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All of the Stars

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In the late winter of my seventeenth year, my mother- adoptive mother, decided that I was depressed. Maybe it was because I never leave the house, laze in bed all day, barely eat, read the same book over and over again, and in my abundant amount of free time- I spend it thinking about death.
But like ya'know all those websites, books, pamphlets- whatever you read to get all knowledgeable about cancer? They always list depression as a side effect of it, the cancer. Depression, in fact, is not a side effect of cancer.

It's a side effect of dying.

 

"I am not depressed." because, seriously? I'm going to defend this statement till my last breath because- ha- that's not gonna take very long anyway. I look at my mother with the most sassiest face I can muster because, I just wanna go home. The Real Housewives of New Jersey is on and I want to know what shit's gonna go down. I have had enough of the hospital to last me a lifetime- two even. Hell, I practically live here. But, my mother, promptly ignoring me, continues to converse with my Doctor; Deaton.

"He always sleeps, doesn't go outside, he eats like a bird, and he reads the same book all the time." She concluded with a sigh, shifting her eyes towards me, shooting me a small smile.

"He's depressed." Deaton confirms monotonously, nodding and writing down something on that stupid clipboard of his. "We'll have to adjust his prescription a bit. We'll have you take Phalanxifor two times a day instead of just once, okay?" I groan as loudly as possible, rolling my eyes so hard it hurt. "Have you been going to that support group I suggested you?"

I wrinkle my nose, I hated that support group. "Oh God no, why the hell would I purposely try to put myself in misery? I already have cancer." He shook his head,

"It'll be nice to talk to others who..."

Oh, here we go again. "Who what?" I say prompting him further, raising my brows.

"Who have been on the same journey." He concluded.

"Journey? Really? This isn't some shitty 80s pop band man, I expected better from you." I say, already feeling the disdain morphing my face into a grimace.

"Just go Jackson, it'll be good for you." I turned my head towards mom, who already had her infamous eyebrow raise in place. I sigh again, knowing this battle was already done with before it even really began.

 

Why was I here again? It's not like I want to or because I think it'll help me but, it's just like I do anything nowadays. To make my parents happy. Sometimes I wonder if they thought when they adopted me, 'Hey this kids gonna have fucking lung cancer and just fuck everything up in his athletic career and be the most expensive fucking thing we've ever had'. Probably not but, hey, I need to entertain some thoughts as to why they haven't given me up yet. I know I would have. I mentally groan as I, yet again, hear Finstock's mindfucking tale of his ball cancer, while hey- sitting in the literal heart of Jesus, church basement. I'll spare you the gory details. Basically, they found it in his balls. Had to cut one out. Marriage ended. Friendless. And now he's been reduced to the Beacon Hills High School lacrosse team Coach. The same lacrosse team I had been hoping to join since middle school. But, since life's a bitch, I ended up having lung cancer instead of the title of Captain.
I graze my eyes over the unfortunate souls of this lame group as Finstock pulled out his guitar, preparing to sing some Jesus related bullshit that make our ears bleed. My gaze lands on Stilinski- Stiles, really, is the only decent human being in this mini Christian hellhole. I raise my eyebrows as he looks at me, sarcastically mouthing the words and patting his hands to the beat. I roll my eyes, and shift my head back to stare at the ceiling, tuning out the outside world, wishing for group to finally be over with.

Nothing ever goes my way, does it?

"JACKSON!"

I snap my head forward, meeting the awaiting gaze of Finstock, "Uh, What?" I could see Stiles smirk at me in my peripheral vision mouthing 'smooth' at me. I frown in confusion.

"Jesus Christ Whittemore, I asked how you were doing today because I'm the fucking cancer councilor, now get your mouth to start spewin' bull."

I push my shoulders back as I stand up, huffing. "I'm Jackson," I pause awaiting the drawn out 'hello Jackson', "Thyroid originally but now I have quite an impressive satellite colony in my lungs. And other than having terminal cancer, I'm okay I guess." I shrug, sitting down as the group, yet again monotonously chants 'we're here for you Jackson'.

I never thought the feeling of lugging around my air tank would ever feel as good as it did when I stepped into the parking lot. B-lining towards my mom's car, the wretched two hour session of support group was finally done and over with. Seriously, the only valid reason I would ever go back is for the free food. Because damn, Erica's cookies were to die for. Or if my parents asked me to. Which they will. And I'll hate it. Eh. I rip open the passenger side of the Porsche, yanking in my air tank and settling in next to my mom. She subtly leans over and checks the tank, smiling at me as she pulled out of the lot.

"So honey, how was Support Group?" She asked, flitting her eyes towards me then to the road. I groan and bang my head on the window.

"It was delightful to hear about Finstock's ball cancer again, if that's what you mean." I mumble sarcastically as my head vibrates on the window shield. Mom choked down a laugh, covering it by fake-coughing into her arm.

"Well I'm glad it was nice. You need to go out more, make new friends! You always just mope around the house, it's giving off bad vibes to the cat." She says as she pulls into the driveway. I scoff, adjusting my cannula.

I have friends... like Danny, or Lydia, even Allison! Well, sort of. We hang out, sure. We text every once in a while, but it's more of miscellaneous topics. I'm their background character. Fourth wheel to the group. Just a façade with a nice car, really. They're too far in with me to just up and leave, like everyone else. I tempt myself with them, thinking just for a moment, I can have a normal life. Like I'm just not a kid with cancer. But that's all it is, that's all I am.

Just a kid with cancer.

I pulled on my sarcastic front easily, smirking. "Mr. Nibbins can deal with it, he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Besides mom, no one would willingly want to hang out with a guy carrying around an air tank who has a cannula shoved up his nose anyways." I say, pushing the door open, grabbing the tank and trekking towards the house. I'm already halfway to my room when I hear my mother,

"I would hang out with you!" she yells. Because, yeah, mom, your obligated to.

I sigh as I place my phone on the nightstand and move to settle onto my bed. I look up at the ceiling, the same one I had plastered with small glow-in-the-dark stars when I was nine. I could feel my shallow breathes slowly evening out, my hand on my chest simultaneously moving up and down every breathe I take. A quiet meow draws from the corner of the room, I tilt my head to see Mr. Nibbins trotting towards me with his tail swinging back and forth. I scooch over on my bed to make room for him as he curls up on my side, his head laying on my stomach. I shift my gaze back to the ceiling, moving my hand to scratch his head, small purrs vibrating out of him.

"Hey buddy," I whisper, still looking at the make shift stars, "One day, I'm going to do something that's gonna make this shitty life worthwhile. I'm going to do something, meet someone- hell, anything really. Anything to make me feel like I didn't mess this up for myself." I flick my gaze to the door, and close my eyes. I could feel Mr. Nibbins purrs vibrate louder beneath my hand. "That I didn't mess this up for them." I shift my head on the pillow and allow my mind to wander into the inevitable darkness that is sleep.

 

I wake up to the sound of chimes, vibrating loudly on my bedside counter. I groan as I move to wipe the sleep from my eyes and grab the chiming phone, not bothering to look at the caller ID when I answered. I kind of wish I did.

"What." I spit into the phone, irritated. I hear a distinct chuckle as the voice continues onto a sentence.

"Good morning to you too, Sleeping Beauty. Get dressed because we are going out. Can't have you rot in your house all day, I can smell you from across the town." the voice said, ignoring my outburst.

"Ugh, Danny, don't you have school or something?" I reply, a frown forming as I start to get up, moving towards my closet. I hear Danny shift on his phone, mumbling to someone.

"Dude, it's Saturday, so no. And just because you already have a GED doesn't mean you get to forget what the days of the week are. So, get dressed because you and I are going to the mall to scope out some hot guys while Lydia and Allison go shopping at wherever they shop at. Also, you're driving because I refuse to drive my Mom's minivan there. Now, go get dressed, we're at Lydia's right now. Bye!" He finished hurriedly and hung up before I got a chance to refuse. I roll my eyes as I grab a black V neck and some jeans, lugging the air tank towards the bathroom with me. Shortly after a quick shower, I had a newly replaced air tank and clean clothes on. I leave my hair unstyled and slowly move down the small staircase to the living room. Calming my breathes as I adjust my cannula as I call out,

"Mom! Dad! I'm going to the mall with Danny, Allison, and Lydia! I'll be back later!" I grab the keys to the Porsche as I stand in the door way, hearing my mom give a faint cry of 'have fun and be safe! And make sure to eat!' while my dad yells to not forget to put a new tank of air in the case. "I already did that Dad! Bye!" I reply, situating myself as I head towards the car. Sliding into the front seat, I shift the tank over into the passenger's side foot space. I adjust the tube of the cannula again as I put the keys into ignition. I let out a small breathe as I pull out of the driveway, a pop song vibrating lowly from the radio as I head towards Lydia's home.

I pull up into the empty space of Lydia's driveway, honking the horn. I lower the window as the trio stumble out into the open. "Get in losers we're going shopping." I say, faking a look of disdain as they get closer. I hear a chuckle from Danny as he pulls down the passenger seat for the girls to get into the back.

"Really Jackson? Typical." I hear Lydia mutter, "You have a limited air supply and you waste it to make those kind of references?" She snarks, adjusting her hair in the rear view mirror. I shift my face into a cocky smirk and look at her through the mirror.

"Hey, it's a classic," I look to her in the mirror,"So, how's life being Queen Bitch at school?" I ask, flashing a cocky smirk. She rolls her eyes, smiling, as she settles back into the seat, leaning towards Allison. This is our thing, to snark at each other's faults endlessly when in range of each other. She pokes, I prod. It's how we work. We met in middle school, and had a summer fling the year before we started high school. It was nice but, we realized that we're both oh so very gay and so, we agreed to remain friends.

"Oh it's great," she says, winking. Sticking my tongue out, I pull out of her driveway.

"Hey calm it you two, its been like a minute and I can already feel the sass engulfing me entirely. Yeesh," Allison intervenes, wrapping a protective arm around Lydia. Danny leans over to adjust the volume of the radio as he mumbles about us being drama queens. I scoff and slap his hand away from the knob as it reaches a high enough level.

"I, Jackson Eli Whittemore, am not a drama queen. And besides, Allison, I wouldn't hurt your girlfriend. You'd kill me before the cancer does." I look back at her and wink as she moves to place her face into the crook of Lydia's neck. Danny leans back into the seat,

"Lies and slander, Jackie. Now hurry up, I wanna scope out the hot guys before they're all gone."

"Don't call me Jackie. And dude, it's like 12:30. The hoard of hot guys is just about to begin." I glance over at him, flashing him my most award winning smile.

 

I shift in the hard chair in the food court, picking up a fry from my tray and eating it. My gaze wanders through the crowd, landing at an affectionate teenage couple. They're standing in line to order something. The guy has his arms wrapped around the girl, whispering something in her ear, causing her to blush and give him a small peck on the lips. I smile ruefilly at them. I know I'll never have the chance to get to do that with someone. It hurts, a lot. But hey, I have to minimize the casualties somehow don't I? I turn back to look down at my tray, deciding that I was done with my food, I set it aside. I look up at Danny, who currently has his eyes locked on to the newest guy, probably mentally undressing him. I shift and subtly lean down to grab my worn book from my bag, eyes still set on Danny. I pull it up slowly as I begin to open it to where my bookmark left me at.

"Oh, I don't think so Jackson." Danny says immediately as my eyes laid on the first word, plucking the book from my hands. I emit a strangled cry, reaching for the book as he pulls it away from my grasp.

"But-" I start.

"But nothing, Jackson. You are going to interact socially with physical people, not fictional ones. And maybe help me land a date but, whatever! You are not reading a single word of this book as long as I am in your presence today, got it? Now be a good friend and wingman, cause a hottie is coming over here and- heeey." Danny says adverting his attention to the very attractive guy standing at the edge of our table. Lydia and Allison wandered off earlier so I was stuck with Danny in the greasy food court. The two teens struck up a conversation, both obviously emanating attraction towards the other. I huff lightly and cross my arms over my chest, pulling my phone from my pocket as a distraction from the two. I flick my gaze up at the new guy -Ethan- I learn from the not so quiet conversation. I'm not gonna lie, the guys' definitely easy on the eyes, but not my type. I can practically feel the confidence of the guy rolling off of him like tsunami waves, drowning me. As I was inspecting him- deciding whether or not I'd approve of the guy for Danny, he must've noticed my gaze because he looked at me. He stood straighter instead of being the leaning form, blocking my view from Danny. I held his gaze as he, in turn, inspected me. His eyes were immediately drawn to the cannula in my nose, hooking over my ears. This always happens whenever a guy-or anyone really- looked at me. I shifted my gaze to Danny, he'd already been through this reaction enough before, so he just nodded and huffed through his nose. His eyes narrowing at Ethan, looking for any negative reaction. I looked back at Ethan, setting my phone down and holding out my hand for him to shake.

"The name's Jackson. And yes I have shitty lungs, and also, yes I have terminal cancer. So, no, you may not ask any further questions about my disease or how long I'm going to live or anything else that revolves around that. So thanks. And, yes, I am doing okay." I finish as Ethan finally grasps my hand, firmly shaking it.

"Ethan. Wow, you must've had a lot of people ask if you have something like that memorized. But I respect that. The only thing I was going to mention, was how cold your hands are." He says, letting go of my hand, flashing me a small smile. I chuckled, he's gonna be nice for Danny, I can tell.

"Well not so much as cold as under-oxygenated. But yeah, some people do full out Q&As with me, it gets old fast to be honest." I reply. He just nods and turns his attention back to Danny. Danny, already with a look of adoration on his face, looks back at him. He smiles and blushes, and I think I may have even heard a stutter here and there. Danny flickers his gaze towards me and I give him a thumbs up, his smile gets wider. "Now, if you don't mind me, I'm going to go find Allison and Lydia. Text me when you want to go, okay Danny?" I look at him as he nods absentmindedly, making a shooing motion with his hand. I chuckle and grab my phone, bag, and the tank, hauling my ass down to Victoria Secret, where the girls most likely were. I looked back at the two and noticed Ethan immediately took my seat, while him and Danny were engulfed in their conversation.

As I enter Victoria Secret, I get shot a few weird looks from the employees and shoppers, but promptly get ignored. I spot the girls looking at bras, and made a slow trek towards them. "Hey ladies." I say as I reach them. They were inspecting a sheer, lacy, pink bra. They both jumped, and looked at me in surprise. Allison slaps my shoulder,

"Asshole! You scared me! What are you doing here? Where's Danny?" she squealed, turning her attention back to the pink fabric. I laugh.

"Danny found himself a new boytoy named Ethan. After my stamp of approval of course." I look at Lydia, winking, "And so I thought to be another group's third wheel and decided to hang with you ladies." Lydia rolled her eyes, looking back at the fabric. She held it up to her chest, looking at me.

"So, since your here, do you think this color looks good on me or that white one over there?" she says pointing at a white bra, designed in a similar fashion.

"Hmm, honestly? The white one looks better on you. The pink is going to clash with your hair color, but, this one would look nice on Allison. Pale complexion and dark hair? Practically anything works with that. But yeah, white looks great on you. Or if you're feeling bold, red would work great as well." I conclude, gazing between the two bras, and straying towards a deep red one on another shelf. I felt their stares, so tearing my eyes away from the fabric, I look at them. They both stare at me in surprise, eyebrows raised. "What? I know my color wheel. Having my mom and Lydia around, I'm bound to know some things." Lydia chuckles as she hands the pink bra to Allison, going to retrieve the white one as well as the red. Allison blushes as she looked at the bra, avoiding my gaze.

"Well you're not wrong, Jackson, that's for sure." Lydia says, coming back to our mini group. "Now, Alli and I have some bras to try on. If you excuse me." She says, grabbing Allison by the shoulders, guiding her to the dressing rooms. I laugh, knowing them? They won't be out of there for a long while. I shake my head and grab the latch of the tank, ready to go to a different destination yet again.

"I'll be in the book store! Text me when you're ready to go!" I call after them.

"O-okay!" I hear Allison squeak out as Lydia pulls her into a dressing room. I roll my eyes, my smile slowly slipping off my face as I head towards the bookstore. I wonder what it feels like, to be in love. Or at least, almost in love. I sigh as I enter the dim lighting of the book store, dragging the heavy air tank behind me as I inspect rows upon rows of books. The soft lull of an indie song plays in the store's speakers.

 

The rest of the week goes by uneventfully. Taking my college classes, getting a occasional text from Danny to get an update with him and Ethan. It just goes by like it normally does, slow and boring. I continue to watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey, finding myself weirdly connecting with Amber but whatever. I also finished up my umpteenth time of reading An Indifferent Wound by Ken Yukimura. Seriously, that piece of literature is everything that defines life. Well, at least mine. But, point is, my life is boring as fuck. The only 'exciting' thing about the week was the upcoming Support Group. God, why do you hate me so?

"Seriously, mom, If you want me to be a regular teenager, you don't send me to Support Group. You get me a fake ID so I can drink, go to clubs, take pot." I whine as I jump onto the kitchen counter, watching as my parents bustle around fixing up some sandwiches. My father turns around and raised an eyebrow at me.

"You don't take pot," He says biting into his sandwich.

"See?" I point at dad, "That's the kind of thing I would know with a fake ID!" I look at my mother, exasperated. My dad rolls his eyes, swallowing his food.

"Well, I really don't want to have to defend you in court if you do get arrested for doing very illegal things." He said, smirking into his sandwich. I roll my eyes and take my hands and "slam" them into my stomach, groaning. I sway back and forth, and lie on the counter, feigning injury. I squint from one eye as I look up to her, silently pleading for her not to take me. She just looks at me with that mom look every mother I've ever met had.

"You're going to support group." She said, and I knew it was final. I groaned again and got off the counter to go eat.

 

As soon as she parked the Porsche, I turn to her.

"I can drive here myself ya'know."

"Oh, I know." She says, purposely ignoring the underlying question.

"So? Why don't you let me? It's not like your going to do anything but just sit here for like, two hours." She turns towards me, surprised.

"I do things! I ... run errands while you're here. I don't just sit here for two hours." She stumbles out. I raise my eyebrows,

"Suure mom, whatever you say." I shrug, opening the car door. "Now, if you don't mind, I have somewhere to be in the literal heart of Jesus." I say as I lug the tank from the car, going towards the church doors.

"Bye sweetie! I'll see you at five!" I hear my mom call out as near the doors, I wave to her without looking back. As I head in the church entrance, I look towards the elevator, the doors closing with Erica and Boyd inside. Boyd catches the door, but the kid's in a wheelchair and there's not much space to begin with.

I shake my head, "Thanks, Boyd, but I'll wait." Boyd nods, letting go of the door as Erica waves at me. I wave back as the doors close. I turn back towards the entrance to see if my mom was still in the parking lot. But as I turned, all I saw- felt really, was black leather. It smelled woodsy with a hint of cinnamon. Realizing someone had bumped into me, I stepped back, ready to mouth the person off when my I stopped breathing. Figuratively, of course. The guy who ran into me was well, beautiful. He had dark hair, styled into a quiff. He had tan skin as well as piercing green eyes. He wore a red shirt and what seemed to be a worn, leather jacket. And, God, he was just- well- amazing.

"I-I'm so sorry," Hot Dude said, raising his hands. God, even his voice was amazing. "I wasn't looking where I was going and-" He continued to apologize. Snapping out of it, I mustered up a small smile,

"Oh, it's no problem really. Fine, totally fine." I say, moving out of the way. Apparently, Hot Dude had the same idea, so we ended up in each others way again. He awkwardly laughed,

"How about I go- yeah here just, eheh," He mumbles, as we yet again move into each others way instead of out of it. Finally, he just grabs my shoulders, holding me in place as he got out of my way. He walks backwards as he looks at me. "Sorry," He repeats as we maintain eye contact. While he still walks backwards, he knocks his shoulder into the closed door next to the open pathway. He stumbles slightly, holding onto the closed door. He flicks his gaze downwards then back to me. I laugh quietly as he pats the door, shooting me an awkward smile. He then turns towards the stairs and disappears from my line of sight. That was possibly the cutest interaction I've ever had with a hot guy before. I snicker into my shoulder as I pressed the down button of the elevator.

 

I sit in my usual spot in Group, listening to Finstock, yet again, go on about his ball cancer. Hot Dude is currently sitting next to Stilinski, and both quietly conversing with each other. I observe the other kids here, mostly full of the usual with a few newbies. On that account, the newbie (Hot Dude) who keeps drawing my eye. I never look for long, just quick glances. But as I glance at him for the umpteenth time, he's looking at me. No, not just looking- full on staring. His gaze doesn't falter as I stare back at him. He has a blank face, and if I didn't know any better, I'd think he was glaring at me. But I could tell his eyes were swirling with its green curiosity. If he thinks he can out stare me, well, he has another thing comin'. I don't back down from challenges easily. As our staring contest continues, I pull up a brow, smirking slightly. He draws his brows together. I could hear Finstock talk (more like yell) to the girl next to me, as they converse about what type of cancer she has and all that bull. We continue to stare.
"-and what about you Stilin- eh, Stiles? Hm? Or how about this fresh meat you brought today? Always a great help to have Newbies around." Finstock growled, narrowing his eyes at Stilinksi. He gets up.

"Uh, no Coach, I'll go. This is Derek Hale, a good friend of mine, who wanted to come to Group today."

"I did not," Derek (Derek, huh? I like it.) growled, scowling at Stilin-Stiles. Stiles just waved him off.

"Shut it SourWolf, no one asked you. Anyways, my name's Stiles. I have retinoblastoma; eyeball cancer. This baby right here is glass," He says tapping on the left side his thick framed glasses. "and in a few weeks I'm having another surgery to get the other removed. But I couldn't go through it without my bud Derek and my step brother Scott," He says pointing to Derek and to a tan kid sitting on the other side of him. "Or my smokin' hot girlfriend Malia. God she's amazing and her boobs are like..." he trails off, making obscene groping gestures.

"Alright kid, no one wants to hear about your girlfriend's boobs, Jesus. We are literally in the heart of Jesus, Stilinski- have some respect!" Finstock yells, while Derek pulls Stiles back into his seat. "Hale! Derek! Whatever the hell your name is, go at it!" Derek sighs as he stands up. My eyes watching his every movement.

"I'm Derek," cue monotonous chant, "I had a touch of osteosarcoma a while back and so, I had to cut my leg off." He said, pulling up his right pant leg, revealing a prosthetic leg. I examine it lightly as he pulls his pant leg back down. "I've been in remission for about fourteen months. Really the only reason I'm here is to support this asshat right here by coming. In which I have no valid reason as to how this is supportive, 's his idea really." He shrugs, pointing at Stiles, who gives a small shout of 'Hey!'.

"So Hale, got any impending fears? I know we all do, mine's right over there. Greenburg you better hope my ball cancer is terminal so I don't have to see your ugly mug here anymore. God, you always bring those shitty stale Cheetos. What the hell Greenburg? Bring something fresh or don't bring anything at all! Oh don't give me that look, eating worms would be better than that stale bullshit you call Cheetos." Finstock rants. Derek shifts his stance, looking between Stiles, Scott, and I. He collects his poker face and answers the question.

"Uh, my fear would have to be...," He pointedly looks at me as he continued,"Oblivion. I intend to leave a mark on this world and so, I fear it like the proverbial blind man who's afraid of the dark."

"Too soon," Stiles said, barking out a laugh.

"Was that insensitive?" Derek asked, keeping a stoic face, "I can be pretty blind to other people's feelings." Stiles bursted out laughing, Finstock on the other hand, was not amused.

"Hale! No matter how many blind jokes you make, you're not funny. Now go back to talking about your Oblivion fear or whatever- you know what, no, would anyone like to comment on Mr. Hale's fear?" Finstock asked, gaze prowling at us.

I haven't been to a proper school in three years. Though I had sort-of friends, my two best friends were my parents and Mr. Nibbins. But he technically doesn't count because he's a cat. The third best friend I have is an author holing away in Amsterdam who doesn't even know I exist. I'm secluded and quiet. I don't like to raise my hand. Never have, never will. But just this once was an exception. I slowly raised my hand, still gaze locking with Derek.

"Whittemore! What do you have to say about Hale's fear?" not bothering to get up, I continue my stare down with Derek Hale.

"There'll come a time," I say, "When we're all dead. All of us. There will come a time when there will be no human beings remaining to remember this species even existed or anything we've ever done. There was a time before and there'll be one after. There'll be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything we've ever done, built, wrote, or discovered, will be forgotten. All of this"-I say gesturing to our surroundings- "will be for nothing. That time might be tomorrow or a million years from now. We will not survive forever, and if the impending thought of the inevitable human oblivion scares you, I suggest you ignore it. God knows that's what everyone else does."
I've learned this valuable piece of information from my previously mentioned third best friend- Ken Yukimura. The only author who I've ever read who had (a) Knows what it's like to be dying and (b) Never actually died. An Indifferent Wound is like my bible. It is, really. As I finished my monologue, that most likely gave everyone in the room an existential crisis, there was a long pregnant pause. Derek looked at me, he shifted his weight and smiled. Not one of those shitty half smiles, or attempted 'sexy' smirks, but a full on smile. Crinkles by his eyes with his bunny teeth showing and everything.

"Well aren't you something." He said studying me further. He sat down, his smile simmering down a bit but it was still there. None of us said anything else for the rest of Group as Finstock finished up with another Jesus related song. I just leaned back in my chair and smirked, staring at the ceiling. Drowning out Finstock till he just sounded like white noise.

I felt Derek's stare the entire time as I sat there.

Chapter Text

I shift as I stand on the sidewalk curb impatiently waiting for my mom to come pick me up as the particularly hot Californian sun beated down on me. To give myself an obscure amount of entertainment as I waited, I continued to blatantly stare at Stilinski and his girlfriend making out against a car in the church parking lot. I huff as I shifted my weight yet again, hearing the two mutter 'always' to each other as they smashed their faces together again. I force down a gag as I audibly hear the smacking of their spit swapping. I quickly turn my attention to the squeaking opening of the entrance door, seeing Derek make his way outside. I immediately turn my head back, silently praying to be ignored as I continue to watch the mini porno show going on in the parking lot.

"Literally," a deep voice said. I jump slightly as I turn to look up at the owner of the voice. I see Derek smirking down at me. I open my mouth ready to voice my confusion, but he cuts me off. "I thought we were just in some church basement but, turns out we were literally in the heart of Jesus." I huff a laugh as I look back into the lot.

"Someone should tell Jesus," I say as I glance back up at him, "Storing a hoard of kids with cancer in your heart's gotta be dangerous."

"I would tell him but, being stuck in his heart and all, I don't think he would hear me from down here." He said laughing.

I chuckle, feeling slightly uncomfortable standing next to such an attractive guy. (you never heard that and if you did and said something about it, sure as hell you wont be seeing the light of morning tomorrow). I glance at him, double taking when i proccessed the fact that he was already staring at me from the beginning. "What, do i have something in my teeth?"

Derek's grin broadens over his face, "No, i just decided to not deny myself of looking at beautiful people."

I opened my mouth, ready to sarcastically respond but the words got caught on my tounge. No ones ever called me beautiful before... sure, theyve called me handsome and all but, never had i seen someone so genuinely say it than Derek was right now and i barely met the guy just a few hours ago. The only thing i really know about him is his last name. and the fact that he's really attractive.

so for my lack of a petty,sarcastic  response, i cross my arms over my chest,
"Well, why don't you take a picture then?" i could practically feel my face burning up and for damn sure it wasnt because of the califonia heat.

the one thing i didnt expect as a response from Derek, was to literally take out his fucking phone and snap a picture of me like it was a daily occurance. i was at an utter loss of words, if i was blushing earlier, it was a full blown fucking sunburn now.

"I didn't mean it literally you asshat!" i practically squawk at him, waving my arms frantically, attempting to grab for the phone.

"Life isnt worth passing up once in a life time chances, but hopefully for me this won't be the last?" i could hear the suggestiveness in his tone but like hell i could notice at the moment, i was dying of utter embarassment. all i could do was let out an angered huff when i realized i wouldnt get his phone with how well he was dodging me, did the tall fucker play basketball or something? damn.

"I am going to take that huff of anger as an agreement that you do, in fact, want to see me more than out of these meetings in the literal heart of jesus for more than a few hours every sunday?" he looked hopeful, raising one of his eyebrows, trying to make his offer to me as tempting as he sought it to be.

"Well, um... yeah. yes. hell yes i wanna see you more than out of group." i rambled, refusing to look at him, more entertained by messing with my canula. was that speck of dirt there before? really i swear it wasnt, does that mean i have to get a new one? (god please erase that entire moment strike me with lightning, let my lungs fail right now that was so fucking embarassing thank god i dont have friends because they would've never let me live that down).

He laughs. The motherfucker laughs and it isnt one of those small laughs then a smirk, no a full out hear it through the entire fucking parking lot, laugh. at least his smile is nice.

"Okay then. want to catch a movie?" he starts to fiddle with his jacket pocket, i dont pay much mind because im already planning out my week to find what day i have available (all of them).

"um, how about wednesday? i dont have anything planned then i could-"

"I meant right now. at my place. so...movie?" he interuppts, its brash and bold and i think this day is gonna go down in history beknownst as the day Jackson Whittemore fainted from blushing too damn much.

He pulls something from his pocket as i was about to respond with an adamant yes, i want to spend more time with you, he pulls out a pack of cigarettes. and sticks one right in between his pearly white teeth.

 

 

 

i go stoic. because, really? pulling out a pack of fucking cigarettes infront of someone with fucking lung cancer? what a dick move. and wasnt it enough that the guy literally had fucking cancer and he goes to pay some corporate billion dollar company to buy fucking cancer sticks? my anger rises so quick im sure everyone in the vicinity got whiplash. I see red and i practically tremble with anger. how insensitive can a douchebag like him be? In the triumphit fit of anger, i decide it's best to tell him so, and i do.

he laughs. the dickbag actually had the audacity to laugh at my face when i conveyed my thoughts to him about what an insensitive prick he is for doing such a thing and im seconds away from punching him square in the face. so i decide its best for both my fist and his face (i dont care that its pretty, his personality is assholeish) that i dont fight him. my breathing is up anyways, on the verge of hyperventalating and i'd rather not possibly die in front of him, so i turn and begin to walk away.

that cuts his laughter off short.

"Wait! Wait! Jackson- please, stop! I-I want laughing at what you were saying it's just that, well. You put the thing that does the killing right between your teeth, but you dont give it the power to kill you. It's a metaphor. I've never lit one before, i swear." his response was timid but affirming in tone, i almost had it in me to keep walking and to just ignore him. but something about his pleas made me stop and listen.

maybe im sadistic.

it takes a few seconds before i properly process the fact that, it was all a metaphor? who the hell does that?

so i say exactly that.

"Who the hell does that?"i say, not in anger but more of frustration, towards who? who knows at this point, definately not me.

He tentatively smiles at me, "Someone who reads too many novels for his own good, that's who."

i scoff, "I'm going to fucking punch you in the balls if you keep up this metaphorical deep bullshit when you're near me thats just a no go with me okay? okay. good, im still leaving goodbye." As i turn to continue my way away from Derek away from ant potential loce life i may have had in the future before i die of my shittt lungs, he pulls me back. he pulls me back towards him, but im not sure if it was on purpose or not because it was strong, flung me right into his chest. his ridgid chest. he obviouslt works out.

i wonder what he bench presses.

i pull myself out of my active mind to fully comprehend that we were barely several inched away from each other and deja vu kicks in of the occurence of our first meeting, bumbing into each other in the hallway. the smell of cinnamon and cedar overtakes my senses.

"Please, Jackson. I never smoked a cigarette before. so... how about that movie?" he asks in an oddly intimate whisper for someone standing outside a church talking to another man who also happens to have cancer (me).

maybe i am sadistic. huh.

At that exact moment, my mother decides to pull up in front of us, breaking the awkward as hell eye contact between us with the screeching of her tires.

"So sweetie, Top Model marathon time?" she says excitedly, her eyes darting from me to Derek in an obvious silent plea to reject her idea and to 'go make friends'. So outwardly, i smirk. internally, i sigh and scold my mother for interuppting the moment (as awkward as was) that i was having with Derek.

"Actually no, mom, i'm going over to Derek's house to go watch a movie." i say, glancing at Derek, shooting him a smirk. He doesnt seem as confident now as he previously was. he looks a bit like a blubbering baby, but then again, who am i to judge since that was me the duration of our previous conversation.