Stiles looks up after wincing, then grins sheepishly at Mr. Harris.
“Instead of detention for the rest of the year, you’ll be helping Jackson to get caught up and stay caught up.”
Jackson and Stiles make identical scandalized noises. “But, Mr. Harris—?” Jackson starts, the color draining from his face and his notebooks looking weak in his arms.
“It’ll teach you a lesson about missing so much of my class.” Mr. Harris replies pointedly. Stiles declares internally that Mr. Harris is the definition of evil, since he aims to not only punish Stiles but Jackson, too. (Jackson, who seems to be Mr. Harris’ favorite student aside from Lydia.) Jackson sighs with resignation, and thuds into the empty seat beside Stiles. Danny looks a little offended, but also a little smug.
Stiles looks to Scott for some sympathy, but Scott is staring forlornly out the window and very obviously avoiding looking at Alison.
Finally, Stiles looks at Jackson. He still seems pale which Stiles pretends is more from being around Stiles than from having almost gouged out his own stomach in an attempt to avoid hurting someone—like Danny or Stiles or Lydia or Scott or someone. Stiles feels a short-lived rush of respect. Short-lived because Jackson catches his attention with a sneer and something unintelligible but definitely rude mumbled under his breath.
Stiles makes a sour face in return, then zones out for the rest of Chemistry.
Jackson sits beside Stiles at lunch, but Stiles is pretty sure that it’s mostly because Lydia sits with them now. Not that Stiles mind because while it makes him feel mildly inferior it also makes him feel kind of awesome to be surrounded by a lot of good-looking people—gender irrelevant.
Stiles blinks and then Jackson’s eyes have turned on him harshly. “What?” He squawks, but Jackson doesn’t say anything and glares at his salad instead.
Stiles internally groans because the rest of the year is going to suck .
“I’m coming over after school.” Jackson tells him during gym. Stiles splutters and stutters and scowls until Coach tells him to climb the damn wall already. Stiles pours his frustration into climbing and makes his best time yet. (Even though no one but him is actually keeping score.)
Lacrosse is over so Stiles has no way to avoid Jackson climbing into his Jeep after the final bell rings. “Yo,” Stiles greets despite his bitter disappointment in having to dedicate all his free time to Jackson instead of avoiding his own homework and playing gratuitous amounts of video games. Jackson simply nods, lips pursed and eyes wide in a way that he’s had to picked up from Derek. “So, enjoying being a real werewolf, now?”
Jackson nods but it’s stunted.
“Are you trying to be another Derek or are you just hardwired to be a complete ass?” Stiles takes the next turn onto his road a little sharper than necessary. “Do I have to refer to you as Sourwolf Part Deux?”
Jackson growls, but Stiles has no self preservation instinct, so he snarls back. Jackson glares harder and even though it isn’t directly aimed at Stiles—it is instead aimed out the passenger side window—Stiles feels the holes it’s burning into his skin.
Finally they pull into the Stilinski driveway, and as usual the Sheriff’s car is nowhere to be found. Stiles jerks his head and Jackson follows, ever silent.
They settle at the dining table, and Stiles has to break the silence or he might throw himself in front of that semi that’s due to pass by. “So, do you really need my help?” Stiles asks, because he knows Jackson isn’t just a pretty face. Jackson is the best at everything, even if he doesn’t necessarily go about talking up his academics. Stiles knows he’s decently smart, even if there’s a little too much hot air in his head to fit as much knowledge as it could.
“Yes.” Is Jackson’s reply and Stiles does a double take. “I’m—I’m lost.” Jackson has a miserable note in his voice. “I couldn’t do anything in the hospital, it was too much.”
Stiles nods slowly. “Alright, alright.” He holds up his hands in surrender, and shifts in his seat. “Wanna sit in the living room?”
Jackson only shakes his head no minutely, and Stiles sighs again.
“Okay, so, in this chapter we started discussing Lewis structures…”
A week later, Mr. Harris springs a pop quiz on them all, and when Stiles groans, Jackson nudges him in the elbow, and actually smiles at him a little. Only Lydia gets a higher score than Stiles, and Mr. Harris still picks on Stiles relentlessly for the rest of class, but none of it really touches Stiles.
Jackson clambers into the car and reaches for the radio almost immediately. It’s reflex that Stiles slaps his hand, because Scott has really awful taste in music and doesn’t appreciate the finer qualities of artists like Billy Joel and The Cure and Sublime. Jackson actually makes a sort of whimpering noise, and Stiles just wilts. “Sorry,” he groans. “Just—Scott.” Is all he can say without launching into the tirade about Scott’s taste in music that’s been building for years.
Jackson nods, and motions for Stiles to mess with the dial. Stiles lifts an eyebrow but isn’t going to disagree. Before he backs out of his spot, he twists the volume up and realize he left the mix CD Lydia made him in the player.
Jackson relaxes into the seat, and his eyes look tired, and Stiles is almost positive that as the opening chords of “When It’s Time” start, Jackson has dozed off.
Jackson is curled into the couch, feet stretched out and resting in what wasStiles’ spot before Stiles got up to take an angry and boring phonecall from Derek. Stiles throws a disgruntled look at Jackson but it’s half-assed at best. Instead Stiles wanders into the kitchen and his dad smiles at him, pulling him close for a half-hug.
“So, is Jackson staying for dinner?”
Stiles blinks owlishly. Jackson usually leaves before dinner rolls around, but when Stiles looks at the clock he realizes it’s later than usual. “I’unno.” Stiles says, turning and shouting “are you staying for dinner?”
There’s a long drawn out silence, then Jackson walks slowly into the kitchen. “I.. Uh, no.” Jackson tries to look tough but Stiles rolls his eyes and tugs the backpack off Jackson’s shoulders.
“Uh yeah.” Stiles declares. “I’ll make stir fry.”
Stiles’ dad nods and squeezes his son’s shoulder. “Call when it’s ready.” And he grabs a soda from the fridge and goes to take up residence on the couch. Jackson sits at the dining room table, silent and hands in his lap, but with a small grin on his face as he watches Stiles cook.
Jackson, as usual, sits by Stiles at lunch. Lydia, Erica, and Boyd sit across from them while Isaac sits at the end, and Scott on Stiles’ other side. Yet again, Jackson’s tray has a salad and a bottle of all organic juice and a side of tater tots. Stiles’ own plate is piled with various bits of food that he’s stolen from around the table. He makes a face at Jackson’s tray.
“What? It’s salad,” Jackson’s sneer is teasing, “lettuce, tomato, dressing?”
Stiles scoffs and rolls his eyes. “Hello, it’s a salad,” he mimics, “lettuce, tomato, disappointment.”
Jackson laughs—actually laughs, and smiles, and the corners of his eyes crinkle up. Stiles ignores the way everyone else at the table turn to them silently, and instead focuses on the way Jackson looks when he’s happy.
“Dude we haven’t hung out in forever.” Scott says, crash landing on Stiles’ bed and grinning like the cat that got the canary—or the wolf that got the small young impressionable woman wandering through the woods, or whatever.
“Well you’ve been busy.” Stiles says matter of factly. “Mourning over Alison and all that ‘what could’ve been’ stuff.” There’s very little venom in his voice, and if there were it’s not as though Scott would pick up on it.
Scott grunts. “Yeah but it’s not like you haven’t been busy either. I never get to hang out with you because you’re always with Jackson!”
“That,” Stiles points a stern finger in Scott’s direction, “is so not true.”
“Uh, yeah dude, it so is.”
“No.” Stiles kicks at Scott’s leg and misses.
“Yeah.” Scott says again as he sits up. “Mr. Harris even said that he was only kind of kidding and that you didn’t seriously have to hang out, since it wasobviously causing Jackson so much stress.” Scott’s imitation of Mr. Harris is awful but Stiles laughs anyways. “But you hang out all the time.”
Stiles shakes his head. “We hang out like, a couple hours a week.”
Scott crosses his arms. “Dude. C’mon, it’s not like I’m angry that you and Jackson are friends. I mean, we’re pack, so I have no reason to be angry.”
Stiles’ eyes blow open wide. “I—we’re not close. We aren’t friend-friends.”
“I don’t even know what you mean by that.” And true to the statement, Scott’s face is screwed up in confusion.
“Whatever.” Stiles says with a pleased nod.
“But you should know…” Scott starts off slowly. “Whenever you two are around and especially when you make him laugh—which dude all the time I don’t know how you do it—you smell like.” Scott makes a face again. “Likesweet and happy and stuff.”
Stiles blinks. “Is that a way of saying I need new deodorant because dude we’ve been friends for almost ten years I won’t be offended if you say I have B.O.” Well, only a little offended.
“No man you smell fine normally except after practice sometimes but that’s different. I mean you smell different than usual.”
Stiles shakes his head again. “You werwolves are ridiculous.”
Scott scoots closer to the edge of the bed, where Stiles is sitting twirling in his desk chair. “I’m gonna ask you flat out, and you answer honestly, okay?”
“You’ll know either way so fine, shoot.”
Scott inhales deeply and exhales slowly. “Are you into Jackson?”
Stiles actually flinches—gives a start—jumps.
Whatever you want to call it, Stiles does it, and then looks ashamed and embarrassed and deeply, hopelessly in love. He heaves a sigh and propels himself away from the bed. “Yes.” He squeaks out once he isn’t facing Scott. “I so am, dude.” He covers his face with his hands and half-groans, half-laughs. “I’ve totally fallen for the stupid, supposed-to-be-a-douche jock. My life has become a freaking 80’s movie. Next thing I know I’m gonna go stand outside his window and hold up a boombox, or ask if he wants to ride a lawn mower with me, or organize a parade just so I can sing “Twist and Shout” for him in front of everyone with a bunch of girls in can-can dresses.”
Stiles breathes in deep after his rant, and almost cracks up at Scott’s completely lost expression.
“Yeah, dude,” Stiles steers the conversation to the topic again, “I’m really into Jackson.”
Stiles sits in the middle of his bed and he’s not ashamed to admit that he’s pouting. Deeply. Pouting so deeply that he’ll probably have a lifetime’s worth of wrinkles. His dad, and Scott, and even the pups of the pack tried to cheer him up. And it worked on some level, but for the most part he was still left feeling pouty. And he know he’s entirely justified in these feelings since it’s become apparent that Jackson is avoiding him.
Stiles groans and hits his head against the wall a few times just to reassure the fact that he is very much alive and that the wall is very real and very solid and that a director isn’t going to yell “cut” anytime soon.
Stiles walks out of school on the last day, a little late because Mr. Harris had pulled him aside to tell him what a pleasure it was to have him in the class, and the he really hopes Stiles decides to take AP Chemistry his junior year, because Stiles has real potential to do amazing things in science. Stiles takes a little longer, even, because he just kind of stands slack-jawed and stunned staring at Mr. Harris. The teacher simply squeezes his shoulder and grins. Stiles nods, and agrees to change his schedule last minute, which takes him even longer since the counselor’s office is kind of packed.
But once he’s finally free of school he’s able to walk down the halls in peace. Most of the students have gone home, so the halls are empty, and when he pushes open the door to the front steps, he isn’t expecting Jackson to be waiting, leaning against his Jeep.
Stiles blinks. “Hey.”
“Long time no see.” He aims for light hearted and pleasant, but it comes out choked and nervous.
Jackson stands straight from leaning on the car, and motions Stiles’ closer. As Stiles approaches, Jackson starts to speak. “I heard you like 80’s movies.”
Stiles flushes pink. “Where’d you hear such a silly thing?”
“From you when you were telling Scott how much you were in love with me.”Were comes out unsteady and unsure.
“Oh. Yeah.” Stiles tries to shrug but his shoulders feel tense. “Are you supposed to be the Jake to my Samantha?”
Jackson grins. He leans in but Stiles holds up a single finger.
“I have only one last question.”
Jackson looks amused, but nods again.
“Can you do that thing at the end of Dirty Dancing?” Stiles side steps around Jackson, trying to hide his vibrantly red face. But, of course, ever the freaking werewolf, Jackson grabs his arm lightly and pins him against the side of the Jeep.
His grin is toothy and wide and Stiles’ knees buckle and he swallows uneasily. “Yes.” Jackson whispers just before kissing Stiles.
They kiss for a while, and eventually Stiles’ arms end up wrapped around Jackson’s shoulders, and Jackson’s hands grip at Stiles’ waist. They kiss pressed up against the Jeep until the air gets even hotter, and Mr. Harris coughs awkwardly loud as he walks by to his car. Stiles grins all the same.
“As good as the movies?” Jackson asks teasingly as they climb into the Jeep, as Stiles drives them to his house.
“Would’ve been better if it had been raining or if you had managed to chase me down at the airport just before I boarded the plane going where-the-fuck-ever. But yeah, other than that, it was almost better than the movies.” Stiles grins like the smart ass he is, and holds out his hand to Jackson as he takes the long route. Jackson reaches for the radio, because he knows he has permission, and Stiles starts to wonder if “What I Got” would work for the end credits of their movie.. or maybe not.