I am not so much a fan of AU fics. And what I mean by that is an alternate universe that has nothing to do with the actual storyline. Since I am talking about Sterek in this post – stories that portray the characters as completely different people in completely different worlds. I do not mind scenarios that could occur during the show and do not – I genuinely am not interested in complete alternate universe stories. So I stay away from them.
Which means, that if I do like an AU fic, my god, do I find it to be an incredible story: a strong plot and characters that develop slowly and quietly, relationships that bend and twist into something new and dialog that is both strong and subtle.
I have actually found two Sterek AU fics that I turned away at first but finally gave in (as usually to happen at three in the morning when I am restless) and they are incredibly beautiful.
For this post it is By Any Other Name (M) by entanglednow. Stiles and Derek lose their memories alone in a forest and end up thinking that they are dating. This sounded like a crack story to me, and unlikely and just… shallow.
It is anything but. This author writes in a very intimate manner, where the characters are vulnerable yet still in character and there is a slow and steady build that grows through-out the story. The first several paragraphs felt a little unappealing to me but it quickly settles into itself.
It is written in Stiles’ perspective and I rather like not knowing what Derek is thinking – that always feels canon to me (although it is not something I always NEED to happen). What I like about this storyline is that even though Stiles believes (as does Derek) that they are dating, he still does not know Derek – he feels something for Derek but Derek is new and a stranger and that leaves Stiles in a confused twist of want and nervous hesitance.
Stiles’s whole body feels tight, and confused and greedy, shifting against the sink, in a way that makes Derek’s fingers tighten and then relax. He’s leaning closer, all red eyes and stubble, and he smells like cheap motel shampoo, and sweat, and something that’s probably familiar, because Stiles can feel this jump of nervous tension in his skin, and he wonders if that is his sense memory. The way he reacts to Derek’s hands, his voice, to the way Derek smells. But his body is still a stranger, and he doesn’t remember, God, he doesn’t remember any of it.
As the story progresses, things become more deeply entwined between them and for the reader as well. There is beautiful dialog and pain-wrenching scenes and by the time the story comes to an end these two and twisted too intensely with one another, so different from the awkward strangers that they started off as.
There is a maturity in her writing that I did not expect. But I have read this story multiple times and each time I feel like I am picking up hidden nuances and emotions.