As many of you who read this blog know, I recently became obsessed with Teen Wolf. And of course my favorite part about joining a new fandom is, of course, all the new fanfiction! Now this is Teen Wolf so you know I have to talk about Sterek.
Chances are, even if you don’t know anything about Teen Wolf or watched it at all, you probably know about Sterek. Maybe you see it on Tumblr constantly or maybe you were annoyed because “that fucking Teen Wolf pairing beat my favorite ship in an online poll again!” Yep, Sterek has made a name for itself in the slash community and that’s surprising, because the two characters in this pairing, Stiles and Derek, don’t actually share that many scenes together canonically speaking. But when they do interact the dynamic between the two is pure gold. Even if you don’t ship them, chances are you still love seeing them together.
Sterek dominates the Teen Wolf fandom, so there is a lot of fanfiction for it, but most of them are pretty standard. I have often heard that the Teen Wolf fandom has a reputation for having some bad fanfiction, but honestly I haven’t read anything too bad. I have even read fanfics where characters call themselves feminists and the female characters are still well written and never demonized for the sake of a slash pairing. But maybe I’m just finding good fics. Now, that being said, Teen Wolf fanfiction is pretty much the same as any other fanfiction. Same tropes, same plots, same type of pairings, but you know, with werewolves this time!
But then I found Prince Among Wolves by tylerfucklin and was blown away!
I admit that when looking for Sterek fanfiction, I passed this one by several times. The summary for the fic is rather vague and a quick inspection of the first chapter made think this fic was going to be pretty standard.
The basic premiss is this: Stiles’ car is in the shop and he doesn’t have the money to afford to fix it, because he’s poor and in college, so he needs to get a summer job. He scans the newspaper and finds a job asking someone to babysit twin werewolf boys. Stiles knows a thing or two about werewolves (because of Scott) and loves kids so he applies.
Now, when I first saw this I assumed what you a probably assuming right now: that this is your basic Dad!Derek has sex with Babysitter!Stiles with bonus adorable werewolf babies.
You are maybe a little bit right, but also so very wrong. What intrigued me about this fic was one of the tags which warned for mild tranphobia and a transgender child.
So here’s a basic run down of the fic without spoiling too much. Derek Hale and Kate Argent used to be together just like they were in canon, but here Kate gets pregnant. Eventually Derek learns that Kate is a pretty bad person and that she was going to do some pretty terrible things to his kids. Derek manages to get his kids away from Kate and won’t let her see them. However in this fic, Derek’s job (basically running everything involving the werewolf community) is pretty demanding, so he often doesn’t see his kids and needs a babysitter—enter Stiles!
Stiles is told he will be watching Derek’s twin sons Andy and Olly.
(On a side note, baby!fic or kid!fic is way cuter in the Teen Wolf fandom, since usually the kids are also werewolves. Which means the kids are often written as a cross between a baby and puppy just to make things extra adorable.)
Stiles discover quickly that Andy is not a little boy. Andy identifies as a little girl. She gets angry when people call her a boy and goes into hysterics when Derek tries to cut her hair to make her look more like a boy. She is also denied any girl oriented toys and often laments to Stiles about her lack of princess-themed clothes or dolls.
Much of the fanfic deals with Stiles helping Andy outwardly express her gender identity and helping Derek understand what Andy is going through.
I have seen many fanfics try and fail to deal with transgender characters and issues. This is the first fanfic I have seen that explores issues relating to transgender children and does it well. If you took out the part about werewolves, this story would come across as a very realistic tale about a broken family dealing with these complex issues. One of my favorite scenes in this whole fanfic is when Stiles convinces Derek to wear a dress to show Andy that her wants and desires are normal and he accepts her. It’s really touching and adorable.
With all of the major drama of the story coming from Andy’s gender identity and the budding romance between Stiles and Derek, it would be easy for a poor writer to leave out poor Olly. But the author handles Olly’s character excellently, showing how Olly both loves and supports his sister but is kind of jealous of her as well. Olly adopts Stiles as his father, because he feels that because Derek spends so much time worrying about Andy that he doesn’t care about him. Olly even gets violent when Andy tries to cuddle up to Stiles, because his logic is that Andy already has Derek. Though a lot of the focus in the fanfic is on Andy, the author makes a point in showing how the whole family is broken and in need of rebuilding all their relationships.
Derek’s growth as a father is extremely poignant and moving. The relationship between Derek and Stiles also develops naturally and beautifully. There isn’t sex until chapter nineteen, but even for a smut-minded fan, you won’t notice it. In chapter nineteen, Stiles comments that he forgets sometimes that they hadn’t had sex yet. The build of the relationship is so emotionally satisfying that the sex is really just an added bonus, but not necessary to show emotional depth. But hey smut is always nice.
The fanfiction isn’t perfect but I have very few complaints.
One, there is the tiniest implication that Scott, Allison, and Isaac have a polyamorous relationship. Or at least that’s what I got from this line:
He would never understand the exact dynamics of their weird threesome romance/bromance that had turned Stiles from the awkward third wheel into the hobbling spare tire on the back that was only used during major blowouts.
This quote implied to me that Isaac was something more than a friend, whereas Stiles was just a friend. To me, that said there might be a polyamorous relationship explored in the fanfic. It’s rare that such relationships are utilized for anything other than porn and I thought this author could potentially portray polyamory really well, but alas, Isaac is dropped squarely in the friend category. It’s not really a problem; the fic just missed an opportunity.
Other than that, the general complaint I have seen from other readers is that the story doesn’t tie up any loose ends with our main villains Kate and Peter, but leaves them hanging in the background. While that’s true, it’s not something that I minded. In the real world things aren’t always neatly tied up in the end.
That being said, the author has this fic listed as part one of a three part series, which means that many of these issues could be tied up in another two fics, which have yet to be written. But personally I find the ending satisfying, even without another two, so I suppose it really depends on what you enjoy.
So if you are looking for a fic that is a little bit different this summer, I would highly suggest reading Prince Among Wolves. I promise it will be worth your time.