Stiles is sick and tired of sitting on the bench every freaking minute of every freaking game. This year, he’s determined to kick ass at tryouts, but he can’t do it alone and he knows it. His first choice of coach would be Scott, obviously, but the guy’s got more than enough on his plate. So he decides to go with the next best thing: Jackson.
When he asks him for help at his locker inbetween classes, Jackson unsurprisingly tells him to fuck off.
"Come on, dude," he whines, pulling out the puppy dog eyes he hasn’t used in years.
"Why would you ask me and not McCall?" Jackson asks, reaching into his locker for his statistics textbook.
"He’s not as good as you," Stiles fires back, trying to appeal to Jackson’s ego.
"True," Jackson says with a shrug. "But he may actually give a shit, unlike me."
Stiles runs a hand through his hair, sighing. “Alright, look, man, let me level with you,” he says. “I just…I need to not be useless at something, okay? Being a human in the middle of all this werewolf shit has pretty much made me the epitome of useless, and I…lacrosse can be learned. I can be good at it, if you help me. So. Please?”
Honestly, Stiles doesn’t expect it to work, because Jackson has never appeared to sympathize with anyone in his life, but somehow it does.
He stares at Stiles for a moment, then huffs and says “Fine.”
"Great!" Stiles grins, taking Jackson’s face in his hands and thanking him with a peck on the lips that’s over before it even started. "Let’s start after school," he says and walks away, making his way to class.
They don’t talk about it.
They practice almost every day, because when Jackson Whittemore does something, he doesn’t do it half-assed.
It pays off, though. Stiles actually gets really, really good. It’s refreshing to be good at something other than getting in the way.
It’s also refreshing to be able to have conversations with Jackson that don’t end in vicious arguing or physical violence. Stiles might even say they’re friends now.
When Coach announces that Stiles made first line, he gets so excited he kisses Jackson in the middle of the locker room. It’s still close-mouthed and quick but he lingers just a little bit longer this time. He’s kind of expecting a punch in the face when he pulls away, because he just did that in front of the entire team and they’re still whistling and cat calling and laughing.
But Jackson just smiles and says “Congratulations,” holding out his hand for a high five.
They still don’t talk about it.
At the first game of the season, Jackson passes the ball to Stiles with ten seconds left on the clock and he makes the winning shot.
The crowd roars and all the guys come around and give him hugs and pats on the back, and it’s unreal. Stiles is dizzy with it.
Then Jackson’s in his arms, and they’re both on an adrenaline high, and it’s still so loud but Stiles is pretty sure Jackson just said he’s proud of him, and Stiles decides to thank him the way he’s made a habit out of thanking Jackson.
He jumps into his arms and kisses him, and third time really is the charm, evidently, because this time it’s a real kiss. They’re pretty close to a full-on makeout session in the middle of the field, in fact, before Stiles realizes that there are parents around and pulls back reluctantly.
"Wanna go celebrate?" Jackson asks, grinning, forehead resting against Stiles’.
Stiles nods frantically, and it ends up making their heads bump together, but he couldn’t care less if he tried. “Yes, yeah, my dad has to go back to work, let’s go to my place, come on, now,” Stiles rambles desperately, grabbing Jackson’s hand and tugging him off of the field and toward the Jeep.
Jackson just laughs and lets himself be led.
In retrospect, Stiles realizes it was a really fucking moronic decision.
He knows Jackson’s not the guy that sticks around. He’s listened to Jackson talk about his many conquests time and time again, for Christ’s sake, and now Stiles is just another one of them, and that hurts like hell.
Because that’s not what Stiles wants. He’s not saying he wants a full-on “be my boyfriend” relationship, but he wouldn’t mind spending the night together, watching a movie and playing some video games and maybe even cuddling a little.
But he knows all about Jackson’s “fuck ‘em and leave ‘em” M.O., and he doesn’t wanna confront it, because he’d like to maintain their friendship if at all possible. So he gives Jackson an out.
"I’m, uh…I’m gonna go take a shower," Stiles says, getting out of bed and pulling his boxers back on.
"Yeah, okay," Jackson says, tone unreadable. Stiles looks back at him for just a moment, because this may be the last time he’s ever allowed to see him like this, then sighs and makes his way to the bathroom.
When he comes back to his room, the bed’s empty, and even though it’s not a surprise, it still stings.
"Fuck," Stiles mutters, sitting on the bed and putting his face in his hands. "Fuck me, I’m such an idiot.”
Stiles’ head snaps up and there’s Jackson, standing in his doorway, blanket thrown over his shoulder and 21 Jump Street in hand.
"Sorry, I was looking for a movie to watch," Jackson adds when Stiles doesn’t say anything.
"Oh," Stiles says intelligently, mind still reeling. "I…I thought you left."
"Stilinski, I might be an asshole, but I’m not a complete dick,” Jackson says, grabbing Stiles’ laptop from his desk and taking it back to the bed with him. “Now, shut up. Movie time.”
Stiles just stares at him, grinning.
"Jesus, what?" Jackson asks, rolling his eyes.
"You stayed," Stiles says. "You…in all the stories you’ve told me, you never…you don’t usually stay."
"Yeah, well, I don’t usually spend eight hours a week helping my one-night stands improve their lacrosse skills, either," Jackson says with a shrug. "You’re different."
"You like me," Stiles says, smirking.
Jackson sighs. “Yeah, so?”
"Okay, wait, wait. I’ve got it. The ultimate test of Jackson Whittemore love. Would you let me drive the Porsche?" Stiles asks, eyebrows raised.
Jackson’s quiet for a moment, thinking.
"Only if I’m with you," he decides.
Stiles beams. “I’ll take it.”
"I’m so glad," Jackson says, and Stiles can tell he’s trying to be sarcastic but it comes out playful. "Can we watch the fucking movie now?"
"Only if we cuddle," Stiles says, winking.
"Fine," Jackson says, huffing like it’s the end of the world. "C’mere."
Stiles wiggles his way up the bed and into Jackson’s arms. It takes some rearranging; they put the laptop on the far left side of the bed instead of on their laps so that Jackson can spoon up behind Stiles, holding him close.
Stiles twists up and around to give Jackson a sloppy, lazy kiss.
"I’d let you drive my Jeep, too, y’know," Stiles says, and Jackson’s face softens, because Stiles doesn’t even let Scott drive the Jeep and he knows it.
"You like me," Jackson says, parroting Stiles’ words from earlier.
"Yeah, so?" Stiles retaliates, offering Jackson a shy smile.
Jackson presses a gentle kiss to Stiles’ temple, then nudges him with his knee.
"Shut up and watch the movie."