The thundering of his heart echoes throughout the cavernous dining room, or at least to Stiles’s ears it does. His shallow breaths only seem to swallow him up and if his father’s hand wasn’t resting on the small of his back he’d be succumbing to the blackness that tint’s his vision. When his handmaiden gently shook him awake this morning, he never expected that only twelve hours later he would be married, and to a stranger no less.
Prince Derek, or King Derek now that he and Stiles are joined in union, is a stoic, brick wall of an alpha. His muscles bulge through his royal waistcoat as he stares straight ahead, waiting for his mother, Queen Talia, to finish her speech on how blessed the Hale Kingdom is to have Stiles join their ranks as Omega Consort.
Stiles’s faux-tranquil smile, currently pulled tight across his lips, conceals how his mind is running a thousand miles per second, bouncing from thought to thought. He should have known his father had a trick up his sleeve. The extra oils added to his morning bath and the fact that Lola, his handmaiden, had been instructed to tie his corset unusually tight should have been warning enough. But he considered it nothing, brushing it off as Harris, his tutor, trying to show him for the hundredth time how a real omega should look.
He wasn’t informed of what was truly happening until he and his father’s carriage arrived at the front steps of the Luponian palace and even then, it had been a vague and thinly veiled explanation. Stiles’s father had peered over at him when a mask of confusion slid into place atop Stiles’s face, believing they were off to visit his friend Omega Princess Lydia and instead arriving at an unknown location. Offering an, “I had no choice” as his lone explanation, King John had turned and exited the carriage.
Stiles’s bewilderment only intensified and the warning signs of panic had begun to make themselves known. He opened his mouth to respond, his mouth suddenly parched, when the coachman unlocked his door and blinding sunlight filtered in. A hand rested mid-air, waiting for Stiles to take it. He examined the gloved palm, hesitantly glancing over the coachman’s shoulder at his father, wordlessly searching for consolation that everything was ok. Stiles finally offered his own hand when John nodded at him, encouraging him to step out of the coach. Deep breath. You’re ok.
Stairs were placed on the ground in front of him and Stiles peered around at his surroundings as he went down them. The dirt road they had traveled up was lined with trees, blooming with blazing red flowers. A large water fountain was positioned in the center of the pathway. What shocked him most, however, were the two figures and the castle standing erect behind them.
“King Stilinski, Omega Prince Stiles!,” one of the forms, a woman, standing poised and looking ever so regal, exclaimed, gliding down the stairs she stood on and towards him. Stiles would have inquired how she knew his name, however being one of two male Omega Princes in almost forty years has made him well known among all of Europe. “We’re so happy to see you,” the woman greeted, cheeks pulled tight with the blinding smile she sent his way, the grin appearing oddly wolfish when the sun glinted off of her pearly whites. There was a disgruntled looking man who remained on the cement ledges when the woman began to walk away, a deep frown marring his features as he stared ahead at the scene unfolding in front of him. The man had dark, almost inky locks, and features that blared the fact that he and the woman were related. Though the woman's appearance was more weathered. Her son, Stiles supposed.
“Dad?” Stiles asked, peering over at his father, voice cracking ever so slightly.
“Dad?” he repeated when his father doesn’t answer, alarm further rising in his voice.
His father ignored him, instead turning his attention upon the approaching figure. “Queen Talia, we thank you for receiving our presence in your beautiful country,” John politely exclaimed, stopping to bow in front of the Queen once he reached her. His left arm tucked behind his back as he curled the other around his abdomen before tipping his head forward. The Queen nodded her head as a sign of acknowledgment, though her gleaming emerald eyes focused solely on Stiles when doing so.
Queen Talia is the current ruler of Luponia, widowed by her omega husband passing away when her children were young. An alpha by birth who inherited the throne after Talia’s father passed the crown along to her when he grew too old to run the kingdom anymore. She had three children: Luke, the oldest and an omega, who married off to some southwestern European king six years ago, Derek, the heir to the throne and an alpha, and Cora, the youngest and also an alpha. Luke is also the second male omega to be born in the last half century, another reason Talia has taken to knowing who Stiles is.
Stories of Talia and the Hale family were almost as legendary as those surrounding Stiles and his omega status. What were Stiles and his dad doing meeting with them?
“It is our pleasure,” she paused to turn to the man on the stairs, faint smile still intact as she said, “isn’t it, Derek?” The man grunted, offering no other reply. Queen Talia raised a lone brow, silently demanding a verbal confirmation.
The man clenched his jaw, clearly not wanting to speak. “Yes,” he cleared his throat, voice hoarse from using it infrequently, “the Hale Kingdom welcomes you.” His eyes were sharp, undaring to soften even in the face of the two foreigners. The queen’s smile still lifted to its original position though, pleased with her son's admission.
“Please, let us further discuss inside,” she said, then turning on her heel and striding towards the castle’s entrance where two guards stood present. She didn’t bother to check whether her guests were behind her, knowing they would follow.
Except Stiles didn’t follow, instead he whirled around to face the King, trying again to get a response from him. “Father,” he cried, “I don’t understand. Why are we here?” Stiles’s eyes searched the King’s features, hoping, pleading for something in his expression to give a hint as to what was going on. Unfortunately, all Stiles was met with was an indifferent frown and a tsk, as if Stiles’s questions were childish nothings.
“It is not for you to understand. Now come,” John flattened the nonexistent wrinkles in his overcoat and reached out for Stiles’ arm, “we mustn’t keep the Queen and the Prince waiting.”
“No!,” he jerked his arm out of his fathers reach, ”What is going on! Tell me now!” Stiles commanded. The frustration and immense anger due to Stiles’s response were evident as his father’s face began to redden and a sneer graced his lips. “Listen you stu-,” he began to hiss.
“Stiles,” the Queen interrupted, “I believe you should come inside. It is much too cold outside for you to be standing in this weather.” It was currently summer in Luponia, the sun beaming down on its citizens while birds chirped in the evening air, however after a few moments of deliberation, he gave a faint nod, absently agreeing, “Of course your majesty.” He obviously wouldn’t be getting a response from his father so he might as well follow the one person who would answer him.
Stiles straightened, taking a step forward to abide with the Queen’s request, but was stopped by his father blocking his path. The King stared him in the eye, daring Stiles to challenge him before a terse behave escaped his strained lips. He tightly gripped the small of Stiles’ back, a stern force guiding him into the palace.
“No! No, I won’t do it!”
Stiles’s furious voice had rung throughout the royal office, engulfing the room’s occupants. Queen Talia’s expression was one of understanding as if she expected this reaction. Prince Derek, however, growled, bearing his teeth at the admission. “How dare you disrespect the Hale Kingdom in such a way,” he shot up from his chair, snarling his response, “we are the oldest standing kingdom in European history!”
This was the first time he spoke since they entered the room.
“Well if you’re so high and mighty, why are you begging the Stilinski kingdom for help?” Stiles spit back, dishing as much attitude back as Prince Derek gave. Immediately the prince went to lunge across the table, Stiles swearing he saw a flash of red in the prince’s eyes, but the queen’s hand shot out, grabbing his forearm to keep him in place.
She turned her head only the slightest, “This is not the time nor the place,” she placated, directing her words at the prince. Prince Derek returned to his seat, though he sent a deathly glare Stiles’s way while doing so.
As soon as Stiles and his father had taken a seat at the oak table stationed in the center of the room, Queen Talia began to describe how the Hale Kingdom’s crops were dying, failing to revive after the harsh winter they experienced. Luponia was experiencing the beginning stages of famine, the peasants slowly acquiring diseases before dying painful deaths. The Hale’s lacked the medical supplies and trained personnel to treat those who were dying and desperately needed help from another nation. Which, is where the Stilinski Kingdom came into play. After Queen Talia’s account, she uttered the one sentence that completely changed Stiles’s life.
“You and Derek will be joining our two countries together through your union in order to save Luponia.”
Stiles rightfully reacted the way that he did, shouting out his objections to the mere proposal of spending the rest of his life with the brooding man staring across at him. He had known the prince for such a minimal amount of time, yet he already detested the beast of a man. Prince Derek, however, had sat silent the entire story, his thick brows drawn together in displeasure at hearing how his people were suffering, his features only deepening at his mother’s admission of marriage.
“You will and that’s final”, his father interjected, sliding a piece of parchment Stiles hadn’t noticed before now towards him. “I have already signed over your hand in marriage to the prince.”
His heart dropped, the air leaving his lungs. Stiles stared down at the document, white noise starting to cloud his hearing. Words like mates, bound and lawfully united seeming to glare menacingly back at him.
When he didn’t respond, the Queen was quick to consol Stiles with reasoning as to why the union was a good idea. “Stiles, not only does Luponia need you, but your own country does too.”
He blinkingly looked at her. All the fight suddenly drained from his body as he sagged against the table in defeat. Queen Talia was right, Poland needed him. While Luponia was a hulking country with millions of citizens, Poland was tiny, it’s army and navy severely lacking. Luponia had the number one army and navy in the world while Poland had a forest of supplies and vegetation.
What choice did he have?
The seventeen-year-old, with tears heavy in both his eyes and his voice, nodded, accepting his future.
Four hours later Stiles was found being pieced together by Hale staff after a scalding lavender and chamomile bath, meant to soothe his nerves. However, it only leaves his skin vibrating with tension. Currently, Kenna, his newly assigned handmaiden, is lacing up his corset, accentuating his soft curves.
“Gods, I cannot breath in this monstrosity”, Stiles gasps out, grabbing onto the nearest object to steady himself as the ties are pulled tighter. It feels as if his insides are having the life squeezed out of them.
“I apologize, your highness,” Kenna quickly supplies though not loosening the corset in the slightest, only tying and securing it in place.
“You express your regret and yet make no move to amend your injustices,” Stiles mutters bitterly. Kenna mutters a quiet yes, your highness before sliding the cool material of his wedding gown onto him. It’s a beautiful white dress with long lace sleeves, a high neck, and a billowing long skirt making him look all the virginal omega he is. Not to mention the rouge lipstick dotted across his lips adding to the mirage. Finally, a flowing veil is placed upon his head, nestled directly behind the crown he adorns.
Today he is to wed Prince Derek and become Omega Consort, trading up his title of Omega Prince. Any omega would be ecstatic about their wedding day, having dreamt of it since they were all but small pups. Every omega except Stiles.
He was dreading having to walk down the aisle. To hold onto the arm of a man who betrayed him and handed over to the future king of Luponia.
A strong knock resounds throughout Stiles’s room as a gruff voice pronounces through the thick wooden door, “It’s time, Omega.” The disrespect is present in the disembodied voice when no title is granted to Stiles, not even his own name. However, Stiles has quickly grown accustomed to the castle staff’s dislike of him.
In his minimal time in the Luponian palace, Stiles has been bumped, tripped, and called a bare-chested whore under mumbled breaths more times than he can count. He inhales and releases a deep breath before grasping the bouquet of flowers in his hands and pacing over to the door. Upon opening the door Stiles comes face to face with a squat man, his most remarkable feature the coarse curling mustache atop his upper lip.
“Let us go to the throne room,” Stiles declares, head held high how Harris taught him to as to not allow his staggering fear to be apparent. The man stiffly nods and gestures his arm to signify for Stiles to begin walking.
So, Kena and the other handmaidens saddled with the task of grooming Stiles for the ceremony grab the trails of his veil dragging the ground and carry it as he strides gracefully down the hallway, his spirit breaking with each step he takes towards his sentencing.
“Do you, Prince Derek, take Omega Prince Stiles to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
The heaviness of Prince Derek’s hand swallowing Stiles’s rests between them as it has since Stiles joined the Prince on the raised platform at the front of the room. The harsh countenance of his future husband remains unchanging as he responds to the question asked of him.
“And do you, Omega Prince Stiles, take Prince Derek to be your lawfully wedded husband?” The priest turns to Stiles, wrinkled expression waiting expectantly for his response.
Suddenly, his mouth feels cottony, too dry to answer. Stiles is stricken with terror at the expectations currently weighing him down like a thousand pounds.
Unsure of what to say, he looks out into the crowd. His father’s lips are pulled down in disappointment at his lone son’s lack of courage. Stiles scans the noble men and women staring back at him further and, surprisingly, his gaze lands on Queen Talia’s.
She smiles the purest smile he’s encountered all day and nods the go-ahead to continue with the ceremony. The slightest upturn of his lips graces his face and Stiles blinks back the tears clouding his vision to return his focus on the officiary of his wedding.
Stiles clears his throat and distinctly states his commitment. “I do.”
The Prince straightens at the affirmation and a hint of a smile upticks across his mouth for a second before it’s gone in a flash and the same cold frown appears.
“You may now kiss the bride,” the priest calmly announces.
A chaste kiss that ends before it starts is placed on his lips, and, like that, Stiles’s fate is sealed.