Beacon Hills is lovely, Stiles decides. He’s eight, and his father is bringing him here to keep him safe. There has been dissent in the kingdom, and he’d rather his son not be swept up in it. Though they are the royals, they don’t need to be physically present to rule. It is safer this way, and Stiles agrees. He witnesses, a few full moons ago, his mother become sunlight. It leaves an ache in his chest, but he knows that she still warms his days and lights his way.
Leaving the kingdom is a way to restart. Most of the fae didn’t mourn when one became sunlight, it is just the next form of life for them. Stiles keeps that in mind as he moves through his days, keeping up with his lessons and learning the court.
But now, all that he knows is that what he’s always known is gone. Stiles only knows that he will staying there for as many summers as his father wishes, and that there is a vast forest that beats with the heart of the supernatural. He can feel it in his bones, making him wish to dance.
The house he stays in is nice. It’s very human, which he knows he has to pretend to be for a bit. He puts all of his things down in his room, looking around. He’ll paint it blue, he decides, and he’ll keep his window open. He won’t let humankind suffocate him.
Stiles opens the window and, looking out, he sees a boy a ways away. He looks friendly, mop of hair racing on a bike. He decides to go meet him. Stiles is skidding outside when his father calls out a warning, “Remember! You must remain human around others.”
Stiles superstitiously touches his ears, which have been round since he stepped outside the car, before racing outside the house. He lets his second eyes take him towards the child, seeing the boy moving through feeling the earth. He skids to a stop in front of the boy, who almost hits him with the bike. He blinks at Stiles, his lungs wheezing out air.
“Hi! I like your bike.” Stiles says, smiling big. He wonders if this is common, or if the boy will laugh at him. Humans mainly communicated through speech, and common phrases were more likely to land him a friend. He hopes came off normal, human, enough.
The boy tries to make his breathing easier before responding. “Thanks but dude, I could have hit you. You came out of nowhere!”
Stiles’ cheeks tinge pink. He forgot that humans weren’t that fast. “I’m just really fast.” He shrugs. “I’m Stiles.” He offers up.
The boy scrutinizes him for a minute longer, before smiling back. “I’m Scott.” He looks around for a second. “If you have a bike, we could totally ride together.”
Stiles nods, before turning around. It wouldn’t be that hard for his dad to conjure up a bike. He leaves Scott waiting for him, making sure to move quickly but not supernaturally, chest feeling light. Beacon Hills is lovely.
It’s raining when they receive the news. His father became a deputy for the police department, holding counsel with his advisors when he was home. Stiles sat in with him often, trying to learn as much as he could before taking his place on the throne. The counsel tells them that a faction has split in the kingdom, and that they wish to have their own land. The faction is the minority of fae that becomes stardust in the next life, instead of sunlight.
Stiles can understand why they would prefer to rule themselves, most of the kingdom shunning them for their distinctive darkness as they approach adulthood. They develop black lips, and rings of red around the eyes, as well as black tattoos. No one is sure why some become stardust and some become sunlight, but a lot of rumors point to the darker fae being evil.
His father has never been a cruel man, but he listens as the council suggests different ways to squash the rebellion. Stiles hates the idea of destroying an entire minority, shudders away from the horror. Thankfully, his father doesn’t make the choice that night. The sun is stretching above the horizon when he sends away the council, and Stiles thinks on his mother reaching out to them. It gives him comfort.
His dad sighs, sitting down heavily. He looks tired. Stiles pulls up the courage from deep within. “What do you plan on doing, father?”
He looks over at him, squinting as if trying to discern what to do with the prince. “What do you think I should do?”
Stiles sits quiet for a few minutes, the energy of the forest bleeding into him. His body taps out the pulse of life while his mouth is closed. “If I were king,” Stiles starts out slowly, knowing his father would appreciate him putting himself in his mindset. “I would allow them to create their own kingdom, but not give them some of our land.”
“You would let them rival us?” His father asks incredulously.
Stiles shrugs. “I wouldn’t say rival.” He’s ten at this point, able to have conversations with his father over anything. His human eyes are amber, solid and wiser than the human children who understand nothing. “Create a treaty. They are so…” Stiles struggles for the right word. “So poorly treated. Here. Most of the fae don’t like them. And their powers are different, but not encouraged. If they had their own place to be, maybe, maybe they would flourish. Become powerful and be a good ally. They would be happier.”
His heart is beating wildly at the suggestion, his knowledge of power and kingdoms and people all on the line. His studies didn’t prepare him to tell his father how to make decisions like this. However, his father doesn’t appear mad at Stiles’ logic, instead appearing speculative.
He feels a sliver of hope when his dad nods at his idea.
Twelve and in love. Stiles is sure of it, that this girl is his sun, his moon, whatever type of fae she would be. Scott laughs when Stiles tells him he’s in love, telling him he can’t possibly know what love is yet. Stiles almost shoots back that the fae always know when they find their mate, but remembers that Scott is human. He wouldn’t understand, of course.
It appears that Lydia doesn’t understand either, when he approaches her and tells her how he feels. He can’t tell her he’s a fae, yet, because his father hasn’t given permission. She touches him, on the shoulder, eyes open wide and plump lips split to say something. It’s the touch that electrifies, and he isn’t sure what she is, but she is something. When she touches him, his sense of the earth goes away and he sees her, her intelligence and perseverance and strength. He stumbles slightly, and she laughs.
Lydia then goes on to apologize, tell him that he can’t be in love. She lets him down, not gently, but logically. He doesn’t mind, she doesn’t even know about her tie to the supernatural, much less him. The only problem for him now is that his father refuses to allow him the ability to tell her, saying that if she has a tie to the supernatural, she needs to discover it before anything else. He was a young fae, raised by humans, who had no idea of his royal blood until the fae forced it on him. He didn’t have a chance to be filled by wonder or discovery.
Which leaves Stiles to his own devices to woo her, which was difficult. He wasn’t nearly as graceful as he wanted to be around her, what with every time he got close she caused him to lose touch of the earth. He learned that his human body is a clumsy being. Especially when his body hit puberty, legs growing out and the entirety of his body becoming a reed.
He stays in human form, whether it be because three times a week Scott is over, or he’s over at Scott’s. It may be because he doesn’t have to face the fact that he went through puberty, which means his fae form is adult now. He’s going to look completely different.
Stiles eats more than he would like to admit, becoming addicted to the greasy foods that humans are obsessed with. His father turns his nose up at them, saying that it will pollute the magic. He works diligently with the council on helping the new fae city - which is the compromise. They would allow the fae who wished to be a part of that faction a city for themselves, in their own territory, with someone to rule over them. However, that fae was to report to his father on many things to keep it a part of the fae kingdom.
The kingdom offered protection, and the city became an ally, mainly because of how kind and willing the king had been. Stiles knows that a few of the fae over there are over there specifically to ensure that they do not plan on attacking the kingdom.
Puberty in a human’s body is also strange in the fact that he begins to develop acne, and a stench. Scott doesn’t seem to mind, laughing when Stiles bemoans the fact that his face had not only moles, but now zits. He didn’t mind his body, but he began to see it as something inferior. The skin is pale, but more pastey than porcelain. His buzzcut made his head look strange, but he hates having it long. His nose is too rounded to be sharp, too upturned to be considered straight.
He kept his feelings on his human form quiet. Stiles quickly became a chatterbox, when realizing how much he would have to say to get his point across to humans. They couldn’t sense it like the fae, couldn’t read it in their eyes. But that didn’t mean that he said anything valuable, like his belief on humans’ short existences, or thoughts on himself or his past.
Teachers began to ask questions on whether Stiles should be on medication, with his constant twitching and speaking out of turn. His father would nod politely and say he would look into it. Both of them knew it was the magnetic pull of whatever lurked in the forest.
Fourteen comes with the ability to wander into the forest. Stiles often drags Scott out there, enjoying the company as he feels more alive than he has before leaving the kingdom. He rambles a lot, hiding his thoughts within meaningless words. He can use a certain tone and Scott will just tune him out, which is wonderful because he can rephrase things and talk about his kingdom. He made it sound like a game he played.
Scott’s asthma had been steadily getting worse through the years, which means he can’t spend as much time as Stiles out in the woods. The fibers in the air could kill him. They would only spend a few hours in it as a time, but it helps. Stiles feels more in place, less disconnected from his world, while in there.
He soons discovers that it doesn’t help as much as he would like it to, and goes off in the woods alone for what feels like days. When he returns, always in time for school, his father will look at him with questioning eyes but he won’t say anything. His father quickly outranked everyone on the police force, with superior hearing, seeing, and speed. They realized that, and when the last Sheriff retired, they put him in charge.
Stiles knew that his father enjoyed it, having a position of power while away from his throne. The six years seem like a long time in a human’s body, but if a fae was never killed and never wished to die it could live for a very long time. Some of the council were hundreds of years old, appearing to be no older than fifty in their human form. Stiles wonders often how old they could be, how large the fae population could be.
When he’s out in the woods, he doesn’t shift. He tries to get his gangly, human, body to behave and move as graceful as it once did. The unfortunate truth is that it is no longer Lydia Martin that cut off his connection to the earth, but the body he stayed in. He felt weaker, less fae and more human, the longer he was in the body. However, he knew that his fae form had adapted as his human body had and he is scared of what it may appear like.
It’s in the fall, with the leaves turning orange and decorating the forest floor, that Stiles stumbles upon the a burnt out hollow of a home. It reeks of grief, struggle, betrayal. It reeks of wolf. Stiles would have guessed that this is where all the energy that flows through the tiny town comes from, if the pack was still standing. Wolves and fae never interacted much, two different tiers of supernatural. The mortal and the immortal, ones that’s power can be given to others, and one that’s power is limitless.
A lot of the fae don’t interact with many of the other supernatural, for multiple reasons. They were underestimated, and many of the supernatural thought they could exploit them. But that wasn’t the case with the wolves; the fae kept their distance from the shapeshifters because of how explosive a relationship between the two species were. Wolves were very direct minded, very power-oriented, whereas the fae would rather take an approach from the side. They disagreed a lot, and wolves were instinctively distrustful of the fae.
There was a time, long ago, when the fae would hide their power from the wolves in hoping to gain whatever they wished. Wolves held a plethora of power that the fae didn’t have, with extremely close ties to their kind and a near-madness urge to protect those close to them. Some fae sought that protection, and thus created charms and tricks to mask their identity, hoping to exploit the wolves.
Needless to say, when the werewolves discovered the sneaky ways of the fae, the relationship quickly deteriorated. The wolves destroyed the fae in anger, losing a lot of them as well. However, the wolves are never in danger of extinction because of a simple bite multiplying them.
Most supernaturals died an early age, at least by fae standards. They continuously search for more power, constantly falling by their own hand. Stiles learned at a young age, when he befriended a mermaid in the ocean by the kingdom, that they will leave. They will pass away, and leave the fae with a broken feeling. Supernaturals didn’t turn into light like the fae did, so what happened to them? Where did their souls go?
Stiles creeps closer to the house, feeling its call. He wants to touch the ashen ruin, run his hands down the blackened walls. A simple touch to the wooden door sends a pang through him. This was more than a pack that lived here, it was a family. They weren’t brought together by a bite, but rather blood. They died.
It’s saddening how quickly their lights fade out, those who burn so bright. Stiles enters the home cautiously, the smell of wolf still strong. No matter how mortal they were, they exuded a certain resilience and beauty in their energy. It is powerful, and has always drawn the fae to interact with them.
The house holds nothing to him, no trinket of information or morsel of memory for Stiles to learn on the pack. He wonders if all died in the fire, or if a piece of the pack has survived. It wouldn’t be shocking for a few to survive, strong and resilient as wolves were. He resolves to look into this house, into the family, into the survivors. The only feeling the shell of a home gives him - besides sadness - is lingering curiosity.
Stiles is sixteen when he rushes home from school, abandoning pretense of being human in skill (and perhaps falling once or twice), to alert his dad. His father is in the midst of a council, looking confused and embarrassed that his son has stumbled in as a wheezing mess.
“Scott! Scott’s a werewolf!” Stiles pants out, his body already making motions for what he is going to say next. “He was there that night when I was looking for the body, and I, well he, he got bit!”
Stiles looks at his dad in a panic, hoping that he can understand why. His father sighs, rubs his face, looks at Stiles, looks at the council, sighs again and then speaks. “I may need you to set up some protective tricks for my son and I. Until the new fae city is built, and the factions have been peacefully separated, I don’t think coming back to the kingdom would be wise.”
One of the elders, a woman by the name of Tera, spoke up. “Your Majesty, I don’t ever see a safe time for you to come home. Separating the factions will just breed fear into each of them for the unknown has become.” It is same argument every time they discuss the new city, that the lighter fae will distrust the faction now that they don’t have control over them. It’s a sound argument, but there is little chance of the fae causing war with each other.
Another fae, Aven, speaks up to cut her off before she starts up her rant. “Of course we will make sure you have the proper protection. I will send the charms by tomorrow’s night.”
Stiles’ father nods, his face heavier than before. Stiles knows the cause of it is Scott, and feels a pang of guilt shoot through him. If his father wasn’t in human form right now, his stress would probably be visible. The pale skin would be pallid, the golden eyes a dull hue and his hair brittle. Still, Stiles can see it written all over him in this form too.
He waits patiently for his father to close council, because he knows they have things to discuss. Stiles has already run through a list of reasons why he should be allowed to keep Scott as a friend, ranging from people will be suspicious if Stiles just stops talking to him all the way to that he has no other friends and could not continue schooling if he was lonely. Instead, when the fae’s images fade out of the kitchen, his father looks at him and simply says, “Keep close to Scott.”
“Okay, dad, but you don’t understand. He’s my only friend, and I mean,” Stiles stops abruptly with his dad’s words sinking in. “What?”
“Scott wouldn’t hurt you, and whatever wolf that’s out there that bit him will probably be able to tell you’re fae. Even with the charms, the scent of magic is all over Scott. The wolf will probably want to kill you, as they always do, so Scott can be a good protection.”
The machines in Stiles’ head whirred slowly around what his father had said. “You want me to use Scott...as a defense?”
His father shrugged, causing Stiles’ blood to boil. His magic turned sharp, electrifying the room. “Don’t think of it like that.” His dad put his hands up. “If Scott were to encounter another fae, or any creature, that would do him harm, would you protect him?”
“Of course!” Stiles said without a second of thought. Scott is like family to him.
“So, do you not think Scott would do the same to you?”
Stiles looked down, lost. He understood what his dad was saying, but he knew it was of the fae to twist ideas until they suited the person. His dad only wanted Scott to keep Stiles alive, but wouldn’t Melissa also want that from Stiles? “Shouldn’t I tell him, then? It wouldn’t be good for him to find out I’m fae from the wolf, right? Because then it will seem like I was trying to use him.”
His father considers it for a moment. “That’s a fair point, son. Maybe tell him after his first moon. I bet right now he has no idea what’s going on, or what he is. If you just came out with it, he’d probably think you were crazy.”
Stiles nods, because he can wait. He just hoped that whoever Scott’s alpha was, that he didn’t hold grudges to the fae. Stiles had learned, many years ago, that no matter what a beta wolf may want to do, it will always follow the orders of its alpha.
Seventeen rolls around with Scott having no alpha, and Derek Hale posturing as one. Stiles knew him, the moment he agreed to step into the woods with Scott to find his inhaler, he knew that the man with the angry scowl was one of the three wolves left from the old pack.
Derek Hale, alive and twenty-two. Laura Hale, alive until twenty-six. Peter Hale, recently killed by their ragtag group of teenagers and Derek.
Stiles religiously wears his bracelet charm now. He decides not to tell Scott that he is fae, considering that he is dating the daughter of a hunter group and has already made questionable choices when it comes to her. Derek still doesn’t like him much, and Stiles is scared that Derek will find him out. The new wolves are so fresh that they wouldn’t be able to tell him apart of humans, bracelet or no. Stiles makes a biting comment about Derek’s choices one day at the train station, earning him a good shove into a car. For whatever reason, Stiles feels compelled to stay around this man, ensure that his head doesn’t go so far up his ass he suffocates.
He refuses to believe he grows fond of him, even when he starts making Derek sanction pack time. Even when Derek finally starts to relax, and the pack becomes more than the werewolves he was training to be soldiers. Jackson slips in, unsure on his footing but acting like he isn’t. That brings along Lydia, with her Allison and Scott and Stiles. Stiles could almost believe that Derek was sometimes happy to see him.
But it was hard to tell when he had his usual scowl and then his stoic expression of rage to go by. Still, Stiles was hopeful that they could get past the hate-hate relationship, partially for the pack’s sake and partially for the fact that he was a fae.
Lydia turns out to be a banshee, driven close to a hellhound. It smarts, but very little. It’s worrisome how little, considering Stiles once thought of her as his mate. Was once so certain that she was his.
The hellhound drags dead bodies out to a tree. No one else seems to know this besides Lydia. Every time there is something bad, something that Stiles could take care of if he didn’t have to continue this farce of being human, there is the bodies being towed away to the tree.
Stiles returns them to the morgue, after getting over how powerful the tree is. He can feel the energy it holds, this rotten stump of a tree, and he wonders if it is the center. Is it what drew his father and him here? It pulses with life, pulses with magic, but its pulse is a broken dance. Something tells Stiles it could be much stronger.
He heads to Deaton, the only person that should know about his fae history.
Stiles is eighteen when he takes on his fae form again. Stiles is eighteen, when his skin dips back to its whiter shade, when from his hands a black line emerges and traces up his arm and across his shoulder blades. His fingertips hold stardust on them, enchanting and beautiful. The clothes fade to a darker shade of robe, a dark red. It’s all beautiful.
And Stiles desperately wants to cry. He would rather be dead than this be his ending, something savage and dark breaking inside of him. He had never judged the dark fae, but yet here he stood, hating that he was one. His father was going to be so disappointed. Briefly, he entertained the idea that he could slip back to human without his father being the wiser.
But still, he had removed the trick from his body for a reason, and he flows quickly to the Nemeton. As soon as he came back to himself, he realized that his tie was readjusted. He no longer looked to the earth for grounding, but his body followed the sky for freedom. It felt strange and different and wonderful and right all at once. He moved faster, fast as the wind he would say, towards his destination.
Fixing it would be no small feat, encouraging it to grow strong and tall again and love the town that cut it down. For it to be a beacon for all good, a beacon for those who would not cause harm to the town.
Stiles still held the hope that he could rift the tear that broke the tree. After a few hours alone with it, sending nothing but love and encouragement its way, he finally felt as if it was settled enough to try once more the town. He opened his eyes, breathing light from tiredness, to see a sapling growing out the middle of it.
There, but weak, but there. Stiles smiled.
“I heard that in the fae community that the dark fae are treated as evil.” A flat voice says behind him.
Stiles whirls around, clutching at his chest. Derek stands off to the side a little, looking at him with Alpha red eyes. His scowl is gone, wiped clean and only a blank face remains. Stiles fears that he is close to tears, because he has kept his secret to keep his life and it seems like it was all for neigh now.
Derek’s eyes travel to the little sprout that has taken root on the Nemeton. “But the strange thing was, my mother would only ever speak to dark fae. She said they were much more honest, much more...human than the rest of them.” Derek’s lip quirked up a bit.
Stiles felt like the wind was knocked out of him. “It’s because their magic is different. We--The fae of light don’t understand.”
“Is your father a lighter fae?” And guilt and fear quickly splash themselves on Stiles’ face. “Are you scared he’s not going to be happy that you’re not?”
Stiles’ hands shake. He can’t imagine telling his father this. That the heir to the throne is a dark fae. The rest of their world will probably riot, and Stiles will be hated. Derek pushes off the tree he was standing at, moving closer at a threatening pace. Stiles shrinks back on his knees, thinking that maybe he won’t get a chance to decide to tell his dad afterall.
A hand is extended to him. “I’ll go with you.” Derek offers, face more open than blank.
Stiles is twenty when he sees his father back to the fae world. He smiles and hugs him tightly, promises that he will be safe. He promises a lot of things, but he knows he has years before he has to deliver on any of them.
The King returns to his home, happy, but worried. And Stiles? Stiles stays behind, with his pack and his mate, who happened to be sleeping on his couch. He toed his way into the living room, seeing the sprawl of werewolves everywhere. He lets his magic clean up the mess around them, knowing that they’ll all end up doing him a small favor or two before the week is out.
Derek huffs a little in his sleep, making Stiles smile. He hasn’t worn the charm in two years, he hasn’t lost his right to be heir, and he even managed to make it on a few werewolves’ good sides. It probably didn’t hurt that his mate was the Alpha, though.