sheafrotherdon (and I always make a point of pronouncing it correctly and out loud when I see your user name, btw) asked "What are three defining moments in your life? Also - what are Derek Hale's feelings about sweaters?"
Three? Shalt thou count to three. No more. No less. Three shalt be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once at the number three, being the third number to be reached, then, lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.
(It's just a hodge podge of quotes, LOL & DOGE speak and recipes up in here. *taps temple*)
One: When I was in high school, I was terribly shy (I still am) unless I know you (still true), in which case you are "gifted" with my spazziness and massive quantities of energy by the ton. I was very involved in science (I even hung out with the science teachers like a big ol' nerd, but they were funny and liked me and again: shy.) and had a particular science teacher take me under her wing. She encouraged me to not only do the Science Fair (we all were required to do something, but that didn't mean you were doing it to be competitive) but to really go for it. She helped me get grants from the state of Texas, to the tune of $25,000 - those were 1988 dollars! - where I was able to build a lab in the corner of the science wing to do my work.
Because I was shy and had zero support from home on this, I rarely placed, something that infuriated my teacher on my behalf. I truly was doing sophisticated work, but when your mother refuses to drive you to school to continue research because it cuts into her life, what can you do? You don't create something as polished as the other kids with parents who spent all manner of money on their projects, that's what.
My senior year was my biggest project yet: molecular and embryonic cloning. This was 1989-90, so what I was doing was quite huge. But no one aside from my teacher knew that I was doing this. I got to travel to a "top secret" genetics lab in Dallas to conduct my experiments; I felt incredibly cool.
My boyfriend at the time asked me one afternoon when he and I (and his BFF) were hanging out where I was going every Tuesday - Thursday, and when I explained to them that I was doing molecular cloning, they laughed at me. "Right."
No, really. Cloning exact replicas of some bacteria, been doing it for a few weeks now. (Keep in mind that Dolly the Sheep was 1996, after my time in school.)
"Um, if you were doing that, why aren't we hearing about that on the news?"
I don't fucking know, but I'm not lying? They changed the subject with an eye roll - they were both tremendously condescending to me at times, a lot of that had to do with me being a goody-two-shoes Mormon and more over that they were both assholes - and that was that. We spent the rest of the day talking about the very interesting things they were doing, natch. No one I knew seemed to care (or believe) what I was doing, strangely enough.
Even though all of my science teachers up until that point (with one exception) were women - doctors in their fields - no one around me valued women in science. No one paid attention. That year I lost to someone who had constructed a fucking wind tunnel. WIND. My teacher about flipped her desk, she was so angry. She told me to never stop learning, to spend the rest of my days being a student of life, and to never let men tell me that what I'm doing isn't important. She explained that girls like me needed to keep pushing the status quo so that we'd be taken seriously.
I had never seen her angry before - she was the epitome of cool and good humor - and it left an indelible impression on me, one that has never gone away. This was a huge leap in me realizing that I had actual brains that had every bit as much value as others'. I honestly never thought much of myself or my abilities, so this was incredibly important to know that she believed so strongly in me and in what I was capable of achieving. Oh, Ms. Melody, I still fucking adore you.
Two: This isn't a positive one, and it's based on very bad things that happened in my life, but it is maybe THE most defining moment in my entire life. TW: abuse.
My step-father was the epitome of the "funny uncle." We'll just leave it there. I was 12 when he came into my life, and 13 when he almost destroyed it. See, the thing is, that while I was quiet and shy and didn't think much of myself, I listened to everything. I observed everything around me. I paid attention. I believed and trusted my elders.
So when he got handsy with me (we'll just say it that way) I fucking told, just like the PSAs said you should do. I went straight to my mother and said, "Your husband did this and this to me, and wanted to do this. But I stopped him."
And my mother looked at me and told me I was a liar. [Remember that I was a devout Mormon, and to lie was to sin, and to sin was to spit in God's face. I didn't fucking lie. About anything.] Then she said that I just didn't understand what he was trying to do. I never trusted her again. I didn't tell anyone what had happened after that, either, because to be told by your mother that you're a liar is about the worst thing you can hear, especially when you aren't.
Through years of therapy, I've learned that I went through a period of time where I WAS a liar. I exaggerated, I stretched the truth, all in the name of being entertaining or protecting myself. Not healthy, I know. But I've long since stopped that destructive behavior and learned that I have an incredibly visceral reaction to being called a liar. It's clear now why that is, but the rages in which I would fly when someone accused me of lying... Well. I don't, I'm not, and I will take you to the mat if you ever call me one.
I cannot express the weight off my mind when I realized why I reacted the way I did to that accusation. I'll say this: if you are noticing a young girl with extreme behavior, there's a reason for it. Maybe be a hero and get to the bottom of it?
I had struggled with my beliefs (and lack of) for years up until this point. Things I couldn't make sense of, things that had left me truly crying in my room for hours, feeling lost and terrified. If you've never had spiritual faith, this won't make sense to you, I know. Imagine realizing that your family isn't your family. You don't actually own what you own. You didn't earn your degree. Things that were as real as the sun being the source of light is no longer accurate.
By the time I didn't believe any more, it was very simple. The tears were gone, the worry was over. The fear that I would lose everyone I loved (read: my family) had passed. Everything was simple: I believed in very specific things, and I wouldn't allow myself to waste time on things that were so false, so arguably destructive, that it would be a disservice to myself and to my children to even pretend to go along with them anymore.
I called my father and told him that I would never go to church again, that I was seeking to have my name removed as a member (which the Church still hasn't done, I want to point out. EYE ROLL.). And once again my father would surprise me by simply asking me how I was going to contribute to my community, if not through church? He meant it as a "are you going to be a hanger on?" but deeper down, I realized he was honestly asking me because this is a question in his heart. My dad doesn't really believe, but for almost 70 years he's been a part of a community that he understands. He doesn't understand what's beyond the boundaries of Narnia, you know?
After I explained it to him, he sighed and said he loved me and that he didn't care if I was Mormon or not. "But you need to believe in something," he said. And I do. I believe I'll never have all the answers, and that the beauty in life is to keep looking for them.
(See, Ms. Melody? I never forgot your lesson.)
Letting that go - in a manner befitting the religion: a confession to the Father - was one of the hugest weights off my shoulders. I no longer had to pretend. I no longer had to try and force my square peg into that round black hole of nonsense. Like Smeagol, we were FREEEEEEE! *dances around*
As for Derek Hale and sweaters, I surprisingly have a lot of thoughts about this. Short answer: nope. He won't wear them. WITH SPECIFIC EXCEPTIONS.
Before the Hale fire, Derek had sweaters. Aunts and grandparents sent them in the mail at Christmas. His mother would inevitably buy him one or two for back to school clothes. Pull overs with a crew neck or maybe that one nice heather green sweater with a rolled neck and horn-buttons holding it together. Paige liked that one because it was so soft and made him very cuddly when they'd meet up in the orchestra room at BHHS for her to practice her cello (and for later make outs).
Kate hated them, though. Too many layers to peel off. She liked it when he showed up after basketball practice freshly showered and in as few clothes as possible. To undress him would have been to show tenderness and care, and Kate didn't do that.
So he got out of the habit. And then the fire happened and he couldn't stop feeling the flames. That's the thing about leather that people don't realize: it's insulating, true, but it's cool to the touch. You don't overheat in a leather jacket when you're out in the woods or on your own in the middle of nowhere, not sure where you can even go. It's either cool to the touch, or it takes on your body's temperature, something you don't even register. It's not about comfort. You don't think of the word "cozy" when you think of a leather jacket.
People who get their families killed don't get to use words like "cozy" or "comfort."
Sure, he has that one burgundy pullover that Erica insisted on, with her purring about cashmere and how the color brought out the Alpha in his eyes, but it was thin. It was a layer. It wasn't a sweater. Boyd called that red monstrosity that Stiles always wore a sweater, but that was a hoodie, duh. A sweatshirt. Not a sweater.
Besides, with the Alpha powers, he ran a little hot, so he didn't need much in way of protective clothing.
So that's why it's such a shock when he goes back to being a Beta. It shouldn't be, because that's what he'd been his whole life. But it was. So yeah, he rolled his eyes when he opened up the package Stiles had sent and found a scratchy-looking wool...thing waiting for him. He didn't even look at Stiles' laughing face as he stared at the garment in his hand, wishing he could flash his eyes red in his anger over seeing a braying wolf knitted into the front. He was so over being made fun of by fucking Stiles Stilinkski.
"I got Scott one just like it. This nice lady is raising money for her grandson by knitting sweaters, and I paid her extra for the customization. It's for a good cause, buddy, so stop looking like you're going to eat it."
"I'm not going to-- What is wrong with you?" he barks - DAMN IT - he demands of Stiles.
Stiles shrugs and looks sheepish all of a sudden. "Her grandson has the same cancer my mom did. And I had her make Scott's wolf a little bigger with red eyes, you know, as his True Alpha status."
Derek looks at the wolf on his sweater. It has eyes swirled with blue and gold and green.
"I, uh," Stiles rubs the back of his head, not making eye contact. "I couldn't decide which color of your eyes looked the best."
Derek stares at him, looks down at the thing in his hand, and sighs. He pulls it on over his shirt and sighs even harder in exasperation. He immediately feels itchy.
"Aww! That's nice. Looks good on you! It's, um, a bit tight, though," Stiles says, and Derek can smell...something waft off him. Something Derek hasn't wanted to think too much about but can't seem to help, lately.
Later, he pulls it off and carefully folds it. He texts Stiles a thank you. He's going to have to wear it all the time to make the itchiness to go away. Nice that it still smells faintly of Stiles from when he'd wrapped it.
He holds it to his face and breathes deep, making a face. Ugh. And cats.
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