Stiles clutched at his money as the guards waved him in. He’d been waiting in line for hours in the cold Lupe wind with only the flimsiest shawl to keep him warm but finally it was his turn.
Passing his wallet of cash and papers to the man standing at the entrance he listened to the instructions while staring right ahead, determined.
“Bow when you enter. Do not look the Queen in the eye. Refer to her as Your Majesty or Queen Hale. Speak when you are spoken to and if she orders you to leave, leave,” the man pinched his eyes in glare at Stiles until he nodded.
“I understand.” The man coughed. “Sir,” he added.
Entering the Lupe Court Stiles was immediately in awe of the majesty of the marble walls with moonstone engravings on the arches of the doors. Everyone dressed in the finest furs with colorful decorations, laughing and chatting pleasantly. It was the kind of extravagance he had only dream of in the refugee slums.
He approached the throne and bowed to Queen Talia Hale. To her left was her daughter Laura, in all her beauty and glory, the heir-apparent, future ruler of Lupe. The people adored her for her many achievements, both in battle and in humanitarian aid. Her compassion and strong will.
To her right was her son Derek, loved just as much, with the same dark hair as his sister and mother. Yet his eyes shined a brighter hazel than their simple brown. He was more stoic and intense than Laura but shyer than his other willful younger sister Cora, who was not yet old enough to stand at Court. Derek was the least seen in public of all the Hale siblings.
Stiles waited shivering, to be address by her Majesty and when she did her voice was kind, a mother’s tone.
“Rise and tell me what brings you hear today my child,” Talia asked.
Stiles stood his hands clenching and unclenching in anxiety. He cleared his throat and tried to project his voice, hoping to hide the nervousness.
“I wish to appeal to become a citizen of Lupe, your Majesty. I was born here to human refugees from the old country, they never became citizens but they are gone now and I would like to.”
Queen Hale regarded him slowly, taking in his tattered clothes and dirty skin. He looked like every other refugee living Lupe under her Majesty’s grace and kindness -legally, but without the full rights of a born Luperion or an immigrant who had received citizenship.
“May I ask why your parents never became citizens themselves? Thereby granting you yours’ before you were even born?” the Queen leaned forward curious.
Stiles shuffled his feet, still not looking up at the Royals before him. He didn’t want to offend with his story but nor did he want to lie.
He settled on the truth.
“My grandmother came here after the War in the human realm. She was pregnant with my father but widowed. Her husband rebelled and died fighting with the Luperion soldiers against the Argent tyranny.” He swallowed. “She wanted to become a citizen but before she could she was robbed of her money and raped.”
Both Queen Talia and Princess Laura gasped, looking upon him with pity but Prince Derek’s face did not change.
Stiles continued. “She tried to report the it to the police but at the time… many werewolves resented the large influx of humans coming into the country. Not like today,” he corrected quickly. “They turned her away. So she had no money to petition for citizenship and eventually she grew to hate werewolves. Still she raised my father here until she died.
Then my father met my mother, one of the orphans of the war who had no records to use to apply for citizenship. They married in a human wedding and had me. But they never found the money to pay for three applications and an audience with Your Majesty.”
It was the shortened version that didn't include his father’s inherited anger at werewolves including the royal family for his grandmother’s injustice. That he swore never to ask anything of them and that by just being here today Stiles was betraying him in that aspect.
Nor did it include the illegal sale of their wares and living in the tents in the refugee camps. It didn’t include living day-to-day wondering if they could eat or his mother dying of sickness.
It didn’t include his father joining small hired guard for wealthy, travelling Luperions for money.
It didn’t include the long weeks Stiles spend alone, when his father was away, caring for himself until finally one day the news that his father had died on duty reached him, and he had received just a pile of silver coins and Jonathon’s old war medal.
The room was silent while Queen Talia took in his words and Stiles swallowed around the lump in his throat.
Eventually she asked him just one more question.
“Look at me Mr Stilinski,” He did, wondering how she knew his name. Likely man at the door had given her his application papers and she’d read it from there but still he was surprised to hear her say it. “Why is it that now you wish to become a citizen now? After all your parents and grandmother went through?”
Stiles stared into the eyes of this great woman and blushed.
“You need to be a citizen to officially mate with a Luperion, Your Majesty,” he muttered. “And I have fallen in love with the most wonderful werewolf in all of Lupe.”
The Queen’s beautiful and hearty laughter filled the hall, “Well that is as good a reason as any Mr Stilinski. I accept your application. You may become a citizen."
Stiles gaped but had no time to process it before a loud whoop and familiar strong arms were embracing him. Laughing and crying at the same time Stiles Stilinski hugged Prince Derek back, his heart swelling with joy as Derek peppered his face with kisses and wiping away his tears.
“You did it,” Derek whispered before kissing him deeply. Stiles leaned into the kiss, forgetting everything around him before a voice interrupted the couple’s moment.
“I think,” said a stunned Queen Talia, “that my son has something more to tell me about this case.”
Stiles giggled and burrowed his face into Derek’s neck as his lover flushed red, stammering as he tried to explain.
Later Queen Talia – please just call me Talia now – would ask her son and his new mate why they didn't just ask her directly. Why Stiles had saved all that money and waited all day in line in the freezing wind when she would have of course granted citizenship immediately to the man who made her son so happy.
And Derek would grumble something about stubborn idiots and Stiles blush and explain that he knew he would bring nothing to the marriage. No money, no land and no title, he had felt that this last act of struggle was his chance to prove how much he loved Derek, who had bumped into him on the street a year ago.
Not knowing who he was Stiles has yelled at him and Derek had yelled back and then they had yelled at each other. After, when they couldn't yell anymore Derek had taken the irritating but interesting man out for a meal.
And then another and another and another.