Nobody really understands the concept of losing someone they love, and don't know they love, until it happens. Most people can sympathize with losing a parent, a grandparent, a friend maybe, even someone closer but for Stiles, nobody understood what it was like to lose his mother. People think its tragic and heart breaking because a young child losing their mommy seems like the end of the world but no one knows how Stiles felt just a little bit glad, for only moment of course but he had and the guilt sat with him. His mom had been losing her mind, she hadn't recognized him most days, thought he was trying to kill her on others. For a six year old, that was exhausting.
Her passing had been calm, quiet even, she'd known him and she'd caressed his cheek and said she loved him and to watch out for daddy. And Stiles had taken that to heart completely but once she'd gone, once the nurses and doctors came through and ushered him into the hall, he'd sighed because tomorrow wouldn't see her having screaming fits and trying to strangle him. He didn't actually cry until his dad arrived and pulled him into his arms, it was then he realized he wouldn't get to hug her ever again, feel her warmth as she wrapped him up.
Losing his mom had broken something in him but he'd mended himself enough to take care of his dad, make sure the man lived as long as humanly possible. He couldn't lose both his parents.
Scott is his brother, by every count except blood and he'd always worried with Scott's asthma so the whole werewolf thing? Hadn't really freaked him out because hey, Scott was even less likely to drop dead from lack of oxygen. Of course he hadn't anticipated the whole super natural world attempting to shred them on a regular but potato/potatoe.
Derek was a factor he hadn't considered.
Not until Mexico.
Not until he was bleeding, taking in harsh, shuddering breaths and telling Stiles to go, GO, find Scott.
He hadn't wanted to go anywhere, Scott was going to be fine, he was always fine because he was a True Alpha and could handle himself, because they had an army for packmates but Derek... Derek was human now, something so simple and hadn't been a thought because he was so used to him being a born werewolf, to always coming back because somehow, some fucking how, Derek Hale was a stubborn asshole and never died.
Stiles loved how stubborn he was because Stiles loved Derek-
It had hit him just like that.
He loved Derek Hale and he was supposed to just walk away from him, let him die and never get the chance to say it.
But Braedon was there, she was by his side and he cared for her and she cared for him and that.... That was how it was supposed be, if you had to go, it should be with the ones you cared for.
He couldn't stop himself from looking back though, looking at the man he loved and was losing all at once because he'd been to stubborn himself, to thick headed to notice the way his heart pitter pattered when Derek was around and how it wasn't racing out of fear. Too damn stubborn to know the twist in his stomach when they brushed up against each other, the way he was ready to take on any super natural being in Derek's defense. Even if he, himself, was weaker he'd have taken his bat and gone all out until whatever it was finally put him down.
Derek lied there, blood dripping from his mouth with Braedon at his side and he looked at Stiles, their eyes met and it took every ounce of his self control to turn away and do what Derek was asking of him. His last request, and Stiles would make damn sure he upheld to that last request and bring his best friend back.
Losing Derek Hale was like losing the moon, you don't notice how it would feel because you aren't constantly surrounded by its light but when it goes.... Oh when it goes, the oceans rip tide and storms tear apart the coasts and they drown everything within their reach... Stiles was drowning but he didn't have time to sink, not yet.
He'd sink later, when Derek's loss was fresh and he'd stand there, beside Cora and hope he could be strong for her. Derek would want that but Derek also thought he didn't deserve it, didn't deserve the love he was leaving behind. And yes, oh yes, he was leaving behind love as he went. Stiles felt it in the pit of his heart as he crawled through the tunnels because no one, absolutely no one else was dying.
Losing Derek Hale was enough. It was too much.