"I can't believe you never told me," Danny says, marching up to Jackson in the school parking lot to jab a finger in his chest.
Jackson freezes, his heart kicking into overdrive. He's pretty sure he's got that deer-in-the-headlights look on his face, but he doesn't even care because Danny knows. "I--" he starts, but Danny cuts him off with a quick jerk of the head.
"Whatever bullshit you are about to spew, save it." His eyes narrow and he crosses his arms over his chest. "I'm supposed to be your best friend, Jackson. You're supposed to come to me with things like this. Dude, it's not like I don't have any experience with it."
Jackson swallows, hard. "I didn't tell you because I," his voice trails off and he shakes his head, not able to get the words out. He didn't tell because he didn't want to be one of those guys, the ones that stare at Danny with hungry eyes, desperation and longing clinging to them, trailing through the air in their wake like smoke after a forest fire.
"If you say that you didn't tell me because you didn't think I would still be your friend, I swear to god," Danny's voice has a hard edge to it and Jackson shakes his head because no. He didn't think that. He never thought that. Of course Danny will still be his friend. That's kind of what keeps him up at night, the thought of Danny actually knowing and still wanting to just be friends. "Then why?" Danny gives him a concerned look. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't tell anyone," Jackson offers like that's some sort of consolation prize.
Danny snorts. "Yeah, but I'm not anyone, Jackson."
"Things were complicated, okay?" Jackson snaps back, feeling panicky and defensive. "Besides, you already had enough drama in your life with the shit your stupid ass ex pulled. You didn't need me adding to your problems."
Danny scowls at him. "This is the part where I point out to you A: best friends and B: experience. Don't you remember Ender and Bean?"
Jackson feels his brow furrow. "Ender and Bean? Yeah, sure, I remember them. Nasty little fuckers always tried to bite my fingers. But what does that have to do with anything?"
"Iguanas are herbivores, dumbass. They weren't trying to bite you. And, hi. Iguanas are lizards. Sound familiar?" Danny makes that face he makes when he thinks Jackson is being purposefully obtuse. "I was good with them, made sure they had a nice terrarium full of healthy things to eat and comfy rocks to laze about on. I kept them healthy and well taken care of for seven years. Would still be taking care of them if I hadn't let my cousin lizard sit them when my parents dragged me on that stupid road trip last summer."
"Yeah, yeah, I heard it before. Kevin is a douche who couldn't count to twenty with his shoes on." Jackson rolls his eyes. "Still don't see how the tragic death of your pet lizards has anything to do with me being in you know with you."
"What!" Danny's eyes just about pop out of his head.
Jackson gives him his best bitch face. "What do you mean 'what?' I thought you said you knew."
"Dude. I meant about you being a freaky werelizard thing with daddy issues. No one said anything about love." Danny's voice goes high and uncomfortable on the last word, his eyes skitter away and Jackson's heart sinks so far it might as well learn Mandarin.
"Whatever," he says, his tone belligerent. "I've got somewhere I've got to be." He pulls his keys out of his pocket and thumbs the unlock button.
"No!" Danny reaches out, catches hold of Jackson's arm. "Hey, look at me," he says, his voice gentle. Jackson clenches his jaw and keeps his eyes firmly averted. "Jackson." Danny's fingers tighten. "Come on, don't do this. Look at me, man. I'm right here. I'm not going anywhere. You're still my Jackson. You'll always be my Jackson. Maybe just now I'll be yours too. If you want me."
Jackson bites down hard on his lower lip, squeezing his eyes shut at the hopeful note in Danny's voice. He sucks in a breath, opens his eyes, and then turns his head so that he is looking at Danny. Danny's got a hopeful expression on his face to match that hopeful note in his voice, his eyes are soft and that half smile of his is in place. Jackson's heart starts working overtime again, beating so fast and so loud that Jackson can't believe that Danny can't hear it. "Of course I want you," Jackson grumbles, because that's easier that trying to put words to the feeling bubbling up inside of him.
"Good," Danny says, his voice quite. "Good." Then he is stepping closer, angling his head, and pressing his lips against Jackson's. It's just a quick press of mouths, not sexual at all really, but it moves Jackson like nothing he's done before. His breath hitches and he makes a sound that Danny must like, if his smug expression is anything to go off of. "Now, like I was saying, I'm the resident expert on all things lizard related, so if you find yourself craving some crunchy leaves or a warm rock to sun on, let me know. I will hook you up good."
Jackson snarls at him. "You know I'm not a kanima any more, right? And, even if I was, kanima does not equal lizard, dude. Do your research."
"Sounds like someone just needs a nice warm terrarium," Danny teases, "and maybe a cricket or two."
"I will bite you," Jackson tells him, pulling back his lips to show to his teeth.
Danny's eyes go dark and his heartbeat picks up. "Promises, promise."
Jackson rolls his eyes. "Get in, loser," he says, tugging his door open and looking pointedly at Danny.
"Alright, Regina," Danny says, flashing a dimple. "But only if we can swing by the pet store first. I know a good little lizard who needs a treat."