He is at Scott's house, in the bathroom, to be alone for a few minutes. Sometimes Pack meetings still exhaust him and even though he isn't pack as some people like to remind him over and over again Liam still insists to string him along every time and yes, if he is being honest with himself, it is kinda nice.
Now that Stiles is back in Quantico only Malia shows her hatred openly. Scott and Lydia are civil and the younger pack members like Mason, Corey, Nolan and Alec act weary but almost friendly and so Theo can bask in the illusion that he has friends, a place he belongs, for a few hours each month.
And then there is Liam. The beta with the anger issues. The strongest wolf of his age. The boy who saved Theo's life and gave him a second chance. His sunshine.
He still doesn't know how he got so lucky to not only feel love again but also to be loved back.
All of a sudden he gets the overwhelming need to be near his boyfriend (his heart still beating faster as he thinks about how he really gets to call Liam that title now...) and so he quickly washes his hands and face, drying up and then leaving the bathroom to go back downstairs.
The official part of the meeting is over and so the voices sounding from the living room are light and filled with laughter, making Theo stop for a moment and just listen to the others bickering.
Eavesdroppers seldom hear good of themselves.
“... really, almost funny how similar they are", he hears Alec say and earning a chorus of laughter from the others.
“Seems like Liam here has a type!” that is Mason, all teasing, before he changes back to the researcher he is, “I mean, if you look at it – both have dark hair, both of them are assholes-" there is a outraged ‘Hey!’ from Liam but Mason doesn't let up, “no, no Liam! You have to admit it! After all both of them punched you in the face at least twice and both of them are so sassy that it hurts.”
There is muffled screaming as Mason seems to currently be suffocated with a pillow because when his voice sounds again he is still out of breath.
“Plus - and stay away from me Liam, I am onto something here! – they are both Chimeras!”
Theo's thoughts begin to race. The words echo in his head so loudly that he almost misses the last point on Mason's carefully presented list.
“And lastly: both of them where your anchors! You've really got a type, Li!”
The whole group erupts into laughter again but all Theo can concentrate on is to breathe. It's him, on the list, that much is clear. The other person must be Hayden, Liam's ex-girlfriend, the one who left town before it got too dangerous.
Well, who can blame her, Theo thinks, if he left it would have saved him the heartbreak as well.
Eavesdroppers seldom hear good of themselves.
Theo has known this saying his whole life but never have the words been as fitting as now.
He takes a shaky breath and musters all the strength he can before calling “Hey Liam! Something came up at work, catch a ride with someone else, yeah?” proudly registering that his heart is steady and his voice doesn't break before he turns around and leaves the house without waiting for an answer.
It is only when he sits in his truck, driving slowly back hom- to Liam's house that he let’s his composure slip.
It wasn't real.
He is just a rebound. Filling the hole Liam's first love has left.
He should have known sooner, to be honest, because who in their right mind could ever love him.
So Theo does what he does best. He leaves.
Liam knows something is wrong when he steps through his front door two hours later.
The house is quiet, which isn't unusual because his parents are still at work, but something feels off. He takes a deep breath, trying to catch the scents around him.
it's subtle but it's there. Sadness, resignation, determination.
Liam runs up the stairs, taking two steps at once as he hopes against his better knowledge that he will find his boyfriend laying on bed, looking up from his book with a lazy grin to greet him.
But the room is empty.
Theo is gone.
What is the hardest part about being back to sleeping in his car is not the hunger or the cold. It’s the quiet.
Living with Liam and his family there always were sounds, heartbeats, talking, the little noises of life. Now there is nothing.
Only Theo's thoughts running wild. Before he acted on autopilot, going through the motions. Driving to the Geyer’s house. Packing a bag. Getting fuel and food at the gas station. Now that he actually has time to think, nothing is stopping his brain from playing through the overheard scene again and again, like a broken record he always hears the same words.
They are both your anchor.
-both your anchor.
Theo can't help but think of all the situations where Liam said he loved him.
After he moved in the Geyer’s guest bedroom. When he finally gave in and let Liam comfort him after a nightmare.
When he asked if they were boyfriends.
And all the random little touches, hands brushing up Theo's arms, encircling his waist, lips softly pressed against his.
All of them were not touches of love but born from desperation, the need to have an anchor and possibly just a warm body against his own.
In an attempt to shield himself from the wave of coldness Theo wraps his arms around his upper body but he shivers anyway.
You really shouldn't be surprised, says a treacherous voice in the back of his head, being used is all you're good for after all. It's why the doctors had such easy game with you. You're a simple tool and a tool is made for being used.
His eyes fly open as Theo sits up again. Outside the truck the night has taken over her reign, leaving him to pant and chase away the leftovers of his nightmare in darkness.
It has been an unruly sleep, ghosts of conversations, past dreams and memories haunting him even in wakefulness and so he makes a decision.
Two minutes later a black wolf runs through the preserve, his paws eating away the miles as he shows no sign of stopping.
The wolf doesn't think, he only runs.
After two hours it is clear that Theo doesn't come back.
The scent of despair surrounding Liam turned stale with the time but not less intense slowly raking up his nerves until he couldn’t sit still anymore.
Not even taking time to pull on his jacket he flies down the stairs, phone already on the way to his ear calling out to his Alpha for help.
It doesn’t even take half an hour until they meet up in front of the Mcall’s house, tired eyes and rumpled clothes but all of them wide awake as soon as they smell Liam's distress.
Lydia, ever the observant, notices it first. “Liam? What happened? Where is Theo?”
“Gone. I came home and he was gone. Damn it, I knew something was wrong when he stormed off like that before...”, he buries his face in his hands.
There is a brief silence as everyone tries to process the information before Scott asks, “Have you tried to find him?”
Liam lowers his hands and all but glares at his Alpha.
“Of course I did! But he masked his scent after he left our house, you know how good he is at that!”
“The scent, yes", Scott nods impatiently, “but what about your bond?”
The wind brushes through the wolf's fur, it got stronger since the creature reached the look out, a conveniently placed flat rock from which you can watch the sun down and all of Beacon Hills. It is a peaceful place, quiet but not suffocating like the truck had been.
The wolf takes a deep breath and he smells all the scents of foreign animals and the nature around him.
This has to be freedom, in it's purest form. It is perfect, peaceful. He might stay forever.
But before the wolf can contemplate more about this sudden thought, a familiar figure sits down beside him.
The wolf flinches because he neither heard nor smelled him coming, yet there he is.
“Oh please, don't look so surprised... you really thought I wouldn't find you?”
He lets out a low, questioning whine.
“You might be able to hide your scent from me but we are connected”, Liam, because of course it is him, says just the tiniest bit of smugness audible in his voice, “you are my anchor, you know? We are connected through more than just the pack bond. And you know that. Because you feel it too.”
And the wolf does. He feels the bond pulling him towards his anchor, his mate and he also knows what it means if Liam feels it too.
“Why were you running away?”, the beta breaks their silence again.
He doesn't get an answer, the wolf just buries his muzzle under his front paws which has Liam sighting, “can you please change back, I feel weird talking to a wolf..."
Still no answer but this time Liam felt a soft, slightly wet snout brush against his left hand.
He sighs again.
“Alright. You are not ready. In this case you will just have to listen to me then”, he scoots closer, his left now buried in the wolf's fur as he tries to calm the creature with his touch.
And then he talks.
“You heard Mason, didn't you? Back at Scott's house? I won't deny it, everything he said was true. You and Hayden have some similarities, character and look wise. But!” he raises his voice as a wave of distress wafts over from the wolf, “but, that has nothing to do with you. You are not second choice to me, I am not with you just because Hayden moved away”, he turns to face the wolf, sensing his uncertainty, “Theo, I love you.”
A sudden jolt goes through his body, almost shaking off Liam's hand. But he holds on.
“I thought you knew", he almost whispers, “I thought I was clear about my intentions with you. Brett, Hayden, they all mean nothing anymore. Since the day I brought you back, it has always been you”, his fingers stop moving in the neck fur as he grabs the wolf’s head with both of his hands.
“I am sorry I didn't tell you sooner.”
And the wolf looks back at him with those clear green eyes and Liam knows that they will be alright.