Oxygen pours out of his lungs. Something new climbs in.
It’s not like he imagined, death. He always thought it would be a sudden disconnect, like pulling a plug from a television. There is no static. There is no warning. Just blackness. Stillness. Silence.
In truth, death feels more like an awakening. It holds him tight and guides him through the world. He can see everything, touch everything, feel everything. It’s a little overwhelming, really.
In an instant, Stiles sees exactly what Deaton’s plan is. He can reach out and grab hold of every connection, every twist and tangle in the mess their lives have become. He lays in the freezing water, the life slowly melting out of him, and understands.
The sacrifice they are all enduring, it is a gift as well. It is a way to save their family, their guardians, it’s true. But for Stiles, for Deaton, this is something much greater. It is a way to finally grab hold of what he’s been playing with these last few years, hoping something would finally catch. Belief becomes fact.
Darkness wraps around his heart like a glove, covering all the arteries and cavities with the thick stench of despair, of sadness and grief. But with it comes something else, something lighter and freer. He can feel it dig underneath the black, wedging itself in-between that putrid horror; a guardian.
The life pours out of his body, and magic washes in.
The spark catches. It has been smoldering for some time, sitting dormant, waiting for use. But here, when the time is greatest, it flourishes. Deaton knew it all along, Stiles is sure of it. The lunar eclipse will come and the wolves will howl an empty threat, their own special kind of magic drained for a time. Just enough time, it seems, for that beast to fit into the cracks, to tear their world apart.
But Stiles, he will be able to fight it. He can feel it. The Darach has grabbed hold of all the darkness of the Nematon. Stiles will capture the light.
For his father. For the mother he’ll never stop needing.
For the town and those people he was too late in saving. For his friends.
He’ll be their moon.
Hands sink down into the cold, all warmth and strength and full of life, and pull him out of the black. He’s ready. He has to be.