Stiles was never opposed to the idea of an arranged marriage. He was to be king one day, his responsibilities were to the people of Beacon, so when the Argents started to discreetly sniff their northern borders and the suggestion came of an arranged marriage between Stiles and Derek, prince of Triskele, their neighbor to the east, he immediately accepted. While Beacon and Triskele had always been friendly with each other he knew an alliance like that, between the magic users of Beacon and the shifters of Triskele, would make a force not many went against.
He didn’t know Derek, hadn’t met him since they were young children, but he had met his sister and their parents a few times in recent years, and they were great people. Of course Stiles wanted love and happiness in a marriage, but he thought that if they both wanted that they could be happy. Maybe not in love, but happy, and they could learn to love each other in some capacity. He was positive, it could be good, he would work hard for it, and he hoped Derek would too.
That didn’t mean he wasn’t nervous when he first met Derek knowing they were to be wed. Derek was to visit Beacon, along with his father, King William, and Stiles was so nervous when he got dressed that his handmaid had to sternly tell him to stop fussing with his outfit several times. As Derek and William arrived, both looking more royal than Stiles ever could dream of looking, even as they were on horseback, Stiles stood nervously beside his parents, fussing with his clothes until John lightly nudged his elbow.
“Sorry,” Stiles mumbled quietly, knowing the werewolves had excellent hearing, as he put his hands behind his back. He didn’t want to make a fool of himself the first thing he did.
He was glad that he could stand back a moment longer while his parents greeted William, and he was somehow made a little at ease when he noticed Derek seemed just as nervous as Stiles. With a slightly furrow between his brows, his jaw clenched, and his mouth in a thin line Derek would have looked almost angry if it wasn’t for his huge eyes that betrayed his nerves. His lips twitched into a stiff smile for a second, and Stiles’ own matched.
When it was his turn, William clasped their hands together and smiled warmly as he greeted him, and Stiles managed to smile back, properly, but then he was face to face with Derek.
“Hi,” he said faintly as they clasped their hands.
“Hi,” Derek said, just as faintly, and Stiles’ smile turned a little more relaxed.
The Hales were all beautiful, and Derek was no exception with his ink black hair, sharp jaw and pale eyes. Stiles quickly learned that he was all kinds of adorable too though. His nervous smiles and his slight blush at too much attention had Stiles wanting to take his hand in silent comfort. He also learned that he was woefully unprepared for Derek’s real smile. It came during the second day of his visit, Stiles said something, he couldn’t even remember what, and Derek beamed at him, making Stiles lose his thought completely as he watched in awe, until Derek blushed and his smile turned nervous and shy again.
Stiles felt himself fall fast, hard and deep for Derek. The plan was that they would officially announce an engagement after just a month, but that they wouldn’t marry for another two years. It wasn’t an extremely long engagement period, but it was long, and though no one explicitly told him, Stiles knew that it was to make sure they were both happy, so that their parents would know they weren’t sending their sons off to a miserable life. For Stiles, he doubted there would be any problems, and from what he could gather of Derek he didn’t think he had any objections either.
Derek smiled easily, dipped his chin as if that would hide his dimples (Stiles was so glad it didn’t, those dimples were the best), and Stiles helplessly smiled back every single time. When Derek first noticed he blushed, but that declined over the months. Sadly. Stiles adored his blush. He had a dry sense of humor that cracked Stiles up at the most inappropriate times, he was attentive, not only to Stiles, but to Beacon too, which made Stiles very happy, and he was so very sweet.
About a year into their engagement Stiles was visiting Triskele, and Derek told him to get dressed for a long ride. Stiles was curious, but he trusted it would be worth it, everything Derek did was, so he playfully nagged a little on the way, but he was mostly just happy to be out riding with Derek. When he noticed they were headed for the Golden Mountains in the southern parts of Triskele Stiles looked at Derek.
“Seriously?” he asked, but Derek just smiled at him, looking pleased with himself, and Stiles groaned. “Oh, come on.”
By the time they reached a passage between two ridges Stiles was almost vibrating with excitement, and even though Derek still hadn’t confirmed anything he was pretty sure where they were headed. He felt small as they dismounted just outside the passage, the mountains here huge, and he swallowed nervously and looked at Derek.
“It’s fine, they’re friendly creatures,” Derek said softly.
“Then why are we dismounting?” Stiles asked as he petted Roscoe’s neck, probably more to calm his own nerves than the horse’s.
“Because horses are flight animals, and I don’t care how brave Roscoe and Camaro are, I don’t want to risk them being scared when faced with a dragon,” Derek said, grinning.
“What about me?” Stiles asked, and while he winked he knew Derek could smell just how nervous he really was.
“I promise they won’t hurt you,” he said and took Stiles’ hands in his. “I promise, okay?”
Stiles nodded and swallowed again, then he grinned, a little weakly probably, but he tried. “Okay. I trust you.” He was excited, so very excited, but they were dragons, they breathed fire, he thought he was allowed to be nervous.
Derek kept holding one of Stiles’ hands as they left their horses with their little entourage of guards and servants and started through the passage.
“They belong to us, to the Hales,” Derek said as they walked. “We don’t really own them though, but whenever a baby is hatched we visit them and they tell us who it belongs to, it’s an old tradition, and it’s more that they bond with humanoids. They come to our aid if anything happens, and we protect and help them however we can.”
“You communicate?” Stiles asked. He had read about dragons, but he had never encountered any really reliable source on their communication, so he had thought it was just old tales and myths.
“Yes, we do,” Derek said with a smile. “You’ll see.”
They reached the end of the passage and a huge valley opened up before them. Stiles gasped softly at the view, it was amazing, lush and colorful with forests and big fields brimming with flowers. Then something flapped loudly and a dragon landed before them. Stiles grip on Derek’s hand tightened involuntary, and Derek gently squeezed back as the dragon dipped it’s head.
“This is Gyrmaephys,” Derek said. “Gyrmaephys, this is my fiance, Crown Prince Stiles Stilinski of Beacon.”
“You give his title, but not mine?” the dragon said, inside Stiles’ head somehow.
“Stiles, this is Gyrmaephys The Scary,” Derek said flatly.
“It’s an honor to meet you, Gyrmaephys The Scary,” Stiles said, knowing his voice was a little shaky as he hoped he pronounced the name acceptable.
“As is it mine to meet you, young prince,” Gyrmaephys said.
“Gyrmae thinks it’s funny that she’s dubbed ‘The Scary’, so she’s very adamant we use that,” Derek said. “I’m still not sure why she’s dubbed that though, must be all the cuddles she gives.”
Derek grinned as he spoke, but Stiles had no problem understanding that title for her. She was huge, first of all, but since he had only met her he didn’t know if she was bigger than the norm. Her eyes were an almost glowing deep red, and she was mostly black with a red throat and what looked like spidery blood red veins across her folded wings, and her fangs was constantly visible, like she was snarling.
Gyrmaephys, or Gyrmae, huffed out a smoky breath, then she lifted her head high up and let out a loud barklike sound. As her throat stretched it looked like it glowed from the inside, and Stiles swallowed and tightened his grip on Derek’s hand.
“Take good care of our prince,” Gyrmae said, looking intently at Stiles, who swallowed yet again as he nodded.
“I will,” he said with as much conviction he could muster while fearing he was about to piss his pants.
Gyrmae looked at him another moment, then she unfolded her wings and flew off.
“Don’t let her scare you, she really is a sweetheart,” Derek said as he watched her, then two other dragons landed a few yards away.
One of them was as big as Gyrmae, if not bigger, with pale scales that looked almost pearlescent, a light blue throat and matching eyes, and the other was smaller and a pale green that almost matched Derek’s eyes perfectly, it even had a few golden brown spots on its wings, and a brown throat and eyes. The smaller one hopped over to Derek, who grinned as he held his free hand out. The dragon buffed against his hand and he stroked its face. Its face that was almost as big as all of Derek.
“Hush now,” the bigger one said and gently nudged the smaller to the side. “Prince Derek, you’ve brought a friend.”
“I have. Yrliolth, Moonchaser, this is my fiance, Crown Prince Stiles Stilinski of Beacon, Stiles, this is Yrliolth, Protector of Life, and young Moonchaser,” Derek said, gesturing first to the bigger one then the smaller.
“It is an honor to meet you,” Stiles said.
“As is it ours to meet you. You’ll have to excuse young Moonchaser, he’s not yet used to communicating with humanoids and he tends to forget to include everyone,” Yrliolth said and Moonchaser lowered his head and managed to look sheepish, something Stiles up until that moment never thought he would ever think about a dragon.
“Sorry, hello Prince Stiles, can I call you Prince Stiles?”
”Yes, of course,” Stiles said.
”Derek is my guardian,” Moonchaser said, sounding proud.
”You match,” Stiles said and Moonchaser opened his mouth in what Stiles guessed was a grin. There were so many sharp teeth though.
”We do,” Derek said softly, sounding impossibly proud.
They eventually followed Yrliolth and Moonchaser a little further into the valley, then to an opening in the mountain. Yrliolth made a barklike sound similar to the one Gyrmae had made, and soon they were joined by several other dragons. He was very formally introduced to them all, and after some time he noticed he was pretty relaxed. Derek grinned at him, then he led Stiles over to one of the dragons, Umrynth, her scales the warm golden brown color of a scotch with darker brown marking on her wings and an almost orange throat. Her eyes were dark brown and she was bigger than Moonchaser but smaller than Yrliolth and Gyrmae.
”Crown Prince Stiles Stilinski of Beacon,” she said and dipped her head low.
”Umrynth, Watcher of the Forests,” Stiles said and bowed down. He wasn’t sure what the protocol was, but since she bowed her head he figured he should bow too.
Derek was smiling at them, and Stiles was helpless to do anything but smile too. Umrynth watched them, and if Stiles were to guess she looked pleased.
”Crown Prince Stiles Stilinski of Beacon,” Derek said, his voice serious but his smile still in place, ”would you do us, the royal family Hale of Triskele, and the royal dragons of the Golden Mountains and Triskele, the honor of being Umrynth, Watcher of the Forest's Guardian?”
Stiles gaped for a moment, first at Derek, then at Umrynth, then back at Derek, who was still smiling at him.
”It would be my honor,” he said and Derek’s smile widened.
”Please place your hand on her forehead,” he said.
Stiles carefully took the couple of steps needed to reach out and place his hand, palm down, against Umrynth’s forehead. She rumbled softly, but it felt as the ground trembled with it, then a warmth filled Stiles’ chest.
”Thank you, Guardian,” Umrynth said and Stiles’ eyes filled with tears.
”Thank you,” he whispered, almost overcome with emotions, gratitude, love, happiness.
He didn’t realize he had moved closer until he stood leaned against her head. He stayed where he was though, and he felt safe in an almost tactile way, like when he had been a child and was curled up with his mother after a bad dream, and he silently wondered who really was the guardian of them.
”We are each other’s guardians,” Umrynth said softly. ”You are my tether, you guard my soul, my mind, and I guard your life.”
It was a long time before Stiles moved away from her, and he wiped his eyes as he smiled at Derek, who was standing a few yards away, leaned against Moonchaser’s side, smiling at them.
”It gets easier with time, not so overwhelming,” Derek said, and Stiles nodded before turning back to Umrynth, to his dragon.
Derek managed to drag Stiles away eventually, but only after reminding him that it was hours since they ate and Stiles’ traitor stomach rumbled as he realized just how hungry he was.
”We’ll come back soon,” Derek promised as they headed back to the passage after saying goodbye to the dragons, ”and you’ll feel her still, you’ll know if she needs you.”
”But what if she needs me and I’m days away in Beacon?” Stiles asked and stopped walking, looking back at where the dragons were, where his dragon was.
”Stiles, she’s a dragon, she breathes fire, her scales are practically impenetrable, she doesn’t need you to physically be here,” Derek said and took Stiles’ hand, ”she needs you to ground her, you’re her tether, you guard her soul and her mind, and you don’t have to be close to do that.”
Stiles still hesitated, but he looked at Derek. ”It’s very much, here,” he croaked and placed a hand over his heart. ”I feel very protective.”
”I know, it’s much at first, but you’ll get used to it,” Derek said. He put a hand on Stiles’ cheek and used his thumb to wipe away a tear. ”She’ll be okay, you’ll know when we get home, when you get home, you’ll know she’s okay, I promise.”
Stiles nodded and Derek wrapped him up in a hug, and Stiles clung to him for a minute. When he pulled back he wiped his eyes again as he smiled sheepishly at Derek.
”Thanks, sorry,” he said and Derek smiled.
”Don’t worry about it,” he said softly.
When they got back to their horses the servants had a big picnic arranged for them, and Stiles huffed out a laugh.
”Let me guess, if we had eaten before we went there we would have stayed too long?” he asked.
”Got me,” Derek said.
When they were finished eating and on their way back to the castle they talked about the dragons. Stiles found out Moonchaser was given his name because he was hatched on the full moon, and that he would get a title when he was an adult, in something like 30 years or so. He asked about the other names, but Derek didn’t know if they actually meant something. As far as he knew they just liked how they sounded. Paul too. Paul, the huge blue dragon with the title The Banisher of Evil.
He also learned that all the Hales were bonded to more than one dragon, often between two and four, and that Umrynth had been bonded to Derek before. Derek had visited them months earlier, soon after their engagement and talked about it, and when Umrynth met Stiles she had asked Derek to let her go so she could bond with Stiles. He started to cry again when he found that out, but he wasn’t entirely sure if it was in horror for Derek having to lose the bond or in gratitude for getting the bond. Derek reassured him several times that while he would miss her bond he was more than happy for them both, that Stiles could have one and that Umrynth was happy.
Stiles was pleased to find that he could sense Umrynth even when they got home, and even a week later when he was back in Beacon. It was a strange but very comfortable feeling, and he often could sense her amusement through it. When he asked Derek about it once Derek smiled as he told him he smelled of awe and that she probably could sense that, that she noticed his almost childish awe with their bond, with her, and that it pleased and amused her.
A few months later they were sitting outside, watching the horses as they spoke quietly, when Derek cleared his throat a little awkwardly. Stiles looked at him, and his brows were furrowed and he was fiddling with his hands in his lap.
”What’s wrong?” Stiles asked carefully.
”The bond you have with Umrynth,” Derek started, but then he paused for a long time, twisting his hands. He finally stopped them though, and looked at Stiles. ”Would you want a similar one with me?”
He looked so vulnerable, so scared, and Stiles reached out to take his hand without thinking. ”Yes, I would,” he said.
Derek breathed out, and a small and hopeful smile spread on his face. ”Yeah?”
”Yeah,” Stiles agreed. ”I’ll admit it sounds a little scary, because it kinda gives away emotions, but on the other hand, you already know mine with that super sniffer of yours, and I-. I want to know… you. More.” He shrugged a little helplessly. ”Everything.”
Derek squeezed his hand and nodded. ”I want that too,” he said softly. ”When I-, after the wedding, when I move here, I’ll still be part of my pack, you and your parents too, but being so far from my alpha for so long, it can be… hard. It’s doable, it is, but there is this thing, this bond, that I could form with someone I love, with you, that would make us like a… pack unit, and it would help me with that.”
”Are you talking about a mate bond?” Stiles asked carefully, and Derek blushed as he nodded. ”The mating bite?”
”Yes,” Derek said quietly. ”We don’t have to, you don’t-.”
”If you want that, I definitely want that,” Stiles interrupted, and Derek looked at him with huge eyes.
”You do,” he said, then he grinned as he squeezed Stiles’ hand. ”You do.”
”Yeah, I do,” Stiles said.
Stiles felt as if he was walking on clouds after that. Derek loved him. Loved him loved him, not as a friend, but as a mate. Life kept going around him and he did his duties, but he knew he radiated happiness. His parents looked so happy, and so did Derek’s parents and Laura whenever he met them. It felt like the months to the wedding were simultaneously unendingly long and over in the blink of an eye, and suddenly it was time.
Derek looked gorgeous when they met in front of the Minister, nervous but happy, just how Stiles felt. He felt a tug in his bond to Umrynth, so he looked to the sky, and there she was. He heard people gasp as they saw her and the other dragons, but he just beamed at her as she sat down on the other end of the field. He wished she would be closer, but he realized she was a huge creature that actually looked kind of terrifying, no matter how beautiful she was, so he was glad she stayed far away for now.
The Minister’s voice drew him back, and he looked at Derek, who was smiling blindingly, showing all his teeth, and Stiles smiled back, just as big. It was impossible to take his eyes off Derek during the ceremony, and he fumbled for the ring that his father held out for him. He had to look down at Derek’s hand as he threaded the ring on his finger, and then at his own hand when it was Derek’s turn.
”Are you ready?” Derek asked quietly when it was time for the bite, and Stiles nodded and tilted his head to the side to give Derek access.
”Yes,” he said, his voice steady and sure.
Derek opened his mouth as he let his fangs grow, and Stiles smiled at him. He gently put his fangs to Stiles’ neck, then he took a deep breath through his nose before applying pressure. Stiles felt the fangs break the skin, then they were gone and Derek’s blunt human teeth were held against his neck as Derek breathed harshly. The bond wasn’t quite as dramatic as the one with Umrynth had been, but Stiles still choked up. He put his hand on the back of Derek’s head, held him in place.
”Oh, god,” he whispered.
Derek mouthed at his neck for a moment, then he pressed a gentle kiss over the bite before pulling back. His eyes were wet as he smiled at Stiles, and Stiles couldn’t stop himself, didn’t want to stop himself, didn’t need to, not anymore. He cupped Derek’s jaws and kissed him. Derek’s smile grew as he kissed back, and soon they were both smiling too much to keep going, so Stiles leaned his forehead against Derek’s, his eyes closed as he grinned.
Late that night, after beaming at the wedding guests as they cheered and applauded, after having run over to the dragons with Derek to hug Umrynth’s huge head, after having celebrated and danced with his husband and all their family and friends, he was finally alone with Derek. They were in their room, both exhausted after the day but unable to stop smiling. He touched the tender mark on his neck.
”You know, I was never opposed to an arranged marriage,” he said, and Derek looked at him and took one of his hands. ”I was sure I could be happy in one, that we could be happy, learn to love each other, care for each other.” He smiled at Derek and squeezed his hand. ”But I never dreamt it could be like this, that I could be this lucky.”
”Neither did I,” Derek said softly and leaned in for a kiss.
There wasn’t much Stiles wouldn’t do for Beacon, and now for Triskele too, but he didn’t think there was anything he wouldn’t do for Derek. Or Umrynth.
No, he really wasn’t opposed to an arranged marriage.