Title: To Have Outlived the Night
Relationship: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Word Count: 23,448
Warnings: Panic attack, serious injuries (somewhat graphic), slight dubcon (see author end notes for more information)
Summary: Derek steps away from the window. “You helped me. They took that as a declaration.”
To Have Outlived the Night has to be my first recommendation, because it was the first memorable Sterek fic I came across while scrolling through tumblr tags, looking for ways to maintain the momentum from a marathon viewing of seasons 1 and 2. It was also the one that tipped me over into an inescapable obsession with this fandom. Nearly two years and thousands of fics later, it’s still one of the best I’ve ever read.
Written - or at least begun - during the airing of season 2, the narrative diverges from canon while Derek is still a seemingly capable Alpha, Scott is hovering on the fringes of his pack, Stiles’s dad is no longer the Sheriff, and Jackson’s transformation into an unstoppable kanima has the potential to be leveraged in the right direction. Stillane focuses on the quieter, character-building moments, the calm in the midst of the storm as the group recovers from Peter’s destructive swath and the splintering of the Argents. They feel like soldiers on the brink of a new war, trying to keep up with daily life, with one ear on the crackling radio.
The transition from canon to fandom is flawless, with a realistic, pitch-perfect progression of Derek’s and Stiles’s interactions from canon-typical snark and distrust - Derek shielding himself with toothless threats and Stiles brimming with insults and eye-rolling impatience - to a mutual understanding and growing respect. It’s a slow build in the best sense of the word.
[possible mild spoilers below the cut]
This is…. this is just. Gah. I saw it a couple of days ago and I’ve been too wicked tired to say anything coherent and I’m still not going to manage that but: HOLY WOW.
One of the most awesome things about writing - to me, anyway - is the weird idea that you mean a thing, and you write to try to show what you mean, and then if you did it right people understand the thing that you meant. This rec is that feeling. Those are all the things I was trying to say.
I gasped aloud and did embarrassingly dorky silent clappy hands on a crowded train, okay, that is how delighted I was by this rec.