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Recognition of Humanity

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Isaac knew he was being stupid about the whole thing, but since when had that ever stopped him? Derek wouldn't approve, that was for certain, and in general Derek's approval was something he was constantly seeking. To be the best, the fastest, the strongest, anything. Anything to show Derek that he already had a pack and didn't need to romance Scott McCall to bring him into the fold. As far as Isaac was concerned Scott was an Omega who was dating the daughter of a Hunter, which was like digging his own grave with both hands, and however it ended for Scott was what he deserved. Anyway, it wasn't like Isaac wasn't used to doing whatever it was he had to do and accepting the painful consequences when he got caught. Life, human or werewolf, was made of painful consequences and there wasn't anything to be done about that.

The stupidest part about it was that he didn't even have to do this. Jackson would never know the difference and anyone who already knew the truth didn't give a damn. Isaac would know though and he could remember his mom carding her fingers through his hair while she told him that when someone did something to help you, you had to thank them. Ever since she'd been gone there hadn't been that many people who had helped him, and Jackson - however unintentionally - had helped him more than even the people who knew about his father could know. The truth, the sickening and simple truth, was that if the kanima hadn't killed his father, he would have. Maybe not that night, maybe not the next time his father shoved him against the wall or closed his hand around his throat, but the next time he had been forced into that damned freezer Isaac knew he would not have been able to control himself. So not only had Jackson stopped his father forever, he had also prevented him from tearing his father's throat out with his teeth. Isaac had enough nightmares rattling around behind closed eyes without that memory burned into his mind as well.

Isaac made sure he was on the far side of the field when lacrosse practice ended, watching from a distance as the coach shouted at everyone as the team closed back in. He was more careful on the field than Scott was, kept his plays low-key even when his movements were faster than what would have been possible for the average high schooler. He passed to other players on the team, was careful not to make goals, did nothing that would put him into the spotlight. Small towns were rife with gossip and the last thing he wanted was everyone's eyes on him. Let them watch Scott, marvel over his ridiculous acrobatics that would have been more at home in a circus than they were on a lacrosse field.

The rest of the team was following the coach into the locker room; Scott and Stiles with their heads bent together as they strategized for whatever insanity they were going to try to push off on the pack next, Jackson and Danny joking and roughhousing with each other and the handful of the guys on first line who followed the pair like puppy dogs were close behind. Isaac rolled his eyes and followed at a slower pace, wondering if they all really thought they weren't incredibly obvious in their little crushes on the co-captain and the goalie.

By the time he reached the locker room half of the team had already cleared out and the rest were in the final stages of pulling clothes over their still damp bodies. Isaac ignored them all and went to his own locker, standing slightly to the side as he changed so he could keep an eye on Jackson. He changed clothes slowly, matching his pace to Jackson's, and before long Scott and Stiles were gone and the rest of the team trickled out the door.

"I'll catch up with you later tonight," Danny called to Jackson, shutting his locker with a slam and left without waiting for an answer. Now Jackson and Isaac were the only people left in the room, an occasional drip of water from a shower head punctuating the silence.

This was the other reason that this was a monumentally stupid idea; Jackson could turn into a giant lizard who could temporarily paralyze him with a swipe of his claws and kill him just as easily. Now that Isaac was a werewolf there weren't many threats to him other than Hunters and other werewolves, but Jackson was dangerous and didn't even know it. Sometimes that was the worst kind of dangerous.

Isaac reminded himself that he was accepting the consequences, even if they involved being left helpless on the floor of the locker room for a few hours, and he shrugged into his jacket and walked over to where Jackson was examining the net of his lacrosse stick.

Jackson's eyes went wide when he saw Isaac standing a few feet away. He stood immediately, his hands clenching around his lacrosse stick like he might use it as a weapon.

It was a relief and kinda sad at the same time, Jackson clutching to a weapon that was ineffective against anything he might encounter that wasn't human. As long as Jackson didn't know he could change, Isaac was that much safer. At the same time he almost longed to tell Jackson how much stronger he was than he thought, how he was lethal against anyone who might even think about hurting him. Isaac felt the tips of his claws pressing to extend but forced them away with a concentrated breath.

"If Derek wants to talk to me again, he can come to me," Jackson said, tense with hidden fear but ready to fight even against what must seem like a Goliath of an opponent in terms of strength and reflexes.

Isaac shook his head. "I'm not here for Derek. There's something I need to say to you."

Jackson paused for a moment and then moved one hand away from his lacrosse stick in a sweeping gesture. "What?" Now that he wasn't worried about Isaac dragging him off the familiar cockiness had settled back into Jackson's voice and shoulders.

"Thank you," Isaac said, holding his head up so he was meeting Jackson's eyes directly.

A flash of confusion crossed Jackson's face. "For what?"

Isaac paused for a moment, trying to decide if Jackson needed to know for it to count as a thank you. "My father is dead," he finally said, picking a middle ground that Jackson could interpret however he liked.

Jackson's mouth pursed in a small frown as he stared at Isaac, his eyes flickering as he thought about what Isaac had told him. Isaac had turned to leave, his task done, when Jackson spoke. "Good."

Isaac didn't look back as he left the locker room, he even kept his back straight and his head up - his days of cowering in fear were over with only a handful of exceptions. It wasn't until he was outside that he breathed out a shaken exhale and let his heart hammer away in his chest. He stood on the back steps of the school for a moment, breathing more quickly than he would have liked and squeezed his eyes shut against the spring afternoon sunlight. "Good," he repeated to whoever might be listening to a lone teenager talking to himself in the slowly building easterly wind.