Gender dysphoria is weird. At least, it is for Stiles. Xe’s not really sure why xe has gender dysphoria - it’s not like xe even has a gender to be dysphoric for, being agender and all. But it happens, and it’s weird.
Stiles likes xer body well enough. Xe could use a little more muscle, but other than that, xe’s quite a catch (if xe does say so xemself). There’s not really anything Stiles wants to change, but, just like what xe assumes all trans* folk go through with dysphoria, there’s a longing. A longing that causes a deep ache in xer bones and makes xem feel incomplete. Xe just... doesn’t exactly know what xe’s longing for.
Xe doesn’t get dysphoric very often, but when xe does, it’s incredibly overbearing. Everything hurts and xe can barely crawl out of bed, and xe counts xer blessings that xe’s so good at faking sick so xer dad allows xem to stay home from school on those days, because xe’s not sure xe could survive school when xe feels like this.
This is one of those days.
It’s five o’clock and Stiles has been lying in bed all day, snacking on dry cheerios and catching up on xer netflix queue, and xe’s starting to think that maybe the day will end on a good note when Derek jumps through xer window.
Stiles stares at him for a second before blinking and saying, “Dude, what are you doing here?”
“You missed the pack meeting.” Derek strides up and steals some of Stiles’s cheerios and, not cool man, not cool. No one steals Stiles’s cheerios.
“Are you kidding me? That’s the reason you barge into my room, make me pause this movie at the most suspenseful part, and steal my cheerios?” So maybe it comes out a little rude, but Stiles has not had the best day, so please forgive xem.
“Scott said you were sick,” Derek pauses. “You don’t smell sick.”
“Wow, that’s kind of creepy. How would the sheriff react if he knew you were in his house uninvited, sniffing his child?”
“Well he’ll never know that I was in his house sniffing his son, so it doesn’t matter.” Stiles tries not to wince at ‘son’. Xe usually doesn’t really mind being called a boy, it’s not like people are purposely misgendering xem, but xe’s just spent a whole day in xer bed cursing society for even creating the idea of gender in the first place, feeling like xe’s wrong and incomplete, a puzzle piece without a puzzle to belong to, so again, you must forgive xem.
"Right. Well, sorry for missing the pack meeting, but for the record, I wasn’t feeling well today. I may not have been sick,” xe would never call xemself sick because of xer identity. Xe passed that stage years ago. “But I definitely wasn’t well enough to go to a pack meeting. Did something happen that was so important that you had to come growl at me?”
Derek eyes xem, gaze undecipherable, before promptly saying, “No.” Before Stiles can get a word in edgewise, the werewolf is jumping back out of xer window. Stiles just shrugs and continues on with xer movie.
Stiles likes to think that xe's relatively calm and mature about bigotry, but xe's just spent an entire period in a Sex Ed class, having to see xer teacher write trans instead of trans* and constantly misgender people, and xer week has not been the greatest, so excuse xem for getting a little pissed off.
As xe sees Scott walking towards xem in the hallway, xe desperately tries to make xemself appear calm and not like xe wants to punch one of xer teachers. “Hey, man, what’s up?” Scott greets, and honestly Scott isn’t helping at all by calling Stiles ‘man’.
“Not much,” Stiles replies, forcing a smile. They start walking in step towards the parking lot.
“Cool. Hey, did Derek talk to you? I told him you missed the meeting because you were sick, but he said he wanted to check up on you himself.” Allison walks up and Scott wraps an arm around her. She’s wearing a flowing white sundress, and Stiles resists the urge to ask where she got it (and the jealousy swelling in xer throat because she can wear things like that without society having a fit).
“Yeah. He stole my cheerios.”
“I still can’t believe you guys are boyfriends,” Scott says, but it’s with a grin, and Stiles is pretty sure xer friend is proud of xem, because no matter how much Scott may not like Derek sometimes, he can surely still admit that the man is pretty hot.
“Me neither... Hey, wow, look at that. It’s my car! Where did that come from?” Stiles looks over at xer friends. “I, uh, gotta go. See you tomorrow!” Xe doesn’t wait for a reply, instead striding to xer jeep swallowing down the lump in xer throat that appears at ‘boyfriends’.
Stiles swears xe usually doesn’t mind being misgendered, and it’s not like xe can ask people to call Derek and xem ‘partners’ without raising some suspicion, but... today has just not been a good day.
Stiles has always preferred masculine clothing, had never even considered trying a more feminine way of dress until one night when xe was hanging out with xer new drag queen friends and they somehow convinced xem to try on a dress. Needless to say, xe fell in love.
Before dresses and skirts, Stiles used to cope after particularly difficult days by staring at xer ceiling and hating everything, but now xe can just go home, lock xer bedroom door, put on xer prettiest dress (carefully hidden at the back of xer closet, of course), and waste time on the internet, scrolling through pages upon pages of the agender earthworm meme.
It’s incredibly therapeutic.
November 20th is never a good day for Stiles, especially if it falls on a school day. Beacon Hills High is not necessarily filled with trans* advocates, or even people who know what the hell trans* means, but there’s something about TDoR that makes people feel the need to suddenly show (incredibly half-assed) support. Every other person Stiles passes in the hall is wearing purple and it’s obvious that throughout the day xe is being judged by self-righteous cis teenagers who genuinely believe that wearing a purple shirt in honor of something that they know little to nothing about can be considered forward progress.
Stiles gets through the day by imagining how satisfying it would be to ask one of the aforementioned teens if they knew the importance of the asterisk in trans* and then sit back and watch them flounder.
The day isn’t going half bad until xe gets to science and Mr. Harris begins with, “Since today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I thought we might do a little something on the science behind gender and what might cause one to identify as transgender. Can anyone tell me what transgender is?” Some white girl clad head to toe in purple at the front of the class raises her hand and describes it as ‘a girl who wants to be a boy, or a boy who wants to be a girl’ and is actually awarded points.
Well, at least Stiles finally has an excuse to wear the new skirt xe bought a few weeks ago.
Stiles is 13 when xe comes across an internet forum on gender and all the different complicated labels that come with it. It’s the first time xe really thinks xe might be something other than a boy, but it’s confusing and a little scary and the forum has a lot of big words in it, so xe puts that thought in the back of xer mind for later. Maybe xe’ll think about it a little more once xer mom is out of the hospital, as xer mom knows basically everything and could probably be a big help.
“You know you can tell me anything, ri–Stiles?” Stiles turns around in xer computer chair at the sound of Derek’s voice and, shit, there Derek is, standing by the window – the same window that Stiles apparently forgot to lock.
Stiles looks down at xer skirt, then up at Derek, then down at xer skirt, then up at Derek again. “It’s not what you think.”
“… What do you think I think?” Stiles opens xer mouth, prepared to say something, but nothing comes out. “Listen, Stiles,” Derek says, slowly advancing. “Whatever… this is, I don’t mind, alright? I love you no matter what.” He sits down on Stiles’s bed and attempts at a smile. He mostly just looks constipated, though.
Stiles closes xer eyes, takes a deep breath. “I’m not… a boy.” As good a place to start as any.
“So are you… a girl?”
“No!” Stiles shouts and flails around in xer chair before composing xemself and starting again. “I’m… neither. I’m agender, nonbinary, basically the opposite of computer coding.” Derek’s just nodding his head slowly.
“Is there anything… else?” The werewolf asks, gesturing to the skirt.
“Oh, uh, yeah, so, I made these friends at that club we went to back when Jackson was all scaly and tongue flick-y. Drag queen friends. Once I told them about my, uh… anti computer code-ness, they insisted I try on one of their dresses, and… I liked it? Like, a lot?? So, uh, now I have a few skirts and dresses in the back of my closet and when I have a bad day I put them on and it makes me feel better.” It all comes out in a flurry of words. Stiles takes a deep breath and continues. “Also I’m not really a fan of masculine pronouns?” Derek raises an eyebrow at this, and Stiles backtracks. “I mean, you can go ahead and use masculine pronouns if you want!” Derek rolls his eyes.
“Stiles, I’ll use whatever pronouns you want me to. I’m comfortable if you’re comfortable.”
“Oh, uh, right. So, like, instead of he, I prefer xe? And, uh, instead of him, I prefer xem. And instead of his I prefer xer. And instead of himself I prefer xemself. But, uh, maybe don’t use them in front of other people?” xer eyes widen. “I mean, just because no one else knows.” Derek rolls his eyes again.
“And while we’re at it, just, any time you can think of a gender neutral word instead of a masculine one, it would be great. Like, instead of son, child? And, instead of boyfriend, partner?” Derek is nodding his head and smiling, and Stiles can’t believe this is happening. Xe almost thinks that perhaps xe’s dreaming. It’s just too good to be true.
Derek’s lips are curved into a gentle smile as he leans down to kiss Stiles. It’s simple, just a peck really, but Stiles can feel xer heart speeding up, and xe’s sure Derek can hear it. “I love you, no matter how you identify,” Derek says, and Stiles’s heart beats even faster. The werewolf is smirking as he says, “and feel free to wear dresses and skirts more often. It’s kind of hot.” Their lips meet and laughter spills through the kiss, and all Stiles can think is that that girl in science can suck it.
A few months after Stiles’s mom dies, xe’s browsing the internet late at night, trying to take xer mind off of things, when xe comes across another forum on gender, only this one is much easier to follow, and Stiles finds xemself reading quickly through all the threads on being agender with an unidentifiable lump of emotion in the back of xer throat. For the first time, Stiles feels complete.
The very last comment xe reads is ‘boxes were meant to be opened’.
As xe finds a confidant in Derek, Stiles is so glad that xe opened the little box labeled ‘gender’ and let xer true emotions roam free.