Theo isn’t surprised when he wakes up alone on Thanksgiving. It’s been happening more and more lately. He’s not really worried, at least not that it’s because of anything serious.
Liam had seemed excited about not doing anything big or outrageous for their first Thanksgiving together. He’d been happy with the idea of getting a small turkey and them spending it together alone. That had been fine with Theo, he’d never really experienced a big Thanksgiving and wasn’t sure if he felt up for it.
He left that last part out and now he’s really wishing he hadn’t. Because Liam had gone quiet when Theo had said he’d never had a proper Thanksgiving, his face scrunching up in the way it does when he’s thinking hard about something.
Ever since then Liam had started randomly disappearing, and when he wasn’t gone he was on his phone. Theo tried to let it go, not sure if he really wanted to know just what Liam was up to. Whatever it was made him excited and Theo didn’t want to be the one to put an end to that excitement.
So Theo wakes up on Thanksgiving to his boyfriend not there, no sign or sound of him in the rest of the apartment. He sighs, getting out of bedding and deciding he might as well shower before he has to face whatever this is.
When he gets out of the shower he finds a text from Liam asking him to meet him at Derek and Stiles’ place. He throws on some clothes, putting on something nicer than he’d normally wear as Liam had instructed him to do in a second text message.
There are tons of cars parked outside and Theo can hear the sound of excited voices coming from inside. He’s been preparing for this, part of him knew what Liam had been planning. But nothing could have prepared him for what he walks into.
Liam is there in the middle of the room, the rest of the pack and their families surrounding him. The house is decked out in fall decorations, the smell of food drifting to Theo from the kitchen, and above the group of people in the living room hangs a banner. The words “Happy 1st Thanksgiving Theo” spelled out in big block letters.
Theo feels his throat close up, unable to find his voice. Everyone is staring at him expectantly, Liam’s face shining with so much hope and happiness and love, and Theo just can’t take it. He turns and runs out the door, completely ignoring his truck as he takes off through the trees. He feels like an asshole. He knows how hard Liam had been working on this and for him. That’s the part that gets him.
He can hear Liam behind him calling his name and telling him to stop. Theo wants to keep going, get far away from here and not face the situation but he finds himself stopping. He leans his head and arms against a tree and waits for Liam to catch up.
“What the hell Theo?” Liam asks, anger clear in his voice, “what is wrong with you? Why would you just take off like that?”
Theo closes his eyes, trying to tap down on the myriad of emotions building inside of him. He can’t face Liam, not yet, but the least he can do is be honest with him, “I was scared and I ran.”
“Scared?” Liam sounds much closer now, his voice coming from directly behind Theo, “why were you scared?”
“Because it was too much,” Theo says, turning to face Liam. He regrets the words when he sees the hurt flash across Liam’s face, “I know how hard you worked on this, I do. And I appreciate it so much. I appreciate you.”
“You have done so much for me Liam. Despite everything I have done, all the ways I hurt you and the pack. You’ve all let me be part of the pack. You trust me. No one more than you. You’ve let me be part of your life, put your trust in me, hell for some reason you’re even dating me. You…” Theo has to stop, his voice coming out much softer when he continues. “You love me as if I deserve you.”
Theo can see when the realization of what must be going through Theo’s head hits Liam. His face soften as he steps closer to Theo, reaching out to place a hand to his cheek, “You do. You do deserve me Theo. You deserve all of this. More than anything you deserve to love and be loved in return. You’ve changed so much. You’re not who you were before. I wouldn’t be standing here with you or doing any of this if I thought you were. I love you Theo Raeken. Not in spite of the things you’ve done but because of how hard you’ve been working to get past them and be a better man. Now are you done being all self-hating for today? Because I really hate it when people talk bad about my boyfriend, even when that person is the man himself.”
Theo lets out a shaky breath, bringing his forehead to Liam’s, “I’m still not sure I deserve you, but I’m going to continue working towards being the man that you think I am.”
“You already are,” Liam tells him, “But if you need time to get there yourself I understand. Just know, that I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to be here to remind you of who you are.”
Theo nods, the movement brushing their noses together in a way that makes his lips quirk up in a smile, “Okay.”
“Now can we get back to the house?” Liam asks, “I told everyone they weren’t allowed to eat until we got back but I’m not sure how well they’ll listen.”
“A pack of hungry wolves in a house filled with food, we’ll be lucky if they even left us any.”
“They better have or they’ll regret it.”
They get back to see Stiles, Derek, the Sheriff, and Argent blocking the way into the kitchen. Stiles is waving a frying pan threateningly in front of him. When he spots Theo and Liam entering the house his arm lowers slightly in relief, “Oh thank God. If you took any longer getting back here I was probably going to have to use this.”
“You really held them off?” Theo asks, stepping further into the room.
“Yeah of course. It’s your first Thanksgiving. You should get your pick of the food first.”
Stiles shrugs as if it’s just that simple. Theo’s overcome with another feeling, this time of gratitude, “Thank you.”
Stiles eyes widen, “Dude it’s no big deal. Just… get in here and get your food so I can release the rest of these beasts.”
“Some of them have better manners than you do when they’re eating. The way you put things into your mouth should be illegal.”
Stiles smirks, “I didn’t hear you complaining about that last night.”
“Really Stiles?” John calls from across the room.
Stiles laughs, getting ready to offer up some reply but Theo is distracted by Liam’s hand on his back and his voice sounding right in his ear, “Let’s get our food.”
As soon as Theo and Liam make their way into the kitchen the others follow, forming a line behind them. Theo doesn’t think he’s ever seen so much food. Liam laughs when he just starts putting a little of everything on his plate but Theo notices the beta doing the same thing.
All the unease he felt before is forgotten as he sits at the giant table surrounded by the pack. Liam sits next to him, his leg pressed against Theo’s, while Derek is on his other side. Derek pulls Theo into conversation, asking about Theo’s job hunt and talking to him about how he’s been volunteering at the local animal shelter and that they’re always looking for more volunteers. It’s not a paid job but it would be something so Theo agrees to stop by.
He looks over and catches Liam smiling at him, “What?”
Liam’s smile only grows, “Nothing. You just seem to be enjoying yourself.”
Theo looks around at the group gathered around the table before looking back to Liam, “I am. I’m glad we did this. Thank you.”
“No need to thank me,” Liam says, placing a quick kiss to his lips, “though you could admit that sometimes I know what you need even when you don’t.”
“Yeah you do,” Theo says, because it’s true. Theo might not have wanted this to start with, or even thought he deserved it. But now that he’s here he realizes just how much he needed this. Needed to be surrounded by pack, his pack. Needed to see he belongs here. He knows he’ll still have his moments of doubt but he also knows that when he does Liam will be there to remind him how loved he is and that he’s needed.