A Familiar Face

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Story Notes:
Written for Distance_teenagers' prompt: I can't think of a prompt, but I love Stackson with all of my heart, and you've recently made me fall in love with Danny/Stiles and Danny/Stiles/Jackson, so if you're still taking prompts and want to, could you write more with any of those? Any prompt you might have been wanting to do but never got around to doing would be fine.

I hope you enjoy this! I love Stackson, too, so that's the one I chose from the list.
London hasn’t lost its appeal. Of course, Stiles has only been in England for a little over two months, so there’s still a lot to explore and learn about his temporary home. Fortunately, he doesn’t have to rush. The doctoral program he’s been admitted to is going to take him anywhere from three to four years, which means he’ll probably be totally sick of living abroad by then. While he’s worried about his dad being on the other side of the globe, he knows the pack will keep an eye on him and monitor his eating habits. Besides, Melissa isn’t going to let anything happen to his dad, and Scott’s going to make sure nothing happens to either of their parents. Even though he knows that, it bothers him sometimes that he’s so far away and isn’t able to just get home in a few hours if anything happens. Getting his bachelor’s in LA and his master’s in Oregon had kept him within driving distance or a very fast flight, but the opportunity to research folklore and the supernatural as part of the Medieval and Renaissance Studies group at UCL is worth a few years away from Beacon Hills.

At least, that’s what he keeps telling himself on quiet nights when he can’t sleep and the loneliness feels almost crushing. He misses his dad and his pack, more than he cares to admit considering he’s twenty-five now and not a twelve year old away at summer camp for the first time who is getting homesick so easily. Sure, there’s skype and an international data plan that means texts and Facebook alerts. But skype can’t give him a hug and keep him grounded when the thoughts get to be too much. It’s all Scott’s fault, really, because he’s the tactile one who encourages all the hugs and touching to make the pack feel connected. Now that Stiles is so far away, he misses that sentimental shit more than he expects.

The thing is, he’s a sarcastic asshole. Making friends isn’t really something he’s particularly good at, never has been. He’s too blunt and honest about stuff people don’t want to hear, and he’s slightly withdrawn after everything he’s dealt with in the last decade. It’s hard to let his guard down around anyone who isn’t pack. He’s trying to be more quote normal unquote but his fellow researchers aren’t receptive. He’s one of the youngest members of the program and opinionated in a way that might seem disrespectful. The fact that his concentration is in folklore also seems to make some of them look down on him, like he studies fairy stories that aren’t nearly as important as their biological research or historical preservation efforts. None of them realize that the stuff he studies is based on fact, and they’re all unaware of what actually goes bump in the night.

So, yeah, the loneliness sucks, and he’s feel slightly touch starved, but he’s handling it. Scott and his dad have no idea, thank you acting skills and ability to lie without showing any change in emotion, and he figures it’s going to have to get better. The research he’s doing helps a lot, too, because he can lose himself in the ancient manuscripts and he can even go do field excursions whenever he wants. Right now, he’s just researching and trying to decide on the best topic for his thesis because there are too many ideas and options. He’s got time, so he’s been making lists of different locations he’s interested in visiting in the future.

Of course, next term, he’s going to have to step up and teach a specialized class, part of the funding arrangement he managed to secure. That’s going to cut into his time a little bit, but he enjoys teaching the topics that interest him, so it shouldn’t be too bad. By then, he’ll probably be tired of his exploratory walks around London anyway, and the city will have lost its appeal. It’s just more enjoyable to walk around in the fresh air than it is to sit in his tiny flat in Putney that’s costing a damn fortune for such a small space. It’s not even that close to Central London, those rent prices almost giving him a heart attack, and the commute isn’t going to be the best when the weather sucks, but at least he isn’t too far from a tube station, there’s no roommates to deal with, and he doesn’t have any nosy neighbors. It could be worse considering some of the horror stories he’s been hearing his fellow program members discuss.

Stiles catches a bus to Kensington. He likes taking the tube to commute from his flat, but he prefers walking or taking the bus when he’s just exploring. His first week in town, he discovered an awesome little Italian place near Harrods with prices that don’t match the expensive neighborhood, and it’s become a favorite spot to grab a pizza and soda before heading home in the evenings. He’s collecting local places that aren’t full of tourists with the expensive menus to match. There are two places in his collection with huge English breakfasts for only a few pounds, mostly frequented by laborers in the mornings, and some good cultural fare around the city that has led to him discovering a love of curry. Italian is everywhere, too, and it’s usually authentic with good prices.

While he does have a kitchen in his flat, cooking and eating alone just isn’t at the top of fun things to do every day. He tries to break it up with eating out because, even if he’s sitting alone at a café or pub, he’s able to listen to conversations around him, which makes it worth the cost. The bus reaches his stop, so he waits for the tourists to get off before following them down the stairs. He walks halfway down the block before taking a left. These streets are quieter, which he enjoys. The architecture is nice to look at, and he’s enjoying the weather, cloudy but warm, so he takes his time walking.

When he’s walking past a row of fancy shops, he’s surprised by someone grabbing his shoulder. Immediately moving into defense mode, he turns, ready to protect himself only to find a ghost from the past standing there in a three piece suit that probably costs more than six months’ rent. “Jackson?”

“What the fuck, Stilinski?” Jackson is still an asshole, it seems, so some things never change. He’s older, which, yeah, so is Stiles, but it looks good on him. His suit definitely cost a small fortune, his hair is a little longer than it used to be, and he’s still too good looking. It’s just not fair, a jerk like that getting money and good looks. Sure, Stiles knows about the whole sucky family situation, remembers the insecurity covered by brash attitude, but it’s still not fair.

“Nice to see you, too, asshole.” Stiles pulls his arm out of Jackson’s grip. He arches a brow when Jackson leans closer and inhales. “Dude, are you sniffing me?”

“You smell like pack.” Jackson’s words are obviously a reluctant admission, the nerve in his cheek twitching as he grits his teeth. “It’s been…years…and I smelled something familiar that smelled so good I had to follow it.”

Stiles might be twenty-five and a mature working adult, but he’s still an ass. “You think I smell good? I always knew you had a thing for me. All those years of bullying and belittling was just an attempt to pull my pigtails, wasn’t it?”

“I hate you,” Jackson growls even as he leans in for another sniff. “You just wish I had a thing for you.”

“Oh, good comeback. Not! London has obviously messed with your thinking skills and taunting reflexes.” Stiles clucks his tongue even as he tilts his head slightly so Jackson can get a good whiff of neck scent, since that seems to be a thing for werewolves. “And you didn’t have too many thinking skills in the first place.”

“Why couldn’t it have been Lydia? Allison? Hell, I’d have even taken McCall over you.” Jackson is taking deep breaths, his nose almost on Stiles’ skin now.

Allison. The name bursts Stiles’ balloon of taunting Jackson joy slash happiness at a familiar face even if it’s Jackson’s arrogant one. He hasn’t really given any thought to Jackson in years, hadn’t even considered he was still living in London, but he’s always assumed Jackson must have kept in touch with Danny or Lydia and knew what all happened after he left. Considering Jackson just said Allison should be here instead of Stiles, well, it hits him in the gut in more ways than one because, yes, she should be, and Stiles should be ashes in the wind just like she is, and he can his heartbeat in his ears as he starts gasping for breath.

“Fuck. What’s wrong? Stiles, take a deep breath.” Jackson is suddenly hugging him, strong arms holding Stiles as he struggles to push away the panic attack that is trying to consume him. In a normal situation, hugging him during a panic attack isn’t really the best idea, but Stiles clings to Jackson because he is pack, sort of, and he needs that right now. “That’s it. Just keep breathing. In and out. In and out.”

“Heh. That’s what she said,” Stiles mutters, relieved that he managed to calm down before it could become a full blow panic attack. As he starts to feel better, he realizes that Jackson is still holding him, pressing him securely against what feels like a muscular chest. Probably not the best time to realize that Jackson is still fit as fuck.

“You must be better. You’re back to making terrible jokes.” Jackson releases his grip, taking a step back and looking at Stiles with an intense gaze.

“Innuendo, not jokes. Jackson, we’re blocking traffic.” Stiles clears his throat when he notices a group of tourists giving them a dirty look as they walk past and stuffs his hands in the pockets of his hoodie. He doesn’t look away from Jackson’s gaze, not wanting to make it seem like he’s ashamed or trying to hide.

“They can walk around us.” Jackson’s eyes flash blue when Stiles starts to protest, and that shuts him up quickly because the last thing he wants is to make a scene in the middle of a sidewalk in Kensington.

“Fuck. You’re a stubborn prick.” He shakes his head. “You really haven’t spoken to Lydia? Danny? No one from Beacon Hills?”

Jackson purses his lips. “Danny’s living in Barcelona at the moment. Works for an international IT security firm. So he comes over to visit or I go there, but Beacon Hills is always a closed subject. We don’t talk about it ever really.” He shrugs. “As for Lydia, I fucked that up bad, and it’s better for her if I just stay out of her life.”

“She’s doing really well. Went to Stanford, getting her second doctorate already. Overachieving and changing the world, just like I always figured. She’s engaged to a really good guy, a deputy who works for my dad.” Stiles doesn’t mention the whole banshee and hell hound thing because, yeah, Jackson doesn’t need to know about all of that if he hasn’t kept in touch with her.

“You still in love with her?” Jackson asks curiously. His blue eyes are staring at Stiles intently, like he really wants to know and actually believes that what Stiles felt for Lydia had ever really been love.

“Dude, I was infatuated with her and in love with her brain, but we’ve been good friends for years now. I also had a huge crush on Danny, so I might need to plan a little trip to Barcelona while I’m living here.” Stiles smiles wryly because he knows he’s as likely to have a chance with Danny as he did back in school, but it means he can avoid talking about his panic attack, so it’s all good for his ego to take a hit.

Jackson frowns and grips Stiles’ arm, moving him towards the front of a pub and out of the middle of the sidewalk. “Danny’s taken. Besides, you’re not his type. He still falls for jerks who treat him bad and break his heart,” he mutters. “You might be an asshole, but you’d at least treat him well. Now, quit avoiding shit and tell me what just happened over there.”

“Long story short? I got possessed by an evil immortal fox spirit war lord thing who loved pain, chaos, and killing people, so, you know, great for that Grindr profile, and then I got puked out of myself, as fucked up as that sounds, and he stole my shape in order to then go on to kill even more people, including Allison.” He curls his fingers into his palms and takes a moment to breathe. “They destroyed him, in the end, but…you know.”

Jackson blinks and actually doesn’t say anything offensive. Instead, he ducks his head and whispers, “Yeah, I know. Lizard breath, remember?”

Stiles laughs softly. “And if that doesn’t say how fucked up things got back home, I haven’t even thought about lizard you in years. But, hey, at least you survived your experience with Beacon Hills Supernatural. So many others didn’t.”

“I wish I could forget about it.” Jackson grimaces. “Guess we finally have something in common outside of our mutual admiration for Lydia Martin.”

“Yeah, we’re both members of the possessed murdering supernatural creature club.” Stiles runs his fingers through his hair. “It gets better, though, doesn’t it? You’ve got a couple of years on me for dealing with the whole thing.”

“Fuck no.” Jackson snorts. “People can say shit like that all they want, but it doesn’t really get better. See, it stops for a while, and you’ll think you’ve dealt with it, and you’ll get cocky, then it’ll hit again. Nightmares and sleepless nights.” He fusses with his cufflinks. “I don’t know. I guess it does get better in some ways, but it doesn’t ever go away.”

“I’ve been dealing with mine for over eight years, so I kinda figured that would be your answer.” Stiles notices that people are glancing at them now as they walk past. “Man, now we’re getting stares.”

“It’s because they’re not used to seeing such handsome men,” Jackson says in a dismissive tone. “What are you even doing here? In London?”

“You think I’m handsome? See, there goes that whole into me thing again.” Stiles teases, relieved for the change of subject from things he’d rather not think about ever. “As for London, I’m getting my PhD at UCL, so I’m living here now. It’s probably going to take three to four years, then I’ll go back home. Anyway, I moved here about two months ago. What about you? I’m surprised you stayed here.”

“You know you’re good looking. Don’t be a prick about it.” Jackson rolls his eyes. “My parents moved to Boston several years ago, and I got to keep the house in Kensington if I wanted it. It’s a no brainer, really. I finished my MBA two years ago, and I work in business operations for a global company with a base here. I could have transferred to our San Francisco or New York offices, but I like it here. There are several packs around who leave me alone, plus Danny’s in Barcelona now, so it’s convenient visiting him. I might go back to the states at some point, but my life is here now.”

Stiles is staring at him because his mind is still stuck on the good looking comment. Since when does Jackson Whittemore think he’s good looking? “I actually don’t know that, by the way,” he points out. “And we’re still getting awkward stares. I’m on my way to get an early dinner. Don’t suppose you’re hungry?”

Jackson looks at him for a moment, and Stiles almost misses the way his gaze drops to stare at his mouth because it happens so fast, but he does notice, and it intrigues him. “I suppose I could eat.”

“If you’re a good boy during dinner, I’ll let you sniff me after,” Stiles promises, managing to do so without grinning.

“If I’m a really good boy, do I get to pick where I sniff?” Jackson’s drawl is definitely flirtatious, as is the way he’s leaning towards Stiles now.

Stiles isn’t about to back down, of course. “If you try to sniff my ass, I’ll have to neuter you.”

Jackson snorts. “Out of all the things I’d be interested in doing to your ass, sniffing it isn’t one of them.”

“Dude, are you serious?” Stiles can’t handle not knowing if Jackson is actually flirting or if he’s just trying to throw him off kilter. “When have you ever thought about my ass?”

“Well, I thought about shutting you up with my dick a lot during high school, but your ass did come to mind a few times then,” Jackson says, lips curved into a smug smirk that is infuriating mostly because it makes him even more attractive. Fucking prick. “And it looks like it’s only gotten better with age.”

“How did I not know you were into cock?” Stiles licks his lips and has to laugh. “Here I was pestering Danny while you were wanting me all along. Damn, I was right when I said you were pulling my pigtails. Jackson, man, all you had to do was ask. I’d have been happy to have been the Stiles filling in a Jackson and Lydia sandwich. Or, hell, even a Jackson and Danny sandwich.”

“You’re ridiculous.” Jackson shakes his head. “I must be crazy to even consider going to dinner with you.”

“You know you’ve missed me. I want to hear all about these Stiles sex fantasies you had during high school over dinner, though. You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine,” he suggests, waggling his eyebrows as Jackson lets out a snort of laughter.

“If Danny finds out about this, I’m never living it down.” Jackson rolls his eyes and tilts his head back. He really is gorgeous, if he just didn’t open his mouth and ruin it by being such an asshole. The thing is, Stiles is also an asshole, so it tends to just roll off his back. Maybe there’s something to think about with all that, depending on how dinner goes. “Where are we eating? You’d better choose somewhere good enough for me or I’ll never put out.”

Stiles leans closer to Jackson, ghosting his mouth along the curve of his jaw before whispering against his ear, “Don’t lie. You know you’ll put out because you fantasized about this a decade ago and still want all up on this.”

“You forget that I can smell you, Stiles. I’m not the only one who wants all up on this,” Jackson says in a smug tone as he motions at himself. “I can smell your arousal, and your heart has been racing since I mentioned all the things I want to do to your ass.”

“Asshole.” Stiles pulls back and pouts, deliberately thrusting his lips out in a way to make Jackson look at them. “Fine. I was going for Italian, but it’s a cheap place with great food, so it might not live up to your usual standards.”

“You can’t really go too wrong with Italian in this city. Best I’ve had outside of Italy.” Jackson is staring at his mouth again, so his ploy was successful.

“I’ve never been, but I’m totally going to go sometime now that it’s a relatively cheap train ride over from here.” Stiles starts walking, knowing Jackson will follow.

Jackson makes a face. “Flights are really reasonable. They don’t take as long as the trains, either. Maybe we can go to Rome some weekend. Danny can even meet us there, so long as he leaves Charlie in Barcelona because I hate that guy and he hates me. He’s jealous that Danny and I have a friends with benefits thing that happens whenever we’re both horny and single.”

“Wow. That’s a mental image that I so needed when we’re about to go eat dinner.” Stiles finds it far too easy to imagine Jackson and Danny fucking, a fact which is most likely obvious judging by Jackson’s arrogant expression. “Shut up. It’s hot. Anyway, what’s with this whole us going to Rome thing?”

“Of course it is.” Jackson is still smirking. “As for Rome, we’re pack. I mean, as much of one as I’ve ever had, even if McCall is your alpha. It’s not like Derek ever wanted me as his.”

“Derek’s had some fucked up shit happen to him,” Stiles points out. “He’s a lot happier with someone else being his alpha. The guy smiles now and even laughs. But, yeah, you’re pack. Always have been.”

“You’ll have to fill me in on that fucked up shit, since I don’t know about anything other than my sorry ass and the whole crazy as fuck uncle thing.” Jackson follows him when they turn right. “You never told me what you’re studying. Probably something smart and random.”

Stiles laughs. “Folklore and the supernatural during the medieval period is my area of research. It’s not that random, dude. It’s fascinating to see how much is actually true, not that I can use my copy of the bestiary as a cited work or anything. It’s not likely to get me a high paying job by any means, but I figure I’ll eventually teach high school or something anyway.”

“Money isn’t all that,” Jackson admits. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice not to stress about paying for shit, but there’s more important stuff in the world, too.”

“I understand that.” Stiles smiles. “Like the Beatles said, money can’t buy you love.”

“It only keeps you warm at night if you sew it into a blanket.” Jackson’s lips quirk slightly.

“It can’t hold stimulating conversation.”

“It can’t fuck you unless you’re into some really weird and kinky stuff.”

“But it’s still nice to have around.” Stiles glances at Jackson. “So, you tossed out the idea of going to Rome because we’re pack. No other reason?”

“It might be nice having another friend,” Jackson says reluctantly, like he hates admitting it. “Someone to share the load with Danny. I have a lot of acquaintances at work or from school, but no real friends. Not people I truly trust who know what I am and still want to be around me. Dating is tough because I might go all grr in the middle of fucking, so I generally steer clear of anything more than random hook ups. Besides, you’re hot, I’m hotter. I figured it didn’t hurt to see where things might go.”

“Grr?” Stiles grins. “I’ve gotta admit, it’s been pretty lonely living here on my own. Running into you has been a welcome surprise, and I don’t know if we’d ever be able to date without killing each other eventually, but I like that you can keep up with me. You’re an asshole, too, which means I can just be myself.”

“I’d like to think we’ve had to have matured at least a little. But, hell, if we end up fighting a lot, just think how amazing the hate sex would be.”

“And the make-up sex.” Stiles smiles slyly. “Of course, we’re putting the sex before the date, so maybe we should focus on dinner then see what happens.”

“So dinner’s a date, huh?” Jackson nudges him. “I knew you couldn’t resist my charms for too long.”

“Right. You’re so irresistible,” Stiles deadpans. “I’d just like to remind you that you’re the one who ran after me and sniffed me in the middle of the sidewalk, as well as having dirty dirty thoughts about me during high school.”

“Don’t let your ego get too big. The thoughts were usually centered on shutting up your mouth when you were being an ass.” Jackson glances at his lips again. “And maybe there were a few stray thoughts about kissing you, but I blame your constant proximity and my frustration due to your obsessive stalking of my girlfriend.”

“Justify it however you want, baby.” Stiles sees the Italian café approaching and reaches out to tug Jackson’s hand, pulling him to a stop. “A few stray thoughts, huh? Well, why don’t we see if it’s as good as you imagined?”

Before Jackson can answer, Stiles leans over and kisses him. Jackson takes a moment to get with the program, but then his hand is on Stiles’ back, his tongue licking at his lips, and the kiss deepens. When they pull apart, Stiles is flustered because that kiss was way better than he ever expected, and he wants more. “I don’t know,” Jackson murmurs. “Might need a few more for comparison’s sake.”

“Yeah.” Stiles breathes out against Jackson’s mouth. “But we should, uh, get dinner, it’s right there.” He trails off as Jackson leans in for another kiss. Stiles parts his lips and licks into Jackson’s mouth, teasing his tongue as Jackson holds him close.

Oh, fuck it. They can always eat later.