Anonymous said: (cont.) his attempts to kidnap Jackson; he spent an entire episode running between Scott and Allison delivering messages... I can go on. Like I said, he can be an asshole and a sarcastic little shit, but he's never been selfish in canon. The views of the show vary from fan to fan, obviously, we all have our own interpretations of the show, but how can you reconcile your characterization of Stiles when it's so vastly different from what we've seen in canon?
1. I don’t like defending my own writing; it’s almost never a good look, and I’m not sure I’ve ever really convinced anyone to change their minds about it. Either what’s in the text works for you or it doesn’t, is my general rule.
2. Sometimes, though, there are misunderstandings. Those are worth clearing up. A bunch of people mis-read a moment in The Wild Kindness when Stiles is on the phone with someone who he calls baby; he then asks this person (Hannah, the little girl who bit Derek) to hand the phone to Henry. Many people were concerned that Stiles was calling Henry baby. He wasn’t. That’s just a fact.
3. I’m not sure whether the issue of Stiles “being an asshole” qualifies as a misunderstanding or not. Clearly it’s a thing people seem to think, and it’s an impression, not a single line or scene, so it’s hard to prove or disprove. But for the record, I wasn’t writing Stiles as an asshole. I don’t think he is an asshole, and I don’t think his behavior is— and the qualifier is crucial here— more than justifiably selfish. Taking care of yourself is kind of selfish. It is also a really, really important thing to do.
But so let’s start at the beginning. Stiles leaves Beacon Hills because he’s 18 and he wants to explore the world; he’s had a more-than-usually intense high school experience, and while he imagines that he’ll end up back there eventually, he needs some time away to process everything, to figure himself out on his own, to make sure that’s what he really wants. Would it be easier on his dad (and, once they get together) Derek if he stayed? Probably!
But— and this is really, really crucial— Stiles wouldn’t be happy if he stayed. I absolutely believe that you can’t take care of other people if you’re not taking care of yourself first and foremost, and Stiles takes care of himself by acknowledging that he needs this time, and then taking it. You can call this selfish. I will argue that you are wrong.
So then he asks Derek to be in an open relationship. This is actually another fairly straightforward text issue: people seem to think Derek is sad or reluctant to be open, but he never says so. He never says anything at all to that effect, and he never behaves as if he’s hurt once they have rules in place, once it’s understood that Stiles wants to be in a relationship with him and only him. In fact, when that dude is jealous that they’re making out in the cab in Boom, Bounce, Derek’s response is basically yeah, you do wish, don’t you. It would be selfish and unreasonable of Stiles to insist that the relationship be open if Derek had an issue with it but he really, really doesn’t.
(In fact! I think he’s into it, because he’s kind of terrified that if they were monogamous Stiles would wake up one day and get curious about sex with other people; this ensures that Stiles gets to experiment and explore within the bounds of their relationship in a way that’s respectful of Derek’s feelings and desires.
Also, if Derek did have a problem and didn’t speak up about it? That’s him being an asshole, and a shitty partner. There is no value in not speaking honestly about your feelings. It robs the people around you of the ability to be good to you. When Derek withholds things from Stiles—and he does, at various points— it isn’t romantic. It’s kind of self-destructive.)
Then we get to the break up. This is your best bet on arguing that Stiles is a selfish asshole, but I’m still going to disagree with you. He doesn’t behave perfectly— not telling Derek that he’s thinking about leaving right away is kind of a dick move— but once again: ultimately, Stiles knows what he needs. He realizes that going back to Beacon Hills would be a mistake, and that he and Derek would probably break up eventually if he did. Sometimes you can make sacrifices for a relationship and it’s worth it; sometimes those sacrifices end up destroying what you were trying to protect.
He also asks Derek if they can stay together. No one ever seems to realize that he’s not just offering to spare Derek’s feelings— that’s what he wants. When Derek says, in no uncertain terms, that that’s not going to happen, Stiles backs off. He backs maybe even too far off, but that’s because he knows Derek’s past, he knows how badly he’s hurting Derek, and he’s trying to make it better by not insisting, not asking for anything. Respecting someone’s boundaries seems less romantic and passionate than crying and screaming and saying you can’t live without them, but it is, ultimately, the kind of gesture that makes it possible for people to come back together again after a difficult, fraught time apart.
As to The Wild Kindness, I honestly don’t know what to say. I guess people wanted Stiles to fall to his knees and beg forgiveness and make pronouncements. That was never going to happen, because he hadn’t done anything wrong. He needed time and he took it. He told Derek what he wanted; he listened when Derek told him what he wanted. He comes back because Scott asks him to, and basically the first thing he does is check in with Derek that they’re still good, that he’s not pushing boundaries. He’s in a place to know what he wants, that being in Beacon Hills and being with Derek would be good for him, now. When Derek asks him to come back— when Stiles knows that he’s wanted— he basically doesn’t hesitate before saying yes.
If there are still specific moments from the stories that you have questions about I’m happy to discuss them. It was written in under two months, and I had no idea when I started it that it was going to end up being so long; I am uncomfortably aware that it’s not perfect!
But please understand that I see Stiles’ behavior throughout TDK as a form of self-care, which is particularly necessary after he’s spent so much time taking care of others. He doesn’t always behave perfectly or communicate as well as he should, but he is somewhere between eighteen and twenty-two years old, and self-care is hard, and he does everything he does with the intention of making himself more open, available and loving, of making himself a better part of the communities he choses to join, when he choses to join them. That’s not being selfish, and it’s not being an asshole. There is a reason that self-care, which should be so basic, is still and always a radical act.
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- ladyofthelog said: HEARTS IN MY EYES, LADY
- cupc8keblonde said: Thanks for this. I personally had to go away for a bit after college for “self-care” purposes, even though it hurt my partner deeply at the time. But it was mandatory for my personal growth and sanity. So I can totally relate to Stiles in this…
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- beryllinthranox said: This is just to say: I feel like your characterization of Stiles is one of the most true-to-life I’ve ever read. PREACH.
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- connaissais said: Welcome to fandom, where humans with emotions who grow and change are unrealistic.
- morgan-leigh said: SING IT, SISTER
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