Chapter 1: prologue
When Derek is born, his arm is clear. This is normal. His parents smile and dote on him all the same- the words don't come in till months, years even, for some children.
When Derek is seven and bouncing around the house shouting and chasing after Laura, he gives a shocked yell and falls to the ground, staring at his arm. His parents scoop him up and he struggles, pinching at his own hand.
“Words, words,” he says fearfully, twisting and clutching at his mother. “What’s happening?” They cover it with his sleeve, and smile secretly at the dark swirls of a word beginning to coalesce. Laura shows Derek her own- ‘wake not the woods’, a whisper of sharp, spiky script etched onto her wrist. He holds onto his older sister tightly, and they pull back his sleeve together the next morning. ‘Genim’ is written there in an energetic hand, rounded ‘m’s and ‘n’s with the dot of the ‘i’ a quick, small hyphen.
“You’ve got a soul-mate!” Laura says encouragingly, before slamming a pillow in his face and clattering down the stairs at the smell of pancakes. She's a supportive older sister that way. Derek stays in bed a little while longer, tracing the word, and says aloud, the words loud and bright in the quiet room-
“There’s somebody out there for me!”
Allison is brought into the world squalling, waving her fists at her mother. Chris carries her and peeks at her wrist. No words yet. He smiles down at Allison. She's perfect, perfect, and nothing will come to harm her, if he has anything to say about it. His little girl.
When her words show up a few months later, Victoria despairs.
“It’s not the way of the Argents,” she snaps. "This means her soulmate is a werewolf." Chris carries his daughter and puts the magnifying glass down, rocking her to sleep. Victoria sits stiffly on the couch, staring into space. Chris sits beside her, and Victoria takes Allison wordlessly. There is a silence, and Allison grabs Victoria’s finger and squeezes it with a chubby little hand.
“I will protect you,” Victoria says fiercely to her daughter. “You will never come to harm.” Allison smiles gummily at the both of them, and Chris puts his arms around his family.
Stiles comes out with the drawing on his arm. The nurse turns his wrist over gently and smiles at the colour, passing him back to his mother. Even against the fresh pink skin, the symbol is unmistakeable. An eye with a pale, electric blue iris. It reminds her of the Turkish Nazar charm amulet, all-seeing and meant to ward off the Evil Eye. Stiles snuffles and his mother lets go of his wrist, holding him closer.
For some reason, that night, she fears dying before her son can meet his soul mate. The thought has never crossed her mind previously, and she tells her husband so. He sits with her in the dark hospital ward, and their hands clasp.
“John,” she whispers. “Tell me he’ll be alright.”
“He’ll be alright,” Deputy Stilinski says fervently to his wife, kissing her forehead. “Genim will be alright.”
“The words on your hands, children, are meant for no one but your soul mate. If you can’t see the person in your wrist, then let them go, for they are not meant for you.” The teacher is patient with them, as she is with all eight-year olds. They shout and jostle and pull at each other's hair, but never touch the wrist. They wear simple bands or watches to hide the words- but those like Scott go without because of their hard-headedness.
“I want to find her,” Scott says firmly. “I’m not going to wear a watch or a band. I want to find her.” He holds his arm up steadily, the words neat and feminine against the pale skin of his wrist. The words ‘daughter of silver’ stand out darkly, and Stiles raises his arm too, to show the eye. They link hands and Scott looks around hopefully for more supporters. Stiles grabs Danny’s hand and raises it, and Danny squeezes Jackson’s arm for help. Jackson snatches his hand away.
“No!” Jackson snaps impatiently. “It’s dumb.” And he moves a seat over, away from the three of them as he rubs his wrist protectively. The teacher sighs and tells them to sit down so that they can start on math, but Stiles and Scott continue holding hands.
Later that day, Scott and Stiles shyly exchange stories of what they hope their soulmate looks like, and solemnly cement the bond of friendship over shared tater tots.
Chapter 2: 1
You guys, I love you. This is me cuddling everyone who left kudos and/or a comment. I love you, you, and you. Even you.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Derek excels in art. He sits for hours on the steps of his house and draws the shape of the trees embracing the sky, sketches Laura looking thoughtfully at her feet while half-wolfed out. She growls playfully at him when she catches him looking and flashes her claws, snapping her teeth at his pencil. He yelps and throws an eraser at her, and she catches it deftly with her claws.
“You’re so artsy,” Laura says. “Wonder what Genim is like, huh?”
“You don’t even know that it’s a name,” Derek says, blushing. “That it’s her name. It’s a pretty odd name to have for a girl.”
“So what? It doesn’t have to be a girl,” Laura points out, moving closer to rub against his shoulder. Her ears go back to normal and she sighs, running a hand through Derek’s hair. He sits in silence and clutches his sketchpad, palms sweaty. She stares out into the woods and they both see it- a lone rabbit darting through.
“Mine,” Laura yells, and bounds after it. Derek throws down his paper and wolfs out, chasing after her. They spend the afternoon scuffling at the entrance to the warren and whining until dinnertime, and they don’t talk about soul-mates any more for the next few days.
Jackson’s words are ‘night of the full moon’. He’s spent so many years contemplating the same words over and over again that he can see the handwriting of his soul-mate when he closes his eyes, can see the precise, neat squares of the ‘o’ behind his eyes when he sleeps at night. He’s only nine, sure, but he’s done research. Endless hours spent in the library flipping through the storybooks.
The conclusion he’s drawn?
His soul-mate is a werewolf, obviously. Night of the full moon, right? He’s a little shy about this, so he keeps his words to himself. Danny, however, is open with his words. ‘On the white moorlands’ is a rather specific sort of phrase, if one doesn’t consider the fact that they’re generally in Africa and England. The thought of Danny abandoning him in future makes something inside him twinge painfully, an ache that he soothes with barbed words and glares sent in McCall’s direction. At least, werewolves will be easier to find than silver girls, right? Danny’s been pestering him, asking for Jackson to tell him his words, but Jackson refuses. Because if he shows Danny his words, Danny might leave.
Jackson really doesn’t want that to happen.
Stiles sings along to The Ramones while doing his homework at the dining table, looking up and grinning when his dad comes in. Takeaway is dumped onto the table and Stiles digs in the bags for a box of chow mein, coming up successful. He waves chopsticks in his dad's face.
"Are we going native today, or what?"
“Stiles,” his dad says, then scratches his head. “Your teacher called today. Apparently, you were fidgeting then shouting the answers in English. You interrupted all your classmates while they were giving their answers.”
“The teacher asked for volunteers!” Stiles protests.
“She did, but she was going through your pop quiz answers, wasn’t she? Even though you scored the best marks-”
“She just doesn’t like me!” Stiles shouts, and then quails under his father’s gaze. Sheriff Stilinski sits down beside his son. Stiles presses his forehead into his father’s arm and takes a deep breath.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m going out of my skin.” Stiles says quietly. “Nothing helps.” Sheriff Stilinski shows his wrist to his son and they both breathe in sharply. Her name is fading slowly. Stiles traces his mother’s name and chokes back a sob.
“It’s part of life, you know. If it’s going to happen, then it’ll just happen… You can’t stop it. You can’t stop death or the name of your soul-mate from disappearing if they’re gone. We’ll just keep going.” Stiles stills and the Ramones continue crooning about love, the song twisting and winding around the empty space where Stiles' mom used to sit.
Lydia has always hated the mark of her soul-mate on her arm. It's messy and dark, a quick signature with no finesse or care whatsoever. She can make out a few letters, sure- a sharp L and an R somewhere inside... But that's about it. Oh, she isn't dumb, of course- she knows that the way her classmate looks at her is more than flattering. She can't even remember his name- Tiles? Miles? Whatever. The one whose mark is an eye. She's actually kind of hoping for her soulmate to be Jackson. He's rather handsome, and they'd make a great couple. Lydia practices scribbling Mrs. Lydia Whittemore in her jotter-book, and it looks wrong. She tears out that page and crumples it up, tossing it into the bin.
Lydia doesn't need anyone in her life. She doesn't need her soul-mate, doesn't owe anyone anything just because they're the 'best fit' for her, whatever that's supposed to mean.
She spends the afternoon reading about Nikola Tesla.
Now, I will go off and watch Teen Wolf.
Chapter 3: 2
I revised the story, found that the AU was getting too out of hand, and am in the process of rewriting it. Diverges from canon only in the way that everyone's got words on their wrist. This doesn't make it easier for the characters or anything.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Kate is a mistake Derek wishes he never made. He should have backed away the moment he saw her words, deep flowing crimson Greek letters circling her wrist thrice. But Kate is attractive and dangerous and beautiful, sharp-tongued and clever words and her voice- he can never tell when she’s cajoling or threatening him.
She leaves him the day before his house burns down, just on the last day of his exams. He's officially done with high school, and Laura takes him out for a milkshake after the paper. He doesn't enjoy it like he usually would.
When they get back home, they find the Hale house ablaze.
His family perishes in the fire, and he thinks about A Series of Unfortunate Events upon looking back on it, because Uncle Peter's younger daughter had the entire collection of books, and about the three siblings loving each other and continuing to be sane and nice even though their parents died.
Derek will never be able to manage nice again.
He and Laura can barely stop themselves from snarling and hurling themselves forward, unable to get inside due to the flames blocking all the entrances. His mother, the alpha, roars at them to stay put outside, that she doesn't want them to come in and be hurt as well. He howls, and the answering howls come back from inside. Pleas for help. His mother gets the three of the four cubs out, while his weak human father stays inside trying to help. He can hear the screams and he lunges forward, throwing himself at the house but flinching away when the fire cuts across his body. The heat of the flames roll across his skin, and when the firefighters get there, they are only able to save Uncle Peter. His mother and the cubs die in intensive care. Uncle Peter's wife, who was heavily pregnant at that time, was unable to come out of her room due to the flames, and died inside. His father was crushed by a falling wooden beam trying to rescue her.
Uncle Peter, mentally unstable and scarred, is found a distance away in the woods clutching the body of his younger daughter. Derek remembers how Bethany looked, holding a book even in death. The werewolf body could only heal so much before it took a toll on their system, weakening them and thus making them more susceptible than ever.
Laura cries at the mass funeral, roaming the woods and howling at night. Derek joins in, and they savage any woodland creature that comes their way. They live like that for months until Laura goes human again, swallows her sadness, and tells him that they will be taking a little road trip.
They visit Uncle Peter, who is smiling and nodding benignly at the door, rubbing a finger over his wrist absent-mindedly.
The words are gone, a mass of scar tissue. He catches the edge of Laura's jacket just as she exits, and he gives her the same mild smile he's been giving all the inanimate objects in the room.
"Annie," Uncle Peter says uncertainly, then lets go and stares off into space. Laura chokes back a sob and dashes out of the room. Derek follows uncertainly, and holds his sister while she cries. Annie was the eldest of the four cubs, followed by Michael and Marissa, the twin cousins from his mother's side, and then Bethany. Uncle Peter's subconscious was worried about his older daughter. Laura pulls herself together, and stares grimly out into the afternoon sky. She dries her tears.
"If ye kill before midnight, be silent," Derek says quietly.
"And wake not the woods with your bay." Laura whispers back, and collects her senses. They get into the car and Derek allows himself a rare smile at his sister, and she answers with her own. But there is still a gaping hole in her heart where their family was, and no amount of wolf-healing can mend that.
"The Hale kids have left," Sheriff Stilinski says to his son. "I worry, you know? It's not right to lose parents that way. It's not right to lose anyone that way."
"I know, dad," Stiles replies, and they share a silent moment over lasagne and Mountain Dew. "Where d'you think they went?"
"They're rich enough to go anywhere. Now eat your meal, son, and tell me how those math remedial lessons helping." Stiles pouts and digs a fork into the food, his appetite disappearing.
Scott hides in his bedroom. His mother shrieks at his father, and there is the sound of something crashing against the wall. He fumbles for the little blue inhaler he keeps on his bedside table, and it drops to the floor. He tries to retrieve it without getting out of bed, but ends up falling off. The thump makes the sounds stop, and there is the sound of footsteps up the stairs. His mom bursts in, a worried expression on her face. She catches sight of Scott lying on the floor and comes in, helping him to his feet. He gets back into his bed and the world feels safe again.
"Soulmates aren't supposed to fight," Scott says bravely in a quavery voice. His mom sits down and places a hand on his forehead before picking the inhaler up and passing it to him. He takes a couple of breaths and relaxes, allowing his mom to smooth a hand through his hair.
"Not all soulmates are perfect, sweetie," she tells him. "especially not daddy and I."
"Okay," Scott says, feeling agreeable and drowsy as his mother continues petting his head. "I guess I gotta believe you." He sneaks a peek at his mother's wrist, simply inscribed with 'J.M'. It's his dad's initials. They fit. But why don't the people themselves fit?
He falls asleep pondering this.
I hope you guys like it? Also, if you've got queries, leave a comment.
Chapter 4: 3
I am grateful to everyone for their support. The other AU will be posted up under a different title, because they are now two separate universes. Here's a short chapter with some of the other characters!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Isaac's mark has always been a handprint. Fingers curled around his wrist, paler than his usual skin colour, as if freshly squeezed. He measures it with his own hand, but it's too big. His hand covers the mark entirely.
He gets teased for being quiet. There's once- just once, mind- when he's being bullied by Jackson in seventh grade and he's terrified, and shy, when someone saves him by wrapping her hand around his wrist. It turns out to be Erica, the little spastic kid. She was always sickly-looking, but cooks up a death glare deadly enough that Jackson sneers and saunters away. She shakes out her frizzy blond mane and smiles shyly.
"Don't let him get to you," she says. "Kids like us gotta stick together, right?" He then politely asks her about what medication she uses for her illness, and her smile disappears.
"Seriously, Lahey?" she snaps, and takes her hand away before walking off. Isaac wonders where he went wrong, because all he knows about her is that she has messy hair, has fits and wears baggy jumpers. She walks slowly away from the playground, shoulders rounded, but Isaac can see the defiant pride inside her body glowing, radiating outwards.
He looks at his arm where she gripped, and it's exactly over his mark.
Allison moves the pot of plants away from the fish tank, and positions it next to a window. The sun gleams down, catching her hand.
"Loup Garou," she says aloud. The words are heavy on her tongue, like how dense chocolate cake feels, full of promise for the future. She'd expressed thoughts like these once, and her mother had made a face.
"Not everyone marries their soulmate, Allison," she had said curtly. "Now go and stop Aunt Kate from running over your dad's roses with her car." Allison had listened. She wants to know why, though, why they think she won't be able to find her soulmate. She knows he's waiting for her out there, and touches a fingertip to the messy script.
Allison has imagined so many scenarios. Her soulmate would probably be a guy in fuzzy werewolf make-up backstage somewhere in a theatre company, grinning and roaring and ambling when needed. She'd meet him by accident, bumping into him one night after watching a play, and they'd exchange numbers and walk in the park... Only because werewolves aren't real.
She wouldn't mind a werewolf. Allison's first crush was Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter books, and had imagined what he would be like with Ron's age and personality instead. She wrote Mrs. Allison Lupin on pieces of paper, then, horrified that her mother would see, put them through the shredder on dad's study.
There is the sound of gravel crunching outside the house, and muffled cursing. Then the sound of wood breaking. Allison leaves the potted plant alone, and heads out to the garage. Seriously, Aunt Kate needs to stop killing plants and start learning to drive properly.
"When you're eighteen, we'll send in the words for you," the insurance agent promises. His smile is bright, and he pats Danny's head. "Meanwhile, kiddo, your soulmate is probably near you now! All the time, in fact!"
"That's an estimate. I've read up on it. You may have a few matches around the world, but our words generally correspond best with the possible mate who lives nearest to us. Distance. Mother nature took it into consideration. I want my name in now." The insurance agent has a lost expression, and glances at Danny's dad for help. Danny's dad chuckles, and swats his son gently.
"You know your name can only be entered into the database when your are eighteen so as to prevent statutory rape from occurring, Danny."
"Why not now, but still a private account? That way, I can search for my soulmate but not have people prey on me just because I'm young!"
"The database is international and will help you search for your matches. We can't just private your information. Sorry, kid," the insurance agent says uncomfortably.
Danny marches up to his room and sets his creation on the database's website.
In two days, the police will come for him and arrest him for hacking into one of the largest soulmate search databases in the world. But for now, Danny flies around the site, scrolling past endless pictures of wrists and happy couples showing off their matching soul words.
So... Tell me what you think?
Chapter 5: 4
We are now firmly in the present! Everything going according to plan! Dance, fellas! This chapter is late because of massive writer's block. It's probably evident in the chapter below.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
High school starts. Stiles and Scott are still best friends, and the both of them are resigned to the fact that their soulmates are probably waiting for them in college. Or something. Because Stiles is sure that the both of them have had the worst luck in history with girls, ever. Lydia won't give him the time of the day (or, she wouldn't even if she actually knew who he was) and Scott has never fallen in love.
This changes when Scott is turned into a werewolf and Stiles meets inappropriately sexy older man Derek Hale. He tries out pick-up lines in the comfort of his room, but all he can come up with are along the lines of "you look like you walk around with a Coldplay soundtrack track in the background". Yeah, Stiles isn't good at pick-up lines. No one ever said he was, okay? To overcome his embarrassment, he listens to Weird Al Yankovic and sings along while reading up on myths. Stiles thinks it's pretty cool that Scott is a werewolf now. His best friend is an actual wolf! He smiles to himself in his room, but a thought strikes him.
Daughter of silver. Silver harms werewolves. Scott is a werewolf! This is all very Romeo and Juliet, but Stiles has no patience for Shakespeare. Puck was great, though. Good Robin shall restore amends and everything. Stiles does all the research on wolfsbane he can, and ends up reading about Professor McGonagall's history on Pottermore. Hey, priorities, right?
Laura entered Derek's words into the database when they were in New York. Derek still regularly checks his email, but more out of a sense of duty to his dead sister than anything.
It hurts, not having her beside him. It hurts having nobody. It hurts that he's just another beta now, almost a lowly omega. He visits his uncle in the hospital at times, and he can swear that he's not getting any better.
He would go on living like this, but life has thrown Scott McCall and an extremely chatty best friend into his life. He doesn't want to admit it, but the thought of having a pack again makes him ache. He wants one, craves the feeling of other wolves.
Derek's soul word itches even more these days, and he's checking his email twice a day. For a sign, anything at all.
Erica's soul words are not words, but a string of neat little numbers. They aren't telephone numbers, or house numbers. She has no idea what they are.
It's the betrayal. No one understands. Nobody understands the sudden jolt of "nononononononono", the crushing darkness, anything. Isaac thinks that corporal punishment would be fine as long as parents continue to reassure their kid that it's still fine, that they still love their child, hating the sin and not the sinner. This doesn't happen.
Isaac thinks that his father no longer loves him. The only solace he finds in the chest he is locked in is the faint mark around his wrist. He giggles hysterically in the darkness, waiting to be let out. Waiting to be freed.
Flashes of memories come back to Peter. He stretches out in his room and holds up his claws against the moonlight. He smiles as he thinks about killing Laura, taking the alpha powers back into his body. It's a wonderful feeling, all that strength and mental instinct flooding his newly-repaired mind. Sometimes he thinks he sees two little girls that look somewhat like his wife did, but he can't remember them. Figments of his own imagination. He thinks about naming them, but the names Anna and Bethany pop into his mind unbidden. They're perfect.
He is pulled out of his reverie by the moon's siren call. She has reached her peak. Peter feels himself transform, reaches out through his mental web for his beta wolf. The little one he bit that night.
Peter smiles at himself in the mirror, and bounds out.
What would you guys like to read? Whose soul words would you like to know? In this story, Matt has a legit reason for creeping on Allison! Because I like Matt.
Chapter 6: reveal: words!
Here is the big reveal! Everyone's words! A breather chapter. No spoilers, just words. I'm working on doing the actual representation of the words in real handwriting, so... Anyone who wants to contribute, please do! Also, I posted this to tide you guys over till the next chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Laura: ‘wake not the woods’, (sharp and spiky)
Derek: ‘Genim’ (energetic hand in Stiles' favourite blue pen)
Scott: ‘daughter of silver’ (neatly-written, clearly feminine- pencil?)
Allison: ‘loup garou’ (scrawled, in a circle around her wrist. Messy, nondecript black pen.)
Stiles: a drawing of an eye- electric blue iris (careful and painstakingly drawn, eye colour shaded in one direction)
Jackson: ‘night of the full moon’ (precise, neat writing)
Danny: ‘on the white moorlands’ (thin, slanted script)
Lydia: a messy signature (forceful and dark and sprawling- very dark lines used)
Erica: string of numbers (handwriting is unusually round and textbook, calling to mind a kindergarten teacher's script)
Boyd: sketch of a wolf head in pale reddish-silver (clear, strong, plain lines)
Isaac: the imprint of a hand (pale as though freshly squeezed, small palm and long fingers)
Matt: A.A (cursive and flowing, coffee-brown, somewhat resembling the colour of Allison's eyes)
Let me know if I've missed out on a character, or if there's one you want to know!
Chapter 7: 5
I'm so sorry for taking this long. I've been busy with ficlets. But here! This is short. Longer chapters to come, I suppose.
ETA: Sorry! Continuity error fixed as well :-)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Stiles is totally fine with the fact that there's a giant alpha werewolf going around Beacon Hills biting people. Totally fine as in, not fine at all. Derek hides out in his room and Danny comes over. Stiles absently scratches at his soul-picture, fingers circling the outline lazily. Derek's flipping through his dictionary and glaring at it like it holds the secret to life, and Stiles smiles a little to himself. He supposes that in the burnt house, Derek doesn't have much access to books- the smile slides off his face when he contemplates an existence without the written word.
Soul-nourishing, he remembers the seminars held at school. They called reading and writing and drawing 'soul-nourishing', strengthening the individual's connection to words and pictures. Stiles wonders if Derek ever did show an interest in any of that stuff. In being a kid.
He doesn't suppose so. Not really, anyway. They've got more pressing matters at hand.
Later, that night, Stiles sees Derek's eyes flash bright blue. The image is disconcertingly familiar, searing itself into his mind while he scrambles out of the way. It's not till later that Stiles is safely alone and panicking that he realises how it's familiar. How those eyes are familiar. He raises his wrist to eye level and studies the drawing before angling his arm out to catch the light coming from a streetlamp.
What are the chances?
He remains blissfully unaware of his best friend's similar realisation. It doesn't occur to Stiles that having silver down as Ag in Chem might inspire people to look it up. Beacon Hills is not that kind of school, y'know? Most of his classmates are satisfied with a pass. Scott fills him in on everything- Derek, Peter, Allison, but Stiles bites his lip. It just isn't right to tell Scott this. Not yet, anyway, with all this on their plate. What are the odds? Most soulmates tend to have a small age gap. But that's not the pressing concern now, is it?
He occupies his time with trying to stop Jackson and Scott from abusing his Jeep. Later, when his father passes him a picture of Derek with two circles of light obscuring his eyes, Stiles can only notice that the circles are blue, in contrast to the monochrome photograph. His heart thumps in his chest and he can only manage a rather thoughtful "nice" before his dad stops slurring his speech.
No one ever said Stiles was above manipulating his own dad, okay? It's for a Good Cause.
It frustrates Scott to no end. Having to help Peter, wanting to protect Allison, having to save Jackson, of all people. This doesn't stop his brain from running in overdrive (hyperdrive? Nope, Scott's pretty sure his brain is running over time and in a really fast drive) when Peter talks about the three of them being strong together. He's a teenager, and having his loved ones in danger doesn't necessarily stop dirty thoughts from jumping into his head at the most inopportune moments. But things are okay, you know? He's got Stiles. Stiles as his Robin. And Allison as Catwoman, probably.
Scott thinks that he's got time left for him and Allison. He puts off showing her his words, puts off telling her that he knows what her family name means.
And it all goes to hell after that.
I hope that anyone following this story is still enjoying it. Let me know what you'd like to see. Any situations that might be potentially changed (minutely) because someone knows that their soulmate is so-and-so?