Jackson wakes up with a mouth full of blood, his face caked with clumps of fur and dried gore. The leaves crunch as he rolls onto his stomach, holding himself off the ground with his elbows, his head hanging down between them. He spits, and watches the pinkish-clear glob drop onto the dirt. He has gristle stuck between his teeth, and when he looks down at his hands, still curled into fists, he’s bloody to the wrists, streaks and smears running farther up the inside of his arms.
He pushes himself up onto his knees. His mouth tastes like death and old meat, and he smells worse – musk and sweat and rot.
It’s the morning after the full moon, and Jackson is getting better at killing.
Jackson slams his locker closed and nearly winces at the sound. Too loud – he’s still sensitive. He glances at his hands but there’s no blood. It’s stupid to look; he’d smell it. He still can’t keep himself from checking.
“I see Derek let you off your leash last night.” Jackson doesn’t turn, but he can hear Stiles’ heart, his breathing, and he’s not lying – or, at least, he thinks he’s telling the truth.
“I’m not the one on a leash, Stilinski,” Jackson says, withering and sarcastic. Stiles just laughs and raises an eyebrow. He won’t rise to the bait here, not at school. It’s a risk for both of them, and Jackson tries to stay under the principal’s radar. The administration isn’t exactly wolf friendly, no matter what they say.
“Now who’s lying,” Stiles says. He looks down the hallway, and then back at Jackson. “How’s the control going?”
Jackson growls under his breath, even though he knows that it won’t scare Stiles. He pushes down the anger, and puts on a sneer. “Why don’t you come on a run with us and find out?” he asks, and watches Stiles wince. The sight makes him smile. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
The pack is moving, but Jackson can still smell them. He can hear their breaths huff into the fog, and their hearts thud against their ribs, staccato beats. He’s ranging in front of them, scenting out prey, loping easily through the trees. Danny is keeping apace with him, off to the other side. Danny is a bigger wolf than he is, darker and more powerful, but gentler, too. He resisted the bite for longer than anyone else Derek offered it to, except, of course, Stiles, and Allison. Derek doesn’t have to be picky, anymore, about who joins the pack, but he is.
The last moon was Danny’s first, and he brought down a fucking deer. Even Derek had been impressed.
Jackson smells the markings on the trees, faded from their last run together, but strong enough to brand the territory theirs. Jackson digs his claws into the soft bark, and howls his lust for the kill, the restlessness deep inside him. The one that never goes away.
Derek howls a response, commanding, annoyed, dominant. Jackson paws at the dirt and the leaves, snapping his jaws at nothing – he’ll wait, but he doesn’t have to like it.
Derek’s teeth snap at the back of his neck, blunt, for now, and human. He’ll use his claws if he has to. Jackson doesn’t submit easily.
Derek has one of Jackson’s hands pinned behind his back, and he’s using the leverage to force Jackson facedown on the mattress. It’s bare except for a bottom sheet and a pillow, and it smells like Derek, like alpha. It’s the wolf in him that wants to resist, and it’s the wolf in him that wants to submit. The human can never figure out quite what he feels, except that it’s not important to Derek.
The pressure of Derek’s teeth against the nape of his neck is insistent, right over the shiny pink scars where his claws punctured the skin that first time, and Jackson breathes in through his nose. Both of them are shirtless. The button on Derek’s jeans is cold against the small of Jackson’s back, the hard press of Derek’s dick firm against the curve of Jackson’s ass. Jackson growls a little, and Derek chuckles. His tongue presses against Jackson’s skin, and the growl skids into something else, a noise that Jackson hates, something like a whimper. Something needy.
“You’re still afraid of me,” Derek says into his ear. “I can smell it on you.”
“Fuck you,” Jackson says, voice unsteady, and gasps when Derek’s free hand wriggles between his body and the mattress, fingers tugging as his left nipple. He bucks involuntarily, but it just pushes his ass into Derek’s dick and doesn’t get him any closer to escape.
Not that he really wants to escape, deep down where he can’t admit it.
Derek’s fingers rake across his chest, just a hint of claw, leaving stinging welts behind. Jackson writhes, though even he isn’t sure if he’s pushing in or pulling away, and Derek bites just below his ear.
“You’re turning into such a good killer for me,” Derek croons, teeth drawing blood from skin that heals just as quickly. “I think this calls for a reward.”
“Wha – what,” Jackson says, more a puff of exhaled breath than a question. Derek has never rewarded him before. Not for anything. The thought sends a trill of panic through him, his stomach jumping equally with arousal and fear. Derek’s hands are tugging at the fastenings of his jeans, and Jackson’s pinned arm is falling asleep, and every time he breathes in he tastes cotton and sweat.
Jackson wonders if there’s a difference between reward and punishment for Derek.
Derek pulls back far enough to drag Jackson’s jeans and boxer-briefs off and toss them across the room. When he doesn’t settle back down immediately, Jackson risks a glance over his shoulder. Derek is tugging at the button on his jeans, slowly drawing the zipper down. He hasn’t changed completely, but Jackson can see the sharp points of his teeth when he smiles. Jackson whips his head back around, breath gusting out of him. Some part of him realizes that his arm isn’t trapped anymore, and yet he still hasn’t moved it. He doesn’t know why.
He listens to the soft rustle of Derek undressing, and tries to control his breathing. He can feel his pulse thundering, but the fear is keeping him from changing, and Derek knows it.
He jumps when Derek’s hands cup his ass, pulling the cheeks apart, and Derek’s breath is warm on his skin, and he chuckles. Jackson can feel each gust of breath, and he shivers, resisting the urge to clench, to pull his legs together. Then Derek’s tongue laves over his hole, the tip pushing just inside.
Jackson writhes, the feeling wrenching and odd. Derek has fucked him before, likes fucking him, quick and brutal and selfish, but this is different. The noise Jackson makes is something close to a sob, and Derek laughs, and licks into him, and shushes him.
“Wha – what are you –” Jackson starts, and cuts himself off when Derek’s claws unsheathe, pricking the cheeks of Jackson’s ass.
“What am I doing?” Derek asks, voice amused and menacing. “I’m going to lick you open, and then I’m going to fuck you. No lube, no condom, no cleanup. You’re going to smell like my come when you go to school tomorrow.”
Jackson shudders all over, trying to swallow the wounded noise that twists up out of him and failing. Derek settles over his thighs, pulls the cheeks of his ass further apart, and pushes his tongue against Jackson’s hole.
Jackson presses his face into the mattress like a retreat, but he’s not getting away. He’s not even sure that he wants to.
Jackson does what he’s told. He goes to school smelling like Derek and sweat and old sex. None of the wolves touch him all day, smelling it on him stronger than the humans. Stiles almost gives him a pat on the back at lunch, but Scott lunges forward and grabs his wrist.
“What?” Stiles asks, but pulls his hand away. Scott glances at Jackson, and Jackson has to fight not to look away. Scott isn’t part of Derek’s pack, but he’s not an enemy, either. Things being what they are, no wolf is an enemy, or no sane wolf, anyway.
“Derek would be angry if he smelled you on him,” Scott says, with a jerk of his chin in Jackson’s direction.
“Why would he – oh, okay, wow,” Stiles says. “He actually went through with it, huh?” He turns to Jackson, and gives him a once over. “You were saying something about not being on a leash?”
Jackson growls, and stands, carefully throwing his trash out and putting his tray on top of the garbage, if only to keep himself from hitting Stiles in the face with it. He can feel the wolf bubbling underneath the surface, and he just wants to kill something small and vulnerable.
Jackson feels like his skin is going to vibrate right off of him. The scars on the back of his neck are tingling, and he ignores the look that Danny shoots him, storming out of the cafeteria.
“No killing humans,” Derek says, that evening. “You all know better that that.” Jackson listens to eight heartbeats, slow and even and not quite in sync. “Not even hunters, not right now.”
Derek says it every time they run as a pack. Since their exposure, every murder is suspected as werewolf-related until proven otherwise. It’s Derek’s responsibility to keep them in line.
“Be careful, be stealthy, be predators.” Derek gives them a nod, and thus permission to leave the living room. Jackson starts to head for Danny, but Derek speaks again. “Jackson, you’re with me.”
Danny slaps him on the back, and laughs; it takes most of Jackson’s concentration not to growl at him. Danny holds up his hands, and leaves, but doesn’t look particularly frightened. Just placating.
“Yeah?” Jackson stops by the foot of the stairs. Derek is halfway up, and has a few inches on him because of it. Jackson has to look up to meet his eyes, and he hates that.
“We’re running together tonight,” Derek says, not a question at all. It’s an order, and the wolf in Jackson knows, and submits. The wolf in him is honored for the attention. The wolf in him is no longer conflicted at all.
The boy in him doesn’t feel so clearly.
“I –” he starts, preparing to protest, and then thinks better of it. “Fine.”
“Good boy,” Derek says, and smiles.
It’s less than a month to the official anniversary, one year since the big reveal. The moon will be full in three days, and Jackson can feel it already, like a drug withdrawal. He digs his fingernails into the soft flesh of his arm and huffs out a breath.
“Why now?” he asks, and then, softer, “Why me?”
Derek isn’t looking at him. He’s staring through the broken window, blood still splattered across his face from the deer they’d taken down, dried a rusty brown. Jackson can hear his heart beating, can smell the roiling tension on him, and it makes Jackson’s muscles tense, makes his stomach curl up into a hard ball.
His parents don’t expect him home most nights. Jackson is sure that they’re more relieved to have the wolf out of their house than they are worried for him.
“You’re marked,” Derek notes, softly. He doesn’t turn, but the words still make Jackson’s breath catch in his throat. “You were mine before you were even turned.” Derek turns enough to meet Jackson’s eyes, over his shoulder. “You just didn’t know it yet.”
Jackson looks at the blood underneath his fingernails, where they’re pressing crescent-shaped marks into the skin of his inner arm, and remembers the burning house in his dreams. Derek pulling the wolfsbane out of his spine, blood and petals on the sterile floor.
“What if I don’t want it?”
“You do,” Derek says, simply. “I can smell it on you. That’s why it’s now. I can smell that you want it.”
Jackson wants to say no, he wants to shake his head and deny and be certain that he means it, but he’s naked in Derek’s bed, and Derek is shirtless, proud and muscular in the moonlight, and Derek told him to take off his blood-stained clothing and he did it without protest.
Maybe this is just who he is.
Lydia isn’t a werewolf, but she’s not exactly human either. Jackson doesn’t know if this is true of everyone, but she always knows, somehow, when he’s lying to her. He’s meant to be heading back to Derek’s after school, but somehow he’s sitting on the bleachers, his thigh to pressed to Lydia’s.
“Face it, Jackson, it’s just how you are. You submitted to me, too.” She’s twirling her hair around her fingers, pouting her lips together to more evenly spread her lip-gloss, and Jackson flushes across his face. He can feel it.
“Not really. You have a history.” She smiles that fake, candy sweet smile and tilts her head. “Strong personalities.” She stretches the words to their breaking points, snapping them like hollow bones. “You can pretend that you don’t like it, but you’d be lying to yourself. All those things you weren’t supposed to want, and all I had to do was ask.”
Jackson curls his hands into fists and remembers that he could kill her in less than fifteen seconds and remembers that he can’t kill her at all. She’s wearing arm warmers to cover the scars on her arms, and it’s been more than a year, and Jackson still hasn’t seen her wear a tank top.
“I don’t know what he wants from me.”
The truth slips out, somehow, like it always does with Lydia. She glances at her fingernails, picking at a bit of chipping purple polish.
“He wants to fuck you, Jackson, and he wants your loyalty.” She pauses, and then smiles again. “That’s almost like love nowadays.”
Jackson doesn’t know what to say to that, so he doesn’t say anything at all.
Jackson’s mouth still tastes like blood, and the leaves are brittle against the soft skin of his knees, tickling his inner thighs. Derek is breathing hard against the side of his neck, and the deer carcass they’d killed less than half an hour ago is still steaming into the night as the blood and innards cool. Jackson catches the wide, glazed prey eyes, dead and vacant, whenever he looks left, and he can’t stop looking. He can see just where his teeth ripped into soft flesh. Derek is fucking him with fast, brutal thrusts, Jackson’s jeans and boxers and shoes somewhere behind them, his shirt pushed up to his armpits. Derek’s teeth are sharp against Jackson’s jaw, and Jackson’s palms are grinding into the dirt as he fights to stay on his hands and knees.
“Love watching you kill,” Derek pants against Jackson’s skin. His teeth leave marks, scratches that heal in seconds. “My little predator, brutal killer.”
The words pull a surprised moan out of Jackson, and Derek’s cock is hot and huge inside him. He’s still a little sore from when Derek fucked him yesterday, but the pain is only making him sharper, only making his dick harder. He is nothing right now except being fucked by Derek, the slide of Derek’s cock, the relentless brush over his prostate.
Derek is whispering all the things he wants to do to Jackson, how he wants to wake Jackson up in the morning by coming on his face, rubbing the semen into Jackson’s skin until it’s all he can smell all day. How he wants to see if he can get his whole fist up inside Jackson’s body, the body that always opens up so nicely for him. How he wants to carve his name into soft tissue of Jackson’s stomach, over and over, so that Jackson knows whom he belongs to.
“Mine,” Derek growls, and Jackson comes, helplessly, all over himself and the leaves underneath him. Derek laughs, a deep, pleased sound, and sinks sharp teeth into Jackson’s neck, clamping down and holding on. Jackson writhes, overwhelmed with the pain and the pleasure, and through it all Derek keeps fucking him.
Jackson is lolling, half-unconscious, when Derek nudges him onto his back. He can distantly feel Derek’s come sliding out of him, though he can’t really remember Derek coming. Derek is licking the blood off of his neck with wide, even strokes; the bite has already healed to shiny scar tissue, and even that will fade.
“Good boy,” Derek says. His voice is smug. Blearily, pleased, Jackson smiles.
On Remembrance Day, Jackson almost doesn’t go to school. He only goes because Derek specifically tells him to. Scott is conspicuously absent, as is Allison, but Scott doesn’t have an alpha to tell him what to do, and Allison is human. Her father probably resents this day with every fiber of his being.
In the school-wide assembly, some speaker drones on about acceptance and tolerance, and Jackson wants to stand and remind her how easily she could have her throat removed. Danny, to his right, shoots him a warning glance. Stiles is sitting to his left, and has been quiet all morning.
“Spit it out,” Jackson mutters, nudging Stiles with his shoulder.
“I was just – would you really do anything Derek told you to?”
“Who said that?” Jackson curls his lip away from his teeth, half grimace and half growl.
“Who do you think? Lydia.”
The two of them have been hanging out, if that’s what you want to call the casually fucking, and Jackson suddenly wonders what else Lydia might have told Stiles.
“Maybe,” Jackson says, in answer to the question. Anyone who knows him well would know that a maybe is just the yes that he can’t admit to, but Jackson isn’t sure that Stiles has figured that out yet.
“Hm,” Stiles says. “What about if he told you to kill someone?”
“He wouldn’t,” Jackson says, though he’s privately not sure of that.
“But if he did.”
“He wouldn’t, Stiles, leave it.” Jackson slumps down in his seat, and doesn’t think about the yes that he knows is there but that he won’t say.
“You just need someone to belong to,” Derek says, and threads one hand into Jackson’s hair. The door to Derek’s room is open, but the rest of the pack isn’t here. Jackson is caught between grateful and beyond caring. He’s kneeling in front of Derek, mouth slack and open and waiting. The way Derek had told him to. “The wolf made it worse, maybe, but deep down, inside? You were always like this. Always pushing to prove yourself, making yourself indispensible. That way, no one else would leave you. No one else wouldn’t want you.”
Jackson is naked. The air is cool on his bare skin, brushing over him, and he fights down a shiver. Derek strips off his jeans in quick, economical movements, and Jackson watches with rapt attention. Derek is hard, and he winds his fingers into Jackson’s hair, tugging him forward, feeding Jackson his dick. He doesn’t stop until he’s nestled all the way in Jackson’s throat. Jackson struggles, choking, just a little, but Derek’s hand on the back of his head makes him shudder, and then still. Derek’s thumb strokes over his hairline, right at the top of his neck.
“But I won’t leave you, Jackson. You belong to me; you’re my pack, my mate, mine. I take care of the things that belong to me.”
Derek starts to thrust, slow and careful. Jackson swallows around Derek’s cock, and tries to make it good. His mouth must be swollen, and his back is stiff, and he won’t move.
“How does that sound, Jackson?”
Jackson moan is muffled. He’s harder than he can ever remember being, but somehow slightly detached from it. He thinks that he should be embarrassed, humiliated, but he isn’t. Maybe he will be, later.
When Derek’s thrusts start to go erratic, Derek slides his hand from Jackson’s hair down across his face. He pinches his fingers over Jackson’s nose, cutting off Jackson’s airflow even as he pushes his cock deeper into Jackson’s throat. Jackson can’t breathe, he’s choking, suffocating, and he struggles again, weakly, but Derek will always be stronger than him. Derek starts to come down his throat, and Jackson has little choice but to swallow, vision whiting out at the edges and then going grey. He can feel a roiling pleasure rippling up through him, sparking and flashing like a summer thunderstorm. It’s only when Derek pulls out and away and Jackson’s vision slowly colors back in that Jackson realizes that he’s come, splattered over his thighs and stomach. Derek touches his jaw, fingers almost gentle. Jackson is floating; it takes more than a little help from Derek to get him to his feet.
“Let’s get you cleaned up,” Derek says.
Jackson is soaked in rain and blood when he gets back. He leaves his last dead rabbit on the front stoop. The house still smells like burned wood and meat, but there’s greenery and rain mixed through today, puddles of water on the floor where the roof is leaking. Derek is fixing it a little at a time, but it’s slow going; he doesn’t really want help.
“Good hunting?” Derek appears at the top of the stairs, rubbing his hand through his hair. Jackson wonders if he was sleeping.
“Some,” Jackson says. “Wasn’t trying for much.” He holds out his bloodied hands for Derek to see, and Derek nods, face somewhere between stoic and pleased. It’s hard to tell, sometimes, with Derek, but Jackson is getting better at it.
Jackson hasn’t slept at his parents’ house in months. He comes back smelling all wrong, smelling human, and Derek can’t stand it. It makes him territorial. Last time, he’d fucked Jackson in the entranceway and made him skip school the next day. Jackson hadn’t exactly minded, but he’d gotten splinters in the palms of his hands, and doesn’t make a habit of pissing Derek off.
“Come upstairs and take off your clothes,” Derek says, nonchalant, and turns away. “You’re soaked through.”
It’s an innocuous enough statement, but Jackson still can’t help the way his breath catches. Derek laughs as he walks back into his room.
This is not where Jackson thought he’d be six months ago.
When Derek runs, some part of Jackson wants nothing else but to follow. The moon is coursing through his veins. Derek howls. The town will hear, and they’ll know what it is – maybe they’ll even know who it is – and it will remind them that there are things in the dark that can hurt them. Things they are never entirely safe from.
Jackson has never killed a human, but he would. If Derek declared them prey, he would.
Their paws thud against the dirt, and the moon sinks behind the treetops but Jackson can still feel it. Derek howls into the night, and Jackson follows.