He’s never hated Jackson. Sure, he got frustrated by his nastiness, was jealous of his face and Porsche and athletic talent, was, at one point, even intimidated by the other teen’s presence, but he couldn’t . . . He could never really see him as the antichrist that Stiles had always painted him to be. It wasn’t from lack of trying, though. Sometimes he would just look at Jackson, would try to glare at him, would try to obey the mantra of hatehimhatehimhatehim scrolling through his head.
Then, blue eyes would meet his and Scott would have to grab his inhaler.
The hate would never come. There was only this—this weird feeling, like his stomach had dropped ten stories to the cement below. Even after he received the bite, after Jackson turned into a giant lizard—With a tail! A real tail!—the feeling never really went away. It only changed the height it fell from. It wasn’t like it was love or anything—it wasn’t even affection—but, Scott couldn’t help but feel something. Like he understood something about him that Stiles—anyone—couldn’t quite see.
Even before he got all the cool werewolf senses and shit, Scott thinks that he saw the lost look in Jackson’s eyes. He didn’t have a word for it then, but somehow he always knew. He just had no idea what to do about it. But, when the kanima thing happens and they’ve got Jackson locked in the truck, it just hits him.
“If we can save him, we should try.”
He remembers the torn twist of Allison’s frown, the frustrated disbelief of Stiles’ flailed arms. A part of Scott frowned at the idea as well, but Scott kept his head high, his jaw firm. Because it felt like the right thing to do. Because if it had been Scott in that truck—and, at one point, it very well could have been—he would like to think that someone would do the same for him, give him the benefit of a doubt. Believe that he can be helped before they abandon him completely.
It gets difficult, though, Scott admits. After the library, the concert, Lydia’s party, the police station . . . Believing in Jackson—forgiving him—becomes more and more difficult, nearing impossible when the kanima’s got his mother on the ceiling, holding her by his tail alone. It’s not his fault, he reminds himself, remembering Gerard’s calm, cruel threats. This is not Jackson’s fault; Jackson didn’t choose this, he didn’t. He just—just—
Oh. Oh, he’s dead. He’s—he’s—he’s dead.
Scott knew that this could happen, knew that—that someone could die, that it might even have been inevitable. He just never thought . . . It just hits so close to home, you know? It’s not like he just knew Jackson; he knew Jackson. He, in his own, confusing way, understood Jackson. There might have been moments, usually on the field in the heat of the game, that Scott thought that he could have really liked Jackson, if only either of them had taken the time or the effort.
But, now he’s dead, lying in that casket in some expensive suit. He’d look alive, Scott thinks, like he was just sleeping if they hadn’t made his face so rosy, because his freckles look non-existent when he approaches to pay his respects. They were more pronounced from what he remembers, though it seems like it’s been ages since Jackson had shoved so close into his personal space, had spat some sort of insult with fierce eyes.
He remembers how that used to scare him, frustrate him. He didn’t think that he’d ever miss it.
Lydia is crying unabashedly somewhere behind him, no longer trying to pretend she’s put together. He envies her in a way.
Scott looks down at Jackson, licks his lips. “I wished I knew you like she did,” he finds himself saying, the words leaving unbidden. “I wish that—that I knew your favorite movie or your favorite ice cream flavor. I—” He huffs a painfully empty laugh, scratches his nose. “I wish that you had let me in. That you felt like you could let me in.”
His vision’s blurring and his eyes are burning, why are they burning—
“I’ll miss you,” he croaks, because even though he wasn’t close to Jackson, not as close as he would have liked, there’s still this Jackson-shaped hole in him. Some part of Scott he didn’t even knew existed is gone now, unrecoverable, and he just knows the loss is going to claw at him. If not forever, then for a very, very, very long time.
So, he lets the tears fall, his tears for Jackson, and he wonders if one day he’ll be forgiven, if he’ll be able to forgive himself.