What if Stiles and Derek's first kiss is post-nogitsune? Would he feel like a thief? Would he mourn the body that Derek never held? Would each brush of fingertips or kiss to his temple be a betrayal? They'd probably talk about the scars too. Derek would understand-- to an extent. But he grew up not without his history on his skin so he'll never understand how it feels to have that ripped away.
Their lips brush and Stiles turns away a second later, breaths shallow, hands twitching against the folds of Derek’s shirt. There’s warm breath on his cheek, the ghost of beard still so close and all Stiles can think is that he wants this. He wants this. And…
Those fingers, twitching against Derek’s shirt, smooth and uncalloused. The scar that used to live above his third knuckle just a burn-hot memory in his mind.
Everything still feels off in his body, out of balance, and he remembers the way Derek used to look at him. All tension and frustration in ways he couldn’t start to make sense of. And now Derek’s lips are in reach, a short turn away, and he’s murmuring out “Stiles…?” and all Stiles can think is…
“Do you want me?”
He can feel the stall in Derek’s thoughts like a physical reaction, and he wonders if there was a subtle tell or if… if he’d just felt it, inside, the confusion a flicker of chaos in Derek’s chest. Can he do that? Feel chaos? The Nogitsune drank it in and Stiles…
“Stiles,” Derek breathes again, a quirk of amusement in his tone. Thumbs smooth down his hips and Stiles fights the urge to rise into the contact. “Thought I’d just answered that question.”
And Stiles could leave it at that, asked and answered. Except…
There should be a scar on his hip, long and thin, from a fence he’d scaled once and dropped down five times faster. Derek should be feeling that right now, that piece of Stiles’ history, that stupid ten year old adventure laid out across his skin. But the skin’s smooth. Blank slate.
He shivers, gripping tighter into Derek’s shirt.
“No, I––” He can’t think of how to explain it. The thoughts are a choked feeling in his throat, a twist in his gut. Something like guilt and fear and he doesn’t even know what answer he wants when he leans back enough to find Derek’s eyes and say: “Since when? Did you… I mean, before…”
He’s not sure Derek knows what he means, but there’s a hint of flush under that dark beard suddenly, and Stiles gets a little bit lost in the contrast.
“Last––?” It pulls Stiles back, his eyes startling up. That was… most of a year, that was before…
A sick lurch sets him falling back out of Derek’s grip. Too-smooth fingers (uncalloused) slip too easy from Derek’s chest. His sneaker-covered feet might as well be walking over glass and he’s being dramatic except that he’s really not. Because if Derek wanted him last summer…
“That wasn’t me.” It sounds wrong as he says it, stupid, because… he was there that summer. He remembers every moment spent with Derek, researching the Alphas, searching for hints of Boyd and Erica. Charged smirks and snark and quiet moments that felt more comfortable than they should. He remembers the moments before summer too, when the thought of Derek made his heart pound and his body thrum in a way that could have only meant fear, except it hadn’t only been fear. He’d been scared of the Alpha too, and the hunters, and that coil of electric heat only sparked through his gut for Derek. He remembers that, like he remembers the scars that aren’t there anymore, and he can’t help running his too-soft fingertips over the smooth flesh of his knuckle as he breathes out, faint and lost, “…Was that me?”
There’s a too long pause while the question burns back into his throat, buzzing through his limbs like a current until he realizes he’s shaking from them. Was that him? Helping Derek track the Alpha pack? Helping Scott learn to control his wolf? Sitting by his mom’s hospital bed, watching her lose the long war to her illness, pieces of her flaking away like old scars, like a whole identity, like––
A warm hand closes over his, large and gentle, grounding.
“It was you,” Derek says, simply. Like there’s no question, like nothing’s changed. Like Stiles hasn’t changed.
But that’s wrong. He’s not the same person he was before the Nogitsune, and he’s not talking in the experiences change you, huh kind of way. He’d had scars before. He’d had… a whole life written on his skin. And then he’d crawled out from inside his possessed body’s throat, spawned out like some alien parasite or… clone and––
“My body died, back there.” Four months past, and he still can’t wrap his head around it. That he’d watched himself bitten and impaled, spasm and cracking and shatter to dust.
The scarred body. His real body.
And he was left in… this.
Long fingers uncurl, stretching out slow. Thin, pale digits fitting strangely perfect between Derek’s, and Stiles can only wonder what it would have looked like before.
“…What if I’m not real?” He watches Derek’s fingers twitch, barely perceptible, tightening like they’re fighting to hold onto him. And Derek’s lost enough in his life, too much. It’s a dick move to say this, to take anything else away from him, but… “What if the guy you wanted last summer… what if he died inside the Nogitsune, and I’m just––”
The sureness of it has Stiles’ throat clenching. He tilts his head, challenging. Finds Derek’s eyes again.
“You don’t know that.”
“I know you.”
Which is just… it’s stupid how that makes Stiles’ heart jump. Flutter around like it’s fighting to leap the distance between them and plaster itself all up against Derek’s stupid, muscled, secretly sweet as hell chest.
Which… yeah, that’s nearly a gross enough visual to stomp his fondness boner in the bud. He sets his jaw.
“Did you know I used to have a scar on––”
“Your right hand? Just above the third knuckle, a burn.”
Stiles’ argument stalls out. He blinks, finger shifting to rub over the space, but Derek’s is already there, soothing the phantom mark over his skin.
“I… was eleven.” Because silence has never been safe for him. Because noise distracts from the too-easy pleasure rippling up his arm. “First time I tried cooking dinner for me and dad. Mac and cheese, it… didn’t go great.” He wets his lips. Looks away “Or… the other me did, I don’t––”
“You did.” And Derek still sounds so damn sure. Stiles wants to believe him. He parts his lips, can’t. Because––
“Stiles, I’ve never had scars on my skin. I… can’t relate to what it’s like to lose them. But the things that have happened to me… they’re not any less real because I can’t see them. Every bullet, cut, punch I’ve taken…” He might sense the wince forming on Stiles’ face, and shakes his head, shrugging that off like it’s not important. But that’s an argument for another day. “Every scar life gave you… they’re still there. You’re still carrying them, inside you.” He flits his eyes down Stiles’ frame, then away, finger soothing over the ghost burn. “There are plenty no one would have ever seen anyway. But they made you. Who you are, and who you are…” He shakes his head, looks back to meet Stiles’ eyes squarely. “You recognized me when I was a teenager. That’s the same person who recognized me in the preserve.” Stiles feels his face heat because… even knowing Derek’s a werewolf now, he’d never put together that Derek would have heard his fangirl moment to Scott after Derek had walked away.
Before he can speak up, though, Derek’s going on. “You tracked me to Mexico. Faced down the Calaveras to save me. That’s the same person who stared down the Argents, drove a Jeep into a kanima, who hit an Alpha with a wooden baseball bat––”
“Two Alphas,” Stiles cuts in, because props, ok?“Two, that were…” His free hand mimes squishing, and Derek’s lips twitch.
“Two,” he agrees, and Stiles can’t not smile back. Just for a second –– fond, helpless –– then he’s ducking his head. Derek sighs, catches his chin. Guides it up until their gazes lock again.
“That was you,” he says, so firmly Stiles can’t help believing this time. “Was the man who clawed his way out of his own possession. Followed Scott’s howl back to the real world. And whatever happened to your body, whatever… magic gave you a new one, Stiles came out with it. Your scars are still there, just…” His fingers trail to Stiles’ chest, and something thumps out eagerly to meet them.
“Inside,” Stiles breathes, and the way Derek’s eyes warm makes him shiver with a proud ripple of pleasure.
“Inside,” Derek echoes. Runs a thumb light along Stiles’ lip. “You could have come out of the Nogitsune looking like anything. Wouldn’t change who you are.”
And damn, Stiles has fallen for a goddamn poet in a grumpy wolf’s body. …But then, Stiles is pretty sure he’d known that already.
His fingers go up, curl gently into Derek’s shirt.
“But… you like this body,” he prompts, and Derek gives an exasperated huff, pulling him in.
“I like this body,” he confirms, and it doesn’t feel wrong to hear that.
When Derek kisses him this time, Stiles doesn’t pull away.
Do you think any of your followers could rec us fics where Stiles takes care of Derek / rescues him or anything where Derek gets to be cared for by Stiles? These new trailers and info packages really upset my Derek Hale protective heart :(( my child deserves the world!!!!
*hugs anon* I would love to be recced some of these!! I just went through my AO3 bookmarks and couldn’t find much on my own.
“What? It’s totally an improvement. He’s not scowling, or dating bad guys, or slinking around in unsanitary places. Still a bit paranoid, but what can you do. At least he’s a lot easier to get along with when you can buy his affections with ear rubs.”
“And you always wanted a dog,” Sheriff added wryly.
“And I always wanted a dog.”
(Stiles & the Sheriff taking care of Derek)
I’m sure I have more, but it’s been so long since I’ve read them I don’t remember what has what in it.
post “117” - Stiles is avoiding his bed (for reasons) and decides to check on how Derek’s dealing with his recovered memories. It turns out that getting the past seven years back all at once has given Derek a new perspective on life - and his relationships.
Hey Rachel got a question for ya. Do you think Stiles would feel inadequate compared to all the buff sexy werewolves and push himself to the breaking point trying to look like he belongs? Cause I have this headcanon where he decides to work out to make himself look like he belongs beside the wolves but it doesn't work out to well and he winds up doing more harm than good. Which upsets Derek when he finds out (because he loves the idiot but he won't admit it)
Aw I can absolutely see this. Stiles, already prone to insecurity and the feeling of not being good enough, slowly being worn down by that itching knowledge in his skull of being that he’s not as strong as any of his friends, not as attractive as any of his friends, and sure as hell not as useful as any of them, right? Sure, he’s smart. He knows that. But what the hell use is that in battle? He can’t dive in front of a bullet to keep the others from hurting, can’t stand beside the others and fight at anything close to their level.
And no matter how much he smirks at enemies’ jibes and plays off as enjoying being the group’s token human (”means I get to leave all the heavy lifting to you guys, right?”) it’s a feeling that would keep building up over time, pushing at the back of his skull every time the pack insists he be left behind on a certain mission, that he should stay where he’s safe, or gets offhandedly told he’ll just slow the others down. Every time they go running out in the preserve and he gets to sit behind and watch the car. Every time he goes out with the group and finds himself wondering what he looks like in everyone else’s eyes: this circle of beautiful beyond belief, supernaturally perfect people and then… him.
He couldn’t share his worries with the others –– Scott would get that worried look in his eyes and insist Stiles is perfect the way he is. Lydia might not share the same speed and strength as the others but she’s always been supernaturally beautiful, and she’s got her own banshee tricks to help out in a fight. So he keeps it inside, bottles it up… and he starts to push himself. Stays after school lifting weights until his limbs are wrecked from it, goes out running until his legs are shaking under him. Thinking one more lift, one more mile, one step closer to belonging.
And it starts working, too. He’s able to keep up with the pack sometimes, on their more casual runs. He’s gaining muscle, losing any last hints of baby fat. But there are hollowed shadows under his eyes too and he’s not eating enough, probably, but that’s fine. It’s fine when he wrestles with Liam and ends up with a purpled bruise blooming out across his ribs from a too-hard tackle. It’s fine that he can’t really sleep anymore because his muscles are always burning. It’s fine because he’s started looking at pictures of the group after pack events and almost seeing a group of people who fit together, not a handful of perfect people around a lanky, awkward him. Who the hell wouldn’t sacrifice a little comfort and the ability to lift his arms above his head for that?
Derek’s the one who notices first, because of course he is. Drops in through the bedroom window one night like the supernatural stalking creeper he used to be, and finds Stiles collapsed to an exhausted heap against the side of his bed. Too tired and too sore to have stripped off his sweat-stained shirt or make it the extra step to lay down on it. He forces a smile when he spots Derek, but it’s more pained than it should be. Wavers at the edges. Derek ignores his opening jibe, doesn’t comment on the way Stiles tries to push himself up on unsteady palms and falters, a spasm of motion that starts and dies just as fast. Just moves silent, sits down next to him on the floor at the foot of the bed. There’s a world of words in his silence, a disapproving air Stiles can feel deep in his bones, and he finds himself saying “I’m fine,” low and head ducked, like it’s a lie.
It’s not a lie. But it’s not exactly true either, is it?
Derek’s eyes are on Stiles’ face now, flicking down his damp shirt, over his faintly trembling limbs, and it’s like he’s seeing too much suddenly, seeing through walls Stiles is too tired to pull up. People aren’t supposed to see him at this point in the day; they’re supposed to see him in the morning when he has the energy to grin and bounce and keep up with the rest of them like it’s effortless. They’re not supposed to see the tired bruises under his eyes or the way he shakes from hours of trying to hold himself at a werewolf’s level.
He wets his lips, a flash of frustration burning bitter through him.
“Look, I’m not strong like you guys.” It’s not news. It’s been a constant refrain for the past two years of his life, ever since Scott was bit and turned into a superhero sports star girl magnet and left Stiles standing awkwardly in his dust. Stiles couldn’t ask for the bite, Scott wouldn’t understand. And he doesn’t think he wants it either, not really. He doesn’t want the claws or the anchors or the pulls to the moon. He just wants to be able to keep up with them. Wants to not be the funny one in a group of supermodels. Doesn’t want to be the weak one in a group of heroes. Doesn’t want to be the one holding them back.
He bites over a frustrated sound, frowns at Derek’s faintly pinched brows, manages to lift one bone-dead arm and snaps out even more harshly: “I’m not… hot.”
It’s not the whole issue, it barely touches the issue, but it’s too much already and he scowls after he says it, daring Derek to snort or mock him or roll his eyes and agree, obviously, but that searching look only seems to sink deeper and Derek murmurs, “You’re wrong.”
Which is just… it’s worse than laughing. Because Stiles could handle people dismissing him, mocking him. He’s used to that. What he can’t take is Derek fucking Hale feeling so goddamned bad about his patheticness that he’s reduced to lying to try and comfort him.
“Oh, right, sure. I’m hot. You guys are all freaking Greek gods with all the muscle and the… faces.” He snorts, falling back against an overworked spine that protests the pressure. “You can’t even talk. You’ve always been the hottest person ever. You’ve got no idea what it’s like to be the one no one ever wants.”
Derek’s eyes flick down Stiles again, reassessing, and Stiles winces over the realization that Derek’s trying to find something, anything likable on his wiry frame.
“Don’t––” He starts, because he physically cannot handle that, but Derek’s saying “You’re wrong,” again, and it’s soft and warm in a way that doesn’t sound like pity.
But Stiles doesn’t let himself feel it. The “oh yeah?” he shoots back is sure and challenging, almost smug in its confidence because maybe he’s not beautiful beyond all reason like the man next to him, maybe he’s not strong and desirable and wanted but at least he’s smart enough to realize that.
Derek lets out a growl of frustration and turns where he’s sitting, crowds in close with palms pressed to either side of Stiles’ thigh, and Stiles is on the edge of rolling his eyes because does Derek seriously think he can intimidate Stiles into changing his mind about himself, but then “you’re wrong” falls out a third time, a too-warm growl of a whisper, and Derek closes the space between their lips.
Stiles loses his conviction in the contact.
Derek’s hands move over him while they kiss, dragging soothing tips and scolding pinches over his wrecked muscles in ways that leave him groaning, touches sinking you’re beautiful and you’re wanted under his skin in ways the best words probably never could. Hands trail down to play across Stiles’ fingers, silently praising the cleverness of them. Beard-rough lips drift up to kiss across his temple and a warmth of admiration seems to melt into him with each press. And Stiles can barely move, arms aching protest as he lifts them to thread into Derek’s hair, body quivering in ways that shift between exhaustion and want.
When Derek finally leans back Stiles whimpers, wanting more but too worn down to chase him. But Derek’s watching him from inches away in the dark room, and there’s no reflected flaws in those dark eyes now. Just you’re beautiful, you’re wanted. You’re important.
Stiles runs light thumbs down Derek’s beard, lets out a light laugh he barely recognizes.
“Guess I believe you,”
(And from now on, on nights when the pack goes out running, Stiles and Derek find a more interesting way to occupy themselves by the cars.)