Stiles was just trying to get back to Lydia when Erica dragged him into the pool to find Derek stood there with his Basketball. He wasn't even really paying attention to what was happening until Derek and Erica's eyes moved from their fixated position on Stiles' face to the balcony above him, then everything happened so suddenly.
Erica was tossed across the room paralysed and probably knocked out, Derek had pushed Stiles out of the way and now he had a slash on the back of his neck. Before Stiles even knew what he was doing, he'd grabbed Derek and was trying to get them both the hell out of there. Sure it would've been easier for Stiles to just leave the alpha behind and save himself, but Stiles just couldn't bring himself to do it, he knew Derek was way more important to everyone's lives than he was, so he made the decision to save Derek, whatever the consequences.
Back at her car, Lydia sits and waits for Stiles to come back, trying to compose herself, but she can't help feeling frustrated at Stiles, he abandoned her when she was trying to talk to him. She waited the five minutes that Stiles promised her, before deciding that she wasn't going to wait around for Stiles. She was Lydia Martin, she didn't need to constantly have someone to talk to and comfort her, she was strong enough on her own.
Lydia started her car up again after fixing her make up and drove away from the lacrosse game, there was a feeling in the pit of her stomach as she drove farther away, but she chose to ignore it. Unbeknownst to Lydia, that feeling would be returning to her sooner than she would've liked.
Stiles didn't know what to do as Derek plunged from his arms into the pool next to him, he had two options; grab his phone and call for help or dive into the pool and help Derek. He went with the latter option.
As the water of the pool exploded around Stiles he cursed in his head that he hadn't even taken his shoes off before diving in. He saw Derek on the bottom of the pool eyes closed and immediately thought the worst. Stiles swam down as quickly as he could and hauled Derek back to the surface with him.
"I could kill you Stilinski what took you so long?!"
Stiles just signed and proceeded to tread water in an attempt to hold up himself and Derek. Stiles knew he had never been a strong swimmer, but he was trying not to think about that as the weight of the older man threatened to pull them both underwater. The only good thing about this situation was that the Kanima didn't look like it wanted to come anywhere near the water. Oh that and Derek Hale was pressed up against him with his clothes tugging at his skin.
Stiles had never even thought about such things, there was no way he could have feelings towards Derek, he wasn't gay because he definitely still had a massive crush on Lydia, but there was just something about Derek.
Scott was still waiting for Stiles' call as he headed to the Argents for what could potentially be the most horrendous dinner he'd ever experienced. It didn't strike him as odd that his muppet of a friend had properly just got tied up with the game or talking to Lydia as he was always doing. It should have bothered him more that he had a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach, but he just put it down to the nerves of being in Gerard's car. He knew it was a pack feeling, but still he ignored it, Stiles was fine, he just had to get through this dinner then they'd all laugh about the awkwardness of it tomorrow at school.
Allison was looking at petrified about the dinner as Scott was as he looked over to her in the car. He quickly reached over and squeezed her hand without Gerard seeing to offer her some of the comfort he also needed from simply touching her. It was a miracle they'd been able to hide their relationship from Allison's parents and now their whole plan was in jeopardy thanks to Allison's weird grandfather. They arrived at the Argent household and began the most evil eye stare packed dinner of all time.
Derek looked over to Stiles as he saw the visible strain of holding him up in the water there was a tugging at his heart, Derek didn't know how it happened, but the more time he'd spent time with Stiles, the more it hurt every time he was without him.
"Stiles, you can't hold me up forever, you've got to try and get help fr-"
"Derek, listen man, my phone's on the edge, where the Kanima is, that means, I'm not there. Plus, if you hadn't noticed, you actually need me to hold you up in this pool, I'm not leaving you here."
Derek sighed as he saw the set look in Stiles eyes, he couldn't help admire the younger man in that moment, he knew Stiles would change his mind in about 10 minutes, but that was always something Derek had appreciated about Stiles, his loyalty to do anything for his friends. He didn't know when it happened, but somehow Stiles must see Derek as a friend now rather than just someone Scott needed for training. But then again, that was what Stiles did wasn't it, he accepted and learned to love anyone Scott needed in his life.
He could see the tiredness start to take its toll on Stiles as he began letting his head drop under water for a few moments every now and then to take a break from holding Derek up.
"Look Derek man, I'm really sorry, but I need to try and call someone, I just can't do the things you can do, I can't hold you up forever."
"I know Stiles, I know."
With that, Stiles released Derek from his arms, allowing him to drift to the bottom of the pool. Derek could see the pain in Stiles' eyes as he did so, and didn't think he would ever be able to forgive himself for letting Stiles feel like that.
Stiles swam as fast as he possibly could to the edge to grab his phone, but the imagine of Derek slowly sinking to the bottom of the pool was stuck to him. He didn't know when it happened, but somehow the older man had grown on him over the years, and now it was almost terrifying for Stiles to imagine his life without him.
"Scott, come on Scott answer the phone...Jesus what took you so long Scott I-"
"Stiles I'm a bit busy here, can I call you back?"
"Scott!? POOL! SCOTT!...Oh god oh god Derek!"
Stiles knew he couldn't leave Derek under the water much longer, he may be a werewolf, but that didn't make him invincible. He swam down to him as quickly as possible in his weary state, and there was a nagging feeling pulling as Stiles as he pulled Derek back to the surface that he knew he wouldn't be able to hold them both up for much longer.
Lydia had somehow found herself at Jackson's house rather than her own, she had a key and so calmly let herself in. She knew Jackson was at the game and so wasn't worried about being found here, she didn't even really know why she was there. As soon as she walked in the door she felt it though, death. It was looming all over the house, it wasn't in the house itself, but almost like its presence had been there and attached itself to something.
Before she knew what she was doing Lydia was running back to her car grabbing her phone and calling Scott, it was like her body was working on automatic, something was going to happen to Stiles.
It had been 2 hours now, Stiles was going under water more and more frequently as he tried to hold Derek up, but to no avail as Derek was also dropping into the water multiple times a minute. Stiles had been thinking a lot in these past 2 hours, and now he knew, Derek was just so much more than Stiles could ever be. The whole pack needed Derek, no one really needed Stiles, people just enjoyed his company from time to time, Stiles knew that, he knew he'd never be the one everyone turned to in times of need, he wasn't the one they all aspired to be like, he wasn't the special one in the pack, he was the human.
They hadn't done a lot of talking, but the silence surrounding the both of them was all they really needed right now, Derek was watching Stiles with unmeasurable concern, as Stiles watched Derek with a look of pure determination in his eyes as he knew he couldn't let the pack down. He couldn't let them lose Derek, he was irreplaceable.
It was only then, as Stiles really looked at Derek that he realised why he'd been holding up this man for the past 2 hours without a care in the world, he loved him.
Stiles was in love with Derek.
And if he didn't do something soon, the only person he'd ever really loved, was going to die, and that, that was not okay with Stiles Stilinski.
Scott's phone had been furiously vibrating in his pocket for the past 5 minutes, so he attempted to politely excuse himself from the table to go check it;
"Lydia what do you want, this is really not good timing!"
"Scott for Gods sake why haven't you been answering your phone, where's Stiles? I haven't heard from him in a few hours after he abandoned me at the school, and I went to Jacksons and I had a horrible feeling the minute I walked in the door, but it wasn't a feeling about Jackson, it was about Stiles so I tried to get hold of him but his phone went straight to voice mail, and then I tried calling you and Allison and neither of you were answering, and I have no idea where Jackson is, but of God Scott, something's not right with Stiles, I can feel it Scott, and I know you must be able to as well, you have a bond with him, and I just really need to know where he is."
"Lydia, calm down, calm down, I heard from Stiles about an hour ago, but I could't talk I'm at Allison's so I-"
"Scott what did he say, what did Stiles say when he called you?"
"I -I don't really know I wasn't listening! His heart rate was pretty high, and he sounded kind of tired, actually I thought I heard him yell the word pool as I was hanging up, but I can't be too sure."
"I'll be at Allison's in 5."
Scott stared down at his phone screen as Lydia hung up on him, he wasn't aware it had happened, but his hand had started shaking. He quietly made his way back to the dinner table, where he explained that something had happened with Lydia, and he needed to go and see if she was okay, he knew that would spark more of a reaction from Allison than if he'd said it was Stiles. As Scott looked at Allison, he gave her a little nod, not too subtle, but just enough for her to know it was serious and she needed to come as well. They excused themselves from the table just as they heard Lydia's car screech up outside.
"Derek...I know sometimes I tease you and make jokes when I shouldn't...but I just, I wanted you to know that I only said those things because it's how I work...it's how I show...it's how I talk to the people that are special to me."
They were both exhausted now, Stiles could feel his legs starting to cramp up as he struggled to keep his head above the water, and all of Derek's muscles were aching as he tried to regain movement in some of them.
Derek knew he should say something to Stiles, he knew he should tell him how he really feels, that he'd grown to love him over the years, that all he really wanted was for Stiles to be happy. But he couldn't, he just couldn't open his mouth, there was a lump forming in his throat and he knew it was because he was afraid but he couldn't let that show, Stiles had been doing everything in his power to save him and keep him up for the past 2 hours, Derek couldn't drop this on him now.
Stiles was watching Derek as closely as he could, but he couldn't see any visible signs that he was moving anything other than his head and neck, he knew he couldn't stay above the water much longer without something to hold onto. And there was just something about Derek, that right now, Stiles just couldn't look past. It was the way he was still staying strong, even though their situation looked hopeless, it was the way he was trying so hard to ease the pressure on Stiles by allowing himself to float horizontally, it was the way he was looking at Stiles with such concern Stiles thought his heart missed a beat. When had he grown to care so much about the little things that made Derek, Derek.
It was in that moment that Stiles realised he couldn't let Derek die. He couldn't, he wouldn't be the one who allowed Derek Hale to leave this world, he would be the one to save him.
Stiles made the decision then and there, that Derek Hale was not going to die. Even if it meant Stiles couldn't be there to live with him.
Lydia didn't know what was happening to her, sure she'd grown to care about Stiles since all this werewolf stuff had been happening, but it was him who had been in love with her, not the other way around. Right?
But here she was, driving like a mad woman back to the school with Scott and Allison being thrown about in the back, still slightly confused as to what exactly was supposed to have happened to Stiles, all because she had a feeling that he needed her. That he needed someone, that he needed saving.
And there was a nagging feeling growing at the back of Lydia's mind, that they were going to be too late.
"Derek, I can't stay up any longer without something to hold onto, I'm sorry man, I just can't"
"Stiles, I would've said that about an hour ago if I was in your position, I think if you can get to the starting blocks at the edge, the handles are still close enough to the water that the Kanima won't get to you."
Derek felt himself slowly being moved through the water in the direction of the edge of the pool, and was all too aware that Stiles was staying underwater more and more to make sure Derek was staying afloat. It was killing him to know what Stiles was doing and how there was nothing he could do to stop him.
Then they were there, at the edge of the pool and within a fingertips reach to the bar that would hold them up until the Kanima left, or help arrived, whichever came first.
Before he knew it though Derek was plunged underwater again, he didn't know why until he turned his head and saw Stiles underwater next to him, utter despair across his face. Stiles couldn't do it, he couldn't hold them up any longer, and now, they both knew it.
They stared at each other for a few seconds before something seemed to dawn on Stiles, he looked over at Derek and mouthed the words I'm Sorry before moving over and touching his lips to Derek's for a few precious moments before sinking down to the bottom of the pool.
Derek closed his eyes as he treasured the moment that had just happened, he'd never known how to confess his feelings for Stiles, but it seemed, he never really needed to, Stiles had evidently felt something towards Derek too. The next thing he knew though, Derek was breaking the surface of the water again in an upright position. For a moment he was confused and thought someone had arrived to help, but as he looked around and saw no one else in the pool a sick feeling started to develop in the pit of Derek's stomach. His fears were only confirmed as bubbles slowly floated to the surface from beneath him.
Stiles knew what he had to do long before he did it. Derek couldn't die, so that meant he had to.
Because he, Stiles Stilinski, was in love with Derek Hale, and that was okay.
Scott felt something break inside him as he heard Derek's mangled cry from the car, before he knew what he was doing he had jumped out of Lydia's still moving car and wolfed up before racing towards the school in pursuit of Derek's cry.
He ripped open the doors to the pool and saw the Kanima pacing around the edge, he raced towards it and roared as loudly as he could before chasing it out of the pool. Scott turned on his heels before racing back to where Derek was.
"Derek! Where the hell is Stiles!?"
"Scott oh my god he's underneath me, he was holding me up for hours after he tried to call you...and then he tried to swim to the edge but couldn't hold on...and now, now he's underneath me, Scott hurry up please!"
Scott ripped Derek out the water and dived in to grab the lifeless form of his best friend and drag him out the water.
"Stiles, come on Stiles please breathe Stiles please!"
That was when Scott heard it, he didn't know when they'd arrived, but he knew there was nothing he could do when he heard it.
Lydia's scream. Stiles was gone.
They all stood in silence as it dawned on them what had happened. Stiles was gone, he'd sacrificed himself to save Derek. They all knew Stiles would always risk his life to save any of them, but never did they actually think it would come to it. Not this soon.
Scott knew what Stiles meant to him, he always had, always would. Stiles would always be his best friend, he knew he'd never find anyone so loyal, so caring, so special as Stiles. He knew he hadn't always been the best friend, and he wished he could apologise to Stiles for taking him for granted sometimes, but he couldn't and he would never be able to either. And that, was just enough to break Scott McCalls heart. Stiles was someone Scott knew he would never be able to replace, forget or live normally without.
Allison has never been that close to Stiles, but having him around all the time, well he was part of the pack, and he was everything to Scott. There was just something about Stiles that was irreplaceable, be it, his witty comebacks to every situation or the sheer talent he had for being able to handle anything that was thrown at him, something that Allison had always respected about Stiles was his ability to remain cool under any circumstance.
Lydia knew she would never feel completely whole after this, she didn't know how it happened, but surely enough, she had fallen for Stiles Stilinski, and now he was gone. He had always looked out for Lydia, be it because he was madly in love with her, or simply because it was the kind of person he was, but still, he was always there. There was definitely going to be a huge piece of all of them missing now that they'd never see that cheeky smile of his again, or hear the laugh that could brighten up a room.
Derek couldn't help but blame himself for it, how could he not, he was stupid enough to get paralysed in the first place and now he'd never be able to thank the one person who had saved him on so many different occasions. It wasn't just Stiles Derek was going to miss, it was the whole Stiles package that came with him, his ability to be both pessimistic and optimistic about nearly any situation you could think of, the way he would always be there for you whenever you needed him, just because he cared. But most of all Derek was going to miss the way Stiles just was, the way he smelled, the way he laughed, the way he smiled, the way he wore his hair, his fierce loyalty towards his friends, and him just being Stiles. Derek had never got to tell Stiles how he really felt about him, but in a way, Stiles knew, because everyone that had ever known Stiles Stilinski had fallen in love with him one way or another.
And that, that was just about as okay as it was going to get.