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Calling on the Alternates

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1

 

Stiles opens his eyes to a garishly crown molded ceiling and four tall, reaching posters. He knows almost instantly as he stares up at the crown molding, eyes disbelieving, that he is very far from home. This is not the bed he fell asleep in, and this is definitely not his room. How did he - did the pack pull a prank on him?

 

There’s shuffling somewhere near and Stiles expects to hear Scott’s muffled snicker, or Erica’s boisterous laugh. But only silence fills the air.

 

Then, “Your Grace?” coming from where he heard the shuffling.

 

And Stiles blinks. What the hell?

 

He follows the voice to a plain woman - who, mind you, he’s never seen before in his life - looking to him rather expectantly. He gapes at her for a moment. She’s wearing these clothes... petticoats? He tries to sit up, fighting down the heavy layers of bedding. “Um,” he stutters, eyes wide, half-way into sitting up.

 

“Your Grace,” the woman says, giving him a quizzical look. She steps forward and helps pull back the rest of the covers. “Do please get up from your bed, you are expected very soon by Lady Lydia. Come now, hm?” When Stiles stays frozen in shock, the woman simply ushers him out of the bed with small nudges of her fingertips.

 

Stiles follows her urging hand motions without much protest, at first. When he swings his legs over the side of the mattress and stands, though, he stops short. He’s wearing something clearly hand made, a long-sleeved white shirt with drawstrings in the front for adjustment, extra baggy on his body and nearly reaching his mid-thigh. His mind is reeling, running a mile a minute concocting theories on what the fuck is going on, but it honestly shocks him into a full brain blank to see himself in this shirt. Not to mention, completely commando underneath.

 

If his best running theory is right - that, somehow, he got transported to an alternate universe where he’s some… ‘grace’ - then this isn’t his body. His real body, the body he lived in and fought in was left behind. In his... universe? Dimension?

 

Logically, he would wake up in his own clothes if that weren’t the case, right? Stiles really doesn’t know if he wants to be right or wrong on his, but he needs to know for sure. He checks his wrist quickly for a scar he got last year, finding the skin smooth. But, it’s still undoubtedly his hand: same size, same fingers, same bitten cuticles. So, still Stiles, just... other-Stiles. A Stiles that sleeps in ridiculous rooms and has old-timey women wake him up.

 

That’s… a lot of information to take in. “Bathroom,” he says to the woman, making her jump with his sudden urgent tone. “I-I need to use the bathroom.”

 

She looks at him oddly, tilting her head to the side as she pauses. “You wish to take a bath now? We don’t have time, Your Grace, but surely after you break your fast we can arrange for a bath.” She says slowly, her tone confused and… suspicious? Maybe cautionary, but whatever accompanies her confusion sobers Stiles. Maybe he shouldn’t put up too many red flags. He doesn’t know what will happen to him here, and for now he needs to act as if nothing is out of place.

 

“Ah,” he says, letting a half grin form on his lips and tries his best to relax his posture. “Sorry, I just-- I sweat so much last night, all I could think of was getting clean. But it can wait.” He stands awkwardly at that, looking at her for what to do next. “Um. Right, Lady Lydia…?” Maybe she could make sense of this world; it’s Lydia, after all.

 

The woman seems to snap into action at that, muttering things that make absolutely no sense to Stiles as she parades him around the room, pulling out an arrayment of clothing along the way. She dresses him right over the shirt he’s already wearing, letting him slip on his own pants when he puts up a fuss about it. His clothes seem to match what she’s wearing, only much more colorful and expensive-looking. When he looks down, he keeps thinking he looks like a conquistador. And they’re stuffy. He really doesn’t like them.

 

“Lady Lydia will be waiting for you in the east dining room,” the woman says when she seems to be done. She turns her back to him, tidying up what she’s disturbed in the room.

 

“Oh,” he says, nodding. Waiting. “Right. Good to know.”

 

The woman pauses, looks over her shoulder at Stiles. “Go now, before she has your head, eh?”

 

Stiles nods quickly, pointing to the door hesitantly, then nodding again. “Right, right. Of course. East dining room. Duh.” The woman gives him another peculiar look, turning around fully to raise an eyebrow. “I’ll just… I’ll do that.”

 

Stiles heads for the door, slowly. He fiddles with the handle, which ends up actually being difficult for him to figure out. When he finally gets the door to creak open, he sees two guards in leather armor stationed outside of it. One of them looking expectantly to him.

 

“Um…” he starts. “East dining room?”

 

The guard nods, waiting until Stiles falls in step with him as he heads down the large, empty corridor. Stiles looks back to the room, where the other guard stands at attention. Does a “grace” normally have two armed guards outside their bedroom door? Something about this universe is giving Stiles a bad feeling in his gut.

 

The guard leads him for a good five minutes, through an elaborate puzzle of hallways and corridors. Stiles tries to remember as they go, eyes taking in as much as they can. Everything is as extravagant as the room he woke up in, but darker: dark, glistening wooden walls with sculpted side tables and big giant works of art. There are no windows, though, so the few candles lighting the way provide a dimmer view.

 

They emerge into a rather blue part of the place - castle? He’s not sure. But it has a light, eggshell blue vibe going, with considerably more windows and light. And flowers. They seem to adorn everything. This is where the guard finally slows, eventually coming to a stop.

 

Stiles finds out that it’s a working, flourishing part of the (castle? Palace?) place, when the hum of ambient noise he’s been hearing grows exponentially louder as a door opens and a stout woman stumbles out. It goes back to ambient noise as the door swings shut. The woman is pulling a tray on wheels, with baskets of food.

 

So, it’s a kitchen, Stiles thinks. And when he peeks out the windows along the corridor, he sees what seems like an overgrown garden. So, a garden and kitchen, which make sense to be located near one another. Certainly a thriving area of activity.

 

The east dining room ends up being just before the kitchen, Stiles finds. The guard nods to it, after which Stiles fervently nods back and steels himself. East dining room, okay. Here we go.

 

The door swings much like the kitchen door he just saw, no handle and no latch. Just a push and pull mechanism. So he pushes forward and enters and is greeted by a rather compact dining room. There’s a fireplace, giving the room a distinct orange glow, and a very large table that takes up the majority of the space, and another door. He assumes it connects to the kitchen.

 

Then right in the middle of the table, across from the fireplace, is Lydia Martin.

 

There are about three stacks of papers organized around her, a small black notebook bound haphazardly, and a pot of ink with quill. In her right hand, she’s holding a fragile looking piece of what can only be called parchment, and in her left hand she’s holding a deep burgundy liquid in a crystal glass. Stiles figures it’s wine. Which, if that’s the case, he’s in deeper shit than he thinks, because it looks like Lydia Martin is not only working in the morning, but drinking, too.

 

“Hey, Lyds,” he says tentatively. Her head jerks up in his direction quickly, and she gives him a sharp stare.

 

“Prince. Sit down.” She nods to a seat across from her. “Grace,” and now “prince” - which, albeit, clears up a bit of the confusion. Gives him a puzzle piece to mull over in his head.

 

He goes nonetheless, sitting across from her as instructed.

 

“You’re late.” she says. Stiles waits for her to say something else, but she doesn’t. Yup, he’s in deep shit for sure.

 

“Oh, um, sorry. Disorganized morning, slept in. You know,” He shrugs. She takes another sip of wine and lets an eye linger on him curiously. She looks about to say something, but a woman clambers through from the kitchen with a pitcher and a glass in her hands. The glass is set down in front of Stiles, more of the same wine poured inside and then the woman is gone.

 

“Well, you’re here now, I suppose.” Lydia piques an eyebrow at that, her shoulders almost moving in a shrug. Her eyes are back on the papers in front of her. “You have four days left, tardiness - disorganization, as you say - it’s… understandable.”

 

Stiles heart nearly skips a beat as he frowns at her. Four days? Four days left until what?

 

“Right…” he says. And for good measure, he adds, “I am a bit sick, actually. Woke up like that.” He keeps his eyes on the table, on the papers in front of her, though. He really was never one to look someone in the eye when he lies. She hmm’s.

 

They fall in silence, and soon enough food is brought out to them. Lydia half ignores her food, splitting her attention between her work and her breakfast.

 

Curiosity gets the best of Stiles eventually.

 

“Um, what are you reading? Or working on?” he asks, still looking at them like he could figure out what they were if he just stared hard enough.

 

Lydia looks up with her eyebrows high on her forehead, like she wasn’t expecting the question. She answers, though.

 

“It’s just all the arrangements, really. The guest list of who will be attending, everything that must be done in the next four days. All the ceremony rites and rituals. The cost calculations, too. Everything on your end.” She looks down at the stack suddenly in remembrance. “Actually, there is something in here for you.”

 

Stiles watches in utter confusion as she rummages through one of her stacks. Arrangements? And - what the fuck - ceremony rites and rituals? She pulls out a slip of slightly-whiter parchment and delicately hands it across the table.

 

“Letter from the Alpha,” she says. Stiles takes it slowly, brows drawn together.

 

“The Alpha? Alpha… werewolf?” he asks. Trying to figure out this world is exhausting, he thinks. So, werewolves are apparently known, and he’s still involved with them. Noted.

 

Lydia gives him an amused smirk. “Yes, Stiles, the Alpha werewolf. The leader of the packs, our King, His Majesty?” She piques an eyebrow at him, like she’s enjoying this. “Your betrothed? Remember? Or has your ‘illness’ sparked up a sudden case of amnesia?”

 

Stiles flushes, eyes widening. That’s a lot of information. Fuck. Betrothed?

 

“Yes, Stiles.” Oh, he said that out loud. “Now, stop fooling and read your damn letter. He has agreed to all of your terms and written you a note. Your duties as Alpha Consort are also included, I believe.” Lydia dips her chin to sip her wine, clears her throat and settles back into going over her stacks. Stiles is left to gape down at his letter and sweat through his stuffy layers. Fuck this fireplace.

 

Most of the words poof into incomprehension once he’s read them. Words like ‘heirs’ and ‘heat schedule’ and ‘mating.’ Stuff he doesn’t even want to understand at this point, because, honestly - what the fuck? He skips over his ‘Alpha Consort’ duties completely, turning the parchment over.

 

On the back, the handwriting is slightly more slanted, like it was more thoughts and less lists. It’s addressed with only ‘ Prince ’ and left unsigned. But Lydia said it was a note from the Alpha. Stiles gulps.

 

Prince -

 

I have agreed to all your terms without contest. I hope to make you most comfortable in this arrangement. I know of your past reluctance to our union, and I empathize. I can only hope that we will grow to know each other well, as mates. Come to me if you have need of something. Anything at all.

 

And that’s it.

 

Stiles stares at it. Rereads it. He doesn’t know how to feel about it. This is the only info he has on the guy he’s supposed to marry in four days. He’s “empathetic,” is he? Stiles honestly wants to brain himself on the table. He can understand how other-Stiles had been reluctant about this.

 

“...You do look a bit ill, Stiles,” Lydia says suddenly, and when Stiles looks up, he finds her eyes on him. Yeah, he feels ill. He’s freaked and he needs to be out of this world, like, yesterday.

 

“Um,” he says, finding his voice weak. “Where’s… Where’s my dad?” He looks intently at her, waiting for directions so he can leave and find his dad and see his dad. But Lydia’s face just slowly morphs into a confused, slightly concerned look.

 

“Your father is in his quarters, Stiles… as he always is.”

 

That makes no sense to Stiles. So? He stares at her, waiting, but there’s an air of finality to what she said. It’s clear that she’s not going to let him see his dad. Maybe no one is allowed to. Maybe he’s guarded like Stiles’ room was. Fuck.

 

“Oh, right, okay.” he says after a moment. “And Scott?” It’s a gamble, because there’s no guarantee Stiles even knows Scott in this universe, but he has to try. Seeing his buddy would be really nice right about now.

 

Lydia seems to relax a bit at the mention of Scott. “Scott is still on assignment out of the city, but he’ll be back in time for the ceremony. Don’t worry, Stiles. He’ll be here.”

 

Actually, that calms him a bit. “Oh, good.” he nods. He’s still holding the letter from the Alpha, trembling slightly in his hand. “Do I keep this, or?” he asks quietly. Lydia nods, so he sets in on the table next to his plate. Which he looks at like he’s just lost his appetite.

 

There’s a beat of silence before Lydia speaks up again. “Why don’t you return to your room for the day to rest. I’ll cancel what we have planned.” Stiles nods. “I’ll have your food sent to your room, as well.”


Stiles takes the chance to escape quickly. He gives her one more friendly nod and gets up from the table, taking the letter with him. Outside the east dining room, he tells the guard to take him back to his room, please, and he’s lead back. The hallways hold more familiarity on the walk back, he thinks to himself.

Chapter Text

2

 

Back in the room, Stiles paces. How the hell did he get here? This makes no sense.

 

His eyes flit around the room, scanning over everything he sees, hoping anything will make sense if he looks hard enough. But it all looks foreign.

 

His heart is beating quickly, and he feels that familiar anxiety coursing through him and making him move. He keeps shaking out his hand, or tapping his arm as he holds them crossed over his chest. Biting his lip, trying to keep his breathing steady.

 

He starts going through things.

 

First, the wardrobe. He’s dreaded to discover more outfits like the one he’s wearing, but reassured when he finds a good trove of lighter, simpler and more casual clothes in the back. Stuff like cotton, long-sleeve over shirts, worn leather vests and jackets. Boots and trouser with pockets. Greys and browns and greens.

 

Stiles looks down to what he’s wearing. Needless to say, it’s a quick decision to change.

 

It takes him a bit, because, what the hell, why are these clothes so complicated. But he manages to get into the more comfortable clothing. It eases his anxiety a bit, like he can breathe a bit better.

 

Feeling encouraged, Stiles goes back to looking through the things in his room. He’s not sure what he’s looking for, but he’s hoping he’ll know when he sees it. Something supernatural, or magic related. Some sort of explanation to the how’s and the why’s. He rummages through all the drawers in the room, checking for false bottoms and hidden items. He feels under the mattress, lifts up all the pillows, looks behind the headboard.

 

He spends the better part of an hour rummaging through the room, with nothing notable to show for it. He ends up flopped down on the bed, mind spinning, brow beading with sweat.

 

Why the fuck is he here?

 

He wonders if maybe someone did this to the other-Stiles. He’s a prince, he wagers, and those types are bound to have enemies. Or at least people who want to get rid of them. He swallows a lump in his throat; if that’s the case, exactly how safe is he here?

 

If someone was trying to get rid of this universe’s Stiles, then why a dimensional swap? Or perhaps this wasn’t the intended outcome.

 

Stiles closes his eyes, tries to make his brain go blank. He wants nothing more than to not deal with this. His mind lingers back to the letter, his head turning on the bed to stare at where it lies on a table across the room. He’s expected to marry this random werewolf in four days. He arrived here awfully close to the wedding day; whatever happened, however he got here, Stiles bets it has something to do with this marriage. What exactly, and why? He has no idea.

 

He huffs and stares back up at the ceiling. Someone, whoever brought him here, doesn’t want them to marry - or mate, he supposes with a cringe. And that’s certainly disconcerting. Because he’s here, and if he doesn’t get back to his world in the next four days, he’s probably going to marry the dude. And whoever performed the swap is going to think it didn’t work. And they’ll probably try again. They’ll probably try the good old fashioned way to get rid of someone. So.. that’s frightening.

 

There’s a knock at the door, making Stiles pause in his inner monologue and lift his head up. When they don’t enter, nor knock more as time stretches on, Stiles groans. He drags himself to his feet, taking his time getting to the door, only to struggle with opening it - again.

 

“Just… Hold on, gimme a sec,” he calls through the door, frowning in focus as he finally hits the sweet spot and the door unlatches. When he pulls it open, he sees a servant with a cart of food. Right, Lydia said she would send food. He steps back and holds the door open for the man to wheel the cart in. The servant bows before leaving, closing the door behind him.

 

Stiles stares at the cart of food. There’s a big pitcher of wine, one empty glass standing next to it, and an array of strange fruits, breads and cheeses. He picks up what looks like an orange plum, overripe in his fingers, and hesitantly brings it to his mouth. Juice runs down his chin and he pulls back irritated, the flavor rolling on his tongue - not bad, just weird - as he looks around frantically for a napkin. There is none, so he sets the fruit down and shakes out his hand, wiping it on his pants.

 

Stiles sees a small water basin across the room and makes his way over to rinse his hands. While they’re in the water, something to the left of the basin catches his eye. Shaking off his hands and patting them dry on his pants, he picks up a fabric-bound book with a small illustration poking out.

 

Tentatively, Stiles opens the book to where it sticks out like a bookmark. He blinks, frozen as he stares down at a younger version of himself.

 

Carefully, he slips the piece of parchment from between the book pages. His hair is cut short and he’s wearing some sort of armor in the illustration, and he’s posing almost as if for a photo. Stiles glances down to the page where the paper was tucked away, surprised to see his name - his full name - heading the page in bold calligraphy. Now curious beyond compare, he picks up the book and heads back for the bed.

 

He lies on his stomach and begins reading the page. Born in the year of the Sparrow, to Alpha King John Stilinski and Alpha Mate Claudia Stilinski. The first Omega born of an Alpha King in two centuries. Prophesized to bring prosperity to the Packs, and to lead with a fortuitous match.

 

Stiles looks up from the page, brow furrowed. Omega? Does that mean he’s a wolf? He sits up quickly, heart beating. He squeezes his eyes shut and focuses hard, trying to pull out any sort of animalistic self within him, for lack of any better instinct. But nothing happens. There are no claws when he opens his eyes. His eyebrows are still there when he touches them. He harrumphs.

 

So, not a wolf. He picks the book back up and starts to skim. If he’s not a wolf, what does omega even mean? He keeps reading, eyes beginning to skip over as his childhood is described detail by detail: he broke his arm when he was seven, quite fascinating.

 

He flips the page and slows his pace when his mom is mentioned. Claudia Stilinski, Alpha Mate, fell ill during the prince’s tenth year. She was buried on castle grounds during the prince’s eleventh year. The kingdom fell into disrepair, the Alpha King secluded himself in his quarters.

 

Stiles takes a deep breath, shaking himself out of whatever thoughts his mind was headed for. Of course his mother died here, too. He keeps reading.

 

The kingdom crumbled over the course of three moon cycles before the Alpha King Stilinski was usurped. Omega Prince Stilinski was betrothed to the new Alpha in an effort to appease Stilinski supporters within the packs, the mating to be instituted once the Omega comes of age. The Stilinski pack and their counsel are confined to the East Wing and considered guests of the Crown until the new Alpha deems different.

 

Stiles continues reading for a bit, but words quickly branch off into accounts of rebellious mischief other-Stiles seemed to get into after the usurping. Stiles keeps flipping, trying to find another source of info within the book. Eventually, the carefully scripted writing comes to an abrupt end and blank pages follow in its stead.

 

He stares at the blank pages for a moment. There must be dozens of unfinished books around this place, someone keeping records of these people’s lives. Would they keep a record of his time here?

 

There’s another knock on the door and Stiles quietly thanks the universe for a distraction from his thoughts. He closes the book, gets up to answer the door. However, before he can do so, it’s burst open and the handmaiden from this morning walks in, followed by more servants carrying a large brass tub.

 

“Your Grace,” the handmaiden curtsies. “I have heard you aren’t feeling well - a good salt bath will help.” Stiles sits up straighter, watching as the handmaiden stands before him expectantly and the others hurry to set up the bath.

 

“Um,” he starts. “Yeah, sure. That’s cool.” He mumbles the last part as he says it, belatedly realizing that it may sound odd in this world. Slang words like ‘cool’ or ‘rad’ or ‘dude’ probably have no place among royalty. Thankfully, though, the handmaiden is already occupied with his cart of food.

 

“I see you haven’t eaten your food,” she says primly, turning and squinting her eyes at him. “You need to keep your energy up. A good mating will exhaust you.” She turns back to the tray and begins to pile food onto a plate. Stiles sits on the bed in horror, face red.

 

She returns to Stiles with her stacked plate, thrusting another one of the orange-plum-things into his hands, and stares good and hard in wait for him to eat it. So, Stiles takes a bite. It runs down his chin again, but this time the handmaiden whips out a handkerchief and hands it over. After wiping up his face, Stiles gives her a funny look.

 

“What’s with this fruit? It doesn’t taste very sweet, but there’s so many of them on the tray…” he says. The woman glances briefly behind her.

 

“Oh, yes. Dr. Deaton not tell you? The sweetness comes after you’ve eaten it. Makes your skin and your scent sweet for the mating.” She smiles briefly, before setting the food down on the bed and checking on the bath drawing. Stiles, meanwhile, is frozen mid-chew, staring down at the fruit in his hand, then at the lot of them piled on the plate next to him. That’s… certainly new information. Well, at least he knows now that Deaton is a part of this world. He could be instrumental in getting him back, if this world’s Deaton is as knowledgeable as his.

 

As for the fruit in his hand, he’s not sure what the right thing to do in this situation is - does he care if he smells or tastes sweet, as she put it? She had been adamant that he eat it, he thinks. So, he slowly begins to finish chewing.

 

“Now, you all are dismissed. Leave his Grace to me, now, go!” Stiles is pulled out of his thoughts by the handmaiden’s voice. She shoos the rest of the servants from the room with dramatic flaps of her arms. And the brass tub - it’s filled just shy of the brim with steaming water. It’s actually beginning to look tempting.

 

“Alright, your Grace. Let’s strip your clothes.”

 

Stiles looks to her with wide eyes. “What?” He puts down his half eaten fruit, crosses his arm over his chest without thinking.

 

“Come now, I’ll bathe you, as always. You can strip yourself, of course.”

 

It’s a common thing, of course. It means nothing. She’s probably been his handmaiden since he was a child, he reasons. Certainly nothing she hasn’t seen before. Like going to the doctor’s.

 

Yeah, nope. He is not okay with that. “Just give me a moment of privacy.” He pleads. She seems to roll her eyes, but turns around nonetheless.

 

He begins to undress quickly, slipping everything off until he’s down to his undershirt. When that’s gone, too, he hunches his body in the cold and steps closer. The tub lip is high, at about his waist, but thankfully his handmaiden steps in with her back still turned, like she was expecting this to happen, and extends her arm to help him step in.

 

The water is incredible once his foot is submerged, and he groans. The water tingles against his skin, giving him goosebumps as he lowers himself inch by inch. The tub is sloped, so his body slides down easily and his head rests just above the water level.

 

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees his handmaiden whip around and pick up a small basin to dip in the water. She touches the crown of his head, ushering him to tilt it back. He does so, eyes blinking up as warm water washes over his scalp. She brings her hand down to refill the basin and repeat. Stiles closes his eyes.

 

He has so many questions whirling around in his brain as the woman above him goes through the motions of bathing him. How can he ask questions without raising suspicions?

 

“What’s going to happen to me in four days?” he asks quietly. Her hand pauses for a split second on his forehead. Then, it continues through his hair after the water is poured.

 

“You’ll be mated, your Grace.” she says. Her hands come back to his hair with something which she lathers into his scalp. Stiles ‘hmm’s as she washes his hair and subsequently rinses it.

 

“I mean,” he starts a minute later. “I don’t even know him, right?” he mumbles. When the hands disappear from his scalp and returns with a sturdy grip of his chin, Stiles opens his eyes.

 

“Hush, my child. You are to be Alpha Mate of the packs. All will be right in the end.” she says, her eyes seeming to glisten in reverence. Stiles blinks.

 

“Yeah, right. Of course.” he says, voice small. His handmaiden smiles, gets up and goes to the cart of food. Stiles watches her reach for the empty glass and the pitcher of wine. She pours a glass near full and brings it back to Stiles.

 

“Here, your Grace. Drink up.”

 

He takes the glass from her after a beat of silence, which makes her smile and return to the task at hand.

 

Clearly, he will find no solace in this woman. Stiles really hopes there’s someone in this castle with which he can.


He tips the glass back and gulps the wine down.