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Empty (and loving you won't fill that part of me)

Chapter Text

Jackson doesn’t break up with Lydia for himself, he does it for Stiles.

He does it so horribly that, even if he ever wanted to get back with Lydia, she’d be too angry to forgive him and take him back. He does it so Stiles can have a shot with the girl he loves – the one he’s always loved. He does it so he doesn’t feel like such a dick for being with Lydia just because she’d make an excellent trophy wife. Lydia deserves more than that. Stiles can give her more than that, more than what Jackson is willing to give.

So Jackson figures, in a way, it’s for Lydia, too.

Jackson does it for Danny as well.  It’s done so his best friend can have more support when he feels rejected or breaks up with another boyfriend. (Jackson keeps telling Danny all they want him for is sex, but he keeps refusing to believe it. Danny’s hot and he needs to realize that.) He does it so he can spend more time just hanging out with Danny, helping him with schoolwork or lacrosse, or whatever best friends need.

He does it so that Scott won’t be torn anymore; his best friend finally being involved in his own love affair (and Lydia requires a lot of attention). Scott won’t have to feel guilty about constantly being with or talking about Allison since Stiles will have his own significant other.

He does it so that when he asks for the bite and it doesn’t take – not if, but when it fails – Derek won’t have to feel bad about having basically assisted in a teenager’s suicide. He does it so when it fails – and he’s certain it will – his heart giving out will be more than enough proof that he’s a failure as a human being. It would prove that his body couldn’t even give him this one, simple thing because he’s not made to be anything more than ordinary.

 

Average.

 

Unremarkable and easily forgotten.

 

He does it so that when the bite kills him, instead of cleansing him, no-one will have to be around to (pretend to) grieve the loss of a dear friend, boyfriend, classmate. He will have severed all those ties already.

He does it so if the bite does take, by some miracle, he can have time to practice – when he’s not with Danny – controlling it and using it to make his life just a smidgen better. And so he can feel like more than just some replacement son to a man with a broken heart.

 

----

 

His adoptive mother is beautiful and caring. She’s exactly the type of person you’d expect to see in movies – a real Hollywood sweetheart. She’s always bright and happy, friendly, taking care of others and not worrying about herself. She’s…a lot like Stiles, actually, Jackson realizes.

Jackson’s father is a nice man, but he’s damaged inside. He tries to be a good father – and is most of the time – but sometimes his grief comes over him, drowns out the kindness he has, and makes him hide away with a bottle of scotch until the feeling passes (or he passes out).

Stiles must understand that – being a son to a father with similar sadness, and the same crippling addiction.

Their son had died – an accident, just like Stiles’s mother – and Jackson’s father had taken it as a sign. He thought he’d been greedy to only want someone who shared his bloodline; that he was meant to save a child instead of bring another into the world.

Jackson’s mother was healthy, still young enough to bear as many children as it would take for her husband to recover, but he refused. He absolutely wanted to help a child.

And Jackson will always be grateful that she agreed because he ended up being that child; the light that would brighten his father’s perpetually dark tunnel.

If only Jackson could find one of his own to guide him down increasingly somber paths.

 

----

 

Jackson wakes in his shredded clothes. They’re stained with blood – his own – with the dirt from Derek’s basement clinging to the fabric and any place his skin is uncovered. His head is throbbing, pulsating with a bone-deep ache that he knows will eventually fade – if he’s awake then the bite inevitably took – but he’s feeling great otherwise.

The first thought into his head is what is that smell? When Jackson sniffs around, crawling on all fours in the damp basement, seeking it out, he finds nothing. His second thought isn’t a thought at all. It’s a physiological response to the amount of time he’s spent bleeding out and being remade in the Hale house (more like Hell house).

He’s hungry.

Jackson’s just about to try to stand up on his wobbly legs when the sound of quickly approaching footsteps startles him. It doesn’t take but a moment for him to realize that it’s the source of the smell from earlier.

“Hey, you’re up! Good.” Stiles beams at Jackson, leaning against the upstairs doorframe.

Jackson turns around to check if Scott or Lydia, or even Danny, is standing behind him, but there’s no-one else. Stiles is smiling at him. “Uh,” he mutters out dumbly.

Stiles starts going down the stairs. “I guess it messes with your throat, too. Sounds like you’ve been smoking like a chimney, dude.”

Jackson narrows his eyes. “Why are you here?”

“Derek had to go out. He told me what happened. I decided to check up on you and make sure everything was okay. He didn’t seem to mind either way..” Stiles trails off when he realizes what he just said. “Not that I’m saying he doesn’t care whether you live or die—”

“He doesn’t care. I already know that. That was the point,” Jackson grumbles, flexing his fingers then balling them up. He’s said too much already.

“I care,” Stiles whispers, audible only to werewolf ears. He probably forgot that Jackson can hear it already.

Stiles steps down the rest of the stairs. He stops right in front of Jackson, and the smell surrounds Jackson like a blanket, like a warm fire, like ten thousand candles being lit at once. It makes it hard for Jackson to breathe with how potent it is.

“So, you up for some breakfast? Or lunch. Or we could combine the two and have an amazing brunch. I am starved.” He smiles again, and Jackson has to look away from the sincerity of it mixed with the intensity of the smell.

“I guess,” Jackson grits out.

“Good, ‘cause I already bought us some.” Stiles scurries away, taking the stairs two-by-two. “I wasn’t joking when I said I was starving. If you’re not up in five minutes, I can’t guarantee there’ll be any left for you.” He grins and disappears into the hall.

Jackson takes in a deep breath. Things didn’t go exactly as he planned, but maybe he could make the best of this situation. Maybe being a werewolf could fill the emptiness in his heart – even if only for a little while. He owes it to his parents and Danny to try.

The fading odour flows into Jackson’s nostrils, and it’s almost more alluring than the smell of sausages and hash browns. And then he remembers who it belongs to: Stiles. Jackson shivers, covering his nose with his hand.

Stiles’s head pops back in. “You coming? I can only wait so long, plus it’s getting cold. Microwaved breakfast tastes awful. Trust me, my dad tried many times.”

“Shut up, Stilinski,” Jackson snaps, already feeling more like himself. He drags a hand through his sweaty, dirty hair and frowns.

Stiles smiles, lopsided and dorky. He gets it. “Don’t worry about putting on makeup, Jacks, if that’s what’s taking you. You’re already a pretty princess.” Stiles disappears again, laughing as he goes.

Jackson scoffs, smiling in spite of the comment. “You better leave me some or I’m going to rip out your intestines and take it all back,” he calls, rushing toward the staircase.

Yeah, this could work for a while. Maybe the wolf in him could help find the light he craves.

Chapter Text

Stiles wasn’t joking about being famished. Jackson spends a minute watching Stiles stuff his face until he realizes how quickly the pile of food is disappearing from the plates. Jackson sniffs the food; it doesn’t smell like greasy, fast-food restaurants. It smells like time and patience, and like someone made sure to cook everything perfectly.

He would know with or without werewolf powers.

“Stilinski-”

“Stiles,” Stiles interject, smiling with a mouthful of toast.

Stiles. Did you make this?” Jackson asks, filling his empty plate with sausages and eggs.

Stiles chokes violently before pounding himself on the chest. “No, of course not.” He coughs again, face red from the strain.

He’s lying. Jackson can hear the erratic pulse, can smell the insecurity seeping through Stiles’s pores. But maybe pointing that out will make everything uncomfortable (or more so). What the heck—

“You’re lying,” Jackson announces, biting into a sausage.

Stiles squints, licking his lips nervously. “I can’t cook. I didn’t make this. Dunno what you’re talking about. Why would I spend three hours in my kitchen, and then rush here through traffic and nearly get five speeding tickets just to make sure your first meal is a proper one – even when I wasn’t sure you’d be alive once I got here-”

“I think you just said a tad too much there, Stiles.” Jackson grins, biting into the sausage, eyes trained on Stiles’s every twitch and grimace.

Jackson never hated Stiles. He just never understood how he could be so carefree, so happy after dealing with his own family trouble. It didn’t make sense.

Jackson had, basically, lost both his parents and regained new ones that were mostly okay, and he couldn’t even smile some days because he knew something was off. Stiles lost his real mother, a mother who loved and cherished him, didn’t abandon him, and yet, he hardly shows that it bothers him.

“Yeah, well. You look like shit,” Stiles retorts, biting into more toast.

Jackson stabs the eggs with a fork. That kind of hurts his ego. “I think anyone would after being bitten and thrown in a basement.”

Stiles narrows his eyes. “But you look like-like super shit. Like someone took a dump on your entire body. You look like actual feces.”

Jackson makes a disgusted face, scowling at Stiles. “Can you not discuss bodily fluids while we eat? Thanks.”

If Jackson wanted to feel worse than he already does, he would have called Derek (like he’s supposed to) and dealt with him.

“What? Can’t handle a little potty-talk now that you’re a big, bad wolf? I’m shocked.” Stiles smirks, munching on hash browns.

“How does it not bother you?” Jackson snaps, dropping his fork with a clang. The sausages just look like pieces of – Jackson covers his mouth. Maybe this is a side-effect of being turned?

Stiles stares, mouth wide and of course full of half-eaten food. “Why’d you stop eating? Isn’t it good?”

Jackson glares. “No.” Stiles can’t tell that he’s lying; that’s the point.

Stiles needs to understand that Jackson doesn’t want to be treated like he’s weak anymore because he’s not. He doesn’t need Stiles here. Stiles came of his own volition; Jackson owes him nothing more than what he already gave him. Lydia. Stiles should just leave, and go take the girl of his dreams before someone else does.

Instead of continuing to argue or calling Jackson out on his lie like Jackson expects, Stiles drops his fork too, and crosses his arms.

“I’m sorry if my cooking is bad. I didn’t know what you liked, but I knew you wouldn’t enjoy fast-food because of who you are, where you live, the car you drive. I don’t know those things, probably never will. So I can’t make things as amazing as your private chef probably does. I tried though, at least, so you should at least eat some more, and I’ll throw the rest away.”

Stiles watches Jackson, waiting for his, no doubt hurtful, response.

Jackson’s heart is banging against his chest. He can’t believe Stiles would be this ignorant, this stupid. How could he not hear the lie in Jackson’s voice? There is so much wrong with what Jackson’s been accused of he doesn’t know if he should even bother correcting Stiles. Maybe it’s better if everyone thinks he’s cold and stuck-up forever. Even though he’s been trying to change.

Fast-food isn’t a problem for Jackson; he loves it actually. It just has to be certain places. Jackson doesn’t have a private chef because his mother loves cooking, and that’s why Jackson knew Stiles had made it. Didn’t Stiles notice the home-made lunches he brings to school every day? Probably not since they never sit together.

Stiles is glaring hard.

There are so many things that Jackson wants to say, but his heart rate is speeding now, and his breathing is getting laboured and his vision is blurring and-

“Fuck you, Stilinski!” Jackson spits at Stiles instead.

Stiles needs to get the message and get the hell away from Jackson before Jackson turns and accidentally rips him to pieces. That would be counterproductive.

Stiles’s entire face screws up with the amount of pent up fury he’s holding in. “What?! You’re the one being an asshole, and you’re mad at me?”

Stiles pushes away his chair, and Jackson hopes this means Stiles is leaving, but Jackson is never that lucky. Also, Stiles is an idiot who doesn’t know when to quit.

Stiles puts his fists up and gestures for Jackson to do the same. “Come on. Unless you’re afraid I can beat you even with your ‘new strength’.”

Jackson scoffs. Stiles is the biggest idiot to ever-

Jackson’s claws start protruding through his skin, slowly creeping out past his bones and muscles. It feels as though he’s being cut from the inside out.  He grips the table roughly, not daring a look at Stiles, each claw making Jackson’s vision blur with the strain of the transformation.

“I could beat you even without this, and you know it. Now, take your shitty breakfast and leave before I get angry,” Jackson grits through his teeth. He can’t hold the change off for much longer.

Stiles - blind or carrying a death-wish - shuffles over and punches Jackson hard enough to split his lip. Blue eyes, even bluer than usual, snap Stiles’s way, and Stiles takes in a weak breath. Hopefully Jackson won’t have to bite Stiles’s head off to get the message across.

“I told you to leave! LEAVE NOW!” Jackson roars, digging his nails into the table to avoid swinging them towards Stiles. The odour is back,  hundreds of times more intoxicating than before.

Stiles gulps, and glances somewhere behind Jackson. He’s most likely deciding whether he can get to the front door before Jackson shifts. “Oh, no. You’re changing, aren’t you?”

Jackson shakes with the effort to ignore the stinging of his lip. He can feel the skin already melding back together, healing cell by cell, leaving only blood in its wake. He howls, nails chipping away at the wood on the table.

“Get. Out. Now,” Jackson warns, his fangs slowly forcing his human teeth to move aside in his mouth.

Stiles just stares, frozen, and his big, brown doe eyes never leave Jackson’s face. He’s standing much too close to Jackson. Jackson can smell the fear meshing with the already enticing smell that is Eau De Stiles. If Stiles doesn’t get away now, this would have been all for naught.

He doesn’t want to admit that he’s glad Stiles came to check on him; it made him irrationally happy. But if that sliver of joy means Stiles is in danger now because of Jackson’s failure to be instantly perfect at controlling his werewolf side, then it wasn’t worth it.

Stiles watches Jackson, and Jackson focuses on the wood of Derek’s table being shredded like paper.

Jackson likes that Stiles hasn’t run yet; it makes Jackson feel significant, cared about. And isn’t that just sickening? Jackson thought he dealt with all those feelings. Derek sure didn’t make him feel welcome or wanted, and that had helped him go through with the ritual of turning.

Stiles steps closer, and Jackson snarls to keep him away.

It doesn’t work. It makes Stiles move closer. Jackson can only dig his claws deeper into Derek’s destroyed table. And then Stiles moves in a flash.

Stiles has bad ideas.

Stiles is an idiot.

Or so Jackson’s logic says.

His wolf is thinking the complete opposite when Stiles grabs Jackson with both hands and plants a wet, sloppy, inexperienced kiss on Jackson’s lips.

For a moment, the wolf inside is satiated, but it’s just a moment. It’s almost enough for Jackson to regain his composure until he sees how disheveled Stiles looks. His lips are so swollen he looks like he’s been stung by bees.

Jackson wants.

There’s nothing else besides unadulterated want in his mind, not even anything specific like wanting Stiles’s neck or his blood or his cock. Jackson just wants it all.

 

---

 

Jackson smells Derek’s scent long before the Alpha returns; Jackson just can’t help himself when Stiles is so open and trusting of him.

Stiles is pinned to Derek’s fridge with Jackson’s leg moving against the bulge in Stiles’s jeans - back and forth and back and forth - his wrists trapped between half-formed claws, and his lips wrecked from Jackson’s biting kisses. Jackson edges away reluctantly, barely able to form the thoughts necessary to warn Stiles of Derek’s arrival.

Stiles is an idiot though, like Jackson has known for a long time, and he drags Jackson back in, cupping the back of his head and licking at fangs, tongue and skin. You’d think Stiles is the one newly turned into a werewolf.

“Well, well, well. I don’t know if I should be mad or relieved,” Derek says dryly from behind them.

Stiles pulls out of the kiss to look over Jackson’s head, but Jackson growls and pushes him away from Derek’s line of sight.

“Hey now, I’m not trying to steal your mate,” Derek explains, crossing his arms.

“Mate?” Stiles and Jackson say at the same time.

“I guess I shouldn’t have let Stiles come here. I didn’t expect this to happen.” Derek rolls his shoulders, looking annoyed (also known as his default expression).

“The first wolf – or human in this case – to exchange blood with you after you change becomes your mate. And it doesn’t matter if they love you or not, or even if you’re related distantly, that person cannot be unbound from you unless they die.”

Jackson glares, disbelief painted across his face. Derek smirks. He stands on his toes to pretend to get a look at Stiles, and Jackson buries Stiles further against his neck.

“Can’t. Breathe,” Stiles gasps.

“Sorry,” Jackson mutters softly. He pets Stiles’s hair, and then stops when Derek quirks an eye in to express a non-verbal I told you so. “So me and Stiles…”

“Are mated, yes. Unless you kill Stiles or yourself.” Derek turns to leave. Looking over his shoulder, he adds, “We both know which you’re more likely to choose.”

Jackson growls and Stiles wraps his arms around Jackson. “It’s okay, man. I’m not that bad. You can totally ignore me and pretend we aren’t dating or whatever mated means in wolf-speak.”

Sighing, Jackson looks away from Stiles. He can’t make Stiles believe it otherwise.

“You’ll never be good enough for me.”

That’s what you should be saying to me, Stiles, Jackson thinks.

Stiles doesn’t know where to look, eyes wide and upset.  “Yeah, fine. I figured that’s how you’d  be. I’ll just—”

Stiles storms out while Jackson breathes in the last of Stiles’s scent, drawn to it like a moth to flame. There’s only one way to make this right for everyone, and Jackson isn’t afraid to go through with it this time.

Chapter Text

Jackson walks out into the woods. He runs when walking doesn’t make him tired (anymore). The trees snag on his ripped clothes – which he never managed to change – and the dry blood and dirt and general muck don’t even bother him in the least.

He had a plan, a very specific one, and Stiles ruined that plan by not going to Lydia’s side like was foreseen. No - because Stiles is an idiot - he came to Jackson and put a wretched idea into his head - one he has long since been trying to push back down.

So Jackson runs. He’s not running away from anything or anyone, he’s running towards his fate. His fate is sealed, and he’s tried to act like there’s so much for him to keep striving for, but there isn’t. Stiles only set Jackson’s goal back on track when they became mates.

Jackson needs to disappear now before someone else suffers because of him.

The woods are dense, hard to see through, when Jackson finally needs to stop running. His body is covered in so much sweat most of the grime and evidence from his turning is peeling off of his skin in chunks and layers of brown film. He wrenches his shirt over his head, casting it away. His jogging pants follow afterward, leaving him in nothing but his boxers. That’s enough.

He leans against one of the trees, the bark sharp and alive, digging into the muscles at his back. He needs to catch his breath, calm his nerves, empty out his mind, so he can concentrate on finding a solution to his new predicament.

He closes his eyes, just breathing in the wilderness around him. He’s never been out this far, purposely lost; never wanted to be. It feels right now, though. The wind is warm – the sun is still out – and it keeps Jackson from feeling underdressed. Or maybe that’s an effect of his turning once again. It smells like roots, rainwater, mold and musk, but it’s not distracting; it’s satisfying. This feels like the right place to do this now that he’s become what he has.

A creature of the wild dying in the wild makes sense.

Jackson slowly slides his back down the tree, sitting at the foot of it between jagged, dead roots and damp leaves. He opens his eyes and looks around. There’s not much out here he can use; he probably should have taken a knife from Derek’s house with him.

He climbs onto his knees, carefully crawling along the grass and earth, searching for a weapon that Mother Nature has maybe left behind for him. The broken tree branches aren’t sharp or thick enough, there are no poisonous mushrooms that he can see – not that he’s ever been good at botany – but then a sharp pain hits the edge of one of his fingers.

Jackson sees it shine even with the towering trees above him blocking out most of the sunlight. A shard of glass rests next to a dead log. Some teenagers probably came out here to have sex or get drunk, and then smashed their beer bottles for fun.

Bad for nature, lucky for Jackson.

If he hadn’t been dragging his knees and hands through the dirt, he would have never found this. It’s brown like everything else, and sharp, but small enough for even a supernatural being to miss. The cut on Jackson’s finger is healed when he grasps the shard, rolling it in his palms, making tiny slices here and there across his skin.

This will do just fine.

Jackson sits atop the decomposing log – which happens to have mushrooms growing on it that could be used in a worst case scenario – and grips the shard in his hand. He stares at it for a moment, thinking about how Stiles’s scent is so far away now, how he can’t even taste him on his tongue anymore, and then places it to his wrist. It cuts before he even presses it down, and the blood drips down his arm, falling into the grass. Jackson watches it, his stomach twisting with the need for self-preservation, and, worst of all, fear, so he closes his eyes.

And then his wrist is healed.

He sighs, placing it against the veins he sees there, pushing down more firmly this time. The cut is crooked and deep, and blood pushes through the incision, making Jackson’s skin crawl. This is not how he wanted it to be. He doesn’t even know if this will work on a werewolf, but he persists.

His left hand hangs limp against his thigh, his right hand making another deep cut, then another, then another until there’s five lines of blood dripping across the skin of his wrist. It almost makes Jackson want to gag; seeing all this flow out of him like he’s some kind of bloody faucet in a horror movie. The first is already healing though, so he prepares to make another cut, deeper into the vein this time, and then there’s the loud crack of a branch snapping in two behind him.

Jackson cuts in at the wrong spot, startled by the sound, and swerves to look.

“I knew you were pathetic, but this is worse than I thought,” Derek reprimands, wiping the sweat from his brow. “I can always tell where you are, you know,” he adds, smirking. “Just in case you’re wondering how I found you out here, outside of my territory.”

Derek’s eyes flash red and Jackson instinctively drops the shard, scrambling to pick it back up after. The Alpha doesn’t seem bothered by the blood or the smell of anguish all over Jackson, if anything he looks amused when he continues speaking. 

“I’m not stupid, Jackson. I could tell why you came to me, as chicken shit as you are. I could sense the death swirling around you, and how much you wanted it to swallow you up.”

He takes a few steps closer; Jackson has difficulty working his throat, the shard bloodied and staining his hand with red. Derek looks down at it.

“The only way that could ever work is if you sliced both wrists, your jugular, cut open your chest and then sliced your aorta.” He laughs darkly, and it leaves a bitter taste on Jackson’s tongue. “You’d need some help for all that. Not to mention it would take really, really long for your body to let you die. Oh, and did I mention? It hurts like hell.”

Jackson swallows, his eyes already filled with tears because of the pain he inflicted on his wrist. He can’t imagine it being more, worse than that. Derek walks around the log so he’s facing Jackson without Jackson having to be turned at a weird angle.

He bends down, menacingly and imposing like a true Alpha, and says, “If you want to be a coward and take away what I’ve given you just because you feel alone or cursed or whatever the fuck, then I can help you with this.” He snatches the shard away, pushing it up to Jackson’s throat. “You want me to?”

Jackson swallows. It forces the glass to shift, a trickle of blood sliding down the side of his neck from where the shard is pressed. Derek isn’t kidding; he’s willing to end his own creation if that’s what Jackson wants.

He looks into Derek’s eyes, and, for just a second, he swears there’s remorse there. Like maybe this would physically hurt Derek as well if he had to go through with it. Derek’s face goes quickly back to blank after Jackson blinks a few times from the tears stinging his eyes.

Jackson can’t speak with the shard pressed so close; he’s afraid to. He – he doesn’t want to die. He doesn’t want to hurt Derek with his death. This is supposed to fix things, not break more. Why does Derek even care? He doesn’t. He can’t. He never even gave Jackson a chance to show him how smart, talented, and determined he could be.

That’s – that’s exactly what Jackson wants. He wants to prove to Derek that he can be great, better than even his own Alpha.

He closes his eyes, his tongue feeling numb and entirely too big for his mouth, and prepares to say ‘no’, but Derek is already moving away.

“I’m glad you’re not that pathetic yet,” Derek says, sounding more relieved than he probably means to. “I would never hear the end of it from Stiles,” he quips as he walks away, back toward Beacon Hills.

Jackson can’t help but smile. Derek is proud of him in some tiny, twisted way. He’s already one miniscule step closer to proving his worth in Derek’s eyes.

If nothing else, Jackson loves challenges, and Derek Hale is the biggest one yet.

Chapter Text

Stiles is pacing back at Derek’s house, Derek having told him about Jackson’s suicide attempt (but having left out the part about Jackson not succeeding). When Derek has enough of Stiles walking around his couch in circles, making Derek dizzy, he stalks up to his bedroom and slams the door.

Stiles flails about uselessly, wondering how the fucking Alpha can just not care about whether or not his Beta died. He grits his teeth, swearing on anything and anyone he can think of that he’s going to kill Jackson himself - if Jackson didn’t do it already.

Just then, the front door creaks open and Jackson appears, looking a bit worse for wear, but completely and utterly alive.

Jackson’s eyes widen when he sees Stiles running toward him (and tripping on nothing), and yet, how could he expect anything else? Stiles does everything exaggeratedly and spastically. And that’s, fortunately, one of the reasons so many people can’t hate Stiles; he’s amusing.

Arms encircle Jackson and squeeze.

For a moment, Jackson just lets Stiles hold him, not fighting it, not complaining, just allowing Stiles’s worry to rush over him. It makes Jackson’s eyes water a bit; he didn’t know there were two more people who would miss him if he gave up.

Stiles pushes Jackson against the door then - just as Jackson is getting ready to hug back – and jabs a finger in Jackson’s face.

“You – you idiot! How could you just – why didn’t you tell someone? Why didn’t you ask me first? Why didn’t you even tell me you would go this far? I’m the one you’re mated with; I’m just as responsible for our problem as you are,” Stiles shouts, poking Jackson in the chest.

Jackson rubs at his chest, eyebrows furrowed, and Stiles continues before he can speak.

“I would have done anything to fix things. I would have gone away, concentrated on fixing Lydia after you crushed her spirit or sent her to you so you could deal with that mess and forget about ours.”

Stiles fists in Jackson’s shirt, ebony eyes so fierce it reminds Jackson of his Alpha.

“Don’t you ever scare me like that again. You can go be with who you want, do what you want, forget about how much I’d be willing to turn everything I know on its head to have you, and just live. Live. That’s all I want for you, Jackson.”

Stiles collapses against Jackson, holding on to the front of his torn shirt, Stiles’s words breaking in his throat (and Jackson’s heart). “I just want you to keep on living and being the person you are – fake-asshole or not. Is that too much to ask? Can you do that? If not for me, then for your family – for yourself.”

Jackson’s mind is replaying everything Stiles has said, but what’s most surprising is how much sense it all makes. It’s the first time Stiles has rambled with a purpose, a deep meaning, a point to get across. And it all makes sense.

Christ Almighty - Jackson’s the stupid one, isn’t he? Stiles has always looked forward while Jackson refuses to see anywhere but back.

Stiles cries into Jackson’s shirt, and Jackson doesn’t wait to wrap around him this time. He holds him close, tightening, feeling like he could never, ever let go. Not now, not tomorrow, not in twenty years; Stiles belongs to him. And Jackson will be damned for his selfishness one day, but he’s always wanted something that couldn’t be taken from him. He’s found it in this skinny, hyperactive, wonderful teenager.

“I’m sorry, Stiles,” Jackson whispers, kissing the side of Stiles’s face. Stiles’s damp cheeks tickle his neck when he slides in closer. “I won’t do this to you again, I promise.”

Jackson’s not going to pretend he doesn’t feel anymore. He wants Stiles to know everything. He deserves to know. He’s taken Stiles away from his lifelong crush, so he deserves to have everything he wants.

“I just didn’t feel good enough for anything or anyone. I knew Lydia would make you happy, so I broke up with her. I knew you’d take better care of her than I ever could.” Stiles scoffs, fisting tighter in Jackson’s shirt, but not interrupting. “I just thought everyone would be better off without me.”

Stiles looks up at that, glaring. Jackson rubs at Stiles’s nape. “I’ve always felt alone, and even more alone the more friends I got. They weren’t real friends, didn’t care about me, so I thought everyone else thought that, too.” Stiles watches, his features smoothing out, just listening.

Jackson keeps rubbing Stiles’s back and arms. “I’ve felt...inadequate - like I don’t belong anywhere. That there’s always been something important missing from me, and that maybe I’m the only one in the world who never got it when I was born.”

Stiles shakes his head, smiling ruefully. “Jackson you are the most perfect human being on Earth. I haven’t even met half of the population, and I know that for a fact.”

Jackson frowns at that, looking away. Stiles forces Jackson’s eyes back, cupping his face. “Look at me.” Jackson does; he said he’d give Stiles everything. “You’re smart, hardworking, caring, selfless – this thing you tried to do just proves it – and an all-around interesting person. Maybe you should just let your guard down sometimes so other people can see it, too.”

“There’s something empty inside me, Stiles. I feel like there’s a space where my beating heart should be.”

Stiles grumbles, “Don’t you dare say you don’t have a heart. Your heart is almost bigger than Scott’s, and his is the size of a freakin’ football field.” Jackson snorts. “You’re missing something, fine. We all feel a bit broken or unfinished at times. You just need to find it, and when you do, hold on to it and keep it close.”

Jackson watches Stiles; takes in the tear tracks on Stiles’s face, the redness of his lips from having bitten them, the circles under his eyes, and finally nods.

“It’s probably not love, but I can help you try to find it, Jacks. Will you let me? I’d- I’d like to be around, whatever that entails,” Stiles finishes, sounding embarrassed.

“I’d like your help,” Jackson admits, tracing Stiles’s cheeks, wiping away the drying moisture. “And I couldn’t think of a better person to help me through this.”

No, it isn’t love that’s missing from Jackson's life, but that’s because he hadn’t found the real kind yet. Maybe if he knows it - for real, deeply and without wearing his masks – this time it could be what he’s needed all along. Maybe he can feel whole someday with Stiles by his side.

“Do you – maybe – want to go steady with me?” Jackson asks, nerve endings tingling and begging to be closer to Stiles. As if they could get closer; they’re practically one body the way their limbs are entangled, and how they're squeezed together against the door.

Stiles blinks, licking his lips.

“I just want people to know who you belong to. I’m not afraid anymore.” He spreads the wetness on Stiles’s lips with a digit. “I chose you a long time ago, Stilinski,” Jackson teases.

And they’re going to be connected now in a way no normal couple should ever be (unless you’re Scott and Allison).

Stiles closes his eyes, nodding, pursing his lips to press a kiss to Jackson’s thumb. “Yes, Jackson. Yes, I’m yours. I can’t even remember a time before I wanted to be with you. I think I liked you even before my crush on Lydia started,” he explains, eyes fluttering open.

Jackson sighs, relieved. Stiles agreed to everything; not giving up on Jackson like most others would have. Stiles forgives so easily that Jackson feels his chest hurt, his stomach twist and turn, and he’s kissing Stiles, marking Stiles’s swollen lips as his. His – it has a nice ring to it.

Jackson breaks the kiss to slide his teeth down Stiles’s neck, gnawing gently. “Who should we tell first?” Stiles grins, his face scrunching up when teeth sink in slightly.

“Whoever you want,” Jackson growls, “just after – after I mark you.”

Stiles sucks in a breath, tilting his head. “Yeah,” he whimpers. “I can deal with that.”

 

---

 

It’s a good thing Derek went to his bedroom because Stiles can barely even pull Jackson away from the front door before his clothes is being ripped apart. Jackson pins Stiles against the living room floor, grinding their hips and nipping, kissing, licking, tasting every part of his mate. His mate.

Stiles doesn’t resist; spreads his legs to accommodate Jackson, moaning and gasping, eyes clenched tight each time the fangs slide out against Jackson’s will. Stiles winds himself around Jackson, grinding and begging. Jackson can’t even hear Stiles’s voice through the howl of his wolf wanting to mount Stiles and fuck him into the floorboards. He bites Stiles’s neck, harder than before, feeling Stiles’s throat twitch under his teeth, and his teeth sink in.

Crying out – in pain or pleasure, Jackson can’t even concentrate enough to tell – Stiles rolls nonstop underneath Jackson, naked skin becoming slippery with sweat and saliva. Jackson is drooling all over Stiles, and Stiles can’t even measure how high up on the gross-meter that is because he’s dying, shattering into pieces, and Jackson is the only one who can make it all better.

There’s more blood on Jackson’s tongue than he’d like to admit, but Stiles isn’t stopping him. He laps at all the puncture holes he’s made along Stiles’s collarbone and chest, and then makes more along his stomach and ribs. The blood there is dark, sweet almost, and it makes Jackson’s skin vibrate. Stiles writhes, tugging at Jackson’s hair – to stop maybe? But Stiles pleads, keens, and orders Jackson to: “Just fuck me already!”

Jackson’s wolf is so far out it almost pushes Jackson to change, but the hands tangled in Jackson’s hair keep him from going too far. He doesn’t want to eat Stiles – at least not in a blood and guts kind of way.

The problem with Stiles is that he doesn’t stop moving, and he makes Jackson clumsy. It’s hard enough to keep his wolf in line, but every time Jackson tries to take Stiles in his mouth, the spaz arches off the floor, and he falls out of Jackson’s mouth. So, impatient as he always is, Jackson just mouths at the entire area, and if his fangs catch on the head of Stiles’s cock, making him cry out in ecstasy and come way too soon, that’s all Stiles’s fault.

Stiles is a sensible nuisance, though. He drags Jackson back up his body and jerks Jackson’s cock, letting Jackson mark up his neck and lips, chin and shoulders, everything painted in teeth marks and tiny bite holes.

When Stiles murmurs how much Jackson is worth, how lucky Stiles is to have him, how he will let Jackson take him over and over, whenever he wants, just as long as he doesn’t give up on himself, Jackson growls and comes, teeth piercing deep into Stiles’s neck.

Stiles makes soft, pained sounds, but he’s smiling when Jackson’s teeth slide out. He laps at the blood collecting in the hollow of Stiles’s throat, nuzzling Stiles’s neck, and Stiles just hums. Jackson wonders, afraid for a moment, why Stiles’s hand isn’t on his back, but then remembers he came all over Stiles's fingers.

Jackson carefully brings Stiles’s fingers to his mouth, nibbling affectionately and sucking all the mess away. He may be licking the taste of himself off, but he’s focusing on the taste underneath that: a sexed-out, satiated Stiles.

Stiles groans when Jackson sucks on each fingertip, dragging the soiled skin against his teeth and tongue. “Stop, you’re gonna make me hard again, Jacks.”

“Don’t tempt me,” Jackson replies, smirking as his tongue circles Stiles’s fingers.

Stiles yawns, closing his eyes, “In that case, we can do whatever you want.”

And that’s it. It's as simple as that.

Jackson found his soul again, his heart, his missing piece – his will to live. Now he wants to live because Stiles is here, and Stiles cares. Danny cares, his parents care, even Derek cares in his weird Alpha way. They care, so Jackson has no choice but to.

Stiles looks peaceful, his fingers petting Jackson's arm slowly. And, hello-

Stiles wasn’t joking about getting hard again, but he’s also snoring. Jackson chuckles softly, pressing a kiss to Stiles’s forehead. He’s definitely the weirdest guy around, this one. Who else could fall asleep with a boner?

Jackson carries Stiles over to the couch, covers them both in a blanket – that was left on the bottom step leading to Derek's room, where there was nothing earlier – and whispers ‘thanks, Stiles’ before following him into slumber. Stiles curls closer to Jackson, warm and pleased, like he’s always belonged there.

 

The End.