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Blood and Ozone

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The knocking on his door felt a hundred miles away but for some cruel reason Stiles could still hear it beating on the back of his skull. He could hear his friends calling him, but only distantly, as he was trying his hardest to be anywhere but here.

He was done, so utterly and completely done with everything. He didn’t want to think about the people behind the door, his friends, knocking at his subconscious and begging to be let in. They didn’t seem to notice that they were standing in an empty train station, the Stiles Subway had already departed and the conductor was shit faced drunk. But then again his friends didn’t notice much, which was what landed them here in the first place.

Stiles threw a frustrated glare at his bedroom door, willing them away with all his might. He didn’t want to see them, he didn’t want to see anyone at all. He just wanted to sit in his corner, in the dark, and fade into the black abyss of pain he was feeling.

Scott’s voice was becoming increasingly frantic on the other side of the door. Stiles was able to recognize the motherly tone to the worry in his friend’s voice, though he was unsure how, because he hadn’t a mother to worry over him for quite some time now. Obviously he heard the worry from his father’s voice, and rightfully so. Stiles was a constant source of worry and regret, not only did the Sheriff have to look after the kid, but he had to look at him every day and see his dead wife’s eyes staring back at him.

“Stiles, Derek is going to break the door down if you don’t open it.” Lydia said sounding mildly annoyed, like Scott had dragged her here after the fifth unanswered call. He probably had.

“I’ll open the door.” He said loudly, not liking the way his voice cracked but not caring all that much at this point. “If you can tell me what today is.”

He let his head lul back to hit the wall with a small thud, he knew they had no idea what today was, he didn’t blame them anymore, but he would have his petty anger, he deserved that much. The silence lasted and Stiles could just imagine the confused looks of the people standing outside of the door, they didn’t know Stiles’ favorite color. Let alone what would cause him to run out of class and have a panic attack the minute he got into his car.

“It’s Stiles has a major freak out day?” Jackson guessed, he could hear the sharp sound of flesh hitting flesh and Jackson hissing out. “It’s not like I’m not right. He has a low level break down once a week.”

In a second of rage Stiles was standing in-front of his bedroom door breathing hard, he had every intention of throwing the door open and beating Jackson within an inch of his life but that would get him nowhere. He had the door knob in a vice like grip and he took a-none to calming breath before opening the door. He was going to keep his calm in the face of this, despite the fact that he knew his actual face was red and blotchy.

He opened the door to see everyone standing there. Scott and Allison in front wearing matching faces of worry, Lydia and Isaac looking bored, like they had better things to be doing right now. Like Stiles was a small child that they had to put to bed before they got to go out and party. Derek and Jackson looked pissed at having to be anywhere near Stiles, let alone in his actual house. They looked disgusted, which made Stiles fucking furious.

“My mother died today.” He told them, his voice hoarse and sticky with pain and barely contained rage. “Seven years ago she died.” He felt a sick sense of victory at the shocked and chagrined look on their faces at his words, but he was immediately hit with a wave of disgust when the looks on their faces switched to pity. Stiles abhorred pity, it made his insides turn, made his blood burn like fire in his very veins. He huffed out a humorless laugh and went to close the door.

“Stiles.” Derek called out, Stiles looked back at him, already bored and borderline irritated with the conversation. He could tell that he was done with the tears for today, he had a bottle of Jack under his bed and he needed a shot.

“What Derek?”

It looked like Derek didn’t have an answer to his question so Isaac spoke up. “Why didn’t you tell us?”

Stiles took a sharp, deep breath to let out his anger. “Aside from the fact that none of you asked, the fact that none of you wouldn’t have cared? I assumed that Scott had mentioned it, but you know what they say about assuming.” Stiles met Scott’s guilty face with a cold look. “It makes an ass out of you and me.”

Scott actually whimpered.

“Besides, you all have your own problems to deal with.” He cast a look at Derek before looking away quickly. “Your own deaths to mourn, demons to drown,” he shrugged.

“That you help us with!” Scott said, his voice taking on the whiny puppy dog quality that made Stiles grind his teeth. “You help us with anything, almost no questions asked and you deal with it, you never judge us or make us feel weak.”

Stile shrugged but Scott barreled on. “Remember when I first turned, all that time ago, and you helped me through the panic attack I had in the middle of class. You took me to the bathroom and talked me down.”

“The only reason I knew how to help was because I have so many of my own Scott.” Stiles felt so tired all of a sudden. “I’ve got so much going on in my head, so much repressed shit flowing through here constantly. I’d give everything not to have to live with my mind, with my memories.”

“What are you talking about Stilinski?” Jackson asked, the pity from earlier replaces with light irritation and boredom. “We all have memories.”

“And tell me Jackson.” Stiles said, his voice a mix between bitchy and righteously indignant. “What exactly are my memories? What kind of guilt am I carrying around in the back of my mind?" He took a step forward his gaze stuck on Jackson and his stupidly passive face. “Do you know what I remember? I remember that dick of a mechanic trying to scream as he was crushed to death under my car after you paralyzed him. I remember knowing that I was going to die next and I knew I would never see my dad again, because you were going to kill me. I remember Matt walking towards my dad with a gun, and I remember hoping that Scott would protect him.” He took a deep breath and kept going, the words spewing out of his as Jackson grew more and more uncomfortable “but Matt was also threatening his mom and I know if it came to a choice, he’d choose her. And I couldn’t blame him because I’d choose my dad first, I’d kill anyone and everyone to keep my dad safe but most of all I remember feeling useless because I. Couldn’t. Fucking. Move.”

He stepped forward again and was struck with that same sense of victory, a vicious feeling of twisted glee, when the entire group moved back. “You don’t remember the time as the kanima do you? When you were Matt’s bitch, you don’t remember all the people you killed. All the blood you spilled while you were busy tearing Lydia’s heart to pieces. What it looked like when you were covered in blood and ripping your claws threw someone. Sure, you’ve been told what happened but it’s not like there’s anything to haunt your dreams.” Stiles said dryly, he knew he won when Jackson avoided his eyes. “The monsters that haunt my mind are so much worse than anything lurking in the woods.”

“You should have said something.” Derek's normally gruff voice was soft and caring and sounded nothing like the Derek that Stiles was used to. He knew it was supposed to be comforting, instead it just pissed him off.

“Have you?” Stiles sneered, turning his gaze on Derek. “How many times have you woken up screaming, covered in sweat and tears, telling yourself if you’d just gotten there faster, that you could have saved Laura? Saved your family?” He felt no victory at Derek’s flinch, he just felt hollow. “How often are you out in public and you have to bite your lip until your teeth connect because a flash of blond hair caught your eye? How often do you have to dig your fingers in your palms because you’re hit with a sudden rush of guilt for not saving them? With the pain of knowing that you are well and truly alone.” Stiles knew he’s crossed a line when Derek’s eyes started glowing red while he glared at him silently. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. “Except for Peter of course, the only Hale that cared about his pack that he was willing to kill to avenge them, Peter did what needed to be done. You just turned tail and ran from the fire that sounded like Kate Argent moaning your name.”

“Stiles stop it.” Allison said, her eyes watering but her face more or less composed “You’re being cruel.”

Stiles rolled his eyes hard. “Literally shut up Allison, you’re already half a psychopath as it is.”

“Stiles-” Scott warned, ready to defend his girlfriend against his best friend.

“Oh please Scott spare me the details. You’re relationship with Allison is just as twisted and fucked up as this new thing you have going on with Isaac.”

Isaac’s eyes widened and his hand went to his scarf quickly. Scott simply sputtered, looking between Allison, Isaac and Stiles with wide guilty eyes.

“That’s why Isaac's suddenly developed an affinity for scarves in sixty degree weather. Scott shares my oral fixation, and everyone knows that marks from an Alpha heal slowly.”

He didn’t need to say anymore, the blush on Isaac’s face and the betrayed look on Allison’s spoke volumes in regards to Scott’s ‘I am in deep shit’ look. But he wasn’t, not really. Allison would either dump his ass flat or get with the program. Either way Scott has someone with him while Stiles passed the time in his room alone.

“Enough Stiles.” Lydia stood high, any look of pity or sadness that was once on her face had disappeared around the time Stiles had started to verbally slay Jackson. “Your mother is dead and we’re sorry but we’re your friends now and you are not going to treat us this way.”

Stiles chuckled “Oh Lydia. Dear, sweet, beautiful, Lydia.” She flinched because this was not Stiles’ ‘Shall I compare thee to a summers day’ voice. “Darling Lydia, with no time for anyone’s trauma, especially her own. We are not friends," He told her sternly "we are two people thrown together by circumstance and forced to work together to save lives. Did you think your little speech in the woods about me being smart would patch up over eight years of verbal abuse and ignoring my very existence? Or did you forget about that when you needed me to save your life? When you needed me to save your boyfriend?”

Lydia flinched at his words but held her position, she had nothing to say but she wouldn't have it be said that she backed down from anyone.

“Friends.” Stiles scoffed, moving back so he could lean on his door frame and take in the group of near strangers standing in his door way. “Some friends you are, I spend all my time around you people and you never noticed anything, you never ask any questions about me. Never ask f I’m okay.” He took a pause, thinking about his next words, before deciding to go for shock factor and spill all his secrets at once. “Derek.”

The older werewolf looked surprised and slightly pissed off about being singled out by Stiles, but he nodded to show that he was paying attention.

“What do I smell like?”

“Anger.” He started. “Medication, ozone, and” his nose scrunched up. “Blood. You always seem to smell like blood.”

“Yeah well.” He figured if he was going to do the whole dramatic reveal thing he might as well go the whole way. He pulled his sleeve up to show his scars, but more alarming than that he showed his new cuts. Fresh welts and gashes that flaked with barely dried blood littered the inside of his wrist. Isaac let out a soft curse and Scott made an aborted movement forward, Jackson grabbed him before he could reach Stiles, knowing that Stiles would sooner throw Scott against a wall right now than be comforted by him. “Turns out I’m one of those desperate kids that cuts themselves for attention that Lydia hates so much.” Stiles pulled his sleeve down.

“Stiles…” Scott started.

“That’s not even my real name.” Stiles snapped. “You’ve known me my whole life and you don’t even know my real name. None of you do.”

“We never asked.” Derek mumbled.

Stiles winked, but there was no banter behind it. “Now you’re starting to get it.”

Derek looked like he wish he hadn’t said anything at all.

“Well now if you’ll excuse me I have a bottle of Tequila in the freezer that I need to consume quickly and all at once.”

“Drink water in-between so you don’t get sick.” Jackson mumbled, his air of arrogance gone.

Stiles winked at him and pointed. “Thanks.”

“Is this as bad as it gets for you?” He asked suddenly, ignoring the glares of the others. “Cutting and binge drinking? That’s your rock bottom?”

“I smoke too.” Stiles shrugged “But It’s the pretending that really gets to you. Drains me dry and makes me feel like this hollow, empty thing.”

“Pretending?” Derek asked.

“Yeah.” Stiles said closing his door behind him and pushing past the group at his door way. “Pretending that all this hurt, doesn’t hurt at all.”

 

Chapter Text

 

 

Things were different after that, they weren’t better, they certainly weren’t worse. Things were just, simply, different.

Lydia and Scott had made it so Stiles was never alone, in every class he had his own supernatural watch dog. Sometimes they spoke with him, sometimes they just watched him. Either way Stiles didn’t really mind. He was still the same hyperactive kid he had always been, the pack just knew him a little better now. Worried about him a bit more, so he made sure there was nothing from them to worry about.

So of course it happened again.

The pack had taken up a bad habit of crashing into Stiles’ room whenever they pleased. He was usually just doing homework, eating, watching TV, and one time jacking off, though he had taken to doing that in the bathroom now. It wasn’t like he was going to stop seeing as he was a fully functional teenage boy surrounded by a never ending parade of shirtless toned men. But that’s beside the point, the point is that Stiles didn’t even bother to lock his window anymore, and that’s how he got caught.

Now Stiles was prone to acting without thinking but this time he didn’t run out of a classroom with half of his pack in it. No, this time it was all Scott's fault. Derek would have never showed up in Stiles’ room if he didn’t need advice on what to get the cheery little pup for Christmas.

It was a pretty normal day, werewolves aside. The threat of rain on the horizon, a chill in the air that didn’t bother Derek in the slightest. Nothing really bothered Derek anymore, nothing outside of pack business.

Thought the all too familiar smell of blood, ozone, and pot smoke pouring from Stiles’ bedroom was a bit of a red flag in the bother book. He jumped onto the small patch of roof that Stiles had hanging out underneath his window and slipped into Stiles’ bedroom almost silently. The teenager was lying on his bed, his head moving back and forth to the beat of his music, his arm hanging off the side of his mattress, blood drying slowly on his arm.

“Stiles.” Derek was pleasantly surprised at how stable his voice sounded.

Stiles’ eyes flew open and he shot up to a sitting position. “Derek!” The older wolf couldn’t tell if Stiles was scared at having being discovered or if he was just high and surprised to see Derek, the voice inflection for both of those emotions was practically the same. “Whatcha doing here?”

“I came to ask a question about Scott.” Derek shut the window behind him before moving forward to grab Stiles’ wrist so he could get a better look at the cuts. “What happened here?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Stiles asked, pulling away from Derek’s grip so he could trace the delicate red lines on his wrist. “I got high and took out my aggression on my lips.”

Derek blinked at him.

“Lips.” Stiles snorted. “I meant wrists, obviously.” He stood up and slowly made his way over to his dresser so he could grab his previously discarded smoking piece off of it. “S’s are super splendid.” He walked over to Derek and pulled the older man down to the ground along with him. Derek watched silently as Stiles filled the bowl with more weed and took a deep hit, French inhaling before blowing the smoke out into Derek’s face.

Derek frowned, unsure where to go from here. Pot smoke was floating around the room, giving Stiles his own personal cloud and unlike alcohol, it would eventually affect him. “Why did you cut yourself?”

“Don’t remember.” It was a blatant lie and Derek was more than a little disappointed in Stiles, if he was going to lie to a werewolf he could at least half ass it. Stiles held the bowl out for Derek but the older wolf shook his head no. “Dude,” Stiles held the bowl out. “I’m not telling you dick if you don’t get high with me.”

Derek scowled and wondered idly if this was some form of blackmail as he took the bowl offered to him. He put it to his lips and Stiles grinned as he lit it for Derek. His grin breaking out into a full blown smile when Derek inhaled and transforming into laughter when Derek coughed on his exhale.

“First timer?” Stiles asked as he handed the lighter over to Derek.

The wolf shook his head no. “It’s just been a while.” He took another hit, smaller this time so it wouldn’t burn his throat. He inhaled some fresh air so he could speak and keep the smoke in his lungs. “Now start talking.” And then he blew pot smoke at the boy’s face, smiling a bit when Stiles chuckled.

“I don’t know man” He shrugged. “I woke up this morning and decided I was going to smoke and cut today. I just wanted to have a little fun and relieve some stress.”

“Did I mention,” Derek took another deep drag, enjoying the dizzy feeling of the weed starting to take effect. “That I can tell when you’re lying.”

Stiles sighed as he watched Derek finish the bowl before taking it from him to fill it again. “You’re gonna laugh at me.” He mumbled as he broke up the bud.

“I’m high.” Derek shrugged, not ashamed to admit that the two hits had him pretty gone. “I’m gonna laugh at everything in a little bit.”

Stiles sighed again, holding his hand out for the lighter, Derek lit the bowl for him instead and he gave Derek a thumbs up when he had enough. He exhaled slowly, and licked his lips before speaking. “I got into a fight with my dad last night. He saw my scars and sort of flew into a rage. He wasn’t…” Stiles frowned and licked his lips again. “He doesn’t know how to handle stuff like this, emotional stuff. He downs the memory of my mother with a fifth a week but I’m wrong because I need to bleed to feel.”

“So what you’re telling me,” Derek made a hurry up motion towards the bowl as he spoke “is that your father found out that you’ve been cutting and you decided to cut some more?”

Stiles made a face as he took another drag. “Probably not the best idea.” He spoke on the exhale.

“I know they’ve stopped bleeding.” Derek watched the way the skin on Stiles’ wrist stretched with the teens movements. “But those cuts are really deep.”

“That’s why I lit up,” Stiles shrugged. “Weed is my scene and depression is my drug of choice.”

Derek chuckled at that, perhaps a bit more openly that he normally would. He leaned forward to grab the bowl from Stiles but sort of gave up half way through and ended up lying on the carpet. “My drugs attention.” He mumbled playing with the fringe on the side of the rug.

“I can understand that.” Stiles said, taking another hit and blowing the smoke in Derek’s general direction. “Hey man, can I ask you a serious question?”

 “Shoot.”

“How did you deal with everything that happened with your family?”

Derek sighed and pushed himself back into a sitting position, he held his hand out for the bowl and took a few deep drags before answering. “I didn’t.”

Stiles tilted his head to the side “What do you mean?”

“I didn’t deal with it, not really. It’s been years now and I act as though it's all just a distant memory but it eats me up inside. It wasn’t like my family just died in a fire, they were attacked, and I let the enemy in the gate.” Derek took a good look at Stiles as the teen contemplated his words. He looked thoughtful in a way that only Stiles could manage. “I know that your mother died of cancer a little after the fire.” Derek started. “She was in remission when I had just started dating Kate, I remember that I had to pass the hospital to get to her apartment and I used to hear you guys sometimes.” He listened to the sound of Stiles’ heart, making sure his words wouldn’t set the boy over the edge but his heart was calm. Calm in a way that made Derek decide it was alright to keep talking.

“I remember once, when Kate and I were still very new, I had gotten sick after she had poisoned me with wolfs bane, I didn’t know it at the time, and I was on my way home. I was this nervous wreck of a person because I had puked in her apartment and I was hoping she would give me a second chance when I spotted your family coming out of the hospital.” Stiles had curled up and was hugging one leg close to his body as he listened to Derek speak. “You asked your father if your mother was all better and he said yes, I remember thinking that he was lying. Then your mother explained that remission meant that there was no evidence of a new disease and you asked-“

“How’s that different from all better” Stiles mumbled. “I remember that. I got into the car and went to touch her hair but she was so fragile, at the age I really thought she might crumble under my hand.”

Derek nodded. “I remember watching you and thinking that you were a bundle of nerves, just like me. I ended up going back to Kate’s right after that.” He looked thoughtful for a moment. “I lost my virginity that night.”

Stiles made a contemplative noise. “I almost lost my virginity to Heather, but when I went upstairs to get a condom she was kidnapped and sacrificed by a dark druid.”

Derek chuckled, happy that after all of that Stiles decided not to ask questions for once. He just took the information that Derek gave him and rolled with it.

Stiles held out his hand for the bowl, he refilled it quickly and took a few hit before speaking again. “She poisoned you?”

Derek nodded “She had to make sure I was a wolf so she slipped something in my drink, I’m just guessing it was wolfsbane.”

Stiles snorted. “Crazy bitch.” Derek agreed wholeheartedly.

“Let’s make a deal.” Derek said after a moment.

Stiles looked at him with red, hazy, hooded, eyes and it made Derek grin. He wondered idly if his eyes looked the same or if the healing kept his eyes white. He took the bowl from Stiles as the teen asked. “What kind of deal?”

“Whenever you’re upset or feel like cutting, find me. Text me and no matter what I’m doing I’ll respond, let me know how you feel and if necessary I’ll find the biggest bag of weed possible, and I’ll come find you.” Derek took a hit from the bowl while Stiles contemplated his words.

Eventually Stiles smirked. “Yeah okay, but only if you do the same of course. I can’t have you acting like me, I’m already enough of a fuck up.” 

Derek smiled “You’re not a total fuck up.”

“Yeah?” Stiles asked, pleasantly surprised. “Well you’re not the biggest Sourwolf I’ve ever met.” He thought for a moment, while Derek took another hit. “Hey, hey,” Stiles flapped his hand at Derek to grab his attention. “Let’s seal the deal with a kiss.”

Derek tilted his head to the side, taking on Scott’s confused puppy look, but he had the biggest possible grin on his face. “I know weed makes your horny but you need to calm down.”

Stiles threw his head back and laughed before crawling over to grab the bowl from Derek. “You take a hit, I take a hit, and we meet in the middle and share the smoke. That way it’s a mutual kiss and we have mutual blackmail.”

Derek thought about saying no, but the allure of the bowl and the shine of the spit on Stiles’ lip was way too tempting to pass over. He was reaching out for the bowl before he had even made the conscious decision to say yes.

Stiles grinned as he took his hit quickly and handed the bowl to Derek who took his hit just as quickly. The wolf grabbed the back of Stile's head and brought the teen in slowly, as their lips touched Stiles let out his smoke in a sigh of bliss and moved to plaster himself against the wolf. Derek opened his legs and made it easier for Stiles to climb in-between them, he deepened the kiss just a fraction just before pulling back. They both looked at each other, a haze of smoke surrounding their heads because the window was closed and no wind was getting in the room, before they busted out laughing.

“We are so high.” Stiles laughed rubbing at his lips gently with his pointer finger, curling up on Derek’s lap.

Derek wasn’t sure what to say at first. He rubbed at his mouth as well, smiling a bit at the tingling feeling he was getting. Stiles was a good friend, and his lips seemed to fit against his perfectly. Maybe when neither of them required a therapist they could become something…more. “Let’s get higher,” was that the right way to say that? Higher? More high? It probably didn’t matter. “When’s your dad coming back?”

“He always works double shifts when we fight.” Stiles shrugged. “He’ll be home around noon tomorrow.” He grabbed the bowl from the floor and stood up on slightly shaky legs. “I have doughnuts downstairs.”

“Fuck yes.” Derek hissed out, standing and grabbing the weed off the floor as well. They fought with gravity the whole way down the stairs, laughing and leaning on each other until they finally made it to the kitchen. They smoked some more while they sat on the counter, sipping on Capri Sun and trying to see how many hits they could take before they had to exhale.

After that they stumbled to the living to watch corny movies and they took a hit every time they saw a cliché, which led to them eating all the cereal in the kitchen and making a small building out of the boxes. They spent the rest of the day this way, watching movies on Netflix and dancing to Stiles’ Pandora station, smoking more than they probably should and stealing kisses after every shotgun.

They fell asleep on the couch, high out of their minds and both of them sated after getting their fill of physical contact. They hadn’t noticed how touch starved they both were until one of them needed to get up to get snacks from the kitchen and neither of them wanted to move. They eventually ended up going together, hands intertwined as they made their way into the kitchen and back into the living room. And if Derek kissed Stiles’ cuts and drew the pain away until they looked weeks old, well no one was the wiser.

“So how come you stayed Derek?” Stiles mumbled as they dozed together on the couch. “I though you liked being alone.”

“I do like being alone.” Derek mumbled, nosing at Stiles’ face and making him giggle. “But I like being alone with you better.”

 

Chapter Text

“What are you doing here?” Stiles was standing in front of Jackson on his blessed Saturday morning and he was not happy about it.

His father was leaning against the banister behind him, munching on a piece of toast. Literally munching, Stiles was pretty sure he was only doing it for his own humorous benifit.

“I wanted to see if you wanted to...hang out today.”

“Didn’t you take a restraining order out against him a few months back?” The Sheriff asked finishing his toast.

Jackson turned red and Stiles snorted.

“Yeah sure let’s “hang out.”” Stiles said, adding verbal air quotes.

The blonde scratched his head. “Should I come in or do you wanna go somewhere?”

“Come up while I grab some stuff and change, then let’s decide.” Stiles said this as he turned and started towards the stairs. Jackson followed after Stiles, giving the sheriff a meek smile as he remembered that he did in fact, have a restraining order placed against Stiles during the kanima situation.

The sheriff smiled back, he threw on his holster and after grabbing his keys he made his way out the front door “Stay safe you two.”

“Byeeeeee.” Stiles yelled as he heard his father chuckle right before shutting the door.

“So Lydia put you up to this?” Stiles asked as he threw his dirty Batman shirt on the floor and tossed a few shirts to the side before grabbing a clean oversized black shirt with the words “You won’t sleep when you’re dead either” printed on it. Jackson pulled a face and rolled his eyes but otherwise remained silent as he watched Stiles pull off his...yoga pants? Yeah those weren’t sweatpants. Stiles pulled off his yoga pants and replaced them with black joggers, Jackson couldn’t tell if they were for men or women, just that they were dark purple and tight.

“So what’s the plan?” Stiles asked, finally dressed.

Jackson shrugged and thought for a moment as he took three slow steps towards Stiles. He stopped when they were standing directly in front of each other other, his eyes surveying the room before landing on his packmate.

“Got any weed?”

Stiles snorted “When don’t I?” He dropped to his knees in front of Jackson to grab his wooden drug box from under his bed. He glanced up at Jackson from the floor and smirked at the blond wolf. “I know Lydia is my one and only love but I can’t say this angle isn’t doing it for me.”

Jackson rolled his eyes again and dropped down to the floor in front of Stiles. He kept one knee bent over the other and pulled about an eighth of weed and two blunt wraps from his deep jeans pockets. “Can we smoke a blunt in here?”

“Yeah no problem.” Stiles snatched the drugs and paraphernalia from Jackson and set to work rolling.

Jackson looked around the room for a bit, taking in the posters and tchotchkes Stiles’ had around his room. There was a poster of a blonde girl inside a donut with the phrase “eat a big donut!” around it and an Obama election style poster of an anime boy holding a gun with the word karma written underneath it. Jackson didn’t watch any anime but he knew he had made fun of Stiles for this interest more than once over the years. He watched Stiles slender fingers grind the weed for a moment and felt guilty before breaking the silence.

“So…” Jackson hesitated. “How have you been?”

“Since my mental breakdown?” Stiles smirked as Jackson struggled for words. “Look dude even if Lydia didn’t put you up to this there's no way you’re going to get me to believe you just came to hang out.” Stiles looked at him for a moment before looking back down at his hands. “What’s on your mind?”

“Ahhh.” Jackson coughed before taking a deep breath and talking again.“What you said to me before, and all that stuff you’re always asking Danny. Plus your new bromance with Derek and how close you and McCall have always been…”

“None of those are questions Jackson, just statements.”

“Are you actually gay or bi or whatever? What’s your deal?”

Stiles’ eyebrows went up. “My deal is none of your business.” he licked the blunt closed.

Jackson was silent for a moment “You know I’m not trying to be an asshole here right?”

‘Really? Our first time ever hanging out and your first question is about my sexuality?” Stiles’ bounced his eyebrows twice as he flicked the lighter. “You’ve given me no incentive to trust you with my personal information. In fact you’ve given me years worth of experiences that tell me exactly why I shouldn’t trust you at all.”

Jackson stared blankly at him for a moment as he lit the blunt and without saying a word he smacked it out of Stiles’ hand.

“You’re not helping your case!” Stiles yelped as he tried to stop the blunt from burning through his shirt.

“Sorry! Just, let’s get out of here. Go back to my place.” Stiles stared at him for a moment before Jackson signed and started putting all the weed stuff back in Stiles’ box. “Shut up and let’s go.”

Stiles watched Jackson for a moment before he asked “You got snacks at Whittemore Manor?”

Jackson rolled his eyes. “My mom has one of those at home make fro-yo out of anything machines. That good enough?”

Stiles let out a moan “That sounds amazing, do you have bananas and chocolate?” Stiles was getting excited now, jumping up to grab his hoodie and shoving an extra lighter into his pocket.

“We have everything Stiles, I’m rich.” Jackson said walking out of the room.

“Any other time and I’d hate you for saying that” Stiles followed after him, hand outstretched. “gimme my box.”

Jackson handed the wooden box back to Stiles once he got to the bottom of the steps. Stiles mumbled a thanks and went to put his shoes on.

Jackson looked around the living room, his eyes landing on a photo of the Sheriff and a bright eyed Stiles in the arms of a beautiful brunette woman. The teen felt guilty, realizing how little he truly knew about his packmate. He had known the boy since grade school, he had been there when his mother passed, Stiles had been there when Jackson learned that he was adopted. Stiles had always been a part of Jackson’s life. He had always been aggressively himself and Jackson had done nothing but punish him for it.

“Ready!”

Jackson snapped out of his thoughts and started moving forward. He wasn’t really sure what he was doing here, Lydia had actually advised against it, she wouldn’t say it but she thought he was going to fuck up and make things worse.

Jackson thought back to the thin shiny scars he sometimes saw on Stiles’ side and told himself that it didn’t matter if he fucked this up. He just needed to try.

-

Stiles whistled as he walked into the Whittemore home, it’s wasn’t technically a mansion but it was still fucking huge. The living room had that classic rich person feel, high ceilings, glass table, white rug, cream couches, wooden finish on the banisters, it was objectively beautiful and Stiles said as much as they walked up the stairs.

“Thanks” Jackson glanced back at him and snorted “That shirt is ridiculious.”

“You know, you’re not as pretty as you think you are.”

Jackson turned around and rose and eyebrow, he grabbed Stiles by the waist and looked up at him through his lashes. “Exactly how pretty am I Stilinski?”

Stiles blinked twice and tried to wrap his head around all the different stimuli being thrown at him. He was on the edge of the step, the only thing keeping him from falling was Jackson’s hand on his hip and he couldn’t even begin to comprehend that. The other boy smelled like vanilla instead of some stupid body spray and it was really throwing Stiles for a loop. Jackson looked so soft, and open and Stiles just wanted to…

Stiles took a deep breath. “It’s not proof of gay if I’m coerced into it.”

Jackson smirked and as he turned to the side he used his grip on Stiles’s hip to push the teen forward. “I’m exactly as pretty as I think I am. My room’s through the door there.”

Stiles pushed the door open without waiting for any further instructions and stopped short, it was so simple. The walls and blankets were grey, or maybe silver, everything else was black. There wasn’t much in the way of decoration except for things that lydia had obviously gotten for him.

“Don’t worry, the 50ft statue of myself is being dusted in the basement.” Jackson rolled his eyes as he pushed past Stiles and plopped down on his bed. “Close the door when you’re done gaping.”

Stiles closed the door behind him and held up his box, “Can we smoke blunts in here?”

“As long as we don’t touch my mom's vicodin anything goes.” He shrugged.

Stiles wasn’t sure what to do with that other than say a simple, “That sucks dude.” before cracking open his drug box and sitting on the bed.

“No it’s fine she like actually needs it,” He rubbed the back of his head “She’s just really strict about me doing doing hard drugs, that made it sound like she’s a junkie or something.”

“Little bit.” Stiles rolled his eyes as he went about lighting the blunt Jackson had slapped out of his hands earlier. “So why are we here?”

“Change of scenery?” Jackson said it like a question and Stiles let his eyebrows climb.

“You're unsure? Also, you live here.”

“Well nowadays I’m always at Lydia’s or running around with you assholes chasing down whatever monster of the week Scott thought we could just talk to.” jackson rolled his eyes.

Stiles laughed as he passed the blunt over to Jackson. “Nice to know I’m not the only one annoyed with the wonder pup.”

Jackson waved him off and pulled a half smoked joint from his top dresser drawer. “I don’t know how you’ve handled that lopsided optimistic smile all this time.”

“That crooked jaw is nothing,” Stiles snorted “it’s the puppy dog eyes you gotta watch out for. I though the cuteness would lose effect with time or irony once he was turned but nope. Still ropes me into all sorts of shenanigans.”

“Scott, dragged you into trouble?”

“Oh yeah,” Stiles nodded “Scott’s a little devil.” He french inhaled before looking around for an ashtray. Jackson grabbed a silver pyramid decorated in hieroglyphs and flipped the top, revealing a bowl in the middle filled with ash. “Dude that’s fucking sick.” Stiles commented as he ashed his blunt.

“Thanks, Lydia got it for me.”

“Cool, cool, cool, cool, cool.” Stiles hit his blunt again going silent afterwards and Jackson cursed internally. He was trying to make Stiles comfortable enough to talk with him and he was stupid enough to bring up the main thing that makes Stiles hate him.

Jackson hit his joint and immediately said on the exhale “She’s not all she’s cracked up to be yah know.”

Stiles hit him with a glare and Jackson let out an exasperated sigh.

“I mean, that she’s not the perfect person you have her built up to be in her head.”

“I’m not a complete idiot Jackson.” Stiles said, his glare still in place. “Lydia’s not perfect, she’s a manipulative teenage drama queen. She’s a stone cold bitch, but she’s also a fucking genius. She’s stubborn and bored with high school and soon enough she’ll be bored with you and the rest of this town Jackson.” The venom in his voice made Jackson put his hands up in surrender but Stiles kept going. “I’ve always known how mean she can be, I’ve experienced it first hand for years because everyone thinks I’m obsessed with her, but I’m not! I admire her! I see her for who she really is. I always have and I will always love her more than you ever could!”

“You love everything more than anyone ever could you hyper emotional little shit!” Jackson yelled jumping to his feet. “Always sticking up for McCall and crying at everything like a girl when we were younger. Always so stupid and pink and soft and stubborn! If you know Lydia so well then you know that she’ll never even look at you with the way things are now!”

“What's that supposed to mean?” Stiles demanded still sitting down but keeping his back straight as he looked up at Jackson.

“It means you’re a fucking nobody Stilinski!” Jackson shouted as he started pacing back and forth in front of Stiles. “It means you’re nothing on the social totem pole so you’re nothing to her. So unless you suddenly become captain of the lacrosse team or inherit a million dollars she’s never going to give you the time of day! She’s only with me so she can be prom queen, so she can use me and toss me aside when she’s done. All this supernatural stuff hasn’t changed anything. You’re not on her radar Stiles and that’s good! You’re smart and sweet and funny and magical! You’re better than somebody’s puppet Stiles!” Jackson stood there huffing angrily, his joint squished tightly in between his fingers he tried to remember everything that he just said and found he couldn’t.

“Are you okay dude?” Stiles asked a few minutes after Jackson’s breathing had gone back to normal.

“I don’t really know. I didn’t mean to bring you here to yell at you.”

“Yeah I know, you brought me here to fuck me.”

Jackson whipped around to look at Stiles, the teen had kept smoking his blunt during Jackson’s rant and was in the process of rolling another one with Jackson’s weed.

I didn’t say that. How did you get that from what I said?” Not that he remembered all of it.

“What I got from your rant was that you’ve been struggling with your own sexuality since elementary school. You’ve been feeling like a pawn because of all the werewolf stuff and now you’re projecting those feelings onto your relationship with Lydia. She’s not manipulating you Jackson, those feelings while valid are false.” Stiles spoke slowly for once, because he was trying to recall the feel good crap those suicide prevention websites told him were good for acknowledging his own emotions.”What is true is that you and Lydia have the perfect high school power couple dynamic but Lydia loves you. We have proof.” Stiles finally lifted the newly rolled blunt to his mouth and lit it. Jackson walked back over to his spot and sat down on the bed, holding his hand out for the blunt.

“None of that indicates that I want to fuck you.” Jackson said after they passed the blunt back and forth for a minute.

“I believe some of the descriptors you used for me in that angry rant were soft, pink, sweet, and magical.” Stiles told him with a smirk.

Jackson actually blushed for a moment while he scowled down at his bed sheets. “So what now?”

“What, what now?” Stiles asked.

“Am I gay?” Jackson finally asked.

“I don’t even know the answer to the question for myself Jackson.” Stiles rolled his eyes. “I know that you seem to be attracted to me, and Danny, while I’m pointing out things I’ve noticed. I know that you love Lydia so much the thought of her not loving you back has been driving you literally crazy. I know you hate how easily I can assess my emotions because you have trouble understanding your own. I know that you, and all of us really, should go see a therapist or find someone to confide in, a friend you can trust.” Stiles reached out and put a hand on Jackson’s shoulder for a moment “and try to keep it platonic.” he squeezed his shoulder and pulled back. “At least in the beginning.’ Stiles winked.

“I didn’t bring you here to fuck you,” Jackson rolled his eyes. “I just wanted you to be in a place where I was completely vulnerable.” He shrugged and looked away from Stiles's curious  eyes “My room is mostly empty, it’s my favorite colors and smells like vanilla and almonds. There are glow in the dark stars on the ceiling and a coloring book in my bottom dresser. It’s simple. All of it, there are no pretenses in here, no labels or defining thing that makes me anything other than Jackson here. I wanted to even the playing field and open up. After five minutes in your room I learned so much about you, which is crazy cause I’ve known you my whole life.” He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “You were right, I’ve done nothing to earn you trust. I’ve actually bullied you mercilessly for years and it was stupid and I’m sorry about it. So I guess bringing you here was my way of resetting our relationship without having to say it.”

“That’s really sweet.” Stiles watched the teen wolf take one last hit from the burning nub and squish it between his fingers. Jackson flinched and put it down in the ashtray before looking up to lock eyes with Stiles. “But you have to communicate with me, and with Lydia about how your feeling and your plans for any changes in our relationship. I’d love to start again and be friends, were already more than that Jackson. We’re pack.”

Jackson nodded and they both smiled at each other for a moment before pulling back and reaching for a blunt wrap. They worked and chatted idly, about the pack, and school, and the fact that they were both leaning towards bisexuality over homosexuality, after awhile they ran out of serious things to talk about and the conversation drifted more towards podcasts, music, television preferences and the podcast that Stiles’ ominous shirt is from.

They smoked more and eventually drifted back into serious topics, Stiles talked about the money problems his dad thought he was hiding. How he hadn’t bought himself something new in years and how werewolf life was destroying his already tiny wardrobe. Jackson worried that he would never be able to open up to his parents, or anyone, and he would drive them all away. They cried, they bonded, the decompressed. They spent most of Saturday together, and when Stiles walked back inside his own home almost 12 hours later his father only smiled and pulled him into a hug.

-

“Jackson I’m not complaining but the jokes about you being my sugar daddy are getting harder and harder to fend off.” Stiles watched Jackson roll his eyes as he shoved the yellow swedish custom laptop case into a black messanger bag and into Stiles’ hands.  

“Say thank you.” Was all Jackson said before walking off.

“Thanks daddy!” Stiles yelled out, ignoring the looks he got from the people around him. It felt right, as he walked away on a brand new pair of converse that Jackson had gotten for him last week.

It had been about three weeks since their first hang out session at Jackson’s house. Since then they had gone out a handful of times. Stiles always came out of it with a full stomach and a bobble of some sort. He wasn’t really sure when Jackson had grown on him but he was knee deep in douchebag fungus so there wasn’t much he could do about it now.

So it had been three weeks since he and Jackson had become unlikely friends. It had been about three months since the anniversary of his mother's death and the day that his friends remembered that they cared about him.  

Stiles stopped in front of his locker and took a deep breath, no, his friends had always cared about him. He had to get these negative thoughts under control, these days he felt as though he was nothing but his impulses and rages but between the pack being more attentive, and his buddings bromances with Derek and Jackson, and his therapist, he was doing okay.

He popped his locker open, looked down at the laptop case and actually gasped. Looking up at up at him was the remarkably yellow, smiling face of one of his favorite anime characters, Korosensi.

Stiles could feel his heartbeat in his throat as he closed the messenger bag to read the Homestuck reference “Grimoire for summoning the zoologically dubious” on the front. He flipped the flap back, moved the case to the side and felt his eyes fill with tears. There was a pair of black leggings and a batman tank top, pinned to the shirt was a blood smeared INTERN pin from the Night Vale Radio Station. He wiped his eyes and took another deep breath, a big smile on his face. Jackson was trying to make up for a lifetime of bullying, and presents seemed to be the only way that he could truly show that he cared. 

His friends definitely cared about him. He looked down at his sleek black and yellow converse and smiled. Of course Jackson cared, he was pack.