"Why are you freaking OUT Derek!?" Stiles demanded, eyes narrow with wor- suspicion.
Derek was breathing hard and glaring, eyes fiery.
"Shut up." he hissed, shivering violently. Stiles felt a sharp stab of pity and he could tell Derek was able to smell it when the death stare intensified ten fold. "I don't need your pity Stiles. I really don't."
His words sounded weak, but his tone was anything but. It was hard and bitten. But there was another element under it... Almost... Frightened?
"Derek... Is there some thing wrong with the boat?" Stiles was suddenly terrified. If Derek was frightened, there was something wrong. Derek hit the side of the canoe in frustration. The banging noise echoed around he small lake they were floating in.
"Stiles do you EVER JUST SHUT UP." Stiles could hear the panic in his voice and looked again at the paddle floating away in gray water. There was a harsh sting in the morning air that nipped at Stile's noise and now red cheeks. He pulled his knit scarf tighter around him.
"Look we can paddle back to shore with our hands, okay? It will only be freezing cold for a few hours." he paused. "unless we get frostbite. I wonder if phantom pain from limbs that have fallen off because of frost bite just feel cold all the time." He glanced back at Derek. The look he got shut him up. "Okay do you have a better plan?"
"Yes. Get the fuck out of the the water."
"oh brilliant why don't we plan to rob Fort Nox next?"
Stiles prided himself on his sarcasm.
He thought it was clever.
Derek thought he was annoying.
Most of the time anyway.
"Okay better plan. You get out and pull us to shore because your werewolf powers will keep you from freezing to death!"
"But not from drowning!" His voice was actually shrill.
That gave Stiles pause enough, before he even thought about the words.
"Derek... Are you afraid of drowning?"
Derek looked away. Just for a moment before turning back and snarling, but it told Stiles everything he needed to know.
"If you like your tongue where it is I wouldn't suggest finishing that sentence."
Derek looked vaguely satisfied.
Then Stiles started worrying. Because there was no cell service and no one was close enough to hear him yell of Derek did attack. Also they were stuck in this canoe and Derek was scared of the water and how had that even happened he wasn't a fucking werecat for gods sake he was a wereWOLF. Don't dogs love water? Wait. When HAD that afraid of water thing started. Stiles opened his mouth to ask but Derek stopped him with a hand over his mouth.
"Stiles. Don't you fucking ask it." Stiles wasn't really listening because the palm was warm on his skin and that was Derek's warmth and it filled him up and made his body sing and the autumn air didnt seem half as nippy as it had two seconds ago.
Their eyes met.
Stiles opened his mouth to voice the idea that he just had. Derek radiated ominousness and stiles was momentarily cowed. And then he licked Derek's hand as wetly as he could, ignoring the wood smoke like after taste. Derek pulled a face and wiped the spit on Stiles's shirt.
"Thank you. Okay listen you wolfy space heater. I have an idea. I'll hop in the water and pull us back to shore like the little tug boat that could and then we'll climb back on land and you will warm me up, got it?"
"What! Why not!?"
"you could drown." he said.
Stiles couldn't figure out if he was flattered or frustrated.
He settled for both and flicked Derek's nose affectionately.
"You great lug. I'll be fine. I've been swimming since I was three months. Earlier than that! My mom had a water birth!" That was a lie. Derek didn't need to know that. Of course he did anyway, stupid werewolf senses.
"Okay look." Stiles sighed and leaned back, rubbing his eyes for a second and cursing Scott in his head, "we both knew this was a stupid idea in the first place. There may be werewolves, but there are no freaking mermaids. Especially in this little pond. Scott sent us out here on a goose chase and you let him because you couldn't resist his puppy eyes."
Derek actually did it to spend time with Stiles so they could make some choices about the pack and the house. Neither mentioned that.
"So here's the deal. I will bring us in to shore, you'll warm me up, Scott will bake us cookies (which he is actually really spectacular at. Don't look at me like that. Seriously he is.) and make us hot chocolate. Thats the game plan and you can deal."
Stiles stripped off his jacket and shivered as goosebumps rose on his arms.
This was going to suck, he thought, as he kicked off his shoes and took a deep breathe, ready to dive in.
Then there was that warm press on his arm and he turned to meet Derek's eyes.
"Be careful. The pack actually needs you."
Stiles knew Derek would never say something like that unless one or both of them were about to die. He hugged Derek and then dove in. If the water didn't kill him, Derek would for that small show of affection.
He swam back up to the surface, already freezing. He grabbed the bow of the boat and kicked out with his legs and broke the mirror smooth surface of the lake with a few flailing arm motions.
It felt a bit like one of the first times he had consumed coffee. Like he was shivering so fast he didn't actually move and that there was some sort of electricity in his stomach and his shoulder were aching with unused energy and everything was sort of cold and his ribs were shivering too. He moved faster, wishing this would end soon. He watched the shore like a hawk, wishing it closer as his hold on the nose of the canoe started to slip.
Then there was a warm palm on his frozen white fingers and, completely of his bodies own accord, his legs moved faster, less sluggishly. His nose still felt like it was going to fall off. But he could deal.
He finally reached the bank after what seemed like several decades. He heaved himself up and lay in the grass, panting and shivering.
Derek tumbled out of the canoe and rushed to Stiles's trembling side.
He gathered Stiles close to his chest and Stiles felt warmth wash over him. It didn't sink under his skin though, it hovered, not quiet being absorbed into him. He curled into Derek's chest and sucked as much in as he could.
He must have blacked out because when he opened his eyes again Stiles was in a bed pressed up against a warm body, there was still a light buzz in his stomach and he inched closer to the heat that was like a fireplace, like if he stayed against it too long his back would blister.
He then recognized he was naked and let out a high pitched squeak.
He fumbled with the covers and he hysterically dragged them closer to his body, sluggishly scrambling away from his heat source.
Which of course did nothing to help him feel any warmer.
"Shut up Stiles, I'm making sure you don't get pneumonia or something equally likely for you."
Warm arms wrapped around him and jerked him back to his chest. Stiles couldn't resist, he curled up and shut his eyes, maybe breathing a little deeper through his nose, but absolutely not to get a stronger whiff of sandalwood and fall.