I don't own Teen Wolf. I don't have ADHD.
The show has its potential to be pretty great plot wise. I think it's a bit funny how Sterek dominates shipping when the two of them hardly have any air time together – though when they do, it's priceless. Be prepared: the atmosphere in the story takes a pretty sharp dip towards the end. Also note that in my head-canon, Stiles' sexuality is the Kinsey scale.
Warnings: language, slight AU, abuse of tenses and punctuation, developing bromance, character introspection, suicidal thoughts
His brain is not a train of thought but rather a train magically splitting off on five tracks. No, that wouldn't be it – more like those trains of developing nations, like in India where there are no standing room and where crowding and latching on top of rail cars becomes an art form where having the last car accidentally break away from the rest of the train is a common occurrence as well as stepping into cow shit ever second of the day. The metaphor means that when faced with the lizard creature monkey thing, his situational awareness expands like the Big Bang – to Erica (what a bitch, she's still not forgiven for wrecking his Jeep) in the corner, to the bleachers on the right, to Derek (what an asshole, whose name probably featured right under the definition in the Oxford Dictionary) falling in front of him in that strange slo-mo that people see in the movies, to that growling thing that has weird stuff (kind of looks like cum from cheap homemade pornos if he thinks about it for too long) coating its claws. Then he gives the worst apologetic glance to Derek and pushes him into the pool and jumps after him.
Sometimes, when he's really, really mad at the man - like that time where he was bodily thrown against that wall, or that other time when his head was slammed against the steering wheel, or that other time, or that other time - he likes to fantasize catching him off guard and punching him straight across face, maybe break a cheek bone, and then when he's flying through the air, get him hard in the solar plexus with a foot and change his momentum so that he's crashing out of her bedroom window to hopefully never come back. It'll be some sort of Bruce Lee - Chuck Norris combo power. Unfortunately, he's had the pleasant experience of trying to punch him awake (see the "I Was Going to Saw off Your Arm… No Seriously, My Finger Was Literally on That Button When Scott Finally Busted In With the Damn Bullet and Had the Gall to Ask What I Was about to Do As If I Wanted To Do This" incident) and it was possibly the worst thing ever, one step down from stepping on a pile of Legos in the dark.
That's what fantasies are for – impossible dreams.
And then he's resurfacing with the werewolf awkwardly propped somehow with his head barely out of the water, scrabbling because he literally does not know where to grab to make it less awkward. Added to that, werewolves, with all that condensed muscle, have greater density than the average human: who knew? It makes them easier to sink, like the Titanic. "Can you get me out of here before I drown?"
"You're worried about drowning? Did you notice the thing out there with multiple rows of razor sharp teeth?"
"Did you notice that I'm paralyzed from the neck down in eight feet of water?" as Derek is informing him with that tone that just implies complete disgust translated into I can't believe I am stuck here with you and you are such a dumbass. "Did you really think this through?"
"If you have any other ideas, Einstein, now would be the time to talk," he snaps back.
"If you hadn't pushed me into the pool, we might have the choices between different ideas," Derek retorts.
"There was nothing else," he grits out, fuming with indignity. Any further argument will be backed by opinions from both sides so they silently agree to drop the topic.
Honestly? He is this close, this close, to punching the personification of irony in the gut and then hoping that the personification is male so he can string its balls up on the rafters of the ceiling above. There's a pretty big chance that he's going to die here – the only reason why the chance isn't a guarantee is that the scaly thing doesn't like water – so he's trapped here until it gets bored and moves out which doesn't seem to be happening anytime soon. If he's going to die here, he's going to die as a virgin in a position with the closest body contact that he has ever had with a person… no, man (his dad is going to have a heart attack with that alone), and not just any man, but Derek fucking Hale: Alpha werewolf, Tall-Dark-Handsome demigod, a man so perfect that he shouldn't even be alive. Stiles wants to cry at the injustice.
"So hot," Lydia had noted with mock clinical disinterest on that day that Derek had appeared in the school, attracting looks from both genders. Turning away from his locker, Stiles gave her an appreciative once-over: Lydia was wearing a really nice top that accentuated her curves, gave an illusion (or just emphasized) her perfect chest. Then Stiles had wondered if werewolves could smell menstrual blood or whether it was one of those things that werewolves don't think about for their sanity, like how teenagers convince themselves that the only time their parents had ever done the horizontal tango was when they wanted a kid.
He once tried to ask Scott the question about cycles and syncing up in high school, you know, for science. Scott gave him the most horrified look and made a noise like he was eating crow. Both of them agreed to put that occasion under instances that should never ever be repeated ever again. Similar items under the list include the 'Bestiality/Bestiary Confusion' and the 'Drunken Mutual Hand Jobs during New Year.'
He wasn't really sure why Lydia was talking with him seeing that Lydia probably didn't even know his name or his epic crush of forever. Still, he was not really going to pass up a chance like this, even if he was getting sort of cock-blocked by guys all around. Lydia pursed her lips, "Actually, saying that he's hot is like saying that the Statue of Liberty is kind of tall. As a comparison, Jackson-"
"Jackson," Stiles stated, tearing his eyes back up to Lydia's eyes, "is teen bopper with a side of jackass." He took out his phone and scrolled through his emails and was a bit amazed at how steady his voice was, "Don't even try to correct me." He raised an eyebrow when she opened her mouth, "You know I'm right." He wisely decided to change the subject when her eyes narrowed to harsh points, "Hasn't he stopped talking to you or something?"
Lydia tossed her hair back; Stiles managed to breath in a faint scent of her perfume. "Yeah, I'm hanging out more with Danny now – I wish that it would make Jackson jealous, except that Danny is, well, gay, you know?" Stiles painfully knows and doesn't know with the whole crushing on Lydia who is straight and won't give him the time of day and a slightly lesser crushing on Danny who is gay and taken. His love life literally cannot get any worse than this unless he had been born a girl, where crushing on a straight girl and a gay guy would be the foundations of a raunchy sitcom.
Let's look on the bright side: at least he's not reliving the Romeo and Juliet that is Scott and Allison. If he wasn't so certain that Scott was Allison-sexual, he would have ripped something fresh into the guy because werewolves and Argents isn't really Shakespeare as the Hatfield-McCoy feud except maybe a trillion times worse. But hey, true love and whatever? At least he's not Mercutio, most of the time ("ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man- get it- it's a pun.")
"By the way, Danny mentioned something about going to your room and seeing your cousin, Miguel, and, I quote, 'the hottest and angriest strip show he has ever had the privilege to witness.'" Ahh, so there's the reason why this conversation even started. Lydia's smile turned from innocent predator, "Your cousin sounds an awful like Mr. Hot Rage here. Anything you would like to share?" Stiles mouth dropped open and dried out.
As much as he loves Lydia, he likes his balls to remain attached to his body. "Nope," emphasizing the 'P,' Stiles had immediately shut down before pretending to receiving a text and leaving with the excuse that he has to take his non-existent calls ("Nope. Nope. Nope. Oh look, Scott's calling me! It must be about Allison. It's really important. Like, super important. Yeah, bye!"). Despite the small amount of time spent with Lydia Martin, there came a great savvy-ness on how to deal with Lydia Martin – femme fatale. She could smell weakness like a blood hound and has learned in the span of ten minutes with Stiles that she could use her boobs or her lips in that look-but-don't-touch vibe to get what she wanted. They're like dual ninjas waiting there – you can't even relax because you know they're there, hiding, waiting but you literally cannot do anything: mention, reach, nothing – until they show themselves. And the next thing you know, you said something that you don't even know what you said.
There Stiles goes, equating Lydia Martin's chest with hidden ninjas.
He finally manages to get his arms around Derek's chest in a firm grip and peaked over his shoulder, watching as the monster stalks along the edges of the pool; he figures that he might as well bide his time till the monster moves farther away for him to reach his god damn phone to get a hold of Scott. Meanwhile, he's treading water and that shit is tiring. He's treading water holding up a full-grown werewolf whose mere muscle mass must equal to his entire weight.
And he's getting bored.
There's a little voice in his head that sounds like the love child of Jeff Corwin and Steve Irwin, "Crikey! Just look at that beauty! What beautiful claws – alright, so you handle creatures like these like you would with rattlesnakes, back up but never take your eyes off the prize. Use a long stick, at least as long as your forearm, when dealing with these species of Homicidal Lizardus."
"So, for the lack of anything else, we are stuck here." Stiles spits out a mouthful of chlorinated water- probably filled with the swim team's piss and isn't that a thought he loves. He draws in a shaky breath, "How was your day?"
This is Stiles. He is a normal teenager: average body type and looks – hair buzzed short for practicality, clothes comfortable for practicality and normal enough to avoid the wrong attention (except from Jackson because Jackson's middle name is Jackass). Stiles has ADHD that not only gives him the need to keep moving but also causes his brain to mouth filter to malfunction.
His mom used to take him in her arms when he squirms too much and kiss him on the cheek, cooing that he's her little spark.
Stiles takes Adderall. With Adderall, he can listen to Harris's horrible lectures and actually retain information about metal coordination and balancing equations between his complete bullshit. With Adderall he can sit in front of the TV and watched four hours of cricket; he doesn't even like cricket. With Adderall, he once wrote a complete essay on the History of Male Circumcision and how the tree outside the classroom can be used as a metaphor to reflect the microfinance crises of the European Union except for maybe Iceland who literally transformed overnight from fishermen to BAMFs knowing everything about hedge funds on the end of his Econ final just because he could and spent the rest of the test time folding up scrap papers into intricate origami raccoons.
He gave those to Finstock for "being such a swell guy."
He's counting breaths now: in is six and out is four. His face is smashed against a spot over Derek's shoulder where skin meets shirt that's going to leave something unpleasant like stitch marks across his cheeks (corduroy marks are the worst: it's like he's sleeping on a waffle) and his eyelids were twitching in a conscious effort to keep them open. His sense of time is bent at his best moments and non-existent at his worse. An entire Call of Duty session seems to take up the span of two minutes while trying to stall Peter from finding Scott's location was an entire day.
("His username is Allison?" Peter had cocked one eyebrow up, unimpressed. Stiles side-glanced, turned his attention back to the laptop screen, pressed Tab and… "His password is also Allison?"
"You really sure you want him in your pack?" And it must say something about his best friend if he and Peter "Burned Alive and Now a Psychotic Serial Killer Hell Bent on Revenge of Thy Bitch Named Argent – Well He's Dead Now" Hale had a serious moment of long suffering between bouts of sheer terror.)
"Is it gone yet?" he dully asks, voice muffled in the cloth. He gets an answer in the form of hissing threats at his three o'clock position. "Fuck me," he groans, craning his head back to get a better look, "Just one clear shot at my phone. That's all I'm asking for."
"Werewolves' healing ability relies on the area of the injury and the amount of poison," Derek points out, each word a small vibration extending from his chest to Stiles' arms, "You might get your chance soon."
The information that the Alpha had given him leaves him bemused, "Your logic literally went from A to K and I'm not even at D." The werewolf manages in all his paralyzed glory to impatiently jerk his head a bit to his right: Stiles follows his direction and his eyes widen, "Erica. If Erica is also healing, then the lizard thing will have to keep an eye out for her." His mind is like a train on three different tracks, barreling down to one point, "Oh, score." The creature screeched again with more tongue, as if it could taste him plotting, "Oh double score." The creature stalks around again, its tail never touching the ground, "Yeah, that's right, ugly. Walk on."
Stiles does a poor imitation of the lizard thing's hiss.
His fingers hooks on the werewolf's belt loops, making it easier to hang on, but the effort from treading water doesn't loosen up with a sure rhythm. In fact, it's as if he's a contestant on the Richard Bachman's The Long Walk, just treading and treading. Dory's little tune pops up in his head and he starts humming, "just keep swimming, swimming, swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…" Zen. Zen all around: he is treading water.
He can keep treading water forever.
At some point in the long night, Derek has an epiphany and manages to put a label on the scaly freak. "It's a Kanima," He manages to grit out as he tilts his head back to avoid swallowing more water, "A shapeshifter similar to werewolves but the bite is incomplete." And then he starts reciting in a specific tempo and rhythmic beat, "He who shifts not wolf, he is conflict in mind, he is abomination, he is kanima."
Stiles tries and fails to blink water out of his eyes, "Are those catechisms? Or nursery rhymes? Like where normal kids sing about London Bridge and the ABCs, you werepuppies get Monster of the Day?"
Whatever part of Derek that is still under conscious control stiffens even more, "They're lessons you grow up with." Unfortunately, Stiles can't for the life of him imagine the Alpha in any of his younger formative years and his mind stutters on the image of Derek as a midget going to elementary school with the same eyebrows and the same scowl. Wittle Derek must be adorable. His inner laughter dies out hearing the werewolf's small admission, "It was usually Uncle Peter's job to teach us." Oh. Ouch. Stiles cringes harshly at the reminder of the whole clusterfuck that is Derek's past. A strangled noise escapes him, acknowledging the memory of a man and not the monster that he did not hesitate to lob Molotov Cocktails at.
When he was seven years old, his mom took him to the library, and he gravitated to the mythology section after finishing the comics section (Calvin and Hobbes) in less than one day. There was an adult sitting on the bean bags next to the section on creature lore and he had asked if he wanted a story and he said sure because this man seemed OK in his book because he had talked to his mom about stuff at the supermarket all the time. He slowly read to him the captions under the pictures in the Eyewitness series and even dished out a couple of his own little adventures with trolls and ghosts and wolves. Leather coat, blond hair, blue eyes, a wane Mona Lisa smile – he tries to forget initially because these memory, firmly connected to his mom, hurts and now, well, it's a bit obvious. It's kind of funny how much Peter ("I don't bite, little Red.") Hale had changed and not changed.
Ever since he could remember Mom had always had that smell of cigarettes around her that she makes sure to wash away because she knew that it made Stiles feel sick. Slowly though, the scents get stronger and stronger because it's obvious that washing can only get rid of some of the tar, never all of it. At least the house never smelled – mom always made sure to indulge in her habit out of everybody's way. Stiles rarely saw her with a lighter. Stiles sometimes wonder why she would keep smoking if she was so ashamed. Mom smells the strongest when Stiles out from the library, so strong that it would linger in the car for days. It didn't take long before Stiles started to associates the presence of Uncle Peter to a very bad thing.
"Look, man, you got to chill here." Stiles yells out, edging away from the dead center of the pool, "I'm going to get that phone and call Scott and hopefully find some foot out of this hell hole. It's better than no plan. I'm not going to slowly sink and that's what's happening and there's no way in hell I'm going to let that happen." He huffs a bit, out of breath, "You can hold your breath right? Werewolves can hold their breaths? You're not going to drown! Can't you trust me just this once!"
"No!" Derek yells back with a frantic edge to his tone. "This isn't a matter of me-
"Dude! Nobody trusts each other, I get it: it makes the world go round. But it's different here because I need something to happen. I don't trust you either but I watched over your furry ass. Recall-"
Stiles shouts over him. "Recall the incident where I was gearing up to saw off your arm! I need you to give me the exact faith that you had when you gave that saw to me. I was in the zone! I trusted myself and knew that you trusted me."
"It's different this time. You're too ti-" Derek attempts once again to rationalize.
Again, by raising his voice, Stiles continues, "It's our last hope! And now this is my new zone! I'm going! I'm really, really going. There's really nothing you can do right now to stop me since you can't move, so brace yourself." He clenches his jaw, tenses his muscles in preparation and hisses out, "At least trust me to bring you back up." Derek stays silent- that's progress. "Three!"
"Wait…" The werewolf starts as the Kanima turn its head.
If they keep stalling, he won't even have the strength to initiate his plan. "Two!" He eyes the Kanima making a complete circle across the pool, judges the distance…
He lunges. The Kanima screeches.
"Well?" Derek asks when he resurfaces. He has a gift of using one word that has sentences, paragraphs full of meaning – like that saying 'a picture is a thousand words.' Stiles can't find the effort to appreciate the art.
"My phone is gone; I am in hell," he grunts, "Scott can go and fuck himself on Allison's strap-on."
There's another memory that Stiles is forgetting, hidden in the sad cobwebbed corners of his mind.
He knew his surroundings: that his mom was talking to another woman on the park bench and that there was a teenage boy and a nearly adult girl bent together in top-secret discussion (they might be arguing about a girl named Kate) under a tree and he couldn't decide whether they were together or together. He furiously kicked his legs and he swung higher and higher until the chains jerked every time he was nearly flying and it was those few milliseconds where his stomach dropped that he was working for. His mom was probably a bit worried but Stiles knew that if he didn't think that he would fall, then he wouldn't fall.
(Mom and that woman were together because the woman was supposedly this pain reliever specialist that uses some New Age magic to drain evil auras away from people that doesn't need too many herbal medicines or acupuncture. It's supposed to be good for mom's sickness. Dad didn't argue because on some good days, it looked like it was actually working and mom doesn't tap on the kitchen table as fast and actually hums along to TV show songs when she cooks.)
"It's how Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy works," he patiently explained to the new blonde girl in the neighborhood when she approached, "When you fly, you can't think about falling. The secret is to throw your self to the ground and forget about it or something."
The girl narrowly dodged a kick that he playfully aimed when he came back down, "You should probably get down though." She insisted, crossing her arms in an attempt to look intimidating, "You'll probably break everything like when you broke the seesaw in two yesterday." She didn't look intimidating; Stiles was half certain that if a leaf floating by on the wind were to smack her in the face, she would bruise. That's how weak she looked.
"That was an accident and you're not the boss of me," Stiles sang over his protests and kicked harder, willing himself to go higher before his mom frantically called for him to be careful.
"I'm actually kind of happy that you bit Erica," he says for the lack of saying anything else and to push the negative thoughts that her best friend had abandoned her and the sacred code of bros before hos: not that Allison is a ho. When Scott initially waxed poetic about her, Stiles had gone up for a casual chat to judge with an impartial eye and it turns out that with a bit of imagination, Allison might as well be bringing sunshine into a gloomy room. "Erica looks really good. She looks secure. The seizures are gone right? Werewolves don't get seizures?" Derek nods; he can't see his expression. "Yeah, it's all that new confidence. Confidence is sexy."
On one summer day, he made sand mountains with a shy, slightly overweight blonde girl. They were called sand mountains because both of them sucked at making sand castles and sand mans. And then they stuck her old Barbies into the peaks, head first.
"She's better. Worse to me, but better in general- and that's all that really matters, I think."
There's this moment where he's trying to grab the low hanging bar on the diving board. There was maybe a two second elation before the Kanima manages to screw together its courage and drive him off, inconveniently spitting acid into the pool. There were only a couple droplets but Stiles had that 'oh shit oh shit oh shit' moment because no matter how diluted, that concoction is still a concoction of pain and despair. The venom is far reaching like greedy fingers, slowly exploring the borders of its confinement.
"There's still time," Derek says.
"Want to make a bet on what will do me in?" Stiles replies, "Fatigue or poison."
"There's still time," Derek insists. It's funny because Derek could hardly ever be called the more optimistic of them two. Stiles bites on his lip and glowers at nothing in particular.
Stiles counts to a hundred and makes a promise, "If I'm still alive after this. I'll make you lasagna from my mom's family recipe; you won't regret it."
Stiles blames himself for his mother with the power of 'maybes' and 'ifs.'
Maybe if he had taken his medicine like a good, responsible boy, he wouldn't have been such a destructive, screaming little shit. If he was a better son, his mom wouldn't have felt the need to relieve stress through cigarettes (and he wouldn't need to be worried about his dad almost impending heart attack or stroke). Maybe they didn't have to spend so much money on Stiles' medication, lightening up their financial situation and allowing mom to have more frequent visits to the doctor to catch the tumor early before it had metastasized. Maybe mom wouldn't look so worn and torn and maybe she never had to die.
That's why he stopped hanging around Erica after his mom's death (ignoring all the betrayed looks and flat out tears and the aftereffects of another seizure) – because two diseased kids being friends makes it all the more real how messed up he really was and he'd rather not be reminded of that every day.
He started searching for answers and settled on a boy named Scott who was waiting for his mom to finish her rounds in the hospital.
There's an art to waiting which consists of putting the mind in other places and drifting off into the world saved for one single tether hook attached to the reality. Most people call that the basis of Zazen meditation, depending on who you ask. It doesn't really matter though because Stiles is a man (boy) of the now and how, if he thinks of now, he will express thy 'now'. There must be something in the pool, either its ability to leach off heat or the fact that it's a vat of diluted poison that seemed to be settling on the bottom depending on density (Derek was in the Dead Man's Float position to avoid the majority of the Kanima's venom) that's forcing his mind to slow. He is now a train on one track moving at a very shitty pace.
Derek asks him to respond every few minutes, asks him questions of lacrosse and Scott's progress and school issues, just to make sure that he's coherent. Stiles can't decide whether this gesture is selfish or selfless. Stiles is even more stumped when Derek offers back some hints of his own life – a little glimpse of a man who worked on his Masters in New York City, attempting to control the werewolf on full moons in an overpriced flat that was too small and too worn, trying to find solace in an elder sister that barely knew what to do with her own power. Derek never touches on his life before Argent.
On his worst nights, Stiles finds himself remembering the day of Kate Argent's death and agrees with Peter that she did not suffer enough, not for the deaths of all those in the house, not for the werewolves and children, old and young, their little arms, he imagines, clawing at the windows trying to escape, not for the statutory rape of a teenager. On those nights, Stiles imagines shooting a bullet into the woman's stomach, making sure that the acid bleeds into her other organs, and sit down and watch her slowly fade with pain.
There's a list in his head of all the traumas that he has to live that can in no way shape or form be mentioned in his therapy sessions. It makes him think of how close he has come to face death and defiantly spat into its metaphorical skull. What if Scott hadn't been bitten and Stiles was the werewolf? (It takes a 50/50 chance for the bite to take: werewolf or die.) What if Scott had tried to kill him on this occasion or that occasion? What if he had to saw off Derek's arm? What if, in its many instances, Peter had killed them all? What if Peter had bitten him? What if he hadn't managed to convince Jackson to drive him to the Hale house? What if he hadn't thought of the idea to set Peter on fire? What if the Kanima had killed him in the auto shop? What if?
He hates dreaming because they always revolve around the same things. The smell of fire, of petrol-started incendiary flames, makes him want to wash his hands and scrub them until their as red as Peter's Alpha eyes. Yet, he has a batch of Molotov cocktails ready to use in the back of his closet and one under his bed in a closed latched box, just in case. He also has plucked wolfs bane and a lighter tucked in a zip lock bag in a hidden compartment by his dirty laundry. His most recent bookmarks are on the origins and legends surrounding Mountain Ash.
You know. Just in case.
He's still searching for answers.
His dreams are almost always filled with howls.
(If he does make this out alive, he's never stepping foot in a pool ever again.)
The nth hour kicks in.
"I am a raft," he mutters, "I float and I float with things. I am a paddle. I have unbelievably small density like a raft. I am one with the raft. I am raft." As he chants, a cramp is starting to make itself known at that place above his hip and his calves have numbed up half an hour into the ordeal and he's freaking out about the thought of a Charley horse. I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. I am the walrus… Goo Goo G'Joob. The water is getting colder and colder and the only source of warmth is the grumpy werewolf that he's holding up and at this point, he's light headed enough to not care about stealing heat. He shuddered and sighed – his breath was uneven.
"I can't feel my fingers; can I hold your hand?" He raises his right and looks at it curiously; his nails are blue and purple. He prunes horribly like a month old apple. Seconds later, their fingers interlock because Stiles has the bad circulation. Derek's paralysis evens out enough that he could feel him squeeze his fingers.
He can't feel. There are no feels. This is bad.
Burying his head to the warmth, his entire body wilting with resignation, he dazedly observes, "I'm going to die, aren't I? No, I take it back. We're going to die. We're, like, too young to die. I'm too young to die. What." He furiously shakes his head and curls even more around Derek's body, "I had plans, damn it! There's a lot more than this little hell of a pool and this shouldn't be a pool because pools don't register on Dante's Inferno. It's just… I don't know how to say it, life: do you get it? I don't think… Possibly the worst way to go is to realize how much you don't know what you don't know." He wilts even more because his last words are possibly the worst ever spoken ever.
I don't know.
His strength has been leeched from him over the course of hours. He's not digging into his last reserves, he's running on empty. He's clawing at nothing-ness in an attempt for more time.
"You're not my enemy, you know." He parsed his words out with every kick, wincing when the slight pain streaks up a hamstring, holding tension, "I don't really hate you. Hate is too strong. You're like, Byronic Hero Doctor Frankenstein. I probably dislike you less than Scott who is all over his own manpain teen angst that I sympathize with since I have my own fucked up teen angst. But you? You're a piece of work. You're a frenemy, that's better than an evil werewolf, you're not evil… but your Alpha-ness – Alfalfa-ness was, is complete out of control. And… and…" There are words that he must say and he can't think at all, "No harsh feelings. You're a good person and you change people in that good way - you only look like a serial killer." He sneezes, "There's probably not going to be lasagna in the near future though."
"Stiles," Stiles hums but couldn't find the energy to turn his head, "You're not going to die."
"Derek," Derek looks at him with eyes that aren't lined with red. Stiles smiles blankly, "I'm tired."
The heavy density of the kanima poison slowly spreads through the pool like opaque food coloring and he has been trying to outswim the cloud but it's akin to running in dreams – all molasses and concrete shoes and people deciding to sleep with the fishes. Stiles knows he's going to die; the reality hits him with the assuredness of all facts of life: the Kanima stalks its prey closely, toeing the line of water and pool side, Derek's crazy inner heat won't be enough to hold him up, Stiles Stilinski is going to die. It's like someone has rubbed liberal amounts of Novocain onto his skin and is letting it settle deep into his bones. When he slowly stops treading not because, as he said before, that he's tired, but more like he can't, he doesn't announce it but slowly start taking longer and longer breaths, filling his lungs with oxygen, wondering how long he can hold air in before he can't any longer.
He can't count time worth anything.
Stiles thinks about His Life: bolded, underlined, and boxed with a bleeding pen and has that moment of clarity, of knowing how much he doesn't know, of how far this is over his head (so far out it's a satellite). He thinks about people. His dad, already a shadow of his former self before the death of his mom, is going to shatter into a million pieces. (His dad already stopped trusting him: his disappointment is palpable, bitter in the house like the scent of whiskey, and he takes shifts that he knows coincides with the times Stiles is at home.)
Scott will be sad. Let's not forget about Scott.
Who else is there?
When he falls, he looks up at the lights and the strange fluidity of the surface, dynamic in equilibrium, all nice and blue above him. Towers of bubbles erected before him blocks his vision. But somehow, he sees his mom patiently waiting for him a couple feet away. She brings the memories of soft yellow curtains and the smell of sunlight on hardwood floors before smelling of whiteness and hospital. She's wearing her favorite sundress dress and sandals before she couldn't wear it, her hair free falling long and full as it was before chemo, her same smile that can forgive any wrong that he's ever committed before she couldn't smile any longer.
Her last words, holding onto his hand, lips white and chapped, had been, "I'm tired." Then she had gone to sleep and didn't wake up.
It takes forever to sink.
Stiles' back hits the pool bottom and he breaths out.
And chokes in the air that Derek is forcing back into his lungs.
His nails claw at the tile floor, struggling to find purchase, and he registers Derek doing chest compressions hard enough to break ribs and they do break ribs.
He wants to be tired again.