AU: Stiles is the pack’s resident magic
hipster user and he draws his power from the runes and symbols tattooed on his body.
He’s been called a number of things. He’s scared off countless prospective dates, been approached about where somebody could buy some pot. (If he gains nothing else from this that is his life, his first year at college has been a social behavior study for the ages.)
It had started his senior year of high school, and he was able to keep most of the tattoos out of sight of both his father and the general population. Certain ones, he couldn’t hide. Certain ones had to be in certain places for them to even work properly. And if they weren’t — Stiles likes to not think about the time he put the Nordic rune for protection on his hip — bad things could happen.
It was a while before the marks became permanent. He could get away with using them temporarily and only in certain situations — accuracy on his wrist before hurling a molotov cocktail at a rabid alpha; the rune for sight on the back of his neck while running through the woods, both toward and away from danger; the symbol for strength on the backs of his calves at his first lacrosse game as captain of the team. And they’d go away after he’d exhausted their potency.
The first one that stayed was a rune of healing.
It was on the left side of his chest, now the color of a burn scar that would never fade. Derek still goes rigid when Stiles’ shirt is off. Even if there are hundreds of other marks across his skin now, not a single one of them is the same color as the healing rune. Not a single one of them is still in effect. Not a single one of them was Derek’s fault.
Stiles doesn’t blame Derek. Because as far as he can see, the fact that Stiles has the power to make the rune and to heal himself means that there really is no blame to be placed.
But Derek blames Derek. Mostly because Derek likes to blame himself for literally everything that goes wrong, because he can’t seem to grasp the fact that he doesn’t always fuck things up.
So when Stiles climbs into his Jeep for the last time freshman year, he notices the dirty looks he gets. He returns them from behind his aviators (they’re a pack rite of passage, just like leather jackets), only because the people can’t see.
They don’t get that these marks on his skin, these tattoos, aren’t a symbol of rebellion or going against the man. They’re symbols that have stories far older than the skin they call home. They’re symbols that on more than one occasion, have come between the pack and certain death.