That night he dreams about Derek drowning.
He awakes with a jolt, still feeling the water rushing in his ears and the taste of chlorine in his mouth. He shivers at the memory of Derek slowly sinking to the bottom.
Stiles sits up in bed and rubs his eyes.
It has been only a few days since the fiasco in the pool but he can still feel the ache in his limbs from treading water for so long, he can still feel the weight of Derek in his arms as he tried to hold him afloat, most of all though, he still sees the look of betrayal in his eyes when he realized that Stiles let him go.
He feels sick.
He had to! He had to get the phone in order to save them both!
And yet... He can't stop the look in Derek's eyes and the sight of him sinking into the depths from haunting his dreams every night since.
He swears there was a time when he wouldn't have minded letting Derek drown. A time where any thought of Derek at all was only a shiver of fear that passed his idle thoughts. Why can't he remember when that was?
He rolls over and squeezes his eyes shut and ignores the burning behind his eyes.
It takes him another week and several aborted attempts before he arrives at the Hale house with a firm resolution. He sits in his car for a moment, trying to get his hands to unstick from the steering wheel and actually open the door. Finally he takes a breath and gets out.
Before he even has a chance to approach the decrepit porch, the front door opens and Erica and Boyd step out. He inches back toward his car at the sight of the two figures heading straight for him.
His firm resolution disintegrates and blows away in the wind.
"Oh, uh. Fancy meeting you here! I was just going!" he reaches for his door handle but Erica leans casually but firmly against his car door.
"Little mouse coming to play in the lion den?" she grins at him.
What the hell happened to this girl? He's pretty sure that personality change isn't included in the werewolf welcoming brochure. Was she seriously always this completely bonkers?
Boyd looks on impassively as she leans forward into his space. She runs a finger down the front of his sweater from his clavicle down...
"I'd very much like to play, little mouse. I've been so bored and your heart makes such a pretty sound. Do these interest you now?"
She leans so her cleavage is showing like the last time. The finger on his navel starts to grow into a claw and then he really does start to feel like a mouse about to be eaten by some psycho lioness.
A deep growl comes from the porch.
"Erica. Boyd. Get out of here."
Stiles sags with relief as Erica reluctantly pulls her feral gaze away from him to stare defiantly at her alpha.
"Now." he says with a tone of finality.
"We were leaving anyway," she says sulkily as she bounds away toward the forest line with Boyd.
Stiles breathes for a moment. He regrets coming more than anything right now. His resolve is so far gone it might as well have never existed.
"I-I'm just gonna..." he says as he scrabbled for his door handle.
Suddenly Derek is right there, and once again he can't open his door. Wow he cannot believe he had been so stupid. Now Derek was going to kill him and possibly eat him alive.
Derek doesn't say anything at first just pins him with that stare of his. He should really practice it in the mirror, he's sure with enough practice it could successfully make him shit his pants right on cue.
Stiles crosses his arms defensively and tries to look him in the eye like so many of his wolf blogs talk about. They all say that if you look away then it's the same as admitting defeat. He screws up his face and tries to ignore his eyes watering.
They're locked in a staring contest before Derek makes a choking noise and turns away.
That fucker! He's laughing!!! He could death glare if he wanted!!
"What do you want, Stiles?" he says tightly, as if repressing his laughter will make him look like less of a jerk.
"Nothing, never mind. It's nothing, it was really stupid anyway.."
Derek grabs his arm and without a word starts dragging him up to the shambled house.
"I don't know why you bother lying to me." he says as they cross the foyer into the dilapidated living room.
Isaac is lying on the musty old couch reading a book.
Derek's eyes flash and Isaac sits up straight.
"Go help your pack mates. Now."
Unlike Erica, Isaac wastes no time following his alpha's orders and scampers out of the room as quickly as possible.
Once the house is empty, Derek shoves him lightly towards the couch.
To his credit, he only stumbles once before sitting down stiffly. Derek picks up a toppled over chair and places it across from the couch. He sits and then raises his eyebrows.
"So what did Scott do now? What happened?"
Derek can hear Stiles' heart beating like a snare drum across the room.
He takes in his appearance. His shoulders are slumped and he has bags under his eyes. Stiles has his hands clasped on his lap and his leg is bouncing with nervous energy.
"Did he hurt someone?" he prompts. "Was it Allison?"
"Wha- uh, no no, thats not it.." he stutters.
Derek watches as he flounders for a bit.
He really can't figure this kid out. One moment he's ready to leave him to die, the next he's risking his life to save him. He really doesn't know what to make of him, and he wasn't lying when he said he didn't trust him. There's something about him though, something he cant define.
Here he sits now on his couch, tapping his foot and looking anywhere but at him. It seems Derek doesn't know what to say anymore than Stiles does .
"Look," Stiles finally forces out. "I just came to say... Sorry I guess. For, you know... Pulling a Rose Dawson you. I never should have let go.... Or whatever..." his heartbeat increases a bit and he rubs his neck nervously. "Not that you're a Leonardo DiCaprio, more like Billy Zane, actually. I mean not that you're an abusive chauvinist! Uh..."
Derek watches in amusement as he wipes his hands on his jeans.
"But yeah, I just wanted to say... You know." he looks to the side and then up at him. "I'm sorry..."
He's tempted to make the kid sweat but he decides to give him some mercy. He could be nice if he wanted to, contrary to popular belief.
"Whatever. You did what you thought was right. It's fine..."
He rests his chin on his hand.
"Yeah just, wanted to say it, I guess. I haven't been sleeping much lately over this..." he pauses and pinches the spot between his eyes. "I just mean I just felt... Bad. It's not like I dream about you often- I mean! Goddamnit..." he heaves a borderline hysterical laugh. "This is not how I planned this to go."
Stiles was the world's reigning champion in the art of open-mouth-insert-foot. If there was an Olympics for making an ass out of oneself, he'd be winning a gold in every sport.
He felt the couch dip next to him.
"How did you expect this to go?" Derek's voice is quiet.
"Maybe with me sounding more sincere and less like a stupid..." he sighs and runs his hand through his shorn hair. "...Aren't you mad at me?" he finally asks, not sure if he's ready for the answer.
"No." he says without a beat.
Stiles looks up.
"How about you?"
"Wh...what?" Stiles asks, confused.
"I thought you hated me."
Stiles eyelids lower when he realizes how close Derek was getting. He didn't even notice.
"I...I don't hate you... I never really hated you."
"Could have fooled me," Derek says, his nose almost touching stiles' cheek.
Derek must be going deaf with how fast his heart is beating. His fingers twitch, not sure if he's ready to reach out yet.
"I was just scared of you. I still am... But I wouldn't... I didn't want you to think that I'd just let you die."
"You don't have to be scared of me."
The words are whispered so close to him that he can feel them leaving Derek's mouth. He tries to hold in a shudder and look up into his eyes.
For once he doesn't know what to say.
They stare at each other for a moment before Derek's shoulders start to shake again.
Stiles gapes at him.
"Are you serious? We were totally having a moment there! Why do you choose NOW to remember your latent sense of humor?"
Derek holds his sides and leans forward on his knees, choking with held in laughter. His face was turning a little red and there were lines by his eyes.
Stiles' glare softens and he tries to memorize the sight in case it never happens again.
"It wasn't that bad was it?"
"No," Derek breathes. "it was worse, so much worse. You really need to practice your bedroom eyes in the mirror."
Stiles gapes again, he is totally NOT the one who needs to practice in front of a mirror! He stole his line!
"I totally misjudged you," he says standing up. "you try to act all sourwolf but you're just a big ol' softie. I've got you pegged, Hale. Now I know you have a sense of humor I'm gonna get it out of you."
Derek looked up at him from the couch, the tail end of a smile still on his lips. "I look forward to it."
If Stiles gaped any more he'd turn into a fish, he was sure of it.
"Well uh, I'm just going to uh, go now." he creeps towards the door. "I don't think I'll be having any more nightmares of you drowning."
Derek leans against the door as he leaves.
"Just of you laughing..." he mutters playfully.
"I heard that."
Stiles turns and smiles at him before he gets to his jeep.
That certainly didn't go how he thought it would.
It went way better.