Jackson lies on his bed and stares up at the ceiling. It's late in the evening, but not nearly late enough to justify going to sleep. There's nothing good on TV, and the events of the night before have left him far too addled to read a book. So he stares at the ceiling, and tries not to think too much.

It's more difficult than he would have expected. No matter how hard he tries, his mind continues calling up images from the night before; Lydia in her silver dress, lying bloody and lifeless on the field; Peter's fingers under Stiles' chin, gently lifting him to his feet; Peter burning, screaming; Derek. Derek alive when he'd thought he'd lost him, Derek standing over Peter's body, Derek turning around with eyes the colour of blood—

There's a noise at his window, and Jackson nearly jumps out of his skin. He shoots up off his bed, and his throat closes up when he sees him there. What's that expression again? Speak of the devil, and he shall appear.

Derek is crouched on the other side of the glass, tapping his knuckles lightly against it. Jackson feels a strange mixture of relief and dread at the sight of him. He isn't sure why.

"Jackson, let me in," Derek says. He has a big grin on his face, and Jackson wonders if that's what's responsible for the dread he's feeling. The smile is predatory, and reminds him far too much of Peter.

Jackson opens the window, and Derek jumps into his room and immediately grabs Jackson and pulls him in for a kiss. It's open mouthed, long and rough and by the end of it Jackson is practically squirming away. Derek doesn't seem to notice. "My house is still crawling with cops," Derek says when he finally pulls back. "Do you mind if I crash here for a few days?"

Jackson shakes his head. "Of course not," He says. Derek looks at him, and the smile begins to fade. Jackson swallows.

"Is something wrong?" Derek asks, furrowing his brow. "Are you okay?"

No, Jackson thinks. Not even a little. He doesn't say that. "I don't know." He says instead. "Are you okay?" Derek looks surprised. "I mean, are you going to be all weird now?"

Derek raises one eyebrow. "What do you mean, 'now'?"

"You know what I mean," Jackson folds his arms across his black wife beater, and tries to ignore the slightly amused and very annoying expression on Derek's face. "Now that you're 'THE ALPHA NOW', now." Jackson says in deep voice, a poor imitation of the way Derek had sounded the night before.

Derek looks at Jackson for a moment, and then laughs. He reaches out a hand to place on Jackson's shoulder, but Jackson shoves it away. "Jackson—"

"You know, after all the fucked up shit I've been through the last few days, you laughing at me is exactly what I needed right now, thank you—"

Derek grabs Jackson's shoulders and pulls him in. "Jackson, this is a good thing," He says. Jackson can feel Derek's fingers digging painfully into his arms, and he's not so sure. "I have so much more power now—and I don't just mean being faster, or stronger," Derek's grip on him becomes harder, and Jackson winces.

Jackson grits his teeth. "You're hurting me,"

Surprise flickers across Derek's face once more, for just a second. Then he smirks. "I thought you liked that," As he leans in and brushes his lips against Jackson's neck, Jackson feels his grip loosen.

A shiver runs down Jackson's spine as Derek whispers against his neck. "Jackson, you're not listening to me," He pulls back and looks at Jackson. There's a look in his eyes Jackson hasn't seen before. Something dark and electric... something that's almost like excitement.

Jackson's spent a lot of time over the past few days feeling afraid, but this is the first time in a long time he's felt afraid of Derek. "I'm the alpha—"

Jackson's heart skips a beat whenever he hears that word. It's still too closely associated with death and terror in his mind. He doesn't want that to be Derek. "Yeah I know, I got that memo last night and if you keep saying it I might start doing shots—"

Derek raises his voice and speaks over Jackson. "Jackson I can turn you," Jackson's words die on his lips. "Do I have your attention now?"

Jackson can feel his mouth hanging open. He stares at Derek. "What?"

Derek smirks slightly. "The bite," Derek leans in and kisses Jackson's neck again. "I can give it to you," He tilts his head down and presses another kiss against Jackson's bare shoulder.

Jackson's mind goes numb as he watches Derek sink down to his knees in front of him. He feels Derek's fingers slide up under his wife beater, pushing the fabric up to expose his skin.

"If you still want it, of course..." Derek trails his fingers along Jackson's skin, then follows with his mouth, brushing his lips over the side of his stomach, just above his hip. Jackson's heart is beating erratically inside his chest, and Jackson knows Derek can hear it. He probably thinks it's excitement that's making his heart beat so fast.

And... it is, Jackson thinks. It must be. Because this is what he wants. What he's wanted all along. Power, strength. To no longer feel afraid. Inferior. Worthless.

Derek's eyes turn red, and his mouth opens to reveal long razor sharp fangs. Jackson's heart pounds harder. He knows it's not excitement.

This isn't what he wants.

Jackson's throat feels thick and his words almost get lost in it. "I don't," He whispers. Derek pauses. "I—I don't want it..."

Derek leans back, and his fangs retract. His blood red eyes flick up to meet Jackson's. "You don't?" Jackson shakes his head. Derek blinks a few times and slowly his eyes fade back to their usual colour. He gets back up to his feet. "Since when?" Derek's face is hard and his expression difficult to read, but he doesn't sound angry.

The pounding in his chest slows. What he feels isn't quite relief, but it isn't gut wrenching terror, either. He counts that as an improvement.

Derek still looks at him, expecting an answer.

"I don't know," Jackson sighs and runs his fingers through his hair. He looks away, trying to get a grip on his thoughts so he give Derek some kind of explanation. He feels like he owes him that much, even if he's not even entirely sure if he has one.

There's a part of him that feels like he's making a mistake. A desperate, angry voice in his head shouting that he needs the bite, that it will make everything better. Telling him he's an idiot for turning it down.

"Derek, I just... I don't know if you've noticed, but things aren't going too well for me, right now." Jackson squeezes his eyes shut for a second, then forces them back open and makes himself look at Derek. "My average in school is a D and I'm one wrong move away from being kicked off the lacrosse team. The only friends that still talk to me are Allison and Danny. I can't even remember the last time I had a conversation with my parents that lasted longer than two minutes."

Jackson takes a deep breath. "I just can't deal with more werewolf stuff on top of all that. Everything's falling apart—everything's fallen apart. I'm fucked up, and I've fucked up so much the last few months... and I need to deal with that."

Derek looks away. "Oh," he says.

Jackson expects him to say more, but nothing else follows. His face is absolutely blank, impossible to read. Jackson stares at him, determined to pick up some clue as to what Derek's feeling. Is he feeling anything? He just offered Jackson the bite, he must have wanted to turn him. Is he angry? Annoyed? Slightly put-off?

Any other time, Jackson would have rolled his eyes and snapped something sarcastic at Derek. Demanded he say something more expressive than "oh." Told him he was being stupid, or annoying.

Somehow, Jackson doesn't think he can this time. But they can't just stand here forever either.

Jackson swallows, and tries to think of something to say. "Derek—"

"It's fine, Jackson," Derek interrupts. He looks back up at Jackson, and Jackson can see the electricity in his eyes is dulled. He doesn't know what that means. "I get it, really. It's a lot, I know it is. And you've got a lot to deal with..." Derek smiles, and if there was anything he could have done to throw Jackson off even more, that's it. The smile is forced, and cold. It doesn't touch his eyes.

Derek puts a hand on Jackson's shoulder. Jackson just stares at him. "I want you to know, the offer is on the table, if you change your mind. It won't expire." Jackson's thoughts are reeling, but they're interrupted when Derek leans in and kisses him. Jackson is surprised, and so fucking confused, but that doesn't stop him from kissing Derek back.

Derek's mouth is hard and the kiss is long and deep, but this time Jackson has no desire to get away. The longer it lasts the more Jackson can feel all that fear and confusion just... drifting away. Maybe things can actually be okay. Even if Derek's eyes are red and he's more monstrous than ever, maybe it'll be alright. So long as he's still Derek... maybe the rest doesn't matter.

Derek pulls back, and gives Jackson that cold, impersonal smile. "Goodbye, Jackson." He turns away, towards Jackson's window.

Goodbye— Jackson blinks a few times, and furrows his brow. "Wait, what?" Derek pauses with his hand on the window sill. "Why goodbye? No." Jackson steps towards Derek and grabs his arm. "Not goodbye."

A lump forms in Jackson's throat when Derek turns around with red eyes. For a second his hand goes limp and lets go of Derek's jacket, but he forces himself to get another grip on it. He swallows.

"Jackson, what the hell?" Derek demands. Now he sounds angry, but also a little confused. Well, it's good to know Jackson's not the only one.

"Wait you're seriously asking me what the hell?" Jackson's dumfounded. "What the hell?"

Derek throws his arms up in frustration, knocking Jackson's hand aside. "You just told me you didn't want to deal with anymore werewolf stuff. What am I—"

Now Jackson gets it. "I didn't mean you, you fucking idiot!" He shouts, then cringes because there's no way his parents didn't hear that. He waits a moment, but no one calls up.

Derek glares at him, his eyes still burning red. He manages to keep his voice low when he speaks, but Jackson can tell he's having trouble. "I don't know if you've noticed, but 'werewolf stuff' and 'me,' kind of the same thing."

"When I said I couldn't deal with more werewolf stuff I meant the kind of stuff I'd have to deal with if I let you turn me, you asshole." Jackson sneers. "Like figuring out how to control myself, and having Allison's fucking family on my back, and whatever other bullshit McCall is always whining about. I didn't mean you. How could you think I meant you?"

Derek's jaw is tight. "Wouldn't it just be easier, if..." Derek swallows, and his red eyes flicker towards the floor. "So long as you're with me, there will always be werewolf stuff, Jackson. It will always be hard—"

"Yeah, I know that," Jackson says, rolling his eyes. "And obviously things would be easier if I could just cut out all that crap, but I don't really thinks that's an option, anymore." Jackson makes to Derek's hand, but halfway through he changes his mind. Instead his hand just sort of brushes against Derek's, timid and non-committal. Jackson glances down, and tries not to look embarrassed. "I mean, I'm sort of involved already, I guess."

That's a stupid way to put it, but he'll sort out the semantics later. Semantics have always been his friend.

"Yeah, but Jackson you don't have to be—"

"Involved with you." Jackson interrupts. "I meant.. involved with you..." He cringes slightly. Involved was definitely a stupid word. Semantics have betrayed him.

Jackson looks up, and forces himself to make eye contact with Derek. He's relieved to see Derek's eyes are hazely-green again. "With me?" Jackson gives a small nod, and silently curses the circumstances that have led to them having this conversation. Fucking Peter and Kate Argent. He wishes they were both alive, so he could kill them again for putting him in this position.

The hair on the back of Jackson's neck stands up as Derek takes his hand, and gives it a firm squeeze. "I guess we're involved then."

Jackson swallows, and glances down at their entwined hands. He changes his mind. Maybe this position isn't such a bad one. He ceases attempting to mentally resurrect Peter and Kate. If there is indeed a hell, they have his permission to continue burning, undisturbed.

When Jackson looks back up, Derek puts his other hand on the back of his neck, and pulls him in for another kiss.

To make certain they're clear about this kiss, and that it isn't leading up to anything resembling a good-bye, Jackson grabs the front of Derek's jacket and drags him down onto the bed. Then he wraps his arms around Derek's neck and pulls him closer.

Jackson knows what comes next. He can practically taste it on his tongue, and see it behind his eyelids; the movement of their mouthes quickening, becoming more frenzied as hands move and pull and tear at clothing until there's none left. He can hear his breath shortening, and all the moans and pleads and sounds of wanting. He knows how Derek will kiss him, and tease him and moan so quietly, but Jackson will hear it all the same, hear the sound of his wanting.

He knows what's coming, and he can feel his body aching in anticipation.

Derek pulls back quickly to shed his jacket, and tosses it onto the floor of Jackson's bedroom. He removes his shirt as well. As Jackson watches him pull it up over his head, he remembers the other jacket, hanging in his closet. He'd been debating about whether or not give it back. Derek hadn't given it to him to keep, he knew, but when Jackson put his face to it he could breath in Derek's smell... and he liked that too much to willingly part with.

Once Derek's shirt's been tossed aside as well, Jackson reaches for him once more. He wraps his arms back around his neck even tighter this time and pulls Derek on top of him, burying his face into the crook of his neck. Jackson breathes in, and for a minute just holds onto him, and takes comfort in the familiar smell of him, and the weight of Derek's body on top of his.

"Jackson, is something wrong?"


"Is everything okay?" Derek pulls back, breaking Jackson's grip on him, and raises an eyebrow.

"What? Sure, I guess... why?" Jackson's hands seems to move on their own, back onto Derek's arms. One slides up into Derek's hair, brushing it back gently.

"Well... you're sniffing me, for one," Derek says. Jackson's cheeks burn a little. "And another, we're not... I mean... you're not..." Now Jackson raises his eyebrows, and Derek sighs. "Usually you'd have half of your clothes off by now, and mine. So, is something wrong? I know you said I could stay here, and I thought... but we don't have to do anything, if you don't want to."

Jackson raises one eyebrow higher. He lets his arms drop to his sides. "You think something's wrong because I didn't immediately start fucking your brains out?" Derek sighs again, and hangs his head. "Is that what you're getting at?"

"Don't put words in my mouth, Jackson, I just—"

"—no, apparently the only thing I'm allowed to put in your mouth is my—" Derek puts his hand over Jackson's mouth, cutting him off.

"Stop that," Derek commands. Jackson glares at him. "You know that's not how I meant it. I only meant that when we start fooling around, you're usually a more... active participant. So if you don't want to fuck, we don't have to." Derek removes his hand from Jackson's mouth. "Okay? That's all I was saying."

Jackson sighs, and rubs at his eyes. "It's... it's not that I don't want to. I do," He takes his hand away from his eyes, and looks at Derek. "Really, I do. I'm just... distracted."

"By what?"

"Oh gee, I don't know," Jackson says, "Let me think about that for a minute—how about the fucking horror movie I lived through last night? How about the fact that my ex-girlfriend is in the fucking ICU because your crazy fucking werewolf uncle almost ripped her throat out? Or how I had to carry her bloody, unconscious bod-d —" Jackson breaks off, clenching his jaw and turning his face away from Derek. Not because he was about to cry, obviously. He is not going to cry.

But if he does, he doesn't want Derek to see it.

"Jackson..." Jackson feels Derek's fingers brush his cheek, and he jerks away from him. "Come on—"

"No, shut up. You're an asshole, I hate you." Jackson squeezes his eyes shut, because fuck he's crying. This is exactly what he's been trying to avoid all fucking day.

Derek touches his face again, and this time Jackson lets him. He presses his palm against Jackson's cheek, and Jackson leans in to his touch. He feels Derek kiss his forehead, and he takes in a deep breath. Jackson opens his eyes, and blink away the tears. "I thought you were going to die," He whispers. "I was so fucking scared..."

All the fights gone out of him again, and when Derek opens his arms up to him, Jackson all but falls into them. "I know," Derek mumbles, closing his arms around Jackson. "Me too."

There's more Jackson wants to say, but he's afraid of what will come out of his mouth if he opens it again. So he presses his faces against Derek's bare chest, and says nothing.

Derek strokes his hair, and kisses his forehead again. He says nothing as well.

The silence isn't uncomfortable. In fact it's the opposite. Jackson thinks he could fall asleep like this, lying against Derek's chest and breathing in the scent of Derek's skin, comfortable and comforted. Jackson thinks he could live the rest of his life like this.

A knot ties itself in Jackson's chest, and the blanket of comfort and warmth he'd been wrapping himself up in slips a little. There's something wrong with situation, he realizes.

Jackson lifts his chin and looks up at Derek. He's staring off at the wall, still absently stroking Jackson's hair. He thinks about the look Derek had had in his eyes when he'd shown up at his window, and the dangerous smile he'd worn on his face. He looks calm now, but Jackson knows better than anyone how deceptive Derek's face can be. He might look calm and impassive, but Jackson knows what's under there because he's seen it. And not just rage and hate, but pain and grief and guilt... Derek's showed him that before, and let Jackson comfort him.

"My house is still crawling with cops, do you mind if I crash here for a few days?"

Jackson is an idiot. He's not the one who needs comforting right now.

"Derek..." Jackson sits up a little, slowly extracting himself for Derek's arms.

"Hmm?" Derek blinks a few times, pulling himself away from whatever thoughts he'd just been lost it. At this point, Jackson would have traded in his Porsche to know what those thoughts were. "What?" Derek gives him a questioning look, and Jackson purses his lips.

He's not entirely sure how this comforting stuff is supposed to work. What is he supposed to say to him? Hey bro, it sucks that you had to kill your crazy-ass psycho uncle because he murdered a bunch of people, including your sister, and was probably going to murder everyone else in town if you didn't. Bummer, right? Fuck.

Jackson can feel Derek looking at him, and so in an attempt to distract from the fact that he's just sitting there uselessly, Jackson slides over to Derek's side and slowly puts his arm around him. Derek looks at him, his eyebrows knit tightly together on his forehead. "Jackson, I don't mean to sound like a broken record but is everything okay?"

Jackson hesitates for a moment. "Well... no, not really." He admits. "I mean, everything is pretty fucked up right now, isn't it?" Derek doesn't disagree, but he continues staring intently at Jackson, who distracts himself with running his fingers through the hair above Derek's nape. Jackson's not sure, but he think's he sees Derek's brow unfurrow a bit. "I guess I... I just wanted to say... I'm sorry." He makes himself look Derek. "About Peter, and... and about your sister and just... everything."

"None of that's your fault, Jackson."

"Yeah, I know that, that's not why I'm sorry. I'm just sorry that it happened, to you. And I wish I could do something, to make things better for you." Another thought occurs to him. "And none of it's your fault, either."

Derek looks away at that. Now that Jackson's no longer in front of him, he's sitting with his knees pulled his knees up in front of his chest. He rests his arms on them, and stares off across Jackson's room. "That's not entirely true..."

"Don't be stupid, it's true," Jackson insists, pulling Derek's face back towards him. "It wasn't your fault. It was—"

"Jackson, we don't have to talk about this," Derek interrupts. "I mean I appreciate it, but we don't have to."

"I want to talk about it," He says. "I mean, I don't want to, but... if you want to talk about it, I want to be the person you know you can talk about it with."

Derek's mouth opens a little and then closes without emitting a sound. Other than that he makes no response, and the silence sends a self conscious prickle running down Jackson's spine. His words just seem to hang there between them.

Derek looks away again.

He doesn't know what to say, Jackson realizes. He feels his face heating up again. It was too much. Too much sentiment. He's freaked Derek out.

Quick, take it back! whispers a panicked voice in his head. Tell him you didn't mean it! Say something!

For once, lies fail him. Not one comes to mind. At least, not one that would sound the slightest bit convincing. Worse than that, Jackson doesn't even want to take it back. Even if he thought he could. Even if it's awkward and embarrassing. He wants Derek to know that he's here for him, for whatever he needs or wants.

Jackson has no idea how this happened. Or when it happened. Or what the hell he was doing while it was happening.

"Do you ever miss the way things used to be?" Jackson blurts. "Between us, I mean. When it was just... random hate-sex? It was a lot simpler then…" It hadn't seemed simple at the time, of course. At the time it had seemed like a horrible, complicated, preserve mess. But looking back… not so much.

Still, Jackson can't feel any pangs of longing for those days, either. He'd been so miserable, so full of hate. Mostly for himself.

Does that mean that he's any less miserable now? Jackson's not sure.

"I never hated you," Derek turns back to him, his brow furrowed. "Did you really hate me?"

"Oh, uh..." Jackson's never really thought about it. "No, I guess not. I was afraid of you though, for a while."

Derek snorts. "Yeah, I know that, Jackson."

"But not anymore."

"You were afraid when I first came here tonight," Derek reminds him. "I could practically smell it..."

"Yeah, because you were being weird," Jackson moves behind Derek, and wraps his arms around his neck. He kisses the side of Derek's mouth. "It freaked me out." Derek's brow is still furrowed, and he kisses that too until it eases.

Derek sighs, and closes his eyes. "I think there's a part of myself that liked it, too..." He says quietly. Jackson can feel Derek's shoulders a sag a little under his arms.

Jackson squeezes him tighter, and kisses Derek's neck. "I think there's a part of myself that likes that you liked it," He whispers. He bites lightly at Derek's skin, then lifts his head up and grins at him.

Derek shakes his head. "There is definitelysomething wrong with you," He says. It's not the first time he's told him that—and it probably won't be the last—but it is the first time it's sounded affectionate.

"There's something wrong with me?" Jackson asks, feigning offense. "Are you kidding? You have more issues than a magazine stand." Derek rolls his eyes. "No, I'm serious. You are a fucked up guy. You should really see someone about it. A therapist, or maybe an exorcist."

Derek leans back against him, and tilts his head back so it's resting on Jackson's shoulder. "I thought I had you for that," He says. "To talk to, not to perform an exorcism."

Jackson blinks a few times. "You do,"

A smile tugs at the corner of Derek's mouth. "Good," He says, reaching up and placing a hand on the back of Jackson's head. "Then that's all I need..."

Derek pulls Jackson in towards him and kisses him. The angle is awkward, and Jackson has to shift around a little before he can get comfortable, but once he does he kisses Derek back as hard as he can. He has a strange, desperate need clawing at his chest, and worryingly enough he doesn't think it has anything to do with sex. It's for Derek, but not just his body, all of him. His stupid hair and his evil monster eyes, and the way he sometimes makes growling noises in his sleep. His grumpy expressions, and his awful burned up house... every part of him, every facet of his stupid annoying existence.

Oh, this is just a catastrophe.

When Jackson finally pulls back, he's breathless and his face is lightly flushed. "You never answered my question," He says. "Do you ever miss it? The annoyed-and-scared-but-not-hate-sex sex?"

Derek looks up at him, and seems to be considering his question. "Well... it was good sex," He allows. Jackson nods in agreement. "But I think it's probably better this way." Derek's eyes flick away for a second, then move back to meet Jackson's. Jackson wonders if he's only imagining that he looks nervous. "Right?"

Without hesitation, Jackson nods. "Yeah, yeah it is."

Derek smiles at him, for once a real, actual smile. No malice, no smirk. And Jackson can't help but feel that strange sense of need and longing again.

Absolute catastrophe... but he supposes he'll live.

If Jackson's being totally honest with himself, he has to admit he doesn't really know if he's any less miserable now than he was a few months ago. But he thinks he could be. Less miserable... maybe even happy.

Jackson settles back against his headboard, and Derek leans back against his chest. Jackson reaches for his hand again, and this time he doesn't change his mind. He grabs his hand, and their fingers twine together. And Jackson thinks he could be very happy, indeed.


A/N: I'd like to say thanks to everyone who stuck with this fic through the stupidly long waits between chapters (which I apologize for!). I hope you liked the fic and the ending, and will stick around for the other Halemore fics I plan to write.

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