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and the wild things roared their terrible roar

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They literally throw Stiles to the Wolves when he’s fifteen.

He's a greenseer. A beloved son of the Children, yet not even that could save him.

 His father had clutched his arm hard, he carried the bruises for an entire moon cycle, but the elders insisted. A greenseer for an alliance between the Children and the Wolves was a small price to pay, they argued over the fire. His father tried vainly to keep him with him, with their people, but one of the elders took Stiles aside and assured him if he went willing, if he gave his body to the Wolves, they'd take care of his aging father, insure he will be cared for every winter, no matter how harsh.

He agrees. How can he not? Winter is coming. No one but the elders can be guaranteed an easy winter and his father has seen too many bad ones, including the one the year previous that murdered his mother.

He doesn't meet his betrothed until the hand fasting.

The day is spent feasting and there's Wolves everywhere. Some have their faces twisted into feral mockery of humanity, others were humanoid wolves, other still are shifted into the giant direwolves that prey on everything that moves in the forest, including the Children. His people eyes those ones with fear. He has no clue which of these dark haired, bright eyed and light skinned Wolves will be his husband.

He finds out in front of the bonfire that night, "Everything the Wolves do must be witnessed by their Mother Moon." One of the elders explains. Night weddings were not Children tradition, neither was the ceremony being held in the beginnings of winter. "I will not lie. We need this union to keep the young and old fed." Everything the Children do must be witnessed by the trees with faces and the ceremony taking place in glade the gods watch over and Stiles is a greenseer. He insists that he marry in the godswood in a tone none of the elders can argue with.

His bridegroom is striking and has red eyes that light from within. Stiles is cowed even as he holds his head high. His heart stutters and skips and he doesn’t know how it keeps pumping blood. By all accounts, his fear should have killed him by now. Derek, he learns his name from one of the slaves – “We are omegas, not slaves.” -- later that night, has feral eyes and looks at Stiles like he wants to crawl into his spirit and chew his way out.

His description of the Wolf is apt.

He is young, not the grizzled and grey man Stiles expecting when the elders first announced their decision. His face is attractive, absolutely no marks on him like he’s healed every scar that could be. In any other circumstance, Stiles may have enjoyed the man’s winter beauty, but as the circumstances are, he despairs. This is not a man, he thinks, this is a Wolf that leads and kills. This is a wild, feral being that none can tame.

That night, Stiles is told to run under the moonlight, to the jeers of the Wolves, the omega girl that prepared him for his hand fasting explaining the particulars, "They want to make sure they found a worthy mate for their alpha. Run, hide, evade him for as long as you can. Fight him. No one likes a cowed bitch as their alpha-mate."

So Stiles does.

He uses the magic that comes naturally to him. He knocks snow from the trees to cover his tracks. Covers his scent as much as the pine needles will allow. He uses magic to send his husband – “Wolves do not have wives or husbands. We have mates.” -- in the opposing directions, away from Stiles and he's lost and panting when he falls to his knees in the early snow.

The moon is still bright, sinking slowly down the sky and he's so afraid. His magic is dwindling down to little sparks that he's using to keep warm. The forest cracks and snaps and he jerks to stare but then he hears it from the other direction. He thinks maybe Derek has found him, not possible, not so soon, but then again, isn't that the idea? His heart is pounding, drowning out all other noise which isn't in his best interest and he's tensing, getting rid to sprint away, just in case.

He doesn't make it far before a Wolf pounces on him, slamming him into the snow and knocking his breath from his lungs. He struggles. He uses the warmth he's been using in his hands to grab on to fur, by the Gods, he’s a direwolf, to burn him away from him. The Wolf howls in pain and snarls, grabbing Stiles' arm in thick jaws that threaten to break bone. Stiles stills.

The Wolf settles on top of him, and takes him under the Mother Moon.

The Wolves have a large territory and roam all around it. The Children Stiles was once a part of live in the middle of their territory. Stiles will travel with them and this is why they picked a greenseer to live alongside the Wolves. His magic protects him from the worst of the cold. He can keep up with them better than a normal Child could. The winter won’t claim his life like it claimed his mother’s.

It doesn’t stop him from struggling through the heavy snow with the Wolves that are not Wolves but have only the one human skin. Derek is always in the front, leading the way. Stiles stops by the godtrees he can, resting a hand on them for strength and cries his grief and loneliness into them when he can. They always pulse against his palm, like a reminder, the Wolves may own you now, but your blood belongs to us. It always gives him the strength to stay with the pack and fulfill his duties as alpha-mate when all he wants is to run back to his father and people.

He shares a tent with Derek every night.

Derek fucks him nightly, and Stiles lays back and lets it happen, telling himself that he's trading his body for warmth. His magic can't be active all the time. He needs time to rest his body and Derek only grunts when he burrows into the Wolf's side afterwards. It hurts sometimes. Sometimes it doesn't and Stiles despairs this will be the rest of his life.

It unexpectedly changes when another pack of Wolves begins to hunt in their territory. Forcible expansion, Stiles thinks, winter has driven them from what’s theirs.

Stiles is left with the children and women and men who are Wolves but aren’t shifters when the others leave the pack to chase the strange pack away.

He's sitting with the omega girl that serves as his attendant and bodyguard. Her name is Erica. She’s a beautiful blonde from a village that the Wolves raided along the Wall. She’s seen his body after his nights with Derek and always offers her advice in low whispers. Stiles thinks she does it primarily to see his face burn. The Children were not like this when it came to couplings, and Erica is unlike anyone he’s ever known. He's seen Derek's closest Wolves take her in the snow on her knees or back and she always arches into it, like she gains pleasure from it and howls and screams. "Men like him take. He thinks he needs to conquer you. Something about you is still, other. Some of the Wolves fear you because of it." She whispers into his cold ear, her breath making it sting. "If you let yourself be his, it will allow him into being gentle. Kinder. Wolves do not destroy what is theirs. Not purposely."

She's whispering different techniques into his ear, dirty filthy things Stiles can never imagine having the bravery to do because Derek is so strong and intimidating. He manhandles him like Stiles is a child with no effort. He’s witnessed Derek throwing a tree that had fallen in their path like Stiles would to a stick. She’s whispering about the power of being on your knees when everything gets eerily quiet and so, so, so cold.

The wind doesn't speak. The other pack members fall silent and glance at each other in confusion. Quiet never befalls the forest like this. This is wrong and makes the hairs on Stiles’ neck stand on end. Erica jerks her head up in fear and Isaac, another bodyguard, shifts into a dark brown direwolf. Then the White Walkers start to appear from the trees, the pack fearfully drawing tight together because most of the seasoned protectors of the Pack are with Derek, chasing after the intruding pack.

The screams begin as the White Walkers get their hands on the Wolves and Stiles, Stiles can't allow this to happen to Derek's pack, to people Derek obviously lives for. His magic races to his touch and he instantly feels the bite of the cold he usually counters and begins flinging his magic at them, burning bright in their vision and they hurl themselves at him and he keeps himself out of their reach as the Wolves that only wear human skin like him begin to make fire, torches and that's good, very good, why didn't he think about that?

He rushes into the forest, orders falling from his mouth like they always come easy. He absorbs the moisture from the fallen trees and branches with every touch, always a hair faster than the White Walkers and it's Erica, that catches on, "Grab the wood! Light it! Trap them!"

The White Walkers, there are two but even two is enough to kill the entire Pack, howl and shriek as they burn. Stiles watches and the Pack brings him wet wood to dry out to keep the fire roaring. The Wolves protecting their territory howl in terror as they begin to return, and even with his Children ears he can distinguish the sound, but Isaac throws his head back and howls in victory and after a beat all of the other Wolves repeat the action, their howls leading their pack mates home.

He's injured from the close calls with the White Walkers when Derek and the rest of the Wolves return and Erica and the other men and women of the pack are huddled around Stiles, trying to put warmth back into his bones. His magic took a lot from him and he's grateful for their bodies. He has cuts all over his face from ice, bruises from when he fell, torn clothing from when a White Walker tore his sleeve, skin abused by the elements. But he's glowing in victory. He helped take down a threat to the Pack. He's not anyone's burden.

That night marks a change in Derek and Stiles.

Embolden by his daring, he's unafraid to push and pull Derek how he wants him, how Erica has told him it could be, under the night sky, with the Mother Moon so she can witnesses them. All important events that happen to the Wolves is witnessed by the Moon and Stiles is important, he is. Maybe it's a combination of all their trials that day. Maybe Derek is tired from his own battle, but he lets Stiles move him with amusement and Erica was right.

This time is easier, gentler, harder with Stiles on top, Derek's hands pressing into each bruise, making it hurt so beautifully and wildly he wishes he can mark Derek, make him his so all the Wolves know Derek's his as much as he's Derek's. He can hear Erica moaning, not far from them and Derek seems to never feel the cold of snow and now Stiles doesn't feel it either. He can't say if he's using magic with every sound that tears from his throat, but the cold doesn't touch him. He has always been ambivalent towards sex before, when it doesn't hurt. Now he can't imagine not having this, not feeling Derek in him at all times and he whines and covers Derek's mouth with his own.

“Kissing,” Erica told him with eyes reflecting her previous life, “is not something Wolves do. A practice only humans and the Children follow.”

Stiles is of the Children. The godwoods speak to him. He commands the ability to warm, bring rain, destroy and create. He will have this.

And it's good, feeling Derek in his mouth and he irrationally wants Derek in him in any way possible. He wants it badly enough he whimpers at the thought and Derek's eyes convey his confusion at Stiles' scent of loss.

After that night, it's easier to share his bed with Derek. He enjoys it and craves it like the deviant Derek has made him.

His magic gets stronger.

Derek's Wolves smirk at him and seem proud of their alpha, constantly congratulating him on his mating to the greenseer. Derek never smirks back or says anything to their lewd jokes, just finds Stiles and pins him with green eyes that turn red in a blink.

He uses his magic to keep the wood and fabrics dry, uses his magic to warm the children and human skinned pack mates as they patrol their territory. He uses it to trick White Walkers into traps for Derek and his Wolves to tear apart, their teeth stronger than steel and more deadly it seemed than fire. He uses it to mask their scents from packs that dare step a paw in their territory. Derek proud and pleased every inch of the way.

Before, Derek seemed to think he only existed at night when he wanted a warm body. Now, Derek follows him, keeps him warm when he’s strained himself, insures he doesn’t over extend himself more than necessary and keeps his energy up with meat.

He's sixteen when the rest of gifts begin to manifest. The gifts that make him a pride to his people and more valuable to the Wolves.

Greenseers can use their magic to become animals, use it to see into the future, to predict a threats, find food – they believe it, will it and it happens.

Stiles finds when he is nestled into Derek's side around the camp fire, and he's pleasantly warm and the fire is all he can see, he will see glimpses of tree falls, snow blocking passes, enemy packs drifting into their territory.

“A good gift for your mate, my little wolf.” Derek breathes after the first few visions are proven true. “You make me so strong.”

“Anything for you, my moon.” Stiles says, meaning it down to his bones. “Anything you want.”

The Wolves travel to a cave for the coldest part of winter.

They all sleep together in a mess of bodies and heat. Any modesty Stiles once had a claim to is lost in that mess, finding he didn't want to live without Derek's hands on his skin, his mouth biting into his skin and fingers searching, the first night. It's in that cave the Wolves began to act differently. The shifters inhaling Stiles scent like something to savor with something akin to joy in their eyes. Derek keeps him closer, bringing him everywhere and constantly feeding him, showing constant affection that isn’t normal for the Alpha. Feeding him seems to be a thing for everyone in the pack. Keeping him feed, warm and asleep. He doesn't find out why until winter loses her hold and he can venture out of the cave without half a dozen animal skins to keep him warm and his stomach has grown.

"What on earth?" He whispers in shock.

His stomach is bulging slightly and when he touches it with trembling fingers, it is firm. Not a buildup of fat, but a growth of something else.

"You're with child." Erica assesses, pleasure and contentment in her voice.

"You aren’t surprised." Stiles says faintly.

She shakes her head with a wicked smile. “We could all smell it on you, for weeks.” Her face grows serious."You aren’t very far along," She says. "The Wolves would have said if you were far along not to lose the child."

For all that she is a Wolf like the others, Erica was bitten, made into what she is. She’s an omega and as such, the Wolves pretend not to see her or interact with her unless they desire her. She seems content with the arrangement and tells him one night where Derek is away and he doesn’t want to sleep alone, “I prefer the conversation of the omegas more. They are like me. From not around here. They have interesting stories and thoughts.”

He goes back to find the cave to find Derek -- his mouth curling like how his mate's does when he's furious and attacks the other man. He’s snarling mad and ready to sink his teeth into his mate’s flesh and does it to Derek’s laughter.

Derek's Wolves hoot and laugh and Derek is humoring him, much too gentle for the rage and violence he's inflicting on his mate that turns into sex as it always does. It's violent in a way that Derek approves of, his words and movements encouraging, eyes red and staring deep into Stiles’ gold ones. Daring him. Edging him on. Pushing him.

He slumps exhausted against Derek's chest, breathing heavily and glaring into his mate’s eyes. "Wolves bite you know." He informs his mate and bites his mate's chest hard to prove a point.

"Yes, they do little wolf." Derek agrees with a bite to Stiles' throat. "And our cub will be the strongest, most vicious of us all."

The child grows in him with each moon and he can feel it changing in him like her father does. It takes all his magic those nights to keep the cub from ripping his insides to shreds and he always sleeps heavily the next day. "It will be a future alpha is why." Erica thinks. "The beta wolves do not shift in the mother."

All the Alphas gather after winter ends in the mountains to see who has passed the winter and who has fallen.

"Neuge and her pack froze." An alpha speaks.

And so it goes. The accounts of packs that did not survive winter and those that did not survive another pack. Stiles watches it all through narrow eyes, calculating, measuring these strange packs, their weaknesses and strengths.

“No blood may be spilt in these mountains.” Derek explains the night before they make the climb. “It is the burial ground of every Alpha and everyone must be allowed to seek their Alphas’ wisdom.”

It makes sense, like how the other Children living in the forest do not destroy another’s godstree but leaves it offerings and cares for it like they would their own.  

Their Pack relies on speed, viciousness and cunning. Unlike a lot of the Alphas here, their Pack has the Children to cultivate fruit and nuts for when meat is scarce, making them healthier as well. Maybe the other packs think it makes Derek weak, relying on the Children. Derek’s Wolves give the Children protection for as long as they keep the gods satisfied and appeased to keep the trees flowing with nuts and fruit in summer and encourage plant life in winter so the deer and rabbits will not be scarce. It is an alliance that works, Stiles thinks when he sees how gaunt and tiny the other Wolves are compared to them. He does not know why some packs hunt the Children in their territory and don’t forge an alliance instead.

But recording and sharing information of other packs is not all that the Alphas have gathered to do.

Stiles is not the only alpha-mate expecting a future Alpha, much less the only one born a non-Wolf.

There is a pack that has a Wildling woman, a man from the Night Watch, an adventurer from the beyond the Wall, a woman given to a pack as a sacrifice at a village along the Wall. Five non-Wolf alpha-mates out of dozens.

There are only two others pregnant that must prove the cubs they carry will be the next alpha in their pack. None of the Wolves expecting a cub are expecting an alpha cub, not even the male Wolf mated to the Alpha female with frost bitten skin from White Walkers decorating her body. It’s a source of anger amongst the packs that don’t allow their Wolves to intermingle and breed with humans that the packs that do, have a higher alpha-cub rate.

"No one knows what happens on the mountain top." Isaac says quietly when he asks in curiosity, Erica isn't allowed up the mountain due to her omega status. "Just that a lot of expectant alpha-mates die up there."

Derek snarls before releasing Stiles. "You will prove yourself." It sounds less like an order than a plea.

“Anything you want, my moon.” Stiles says, pressing their foreheads together briefly.

The man from the Night Watch is further along in his pregnancy. His stomach swollen enough his steps are strange to watch. The woman sacrificed to the Wolves isn’t showing at all. Stiles is between both of them. His middle is big enough a man or woman could guess at his condition if he wears his summer clothes, but in his winter clothes they’d never suspect.

The old Wolves that continuously live in these mountains and serve the dead lead them to a place surrounded by glass rock the Children make their blades and sharp tools from. Not a mountain, he thinks, a volcano. When the sun leaves the sky, his sister reigning in her full glory, the Wolves reveal what is to happen.

"The direwolves are our brothers and sisters.” From the same path they came from, three direwolves appear. “For every Alpha that is to be born, a direwolf must die." A creaky old female Wolf says.

Stiles looks at her sharply and realizes before the other two what is about to happen. The direwolves are monstrous. Stiles has seen Derek change often enough, has wrapped his cold body around him often enough, has been mounted by Derek in this form enough that he knows exactly how much power is in those jaws, how sharp the teeth are, how quick they can be, to be afraid for his life and his daughter’s.

He feels his lip curl in a snarl, much like his mate has done when challenged for his position in the pack and for Stiles, and knows the black direwolf with hulking shoulders and saliva dripping from her muzzle will be the one he kills for his daughter to be born with her spirit.

The direwolf lowers her head in acknowledgement and attacks him. He can distantly hear the other two scream but he is shoving his arm in the beast's mouth to keep her fangs from his throat. He uses his other hand to punch the direwolf in the head and feels his knuckles crack on her skull. The direwolf lets go and snarls. Stiles can hear the sounds of the other alpha-mates and direwolves snarling and sobbing, but his eyes remain on the direwolf.

Stiles doesn't bother to cry, to think of not living. He has his daughter. He has Derek. He has his magic and the legacy of greenseers and Children blood in his veins. The direwolf is merely a wolf. His daughter will be more than a Wolf. She will be a queen Wolf and Child alike will fall to their knees to follow. He will win.

He attacks the wolf and believes. He rips into her coarse fur with his nails, burns her with hands and forces her to show him her throat so he can rip it out with his human, blunt teeth. His daughter shifts in him, would howl if she could in victory. He can feel the direwolf's spirit becoming one with his daughter's, transforming her from a mere shifter into the Alpha he knows her to be.

When he has the mind to look around, the man from the Night Watch is ripped apart. The grey direwolf consuming him and his unborn child. The woman has her throat torn out like the brown direwolf that did it could not be bothered with the rest of her, like he believed the human unworthy of his stomach.

Stiles faces the elders that led him up and growls at them before howling, his song quickly being joined by the howls of Derek, Boyd, Isaac, and all the others, even those at the base of the mountains like Erica.

When he moves down the mountain with the elders, Derek rushes to meet him and noses at him, like he doesn't know what to do with all the blood Stiles is covered in. He ends up licking his mate clean of the blood that night, driving cries from Stiles that the other packs who lost their alpha-mates and cubs can surely hear, but maybe that's the point. To shove in their faces Derek has the superior mate and how strong they will be, how strong his daughter will be.

The elders skin the direwolf's black pelt for his daughter and gives it to him with secretive smiles. Derek touches the fur, questions in his eyes like he thinks he knows what happens, but it is too absurd to believe without Stiles telling him how it was. Stiles smiles as he touches the black pelt and keeps the secrets of the alpha spirit to himself as hundreds, maybe thousands, of others have. It will be his daughter’s fur while she's human skinned like Stiles. He touches the fur Derek always wears with reverence now that he knows what the alpha-mate that birthed him must have gone through to earn it for Derek. It gives him more respect for the Pack. These people are feral and vicious but so strong, earning every breath they breathe.

Before they come down from the mountains, the man from the adventurer tries to make a run for it. His alpha and pack run him down and spread his flesh across the mountain pass. Stiles can see his eye when they travel down. "His pack punished him for his cowardice." Derek says when he realizes what has caught Stiles' attention. "He shamed them."

"Fitting," Stiles says when a year ago, he would have recoiled in horror.

The Children are no strangers to war or violence, their swords of glass and presence in Wolf territory a testament to that, but Stiles had been a more gentle soul. His head constantly full of magic for rebirth and growth and prayers to keep the godswood alive and content. Now he is a Wolf.

They visit his old people, the Children, in the summer. They trade pelts for food. Relax amongst allies and take time to worship and teach the young about allies and friends and the gods in the trees.

He sees his father and is embraced by him, Derek menacing behind him, he's sure. Derek shadows him everywhere he goes, even when he goes to visit the other greenseers in the godsgrove. He follows him when he speaks to Scott, who tells Stiles of a princess he spied atop the Wall in guilty whispers.

He doesn't fit with these people that he left only a few months ago. They seem soft and strange now. They shy from interactions with the Wolves, thinking them beasts like their brothers and sisters the direwolves, expect for a select few. There is another greenseer, Stiles' milk sibling, Lydia, that allows Jackson to take her or Danny that eyes Isaac with quiet interest; although, neither Wolf takes a mate under the Mother Moon's eye.

Stiles' is relieved to leave all the same in the middle of summer, the cub, his daughter bruising his skin with her energy and his stomach large. Derek likes seeing the bruises, her kicks that shift the skin, likes the proof before his eyes of his cub's strength. And Stiles indulges him, “Anything you want, my moon.”

The cub is born on the night of the harvest moon, large and orange.

No one could send Derek away and Stiles had laughed when the Wolves in charge of the birth tried. Derek snarls and growls at his side the entire time, fearful of losing his mate, perhaps, fearful of losing his cub. Stiles snarls back. He and his daughter are strong. Stronger than any Wolf. They have the blood of the Children in their veins.

"Her name is Rota." Stiles says when he sees his daughter's face for the first time.

Derek bumps his head against Stiles' in agreement.

Their daughter will unite all the Wolves one day. She will be a storm that breaks down the Wall and claim beyond the Wall for the Children and the Wolves once again. The seven pointed star men that dared to drive them from the summer will fall under her Pack. Soon, Rota will unleash the horror of winter upon the soft and weak, allowing only the strong and cunning to rule the earth. But for this night, she is in his arms, her hair black like the pelt Stiles earned for her, and her barely open eyes the constant red of an alpha.

 Winter is coming.