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the princess who runs with the wolves

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Esteemed Hale Pack,

as tradition dictates, the Royal Court of the Northern Californian Fae, cordially invites you to the Sweet Summer Solstice Party on the night of the summer solstice. 

It has been two years since you have re-established yourselves as the pack who protects the Beacon Hills Preserve, and we have decided it is time to invite you to join in on our festivities.

This invite is as per usual, not only for the wolves of the Pack, but also for the humans directly affiliated with the pack.

In particular, we wanted to make sure your Princess is aware of our invitation; princess Aurelia and prince Aoife both have expressed great interest in meeting the Princess who runs with the wolves of the Hale pack, especially as the princess appears un-mated.

Of course should that change between now and the day you join us in our realm, the royal siblings will stay away from her; otherways, they will be very willing to court the princess, both through fae and human customs.

Thank you for taking the time to read our invitation,

Her Highness

Queen Araide.


Once the letter was fully read, Derek put the paper down, looking at the rest of the pack with the most blank face he could muster.

Stiles sat up, sighing. “All right, I’ll say it,” he turned to Derek and raised both hands up, palms to the sky, “Faes? In the Preserve?”

The Alpha werewolf shrugged, like it wasn’t important information and Stiles sighed again, patting his head. 

Peter was the one who spoke, sitting in a corner of the room and observing them like the total creep he was. “They have been there for as long as the Hales have.”

Boyd tilted his head to the side. “Decades?”

“Centuries,” corrected him the older Hale, an almost said look on his usual passive expression. “They do not involve themselves in human or werewolf matters, and they tend to stay in their own realm, but they haven’t been and aren’t enemies of us. Nor are they allies, but they aren’t bad. They’re just-”

“Ambiguous,” guessed Lydia, a small frown on her face.

“Morally gray,” added Stiles, and the other wolf nodded again.

“They are nothing like what it says in most books. They don’t lie, true, and sometimes they tend to charm humans and force them to live with them forever, but never against their will. They just confuse them enough with their food and beauty and everything and the human ends up wanting to stay,”

Isaac frowned from where he was laying with his head in Erica’s lap, “So we should not go.”

Derek shrugged again, having finished re reading the letter. “My mom always went every year, with dad and the youngest children in the pack. It’s not really dangerous for us, because the solstice is basically sacred for the faes, and they’d never willingly do something that might cause a fight and ruin their celebrations. When I went with my mom,” he paused, swallowing a little, “It was okay. The fae are mostly human looking, or at least they appeared human to me. They don’t age the way human’s do, and all of them have purple eyes. They can change appearances once out of their realm, but their eyes stays purple. Which is why they don’t usually come out.”

He leant in Stiles’ touch, the brunet having moving to stand next to him the moment Peter had mentioned the pack, shoulders fully pressed together.

He breathed in Stiles' calming sweethoneygrass scent, then spoke again. “But… I don’t know about this whole claimed princess thing.”

Allison and Lydia looked at each other and both shook their heads. “I’m going on a bet and saying that he’s not referring to Erica,” started the brunette, putting both hands up when the blonde glared, “hey, I’m not being mean! He just said the ‘ princess who runs with wolves’ not the ‘ princess of the wolves ’. If they were talking about you, I’m assuming they would know you’re a wolf. Right?”

Peter nodded, humming in thought. “Yeah, they can easily tell. From what I know, faes can see supernatural auras. So all they need is to look at you once and can tell if you’re human or what supernatural creature you are.”

“Point is,” interrupted Lydia, huffing, “they are talking about either me or Allison. How do we know which?”

Stiles stared at the two of them, thinking hard. To be honest, he could see how either of them could be seen as a princess.

Had he not known any better, he too would have assumed Allison was some sort of Disney princess that had little birds landing on her finger and who could speak to animals. She look all innocent and smiley, with her dimples and sweet voice. 

But Lydia had always had an almost regal way of holding herself, and could see how, a supernatural creature who probably only saw her in the woods where, unlike everyone else, she managed to get out of any situation without spilling blood or too much dirt on her clothing (“I am pure at heart, Stilinski. It repels the dirt,” “And yet here is Whittemore, uh.”); she was princess, if not queen, material.

Derek turned a little uncomfortable all of a sudden, and the brunet looked up at him, intrigued. Derek met his stare head on, and made a complicated expression, pained eyes, furrowed eyebrows and lips tilted slightly downwards.

It was a little absurd how easy it was for Stiles to understand what his face meant. To anyone else, Derek looked severely constipated.

“It doesn’t matter,” he explained, holding back a laugh. “They won’t court you, so long as you are both claimed,” he wiggled his eyebrows at Scott and then made a face at Jackson. “Yuck. Just have sex the night before, and they won’t have any right to court you without offending werewolf customs.”

Peter arched an eyebrow, while Scott blushed and Jackson smirked. “You seem to know a lot about werewolf customs already.”

Stiles didn’t hate Peter the way some people - hint: Lydia - did. He didn’t particularly like or trust him, and the guy was not reliable, but he was somewhat of an asset.

Still, being addressed and observed by him gave him the creeps, and he was glad when Derek dropped a hand on his shoulder. 

“Derek is teaching me some things,” he then said, because it wasn’t a secret to anyone in the pack that he was learning to become the Hale Pack Emissary. After the shit that went through with the Alpha Pack that almost cost them Boyd and Erica, and finding out the importance of an emissary to control the energy of a pack and the energy of the land, Stiles hadn’t hesitated. 

This… thing that was developing between himself and Derek had also helped. Ever since that night in the swimming pool where Stiles had held Derek up for hours rather than let him die and save himself, the werewolf had slowly but surely… softened, especially around Stiles.

Enough that he stopped pushing him around or threatening with bodily harm - nowadays he just growled when Stiles was being particularly aggravating - and didn’t push Stiles away when the teenager had turned up during the summer after Sophomore year to help him track down Erica and Boyd. And he also was willing to let Scott try being pack again after Stiles had promised that he regretted the whole Gerard thing - and Stiles had made sure that Scott regretted it, going as far as not speaking to him for 5 days after the fact until Scott admitted he fucked up.

Point is, Stiles was aware that Derek cared for him and, maybe, at some level even liked him. Liked liked him. As more than a friend, perhaps, even.

They still drove each other crazy at times, what with Stiles’ lack of self preserving skills and Derek’s huge martyr complex, but they made it work.

Peter smiled, like he knew something Stiles didn’t. “Of course he is.”

The brunet narrowed his eyes at the older werewolf, but Derek growled dangerously. “Peter.”

The werewolf stood up, hands up and rolling his eyes. “Sure, nephew. I will not be attending this lovely gathering between you and and the faes, despite how much fun I know it’ll be,” He said, again in that smarmy ‘ oh, you fools don’t know what I know ’ tone. “Have fun!”

“He’s so annoying,” complained Erica, pushing Isaac from her lap so that she could stand up and stretch. “Can we kill him again?”

Derek stiffened slightly, almost imperceptibly, like he always did when someone mentioned killing Peter. Stiles always noticed it, and he ran a hand up and down Derek’s arm, scowling at the blonde beta. “No killing packmates, Catwoman.”

The blonde just huffed, but Stiles didn’t miss the way she shot Derek an apologetic look before grabbing Boyd’s hand. Win.

“Well, if this meeting is adjourned, Scott and I are going,” said Allison standing up. 

Stiles grinned, making a lewd gesture with his hands. “Oh yeah, someone is getting some ,” he joked, winking exaggeratedly at Scott. 

“Shut up,” groaned his best friend, shaking his head.

“You have to ! It’s a life or death situation!”

“You’re just being crude because there is no one who would fuck you in a life or death situation,” told him Jackson, sneering at him.

While Jackson turning into a werewolf had turned down some of his implicit dickiness, sometimes the man could still be an ass.

Before he could form a retort, though, Derek scoffed, patting Stiles’ cheeks while keeping his eye on Jackson. “Of course he does,” he turned to Stiles, face very serious. “I’d fuck you in a life or death situation.”

Stiles just stared at him, mouth opened wide as Derek went from blank faced to a shit eating grin, before walking away. Then the brunet glared at him, as he disappeared upstairs in his loft. 

“You’re such a dick!”, he shouted, not missing the laugh coming from upstairs.”

“Stilinski, you’re my ride!”

“Coming, Boyd!”

+

Later, when he was dropping Boyd at his house, the werewolf turned to look at him as he closed the door of the jeep behind him.

“You know, his heart didn’t skip a beat when he said that.”

Stiles didn’t have to ask him who or what he was talking about, because he had been replaying the conversation in his head ever since they walked out of the loft.

“He’s a born wolf. Maybe he knows how to trick you guys or something,” he reasoned, and Boyd rolled his eyes.

“You aren’t. He had no reason to mask his heart around you,” and well. Point for Boyd. “You should go for it. He’s not the type that goes for it first.”

Stiles didn’t say anything.

Didn’t say how he was too scared of rejection, how he actually enjoyed his friendship with Derek, how the pack was too important to risk it over something as stupid as his feelings.

Boyd heard it though, and patted him through the window.

“It’ll work out,” he decided, then walked away towards his house.

Stiles waited until he was inside to finally drive away.


“Nephew, I have to ask,” started Peter, from where he was perched on the top of the stairs.

“Do you though?”

Both werewolves were standing outside, waiting for the rest of the pack to show up so that they could go to the summer solstice party.

The older man didn’t seem particularly affected by Derek’s hostility, and turned so he was facing his direction. “What’s the hold up. With the Stilinski kid?”

The Alpha stiffened slightly, glaring at his uncle. “It’s none of your business.”

“Au contraire,” said Peter, shaking his head disappointed. “You’re my nephew. Your happiness matters to me.”

Even though his heart didn’t waver at all, Derek didn’t allow himself to relax. “Why?”

Now his uncle’s face turned more serious, and Derek felt his own shoulders dropping a little. “He’s your mate , Derek. The literal love of your life. I know better than to try and hurt him; I’ve lost my mate, and I would not wish that to anyone.”

Derek knew Peter’s words were sincere; he recalled him before the fire, very sneaky and slightly deranged, but never one to actually hurt family. Pre-fire Peter would have never killed anyone for the Alpha power. And maybe, if he and Laura had taken Peter with them after the fire, the man wouldn’t have gone completely off the rails.

They had been his last two remaining family, and, after feeling all his pack bonds burn in the fire, in his half comatose state, he had felt the last remaining pack bonds just… vanish. 

Which is why he answered him truthfully. “He’s still… he’s still a kid. And he doesn’t have to stay in Beacon Hills. He’s pack, sure, but he has a choice. He can leave, and be okay. I want to wait until he’s had a chance to actually see all the choices he has in the world, before I say anything.”

Peter did not seem very happy with the answer, but then they heard the sound of the various member of the pack walking towards the house. The werewolf shrugged, moving inside the loft. “Careful, nephew. If you wait too long, someone else might snatch him.”

The Alpha didn’t bother that with an answer, instead rolling his shoulders and watching as Jackson’s Porsche and Stiles’ jeep stopped in front of the house.

Boyd, Erica, Allison and Scott tumbled out of Stiles’ car, and Derek arched an eyebrow at their fits.

Boyd scowled at the Alpha. “Lydia suggested that couples should match and the Erica and Scott went crazy with it.”

Allison didn’t look as disgruntled as Boyd, but she still made a face at Derek when Scott turned out. “I don’t think light blue is my colour,” she admitted, her shirt matching the short sleeve Scott was wearing.

Isaac came out of Jackson’s car, grinning happily in his usual leather jacket. Derek wondered for a second if he and Isaac would look like a couple with their leathers, but the rest of their clothing was different - probably why Isaac had gone to Jackson’s house for: making sure he wouldn’t look too much like Derek.

“Oh, you took out your ‘good’ leather jacket,” commented Stiles, standing next to Derek with a grin.

Derek quickly catalogued the red hoodie - of course he’d wear that - over a black shirt and actually clean black jeans, then shrugged. “It’s the one with no blood stains.”

As he had hoped, the brunet laughed, bumping shoulders with him. 

“Alright. The fae cave is not too far from here, just follow me,” he finally said once everyone was out.

“Lydia, you look a-ma-zing ,” cooed Allison, from behind him. “Sapphire is so your colour.”

“Thank you,” trilled the red haired girl, “That combo of light blue and white flowy skirt is divine. A total princess!”

“Says you? That hair, did you brush it or something?”

Derek turned to Stiles who was walking along side him with an arched eyebrow.

The boy rolled his eyes and moved closer. They were close to the same height, so he didn’t strain too hard to whisper in Derek’s ear. “Both of them think they are the princess and are pretending they don’t by acting like they think the other is the true princess,”

That… made sense. While they were far from being shallow or superficial, what girl hadn’t once dreamed of being a princess?

“Who are you betting on?” asked the wolf, and Stiles snorted.

“Nu uh, I’m not getting in between the two of them. But,” and he moved even closer, breath brushing Derek’s ear. “I know the pack has a pool going on. Jackson and Isaac are betting on Lydia, Scott and Erica are betting on Allison.”

“Boyd is too smart to get in on the action?” Derek wasn’t surprised. He knew he had to have bitten at least one smart teenager.

“No, he’s betting on Erica.”

Of course he was. No, Derek hadn’t bitten any smart teenager.

“It’s okay,” told him Stiles, patting his shoulder with a mischievous grin. “I’m betting on you.”

“Oh, hardy har har,” mocked the Alpha, and Stiles laughed, his little half crescent cheek dimples making an appearance.

Before he could start mentally waxing poems about said dimples, they reached the cave. 

Derek stopped outside, and turned back to the rest of the pack, serious for a second.

“All right. Faes aren’t inherently dangerous, and you can talk and drink anything you want. They don’t have alcohol but they have drinks that make you a little happier when you drink them. Still, try not to outright insult anyone, and try not to start any fights with them.

“There will be more creatures than just werewolves and faes around. The Preserve has a lot of supernaturals who aren’t evil and have potentially been invited. Some do not speak human languages, some do. You can interact with them, but again,” and here he turned to Stiles, eyes narrowed. “Not too many intrusive questions. And no interrogations.”

The brunet pouted, but nodded.

“Good. Anything happens, howl and I’ll get to you.” Once they all nodded, faces as serious as his, he tried to relax more and give them a more supportive smile. “I always enjoyed these parties when I was younger. I hope you guys do too. Let’s go,”

Then, he turned around and entered the cave.

+

It was like a few moments ago they were walking inside a dark cave and then, between one blink and the other, they were in a very decorated garden with less trees than the preserve and a lot of tables and people and animals rolling around.

Stiles turned back, watching as the pack also gasped and looked around themselves in confusion, which meant he wasn’t hallucinated. Or maybe this was a group hallucination.

“Welcome to the fae realm,” muttered Derek, with a shrug. “Everyone accounted for?”

Stiles stepped away from him and moved at the end of the of their proceeding, making sure every member of the pack was accounted for, then gave him a thumbs up from behind Isaac. “Yup.”

Then, he allowed himself to look around.

It really looked like they had somewhat being transported in an alternate reality, and in a way, he supposed, they had. What was the fae realm anyway, if not an alternate universe?

Some of the people around - and Stiles yearned to know if they were all human or if some of them were supernatural - were looking towards them and gasping, as if they could tell who they were, but most of them weren’t paying attention.

There were foxes and coyotes walking around along with phoenixes - PHOENIXES! - and unicorns - UNICORNS, jesus! - and women who looked almost translucent talking to trees, while purple eyed people walked around with trays in their hands.

“Wow,” muttered Isaac next to him, and Stiles could only agree, avidly staring at the grass a unicorn was eating not too far from him. 

“Hale Pack,” trilled a voice, and Stiles immediately stood to attention, observing where a dark skinned woman with a gold afro was standing not too far from Derek. “You have come.”

Derek gave her a small bow, “Queen Araide. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” he said, and the pack as one, bowed too. “You haven’t changed in the slightest.”

The woman gave him a beautiful smile. Stiles doubted there was anything she could do in a non beautiful manner. Perhaps she even shat beautifully. “You have grown yourself, Derek. I am very happy that the Hale Pack will protect these woods once again.”

She didn’t offer condolences for the lost members of the Pack, and Stiles knew that Derek was glad. Acknowledging that something had happened was way better than the need to fill the moment with pity.

Then Queen Araide looked at the rest of the pack, a huge smile on her face. “I see you have brought the princess. I am oh so very glad! My children have been dying to meet the princess of the Hale Pack.”

“She was claimed,” immediately said Jackson, putting an arm around Lydia’s shoulder in a posturing manner as two other people approached the pack.

Stiles wouldn’t have been able to tell you how old they were. Hell, he wasn’t able to tell you how old Queen Araide was supposed to be. Any of them could have passed for an High School student and a university student and a young mom at the same time.

Queen Araide gave him a confused look. “I’m glad your girlfriend was claimed?” she tried, looking at Derek with puzzled eyes.

Lydia blushed, and Allison smiled dimples poking out as the princess and prince walked towards her grinning. “I was claimed too,” she started, but the prince and princess didn’t stop.

Instead they strode past her, stopping only once they were in front of Stiles.

The brunet blinked. “Uh… hi?”

The princess had short green black hair with bangs, and was wearing something that looked a lot like a toga; the prince looked more like his mother, with a cascade of dark and blonde locks. Both of them had the classic fae purple eyes, and they were burning with hope as they stared at Stiles.

“Your Highness,” the said, in creepy chorus, and Stiles’ eye twitched.

“Oh no. Oh no, no. Oh no no no. No, I’m a guy. Not a princess,” he immediately said, ignoring Isaac dying of laughter next to him.

The princess - Aurelia - blinked. “Do you have magical hair?”

“No-” 

“Your hair does grow ridiculously fast,” interrupted him Allison, arms crossed and an amused smile on her face.

“Magical hands?” questioned the prince - Aoife.

“N-”

“Oh yeah,” said Erica, grinning. “Ask any girl at school. Wet dreams material.”

“And you give crazy massages,” added Boyd.

“Do animals talk to you?”

“AH!” Laughed Stiles, smiling. “Nope. I don’t speak to animals.”

Princess Aurelia didn’t look impressed. “Aren’t these wolves talking to you?”

“Ehi!” complained Scott, but Lydia tilted her head to the side.

“She has a point.”

“Were you poisoned?” continued Aoife.

The brunet scratched his neck. “I mean, living with a pack it’s bound to happen, and-”

“Cursed?”

His mind flashed back to saving his father through the sacrifice, and the evil it left behind. “Kind of but-”

“Kidnapped or enslaved?”

Kidnapped by Gerard Argent and then enslaved in his own mind by the Nogitsune. “Kind of both?”

“Do people assume that all of your problems got solved because a big strong brute showed up?”

Here Stiles’ eyes found Derek, who was staring at him, equally as confused.

He blushed a little. “Well…”

“Holy shit,” said Scott, staring at his best friend under a new light. “Dude, you are a princess!”

The siblings looked very pleased at having showed their points, and linked arms with Stiles. “Please allow us to show you around the party, your Highness,” basically mewled Aurelia, as they both dragged him away despite his complaints.

Scott turned to Derek, shocked, trying to stop the growl in his own throat. “Dude! They are taking him away!”

The werewolf didn’t look very pleased with the sudden course of events, but he was also making no move of taking Stiles away from the royal siblings. “We can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Do you not remember the letter?” asked him Lydia, lips pressed together. “They have every right to court Stiles here in their realm because Stiles isn’t claimed. And we can’t be the ones to start a fight here, in their home ground. We are guests, but they can blast us out of here if they so wish.” Then she turned to glare at her Alpha.

Despite being literally stronger and bigger than her, Derek looked like he wanted to turn himself invisible. “What?” he managed, looking away from her eyes.

Whose fault is it that he’s not claimed?”

The werewolf startled, looking around at the rest of his betas. He was met by similar scowls and narrowed eyes. He felt even smaller than before. “You guys knew?”

Erica rolled her eyes. “As if the whole Nogitsune thing wasn’t a big wake up call. You almost didn’t sleep at all for 72 hours cause you were so busy looking for him. I swear even the Sheriff knows.”

Derek’s eyes widened even more. “He does ?”

Scott nodded gravelly. “He’s even practiced the speech he’s going to give you. I found him once standing in front of the mirror with a hand on his gun, saying “ I have wolfsbane bullets, Hale ”. It was all very unsettling,” he told him.

The Alpha sighed, turning to look towards were the princess and prince were walking around, both of them basically sandwiching Stiles between them.

And while, at the beginning, Stiles had looked confused and alarmed at being labelled the ‘princess of the Hale pack’, he was way more relaxed now, eyes wide and an actual real smile on his face as they spoke to him about some stuff.

Whatever hope had bloomed in his chest at knowing the pack knew - the Sheriff knew , Jesus - was immediately squashed. Stiles was having fun being courted by the fae. 

“It’s whatever, you guys,” he said, ignoring their complaints. “Just go have fun. It’s a party."

Boyd gave him a look, eyes still narrowed. “Are you going to brood?”

“No.”

Twas a lie, but Derek knew how to lie to his betas hard enough for them to leave him alone.

+

While at first, the idea of being a princess - let alone the princess of the Hale pack, oh my god ? - had offended him, Stiles found himself warming up to the title quickly enough.

He got to pet the unicorn, find out that the transparent ladies were naiads, speak to some trees - SPEAK! TO! TREES! - and learn the identity of some of the human passing people around him.

“That’s a nymph,” informed him prince Aoife, pointing to a woman nursing a cup of a clear liquid from the table.

“A water spirit?”

Aurelia clapped next to him, a big smile. “As expected from the Princess who runs with the wolves!” she said, sounding 100% non sarcastic.

Still Stiles made a face at that. “ Were wolves. They aren’t animals, you know?”

Aurelia blinked, almost innocent. “They have been known to turn themselves into full shift wolves, the Hales.”

“Wait forreal?” immediately asked Stiles, curiosity piqued. “That is so cool , Derek never tells me any of this cool stuff!”

It wasn’t necessarily true. Derek told him plenty of stuff about werewolves in general; it was just hard for him to talk about stuff pertaining to his family.

The prince nodded, then produced a book from nothing. “Here. This contains accurate information about the many creatures of Beacon Hills. If you still decide to become an emissary, this will help you.”

The princes had been giving him presents the whole time they had been walking around. Currently Stiles was the proud owner of a siren’s pearl, a healing essence of kachina, a fae dress, pixie dust, an enchanted bag made of silver fleece and a tons of notebooks and books.  At first he had refused, thinking that the presents meant he accepted either of them - because while they were talking together, it was clear Aurelia and Aoife were in a competition with each other - as future boyfriend or something, but they had assured him he could say no to them and still get to walk out with all of the cool stuff.

He smiled again, clutching the book in his hand. “So cool, man!”

“Aurelia, Aoife!” called the Queen’s voice, and both children immediately looked disappointed. 

“Apologies, Princess,” and Jackson was probably around there laughing his ass off, Stiles could feel it, “our services are required. Please, feel free to dance around until we come back!”

Stiles watched them walk away then turned around, basically skipping back to Derek.

The werewolf had been brooding on a chair since they had arrived, nursing a cup of red drink and biting into what looked like eggs.

He barely looked up when Stiles dropped to sit next to him, but did promptly spit the eggs when Stiles informed him that, “Those are siren eggs, you know?”

“Ugh,” complained the Alpha, making the other boy snicker even more. 

“That’s what I said when Aoife told me what they were,” he told him, but instead of laughing, Derek seemed to tense up even more.

“On first name basis with the prince already?”

Stiles shrugged, even as he side eyed the werewolf a little. Derek seemed pretty annoyed. “They insisted.”

“I’m sure they did,” muttered the werewolf downing his drink.

The brunet elected to ignore that second comment, simply because he wasn’t sure what caused the sudden distaste for the royal siblings. Derek must have met the fae royal family before, with his family, and still decided to bring the pack, so he really didn’t know why he was acting all moody all of a sudden.

They had been joking and having fun just a few hours before, when they had arrived.

After a few more minutes of giving Derek information that the werewolf ignored or just mumbled an incoherent answer too, Stiles was at the end of his rope.

Still, he didn’t like seeing Derek all alone in a corner while the rest of his pack was having fun, and he felt a little guilty about spending hours with the siblings and not noticing that Derek looked lonely earlier.

So he stood up, offering his hand to Derek. “Hey, want to dance?”

The werewolf didn’t look up. “Why don’t you ask your fae dates?” he grumbled, and Stiles’ patience snapped.

“You know what? Maybe I will , since you want to stay here and act like a literal child!” he seethed, voice a little louder than necessary, seen the way Derek almost winced and looked up at him in confusion and chagrin.

But the brunet didn’t let him say anything, moving towards where Aurelia was standing a few feet away, blatantly staring at him. 

“Want to dance?” he questioned, and the fae lit up, happily. 

“The handsome yet brutish wolf was acting more brutish than normal?” she asked, her hands finding themselves on his shoulders immediately.

Stiles had never really really danced, but he figured it couldn’t possibly be that different from what happened in tv shows. Also the princess was way stronger than she appeared, and she took the lead very easily. “I’d rather not talk about him.”

“If you lived with us, you’d be much more appreciated, Princess,” she informed him, voice suddenly more flirtatious.

“Stiles,” he told her, sighing. “I’m not a real princess, you know. First of all, as I’ve already said, I’m a guy.”

“That’s for me to decide, I believe,” she told him, smiling coily. “The guy part, I believe. The not being a princess, that’s debatable.” She spinned him around - and more loss of masculinity points, Jackson was having a field day - before speaking again. “If you were with us here, in our realm, you wouldn’t have to wish for anything ever in your life. I believe that’s why the wolf is jealous. He knows you’d be better off here with-”

“Jealous?” questioned Stiles, frowning. He turned to where Derek was doing a very bad job of pretending he wasn’t looking at them as they danced. “Why would Derek be jealous?”

Aurelia looked at him like she suspected he was being daft on purpose, “He doesn’t want to part with you.”

That made sense. Stiles was a big asset in the pack, and without him they would probably die in a month. Allison and Lydia did have some skills, but everyone knew that google-fu and using magical herbs and manipulating mountain ash was his talent. 

Or perhaps Aurelia meant in a romantic light? No, Derek had been acting so annoying earlier. 

“Maybe,”

Aurelia smiled, seemingly satisfied. “If you didn’t want to live fully with us, we would even allow for you to spend time between your realm and ours, and the royal guard would do anything in their power to protect you at any time. Even if we usually stay out of human or wolf conflicts.”

Stiles wasn’t really listening, his mind occupied - yet again - by Derek. Why did Derek do anything, to be honest? While Stiles was better than most at reading the Alpha werewolf, minus Peter Hale, it was still hard discerning his motivations.

“Time moves differently in the fae realm, which means you could possibly become immortal. And illnesses disappear here, too, so if you wanted to bring members of your family who you didn’t want to lose contact with, keeping them here would help, too.”

Derek wasn’t mean spirited though, and nowadays he didn't revert to monosyllabic very often. Usually when someone brought up his family, or because Stiles did or said something that he didn’t particularly like.

But he couldn’t really figure out what was the reason for his behaviour this time. Surely it couldn’t only be because he was lonely. Isaac - who was currently flirting with a bunch of naiads - had stopped by him often enough, and so had the betas.

“And so, I wanted to ask you, Princess… Stiles,”

The brunet blinked back to attention, embarrassed at having missed whatever Aurelia had been saying the whole time.

He looked at her in confusion as the woman went down to one knee, opening her palm to reveal a golden ring in her hands. “Will you marry me and make me the happiest fae in the whole universe for the rest of our days?”

“What?” he squeaked, eye twitching.

What ?” shouted her brother, rushing towards them as fast as he could.

what ,” intoned Derek, literally materialising between Stiles and the princess in the blink of an eye.

The princess proceeded to glare at her brother and then at Derek. “Move aside, wolf. He is not claimed, which means I have every right to-”

“No you don’t,” told her the man, and Stiles could guess from the tense arch of his shoulders and the way his voice came out that he was partly shifted. “He is mine .”

Stiles, who had been about to put a hand on Derek’s shoulder to try and calm down the wolf - he could see some of the guards eyeing the exchange with unhappy faces - froze up. Did Derek mean… was he…

“I am ?” he asked, voice a little higher than usual.

If possibly Derek tensed up even more. Then he turned around, purposefully giving his back to the fae and turned his eyes on Stiles, as his claws and fangs retracted, eyes still flashing red.

“If you… I mean, I feel- I haven’t said anything, and haven’t asked and you are your own person, not a things, but-” tried the wolf, the tip of his ears turning red as he stumbled on his words.

It was endearing.

Stiles found himself smiling, as he put a hand on Derek’s chest, right over his heart and moved closer to the werewolf. “I am.”

The werewolf let out a small breath, a hopeful expression on his face. “Yeah?”

Stiles nodded a couple of times. “And you’re mine, right?”

“Always and forever,” immediately said the other, and Stiles should honestly feel a little scared about the level of commitment from Derek when they hadn’t even DTR’d, but it made him even happier.

Although, “So you were acting jealous.”

Derek scowled. “They were flaunting you around to everyone and acting like they had a claim on you.”

The brunet punched his shoulder lightly. “That doesn’t give you the right to act like a big baby instead of using your words,” he complained, and Derek had the audacity of looking down and pout, acting all hurt.

So Stiles did the only logical thing: he put the man’s face between his hands and gave him a kiss.

It wasn’t a particularly memorable kiss: just a press of his lips on the other, chaste and soft and quick.

“Does that mean no to my proposal?” questioned Aurelia, and Stiles stepped back; he had genuinely forgotten that she was still kneeling on the floor.

Derek glared. “It’s a no .”

“Sorry,” added Stiles, slapping the werewolf’s arm for the rudeness.

Aurelia sighed, standing up again. “It is quite alright. I am sure there will be another princess in Beacon Hills at some point,” she sighed. She considered Derek for a second. “Who would have thought that the princess who run with wolves would find a prince among the wolves. You are a very lucky wolf, Derek Hale.”

Instead of glaring or snapping like Stiles expected him to, Derek smiled. “I am.”

“Aw hell,” groaned Stiles, blushing a little. 

“Now that you’ve said no to my sister,” suddenly said Aoife, coming to kneel down too. “Princess Stiles, will you-”

“NO!”