“Really Stiles? You want to play Truth or Dare?” Derek growls. And okay, those weren’t the exact words Stiles had used, and Derek’s way of twisting it to sound like a drinking game is a little hurtfull. Because sure, this might not be the best time or place for it, but on the other hand it might be exactly the right time. For once Derek doesn’t have the physical upper hand, nor can he risk giving out too many verbal threats.
“More like just Truth.” Stiles smooth out and moves to get a better grip around Derek’s chest. “Because you won’t like the Dare.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me!”
”All I’m saying is that I’m the one holding your head over water here, at least you can answer a few questions while we’re waiting.” Stiles points out. ”Look, there is a very real chance that we’ll both die, and I’m surprisingly calm about that, if I should say so myself.” Stiles is also pretty calm about the fact that he’s willing to die or risk severe bodily injury to save Derek Hale, but that is not something he wishes to share with the rest of the swim-team. “All I’m asking for is a few answers.”
Derek is looking at him out of the corner of his eye. “I have no chance of shutting you up right now, do I?”
“I won’t talk as long as you’re talking.” Stiles offers and moves his hands to find better hold, because Derek is muscles all over and no where to dig in your fingers.
There’s a stretch of silence in which Derek clearly calculates his chances of winning an argument with Stiles. Just to make him hurry up his decision Stiles lets Derek’s head dip below the surface - just little enough that it could have been an accident.
“Well.” Derek says when he’s done spitting out water. “Are you going to ask or am I supposed to guess what you want to know?”
Stiles smiles until he comes to the realization that he might have questions, but he has no idea how to phrase them.
“Yeah, okay. First of all, why isn’t Jackson a werewolf?”
“I can’t answer that.” And it’s not just annoyance in his voice, because Stiles knows what Derek sounds like when he’s annoyed.
“Really, you want to back out on the first question? That was a warm-up question, just FYI.”
“No I mean, I can’t answer that.” Derek repeats, exasperation making him almost hiss. “I don’t know. His body rejected the bite. It’s like he’s immune.”
“How can anyone be immune?”
“You can’t.” Derek growls, and it’s funny how Derek’s voice makes it sound like the conversation is over.
“Are you even going to answer any of my questions?” And Stiles doesn’t mean for his voice to break a little towards the end. It’s just something it does on it own accord sometimes. Mostly when Derek is around of course. And mostly when Stiles says Derek’s name.
“Yeah, well - you’re being annoying about it!” Stiles mutters and there’s a loud screech somewhere above them, but it could come form anywhere, because all sounds echos and bounces around in the empty pool
“What?” And then he notices that Derek’s head has slipped almost completely under water, and the werewolf has to bend his neck back for air.
“Sorry about that. And sorry about this.” Stiles get’s a knee under Derek’s ass and in between his legs so he can push Derek up while struggling to find better purchase for his hands. “You know this would be a lot easier if you weren’t so heavy and …solid.” Stiles finishes awkwardly.
Derek huffs and spits out a mouthful of water. “That’s something I’ve never had complaints about before.”
“Ah, humor. Almost didn’t recognize it, coming from your mouth.”
“Yeah? Well I’m actually a pretty funny guy.” Derek mutters and there’s something really painful in his voice when he adds, “At least I used to be.”
“What? Your new pack doesn’t bring Fun Derek to the yard?”
“No, I… It’s different with them. ” Derek says and spits out more water.
Stiles moves his hands again, finding new places to put them so he can lift Derek higher again. “I’m surprised. It sure seemed like you’ve found what you were looking for. The perfect little pack. For someone like you.”
“And what is that supposed to mean?”
“It means that Scott and I were there for you, we were on your side, helping you. And then you Alpha up and suddenly we’re just trash, disposable.”
“I offered Scott a place in my pack!” Derek growls.
“Scott. Yes, of course, he’s the werewolf. I guess that’s the only kind that matters these days. You hanging out with your new best buddies. Really - you know how to pick them. I especially liked the way your girlfriend knocked me in the face and left me in a dumpster!”
“She’s not my girlfriend.” Derek whispers, but his voice sounds very loud in the silent pool.
To Stiles the silence that follows is horrible. Because he ought to be saying something sarcastic and spiteful, but he can’t think of anything.
For what ever reason, that Stiles will never find the cause of, Derek is the one to break the silence. “Look, Stiles. It’s just that humans… I have some issues when it comes to humans, okay? Trust issues.”
“Dude, you have a lot of issues, and trust is the least of them.” Stiles deflects. Somewhere in the semi-darkness the were-lizard shrieks again. “And I know it probably took a lot for you to even admit that to me, good for you, but you know what? I don’t give a fluffy werewolf’s ass about that! Because I risk my neck for you. Repeatedly. And I’m not a hunter, I’m not your enemy.” Stiles moves his hands again, because his arms are starting to cramp. “It’s not like I think you’re a monster or … an abomination. And trust me, I’ve seen plenty of abominations today!”
“Stiles!” Derek growls.
“What?!” Stiles snaps, because really? He hadn’t even gotten to the good part of his get-over-yourself-speech.
“Oh, come on…! If you were doing more talking then I would be quiet, just saying!” Stiles points out.
“No, shut up! I think I hear something.” Derek whispers and draws in a lot of water, making him cough. And Stiles realizes that he doesn’t have the strength to keep them above water for much longer.
“I can’t stay up any longer. I need something to hold on to.” He says and turns his head to find something, anything. And that’s when he spots the handles of the diving board. Gripping on to Derek’s shirt the best he can with fingers that’s literally cramping around the fabric, he begins to paddle towards the edge of the pool.
He knows it’s a lost cause even as he reaches for the handle. He knows as his legs give up and the arm around Derek shakes so bad that he can’t even hold on to the other man.
But he doesn’t let go of Derek. Instead they both slip under the surface of the water and Stiles isn’t really that surprised that he’s dying for Derek Hale. He’s actually surprisingly calm about it.