Stiles is pacing back at Derek’s house, Derek having told him about Jackson’s suicide attempt (but having left out the part about Jackson not succeeding). When Derek has enough of Stiles walking around his couch in circles, making Derek dizzy, he stalks up to his bedroom and slams the door.
Stiles flails about uselessly, wondering how the fucking Alpha can just not care about whether or not his Beta died. He grits his teeth, swearing on anything and anyone he can think of that he’s going to kill Jackson himself - if Jackson didn’t do it already.
Just then, the front door creaks open and Jackson appears, looking a bit worse for wear, but completely and utterly alive.
Jackson’s eyes widen when he sees Stiles running toward him (and tripping on nothing), and yet, how could he expect anything else? Stiles does everything exaggeratedly and spastically. And that’s, fortunately, one of the reasons so many people can’t hate Stiles; he’s amusing.
Arms encircle Jackson and squeeze.
For a moment, Jackson just lets Stiles hold him, not fighting it, not complaining, just allowing Stiles’s worry to rush over him. It makes Jackson’s eyes water a bit; he didn’t know there were two more people who would miss him if he gave up.
Stiles pushes Jackson against the door then - just as Jackson is getting ready to hug back – and jabs a finger in Jackson’s face.
“You – you idiot! How could you just – why didn’t you tell someone? Why didn’t you ask me first? Why didn’t you even tell me you would go this far? I’m the one you’re mated with; I’m just as responsible for our problem as you are,” Stiles shouts, poking Jackson in the chest.
Jackson rubs at his chest, eyebrows furrowed, and Stiles continues before he can speak.
“I would have done anything to fix things. I would have gone away, concentrated on fixing Lydia after you crushed her spirit or sent her to you so you could deal with that mess and forget about ours.”
Stiles fists in Jackson’s shirt, ebony eyes so fierce it reminds Jackson of his Alpha.
“Don’t you ever scare me like that again. You can go be with who you want, do what you want, forget about how much I’d be willing to turn everything I know on its head to have you, and just live. Live. That’s all I want for you, Jackson.”
Stiles collapses against Jackson, holding on to the front of his torn shirt, Stiles’s words breaking in his throat (and Jackson’s heart). “I just want you to keep on living and being the person you are – fake-asshole or not. Is that too much to ask? Can you do that? If not for me, then for your family – for yourself.”
Jackson’s mind is replaying everything Stiles has said, but what’s most surprising is how much sense it all makes. It’s the first time Stiles has rambled with a purpose, a deep meaning, a point to get across. And it all makes sense.
Christ Almighty - Jackson’s the stupid one, isn’t he? Stiles has always looked forward while Jackson refuses to see anywhere but back.
Stiles cries into Jackson’s shirt, and Jackson doesn’t wait to wrap around him this time. He holds him close, tightening, feeling like he could never, ever let go. Not now, not tomorrow, not in twenty years; Stiles belongs to him. And Jackson will be damned for his selfishness one day, but he’s always wanted something that couldn’t be taken from him. He’s found it in this skinny, hyperactive, wonderful teenager.
“I’m sorry, Stiles,” Jackson whispers, kissing the side of Stiles’s face. Stiles’s damp cheeks tickle his neck when he slides in closer. “I won’t do this to you again, I promise.”
Jackson’s not going to pretend he doesn’t feel anymore. He wants Stiles to know everything. He deserves to know. He’s taken Stiles away from his lifelong crush, so he deserves to have everything he wants.
“I just didn’t feel good enough for anything or anyone. I knew Lydia would make you happy, so I broke up with her. I knew you’d take better care of her than I ever could.” Stiles scoffs, fisting tighter in Jackson’s shirt, but not interrupting. “I just thought everyone would be better off without me.”
Stiles looks up at that, glaring. Jackson rubs at Stiles’s nape. “I’ve always felt alone, and even more alone the more friends I got. They weren’t real friends, didn’t care about me, so I thought everyone else thought that, too.” Stiles watches, his features smoothing out, just listening.
Jackson keeps rubbing Stiles’s back and arms. “I’ve felt...inadequate - like I don’t belong anywhere. That there’s always been something important missing from me, and that maybe I’m the only one in the world who never got it when I was born.”
Stiles shakes his head, smiling ruefully. “Jackson you are the most perfect human being on Earth. I haven’t even met half of the population, and I know that for a fact.”
Jackson frowns at that, looking away. Stiles forces Jackson’s eyes back, cupping his face. “Look at me.” Jackson does; he said he’d give Stiles everything. “You’re smart, hardworking, caring, selfless – this thing you tried to do just proves it – and an all-around interesting person. Maybe you should just let your guard down sometimes so other people can see it, too.”
“There’s something empty inside me, Stiles. I feel like there’s a space where my beating heart should be.”
Stiles grumbles, “Don’t you dare say you don’t have a heart. Your heart is almost bigger than Scott’s, and his is the size of a freakin’ football field.” Jackson snorts. “You’re missing something, fine. We all feel a bit broken or unfinished at times. You just need to find it, and when you do, hold on to it and keep it close.”
Jackson watches Stiles; takes in the tear tracks on Stiles’s face, the redness of his lips from having bitten them, the circles under his eyes, and finally nods.
“It’s probably not love, but I can help you try to find it, Jacks. Will you let me? I’d- I’d like to be around, whatever that entails,” Stiles finishes, sounding embarrassed.
“I’d like your help,” Jackson admits, tracing Stiles’s cheeks, wiping away the drying moisture. “And I couldn’t think of a better person to help me through this.”
No, it isn’t love that’s missing from Jackson's life, but that’s because he hadn’t found the real kind yet. Maybe if he knows it - for real, deeply and without wearing his masks – this time it could be what he’s needed all along. Maybe he can feel whole someday with Stiles by his side.
“Do you – maybe – want to go steady with me?” Jackson asks, nerve endings tingling and begging to be closer to Stiles. As if they could get closer; they’re practically one body the way their limbs are entangled, and how they're squeezed together against the door.
Stiles blinks, licking his lips.
“I just want people to know who you belong to. I’m not afraid anymore.” He spreads the wetness on Stiles’s lips with a digit. “I chose you a long time ago, Stilinski,” Jackson teases.
And they’re going to be connected now in a way no normal couple should ever be (unless you’re Scott and Allison).
Stiles closes his eyes, nodding, pursing his lips to press a kiss to Jackson’s thumb. “Yes, Jackson. Yes, I’m yours. I can’t even remember a time before I wanted to be with you. I think I liked you even before my crush on Lydia started,” he explains, eyes fluttering open.
Jackson sighs, relieved. Stiles agreed to everything; not giving up on Jackson like most others would have. Stiles forgives so easily that Jackson feels his chest hurt, his stomach twist and turn, and he’s kissing Stiles, marking Stiles’s swollen lips as his. His – it has a nice ring to it.
Jackson breaks the kiss to slide his teeth down Stiles’s neck, gnawing gently. “Who should we tell first?” Stiles grins, his face scrunching up when teeth sink in slightly.
“Whoever you want,” Jackson growls, “just after – after I mark you.”
Stiles sucks in a breath, tilting his head. “Yeah,” he whimpers. “I can deal with that.”
It’s a good thing Derek went to his bedroom because Stiles can barely even pull Jackson away from the front door before his clothes is being ripped apart. Jackson pins Stiles against the living room floor, grinding their hips and nipping, kissing, licking, tasting every part of his mate. His mate.
Stiles doesn’t resist; spreads his legs to accommodate Jackson, moaning and gasping, eyes clenched tight each time the fangs slide out against Jackson’s will. Stiles winds himself around Jackson, grinding and begging. Jackson can’t even hear Stiles’s voice through the howl of his wolf wanting to mount Stiles and fuck him into the floorboards. He bites Stiles’s neck, harder than before, feeling Stiles’s throat twitch under his teeth, and his teeth sink in.
Crying out – in pain or pleasure, Jackson can’t even concentrate enough to tell – Stiles rolls nonstop underneath Jackson, naked skin becoming slippery with sweat and saliva. Jackson is drooling all over Stiles, and Stiles can’t even measure how high up on the gross-meter that is because he’s dying, shattering into pieces, and Jackson is the only one who can make it all better.
There’s more blood on Jackson’s tongue than he’d like to admit, but Stiles isn’t stopping him. He laps at all the puncture holes he’s made along Stiles’s collarbone and chest, and then makes more along his stomach and ribs. The blood there is dark, sweet almost, and it makes Jackson’s skin vibrate. Stiles writhes, tugging at Jackson’s hair – to stop maybe? But Stiles pleads, keens, and orders Jackson to: “Just fuck me already!”
Jackson’s wolf is so far out it almost pushes Jackson to change, but the hands tangled in Jackson’s hair keep him from going too far. He doesn’t want to eat Stiles – at least not in a blood and guts kind of way.
The problem with Stiles is that he doesn’t stop moving, and he makes Jackson clumsy. It’s hard enough to keep his wolf in line, but every time Jackson tries to take Stiles in his mouth, the spaz arches off the floor, and he falls out of Jackson’s mouth. So, impatient as he always is, Jackson just mouths at the entire area, and if his fangs catch on the head of Stiles’s cock, making him cry out in ecstasy and come way too soon, that’s all Stiles’s fault.
Stiles is a sensible nuisance, though. He drags Jackson back up his body and jerks Jackson’s cock, letting Jackson mark up his neck and lips, chin and shoulders, everything painted in teeth marks and tiny bite holes.
When Stiles murmurs how much Jackson is worth, how lucky Stiles is to have him, how he will let Jackson take him over and over, whenever he wants, just as long as he doesn’t give up on himself, Jackson growls and comes, teeth piercing deep into Stiles’s neck.
Stiles makes soft, pained sounds, but he’s smiling when Jackson’s teeth slide out. He laps at the blood collecting in the hollow of Stiles’s throat, nuzzling Stiles’s neck, and Stiles just hums. Jackson wonders, afraid for a moment, why Stiles’s hand isn’t on his back, but then remembers he came all over Stiles's fingers.
Jackson carefully brings Stiles’s fingers to his mouth, nibbling affectionately and sucking all the mess away. He may be licking the taste of himself off, but he’s focusing on the taste underneath that: a sexed-out, satiated Stiles.
Stiles groans when Jackson sucks on each fingertip, dragging the soiled skin against his teeth and tongue. “Stop, you’re gonna make me hard again, Jacks.”
“Don’t tempt me,” Jackson replies, smirking as his tongue circles Stiles’s fingers.
Stiles yawns, closing his eyes, “In that case, we can do whatever you want.”
And that’s it. It's as simple as that.
Jackson found his soul again, his heart, his missing piece – his will to live. Now he wants to live because Stiles is here, and Stiles cares. Danny cares, his parents care, even Derek cares in his weird Alpha way. They care, so Jackson has no choice but to.
Stiles looks peaceful, his fingers petting Jackson's arm slowly. And, hello-
Stiles wasn’t joking about getting hard again, but he’s also snoring. Jackson chuckles softly, pressing a kiss to Stiles’s forehead. He’s definitely the weirdest guy around, this one. Who else could fall asleep with a boner?
Jackson carries Stiles over to the couch, covers them both in a blanket – that was left on the bottom step leading to Derek's room, where there was nothing earlier – and whispers ‘thanks, Stiles’ before following him into slumber. Stiles curls closer to Jackson, warm and pleased, like he’s always belonged there.