. She does well not to ask questions or act upset when Stiles stays silent. His energy vibrates his very soul, and he wants to speak, wants to continue speaking until he cannot speak anymore. He wants to tell her everything, everything he’s been bottling up.

But he keeps silent, knowing there will be plenty of time to speak with Allison. Patience never wore quite right on Stiles’ shoulders, but he is learning how to drape it over himself. The festival brings all of Deucalion’s family, and a majority of the McCalls, minus his father.

Stiles tries to fill some pity at that, a trace of regret of not seeing his father for close to a year now, but all he musters is pride at Scott. All that fills him is excitement to be able to physically feel Scott’s purity again, his soul dancing above him. It’s like a breath of fresh air; like he’s being told that he is going the right way.

Scott’s here, Scott remembers us, Scott loves us. You care for him so much, and he takes all of us and cares for us. Protect him.

Until he sees Scott run into the courtyard, because Kali has tried to attack Derek, even though he wasn’t going to fight back, and they start talking about him and--

We cannot tolerate this, this will bring ruin to us. Stiles is left awestruck at how powerful the surge of magic is, with each demon backing him, and how he allows himself to just seize control, control of Scott.

He wants to vomit by how despicable he feels, apologizing profusely until he gets Scott back to his room. The only name that passed through lips was Genim, which meant that Stiles’ cold sweat for nothing.
Summer brought about Derek’s real feelings. Stiles had seen them before, once when he padded down to pant outsides Stiles’ cell during him pleasuring himself. He had seen it when Derek had dared a darting glancing towards Stiles’ naked body. But now he could feel it, sense it in the air that hung heavy between unspoken words.

Derek may not want to play with Stiles, but Stiles was much more inclined. He felt vindictive, now that he was here, his demons begging him to hold out. But in the past several months, Stiles stopped caring. He had a motony he never wanted in his life, only a few key ways to seek entertainment and pleasure. He was ready for it to be over, almost ready to hand over everything to the promising whispers that relaxing wasn’t so bad, that they could handle what was to happen. A red flag that what he is planning is something bordering on evil.

But nothing is evil when done out of love. Too bad Stiles didn’t have any heart left for the werewolf before him. Too bad that it’s going to be so much fun to see him shatter.

Peter brings food for him, the first time. Stiles isn’t sure why, because Derek has brought him a plethora in the last few weeks, acting as if he was fattening Stiles up for the eating. He had avoided the cell for a couple of days, saying it was his heat. Another werewolf trait that Stiles was unused to, seeing as he was separated from Scott on all regards. But he can feel the fire pouring off of Derek’s skin, can sense the tension in his shoulders, the dark passion in his eyes that frankly sends thrills through Stiles.

Stiles wonders if the older Hale is helping because Derek could not feed him, until he reaches out to touch the food with his magic. It has some type of...werewolf magic, power, a powder of some sorts, sprinkled in it. Would it work on him?

The demons rallied against eating it, saying the wolfsbane, the powder, could harm Stiles. This Hale knew too much, saw too much, but Stiles had been there for half a year. What was there to care for anymore? Even if the wolfsbane made him tell the truth, even if it killed him, could it really stop what was to happen?

With Stiles dead, the only difference in the plan is that Deucalion would strike first. He’d make sure Scott never even remembered his face, he could do it.

But the wolfsbane didn’t kill Stiles, even though it sent shocks and splutters through his system, collapsing him in less than a few minutes. The older Hale gathered him up in his arms, and touch felt so good, and the demons had gone so quiet, was this peace?

He felt the shackles that bound him, irritating on his sensitive skin. He was sweating so bad, even the clothes he wore felt burdensome. The Hale’s hands were on him the whole time, carting him up the dungeon. Stiles whimpered into the touch, not recognizing this needy creature that his body was deducing him to.

The wolfsbane, the wolfsbane was going to kill him. It was going to eat his insides out with fire, he was so sure, and even though it felt so nice to be touched, he needed more. Instinctively, Stiles knew he needed more. He cried into the nice cotton that Peter wore, cried when they entered a room. His heartbeat was so loud, was demanding something he didn’t even know how to ask for.

Peter dropped him on the bed, moving away. Stiles shrieked at that, certain that he would die if left like this. He pitched himself forward, falling ass up, making pathetic mewling sounds. What was happening to him?

Please, his body begged, please touch.

Peter smirked over at him, where his face was turned to stare at him in the mattress. He walked over and Stiles kept hold, kept whining. Anything to make this agony stop. The touch was so nice, it was so cooling.

The older Hale pushed him back up, straightening him. His insides were starting to hurt, were starting to feel like they were crisps. A foreign need screamed within him, and he had no idea how to feed it.

Peter gagged him, telling him not to ruin the surprise. He left him like that, panting, sweating, gagged mess and Stiles cried, letting big, fat, tears roll down his cheeks and onto the cloth in his mouth. He didn’t know what the surprise was, he just wanted to be done with it already. And then, when it felt as if his very bones were breaking from the heat, cracking dry, his could feel his magic in the air.

It pulsed around him, doing nothing to settle him because it could not touch nor defeat this werewolf trick. Stiles wanted to sob, this was the most torturous thing he had been put through. And he didn’t know how to make it stop.

Then Derek stumbled into the room, looking no better than Stiles felt, and for a moment all they did was stare at each other. Stiles became so frustrated, so angry that Derek could stand over there away from him, could probably smell how much Stiles was in pain, and he let a terrifyingly pathetic noise push past the gag.

It got Derek to move at least, and when the chains finally were off, Stiles could have cried. Everything felt so raw, the clothes were too much, the bed was too much. He just wanted to be held, so he reached out and Derek, Derek--

Derek kissed him, open-mouth and filthy, as if he was searching for the gods behind Stiles’ lips. And oh, how it sent something raging inside Stiles, how it broke a part of his body, sent him reaching up to tangle his arms around this man. He could feel his magic all around, dancing in the room as if it wanted to destroy it. Stiles didn’t know how to bring it back in, couldn’t help the way it pressed them closer.

Everything was so hot. From Derek’s skull to his fingertips to his neck. They were being suffocated by this.

By this heat. Derek’s heat. Stiles wanted a cold bucket of water to wake him, because his mind was running again, and oh god, Derek’s heat. But his body still reacted negatively when Derek shoved him down and moved away, his mouth still let begging noises slip past it when Derek stepped out of his tunic.

He still gasped when he felt Derek’s hands on his body, removing his tunic, and he still let his spine curve to chase those hands to touch more of him. His dick still sat full of blood, ready to be given attention. But Stiles, Stiles did not want this and he turned his head, the most he could do, from it.

Derek ripped him back to looking at him with a sharp tug in his hair. Stiles whimpered, bucking up into Derek when he kissed him so lightly. Everything ached, even what felt like his heart. He felt like he was breaking, breaking into a thousand little pieces. The room shimmered, Stiles staring at the ceiling with tears in his eyes, as Derek kissed his body.

And it felt so good. He closed his eyes to the pleasure of it, a few tears slipping out as he found himself responding, so eager, to everything. Derek’s mouth felt like heaven around him, it felt like it was going to cool him down, was going to fix whatever was wrong with him. And though Stiles did not want this, he was going to let it happen.

Because he couldn’t stop it.

But the orgasm did nothing to cool his insides, and in a moment they lit up again as if something rekindled his need. Derek flipped him, and he hid all of his crying in the pillow as Derek prepped him. His body twisted, arched, begged for what Derek was giving it. Even opening his mouth just called for more reaffirmation that he was needing this as bad as Derek.

But what little piece of him detached from this, detached from this wolfsbane madness, buried itself in memories. Scott playing with him in the garden, as they clumsily tried to make the flower crowns that they saw the maids wearing.

Derek was half-way in. Stiles’ body gave no resistance, even pushing back, begging for more. Sweat dripped from his chest, rolled off of his arms, and he shook from the pleasure of being filled.

Allison falling over a few arrows one day in the woods. She had been trying to finish a joke before breaking eye contact. Stiles laughed, hard, but it was at her mistake rather than her wit.

Every snap into him was a revelation. He was certain that he could stay here, where his body could belong, and let Derek fill him for the rest of his life. Little breathy half-cries left his mouth every time Derek pushed himself back in, every time he felt the harder grasp of Derek’s hands, Derek’s mouth, on him.

His father teaching him how to hold a dagger, because he wasn’t going to let Stiles just rely on magic. The rest of the men stood around watching, laughing as Stiles treated the blade as if it could personally kill him. It could.

Derek came inside him, and it was so strange but Stiles still felt a sound of carnal pleasure being ripped from his throat anyway. He could feel his body rejoicing in it anyway. He was finished off shortly after, white pinpricks in his vision, and he closed his eyes. Derek slipped out of him, crowding up in his space and it felt like Stiles could breathe again for a moment. The fever was gone for a second.

He wanted to tell Derek how he didn’t want it, but he was crowding into Stiles space, burying himself into his arms and his face into Stiles’ neck. He lay on top of him, tired and strong, and kissed him softly before falling asleep. Stiles was trapped.

He felt liquid slip out of him, spread slick on his thighs.
Derek left him down in the cellar afterwards, returning to their routine as if he hadn’t spent a week with Stiles in heat. The first few days back in the room are the worst, Stiles shaking awake to the memory of the fire boiling his blood. He’s left weak, trying to gather up his magic and withdraw from a week of wolfsbane. He spends the next few days breathing thinly, trying not to be sick or flinch when Derek brings him things.

Derek seems at a lost on how to broach this anymore, something he probably wanted but wasn’t going to ask for. His energy has changed, from the comfortable inquiring into soft, pained, uncertainty. The demons returned also, maybe being awoken now that Stiles, maybe knowing that he’ll listen to them now.

Are you going to stick us here forever? To be his little slut? Or do you really want to hurt him? Do you want him to suffer for taking that from you?

Do you want to break his heart, before killing him?

...Are you that much of a monster?

And Stiles, Stiles wanted to deny it, but when Derek came by and forced him to talk, all he could think on was how he could hear into Derek’s head now, even if his footing was slippery. How he could see how much Derek cared for him, but it wasn’t even a penny of thoughts to Scott’s love.

Derek spoke on getting Stiles out, getting Stiles to be with him, always. To trap him, tie him to Derek forever. It’s almost a pleasant thought, that maybe, maybe if duty didn’t tie him to Lydia, if the treaty had never existed, maybe he would have met this werewolf. Maybe he could be the one that he fell in love with.

A different world, maybe.

Stiles tore some of the paper out of one of his books, writing on it messily. He didn’t have anything of Allison’s but he was sure that he could get this letter to her. He avoided writing her, avoided writing anyone because he didn’t want Scott finding it. He worried that she hadn’t burned the first letter, that Scott would discover this from him.

Allison would be in Hale kingdom in a week. Allison would discover Stiles on the road back, and they would ride home together. They would come back to the kingdom, to Scott, together and he would none the wiser for how his problems were solved. Stiles just had to keep his heart and head intact for the next few days. He just had to pretend that looking at Derek didn’t twist something awful in his chest.

Instead, Stiles waited patiently for Derek to come back and tell him the inevitable, that he was free from the cell. Stiles was almost excited to be free, to see those things that he hadn’t see in a year. He stayed safely at Derek’s back, Derek’s inner wolf sensing nothing from him to fear.

“Hey, Derek.” Stiles starts off, slipping his magic loosely into Derek’s body. It’s dark, confusing, but Stiles knows he can do what he needs to. “You know how people have nicknames for others?”

This is funny. This is a good way.

Derek spares a glance back at him, face open and eyes clear. “Yeah.”

Look at how he trusts us, he’s such a fool.

A laugh bubbles up from Stiles’ throat, unbidden by him. “Oh, but no one in my family uses it." He doesn't recall saying anything that would lead him to this. Strange. He almost feels like a puppet, but he knows that this death will save Scott. His magic stays strong, searching for the beat.

“I still want to know it.” He presses.

Oh, how he wants to know everything. He should know he is nothing to Scott.

“Okay, but it’s a little hard to pronounce.” Stiles looks at this man, this man that seemed like he cared so much. His heart beats towards Stiles, as if it wants to be close to him. He only wants to be back with Scott. “My real name is Genim.”

Soon we will be with him. Soon this will be over.

He feels his magic loosely tug on Derek’s life force. It’s not like with the King, where he could identify the bright bulb of light that he wanted to extinguish. No, this was as if he was stumbling blind. “Oh, but Derek?” He was almost certain that he was where he wanted to be.

Derek stopped, turning to look at him.

Look at his face! He’s so scared of us!

“That’s not the only thing I didn’t tell you truthfully.” This is for Scott.

Is that why you’re dragging it out? For Scott?

“My mother was a mage, but Deucalion didn’t kill her.” Why was he telling him this? Stiles thoughts flash to being alone, and then having Scott. How he cared for him, even when his father hated him. “I did.”

Oh, now he’s scared. Wonderful, wonderful.

The demons’ glee stretches his mouth into something awful. He can feel Scott’s hug around him, his blanket acceptance and love. It’s so close that Stiles wants to shake and jump and laugh. The lantern falls as Derek stumbles backwards, and Stiles can’t have that. He tightens up his power, pulling Derek. “I was a little too powerful at birth. So I guess I lied about that too, huh? I am much more powerful than my mother ever was.”

Powerful enough to protect Scott.

Powerful enough to do what has to be done. Smart enough to have some fun with it.

Derek falls to his knees, and Stiles knows his vise around Derek’s life is choking him. He wonders how similar it feels to when they were in the heat room, idly, refusing to think on what actually happened in the heat room. He can’t afford a break now.

Snuffing out Derek wasn’t like the King, because he was sure with the King. It was like blowing out a candle. With Derek it was like, like, throwing a dart towards a map at night. But he still bowed out, and Stiles was certain of one thing. He wasn’t going to wake up again.

“I’m also a lot more deadly.”
Using the lantern to set fire to the castle was rather melodramatic, because no one came screaming, crying of fire. It was probably because it was covered in less than twenty minutes, aided by Stiles’ tricks.

He found the older Hale’s room easily, creating a path that wasn’t engulfed with the red hot flames. Peter was badly burned, so badly that he was now just breathing shallowly. But he would live.

Stiles dragged him out, needing at least one person from the Hale lineage alive. He needed one that would be full of rage, full of pain, from the loss of his family. One that would direct his anger at Deucalion.

He would have chosen a different one if a different one had feed him that wolfsbane.

After making sure that Peter was dragged close enough to the woods, he wanders off into them. He finds the road, a road at least, and starts walking. It takes a few hours, a few hours of being cold in his tunic with the demons cackling, saying he is just like them, before a carriage pulls up.

Maybe he is like them, he thinks, looking at the black smoke tinging the dawn. He smiles as the horses slow to a trot.

A familiar doll face throws open the door, looking a little older. A little more tired. “Stiles?” Allison breathes out.

He guesses he looks a little more bruised. A lot more haunted. “Hey, Ally.” He steps closer to the carriage, chest feeling light. “How’s Scott?”

He’s going to be so happy to see us.