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I Never Stopped

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Why do you hate me Stiles texts. He stares at it for a long time before he presses send. He’s a little drunk, though, and the little bit of whisky he drank gave him enough courage to hit send.

It’s a long time before he gets a response, long enough that he starts to cry. There is so much he regrets, so much he wants to take back between them. Of course, Stiles has no idea if things would be any different, but he remembers what it was like to be Jackson’s best friends.

He remembers other things too, things that keep him lying awake at night, hoping that Jackson remembers them as well.

Why did you push me away is what he gets back, and it’s the last thing Stiles ever though Jackson would send him.

He doesn’t know what to say. Well, he does, but he doesn’t know if it’ll be enough.

You reminded me of her

I tried to be there for you and you threw everything away like it meant fucking nothing

Stiles chokes on a sob, his hand shaking where he is holding his phone far too tight. It’s hard to see through the wetness in his eyes, and he doesn’t know how to say what he needs to say over text. He calls Jackson, his heart in his throat as he does so.

“What do you want, Stilinski?” Jackson answers, and his voice sounds rough—though it could just be how his voice sounds over the phone. Stiles wouldn’t know.

“I never stopped,” Stiles tells him, holds close the punched out noise that Jackson makes.

“What did you say?” Jackson demands, his voice hard and angry and Stiles almost feels like laughing.

“I still have the paperclip you gave me,” Stiles says, and he does. The paperclip is folded into a ring and is sitting on his end table, has been sitting on his end table, since the day Jackson knelt on one knee during recess and gave it to him. “It fits now.”

It takes a while for Jackson to say anything. So long that Stiles thinks Jackson hung up, though he doesn’t move the phone away from his ear, just in case. “C-can I see? Sometime?”

Stiles laughs, a little broken and a lot elated. He pulls his knees up to his chest and listens to Jackson breathe over the phone before he answers.

“I’ll wear it tomorrow,” Stiles tells him, knows it’s a risk.

“You’re not going to make this easy on me, huh?” Jackson asks, though he sounds fond rather than annoyed, and Stiles’ smile widens.

“When have I ever made anything easy on you, Jax?” the nickname slips out, but he doesn’t care, can’t care, not when Jackson laughs, louder and happier than Stiles has heard in years.

Chapter Text

Stiles was freaking out. He had tumbled past denial somewhere along the drive to school, and now he was firmly in the freaking-the-fuck-out stage. No matter what he tried—deep breaths, calming thoughts, indie music —he wasn't able to calm down. His heart was beating too fast in his chest, and he couldn't breathe in enough to fill his lungs.

He felt foolish, a little, for being so nervous. Still, he couldn't push down the anxiety nor the uncertainty warring within his chest. The problem was that Stiles had no idea if Jackson had been serious last night. His memory was blurry enough from the whisky that he could convince himself that he had made it all up. It was more than possible that it had all been a dream but Stiles...really wanted to hope.

Hope that it had really happened, hope that the pretty words Jackson had said to him were true, hope that he was making a giant freaking mistake.

Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath as he stopped at a stop sign. He had a slight headache—most likely from the whisky—and he couldn't get his heart rate to calm down. If he had made it all up, Stiles knew that it would hurt, but luckily Jackson wouldn't know how he felt.

That felt scarier than anything, admitting to his feelings after spending so long fighting them down. For years Stiles told himself that it was nothing, that he was over it. Jackson was mean to him for long enough that it became easy to lie to himself. But he hadn't been able to lie to himself late at night, lying awake in the dark and fantasizing about things that would never be.

He'd been doing it for years, imagining him and Jackson together, imagining them never drifting apart. Stiles knew it was foolish to say that he had been in love with Jackson—they had only been kids, young and far too innocent to the pain of loss—but he...he liked to think that he had, in his own way. That he had loved Jackson in all the ways he could have for a nine-year-old.

But that had all crumbled away in the aftermath of his mother's death. Jackson had tried so hard, the first few days after Stiles’ entire world had fallen apart. Stiles could look back on that time and see it, now, the way Jackson had clung to him and had tried his very best to be there for Stiles in all the ways that he could at that age. It was Stiles who pushed him away, at first.

Jackson reminded Stiles too much of a better time, when his mother was alive and his father didn't drink and Stiles laughed easily. He reminded Stiles that things would never be the same, that no matter what, his mother would never be coming back and his dad may never hug him again. He reminded Stiles of a time when he wore a paperclip around his ring finger just like his parents both did, and told everyone that he was married to Jackson because they loved each other.

It was too painful to spend time with him when all Stiles could think about was how lonely he was. Clinging to Scott was easier—he didn't know Stiles before, didn't know his mother or his father. He hadn't been around for Stiles' entire life, and he didn't remind Stiles of what it was like to be happy.

Sitting with Scott in school and playing with him at recess was something Stiles had done because it was easy . He pulled away from Jackson because it hurt too much to be with him, in the first few weeks, and by the time Stiles had grieved enough that he wanted Jackson back into his life, it had been too late. Jackson had already decided that he hated Stiles and Scott and had begun his tirade against them.

Nothing had been the same after that, and as Jackson got more and more popular Stiles' own 'social standing' decreased. Stiles didn't care about that, but the way Jackson looked at him, like he was beneath him, like he didn't mean anything to him, got under Stiles skin and sat there, festering and breading until Stiles could convince himself that he hated Jackson.

But he had never hated Jackson, and that was all too obvious now, pulling into the student parking lot. Anxiety was climbing up his belly and squeezing around his heart. Stiles leaned forward to rest his forehead against the back of his hands, squeezing his fingers around the steering wheel as he tried to push down the nausea. The paperclip dug into his skin and he pressed harder against it, something about having it on his finger giving him a small measure of comfort.

It was a good memory, Jackson getting to one knee during recess and telling Stiles that he loved him more than the whole world and if Stiles loved him too, they should be married. To Stiles, it had seemed like a perfectly good plan, since he had loved Jackson too, after all, and of course he had said yes. The paperclip ring that Jackson had made for him had been too big, and instead of making it smaller Stiles had sworn to keep it to wear it when he was older.

Every day for months Jackson asked Stiles if he still had it, pressing a quick kiss to Stiles' cheek every time that he said yes. When Jackson came over to play or sleepover, the first thing he always did was march up to Stiles' bedroom and make sure it was still safely sitting on his end table.

Stiles hadn't even considered getting rid of it once they stopped talking. It held far too much emotional value for Stiles to do anything other than treasure it, especially as the contempt between them only grew and grew. He could never have imagined that Jackson would remember it, but he had asked to see it, his voice holding more than Stiles knew what to do with.

And so Stiles was wearing it. After he had gotten dressed—wearing the tight pair of jeans he bought on a whim and then never worked up the courage to wear—he had pushed the paperclip gently onto his finger, his breath shaky. Now, as he finally worked up the nerve to get out of his Jeep, it sat lightly on his finger, but the significance of it weighed heavily in Stiles' mind.

Walking slowly, he passed through the parking lot, keeping his head down. Part of being so low on the 'social ladder' meant that he didn't have to talk to others on a regular basis, and other students usually stayed out of his way. He had never minded, always having Scott to keep him company, and he was thankful for that now.

Just thinking about how different they were, how much they had going against each other, had Stiles wanting to turn around. He walked slowly to his locker, not at all eager to find out if he really had dreamt it all up. It was easier to believe he had made it up rather than let himself hope—and he knew it would hurt less, if it all ended with Jackson not liking him back.

He was just beginning to empty his school bag into his locker when a shadow fell over the door, and he turned to find Jackson standing behind him. His own bag was slung over one shoulder, his hair perfectly styled and his outfit littered with labels. He looked just as perfectly put together as he always did, but the skin under his eyes was darker than usual.

Stiles tried his best not to get his hopes up, biting into his bottom lip as he watched Jackson watch him. Neither of them said anything for a long moment, and Stiles felt like his chest was going to break open with how hard his heart was beating. Jackson being here could only mean one thing. His fingers tapped out the erratic rhythm his heart was beating against his thigh, his other hand clenched into a tight fist.

“Stilinski,” Jackson said, his voice low in the busy hallway. He was frowning, his eyebrows pulled down and his jaw set tensely. “Here.”

Jackson held out a large frappuccino, whipped cream spilling out of the straw hole and onto the lid. Caramel syrup was drizzled all along the inside of the cup and over the whipped cream, and Stiles took it hesitantly. When Jackson didn't do anything but watch him, Stiles brought the cup to his mouth and sucked the excessive whipped cream off the lid, his lips slipping into a smile.

“Thank you, Jax,” Stiles said, the nickname slipping out as he took the straw Jackson passed to him. He hummed happily as sugar exploded over his tongue, mixing well with the bite of caffeine. “This is perfect.”

When Jackson didn't say anything, Stiles looked up to find him with his head ducked down, his cheeks tinted pink as he stared at the floor. His mouth was lifted up into a small, private sort of smile, and the sight made Stiles' heart feel fit to burst even as it tried to beat its way out of his chest.

This was more than enough proof that the phone call from last night had really happened, and he couldn't hold down his smile or the ever-growing hope.

Stiles leaned against his locker, taking another long sip of his drink as he tried to think of something to say. Jackson was still standing in front of him, hands tucked into the pockets of his pants as he stared down at the ground, occasionally flicking his eyes up to Stiles. It was...well, it was kind of adorable, actually.

His mind was whirling, doing his best to ignore the looks he was getting from passing students. The students across the hall had gone quiet, casting glances at them and trying to make it look like they weren't. He didn’t blame them, but he did his best to ignore it, focusing on Jackson in front of him and the way he was rocking forward on his feet.

“You're wearing it,” Jackson said suddenly, his voice sounding breathless as he stared down at Stiles' hand with wide eyes.

“I told you I was going to,” Stiles told him, ducking his own head and blushing.

“It fits now,” Jackson observed, and Stiles nodded,

Jackson stepped closer, close enough that Stiles could smell him and he breathed in greedily, resting heavier against the locker behind him. He made a small noise when Jackson raised a hand and placed it against the locker beside Stiles' head, leaning forward and caging Stiles in between his body and the open door of his locker.

“What are you doing?” Stiles whispered, breathing in sharply when Jackson's eyes flicked down to his lips.

“I have no idea,” Jackson told him, grabbing Stiles' left hand and raising it between them, thumbing over the bent paperclip on Stiles' finger. He didn't say anything as he stared at it, and his face was softer than Stiles had seen it since they were children.

“Jax,” Stiles said weakly, all too aware of how quiet the hallway had gotten around them. He didn't protest, nor did he try to pull his hand out of Jackson's. Rather, he twined their fingers together, holding their joined hands against his chest to feel his beating heart.

“Your heart is beating really fast,” Jackson said, leaning in even more until his breath was tickling the skin of Stiles' cheek. Stiles nodded, biting into his bottom lip to keep in the noise he wanted to let out. “Mine is too.”

“W-we should—we should talk about this? We should definitely talk about this right?” Stiles said, though it came out as a question, quiet and unsure.

He was scared of breaking the moment, of what Jackson would say, what he would say. Stiles had no idea what was going on and he only knew how he felt, how much he wanted . How much he wanted it all to be true, and it all felt like too much and he was worried, so worried, that it would fall apart. This felt like a dream, but it was better than anything Stiles had ever let himself think up before.

He was scared, so scared, that none of this was true, that the happy, giddy feeling rising within in his chest would be crushed down. It was so easy, too easy to believe the worst. But he didn't want to believe that Jackson was kidding, or leading him on, or making it all into a joke. He wanted to believe that he was being genuine, that he liked Stiles as much as Stiles liked him.

The way Jackson was looking at him, eyes wide and honest, breathing just as heavily as Stiles was himself, made it easy to believe that this was true, that this was something Stiles could have.

“Skip class with me?” Jackson asked, and it was easy to nod when Jackson was looking at him like he was.

Chapter Text

Stiles wasn’t entirely sure how they ended up at his house. Yes, he had been the one to mention that his dad wasn’t home and they could go there without having to worry, but that didn’t mean he had expected Jackson to take him up on his offer. He had never skipped class before—he didn’t know what kids usually did when they didn’t go to school.

But Jackson had easily agreed to come over, sounding like he didn’t want anything else, telling Stiles that he would meet him there before climbing into his car.

He had driven behind Jackson’s Porsche, heart climbing up into his throat as he sipped his drink—which, actually, was the only thing he ever got from Starbucks. Stiles had no idea how Jackson had known that, and he wasn’t sure he was ready to ask. He didn’t want to doubt Jackson, not after they had walked out of the school with their shoulders brushing together, Stiles sipping away at his frapp. It wasn’t easy, after everything that they had been through, but...he wanted to trust Jackson.

Stiles’ fingers had been shaking when he unlocked his front door. It had felt like he could hardly breathe, like each breath he took was getting caught in his throat before it could reach his lungs. Stiles had jumped when Jackson brushed their hands together, apologies spilling from his throat even as Jackson assured him that it was okay, that he was nervous too.

That had been hard to believe, but Stiles could recognize the tightness in Jackson’s shoulders and the strain written over his face. He had always spent more time than he should have watching Jackson. Stiles knew what it looked like when he was stressed, when he was unsure, from the rare moments when Jackson let the mask he wore slip.

And that’s how Jackson had looked when he dropped his bag at the front door and slipped out of his shoes, how he looked when he walked into Stiles’ living room and sat on his couch. Stiles had hung back, his heart up in his throat as his stomach twisted and knotted in his belly. There was so much, too much, between them. How could this ever work?

Stiles had no idea where to start, had no idea how they were supposed to unpack everything that sat between them. He didn’t even know what Jackson wanted, not definitely, and he was worried, so worried, that what they wanted wouldn't be the same. That Jackson wouldn’t want him the same that Stiles did.

But...after the scene in the hallway, Stiles had to admit that it was easier to believe. Believe that Jackson wanted him, genuinely wanted him. And there was the way Jackson had looked at the paperclip ring: the gentle pressure of his thumb as he had rubbed over it, the reverence that had been present in the action. Even if it all turned out to be a joke, Jackson wouldn't be able to come back from what he’d done, not completely.

Maybe, maybe , Jackson wanted the same things that Stiles did, wanted Stiles in the same ways that Stiles wanted him. But Stiles had no idea how to tell Jackson what he wanted, how to put into words that all he had ever wanted was Jackson. Stiles wasn’t sure Jackson would say the same, and he didn’t want to hear that Jackson felt otherwise.

“Sti,” Jackson said, and his voice held more than Stiles knew how to deal with.

So Stiles didn’t.

Instead, he marched up to Jackson and didn’t stop until he was in his lap, legs spread over Jackson’s thighs as he straddled them. His heart was racing but Stiles couldn’t deal with the talk they needed to have, and he’d always been one for impulsive actions. Jackson’s eyes went wide, his mouth dropping open, but both slowly closed when Stiles leaned in. The first brush of their lips was achingly soft, and it was everything Stiles had ever let himself dream of.

His mind quieted as their lips pressed together, and Stiles’ worry melted away. They would have time to talk, to work out what they wanted and what they were, if anything, but that wasn’t something Stiles wanted to think about now. Instead, he let himself get lost in the soft slide of their lips and how Jackson felt under him, how he smelt wrapped around him.

If the worst happened and Jackson told him he didn’t want the same things—well, at least he’d have this moment.

Stiles had no idea what he was doing, but he tried to keep up as Jackson kissed him back. Stiles let out a shuddering breath through his nose when Jackson slid his hand up Stiles’ thighs—and score for the skinny jeans, because he had totally caught Jackson staring at his ass when they were first leaving school—and slipped the very tips of his fingers under Stiles’ shirts to press against the skin of his sides.

Gasping, Stiles’ mouth dropped open, and Jackson pressed forward as he deepened the kiss. Stiles floundered, a little, unsure of how to kiss back with the addition of tongues. He flicked his tongue out slowly, letting it drag over Jackson’s before swiping up to lick over Jackson's teeth. Stiles grabbed onto Jackson's shoulders to keep himself steady, kneading the skin as he tightened his legs, pulling his knees in closer as he pressed their bodies together.

Stiles moaned when Jackson sucked on his tongue—which, whoa , that felt fucking great—and his heart tripped over itself when he rolled his hips forward to press his erection against the tight muscles in Jackson’s stomach. It was so much, too much, but it all felt so good. Stiles felt like he was floating, and the way they were pressed together was more than he could process.

Sti ,” Jackson moaned, his voice a deep rasp of breath as he threw his head back, grabbing tightly at Stiles’ hips—tight enough to leave bruises, maybe, hopefully—and Stiles immediately leaned down to nip at the line of Jackson's throat.

He had no idea what he was doing, but it felt natural to suck the skin of Jackson’s neck between his lips and hollow out his cheeks. He worried the skin with his teeth as he ground his hips down harder, a shiver running up his spine as he felt Jackson’s own hardness against his ass. Stiles bit down before he pulled back, soothing over the bite with a swipe of his tongue.

When he pulled back, he was almost surprised to find a darkening bruise, standing stark against Jackson’s throat. Stiles couldn’t help the smug curve of his lips, especially when he took in how hard Jackson was breathing and the darkness in his eyes as he stared up at Stiles. It was heady, knowing that he had made Jackson feel good, and he sat heavier, pressing more of his weight against Jackson’s cock.

“C-can we slow down?” Jackson asked, completely breathless as he stared up at Stiles. His fingers were flexing against Stiles’ hips, and Stiles nodded, leaning forward to press their foreheads together. “I am not complaining, because fuck Sti , but you said you wanted to talk?”

Stiles let out a breathless laugh, nodding against Jackson’s forehead. Now that he wasn’t distracting himself, he had no idea how to get the words out. There was too much to say and Stiles found that words were failing him. He breathed deeply, Jackson’s scent wrapping around him as he rubbed their noses together softly.

“What’s going on?” he whispered, and he couldn't stop the way his shoulders curled inwards.

Now, with the weight of having to explain how he felt and what he wanted hanging over him, Stiles had no idea how he had even worked up the courage to kiss Jackson in the first place. His adrenaline was fading, and he felt silly, spread over Jackson’s lap.

Jackson’s hands slid back down Stiles’ thighs, squeezing gently around his knees before sliding back up. He rubbed small circles into Stiles’ legs as he firmly held them. Stiles blushed, dropping his eyes as Jackson continued to look at him.

“I’m not sure,” Jackson admitted, and his voice was just as quiet, the loudest noise in the room their laboured breathing.

“What do you want it to be?” Stiles asked, and it felt daring, putting the power into Jackson’s hands like this.

“I want you,” the words fell from Jackson’s lips quickly, and Stiles looked up to find his face serious, his expression open and honest in a way that was unfamiliar. “I want to be with you.”

Stiles smiled, his heart beating out of his chest and he leaned forward for a soft, chaste kiss. When he leaned back Jackson was smiling up at him, and he sat there quietly for a moment. He wanted to enjoy the moment, enjoy the way Jackson was looking at him like Stiles was his whole world, like there was nowhere else that he wanted to be, but his mind wouldn’t stop spiralling through all the reasons this was a bad idea.

“What about Lydia?” Stiles asked, and he regretted the words as soon as they left his mouth. Jackson frowned and his fingers stilled where they had still been rubbing small circles into Stiles’ thighs with his thumbs.

“We were done, anyway,” Jackson said, though he dropped his eyes and wouldn't look back up even as he kept talking. “It would never have lasted. It’s—it’s always been you, Sti.” Jackson grabbed Stiles’ hand from his shoulder and brought it between them, holding it between their bodies. He tapped the paperclip ring, looking up at Stiles with a smile so soft it almost hurt. “I never stopped either.”

The words were an echo of what Stiles had said last night, and he laughed again, a giggle more than anything else. Stiles closed his eyes as the memory washed over him, Jackson kneeling in front of him during recess as he held out the paperclip he had bent into the shape of a ring, telling Stiles that they should be married.

Stiles touched Jackson’s face with his free hand, sweeping his thumb over the sharp cut of Jackson’s cheekbone. He didn’t say anything when he pressed forward for another kiss. He pushed against the bruise on Jackson’s neck until Jackson whined , the noise pulling a deep groan from Stiles’ chest. Nipping at Jackson’s lower lip, he flicked his tongue out to deepen the kiss, sliding his hand up to tangle into the hair atop Jackson's head and tug. Jackson moaned again, his hips twitched up as much as they could where they were held down by Stiles’ weight.

“I want you too,” Stiles mumbled against his mouth. “I want to be with you too, fuck, Jax .”

Kissing his way down Jackson's jaw and throat, he began working on another mark next to the one he had already left, sucking longer and biting harder. He was pleased when it was immediately darker, and he looked at Jackson to find his mouth dropped open, his eyes blown wide—all pupil.

He’d never seen Jackson wear a hickey before, and Stiles made sure neither of these could be covered. It was proof that Jackson was his , and he had no idea the thought of marking someone would turn him on so much, but fuck. The way the marks stood out against Jackson’s smooth skin made his cock fucking leak.

“Jax,” he groaned, and Jackson nodded, pressing forward and sliding his hands back to grab Stiles’ ass, pulling him forward until Stiles was rocking against him.

Jackson was hard again, and it wasn’t long before Stiles’ own cock was straining against the zipper of his jeans, the metal digging into his erection uncomfortably. He didn't dare get up, and he focused on how good it felt to roll their erections together. Stiles moaned again, sucking on Jackson’s bottom lip as his free hand twisted into Jackson’s shirt.

“Sti,” Jackson said, his voice wrecked as he pulled back. “W-we gotta stop.”

“No,” Stiles whined, trying to press forward into another kiss but Jackson held him back by the hips, and Stiles looked down to find his forearms straining in a very distracting way.

Stiles frowned as he pulled back, trying his best to push down on the insecurity rising up his chest but he—he couldn't, not quite. If Jackson didn’t want him, wasn’t attracted to him, Stiles didn’t know what he would do. Jackson had said that he wanted him, but what if...what if it wasn’t enough.

His breathing picked up as panic began to climb up his stomach, making it beat faster and faster until it was roaring in his ears.

“Hey, Stiles, stop,” Jackson said, and his voice was soft. “I—I’m gonna come, if you don’t stop moving like that.”

Stiles blinked down at him, his head tilting to the side as he tried to make sense of what Jackson was saying. “Okay. Why are we stopping?”

It was Jackson’s turn to think, apparently, and he frowned adorably even as his cheeks got pink. “Uh, you aren’t usually supposed to fuck on the first date.”

“This is a date?” Stiles asked, and then immediately, “That’s a stupid rule, Jackson. Who told you this ridiculous rule?”

Jackson laughed, throwing his head back and stretching his neck. Stiles’ eyes fell to the bruises he had left, something possessive and pleased curling up in his belly. “Babe, it’s like, dating one-oh-one.”

“I’ve never dated anyone,” Stiles told Jackson, even though he definitely already knew that.

“Exactly why we should wait before we involve orgasms,” Jackson told him, slipping his hands out from Stiles’ shirts and settling them back on Stiles’ thighs. He pouted, sticking out his bottom lip.

“I still think it’s a stupid rule,” Stiles said, looking sadly down at his crotch where his erection had mostly died down. He sighed dramatically as he patted his crotch, insecurity spiking for just a moment before he looked up to find Jackson watching him with an amused smile.

“Yeah well,” Jackson said, mumbling something else under his breath, low enough that Stiles wasn’t able to make out what he was saying. Jackson dropped his eyes and he didn’t look back up when Stiles made a questioning noise.

“What was that?” Stiles asked, leaning forward so he’d hear what Jackson said. He was quiet for another long moment, before he finally took a deep breath.

“You’re more important than that,” Jackson said louder, that he still didn’t look up. “You—I really care about Sti, and I-I didn’t think I’d get this. You. I thought you hated me.”

“Damn, Jax,” Stiles said, his breath rushing out of him. “You sure know how to make a boy blush.”

“Shut up, Stilinski,” Jackson said, though his eyes went wide just a moment after. He opened his mouth, most likely to apologise, but Stiles was already leaning forward.

“Make me, Whittemore,” Stiles said, and he laughed through the kiss Jackson pulled him into. “I don’t hate you,” Stiles told him once he had pulled back, and he ran a hand through Jackson's hair. “Never hated you.”

Jackson nodded, though he didn’t say anything. Stiles turned until he was sitting sideways in Jackson’s lap, head pillowed on Jackson’s shoulder as he made himself comfortable. He pulled his phone from where it was still tucked into his back pocket, sliding it up and sending a text to his dad—telling him that he hadn’t felt good and hadn’t made it into school.

“What are you doing?” he asked, and when Stiles looked up he was frowning down at Stiles.

“I’m cuddling with you, obviously,” Stiles told him, pulling Jackson's arm until he got the hint and wrapped Stiles up in his arms. “Perfect, Jax.”

They had talked enough. Enough for Stiles to know that they were on the same page, that they worked things out. Enough for him to feel comfortable settling in and not discussing anything further. Jackson smiled, pleased, and Stiles leaned up to kiss it, settling back against Jackson's chest as he pulled out his phone, more than content to sit like this for now.

Chapter Text

“You’re my boyfriend, right?” Stiles asked, struggling to stay awake as Jackson continued to run a hand over his buzz cut. He was scratching his nails down Stiles’ scalp, gently massaging the nape of Stiles’ neck with his thumb.

“Of course, dumb ass,” Jackson said, though his voice was light and teasing. Cheering sounded from Jackson’s phone before it went quiet as he thumbed past another insta video.

Stiles hummed happily, stretching out on the couch as he rubbed his forehead against Jackson’s thigh, letting his eyes fall closed. The rest of his body was stretched out along the couch, the same position they’d been in for a few hours. Stiles knew it was starting to get late, but his dad wasn’t going to be home until eight, and they still had a few hours still.

“Go to sleep, baby,” Jackson said, and Stiles mumbled an agreement even as his breathing even out, Jackson’s fingers still running over Stiles’ head.


“Dude, what the hell happened this morning?” Scott’s voice crackled through the phone, and Stiles laughed even as he threw himself back onto his bed, keeping it pressed to his ear.

Jackson had only left an hour ago, and Stiles felt like he was on cloud nine. After they had established that they were now dating, Stiles really had fallen asleep. He hadn’t woken until Jackson had gently shaken his shoulder, waking Stiles with soft words and softer kisses.

There had been a lot of kissing, especially after he’d fully woken up, and Stiles’ lips still felt swollen from the way Jackson had bitten at them.

“You have no idea,” Stiles said, letting out a long sigh.

“Well yeah, that’s why I’m calling,” Scott said, and Stiles rolled his eyes even as he flopped back onto his bed. “I thought we hated him!”

“Uh, yeah,” Stiles said awkwardly, rolling onto his side so he could hide his face in his bed. “I’ve never really hated him. Kind of the opposite, really.”

“But...why didn’t you ever say anything?”

Stiles was quiet for a few minutes, trying to figure out what he was going to say. “I...before we became friends, me and Jackson were really close. We, uh, used to pretend we were married? He even proposed once during recess,” he explained slowly, tripping over his words as he tried to explain. “I never hated him. I...have always kind of been in love with him, ya know?

“What about your crush on Lydia?” Scott asked, and Stiles knew from his tone of voice that he was pouting.

“Yeah, uh, that was just an excuse to stare at Jackson?” Stiles admitted, his face going warm.

“So...you’re like, dating him now?” Scott asked.

“Yeah, man,” Stiles said with a laugh, his heart swelling happily. “I guess I am.”

“That’s cool,” Scott told him, though there was a pause before he added, “Wait, that is cool, right? You, like, want to be dating him?”

Stiles laughed again, even louder, and rolled onto his back so he could stare up at the ceiling. “Yeah, bro, I really want to be dating him.”


Stiles rolled over for the nth time, unable to fall asleep. His mind was running, going through everything that had happened since the night before. As much as he had hoped, he never could have imagined that Jackson would want the same things that he did. That he would agree to the term ‘boyfriend’, even if he did it in his own jerk-ish way.

He felt like he was on cloud nine. Every time he closed his eyes he pictured the soft way Jackson had looked at him, almost every time that he had looked at him, and it made his heart swell. For so long Jackson felt like an unattainable dream, something that he would forever want but never have.

Now, he almost felt foolish. Foolish for waiting so long to say anything, foolish for thinking he’d never stand a chance. It felt like they had lost so much time together. They had been so close before, and the distance between them had hurt them for years . To know that this whole time they had both felt the same way...yeah, Stiles felt a little foolish.

Stiles thumbed over the text thread. He wanted to say something, but he wasn’t sure if he should. He didn’t want to come off as needy, not when they’d only gotten together that afternoon, but he...he couldn't sleep, and he was feeling lonely without Jackson with him, and he wanted to talk to him.

He typed out a message then deleted it and typed out another one. He had no idea what he was going to say or what he should say. Even if he felt stupid for feeling it, Stiles didn’t want to seem desperate, but he...he just wanted to talk to Jackson. He took a deep breath, typing out a simple message before hovering over the send button.

To Jax (12:07 a.m.): hello

There. It was done. He’d sent the damn message. Stiles rolled onto his other side, taking his phone with him and hiding his face in the pillows. He groaned, feeling absolutely ridiculous but not knowing what else to do. His phone pinged, and his groan turned into an excited noise of interest.

From Jax (12:07 a.m.): hey baby
From Jax (12:07 a.m.): i miss u

Stiles made a noise, something embarrassingly like a squeal, and he threw his covers over his head. He felt giddy, his stomach tightening up and making me feel light-headed.

To Jax (12:07 a.m.): i miss u too jax
To Jax (12:08 a.m.): cant believe u want me too

From Jax (12:08 a.m.): sti
From Jax (12:08 a.m.): ive always wanted you

They kept texting after that. Stiles found it easy to type out all of the words he had lost earlier. Now, under the cover of darkness and the distance provided by technology, he could tell Jackson everything he wanted and everything that he had been too scared to tell him earlier.

Chapter Text

Stiles bounced down the stairs, humming under his breath as he went. He couldn't help his good mood. He had woken up overjoyed , rushing through his usual routine and getting dressed just a little more carefully than he normally would have. Stiles wanted to look nice when he saw Jackson, especially with how nice Jackson always looked.

He had woken up to a good morning text that had made his heart feel like it was soaring. He had spent time reading over the texts that he and Jackson had sent to each other the night before, letting the words that Jackson had typed out reassure him and bring him comfort.

Stiles all but skipped into the kitchen, floating along on a happy cloud. His heart felt like it was soaring with how happy he was, staring at his phone screen and smiling stupidly. There was coffee in the pot, still warm, and Stiles got himself a cup. He drank it down as he got himself something to eat, humming under his breath to a song he had heard on the radio.

Dad was sitting at the island, the paper spread out in front of him with his own cup of coffee beside it. He wasn’t dressed for work, and Stiles raised a brow at him. Stiles grabbed his toast from the toaster, covering it with butter before taking a large bite.

“I’m picking up a later shift tonight,” Dad told him, and Stiles made an answering noise as he chewed his toast. His phone pinged, and he read the message quickly, his cheeks raising with his smile. “Someone’s in a good mood,” Dad commented, his lips twisted up into a smile that looked far too much like Stiles’ own when he was teasing the older man.

Stiles hummed, but he didn’t say anything in answer. It was so new, so fragile, that Stiles wasn’t sure if he wanted to say anything about it. He didn’t want to jinx it, and it felt like talking about it would do just that. He hadn’t seen Jackson since the night before, and part of him was still unsure if he believed all the pretty words that Jackson had said to him.

He knew that it wasn’t far, but there were so many years of hurt between them that it was hard to believe that everything had worked out so perfectly.

Pocketing his phone, he focused on eating his breakfast. He ignored the doubt that was trying to creep up his chest, telling himself that it was nothing more than his own insecurities that were making him feel like this. Jackson hadn’t given him any reason to think that he was lying, and...and there were things he remembered—like the ring and what it meant—that Stiles couldn't imagine him remembering unless he really cared for Stiles like he said.

“So, are you going to tell me who’s putting that smile on your face, or are you going to keep me in the dark?” Dad asked, but his voice as kind. Stiles knew that Dad wouldn’t push him if he didn’t say anything, but knowing that was what made the words tumble out of his mouth before he could stop them.

“I-I might, sort of, have a boyfriend?” Stiles said, watching his dad’s face for his reaction. Other than a few quick blinks, the man didn’t seem phased, and he smiled kindly as Stiles rubbed at the back of his neck. “And it’s maybe, possibly, Jackson?”

Dad made a noise at that, sitting back in his seat as he gave Stiles an accessing look. “You’re telling me you’re dating Whittemore ?”

“Uh, yeah,” Stiles said, dropping his eyes as his cheeks flushed, a pleased smile pulling his lips.

Dad laughed, suddenly, and Stiles shot him a sour look. “No, no. I’m not laughing at you. I just owe your mother twenty bucks.”

“Wha—” The word broke in his throat, his chest going tight. They didn't talk about his mom, not often, and Dad’s casual mention of her was jarring.

“She was convinced the two of were going to grow up and get together. I told her you were just kids being kids, but she was convinced what she saw was some sort of true love,” Dad explained, and he opened his arms for Stiles to shuffle into. Dad smelt the same as he always had, his shower wash and his detergent mixing together to smell like hope , and Stiles blinked back the stinging of his eyes. “She would be so happy, kiddo.”

Stiles nodded into his shoulder, but he said nothing as they held one another. They stood like that for a few minutes, Stiles soaking up his dad’s warmth and the comfort he got from his hug. His phone went off four times in quick succession, and he pulled away with a deep blush, using it as a distraction to lighten the heavy atmosphere that speaking of his mom had brought on.

“Sorry,” Stiles said, reading the messages and quickly typing out a response, “Jackson wanted to know if I wanted a coffee.”

“Oh, he wanted to know if you wanted a coffee , huh?” Dad teased, waggling his eyebrows in a way that looked completely ridiculous on his face.

“Dad, don’t make it sound dirty,” Stiles complained, ducking his head to hide his smile.

God, he loved his dad.

Chapter Text

Stiles was having a very good day. Jackson had been waiting for him at his locker with both another frappuccino and a piece of coffee cake, and Stiles had taken both with lots of thanks. The blush that stained Jackson’s cheeks had been helplessly endearing and Stiles felt the warmth of it against his lips, ignoring the surrounding whispering.

Jackson pulled him into a real kiss after that, in the middle of the hallway, and the way he licked into Stiles’ mouth had made his knees weak. He’d pulled back breathless, ducking his head to hide his expression in Jackson’s shoulder. Jackson let him, holding him in a loose hug until Stiles pulled back with a glare.

“No kissing me like that when I can’t do anything about it,” Stiles told him, very sternly, and he ignored the way Jackson laughed at him in favour of getting what he needed from his locker.

Scott found him at lunch, sitting at their regular table near the back of the cafeteria and nowhere near the popular table that Jackson normally sat at. Scott hadn’t said anything about Stiles being tucked under Jackson’s arm, thankfully, and aside from an initial moment of silence, it hadn’t been that awkward.

Danny joined them later on, talking to Scott and Stiles as though it wasn’t just yesterday that they were separated by the strict hierarchy of high school. It had been nice, and Stiles had enjoyed the soft smile that had been on Jackson’s face during the break, sharing the container of chilli that he brought.

Having a boyfriend, Stiles decided by the end of the day, was totally awesome. Jackson seemed insistent on walking Stiles to his classes, and while he felt like it was cliched and ridiculous, he never protested the parting kisses that Jackson gave him. Really, Jackson was ridiculously sweet, and if it hadn’t been the conversation the night before and what he knew of Jackson’s past, he wouldn’t have trusted it.

Stiles hiked his backpack a little higher on his shoulder, rounding the hall to where Jackson now was. Stiles was pretty sure they were going to go do something together, though they hadn’t been able to decide exactly what they wanted to do over lunch. He wouldn’t mind just taking Jackson home, but he wasn’t sure if the other boy would want that after he had slowed things down the night before.

He reached into his pocket to grab his phone, swiping it open to double check the text his dad had sent him with the hours he was working that day; he wanted to make sure that he and Jackson would have ample alone time that evening. School had been over for a little while, but he’d been stuck in a conversation with Finstock and was a bit late. The hallways were nearly clear, so he didn’t worry about looking up from his phone as he walked.

When Stiles did look up, he stumbled a stop as his eyes focused on the scene in front of him, blinking a few times to make sure he was seeing what he was really seeing.

Jackson was standing at his locker, just like he’d told Stiles he’d be, and Lydia was standing in front of him, too closely for Stiles’ comfort. He took a step forward and watched, wide-eyed, as Lydia did the same. Her hand curled around the back of Jackson’s neck and dragged him closer, and Stiles choked on his own saliva as she pressed a hard kiss to his mouth.

It was barely a second before Jackson said, “Lydia, no !” as he pushed her away and held her at arm’s length. “We weren’t together before and we aren’t together now. I already told you I’m dating Stiles.”

A pleased smile curved Stiles’ lips upwards at hearing those words, despite what had just happened. He didn’t hear what Lydia said, but the sneer her lips twisted into made Stiles assume it was cruel. He cleared his throat, loudly, and started walking towards them. Lydia threw him an ugly smirk before sauntering away.

“Stiles I—” Jackson began, but before he could say anything else Stiles was stepping into his space, grabbing the collar of his shirt and pulling him into a dirty kiss. There was too much teeth and too much tongue, but Stiles didn’t care about technique as he licked his way into Jackson’s mouth. He pulled away when he needed to breathe but only went far enough to rest their foreheads together, and Jackson groaned out, “ Fuck .”

“I hate her,” Stiles said quietly, pressing a series of soft, sweet kisses to Jackson’s lips to make up for the way he’d basically attacked him. “She doesn’t get to kiss you anymore, Jax.”

“I know,” Jackson said, wrapping his arms around Stiles’ waist to hold them together. “I have no idea what she thought she was doing. I’m so sorry.”

“S’not your fault, baby,” Stiles said, the endearment slipping out, and he watched with interest as Jackson’s cheeks tinted pink. He took a deep breath, building courage, and hazarded, “You’re all mine now, aren’t you?”

Jackson made a small noise and Stiles was very glad that the hallway was empty. Trailing a hand up Jackson’s arm and shoulder, he grabbed the back of the other boy’s neck in the same way Lydia had, petting the short hairs along his nape. “Good boy,” he whispered, heart racing as Jackson’s eyes got darker, pupil swallowing up his irises.

Chapter Text

Over the next little while, Lydia seemed to back off. Stiles didn’t give her a single reason to think she could get Jackson back, and he took greater care in the homework he was submitting in their shared classes. Stiles, while unpopular, had learned young that knowledge was power, and he had begun to watch. He knew Lydia cared about her class standing more than she cared about almost anything else, and he was petty enough to put in the work to knock her from top place.

By the end of the following week, everyone knew that Jackson and Stiles were together and...no one seemed to care. Stiles had always known that BHHS had been accepting—no one had ever given Danny any flack for his orientation—and while Stiles hadn’t been worried about he and Jackson getting flack for that , he had been worried about Jackson getting flack for dating him , specifically.

But, other than the first days of whispering, no one had said anything to them. The second day of them being together, Jackson had used the hold he had on Stiles’ hand to drag him over to the ‘popular’ table, and Stiles had spent the lunch period tucked under Jackson’s arm just like the day before.

He had been glad for the hold, as it had been the only thing that kept him from completely freaking out as members from the lacrosse team who had never spoken to him before asked him about his day. Scott had joined them at the table, led over by Danny , of all people, and he and Scott had whispered to each other about the strangeness of it all while staring at the other boys.

The rest of the day held little fanfare, and other than a fairly heated kiss Jackson pulled him into before class, it had been pretty boring. Stiles was still riding the high that came with being in a relationship for the first time ever , and most of the time, it felt like he was going to float away with how happy he was.

Most of the time . Stiles certainly didn’t feel like he was walking on clouds of happiness as Jackson complained, again , about how bored he was. They were sitting in Stiles’ room, Jackson on his bed and Stiles spread out on his floor. Stiles was surrounded by books and papers, trying to turn the hours of research he’d acquired into an actual essay that wouldn't get him an F.

Stiles was working, but Jackson was...it looked like he was currently playing on his phone. He rolled his eyes as he focused back on the sentence he was trying to write. Music blared from Jackson’s speakers, startling Stiles out of his concentration, and Stiles sent him a glare.

“Can we please take a break?” Jackson asked, not for the first time, and Stiles rolled his eyes.

“Jackson, why are you whining? I asked you over to study.”

“I didn’t think you actually wanted to study !” Jackson huffed, leaning back against Stiles’ headboard and pouting adorably. He mumbled something under his breath, too quiet for Stiles to hear, but he spoke up when Stiles asked him too. “I thought we were gonna fool around.”

“If I was going to have you over to make out I would have just asked you to come over so we could make out,” Stiles said, tapping his pencil against his bottom lip as he tried to figure out how the hell he was supposed to make this assignment make sense to someone that wasn’t him.

“Baby, please ,” Jackson whined, sounding absolutely pathetic as he sent Stiles a wide-eyed look.

“Oh my god,” Stiles breathed, trying to ignore his growing annoyance as he stood. He stalked to his bed, ignoring his growing embarrassment as he threw a leg over Jackson’s thighs, pushing himself up so he was straddling his waist. Jackson grabbed his hips to keep him steady, fingers fitting below Stiles’ t-shirt and pressing against his skin. “You get five minutes, Jackson.”

“Fuck yeah,” Jackson said, his lips twisting into a dirty smile that Stiles kissed away.

Chapter Text

Stiles took a shuddering breath as he rolled his hips forward, grinding his dick into Jackson’s own erection. They were laid out on his bed, pressed together from knee to hip, and they’d been rutting together for the past few minutes. It was something they’d done before—the only thing they’d done before—and Stiles could feel the way his arousal was beginning to grow.

“I wanna blow you,” Jackson mumbled, and Stiles threw his head back against his pillow as he groaned, pulling his hips back and tensing his body as not to come.

“Fucking fuck Jax,” Stiles groaned, just the mental image enough to have him toying the line.

“Yeah,” Jackson said, capturing Stiles’ lips for another heated kiss. Stiles lost himself in it, ignoring his growing arousal and what Jackson had asked for as they continued to make out. They were both shirtless, and Stiles enjoyed the way Jackson’s chest rubbed against his puffy nipples, red and sensitive from when Jackson had sucked on them.

Finally, he couldn’t ignore it any longer. “Are you sure you’re ready?” Stiles asked, trailing kisses from Jackson’s mouth to his jaw and sucking a mark into his skin. Over the last couple of weeks, he’d learned that he really liked marking Jackson up. It didn’t even matter where.

“Yeah, Sti,” Jackson said. They’d promised to always be honest with each other, no matter what, so he took Jackson’s words as the truth.

He pulled back with a deep breath, doing his best to steady himself. He wanted to be completely present when this happened, and not half out of it with arousal. Laying himself out on his back, Stiles managed to wiggle out of his jeans and did his best to ignore how insecure he felt when his cock slapped up against his belly.

“Holy fuck,” Jackson said deeply, his eyes trailing heavily over Stiles’ body. There was only heat in Stiles’ eyes, and it did make him feel better.

Jackson got to his knees before his hands went to the button of his own jeans, but he stopped himself. “Do you mind if I...?”

“Gee, baby, do I mind if you take your pants off,” Stiles mocked. He looked down at his dick, straining against his stomach, and watched as it twitched. “Nope. Don’t mind at all.

“Fucking dumb ass,” Jackson snorted, but he still stripped out his jeans. He as just was hard as Stiles was, though his dick was smaller. Stiles had never considered himself overly large, but he definitely had an inch on Jackson. Still, it was the prettiest dick he'd ever seen, and when his own twitched again it pushed out a bead of precome.

He pulled Jackson down on top of him and both of them groaned when their naked bodies pressed together. This was the best thing that Stiles had felt, he was sure of it, and his hips twitched forward of their own accord, seeking more of Jackson's heat.

Neither of them said anything when Jackson crawled down the bed. Stiles’ heart was beating so fast that he could hear nothing over the roaring of it. He felt like he was going to fly out of his skin, like his bones were too large for his body and everything felt overwhelming. He had no idea how to handle it.

When Jackson’s breath ghosted over his erection, Stiles had to twist his fingers into the sheet under him to keep himself from thrusting up and hitting Jackson in the face with his dick. He figured that wouldn't be appreciated, but he felt like he was going to fly out of his skin. Jackson had never even touched his dick before, not bare skin on bare skin, and now he was going to suck it.

He wasn’t going to last. Jackson grabbed him loosely, and just that was almost too much. Stiles had to clench his eyes shut and tense his toes to keep himself from coming at the simple touch. It was still better than anything else, and he made an embarrassing noise in the back of his throat. Jackson chuckled before he leaned in, breathing deeply through his nose before he flicked out his tongue.

It was better than anything in the entire world, and Stiles was so keyed up that by the time Jackson’s tongue licked out, the wet, warm muscle dragging slowly over the head of his cock, he was coming, shooting over his stomach, his dick jumping and smacking Jackson’s cheek as he groaned, his fingers tensing in the sheets below him.

Before Stiles had even come down Jackson was crawling up him and straddling his hips, stroking himself once, twice, a third time before he was coming over Stiles’ stomach and spent cock, making a mess on their bodies. They both breathed through their afterglow, comfortable in each other presence and neither making any sort of move to cover up or move away.

“How fast do you think you can get hard again?” Jackson asked, a lazy smile on his lips as he ran his hand through their mess of come.

“Uh...” Stiles trailed off when Jackson brought his hand to his mouth and sucked two of his fingers clean. “Probably pretty fucking soon if you keep doing shit like that.”

“Perfect, I wanna actually suck your dick this time

“Oh fuck off, ass hole,” Stiles laughed, pulling Jackson down and licking their joint taste off his tongue.

Chapter Text

Stiles crossed his arms over his chest as he stared up at the restaurant’s sign. Beacons was one of the nicest restaurants in town, and Stiles had never even considered going to eat there. His dad never had the money to take them anywhere nice, let alone a place like this, and Stiles certainly didn’t have the money. But here he was, wearing his nicest pair of skinny jeans and a button-down shirt that made him feel insecure, trying his best not to freak out.

His Jeep didn't fit in with the rest of the parking lot, but he had insisted on driving before he knew the location, taking directions from Jackson as the pit his stomach grew and grew the closer they got. Now he felt foolish, looking at his battered car next to the lineup of much nicer vehicles. Even still, he followed Jackson away from the car, hanging a half step back as they approached the entrance and doing his best not to sulk too visibly, especially when Jackson looked back at him.

He wasn’t doing a very good job, if the way Jackson had to unwrap his arms from himself was anything to go by. Jackson was smiling down at him, looking perfectly at home in his suit jacket and slacks and shiny shoes, and he wrapped his fingers around Stiles’ hand before bringing it to his mouth to kiss.

Fucking jerk , Stiles thought, being all sweet when I’m freaking out .

“It’s okay, Sti,” Jackson’s voice was calm, and Stiles frowned up at the smile he was wearing. “It’s my date night, and you said I could pick anything that I wanted.”

“I didn’t think you would pick this ,” Stiles cried, gesturing with his entire body towards the potted plants and hanging fairy lights and the gold handles. God, this was going to be awful.

“It’s just a restaurant, baby,” Jackson said, and Stiles watched as his cheeks began to flush as Stiles watched him. “I...it’s our one month, and I wanted to do something special.”

“Fucking jackass,” Stiles muttered, before he pulled Jackson into a kiss far too heated for a parking lot. He licked into Jackson’s mouth and tangled his fingers into his hair, kissing him hard. “I fucking adore you,” he gasped, pulling back with a deep breath.

“I adore you too,” Jackson said, the words they’d been saying since they got together, both of them not ready to say the ‘L’ word, even if Stiles definitely felt it. Had always felt it. He pulled away with a smile, smoothing his thumb along Jackson’s cheekbone. “Fine. But only because you’re a giant fucking sap.”

Jackson pulled him into the restaurant and did the talking to the lady at the front. He’d apparently made the reservations a while ago, the week they’d started dating, and Stiles had punched him in the shoulder when he’d found that out. Fucking sap .

The dinner, once Stiles got over the prices, was nice. He had to admit that having dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town was a little nicer than having dinner at the diner like they usually did, or at home curled up in Stiles’ bed and eating cheap takeout. This was a date —not that the other times weren’t, but this was just so much nicer.

They ate fancy food in a fancy restaurant in fancy clothes, and they played footsie under the table and talked about Stiles’ lacrosse training—his own idea, since he figured if he was dating the captain he probably shouldn’t suck—and exam season which was quickly approaching. They talked about them, what they wanted, and Stiles definitely came too close to saying the ‘L’ word when Jackson pulled his hand across the table and kissed his knuckles.

Stiles didn’t even pretend to protest when Jackson got the bill. He didn’t look, knowing it would only upset him, but he did help Jackson into his suit jacket before they left their table. The sun was down when they got outside, and Stiles was a little surprised at how much time had passed during dinner.

They talked easily when Stiles drove them home. Jackson was staying at his place like he so often did, his dad not home but more than okay with Jackson staying over—he’d told them he’d rather have them both under his roof and safe then off somewhere they felt like they couldn’t tell him about—and they kissed as they made their way to Stiles’ room. Jackson pushed him into the bed, his smile turning into something almost giddy.

“I have one last surprise,” Jackson mumbled against his mouth, pulling away to dig through his bag, thrown into the corner of Stiles’ room. Stiles watched his ass, enjoying the slacks he was wearing and the way they stretched across his butt. He whistled, laughing when Jackson threw him the finger.

Straightening up, he kept whatever he was holding from view as he crawled up the bed. Stiles was sitting against his headboard and Jackson sat on his thighs, legs stretched over Stiles’ lap in a familiar position. They sat in each other’s laps far more often than any two people should, but they both liked how close it made them feel.

He was about to ask Jackson what he was doing when he pulled his hand around, revealing a little satin box. Stiles’ breath shuddered out of him, his hand grabbing onto Jackson’s thighs to keep himself steady even as his heart jumped inside his chest and his eyes began to burn.

“Jackson, tell me you’re not proposing,” Stiles said, though his voice cracked as his eyes already blurring with tears.

“I would be on my knee if I was proposing,” Jackson told him, his smile soft. “But this is a promise. A promise that I...that I love you. That I’ve always loved you and I’m always going to love you, and if you wear the ring, it’s you returning that promise.”

“I’m already wearing your ring, you dick,” Stiles laughed, his voice choked and thick with his tears.

“So wear this one instead.”

Stiles nodded, staring at Jackson as the boy opened the box with shaking hands. The band was a thin line of silver, shining in the light, and Stiles raised his hand so Jackson could take off the paper clip he’d worn since that very first phone call that started it all. The ring fit snugly but not uncomfortably, and Stiles twined their fingers together even as he stared at it.

“I love you,” Stiles swore as he reached forward and pulled Jackson into a kiss, his heart bursting with happiness.