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Path Of The Trees

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Soulmates have been a thing even before their ancestors climbed across the mountains and claimed the land with the woods and the water. And when they decided who was able to cross their country.

The stories tell that the big wolves found their one true mate by listening to their heartbeat. That only a few thumps in you were for certain that the person was the one for you. The tells were passed down through the generations and even now ages later, when a dozen moons and more passed, every single wolf child knew about the stories of the one for you.

So with the ability of super hearing, that was gifted to the wolves by the moon goddesses, it shouldn’t be hard to find the one that matches your soul the best.

But if you are unfortunate enough that you’ve been born without the ability to hear at all, like the prince of current times, the hope of finding the one, like all of the others, was astoundingly low.

The world outside the castle was cruel to prince Derek, there were whispers around his back about the horrible things he must have done in his last life that he has been punished to live without hearing now.

Every time the young man left the safety of his home, the wolves who were under him, should respect him, threw him disgusted glaces and turned away in fear. The few pups that were playing out in the open were pulled away from him by their mothers and told in hushed whispers why they shouldn’t approach him.

Derek didn’t understand why people have always been to him like this, while his sisters were treated like they should be.

Coming into his teenage years, the prince took the others behavior to heart. He shut himself off, talked to no one outside his family and few friends he had in the castle.

He still had to attend all of the meetings that were held in his home, even though non of the guests took time to consider his disability. He often found himself scared to death when suddenly somebody touched him from behind. Or he accidentally shifted into his beta from being surprised by others just suddenly being there.

But most of the time he wasn’t allowed to spend freely, he stood next to his fathers throne starring around the room, watching people talk to his father, having no clue what was going on.

And exactly like that he already spend half the morning, standing around long enough for his feet to start hurting. At the moment a young man was kneeling on the floor in front of the throne.

A guard was holding his shoulder so he wasn’t able to get up. The man, clearly a human, was talking animatedly his mouth moving nearly as fast as his hands, which were honestly all over the place.

Derek could see the tears shimmering in his eyes, as his father stood up and took the few steps down to the young man on the floor. Really not knowing what was going on, he started to look the man up and down.

His pale skin was covered in dark moles, the light shining through the big windows hit his eyes just right to make them look like a dewy honey gold. The muscles in his arms were defined and lean. But overall the man was dirty, his hair disheveled, his clothes covered in mud and leaves, with holes and rips in them. And most of all he reeked. He needed a bath, urgently.


♦♦♦

He hadn’t payed attention, listening to his surroundings, and following the way nature told him to take, when suddenly a wolf was standing in front of him, his fangs out, eyes glowing and growling at him. He immediately raised his hands, trying to look as non-threatening as possible.

They didn’t explain exactly what was going on, just taking him and bringing him into town. He doesn’t exactly remember the whole way, getting caught up in the tales of nature in town, but suddenly he was kneeling on the floor in front of a throne, with a king sitting in it who didn’t look pleased at all, and another man standing next to him, just looking but never talking.

“What are you doing on my land?” “W-what?” “I don’t like to repeat myself. What are you doing on my land?” “I’m just following the path of the trees” The king let out a low growl. Standing up he took the few steps from his seat to stand in front of him.

“Tell me your name stranger” “It’s Stiles. I’m Stiles” “So Stiles, tell me what you mean, saying you follow the path of the trees” “They told me to come here” “The trees?”, the king asked sceptically. Stiles nodded. “And, how do the trees talk to you?” “It’s.. complicated. They don’t really talk. Like it’s not words, but this humming in my chest. Uhh like’s not only trees it’s all the plants. And it just most of the time tells me what to do, like it leads me in the right direction. And it kinda lead me here, so there like has to be a reason for me to be here”, Stiles launched into a rant.

The king mustered him for a second before he looked over his shoulder, to the man that hadn’t said a word until now. He actually didn’t seem to pay attention to their conversation at all, looking out one of the huge windows instead.

Letting his foot meet the ground with his werewolf strength, he caught the other mans attention, moving his hand in front of his face in a weird way. Whereupon the man mustered Stiles once more and nodded in the slightest, before moving to leave the room.

Something clicked in Stiles’ mind. “Can he not hear?”, he asked not thinking if it may be rude to do so. The king looked at him sharply. “Are you judging my son for something he has no control of?”, his tone was biting.

Stiles denied frantically. “No! Of course not! I’ve just never seen a wolf who didn’t have the ability to hear. It must be so bad for him, wolves are normally so one with nature”

The man in front of him didn’t react, he just looked at one of his servants and gave them a nod. Apparently that was enough for them though, because the dark skinned guard finally let go of his shoulder and the curly haired servant came to him and let him out of the room, down a corridor and into a bedroom.

The man didn’t talk to him until they were in the bedroom and the doors were closed. “You are to stay in this bedroom until one of the guards or servants is coming to get you. There are clothes in the dresser and a washroom in behind that door”, he pointed to a big wooden door across the room, next to the big bed. “If you leave the room without anybody telling you to, there will be consequences” He turned to leave the room, but stopped in front of the door and turned back to him. “I don’t know what the king wants with you, but you should be careful not to talk about his son in a bad manner or treat him differently because of his disability. The king and queen are very protective of him. Also, be sure to approach him with a heavy step, so he knows you’re coming” with that the servant turned around and left the room for good.

Stiles slowly turned around himself, looking at the room he is in. The door he first came in trough was made from a dark heavy wood, the pattern of the wood still visible. On the wall left to the door was a big heavy dresser, with a mirror leaning on top, on the opposite, pushed into the corner was the big bed with the door to the washroom next to it. There was an ottoman at the foot of the bed and a carpet in the middle of the floor. Beside that the room was empty, it felt kinda bare.

The few small windows didn’t let in a lot of light, which made Stiles immediately feel nauseous. He was made to be outside, not trapped by stone walls, he couldn’t feel the call of the trees anymore, couldn’t hear their songs and whispers. It scared him, made him feel drained. He was never in a place this cut off. And he wanted to leave as fast as possible. But also nature lead him there, he has to be there and figure out what he was supposed to do.

♣♣♣

After Stiles threw a look in the mirror on his first night he took to taking a bath every second day, the water let him calm a bit. He hasn’t been able to go outside since he was taken here. He also still didn’t exactly know what the king and queen wanted from him.

He has been brought into a study, with the king waiting for him on his second day. He was told to sit down and answer the questions the king asked truthfully. He did as asked, but the questions were about stuff he didn’t know how to answer. He was asked to how a wolf could be born without hearing, and what he knew about the doing of the moon goddesses. The king also wanted to know where he came from and what he was doing before ‘following the path of the trees’.

That he could answer. He has been alone for as long as he could think back, which wasn’t a long time he had to admit. But the nature and the trees were always there to guide him when he felt lost or lonely. They knew exactly what he needed and provided him with it. He couldn’t really pinpoint where he came from, and told the king as much. Just that is was from somewhere north, where the trees seemed endless, and the peace was never disturbed.

The king asked him what he was. A nymph? A druid? A mage? Surely not a normal human those couldn’t speak with nature, but Stiles could only shrug. He didn’t know what he was, nobody ever old him or asked about it before. He was just Stiles and had always been.

♣♣♣

The second time the king called for him, they were accompanied by a dark skinned man, who introduced himself as the druid of the royal wolves. He was ordered to find out what Stiles was and if it could help them with their sons well being.

Stiles didn’t want to displease the king, so he did what he was told. Deaton started to prod him, make him drink different potions, and tried different spells on him. But in the end he just told the king that Stiles just had a very weird connection to nature he couldn’t figure out, and Stiles couldn’t stand Deaton by the time the experiments ended.

At least now, that he had spend such a long time behind the castles walls, he was allowed to walk around freely.

It was the night before the full moon, the wolves in the cast l e were all tense and Stiles was happy to be able to escape into the gardens. He didn’t pay attention, as soon as his naked feet touched the damp grass he was gone to the world. Th e whispers and hums he so desperately missed welcomed him again, held him in a tight embrace. He let himself sink to the ground a few steps further into the patch of well cut grass, and buried his face in the ground. Letting out a happy sigh to finally feel completely like himself again.

He listened to a small daffodil telling him a story about a bug that wanted to eat her pedals, a s he could suddenly feel something jumping up next to him. Turning his head, he found a half shifted prince looking down at him, his breathing heavy, he assumed from shock.

The man must have been sitting here already t hen S tiles came and only now noticed him lying next to him. He gave the prince an apologetic grin. Still feeling a little too bl is sed out to actually care that he startled the man.

The wolf slowly calmed his breathing and once more sat himself next to Stiles on the ground, looking back up at the stars, only sometimes throwing a glance sideways to see if Stiles was still there.

Stiles watched him. The concept of a deaf wolf still fascinated him, and he would love to talk to somebody about it or best ask the prince himself, but that seemed impossible.

He closed his eyes, wanting to sleep outside this night, but the trees whispered to him, gave him an idea at how to still his thirst for answers.

Sitting up he inched a little forward, so Derek could see him and stood up to go back to the castle. He hurried to the room he was staying in, knowing he saw s o me paper and a fountain pen in one of the drawers.

Grabbing both, he hurried back out into the gardens, only to see that the Prince was already gone. Disappointed he let out a sigh. The man must have gotten up and gone inside while Stiles was off to grab pen and paper.

Slowly he let himself sink back into the grass, laying the supplies down in front of his crossed legs. For a while he just sat there starring, when he heard the sound of footsteps approaching. He didn’t look up though until the other person sat themselves next to him on the grass where the Prince sat before.

Lifting his eyes, they met with the beautiful shade of green that were the Princes eyes. A smile stretched across Stiles face, and he hurried to grab the pen and scribbled something on it before handing it to the Prince.

The slightly older man took the pen out of Stiles’ hand and wrote something under his first message. Taking the paper back, he marveled for a second at the beautiful way Derek formed his letters.

The Prince’s respond to his “Hi! I am Stiles” was a simple “I’m Derek”. Looking up the Prince was looking at him expecting, nodding down at the paper with a look that said ‘Go on, say something’ Stiles’ smile stretched even further if that was possible, and he started talking to Derek th r ough the messages on paper.

It was nice, in fact the silence around them was relaxing, the humming in his mind even dulled as if his friends decided to give the two men some private time.

In the following hours, until the sun began to rise again to be exact, he learned a lot about the Prince. Derek was 25, his favourite game was chess, and he loved to just sit outside and relax. Because outside in the middle of the night nobody treated him differently, or judged him because of his lack of hearing.

Stiles couldn’t understand what it must be to have people treat you so differently because of such a thing, but that night Stiles swore himself, that he would be the best friend Derek ever had, the man even agreed to teach him the sign language he used to communicate to his family.


♦♦♦


The days following the night in the gardens with Stiles were good to Derek. He taught the man sign language like he promised, and he should’ve known, that even with his hands Stiles spoke a mile a minute.

But on nights like this one he was sad, he desperately wished to be able to hear, to confirm the feeling he wanted to be true so bad. He just wanted to be able to hear Stiles heartbeat, even if it was just for a few seconds, that would be enough to make sure. To make sure that he had in fact found his mate, the one that was the second half of his soul.

He had to admit to himself, that the man laying next to him on the grass was the most handsome man that ever crossed his eyes, and the way he always talked so animatedly about everything, how he tried to describe his bond with nature, and how he would smile at him whenever Derek let out a small sound. The way Stiles eyes would start to shine as soon as the both of them were outside.

He tried to describe sounds for him, comparing them to food. So was the singing of a robin like the icing on a cupcake, and the flowing of the stream like the finest sip of wine.

Derek wanted to cry, he even confined to his mother. Tried asking her for help, even though it embarrassed him deep to the bone. But she just smiled told him how happy she was that he found somebody that made him so happy, and come out of his shell.

He asked her how he should know if Stiles was the one. But she told him he would never know for sure, Stiles would know and he had to trust him on that or just trust the feeling in his chest, and words his wolf told him. He had to believe them true, or else doubt would eat away at him.

So this night, when Derek couldn’t lay still any longer in his bed, he stood and dressed in some pants, before going down the hall to where Stiles’ room was .

The Prince knocked softly on the heavy wood, not having to wait long before the door was opened. Stiles looked disheveled and tired, so Derek was about to apologize for disturbing him and go, but Stiles was already in the middle of a rant about the book he was reading at the moment.

A soft smile tucked at the corners of Dereks mouth and he couldn’t help lean forward, burying his nose in the others neck. He took a deep breath of his scent, he smelled like freshly cut grass and earth, like water from the river and the ground after rain, he smelled safe and he smelled like home.

Stiles tensed a second underneath the unexpected touch but relaxed again just as fast, winding his arms around him in a tight hug.

They stayed there like that in the door frame, just hugging, while Derek bathed in the soothing scent of his maybe mate.

It took a while but eventually he could feel Stile arms moving from around him, and Derek was ready to take a step back, but as soon as Stiles’ hands left his back they were on his face. Thumbs softly moving across his cheekbones, and the stubble of his beard. Looking Stiles in the eyes was always an experience, the emotions hidden were always a mystery to him, but right know he could see the determination clear as day.

A questioning look crossed Stiles face, but as soon as Derek saw it, he surged forward, not allowing Stiles to change his mind now, and connected their lips in a rough kiss.

What started out as chapped lips on chapped lips and teeth on teeth, turned into something sweet and soft, something that felt so familiar and like home that Derek didn’t want to miss this in his life ever again.

Stiles pulled away fi r st, his hands still on his face, even though one of them moved into Derek’s hair.

Derek gently took Stiles’ hands and moved from his face, to ask the question that’s been burning on his mind since the other opened the door to his chambers. “Can I stay the night here? With you?” The mans eyes widened for a second before he nodded frantically and pulled Derek inside his room.

♦♦♦

What even brought you here in the first place?” Stiles signed curiously. The prince sighed. “I wanted to ask you to come to the gardens with me, because I couldn’t sleep” “What held you up?” Derek’s cheeks turned red at that, Stiles was sure he could see the tips of his ears becoming redder. “The thought about you”, Derek looked away embarrassed and startled when suddenly Stiles’ hands where on his face again.

The younger man pressed a quick peck to his lips, a sheepish smile on his face. “I hope it’s okay with you that I will do this a lot now. Because now you won’t get rid of me” “Is that a promise?” Stiles nodded. “I’m so glad the path of the trees lead me to you”, he whispered, knowing that Derek wouldn’t be able to hear. Determined he grabbed Derek’s hand once more and pulled him down into the bed with him. He didn’t plan on doing something tonight, he just wanted to cuddle up to the werewolf that he was finally aloud to call his.

Laying his head on Derek’s chest, he was about ready to finally doze off for the night, when he suddenly heard it.

Thump Thump Thump

Derek’s heart beating right underneath his ear, it didn’t even take him a second to realize what he had just found and surged up into a sitting position. Look ing down at the confused wolf, he pressed a kiss to his lips and signed,

My Mate