The thing that irritated him the most was that he wasn't in any sense an idiot. Quite opposite of it actually. And if on any other occasion it always did him a favor, for the past few weeks Liam wished he could have traded his observation skills for the month of total obliviousness. Ignorance is bliss they said? He couldn't agree more. And if it had been someone completely random he could have shrugged it off with no issues, but that was the essence of the problem. The person in question wasn't in any way avoidable and to his greatest disappointment, Liam was the one who caused it.
After all, the terrible but not any less real fact was that in the end, Liam didn't regret bringing Theo from the hell. Sure enough, it was a necessity in the beginning and his stubbornness did an outstanding job at convincing him that the reason why Theo was still walking around was just the Kira's broken sword, but he wasn't that naive to keep thinking in such a way. And if with a set of events when Theo became their ally he could kinda live, the idea of Theo Raeken developing feelings for him was borderline nonsensical. Yet alone to think that he could also end up in the similar situation. And yet.
His t-shirt reeked of the acidic smell of antiseptics and that was the only thing that kept Liam grounded to reality. Well, that and the fact he just bluntly invited Theo to his house. Liam didn't want to ask how and why Theo knew in which direction to drive. He was exhausted as if someone stole twenty years of his life and the last thing he needed right now was the reminding of Theo's sudden obsession with him. He called it an obsession because in this way it was easier to pretend that somehow Theo had yet another evil plan and Liam was just a target. A target at which Theo was looking with such a softness in the eyes that Liam could swear he just imagined it but nonetheless.
And the irony was he knew this look. He knew the signs. He knew where it was leading. And he didn't mind. Not as much as he wanted to assure himself.
"What are you doing?"
"Being a bait."
More than on one occasion Liam caught himself thinking that Theo whom he brought back wasn't quite the same person he remembered. Which should have made him concerned to a big extent since Theo wisely and strategically plotted both of Liam's death and him murdering his friend. The blood on his hands would never wash off, but Liam couldn't keep ignoring the glimpses of complete terror that showed in Theo's eyes once in a while.
The person whom he once stalked in the woods with Stiles was a manipulative, psychopathic and power-greedy bastard. But the one who stood motionlessly and stared into the emptiness of the hospital was somehow...broken? Confused? Liam didn't want to give his thought any depth but still. What kind of torture could one person endure that instead of murdering them all for the sake of revenge he preferred to keep them alive at the cost of his own life? Because it wasn't that Liam suggested Theo to literally sacrifice his life. He only insisted on fighting instead of running. And somehow this selfish dumbass decided that throwing Liam into the elevator and facing Ghost Riders alone was exactly the right thing. Liam was fine with finding reasons for most of Theo's not so evil actions. After all, no one could honestly deny that this person maybe was plotting another master-plan against their pack anytime. But this? This was the first time when Liam's logic ran into rough surface of the unpleasant reality.
They parked in front of Liam's house and switched off an engine. He noticed Theo tensed when the boy realized there were no heartbeats in the house. His parents conveniently left the town just a day ago. Not without a little bit of help from Liam of course. Though the look in his father's eyes suggested that there was no need to explain why the sudden trip to San-Francisco was a good idea. He knew he should have told his father about everything a long time ago, but that was a problem for another day. Right now he had already imagined the inviting warmness of his bed.
He knew Theo was watching him and waiting for Liam to say something. He could almost feel the heaviness of his gaze on his skin. The air in the car was electrified to the point when just a feather-light touch would break the tension and make them both burn with unspoken feelings.
"Are we getting out or not?" Theo was the one to break the silence since their departure from the hospital. "Or you decided to sleep in the car? In that case sorry to inform you but the back seat is occupied."
This stream of words with the tint of snark didn't cover the implication behind his statement. Liam knew that Theo had no home. He suspected it earlier and once heard a bit of conversation between Stiles' dad and one of the deputies, but right now the signs were clearly all over the place. He could swear he even caught a fading scent of loneliness but he wasn't sure werewolves could even smell it.
He got out of the car without giving Theo any answer. The boy let out an annoyed sigh but followed him to the porch anyway. Liam paused before the front door and tried to remember where he left his keys. He was aware of how close Theo stood next to him. He could even feel the gentle breath on his neck. And he wished Theo's presence behind his back would make him uneasy but instead he felt his wolf was rather singing in sereneness.
When did this exactly happen and why didn't Liam give any damn wasn't even important. He knew that once they cross the doorstep all the questions would out in the air one way or another.
"Come in" Liam said and Theo only hesitated for a fraction of a moment before entering the house.
He gave him a weak smile while walking past him and Liam could only mirror it in return.
That was going to be a long night.
"If I needed your help for anything it will be so I get angry enough to kill you myself."
"You brought me here because that thing that came out of the Wild Hunt is affecting you, too."
Theo called him out on his lies without even batting an eye. Which in retrospective was hardly surprising. Inviting your enemy to engage in your little escapade so he could prevent you from getting someone killed after another violent outburst didn't sound even remotely rational. Yet even his best friend didn't try to corner and talk some sense into him.
Or maybe that idea didn't sound so horrifically since he didn't actually refer to Theo as enemy in his head anymore. And judging by his own actions, his persistent attempt to remind himself that he should hate this boy started to look quite pathetic. Because Scott accepted Theo's help. The pack accepted his help. There was no shame in admitting that you can work with someone who decided to drop his malicious plans and just help to win this meaningless war. It wasn't about trust. It wasn't about friendship. It was simply about survival and Liam wholly understood it.
So why did he resist?
The sharp coldness of the water was a pleasant contrast to his hectic whirlpool of thoughts. He leaned over the sink and glanced at himself in the mirror. Apart from the mess of his hair and beyond his years tiredness in the eyes, Liam looked almost the same as always. Like he wasn't running from the bullets an hour ago. This war made him numb to the things that should make people's skin crawl and he hadn't realized yet if it was positive or negative progression.
"You should take it off." The already familiar silver voice spoke. Theo stood not far from Liam, leaning on the doorframe, with his arms crossed. Liam noticed the piercing yet oddly calming look of Theo's eyes in the mirror. It was insanely intimate but he didn't break the contact.
"What?" Liam said like they weren't walking on thin ice right in that moment.
"Your shirt, Liam. It's covered in blood." He glanced at the already dried spots and thought he would probably need to throw this shirt away. It's not like his mum needed to know he was in the middle of a gunfire. The same way she should not have seen his ripped t-shirts. And he was too tired to cover the evidence.
"You too," Liam said in even tone. Theo slightly raised his eyebrows and the shadow of confusion glimpsed in his eyes. "You were shot in the shoulder so take your shirt off."
In any other context such a phrase would mean that Liam needed some medical attention but right now the whole situation didn't even scare him a bit. There was a trail of shiver that went down his spine, but he preferred to ignore it.
The confusion in Theo's look was replaced with amusement and he chuckled softly. "I don't have a spare one and the prospect of me walking half-naked probably not something you were looking for tonight."
"Mason would object to that". The words left Liam's mouth without even giving it any thought.
"For your own sake, I will pretend that I didn't hear that." Theo didn't hesitate for a moment to answer and once again Liam was amused with how perfectly Theo was handling provocative situations while still having his feelings written all over his face.
Liam should have stopped at this. Theo allowed him to back off with his bold and reckless move so they could get back to pretending nothing was happening there. But Liam was stubborn. He was stubborn and tired. And not only from physical exhaustion.
"It's not like we are blind or something." He said deadpan.
There had been a second of complete silence before Theo broke into a loud and sincere laugh.
"Oh, believe me, Mason I don't doubt." He paused."You though..."
"Me though?" Liam playfully asked and finally turned from the mirror to look Theo straight in the eyes. "What about me?"
Theo didn't say anything.
"Why do you keep trying to save me? You think it will make Scott forget about everything you did and he'll just let you into the pack? Scott's never gonna trust you."
The thing is he wasn't entirely wrong in his judgment. It was simple.
They brought Theo back from the hell, they broke the sword to get his help and killing him was out of the question despite Malia's great desire to stick her claws in Theo's throat. So for someone whose biggest priority was surviving Theo's actions made perfect sense. You help Scott's pack, he allows you to stay in the town. However...there was a big flaw in this logic.
Despite his enormous efforts in ignoring the quite visible shift in Theo's behavior, Liam couldn't shake off the fact that Theo's selfless actions were directed solely at him and him alone. He wasn't even sure that pack was aware of their 'rendezvous' or that Theo was the reason why he didn't kill two teenagers.
God, they didn't know.
They didn't know that somewhere amidst all of this madness Theo Raeken found a way to reach out to Liam's heart. And he did this so effortlessly that he wanted to punch this smug bastard one more time. Because it was easy. Because punching him and screaming at him was familiar. Because otherwise, he should have faced with the reality where few Theo's words were enough to calm him down.
The reality in which Theo was anchoring him.
And this thought shouldn't be something he could be comfortable with. Or so he wanted to believe.
But along with this quite unwelcomed realization Liam noticed that the only person who ever actually listened to him was Theo.
He wasn't patronizing like Scott or straightforward like Malia, though he did present things as they were, he always did it in a manner that would reach Liam's consciousness rightfully. He saw past all his walls and Liam was grateful.
He hadn't allow himself to accept it yet. But he knew it wouldn't last long.
"What are you doing?" Liam was watching Theo adjusting himself on the coach.
"Trying to get some sleep obviously?" Theo sounded almost offended.
Liam rolled his eyes.
"Don't be an idiot. The bed is big enough for both of us."
Ah, right. He wasn't even subtle anymore. He straight up invited Theo to his bed and it wasn't even in his plans. Quietly his reasonableness was fading away along with the remnants of his self-control.
"Letting your enemy in your bed now, Liam?" Theo smirked.
Liam led himself to believe that Theo was just playing along this little game and not willingly responding to his embarrassing attempts in flirting.
Liam went upstairs and to his great surprise, Theo followed him. But apparently, Theo hadn't been done with picking on him yet.
"You sure there was nothing poisonous on the bullet?"
"No, really, a week ago you would have been horrified at the prospect of me even being here let alone step in your bedroom."
"I said shut up."
"Just trying to be a voice of reason in case you left your own somewhere else."
Liam opened the door and was welcomed with the familiar scent of his room. He went to his bed and took one of the pillows.
"Maybe I did, but I don't remember assigning you to this position." Liam threw a pillow right in Theo's face. The boy caught it without a blink.
Theo held it in front of his face for a few seconds and then threw it back in Liam's direction.
"Let's say I volunteered." Theo was smiling at him with the most sincere look and Liam was screwed. He was so dreadfully and unbelievably screwed.
"Look, I'm not dying for you"
"I'm not dying for you either"
He didn't miss it. Couldn't have missed it.
Theo's lips were saying one thing, but his body moved closer to Liam. His eyes were screaming with hopelessness and Liam didn't understand it. He didn't understand why Theo looked so heartbroken. Why didn't he even try to mask his emotions. Why was he looking at him like he knew the fate that was waiting for him outside of this elevator and it was his last chance to do at least something.
Theo's eyes wandered to Liam's mouth and he couldn't handle it anymore. He averted his eyes from Theo and tried to find the reason that wouldn't sound like a desperate lie.
In all honesty, Liam knew he was asking the questions the answers to he had already known. He knew why Theo was looking at him like that. He knew this because if he would have allowed himself to weaken his defenses just a little bit more Theo would for sure see this exact look mirroring in Liam's eyes.
Theo had fallen for him way earlier than Liam. But in that moment he felt as if he almost caught up with him. Almost.
"But I will fight with you."
"Because contrary to your belief I know that you have changed, Theo."
The soft whisper in the ear.
"And it's time for you to accept it too."
He kissed him desperately. He kissed him and hoped that Theo felt every little part of his frustration. Liam was kissing Theo as if he tried to convince him it wasn't some kind of delusion. Not some hazy vision of another evil creature. That everything Liam did was only his and his desire. The one he so relentlessly denied in the past but wholeheartedly cherished in this moment. He knew that Theo was still battling his own demons and he couldn't make them go away. Not yet.
He brushed his lips along Theo's throat trying to leave marks that even werewolf wouldn't get rid of in the morning. He found himself kissing Theo with such an ardent need that should have left him terrified. But it didn't.
Liam didn't suffer throughout all those emotional torments to just give up in the end. He didn't want to hear Theo's self-loathing nonsense. If someone like Liam could accept falling in love with a person that only caused pain in the past, then Theo too had no right to reject it.
If they were going to burn they would make it together.