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We've Matured Now

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It’s a well known fact that group assignments suck. Alex was made well aware of this fact with his first ever group assignment when he chose to team up with the really funny stoner from orientation week. He quickly learned that while stoners are awesome to party with, they are decidedly not awesome to work with. Group assignments with pre-allocated partners are like a lottery. Like shroedinger’s partners. Until you meet them they can be both awesome and awful. (Nearly brain dead is apparently also an option).

This is his first ever group assignment (with pre-allocated partners, because setting assignments in your first week isn’t being horrible enough for this professor) where the other two parts of his group are dating each other. It’s probably not necessary to say he has extremely low hopes walking into the cafe to discuss the project.

Within five minutes of arriving though, Alex has been given a twelve page booklet of their combined notes from the class and the assigned reading for the next two weeks, an A3 size brainstorming map on topic ideas from Stiles, they’ve chosen a topic to present and decided on a presentation format. Alex has also come to the conclusion that for once he’s going to be the shitty person in the group. He’ll never it admit it to his parents, but it’s nice to be the one that’s being towed along. What makes it even better is that Stiles and Jackson seem like genuinely nice people. He might end up coming out of a group assignment for once with some new friends. Or at the very least people he doesn’t have to hide from in the cafeteria.

“So how did you guys meet?” Alex asks after he’s exchanged numbers with them both and they’ve organised who is researching what.

“Oh we went to high school together,” Stiles answers and smiles sweetly at Jackson, “I was in love with his girlfriend and had a ten year plan to woo her which was upgraded to eight when he left the country to go find himself after I hit him with my car and he died.”

“Har har,” Jackson rolls his eyes. “You couldn’t kill me with your Jeep if I was poisoned, bleeding and standing in front of it begging you to kill me. But yeah, we went to high school and hated each other. Unfortunately, he grows on you like fungus and when he found me here I couldn’t get rid of him.”

“Hah!” Stiles snorts, “I found you? Who sniffed who out buddy?”

“Anyway,” Jackson continues, choosing to ignore Stiles and the pokes Stiles is jabbing into his ribs, “Do we all know what we need to do before we meet up next Saturday?” After getting a nod from Alex (Stiles’ “Sir yes sir” earning him another eye roll) Jackson continues briskly as he gathers their things from their table, “Well Alex it was nice to meet you and catch up on the assignment and we’ll see you next Saturday.”

Watching them walk away from the table they’d commandeered, Jackson’s arm around Stiles’ waist and Stiles’ hand tucked in Jackson’s back pocket, Alex feels a pang of loneliness and brings out his phone to text the girl he’d been kind of flirting with last semester in their shared class. Maybe she’d like to meet him for pizza later, it was $3 slice night and even if she said no, he could eat away his sorrows with $3 pizza.

“Text us if you get stuck with anything,” Stiles hollers over his shoulder as they make it to the door, before pressing a small kiss to Jackson’s ear in apology as he’d been turned in his direction when he yelled out.

Damn, they’re really cute.

 

***

 

“Wait,” Emma asks, “Are you seriously telling me you asked me to dinner and started this whole relationship because you thought Stiles and Jackson were, and I quote, ‘really cute together’ and you were lonely?”

“Yes?” Alex answers, wincing a little, because when she puts it like that, it really does make him sound like a giant dick. “I mean I liked you anyway-”

“Babe,” Emma cuts him off with a laugh, “Calm down, I’m not mad, that’s actually really sweet! It’s just funny because they have, like, the weirdest relationship ever.”

“I just think they’re really nice together,” Alex offers.

“They’re like the meanest couple on the planet while still being affectionate,” Emma says. “Like seriously, I was in the same freshman lit class as them both and I was even there, like, the first time they saw each other. It was so bizarre.”

“But cute, right?” Alex asks, “Like cute enough together that I’m still a sweet boyfriend?”

“Yes you dork,” Emma laughs, “But seriously, those two together made you think you wanted a relationship? Their dynamic is so odd.”

“Yeah,” Alex answers, “It works though.”

 

***

 

Walking out of her first ever collegiate lecture (which has been considerably less exciting than she had built it up to be) Emma trips over the strap of a messenger bag on the floor and because she clearly had not been disappointed enough already by the day’s proceedings. She sighs (possibly a little dramatically) and checks out the scrape on her knee.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” Exclaimed the guy she’d been sitting next to during the lecture (that had shifted his weight approximately every 30 seconds during the lecture) and whose bag she had apparently just tripped over. Jumping to his feet and abandoning the notes he had been finishing off he offered her a hand to help her to her feet. “I’m so sorry! I’d say this never happens to me, but that’d be a lie because I’m possibly the clumsiest person on the planet.”

“It’s fine,” Emma answers, a little in shock from the trip because she hasn’t fallen over while sober since she was a pre-teen, and a little in shock from the verbal barrage from the cute guy she’d sat next to in the hopes of striking up a conversation. “I’m Emma by the way.”

“I’m Stiles,” the guy introduces himself, “Normally I’d say it’s nice to meet you, but since that looked painful and was completely my fault that might not be the right sentiment.”

“Please don’t create a five year plan for this one Stilinski,” a guy drawls as he swaggers up behind Stiles. “Although I have to admit, as a meet-cute that was a pretty good one.”

Jackson?” Stiles asks, turning around to look at the newcomer, before jumping on him to pull him in for a bear hug. “Dude! How have you been? Have you got the whole teeth ‘n rawr thing sorted now?” He pulls back from the hug and squints at him consideringly before asking, “Am I safe to touch you like this or are you going to rip off my arms?”

“You’re an idiot,” Jackson replies, rolling his eyes.

“And you’re avoiding the question,” Stiles rebuts waggling a finger towards his face. “Rawr thing; sorted or are you still wild?”

Jackson snaps his teeth at Stiles’ finger before grinning widely, showing off all his teeth, “Does that answer your question?”

“Yup!” Stiles answers cheerily, “You’d have taken the finger if you were still a little wild. Now help me help my new friend Emma here by carrying her books.”

“Oh,” Emma interrupts before Jackson has to think up an excuse to leave, “I’ll be fine, thank you though.”

“I insist,” Jackson responds smoothly, “This weirdo can’t be trusted to walk without falling over on a flat surface on a good day. Let’s go get a coffee or something and get to know each other and he can apologise for the attempted homicide via personal belongings.”

“I’m so proud of you for saying homicide and not murder,” Stiles smiles and links arms with Emma and starts walking towards to cafe in the quad.

“You’re just used to Scott,” Jackson says. “Where is testicle two anyway?”

“I’ve been upgraded to testicle one?”

And that’s how Emma finds herself as a third wheel to an epic catch up/ first date and is somehow the only person that realises that it’s a date.

These two are probably perfect for each other.

 

***

 

Alex and Emma are hanging out under one of the trees in the quad with Emma lying all over him because she hates the feel of grass (and Alex is extremely happy with her unhappiness towards grass if it means he gets to full on cuddle Emma for the afternoon) when he spies Stiles and Jackson walking slowly across the quad, Jackson holding two coffees as Stiles gestures a little wildly over whatever story he’s telling Jackson.

Based on Stiles’ play by play mime including jumps, swinging arms and weirdly exaggerated biting, it’s clearly a dream about a flying monster (maybe a vampire judging by the biting) and a game of baseball. (Stiles either has very vivid dreams, or Alex is terrible at guessing stories from arm gestures from a distance).

“Hey guys,” Alex calls out, Jackson turning to look towards them unerringly, Stiles looking around blindly before spotting them, “We’re just chilling here if you want to join us.”

“Sweet spot,” Stiles comments when they get closer and settles down a little behind Alex so he can lean against the tree trunk and spreads his legs to make room for Jackson to sit between them with his back against Stiles’ chest. “And hey guys.”

“Hey,” Emma greets and shifts to one side so she can see them better. “When are your next classes?”

“Not ‘til three,” Jackson answers. “We were just going to wander around, but lazy bones here,” he elbows Stiles, “is probably ecstatic that he has an excuse to sit down.”

“If you don’t want cuddles you can leave,” Stiles answers. “If it’ll make you happy puppy though I’ll even scratch behind your ear.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“That wasn’t a no,” Stiles comments happily and cards his fingers through Jackson’s hair.

“While we’ve got you here,” Alex says, “Can you tell us more about your relationship in high school? You guys always joke about how you hated each other, but Emma was saying when you saw each other again you were instantly dating, so you couldn’t have hated each other.”

“Oh couldn’t we?” Jackson asks lazily.

“Oh buddy, you are so wrong,” Stiles says. “We absolutely loathed each other. I mean we worked together in like, life or death situations-”

“Literally,” Jackson snorts.

“But we seriously hated each other. We’ve obviously matured since then.”

“Oh come on,” Emma cajoles, “I’m sure it was pigtail pulling right?”

“I used to slam him into walls and lockers pretty regularly,” Jackson says musingly after a moment’s pause.

“See,” Alex replies, “Classic pigtail pulling right there. I’m sure it was all just sexual tension.”

“Oh! I hit him with my car once,” Stiles offers.

“I got his Dad fired for a while,” Jackson responds.

“Oh, that’s right you dick! You better get him a great birthday present this year!” Stiles cries.

“When have I ever given a bad present?” Jackson argues.

“Well never,” Stiles admits, “But you can’t start now.”

“Wait,” Alex interrupts because bickering like this is their special type of foreplay (which he learned at a house party last month when he burst into the bathroom they’d occupied to try to break up their fight after watching them argue all night) “How did you get his Dad fired? Stiles, isn’t your Dad the sheriff?”

“Ha!” Jackson snorts, “Yeah Stiles, how’d I get your Dad fired?”

“Alright, so I may have stolen a police van and chained Jackson up in it for the night. But I just want to say I stand by that decision because he deserved it!”

“Who? Your Dad or Jackson?” Emma asks.

“Jackson obviously. Dude had unresolved issues at the time and needed a time out.” Stiles responds airily.

“Yeah well, I would have had plenty of time out if you’d respected my restraining order,” Jackson rolls his eyes.

“You had a restraining order against Stiles?” Alex asks disbelievingly.

Had?” Jackson scoffs, “I never cancelled it.”

Stiles pushes Jackson off his lap and runs maybe fifty metres away before stopping and yelling back to Jackson, “I’m sorry Jacks, but it’ll never work out! I’m not being sent to jail for you!”

“Come back you muppet,” Jackson yells as he jogs towards his boyfriend, shepherding back towards the tree. “That was a joke; I cancelled it before moving to England.”

Still running away from Jackson (now circling each other around the tree) Stiles shouts back, “Just think of my Dad! He wouldn’t survive me being thrown in jail. Wait! Scratch that, I wouldn’t survive me being thrown in jail! I’m not built for it; I’m too pretty to go to jail!” Stiles wails.

With a burst of speed Jackson tackles Stiles and takes him down on the other side of the tree.

“You’re an idiot,” Emma hears Jackson say in a fond tone. “Why do I even love you?”

“Because too pretty for jail is just pretty enough for you.”

“True. Guess I’d have to break you out of jail then.”

“My hero.”

The scary part is Alex truly believes he would break him out of jail.