Title: Slings, Arrows, and Other Pool-Side Injuries
Rating: PG-13/T
Pairing: Derek/Stiles (pre-slash)
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Episode Tag (2x04)
Summary: After the events of Abomination, Derek and Stiles end up staying almost another hour at that godforsaken pool. (Episode tag from Derek's 3rd Person POV)

Author's Note: So, I haven't actually been inspired to write fic in years. And then Teen Wolf happened. And then Sterek. And then specifically this episode. So I'm a little nervous to be posting. This was written immediately after the airing of the episode, along with another piece, ending now at 4am so I apologize any incoherence! (Although it's a miracle I'm coherent at all after this episode). Also, self-beta'd so sorry for any mistakes. I own nothing but the plot!


After the thing leaves and the three of them are left staring at each other, Derek has to fight the bitterness that rises with the fact that a teenaged beta took out the thing that paralyzed him in two seconds. In fairness, Scott hadn't had Stiles messing up the equation by refusing to have any sense of self-preservation and just leave. Now, with the thing gone, Stiles' laboured breathing and occasional cough were the loudest thing in the echoing room. He'd probably inhaled some water when they'd sunk the last time, his strength finally failing, but his fingers still not letting go of their death grip on Derek's shirt. He wasn't thinking of that.

"Are you guys okay?" Scott asked, dropping the shard of mirror and crouching next to Stiles.

"Took your time." Derek growled out in lieu of answering. He'd regained some feeling somewhere between their last dip and landing on the hard floor. He figured the adrenaline surge from knowing he was actually going to die broke through the last of whatever the toxin was doing. Why that hadn't happened in the two previous hours, even when Stiles deliberately dumped him, was another thing he wasn't thinking about.

Stiles didn't actually answer his friend either. Still coughing, he made the "okay" sign and let his arm drop back down.

"Okay." Scott nodded. "I'm gonna check on Erica. I saw her on my way in. I think she was waking up but she seemed woozy."

"She hit her head. She'll be fine." Derek dismissed. Scott gave him a disappointed look - or, as Derek now knew it, his default look - and left anyway.

Derek rolled his eyes and lifted himself gingerly onto the steps he had been propping himself on. He flexed his fingers and tried to do the same with his toes, internalizing a very deep sigh of relief. There was still some tingling but he could feel himself again, he was in control of himself again. However, too tired to just spring up and drag his beta back home, he spared a glance at Stiles and saw him in the same position he'd been since they got out, only sprawled out completely instead of resting on his elbows. The coughing had mostly stopped by now at least, but he was so still that were his eyes not half-open, he'd have thought the teen was unconscious. He felt like he should say something but he didn't know what. Or he did know but they weren't things he was comfortable saying. He settled for kicking him in the leg instead.

"Lucky McCall finally showed up. Guess we know why you're still second string."

Stiles' slack face didn't change but his fingers did curl slightly into a fist. Or they tried to, but they only managed to shake violently before he let them go and they relaxed again.

"Sorry we can't all be godly freaks of nature. How did that super strength work out for you by the way? Oh right, it didn't."

His rant was shorter - and spoken more slowly, haltingly - than it probably would have been in normal circumstances. Derek didn't like it. So he kicked him again.

"Stop whining. I was paralyzed because of you, if you recall."

"Right. Because I dragged myself into this godforsaken pool to be terrorized for information. Well done with Erica, by the way, she's turning out to be a real serial psychopath. You must be so proud." His last sentence was interrupted by a hard, full-body shudder that Stiles seemed determined to ignore. Derek listened for McCall and heard him lead Erica outside to the benches. For what medical purpose, he didn't know, but it would give Erica a chance to start her work on the defiant beta. Meanwhile, however, Derek was almost fully back to his normal strength but Stiles was still showing no signs of leaving this place despite being trapped in uncomfortably cold, wet clothes.

"You really attached to this place now?" He asked him, just barely refraining from kicking him again. Stiles' lips pressed together with an angry irritation and he finally closed his eyes.

"I can't get up." He bit out, his fists trying to close again but failing. This time, however, his fingers didn't relax, they spasmed in a way that looked very painful. And it was, if the hard clench of Stiles' jaw was anything to go by.

"You make one more crack about being second string and I swear to every god on Earth and on the internet that when I can move my legs without wanting to tear them off, I will push you back into that pool and not come in after you." It would have been a semi-impressive threat had it not been interrupted twice by shivers and once by a spasm in his arm. By now, most of the major muscles in his body were cramping and the cold was doubling the problem by making him shiver periodically. Seeking out the sounds of McCall and Erica once more to make sure they had left, Derek lowered himself to the ground and took Stiles' left leg onto his lap, causing the teen to startle.

"What the hell are you doing? I was kidding. Seriously, and you're totally fine anyway, you could just swim right back out! OW, STOP! I'm sorry!" Stiles yelled, trying to jerk himself free of Derek's hand.

"Stop moving." The alpha said, flaring his red eyes as if he still held onto any hope that that worked on the human. It didn't. Stiles kept yelling and pleading as Derek braced his lower leg and pushed gently backwards on his toes until he could go no further, then reversing his motion. He repeated the move twice before Stiles' yells turned into unintentional grunts and whimpers, and then three more times before all he heard was the occasional soft gasp. Then, Derek placed the leg down and moved over to do the same to the right one where Stiles resumed his protests. When he moved onto the quadriceps and hamstrings, he changed tactics. Those muscles couldn't be stretched as easily without moving the entire leg but, whether Stiles had caught on that Derek wasn't going to stop, or whether he was just too tired to vocalize his dissent, the teenager didn't start up again when Derek placed both hands on his thigh - one at the top, and one just above the knee - and squeezed. He did shiver again, but he didn't protest, threaten or apologize. It was the kind of quiet Derek could get behind.

It remained quiet for the next half hour as Derek worked his way up to Stiles' shoulders and arms, the only words spoken being his order for Stiles to keep stretching the muscles he'd loosened or they'd cramp up again. It was peaceful, strangely peaceful given that they'd just spent two hours literally treading death. Or rather, Stiles had and he'd just hung there.

"You know, if you actually played more, you'd probably know how to do all this yourself."

"Ugh. I hate you. And you, Mister, now have a date with a pool." He huffed.

He reached the bottom of Stiles' arm and took his hand between his, ignoring the teenager's eyes on him as he pressed his fingers confidently into the hardened tissue.

"I'm serious." Stiles continued. "And I'm going to tape it and put it on YouTube with all the other videos of puppies doing the doggy paddle while playing fetch in water. Do you have a preference on what's being thrown in? Like a bone, or a chew toy? Or a squeaky chew toy?"

"Are you talking about yourself?" He grinned, letting his fangs show. Stiles glared.

"So alpha-dom comes with the delusion of comedic talent? You're hilarious. If this whole doggy paddling business doesn't take off, you should totally start a vlog." His eyes seemed to glaze a little, probably envisioning the details of said vlog, before clearing back to anger. "And I do not squeak. I grunt, manly...ly."

He had to know Derek couldn't resist that, and sure enough, with a thumb digging into the flesh of his right palm, Stiles Stilinski did in fact squeak.

"Ass." He glared at the alpha.

"Uh huh." Derek turned Stiles' hand over in his palm. "Make a fist."

It was weak, but Stiles successfully pulled all of his fingers in with minimal shaking and no indication of pain. Looking up at his face, it looked like Stiles wanted to say something but he never did. Just like Derek hadn't. In another time, he might find it funny how alike they were when it came to things like pride, but outside of this room sat his best friend and Derek's beta, and outside of the building somewhere was a lizard monster taking people out at random, and outside of that immediate problem was a looming war with a very strong pack of hunters.

Derek helped Stiles into a sitting position, his arm around the teenagers' back in a mirror of their position in the pool. Then, they slowly stood together, and Derek removed his hands completely and kept a good distance between them as they made their way out.

It wasn't funny how alike they were right now. It kind of hurt.