“Some of us have to make mistakes. Some of us have to get our hands a little bloody sometimes. Some of us are human.”
Stiles is six, when he first meets Scott.
The other boy is sitting alone on the swings, watching everyone with longing eyes and a sad little frown.
So he does what no one else would and runs over and plops down on the swing next to the boy, and says happily,
“Hi! I’m Stiles!”
And Scott asks with picturesque innocence,
“What’s a Stiles?”
And they’d been close ever since.
Their acquaintanceship soon turned to friendship, and maybe that was only because Scott shared his pudding and Stiles shared his gummy worms.
This was followed by the declaration that they were best friends, and that was definitely because Stiles ran and got Scott’s inhaler from his cubby when they were ten and Scott had an asthma attack on the playground.
Next came brotherhood, and that was when Stiles started a fight with the bully who had stolen Scott’s inhaler and threw it in the mud when they were fourteen.
The unbreakable bond came when Scott was bitten at seventeen; if they had been close before, they were inseparable after.
And that was because, through it all, Stiles had done what other people wouldn’t have; he stayed.
If there's one thing Stiles is, it's loyal and even with a sense of crippling self doubt, he's humble enough to admit that.
At seventeen, Stiles watches as he loses his best friend to the man who tried to take everything from them.
At seventeen, Stiles watches as his best friend suddenly isn’t his best friend anymore.
At seventeen, Stiles loses the one person he knew he could keep.
He meets Derek when he and Scott are looking for Scott’s missing inhaler in the woods.
Of course, it's Stiles’ fault it's missing at all, but he had already beaten himself up for that.
The first words out of Derek’s mouth are, “This is private property,” and Stiles sort of wants to scream or cry or laugh because there's far too many emotions and not enough words to describe what it is he feels upon seeing those multi-colored eyes for the first time.
They don't get much closer than that as time goes on. Not on the surface, at least.
But he knows, has maybe always known, that for all Derek was broken, he was also sweet and kind, even if he did speak more with his eyebrows than with his voice.
He was broody and quiet, the epitome of tragedy and Stiles wanted to fix .
But fixing a broken car was a lot easier than fixing a broken person.
So things remained surface level until it wasn't enough, until Stiles world falls apart and he loses Scott to Deucalion.
Derek finds him standing on the roof of the hospital still, cold rain and frigid wind battering his body, and so the wolf does what he never would have before and kisses Stiles like he could envelop Stiles in his warmth and save him from the horrors of his own mind.
But Stiles kisses back, because he's been waiting too damn long, been holding off because Scott wasn't sure, was never sure about Derek, but now he figures...to hell with it.
Somewhere along the way, Derek took Scott’s place (not as best friend, never as best friend) and doesn’t leave.
Derek stays loyal because he knows that’s what Stiles needs, even if Stiles has shattered too much to really notice anymore.
He makes a decision that night.
He decides he’s going to hold on a helluva lot tighter, this time around.
He lost his best friend, he isn't going to lose this too.
Nothing is the same, after the Nogitsune.
He killed people, he hurt people, he lost people.
At seventeen, Stiles loses the one person who could understand.
He’d fallen in love with Lydia when he was twelve and the girl had just told off one of the older boy’s in their class. He hadn't stopped loving her since, even if it changed from “in love” to just “love”.
The older boy’s name was Jackson, and he looked ready to cry but had instead asked her to the school dance, and she laughed and said yes. That was the moment he knew he hated Jackson, and he'd hated him since, even if it was for of different reasons.
Boyd sort of appears on the field with Jackson one day, and Erica is soon to follow, though not quite as far as the field. She perches on the bleachers, terrifying and beautiful, and Stiles can't remember what she was like before she was bitten. Boyd didn't much change, stoic as always, except now he and Erica are inseparable and Stiles isn't sure who he envies more, even if he envies them both for different reasons.
Following them is Isaac. He is too quiet and too broken, still flinches if someone moves too fast when Stiles first introduces him to Derek as a new beta candidate. He's not as quiet, after the bite, not as broken, and Stiles wishes he could be fixed like that, but he can't. Too much has happened. He doesn't know when the jealousy started, but it hasn't ever really ended.
At seventeen, Stiles loses his mind.
But things change, and he doesn’t just get his best friend or his boyfriend back...he gets a pack.
At eighteen, Stiles sprawls out on the couch with his head in Scott’s lap and his feet in Isaac’s, Isaac’s hand coming to rest on Stiles’ ankle, his thumb absently rubbing circles around the bone, while Scott gives him an unimpressed look and tugs at Stiles ear.
“Really? Right there?” Scott asks, head tilted to the side, mock annoyance in his tone.
“Hey!” Stiles protests. “Isaac doesn't mind!”
“It's nice,” Isaac agrees with a small smile.
“You!” Stiles points at him. “You. I like you. I'm keeping you.” He looks at Scott and says, “I'm keeping him. He's my new best friend. I'll even make him a name tag. ‘Property of Stiles’.”
“I still have mine. You misspelled ‘property’.”
“I was eight!” Stiles protests indignantly. “I'll just give him yours then. You don't appreciate art.”
“You also misspelled ‘Stiles’.”
“In my defense, I was in a rush. You were being whisked away by Joan.” He shakes his head and says to himself, “Fuck you, Joan”
Lydia rolls her eyes dramatically, and throws a pillow at him, before going back to filing her nails.
Jackson sits on the ground in front of her, rubbing her feet, though Stiles is pretty sure she must have threatened to neuter him if he misbehaved.
Erica and Boyd are cuddled together in the love seat in the corner, being as disgustingly cute as they always are.
Derek, sitting stiffly in the puffy chair across from him, cracks a small smile when he thinks no one is looking, but quickly goes back to brooding and communicating his superiority and alpha-ness via eyebrow and Stiles knows he can't get everyone, but he’ll get Derek again, someday.
Because he held on a helluva lot tighter this time.
At eighteen, Stiles realizes that maybe he never really lost anything.