Actions

Work Header

Beautiful Silver Bells

Work Text:

Liam frowned at the text on his phone. What’s with the face, little wolf? Gods, he was going insane enough to the point where he could hear Theo’s voice. He missed him so freakin much. Mason had sent him a Dark Web ad for a boxing match? He sighed, inhaling the scent around him to calm down. But it was growing steadily fainter and his control was slipping with it.

Theo had been missing for three weeks. Three weeks of torture for Liam and the pack, desperately trying to find any trace, any indicator of where he had gone. Malia had been the only one (brave enough) to suggest that he had left voluntarily, causing Stiles and Derek to promptly hold Liam down while he snarled. She had dared to imply that Theo would leave him with nothing at all and it stung deep, salt on an open wound. Theo wouldn’t do that to him, not his Theo. Not after the war and everything that they had done for each other.

Somewhere along the way, amidst endless fear and the war, Theo had become his anchor and replaced Hayden with ease. The pack knew of this development. To say they liked it was a stretch, but they were trying and that’s all Liam could ask of them. Liam was currently curled up on Theo’s bed in the McCall house, totally not wearing one of Theo’s big sweatshirts. His inner wolf curled and thrashed, needing to hear the heartbeat of his anchor with the scent of the source so close. He tried shoving his face in Theo’s pillow and inhaling. Better, but not great.

Liam knew that the pack was trying hard to find Theo, but after three weeks, it wasn’t looking good. Liam was far too stubborn to accept any failure and went out every chance he got, until Scott ordered him on bedrest so he wouldn’t wear himself out.

Liam opened the article on the fight, scanning it with his eyes. He was out the door in a flash, the wood cracking behind him.

+++

      The Wild Fight!

Looking for a challenge against only the fiercest? Come to our blackout ring in Beacon Hills! Not only will you fight against the best steroid users, but we also have $1,000,000 in cash for whoever can make their way through the ranks AND beat the owner’s beast. He is animal trapped in a far too human body. Glowing yellow eyes, harsh claws, long fangs, and in the prime of his youth! If you can beat him (only after winning the bracket fight) then you take the cash and whatever talisman that you desire from our beast. After all, the only way to beat him is to kill him! Trace the location of this post and see you there tonight, 12 sharp!

 

+++

Derek looked down at the layout of the warehouse where the fight was taking place. With Stiles’ help (and some not so legal software), Mason had cracked the encryption on the location of the post. It was ironically one of Gerard’s old storage warehouses, so they asked Chris for the blueprints and he happily supplied them. The pack was crowded around the table, listening intently as Derek pointed out the entry points. Liam was pacing back and forth behind them, his wolf far too agitated to sit still.

“So the main door is here, but there’s also two side doors that lead out this way.” Derek explained.

“That means that we have to cover multiple escape routes?” Corey asked.

“Yes, but-”

“Liam!” The banshee snapped. He met the piercing green stare of a very angry Lydia. “Your pacing isn't going to help us find him any faster!”

“If it even is him.” Malia added, frowning at the blueprint.

“It’s him.” Liam promised. He didn’t know why, but this was Theo. Plain as day. Everything about it screamed ‘anchor’ and Liam wasn’t one to not trust his wolf. His wolf had gone quiet and Liam poked at him. The killing calm was starting to take, especially with the full moon around the corner. Liam shook himself out and returned to the table.

“We aren’t exactly sure where he is or what state he’s in, so we need to proceed with caution. They could have him at their mercy and it would only take one wrong move from us for Theo to be dead.” At Peter’s blunt words, an involuntary whine/growl left his throat.

“We get him out of there alive or I take as many down with me, including myself.”

The pack stared him down, Scott in particular. The alpha’s eyes flashed red and Liam’s flashed in return, but in challenge. He meant what he said. Lose Theo, then you lose him too. It was the way they worked, two pieces of a whole. An unshakable team that could take over the world. It brought Liam back to the last time he saw Theo before he went MIA.

+++

“Where you goin?” His face was smushed into the pillow, so the words were half coherent. And he was nearly asleep, but he had heard Theo moving around. They must’ve drifted off during their movie marathon.

“Out. I should be back before dawn, okay? Love you.” Liam thought he imagined the fond whisper, the ghost of a kiss on his forehead, the phantom hand running through his hair.

Then it was all torn away from him.

+++

  “LIAM!”

He was thrown back into the present, taking a deep breath that turned into a gasp of shock. His hands were dripping with blood, he was on the floor. His claws were digging heavily into his palms. He could feel his fangs and the glow in his eyes. His vision stopped blurring and he found Scott and Derek over him, both wolfed out. It was Scott that had yelled, no roared , to bring Liam back to the present. Red and blue looked at him in concern. After he showed he calmed down, the two wolves helped him stand. He felt dizzy and nearly fell.

“Any idea what’s happening?” Scott asked Derek once they had secured the beta in one of the arm chairs.

“Anchor withdrawal, most likely. Having Theo around so constantly, then getting ripped away. It can’t be good for the wolf. With the full moon coming and his control already on edge, there’s no telling what will happen.”

“If you think that you’re keeping me from the mission, then I’ll knock you out and charge recklessly in.” You never think, always need me to save your ass. Theo’s voice was so clear that it hurt. He accepted the glass of water Mason gave him and drank haughtily.

“You just nearly passed out, I don’t want you to get hur-”

“Scott, it would probably be good for Liam to go. They must have Theo in a weakened state to keep him for three weeks, The minute Liam sees him, he’ll be the perfect weapon. In a fight with these circumstances, Liam could do it with a hand behind his back. The anger and loss of control will all be grounded when he sees Theo.” Peter advised and Liam was grateful they kept the old were around for once. Scott turned away and put his hands up in mock surrender. Liam smiled. They were getting his Theo back.

+++

The warehouse wasn’t abandoned looking at all, several cars parked around it. The plan was to go in in pairs so that no one was alone. Oddly enough, Derek seemed to be the best person to ground Liam right now, so they partnered up. Scott and Malia, Lydia and Stiles, Corey and Mason, the normal groups. Peter was taking the roof as external watch and was to interfere if things were getting dire. Liam and Derek were going in first, followed by Scott and Malia. Mason and Corey were taking the exits and making sure no one left who wasn’t supposed to. They had a few suspects of who the owner was after some quick Dark Web research.

Liam looked around the makeshift parking lot and his stomach sank. He saw Theo’s blue truck, his baby. It had a price tag in the windshield. He looked at Derek and Derek looked back at him, eyebrows raised in question.

+++

Derek was a little less rich, but they would steal the money back later anyway. No one touches Theo’s truck, especially some psycho Dark Web strangers. He couldn’t even catch a whiff of Theo’s scent around the truck and it made his stomach curl. The seller tossed them the keys as he counted his cash. Liam caught them and choked, close to sobbing. The small wooden carving of a wolf paw was attached to the key ring.

Liam had made the carving when Scott had insisted on pack bonding time and they spent a week during the summer on a lake, renting out a big cabin. The moral of the story was never under any circumstances ever give Peter glitter glue for the love of god. But Liam had carved this small thing when they were by the bonfire, pressed closely around the flames and acting like normal teens. It brought back the good memories of pack and of Theo. He remembered presenting Theo with the carving and him laughing, that beautiful, real smile on his face. Liam had forgotten about it, but here it was. On the keys that unlocked what Theo had often declared his everything. It filled Liam with a feeling he didn’t have a name for and made him all the more anxious to get inside.

+++

The ring in the middle was crudely set up, a couple of ropes and some metal poles. People gathered around, mingling and placing bets. The brackets were slowly being filled until the people running the match stopped taking bets. The fights came one after another, big men who swung at each other savagely. Liam knew that there was more than a few bodies that would need to be hidden and he was growing more and more anxious. His wolf was scratching and itching, turning circles inside his chest. It was aggravating to see the champion continue to succeed, as if he could have any pride in taking part of these rigged fights.

Liam met Scott’s eyes across the room and his wolf settled, although only slightly. The final fight was fought and they had a victor, a big man with a thick Russian accent and bulging muscles. The announcer was far too optimistic for Liam’s liking.

“And the moment you’ve all been waiting for folks! The not-man, the myth, the legend, THE BEAST!” The crowd went berserk as the warehouse doors were flung open.

Two burly men walked through, carrying long metal rods behind them, crackling with electricity. They were meant to keep the distance between them and whatever was at the other end. When he caught sight of what was at the other end, Liam almost threw up, his heart thumping wildly and his stomach churning violently.

The hair was matted and dull, clumped with dirt and blood. The rest of the body was no different, cuts and scrapes that smelled of wolfsbane. They were in no particular pattern and were seemingly placed at random, but Theo had taught Liam a thing or two about observance. The long lashes on the back were no doubt from a whip and the freckle like dots that coated his shins were burns from the end of a cigarette butt. The figure was naked, the poles latching to a collar around the neck. Liam dared look at the face and felt his world come crashing down, felt the physical pain in his shoulders.

Theo’s eyes were a haunted yellow, the yellow of a feral animal. Normaly when Theo shifted, Liam could see both Theo and his chimera within his eyes, a partnership that was a ruthless double edged sword. But Liam saw nothing of his Theo, only this feral animal that lunged at the poles, his clawed hands heavily chained. The claws were chipped and broken, as if he had been clawing at something, struggling. His fangs glistened with blood and he foamed at the mouth, trying and failing to lunge at the crowd. He was naked, but no one could tell with the amount of dirt and blood on him. The crowd backed away slowly. Two more men followed Theo, the same poles crackling around his neck. They kept him moving towards the ring, the Russian’s face going pale.

“I not fight.” He said, backing away until his back hit the chains. Everyone gave the ring a wide berth. The pole keepers wedged Theo into the ring and gave all of the poles to one holder. He released them all at once and Liam had to look away.

The Russians screams were loud and wet. Even Derek looked a little mortified. When Liam deemed it safe to turn back, there was nothing left but a sack of red meat and bones, Theo still shredding with his claws. Blood covered the ring, splattered in large puddles. The Russian’s manager’s mouth hung open in shock. The crowd went ballistic, chanting and cheering. The pole keepers stepped into the ring and Theo moved so fast that even Liam’s werewolf eyes couldn’t keep up. It took 10 people to finally wrangle the poles back onto the collar and rechain Theo’s hands. The stun batons they used caused him to scream, purely animalistic and pain.

That’s when Liam felt it, spreading like frost from his heart outwards. The killing calm. He took a deep breath and shifted, fluid and predatory. Next to him and across the room, Scott, Malia, and Derek were doing the same. The crowd already had started moving out and only ran faster, hearing Liam’s enraged roar, worthy of an alpha. Theo’s head had snapped up, his tortured eyes finding Liam’s for a fraction of a second and Liam saw a spark, something in those eyes. Peter was right. It only made him fight harder.

He jumped down into the ring from the upper levels, taking down three pole holders before they realized he was there. There was no room for mercy here, just claws and blood and anger. He faintly registered Derek grabbing Theo and knocking him out when he struggled, dragging him outside. Hopefully to Deaton, to someone who could help. The knowledge that Theo was alive, that was enough to drive new energy into his claws and he jumped back into the fray.

+++

By the time the warehouse was secure, Sheriff Stilinski had a lot on his hands. 7 bodies total, 2 from the ring fights and 5 from Liam’s hands. His eyes were still yellow. He knew that Scott had a thing against killing people, but Liam’s eyes spoke in a way that said these kills were justified. 10 people were rounded up and put in cuffs. Liam grabbed the money box before they left, making sure that Derek was properly repaid. He told the Sheriff about the truck and he promised that it would stay here.

Derek, Scott, Malia, and Liam all staggered out of the warehouse, beaten and bloody. The rest of the pack was at Deaton’s, but Scott wouldn’t tell Liam more than that. He wasn’t sure why, but he felt like it wasn’t good. They made sure that all of their wounds were clear of bullets before piling into Roscoe. Tires squealing, the made for Deaton’s.

+++

Liam was moving before he registered it, feet hitting the pavement of the animal clinic’s parking lot before Scott even stopped. He pushed open the doors, immediately making for the back room when he heard a pained scream, still in that same animalistic tone. Mason and Corey pushed him back, Lydia and Stiles looking worried and talking in hushed tones in the corner. Deaton was there immediately, forcing him to calm down.

“What Theo needs right now, is for you to be calm. He’s been injected with something that has forced him to be feral and a certain strand of some new hybrid wolfsbane that’s making things painful. I don’t know when the ferality will wear off, but the wolfsbane is acting like a normal human infection, Theo will heal much slower than an average human and you need to help him through that. Anger and possessiveness is not what he needs right now. He needs you to be strong, Liam, to support him.” The emissary managed to talk some sense into the growling were. He took a deep breath and nodded, unshifting and a lot calmer. Mason looked at him, eyes wide in question. Liam nodded back, he was okay, he could do this. Deaton led him to the back.

Theo was laid out on the table, cuffed in a way that made it impossible for him to move his legs and arms. He was still snarling though, and snapping whenever somebody got too close. The open wounds were sizzling, green tinted smoke wafting into the air. They were so much worse up close, the smell of burning wolfsbane overpowering his nose. His wolf whined and bucked, trying to get closer to his hurt anchor. Liam just wanted to comfort Theo, but there wasn’t anything of him in those eyes right now. It was just the ferality of his chimera, the coyote in him wanting to run and hide. The wolf side was lashing out, a cornered injured animal.

“The classic human antibiotics seem to be working well enough that it’s burning off the wolfsbane.” Theo let out a pained howl, so broken and hurt that it took Liam several minutes to calm down again. “But it’s severely painful and being feral doesn’t help.” Deaton continued. “I’m having Scott set up a large wildlife cage we have so we can keep an eye on him. I’ll have him set up a sleeping bag next to it too. I know you want him to get better Liam, but the ferality needs to wear off first.” Liam nodded, still resisting the urge to reach out and touch.

“Derek, Malia, I’ll need your help in moving him. Liam, it’s best that you wait in the lobby for this. I don't want it to trigger you.” Liam nodded and left the main room, yet again pacing in the lobby. Lydia didn't yell at him for it this time. He heard the rattle of the cuffs and Theo’s heavy snarl. Derek and Malia huffing, snapping and growling back. Liam dug his claws into his palms, the mantra running through his hea- Little wolf losing control again?

He really needed to get Theo out of his head.

The heavy slam of a metal gate and Liam was trotting back in, the rest of the pack trailing behind him. Derek, Malia, Scott, and Deaton were standing outside of the cage, their attention directed at the back corner. The cage was as big as a small room, filled with blankets and several boxes to hide in and around. There was a large water bowl and Liam half snorted at that, knowing that Theo would be offended. The chimera chose the largest shelter in the back corner, glowing yellow eyes peering out from the dark confines of the box. Liam’s heart broke just a little more.

“He’s acting more coyote than wolf right now, so I gave him the hiding places for a coyote. I thought it would make him a little more comfortable.” Scott said with a sorry shrug. Derek and Deaton started talking about the wolfsbane, where it could have came from and how it was created. Liam tuned them out and focused on the yellow eyes. He couldn’t see that spark there, the one that he saw at the warehouse. He wanted to see it again, because it meant that his Theo was still there and fighting to come back. A hand on his shoulder snapped him out of it.

“He’s stronger than anyone I know. He’ll get through this.” It was strange hearing this come from Corey of all people. But Liam nodded in thanks and leaned into the arm that Mason had thrown over his shoulder.

+++

“You have to call if anything changes at all, okay? If he so much as breathes in a different way, you have got to call us. Okay?” Stiles had been drilling this into Liam’s head for the past hour and Liam nodded once again. He was grateful for the human, really, but sometimes he was annoying. Him, Lydia, and Derek were the only ones who hadn’t left yet and Lydia and Derek looked ready to drag him away. Derek, in fact did just that. With a last shout of ‘Breathing!’ Derek shoved him into the jeep. Lydia gave him a wave and Derek, a solemn nod. They were gone in a burst of headlights and the rumble of Roscoe’s old engine.

Liam sighed and shook himself out, closing the door to the clinic and locking it, making sure the sign was turned to ‘Closed’. He made his way slowly to the back room, suddenly nervous about being alone with feral Theo. He talked aloud to soothe his nerves.

“You’d be so mad at the water bowl.” He scoffed as he walked around and got ready for bed, er...sleeping bag? His voice sounded echoey on the metal walls, but it was better than silence. The yellow eyes weren’t there, but Liam could still hear the heartbeat from inside the box.

“You know how many times I heard your sarcasm today? It’s like you were right next to me.” Ah, so apparently this was enough talking to warrant a reaction. Two bright yellow eyes looked at him from the depths. He went into the bathroom to change into pajamas and continued talking because it really was helping to soothe his grated nerves.

“I brought your truck by the way. The psychos were trying to sell it and I was able to beg Derek enough to the point where he brought it to shut me up. I know that you wouldn’t like it if anything happened to it.” He contemplated leaving the keys on the counter, but shoved them into the pocket of his sweatpants anyway.

“How did you get wrapped up into that mess anyway? Did they kidnap you when you were out? Were you doing a deal with them that went wrong?” He got a light growl in response. “Okay but that still doesn’t answer my quest-” He froze, the toothpaste nearly falling off his toothbrush. He threw it in the sink and ran back to the cage.

“You can understand me?” He asked the box in the corner. If Theo could growl at his ideas, enough comprehension happening to the point he could understand them, that was progress. The yellow eyes stared back at him, more curious this time then full of hurt and anger. He huffed a bit, the way a dog might if they were being annoyed by a small child.

“You don’t get to huff at me! Can you understand what I’m saying? Are you my Theo?” the last part came out in a small, pleading whisper. The only answer he got was a clawed hand reaching out of the box and shaikly grabbing a blanket, dragging it back in. He could hear rustling, then nothing. Liam frowned and sat cross legged in front of the cage, sleep long forgotten.  

“I missed you a lot, y'know? Your snark, your scent, your heartbeat. I know you’re my anchor, but at the same time you feel like so much more. ” Liam played with a loose thread on the hoodie that he now realized it was one of the ones he stole off of Theo. He let out a small laugh, because wherever he went, Theo was always with him, even when he was missing.  

“I know you always play it off, but we care about you, as a pack. Me especially, but the pack actually put effort into looking for you. I mean Malia didn’t really care, but everyone else did.” He got a small snort for that. The smile on his face grew.

“Even Peter was out and about, trying to track you. We couldn’t even find your truck and that made Malia think that you had left without saying goodbye, just up and gone.” A growl.

“But I knew you wouldn’t do that to me. I knew that you cared about me too, just like I care about you.” There was a more satisfied huff at this point that Liam had brought up, almost as if in confirmation.

“Do you want me to talk more? Or shut up? I’m sure you haven’t slept well in the past three weeks. Especially with the nightmares. Do you still get them when you’re feral? Or is it a different setting but that same feeling?” He was thinking out loud, but he didn’t get an answer in response. So he took it as permission to keep talking. He made his way over to his sleeping bag and crawled inside. He zipped himself up and created a small Liam cocoon, leaning with his back against the wall and his side pressed up against the bars of the cage. He knew Theo wouldn't hurt him.

“My control was shit without you around. Derek said that my wolf was going through some sort of anchor withdrawal, because you were around so much and suddenly you weren't. My wolf wasn’t used to that and I realized how much my control depended on you. I almost slit Brett’s throat at the game on Friday. It took Corey tackling me to keep me from it.” He laughed a bit and continued to ramble about his life without Theo, how it wasn’t fun or exciting without the chimera around. His voice was getting more frequently punctuated with yawns, his eyes fixed on the ceiling.

“So then Mason was like ‘That’s NOT a pickle’ and I was like ‘Yeah it is!’ and I took a bite and it wasn’t a pickle…” He drifted off, his voice growing dimmer as sleep washed over him.

+++

He woke up with a crick in his neck, sunlight burning his eyes. He blinked it away and his breath was stolen by the sight he was greeted with.

On the other side of the bars, Theo mirrored his position, leaning up against the metal with his back pressed to the wall. His breaths were even and shallow in sleep. He looked a little better and even morbidly beautiful. Liam shook his head at the thought and carefully moved, not wanting to wake the chimera up. He needed his sleep and Deaton had told him the more sleep he got, the more efficient his healing would be. The blanket that Theo had grabbed last night was wrapped around his shoulders. It gave him the appearance of being small. Almost more innocent, if it were not for the blood and dirt smeared across his face and the fangs that poked at his bottom lip.

Liam carefully got up and made his way to the bathroom, relieving himself and cleaning up his toothbrush from last night. He grabbed a couple of granola bars that Deaton had left him and took a bite, enjoying the feeling of food in his stomach. He was constantly monitoring Theo’s heartbeat, making sure he stayed asleep. It started to spike and he ran back to the cage.

Theo was thrashing, his claws tearing at his hair. Liam recognized the sight enough to know that Theo was having a nightmare and kicked into autopilot. He unlocked the door and went in. He took Theo’s hand from his scalp and squeezed the in his own, grunting when the claws dug in.

“I’m right here Theo. She’s not here, this heart is yours and she can’t take it back from you. I’m here Theo and she’s not and you’re okay and safe, but you need to open your eyes and realize it. You need to know I’m here with you and you’ll only do it by looking at me, let me see Theo. Let me see those greens and blues. ” A few more minutes of struggling before Theo’s heart rate slowly dropped, his hands clenched around Liam’s. Ragged breaths filled the small space. Theo fell forwards on all fours, dry heaving as Liam rubbed his back soothingly. He looked up and Liam saw blue. His blue, Theo’s blue.

Arms were wrapped around him so tightly. He felt a sob wretch out of Theo’s mouth and cried with relief, holding tighter.

“You’re back. It’s okay, I’ve got you and I swear if you ever leave me again, I’ll hurt you so bad.” It was so shaky, but Theo was back so nothing mattered.

“I missed you so much.” His voice was so raw, so torn from howling and screaming. But it sounded like bells to Liam. Beautiful silver bells. Liam’s hand carded through his hair, soothing the shaken were. Theo’s breaths slowly evened out, calming down enough so his sentences were more coherent.

“I hurt so many people, Liam. So many. ” It came with a broken sob into Liam’s shoulder and Liam only hugged him tighter.

“That wasn’t you, Theo. None of this was you. All of it was their fault, those sick and horrid bastards. It was all the beast, Theo, you couldn’t have done anything if you tried. They drugged you and used you. It wasn’t you.”

“But they were innocent, Li. People who didn’t deserve to die. They shouldn’t have fallen at my claws, there was so much blood.” Theo sobbed and Liam rubbed his back. Guilt was something that was never associated with Theo.

“Morning Liam, i got some fo- THEO!” Scott ran and slid to his knees, joining the hug. Mason and Corey came in not a moment later and joined them. They distangled and helped Theo stand on still shaky legs. He looked around grateful and leaned on Liam, claiming it was for support. The tears were drying on his face and Liam helped wipe them away. Theo’s eyes were downcast and his posture screamed submission. Scott enveloped him in a hug again.

“I know that wasn’t you Theo.”

A whole new round of tears started.

+++

After Theo took a long and scalding shower with Liam chaperoning from outside, (“I don’t need you looking after me! I can stand well enough!” “If you fall, I’ll laugh, but I might help you up after.” They needed the teasing between them. It helped establish their bond and keep Liam’s wolf content.) he looked a lot better. Deaton had been called and bandaged Theo up with medicinal efficiency. The white bandages were everywhere and it riled Liam up a bit. The silently grabbed his hand and squeezed. Liam was a lot calmer after that.

Liam had given Theo his own clothes, his wolf needing Theo to smell claimed. It was a wolf thing, he assured himself. It wasn’t the fact that Theo looked really good in Beacon Hills lacrosse colors, the name ‘Dunbar’ stretching out across his shoulders. It wasn’t the fact that the sweatpants were loose and baggy and made Theo look soft and cuddly. It was a wolf thing.

+++

Theo was under strict orders of bedrest, no straining physical activity and a healthy diet. No rough housing either (there was a very pointed look at the two boys with that statement, a heavy weight behind it. Liam elected to ignore it and focus on how Theo’s hand fit in his.)  Deaton had also prescribed a slew of pills that Theo was to take every 12 hours.

“I have more pills than a grandpa with heart disease.” Theo complained.

“At least you still have the teeth so I don’t have to baby bird all your food to you.”

“Oh, you have me swooning.” Theo fluttered his eyelashes and the pack broke out into a laugh. It was really good to have Theo back. Scott’s eyes flashed red, the feeling of pack around him making his wolf excited. Liam, Derek, Peter, and Malia flashed back instinctively, as did Theo. He was met with a gasp from everyone.

“What?” He asked, looking around in shock. Scott turned and dug in one of the clinic drawers, pulling out a mirror. He gave it to Theo, who brought it up and flashed his eyes at his own reflection. Ice blue stared back at him. He put on a weak smile and handed the mirror back to Scott.

“At least they’re the right color now.” He offered, the smile not quite reaching his eyes. It looked more like a grimace on the chimera's face

+++

They were both silent on the drive back to the McCall house. Liam kept his fingers intertwined with Theo’s, rubbing his thumb over the valley of his knuckles methodically. Theo was letting out large yawns by the time they came to the guest room, Theo flopping dramatically on the bed. He let out a little hiss of pain.

“You dummy, you’ve gotta be careful.” Liam scolded him and deposited the orange rattly bottles on the nightstand with a few bottle of water as well.

“Dummy? You’ve gone soft on me Dunbar.” Theo shot back, quick as a whip. It was good to hear the real voice instead of the imagnied one.

“You’re all set. I have your phone set up for pill alarms, so make sure you take them.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, where are you going?” Theo asked, suddenly concerned as the beta moved towards the door.

“I thought you would want to rest without my scent plugging your nose.” Without me around to annoy you. Liam explained, eyes on the floor. Theo held out his hand and Liam’s resolve crumbled, joining him on the bed after discarding his jacket.

“Maybe I like your scent plugging my nose, you dummy.” Theo snarked, buried into Liam’s chest, an arm thrown around the beta’s waist. Liam rolled his eyes affectionately.

“And I’m going soft.” He teased, turning on the tv to a mindless documentary. Theo’s eyes were closed, but he was still very much awake.

“My eyes are blue.”

“Yeah, that’s a fact.”

“That means I took an innocent life. Actually, more than one.”

“That’s also a fact.”

“So why didn’t Scott kick me out? Why aren’t you disgusted with me?” Theo’s voice was small. Liam’s hand came up to card through the chimera’s hair. He leaned into the touch.

“Because it wasn’t you who took that life. It was the bastards who forced you to be feral, who took control of you and used you. That wasn’t you.” He was met with silence. “I think that blue looks good on you. Better than yellow. It looks nice, like a pretty sky on a summer day. Or the forget me nots that my mom likes to plant. Or the color of the cleanest ocean. It’s a part of you, and that means that it's good.” Theo’s hold on Liam’ shirt tightened and he nestled farther into his chest. Theo took a deep breath.

“Okay.”

“Okay?”

“Yeah. Okay. I’ll believe what you just said. Or I’ll try to anyway. I trust you enough to know you wouldn’t lie to me.”

“Okay.”

“Okay.”

+++

It didn’t take long for them to fall asleep, tangled up in each other. Theo clung to Liam like he was a drowning man and Liam was his salvation. Liam held onto Theo like he was the most valuable treasure in the world. Melissa checked on them. She turned the tv off and covered them in a blanket. The only sign that acknowledged her presence was Liam holding Theo tighter. She texted Scott.

All good.

Yeah? Think they’ll be okay?

Yeah. They’ll be just fine.