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Title: Philosophy of We
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Issac/Jackson; background Derek/Stiles
Word Count: 2,251
Summary: Issac has a theory.
Warnings/Notes: Jackson is a werewolf.



Issac has always conducted his life with the idea that there is a reason his father fashioned his upbringing like a professional torturer, but that this particular mystery of the universe, much like spam, is unknowable to him.

The point being, when his mom died, the discipline he received got so worse as to slide off into the territory of sadism.

So he copes.

*&*

Existentialism is a philosophical movement embracing diverse doctrines but centering on analysis of individual existence in an unfathomable universe and the plight of the individual who must assume definitive responsibility for acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad.

So says something Issac looked up online once when he was nursing a broken elbow (7th grade final score in his Beginning Algebra class – 78%) one summer.

It just makes him sickly amused. He has no use of Kierkegaard, but Kant and Heidegger and Descartes speak to him.

When he gets his cast off, he goes back to his usual summer routine of going to the lake and pretending that he’s swimming with Scott McCall and Stiles Stilinski. He keeps to about 20 feet away and doesn’t look in their direction, always leaving before they do. They ignore him, but they’ve never teased him and they also get picked on by Jackson Whittemore and his bullies. So it’s almost like having friends.

*&*

The irony of Derek offering him a hand to get out of the grave he dug, the grave that is now his, in that he is occupying it now for the cosmically infinitesimal sliver of time between soil and coffin, is not lost upon him. He is in darkness, Derek is in light. Or, less darkness. He gets the symbolism.

He knows the risks and takes the bite anyway. Scott got sanctimonious somewhere between 8th grade and now, apparently. But he has his reasons. It won’t be like being an Übermensch, but it’ll be close. It’s painful, so painful, like ice shooting through his hip into his stomach, freezing and breaking everything it touches.

It feels like being locked in the basement freezer, but worse because he can’t escape it.

He’s feverish and someone wipes at his forehead with a cold washcloth, and he cries because he thinks his mom came back, and he cries out for her. Someone makes him drink a warming broth every so often; he can’t keep track of the time. He’s freezing and burning, it’s like he has frostbite inside of himself and he feels like he’s dying.

And when he finally comes back to himself, oh so slowly, Derek has him in his lap, carding a hand through his curls, head resting on Derek’s ridiculously muscled thigh.

His wolf is so happy right now, because it’s Alpha is happy right now, and the Pack is safe and what. He hadn’t thought about something else in his head with him, not really.

But that’s not right, somehow. He is a wolf and a human, sometimes, now. The wolf is just his id given more attention, more control to express itself through him.

Derek tells him to go back to school, go back home. He knows it isn’t a rejection, that Derek has good reasons for wanting to lay low right now. Issac isn’t bothered by it. He’ll be safe now; his father can’t hurt him anymore.

*&*

It all goes wrong when his father is grilling him on his grades one night and the adrenaline he feels sprinting to his bike and getting away only dissipates as Derek soothes him, away from the mangled car where the body is.

He feels sick, for some reason.

*&*

Derek goes on a recruitment campaign after he sees the hunters chop an Omega in half, just because they could. Issac is glad he wasn’t there to see that. He’s not sure why the hunters think genocide is ok, but he’s not naive to think it doesn’t happen anymore. He’s still mainly human. He hasn’t hurt anyone.

*&*

They’re in the abandoned metro station where Issac is rereading his battered copy of Nietzsche’s collected essays. Erica is alternating between geometry homework and jotting down notes to herself from a Glamour magazine. He thinks Erica is like what having a sister would have been like, someone to share his life with. He only had a hazy idea of who she was before all this and he’s insanely curious now.

“What was it like? When he bit you?” Issac asks; voice soft. This might be something she considers personal. But he wants to know.

Erica crinkles her eyes at him, but answers anyway.

“Like pop rocks. Or sticking your finger in an outlet. It was like being electrocuted.” She says, her eyes not seeing him anymore even though she is staring right at him.

“Thank you.” He says, voice a titch quieter.

“What about you?” She has clear eyes now, and they’re focused on him.

“Full body frostbite.” Issac shrugs. He’s always cozy warm now. He’s better this way.

*&*

Before they met Derek, Issac had a plan. It was so simple it was foolproof.

His plan was to survive long enough to leave Beacon Hills along with his father and to never, ever come back.

They haven’t settled on a new life plan just yet.

*&*

Boyd is writing a paper for his English 2 class while Issac is doing chin ups from the subway car.

“What was it like, getting bitten?” He asks.

Boyd answers him an hour later, when Issac is doing his cool down routine.

“Vines were growing inside of me. Choking and squeezing everything else out.” Boyd’s voice is deep and sure, but there’s a tinge of pain in it that Issac can hear.

“For me it was like being slowly frozen to death.” Issac shares, because Boyd wouldn’t ask him. Boyd is still unsure about the consequences he’s facing, Issac can tell.

*&*

He knows that Derek isn’t training them out of boredom; that this is about survival. But he wants to get an attack style perfected, even if Derek wants to be surprised.

Still, when Derek breaks his arm for giving lip it’s hard to separate out Derek from his dad. Even if it’s completely different. He’s just not sure how the differences line up is all.

Even what Erica did wasn’t all that surprising. He and his wolf could smell Erica’s lust for Derek, could see the way she watched him like he was a scrumptious meal.

*&*

Jackson punches him but shrugs his answer.

“Like being set on fire.”

Issac is beginning to understand.

*&*

At night, when they finally have the chance to get some sleep, Derek nests with him. There’s an old mattress pad and lots of blankets that they huddle under, that serves as their bed. It’s not a sexual thing. Derek feels like security and pack, and Issac knows Derek isn’t interested in him like that.

Even if Derek got on his knees when he gave Issac the bite, looked up at him through long eyelashes as he held Issac’s hips gently but firmly and carefully placed his fangs at the right places before biting down hard. The bite is a gift, and Derek was just giving the occasion the proper respect it deserved.

Derek is the big spoon, and when they’re held in Derek’s arms it feels like coming home.

*&*

Scott looks disbelieving, like he can’t work out why Issac would ask him that.

“It was like being cut apart from the inside out. Like death.” His voice is quiet.

“Thank you.” Issac says sincerely, before knocking Scott out.

He thanks Scott, because the bite is like death. It’s just a different kind of death for everyone. You can’t conduct double blind studies on something like this. You have to rely on anecdotal evidence. But Issac is thorough.

*&*

He hadn’t meant to corner Stiles like that, in the jail.

They were afraid, trapped in a cell for something he didn’t do. His wolf had smelled poison when the hunter attacked and Stiles went for the syringe. He panicked and growled at Stiles as he scooted away madly. And suddenly Alpha was there, Derek was angry and roaring and they were so afraid, all over again.

He hadn’t smelled the scent that was clinging to Stiles, under all his other smells. Stiles smelled like Derek, his wolf tells him.

They cower appropriately and Derek whisks them away to safety.

In the subway station, Derek holds his faced with one hand, fingers sliding under their jaw to the point where it curves into a chin. One single claw presses hard into the soft flesh.

“If you do anything like that to him again, I will gut you. Do you understand?” Derek’s voice is low but clear, his eyes gone red.

“Yes.” Issac breathes out.

“Good. Now get some sleep.” Derek withdraws the claw, the touch.

They want to be better for Alpha, for Derek. They won’t hurt his mate.

Which is why when Erica tells him how she took care of Stiles for their showdown with Scott he freaks out.

“Stiles is Derek’s mate! Couldn’t you scent it?” He hisses to her when Derek storms off after training. Boyd looks up from his place on the stairs, surprised.

“I just gave him a little tap to the head. He’ll be fine.” Erica brushes him off but he can see the sheen of anxiety creep into her features.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” They huff. If Sister isn’t going to take their warning, the wolf won’t bother.

*&*

Jackson comes looking for Derek but finds him instead.

He’s reading Descartes outside the bus, sitting down and leaning against it. Issac watches him but doesn’t say anything. His wolf doesn’t like Jackson’s overpowering body wash or the product in his hair. The combined stench irritates their nose.

Jackson is pacing and Issac thinks it would be wise to put his book down, out of the way. He sticks it inside the bus, under a seat, his arm angled uncomfortably for a moment and then stands up, back to the bus.

“Why are you here?” Issac is bored, and it comes out through their voice.

“Why shouldn’t I be here? And where is Derek?” Jackson doesn’t answer him, agitated.

“Derek’s out.” Issac says shortly. Jackson riles them.

“I can see that, Sherlock.” Jackson snips. He never realized how bitchy Jackson was until Jackson spoke to him in more than the language of threats. Life is funny like that.

“Unless you want to wear down the concrete, why don’t you leave? Derek could be gone for hours.” Issac is done with this conversation.

Jackson snorts. “You can’t tell me what to do. I’m older.” He says, confident.

“Older and still an asshole.” Issac points out. Because he can.

Jackson is in their space in a flash, pushing them into metal and glass.

“Think you can take me, huh?” Jackson says, looking eager for a fight.

Issac takes in a breath and freezes. His wolf smells below the chemical haze around Jackson, past his clothes to his skin, his sweat. Jackson smells like cut grass and something woodsy, smoke. Jackson smells like mate. Of course Jackson fucking Whittemore would be their mate.

Issac can’t help it. He breaks out in hysterical laughter sinking down, out of Jackson’s grip. He collapses to the floor, still laughing, till he’s sitting, knees drawn up.

His life is an absurdist farce in the truest sense of meaning.

Jackson’s backed away, looking confused.

“What the hell, dude?” Jackson is grasping for control. He doesn’t realize they don’t control this situation anymore. Nothing does. Nothing but their wolves.

“You are terrible at this. Can’t you scent it?” Issac hisses.

Jackson cocks his head, inhales deeply and then, there. Issac can see the realization slide over Jackson’s features.

Jackson squares his jaw and spins on his heel, leaving them.

Issac watches him leave, and it hits him in the gut, how he doesn’t want Jackson to leave them alone. His wolf whines in their throat in misery and Issac is not unsympathetic.

His life is predictable in how much it sucks.

*&*

Issac has a theory.

It is a simple theory, beautiful and elegant in its simplicity.

The wolf kills you. It destroys you cell by cell, burns away all your imperfections, ripping agony through your body as your immune system tries to fight it. If you are weak, you die. If you are strong, you live on, transformed.

The wolf is a virus.

Issac has another theory, one that is more esoteric than his original one. His next theory is one that grows out of his first.

The wolf is a virus of an uncontainable id. Biology as psychology.

*&*

Jackson crashes their lips together, grinds hips into theirs. Issac has their legs wrapped around Jackson, hands in Jackson’s stupid hair.

If this continues, they’re going to have to rut on the ground, but Issac doesn’t mind.

The slide of Jackson’s hand along Issac’s cock is almost as inevitable as the frostbite burning him alive.

*&*

Issac paws at the ground, bays at the swelled up moon. His tail is a fluffy tawny color.

They are a wolf. They are a shape shifter. They are a human. They are id, ego and superego melded into one mutable form. They are a triptych.

They run through the night and they are free.

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And that has made all the difference.

February 2013

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