Stiles is a white male, born and raised in a crime free, affluent suburb, who does pretty well in school and always has food in his stomach and a roof over his head. He know he doesn’t have much to complain about. He knows that in the large scale of things, like, on a Maslow’s hierarchy of needs scale, he’s doing pretty well. Stiles has the world’s best friend in Scott, and he and his dad are as close as you can get when one of them has work all the time and the other is a teenager.
So he doesn’t complain. He figures it’s normal to feel like a part of you is missing, like you’re more alone than you want to be in your own skin. It’s the human condition, isn’t it? “Ultimately we’re all alone” or some shit like that?
“Man,” he sighs when he and Scott stumble out of Harris’ classroom. “That sucked.”
“Totally,” grumbles Scott, taking a swig from his water bottle.
Stiles looks over his shoulder at the classroom. He can still see Harris berating that one girl with the purple braces. “You ever wonder what guys like him were like back in high school?”
Scott shrugs. “He sucks now, he probably sucked then.”
“Yeah,” Stiles agrees, “but like, was he a bully, or was he one of the really quiet kids that just sits in the back hating everybody silently? Like, where did it all go wrong for Mr. Harris?” Stiles thinks that maybe Mr. Harris was one of those guys that always thought they were smarter than everybody else, and is eager to finally be able to prove that he is. He probably has much more successful siblings, and a chip on his shoulder to match.
Scott stops at his locker. “Dunno, man.” He opens his locker, changes out a few binders, grabs his jacket, slams the locker door shit again. They change the subject to simpler things, like lacrosse maneuvers and that English test, yeah man, that looks like it’ll be tough.
It’s normal. Scott doesn’t live inside Stiles’ head, even if everybody jokes they do. Stiles can’t explain to Scott why exactly he likes walking through the woods so much in the fall (everything feels crisp and new, even as the leaves are sloughing off of the branches in droves, and there’s a sense of promise in the crispness of the air, like maybe winter isn’t a time for hibernation, but a chance for a new beginning,) or exactly why he dislikes Jackson so much, (he represents all of the muscle-flexing, masculinity-tossing, punch-throwing guys that have been shuffling around for millennia like glorified cro-magnons,) or why it is that he can’t help but stay up until god-forsaken hours of the night following trails of wikipedia links like breadcrumbs (he feels part of a pulsing web of information, like he’s entered a nether space of only knowledge, where facts and figures can run between his ears like air.) He can’t explain it to Scott, and he can’t explain it to anybody else.
Stiles figures that’s what makes people separate–– everybody has parts of them they don’t know how to share, bits of them so private and buried that trying to bring them out is like describing a dream; the right words can never encompass all of it.
It’s the difference between waking up at 7AM every morning, then brushing his teeth then washing his face then putting on his clothes then driving to school then talking to Scott by his locker then going to first period when the bell rings, then second, then third, then fourth, then fifth, then sixth, then seventh, every day an identical blur of talking which metaphor can represent which theme, or which equation will solve this problem, or who’s dating who or what sports player is doing what, and late afternoons spent with his feet hanging out of his bedroom window, sucking on ice cubes in the summer heat, balancing Of Mice and Men on his knee, but getting distracted by the play of orange light on the leaves outside and thoughts of what it means to no longer be a kid.
Those are the parts that cannot be touched, that Scott and his father react to with confused looks and uncomfortable jokes to break out of the sudden, serious, tension. (Stiles isn’t supposed to be serious, he’s the funny one with quips and jibes meant to break the seriousness apart.)
It’s also normal to sometimes have dreams that are so longing-filled you wake up and wish you hadn’t. The dreams are another thing that Stiles can’t explain to anybody. If he did, they’d just laugh and declare “wet dream!” “sex dream!” “ooh, that’s dirty, Stilinski” or “too much information, man,” because anybody he confided to would only hear the parts about sex.
Yes, Stiles dreams about sex, but while it’s vivid, the dreams aren’t just that. Stiles would happily forgo the dreams of warm, soft touches and nails gripping against his back for more of the ones where it’s just him looking into a set of blue-gray-green eyes and not feeling like he has to use sarcasm as a defense, or make small talk because he’s supposed to, or put up any of the walls he normally does. In the mornings after those dreams, Stiles wakes up a puddle of boneless muscle, cradled in his sheets and the leftover phantoms of arms, dreading the blare of his alarm clock ringing out the start of the real day like a death knell.
But this is normal. So Stiles carries on, and he can mostly ignore the faint feelings of bereavement and loneliness. He and Scott hang out, and they enjoy themselves. Stiles gets straight As. He googles everything from crop rotation to the latest anti non-human entity regulations released by the FNEB. He crushes on a girl who is safely unattainable.
Stiles is all set to carry on following expectations ––cracking his jokes, doing his schoolwork, thinking about college, then a respectable job, then a reasonably priced suburban house–– when he and Scott... get into some trouble. Stiles prefers the term “shenanigans,” but one way or another, it’s enough of a problem that Scott runs out of the woods in a frantic rush, losing his inhaler along the way.
Scott never loses his inhaler. Not after the Asthma Attack of ’06.
So they’re spending today on an inhaler hunt. It would be a nice nature walk if they weren’t both jumpy about the police catching them wandering around in a non-human entity jurisdiction. They’re already talking about putting down whatever werewolf cut that woman in half, so getting seen wandering around in the woods probably isn’t the greatest idea right now.
But Scott needs his inhaler, (see the aforementioned Asthma Attack of ’06,) so there they are anyway.
They’re scouting around in a clearing, noses to the ground, looking for a flash of plastic among all of the brown and green bracken, when Stiles gets the oddest feeling in his chest.
It’s like watching somebody drive to the airport and knowing that it will be years before you see them again, and everything will have changed. It’s like the brush of fingertips just before the hero plummets from the side of the cliff. It’s yearning like Stiles didn’t know yearning could be, and he doesn’t know what’s causing it. There are trees and leaves and Scott and an inhaler. He likes Scott and all but that’s no reason to be feeling like his heart is straining to leave the boundaries of his chest, pulling at his ribs and his soul, screaming “don’t let him get away!”
Blinking rapidly, Stiles casts his eyes around, looking for he doesn’t know what. It is, to all apparent purposes, a quiet morning, nothing but the morning fog and birdsong in the air, nobody else but Scott, ineptly digging through a pile of leaves at the base of an oak.
Then a figure appears in the distance. He’s just walking, but Stiles can see his head lifting up in confusion, looking for something. (It almost looks like he’s sniffing the air.) The man is wearing all black, and it matches his hair, and some quiet part of Stiles comments that they should probably be backing away right about now, but the rest of him isn’t scared at all. There’s something about him, the way he moves, the cant of his shoulders, that tells Stiles this man has seen more pain than he has inflicted.
The man in the distance bumps against a fallen log, accidentally flipping it over and uncovering the teeming micro-habitat underneath. He stops. Reaches out a hand. Flips the log back over so even the ants and worms can keep their home safe and intact.
No, this man is not to be feared, he needs someone to be cherished by and cherished, a place warm and comfortable, filled with soft things and loving hands.
Looking up from the log, the man sees Stiles.
They both freeze. Suddenly Stiles can hear the rushing of his own blood through his ears, and his heart is screaming like a tea kettle that’s boiling over, and there’s nothing more important that the man come here right now, because Stiles can’t see his eyes at this distance, but he’s willing to bet the world that they’re blue-gray-green.
“Who’s that guy?” Scott asks. “Kinda shady, maybe we should come back-”
Scott shuts up. Stiles wonders what Scott heard in his voice, if the thrumming running through his whole body is audible.
In the distance, the man straightens up, swaying slightly. Stiles can see his clenched hands loosening, the angle of his shoulders sagging as he looks on at Scott and Stiles, helpless, caught. (Stiles knows because he feels the same way.)
Stiles is yelling at the man to come closer in his head, just let Stiles see his eyes, touch his face, maybe invite him out for coffee and never let him go, but Stiles can’t force out the words. For once in his life, he can’t say a thing.
Yet in the end, Stiles doesn’t have to say a word. The man comes closer anyway, walking quickly towards them at first, then giving up all pretense and running full-tilt. If Stiles weren’t rooted to the spot, he’d be running too, the thirty seconds of space in between them is too much, he wants to know what’s special about this man right now, what magnetic force is pulling them, why suddenly all of those songs about love at first sight and seeing faces in crowded places make sense now, even though Stiles doesn’t even know the man’s name.
“This is really weird, we should-”
“No,” Stiles cuts Scott off again. “You can go, but I will not.”
(That’s how Stiles knows it’s serious. He’s losing his contractions.)
The man is fifteen feet away, and Stiles thinks he might actually pass out. His knees feel like they’re made of jelly, gravity like it’s losing it’s grip on him.
Then fur bursts from the man’s face and claws from his fingers, and he falls into a werewolf’s loping run for the last few paces.
Stiles’ breath catches for a moment, then resumes. When it comes down to it, he doesn’t care if the man is a werewolf or a human, if he’s a mermaid or a unicorn, if he’s ugly or gorgeous, Stiles just wants the man to be with him, even if it’s just for this one moment.
At about a foot away, the man forces himself back into human form. His fur retreats, his forehead flickers back into its normal shape, and the face that emerges is... is...
Beautiful, first of all. Stiles has to blink a few times to be sure he’s seeing correctly. It’s a beautiful face, and a hard one too. Razor blade cheekbones, a rigid, square, jaw covered in scrapes of stubble like coal, heavy eyebrows that lie tiredly across his brow-
Blue-gray-green eyes that Stiles could tell anything to.
Raising a hand, Stiles lightly trails a finger across the man’s right cheekbone, watches those eyes flick down to follow the movement of his hand. Stiles reaches the end of the cheekbone and looks back into the man’s eyes.
The man’s eyebrows are quirked up in wonder, and Stiles wouldn’t be surprised if his are doing the same. His wide hand comes up to cover Stiles’ own, so gently, like he hasn’t touched another person in so long he barely knows how to anymore. Stiles is gratified to find that the man’s hands are trembling as well.
Lips quirking slightly upwards, the man lets out a small huff of laughter, barely audible, just a soft, disbelieving chuckle.
He’s right, this is ridiculous. They haven’t even spoken and yet Stiles is still leaning forward, and so is the other man, until their lips meet halfway in between their two bodies.
At first, Stiles thinks he’s being electrocuted. Then he realizes that it’s the entirety of his body, (his being, even,) singing out in joy, one great big hallelujah chorus all at once. Barely even noticing when his legs get hiked up around the blue-gray-green eyed man’s waist, Stiles is caught up in the feeling of finally, because it’s this, this that he wanted. Not even having to speak, just knowing. He can feel the joy in the other man flowing through him, like a circuit finally completed.
They kiss and kiss and kiss, and it’s brilliant, it’s something out of a different world. Here, surrounded by the arms of the blue-gray-green eyed man, Stiles can finally rest, let himself just be held and not make excuses and deflections and disguises.
But time does pass, and eventually there is nothing to do but pull apart, stare at each other between pants, and ask, what is your name?
“Stiles,” says Stiles.