Character/s: Stiles, Derek
Summary: It takes months before Stiles is comfortable with touching things, even longer before he doesn’t flinch away anytime his fingers touch people.
Warnings: possession memories, violence memories
Content Notes: post-Nogitsune Stiles, memories of hurting people, dealing with the aftermath
Submission Type: ficlet
Word Count: 886
Prompt: #256 - amnesty & #89 - touch starved
Author's Notes: I've had this as a plot bunny for a long time, inspired by gifs of Stiles's fingers touching things. And well, this happened.
It takes months before Stiles is comfortable with touching things, even longer before he doesn’t flinch away anytime his fingers touch people.
He remembers everything now, all the little things when the Nogitsune was inside his body, when it used him to do its deeds. Before the memories came back it used to drive him crazy that he couldn’t remember, that he had missing pockets of time, entire days sometimes when he couldn’t figure out what he’d done. But it all came back when they destroyed the Void, when he was himself yet again.
One of the clearest things that he remembers is how touch felt to the Nogitsune. How odd and exhilarating it was to have something solid under his fingers — the feeling of getting something that it couldn’t have while it was trapped in the Nemeton and didn’t have a human body. He recalls perfectly how it would run his fingers over the most random things — books, keys, the steering wheel, desks, the katana that it drove through Scott — and how it would touch them with exaggeration, with flair. With grace and smoothness that Stiles himself never had and never would have in his life.
Everything that was in its vicinity, the Nogitsune put Stiles’s hands on. And it feels now like it took something precious from Stiles — on top of everything else that it’s done — because he’s always been a tactile person. He used his hands to distract himself, to calm himself, whether it was by playing with whatever happened to be nearby or touching the people in his life to reassure himself that they were still there.
And that is something he needs to do now. Little things that before the possession were automatic: a hand on his father’s shoulder, a hug for Scott, back of a hand touching Lydia’s. He craves it, his mind reeling without the constant affirmation that physical contact used to provide him. Sure, he still has things that he touches as before, but none of them are living and breathing. He’s too afraid, terrified that his touch will be as harmful as it was when his body was not really his own. It’s not something he can talk to anyone either, tired of seeing everyone cringing when the Nogitsune is brought up at all.
In the end, when he’s exhausted himself trying to find a way to tell anyone else, he goes to the only person who wasn’t around as much, the only one who Stiles hopes will be willing to at least talk.
It takes a week before Stiles’s reason to be in the loft daily comes up. A week of him at first lurking in the parking lot, then sitting on the edge of the couch hesitantly after Derek calls him and tells him to come up.
“What’s wrong, Stiles?”
And isn’t that a loaded question. One that Stiles hesitantly tries to answer, but he doesn’t know what he can or can’t say straight away.
“I just,” he starts, then swallows the lump in his throat. “It’s hard to be around the others. They don’t say it, but they still cringe when I’m there, like they’re still afraid of me.”
It hurts to admit it. And it’s terrifying to mention how afraid he is to touch anyone. But then, after his admission about the others, Derek walks to him and puts a hand on Stiles’s shoulder.
Like a dam breaking, Stiles’s fears rush out in a stream of words. He doesn’t look at Derek, keeps his gaze focused on the ground in front of him as he talks. When he’s done, Derek’s grip on his shoulder tightens, not strong enough to hurt but enough to anchor Stiles, to stop his heart from racing.
Tentatively, he turns a little and lifts his hand, then aborts the movement and drops it back on his own thigh. Derek lets him go — Stiles’s heart immediately speeds up as he wonders if Derek is going to leave — and walks around to sit on the couch next to Stiles. Without a word, he holds out his own hand palm up, and nods at Stiles.
“Come on,” he whispers, and Stiles’s eyes widen.
But then he takes the invitation and lifts his own hand, then places it slowly and carefully into Derek’s. Almost immediately, Derek’s fingers link with his, and he squeezes gently.
“I used to be the same, you know,” Derek says after a few beats. “I thought I’d destroy everything I touched.”
“Not anymore?” Stiles asks.
“No,” Derek tells him, shaking his head. “Not anymore.”
Then, without hesitation, he lets go of Stiles’s hand, wraps his arm around Stiles’s shoulders, and pulls him closer. Stiles moves along, leaning against Derek’s side, and feels like he can finally breathe easily again.
It’s a process after that. Slow touches, ones that take time to become automatic, subconscious, easy. Simple ones that don’t result in overthinking, in fear, in memories flooding Stiles’s brain. Eventually, he touches with curiosity and joy again, fingers running along Derek’s skin as he learns all the details of it. Teasing, arousing, reassuring, warm touches that he knows both of them enjoy. And the most exhilarating part about them is the fact that Derek touches him the same way right back.