I had a crazy idea about the orange-brown colour used in Derek and Stiles’ mirroring shirts.
A bit of a play with colour swatches later, and I arrived at a somewhat surprising result.
Wow, That’s so cool what made you think of this?!
i can’t tell you how many times i’ve spoken up about harassment only to be told to “learn to take a compliment”.
since when do “compliments” intrude on my space? what kind of “compliment” makes a person feel unsafe or threatened?
harassment isn’t a compliment. know the difference.
Hi. I've been reading through your metas and it was mentioned in some of them that Derek doesn't like when others touch him. Have you done a meta on this? Or someone else? About how he doesn't like it (but still let certain people touch him)? I've seen people saying this about Derek a lot but I just don't seem to see this (or I just don't notice these things, not sure). I mean yes, it is obvious in the scene between him and Kate in S1 but is that based on only that scene or there's more to it?
Good question, littlerubberducky.
There’s a definite pattern with Derek and touch. He is okay touching other people — a hand on the shoulder, for instance — or in training or fights, or life and death situations. But he makes it pretty clear he doesn’t like to be touched by them in return. He isn’t touched by anyone the way Scott and Stiles casually touch each other, for instance. We never see him hug people, or people hugging him, except as young!Derek.
As you said, he obviously hates Kate touching him in S1, and I think that the way Kate combines sex and power is why Derek doesn’t like being touched.
In S2, we see him fake flirt with people in order to manipulate them — the cop in Shape Shifted, and Erica in Ice Pick — and it tells us something important about how he thinks about sex and power. His flirting is all smiles and animal magnetism. He doesn’t touch the cop at all, and stays at a distance from Erica at first. When he does touch Erica, it’s on the legs, so he’s not that easily in her reach. She doesn’t touch him in that scene.
Erica kisses him later on in training, in a move very like the one Derek uses on Braeden in S4. Derek kisses back for a second or so, and I think that’s his own fake-out to lull Erica, and then he violently throws her off and tells her not to do that again. He rubs his mouth.
He hates the way Scott touches him in Master Plan, understandably enough. He begs Scott not to do it, and looks completely crushed afterwards. This touch was about power, and had a similar dynamic to a sexual assault because Derek’s mouth was penetrated without his consent.
In S3, when he’s talking to Lydia, Allison, Scott and Stiles at the school, he makes it clear he’s not happy with Lydia for drugging him, and moving his body around so that Peter could drain his power. I’m sure he realises she was under Peter’s psychic control, but it affected him enough he made sure to comment on it. He has his arms crossed for much of that scene, which is self-protective, closed off body language.
He does let Jennifer touch him in S3, but that whole relationship is suspect given that she obviously used some kind of mojo on him. Here’s a video of Jennifer mimicking Stiles' scenes with Derek, which I think makes it pretty clear she's using some kind of seduction magic on him, which is based on the trust he's build with Stiles. During Jennifer and Derek's one sex scene in Motel California, he actually tells her she should go, and the reason he gives is that everyone around him gets hurt. In other words, the implication is that he thinks if he lets people touch him they'll become a target — this is obviously part of his PTSD due to Kate's rape. Jennifer doesn't take it as a “No” and makes the first move. The music confirms he's touch deprived, and the whole thing is creepy.
He accepts touching from Cora after saving her life by sacrificing his alpha power, but that’s the first and last time we see her touching him with affection. He obviously likes it, but is also clearly too exhausted to move. It’s not a sexual touch or a touch that asserts power.
Even in the Visionary flashback (assuming we can trust what we see in that episode), we see him touch Paige from behind at first, until he’s comfortable with her, although he does let her touch him after that. He doesn’t hug his mom in that ep either, she just kisses him on the forehead.
In S4, young Derek does easily let Stiles touch him, and Kate too, and Parrish, which strongly implies that while he might not have been particularly touchy-feely as a kid, his touch aversion is because of what Kate did.
Stiles is a counterpoint to this.
Derek really didn’t like Stiles making him take his shirt off in S1, probably because of his history with Kate. Interestingly, before Stiles pulls that stunt of turning sex into a powerplay, Derek was okay with Stiles touching him after the first time Stiles saves his life. He allowed it in the vet clinic while he was poisoned with the the wolfsbane bullet, and even reached out to take Stiles’ hand after Stiles slaps him awake. He was also fine with Stiles being all up in his business when he pushed him up against the Stiles’ bedroom door.
After the stripping scene, it changes. Derek smacks Stiles against the steering wheel of the Jeep as punishment. And then in S2, Shape Shifted, Stiles and Derek are in the Jeep again, about to rescue Isaac from the police station, when Stiles puts his hand on Derek’s shoulder. It’s not a violent touch or anything, Stiles is just trying to ask a question and clarify the plan, but Derek looks at Stiles hand, then up at Stiles a couple of times, silently saying, “Stop,” and Stiles says, “I’m taking my hand off,” and does. Stiles doesn’t touch him again after that, except to save his life, until Boyd’s death. [ETA: I forgot the heist planning scene, and Stiles asks for permission in that scene. “Show me your fist” and Derek plays along. He punches Stiles’ hand after Stiles touches him, but not hard enough to really hurt — Stiles is putting on most of his pain act, because when he’s really in pain he’s much more subdued. So there’s a progression from the shoulder touch scene; here Derek allows the touch when Stiles asks first, but still gives a warning/reminder that he can hurt Stiles if he crosses the line. Anyway, returning to Boyd…] Stiles hesitates about touching him then, too, but Derek accepts it, and after that Stiles touches him again without asking in the ambulance in The Overlooked, which Derek also accepts. Stiles slaps Derek awake in the lift, and keeps touching him after he’s awake, which Derek accepts. Stiles has power over him in the lift scene, and Derek is still okay with the touching. Stiles has re-earned his trust. There has been an obvious progression on Derek’s part.
You can see screencaps for a lot of the Sterek scenes I describe here in Sterek: An angsty, pining love story.
The next time we see him accept an affectionate touch is from Braeden in S4, and that is not a romantic scene, although it does seem to be consensual. Derek makes sure to control the sex, so it’s about power again for him. I give my reading of it here.
Anyway, if you have never met someone with a touch aversion, Derek’s body language might not be immediately recognisable, but I think it fits the pattern pretty strongly and consistently, and is clearly related to his history of sexual assault.
but stiles fucking with derek and taking advantage of his lack of werewolfy powers, though? stiles being a little shit and delightfully and loudly enjoying every little shortcomings derek now has because he’s (temporarily?) human.
stiles hiding behind the shower curtain and yelling in derek’s face to startle him.
derek gasps, backs up hurriedly against the sink and throws his toothbrush at him as a first response reflex. he swallows and chokes on a bit of toothpaste in the process and stiles runs away before derek has the time to properly recover.
stiles challenging derek to a race every day until he caves because he can’t stand hearing the question again and again.
"we start from here, we finish over there," stiles declares, pointing at vague landmarks around them.
derek crosses his arms, looking unsure. “it’s kind of a really short distan—”
stiles starts running before derek is even finished talking, and derek is forced to scramble after him, spluttering about “not being ready!” he still catches up to him pretty easily but stiles quickens his pace at the last second and crosses the ‘finish line’ with both his arms raised. derek is right behind him, but yeah. he lost. suck it derek.
stiles collapses on the ground, breathing loud and disgusting like a dying horse. he really should exercise more, goddamn. he’s pretty sure he strained something. worth it.
"ha! not such a hot shot without your wolf powers, huh?" he heaves out.
derek is bent in half, hands on his knees. he looks way more composed and less sweaty than stiles is. he pants, “didn’t count. i would fucking win on a long distance run! and you cheated.”
derek rolls his eyes and doesn’t help him up, walks away, looking petulant and childish. stiles loves it and stays on the ground for a long time to catch his breath.
stiles purposefully whispering stupid stuff in scott’s ear just so he can watch derek squirm uncomfortably, straining to hear what’s being said.
"stop it," derek finally snaps. "what are you—are you talking about me?"
scott looks sheepish but unapologetic. he shrugs with one shoulder while stiles slowly backs away from him, smirking across the room at derek.
"woudn’t you like to know?" he says, trying his best to sound like a six year old.
"you’re a shithead," derek declares, turning away angrily to stare at his computer.
stiles smirks a little more, says nothing, and watches with delight the range of emotions he’s painted on derek’s face.
stiles asking his dad to teach derek how to shoot a gun. “he’s completely declawed,” he explains to him. “braeden taught him the basics, so he’s not totally useless but he’s still pretty ridiculous.”
stiles crashing the impromptu class the sheriff is giving by correcting derek’s stance with his body, tapping derek’s ankle with his foot, moving derek’s arms with his hands, plastering his chest against derek’s back to make him straighten up.
"it’s okay, dad, i got this," he announces magnanimously when his father stares at him, all squinty eyed.
derek is absolutely rock still under stiles’s hands. “be sure to take some time to breathe after you aim. you have to take the shot as you exhale,” stiles says right against derek’s cheek, almost straight into his ear.
he takes a step back, so he’s certain that derek cannot hear or feel his beating heart or smell his sweat or whatever creepy shit werewolves do. he always has an adrenaline rush when he’s around guns, he doesn’t want derek to get like, the wrong idea or something.