The Sum of Its Parts

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Fanfiction
Title: The Sum of Its Parts
Author(s): KouriArashi
Date(s): November 10, 2012 - ongoing
Length: 868,688 words (so far)
Genre: hard to define
Fandom: Teen Wolf
External Links: AO3 page
Fanart Cover

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The Sum of Its Parts by KouriArashi is an epic AU series in the Teen Wolf fandom that started as a simple "what-if/fork in the road" AU became a series that, according to the author "ate my life"[1]

Stories in the Series

"Onwards and Upwards" is a series on one shots that take place in different poing within the series. Below is the chronological order of stories, as provided by the author:

  • Coming Undone - Stiles deals with the aftermath of being abducted by Peter Hale and left for dead. It's harder than he would have thought to accept his place in the pack when he's convinced that he's the 'weak one' and can't protect himself. Fortunately, Scott and Sheriff Stilinski are there to help, and to nag Derek until he helps, too.
  • A Place We Call Home - Stiles and the others decide to expand the pack. There's this kid Derek met in a cemetery named Isaac...
  • The One You Feed - The alpha pack is in town, and they’re not too happy with the way things are in Beacon Hills. Stiles may have to choose between his life and his pack.
  • The Boy in Red - A sorcerer comes to Beacon Hills. When he seems to be targeting Stiles' pack, Stiles goes to Dr. Deaton for advice. But can the mysterious veterinarian really be trusted?
  • Making Connections - Every ten years, the hunter community hosts a gathering of all the hunters in the area, to share information and discuss tactics and strategy. This time, Chris Argent is the host, and a hundred hunters or more are coming to Beacon Hills.
  • With Friends Like These - One thing Stiles is looking forward to about a semester in Neptune is going to a place where there isn’t magic and monsters lurking in every corner. Or so he thinks. Then the bodies start dropping... (a crossover with Veronica Mars)
  • The Line in the Sand - When a friend shows up on Stiles' doorstep asking for help, Stiles knows he can't refuse. What he doesn't know is that he's walking into a trap designed just for him.
  • Thicker Than Water - Stiles is busy enough with his final semester of high school and his ever-growing pack without his grandparents showing up. He wants to keep them clueless about the supernatural to keep them safe, which won't be easy to do with a new killer stalking the streets of Beacon Hills...
  • Where the Heart Is - Nobody is more surprised than Derek when Cora turns up on his doorstep in Beacon Hills, to warn him about an alpha named Deucalion
  • The Shade and his Daughter - Stiles is quite content knowing that Peter Hale is dead and in the ground, which is why it's a little disconcerting when Peter starts showing up in his dreams, telling Stiles that his daughter is in trouble.

Comments and Reviews

Aw man, this story is epic! Tons of adventure, action, suspense, feels, and great characters. It's a real page turner. Also, alpha!Stiles is awesome. His asexual relationship with Derek is amazing too. And Sheriff Stilinki and Mrs. McCall are amazing in this one too. And the world-building is different from canon but very well done.[2]
Okay, so I know I rec'd this series more than a year ago, but a lot more has been added to it since then, including a fantastic Veronica Mars crossover so I think it bears rec'ing again. I've only just finished that crossover and hopped on to rec it --- there may well be another rec (several months from now considering my IRL schedule and Nanowrimo) that talks about the rest of the series-in-prgress but KouriArashi has made my list of reliably amazing authors so I trust the rest of her work to be well worth reading already. Do be aware what you're getting yourself into though... this series is a (somewhat sprawling) epic and its very hard to put down. Do not start reading when you should be sleeping, working, or otherwise engaged... or when you anticipate needing to do any of those things within the hour. But about the story itself, and the crossover specifically... I love the characterizations. Stiles can be a little overbearing sometimes, and Derek more submissive in proportion, which can be a bad thing to some (and usually me as well) but I think that's part of what sole me on Stiles as the Human!Pack-Alpha. The Veronica Mars characters are --- from what I can remember, at least --- well characterized too. Another thing I like in this fic is the immense care and respect taken with mental health issues. In fiction, you often find that characters are put through horrible things and then expected to just get on with hero-ing when most people would be curled up in a corner sobbing. This fic takes just as much care with the healing as it does with the adventures and gets some really exciting plots and a lot of great character development out of it too.[3]
I really cannot rec this hard enough. This series is my go-to shitty day fic. I can pretty much pick it up anywhere and know where I am. There’s pack feels, pack dynamics, asexual representation done in a normal and cool way, wonderful mysteries, puppy piles, everyone is alive and nothing hurts (except Stiles, but he gets better)…and a Veronica Mars crossover that is the only crossover I’ve ever liked.[4]
The theme of this series is this: fucked up things are going to happen - no, people are going to fo fucked-up things to other people, and those are people are going to do something about it, and then pick themselves up and try to not give themselves too much of a hard time about it. Along the way, there are reasonable authority figures, and helpful parents, and friends who become family, and people who don’t let you get away with your own shit. And then it’s going to happen again. And no matter how fucked up things get, our heroes are going to keep coping - not because they’re The Designated Heroes, but because they’re stubborn and protective and they stick together and they do their damned best to recruit allies - and there are good people in the world, too, not just horrible ones. All of those things combine to make this series quite soothing to read, for me.[5]
I am enthralled by this series. It is an AU from mid season 1, so some things are totally different (Lydia is a werewolf in this fic). But canon elements, especially of season 2, are incorporated so beautifully.

There is an asexual character! I was so excited to read that! An asexual character in a romantic but non-sexual relationship.

There are eight parts but so far I have only read the first six, however, I highly recommend this series.[6]
It’s full of all the best things Teen Wolf fics can have: BAMF!Stiles, massive Pack Feels, Papa Stilinski being awesome, humor, great characterisation, suspense, well thought out plot, wolves… in short, all kinds of epicness in one fic… well several fantastic fics in an even more epic series! :D Everyone should read this!!![7]
This fic series was…pretty dang good if I do say so myself. It features an element that I didn’t even realize I would enjoy in a fic, namely Stiles as an alpha. He and Derek have very close, but very non-sexual relationship, with the two of them being soul mates but neither one desiring sexual intimacy with the other. It also features Erica in an open relationship with Stiles, mainly a friends with benefits type.[8]

While the crossover with Veronica Mars has met with a largely positive response, there were negative comments as well.

Yeah - pretty much avoided all of Part 7 because after all the OCs in Part 6, reading about Veronica Mars and another great swallop of characters that are essentially just more OCs just didn't appeal. Disappointing to find you've mingled the storyline beyond that. Good luck with it - not inclined to follow this any more. While some people may like it, its a wearisome turn for me.[9]

Relationships in the series

The first two major stories in the series "Coming Undone" and "A Place We Call Home" are marked as gen, but with the third one "The One You Feed", the author started to add relationships tags.

In the notes to the third fic, KouriArashi notes:

Speaking of tags, I need some advice from people more savvy than me . . . I’m reluctant to tag this ‘verse with Derek/Stiles because they’re not a romantic and/or sexual couple. And yet . . . they are still a couple, or at least a partnership, so I sort of do want to use the tag. Hm. Thoughts? ETA: Went ahead and added it because at the end of the fic they were definitely in a relationship, so... I think it works out. But don't come here looking for the typical sort of Sterek. :)[10]

The series doesn't put romantic/sexual relationships at the center of the story, even Stiles and Derek's asexual relationship isn't put ahead of the actual plot of the stories (though at times, it does play and important part in the plot)

Portrayal of Asexuality

Until the coda one shot set after With Friends Like These, Derek's sexuality isn't actually labeled. While his lack of interest in sex and his platonic yet still very close and emotional relationship with Stiles is addressed and discussed it's done in a round-about way. It's implied that Derek's avoidance of sexual situations is a direct result of the abuse he experienced with Kate. Chapter 7 of "Onwards and Upwards", in his conversation with Mac, he states once and for all that those two things are not connected. This was met by a generally positive reaction, especially from the asexual part of the fandom.

This was PERFECT. Asexuality is a touchy subject, and it's SO subjective. Having your Derek put his personal definition of what he is into words is really interesting! And I like that you picked Mac to do the asking, since she's pretty much the only one who could in my mind. :) It's funny that sometimes being asexual or demi-sexual is harder that being one of the more defined sexualities. People don't really bat an eyelash at you if you say, 'I'm gay.' Or, 'I'm bi.' Or, 'I'm straight.' Even, 'I'm trans.' nowadays (outside of the boonies/bible belt, anyway, lol) but anything less defined as those are get's you weird looks or veiled/unveiled disbelief, in my experience.[11]
Okay, I honestly started crying a little bit, this was so perfect. It's everything I wanted, plus things I didn't know I needed. Like when I brought this up to you, I was pretty focused on Derek's perspective, and only touched on Stiles to the extent that he's the eyes of the reader, but when Mac said that it could matter to Stiles to know that Derek's not broken, that was something I hadn't even thought about but I'm so glad you said it.

But this was just, the perfect conversation. I think it came about pretty naturally because of the various similarities in the Derek-Kate and Cassidy-Mac situations, but I love that Mac said she didn't notice or do anything about Cassidy's pain so she wants to be better and that's why she talks to Derek. It just fits, and it shows the character development in Mac as well as Derek.

Derek's development, though. Ohhh. I'm so happy that he can talk about this now, especially since he acknowledged that he couldn't before. I'm just so, so happy to see him healing the things that need healing, and being comfortable with the things that don't, that are just part of him and okay. He can love Stiles and be comfortable in his love for Stiles and Stiles's for him and it's wonderful.

Thank you for this. Thank you so, so much. For listening to my concerns, and for writing this. And for actually using the word "asexual" in the text, because naming something rather than dancing around it makes it concrete and helps normalize it. Before I talked to you, I usually tried to skip over allusions to Derek's sexuality when I reread the series because it brought up some turbulent emotions for the reasons I explained to you, but having this scene just completely re-contextualizes all those allusions for me. Now I can reread and know that Derek isn't broken because of his sexuality, and can fully enjoy the story.[12]
Thank you for the representation of asexuality from Derek; I really needed this. Ace people like myself didn't become asexual because of sexual abuse in our past. A lot of us just aren't interested in sex. Maybe if I found the right girl I'd partake in it, but it's highly unlikely. You handled this with sincere sensitivity. Thank you.[13]

In Chapter 10 of Where the Heart Is, Derek comes out as asexual to Stiles. A lot of fans (if not the vast majority) greeted that development positively and with enthusiasm, but some expressed confusion, saying that if they were in a committed relationship for so long, how could they not talk about it sooner, how could it be that Stiles didn't know[14].

A lot of asexual fans like Derek's portrayal.

ALL THE AWARDS FOR ASEXUAL DEREK I mean if anyone was going to do it well it was you but I feel like I don't say enough how much I appreciate it because I am asexual and I know your partner is also asexual so yay but I do have a deep soft-spot for asexual!anyone in fic because it's just so deeply important. I didn't even know what asexual was really until I read a particular fic with an asexual Sherlock that was written so exactly how I feel that I finally felt like I wasn't a freak. so yes, apart from the deep trauma (and I feel like an excess of puppy-pile needs to be in your future) this was very great and all the awards once again.[15]

Fanart for the Series

Other works inspired by the series

  • Raid by Zethsaire, inspired by The One You Feed, When Stiles kills Peter and becomes an Alpha without being turned, Derek has to find a way to train him while protecting his own pack.

References

  1. Series page on AO3
  2. Story Recommendation by makoyi, accessed November 23, 2014.
  3. Series Recommendation by makoyi, accessed November 23, 2014.
  4. Series Recommendation by talesfromthechickpea, accessed November 23, 2014.
  5. Series Recommendation by hagar_972, accessed November 23, 2014.
  6. Series Recommendation by noteverystoryisalovestory, accessed November 23, 2014.
  7. Series Recommendation by deedo2313, accessed November 23, 2014.
  8. Series Recommendation by acewolves, accessed November 23, 2014.
  9. Comment on Chapter 7 by blkitty, accessed November 27, 2014.
  10. Author's Notes to third story, accessed November 23, 2014.
  11. Comment on Chapter 7 by Saj_te_Gyuhyall, accessed November 27, 2014.
  12. Comment on Chapter 7 by Rynne, accessed November 27, 2014.
  13. Comment on Chapter 7 by NefarioussNess, accessed November 27, 2014.
  14. Comment on Chapter 10 by kattale, accessed November 27, 2014.
  15. Comment on Chapter 10 by charlaine2124, accessed November 27, 2014.