Stiles can’t look his father in the eye without feeling upset.
Most of the time, Stiles succeeds in convincing the sheriff that he’s fine, and then locks himself in his room to cry. What if the hallucination wasn’t just the guilt he felt or a dark fear? What if it was the truth being projected, revealed?
Jackson goes to school the next day, but his mind is blank – save for the things he saw at Lydia’s party. If you asked him who was there, he couldn’t even name more than two people. But if you asked what he saw, he could describe, down to the smell of his mother’s perfume, what his parents ‘looked’ like.
It keeps Jackson awake; makes him tired and unfocused in school; makes it harder for him to prove how good he is at lacrosse.
Stiles is afraid to approach Jackson, with him being a weird, unstable lizard creature, but he has a feeling it would do them a world of good to have a real talk.
Jackson agrees on the condition that Scott and Derek stay as far away as possible. Stiles promises they will be completely alone (even if that means his life will be in danger).
And they are.
They meet on the bleachers of the lacrosse field after everyone has gone home. Jackson is fidgety, quiet, avoiding Stiles’s gaze. You’d think Stiles is the one who blacks out and murders people. Stiles is uncharacteristically quiet, worried, uncomfortable. It stays silent for a moment longer until Jackson clears his throat.
“I saw my parents,” he starts, and Stiles’s heart sinks.
Then everything pours out of Jackson in one giant wave, leaving Stiles dumbfounded once Jackson stops speaking.
It’s the most Jackson has said to Stiles without adding a mean or rude comment somewhere along the way. Stiles can’t think of a way to console Jackson other than to share his horror story as well, starting from when his mom died in the accident.
Jackson can’t consolidate this deeply insecure teenager with the boisterous chatterbox version of Stiles. Likewise, Stiles can’t find the smug jock inside the confused, depressed Jackson sitting next to him.
Stiles reaches out and rubs Jackson’s back without thinking, and freezes as soon as his hand makes contact, thinking he’s crossed a line. Jackson’s eyes widen for a moment, but he schools his expression quickly, and offers Stiles one of the most genuine smiles Stiles has ever seen. And in that moment, just for a second, Stiles wonders if they can actually build a friendship from here. Maybe Jackson can remove the restraining order, and maybe the sheriff can get his job back…
“You’re not half bad, Stilinski,” Jackson says, slinging an arm around Stiles’s shoulders.
“I was just thinking that.” Stiles grins, moving in slightly closer.
And then they part ways.
Stiles doesn’t picture his mom dying in the hospital more than twice that night, and Jackson gets more than three hours of sleep.
It’s working. Talking about it is making it easier to deal with. So they meet again.
Until Danny asks Jackson if he’s being replaced with Stiles.
Jackson says no, easily, but he’s not sure actually.
This feels like a friendship – or maybe it’s something more. But what could Stilinski offer him that Danny can’t? Jackson is nothing if not thorough, so he spends more time with Stiles trying to figure out this enigma that’s begun.
Stiles solves it by leaning in one day, pressing his lips to Jackson’s, gentle and vulnerable. Both of their worlds turn upside down after that. Jackson doesn’t run away from the intimacy like he did with Lydia; he embraces it. Stiles doesn’t psychoanalyze this progression to death like he expected to; he enjoys it, lives in the moment.
Matt becomes Stiles’s number one priority. And Scott and Derek could not agree with Stiles more.
Once Jackson is free of his controller, Stiles won’t leave him alone, won’t let him go back to simply being the beloved co-captain; he will only hold on tighter to him, give him the keys to all his doors, and let him in completely. Something he never thought he could do with anyone besides Scott.
It’s something Stiles never thought he could want to offer Jackson. But life has a crazy way of deciding your fate for you.