“I what?!” Liam said, trying not to shout and practically foaming at the mouth as he attempted to keep his anger under control, breathing in and out slowly and steadily as he’d practised. Eyes flashing, claws digging into his soft fleshy hands, and words coming out accompanied by low growls, he didn’t think he was succeeding. If his stupid anchor hadn’t been standing two feet in front of him, he probably would’ve fully shifted then and there. What didn’t help, however, was that said stupid anchor, Theo, was the reason his wolf was snarling and raging inside of him, desperately trying to claw its way out and attack the chimera’s annoyingly perfect face. His stupid ugly face with the most gorgeous lips Liam had ever seen, and the most beautiful emerald green eyes he had the honour of looking into every day.
“I SAID, you confuse the fuck out of me Liam. And, to top it off, you don’t even give two shits about it, about the fact that you’re blatantly leading me on. I’m not yours to string around until you finally decide in twenty years from now what you’re indeed stringing me around for. I want clarity now, and I want to stop constantly feeling confused and guilt ridden. Because it’s not fair. On either of us.” Theo snarled back in response, bringing Liam harshly back to reality, those beautiful eyes now sparkling with a mixture of contempt and something resembling disappointment.
Liam was taken aback by the rage in his friend’s shaking voice, he’d thought him and Theo were past the whole ‘ripping each other’s heads off over the smallest things’ stage. He’d thought they’d finally managed to get past the petty stuff, thought they’d become friends by now, good friends at that, so why was Theo acting so weird and aggressive all of a sudden?
Liam didn’t recall doing anything wrong, nor did he have a single fucking clue what the fuming teenager was on about with Liam allegedly ‘confusing’ him, so Theo had no right to be lashing out at HIM like this. It also genuinely hurt Liam to see him so blatantly furious. Cool, calm and collected Theo losing his shit, and at Liam of all people. The only person that hadn’t given Theo a reason to be mad at them. It made him want to cry, laugh and break something simultaneously. Liam had always hated himself for always being so overdramatic, since he had been a little kid, but at least he had a valid reason to be. Theo on the other hand was just being a big bitchy baby. A very good looking big bitchy baby, but a big bitchy baby indeed.
However, instead of having a break down on the floor of their kitchen, Liam just met Theo’s blazing gaze with his own of the same intensity. The sexual tension was off the charts, even Liam could admit it, and he reckoned that literally anyone else would be laughing hysterically at the show they were putting on right now if they were here. Focus Liam, he scolded himself and rid himself of such thoughts, bringing his attention back to the yelling teenager in front of him.
“And it’s every damn day. You have absolutely no regard for anyone’s feelings but your own, do you? I can’t go on like this and I know you can’t either. So man the fuck up, and explain what this is. All of it. Because I want to know where we stand." Theo gestured between the two of them accusatively, and the beta subconsciously fiddled with the strings on his boxers, as he always did when confused and overwhelmed. He’d acquired such a habit when his Mom and biological father (he called David Dad, and besides, his real father didn’t deserve such a title) would yell at each other almost every night, Liam still wide awake, crouching on and watching from the staircase, wanting nothing more than to look away. But his eyes were always helplessly fixated on the screeching adults that he loved more than anything in this world, that he’d naively thought had loved each other as much as he loved them. Nope. This, what was happening right now, was like that too, except this time the person he loved more than anything in the world was yelling at HIM. And he didn’t even know why.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about Theo.” Liam scoffed, gulping back tears, god he was dramatic. Theo’s eyes just darkened again, he looked crazed, demented even, and Liam seriously wondered if he was sick or something, if he had some sort chimera fever. It certainly wasn’t every day that him and Liam went at each other’s throats in the kitchen at three am.
“Ok, let me explain. One second I’m the only person making you smile after a bad lacrosse practice, the person you stay up all night with and stuff yourself full of pizza and popcorn while watching Netflix with,” Theo laughed almost hysterically, a wild spark in his step as he stalked closer towards Liam, “and the next I’m treated like just some cold, emotionless jerk who drowned his sister, that tore apart your pack, and that you’re only sticking around with to make sure doesn’t slip up and kill everyone again.” Liam winced at that, surely Theo knew that that wasn’t the case at all, at least not anymore?
Gulping, and at a loss for words, he just looked a slightly more defeated Theo in the eyes, who sighed. “Please, I just want to know how you feel, is that really too much to ask? Because it’s killing me waiting for you to make up your mind. I’m just not sure I can last much longer. So please.” Theo pleaded, calmer, sadder now, but his eyes still glowing a luminous, furious yellow and Liam paused. That had been what Theo had been so worked up about? Any anger he’d felt towards the chimera vanished immediately, and it was replaced by a clawing sense of desperation. One that he couldn’t escape either. And now, he finally understood why Theo was so angry.
See, Liam had genuinely thought long and hard about that, what he actually felt for Theo, for longer than he could remember. He’d spent restless nights tossing and turning, arguing furiously with himself over such a question. And honestly, Liam didn’t know his genuine answer. Yet, at least. But what he did know was that he didn’t want Theo to be this torn up over it, he didn’t want for him to think he was leading him on, and he definitely didn’t want it to lead to such aggressive discussions between them. On the other hand, he certainly didn’t want to lie to him regarding such an important subject either. Especially not this late at night, in their cold, dark, empty kitchen, with both the sweating, half shifted boys wearing nothing but boxers. Damn, Theo in boxers was definitely not helping his whole concentrating thing.
Stalling for time, brain not functioning, he bit his tongue and went with what he hoped was the humorous option, “But you did do all those things. You are a cold, emotionless jerk that drowned his sister, right?” He tried to smile, though it came across more of a grimace, and chuckled to himself, waiting for Theo to crack one of those high pitched giggles he’d often let out when Liam mercilessly tickled him. If Liam could bottle the sound up and get drunk on it every night, he would in a heartbeat. Instead….
Silence. And it was the longest damn silence Liam had ever heard. Or rather, didn’t.
Instant regret flooded through the wolf. Just when he thought things couldn’t be going any worse, he’d gone and made a very unfunny joke regarding Theo’s serious trauma, what a Stiles thing to have said, and Theo definitely looked the stark opposite of amused. He looked stunned, dazed, almost scared and Liam hastily racked his brain for something helpful to say, to try fix this, not that he trusted himself to speak at all anymore. Nothing. Theo, however, snapped out of his trance, furious again, saving Liam from having to mumble an embarrassed apology.
“And there’s my answer. Thank you, Liam, for enlightening me.” He bowed sarcastically, angry tears filling those emerald eyes, and Liam felt like kicking himself. He then actually had to physically restrain himself from doing so when Theo pulled on some pants, turned his naked back on Liam and began storming out the door, legs swaying as he walked as if he’d been wounded, but moving at a remarkable speed nonetheless.
“Theo! No! It’s not safe outside right now-“ Liam’s screeches were interrupted by the front door slamming loudly shut, and a wave of emotion crashed over him, leaving him overwhelmed and in desperate need of a glass of water. Theo was gone. And it had all been Liam’s fault. He’d failed to answer a simple question, and now his best friend was gone. He hadn’t even noticed how much he’d been hurting Theo over the last few months, he hadn’t known how deep Theo’s feelings for him ran and what he’d put the poor chimera through by leaving him in the dark. Now Theo had left without Liam being able to sit down and talk to him, he’d left confused, desperately so, and deeply frustrated, and there was absolutely nothing Liam could do about it. The teenager hadn’t even realised he’d begun to cry until he felt his mother hug him from behind, and sobbed at her soft, familiar touch.
“I should’ve told him. I should’ve just decided then and there how I felt Mom. And now he’s gone, and it’s my fault.” He shook violently with sobs in his mother’s arms, who just ran a hand gently over his bare back, shushing him like he was a little boy again.
“You’re a dumbass Liam. But he’ll come back. I know it.” Jenna whispered, wiping away Liam’s tears with her thumb. “He loves you too much to not.”
For once, Jenna was wrong. Theo wasn’t back the next day, and the guilt was practically eating Liam alive. Usually, every morning around six thirty, Theo would tap lightly on Liam’s bedroom door before he went on his ridiculous seven am run, just out of habit. This had started when he’d first moved in with the Geyers and had come into Liam’s room almost every morning to a) thank Liam again for letting him stay with them, b) say that his hospitality was too much and that he should probably leave, and c) just check that Liam was ok. Now, nearly two months later, it had become tradition. As unnecessary as it was, Liam’s heart still fluttered at hearing Theo’s gravelly voice first thing in the morning and he wouldn’t trade it for the world.
This morning, instead of his stomach filling with butterflies as Theo whispered a raspy ‘good morning’ at him from his door frame, he’d been awoken by the disappointing sound of his phone buzzing. Missed call from Mason. He sat up, rubbing his eyes sleepily as he was blinded by a radiant ray of sunshine peeking through his blinds. It reminded him of the angry golden colour Theo’s eyes had flashed the night before, and he gulped before slapping himself mentally. What had happened the night before wasn’t his fault. Besides, they were both just really tired and being melodramatic. Theo hadn’t come back yet, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to sneak back in later tonight. Then Liam could fix this whole mess, and they could go back to how things were. That sounded like a plan.
This ‘plan’ was immediately annihilated though, along with Liam’s ability to function, as he picked up the phone and read the message Mason had left him.
-Come to the animal clinic. It’s Theo.-
Liam couldn’t breathe. His lungs contracted and the air felt hostile, unwilling to be inhaled, each mouthful he managed to swallow burning on the way down. He felt like the walls were closing in on him and stood up, legs shaking violently. Theo couldn’t be hurt. Not after what he’d done yesterday, not after what Liam had said. Everything numb, he flung on a pair of jeans, one of Theo’s hoodies he’d adopted, and a pair of sneakers, and sprinted down the stairs and out the front door, Jenna and David sat downstairs looking very concerned at the frightful state of their son. Liam didn’t care. All he cared about right now was Theo.
Five long, painful minutes of running as fast as his legs could carry him later, he reached the animal clinic. He paused. He’d sprinted all the way down here, and now he’d decided to stop. The sign said closed and the lights were off, but he could hear the anxious voices of his pack coming from inside. That was irrelevant though, the prospect of the clinic being closed wasn’t the reason he was hesitating now. See, words and communicating, especially in tense situations, had never been Liam’s strong suit, yesterday’s incident proof of this. And yet again, Liam didn’t have a clue what to say to the chimera when he saw him again. Hell, he’d be lucky to even refrain from bursting out into tears at the sight of the chimera, let alone get out some words that were appropriately fitting to their situation, or even made sense. Often Liam started rambling in gibberish when he got too overwhelmed, and he was certainly feeling rather overwhelmed right now.
“Calm down Liam.” He muttered to himself, taking a deep breath and focusing on Theo’s scent on his hoodie. “It’s all going to be fine.”
He swung the clinic door open wide as he could, without a care in the world whether it shut behind him, and stepped inside. It smelt of blood, and not any blood, yep, Theo’s blood. Liam shivered and he opened his dry, cracked mouth to announce his arrival. He’d meant to say good morning or something, but instead all that came out was a low, angry, “Where’s Theo?”
Stiles and Mason immediately ran out of the back room to greet him, and grimaced at the crumpled state of their friend. Liam felt a sudden urge to grab their shoulders and shake them violently for even noticing such a thing when Theo could be dying in the next room. He didn’t, of course, but it had taken a lot of his willpower to not.
“What’s Liam doing here?” Scott called out from the other room, voice muffled much to Liam’s concern. Not that he reckoned he could get more concerned than he was already. His hands were indeed dropped to his sides, and he was now fiddling with the strings of the hoodie manically. “I thought we said we weren’t telling him yet.” Liam bristled at this, and growled lowly while Stiles just groaned.
“Well done Scotty, real smart.” He shouted back, then turned his glaze back to the already shifting beta warily.
“Why weren’t you going to tell me?” Liam snarled, wanting nothing more than to smush the humans head into a bloody pulp as Stiles just grimaced again. Did none of them realise that Theo was going to die without hearing Liam’s declaration of love? (Huh. Liam grinned internally as he realised what he'd just come to terms with without even meaning to) That he was going to die because of Liam?
“They didn’t want you to flip out.” Mason explained rationally, voice low and calm, he’d dealt with an angry Liam more times than he could count and knew that matching his level of anger never worked. You had to remain calm, and in doing so, Liam would most likely calm too. “They know that you care about him, and thought that if you saw what had happened, you’d blame yourself. And do something dumb. I know you’d do something dumb either way, so I texted you.” He explained that part more to Stiles and everyone else hidden in the other room. “You’re his friend. You deserve to know.”
“Not sure I’m really even his friend anymore.” A far calmer Liam muttered sadly, and Stiles tried to not look too pleased with hearing such a statement. “So what’s wrong with him? What happened?”
“Rogue hunter.” Lydia explained, leading them next door. There, on the cold steel operating table, lay an unconscious, worryingly pale Theo, his jeans ripped and bloody, and a bullet wound in the left of his broad, scarred chest emitting a weird yellow mist. Liam’s heart sank and as predicted, he had to gulp back tears. Wolfsbane. Liam had scared Theo out the house and he’d been shot with wolfsbane. Fucking perfect.
Lydia noticed the crestfallen look on the younger boys face, and put a comforting hand on his shoulder, which made Liam want to cry even more. He was a fucking werewolf, he didn’t have time to blub like a baby. And yet he wanted nothing more than to place his cheek against Theo’s body and have a nice long cry. Instead, he forced himself to speak.
“Is he going to be alright?” was all he managed to come up with, and at this Scott smiled gently at his beta, a small hint of pride playing on his lips. What on earth there was to smile about right now, Liam had no clue. Another long, tense silence stretched out before Scott answered.
“He’s going to be just fine. He’s going to really need a bath when he wakes up to get that yellow shit off of him, we’ve already burnt it out though so it’s not dangerous, but apart from that, he’s completely fine. You have nothing to worry about Li.”
Scott and Mason had carried on talking after that, but to Liam it sounded like gibberish, that’d been all he needed to hear. Relief washed over him in refreshing waves and he felt like flying. Theo was fine. Liam hadn’t killed him. He couldn’t name a time he’d ever been happier to find out someone wasn’t dead, and he wanted to go kiss Scott’s perfect, amazing face all over for taking care of the chimera. His chimera.
“So you up for bathing him?” Scott finished, and Liam choked. He clearly had not been paying attention to what Scott had been saying. His head adamantly told him to say no, that someone else should do it, but his heart took control and forced his ringing head up and down in a slow nod. Scott beamed and hugged the still dazed beta tight. “We’re going to head now, don’t want to invade your privacy. The tubs over there are filled with ice water, so just lower him into one of those and, well, you know how to have a bath.”
“You don’t smell like you do.” Stiles laughed and Lydia smacked him on the arm playfully. Seconds later, it was just him and Theo in the clinic. Liam was very overwhelmed. He’d nearly murdered Theo, and now he was about to help wash his naked body. Huh. He genuinely couldn’t explain how good it’d felt to hear that Theo was fine. He’d never felt that strong a sense of relief, he’d never wanted to jump for joy as much as he had in that moment. That had to mean something, right Liam? As confusing as his feelings were for Theo, he knew something he hadn’t yesterday. He couldn’t live without Theo, wouldn’t live in a world where he didn’t hear his voice first thing every morning, where he didn’t tackle him to the ground with tickles every night, where he didn’t get to cup Theo’s face in his hands and look into those gorgeous green eyes every day. He wouldn’t and he couldn’t.
“Li?” Liam jumped to a record height as he heard the small whisper. He’d been waiting for an hour, and finally, FINALLY, Theo had woken up. A new warmth filled him as he saw the older boy sit up, and his heart felt fit to burst.
“Theo! Oh my god Theo!” He squealed as he slid across the shiny floor, very nearly falling flat on his face, to besides Theo’s table. “You’re awake!”
“No shit sherlock.” Theo grumbled, groaning as he looked down at his wound. “Ew.” He remarked, and Liam held back laughter. Typical Theo. He’d nearly died, and all he had to say was ‘ew’.
“You were shot. It’s no big deal.” Liam lied through his teeth, to which Theo chuckled, obviously highly amused by the blushing mess in front of him. “But I do need you to remove your clothes for me.”
This time it was Theo’s turn to flush, though only momentarily, and then he stared into Liam’s eyes intensely, with a false seriousness. Liam could not tell when he was being sincere and when he was setting up a joke. “You know, if you wanted to see me naked Liam you could always just ask.” He smirked, and Liam blushed even more, then punched him playfully on the shoulder.
“Fuck off. No, you need to rinse that stuff off. Scott said.” Liam explained, stumbling over his words nervously. However, Theo did as he was told and Liam averted his eyes as the young man heaved himself off the cold table, wincing as he did so, and stripped down. Ok, Liam really had tried to avert his eyes. But this was Liam, horny, bisexual, teenage Liam, and a naked Theo Raeken was something he couldn’t pass up taking a peek at. Could anyone?
“Shit, this is freezing.” Theo hissed as he lowered himself into the tub of water, muscles flexing as his wet, veiny arms gripped the sides of the metal tub. Liam gulped again, and tried to focus on the fact Theo was still hurt.
“Well yeah, it is an ice bath after all Theodore.” He teased once Theo was fully submerged in the murky water. They were both clearly avoiding the elephant in the room, but Liam was cool with that. For now.
“Theodore?” Theo nodded, pleased, and tried it out, rolling his Rs in such a sultry tone that it made Liam’s heart turn somersaults. “If you get to call me Theodore, can I call you Mr. Dunbar?”
“Sure.” Liam nodded, paused, then cupped his hands together and held them under the water until he held a handful of this freezing liquid that Theo was submerged beneath in his palms. Gently, he cupped the water over Theo’s chest, let it dribble down his chest and rubbed it carefully over the wound, Liam’s dainty fingers dancing over Theo’s chest and collarbone in a way that just felt right. It all felt right. He met Theo’s forest green eyes with his sea blue ones as he continued to wet Theo’s chest and neck line, and the tension crackled. He’d been as confused as Theo last night, but right now he’d never been surer of anything in his life. He wanted Theo. All of him, every flaw and imperfection….the timing was perfect as well…..but then-
“What are you doing Mr. Dunbar?” Theo laughed uncomfortably, leaning away from the beta, and Liam’s stomach sunk in disappointment.
“Taking care of you.” Liam replied honestly, continuing to massage Theo’s body with the cool liquid.
“And there you go confusing me again.” Theo laughed bitterly, and Liam took his hand off his chest immediately, not meaning to sent anymore mixed signals.
“Look Theo, I’m sorry I’ve been so confusing. So so sorry. I never meant to lead you on.” Liam started, eyes glued to the bullet wound in Theo’s chest. Where he’d gotten shot because of Liam. “And I’m sorry about last night. I was scared of what admitting my feelings to myself would mean. But today, when I heard what’d happened, I’d never been surer of what I wanted in my whole life. Who I wanted.”
Theo smiled a small smile, that was far too sad for Liam’s liking. It made him want to throw his arms around the poor boy and hug him so tight he’d never let go. Then, Liam wondered how he’d been so oblivious to his feelings yesterday, when they were so obvious to him now.
“But you were right. I am just a jerk who drowned his sister. And you deserve more than that. That’s why I was so mad at you yesterday. I was mad at me for not being good enough for you.” Theo said slowly, eyes filling with tears, and this time Liam did reach out and hug the man, still sat in the steel tub, tightly and warmly. It was the best hug of Liam’s life.
“Look, you’re not the same person you were a few years ago, okay. And never say that you’re not good enough for me, ever again. I don’t listen to such bullshit Theodore. Ok?” he whispered harshly in his ear, and Liam felt Theo physically warm upon hearing his words. Liam’s butterflies resurfaced almost immediately.
“Ok Mr. Dunbar.” Theo grinned as they slipped out of each other’s arms, but he remained holding onto Liam’s hand, and energy fizzed as they gripped onto each other. Liam had never experienced something that felt so electrifying, so terrifying and yet so safe at the same time, and he loved it. “And your apology is accepted. On one condition. You kiss me right now.”
“You’re still in the bath Theo.” Liam giggled, trying not to hyperventilate at the prospect of kissing the chimera. “Besides, I’m not sure such excitement would be too good for your heart rate and thus your healing and-“
“Oh for fucks sake just shut up and kiss me.” Theo rolled his eyes at the buzzing, far too excited beta and pulled him into a passionate kiss, Liam’s lips fitting against his perfectly. They just fit together perfectly in general. As Theo’s tongue slid into Liam’s mouth, he again questioned how he’d had any doubts about his feelings the day before. They could’ve been kissing for seconds, minutes, or hours, Liam was too happy to care anymore. He was the happiest he’d been in a while.
“I’m also really sorry about the whole getting shot thing too.” Liam muttered when they’d broke apart, Theo’s fingers still underneath his chin, holding it up gently.
“It’s fine. Falling for you hit me harder than any bullet ever could.” Theo beamed, placing his lips on Liam’s again for a chaste kiss.
“You corny piece of shit.” Liam rolled his eyes at him, and Theo splashed him angrily, soaking the teenager. “Motherfucker-“
“Guess that’ll just have to come off.” Theo shrugged, pointing at Liam’s soaking hoodie. “What a shame.” He grinned, eyes twinkling with such a different light than they had yesterday.
“You’ve just been shot, you’re in a fucking bath and we literally just had our first kiss, you’re really trying to undress me right now?” Liam sighed in mock disapproval. “I’m disappointed Theodore.”
“A guy’s gotta try.”
“I love you Theo.”
“I love you too.”
Words had never sounded sweeter.