Jackson is Derek’s official GPOY.
I’m intensely obsessed with the fact that whenever Derek Hale talks to anyone about their emotions, he is 100% talking about himself and not realising it.
Accurate. Derek is the king of passive aggressive therapy, not that it’s working really…
Derek is the Anti-Therapy. Like the Anti-Christ, but with more issues.
More issues than the Anti-Christ. I kid you not. I mean, the Anti-Christ may be evil, but at least the Anti-Christ is happy with being evil. Derek’s good, and he’s fucking tormented about being good. He’s so goddamn conflicted about it; he’s so terrified that decency will make him vulnerable. Or, well, that his more tender emotions will make him vulnerable. (Like they have in the past, admittedly, but DAMN.)
There is only one relationship that Derek has in the entire series that isn’t about him projecting his emotions onto the other person. And that? Is his relationship with Stiles.
Literally every other relationship Derek has is a projection. He’s so wrapped up in his pain that, like a whirlpool or a black hole, he pulls everyone around him into it, and casts them in roles that echo his own inner drama, his perpetual tragedy. #DEREK HALE: ACTUAL GRAVITATIONAL SINGULARITY
In that sense, Derek is very much like a ghost. Like I said in this post, Derek died along with his family - perhaps not physically, but psychologically. What remains is a ghost. A ghost of flesh-and-blood, but still. Just the same way ghosts keep reliving their deaths, Derek keeps reliving his death - and his pack’s deaths - at the hands of Kate. Nobody is to be trusted. Everyone’s out to get him. The desire for love, for closeness, for intimacy, is treacherous and must not be surrendered to. Touch is toxic. And the fire, oh, the fire still burns. It consumes him from within, every waking moment, and destroys him utterly when he sleeps, so that when he wakes again, he is scarcely more than a sift of ash. Ash that slowly takes on the shape of a man, of a werewolf, of an Alpha, as he puts on those identities like masks - but they are funeral-masks, each one of them a mere sarcophagus that hides his corpse. He, himself, is long gone.
Stiles is the only exception to this rule. With Stiles, Derek comes unwittingly, unwillingly alive - Stiles, alone, he can’t fit into an easy mould, into the role of pack or betrayer. With Stiles, Derek’s statements of not-trusting sound hollow; with Stiles, his threats are oddly ineffectual. He finds himself reaching out to touch Stiles for no conceivable reason, even though he knows that touch is toxic; he finds himself saving and being saved in return. And that’s why he gives Stiles these looks, like Derek doesn’t know what to do with him - what to make of him. Because Stiles, alone, refuses to be pulled into Derek’s handy little gravitational singularity of angst. (My theory is that this is because Stiles has his own singularity, thanks to the death of his mom. And its gravitational pull is strong enough to keep him from being pulled into Derek’s angst-orbit.
OH GOD, WHY CAN I NOT STOP USING ASTROPHYSICS METAPHORS. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. HOW NERDY AM I, REALLY.)
My point is that Derek normally projectile-vomits his feels onto other people - I mean, uh, he projects them onto other people - but Stiles is a peculiar sort of non-stick surface on which Derek’s feels don’t seem to stick. The reason for that is that Stiles has the exact same feels, including but not limited to hyper-vigilance, constant terror, a deep
and inaccuratesense of his own inadequacy, overpowering grief, trust issues and crippling guilt.
The only difference is that Stiles is usually great at not projecting his own shit onto other people - although maybe that’s just because he’s such a fucking skilled liar - until that scene with Lydia, after Stiles has been brutally beaten by Gerard Argent and probably doesn’t have any energy left over for camouflage. He’s a stripped wire, in that moment, shock-sharp and electric, and without his, uh, ‘casing’ (his spazzy, flaily disguise), he’s liable to burn the fingers right off of anyone that touches him. Like Derek does.
In fact, that entire scene in which Stiles projects his past with his mother onto Lydia is just - that’s the moment I realized how alike Stiles and Derek are. I mean, I always knew, but then, I knew.
The reason Stiles is the exception to Derek’s ERRBODY IS MAH GPOY rule.
This is why.
The projection doesn’t work, because, for once, it’s real. The reflection is true. It’s the way love potions don’t work on someone who’s already in love, y’know? Angst-projections don’t work on someone with the same issues.
Let’s return to the original GIF, for a second. Jackson appears to have the same issues as Derek, but he really doesn’t. They’re a whole different bunch of issues about belonging, most markedly different because they do not (not even after Jackson turns into a murderous Kanima and knows that he’s killing people) involve guilt. Guilt is the crowning jewel in Derek’s private, sepulchral museum of angst. And it’s a crown-jewel that Jackson does not have. (Thus far. Maybe he will, one day, but not so far - not anything that approaches Derek’s radioactive levels of guilt, anyway.)
The irony is that Derek can do his GPOY act with anyone else except for the person that actually is his GPOY. (Stiles.) Derek’s painted this horrific, distorted, tragic caricature of himself in his mind’s eye; he no longer sees himself as who he is, but rather as a sort of Dorian Gray, a corrupted, disfigured, broken creature beyond redemption and beyond grace. He doesn’t deserve to be saved. He doesn’t deserve a pack (which is why he can’t keep Erica and Boyd, and doesn’t try to; at some level, he believes he doesn’t deserve them).
Thanks to his reverse!Dorian syndrome, he sees himself as more corrupt than his soul truly is. Therefore, he is incapable of recognizing his real GPOY when he sees it. What he sees when he looks at Stiles is a brave, devoted, die-hard young man that is unendingly selfless when it comes to his pack, capable of living and dying and lying and getting tortured for them. Capable of surviving that torture, even if it breaks him; capable of piecing himself back together even if he does get broken. Capable of going back out there to fight; capable of going through hell, only to keep on going. Capable of loving beyond doubt, beyond reason.
He sees himself.
But not himself. He sees who he actually is, but not who he thinks he is. He thinks he’s Dorian ‘I’m So Fucking Warped’ Gray, remember? This terrified-but-brave boy, he does not recognize - because he no longer recognizes himself.
All he knows is that Stiles doesn’t draw the reactions from him that other people do - the reactions Derek has perversely grown comfortable with, reactions of doubt and pulling away and caution and coldness. Stiles calls forth this grudging faith from within him, this desire to be close, and not with anything resembling caution but instead an urge to lose control, to be not cold but prickling hot, irritated and eager and filled with a jagged, desperate want that he does not (and does not wish to) understand.
All he knows is that Stiles seems different from the other people that neatly fit into their accorded roles in the tragic play of Derek’s life.
Stiles frustrates him and mystifies him, and yet he cannot leave Stiles alone.
He can’t leave Stiles be, because Stiles is the only exception to his rule, because Stiles is the only one that makes him feel alive, again - nerves sparking to painful life, again - like sensation returning to a trapped limb. (Or what Derek had thought was a phantom limb - a phantom heart - an organ long dead, but apparently, not anymore. Not when Stiles is around.) With Stiles, Derek is Derek, once more, and not the ghost he’s become used to being.
In conclusion: Derek and Stiles are true reflections of each other; Derek just doesn’t know it, yet.
Jackson Whittemore: The Draco Malfoy of Teen Wolf.
i’ve reblogged this before. i regret nothing.
SO ONE OF US.
I didn’t ask for any of this.
HIS EYEBROWS ARE CLEARLY UNDERGOING EARNEST TUTELAGE FROM DEREK’S EYEBROWS
THAT IS WHY THEY ARE SO EXPRESSIVE
teen wolf sorted: the slytherins