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Forevermore

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Once upon a time

There was a kingdom ruled by wolves

The kingdom was powerfull and prosperous, it flourished for decades upon decades, ruled by one royal family- the Hales

The Hales had built the kingdom from the ground up, it was their pack that started it all to begin with

They were one of the most respected, beloved families in all the realms, and their kingdom was one of the most treasured

However, as all things do, the Hale reign was destined to come to an end

One day the young prince, Derek, gave his heart to a human maiden, who he had found just outside the walls of the kingdom

Not long after, he invited her into the kingdom, intending to make her his mate

However.... unknown to the prince at this time, the maiden was not the innocent beauty she pretended to be, but instead, an evil, wicked huntress

And the moment he let his guard down and left her alone in the castle, the huntress set fire to the entire kingdom, burning it down to ashes

Every wolf was murdered, every building destroyed, the once prosperous and flourishing kingdom was no more, now existing only in ashes and bones and memories

There were only three exceptions to this rule:

The tallest tower of the castle, wich had been made of rare fire-resistant stone

The prince's youngest sister, Cora, who had been away from home at the time

And the prince himself, who had been locked inside the tower by the huntress, to keep him out of the way

The huntress assumed when she lit the fire that it would destroy everything and everyone- the prince included, as she knew not of the tower's fire-resistant stone

Days later, upon returning to her home of ashes, Princess Cora found her brother near death in the tower

She had come in time to save him, luckily

The only problem was... the door remained locked

The huntress had destroyed the key before setting the fire, and all spare keys were burned with the kingdom

For years, Cora managed to keep her brother alive by sending food and water to him through the tower window, but she had yet to find a way to release him from the tower it's self

The magic in the fire-resistant stone was far too strong to be broken by brute force, and no mage or witch or sorcerer had been able to find a charm that would unlock the door either

Cora continues to try, sending all that she can, searching over and over for answers, but to never find any

And so, the prince remains in the tower to this day, five years after the death of his family and the destruction of his kingdom, with nowhere to go and no one to be with, he waits in isolation, for a hero to save him

 

~+~

 

Stiles was no stranger to the story

In fact it was practically known around the world at this point

The story of the lost prince who remains imprisoned by an impenetrable tower, waiting for a knight in shining armor to save him

And no knight, nor mage, no prince or princess so far has been able to release him from his fate

Until now

"I just don't see why you would be able to get through that tower when no one else has so far,"

"Oh Scott of little faith," Stiles snorted, double-checking the supplies he had mounted onto his horse one last time

"I mean... no offense Stiles, but I don't see how getting people pregnant and attracting small animals is going to help here,"

Stiles paused, his nose wrinkling in annoyance as he turned to glare at his freind

"Ok, first of all, I do more than that! And second of all, stop saying 'getting people pregnant', it sounds ... wrong, I'm descended from a fertility god, I don't go around nocking people up,"

"Yeah but... I'm not wrong, technically," Scott noted

Stiles just rolled his eyes, but as much as he didn't want to admit it... Scott really wasn't wrong

There were reasons why White Stags were so sacred and fertility was definitely one of the bigger ones

"My point is, I do more than that," Stiles insisted with a tight frown as he mounted his horse

"Yeah but.... what could you do to break through fire-resistant stone? Or ... conduct a spell that can break the lock?"

"Stag stuff," Stiles shrugged back as he mounted his horse

Scott was clearly unimpressed

"Stag stuff?" he repeated skeptically, eyebrows raised and frown plastered on his face

"Yeah, stag stuff, I have a plan,"

Scott seemed entirely unconvinced

"Stiles... you can't just charge up there and get the guy's hopes up without having any clue what you're doing,"

"I have a solid idea Scott!" he insisted with an irritated huff, tightening his grip on his horse's reins

"Stiles... if you had a solid idea you wouldn't have called it 'stag stuff', and besides, what's so important to you about saving this prince anyway? It isn't about proving something, I mean... you've gone on rescue missions before so everyone knows you're more than jus-"

"Look, I'm going, alright? I'm going to rescue the wolf prince and that's the end of it,"

He didn't give Scott a chance to reply to that, flicking the reins and holding on tightly as the horse took off towards the forest

He was determined, he was going to rescue the wolf prince, and that was final

He just... hoped that his plan would work...

 

~+~

 

The days blended together

He had stopped keeping track of them after they reached around fifty

If not for the visibility of the sun and the pull of the moon, he wouldn't be able to tell time at all

Cora brought him new baskets of supplies every other day or so, and the longer the time went on, the more guilty he felt about accepting them

He was ruining her life, forcing her to return to this place over and over again, day after day, to relive her worst pain time after time...

She couldn't move on, she couldn't go very far, she was just stuck here, imprisoned just as badly as he was

She would always be held to this place, always having to monitor it to keep bringing him supplies, never able to leave and move on, or even to just find a solution for him to escape, she could only ever travel a few days' distance or he would starve...

He couldn't keep doing this to her

He couldn't keep this up... how long could he keep wasting her life like this?

Over the last few months, he had slowly managed to gather ingredients for a potion, managing to slip in the request for an herb here or a berry there

It wasn't strong enough to kill him, he could never manage to convince her to bring ingredients for something that strong, she was too smart, she'd catch on too quickly.... but it would put him to sleep, and if he slept long enough, then surely he would die, and Cora would be released from the prison he was keeping her in

He took a deep breath, closing his eyes as he leaned back against the tower wall, staring at the little blue bottle in his hand before placing it to his lips and tossing it back

It tasted sweet, wich was an unexpected pleasantry, and it kicked in fast- thankfully

Soon, Cora would be free of him

That was the last thought he had before falling into a deep sleep

 

~+~

 

Finding the tower had been the easy part, it was getting in that proved to challenge him, not that Stiles was actually surprised by that, rather, he had expected it

He hadn't been lying to Scott a few days before when he had said he had a plan to get in- he did, he just... didn't really know if it would work or not

Taking a deep, deep breath, he walked into the tower, the ground floor, and stared up at the spiraling staircase in front of him

Why the hell were there always so many steps...?

Swallowing tightly, he steeled his resolve and started walking up the steps, the entire time going over his plan over and over again in his head, trying to ready himself for whatever obstacles would be in his way

He had a long time to think too, by the time he got to the top of the tower where the prince was supposed to be, he was exhausted, his legs were shaking, his hands trembling, sweat dripping down his body and heat pulsing through every vein like a sweltering drum of fire

He hadn't exactly wanted to look like this much of a mess when he met the prince, but it was a small price to pay for the opportunity to rescue him

Now came the hard part: Getting through the door

He took a deep breath, closing his eyes and pouring all of his concentration into his powers

He could do this.... he could do this....

He felt the slight wave of light-headedness pass over him, a bit of a numbing, ringing sensation going through him, starting at the tips of his fingers and slowly making it's way throughout the rest of his body

When he finally opened his eyes again, he was floating outside of his body, a mere astral form now, his physical form just an empty shell

Now that that was accomplished, all he had to do was get through that door...

He could feel the raw, natural magic thrumming at his fingertips, his heart beating faster with each and every pulse of magic that flooded through him

He moved closer to the door, carefully placing a hand against it and watching as it went straight through

Good, that meant that atleast part of his idea had been correct

He stepped further, letting his magic take over, a bright, white glow encompassing his entire form as he slowly merged himself into the door

The magic pulsed through him in long, painfull bursts, like he was feeling a snake constrict around his body

But he didn't move, he didn't stop, he kept going, it was the only way

As the nature magic seeped out of his body and surged through the door, he could feel the wood starting to expand and contract, the very structure of the once living plant beginning to rupture and change

With every new pulse of magic, the wood slowly began to decay, and Stiles felt another burst of pain rupture through his spirit

The process was slow, practically life-draining, he felt more and more breathless with each strong beat of magic, as if the process was slowly taking the air out of his lungs breath by breath, beat by beat

But that didn't even make any sense- he was in an astral form, he wasn't breathing to begin with

Finally, he heard it- the sound that gave him a renewed vigor, a renewed hope

A crack

He tightened his fists, clenched his jaw, and tried to force his magic to move out faster, to encompass the door more completely

Come on.... come on....

Another crack

And then another

And then another

And finally- finally the door simply burst into hundreds of tiny shards of wood, Stiles' spirit being slung out and back into the hall

He gulped down breath, twitched and squirmed, tried to regain his senses and stop feeling so freaking claustrophobic

Once he was entirely sure that he was more or less alright, he forced himself back to his feet, taking a few short steps over to his body before sinking back into his physical form

If he had ever thought that perhaps the damage he sustained as a spirit wouldn't transfer to his physical manifestation, he was sorely mistaken

He felt horrible

He felt like he had just been trampled by a dozen horses

His body ached, his hands were shaking, but he wasn't going to let that stop him

He forced himself to his feet again, bracing himself against the wall as he slowly trudged towards the doorway and looked inside

Sure enough, there was the prince, sleeping in the corner, somehow... undisturbed by all of the noise and chaos having gone on around him

Stiles didn't waste any further time, rushing (as much as he could rush) to the prince's side and gently shaking his shoulder

"Prince Derek?" he called out, surprised when the other man didn't answer

"Hey, Prince Derek? Wake up, you're safe now, wake up,"

Still nothing

Slowly, Stiles' concern turned to panic as he carefully flipped the prince onto his back and leaned down, pressing his ear to the man's chest

His heart was still beating, by some extremely lucky grace

So if he wasn't dead and he wasn't waking up when he reasonably should.... then he must be under a sleeping curse

The story had never talked about a sleeping curse, but maybe it wasn't an original development, or maybe it had gotten lost in translation or something...

Regardless, it didn't really matter how or why the curse had happened, the point was that it was in effect, and luckily Stiles knew exactly how to cure it

He carefully moved to sit cross-legged on the ground, shifting the werewolf's upper body into his lap and tilting his head back, opening his mouth just slightly before leaning down and exhaling into the wolf's mouth

Stags were the bringers of life, they not only had powers in relation to fertility, but also some powers in relation to revival, even if they were only moderate, they were atleast enough to pull someone out of a sleeping curse

Not out of death, but out of sleep, atleast

Surely enough, the prince gasped suddenly and arched his back, his eyes springing open as he carefully shifted into more of a sitting position

"What.... I...."

"Hey, uh... good morning?"

The sound of another voice clearly spooked the werewolf, causing him to jump, startled, and turn around with a panicked look on his face

"Who are you? How did you get in here?"

Stiles smirked, feeling a slight wave of pride wash over him as he nodded his head towards the burst door, clearly taking Derek by surprise as well

"How-"

"I rotted the wood," he said with a small shrug

"I have nature magic, it's different than the kind of magic that witches and mages and the like use, by targeting the wood and not the magic around it, I was able to make it decay and... well, no more door,"

"I see..." Derek repeated quietly, his attention turning back to Stiles again

"And what name may I call my savior by?"

"Stiles," the Stag replied with a gentle smile

"I'm Stiles,"

"Well, it's nice to meet you then... Stiles, what kind of nature magic do you possess? A nymph's? A faery's? An elf's? A dryad's?"

Really, he could keep going on and on like that, there were many different creatures in possession of nature magic similar to the kind Stiles possessed, though he still wasn't entirely sure how he had managed to rot the door like that, most who had nature magic couldn't do much with plants that were already dead

It had to be some sort of special power...

"A Stag's, actually,"

Now that one really took Derek by surprise, a look of shock crossing over his face as he stared at the man- the stag sitting before him

"You're.... a White Stag?"

"Seems like it," Stiles teased with a playfull wink

White Stags were extremely rare, most kingdoms lucky enough to have one took to protecting them in a way that bordered imprisonment, their powers and the legends surrounding them were so great that they were thought to be one of the greatest prizes to ever attain, almost as much so as a unicorn

"And ... you came to rescue me? Why?" he asked in confusion

Even in the rare cases like this one where the stags weren't under lock and key, they were definitely discouraged from doing dangerous things like this, even leaving the kingdom without a guard almost never happened

And stags usually had much better self-preservations instincts than this one seemed to as well....

"I wanted to," Stiles shrugged back easily

"I know that other attempts to rescue you have failed and ... I thought I could help, so I decided to help you,"

It was selfless

...

Too selfless

"What other reason is there?" Derek asked with a small frown

"There isn't another reason," Stiles insisted with a tight frown

"I knew that no one else was able to help you, they hadn't so far, so I wanted to give it a try, I do more than just get people pregnant ya' know, I rescue people too,"

Derek was more than a little surprised by the determination and sternness of the response, and although he was still hesitant to trust anyone- especially a complete stranger who was helping him for no apparent reason- the basic insistence in his voice was enough to atleast put Derek somewhat at ease

"So ... are we getting out of here, or did you just want to be stuck in this tower with me?" the werewolf teased

Stiles grinned, standing up and offering his hand out to Derek to help him up as well

"I was thinking we'd go find your sister to tell her the good news, then head back to my kingdom, we're very welcoming of the Hales,"

"Oh are you?" Derek smirked slightly

He was still hesitant but... he felt something with Stiles

A draw that he couldn't quite put into words, and he had learned by this point that it was always wisest to act on his instincts

"Just one thing before we go,"

Stiles tilted his head curiously, eyes widening and face turning bright red as the werewolf leaned down and gave him a quick but soft kiss on the lips

And then, like it was nothing, he straightened up and started out of the room

"Are you coming?"

The stag blinked, trying to force himself back into reality as he hurried to follow after

"Y-Yeah just... what was that?"

"My mother always told me to properly thank a gallant hero if I were ever rescued by one," Derek teased playfully

Stiles grinned, exhaling shakily as he quickly caught up to the other

"Yeah? Then I'll have to remember to rescue you again some time,"