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Lone Wolf

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Mer
One for myself
One for the wish
I long for you
We met
One is for you
One for the gold
I long for that

- Mer, Hyukoh

 

Prologue

The time is 1806.

King and Queen Hale reign over the land. They're compassionate, kind, involved with their people.

Their children are the height of popularity. Any outing is published in the days papers. All their outfits are displayed in fashion events, are replicated and worn by the highest of society.

Life is as it has always been.

And yet a year passes, but that year brings change. A blanket of darkness, of fear, covers Beacon Hills.

Strange events occur. Murders, Sightings of the Supernatural. The people are crazed with terror, and lash out at anyone accused. Witchcraft trials are held in the street. People are dragged from their homes.

The King and Queen try valiantly to end the madness, the killing of innocent people. But then the unthinkable happens. The great monarchs are murdered in their sleep.

The people are roused from their state of insanity, and the country mourns.

But our story does not begin with their death. Our story begins with love.

*

25th December 1807

His father is invited to the annual banquet, seeing as he'a a nobleman, and therefore, Stiles is inevitably brought along.

The food is wonderful, the atmosphere alive.

Despite this, Stiles still finds himself wholly unoccupied and utterly bored. He drums restless fingers on the table, knee jittering, and pretends his gaze slides from face to face for the opportunity to glance at the King, sitting at the far end of the table.

He's a lot younger than Stiles imagined. After the death of his parents, along with his unexpected crowning, he's been a recluse, his siblings keeping close to him.

He's an unexpectedly attractive man, possessing broad shoulders, a sharp jawline.

Stiles has never seen anyone so handsome. The King's eyes are piercingly bright and clear, like Mediterranean Sea waters.

He remembers hearing of the news just some months past, a surprise to everyone as they believed Laura would be anointed Queen, oldest at twenty nine. And yet Prince Hale took up the role, took the burden off her shoulders.

But nobody knows anything of his character, being so withdrawn in society.

Many believe him rude as he so rarely speaks, and when he does, he's cuttingly inappropriate and sharp.

He also seems to have a perpetual frown lining his forehead, Stiles notes.

Still, he doesn't appear so arrogant and menacing now. To Stiles, he simply appears sad.

Everything of his countenance is poised, and yet if he's not talking with anyone, a sorrow so wretched, so bitter and almost furious bleeds into his expression.

It's rather painful to see. Stiles wonders if he's the only one able to do so.

There's talk of him taking a wife, gossip amongst the Kingdom. It's only natural, being so young, the ideal eligible bachelor. And being the King, of course, Stiles has to remind himself.

Most of the guests here are fashionable and beautiful young women.

Stiles glances back down at his plate, an odd nervous feeling eating away at his appetite. He isn't exactly hungry.

He rolls his food this way and that, and then glances up curiously again.

A pair of green eyes are fixed on him.

Stiles startles and drops his cutlery.

His Majesty blinks and gazes elsewhere.

After the meal, people mingle. The King makes his way around, greeting fathers and daughters and smiling genially.

"Shouldn't we be going?" Stiles asks innocently, feeling awkward. It's clear there are no marital prospects in their family.

"We leave when the King asks." His father replies quietly. "He's attempting to be social." He says significantly, and raises a brow.

"Oh. So-"

"Hello." A voice greets gruffly. Stiles' pulse jumps, and he whips his head around.

"Your Majesty, thank you for a lovely evening." His father steps forward quickly, and shakes his hand.

"You're welcome." He replies with a nod. He looks to Stiles.

"Yes, sir." Stiles nods. He cringes.

The King looks amused.

"I never caught your name." King Hale suggests.

"Stiles."

"Stiles." He repeats. "How unusual. Stiles."

"That's how it's pronounced." Stiles states. His parents, the royal princesses and the King himself all silence and look at Stiles.

"Because people often get it wrong! The pronunciation!" He adds incoherently.

His parents wince. The ladies look to each other.

The King raises a sardonic eyebrow. "Is that so?" His guise is blank and unimpressed, but there is light dancing in his eyes.

The collar of Stiles' tunic feels stifling. "Yes, my Lord." He answers.

If Stiles weren't mistaken, he would almost say King Hale was amused. My, he might even be smiling, if the uneven line that's broken his stiff mouth could be called that.

But that was absurd. Kings don't smile. Especially King Hale.

*

4th January 1808

After that bizarre evening, Stiles accompanies his father to the more frequent, intimate gatherings in the castle.

He refuses to acknowledge why.

Stiles, quite frankly, does not 'fit in', in the loosest sense of the word. He makes inappropriate comments, laughs too loudly, talks too animatedly, and eats unattractively.

Most evenings, as everyone is finishing their meal, Stiles escapes to the castle's library: a quiet, dark room that offers solace and peace.

One night as he's sneaking away, he looks behind him and literally bumps into a wall.

Which has arms that steady him, and a voice that grunts at impact.

Stiles glances up quickly. "Your Highness my deepest apol--"

"Please, call me Derek." The King says roughly, clearing his throat. "I'm hardly the King yet."

"You'll make an excellent one, nevertheless." Stiles assures sincerely, although wondering where on earth the words are suddenly coming from. He wants to squeeze his eyes shut and cease to exist.

Derek smiles  for a moment, before raising an eyebrow. "And where were you going?" He lowers his voice. "Have you finally realised we're all sinfully boring, and are plotting your escape?" He asks seriously.

Stiles laughs louder than they were both expecting. "Not quite!" He grins. "But sinfully boring? Well, you certainly do live up to your reputation."

Derek eyes flicker alight. "Of being curt and rude?"

Stiles tilts his head. "I was thinking more along the lines of brutally honest, but rude would be applicable."

Derek's laughter booms loud and bright, and Stiles joins him. They laugh there for a moment, leaning closer in conspiracy and trying to muffle the sound.

"Where were you headed anyway?" Derek asks finally, a true smile softening his sharp features.

"The library." Stiles answers. "It's ... quiet." He admits after a moment, feeling himself flush.

"Well, you must show me this room." Derek says with a gesture in front of him.

"It's your house, don't you know it?" Stiles blinks.

Derek's expression dims. "It was my parents. It doesn't feel quite mine yet."

Stiles swallows. "I see. Well then, I must educate you." He says, and starts up the stairs. He looks behind, only to find Derek lagging.

"Come!" He shouts and takes a hold of Derek's wrist, pulling him up.

Derek turns and laughingly allows himself to be pulled.

They take long, winding corridors until finally they arrive at the room. Stiles opens the door and breathes a sigh of relief, the silence a cloak falling over him like a blanket.

He goes to sit on the settee near the windowpane. Derek sits with him, as natural as breathing.

He asks Stiles about his life, his aspirations, his childhood, his family. And Stiles finds himself answering, gesturing wildly, laughing loudly, twisting and flailing and laughing, but Derek listens.

*

16th March, 1808

Stiles and some friends have decided to take a carriage into town for a festival. All around them is bustling activity, a variety of acts on stage, colour and music and the night air.

It's Friday. Stiles feels jittery and hyperactive, excitement in his veins, rushing through his blood.

Still, his thoughts keep straying to Derek.

They've been growing closer. They often eat lunch, walk in the village, talk and enjoy the simple company of one another.

Once, when they got lost and walked for miles in the wrong direction and couldn't seem to find a carriage anywhere, they laughed and laughed, and were still laughing on the way home as they parted. Stiles had never laughed so much in his life, never mind in one day.

They're friends. Good friends. Stiles has always been with Scott, his oldest and dearest companion since coming to Beacon Hills, but Derek's quick-fire sarcasm can have him in stitches, his kindness and compassion touched beyond belief.

He feels as if he's known Derek all his life. There's an ease that comes with Derek's company Stiles has never experienced. Although they haven't known each other long, Stiles can speak to Derek about anything - the most secret and intimate, or the most banal and simple. 

"So the first thing you do when you wake, before anything else, is roll onto the floor?" Derek shook his head in incredulity, although he was grinning.

"Yes! It's not that difficult to grasp!" Stiles cried.

"You actively roll, out of your bed, to fall onto the floor?"

"It helps me wake up!" He defended and Derek finally let go, booming his laughter.

"Well, what do you do?" He asked. "You must have servants that wake you?"

"Ahh yes, after I have been wakened by Nymphs serenading me, I am washed and dressed by pixies - "

"Okay, okay!" Stiles interrupted, chuckling. "Point made."

"And that is?" Derek inquired politely.

"Never underestimate royalty." Stiles stated.

And Derek laughed.

Stiles is getting steadily more tipsy. He feels his focus slipping as the night wears on, his vision growing murky and warm. A blur of ladies pass and move on, and Stiles nods and smiles, not remembering any of them.

There's one girl, however, Allison, who introduces herself to them. Scott flushes bright as she talks, and they learn she aspires to be a dancer, and that's she's preforming tonight.

Stiles pats Scott on the back and goes to the bar. A few other women sidle up and chat with him, and Stiles simply smiles, happy and flattered and distracted.

Then he notices a familiar face.

"Princess Laura!" He exclaims. She turns and sees him, and beams.

"What a pleasant surprise." She says.

"Yes. I am here with my good friend Scott, although I believe I have been abandoned for a pretty face."

She laughs. "Who are you with?" He asks innocently, glancing ahead of her.

"My sister, Cora. If you are looking for Derek, he is at the palace."

Stiles laughs nervously, although the tips of his ears colour. "Ah yes, my royal acquaintance." He says.

"Well, he chooses his friends." Laura grins. "I don't know how you did it, but he likes you."

Stiles tries to quell the colour rising to his cheeks by curling his toes. "I sometimes forget he's actually King." He admits.

"You and I both." She admits. "Because I'm oldest, I should rightfully be Queen, but Derek told me I wasn't ready. He promised me he was. I sometimes question my judgement in believing him."

Stiles is quiet, thinking. "What age is Derek?"

"Twenty three, as of February second."

"Twenty three? My, he is young."

"Why, and what age might you be?"

"Nineteen." He confesses, sheepish. "It's simply that he sometimes seems so much older."

Laura nods. "That he does."

"Stiles! Are you ready to leave?" Scott comes bounding closer, Allison in tow.

Laura smiles genially and Scott looks to her.

"Princess Laura." He gasps. Allison curtseys quickly, scrambling for the hem of her dress.

"None of that, I was hoping to be off duty tonight." She waves laughingly.

Stiles laughs with her, but Scott simply looks at him, horrified. He rolls his eyes.

"Well. We best be off. It was lovely talking to you, Laura."

"You too, Stiles." She grins, eyes glinting.