The first time Danny noticed Isaac was on the lacrosse field. Being goalie was an important position, one that Danny loved, but it left some down time during practices when the coach was busy screaming at the kids out on the field. They were approaching the first big game of the season and the coach was having an epic meltdown about the inability of certain players to work with each other instead of actively working against each other. Danny couldn't help but roll his eyes safe from view in his helmet and he watched with a small amount of amusement as almost every player on the field, Jackson and McCall included, cringed and shifted away from their ranting coach.
Almost every player, the exception being the guy standing near the end of the line with his shoulders still straight. Even though his helmet was facing the coach, Danny could tell that number 14 was barely paying attention and could probably care less about the swearing and screaming man barely ten paces from him. Danny was a little bit impressed, it took a lot of guts not to instinctively pull away from the coach when he became slightly unhinged, and on the walk back to the locker room Danny hung back to watch as 14 took off his helmet. It took a moment for him to decide if he had ever known his name at all, the guy didn't ever talk much to anyone, but when 14 glanced back over his shoulder to look out at the field Danny suddenly remembered; Isaac Lahey.
After that Danny found himself watching Isaac more, just a glance in the hallway or in chemistry class, but he never found the opportunity to talk to him. Isaac seemed to go out of his way to ensure that no one had a chance to approach him and Danny could read signals well enough. He wasn't going to bother someone who had made it so obvious that they didn't want to be bothered.
Danny was content watching from afar, never quite approaching the invisible bubble of silence and anger that surrounded Isaac, and then most of the year was gone and it was the first week of April - time to change lab partners in chemistry class for the last quarter of the school year.
"Lahey and Mahealani," Mr. Harris read, continuing down his list without looking up as people stood to move to different work stations.
The girl Isaac had been partnered with last, Erica Reyes, slid from her stool and Danny, not entirely regretful, abandoned his place across from Jackson and went to sit next to Isaac.
"Hey," Danny said, quietly enough that they wouldn't get in trouble for talking during class while the rest of the students were being paired off.
Isaac looked at him, gray eyes meeting his for one surprisingly intense moment, and then Isaac turned back to where he was using a pen to make vicious marks in the margins of his notebook. "Hey," Isaac finally said, just before Mr. Harris called the class back to attention.
It was a start, Danny figured, though he kind of guessed that he was going to be the one carrying their lab projects for the rest of the year. Jackson, Lydia, and Stiles - his lab partners from the previous three quarters - were all highly motivated to get into good universities and their grades were impeccable. Danny may have once or twice glanced at papers returned to Isaac during class and his grades weren't exactly encouraging. Danny shrugged to himself as he started to copy down the notes for their first lab project; he didn't mind doing most of the work himself and maybe he could get to know Isaac a little better in the process. It didn't escape his notice that Isaac didn't bother to make any notes before the bell rang and then disappeared before Danny could say anything at all.
"Do we want to work in the library?" Danny asked. He'd managed to engage Isaac in conversation on the walk back to the locker room after lacrosse practice because it was one place where Isaac couldn't easily disappear. "Or we could go to my place or your place, it would probably be quieter."
Isaac glanced at him, his gaze steely. "I don't exactly have a place right now."
Danny considered that for a moment. He'd known that Isaac's father had died earlier in the year, everyone knew that, but he hadn't given much thought about what had happened to Isaac after that. He had figured that Isaac had continued to live with his mom, or if that wasn't an option, that he'd stayed with relatives or even with friends of his family. "So, my place?" he asked, not wanting to have that conversation when they were surrounded by half of the team.
"I guess," Isaac said, his lacrosse pads rising and falling with a shrug.
They agreed to meet at Danny's home in an hour and when Danny walked out in the parking lot, Jackson unusually quiet at his side, he paused for a moment to watch Isaac tear down the street on his bike. For half a second he had thought that Isaac was riding a motorcycle, the leather jacket he'd started wearing a few months back would make sense for that, but as Isaac turned the corner he could see the slim frame of bicycle with Isaac's legs almost moving too fast to be seen. No wonder Isaac could almost fly across the field if he could move like that.
"See you tomorrow," Danny said to Jackson, getting an absent nod in return. Danny shook his head and climbed into his car - eventually he would have to figure out what was up with Jackson, even though Jackson had been acting slightly more like himself lately than he had all winter.
An hour later he heard a knock on the front door and went to answer, a little bit surprised that Isaac had actually shown up. He offered Isaac something to eat and drink, was turned down on both, and then led the way up to his bedroom so they could use his desktop with the 27 inch display rather than his laptop. Isaac followed silently and perched on the second chair at Danny's desk.
Danny set his notebook with their lab results on the desk and considered Isaac for a moment. Isaac had been surprisingly helpful during the actual lab, though mostly in the capacity of an assistant rather than in the organization and interpretation of their results. It was more than Danny had expected and he watched the anxious drum of Isaac's fingers on the chair arm. "Why don't you read me the results while I type?" he finally suggested. "I'll tell you what I'm thinking for our interpretation and conclusion sections and you can change or add to it."
Isaac nodded and accepted Danny's notebook, reading the results out loud slowly enough that Danny could keep up and still adjust the formatting when necessary. Isaac looked frequently to the door and didn't relax from the edge of the chair, not even when an hour had gone by and Danny was finishing up the concluding paragraph.
Some of the guys at school were a little bit weird about Danny's status as one of the four out guys at Beacon Hills High. Nothing overt, nothing harassing, but they didn't sit near Danny if given a choice and were ridiculously careful not to even touch Danny if they were assigned to the same group in a class, like they thought that gay was a communicable disease or something. Danny didn't think Isaac was like that, he hadn't minded when they brushed up against each other at the lab station and didn't avert his eyes when they were all changing after lacrosse practice, but he couldn't figure out why Isaac was so on edge if it wasn't the gay issue.
The front door slammed shut and Danny glanced at the time - just after six and about time for dinner.
"Danny, you home?" his dad called. His dad was one of those people who could shout and be heard for what seemed like miles and he often put it to use when he didn't want to go upstairs to find someone.
Danny got up and walked over to his bedroom door. "Finishing homework, I'll be done in a few minutes," he shouted back, aiming his voice down the hallway so his dad would hear. He turned back to ask Isaac if he wanted to stay for dinner - Danny's mom was working late so it would probably be barbecue or pizza and dad never minded an extra person at the dinner table - but he blinked when he found both of the chairs at his desk empty.
Danny scanned the room, his eyes flickering to his open window, and then he checked his closet and attached bathroom just in case. Both were empty and Danny walked over to the window with a growing sense of unease. Isaac's backpack was gone, Danny's notebook was on the chair, and the window was open. It seemed like a fairly straightforward explanation, except for the fact that Danny's bedroom was on the second level and it was a straight drop down into the backyard. He went downstairs, first looking out the front door to see that Isaac's bike was gone from where he'd left it near the garage, and then walking out into the backyard and finding a pair of footprints indented in the grass beneath his window.
"Everything alright?" his dad asked as Danny walked back around to the back porch.
Danny nodded absently as he watched his dad start up the grill. Suddenly being lab partners with Isaac was far more complicated than wondering if Isaac has a problem with gay guys.
A knock on the door let Danny know Isaac had arrived and he answered the door with his hands half occupied with the last of his lunch. He had just enough time to glimpse a giant black shape race by him and shout "Loki, no!" Danny turned away to set down his sandwich, on the top of the bookshelf where Loki couldn't eat it, and went back to the door with mental visions of Isaac broken on the sidewalk being licked to death.
Instead he found Isaac kneeling on the ground and petting Loki while Loki sat calmly without even licking Isaac, Loki's tail swishing back and forth on the ground the only indication of his excitement. Loki, Danny's brother's black lab from Hell, sitting quietly while Isaac pet him wasn't even the strangest thing he was seeing. Isaac had a huge grin on his face, his attention entirely on Loki and as relaxed and happy as Danny could ever recall seeing him. Everything changed about Isaac when he smiled, his face softened and he stopped holding his shoulders so tense, and he looked impossibly young. Danny couldn't help but smile as he watched, even as he recognized that his crush on Isaac was now in full force and wouldn't go away overnight.
"There you are," Nate said as he arrived in the doorway, his jeans dirty from where he'd probably been rolling around in the backyard with Loki.
Isaac looked up, noticeably more tense, but still more relaxed than he would have been ordinarily.
"Isaac, this is my older brother Nate and that is Loki," Danny said, turning to frown up at his older brother who was home for a three day weekend from UCLA. "Nate, this is my lab partner Isaac."
Nate just grinned and patted his leg, clearly unsurprised when Loki didn't leave Isaac's side. "It's a good thing you're a dog person because Loki hasn't taken to obedience training at all."
Isaac stood and patted Loki on the head. "Imagine he wouldn't, with a name like that."
Nate laughed and then took off running after Loki when Loki saw something - real or imagined - and darted through the neighbor's front yard.
"C'mon, let's get started," Danny said. They went up to his bedroom again and got to work, though Danny noticed that a hint of Isaac's earlier smile stayed until Isaac left an hour later.
After some careful probing and a few questions of the two people in school who actually seemed to hang out with Isaac on occasion, Danny decided that Isaac was probably not homophobic. Isaac wore a tough facade, which would have been enhanced by the leather jacket if the jacket wasn't a size to big for him and made him look kinda adorable instead, but it didn't take long for Danny to realize that facade was pretty easily cracked and that was when Isaac would get jittery and then flee.
Of course, not homophobic and okay with being kissed by a guy were totally different things. They'd been sitting at Danny's desk for over an hour now, this report particularly slow going as they both tried to make sense of their rather conflicting results. Danny wasn't entirely sure they did the lab right but neither of them can afford to miss lacrosse practice to do a make-up lab after school. Danny's eyes blurred a little as he stared at his own writing and tried to decide if it was a three or an eight he was looking at, and then looked over to where Isaac had his head bent over their textbook and his fingers gripped tightly in his hair.
Danny reacted without really thinking about it, his fingers cupping the back of Isaac's hand to pull them away from a grip that had to be hurting Isaac. It was something he would have done with Jackson, though Jackson favored digging his fingers into his thighs when he was in a self-destructive funk, and it wasn't until Isaac looked up with his eyes wide with surprise that Danny realized what he was doing.
"Sorry," Danny said, taking his hand away slowly.
Isaac lowered his own hand to his textbook and stared at Danny. "'sokay," he said, pulling his upper lip between his teeth.
"I'd really like to kiss you," Danny said, weighing the words in his mind before he spoke. It was a sentence that had gotten him punched in the face before and Isaac seemed like he could probably throw a pretty good punch when he wanted to, but Danny thought that he'd rather be open about it and get punched than keep staring at Isaac and making excuses for them to work on homework together while not knowing if he stood a chance.
"Okay," Isaac said, his quiet yet intense gaze not leaving Danny.
"Okay, as in you'd like me to kiss you?" Danny asked hopefully. It wasn't a punch in the face, so he was willing to be optimistic.
Isaac's jaw tightened but he nodded.
Danny leaned in and pressed his lips to Isaac's, bringing his hand up after a moment to cup Isaac's face before he moved back and opened his eyes to check Isaac's response. "How was that?" he asked, his entire body thrumming with anticipation.
The only answer Isaac gave was leaning back in for another kiss.
"I think it's going to rain," Isaac said, his head tipped back as he stared up at the scattering of clouds.
Danny looked up, vaguely recalling that the forecast had been for some clouds but not for rain. Which, knowing the accuracy of the forecast, probably meant that it was going to rain. "Want to run?" he asked.
Isaac adjusted the strap of his backpack and turned in the direction of Danny's house like he was mentally measuring the distance. "We might make it in time," he said blandly, but there was a small smile under the words like he wanted to run more than anything and was only restraining himself because Danny was there.
"Last one to the house has to finish the whole box of twizzlers," Danny said and took off without warning. He could hear Isaac's steps matching his as they ran through the streets, the clouds rolling in overhead casting the neighborhood in a strange, filtered light. Even though they were surrounded by houses it was mid-afternoon and the streets were empty, and for a few minutes as they ran it felt like everything was deserted and they were the last people on Earth. The clouds opened and a heavy spring rain started pouring down when they were only a block away from Danny's house.
They were both caught between laughing and gasping for breath as they raced up the steps to the front door and collapsed on the covered front porch. "Almost made it," Danny panted, running a hand through his wet hair as he sat up and untangled himself from his backpack.
Isaac shook his head vigorously, his hair spraying water over both of them, and Danny couldn't help but laugh again as he was reminded of Loki as a puppy racing from the bathtub into the living room to soak his parents with a full body shake. Danny knelt up and used both hands to smooth Isaac's wet curls away from his face.
"We should go get dry. Want to watch a movie or something?" Danny asked, unable to bring himself to break away from Isaac now that he was touching him.
"What about our French journals?" Isaac asked, referring to the journals that neither of them had kept up with over the semester and now they were writing dozen of entries to make it appear like they'd been doing the homework all along.
"We could put on French subtitles," Danny suggested, just to see Isaac smile at him. It worked and Danny grinned back helplessly.
It was early on a Thursday afternoon, they didn't have lacrosse practice because they were winding down in the post-season, and they were both sitting quietly on Danny's bed. Isaac had his French textbook open in his lap, ostensibly studying for the unit test tomorrow, but his fingers were absently tracing over the words instead of actually reading them and he hadn't turned a page for at least fifteen minutes. Danny had his laptop on his lap, an essay for Honors English half-finished and the novel he was working from resting open over one of his thighs. Their legs were tangled together, Isaac's legs bent over Danny's right leg and Danny's left leg resting over Isaac's left ankle.
"I love you," he said, the words spontaneously coming from his lips as he watched Isaac.
Isaac slowly looked up from his book and glanced at Danny like he wasn't sure Danny had actually said anything at all.
"Sorry," Danny said when Isaac just continued to stare at him. "I don't expect you to say it back or anything and I just, I didn't mean to say it but I do feel that way."
Isaac's mouth twisted with emotion, like even Isaac himself wasn't sure how he felt. "No one's said that to me since my mom died," he finally said. He was still looking at Danny but Danny got the idea that Isaac wasn't really seeing him at all.
Danny swallowed and closed his laptop, leaning over to put it and his book on the desk before he took the textbook from Isaac's lap and set that aside too. A few minutes later they were stretched flat on the bed, sides pressed together and legs and hands entwined, Danny feeling more at a loss with Isaac than he even did with Jackson. "I meant it," he said, not willing to take those words back when they were perfectly true.
Isaac nodded, his hair brushing against the side of Danny's face.
Later, when Isaac had gone off to wherever Isaac went in the evenings, Danny sat down at his computer and searched for 'Lahey' on the Beacon Hills news site. Most of the articles were about Isaac's father's death a few months ago but at the bottom of one of the articles he read that Rebecca Lahey had died a decade prior to her husband. When Danny was quiet at dinner that night, lost in unsettled thoughts, he could only half-smile at his mom and dad and assure them he was fine when they asked him if he was feeling alright and if everything was okay at school.
They got Chinese take-out and ate in front of the tv, mostly ignoring the generic action movie that Isaac had put in the dvd player for some background noise. The only time they looked away from each other was when there was a significant source of explosions or a really epic car chase, and even then by the end of the movie they were too busy exploring with hands and mouths to noticed it had finished. Danny pushed himself off of Isaac when the looping dvd menu music got to be too bothersome and knew that he was probably grinning like an idiot as he felt around in between the couch cushions for the tv remote. Isaac was smiling too, his lips red and his hair particularly wild, so Danny didn't mind so much when it took him a full minute to find the remote and turn off the tv.
"Want to go upstairs?" Danny asked as soon as they'd dumped the empty take-out containers on the kitchen counter.
Isaac ducked his head and his cheeks colored ever so slightly. "Yeah," he said, his eyes straying down to where he had been mouthing at Danny's neck only minutes earlier.
Danny grinned and pulled off his shirt, reveling in Isaac's appreciative stare for a moment before he turned and hurried up the stairs, secure in the knowledge that Isaac would follow. He didn't have to wait long, Isaac's arms encircling him before they even reached Danny's bedroom door and they stumbled to Danny's bed in an uncoordinated tangle of reaching limbs. Danny found himself on his back, Isaac's well-timed hand preventing him from banging his head against the wall, and they picked up where they had left off on the couch.
They'd been taking things pretty slow, or Danny thought so even though he wasn't really sure what qualified as fast or slow when it came to sex stuff. But more than a month of kissing and hands roaming over the top of clothing and Isaac stealing glances when Danny had his shirt off felt pretty slow to Danny. At the very least he'd like to see Isaac without a shirt at some point. Somehow Danny had never seen Isaac without a shirt despite all the time they'd spent on the lacrosse team together - he was starting to think that Isaac was secretly a ninja who used his superspeed only to change clothes and fly across the lacrosse field.
With this goal in mind Danny reached to Isaac's hips, leaving his hands there for a minute or two as Isaac knelt over him and resumed his fixation on Danny's neck and collarbone. Danny didn't mind that at all, it felt good and gave him the opportunity to press his face into Isaac's hair, and he slid his hands up and down Isaac's sides over his shirt before slipping his hands under to feel along Isaac's thinly muscled chest. Isaac was more built for speed than for brute strength and Danny decided that he found that pretty damn attractive when a lot of the guys at the clubs seemed dedicated to muscles that didn't necessarily suit their body type.
Isaac paused for a moment when Danny made it clear that he was pulling Isaac's shirt up but then moved his head and arms so that Danny could tug it the rest of the way off. Danny's room was mostly dark, he hadn't hit the light switch on the way in, but the lamppost on the street provided some illumination. Isaac leaned down again and they kissed, Danny resting his hands on Isaac's shoulders before he let one slip down over Isaac's back. He felt along the bumps of Isaac's spine and his eyes opened when his fingers ran over a thick line of skin that felt very different from the rest. Isaac's eyes opened too as he pulled back from the kiss and with the hand still resting on Isaac's neck Danny could feel Isaac's heartbeat speed up.
"Does that hurt?" Danny asked, leaving his hand below the line he'd just felt.
"Not anymore," Isaac said, his lips curving into the distant frown with which Danny was all too familiar.
Danny edged his hand back up and gently traced the line. It started about an inch away from Isaac's spine and ended just below his ribcage near the curve of his side. Scar tissue he realized belatedly. "What happened?" Danny asked because he'd promised himself that he was going to stop shying away from asking Isaac questions. He didn't usually keep that promise, not unless he had a reasonable segue, but he figured it was an obvious question for the moment.
Isaac lowered his weight to rest on Danny's thighs, sitting straight like a ghostly statue in the near dark of the room. "Two years ago I was struggling to get away when my dad was trying to put me in my freezer in the basement. I stumbled, fell back against the corner. I didn't even feel it at first, just this weird cold feeling down my back. I always thought blood should be warm, hot even, but it never feels like that."
It took Danny a moment to remember to breathe again, his chest burning as he silently gasped for air. He'd gotten the idea over the last month that Isaac hadn't had the best relationship with his dad but he'd figured that part of the avoidance was probably mourning. Danny was rarely ever so wrong-footed as when it came to predicting Isaac. He didn't know what to say, he couldn't remember what people were supposed to say when someone said something like that, so he sat up and pressed a kiss to Isaac's collarbone. His mouth was exactly at the right place when Isaac was straddling his lap and Isaac's whole body tensed and shook when Danny nipped gently with his teeth before he started to lick.
They settled back down on the bed, wrapping around each other like someone might try to pull them apart if they weren't close enough, and at some point in the night Danny couldn't keep his body from dropping into sleep. When he woke in the early morning, absently reaching for a blanket, he realized that Isaac had disappeared. He didn't see Isaac again until Monday, his messages to Isaac's cellphone going unanswered, but when Isaac tried to apologize Danny only gave a quick kiss to Isaac's temple and walked with him to his first class. After that Isaac very occasionally talked about his dad, uncertain bits and pieces like he was testing the waters with Danny, and Danny listened and sat close and wrapped his fingers through Isaac's so Isaac would have somewhere to put them instead of pulling at his hair. Danny hadn't known he could hurt this much just by listening.
Erica and Boyd followed, their stances not quite threatening when they came to a stop a few feet away from Danny, but the situation was unnerving nevertheless.
Before Danny could ask what was going on, Erica took a step forward and raised her chin like she had assessed him and found him lacking. "If you fuck with him, I will kill you," she said.
It should have been a preposterous statement, she was nearly half a foot shorter than he was and despite the leather jacket she still looked fairly delicate, but Danny got the strange impression that she probably could kill him if she really wanted. Danny understood that this conversation was about Isaac, which meant that someone had finally noticed that they were dating and it was now common knowledge, and he tried to decide if he was offended or freaked out. A combination of both, he thought as he nodded. "I won't hurt Isaac," he said, all the while wondering how Isaac had found friends like these.
"Good," Erica said. "Because if you do, I will kill you. And I don't mean that I'm going to make your life so miserable that you wish you were dead, I mean I'm going to tear you into pieces."
Danny leaned to the side to stare as Erica stalked away with her head held high. He looked at Boyd and raised his eyebrows, waiting for the other half of the threat.
"Isaac thinks you're a good guy," Boyd said, his posture more relaxed but his gaze was no less focused than Erica's had been. "Isaac doesn't always have the best judgement of what that means."
Danny raised his eyebrows, not entirely sure what Boyd meant but not liking the implications.
"You seem okay," Boyd continued with a slow nod.
"But if I mess with Isaac you're going to help Erica kill me," Danny filled in.
Boyd smiled. "Erica and I would be the least of your problems." He walked away, leaving Danny to shake his head in disbelief as he hurried to his class before the late bell rang. He slid into his seat just in time and spent the period haphazardly taking notes while he wondered what Isaac would say about his friends if Danny asked.
Two classes later Danny was sitting in Econ, minding his own business as usual, when Jackson dropped into the seat next to him. Danny glanced around, surprised when Lydia wasn't at his side. The pair had been practically inseparable since they'd gotten back together, though Jackson had been unusually quiet on the topic.
"Word is that you're dating Isaac Lahey," Jackson said, waiting like he had said something profound and wanted Danny's acknowledgement.
"Yes," Danny said, not understanding why Jackson seemed to think this was a big deal. Jackson had been one of the first people he had come out to and he had seemed to understand that being gay generally involved dating guys.
Jackson frowned like he had expected Danny's answer to be different. "Really?"
"Really," Danny said, glancing around and realizing that they had the covert attention of half the class. His last boyfriend had gone to a high school a town over and nobody at Beacon Hills High had seemed to take issue with him. "Is there a problem with that?"
"No," Jackson said, obviously meaning 'yes'. "I just don't know that it's a good idea. Isaac isn't exactly the most stable of guys, if you know what I mean."
Danny thought about the near-constant cloud of anger Isaac carried with him, the way Isaac would sometimes pull at his curls so hard they came out in small clumps, and how Isaac's most frequent escape route was out Danny's bedroom window. He thought about the things he only told Danny in choked whispers and about the things that he couldn't say at all. "We're dating," Danny said, meeting Jackson's gaze directly with a challenge in his eyes.
Jackson nodded. "Okay, you're dating. Have fun with that. And we are not double-dating because I get enough of this shit on a daily basis as it is."
Whatever that meant, Danny thought as he shook his head and looked up to the front of the classroom as the coach yelled at them to shut up because they only had two weeks left in school and they were driving him 'crazy-town-banana-pants'.
Six hours later, at home sitting down to dinner with his parents, the only thing Danny could think when his mom said "So, is there someone we should know about?" was that the Beacon Hills High rumor mill was frighteningly efficient.
"Yes?" Danny asked, because his parents probably should know about Isaac. Danny had never pressured Isaac to come downstairs or meet his parents, occasionally offering for him to come down for dinner just as a friend if he wanted, and knowing what he did now about Isaac's father he was glad he hadn't pushed.
"You know we'll be okay with whoever you bring home, right?" his dad said, smiling at Danny with concern in his eyes. "Even if he's a little older than you, we'd still like to meet him."
"He's not older than me, we're in the same grade," Danny said quickly, not wanting to know what speculation had been going through his parents minds. "He's just not ready yet, he's not exactly out."
Danny's mom nodded. "Well, tell him that we're the souls of discretion and we'd really like to get to know him. Or even just see him. Do we get a name at least?"
Danny looked down at his plate, using his fork to push around his cauliflower as he tried to decide what to do. "Isaac," he finally said. "Isaac Lahey."
"As in the boy whose father was murdered earlier in the year?" his dad asked, looking to Danny's mom with concern before he looked back at Danny.
"Yeah," Danny said, observing his mom out of the corner of his eye, his hopes that she wouldn't know who he was talking about disappearing at her carefully controlled expression. That was the face she wore when she didn't want Danny to see that she was sad or worried or upset. She liaised with Beacon Hill County for the local DAs Office and most of the big cases in Beacon Hills went through her at some level. She probably knew more about Isaac's situation than Danny did.
"I hadn't realized he was back at Beacon Hills High after his name was cleared," she said carefully.
Danny nodded. Isaac hadn't said much about the night his father was killed, he hadn't even said he hadn't done it, but Danny didn't think he could blame Isaac even if he had. "I like him, a lot," he said, his voice wavering ever so slightly.
"Okay, and that's good," his mom said, her hand reaching out to squeeze Danny's fingers. "Just, know that you can talk to us about anything if you need to, okay? And we'd still like to meet him, when Isaac's ready."
Danny excused himself from dinner not long after that, eavesdropping for a minute on his parents while they stayed at the kitchen table and then hurrying away when it became clear that they weren't going to talk about him and Isaac. He sat in front of his computer with his cellphone out, a blank text message waiting for him to find the words he wanted to send to Isaac. Finally he typed out: You okay?
A minute later Isaac texted back, Yeah. Now I'm Gay Guy #5 at BHHS. See you tomorrow?, and Danny rolled his eyes and replied before he climbed onto his bed so he could close his eyes and think for a minute.
His phone vibrated a moment later and Danny opened the text from Isaac and smiled at the words Isaac was still working up to saying aloud. Love you
He had sent a text earlier in the day, asking Isaac what his plans were and if they wanted to hang out, but there had been no response. That happened sometimes, though Danny wasn't sure if Isaac just temporarily lost his phone or turned it off or just didn't want to answer. Danny poked at his phone for a few minutes and then grabbed his wallet and car keys. He didn't know where Isaac hung out, he still didn't know where Isaac was living, but Beacon Hills wasn't that big of a town and if he drove around he might see someone who might know where Isaac was. It wasn't stalking, Danny told himself as he backed out of the driveway, he just wanted to know that Isaac was okay and that he still wanted to see him now that they weren't bound together by school.
The town was fairly quiet, it was well past rush hour on a Thursday night, and Danny was driving up the winding path toward the nearby nature preserve when something ran in front of his car. Danny swerved and pulled over on the side of the road, his hands clenching around the steering wheel as he reminded himself that he was okay and it was probably just a deer or something. He got out of the car, the near dusk surrounding him as he looked around and silently admitted defeat. Just as he was about to text Isaac again, a message to let him know he was missed that wasn't at all pathetic, he heard something in the woods that sounded strangely close by.
The sound came again and Danny frowned because it almost sounded like the howl of a wolf. Of course, there hadn't been wolves in this part of California for like, forty years or something, so it clearly wasn't a wolf. It just sounded like one. Danny pocketed his phone and decided that at this point only an idiot would go into the woods to see what was making the sound, so that was something he shouldn't do. He was about to give up and get back in his car when he heard a rustling sound in the nearby bushes and the only thing he could think was that only an idiot would stand there and let himself be mauled by a not-wolf, but he couldn't get his body to cooperate in running away.
"Danny?" a low voice asked from the bushes.
"Isaac?" Danny asked, because the voice sounded a lot like Isaac's but not quite the same.
A figure emerged from the bushes and even in the near dusk Danny could tell that something was wrong. He stepped forward, afraid but mostly afraid for Isaac rather than for himself.
"No!" Isaac growled. Actually growled.
Danny stopped but stared as he realized that Isaac's eyes were glowing, almost golden in color, that Isaac's ears were long and pointy, and that Isaac's fingers ended in claws. There was only one word that came to Danny's mind, one thing that fit however impossible it might be. Werewolf. "Isaac?"
"You can't be here, it's not safe. Go home, I'll come to you when it's over," Isaac said, the words not quite right as Isaac spoke through what looked like fangs. "If you want me to come over, still."
"I do," Danny said immediately, his mind starting to recover from the shock and racing through explanations and possibilities. He was immediately distracted by the presence of more glowing eyes in the nearby woods. There were five other pairs, three sets golden like Isaac's, one set red and one set blue. The one with blue eyes edged forward and Danny had a second to process the fact that it looked an awful lot like Jackson was a werewolf.
"Go," Isaac said, backing away. "Now!"
Danny moved back to his car, looking back once to watch the werewolf pack disappear into the woods. He climbed in the driver's seat, did a u-turn, and it was halfway back to his house when he shook his head and said to himself, "well that explains a lot." And it did, and it didn't, all at the same time.
At home he stuck his head in the living room to tell his parents he was in for the night and then went up to his bedroom to wait. He sat on his bed, his phone in his hand in case Isaac called, and he started to sort through every instance of when he had thought to himself 'well that was weird' in the last six months and pull out the common variables. By the time he heard a thump on the side of the house he'd concluded that the other werewolves he'd seen were probably Erica, Boyd, and Scott McCall. He wasn't sure on the identity of the sixth wolf, possibly Stiles Stilinski, Lydia Martin, or Allison Argent, but Danny figured that they were all probably involved in someway or another. Honestly, considering the players in the game, it was incredible the entire town didn't know about werewolves by now.
Isaac's hands appeared over the window ledge and a moment later his head poked up with an uncertain expression. His face was back to normal now, no glowing eyes or fangs to be seen. "You still want me to come in?" he asked, a dozen other questions all asked with those words.
"Yes," Danny said, meaning it for everything Isaac was asking.
Isaac climbed in and stood uncertainly near the window like he might have to make a quick escape. "So, uh," he said, his mouth twisting through worried and uncomfortable before it settled on anxious.
"Werewolves, huh?" Danny asked, approaching Isaac slowly with his hands open so his intent was clear.
"Yeah," Isaac said, a small laugh escaping as one hand came up to pull at the curls behind his ear.
Danny wrapped his hand over Isaac's and leaned in to kiss Isaac's cheek and then his mouth. It took a few moments before Isaac moved into the touch and dropped his hand down and twisted it around so he was gripping Danny's fingers. Isaac's other hand clung to Danny's shoulder and when Danny moved away from the kiss they stood huddled together for long minutes in silence.
"You, uh, probably have questions," Isaac finally said, seeming at least a little reassured when he stepped back so they could see each other better.
Danny smiled. "About a million, but they can wait."
"Wait for what?" Isaac asked.
"Until we're ready," Danny said, hoping that Isaac understood that he meant that about everything.
Isaac blinked, his hand tightening briefly on Danny's fingers. "Okay."
When Danny woke up in the early morning he didn't need to fumble for his blankets because Isaac was still next to him as they kept each other warm in the cool summer morning.