The Cold Light of Day
Disclaimer: I own nothing, everything belongs to MTV and Jeff Davis, but I do so like to play with the characters. ;)
I have heard many people say that the Jydia relationship has been retconned for the finale. This is my attempt to show that no, it hasn't been. It's been there from the start, you just have to look close enough. I think Holland Roden and Colton Haynes do so much with their expressions, with small gestures, that it is possible to see what lies beneath the surface. So, enjoy. :)
Lydia's lips are soft and warm as they claim his mouth with determination. Her small hands are feather light touches on his shoulders as her fingertips glide over his skin in tender caress. He pulls away with reluctance and turns over to the nightstand. He opens the drawer and smiles as his fingers find what he is looking for. His hand closes around the cold metal before he turns back to her. Kissing her shoulder, he leans over to present her with his gift. "Here, it's to the front door."
She takes the golden key and stares at it. "A key to your house? Already?"
Her teasing, but slightly inquiring tone makes him smile. He nuzzles her shoulder, murmuring: "Come on, it's…it's not a wedding ring."
A high laugh escapes her throat. "So you're just making me a more accessible booty call." It sounds cocky, light-hearted, but he can feel her slight trembling under his hands, the way she snuggles imperceptibly closer to him.
This is her pretending to be indifferent, to not be affected and so he plays her game. "Late night, afternoon, early morning…" His lips touch the soft skin of her shoulder blade. He presses himself closer to her and when her hand closes over his own, lightly stroking the back of it with her thumb, he can't help the smile which tucks at the corners of his mouth. Feeling Lydia's warmth, her still body nestled against his…for the first time in a long time he feels at peace with himself.
When Jackson separates his shoulder, her first instinct is to fuss over him; do everything in her power to make it better. Yet, one does not become the most popular girl in school by behaving on impulse; it takes careful consideration and an awareness of how one's actions appear to others. And so she gives him a pat on his good arm, a passionate kiss on the mouth and a whispered promise of certain things she would do to help him be fit for the game. Then she spends the next few hours listening to him complaining about the possibility that he will be unable to play, complaining about McCall and the fact that he wants to rip his head off; until finally she thinks her head is going to explode and she suggests he get a cortisone shot for his injury. She goes with him to the doctor, knowing his dislikes for hospitals, and waits until he finally comes back from the appointment.
"Did he do it?"
Jackson rotates his shoulder, dissatisfaction evident in his voice when he replies: "He said not to make a habit of it, but one cortisone shot won't kill me."
"You should get one right before the game, too." Her suggestion is met with an annoyed look, but she knows her boyfriend. He might be annoyed now, but he wants to play – and to win – this game at all costs and if he doesn't play he will be cranky for weeks. It is one thing she loves about him, his ambition, because she can relate to it. He wants to be the best and so she wants him to be the best, even if he needs tough love to be reminded of it. "The pros do it all the time. Do you wanna be a little high school amateur, or… do you want…to go…pro?" From the way he kisses her she has her answer.
By the time they are stuck in the school at night, he has become so obsessed with finding out McCall's secret and a way to get to him, he can barely think about anything else. It consumes him, the need to be on top again; it is like a fire inside him whose bright, hot flame burns up his insides until nothing else seems important. He can't shake it and so he goes after what he wants with single-minded determination, including getting close to Allison. He doesn't care for Lydia's disapproving gaze when he talks to Allison in front of the car, nor does he notice her horrified expression when he holds Allison's hands right in front of her.
What he does notice is that it isn't her who runs to him when Stilinski punches him in the face, who asks him if he is all right. So he lashes out at her when she asks about the wounds on his neck: "As if you actually cared!" Yes, she asked about them before, half-heartedly and flippantly, and he isn't sure anymore if it was her usual pretense of not caring or if she simply doesn't. He was feeling so sick, and he looked it, and she didn't even acknowledge it. When does the game cease to be a game and start to be the truth? He doesn't know and he is too proud to ever ask.
When Scott wants to talk to her in private, she jumps at the chance. Unable to get rid of the image of Jackson smiling at Allison, holding her hands, it plays over and over in her head. He is Jackson, he doesn't just smile at people, not like that. It worries and infuriates her at the same time. He is not supposed to be interested in other girls, not when he has her own gorgeous self by his side; who does he think she is? Then Scott comes along and presents her with the perfect opportunity to quieten the voice inside her which screams for retaliation. "Are you grateful?" he asks.
"I think you'd be pretty surprised at just how grateful I can be." She makes out with him to spite Jackson, driven by the urge to prove, even if it is just to herself, that she can have anyone she wants.
He breaks up with Lydia in the most indifferent way he can think of, with a text message. He's found out that it was McCall she made out with and the knowledge sets off an onslaught of different emotions – anger, hurt, loneliness, self-loathing. It confirms to him what he has suspected for a while: that he is not good enough for her anymore, that she craves someone with power and that someone is not him. His desire to return to what he once was, the top-dog everyone looks up to, intensifies; he needs to stifle the feeling of unworthiness that festers and grows inside of him and there's only one way to do that: to get the bite, no matter how.
It becomes increasingly clear to him that Lydia is a distraction he can't afford, something that keeps him from concentrating on what's really important. That's what he tells himself as he cuts off the ties to one of the only persons in this world that matter to him. Not wanting to give her the satisfaction of seeing how her make-out session with McCall has affected him, he dumps her with a smile on his face. He's had a lot of practice at letting people see only what they are supposed to see. "In preparation for some big changes, I've decided to drop some of the dead weight in my life…and you're just about the deadest."
He starts to walk away when she pulls him back by the sleeve of his jacket. "Dumped, by the co-captain of the lacrosse team. I wonder how many minutes it'll take me to get over that." He shrugs and blows her a kiss, leaving her standing in the hallway. Her upset words follow him: "Wait, seconds actually, seconds!" He believes her.
The winter formal turns into her worst nightmare. First, she has to watch Allison occupy her usual spot in Jackson's Porsche, then he snubs her, not even looking at her dress once, and finally she has to watch them dance together. Granted, Jackson looks miserable and really bored, the bottle of vodka never far from his mouth, but in the end it's just a small comfort. Apparently for him everything else is preferable to spending time with her and it hurts. She wonders how they got to this place, this cold place where she's all alone and he won't even look at her. He's always been her partner in crime, them against the world, and she doesn't yet know how to take on the world alone.
Now she has Stiles to contend with for the evening, by courtesy of Allison, and she is so surprised and flattered by the speech he gives her, she figures she owes him a dance. What can she say? After watching Jackson studiously ignore her for the last hour, she is starved for some attention; she's also a sucker for compliments. Yet, he is never far from her mind and as nice as dancing with Stiles is – his arms are surprisingly strong around her waist – he is just not the one she wants.
When she notices Jackson has disappeared, she worries; he has drunk a lot of alcohol and God knows where he's wandered off to. Wondering about when exactly she developed masochistic tendencies – how else can she describe the need to look for Jackson when she is sure certain humiliation awaits her? – she untangles herself from Stiles and goes off to find her ex.
He finds Lydia unconscious on the field, her dress torn, blood everywhere and for a moment he cannot breathe. The paralysing fear that she might be dead suffocates him and it takes him a second before he is able to close the distance and fall to his knees beside her. His efforts to shake her awake don't work and he knows he doesn't have much time.
Picking her up, he makes his way through the woods, all the while murmuring to her, pleading with her: "Come on, Lydia. Stay with me, come on." He sees the lights of the school, the crowd of people in front of it and his despair bursts out of him. "Help me! Somebody help, help me, get help, please!"
There are screams and people running away and for a moment he considers taking her to the hospital himself, not willing to waste anymore time. It's the fact that he's drunk too much which makes the decision for him to wait for the ambulance; he can't risk having an accident with her in the car. When the ambulance finally comes, he's right on its heels until his tires screech to a halt at the hospital entrance.
He's on his way to see her when he is stopped by Stilinski's father. Questions and accusations fly at him until the sheriff grabs him by the collar of his shirt and practically screams into his face. "What happened to her?"
"This isn't my fault."
"She's your girlfriend, that's your responsibility!"
He deflects, words about Stiles and the winter formal tumbling out of his mouth to get the sheriff off his back. But when he is finally able to look at Lydia, lying in the hospital bed with an oxygen mask over her mouth, he knows that this could have been his fault. He's aware of the dangers and risks becoming a werewolf entail and not only to himself, but to the people associated with him. If he really got the bite and carried on with Lydia the way he had, the same thing might as well happen to her because of him.
It hurts him to see her so vulnerable and fragile, so open to the world with her defenses down; this isn't how Lydia would want him to see her. The longer he stares at her, the more the sight of her unconscious form reinforces his decision to break up with her and he's glad, glad that he's out of her world.
A.N.: I hope you liked it. Chapter 2, aka season 2, is already finished and only needs a final read over. Let me know what you think, reviews are always appreciated. :)