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Stiles sat at the table as his wrist was bound by the disgruntled druid. Deaton didn’t glare, his face always calm and passive yet waves of frustration seemed to roll off him as he tied off the bandage and stepped back. Stiles eased himself off the table, loving the scent of the herbs around him though the garlic was a little strong. He lifted his wrist and sniffed, the garlic smell becoming stronger, so he set it on his lap, failing to hide his grimace. He couldn’t complain if it kept infections away.

“This is your own fault. You were told not to go near the town’s armory, by your father no less. That cut is because you decided to disobey.” Deaton scolded as he started to clean up his supplies. Stiles nodded, not knowing what else to do. He didn’t like talking to the man since he gave him odd looks when he thought Stiles wasn’t looking. He liked helping Scott out though. He truly believed that if he had a larger knife, that he could help gather more herbs. He had been wrong and they didn’t even get out of the armory before he got cut.

“I still have to collect herbs, don’t I?” He asked and Deaton turned to narrow his eyes at him.

“That is Scotts job, which is what he is doing right now. You are going to your father and explaining yourself to him.” Deaton promptly nodded to the door and turned his back again. Stiles snorted, jerking his tunic sleeve over his wrist and started walking. He muttered a farewell because his father did teach him manners and fled out the door. He smiled though there was occasional twinge of pain from his wrist and headed off toward the woods. Deaton never said he had to go straight to his father, only that he had to do it. He could track Scott down and help along the way.

The forest was his favorite his place around their little village. Sure, it was a little dangerous with rumors of wolves and beasts but he never seen one. They even had the lowest crime rate in the entire kingdom, which was mostly because people respected his father and in return his father took care of the community. While Stiles loved working in town with the older man, he would always find himself longing to go to the forest. The smells and just the feel of everything made his mind settle. It was mostly owned by the Hale family, but they let people come and go under the condition that they never poach. If they did, they would be tracked down and dealt with. No one knew what that meant. The Hales always caught them. They rarely came back.

“Scottie?” Stiles hissed, entering on the trail he usually took and started tracking. It was easy for him to follow his brother even when he wondered off the path. They have every good herb patch mapped out and he knew which one he was headed toward. It was the closest to the Hale Manor so they only went occasionally cause they didn’t want to run into any Hale. It wasn’t that they weren’t meant to be there, but they meet the youngest Lady Hale once when she was in a rage and that was enough to keep them away.

“Stiles?” Scott popped up from behind a tree, his sack only half full even though he had spent hours in the forest. Normally they would have it filled in the first hour and then spend more time wondering around. Usually it couldn’t be long considering they still had work to do but it was their time to just be brothers. They had less and less time as they got older. “How’s the wrist?”

“It’ll be fine” Stiles waved said arm around, failing to hold in the wince as the wound was rubbed the wrong way. He dropped it back down, suddenly realizing how close he had become to dying. Wrist wounds were serious, and he pulled it up to his chest. Scott choose to say nothing about it, for which he was grateful, but he was moving.

“We should go.” Scott nudged his shoulder, fumbling the bag for a second but it was enough for him to get a closer look at him. His cheeks were red and it looked like there were some tears in his eyes, his clothes hanging off as his entire body shook.

“What?” Stiles took the sack and threw it over his shoulder, hoping to ease the load as Scott took a deep breath.

“Behind you.” Scott hissed, his breath wheezing as his lungs failed to work. Stiles slowly turned around to see two massive wolves. The smaller one took a few steps forward, causing Scott to dig his nails into his arm that was holding the sack and he hissed in pain as he was dragged backwards a few feet. His injured wrist started to ache and he realized he was bleeding through his bandages from all the rough motion.

“Where did they come from?” Stiles couldn’t help it slipping out. It seemed to snap the larger wolf and he gasped at the bright blue eyes glaring at him as it walked up to flank the smaller wolf. “We are so dead.”

“We should get out of here.” Scott was practically hanging off his back but he started shaking his head.

“Would you turn your back on a growling wolf? Cause if so then we will never be true friends for being so stupid.” Stiles hissed out as Scott shuffled them back, the wolves following them until Scott pressed against the line of his back. He didn’t know why they stopped but he took a deep breath. “Wolves! What to do with wolves?”

“How should I know?” Scott tried to tug him closer and he took a deep breath before focusing less on the blind panic raging through his mind and more on the two wolves. He didn’t know a lot about them, but he believed that they should have attacked already.

“What are they doing?” He stopped shaking enough to glare at them. They were terrible at being wolves. The two beasts shared a look of disbelief before focusing back on them. That could not be normal. The larger one moved around so he was right in front of him, so close that he could feel the huffing breathes against his stomach. Stiles felt frozen but a part of his mind screamed that he should pull his wounded arm away.

He stared at the larger wolf and felt his heartrate start to slow. It seemed to please the wolf, seeing as its nose flared and he chuffed before turning away. The beast gave the smaller wolf a shove and it snapped at it. Stiles relaxed as the wolf moved off but the smaller spun and snarled at him for a heartbeat, then practically bounced away, as if nothing happened. Stiles watched them vanish into the brush without a sound, taking a second to realize that Scott was barely breathing.

“Oh no.” Stiles spun and grabbed his brother, quickly spinning him around and beating on his back. After a few blows the man managed a breath.

“Little higher.” Scott wheezed and Stiles aimed a particular rough smack where he was directed. Scotts chest rattled for a second before he heaved in a massive breath.

“We really need to look into herbs that help people breathe.” He muttered as he petted the spot he hit, trying to ease the pain.

“Did that just happen?” Scott leaned heavily on him and Stiles dropped the sack so he could pull his arm over his shoulders, reaching back to drag it behind him.

“Yes it did Scotty.” Stiles breathed out as he dragged both his brother and the bag from the forest. It felt like it took forever because he was heavy and kept glancing over his shoulder to see if they were being followed. Stiles didn’t bother to look. He knew they were, but he didn’t feel like they were out to hurt them. Maybe the smaller one would take a few bites, but he didn’t think the larger one would. As they left the trees and Scott was able to walk on his own, he looked back to see the blue eyes. Stiles opened his mouth to say something but a second later it snapped shut. Instead he cocked his head to the side and smiled when the beast copied him.

“You go back to Deatons Scott. I need to go to my father.” Stiles nudged his friends’ hand until he grabbed the sack and shoved him toward the right direction. Scott stumbled at first before gaining his footing and whipping around.

“I should walk you home first. Just in case they try to follow you.” Scott stared at him for a heartbeat and Stiles shook his head.

“We’re both in town. The wolves wouldn’t dare come. Deatons just down the road and surrounded by people and my father is in the middle of town.” Stiles soothed as he gave him another shove toward the road he needed to take. He knew he was right, but he also knew they would both be in deep trouble for being around each other. He wanted nothing more than to help him home but his wrist was throbbing and he was already late. His father would be worried.

“But…” Scott stopped what he was saying and started to nod. “You go straight to the precinct and I will go straight to Deatons. We won’t talk about this.”

“That’s the plan” Stiles nodded along and turned. He convinced himself that he needed to move, that Scott would be fine and all he had to do is walk forward without looking back. It was a lot harder to do when there wasn’t someone to distract him but he barely managed it until he ducked into the crowd around the middle of the town. He moved through them with ease, but he started to realize something wasn’t right. Groups of people were crowded around each other, talking in low voices instead of milling about like they normally would for the market. He didn’t bother to get closer, choosing to go to the source and head straight to the Deputy.

“Parrish?” He pushed through to where the deputy was trying to keep everyone calm. He was doing a good job considering no one was listening to him. “What happened?”

“It’s one month before the prince’s eighteenth birthday.” The Deputy sighed and rubbed at his face as he turned to him. “Everything from celebration plans to underground bets are taking place. Everyone has an idea who the prince is, and it is never the same as anyone elses.”

“Except for Derek Hale.” An old woman that he usually tried to avoid after she called him a fairy as a child and threw stones at him. He didn’t even know her name, but she seemed too excited to remember to hate him.

“It is true that he is the most popular one this time.” Parrish gave a strained grin to the women, obviously remembering the same thing Stiles was. “However, the Lord doesn’t seem to appreciate it.”

“It’s true. He must be the prince. He’s old enough and the Hales would be the perfect parents to our future King.” She rambled, and Stiles leaned over to whisper at Parrish.

“Bet people think that cause they see his ass and want to touch it.” He heard a huff from the deputy which they both covered up when the women narrowed her eyes at Stiles as if she suddenly realized that he was there.

“He’s a much better choice than the hooligan here.” She spat at his feet and shuffled off.

“What an old bat!” Stiles snorted at Parrishs anger and shrugged it off. It’s not like they could do anything. Most of the town felt the same way. He didn’t really do anything wrong, but he was terrible at listening and tended to wonder where he shouldn’t. Part of him believed that the only reason he hadn’t been run out of the village was because his father was the Sheriff. He had dirt on almost every single person who hated him any way so they mostly behaved.

“It’s fine. I’ll see you later.” Stiles patted the man comfortingly on the shoulder as he spoke. He moved off quickly through the crowd, but worry was starting to set it. He was about to be eighteen soon. There was no way that he was the prince, but it did make him realize he needed to do something more in his life. He was getting tired of being spat at by all the old crazies.

His father was talking to someone when he arrived. She was beautiful with dark hair and fancy clothes. Stiles barreled into the office when no one warned him that his father was working. He caught one look at her and before tripping over her bag by the door and falling on his face. He let out a groan as he clutched his wrist to his chest and sat up.

“My deepest apologies your… Um, my Lady?” He didn’t bother to scramble to his feet, tears rolling down his face from the pain.

“Stiles!” His father was already on his feet and walking around his desk but the women was faster.

“You poor thing.” She was on her knees by him, her hand resting on his arm over the bandages. He relaxed as some of the pain eased by the touch and slumped a little more. “What happened to you?”

“Tried to help a friend and got cut.” He slurred out. He wasn’t hurt that much, and he was sure he didn’t lose enough blood to be slurring but he was suddenly freaking out. “Oooo, You’re a Lady. You shouldn’t be kneeling. I interrupted! My dad’s going to be soooooo mad.” He tried to get to his feet, but her hand held him into place.

“Let’s focus on getting you into a chair.” She looped her arm through his and his father took up his other side, pulling him to his feet. The chair hit the back of his knees and he collapsed onto it, muttering apologies as his father took his wrist.

“You should have been resting this.” The older man scolded, and he rolled his eyes.

“I had to check on Scott.” He grumbled, accepting the water his father gave him and he blinked at the smile the Lady was giving him.

“What a loyal child you have.” She murmured to his father. Stiles gaped at her rudely, unable to stop himself due to the fact that people usually didn’t notice that part of him.

“To a fault, most often than not.” His father sighed and sat next to him to tighten the bandages on his wrist. He turned back and forth between the two.

“I am Laura Hale, if you didn’t know already. My parents are usually the ones in public, however, I came here looking for you.” Lady Hale flattened her skirt as if she was suddenly nervous. He didn’t know why she would feel nervous but he felt guilty about it. “I thought Scott McCall was working with Deaton?”

“He is. I uh… Tripped walking with him in the forest and that’s how it got so bad.” Stiles would’ve been flailing around but his father had his wrist and was holding it still. Lady Hale suddenly smirked before schooling her face.

“And why is it you tripped? Could it be you saw something?” She spoke smoothly and he frantically shook his head. Wolves like the one they saw didn’t need hunters on their tails. They didn’t do anything to them. The smaller tried to scare them but he would bet that it was funny if he wasn’t on the receiving end. The larger did call her off even though he followed them out.

“Didn’t see a thing. Just that clumsy.” Stiles managed to stutter out. “What was it that you needed from me?” He pulled his arm back and dipped his head in a manner he hoped was respectful. He was the son of a sheriff, which was a lower man then a Lady.

“I heard from my parents that you are the man in town who does odd jobs? I need a runner to take documents from us to Lord Argent and also to my intended husband.” Lady Hale explained calmly. “You must understand that I need someone who is loyal and will not look at the documents but someone who is also… lowkey as to not draw any attention to themselves. Do you think you’re up to it?”

“Absolutely.” Stiles stood up in his excitement. It sounded like a great job. Sure, he was basically a glorified errand boy but he could live with that.

“It could potentially be dangerous. We are talking about documents that are aligning the Argent and the Hale family’s future.” She warned and he managed a bow.

“I would be honored to help you in any way. I will not fail you.” Stiles smiled as he straightened, and she nodded.

“Be there tomorrow in the morning. It will take most of the day for you to go to the Argents.” She nodded to his father and walked out the door without another word.

“Did that just happen?” He found himself mimicking Scott as he stared after her. His father sighed and stood, grabbing his arm once again.

“Let me rewrap this. Then you are going straight home to rest for your trip tomorrow.” He watched as the bloody bandages were peeled away and replaced with fresh ones. He didn’t bother to think about the fact that his father kept several hidden in his office. He was used to it. He nodded to the man who raised him and smiled, giving a hug to chase off the remaining worry in his eyes before heading out. It only took a fifteen minutes to get to his house but by then he realized he was exhausted. He guessed he lost a lot of blood, though he was a little busy at the time with the wolf and the Lady.

Their house is modest, for the town Sheriff. His father believed that he was the man of the people, only taking the pay needed to get by comfortably and giving the rest to the town and his deputies. Most of the other Sheriffs looked down on him for not taking advantage like they do, creating massive houses that were just under the lords of the land. Stiles loved his house. It was small, though two stories. There was only room for the small living area around the hearth that they cooked on, with a separate room for washing which included bodies and the laundry and the dishes. His mother designed it and it didn’t make much sense for others.

The second story had two bedrooms, one for him and one for his father, though he didn’t always live in it alone. There was also a small cupboard that his mother used to store herbs that she helped Deaton create potions with. She was a spark but would rarely bring her work home, claiming that the house was for the family only. She only taught him a few spells and they were for defense only. It was draining on him to do but it could stop an arrow. He hadn’t cast sense she died.

Walking up the narrow staircase to the top floor, he felt his feet drag under him and bowed his head. It was a long day. He meet two wolves who didn’t eat him, he got a strange job that he doubted he was allowed to talk about and his wrist was starting to throb again. He kicked his boots off by his door and pulled off his jacket. He groaned when he saw his white tunic was stained with blood and pulled that off as well, getting caught when he realized he forgot to loosen his belt. He usually hating wearing anything to fancy cause it restricted his movements and made it hard to talk.

He stripped down and pulled his baggiest shirt on before heading back out of his room, pausing at the cupboard before heading back down. The washroom was small and he grabbed his bucket, dropping the herbs he grabbed and his shirt before heading outside for the water. He might still be able to save it. He filled the bucket and mixed the herbs and shoved the jacket it, scrubbing at the blood with one hand. He didn’t want to get his bandages wet. When he did the best he could do he headed back to his bed to do what he was told to in the first place.

He collapsed onto his bed with a groan but his mind was whizzing around with the main topic being two bright blue orbs. The wolf couldn’t be natural with eyes like that and he wanted to study them. To stare and never look away. His favorite color had always been blue, but now he felt like they were the exact shade that was his favorite. He was also caught on their strange behavior and wanted nothing more than to get a satisfying explanation, but he didn’t think that was going to be likely. He wasn’t going to breathe a word to anyone.

“Damn, I should’ve talked to Scott about this.” Stiles sighed, rubbing his face with his good hand and stared at his ceiling. He did want to talk to his brother, but at the moment he really needed his brain to shut off and to rest. Maybe he would run into him tomorrow and he could question Scott if he had seen anything different. It felt like hours passed before his eyes finally closed without blinking back open, and only then did he see blue.

Chapter Text

The next morning found Stiles at the gate to the Hale mansion before the sun was even up and a bag slung off his hip. He was let in by a curly haired man who looked about his age and high cheek bones. Stiles opened his mouth to explain why he was there but the wrong words came out. Some very wrong words that reminded him all the more that he wasn’t suited for the higher class.

“How can those even be real? Do you cut your pillows at night with those things?” He blurted out and reached up to poke the cheek bones. The man stared at him in shock before slapping his hands away.

“Miss Laura Hale said you would be coming. Follow me.” The man didn’t give his name and Stiles ducked his head, following obediently behind him. They didn’t go to the front doors, instead he was led around to the back with took several minutes just to walk. They followed the path, which would be beautiful if it wasn’t so frightened. They came to a small door and the man turned to him. “Stay here.” The man shot him a glare before disappearing into the door. Stiles huffed out a groan and fell back against the wall, scrubbing at his face when he realized he probably just made an enemy.

“Mr. Stilinski?” Lady Hale stood at the door and he quickly bowed to her but a branch from the vines along the wall caught his coat. It tugged against his throat and stopped him from completing it.

“Ack!” He flailed about to get it off, a faint streak of panic shooting through him when the pressure on his neck tightened a heartbeat before his red coat unhooked from his body and he fell out of it. He felt a blush creep over his face as he sat on the ground, staring up at her with his mouth hanging open. Lady Hale was holding the wall with one hand while she laughed. Tears rolled down her eyes and she looked a second away from falling to her knees. “Um… Lady Hale? I’m so sorry.”

“What is…?” A large man appeared and Stiles froze. He was just as tall as the Lady, with broad shoulders and a narrower waist. Derek Hale, his brain supplied as the only male Hale heir that was only a few years older than him. The only other males were a set of twins that were the youngest at six years old.

“Um… “ Stiles decided that he should at least try to get his jacket off the wall. Derek locked eyes with him and he froze once again. For a single heartbeat he swore they were the same shade as blue as the wolf but as he stared he realized they were simply a nearly impossible form of hazel. The Lord shoved past the Lady in a rude manner that caused her to finally fall to the ground. She was silent now but he could still see she was laughing. He didn’t understand what was so funny to her.

“Here” Derek grabbed his arms and promptly lifted him to his feet. His fingers pressed against the cut on his wrist and Stiles yelped, jerking his arm back until he almost fell again. Lord Hale managed to snatch his hands and hold him up.

“I am so so sorry.” Stiles shook with the pain and tried to pull his wounded arm away. He doubted that they would care but he suddenly felt woozy, the pain draining away from him and he sagged. “Oooo. That’s nice.” He sagged against the man without a second thought and he was steered into the house. He dug his heels in so he wouldn’t have to step over the Lady but Lord Hale lifted him over by the shoulders. “Sorry Ms. Lady.” He called over his shoulder as his head rolled around.

“Isaac, can you get the coat?” Lord Hale nodded at the curly haired sure-to-hate-Stiles man who glared at him before gaping at Lady Hale still sprawled out on the floor. He saw the man bend down to help her back to her feet, his own lips lifting in a smile despite the fact that he was still trying to glare at Stiles.

“Guess I shouldn’t have poked his cheeks.” Stiles muttered and Lord Hale huffed, though it sounded strange to his ears.

“Sit. And tell me what you’re doing here so early?” Lord Hale set him on a chair by force, making Stile grunt and mindlessly swat at him.

“She hired me as a messenger. Told me to be here in the morning and so that’s why I’m here. She said it was about a day’s journey there so I wanted to get a head start. I got stuck on the wall and she started laughing at me and now I don’t know what to do. Plus I feel great which doesn’t make sense cause I was up half the night thinking about the color blue and my arm doesn’t hurt anymore…” Stiles swallowed when he realized Lord Hale was frozen.

“Blue?” He asked slowly when Stiles puttered off and he nodded dumbly.

“I was in the woods…. And I saw the most beautiful color of blue and it just stuck with me.” Stiles explained poorly but he didn’t lie. The blue did stick with him. “Um. May I get the documents I am meant to be transporting so I can start? I do not mean to be rude, Sir, but I do have to take it easy with the traveling.” Stiles tried to be proper but then he realized what he said. “Not to mean that I can’t do this. I can, I promise I’ll get them there without a problem.” He stopped when Lady Hale swept into the room, suddenly put together though her eyes were glowing with glee.

“I must apologize, Stiles, for I was rude to laugh.” She dipped her head the slightest amount and he managed not to lose his own composure.

“Of course not, Your Ladyship, but I am sure you have never seen a man lose a fight with a bush before.” He tried to stand but his legs wobbled under him. “I don’t really understand what happened, but I can’t seem to get my footing.” He flinched when Lord Hale shoved him back into the chair.

“Maybe you struck your head when you fell.” Stiles tried to duck his head when the man stood behind the chair. He was certain that he didn’t even come near to hitting his head. He landed on his rear and stayed there but the way it was phrased he wasn’t about to disagree with the man. His chin was suddenly jerked up by a hand and moved around. He gasped slightly at the warm fingers as he was examined, his eyes drooping slightly from the simple touch but it was gone all too soon. “You’ll be fine.”

“Th.. Thank you, your Lordship. But I really shouldn’t keep you two any longer.” Stiles managed to get to his feet this time. His head low to hide his blush and he was grateful when the Lady took pity on him.

“I have the documents by the door.” She led him away. Stiles quickly followed, forgetting to the last minute that he was meant to bow a little to the Lord. The strange fuzziness in his head wasn’t completely gone and he had to grab the wall for support midway through. He straightened to see the man looking a little incredulous at him and he fled. He wasn’t going to survive if the rest of his day was like this.

Lady Hale was by the door, sorting through a pile as if double checking everything before tucking it away and handing it to him. Stiles nodded and carefully placed it in the bag she handed him. His own was still thankfully around his waist with a bit of bread, his water and a very small slice of cheese. He didn’t dare take more when his father could need it. He also didn’t dare take any food by the documents. He knew his luck, and he clumsy nature.

“You will be paid upon your return but here are a few coins for lodging for the night. The forest is between us and the Argents and we don’t want you to be traveling there in the dark,” Lady Hale explained, and Stiles suddenly felt like he was carry war plans. Nothing could be that important that traveling at night was so dangerous that they paid him not to do it. “We also insist that you take some of this, as per your fathers request.” She handed him a small bag. He took it with a confused glance, peeking in to see a larger chunk of bread and cheese and even a small cutting of dried meat.

“This is honestly too much.” He gasped out, glancing between the smiling women and the bag.

“It is a days journey. You are working for us on something….Delicate. We wouldn’t want you going hungry.” Lady Hale smiled kindly and nodded to the curly haired man that approached behind him.

“Isaac will give you the directions and you can be off.” She swept from the room before he could form any more protests which was surprising. Isaac tossed his coat at him, lead him to the door and shoved him out with a small, hand drawn map in his hands. He didn’t say a word either and Stiles was stumped. He looked at the map with the little arrows with the help of the almost morning sun and set off.

As he walked, he held both bags in his teeth so he could pull on his jacket and then shoved the food into his smaller one around his waist, tucking the now empty bag next to the documents, only when he was sure nothing bad could happen. He also shoved the coins in his pocket and hung the larger bag off his shoulders. Now he had nothing to do but walk. The map was straight forward, and it only took him a few minutes to have every turn memorized.

He didn’t have to go all the way into town, the road he was on just skirting it, but he saw people mulling about. He waved at the ones he knew and shot a few rude hand gestures to the back of a few that thought he needed to be run out of town. He honestly didn’t understand the Hales hiring him, but he was taking it. The coins in the little purse he could stretch to last a day and a half if he needed.

Stiles could proudly say that he only hesitated for a full three minutes before walking fully into the forest. He promised himself that he wouldn’t stray from the path and that his little herb cutting knife would be enough to keep the weird wolves away. The bag of coins helped a lot with motivation along with the fact that he wouldn’t be cleaning out stables. He particularly hated it when the older men tried to grab his ass when he was shoveling.

The forest seemed to be the same from his childhood. It was large and beautiful, full of life and sounds. He couldn’t help but see it through new eyes, the ones that knew out there was a wolf with bright blue eyes that didn’t kill. He greatly appreciated the not killing part. Stiles enjoyed himself. He sang random songs and whistled to the birds. He mimicked some fox sounds when he spotted one and then laughed hysterically when it barked rapidly at him before running away.

It was about midday when he realized something wasn’t right. The forest had slowly become quiet and he kept glancing over his shoulder. The forest is rarely this quiet. He was sure something was following him but he only had about two more hours to walk before he got to the next town and then only half to the Argents. He tried to believe that he wasn’t seeing flashes of blue in the dark but when he shakily pulled out his small bread piece was he sure that he saw it.

“What are you even doing here?” Stiles spun around and shook his lunch at the wolf. He could see it trying to hide behind a tree but it was no use. Stiles glared some more before sitting down in the middle of the path, wedging his knife in the bread before stuffing it with the meat and cheese. He saved some back and made a smaller sandwich. Then he sat there, watching as he ate. He got halfway through before a nose appeared around a tree, sniffing and he resisted the urge to grin. He kept eating calmly as the wolf slowly shuffled into view and onto the path. It glanced around a lot, listening close but it seemed to decide Stiles was worth it.

“Here.” Stiles tossed the small sandwich at him and the wolf caught it in his mouth like he was used to it, which didn’t make sense. There was no way a sane person would throw food at wolves like that. Stiles didn’t consider himself sane anymore.

“Now you can be civil and walk with me instead of stalking me like a creeper?” Stiles brushed his hands off and stood, stretching when he realized his body tightened from sitting so still after walking the entire morning. The wolf blinked and Stiles smiled at him, shifting to the side to show they should start walking. He refused to turn his back completely. The wolf huffed at him, a similar sound to something he heard earlier but he couldn’t place it.

“Well, you could have acted like a normal wolf but then we’d both be dead.” Stiles shot back at the wolf. He was sure the beast rolled his eyes, but it didn’t bother looking further at it. This was something supernatural. He didn’t want to make it angry, but he also wanted to know more. Deaton would be pissed. The thought alone made him smirk.

“Do you like the forest? Or is it the only forest you know? It’s the only one I’ve been to, but I think I remember being in a different on a long time ago. It wasn’t a large and there were massive walls.” Stiles started to ramble, and the wolf didn’t seem to mind, walking at a steady pace next to him. “I tried asking my father once, but he acted like he had no idea what I was talking about. He was a mess after mother died but sometimes, he looks at me like I’m about to die too. It was the same look he gave me when I asked about the forest.” Stiles didn’t know how he started pouring his heart out, but he was.

The only time he stopped talking was when a group of people passed, though he didn’t miss a step. He expected the wolf to move off behind the trees but it didn’t. The beast shifted so it was between him and the strangers, his head hung low and his tail arched threateningly over his back. Stiles wanted to reach out and calm him but he also liked his fingers still attached to his hand. It wasn’t until he heard some of the men mutter that the wolf circled him, pressing his steps to be faster and the massive shoulders were suddenly under his hand. He buried his fingers into the fur and let himself be moved. It wasn’t until they were long gone did the wolf pull back.

“Thanks Blue.” Stiles scratched behind the wolves ear when he received a death glare at the name. He was incredibly lucky that the wolf liked him at least enough not to eat him.

Once they reached the town, the wolf stopped. Stiles knew he wouldn’t be followed but he dropped to his knee and leaned against the wolf. He received a very slobbered on face for his efforts and quickly ran away once he was free but it was enough to get him laughing. If he was lucky, he would be arriving just between lunch and dinner for the Argents. He wasn’t sure what their standing was as they walked among the wealthiest but also had their people out in nearly every corner of their country. He was a little frightened about meeting them.

Their house and town was the opposite of Stiles. The town was by no means small, but it was missing the community part. People looked at each other like they were strangers and there didn’t seem to be any laughter. The Argent house was massive where the Hale Manor was functional. The Hales had a large family, most of which were living in the Manor. Stiles was sure there was only half the amount of Argents living among the higher class.

He was stopped at the gates by two men, the smaller one running up to tell the Agents that he had arrived while the larger made sure he remained in place. Once word got back that he was indeed allowed to pass through ten-foot-tall gate was he led up to the massive house. He shrunk away from it but kept his steps sure and his back straight.

“What is it that the Hales have sent?” A beautiful blond woman didn’t bother with greeting him and he dipped stiffly to her. She was unnerving to say the least, but a younger woman swept into the room and the demeaner changed instantly.

“These are the documents I have been given to deliver.” He presented them to her and the younger one stepped forward. The older blond snatched them out of his hands before he could blink and he resisted the urge to lean away from her. She smelled like fake flowers and something pungent, like she was trying to cover it up.

“What are they about?” The younger Lady tried to peer at them, but the blond held them to her chest.

“They are for your father and grandfather. Not for your prying eyes, my precious niece.” The women ignored Stiles completely as she left the room. He didn’t mind that she had left.

“What are they about?” The young women turned on him so fast that he lifted his hands up and took a step back.

“I’m just the messenger.” He backed away as she advanced on him, her eyes narrowing. “I just deliver where they tell me. It’s my first time doing it!” He waved his hands around, flinching when his wrist twinge in pain and he held it to his chest. A second later it was in the woman’s hands.

“You got hurt?” She frowned at the bandages and Stiles nodded. “Did it happen when you walked through the forest?”

“No, I was trying to use a knife too big for a task.” Stiles scoffed at the idea of getting hurt in the forest. “I didn’t even get out of the armory without hurting myself with it. I was meant to be resting but I didn’t listen.”

“So you walked all the way from Beacon on your own, wounded, and nothing happened?” She peered at him and he nodded.

“I wasn’t completely on my own. I have a friend that walked with my part of the way and scared off some strangers when they started talking, though that might be because he was strange looking himself.” Stiles rambled again, trying to ease his wrist out of the Ladies grip without offending her but she had it in a death grip.

“What’s your friends name?” She asked longingly and he blinked.

“Blue.” He felt his lips twitch as he remembered the glare.

“Allison, please release the boy. You are making him uncomfortable and I’m sure you don’t want to agitate that wound.” A man with a straight back and a hard face walked in. Stiles snatched his arm back and took several steps away from her.

“Sorry Dad.” She didn’t sound sorry, more like she was deep in thought.

“I should really be heading off. I still have to find lodging for the night, and I don’t think you want to have little ole me in here any longer.” Stiles shuffled to the door, but the man raised his hand.

“Nonsense. We need you to take our responses back. You can sleep in the barn.” He snapped his fingers and a servant walked in. Stiles was promptly shoved out back with a smaller slice of bread than the one he started with and the door shut on his face. There was a fence around the property and the barn so there was no way out. He shot a final glare at the door but there was little he could do. They had weapons. He didn’t. Simple math.

“Glad to help.” He called out to no one and walked over to said barn. He got sword pointed at his face as he entered and quickly stammered out why he was there before the man could act. The man only lowered the sword when he spotted the bloody bandage and interrogated him about his wound. He didn’t understand what was so important about it, but the man wasn’t appeased until he unwound the bindings to show him the single slice and repeatedly explain himself. He ended his day hiding in the loft, struggling to rewrap his wound and hating the world.

He also felt the need to hide since the men kept trying to put him to work. He wasn’t going to work for free for a man who pointed a sword at his head for following the half-assed orders of their boss. He wasn’t allowed to leave the gates and he still had several hours before it got dark. He tucked himself into a corner and wrapped his coat around his head, sinking to the hay as he dozed. It wasn’t as comfortable as he was told it was. He would have scratches and he kept getting poked.

He blinked open his eyes when he realized that several of the pokes weren’t the hay, but a finger. Allison Argent was crouched over him and he tried to scream. A squeal spilled out before she clapped her hand over his mouth. She pressed her finger against her lips and he nodded.

“Please, I just want to know about your town. What’s it like?” She sat next to him and he stared at her in shock, her hand still clamped on his face. He lifted his eyebrows at her and she finally seemed to realize what she was doing and jerked it back, taking a moment to compose herself. Stiles straightened until he was leaning against a hay bail and blinked. She changed from her dress to plain trousers and a tight shirt and vest. She had strange straps from her forearms to her wrists and he arched an eyebrow at her.

“You could have been a little louder walking up.” He slumped slightly and she just smiled. “I honestly don’t know how I’m meant to address you.”

“How about Allison.” She stretched her hand out and he took it with only a second of hesitation.

“I’m Stiles Stilinski, my towns disappointment.” He smirked slightly and Allison broke into a smile.

“Oh, I’m sure you’re not just that.” She smiled and Stiles was instantly in love. It wasn’t the ‘I want to spend the rest of my days and have a bunch of babies with you’. It was more of a ‘You are my new best friend and we’re going to get into so much trouble together.’

“So what is it you want to know about my town, Allison?” He grinned at her and she instantly brightened, which he didn’t think was possible.

“What’s it like?” She tucked her legs under her and settled down more. He took a second the think before remembering the town she lived in.

“It’s better than this one. No offence.” He lifted his hands up in a soothing manner but she simply waited. “Everyone knows everyone. Which is a pain most of the time, but there isn’t a lot of crime because we are all connected. They all try to take care of one another because that’s what my father asked them to do. If there is no one suffering, then they won’t feel the need to steal or anything.” He smiled when he realized that his town wasn’t so bad. He wasn’t really part of all of it, but he loved the little part he was accepted in.

“Your father sounds like a great man.” Allison spoke softly and he nodded.

“He’s the town Sheriff. He’s the only family that I have left.” He tucked himself a little more into himself before shaking it off. “Right now, my best friend and practically my brother, is visiting from the castle to learn from the town Druid about herbs. I help him when I can, but it usually ends with us not getting any work done.” He turned to look at her fully and arched an eyebrow. “Why do you ask?”

“I’ve never left this town and I’m barely allowed out of the house. You can see the town isn’t exactly safe for a Lady to be walking around in but even when I do get let out, I can never see past the bodyguards my father sends with me.” She threw her head back in expiration and waved her hand in a dismissing manner. “Or my Aunt is busy scaring people. I’m supposed to be in archery practice right now, but I skipped so I could talk to you.”

“So that’s what those are for?” He pointed at her arms and she nodded. “I was too big of a klutz to be allowed around weapons.” Stiles lifted his arm to show her the wound. “Still am, unfortunately. I was sure a bigger knife would be easier for herb collecting.”

“You nearly killed yourself with a knife?” She stared at him in utter shock before shaking her head. “That won’t do.” She stood and motioned him to stand. “Do you have your knife?”

“Yeah, but it’s small.” He blushed as he dug it out, holding it out to her. She observed it with critical eyes before running her finger along the blade.

“It’s sharp, deadly if you know where to strike.” She flipped it though her fingers before holding it out to him. He slowly took it and narrowed his eyes at her as she pulled out her own knife. It was smaller than his and he realized it was probably meant for throwing. “Hold it like this.” She bent her knees slightly and he suddenly felt like he was second away from being gutted. He tried to mimic her but she started to shake her head.

“You really are hopeless.” He glared as she dropped from the stance, shaking her head with laughter. She moved around him, forcing his body into the correct position before backing off. She was focused and Stiles started to get used to the movements she showed him. It was dark before she was satisfied with his progress and they sat back down.

She then spent another hour going over the proper ways he needed to hold his knife to avoid slippage and cutting himself. He practiced while they talked about the different weapons, she used though archery was her favorite. He explained different herbs he knew about and the odd jobs he worked. The moon high in the sky when she left, only to be back a few minutes later.

“Here. I know my father meant well with the bread but you will need a full stomach for the journey back.” Allison quickly tossed him some bread and cheese before fleeing. He called a thanks out and settled back down with his dinner. He saved most of it for breakfast the next day. He didn’t think the Argents would provide for the service of running their response back since they locked him up to do so. He fell into a doze, content despite everything. He woke up to a cold nose on his face, a second later it was replaced with a warm, wet tongue dragged across his mouth and nose.

“Yuck” Stiles flung himself away from the wolf and swatted at him. “How did you even get in here?” He struggled to shake the sleep from his mind and to hold the wolf at bay but when he came completely to himself he stiffened. Blue was sitting in front of him, his hand still buried in the warm fur of his chest and his tail wagging slightly behind him.

“What are you even doing here Blue?” He hissed low, glancing around even though he was certain that he was the only human in the barn. The wolf chuffed at him before laying down, pressed tightly against his side, his head landing on his chest to push him back onto his back. Stiles grunted but fell back willingly. If the strange wolf wanted to cuddle, then he’d cuddle.

“So how was your evening?” Stiles grumbled and he heard the tail start wagging again. “That good, huh? I got locked in here by a scary lady and her brother who says I must take the response back. Allison seems nice though. However, I think its time to sleep cause you’re making me warm and I’ve had a weird day. You’re nice too you know, but Allison taught me how to use a knife where you just growl at people. I like it when you growl. I hope you don’t do it in your sleep.” He trailed off when there was a soft snore and he peered down to see the wolf was asleep. He smiled before closing his eyes, breathing deep as he relaxed.

Chapter Text

The next morning, he was awakened by water being poured on his head. He sputtered as he sat up, wiping it from his face and glaring at the man. It was the same one that tried to run him though with the sword the day before. The man grinned nastily and left without a word. Stiles gathered up his things and quickly fled from the barn, sending a few curses at the man that he wouldn’t recognize. He wished he knew a real magical curse to send his way but that wasn’t his forte.

“Good morning.” He peeked into the back door and a women looked up. She looked like a maid but he put on his best smile. “I am here to see if they have anything for me to take back to the Hales?”

“I will see.” She dipped her head with a frown and left. He waited for almost half an hour before she came back. “They wish to speak to you.” She didn’t bother to enter the room and he chased after her, stumbling over the doorway and into the decorated hall. He looked down at his dust and hay covered clothes and prayed that he didn’t leave a trail they’d make him clean up with his mouth or something similarly evil.

“Stiles!” Allison waved him over excitedly and the entire room turned to stare at her. She ignored them in favor of snatching up the papers that a stern looking woman that Stiles assumed was her mother. It couldn’t be another Aunt because she didn’t seem crazy enough, though she did scare him with her glare. He clinched his jaw shut and bowed, hoping that he didn’t make a disgrace of himself. They didn’t seem as forgiving as the Hales.

“Daughter, that is no way to speak to the servants.” The stern woman chastised and Stiles kept his head low, hiding his laughter when Allison rolled her eyes at him.

“Mr. Stilinski is not one of our servants. He works for the Hales and has remained solely because it was requested of him. He could have left at any time and we would have had to hire someone to take our reply. That would have taken days, Mother.” Allison spoke primly before turning back to him with a dimpled grin. “These are the documents and I insist that we give you something for the road.”

“He is not our…” Allisons mother started but Allison carried on as if nothing happened.

“As you are EMPLOYED by the Hales, we will kindly treat you as one of their house. If you will please.” She trotted from the room and he bowed to her mother before following. He didn’t trust himself not to say something stupid so he remained silent. Allison gave him some more food and he tucked the documents away.

“Thank you for not letting me get killed.” He pulled a face as thought about what he said and shrugged.

“She… Well, she’s my mother.” Allison grinned and he bowed to her and left. He waved at her as he did and almost tripped off the steps. He could hear her soft laughter as he jogged to the front gates. The men there tried to make him hand over the food he had been given, claiming that he had stolen it, but Allison let out a shrill whistle and they let him pass without another word. He took his time giving her a final wave just so he could rub it in their faces before he ducked out.

He didn’t trust the town after hearing about it from Allison so he stuck to the edges of the forest like he wanted to in the first place, leaving a field between him and the people. He could see them waking up but there were no voices filling the air. He could almost feel the eyes on him as he walked. A single man leaving a house as large as the Argents, known for their wealth, did not bode well for him. He knew he was safe.

Blue was walking through the woods next to him, his dark pelt hidden in the shadows and he wanted nothing more than to follow him in. He didn’t. He knew that the Argents men were still watching him so he had to make it back to the road before dipping into the forest. It was faster than when he traveled through the town and he decided it would be his new path if he could keep his job.

“Morning Blue.” He finally made it to the road where he could duck in. The wolf trotted up to him and he ran his fingers though his fur, grumbling when the beast dragged him to the ground to lick his face. He kept his lips pressed tightly and fought him off the best he could. He ended up covered in slobber anyway but he did succeed on one thing.

“I’m not getting my first real kiss from a wolf you ass.” Stiles gasped when the wolf backed off, whining softly with large eyes. “It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, but I’d like the person to have human lips and a regular tongue.” He wrapped his arms around his shoulders and pressed his face against his massive chest, rubbing the slobber off onto the fluff there. The wolf rumbled before nudging him forward.

“You are so weird.” Stiles got to his feet and started walking. “I should be home by tonight. How about I not tell my father I was basically held against my will by the Argents so they could keep an eye on me.” He nibbled on the bread as he talked more about his life and wondering out loud about if he should tell the Hales that he didn’t have to buy a room for the night. He decided about midday that he would give them the coins for a room back and explain that he would only take the money for job.

“That sounds fair.” He nodded to himself, handing some of the food off to Blue without thinking about it. It seemed to make the wolf giddy but he didn’t pay any mind. Maybe he was raised with people and somehow got out, that he missed having people around him. He liked the strange wolf, who seemed to listen when he rambled and didn’t let anything close to him. When people passed he placed himself between them and Stiles, growling low and keeping them on the far edge of the road. Stiles snickered every time he saw their faces go pale.

“Here we are.” He took a break, stretching out his limbs and loosening the muscles from his walk. He leaned against the tree and eased himself to the ground. He could see the town but he decided to linger on the edge of the trees. Blue pulled back a little but he wondered over again when he saw Stiles sitting. They sat in silence for several minutes, polishing off the rest of the food between them and he leaned against the wolf. The sun was still high but he knew they were expecting him so he stood, shaking off his stiffness and getting onto the path that would lead up to the Hale Mansion. It took about ten minutes for him to get to the front doors. He knocked and a second later Isaac answered.

They stared at each other for several minutes until Stiles got tired and shoved his way in. He pulled the bag off his shoulder but the man was still by the door. The house was just as beautiful as he remembered. Laughter filtered down the stairs and he felt himself relax. Part of him expected it to suddenly feel like he was walking back into the stiff, about-to-die-for-the-slightest-mistake, but it was the same one he was in the day before.

“They insisted that I return with a reply.” He smiled stiffly at the man who finally closed the door a turned to him.

“Insisted.” Isaac arched his eyebrow and he lifted a shoulder as he dug for the coin bag.

“As in they made me stay in their barn the entire time they were reading and writing the reply. So you can have the coins for a room back.” He held the bag back out, unsure how much they believed would be needed for a room. Isaac stared at him some more before shoving the bag back toward him and took the document bag from his other hand.

“This way please.” Isaac gave him a faint smile and Stiles beamed back. He must have done something right but he wasn’t exactly sure what to make the man seemingly forget the cheek incident. Part of him wanted to poke them again, so much so that he felt his fingers start to twitch at his sides. He was led to an office and he almost fled.

Sitting at the desk was Duke Hale, his wife perched on the edge of the desk and both watching him as he stood there. Isaac walked in with ease, setting the bag on the desk and pulled out the documents. He handed them over before nodding, turning back and shoving Stiles into a chair as he passed.

“So you’re the hooligan that my daughter hired?” the Lady spoke first and he dipped his head to her, nodding rapidly as he swallowed. He luckily didn’t choke on anything as he did. “And how did it go?”

“They insisted I return with a reply. They, uh, let me sleep in their barn so this is yours.” Stiles tried to hold the coin bag out to her, but she shook her head. He glanced between her and Duke Hale in confusion, his hand still raised for them to take. “This is too much for what little I did.”

“You had to deal with the Argents in our place.” The man finally spoke and he felt his lips twitch up in a smirk before he could school his face. He let his hand drop onto his lap before straightening.

“They did insist that I bring their reply.” Stiles lifted his head up and they were both studying him.

“You are the sheriffs son?” the Lady shifted around and he nodded. “Did he teach you to observe?” Stiles nodded again though he wasn’t sure if it was a taught trait of his or not. “Then tell me everything that they learned about the Argents. They wish to marry into the family and are pushing it at an incredibly fast rate. So, I am asking you to explain how they treated you, truthfully. Any questions?”

“Why don’t you observe them yourself?” Stiles felt the words leave his mouth without his permission and she smirked. “Is it because they will act different around you, and more like their usual selves around me?”

“Very good.” She straightened as he spoke, and he ran the information through his mind.

“But what does that tell me about you? You trust me even though I am considered the town hooligan, besides the fact that I am the Sheriffs son, and yet you are putting something so important as your family onto me? You don’t know me.” He couldn’t help but start talking. The second he realized what he said he snapped his mouth shut and ducked his head down.

“You also were the one to walk my daughters horse all the way home after you found it in the woods. It had gotten spooked and threw her, and you brought it back, asking nothing in return” She shifted so she was standing behind her husband. “I also know for a fact that you ran into two wolves who didn’t act like wolves, and you didn’t say a word about it.” Panic shot through him and he shifted back in his chair.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Stiles felt his heart pound in his chest, and he promised to smack Scott the next time he saw him. The gossip. He remembered the horse, but he mostly remembered petting the frightened thing to calm it down before leading it home. A young girl had run out and sobbed over the horse, spooking him but he managed to calm her down and move them into a barn. He had to leave shortly after for something to do with his father but he gave her a hug before he did. It wasn’t until a few years later that he saw her in a rage that made him keep his distance.

“Of course.” The answer seemed to make her even happier. “Call me Talia, this is my husband, Charlie.”

“Isn’t that very informal?” He cocked his head to the side before taking a deep breath. “I’ll help. I will tell you everything I saw about the Argents.” And he started talking.
======================================================================
“How’d it go?” Scott barely glanced up from where he was sorting herbs the next day. Stiles took so long explaining everything that happened that he ended up heading straight home. Deaton was nowhere to be seen so Stiles hauled himself so he was sitting on the edge of the table and leveled a stare at Scott until he turned. The teen startled, dropping several of the dried strands and cursing.

“Did you tell anyone about those wolves?” Stiles was raging with words, but he needed to be serious. Blue could be in danger even though the Hales seemed nice enough.

“No! What the Hell Stiles? That was crazy enough without you going crazy like that. What’s going on with the wolves that tried to eat us?” Scott wheezed as he picked up the herbs he dropped and set them on the counter. Stiles relaxed and looked over his shoulder to make sure that Deaton hadn’t returned.

“Here’s the thing. Talia Hale knew we ran into the wolves and that we didn’t say anything about it.” He hopped off the table and gathered up that last of the herbs. He helped in separating what could be used and what needed to be tossed from general damage and what still needed a little longer to dry.

“How did she know?” Scott hung some of the herbs up with his face scrunched up in his confusion.

“I don’t know, but the big guy showed up and walked with me to the Argents.” Stiles grinned as he remembered but he was distracted by Scott gaping at him. A second later he had hands on his shoulders as he was shifted around, the teen looking him up and down.

“You’re not hurt? How is that possible?” Scott ran his hands down his arms before jerking back when he touched the bandages. Stiles swatted at him playfully with his good hand before turning back to his work.

“I told you they weren’t trying to hurt us. They were just… checking us out.” He thought about Blue and smiled. “Blue was just being protective when he walked with me. He even snuck into the barn when they made me stay. I have no idea how he did it, but he was cuddly.”

“You named it? Of course, you named it. Apparently, you cuddled with it too.” Scott slammed hand onto his forehead before sinking to the ground, his hands over his face.

“What’s wrong with cuddling? We used to do it all the time as kids.” Stiles shook away the memory of his mother dying and Scotts father. They both sought comfort in not sleeping alone when their days got bad but that was in the past, though he would bring it up to make the teen blush.

“That was different.” Scott did not disappoint, and Stiles snickered. “You did it with a wolf.”

“That makes it sound dirty, which makes the fact that he licked my face a lot even worse.” Stiles laughed evilly when Scott cringed, and he decided to take pity. “Look, he didn’t hurt me and he even kept all other travelers away from me. Didn’t you want me to be safe while I traveled?”

“Yes I do but a wolf is…” Scott started but then he stopped when Stiles flicked something slimy off the table that had some of Deatons potions at him.

“Is basically a big, guard puppy that everyone is afraid of. He listens and seems to understand when I talk to him so Blue stays. It’s not like you could do anything to stop it. I doubt I could make him truly stop if I wanted to.” Stiles shook his head.

“You don’t want him to stop.” Scott uncovered his face and gave him the best puppy eyes that Stiles had ever seen. Somehow, they didn’t compare to the blue he knew he would get if he even suggested that the wolf left.

“You know how I am, and the road isn’t a place to be alone.” He shrugged and Scott bowed his head as he stood and shuffled over. The hug wasn’t a surprise and he leaned into it.

“Be safe.” Scott patted him on the back when he was done and Deaton took the chance to arrive. They both froze and stared at him but the druid simply pointed at the door, giving Stiles a look.

“See you later.” Stiles took the non to subtle command and trotted out the door. He used some of his coins to buy food in town, expressly telling the chef that he would be bringing it to his father so he wouldn’t spit on it and paid in full.

The man glared at the coins as if they would poison him and he realized the town would have no idea that he had a job. He didn’t plan on telling them for the sake of the Hales but they probably thought the he stole it from some pour old lady. When he was finally giving his food, plus a warning about paying with proper money that made him grin his best evil grin and ask if they knew how to pay with improper money, he left.

The sheriff station was small for the size of their town. There were two rooms with bars for doors for anyone who needed what was jokingly called time-out, an area for the deputies to work and another room for his fathers office. Stiles waved at Grant who was sitting at the desk in front of all the others. It was meant to be a way to stifle the flow of people but it didn’t really stop family from walking in.

“Hello Father?” He walked in without knocking but he stiffened. Once again his father wasn’t alone. He didn’t trip this time. He locked eyes on Lord Hales, his hip hitting the handle of the door when he forgot to stop his feet, his bad wrist twisting to grab at it as pain shot up and down from the impact, but it only made the wrist ache. He did manage to stay standing, but the food tumbled from his hands as he spazzed back. It didn’t hit the ground. Lord Hale lunged forward and caught the sandwiches before anything else happened.

“Stiles, I swear I remember teaching you to knock.” His father sagged slightly in his seat. Stiles blinked dumbly as Lord Hale straightened and held the bag out to him. He took it with his good hand and leaned against the door.

“I was bringing you some lunch.” He lifted it up as if it was a good enough explanation. Lord Hale smirked faintly before turning back to the Sheriff.

“Thank you for your help.” He turned to Stiles, who didn’t stop staring the entire time. “We need you again for tomorrow morning. My parents forgot to tell you.”

“Oh, I’ll be there.” Stiles stiffened when the man stepped past out the door, unable to move in time to give him more room.

“Hopefully you can go five minutes without hurting yourself next time we meet.” Lord Hales eyes gleamed with mirth and Stiles flashed a grin.

“Don’t count on it.” He called after him before muttering under his breath. “Especially with a face like that. Didn’t help that you can pick me up either.” He stiffened when he heard a booming laugh and the Lord slipped out the doors. There was no way that he had heard Stiles so maybe Grant told him something as he passed. Shrugging it off, he finally stepped from the doorway, shutting it and dropping the food onto the desk.

“Stiles, are you sure you know what you’re doing?” His father gave a pointed nod to the door and he felt his face redden.

“It’s not like that! I got hurt trying to bow to Lady Hale and she was laughing at me and he helped me get untangled from the vine” He stuttered to a stop when his father raised his hand. His face was set in a grim line and Stiles wondered if he slept at all the night before.

“Stiles, you are almost eighteen years old. You can’t… not with the Hales. Not like that.” He spoke in a sad drone and Stiles groaned.

“It’s not like that. I told you. It was a joke.” He grabbed the food and handed him the sandwich, pulling out his own meal. “I got you the good stuff with my money that I got from the Hales so if you still think it’s a bad job for me then I can always take it with me tomorrow.”

“Fine, hooligan” His father snatched up the sandwich and took a bite. It was still warm from when it cooked and he let out a loud groan of happiness. Stiles smirked and started eating. It was glorious and a treat for him since they didn’t eat such things often. He enjoyed when his father called him a hooligan, since it was more of a fond nickname then an insult when it was between them.

“Guess I’ll be gone tomorrow.” He took a deep breath and sighed. “I really don’t like the Argents.”

“Why?” His father narrowed his eyes at him and he shook his head.

“Usual.” He didn’t care to elaborate as his father glared at his sandwich like it was the one that treated his son badly. He was used to it but he turned to his food, frowning as he thought about the extra cruelness he believed that the Argents were capable of. “Allison was nice though. She taught me how to stab people.”

“Of course she did.” His father finally started eating again. “You’re still not getting that knife back.”

“Don’t need it. She taught me how to use the little ones.” He grinned at the strained look on his face and promptly took another bite.

Chapter Text

Stiles yawned in Isaacs face the next morning before apologizing profusely and explaining that he didn’t know he was going to open the front door so fast. Isaac sighed, handing him a new map with different directions as well as the two bags and an explanation that the family was preparing for a trip and needed some time to rest in the morning so they would not be able to see him off. He was also handed his coin bag back, it was considerably larger than the first time.

“Thank you. Good luck with the trip.” He called as he walked down the steps, confused on where they were going but he received a wave in return. The curly haired man was warming up to him. When he looked at the map he saw that he was going somewhere new and practically jumped up and down in glee when it wasn’t the Argents. There was a single letter in the bag with a seal on it. It was similar to the Hale triskelion but there was a rose around it.

It took longer than he cared to admit but he remembered Lady Hale mention that he would be taking letters to her fiancé so it must be where he was headed. The seal on the wax must be her mark. She seemed like a woman who would demand one of her own. He turned in the right direction, which was opposite of the Argents and set off. He didn’t know how long it would take to get there but he was ecstatic when he locked eyes on all too familiar blue.

“Blue?” He grinned when the wolf bounced out and trotted up to him, looking more like a puppy than the adult his size suggested he was. Stiles ran his fingers through his fur as he walked, letting his hand rest between his shoulders as the wolf tried to lean into him. They made their way along but before midday there was a massive howl and he froze, shock shooting through his veins as more picked up. He yelped when Blue threw his head back and answered. Stiles could feel it in his chest and through the fingers still buried in his fur.

“What was…?” He froze when a single howl went up and the wolf promptly deflated. Stiles dropped to his knees and the wolf circled him, turning to lap at his face several times before taking off. Stiles stared after him for several minutes before sighing. He stood and continued.

It was boring without Blue to talk to. He couldn’t talk to himself and he ran out of songs to sing, which he wasn’t big on considering he had a terrible singing voice. The wolf had replied with chuffs and grumbles so now everything was quiet and he wished the wolf was there to calm his mind.

“Hello.” A large group of people appeared shortly after midday and a young women wondered over to him. He nodded to her and plastered on his best smile, his mind still on Blue. “My name is Cici. Are you headed to Red Fall village?”

“I think so… I’m just following the map I was given.” Stiles answered with a shrug. “I’m Stiles.”

“That’s so weird.” She beamed at him and he smirked, getting drawn into the conversation.

“What is? The name or the fact that I’m just following a map?” She let out a rough laugh before quieting, shooting a busted glance at her group.

“Both, but I know a new traveler when I see one. Why aren’t you in a group?” Cici cocked her head to the side and he shrugged, thinking fast.

“They know I’m coming but there wasn’t anyone else going this way.” He lied easily and she nodded along like it made sense. They fell into a comfortable conversation, but he couldn’t fully relax. She caught him staring into the forest several times and he explained that there were wolves, in which she laughed and said they would be stupid to attack when there was such a large group. He counted four grown men and two women. There was a teenager walking near the rear with a pissed off look on his face but Stiles chose to ignore it.

When the group called for lunch, he found he was too worried about the wolf and the fact that he had been taken in by a group of strangers to eat. Cici tried to get him to pull it out but he refused, claiming his breakfast didn’t agree with him. She stopped insisting when he pretended to gag at the smell her own bread. She continued to walk by him, talking with him about anything and everything despite the threat of vomit.

As the day started to wane, he checked the map, growing more stressed about the fact that they haven’t turned off. He knew Lord Barlow lived in a small town that was named the same. The Barlows weren’t considered much since it was a smaller town and they kept to themselves, attending only the mandatory parties. The little group should have turned off several miles back to get to Red Fall village. There was barely an hour of light when he reached the town called Cedars point, saying farewell to the group before heading straight to an inn.

The town was small, barely a few lanes with shops and houses but he found the inn easily. People were still milling about and he talked with them easily as they confirmed his room, which he properly hid in. An older bar maid brought him food with a kind smile, sensing his unease and showed him how to lock the doors and windows. He thanked her and told her about the group, which she shook her head and told him to leave any group like that. There was one going around by robbing people after “Helping” them on the road.

The morning came harshly but he was already moving off before the sun peaked. He left a few extra coins at the inn to make sure he had a room when he was on his way back. It would take half the day to make it to the Barlows home and then the rest could be spent getting back to the relative safety of the inn. He kept a wide eyed look out for Blue and the group the entire time but it seemed useless. He didn’t see anyone after the first person passed and he ducked several feet into the woods to hide. It made everything go slower but he felt he couldn’t risk it. He wanted Blue again. He felt safe with Blue.

It was little past midday when he made it to the road that lead up to the mansion, which took over half an hour to walk up. He was exhausted and jumpy by the time he passed the unlocked, slightly broken down gates. He didn’t think anyone could shut them now if they tried and felt something in him relax. This place was a little creepy, but there was something about it that soothed him down to his core. Then he saw the house.

It was far from the Argents, looking like a smaller version of the Hales with a large barn and a massive glass house in the middle of the clearing. The house was tucked under some large trees, the other buildings obviously taking up priority. There was also less people around then the Argents, a few nodding to him but no one stopped him from walking up to the front door. He wondered if they wanted him to go to the back door but it was blocked by more trees and a low gate.

“He’s in the greenhouse” A voice hollered across from the barn and he turned to wave, pointing questioningly at the glass structure. The man nodded and Stiles waved again. He had never seen anything like it but as he approached, he could smell why they called it a green house. It smelled like every plant he had ever encountered, and he knocked carefully on the door. There was a shuffling sound before it was wretched opened and a hand shot out, pulling him in and closing the door quickly behind him.

“You have Lauras letter?” The man asked excitedly and Stiles resisted laughing at the fact that he was bouncing slightly, his hands clutched in front of his chest like he didn’t trust himself to reach into Stiles bag and pull it out himself.

“Here it is.” Stiles quickly handed it over so he wouldn’t get mauled. Lord Barlow took a second to run his finger over the seal before pulling out an herb cutting knife and slicing around it. Stiles moved to leave to give him some space when the mans eyes started to tear up but he was stopped by a hand on his arm. It was uncomfortable to be held there but he waited several minutes as the Lord shuffled through the pages.

“I am sorry to stop you, but I already have a response.” Lord Barlow spoke thickly though he grinned. “You see, we were to be wed a year ago but her father had gotten sick. We postponed so she could stay by his side. I’ve waited four years for her, and I would wait forever. It is… improper for us to live under the same roof if we were not wed so the best we can do until our day comes is exchange letters.” The man carefully put the letter down and Stiles knew. Laura Hale was loved deeply, and he believed she loved him in return from the few sentences he read upside down from her letter. His heart suddenly ached for them.

“Can you not visit her?” Stiles asked and the man shrugged.

“She does live close, but I am the only Barlow left. I could only leave for short periods of time. I have visited but I also have a duty to the town and its people.” Lord Barlow shuffled around the greenhouse and Stiles finally looked around.

“I haven’t seen this is months” His eyes landed on a plant that usually only grew in the first few weeks of spring. The little plant was still growing strong despite being out of season. It could be used to treat aches in joints and he sometimes used it to help his fathers knees.

“You know plants?” Lord Barlow perked up and Stiles smiled.

“My mother taught me how to make some stuff and I help a friend in town to harvest them from the forest. I’ve never seen anything like this.” Stiles looked at all the shades of green around him and breathed deep. The air was thick with scent and heat, leaving him unable to pick out any particular plants.

“Very interesting. Please call me Cole” The man held out a letter that was just as large as Lady Hales and he took it, dipping his head.

“My name is Stiles.” He introduced himself and the man smiled. They talked a little more about plants and what they could be used to cure different things. It wasn’t until he looked out the door and saw the setting sun did his heart skip a beat. Cole noticed and gave him a sad frown.

“I would offer you a place to stay but I have a sickness in the house. I am helping the town Druid cure with my stock.” He waved his hands at the plants before taking a small bunch of flowers and cutting them. He placed them in a small, cheap cup and handed it to Stiles. “For my Laura.”

“Of course.” Stiles smiled and backed toward the door. He would need time to get to the town and get a room for the night.

“Try not to let the cooler air in.” Cole called after him and Stiles slipped out as fast as he could, gently shutting the door and starting off down the way he came. Part of him wished Cole had insisted that he had slept in the barn like the Argents had. He made it back to a fork by the time the sun was setting and took a deep breath. The forest was quiet, much like it was before the wolves showed up. Stiles took one look at the road further into Barlow and turned, bursting into a run. He could hear them.

There was a shout and a weight hit his knees, arms wrapping around his legs and he fell. His shoulder hit first as he instinctively curled into a ball. He heard a pop and knew his shoulder wasn’t in place anymore.

“What did the Duke give you, pretty boy?” A voice came from his knees and he hissed as he jerked a leg free, kicking toward the sound. It hit home with a sickening crunch and he rolled to his feet.

“You’re delusional.” He gasped, running toward the trees as he clutched his arm to his chest. He surprisingly still had everything on him.

“Why are we delusional.” A calm voice called and he recognized Cici. He ducked behind a tree thinking fast.

“No one thinks I’m pretty.” He took off running the second he finished talking, glancing over his shoulder to see them looking at each other instead of him, confused by his words. The moon was full, lighting everything up. If he stayed on the road, they’d be on him in an instant. He’s only hope was to stick to the shadows of the forest and be as quiet in his escape as possible. They were between him and Barlow so he had no choice.

“We’ll see what the Dukes used you for!” A man shouted after him and he huffed out a breath. His shoulder hurt to move but he didn’t stop. It was the arm with the bad wrist. He weaved through the trees, doing his best over the rough terrain and dodge the occasional arrow the shot past him. Stiles didn’t stop when the moon rose above him or when his lungs started to fail.

He had taken his time on the road but now he was running full out, the flowers still clutched to his side as he used them to balance his turns when an arrow got to close. Exhaustion started to dim his vision as he struggled for breath but he skidded to a stop at a flash of red. The robbers continued to shout from behind him but he stood there, blinking at the massive black wolf. It wasn’t Blue. He glanced behind him and made his decision.

“Look, if you are one of the odd wolves that hang out here. I won’t do shit to hurt you but there are some people in the forest that are trying to kill me so can I get past without you trying to rip out my guts or something.” He wheezed out, inching closer as the sound of the robbers came closer. The wolf watched him closely before taking a small step to the side, its head swinging toward the robbers. It was all Stiles needed. He grunted out a thanks before ducking past through the gap that was made.

“What the Hell is that thing?” One of the women screamed and he skidded to a stop, nearly dropping everything. He wasn’t sure why he was still carrying it, but he couldn’t leave the wolf to deal with the armed robbers on its own. If it was anything like Blue, there was sentience in it, and he couldn’t just not help. He dropped his stuff at the base of a tree, spinning around to search for a large stick when a wolf slammed into his side.

Stiles didn’t have to deny that he made an unmanly noise. He didn’t make any at all except maybe a huff as the air was forcibly ejected from his lungs. He remained on his feet solely because the impact had him folded over the wolfs back. The wolf stopped moving, dipping slightly to let him slide off onto his rear but he clung to him, a few rough sobs coming from him as he got his breath back. He could feel tears running down his face but he shoved off the wolf.

“We have to help the Red-eyed one” He gasped out and Blue shook his head. Stiles went to stand as he focused on the robbers but he heard them running away. He blinked a few times before sinking back to the ground with a moan. “That just happened.” He curled his fingers of his good hand through the wolfs fur and pressed his face against it so he could breathe.

When he resurfaced he saw that they were surround by wolves, making him let out a weak groan and bury his face again, curling in on himself. A second later he felt a nose on the back of his neck that couldn’t possibly be Blue and he stiffened, twisting slightly to blink up at the Red eyed wolf. He suddenly knew she was the one in charge. Blue rumbled behind him and she snorted, blasting his face with hot air and he wrinkled his nose at her.

“You need something for that breath. What’d you do? Hunt down bunnies?” He waved his good hand in front of his face. He felt Blue stiffen before Red chuffed at him and moved off. Blue nudged him toward where his bags and the flowers were sitting and he got the idea. He gathered them up, too exhausted to even eat, the fear still turning his stomach sour. The bag fell around his shoulders, stopping at his hips before he could grab it.

Blue stepped forward and grabbed the bottom part in his teeth, tugging until he was leading Stiles forward. His legs wobbled under him, the muscles going soft after he everything and his head starting to spin. The moon was high in the sky before they finally gave out from under him. He cried out as his knees hit the ground, the impact shaking his shoulder. Blue licked the tears away before curling around his back, settling down.

“I’m sorry. I can’t” Stiles leaned back into the warmth and sighed. The flowers sat in the cup at his hip, still thankfully upright. It made him feel better to be able to deliver them to Lady Hale. He rolled his head to the side so he could see Blues face, disappointed that his good hand was on the wrong side to give him a good scratch under the chin in thanks. Once again he had to rely on his words.

“Thank you for the help. I knew they would plan something but Cole was sheltering those stricken by some sickness that he was trying to help cure. I didn’t want to stay so I was going to finally use the coins the Hales gave me for a room in town but I realized they set a trap. I tried to get away but they tackled me. My shoulder dislocated or something. I can’t use it right now.” He rambled tiredly, curled a little into the wolf when he realized his body was cooling to fast. He was soaked in sweat from his run, leaving the faint breeze to start chilling him. His shoulder twitched and he whimpered.

The other wolves circled back one by one to settle around them. The first two consisting of a large dark brown wolf and a white wolf. They seemed to be a pair, staying close to each other as they stretched out next to Blues head. Stiles murmured greetings and the white wolf snorted at him. The smaller one he met on the first day trotted over and licked a stripe across his forehead. He swiped at her and she lifted a paw as if she wanted to do the same. Blue let out a warning mumble and she stopped.

“Sorry” Stiles murmured to them. A lanky wolf was next, nudging his hand from where it was hanging off the edge of Blues hip. Stiles wiggled his fingers at him, and they got a tentative lick in return. Finally, Red trotted up and sat between him and the woods where the robbers were last seen. Occasionally she would flicker her ears around but she didn’t move.

A single wolf was with her, just a step behind but she walked over to him quickly. She was a dark black like Blue but it was broken by greys running along her paws and up her legs. She snuffled at his face and he turned away. Her tongue ran carefully along his shoulder. He let out a yelp and jerked. Blue lifted his head and curled tighter around him. He nearly knocked the flowers over and he caught them, setting them back down with his good hand.

“Careful.” He smiled as the wolf leaned closer, sniffing softly at the petals as she eased down until she was sitting, smelling the flowers. “Those are from Cole to Laura. He asked me to give them to her. I don’t really know why I didn’t drop them. But since it’s not really life and death I’m glad to take them to her. He seemed head over heels for her.” Stiles explained to the wolf and she started wiggling. It was almost like a full body tail wag had taken over her and she bounced slightly as she glanced between him and the flowers. The younger dark wolf woofed softly and Stiles let out a snort.

“I think your little sister is laughing at you.” He shifted, stretching out on his back a little more as the happy wolf settled next to his legs, gazing at the flowers with a soft look in her golden gaze.

“Would you be terribly angry if I called you flower in my mind?” He nudged her shoulder and she gave him a bright look, her tail wagging. “I didn’t think so. I already call this one Blue, but I didn’t ask him if I could or not. I don’t know about everyone else. I think the little one from the first day is a little scary so maybe hold off until I know she won’t take revenge.” He let his head drop down, his words becoming slurred as his body shut down. He felt Blue lick his cheek before he fell completely into sleep.
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He was woken later though he was unsure how long he slept for. The wolves were sleeping around him but Red was awake, sniffing at his shoulder and wrist. He gave a low grunt and sat up, peering up at the sky. The moon still hung low but the chill in the air told him that it was a few hours before the sun would be up.

“I should start getting back” He sat there for a second before he emptied the food bag, using it to tie his arm to his side as he ate. He shared some of the food with Red and Blue, murmuring about how he could get more when he got home. It seemed to please both wolves and he was pulled the document bag around his good shoulder, grabbing the flower cup and standing. Blue was on his feet in an instant, tugging at the bag until Stiles sighed, letting it drop back around his hips.

The wolf led him though the woods and he staggered after him. The other wolves trotted around him for several minutes before heading off toward the woods. The couple stayed near the longest, as well as the small male that had licked his fingers. They circled around him as he was pulled along. He clung to the cup, holding it to his chest. It made him think happy thoughts, which he needed when he was attacked by robbers and surrounded by wolves. He hoped Laura would love them as much as Flower.

“Oooo, look. A road” He gasped in delight as his feet hit the flattened ground. Blue stayed by his side but the other three held back. His wolf turned to stare at the others, seemingly communicating something with each other before the vanished into the shadows. Blue turned back to him, grabbing the bag once again in his mouth and leading him forward. Stiles honestly didn’t need him to anymore but he could tell that it soothed the wolf so he let it continue.

He was still tired but the world didn’t spin around him as he walked. His wolf kept glancing back at him like he was seconds away from collapsing. He smiled every time he did as if he could assure him that he could still walk. They stayed that way, Stiles placing one foot in front of the other after his wolf. He suddenly didn’t know what he would do if he lost his friend. He stretched his fingers out, giving him a scratch on the rump and got a tail wag as shutters shot over his entire body.

“I guess that’s a special spot for scratches?” Stiles snickered, his mind not really making his verbal capabilities any better. They passed where the road would break off, but the wolf seemed to know where he was going. Stiles followed. It was only when the sun started to rise did he realize where he was. He wondered if it was for the best if he headed straight into town but Blue tugged him toward the Hale house.

The sun was completely above the horizon before he reached the Hale house. Blue walked him straight up to the front gates before taking off into the woods. Stiles stared after him in confusion for a second, not quiet understanding why he had left when he remembered that he was a wild wolf. The Hales would most likely shoot him and use his pelt as décor. He also realized he was just standing there, staring back at the woods before he shook himself. He limped up to the doors and stared, wondering how he was meant to knock. He didn’t think kicking the door was a proper way but his hands were busy. Then it swung open.

“Stiles?” Lord Hale stood there with an exhausted but worried look on his face.

“I thought you were on a trip.” Stiles cringed as the man flinched away from his words, a busted look crossing his face.

“It ended early.” The Lord reached forward and took the flowers. “Are these for Laura?”

“Yes, from Cole.” He swayed where he stood, vaguely realizing that he was being tugged into the house. He trailed after the Lord when a woman his age bounded up to him with a smile. She took the bag from him without asking and he remembered she was Cora.

“If you thought we were gone then why did you come here when you were hurt?” She asked cheekily and he stiffened. Out of the corner of his eye he saw that Lord Hale was curling in on himself slightly.

“Um… a friend helped me get here.” He explained, not really thinking too hard on the explanation. “He uh, had to leave.” He nodded to the flowers he could see Hale was holding. “I also wanted to give the flowers before they wilted anymore. Last night was rough.”

“I can see that.” Cora took his good arm and lead him to a chair. He slumped into it and a drink was pressed to his lips and he swallowed. It was alcoholic but he didn’t have time to dwell on it. Charlie was suddenly crouched in front of him. He shifted, uncomfortable at seeing a man of such a higher class than him kneeling before him. The Duke reached forward and Stiles instantly forgot his protests as the man ran his fingers tentatively over his wounded shoulder before clapping one on his good one.

“Stiles, this is going to hurt. Derek, hold his other arm.” Charlie instructed clearly and he whined. The man grabbed his shoulder, doing something strange with a jerk that made Stiles scream as his arm popped back into place. A second later he felt some of the pain drain from his arm and he slumped helplessly against the Dukes son. “What happened, Little one?”

“Robbers” Stiles smiled when he felt Lord Hales around him, and he was being lifted. “Oh wait! Lady Laura needs her letter.” He waved toward the bag that Cora had and she held it up.

“I’ll take the flowers and letter to her. She’s in conference with Mom right now.” She explained softly before vanishing from his sight. Stiles couldn’t see much beyond Hales shoulder but he would have to trust her to finish his job. He curled in on the man, feeling much like he did with his wolf around.

“Did you see who they were?” Charlie asked softly as he led the way.

“One was called Cici. Her little group had stayed with me even though she mentioned they were going somewhere else. I knew they were planning something but Cole Barlow had a sickness in his home so he told me I needed to room in the town.” Stiles started on the story but he was suddenly laid onto a bed. It was larger than any he had ever been in and softer than clouds. There was silence as he took it all in and he let out a sigh.

“Stiles?” A slightly panicked voice asked and he recognized that of the younger man. He felt a hand grab his chin and turn it to the side. He blinked open his eyes he didn’t even know he closed. They locked onto Hales.

“Amazing.” He whispered. He never seen such beautiful eyes. They were so many colors but right now they were wide with worry and he wanted to stretch his hand out to touch his face, to know that he was real instead of some sort of delusion from the pain. He fell a little in love with the way his cheeks and ears pinkened. “Sorry, Lord Hale. I think I have forgotten my place.”

“It’s Derek and you’re right where you need to be.” The man smiled a secret, soft smile and Stiles drifted off.
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When Stiles woke up, it was mainly from pain. Mostly from his arm but his stomach was screaming at him. He blinked groggily and shifted to a sitting position with a groan and several tears. He was in a room much fancier than he ever seen or been in before, yet he knew exactly where he was. It had to be Derek’s room. It smelled like him, which Stiles didn’t know how he knew. He looked at the truly massive amount of books and a few half made wood carvings and let out a snort.

“You’re awake.” Said man walked into the room with a towel around his neck, no shirt and covered in sweat. Stiles stifled a squeak at the sight and dropped his eyes to the floor. “I didn’t mean to spook you but I guess I forgot you were in here.”

“Oh” Stiles stomach swooped in disappointment and he shifted, holding his arm against his chest. He had almost called the man by his name like he had been told to do but now it died on his tongue. “I’ll just get going then. I’m sure my father will want to know about this new injury.”

“Aren’t you hungry? Boyd should still have some lunch if you want some food.” Dereks voice sounded strange and Stiles shifted around, feeling awkward. His brain betrayed him by being disappointed when the man shrugged a shirt on over his shoulders, not bothering to tuck it in or button it up. Stiles was finally able to process what was said and he would hardly turn down food, so he nodded shyly. “Plus, my father insisted that you wear this.” Stiles stiffened at the word ‘insist’ and braced himself for something terrible to happen. Nothing did.

“What is it?” Stiles blinked at the strange fabric before the Lord snorted and flipped part of it over his head.

“He said Deaton should take a look and bind it, but this should help. We want you to wear it so you don’t hurt yourself more.” Derek gently eased it around his shoulder, lifting his arm and placing it in what Stiles recognizes was a type of sling. He kept his head down when Derek offered a hand to help him to his feet and he shuffled around when he was finally up, grunting when the fingers slipped through his own.

“I don’t know where the kitchens are.” Stiles spoke a little to desperately, hoping that the man would stay a little longer. Derek broke into a smile that made his knees weak. He led him to the door, holding it open and moving him through with a hand on his lower back. Stiles gasped silently at the warmth of his hand but walked pliantly forward, letting himself be moved toward the promise of food.

“Laura told me to thank you for keeping her flowers safe.” Derek ducked his head when they stopped outside the door. Stiles smiled at him, shrugging his good shoulder.

“I should be the one thanking her. It gave me something good to hang onto when I got hurt.” He thought back on Cole, patiently waiting to be married to the women he loves and something in him started to ache. He never had that. He didn’t think that he would ever have someone who would look at him that way.

“I am sorry that you got hurt while working for us, but please let us make it up to you.” Derek looked concerned and he swung the door open. Wonderful smells washed over him and he let out a groan, brushing past Derek as he followed his nose to where a young man was standing over a stove while stirring a pot. He turned when Stiles entered, seeing he was with Derek before turning back to the stove. He reminded him oddly enough of the large brown wolf that followed Blue around the night before.

“Here. Eat.” The man spoke in a low voice and Stiles sat as the bowl was placed in front of him.

“Thank you for not spitting in it.” He grabbed the spoon and started to shovel it into his mouth, swallowing the hot liquid when he saw the dirty look the cook shot him. “Not that you would. I don’t know you but I’m the town disappointment, so they try to do it a lot when I get food from venders…or something.” He finished lamely but it seemed to ease the tension. “It’s really good though. Thank you. I don’t really know what it is but it’s good.”

“Chicken.” Boyd smirked at him and he dipped his head toward him.

“Well, it’s good chicken?” He glanced between him and Derek, who was also smirking. “Inside joke?” He guessed.

“Something like that. We go hunting a lot. But kids don’t usually eat every little thing we catch so we just call it all chicken.” Derek sat next to him, digging into his own bowl and Stiles stiffened. He’s still was amazed by the nonchalance that the Lord used, that all the Hales used when dealing with his lower class. Boyd sat at the table as well though he had a smaller bowl.

“Are you not hungry?” Stiles cocked his head to the side and the man blinked before shrugging.

“Been tasting the food for seasoning, so no. I’m not very hungry.” Boyd looked uncomfortable and he realized he was sitting at a table with two people who weren’t talkers.

“This is really great though. I would make a joke about it tasting like chicken but you both are very imitating. You both are way bigger than me and Derek has the eyebrows going for him.” Stiles started rambling and Boyd lifted one of his eyebrows at him. “You do that too.”

“Plus you’re winged so you wouldn’t put up much of a fight.” Derek spoke dryly and Stiles shook his spoon at him.

“Don’t think I can’t fight, I just… am a thinker more than a fighter.” Stiles went back to his food. “Plus, I have to be properly motivated.”

“How is being attacked not proper motivation?” Derek shot back and he shrugged.

“I can take anyone without a second thought if I am protecting someone, just not me.” Stiles started exampling the one-time Scotts father had come to town, years after he and Melissa separated. He tried to take Scott away against his will, saying that he needed to be with his father. Stiles got Scott to run and get Deaton to help but he had stayed a step behind his breathless friend just in case they weren’t fast enough. They weren’t but Stiles somehow made sure the man never returned without the help from Deaton and with the help from a handy stick he found.

“I think I still have it in my room.” He finished and stood. “I need to get home. It’s going to take all night to explain what happened to my dad and for him to scold me on what I need to do if there’s a next time. Thank you for the food and putting me back together again.” He grabbed the bowl but Derek took it from him, handing them both off to Boyd.

“I can walk you to town.” The Lord nodded toward a door and he bade Boyd a good day before he was nudged through it.

“You really don’t have too. I’m sure you have so much Lord stuff to do.” Stiles cringed but he didn’t want his father to get any more ideas about the two of them when nothing would ever come from the content feeling he felt when he was around the man. He was almost to the front door when a voice called down to him and he turned to see Lady Hale sprinting through the halls. He took a step back when she skidded to a stop in front of him, accidently pressing against Derek in the process, who didn’t move.

“Yes?” He asked in a shocked voice. He really should have expected it from her by now but part of him remembered the Lady version of her he saw in his fathers office.

“Thank you for saving my flowers.” She grabbed his face and kissed both cheeks. Stiles felt his face heat up but he ducked his head when he heard a growl behind him. “If you are still willing to work for us after this horrible attack happened to you, I’m sure we could…”

“Are you firing me?” Stiles blurted out, his shoulders sagging. He wouldn’t have enough excuses to keep seeing Blue, plus he liked the Hales. “I like working for you. It works my mind when I deal with the Argents and I like Cole.”

“No, we want you to stay. We just thought you might not want to because of the danger.” Laura shook her head so hard at his words that her hair slipped from some of the clips and fell down past her shoulders.

“I would like to stay. I just need to know when you need me back.” He brightened considerably when he realized he wasn’t being fired. Laura just kissed his forehead and slipped a small flower from her gift behind his ear.

“Get him home safe little brother. I like this one and you can call me Laura.” She kissed Derek on the cheek and waved as she took off up the stairs.

“Is she always like that?” Stiles felt more than a little breathless at the departure and turned to see a faint blush on the Lords face, his hand still scrubbing his cheek.

“Only after a letter from Cole. It’s worse because of the flowers.” Derek gave him a sudden bashful look and nodded toward the door. “Shall we?”

“Oh.” Stiles felt conflicted suddenly. Laura was love sick, but it didn’t seem to have an affect the man other than slight annoyance. He supposed all siblings came with annoyance. He did with Scott all the time but that was about as far as his experience on the manner went. He took the small flower out from behind his ear and sniffed at it. “Do you not like flowers?”

“No. I like them just fine, but it’s hard to get work done when there’s a constant risk of getting tackled by a hug because she suddenly remembered something that they talked about in their letters.” Derek rolled his shoulders like he could still feel the young women jumping him. Stiles could see it happening and he laughed roughly, grabbing onto the Lord when he almost toppled over. His arm was being held in place in the sling so it hindered his motions, causing him to jerk occasionally.

“Okay, but I’d still rather give her the flowers and let you suffer a little impromptu hug session than loose them.” He snickered at the glare that was leveled at him, which was ruined by the fact that he had linked their arms together to keep Stiles from falling. They reached the edge of town but Derek didn’t pull his arm away, instead he tightened it.

The towns people started talking the moment they were in eyesight. It was little to do about his wound and more as to why the prince to-be had him on his arm. Derek acted like he couldn’t hear any of it, telling him a little about how Cole and Laura came to be and how much he had to suffer through her rants about how much she loves him. Stiles tried to explain that rants were normal for someone who was angry, not in love, but the Lord denied that anything else would fit. They got into an argument and before he knew it, they were at the station. He didn’t even notice the whispers or glares the entire walk.

“Stiles?” His father was on his feet the moment he was lead through the doors, promptly shoving Derek out of the way so he could get a better look. Stiles let himself be pulled into a careful hug before he shifted back.

“I’ll be fine. My shoulder got dislocated but that was it.” Stiles curled in a little on the second hug before his father turned to Derek.

“What happened to my son?” Stiles gapped at him and he tried to place himself between the angry sheriff and the Lord.

“Dad, it wasn’t his fault. He helped me after the fact.” His words did nothing to calm his father.

“Did you willingly send my one and only child somewhere dangerous. Did he know about the dangers? I’m just trying to have him live a happy life but how can I do that if he dies before his eighteen birthday because he got killed being a messenger for you?” His father was in what Stiles used to teasingly call his momma-bear mode but now it wasn’t funny. It was worse when he glanced back and saw the man close off, his face becoming passive and something in him snapped.

“Derek, thank you for patching me back up and making sure I got back home but I need to have a talk with my father. I will see you tomorrow?” He turned his back on his father, gently taking the mans arm with his good one. He ignored the way his touch made the Lords body unwind as he led him to the door. He sighed in relief when the man nodded and swept from the room, escaping out of the building. Stiles carefully shut the door and took a deep breath.

“What the hell?” He hissed low, his head bowed so it hung under where he arm was still raised from shutting the door. “I wasn’t his fault. He was devastated when I showed up at their front door with a dislocated shoulder this morning!”

“You went to their house like that?” his father asked, suddenly looking broken down.

“A friend took me there. I let him. And like I said, they patched me up and let me borrow this sling and I even slept there.” He quickly omitted the part of sleeping in Dereks bed but trudged on. “They gave me an out. They asked if I didn’t want to work for them anymore. I want to help them. Laura loves Lord Barlow and I was taking their letters back and forth. I got attacked by robbers who thought it was something valuable.” He took several breaths to control his anger.

“Son, I… I can’t lose you too.” His father collapsed into the chair, his hands over his face like Stiles was on his death bed. Stiles panicked, quickly making his way around the desk and dropping to his knees.

“I’m not lost. I’m alive and here. And I’m happy. The Hales make me happy.” He dropped a hand onto his fathers knee, drawing his attention back to him.

“I know. I know.” The man nodded before dropping his hands onto his good shoulder, pulling him to his feet. “You shouldn’t kneel.”

“Why not?” Stiles was confused to say the least. His father was acting strange since he got the job. “I am your son, I am allowed to take care of you.”

“You are a gift, but you are also hurt. Why don’t you check in with Deaton and then go straight home?” His father avoided a fight and Stiles sighed, knowing he wasn’t going to get anything out of the man.

“I will, but only when you understand that I’m not going anywhere. I’m too stubborn for anyone else to deal with.” He laughed weakly but stood, leaning against him in a hug before he left the office. He shivered at all the eyes on him when he made it outside, the people not even trying to hide their looks.

“He’s injured. That is why the prince was walking with him.” The town barber explained it away with a wave of his hand. Stiles suddenly remembered that everyone believed the Lord to be the future King. He could see where they were getting at but to Stiles, he was just too much like the rest of his family.

“Maybe they’re in love?” A girl no more than six spoke but she was quickly shushed. “But what about the flower in his hair!” She cried out in indignation but was ignored. The idea that the town mess up was anything more than a servant to who they believed was the prince. Stiles snorted at the idea of telling them that he slept in the mans very fluffy bed but he didn’t want to make the Hales look bad. Not that they would believe him. Apparently, his father arrived in town first and a lot of people enjoyed his company. When his mother arrived with Stiles in tow it broke many hearts even thought they knew the man was married, and it was soon believed that the honorable sheriff took back his cheating wife. Stiles was called the Sheriffs bastard son, which led to him not being trusted as he grew and he eventually accepted the role. He pulled so many pranks that some people forgot the bastard rumor.

“Stiles?” Scott appeared and promptly started to pull him toward the healers. He gasped as he slowly made his way through the crowd. They didn’t part like they did when he was with Derek but he managed to get through with little jostling of his shoulder.

Deaton met him at the door and lead him toward the same table he sat on from when his wrist was wounded. He sat silently, slowly growing impatient and grouchy. The scent of Derek vanishing from the overwhelming essences of the herbs that he was being placed on his shoulder.

“Thank you.” He felt his heart break a little at the growing impossibility of him and Derek being anything more than friends. He didn’t want to lose the easy friendship he had with the Lord. Scott promised to take him straight home and Deaton didn’t protest that he had work to do. Stiles hung his head as he was led out of the Druids clinic and trailed after his brother.

“Are you going to tell me what happened?” Scott asked after a few minutes of walking. Stiles glared at the trees he could see before turning back to him.

“Robbers. They didn’t get anything.” He spoke bluntly, his teeth clinching in pain as Scott took a step forward and jostled his shoulder. “I really need to sleep on this.”

“Are you going to quit? You should quit!” Scott took it just as bad as his father did, but he rolled his eyes.

“I’m not going to quit. I like my job and I like the Hales.” Stiles felt his stomach swoop as he thought of Derek but he shook it off. He caught a flash of blue and cocked his head toward the trees, just catching sight of the wolf. “I like walking in the forest. You never know what kind of friends you make.” Stiles may never have a chance with Derek, but he felt like he’d always had Blue.

“What are you looking… Oh dear lord!” Scott almost screamed when he saw the wolf lingering on the edge of the trees.

“Blue!” Stiles waved with his good hand and the wolf took a few tentative steps forward, his eyes flickering from him to Scott. “He’s my brother. Remember I told you about him. Did you come to check up on me, silly wolf?”

“Silly wolf?” Scott sounded faint as Stiles crouched to the ground, holding his hand out to Blue. The wolf suddenly got a look in his eye and shot forward, skidding when Scott screeched, sliding to a stop an inch away from Stiles. Stiles glared at the beast, but it went unnoticed. Blue watched Scott with his tongue hanging out, a wolfy grin on his face as his brother caught his breath.

“Behave you.” Stiles reached up and tugged at his ears before dropping his hand down to pet his chest. Blue preened for a second and lapped at his chin. “Thank you for helping me but I have to go home.”

“You’re talking to a wolf.” Scott swayed with his hand covering his eyes. He peeked, his eyes locking on the wolf and let out a groan. “You bonded with it.”

“With him. Flower isn’t so bad either.” Stiles gave the wolf a final pat and braced himself on the wolfs broad shoulders to push himself to his feet. Blue stood still for it, giving him a last lick before bounding off into the trees. “See! He’s good.”

“He’s a wolf. Please don’t tell me Flower is the bity one” he caught his brothers arm and started to pull him towards his home.

“Of course not. That’s Ember.” Stiles popped the name out of nowhere. “Cause of her eyes and temper.”

“Of course not” Scott swayed and Stiles slid around him, using his good arm to hold him up. “Who’s Flower again.”

“She helped when the robbers attacked. The wolves chased them off and lead me back to the Hales.” Stiles explained to the one person he could ever talk to it about. “Blue made sure I stayed warm and there were three others plus Ember and Flower. And there was Red. I think Red is the Alpha wolf.”

“A pack of wolves. You made friends with a pack of wolves.” Scott leaned against him and Stiles laughed. He talked about the wolves, explain how they acted and how he somehow got accepted by them. When they finally reached his home, Scott placed him on the bed before flopping beside him. Stiles tried to keep talking but soon he couldn’t keep it up, sleep slowing his lips and he let his head roll back.

“I have to get back to work. I don’t trust the wolves, but I guess I have to trust you.” Scott spoke above him. Stiles could hear what he said but he didn’t respond, his body still falling into sleep and he couldn’t pull back to wakefulness. He felt a blanket being pulled over his body and he let everything unwind. Fingers carded through his short hair and he was out.

Chapter Text

The next morning Stiles woke to find the flower Scott had taken from his hair sitting by the window. He gave it a sniff before he spent the morning with his father, talking about what had happened. They didn’t agree on if he should go back. Stiles knew he would, but his father wanted him to take more time to decide. He couldn’t wash up the dishes but he was allowed to take the bandages off of his wrist. The potion that Deaton gave him made it so it was a very fresh scar, but there wasn’t any chance that it would reopen now. He was still taking the potion for his shoulder to heal properly.

When he managed to convince his father that he was going, he left for the Hale mansion. He didn’t know how he would be accepted but he still walked to the front door, giving a tentative knock. Isaac opened the door and looked him up and down, much like the first time. Unlike the first time though, the man stepped aside and let him in, tugging the sling until he was happy with how it was sitting.

“I didn’t know if you needed me.” Stiles smiled as the man ducked his head, before shrugging.

“You can see but I believe they thought you would be taking more time to recover.” Isaac explained carefully and Stiles shrugged.

“Better than sitting at home alone.” He was led into an office and Laura bounced to her feet, once again placing a kiss on his cheek. He murmured a greeting as she handed him a scrap of paper that was folded up.

“Can you take this to Cora. She’s in the stables with Erica.” Laura asked sweetly and he shrugged, instantly getting the gist that this was what his day would be like. He gave a mock solute and trotted off, following Isaacs instructions on where the stables were. He got a pat on the back from the man before they parted. He grinned as he walked into the stables, not quite used to the smell but a familiar horse distracted him.

“I remember you, Cutie” He petted the creature as she stuck her head out of her stall door. She wasn’t a young mare anymore, her stomach wide in pregnancy and she nuzzled against him, looking for treats. He petted her for a few minutes before he had to pull back, the mare trying to eat the paper he had in his hand.

“Stiles?” Cora approached with two buckets of water and placed them on the ground, stretching out her arms and back as she looked at him. “What are you doing here?”

“Laura said to give you this.” Stiles quickly handed over the paper so he could go back to petting the horse.

“That’s Misty.” Cora muttered absently, reaching out to pet the horse as she read from the paper. She burst out in laughter a second later when she finished it and shoved it in her pocket of her trousers. Stiles didn’t comment on it even though he wasn’t used to seeing women wearing them. He was used to them all wearing dresses or skirts. He thought she looked comfortable and that’s what really mattered.

“I know. You told me before” Stiles leaned against the horse and let her hug him in a weird horse way. It fit the Hales. He got a hug from almost everyone, and it made a weird sense that the horse would be the same.

“Holy shit, that’s right!” Cora went to punch him, and he swatted her away without thinking. His bad shoulder tucked carefully behind him and she stopped. “Come here.” Instead she grabbed his hand and drug him toward a small door near the entrance. He saw a small desk shoved against one corner with papers spread across it and tack hanging on the wall on the other side. Cora scribbled out a message and turned back, shoving it in his pocket as she dragged him from the room.

“There’s someone I want you to meet.” She stopped and grabbed one of the buckets, hauling it into Mistys stall and dumping it. Stiles went to grab the other one but she shoved the empty bucket into his hands.

“You said you wanted me to meet someone.” Stiles protested but held the rope handle. Cora grinned at him over her shoulder as she dumped the water and shifted out of the stall. Misty tried to follow her but she gave her a pat.

“I do.” Was all she said. Stiles trailed after her as she trotted out to a well. It was tucked away in the corner of the yard and she started to get water. Stiles felt a little useless but she refused to let him help, telling him off against doing anything extreme with his shoulder. Unfortunately, that meant carrying only empty buckets.

“Then who?” He asked as she nodded toward something behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and froze. A young, blond women was sitting astride a horse, the creature trotting into the clearing from town and a bag hanging from her hip.

“Hello you two.” The women called, standing on the stirrups and waving. Cora rolled her eyes and the horse continued as if nothing was happening. Stiles guessed it was a common sight.

“Erica, you’re just in time.” Cora grabbed the buckets and headed to the barn. Stiles trailed after her as Erica swung off the horse, leading it behind her.

“To meet the new messenger?” Erica eyed him, taking in everything from the sling his arm was in to the note still sticking out of his pocket.

“I’m Stiles, and yes I’m the messenger.” He held his good hand out and she let out a snort before wrapping him in a hug.

“I’m Erica, obviously. I’m a messenger too, but long distance. I refused to go to the Argents since they have a problem with my family and I don’t want to… dampen the negotiations.” Erica patted his cheek before she slapped the reins into his hands. He blinked dumbly at her.

“So what about Cole?” He cocked his head to the side and she smiled.

“The greenhouse would make me sneeze and have trouble breathing so Laura called off my deliveries there. I usually just take letters to the other Hale estate. Talia’s brother and his wife and kids, but it takes almost a month to get there and come back.” She worked taking everything off her horse as she talked. Cora was busy in a stall and left them to talk.

“So they needed someone for the immediate area.” Stiles nodded and she flashed him a grin. “And you’ve been away so this is the first time I’ve seen you. It’s also why you have a horse.”

“Well, Spit is good horse.” She took the reins and Stiles found himself following her as she led him to the stall Cora just finished. Erica started brush him down.

“You named your horse…Spit?” He asked slowly and he heard Cora start laughing from a few stalls down.

“I didn’t. My boyfriends younger sister decided that it was a good name and now he answers to nothing else. It’s like he knows.” Erica gave the horse an evil side eye that had Stiles laughing with Cora. He had to hold the wall to stay standing and when he straightened, he felt Coras hand over his arm.

“Alright. Back to Laura then.” She shooed him off and started talking about him to Erica before he even left the barn. He rolled his eyes at her antics and headed back up to the house. He shot up the back again, gracefully avoiding the vines but not Derek. The man didn’t budge an inch but Stiles nearly fell backward.

“Stiles.” The man caught him and placed him back on his feet, one hand on his good wrist and the other holding his waist. Stiles took a second to do an inventory to see if anything else got hurt. His shoulder ached a little more than usual and he felt his stomach flip around from the hand on his waist, holding him put so he nodded.

“I’m good. Not hurt.” He smiled at the man but he looked torn. A second later the other hand was on his hips and he was lifted him into the air.

“Derek!” Stiles gasped, unsure what was happening until two blurs skidded under him and tumbled into the dirt. He wasn’t put down.

“Careful you two.” Derek scolded the lumps that had yet to emerge from the dust cloud they had created and gently placed him back on the ground. Stiles stretched his toes down so he could reach it faster and the Lord straightened the sling. “We don’t tackle people who are hurt.”

“So, you let them tackle people normally?” Stiles asked teasingly, brushing off imaginary dust from his front to hide his embarrassment. He didn’t want him to know how flustered he got at how easily the man lifted him in the air and then held him there.

“We just wanted to meet him.” He jerked his head up when he heard the childs voice. One of the twins ran up to him and Stiles instinctively crouched down, letting his good arm fall open. The boy took no time cuddling in and wrapping his arms around his neck. Stiles snickered when the second twin scrambled to his feet and joined them.

“Well then, my name is Stiles.” He nudged them back until they were standing in front of him and held his hand out. Both boys let out a bought of giggles and took turns shaking his hand. Neither of them managed to actually introduce themselves, to busy competing on who could give the best handshake. He glanced up with a grin when Derek gave a grunt.

“Timothy and Jason” the man was red in the face but pointed at each twin in turn. Stiles turned back to them, still not able to pull his hand back as it was passed back and forth.

“What’s the rush to get outside?” He held in a laugh as both boys locked onto him with bright eyes and blinding grins.

“Derek promised to take us on a picnic since he’s been so busy!” Jason, Stiles thinks, crowed as he jumped onto his brothers leg. Timothy wrapped around the other one after dropping his hand. Stiles stood and stretched slightly.

“You can come with us.” Derek looked hopeful but before he even finished both children let out what could only be described as disappointed howls. Stiles cringed at the pitch, concerned at the fact that they could even managed it as it shifted into words.

“You promised it would just be us.” Timothy wailed out.

“Laura tries to teach us manners and Cora is mean!” Jason added. Derek looked down at them so Stiles dropped his hand onto his arm.

“Maybe next time?” He asked more than a little hopeful. “If you’re not too busy.”

“Any time.” Derek smiled and part of Stiles relaxed. He glanced down at the two boys and leaned over.

“If Cora is mean, then see if you can trick Laura into giving her the lessons. Just saying” He laughed at the horror on Dereks face and the delight on the twins as he ducked further into the mansion. He found Isaac sitting with a book and asked where Laura was. The man directed him to the Library where he promptly fell in love. He almost forgot the note he was meant to pass along when he stood in front of the shelves.

“How many do you Hales have?” He breathed out, gazing around as he shuffled up to Laura. She was standing over a desk with several books open and parchment. It all looked seconds away from spilling over. She glanced over at him before back down at everything. “Are you alright?”

“Just planning my wedding.” Her voice was a few octaves higher than usual and he reached forward without thinking.

“Deep breath.” He grabbed her shoulders and turned her around. She stared at him for a few seconds before following his lead, taking steady breaths and he grinned. “Why did Cole choose to send you those flowers?”

“It was the first type that I had ever given him. He thought it was because he works with plants and I was being friendly.” She smiled at the memory.

“He didn’t realize he was being courted?” Stiles perked up and they shared a laugh.

“No he didn’t” Laura eased into the chair as she relaxed.

“Why don’t you focus on adding things like those flowers, little things about you two being together and let the rest fall into place.” Stiles didn’t know if he was allowed to sit. His shoulder bugged him, but he didn’t dare risk it.

“But I have to invite all these people who aren’t even family. The Royals and every influential family so I don’t alienate us from them, and seating them all so fights won’t break out on my wedding day seems impossible.” She hunched in on herself and Stiles nearly froze when he saw the wetness in her eyes. He looked over the papers before taking a step forward.

“I’ll help you, if you want.” He offered and she peered up at him with a calculating look. “Even if you just want to explain why two people can’t be seated together to sort it out in your head.”

“You are helping with the Argents, and they have already said that they would be there.” She straightened in the chair as Boyd walked in with some tea. “Please can you grab a chair for Stiles.” She asked him and he nodded, sweeping part of the table clear so he had a place to put the pot and cups. Stiles tried to protest but he was ignored. Boyd placed the rather large chair near the table and Stiles murmured a thanks. He sat down as the man left the room, wiggling slightly. It didn’t budge and he wasn’t sure if he could move it even if he wasn’t injured.

“Here’s Coras reply.” He suddenly remembered the note and handed it over. Laura instantly flipped it open, reading it before snorting in an unladylike manner.

“You know Misty?” She asked teasingly and he sighed.

“Better than Spit”
=========================================================================
The next week was much of the same. He carefully learned to dodge the whirlwinds of the twins. They were constantly running or wrestling. They were also incredibly smart though they struggled to stay still for their lessons with Isaac. The man turned a lot of the lessons into a game but there were some things, such as penmanship that made Stiles cringe in sympathy. They behaved when Talia sat next to them to help, writing on her own parchment which Stiles realized he would need to deliver to the Argents.

He still ran notes back and forth between the library and the barn. He learned almost too much about the upper class from Laura and Erica. Cora taught him more about horses and betting. Boyd was dating Erica so they would sometimes hang out in the kitchen where he learned a new recipe and taught the quiet man how to mix some herbs to get stains out. Talia had spoken to him about what to look for with the Argents and a few tricks on avoiding robbers. Charlie took a day to lecture him on the proper way to fight, where to hit to get the soft spots and drop a person. Stiles vaguely remembered his father trying to teach him the same thing when he was younger.

Derek was a mystery. He always lingered around Stiles but he was constantly working. He would have his work spread on an opposite table in the library or he would be taking care of his own horse, Clove. Stiles thought the name was cute and when he took a closer look, he realized that the only white on the mostly brown horse was in the shape of a clover. Derek also had a massive number of chores around the house, much more then it appeared that the others did. When he asked about it to Laura she had laughed and told him Derek had let them pile up.

“How is your shoulder Stiles?” Charlie asked as he walked into the kitchen in the morning. Stiles took a moment to roll it around and nodded. He was still stuck wearing the sling thought he felt that he could go without it. Deaton and Charles told him that he had to keep it on just in case.

“Do you have a job for me?” He asked, a little hopeful. It was starting to feel part of the family but he still wanted to get paid and be useful.

“We do have a treaty for the Argents drawn up. They will probably insist that you stay there again, but it might take longer than one night.” He explained and Stiles thought about it when the man raised his eyebrows at him.

“I can do it, but I haven’t packed any food and someone needs to tell my father. I want to head out as soon as possible.” He ran over the list quickly. The sun had already been up for an hour, so it was an hour wasted.

“Isaac is putting together the food for you. I can send Cora to tell your father.” Charlie stands, carefully placing the documents in the bag and holding it out to him. “Be careful with your shoulder.”

“Got it.” He hooked the bag over his good shoulder and got a pat on the head. He was used to all the physical contact and leaned into it. The man chuckled as he led him to the door. Isaac was standing there with the food bag, being as they didn’t want the important documents next to a hunk of bread and cheese, handing it to him. He brushed against his shoulder, muttering farewell to Stiles as he stepped out of the house. A hand slipped into his pocket and he felt it grow heaver, no doubt with coins for his journey.

He was nervous to be on the road again, but he kept his feet moving. It calmed his mind and he was excited to see Blue again. The wolf greeted him at the edge of the trees. Stiles let himself be sniffed, his shoulder inspected and before the wolf reared on his rear legs, holding the stance without touching Stiles. He drew his tongue over Stiles face. Stiles wiped it off with a minimum amount of sputtering and patted the wolf.

They walked together, Stiles with his fingers buried in the fur over the wolfs shoulder, occasionally wiggling them to emphasize his point. He talked about the twins and helping Laura with her marriage. The wolf listened to him and he relaxed. He shared the food he had, which he couldn’t help but notice that there was more than the first time, and all to soon he was walking along the field to the Argents front gates, Blue trotting through the trees. The sun was already near the horizon and he realized he was still slowed by his injury, but the men let him in without a second glance. They were the same as the first time.

“Hello?” He knocked on the door and it took a few minutes for it to open. The young women led him to a room, nodding to a chair before vanishing back out the door. He stared after her but remained seated. He was bored within minutes, closing his eyes and letting his head roll back. If he knew he wouldn’t get caught, he would be tempted to read the documents that he had been given but he thought about Talia and Charlie. Their looks of disappointment at knowing he betrayed them was enough to make his stomach turn. Voices brought him out of his head.

“You should tell him to stop walking through our land. Oh, and tell him if he arrives during dinner again, I’ll shoot him for his rudeness.” He could easily recognize Kates voice, the hard edge to it no longer covered up. A man murmured a reply and a second later the door opened. Chris Argent walked in, his eyes flickering to the sling to the bag and finally landed on Stiles face.

“I do apologize for arriving late but I am a little slower than usual.” Stiles dipped his head and stood, handing over the bag. He cringed as the weight pulled at his shoulder and Chris took it.

“What happened to your shoulder?” the man demanded more than asked, pulling the documents out without taking his eyes off him.

“Robbers. They didn’t get anything but I’ve been resting it.” He explained shortly, gasping when Allison peeked into the room, her face turning a deadly white when it locked on his face. “It was worth it.”

“How is getting injured worth it?” Allison ducked around her father, who sighed as he shuffled through what he had in his hands.

“I was taking letters from Lady Laura and Lord Barlow. They had to postpone their marriage and the only way they have been able to communicate is through letters. It isn’t much for money if I lost the letter, but I kept it safe for them.” Stiles beamed, fully relaxing around the young women as she reached out and pawed at him.

“How did you get away?” She hissed, looking him up and down.

“I uh.. ran into the woods and hid in the shadows.” He shrugged. “One of them tackled me and I landed wrong. I made a bad joke to get him off.”

“Wait, you joked your way out of an attack?” Chris suddenly looked closer at him, like he was looking at Stiles instead of looking at a messenger.

“I distracted them with a joke so I could run away. They outnumbered me but I knew they set a trap.” Stiles explained carefully, not wanting to talk about the wolves. “Are you going to make me sleep in the barn again? If not, I have to go get a room in town.” He couldn’t help the hesitancy in his voice and Allison jumped at the chance.

“You can stay in my servants’ quarters. I refuse to take a personal one so you’ll have it to yourself. I want to know more about your robbers, and you should be resting your shoulder still.” She didn’t bother to look at her father and grabbed his good arm. Stiles shoot a terrified look at the man, but he gave a deadly smirk and waved them off.

“I’ll go over these though it might take a few days.” Chris called after them and Stiles pouted as he walked. He wouldn’t even be able to sleep with Blue by his side like last time.

“Thank you for your hospitality.” He didn’t quiet manage to keep his displeasure out of his tone and Allison turned.

“What is it?” She looked at him with large eyes and he felt it all melt away. She was lonely.

“You were tugging on my arm a little too rough.” He eased his hand out of hers and placed it over where his shoulder did ache a little. Her eyes got wide and she quickly led him to a small room. There was space for a bed and a small dresser but that was it.

“So generous.” He arched his eyebrow at her and she shrugged.

“It’s the closest to someone who isn’t trying to stab you.” She shoved him toward the bed and he groaned as he sat down.

“I rather think your father would want to kill me if he knew you only wanted me here to talk about the outside world.” He slumped down, forcing his muscles to relax before sitting back up when she slapped at his knees.

“I’m going to go see how long the reply is going to take, grab you some food and then you are going to tell me everything that happened. Tomorrow I’m going to teach you some things about defense.” She was out the door before he could respond and he sighed. He wasn’t helpless but it felt like everyone was treating him as such.

She was back within a few minutes, a plate piled high with food and her dressed changed for the original shirt and trousers. He was happy that she kept her boots off his temporary bed and handed him the food. He ate a few pieces before telling her she could dig in. He started the story once again, avoiding the wolves even though that was the best part of his night and added the flowers. She seemed to enjoy herself and he felt like he could trust her. She wasn’t like the Hales but she did have a good heart.

“I need to get some rest. I have a full day tomorrow.” She stood and stretched when they were done catching up. Stiles blinked tiredly at her before drifting off, not even bothering to stretch out the proper way on the bed. He drifted off with his legs hanging off the side.

When he awoke he realized he wasn’t alone. He also heard the click of an arrow being notched into its slot and he blinked open his eyes.

“Stiles, don’t move.” Allison hissed at him and a growl rumbled around him. He yawned at her, reaching up and petting Blue before everything sunk in.

“Don’t shoot him!” He yelped, jerking to a sitting position which turned out to be difficult. Blue shifted so he was sitting on his lap, and Stiles wrapped his good arm around him, groaning at the ache in his shoulder from the sudden movement. The wolf licked his ear and he glanced up to see the girl and the wolf glaring at each other.

“Why?” She lowered the crossbow slightly even as Blue bared his teeth at her. Stiles reached over without thinking, drawing the wolfs lips down. “Holy shit!”

“What? He’s behaving… now.” Stiles buried his face in Blues neck for a second before pulling back. “You have to help me get him back to the forest. Please. He hasn’t hurt anyone,” He grunted as the wolf circled around him, shaking the bed before placing his chin on top of Stiles head.

“He does act like a puppy.” Allison agreed, her head shaking. “How did he even get in here?”

“I have no idea, but probably the same way he got into the barn last time.” Stiles sighed, not even trying to shove the wolf off him. “He helped me with the robbers but then it was a week before I saw him again. I think he has separation anxiety now. Which isn’t good for a wild wolf.” He spoke pointedly at the wolf who wagged his tail a few times before returning to glare at Allison. As he watched, his lip slowly raised up over his teeth. Stiles reached out and pushed it down again, getting a lick on his finger.

“So he isn’t dangerous?” Allison lowered her crossbow to her side, confusion all over her face and he nodded. “It’s true. Blood thirsty wolves live in the forest.

“He’s not blood thirsty. Maybe touch starved but nothing bloody.” Stiles protested.

“That’s how you can walk through the forest all on your own. You made friends with the wolves!” Allison slumped in the doorway and Stiles finally shoved Blue off, moving to her side and leading her to the bed. She tried to dig her feet in but Blue hopped off the bed and circled around her. It made it difficult but he managed to stay between them, which made both of them happy.

“I know. I make friends with so many people but it’s actually easier with wolves. I can’t have you panicking now. I need you to help me get my friend out of the big house full of people who will try to kill him.” Stiles eased himself to sit next to her and Blue shuffled so he could wiggle between them and shove Stiles back toward the corner. So much for keeping them separated. “Blue, be nice. Allison is my friend too. Share!”

“He doesn’t like me.” Allison mused, their oddness snapping her out of her shock. Blue snorted at her before whipping around and staring at the door. Allison was on her feet in an instant, running out the door before Stiles could stand. He waved frantically at the wolf to stay put but it was in vain, the beast a step behind him as he ducked his head out the door.

“There he is.” Kate beamed at him and he closed the door behind him.

“Yes?” He dipped his head down as she swept forward.

“We need to talk to you about your employers.” The women grinned at him. He’d seen Blue make less frightening smiles but before he could think more about it there was a hand on his shoulder and he was being steered away. He let out a yelp when she jerked him down and fell to one knee.

“Kate!” Allison ran forward and threw her Aunt off him, flapping her hands nervously when he flinched away from her.

“I’m alright.” He stiffened when he heard a faint whine at the door so he made a show of getting to his feet, only to tumble back so he was leaning against the door to keep it shut. “If you can give me a few minutes to catch my breath and take my potion, I can answer your questions better.”

“Potion” Allison arched her eyebrow and he smirked.

“Town Druid gave me something to heal faster as a favor to the Hales. They didn’t want to hire another runner.” He swallowed roughly as the women nodded, accepting his explanation.

“Have a servant show you where you will be meeting. Allison has work to do.” Kate commanded before stalking away.

“Get him in your room” Stiles hissed, struggling to get to his feet. Allison slipped under his good shoulder, letting him lean on her as he swung the door open, leading the wolf to her room and shoving him in with his foot.

“I can stay with him. They’re in my grandfathers office, which is on the opposite side of the house. Just walk that way and ask someone.” Allison quickly slipped through the door and shut it when Blue tried to shove his way out and follow Stiles.

“Blue. You need to stay. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Stiles hissed through the door and started walking. He was lucky Deaton did give him some vials to help heal him but he didn’t need any right now. Sometimes they would put him to sleep and he needed to stay alert.

“Hello? I need to meet the bosses but I don’t know where they are.” Stiles stopped a younger woman and she huffed, spinning around on her heel and walking out of the hall with a wave of her hand. Stiles scrambled after her as she led him through the twists and turns. He soon came to two massive doors and he knocked. On them was a design on a plant and he leaned closer to look. A second later the door swung open and he was looking right at Chris’ chest.

“Er, it’s mistletoe in the design.” Stiles jerked straight when the man narrowed his eyes at him.

“Indeed it is. Do you know what it’s good for?” Chris stepped back and waved at him to enter as he spoke.

“I thought it was vaguely poisonous.” He shrugged before dipping down to bow at the old man sitting in the chair and Kate who was standing behind him. “You said you have questions.”

“We do.” The man nodded to a chair, which Stiles took with as little movement to his shoulder as possible.

“How is the shoulder little one?” Kate purred, walking around the desk to run a finger over it. Stiles shuttered but he managed to lessen it to a shiver, which unfortunately for him edged her on. “I truly didn’t mean to hurt you more. You’re just a strong young man, I sometimes forget to be gentle.”

“It will be fine.” He hid the way he was twitching to be away from her.

“That’s because you’re such fast healers.” She said it in a way that made him hold in a gag, like she was sure young men healed quick. He shot a glance at Chris who was standing by the door before looking back at the old man. He gave off the same vibe as Kate.

“We wanted to know more about the negotiations from the Hales.” The old man nodded to the documents and Stiles put on his best confused face.

“I am sorry, but I just deliver them.” Stiles shook his head and Kate draped her arm over his shoulders. Stiles stiffened as the strong perfume hit his nose and she moved to close to his face.

“And a curious little thing like you didn’t think to take a peak? Not even a little one?” She batted her eyes and made a show of peaking at his lap. Stiles forced himself not to recoil.

“Nope. My father is the sheriff and taught me a thing about confidentially. The best I can tell you is that they had it ready for me last night, that they were taking their time so I could heal.” Stiles shook his head and sighed. “I don’t know anything. This is the highest paying job I’ve ever had and I don’t want to lose it. I have to take care of my dad. He’s getting up there in age and being the sheriff is harder on him since my mother died.”

“I understand perfectly” Kate pulled back and gave him what he supposed was meant to be a loving face.

“I’m sorry but I don’t think I have anything that would help you.” Stiles shook his head again, acting like he needed to clear in but mostly just to emphasize his point.

“Then how about you tell me how you were able to walk through those woods.” The old man spoke up once again and Stiles blinked.

“One foot in front of the other? The roads aren’t that confusing.” Stiles made sure to cock his head to the side, glancing at Kate and then Chris when he moved forward. “There are old tales of beasts in the woods but there’s nothing there. I used to go out nearly everyday to help my brother collect herbs for the healer.”

“The druid” The old man leaned back and shook his head. “He must have put a protection charm on you to keep them away. You are no use to me. You will be called when we are ready for you to return to the Hales.” He was waved away and shoved out the door. Stiles made a show of stuttering before it shut, falling silent as he walked back to Allison’s room. He spent most of the time walking memorizing everything that had happened so he could relay it back to Talia.

“Allison. Blue?” He slipped into the room to see them both sitting in front the fireplace. Neither of them looked up when he walked in, competing it seemed, in a staring contest. Allison let out a grunt to show she heard and cocked her head to the side. Blue mimicked her before clicking his teeth together once.

“He’s way too smart to be a wolf.” Allison finally spoke without breaking eye contact as Stiles sat down a few feet away in a chair. He grabbed a book that was sitting on the small table next to it and flipped through.

“Yep, but I basically tell him everything which would be really bad for me if he repeated it. I ignore it and let him do what he wants.” Stiles shrugged and she whipped around to look at him. “You lose.”

“You found a strange wolf in the woods that’s way too smart to be a wolf, and you just roll with it.” She stared at him for a moment and he shrugged.

“He didn’t eat me, though his little sister was growling a lot. Now I think she was trying to scare us on purpose but Blue made her stop. You just have to… I don’t really know what I did.” Stiles smiled as Blue walked up to him, putting his chin on his knee. He started to scratch him behind the ears as he relaxed.

“Well, I don’t know how to sneak him out but….” Allison leaned back with a thoughtful look. “I’m not so sure we should sneak him out.”

“What?” Stiles didn’t know his voice could sound so cold but her hands shot up in a soothing manner.

“I’m just saying, you could be here for another night, or more. If we sneak him out now, which would be incredibly difficult to do during daytime, he could get hurt trying to get back in tonight.” She reasoned and Stiles looked at the wolf, sighing at the grin he got in return from the beast.

“He’s a dumbass.” Stiles groaned out and faceplanted his face into his fur. He heard the wolf huff angrily at him but he ignored it. He heard Allison give a soft laugh and stand.

“Hang out in here or your room but I do need to work a little today. Try to get some rest for your shoulder and I’ll be back later.” She instructed and he peered up at her with his arms still around Blue. “And I don’t think your wolf is the only one whose touch starved.”

“His name is Blue!” Stiles called after her as she walked out, gently closing the door behind her. Stiles sat there for a few more minutes, holding the warm wolf before standing. “I need to take the potion. I’ll be right back.” He made a stay motion with his hands and the wolf snorted, sitting down from where he tried to follow him. He was in and out within a minute, grabbing his things and settling back down in the chair. After taking the potion he settled down a little more and started to read out loud from the book Allison had left. It was a fairytale and Blue seemed to enjoy it.

He lost track of time and jumped when Allison burst in around midday. She slammed the door behind her and stormed across the room, using a gentleness he didn’t expect with her rage to place a plate down on the table next to him.

“Bad day?” He asked, snatching a bite before slipping a piece to Blue.

“I just learned that the negotiations with the Hales might entail my marriage to one of them” Allison threw her hands up in the air and started pacing. “Which is something my father promised he would never do to me, yet I am not even allowed to read the documents now.”

“I’m sorry.” Stiles stood, his eyes wide as he placed himself between Blue and the girl. The wolf was silently snarling at her again but his eyes seemed glazed over. He reached back and swatted at his face a few times. “But you did say might. Maybe you can convince them to not too. I highly doubt the Hales are the type of family to take such a thing as marriage lightly.”

“You think they’ll say no if that’s put in?” She perked up and he shrugged.

“Talia cares very deeply for her children. I think she will put their hearts first.” Stiles spoke calmly, running through his head the treaty. It was a simple agreement to stand together, but the Argents obviously want something from the Hales. The problem was, they were trying to get it without the Hales knowing what it is. Stiles knew that Allison wasn’t a part of it.

“Ugh, can you do something for me Stiles?” She sunk into another couch near him and he arched his eyebrow at her, a trait he picked up from Derek.

“Depends.” He crossed her arms and she let out a laugh.

“Nothing like that. I know you’re loyal to the Hales. I just want you to talk. Take my mind off it.” She looked at him with puppy dog eyes that could rival Scotts and he nodded. Stiles started talking about his brother, telling her about growing up with him. All the good days and all the bad days they lived through. Before he knew it was time for them to sleep. A servant came, telling him that he would be stuck there another day and Allison agreed that she would hide him in her room once again.

“That went well. What do you think, Blue?” He collapsed into the bed and closed his eyes. Blue settled next to him even though there was barely enough room for a fully grown man on the bed, let alone a wolf. Stiles didn’t mind, shifting to the side to make room and curled up. “I think I might lose my voice.”

The next day was much of the same. Despite the fact that his throat ached a little from all the talking, something that he was amazed that he could still hurt from overuse considering people say he never shuts up, he still read from his book to Blue. He hopes the Hales don’t miss him too much as he does the next night, clinging onto Blue as he mutters about how much he wished he was back in his town, away from all the hostility he feels from the Argents. Blue just nuzzles in and huffs in his face.

“I know. I should be headed home tomorrow. But it doesn’t quiet take the feelings away.” He curled against the wolfs shoulder and huffed. “I really should avoid the Hales some more but I can’t.” Stiles grunted when Blue shifted before falling still. “I really like Derek. I think I like him too much and it’s going to hurt. I honestly don’t know if the Hales and the Argents will agree through marriage but I can’t get jealous because he’s the one whose most likely to choose it, so his sisters and little brothers have a choice. But I don’t want him to. I want him to be happy, even if nothing will happen between us. He makes me… well, he makes me feel safe. Like I do when you’re around.”

Stiles fell silent, petting the wolf as he fell into a doze. Blue remained completely still, only the faint rise and fall of his chest showed that he was breathing. He guessed the wolf fell asleep in the middle of his tired rant and closed his eyes, letting the warmth from the wolf quiet his mind.

Chapter Text

When Stiles woke up, it was because Allison was knocking on the door before the sun was even lightening up the sky. Blue grumbled and tried to snuggle deeper, his weight pinning the blanket down so Stiles couldn’t move his legs much. The wolf ignored his prodding and Stiles started wiggling up to escape.

“What is taking so long?” Allison hissed as she slipped through the door. She was already dressed and Stiles grunted, managing to pry one leg out from under the covers. He easily wiggled the second one free only to get a paw on his lap, making him drop back onto his rear.

“Someone isn’t a morning wolf.” Stiles grabbed the pillow and smacked him with it repeatedly until the beast lifted his head and tried to grab it in his teeth.

“There’s no time for this. They finished the documents last night and plan on sending you this morning. If you want to sneak Blue out without anyone seeing him, this is our only chance. No one is up this early.” She pointed a finger at them, a hand on her hip and Stiles grinned at the busted look Blue got.

“If you act like a pup, you’ll be treated like one.” He crowed only to have the pillow taking from him and hit over the head with it. Allison smacked him a few more times before tossing it on the part of the bed not occupied by him or Blue.

“Get moving.” She reached down and pulled out his boots from under the bed and dropped them on his lap. He quickly started to put them on. “I like to think Blues my friend now, and I don’t want to see his pelt on my wall.”

“Right, no skinning my wolf” Stiles scrambled to get himself ready, nudging Blue until he stepped off the bed. He was amazed when he trotted over and leaned against Allisons legs, almost causing her to topple over and had to brace herself with the wall. “Aw, he does like you.” Stiles cooed as he tightened his belt and nodded to her.

“Let’s go.” She ignored his teasing as she shoved Blue off her and peeked out the door. Blue barreled past her, his paws falling oddly silent on the tiles. Stiles could add on to his list of odd things he had seen in his life. A full-grown wolf tiptoeing through a house was odd.

“He is such a weird wolf.” Allison breathed, watching the scene as Blue made his way to the end of the Hall and turned. “Oh no” They both took off after him, snapped out of their shock and tried to be as quiet as possible.

“Where is he going?” Stiles hissed, struggling to catch up with the wolf even though it seemed like he wasn’t going that fast. The need to be quiet slowed their footsteps.

“Maybe the kitchens?” Allison flashed him a dimpled smile and he snickered. It wasn’t the time and that’s what made it really funny to him. Blue stopped at a secluded balcony and looked back at them before hopping over. Stiles yipped, racing forward and looking over to the wolf looking back up at him, unharmed from the ground. Allison was right by his side and Blue started to wag his tail.

“I guess that explains how he got in.” She whispered and Blue dipped his head, turning and racing away across the grassy field. Stiles breathed a sigh of relief when his pelt vanished into the trees at the far end and he hoped he would stay hidden. The moon was still lighting up the sky so anyone who was up could see him, though he looked a bit like a creepy shadow creature instead of a wolf.

“Well, that was easier than expected.” Stiles nudged her shoulder and she rolled her eyes. “I’m not going to be able to go back to sleep after that near heart attack so… breakfast?” He brightened when she nodded, looping her arm through his and leading him away. The Argent house was purposely made to be confusing to anyone who didn’t know their way. Stiles was particularly good with puzzles so once he went somewhere, he could usually find his way back. “Shi… I forgot my sling.”

“Do you still need it?” Allison reached across them, gently laying a hand on his shoulder.

“I don’t think so but Deaton and everyone else say I have to keep wearing it. I get excited easily which risks it being hurt again. Like when I first got here, and your Aunt jerked me around. It was in the sling, but it still hurt.” He explained slowly. “The potion makes it heal faster and feel better but I have to be careful because it’s not completely healed even if it feels that way.”

“What’s Deaton like? We don’t have a town Druid or anything like that.” She turned him down another hall and he realized they had looped a little.

“He’s a cryptic ass.” Stiles grunted before clapping a hand over his mouth. He forgot Allison was a Lady. She let out a laugh and he sighed in relief. “He is the keeper of the balance” He mimicked the druids misty calm voice as he spoke. “A balance between magic and everything else in Beacon. If it falls out of balance, were all screwed.” He ended with his regular voice and they were suddenly interrupted.

“Allison!” Chris skidded around a corner, a crossbow hanging from his hand and several arrows clutched in the other. Stiles tried to jerk free from her arm but she held it firmly in her own.

“Yes father?” she asked, her voice shifting from happy to stiffly proper in a heartbeat.

“There was a beast outside tonight. You must be more careful.” Chris ignored Stiles as he walked up to them. Allisons nails dug into his arm until he let a weak grunt and she eased them off with a steady breath.

“I expect this kind of thing from Grandfather, or Aunt Kate, but now you too. There is nothing outside the house. Our guards would have warned us, and the fence is sound.” She chastised lightly and Stiles realized how devious she really was. “I am up because my friend had a nightmare about the attack he suffered, and I wanted to sooth him. We are on our way to the kitchens for some breakfast, if you care to join us.” She suddenly started walking, patting her father on the shoulder as she passed. Stiles stumbled along after her, his proverbial tail tucked between his legs when the man locked his ice blue eyes on him.

“He’s the nice one and he scares me” Stiles whispered in her ear when they were out of out of eyesight. The Lady let out a laugh but it didn’t meet her eyes. In them was a deep worry that he could only assume came from living with Kate and the old man.

“Here we are.” She stopped at door and he could smell some fresh bread that was just starting to bake. He opened it for her and they were meet with a gaggle of servants. They were given seats and food within the first minute, along with apologies that if they wanted fresh bread, they would have to wait a little longer. Allison did most of the talking. Stiles hated the way they tried to dote on him, trying to place his napkin on his lap and pouring him tea. He had to bite at his tongue, knowing that this was how the old man wanted his servants to act. Like he was a god and they were alive only to serve him. Stiles hated it, but he didn’t want to get them into trouble. He didn’t want to get into trouble. Chris walked in just as the bread was ready.

“Here.” The man shoved his bag at him which was considerably heavier than before and waving a hand at a maid. “Get him something for the road. We want him to leave immediately.”

“Yes sir.” Stiles stood, trying not to be rude but he quickly drained the rest of his tea and shoved a pasty in his pocket when the man had his back turned. Allison jumped to her feet and threw her arms around his good shoulder.

“You,” Chris pointed at another maid. “Go up to my daughters servant quarters and get the rest of the runners things.”

“Like the sling.” Allison called after the maid. Stiles glared at his feet to keep himself from doing it to the man and took a deep breath.

“Thank you for your hospitality.” He lifted his head and bared his teeth in a smile. The man narrowed his eyes at him and Allison snorted. Stiles put the document bag on the chair, shifting his coat of from where he hung it on the back. The maid was back with his sling and a few other things he had left behind in his haste to get Blue out. Stiles made sure to thank her for taking the time to do it and she gave him a shocked look before shuffling off. Allison helped him get the sling on, which he muttered a thanks to with her father glaring over at him.

“You’re still hurt, so take it easy on your way home.” She patted his cheek and he nodded. “Say Hi to your brother and pet for me. They sound wonderful.”

“I’m sure Scott would make a wonderful pet, but he’s my brother so it’s basically the same thing” Stiles grinned as he pulled the bag over his good shoulder, taking the bundle that another maid handed to him, pausing to thank her as well. A second later a punch landed on his good shoulder, sending him staggering against her.

“You know what I mean.” Allison laughed and he grinned, shooting off a quick apology to her before dipping his head to Chris.

“I will return.” He spoke formally to him before turning to his daughter, flashing a subtle wink as he ducked out the door. The sun was just barely lighting up the sky but he didn’t even bother heading to the front gates. Instead he walked through the back and along the tree line, coming to the fence rather quickly. There was a small gate that he stepped through, a man standing by it barely giving him a second glance but he nodded, walking on. After a few heartbeats he heard a snap of a twig and saw a flash of blue.

“Stay hidden. I think they’re watching.” Stiles hissed and the wolf thankfully listened. Stiles didn’t see anything or hear anything else in the time it took to get to the road. The sun was fully risen when he did and a voice called from behind him. He turned his head, the Argent house so far that the people walking around were little, blurry lines so he couldn’t see who they were. What he did see was Allison running up from the town, her face red and a bag slung over her shoulder.

“What are you doing here?” He gasped as she grabbed his arm and drug him up the road so the they were covered by the forest. She was panting heavily and he led her over so she could sit on a stump.

“I’m coming with you.” She beamed and he hunched his shoulders at the thought of his Blue time being taken away. “If they want to marry me off, I’m not going to make it easy on them.”

“I’m dead.” Stiles rubbed his face roughly, digging the heels of his hands into his eyes. She was still there when he opened his eyes again, as was Blue, the traitor resting his head on her lap.

“Ready?” She got to her feet, still a little breathless but she started pulling him along.

“Is there any way that you’ll change your mind?” He asked, rolling his eyes when she shook her head. “I’m so dead.”

“No you’re not” Allison beamed. He wiggled free of her grasp and shifted her around so she was on the side of his bad arm. He dropped his hand down as Blue came up, letting his fingers bury into the wolfs fur and the calmness washed over him. “God, you two are cute.”

“How soon do we expect the hunters?” He huffed at her and she didn’t seem to care.

“Oh, anywhere from now to later. It’s how fast they realize that I’m not in town anymore and that I slipped my guards.” She gazed around the entire time she talked, taking in the trees and a few passersby. Blue growled at them and she laughed when they hastened past. “He’s very protective of you now.”

“You have no idea.” Stiles bumped the wolf with his hip, who didn’t move and simply snorted at him. They walked without incident until the sun was high in the sky. It was when they stopped for a quick lunch did things really become interesting.

Blue heard them first, lifting his head from where he was ignoring Allison. The Lady had been throwing food at him to see if he would catch it in his mouth. Stiles noticed immediately when the wolf silently got to his feet and let out a soft woof.

“Grab everything and get in the trees.” Stiles hissed at her, now hearing the horses hoofs beating on the worn ground. They scrambled everything together and ducked into the trees, hiding in a dip in the forest floor. Blue sunk down next to him as the men shot past on the horses. On a quick count, there were over ten. Chris and Kate were bringing up the rear, their horses walking at a more leisurely pace.

“You need to tell her the truth!” Kate shouted, her voice like ice. Chris didn’t even flinch.

“She doesn’t need to know. Allison will be safe as soon as we get her back home and she is grounded for the rest of her life.” He stated coolly and Stiles slapped a hand over her mouth so only an enraged grunt slipped out. “Besides, I will not marry my child off.”

“Fine, I’ll marry one of the Hales. But we need to find that wolf. He’s was inside the fence, Chris.” Kate stopped her horse right in front of them and turned in the saddle to face her brother. “A werewolf was at our backdoor. We kill werewolves. It’s our job to protect humanity from the monsters that go bump in the night.”

“Yes, it is. But it’s not the life that will suit Allison. Even if she is initiated, she will learn to follow the code.” Chris stopped his horse as well but didn’t look at her.

“Like you did with the boy. Using the runner as bait to draw the wolf out. Filling his bag with fresh food and making sure he looked wounded. Perfect meal for a werewolf.” Kate cooed out, and Stiles shuttered in horror. He reached out and hooked the slinged arm over Blues head to hide his suddenly glowing eyes. “But it failed. He walked away free and now is probably taking Allison virginity as we speak.”

“Ew” Stiles wrinkled his nose as he and Allison shared a disgusted look. That would never happen.

“Isn’t that why you used him. He was getting friendly with her. Or maybe it’s because you feared he would put thoughts of freedom in her head.” Kate laughed evilly as she spurred the horse on. Chris sat there for a moment, his head hung slightly before he sighed.

“It didn’t work because the wolf isn’t feral, protected by the code.” The man muttered to himself, his eyes dark as he gazed at his sister. A heartbeat passed before he spurred his horse forward and followed her. Stiles laid perfectly still, lifting his arm off Blue to take a closer look at him. Before he could say anything, Allison ripped the hand he had over her mouth off and took off into the forest.

“Shit” Stiles dropped everything and chased after her, Blue right behind him. “Allison, they’ll hear you.” He called softly but she crashed onward, muffled sobs coming from her. They ran for several minutes and Allison suddenly collapsed against a tree. Stiles approached cautiously as her body heaved, throwing up the lunch they just ate. He crouched next to her and started rubbing her back as her body rebelled. Blue hovered several feet away, like he was unsure if he’d be welcomed.

“Oh Lord. They… they’re monsters” She gasped out and Stiles saw Blue flinch out of the corner of his eye. She suddenly sat up, throwing her arms around his neck. “I’m so sorry my father did that to you. I know Blue would never hurt you but he planned on you getting killed by him. I’m so sorry.”

“Hey, you didn’t know. I didn’t know he was a werewolf. He might not be. You didn’t know your family are crazy killers.” Stiles pulled back as a wet nose pressed against his arm and Blue was crouched behind him, his belly pressed against the ground and his ears flat on his head. The wolf let out a soft whine and turned to Allison with wide eyes.

“Blue, are you a werewolf?” He asked and the wolf nodded slowly, his eyes flaring brightly for a heartbeat.

“Will you ever hurt us?” Allison looked at him and Stiles stiffened in shock and anger that she would suggest such a thing. Blue shook his head and then Allison was hugging him. “I know you won’t.” Stiles gave them a moment before he broke them up.

“I’m going back to the road to get our stuff, but then I think it’s better if we stick to the forest. It will take a little longer but we are only an hour or so walk into town since we had such an early start. Then we can avoid the search party of scary people and Allison can have some quiet time to think.” He made a hand motion as if asking what they thought of the plan and they both nodded so he pointed at the wolf. “We are going to have a serious conversation when I get back.” He threatened and the wolf dropped back to his belly, a busted look on his face. Stiles stomped off, letting the werewolf brew in his guilt for a little longer.

He wasn’t really surprised or angry, but there were somethings that he told the wolf that he never told anyone. He confessed every little detail of his heart and life and he would hunt the werewolf down if he uttered a word to anyone about his secrets. He didn’t know who his wolf was, but he would find out if the town suddenly knew he was head over heels for Derek Hale. He would literally be run out of town if they knew the deflowering thoughts he had about the man, about their beloved prince and king to be. He had no doubts about it.

Stiles reached the edge of the road with caution and gathered up the food and bags. Allisons was heavier from somehow jamming her crossbow and arrows in it but he remained silent, though complaints ran though his head. He hadn’t really had time to think about the fact that someone had used him as bait, fully expecting him to get killed because he had befriended the mans daughter. He knew Blue was something else, but that was between them, so he’d let it slide. He didn’t hear anything as he walked back to where he left Blue and Allison, his mind suddenly stuck on the code they spoke of and why it seemed like Kate Argent didn’t follow it.

“Now I get why he put a warm loaf in my bag.” He muttered to himself before stopping. Allison and Blue were staring at him but he didn’t care. His first kiss was almost with a werewolf, who wasn’t even in the human form at the time. Embarrassment swamped over him and said wolf trotted over to him with a concerned whine. “I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine.” Allison didn’t bother standing, her arms wrapped tightly around her legs that were pulled up to her chest. She offered a weak smile and he collapsed next to her.

“Well, I just found out my wolf friend can turn into a dude and I’m remembering all the embarrassing things that happened to me while we were together.” He must have said the right thing because Allison perked up and he turned to her. “I slept next to a wolf that could’ve turned into a man at any time. Not that I’m complaining about sleeping with a man but I’d like to have known it in case I got a… And I used him as a pillow when I got attacked by the robbers. I told him who my crush was!”

“Oh Lord, that’s pretty embarrassing.” Allison tried to hide her smile behind her hand and dried her tears on her sleeve. He handed her a handkerchief he found in one of the bags.

“And you.” He turned back to the wolf who stopped wagging his tail in amusement. “If that somehow gets out and the whole town knows my secret, I will find you.” He pointed his finger in what he hoped was a threatening manner. He doubted it was by the way Allison snickered. Blue hung his head in mock acceptance, the way his tail twitched gave away his own humor. “You don’t have to change back or tell me who you are.”

“Wait, you’re not going to make him tell us who he is?” Allison stopped laughing and stared at him in shock.

“We don’t even know if he can shift back to a man.” He pointed out and they both turned to the wolf. “Can you?” Blue nodded, his ears flicking back and his eyes flickering between them. “You don’t have to.” Stiles decided.

“Why? You just said you’d hunt him down if he…” Stiles dropped his hand down on her shoulder to silence her.

“There has to be a reason. We’ve already proven that we can be trusted, and that we trust him. So there must be a reason, one we don’t have to know, that he hasn’t talked to us. I trust him, and if I never know who he is in the human world, that’s fine.” He explained, “And as for the secrets. I’m the sheriffs son. If I can’t track down someone, even if I don’t know what they look like, I should fall into a hole for my ignorance.”

“You are a loyal friend.” Allison shook her head at him though he wasn’t sure if it was in amazement of his confidence or stupidity.

“Don’t you two forget it. You should have some bread before we set off again and rinse out your mouth.” He grabbed the water and bread, handing it over before pulling out the rest of their meal. Allison didn’t eat much, falling into silence with a distant look on her face. He talked about the food and how he couldn’t wait to be back in his town. “Blue, do you think you can lead us through town without the Argents getting us?”

“Just to the road heading into town. We don’t want to look suspicious to anyone who sees us.” Allison added, packing up. She only had a few bites but Stiles felt she would be fine, massive family shock aside.

“Good idea.” He smiled when Blue nodded and he suddenly had an idea.

“Can I ask you questions?” Blue narrowed his eyes and he sighed. “Fine. I won’t for the sake of our friendship and the fact that you have a truly massive amount of blackmail material.” He pouted as the wolf lead them through the forest.

“Well, he’s doesn’t have anything on me.” Allison piped up and he turned to her. “Are you dangerous?” Blue shrugged after a few seconds of glaring from the both of them. Stiles let out a snort at the question.

“Of course he’s dangerous. He’s like any other wild wolf, but he has a human brain. Right?” Stiles cocked his head to the side as he stared at him. Blue nodded again.

“Do you know a lot about hunters?” Allison seemed to hold her breath and the wolf nodded, his teeth bared thought it wasn’t at her. “Are… are they dangerous?” she stopped talking when Blue nodded again, his ears flat on his head again.

“That’s enough of that.” Stiles waved his hands around before a thought came to him. “Do you have a knot?”

“Stiles!” Allison smacked him and he bounced away before she could try again, laughing at the pained look on the wolfs face. “Why do you put up with him?” Stiles turned just in time to see the wolf shrug and dramatically roll his eyes.

“No fair! No ganging up on me.” He cried out. Allison smirked and Blue chuffed at him. Stiles relaxed as Allison did, falling into step as Blue walked past him, leading the way. It felt weird knowing there was a person inside the wolf, interacting with him on a different level. He had a lot of thinking to do, mostly set to be done tonight when he was sure that the werewolf wouldn’t be able to know what he was going through in his head.

“Are we almost there?” Allison cocked her head to the side like she was listening to something and Stiles looked around. He heard it too, after a moment.

“It’s coming from over there.” He pointed at the stop Blue was staring at. He walked forward and the wolf paced him, his shoulder brushing his hip. Stiles peered around the last tree to see Scott tugging on his coat, which was snagged on a bush.

“Shhh.” He turned and pressed his finger over his lips in Allison direction before sneaking forward. “Scottie!” He stopped just behind the man and yelled at the top of his lungs. Scott screaked at the same time his coat came free, falling backward with his legs folding over his head. “For once you have my grace.”

“What the Hell Stiles?” Scott unfurled, his legs falling to the ground as he wheezed. “You scared the crap out of me…” he froze. “I forgot how big your wolf is.” Stiles laughed, reaching his hand down and pulling him to his feet.

“Hello.” Allison stepped around the tree and Scott let out a harsh wheezing sound.

“He has breathing problems.” Stiles explained as Allison stretched her hands out, one landing on his shoulder. Stiles dug around Scotts pockets before he pulled out a small stick like packet, breaking it in his hands and holding it under his brothers nose. Deaton had fixed it up when Stiles explained that he had fits from walking in the forest. Blue let out a disgusted snort as a strong smell surround him and Scott breathing deepened.

“Feeling better.” Allison rubbed his back with concern in her eyes.

“You’re beautiful.” Scott stared at her with wide eyes and Stiles saw blush spreading across both their cheeks.

“Seriously Scott? You nearly die from short of breath because you see a pretty girl? You didn’t even do that when the wolves pretended to attack us?” Stiles rolled his eyes, leaving the two of them. Allison smiled shyly, holding out her hand even though they were practically hugging from Scotts attack.

“I’m Allison” She smiled when Scott took her hand and lifted it to his lips.

“I’m out. I have a job to finish. You two have fun.” Stiles called out as he fled. He didn’t want to see it. “Remember to tell him your dad used me as beasty bait.”

“What?” Scoot didn’t sound shocked, merely dazed at the announcement.

“I don’t have time for this.” He grumbled to Blue, who appeared equally disturbed at the development. “To the Hale house.” Stiles pointed dramatically and Blue snorted, grabbing his sleeve in his teeth and shifting his arm so it was pointed in the right direction. Stiles gave the wolf a few scratches before snatching his hands back.

“Uh, should I stop petting you now or would that be weird?” He asked, his hands twitching at his sides. The wolf pressed against his legs and slid under his hands. “Oh, good” Stiles paused to give him a few extra good scratches before he started walking again. “I want to tell them everything that had happened.” Blue chuffed again and they turned deeper into the forest, making their way to the Hale gate, the wolf turning off at the last minute. He froze when Cora waved frantically at him from the barn as he walked through the front gate.

“What?” He cringed as she ran up but the front door swung open as she opened her mouth to speak. Her teeth clicked with a painful sound when Chris Argent swept out of the house, heading straight for them.

“Huh?” Stiles shot a confused look at Cora. The fact that the man used him made him speak before his brain caught up. “If you were coming all this way you could have delivered the documents yourself, don’t you think?” Cora let out a snort which she barely turned into a cough to cover it up. Chris looked seconds away from punching him when Talia appeared.

“We are so glad you made it here safe, Stiles.” She placed a hand on his good shoulder, making to steer him into the house. “But there is a bit of an emergency right now.”

“What’s wrong? Did something happen while I was away?” He asked quickly, concerned over what could possibly happen.

“Lady Allison Argent has gone missing while at the market. Her father believed that she might be traveling with you.” Talia thankfully turned him away from the man so his face didn’t show. Her eyes narrowed slightly in a way that he knew he was busted.

“Really? I didn’t see her if she did.” Stiles turned to the man. “Maybe she’ll come if you use bait.”

“Stiles.” Talia scolded and Stiles kept his eyes locked on the man.

“Sorry, Boss. Inside joke.” He dipped his head as he saw Cora running away, his hands stuffed in her mouth to muffle her laughter. “But I haven’t seen her. I would tell if I have but I haven’t. The forest isn’t for amateurs.” Chris glared at him some more before nodding to Talia.

“I apologize for my sudden appearance and departure, but I must find my daughter.” Erica walked up with the mans horse as he bowed to Talia. He mounted and took off without a second glance at him. They stood there for a second before Derek joined them, a frown on his face.

“What was that about?” He glared after the man and he felt a flash of pride.

“Stiles, where is Allison?” Talia asked carefully and he turned with a smirk.

Stiles waved his hand around before turning serious. “There’s a lot I need to tell you.”

“Like how you and the Argents seem to have a falling out?” She gave him a stern look and he shook his head.

“That’s just because he tried to use me as bait so I’d get attacked by a werewolf so he could kill the wolf. Not the point because they’re werewolf hunters but they are seriously evil. They want to marry Allison off to one of you, so they have access to something, that’s why she ran away.” He shivered, pausing when they stared at him. There wasn’t a sound, but Derek gently took his arm.

“Why don’t we go inside to talk?” the man steered him toward the house, and he found himself relaxing in his grip.

“So where is Allison?” Cora reappeared and Stiles glanced over his shoulder to answer her, stumbling as he walked up the steps. Derek caught him and set him back on his feet.

“She’s probably in town with Scott.” He smiled as Isaac took the bags from him, pausing when he spoke before snorting.

“You knew where she was the entire time and lied to his face?” The man snickered proudly, and Stiles winked at him.

“He used me as bait so he could try and kill my friend. He can worry a little longer. She’s not in danger.” Stiles explained. He handed the bags over and was taken into the office. Charlie and Talia refused to allow the others in, even Laura was banished as far as the barn so they could have their meeting. Stiles suddenly felt nervous and he stared at his boots. He needed to tell them everything but he didn’t want Blue to get into trouble. Or the rest of his pack.

“How are you feeling Stiles?” Talia sat down and he blinked at her, suddenly missing his mother.

“I should tell you something… about a friend of mine.” He took a deep breath and did what he promised Scott he wouldn’t do. He started talking about wolves.
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When he was done he had almost lost his voice. He had begged them not to hurt the wolf he talked about, that he was a good wolf abet a little stupid for sneaking into the house. They assured him that everything would be fine and that they needed him there the next morning, that they were going to take the information that he had been given and the documents but they had made their decision. He left the house without seeing any one and he headed into town.

He was emotionally exhausted and his feet felt like they were seconds away from falling off. He wondered into town, wondering why his missed it so much when he kept getting glares and annoyed sighs. One person asked openly why he had returned from where ever it was that he kept vanishing too, but he ignored them. Parrish saw him and threw an arm over his shoulder, leading him into the station and patting him on the back when they separated. He was grateful the man didn’t say a thing. He knocked on the door and stepped through when he heard his fathers voice.

“I’m back” He walked through, closing the door behind him again. His father looked worse for wear, his eyes darkened by bags and face worn, but he brightened when he saw Stiles. “Don’t look so happy. I made the Argents mad at me.” He hugged his father, holding onto him and wondering how much to explain of the mess.

“How did you do that?” His father sighed so deep and Stile cringed away.

“I didn’t tell him where Allison ran away too. She’s safe.” Stiles made a calming motion with his hands before dropping them. “She doesn’t want to be forced to marry so when she showed up when I was leaving, I let her tag along. If you met her you’d know there was no stopping her and I knew she’d leave without me if I said no. I figured she’d be safer with the two of us. We separated when I headed to the Hales and she came into town.”

“She should be safe here, if she’s a smart girl and doesn’t try to run off with the Bellow brothers.” His father sank into his chair.

“I need to go back to work tomorrow. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll have this job.” Stiles sat down as well, letting his head roll back and closed his eyes. He was exhausted. They remained quiet. Stiles was relaxed but when he blinked open his eyes several minutes later he felt a wave of guilt at the pain and weariness on his fathers face. “What’s wrong?”

“The princes birthday is finally coming up. The Advisers are going to fetch him soon and then our country will have a new King.” His father started and Stiles let out a snort.

“So you have to get ready for the town to riot that Derek isn’t the prince?” Stiles snickered, his eyes starting to tear up in tired glee. “Just imagine their surprise! He hates it when they say he’s the prince. If anyone spent five minutes with him and his sisters, it’s so obvious that they are related.” He got to his feet and walked around the desk to the worn man. “It’s going to turn out fine. You’ll see. I’m going to go home and make your favorite for dinner, so be home on time.” He gave him another hug before leaving. He waved at the other officers as he walked out, a few staring at him with strange looks on their faces. Parrish waved before ducking into his fathers office.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Jackson, a fancy mans son from a few towns over sneered at him and Stiles ignored him, his mind on more important things. The next thing he knew he was on the ground, his breath knocked from his lungs and his shoulder aching. He slowly got to his hands and knees, pulling himself to his feet.

“What the hell is your problem, Jackson?” Stiles shouted and people started to look. Jackson smirked, grabbing him and pulling him until they were face to face.

“My problem is that you have forgotten you’re place.” The man growled in his face but it didn’t faze him. He knew wolves for goodness sake. He opened his mouth to speak when someone approached in a deadly manner.

“Enough” A hand steadied him while another peeled Jacksons off him. Boyd stood there, slowly bending the mans hand back until he fell to one knee.

“There… a place on the ground for a man who deems it worthy to attack another who is innocent.” The man titled his head to the side in contempt before letting him go. Stiles stared speechless as Jackson scrambled away, his feet slipping slightly in the dirt and he turned to the cook.

“I had it handled.” He pointed out and got an eyeroll in return.

“You are my friend. I’m allowed to step in when someone is being an ass.” Boyd smirked and Stiles laughed low.

“Thank you.” He looked around but everyone moved off, grumbling about not seeing Stiles get beaten. “What are you doing in town?”

“Getting some supplies for dinner.” Boyd shrugged and while it wasn’t the entire truth, he didn’t elaborate.

“Well, say Hi to Erica for me?” He waved and started walking toward home. Boyd didn’t bother waving as he turned and went on his way. Stiles suddenly knew what he missed about being home. His loved his father and Scott, but the Hales made the town feel like his town and less like a prison. He made it to his home and groaned in pleasure, kicking off his boots by the door before getting to work. He cleaned as much as he could, including dusting and sweeping the lower floor.

He didn’t bother going into his room as he started a fire to cook dinner on, going back to cleaning for the several hours it would take for the fire to heat up to where he needed it to be. He steadily cooked everything, the warmth of the fire dulling his mind and he settled by as everything heated, pulling out one of his mothers books to read.

Stiles didn’t flinch when Blue trotted through the door, his head hanging low. Allison was right behind him. She curled up in a chair, murmuring a word of greeting before dropping right off to sleep. He shook his head at her, petting Blue when he walked over and lifted the book.

“What me to read?” He asked the wolf, who nodded and settled at his feet. Stiles snickered slightly and started to read. It was pass sundown when his father got home.

“Son, what is all this?” His father asked, the door still wide open. Stiles looked up from the book to look at Blue and Allison.

“Uh, this is Blue and that’s Allison.” He nodded to the wolf and girl in turn. “They wondered in.”

“There’s a wolf in my house. My son is reading to a wolf.” His father pressed his hands against his face and groaned.

“Well, it’s got to get boring… being a wolf and all. He follows me around.” Stiles put his book down and wiggled his feet out from under Blue, walking across the room so he could start setting the table for dinner.

“Why is he following you around?” His father asked in his sheriff voice and Stiles snorted.

“Well, he and his buddies chased off the robbers and lead me through the woods to the Hale house. So, I’m thinking you should be happy I have a clingy wolf on my butt.” Stiles wiggled the spoon at him, and his father shook his head.

“There’s more to this, isn’t there.” Stiles shrugged as he filled three and a half dishes and started placing them on the table.

“More than you and I know right now. Can you wake her up so she can eat?” He nodded to Allison. Before his father could move, Blue hopped to his feet. The wolf walked over and sat in front of her before throwing his head back and howling loud and low. Stiles felt it in his chest and let out a whoop as Allison screeched, falling out of the chair. She landed on Blue, cutting the howl off.

“BLUE!” She swatted at him and the beast bounced away, a strange bark coming from him.

“That’s enough. No rough housing in the house.” His father crossed his arms over his chest as he stared down the two. “It’s time for dinner and I would like to have it be a peaceful one. So no howling and no slapping.”

“Got it” Allison grinned as she got to her feet. Stiles pointed her to her seat and moved a chair back so Blue could get up. His father glared at him but he ignored it, patting the seat and tugging on the wolfs scruff to get him to move a little.

“This is just the beginning” His father sighed, “Isn’t it?”

“I’m thinking so” Stiles laughed under his breath as Blue tried to eat with manners. It was a fail because he took one bite, his eyes widening before finishing the rest of his food in three more.

Chapter Text

Stiles was at the Hale house in the morning where he was received by many grim faces. Allison waited outside the gates, not wanting to make anything worse or slow them down with formalities. Talia knew. Stiles knew she knew that the girl was outside the gate but she gave him a hug and extra food for the road. He was also able to leave the sling behind as he left to meet her. He stiffened when Derek hissed his name from the barn.

“Yes?” Stiles peeked around the building as he came closer, grunting in shock when the man grabbed his arm and pulled him into a hug. He was man enough to admit that he sank into it and closed his eyes, letting his head fall to his shoulder.

“I’m glad your shoulder is feeling better.” Derek suddenly sounded panicked and then he was alone. Stiles beamed as he walked away with a skip in his step, still feeling his arms around him.

Passing the day went even faster with Allison there. Blue never showed but now he knew the wolf had a human life he had to tend to. He couldn’t help feeling a little relieved when he reached the Argent house and the wolf still hadn’t showed up. He didn’t want him getting killed.

“Allison” Chris was waiting at the door and he froze forgetting that he was still hated by the man.

“Don’t be mad at Stiles. He didn’t know anything. I went to the Sheriffs house to spend the night and he’s bringing me back home.” Stiles tried to act like Allisons quick lie wasn’t news to him and pulled the documents off his shoulder.

“This is from the Hales.” The package was snatched from his hand.

“Thank you, but you can leave. We will hire our own runner for the returns” Chris spoke cold and Stiles glared back at him, refusing to take a step back. “I suggest you leave town.”

“Dad!” Allison hissed before shrinking under his gaze. “I uh, I’ll see you later Stiles. Tell Scott I said Hi.” She slunk into the house with her head down. Kate met her, wrapping her up in her arms and smiling in a way to sweet manner at Stiles.

“I will inform the Hales you received the documents.” Stiles jerked his chin up and turned, walking toward the gate.

“I also suggest you go through town, in case the hunters in the field get angry that you disturb the quail there.” Chris called after him. Stiles resisted the urge to make a rude hand gesture and kept walking. The guards let him pass through a very small gap between them and he managed to shove past them. He knew he’d bruise but he didn’t care.

He passed through the town once again. It was just as bad as he remembered it but he walked with confidence. No one talked to him, which he was used to, but they all stared at him as he passed. He contemplated getting a room but thinking about what the Argents might do when they found out made him resort to the only thing he could do. The best thing he could do. Head for home and hope like Hell he made it. The moon would be starting to set by the time he got there, but it was better than staying by the Argents.

He made it to the forest, walking faster as the sun started to set. He hoped to run into Blue and his pack but there was no such luck. It was fully dark before he reached halfway to home. Then he heard them. He had less warning then he did when Blue was with him. Stiles took off into the trees, trying to use them as cover like before but the attackers moved thought them with ease, gaining on him.

“Tell us about your wolf, little one” Kates voice called through the night air and he yelped, an arrow burying itself into his forearm. He staggered to the side from the momentum and ran faster. It was painless, the fight or flight winning over his body and he was in full flight mode. They couldn’t catch him. Blue would come for him and that would be that. They would have his wolf. He threw the protection spell his mother taught him around his body, mainly his chest and head. It was the only thing that he could do on the run.

“He’s innocent!” Stiles screamed over his shoulder, but he dodged around another arrow. It disappeared into the bushes and he jumped over it, his heart pounding in his chest. He used every trick his father and Charlie taught him to get away, running so his steps were mostly quiet and breathing the right way to calm his gasps. His lungs still burned. and tears started rolling from his eyes from the strain, blurring his vision.

“Come out, come out.” Kate sang behind him, but they were thankfully further out. A second later a wire trap wrapped around his leg and he went down. He didn’t make any noise, all the breath knocked from his lungs so he had no air to scream. He was luck that the trap wasn’t tied to something that would make noise when he moved but he shoved his shirt into his mouth to hide the sobs and gasps.

The world spun for a minute as he came back to himself. When he did he could hear the hunters moving a little to his left. He was hidden in a bush so he shifted until his back was against the tree that had the trap attached to it, twisting his leg closer so he could see if he could wiggle it off. It was tight, and there was blood. He couldn’t feel a few of his toes and he didn’t know if he’d be able to walk if he got the thing off, but he had to try. He dug his teeth into the fabric, taking a deep breath as he clawed his fingers into the wound, grabbing the wire with his nails and easing it off. The loop loosened and he pulled it the rest of the way off his foot.

During the time he took to free his foot, the hunters had moved a little further away from him. He gasped in relief, shifting to his knees and he started crawling as quietly as he could in the opposite direction from them. He couldn’t place any weight on his foot, that he was sure of, and he couldn’t use the arm that still had an arrow sticking out of it. He didn’t dare waste any more time to remove it.

He didn’t make it very far, before he was falling. The ground had given way underneath him, dropping him through a crack the opened into a cave. He caught a glimpse of a rocky shore before he hit water. It wasn’t deep and his knees hit the bottom, jarring him before his hands did the same. He shoved against the ground, able to stand on one foot in the water and wade to the shore, falling forward when the water stopped bearing his weight. Stiles slumped in the shallows, staring up at the crack of earth above him, letting in a sliver of moonlight.

“I found his trail.” A faint voice called and he covered his mouth. He was too exhausted to move. He could see a trail of red in the water from his ankle and his arm. He didn’t have any fight left in him. The water in his ears amplified the footsteps of the hunters as they tracked his bloody escape to the cave.

“He must have fallen though.” Another hunter came from near the entrance, but it sounded as if they were keeping well back.

“I doubt he survived. No one saw a thing. People disappear in these woods all the time.” Kate huffed, sounding bored that the chase was over then anything else. Stiles laid there in silence, his mind spinning in his skull from blood loss and exhaustion, too beaten to think of a way back out of the cave. It was about ten feet up, above the small river that had broken his fall.

After what felt like hours he finally sat up, dragging his body the rest of the way out of the water before pulling his little knife out. He started to cut his shirt off. It was still wet but his ankle needed to be wrapped. He whimpered as he tied it off, shaking his head when he heard a strange sound. He shook it again to get the water out of ears, stopping to stick a finger in and pulling it back out with an audible pop.

There was the sound of paws on the ground above him, which went silent for a heartbeat before Blue dropped through the hole, a shocked howl coming from him that was cut off when he hit the water. Stiles sat up a little higher as the wolf swam toward him, walking when he reached the bottom until he stood in the shallows.

“Rough night?” Stiles croaked out and Blue bared his teeth at him. He flinched away, trying to reach out with his arm but it was the one that had the arrow and it fell uselessly to his lap. “If you’re going to be testy about it…” He trailed off when a wretched crunching sound came from the wolf. Stiles could just see how the creatures body went wrong, his shoulders jerking as if it was painful and then Derek was standing before him. The werewolf blinked a few times and Blue was gone, replaced by hazel.

“Stiles” Derek lunged forward, his hands stopping an inch from his body. They hovered over his shoulder before falling onto his wounded arm. “I need to take this out.”

“You’re Blue?” Stiles was in shock as he Lord gently lifted his arm up. He didn’t feel it when the arrow was snapped off and then shoved through. He lay there as the bindings on his leg were fixed and his arm wrapped. “Oh Lord. I did fall in a hole because of my ignorance!”

“I need to get you to Deatons.” Derek shook his head as he lifted him up and pressed him to his chest, wrapping Stiles arms over his shoulders. There was a hand on his rear and Stiles realized that the werewolf was completely naked. Mortification over took him but then he was in the air and then he was laying across the massive chest in front of him. Derek had jumped up, grabbing the roof of the cave and start climbing to the hole with ease with his clawed hands and feet.

“The hunters. Blue! They wanted Blue.” Stiles finally held on, a little freaked out by the fact that he was looking at the ten foot drop he just took, while laying stretched out on a werewolf who was his crush and wolf friend all rolled into one, who was also completely naked. He’s life just got too weird for panic attacks. “Oh Lord, you’re Blue. I told Blue everything.” He hid his face in neck in front of him, crying out when he was squeezed tightly as Derek pulled them through the hole.

“Stiles, breathe.” Derek shifted away from the cave, his hand coming back up to hold Stiles in place. “Focus on my heartbeat.” That was easy. It was something that he could do, even more so when Derek took his hand and placed it right over his chest. “Now breathe for me.”

“I’d say you have some explaining to do but that doesn’t even cover it.” Stiles grumbled but he did as he was told. Derek snorted at him, much like Blue used to do so it was easy now for Stiles to see the wolf in the Lord.

“You lose more blood when you panic.” Derek smiled at him when he looked up. “I’m going to need you to hold on. If you want to make it to Deatons without losing your foot.”

“What are you planning?” Stiles tightened his grip on the wolf as he rolled them over. His mind shot to unsavory places as his legs were forcibly wrapped around his hips and he was pulled chest to chest with him.

“Hold on and try not to freak out. I’ll take care of you.” The words relaxed him so he wasn’t prepared for the way the mans face morphed into that of something… different. His brow became heavier as his eyebrows disappeared completely, replaced by hairy sideburns. Stiles gasped when they jerked forward, running through the woods on all fours, still faster than any human despite the added weight. Stiles ducked his head into the werewolf’s neck again, focusing on keeping his limbs out of the way while holding up his weight. For a brief second, he thought about sex before pain from his leg shoved the thought from his mind.

“What about the hunters?” He shivered as the wolf leaped over a falling tree, completely clearing it. He held on tighter as it jostled him, a hand landing on his lower back to hold him up.

“Laura and Cora are leading them off” Derek answered as he skidded out of the trees. Stiles felt his mouth drop in shock. They were already back in town, just a few minutes from Deatons. A howl went up several miles away and he gasped, clinging tighter but turning to him for a translation. “They’re heading home.”

“I hope they didn’t get hurt.” Stiles murmured, his head falling back as adrenaline left his system. The danger had passed. Everything started to ache and he was carried into the clinic, the werewolf laying him out on a table. Hands cupped his face and he tilted it toward him, making Stiles smile at the Lord. A second later Deaton was standing over him.

“What happened to him?” The Druid started to work, easing his leg around as he pulled the bandages off. Stiles cringed away and whined. He could just see Derek near him, his hand on his arm, black veins running up it. Then everything went dark, the pain vanishing into a numb bliss.
=======================================================================
Scott was there when he woke up, a devastated look on his face as he held onto Stiles hand. Stiles tried to clinch it but his fingers barely wiggled. His brother noticed right away, tightening his grip and leaned over him.

“Hi?” Stiles tried to sit up but he was shoved back down.

“Stiles, there’s some things you need to explain.” Scott gave him a gentle hug, minding his arm and Stiles held him back.

“I’m sorry.” He murmured, turning his head to see his father sleeping in a chair. “What happened?” He wheezed, wanting to know how much he needed to explain.

“Lord Hale found you in the woods. He said he went for a late night run to think about the negotiations and found you with an arrow in your arm and a trap around your leg.” Scott had his serious voice going but his eyes were still red from tears. “You’ve been asleep for almost two days.”

“Derek did what?” Stiles tried to distract him, but it didn’t quite work as it woke his father up. He let out a groan as he sat up, rubbing at his neck as he walked over to the table Stiles was stretched out on.

“How are you feeling son.” The man placed his hand on his arm and Stiles covered it with his own.

“Terrible but alive.” He grinned as the men rolled their eyes.

“What happened?” His father sat down and gave him a stern look. Before he could get started on his story, he heard a someone clear their throat from the doorway. He felt his mind draw a blank as he saw Derek standing there, his head ducked slightly as he looked up through his eyelashes. Stiles smiled at him, stretched his hand out to him.

“Derek?” He relaxed as the werewolf moved closer. “Thank you.” He breathed out as the man slid his hand into Stiles. He sighed when he smiled, clinging tighter to him. “I think we need to have a talk. Alone.”

“But…” His father and brother started to protest at the same time and he shook his head, whining low when it made the entire room swim and his stomach protested.

“Please.” Stiles put on his best puppy look as he gazed up at his father. The sheriff bowed his head after a few seconds of looking between him and Derek, getting to his feet and walking out of the room. He had to shove Scott out as he went, the teen trying to stay with him.

“I’m… sorry.” Derek sat in the chair Scott had been sitting in, but Stiles stretched his hand out to him. Derek took it and the pain started to drain away from him.

“Don’t.” Stiles protested as the relief nearly made him fall unconscious again. “I want to talk.” He caught the hand again and held it tighter, feeling the pain trickle back.

“Stiles, please. I know you’re in pain.” Derek begged but Stiles shook his head again.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t work for you anymore” He couldn’t stand the pained, fear filled look on the wolfs face or how he seemed to deflate. “They want my wolf” Stiles slowly dragged the hand closer, pressing his lips against the back of it.

“You mean…” Derek blushed but his eyes lit up.

“They want me for Blue, but they want you because you’re a Hale. They want Blue! They don’t know he’s you.” Stiles blinked sadly at him before taking a deep breath. “I can’t risk them putting two and two together. I can’t lose you, so please, let me quit. Tell them I’m dead or that it was too dangerous for me.”

“You’re still trying to protect us.” Derek voice sounded soft, making Stiles melt a little.

“I’ll always protect you Blue.” Stiles took a moment to admire the way Derek rolled his eyes, the blush deepening until it was over his cheeks to the tips of his ears. “I do have one question.”

“What?” The blush seemed to fade before his eyes.

“Can you tell your family I’m sorry? I’m so so sorry.” Stiles pressed a kiss over the werewolfs hand again, ignoring the confused look on his face. “DAD!” He didn’t have to wait more than a second before his father strode through the door. Derek looked at him desperately, but they could no longer talk.

“I think your time is up. Lord or no, my son needs his rest.” His father gave Derek a stern look and he stood, shooting Stiles one last glance before he left. Scott was glaring over his shoulder as he walked in.

“Do you mind telling me why the Argents tried to kill you?” His father crossed his arms over his chest and Stiles turned to give Scott a pointed look.

“You remember Blue?” Stiles shook his head like he was confused. “He would walk with me and I got him to trust me with food. The Argents saw him. They wanted him for something… something bad and they thought if they hurt me, that he would come.” Thankfully, Scott remined quiet about the fact that they weren’t regular wolves, though Stiles hadn’t yet explained the werewolf part to him.

“They attacked you to get to Blue?” His father arched his eyebrow at him and he nodded.

“Blue isn’t an easy kill, but he’s beautiful.” Stiles wasn’t completely sure why his voice softened or why his father suddenly dropped his hands. “They wanted to hurt him but I couldn’t just call him to me. I would never let them hurt my friends.” He let his head roll back onto the table.

“You need to rest. Deaton said you should stay here for the rest of the day and maybe the night if he feels it’s necessary. He should be back any time. I’m going to run into town real quick and get you something to eat.” His father pulled on his coat, walking over and placing a hand on his head. “Don’t scare me like that again.”

“Yeah, I’ll try. I scared myself with this one.” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, waiting until he heard the door shut.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were in love with Derek Hale?” Scott turned on him with his hands waving around in a frantic, betrayed manner. It wasn’t what Stiles expected. “Or that he loves you back? He’s a Lord!”

“What?” He stiffened before letting out a weak groan, his muscles protesting the sudden strain.

“He waited here the entire time. Deaton said you might have lost to much blood from your foot. You might walk with a limp for the rest of your life, and not in the way you want!” Scott started pacing and Stiles followed him with his eyes, forcing his body to relax bit by bit.

“Really, a sex joke? Right now?” He snorted, slowly propping himself up on his good arm and stared down at his right. There was the faint ache from when he pulled his shoulder, a scar across his wrist from the knife and now an arrow hole that was bandaged up. If he wasn’t more careful, he’d lose the whole arm next.

“Did you see his face when he saw you?” Scott ignore his comment, his hand now buried in his hair. “He literally looked seconds away from killing anyone who breathed wrong in his direction but then he saw you and I know you couldn’t see your own face because it was obvious you love him. And I don’t even understand how cute you two are together. And what’s with BLUE?”

“Blue is the wolf.” Stiles piped up and Scott rolled his eyes.

“I know who Blue is, and I remember his teeth and little sister. Allison also told me all about him sneaking in to sleep next to you at the Argents and how you helped her escape.” Scott finally calmed down enough to sit next to him in the chair so Stiles grabbed his arm.

“I need to tell you something, and you got to know that it’s the truth.” He took a moment until he knew for certain the Scott was listening. “Blue is a werewolf. The Argents are werewolf hunters. They wanted me so they could kill him. They used me as bait when I came home with Allison, mainly because Chris thought I was trying to with her but even you can see that’s not where my interests lay.”

“Werewolves?” Scott scoffed before his eyes widened. “That actually makes sense.”

“I know. I know. Allison knows he’s a werewolf and she was furious that her father was trying to kill us. I don’t think she knew he planned this. Kate attacked me, I ran. Blue helped me out of there.” Stiles slid back onto the table and closed his eyes.

“I thought Lord Hale found you.” Scott sounded confused and Stiles waved his hand around.

“He left when Hale showed up. Didn’t want to be seen.” Stiles hated to lie, but one little one couldn’t hurt. Scott narrowed his eyes at him and he was saved by Deaton walking in.

“Good to see you’re awake Stiles.” The druid walked over to him and he turned his attention fully to him. “I must say, you are giving me quiet the challenge to heal.”

“I aim to please.” Stiles sighed, cringing when he saw the assortment of vials.
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Stiles did have to stay another night and most of the next day. Boyd showed up when Deaton said he could start walking home. Scott was on his other side but was soon called back by Deaton so he could get the rest of Stiles potions to take with them. Stiles didn’t know what he was meant to feel when he was leaning completely against the man where Scott had tossed him.

“I’m sorry.” Stiles tested his ankle again and it was painful, wobbling under him. Boyd rolled his eyes before throwing him over his shoulder. Stiles yelped before the realization came to him.

“You’re Prince Charming!” He gasped and he heard the man grunt in confusion. “You hang out with Princess. The white wolf. You’re her prince. The darker wolf. You dote on her!” Stiles covered his face when he realized how that sounds.

“Like Blue and Flower?” Boyd’s shoulders shook as he laughed and Stiles groaned. “Erica is going to have a field day.”

“Who was the other one that followed Blue and I that day with the robbers, when the others left? I called him Curly.” Stiles was suddenly curious. He knew that Ember had to be Cora, and he was sure that Alpha was one of the parents, most likely Talia. He didn’t know about the twins or Charlie.

“That was Isaac.” Boyd shifted around until Stiles was balanced on his good foot again. Stiles opened his mouth to ask why when he saw Scott running up behind him.

“Got to act like a human.” Boyd winked and pulled his arm over his shoulder so they could keep going. Stiles home was still a long walk away, so he leaned against him, letting the werewolf take his weight as he limped on. He didn’t really put weight on his injury as Scott took his other arm and they both took his weight between them. His wounded leg barely touching the ground as they drug him along. Scott was certain that he should have stayed longer at Deatons but the man took care of the whole town of people and animals and needed the room.

“Soooo, this is the Hales cook?” Scott looked completely confused and Stiles grinned.

“He’s my friend.” He grinned teasingly and Scott rolled his eyes. “He makes the best food.”

“Got it. Why didn’t the tall one come?” Scott huffed, adjusting Stiles arm.

“A runner arrived the morning after Stiles got hurt. He was from the Argents. He explained how Stiles went into the town and never came back, but the timing was off. We figured he was sent when Stiles was still being hunted down.” Boyd explained and Scott got a murderous look on his face.

“Doesn’t explain what happened to Derek.” Stiles couldn’t help pouting and the werewolf snorted at him.

“When you woke up and kicked him out. He decided to take the messenger job on himself so no one else would get hurt. The Argents wouldn’t dare harm a Lord. He explained it away that the negotiations are important and not to be trusted with others, that he could use the exercise and has the training to survive an attack. They don’t know you survived.” It was the most he heard Boyd talk and he shook his head.

“He shouldn’t have done that. They’re hunters!” he struggled for a second before a thought struck him. “Kate Argent is dangerous. She’ll like him. She’d want him as a trophy or something.”

“Ew.” Scott wrinkled his nose and Stiles turned to him.

“It’s what she tried to do to me.” He didn’t explain why it didn’t work. A few weeks before he would have fallen over himself if a women as beautiful as her paid him any mind. But then he met Derek.

“Ew” Boyd shuttered. The trip started to take its toll on him and he let his friends take the rest of weight. His wounds throbbed to the beating of his heart and he panted through the pain. They reached the house and he smelled something wonderful. A second later Erica and Laura appeared from the door way and he gaped.

“Holy… Princess and Flower?” He laughed at their faces before his head rolled back. Laura beamed at him but Erica looked insulted. Stiles hoped Boyd would explain later. Scott looped an arm under his leg and Boyd followed suit with the other, carrying him into the house. He was set down at the table and he slumped so far down that he nearly fell off.

“Why they Hell…?” Erica glared at him and Boyd grabbed her hand, pressing a kiss against it before walking over to where there was a pot over the fire.

“Did you break into my house?” He asked and got murmured answers. He ignored it as the food was placed before him.

“Deaton said you need to take your potion with food and then get some more rest. You lost too much blood.” Laura gave him a stern look and Stiles grinned at her.

“You should ask Derek about the cave he had to pull me out of.” He laughed before letting out a moan at the first taste. It was glorious.

“You were in a cave?” Laura shook her head at him before running her hand through his hair.

“I fell into it.” He explained, hunching over so he could keep shoveling it in and she laughed softly. It was gone all too soon and Scott handed him the potion. It tasted awful.

“Can you help me get him upstairs?” Stiles grunted as Boyd swung him to his feet and walked easily up the stairs while holding him up. Stiles tried to complain as he was set on his bed but Boyd blocked Scotts view with his body, dropping his hand on his arm and pulling the pain. Stiles shuttered and blacked out.
=========================================================================
The next few days passed impossibly slow. Cora and Erica snuck up to meet him, jumping through the window when his father was downstairs. They talked but Stiles was worried. Cora explained that Derek had returned from the Argents with worrisome news. Kate wanted to mend the negotiations so she would be wed to him and made it clear that they would accept nothing else. Stiles was near tears telling her that couldn’t happen but she shook her head, making him sit back in his bed.

“You must rest.” She patted him on the cheek and head. Stiles swatted at her, still not used to the others scent marking him. Laura had taken an entire day off to explain everything about werewolves and answer his questions.

“But… She can’t just.” Stiles clamped his mouth shut. He almost said she couldn’t take him from him. That she couldn’t have his wolf. He wasn’t sure where they stood.

“Our mother is working on it. I think she has an idea to explain that Derek is already betrothed to someone, that they are keeping it quiet since we’re a private family.” Cora winked at him before pulling a face, looking over her shoulder at the door. “You’ve got company. Want me to stay?”

“What kind of company?” Stiles sat back up and grabbed his boots, pulling them on but he didn’t lace the one on his wounded leg. She pulled him to his feet with a distant look before turning back to him.

“Fancy people?” She shrugged and he shook his head.

“They might recognize you as a Hale and disgrace your family name. I can handle it.” He shooed her toward the window. She shot him a worried look but was gone in a blur. Stiles pulled on his jacket but didn’t bother making himself look proper as he limped down the stairs, holding onto the wall and using a stick Isaac brought him. These people came to his house and he was still technically wounded.

“Who the Hell are you?” He hefted the stick onto his shoulder, raising it when he saw three men standing in his kitchen. They turned to look at him and two promptly bowed.

“Mieczyslaw Stilinski?” The man who didn’t bow remained with his back straight and he stared in shock. He never went by that name. It was too difficult. He doubted anyone but his father remembered it, but this man just said it perfectly.

“Who the HELL are you?” He repeated, lifting the stick higher with his hands shaking.

“I am the Head of the Royal Advisers. It is early for us to be here considering your eighteen birthday has yet to pass but you have been in life-threatening danger these past few weeks and we need you alive.” The man explained poorly and Stiles instantly disliked him.

“That’s nice.” Stiles sneered, “Now get out!” He bared his teeth and held the walking stick higher above himself.

“No. Mieczyslaw, you are the prince and future King of our people. You must be protected. You will be taken to the castle and taught the ways of your class seeing as you are currently…” The man paused, looking him up and down.

“I’m not the prince. I will not go with you and be King. I am out of here.” He chucked the stick at them and staggered out the door. He heard it hit one of the men on the side and the other gave chase. He yelped as a blur ran past and slammed into the man behind him.

“Careful Ember!” He yelled over his shoulder, using his wolf name for Cora so she wouldn’t get into trouble. She gave a bark and he staggered toward town. He did a hopping run, using his wounded leg as little as possible. He heard Cora give a howl and he knew she was falling back. He made it to the edge of town before falling, slamming onto someone.

“What the Hell Stilinski?” Jackson turned around and Stiles grabbed onto his shoulder, balancing to keep the weight off his leg.

“Strange men in my house. They’re saying I have to go with them,” Stiles gasped, staring behind him before he tried to push off but a hand grabbed him. Jackson narrowed his eyes at the faint movement of the men approaching. A second later his arm was being pulled over his shoulder. “What are you doing?”

“Look, I don’t like you but… the Hales trust you. I’m sorry I got confused.” Jackson grumbled, dragging him toward the precinct. Stiles struggled to keep his legs under him from the speed, failing end more when Jackson looked at him out of the corner of his eyes with a flash of Blue.

“You’re a wolf?” He tightened his grip on him, seeing the front doors of the building.

“I could smell wolf on you but I didn’t know if you could be trusted with our secret. Hunters killed my real parents so… It’s not something I take lightly to others knowing.” Jackson gave him a deadly look as he shoved him through the doors. “I’ll try to hold them off.”

“Why help?” Stiles paused, looking at the werewolf.

“You’re pack. Now go.” Jackson turned his back and started walking toward the men. Ember raced toward him, circling around his legs and growling, making the men pause.

“Stiles? Is something wrong?” Greg asked and he waved as he passed, slamming into his fathers office and closing the door behind him. He didn’t even flinch when he saw Talia sitting primly in one of the chairs as he walked to his father.

“Why are there men in our house telling me I’m the prince? Why are they trying to take me away?” Stiles was furious. This couldn’t be a prank but part of him was praying that it was.

“They’re early!” His father stood in shock and he took a step back.

“Early?” Stiles felt his stomach drop and he struggled for breath. “You mean they… that I’m not…” He took another step back as the room closed in around him. “I’m not your son?”

“Stiles. I meant to explain it to you, but you kept getting hurt, so I wanted to wait until a better time.” His father grabbed his arm, but he jerked back, realizing he wasn’t his actual father.

“Stiles, you need to calm down.” Talia put her hand on his neck, and he felt his shoulders drop in response. His head suddenly cleared, and he took off, shoving out of the office and running out the back door. He couldn’t feel anything as he ran but he knew there were tears rolling down his face as he did. He heard his father and Talia calling him back, but he ignored them. Even Jackson called after him, Ember letting out a howl before falling silent. He made it to the edge of the woods before he collapsed.

“This can’t be happening.” He moaned in his arms, curling into a ball and breathing heavily. He sat up after a few seconds, crawling so he was hidden in his trees and sinking back to the ground. He breathed in the scent of the dirt and listened to the wind in the trees as he calmed. He couldn’t leave his forest. He couldn’t leave his wolf.

“Stiles?” Derek approached, his hands held out low like he was a wild creature, poised to run at a moment’s notice. Stiles scrambled to his feet, throwing his arms out as he tried to move closer. Derek got the hint and closed the gap, wrapping him up before running his hands up and down his back to sooth him. “What’s wrong?”

“I… I need somewhere away. Please” He gazed at the wolf. There was a heartbeat where they simply looked at each other before he stepped forward, grabbing his hips and lifted him up. Stiles wrapped his arms around his shoulders, burying his face in his neck and hooking his legs around him. He walked deeper into the forest and Stiles shivered as the information raced through his mind.

He was the prince. The Advisers came to take him away, to make him into a king. He didn’t want to be a king. He wanted to stay with Derek. He wanted to be with his father and Scott and the Hales. He didn’t care he didn’t really have anything going for him in the town for a job, but he never wanted to leave the family he had, the friends he made. He didn’t want to leave Derek. He didn’t think he’d make a good ruler.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Derek stopped in a small clearing, leaning his back against a tree and sliding down so that they were cuddled on the ground. Stiles shifted so his legs were stretched out behind him and placed his head rest over his heart, letting it sooth him.

“My father isn’t my father.” Stiles held back the tears for a few seconds before letting them go. Derek held onto him, rocking slightly and kissing the top of his head, murmuring softly. “They’re going to make me leave.”

“NO!” Derek tightened his grip until he squeaked, gasping when the arms loosened again. “Don’t leave!”

“I don’t think they’ll give me a choice.” Stiles took a deep breath. “They say I’m the prince. My father… the sheriff said they came early. He confirmed.”

“You’re… well, I don’t care. I’ll always be here for you, pup.” Derek wrapped himself up again and Stiles fell back against him. He held on and cried. They stayed like that, holding onto each other for hours until his tears dried up. He tilted his head up and gazed at his friend before closing his eyes. So many words rushed around his mind but non reached his tongue before he felt a small press of lips over his. It was small and he smiled, dropping his head back down. He was starting to doze when Derek let out a low growl and he shifted, trying to pull himself back to wakefulness when he heard a man clearing his throat.

“Mies… Stiles.” The man in charge from his house stood in the clearing, looking murderous. “This is not your place. You are a prince, soon to be King. It is time for you to leave.” Derek rumbled low in his chest and Stiles sat up, nudging him so he would stop. Talia stepped around the man, her eyes flashing red and Derek ducked his head. Stiles turned around and threw his arms around his neck, breathing deeply before he pulled back.

“I promise, I’ll be there for you, Blue” He whispered in his ear. He pulled back a second before making up his mind, surging forward and putting his all into a kiss. There was no telling when or if they’d see each other again.

“Pup?” Derek whined in a daze as Stiles stood. He didn’t look back as he walked up to the man.

“You say I am a prince, then you will not talk to me like that.” He glowered at the man. They stared at each other for a few seconds before the man lowered his eyes.

“I am your Adviser, my prince.” He tried to calm him down but it barely worked.

“And yet you haven’t told me your name, only what you want me to do.” Stiles stood his ground.

“I apologize, your highness, for seeing you with such wounds and scars. It is unnerving.” He sounded anything but unnerved. “My name is Sir Deucalion.”

Chapter Text

Stiles was taken away that night. He wasn’t allowed to see anyone else before he left. They piled him into a plain looking carriage and took his straight from the forest. Talia had to stop Derek from following and it broke him to see the divide the wolf tried to fight, his alpha or Stiles. He did manage to nod to Jackson and Cora who were waiting by the trees.

“I’ll tell Scott!” Cora shouted, waving sadly at him. Jackson simply nodded in return. He sat alone in the carriage, slowly curling into a ball and covering his head. He felt like his mouth was being sewn shut and he struggled to breathe, closing his eyes and rubbing at them.

“Can… can I see my father?” He called out and a man dressed in armor peeked in through the window. He blinked at him with impossibly blue eyes but it wasn’t the blue Stiles needed to see.

“Your father is waiting for you at the castle.” The guard ducked back out and Stiles scrambled to peer out the window at him. It felt remarkedly like holding the bars of a prison window but he had to focus.

“No, my dad. The one who raised me. The fucking Sheriff!” Stiles saw the man shake his head. “Why not?”

“You must be protected. The town knows who you are, and they are aggressive toward you. You cannot return by order of the King.” The man explained and Stiles slumped against the door, causing it to creak.

“Can I get a letter or something to him?” He tried to see behind him the town. It would be useless to try an escape back, and he couldn’t talk the men into returning if the King ordered it. He couldn’t even see his town, his forest or his wolf.

“I cannot answer that now, but maybe when we return to the castle.” The man looked at him with sympathy.

“What’s your name?” He blinked up at the man. He had dark hair that was cut primly, his face nice looking but kind.

“Max Wallman. I have been training to be your personal bodyguard.” Max dipped his head before jerking straight when his horse bobbed its head in distaste.

“And who’s this?” Stiles tried to reach out and pet the horse, getting his fingers snuffled at for his troubles.

“This is Owen.” Max suddenly looked shy, a small smile on his face.

“It’s nice to meet the both of you.” He fought back a yawn, his body shutting down now that his mind wasn’t the one shutting down.

“Get some sleep, your highness. I’m sure I can get some food for you when you wake.” Max spoke softly and Stiles fell back into the carriage. He would give anything to refuse to sleep, but his body had other plans and crying had taken everything out of him. Stiles passed out before he could come up with a plan.
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It had taken nearly a week for him to get there, but they rarely let him leave the carriage. He didn’t try to leave, his foot throbbing constantly. The knights said it was order by the King to keep him hidden until they were ready for the coronation. The castle was the largest thing that he had ever seen. It made him feel sick. The high towers sticking into the sky with large walls surrounding it made him want to run away as the sun rose, turning everything a pale grey. Everything seemed colorless, even plants seemed to be dying around it, large cracking white branches prodding into the air. When he passed under that arch that made up the outer wall, he shuttered, feeling as though a layer of filth was coating his body and slowly trying to inch its way into his soul. He growled low, scrubbing at his arms but the feeling didn’t ease. It just left his arms red.

“Your father wishes to see you right away.” Max opened the carriage door when it came to a stop.

“You mean the King.” Stiles corrected, stumbling down the steps because his legs were too stiff. He slowly straightened, shivering when he realized that he was being watched. Everyone had stopped to look at him. He went to take a step forward, but his wounded leg gave out from under him. Max caught his arm and he clung to it, pulling himself up with a grimace.

“How is it you were hurt?” Max dropped to a knee when it became apparent that Stiles couldn’t put any weight on it at all. He hurt it when he ran but he tried to cover it up so they wouldn’t go after Derek.

“I was being hunted because I refused to call my friend so he could be killed for sport.” Stiles tried to shove the man away from him but it was like trying to move a boulder. His boot was eased off and a river of blood flowed from it when it was turned upside down. “Shit”

“Why didn’t you tell anyone?” Max somehow sounded scolding and Stiles rolled his eyes.

“When?” He huffed, “When Deucalion was shoving me in the damn carriage or when I was told to shut up and ‘rest’? I am also used to dealing with wounds being that I’m… you know… not a prince.”

“You are the prince.” Deucalion stepped forward and Stiles glowered at him.

“So you say, but the King wishes to see me.” He turned, shaking Max off his leg and walked off with a small limp and no boot. His anger fueled him, drowning out the pain. He walked up to a woman who seemed to be in charge, standing just before a line a people. “Where do I need to go?”

“Follow me your highness.” She bowed low but he didn’t have time to ask her not to do it. She ducked into a doorway and he quickly followed. The castle was massive on the inside as well and Stiles was sure he would get lost, even with his sense of direction he learned from his growing up in the woods.

“If he wanted to see me then why did he wait so long?” Stiles muttered under his breath, jumping when a young woman grabbed his arm. He yelped as her nails dug in.

“Thank you, Millie. I will take him from here and explain the Kings sickness.” The strawberry women smiled kindly at the other, who curtsied and vanished.

“Sickness?” Stiles felt his stomach drop as she looped her arm through his own.

“First thing first, my name is Lydia and you will address me as nothing else. The king has been sick. You were sent away when his wife was killed by a Darach and gave him an illness. He’s dying, and we can’t slow the process anymore. When he heard word of your repeated injuries, he sent for you immediately, but then turned for the worse. That is the story that the Advisers are going to tell you. The truth is, you were never meant to be here.” Lydia explained in a rapid-fire way that made his head spin but it also gave him the information he needed to deal with what he was walking into. The king could quiet possibly be on his death bed, and Stiles was meant to be is heir.

“He’s really sick?” Stiles felt something twist in him. He imagined his father a mean old man, stealing him away from his family. Not someone who wanted to see his son one last time. He hoped the man wouldn’t be too disappointed with what he sees. The thought made him want to dig his heels in but Lydia dragged him along and his arm ached from the wounds.

“You will see.” She stopped at a door and he stared at it. She rolled her eyes and shoved him in. The door closed behind him and he was left in a dim room. It was large and he had to blink rapidly to see the bed shoved against one wall. Everything else was bare, or at least he couldn’t see anything in the shadows.

“Hello?” He inched toward the bed with apprehension. There was someone inside that could only be described as a lump. He looked miserable, pale with blotched red across his face and neck. It was the only thing he really shared with the man. He had fairer skinned with blond hair. He looked more like Stiles imagined Ericas father would be.

“Come closer, my son.” Stiles cringed when the man croaked out, part sympathy from how sick the man sounded but the darkest part of his soul wanted to yell at him to never call him such a name again, that he would never be his son.

“You’re sick.” Stiles forced himself to sit on the edge of the bed, making his face impassive as the scent of death assaulted him.

“That I am. It is your duty to take my place. I cannot cope with the dark magic here anymore.” The King stretched his hand out and Stiles took it. “I pray you are able to survive it. Your coronation is scheduled on your eighteenth birthday and then you must wed, have as many children as you can and get them out of here. Away from the sickness this place brings.”

“Why didn’t you just leave?” Stiles gasped when the man dragged him down so his lips brushed his ear.

“I did not send for you to come here. The Dark Druid is still here, somewhere in the castle. It holds the Royalty hostage and tries to gain control through us. I didn’t want you to return but with my death, they needed the next royal.” The King hissed in his ear. “You must figure out who or they will kill you as they have me. I am sorry, my son. I tried to get you out. I gave you to my best soldier and his new bride. But you’ve been called back. I will never ask your forgiveness for imprisoning you.” The King let out a painful wheeze before collapsing back into the bed. In an instant, nurses appeared from the shadows of the room and started fussing over him.

Stiles scrambled back as they started checking him over. One walked up and gently told him to leave, that the King needed his rest. Stiles only left when he saw the faint rise and fall of the mans chest. Lydia grabbed him the moment he stepped from the room and dragged him off.

“I’m sorry you had to see that, but I’ve been given the job of getting you ready for your coordination.” Lydia walked fast, moving him with ease and he trailed after in a bit of a daze.

“Why are you trusted by him?” Stiles felt all the information rush back to him and he jerked his arm free. “What was he talking about? What Darach?”

“I can explain but not where others can hear, and we have to be fast.” She gave him a look that made him start walking again. “You must see the healer and then you must get ready for the reveal. You are to see the people for the first time as their prince.

“But I’m not a prince” Stiles protested but he was ignored, the young women tugging him into a room with a large dresser and even larger bed. Stiles gaped at the beautiful desk tucked in the corner, just next to a door that led out onto a balcony. Everything was spotless except for the one slightly bloody foot print he was leaving behind him as he walked around.

“You are the prince and you will not stop me from doing my job.” She almost sounded wolf like and he glanced at her in shock. She walked around him, a measuring tape pulled out that she held against parts of his body as she scowled at his clothes. After glaring at them a few seconds she clicked her finger before there was a knock on the door.

“What are you..?” He started to take a step toward her but his leg buckled under him and Lydia swung the door open.

“Shower him and tend to his wound. I will be back shortly with something suitable for him to wear.” She called over her shoulder as she swept from the room. Stiles opened his mouth to protest but the five servants moved around him. Two vanished into a room off to the side and the others started to undress him. If they were shocked to see him on the floor, they hid it well.

“Your Highness, you must take better care of yourself.” One was on his knees, already removed Stiles other boot and peeling off his blood-soaked sock with a look of disgust, throwing everything into a pile. “The healer will be here as soon as she is done with your father.”

“You mean the King” Stiles gasped as his shirt was pulled off over his head and he spun to drag it back. Before he could grab it he was lifted out of his pants and herded to the room where the other two servants had been heating the water for the bath.

“Can I please have some privacy?” He pulled his arm free and they stared at him in shock.

“But you are a Royal, you need at least one servant.” The one who seemed to be in charge spoke calmly and he arched his eyebrow at her.

“I do not need servants. I’m perfectly fine to bathe myself.” He crossed his arms over his chest and they all looked at each other before bowing low.

“If that is what you wish. I will be right outside the door when you are done.” She went to steer them toward the door and he lifted his hand up, making them pause.

“Thank you for trying to help.” He twisted around and cringed at the shocked looks on their faces before they left. He made sure they were gone before he stripped the rest of the way and sunk into the warm bath water. It burned his skin, by far the hottest bath he ever took and it was agony on his ankle. He hissed in agony and closed his eyes as he sank into the soapy water.

Stiles let his head roll back and closed his eyes, moaning softly as his muscles unwound for the first time in a several days. After a few minutes he opened them and started scrubbing at his body, turning the skin bright red. He slowly got from the bath and limped to the towels, getting one thrown around his waist a second before the door slammed open.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Lydia strolled in like he wasn’t naked in front of her and dripping wet. “You are injured.”

“I am fine” He shook off his shock as he looked down. He wasn’t even leaving a blood trail behind him this time, the wound completely washed out and more than a little painful. “And I don’t need extra attention. Give it to the man in his deathbed.” He heard chittering from the door and someone shushing. He stared at the door for a second before his attention was snapped back to the furious woman.

“Our King has plenty of assistance. Right now it’s…” Lydia grabbed a towel and steered him toward a wooden chair that was close to a softly flickering fire and shoved him down on it.

“It’s your job to get me ready, if I want to or not.” Stiles recited and she smirked at him, clapping her hands as she dropped the towel on his head and started to roughly scrub his hair to dry it off. It wasn’t long by any means but he hadn’t had his usual close cut for summer just yet. He heard more than saw the main servant walk into the room, summoned by the clap, and bowed to him.

“Yes Lady Lydia?” she asked formally but she seemed distracted, her eyes flickering over Stiles body and down to his wounded foot. The pale skin was nearly completely covered in yellow and green bruises, all partially healed from resting. A few of the deeper ones were still dark purple but he foot was by far the worst. His arm wasn’t much better and he realized he couldn’t take any potions to speed it along anymore. No Druid can be trusted.

“Can you please take a towel and wrap up his ankle until the healer gets here.” Lydia commanded with ease, handing Stiles the towel she used on his hair and he started to wipe his arms and chest off.

“I can do it myself if you are apprehensive of blood.” He almost reached for a cleaner, dryer towel when Lydia slapped his hand away.

“You will be sitting up so I can do something with this… You need to grow your hair out more so we can get something proper on your head, but I think I can work with this.” She grabbed his shoulder and shoved him back into the chair, so he was sitting straight.

“No worries, your Highness. It is not the first time I’ve had to bandage someone.” The servant was already on her knees in front of him, gently taking his foot and lifting it so she could start wrapping. He recoiled away from it but it was hard to form words when part of his attention was on what was happening with the razor sharp shears by his ear.

“Thank you then… um. I don’t know what your name is?” He smiled hopefully down at her and she blinked as if she was awestruck before ducking her head again. He heard Lydia mutter about tree pitch not washing out of hair before she cut it out.

“My name is Jess.” She was focused on her task and he yelped when Lydia poured something on his head. She started to brush it in and he grunted as the tangles jerked his head back as she ran it through with a comb.

“Would you listen if I asked you to call me Stiles?” He grunted as the tangle was jerked free and stiffened when they both sighed.

“No, your Highness” Jess gave him a shy smile despite everything and he grinned back.

“I’ll wear you all down.” He grunted again when Lydia found another tangle and his scalp started to burn. Jess stood and left, bowing low and asking if they wished to have dinner in the dining hall or in his quarters. Lydia said that he was not to be walking that far and needed to have his leg seen too.

“Thank you.” He called after her as Lydia threw a cloth over his shoulders and started to cut his hair so it was to her standards. After what felt like forever she pulled the cloth off and declared him done. He had dried off by then and she handed him some underthings before leaving, telling him to come out so she could do some fittings.

“She’s a storm of a women.” He muttered to himself as he got dressed, sitting for most of it as his foot throbbed along with his heartbeat and he could see some red spots on the towel. By the time he hobbled out to his room there were several outfits spread out on the bed and Lydia was tapping her finger on her cheek as she gazed at them.

“The red one first…” She grabbed one and held it up to him but there was a knock on the door. Jess entered and bowed when Lydia told her to enter.

“The Healer is ready to see you now, if you are ready.” Jess straightened but Stiles saw who she was talking about and tears filling his eyes. He limped as fast as he could to her, holding his hands out to her as he did. He felt almost like a child again. Melissa caught him in her arms with her own eyes filling with tears.

“I didn’t know.” She rocked him slightly and he knew she would have braced him for such life changing event. He hadn’t seen her in years, though Scott was always vague as to why she never visited with him anymore. Stiles always assumed that it was because they had grown up. She pulled back before he was ready, her eyes stern as she looked him up and down.

“What?” He looked down at himself with a frown and she flicked his ear.

“There are at least twice as many scars on you then when I last saw you, not to mention the bruises and open wounds.” She scolded, nudging him back before grabbing his arm, taking some of his weight off his bad foot. She led him to the bed and sat him down after shoving the clothes out of the way. Lydia made a disgruntled sound in the back of her throat and Melissa turned to her.

“You can go get some books for him to read about his princely duties and the coronation, but he will not be standing for the rest of the night. Jess, can you please go get some food to go with the medication that he needs to take. Then he will be resting his foot and from his other wounds.” She leveled Lydia with a look. The red head held it for a second, her mouth opening like she was about protesting before she grabbed her outfits and started to place them in the closet. Jess nodded and left.

“When did you find out?” He asked, settling down. Somehow the bed was too soft and smelled off. He ignored the part of him that wanted it to smell like Derek and turned to the woman.

“Just now,” She started pulling the towel off his foot and frowned deeply when the wound was revealed. “I was told the new prince showed up wounded and didn’t tell anybody.”

“That’s Bull! That Ass…” Stiles shot her a busted look when she gave him a narrowed eyed look and took a deep breath. “Deucalion showed up at my house specifically to take me away because HE thought I wouldn’t make it to my eighteenth birthday from my rash of accidents. And the one time I got attacked. Er… technically it was twice but only one of those was because I was me.” He stopped when he realized that they were staring at him. “The point stands is that… Is that Deucalion knew that my ankle was messed up. He had his men drag me from the forest.”

“You boys always loved that forest.” Melissa murmured, her eyes distant but Lydia had a strange look on her face. She nodded to them, tossing a shirt and sleeping pants onto the bed before running out the door. Stiles stared after her in amazement. It was strange to see a Lady in a full dress run.

“Scotts fine. He managed to stay out of my… month of collecting new scars.” He hissed in pain when a finger was pressed against part of the skin.

“Good, you still have feeling there. I was afraid the tissue died but you’re good.” Melissa examined it some more as Jess walked in with a tray. She set in on a small table and turned back out, coming back with a bag.

“You dropped this.” She handed it back to Melissa who nodded. Stiles recognized the leather bag and shivered as he remembered all the stitches he got while staring at it, watching as all her medical supplies disappeared back into the bag when the job was done.

“Thank you Jess.” Melissa muttered as she started digging through it, too distracted to realize that she had already left with a bow. The foods smelled amazing and from what he could see, far more then he or even the both of them could possibly eat. He wasn’t stupid enough to try to eat until Melissa was done with her job. She had yelled at him the one time he tried to eat while getting a broken arm set.

“Is the curse why you always sent Scott away?” He asked suddenly, hating his mouth when she shot him a broken look.

“Yes.” She answered simply and he ducked his head, thinking that was that. “When he got older, his breathing got worse. The medicine we used to manage it stopped working because the dark magic was draining him. It drains anyone who gives it an opening. It got me for a while.”

“What?” He was struck with the vision of Scott sobbing over his mother who was on her death bed much like the King was.

“You stopped it then.” She started to rub a green paste into the wound and he shook in pain as it burned. “His father came, telling me that he was going to take Scott away. I tried to leave, to get him before his father did but… the magic takes those under emotional stress. It drains them and they can’t step outside the wall.” She explained softly. “I was so afraid of losing him to that man that I couldn’t leave. You stopped him and a few days later Scott showed up. The magic can’t touch me as long as he’s safe.”

“But I’m stuck here even if I make it so it can’t drain me?” He leaned against the backboard, feeling panic start to well up inside of him. He curled in on himself and closed his eyes. “But… What about Blue? And…They were being hunted.” Kate had liked Derek. She wanted information from him and was all over him. He didn’t want to imagine what the werewolf had to go through since she liked him. He was even more horrified by the idea of Derek liking it back.

“Stiles” Melissas voice came through the panic. She was rubbing slow circled into his back and he managed a deep breath. “Who is Blue?”

“He’s my friend. They took him away from me. I… I didn’t want to come. I didn’t even get to talk to my dad before I left.” He leaned against her as she sat up onto the side of the bed. She rocked him slightly, tucking his head under her chin before taking a deep breath.

“I’m sorry Stiles. But I don’t think it would be wise to bring him here with the curse.” Stiles pulled back in horror. He couldn’t put his father into a situation that could kill him. He already lost his mother, and he refused to lose him. “I can send a letter to Scott, let him know he can explain things to him.”

“Okay. Have him…” He stopped. He didn’t want to drag the Hales into this. He also didn’t know if he would be welcomed with his new status, if they would treat him as a friend or as a Prince. He also didn’t want the Dark Druid to think that he could be controlled through threatening the Hales because he considered them family. “I’m so tired.” He bowed his head, feeling an ache in his heart.

“What did Deaton give you for the other wounds?” She gave him a look telling him that he would have to explain everything on how he got his injuries later. He rattled off the mixture as well as the days when he got the particular injuries. It got to the point that she started to write it down with how long he’d been taking the medication.

“You need to eat as much as you can and then take this.” She placed a vial on the table from her bag and brought the food closer. “I also want you asleep at a decent time.” He frowned at the vial before shooting her a look.

“Are you leaving?” He couldn’t help the fact that he sounded like a child. She gave him a small smile but it didn’t reach her eyes.

“I have to see to the King. There is little I can do but I can make him comfortable” She kissed his head and left. He angerly wiped his tears away and scrubbed at his face. He couldn’t break. He had to fight. As soon as he fixed the druid issue, he might be able to help the Hales. The food was amazing, and it made him miss sharing it with someone. He was halfway through the food when Lydia arrived again.

“Here are some books to get you started.” She set them on the other side of his bed and made to leave again when he stopped her.

“Do you want some food?” He asked and she gave him a pitying look before sitting down delicately. She took some of the food after spreading a napkin out over her lap and started eating. After a few minutes of silence, she handed him one of the books. He wiped his hands clean before taking it.

“You should start with this one.” She shifted the others out, but he ran his hands over the cover. He had never seen anything so beautiful, except in the maybe in the Hale library. It was simple brown leather with a beautiful design on the front.

“You have to show me the library later.” He grinned as he opened it with slightly shaking fingers and started to read.

“These two explain the history of the Kingdom and how Magic is a part of it. This is your mother’s family history, and this one is your father’s side. Both need to be memorized as well as the living members that might try to take the throne.” She pointed at each one in turn as she went down the list ending with the last one. “This one starts to explain what happens at coronations and the one you are holding is a Journal from the king to you.”

“Thanks” He muttered, already too deep into reading to pay much attention. He was vaguely aware of her moving the dinner tray out of the way and leaving. Jess came in and started a fire to warm the cooling room and lit some candles when it became clear that he wasn’t going to sleep any time soon.

Stiles finished the book and went back to a few sections that he wanted to reread. He didn’t know much on what was happening, but he was going to find out. The King included everything from things he wished he could teach Stiles to who he figured might be the Darach. There was only a small second on what his mother was like and even then it was hard to read, like the mans hand was shaking as he wrote. It still didn’t stop him from pouring over it. He knew he still had to read the other books Lydia brought up. He didn’t want to find out what she was going to do to him if he ignored them but he also couldn’t walk anywhere. He had a little time.

“Your Highness?” Jess was back with a tired look and he shot her a busted look. He could tell it was way past midnight from the glimpse of the moon he caught though the balcony doors.

“Yes?” He flicked a marker to where he was and closed the Journal.

“The healer has sent me to tell you that she will be here within ten minutes, and that if you aren’t sleeping then… that you’ll be in trouble.” She seemed to struggle with her words, as if it was odd for a healer to threaten the prince.

“Yes, thank you” He set the book on the bed stand and picked up another, making a show as if he was getting ready. She headed back out and he flicked open the book on coronations open, flipping through as he skimmed it, looking to see if there was anything interesting or if it was going to be a terrible experience. He decided that it was going to be a long and wretched day for him with an even longer night attached to it.

“Stiles!” Melissa voice made him jump and he stared at her.

“Jess said ten minutes!” He complained instantly, and she shook her head.

“I told her to so I could see if you’d actually listen.” She walked over and took the pile of books, moving them to the desk where he couldn’t reach and blew out the candles. “Sleep.”

“Night” He threw the blanket over his body with a huff, grunting when she jammed a pillow under his leg before walking back out. He mulled over if he should try and get up to light a candle to read more but before he could decide his eyes closed for good. He dreamed of hazel eyes and his forest drowning in dark magic.

Chapter Text

The next morning proved to be a rough one. Lydia was back with a vengeance, making him get dressed in tight fitting clothes. They brought out his lean frame and made it hard to move as freely as before. Lydia also placed the Kings Journal on a high shelf and started talking about the living family members he had to know the names of as well as who his advisers were. His foot was propped up on a stool under the table but it was throbbing continuously, making everything fuzzy. He wanted his wolf back. Stiles tried to follow along, giving up a little when she handed him a list of names and positions along with another three books.

“You need to listen.” She growled around the afternoon when they had taken a break for lunch. “One or more of these people could be working with the Darach! I’ve narrowed down the list of people who are too young or couldn’t have any contact with something like that.” He looked closer to the list and sighed.

“I can keep an eye out when meeting them.” He found it easy to memorize the names after that. He wished he had faces to go with it and there were well over two hundred people on the list. He was ecstatic that Melissa wasn’t one of them. Scott wasn’t either but he was sure his brother couldn’t hurt anyone the way the Dark Druid has. Over eighteen years of a sick King. No one outside the castle knew, but the country was obviously going downhill if people like the Argents are running a town.

“We actually have a meeting with some distant cousins after lunch. The Backers were sent ahead by their parents to meet you. They know that you are not up to walking about so they want to have some tea.” She leaned over and straightened his collar around his neck.

“What am I meant to do?” He hunched his shoulders which made them strain against the jacket and she gave him a smile as she shoved him straight again.

“You need to be polite and drink the tea. See what they know” She gave him a challenging look and he nodded. He had to find out. He could talk to each one on the list, and anyone they know. Even though he was in danger, exhaustion beat at the back of his mind where all he wanted to do is return to the Hales and never look back. But he couldn’t leave.

“I’ll need a blank book to write in and a letter sent to Deaton. He’s a druid back in my home town.” He grabbed a piece of parchment that they weren’t going to use and wrote down a quick letter. He remembered a spell Deaton talked about where a journals words could be hidden from others. He might have enough power to pull it off. He folded it up and handed it to her. “I’ll also need to see some simple spell books so I can start familiarizing myself with what this curse might be.”

“Is that such a good idea?” She took the note but he knew she was talking about magic.

“I won’t try anything dangerous.” He promised easily. His mother’s lessons on what to do and what not to do he had memorized years before she passed. She had explained in complete detail on what could go wrong and he still occasionally had nightmares.

“You better not. It’s my job to keep you alive.” She got him to his feet, and they started walking slowly to the dining hall. He looped his arm through hers and ignored the bare walls around him. It was nothing like the Hale house, covered in paintings of family and of Cora’s recent painting attempts.

The dining hall was massive with large drapes along the walls. They hid the doors and there was a single, magnificent table in the middle that ran the length of it that he suspected was made of a magical tree. His own magic recognized a flicker of it and he narrowed his eyes at the table. On closer inspection he could see that it could be broken into several pieces and shifted around to house guests in different manners, making him want to turn and eat somewhere else.

“Do we really have to eat here?” He instantly started complaining. He could see if they had visitors or if he was with a family as large as the Hales but it was just the two of them in a room so large that it made their voices echo. He suddenly wished the twins were there, most likely to start a burping contest to see who could make the loudest echo. He missed them.

“At least for today.” She gave him a thoughtful look and he sat down, twisting away to wipe the sudden tears from his eyes. He didn’t understand how he got so attached to the wolves in such a short time but he had to be strong. The curse surged around him and he pressed his own, weaker magic against it with his mother’s shielding spell. The moment he got control of himself, the magic pulled away and he was able to take a breath again. It was going to be a rough.

“Fine” He settled a little painfully into the chair at the head of the table shifting when his foot started to ache. “Who exactly am I meeting today?”

“Your mothers sisters’ grandchildren.” Lydia rattled off. “The oldest is a sixteen and he wants to be King. He can’t, of course, because your mother married into the family, so he has no claim to it. He’s called James Backer. He’s coming with his younger sisters, Emera and Faye, who are fourteen and eleven.”

“Why would he want the throne?” He grumbled as the servants brought in plates and drinks. He thanked them quickly, picking up his fork and digging in. It was some sort of meat loaf with greens on the side. Boyds food was still better. He doubted it had been spat on.

“He wants the power that comes with it.” She nodded to the servants that were passing out the drinks. The wine was a little too sweet for his taste, but he could tell by the way she sipped it that it was her favorite. He waved at Jess who gave him a small one in return and a blinding smile.

“Power isn’t a good enough reason to be a King. There has to be a purer motive behind it.” He shook his head in disappointment, not really looking forward to meeting kid. He might be able to talk some sense into him.

“You’re right. I wonder what motive you will have.” She mused and he rolled his eyes at her.

“I am still learning what to do. I doubt that I will ever stop learning.” He pointed his fork at her and went back to his food, finishing before she even got halfway through her own.

“You do not have to scarf.” She scolded after washing her food with another sip of wine but eyed him worriedly out of the corner of her eye. “You could make yourself sicker”

“Well, not anymore. Usually there’s so much work to do. I have to eat while walking.” He shrugged, no longer interested in the wine he had left. He scraped the last of the food off the plate and sighed when it was gone. “It’s good food too.”

“Would you like me to take your plate?” Jess walked up and he nodded.

“Can you tell who ever cooked it that it was delicious? Thank you” He smiled at her, remembering how much it sucked to serve people who acted like he was invisible. She nodded happily and swept from the room. It was nice to be able to talk to people who didn’t call him a hooligan as a slur. He still missed his town, the rude townspeople aside. The other servant, a younger man with tan hair gave him a strange look. “And who are you?”

“Uh… Perry” The teen looked a little nervous.

“Nice to meet you.” Stiles suddenly had an idea. One that might work. He was used to being the town disgrace, but maybe now he could make friends without people thinking he was about to rob them. He would also be able to know the people. They all seemed surprised when he talked to them, but readily engaged. The only hostility he received was from his so called advisers.

“You as well, Sir.” Perry dipped his head slightly and Stiles opened his mouth to say something, but Lydia interrupted.

“He’s not going to call you Stiles either, your Highness.” She pushed her plate away and stood. “You are the King and will be addressed as such.”

“Can’t I just have some normalcy? And I’m just the prince.” Stiles grumbled as he stood, his leg wobbling under him. “Wait. When I’m King I can be addressed as however I want. I’m not above anyone.”

“You are the King.” Lydia looked tired of saying it and he narrowed his eyes at her.

“I am also a man. My position will never change that.” He pointed out and nodded at Jerry as she grabbed his arm to steer him from the room. “Why are you so insisting on using a title?”

“Because that is what the Darach is trying to take from you?” She hissed angrily at him and he pulled her to a stop when she tried to knock on a door. There was fear in her voice and in the way she walked. She turned back, blinking tears from her eyes. “I can’t watch someone who is so… pure die a slow death. Not again. Not my friend.”

“I understand this, but what good is a title if it puts me on my deathbed?” He glared at her. “I don’t want to die, but I will not have others trapped because of me. The curse hurts those who aren’t happy, so I will make people happy and will stay as positive as possible and rule this country in a way that the Druid will never take advantage of again.” He took a deep breath and the door behind them swung open and he jumped a foot in the air. Lydia let out an unexpected snicker as he spun to look at the perpetrator of his shock.

“Are you the prince?” A young girl asked as he clutched his chest. She had light hair that was pinned back in an elaborate style and an even more elaborate dress. He nodded slowly, watching as her bright blue eyes lit up and her grin pushing her freckled cheeks up.

“Yes I am.” He paused for a second, realizing it was the first time he had called himself such. Reading his fathers Journal about everything happening had made it clear in his mind that, if he was to survive, he had to take charge. He had to make people happy. “I wonder, are you a princess? You look beautiful enough to be one” He smiled as he bowed to her, flashing a wink at her as he did. She let out a giggle and slightly older girl stepped up from behind her. They could almost be twins. “And you’d be the Queen, I’m sure.”

“Stiles, please.” Lydia scolded and he smirked.

“Got you to say my name.” He teased as he straightened. Lydia sighed before narrowing her eyes, making him realize it was a challenge.

“Prince Mieczyslaw, you are meant to behave, not play.” She scolded and he pouted at her.

“I’m so glad to be imprisoned here that I can’t even talk with people who you say are my family.” He huffed, “Not mentioning the fact that I left my entire family behind and only met you yesterday?” He pulled out the low blow out easily and watched as guilt flickered across her face.

“That’s not what I….” She started and he stepped toward the girls.

“Are you allowed to call me Stiles or are you going to be sticks in the mud like Lady Lyds here?” He leaned over and braced his hands on his knees and they both grinned at him.

“Can we call him Stiles?” The younger turned to her sister who was blushing.

“I would like to. I don’t think I can say your full name.” She blinked at him and he laughed softly.

“That’s fine. Neither could I for the longest time.” He held out his hand and she took it. “But what about your name?”

“Oh dear, I’m Miss Emera and this is my sister Faye.” She laughed at him, her face still red and he kissed her hand. Faye managed to hug him before Lydia or her sister could stop her.

“We were told we were family.” She spoke into his chest and he wrapped his hands around her.

“That’s what I heard too.” He took a deep breath to calm himself as she pulled back, grabbing his arm to pull him into the room. It was a sitting room with a large fireplace and a table in the middle of the chairs. There was a book case along one wall and what looked like a display case with several delicate objects. James was standing by the window, turning with a surprised look when Stiles limped into the room after his sisters. The teen had the same hair as his sisters but cut short and a full outfit on that would put Stiles to shame any day.

“Your Highness. I didn’t know you’d be this early.” The teen bowed to him and he stiffened in discomfort.

“I..” He started but Faye interrupted him.

“This is Stiles.” She shoved him forward and he grabbed the table to keep his ankle from giving out. “He’s really nice and he’s..”

“Injured.” James scolded and Stiles lifted his foot slightly off the ground.

“I’ll be fine.” He shrugged, shifting so he could limp around to a chair. “It was worth it.”

“How can getting hurt be worth it?” Faye sat down and leaned forward. Emera looked just as curious though she tried to be proper and cover it up. James looked a little disgruntled but joined them.

“I do apologize for being early. We were just passing by.” Stiles nodded to him before turning to Faye, “I can tell you the story, if you want. It’s a little gruesome.” He bit his lips when all three brightened, thought James tried to cover it with a blank face.

“You four should be…” Lydia started and he cocked his head to the side.

“We should be what?” He couldn’t help the challenging tone in his voice. “I thought this meeting was for me to get to know my family. Is it not?”

“That’s one way of putting it. It is to ease you into the family and the idea of being a prince.” Emera spoke up first and he cocked his eyebrow at her.

“So what is it that makes a prince?” He asked and she seemed to think about it before Faye started to complain.

“You said you’d tell us how you got hurt!” She put on some puppydog eyes and he smiled at her. She was adorable.

“If no one else minds?” He glanced around but the other three seemed to realize there was no point in arguing against the youngest. Stiles took a second to think it over and took notice of the way James was watching him.

“Well, I had this friend. He was a special kind of friend.” Stiles started and he saw Emera deflate slightly and James smirked, malice filling his eyes.

“What makes him special?” Faye brightened and he leaned forward.

“Because he was a massive wolf.” He waved his hands wide. He knew they would think he was stretching it, but he knew he wasn’t and that was what counted. “I meet him while delivering messages for a family, walking through the forest every day. People said it was dangerous to walk them alone, but I practically grew up in them.” He smirked at Emera, pausing when the tea came.

“Should I fetch the healer?” Jess asked kindly and he shook his head, looking down to see that his bandages were bloody.

“Thank you Jess, but I’ll be fine.” He could see the doubt in her eyes, and he reached across and put a hand on her arm. “I promise if it starts to hurt or bleed more, I’ll call for her and tell her everything.” Stiles watched as she relaxed and poured the tea for everyone one.

“Is there anything else that you need?” She asked politely and he shook his head before raising his eyebrows at the others.

“This is fine.” James said dismissively and Stiles rolled his eyes in a comical manner. Jess and Emera were the only ones to see but the both smiled.

“How did having a wolf as a friend hurt you?” Faye prompted as she started pulling apart the small pastry on her plate.

“Hunters.” He took a second to breathe in his tea, which was still way too hot for him, 7but he liked the smell. “They saw me walking with him. He’s truly beautiful, a solid black pelt and he loved scaring people with his teeth.” Stiles held his fingers up to mimic fangs over his mouth and Faye gasped in delight, completely engrossed in his story. He could see that the others were slowly getting drawn in.

“What did the hunters do?” James managed to look nonchalant, but his eyes were bright with worry.

“They tried to use me as bait. I didn’t get away fast enough.” Stiles shuttered as he thought about the night. “I made the Argents mad at me because they thought I snuck off with Allison but I didn’t. She followed me. So, they told me to leave town, which meant I was walking home in the middle of the night.”

“But you’re the Prince!” Emera looked scandalized and he shook his head at her.

“Not to them. I was just the cheeky messenger that their daughter ran away with.” He lifted his hands up in surrender at her disgusted look. “I didn’t do anything with her. She didn’t want to get married without seeing a different town at least once. She also had a crossbow with her so I didn’t want to make her angry and we were friends. Blue trusted her so, that was good enough for me.”

“Why did she have a crossbow?” James looked shocked and he shrugged.

“It was a bad town.” He frowned when they all nodded like it made since. He really needed to fix his country if that was that.

“So I was alone at night and they came for me.” He left out how he was bait and that they were really trying to hunt a person. “I ran into the woods to get away from them, but they were familiar with them as much as I was. I’m not sure how many there were but I got shot with an arrow.” He pulled up his shirt arm enough for them to see the bandage there. James stared at it in shock but his sisters murmured worriedly to each other. “They kept shouting at me, ‘Call your wolf Boy. We’ll make you watch as we skin him!’” He couldn’t smile this time.

“Why would they do that?” Faye didn’t seem so excited anymore and he felt a wave of guilt.

“I can stop if you want.” He placed a soothing hand over hers but she shook her head.

“Well, I knew I wouldn’t let anyone hurt him. He was innocent. No one died of a wolf attack in over a decade in those woods. I didn’t call him. While I was running I stepped into a wire trap. It snapped over my ankle. That’s why I can’t walk without a limp, maybe forever if I keep wounding it.” Stiles wiggled his foot but they did see it.

“What happened next?” Faye ignored her tea completely now and he smiled.

“When I fell, it knocked the air from my lungs. I couldn’t yell in pain so they walked right past me. It was a lucky break for me.” He took a sip of his tea and thought about how to end his tale. “I could hear them moving ahead of me in the woods, but they were smart. I knew they would circle back. I got the trap off by foot as quietly as possible, but I still couldn’t walk. I was certain they’d have to kill me.”

“No” Emera whispered softly, and he nodded his head.

“I got to my feet, fighting though the pain and made it about five, maybe ten feet before falling into a cave.” He laughed softly and shook his head. “I was having a really bad day at this point, but there was water at the bottom so I only scraped my knees when I hit. They’re still bruised.”

“That can’t be true.” James scoffed before freezing when the entire table turned to look at him. “Caves with water? He can’t be serious?” Stiles counted it as a victory that the teen had gotten immersed enough that he forgot that he was talking to his future King.

“Actually, it’s a common occurrence in the forest around Beacon Hills.” Lydia waved her hand and he shrugged.

“It was also the reason they left me alone…. They might actually still think I’m dead.” He mused. “Blue, the wolf, he found me in there and helped me out. I got back to town and patched up. I was asleep for a few days and then the men took me away.”

“Men?” Emera gasped and he smiled at her in a calming manner.

“I meant the Kings advisers. They came to my house but I… I was stupid and ran into the woods.” She gave him a confused look and he sighed wistfully.

“I had to say good bye to him. They made it clear they weren’t leaving without me. I also told him that he couldn’t be seen with me anymore.” Stiles sighed. “The Hunters knew he would protect me but if I wasn’t there then he should be safe.”

“So, these hunters attacked you, to get at your wolf, who you refused to call to your side because they wanted to kill him?” James asked and he ducked his head.

“I know it was silly of me to risk my life for his but he’s my friend. That’s all I really had.” He pulled a face. “I don’t even know if I still have that.”

“You’ll be just fine Stiles.” Lydia soothed and he gave her a weak smile.

“I know we just met but, we’ll be your friends too.” Emera added and he murmured a thanks. He finished his tea and nibbled on some of the pastry as the others talked about how different family members were doing. He pipped up to ask who they were and a few he recognized as people on their threat list.

“Stiles” He jerked as Melissa walked into the room, a familiar look on his face when it came to dealing with him.

“Busted” He flashed a grin at the others, laughing under his breath when they returned it.

“Bed rest again.” Stiles asked as she walked over to the table. “Just like being grounded.”

“You need to be more careful” She tapped his arm and he held it out. She pulled the sleeve back and he realized that his arrow wound wasn’t looking good either. “So yes, I’m grounding you.”

“Do I have any say in this?” He sighed but pulled his hand back.

“No. As your healer, I get final say when it’s something that will harm your health.” She gave him a look and he returned it.

“I know you want me healthy, but I’d rather leave these ladies and gentleman before it becomes gory. Especially since we just had some pastries and tea.” He stood before turning to them. “I apologize for cutting this short but it seems I have no other choice.” He dipped slightly before lifting his head, flashing a wink at them as they stared at him in shock at his sudden change. Lydia relaxed minutely after the wink, Emera blushing wildly as her sister waved at him. James took a second before his eyes flickered to his sisters and he nodded to him.

“Thank you for your time.” He dipped his head in return and Stiles huffed, using his leg as an excuse for the noise so they wouldn’t know it was a laugh. This teenager was too much for him. He wished he had Derek with him so they could talk about it, even if it was just to exchange jokes about the upper class. Maybe Cora since she had less respect for them in the first place and just about as much self-control as he did when it came to mouthing off. He used most of it up with the three of them so he was starting to run low on his energy of carrying what his kidnappers thought of him.

“You still need to read about the coronation” Lydia called after him and he didn’t bother to cover up his groan.

“It’s going be after I heal, right?” He asked Melissa. “There’s so much standing that needs to be done. And a speech by the Advisers, and vows and a feast. I don’t know if I can take all that with…” He stopped before he mentioned the curse in front of what were essentially children.

“I’m not sure when it’ll be.” Melissa got the same look on her face that told him that she was trying to keep something from them. He usually ignored it but now he stopped her with a hand on her arm. “If the King dies, then you will need to take the throne within a week. Preparations are already being made since his health is…”

“So it could be in a week if he passes tonight?” Stiles swayed as the information sunk in and she took his arm. They made their way to his room and he settled down, curling up and closing his eyes. She moved around the room before making him sit back up, changing the bandage on his arm and ankle and giving him a potion. He stopped her when she got up to leave.

“Stiles? Does it hurt?” He blinked at her, shaking his head even though they were still burning.

“Please, tell me everything you know about what’s happening when it happens. I know you’re trying to take care of me but if I want to survive to my twentieth birthday, which I really want to do, then I need to know what’s going on around me.” He saw the sadness start to take over her and he felt the dark magic swell around him. He summoned his own, feeling a little weak from it but placing a shield around her.

“I know.” She sagged and he grabbed her hand.

“I’m not a kid. I know you see me still way to young and that you haven’t seen Scott in over a year from this curse, but they’re going to make me king. And they are trying to kill me.” He gave her hand a squeeze when she flinched but straightened.

“No, they aren’t going to kill you too. I can listen in, see what others say. I can also try to keep the King alive for as long as possible to give you time before the curse hits you fully.” She stood there with a determined look on her face. She left quickly and he grabbed the Kings journal so he could go back to his research. Lydia arrived later and he showed her the names the King had about who it could be. A few were already dead, another banished for trying to take the throne and they added the ones not already on the list.

“This is going to be difficult.” Lydia muttered, flicking her hair over her shoulder as she tried to read. “It’s like looking into history while it’s still being written.”

“So write a book.” He grumbled and she shot him a glare. “Not the time?” He sighed and rubbed at his face. “There are so many people here.”

“Wait! We’re being thick!” She grabbed some of the papers. “The curse slowly eats at people, turning them bad. But we need to start with the people who are already so corrupted that they’d risk killing thousands just to gain power. We can check off those who only turned evil once they entered the castle.”

“We can assume that they are unaffected by the curse as well.” He slammed his head against the table as he realized what she was getting at. “We’ve been doing this all wrong.”

“But it should narrow down the list we do have.” Lydia started to check names off and he sighed.

“What do we even know about this curse?” He lifted his head, so his chin was on the table and he narrowed his eyes at her.

“That’s it’s powerful to be going on for this long or that they have been here the whole time or both of those.” She wasn’t listening to him very well and he sighed, grabbing the nearest book on spells to start reading. If he knew the limits of the curse, he could narrow it down more while she worked on the timeline. The more he researched, the less he knew. There were all kinds of things that Druids and Darach could do, but the curse was something that didn’t fit any of the categories that he was finding. The only thing keeping him strong was knowing his father and Blue were safe. He wasn’t even sure about Scott since he might be one his way but he’d try to keep them all safe. That meant stepping up and beating the curse.

Chapter Text

The next morning, he went down to meet the rest of his guards. Rory and Ronald, two teens that had just started their training with the guards, were shy but tried to stick out. Stiles tried to give them encouragement but he felt as if he was wilting, his magic straining against the shield around him.

Ivon was older and had a worn look about him that Stiles associated with the fact that he had to deal with the three younger ones. He hoped to ease his burdens since he let slip he was trying to settle down with his pregnant wife. Wilk was just a few years older than him and apparently trained to be on the Kings guard instead of Stiles’, so he was more than a little standoffish. He wished he could do more research but he needed a break. Last night’s session went on for hours until he was falling asleep on the table and Max carried him to bed. He only remembered it vaguely. His first guard had suddenly become very protective of him, hovering closer as he talked to the newest guards.

“I need a break.” He hissed at Lydia but she shook her head.

“We need to try something before you can rest.” She led him to a side gate and he frowned, glancing over his shoulder at the guards as she undid the lock. They were staying in a part of the yard that looked like it used to be a garden, though everything was dead. There was a few benches scattered around a broken fountain that made him think it used to be beautiful. He planned on making it so again, with a larger plan of bringing a certain wolf back to him.

“Which is?” He took a step forward to follow her as she walked out, trying to shake off his thoughts. A second later his magic recoiled into his stomach. The dark magic rolled over his body as he stepped outside of the castle walls, lifting him up and throwing him. Max caught his arm as he flew back, and he cried out when he fell to the ground. They surrounded him and he groaned, sitting up and waving his hands to calm them down.

“I’m fine” He leaned against Rory as he was pulled to his feet.

“What were you thinking?” One of them turned to Lydia who gave him an unimpressed look.

 

“The curse has already taken ahold of him. If we don’t break it, it will kill him like it is the King. I’m sorry Stiles, I didn’t think that would happen.” She explained, her voice much like the maids who had stood around the Kings deathbed. Stiles shoved Rory off of him and ran. He heard them try to call him back but he didn’t care, dodging around a maid and ducking into a barn. Stiles didn’t stop until he was hidden in a back stall where he curled with his head pressed between his knees.

When he heard hooves and people he jerked his head up, staring at the stall door before crawling to hide behind it. The door slid open and a horse walked in, the boy not even needing to lead her but the beast smacked him with her tail as she turned around to face the door. Stiles covered his mouth with his hand when he recognized the horse, lifting his hands up when she noticed him and turned to bury her face in his chest.

“Who the Hell names their horse Spit?” The boy complained loudly as the door closed and Stiles smiled at the horse who seemed concerned as to why he was on the floor. She nuzzled at his hair and butted at him until he got to his feet, dropping his hand onto her shoulder as he peered around. He couldn’t see the blond hair of her owner and closed his eyes.

“Stiles!” Lydia find him first and he cringed.

“Yes?” He leaned against the horse one last time before pulling away. He was untouchable from the curse if he still had his wolf safe. The memory of the blue eyes staring at him from the forest and hazel gleaming as they talked strengthened him. Maybe he’d meet a Hale today.

“We have a morning of meeting nobles.” She glanced between him and the horse and he nodded, giving her a last pat. He trailed after her as they headed back to the castle. “We’ll have to clean you up again.”

“Great.” He hunched his shoulders as people stared at him. He didn’t bother to smile as he limped behind her and kept his head down. His guards surrounded him and he eyed them nervously, not entirely use to having a bunch of humans around him. Wolves he could deal with. “I have a bad feeling about today.”

“We’ll be fine.” Lydia called behind her as they reached his rooms. She shoved him behind the divider and handed him a new pair of trousers. He pulled them on after shucking everything but the underthings. Hay covered the ground and he still smelled like the barn and sweaty horse but it was worth it. He felt better than he had that morning. It felt like something was constantly pressing down on his chest, almost like he couldn’t take a full breath but seeing Spit made him know it was worth it.

“Are you almost done?” Lydias voice chimed into his line of thought and he realized that he had stopped with his trousers halfway up his legs. He shook off his thoughts, focusing on how he was meeting nobles which meant he might see one of the Hales today. Lydia pulled him out when he was decent, shoving him around as she straightened his clothes, only stopping when he to her liking. She finished by running hand through his hair and then they were out the door. “We are going to the throne room.” Was all she got out before he was too shocked for any real words. He hated royalty.

“I hate you.” He hissed as he was shoved onto a throne. As an actual chair near the back wall where she would bring people forward to talk to him type of throne and he was furious. It seemed to please Lydia that everyone bowed to him as he sat there and she flashed a wink at him when he shuffled in agony. After the first few visitors, most of them introducing themselves and talking about who they were and what they do for the country in which they lied, James trotted in though a side door and stood at his shoulder after doing his own bow.

“Morning.” Stiles hissed a greeting as the latest group were shown out. He was using his magic to probe around, seeing if the people in front of him had a responding flare of their own but they were all human.

“What is it about a curse that I’ve been hearing about” He muttered and Stiles waved at the new people entering. Stiles smiled with difficulty, but his mind was racing. James didn’t know about the curse, which was something he expected but now he needed to make a decision. The only clear one was to tell the dirty truth so that the teen could hopefully make the best decision for himself and his sisters.

“The throne is cursed by a Darach. That’s why people and the King are sick and that nothing grows here anymore. It’ll start killing me the moment I take the throne if I am weak for a second.” He turned his head to explain before shifting his attention to the group. They were all human as well. He listened to them talk about how they took care of the farming in the lower regions of the country and fought against rolling his eyes at the fact that they were stretching the truth. The people there were oppressed, and he heard that they were attacked by pirates of a neighboring country. He had a lot of fixing up to do, once he was finished with the curse.

“Yes, I was a pleasure meeting you too.” He smiled and waved as they left, pleased with themselves like they believed that they fooled him with their lies. James finally seemed to come out of his shocked state and sat down next to the throne, his face pale and his eyes wide.

“You… You’re still going to take the throne knowing this?” The teen breathed out and Stiles dropped a hand on his shoulder, holding the other up so the guards paused the next group. He shifted out of the chair and dropped to his knee next to him with his hands still on his shoulders.

“Yes. Someone has to. This country… I lived a rough life. Half my town thought I was good for nothing and most of the other half thought I would end up dead in a ditch. I haven’t done anything wrong, but the people who are doing wrong are treated as saints.” He shook his head. “But I can do something about that. Look around James. Who is that guard?”

“What?” The teen looked up with a confused frown, glancing at the guard that walked up to them.

“What is his name?” Stiles continued. James shook his head and Stiles jerked his own so the man would come closer. “This is Max Wallman. He’s one of the first people I met that was nice to me when I came here. He has a horse named Owen and he is one of my guards. He’s a person that walks into this castle everyday and has the strength to walk back out despite the curse holding people prisoner. I can’t leave. But I can live a life to make sure he always can even if I never step outside as a free man again.”

“Sir!” Max look affronted, “It’s my job to protect you.”

“It’s your job to protect this country by means of protecting me. You can only serve your purpose if I serve mine as a good ruler.“ He looked away at the amazed look on their faces and gazed at his shined shoes. “I hope.”

“I think I need to get my sisters out of here.” James swallowed thickly and Stiles smiled at him.

“That’s a good plan. You take good care of them.” He stood and pulled him to his feet. “Max, can you help them. I think it would be best if you didn’t tell the girls about the curse.”

“Of course.” Max bowed to him and James dipped his head, his eyes distant.

“Thank you.” James murmured as he walked away, a rush in his step. Stiles felt a wave a guilt but he knew it was better if they knew what was going on. He used the throne to stand, getting his bad foot under him and slipping back into the seat.

“Who is next?” He sighed out as the next group was finally let in. He was sure James no longer wanted the throne and would only want to protect his sisters. Stiles covered a groan when he saw who walked in, closing his eyes a second to take a deep breath before opening them to see the Head Adviser.

“It is unwise to keep your Advisers waiting.” Deucalion commented dryly and Stiles felt something rise in him.

“You are the Kings Advisers. Not mine.” Stiles commented coolly, lifting his chin stubbornly as the man walked up to the throne. His magic spiraled in his gut, but he shrank away from letting it near him. Now that he was looking for it, he could feel it energy rolling off him. He was also sure that it wasn’t all his. This man was somehow connected to the curse or he spent hours a day with the Darach.

“Your Highness, we are here to help you rule this country for the better.” Deucalion gave him a pitying smile as he shook his head.

“Then what have you’ve been doing these past years?” He grumbled out, enjoying the way the smile turned into a sneer. “Is there a reason why you are here?”

“I am here to tell you that the King has passed away. You will be crowned within a week.” The man put on a sorrowful look but there was a hard glint in his eyes. Stiles cocked his head to the side, letting his magic unfurl a little more and the curse slammed against him. He bowed his head like he was grieving to cover his loss of breath. He could feel it pressing down on him, but that was it. It was like he was at the bottom of a lake, looking up through the water with the knowledge that he would need air, but his lungs were still full. He strengthened his mother’s small protection spell and some of the pressure eased.

“I am sorry to hear of his death. I wish I had more time to get to know him, to be in a place where we could talk.” Stiles didn’t need to lie but he saw that the man didn’t believe him. “Is there any word from the Sheriff? My letter should’ve reached him by now.”

“I will see what I can do, but you must start to get ready.” He urged and Stiles resisted rolling his eyes at him.

“I have been. I am going to take the rest of the visitors that are waiting and then see the healer and Lydia for planning. Melissa might have to help make adjustments due to my wounds and Lydia has most of the plans already.” Stiles waved his hand in a dismissive manner, enjoying the way the mans face hardened in front of him.

“There are other matters that we must discuss.” Deucalion practically hissed at him and he gave him his best unimpressed look. “You are to be King. You must be informed of all your duties.”

“My duties are to my people and I will keep those right now. My King has passed but that will not stop me from holding my word that I will meet them today. It can be announced later when business is done. They will need time to grieve but we will not have time for them to return before the coronation for such greetings.”

“If that is what you wish.” The man bowed his head with a growl.

“It is not what I wish but it is what I command. We can discuss this after our guests have left.” Stiles watched as the man left and made a note in the back of his mind to look closer at his past. He was now the top of the list of people who could be involved with the curse and he wanted to keep a closer eye on him.

There were four more groups for him to meet and each one went longer than he would like, hearing their lies and seeing their false smiles. It made him miss the Hales more and he wondered why he hadn’t seen them. The country was small, with less than fifty nobles and treaties with the small countries all around them. He was to meet his noble men first and then his alleys after. He wanted to see actual smiles.

“Hello your Highness. I am here to represent my wife, Lady Whirlington.” A tall man sauntered in and Stiles narrowed his eyes when his magic flared around him, telling him this man wasn’t human. He lifted his head with a familiar electric blue winking up at him.

“You…” Stiles stopped when the wolf held his finger up to his lips, nodding to the door to where Deucalion had left.

“My sister and wife work together to care for the western forest, which holds the magic of the kingdom.” He explained calmly. “They send their apologies as to why they couldn’t make it, but I must ask a favor.”

“Which is?” Stiles narrowed his eyes and the man smirked.

“I came here on a lovely horse that I borrowed from the family runner. Spit is exhausted and I ask that you let her stay here in your stables while I get another one home. There has been a family emergency where my nephew has gone missing and I wish to return home as soon as possible”

“Missing?” Stiles whispered. This was Peter Hale in front of him. He remembered the painting of him and his family in the Hale house now and there was only one horse who was named Spit. Peter dipped his head, his eyes pleased and sorrowful at the same time.

“Yes. He was going to come help a friend of his but no one has heard from him since. We have been trying to contact the friend, but it has been to no avail. Nor has the boys father or brother been able to get word to him.” He dipped his head again and the doors opened.

“Sir, your advisers need to speak with you now.” Max blinked apologizingly at him and he staggered to his feet. The curse ripped at his shield and his magic drained rapidly until he was swaying sickly from side to side, unable to focus on anything other than the heartbreak in his chest. “They want to tell you about the curse.”

“Curse?” Peter stiffened and Stiles turned to him.

“It has made it so I cannot step out of the castle grounds without it physically blocking me while it drains my lifeforce so a Darach can take over the country while I am sick.” Stiles felt a wave of anger over him and closed his eyes. “And they are just now decided to tell me about it. Promise you won’t say anything about it? Don’t want the public to panic.” He could feel it tearing at him, bit by bit until he became nothing but a husk. His wolf wasn’t safe anymore.

“I promise.” Peter bowed, the guards coming around him and moving him back out.

“Thank you for meeting me today.” Stiles spoke softly but he knew the wolf heard him. He stepped after Max, feeling the others fall behind him. “Why are you all here?”

“You are now the top priority” Max shot him a busted look and Stiles sighed.

“Am I never going to get a second of peace?” Stiles hunched his shoulders before narrowing his eyes at the guards. “You knew the King had died. That’s why you were with me all morning.”

“Yes” Max dipped his head and Wilk gave him a look.

“We were informed of his passing and told that we were to guard you. Your Advisers commanded that we not tell you so you could be informed of his passing properly.” Wilks spoke stiffly and Stiles arched his eyebrow at him.

“And in the middle of my meetings they decide is a proper time. Not in the morning before when we weren’t doing anything in the eye of the people. Deucalion decided the PROPRER time was when I could be seen falling apart from the death of my father.” Stiles glowered at them before taking a deep breathe. “Why would someone who is meant to help me put me in such a compromising position?” His guards glanced at each other, their faces turning into shock and confusion but Stiles was trying to fight against his own magic rolling around in him. It was like the ocean waves, rising and falling against the dark magic as his emotions raged.

“He’s right.” Lydia gave him a thoughtful look and he ducked his head, shuffling around when they all stared at him. “He shouldn’t have picked the time that he did.”

“And considering that I am now to be King in a week, I don’t need them treating me like that. I need support.” Stiles shook his head and nodded to Lydia. “I don’t even know where I’m going to meet all the advisers. Hopefully the others will be more helpful.”

“It’s this way.” Lydia trotted off and he trailed after her.

“I also need one of you to teach me the layout of the castle.” He jerked his head toward the guards, looking at the confused look on their faces. “You five have to move through that castle if there’s an attack without getting lost right? I can barely find my rooms or the library. What am I to do if I keep getting lost?”

“Not go anywhere on your own?” Ivan prompted and Stiles smirked at him.

“You don’t know me very well.” He paused for a second to wiggle a finger at him but he was shoved toward a door. There was a second where he wasn’t sure if he could do it and then pushed his way in. The room was as large as his bedroom but with a table in the middle with several men seated at it. Stiles glanced behind him to see Lydia hadn’t followed, closing the door behind him.

“Your Highness, you haven’t met the rest of us, but we offer our condolences on the death of your father.” One of the men, covered in grey hair with round, grey eyes stood. He was easily the oldest in the room. Stiles stared blankly at him, images of his father the sheriff dead in the woods somewhere flashed in his mind and his legs wobbled under him. Instead he focused on Scott and the Sheriff being safe, pushing back against the curse.

“You should sit down young one. There are many things that we wish to discuss with you.” Deucalion spoke from the far end of the table, gesturing for him to sit at the head. Stiles ran thought his mind an idea of making everyone move around so the Head Adviser wasn’t at the obvious head of the table but instead took his seat. He was to tired to fight. His wolf was gone.

“How are you feeling?” the older man asked and Stiles gave him a dark look. “Or, maybe you want to know who we are. We wanted you to be comfortable before we started in on the harder situations that must be dealt with. My name is Sir Roget.” Stiles listened as each of the ten other men introduced themselves, each one watching him intently and he realized they were nervous of how he would react to them.

So he didn’t react at all. He wanted to scream and tell them he would never go to them for help, that they were as good as fired for running the country into the ground. He certainly wanted to stab Deucalion from where he was sitting, smirking at him from the far end of the table but he was tired. He could feel the curse mellowing his anger so he held onto it, thinking of all he had lost. If he hadn’t been taken then Blue would still be around. Derek wouldn’t be missing.

“Now, I think is the time to tell you that there is a curse on this castle and the throne. It is the reason that you were sent away as a child. It killed your mother early on, draining her weak soul, and the pain from losing you was too much for your father. The King held on longer than anyone thought he would but now that he has passed, it will turn to you.” Sir Roget explained, his hands folded in front of him as he struggled to meet his gaze.

“You see, you must become King, and then marry.” Sir Edun pressed and he turned to arch an eyebrow at him. The adviser bowed his head opening his mouth to speak before he was interrupted by Deucalion. Stiles clinched his hand when everyone in the room turned to watch the man but he didn’t hear a word of what was said. Understanding struck him and he realized that Deucalion was the one who was running things and he wanted Stiles to fall in the same position that he kept the King in. A subservient one that let him rule the country without anyone contradicting him and his power. He suddenly had no doubt that he was part of the curse. The men around him all looked exhausted, wilting before his eyes. All except Deucalion.

“No” Stiles lifted his head up, glaring at the man across the table from him. He ignored the shocked faced he got but he kept his voice steady. “I haven’t even turned eighteen yet. I haven’t been here for more than a week yet in less than a fortnight I will be made King. I will not force a marriage into such a sensitive time period because you all think some curse will kill me as it has done my father and mother.”

“Your Highness, with all due respect, we need an heir to the throne. Emera Baker would make a nice match.” Searl spoke in somewhat of a patronizing manner and Stiles turned to him.

“Because of the curse? And she’s fourteen!” He asked darkly, the man not catching on but Edun did. He would never take her as his bride, even if his heart was still his own and not completely to his wolf.

“The child will regrettable have to leave the castle for his own safety. No one can know who he is as you did not know. Hopefully this one can make it to his eighteenth birthday without needing the guards to step in for his safety.” Edun shook his head sadly as he looked over some maps on the table. “Maybe in the ports to the South?” Stiles swung to his feet with his heart pounding in his chest.

“You all are not hearing me. I will not marry just for you all to cart off an heir. You all would rather kill King after King, running the country into the ground because you cannot break the curse! Are you even trying to find out what is going on?” He braced his hands on the table, struggling to rein in his magic. Suddenly, all he could think about was his mother. His adopted mother who never looked at him like he was anything less than her only child. The women who taught him magic even though he stuttered through it with barely a minute of concentration but the women who none the less trained him to use it to defend himself.

“Your Highness, please calm down.” Roget waved his hands in panicked manner and he turned to him.

“My life is on the line and apparently the life of my future spouse and children, who you all have decided their fate before even consulting me and you have the audacity to tell me to calm down?” He growled and the man dropped his hands to the table. “This is my life. I cannot help the fact that I will be crowned the King. You’ve all made that very clear to me. However, I will not be told to marry someone just so you steal my child away.”

“You are right to be angry, but this curse is unbreakable. This is how we’ve been doing things since I was your age. When the curse first hit, this is the only plan that we could implement.” Deucalion spoke in a soothing voice, as if he was talking to a child that was throwing a fit. Stiles gritted his teeth in disgust as the dark magic swirled toward him, circling around him and trying to make him passive.

“Then maybe you should stop bringing the Kings here. If the curse is unbreakable, then no child of mine will ever step foot in here. Ever!.” Stiles declared as he pushed himself away from the desk, still standing from his indignation. “If you excuse me, I still have work to do before the coronation and since we are at a stalemate.” He left without saying anything else.

“Sir?” Max was standing by the door when he walked out, a faint smile on his face. “That was amazing.”

“Thank you, Max, but I think I’m having a heart attack.” Stiles pressed his hand against his pounding heart, his anger still making his vision blurred.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Your Highness.” An older woman with her dark brown hair pulled back in a bun with loose curls falling from it walked up to him. Stiles blinked dumbly at her before looping his arm through Ivons and Max’s. He recoiled from her as she curtsied, but his guards all seemed to be struck dumb.

“Well, I also haven’t eaten today with everything happening so it might just be that. You know? Not eating.” Stiles held on tight to them, feeling his magic sink deep into him until he could barely feel it. It was as if it was trying to hide from something. “And you are?”

“Don’t be silly. I’m just a helper for the Advisers. A… runner for them, if you will.” She waved a dismissing hand and he cocked his head to the side. She was wearing a dress fancier than anything he had ever seen. Not even the Argents had a dress like it. He was pretty sure there was gold threading on parts of it. She was not just a runner. She was something that radiated evil to him. He held onto his two guards arms, summoning his own magic with great difficulty and let it wash over them.

“Huh, Um. Sorry to interrupt but his Highness is needed somewhere else now that the meeting is over.” Max stumbled over his words but Ivon stepped in, his age steadying his words.

“I believe that the Advisers will need you right now seeing as the meeting is over.” The guard stepped around her, not letting go of Stiles as he led him away. Stiles was grateful. Rory and Ronald grumbled in protest, their eyes locked on the woman, but Wilk looked dumbstruck. Max shuffled back, dropping Stiles arm as he quickly rounded them up. For a dreadful second, he was sure that the young man would fall once again under her spell, but he saw him shake it off.

“What was that?” Ivon spun to him the moment they were out of hearing distance. Stiles shook his head, swallowing against the bile in his throat.

“I think she’s the Darach. She’s the one who set the curse but we can’t prove it. She’s too powerful and she’s keeping everyone under her spell.”

Chapter Text

Lydia was waiting for him in the library. They had staked out a part in the far back that was just for themselves and their research. It became one of his favorite spaces in the castle. Stiles had found a handful of practical use magic books that he used. One taught him a spell that made it so others couldn’t listen in on their conversations there and he hoped it worked against the Darach. He truly believed that the women and Deucalion were working together. Max had told him she was called Jennifer Blake, but that was it. No one knew who she worked for or what she did in the castle.

“I think we need to focus a little less on magic and a little more on the coronation.” Lydia complained and he sighed. He knew the gist of what he needed to do. He had the first sentence of his speech written, which he honestly couldn’t use because it was cursing Deucalion for taking him from his life. The Adviser had currently given up on making him marry, instead trying to work around his defiance by withholding him from giving a speech. Lydia still wanted him to write one but he knew Deucalion was separating him from his people. All he could do was watch out for them, but he still had the curse hanging over his head. He could feel it eating at his magic and he pressed his shields up.

“I have an idea.” He stopped, letting his body unwind and his head roll back. He focused solely on his magic and let it investigate for him. The curse was strong, something that was cast with great power, but it was taking up just as much power to keep it going. He let his magic swell around him and prod around. The druid was immensely powerful, but they’d have very little left over to defend themselves. So they must be using something different to get away with the curse, or they were just evil and weren’t bothered by the weight of evil that hung around the castle. He explained his reasoning to Lydia and she caught on quickly.

“Is your magic getting stronger?” She narrowed her eyes at him and he shrugged.

“It’s like I’m trying to protect myself but it’s starting to fail me right now.” He slumped slightly in exhaustion. The curse was draining him slowly. He was rapidly losing his defense to it. He thought about his wolf, but he nearly passed out in agony. He couldn’t imagine what the pack was going through. Thinking of the twins without their older brother nearly took his breath away but a sudden sharp slap across his cheek brought him back to the room.

“Don’t do that” Lydia snarled, fear in her voice and he swallowed the bile in his mouth. He focused on his father and Scott, even a lesser extent on Lydia before he was able to sit back up. He wasn’t even aware that he had fallen over. Max was standing closer with a worried expression on his face. Stiles waved a hand at him and he went back to stand with the others around them.

“We need to find out about this curse.” Stiles dropped his head onto the table and fought back against the sickness in his stomach. It wasn’t agony for him to not think of his wolf or his father, instead thinking strictly about the country and the upcoming coronation. He barely moved until Lydia announced that they needed to go to dinner.

The rest of the week went much of the same. He would try and fail to not think about his friends and family, the curse taking hold of his despair and draining his energy and magic. Lydia and Max would snap him out of it, giving him time to recover before turning his focus onto something else. His other guards slowly started to take more care of him, letting him lean on them after particularly bad episodes and hiding him from the Advisers and Jennifer when he didn’t have the energy to deal with them. They taught him the lay of the castle and a few secret passages that he used to sneak around. The twins explained that they were grateful that their minds stayed blocked from the Druids influence and they could regularly leave the castle because of him. He didn’t know why they’d come back smiling.

On the morning of the coronation he woke in pain. His body ached and he slowly got to where he was sitting on the edge of his bed, his head hanging down and his hands clasped between his knees. His magic was only a flicker of what it once was. It could no longer protect him. It snapped within a few seconds and he slid off the bed with a soft groan. The curse dug its tethers into his soul and he breathed through the pain. Bit by bit, his emotions slipped from his grasp until he felt nothing.

He stood when it was over, walking in a daze to the wash room and wiped everything down. There was no longer pain. It still felt as though he was underwater, but now it was more like he was a corpse drifting along with the current, the waves making it so his vision blurred and the weight baring down on him. The longing he felt for his wolf finally gone. There was nothing.

“Good Morning your Highness.” Lydia walked in wearing a beautiful dress and Jess behind her with a tray in her hands. “Breakfast.” The both gazed at him but he just nodded. Slowly moving around and pulling on the formal wear that the women had hung up for him. The night before he had laughed at the ridiculous cloak that would’ve drug along the floor if he wasn’t wearing the slightly heeled shoes. He hated the entire thing but now, he pulled it on without a word and sat at the table. “After that we need to go to the throne room.”

“I understand” Stiles couldn’t smile. He lost his ability. His stomach rolled at the thought of food but he nibbled on some of it, trying to appease the worry he saw in the girls eyes. “Nervous about the big day.” He grunted, the food dry in his mouth and he forced himself to swallow. Lydia dropped her hands to his shoulders and closed his eyes. She vanished from his side for a heartbeat before something was placed gently on his head. He opened his eyes and looked across the room to the mirror. There was a small, silver ringlet on his head, ready for his crown.

“Are you ready?” Lydia asked softly and he looked at them through the mirror, adding in the guards as they arrived. Their faces made him feel like he was being a lead to the gallows, and in a way he was. He wasn’t sure if he was going to survive anymore. Every time he thought of what he lost, he wanted back, it just made him want to jump head first off the balcony. Instead he stood and nodded to them all.

Melissa was outside the throne room, wrapping her arms around him when they reached her, holding on for several minutes and he drew strength from her solidarity with him. She pulled back before he was ready but there wasn’t time left. He walked into the throne room with his back straight and his head high, ignoring the way his legs wobbled under him again. Sitting on the throne, he kept his face forward as the Royal Advisers flanked him in their own chairs. No other royals would be joining them for the actual crowning. A rumor was spread by the Darach that an attempt would be made on his life, which made the Advisers retaliate with closing it off to anyone but those absolutely necessary.

“Prince Myschlaw, do you promise to uphold your duties for the good of the country and all of her people?” A man asked and he bowed his head.

“I do.” He zoned out during the speech about the country from Deucalion. The crown was placed on his head. He didn’t even know what it looked like but it sent a shiver down his spine. Lydia walked over to him and helped him to his feet. They walked down the long dark rug that was placed over the hard stone, into the hall and turned to where he would greet his people. Stiles wavered, leaning heavily on her as he reached a balcony. People had gathered under it, spreading across the court yard and through the front gates, all the way into the town. A cheer went up as he stepped out and Lydia hissed at him to wave so he lifted his hand.

“Sire?” Max approached his other side after several minutes and he looped his arm through his as an extra support, exhausted from standing but he could see Lydia had started to struggle under his weight and still look like a Lady. Max stood at attention as he waved and then they were ushered back in, ready to meet the people as King as they filed in. He was to greet the visiting royals from other countries before a feast in his honor. All he wanted was his bed back in the Sheriffs house.

He was placed back on his throne and he tried in vain not to sag. Everything hurt, the curse draining him, and he simply slouched against the back, unable to do anything but lift his hand when someone introduced themselves. Lydia had moved off to help with damage control but Max and Ivon stuck close to his side. James and his sisters lingered as well, Emera shooting him nervous looks but he ignored her. He didn’t care anymore.

It was past noon when they were walking around with finger food on serving trays that the Argents arrived. Emera and Faye ran up to him with wide eyes, tucking themselves behind James with scared murmurs. Stiles saw the blond hair through the crowd and stiffened, shooting a glance at Max and Rory on either side of him. The guards tried to have Max exchange his shift but the man refused to move. They both straightened at his sudden attention, grabbing their swords but he couldn’t relax. Gerard and Kate walked easily as the crowd parted around him, shocked gasps coming from the people along with excited murmurs. They didn’t recognize him.

“Your Royal Majesty” Gerard bowed to him and Kate curtsied and he ignored them, his eyes on the wolf. Blue was skinny, his once sleek pelt hanging off his body and his head bowed low. Kate jerked at the leather cord in her hand that attached to a chain wrapped around his wolfs neck, who stumbled and nearly fell.

“This is my pet. He is… one of a kind.” She purred as if it was some kind of joke to him and he recoiled as Blue struggled to lift his head. His blue eyes dulled and broken. Stiles snapped. The curse had nothing on his fury and he slowly stood.

“Oh no” Emera stretched a hand out to him and Blue looked at her before dropping his head back down.

“You have one chance to explain yourselves” He growled low, amazed at how his voice didn’t shake from his anger or his weakened state. Kates smile wavered as a confused look crossed her face. She still didn’t get it.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, my Lord?” She batted her eyes and he jerked his head higher as he sneered at her. He stalked down the few steps to so he could crouch in front of the wolf.

“Explain your part in the disappearance of a certain Lord and you’ll be pardoned from the gallows.” He buried his fingers into the wolfs fur and the wolf leaned against his touch, making him drop to his knees completely.

“We have nothing to do with that missing Hale?” Gerard scoffed and Kate looked pleased.

“But as I said this is my wolf. I’d think he quiet likes it here.” She gazed around the castle as if she were thinking of buying it. Stiles laughed low when Blue tried to press closer, tucking his face into his neck.

“Are you sure that is your answer?” He stared up at her, watching with pleasure at her growing horror. He flicked out his magic that amassed with his anger and slashed the collar off in one go, a second later a completely naked Derek Hale collapsed in his arms. Stiles instantly buried one hand in his hair and Derek shook as he circled one arm around his waist.

The crowd gasped and he took off his ridiculous cloak and wrapped it around him. Kate and Gerard both lunged and he threw himself over his wolf, covering him with his own body. Pain sliced across his back but he held on. His guards rushed forward and he threw up a shield as another knife was aimed at them by Gerard. All he could think about was protecting everyone from their attacks. It was over almost as soon as it began, the two Argents laying dead on the floor on the hall. The crowd were pressed against the edges of the room and a few pickings themselves up from the rush to get out through the front doors.

“Derek?” He buried his fingers in his wolves hair again and he let out a soft groan, blinking open his hazel eyes. “I know you’re not okay right now but can you walk?”

“Yeah.” Dereks voice was so rough that it took him a minute to decipher the rumble and he pulled him closer, standing with difficulty since neither of them were in very good shape. He refused to let go when his guards surrounded them.

“Rory, you and the others help the people who were hurt, Lydia, calm the crowd.” He could see Melissa struggling to do just that. Emera and James were standing behind the throne, hugging onto Faye but all three were staring at an arrow hanging midair less than a foot away from them.

“Stiles!” Faye called to him with her hand moving to press against the shield. Stiles flicked his hand in the direction without stopping. The arrow dropped as did her hand.

“Sorry, I didn’t want you three to get hurt. James, take care of your sisters while I help my friend.” He ducked out of the room, pulling his wolf along. Max tried to follow but he glared over his shoulder until he went and did as he was told. Stiles knew it was dangerous, but he didn’t want anyone near his wolf. He didn’t know how well he could control his magic if they got too close. Even as they walked he could feel it coiling around him, ready to strike.

“Stiles, you smell different” Derek wheezed as they stumbled into his rooms and he kicked the door shut.

“It could be the curse or that fact that I was a second away from gutting that beast for hurting my wolf.” Stiles eased said wolf onto his bed, brushing his fingers through his hair as he kneeled.

“Your wolf?” Derek gazed at him with what only could be called heart eyes before shaking his head. “Curse?”

“Don’t worry about it, Blue. I don’t think it’ll effect you.” Stiles sat on the edge of the bed and ran his fingers through his wolfs hair, sinking down until they were curled against each other. “Rest.”

“Always liked it when you called me Blue.” Derek murmured before dozing. Stiles held him close and sighed as the weight of the curse was lifted away, letting his mind drift. It was barely an hour later when he had to sit back up. Lydia walked into the room and was waiting. He stood and placed a glass of water on the bed stand before following her out to the hall.

“Who is that?” She asked calmly and he smiled happily.

“That’s Derek Hale. He went missing shortly after I was brought here. He’s my friend.” Stiles knew he shouldn’t be grinning the way he was but he couldn’t help gushing a little. His wolf was here with him, he could take care of him and the Argents couldn’t touch him anymore. “We have to tell his… family.” He bit at his lip when he realized that he almost called them his pack. Lydia opened her mouth to speak but they were interrupted by a loud banging from the room and the door was flung open.

“Stiles!” Derek staggered out and grabbed him, tucking his face into his neck with a wolfish whine. Stiles tilted his head to the side as he brought his hands up over his wolfs back, breathing deep even though he smelled like death. He had lost the cape that had covered him and Lydia failed to keep her eyes forward, making him rumble in displeasure.

“You’re fine. I’m here” He murmured soothingly as he glared at her. She cleared her throat and looked away with a faint blush on her cheeks.

“I’ll just go send word to his family” She turned away, stopping when Derek called her back.

“You have to send people to the Argent house too. They locked Chris and Allison in the dungeons.” Derek leaned against him as he spoke, and Stiles realized that the wolf could stand on his own just fine. He was touch starved, so he pressed a little closer.

“Why would they lock up their own family?” Lydia asked with a look of disgust and Derek shrugged.

“Chris realized what they planned on doing to me and tried to help me escape. Allison is his daughter and never really followed their code because they were killers. She’s our friend and knew that the wolf was me, so when she tried to help they chained her up too.” He said it like it was nothing, but Stiles had to bite back his own fury. Lydia stood there with a matching look before spinning.

“Leave it to me. I’ll send some food up for you two and handle the Advisers. They are not happy that you’ve left.” She swept away and he chuckled.

“God help those who get in her way now.” He pulled him back into the room and closed the door again. “How do you feel about a bath there, Buddy?”

“I don’t smell that bad.” Derek protested but there was a smile on his face. Stiles laughed freely as they walked to the bathroom and set him on the bench by the tub, shifting around as he started getting everything ready. He summoned water through the small window from the well with his magic and split it between the pot over the fire and the tub. His magic was swirling around him with ease now that the curse had no effect on him. “I didn’t know you could do that.”

“I’ve been practicing.” Stiles preened a little and kneeled before his friend. “What do you need me to do?”

“I… I haven’t been like this in a while. They forced me to be a wolf and I couldn’t turn back.” Derek held a shaking hand out and he took it. “I’ll heal, but can you just stay by me?” Stiles brushed his thumb over his knuckles to help soothe.

“Um.” Jess looked like she was about to tear up in the doorway and Stiles blinked at her rapidly, but Derek didn’t move except for the occasional tremble.

“Can you leave that on the table?” He nodded to the tray of food in her hands and she nodded, staring at his wolf.

“Is there anything I can do?” She asked taking a step forward. Derek flinched away and her eyes softened when he patted his hands, murmuring that she wasn’t going to hurt him.

“Try to keep strangers from here. I can do anything else. Oh, and some larger clothes for him. I’m too small.” Derek gave a snicker and relaxed minutely.

“What?” Stiles sat back as the wolf blinked open his eyes, his exhaustion evident.

“Erica said she could get a paper cut from hugging you cause you’re so tiny.” Derek grinned in a dazed manner and Stiles faked indignation.

“Well not everyone can be as massive as you!” He poked at him and his wolf let out a barking laugh, shaking his head. Stiles stiffened when he realized that Jess was standing there staring at them with her mouth hanging open.

“Um, thank you Jess.” He gave her a pointed look and she snapped out of it, nodding rapidly and fleeing from the room. He snorted at her exit and stood, pressing a kiss against his wolfs hand before checking on the water over the fire. It was nearly boiling and he grabbed it, dumping it in the tub to warm it. “Time to get up”

“Don’t want to move.” Derek protested but he leaned against Stiles and he lifted, pressing against the mass as it fell toward him. He shuffled over to the bath and sat him on the edge, looping one hand around his back. He braced himself before reaching down and lifting a leg, twisting so he could put it in the tub, following it with the other so both his legs were in and he was still sitting on the side.

“Ready” He panted out and the wolf gave a grunt, sinking down on shaking arms and Stiles held onto him in case they gave out. When he was fully seated Stiles heaved a sigh and pressed his lips against the wolves dirty temple. Derek murmured tiredly and wiggled until he settled. Stiles moved away and looked at the food, grabbing a few bites and dishing up a small plate to move back to the tub.

“Food?” Derek sniffed at him without opening his eyes and he laughed softly. He pressed bites of food against his lips. His wolf ate with a smile on his face but Stiles relaxed only when the plate was empty and he set it aside, turning to the mess in the tub. He grabbed the small towel and dunked it into the water.

“I’m going to clean you up now?” He smiled when an eye finally peeked open at him and started to run water over the wolfs hair and wiping it down his neck. Derek sniffed again and let a whine, reaching up an dragging him into the water. Stiles gasped as the heated water surrounded him and he ended up sitting on the wolfs lap.

“Blood.” Dereks hands pulled at his clothes and he remembered the knife. Stiles craned his neck back but he was spun before he could get a good look. Derek petted his back around the wound and grabbed the cloth to wipe it down.

“I’m fine.” He tried to wiggle free but a hand clamped on his hip, pinning him to the lap under him and he froze, forcing the unhelpful thoughts from his mind. Only when it was washed was he allowed to step out of the tub and he turned back to his wolf. Lydia was going to be furious when she saw that the coronation outfit was basically ruined. The thought made him want to cackle like a mad man but he didn’t want to made loud noises around his wolf.

“My turn.” It took almost an hour for him to get Derek clean and back out, wrapping him in all the towels he could find. He was half tempted to pull the small blanket off his bed to bundle him up. Derek just gazed at him happily from under the towel on his head but he chuffed softly.

“What is it?” Stiles joked weakly but stuck his head into his bedroom. Max’s head was sticking in through the door and they locked eyes. He felt himself flush when he realized that he was standing there in his torn, bloody coronation clothes while wet.

“I knocked, Sire but Jess told me to bring you some larger clothes for your guest.” Max held up the pile of clothes and Stiles walked out of the bathroom.

“Yes, thank you.” He grabbed the pile and paused, noticing that the man stood there shuffling his feet. “Anything else?”

“Is it true that they had him for a while?” Max whispered and Stiles narrowed his eyes.

“They had him long enough and he is my guest.” Stiles kept his shoulders relaxed but he felt like growling. Max nodded and backed away. “And tell Melissa that when she is done with the others that she can rest. We don’t need help here.” He slunk back to the bathroom and went back to drying his wolf off, grumpily rubbing at him before dropping back to a knee. He tapped the foot and it lifted so he could slide the soft pants on.

“What’s wrong?” Derek asked as Stiles stood, holding out his hands to pull him up as well.

“I just don’t know how they’re going to react when we leave the room” Stiles finally sighed, pulling the pants the rest of the way up and tying them up before leading him out of the room. “Are you still hungry?”

“Starving!” Derek rumbled and he felt some of his worry melt away. They sat at the table and he passed as much food as he could to the wolf, not taking any for himself until he was sure he was full. He was sure Derek could eat the entire table if his stomach could handle it. The Argents were hardly ones to think of giving regular meals. The werewolf struggled to hold his eyes open when he had finished and Stiles took him to the bed, tucking him in without bothering with a shirt. Stiles quickly changed out of his wet clothes and walked back over to the bed,

“Good night.” Stiles felt like he could get used to seeing the wolf in his bed but before he could move away he was grabbed and dragged in.

“Try to leave and I’ll bite you.” Derek nuzzled against the back of his neck, lessening the impact of his words with a snore a few seconds later but Stiles was happy and warm. He fell into the blackness before he realized how strange they’d look the next morning.