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Stand by Me

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A lot of people tend to give Danny pitying looks when Jackson goes off to go pick up Lydia or return The Notebook for the seven hundredth time - Danny is tempted to buy it to save Jackson money but he figures Jackson is still holding onto the blind hope that if he doesn't own the movie, Lydia will stop wanting to watch it on date night - or goes off to practice by himself leaving Danny Jacksonless.

Danny understands why most wonder why he's friends with Jackson because Jackson is an asshole. Not many people can stand long exposures to the full force of Jackson's personality. Well the one he showcases around campus and most of the town.

Lydia figures it's a Pride and Prejudice thing. Like Jackson is Mr. Darcy and Danny's his foil. Danny may be gay but he never wants to be compared to Mr. Bingly.

---

Danny has known Jackson since he was five and lost his Batman action figure to the school yard's storm drain. Jackson used his lacrosse stick to fish it out for him. They were pretty much inseparable after that. From camping out in Danny's backyard or playing Mario Kart at the Whittemores on their plasma.

---

Jackson treats people like shit and Danny's usually there to offer a comforting smile to excuse his best friend when really Jackson is just saying what everyone is thinking. Something Danny admires. Envies even.

Danny's always been friendly and cares a bit too much about the opinions of others. That's why the first year he decided to be open at school about liking guys, it was hard. Sure, everyone's pretty much all smiles now and practically jumping over themselves to show him how politically correct they are. But he remembers being a freshman and having no one look him in the eye.

Except Jackson.

---

Jackson's always been jaded about human nature. Danny supposes it has something to do with his parents overcompensating about Jackson being adopted. But Jackson sees the worst in everyone. He figures hard work wins out over ass kissing. Why sugar coat it when the result is still the same.

"I'd rather be awesome than have people think I am."

---

Jackson was the first person Danny told. When they were twelve and roasting marshmallows at the Whittemore's cottage. Danny's hands were shaking and his skin flush from the fire. Jackson just speared another marshmallow on his stick.

"Guess I won't have to worry about competing against you for girls," he grins, with a sincere smile.

Danny let out a watery laugh. Because Jackson was the master of the understatement.

---

Freshman year, Danny decided to come out. He had the whole summer of Jackson researching the idea of gay sex. Then trying to find porn they'd both like. Jackson gave up after the fifth website.

"I get it," he says. "But it'd be hotter if there was a chick."

---

Danny in his summer high of supportive parents and Jackson, forgot that not everyone was as open minded.

His lab partner asked to be switched. No one wanted to work with him in drama. The cafeteria became a hostile place and empty hallways were dangerous.

Jackson dented his locker when Danny showed up for lunch in the first week with a black eye.

"What the fuck?"

"It's nothing," he mumbles.

"The hell it is," growls Jackson.

They were just two freshmen, Danny didn't want to rock the boat.

---

Jackson got his chemistry class switched. Along with half his schedule.

"I didn't want to take art anyways," says Jackson blithely. "Plus, there must be some cute girls in drama."

And he was his lab partner, even though Jackson was not-so-subtly eying Lydia Martin's legs.

"You think we could make a smoke bomb?"

---

It all came to a head when Danny gets blacklisted to the Scouts' camping trip. He was encouraged to seek another activity.

"Fuck 'em," says Jackson after coming back from lacrosse practice. "We'll make first string, and those fuckers will be pissing themselves to hang with us."

Us.

---

Jackson wasn't a social pariah. Girls fawned over him and guys invited him to parties but he'd spend his weekends throwing the lacrosse ball with Danny and watching B horror movies.

Jackson was Danny's anchor at school. Strong arming his way past the gawking and willing to get detention for fighting with a homophobic senior.

"Girls dig scars."

---

It got better after Christmas. Like a switch was pulled. Or Danny was no longer fodder for gossip. Mellissa Callen's pregnancy was a hotter topic.

Jackson made first string. And kept pushing till he made captain in sophomore year. He wasn't even a senior but Jackson was on a war path.

"Let's see how they feel when we lead them to State."

---

"Why do you hang out with him?" asks Danny's boyfriend after Jackson left their meet 'n' greet.

He was pretty much a dick. Grilling Danny's date by asking him everything from exes to his draft picks for football. And was unimpressed at every answer.

Danny just raised his eyebrow when Jackson started asking about his views on pitching and catching.

---

Jackson is wary of most of Danny's boyfriends.

"I trust you," says Jackson, nudging Danny shoulder from where they are sprawled on Jackson's couch. "But guys are assholes."

---

"He's my best friend," declares Danny.

His boyfriend shoots him a bewildered look.

Danny shrugs, it's hard to explain, if you don't have a friend like Jackson.

He's one of a kind.