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The heart stopped beating. Liam felt the flutter and then the loss of life that had become far too familiar over the past few days. Theo gently set Gabe’s wrist in his lap, wincing in pain. The bullet in his shoulder hadn’t been pushed out and whatever trance that has caused him to take the dead hunter’s pain had clearly worn off. Liam walked forward, placing his hand on the chimera’s shoulder. The black veins instantly snaked up his arm as Theo’s head dropped to his chest, eyes on his own hands. The bullet fell with a clank to the floor as his skin started to knit back together.

As Theo stood, he was met with an unexpected weight in his chest. Not in it, rather... on it? He looked down to see light brown hair and baby blue eyes. An unexpected tug formed in his gut and he pushed it down, more on instinct than the actual need to. He blinked owlishly and swallowed slowly, unsure of what to make of it. Liam’s arms were a vice around his waist. So he decided to hug him. But why? Theo’s mind couldn't sort through the chemo signals coming of this kid that was latched on to him. Everything around them smelt like gunpowder, pain, blood, death, and a hint of underlying chemicals.

“Hey little wolf?”

“Don’t call me that.” was an instant retort, mumbled into his collar bone. Theo let out a dry chuckle at the fact that this little were hadn’t lost his angry spark.

“Watcha doing?” Theo blurted softly, not intending to ask but the words spilling out anyway. Like most logical things, the answer he received was blunt.

“Hugging you.”

The chimera had lost all sense of normalcy and decided to fuck it all to high hell (in a metaphorical sense because he was not going back to hell thank you very much) and wrapped his arms around the boy’s shoulders, burying his hose in Liam’s hair. It felt good to have him close, to let himself feel content. Sure enough, his inner chimera grumbled in content and the purr resonated in his chest. Feeling the muscles of Liam’s face contract in a smile, despite the matters at hand, Theo smiled too.

The moment was broken when Nolan let out a sound between a shriek and a howl that would have easily put Lydia to shame. He stumbled forwards and fell besides Gabe’s body, murmuring incoherently. He put his hand put as if to touch and then jerked it away, afraid of breaking the dream because that’s all this was it was just a dream surely. But Gabe didn’t wake up or move and Nolan’s sobs echoed in the empty hospital. Mrs. McCall strode forward and Theo recognized the mask on her face from his early years in the hospital. She broke it for a moment to send him a look that meant “go”.

Theo gently pried Liam off of him and took his hand, relishing the warmth of the skin and the ridges of the callouses. He led Liam to the elevator, always back to the goddamn elevator and pressed for the main lobby. The metal doors closed on Melissa hugging the broken ( ex? ) hunter with the body of his dead comrade besides him.

+++

The ride up wasn’t as awkward as Liam feared it would be. As long as he and Theo both ignored their still joined hands, everything could be seen as pretty much normal. Fighting side by side and for their lives, the hospital trashed, lives lost, the world in danger. Yup, pretty normal. The lights flickered in the elevator and Liam was instantly hit with the one chemosignal that stood out amongst the rest: fear.  

Liam’s wolf paced one he had discovered the source, his hackles raised to fight whatever had made his chimera uncomfortable. Liam settled him and gripped Theo’s had a little bit tighter. Theo squeezed in return and knocked their shoulders together, the warmth instantly having a soothing effect on them both. They strode out through the lobby and to the high school, their designated meeting point once their assignment had been done.

+++

Everyone was unharmed. Safe. No major injuries. Scott patting Stiles affectionately on the back. The dried blood on the alpha’s cheeks didn’t go unnoticed, but didn’t seem to be the cause of discomfort, so they were ignored. Scott couldn’t seem to put his eyes away as he looked around at his pack. The crimson red was taking over every body in a way only an alpha could. The eyes came to rest on the occasional tear in a shirt with an already healed cut underneath or the stray bruise. Theo felt the eyes on his shoulder, how they poured into his soul. His wolf side lowered his head in submission and his coyote wanted to run and hide.

But the eyes softened as the talking went on around him, recounting fight scenes that were particularly epic. Theo felt the eyes trace over his body and move on to the hsi beta, ignoring their still linked hands. Once the alpha was satisfied that his beta was alive and well, the eyes returned to Theo. He felt the wolf of the alpha speak to his own. Thank you for protecting him. For taking hits for him. His wolf ducked his head in appreciation, for the alpha’s praise was nothing short of the best reward.

Scott’s eyes returned to their normal chocolate brown and he breathed a sigh of relief. They were safe, if not for a little while at least.

“Is Mom okay?” Scott asked, his voice carrying in the library. Liam nodded in conformation and Theo saw the alpha’s shoulders loosen. Always one to care about the mortals in the pack. That was his job, but still, Theo didn’t understand as much as he tried what had made their parent child bond so deep. He supposed he never would until he opened himself up to caring for others, but that has already happened as evident by the hospital scene.

“I trust you.” The gentle banter stopped as the pack froze and turned to see who Scott was addressing. Stiles had his thinking face on, the crease between his eyebrows apparent. His face softened when he traced Theo’s body in a more calculating manner and saw the shoulder wound, then the linked hands. Stiles knew that Theo never took hits. Theo knew that Stiles knew this. The human nodded in agreement with the werewolf, surprising Malia.

“He’s still gonna be monitored right?” She asked turning her eyes to her boyfriend. “We can’t just let him run around rampant.”

“Says the one who was running in the woods for the last 16 years.” Again, no filter at all between brain and mouth. But this time it was Liam who had jumped to Theo’s defense. He even went as far as to step in front of him, back straight and eyes steady. Stiles cocked his head, observing Liam. He was ready to fight his alpha’s girlfriend for a boy...who had hurt Liam gravely in the past. Theo’s eyes were wide, clearly debating whether to flee or stay. His hand was dropped by Liam and Liam’s fists were balled in the way that they would be if he was expecting to throw some punches.

Stiles saw nothing of the kid that Scott had turned a few short years ago. Not the timebomb with uncontrollable anger, with fury in every step and anger simmering in his eyes. This wasn’t a decision that Liam had made lightly, to argue with Malia, to ask Scott to choose between them. He knew this kind of risk wasn't to be taken without proper thought of the consequences yet he did it in a heartbeat, all for the boy who stood behind him. The werewolf who now stood in between his pack and the chimera was ready to fight if need be, ready and willing to get hurt in Theo’s defense. The connection that the two had thrummed with energy, and out of curiosity Stiles flung his spark at it. The connection was stronger than anything he had ever sensed. Deep and powerful and old, an endless chasm that grumbled at whatever bottom it possesed. This bond was not to be messed with.

With all of this information collected in the span of a few long seconds, Stiles stood from his place leaning on the railing.

“When? When did you see it?” Stiles’ voice pierced the intense staring match between Malia and Liam. Liam’s eyes snapped to the human. They were confused and clouded for a moment, lost in thought. Theo hesitantly stepped forwards, still behind Liam and grabbed his hand, seeking the lost comfort. Liam’s eyes cleared and his voice didn’t waver.

“When I broke the sword. I’ve never smelt so much fear and pain. I thought it was just the deputies, but this was different. There was something malicious in it.”-he spat that word out as if tasting it again-”But he never begs. He knows how to get what he wants, but never has he had to beg and plead and be at the mercy of another like that. He showed raw emotion and that was when I knew that something had changed.”

The weres in the room all knew it was the truth. Stiles nodded, lost in thought again as the gears continued to grind. Scott was the first to speak after the hushed confession.

“Theo, you know you’re pack now right.” Met with a surprisingly alarmed look on a face that was notoriously blank. “You proved that, several times over when you protected him. You took the pain of another, no other than the one that just tried to kill you. You took a bullet that may as well have been laced with wolfsbane, but you took it because you were protecting my beta. You were protecting and caring for my pack and that’s what a pack does. I mean it Theo. You’re pack.” Theo swallowed nervously, feet shuffling at Scott’s declaration. Theo’s wolf grumbled at the declaration, a sense of rightness surrounding his sister’s heart and blooming throughout his body. The rightness of being close to these people, this pack, to Liam. And being able to call it his own?

Liam dragged him closer and whispered in his ear.

“You’re part of the puppy pack too. Big bad chimera with a bunch of little wolf pups.”

Theo sniggered at that, letting the tears of relief fall as he buried his head into Liam’s neck in an attempt to hide them. Scott laughed and embraced the two, quickly followed by the rest. Even Malia grumbled and joined the pack group hug. In the center, Liam pressed a kiss to Theo’s forehead, holding him tight.

+++

The tramped through the Dunbar-Geyer household, Liam thanking all of the gods that Theo didn’t believe in that his parents were on a month trip to Germany. Theo moved to the couch, where Liam instantly took his hand and lead him up stairs, no words needed. He stripped off his ruined clothes, replacing them with a loose pair of sweatpants. Theo looked strangely perfect standing awkwardly in the middle of his room.

Liam chucked a pair of sweats at Theo’s face, unsurprised when he caught them with his supernatural reflexes.

“Asshole.”

“You’re not getting in my bed looking like that.”

“What, perfect?”

“No, like you were challenged to wrestle an alligator and not shower for 30 days.”

“You tryin to get me naked, Dunbar?”

“Just get changed, werecoy.”

Theo relented and shucked off his nasty clothes. The sweats were comfy and smelled like Liam. Nice. Liam didn’t ogle Theo’s bod at all, not those glorious arbs and those sweet biceps. Gods above, his v-line would look so nice in the shower with steamy water running down em, just waiting to be licked off... GAY THOUGHTS DUNBAR ALERT ALERT ALERT.

Liam snapped out of his fantasy to find Theo smirking at him with that trademark smile, with something glimmering in his eyes. He snorted and crawled under the covers, the mattress comfortable supporting him. He got comfortable and turned to look at Theo, rasing the side of the covers in question form.

Theo huffed and joined him, enjoying the smell of simply Liam that surrounded him. Gods, he could just bathe in this scent. Liam was on him in an instant, resting his head on the chimera’s chest and tangling their legs. Theo’s arms came up to wrap around Liam’s waist and the two of them shared a small midnight kiss before falling asleep with smiles on their faces.

+++

Sure, everything was mostly normal. School was back up and running, gossip was being passed, teachers were being bitches. All good. But something was slightly off kilter. Instead of waking up to the sound of his own ragged breathing and the stolen heart that resided in his chest pumping wildly, he was woken to soft kisses and easy words, flowing like honey over the golden skin of their owner. Instead of mornings scrounging up something to eat, mostly by stealing, he got to watch a fully grown werewolf dance around the kitchen and make something new, every morning.

It was off kilter than what he was used to, but he doesn't deny that it's better than anything he’s ever had before. He drove with Liam to school, and held hands with him in the hallways. He stole kisses behind lockers and watched him laugh with his best friends. It was better than they both could have hoped. Theo got this chance at normalcy, completing his senior year alongside his boyfriend, graduation in plausible sight.

They were currently sitting in the ampitheatre, a big set of concrete steps in the middle of the high school campus. Theo was leaning back on one arm, Liam straddling one of his legs. His free hand carded through his werewolf’s hair, lightly tugging to encourage more kissing. This was something new, this public display of affection. But damn, if it didn’t feel amazing. Liam’s hands skirted his ribs, resting to cup his face. They broke for a breather and smiled at each other, losing themselves in different shades of blue.

“GET A ROOM RAEKEN! CONTROL HIM DUNBAR!” No one better to ruin the moment than Corey and Mason. Theo flipped him off and continued making out with his boyfriend. Laim laughed and buried his head in Theo’s chest, holding him tight. Theo smiled and placed a kiss on his head, running a hand soothingly down his spine. The werewolf’s cheeks were bright red in embarrassment and Theo couldn’t help but laugh. This was right. This was home.