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Run, Jackson, Run

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            The apartment was cold. Hell, England was cold. Much as he’d bitched to his parents about wanting to attend private school over the years, there was nothing about his current situation that was remotely what he wanted for himself. And yet, he’d been a good little boy and yes-sirred his father when the man thinly veiled his true reasons for sending him away as a final realization of the inadequacies of a Beacon Hills High education. There was no question, no offer, it just was. Jackson was to fly out to England the very morning after that talk. He hadn’t even had the chance to go say goodbye to Danny. Or Lydia…

            He couldn’t tell if it was because they were afraid for him, or of him. He didn’t know whether he should be pleased that they cared so much, or hurt that they didn’t want him anymore. Telephone conversations in the middle of the night, when it was a more convenient time for them, simply weren’t enough to tell what it was. Whatever. Jackson Whittemore could pass as a Brit now, accent down to the ‘t’, and his penthouse apartment in the center of London, just a short ride on the underground away from his posh new school, was somehow less lonely than his home in Beacon Hills.

            Enhanced lycanthropic hearing meant that he was never truly alone. He could hear pretty much everything in the building if he focused- Elisabeth Jones from downstairs, cooing at her purse sized dog rather reminded him of Lyds. On the bottom floor, there was Thames Davenport, who wore jeans so tight that it made it look like you could bounce a quarter off his ass, if not for the way his jogging pants betrayed his true figure. Yet, the way he talked to the boys he brought back to the building with him made him think that he and Danny would get along well. Or, maybe they’d be more like brothers, competing for the affections of all the gay lads in the city, baiting each other with their scores for the week.

            Okay, in a moment of honesty, Jackson would say that he’s a lot lonelier than he lets on, but even more honestly, he can’t fathom picking up the phone to call anyone other than his folks. Talking to them could only make things worse. His exile/protection program wouldn’t really work if it wasn’t as complete as it is right now. He didn’t need to know what trouble those idiots in California were getting themselves into, and he’d be happy if he never had to look into the eyes of Hale ever again.

            Jackson dreams of red eyes, laughing at the biggest mistake of his life. His own hubris is what did him in.

            Jackson wakes up drenched in sweat, claws and teeth elongated. He sees in hues of red.

            The apartment is cold because he keeps it that way to sleep. He doesn’t spend much time there otherwise. When he has too much time alone there, he listens to not!Lydia ramble on her mobile with her mates, and not!Danny’s groans of pleasure as he thrusts his way into the guy of the week. It’s masochistic, and it’s not what he wants-- just like he doesn’t want to be here to begin with.

            And so, Jackson shuts the door behind him, uncaring of the lock, as he’d wake up if anyone tried to come in anyways, and strips himself out of his school uniform. The blazer he hangs on the back of the chair at his desk. The shoes he kicks beside them, and the rest of it goes into the hamper. He has enough fresh uniform shirts and pants for the whole school week hanging in his closet, a reflection of the monotony of the past three weeks and the weeks to come. Each day, each week, is almost an exact replica of the one before. School, wander, homework in the Library, eat, nightmares, rinse and repeat.

******

            “Oi,” A voice calls from behind, sounding far too informal to be one of his school mates, if he really had any. Jackson decides to keep walking.

            “Oi, pretty boy!” The voice calls again.

            Jackson ducks around the next corner and runs.

******

            Perhaps it was paranoia, but more than likely, it was the moon. Tomorrow will be his first full moon since shifting from kanima to lycanthrope. It puts him on edge. Add to that the fact that he hasn’t an alpha, and it’s just a recipe for disaster.

            He doesn’t have a plan. Jackson Whittemore, always in control, always on top of the game, doesn’t have a fucking clue what the hell happens now. He doesn’t want to kill anyone, and if there’s one thing he learned in the past few months, it was that he can’t do it all on his own.

            This is how he finds himself staring down at his mobile, contemplating who to call for advice on the matter.

******

            7am, Saturday Morning, Beacon Hills, CA

            The Sheriff sighs and answers the phone, figuring he’s about to be called in to handle something one of the newer deputies could have handled on their own. It’s happened three times this week that he’s been called early in the morning or in the middle of the night to handle something basic.

            What he did not expect was an international call for Stiles. Whatever, as long as he wasn’t paying the long distance on it, he didn’t care. He passed off the phone to his little delinquent of a son, who was already trying to listen in on the other line.

            “Uh…hello?” Yeah, real smooth, Stiles.

            The line was silent save for breathing.

            “Okay, if you’re not gonna talk, I’m hanging up.” Stiles made to put the phone on the receiver, but before he was out of hearing range from the earpiece, he heard a begrudging, “Wait.”

            Stiles drew in a breath as he pulled the phone back in. He knew that voice, he just couldn’t place it. Who the hell was calling him from overseas, anyways?

            “Stilinski, I swear to God, if you hang up on me, I will end you.”

            “Holy crap-”

            Jackson could hear a clatter of what he suspects the other teen flailed into over the line.

            “Just, shut up for a minute and listen, alright?” Stiles made a panicked sort of hum on the other end, which could only mean to go on, “I don’t have a pack out here, and the full moon is tomorrow night. My anchor’s all the way in Beacon Hills, and- I’m freaking out, okay?!”

            “Okay, don’t freak out, man, that’s like, literally the last thing you want to do when you’re a werewolf and it’s close to the full moon. Just, breathe, alright? You can do it. In, out, in, out.”

            Jackson wanted to roll his eyes with how ridiculous Stiles sounded, but hearing that idiot blather on made him feel closer to home, and it was kind of…fuck, it was comforting. Okay, never before had Jackson thought there would be a time when Stilinski would be a good thing for him. He breathed along, finding that that tension just drained out of him.

            “Now what?” Jackson inquired, picking at the hem of his shirt. “How is that going to help me tomorrow?”

            “Well, the way I see it, you have two options. Or, well, three. Option one: You find a pack. That would be difficult on such short notice, and since packs aren’t exactly impulse buys you can take back to the store once you’ve realized you’ve made a mistake, it might not be such a good idea. So, option two: you find a guy like Deaton who can drug you tomorrow night so you’ll be out the whole time. That’s also risky, since you’d be putting your life in some dude’s hands, but I can ask Deaton if he knows anyone out there who can be trusted to help. After that, there’s option three: you stick it out and hope for the best. Do everything you can to relax. Tire yourself out during the day or something. Hell, drink chamomile tea. I’d promised I wouldn’t tell anyone, but Scott swears by the stuff.”

            Jackson just sat there, laughing a bit in his head. God, when did his life become so routine that he hasn’t had the opportunity to laugh at someone supremely awkward? This was what made boring school days in Beacon Hills bearable. Well, this, and Danny and Lydia. Whatever, he could have this.

            “Okay.” At that point, Jackson didn’t really know what to say. He ought to thank Stiles, but he wasn’t quite at the point he could say it aloud. So he just hung up. He was a douchebag before, no reason he couldn’t be now. If it got bad again, he could always call back. No matter how mad Stiles is, he can be counted on the one thing that Jackson would need most, and that would be to talk.

            ******

            Chamomile tea from the Tesco down the road turned out not to be so bad. Three cups in and Jackson had to piss like a racehorse, but it was absolutely worth it. There was something…zen about drinking herbal tea. And so what if he ended up curled on his sofa watching The Notebook again?

            (He tried to ignore the bit where Ryan Gosling says, “It still isn’t over.”)

            It wasn’t until after he howled at full volume that he began to realize the movie was a bad call.

            ******

            School, library, home. School, library, home. School, library, grocery shopping, home.

            Everywhere he went it felt like all eyes were on him. He had the misfortune to run into Elisabeth and her dog on the way back from the store. Her dog yapped at him as if he were trying to invade its territory. Jackson bit back the urge to bite its little head off.

            Jackson may see red in nightmares, but he sees green in his waking hours every now and again, particularly when he thinks about all the things he could do to that little dog with his claws. He can picture them oozing, running with venom to paralyze his prey.

            He sees in green like the scales he pictures on his skin in the shower and in the mirror. Stiles- Jeep - phone on the floor but it’s absolutely useless. He remembers looking into the other teen’s eyes, recognizing that he wasn’t a threat, and moving on.

            Matt used him. That slimy little brat actually had the nerve to sic him on all his enemies as if he were a dog. Well, werelizards are just as good, he supposes, but it wasn’t his fight.

            Was it his fault for wanting to be better, or, at the very least, keep up with McCall? Does his asking for the bite make him an accomplice in Daehler’s murders?

            Run, Run, Run, Jackson, Run.

            And now he knows that they’re following him, and if he’s using his nose right, it’s the two tossers who accosted him just a few days ago. He looked back and saw blue eyes glowing at him, and he almost ran into a streetlamp for his troubles. Dodging to the right, he weaved around the pole and around the block, ducking back into the library.

            The older librarian gave him a nasty look, but the younger of the two nodded at him in acknowledgement, seeming to understand that he’d been using the library as more of a safe space than a study space as of late. After all, he wasn’t the only one.

            He headed for one of the more secluded sections to use his phone, calling Stiles before he could think better of it.

            “Listen, wolfbreath, it’s the middle of the fucking night, and I’m not sleeping as it is. This better be important, or I swear, I’ll find some way to dose your ass with mistletoe, distance be damned-”

            “Do you ever shut up?” Jackson spat, “I’m being chased by some fucking blue eyed betas, alright? I’d say that’s pretty damn important- more important than your beauty sleep, cueball.”

            “Okay, wait, what?” Stilinski seems to have been caught off guard by his statement.

            “I’m in the library. They don’t follow me in here. I don’t know what they want, or why they won’t come in, but I can’t leave yet, and I can’t be sure they won’t follow me again.” Jackson slid down the wall, certain enough of his solitude to let himself rest.

            “Did you ever stop to think that maybe they don’t go into the library because it’s another pack’s territory? I mean, maybe you’re safe there because they’re scared of the alpha that controls that area of town.”

            “Not helping, Stiles.”

            “I didn’t say that the alpha was going to go after you or anything! Maybe you’re under its protection.” Jackson took another look around before responding.

            “You know what? I don’t care. I just want to get out of here. Give me options, Stilinski.”

            “I’m not your operator! You’re not in the Matrix! And guess what? Not every beta that seeks you out is an agent.” Stiles sighed, and the rubbing sound after seemed indicative of scrubbing a hand over his eyes. “You’re gonna have to go out there and talk to them sometime. If they’ve followed you before, they’ll do it again. Werewolf up, find out what they want, and then figure it out, because believe it or not, I’ve got much bigger things to deal with than fighting with your cowardly ass.”

            Jackson chucked the phone at the wall. Understandably, it shattered.

            Stiles was right, though, much as he was loathe to admit it. He couldn’t run forever.

            ******

            Just as soon as Jackson complained about the two blue eyed betas, it seems they disappeared off the face of the Earth, leaving him with a bit of a mystery.

            Maybe there was a bigger, badder wolf in town. He couldn’t be certain if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Sure, he wasn’t dead yet, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t coming.

            The sword of fucking Damocles was hanging over his head. Jackson thinks that if he were to tell Stiles this, he’d make a smartass remark about that making him Rocky and Derek Frank-N-Furter, to which Jackson would call him Riff-Raff and Scott Magenta. That would backfire, since Stiles would point out that Riff-Raff and Magenta triumph in the end.

            Fuck. What is his life that he’s now having imaginary arguments with Stilinski in addition to the real ones? Whatever! He wasn’t going to make like a needy girlfriend and call again so soon. Whatever it was that Stiles alluded to in their last conversation about what was going on in Beacon Hills sounded pretty bad. Chances are, Lydia and Danny were involved, too.

            His tail made a perfect slash at Danny’s neck-

            NO!

            He wasn’t thinking about that. Not now. He was a werewolf, not a Kanima. He wasn’t responsible for the Kanima. He wasn’t in control. He was used. A victim. Of course, there was no judge on Earth who would take the case if he were to get his father to sue the now deceased Matt Daehler for coercion and mind rape.

            It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his fault. It wasn’t his fault.

            Over and over again he repeated it to his lycanthropic reflection in the bathroom mirror. And then, something happened. His eyes- they faded. Blue became a golden yellow, and he wasn’t sure if he was insane, or if he really changed the color of his eyes just by alleviating some of his own guilt.

            A knock permeated the air, followed by another, and another. Someone was at his door, and wasn’t that unusual? His blood turned to ice in a way that it never had outside of his time as a mindless killer reptile.

            “Mr. Whittemore, open the door.” A deep voice with an American accent called out to him, and he could swear he could feel his heart fall into his gut. He almost felt like calling Stiles would be a good idea, but his replacement phone hadn’t yet arrived. Jumping out the window posed too great a risk for exposure, since he was a couple floors up.

            Jackson had no choice but to go to the door and find out what the man wanted. Just like Stiles said, he could do this. He made his way to the door, and flung it open before he got the chance to chicken out.

            There was a man in a suit who smelled vaguely familiar, and maybe looked familiar, too. Behind him stood the two betas, and he couldn’t help but edge back.

            “Special Agent Kyle McCall, FBI,” The man presented his badge as Jackson put the pieces together, “I’d like to have a word with you about the incidents surrounding your apparent death and subsequent resurrection, if you don’t mind.

            “What do they want?” Jackson sputtered, never letting his eyes stray from where the two stood in the hall, no longer obstructed in any way by the Special Agent, who was, presumably, related in some way to Scott.

            They stepped inside, and the bigger one stepped forward.  “We’re with MI-5. Agent McCall contacted us a month ago in regards to a potential threat headed our way. At first, we thought he was joking when he told us it was a teenager, but you’ve certainly shown up on our radar since you got here. Didn’t anyone ever tell you not to run from the authorities?”

            The agent had slipped over into the kitchen area and was now poking at the used tea bags he’d set aside for composting.

            “You see,” The agent piped in, “There’s some rather strange things happening in Beacon Hills, and there has been for some time. I’m just trying to put the pieces together.”

            “Bullshit,” Jackson called, “This is about Scott, isn’t it? What, do you think figuring everything out is going to give you something to use to blackmail your way back into his life?”

            Clearly Jackson decided correctly about this being Scott’s father, if his reaction was anything to go by.

            “Sit,” the MI-5 guys pushed him into a chair. Agent McCall sat across from him, perfect poker face giving off nothing like the stench he carried from all of his anger.

            “Your daddy sent you all the way to England to keep you out of harm’s way. As you can imagine, I would go to the same lengths to protect my son.” Liar. “Now, you’re going to tell me everything that you know- anything that I can use to protect Scott- and while you’re at it, you can tell me about how the Beacon Hill’s Sheriff’s Department has treated it all. Understood?”

            Agent McCall was up to something, something involving whatever pack he had left back in California. He knew now that he couldn’t just fend for himself here. He couldn’t tell Agent McCall a thing. The two MI-5 betas had taken sentry on either side of him. He couldn’t fight his way out.

            He pushed his way past McCall, and he ran.