sometimes it gets hard for him to breathe. he can feel the air surround him in a constant buzz, but he just can’t inhale. his heart’s beating too fast, his hands are clammy and he wants to yank at his hair. he balls his hands up into fists and relishes the pain of his nails driving themselves into his skin, it distracts him a slight bit from the agony within his chest.
he tries to come up with the rules that he remembers being told to follow. when having a panic attack, try to count to ten.
one. okay, only nine more to go. how bad can this be?
two. he’s okay. he’s absolutely fine.
three. is he overreacting? oh, god, no, no. he’s fine.
four. oh, god, he can’t breathe.
five. he’s pathetic. he’s completely pathetic.
six. why can’t he be normal? why can’t he just be like everyone else.
seven. oh, fuck. he can’t do it. three more, he has to focus.
he can’t do it.
he can’t breathe.
his heart feels like it’s constricting. his head is full of so many thoughts, it’s overwhelming him. he’s trying to think of better times, of good memories. but he can’t. he didn’t ask for this. he didn’t ask for one of the few people he ever loved, one of the only people he ever cared for, die. he didn’t ask for this. so why, why did she die ? why is she the only person that he can ever think of? why is she the light in this dark tunnel? which cruel person decided that she wasn’t allowed to stay? why can’t he stop thinking about her?
who’s punishing him?
years, it’s been years.
he needs her. he needs her hands caressing his face whenever he’s upset, eyes bright with understanding, knowledge and love , making him feel like nothing will ever go wrong again. he needs her kisses when she wishes him goodnight, her warm breath tickling his forehead. he needs the smile that lights up his face whenever she sees him. he wants to feel her exhilaration like when they rolled down a hill midwinter, cheeks filled laughter. he needs her arms that hold him close when he’s tired, or hungry, or happy, or anything. he needs her. he wants to go back to her, to home .
he screams. he can hear his pain echo back to him, agonized. he knows he’s got crescent shaped cuts on the palms of his hands. he’s sweating, his throat hurts, and his head is swimming.
he. can’t. stop. the. pain.
he screams again, hoping that someone will hear him. he’s hoping that someone will try and find her and bring her back. he needs her right now, in this moment. he fucking needs her. how is he going to make it through without her? he needs his mom.
and then he can’t hold on anymore.
it’s like he’s drowning. he can’t see anything but darkness. he squints, desperate for any way out of the darkness. but he can’t see anything.
he can feel the water resist his every movement as he tries to fight back. it won’t let him go. he can feel slimy tentacles around his arms pulling him deeper into the darkness. he tries to fight. his throat tightens with every passing second, and his chest heaves with dry sobs. he needs the light , a way out. but resistance is futile. he’s weak against the pull of the tentacles, and he stops fighting back, realizing that the light is something he’ll never get again.
and then suddenly, there are hands reaching out to him.
hands that come from the light. no one comes into the water towards him, as if they don’t see the darkness. as if everything isn’t as deep to them. as if there isn’t really any water. and he feels the tentacles lose their grip on him, losing the battle, when the arms catch on, pulling him out of the water.
letting him breathe.
“Stiles?” he can hear Derek pant. “Stiles, are you okay?”
his mom will never come back. but he has someone else now. someone he has to fight for, and someone who will fight for him. the tentacles may have lost the battle but there’s still a war to fight. and this time, he’s not alone.
because this time, he’s already at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not his mom waiting there, she’s not the light, his light, or the hands that pull him out. she’s not the one staying with him, finding him when he’s lost. she was, but she isn’t anymore.
And when Derek holds Stiles’ hands to his face and kisses his bloody palms, Stiles knows that he’s made it to the end of the tunnel, at least for now. and he’s finally home again.